Wednesday, June 30, 2010

F*ck Cancer

Back in March we found out that FIL had esophageal cancer. They caught it early but it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions since his initial diagnosis when every time he has a scope the news changes. It’s basically gone like this:

“You have cancer, but we think we caught it early so you should be fine”

“It’s far more advanced than we thought… you’ll have to have surgery and radiation but come back in a couple of weeks for another scope”

“You’re fine…. we got it all with the scope scrapes but come back in 3 weeks”

“You should probably have radiation because there are new polyps but we’ll scrape and see what happens”

“You’re fine, we got it all but come back in 3 weeks”

“Maybe we should consider surgery because there are new polyps”

“You’re playing with fire, and we need to do surgery ASAP.”

So now, it’s surgery for sure. Luckily it’s the lesser of 2 possible surgeries we were informed about but it’s still nasty. He will be having a part of his esophagus removed and then his stomach reattached higher up. It means 10 days in hospital and 2-3 months recovery at home, at which time they will determine if further treatment (chemo or radiation) is required.

Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse (not that there’s ever a good time to have cancer). First, it’s summer and to FIL that means cold beer, golf and weekends at the cottage. Apparently that won’t be happening beyond this weekend since his pre-op appointment is next week. So, we’re all headed up there this weekend to have one last summer hurrah (just as the summer gets started) with him. Secondly, SIL is getting married in October. He will now likely miss pre-wedding festivities and the wedding itself will be at the tail-end of his recovery. So, fingers crossed that he’ll be healthy enough to attend.

Bub’s being really strong, but I think it’s eating him up deep down. I’m going to try to get him to talk about it, but we’ll see. He’s not a talker. So, we’re just going to work through this as a family. I’m trying to bite my tongue with SIL and be considerate for Bub and just be there for anyone who feels like they need to talk about it. Hopefully he makes a full and very speedy recovery.

Before I go, I feel the need to say once again…F*CK CANCER!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things that make this book nerd squee....

I'm a little giddy today.... and the bookworm/fangirl in me is itching to let out a squee that would be heard round the world.

First things first... Eclipse is FINALLY here!!!!! The movie adaptation of my favorite book of the Twilight series is set to be released at midnight tonight.  Unfortuantely, I didn't get tickets because... well it's a long story, but I plan to see it ASAP.  I need an Edward fix

Click HERE for the trailer and videos

Second.... OMFG.  The trailer for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was released recently and I got to watch it for the first time this morning.  HOLY CRAP!  I can't flippin' wait for this movie.  The trailer gives me chills.

I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I don't have any HP movies to look forward to. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Line by Teri Hall


I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I'm not even sure I can really call it a full book since it took forever for the story to get started and then just as the excitement and actual story line kicks in, it's over. I can't even call it a "cliffhanger" because it felt like it just randomly stopped. In my opinion, there was absolutely no need to end the book where it did after just 200 pages. The story could have easily continued and I'm sure my rating/enjoyment would have been much higher.

Not much happens through this book, which I was sad about because I had such high hopes for this story. I'm totally addicted to dystopian novels and the overall idea of this one had so much potential. But alas,  I have to say that I was extremely disappointed. The first 125-150 pages just draaaaaaaged out and the same information could have been conveyed in half that. By the time the story really got going (around page 175) and I actually started caring what happened, it was basically (and unnecessarily) over.

I will read the sequel if/when it is released because I do think the story has such potential; I just hope that the author can pick-up the flow and pace of the novel so that it lives up to that potential.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I Did for Love- Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I needed some fluff and I got it with this book. This was one of my random choices from the library. I'd never heard of the book or the author, but I was desperate for something light to listen to in the car.

Honestly, I was hooked from the first chapter. I loved how incredibly flawed all the characters were and how you get to see them grow through the story. It was a quirky, silly, out-there... not so typical romance.

Bram was the most intriguing... but I can't say much about why without spoiling so I'll leave it at that.

I really enjoyed this all the way through with the exception of one part at the end (I'll just say... DVD... wth?), but it was exactly what I needed to read

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WPGA... or not.

I got a call from SMIL last week asking if I would be her golf partner in the annual family games which take place on the Saturday before Father's Day every year.  I agreed, but decided that I needed some practice because.... well, I've never golfed in my life.

Bub was all over it because he's been trying to get my out on a course for years, so Thursday night we went out to the driving range around the corner from our house. 

I was bad.  Really bad.  So, Friday night Bub decided to take me to the crappiest, cheapest golf course in our area to actually play a round so I could get a better feel for it.  We had so much fun!!!!!  In fact, we had such a good time that we dropped our cart after we played the first planned 9 and walked a second 9.  I bought us a beer and we just enjoyed  hanging out.  We even got rained on for a bit, but it didn't bother us.

My very first swing for my very first round of golf

Bub showing off

Then Satuday morning was the big test.  Bub was playing with the first group (Bub, FIL and 2 of my BIL's) and SMIL and I were last to go along with 2 of Bubba's cousins.  All four of us non-golfers.  As we lined up at the first hole, we were told that we were being followed by a group of 120 people, so we had to keep our game moving.  Great.

My partner and I, with Uncle T.

The family lining up at the first hole.  All of them avid golfers except us.

Bub teeing off with his partner

Teeing off... so nervous.

So... as the family started seperating we were getting ready to tee off when the group of 120 came out of the clubhouse to watch.  Yeah.... no pressure or anything.  The guy playing the bagpipes made it worse.  I was so nervous that I left my favorite club (my 9 iron) and my pitching wedge at the first hole and had to play the other 17 without them. Awesome.  But, once we got past the first hole, we had  blast.  I learned that I really like golf and will definitely continue to play.  Maybe someday I can take some lessons when I have time.

But after a large bucket of balls at the driving range, 36 holes of golf, a family reunion, 2 baseball games and a case study submission.... I was ready to crash on Sunday night.  It was a crazy busy weekend.... but a fun one.

Muskoka Wedding Weekend

I should have posted about this last week, but I’ve been too busy to get pictures uploaded… so I’m posting now. I’m getting behind on pretty much everything in my life.

Last weekend we drove about 2 hours north to a beautiful lodge and resort to spend the weekend for Bub’s cousin’s wedding.

Friday afternoon the guests were given free time to use the resort (which we had to ourselves) as they pleased. Unfortunately, I had to work all day so I met the hubs and family at the resort after work, pretty much just in time to change and go to dinner.

The guests were assigned to different cottages by the bride and groom, so I had no idea what to expect until we arrived.

This is the humble little “cottage” that we stayed in...
our bedroom opened onto the upper balcony.

The Main Lodge

We ate in the main lodge along with the bride and groom and the rest of the guests and then dinner was followed by a bonfire at the lake. I turned in early, wanting to be bright eyed and bushy –tailed for the main event the following day. Actually- the bed looked really comfortable, my book was calling my name and with our patio door open, the sound of the lake at night was just too good to pass up.

Saturday morning Bub and I were up early to head to the full buffet breakfast at the main lodge. The weather wasn’t great (it was overcast and misty) but the resort was still beautiful and no one was letting it get them down. Everyone was out enjoying the resort and scenery. We took a walk around the rest of the resort to check it out and take some pics and then headed back to our cottage. The guys played a round of Frisbee golf, we played a couple of games of cards (and we may have started drinking at this point).

 Bub’s Aunt and Uncle (the bride’s parents) hosted a cocktail and appetizer party at their cottage between 12 and 2 which was a blast and then we headed back to our cottage to get ready for the wedding itself.

When it was time for the ceremony the rain had stopped and the wedding proceeded outside on the dock as planned. One word… stunning. The couple has been together for 15 years (HS sweethearts) but were waiting for the bride to finish her masters before the tied the knot. Everyone had been waiting for this wedding for so long that it would have been beautiful no matter what, but it really was just gorgeous.

The bride had thought of every little detail from the welcome boxes in each of our rooms (planters made my the brides Dad filled with Muskoka related goodies), to the “dancing shoes” in the bathroom (a basket of flip flops, all different sizes and colors) to the personalized signs all over the resort. It was spectacular, but not overdone.

Having the whole resort for the weekend just extended the fun and made it that much more special. We really enjoyed ourselves and danced until the wee hours of the morning.

Dancin' time... the shoes come off.

All in all, a lovely and memorable weekend. I wish we could have stayed longer.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rock of Ages Toronto

So it’s no secret that I’m a junkie when it comes to musicals and live theatre. Being lucky enough to live a short drive from Toronto means I get the opportunity to see a lot of Broadway caliber shows. I’ve seen The Phantom, Beauty and the Beast, We Will Rock You, Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, The Sound of Music, Grease, Dirty Dancing, The Rockettes Christmas… and countless other performances. There’s nothing like a night at the theatre for me.

Friday night, the hubs and I, along w/ SMIL and FIL went to see Rock of Ages at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. OH.MY.GOD it was so flippin’ fun!!!!!! For those who don’t know, it’s similar in premise to We Will Rock You (which is a musical based around the music of Queen) but this one is classical rock from across the board and it’s an absolute blast to watch.

It is side-splittingly funny from the start- and I mean that literally because even the voice over recording before the show starts, warning against flash photography and cell phones, is HILARIOUS- and the talent will knock your socks off.

I was familiar with both leads from other productions and was excited to watch them in these new roles.

Yvan Pedneault who played Drew in ROA, was also Galileo when we saw We Will Rock You. This guys voice... I swear to god.  Even singing classic rock he hits a few notes through the show that give you chills.  He's a vocal powerhouse.  And he's not bad to look at either.

Elicia Mackenzie, who played Sherrie in ROA, was cast through the television special “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?” for the lead in The Sound of Music a few years ago. We happened to see her understudy when we went to SOM (who was fantastic by the way), but because of the strange circumstances surrounding her casting I saw her perform countless other times at events around the city. Sherrie was quite the departure from Maria, but Elicia really pulled it off.

The supporting cast is fantastic. So much energy and talent. You couldn’t help but leave with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. My favorite character by far was Lonny (played by the hilarious Aaron Walpole)… I even bought (and then wore for the rest of the night) his "Hooray for Boobies" tee-shirt. The guy seriously had me in stitches the entire show.

All in all, it’s a kick ass performance and aside from the Phantom (which for me is on a pedastel so high no one will be able to touch it) this was by far the best musical I've seen. Kick-ass talent, hilarious dialogue, great music and awesome energy. Incredible.

If you get the chance to see this musical… do it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Part I- No Spoilers

I flippin' loved this book. It's dark, it's romantic, it's exciting and most importantly, it's unique! Such a seductive read.

Yet again I've found another story told from alternating POV's that just rocks my socks. Scarlett and Rosie are so connected, and yet so different at the same time. It's really interesting to read about the bond between the sisters and their takes on different events/situations from each of their perspectives. You feel like you really get to know the characters.

I really enjoyed Silas as the male lead. His character was strong, but filled with humor, compassion and a sensitivity that made him really easy to love. I enjoyed reading all three characters.

5 stars for sure. Great read.

Part II- Spoilers
I have to admit that after the first run in with the Atlanta Fenris, I kind of had an inkling about Silas being the Perspective. It was something in the conversation where one of them talks about thinking they had found him out in the country..... BUT, then Pearce threw me off track when they had the run in at the bowling alley. I figured, if Silas really was the perspective they would have made a move for him that night. So, the end still surprised me and all came together.

I had 2 favorite parts that I must mention:

-The first is when Rosie escapes captivity by "channeling" her sister, eye patch and all. Great writing.

-The Second is the last chapter written about the sisters separation and yet remaining deep connection with each other. There's so much emotion in those pages. Loved it.

Needless to say, I'm beyond anxious to get some info on the next book. I can't wait to see where these characters go.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I have to call this one another low 3 star rating as well. This will be a short review simply because I don’t have much to say.

My problem with this book, and likely with the first, is the repetition. It seems like nothing really happens beyond, bad day at school, go to Knead to work out her frustrations (even though she’s not actually scheduled to work- which she never seems to be), some kind of scary event (strange noises, banging doors etc) followed by Ben mysteriously showing up, intense moment, Ben leaves, meet with Ben to say “goodbye” for the 1000th time… etc etc etc. It doesn’t feel like anything really ever happens beyond constantly waiting for something to happen. It’s frustrating because the book and the story line have a lot of potential.

And yet, even with the repetition, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading and finish the book fairly quickly. I will continue with the series when the third is released because I was intrigued by the end of this installment. I want to know what happens to these characters... although I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Atticus Finch, where have you been all my life? Seriously. How is it possible that I have not read this book before now? It's right up my alley.

The lessons in this story are ones that everyone should learn. Although parts were difficult for me to read, I appreciated and learned from every chapter of this book.

Dealing with such a broad range of issues from racism to gender roles to poverty to abuse to rape to forgiveness and family, this book should be required reading for every highschool student.

Atticus is the type of person that I try desperately to be. Unbiased, fair, compassionate, determined and has an incredible set of morals and values. For his time, men of his beliefs were few and far between which is what makes him so amazing.

I love that we get explore Jem and Scout's feelings about their Dad. Jem seems to identify with his father more readily than Scout, who struggles with her father's age and the fact that he's not like all the other Dad's. It's not until later that she realizes it's because he's so much more than that.

When we finally get to meet Boo, Scout's reaction (a soft "Hey Boo") had me smiling. It really showed her maturity and proved she had understanding and knowledge beyond her years. That was honestly my favorite part of the entire book.

There's not much that can be said about this book other than, if you haven't read it, go find a copy and do it. What an incredible story

Guest Blog- Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

To see my full review of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, pop on over to Crystal Clear Reading to see my guest blog (and become a follower if you're not already!)