Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Field Trip! Body World in San Diego


So, the Body World tickets were The Husband’s birthday present, which was two weeks ago, and today is the 31st anniversary of our first date. Quite a day for us!

Hit some fog and a bit of traffic on our way down to SD but no sweat. I always enjoy the drive down there. Parking was a breeze, since we were at Balboa Park so early (we could have sold our space on the way out, though!). The weather was clear and gorgeous.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Body World, German anatomist Gunther von Hagen created a process, called Plastination, which preserves actual bodies that are willed to him for that purpose. Most are posed without skin, in order to show muscles and the nervous system. Some, like Drawer Man, have sections cut away to show different aspects of the body~in Drawer Man’s case, these sections are pushed out of the body, like a bureau drawer, so you can see them in context. There are also actual organs displayed, some healthy and some in differing states of disease. The “black lung” example was horrifying.

I thought I might absolutely hate this exhibit. I mean, actual bodies--yewwwwww! But most of the exhibits are so awe inspiring, to see what we look like inside. It was amazing but also showed how fragile we are. In light of the passing of Natasha Richardson from a seemingly harmless fall, this is overstatement.

Most of the bodies are, shall I say, anonymous but one in particular had enough skin on the face to give me goosebumps. This particular specimen was cut vertically in at least 8 or 10 pieces as a cutaway to show relationships within the body. There were still very short hairs on his head and you could actually see the wrinkles around his eye holes. Made me realize these really were REAL people, not great big Barbie’s and Ken’s.

The Husband had a goosebumps experience, too. He was examining the kid who’s posed upside down on a skateboard and without meaning to, he looked right into the kid’s eyes. Spooked him, I tell ya!

The only thing I took a miss on was the babies. I took a quick look at the pregnant woman but, sigh, that was tough enough. I’m sure the parents bequeathed their children in the spirit of educating and enlightening people but that was just too sad for me.

They also figured out a way to Plastinate the circulatory system and the nervous system as stand-alone exhibits. I know I bleed wherever I might prick myself but now I know why. I mean, I knew why, really, but to see how the circulatory system is so ubiquitous under our skin, geez louise!

So, if Body World comes to your town, or even a town 100 miles away, this exhibit is worth the drive and the money. It’s so fascinating and makes you think. I turned to The Husband when we were walking around Balboa Park afterwards and said “I know what you look like inside now.” And he said, “I was thinking the same thing about you.”

Go see how your body works!!

C’est la vie!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breakfast at Ikea


So, I guess when you think of Ikea, your first thought is not breakfast. Light Swedish furniture, cheap, colorful kitchen tchotkes, some assembly required bookshelves. But not bacon and eggs.

Well, kids, think again.

The last time we were at Ikea (well, I guess the time before last, actually), we noticed the larger than life poster on the building, touting .99 cent breakfasts. Hmmmm... The Husband and I, who lament that there is no dollar breakfast menu at Mc'D's, were intrigued. So, we arranged our Sunday so that we could present ourselves at the Costa Mesa Ikea at 9:30, when the cafe opened.

Here is the official menu:

Eggs, bacon and fried potatoes .99
Eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and French toast sticks $1.99
Eggs, bacon fried potatoes and Swedish pancakes $2.99

Unofficial menu:

Belgian waffles $?? You must have to use a password to get those since we didn't see them on the menu

I enjoyed my French toast stick meal. The FTS's were, to my delight, not greasy like the ones at Burger King. The bacon was lovely. The eggs and potatoes were good but bland enough to make me reach for the salt shaker, which almost never happens. Also had to equip myself with ketchup for the potatoes, but that's my norm. The Husband, big spender that he is, was not impressed with the pancakes. I took a bite and they're very dense, not fluffy like in the US of A. But they were covered with lingonberries, so they weren't a total loss.

Had to laugh since we went for the .99 breakfast and we both got the more expensive ones. Our small effort to keep the economy going...

As we enjoyed our early morning repast, we were pretty amazed at the number of Ikea breakfast patrons. We came in at a slower time but after we sat down, the line was continuous. They provide your typical cafeteria trays that hold two plates somewhat comfortably but for bigger entourages, there are little wire rolling tables that fit several trays one atop the other. Pretty cute, especially when little kids are pushing them. One older gentleman was following his wife and tiny granddaughter, who was "pushing" the table. He turned to us and said, "You gotta start 'em working young!" Cheap eats and comedy!

Conclusion: If you're at an Ikea early enough for breakfast, give it a try. Where else can you eat at a furniture store? And such a bargain, even for the more "expensive" meals. Skol! (Is that Swedish?)

Other edibles I recommend at Ikea:
Swedish Chocolate! The perfect snack to bring to the movie theatre!

A refreshing frozen yogurt after all that shopping!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So Much for Getting Anything Done Tonight…


Nothing stops me like book stuff. My BFF’s daughter had this on her Facebook and I have to see how many of these 100 books I’ve read… I will editorialize a bit, I fear.

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.Instructions:1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.3) Tally your total at the bottom.How many have you read?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X +++++++++++++++++++++++++

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman Just The Golden Compass--Terrifying and dismaying

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X ++ One of my faves as a kid

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy I own it and intend to read it…

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X ++

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving X

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins But I have read The Moonstone-excellent!

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons Wonderful movie…

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X My first literary crush-Sidney Carton

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt X

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X ( yes, i have read this -- but not the bible) My BFF’s daughter’s notation, only because she beat me to it

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville Started but it lost me with the descriptions of every kind of whale in the universe. I should have gotten the abridged version.

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath X

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt X ++ Got this on tape and I was enjoying the beginning so much, I decided to stop the tape and get the book

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro8

5 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De SaintExupery X++++++++++++++++++++++++

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams X

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

25! I feel so smart!

BUT, where are The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Opera, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Stand, Camille, Frankenstein, The Martian Chronicles, Childhood's End, Snow Falling on Cedars and my personal favorites, that will never show up on any list as snooty as this, The Cracker Factory and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.

C’est la vie!