Thursday, January 28, 2016

First Daughter/Only Daughter

I recently picked up Peter Slevin's biography of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (now in paperback).

As I was idly flipping through the pages, my eye fell on this sentence: "Michelle gave birth to Malia Ann Obama, their first daughter, on July 4, 1998."

Holy crap. That gave me pause. How did I not realize this before?

I knew Malia was graduating from high school this year. Her father talks about it often. (I recently heard that he has declined an invitation to address Malia's class's graduation ceremony, saying he knows he's going to be too emotional that day. Understandable that he'd want to just be one of the dads that day.) 

For some reason -- perhaps because I'd never seen Malia's birthdate before, perhaps because I've been mentally blocking it?? -- I just never put two and two together -- i.e., that she & Katie would be exactly the same age. I lost Katie in early August 1998, almost exactly a month after Malia was born.

In a way, I am glad I didn't figure this out earlier. The last seven years would have been tougher if I knew there was a yardstick in the White House, telling me just how big Katie might have been now, when she might have gotten her driver's license, what she might have been wearing, (how many times she rolled her eyes at her father, lol), etc.

Now I just have to get through the rest of this school year -- prom, graduation & off-to-college season. The President (who is, for the record, exactly the same age as I am, albeit I was born in January and he was born in August) probably won't be the only one emotional about what his oldest daughter is up to, albeit for somewhat different reasons. :(

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Listening Valley" by D.E. Stevenson

As the new year began, I started reading yet another novel by D.E. Stevenson (1892-1973), an author I first discovered and enjoyed as a teenager, and whose books are happily being reissued and discovered by a whole new generation of readers.

Listening Valley is the latest selection under discussion by my online Stevenson fan group. Part of the book takes place in the same setting as Celia's House and features some of the same characters, although it's not really a sequel. Still, to get the most out of "Listening Valley," I'd recommend reading "Celia's House" first.

Growing up in pre-WWII Edinburgh, shy, clumsy Tonia (short for Antonia) & her older, bolder sister Louise (Lou) live a sheltered life in the care of their Nannie, mostly neglected by their parents. Then Nannie retires, Lou gets married and Tonia is forced to "make friends with life" as the war begins to cast its shadows. Tragedy and a twist of fate bring Tonia from London, where she has begun to carve out a new life as an adult, to the Scottish countryside, where she makes new friends -- and encounters a special old one.

This book was published in 1944, while the Second World War was still being fought, and it's very much a book of its times. The ending ties up the loose plot ends nicely, but -- with the war still going on -- it's necessarily ambiguous.  It can't be a completely happy ending while the war is still being fought.  And I loved it for that.

As with most Stevenson novels, "Listening Valley" is a little old-fashioned -- the kind of novel you don't see much of these days -- warm and sweet. It can't really be pigeon-holed -- it's got a bit of romance, a bit of social commentary, a bit of a character study, a look at life on the home front during WWII (moss-gathering, anyone??), a bit of mystery... The plot changes directions several times (which is not always entirely satisfying, but keeps readers on their toes!).  It's about home, and family, and finding your place in the world.

As the cover blurb says, "This heartwarming novel is the literary equivalent of a comforting cup of cocoa on a cozy winter's evening." Don't try to analyze too much or to look at this (or any of Stevenson's novels) with a jaded modern eye -- just accept that this was written in a different time and place, take it from there, and enjoy. :)

This is book #2 that I've read so far in 2016. 

*** *** ***

I wrote about how I rediscovered Stevenson's books (which I first found, read & enjoyed hugely as a teenager) here.  Over the past year or so, I've read & reviewed five other recently reissued Stevenson novels, in conjunction with my online group: 

Miss Buncle's Book
Miss Buncle Married/The Two Mrs. Abbotts
The Four Graces (probably my favourite to date...!)
Celia's House

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Celine & me, redux

If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know I've had a love-hate relationship with Celine Dion over the years.  ;)  Everything about her has always seemed just a little too over the top for my tastes -- her singing style, her elaborate wedding (& the Arabian Nights-themed second wedding on their anniversary, a few years later), the interviews where she overshares about everything in her life. And yet she seems very genuine -- no artifice about her. (She's Canadian!! lol ;)  )  I have no doubt she & her husband were devoted to each other -- which made me sad when he passed away recently (followed just a few days later by one of her brothers at a far-too-young age).

Part of my ambivalence, of course, stems from Celine's very public struggles to get and stay pregnant -- and the fact that she succeeded (twice, including a set of twins), where I did not. As I wrote in a previous blog post:
She announced her first pregnancy in 2000, while I was mired deep in the muck of infertility treatment... I vividly remember lining up at the clinic early in the morning for our ultrasounds (it was like an assembly line) & hearing one of her songs on the radio they were piping through the office, while reading about her pregnancy in the morning newspaper. “I’ll bet SHE never had to stand in line at 7 a.m. with her butt hanging out of a hospital gown, " I said to the girl in line next to me. And of course, not long after she finally had the baby in January 2001, she shouted her joy to the world -- including in a song ("A New Day"), which the radio played ad nauseum, while I was licking my wounds & trying to revise my life plans to NOT include children. Thanks, Celine...
It was a strange feeling to see that baby, her son, Rene-Charles, all grown up at 15, escorting his elderly grandmother into the Notre-Dame cathedral, supporting his widowed mother & eulogizing his father. And thinking that Katie would be that much older than him still (17 now, and no doubt waiting for early acceptance into the university(s) of her choice right now...).

The relentless march of time is a strange and wonderous thing to witness, sometimes....

Monday, January 25, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: In a ranty mood

*  Someone on my Facebook feed -- the young father of three children under the age of 5 -- posted one of those "Goodfellas" memes the other day, with a photo of Ray Liotta laughing hysterically, and the caption, "When people without kids tell me they're exhausted" and the accompanying comment, "Sounds about right." (Grrrrr.....)
*  So I was happy to see this response from advice columnist Carolyn Hax (via a FB share from Gateway Women):   "Call out friend who thinks childless means not busy." Choice quote (one suggested response): "Yes, I'm all naps & bonbons."  ROFL!!
*  The idea that no kids = life of leisure is one of my big pet peeves. I've posted on this topic several times in the past, including here
*  And while I'm in a ranty mood on the topic of parents vs non ;)  here's another great post I found on FB recently:  "Yes, I CAN judge your kids." Nancy Roman is 64 and blogs at Not Quite Old, as well as repostings at Huff/Post 50, about her life, including aging and not having children. (The last line of this post is quite the kicker.) I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future!

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here

Friday, January 22, 2016

Odds & ends

  • Whereas I couldn't seem to stop spewing out blog posts all through December  ;) I'm finding it difficult to think of things to write about right now. Oh well. I've been blogging long enough to know that this isn't unusual and eventually, the muse will return. And when I look, I see I've already published 10 posts so far this month, i.e., an average of one every two days or so. So perhaps I'm making mountains out of molehills. ;)
  • I was busy this week tackling some paperwork & making some phone calls related to my pension and retiree benefits. One more week, and I am officially retired (and on a pension). It's a day that I've waited for and looked forward to for a long, long time -- and now that it's here, it doesn't quite seem real or possible. (Maybe because it didn't happen in exactly the way I thought it would?)  
  • I mentioned all this on one of my regular message boards, and one of my friends there commented that I seem too young to be called a pensioner. :)  I sure feel that way...! In my mind, I'm a not a day over 30. Maybe even 20, sometimes. ;)
  • But then!  I was looking through the advertising flyers that came with the local newspaper, and saw that the drugstore near us is having "seniors days" next week. And then I looked at the fine print, and it hit me: I just turned 55. I QUALIFY FOR THE SENIORS DAY DISCOUNT NOW.  Kind of gave me pause...! :p
  • Of course, 20% off (regular price items) is 20% off. Not many places offer seniors discounts to 55-year-olds anymore. And, like I said, starting next week, I'm on a pension. So I guess I'll take it. ;)  Gives "carding" a whole new meaning...!  
  • Mel was posting about the mega-blizzard they are predicting for the eastern seaboard of the U.S. this weekend.  As I told her in my comment, I have to admit -- dh & I kind of snickered when we saw the footage on TV of a massive traffic jam caused by ONE INCH of snow in the Washington, D.C., area.  It seems like these days, every time it's forecasted to snow more than a couple of inches, the media blows it into this huge catastrophic thing (Snowpocalypse!! Snowmaggedon!!) -- which often doesn't amount to anything. But 40 inches (which is what I understand some areas might get) is a massive amount, no matter where you live. It's just that,  because we get more snow more frequently here, we’re a whole lot better prepared to deal with it.  
  • I can only remember two times in 28+ years that I wasn't able to get to work because of the winter weather. The first time was in mid-December 1992, before Christmas. It started snowing one afternoon, and when we got up the next morning, there had been a huge amount of snow overnight. We knew we weren't going to be able to get the car out of the driveway, but we figured we could walk over to the bus stop on the main road, and the bus would take us to the commuter train station. We set out, & our next door neighbour (out shovelling his driveway) saw us. "Where do you think you're going??" he said. We explained, and in a "you idiots" tone of voice, he told us the main roads hadn't been ploughed yet either, and the buses weren't running (the trains probably weren't either). (This was pre-Internet days -- but if we'd thought to turn on the radio or TV, they probably would have told us as much.)  We meekly went back into the house, where we stayed all day (except for poor dh, who had to shovel us out). 
  • The second time was in January 1999, when the mayor of Toronto called in the army to help dig the city out (much to the amusement of the rest of Canada) after more than 118 cm of snow (i.e., 46+ inches) fell in a little over a week. I don't remember if the trains were even running the day we stayed home, but they were the next. Dh knew he'd be expected at work, so I went in too, much to the amazement of my colleagues who managed to make it in from much less further away. 
  • Our house is on a corner lot in a "square" and there's a fair expanse of pavement in front of our house. The snowplows left a huge pile of snow right in the middle of the street in front of our house, and for the next several weeks, the neighbourhood kids had a blast climbing all over it and even tobogganing down it.
  • Some photos & videos for you:  
December 1992 snowstorm:  Our deck & backyard shed.

Dh shovels us out after the snowstorm of December 1992.
The next-door neighbours (to the right of this photo) were away
and had snow drifted halfway up their garage door.

    Most of the photos I took after the blizzards of January 1999 aren't any clearer than this, unfortunately. 
    This is the big mini-mountain of snow the ploughs left in front of our house. 

    A 2007 satirical sketch from Rick Mercer (a beloved Canadian comedian):
    "Snow! In Toronto!!"
    (Still trying to live down the blizzard of 1999...!)

    And, more recently: Syrian refugee children experience the joys of tobogganing for the first time. :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Blue Monday?

Today is supposedly "Blue Monday," the most depressing day of the year. As this article explains, Blue Monday came into being in 2005, proclaimed in a press release by a British travel company (! -- no doubt looking to boost its sunspot vacation business), based on some dubious scientific calculations that included factors such as the weather, after-Christmas debt levels and failed New Year's resolutions.

I'll admit, the day after my birthday last week, I went into a bit of a funk. Up to that point, I was still basking in the after-Christmas glow -- but once the happy birthday calls & Facebook posts ended, it was hard to feel like there was much to look forward to for the next while. People have been asking why we don't go away somewhere (after all, we're retired!! we can!!) -- but we did some work on the house and bought a new car just before Christmas, and may have some more expenses coming up in the next few months (including Oldest Nephew's wedding this fall). My answer is that my sunspot vacation is sitting in my driveway. ;)  Plus the Canadian dollar has taken a nose dive in recent weeks, making any southbound travel a lot more expensive -- a friend recently posted about her trip to the bank to buy some U.S. dollars for her own sunspot vacation. All I can say is OUCH. :p 

As Mondays go, however, today hasn't really been all that bad. True, there's a local cold weather alert -- as I type, it's -9C outside (15F), with windchill values around -18C (-1F) -- although the sun is shining,  which helps a lot, in my book!  But I slept in this morning, spent some time at the mall this afternoon (found some cute Valentine-themed T-shirts to send to the Little Princesses), and just finished a nice cup of tea while sitting on the sofa listening to a podcast. Things could be a whole lot worse.

At any rate, I now cannot get the old Foreigner song out of my head -- with a slight change in wording, it becomes, "Blue Monday, blue day..." ;) 

Are you having a Blue Monday? What's your favourite pick-me-up to beat the winter blues at this time of year?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.      

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Bookmarks: NYT: What We're Reading

Mel at Stirrup Queens has invited us to share our bookmarked blog posts and articles on Sundays.

This isn't exactly a bookmark or even one article -- but if you enjoy reading a variety of interesting, well-written articles, you might be interested in receiving a twice-weekly email newsletter from the New York Times called What We're Reading. Each email highlights a handful of great stories from around the web, as recommended by NYT reporters and editors.  Links from the most recent newsletter I received this week include articles about an art project related to the Great Migration, how Netflix organizes its movie genres, a travel blog written by a young couple, the political history of Taiwan, and how French children are educated about food, dining and taste. (There -- that's five links for you!) 

If you're interested, you can sign up (Caveat: the NYT paywall/freebie limits may apply.) 

To see what others have bookmarked and shared this week, check out Mel's post for this week, and the comments section. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Freedom 55

Another year, another birthday. :)  This is kind of a big one -- not generally considered a milestone -- at least, not these days -- but still, it's one that divisible by 5, and clearly an indicator that time is passing. 

When I was a teenager/young adult, 55 wasn't necessarily OLD -- but the message was that if you were lucky -- if you worked hard and did the right things -- you could retire, early, and enjoy life while you were still relatively young and able to do so. In the 1980s, there was a hugely successful ad campaign for a Canadian life insurance company, built around the concept of "Freedom 55" -- which I wrote about in a post a couple of years ago when dh celebrated HIS 55th birthday. "Freedom 55" became both a well-recognized catchphrase and a seemingly reachable goal for Canadians of my generation to work towards.

Back then, many companies allowed employees to retire early on a full, unreduced pension at 55 (not my own company, unfortunately -- retirement at 55 is an option, but with a reduced pension).  Many companies also offered seniors discounts and other perqs to customers once they hit 55. 

These days, however, the perqs have been pulled back to 60 & 65-year-olds, and it seems that defined benefit pension plans are going the way of the dodo bird. Fewer of my peers expect to retire at 55, instead making rueful jokes about "Freedom 70." I realize that dh & I are an increasing rarity -- and, yes, extremely lucky. 

That said... 

Upon hearing that we're both essentially retired, a lot of people comment to dh & me that, "wow, you're living the dream."  Well, yeah, maybe -- but to get to this point, we had to "live the nightmare" first -- infertility, stillbirth, job loss.  Dh & I were hoping to retire around the time I hit 55 anyway, but we didn't get to make that decision;  it was made for us (first for dh & then for me), a bit earlier than we had planned. 

We feel very fortunate that things have worked out as well as they have to this point -- but I wonder whether people would want to trade places with us if they realized what it took to get here. As Janis Joplin once sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..." I suspect there are going to be further changes and life transitions ahead for us in the next couple of years too.  (Hopefully some positive ones, along with the ones we didn't expect or plan for.) 

But hey -- it's my birthday. :)  And however I got here, I'm 55, and, yes, I have a certain amount of freedom in my life these days that I didn't five, 10, 15 years ago. And that's something worth celebrating. :) 

Monday, January 11, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: ALI on Downton Abbey

I already knew that reproductive matters have been key plot points in past episodes/seasons of "Downton Abbey." And they were front and centre in last night's episode. 
*  Lady Mary's maid, Anna -- previously a rape victim and a murder suspect (!) -- is miserable again:  she's had at least two, maybe three miscarriages to date, and believes she will never have children. She and her husband, Mr. Bates, talk about adoption, but she's convinced he won't be happy without a biological child.  Lady Mary to the rescue with a visit to her Harley Street surgeon in London, who diagnoses her with incompetent cervix and prescribes a cerclage for the next time around. Problem solved!! (Why am I not convinced?) 
*  Meanwhile, I have to remind myself that times were much different in the 1920s, as Lady Edith continues to jump through ridiculous hoops to preserve her reputation by concealing the fact that she's little Marigold's mother (even though it seems like most of the family is in on the secret anyway). As I've noted, this is the first season where I've been watching complete episodes of Downton -- but my understanding is that after a lengthy "vacation" abroad (during which she delivered the baby), Edith enlisted one of Downton's tenant farmers, Mr. Drewe, to take the baby in to raise, while she would visit regularly as "godmother." Meanwhile, Mrs. Drewe (unaware of the baby's true parentage) quite understandably became attached to the little girl, and was heartbroken when Lady Edith changed her mind and decided to bring Marigold to Downton Abbey to live as her ward and give her all the advantages of a Downton upbringing. It was difficult to watch the clear distress both women were feeling in last night's episode, while poor little Marigold was caught in the middle. This was an argument for openness -- and a cautionary tale about the destructive powers of secrecy -- if I ever saw one.
*  Anyone else watch? Thoughts?
* (I'll try to refrain from turning all of my future #MM posts into "Downton Abbey" discussions, lol. Although the timing is perfect...!) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.    

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Right now...

Reading:  "Listening Valley," another recently reissued novel by D.E. Stevenson. (Review to come, eventually.) Recently acquired (& now in the to-read pile): "Once in a Great City" by David Maraniss.

Watching: Most recent movie seen: "The Big Short" (last weekend), which was both funny and horrifying at the same time. And I actually started watching "Downton Abbey" last weekend -- the start of the final season. For some reason, people seem to assume that I have been watching it all along -- and gasp in horror whenever I tell them that no, I haven't.  I've seen bits of different episodes, but never consciously watched one in its entirety (until now). (And yet, thanks to social media, I could still tell you the names of most of the characters as well as the various main plotlines. Go figure.)

Please tell me that I'm not the only holdout. ;) 

Listening: This past week, I was telling a distant cousin in Scotland about Blue Rodeo, one of Canada's most beloved bands, and sent him a couple of video links. Here's one of my favourites. You're welcome. ;)

This afternoon, I also very much enjoyed listening to a thoughtful CBC Radio documentary/podcast about women turning 39/facing 40. Most of the women featured here are single & childless -- but there's still a LOT here that most of us who have reached (or passed) this stage in our lives can relate to. Here's the link.  It's about 25 minutes long.

Following:  My online book group's discussion of "Listening Valley" (just getting started).

Drinking: A nice mid-afternoon cup of tea -- my favourite. :) 

Eating:  The last of my Christmas toffee.  My sister's best friend since junior high days is a great cook & baker, and she makes toffee that is EXACTLY like the kind our grandmother made for us every year at Christmastime. And so, every year at Christmastime, P. makes a batch of toffee and gives a generous portion to my sister -- which she, in turn, shares with me. :)  I've often said she & I don't have a "Hallmark" sort of relationship -- but it does give me a warm fuzzy feeling that she does this. ;)   

Anticipating: A certain sort-of milestone birthday, divisible by 5, coming up shortly.

Contemplating:  Past mistakes. Trying not to dwell on them or beat myself up over them, particularly since most of them don't matter anymore anyway (if they ever did).  

Loving:  Having a little "me alone" time, while dh spends some time this afternoon with his dad.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink" by Elvis Costello

The first Elvis Costello song I remember hearing wasn't even sung by Elvis -- it was a cover of "Alison" by way of Linda Ronstadt, from her 1978 "Living in the USA" album. (She also covered "Party Girl" on 1980's "Mad Love.")  

I liked what I heard enough to eventually check out the originals, by which time I had also been exposed to "Pump it Up" and "What's so Funny 'bout Peace, Love & Understanding?" on video and at university parties.  Eventually, I owned several of Elvis's early albums.

In more recent years, I loved watching "Spectacle," the television show where he interviews and sings with all manner of musical guests. (Clips & some full shows can be found on YouTube and elsewhere online.) And of course, he's married to jazz pianist Diana Krall and now lives most of the year in Vancouver, which makes him an honorary Canadian of sorts. ;) 

All this by way of preamble to explain that I'm a longtime fan, and snapped up his new memoir, "Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink," the moment I saw it in the bookstore (fortunately, it was on sale).

I loved it, and I think you will too -- especially if you're already a fan of Elvis's, of music generally, and/or of great writing, with a strong dose of self-deprecating British/Beatlesque humour. ;)  (He has roots in Liverpool and spent part of his growing up years in nearby Birkenhead.)  It's not perfect -- it's a long read (almost 700 pages!) & the narrative does ramble, going back & forth in time. Song lyrics are quoted at length, although sometimes I wasn't sure whether they were Elvis's or someone else's.  It's all a tad self-indulgent, perhaps -- but you forgive the guy (at least, I did), because he's such a great writer and storyteller. There are some stories he refrains from telling or glosses over -- for example, I can't remember if he even names Wife #2? -- Cait O'Riordan of the Pogues -- and while it lasted 16 years (!), he says very little about that marriage, although we gather that it was not a happy time in his life, particularly toward the end. 

While I was familiar with Elvis & his music, particularly the early stuff, there was a lot I didn't know about him personally.  His dad, Ross MacManus, was a versatile big band singer who also recorded knock-off covers of current hits. He even played a Royal Command performance on the same bill with a hot new band called the Beatles (the very same show where John Lennon infamously instructed the audience, "Those of you in the cheaper seats, clap your hands... the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry..."). His grandfather, Patrick MacManus, played in an orchestra aboard ships for the White Star line.

So music is clearly in Elvis's bones & blood:  he's a walking encyclopedia of musical knowledge and appreciation that spans genres and decades. Beyond the stuff we're all familiar with, he's recorded country, soul and jazz music, scored films and plays, and collaborated with everyone from Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach to Loretta Lynn and Allen Toussaint. Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, George Jones, Levon Helm, Joni Mitchell, Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan are just a few of the other musicians who make memorable appearances in the pages of this book.  Reading it was a great way to spend Christmas holidays & start off the new year. :)

I'll leave you with one more Elvis video -- appropriately for this post, "Every Day I Write the Book."  This song & video came out in 1983, when everyone still believed in royal fairy tales & happily ever afters... in retrospect, it's kind of eerie to watch (what did he see back then that we didn't?) & sad, in light of how everything turned out...

This is book #1 to kick off my 2016 reading. :) 

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Mel has reminded us that it's International Blog Delurking Week (Jan. 3-9).  If you've been lurking here (and even if you're a regular), now is the time to come out of the shadows, say hello, & tell me (& everyone else reading) a little bit about yourself.  :)  Don't be shy! Welcome!  :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Lips Unsealed" by Belinda Carlisle

I bought the Go-Go's first album, Beauty and the Beat, early in the spring of 1982, when I was a university student. The title and the cover art played up the novelty factor -- an all-girl band, imagine that!! -- but these chicks weren't just pretty faces -- they wrote & played their own songs -- and they were great songs, too. Their frothy, hook-laden, punk-pop sound was intoxicating -- especially for a girl like me, who was raised in the '60s and '70s on a message of female empowerment and hungry for role models. 

Belinda Carlisle was the cute & perky frontwoman who got the most attention and, after the band broke up, had the most successful solo career. But privately, she was battling a lot of demons: the breakup of her parents' marriage and a lifelong struggle with her weight demolished her self-esteem and led to a 30-year struggle -- 30 YEARS!! -- with addiction to alcohol and drugs, along with a tendency to reckless and sometime life-endangering behaviour.  In her 2010 memoir, "Lips Unsealed," Carlisle admits that while the other Go-Go's wrote songs and worked hard to hone their craft as musicians, she would often just show up to sing after snorting vast quantities of cocaine.  No wonder there was some internal friction.

There are some fun stories here about the early punk movement in Los Angeles, the birth of the Go-Go's, and Belinda's encounters with various other musicians and celebrities -- for example, the Police, with whom they toured, Rod Stewart, INXS... But like many such memoirs (Chrissie Hynde's recent memoir, which I reviewed here, comes to mind), the drugs & drinking become tedious to read about after awhile. Each time Carlisle would describe a new low in her drug-induced behaviour -- snorting cocaine in the bathroom of her young son's school, for example -- or getting lectured on her drug habit by John Belushi (!!!seriously!!!) -- I would think, "OK, this MUST be the point where she finally decides to turn her life around." Nope. :p  She denies the rumour that she did cocaine during her pregnancy -- but she does admit to having a glass of wine every day during that time. Stuff like that can be hard to read for those of us who have struggled to get & stay pregnant.

Eventually, however, she did become sober, with the support of her incredibly patient husband and son, a life-changing trip to India, spiritualism and yoga.

If you're a fan, you might enjoy this. It had its moments, but not enough of them for me to give it an enthusiastic recommendation.

This was the final book that I completed in 2015, over the Christmas holidays -- #27.  Not bad!  

*** *** ***

One of my favourite Go-Go's songs, below. :)  I used to put on this album when I was living at home with my parents, post-graduate school but pre-wedding, and riding my mom's exercise bike in the morning. (This, and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" album, lol. Always got me pedalling faster...!) ;)

Monday, January 4, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Back to "normal"

I missed out on a couple of #MMs over the Christmas season, but vowed to take part this week, get back into the habit of regular blogging. :)  I think this week will be all about trying to get back to some kind of routine & "normal" (whatever "normal" is, right?? lol).  Now, dh & I don't go to work anymore, and we don't have any kids to send back to school, but we've still developed some little routines & regular errands, etc., that we're looking forward to resuming this week. I love Christmas, and we enjoyed our vacation with my family, but between being there and all the statutory holidays, things open & then closed and then open again, etc., routine has gone WAY by the wayside.  There were days when I had absolutely no idea what day of the week it was.

How about you??

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here 

Friday, January 1, 2016

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Now THAT is the "Star Wars" movie that I've been waiting 30+ years to see....!!

May 2017 can't come soon enough... ;)