Sunday, August 12, 2012

Later than expected but it'll be a start

I spent a while earlier giving the kitchen the best cleaning it has had for a long time (and am feeling quite ashamed of the amount of dirt that came off the floor!).  Yesterday I spent most of my weekly budget on buying a lot of tomatoes and once I have finished writing this, I'll be heading home and putting up the first tomatoes of the year.  Depending on how that works out, I'll decide on how I approach the rest of the season. 

I've been having a pretty good few days.  So much so that I've started to get nervous in anticipation of the next crash.  Which I do realise is somewhat self-defeating and am trying to, not ignore precisely, but at least to keep under some kind of control by remembering to tell myself that maybe life can be good sometimes.  For the last week or so I have found myself doing things that were entirely normal a few years ago but had become somehow just incredibly difficult, seemingly weighty tasks.  Simple things like cleaning the kitchen floor, for example, or washing the dishes every day, or cooking a meal after work.

I went to a local chemist last Tuesday morning and weighed myself and have made a good effort to eat properly and get some exercise this week.  At least it has felt like a good effort, the weigh-in next Tuesday will tell if it worked or not.  I'm not into a full weight watchers program, not counting points or being at all careful about weighing and measuring (which WW doesn't actually even place as much importance on these days but was always something I found it useful to be careful about).  When I think back to what I have been eating like for the majority of the time the past year or so, well, anything is an improvement on it really.  So despite my doctor giving me some really bad advice on how to go about losing weight (why is it so many doctors who are really good at what they do seem to be nonetheless really clueless and prone to fadism of all kinds when it comes to nutrition?), I have, for the past week, been snacking on fruit rather than chocolate, been having a proper breakfast almost every morning before leaving for work and bringing sandwiches or salad with me for lunch as well as preparing or cooking something simple in the evenings.  I've been swimming a couple of times (before work) and have walked to or from work a couple of times as well.  Small steps but they'll all together make a big change eventually.

And even if it doesn't continue for months, at least I'll have at least one batch of homemade tomato ketchup on the shelves.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Rory Gilmore's Book List

Fish in the Water posted a list the other day of all the books which were mentioned by Rory Gilmore in the course of the seven series of the Gilmore Girls.  I have to admit to a fondness for the Gilmore Girls, not because it was like my life but far more because I wished my life could have been like that, I think.  Age-wise, having been right in the middle Lorelei and Rory I could happily project onto either or both of their lives, too, which was nice.  One day, I'll watch the whole thing all the way through.

I've only read a meagre 50 of the books on this list (which apparently this girl had read by the time she was, what, 22?) but on the other hand, by that age I'd read thousands of Mills and Boons that Rory probably wouldn't have dreamed of sullying her eyes with.  And my total would go up a lot if I included those titles I have seen as films.  And even higher if I included those titles that I do have on my shelf but haven't read yet (or haven't finished in some cases).  But it's always fun to read a list like this.

Edited in January 2014 to mark the books I have read in the meantime in red.
  1. 1984 by George Orwell 
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 
  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  9. Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
  10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
  11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
  17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
  18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  21. Beloved by Toni Morrison 
  22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney 
  23. The Bhagava Gita
  24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
  25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel 
  26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
  27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
  30. Candide by Voltaire
  31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer 
  32. Carrie by Stephen King
  33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 
  34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger 
  35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White 
  36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman 
  37. Christine by Stephen King
  38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 
  39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  41. The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
  42. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
  43. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare 
  44. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
  45. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
  46. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
  47. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  48. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 
  49. Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
  50. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  51. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  52. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  53. Cujo by Stephen King
  54. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  55. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  56. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
  57. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  58. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
  59. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  60. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  61. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller 
  62. Deenie by Judy Blume 
  63. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  64. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
  65. The Divine Comedy by Dante 
  66. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  67. Don Quijote by Cervantes
  68. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
  69. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  70. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe 
  71. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  72. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  73. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  74. Eloise by Kay Thompson
  75. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
  76. Emma by Jane Austen 
  77. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  78. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
  79. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 
  80. Ethics by Spinoza
  81. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
  82. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  83. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer 
  84. Extravagance by Gary Krist
  85. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  86. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
  87. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
  88. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
  89. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  90. The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien 
  91. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
  92. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  93. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  94. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
  95. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  96. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  97. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  98. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
  99. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  100. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  101. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut 
  102. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  103. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
  104. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
  105. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  106. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  107. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
  108. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
  109. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
  110. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
  111. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford 
  112. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom 
  113. The Graduate by Charles Webb
  114. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 
  115. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  116. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  117. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  118. Hamlet by William Shakespeare 
  119. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling 
  120. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling 
  121. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers 
  122. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
  123. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  124. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
  125. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
  126. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  127. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  128. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  129. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris 
  130. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
  131. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III 
  132. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  133. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
  134. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss 
  135. How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
  136. Howl by Allen Gingsburg
  137. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo 
  138. The Iliad by Homer
  139. I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
  140. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  141. Inferno by Dante 
  142. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
  143. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
  144. It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
  145. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
  146. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 
  147. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  148. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
  149. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  150. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
  151. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
  152. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
  153. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  154. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  155. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  156. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman –
  157. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
  158. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  159. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  160. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
  161. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  162. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  163. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
  164. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  165. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
  166. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  167. Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
  168. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  169. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  170. The Love Story by Erich Segal
  171. Macbeth by William Shakespeare 
  172. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  173. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
  174. Marathon Man by William Goldman
  175. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  176. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
  177. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
  178. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
  179. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  180. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
  181. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
  182. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  183. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  184. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  185. Moby Dick by Herman Melville 
  186. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
  187. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
  188. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
  189. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
  190. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
  191. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  192. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 
  193. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  194. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
  195. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
  196. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
  197. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
  198. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  199. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  200. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  201. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  202. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  203. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
  204. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson 
  205. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  206. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich 
  207. Night by Elie Wiesel 
  208. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  209. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
  210. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
  211. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  212. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 
  213. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  214. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  215. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  216. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
  217. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
  218. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
  219. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood 
  220. Othello by Shakespeare
  221. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  222. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
  223. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
  224. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton 
  225. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  226. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
  227. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  228. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  229. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  230. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
  231. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  232. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  233. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
  234. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  235. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche 
  236. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
  237. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  238. Property by Valerie Martin
  239. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
  240. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  241. Quattrocento by James Mckean
  242. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
  243. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers 
  244. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe 
  245. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  246. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi 
  247. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 
  248. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  249. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  250. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
  251. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien 
  252. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
  253. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
  254. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
  255. Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
  256. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare 
  257. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf 
  258. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  259. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  260. The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
  261. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
  262. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  263. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  264. Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
  265. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum 
  266. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
  267. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  268. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  269. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  270. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  271. Selected Hotels of Europe
  272. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
  273. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  274. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  275. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
  276. Sexus by Henry Miller
  277. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  278. Shane by Jack Shaefer
  279. The Shining by Stephen King
  280. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  281. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  282. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  283. Small Island by Andrea Levy
  284. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  285. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers 
  286. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
  287. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  288. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
  289. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
  290. Songbook by Nick Hornby
  291. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare 
  292. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
  293. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  294. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 
  295. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  296. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  297. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  298. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams 
  299. Stuart Little by E. B. White
  300. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 
  301. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust 
  302. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
  303. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
  304. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  305. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  306. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
  307. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  308. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  309. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
  310. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  311. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
  312. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 
  313. The Trial by Franz Kafka 
  314. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  315. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
  316. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  317. Ulysses by James Joyce
  318. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
  319. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 
  320. Unless by Carol Shields
  321. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  322. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
  323. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  324. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
  325. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  326. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett 
  327. Walden by Henry David Thoreau 
  328. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
  329. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  330. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
  331. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
  332. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
  333. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  334. Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
  335. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee 
  336. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire 
  337. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  338. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 
  339. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  340. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Saturday, August 04, 2012


  • I'm still looking for the cable for my camera.  The photos I took on holiday aren't great but I'd still like to get a few of them up.  
  • Looks like I really will be getting a speeding ticket.  Haven't received it yet but I did get my bill from the car-sharing place and it included a five euro administration charge for processing a fine.  What happens is that they are sent the fine (based on the car registration plate) and then forward it to me.  So I assume it will turn up in the post in the next day or two.  So my unblemished record ain't quite so unblemished anymore.  
  • Today I booked a couple of tours for my two days in Kuala Lumpur in December before I continue to Sydney.  I'm toying with the idea of buying a Backtracker Pass to use when I'm in Australia.  My sister will be working for the first ten days or so that I am there and I'm considering taking the twelve or so hour train journey up to Brisbane.  Although I'm not going to try anything mad like fitting in a tour of the entire continent in the three weeks I have, it would be kind of nice to visit a different town in a different state and Queensland really is supposed to be completely different from New South Wales.
  • Still haven't gotten any preserving done but am slowly managing to get my apartment sorted out.  It's in a bit of an in-between stage at the moment so actually looks worse than ever but I can see that it's getting there at least.  I bought a new ceiling light from a colleague who recently moved house and another colleauge knows an electrician who she's going to ask to come and fit it for me.  I want to take down the light in the hall that doesn't work, put the one currently in the sitting room into the hall and then put the 'new' one up in the sitting room.  The organic tomatoes are running at 5 euro per kilo this year, which is very expensive.  I'll do my best to get as many of the soup/juice tomatoes as I can (around 3 euro a kilo for those slightly damaged tomatoes).
  • I managed to get up early and go swimming on Thursday.  I bought a ten-visit chip straighaway so now I have to make an effort to go or it'll just be a waste of money.  I'm even more out of condition than I thought. I've never really swum as sport, always more just paddling around for fun but even so it was pretty bad.  It took me over twenty minutes to swim up and down the pool ten times, and it's not a very big pool.  My back was complaining a bit too after the first one or two although it loosened up after that.  And I did feel more relaxed and looser in general for the rest of the day.  I'm going to the doctor on Tuesday just to get a check-up and make sure he checks out my ankles, which have developed a tendency to swell.  I don't think it's anything more than heat and my weight but no harm to get blood tests and a general check-up.  I need to ask about vaccinations for Malaysia and Australia anyway. 
That's all for now.  Although I'm fairly sure I have forgotten to mention the couple of things I had in mind when I sat down to write this post, I suspect that with my memory being the way it is, I may never get them back now anyway.  Hope you all are having a fabulous weekend.

Edited to add: I remember one thing I wanted to mention.  I recently bought a slow-cooker from someone who was returning to the States and selling everything she could.  Anyone have recommendations for a good cookbook for slow-cooker (also called crockpots)?  I'd be especially interested in one that covers very basic stuff, like just cooking beans or chickpeas on their own to later use in a salad, for example (there was no manual with it).