Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Stuff: January 2014 Edition

A few things that made me happy in January 2014, in lieu of a regular monthly wrap-up:

A square photo of a red snow dragon's head

Lincoln's Dragon

I spent the first ten days of the year dogsitting in Wolseley, a Winnipeg suburb known for its artistic sensibilities. It was so cold that the pup and I had to forgo most longer walks, but as soon as the weather allowed the two of us tromped off to see Lincoln's sleeping dragon, a massive ice and snow sculpture that takes up most of the artist's front yard. Talk about impressive.

cover art for the Open Road edition of Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

Author Octavia E. Butler

Friends have spent the last five or six years telling me to read Butler. Early last month, I finally took the plunge.

By the looks of it, Butler and I will get along very well indeed. At three books in, I most ardently admire her ideas and her prose. I'm so glad I have four more of her books on my Kobo, with the rest easily accessible through my library.

A picture of President's Choice Avocado Mayonnaise in a white squeeze tube

Avocado Mayonnaise

OMG THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I mean, you expect it's gonna be good on account of how avocado and mayonnaise are both awesome things, but put 'em together and you have GOLD.

I ate it as a dip for sweet potato fries and I slathered it on sandwiches. If it weren't for the extreme unhealthiness of it all, I'd have squeezed it into the bowl of large spoon and scarfed it down that way.

The Canadians among you must try it. Non-Canadians, please see if any of your local grocery stores manufacture and/or carry something similar. You can make it, too, but the recipes I've perused are all egg-free and the store bought variety isn't. It tastes like a true blend of avocado and mayo, rather than pureed avocados pretending to be mayonnaise.

cover art for The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale


I read some great romances (and romance-like things) last month. Rainbow Rowell's ELEANOR & PARK (which is part romance, part journey of self discover, and part karate chop in the emotions) entranced me in early January, as did RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally. I shed a fair few tears over the last three books in Christi Barth's Aisle Bound series: A FINE ROMANCE, FRIENDS TO LOVERS, and A MATCHLESS ROMANCE. And I had a wonderful, wonderful time revisiting OUTLANDER via my fancy-dancy segmented reading method (which is to say, I read a hundred pages every time I finished something else).

Most of all, though, I loved THE WICKED WALLFLOWER by Maya Rodale, a spectacularly fun blend of Regency-style reality competition and true love. I gulped it down in a single day.

A picture of Anna and Elsa from Frozen standing back to back


I didn't think I'd ever love another Disney movie the way I love TANGLED, but FROZEN has proved me wrong. I can't stop thinking about this story of two sisters who desperately want to connect but are unsure how to be around each other. I'm sure I'll find some fault with it once I've seen it a couple more times, but right now, it's perfect.

It's given us some great music, too. Y'all know how much I love "Let It Go." I'm also mighty taken with "Vuelie" and "Frozen Heart," the two numbers that open the movie.

Cover art for Hunter's Oath by Michelle West

Author Michelle West

I read three of Michelle West's early books half a lifetime ago but somehow never made an effort to read anymore. That'll change in 2014, because a recent reread has left me totally obsessed. HUNTER'S OATH and HUNTER'S DEATH reminded me of why I love secondary world fantasy so very, very much. I've spent the last two weeks talking them up to all and sundry, and I doubt that'll change any time soon. Hell, I'm liable to get even more vocal as I delve further into her extensive bibliography, which spans three pseudonyms (she's also Michelle Sagara and Michelle Sagara West). Whee!

A picture of David and Kyle from Coronation Street standing with their arms around each other

David and Kylie From CORONATION STREET

David and Kylie, my current television OTP, got back together in January. Hurray! I'm way too invested in their relationship. When they first got engaged, I desperately wanted them to break up because they were both awful people and I reallyreallyreally didn't want Kylie's sister, Becky, to have to deal with seeing Kylie every day. (There was this whole thing where Kylie wreaked havoc with Becky's home life, then sold Becky her son and skedaddled out of town after demanding even more money for the poor kid. Terrible things! Horrible things! Especially since they happened to Becky, who is one of my absolute favourite TV characters of all time and deserves only happiness and fuzzy puppies.)

As their marriage wore on, though, I started hoping it would last longer than any other marriage in television history, simply because it looked so unlikely to succeed. They've had blips here and there, most recently when David tried to destroy his brother's life and ended up almost killing the guy (see: awful people, but I can't seem to stop rooting for him oh god why), but they've never actually divorced and I pray they never will. I've got a thing for fuck-ups who find each other and stick it out, and these two are it. Here's hoping they're still married when CORONATION STREET celebrates its centennial.


  1. So, should I try Miranda Kenneally maybe? I'm always on the lookout for new romance authors to try.

    1. Yes! She's more contemporary YA than pure romance, but all her books have a strong romantic component. Every single one of them has made me cry, too; an added bonus!

  2. That dragon is awesome! And so is Frozen. That is all.

    1. I wish I could've taken a full-body shot of the dragon. It was tough to get the angle right, though, since it's in the front yard of a private apartment building. I was a little worried the puppy might, um, interfere with it if we got too close, too.

  3. I got the Michelle West you told me to get!

  4. YAY FROZEN. My family has plans to watch it all together when it comes out on DVD, and I am legit pretty excited about it.

    1. I wish I could convince my family to do the same. Alas, their taste in animated features is nothing like mine. They hated TANGLED. My mind is still boggled.

  5. Avocado mayo? I'll be very unhappy if this only exists in Canadia. I'll have to get my parents to send me some...