Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Healthy Pause

An important anniversary passed last Friday that I forgot to note here: it was the 1 year 'birthday' of my bionic hip. I can't believe that my tragic right hip (the body part, not the blog) is a year old already. And it's one of those rare events that sort of give pause to how much has happened in the short twelve months since I was lying in the Toronto Western Hospital puking from the anaesthetic, worrying about my job because The Boss From Hell had made my exit less than pleasurable and fretting over my creatinine levels that kept rising.

So here's a summary of what my tragic hip has endured over the last 12 months: a new house that needs serious renovations; getting fired on the first day back while still using a cane and essentially still recovering; getting a new job that's a world different from the old miserable one; finishing two abridged books for Sterling; getting contracts for two more; having the disease come back and taking the meds; going to Ireland and surviving the walking; and having more grey hair than when I started it all.

It's kind of crazy when you look at everything that happens in a year, and then reflect upon the fact that your bionic hip has managed to carry you through it all.

Happy Hip Day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Self-Pimping Link #14795

My review of Flightplan is up at Chart. They edited out my favourite paragraph, and my line about how the airplane has obvious Titanic overtones, but that's cool.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Anyone Have a Spare $400.00?

Because I really, really want these boots.

But right now, I've got a grand total of $43.86 in my bank account until payday. It's so tight right now that I actually bought some groceries on my credit card, something I swore I'd never do.

Damn British Airways for holding my $700.00 hostage. Don't they know mama needs a pair of Frye boots?

Friday Night Belongs to the RRBF

So, my RRBF had his record release party on Friday night. They played the Supermarket in Kensington, and it was a good show, but it's a lousy venue. T-minus two weeks before he goes on tour for a month. I'll be super lonely -- anyone have any suggestions as per what I can do with myself?

Joan Clark

As you know from my previous gushing post about Joan Clark's new book An Audience of Chairs, I had a chance to meet her last week and was absolutely thrilled. She's a lovely, intelligent and kind woman who said in response to my question, "How long did it take you to write the book," the following:

"Four years. I actually started thirty years ago, but couldn't finish. It just wasn't the right time. And then I started again twelve years ago and found the same thing."

All in all, she's been thinking about those characters, that story, and that tale for thirty years. Thirty years of having the characters talk back in her head, bash around with real life, and wait to really settle. It's a wonderfully inspiring thought that time only makes the idea grow stronger, and will brings it forth, but its really the characters themselves that take time coming to life.

#48 & #49 - Rush Home Road & The Girls

I went on a bit of a Lori Lansens bender. But I just couldn't help myself, her books are like a big pile of Halloween candy, super sharp, wickedly sweet, but have a sadness to them that breaks apart like Rockets in your mouth. Rush Home Road tells the story of Addy Shadd, an elderly woman who lives in a trailer park near Chatham, Ontario, who fosters a young girl named Sharla Cody when her mother up and leaves her for a boyfriend with better opportunities. Addy comes from Rush Home, a community built on the edge of the Underground Railway, and her life meets tragic circumstance after tragic circumstance before she finally finds her way back home.

In comparison, The Girls is a novel about conjoined twins who have existed for almost thirty years attached at the head. As the world's longest surviving craniogapus twins, Ruby and Rose are now writing their autobiography. It's a wonderful bittersweet tale, and like Sharla, Ruby and Rose are abandoned at birth by their mother, left to be taken care of by an older nurse, Lovey, and her Croatian husband, Stash, they live a remarkable life in Leaford. In fact, their tale is ever-more remarkable by how different and distinct they are from one another, and yet their relationship is both tender and careful at the same time.

Both books are ridiculously well written, ridiculously addictive and are wonderful examples of storytelling at its best. I almost missed my RRBF's sister's baby shower because I started reading Rush Home Road and didn't want to stop. What good books to almost reach 50 with!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

So Very Busy...

Over the past few days I met an author I'm a huge fan of, found a pair of boots that I almost spent over $400.00 on, watched Flightplan for an online review I have to write, finished two more books, and carried on with my full-time job.

So much to say, so little time.

Monday, September 19, 2005

#46 & #47 - Chicklit Easy Reads

I finished Wolves in Chic Clothing and The Journal of Mortifying Moments. I know they count towards the final number of books I've read this year, but it's like reading air, there's almost no substance although they do keep you going. They're both terrifyingly predictable, but at least the JMM had some cute segments about the main character, Kerry's, most embarrassing moments—and believe you me, I could relate.

Ahem, I once asked my grade school almost-boyfriend if he liked reading Agatha Christie (because he was really a fifty year-old housewife?), tripped and/or dropped something whenever I saw him or he walked by (including a total face/nose plant over a chained driveway on the way home as I tried to act cool), and this coming from a ballet dancer, and then convinced myself that he liked this girl Kathryn who totally tried to steal him from me and then he moved away thinking I was a total freak.

Oh boy, did I just say all that out loud?

Jason Hughes, if you're out there, I did like you when we were in Grade 8, and I was kind of a freak, but you can't blame me, I was "creative." Heh.

Things That Annoy Me #159873

Well, my RRBF has instilled a solid sense of complaining into our everyday lives. That means that I've inherited his uncanny ability to complain about everything. And I do, but I'm even tired of listening to myself.

So here's what I'm tired of complaining about:

1. The price of gas. Or rather, listening to other people complain about the price of gas. I read a post of Wing Chun's that said, you know, gas shouldn't really be so cheap, and I kind of agree with her. If the prices stay up then people will actually think twice about the resources they use. Well, until they're on the TTC like I was on Sunday with smelly perfume lady on one side and unbearable BO buddy on the other.

2. Not eating sugar. Sigh. It's been almost three weeks, and I'm doing well, I think. But I still get cravings and I totally crashed today and ate potato chips, but salt & vinegar—so no sugar.

3. The state of my non-house. Our house is barely off the ground, and even with the new windows, I'm still frustrated and grumpy because it's not nearly where I thought we'd be by now. And we're [this close] to having spent the majority of our money already. Ah, the joys of owning your own home.

Okay. That's it, no more complaining about any or all of the above things. And if I bring them up again, you're too right to wallop me over the virtual head.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Just Like Heaven

Is the perfect example of how having all the right ingredients doesn't necessary mean you'll end up with a good picture. The script is weak, and no matter how hard you try, I don't think romantic comedies between ghosts and the living work. (Sticking my fingers in my ears means I'm not listening to anyone talking about the schlock-fest that is Ghost).

Parts of the movie were hard to watch, though, but that's just because I take everything so personally. There was a girl in a coma (like my mum) and a love interest named David (like my dad), and so I cried a little. But in the end, it was a disappointingly mediocre film. I'm hanging my hat on In Her Shoes the rock solid combination of Shirley MacLaine, Toni Collette and Jennifer Weiner will not let me down. (Yes, I'm choosing to ignore the whole Cameron Diaz angle).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

TIFF Bliss

Seems that a friend of mine from work ran into Ethan Hawke at a screening of Romance and Cigarettes at the Film Fest. He apparently rolled into town and then rolled up on some Toronto hottie at a party later on too. Why oh why am I always sick when all the fun happens.


Only kidding. There was just a small part of me (love for my RRBF aside) that screamed, "Noooo, that could have been meeeee! In another life and in the chicklit novel of my choosing.

Although it would have taken all of my good sense not to tell him to stop imitating Jack Kerouac and write his own book, but I digress.

Ahem. Ahem. Calling All FemBots Fans

My RRBF's CD release party is next Friday at the Supermarket. That's Friday, September 23rd, 2005. Did I mention that he's playing? And that it's his CD release party? And that if anyone out there loves me at all, I'd be happy to have a beer with you next Friday night. At his CD release party. Where he'll be playing. In his band called the FemBots. Okay? Okay.

What's More Disturbing Here?

That they're injecting the mice with the plague, a disease that, according to the article, is caught by seven or so people per YEAR, or that the poor mice are going to be so sick that they'll keel over and die just after they've escaped their ridiculous prison?

I mean I know that there's a lot to learn about the plague, but wouldn't this money be better spent finding a cure for cancer? Or, shall I say it, Wegener's Granulomatosis?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And the Doctor Says...

That I've got a "touch" of bronchitis. Yay! No antibiotics yet, only if it gets worse, but I've got to use my puffers, which I hate. On the good news front, my kidneys are doing better with my creatinine level coming down to 120 from 131 and my ESR back to normal (it's a sign of inflammation, which in turn is a sign of disease activity). I'm tired because my hemoglobin sinking because of the meds, but I can live with that as long as the disease is going back into remission.

High kicks all around!

I'm starting the next of my abridged versions, so I'll be spending a lot of time on the computer working, which means I'll be wasting time reading Popwatch and watching trailers. In particular, this one over and over and over again.

I don't know what it is about war movies, but I can't get enough of them. Past the terror and past the truly horrifying things that happen in war, I think it's the intense situation that I know I'll never have to experience that I'm drawn to. And it makes me think of my grandfather and great-grandfather who fought in the Second and First World Wars respectively, what they had to sacrifice and how different my life would be if they hadn't been there in the first place.

Now excuse the digression. There are fellows in here replacing our old crappy windows with fresh new ones, and I'm kind of high on the fumes...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Feeling Sick vs. Being Sick

If there's something I've come to realize about being a bionic girl with a big, bad disease, it's that there's a very real difference between feeling sick and being sick.

As I said yesterday, I've got a bad cold. My throat's all swollen, my head is pounding. I'm sniffling, sneezing and coughing, all of which truly suck, especially when next week is so fun with the RRBF's record release and other goodies happening. I don't want to end up with bronchitis or, worse, pneumonia, which tends to happen if I get sick when I'm taking the disease medicine.

Yes, I have bad disease days, where I feel some symptoms, my sinuses hurt, I'm tired beyond belief, but the drop-down-must-get-to-bed cold feeling is certainly not the same as knowing but not seeing the disease eat away at my kidneys.

Anyway. Just a random thought for today.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Hab a Cwold

My nose is all stuffed up. My throat is sore. My head feels like a balloon. I hate having a cold.

Oh, and the Toronto International Film Festival heats up Toronto this week. And do you know my only celebrity sighting? Dave Nichols of Loblaws fame.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hard Liquor + Rock Show = Fuzzy Head

When you're bionic, the best thing about a rock show is being able to stand for three or four hours and not be a) tired or b) in pain. It's a blessing. It's a change in your life that you're utterly and completely aware of every second of the day. No, even from the moment six months after surgery when you don't need the cane and you're strong enough to stand on your own two feet.

So I met some friends from my old work yesterday, and because of my crazy diet, I can't drink beer, which pains me. I also shouldn't be drinking while I'm taking the Imuran, but last night being Cuff the Duke's record release party, and coming off of two very hard weekends in terms of working on the cottage, I sort of decided to let go. Armed with more than a handful of gin and tonics, I had a rip-roaring good time that's left me a bit foggy brained and tired today, but in a gloriously good mood.

It was such a fun night, Scarbie Doll met us at the pub, and then we had a drink with the boys before we walked with Nelly over to Lee's for the show. Before getting to Lee's we were asked by a lovely Russian man sitting at Future's to sit and have a drink with them. Scarbie looks so great these days, and she has such a glow about her, it's really wonderful to see.

So we ended up at Lee's Palace rather tipsy (well, loaded, if you must know), and proceeded to dance, jump, hoot and holler through the Cuffy's set. It's a great new record, and it was a great show. And for their encore, do you know what they did? They gave a heck of a shout out to other Canadian independent bands by covering one of the songs from my RRBF's new album. The one that came out on Tuesday. When it was all said and done he quipped, "Well that's that, we can never do that song again!" Heh.

We got home at 2 AM, drunk, watched Coronation Street because we're addicted and fell into bed. Ah, sleep. Ah, the life of a Rock and Roll Girlfriend where all the boys in the band know who you are, but don't really know you. It's a funny in-between life we lead.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bad Disease Day #31586.5

Seems that no matter how well I'm doing with my diet (Day 3: no sugar, one serving of wheat per day, one serving of dairy per day, lots of veggies, some fruit), my energy levels still don't seem to rise past barely alive. Seems that no matter how I feel in my head, it's so cloudy that working a wonderfully quick work day zaps all of my energy so much so that doing anything other than putting on my pajamas and watching a bad movie is all I can truly accomplish after work.

So, I'm about to go and lie down, choose one of the upteen books I'm in the middle of, and try to stay awake until 9 PM. It's a challenge this diseased-life, I'm telling you. And it's so overwhelming to hear what's happening in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf area, that I feel lucky just to be warm, dry and financially secure enough to donate some of my money to the Canadian Red Cross, which is what I'm going to do before I lie down on my clean bed and have a rest. There's not much else I can say about the tragedy, and my words would pale in comparison to what's already being said on blogs around the world.

Just note: the difference between "looting" and "finding" shouldn't be defined along colour lines, shame on you reporters, shame on you.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

#45 The Wreckage

Michael Crummey's latest novel The Wreckage tells the story of Wish Furey, a young man from Newfoundland, who falls in love with a precocious and determined 16-year-old girl named Sadie (short for Mercedes). The bulk of the action in the novel takes place in Newfoundland during the Second World War. The most poignant source of conflict between the two lovers is their religion, with Wish being Catholic, and therefore an outsider, and Sadie being Protestant, their relationship is doomed from the start.

As fishing accidents spurn the story along, a conflict between Wish and Sadie's mother, then her brother, forces him to flee. He joins up and is soon shipped off to fight for the Brits, eventually ending up in a Japanese PoW camp. Sadie runs away from home, but arrives in St. John's only to find Wish gone, and she vows to wait for him.

Interspersed into the love story is the story of a Canadian-born Japanese soldier who eventually becomes one of the most vicious prison guards working at the camp where Wish ends up. The vicious nature of Nishino seems at odds, even in the context of the war, with Crummey's delicate, wonderful language. It's a contrast that resonates throughout the book, and he has a gift for some of the most beautiful metaphors I've read in a long time.

The willful, fully drawn natures of each of the three main characters comes across like a cup of strong coffee. Sadie breaks her vow, Wish misleads her into thinking he's dead, and Nishino finds himself unable to serve his country in the manner he feels is appropriate, each character experiencing the undeniable fact that life never turns out the way you expect it to.

Fast-forward forty years, and Crummey catches up the characters at this point in their lives. The second half of the novel isn't as tight as the first, but the end is completely satisfying and The Wreckage is quite an addictive read. Highly recommended even among the riches of this fall season, which for Canadian publishing, seems ever-golden.

No Offense, But... there anywhere the Black Eyed Peas won't play? And by the way CBC, get your sh*t together and bring back your staff already. Enough of this bare bones website crap that my tax paying dollars are usually ridiculously proud to support.

The Return of the RRBF

So last night we capped off an already busy weekend (his folks and family up at the cottage, lots of work at the cottage) by racing home and then racing to Soundscapes for his in-store. As I've said a million times, my RRBF has a new record that was just released yesterday called The City. His band, FemBots, played last night to celebrate the record in the store and it was quite fun.

I made the mistake, however, of sitting to close to him, which meant that every time he made a rock face or a rock move, I giggled. Which in turn made him mouth to me, "Don't laugh at me!" and then refuse to look at me again during the half-hour performance. I felt bad, for a second, and then giggled again because it's funny to see someone you live with day in and day out, picking his nose, scratching his bum, screaming at the traffic, standing up in front of a crowd of terribly interested teenagers with his eyes closed swaying to his music. I love him dearly, but it's funny to me.

Now magazine gave the record 5 Ns as I said before, and today, the Adam Radwanski in the National Post said, "Quite possibly 2005's best Canadian album to date, The City will give the Fembots their deserved place on the national stage, if there is any justice."

If there's any justice indeed.

So, the show was fun, and then Soundscapes gave them each $30.00 in merchandise as a benefit to playing. He said, "What should I buy?" I said, "The New Pornographers." And then he proceeded to make fun of me a) for wanting the record and b) for then going ahead and buying it with my own damn money after he refused. Then he made fun of me in front of the cuties from Cuff the Duke, which embarrassed the crap out of me. Ah, being a girl.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I Never Knew They Were Out of Fashion?

So, pencils are once again hip. Who knew? Oh wait, or is it the puzzle that's hip? And when do you think the mystical "powers that be" will come up with a dummed-down Hollywood version of Sudoku?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ireland Redux

This is one of my favourite pictures from Ireland, in Derry, well, in "free Derry." It's the site of Bloody Sunday. I love the murals in Northern Ireland, and love that the tradition is continued still. They were busy painting over Gerry Adams when Tina and I walked along Falls Road.

The Cottage "Weekend Update": My bionic hip rocked so hard this weekend. I picked up 5 bags of concrete, each weighing 66lbs. SIXTY-SIX pounds. My legs hurt like hell, but I did it. And then I re-arranged my grandmother's cottage in the "heritage" format (translation: put the furniture back to the way it was when I was a kid). And we cleared out a bunch of garbage. My lovely RRBF (in addition to receiving 5 Ns in Now magazine in terms of the review of his latest record), painted some of the windows for me. Ah, cottage life. It's a vacation no matter how long you can get away for.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Last Long Weekend

Is almost upon us, I'm heading up north to spend the weekend with my RRBF's family at my cottage. Hopefully, I'll get some reading done! And maybe some writing too. Enjoy the sunshine. Fingers crossed I don't end up with a rash.

My Boy is Ten

My friend Heather took this photo a couple of weekends ago. We went for a walk in the woods. It was a bit cold at first, neither my boy nor ...