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Perspective!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Something just occurred to me.

I complain about “only” losing 70#, but that is 28% of my starting body weight. Which is SIGNIFICANT. (250 x .28)

If you started at 300#, the equivalent is 84#. (300 x .28) 90# lost from 300 is 30%, which statistically not much more than my 28% loss.

So for me to reach an equivalent %, I will lose less, if you just look at the number of pounds. 75# will be my 30% mark (175# weight). Which is pretty fucking stellar IMO.

Perspective. It matters. :)

Honda Battery Replacement Program

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Took Romeo for a new battery yesterday. The one installed was very weak, as I found out when I was fiddling with the bluetooth setup on Tue and in 10 mins, the battery died. BOO!

Here’s a PROTIP for Honda owners: Honda offers batteries at a discount!! Batteries are hella expensive now ($100+), so as a courtesy, Honda offers battery replacements for about 25% less than retail. My mechanic told me about this. My battery runs $120 retail and I got one installed for free from Honda for $90. Curry Honda took me right in, swapped the battery and had me out in about 20 mins. YAY!

So, despite the battery being relatively new – it was not even the original and the car is only 5 yrs old! – at least now I know that I can get a discounted one from Honda. I have a feeling that these new cars with all the accessories and shit will EAT batteries. Also: the swap did not lose any settings because they use a device to save them at the dealership. Win-win!

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Spec comparison: 1994 vs 2012 Civics

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been fun to learn a new car! This car is bigger than my old one and it’s a totally different driving experience. The larger vehicle has brought up some learning curves: interstate driving, parking, lane changes. Being used to a certain sized car bubble is a thing. So this prompted me to look up the actual specs of Rhonda vs Romeo in order to help myself learn to drive him better.

1994 Honda Civic EX Coupe
Engine: 1.6 L 4-cylinder
MPG: 29 city / 35 highway
Fuel tank capacity: 11.9 gal
Wheelbase: 103.2″
Horsepower: 125 hp
Torque: 106 lb-ft
Dimensions: 173″ L x 67″ W x 51″ H
Curb weight: 2,520 lb

2012 Honda Civic SI Coupe
Engine: 2.4 L 4-cylinder
MPG: 22 city / 31 highway
Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gal
Wheel Base: 103.2″
Horsepower: 201 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 170 lb-ft
Dimensions: 176″ L x 69″ W x 55″ H
Curb weight: 2,877 lbs

As you can see, Romeo is a LOT more car than Rhonda – look at that HP and torque!! SQUEE! He is only slightly bigger, but those extra inches matter in tight traffic. He’s 357 pounds heavier, but honestly, that is completely offset by the powerful engine. I think once I get my muscle memory for the tight gearing, the rest will come along pretty quick. The gear ratios are SO good. I tell you, Honda makes the best manual transmission on the planet. The clutch is like buttah and the gears are perfectly engineered for the best giddyup along with good gas mileage. I’m getting 25mpg consistently, even with my punching up the power when I can. ;)

This blog is going to get a little more gearhead for a while. Having a new car to play with and read about is awesome. So if you’re not into gear ratios and torque, well, you might be bored with these posts! I say, read and learn, bitches. Since most people can’t even change a damn tire, I think a little knowledge wouldn’t hurt. Have you actually READ the manual for your car? If not, get to it. You drive it, you should know how it works. //ending rant about how ignorant people are about cars// And: get off my lawn!! :P

Meet Romeo!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been an interesting month here at the Weasel Lair. Losing Rhonda was shocking and sucked, but as with most things, where there is suck, there will soon be celebration. I believe the Universe strives for balance.

After losing Rhonda, we came back here and I started poking around to see what few stick shift vehicles I could find. The dude in Charlotte was on vacay the week after we got back, so I casually looked around the intertubes while I waited for his return.

I found a few cars; some Honda SIs, some Mazda SPEED 3s. I’d lined up a Mazda and a Honda to go look at over the weekend, but I was still counting on the Hendrick Buyer in CLT to find me the perfect ride.

I had the Mazda lined up first because it was closer, then had the urge to see the Honda instead. So I rescheduled the Mazda and we drove down to Bellamy Strickland Chevy in McDonough (about 45 mins to an hour away) on Saturday July 1. I was looking at a blue 2012 Civic SI with 62k miles on it for $12999 (asking price). Exactly my criteria.

The pretty sales woman takes us to the SI on their lot and I start it up. The noise about knocked me out of the seat! I looked at the sales woman and asked “Why didn’t you tell me this car was modded??!!” She had no idea. I asked her if she’d ever BEEN in a Honda before?? My heart sank, since where there is one mod, there are usually several more. Nonetheless, we took the car out for a spin and it was FUN FUN FUN. Very fast, very loud and very Honda in the overall feel of the car. I am VERY partial to Honda clutches and transmissions, I’ll tell you. Say what you want about Honda being an average ride, but I’d be happy to blow the doors off your compact car any day. ;)

We got back to the dealership and tell them that the deal goes no further until I have my mechanic check out the car for other modifications and such. They said, OK, here are the keys!! I was puzzled and said “What?” They said, “Go ahead! You can take it home and have your mechanic look it over on Monday, or if they are not there (July 4 holiday), you can keep it until Wednesday, no problem!” I could NOT believe it. I signed ONE SHEET of paper and drove off with the car. !!

The drive back to Tucker took about an hour, so I got to be up close and personal with the car in traffic. The lack of muffler was DEAFENING. But I will admit, being in Ricer Mode was growing on me! The car was a pleasure to drive despite the racket. I thought that there was a modded intake since it had SO MUCH power and I noticed the suspension was tight – we’d seen the red springs, so we knew something was up.

I parked the car, but I already knew his name: Romeo. He was working hard to convince me that HE was the one! LOL

Meet Romeo!


Monday rolled around and the mechanic was open, so I took Romeo down. He had no muffler and the suspension had been replaced by Skunk2 springs, but the intake was stock. I was surprised that the car was that zippy STOCK. It does have a 2.4L engine, but DANG. It will blow your hair back! To put him back to stock would cost me about $3500 (muffler and suspension), plus he needs his 60k maintenance which is another $400. The suspension doesn’t harm the car (other than kill the shocks, which are already dead), but it rides like a log wagon. You can’t really see the lowering visually, but you can FEEL it. I got all the paperwork and we prepared to go negotiate on Wednesday. The repairs were my bargaining chip with the dealership.

Wednesday came and we headed South to Bellamy Strickland. I’d still not heard anything back from the dude in CLT, so I was prepared to make an offer on this car. It’s a goddam unicorn and I’d be damned if I was going to miss this opportunity. We sit down with the used car manager and I present him with the cost of putting the car back to stock and therefore raising its value back to what it should be. By my research, the mods take it from being a $13-14k car to a $10-12k car. At first, the manager was like NOPE, I’ll just wholesale it. But I said “OR you can sell it to me!” He went and priced out the car (to get what he had in it) and when he brought me those numbers, I saw that he’d put brand new tires on the car, as well as done full brake job and turned the front rotors. THESE things made the deal for me. He said he’d need about $11,700 to break even and I said DONE. Even with the repairs needed for the car, I’ll be right in the range of its actual value ($14k). I wrote a check for $3115.50 to cover the $1700 down payment and the taxes. We got a loan for $10k at 2.89%, which is stellar for a used car. Our payment is only ~$176/mo and we can pay off at any time w/out penalty.

Hello, handsome!


I am VERY happy with the deal I got on Romeo. The car is clean as a pin and the mechanic said that it has been cared for – despite the Ricer mods. I got the muffler put back on immediately and I’ll do the suspension in a few months, once we’ve recovered financially from draining the savings account. I just have to be VERY careful driving him over rough bumps and avoid speed bumps until then. Don’t want to mess up the shiny new $500 muffler!! Romeo has SIX gears, so it’s been fun learning to drive him. I don’t have the muscle memory yet, so I’m often wondering which gear I’m in! I’ve not hit 4th rather than 6th any more, tho, which is good. I’ll also share something with you: I kinda LIKED the Ricer sound. It was annoying at certain RPMs, but it was fun to have a loud ass car. I can see why the kids do it. :)

I sent an email to the CLT dude, explaining that I’d called him several times Monday and Wednesday and I had to make a decision, so I did. He has not responded, so I assume he’s butthurt that I’d buy locally rather than drive back to CLT. I would have totally driven to CLT had he been able to get me a deal like this one. The stuff he’d had for me had been a Scion and a Mazda 3. No Hondas. And they’d been $14k+. I don’t feel bad about taking the GIFT that the Universe handed me, but I am disappointed that the guy didn’t even bother to respond. Meh.

I love my new ride, Romeo, and I think we’ll have a long time together. We’ve established that I keep cars FOREVER. Which is why I get attached. Long live Romeo! Welcome to the family!

Honeyed Fig and Goat Cheese Galette

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

If you can make this galette dough, you can fill it with ANYTHING. It can be sweet or savoury. It’s a METHOD that I use for all sorts of fruits and stuff. A very good savoury is caprese: tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Leave out the sugar or sub salt for savoury, obviously. Adding parmesan would be nice with the caprese I just mentioned…

Honeyed Fig and Goat Cheese Galette



Honeyed Fig and Goat Cheese Galette
1 small carton fresh Mission figs (about 6-8), halved top to bottom, then sliced longways
4 oz goat cheese (I found HONEY goat cheese!!) room temp
3-4 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 Tbl honey
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 egg + 1 Tbl water for wash
large crystal sugar or Demerara sugar

Dough
1 cup A/P flour
1 cup S/R flour
2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon or even ginger, depending on what you’re putting in it!)
1 stick cold butter (I use salted), diced
1/3-1/2 ice water

Preheat oven to 400F.

Stir together dry dough ingredients. Cut in butter (just like for biscuits) until you have pea sized pieces. Start adding the ice water and stir in with a spatula. Keep adding water until the dough JUST sticks together. Don’t make it wet.

Dump dough onto a floured surface and roll up/knead a couple of times to make sure it’s all together. Don’t overwork. Pat into a 6″ disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a half hour or even over night.

While the dough is resting, cream together goat cheese, cream cheese, honey and lemon zest.

After dough has rested, turn out on a floured board and roll out to about 1/4″ thick. No need for perfectly round, this is a rustic galette. The rough disk should be about 10-12″ across. Roll up on roller and transfer to a baking sheet ON PARCHMENT PAPER. Do not skip the parchment. It is the only way to get the baked galette off the sheet.

Dump the cheese mixture in center of dough and ever so gently spread it into a disk that stops at least 2″ from the edges of the dough. I used my fingers to spread this, it worked better than the spatula. Place the figs around the edge of the cheese mixture – put extras in the middle. Drizzle with a little honey.

Fold up the dough, making pleats where needed, being careful not to tear it. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Top the figs with a few thyme leaves and sugar.

Bake in a 400F oven for about 30-40 mins, until the dough is golden. Top with more thyme leaves when you take it from the oven. Wait at least 15 minutes before transferring to a plate or you’ll break it. To transfer, slide the parchment from the baking sheet over to a plate, then pull the parchment out from under the galette. Serve warm or room temp.

RIP Rhonda Honda 1994-2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I met my little red Honda in 1995. A bubble headed blonde girl in Knoxville was selling her because her husband had two cars and hers was an extra and had the largest payment. The Honda had about 20k miles on her, if I recall. I paid about $11k for her, which was below loan value. The girl was mad that she had to sell the car, so she sold it for literally what was left of her loan. It was a good deal. I got 22 years of service out of that car, so yeah, it was a VERY good deal.

That was back in the olden days before cameras in phones, so I don’t have any baby pix of Rhonda. The only ones I could dig up were these shots, taken right after her repairs and paint job about 10 years ago:

She was a beauty!

The last few years had been fraught with repairs. Last year I sunk about $2k into her with new parts and a new tranny/clutch. It seemed like a good idea at the time… I knew I should’ve sold her right after I got her repaired, but I let my laziness and attachment get the best of me. That, and I was distracted with the VSG surgery.

So, last week, we attended Heroes Con in Charlotte NC and took the Honda. I knew I should’ve taken her in for a once over and oil change, but decided to take her without that. Bad move.

After the con, we were checking out of the hotel and she was acting strangely. She’d start, then die. I called AAA and had her taken to the nearest Honda store: Hendrick Honda.

We sat there all day while they worked on her. They found some issues that I assume were left over from the big service I had done last year and fixed them. They replaced the master circuit and said she was good to go. It was 4:30pm, drive time, but we got in the car and took off for home. Less than 10 minutes later, in 70mph traffic, the car just turns off, which is what it had been doing originally. Fortunately, there was a hole in traffic and I got her to the end of the merge lane against the guard rail. Apparently, people in CLT drive in this lane.

A couple of minutes later, an Estes truck sideswipes my drivers side mirror. The wheels were literally about four inches from my face and the whole car was rocking. I’ve never been so scared! I’m screaming and freaking out and the truck just keeps going. Fucker. I try the car again and it starts, so I move up and over to the shoulder. Apparently people in CLT drive on the shoulder, too, as I was almost sideswiped again. The car was still running, so I pulled up and over into the grass. The Hendrick tow truck guy was busy, so I again called AAA. But this time they were total DICKS to me and I had to pay $45 for the goddam tow. We had to wait about an hour and a half for the truck to get to us, but the car was idling fine, so we had A/C at least.

We drop the car back at Hendrick and head back to the Hampton Inn. Shout out to our AAA driver who shlepped us over to Hampton – ssshhh, it’s a secret! Shout out to Andrew at Hampton Inn for handling the room booking and cashing in my points to pay for it. He took care of everything and that helped us out immensely. And another shout out to whomever at Hampton comped our dinner that night. We just now (3 wks later) saw that the receipt was comped. THAT, my friends, is SERVICE. They did not have to do that, but they did and didn’t even say anything about it. WE LOVE YOU HAMPTON INN CLT UPTOWN!!!

Next day (Tuesday) we get the Hendrick shuttle to come get us and we sit in the dealership all day. They tried several parts and worked heroically to save Rhonda. They could not. We thought we had it for a minute, but I knew that we couldn’t trust the car to get us back, so I had a rental lined up. We entertained the idea of shipping her back since it was only $250 for a running car, but then she refused to start up. Now the shipping was $450. I talked to my mechanics here and we went over some things it could be, and it boiled down to this: it would cost me about a grand to find out what’s wrong… IF the things we tried worked.

So. No. I had to let her go. It was just like a movie: pouring rain, me crying my eyes out, my poor little Honda sitting there w/out her stickers and tag. Tragic.

Last look. Sob.

The people at Hendrick Honda in CLT are the most amazing bunch I’ve ever seen. They worked for TWO DAYS on my car and would not let me pay for labour. They reimbursed me for the $45 tow. They even took all the parts back. My tab was something like $150. Since the car was 22 years old, the top dollar they could pay for the car was $500. But since she wouldn’t start, the actual offer was $250. BUT the used car buyer (Dorian!) gave me the $500 anyway. They didn’t have to do any of this stuff. But they did. THAT is what I call customer service. The used car buyer is also shopping the auctions for me, since what I want (a stick shift) is very VERY hard to find. He did not have to do that, either. I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying my car in CLT. Unless he just cannot find a thing, I plan to drive up there and buy from that store. They have earned a customer. [I found my unicorn here in ATL. This upset the buyer, as he has not responded to my email. Which makes me sad. I really did wait 2 weeks and tried to call him several times Monday and Wednesday when I bought the car. Shrug.]

I hope my Rhonda gets bought by someone who will get her fixed and maybe make her a little street racer. She did start right up for me when I went to remove her stickers, which infuriated me and broke my heart at the same time. She’d not started up for anyone all day. I’m not sure if that was her flipping me off, or if it was her telling me that it was OK and she’d find a new home. I’m ok with either.

So for the first time since I’m 15 years old, I do not have a car. It’s strange. I do not look forward to being $12-14k in debt, but that’s what it’s going to take. Cars are too fucking pricey now. I am grateful for all the help I’m getting looking for a car and for Rob letting me borrow his Subaru while I’m carless.

It’ll all work out. But it’s been a very stressful and heartbreaking week. I hope my car fu will work for ME and I’ll find a good deal on an SI or Mazda 3. But right this minute, I’m exhausted and spent. I don’t even feel like car shopping, which I normally enjoy. The experience was just like losing a pet. I felt like I’d been sitting in hospital for two days while they tried to save her. Horrible. But it will all work out. The Universe is telling me to get the fuck over it and MOVE ON. So I am. Sigh.

RIP Rhonda Honda 1994-2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I met my little red Honda in 1995. A bubble headed blonde girl in Knoxville was selling her because her husband had two cars and hers was an extra and had the largest payment. The Honda had about 20k miles on her, if I recall. I paid about $11k for her, which was below loan value. The girl was mad that she had to sell the car, so she sold it for literally what was left of her loan. It was a good deal. I got 22 years of service out of that car, so yeah, it was a VERY good deal.

That was back in the olden days before cameras in phones, so I don’t have any baby pix of Rhonda. The only ones I could dig up were these shots, taken right after her repairs and paint job about 10 years ago:

She was a beauty!

The last few years had been fraught with repairs. Last year I sunk about $2k into her with new parts and a new tranny/clutch. It seemed like a good idea at the time… I knew I should’ve sold her right after I got her repaired, but I let my laziness and attachment get the best of me. That, and I was distracted with the VSG surgery.

So, last week, we attended Heroes Con in Charlotte NC and took the Honda. I knew I should’ve taken her in for a once over and oil change, but decided to take her without that. Bad move.

After the con, we were checking out of the hotel and she was acting strangely. She’d start, then die. I called AAA and had her taken to the nearest Honda store: Hendrick Honda.

We sat there all day while they worked on her. They found some issues that I assume were left over from the big service I had done last year and fixed them. They replaced the master circuit and said she was good to go. It was 4:30pm, drive time, but we got in the car and took off for home. Less than 10 minutes later, in 70mph traffic, the car just turns off, which is what it had been doing originally. Fortunately, there was a hole in traffic and I got her to the end of the merge lane against the guard rail. Apparently, people in CLT drive in this lane.

A couple of minutes later, an Estes truck sideswipes my drivers side mirror. The wheels were literally about four inches from my face and the whole car was rocking. I’ve never been so scared! I’m screaming and freaking out and the truck just keeps going. Fucker. I try the car again and it starts, so I move up and over to the shoulder. Apparently people in CLT drive on the shoulder, too, as I was almost sideswiped again. The car was still running, so I pulled up and over into the grass. The Hendrick tow truck guy was busy, so I again called AAA. But this time they were total DICKS to me and I had to pay $45 for the goddam tow. We had to wait about an hour and a half for the truck to get to us, but the car was idling fine, so we had A/C at least.

We drop the car back at Hendrick and head back to the Hampton Inn. Shout out to Andrew at Hampton Inn for handling the room booking and cashing in my points to pay for it. He took care of everything and that helped us out immensely.

Next day (Tuesday) we get the Hendrick shuttle to come get us and we sit in the dealership all day. They tried several parts and worked heroically to save Rhonda. They could not. We thought we had it for a minute, but I knew that we couldn’t trust the car to get us back, so I had a rental lined up. We entertained the idea of shipping her back since it was only $250 for a running car, but then she refused to start up. Now the shipping was $450. I talked to my mechanics here and we went over some things it could be, and it boiled down to this: it would cost me about a grand to find out what’s wrong… IF the things we tried worked.

So. No. I had to let her go. It was just like a movie: pouring rain, me crying my eyes out, my poor little Honda sitting there w/out her stickers and tag. Tragic.

Last look. Sob.

The people at Hendrick Honda in CLT are the most amazing bunch I’ve ever seen. They worked for TWO DAYS on my car and would not let me pay for labour. They reimbursed me for the $45 tow. They even took all the parts back. My tab was something like $150. Since the car was 22 years old, the top dollar they could pay for the car was $500. But since she wouldn’t start, the actual offer was $250. BUT the used car buyer (Dorian!) gave me the $500 anyway. They didn’t have to do any of this stuff. But they did. THAT is what I call customer service. The used car buyer is also shopping the auctions for me, since what I want (a stick shift) is very VERY hard to find. He did not have to do that, either. I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying my car in CLT. Unless he just cannot find a thing, I plan to drive up there and buy from that store. They have earned a customer.

I hope my Rhonda gets bought by someone who will get her fixed and maybe make her a little street racer. She did start right up for me when I went to remove her stickers, which infuriated me and broke my heart at the same time. She’d not started up for anyone all day. I’m not sure if that was her flipping me off, or if it was her telling me that it was OK and she’d find a new home. I’m ok with either.

So for the first time since I’m 15 years old, I do not have a car. It’s strange. I do not look forward to being $12-14k in debt, but that’s what it’s going to take. Cars are too fucking pricey now. I am grateful for all the help I’m getting looking for a car and for Rob letting me borrow his Subaru while I’m carless.

It’ll all work out. But it’s been a very stressful and heartbreaking week. I hope my car fu will work for ME and I’ll find a good deal on an SI or Mazda 3. But right this minute, I’m exhausted and spent. I don’t even feel like car shopping, which I normally enjoy. The experience was just like losing a pet. I felt like I’d been sitting in hospital for two days while they tried to save her. Horrible. But it will all work out. The Universe is telling me to get the fuck over it and MOVE ON. So I am. Sigh.

Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

KINDLE! I don’t read much on Kindle but I am reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and I just read Dead Trees Give No Shelter by Wil Wheaton. The Gaiman book is an entertaining collection of vignettes. The Wheaton novelette is a really great short read. Speaking of Wheaton, if you’ve not listened to Ready Player One read by him, DO SO. It is incredibly well done!

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs – A funny memoir! I think I’ve read it before, but it’s still good the second time!

Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows – I found this book fascinating. This lady spent several years living in China and it’s her description of what it’s like to try to learn Chinese. Very insightful and a good read if you’re a language nerd like me.

What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs – A funny memoir! I think I’ve read it before, but it’s still good the second time!

Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows – I found this book fascinating. This lady spent several years living in China and it’s her description of what it’s like to try to learn Chinese. Very insightful and a good read if you’re a language nerd like me.

What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs
Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows
What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

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