The Friday Five: Ask Kate P (Nearly) Anything, Round 1

I'm calling this week's post "Round 1" because people put in just about enough questions for me to do this again next week. Meaning if you don't see one of your questions here, it'll be up next week. (One spot's still open if there are any takers.) Here we go:

1. From Lizzie, that cute mom of a cute be'be': What book would you recommend to someone who has very little time to read, and also will go days and days before continuing where I left off?

Man, I don’t know if I’m the person to make a book recommendation to an adult—I’ve been immersed in textbooks and children’s/YA lit for a while now. One book that I haven’t quite finished but I think is really good is The Invention of Hugo Cabret. O.K., so it’s about a mechanically skilled twelve year old orphan boy in France, so you have to be comfortable with being in the Juvenile section, but it is a Caldecott Medal winner, meaning it has fantastic illustrations. Don’t let that fool you: This is a novel, and a unique one at that, because it’s a bit of a text-graphic hybrid. I figure the pictures might help refresh your memory if you had to put it down for a while.

As for more “grown-up” reading material, I did spend the summer gobbling up Jen Lancaster’s hysterically funny memoirs—Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights Big Ass, and Such a Pretty Fat. There’s definitely a language warning on them, but nothing raunchy. I’ve been called a prude more than once, if that tells you anything. I borrowed the first two from the library, and the third one I had to buy. (Hint: it might be in the Humor section at the bookstore.)
This one’s a little off the beaten path, but if you’re willing to make a purchase, I recommend Seraphic Single’s The Widow of Saint-Pierre. The chapters aren’t too long, the characters are intriguing, and I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces for the past few weeks. Plus, you probably would understand far more of the French than I do!

2. Also from Lizzie, because I figure she needed to make up for missing last time: What's your absolutely favorite childhood memory that makes you laugh or makes you feel warm and fuzzy?

I think some of my favorite memories are of the times my cousin (a first cousin once removed, around twenty years older) “Sonny” would watch my sibs and me when our parents went out. Sonny was a bit of a free spirit and a highly gifted artist, writer, and teacher. As you can probably imagine, he was very creative and very good at entertaining us kids. One time when I was about eight or nine years old, he was watching us and had to put us to bed. At the time, Younger Sister and I shared a double bed. . . and a large collection of stuffed animals, most of whom we took to bed with us every night. When Sonny went to tuck us in, he exclaimed, “Whoa!” at the sight of all the fuzzy bears, raccoons, and dogs surrounding two little girls. Then, if I recall correctly, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess there’s only one thing to do.”

He gave all the stuffed animals a kiss goodnight. One by one.

Do you have any idea how marvelously crazy that is to two silly kids?

Sonny passed away several years ago (why is it all the good people go away so fast?) but there’s no question in my mind he really had a positive effect on everyone he met.

3. From ArcheryChic22, student extraordinaire: As having nearly survived grad school any advice for someone who is nearly starting grad school (although a completely different program)?

Well, your experience will be a bit different from mine, most likely, because I went back to school about nine years post-degree, and I was a completely online student while working full time. How about some general Dos and Don’ts?

Do eat right and get enough sleep. Do take advantage of any and all good resources. (I nearly drove myself crazy learning APA style for my citations during the first year and I recently discovered that the library website has a program that will generate citations for you. Arrgh.) Do develop good relationships with your professors and at least some of your classmates. (Read Ricki's accounts of good/bad/ugly grad students if you don't already.) Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t procrastinate, but do take breaks often, especially if you are staring at a computer screen (and set a timer if you have to). Don’t pay full price for textbooks if you can avoid it. Do understand that grad school can be twice as hard as undergrad very often, but don’t think you’re crazy if you occasionally wonder how the h*** some of your classmates got in. Finally, don’t be like me if you can help it—do try to have some semblance of a life.

4. From Ashley all the way from her little apartment: How were you introduced to blogging?

Oddly enough, it was my mom, the woman who was terrified of the computer when we first got one. She started following Amy Welborn at her old blog, Open Book, and I started reading, too. Amy (and I can call her Amy because I met her!) started pointing out other bloggers like Dawn Eden, and from there I discovered bloggers like Nightfly. It was exponential, and really great to see all different points of view. I saw conversations going on that I couldn’t have anywhere IRL, save maybe at my parents’ dinner table, and I wanted in. Honestly, I don’t garner much attention IRL, but I very badly want my voice to be heard. Middle child thing, I’m sure.

5. From Dave E., fab fisherman and Mr. Fix-It: What's your take on cooking and do you have a favorite meal(s) you like to prepare?

One thing is for sure: I would cook more if I didn’t have to clean up afterwards. So far, the cat training isn’t working. I like cooking for myself because I know it’s something I’ll like (or if I don’t like it, nobody has to know I screwed up. . . unless I blog about it), I know it’s allergy-free, and it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out. My go-to recipe is Stovetop Turkey Sausage and Mushrooms (an earlier version of this recipe), because once the sausage is browned and the veggies are tender, I can throw the rice and chicken broth in and let it cook while I chill out or check my e-mail. It reheats well and it’s just enough so I can eat it few times and not get tired of it. My no-fail recipe if I cook for others is, believe it or not, an L.A. Weight Loss recipe called Sweet and Tangy Chicken. It’s chicken, green onions, soy sauce, and seasoning. I even overcooked it once and it was still good.

If I were still at my old job, right now I’d be about a month away from making meringue wreath cookies for the annual “feast” (two days of eating, formerly three pre-merger). The recipe is a varation on a Good Housekeeping recipe from the '80s. I don’t dye them green. I use sprinkles instead of dried cherries. I use less sugar than what’s called for. It’s nothing fancy but they are light and sweet, and you don't feel guilty if you eat three. Or ten. I’ve given out that recipe many times. Maybe I will next month!

Wishing everybody a good weekend, and asking that you spare a positive thought or prayer for me as I take my big exam tomorrow morning--thanks in advance!


Lizzie said…
Good luck tomorrow! And - I lurved your responses. :)
Dave E. said…
Yeah, great responses. Good luck tomorrow.

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