Day 41: Audible

I’ve been a recorded books fan for at least thirty years. I remember getting cassette tapes from the library for my long commute to work when I was a teacher. I went through many Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat novels on that commute.

I went through a period of not listening to recorded books much, but I am back to listening to them now, thanks to Audible. I share an account with my daughter, my son, and his partner. Together we have 127 audio books in our shared library. We have similar tastes, so we often read each other’s selections.

What’s delightful is when a particular narrator is perfect for the book. Often, for me, it is the author. Trevor Noah reading his memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood might be the best book I have listened to in years. Back when I respected Neil Gaiman I enjoyed listening to him read his books. The latest narrator I find delightful is Joan Walker who is narrating My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, the book I am listening to and reading at the moment. She’s talented at making the characters’ voices resemble their personalities.

Day 40: Fredrik Backman

Have you met Fredrik Backman? I mentioned him on my Clutch Cargo Lips blog several years ago in my review of his novel, A Man Called Ove. I was annoyed at him for making it seem as if fifty-nine year old people were old. I have since forgiven him because he’s brought me so much joy by writing books about so many delightful characters.

I read Britt-Marie was Here last year and really enjoyed it. At our book group Zoom meeting last month I suggested we read another Fredrik Backman book and Diana (the unofficial book group leader) suggested that instead of everyone reading the same book, choose any one of his books to read and then tell the group about it. I chose My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and am loving it (this is where we are introduced to Britt-Marie). I’m reading it on Kindle, and listening to it on Audible.

What I like about Backman’s writing is that his characters all well described — not physically necessarily; but their personalities shine in his writing. I feel that I know these characters very well.

In this time of hunkering down with only my husband, having a roomful of other people, thanks to Fredrik Backman, is truly a delight.

Day 39: Zooming with Ross

Remember Ross Gay? The poet whose book, The Book of Delights, inspired this blog? Well, I was in the same room with him tonight. Okay, Zoom room. Needless to say, it was a delight. You can watch it on YouTube. (note that I am not shown, but I was there — just off camera). Aimee Nezhukumatathil was so sweet. I think I will buy her book, World of Wonders.

Other delights today were rainbows and sparkles in my study and kitchen

Finally, I got a photo of the cardinal climber’s flowers.

Day 38: Dinner and a Debate

Remember yesterday’s reprieve? Ha. I didn’t do anything but caramelize the onions and make lists, but I felt like I was busy all day long.

Today I was actually busy all day long but having had yesterday’s delightful reprieve and a good night’s sleep, it was not exhausting at all. Plus I had my list.

If you recall, the menu included deep dish pizzas, but I realized we had quite enough starch planned and I decided to make those another day.

It was all good and even though the tiramisu didn’t turn out exactly right (the whipping cream didn’t whip properly — it might not have been cold enough, or perhaps there was an issue with whipping it with the mascarpone cheese) it tasted like it should have.

I probably won’t make the lentil and cauliflower salad again.

But any time with Andrew and Alex is a delight. Even watching the shitshow of a debate was much better because they were watching it with me*.


Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President


*Dean had an ear infection and went to bed after eating dinner.

Day 37: Reprieve

I delight in both cooking for others and entertaining guests. However cooking for others and entertaining also wears me out — even if it is just cooking for family. That’s why, when Andrew texted me this morning that he’d gotten the day wrong when he and Alex could come over for Alex’s birthday dinner and would it be possible to do it tomorrow, I felt delighted. I’d planned a too-elaborate menu* (which is typical for me) and was not sure how I would get it all done in time for dinner. I’d planned on starting the risotto by caramelizing the onions yesterday, but I was too lazy to do so. I’d also planned on roasting the eggplant for the caponata. Ditto. Finally, I was going to completely make the tiramisu so it could chill for at least 24 hours. Nope, that didn’t happen either. I was also going to start the focaccia (the sourdough version that rises in the fridge).

So when I learned that I had a whole day to do what I’d planned on doing yesterday, I felt like a schoolgirl hearing that my history exam was postponed because of a snow day. I made the caramelized onions today and the house smells delightful!

At least I made a plan today!

*Planned Menu:

Appetizers

  • Cheese (two Italian, one cow and one goat) and crackers
  • Caponata served alongside focaccia

Main

  • Caramelized onion risotto
  • Deep dish pizza
  • Cauliflower and lentil salad
  • Roasted red peppers

Dessert

  • Tiramisu
  • Espresso

Day 36: Bread

One of my retirement plans was to make bread more often. Well, because Dean is not eating bread like he used to, I’ve not needed to make bread very often at all. I’d bought some bread that I’d stored in the freezer, but that ran out a couple of days ago. I was missing my occasional peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches so I decided to bake a loaf of sandwich bread today.

It looks okay, but in my opinion, it is too short (as in its texture is more like cake than bread) but it tastes good. That does not surprise me since there is a lot of butter and oil in it. That said, it was delightful making bread again today.

Day 35: A few delights at an aquatic garden

Kenilworth

I was able to truly test out my new camera today on a visit to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens this morning. It is not an optimal time to visit the park, and part of it is closed off due to the pandemic, but there were some photographic opportunities.

The lotus flowers were all gone, leaving their trypophobia-triggering seed pods in their place. I tend to get a little squeamish when looking at the pods, but I also find them delightful.

Most of the wildflowers were gone, but there was still some color. I especially delighted in seeing the jewel weed. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I grew up calling it touch me not, but I think I like jewel weed better — it is supposed to be good for poison ivy rashes.

This pile of dirt brought back a delightful memory. When I was quite young — maybe seven or so, three homes were built on our street. For a time there were large piles of dirt on the lots as the builders dug out dirt for the foundations and basements. I remember climbing those hills with friends, and alone, and purposely falling down them to recreate my favorite scene in the film Snowfire where the main character, a girl slightly older than I was, falls down a large hill, maybe even part of a small mountain, and breaks her wrist (leg?). This is a pivotal part in the film, if I recall correctly, because her parents think the horse has harmed her and plan to kill the horse. Anyway, I fell down that pile of dirt a lot that summer and this pile of dirt made me remember that other pile of dirt in my life (although this is much smaller than mine was — I think).

The last delight of Kenilworth was this blue kazoo on a picnic bench. I was sure that it was left there by a child who’d recently been delightfully blowing on it and making squawky kazoo music.