Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rambler Raves & Rambler Rants

Since I have opinions about stuff other than books (and since I love my bullet-points!)…

Rambler Raves

·         Argan Magic Blow Straight

Love this stuff.  It really does get my thick somewhere-between-wavy-and-curly hair straight and nearly frizz-free.  It is one of the very few things that can also leave it in decent shape the following day.  I’ve rarely felt my hair looked under control when I woke up without having to take a full shower or use the flat iron, but this gives me a decent-enough result.  (picture from Amazon)

·         Arganicare Hair Mask

So, I’ll admit that the first time I bought both this and the prior item (TJ Maxx finds), I thought they were part of the same line.  They aren’t, but they still pair up quite well.  I use this once or twice a week and it helps keep my hair the softest it has been.

·         Sasyr

My go-to wine, now available at my local store since our little town got upgraded to a nicer wine shop (still PA so still the odd state-run system).  Deep and bold enough to meet my tastes, but still easy to drink with broad enough appeal that I’d bring it to a gathering and recommend it to anyone who likes reds.  Though the language on the above link is more than a little odd, even given the odd descriptive terms used in the wine world…

·         Love It or List It

Yes, I’m sure it is just as staged as all the other HGTV home shows (i.e. House Hunters).  After all, it is mighty interesting that there are always a couple of problems lurking in the renovation and the last-seen home is always the most likely contender for purchase, perfect but usually over-budget and out-of-the-desire-community (apparently, today’s obsession is dash connected phrases…).  Still, I’m addicted. 
  • Rumpelstiltskin & Patches

They deserve their own post and will get it.  They are Albino African Clawed Frogs.  We're totally in love with these guys, even if they only love us because we feed them (though we did train them to eat from our hands)!

Rambler Rants

·         Conair

My brush broke in my hair last week.  Particularly annoying since that brush was actually a replacement (that took several emails and two calls to obtain) for this brush…

Yes, as discussed before, my thick and somewhere-between-wavy-and-curly hair is a challenge.  However, there’s nothing incredibly unheard of about it and no reason for brushes to break mid-brush other than shoddy manufacturing.  My last brush (which had become a purse-brush but has been temporarily returned to regular status) was with me in college, if not high school, and is still in working order.

·         Halos

I’ll put aside the oddity of suddenly using brand names for fruits (Chiquita may have been associated with bananas, but I never saw the fruits called Chiquita).  I’m bothered by their ad campaigns since I don’t really think we should be suggesting it is improper for adults to eat any sort of fruits given the state of our nation’s health.  I might find the idea of the Dad in the race-car bed amusing if the subject was some sort of cookies or similar fare, but it rubs me the wrong way with a fruit.  Anyway, the “Cuties” brand has adorable little stickers on “their” clementines (ex. Ninja Cutie with a black costume, Cutie on Board with a car and a smiling figure).

·         Stress

Okay, an odd inclusion, I’ll admit.  Wedding is one month from today and I’m getting nervous about some little tasks (and getting all the RSVPs in….used the etiquette-approved timeframe which really does leave things tight). 
I have also been having a really rough time physically.  I see a new doc next week, an appointment that it took a few month to actually get.  I'm not afraid of docs so it isn't so much the visit itself, but I really need him to offer some hope and some sort of plan.  I can't keep us

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review Day - At the Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick

I saw a deliver truck for Scholastic Books the other day.  I LOVED the Weekly Reader (why, yes, i was a bit of a dorky kid).  In addition to the "magazine" portion, there was always the opportunity to order books and get a prize for doing so.  Think about how different America would look if they took off as well as Happy Meals did!  Anyway, I don't think I was a materialistic kid and I would struggle to fill up a birthday or holiday list, but I never struggled when it came to picking out books!

Anyway, time for a book review from your Ramblin' Reader:

The early chapters of this novel alternate between protagonist Adam's childhood and his mid-20s.  In his youth, he became close friends with Thomas, a bit of an outcast and a strange kid.  Adam also becomes close to Thomas's very academic parents.  As they get older, however, Adam drifts into new circles and begins to leave Thomas and their friendship behind.  He just outgrows it and yearns for girls, sports, and popularity.  This process speeds up after the boys are involved in a frightening and guilt-provoking act.  

In Adam's twenties, he's working as a tutor and, having recently been dumped after a long relationship, begins an affair with a client's mother.  He and Thomas haven't talked in years when he hears from Thomas's parents that Thomas has gone missing in India.  This followed a mental and emotional breakdown that caused Thomas's parents to bring him home from college and generally pushed him off his expected-success trajectory.  Eventually, after a few emails pass between the old friends, Adam agrees to go find Thomas, leading to a large portion of the book dealing with his trip, a cult-like philosophic movement, and the search to find Thomas and save him, mostly from himself.

I enjoyed the early portions of the book.  I liked watching the friendship between the boys develop and I liked "meeting" Thomas's family.  There were definitely moments i could relate to as a child who felt lonely and different.  I even enjoyed the present-day scenes in the early chapters...not as much as the childhood ones, but it still held me.  However, I could barely get myself through the India chapters.  The prose was readable but I just didn't care and didn't find much of it believable...I do understand the power of the childhood friendship, but I just don't see Adam taking the steps he does and I don't buy the happenings in the India chapters.  When I don't care, it is almost always a death knell for a book in my mind and that applies here.  I will say I did like the very ending.

Overall: Good portrait of a childhood friendship and its evolution, but lost me when the setting shifted.  The search for his friend and for redemption from a youthful tragedy was slow-going since I wasn't invested in the characters or their outcome.  Two stars.  Review copy provided by Pantheon (publisher).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Endometriosis Awareness Month 2014

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

If you know me, then you know at least one person who deals with this chronic who only chased it down after passing out from the pain and after the pain became month-long (myth 1 - endo only hurts when a woman has her period).  It was a pain that took my breath away and eventually, at night when it wore me out, I'd hope for it to get a smidge worse so that my mind would float away (myth 2 - it's just cramps, all she needs is a couple midol).

I was "lucky" docs heard me and although they did a ton of other tests first (myth 3 - you can diagnose endo in an office takes surgery, although there's a possible improvement on the horizon that is being tried by a few very specialized docs), they had endo in their minds earl due to a thorough patient history and were willing to do the laproscopic surgery and get a diagnosis.  It's mostly managed.which is impressive since it is getting through all my back pain meds too (no idea how the endo would be without the constant pain mgmt routine for the back)...but there are still bad, very bad, days (myth 4 - there's a cure).

Endo can be disabling.  It can take away MUCH more than a woman's sex life, though that is often the first area to suffer (and is a big deal itself).  In addition to the patients, it impacts the partners, children (myth 5 - all women with endo are infertile.  truth is that it is a leading cause of infertility but most women with endo can have a child, a fact that does not at all take away from the very intense pain of infertility), families, friends, bosses, colleagues, and the whole society b/c it makes SO many women less than they could be if they were healthy.

(myth 6 - there's one 'endo experience') Every struggle w/ endo is different.  Some involve pain, sometimes debilitating pain.  Some are painless but become a focal point when fertility issues bring it out.  Some women's insides are covered with growths, some have few (myth 7 - the amount of endo is tied to the amount of pain.  truth is you can have insane pain with a small growth if it hits the right nerves).  Endo is individual.

Endo needs AWARENESS.  Endo needs ADVOCATES of both genders.  Endo needs better TREATMENTS.  Endo needs a CURE.

Other posts focused on endo include:

And sending a big hug to Jamee (prior blogging group organizer) who has been battling so many health demons of late.  Take care of yourself, get some answers, and feel better!