Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pure Bliss

One of the hardest things about living in a small college town was only having access to a small library. It was torture! So little selection. Since coming back to my home town I've been ordering books on-line from the library, but I still hadn't had an opportunity to go down and visit the main library in town. Well - I finally made it down there today and it was pure bliss! Look forward to many book reviews coming up :) Especially if I can actually pull myself away from my beading...

Check out this fine art photograph I found on etsy awhile ago - I love it!
Perfect for today's library loving :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Medicine Road - A Book Review

"Medicine Road" is by one of my favorite authors - Charles de Lint. While many of his fantasy books are based in the world of Newford, this one is based in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. I must admit I'm biased and I tend to prefer his books based in Newford, but this book was well worth the read even though it wasn't in my favorite setting!

In "Medicine Road" de Lint explores his own twist on Native American folklore. It's a story of true love, destiny, choices, and learning to be true to who you are. With, of course, a lot of laughs along the way!

In this story we meet Changing Dog and Corn Hair, two people with the ability to change between human form and their original animal form. Yes, that's right, I said "original." The only reason they joined the world of those who walk on two legs was due to the meddling of Coyote Woman. Now they've roamed the world for almost 100 years, and they are facing a dead-line.

The only condition Coyote Woman had put on her gift of walking on two legs was that they must find true love before 100 years had passed. The dead-line was approaching fast, and Changing Dog had never been able to settle down. In fact, many thought he was incapable of anything other than playing around.

Will Changing Dog find his true love? Well - you'll have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And You Expect Me To Sleep?

Can you imagine sleeping with all of those electrodes attached to your body? I sure couldn't! I knew that my doctor had ordered a sleep study, and I kept trying not to think about it because I was worried about sleeping.  Wouldn't you be?

I received a phone call mid-afternoon telling me that they had a cancellation for that night - would I like to take it? I was flustered, but I knew it was necessary, so in I went! Seeing the actual set up didn't do much to calm my nerves - there were wires all over the bed!

Fortunately, the nurse who did the set up was a wonderful lady who was perfect at putting me at ease. Still, as she attached 5 electrodes to my scalp, two to my forehead, two to my chin, two to my shoulders, two to my legs, a mic to my cheek, two bands across my torso, a monitor to my finger, and an oxygen flow tube in my nose, I couldn't help but thinking, "And you expect me to sleep?" Ironically, I slept about as well as I usually do!

Apparently I had a restless night with lots of movement, snoring, and multiple sleep apnea episodes.  None of this really came a surprise, but it was interesting to have in confirmed.  I'll be learning more about what the doctors want to do to treat me in a week or two.

According to webmd, sleep apnea is "when an adult regularly
stops breathing during sleep for 10 seconds or longer. This may be caused by
blocked airflow during sleep, such as from narrowed airways. Or it may be
caused by a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles to

Possible treatments include medication, oxygen masks, and even potential surgery.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Changing World

"Changes" Original artwork by bugfriends.

Each year, as we hit the change over between the old year and the new, most of us sit back and think a little about the year that's just passed.  Maybe we're thinking through our New Years Resolutions, or maybe we're just listening to every one else's, but it's kind of hard to escape that trend this time of year.  I'm starting my reflecting a little early this year. No, this post isn't about New Years Resolutions (although that might come in a later post), this is simply about my changing world.

Looking back at last year this time, my life was in the middle of a massive upheaval. One of the best possible. On this date last year I had been married for a short 11 days! As it is for most couples, that was the start of many changes in my life. While I had already become a part of my new hubbies family in many ways, this meant that I now had a new "mom" and "dad," and that I went to the family Christmas party! It meant learning to share my bathroom with a guy, and his utter amazement at how much bathroom stuff a tom-boy can own. It meant learning to share my bed with a guy, and since our bed is only a full-sized, that took some doing! It has meant growing to have a much deeper understand of the art of compromise.  Best of all, it has meant growing deeper in love with my best friend as each day goes by.

My youngest brother, who has been one of my closest friends ever since we were little, moved across the world last January. That has been an emotion filled change as I miss him dearly, but I'm also incredibly proud of him.  I wouldn't have wanted him to make any other choices than the one's he has made, but it's been hard to go through so many changes in my own life and not be able to talk to him about them in depth like we used to.

This time last year I was getting ready to start the Winter Quarter at Central Washington University. College life is inherently full of change as your schedule changes every few months, and along with it, the people you see on a daily basis.  I have always found that change to be a little thrilling. Probably because I could let my love of learning shine through without yet knowing how rough my course load would get!

I saw many more changes in my life though than the simply change in schedules of the changing quarters. As Winter Quarter started I got really sick.  Not that abnormal for me (Winter's always the worst for me), but as time we went on we realized that I was much worse than usual. Come February of this year I was going through the painful process of quitting my job, and the painful realization that I'd barely missed being fired.  I couldn't do it anymore though. I was barely making it to classes, let alone work!

As time progressed we realized that this battle was going to be a long one, and that has been the catalyst to the most difficult changes in my life of this last year. Eventually the cold that started it all went away, but the asthma did not improve.  The doctors put me on steroids.  That was supposed to be temporary - it wasn't. I began seeing a pulmonologist, carrying an epi-pen, and negotiating with my teachers to turn in late work.

Through all of this I've grown ever closer to my dear husband.  He's taken care of me with a steady calm that amazes me. When I'm freaking out, he stays at peace, when I'm exhausted and can't do things, he steps up and takes care of me, and when I need help and strength, he is there.

The doctors began urging early on that I drop out of school and move back to my home town, on the hope that the environment there was better for me, but that was one change that was very difficult for me to make.  I knew that my health problems had grown severe enough that no one would see me as a quitter, but that didn't matter, I felt like a quitter! Finally, after months of trying multiple medications, and repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to wean my body off the steroids, we moved back to our home town. 

That was last September, and it feels like we've been in a constant state of change since then too! Meeting new doctors of all sorts and shapes, working with getting a new insurance company set up, house sitting for two months, and then finding and moving into our own apartment, new job for the hubby, and applying hubby for a new University.  It's been a whirl-wind!

We gotten through it though, together. Many of the changes have been really hard, but the good side has been that it's deepened some of my closest friendships, including the one with my husband. For that I'm truly grateful!

But wait...there's been even more changes!

As a part of dealing with my illness I began to work with an old hobby of mine on a more consistent basis - jewelry making.  Eventually I realized I needed to find a way to finance this hobby (especially since I was unemployed) and a friend lead me to www.etsy.comRose Works Jewelry was born! That has lead to many changes, many new friends, and even my own radio show on Block Head Radio! I'm truly blessed by all the doors that have opened for me through selling my jewelry and I don't think I would have dealt with the other changes in my life half as well as I was able to if I hadn't had that outlet.

I'm not someone who's ever liked unplanned changes.  In fact, I've often struggled with planned changes! One of the things I've struggled with this year is facing the uncertainty of the unknown.  I've been constantly having to change my way of thinking, my patterns, and give up on planning for more than the very immediate future.  That's been a painful process, but as I look forward to this next year, I can see that it's a process that has really grown me. 

I look forward to this next year and I see a nebulous cloud in front of me.  I know some changes that are coming up in the near future, but I really can't see much beyond the next couple of months, and I'm ok with that.  Yes, it would be nice to have some idea where I'm going to be in my life this time next year, but right now I'm ok with just having a small clue of where I'm going to be in my life in three months.  Because my life has become so nebulous, when I set my New Year's goals I'm only going to set them for those first few months, and then I'll go back and write new goals after that. I don't see any point in trying to write goals for the whole year this time because I've been shown how drastically my life can change in that one short year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad!

I'm taking the next two days off from the internet world :) I'll be back to blogging and everything after the holiday! For now - I want to spend some time with my family :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Memories

To me, growing up, Christmas always meant one thing. Spending time with Grandma-Great! Every single year she hosted a huge Christmas party at her house. The cousins would gather, and we'd have at least four generations milling around the house. The house would be full of delicious smells, everyone having brought their favorite food, and us kids would be dying to be allowed to take our first bites! For some reason the food I remember the best is eating turkey, olives, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. I guess those were my Christmas foods :)

Grandma-great was always the center of the party. For that one day she pulled everyone together, and even those of the family who may not always be fun to be around, would be on their best behavior just for her. She always inspired people to be the best that they could be, because she believed in you so much you started to believe in yourself.

I was in High School when my Grandma died - it's been around 9 years now - but Christmas has never been the same for me. When you think of that perfect Christmas picture, I see her face and her house, and her party.  She was my hero, and I miss her.

I know this isn't a Christmas picture - but it's a cute one of the two of us. Sorry if there are typos in this - I started crying about half-way through...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


By Ruthie Stickney

In a baby’s laugh,
In a smile from a stranger,
In a simple touch from a lover,
In an unexpected phone call from a friend,
In the warm rays of the sun,
In the gentle murmur of a stream,
In a giant bear hug,

Wielded by Rulers,
Wielded by Doctors,
Wielded by Employers,
Wielded by Teachers,
Wielded by Parents,
Wielded by Spouses,
Wielded by Friends,

To heal and mend,
To hurt and to wound,
To build and restore,
To break and tear,
To imagine and create,
To deface and destroy,
To inspire and give hope,

I hold power in my hands,
You hold power in your hands,
We all have power,
Whether we know it or not,
How will you use your power?
Unthinkingly and for harm?
Or to encourage and provide healing?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Friendly Vampires

Here's a poem I wrote last summer for a creative writing course.  The assignment was to great an ode to something that most people don't praise. Well, given my interesting medical history, this was the first thing that came to mind! Oh - random note - for those who don't know - phlebotomists are those lab people who take your blog at the doctors office...

The Friendly Vampires
By Ruthie Stickney

Phlebotomists have a received a bad rap,
And how understandable that is!
Just look at them – drawing blood all day,
Like thirsty vampires their needles bite,
The blood is sucked from your veins,
Filling their glass vials with a bright ruby red.

Yet, despite the vampiric nature of their jobs,
I like my visits to the phlebotomists.
No, I’m not fond of sharply pricking needles,
But, I do appreciate the hope they offer,
These friendly vampires take my blood,
Not out of thirst, but out of curiosity.

What’s wrong with you? They want to know.
My blood becomes the key to a mystery,
That mystery known as my body.
These smiling vampires withdraw the key,
Pulling it from my body in red splendor,
And send it to the magicians who can use it.

So here’s to our friendly vampires!
To those who make their living on our blood!
May your smiles stay bright,
May your needles pierce true,
May your patients hold still,
And may you receive the praise you deserve.

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Anniversary

Not feeling good today - so instead of regaling you with stories from the wedding AND giving you pictures - you just get a few pictures :)

The pendant that you see me wearing was giving to my Grandmother as her wedding gift from her parents.  She then passed it on to my Mother, who wore it on the chain my Dad got her as an engagement gift (couldn't afford a ring). So, whne it was my turn, needing something new to string the pendant on, and being a jewelry artist, I made myself my wedding jewelry using Swarovski crystal :) I could have made a more complicated design - but the pendant didn't match my wedding colors, so I just made it from nice, sparkly, crystal :)

The Wedding Party: My Evil Twin (Bethie), My Best Friend (Melissa), Me, Moses, Mo's Brother (Paul), My baby brother who moved the month after the wedding to be a missionary (Peter), and my middle brother aka geek consultant aka occasional jewelry slave (Gordon).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shopping Guide - Purses, Totes, and Accessories!

What shopping guide would be complete with out touching on purses and other accessories? I mean come on, most women carry a purse! Although I must admit I was very anti-purse for a long time, but I've been converted :P

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shopping Guide - Fantastic Jewelry Finds

I love jewelry! I love making it, I love looking at other people's jewelry, I love shopping for it, I love jewelry! So what would a Christmas shopping guide be if I didn't feature some jewelry? And yes, since it's my blog, the first one is from my shop :P The rest of these ladies are all friends of mine and they do an incredible job with their work!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shopping Guide - Bath and Body Products!

Since we're sneaking in closer and closer to Christmas, and since I personally made the Handmade Pledge, I wanted to spend a few days sharing some of the awesome artists that are out there to buy from! Sorry I didn't get on this a few days ago, I've been too sick to think straight...

Do you need some fantastic soap?

AGoodWitchToo sells wonderful handmade soap to "wash the wicked away!"

Sweet Pumpkin Spice

Spotted Cow Soaps also sells fantastic soaps!
Like this Vanilla Sugar Scrub that my husband says,
"makes me smell yummy."

Om Shanti Handicrafts carries a variety of different items,
Including soap, jewelry, lip balm, and more!
Doesn't her "Leanna's Favourite Massage Oil" look wonderful?

Rachel323 is another artist who does more than one thing!
She carries both jewelry and chapstick - which I love!
I think the next one I buy will be Blackberry Lip Tint.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So the sad truth is...

The truth is, my health problems are the reason I was able to start my jewelry business, and why I end up spending so much time on-line.  After all - I can't work a real job right now! The sad side of that is that sometimes that means I fall waaaay behind on everything because I get to sick to even sit in front of the computer and think straight!  So that's where I've been the last two days...I hope to return to my normally scheduled blogging tomorrow :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Do YOU Buy Handmade???

I did something today that I've been thinking about for months.  Which is rather uncharacteristic for me, not the thinking part, but the taking months to make a decision! Go ahead, get all your cracks about me thinking out of your system, it's not healthy to bottle things up after all!

Today I signed the Handmade Pledge. It's something they talk a lot about on Etsy, and something that many people feel very strongly about.  The Handmade Pledge says: "I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me."

Why did I take so long to make the decision to sign you may ask? Obviously I love handmade items, I make and sell them myself after all! Well, I wasn't too sure how practical it was. I could easily see buying handmade for things for myself and for the women I know, but I had no idea how on earth I'd buy things for the men in my life. 

I'll admit that I'm still struggling a little to find items for the men in my life, but I think that's more because they are hard to buy for then the wealth of items available out there!

As I look at today's economy, at the pinch I'm feeling, and how it's affected many of my friends, I've decided I'd much rather support an artist or crafter directly when possible, then give my money to big business.  I'll admit it's possible that I'll end up buying a few things at the store instead of on-line, but whenever and wherever I can, from now on, I'm buying handmade! Do you want to join me? If you do - I'll be reviewing some different etsy shops over the next few days that provide excellent Christmas presents for a variety of interests! Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


From time to time I'll be posting up short pieces that I've written. Since I don't have my normal internet access right now - here's an excerpt from a longer story I've been working on!  Oh, and I'm thinking of doing a serial fantasy story, posted once a week, anyone interested?

Mara wandered through the library, fingers trailing along the spines, and in a world of her own.  Books had always been a refuge for her, treasures of knowledge, and a chance to see the world through another’s eyes.  She was a frequent visitor here, and a few of the librarians even knew her by name.  It amused her to watch them try to keep a straight face when she checked out books that were from wildly different genres.  Today though, she didn’t have anything that she was looking for specifically.  She had simply come here for a place to think, but she couldn’t help but wander among the shelves, drawing comfort from the smells of paper and old inks.

A young woman hesitantly walked up to Mara, and asked, “Can I help you find something?”

Startled, Mara turned to look at the young woman in her neat plaid skirt, sensible shoes, and black button up.  Mara didn’t recognize her, she must be new here, the others had learned long ago to leave her alone because she could generally find anything that she wanted, and she thought that the search was half the fun.  Suddenly she realized that the girl was trembling slightly, but why would that be?  Then she realized that she’d been staring this whole time, with her normal calm expression, and the poor thing probably was terrified of her.  “No, thank you, I know my way around, and I like to simply look for random titles some times.”   

“Well, if you need anything…” the girl bravely offered, obviously glad for an excuse to move on.

“You’ll be the first to know.”  Mara gave her a gentle smile, “Sorry for staring, I was so lost in thought it took me a few minutes to come back to this world.”

“Um, sure, no problem.”  Giving her a befuddled look, the new girl hurried off to find some one else who needed her help, hopefully someone who would ask her a simple question, so she could just do her job, instead of being stared at like she was some sort of apparition.  It was her first day, of course things were going to feel strange, but something about that last patron had left her feeling like she didn’t know the difference between Arthur Conan Doyle and Anne McCafferey. 

Mara chuckled to herself as she resumed her walk among the shelves. One of these days her tendancy to get lost in a world no one else could see was going to get her in trouble. Suddenly she spotted and interesting book title and pulled it off the shelf to read the back cover, and once more she was lost to the world, but this time not in a realm of her own making.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber

I was enthralled when I first stumbled Diana Gabaldon's book "Outlander" earlier this year.  Her style of writing is intensely captivating, and the story is a combination of two genre's I like to read, historical fiction and fantasy. In "Outlander" we have the story of Claire, a woman who finds herself traveling back to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and has to make her place in this strange world.

I could hardly put "Outlander" down, the story was fast paced, the descriptions vivid, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! Towards the end of the book the story did take a disturbingly dark turn, but I was still eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of the series. That's where I hit an impasse.  At the time I was living in a small town, and the library there was rather inadequate for someone who reads as voraciously as I do! I couldn't get a hold of the next book. So I filed it away in my brain to read when I had an opportunity to put my hands on it.

I'm now living in a fair sized city again, and I again have access to the library system that missed so badly while living in a small town! Gabaldon's books were one of the first things I looked up. I placed a hold on "Dragonfly in Amber," requested they mail it to me, and soon received a nice and fat book to read!

At first I read "Dragonfly in Amber" with the same captivation that I had when reading "Outlander." It is written with the same intensity of description, and the story is well crafted. I didn't finish the book.

The sticking point on this book for me was that Gabaldon chose to include a constant element of sex throughout her story. I knew that she liked to include it in her story, Claire does get married in the first book, but it didn't seem to be quite as overwhelming level in the first book.    

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind having some sex scenes in a book, I'm used to it. You can't read the science fiction and fantasy genre's without finding them peppered through out the books your reading. That's not why I read books though, if it was I'd be picking up those dime store novels that are little more than soft porn. I read because I love a good story, I'm fascinated by the development of the characters, and because I love to be entertained. So when the author feels it's necessary to include a sex scene every chapter...  Well, that's when I move on to the next book. So that's what I did, returned the book to the library, and moved on.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I personally really enjoyed the movie. I thought that they did a good job over all, and I really appreciated that some of the signiture lines from the book were used in the movie. However, at the same time, I was slightly disappointed, and not in the ways that I expected I might be. After all, I tend to be the type that prefers a book to a movie, and usually when one gets translated to the other they end up leaving out important bits that leave a fan of the book feeling dissatisfied. So when I go in to watch a movie that's made from a book I'm usually bracing myself to see what they "messed up" this time! Fortunately that wasn't much of a problem this time. There were things they left out obviously, you can't fit the same amount of detail into a movie as you can into a book, but I think they did a good job of still being true to the story and that they made good choices as to what to keep and what could be left out.

No, what actually disappointed me was the acting. I don't think that Robert Pattinson did a very good job of portraying Edward Cullen, and yes, I'm aware that my opinion may well get me shot by the adoring fans of Edward! Granted, it was a hard roll to have to play. The emotional conflicts that Edward dealt with in the course of the story would have been a challenge for any actor to portray well. Particularly at the beginning of the movie when he's having to fight between his lust for Bella's blood and his desire for her friendship. Having said all that, I think there were moments where Robert Pattinson did manage to play his part well, and I'm hoping that in the next movie he'll do a better job.

While I was watching the movie I wasn't too disappointed with Kristen Stewerts acting, and I think she did a better job than Pattinson, but in thinking about it afterwards I realized there were times she disappointed me as well. She did a much better job at portraying her emotions, but there were times where she over acted. Plus, I really didn't feel the chemistry between Bella and Edward. Yes, there was some hot kissing, but over all, the actors didn't have the chemistry that I would have hoped for.

I know, I'm being a downer, and I started out by saying I enjoyed the movie! It's true, I did enjoy the movie. I'll probably buy it after it comes out. I really enjoy the story after all! Of course my fascination with vampires and all things science fiction and fantasy related may have something to do with that.

On an amusing note, the story is set in Forks, Washington. Now I'm a native Washingtonian, and while I'm not positive I've ever been to Forks, I do know the area fairly well because my Grandparents lived just outside of Port Angeles (also portrayed in the movie) while I was growing up. It cracked me up to see them using the Port Angeles beach as the La Push beach, and as a North Westerner, I was also really amused to see the Columbia Gorge, Multnomah Falls, and Beacon Rock all make appearances in this movie! For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, those are all in the south of Washington or in Oregon.

Bottom line: Worth the money to see in theater and buy when it's released. A fun movie even though it wasn't perfect!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Moving!

Ok, to be most accurate, the hubby and I have been working on moving all week, but we're in the new place now, and I won't have reliable internet access for a few days.  I'm going to head over to my parents place to use their wifi when I can, but if I'm a little behind on blogging for the next day or two, that's why! Thanks for understanding :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Family :)

It's Thanksgiving - and that's the time to sit back, take stock of your surroundings, and count your many blessings.  I've had a wild ride this last year, sometimes it's felt like a roller coaster that never was going to stop!  But even through the rough times, I've had a lot to be thankful for.  The biggest thing I'm thankful for is my family.  I love my family! And in the last year it's just gotten bigger.  So here's my wonderful family :)

1. Moses - my beloved husband, we'll celebrate our first anniversary next month!

2. My parents - a girl couldn't ask for more supportive and loving parents! As Moses and I have struggled through my health problems and everything that's resulted because of it, they've been there for us every step of the way, supporting our decisions, and helping us out in anyway they could!

3. My brothers - I have two younger brothers and they are incredible! Right now I'm missing Peter something fierce, because he's living over seas as a missionary, but we still get to e-mail back and forth, and that helps a lot! Gordon is here, and he's been an incredible support as we chat on-line, he lets me vent, and we spend time watching crazy tv programs and making fun of life!

4. My in-laws - I love Mo's family! They are very different from my family, but they have been incredibly supportive, and I've loved getting to be a part of their family!

5. Melissa - She's my sister of the heart, and we've been through so much together! I don't know what I'd do without our daily phone calls...

6. John - Brother of my heart, and incredibly supportive through the good and the bad!

7. Alanna - My pudding sister! Long story behind that nickname, but we've had long hours of chatting, jewelry making, and fun!

8. Bethie - My evil-twin! Neither of us is good enough to be the good twin, so I'm her evil twin. Love her to death :)

I love my family! And I'm very thankful for everything they've done in the last year to support me as I've gone through this wild year.

Want to know what else I'm thankful for? Check out what I said on my other blogs!

Thankful for Etsy
Thankful for Friends

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful to be Alive

Today's been one of those days where it would be really easy to just whine and complain - there have been many things that have gone wrong - and lots of things that have really frustrated me! Ok, I'll be honest, I have done my share of complaining, but I'm done with that for now! I'm going to focus on some good things :)

Like being alive. Do you have any idea how sweet it is just to be alive? Think about it - so many things can go wrong with our bodies, and there are so many ways that you can die, but here I am, alive. I'm breathing (clearly at the moment too!), I can walk, I can think, I can type, and I'm alive! It's a wonderful feeling :)

I have a lot of reasons to be extra glad to be alive too. The most recent of those being that I was very nearly in a bad car accident this afternoon. My brother had picked me up to hang out and we're almost to my parents house when the car in front of us stopped extremely suddenly. My brother reacted as fast as he could, but the wheels locked and I was positive that we were going to hit the car. At the very last second the wheels caught and we were able to pull to the side a little. Right as we did there was a flash of light in front of us. The only thing I can think of is that we hit an Angel instead of the car!

Praise God!

Second reason I'm glad to be alive - the shock of what happened made me stop breathing for a good 30 seconds or more. With the severity of my asthma condition I'm very, very grateful that I started breathing again, my inhaler helped, and my breathing returned to normal!

I'm thankful to be alive :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight Makes it Big

© Summit Entertainment
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

I wasn't surprised to see an article on msn.com today that stated Twilight took in $70.6 million it's opening weekend. What did surprise me was that they were so surprised at how well it did! Any fan of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer knows that the series has developed a HUGE following!

I haven't seen the movie yet. I know, bad fan, but it was a busy week and I have to be really careful to manage my energy because of my health problems. So the plan is to see it on Tuesday with some of my close friends. Since my hubby has to work on the night of my birthday - I figured a chick flick was a good alternate option! I'll do my own review on the movie after I see it.

Back to the fans of Twilight; the girls who love the series are seriously addicted to it. I've talked to girls/women who rave over the books as much as they would their favorite movie star or musician. Which, as you know, isn't quite as common of an occurrence.

I tend to take a more balanced view of the book series. Did I really enjoy them? Yes! Not a question. I squealed and jumped up and down when I got an e-mail telling me that one of my best friends had pre-ordered that last book in the series for me! However, I'll also be the first to admit that it's not the best book I've ever read.

Now put that in perspective - I've read thousands and thousands of books - and I own 400+. So I've got a LOT to compare them too! They are, however, on my list of favorites :) I do think they were really well written and I really liked her different "take" on vampires and werewolves. And, yes, I read each of the books in one sitting per book. Pretty high recommendation from me!

Look for my movie review later this week :)

*UPDATE* Movie night was put off until later this week - so you'll have to wait for my review!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Do You Hulu?

That's right - I asked if you hulu! No, I'm not talking about that toy we all played with as kids, the hula hoop, I'm asking about HULU! www.hulu.com is one of the web sits that I visit the most often! My brother was the first one to introduce me to this wonderful web-site, and I've been addicted ever since.

So what is hulu and why is it so great?  Well let me ask you a couple questions...

1. Do you hate missing the latest episode of your favorite show?
2. Do you also hate being a slave to tv's time schedule?
3. Do all of the above apply, but you don't own a VCR, DVR, TiVO, or any like device?

THEN - this is web-site for you :) Hulu.com takes all of the tv shows that are available to watch on-line, and puts them in one place for you.  Now, a lot of these you can track down by visiting the actual web-site (fox.com etc), but they also have seasons of some shows that are no longer on tv!

Now, granted, you can't find any show that you want, but there are a lot of your favorites.  Miss Heroes? Did you miss Bones? What about some of your comedy central favorites like the Daily Show or the Colbert Report? Those are all on here!

One of the things that I love about hulu is that you can create a "queue" of your favorite shows.  You pick the shows, and they will update you as soon as there is a new episode available!

I was lucky enough to have cable for almost a year, and while I miss it dearly, I'm very grateful that I didn't have to give up all the shows! And...my jewelry is something I can work on in front of my laptop...so I like to watch old shows to keep me entertained while I create!

Revisiting Oz

Pendant by ItsAllAboutThePrint :)

I've always loved the classic Wizard of Oz movie with it's bright colors, witches, and flying monkeys! Somewhere along the way I realized that I had never read the books, and so I read through most (I think all) of the series awhile ago.  I don't remember how long ago, but it's been long enough that I don't remember them very clearly anymore, so I decided that it's time to re-read them! Starting, of course, at the beginning.

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum is full of fanciful images, sweet childhood, and great illustrations by W.W. Denslow!  It was fun to reread this book and remember all the differences from the movie, and yet all the similarities as well.  The copy I got from the Library had an introduction by Robert A Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum.  He said that:

"L. Frank felt that the old European fairy tales were dated and full of 'stereotyped genies, dwarfs and fairies,' not to mention 'horrible and blood curdling incidents devised to point out a fearsome moral in each tale.' He felt it was time for a new generation of 'modernized' fairy tales to be written just to entertain."

I think he did an excellent job - and if you've never read the book I highly recommend you go out and pick up a copy - revisit your childhood!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hell Boy II - The Golden Army

I know, I know, this came out earlier this year, but I didn't have an opportunity to see it in theater!  That's actually quite a frequent occurrence for me, and as you see me put movie reviews up, they often won't be the latest and newest thing out there.  However, I'm betting that a lot of other people are like me, and don't always get to watch things the instant they come out.  Plus I know I always like to hear other people's opinions before I decide to watch a movie! I'll try not to give any spoilers :)

My brother, husband, and I all watched Hellboy II together.  To be fair - let me give you a run down on each of our reactions.

Brother - LOVED it and laughed hysterically throughout!
Husband - Got a little fed up with the story line - but we did catch him laughing a few times.
Me - I enjoyed it, but it wasn't exactly the best movie I've ever seen.

Now let me tell you a little bit about our movie tastes to help you understand that!

Brother - Very easily amused and tends to like just about anything with action in it.
Husband - Tends to be very hard to please when it comes to movies, likes to tear them apart for their inconsistencies and how they can be done better.
Me - I'm somewhere in the middle. Not as hard to please as my husband, but no where near as easy to please as my brother!

Let me expand on my opinion of the movie.  I did think that the first movie was better and that there were times where this movie lost momentum. Having said that, there were also some priceless moments where I was laughing hysterically! There were some really good action scenes and I loved their portrayal of tooth fairies and the Troll market.  To say more would be to give things away :) I'm intrigued enough that I'll probably watch the third one that I'm
assuming they'll make.  They certainly left it open for another one!

Bottom Line: If you like the genre, you might like this movie, but don't expect quite the same quality as the first one. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Creative Aussie Magazine

I've been in the blogging and writing worlds for awhile now, but in the last year I've really worked on developing my skills in both areas.  Starting this blog is a part of that, and I also started a blog for my jewelry business awhile ago. In that blog I've been working on including posts that are designed to help my fellow artists, and not simply promoting myself and talking about myself.

Well, apparently my hard work has paid off! Kerry, from the Creative Aussie Journal, asked me to write an article for her magazine! It's mainly published on-line, but it is distributed some in her local area.  This is the first time anything I've written has been published in anyway and I'm pretty excited about it! I'll be writing a follow up article in a few months so please check back if your interested.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I love to read! So one of the things I'm going to do in this blog is share with you the books I'm reading.  I read a wide variety of books, so if this one isn't your style, check back, the next one might be!

Charles de Lint is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I first stumbled on his work a year ago when a friend of mine, who I called Grizzly Bear, loaned me one of de Lints collections of short stories.  I've read many of his books since then, and I honestly don't remember right now which one I read first!

De Lint writes his fantasy in a modern New England setting, but in towns that he's created.  I love how he blends traditional fantasy elements and twists them into his own stories!

"Widdershins" simply means "to walk counterclockwise or backwards around something.  It's a classic pathway into the fairy realm." (Taken from the book jacket)

In this book De Lint combines elements of Old World fairy traditions with Native American traditions, and he does so beautifully! If you've read his work before you'll recognize many of the characters as he develops the stories of Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell.  But don't worry, if you've never read a single word of his, you'll still be swept up in the story and you won't get lost!  He does a good job of telling enough of the backstory that that new readers don't get lost, and those who've read his other works don't get bored.

One thing I admire about Charles De Lint's work is that he's more than willing to tackle tough issues in his writting.  He recognizes that this can be a dark, dark world, and he faces it head on.  Yet, you never find yourself with out hope at the end of the story.  De Lint finds a way to bring hope, cheer, and a reason to go on, no matter how dark the story gets.

If your interested in checking out this book (or others!) click on the picture at the top of the post to be redirected to Amazon.com.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Finding a Definition for Disability

The term "disability" is one that I've wrestled with for a years.  For a long time I equated the term disability with "handicapped."  When I heard the term disability I visualized wheelchairs, crutches, or a blind man's cane.  I'm not saying that it was correct, that's just what I thought.

Last year, while I was still attending CWU, I took a class with the rather heavy title of "Students with Exceptionalities." We talked about students who faced extra challenges at school because they are gifted, disabled, or faced difficulties in their home life that affected their performance in school.  Our main focus, however, was on students who had disabilities.

I learned many things in that class, but one thing that stuck out at me is that the term "disability" covers a wide range of conditions, and that it doesn't necesarily equate with an obvious handicap.  In fact it may not really handicap a person at all!

To have a disability simply means that there is an area in one's life where you are not able, be that physically, mentally, or even emotionally.  It may not be something that affects your daily life, or it may be something that you learn to overcome in such a way that it no longer affects your daily life. 

Why is this distinction important? For some people it might not be.  For me it was vital for coming to grips with who I am.

What do I mean by that? Well, I know I am not defined by my limitations, just like I'm not defined by my abilities, but I do think part of being healthy mentally is thinking about yourself accurately.  In my case, a part of that has been coming to terms with having a disability.

Part of my struggle is that my disability is not one that most people would automatically recognize as a disability, a health problem, but not a disability. Why? I have asthma.  Of course, so do 1 in 4 of other Americans. That's approximately 200 million people. For most of these people asthma is only a minor annoyance, many of them don't even carry their inhaler on a regular basis, and for many more a simple pill a day controls the vast majority of their symptoms.  And, for a large portion of my life, I was one of those people. My asthma was controlled.

Backing up a little, I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 7 years old. I had always dealt with some allergy problems, and occasionally that would lead to wheezing, but that was the age when they first gave me an inhaler.  During those early years I rarely had to use my inhaler, and when I did, it would take away my systems pretty quickly.  By the time I was 10, though, it had gotten to the point where I quit my basket ball team because I was having attacks too frequently. 

Over the years my asthma problems fluctuated.  At times it I would be having more attacks, and then I'd go through a period of time where I was under control again.  The one pattern that was consistent was that my problems slowly got worse.  In other words, the bad episodes slowly got worse, and then I slowly had more bad episodes. 

During my high school years my asthma got to the point where the attacks could be classified as "life threatening."  Still, it didn't interfere with my life that often.  When I had a flair up it would, but for the most part I'd go about my life, and I just avoided the things I knew would trigger an attack.

I didn't really start working seriously until I was 19.  At that point my asthma had settled into a pretty predictable pattern. Once or twice a year I'd get a cold that would settle into my lungs, I'd have a bad flair up, the doctors would have to heavily medicate me, and it would take a week or two to get back to normal.  This, as you can imagine, was rough at work.  When I was just a lowly crew member it didn't matter that much, but I quickly moved up to management.

Let me tell you, when your in fast food management they expect you to show up for every single shift! I can't tell you how often I'd go to work on low oxygen, or my friend John would cover for me while I sat in the back trying to get my lungs back under control.  Still, there were times I had to go home, or couldn't make it to work at all.  Always there was pressure to get better as fast as I could.  I remember my boss sitting me down once and telling me I had to "take better care of myself" so that I didn't have as many asthma attacks.  I was seeing the doctors regularly, and taking all my medication, there wasn't much more I could do!

I remember right around the same time the company got sued on an ADA violation.  I don't remember what it was, but I remember at the time it seemed like a relatively minor thing to be making such a big deal out of.  I also remember wondering where the ADA was for people like me as I was getting hassled for having health problems that I had no control over.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm NOT trying to bash the ADA. It was just frustrating for me, and it continued to frustrate me with every job I had after that.  Employers like you to show up regularly, and even doctors notes don't always help.  They will "accept" it, but you often feel the pressure of their frustration weighing heavily on you. 

Somewhere along the line I finally was willing to admit to myself that my asthma was a disability.  I think the fact that I could attach the term "life threatening" to my condition was one of the things that helped me come to accept that.  Still, I've always thought of the term "disability," when applied to myself, with a bit of derision, because it's not as if other people would really consider it a disability.

I suppose I still didn't really consider myself as disabled. I had accepted the term on a surface level, but not fully.  That became crystal clear to me earlier this year after my asthma became much more severe than it ever had been before.  I was forced to quit my job and found myself in constant negotiation with my teachers to allow me to turn my assignments in late. 

Acceptance has been a slow process full of small emotional shocks.  First I had a teacher tell me I needed to sign up with the school's disability department.  Then I saw a lung specialist for the first time and he was shocked that I wasn't already carrying an epi-pen.  Most recently I've been given a temporary handicapped parking permit to use on my bad days.

I am disabled. It doesn't define me, but it does affect me. Recognizing that fact is one step toward being a healthy and whole person.  For now my disability does handicap me, but I know that doesn't mean it necessarily always will.

I just wish I'd accepted that a long time ago.

I've never looked down on other people who had disabilities, but when I applied the term to myself I saw it as a negative. Saying I had a disability meant I was "less than." I don't know why I had one definition for everyone else and another for myself, but it was a destructive way of thinking.

I wish I'd realized that a long time ago as well.