Monthly Archives: April 2007

Happy Birthday!!

Today is Dudley’s birthday!

Since he doesn’t have his own blog, you’ll have to wish him happy right here.

Have a fantastic day, my friend.  We Chilis love you quite a lot, you know….



Filed under celebration, Friends

Book Preference Meme

Yet another meme from Tense Teacher (only, with this one, she practically threatened English teachers to fill it out, so I’m not so much lifting it as completing an assignment).

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?
My reading choices don’t really lean toward any of these. I’ve got friends trying to hook me on fantasy, and I’ve loved a few books from the other genres, but I don’t have a definite preference (I know, I know; lame answer. Sorry. Sometimes, the truth IS lame…)

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
I’ll read any of those if they come from the library. If I’m buying a book for the sheer possession of it (say, a really nice copy of a Shakespeare tome or something), I’ll go for the hardback, and all our Harry Potters are hardcover because we’re too impatient to wait for the mass market paperbacks, but I’m usually not up for dropping the extra cash for the hardcovers. Generally, I buy mass market paperbacks. Really, though, it doesn’t matter unless it’s part of a series; then all the books have to be in the same format – it’s an OCD thing for me.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
That depends on how impatient I am to have a book. I love to buy from Amazon (because I generally treat myself to a DVD while I’m at it, just to make up the minimum for free shipping, of course!), but there’s a little independent bookstore that I LOVE….

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Neither, though we have a B&N local to us. I prefer my little Book Outlet.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
I started reading Hitchiker decades ago, but never finished it. I’ve never heard of Discworld.

Bookmark or Dog-ear?
Bookmark! Unless I’m completely without intrusive markers, I never dog-ear books; in fact, like Tense Teacher, most of my books still look brand new after I’ve read them.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
Of those two, I’ll take Fantasy & Science Fiction… But, where’s the romance, where are the classics, where is the gothic horror? Obviously, a science fiction fan wrote this meme! (This is Tense’s answer, verbatum, but I couldn’t reword it to sound better than this…)

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random?
I alphabetize by author, but my bookshelves are grouped by genre (because I now have enough bookshelves to do that – aren’t you jealous?)

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep the ones I love; sell, or more often share, the rest. The Book Outlet will give me credit for the books I bring in, so that’s generally what I’ll do with a book I know I’ll never have need or want of again.

Keep dust-jacket or toss it?
I keep it unless it gets totally ruined or (as has been the mysterious case on occasion) lost.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Here’s the funny bit about me; I take the jacket off while I’m reading, but will replace it between reading sessions. Hmmmm. Maybe that’s how I’ve lost them….

Short story or novel?
I prefer novels, but I’ve been known to sit down to a collection of short stories before, most notably by Annie Proulx or Tim O’Brien.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I’ve not read Lemony Snicket yet, though I suspect I will when my daughters get into them. My answer here has to be “Potter.”

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Unless my eyes are crossing and I absolutely can not comprehend English anymore (or there’s an immediate crisis), I can’t stop reading in the middle of a chapter.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time?”
I’m mostly a “dark and stormy” kinda gal, though I do own – and have heartily enjoyed – the “once upon a times.”

Buy or Borrow?
BUY! Some women buy shoes; I buy books.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
I browse, but I love a lot of readers and they give me good scoop, so recommendations are important. I rarely come into contact with reviews, so they figure far less heavily into my buying decisions.

Lewis or Tolkien?
I’m not heavily steeped in either, but one of my best and dearest is a Tolkein fan, so there you have it.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?
I enjoy and have some truly top-notch specimines of both, though I tend to own collections to read for myself and anthologies to use in the classroom.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
I have a love for both of these, though I prefer to have the next installment handy if there’s a cliffhanger.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
I read blogs in the morning. Reading, for me, is generally a before bed thing, though nothing beats a spare, quiet hour, the couch, and a good book.

Standalone or Series?
Yet again, I’ve gotta say “both.” I used to be a standalone girl, but I’ve gotten myself stuck in a couple of really great series that were SO worth the time it took me to get through them.

New or used?
My favorite bookstore sells both, though used copies have to be NICELY used copies. If the only used copy my bookseller has in stock has someone else’s notes in it, I’ll buy it new.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
I can’t come up with one here; I think everyone’s heard of Outlander.

Top 5 favorite genre books of all time?
My favorite general fiction books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon; The Green Mile by Stephen King; The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; Without Remorse by Tom Clancy; Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Favorite genre series?
I’ve got a couple: The entire Chili family has loved the Harry Potter series, and we can’t wait for the next book (and yes, Contrary; Dumbledore IS dead!). I’m also completely in love with the Outlander series and will read them all again – probably several times – before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Currently Reading?
I just finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (it was lovely) and have started Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

Thanks, Tense – that was fun!


Filed under crossover, meme

Lazy Saturday

I’ve done almost nothing of significance today.

I got up late (for me, 7:30 is late), had a little breakfast, then taught my last yoga class of the term at the university (three people showed up, which is three more than I was expecting, so it’s all good).  I came home, showered, and painted my toes a lovely shade of light pink (because, when one teaches yoga, one is often within visual range of one’s own toes and, really, if you’re gonna see them that much, they should at least be pretty).

I did a little tidying, paid a couple of bills, took a jam out of my paper shredder (which was caused when I tried to shred the bills I’d just paid) and ran a load of laundry (because I got grease from the paper shredder all over my shirt).

Once I hit “publish,” I’m off to the market for crusty bread to go with our dinner of spaghetti and salad.

That’s about it!


Aren’t you glad you stopped by to read today?



Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness

Movie Meme

Another meme shamelessly ripped off from Tense Teacher (who shamelessly rips hers off from others. We’re like that freaking shampoo ad from the 70s!)

Name a movie you have seen more than 10 times.
images5.jpeg I’ve seen a bunch of the Disney/Pixars at least that many times; A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo come to mind, as well as Atlantis: The Lost Continent, which isn’t a Pixar joint, but whatever. I’ve also seen The Hunt for Red October and Apollo 13 more than ten times, but I don’t really keep count.

Name a movie you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
I don’t think I’ve seen a movie in a theatre more than once, though I did see two consecutive nights of Billy Joel in concert my senior year in high school…

Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie.
I really love Will Smith. I’m also kind of loving Mark Wahlberg, but I have to be interested in the film to go and see it – plots are what’s important to me; actors aren’t what drive me to the theatres. Mind you, there are plenty of actors who push my buttons, but they’re not my only deciding factor.

Name an actor who would make you less inclined to see a movie.
Oh, THIS is an easy one, though I’m not limiting myself to one: both Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson have proven themselves to be morons on such a fantastic scale that I can’t justify spending any of my money on their work. I just can’t support their kind of whacko.

Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Just ONE?!

The Hunt for Red October: “Russians don’t take a dump, Son, without a plan.”

Apollo 13: “I can ADD!”

LOTR The Return of the King: “You WILL suffer me!”


So I Married an Axe Murderer: “Look at the size of that boy’s heed!!…It’s got its own weather system!”

A Bug’s Life: “I’m OH-KAY!!” and “Oooh! Oooh! I’m askin’ ya with my brain!”

Jumpin’ Jack Flash: “Mick, SPEAK ENGLISH!”

The Fugitive: “Think me up some coffee and one of those donuts with sprinkles on it as long as you’re thinkin’.”

Braveheart (before Mel pissed me off): “YES, Father! The Almighty says don’t change the subject, just answer the fookin’ question!”

Atlantis: The Lost Continent: “You don’t wanna know. Audry, don’t tell him. You shouldn’t have told me, but ya did, and now I’m tellin’ you, you don’t wanna know!”

(I should probably stop now; my geek is showing….)

Name a movie musical from which you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
I’ve got nothing here. I don’t do musicals.

Name a movie to which you have been known to sing along.
The Lion King or maybe Aladin are the only ones that come to mind here. Like I said, I don’t do musicals.

Name a movie you would recommend everyone see.
Dances With Wolves – There’s a lot about it that is crap as far as its historical accuracy goes, but the story – and the moral – is important. Ditto with Glory and Nuremberg.


Name a movie you own.
I own a TON of movies. The ones that get pulled out most often, though, are things like Tombstone and Enemy of the State.

Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.willsmith.jpeg
I’m going with Tense on this one – Will Smith can actually act, and it doesn’t hurt to look at him, either. Harrison Ford didn’t do too badly, and I kind of wish that Harry Connick, Jr. would do more acting; I bet he’s better than we think he is.

Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Nope – all the drive-ins in our area were pretty much done for by the time I reached movie-watching age.

Ever made out in a movie?
Are you KIDDING?! Why would I do that, after paying what we pay for tickets? I can make out in the car for FREE! Movies weren’t really big date things to do in my life, either, so really, no.

Name a movie you keep meaning to see but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Ugh – I’ve got a HUGE list for this. I still haven’t seen Ray or Crash or Million Dollar Baby or Friday Night Lights or….. (and those are just the movies I OWN!)

Ever walked out of a movie?
I walked out of Jaws 3D. Mr. Chili and I came this close to walking out of Dumb and Dumber, but we were having so much fun watching the three 12 year old boys in front of us having the TIME of their LIVES that we wound up staying despite ourselves.

Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
I cry ALL THE TIME at movies. The end of Return of the King (when Arwen shows up) made me cry – and does again every time I see it. So, too, did/does the scene in Apollo 13* (see below). I also cried during Dances With Wolves, Brokeback Mountain, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
We saw Shooter. It was a LOT of fun!

What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
My grandparents took all of us to see the Disney movies at the Jerry Lewis Cinema, so I’m sure my first movie was something like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. The first one I REMEMBER seeing was Star Wars.

What movie do you wish you’d never seen?
Dumb and Dumber was really a waste of good money.

What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
I love So I Married an Axe Murderer. I’m not sure if that qualifies as weird, but there you have it. Oh, and if the thought of John Candy in a romantic lead seems weird to you, then I should mention how much I LOVED Only the Lonely.

What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
I’m not a big scary movie fan. Silence of the Lambs scared the shit out of me. I’ve never seen The Exorcist or Psycho or any of the modern horror movies. I was FAR more creeped out by the novel than the film version of The Shining.

What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
There are a lot of good funny movies out there. I love Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Men in Black. I’m also rather fond of Running Scared and I think that Uncle Buck is a riot.

(This question wasn’t on the original meme, but I’m adding it anyway:)

What is the best page-to-screen adaptation you’ve seen?

images-53.jpegThe Prestige. It was a very interesting experience for me – who almost always reads the books first – to see this film. In predictable movie fashion, the film’s plot took a 90° turn away from the book’s about two seconds into the opening credits, but for as far “off” of the book’s plot as it was, the film still managed to do a fantastic job of faithfully relaying the themes of the book. There were scenes in the film that never happened in the novel and, in my opinion, the final scene was quite a bit less creepy in the movie, but I came away from the film incredibly satisfied that the director had done an excellent job in getting the author’s points across. It was a fascinating thing for me, and I have dorky English teacher fantasies about building a class around the study of that story in its two forms.

*THE scene – I can’t even describe it to people without tearing up – is the one where Marilyn goes to the nursing home to break the news of the “problem” to Jim’s mother, Blanche. In this scene, Susan, the Lovells’ youngest daughter, starts to cry:

Blanche Lovell: Are you scared?
Susan Lovell: [nods]
Blanche Lovell: Don’t you worry. If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.



Filed under meme, movies

ALRIGHT, Already!!


You people are really enthusiastic about your ice cream, huh? In an effort to keep you all from looking me up and stalking me, I’m going to post the Nutella gelato recipe I mentioned yesterday. I was GOING to post it next week sometime, but it seems SOME of you can’t wait…

I got this recipe from Everyday Italian on the Food Network, just to give credit where credit is due. My brother-in-law and I were watching the show last summer at Bowyer’s house while the kids played in the blow-up pool, and when the segment was over, we both looked at each other and said “Um…. yeah…” So, here it is:

Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (translated to mean Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish

In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts. (or, you could just do what I do and eat it right out of the ice cream maker container….)



Filed under cooking

THIS Is On the Plan!!


images4.jpegTake out your blender and dump in a bag of frozen fruit (in this go around, I used Trader Joe’s organic peaches). Scoop in about a quarter cup of low fat vanilla yogurt and enough milk to get everything moving and blitz it until it resembles ice cream. From there, add a little vanilla syrup or honey to sweeten it to your liking and you’re in frozen treat bliss!

I like to do this because, you know, while I do love me some ice cream shop ice cream, we went to our local shack the other night and paid eleven dollars for three kiddie sized bowls and a chocolate malt.  ELEVEN DOLLARS.  Yikes!  I have the feeling that the Cuisinarts – both blender and ice cream maker – will be getting good workouts this summer.  Next time I post an ice cream recipe, and because I love you all, I’ll give you the Nutella gelato recipe I learned last summer.  YUM!


Filed under cooking, love notes

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten ways to tell it’s spring in New England!

1. The Red Sox open at Fenway.


2. The ice cream shops open back up.


3. The peepers come back (YAY!)!


4. The mosquitoes come back (BOO!).


5.  The potholes, now devoid of their snow-pack, become especially deadly.


6. The afternoon air is filled with the sounds of construction vehicles.


7. The forsythia start to bloom.images-54.jpeg

8. College classes are often held outside (for those students who show up, that is; this is the season to blow off classes in favor of just being outdoors).


9. The Chili family gets its first sunburn of the year (because it’s hard to keep track of sun exposure when it’s not yet too hot outside).


10. This is the time of year when the lost-and-found at the girls’ school gets jammed with jackets and sweaters that were needed for the morning but were then ditched at recess. People will drive with their windows open, but it’s not unusual for some folks to have the heat on in the morning and the air conditioner on in the afternoon.



Filed under ten things Tuesday