You are browsing the archive for 2013.

by Jen

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less – August 2013

August 23, 2013 in recap

Check me out! Posting on time. Huzzah!

Busy schedules, traffic, meetings and the make-up aisle at CVS caused a much-postponed, sort-of abbreviated Book Club this month. We even un-invited the boys since we were short of time. Yay girls!

We started a bit late, around 8pm, with a combo appetizer dinner that included chips with super-yummy queso and salsa (thanks, Sarah!) and a dinner of pita with beef and turkey, homemade tzaiki, hummus, and salad with goat cheese (note to self: pregnant women cannot eat goat cheese. DAMN!). Dessert got overlooked until the end of the evening but Sarah and I didn’t have a problem eating Des’s Rice Krispie Treats at 11pm.

We moved right into book conversation and actually chatted about it at the table which was kind of nice. Everyone liked the book – it was a light, pretty quick, read which was just what everyone needed with this crazy-busy month of travelling and working. Sarah read it after her trip to England and recognized some of the places she had visited (which made me happy since that’s a big part of why I picked the book). We did think there were some parts that were very silly and/or unrealistic, and the treatment of women was so amazingly 1970’s, but we thought the book would still make a good movie, with some modifications. Would probably hit it big, especially the portrayal of a corrupt big business mogul getting his comeuppance (do people still use the word “comeuppance”?).

Next up we listened to our tunes. I’m happy to say my choice of music theme, European artists or songs, was something that hit a niche of songs we hadn’t used yet and everyone had some unique stuff to contribute. Should make a good CD!

Finally, we went through our Current Events, although having not seen each other much for the last 5-6 weeks we meandered through a variety of topics. We agreed that the lack of planning by American’s for retirement is absolutely terrifying and we wonder how that will go down as the country continues to age. We talked about how depressed we are with the NC legislature and the embarrassment of laws passed in the last few months. This also led to depressing tales of woe from Sarah (re: English department), Jen (re: OIT), and then Des, on behalf of Tim who has his own work frustrations. Stupid work.
We spent a good chuck of time on mother’s and parenting, as usual. An item not on the website was a Time magazine article on the benefits of remaining childless. We discussed this trend of women who “selfishly” don’t want children and how this is leading to the lowest birthrates in the US since the Great Depression. Des talked through the “5%” of her psyche that wants kids, and how she realizes that she may be confronted with this desire more strongly than ever in the coming year as two of her friends (including Sarah!) are preggers. We also furiously discussed an article from a woman who regrets her dog now that she has kids (AND OMFG I JUST READ THAT AND YOU WERE TOO NICE TO THAT WOMAN! If I met her on the street right now I would kick her in the baby-maker and steal that dog. Jesus, what a bitch. “Did I mention he sheds? Not his fault, exactly.” Wha?? RAWR!). And we talked about the fact that more and more the ones having babies are the poorer and less-educated (‘Idiocracy’ is coming true!) and what that means for the future, including Medicare and other government systems that support those groups.

Very enjoyable, tasty, and intellectually-stimulating evening, as usual. And very international this month: Mexican AND Greek, with a classic American dessert, a British book, and European music! So nice to have everyone back in town and available for fun hang-out opportunities, including ones with the newly-minted TCA (Technical Communication Association). 🙂 Next book club will be earlier in September, and hosted at Sarah’s before she has to start packing up for her move to Spain (aka, North Raleigh). So much going on!

See you next month, readers! Thanks for checkin’ in!

by Jen

The Silver Linings Playbook – May 2013

May 24, 2013 in recap

Another month, another successful book club and another recap!

The evening began with an appetizer of potsticker soup, courtesy of Sarah – very tasty. I made a Pinterest special with turkey, salami, cheese, peppers and onions in a crescent-roll casserole, which seemed to be a hit. I also made a mixed green salad with pine nuts and parmesan cheese, inspired by a tasty salad I had in Vegas a few weeks ago. Since the people who normally eat around the green things ate their portions I call it a win.

Post-food, Tim and Matt wen off to play games and the ladies settled in for our evening tasks, starting with tunes. I’m afraid I may have picked a duplicate theme: songs about expectations (what is with me?!) but we still got some goodies out of it, including some Adele, Glee, Wicked Soundtrack, I Fight Dragons, Dashboard and, of course, Taylor Swift. We did note that we’re about to move into duplication territory (and not just the accidental duplication I do) because we’ve hit most of Des’s musical library, so in the future we agreed folks can contribute UP TO 5 songs, but 5 are not required.

Up next was Thirds: write about a time when you unfairly judged someone. I wrote – and Des agreed – that I have more of a tendency to give someone too much forgiveness and understanding. I put up with crap when people treat me badly. That being said I’m also slow to open up to new people so I suspect that may be the way in which I’m “judge-y.” Sarah talked about off-the-cuff judgements, like the ones you have when you see a homeless person and turn away. There’s something to be said for giving that person the benefit of the doubt – but with your personal safety in mind since, especially for us chicks, there can be a danger.

We then discussed the book. It was a hectic month: end-of-semester tasks for Sarah and I had two trips back-to-back so I wanted to go with a pretty quick and easy read and came up with ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’, by Matthew Quick. We were a bit short of discussion questions but we had plenty to talk about. I haven’t seen the movie (which came out at the end of 2012) so that wasn’t a conflict for me, but it clearly loomed large in the minds of Des and Sarah and impacted their reading of the book. Apparently the movie is much more… glib (may not be the right word but that’s the impression I got) about Pat’s illness and his relationships with his family and ex-wife. We agreed that the book took the whole thing a bit more seriously, though Des had the impression that it was still a relatively happy portrait of mental disease (no doubt that’s true).

About this time the boys started whining that they were hungry so we had Des’s delicious dessert – a variation on my favorite dessert in fact: strawberries with angel food cake and whipped cream! The strawberries were fresh and the angel food cake was awesome and the whip cream was whippy – it was so good! 🙂

As usual, our current events ran the gambit of topics, although – for the first time ever – I don’t think we really had a parenting article! We did have one about kids though, and the creepy things they sometimes say (“I want to peel all your skin off, Dad”). We talked about drinking during pregnancy, the (fucking) best (fucking) sorority rant EVAR (you little shits), and things we have to unlearn when we leave college and get those “real” jobs in the “real” world. We also talked about immigration and the fact of the Boston brothers who bombed the marathon being naturalized citizens (or in one brother’s case, well on his way). This was our hot topic for the evening; there’s concern that it’s relatively easy to become American, and the words that meant very much to me when I heard my mom recite them were something that Des simply saw a “required” of her. We don’t want our citizens bombing or terrorizing us so we have to be cautious who we let become “American”, but we’re also a nation of immigrants and we have to remember that. We lightened the mood a bit at the end of the evening with movie trailers while the boys were taking turns being slow. Some really good looking movies coming soon! And Sarah hasn’t seen “Love Actually”! Des, we have to remember that and chain her to a couch to see it soon!

All right, kids, that’s it from me. Next month is Sarah’s book, and Des has already assigned us her reading for July since it’s a long one (800+ pages), and we’ll be meeting a bit early that month before Sarah abandons us for England! And I for one was kind of shocked to realize we’re coming up on our second anniversary of Saloon! (What is the second anniversary, kleenex? Reynolds wrap? Ok, looked it up and it’s cotton. Bummer that we missed our “paper” anniversary, right?) Ok, Jen out.

 

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