Archive for the ‘Favorites’ Category

Rock On

Monday, June 4th, 2007

My favorite music:

It’s pretty hard for me to say I like or don’t like a given genre of music – except there are some that I truly despise: like country! (I think it’s mostly an attitude thing. Country singers sound cheesy and sentimental to me…) And some of my tastes rule out other genres like heavy metal or hardcore because I don’t like vocals that are screamed rather than sung. I guess that’s how I would sum up what I like: I like guys and girls who sing, with natural style (not too much affectation) and with meaningful/interesting lyrics. My favorite songs are ones I can sing along to. I tend to like bands rather than pop diva/divo? [what’s the male equivalent of diva? Sister-in-law, help me out here…] types. I like it when rock bands mix in some fancy instruments like piano, strings, and brass. I notice the singing first, and it’s kind of a make-or-break thing for me, but I also pay attention to the instruments. One of my favorite songs is by Sarah Masen and it’s got her pretty voice, and then an interlude that mixes a kind of wail-y electric guitar with twangy banjo. Nice! I like classic/old school jazz, ever since I took a history-of-jazz class for my senior semester and got turned on to Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Duke Ellington. I like the Beatles, because they deserve it. I liked Ska during that fad – tons of fun!

My favorite artists:

These ones I like pretty much every song they’ve played, and I’m loyal to them for my own reasons (regardless of popularity or cultural “importance”):



the Newsboys* (my first rock music love)

the Waiting*

Jack Johnson

Some other top favorites:

Collective Soul

Lemon Jelly (I usually don’t care for electronic music but this is in a class by itself)

Sarah Masen*

Barenaked Ladies (Go, Canada!)

Dave Matthews Band




Dianogah (scant on the vocals; drums and bass play the melody. Cool!)

Thelonious Monk

Miles Davis

Jars of Clay

Sixpence None the Richer

the Sundays




Simon & Garfunkel


Five Iron Frenzy*

These artists, while I can’t say I like everything I’ve heard (and maybe haven’t heard much anyway) have songs on my favorites list:

Alanis Morissette

Burlap to Cashmere*

Built to Spill

Cat Stevens

Counting Crows


Death Cab for Cutie

Flaming Lips

Frou Frou

Goo Goo Dolls

Modest Mouse

Natalie Merchant

Norah Jones


the Police

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sheryl Crow

Smash Mouth

Squirrel Nut Zippers

Tori Amos

The Cloud Room

*If you haven’t heard of these people or can’t find them on iTunes or Pandora, it’s probably because they are in the “Contemporary Christian” pigeonhole. But I think they’re just as cool… goes back to that meaningful lyrics thing…

Favorite Foods/Restaurants

Friday, April 20th, 2007

It’s so hard to choose my favorite type of cuisine. I’ll take the entire continent of Asia plus the Indian subcontinent, please…

Thai: Thai Basil in Sunnyvale, CA.

Indian: Banjara in Sunnyvale is pretty good; they have mango soft-serve ice cream included with the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet… But, I still recall the little cafe we ate at in Siliguri, West Bengal, India… it was very yummy. Very hot. The name started with K but I can’t remember now… Rob Foster, wherever you are, help me out here…

Japanese: OK, yeah – the best Japanese food I’ve had was in Japan. duh. But, there are good places in Sunnyvale – Seto and Midori come to mind. I love all kinds of sushi and sashimi, but I’m also partial to tempura, and udon noodles.

[Gosh, I miss Sunnyvale… or at least the food!!!]

Chinese: Chef Li in San Jose. Best ever, bar none. For a cheap lunch, Lucky Gourmet in Mountain View. Two items with chow mein, please! And of course, P.F. Chang’s is a bit overpriced for what you get but a sure thing for a delicious dinner. Nice atmosphere.

Falafel: Something about falafel is just magic. If I’m sitting down with my falafel pita in hand and I’m really hungry, I’ve been known to gush about how much I looooove falafel… Good falafel in Santa Cruz, Falafel House just off Pacific on Walnut or somewhere close…

Pho Bo: Vietnamese noodle soup. Pass the hoisin sauce! It’s pretty hard to mess this up. Had it lots of good places. Look for a hole-in-the-wall or the chain Pho Hoa. As BN and I like to say, it’s nose-dripping good.

Mexican: Here in Eugene we really miss Una Mas. It’s consistently good, fresh-mex – I guess Mexican with a California twist to it. I crave their fish tacos, grilled, with chipotle cream sauce and shredded cabbage. Gotta love it. I had tacos in Mexico on my high school missions trip – that was the first and best Mexican food I ever had. Just street vendor fare, with a twist of lime. It changed my life.

Home cooking: I love, love, love to cook. I totally feel happy when I’m in progress on making a yummy dinner. There are elements of suspense, like, can I really pull off a multi-dish extravaganza and get everything finished at one time? I’m still working on that. But for the most part it makes me feel relaxed and satisfied that I am creating a delicious, nourishing and even beautiful meal to enjoy with family and/or friends. I get a kick out of cooking FOR people, like for church potlucks or meals-on-wheels for someone who’s recuperating from illness. One such mother told me last week that her son, who usually distains vegetables, liked my salad. Rock on!! I also get a thrill from creating an ethnic specialty at home, like Curry, Sushi, Hot-n-Sour Soup, Pho Bo, even Falafel. If you ever need recipes, I got recipes, happy to share. I favor recipes that deliver great food for not much fuss; my absolute favorite cookbook is Frances Price’s Healthy Cooking for Two or Just You. This woman taught me how to cook – practically every recipe I’ve tried in this book has become a favorite, or at least was quite good and easy to make. I love cooking but I’m not really into baking. I guess I like a hands-on approach with the freedom to improvise. I do follow recipes, but I like to modify them to suit my taste and preferences. Also, baking is mostly about dessert and dessert is extraneous. Dinner is a necessity. I’m very practical deep down, so maybe that has something to do with it. Like I just don’t do Fine Art. I’m truly a designer at heart – I like filling needs and solving problems, in a creative and beautiful way. Cooking is one way for me to do that.

Favorite Recipes (leave a comment and I’ll send you the recipe.)

Chili-Lime Burritos

Tamale Pie (Thanks, Mom!)

Eggplant Lasagna

Rosemary Lemon Chicken & Pasta Primavera

Garlic-baked Mushrooms

Hopping John Risotto

Couscous with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini

Spinach Pockets with Carrot Fries

Falafel with Yogurt Dip

Pad Thai

Slow-cook Teryaki Honey Chicken

Teriyaki Salmon with Green Tea Rice

Hong Kong Primavera

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Szechuan Chicken in Lettuce Bundles

Curry-in-a-Hurry (my own adaptation of more complex curry recipes)

Thai Beef Curry with Peanut Sauce

Chicken & Onion Pie

Sushi Maki (easier than you think, and raw fish is not required for great results)

Hot & Sour Soup (just like the restaurants, but better)

French Onion Soup

Chili and Cornbread

Moroccan Orange Salad

Wasabi Three-Bean Salad

Chinese Cabbage Salad

(I always make my own salad dressings: Balsamic/Dijon, Honey Mustard, Sesame, Caesar…)

Thai Peach Salsa

Rainbow Hummus

Roasted Garlic

Clafouti (French-style Apple dessert)

Lemon Bars (BN’s favorite)

Tapioca Pudding

Mango Gratin

Crepes with mixed berry fruit sauce

Chai Tea

My Favorite Books

Friday, March 30th, 2007

I eagerly welcome book recommendations – leave me a comment!

C.S. Lewis: Narnia series, the “Space” Trilogy, Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce

The Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Jane Eyre, Villette: Charlotte Bronte

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Anne Bronte

George Eliot: Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations, Bleak House

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, Emma

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (abridged version)

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Watership Down, Richard Adams

Momo, Michael Ende

The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Tad Williams

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot

This Star Shall Abide, Sylvia Louise Engdahl

The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper

Winter Cottage, and Caddie Woodlawn, (unrelated), Carol Ryrie Brink

Mara, Daughter of the Nile + The Golden Goblet, Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Witch of Blackbird Pond, Calico Captive, The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare

The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong

My Favorite Movies

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Leave a comment if you want to recommend a movie to me!

All time favorites:

Lord of the Rings trilogy

Anna and the King

Pride and Prejudice (the newer one and the older miniseries)

Interesting concepts:


Rain Man

Groundhog day

Forrest Gump

A Beautiful Mind

The Illusionist

Girl with a Pearl Earring


Little Women (newer, with Winona Ryder & Christian Bale)


Babe (the Gallant Pig)

Romantic Comedy:

While You Were Sleeping

Runaway Bride

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Sleepless in Seattle

Sweet Home Alabama

Raising Helen


Haiku Tunnel

Groundhog day

Napoleon Dynamite


Beauty and the Beast


Lion King

Emperor’s New Groove

Toy Story 1 & 2

Monsters, Inc.

Finding Nemo

The Incredibles