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Joe's Book Cafe 3

This is a continuation of the topic Joe's Book Cafe 2.

This topic was continued by Joe's Book Cafe 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jan 27, 6:15pm Top

Illustrations by Debbie Tung

Welcome back to the cafe!

Edited: Feb 12, 10:33am Top

Top Books of 2018 by Genre


Winner: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf


One Goal: A Coach, A Team by Amy Bass (a "Best Book of 2018" for Library Journal)

Young Adult

Winner: Vincent and Theo by Deborah Helligman


Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Winner: The Power by Naomi Alderman


Binti The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor


Winner: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith


Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland

Illustrated Books

Winner: Brazen Ladies by Penelope Baglieu


Alpha Abidjan to Paris by Bessora


Winner: The Overstory by Richard Powers


The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson


Winner: Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez


The Carrying by Ada Limon

Edited: Feb 8, 1:30pm Top

Books Read in 2019


1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (re-read on audio)
2. Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker
3. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
4. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
5. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth
6. Happiness by Aminatta Forna
7. Milkman by Anna Burns
8. Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
9. The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman
10. Nerve by Dick Francis
11. Killer Collective by Barry Eisler
12. Little Oceans by Tony Hoagland
13. Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan
14. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
15. The Promise by Chaim Potok
16. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano


17. Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson
18. Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz
19. Forfeit by Dick Francis
20. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

Illustrated Books

1. Jane Austen's Emma by Nancy Butler
2. Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O'Malley
3. Girl Town by Carolyn Nowak
4. On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
5. Livestock by Hannah Berry
6. Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce and Edith
7. Anne of Green Gables A Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden
8. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung
9. The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 by Nagabe
10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Reckoning by Joss Whedon
11. Space Boy Vol. 1 by Stephen Macranie
12. The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 by Nagabe
13. New Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 2 by Kazuo Koike
14. Book Love by Debbie Tung
15. Royal City Vol. 3 by Jeff Lemire

Edited: Jan 28, 12:08pm Top

Debbi and Rafa - playing hard can be exhausting

Edited: Feb 12, 10:38am Top

We lost a special one. Rest in peace Mary Oliver.

Edited: Jan 27, 6:10pm Top

Indy living the good life

Jan 27, 6:10pm Top

>4 jnwelch:

Good to see The Playmates again!

Laytonwoman has the beautiful review of The Lost Words.

Edited: Jan 27, 6:12pm Top

<6 Ha! Hi, Marianne. Yeah, that one of the Playmates was too good not to re-post.

That was it - thanks! I had Linda in my head, but the wrong Linda. Laytonwoman Linda was the one with the beautiful review of The Lost Words.

Jan 27, 6:14pm Top

Since this book intrigued so many patrons on the last thread, I'm reposting the review.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story is a brilliant autobiography of the introverted author, Debbie Tung, as she learns to negotiate her way in an extrovert's world. She's in graduate school when it starts, working on her dissertation. She enters "adulthood", and lands her first job, while wondering in what direction she should take her life. Each page (or sometimes two) contains its own story, and each story rings true. She starts out filled with self-doubt, and the desire to please others. Most of the time what she'd like best is being home with a hot mug of tea and a good book. Sound familiar?

Tung is honest, self-deprecating and funny. She's also enormously likeable. There's a gradual recognition that she's not alone in being an introvert, and she develops a freedom as she finds ways to balance the different parts of her life and how she wants to approach them. I loved every bit of this one.

Edited: Jan 27, 6:19pm Top

>1 jnwelch: >9 jnwelch: my copy is due to land tomorrow, yay!

Happy new thread Joe.

Jan 27, 6:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Joe! >9 jnwelch: Sounds a lot like my entire household!

Jan 27, 6:21pm Top

>4 jnwelch: >5 jnwelch: Love it!

Happy New Thread, Joe! I hope you are having a good day. I am really enjoying my current GN, Upgrade Soul. Inventive, intriguing and a bit disturbing. Have you heard of it?

Edited: Jan 27, 6:22pm Top

>10 Caroline_McElwee: Yay! Can't wait to hear what you think, Caroline. Debbi just read it and loved it, and Becca's reading it right now!

Thanks re the new thread. The old one was getting a bit long, wasn't it.

>11 rretzler: Thanks, Robin! I know, right? Ours, too.

Jan 27, 6:24pm Top

>8 jnwelch:

Whisper Linda has been posting the inspiring reviews of Picture Books on her thread.

Edited: Jan 27, 6:26pm Top

>12 msf59: Hey, buddy. Thanks!

The Playmates and Mary Oliver - I'm glad you're loving them. I do have Upgrade Soul on my WL - it's been on some "Bests" lists, right? Encouraging to hear you're really enjoying it.

>14 m.belljackson: Yeah, exactly, Marianne. I'll bet that's what made me think of Whisper Linda.

Jan 27, 7:15pm Top

Seemed like a good thread-warming gift. I'm dog-sick again thanks to Old Stuff's slapdash hygiene and habit of leaving lung cookies in the sink, the wastebasket, the bowl....

That was gross, I know, but my filter's broken by this awful throat pain and hacking. The YGC wanted me to spend the night with him but I don't see the point of making *him* sick too. But a small, unworthy chunk of my brain was thinking that it'd be great not to have a senile old man waking me up sixty times a night....

Jan 27, 9:05pm Top

Joe - there's a funny Beet joke in Sunday's FoxTrot comic strip.

Jan 27, 10:47pm Top

Happy New Thread, Joe. As far as where I am able to watch Anne with an E, I am lucky enough to be able to watch it for free on CBC - the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It's owned and mainly funded by the Canadian Government. They do run ads, but the idea is to have platform for Canadian Content. The government does not dictate what goes on the TV or Radio, but rather helps fund smaller Canadian programs that sometimes take off in other countries. A lot of comedy shows, like Little Mosque on the Prairies, a couple of satirical news spoof shows. Sometimes the programs actually become popular outside of Canada, like the old "Beachcombers" show that was popular back in the 1970's - 1980's. Of course there is are also news programs and documentaries etc. Anne With an E is directed by the same person who directed Breaking Bad. But I reall love it.


The Beachcombers - man , it was lame, but I recall my grandma loving it and my husband was keen on it because it was filmed in the little town that he lived for sometime in teens.


Jan 27, 11:07pm Top

Geez, Joe. It's a good thing I stopped by. Some of your habitués might be pissy about this.

Jan 28, 12:11am Top

Happy new thread, Joe! >4 jnwelch: is so cute!

Edited: Jan 28, 8:36am Top

Happy new thread, Joe! >4 jnwelch: What a B-eautiful picture!!!
She's me, she's me! I've go to check my library for Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story!

eta: Yay! just reserved it through my library system!

Jan 28, 8:14am Top

Morning, Joe! Happy new one! I'm going to snag the corner booth since there seems to be some kind of disturbance up front. You should maybe get that guy some coffee in a to-go cup. You can out it on my tab.

Jan 28, 8:22am Top

>9 jnwelch: I wish my local library had that one! It sounds perfect for me.

Jan 28, 8:41am Top

Happy new thread, Joe, and Happy Day.

Jan 28, 9:30am Top

We leave soon, but let's catch up a bit.

>16 richardderus: Ha! I knew there had to be some sort of reward for having an attention span. Thanks, Richard!

Sorry you're dog-sick again. I hope it passes quickly. It's got to be tough to have that roommate of yourn.

>17 m.belljackson: I'm rather fond of beet jokes, Marianne, how did you know? :-) Thanks, I'll look for the Foxtrot one.

OK, off we go.

Edited: Jan 28, 9:46am Top

Happy new thread! I'm with Bill - where's the coffee?

Ok, I made a coffee run...

Jan 28, 10:27am Top

Oh, thanks, Joe. Your cafe is such a customer-friendly place. Even when the customer is a jerk.

Jan 28, 10:27am Top

Joe and Mark - The Sunday State Journal had a great short article, "Poetry has become a 'growth industry.'
Odd title, but the rest was worth reading.

It's a reprint from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Did it make it to Chicago papers?

With the latest storm, it looks like we can put any fears of a northern winter drought to rest: 4th driveway plowing in one month!

Jan 28, 10:30am Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 28, 12:00pm Top

Hi, Joe!

I'm watching the live stream of the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements, and I just had to come over here to say that The Poet X is winning all sorts of awards!!

Edited: Jan 28, 1:27pm Top

>18 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I should've thought of that - you've got a different tv regime than we South of the Border folks. I'll poke around, Maybe Brodie knows.

You know, growing up in Ann Arbor, we had a Canadian TV channel, even thought there weren't many tv channels back then. I used to watch Hockey Night in Canada every week on it. Molson Canadian lager beer, oh yeah (although I was too young to drink it). The Beachcombers is not one I know - maybe others here remember it.

P.S. Supposedly "Anne with an E" is on Netflix here, and we get that, so I should be able to find it.

Jan 28, 12:16pm Top

>19 weird_O: I'm not sure what the message here is, Bill. It's subtle, but I think I figured it out. COFFEE!

Edited: Jan 28, 1:27pm Top

>20 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. Great moment up in >4 jnwelch: for Debbi and Rafa.

>21 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. Isn't >4 jnwelch: a B-eautiful photo moment?

Oh, you're going to love Quiet Girl in a Noisy World! She's so good. I'm reading her new one, Book Love, and loving it, too.

Edited: Jan 28, 12:25pm Top

>22 Crazymamie: Ha! Thanks, Mamie!

Yeah, that guy up in >19 weird_O: is making a racket, isn't he? Between Jim's help in >26 drneutron: and what we brought out in >32 jnwelch:, I think we've got him covered. Thanks for being such a good neighbor! :-) Donut holes on the house:

Jan 28, 12:29pm Top

>23 alcottacre: Does your local library have connections with others, Stasia? I think you'd love Quiet Girl in a Noisy World.

>24 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. We actually took a long walk and got some things done today, as the temps are in the 30s for the moment. The wallop of chill is a-coming.

>26 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! You saved the day. The proprietor of this place can be so unreliable. Hey, have you read The Calculating Stars yet? I think it's one you'd appreciate.

Edited: Jan 28, 3:37pm Top

>27 weird_O: You know, Bill, the word on the street is the cafe proprietor is a jerk. So there's a high level of tolerance here. Plus, well, you know, coffee is important, for goodness' sake. I don't know what this "Joe" guy was thinking.

>28 m.belljackson: Oh my, we just dug out our place here, Marianne. No driveway (urban), but stairs and sidewalk and backyard walkway and deck, After walking a long way in snowy Chicago to get some things done, we're ready to sit down with hot drinks (coffee and chai) for a while.

I'm glad drought's no worry out your way, but 4th driveway plowing in a month is a lot! Hope you get a chance to take it easy for a bit.

P.S. I will look online for the "Poetry is a Growth Industry" article, thanks. I didn't see it, but I'll admit we still haven't gotten all the way through the Sunday paper!

P.P.S. Here's the link for "Poetry is a Growth Industry", Marianne and others: http://www.startribune.com/for-a-diverse-new-generation-poetry-is-a-growth-indus...

That's a well-done, and encouraging article! Thanks for the tip. Have you read Danez Smith? Great Minnesota poet, and a sweetheart of a guy.

It's been wonderful to see the often youth-led evolution/revolution in the poetry scene. We've been involved with "Young Chicago Authors", the writing and slam poetry organization here, for twenty years (both our kids went through it). We've gone from Poetry Magazine and the Poetry Foundation turning up their noses at these poets to now embracing them, publishing their poems and having them perform at the Poetry Foundation building. There's a lot of excitement, and a lot of great young poets coming up, like Danez, Jose Olivarez, Eve Ewing, Nate Marshall and others, and that's just in our area. So many major cities have poetry slam events now, like the Button one described in the article. It's great for the kids as a way to express themselves, and also to establish a close-knit community. They all pull for each other.

Jan 28, 12:53pm Top

I also thought of you when The Poet X scooped several big awards today, including the Printz! I know you're a fan. It just moved significantly higher on my own TBR.

Edited: Jan 28, 1:23pm Top

>29 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita!

>30 scaifea: Hi, Amber! Oh, glad to hear it, thanks. The Poet X is so good, and so deserving!

>37 foggidawn: Ah, glad to hear it, foggi. I'm thrilled for The Poet X and Elizabeth Acevedo. This will have a whole of folks moving it up the TBR.

Jan 28, 1:13pm Top

>38 jnwelch: I've already requested it from the library (along with a ton of other winners, so I'll have to hop to it when they all arrive...)!

Edited: Jan 28, 1:22pm Top

>39 scaifea: Good, Amber! Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

Jan 28, 2:04pm Top

Happy newish thread, Joe. I think the coffee lovers are taken care of for a little while what about some tea for the non-coffee lovers? I think I might have to pull Quiet Girl in a Noisy World out of my book stacks now.

Jan 28, 2:49pm Top

Hi Joe, happy new thread mate and great thread toppers.

Edited: Jan 28, 3:33pm Top

>42 johnsimpson: Hi, John. Thanks, buddy. Some of those are from her book, Book Love, which seems like a natural for our group.

>41 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Yes, great time to pull Quiet Girl in a Noisy World off the shelves. Good point about the tea drinkers. Here you go:

Jan 28, 3:58pm Top

Mmm, tea.

Jan 28, 3:59pm Top

Jan 28, 4:04pm Top

>43 jnwelch: Thanks for the tea, Joe. Like the matching teapot and cup!

Jan 28, 4:09pm Top

>31 jnwelch: I didn't get to finish Anne with an E because I rarely watch movies / netflix right now. But I loved the first few episodes.

Jan 28, 5:00pm Top

Happy New Thread Joe!

Thanks to you I checked out both A Quiet Girl in a Noisy World and Book Love from the library today. Both are available on the Hoopla app which has become my preferred method for reading comics (on my iPad). I always check there first now.

Jan 28, 5:32pm Top

>46 Familyhistorian: You're welcome, Meg!

>47 The_Hibernator: Good to hear that you loved the first few episodes of Anne with an E, Rachel.

>48 SuziQoregon: Thanks, Juli!

Oh, good. Go Debbie Tung! For some reason I just don't like reading graphics or poetry on an iPad or any kind of e-reader. But I'm glad it works for you.

Jan 28, 6:23pm Top

I’d have to be made of very strong stuff to ignore all these accolades for A Quiet Girl in a Noisy World! I’ve ordered it through my library and it’s very likely I’ll be buying a copy based on what I’ve read here at the cafe.

One of my girls describes herself as an introvert. I laughed when she said this even though I’ve long been aware of her love of curling up with a good book. She explained that it doesn’t matter how chatty a person is or how good her communication skills are (both describe her); she treasures her alone time and will always prefer an evening at home with a book to a party. From a mother’s point of view, I’m pleased she doesn’t work on her own in a cubicle but is constantly giving presentations and talking to clients. Seems like a good balance.

Jan 28, 7:31pm Top

>50 NarratorLady: I understand your girl completely. Everyone always thinks I have tons of friends and love parties, etc. I'm just good in the roles I have played in life, and I like teams. But last week, when I had a few people over for brunch, I realized I was ready to leave before the last of them left, except of course I was already home!

Jan 28, 8:08pm Top

Yes, I understand Anne With an E is collaboration between Netflix and CBC. In Canada, because we are such a small country population wise compared to the USA, we have very few " Canadian Channels" - so of course while we get lots of American Channels , we have about 3 actual Canadian TV channels. A lot of them play mainly USA shows. The government here made some effort to try to encourage" Canadian Culture," thus we have the CBC. But yes, I think Anne with An E on Netflix, maybe even first? Lovely tea cup and matching tea pots. Just finished drinking my tea. Yum!

Jan 28, 10:34pm Top

>35 jnwelch: Haven’t read it yet, but it’s on reserve with Overdrive. Looks like a long wait, though..

Jan 29, 12:06am Top

Happy New Thread!

Ah darn - you got me with Sum on the last thread. One more to add to the Promise of Reading Delights.

Looking forward to reading The Poet X which I picked up at the library today along with The Well Read Black Girl.

Jan 29, 3:09am Top

>36 jnwelch: The Guardian over here had a similar piece:

"Young women aged 13 to 24 are now the biggest consumers of poetry in the UK in a market that has grown by 48% over the past five years to £12.3m, according to UK book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. But instead of buying works by the dead white men who have dominated the canon for centuries, young women are using their economic muscle to drive up sales of works by female poets, making poetry more diverse and representative than ever before."

Jan 29, 10:19am Top

Morning, Joe. Happy Tuesday. I decided to take an extra day off today and then I am off tomorrow, so this is fortunate. It is going to be brutal. I have a few errands to run, because I do not want to leave the house, on Wednesday, at all. The afternoon will be reserved for the books.

Jan 29, 10:29am Top

>56 msf59: Good planning, Mark! Your part of the country is in for horribly brutal weather. Hope it doesn't last long.

Jan 29, 12:06pm Top

>50 NarratorLady: Ha! I'm glad you'll be giving Quiet Girl in a Noisy World a go, Anne. You'll love it, methinks. That does sound like your daughter has a good balance. It made me think of one of the cartoons in Book Love, Tung's second one, in which she normally wants to be curled up with a good book and tea, but can talk on and on with others about books. :-)

>51 ffortsa: Ha! That sounds familiar, Judy. I know one of the pleasures of retirement has been cutting back on the meet and greet stuff.

>53 drneutron: Hmm. Well, I hope The Calculating Stars drops into your hands somehow, Jim. It's a good 'un.

Jan 29, 12:19pm Top

>54 streamsong: Oh, let us know how you like Sum when you get to it, Janet. Such a cool, unusual book. Yay for The Poet X! I'm so happy it's getting the recognition it is.

>55 charl08: Yes! The poetry market is growing fast in the UK, too; that's great to hear, Charlotte. The increased diversity in the poetry world is wonderful, isn't it. So much more interesting.

>56 msf59: Hey, buddy. Oh man, that's good news about the days off, Mark. We were just wondering how in the world you were going to handle today. I just about froze my *ahems* off going outside for the newspaper! It's bad today and going to be worse tomorrow. Debbi just posted the Tribune headline on FB: "Experts Say: Avoid Going Outside". Wow. I've never seen that one before. I hope the homeless are going into the warming centers.

With my days off being pretty continuous these days, we got the errands done yesterday, and can Avoid Going Outside. Good luck getting yours done asap, and retreating to the man cave for book time. I'm liking The Promise, although so far not even close to as much as I did The Chosen (which it's a sequel to). We'll see.

>57 ffortsa: :-) Me, too, Judy.

Edited: Jan 29, 12:22pm Top

Jan 29, 12:59pm Top

By Nicholle Kobi

Jan 29, 2:08pm Top

In celebration of what appears to be Northern Everybody Just Stay Home Day,
our Groundhog made an early appearance from his silo bed,
apparently (with blazing sunshine since dawn)
seeing his shadow and instantly retreating for 6 more weeks of hibernation.

His expert advice? We should all do the same.

Jan 29, 5:36pm Top

What a time to be visiting Narnia for the first time ever. Where the witch keeps it snowing and cold all the time, without allowing Christmas to come. I'm thinking that condition will change.

Jan 29, 7:21pm Top

Hi Joe, I'm not a big reader of graphic novels but I don't think I can resist the pull of Quiet Girl in a Noisy World

Jan 30, 10:19am Top

>62 m.belljackson: Ha! Good advice from your Groundhog, Marianne. I hope he was dressed warmly when he went out.

>63 weird_O: Woo, that White Witch is a mean one, Bill. Let's hang out by the fire with Mr. Tumnus until that condition changes.

>64 brenzi: Oh good, Bonnie. You'll love Quiet Girl in a Noisy World.

Jan 30, 10:22am Top

>65 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! I did pick up a copy of Quiet Girl in a Noisy World for Abby for her birthday. *sheepish grin* I know she will love it. And she said yes to your request for me to post her art, so I will try to accomplish that sometime later today.

Jan 30, 10:23am Top

We woke up today to a delightful report of -53 F wind chill. Wow!

Edited: Jan 30, 10:26am Top

>66 Crazymamie: Cool beans, Mamie. Please let me know what Abby says. Maybe she'll let you peek at Quiet Girls when she's done? :-)

Oh, great! I'll look forward to some Abby art later on.

Jan 30, 10:28am Top

-53 windchill. Incomprehensible.

Inside with books, hot beverages, and etc?

Jan 30, 10:37am Top

>7 m.belljackson:, >8 jnwelch: Thanks, you two, for the credit. That other Linda (whisper1) and I share a love for well-done illustrated books, and I am not the least bit troubled to be confused with her.

This group ought to be getting some sort of discount on Quiet Girl in a Noisy World--its sales must be jumping!

Edited: Jan 30, 10:43am Top

>69 karenmarie: Right, Karen? Climate change - the warming up in the Arctic somehow causes a pushdown of the polar vortex. Woo.

Yes! Our newspaper headline yesterday was, "Experts Say: Avoid Being Outside". Hard to be more clear than that. Books, hot beverages, and etc. are the agenda for the day.

>70 laytonwoman3rd: That was a great review of The Lost Words, Linda. I know, when I get confused with Dr. Jim, I figure it's a compliment. Whisper Linda is good company to be confused with.

Ha! You're right. If we'd known how popular Quiet Girl in a Noisy World would be here, we could've negotiated a group discount. I'm glad the money's going to such a nice person.

Edited: Jan 30, 10:45am Top

Dreaming of a tropical cafe today . . .

Jan 30, 10:55am Top

>72 jnwelch: Ohhhh, that looks so nice. I was threatening to move to Fiji when I arrived at work today. Upon reflection, I probably wouldn't like it there long term, but a short getaway someplace warm does sound heavenly right now. Current windchill where I am: -33.

Jan 30, 11:36am Top

>67 jnwelch: I'm glad you are hunkered down Joe. I saw some photos of your frozen river. Am I right in thinking this is even wild weather in Chicago terms.

Sooo glad you have a book or two to occupy you.

>72 jnwelch:. Hot cocktails might help...

Jan 30, 11:52am Top

>66 Crazymamie: I remember seeing a sign years ago in a small bookstore in Boston.

"Buy your gift books now so you can read them before you give them away"

Good advice

Jan 30, 11:55am Top

Edited: Jan 30, 11:59am Top

>73 foggidawn: Right, foggi? Yikes, -33. A trip to Fiji sounds good to me. We're going to do a short getaway to Los Angeles next month. That should help warm us up a bit.

>74 Caroline_McElwee: Yes, this is wild weather even in Chicago terms, Caroline. We have to go back decades for a cold snap this bad. We do have books on hand. I finished The Promise, so I've got a borrowed copy of Educated up next. I'm almost done with an okay Auntie Poldi mystery on Kindle, and have the new Orphan X thriller coming up on that. My poetry right now is Andrea Gibson and Terrance Hayes, and I'm reading the second GN by Debbie Tung, Book Love.

Hmm, hot cocktails. What a good idea!

We've got a classic hot toddy for thems that wants, and some Irish Coffee for others.


Jan 30, 11:59am Top

>75 magicians_nephew:, >76 Crazymamie: Good advice, good planning, Jim and Mamie. :-)

Jan 30, 12:10pm Top

>77 jnwelch: mmm, The toddy warmed me through, thanks Joe.

I'm half way through my third Potok novel this month, The Chosen, and liking it. I'm going to take a look at Quiet Girl in a Noisy World tonight too. Book Love comes into land on the 7th Feb for me.

Stay warm.

Jan 30, 12:15pm Top

>79 Caroline_McElwee: Excellent, Caroline. I'm glad the toddy warmed you through. And those are all great books, IMO. I'm about halfway through Book Love, which I'm reading in bits and pieces. The Chosen is one of my all-time top books.

I'll go a quick review of its sequel, The Promise.

Edited: Jan 31, 2:35pm Top

The Promise by Chaim Potok

This continues Reuven and Danny's story from The Chosen. Reuven's at Hirsch University studying to be a rabbi, and Danny's studying to be a psychologist while interning at a mental hospital. They’re both interested in Rachel, the attractive daughter of a liberal analyst of the Talmud (his writings are considered a danger to Orthodoxy), and both become involved with her troubled nephew Michael, who ends up in the mental hospital where Danny is. Reuven has to square off against his teacher Reb Kalman, a Holocaust-survivor fiercely attached to established views of the Talmud, and opposed to the more progressive views of Reuven and Reuven's learned father. Kalman has the power to deny Reuven his becoming a Rabbi, and that battle is high energy. I liked that story thread a good bit more than Michael's.

The second half of the book was much more involving, and the book ended up being a very good read, even if it falls short of the exceptional The Chosen. The contrast between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, and more progressive Jews is fascinating, and Potok is so good at steeping us in the conflicts. Here's a quote from Reuven as he reacts to being among the Hasidim:

It was strange enough being on those streets during the week. But on Shabbat, when I could feel them making the very air tremulous with exultation, when I could see them in their respective garbs, most of them in fur-trimmed caps, some in dark suits, some in white knickers, all of them walking quickly, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, sometimes the father accompanied by a troop of male children - on Shabbat it was particularly strange, and I felt myself to be an uncomfortable outsider who had somehow been transported to a world I once thought had only existed in the small towns of Eastern Europe or in books about Jewish history. They were my own people, but we were as far apart from one another as we could possibly be and still call ourselves by the name 'Jew' - and I never felt as distant from them as I felt that evening walking along Lee Avenue with my father to the synagogue where we prayed.

Jan 30, 2:08pm Top

>67 jnwelch: No kidding! Yikes! It is still 15 below out there. WTH?

>77 jnwelch: Irish Coffee, please!

Hi, Joe. I am so glad I am chilling at home. We are now wondering if we will be able to carry mail tomorrow. It will probably be well below zero, until the early afternoon. Wow. This has never happened, in the 32-plus years i have worked for the P.O.

Did you see the new GN releases, in the Trib this morning? All 3 looked promising.

Edited: Jan 30, 2:24pm Top

>82 msf59: Hiya, Mark. My phone says the temp has gone all the way up to -33! They canceled Becca's school today and tomorrow thank goodness. We've been using the treadmill - I just watched some Anne with an E. I've got to remember to thank Brodie for the tip on that and "Travelers", which we've been enjoying, and Deb for Anne with an E.

Did you already read The Promise? I forget. I enjoyed getting back to such a good writer.

Great day to be chilling at home, although toasting at home might be better? I hope they suspend the mail tomorrow, too. Everybody can wait, right?

I didn't see the new GN releases in the Trib. Thanks for the tip! I'll look for those.

Irish coffee! Sea ("Cha")! I'm probably mangling the Irish. Here you go, me lad:

Jan 30, 2:22pm Top

Sorry, I intended to mention, Potok. I have still not read The Chosen. That will be slated for later in the year and then I will keep The Promise in mind. Good review.

Jan 30, 2:25pm Top

>83 jnwelch: Thanks, buddy. Oh, you'll likely love The Chosen.

I managed to add some Irish coffee to help ye warm up.

Jan 30, 2:34pm Top

>81 jnwelch: Like you, I enjoyed The Chosen more than The Promise, Joe. To me, the story of the developing friendship between the two boys was just a stronger story.

Edited: Jan 30, 2:40pm Top

>85 jnwelch: Agreed, Stasia. I just wasn't as taken with the storyline about Michael. Potok's such a good writer that he made it okay, but it slightly lowered the book's overall impact for me. The story in The Chosen of the developing friendship between the two boys was so strong. It's one of my top books ever.

Jan 30, 2:42pm Top

I'm crawling around the threads to say I'm not dead but woefully unread, both books and threads. Happy polar vortex.

Jan 30, 3:37pm Top

Hi Joe, hope you and Debbi are managing to keep warm in the café mate, minus 53, I can only imagine what that feels like, sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us.

Jan 30, 3:41pm Top

>88 richardderus: At least you've kept your studly good looks, Richard.

>89 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. Debbi and I are doing okay, but it is crazy cold in this part of the world! I think that works out to -47 Celsius. We appreciate the love and hugs, and send more back to you and Karen.

Jan 30, 4:32pm Top

Joe, just stopping in to let you know that I posted the artwork.

Jan 30, 4:37pm Top

>90 jnwelch: *snort* You should hear my voice. Barry White's a countertenor compared to me this week.

Jan 30, 4:54pm Top

>91 Crazymamie: Oh good. Thanks, Mamie. I'll be right over.

>92 richardderus: Ha! Take advantage, buddy. Maybe record some songs for Rob. :-)

Jan 30, 7:34pm Top

>4 jnwelch: Heart. That is all.

Nice review of The Promise, Joe. I know I read The Chosen many years ago and loved it, and My Name is Asher Lev is one of my all-time favorite novels. I didn't join in on the January reading, but I may add The Chosen to the list of books I'd like to revisit this year.

>67 jnwelch: and >72 jnwelch: I landed in Columbus today; it was minus two. I was only out in it briefly but it didn't take long walking into that wind for my eyes to water and my face to hurt. I'm not leaving my hotel room again until tomorrow. That is what room service is for. Heh.

Jan 31, 10:12am Top

>94 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen. Isn't that a lovely photo of Debbi and Rafa?

Thank you re the review of The Promise. I'm a big fan of The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev, too. I'm grateful that the AAC caused me to revisit this terrific author.

Oh my, minus 2 in Columbus. Too bad your visit now wasn't scheduled for somewhere warmer, and your visit to Columbus for later in the year. Yeah, we're holed up in our house. -30 wind chill here right now - an improvement from yesterday, but not near enough! Schools are closed and mail suspended again. I've got Educated and the new Orphan X thriller going, so that should help.

I hope your trip goes well. Getting back to Pullman will have some appeal, I imagine!

Edited: Jan 31, 10:18am Top

Time for Mexican hot chocolate

Edited: Jan 31, 10:20am Top

Jan 31, 10:37am Top

Very belated happy new thread, Joe!

Haven't been around much for a while, except on my own thread.
Catching up now finding over 200 new msgs on your threads... sorry, didn't read them all :-(

Jan 31, 11:20am Top

>93 jnwelch: Oh, I'm still not lovely to listen to, but it's just exponentially harder to hear me more than a meter away.

>97 jnwelch: A gorgeous vignette of a perfect way to wile away this hideous vortex.

Edited: Jan 31, 11:45am Top

>98 FAMeulstee: Ha! No worries, Anita. Nice to have you stop in. Thanks!

>99 richardderus: Hmm. Barry White whispering. OK, we'll just have to keep quiet and listen hard.

Doesn't that look like a gorgeous way in >97 jnwelch: to wile away the day? I've been watching Anne with an E, and of course she's a jumping puppy when it comes to the marvels of the imagination. I'm imagining "warm" today.

Jan 31, 1:06pm Top

It's so cold here they actually canceled school two days in a row, in the middle of Catholic Schools Week no less! My shower pipes froze and they had to open an access panel and run a fan through it just to get them going again. Indy was at daycare yesterday and is back there today-they do transport to and from, so I know she's safe and warm and doesn't have to put a paw outside in these dangerous temperatures. When she got home last night, I did immediately put her in her pjs (see picture above, a gift from my best friend) so she would be warm enough.

I also loved Quiet Girl in a Noisy World-I could completely relate, and want to get a copy for my own library at home now!

Jan 31, 1:51pm Top

>101 seasonsoflove: Becca, I just finished A Quiet Girl in a Noisy World too and I’m buying a copy for my daughter. Like you, her work life is all about interaction with people, but pure heaven is being home with ☕️ + 📖 + 🐶.
Enjoy your day off!

Jan 31, 2:12pm Top

>81 jnwelch: Reuven's at Hirsch University studying to be a rabbi, and Danny's studying to be a psychologist while interning at a mental hospital. They’re both interested in Rachel, the attractive daughter of a liberal analyst of the Talmud (his writings are considered a danger to Orthodoxy), and both become involved with her troubled nephew Michael, who ends up in the mental hospital where Danny is. Reuven has to square off against his teacher Reb Kalman, a Holocaust-survivor fiercely attached to established views of the Talmud, and opposed to the more progressive views of Danny and Danny's learned father. Kalman has the power to deny Danny his becoming a Rabbi, and that battle is high energy.

Ok. I'm turned around here. I thought that at the conclusion of The Chosen, Reuven had been released from his destiny of being his father's successor and was studying psychology. Danny was studying to be a rabbi. I can see Reuven squaring off against Reb Kalman to support Danny, which isn't exactly what your sentence says. But you do say that Kalman "has the power to deny Danny his becoming a Rabbi." Is this one of those "change places" stories? :-)

I bought a copy of The Gift of Asher Lev yesterday at a book sale. I wasn't totally enamored by My Name Is Asher Lev, but I had told Layton-Linda that if I came across a copy of the sequel that I read it. Once you say it, I guess you gots to do it.

Edited: Feb 1, 11:40am Top

>101 seasonsoflove: What a beautiful photo of Indy, Becca! She looks great in her Hanukkah sweater.

I'm glad you had that access panel so they could get at your shower pipes without taking a chunk out of your wall. I think you're brilliant to have Indy run around and play at daycare on these frigid days.

I thought of you and me when I read Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, and your mom says it's her, too. I'm glad you loved it and want your own copy!

P.S. Mark is coming to the Super Bowl party! Hurrah! And the Malases minus McKeely (who'll be with her boyfriend) will be there, along with Wes and Jessica. No Keith this year (boo!); he's not fully recovered.

>103 weird_O: Thank you for the close reading of the review of The Promise, Bill. I completely mixed up Reuven and Danny in that, so your confusion is understandable. It is indeed Reuven studying to be a rabbi, and Danny to be a psychologist, so you may want to revisit the end of The Chosen. This helps explain it, from BookRags: "The two main characters of the previous novel are Reuven Malter, an Orthodox Jew in the process of becoming a rabbi and his childhood friend Daniel Saunders, a Hasidic Jew who broke tradition by becoming a psychologist rather than following in his father's footsteps as a Rebbe. The Promise expands on this relationship and introduces others, all against the backdrop of a flood of Orthodox Jews coming to America after World War II to rebuild their lives."

I think I fixed it up in >81 jnwelch:, but it still may need a tweak or two.

I was enamored of My Name is Asher Lev; the story of the irrepressibly gifted artist in conflict with family tradition really worked for me. I'll look forward to your comments on The Gift of Asher Lev; it's definitely in my future.

Jan 31, 3:18pm Top

Hi Joe!

>97 jnwelch: Awww, what a cute little cozy on the cup of .. coffee? Tea cozies I've heard of but not cup cozies. A good idea, actually. Wish I could knit.

Jan 31, 7:52pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Joe. I just wanted to let you know I snagged The Calculating Stars from Audible today and may even start it, very soon. See, how much of a pushover I am? I enjoyed Alif the Unseen. I am not sure I was able to give it the attention it deserved, due to the ugly weather, but it was diverting and entertaining.

Feb 1, 6:24am Top

Morning, Joe! Another day off school here - we've got 4-5 inches and more coming down, which also means no meet-up with Ellen. SADNESS.

Edited: Feb 1, 9:24am Top

'Morning, Joe!

The Group Read thread for Last Friends by Jane Gardam is up. Here’s the link: Group Read: Last Friends by Jane Gardam.

Feb 1, 9:40am Top

>105 karenmarie: Hi Karen!

I noticed that well-knit cozy, too. I found out about cup and bottle cozies because a friend of ours collects them. They're not that easy to find!

>106 msf59: Sweet Thursday and Warmup Friday, Mark. Not great, but increasingly better today, and so decent temps for the weekend. We can all emerge from our habitats, blinking in the light.

Oh good, I think The Calculating Stars will grab you. It made me think a bit of Hidden Figures and what those women had to overcome. Alif the Unseen was a good ride, wasn't it. Sorry the weather wasn't better for it - that seems like it would be a fun one on audio.

Feb 1, 9:45am Top

>107 scaifea: Bummer! Sorry to hear that the meet-up with Ellen got canceled. I worried that the crummy weather would do that when she described being holed up in the hotel.

A day off from school was always a good thing when I was a kid - I wonder what my mother thought about that? :-) My mother and I got along fine (I just ignored her opinions when they didn't work for me), but we weren't pals the way you and your Charlie are.

>108 karenmarie: Oh, good, Karen. Thanks for letting me know the Jane Gardam group read has started. Now I just have to get my hands on a copy. I'll join up a little further into the month - I've got a couple I want to finish.

Edited: Feb 1, 9:49am Top

Winter Reading

Feb 1, 10:13am Top

Happy new(ish) thread, Joe! Hope Chicagoland has warmed up a bit!

Feb 1, 10:20am Top

>112 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!

It has - we're all the way up to 13 F here, which is a huge increase from those ridiculous negative numbers. They have us in the 40s tomorrow and Sunday, so things are looking up.

I hope you're setting up for a good weekend with your clan.

Feb 1, 10:22am Top

I love the idea of coffee cozys!

This lady's Etsy shop had this lovely one.

Feb 1, 10:27am Top

Hi, Joe!

I recently found a knitting pattern for mug cozies and I'm thinking of trying my hand at them at some point...

Feb 1, 10:30am Top

>114 richardderus: Very nice, Richard! Sometimes I wonder where you've stowed the curmudgeonly Richard.

These cozies are kinda cool, aren't they. Here's one for the cup and the pot:

Edited: Feb 1, 11:38am Top

Rafa working his Dad's Rubik's Cube

Feb 1, 11:43am Top

>102 NarratorLady: I goofed up my numbers up there, Anne. Apologies!

I'm glad Quiet Girl in a Noisy World worked for you, and that you're getting it for your daughter. I'm going to get a copy for my sister. Becca, as far as I could tell, had a great day off, with Indy having a chance to enjoy some more daycare. She's full of energy, that dog! She came to Becca on an athletic scholarship.

Edited: Feb 1, 11:55am Top

>97 jnwelch:

My daughter crocheted a similar cozy to use for coffee house take-outs - employees enjoy them too.

Photo-friendly Rafa enjoying a cool new teething tool!

Feb 1, 12:26pm Top

>116 jnwelch: I wonder sometimes as well. Then I see a stonking button on a mugwrapper, think "WTF you simp there's noplace for me to hold the effin' thing" and realize all is still as it needs to be.

My french press is double-walled stainless steel, after years of lovely glass cafetieres like that, so I could have an entire pot of hot coffee!

Feb 1, 12:30pm Top

>87 jnwelch: I agree that Potok is a terrific writer and could probably even make ad copy sound wonderful. The Chosen is one of my favorite books ever too.

>101 seasonsoflove: I love the shot of Indy in her PJs, Becca!

>117 jnwelch: He's about got it!

Feb 1, 12:34pm Top

>81 jnwelch: Good review of The Promise, Joe. I will definitely get around to this one - I’d like to see how Danny & Reuven end up. I think one of the most interesting things for me about The Chosen was learning about Orthodox Judaism and Hasidic Judaism. While I knew the terms I had very little idea how (or even if) they were distinguished from one another

Feb 1, 1:10pm Top

>122 SandDune:. Thanks, Rhian. Good to hear re the review. I liked spending more time with Reuven and Danny, and I’m sure you will, too.

I know, I really enjoyed learning about Orthodox Judaism and Hasidic Judaism, too. That may be the highest compliment we can give Chaim Potok! He makes it all so interesting.

We belong to a Reform temple in Chicago (the most liberal - non-Jews can attend), so I’ve ended up learning about Reform vs. Conservative vs. Orthodox, too. A bit like the Church of England vs. Catholicism, I guess, or Presbyterians vs. Episcopalians, although I feel like I know less about either of those!

Feb 1, 1:23pm Top

>119 m.belljackson:. Your daughter must have some notable talent, Marianne. I imagine those cozies aren’t all that easy to make. I do like that idea better than the paper sleeve.

Ha! Rafa’s going to be off the charts if he can solve a Rubik’s Cube. I suspect his Dad gave him a leg (or a hand) up on it. His Dad’s one of those guys who can solve them really fast. I’ll never forget asking him to show his grandfather (my Dad), and his solving it in about a minute, all the while casually talking to his Grandpa.

>120 richardderus:. That looks like a beaut, Mr. D. I can use a French Press, and I know the true aficionados sweat by it, but I just galumph Along without.

>121 alcottacre:. Thanks, Stasia. Yeah, you’ve got to be a terrific writer, seems to me, if you can make Hasidic vs. Orthodox and Talmudic debate fascinating and page-turning. He covers a lot more than that, of course but, as you say, he could probably even make ad copy sound wonderful.

Isn’t that a great shot of the elegant Indy in her pjs?

Rafa is close to getting that cube solved, you’re right. I’m not sure how many baby biscuits they give him when he’s successful.

Edited: Feb 1, 1:26pm Top

>120 richardderus: I have the small Bodum ss press, quiet ancient now, with the plastic disk immediately under the top lid broken due to falls. No replacements available, so we limp on.

Feb 1, 1:36pm Top

>124 jnwelch: I say whatever gets the Elixir of Extasy into us is a Good Thing.

>125 quondame: I'm much the same way with my kettle, though a fall for the stainless steel press wouldn't hurt my model very much.

Feb 1, 1:41pm Top

*Love* the new Rafa photo!

I think you missed me up there - I suspect we were posting at the same time.

Feb 1, 2:14pm Top

>115 scaifea:, >127 scaifea:. Oh my, I did, Amber. Thanks for letting me know. Hi!

I thought of you and your making-talents when I saw that mug cozy. You’d be aces at them, I’m sure. If you do it, I’d sure be interested in seeing what you come up with.

Isn’t that Rafa a cute guy? We miss the little fellow. He’s leaving soon to visit his other grandparents in Texas. They’re a bit over the moon about him, too.

Feb 1, 2:18pm Top

>125 quondame:. :-)

>126 richardderus:. Amen to that, brother. The Elixir of Ecstasy which happily binds us to the beauty of the cosmos, and pries our eyes open so we can actually see it.

Feb 1, 5:11pm Top

>123 jnwelch: I know a lot more about the distinctions between the various Christian denominations. Other the years I’ve attended Church of England, Baptist, Church of Scotland (in Bermuda) and United Reformed Church. Most Jewish people I have known have been of the not terribly observant category, so this is an area that is very new to me.

Edited: Feb 2, 8:53am Top

'Morning, Joe!

>124 jnwelch: I can use a French Press, and I know the true aficionados swear by it, but I just galumph Along without. I don't know how to use a French Press, but I, too just galumph along without. I like my Bunn - I can grind the beans, brew the coffee, and have a lovely mug within 3-4 minutes.

Feb 2, 10:14am Top

Ahhh, coffee.. I'm super lazy and just have a reusable Keurig cup that I put coffee ground in (Maxwell House or Folgers, whatever's on sale when I'm in need of more). My brother-in-law, on the other hand, gets super-organic beans and grinds his own, measures it, and makes a pour over. No one else in the house knows how to do it, so when he's gone on a work trip while I'm visiting, I've had to walk to the coffee shop down the street to have my morning brew. Because she's watched her day make coffee, my niece, who loves imaginative play, has "made a cup of coffee" and I've watched her pretend to grind it and measure it, before handing me the cup. So she may be following in his footsteps soon!

Feb 2, 11:24am Top

>130 SandDune: Hi, Rhian.

You've got me beat on all of those. I've been in many churches for singing, or for oohing and ahhing over the architecture and innards, but not for many services. When our daughter needed to know about Presbyterianism (the one I was "raised" in), we sent her down the street to a friend who's active in a local Presbyterian church. My parents were not churchgoers. They had me go to Sunday School at the nearby Presby church one year; I was bored out of my gourd, and that was it for me. Because our daughter teaches at a Catholic school, these days I find myself in Catholic churches much more than I expected, watching her kids perform.

>131 karenmarie: 'Morning, Karen!

Yeah, I'm a galumpher, unless the only coffeemaker around is a French Press, as happens sometimes in our travels. We have a Mr. Coffee and a Keurig at home, and I tend to get the coffee already ground, although sometimes I end up grinding it, depending on what coffee I pick up (or I'm given). Being in the city, we're lucky enough to have a lot of cafes and Starbucks near us, so that's often the way we start the day (chai latte for Madame MBH) - like today!

>132 bell7: Ahh, coffee. Right, Keurigs are easy, aren't they, Mary. Often more economical, too, as there's no leftover coffee.

Your BIL sounds like a top shelf coffee drinker, and I love that his daughter follows his process with the imaginary coffee. I had someone like him show me how to use the French Press. It does make tasty coffee, for sure, but I'm super lazy like you, so I only do it when there's no other option.

Edited: Feb 2, 11:26am Top

Feb 2, 1:25pm Top

>133 jnwelch: This wordings "leftover coffee" makes for to be confused by. How please is coffee to be "left over"? Over I am thinking a c-a-t or something?

>134 jnwelch: I'll have what he's having.

Feb 2, 2:12pm Top

>131 karenmarie: >132 bell7: >133 jnwelch: In the long ago, I made and consumed instant coffee. In Berkeley I visited a housemate from college (UCB) who was living with a high school friend of mine and woke early looking for something to pour boiling water into. Beans were in the freezer, grinder in the cupboard with filters and the chemist's tools of brewing. Not sure when I developed taste buds.

>135 richardderus: 😜

Edited: Feb 2, 3:22pm Top

>134 jnwelch: hmm, does that slice of cake have custard in I wonder...

How is your cough Joe, I remember you mentioned it on my thread a while ago? Fingers crossed, mine is finally on the way out, it has been much quieter today.

I hope you've been keeping warm today.

Love Indy's PJs >101 seasonsoflove:. And young Rafa with his new toy >117 jnwelch:, he looks like he's asking 'have I got this right?'.

Feb 2, 3:24pm Top

Happy Saturday, Joe!

Feb 2, 4:49pm Top

Maybe one day I'll meet Rafa and he can show me how to solve the cube!

I love all the talk about Potok - I definitely need to read more. The Chosen sounds outstanding.

Feb 2, 5:17pm Top

Happy Saturday, Joe. I am finished with work and I stopped to have a beer or two, on my way home. I want to get in the right mood for tomorrow. Grins... Sue is out at a family get-together, so I am going to go home and chill for the evening.

I hope you are having a good day.

Feb 2, 7:00pm Top

Just checking in to make sure you and yours all survived the frigid weather, Joe. We are in the middle of a winter storm here right now--lots of wind sending cold drafts through the house.

Feb 3, 3:14am Top

>117 jnwelch: Cute and smart!!

Hope you are managing to stay warm. : ) Enjoy Sunday.

Feb 3, 9:52am Top

>135 richardderus: Ha! If only we had you around, Richard, I know "leftover coffee" would not be an issue. Making pots of coffee, for me, is an inexact science.

Heh. I love that you think it's one person's order in >134 jnwelch:.

>136 quondame: I'll still drink instant coffee if that's all that's available, Susan, but there's a huge difference between that and the real thing, isn't there. Thank goodness you woke up and smelled the coffee beans. :-)

Feb 3, 10:16am Top

>137 Caroline_McElwee: I'm not sure whether that cake has custard, Caroline, but I'm sure we can find some that does.

My cough has been better, thanks. I'm looking forward to that sinuplasty in about 10 days to open me up and diminish the cough-creating. I'm glad yours is on the way out! It's annoying, isn't it, particularly for theatre-goers like you and me. I load up on cough drops (Hall's Soothers) these days when we head to a play, and I'm hoping it becomes less of an issue.

Our temps are much improved here. We're already around 6 C. Thank goodness it's improved, as we're having a gathering for the Super Bowl tonight. (We let Debbi know when the commercials come on - they're a big deal for this event, and she has no interest in the game itself!)

Aren't those fun photos of Indy and Rafa? Indy is remarkably sanguine about wearing clothes. You're probably right about Rafa - "am I doing this the right way, Dad?"

Custard cake

Feb 3, 10:25am Top

>138 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! It was a good Saturday. I'm such a slowpoke, I'll say, Happy Sunday!

>139 streamsong: I hope you do meet young Rafa some day, Janet. He's a sweetheart. I know, the idea of spending time figuring out how to solve the Rubik's Cube is beyond me, but his Dad is aces at it. He actually used some kind of silicone - WD40? - to make the cube parts move faster, so he could solve it faster. Are you kidding me, young man?

I love all the Potok talk, too. What a writer he is. I think you'll love The Chosen when you get to it.

Feb 3, 11:01am Top

>143 jnwelch: ...wait...three cups of coffee, two donuts (or are those the cousin species "duffnuts?" I still can't distinguish between them at a glance), and a piece of coffee cake is supposed to feed more than one person?!

...the very idea...

Feb 3, 11:07am Top

>140 msf59: Hey, Mark. Glad you're done with work. Next week looks much better temp-wise. I hope you enjoyed taking it easy last night.

We did have a good Saturday - got lots of errands done now that being outside is safe again (!), and we've been watching a Netflix show that Brodie recommended, called Travelers - people from the future coming back to our time to try to fix what's turned into disaster in their own time.

Looking forward to having you with us - see you soon!

>141 ronincats: Hi, Roni. Yes, we made it through the polar vortex just fine, thanks. It actually was kind of fun to be holed up in the house for a while - we weren't here all that much last year! I missed it.

I didn't even know you got winter storms where you are! I think of San Diego as always having good weather. It never reaches freezing, right? But everybody gets storms. I hope this one passes quickly for you.

>142 Berly: Hi, Kim! He's a cute and smart boy, that Rafa. He's about to go on another adventure, visiting with his grandparents in southern Texas while his ma and pa spend some time in Mexico. His abuelita and abuelito are as taken with that young guy as we are. Plus the little dogs, Bolita and Maleta, are going with him. Lucky guy.

It's a nice Sunday already, and we'll gather for the Super Bowl later on. I hope you're having a good one, too.

Feb 3, 11:09am Top

>146 richardderus: LOL! So much of the world shows unseemly restraint when faced with bounty, Richard. Your attitude is inspiring. :-)

Edited: Feb 3, 11:28am Top

Bargains Kindle has lots of good science book bargains today, including Longitude for $1.99 (great book) and I Contain Multitudes for $2.99 (I loved it).

Feb 3, 11:35am Top

>149 jnwelch: - I have read both of those, Joe and enjoyed both, too!

Feb 3, 11:40am Top

>149 jnwelch: FORTUNATELY my February widow's mite hasn't hit my hands yet or that'd be the death of my balance.

Edited: Feb 3, 12:30pm Top

>150 jessibud2: Glad to hear it, Shelley! Weren't they topnotch? The more endorsements the better - I hope others pick up on them. I'm a bit torn on the Kindle part - it's good for the lengthy I Contain Multitudes, but Longitude is an elegant, slim volume in paperback or hardcover.

>151 richardderus: Ha! Omigosh. Widow's mite - you always improve my day with your erudition, Richard. I hope the WM shows up soon - we'll give you free coffee and pastry here, so five bucks can go toward these.

Feb 3, 12:30pm Top

OH, all that coffee talk. I seem to have failed coffee-tasting in school. I won't drink instant, but I do fine with non-special pre-ground drip-style. My caffeine capacity seems to be a little on the low side these days, however, so I've dug out some decaf to mix in with the leaded variety.

I read Longitude some years ago - pretty good. I Contain Multitudes sounds interesting - I may pay Ammie a visit.

Feb 3, 12:37pm Top

>153 ffortsa: Hiya, Judy. I'm surprised that in that caffeine haven you live in you're not more of a java-head. Occasionally I think back to the vending machine dreck I drank in college - they wouldn't dare sell that these days. I cringed even then.

I was way beyond "pretty good" for Longitude. She wowed me - and on a topic I had no particular interest in when I started. I've read all of hers since then. I Contain Multitudes is really well done, and fascinating. We've got so much going on inside of us, that we're normally oblivious to!

Feb 3, 1:01pm Top

Happy Sunday, Joe. Looking forward to seeing you guys later. Thanks again for the invite. I have read The Best We Could Do. It was an excellent GN. Which Jackson Brodie are you starting? I seem to remember trying to get you to read that series, many years ago. I think it was the first one, you were adverse to. Great series.

I will be starting The Calculating Stars on my trip into the city. Looking forward to it. I am guessing you are taking a pass on Virgil Wander?

Feb 3, 1:14pm Top

I listened to I Contain Multitudes on audio and the narrator (I forget who it was, right now), was great. As I mentioned in my review after reading it, the ick factor aside, it was fascinating. And while someone had to do all that research, to gain all that knowledge, I'm sure glad it wasn't me!

Feb 3, 1:19pm Top

Also part of that Kindle sale is the most excellent The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Highly recommended!

Edited: Feb 3, 3:09pm Top

>155 msf59:. Oh, I’m glad you mentioned Virgil Wander, Mark. Debbi says, if you think she’d like it, please bring it.

The Jackson Brodie is One Good Turn. Yeah, maybe a year or so ago I read the first one, and also saw the tv series with Jason Isaacs as Brodie.

Go Calculating Stars! See you not too long from now.

Edited: Feb 3, 3:16pm Top

>156 jessibud2:. Boy, part of me thinks I Contain Multitudes is a tough one for audio, and part of me thinks that would be great, Shelley. I’m glad it came out on the great side for you! Yeah, what a lot of research underlies the narrative. Yong does such a great job of making it accessible and conversational.

>157 katiekrug:. I’m glad you mentioned the bargain for The Sixth Extinction, Katie. I’ve heard lots of good things about that one.

Feb 3, 4:10pm Top

>143 jnwelch: A while back, a great while actually, I was told to quit caffeine. I did this by tapering off using caffeine pills so as not to be subject to migraine lever withdrawal headaches. It worked well. I was left with a bottle of caffeine tablets. Which I now use rather than instant when no coffee is available. Recently 4 days in the mountains with bad acidic coffee at an event dedicated to good food, so not really forgivable - made me realize how particular my tastes had become. I still have to figure out good coffee at 6000 ft though.

Feb 3, 4:30pm Top

>159 jnwelch: - To be honest, I think my eyes would have glazed over had I been reading the text. There were enough unpronounceable (to me) words and scientific jargon, that I most likely would have abandoned it long before the end, had someone with a lovely, engaging voice not been reading it to me. The humour came through very well, too. I can't remember now if it was the author himself who read it or someone else but it held my attention throughout.

Feb 3, 4:44pm Top

>160 quondame: Oh, that would be tough for me, Susan. I enjoy coffee a lot, as you probably can tell. It's such a great way to start the day. It would be tough to lose that.

I've gotten no-caffeine headaches, and they're no fun. As I'm sure you know, there are decent low-acid coffees out there. Our in-laws gave me some from Colombia that's pretty darn good. Four days in the mountains sounds very cool - what mountains? Having bad coffee on a trip dedicated to good food sounds like a big miscalculation by someone. Coffee often grows in the mountains, so drinking it there should be a natural, shouldn't it?

>161 jessibud2: For some reason, I'm so much better with print than audio, Shelley. My family teases me that I get so connected with the print that I don't hear them. I Contain Multitudes does have a lot of good humour in it, doesn't it. Amazon has Charlie Anson as the narrator?

Edited: Feb 3, 5:07pm Top

Super Bowl Sunday

This photo is way under-snacked, and way under-beered, but it gives the gist of the experience. Kickoff at 5:30 (or thereabouts) Central time; we'll be in front of our bigger screen in our (book-lined) basement. See you there!

P.S. Word on the street is that Bumble the deaf and blind dog scored two field goals in this year's Puppy Bowl. Go Bumble!


Feb 3, 4:58pm Top

>162 jnwelch: - According to my little notebook where I write down the titles and authors of the books I read each year, I read it in 2017. Unfortunately, I am far too lazy to dig back into LT threads to find my review to check for the narrator's name. That name doesn't ring a bell but that is not to say it wasn't him. Maybe I ought to start noting narrators of audiobooks in my notebook, too!

Edited: Feb 3, 5:01pm Top

This is at least a start in the snack category

Feb 3, 5:07pm Top

>164 jessibud2: No worries, Shelley. I'm a bit lazy myself when it comes to that kind of thing, as you may have noticed.

I'm not enough of a narrator aficionado to speak knowledgeably, but some here are very savvy about the best ones. I did love Jim Dale doing the Harry Potter books (I'd like to hear Stephen Fry do them), and Neil Gaiman gets me every time as a narrator.

Feb 3, 5:55pm Top

>162 jnwelch: The San Bernadino Mountains. Every January we stay at a Unitarian camp ground and the coffee is made in the machine at the lodge. I think the poor coffee quality is due to low water temperatures and less than the best choice of coffee, but an improperly cleaned machine may be part of the problem. I don't think I'll go so far as to import an espresso machine, but I might volunteer a pound or two of Peet's. I have an obscure (in that the Drs. have seen it but have no explanation) taste disorder that idiosyncratically adds bitterness to whatever I'm tasting and has eliminated dark chocolates, many red wines, and dark roasted coffee from what I can enjoy. Mostly though it kicks in with sweets.

Feb 3, 7:38pm Top

Enjoy your Super Bowl get together, Joe. I got to clear snow today so I guess we can't say that this was a winter without snow here. Looks like it will stay around for a while too as the temperatures will be low (for us) for the next little while.

I have Longtitude on my shelves. Good to know that you thought highly of it.

Feb 3, 10:35pm Top

Happy new thread, Joe. Still February, right? Do you think you could run to something long and cold to drink, please? It's hot over here and I don't remember the last time we had rain (unusual for us).

>120 richardderus: I have that self-same French press (well, I think so. I could see the image on my iPad but not now on my mac) - wide spout, handle, lid that rotates to keep the heat in and all. I do have a coffee machine (currently on the blink) but my sister can't survive without that slow-pressed flavour so she bought it for me. I have a blue framed Bodum but the glass broke; I managed to replace it on our trip to Copenhagen (about 12 years ago) but someone managed to smash the spout (which I wasn't too happy about), hence the stainless steel replacement.

Edited: Feb 4, 8:25am Top

>167 quondame: Hi, Susan. Oh sure, I know the San Bernadino mountains. I lived in Santa Barbara lo those many moons ago. We got married by a Unitarian minister. I might volunteer a pound or two of Peet's. Ha! Good idea. I got turned onto Peet's by a departed LTer, Ellie Moses (she passed away a couple of years ago - amazing woman).

Sorry to hear about the bitter taste disorder. That's a new one to me. What tastes best to you, i.e., what's a treat that you enjoy?

>168 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Boring, low-scoring Super Bowl game, but excellent snacks and company. It was great to have friend Mark with us.

Do you ever get a winter without snow? I've had that once, when I lived in southern California, and found it a bit disconcerting. Of course, now I'd easily take half of what we get here.

I did think highly of Longitude. As you'll see when you get to it, she's quite a writer.

Edited: Feb 4, 8:24am Top

>169 humouress: Hiya, Nina. Yes, still February. You're in such a different part of the world! We definitely can find a long and cold drink for you.

Feb 4, 8:28am Top

Hey Joe! Finally caught up here. I parked myself on your post 72 and will stay there till June, thank you very much :0)

Feb 4, 8:30am Top

Morning, Joe. Thanks for having me over yesterday. I enjoyed myself. Good company, good beer & snacks and you know I LOVE the book chatter. Too bad there wasn't a better outcome, with the game.

I might run over to the Arboretum for awhile, to take advantage of this mild weather.

Feb 4, 8:39am Top

Hi Joe!
>143 jnwelch: I last drank instant coffee at an elderly friend’s house about 3 years ago and have foregone the experience ever since. I rarely drink coffee at restaurants because it’s always too weak or too strong for me. I like my freshly-ground beans, wonderful well water, and Bunn drip coffee maker. I bought Gevalia’s decaf whole beans for decades, but when they stopped offering it I switched back to caf and don't like decaf any more.

>144 jnwelch: Sinuplasty. I’ve never heard of it, I hope you get good results. There were many years I could have used it, but I seem to have ‘grown out of’ most of my sinus problems, thank goodness. Claratin-wanna-be every day seems to help, too.

>149 jnwelch: I’ve read Longitude. It was fascinating. I want to read I Contain Multitudes and am sorry I didn’t see this yesterday, as it’s now gone up to $8.99 on Amazon and I’m trying to be more careful with my book spending. Sigh.

>165 jnwelch: *whimper*

>167 quondame:, >170 jnwelch: My sister was in those mountains over the weekend and it snowed. The first time I ever saw snow was in those mountains when I was about 10 – we took a trip somewhere up there. Dad, ever the jokester, told his three born-in-LA babies that it was stacks of salt on the side of the road. He and Mom moved from the Midwest in 1952 partly because of the weather, partly to get away from domineering mothers. They always loved the mild SoCal basin weather.

Feb 4, 9:03am Top

>172 Carmenere: Ha! Good plan, Lynda. I may join you in post 72. That sure looks better than February in Chicago!

>173 msf59: Morning, Mark. It was great to have you with us. Agreed, across the board. I'm glad we were able to get in some book chatter. I've got an eye on that Russell Banks book after your re-endorsement. I know, jeesh, haven't the Patriots and Brady won enough? I can't believe they held the Rams to 3 points. Amazing.

That's right - you were smart to take a day off. Enjoy this mild weather!

Feb 4, 9:14am Top

>174 karenmarie: I've had good luck with coffee in restaurants here, Karen, but I do avoid instant coffee unless it's all that's on hand (my BIL likes to drink it, so that's mainly when I do).

Sinuplasty is new to me, too, but they're going to open up my sinuses. It's fast; the doctor says it's more like a dental appointment. I'll report back; I'd sure like to clear this up.

Oh good, I'm glad you found Longitude fascinating. Me, too, and unexpectedly. Ah, too bad you missed the window of opportunity for I Contain Multitudes. The library? It's been out long enough that the demand probably has settled down.

Oh, we had such good snacks yesterday, including pies and birthday cake for Madame MBH (her actual birthday is later this week). >167 quondame: looks tempting, doesn't it.

Yeah, when I lived in Santa Barbara I could go to the beach to swim one day and up into the snowy mountains the next. Pretty amazing. I was the opposite of your parents in some sense - I missed the seasons from back east! Also, I needed more culture going into my brain. I moved from there to NYC, and eventually to Chicago.

Feb 4, 9:41am Top

Rafa thoroughly experiencing the joy of avocado

Madame MBH found this photo of Rafa's father enjoying avocado at a similar age

Feb 4, 10:35am Top

Happy the-wrong-team-won day. I wonder if we could schedule something dire happening while Tom "Deflategate" Brady is visiting 45.


Feb 4, 10:50am Top

>165 jnwelch: Ah. that's a superbowl I could really enjoy.

I watched most of the game (until the touchdown) and found it rather interesting to have such well-matched teams. Not much big drama, but amazing concentration and skill on the field.

>167 quondame: On, that taste problem must be annoying. Bitter is not a taste you want from otherwise delicious treats.

Feb 4, 1:36pm Top

>177 jnwelch: ROFLMAO. So funny Joe. I almost feel like going out and getting my own avo and doing the same. It's raining though.

Off in your travels again I see from Mark's thread.

Feb 4, 2:02pm Top

>178 richardderus:. Arggh. I know, Richard. Where was that dazzling Rams offense? I keep reminding myself that Caro and Marianne and many of our Eastern relatives are happy about the Patriots winning. Arggh.

One Patriot has already said he’s not going to the White House, and he’d rather meet Obama. This could get interesting.

Feb 4, 2:13pm Top

>179 ffortsa:. Ha! Right, Judy? Some nice - and delicious - creativity in >165 jnwelch:.

Good for you re the game. There was amazing concentration and skill. I was rooting for the other team to win, and lots of scoring, but it was intense and skillfully hard fought.

Yeah, I’d never heard of that bitterness disorder that Susan has. Fascinating, but I’m sure also frustrating at times?

>180 Caroline_McElwee:. Isn’t the Avocado Experience hilarious, Caroline? That’s called having a good time with your food. I hope the skies clear and you can get some avo to join in on the celebration.

Yup, we’re off to Los Angeles for a week starting tomorrow. We now have about eight dozen (slight exaggeration) nieces there, with their significant others and kids, and other friends. So this’ll probably be a regular trip. Before I retired, Debbi used to do it on her own.

Edited: Feb 4, 5:17pm Top

I'm reading The Library Book about the fire in the LA library. Fascinating. No doubt you have been there Joe.

Enjoy being favourite aunt and uncle, I'm sure you both are.

Edited: Feb 4, 6:38pm Top

>165 jnwelch: That is some spread. From the organization I assume that the lower right puffy bits aren't fried cauliflower.

>170 jnwelch: I enjoy many things. Most really, though before I knew what was going on I said some rather unfavorable things about dishes at favorite restaurants. And there was the scary bit before they eliminated all the brutally fatal things they know causes this symptom. I certainly would have worked my way through >165 jnwelch:.

>174 karenmarie: It was snowing just before we went up, but rain had cleared the road. I went up a day late, after the storm had passed. It snowed briefly the morning I left, and I made it out before an accident (actually the extraction of the over the side of the road vehicle I think we passed) closed the road for a couple of hours.

>179 ffortsa: Yes to annoying! It's worst when I've just bit into an interesting sweet and my mouth gets flooded with bitter. Much of the time it's just a bit of background noise.

Feb 4, 6:20pm Top

>184 quondame: Exploring the worst case scenarios must have been a very anxious time. I'm glad they weren't confirmed!

Feb 4, 9:10pm Top

As always, I love those Rafa pictures. He's making good progress on the Rubik's Cube and he clearly enjoys a tasty avocado! How cool that Debbi found the other picture. Like father/like son!

I enjoyed the philosophic conversation on the last thread about graphic novels that evolved into Artificial Intelligence. I'm glad for the continuation of the talk about Debbie Tung's books. I never expected to get hit with two book bullets for illustrated books!

Have fun in LA. My DH is there now, returning home tomorrow. He won't have nearly as much fun as you will, though. At least that's what he tells me. lol

Feb 4, 9:38pm Top

>183 Caroline_McElwee: I probably should read The Library Book, Caroline. Yes, I've been to the Los Angeles library big time - our niece was married there. It was really cool. Beautiful library.

You know, we might just be the favorite aunt and uncle. There are advantages to being relatively uncomplicated. :-)

>184 quondame: Ha! Yeah, I think the lower right puffy bits in >165 jnwelch: are more powdered donuts, Susan.

I'm glad to hear that you enjoy many and most things! It must have been weird and scary to get it all figured out. Sorry about the annoying-ness!

>185 ffortsa: Right, agreed, Judy.

Feb 5, 4:31am Top

>171 jnwelch: Oh Joe, thanks. Luscious! - both drink and view which, oddly enough, we don't get in Singapore. I'd have to hop across to Malaysia or Indonesia for that, but fortunately not a long hop.

>167 quondame: Hmm; you're not expecting are you ;0)

>177 jnwelch: So glad we're past that stage. Mostly. :0)

Feb 5, 6:54am Top

>186 Donna828: Hi, Donna. Ha! Rafa's having a blast getting to know this world, isn't he. It's fun to see. Debbi cracked up our son and his bride when she sent that photo of our son as an avocado-ed youngster.

Heh. That's one of the beauties of LT, right? We find out about irresistible books that are way outside of our usual. Go Debbie Tung! You can imagine how happy I am that you're going to try the illustrated books!

Thanks - we're off to catch our flight to LA soon. Your DH will probably be warmed up a bit from his time there. :-)

Feb 5, 6:57am Top

>149 jnwelch: I loved Longitude when I read it eons ago. I really need to read it again.

I love the avocado'd baby pictures :)

Edited: Feb 5, 7:07am Top

>188 humouress: Ha! You're welcome, Nina. I wondered whether you had a water view in Singapore. Isn't it a big island?

I have to admit, I get a kick out of the stage where the young 'uns dive in and manage to get food all over them. Although then cleanup is required. I do look forward to his talking a language we can understand, which is probably some months away.

>190 alcottacre: Hiya, Stasia. Aren't the avocado'd son and father funny?

Yeah, I'm the same way. I read Longitude eons ago and loved it, and should read it again.

Feb 5, 10:15am Top

>177 jnwelch: So adorable! Both :)

Feb 5, 10:32am Top

Safe journey, happy visit!

Feb 5, 12:21pm Top

>191 jnwelch: Oh, they’re cute enough - at a distance (of time or space) - but it’s the parents who are left with the cleanup.

Feb 5, 3:39pm Top

Love the avocado shots. It's fun to see the family resemblance (not just their approach to avo) in the two pictures too.

I've just picked up Berlin (a combined edition of book 1 and 2) by Jason Lutes: it's amazing, so detailed, beautiful characters. I wondered if you had read any of his stuff?

Feb 5, 5:11pm Top

Happy Tuesday, Joe! I am sure you are in sunny LA right now! Have a great getaway. We are facing an ice storm, through the night. Yippee!!

Feb 5, 5:22pm Top

>188 humouress: Not hardly. And it's been going on for over a decade.

>196 msf59: It's kind of rainy here in LA, well, on and off. On the cool side too.

Feb 5, 9:24pm Top

>192 ChelleBearss:. Ha! We love both of those adorable gumbah heads, Chelle. Hard to believe that Avocado-face Jesse now has one of his own. Don’t blink with your girls!

>193 richardderus:. Thanks, Richard! We’ve safely arrived, and we’re goofing around with grand-nephew Sam and his mom.

Feb 5, 9:30pm Top

>194 humouress:. Right, Nina - or the grandparents, when we’re taking care of the little guy. He must have us mesmerized - we think he’s wonderful even when he resembles guacamole and needs to be hosed down.

>195 charl08:. Rafa’s father was a cute little guy in his own time, Charlotte. I see the resemblance, too.

Jason Lutes is new to me. Thanks for the tip! Berlin looks really interesting. I added it to the WL. I’ll watch for your comments on it.

Edited: Feb 5, 9:57pm Top

>196 msf59:. Happy Tuesday, buddy! Thanks - it’s cool today here in LA, but still way better than Chi-town. We’re having a good time with our niece and her 1 year old.

We heard about the ice storm coming. Yikes is right! Stay safe and sound, my friend.

>197 quondame: it’s all relative, I guess, Susan. No rain and sunny where we are. We ate lunch at an outdoor cafe - we’d have turned into icicles back in Chicago. :-) They’re telling us we’re lucky in missing the rainstorms.

Feb 6, 6:49am Top

Morning, Joe! Happy to see that you've made it to California - enjoy your trip!

Feb 6, 7:23am Top

Happy Wednesday, Joe!

Feb 6, 9:08am Top

>177 jnwelch: Wow. That's hilarious.

I've been wanting to read both Longitude and I Contain Multitudes. They look excellent.

Feb 6, 9:39am Top

Happy California! Hope you get some sunshine, along with books, brews, beach and family.

GuacaRafa - incredibly cute as is his father at the same age. Wow that history repeated itself and thanks for posting the pics.

Feb 6, 2:36pm Top

>177 jnwelch: the face of pure happiness !!! I though it was play dough initially, but avocado is that much tastier.Gorgeous :)

Feb 6, 5:05pm Top

>201 scaifea:. Hiya, Amber!

We’re having a grand time, thanks. Went to a story time at the Los Feliz library this morning with young Sam and maybe two dozen of his buddies (bigger crowd of littles than I expected!) milling about on the floor, with grups trying to keep them out of trouble, followed by a trip to the Skylight bookstore to buy him books, and a delicious lunch at a French patisserie. Tonight we have dinner with a good friend of your BFF who now lives out here.

I hope all is going well for you and the residents of Scaife Manor.

Feb 6, 5:08pm Top

>202 alcottacre:. Thanks, Stasia. Happy Wednesday!

>203 The_Hibernator:. Right, Rachel? Passing the deep love of avocados from generation to generation.

Both books are so good! I think you’ll enjoy both Longitude and I Contain Multitudes.

Feb 6, 5:15pm Top

>204 streamsong:. Thanks, Janet. It’s sunny and green here, and has warmed up to a comfortable level. I don’t know whether we’ll get to the beach this time, but the rest is happening.

I just finished two good mysteries, Forfeit and One Good Turn. Next up is Bryson’s Notes on a Small Island.

“GuacaRafa” - love it! You’re welcome. His pa is GuacaJesse.

>205 LovingLit:. Ha! Isn’t that fun, Megan? He’s a joyful little fellow, even more so than his dad was as a wee one, and his dad was pretty darn sunny.

Feb 7, 9:02am Top

Hi Joe!

Sounds like CA is treating you well.

>177 jnwelch: Very Cute Pictures. It's a labor of love to let the little ones experience messy foods they way they should be experienced.

Feb 7, 10:06am Top

Hiya, Karen. Yes - we’re off to Universal Studios and Harry Potter World soon.

Aren’t those fun photos of the Avocado Boys? They both had such a lovely, immersive experience. :-)

Feb 7, 11:06pm Top

I'm glad to see that Rafa enjoys his food. I mean, food and books -- two of life's greatest pleasures!

Sinuplasty. Done? Scheduled? Sorry - I'm skimming through but it's late and my eyes are tired so I'm having trouble focusing.

Okay, wait, I just realized that you're in California? Well, that is a needed break after the polar vortex! Enjoy!

Feb 8, 12:38am Top

Hope you had fun at Universal Studios and HP World! The Avocado Boys are too funny. : )

Feb 8, 10:53am Top

>211 EBT1002:. Hi, Ellen. Rafa does enjoy swimming in, I mean, eating his food. And he loves his books. Somewhere I have a photo of him “reading”.

Yeah, sinuplasty coming up next week. We’re having a good visit in LA, and are spending most of the morning goofing off before meeting up with our niece and her one year old. Dinner with my godson and his new bride tonight.

>212 Berly:. Thanks, Kim. We had a wonderful time at Universal, celebrating Debbi’s birthday. She posted a bunch of photos on Facebook. Harry Potter World, the Studio Tour and the battle in Waterworld were highlights.

The Avocado Boys are in southern Texas now with Mama Avocado, at her parents’ house. I’m sure there’ll be a photo or two from their adventures. :-)

Feb 8, 11:47am Top

Speaking of coffee, Joe. Google today is marking the birthday of Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge (1794—1867), a German analytical chemist. Runge identified the mydriatic (pupil dilating) effects of belladonna (deadly nightshade) extract, identified caffeine, and discovered the first coal tar dye (aniline blue). But everybody knows that, right?

Have fun in F-L-A!

Feb 8, 1:06pm Top

>214 weird_O: Ha! Thanks for the good info, Bill. I believe he also was the inventor of Runge Rock music. (Groan). If he had brewed the first pot of coffee ever, I'd really feel in his debt.

We're actually in C-A, rather than F-L-A, but I can understand the confusion, particularly with the Universal Studios references.

Edited: Feb 8, 1:26pm Top


Debbi and Joe on the red carpet at Universal Studios; Debbi with our daughter's, and our, friend Daisy, at Rockwell Restaurant

Feb 8, 2:21pm Top

>216 jnwelch: Coats! Y'all're wearing coats! I was expecting flip-flops and board shorts since CA is so warm, compared to us up here anyway.

Feb 8, 2:29pm Top

Didn't realize they had a Harry Potter Experience on the west coast too.

Sending healing Jimmy Durante vibes your way

Ha Cha Cha

Feb 8, 3:11pm Top

>217 richardderus: For CA it's been rather cold for rather longer than usual AND we have at least another week of it. I need more wool clothing!!!

Feb 8, 4:15pm Top

>177 jnwelch: hahahaha love it! Like father like son, eh?

Feb 8, 4:19pm Top

>219 quondame: Oh, I can see it for y'all out there, but for Polar Vortexians like Debbi and Joe to need coats in what is (to us) early summer weather is funny.

Feb 8, 4:23pm Top

>221 richardderus: I'm loving it. I just layer on 3+ deep of light weight and a sweater/coat for outdoors and add dog. 50s are my favorite degrees, and SoCal does them right. The rain is a regrettable necessity, and though I know it's a problem I don't feel guilty for enjoying the dry climate. After all, there is nothing I can do about the weather.

Feb 8, 5:41pm Top

>216 jnwelch: Great to see you both.

Happy Birthday to Debbi, I hope there were some reading treats amongst her parcels!

Feb 8, 7:09pm Top

>222 quondame: ...and here I thought the Weather Goddess would accept sacrifices...

Feb 8, 8:03pm Top

>217 richardderus:. Ha! Hoodie and long sweater, RD. It’s been cool for LA; the day started in the 40s F. When it warmed up, a layer came off.

>218 magicians_nephew:. Yes - the West Coast HP Experience is similar to Orlando’s, Jim. I can’t get enough! I flew through the castle and environs twice behind Harry on his broomstick.

>219 quondame:. Yes, agreed, Susan. It’s fine for us - no ice storms, no polar vortex, light clothing, but our niece keeps apologizing that she didn’t reserve better weather for us. It was GORGEOUS today. We just ate outside on Hillhurst.

Feb 8, 8:09pm Top

>220 bell7:. Right, Mary? I don’t think our parents fed us avos, or I probably would’ve made it three gens.

>221 richardderus:. We were mainly going for the elegant red carpet look, RD.

>222 quondame:. We’re loving the weather, too, Susan, We’d lean more in the 60s F druthers-wise, but this is the kind of weather we like when traveling. Great for walking - and we’re staying in Los Feliz, where we can walk a lot.

Edited: Feb 8, 8:15pm Top

>223 Caroline_McElwee:. Hi, Caroline. Thanks! I wish it were easy to bring the whole bunch of photos Debbi posted over from Facebook.

She had a wonderful birthday, and I passed on your happy birthday wishes. She did buy books, but quite in character for her, they were for Rafa and Sam (our niece’s one year old). She loves them both to bits.

>224 richardderus:. :-)

Feb 8, 8:27pm Top

>226 jnwelch: Good eats in Los Feliz. My daughter hung out there for a while.

Feb 8, 8:53pm Top

We’re going to Mess Hall tonight, Susan, and Alcove tomorrow? The food at Rockwell was outstanding. Their sea bass was the best fish I’ve had in a good while.

Feb 8, 8:57pm Top

Joe--Sounds like all is well in CA. I am off to FB to see more of the birthday celebration pictures. Happy weekend!

Feb 8, 10:19pm Top

Glad to hear you are enjoying your visit and hitting some dry days. Rain likely tomorrow!

Feb 9, 12:31am Top

>230 Berly: Hiya, Kim. All is well in CA. We just had a wonderful dinner with my godson and his new bride. Really lovely people. I may post a photo tomorrow if I get my act together. You'll love the FB photos, I imagine. What a fine day that was.

The celebration of Debbi's birthday continues - Jimmy and Norma insisted on taking us out tonight for it, and I'll be taking her out to her favorite restaurant when we get back - plus there are presents waiting for her.

>231 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. We're having a great time, and no rain predicted here tomorrow. What a beautiful day today was. Stay dry!

Feb 9, 7:09am Top

>216 jnwelch: Love the photos! Happy folks!

Morning, Joe. I am sure you guys are having a terrific time, romping in the warmth and sunshine. It was absolutely brutal here yesterday. Like you, I broke down and bought Black Leopard, Red wolf. Really pumped about this one. I had a good time with The Calculating Stars. I appreciate the nudge.

Feb 9, 9:03am Top

Hi Joe! Sounds like the C-A visit is going well. Happy Birthday to Debbi.

Feb 9, 11:02am Top

Greetings from 13° New York! Mildly enviously yours, RMD

Feb 9, 12:31pm Top

>233 msf59: Thanks, buddy!

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed The Calculating Stars. Word on the (LT) street is that the second is as good as the first.

Great! It's going to take me a while to get through my current reads, but hopefully I can join you in reading the Marlon James book. Thanks for the text that you're loving the Andrea Gibson collection! Isn't she good?

>234 karenmarie: Hi Joe! The C-A visit is going well indeed. We had a wonderful dinner last night with my godson and his bride. Today we're meeting up with a different niece (we've got four here) and her hubby.

I passed on your Happy Birthday wishes to Debbi. She's Walklover in this 75er group, and our daughter is Seasonsoflove.

>235 richardderus: Mild sympathy to you, RMD. :-) We'll be back in it on Monday, but it sure is nice to take a break out here.

Edited: Feb 9, 1:04pm Top

Dinner last night at the Mess Hall Kitchen with godson Jimmy and his wife Norma

Feb 9, 1:15pm Top

Hi Joe!

Thanks for telling me about walklover and Seasonsoflove.

Feb 9, 1:40pm Top

>238 karenmarie: Hi Karen!

You're welcome. They both read a lot and are much nicer than me.

Edited: Feb 9, 2:00pm Top

For those of us who gave up on Facebook, can you please post the Harry Potter photos?!?

Harry's World on the east coast...and the west coast - sure would be good to see Midwest Harry in place of Foxconn in Wisconsin!

And thank you for photo of more of your handsome and beautiful extended Family.

Feb 9, 2:49pm Top

>237 jnwelch: Such happy smiles! Lovely.

Feb 9, 4:21pm Top

>240 m.belljackson: Hmm. Let me see what I can do about the HP photos, Marianne. Some of them are on Debbi's phone, not mine.

Jimmy and Norma fit that "handsome and beautiful", don't they. Seems to me they both could model. We had such a good time with them. We'd only had time with her at two weddings, and that meant almost no time at all. We really got to know her on this visit; she's delightful. I've known Jimmy since he was a wee lad, but it's so great to spend time with him at this stage of his life.

>241 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. It was almost a three hour dinner! It was great to have time with them.

Feb 9, 6:31pm Top

Rafa is so smart about avocados!

Feb 9, 7:19pm Top

Looks like you are having a blast in CA even if the temperatures are not quite up there. Love to see the photos on here. I spend very little time on FB so don't often see what is posted there.

To answer your question in >170 jnwelch: we do have winters without snow and thought we were heading for one this year. There is still snow on the ground from last Sunday because it has been steady cold since then. Not your kind of cold but into the minus single digits Celsius. The habitual lack of snow made it a bit of a giggle when we hosted the 2010 winter Olympics, even our mountains didn't have enough snow that year so they had to truck some in and down in Vancouver the cherry blossom was starting to bloom. LA may be having unseasonably low temperatures like we are as we are just to the north of you. Enjoy your time away from the polar vortex.

Feb 9, 8:11pm Top

>243 banjo123: Rafa has no problem showing how much he fully appreciates avocados, does he, Rhonda. He's smart enough to know that they're not only good for your health, but good for your skin and laundry, too. :-)

>244 Familyhistorian: We are having a blast in CA, Meg, even though we'd take about 5-10 degrees warmer. I'm sure more photos will make their way onto this thread.

I thought you got snow-less winters sometimes. Debbi and I both had cold winters growing up, me in Huron Valley (Ann Arbor) in Michigan, and her in western Massachusetts, but neither of us had the Chicago "wind chill", with the wind sweeping through and dropping the temps, sometimes dramatically. It's nice in the summer ("cooler by the lake"), but can be tough when the polar vortex shows up.

Ha! I remember that with the Winter Olympics. Trucking in snow - love it.

Yeah, people here keep mentioning the uncharacteristic chill, and we keep telling them, no problem! It feels mighty nice to us.

Edited: Feb 9, 11:06pm Top

Marianne asked to see some Harry Potter World Photos, so here we go:

Joe and Debbi at the gate


Joe outside Honeydukes.


You walk through Hogwarts with Dumbledore's office and various somewhat foreboding sculptures like this phoenix, before you take a wild ride following Harry on his broomstick through many scary spots, including the Whomping Tree, then a quidditch match and the skies around Hogwarts.

Butter beer - sweet!

Feb 10, 8:14am Top

Morning, Joe! LOVE the HP photos - we *need* to take Charlie soon!

Feb 10, 9:54am Top

Thanks for the HP photos, Joe!

Feb 10, 10:02am Top

>246 jnwelch:

Thanks, Joe - HARRY's WORLD would be a Lifer for my daughter (43) and I (75)!!!

We visited both Disneys and swam with the sharks at Universal Studio when she was young.

Another LA highlight was The Tar Pits! Easy to find off the main street...

Feb 10, 10:46am Top

>246 jnwelch: What a great day out! I'm glad to see you partook of the butterbeer. It's like pumpkin juice...a thought I never had but now can't imagine not thinking.

Happy trails!

Feb 10, 12:11pm Top

>247 scaifea: Morning, Amber!

We did the HP World in Orlando, and this one, and loved both. I believe they enlarged the one in Orlando since we were there. Charlie would love it!

>248 karenmarie: You're welcome, Karen!

Feb 10, 12:18pm Top

>249 m.belljackson: I'm sure you and your daughter would love Harry's World, Marianne. It's a happy-maker just to walk in.

Good for you for taking her to Disney and Universal when she was young. The first time we took our daughter (at 4) she was a big Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers fan. When the two of them greeted us when we entered, she was in amazed and joyous heaven. She could've gone home right after that - all her wishes had come true. :-)

>250 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. The butter beer was flowing. Ha! I hadn't thought of pumpkin juice, but you might be right. They've come up with a tasty sweet drink.

Edited: Feb 10, 12:28pm Top

Here we are at the Alcove restaurant in LA with our niece Belle and her husband Rob.

Edited: Feb 10, 1:16pm Top

>199 jnwelch: Yes; I noticed my parents have put on the rose-tinted spectacles since becoming grandparents (But, sadly, not with regards to me).

Belated happy birthday to Debbie.

Nice photos of you meeting ... everyone.

Feb 10, 1:57pm Top

>246 jnwelch: >253 jnwelch: Lovely photos Joe. Did you buy yourselves magic wands?

Feb 10, 2:55pm Top

Hi Joe, it looks like you are having a fabulous time in the warmer climes of California mate, hope Debbi had a great birthday and I dare say you treated your good lady. Have a great time whilst you are there, sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us dear friend.

Edited: Feb 10, 3:33pm Top

>246 jnwelch: Love the Harry Potter World Photos and hooray for butterbeer! Any good?

>237 jnwelch: Go Norma! Go Norma! Grins...

Happy Sunday, Joe. Getting in plenty of R & R today, and Bree and her beau Sean are coming over for dinner and some game time. Enjoy your last day in LA!

I finally finished Number 9 Dream. It just fell short of 4 stars but since you are a fan of Mitchell and Murakami, it is well worth reading. I am starting Last Friends tomorrow.

Feb 10, 5:44pm Top

>254 humouress: Ha! Yeah, grandparents dote and parents tote, Nina. Or something like that. I will say, in our case, we dote on our kids, too. A couple of keepers.

Thanks for the birthday wishes for Debbi. She reads the thread, so she'll appreciate that.

It's been a good visit for seeing . . . everyone. :-)

>255 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. We got a tip before going that we didn't need to buy a $40 wand to make things happen in HP World - we could just wave our fingers. Having said that, we actually just watched the kids with wands make things move in windows or elicit noises.

Feb 10, 5:57pm Top

>256 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. We have been having a fabulous time. Today it rained, so we got a tour of our niece's new house under renovation (they'll probably move in in August) (it's going to be really great), and went to their favorite coffee shop for a late breakfast (best breakfast we've had here). Then we car-toured Griffith Park, which turns out to be the second-largest city park in the country, after the one in San Diego. Can't wait to hike it when we come back.

Debbi had a great birthday, and I've been treating her every chance I get - I get myself in trouble often enough, so I try to bank the bonus points. Hugs and love to you and Karen, buddy.

>257 msf59: Butter beer is not beer (although I'm told kids like to think it is) - but yes, it's good. It's sweet, so you'd need a real sweet tooth to drink a lot of it - Debbi and I split one. Somebody smart created it; it's been popular.

Ha! Yeah, Norma is a knockout. And Jimmy looks like a male model (he's an entertainment lawyer). Their wedding is the one we went to last summer. I hope they have kids, so we can be agog.

I'm glad you're getting plenty of R & R. Is Bree's beau Sean okay by you, or do you and I need to have a talk with him?

That's good news re Number 9 Dream. It does sound like my cuppa. So far I'm liking Last Friends a lot.

Feb 10, 6:04pm Top

Here's our niece's son Sam, who has us wrapped around his little finger. He is curious about everything, and rarely blinks. I don't know how he manages the no-blinking. 13 months old.

Playing with his friend Emma at the local library branch

Feb 10, 11:15pm Top

Cuteness overload!!

Feb 11, 12:14am Top

Fabulous! A trip to California! We have the dreaded snow right and it might last the week, so enjoy the warmth. Sam is really a cutie!

Feb 11, 12:27am Top

>261 richardderus: Oh man, we had to say good-bye to that little Sam. His parents were not in favor of our stealing him. He's one cute little guy. He had some giggle fits tonight - you would have been on double cuteness overload, Mr. D.

>262 vancouverdeb: It's been a fab visit, Deb. By all accounts, we return to the dreaded snow tomorrow. But the mental break and warmth should help us make it to Spring. Sam is quite the cutie, isn't he. When we take him somewhere, he looks all around constantly, curious about everything. We're going to miss him, that's for sure. Facetime helps, but it's not the same. His parents are all right, too, when we notice them. (Just kidding - they're lovely).

Edited: Feb 11, 12:37am Top

One last Sam photo. He's quite long for his age; his dad's 6'5".

We leave early tomorrow to fly back, so I'll probably catch up with you all later in the day.

Feb 11, 12:22pm Top

Pleasant travels back home, Joe. Too bad you couldn't take the warm weather with you. Like Deb said, we are dealing with winter weather - it snowed again yesterday. It's pretty but I wouldn't mind if it disappeared.

Feb 11, 1:49pm Top

>260 jnwelch: >264 jnwelch: Well he's bound to be a fine fellow, my dad was a Sam.

You've certainly had a lovely, family and friends visit Joe, not to mention all the other treats.

Safe travels.

Feb 11, 2:09pm Top

Sam definitely looks a sweetie!

Feb 11, 4:15pm Top

Lovely pictures Joe. Glad you both had a good break.

Feb 12, 7:20am Top

Love all the pictures, Joe! Safe journeys back home.

Feb 12, 7:53am Top

Morning, Joe! Love the photos - thanks for sharing. You and Debbi were at the Harry Potter world in California at the same time that Craig, Abby, and Birdy were at the one in Florida.

Feb 12, 9:36am Top

Love the HP photos! I need to go there some day!!

Feb 12, 9:43am Top

Carrot cake from the crockpot.

Nothing to add after that...except I wish mine looked that good.

Feb 12, 9:56am Top

>265 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yeah, we came back to rain and snow. White instead of green. Oh well. Spring is only a few days away, isn't it?

>266 Caroline_McElwee: Sam is a great name, isn't it, Caroline. Good to know he's joined an esteemed group with your father.

It was a lovely visit with family and friends. Debbi's been making this winter trip for years. After retiring, I joined her last year, and this one, and plan to continue it.

Feb 12, 10:06am Top

>267 SandDune: Ha! You have a keen eye, Rhian. Sam is indeed a sweetie. And curious about everything.

>268 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. That was a good break. It helps to stop fighting winter conditions for a few days, and we enjoyed visiting everyone and seeing more of LA.

>269 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. We did have a safe trip back, but a long travel day. Everything was screwed up at the Los Angeles airport due to construction, so the flight was very delayed, which in turn was hard on the passengers, especially those who had to make connecting flights (it was direct for us). We got home late, but were very glad to be back, even with the winter weather.

Feb 12, 10:11am Top

>270 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie! You're welcome re the photos, and I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Ha! I didn't realize your loved ones were at HP World in Orlando at the same time. How did they like it? We went to it several years ago, and I read that they expanded it since then. I bet they liked being in that Florida weather!

>271 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! Are you in the middle of an HP re-read? Yeah, you'd love HP World. I hope they decide to expand the one in CA, too. It's such a good feeling to be in that world.

>272 richardderus: Yum! Thanks for bringing by the crockpot carrot cake, Richard. I tip my hat to you that you make your own. I just enjoy the cake-alicious creations of others.

Feb 12, 11:48am Top

The new cafe is open. See you there!

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