Sunday, October 28, 2012

this one time, at book club...

The author came.  How cool is that?  The last book we read for book club was "The Chaperone" by Laura Moriarty.  She is a Lawrence, Kansas resident and professor at KU.  A social worker turned novelist.  Her fourth novel and bound to be the most popular one.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had an even greater appreciation for it after hearing about her journey through writing, editing and touring with this novel.

Here is what Good Reads has to say about it:
"The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.

For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s,’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers,  and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them."
But, let me talk about how cool our wine book club is.  My sister, a bookworm since five years old, started it over two years ago and it has been going strong ever since.  It consists of my sister, our mom, two of our high school teachers (we've known them most of our lives), and a college friend of my mom's.  Yes, that's two 20-somethings and four retired teachers.  One half of the book club consists of two English teachers and one English major with a Masters in Library Science (my sister) while the other half consists of a health teacher, P.E. teacher, and a physical therapist. It's like the English nerds versus the science nerds.  Book worms versus the jocks.  Okay, not really, but it's fun to think of it that way.  This month it was at Phyllis's house.

Her and her husband Louis Copt, a famous artist in Kansas and beyond, live outside of Lawrence in an amazing house equipped with his art studio, a wood-burning pizza oven, and a chicken coop.  (Phyllis blogs about that here.)


Couldn't you spend all day in this studio?  Especially with that view. 


Don't you want to frolic in those rolling hills?  And who said Kansas was flat?


I've never been an avid reader like my sister, but now that I'm done with physical therapy school and actually have time to enjoy books, I'm thankful for our book club.  It gets me to read all different kinds of books, consistently.  Sometimes we decide our next book by people bringing their ideas and then decide as a group which one we'll read.  Sometimes we decide on a theme and then pick our own book.  One example was "guilty pleasure" - books that we would be embarrassed to check out at the library, like goofy sci-fi novels, young adult fantasy, etc.  And just so you know, this was before "Fifty Shades of Grey". 

We take turns hosting and try out different recipes on each other.  When we read the book "So Much For That" by Lionel Shriver, I hosted the crew.  Since the book was about cancer, I decided that the menu for the evening would be anti-oxidant foods.  I served white bean and roasted eggplant hummus, fruit kabobs with berries, veggies with roasted red pepper dip, and other yummy things.  Phyllis had an amazing spread at this book club. 

Sometimes we talk about the book for ten minutes and other times for two hours like we did last month when we read "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.  Occasionally most of the time we get distracted by the food, wine, and good conversation and the book takes the back seat... which is okay because we enjoy each others company so much!

When we read "The Help" a couple years ago, before there was talk about a movie, we gave ourselves an assignment to "cast the characters like it was a movie".  The best part of that assignment?  Some book clubbers were spot on with their casting!

This latest book club was very special.  Laura Moriarty was such a pleasure.  How often do you get to interview the author at your book club?  We found out that she got inspired to write this book when she was at Borders in Lawrence (R.I.P.) looking at a wall of books about 1920s flappers.  She saw one about Louise Brooks and thought, "I could go somewhere with this".  When she writes her novels, she's typically on her couch with her laptop.  She even mentioned that Downton Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern is interested in making this book a movie, casting herself as Cora. 

Book club is my favorite extra curricular activity - it's an excuse to hang out with my mom, sister, and long-time friends once a month.  It's an excuse to keep my no-more-studying! brain active.  And most importantly, it's an excuse to drink wine on a Monday night.  Cheers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

boots with the fur... with the fur?

I'm slightly completely obsessed with our dog, Cozy.  Some make fun of me, saying, "just wait until you have a kid".  As for right now, he is my kid.  I take care of him, feed him, bathe him, play with him, and dress him up as a financial planner, like his dad.

Ehren and I got back from a wedding and instead of putting his clothes in the hamper which he never does like he usually does, he put them on Cozy.  We were doubled over, laughing.  Cozy just took it like a man-dog.  This is his "I don't want to go to work" face.

We laughed almost as hard as we did when this happened:

Those shoes were the best investment we made.  They saved many hours of wiping off his feet after he ran around in the rain, snow, and mud.  After almost a year of use, we needed a new pair... er, couple of pairs.  (We lost a couple and the velcro started failing).  Here he is in his new kicks.

And, yes, they are boots with the fur.  They are better designed and he's less likely to lose them.  Unfortunately they take a little longer to put on.  But one thing that's guaranteed?  Dry, clean feet!

Another thing that's a given with Cozy, and probably most dogs, is that he's always ready for a nap.  If I say, "Cozy, wanna go upstairs and go to bed?", he runs upstairs.  This week I've been a little sick, so of course he obliged when I asked him.  It was perfect napping weather Saturday - rainy and grey.  Except for those beautiful fall leaves that I wish would stay around forever.

I love looking out into our backyard - nothing to look at but green, orange, red and yellow.

Monday, October 8, 2012

mmm... flannel sheets.

Waking up Sunday morning to find that it was 27 degrees outside meant turning on the heater for the first time... from bed... with our thermostat app on our phones.  While I grew up in a fa-reezing house (as in wearing stocking caps to bed), 58 degrees was a little too chilly.  It also meant it was time to bust out the flannel sheets.  Does this mean the summer heat is officially over?  I think so!

It's funny how our weather preferences and tolerance trace back to our homelands.  He's the (half) Filipino who doesn't mind the heat, doesn't sweat much when it's hot out, and tans nicely in the sun.  However, when it's cold, his extremities are like icicles.  My Irish self, on the other hand?  When it's hot out or if I start thinking about heat or hot yoga, I start sweating (thanks, dad).  I burn in the shade on an overcast day in March, I'm so pale I'm blue, I prefer cooler, rainy weather, but in the winter, I'm like a space heater.

Here is me and my sweaty self in the Philippines.  I shouldn't be allowed in public, I'm embarrassing.

And here's Ehren... not sweating in the Philippines.  Oh, and holding a very large, automatic weapon.

We went to the Filipino Association Gala in Kansas City last month, here's us in the fanciest attire we own.

We're watching an episode of Glee as I write this and I just heard the best (and most accurate) quote:

Artie:              What is your favorite color?
Brittany:       Filipino.  They are hard workers and family is very important to them.

I love my brown boy.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

saturdays are meant for bacon + fluffy bathrobes

And football, and coffee, and cuddling, and fluffy slippers, and the Today Show.

The Today Show and coffee are my two favorite things in the morning - weekday or weekend.  And I may be a little OCD about the combination.  I have to have my coffee in hand when the "buuum BUUUM bummm... bumbumbumbumbumbumBUMbum" comes on.  I think it's genetic because my mom is the same way.

We had leftover bacon from the clam chowder last night, plus eggs, cheese and English muffins in the fridge.  How can you not make home-made "McMuffins" out of that?

Much more savory and satisfying than our weekday smoothies (even though we enjoy those every morning, too).  

Fall is my favorite time of year - it starts cooling off, you can bring out the baggy, comfy fat pants sweats, football starts, and the leaves change colors.  Last fall, it was exciting to see what colors the trees changed into since it was our first year living here.  I must say, we have a nice combination of oranges and reds.  It's fun to look out at this tree everyday and see it change more and more.  Hurry up and be orange!

It's was also the KU v. K-State game today.  Cozy was watching with his game face on.

Happy Saturday, stay warm!

Friday, October 5, 2012

so, i've decided...

This isn't just a place for home improvement, renovating, re-decorating.  I'm going to start including day-to-day doings around here at the Feldmeyer Farm.  Here is how we've spent our Friday night...

We decided we were going to enjoy this crisp, fall evening by going downtown to Mass street with Cozy and grab some coffee and walk around.  Then, literally, as we were backing out of the garage, my sister called, asking if Cozy we wanted to go to the dog park.  Duh, of course we want to see our fur-child frolic in the wilderness with his cousins, Chalmers and Bruno.

Cozy wins for longest tongue. 
feldmeyer family pic.

One of our favorite things are "stay-at-home dates".  Sweats, wine, good food, music and relaxing is our idea of a good time.  When I plan meals for the week, I like to make our weekend meals something we really look forward to (like pasta and comfort foods) so we are less tempted to go out to eat.  Tonight's menu: clam chowder.

This is my favorite cookbook.  I've made 1/3 of the recipes in this book and have loved all of them.  They are quick and easy recipes but are really tasty too.  This book is literally falling apart, pages coming out, because we've used it so much. 

I think my favorite recipe of all time in this book is the clam chowder recipe.  Talk about a hearty, tasty bowl of soup!  I've made it at least 6 times.  As soon as the weather turned cooler this Fall, I made this.  

And for the first time this year, I said, "it's cold in here".  So we lit our fireplace for the first time since it turned pearly white.  Isn't it beautiful?

And in the mean time, Cozy took his position on the floor, exhausted from frolicking in the woods.  Is there anything better than seeing your fur-child having the time of his life while ignoring you outdoors in the wide open?

This has been a great Friday night for multiple reasons:

  • Got to see my sister, her boyfriend, and their dogs
  • Cozy got his exercise for the week day
  • Date night with Eh.. in sweats.. with my hair on top of my head
  • Lit the fireplace for the first time this season
  • Clam chowder
  • Red wine
  • Jersey Shore

the black plague, part III: front door

Now the black plague has moved to the front door.  While I think the "rustic" and "distressed" look has its place, I do...

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