Friday, July 27, 2012

london, i can't even....

London, you may have one of the most unattractive Olympic logo in history, but your Opening Ceremonies were Ab Fab!  The only thing I want to know is where was Luther?!?!

I am loving every single second of this.  I mean, how can you not?!  I guess you can because EVERYONE is alight on the interwebs about how awful this is.  I'm in the minority because I have been completely glued to the TV since it began. 

The beautiful pastoral landscapes in the beginning with the May poles and animals and the children around the UK singing.  Then it was the Industrial Age where they 'forged' the Olympic Rings, making it look so life like until the sparks fell from above.  God save the Queen and James Bond......Onto British Children's Literature opened by JK!  The creepy nightmares, a 100 foot Voldemort looming scarily and Mary Poppins coming to save the day!  And Mr. Bean!!  Mr. Bean impressing us with his musical abilities.

The highlight for me was Frankie & June and four decades of British music all while representing how social media has overtaken our lives.  June was gorgeous & it was just so much fun watching the whole love story.

I thought the whole thing just celebrated everything that is wonderful about the UK.  It was fun and creative, dark and funny and beautiful.

My only real complaint is that I have never disliked Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera more in my life.  Ugh.  Idiotic commentary and they never just shut up and let you enjoy the show.  What is their purpose exactly?  To show how annoying Americans can be?  They irritated me so much that I didn't even look up to see how to spell their names correctly.

My other complaint, only half serious.....where was Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch?? Or the Spice Girls?  I didn't see them anywhere!  Boo, I pout.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

it's time to go offal

Top Chef is most certainly my favorite reality show.  Hand's down.  I've seen all 9 seasons of the original, 2 seasons of Desserts & 3 seasons of Masters.  The new season of Masters started this week and ohmygod Chris Costentino is a cheftestant!!!!!! 

He's mah faaayvorite.  He co-owns Incanto is San Francisco.  They have a Leg of Beast feast that I've been dying for.  I need to find 5 other people who are willing to shell out $55 bucks each for dinner tho. Chris is one of the biggest fans of Offal & has a site about it called Offal Good.  I reallllly want to go to Incanto.

The thing about Top Chef is that it's a real cooking contest.  It's not super drama filled (tho there's always a bit of that), but it really is all about the cooking and there are some dang talented chefs competing.  Top Chef Masters is harder because I always know at least 50% of the chefs competing.  Not personally of course, I'm just not that cool (shocking, right?).

If Chris doesn't win I'll be devastated.  Kind of like when he lost The Next Iron Chef.  He should've had that win!

Anyhoo...I have nothing else to say on the matter at this time.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

the cat's out of the bag

....And by 'cat' I mean cancer and by 'out of the bag' I mean my uterus.

So yeah, got myself a tiny case of cervical cancer.  More specifically, adenocarcinoma in situ.  It's been an interesting journey with the woman parts. 

*****Just in case you're wondering, this could be a tmi post so don't say I didn't warn you.  You're about to learn waaaaay to much about the whole area down there.*****

After I had Olivia I had my regular pap by a slightly odd male doctor.  Not my first choice, but I had gone in urgent care for some unusual pain I was having a couple of weeks after the c-section.  Since I was there he figured I should get my pap done.  They called a few days later to let me know that I had some unusual results and he wanted me to come back in to get a colposcopy.  He was quite to assure me that it was 'unusual, but it wasn't cancer.'  Dummy.

For those (like me) who don't know what a colposcopy is:  They use a vinegar solution to 'dye' the cervix.  It shows the areas that are abnormal and then the doctor uses a microscope type thing to look at those areas.  If the doctor feels like it merits she'll do a biopsy of those areas.  It's unpleasant, but not the end of the world.

I really had no worries.  My gyno said she felt like she didn't see anything too crazy and thought it would be low grade junk and stuff.  Imagine my surprise when she came back and said I had to come back in to get a LEEP done.  She said that there were high grade lesions and some abnormal glandular cells.  The LEEP was similar to the coposcolpy except they use a heated wire to slice out a bigger portion of the cervix.  They numb the cervix beforehand so I thought, dude, no big, right?

WRONG!!!!  Numbing the cervix SUCKS ASSHOLES.  That was by far one of the worst things so far.  BY FAR.  Once that was done I couldn't feel anything.  That was better.

A week later I got a message on my phone from my doc saying she sent me an email and that I had something called adenocarcinoma in situ.  I called my mom (a RN) and she said she was pretty sure that's precancerous cells.  No big.

I got home & read her email and 'cancer' was all over the place.  I read the literature and, holy crap on a cracker, everyone's calling this cancer.  This is cancer?!  Jeez maneez.

Generally what happens after the diagnosis is a cone biopsy.  Here they take a much larger portion of the cervix, almost removing it altogether.  That gets tested to see how invasive the cancer is.  Once that's determined you either get a simple hysterectomy or a radical hysterectomy.  Stellar.

I got the cone biopsy almost three weeks ago and the tests came back with really low margins.  They didn't find any cancer deeper in the cervix or very low in the uterus so it's looking like I get the simple hysterectomy.  After they remove my uterus they'll check that thoroughly to see if they find anything there. If they do I'll get radiation, if not, I'm good to go.

I'm super lucky.  Adenocarinoma in situ is really aggressive.  If you go a year or more without finding it you're looking at a very low chance of survival.  My survival rate is as close to 100% as you can get.  And to add icing to the cake, NO MORE PERIODS!  Since you can't see me right now, I'm doing the dance of joy.  I'm thankful that we were able to have our two munchkins.  I've been reading about so many 20-somethings who have to gamble with the cone biopsy in order to preserve their fertility.  We're done having kids so my uterus is just excess baggage.

Really, they should have just kept it when they took Olivia out.  Would've saved me some trouble.  I guess it just doesn't work like that.

So that's been the nuts that I've been going through these past few months.  I don't feel like I've really stressed about it, though I haven't been getting much sleep and I think I've had a headache for a month.  Mostly, I worry about what to do with 2 kiddos while I recover from surgery without inconveniencing my family & friends.  The biggest pain is the actual pain I've had and the bleeding that's been going on off and on for the past two months and having to wear a pad for two months during the summer.  Don't be gross, it's not the same pad for two months.

But if that's the worst of it, I count my lucky stars.  I'm grateful to my wonderful husband and family for dropping everything at a moment's notice to take me to the hospital or take the girls while I sleep for four days.  My friends for checking up on me, sending prayers and love and dealing with my never ending fountain of sarcasm.

I'm a lucky girl.  (No sarcasm there.  Seriously.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

today doesn't suck

amidst all the crap that is going on and awful things and ouchy way i feel today i sit here crying happy tears.

why?  because someone i have never met irl, but who is one of the most important people i have known got the best news one could ever have.  nat is THE best notie in the world and despite layers of shit she's had to dig through this last year or so she remains upbeat, happy and an inspiration.


and i KNOW she is going to be the best mama in the universe because she can't be anything but.  that little Trogdor is so incredibly lucky s/he (personally I'm hoping for a 'she' ;) ) doesn't even realize the amazingness that is about to be bestowed upon her/him.

i am so happy for you nat & jimi.  you take care of that miracle and make sure you tell everyone who wants to give you shit for the next 7+ months to fuck off.  there will be no stressing my notie out.

love you all three of you to pieces.  i can't express how ecstatic i for your little family am right now.

btw...i told you this was your year.

oh, ps. she blogs over at my blog is boring and you should read it.  'cause it's not boring.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

gotten back on the horse

It has been a little more than four months since I have read a book.

Four Months.

That is the longest amount of time between books for me that I can remember.  I have my suspicions of my own as to the reason, but I'll keep that under wraps for now.

Anyhoo....I've decided to start reading again and I'm starting with the authors & series that I know I will love.  They never have disappointed me.  I have read all of their books except for these most current (or almost most current) ones and I haven't ever put one down at the end and thought, well, that sucked.

So we're starting out with these gems:

 Dean Koontz has been one of my favorite authors since I was a little girl.  Yes, a little girl.  I was reading DK & Mr. King since I was a youngster.  Thanks Public Library!

I think I was 12 or 13 when I first got my hands on Watchers.  That is still one of my all time favorite books.  The movie - not so much - but the book was fantastic.  There is a creep factor about his books that I'm never able to get out of Stephen King's books.  I remember when I read The Bad Place I almost threw up at one point.  It doesn't sound pleasant, I know, but it was soooooo good.  His books have kept me up at night and made me laugh, made me cry and taught me stuff I never thought I would find interesting.  He is truly the Master of Suspense and I'm excited to start this one.

77 Shadow Street is an upscale Gilded Age palace that has been converted into condos.  The people who live there are wealthy, but mostly clueless of The Pendleton's horrifying history.  When the palace begins to turn on its tenants they learn really quickly how money doesn't keep you safe.

 This is only John Sandford's 21st Prey novel and one of his 35 books.  If you haven't read the Prey novels (aka the Lucas Davenport series) then you are definitely missing out.  You must start at the beginning and then at the 17th book, Invisible Prey start reading the Virgil Flowers series side by side.  Virgil comes from the Davenport universe.  There aren't really spoilers that go on either side, but there are appearances of both characters in both series so it's kind of fun to stay current.

I started reading Sandford around the same time as James Patterson's Alex Cross novels.  While I still do enjoy Alex Cross I've become somewhat bored with Patterson's fill in the blank writing that's been happening for awhile now.  Where Patterson (if it's even Patterson that's writing his books anymore) seems to write in a simplistic childlike way Sandford is always on his toes.  I just love 'em.

Anyway, Lucas Davenport is a badass.  He started out as a lieutenant for the Office of Special Intelligence in the Twin Cities.  Sandford has surrounded Davenport with an eclectic and fun group of characters that add both emotion and levity to the books.  As the series continues he doesn't let Davenport remain stagnant.

In Buried Prey a case that has haunted Davenport since 1985 is suddenly thrust back into the spotlight and he gets the chance to solve the murders all over again and this time things are much different than when he was a young cop.

 I have to admit, I haven't read many of Nora Roberts Silhouette books because I'm not a huge romance reader.  It wasn't until the 90's when she began writing for Bantam that I fell in love with her.  She does a ridiculous amount of research for her books.  When she writes about a jewel thief you almost feel as if you could then pull off a great heist yourself.  Or sunken treasure hunters?  Why yes, I do believe I can find anything under the sea because I read The Reef!  Yes, sometimes her stories tend to fall into a pattern that is extremely predictable, but dangit I still love to read them!

She delved a bit into the supernatural, well a lot.  Several newer trilogies were very ghosts, ancient spirits, that kind of thing and she has gone back into romance mode with her Bride Quartet, but still I never tire of her writing.  I think what I love most about her is that she will do the trilogies a lot.  Or quartets.  This gives you a chance to really sink your teeth into the characters, but you're not invested into a series of 47 books that never end.  Her books that take place in Ireland are the cause of my obsession & pride of that part of my ancestry.  She's just a dang good author and prolific in that.  Her success as a published author knows no bounds.  Montana Sky broke the 100 book mark for Roberts in the 90's and over 120 books have been on the Times bestseller list.  It's simply awesome.

In Chasing Fire, we're treated to the elite group of forest firefighters known as the Smoke Jumpers.  They parachute into a wildfire to help get a jump on the fires.  It's insanity.  A seasoned smoke jumper born into a family of them, Rowan Tripp is an expert and now she's tasked with fighting fires in the Montana wilds with a new crop of rookies.

 Oliver Stone, how I love you you grizzled old man.

No, not that Oliver Stone.  David Baldacci's leader of the Camel Club and ex-CIA ghost Oliver Stone.

He ranks up there with Jack Reacher for me.

The Camel Club began with the book of the same name.  A motley group of friends who believed in the conspiracies in the US government.  Nobody really knew who Oliver was and his friends didn't really care until shit hits the fan.  Turns out, Ollie is a alias (*gasp* no way!) and he's actually a former CIA assassin.  With his seemingly mismatched group of friends they set out to right wrongs and expose the evil doers.

OK, it's really not cheesy though I've kind of made it sound like that.  My first David Baldacci book was The Lottery and I liked it well enough, but I wasn't rushing out to get anymore.  When I went through a dry spell of books I picked up The Camel Club and was blown away.  After that it was a quick succession through the rest of the series.  Now, at the fifth book I am dying to see what happened after major shit hit the fan in Divine Justice.

Now that he's been exposed for who he really is and what he's done Oliver is waiting patiently for the men to come and get him and do what he used to do for a living.  But instead they come to him with a plea for help.  And even though he left that life behind a long time ago, Oliver can't help but dive back in headfirst when he witnesses a devastating explosion on the President's motorcade.  Joined by the remaining members of the Camel Club and a British MI5 agent they do everything they can to find out who wants to kill the President & British Prime Minister.

Whaaaaaaaat???  Government conspiracies?  Groveling to Ollie for help?  MI5 agents???  Does it get any better than this?  Probably not.

Now, I've already told you how you need to get out and get yourself some Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers.  And I told you that starting with Invisible Prey you should start reading the Virgil series so I really shouldn't have to reiterate, right?

Shock Wave is the fifth book in this series.  Here Virgil is tasked with the job of finding out what psycho protesters are bombing construction sites of one of the major big box stores.  They're looking for maximum casualties so you can bet your sweet behind the pressure is on for the generally slow-moving-vintage-rock-band-t-shirt-wearing Flowers. But don't worry too much folks, Virgil always gets the job done.  And sometimes without getting shot.

 Now let's just stop for a second and please take any thought of Tom Cruise out of your mind.

He is not Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is magnificent.  Tom Cruise is not.

OK.  I think I've already mentioned before on this blog how much I adore and worship Jack Reacher so I won't blather on about that.  Let's just talk about The Affair, shall we?

One of the mysteries that has followed the novels around is the real reason why Reacher mustered out of the Army.  Having known nothing outside of the military life since he was born it seems slightly strange that he ever would have left.  Here we go back to 1997 when the beginning of the end, well....begins.

Reacher is sent undercover to Carter Crossing, Mississippi to discover the truth of that happened to a murdered young woman.  Quite possibly the victim of another soldier, Reacher must find someone else to trust outside of his brothers in arms.  Enter Elizabeth Deveraux, tough and beautiful and a former MP at that!  You go, Reacher!

If you'll notice all of these books are grown up books!  Yes, it's true.  My tried & true authors are not Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins or JK Rowling.  I started with the adult genre of fiction and it will always be numero uno.  But don't worry, next on my list:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
Crossed by Ally Condie

At least that's the plan.  We'll see how that goes...stay tuned!

Friday, July 13, 2012

fifty shades of annoying the ever living crap out of me

I read an article today on about Explaining 'Fifty Shades' Wild Success. And dang it, I wanted it explained to me!

This whole phenomenon is utterly baffling to me.

I have collected erotica for about 18 years now.  And no, I'm not talking about Johanna Lindsay-like smut books, but classics by Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Anne Desclos and then pretty much everything that Susie Bright puts out there as well as Maxim Jakubowski, so on and so forth.  Altogether I have over 30 anthologies and novels both fiction & autobiographical.

So maybe that's why nothing in here is 'tee-hee' shocking to me or blush rendering.  I've read it all before - and then some - except by authors who can write.  I swear this is some of the worst writing I've ever read and I do consider Stephenie Meyer a bad writer despite my love for the books.  I have repeatedly picked up the first book and just can't stomach the over the top obviousness of it, the terrible character names and the cliched catch phrases and 'oh my god no one should be this good-looking' lines.  Meyer already did that thankyouverymuch.

So when I read this article I realized how maybe I'm just not in that 50 Shades demographic.  Here's my take:

Most of the people I know who have read the books, raved about them and then badgered me to get them are Twilight fans.  Not surprising considering this trilogy was written by a Twilight fan on a Twilight fan fiction site.  There is an interesting phenomenon (ha!  I used that word twice and spelled it right each time) in which someone who is a Twilight fan will mention a book she likes and it slowly catches on until the damn thing has a movie deal (The Hunger Games, I Am Number Four - gag -, The Mortal Instrument series, The Beautiful Creatures series).  This can be both awesome (Hunger Games) and bloody awful (I Am Number Four).  One of the most common review quotes on the back cover of YA Supernatural/Romance books is 'Fans of Twilight will love this book!'

And it makes sense.  I wasn't a big YA reader until I picked up the Twilight books.  Now I would say I've read more YA in the past 3 years than general fiction.  When you find a genre you like you tend to stick with it until you've made yourself sick of it.  And the covers (which is pointed out in the cnn piece) is very Twilight like.  Very simple, bold, curious covers in only a few colors.  Even for me, someone who most certainly judges a book by its cover, it's appealing.

The subset of readers who were not Twilight fans that rave over this book are the people who rolled their eyes at the Twilight madness and called Bella a horrible female role model and Edward a psycho stalker.  They knew enough about the books because deep down they really wanted to read them, but their hipster attitudes didn't want to be part of that crowd.  So they turned up their noses to the series because it was childish and unrealistic because, you know, books aren't supposed to be any sort of fantasy.

So these people, they saw 50 Shades and thought, now here's a book I can read and I'll be cool because it's got handcuffs and butt plugs in it and that's soooooo shocking.  There's not a sparkly vampire to be seen!  Plus, you've got the added bonus of not having to be found searching the teen section at Barnes & Noble for the book.  You shall be in Grown-Up-Book-Land.

I'm not saying I won't read these books and possibly end up loving them.  I own them.  I owned the Twilight series for about 6 months before I finally gave in and read them, but I waded through 82 pages of that book and fell in love.  This one, it's been a shitstorm in my head just trying to get through the first chapter.

Honest to Buddha I just don't get it.  I cannot stomach this writing.  It's almost a crime against the erotica genre.  On the other hand it's nice to see women so readily relishing in some porn without being ashamed so, carry on! 

Power to the porn!

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