Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 2006 Books and Movies

The Life of a Children's Troubadour - An Autobiography

I've gotten a lot out of reading this book. My mother was in touch with all things kid friendly in the late 70's and Raffi's first album, Singable Songs for the Very Young is imbedded in my psyche. I didn't realise how far imbedded until I started teaching vocal music to mostly primary children. Every song I have taught that I remember from my childhood has been an out of the park hit with my students. He was a pioneer in children's music and even with never having children of his own, nor being trained as a teacher, he has an insightful grasp of primary pedagogy. As I grew up and lost touch with Raffi's music, naturally he kept making more, and now I have that many more songs to teach. His writing style is straightforward and interesting, very much from the heart. His Armenian background has shaped so many aspects of his life and musical career. His passion for ecology, which started in 1989, grabbed my attention and I was impressed by the large contribution he has made to protecting the environment. Raffi is one of the guest speakers at the Toronto Reading for the Love of it conference in February, and after reading this book, I signed up for that particular session. I'm hoping to get a chance to speak to him about his work and (for the kid in me) get my old album signed.

The Men I Didn't Marry
Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

Another fun read from this duo. The main character Hallie is unceremoniously dumped by her hubby on the day they drop off their youngest daughter at college. Hallie decides to look up all her old boyfriends, hence the title. The first three quarters of the book breezes along, sometimes a little too easily, and the plot is written that everything falls into place a little too conveniently. I had already started composing my blog entry to that effect when the book took a sudden turn and turned the predictable plot on it's head. I'm looking forward to their next novel.

James Bond - Casino Royale

Normally I get around to seeing the James Bond flicks eventually, but I actually saw this one on the second day because Mike really wanted to see it as soon as it came out. As Bond movies go, it was your typical bang and shoot em up with a heathly side of female flesh for distraction. The new Bond is super sexy (and I don't go for blonds) and fits the role nicely. Fits a speedo nicely as well, check out the scene where he rises from the water! The plot is somewhat thin because of the lack of real villanous henchmen and the bosses they work for. Judi Dench was great, but I miss Q! Overall, it was a good distraction from everyday life.

The Botox Diaries
Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

I really enjoy these authors. They have a fun style and it's light easy reading. It's interesting because when I was in my 20s I really enjoyed novels and shows like Sex and the City about women in their 30s and now that I'm in my 30s I'm enjoying reading about women in their 40s. It's kind of like a preview into what life might be like in 10 years. Their heroines are always funny, a bit klutzy and always charming. I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

The Debutante Divorcee
Plum Sykes

A much better read than her first novel, Bergdorf Blondes. I just liked the main character Sylvie so much better. A cheeky novel about rich divorced socialites and their one token married friend in NYC. Very glamorous, an easy read and very absorbing. Cute all's well that ends well ending to boot. Fun!

The End
Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events

I loved this series...right up until book 13, The End. It was a big disappointment. So many mysteries were hinted at during this series, it seemed a real let down to not find out any answers. Things are left up in the air, presumably to write more books in the future. I had hoped for better. Many others who I've talked to say the same thing. I wonder what the kids think. I'll ask them as soon as I can find one who has read it!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A lovely birthday

Spent the day in Oakville, went to Mike's concert with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra and then to a gorgeous dinner at Seasons. Especially the chocolate lava cake! From midnight to midnight I was in wonderful company and enjoyed myself very much. All in all, a great way to spend my birthday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Best Birthday Party Yet!

Great friends, good food, an awesome band (thanks Matt, you guys rocked!) and a cute skirt! What more could a girl ask for? The party was lots of fun and the coffee lounge was the perfect venue, not to big and not too small. I was relatively organised (thanks Janet for all your help) and everything went smoothly.

Reading over the last few posts, I've noticed that all I've been blogging about lately has been the not so good stuff about my life (ie my health).

Time to take stock of the positive things:

- The DMARDs are starting to kick in and I am feeling better all the time. (Horay for drugs!)
- Great job that I love - finally one that showcases what I'm good at and sometimes doesn't even feel like work at all.
- Owning (jointly with the bank of course) my own condo in a fabulous neighbourhood where there is always something new around the corner.
- Wonderful friends who always have a good time no matter what the venue.
- An intelligent, attractive, caring, and generous boyfriend who makes me laugh. (Which, in the past, I never thought possible to exist in one person)

These are some of the things I would like to do in the near future to give back for what I have been lucky enough to have.

- Adopt a foster child
- Volunteer at the Native Health Centre (as well this will help me research my PHD proposal).
- Donate to the Arthritis Society
- Volunteer serving Xmas dinner in my neighbourhood

They could end up seeming like New Year's resolutions but I want to be clear that they are not, even if some of them don't happen until January.

Sono veramente felice e spero che la dolce vita si rimasta sempre.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Hair Again

I know, it's a lot like the last time, just a little shorter. Charlene is a genius at colour though! I really like the cut as well.

Friday, November 17, 2006

More fun at St. Mike's

Today I had an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat doctor about my chronic lanryngitis. It had been scheduled a month ago for 10:15am. I get up to the 8th floor only to find out that the doc I was supposed to see had just left, minutes before I got there. In fact, I think it was he who was getting on the elevator as I was getting off. Turns out he was a nose specialist within the ENT realm, so the doc I saw, Dr. Halal was better. I had to sit through a nasty exam which included a metal rod with a camera and a light put down my throat (gag city) and the film didn't even record, so there's no record of it anyway. He told me my chords were inflammed (big suprise) but that I don't have pollops or nodules...whew! He prescribed an anti acid reflux drug (which brings my pill popping up to 5 different ones a day!) and told me to go on voice rest. With my job that is tough. He referred me to a voice specialist and I have a follow up appointment in February. He did mention that sometimes inflammatory arthritis can affect the vocal chords and the the acid reflux is sometimes caused by the steriods. Apparently it's not the same kind as one would get from food and indigestion.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Arthritis Update

I'm now into my third week of being diagnosed. I've started the DMARDs (disease modifiers) and they are going relatively well. I feel a little sick and sometimes have to subsist on a can of Boost instead of a meal, but if in the end they put me into remission, it will be worth it. As for the short term pain (the DMARDs take 3 months to work) unfortunately the slower acting but longer lasting steroids didn't work exactly as planned, they were supposed to take away all my symptoms and I still have some pain which is usually worse in the morning. I am still taking Celabrex, but will run out of those tomorrow. Fortunately I have an appointment with my rhumetologist, Dr. Jamal, on Tuesday. She's going to try another type of steriod and see how that goes. Apparently this new one is fast acting but not as long lasting. Hope for the best!