Sunday, February 25, 2007

Via 100 Miles From Where

*Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read.
*Italicize the ones you want to read.
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
*If you are reading this, tag you're it.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

50 read - Exactly half. There were others, like Ulysses, that I started but never finished, so I didn't count them. And there's still a handful on my TBR pile. (Pile, my ass... it's more like a TBR heap at this point.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Best Shot Monday

Again, through Picture This, here's "My Best Shot Monday:"

She picked 3, but I've got two for you today. Above is my best 'technical' shot this week: me figuring out how to use the macro/micro button on my digital camera. And below is my favorite little guy, showing his evil Jedi side...

He told me the other day that I could call him "Lord:" I was a bit confused, thinking he meant God type of Lord. "No... AuntieNTE, like 'Lord Vader,' you can just call me Lord, though." Ok then, Lord it is.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Having nothing to say

isn't really a good excuse for not blogging.

Because, honestly, I do have things to say: TONS of things to say. But somewhere between my brain and my fingers, those things get ... lost. Or twisted. Or too complex to explain. There's so much going on in my life, and I find myself just wanting to burrow into a deep hole and avoid it all. Which must not be allowed (for any real length of time), so here I am.

Since I still don't want to tackle anything too ... heavy... how about a sort-of funny & totally screwed up story? The kind of thing that could only happen to me?

A few weeks ago, about a week after my last doctor's appointment, I had a call from Zach (my doctor) that went something like this:

Zach: "NTE, I have some of your test results here, and, well, they don't make any sense."

Me: "Zach, when do my test results ever make sense?"

Zach: "Well, that's true. But about these results: your ammonia level is 78."

Me: "I have no idea what that means."

Zach: "Normal, or the highest level of normal, is about 43. So, you're near double that."

Me: "Hmm... Yeah, I still don't know what that means, except that it doesn't sound good."

Zach: "Well, I don't really know what it means either. But it's significant."

Me: "Significant how?"

Zach: "Yeah, I'm not sure. But it has to mean something."

Then he explained that he had a call in to a specialist, asking what they thought it could mean, and what we should do about it. He promised to call me back in the next few days. Skip to a few days later:

Zach: "So, I've got your test results here, and there are some abnormalities that I think we should discuss..."

Me: "Zach, you already called and told me this, remember? We're waiting for the specialist to call back?"

Zach: "Oh. No. Well, yes, that's true. But this is different. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever been bitten by a squirrel?"

Me: " "

Zach: "No, seriously: ever been bitten by a dog or a squirrel, or a woodland creature?"

Me (goggling. Partly because I don't think I've ever heard anyone actually say the words "woodland creature," and partly because, well...) "WHAT?"

Zach: "Bitten. By a creature of some sort. A dog maybe?"

Me: "Um... NO."

Zach: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Um. Yeah... Pretty damn sure. I think I would remember that sort of thing. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that's how I would go around introducing myself 'Hi, I'm NTE. Let me tell you about the time I was bitten by a small woodland creature!' I'm going to stick with no on this one."

Zach: (sounding disappointed!)"Oh. Really? Well, then I can't really explain this, but you have this bacterial infection in your blood. It's called Brucellosis, and most people get it by being bitten by animals."

Me: " "

Me: "So, what does that mean? Does it explain my symptoms? Is it a co-infection (cuz I have other ones)? Can it be treated? Cured? Um... What does this mean????"

Zach: "Well, I'm not really sure. But it's significant."

Me: (Screw significant.... WTF does it mean?): "Right... significant how?"

Zach: "Well, it could explain some of your symptoms. It could be something that isn't even really an issue. It could be a major player because of your weakened immune system... We'll have to run some more tests to be sure, exactly. And I've called a specialist..."

No more useful information was forthcoming, just a lot of "significant" findings that nobody knows what the hell they mean in relation to me. I have since repeated both blood tests, and confirmed that I have these two "significant" issues. And, yes, I'm more than a bit worried about the fact that my liver isn't working correctly and I somehow contracted yet another infection, but for today? Let us, just for today, focus on this: my doctor was SAD that I hadn't been bitten by a squirrel.

He was hoping I had been!


He must think I am the stupidest person ever, to have been going to him for almost 4 years now, to have some sort of mystery illness, and to never have mentioned it to him. "Yes, I know we're not sure where these symptoms come from, or what is totally screwing my body up, but I'll just keep the fact of my woodland creature adventures to myself... Because they couldn't possibly be connected." What kind of dolt would I have to be?

That said, my mother now says that my grandmother's poodle once nipped me when I was a baby (young enough to be crawling after the dog enough to piss it off). I wonder if a tiny nip 26 years ago could account for it? I'll have to ask when I see him this week (apparently, there are different types of Brucellosis, so we have to have mine DNA tested - who knew?)

So, how about you, internet friends? Ever been attacked by woodland creatures? I promise not to be disappointed if you say no. ;)

Friday, February 16, 2007

If you've spent some time in the blogosphere lately, I'm assuming that you've heard about the Edwards blogger brouha-ha. If you haven't click over here:

But here's the thing: if you haven't spent time in the blogosphere, I doubt that you've heard anything about it.

I'll grant you that I am nowhere near a news junkie - We've talked before about how my... oversensitivity to other people's problems means that I tend to boycott the news as much as possible. - But, I usually do hear something about the major things that are going on. (I'm not counting Anna Nicole, which, by all that is holy is a personal tragedy and NOT a global crisis!) When you're television is on for as many hours of the day as mine is, you can't help but hear bits and pieces of what's on the news. There's teasers during commercials, comedians & talk shows, what's showing on the news while I'm waiting for the weather to come on. For starters. So, I do tend to hear things, and not a single mention of this situation.

Given the - in my opinion, righteous - outrage of bloggers, the tone & frequency of posts, the seriousness of this issue, I'd have thought it would be mentioned... somewhere. And that's just sketchy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just a little timewaster

Still a bit knocked out ---> Colossus, unfortunately, had nothing to do with it. ;)

Hope to be back tomorrow, with something, anthing to say.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Here's my Photo Favorite

from this past week. Best Photo Monday, with Picture This.

Here's SisterJ & her new fiancee, pre-proposal:

The fact that they started out the day holding hands and ended it doing the same is a good sign, I think.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Living in fear

I am totally skipping over the fact that my family is insane, and can not spend any time together without it ending with somebody screaming "FUCK" in someone else's face. We'll talk about that later. Along with the fact that I have my second sinus infection in less than two weeks (which, come to think of it is probably just one big sinus infection that took a nap for 5 days or so and then woke up again). Those are not today's topic, although they're both weighing heavily on my mind (one, literally, since my head feels like it weighs 200 pounds right now).

No, those discussions must wait, because I'm facing a very real threat: one of my sisters got engaged yesterday.

If you have sisters; or have ever been in a bridal party; or ever knew anyone who got married or was in a bridal party, you can understand just how terrifying this is.

I have four sisters & a soon-to-be sister-in-law. I've been in two weddings, and am just about the only single girl left from my group of college friends. I know the kind of drama queens that exist in my family. I know just how volatile it can be to mix those drama queens with dress fittings, shower planning, and the overblown importance of wedding minutiae.

In my own personal terror alert system, we're definitely on red.

Don't be mistaken: I am exceedingly happy for SisterJ (age 24). She's found a wonderful man, who compliments her in every way. His sweetness & calm demeanor are a good influence on my over-the-top, outspoken little sister. And they have such a genuine connection, a loveliness that sort of shimmers around them. That they've both realized just how special their relationship is, and to really want to commit to each other is fantastic.

But the idea of their marriage is one thing: the reality of getting to their wedding will, most likely, be something completely different.

It is this thought that makes me quiver in fear.

It's the idea of dealing with the infighting about sandals with straps or sandals without, or whether or not you have to have your toenails painted a particular color. It's the fact that napkin colors and up-doos will suddenly take on the importance of eliminating the threat of AIDS in our lifetime. It's the flurry of e-mails back and forth - and forth and back - when you can't get more than two people to agree on any specific date for any specific thing. It's the looming specter of fitting rooms and strapless bras, bridal magazines and flower arrangements, petty arguments and mothers-in-law.

"Always the bridesmaid:" almost as scary a notion as "Bush accepts unprecedented 3rd term!"

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I was watching a rerun of Without a Trace, recently, and there was this subplot about a man whose child had been abducted years ago & had never been found. He started talking about how everyone else in his life - his wife, his counselor, his friends & family - just kept telling him to "move on," and how hard it was to have this piece of yourself missing, to have to hope. Hoping is difficult, it's so much harder sometimes than just giving up. The man said that this battle, this war inside himself to either keep hoping or let it go, felt like he was drowning, but slowly. Because he knew that things were wrong in his life, without his son, but he just didn't know how to pick up the pieces and trudge forward with them. Didn't know if he should, or even if he could.

And somewhere in the middle of his speech, I realized: "That's me." I've been hoping, remembering my past, as if it could ever be my future. I'm surrounded by people who just keep saying I've got to "get on with my life," and yet no one can tell me how to do it. ~

“One day, I had a father, and the next day, I had a story to tell.” I stole this quote from a book: I wish I could remember which one it was. But it was another line that went straight to my heart. It's me, again.

Over the years, I've met quite a few people (some are even close to me) who've said something along the lines of "I don't know how you do it," or "I don't think I could do what you do." And, while I know it's meant to be a compliment, it always confuses me, because I wonder what they think they would do, in these circumstances.

There were no choices for me: as so often happens in life, things changed in that one minute, that split-second that I went from healthy teenager to a person with a chronic illness. One day, I had my health, a normal-average life all set up for myself, and the next, I had a story to tell. The story I tell here: my story.

All I've been doing, ever since the beginning of this unexpected story, is searching for the pieces, trudging, trying not to drown along the way.

And who isn't?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm a little Lost....

Tonight's episode of Lost didn't hit any high notes for me, but these comments, from the Open Thread over at MamaPop, did:

"because honestly? ben, as my husband exclaimed during his brief wake-up from anesthesia, is “probably the creepiest fucker on television today.”

Amanda :
Feb 7th, 2007 at 11:23 pm
and i was all, “nope, PAULA ABDUL.” and he was all, “touche.”

Feb 7th, 2007 at 11:24 pm
I saw an interview with the Ben guy on E! and he was just as creepy as his for-reals self.

Feb 7th, 2007 at 11:25 pm
He’s definitely Creepy McGee

Feb 7th, 2007 at 11:25 pm
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that the actor who plays Ben probably doesn’t have a huge career in Romantic Comedies ahead of him.

134 lily
Feb 7th, 2007 at 11:25 pm
hugh grant, he is not.


Because, HOLY CRAP, how freaky was it when he opened his eyes? ICK.

Cuz I needed some time-a-wastin, crazy ego boosts....

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

I do not like that they don't tell you which ones you miss. (I'm pretty sure it was the math.... math is not my friend.)

Dude! You're 100% from Massachusetts!

Dude! Me and Sully and Fitzie and Sean are gonna hit Landsdowne tonight after the game, hang out at the Beerworks. I'll pick you up at the Coop at 6.

How Massachusetts are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Yah, that's a shocka.

Your Final Score Was 77%

Good Job! You definitely know your TV theme songs. It might be possible that you are watching too much television.

Guess the Theme Song
Take More Quizzes

Hmm... I could've done better. Next time, no Daily Show while quizzing.

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Another Shocker. Particularly the non-reader = 0 part.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good News!

My presh-us is back! The CompUSA people have fixed and returned my computer in a very efficient manner. Which is good, because of the withdrawals, people. You don't realize how much you are abusing Wikipedia until you don't have it at your instant beck and call. I had urgent Googlish needs: Does the In Death novella from Out of this World come before or after Betrayal In Death? What version of Windows Media Player is current? Who sings this song that's stuck in my head??? All vital, vital questions, I know.

But, I made it. It wasn't as bad as I thought, actually. One week laptop-less is not the end of the world. I'm just glad to have it back, so I can talk to all of you fine people again.

And check PostSecret. And ADWOFF. And all of my beautiful Bloglines!

It's a little bit sad, isn't it? Oh well. I don't care.