Birdy turned 8 today. "My baby!" I keep crying, and wrapping my arms around her. But seriously. My baby! She is so dear to me, that girl.
Spunky and kind, fierce and fair, loyal and loving and silly. Ben's been home sick, and when it was time to take Birdy to karate--our plan was just to leave him alone for a few hours--his fever was creeping up and up. "How bummed would you be to miss Power Girls?" I finally asked, and Birdy said, "Oh, Mama, I know. I was about to say the same thing--I really don't feel comfortable leaving him." That little brow furrowed with concern. I could bite her. I did bite her. Sigh.
Meanwhile, a lovely ginger-vinaigrette chicken recipe is here, and a less intuitively appealing but nonetheless delicious smoky chickpea recipe here.
Can we talk a little more about books and games?
Malena Watrous, a new friend I've never met, very kindly sent me her novel and I loved it.
If You Follow Me. It's about a young woman's year teaching English in Japan--but really it's mostly about trash, and I laughed out loud every few pages. When I offered her my incisive analysis--that it's about trash--she said that, in fact, she was going to call it the Japanese word for trash, but her editor dissuaded her, so there you go.
I have also recently read and loved Twin by Allen Shaw, and The Saskiad by Brian Hall. You guys? Any books you think we should all know about?
Furthermore, I am recommending two new games, not because Rio Grande sent them to me to review, but because Rio Grande sent them to me to review and they are awesome.
Dominion boasts "massive replay value" and this is more true than I know how to describe. We opened it two days before Christmas, and I'm not sure that a day has passed since during which we haven't played at least once. It takes around a half an hour, and there are many variations, and we all seem to win sometimes. When you read the description, it's all weird second-person dungeons-and-dragons "You are a monarch, a ruler of the peasants, an eater of the mutton, blah blah," and that's not at all what it's like to play. You're trying to amass resources, and it's more like an algorithm of logic and strategy than a narrative. I'm just saying. Gosh, I am really turning into a gamer. Do I smell like a gamer yet? Maybe.
Now, if you already have Carcassonne, any Carcassonne, you really don't need this one too. But if you don't, then I completely recommend it as it is our new favorite Carcassonne game. Wheel of Fortune is a tile-laying game that is quick, lovely, and wickedly competive, with an element of luck that adds to both the fun and frustration. Again, that distraught woman on the box? I have no idea what she's all about, and whether the featureless gingerbread-man-shaped wooden play pieces ("meeples" they're called, I don't know why) are intended in some way to represent her plight. We are not so much about the story as we are about fitting the tiles together and sneaking into each other's high-scoring situations. It is so much fun.
I am going to do another games give-away next week, but I haven't figured out the method yet. Stay tuned.
And thank you for your responses to the paint chip. I really enjoyed reading them, and, as you know, am always up for a little lively debate. Just for the record, we do, of course, force Ben to wear pink. And we make Birdy wear blue lederhosen and a strap-on.