Strahbary's Fields

A California Girl's Place for all things Geek Chic

Top Ten Book Club Recommendations February 25, 2014

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 12:42 pm
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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a pick your own from a past top ten Tuesday so I decided that since I lead a book club and have been a part of book clubs I would choose the Top Ten Book Club Recommendations.

The qualifications for a good book club book is one that fits with the style of the club and has plenty of points to discuss. There have been a few times at a book club meeting where we were just dumbstruck about trying to talk about the book. So here are my ten books that I would recommend to for a book club.

1. I Shall Be Near to You: The book is a charming historical fiction with many talking points, from our main character heading out to the war dressed as a man to the well developed characters she encounters in her adventures.

2.  Longbourn: This take on the classic gives loads of comparing and contrasting talking points.

3.  The Last Chinese Chef: So many emotions in this book. So much culture clashing. My book club had a wonderful discussion over this book.

4.  Beautiful Ruins:  Again historical back drop, well developed characters and beautiful story. Great for sitting around a table with a bottle of wine.

5.  Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: If your book club is anything like my book club where we make recipes based on the books we read. This is a great book for you. A intriguing culture with great people to propel the story forward. The book even has an index of recipes in the back.

6.  Ocean at the End of Lane: I have had many a great discussion with a friend over this book. Now if only I can get those friends in the same room to discuss said book….

7.  The Forgotten Garden: Such a complex story with complicated characters which is a great spring board for discussions.

8.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: there are so many talking points available in this book. Too many for me to list here.

9. A Visit from the Goon Squad: This intricate story line with a twisty and turny plot most certainly calls for a discussion session that requires chocolate and wine.

10. State of Wonder: Such a lovely story. A journey to an exotic location and a mystery makes for a very worthwhile discussion.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you want to play along, post a link on their site to your blog and then post a link them from your blog.


Crafting with Friends February 23, 2014

Filed under: Diana's Craft Corner — dianatierney3 @ 10:56 pm
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Crafting on your own is quite often enjoyable but when with a group of friends has the ability to make it even more enjoyable. Whether it’s the same project or different projects it’s nice to have the support of friends as well as a good distraction when necessary. This afternoon the husband and I went over to a friends place to work on projects.

I of course worked on my knitting, now that I don’t have any baby crafts (I had a lot of pregnant friends this year) it’s time for me to actually get some projects off my to-knit list.

One day, this year I will actually finish my 7th doctor sweater. I am almost to the V-neck of the sweater.

Doctor Sweater 2.23.14
It always seems to be the case that just as I get to the finishing point of one project, I have to start the next. The next project on the list is a smaller version of the traditional Doctor Who Scarf that I can use as an everyday scarf. Because a 9 foot scarf is just too long for everyday use.

Doctor scarf 2.23.14

It’s a good thing that I started working on it before I finished the sweater because as I was working it I discovered that I am missing some colors needed. So the initial start will be slightly off but the effect will be there. Not too bad for a few hours work if I do say so myself.

We’ll have to set up another get together for a group crafting session.



Book Review: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing February 18, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 9:17 pm
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Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is a an enchanting food memoir. The story of Anya and her family is a chronicle of events from the revolution right down to Anya sold sticks of Juicy Fruit gum that she bought at the black market. This is a story of the food and history of Russia as seen through the eyes of one family. Featuring her grandfather the soviet spy. Her mother’s feeble attempts at making the new fangled food Pizza, made with ketchup and mayonnaise, the only ingredients that she could get.  These are only a few of captivating characters written about in the book.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book. I picked it up to read because I was curious with Russian food given the location of the Olympics this year. I got so much more than I bargained for. I found it absolutely fascinating that when communism came in one of the first things they did was changed what and how the people ate. They went from having household kitchens to having apartments with communal kitchen.

I think the biggest testament to the book is Von Brezman’s description of Kulebiaka. She and her mother wanted it so bad that while on a trip to Paris they used their last bit of vacation money to get some, only to find that it just didn’t taste the same. It wasn’t until they found someone in the states that immigrated to the US as well that they found a Kulebiaka recipe close enough to what they were able to get at home. I HAD to get my hands on the pie. Of course there are no Russian restaurants near me so I had to make it myself. Thankfully, it came out alright. (See results here)

Overall I found this book to be entertaining, educational and incredibly endearing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves food, history and family dramas.


Recap of Gallifrey One 2014 February 16, 2014

Filed under: Fan Girl Awesomeness,The Doctor — dianatierney3 @ 7:12 pm
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As I sit here sipping my tea looking over my pictures from the weekend I can’t help but think of how great of a weekend it truly was.

Yup, that’s my name in the top center column! It was the first of my two panels (my second one was on crafting).  Being on the panel was a fun experience. I think I may do it again next year.



So as I mentioned I was planning on doing some cosplaying. Here is my Captain Jackie Harkness:


I am really proud of how it turned out. I think I was a unique Jack.

Of course I wasn’t the only one cosplaying this weekend. Here are some photos of some other great cosplayers from this weekend:


Because of course Mary Poppins is a Time Lady!


Jackie and the Doctor


The Doctor and his Daughter (my friends Angel and Becky)


My friend (and Author) Robin Burks as Rose

Of course you never know who you will run into in the dealer room:


Yes that is THE Chris Hardwick, my favorite Nerdist Podcast Host. I also got to meet Chloe in person and let me just say she is just as nice and adorable in person as I thought she would be.

In between shopping, plays, interviews and panels I got to meet some pretty awesome people that have had a hand in making Doctor Who the awesome show that it is today. Gallifrey One had a special brunch where I got to have eat with members from the original show. How could I turn that down brunch AND Doctor Who, two of my favorite things all rolled into one delicious event.  Here are a few pictures of some of the people I got to have brunch with:


This is Frazer Hines, better know as Jaimie from the highlands during the Patrick Troughton years (the Second Doctor).



The lovely Deborah Watling, also known as Victoria another companion of the Second Doctor.

In addition to getting to meet Deborah and Frazer, I got to meet Colin Baker (the 6th Doctor), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), and Terrance Dicks (sp?), a script editor for the show.

Here are a few other pictures from my adventures this weekend:

IMG_0527 IMG_0528 IMG_0532 IMG_0555 IMG_0554 IMG_0542

All in all it was a great weekend. Needless to say I am exhausted. So if you will excuse me, I am going to go get some more hot water for my tea and cuddle with one of my pups.


Only a Few More Days Until Gallifrey One February 11, 2014

Filed under: The Doctor — dianatierney3 @ 10:07 pm

In just a few days I will be making my way to Gallifrey One. If you have never been I can say that for a Whovian it feels much like this:


In preparation for the big event, I have been watching Doctor Who non stop for well over a week (both old series and new).  It’s kind of like getting ready for a sporting event. I gotta bring my A game, even at the risk of annoying the husband.

So far the primary episodes are The 5 Doctors, Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars and The E-Space Trilogy. I’ll be moving on with the Time Warrior and the Santoran Experiment with some new series episodes thrown in.

So what are my plans? Well I will be sitting on the “Journey to the Center of the Fandom” panel at 12:30 on Friday and “Crafting Who” on Saturday at 11:00 am. Outside of that I will be milling around panels and creating some generalized Whovian mischief

I’ve got my cosplay outfits together (Clara and Captain “Jackie” Harkness). So if you are there come to one of my panels to say hi and maybe get a ribbon. If you can’t be there, don’t worry I will posting TONS of pictures.


Top Ten Books to Make you Swoon February 10, 2014

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 9:53 pm
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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, just in time for Valentine’s day it’s the  Top Ten Books to Make you Swoon. These are the books that give me the warm fuzzies after reading them.

  1. Midnight in Austenland or Austenland. Such a fun, light romances, you can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy after reading one of these two books.
  2. Beautiful Ruins. Though this was also on the list to make you cry last week. It will also make you swoon during the book and after it’s finished.
  3. Letters from Sky. What can I say that I hadn’t already said with Jessica Brockmole in my interview with her? This story gets you swooning over the mystical island, the characters and the lovely storyline.
  4. Gorgeous A modern day Cinderella in every sense. It will make you swoon in many different ways.
  5. The Witch of Little Italy. This is such a sweet little book that will make you swoon for various different reasons.
  6. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s seldom that this book doesn’t make one of my lists and if you read it, it’s easy to see why.  In the case of this book you will swoon over the characters, the land and the overall story itself.
  7. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. I really enjoyed this alternate retelling of Cinderella. It will have you swooning over this fairytale all over again.
  8. The Storytellers Daughter. I love love love Arabian Nights. This retelling gives you the wonderful story from Shahrazad’s perspective. It’s so well done that you just can’t help but swoon.
  9. Sunday’s At Tiffany’s. This is just a charming yet magical book about what could happen if an imaginary friend became real.
  10. I shall be Near to You: A Novel. I am in the process of reading this book now and am already swooning. I am thinking it should be required reading for all military spouses.

Just thinking about these books makes me feel like this:

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you want to play along, post a link on their site to your blog and then post a link them from your blog.


Opening Ceremony Potluck February 9, 2014

Filed under: Adventures in Diana's Kitchen — dianatierney3 @ 8:13 pm
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Another Olympic Opening Ceremony with  another delicious potluck to accompany it.


In representation of Scotland we had a lovely whiskey with a traditional Scottish toasting cup that we all took a sip from.

In representation of the UK we had these delicious meat pies and when I say delicious, I mean the husband specifically requested that our friend Eddie bring these to all potlucks from now on.


I recently read “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking” which is a wonderful book that I will eventually be reviewing. In the book Anya raves about this dish called Kulebiaka (Fish, rice and mushrooms in pastry). She so eloquently described the pie and her and her mother’s absolute desire to get their hands on one once they got to America. The effect was enough to make me desire the pie almost as much as her. My only problem? No Russian restaurants in my area. So if I wanted it I was going to have to make it myself. Thankfully Anya’s book includes a whole section on recipes.


Through a series of mishaps I ended up with store bought pastry dough. It’s not very pretty but boy did it taste pretty good. I also used fresh trout caught by husband in loo of the cod. Notice the 5 stars for the 5 Olympic rings?

I now have 2 years to find and practice some Brazilian recipes.