Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Joan of Arc - Book Review

I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others need no preparation and got none.
– Mark Twain

Here's the last paragraph in the epilogue:

Taking into account, as I have suggested before, all the circumstances -- her origin, youth, sex, illiteracy, early environment, and the obstructing conditions under which she exploited her high gifts and made her conquests in the field and before the courts that tried her for her life, -- she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.

The Official Record of the Trials and Rehabilitation of Joan of Arc is the most remarkable history that exists in any language; yet there are few people in the world who can say they have read it: in England and America it has hardly been heard of. Three hundred years ago Shakespeare did not know the true story of Joan of Arc; in his day it was unknown even in France. For four hundred years it existed rather as a vaguely defined romance than as definite and authentic history. The true story remained buried in the official archives of France from the Rehabilitation of 1456 until Quicherat dug it out and gave it to the world two generations ago, in lucid and understandable modern French. It is a deeply fascinating story. But only in the Official Trials and Rehabilitation can it be found in its entirety. -- M. T.

Read the entire epilogue here:

This is a great book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The girls still know how to have fun

Predictably, the annual girls trip to the California Wine Country was a success. We sank into our protective world of wine, food and laughter with the greatest of ease while soaking in the sublime Napa countyside.
A gigantic thank you is owed to our friend, Melissa, who after returning home from a week long trip to the east coast only 2 days before our departure, managed to dream of, shop for and prepare most of the meals for our ravenous group. These feasts included but were not limited to, bacon wrapped pan seared filets dripping in an unbelievably good port wine sauce, scrumptious cheesy potatoes, marinated grilled shrimp with a black bean and corn salad, goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts with creamy polenta and a superb buttermilk coffee cake. Oh and lest I forget, ganache dripped brownies for dessert perfectly packaged in their own snow white boxes for easy transport to the wineries. It was really something to behold.
From our satisfied, swollen stomachs to our smiling faces - there's another special recognition and big thank you owed to Margie who, while Melissa was in the kitchen whipping up the grub, was generously lavishing facials on the rest of us pampered women. Our mugs were cleansed, massaged, and treated to a cool, green slimy, mask that would put Jim Carey to shame. I have pictures to prove it. By the end of our treatment we were rubbing our smooth, supple cheeks and comparing the feel to baby bottoms. Lovely.
This glorious weekend provided the energetic boost we needed to firmly cement our BFF friendship's for another grueling year without eachother. We ate like queens, drank rediculous amounts of fabulous wine while our skin glowed beautifully and we reconnected with our buds.
How I got so lucky to have such fun-loving, beautiful AND talented friends, I will never know.
In vino veritas.
P.S. Dylan Rocks!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eating Cotton Candy at Disneyland

History of Cotton Candy -
Cotton Candy originated in the central Iranian city of Yazd. It is known as Pashmak by Iranians, and has been made for centuries.
It was introduced to the Western world in 1904 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, at the St. Louis World's Fair as "Candy Floss" with great success, selling 68,655 boxes at the then-high $0.25, half the cost of admission to the fair.
Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd. has a bagged product called "Fluffy Stuff" that claims it was first introduced at the 1893 World's Fair.
The United States celebrates National Cotton Candy Day on December 7.
( Just when you thought there wasn't much to like about Iran, you learn this sweet, little tid bit.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Book Thief

Our book club met last Tuesday and discussed my book choice, The Book Thief. It got mixed reviews, which surprised me. Some cried and couldn't put it down while others thought it was apologetic to the Germans, which I didn't get at all. All agreed it was well written.
The book was published in the US to target young audiences but is a serious read. Here's a review : http://thatsthebook.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-book-thief-review/
I really liked it.

Lent update

I took the kids to Disneyland last weekend so I had to drive in LA. I know that I promised to be good to my fellow man and treat him kindly but understand this is LA.

I just got into town and was on my way from the airport to visit a good friend of mine in Costa Mesa when a man in a big 'ol pick up truck sped passed me, driving like a crazy man almost smashing into my front bumper. It was very close and very scary. As luck would have it, I pulled up beside the guy at the next light! ... and ....called him an idiot. That's right. I rolled down the passenger side window, where my son was sitting, and calmly told him he almost killed me and my kids and I thought he was a big, fat idiot. He responded by mouthing these words, "Shut the f... up - you B...."
That was a nice little banter between two adults in front of my hopelessly embarrassed kids.
I know I should have taken a deep breath, let it go and not risk a potential road rage incident. I know I should have been better. I know I was wrong. I also know I should have given up wine again this year instead of trying to be good.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Change you can believe in."

I didn't know this meant the dimes and nickles I'd be left with in my mutual funds.