Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Report - Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

Title: Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
Authour: Jordan Sonnenblick
Length: 273 pages
How long it took me to read: 2 days

What it's about:
Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

The ending is the most important part: Everything is wrapped up very neatly. I ended this book with a smile

Last word: I'm really glad that I read this after Dewey got the "all clear" at his five year cancer treatment check-up, otherwise this book would have upset me. It was funny, and sweet, and true. I really enjoyed it.

Spoilers after the jump:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Most likely to set the world's next fashion trend

You know that thing in high school where everyone is voted Most Likely to Fill-in the Blank? I was voted Most Likely to Set the World's Next Fashion Trend.

Haven't heard of me? That's because I have yet to accomplish this feat, however, I'm still working on it - I'm not dead yet!!

I can't tell you how honoured and awesome I felt when this happened to me. To be the most fashionable person in my high school. My high school with a graduating class of 160. My high school in a town called Cloverdale. Yep, was hard work competing with all those turkey farmers for "most fashionable".

Sarcasm aside, I was still really pleased with the results of how others perceived me.

I gotta tell you the story behind the reason that I was voted to set the World's next fashion trend.

Some background:

  • I learned how to sew when I was six and my mum taught me some basic pattern skills so that I could make clothes for my Barbies, but she refused to teach me how to use a sewing machine because she wanted me to wait until I got to high school so I could be taught "the right way". 
  • Things changed somewhat between the sixties and the eighties (imagine that?). By the time I got to Home-Ec, things had changed so much so that my teacher was one of the English teachers who just happened to know how to sew. There was no 'real' sewing teacher. She basically had us go buy basic patterns and follow the instructions in the pattern and she was there to answer questions. When my mother heard that, she said, "Well, I could have taught you that!"
  • When I took sewing in grade nine, we had to make a shirt because we had to learn how to do button-holes, and we had to make a skirt or pants because we had to learn how to sew in a zipper. This was 1986 and big, oversized, floral shirts were in style. I really wanted to make a big shirt, but didn't have a lot of money for fabric. My mum helped me by searching through her "stash". (Every woman who sews knows what I'm talking about - it's like the fabric multiplies on its own!) I found this fabric with big yellow, pink and turquoise roses on it that I thought was perfect. When I pulled it out, my mum informed me that was not fabric, but a sheet set. I didn't care, I loved the fabric. When my teacher found out that I was using vintage sheets for my fabric, she flipped out that I was so creative and inventive to use sheets. I made a shirt, skirt, and shorts out of the sheets. They were so fabulous I wore them all the time. I would wear the skirt and shirt together with either a pink or turquoise tank top underneath with the shirt belted at the waist, but I never wore the shirt and the shorts together, that would clash. I wish I had a photo to share with you...
  • I also had taken a basic shirt pattern that my mum had from the seventies and manipulated it so that it would be oversized. I figured all of this out on my own. If I didn't like the style of the pattern, I would change it to fit my needs.
  • Anyway, from that moment on my teacher thought I was a genius, and would come to me for suggestions and tips instead of the other way around. She would not shut up about how amazed she was that I thought to use a sheet for fabric. (a vintage sheet - but the term vintage had not been coined yet)
  • Did I mention that my sewing teacher wore fabulous clothes and I was totally intimidated by her at first because her style was so impeccable? I was so honoured to be her pet student.
So cut to grade Eleven. I had seen my friend Kate's older and very stylish sister wearing these East Indian inspired pants with a high waistband, many pleats, and a drop crotch. I thought the were so cool. I waited awhile to try to copy them because they were not something that I thought I was confident enough to wear. I figured out a pattern, and made a pair of navy blue ones, and a pair of bright green ones. The navy ones had a wide navy and white striped waistband. I sucked up my courage and wore them to school on the first day of grade Eleven. O. My. Gosh! The mocking. The stares. The jokes about how I pooped my pants. It went on and on, but by then I had the confidence to know that those stupid kids had no clue about fashion, they were from Cloverdale for crying out loud, so I ignored them. (again, I wish I had pictures...) 

It was really hard to walk up steep steps with my crotch at my knees, but, you know, no pain is too great for the sake of fashion...

A year later, a rapper called MC Hammer wore the EXACT same pants, but in gold. People would come up to me and tell me about that and about how I wore it first. "Remember last year how we used to make fun of you for those poopy pants? Well now that rapper MC Hammer is wearing them! You're so cool to be ahead of the style!"

THAT, my friends, is validation.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Report - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authour: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Length: 274 pages
How long it took me to read: 2 days

What it's about:
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

The ending is the most important part: Very satisfying. Definitely a happy ever after.

Last word: Now I want to go to Guernsey!

Spoilers after the jump:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never forget

Twelve years ago DH, Huey and I went on a family vacation and met with DH's parents, sister, her husband, and their daughter who is nine months older than Huey to Bend, OR. The weather was beautiful, the children were adorable, and we had a lovely time.

One night after Huey was nursed and put to bed, DH and I took the opportunity to go out and have a date. Huey was only 13 Months old at the time, and since we don't have any family in Salt Lake, we rarely left Huey with a sitter. We drove around Bend aimlessly for a time when we found a movie theatre and decided that was what we would do. We ended up seeing The Princess Diaries because that was what was playing next and I had wanted to see it and DH has a mild crush on Anne Hathaway.

I loved the movie, but what added to the experience was that when we returned to the condo, Huey was sound asleep, safe and sound. I had been stressing so much that he would wake and freak out when we weren't there. This was the first time we had left with someone else to watch him. I was elated to come home and find him totally fine.

We returned home on Monday. The following Tuesday morning I was watching the news and nursing Huey when Ron Bird of channel two news reported that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

Just this summer, I read The Princess Diaries, loved it, and was cruising Meg Cabot's website when she related her September 11th story. In remembrance of this day of infamy, I suggest you follow the link, but be prepared to cry. She was living in New York and watched the whole thing. It is a very well written moving take.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Charlie Sexton

O. My. GOSH, you guys. You have my sister Mrs. Bowie to thank for this. Welcome to 1986!

My sister posted on my wall in Facebook asking:

Who was that awesome British musician Charlie Sexton?
I sent her several links, including the one above, freaked out for a little bit at the wonderful memory, corrected Mrs. Bowie by informing her that he is a Texan, and not British, spent half an hour on YouTube watching videos, posted a Song of the Day on Facebook, spent twenty bucks on iTunes buying music, including the Pictures for Pleasure album, spent even MORE time on Wikipedia and IMDB, and dug this out:

You guys, I was so obsessed with Charlie Sexton! I had the 45" of this song and I played it over and over and OVER and over. I swear I was the only person in the world who knew who he was. I just loved him. I thought he was so perfectly handsome and gorgeous and everything. Like a combination of David Bowie, John Taylor, Robert Smith, and Matt Dillon. I didn't know he was only sixteen when he produced Pictures for Pleasure!! Had I known, I would have been even more obsessed because he was only two years older than I. We could have totally gotten married!

He's still producing music and still awesome. He's aged wonderfully away from the spotlight.

I have been listening to the album non-stop since last Monday.

Here he is in Thelma and Louise. I think I'm going to have to watch this over and over again. Sorry it's in Spanish.

Sigh, turns out I still love him.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekly Check-in

Physically: Normal. No pain, no headaches, but no gym. Same as last week.

Emotionally: Still stressed and worried, but working on it.

Spiritually: Better this week, but still could be better.

Goal: Last week's goal was to complete a project. It took me all week to do it, but I got the pantry cleaned out and re-organized.

My goal this week is to complete another project.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Report - Rapunzel Untangled

Title: Rapunzel Untangled
Authour: Cindy C. Bennett
Length: 293 pages
How long it took me to read: 3 days

What it's about:
Rapunzel is not your average teenager.

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

The ending is the most important part: Definitely a happy ever after.

Last word: This was an easy, cute, fun read. Fane was adorable.

Spoilers after the jump:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What do you want on your tombstone?

When I was in grade Twelve, I took English Literature. It was rumoured to be a really hard class, and the teacher, Mr. Kelly, had a reputation of being a really difficult teacher. We didn't have AP classes in my high school, but this was the closest thing to AP English. There were only twelve kids in the class and we were all girls; we were also some of the most brilliant in our class. It was an honour to be able to take the class.

Turned out that Mr. Kelly was excellent and had a really low tolerance for teenage B.S., which is why students thought he was so tough. I loved Mr. Kelly. He was one of my all time favourite teachers ever.

There was this one assignment that I just couldn't wrap my head around; we had to write our own eulogy.

I have this thing about death. It terrifies me. It's the worst thing that could happen. I hate it when people die. It's so permanent. It's so unknown. It's so inevidable. I hate death and I totally don't ever want to die, so thinking of what I want to have said at my funeral was something that I one hundred percent did not want to ever never want to ponder, let alone write a paper for.

So I didn't do the assignment. I never turned it in. I couldn't do it. This failure has plagued me for twenty-five years. I have thought about it many, many times over the years. I am so disappointed that I couldn't complete the assignment.

I still can't even think of my eulogy other than I want that poem that Matthew read at Gareth's funeral in Four Weddings and a Funeral: W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues. I demand for there to not be a dry eye in the place for my death will be a tragedy and the world will be a worse place when I am not here to grace the face of it. (mostly kidding)

Anyway, other than the Auden poem, and the fact that I want to be chopped up and fed to the sharks so that I can be in the ocean forever, and I want a bench with a plaque on it underneath a cherry tree, I still can't think of the words that I want. I can't write the words.

I have narrowed it down to two:

Here lies Rantgirl 12-8-1971 Death Date
Mother Sister Daughter Wife
That girl had integrity


Here lies Rantgirl 12-8-1971 Death Date
Mother Sister Daughter Wife
She had a way with words.
I wish I could figure out how to combine "That girl had integrity" with "She had a way with words", but inspiration has yet to strike. Considering I have mastered neither - integrity nor words, I suppose there's no rush.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Song of the Day - I love you

So it's a total bummer that summer is "over" and now we're in regular life and how boring is that right?

Here's a song that makes you get up and dance. No ifs, ands, or buts, you just have to get up and shake it to this song.

Holy Crap! This song rocks.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekly Check-In

Physically: Normal. No pain, no headaches, but no gym.

Emotionally: Stressed and worried.

Spiritually: Okay, but could be better.

Goal: Last week's goal was to to survive the first week of school without having a break-down and yelling. I succeeded with the not having a break down, but I failed with the yelling. I only lasted to Tuesday with yelling at Michael, but I lasted until Thursday with the boys, so that was a positive -ish. I also didn't have a mental break down, so that's in the win column too. I'm calling this one a wash.

My goal this week is to complete a project.