Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooking Up a Storm

So first off, I want to introduce myself - Hi, I am Susan and I have been long absent. Whew, I feel better. Between school, which ended in February and H moving to NYC for work in March, I have just not been blogging much. I know I breeze by somewhat infrequently, posting something about what I have been reading or some such.

A writer writes, this is for certain and I am writing, but as I have expanded my writing skills, I find I am writing in a vast number of places these days. Where I once mainly wrote here and one other place, I am now covering a wider swatch of the World Wide Web.

I am also on Twitter. After a year, I can totally see why those who love Twitter, really love Twitter. If done correctly, it is an online community. Which brings me to the point of this post. I tried a new recipe this evening, making a number of adaptations for my dietary needs and I discovered it here, and I discovered @TheSpicedLife, via Twitter, through a friend who bakes fantastic cookies, through his online friendship with @TheSpicedLife's sister.

I digressed and fair warning I am going to do it again.

I like Indian Food. More importantly, Indian Food likes me. Much of it is vegetarian, nutrient rich and delightfully spiced. All good, when one is avoiding wheat, corn, dairy, eggs and large amounts of soy. Good for me, safe for me to eat, and tastes good too. Win. Win. Win.

With the help of some friends, a fantastic new pressure cooker, and a few great cook books and blogs, I am opening some amazing culinary doors.

Tonight I made a ME version of Kheema with Spring Greens. I made Kheema with Spinach. I substituted the dairy yogurt with Sheep's Milk Yogurt,I used half ground turkey thighs and half ground lamb for the beef and I used garlic paste and ginger paste instead of the minced garlic and ginger. I also used jaggery instead of brown sugar and a healthy handful of chives, as I did not have green garlic or scallions.

Having just eaten a small bowl - up yeah, that is some pretty fantastic food!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #16) Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I have dabbled in E*books, it has been years and years since I have done an audio book. So given the sheer length of this book, I decided to give it a try as an audiobook. I enjoyed the experience and I enjoyed the story.If you are not familiar with this series, I do not suggest starting with this book. Good back and start at the beginning. As with all series novels, they can stand alone, but reading the first few books is most helpful.I thought the beginning chapters in terms of violence and repetitiveness were slightly over done. I felt like I was getting beaten (pun intended) over the head with just how bad Acheron's life really had been.Otherwise, I think Kenyon's style lends itself to the audio format, things I have disliked about her writing style, seemed to really work narrated. All in all this was a good story, worth the time and a perfect book to test out books being read to me on my iPod.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodreads: The White Tiger

The White Tiger The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As a 2008 Man Booker prize winner, I assumed this would be worth reading. It was. Adiga is clever in his set up, his method and his message. I found the book to be funny and serious.

This is a book, that our children will be reading in a college course someday.

I think this book shows us how business works, how culture works and how it is not pretty and neat, progress has a price, sometimes a large one. I would argue while this story - and bear in mind it is a good story - claims to be a story about one man and his climb to success, I think it is more than that, I think the symbolism of this book is cleverly hidden and so obvious all at the same time.

Adiga tackles some difficult subjects with humor and wit.

Well worth the reading.

I borrowed this book from a friend. It is officially on my to buy list. I plan to read it again.

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hello God it's me...

Susan, calling St. Michael's and getting hung up on. (bonus points if you know the book title I am playing with here.)

For my new readers, my mother in law passed away November 2006 after nearly a year long battle with congestive heart failure and renal failure. She was a parishioner of St. Michael's and until she was too ill, she sang faithfully in the choir.

That said she has been gone almost 4 years. H and I had her mass at his home church in his home town and then as she had requested, we made a donation to St. Michael's and asked that a mass be said in honor of her death.

It should be noted that H and I currently do not practice any particular faith for a variety of reasons.

Yesterday in our mail, was a letter from St. Michael's, on St. Michael's letterhead, addressed to my mother in law, requesting her pledge to the Bishop's annual fund.

Are you kidding me? She is dead, if her faith is to be believed, she is hanging out with angels and singing a heavenly tune. Furthermore, for us mere mortals, I distinctly remember both H and I calling St. Michael, in 2006/2007 - informing them of her death. I might have actually written a letter. I did alot of letter writing on her behalf that winter.

I found yesterday's letter to be in extremely poor taste and insensitive. This is not the first time in four years St. Michael's has solicited a dead person for money. With reincarnation, this might actually make sense, but given that she is dead and I am not counting on her coming back, the polite and sensitive thing to do is remove her name and our address from their mailing list(s.) One would think there would be a procedure for that.

In my mind it would work something like this -

1. Get notice of parishioner's death
2. Delete name from master mailing list
3. Once a month, update all committee lists.

In the world of email and word processing, it is really that simple. Four years hence, there is simply no excuse.

So I called.

I spoke to who ever answered the phone. I explained that I found it to be insensitive and rude for them to soliciting money from my mother in law who is deceased. I explained that we have contacted them a few times in the past.

She began to make excuses and I cut her off. I explained that their administrative inefficiencies were not my problem, but that I wanted us removed from the any and all mailing lists. Before I could finish my sentence, she hung up on me.

Yes, let's type that in BOLD.


Where is her grace and humility is what I would like to know.

So I called back (but then you all knew I would.)

I called back and asked for the priest and instead got his voice mail, so I left a very clear message as to how I felt about being hung up on and how I felt about getting a letter on their letterhead, four years after my mother in law passed away asking for money. I shared with him we are not members of his church, nor do we intend to be and could he do the right thing already and get us off the mailing list(s). I also suggested that whoever was answering his phone needed to look deep and find her humility and grace.

It is bad business to solicit money from dead people and it is rude to hang up on people. If you want to run a campaign asking for money, then you need to scrub your lists and make sure it is accurate. You wanna play in the big leagues. Act like a big league player.

I have no patience for excuses or people who are rude. She should be fired and St. Michael's should have to pay a fine, that is what happened when I worked at Merrill Lynch. If we solicited someone who had asked to be removed from a calling list or a mailing list - we got fined.

And no, I am not in a charitable mood, thank you for asking.