Category Archives: Food & Drink

Pollyanna and the Lost Weekend

Lyda here.

I wasn’t actually lost this weekend, just… misplaced. But only slightly. (It was not at all like this Lost Weekend.)

I was in LA visiting friends. One of the things we did was go to a fabulous restaurant in Santa Monica called The Lobster. It’s right at the entrance to the pier, with an 180-degree view of the ocean and the pier. The whole evening was amazing – incredible food, excellent mixed drinks (I wasn’t driving), and an elegantly casual atmosphere. Elegantly casual is hard to pull off if you aren’t Audrey Hepburn, but they do it well.

If you go, ask if Patrick can be your waiter. He was terrific. Listen to his recommendations on the food and you can’t go wrong.

And also?  Best. Oysters. Ever.

Pollyanna reads on Discworld, part 3

Lyda here.

I finally completed the seemingly-endless Reading on Discworld Challenge which was inspired by the books of Terry Pratchett. I wanted to read new books for the challenge, which is why it took me so long. Oh yeah, plus getting my masters. And life. I already reported here on the books I read for item #s 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 15, and here on the books I read for item #s 6, 8, 12 & 14.

These are the remaining parts of the challenge that I completed:

3. ‘Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?” Mort thought for a moment. “No,” he said eventually, “what?” There was silence. Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ‘em right.”’  Mort

Read a book about something you’ve always wondered about. What is string theory, really? Who was Deep Throat? And, now that we’re thinking about such things (y’all know you are)… How have attitudes and morals about sex varied and changed by country and era? (That book was my sister’s college graduation present to me – my first graduate course, she said.) Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Pyramids” (mathematics, philosophers, why camels look smug, and what really happens to mummies), “Monstrous Regiment” (why military intelligence isn’t always an oxymoron).

I read “The Walking Dead  – Compendium One” by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.

What? I’ve always wondered about graphic novels – I had never really read any before – and specifically, I wondered about these graphic novels.

I love “The Walking Dead” TV series, and I knew from watching “The Talking Dead” that the graphic novels (on which the show is based) were different. Some of the characters and their character development are different, important plot points are completely different, and reading the graphic novels is a totally different experience from watching the show. They are both excellent, too.

7. ‘The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.’  Guards! Guards!

Go to the library and wander into an aisle you do not usually frequent. Pick a book from the shelf  and read it. One way to do this is to look in the new books section, and pick something from a category you don’t usually read. Just don’t interfere with the nature of causality while you’re there. Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Good Omens”, “Nation”.

I read “The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size” by Julia Cameron. (I actually bought this book, so I can use it over and over like her other books.) Y’all, I never ever read diet books. But this one is different. For one thing, it is written by one of my favorite authors, who wrote “The Artist’s Way” and many other awesome books about which I

just (blog post link #1)

won’t (blog post link #2)

shut (blog post link #3)

up (blog post link #4).

This book is really about expanding one’s creativity and shrinking one’s use of food as a block to emotions and creativity. It does not contain a food plan or rules. Instead, it give tools to use to explore one’s relationship to food and get free of old patterns and unhealthy habits. Those familiar with Julia Cameron’s work will recognize some of the tools, like Morning Pages, and find new tools, like keeping a food journal.

I’ll let you know how it goes as I try out the program.

13. ‘It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author’s control. They might.’  Equal Rites

Read a book about sex, sexuality, and/or sexual politics. I think y’all can find one of these on your own. Terry Pratchett book suggestion:  “Equal Rites”, “Sourcery”.

I read “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide” by Maurine Dowd. I wasn’t crazy about this book. Some of the science is out of date, and I didn’t agree with a lot of her conclusions. For example, she quotes a survey that found that 86% of women would quit their jobs if they didn’t need the money. This supposedly shows that women are less invested in their jobs than men are. But I immediately wanted to know: what percentage of men in equivalent jobs would quit if they didn’t need the money? I’m guessing it would be neck-and-neck.

But agreeing with her is not the point. She made me think, and that is the point. Plus, she is a good and occasionally funny writer. While discussing the ‘war between the sexes’ she says, “Will there ever be peace? I doubt it. But there should always be laughter.” And I’ll drink to that.

16. ‘To Rincewind’s annoyance the Luggage barreled after her, cushioning its fall by dropping heavily onto a slaver, and adding to the sudden panic of the invaders because, while it was bad enough to be attacked with deadly and ferocious accuracy by a rather pretty girl in a white dress with flowers on it, it was even worse for the male ego to be tripped up and beaten by a travel accessory; it was pretty bad for all the rest of the male, too.’  Sourcery

Read a book with an inanimate object as a character and/or an important part of the plot. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Sourcery”, or any of the books with the Luggage in them.

I read “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. There is a sword that is essential to the plot, and is practically alive. Plus, there is a talking magical doll in it. I realize as I’m typing this that “talking magical doll” sounds really creepy, but in this story it actually isn’t. No, really.

17. ‘ “It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said.
“Have you thought about going into teaching?” ‘  Mort

Read a book that teaches you something. Something that will not come in handy in your everyday life. Learn something completely impractical.  Terry Pratchett book suggestion: “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” (you will find out more about rats than you ever thought there was to know).

I read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I feel as if I found my homeland – it is a land of truly weird stuff and wonderful off-kilter people, and Jenny is our leader. Also, I learned quite a lot of very bizarre and not-useful stuff, including things about taxidermy. See this post for my full review.

18. ‘… human beings, little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium…’  Pyramids


‘It’s not for nothing that advanced mathematics tends to be invented in hot countries. It’s because of the morphic resonance of all the camels, who have that disdainful expression and famous curled lip as a natural result of an ability to do quadratic equations.’  Pyramids


‘It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong… It is used. And one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

‘Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected.’  Small Gods

Read something spiritual, mystical, mathematical, or amazing. Something that will remind you of how magic and unbelievable the universe and everything in it really is. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Small Gods”, “Good Omens”, “Wee Free Men”… really, any of his books.

I read “River Flow: New & Selected Poems” by David Whyte. I love his writing. It feeds my soul. I discovered his work at school, where several of his books are required reading. Which shows you how awesome my school is.

19. ‘He [Vimes] wasn’t strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (Did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)’  The Fifth Elephant

Read a detective novel, a crime story, a mystery, or a thriller. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “The Fifth Elephant”, “Thud!”.

I read “Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson. It’s not a traditional mystery, but it definitely fits the bill. The plot twists like a corkscrew, the characters are unique, the ending is surprising, and the world is fascinating.


I post about this so I can keep it straight in my own head. Which is a rather chaotic place sometimes. Witness the digressions…

Pollyanna and the Spaghetti Cake of Doom

Lyda here.

Actually, the spaghetti cake was yesterday. No, wait, two days ago. But math is hard!

This is a joke between the Sith Master and me, ever since I told him about the talking Barbie doll that said “math class is tough.”

Recently, we were texting about the time we would meet for our weekly dinner-and-possibly-a-movie-and-definitely-hours-of-talking. And he sent “Math is hard!” And I laughed so hard that my roommates came upstairs to see whether it was finally time to call the men to cart me away to the nice padded room.

It’s doubly funny because he is a math wiz. He often corrects my feeble attempts at figuring tips and such. He can even do that funny math that has letters instead of numbers, which I refuse to have anything to do with. A girl has to draw the line somewhere, even if it is with an equal sign.

But I digress…

We often quote Monty Python in our texts, i.e.: “How’s it going? What time are we meeting? What is the air speed of an unladen swallow?

I am so going to get him one of these shirts. Shh, don’t tell him. And maybe this mug, as I used to sing this song to him as a child. What child wouldn’t love to hear “he was bisected accidentally…” as he was drifting off to sleep. And maybe a mug for My Brother the Professor. It’s all his fault, and he knows it. And this one for Anna-Liza… or maybe that one. And this one for Irish Beauty…

And don’t I wish I could hear my mom laugh at this one? I may need it in her honor.

Oops, digressing again…

To return to the first sentence of this post, which was the original thought and has gotten lost amid the digressions…


Play drum! Play drum!

Also, apparently I can’t spell spaghetti.

One of my best things, digressing… uh-oh, here we go again!


I wonder why I’m hungry now…

Pollyanna wonders “To drink, or not to drink…”

Lyda here.

A study shows that the taste of beer excites the brain and stimulates the desire for more. As if we didn’t all know that already. This excitement did not happen with water or sports drinks.

But the real news from this study is that this reaction is stronger in those with a family history of alcoholism – which is something scientists did not know. This study only used beer; they extrapolated that it would hold for other alcoholic drinks.

Another study shows that middle-age people who drink in moderation have a better “quality of life” than those who either abstain, or drink more than 14 drinks a week (more than three a day for women and four a day for me). Subjects in this study were middle-aged, so this may not hold for older or younger folks. The study shows that when these subjects stopped drinking, their quality of life went down – but it did not take into account other factors, such as illness or decreased social activity, that led to the subject’s abstinence.

Yet another study shows that people drink alcohol at a slower pace when they drink from a straight glass rather than a curvy glass. Apparently, people are not good at judging how much is left in the glass when the glass is curvy. This makes it harder to pace their drinking.

You may note that the links to these studies are to reports from British sources, which could affect the outcomes. Drinking in English pubs is a social activity, which would affect quality of life differently than drinking at home alone.

So – to drink or not to drink? And if drinking, how much?

It all depends. On your preference, your family history, your health… and, it turns out, the shape of your glasses.

If you do drink, have a designated driver.

Or the Zombie Army will come for you.


Pollyanna Plays Around and About and All Over

What do y’all mean, that’s what you heard?

Lyda here. I know I promised fiber-related content, but I can’t resist a Random Weirdness post…

Firstly, about the post title:

1) It’s okay for me to play around, I’m a single and commitment-free Pollyanna;

2) Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any of THAT kind of playing around in a while (a dry spell this long could prove fatal, y’all);

3) If there was some of that kind of playing around, I would not hint about it… I would either tell y’all about it or not mention it at all, depending;

4) So now y’all are wondering if all this is a clever rouse to distract from any playing around I have been doing and on that subject I will say…

No comment;

and 5) I wasn’t talking about that kind of playing around anyway, and y’all should be ashamed.

Actually, I brought it up. I’m the one who should be ashamed. Should I also be ashamed that I’m not ashamed?

But I digress…

What was I talking about? What day is this? Where am I? What planet is this? Ah yes, Earth. “Oh, what a dull name.”

And speaking of cake – and I believe we were…

What? We weren’t talking about cake? Let’s!

What do y’all think about Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes? If you’ve tried them, I’d love to hear what you thought. I found them here: Bacon is the New Black. I love this blog – all baking, all the time! – and plenty of yummy cupcakes to drool over. There is even a Battle for the Cupcakes, which Marin and the Sith Master will like.

I love the rainbow cupcakes – that would work with any light-colored batter and would be fun for a kid’s birthday party. Or just a rainy day. I wonder how it would look with chocolate batter – I’m thinking you might get just a hint of color… Hmmm….

I miss cooking, y’all. I’m a weirdo, I know. But I miss having my own kitchen and cooking meals for my son and for my friends. I miss making a pot roast and then eating it for days in a row. I miss my Famous Mashed Potatoes and my Famous Roast Chicken. I miss making stew on a cool day. When Santa’s sleigh approaches, I miss knowing that I’ll be making a big feast and then eating it for the rest of the week. I would have really missed cooking last Thanksgiving except I was busy having the Worst Cold In The History Of The World.

I really miss baking too. Mixing ingredients together, adding heat, and – science! alchemy! magic! – you get cake.


Right now, I pretty much microwave my food, and occasionally make something on top of the stove. It’s not that I couldn’t cook in the kitchen – I think my roommates trust me enough to let me use the oven, even though I’m not allowed to use the fireplace and I can’t figure out how to open the patio door.

Okay, the door has a very weird locking/opening thingy, and I’m always worried I’ll have to leave it unlocked and the zombies will get in and eat the dog. For which my roommates would never forgive me.

Also, the zombies might disturb the decor at Chez Disney. Zombies are always looking for the perfect Disney memorabilia. Or so I’ve heard.

The fireplace thing is because a previous tenant apparently almost burned the place down. I don’t mind not being able to use it, though, because I spend all my time up in my room, and the fireplace won’t fit up the stairs.

But I digress again…

Two, three, four… and then there was the time…

Y’all know I spend a lot of time watching TV.

I’ve been watching Being Erica, which combines time travel and psychology… it’s hard to explain… just trust me, y’all will relate… and even if not, there is a very cute guy…

And Elementary – modern day Holmes and female Dr. Watson, with a few tweeks. I like it but…

I prefer Sherlock . You may recognize a hobbit in the cast photo…

My favorite new discovery is probably Misfits. British sci-fi comedy with a dark edge and a gritty attitude… plus funny sex scenes. SEX! When they say “adult content” on the official site, they mean it.

I was watching  Terra Nova even after it jumped the shark(here’s the scene that is the origin of that fishy phrase… but I digress even more…) I was attracted to Terra Nova for a lot of reasons:  time travel, sci-fi excitement, interesting promos. Attractive leading man. 

But really, they had me at dinosaurs. DINOSAURS!!

Of course, I’m also eagerly gobbling up this season of The Walking Dead. And also The Talking Dead.



Chores. Work. A life.


I’ll just go and get right on that, shall I?

Just ignore the remote in my lap…

Quick, I’ll distract y’all with this, so you can get next year’s holiday shopping done really early:  the perfect gift guide… if you are seeking revenge, that is!


That’s for the Sith Master. Can anyone name the Simpson’s episode that it’s from?

Be sure to check out this post too.


Ah, how I’ve missed digressing with y’all…

Pollyanna and the Triumphant Return (flourish of trumpets)

Well, that was a long silence. What can I say? There was a hole in my tennis racket… the sun was in my eyes… a friend came in from out of town…


Oh, must have more Blues Brothers.

Okay. It is totally my fault. Life, the Universe, and Everything just got in the way.

How about if I distract you with some Random Weirdness?

Like:  The 30 Most Important Cats of 2012

or: 50 People You Wish You Knew

Not working, is it?

Will you forgive me if I send you some barbeque? When pigs fly, you say? Exactly.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face…

Tomorrow, actual fiber-related posting.

For now, I’m going to find some of that barbeque…