Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October 2006 Books and Movies

Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music
Blair Tindall

A really interesting mix of personal memoir and facts about the evolution of American classical music making and it's patrons over the past 30 years. Writen by Blair Tindall, an freelance oboist, it contains some shocking revalations about the industry. She definitely damaged her career early on by sleeping with most of her contemporaries. If you love classical music and like a good racy story read this! The statistics are a little dry at times, but they don't make up too much of the book.

The First Assistant: A Continuing Tale from Behind the Hollywood Curtain
Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare

The follow up to The Second Assistant was just as fun. The main character can be a tad annoying, but overall, I enjoyed it. All the major plotlines were resolved from the first book and there were a couple of surprises as well.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

Beautiful and poetic film about the Inuit just before Christian infiltration. Shot mainly in Iniktitut with some English and Danish it is sometimes hard to follow, but very magical. The nomadic shaman and his family seem out of this world and the cinematography is stunning. It has so many layers it will take many viewings to catch all the subtlties. Interestingly, the film is set in 1922, but you would never know it as the scene has a timeless quality, a circle complete.

Mine are Spectacular!
Lynn Schnurnberger and Janice Kaplan

This book was really fun. The characters are in their 40s, but the plotlines are still accessible. Of course, the NYC setting adds to the fun. Apparently there's a smash hit out there called The Botox Diaries by the same authors that preceeds this one. I've noticed a trend in double authors in a lot of the books I've read in this genre. I wonder why that is?

Three Black Skirts: All you need to survive
Anna Johnson

It took me a while to read this book. It falls into the self help category and covers a lot of things, from relationships, to physical and mental health, to decorating or your inner spirit. There's a lot of good advice in here, although towards the end the author gets a bit preachy. It's definitely worth a read if you feel that some or all aspects of your life have hit the rails.

The Second Assistant: A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder
Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare

This was really great. I'm so glad there is a sequel and I am able to read it right away. Hilarious day to day story of being an assistant to a Hollywood agent. There is a lot of name dropping as well as thinly veiled references to bad tempered, or nutty celebrities. The herione is plucky, in a klutzy, always doing the wrong thing kind of way, and the novel is quite fast paced. A great beach/subway read.

The Queen

Really interesting. About Queen Elizabeth II the week following Diana's sudden death in 1997. The actors playing the different famous roles (the Queen, Prince Charles, the Queen Mum, Tony Blair etc) were not camp and really did a wonderful job. I've always really liked Helen Mirren as well, and she was phenomenal as the Queen. The film used live footage of the U.K.'s outpouring of grief as well as numerous television and newspaper clippings of the real Diana. I still remember where I was (partying before the start of 4th year at McMaster) when the news broke. The film is a tad slow paced, but has some great moments.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diagnosis in at last...

Well, I have enough distance now to effectively blog about this. I have been diagnosed with early inflammatory arthritis. This is often the pre-cursor to Rheumatoid Arthritis, but is not always. Treatment is the same for all types of inflammatory arthritis, which is an auto-immune disorder. Basically the body thinks that the joints are invasive and sets the immune system on them to take take them out. Swelling and stiffness are the result and if left untreated can spread to organs and eventually kill you. Onset is anywhere between 25 and 45 and is often caused by extreme stress. My doctors think that my ankle break and the resulting stress had something to do with it.

The Good News

My sister was diagnosed with RA 13 years ago so I know a fair amount about the disease and it's treatment.
I've only had symptoms for three months and my rheumatologist specialises in early detection.
The cortiso-steroids that have been injected into my muscles are relieving some of my symptoms.
I feel better than I have in a long while and the pain in my right knee is completely gone.

The Bad News

I start a very aggressive drug treatment tomorrow with three DMARDs which are disease modifying drugs. The goal is to shove it into remission. I will have to get my liver and eyesight checked regularly as damage to them are potential though rare side effects.
The cortiso-steroids are supposed to take away all the symptoms not just some. My doctors tell me that sometimes it can take longer for them to go away, so I'm hoping I just have to wait a little longer. Right now, my fingers and wrists are the worst off, with my toes and ankles a close second.

So there it is. I hopeful that the drugs will do their job and I will feel back to normal and be able to resume normal activities. The DMARDs don't take effect for at least three months, so it'll be a bit of a wait yet. Wait and see and remain positive, that's my goal.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Turkey Weekend!

After deciding that I was in too much pain to wait until my specialist appointment, I went to Emergency at St. Mikes. Spent a long time there, as I expected, but I was lucky to have company. For which I was very grateful, as the hospital hardly tops anyone's list as a great way to spend a day. I left with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and have been feeling a lot better. I am still somewhat achy, but not in the dehabilitating way. I am looking forward to going to school tomorrow without the major pain I've been dealing with so far. In the long term, anti-inflammatories are really bad for you, but in the short term, I'm glad I have drugs.

Had a great day on Sunday, with two, count em, two turkey dinners. Met some lovely people and had a very relaxing rest of the weekend. And it's a four day week this week! Whahoo!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Overdue Update

I was looking over my blog and realised that I haven't updated anything about myself lately.

Adequate to poor. I still have low grade laryngitis which has been going on for almost 2 months. I am calling my doctor to get an ENT specialist referral. Although my ankle has responded really well to the health care regime I started in the summer, I have had some setbacks. I developed compensation pain in my left knee due to the stress I put on it while favouring my right ankle. I have also developed some sort of condition where I get random pain in all different parts of my body. It is at times in my feet, ankles, calves, shoulders, forearms, upper arms, neck and jaw. A few knuckles are swollen and there are some very tender points near joints. I had a preliminary test that showed positive for the marker for rheumatoid arthritis. This was very scary, as my sister has suffered tremendously with the disease for a number of years. There are many diagnosises being bantered around including Fibromyalgia, arthritis and other inflammatory ailments. There is some agreement that it is temporary due to the extensive trauma with the ankle break. Apparently it is common in accidents and other major injuries that your body chemistry changes and sometimes triggers latent ailments. I have an appointment with a rheumatologist on October 18th, so hopefully I'll learn more then.

I love my new job! It is lots of fun. I have to be the total singing dancing clown, so it's like performing for a rapt audience every class. Do I wish my voice was all there? Of course, but I can't really do anything about it, so between that and my dysfunctional body, I am not performing my job to the utmost of my ability, but am doing my very best. I can't wait to get healthy and really kick a** at a job that I love and know that I am good at. My assignment is mostly primary, so I am having tons of fun. Little kids are hilarious and great to watch learn and grow. It's not always roses, as they have little self control and take forever to learn routines, but still love you unconditionally no matter how often you have to talk to them about their behaviour.

I really don't use this blog to openly discuss this topic, but it is part of my update so I am including it sparingly. After what seems like eons of bad dates I have actually had a number of good ones with the same person if you can believe it. Without reading too much into things and keeping my head on straight it's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to what's next.

Still need to paint! Still need to do the floors! Still need a shelving unit for the bathroom and a hutch for the dinning room. But I am still in love with my condo. I open the door at the end of the day and smile because I know that it's mine. Since I've become more mobile, I've had the opportunity to explore my neighbourhood and love it even more. There's so much to do, and the people watching is great.

I've had to really make some major changes to my life. I am definitely doing too much and need to scale back. So I'm going to cut back on rehearsals and take more time for me. A few days ago I figured out that I don't really know how to relax. I thought it meant going strong until I burnt the candle at both ends down to a puddle of wax and then throwing myself on the couch and flaking in front of the television. Umm, not so much! Also, taking care of my spirit is really beneficial to my healing process. So time to learn to relax. Back to Yoga, more reading, aromatherapy baths, meditiation, I'll try most things as long as they are safe and doable.

All in all a pretty full update. Looking forward to what is going to happen in October!