Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm moving!

But not literally. Hi guys, I decided to start a new blog. Check me out over at Theology and Geometry:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review - The Private Patient by P.D. James

This is my first and hopefully not last book review.

The Private Patient has all the elements of a work of British detective fiction.
  • Victorian manor in the English countryside - Check
  • Manor is possibly haunted - Check
  • Winter - Check
  • Shady domestic staff - Check
  • Old family feud - Check
  • Famous person murdered - Check
  • High ranking detective called in from London to investigate - Check
  • Probably an inside job - Check
This is the fourteenth (according to Wikipedia) book in a "series" involving the character Detective Adam Dalgleish.  While the mystery part of the book itself stands alone, the author assumes the reader already knows all three of the detective characters in the book and doesn't do much to develop them.

If you like a good mystery, I recommend any by this author.  I think at this point I've read all of them.  She also wrote the book Children of Men, which was turned into a movie not that that long ago.  I tried to read that, but it wasn't my cup of tea so I never finished it.

Who would like this book?
  • People who liked The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo who could have done with a lot less violence and 150 fewer pages
Who would not like this book?
  • People who are bothered by a high ratio of setting description and character development to action, abuse of the letter "u"*, the words "jumper" and "trousers" and the fact that the British do things so much later in the day than us
Have you read anything by PD James?  Have a favorite mystery you want to recommend to me?

*Like the word "colour"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seven Links

Awhile back Sarah tagged me to do a 7-links post (thanks, Sarah), and I'm fiiiiiinally getting around to it.  I know the 7-links meme was so last month, but that's about as current as I can keep.

1. The most beautiful post- This is stretching it, but I'm going to say my post about walking across the lake in January.  I'm a warm weather girl at heart, but I have to admit, there's something strange and beautiful about Wisconsin in the winter.    

2. The most popular post- Interestingly, according to the blog stats- is this post Daniel wrote about not cheating when you do squats.

3. The most controversial post- Hmmmm... maybe when I got bored and tried eating paleo for a month.  Or when I mocked the governor.  Or when I called beets disgusting.

4. The most helpful post- I think some of my garden-related posts were pretty good.  Also, I had some posts on what to do with an overabundance of vegetables such as how to make and can salsa, and how to freeze broccoli.

5. The post that was surprisingly successful- Apparently my "in the bag" post about what I have in my office and carry around in my (at the time) very dirty backpack.  This was an idea from the SHUBox.  I'm wondering if she linked to it because compared to all my other posts, the pageviews for this one are off the charts.

6. The post I didn't feel got the attention it deserved- Apparentely it wasn't, but I really did think this post was funny.

7. The post I'm most proud of- I got nothin'...

I think it's time for the 7 things meme to end it's 45 day internet life so I'm going not going to tag anyone else to complete it.  If you want to, that's great; knock yourself out.  On that note, I'm going to go knock out a run and burn off some zucchini muffins.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Asian Fusion

Daniel and I almost always go out to eat on Friday night, and this past Friday we decided to check out the Dumpling Haus that opened a few weeks ago in the Hilldale Mall.

The restaurant itself is a low key affair.  It's pretty small with an open kitchen, and the "drink machine" is a pitcher of water in the corner with cups.  The main attractions on the menu are the jiao zi, which are little dumplings, and the bao zi, which are big dumplings.  They also serve some noodle bowls, salads, and rice.

We ordered the house jiao zi

and the house bao zi  

which were both stuffed with pork and scallions and served with a soy dipping sauce.

Both items were tasty and freshly made.  If you got bored watching the video about the Himalayas that was playing on a TV in the background, you could look in the kitchen and watch the kitchen staff preparing the food.  However, that means each dish is brought out to your table as soon as it's done.  Better to order a few things to split and eat them as they come than to have one dish sit and get cold before the other one arrives.

Would we go back?  I think so.  It's in a convenient location for us.  The prices are reasonable for a quick dinner out, and you can't just walk around and pick Chinese dumplings off the trees here like you can with cheese curds and bratwurst.  The only thing I'd do differently next time is- other than try different varieties of the dumplings and noodle bowls- is add a salad to share.  Although the menu describes both of our orders as containing vegetables, but I think that was true only at the atomic level, and a salad or some cooked veggies would round out the meal.

While I have no complaints about the restaurant staff or service- we had no trouble communicating with the man taking orders- I think there's some kind of weird translation thing going on.

For one, Dumpling Haus? But they serve Chinese dumplings, not German dumplings... if such a thing exists.  And also the slogan on the door.  We're steaming... hot.  I have absolutely no idea what that's supposed to mean.  Anyone???  Really- am I being dense and missing something obvious?  I mean, I get that the dumplings are steaming hot, but what's up with the ellipses?  Oh well...

In other news, I'm glad today is a rest day.  Getting back into lifting weights after taking a week off to recover from attempting two max lifts and to travel to FL made me crazy sore.  Plus, even though my max deadlift and bench press only went up about 5% from last training cycle, the regular workouts feel tougher (at least for the deadlift) already.  This was the first week of the training cycle and I'm already at 3 sets of 1 at 95lbs on the bench press and 3 sets of 1 at 130 on the deadlift.  AND- if you'll permit me one more whine- the squat rack at the gym that is open in the mornings during intercession has bars that run along the sides that aren't removable so can't actually deadlift in the squat rack.  You have to either a)Take the bar out of the squat rack and do all your weight changes on the floor, risking a smashed finger (which has happened to me already) or put the weights on the bar and then turn sideways and squeeze out through the tall bars on the back of the rack, which is not a lot of fun when you're already carrying a heavy weight.  Fortunately there's only one more week before the regular gym opens in the mornings again.

But I'm getting ahead of myself... time to go and enjoy today.  Have a good Sunday, folks.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

That's what she said

Get a load of this zucchini!

It was hiding in the bottom of the CSA box that Daniel picked up yesterday.

To give you some perspective.  This zucchini is large enough to be used to alleviate ITBS symptoms

or for assistance when practicing half moon pose.

I'm thinking I'm going to bring in zucchini bread to the office as a treat on my birthday.

We also got a monster tomato this week.  It's like three tomatoes in one!

That plus the peppers, onions and garlic that came in the box mean homemade salsa on taco salad for dinner tonight.

I'm really enjoying getting the CSA box.  Not only do we get all the benefits of having a garden with none of the hard work, the contents is a surprise until the day we pick it up so every other Wednesday is like Vegetable Christmas.

Anybody have any good zucchini recipes?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh yeah, that thing

So like a bazillion years ago slightly more than 101 days ago I was feeling overwhelmed by the crush of getting ready for vacation and a big conference, and I wrote a list of 11 things I wanted to accomplish in the next hundred and one days.  Remember that?  Me either.  I made that list the day of the Boston Marathon.   It was still snowing!  It seems like just yesterday and forever ago.  I was supposed to check in on July 28, so I'm a little late, but whatever.

Without further ado:

1. Finish my poster, analyses for a co-worker's poster, and analyses for my boss's talk, fly to Ft. Lauderdale for a week and participate in a conference.  Yes!  That feels like forever, ago, too.

2. Attempt a 120lb (bodyweight) bench press.  Not quite there yet.  Right before I left for FL I attempted 115lbs and almost got it.  I just started a new training cycle on Tuesday, and will try for 115lbs again in about 2 months.  I think 120lbs by the end of the year is totally do-able.

3. Go on vacation and visit family and friends in TN and NC.  Yes!.  And it was a wonderful trip.

4. Celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary.  Yep.  Love things that require me to do nothing more than keep breathing.

5. Finish analyses for two papers.  Yes!  Both have been submitted.  Now we just wait and hope.

6. Do a 150lb deadlift.  Yep.  I actually nailed 165lbs at the end of my last training cycle.  I'd love to hit maybe 180lbs at the end of the year???  I think 1.5times body weight is supposed to be a good goal for the deadlift.    

7. Do a tripod headstand.  Yeah.  Don't ask me to do one now, though.

8. Finish reading the Bible and create a guide to the Old Testament for my church small group.  Half and half.  I finished reading the Bible, and I have worked somewhat on the presentation, but it ended up being much more ambitious (duh) than I'd thought.  I'm keeping what I have on the back burner and I might revisit it sometime in the winter. 

9. Invite at least one of two couples who live in our apartment complex to have dinner.  Yes!  And it was fun.

10. Attempt a 30-day blogging challenge.  No, but I do want to blog more.  I enjoy it, and I enjoy having the ability to look back on things- like this last 101 days- to see what I was up to.  It's been a bit of a challenge to find a good dedicated blogging time, but I think I'm getting there.

11. Learn to play a pop song on the piano.  Um... I can play about 2/3 of I Heard it Through the Grapevine (poorly).  It was actually kind of hard, and I think I'm going to put that on the back burner, too, until I'm a little better.

All things considered, this has been a pretty busy 101 (+some) days.  We are having beautiful weather here in WI, and I've enjoyed it with a run Monday, a bike ride and non Bikram-style weight session Tuesday, a run and ice cream at the Terrace yesterday, and a not horribly sweaty living room yoga session this morning.  It's totally going to stay 75 degrees forever, right???

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gainesville Rock City

We made a pilgrimage down south to watch Daniel's brother J become Dr. J. this weekend.

It's the first time we've been back to the 'Vill since his wedding two years ago and the last time we'll go until Daniel invents something cool enough he can get at least the water filtration plant named after him.

Of course we had to make a pilgrimage to the Center of the Football Universe.

Daniel stood barefoot on the very grass where Tim Tebow may have bled some of his blood.

J is ready to take on the world.

And things just went downhill from there...

But J did in fact graduate and it was all very distinguished, etc.

And it was great to see the 'fam.  Plus I saw mine earlier in the week.

One thing that I get asked about in Wisconsin is if there are alligators just hanging around in Florida.  Yes.  Yes there are.