October 2011 – my MILESTONE MONTH. One year blogging. That’s 2 points for effort!

Although we’re halfway through, I kicked off the month with musical moments at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. My friend Pat had second row tickets from work for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with special guest Amy Grant. Never followed her music but she was very enjoyable and the orchestra was grand. Ms. Grant thanked the audience for supporting live music, and that made me think that I should do that more often. With so many of the traditional ways of enjoying the arts hitting the wayside, we should all do our best to keep the personal touch alive.

For an M book, I read Sally MANDEL’S Out of the Blue. New author for me and loved her book. 1 point. She is the type of author who makes writing seem so effortless. The main character deals with MS and although this is a key element in the book, you don’t feel like this is a medical story. Great characters. 

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Guest blogger – Kurt

Laura on her blog: lame, lazy and late! What the “L”!?

However, her travels did include the Lavon Lake Loop, the towns and villages of Lucas, Lavon and the village of Lowry’s Crossing with its unique architecture, lawn signs (Junk and Disorderly) and dead chickens in the road. Also, a secondary trip to Lewisville.

She cooked her famous vegetable soup but added leeks and lentils.

Laura received life-changing news: Twins! No, not her, but our daughter.

Oh, and the cat developed a lisp.

Now onto the M’s.

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The lazy Ks of summer

My poor K month. It has fallen victim to the laziness of summer and my unbearable heat-induced malaise. Not motivated to explore the world around me, I’ve turned to simple pursuits and the never disappointing pleasure of books and movies.

2 points for Michael KNIGHT’s The Typist, which follows a brief time span in the life of a typist who is attached to General MacArthur’s headquarters. The short novel vividly portrays the culture in post-World War II occupied Japan, but it is the main character whose narration makes this book so compelling. By the nature of the  job, a typist documents the words and events of others, like a spectator who watches but is not involved. In this book, the typist, Van, is like that as well. We sense that he is just letting everything unfold around him, with little personal involvement, until he finally is called upon to act on his own emotions and perceptions. Ultimately, he lives his own life, combats loneliness and emerges as a far more resilient man than before. The Typist is a simple yet rewarding story that shares history and a short journey with someone worth knowing.

Another 2 points for the documentary KORAN by Heart. Saw this on HBO and was fascinated by the children who totally memorize the Koran, sometimes without even speaking or reading Arabic. I love immersing myself into another culture. Although I learned things I did not know about the Muslim world, my biggest lesson: we’re basically all alike no matter where we live and what we believe. This is a lesson that always needs refreshing from time to time.

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2 points for Justice; 2 more for Jael McHenry

Justice is not a town I visited nor a restaurant. It’s a recent documentary. Hot Coffee is a rivoting film that raises the question: is justice being served? It opens your eyes to the injustices and madness that surrounds our civil lawsuits by addressing the issues of frivolous lawsuits, pain and suffering caps and mandatory arbitration. Remember the incident where a woman was awarded $2.9 for spilling a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee on herself while in her car? Remember how you thought, what a joke? If you spill coffee while driving, you need to re-examine your common sense not sue the place where you bought the coffee? I do. And now I’m horrified at how wrong I was. There are several other cases that make you gasp. While Hot Coffee got my blood boiling, it also made me realize that I should no longer take anything at face value. Ironically, that goes for what’s presented in this movie as well. Question everything and then make your own conclusions.

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry was a pleasant surprise. Not only did I discover a new author I admire but I learned more about Asperger’s syndrome. (A dear, childhood friend of mine has a daughter with Asperger’s, so getting to know this character helped me gain more understanding of her world)  Each chapter opens with a recipe, that when cooked by Ginny, brings back the ghost of the recipe’s original creator. Another novel about finding yourself and putting your life in balance (in this case after tragedy) but with a delightful new character and voice.

Since it is July 31, this is probably the final post for J. Wasn’t a particularly abundant month, but I tried new things and learned a lot. Now if I had just made some jambalaya…



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A bit jumpy about J

With a two-week assignment that runs through the end of the month, I am quickly going to run out of time to do J things. So, with that frame of mind, we went last night to Joe’s Italian Bistro (2 points). Very pleasant neighborhood restaurant that had completely escaped my radar until now. Great value: lots of food, lots of flavor, not lots of money. Then we did an instant Netflix and watched All Good Things, a 2010 mystery film directed by Andrew Jarecki (2 points). Well-acted and interesting film, but quite creepy. Generated good discussion but unfortunately it remained in my head while I slept, resulting in a restless night.

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I am overdue with “I”

Had a few more I entries to post before I jump into J.

2 points for Indie towns
Took a day’s road trip to Ben Wheeler and Edom, two small towns that predominately promote art and music. I figure that makes them indie towns. Ben Wheeler has an interesting story behind it. Three years ago, the de facto mayor Brooks Gremmels and his wife began buying up property in the heart of town. Once they acquired 40 acres, they naturally wanted to ensure the revitalization of the town – so they created a foundation that renovates historic structures and then rents them to artisans for $1 per month. Now there are nine art studios or galleries (The Flying Fish Gallery was my fave) and a few interesting places to eat, with The Forge Bistro leading the pack. Their pulled pork and green chili panini was mouth-watering delicious. I plan to recreate that little beauty soon. But it’s the music that is the big draw. If you’re in the neighborhood on Thursday through Saturday nights, you’re in luck. In Edom, the music starts as early as Tuesday at The Shed.

1 point for Philip Roth’s Indignation. This is dark comedy at Roth’s best. A strange book but, to my surprise, I truly enjoyed it and was laughing out loud several times. Since it deals with destruction, intolerance and tragedy, I have to wonder at myself, but certain passages were hysterical.

1 point for Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. This is a clear example of how the ABC Life pushes me to try new things. Since this book deals with how our decision to buy something is influenced by one of six different marketing/sales maneuvers (reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity), this is a subject that would catch my attention. It’s not, however, something that would necessarily push other books off my list to make room for me to read this one. But I did and am grateful for what I learned. Between the ABC Life and my book clubs, I have a whole new appreciation for the power and charm of non-fiction.

Unfortunately, I did not experiment with Icebox Pies but I did have a few Iceberg Salads. So, it’s time to move on to July and, naturally, a 4th of July BBQ.



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Inundated with “I”

Just by the nature of the letter, this month is all about I (or me, if being grammatically correct). So I’ve INDULGED myself and went to a class on INTUITION (2 points). It was an “intuition lab,” more than a class. Using an INFORMAL setting, the INSTRUCTOR (someone please stop me) talked about how you can develop your INNER voice and trust your INSTINCTS. I truly enjoyed it and have been working on listening a little closer to my inner “whisper.”

I was curious about the INCHWORM (2 points). I know it seems obvious, but I wanted to find out if this little guy measures an inch…or just moves an inch at a time. Well, short of getting up close and personal with one, I went on the internet and discovered that the answer is “yes” to both. I also found out that they are not really worms. They are caterpillars. I personally share one characteristic with inchworms – we have voracious appetites (at least that’s how it feels to me now that I’m dieting). However, while an inchworm spends its entire life feeding, I at least get to blog and jog (yeah right) occasionally.

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