Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Can we please stop sharing that one Facebook post?

Truth be told, when I say "Can we please stop sharing that one Facebook post?" there are several annoying over-shared Facebook posts that I could be talking about.

But in this case, I'm talking about the one that tells the [supposed] story of a husband who is about to leave his wife for another woman. He tells her that he wants a divorce, and in return she asks him to carry her to the door every morning for a month. Blah blah blah, eventually he realizes that he never fell out of love with her, that their marriage was merely lacking intimacy, he tells the other woman he's not leaving his wife and buys flowers on his way home from work, only to arrive and realize that his wife has died sometime during the day. From cancer. Which she had supposedly been fighting for months, though he'd never noticed because he was too busy with his mistress.

First of all - this story very, very likely isn't even real. According to Snopes, it has been circulating the internet in one form or another since 2004 - and originally it had a different (read: upbeat) ending! It wasn't until 2007 that the adulterous husband started arriving home to find his wife dead, and it wasn't until 2009 that the bit about cancer was added.

Of course, no one knows where the story truly originated, so hey, maybe part of it - or parts of it - are based on actual people who lived through something similar. But regardless? Personally I think that this is a horrible, horrible story. Especially once you consider the "new and improved" ending where the wife dies and it turns out she's had cancer the entire time.

I mean, think about it. The story is supposed to give people that "too little, too late" feeling. It's supposed to make us shake our heads and tsk tsk over this man who wasted precious time with the woman he loved. The story itself usually ends with a reminder that money and possessions and other "little things" don't matter as much as spending time with your loved ones, being a friend, building intimacy, etc. etc. etc...which, sure, is all very true and good to remember.

But that doesn't change the fact that there are far better ways of reminding people of this! Sure, it is entirely up to an individual whether or not he or she will stay with a significant other or spouse who has cheated on him or her...though personally, therapy would be my first suggestion. But how in the world could one person who is living with another person not notice that the other member of their household is fighting cancer?! For the wife in this story to not tell her husband is one thing, especially if she has figured out that he isn't into the relationship and/or has been straying. But this story also puts a lot of emphasis on the couple's young son, who has also clearly never been told that his mother is dying. That's just preposterous. And I honestly can't even get into the rest of the things that are wrong with the "Carried Wife" legend, because there are so many...ugh, where would I even start?

I think what it all boils down to is the following question: Why do we need a very likely made up tale to convince us that we shouldn't cheat, that we should spend time with our significant others and keep intimacy alive in our relationships, that we should value the little things? As I said, there are a million better ways to tell people - or show people - these things.

And truth be told, yeah, I'm being a bit selfish here. I'm tired of seeing this story on my Facebook dashboard.

Maybe I'll just start marking it as spam, because I for one can't see it as anything else. Pin It

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One more Ice & Fire Con update for good measure? ;)

I promise that I've got some not-Ice-&-Fire-Con related posts coming up this week, really I do, buuut we did have a big information release this past weekend...the convention schedule, to be exact :)

You can view said schedule - which is subject to changes, of course, but hopefully only *slight* ones - in two places. The first being via the Schedule link on the main website; the second being as a downloadable Excel file in our Facebook group. I highly suggest viewing the latter over the former, as it's simply a much easier-to-read document...our website is unfortunately a bit limited at the moment.

I also made a video explanation of our schedule, but it doesn't include every bit of information because I had enough trouble keeping it under 20 minutes as is, haha. Yes, I am fully aware that my edits cut me off at times...that's on purpose as I made this at like 11 PM Saturday night, and Saturday was to say the least a *very* long day for me. So check out the schedule on our website or Facebook group, watch my video if you want, and feel free to contact me/us with any questions (either on Facebook or by email to iceandfirecon (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...that I finally get to allow myself to re-read A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons, and I'm kind of really excited about it :) Have to say that a part of that is because I probably have just enough time to do so and let it all sink in before Ice & Fire Con in April...

I confess...that Steve was away this weekend and while I missed him and it was lonely at times, I've come to realize that for whatever reason I get a lot more done when he's not around...and this was one of those weekends when I really needed to get a lot done, so him not being around was [sadly?] probably for the best.

I confess...I really need to buckle down on my 101 in 1001 list ::sheepish grin:: Not much else to say about that, other than that it needs to be done. :-/

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

I'm always torn over whether or not to read the newest fad book about dogs...but this one came with a solid recommendation from my mother-in-law, so I was willing to give it a read :)


Now I have to be honest - it does start out a bit slow. And in the end, yes, there are some questions that you as the reader is left to figure out - but unlike many of the negative or neutral Amazon reviewers of this novel, I personally don't think it's "wrong" for an author to leave some things up to interpretation. (In fact, some of the best books I've ever read do that.)

Although the human characters in A Dog's Purpose are at times somewhat trite, and though some parts of the storyline are of course predictable, that's something I've honestly come to expect in books about dogs - and I think that the positive aspects of this tale far outweigh the things that would lead me to give it a negative or neutral rating. First, let's be honest - if our dogs were able to tell the tales of our lives, wouldn't they seem pretty darn trite and oftentimes predictable? Second, while I wouldn't say that this book was a "life-changer" for me, it was an entertaining and quick read...and very, very heartwarming. (4/5 stars)
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Ice & Fire Con logo...and meet "The Three Heads of the Dragon"!

First things first...I have to give a shoutout to the wonderful girl who has been designing all of our logos for Ice & Fire Con. Her name is Trista and she's an incredibly talented artist, both graphically and with costumes, as well as in other mediums :) Here is her latest creation for Ice & Fire Con:

Long story short, we were having a hard time deciding whether to put the wolf, dragon, OR raven on the stemless wine glasses that are going in the Dragon gift bags (and that will be sold as souvenirs in our convention store!) we decided to combine all three. I love that it symbolizes two of the major Westerosi houses (Stark and Targaryen, of course) but incorporates the raven as well, which to be honest was my favorite of the Ice & Fire Con logos so far :)

Anyway, you can see Trista's online portfolio here!

We've also made some slight updates/changes to the main Ice & Fire Con website - including adding some little blurbs about us organizers (myself, Valerie, and Matt). Now, despite our "titles", we're a true democracy - the "three heads of the dragon", if you will - and it's been nothing short of a pleasure planning this convention with these two fine people...

...Matt and I are getting together in person this weekend and will be Skyping with Valerie in hopes of finalizing as much as possible in regards to the Ice & Fire Con schedule. There's *so* much I'd like to post about right now, but unfortunately there's a few more things for us to discuss before we can announce certain events to the public. So...stay tuned, I guess? ;)
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...that this weekend was a crazy whirlwind, but mostly a good one. It's so amazing to see certain things finally coming together with Ice & Fire Con...I only hope that the couple of things that are still outstanding wrap up soon.

I confess...that I have no idea how I'm going to do everything that I need to do this week. Seriously, my schedule is nothing short of scary right now.

I confess...I'm already tired of winter. Get over with, already.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Living with an Epileptic Dog

Recently I had a long discussion with a girl who found a homeless dog and took it in. The dog was having seizures and she was concerned about leaving her alone for long periods of time, and I wanted to give her what information I could, as one of our pups - Rigby - has epilepsy.

This conversation led to my realizing that I'd never posted anything detailed about Rigby's epilepsy, or about living with an epileptic dog. There are forums and articles out there about this, but the one thing I would have loved to read when we first brought him home was a story about what it's like to live with an epileptic pet...and so it's clearly past time that I tell mine - and Rigby's - story.

We adopted Rigby in February 2010. He was an owner surrender at Greenville County Animal Care Services - which meant that he was immediately on their put to sleep list. Now, Rigby's a darn cute dog, so there's a chance that if we hadn't come along and given him a home, a rescue group or person who fosters dogs off the PTS list would have saved him...but generally I prefer not to think about all of that, for obvious reasons. He appeared on the urgent rescue list, we went to meet him, we agreed to adopt him.

Unfortunately, at the time GCACS was having an outbreak of canine cough in their facility, so we couldn't bring him home right away...and right about the time he was healthy and they were ready to neuter him (God only knows why, at about five years old, he hadn't been neutered yet), Rigby had a seizure. This of course led to the concern that he possibly wasn't healthy enough to go through the neutering procedure.

We'll never know if Rigby was always epileptic, or if it was adult onset epilepsy (possibly brought on by the stress of being abandoned by his owners and then stuck at GCACS for weeks). When the vet tested him, there was no epilepsy medication in his system, but maybe he was never on it. Or maybe it had simply been long enough since he'd had it that it wouldn't have shown up. Regardless, GCACS decided to keep him a little longer in hopes of him not seizing so that they could neuter him.

And then he had another seizure. At this point they asked us to take him home - despite the fact that he still wasn't fixed - and bring him to our own vet. We did so, and our vet gave him a blood test to check his levels and put him on phenobarbital. What followed were several months of monitoring and tweaking of medication dosages...and several horrific seizures...though thankfully at one point the vet agreed that there had been enough of a break in these seizures for Rigby to get fixed.

Unfortunately when Rigby has seizures, they are of the Grand Mal version - the really, really bad ones. His limbs go rigid. If he is standing he falls over (or in one case, he actually flipped over backwards). His entire body jerks and thrashes and trembles. He foams at the mouth. And he urinates involuntarily. During the month or so that it took us to regulate his medication and get him to the proper dosage, he had 5 of these Grand Mal seizures.

It doesn't seem like much, I know - it's not as if he was having one every single day, though I've heard of cases like that - but trust me, it's a terrible and distressing thing to experience, both for the animal and for the owner. It is, so they say, not for the faint of heart.

Now, as I mentioned, it took us about a month to get Rigby's medication dosage straightened out. Thankfully, once we did there was a nearly-immediate drop in the frequency of his seizures. Throughout the next four months, he only had two of them, and so far as I know he's not had any (::knock on wood::) for years now.

There are of course extra expenses involved with treating an epileptic pet, but thankfully they aren't extreme. We pay about $20 for three months' worth of phenobarbital for Rigby, and then once a year he has to have a blood test done to ensure that the medication isn't effecting his body in negative ways - this test runs maybe $80-90. As you can see, luckily epilepsy truly is one of the less expensive ailments to treat in a pet - at least under "normal" circumstances.

The pheno that Rigby takes has a few side effects - for instance, making it a bit easier for him to put on weight. I counteract that by giving him plenty of exercise - I run with my dogs in the morning and walk them in the evening - and while he could probably stand to lose a couple of pounds, he's not overweight, which is important when dealing with an animal that has a consistent health issue, of course.

I'm not sure if some of Rigby's quirks - how needy he is, for instance (he literally follows me EVERYWHERE and has to be constantly reassured) are due to his condition, or are thanks to the fact that he was abandoned by his owners, or if he was simply always like this. But he is, on one hand, one of the best dogs I've had - and on the other hand, one of the most high maintenance dogs I've had...even when not considering the epilepsy ;)

Still, I love him all the same. How could I not? He comes when he's called. He loves to cuddle. He's extremely smart and knows several [albeit basic] tricks. He actually enjoys going in his crate - which is the best thing for him, because if he was to have a seizure he's much safer in there than out and about in the house where he could fall off furniture, bang his head/injure himself on something, or get stuck somewhere (like the time he had a seizure under our bed in the middle of the night - I could never explain how awful that was). And of course our other pets are safer as well, because after a seizure Rigby is disoriented. He's always been fine with me during the recovery period, and somehow our other dog Wendy has known to stay away from him - but he's been snippy with the cats, which is definitely a concern.

I'm not the perfect pet owner. Once in a great while I forget to give Rigby his pills, if I'm in a rush to get out the dor in the morning or in a rush to get to bed at night. Sometimes I get frustrated with the fact that he constantly needs to be in my lap or by my side; his neediness simply gets in the way at times. And just the thought of him having a seizure practically gives me an anxiety attack.

But I'm glad that I didn't shy away from giving Rigby a home, even when people told me that it would be understandable to "return" him to GCACS because of his epilepsy. Because sometimes Rigby will get stressed out - his breathing pattern will change and all I can think is that at any moment he may have a seizure - but I can look him in the eye and tell him it's okay and pet him...and he calms down. I do not doubt for a moment that he loves me in that way that only dogs can love someone, and I can't imagine not having him in my life.

My point is, if you are new to dealing with a pet that has epilepsy - take a deep breath. I can't promise you that everything will always be okay, but I can tell you that sticking with your pet and getting him or her on the proper medication can lead to plenty of rewarding time and good memories :) Pin It

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister

I think it's important to note that The Secret Holocaust Diaries ended up in my hands because my mom read it and thought I would enjoy it. Now, generally my mother and I don't have the same taste in books, but I have to say that in this case at least - she was correct.


Now, the first thing that I want to note is that The Secret Holocaust Diaries is very different compared to other holocaust diaries and novels that I've read. Yes, it's a diary, it's a true story, it's definitely - sadly, in many ways - not fiction. But it's not a diary like that of Anne Frank - it can't be, really, because Nonna Bannister wasn't Jewish, nor did she hide away quite like the Frank family did.

I do feel the need to point out that this book was more about Nonna Bannister's childhood and life before the war than it was about what actually happened to her once she ended up as a prisoner of war. The portion of the book that was about her time in the labor camps was, to be honest, spotty and rushed - though this is quite understandable considering what she must have gone through.

All in all, The Secret Holocaust Diaries is a fresh, revealing, yet still very sad take on the atrocities committed during World War II. Anyone who is interested in that time period would benefit greatly from reading this book. 4/5 stars.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Today is Thursday (thankfully)

Yeah, I have to admit that I'll be glad when this week is over ;) It's been a pretty crazy start to the year, to say the least.

I will say this much - I am in *LOVE* with my Moleskine planner. It's huge (that's what she said? heh) and therefore a bit of a pain to lug around...but seeing as it's doing a darn good job of keeping me organized, keeping me accountable, and allowing me to jot down random thoughts throughout the day...I can deal with the fact that it's a bit bulky ;) And it was also worth every penny of the $35.95 that I spent on it.

Unfortunately, they're REALLY difficult to find if you don't order them before Christmas, but I definitely suggest this for those who, like me, have trouble keeping track of all they need to do, and/or who want to keep a written journal but always forget to write in it.

Anyway, the weather this week has been disgusting, so that's another reason I'm glad that today is's supposed to clear up for the weekend ;) Ahh the negative connotations of living in the South in the winter...we don't have to deal with blizzards and rarely have below-freezing weather except at night, during a short chunk of the year...but instead we often have to deal with days on end of icky cold rain. Blech.

Of course, the downside of today being Thursday is that it means I didn't make my word count goal for the past week :-/ Yes, I "won" NaNoWriMo with 50,625 words to my novel on November 29th...but in the past month and a half I've only added 9,000 words to that. And I'm still probably a good 20,000 words from actually finishing the darn thing. (My goal for this past week, by the way, was 60,000 words, and I fell short by about 400 words. Sigh.)

Well, there's always next week - and my trusty Moleskine planner to help keep me in line ;)
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Confessions

I times, Quickbooks gets on my last darn nerve. It can be so ridiculously illogical.

I confess...that I'm tired of all of these password rules when creating them. Has to be so many characters. Has to include a capital letter. Has to include a number. Some sites require you to have a special character; others don't allow you to at all. It's impossible to remember all of the passwords one needs to remember these days!

I confess...that my friend bought us tickets for a Red Sox game - at Fenway - in April, and I'm SUPER excited about it! Probably TOO excited. But having moved away from New England essentially right after I graduated high school, I haven't been to a game at Fenway in probably 15 years. Yay!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Funday: All Over the Upstate

Seriously, I drove all over a huge chunk of upstate South Carolina today.

I actually got up early - way too early for a weekend morning, if you ask me - and met my sister to go to the Anderson Jockey Lot. The Jockey Lot is actually the largest one of its kind in the southeast. It's a flea market, mind you...I'd never heard the term "Jockey Lot" until I moved to South Carolina.

And I've never been to this one. Flea markets honestly aren't my thing, though there's also one on White Horse Road in Greenville that has proved a wonderful place to find Nintendo consoles, so cheers to that, I guess ;)

Anyway. It was cloudy for much of the day, but it was also warm. Seriously, over 70 degrees. We were a bit late arriving at the Jockey Lot thanks to some bad directions, but at least our trip proved...interesting. My sister got what she went for; I found some local honey with honeycomb included, which was a good buy in my book. "Dog Row" - which would more appropriately be called "Puppy Row" bothered the heck out of me, though - basically a bunch of puppies, some purebred and some not, crammed into wire cages (many of which were far too small) and being sold for anywhere from $50 to $300. Many of the sellers had signs saying that the dogs had been dewormed and had had their shots, which I can only hope were true.

I don't know, generally I suppose that I just shouldn't get into this. The sight of all of those puppies for sale bothered me, the fact that the Jockey Lot even has a "Dog Row" bothered me even more, but it's not a rant that I want to get into right now...because this is Sunday Funday after all ;)

Once I got home, Steve and I decided to go downtown for dinner. We very, very rarely go out to eat...but it's restaurant week, so we splurged a bit with dinner at Larkin's on the Water. The entire meal was great, but the highlight was probably the creme brulee...because it's the first properly cooked creme brulee that I've had that wasn't made either in France, or by Steve ;)

It also helps that when we walked out of the restaurant we were greeted with a lovely view...

...I really do love our little city. Which, by the way, was recently named one of Southern Living magazine's 10 Tastiest Towns! What better way to celebrate than a dinner at one of Greenville's best restaurants, right?

Now we're home having a lazy movie night. This was a much busier Sunday than what I'm used to, but it was also a very, very good one! Pin It

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm not usually one to say this, but T.G.I.F.


It's of those weeks, this week.

You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

One of those weeks where I've had to get up early twice to take cats to the vet for their annual appointments (and I don't even want to THINK about how much that cost me, money-wise). One of those weeks where I worked my 8 hours and headed home to clean and cook and bake and take care of pets and didn't actually sit down and relax until after 8 PM every night.

That's 13-ish hours a day of go-go-go-go-go, mind you.

And at the end of those 13-ish hours, I was so worked up that I couldn't force myself into bed until about midnight or midnight-thirty (yes, I just did that on purpose) every night. Which means that I was getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

I'm a person who needs her 8 (or more) hours of sleep. Trust me on that.

And during this hectic week, the "baby" that I'm nurturing with my friends Matt and Valerie was, as things that I love to my core usually are, both a blessing and a curse.

You see, we're doing this convention at cost. Meaning that not only are we organizers donating time, but we're donating money (in one form or another) as well...mainly to keep the tickets at a reasonable price. Now, we generally knew from the beginning what we were getting ourselves into, so I promise that I'm not complaining...but this week we did have an unexpected fee revealed to us. A fee that literally takes away every extra dollar we had (and trust me, there weren't many of them) tucked away to use for prizes at the convention, printing programs, and filling the gift bags included with Dragon and Stag tickets.

Of course we've been, err, "trolling" (not really - that's 'for lack of a better word', I suppose) for donations of ASOIAF/GoT-themed items anyway, but now we've had to take that up with a vengeance. And we're also seriously considering looking for out-and-out sponsors so that we don't have to break our own personal (and not very well-padded, at least/especially in my case) bank accounts.

All that said, we do have some great things in the works for this convention. I can't make official announcements about a couple of them yet, but hopefully I'll be able to do so soon :) However, I *can* announce the following:

FIRST THINGS FIRST: There are just *9* Stag tickets left! If you want to attend this convention and take part in the AWESOME feast that we're having Saturday night, purchasing one of these 9 tickets is the only way you'll get to do so :) Also, please note that ticket prices will go up again on February 1st. Right now Stag tickets are $65; starting February 1st they will be $75. Iron tickets are currently $50; starting February 1st they will be $60.

SECOND THINGS SECOND: The *only* accommodations left on site at Ravenwood are the Fairy Tale Cabins. These cabins are a bit less expensive than the castle rooms and Medieval Village Cottages, but they ARE about a 15 minute walk (each way) from the main areas where the convention will be held, and they do not have heat. (Which shouldn't matter TOO much in late April...but we still want to warn everyone.)

THIRD THINGS THIRD: We're also finalizing some AWESOME things throughout the next couple of weeks :) As I said above, I can't announce some of these things in an official capacity just yet...*but* we promised that we'd have the schedule up before the end of January and that *will* happen, as we are working hard on it right now! For instance, we've already decided that there will be 6 panels at Con - 1 on Friday, 4 on Saturday, 1 on Sunday - and 4 of the topics have been chosen as well. And we're polling the convention facebook group and letting attendees decide the final 2! These panels will be spaced out to insure that convention attendees will be able to also participate in our other exciting activities, including but not limited to photoshoots, a costume contest, a [mock] tournament, and Westerosi Karaoke. (Yes, you read that right, WESTEROSI KARAOKE. Which will be insanely hilarious and fun; I'm certain of it.)

As always, you can find us at the following links:

Ice & Fire Con STORE - for all of your Game of Thrones, Song of Ice & Fire, and Ice & Fire Con merchandise needs ;)

*** Please feel free to comment here on my blog or contact me directly via the email on my contact page, or to email us convention organizers (myself [Tara], Valerie, & Matt) at iceandfirecon(at)gmail(dot)com with ANY questions! ***
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's been a while since I posted a recipe...

...but I think that this one is worth the wait :)

This is a recipe that it took me a couple of tries to get right...but I think I've finally got it down, so I'm sharing! Though the chopping is a bit tedious, it's a pretty easy and almost quick recipe to make...and different, as well :) Enjoy!


2 lbs small yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/4 inch thickness
2 gala, honey crisp or golden delicious apples, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
2 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
4-5 pinches nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons honey
¼ to ½ cup milk or half-and-half
1/3 pound ripe Camembert cheese, rind scraped off and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp dried (preferably powdered) thyme
12 chives, chopped

~ In a deep pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, 15 minutes. Drain.

~ In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden (about 12 minutes). Transfer to a plate; cover with foil to keep warm.

~ In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apple, pear and nutmeg; season with salt. Stir in the lemon juice for 3 minutes, then stir in the honey for 1 minute.

~ Mash the potatoes with the milk (add slowly until the potatoes are your desired consistency - I usually use the full 1/2 cup, but hey, some people like more chunky mashed potatoes), cheese, and thyme; season with salt and pepper and then fold in the chives. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle, arrange alongside the potatoes and top with some of the fruit and its sauce.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Confessions: I almost forgot. Can you tell? ;)

I confess...I had another lazy weekend. Though I'm thankfully feeling a lot better in regards to my battle with the flu, I'm still congested - like 24/7 - and that's effecting my desire/ability to go out and do, well, anything.

I confess...that I'm craving cheese right now. No idea why. I mean, I love cheese, but this is almost an unnatural craving.

I confess...that I truly believe that there are few things worse than the sound of my cats crying when I have to put them in their carriers to take them to the vet or whatever. Seriously, it's just not cool how utterly awful it makes me feel.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review: The Apple (Crimson Petal Stories) by Michel Faber

Having read The Crimson Petal and the White, I, like many others, was hoping that Michel Faber would write a sequel. So many questions were left unanswered at the end of that novel, and those unanswered questions were by far my main complaint regarding it. Of course, when I heard about The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories, I hoped that it was written for the express purpose of answering some of those questions.


Fortunately for me, I scanned a few of the reviews on Amazon before reading this collection of short stories, so I knew that it didn't quite offer what I'd hoped for. At the very least this led me to be less disappointed when I read it, knowing that it was less a sequel to The Crimson Petal and the White and more a companion to that novel. In reading The Apple one does get to find out a bit about the future of some of the important characters from Crimson, but to be honest there are also a few stories in The Apple that feel more like pointless filler than anything else. There are still plenty of questions left unanswered, and The Apple raises some new questions as well, which is of course a bit frustrating. Also, as short stories go the only one that is included in this volume that is also mentionable as a perfectly acceptable stand alone short story is "Clara and the Rat Man"; however, because of the inclusion of stories that revealed some of the pasts and futures of Crimson characters, the story about Clara was a bit lost in the fold in my opinion. 

3/5 stars for the collection as a whole.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Monthly 101 Update: December

Well...I didn't really start on any new goals in December, but I did make a bit more leeway on a few - namely finishing one of my novels and reading 50 books I've never read before, though I also did a bit more rating of my music in iTunes as well :)

"Spend my birthday away from home/on vacation again (because hey, it's been at least three years since I went on vacation over/on my birthday!)" Accomplished for my 30th birthday - spent 12/12/12 - 12/16/12 in Las Vegas!

(And it was, not surprisingly, an absolutely amazing time)

[Re-] learn how to drive stick - well, I started re-learning on 11/23/12, but as I mentioned in my last 101 update, I didn't think I had spent enough time on it to say that I actually knew how to drive stick. Buuuuut...then I went and bought myself a stick-shift car on 12/7/12, and as I've been driving it ever since I think I can call this one accomplished (even though I'm not yet the most AMAZING stick-shift driver ;) )

New car! Oh, you think it's still the same ol' GTI? NOPE! First, note that it has a different front end. Second, note that it's an Autobahn version (which my 2008 GTI was *not*). Third, note the picture below...

See? Stick shift ;)

Pay off my car - This is the first time that I'm going to do something that I suppose could be considered "cheating" - I'm going to call this one accomplished, considering I sold my car for twice what I owed, thus paying it off. I did buy a new car, and yes, I did have to finance said new car, but the amount I financed it for is about equal to its depreciated value after driving it off the lot thanks to how much my old car was worth, so this was a win-win situation ;) And hey, I also helped Steve with a down payment on his new car. So there's that! Pin It

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope that most people had a more exciting New Year than I did :-/ I'm used to making big fun plans for New Year's Eve...or at least FUN plans, if not big ones ;) Unfortunately, our fun plans for this year went to the dogs when I got sick...and stayed sick. Though I felt a lot better yesterday than I had for the previous four days, there was no way I was healthy enough to go out and party for the New Year. Steve did take me out to a nice dinner, and we did stop and say a quick hello to our friends who were (lucky them) healthy enough to have a bit of fun last night...but then we came home and watched movies and cuddled with pets. A bit disappointing, yes, but also kind of nice :)

And even though I didn't really drink last night, even though I was in bed by 12:30...I still slept half the day away today, and my New Year's Day is now being spent picking up the house and doing the ultimate exciting chore of changing the sheets and comforter on our bed! Woo hoo!

But hey, at least they are actually NEW sheets, and it's actually a NEW comforter!

Yeah, not quite my first choice of bedding, but good dark colors for the winter season, no? Plus we simply have too many pets to buy any sort of light-colored comforter. Sigh.

I guess it's all for the best that we've spent today sleeping in and hanging out indoors, though, because according to my Ice & Fire Weather app...

Somehow I think Winterfell would be a good deal colder, but yeah, this rain is definitely icky. I can only hope that it goes away with this flu that I have...and that they both disappear SOON. I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but there are things I want to accomplish this year, and every day I have to spend laid up and sick is a day that goes to waste...and I want NONE of that! Pin It