Monthly Archives: January 2017

Madison at night

Last night was the perfect snowfall. The snowflakes fell slowly from the sky in large, wet flakes. The wind died down and so it was comparatively warm to be out and about in. Although this picture doesn’t do it justice,Wisconsin’s capital looked especially beautiful last night.


Sushi v. Sashimi 

Sushi – raw fish with rice 
Sashimi – raw fish without rice 

My team learned this the hard way tonight at dinner when we ordered sushi and sashimi and expected a mix of raw and cooked fish. Instead, we got all raw. Half the table wouldn’t touch it. More for me!! Yummmm. 


The fish eggs were surprisingly good. 


Finding Food

What does this picture represent, besides the fact that I am eating solid food finally? A 4th attempt at finding food! 

My co-workers and I went out for dinner tonight and had the hardest time finding a place to eat!  We opted for sushi first but the place was closed for a private event. Doesn’t that sound classy? But anyway, no sushi for us. Next we opted for Irish. We walk several more blocks only to find the place closed. Then we decided to head towards the pub we regularly go to…but they had a 20-30 minute wait time. 

Finally, we trudged a few more blocks and found a place with immediate seating and FOOD! Hurray! 


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Jamie Watson is the great-great-great-grandson of the famous James Watson. All his life, he has dreamed of meeting his generational counterpart, Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. When an unexpected rugby scholarship moves him from London to a Connecticut prep-school, Watson finds himself at HER school! A Watson and Holmes, once again thrown together. Pity she apparently hates him. However, when students start dying in situations resembling Sherlock Holmes’s famous cases, the two must set aside their differences and work together. But can they succeed with the shadow of August Moriarty hanging between them? 

“You’ve never seen Watson and Holmes like this before.” ~ promises the front cover. Doesn’t that plot sound COOL? Just writing it out made me want to re-read the book. The problem is, the actual story is not nearly as good as it sounds. This is a book with a lot of possibility but it fails to live up to it. Imagine Sherlock or Elementary and then stick it in a very Young Adult style plot (complete with romance) and you get an idea. But perhaps not the idea, because that still might be cool. 

No, A Study in Charlotte wants to be more ambitious than that. Besides having the lousy temperament of a Holmes, Charlotte is saddled with all sorts of emotional and physical baggage. I was sick of her by the end. Her character is only saved by Jamie, who as the narrator, smooths out a lot of her more obnoxious traits. I really liked Jamie Watson. I found him believable, wistful, and sweet. It was easy to see his counterpart in the original Watson and he actually saved this book for me. 

Take away her backstory and I probably would have liked Charlotte as well. The problem is, I don’t like these two characters in the setting given them. There is a lot of mature content in this book, referenced if not explicitly described. This isn’t a story that needs to be dark. It would have been charming as a squeaky clean, Middle School read. There are these two (potentially) endearing characters and this wonderful family background for them and it is just…unnaturally morbid. There isn’t enough to make it really and truly dark in the way that gives you good goose bumps. It is more like, distressing dark that makes you pity the characters, especially because half the time I felt like they didn’t have to go through what they did. The villain felt contrived and too predictable. 

In the end, I give this book 2.5 stars. There is so much it could have been. However, it left me dissatisfied and I don’t think I will bother with the sequel. I definitely recommend finding Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes‘s mysteries instead.  


The pre-event wait

So here I am. My work event starts at 6:30 and it is now 3. I have cleaned, bought snacks, contacted attendees. Now all I have to do is wait for the event itself to start. 

This is by far the hardest part. There isn’t enough time to really do anything, yet plenty of time to think about it. What if no one comes? What if the projector doesn’t work? What if I forgot to put out clean hand towels? 

What if no one comes? is the question that really plagues me. I can always double and triple check the projector and towels. But what if I should have made one more contact? Talked to one more person? Reached out to one more family? Would that have made the difference and filled the room? 

The secret question within the no-one-coming question is actually more like, what if I am just really bad at my job? But who wants to face a question like that head on? Give me 3.5 hours and I’ll find out! So for now I wonder, and wait, and try to focus on the hand towels. 


Two Weeks Without Wisdom Teeth

Today marks two weeks without wisdom teeth. Knowing what I know now, it is ridiculous that the oral surgeon even mentioned that I could be back to work in 3 days. More like 3 weeks! 

However, slowly but surely I have been improving. I still wake up sore and usually need an ibuprofen but that is the only pain meds I take.  A part of my chin is still numb from where the oral surgeon hit a nerve but from what I’ve heard, that doesn’t go away. It makes me feel a little self-conscience because when I eat I convince myself there is food stuck there and I can’t feel it. I assume I’ll get used to it with time, though. 

Mostly I eat pudding. Pudding is a delicious snack and I’m totally okay with using the surgery as an excuse to eat more. I’ve decided my favorite is the chocolate vanilla mix. Best of both worlds. I may or may not have gone seriously overboard with my pudding buying this week. 


New BFF: Persis Blake from Across A Star-Swept Sea

Let me begin by saying, I love The Scarlet Pimpernel. I love the book. I love the 1982 movie starring Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Ian McKellen. I love Sir Percy Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel. I love the story, the series, the characters, everything. 

So you better believe that when someone recommended a young adult, science fiction, gender-bender retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, I was understandably wary. I’ve seen The Scarlet Pimpernel retold before, and it isn’t always pretty. Thankfully, Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund turned out to be an amazing exception to the rule. This book was creative, well-written, fun, and actually quite believable. A great part of this was due to the main character: Lady Persis Blake. Aka, my new literary best friend. 

I liked Persis initially simply because she reminded me of Sir Percy Blakeney. I came to love her, however, because she takes all those attributes I liked in Sir Percy and makes them uniquely her own. Persis is a smart, strong, and likable heroine. Her transitions from empty-headed court lady to fearless leader to nerdy and dutiful daughter were believable and fun. She is a heroine but she isn’t a revolutionary. At some level, she accepts and takes for granted the limits placed on women in her society and I was pleasantly surprised by that. She wasn’t angsty. 

In fact, for a young adult novel, this book does a good job avoiding angst, even with the romance! No insta-love or mooning allowed.

Persis Blake combines all the attributes I like about The Scarlet Pimpernel with her own charm and context and I think that alone makes this book worth reading.