Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book club, medical stuff, and the longest week ever...

This week has seemed really, really long. It's hard to believe it's only Thursday.

Sunday was my last day off from work and my smaller book club met up at my house to discuss The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I had to confess: I didn't finish reading this book. Since I can't very well review of a book I read less than half of, here's a quick summary from Goodreads:


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

Each chapter of The Night Circus reads like a short, interesting little vignette, so the book is easy to pick up and put down. Which is good, because since going off my anti-anxiety medication a few weeks ago I seem to have the attention span of a gnat. I've gone from easily reading a book or two a week to never finishing anything. I just can't seem to concentrate for long periods of time right now. I surely hope that this is just a temporary side effect--I don't like it at all.

Luckily for me, Marla and one other person didn't finish the book either. Our discussion was somewhat limited since only two people did finish, but we all had fun just the same. I didn't have the time or the energy for a big production this month, so everything was kind of simple. In keeping with the theme of a circus, we had circus-type snacks and beverages: corn dogs, popcorn, peanuts, salted caramel cupcakes (purchased at a fancy bakery by one of our group), cotton candy brought by Marla, and I had cooler iced down and filled with assorted hard apple ciders and hard root beers. There were five of us again, but a sixth member is coming on board next month. And lucky for me, I've already read (and love) the next book so even if my weirdo brain chemicals haven't settled down by then I'll still be prepared. (July's selection is one of my all-time favorites, Neil Gaiman's American Gods).

Then on Monday morning Gregg had his 6 month checkup with the oncologist. He was really nervous about it, more so than usual because his yearly CT scan was two weeks ago, in time for the doctor to go over any results with him. I'm thrilled to report that the scan was clear, all of his blood work was perfect, and once again my good man was pronounced perfectly healthy! What a relief that was to both of us! And once December arrives this year, Gregg will hit his 5 year mark of being cancer free and will go to only having yearly check ups with the oncologist--and barring any future problems he won't have to have any more CT scans now that he's reached this milestone!

This Christmas is going to be especially joyous. I've told Gregg that we're going to have a big, blow-out celebration this year to make up for that December 5 years ago when he got his earth-shattering diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer on the 19th of the month--one week before Christmas. I'm sure there's no need to describe how awful that holiday was for us, or how wonderful this one 5 years later is going to be!

The week got off to a great start, and I shouldn't complain about anything. So I won't. I was going to write about my ridiculous (as usual) annual review at work, and how a couple of great coworkers (the few that there are at my awful job) have given notice and are moving on to better jobs, and how sad and apprehensive that makes me, and how I had to go back to the dentist on Tuesday for a permanent filling in the tooth that had the root canal, and so on and so forth, but suffice it to say that this has been a looooong week, and it's only Thursday. Thursday!

There's a light at the end of the tunnel, though. I have to work all weekend, but I have Monday (the Independence Day holiday) and Tuesday off. Gregg will be off on Monday too, so we'll have a little cookout and feast at home. There won't be any fireworks, though, at least not purchased by us. Our Ginger hates the sound of them and will sit in the laundry room, her face to the wall, the whole time they're going off around the neighborhood. We certainly won't be adding to her fear by buying and setting any off, but we have neighbors down the street that usually put on a decent show that we can watch from our front steps.

So as the weekend (slowly) approaches, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish my fellow Americans a very happy Fourth of July. Stay safe on the roads this weekend, and have fun! I'll catch up with you all next week.


  1. Oh My Goodness !
    First so happy about the check up and the great results !
    We have had so much rain the last few days but there are still fires burning all around, not sure about and fireworks. I would be OK with that.
    Love your book club. Like you since my fibro brain screwup fog is getting worst I too and having a super hard time reading. I have about 5 books half read. Now I am reading a Yearling Book age 8-12 to help me. It is a cute story about chickens. Hope to get brain rewired.

    Have a Happy Fourth of July.
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    1. Happy Fourth of July to you, too!

      And thanks for the kind words! I love books for children and young adults...I hope the chicken story is a fun read for you!

  2. I was going to ask how thing with your tooth were, but you've answered that already. Also, I meant to ask after Marla a few times already but by the time I'd typed in my comment and hit "publish", I had been distracted... So, how are Marla and her husband?

    I read and (mostly) enjoyed "American Gods", too, but that was before I started reviewing all my reading on my blog.

    The best thing really is that Gregg is clear, and too right you're going to have the most wonderful Christmas ever!! (Although I'm happy to finally have some sort of summer - not thinking of autumn and winter just yet...)

    1. Marla and her husband are doing very well....thank you for asking! They paid a visit last weekend to baby Alice's memorial plaque at the hospital where she passed away. They were driving through the area and wanted to stop. Although they still have bad days, they're moving on, and their marriage seems stronger than ever. I'm so relieved to say that they're going to be ok! :)

      I know how you feel about not wanting to rush the season . I'm sure summer in Germany is pleasant, but the heat and humidity here are just awful and it's difficult to do anything outdoors. Even our dogs aren't enjoying their daily walks very much right now! We'll all be glad for cooler temperatures this fall!

  3. That is wonderful news about your husband! I am a fan of good news, anywhere, anytime.

    I found your blog from Going Gently and a lovely comment you made there ages glad I did. I enjoy your writing, especially the honesty with which you describe your life.

    Take care!


    1. Thank you for your kind words! I love John Gray's blog and have met some wonderful people because of it!

  4. I am so, so happy for Gregg. I wish you get well soon Jennifer:)
    Greetings Maria x

    1. Thanks Maria! It's always good to see you here. :)

  5. That is incredibly joyous news! Thank you for sharing it with us, dear Jennifer. I truly hope that Gregg remains cancer free for the rest of his life.

    Big hugs & joyful summertime wishes to you both,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you, my friend! I hope you're having a wonderful summer!