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Personal stories

Christmas Wish List – Part 2

Veronica Beard – Jude Sweater

Veronica-Beard-Jude-Sweater

I love this sweater.  It comes in black, white, and forest green.  And I love it.

17090879116_Forest-Green_PRODUCT_01--IMG_1200--JudeLegOfMuttonSleeveButtonSweater--414099272

Of course, it is super pricey at $395, but this is a wish list – not a “go out and buy this stuff” list, so it’s a-ok.

Veronica Beard has a lot of cute items in her collection. Check her out:

https://www.veronicabeard.com

~Cheers

 

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Travel Reads

I’m getting ready to go on vacation next week and will be travelling for a good duration of the time.  And so, I’m going well-prepared with a good book or two.

Book worm

As you may already know, I am an avid reader and usually become so captivated in my reads that I often find that it is all I want to do.

This summer I went thru a slew of books and finished my last John Grisham legal thriller.  I picked up two other non-legals of his, and tried really hard to get into one but just epicly failed (I’ll save it for another time).  So, on a recent shopping trip I was delighted to pick up a few new reads, including the third in the “The Witch of….” series by Suzanne Palmieri.  Last summer I read “The Witch of Belladonna Bay” and followed it with “The Witch of Little Italy” (although, if you’re reading them, reverse the order), and I’ve been on the hunt for the third book “The Witch of Bourbon Street“.   Eureka!  As soon as I started reading it I fell in love with it.  I’m still only a tiny ways into it because I’ve been supremely busy and haven’t had much time to indulge myself, but I am looking forward to zipping thru this third book in the series.

Bourbon Street

I’m heading out on another trip later in the month and I CANNOT WAIT to tell you all about it.  This trip is going to be amazeballs and I am over the moon that I have the opportunity to do it!  But, it’s a surprise so you’ll have to wait to hear about it.

For that trip, I will likely indulge in the other books during my flight.  Eep!  Can’t wait for this one!

~Cheers!


Halloween Movie Countdown – Part 4

Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Poster

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053459/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a short while – and even started to watch it a month or so ago, but fell asleep after just a few minutes and just didn’t bother again.  Then, a few nights ago, I noticed it was OnDemand so I popped ‘er on.

This is a horror-ish movie from 1960(?) and is black and white – and in French (with subtitles).

The story is that the main character – Docteur Genessier – maimed his daughter Christiane’s face badly in a car accident.  He and his wife/nurse (it’s not made clear which she is, if not both) then conspire to keep her hidden away, telling the authorities that she disappeared.   Christiane is kept locked up in a room in the attic of their massive creepy gothic house, forced to wear a mask that can only be classified as creepier than Michael Myers/Jason Voorhies/Ghost Face all mixed together.  It’s not meant to be sinister, but it sure as heck is.  Christiane even declares that her mask frightens her.

Eyes 1

Tell me this isn’t creepy!

All the while, Doc and Wifey continue to kidnap young girls who bear similar looks to Christiane and perform basement surgeries on them to try and steal their faces to replace the one Christiane is now missing.  Morbid much?  However, the surgeries never take…for any of them.

Eyes Surgery

It’s a very odd movie without a lot of dialogue.  In fact, there is so much dialogue missing that I found myself skipping over a bunch of it.  (I mean, do we really have to watch the Doc walk from one building to the next without any purpose or uttering a word?  *skip!*)

The movie had lots of potential and I’m sure that back in good ‘ol 1960 it was probably scary AF.  But, in 2017, it sucked.  It was slow and boring and the ending was just atrocious.  However, the face and the mask will freak you out.  I had a hard time putting it out of my head when I hit the sack.

~Sweet dreams.


Just My Luck

I recently (last week) finished my 26th John Grisham book.  I love him.  He is my all-time favorite author and I get so enthralled with his story-telling that once I’m reading one of his books, it’s all I want to do.  I’m completely wrapped up in his tales.

A few weeks ago I zipped through two of his big hardcovers and when I was finished them both, I realized they were the last of Grisham’s that I had.  Ack!  I went through the list of books and thought I had read The Broker, but it turns out I had not.  So, I put a few people on the lookout for it.

The Broker

Two days later, I went on a Saturday adventure with BFF Spanky to a Community Yard Sale several towns over (one I don’t think I actually knew existed).  I told her the name of the book I was looking for, in case we happened to stumble upon a yard with books for sale.

The first yard we stopped at, Spanky veered to the right where there was baby gear set up (she nailed herself an outdoor playpen with a cover), and I veered to the left to a few tables set up with boxes on top.  Turns out, the boxes were full of books.  The very first box I looked in and the very first book I saw was John Grisham’s The Broker.  I kid you not.  The.very.first.book!!  Of course, I grabbed it…and paid my .30 cents and could not have been more elated!!  I did not buy another thing that day, I felt complete.

Of course, I plowed through that book too (I swear my TV has not been on in weeks!) and when I finished it in nearly record time, I once again felt sad because it was the last John Grisham book in my collection.  I picked up an biography and am nearly finished it, and yesterday I stopped at the book store and grabbed two new Grisham books.  Ahh, life is good again.

~Cheers


I Carried A Watermelon

My BFF/work-wife, Spanky is currently off on maternity leave.  This girl and I met years ago when we began working together and we became instant friends.  And, although we both had changed job locations, we maintained our friendship AND continued our lunchtime shenanigans all these years.  And now we’re back to working together.  ❤

MUD GIRLS

We just did Mud Hero together Yesterday.  #BFFs

And we have spent 10 years lunching together, walking thru Town, running the trails (training for races), running errands, or just sitting around stuffing our faces.  But one thing has always maintained the same for us, wherever we were and whatever we were doing, you can bet we were laughing our heads off and having more fun than should be allowed.  I have often said I bet people see us each day on our lunchtime ventures and are totally jealous of how much fun we’re having.  In fact, one day, just a few years ago, while running an errand in one of the little shops in downtown, we had a good case of the giggles and could not stop laughing and an onlooker, a chef from one of the local restaurants had been watching us and said he thoroughly enjoyed watching us have so much fun.  See…jealous.

But, when Spanky left to go off and have Baby Ruth I was saddened because I thought I was going to be alone for my lunch hours and, although I can go out and have fun make my own fun any damn time I please, I always enjoy the company.  And, just my luck, Spanky’s work replacement has also become my lunchtime replacement and Boo Boo and I are having tons of fun together.

We decided months ago, when there was still snow on the ground (which, let’s face it, this is Nova Scotia and that means it wasn’t that long ago that there was snow on the ground), that we were going to walk during our breaks.  Actually, it wasn’t so much a decision as it was something that just happened one day and we haven’t stopped.  It’s because of these lunchtime walks that I’m hitting my FitBit step goal way early in the day.

Boo Boo and I walk and laugh every day.  We are having way too much fun and, just like Spanky and I did, we’re making our fun.

One day last week, while out on our roam, we stopped into the local grocery store.  Boo Boo was checking out the watermelons and was intending on picking one up until I reminded her that she’d have to carry a watermelon through town, in 34 degree heat, and we still had a half hour to go on our break.  She left the watermelon there.  But, as we were in the checkout line, I noticed the guy in front of me was holding a watermelon.  When he glanced around at us I said to him “Can you please take that back to work or wherever you’re going and pretend you’re Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing and announce “I CARRIED A WATERMELON”.

I carried a watermelon

Boo Boo held her breath (because I’m a nut!) and the guy just looked at me for a few seconds like a deer caught in headlights and then the both of them cracked up.  He said he had heard us talking by the watermelons as he was picking his out and realized that he would be the one carrying the watermelon thru town in 34 degree heat (with a long-sleeved knit sweater on, mind you) and he felt like a dummy but he wanted to do something nice for his co-workers.

Watermelon

Nice gesture or not, I’d not be carrying a watermelon thru town in the heat.  

The three of us a had a long-lasting chuckle and he kept the conversation going until he finished his purchase and had to leave us, although it seemed like he would have rather stayed with us (Boo Boo said he’s now the president of my fan club).

I’m very thankful to both these gals, Spanky and Boo Boo, because you make my work days a heckuvalot more entertaining.  I soooooo look forward to Spanky’s return because I loooove her.  And I’m keeping Boo Boo too, so we can be the workplace Three Musketeers or Three Amigos – which, with the shenanigans and oopsies, seems a lot more fitting.

I love my life.

#makeyourownadventure

~Cheers

 

 

 


House of Wax (2005)

I originally saw House of Wax back in 2005 when it was released.  I remember it being creepy then but, for some reason, I forgot all about it.

house-of-wax

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397065/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Until last weekend.  I was up really on Saturday morning and it was on TV.  I couldn’t watch it then, not starting in the middle, so I decided to watch it Sunday evening – before The Walking Dead season premier.  Which, on a side note*, was a very.bad.idea.

*{I mean, did you see The Walking Dead?  I think that is the most brutal television I have ever witnessed…..And I watched Dylan’s wife basically mistakenly get assassinated on 90210, breaking my teenaged heart!!  Someone referred to the Sunday night’s The Walking Dead episode as “beautiful brutality”, and I guess maybe it was.  Because, those of us who have watched the show from the beginning have become so emotionally involved in it, we haven’t been subjected to that kind of violence and loss-of-humanity on TV before, have we?  I certainly hadn’t.}

I was so literally traumatized from TWD, and from this darn movie, that I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t even close my eyes.  I eventually got up out of bed and roamed around for a bit, but not before turning my side lamp on at least four times.  Just to clear my head.

Anyway, House of Wax is a pretty good movie.  It’s not quite Screambut really, nothing is.

It’s got some pretty folks in it.  It’s got Paris Hilton getting slaughtered a bit, which, back in 2005, when Paris Hilton was (fuckingunfortunately) a household “thing”, was pretty awesome.

paris

Spoiler Alert:  You’re Welcome!

It’s got spooks and some grossness and some thrills.

And then it’s got this guy popping up.

vincent

No freakin’ wonder I couldn’t sleep!!

The movie apparently doesn’t have much, if anything to do with the original House of Wax, starring Vincent Price.  Although, that creepy-ass white face up there is named “Vincent” in the movie….and I literally just got that.  Duh!

But it was a freaky little movie that I would have enjoyed a lot more if I were surrounded by a horde of people….and puppies….in the daytime.

~Sandy


Hitting the Family Jackpot

To say that I grew up in a loving family is an understatement, to say the least.  I grew up in an abundance of love.  With warmth and hugs and kisses.  I hit the family jackpot!

I was surrounded constantly by my family – parents, brother, best friends – who were basically adopted siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  And everyone is very close.
My mom’s parents lived only two houses up the street from us and they were the foundation of my family.  They were our proverbial rock.  Walking into their home was always walking into warmth.  They had an open-door policy and their faces would light up anytime we walked into the home.  And although they lived just a few minutes away and I got to see them pretty much anytime I wanted, nearly every day, it was always a great treat to visit them.  Nannie and Grampie.
My brother and cousins and I would take turns having sleepovers at their home.  And they made each and every one of us feel special and like we were the most important people in the world.
When I was very little, not school-aged yet, my nannie would take me shopping.  My grampie would give me money before I left and my mom would joke that I would always come home with a treat and more money than I left with.
I was their favorite.  We were ALL their favorite.  And they never made us feel like we were anything less.
These people were so special – to all of us.  We would always have big family Christmas parties there; celebrating, and being in love with each other and being so thankful for having these wonderful, loving people in our lives.  Feeling truly blessed.  In the summers, we would have “wiener roasts” – a backyard barbecue of sorts on the side lawn with a fire pit and swings and making “hobo pies” out of white bread and pie filling and roasting them in the fire.  These would go to after dark and were such a treat because we kids, the cousins, got to stay up late and play and be surrounded by so much love and friendship.
My grandmother, Betty, was an incredible woman.  Bright, witty, spunky, hilarious, and hip.  And my grandfather, Brent, loved her more than words can ever express.  And the two of them loved us unconditionally.
Nannie

Catching a fish and wearing white jeans with a thick black belt – this woman was ahead of her time

I remember never wanting to disappoint them.  And even today I still try to live each day trying to impress them and making them proud from their perch in Heaven, as I know they are looking down on me.
In fact, I remember the first (and maybe only) time my grandfather yelled at me.  I was maybe 3 or 4 and I was playing with my baby cousin, Daphnie and I held her wrong or something that may have injured her – and my grampie yelled at me.  Not out of anger, but to prevent me from hurting the baby.  I was instantly heartbroken and I burst into tears, confused and ashamed that I made this man, who I loved so dearly, angry with me.  Of course, he and my grandmother cleared up the confusion but I still remember that moment vividly.
My grandmother was very, very hip.  She drove a moped!  And she loved Billy Ray Cyrus and Clint Eastwood.  And she taught me how to play (read: cheat at) cards.  If were driving with her and jokingly said “Nannie, look at the cute boy, stop the car!”, she would indeed stop the car.  And she would laugh.  If she saw cute boys she would call them over and introduce us.  Instant mortification to a teenager, but funny as hell now.  Nannie would let me put make up on her – regardless of how hideous it looked – and tell me how much she loved it.  She would welcome me with open arms when I would “run away from home” and walk on the inside of the guardrail to get to their place (my mom would always watch from the end of the driveway).  I never felt of out of place with my grandparents.
Nannie had a heart condition.  She had two heart attacks by the time she reached 40 and then had a pacemaker put in. When I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was in my late teens I was also told I would have a pacemaker by the time I was 30 (Note 1. My family doctor was super pissed at this statement and said the specialist had no business telling a kid something like that!  Note 2.  I don’t plan on ever turning 30.).  At the time I was annoyed and confused and scared at this diagnoses.  But, although I saw it as a potential obstacle in my health and life, I also saw it as something I possibly inherited from her.  Something that made me feel just a little more bonded to her.  I have held onto that.
When Nannie was diagnosed with lung cancer in the late 90’s I was devastated.  I remember my mom told me one Friday night while my friend Kim was with me so that I could be comforted at the time of receiving this terrible news.  But Nannie was so strong.  And after having her lung removed, her cancer was gone.  I also remember that while she was in the hospital for this surgery and treatment she was telling me about this gorgeous (male) nurse or orderly that she thought I would find so cute – as she found him so cute – but then she broke the news “….but I think he might be gay.  Dammit.
Within months of having her surgery Nannie was out in the fields picking berries in the summer heat.  Something she loved to do.  She took me with her one summer when I was 15, but I was not meant for that kind of back-breaking work – or using a port-a-potty in midsummer heat (so that I complained the entire day about having to pee) and she refused to take me again.  Ever.  And she kept her word.
That fall I had an essay to write on heroes.  And in my essay I wrote that I did not believe in heroes because I saw them as mythical beings, but that the closest I could come to was my grandmother, for all that she had done and gone through, and even made mention of the berry picking right after her surgery.  (I may also have mentioned my affection for Drew Barrymore for all that she had gone through in her short life and had overcome so much.  See, lifelong follower of this girl.) My nannie was indeed heroic.
Not long after, Nannie was diagnosed with throat cancer.  Cancer so bad that there wasn’t much to do.  The cancer would win.  My nannie, however, stayed strong and fought as much as she could.  We had family gatherings and spent as much time as we could with this woman.  But sadly, devastatingly, heart-breakingly, Nannie passed away in November of 1999 at the age of 60.  A young woman still with so many years of love and adventure left to live.  And my world crumbled.
I have never experienced pain like that in my life. Ever.  This woman was our world.  Our rock.  Our light.  And her death devastated me.  I still have not fully recovered.  To this day, even in this moment, I cannot think or speak of her without crying.  And maybe it’s because it was the first time I really experienced death and loss.  And maybe because she was just so full of life and love and liveliness.  I continue to mourn her loss each day.  But I also celebrate her life each day.
I live in my own world sometimes – hello, SandyLand.  I have adventures, I laugh my ass off – even at the most inappropriate things, I hug and kiss my nephews with so much love that I think they can’t stand it, and I have taught Abby how to play the first game of cards my nannie taught me to play.  And, just like my nannie, I play to win!
There are moments when I can be a real scrag.  I admit it.  But for the most part I try to live each day with goodness and love and laughter.  I want to continue to please my grandparents and not disappoint.  Because I know one day I will see them in Heaven and I know I will have to explain my actions to them if I’ve been a real asshole.
Each night I say a prayer for them – and my dearly departed Aunt Linda – and pray that they are all together and loving and watching and waiting.
I know, since the passing of my grandparents and of my aunt Linda, my mom and my aunt and uncles are pained.  They are broken-hearted, as we all are.  And sometimes it’s terribly difficult to get the family together for holiday celebrations or gatherings because it feels like the spark has gone out.  Like the house is empty and there’s really no point anymore. Because deep down – or even right on the surface – it’s so unbearably painful to celebrate our family when we’re no longer complete. Since my grandmother’s death, my mom (the eldest of her siblings {sorry I used the word “eldest”}) has pretty much taken over the role of the rock; the matriarch of our big but little family.  She always makes sure that no one is left out of Christmas gifts or celebrations.  She wants to honour everyone in the family – especially those who are no longer with us. But everyone sticks together.  As a family, we have had our moments, our ups and downs, that’s what happens in families sometimes.  But we love each other.  Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  We support each other.  And there are days we want to beat each other over the head with a golf club, but at the end of the day, when it comes right down to, our family is bonded with love and togetherness.  That is something we all inherited from Nannie and Grampie.
I want my family (my nephews, my future children) to feel like it’s Christmas morning – to feel that abundance of love and togetherness and that incredible light of love that I always felt at Nannie and Grampie’s.  Walking into my parents’ home I always feel the warmth and the welcoming I felt each time I walked into that house up the street.  And when I visit my cousins and my aunts and uncles I am always welcomed with open arms and smiles and hugs.  The way it was meant to be.  And the way it will be when we’re all together again.
~Sandy