Archives for the month of: December, 2011

Finally, an inkling of a ray of light… Dolores Cannon’s The Convoluted Universe Part Four is now available and I couldn’t resist–I purchased the Kindle edition immediately. I’ve been checking religiously to find out if there are any updates as to when it would be available.

It was originally slated to come out in November, but then it was moved to Christmas Day… and to my disappointment there was an announcement that it might be available at an unspecified date post Christmas.  I’m psyched that as of today it is now available!

So today, despite all my grousing, I got a double treat since I just received this awesome Christmas baking book from a very good friend– “Bake Me I’m Yours…Christmas”

This is my first Christmas baking book, and despite my rudimentary baking skills which I make up for enthusiasm, I hope that aside from flipping through the pages and appreciating the delectable delights, I do find time to try out the recipes here in the book. Yay!

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s



What do we do with the broken pieces of our relationships? Is there any chance of assembling them back together into something coherent or workable? I’ve recently had the excruciating experience of trying to work through issues with someone and it ended up pretty much the way it started–proverbially still shattered and in a thousand pieces, if not even worse.

I have a few guesses as to why the issues were not resolved–and it is not because they couldn’t be resolved, but it was because our own personal issues were in the way and we were not on the same page. On the surface, we both agreed that perhaps it was time to have “the talk” and try to work through or discuss what had been troubling us, but when it came down to it, one of us didn’t mean it and/or wasn’t ready to be honest about the issues or be on the same page.

When this happens, instead of kneeling down on the ground and helping each other pick up the pieces, we end up cutting ourselves when we are not careful or using one of the loose shards as either a destructive weapon or as an object for self-defense.  There were too many factors which contributed to the failure of the crucial and very difficult conversation–among which are pride, ego, dishonesty, a lack of trust and openness.

Whatever went wrong, the broken pieces still lie there without being swept up or tidied… and it is very painful to not be able to reach an agreement with someone about how to fix a relationship when someone is not ready to be upfront about crucial issues or even the premise of the discussion.  If the basis of the discussion is denied, then anything that ensues after that becomes moot.

So, here I am with the broken pieces and unsure of how to proceed. It can be said that we should recognize a lost cause when we see one, but on the other hand, it can also be said that perhaps with a little bit more discussion and determination, an agreement can be reached… Who knows, but perhaps when there is an impasse, it’s best to pause and regroup and see it how it goes before reentering the “discussion” as it were; lest it feel more like a battlefield.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

One of the hardest things about being in high school aside from the emotional instability brought upon by raging hormones and going through unfamiliar territory in discovering who we are is finding a sense of belonging.

It’s definitely not a good sign when one feel likes one belongs in a fictional world as opposed to the real world and in a sense, that’s what what books have been to me–and in particular the Sweet Valley series–a safe haven during the tumultuous coming-of-age period.

Now that we look back, we can easily categorize movies, TV series, or books into genres such as the coming-of-age novel or film which appeals to our sense of nostalgia, sentimentality, or escapism. Watching a coming-of-age novel is a vicarious thrill since it has all the excitement and the pain at a safe distance, without having to go through “all that” all over again.

If we were to be honest (and if we are one of those popular golden people in high school) coming of age is often a bittersweet experience and tends towards more bitterness than sweetness and we would not wish to go through all of that fear, uncertainty, and chaos once again–unless of course, we were one of the so-called ‘In’ crowd.

For remarkably average people like ourselves who did not have everything that we encounter turn into gold during our teenage years, the awkwardness and the confusion would be too much to go through again and there is some solace in being an adult safely a decade or more away from those gawky years.

If we think about it, we all just wanted to fit in, to be accepted, and to belong way back then but then again, as we can say now from a safe distance, ‘Kids can be so cruel.’ Hardly anyone leaves high school unscarred–except for the top 2% who probably inflicted all the scarring and the other 1% who are just plain lucky.

We did not have mobile phones, laptops, or internet back then, but it would be safe to say that coming of age does not get any easier in this era of Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Instant messaging.  Suffice to say, it probably makes it more complicated.

Coming of age is probably one of the most universally difficult experiences which transcend culture and country.

At the core of it is the need for a sense of community and we can only hope that with all the cutting edge technologies invented by science, that there would be some way to be able to–at the most basic level–enhance and aid the fragile and unstable psyches of our adolescents if only to make the transition from being a child to a “grown-up” (whatever that means) easier…

In doing so, we can eventually be a step closer to making the world a better place.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s


Before Young Adult literature was filled with stories about vampires, werewolves, and fairies, there was the Sweet Valley series and I am one among many in a whole generation of women who grew up with the Wakefield Twins and their friends.

Jessica and Elizabeth are practically our old friends and encountering Sweet Valley Confidential was definitely a very pleasant surprise.  It’s like running across some very old and dear friends and catching up with them ten years later to see how things have gone.

I am definitely very pleased that Francine Pascal decided to write Sweet Valley confidential.  I had been addicted to Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Twins books for years as I was growing up and I would actually consider them to be an integral part of my childhood–along with the Nancy Drew series.

Reading Sweet Valley, Sweet Dreams and Nancy Drew books is practically a right of passage.  I read Sweet Valley Confidential with nostalgia–and in one sitting.  I could not put the book down and savored every single word and delighted in the experience of coming in touch once again with a part of my youth.

I have to admit I was not too much of a fan of the Sweet Valley TV series–it did not seem to do justice to the scope and depth of the books.  However, after reading Sweet Valley Confidential–it makes me wonder whether a TV series might be a good idea but only after a Sweet Valley Confidential movie is shown to launch it–reintroduce it to the younger generation so to speak, and delighting longtime fans like myself.

The plot is not complicated… Sweet Valley Confidential reads more like a series of vignettes which takes us into 10 years into the future from where we left off over a decade ago.

It could have been more poignant, more complicated and more heart-wrenching (and longer) to appeal to now adult fans, but as it is, it shows the signature sweetness of Sweet Valley which we know and love.

A nostalgic treat.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s