a little halloween inspiration

Two weeks ago, I shared a Reader's Digest version of my stupid summer, and included in that post was a picture of me, taken a few hours after my cataract surgery.

As you can see, I looked pretty freaking deranged. In fact, I believe my original caption was, "Bring me your delicious children!" Haha!

Well, my very hilarious friend Beth decided to take that picture and do a little editing, because an extremely dilated pupil really shouldn't go to waste. Haha! 

Her edits were so freaking funny that I asked her if I could share them. As you've probably guessed, she agreed. And with Halloween time on the horizon, arguably the very best part of fall (actually, not arguably. It's not up for debate: Halloween is the best. Ha!), I thought the timing was perfect. You know, just in case you know of someone having cataract surgery around the 31st and would like some costume ideas. Haha!

So without further ado, here are the Four Faces of Cataract Jennie:

Hahaha! Aren't they fabulous?! It's hard for me to pick a favourite because I love them all. I find my eyes look the most red and dilated with Dia de los Muerto Jennie, because of the black-and-white theme, but the zombie green matches my eye colour...gah! I seriously can't choose! 

Which one is your favourite? Alternate question: which do you find the most horrifying? Haha!

Thanks again, Beth! These are a hoot!


book review (with a tribute mani!): a walk in the woods

On my last book buying binge, one of my favourite booksellers (hi Steph!) recommended a few books that hadn’t been on my radar. One of her suggestions was a non-fiction book called A WALK IN THE WOODS. I'd never heard of Bill Bryson before, which slightly horrified Steph, so she started the hard sell. "He just woke up one day and decided to hike the entire Appalachian trail!" she said, with a wide smile and chuckle. The twinkle in Steph's eyes was undeniable and she'd clearly loved it because she and another employee put a big STAFF PICK sticker on the cover, so I added it to my pile. And just like every other one of Steph's recs, it was awesome!

The synopsis, courtesy of Goodreads.

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in). 

The majority of the non-fiction I read is comedic, and Steph’s description of the quirky nature of Bill Bryson’s writing was bang on. I don’t think that I’ve ever read a such a fact-filled work of non-fiction without being bored to tears—a relative triumph, in my opinion. Because Bill Bryson loves facts, guys and gals. He loves them hard. But he's also funny. Very, very funny. It's an excellent combination. So if the book was simply Bill's take on hiking the trail, it would probably still be entertaining, but there's more than just facts, a long hike, and comedy delivery in A WALK IN THE WOODS, and his name is Katz.

Oh Katz. He's just the best!

After Bill sent out invitations via his wife's Christmas card mailing, only one person responded with interest in joining his hike along the Appalachian trail: Katz, an old friend who Bill had traveled in Europe with, when they were in their early twenties. And so the two of them set out, albeit it with much different equipment (higher quality camping gear for Bill and several packages of Little Debbie cakes for Katz--one of the reasons I loved him!). As you can probably guess, this is where the comedy begins in earnest, because two middle-aged, inexperienced men in the wilderness is bound to be funny. You know, as long as it doesn't end with one being eaten by a bear or something. And speaking of bears, that was one of the first times I laughed out loud, when Bill recounted information he learned from a book titled: Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance. 

Good grief, was that a funny section. Haha!

For my tribute mani, I tried to recreate the walking raccoon. Yes, there's one leg too many, and props to you if you noticed before reading this caption. I didn't realize it until I started editing the photos. Haha! The polishes I used were ORLY's White Tips, OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, Julep's Rooney, China Glaze's Change Your Altitude, Fingerpaints' Black Expressionism, and Black Rite Stripe.

While it's clear that Bill’s take on the world is dominantly academic, he remains accessible. It’s a feat, being both an academic and a relatable human, and I would know because I spent a very long time acquiring university degrees where the overwhelming majority of the academics I encountered were somewhat socially illiterate. But the few professors and colleagues I knew who were hella smart and spoke like a normal human? Those were the people I wanted to have a drink with. Or, you know, maybe go on a two-thousand-plus-mile hike with. If I were a hiker, that is. (I'm not. Haha!)

That's why the book works so well. On one hand, there's Bill, the by-the-book hike leader-slash-travel-writer, while on the other hand, there's good ole Katz. An everyman kind of person, if you will. Their different takes on their journey are what makes the story so engaging. And when Katz loses his mind (which happens a handful of times) I laughed out loud. The best way to describe those moments is that Katz said aloud what all of us were thinking, Bill included. Haha!

It's amazing to me how different lighting can alter polish colours. This shot is inside a lightbox, with indoor light. The other two pictures were taken outside, and consequently look much darker.

So if you're in the market for a fun, informative read about an area of the United States that most don't know much about, then I highly recommend A WALK IN THE WOODS. And if you like the sounds of the book but don't want to read it, you're in luck because there's a movie currently playing, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte (I'll leave it to you to suss out which actor plays which role, haha!).


while I've been away...

It's been about six weeks since I've blogged about anything, but rest assured, I've been keeping busy. Yes, August of 2015 shall now be referred to as The Month of the Hospital, as I couldn't seem to stay out of it. But because I'm super considerate, I spread my hospital visits around. You know, to keep things fair. Haha! 

My first hospital visit, in early August, was for cataract surgery. No, you didn't read that wrong, I said cataract surgery. As in, a surgery most often reserved for older folks. The high dose of steroids I take have some sneaky and sucky side-effects though and, you guessed it, cataracts are one of them. So because I'm high-maintenance and prefer to see as clearly as possible (ha!) I got my left one fixed.

Please note the giant "X" over my left eye. Always good to mark which eye to be operated on, right? Plus, who doesn't want a big X on their forehead, to go with their super cute blue hairnet? Haha!

Ten minutes after I was wheeled out of the prep room, the surgery was over and I was the proud new owner of a new eye lens and nifty patch!

"Bring me your delicious children!" is all I could think when I saw how freaking dilated my cataract-y eye had gotten after surgery. Haha!

The recovery wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but one major problem was not being able to read or paint my nails. The artificial lens that my doctor put in only works for seeing things far away. Up close, it's all a blur. He likes to refer to this as "short arm syndrome," because suddenly, I found myself trying to put as much distance as I can between whatever I'm trying to read and my eyeballs. Unfortunately, this doesn't work, hence my doctor's funny phrase. Also, this is one of the reasons why I love him. He's unintentionally hilarious.  

Anyway, so while I was dying of boredom because my other eye could only read for so long before getting tired, and painting my nails was pretty much impossible (holy not even close to cleaning up my cuticles!) my body decided to double-down on health complications by brewing up an internal infection that traveled up to my kidneys. 

So one bright and sunny Monday, two weeks after my first hospital visit, I pretty much collapsed in my kitchen because I was so cold that my knees started to wobble and I couldn't stand. And when I mean cold, I mean cold, guys and gals. I'm Canadian and am therefore well versed with coldness and I can honestly say that I've never experienced a cold like that. Add in some uncontrollable nausea, and I wound up with a free ride to my local hospital via an ambulance.

After chilling in the E.R. for a while (chilling--get it? Haha! Even when I'm sick, I'm really quite funny) I was formally admitted and then spent the next couple of days hooked up to an IV that slowly dripped medicine into my infection-riddled body. Naturally, I named my IV pole. Because, of course. 

IVana Drip proved to be a tricky little minx, but all in all, we got along pretty well. 

Thankfully, I was only kept for one night, and managed to get a semi-private room with a bit of a view.

The recovery from the infection took about ten days and I'm happy to report that as of last week, blood work confirmed that I'm back to being as healthy a horse. Or my version of that anyway. Haha! My eyeball has healed up nicely as well, but that's why I've been so absent. There just wasn't a lot of time during August and early September where I felt well enough to blog. 

This week, I've had a successive seven-day absence from needing medical attention--yay!--and I've slowly been pulling myself back together. I'm even back to reading now and already know that the book I'm into at the moment is SO resulting in a review and tribute mani (it's so funny!) so hopefully I'll be able to put a review and tribute mani next week. I also have some new posts brewing and my plan is to get back into my blogging schedule within the next few weeks.

So that's what's been going on with me. Not the awesomest of stories, but a story nonetheless. (Shout-out to my hubs, The Remix, for being so supportive during all the madness. You're the best, babe!)

I hope you've all had a great end of your summers! Happy Pumpkin Spice Season! Haha!