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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's Been Awhile....

Good day, everyone!

I know it's been a dog's age since I've posted... I don't even know where to begin! 

There's been a whole lot going on in my life, and it seems like things are finally slowing down a little! I've missed blogging and am so looking forward to getting back into it!

I've done some soul searching, I've landed a new job, I've grown a little, and now it's time for me to get back to basics.
I love reading, and in the past year, I haven't been able to do it half as much as I would like to. Now, with things getting back to normal, I'm getting a lot more reading time, so hopefully that spells a lot more blogging!

I hope you'll all journey along with me. But I must warn you, I won't be blogging about just books. There's many things that interest me and I would like to share with you.

So put your feet up, grab a cuppa your favorite whatever, and lend me your ear.....

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Twitter Account Got Hacked!

Grrrr!  My twitter account got hacked!  Grrrr!

When I logged on a few days ago, I found out I was following about three-thousand foreign accounts!  All of the tweeters were tweeting in languages I couldn't understand!

How does this happen???

So, anywho... I had to delete that account and start a new one.  If you were following me before, if I could bother you to please hit the twitter button on the left-hand side of this page, I would really appreciate it.  I lost all of my followers, all of my previous tweets, and all of the tweeters that I was following!

Social media is the greatest thing ever invented, if it's used correctly and safely!  But when your info gets hacked, it sure is a pain in the you-know-what!

My new account is under @cjcam918, so please follow along!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott is a novel of the Titanic.  And if it has to do with the Titanic, I'm all over it.

This was a great account of fact mixed with fiction.  Some characters were based on real people who were on the Titanic in 1912, others were totally fictionalized, or based on real people.

Tess wants nothing more in the world than to be a fashion designer.  But, with her third-class upbringing as a maid, there is hardly a chance that she will recognize her dream.
When by chance, she has the opportunity to board the Titanic as a maid for Lady Duff Gordon, a French designer who is travelling to her salon in New York City, Tess can hardly believe her luck.

Well, we all know the story of Titanic, so I won't go into detail there.  Suffice it to say that both Tess and Lady Duff Gordon survive the sinking, and the meat of the novel really focuses on the aftermath. 

Lady Duff Gordon and her husband Cosmo were real passengers on the real Titanic, and they both did survive.  But apparently there were some questionable doings on their lifeboat (Lifeboat #1), as there were only 12 passengers aboard a boat built for 65.  And this is the basis for The Dressmaker.

I have to say, I picked this up by accident, not having heard anything about it before.  From the cover, it looked like just another historical romance (that just goes to show you not to judge a book... blah, blah, blah... you know the saying).  So, I'm glad I didn't judge it.  I really enjoyed it, the mix of fact and fiction, with the Titanic in the background.  And of course with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, this was perfect timing to sink my teeth into this one.

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On an interesting aside....

When I started reading this book, I told my Aunt I was reading a book about the Titanic and it had fictionalized accounts of real passengers.  Now, mind you... I did not say the name of the passenger.  She said to me, "you know, me & Uncle Peter went to a Titanic exhibit in the city (Manhattan) where we got boarding passes of real passengers, and we followed their journey.  It was really good - my character was Lady Duff Gordon. She was a French fashion designer." I swear to you this is true.  I was like, "whaaaaat???".  Isn't that a great coincidence?

I've been trying to upload the boarding passes she sent on e-mail, but they are in document form, and I can't figure out how to get them onto my blog! My bad.  If anyone out there knows how to do this, I would appreciate your help!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Mornings by Dr. Sanjay Gupta


In the world of hospitals, doctors, surgeons, and specialists, Monday mornings are a time of stress, nerves, and evaluation.  This is the time when these people gather to go over fatalities and mistakes that have happened at the institution, and to discuss what could have been done, what should have been done. "Morbidity & Mortality", it's called.

Monday Mornings by Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a fictionalized account of what happens in these meetings.  It follows a number of surgeons and doctors who are all, at one time or another, the focus.  They have all had a tragedy, mistake, or fatality with one of their patients.  Sometimes, one doctor might be the focus at more than one meeting.

Yes, this does happen in real life.  But this is a novel.  I've seen many bad reviews for Dr. Gupta's book.  People saying it's not realistic, etc.  I am not a doctor, so I don't know if some of the portrayals and scenarios were over the top or not.  But I did like the book.  It was entertaining, it was interesting, and I liked the characters.  And I do like the medical genre.

So, judge for yourself.  If you're looking for a factual account of a real-life Monday morning, this might not be the book for you.  If you like medical fiction mixed with a good story line, this is a good read.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the chief medical correspondent for CNN, and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

German-Style Chicken and Banana Walnut Cake... Happy Birthday To My Husband!

Today is my husband's birthday. 42 and counting.  Unfortunately he is working all day, but I am making a special dinner and dessert for when he gets home, and I thought I would share the menu with all of you.

Forgive me for not having pictures.  I'm really crappy about that: taking pictures as I'm preparing the recipe.  I guess because my hands are dirty with flour, bread crumbs, chicken juice, etc... I don't want to take the time to wash my hands to take pics as I go.  I promise, I'll try to do better with that in the future.

Dinner is German-style Chicken in my crockpot, with spaetzle and steamed green beans.  Dessert is a Banana Walnut Cake.

GERMAN-STYLE CHICKEN

1 15oz can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 10 3/4oz. can cream of potato soup
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1/2 c. sour cream

In crockpot, combine sauerkraut, soup, water, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.  Add chicken thighs, stirring so chicken is coated with sauerkraut mixture. Cover, and cook on low for 6 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from cooker, and de-bone. Shred chicken into pieces. Return chicken to pot and add sour cream, stirring to coat all.

Serve over hot spaetzle, noodles, or mashed potatoes.
Serves 6.



BANANA-WALNUT CAKE

2-3 ripe bananas
3/4 c. oil
1/2 c. sugar
1 box (18.5 oz.) yellow cake mix
5 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

Put bananas and oil in a blender, and blend until liquified.  Add this, with 1/2 c. sugar to boxed cake mix.  Beat with electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Pour 1/2 of cake batter into a greased bundt (fluted) pan. 
Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over batter in pan.  Pour remaining batter over nut mixture, making sure the batter covers all of the nuts (spread with a spatula, if you need to).
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool. Turn onto a cake plate.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired, or a cinnamon/sugar mixture.
** We put a big plop of Cool Whip on ours.

Served warm with a cup of coffee.... FABULOUS!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Test

Something seems to have gone wrong with my blog.  This is just a test.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

I have a huge interest in the Hasidic Jewish religion.  Mainly because I live two miles from one of the largest Hasidic communities (Kiryas Joel) in America.

When I saw Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, I pounced on it. A biographical sketch of her life as an Hasidic woman, the author gives the reader a window of what it is like to be a part of this ultra-orthodox religion.  Their beliefs, their rules, their way of life are foreign in an "Old World" kind of way.

There are many different sects of Hasidim.  And although the religious beliefs all fall under Judaism, their social outlooks may differ.

Unorthodox was a fascinating look into a private world that many people don't get to see.  The orthodox people have a different way of thinking and living: they reject most aspects of secular life. Here, Deborah Feldman gives the reader a glimpse into her own personal life, and her experience of being a part of that religious world.  From the daily ins-and-outs of being an Hasidic Jewish girl in a modern world, to her arranged marriage to someone whom she has never laid eyes on, Ms. Feldman leaves no stone unturned in this tell-all account of her struggles and triumphs.

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I loved this. Like I said, I live very close to a huge Hasidic community, and I see members of the sect every single day.  Not much is written on the subject, so when I see something, I tend to jump on it.  I especially like biographical accounts, such as Unorthodox because it does give the reader a personal point-of-view, as opposed to just a general non-fiction fact-based volume.

(this was an e-book I purchased myself for the Kindle app on my iPad.)