Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to Make Applesauce

First, taste the apples to make sure that they're good.

Next, wash the apples. Yes, tasting should alway come before washing!

Check and see which apples still are dirty. Count them, if you want to.

Supervise the apple peeling. Try turning the crank a little but only with Mommy's help.

Tasting the cinnamon stick is essential to the best applesauce. Once you've tasted, add it to the pot.


Let it cook for a while and ask Mommy to mash it up later.
(Note: I decided to add in the peels because the peeler I was using took off a lot of the flesh with it. I later had to fish them all out. And I forgot to take a picture of the final product.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Birthday videos

At my baby shower, a friend recommended taking a video of E. talking on her birthday every year. I forgot last year but here's this year. And yes, that is her dog's name that she says at the end.

And here's her opening a gift. I really enjoy her excitement. Sorry about the background noise; we had the windows open and you can hear neighbors' music as well as some traffic. Aah, Bushwick on a summer day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Time for some adorable sleep pictures

Someone still loves her big girl bed, though she has a lot more books on her "nightstand" than I do.

Yes, in the middle of the summer it's very important to keep your head warm.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm growing

Last summer, I was just getting into pigtails and was as big as the yellow dog.

This year, I'm almost as big as the pink bunny and I decide which type of pigtails or braids I want. But I still love dresses and I still have a great sandal tan!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Finished Vintage Mystery Challenge!

While I still have one more on my list, I am officially finished since I read a total of 16 vintage mysteries. Along the way, I learned a lot about myself as a mystery reader. I prefer mysteries that have well-developed characters, are not overly formulaic, and tell a good story. If I would enjoy the characters and story without the murder, that's usually a good sign. Sometimes a mystery is only interesting because you want to find out who did it or who else will die. I admit that I like those types occasionally, as a quick read while traveling, for example. But after reading so many mysteries by several different authors, I think I will be skipping the quick read types for a while! On the plus side, I have had my appetite whetted to read more of several new authors.

My final reviews in order read, with most recent last:

Detection Unlimited: Humorous, great characterization, witty detective--almost perfect! I do think Heyer made it a little too clear that there was going to be a murder on the day of the tennis matches because of the detail with which she described the location and everyone's movements. Other than that, I really enjoyed this "English countryside" murder mystery. Besides the cunning plot, I appreciated the allusions to the post-WWII situation: ration cards, sons lost, other sons reporting for military service, and the challenges of maintaining a country estate. Heyer also did an excellent job keeping all the characters/suspects distinct. I never found myself flipping back to figure out who was who again. Plus another reader had carefully written in the names of the residents near their houses on the map of the village on the first page.

Black Orchids and The Silent Speaker: This was my first foray into Nero Wolfe mysteries and I have to say, I enjoyed it! Nero Wolfe is a wealthy, overweight agoraphobic who loves orchids. He spends his days inside his Manhattan apartment, with set appointments to care for his orchids and takes occasional breaks for detecting, which is how he earns his money. The stories are narrated by Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's muscleman/detective/secretary who does most of his legwork for him. One of the introductions to the two (really three) mysteries, mentioned that he enjoyed the mood and humor of the stories and characters and read the novels for that, not so much for the mysteries themselves. I have to agree--both Black Orchids and The Silent Speaker contained well-plotted, intricate mysteries but I enjoyed watching Wolfe manipulate everyone around him and listening to Archie's attitude, as well as his apt summing up of other characters.

The Old Man in the Corner: Not really a novel--a series of very short mysteries told by an old man in a cafe to a young female reporter. The framing device was her listening to him recount the stories of and his deductions about infamous unsolved mysteries while he played with a string. He was supposed to be someone who annoyed her but that wasn't very convincing since neither character was developed well. Basically a series of puzzles, most of which depended on mistaken identity or hoaxes on the part of the criminal. Slightly interesting twist at the end with the old man's character but not that interesting overall and a slow read.

Singing in the Shrouds: I really enjoyed this mystery and agree with the book reviews that she's better than Agatha Christie. The story takes place on board a cruise ship and the detective, Inspector Alleyn is incognito as he hunts for a serial killer who may be on board. Of course, at the time they weren't called serial killers and the psychological profiles for serial killers weren't really developed like you'd see on a crime show today. I think that's part of what made it so interesting. Also, Alleyn writes up his "casebook" in a letter to his wife and indicates pretty early on that he has a good idea who the killer is, though he doesn't let us know until the end. Excellent setting and character development as well.

The Big Clock: Not entirely sure how I feel about this book. Is it really a mystery if you know who the murderer is? I suppose the mysterious part is watching the main character lead a manhunt for himself (the last one to see the murdered girl alive) on behalf of his boss who was the murderer. The characters were mostly unlikeable which bothers me but the twist on the nature of a mystery did make it more interesting. I was curious about why the police seemed to drop their investigation at the end.

Also, for the edition I read, I wish that the introduction hadn't given away the ending!

1. Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
2. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
3. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
4. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer
5. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
6. The King is Dead by Ellery Queen (if it ever comes from the library)
7. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
8. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
9. Black Orchids by Rex Stout
10. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
11. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
12. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
13. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
14. The High Window by Raymond Chandler
15. The Lady in the Lake by Chandler
16. The Little Sister by Chandler
17. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler