Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thanks to all of you who headed over to to try to comment on my team-mate's photo. I don't know what I was thinking to get into a photography survivor game at this time of the year, but it's been darn fun.

And by the way, if you want to get yourself in a festive mood, go over to flickr and search "holiday decorations" or some such thing. There are lots of people taking really pretty pictures of glowy holiday lights, ornaments, snow scenes, trees, and cookies. LOTS of Christmas cookies! It's enough to make you want to go bake.

I'm headed down to my parents' house for a night or two. They are conveniently located quite close to an excellent children's hospital and we have an appointment with a pediatric neurologist for specialized advice on the ongoing migraines.

At any rate, you won't see me blogging in the next day or two -- but my goal is to get some good information and then relax a bit to start enjoying the holiday season. Ooh! I see an eggnog latte in my future, too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Hi, readers--

I need your help! I'm participating in a Survivor-like game on Flickr known as PFO Island and I need to gather comments for one of my team photos ASAP!

Please take a second and go look at this festive photo by my teammate Laura (aka Photo bug), and then leave a comment in the photo comments. Anything like "great photo" is enough.

Thanks! I don't want our team to be blown off of the island by a hurricane!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Meme

I do enjoy a good meme -- so courtesy of Terry and Gerrie, here's one for the season:
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, made with real milk. (I can't stand that instant stuff made with water.) Although I do have to have an Eggnog Latte at Starbuck's each Christmastime.
Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Santa always wraps in plain red paper.
Colored lights on tree or white? Colored! It's more festive! But this year we have white and colored together, so it's VERY bright and sparkly.
When do you put your decorations up? Within the first two weeks of December. I like to get them up early as it helps to get me in the mood .... but it all depends on what else is going on. By Dec. 15, certainly.
What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? A raspberry jello dish that is so filled with raspberries that it's not jell0-y at all. It's sort of like raspberries held together and it's refreshing and wonderful and a gorgeous red color.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Truth? What truth? You mean that he doesn't do it all himself and has elves to help? Is there something someone's not telling me?
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When I was little, we opened one present on Christmas eve ... usually something from an aunt that turned out to be pajamas or some boring clothes thing. Now, we do Christmas eve at R's sister's house, and so presents on that side of the family are exchanged. Don't worry, there are more left for Christmas morning.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We have all different ornaments collected over the years, including wonderful ones made by Caroline in school. It's finished with strings of dark red wooden cranberries and strings of gold sparkly stars. C always puts a big ol' glittery gold star on top at the end.
Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. I miss living in a place where it snows. When I lived in New England, I was always the one wishing for one more big blizzard before spring. That's what comes from growing up in California.
Can you ice skate? Yes. Love that, too.
Do you remember your favorite gift? It's a tie, between gifts my grandmother gave me. One year, it was a beautiful dress with a flowery print that had ribbons in the print. And if you looked closely at the ribbons, you saw that the ribbons spelled "Barbie." I LOVED that dress. Another year, when I was older, my grandma gave my sister and me our own blankets for our beds. Weirdly adult (and probably in an effort to help my mom) but for some reason getting that seemed so atypical of a gift for a kid that I loved it. Mine was white with blue flowers on it. I still have it and use it on my daughter's bed!
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family and wonderful traditions that bring back great memories.
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Shortbread Christmas cookies.
What is your favorite tradition? Oh boy, that's a hard one. Filling the Christmas stockings. Watching White Christmas every year. We started a new one last year, which I loved: filling travel mugs with hot chocolate after dinner, and driving around town to look at the Christmas lights.
Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Mostly giving -- but it's wonderful to be given something by someone who knows you so well that they know JUST what you'd like.
What is your favorite Christmas Song? "White Christmas."
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I don't hate them, but I don't particularly like them. I like mint and chocolate together, though.
Ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope.

Cat Spotting

I've had a busy day getting all the Christmas decorations up -- but in the middle of it all, managed to get this picture of Gemma on the stairs when she spotted a cat sneaking out the cat door.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good food, good book, good tree...

I'm sorry about the long gaps between posts, readers and around here is, well, complicated these days. But in keeping with the totally jumbled state of my mind and household right now, I thought I'd throw out some random stuff...

1. You may remember that I've had a love-hate (read: mostly hate) relationship with the job of putting up the Christmas tree in recent years. The idea of an artificial tree (absolutely anathema in my younger years) started sounded pretty good. Well, last year a good friend of mine bought an artificial tree from Balsam Hill, a company whose trees look pretty darn realistic. But she discovered that the tree was too big for her room, and too big for her (a petite single woman) to put up and down comfortably. So she offered it to us, and I jumped at it. I put it up on Monday (real pictures of it soon) which wasn't a total piece of cake but was easier and less sappy-prickly-frustrating inducing than wrestling with a real tree. (Mainly the problem was the inadequate instructions on connecting the various plugs to make the lights work. Now that I've done it once, it'll be way easier next time.)
So now we have the tree up (lit but otherwise undecorated at the moment) and we're having fun using the remote control to change the lights from clear, to colored, to all. Very exciting. As my mom would say, "small things amuse small minds."
2. If you want to read a good novel, check out "Love Walked In" by Marisa de los Santos. It's about love and mothers and daughters and creating the family you need. It's lovely and funny and beautifully written. I'm reading the sequel right now, "Belong to Me: A Novel'>Belong to Me," and I'm loving it too.
3. I've been turning to the crockpot to help me deal with food on these crazy days, and I made a really easy and delicious tortilla soup yesterday. Here's the recipe, in case you want to give it a try on a cold December day:

1 pound shredded, cooked chicken (or raw -- I cubed boneless chicken breasts and threw them in raw and they cooked while the soup cooked and were fine).

1 (15 ounce) can tomatoes (diced, or crushed, or whole peeled tomatoes, mashed -- whatever you have on hand)

1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups water

1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf

1 (10 oz) package frozen corn

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (I omitted this because I hate cilantro)

7 corn tortillas, vegetable oil (you can fry your own tortilla strips, but we just crumbled commercial tortilla chips into it and it was fine)

1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

2. If you opt to make your own tortilla strips, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

It's a good time to make some soup, and settle in in front of the tree with a good book. Take time to relax! That's a good reminder for all of us at this time of year, yes?!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Put it in the Book

These day, I'm riding a bit of an emotional roller coaster as Miss C continues to experience all-too-frequent migraines, and is dealing with the messy trials and tribulations of 7th grade girlfriend stuff. Some days I long for toddlerhood, I tell you.
So, I'm continuing to find great pleasure and a zen-like calm with my moleskine notebook, colored pencils, and black marker. I am not creating ART but I am entertaining myself with illustrating moments in the simplest of ways.
Here's a page I did when I was thinking about abacuses (abaci?) in preparation for the 12x12 mathematics challenge...

I came across this quotation in a catalog (Have you seen the Bas Bleu catalog? They have some great stuff for book-lovers) and it seemed all too appropriate.

And then just doodling whatever strikes me.

I highly recommend this activity, and if you're feeling in need of serious self-indulgence, then you can do this while watching appropriately non-educational television (you know, Celebrity Rehab, The Housewives of Orange County, Top Chef...) and sipping tea.
There'll be fabric content again one of these days. Meanwhile, back to those colored pencils...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Spotlight's on Me!

I'm honored to be the spotlighted photographer today in a Flickr group I really like, called Photo Face Off Challenge. You can go read it here!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kitties Always Help

It's not easy being a seventh grader, and Miss C is experiencing some angst about school and friendships and adolescence. So today after school we made a stop at our local animal shelter where C is a well-known and long-time volunteer kitty cuddler. We love our local shelter -- it's a no-kill shelter, and they really work on socializing the kittens so they'll be good pets. When you're feeling frazzled and emotionally worn down, a room full of kittens will cheer you right up. Trust me.
We plunked ourselves down on the floor and started rolling little balls around. The kittens watch with wild and mesmerized eyes, and cannot resist coming over to play. Inevitably, they end up crawling all over us, purring.
Isn't this one a beauty?
This fellow was fascinated by the camera lens -- seeing his reflection, maybe?

This little girl would love a comfy home for Christmas.

This guy raced around playing with a little felt mousie, and then plunked down to do some serious cleaning business.

This guy spun himself into a frenzy, raced across the room and shot right up the wall. I know how he feels.
C and I came away feeling soothed and contented, and the kitties were tired out and ready for naps. By the way, all of these kitties are available for adoption at the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, if you're in the area and thinking that you could use a furry companion.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Math

Quick! Head on over to the Twelve by Twelve blog -- today is the reveal day for our pieces on the theme of "mathematics." (And, as usual, it's wonderful and fascinating to see how unique and varied the pieces are!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, Monday

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we are heading back to some semblance of normalcy around here.
First, thanks to everyone who emailed or commented with thoughts and experiences about Caroline's migraines. I had no idea the childhood/adolescent migraine thing was so common, but seems like every other person I talk to either had them in bad bouts, or knows someone who did. At least we have a plan and a good assortment of resources on our medical team, so that's all good.
Yesterday, I detoured from my grocery shopping errand to visit one of my favorite places in town, a store called The Gardener. It's a cool mix of household and garden things, with lots of interesting outdoor sculptures and big terra cotta pots from Europe, all set in a garden fragrant with herbs and citrus trees. I wandered and took pictures, which reminded me of one of things I am loving about photography --- it makes me LOOK at things differently, which in turn places me solidly in the moment. No room for worrying, it's all just seeing.
So that's my thought for today... I'm going to just focus on being in the moment, and seeing what's going on around me. Oh yeah, and finishing my "mathematics" quilt for 12x12. (The reveal is coming, December 1!)
What do YOU see around you that you haven't really looked at lately?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get ... Coloring

I was one of those kids who could sit for hours with a coloring book and crayons and just color away quite contentedly. (I have fond memories of the Nadine the Ballerina book my grandmother kept at her house just for me. I colored an awful lot of pink tutus.)
A while ago, having one of those wide-awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night episodes, I turned on my Ipod and listened to an episode of Craftsanity, a podcast where host Jennifer Ackerman Haywood interviews various people in the crafty world. The episode that night (I chose blindly in the dark) was an interview with Dawn DeVries Sokol about her book 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations (1000 Series) and her art journaling habit. I wasn't very far into the podcast when I decided I had to hunt down the book, and the next day I found it at my local book store. It's a collection of 1000 art journal pages by different people, showing a huge range of subjects and and media and journaling styles.
That got me thinking of how I miss that simple coloring from childhood, and how while I'm not the best in the drawing department, I do have a good time just doodling. The artful ordinariness of the pages in the 1000 Pages book inspired and encouraged me, too. I realized that it wasn't the artistic merit of the drawings that attracted me -- it was the individuality and personality in the pages that I enjoyed. So I put a little bag together with a journal, watercolor pencils, a paintbrush, and some markers. And I've been sitting at odd moments (in the evening in front of the tv, etc) just doodling and coloring. I'm not aiming for art ... I'm not even aiming for any content that will artistically mark my day. I'm just letting myself doodle and color.
And it has been the BEST thing. Very relaxing, I tell you. One day last weekend, I was out running errands and stopped to just sit in the sunshine on the square at the center of town and just do a quick sketch for a moment of peace. It was just what I needed.
Today, I had to spend some time hanging around Caroline's school, and I occupied myself by trying quick sketches of kids around the school. (You'll notice I'm not showing them here -- people are my worst, worst things) And even tho they weren't great artistically speaking, I had a great time.
So, here's my therapy thought for the day: Go Color Something. You'll feel better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Speaking of the Secretary of State...

Madeleine Albright is one of the women I admire most in the world. She's smart, she's funny, she has common sense, and she has clear ideas about how to help women throughout the world. She also has the ability to make complex ideas sound simple, but not simplistic. So I was delighted, recently, to find her newest book, Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership on my library's sale table for $2. I snatched it up, and I've been reading it since then.
I'm not usually one to read political books. But this is easy reading -- still thought provoking, still instructive -- but a very accessible look at US political history, where we are now, and what the president elect will need to understand and do to get us headed in the right direction. It's actually uplifting -- in part, because it's reassuring to know that people DO understand the complexities of the multitude of global issues, and of course because we know that Obama will be taking the reins and things can only get better.
And it's funny. I've found myself laughing aloud several times. Here's a favorite line: "The men who wrote the Constitution did remarkably well, considering the absence of female guidance."
In any event, it's a surprisingly enjoyable book to read. And for an overview of the issues, you can watch a recent, wide-ranging talk by Madeleine Albright, here:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: Quilts on the Double

I seem to have mounds and mounds of quilt scraps in the form of strips, so I was eager to see the newest book by Australian quiltmakers Judy Hooworth and Margaret Rolfe, Quilts On The Double: Dozens of Easy Strip-Pieced Designs (Martingale & Co., 2008). Graphic designs in bright colors really call out to me, so I'm a big fan of Judy Hooworth... I just love Hooworth's Razzle Dazzle Quilts -- such great use of color!

This book promised to show "dozens of strip pieced designs" -- and you know, it delivers. I mean, look at that one on the cover... it looks exciting and fun and challenging. But, once I read through the technique section, I realized it's quite simple. For one thing, Hooworth and Rolfe use a lot of striped fabric (uh oh, another reason to start collecting a new variety of fabric) and a lot of those pieces in that cover quilt are actually large sections of striped fabric. But the technique boils down to this: you sew two strips of specific widths together, and cut triangles from the strip sets. From the various combinations of strip sets, you get different sorts of triangles ... and the book shows you how reassembly into blocks creates all sorts of amazing patterns.

The trick, really, is in how you place color and using some consistently-sized strips so that when you assemble the triangles into squares, they look mosaic-y, not jumbly. Not that there's anything wrong with jumbly...I LOVE jumbly... but the appeal of this book to me is that it takes something that COULD be confusingly jumbly, and shows you how to organize it into something bold and dramatic and graphic.
I'm making this sound more complicated than Hooworth and Rolfe do. But the result, in the book, is that by varying in small ways a basic strip-piecing technique, you can get tons of really dramatic quilts. Oh, and the "on the double" part -- as you cut triangles from the strip sets, you end up with two different triangles. So the book shows you how, from that one strip set style, you can use one type in one quilt and the second type for a totally different quilt with a totally different look, or use them together and incorporate the differences into the overall pattern for even more complexity.

You all know I'm all about the quilt picures -- and this book doesn't disappoint. There are not only very striking quilts shown, but lots of clear color diagrams to illustrate the various options for assembly of the triangles to create all sorts of different patterns.
The book definitely features bright colors and bold stripey fabrics, because that is clearly what these authors love. But the technique would work just as well with pale fabrics, florals, reproduction vintage stuff, you name it.

I can hardly wait to start piecing my strips.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Officially an Artist

So, I've had this thing in my head. I'm not an artist. I'm a quilter who makes art quilts. I try to use art principles in my pieces. But artists? They're other people. I'm not sure what makes them different from me ... but I just feel a bit pretentious claiming the description of "artist" for myself.

But Saturday night, I had a big leap forward. A show of quilts in which I had several pieces opened at a lovely local art gallery, The Geyser Art Gallery in Geyserville, California. The opening reception was well-attended and very fun.... AND I sold a piece! (Remember my big butterfly wing?) To complete strangers who'd wandered in and liked one of my quilts enough to pay real honest to goodness money for it! I've never even offered my quilts for sale anywhere, really ... so I was just thrilled, and they gushed at me, so it was quite a moment.

Roger took pictures during the party to capture the feel of the event, so you can see how it all looked. That gorgeous quilt of the black squiggle on white is by my friend Marjorie Smith ... I'm afraid I can't remember who made the quilt to the far right.

Here is my friend Laura, showing my one block wonder "Spring Fling" to her son Trevor and his buddy Colin.

There was good wine to sip, and here you see my daughter Caroline (a blur of motion -- fully recovered from the migraines, thank goodness) and my BFF Beth in front of three of my quilt (Smoke Signal, Butterfly Wing, and Split Infinitives).

A shot of one side of the gallery. I was delighted that my friend Pat came with her husband, and my brother and his wife made a surprise appearance.

The buttery yellow walls in this gallery just glow, and show off the art beautifully.

Here's gallery director Emily checking her records. You can see my quilt "The Bees' Secret" behind her .... that one with the irregular edges.

Afterwards, we went next door to a newish restaurant, Diavola, where we had some good wine and delicious pizza.

Oh, and did I mention? I SOLD A QUILT! (My Voyager fund is on its way...)

[Edited because I *really* do know the difference between "next door" and "next store." Sheesh.]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sometimes You Just Need Comfort Food

First, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you who commented and/or emailed me with advice and sympathy about the migraine situation around here. It's quite reassuring to hear from folks who dealt with the kid angle before, especially to know that it will change. I realize how many people deal with migraines all the time -- it's terribly common, I guess. At any rate, Caroline seems to be improving, and we have a plan, and we're not agonizing quite so much.
With all of this stuff going on around here, when I'm tired and worried and incapable of complex thought (you can imagine that this isn't helping me get work done), I decided that A) I was craving comfort food; and B) I didn't want to do anything much beyond pushing a button or two. And hey! The crockpot was the answer.
Luckily, some months ago, someone turned me onto a blog called "A Year of Crockpotting." Starting January 1, 2008, Stephanie vowed to use her crockpot every single day and blog about the outcome. As a result, the blog has a bunch of easy recipes AND the honest reviews from her family.
I read with interest about Stephanie's cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot. I'd heard of that before, but couldn't figure out why one would do that when it's pretty easy to just throw one in the oven, and it sounded like the chicken would just be sitting in a large pool of grease, with a cooked but slimy skin to boot. Ick. BUT Stephanie removed the skin! I hadn't even considered that concept! And on a day when I knew I was going to get more frazzled as the day went on, I decided to go for it. I peeled (eek) a raw, whole chicken, rubbed the whole thing down with Montreal Chicken Spice (thank you, Rachel Ray), and threw it in the crockpot. No liquid, nothing. Just skinless chicken and spice rub.
It was delicious! Easy, and really great. It got rave reviews all around. I was so inspired that today I'm trying a turkey breast following Stephanie's directions. (I know, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but I just want a REAL turkey sandwich NOW.)
It's 9:20 and the hardest part of dinner is DONE. I love that crockpot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Need Your Help!

Have any of you ever heard of "childhood migraine syndrome?" Have you ever dealt with frequent migraines in kids or adolescents?

I ask out of pure desperation. Caroline, age 12, is suddenly suffering from frequent and intense migraines. We're working with our doctor and a neurologist, both of whom tell us that "childhood migraine syndrome" is relatively common, especially in adolescent girls. We're trying various options in terms of medications, preventative things, but boy, is this rough. The headaches are quite disabling, and poor Caroline has missed more school and suffered from more nausea and headache pain in the last 2 weeks than most kids suffer in 5 years, I'm guessing.

So I'm appealing for help, any advice, reassurance, etc. It is NO FUN for anyone, and of course I'd give anything to stop this for Caroline.

By the way, we're told that adult migraines are pretty different from this sort of child/teen migraine syndrome. So I'm particularly interested in hearing if any of you has experience in dealing with this.

Thanks! (When Caroline gets a migraine, I get an immediate tension headache... so I'm going to go take some ibuprofin...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

My first gallery show!

I'm so excited! My first partipation in a gallery show, along with others from my "gilded lilies" art group! The gallery director took 12 of my pieces, but I don't know which she'll hang. I'm feeling quite thrilled.

Geyserville is not quite 2 hours north of San Francisco, just north of my town of Healdsburg. It's a tiny little town, with one short main street that has taken off suddenly with some lovely tasting rooms, a few very popular restaurants, and several galleries.

DO COME if you're in the area!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Better Late than Never

Um, Happy Autumn!

Curl Up with this Book

Life has been frustrating lately. Too much work, too many school meetings, too much household stuff (yikes -- getting the carpets cleaned meant getting everything off of the floor in my office/studio! And getting all the fabric out from under bed! Egad! It'll be days before I recover) ... so my creative life and my blogging life are suffering. I have pictures I've taken but not yet had time to run thru the Photoshop cure-all, and I have things to talk about, and fun projects I'd love to be working on. However, I have two deposition outlines to finish and email off before bedtime tonight, and a slew of objections to draft this week, so who knows then I'll get to all of that.

Meanwhile, I'm leaving you with a book that you will want to read. It's "Hannah's Dream" by Diane Hammond, and it's the loveliest book I've read in a long time. It's the story of Hannah, a sweet, timid elephant in a small town zoo, and her aging caretaker Sam with whom Hannah is deeply bonded, and their quest to find a solution for Hannah's old age so Sam can retire. It's fascinating, and endearing, and a wonderful way to go someplace different.

I pulled this off of the new book shelf at the library, started reading, and couldn't put it down. By the time I finished it (curled up on the couch while it was raining outside -- just perfect) I was weeping -- in a good way. It was the perfect escape.

Enjoy! And I'll be back after the work gets done...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How I Spent My Saturday

Look what I did! Fondling, folding, sorting... A day well spent.

So Many Books, So Little Time

Yesterday, I had one of those days where I had a list of errands and appointments, and I knew I was going to have gaps of time in between to fill. I usually take whatever I'm currently reading for such times ... I can have an embarrassingly good time just sitting in the car in some pleasantly shady spot, reading quietly. But yesterday, I didn't have anything to take along. I'd finished my pile of library books, and hadn't started anything new.
Before I headed out the door, I grabbed something out of the "haven't read yet" section of my bookshelf. I grabbed "So Many Books, So Little Time" by Sara Nelson, a book reviewer for Publisher's Weekly magazine. Subtitled "A year of passionate reading," the book is Nelson's account of a year where she determined to read a book a week and write about it. It may not sound that fascinating to you, but as a hard-core book lover, this is the sort of thing I love. Reading a book about reading books! Perfect.
I loved Nelson's chatty style, which turned out to the perfect thing for my reading in fits and starts yesterday. And I was so struck by how similar her attitudes toward reading are to my own. She talks about needing to be in the right sort of mood or setting to read a certain book, and how re-reading favorites is, for her, a way of linking back to where she was and who she was with when she read a book for the first time. She talks about the delicate awkwardness of getting book recommendations from friends ("You'll just LOVE 'The Bridges of Madison County,' I promise!!") and how a shared taste in reading can be the basis for a friendship. She talks about the "coming of age" moment when she decided that she didn't have to finish every single book she started (for me it was in law school, when reading time was too precious to waste on a crummy novel), and how the more certain books are hyped, the less she wants to read them.
It was as if she was looking into my head.
As one of my errands was a library visit, I came home with a big stack of books and, based on Nelson's commentary, an even bigger list of things to check out next. My random grab from the bookshelf turned out to be the perfect thing for the day.
In case you're interested, here are the books she talks about that made me want to add them to my "must read" list:
Breakfast at Tiffany's 'by Truman Capote (well, yes, I've seen the movie, but never read the book...)
FLOATERby Calvin Trillin
Slammerkinby Emma Donoghue
Kitchen Confidential Updated Ed: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.)by Anthony Bourdain (am I the only one who hasn't read this yet?)
How To Lose Friends And Alienate Peopleby Tony Young
Love Junkieby Robert Plunket
A Child Out of Alcatrazby Tara Ison
Whitegirlby Kate Manning
So now I will go forth and read. (Or stay in and read, I mean.)