22 January 2012

Book Group News: January 2012

This week, we had our year end Book Group dinner. Each month, we contribute $10 to the kitty, and then at the end of the year we go out to a nice restaurant for a "free" dinner. This year, as with years past, we went to Citrus City Grille at the Orange Circle.
CCG, 122 N Glassell St, Orange CA 92866
(714) 639-9600 
The food at Citrus City Grille is excellent. I had the stuffed dates and the rack of lamb with butternut squash risotto, and I also tasted the beet salad and the tiramis├╣. They have a great Happy Hour that lasts until closing (Sun-Thurs), so it's affordable to have a cocktail or a beer. The only downside to the restaurant is the noise. I don't remember it being this noisy any of the times I've gone there in the past, but it was loud like a crowded bar - and we were sitting outside. It was very difficult to hear each other, especially to hear the ladies at the other end of the table.  I think this could be attributed to the group of 20 women sitting near us (baby shower or birthday party, perhaps) and the group of six businessmen sitting behind us. Safe to say, I think next year we will try somewhere new.

Our other "year-end" tradition is to have a book exchange. This year there was a lot of stealing of books to be had, so I take that as a sign that everyone brought great books this year.

Finally, we read and discussed 
A Game of Thrones: Book One
"Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?"
"That is the only time a man can be brave."

Overall, the book was a huge success (see my personal review here), and we gave it an average of 4.6/5 (pending a couple of to-be-finished scores).  About half of us have watched the show (I haven't personally seen it - how I long for the days when I had HBO!), and we generally agreed that one thing the show really offered was an excellent, almost to-the-letter adaptation. This seems to be something that is unique to adaptations in the fantasy genre, because the fans of fantasy tend to be very vocal about keeping everything exactly the same.
Collectively, our favorite characters were Eddard Stark, Jon Snow, Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister. The most commonly held issue with the book was the lack of a family tree chart at the beginning of the book. Yes, there is a list with the different families at the end of the book, but there isn't anything that's a quick and handy reference for when you are reading the book. By the halfway point, I assured the women who hadn't finished the book yet, the characters are clear and you don't constantly find yourself checking who a person is in your head. I promised to report on the second book (which I've already started).

Tune in again next month, when we'll be reading "The Paris Wife" (Paula McLain).

07 January 2012

Resolutions - lost

Last week I penned (typed) a long post about how resolutions were somewhat silly, because if you really want to change then you will make it happen regardless of the day, and then began listing my various resolutions (because I'm a contradiction).

And then I saved the post, I swear, because I wanted to include some pictures.

Only either I didn't save the post or it got lost somewhere in the series of tubes that is the internet. And now I'm trying to remember what I resolved to do...

So here are my (lost) resolutions:
1. Blog more: this really speaks to my desire to get my opinions out there (even though I don't typically plug my blog on facebook or anything). I almost always INTEND to blog, but I don't always have a chance to get my computer out and write it, and I find it somewhat tedious to blog on my phone.
2. Prepare one new dish each week: I really want to make sure that Liam has an open mind about eating, and he is willing to try new things. So far, so good. He'll eat basically anything that I give him, and he seems to like just about everything (of course, this can change at any moment).
3. Learn to sew: I don't own a sewing machine, and I don't want to sew clothes, but I would like to have the ability to hem things, or repair seams, or even (gasp!) make a quilt out of my favorite items of Liam's clothing from his first year on this planet. That's my "2012 Project." I would also like to be able to make blankets for my million friends who are having babies this year (okay, really I just want to make blankets for a couple of them), and I saw this awesome project on Pinterest for a Kindle cover that I think is super cute.
4. Become a better corresponder: yes, that's a made-up word. But the "Art of Correspondence" is something I'd really like to participate in more. There's something nice about just receiving a note from someone to say hello, but I think it might be equally gratifying to write a note to someone.
5. Try something new, professionally: I'm adopting a new book for my Italian class, and it's totally different from the books that I've used thus far for my classes. It promises to be a challenge (at first) but I think that it will be a good choice in the long run.
6. Get organized, both personally and professionally: My desk became a catchall during the holidays, and it still hasn't recovered. I would also like to get my lesson-plans somewhere digital so that I can just access them and print them out, with (ideally) links to the files I need for each day, or else a very easy-to-use folder system that I clean out and update regularly. My personal desk can probably be tackled in a weekend (and will include a trip to the organization section of a couple stores, since there are no shelves or drawers in this desk, which is really more of a secretary). My professional organization might prove a little more challenging, but I'm willing to give it a shot. PLUS, I have sort of a clean slate since I'm using a new book, which is organized completely differently.

Okay, so that is my best estimation of what my 2012 Resolutions were. I'll try to check back once a month to see how I'm progressing on each of them.