A VISIT TO AND FROM THE QUEEN

2 points

Pulpwood QUEENS book club

Several years ago Laura stumbled on a story about a book club called Pulpwood QUEENS. It was started by a free spirit named Kathy Murphy who combined her hair styling skills with her love of books and opened a beauty salon/book store aptly called Beauty and the Book. From there, it grew into an international book club with 725+chapters, including ours: The Collin County Pulpwood Queens. This month the QUEEN herself (Kathy Murphy) came to our meeting to discuss Gentleman of Moscow and show us her new line of art and clothing. CLUB2

What we definitely enjoy most is Kathy’s yearly Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend. Hundreds of fellow, tiara-wearing book lovers get together each year to hear authors talk about their books. However, unlike any other book festival, we really get to know the authors personally. They even serve dinner one night. Authors are our movie stars; meeting Alice Hoffman and Jamie Ford was more exciting than if we were to meet Ryan Reynolds. IMG_0912And who can beat the zany Great Ball of Hair on Saturday night? Last year’s theme was Bohemian Rhapsody and, as former hippies, we knew just how to dress. We’ve also had fun with Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend . And who could pass up the experience of going into a gas station to get directions in these get ups?!

This coming January, the theme is How the West Was Won, so you know we’re brushing off cowgirl hats and polishing up our boots. We’d love to wrangle some more of our friends into the group – so don’t be shy about moseying on down to Nacogdoches with us! Check it out at http://www.thepulpwoodqueens.com/

2 points

QUEEN OF SHEBA Restaurant

When we were little girls, if anyone, including us, were to act like they were “all that” our mom would ask: “Who does she think she is, the Queen of Sheba?” Never once, until Q month, did we stop to wonder who the real Queen of Sheba was. From exploring the internet, we can see where the expression originated since she came to Solomon with all kinds of rich gifts – spices and gems.

So imagine how excited we were that there is a restaurant named QUEEN OF SHEBA and it serves Ethiopian food, which was a new experience for us, albeit it not a Q. Ethiopian food definitely is reminiscent of Sheba in that it has a rich dose of spices in everything from the veggies to the coffee (which Laura just had to buy a pound of!). We enjoyed it but the one thing that took us a bit of getting used to was the bread called Injera. Looks a little bit like a squishy brick colored pancake, rolled up like a taco but the consistency and taste is hard to describe. If any of you try it, let us know what you think.

We’d like to think that Mom would have gotten a kick out of our eating here.

The Quirkiness of Q

1 point

Laura: In thinking about what I wanted to study for the month of Q, the first thing that came to mind was the question: “Why is Q almost always followed by U?” I figured that long ago, Q chose U as its best friend and a pact was made to appear in public most of the time. Obviously, it was not that simple so I found a great little video on youtube with delightful cartoonish drawings that explains it best. To sum it up, Q and U got together to replicate sounds in the language of the Normans, the French, the Etruscans and the Phoenicians. If you’re interested, check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9GJzn_0U9U. But one thing I find extremely Quirky is that when S precedes QU, you get most words that have a slight negative twist to them. Consider squalor, squish, squash, squeeze, squander, squeamish, squirrelly, to cite a few. I wonder what squabble set this in motion?

Barbara: Q and U are obviously close friends but P has been vying for Q’s attention for quite some time. I checked to see where the expression “Mind your Ps and Qs” originated.  Surprisingly there was not a good consensus but instead several interpretations. Mind your pints and quarts was one since bartenders had to tally up their take; there’s really nothing to support this, though, so I attribute it to the drunk bartenders. Mind your pea and queue came from the 18th century but since a pea was a coat and a queue was a wig only someone who was Quackers could confuse those.

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The QUEST for Q Continues

2 points

Barbara: “Real men don’t eat QUICHE,” but we do and this time in a very special restaurant called Hugs Café in McKinney, Texas. Hugs is the creation and passion of founder and president Ruth Thompson.

“Our goal is to empower adults with special needs to change their lives for the better by creating jobs and providing extensive training every day. We’re changing the world, one hug at a time.”

Like their sign says, “Hugs are Welcome”, and so were we.  When was the last time you were served lunch by a smiling waiter or had your hand shaken by a cashier? And the Quiche and turkey sandwich with peach chutney were really good. A must see when shopping in McKinney Square.

1 point

Laura: In searching for a film set in QUEBEC, I chose the entertaining dark comedy thriller, Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Starring Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, this buddy cop movie distinguishes itself on being bilingual and providing a glimpse into how the Anglos and Francos coexist. When a body is found exactly on the border between Quebec and Ontario, an English cop and a French cop reluctantly partner up to solve the case. The banter between these two and their cultural clashes are the strength and heart of this movie. The more you know about Canada’s culture, the more inside jokes and references you will pick up. Since my knowledge is quite limited, I’m sure I missed a great many quips but totally enjoyed the movie anyway. Although I chuckled throughout (the quirky coroner’s explanation of the first victim’s cause of death was one of my favorite bits), the movie was not without its violence and tension.

1 point

Barbara: I personally love books that either switch between two viewpoints or between past and present. The Alice Network by Kate QUINN did both. The characters portrayed in this historical fiction about female spies during WW1 really pulled me in…not enough to make me want to become a spy but you’d have to do a lot of pulling for that. A recommend for sure.

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A “Q” Quandary

 

Having taken a sabbatical of sorts from this blog, I am now ready to restart. Plus, I have a willing and able co-blogger with whom to share the joy of journaling the ABC Life – my sister! Barbara was an avid commentator previously and now joins me at the helm.

The Quandary: deciding between restarting with A or picking up with Q. However, since we’ve both lived the ABC Life from A to P, Q won out, with nary a Quarrel nor Quibble.

So let the Quest for Q begin!

2 points

Barbara: We’ve always thought of Quilts as “patchwork” so we were pretty amazed at the variety displayed at the QUILT Show in Plano. There were some made from remnants but more often from elaborate patterns and even surprisingly masks made by Quilting. The flowered quilt in the picture was the result of a “Chopped” challenge. Quilters were given a stack of materials and told to create a quilt from them. Quilting can be as simple or complex as you want it to be but it’s a hobby that can definitely lead to new friendships. Since I generally get carried away, I started planning my first quilt but came to my senses before we left.

2 points

Laura: Very few restaurants begin with “Q”, so lucky for us to have found  QDOBA Mexican Eats in Richardson. It’s an informal place where you walk to the counter and customize your dish with the help of the friendly staff. Bonus: Queso and guacamole are always added at no charge! We tried the Quesadillas (of course) and a brisket burrito bowl. Both were delicious and of ample size, thereby satisfying both our Quality and Quantity check marks.

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All of P in one Post

It’s only fitting that I end this year, putting all my P experiences into one post. This year has been one of terrible PROCRASTINATION. (I believe the tendency to put things off runs in my genes: I know my sister and at least one cousin claim this gene deficiency as well.)

The primary motivtion to living the abc life is to consciously seek new experiences. I love doing this and truly believe it adds quality to my life.

So here is the recounting of my December “P” month.

2 points for PLUM PUDDING. While in San Francisco this month, I headed out to my favorite Irish bakery. They had samples of Plum Pudding – which I’d never tasted – and it was delicious. (Did you know there are no plums in this baby? It’s thought that back in the 17th century the word “plum” referred to raisins or other fruits.)

2 points for PITCH PERFECT, a dollar movie experience that paid off big. Thoroughly enjoyable if you like a capella and silly college musicals. This film doesn’t take itself seriously but was thoroughly entertaining and had us wishing we could sing like that and shake our booties too!

2 points for a cocktail combining PROSECCO and POMEGRANATE called Skinny Bubbles. Not bad, but not memorable either. The restaurant, Deno’s in Plano, was a new experience and a pleasant surprise. A bit pricey for what you get but I will return because the food was good, the place was comfortable and convenient for us and the service friendly and accommodating.

1 point for The PARIS Wife by PAULA McClain. Ever since I went to Paris two years ago, I gravitate to stories of this city. This book was about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley and all their fabulous literary friends: Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to name a few. Not a lifestyle I could or would maintain, but an interesting read.

Attempted to try the restaurant Papa Lopez but they closed early that day so it was a no go because of their no show.

This month I have been PENSIVE, giving some thought to who I am, what I’m doing and what I want. Haven’t found the answers but I do know a few things – and thus launches my new MORE or LESS zone, which I will do monthly.

I will work on having MORE PATIENCE. I used to be quite a patient person but as I get older, I’m more quick to get annoyed or bothered with people or situations. Having patience makes your life much easier and I will make a conscious effort this coming year to recapture the more mellow Laura.

I want LESS PILES. Piles of paper and stuff are annoying. They have to go! But it’s not just stacks of material things. When you pile up stacks of feelings, they take a toll as well. By new motto: Let it slide. Let it go.

Well that’s it. Another year of the abc life. Can’t wait for Q month tomorrow.

Thank you all for following along and I truly love when you comment.

Happy New Year!

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O time

I’m way past my O month, but I need to finish up by O experiences.

Back in November, I selected two O books, each of which had a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish either book due to time constraints and other issues. I started both books to get a feel for them and will someday return to them and give them their rightful due.

The first book was The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times by Arlie Russell Hochschild. The book examines what happens when we begin to outsource the most personal aspects of our lives. When we don’t have enough time ourselves but do have enough money to pay someone else to do it, are we wise to outsource and hire specialists to manage our children’s birthday parties, navigate the dating process, orchestrate our weddings, manage our children’s birthday parties and even  arrange for the care of our elderly parents? I’m an advocate of outsourcing areas of our business, but need more time to ponder how outsourcing our personal lives will eventually build or break our society. Are we better for it or do we lose something precious?

The other book was Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. This book tackles the issue of how many of us are buying way too many clothes – mainly because they are so inexpensive that adding a new outfit to your wardrobe is almost as easy and often as cheap as buying a fast food dinner. Reading how the typical American consumer often buys a new item of clothing every week was an eye opener. The book points out how this unchecked consumption leads to more environmental waste and horrible working conditions, plus because the clothes are so cheap, they are being tossed quickly because they wear out and are don’t hold their shape. No one wins.

That wraps up my O month. This was long OVERDUE.

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Sorry, but this OLDIE ain’t a goody to me

2 points for trying OJEDA’s Mexican Restaurant, a neighborhood fixture that has been around forever.. I have passed this place hundreds of times and knew I had to try it this month. Had a cheese quesadilla, which was tasty but not a good value. For $9, it was four small pieces (small!) and came with your choice of sour cream or guacamole, not both as is more typical of other places. So, I can check off another O experience and chuck it as a keeper.

2 points for OIL and Vinegar shop. Barbara already explained what it’s all about in the comment section below and it’s highly recommended. But the most fun was tasting the various flavors. Living the abc life, I had this shop on my list, just waiting for my O month to try it and I’m glad I made a point to try it.

0 points for Octopus. Sorry, just can’t try it.

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Onward with O

ODD book (2 points). Went to the Bookworm Bash this weekend looking for the odd book that called my name – and there it was: 505 Unbelievably Stupid Web Pages by Dan Crowley. Fascinating stuff. Checked out The ORIGINAL Densa Quiz, which tests to see how dumb you are. I got 9 out of 12 right, which I could have probably pushed to 10 had I just had a cup of coffee! The author rated this site with 7’s straight across the board for Abnormality, Stupidity and Entertainment. Another fun site was The ORACLE of Bacon, which lets you play the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game. I picked my friend Janye Anderson – and there she was with a Bacon number of 3. That is one heck of a database, and the author rated it Abnormality 1, Stupidity 2, Entertainment 9.

Wanted to report more O outings, but ran out of time playing with Kevin.

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