Sunday, November 6, 2011

Down and Out

October is my favorite month- I love autumn, the brisk weather, the colorful leaves on the trees, pumpkins, apples, the end of the ban on soup in my home, Halloween.  But this year I missed October.  I am thankful Billy and I took an early trip to the orchard, or else I would have never gone this month. 

At the beginning of the month, Billy and I went to Mackinaw for a weekend trip.  It was the first time we had been away together since we had visited California two years ago, and we had a blast! The weather was chilly in the morning, but soon warmed up.  Our favorite part of the trip was exploring the Mill Creek Park, hiking around, talking to ranger people- and zip lining. The only part of our trip that was not so cool? The restaurants were terrible!!! The only food we ate that was any good was the pizza at Mama Mia's- we should have just eaten there the entire time. And our breakfast from the bakery was fine too, but they were just bagel sandwiches. So the food was the only drag on our trip.

However, a week after we got back, I got sick. For a month! I had bronchitis, strep throat, fevers, wheezing, cold, flu- it seemed I had it all!  I am starting to feel better now, just have some muscle weakness and fatigue, but I am assuming that is the result of being sick for four whole weeks.  I just can't believe that this whole month, all I did was work when I could, read (I read 20 books!), sleep, and watch tv.  Thank goodness I felt well enough to have people over for book club! That would have really been the clincher for a crappy October. At least now I can start to get back to my normal self. Just slowly, apparently.

November is off to a better start so far- Billy and I went to the Union Woodshop to celebrate our 11th anniversary.  I had read about it, and knew that Billy had been wanting pulled pork like he had when he was a kid, and I was hoping that the Woodshop would deliver. His mom grew up in North Carolina, and that was the taste he has been craving. After an hour drive there, we were excited to eat - then we walked in and were told that it was a 90 minute wait! We walked up and down the two block street, hoping to kill time, and wandered into the Union General, a store owned by the restaurant.  Billy bought us each pumpkin pie macarons, and they were fabulous, and I am now on a mission for him to reproduce them in our kitchen. We finally got a seat, and were happy we waited.  I had the macaroni and cheese, which was amazing. But I was happiest that Billy was in love with his meal.  He said it was perfect, just like the stuff he had eaten as a child.  We also had fun tasting the array of bbq sauces on the table. You will have to check out his blog to read his review.  We are making plans to go back soon.  I have heard the sweet potato black bean burrito is amazing as well. 

So, I am hoping that November can be a healthier, happier month.  It is off to a good start!  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

October Book Club- The Lake of Dead Languages

Hostess: Erin

Book: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
Food: Corn Chowder, cheese and crackers, grape leaves, hummus and pita, and hot chocolate cookies 
Wine of the Night: Kate and Cassie
Month: October

I was so excited for this book club- October is my favorite month, and Carol Goodman is one of my favorite authors.  I couldn't wait to see what my friends thought of this book.  It kind of starts out slow, but slowly builds with the mystery, intrigue and drama.

This book is history repeating itself for poor Jane, the main character.  As a kid, she made friends with Lucy and Matt, who sucked her into their world of myth, legend, and Latin.  Lucy and Jane begin Heart Lake Academy together, and continue with their Latin studies and have a near obsession with their teacher, Domina Chambers. Ancient rituals are re-enacted, truths are learned, and people die  seeming suicides by drowning.  Years later, Jane returns to Heart Lake, this time as the Latin teacher herself, and the old patterns begin again, people are dying, and pages from Jane's old diary surface as well. What really happened back then, what is the real story behind the story?  

I love this book, I love reading about old rituals and rights and pretentious boarding schools filled with intellectuals. I love all that mythology and folklore and legend.  I also realized that all the books I have chosen involved drowning - Remembering Blue, The Problem with Murmur Lee, The Lake of Dead Languages- strange! 

The characters in the book had Latin names.  When I took Latin in high school (four years!) we did not have Latin names, although that would have been cool.  Latin was one of my favorite classes in school - I took Latin and French in high school, and I did have a French name - Catherine. Anyway, I decided it would be cool to give the book club members Latin names.  So :  After discarding three names, one being Melona, the goddess of bees, for Chrissy, I decided on Persephone.  This is probably my favorite myth, and I thought it applied to Chrissy for two reasons- one, her names mean rebirth, and Persephone is a rebirth myth, and second, because when Persephone returns from the underworld, she brings with her spring, returning the world to life and warmth and new beginnings.  I know that Chrissy hates winter, and loves when winter recedes becoming the warm days of spring.  For Jennifer, who reminds me of an earth mother, I chose Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home.  For Jill, another summer lover and winter hater, I picked Aestas, the goddess of summer, and for Mary, I chose Carmenta, the goddess of childbirth and prophecy, as Mary is both pregnant and a little psychic! Kelly, lover of romance novels, I picked Aphrodite (and another name as well), and for Alyssa, my friend who is very careful and thoughtful of her words and actions, I chose Providentia, who is the goddess of forethought.  I had my husband choose my name, and he picked Luna, goddess of the moon.  It was actually harder than I thought - you can tell by looking at the types of gods and goddesses worshiped what was most important to ancient Romans- harvest, childbirth and death. 

I had a great time this book club, as always really.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, and most of her other books too. 

November book club is Jill's, and the book she has chosen is The Gargoyle.