Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I just saw this post by one of my favorite bloggers, and even though I have a very small blog audience, and because I know all of you have big hearts, I thought I'd share it with you.

Hi Brandy! I am a long-time mostly lurker, and I wish we were getting to know each other under better circumstances. Please know that I am not much of a prayer, but I definitely know how to keep people in my head and heart, and hope that it helps them. And now you and your totally awesome internet guy are on my list, so I've got my fingers crossed for you.

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He's a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He's the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He's the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He's a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He's made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He's listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He's recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He's the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I'm overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren't sure what's happening. He'll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what's going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as 'brandy's hot awesome dude'). If you don't pray, please keep him in your heart. This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven't seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I'm throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn't a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It's just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven't already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

It will come as no surprise

to anybody that I am sick.

I was going to say "really, really sick", but I think I could knock it down to just one "really" at this point, because I am fever free(ish), and that is usually a turning point for me.

Just like last year, I went and got myself sick right after Christmas. Actually, this year, it's been a little bit different for a few reasons (like the fact that I am actually writing this while it is still December, rather than the middle of January), but basically, it went like this:
  1. I realized I was getting sick as we were going through the frenzy of last week's Christmas preparations, and I started taking my back up antibiotics as soon as that happened.
  2. Unfortunately, I still had a million and a half cookies to bake, and a sick Lil Girl to entertain, and Mum who was sick (and had left all her Xmas shopping til the last minute as usual), and therefore I had to do things like manage to get my own food and essentials like that, and so I couldn't really just rest and try to head things off as much as I might like to have.
  3. On Christmas, I wore myself out even more. Mostly having fun, although there was some managing of things that I really should've just let go mixed in there too. But still, mostly having fun.
  4. By dessert time on Christmas day, my throat was scratchy, my head was stuffy, and I knew I was getting a fever. I started coughing, but everybody was coughing, so no big deal, right?
  5. Wrong. Big deal. By three in the morning, after everyone has finally given up on the Beatles Band Hero, and either gone home or gone to bed, I knew I was in serious trouble. I was having trouble breathing, my throat was so swollen; I could barely move because of the damn fever; and Imight be wrong, but I think someone must have transformed my room into a sauna as a surprise Christmas present for me.
  6. Saturday and Sunday disappeared into a fevered fog. I have vague recollections of chills so violent I required four blankets (which all hurt: thanks FM!) & two heating pads, and the fact that there seemed to be an endless cycle of having to drink, having to get up to pee, and crying because it hurt so bad. I gave up on watching movies, and spent a lot of time staring into the window lights for no damn reason except that I couldn't think enough to realize that I knew how to shut them off.
  7. Monday morning, the fever broke and has been mostly gone since then, which means I was able to rewatch (and actually understand this time) Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (awesome), and the antibiotics finally start to kick in so that I was finally able to swallow something other than soup.
  8. "Eating" nothing but soup for three days does not agree with my stomach. My stomach decided to make its disagreement well known.
  9. Yesterday, I finally got in the shower, and Mum changed my disgusting sheets, and after that I felt vaguely human again. Brain power started slowly coming back, and I remembered things I am supposed to stay connected to like my sister's mother-in-law's surgery and my cousin's ultrasound results.
  10. We finally get to today, where I feel halfway decent (for me), and have gone from sounding like a cigar-smoking Darth Vadar to just a cigar-smoking frog. The hacking cough is lighter and less croup-y, and my tonsils are back on their own sides of my throat.

While this is hopeful, and I'm glad the antibiotics are really working this time, I would really just like to not catch every damn thing. Next year, I'm making the cookie dough in August, and freezing it all. And I'm going to start shopping now, because I can not let myself get so run down. And it pisses me off that 15 years into this damn disease, I still haven't managed to set - and keep - the limits that I need to in order to help myself stay healthy. Which isn't to say that I wouldn't have caught it anyways - Lil Girl, Mum, (not) Youngest Nephew, & his dad are all/have all been sick either this week or last week, so it's not just me of the ruined immune system, but I know that there are ways to protect myself more, and I hate that I let my guard down in that area when things get stressed. Because these damn infections are starting to get more and more serious, and I am not going back to the hospital if I can help it at all.

So, now onto step 11: rest, rest, Guitar Hero, rest, eat real food, watch crappy TV, more rest. Join me, why don't you?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hope you are all where you wish to be this Christmas. And with people who matter to you. Just thought you should know you matter to me.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yesterday was a day lost to smells - between the gasoline for the snow blower, and my dad deciding to burn orange peels, I spent the day battling both nausea and a migraine, and accomplished nothing. I can't afford lost days during normal times of the year, but at this point, I was so angry about the whole situation, my dad was pretty lucky that I was immobile & non-communicative. He just doesn't think, or, even worse, he doesn't ask, and I'm beyond frustrated with the whole damn situation. But that was yesterday. Moving on.

Thankfully, today I am feeling a little bit better, with just a hangover kind of headache. The pukiness has dialed wayy down, which is lucky because I have to make about 65 batches of cookies today. :) I love baking, and I've been looking forward to this, so I'm not going to let yesterday spoil my mood. It's a new day, and I'm amping up my Christmas spirit.

To help with that, I thought I'd share the kids' Santa picture as My Best Shot for this Monday. If you're one of my once-a-week type visitors, let me just wish you the happiest of holidays while I have the chance. Hope the snow hasn't messed too much with your plans.

As always, don't forget to head over to Tracey's, because the Best Shots are one of my favorite parts of the week.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're still waiting for the snow to start here,

but we're all safely wherever we are supposed to be, so I'm definitely in the "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" crowd. I tend to disbelieve the weather guys - as more often than not their predicted amounts are not even close - but right now they're still saying 8-15 inches in our area, although they're leaning toward the smaller amount closest to us. We shall see.

If you're buried under the snow, use it to your advantage: bake some cookies, watch some Christmas movies, wrap some presents.

That's what I'm going to try to do.


I'm sorry for the light posting - I think this must be part of the reason I do NaBloPoMo every year: so that I won't feel so guilty when I can't post all the time in December. I've been sick (shocker); Mum's been sick (so that I have to try to do more for myself); my brother and sister-in-law have been disagreeing (and dragging me into it); and our newest addition added a good 7 hours of (totally worth it) travel to my plans last weekend (which I am still kind of recuperating from). So: it's been a lot, I'm trying to cope with stress in positive ways, but I'm not really sure that I'm accomplishing that. (Fact: if my dad turns the heat down one more time, I might lock him out on the porch. Those are good coping skills, right?) I hate not writing, though, because then I get all clogged up in my head, and my mood suffers. So I'm going to try to be better this week about saying things here, so that certain members of my family don't have to go buy tents.

Deep breath. New day. Off to wait for the snow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My goodness

have I had a busy weekend: a 2nd birthday party for my cousin's twins on Saturday (about an hour away), and then yesterday, instead of getting our Christmas tree, we got my newest nephew instead!

Here he is SisterS's new baby, BabyB ... it'll have to do for now: Poor Youngest Nephew is going to need a new name too, but I'm too brain-fogged to think of a good name for either of them today, so ... settle for a picture?

I thought so. Here's our newest addition. I'm now an auntie to four great kids: How did that happen? (And, literally, this is less than half of my siblings... I could be in big trouble, eventually.)

Have a great week, everybody, and don't forget to head over to MBSM.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I took a couple of days off

from posting. I was in a mood/trying to get things accomplished in real life/fighting off a cold/sick of my own voice/frustrated with the entire world/take your pick. I am still most of those things, come to think of it.
I had to reschedule my appointment with Zack that was supposed to be on Wednesday (now it's February 1st... sigh) because of snow and a car that won't work, and feeling generally like crap (but not crappy enough to necesitate seeing him immediately), and I am disappointed about rescheduling it because I really wanted to talk to him. I am getting some Christmas shopping done online, but not enough. I am getting some decorating done, but, again, not enough.

And I know I am the only one putting all this pressure on myself, and that makes me even more frustrated.

I like to give myself all this credit for all of the adaptations I make in order to live with my illnesses, and I talk a good game about how you have to listen to your body and know your limits, but sometimes I can't help but be my own worst enemy. Christmas time - with it's clump of surrounding birthdays and all the 'essentials' of the season - seems to erase all of my logical decision making skills.

Should I work for 10 hours straight on scrapbook pages, because it is too much work to clean off my bed and then take it all out again? Of course I should! Should I volunteer to make something else for somebody, even though I haven't finished the 12 other projects I've got going? Of course I should! Is it ok if the kids sleep over from now until Christmas? Of course it is! Should I add another pie, and two more types of cookies to the list of things I want to bake next week? Definitely! Should I go to the mall, with all the germy people? Should I forget to eat and take my pills because I am too busy? Should I drop everything because someone else needs me to do something else I hadn't planned on doing? Absolutely, without a doubt!

Sorry for the grouchiness... I'm definitely not a Grinch, as Christmas makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It's more that I need to realize I can't do all of the things I want to do, and I need to cut myself some slack on letting things go.
Should I just wrap myself up in the fuzzy blanket, have a cup of hot chocolate, and try to take a nap? Now that's a pressure I can cave under.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Tomorrow, let's try adding something like 4) Accomplish some damn thing or another, why don't we?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

November has come and gone,

and I didn't publish either of the two posts I promised: The Oracle/abilism post I've been writing since Halloween just still seems like a first draft (even though it is actually my third), and the XMRV post has ballooned into something that looks like 5 posts, with additional information coming in everyday. So I apologize for that - I am still hoping to get them both posted relatively soon. In the meantime, I am kind of* excited about decorating the new house for Christmas; I've gotten a few bits and pieces of shopping done; and I'm eagerly waiting our newest arrival (SisterS is due 9 days!), even if he is going to live too far away for me to regularly snuggle.

Do you have your December planned to the hilt, or are you taking it as it comes?

*"Kind of" because I am also exhausted and still flaring, and it seems that this flare I was worried about back in September has really decided to settle in here for a while. I also love how it takes me three months to declare myself actually worse, even though it was true from that first day... blah.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We made it (again!)


Recovering from a physically hard but emotionally happy weekend, and so, for today's post, you get this:

Bring on December! (Holy crap, it's December!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One more day to post,

and there was more than one day I didn't think I'd make it, but here we are. I'll check back with you tomorrow! (Remind me that I absolutely posatutely do not want to try NaNo Writing Month next year, like I thought I might. No. Maybe in April, but definitely not in November. The End.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pie for breakfast is healthy, right?

So, Thanksgiving was fabulous here (Until I sort-of passed out, while trying not to pass out, and thought I was being really discreet and all, but everybody started getting up and leaving. Oops.) ~ I hope it was fabulous for all of you too (minus the passing out part).

I am recuperating slowly, which means leaving bed only for necessities, and checking e-mail only for short periods of time that my fever is down and my brain is functioning, but today is so much better than yesterday that I just wanted to check in and say that I hope you are all having a great, restful, thankful weekend.

Be back manana (in one form or another).

Be As Well As Possible.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

After we built (tore down and rebuilt) a block city today, Lil Girl and I threw our own Thanksgiving Parade. Using all of the little people, birthday cake characters, and happy meal toys from our various childhoods (there's been a kid around here continuously since 1976), we wound up with a Sesame Street float, a Lion King float, a Lil Mermaid float, a bunch of clowns, a Bambi float, about 6 other Disney themed floats and had Woody from Toy Story leading the whole thing. Block City residents really seemed to enjoy, as did she and I. Afterwards, Lil Girl decided to invite every single float, wrangler and character back to the main house for Thanksgiving dinner. Here's hoping that your Thanksgiving has a few less participants, so that you don't have to rebuild your house (again) to fit them all in.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today is pie day

and I have just two things to say -

1_ Baking pies is a LOT easier with a stove that works. *I will try to take pictures before they get eaten tomorrow.


2_I am in need of a hot shower and a warm bed.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, peoples. Wish you all the best tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear TV

I have never "wondered who grew my soup*".

On the other hand, thank you, Bravo, for starting the West Wing over from the beginning. :Sigh: I miss the Bartlett White House.

Fox: just so you know, I know that your American Idol previews are going to be better than the actual season of American Idol, so I don't mind that you're playing them already.

Also, bring on the Christmas specials everysinglestationever, because I have a DVR and will watch them next week, when I am feeling the Christmas spirit. Why aren't there any Thanksgiving specials, btw? May I suggest Planes, Trains, & Automobiles? Those Aren't Pillows!"

Carry on.

Sincerely, NTE

* Campbell's Soup commercial;

Monday, November 23, 2009

had a sleepover this weekend

with this boy:

We had a great time, and played enough card games to make up for the weeks since we've been able to play. We played War and Fish and Bullshit (which, for age appropriate reasons, we call I doubt it!) and BlackJack and Poker. This boy is a bluffer, for sure, and I don't know where he gets it from, because I am the one who taught him to play, and I apparently suck at bluffing (at least, that's what my family says). He also likes to go "All IN!" while I prefer to wager discreetly and sneak up on people when I have a pile large enough to knock them out. But we had a lot of fun, regardless of our different playing styles.

At one point he was laughing so hard that he passed gas and, of course, because he's a 9 year old boy, started laughing even harder. When he finally stopped giggling, he said "Excuse me: I must have laughing gas." If you don't think that started another wave of laughter, then you don't know me at all.

Don't forget to check out all the the other MBSM, where Tracey has asked us to share our heart. This boy is certainly a large piece of mine. Happy Thanksgiving to all my (mostly) Monday readers - Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday night

came awfully quickly: Hope you had a great weekend, and (if you're in the US), that you've got your Thanksgiving plans in order!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I always get about this far into NaBloPoMo, and wonder what the heck I was thinking: there's sleepovers and Thanksgiving and pies to make; there's birthdays to scrap for and Christmas presents to scout out; there's doctor's appointments and relapses and every single germ in creation headed straight for me. In other words, November is not exactly a stress free month - for any of us.

But then I remember that coercing myself to write everyday reminds me that I have a connection to people who don't just exist within 65 miles of my physical self. It reinforces the idea that there are other people like me, who are just trying to make it through their days, and we're all helping each other out. It forces me to think of something to talk about, allowing for the instances when all I have to talk about is how sucky something has been & promoting instances when glorious things occur. It gives me something to look back on with pride and accomplishment at having met a goal and overcome obstacles.

So here's to another day down, and 9 days to go.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I am home again

(home again, jiggety jog). It was a relatively minor issue, which, as usual turns into something bigger because I am me. Whatever. I am over it. Back home with the heating pads, whatever virus Lil Girl managed to wipe on me (she sneezed into my shirt the other day, instead of her own, and while I know that didn't make me sick, I doubt it made me any better either), and more DVR-ed West Wings, Offices, and last night's Daily Show & Colbert Report... Then I'm going to take the hottest shower ever and zone out. We have a shiny new stove that I get to make pies in next week, and that is happiness making, indeed.

That's my update, What's cooking for you guys?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Just made it... am relegated to the pull out couch of death again, because new stove = gas pipe = smell... back tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stepped in it this time

Today I managed to start a big family brou ha ha, which only reminds me why I try not to talk to people and makes me wish I lived in one of those hibernation caves you hear so much about. (Minus the bears.) Long story short(ish) - my grandmother, uncle and littlest sister weren't going to come for Thanksgiving, only littlest sister (SisterK) didn't know that. When I told her, her response was "Why do they hate happiness?" and then she called them and asked them what was up. 5 phone calls, (at least) 3 sets of hurt feelings, and one "let's not let this shadow the holiday" later, they're coming for Thanksgiving. And they'll be happy (ish) about it!

No, seriously: I have no idea how things went off the rails in regards to that whole discussion, but they went waaaay off the rails, and just blah. I know we are champion avoiders, so it will all be forgotten(ish) and never discussed again, but in the meantime, it's just too much drama. The kind of thing I have labeled (in my head) Llama Drama, because it is just so unnecessary, and everything in my life must somehow be related to a book, even if, in most instances, it's a picture book.

After all the Llama Drama, I just want to never answer the phone (and I wasn't too keen on it before all this), but I will have to, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm going to watch the cast of Nine on Oprah and hope for some rousing musical numbers ("Be Italian happens to be one of my favorites, because it is so, totally my dad).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all"

Yes: this -
WANTED: A partner for richer or poorer and for better or worse and absolutely, positively in sickness and in health. A partner for fishing and French food and beach walks and kayak trips, but also for phone calls from physicians with biopsy results. A guy who knows that while much of marriage is a 50-50 give-and-take, sometimes it’s more like 80-20, and that’s OK, even when the 80-20 phase goes on and on. A man who truly doesn’t care what somebody’s breast looks like after cancer surgery, or at least will never reveal that he’s given it a moment’s thought. A guy who’s got some comfort level with secretions and knows the value of a cool, damp washcloth. A partner who knows to remove the computer mouse from a woman’s hand when she types phrases like “breast cancer death sentence” in a Google search. And, most of all, a partner who will sit in a cancer clinic waiting room and hold hard onto the purse on his lap

Because, also? This -

"What did it feel like, I wondered, to be kissed like that right out in public? Not like some passionate tongue-wrestling thing, just a kiss to declare: We are each other’s. I’d never been kissed like that. No one had declared me his, not for the whole world to see, anyway." - Story Of A Girl
and this
“He wished he knew the name of the gods who’d looked down on him the day he’d met her. If he could stack everything he owned, had done, had accomplished, on one side of a scale, it still wouldn’t out-weight the gift of her.” - Memory In Death

(and, if you want to read more about "Real/Everyday/99%/Omega/Sandwich Heroes" check out this Smart Bitches thread.)

I know these guys exist ~> I'm lucky enough to have some examples in a few friends and family members, so I know it's not too much to wish for; someone who loves you best. (I just worry if it's feasible for me, but I guess everybody does.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Except for the punching, some pretty good advice.

Just can't get it together again here, people: My Best Shot Monday photo is stuck in my camera, and my energy is nil. So I decided to give you some of the most recent quotes that have caught my attention & go back to the West Wing marathon my DVR so kindly saved for me.

“If exhaustion were a tangible object, something you could point to and say, "Look, there's my tiredness," mine would have it's own orbit. It would glow red in the night sky and be feared by villagers and prophets alike. Virgins, no doubt, would be sacrificed to it.”
From “Looky, Daddy” blog

"The only real way to get at how much real pain a person is in is to ask them and trust them. The danger of not believing people is much greater than the danger of overprescribing opioids. The big challenge we have is educating medical doctors. Politicians are even harder, but medical doctors are also thick as bricks." .
Jeffrey Mogil, PhD; From O Magazine, April 2009

"I ate a lot of widower food: peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, frozen steak burritos. I heated the burritos in the oven and if they didn't come out thoroughly defrosted I said, Hell, what's the difference, and crunched through the frost. The hungry feeling and the lonely feeling merged until it was hard to tell them apart. I stopped cooking. Couldn't stand the idea of it. Who would eat it? Who would notice? Who would care? ... But there's still hunger. The sun goes down and there are quick decisions to make."
Love is a mix tape; Life and loss , One Song at a time by Rob Sheffield

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.
-- Buddha

The to-read pile is more than just a physical stack of books: it's a tower of ambitions failed, hopes unrealised, good intentions unfulfilled. Worse still, it's a cold hard reminder of mortality. Already, I have intentions to read more books than I can hope to manage in a normal lifetime. How will this pile of books taunt me when I'm 64?"
Perils of the TBR

Everyone, at some point in their lives, wakes up in the middle of the night with the feeling that they are all alone in the world, and that nobody loves them now and that nobody will ever love them, and that they will never have a decent night’s sleep again and will spend their lives wandering blearily around a loveless landscape, hoping desperately that their circumstances will improve, but suspecting, in their heart of hearts, that they will remain unloved forever. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to wake somebody else up, so that they can feel this way, too.
- Lemony Snicket

In the Schrute family we believe in a five-fingered intervention. [raises fist] Awareness. Education. Control. Acceptance. And punching.
— Dwight Schrute, The Office

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ah, to be this organized...

Not feeling better today, so please enjoy pictures of bookcases - not ours, unfortunately, as the not feeling better has extended to still not getting the books any further than random piles on the floor - but ones from various tumblrs and whatnot. Bookcases... drool.

Via the blog on the bookshelf

Via FYReading

Via Infinite Butterflies

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Check back tomorrow for things that make sense

I dared to venture out of the house last night, and am definitely paying for it today. I am lucky enough to hear things like "You look like you are hungover" without ever getting to experience the being fun (?) of actually drinking. Headaches, dry heaves, body aches, noises that are too noisy, lights that are too bright ~ just my normal recuperation period, basically. It was nice to be out - seeing my sisters while wearing something other than my pajamas; getting bubbles blown at us by the famous (probably only in Cambridge) Bubble Lady; embarrassing SisterK by having the waiters attempt to sing Happy Birthday (wow, they did such a bad job) - but it sucks to have to pay for it. To realize that (most likely due to whatever bug I am still trying to fight off already) the hours out/suffering afterwards ratio is definitely not tipping in my favor. Oh well: what's done is done, and we almost wound up with a leprechaun's jacket, so it was worth it.

Oh, also: I am so glad that you all liked the MILAs ~ I could spend forever reading those! I know they basically show that I am a big geek, since more than half of the ones I save are related to Harry Potter or things like that, but if you spend any time here, you already know that anyways. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Average Lives

All of these amusing little anecdotes are recent postings from My Life Is Average (which I have been calling "My Life Is Awesome", simply because it seems much more apt). If you haven't been over there, you should check it out - these are just a few of my favorites lately, but there are about 50 new posts a day, and there's usually 2 or 3 that give me a little chuckle. Enjoy yourself flipping through them... but beware: Time Suck Major!

Today, my liitle sister was playing barbies in her room. When I walked by all I heard was "First, my ninja barbies, we are going to destroy Hannah Montana and her awful music, and then we will take over the world!" I don't know whether to be terrified or extremely proud. MLIA

Today, while in my mother's 2nd grade classroom, I was looking at the bulletin board. It read "Believe in Yourself" and each student had to write one goal they wanted to achieve down. While most kids wrote "i can run faster" or "i can reach my reading goal", one child put down "i can hug a penguin". MLIA

Today, my sister and I turned our yard into the Godric's Hollow cemetery. We made headstones for all the important characters that had died in the Harry Potter books and played music from the Harry Potter soundtracks. Tonight, when I opened my front door to greet some trick-or-treaters, a young Harry Potter was weeping by his parents' gravestone in my front yard. I gave him the rest of the candy. MLIA

Today I dressed up as Gandalf and went to work. I was late. When I walked in my boss said "you're late", to which I replied "a wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." I didn't get in trouble. MLIA.

Today, I was in a large corn maze and began to be bored. To change this, I decided to yell "Marco!" at the top of my lungs. Off in the distance, I heard a single person yell "Polo!" back equally as loud. We continued for an hour and a half until I found her. We now have a date set up for tomorrow. MLIA.

Today, I was was at work (I teach kindergarten) when I noticed a little boy trying to steal a girl's barbie doll. I was about to go break up the argument when the girl yelled "Swiper no swiping!" the boy yelled "OH MAN" and walked off. Thank you Dora for teaching kids proper self defense.

Today, I was walking around school and I noticed a blue paw print taped to the wall. Intrigued, I removed it and looked around for the culprit. A student in a large blue dog costume peered around the corner, put a finger to his lips and promptly disappeared. I have never been more confused and excited in my life. MLIA

Today, it was our Year 12 Assembly, where everyone dresses up and we run the assembly ourselves for the rest of the school. One of my friends dressed up as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, and during the Principal's speech to us, he yelled out "CHANGE PLACES!!!" 1500 students got up and ran to a different seat, and the Principal continued with his speech and acted nothing happened. MLIA

Today, I realized that the Clapper does not only respond to clapping, it also responds to any exceptionally loud noise. It may be a bit noisy around here, now, but lights come on when I scream 'Lumos!' and that's all that matters. MLIA

Today, during SSR (silent sustained reading), I pulled out a book by Dr. Suess and began to read. Apparently the cute guy next to me was reading over my shoulder, because at the end of the book, he sighed and said to me, "I love happy endings." I'm in love. MLIA

Today, my friends and I were walking down the hall in a straight line across when one of my friends stopped and rearranged the order we were walking in. I didn't realize what he was doing until I noticed that our shirts were now in rainbow order. We're best friends for this reason. MLIA.

These are SO my people.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well, today is Thursday (as opposed to Tuesday, when I just thought it was), but I don't get my four days off: we have Lil Girl tonight for a sleepover (her first in a very long time) because her other grandmother has to have day surgery tomorrow, and we're helping out. Of course, I'm also supposed to go out to dinner for SisterK's birthday, so we'll see how that goes. For tonight though, we've got a movie to watch, some mashed potatoes boiling, and Lil Girl is going to have her first bubble bath at the new house: sounds good to me.

(And then later, I'll have The Office to watch< so that's awesome too. )

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

Last year on Veteran's Day, I posted a picture of my father , circa 1980 something, during one of his many tours of duty. He was in the United States Navy from 1978-1993 (? on the ending date), and it's one of my favorite pictures of him, even though I don't have any idea when/where he is in the picture. I was lucky enough to get the picture from three of his on-ship buddies when we met with them a few years back, & they couldn't remember where they might have been (although the consensus was that it was probably the Mediterranean). My father passed away 10 years ago, and our relationship was incredibly complex. But those men remembered him, and thought well enough of him to try to look him up 15-20 years after they had served together. They thought well enough of him to contact my brother, my sister and I and to arrange a meeting with us, after they found out he had died. They brought us pictures and stories and I will always appreciate them for doing it, because so many of my happy memories of my daddy have long been overshadowed by some of his more atrocious behavior during his last years on earth. Regardless of all that, though, I do know that he served his country well and that he worked diligently for many of his years in the service.

I have always been proud to be a sailor's daughter, even when I wasn't proud of the sailor himself. I have pictures of his burial at sea, a few pictures of him in his uniform, but instead I'm going to choose another picture that his friends gave us when we met them. Here he is in the tiny little quarters on ship, being a goof:

My family has a long history of service, actually: My Nana's father was in the Navy, and served during World War I aboard the USS Mt Vernon. Originally a seized German ship, the Mt Vernon was torpedoed by the Germans in September of 1918, while James (my great-grandfather) was serving. Although luckily uninjured, he was sent back to the US following the attack, and served at a Naval Hospital (which is, coincidentally, right around the corner from the new house) near Boston until he was discharged. Here is a photo of the ship's crew I found online - He's in there somewhere:

And here he is up close, in uniform:

My other maternal great-grandfather, (my grandfather's father) also served during what his discharge papers call "The World War" as a Wireman and a Private in the United States Army from 1917-1919. (Unfortunately I don't have any photos of him in his uniform, and actually only two or three pictures of him at all.) And his son, my mother's father, my Papa, served in the Army during WWII: All I know about his service is that he was a driver in a convoy going up the narrow mountain roads (in Northern Africa, maybe?) and the truck in front of him was hit, and drove right over the edge of the mountain. When he came back from the war, he never drove again. Here he is at the very end of the chow line (and not nearly as excited as some of his fellow troops):

On my father's side, three of his brothers served in various armed forces; all of my great-uncles and two of my great-aunts served during WWII (my Grandfather was the only child (of 7) who could not); Both of my Grandmother's brothers fought during the Battle of the Bulge - One of her brothers was a medic, and later told her that his biggest fear was that he would be running through the battlefield and be called to a soldier only to see it was his brother - thankfully that did not happen, and they both made it back safely; And the oldest American Veteran in my family (that I am aware of) was my great-great-Grandfather - my Grandmother's grandfather - who was killed in a flash flood after enlisting in the Union Army.

I'm lucky enough now that none of my uncles, aunts or cousins are serving any longer, but I can remember how scared I was during the first Gulf War, knowing that my father was over there serving. I can specifically remember flipping off the Nintendo one afternoon and CNN was on, and they were showing the live bombings, and I was frozen in fear, worrying that one of those fighting might have been my father, and that something horrible could happen to him. I cannot explain how much gratitude I have for those who are serving, and for their families. Today and always: Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It is Tuesday,

and all day long I've been thinking it's Thursday. Both are Lil Girl days, which can explain some of the confusion, but one comes later in the week, meaning that I have the possibility of four days off in a row. Today is not that day. Today is Tuesday, which means I have only tomorrow off, if I am lucky, and that does not seem like enough for me, right about now. Actually, right about now, I would like to take a 12 hour nap, but since it is not Tuesday circa 1998, that is so not going to happen. My fatigue lately (and, as always, I have to laugh at the utter uselessness of a word like "fatigue" to describe the exhaustion I am suffering from) is irrefutable, and I spend a lot of my time afraid that I might be sliding backwards into the hell of previous years. The times where I couldn't be around other people at all, because their presence - their noise, their smells, their movement - made me sicker. The times where I would spend weeks and months in bed, just unable to sit up at all, unable to roll over or drag myself to the bathroom. I know I am not there yet, but there are just more and more days when I can not accomplish anything - where turning on the computer takes up my allotted energy resource for the day, and then I have to wait 6 hours until I can write anything; where craving and caring and wishing for an extra ounce of oomph are the only things I manage to cross off my to do list; where trying to figure out what the hell Colbert is talking about is beyond me. Physical and mental 'fatigue' are just normal states for me, my new normal, and I hate it when any little thing gets worse, and I have to try to adjust every other damn thing. Laying around without stretching or moving at all makes the pain worse, but I don't have any stamina for moving or stretching. Not eating throws off my pill schedule, which can make the dizziness, or the pain, or the vertigo worse, but I need to have enough energy to make a food. To eat a food. To not throw up a food.

I feel ridiculous for even mentioning it right now, because it's only like a minuscule worsening of things: I still got a bunch of stuff accomplished this weekend, I watched Lil Girl today and made slice and bake cookies - I know it is not at horrible, scary levels yet. It's just that every little thing, every tiny slip backwards, reminds me that I am not in control of my body (not really, anyways), that even if I do every.single.thing. I know how to do to manage my diseases and prevent worsening, things can still happen. I can get viruses and my tonsils can swell up and prevent me from breathing. Thirteen consecutive nights without sleep can cause me to fall and bang my face on the corner of something hard, and my POTS gets worse. I can just do everything right, and still wind up sicker. And that is a bitter pill to swallow, no matter when I am swallowing it. (And then, I also realize that this is true for everybody, and I think I should get over myself. Bah. )

Monday, November 09, 2009

This is a picture of SisterK, from earlier this year, back when I was spending the summer at Grandmother's house. We were corrupting our nephew teaching Youngest Nephew to play poker using pretzel sticks and marshmallows. We had a ball that day, not only because Youngest Nephew rocks at poker and decimated SisterK's snack pile (see photo of the devastation below), but also because SisterK is usually phenomenally busy, and so having some family time was pretty amazing. (Just as an example of how busy she is, the day after I took this photo, she flew to San Fransisco for 4 days, then Colombia for 3 weeks. After that she taught at an extremely intense private summer school program, until the first weekend of September, when she went back for her Junior (!) year at Harvard. Like I said: very busy.) Today is SisterK's 21st birthday, and so MBSM is this shot of her, rocking the mini pretzel sticks, being her awesome self. (The completely decimated photo is just a little bonus, because it makes me laugh that a 9 year old, playing his first game of poker, can out-bluff my worldly baby sister.)

Have a great week, everybody!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


That is the inside of my computer, which I never want to have to see again. The computer is currently running fine - cool, even, for the first time in forever. I am going to just keep my fingers crossed (not while typing) that we have cleared everything up, and it will all be fine and dandy. The End. No more NaBloPoMo posts about the state of my computer, thank you very much. I am sure you all agree.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Just to prove

that all sorts of electric equipment hates my guts, today, the carbon monoxide detector went off. Repeatedly, and ear-splittingly. (It is much louder than even the smoke detector: Who knew?) And then it told me we were all dying because the CO was at 900 ppm. A good number is less than 35. So we had to call the fire department, and they told us that it was just malfunctioning, because their meters had it at 0-2.

On the plus side, my dad and I dismantled my computer, and then put it back together. and now it's working, and I am pretending that it will continue to do so. There was a hunk of dust trapped between the fan and the vent, and of course, to get to it I had to take EVERY SINGLE SCREW out, and remove the keyboard and the entire back, and the motherboard. I am not brave, and doing these things made me want to cry, but I figured I couldn't be any worse off. And now, my lap is not catching on fire as I type, and the computer is staying on. These are good things.

Tomorrow, maybe we'll replace the stove - the one that came with the new house - because the electrical system in it doesn't work - banana bread at 350? Normally is supposed to take an hour. I baked for 3.5 hours the other day, and it was still raw-ish in the middle. It beeps, randomly, all night long. Of course, I am the only one on this floor, so it doesn't bother anybody but me. Awesome sauce.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sorry guys: Another measly paragraph of a post today, since the computer has cut me down to 6 minutes at a go, and I spent most of the day trying to figure out how to get the fan out, only to find out that I have to go from the keyboard down, instead of the bottom up. Basically, they make it as ridiculously difficult as possible, so that you don't really have much of a choice but to take it to somebody to get it fixed. But - if at all possible - I am not going to spend $200 for the guy to tell me there's some dust or hair trapped in the fan. I'm going to have to ask for help, which is a complicated issue for me. It is something that I absolutely avoid as much as is humanly possible, because I feel like I ask for too much help that I don't have a choice in, health wise. It's like I can't ask for anything else, because I've used up my share of goodwill or that because I can't contribute as much as I would like to, I can't then turn around and ask for help. It's just one of my issues, and I'm going to have to suck it up here, because I definitely can't do it on my own. I didn't even think I'd get this up, but I asked my sister for her laptop, and here I am.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully. I'm not going to stress of NaBloPoMo, though: It's not a huge deal, and I'm just going to do what I can.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy Doc Brown Day!

Now go be a Genius; just try to do it without banging your head on the toilet.

(About the shutting down -> I think it's the overheating thing again - the underside of the laptop is scalding hot, and I don't hear the little fan thing going round and round the way it should. That's what I get for saying that my computer problems weren't that serious. Now I have to figure out if it's worth paying to get it fixed or not. Sigh.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Of course,

after yesterday's post, about how my computer was fine, it shut down, unexpectedly (and for no. good. reason.) twice today. So instead of the long rambling post I was working on, you're going to get this (2?3?5?) sentences paragraph that I am hustling out to you before the whole thing collapses again. I am hoping it just got overheated... that happens sometimes, and maybe that's what it was. But I can't push my luck here, as far as NaBloPoMo goes.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Hip Hip... Boo.

My poor, 4.5 year old computer has been running so obscenely slow lately, and I didn't exactly know why. Ok: That's not entirely true... I did know that there were a lot of pictures on here. When I packed up all my stuff in April (and still have yet to unpack a good 3/4 of it), I loaded a bunch of pictures on here beforehand.. a lot as in, about 20 years worth of scanned pictures, to share with Grandmother. And since then, I've taken about 1500 more (a lot of them horribly atrocious, but I don't delete. WHY don't I delete? I have no idea.) Usually, I upload them to my computer, then onto a DVD & my back up drive, and then erase them off the main drive. But lately, between feeling like crap, and having a million of things that I have to do (like unpack that remaining 3/4 of a life; start/finish people's birthday presents/christening presents from 2 years ago, etc), the backing up of something that is already sort of done has just not happened.

This picture is a screenshot breakdown of my computer files, and I think it does a pretty good job of showing why my computer is running so slowly: All that blue? Those are pictures. They take up an outrageously large portion of my hard drive, (87.3 GB out of 1 MB - Full of pictures) and it's a wonder I can get anything accomplished at all on here. The next largest chunk of color - those reds? That's my music library. Which also needs intense whittling.

I am not sure if I am glad about this news or not: On the one hand, I had been thinking I would have to buy a new computer soon, because it takes me 45 minutes to get Firefox to load and makes me want to cry. So realizing that all I really need to do is sit my butt down and get some stuff deleted is great, because I can't really afford a new computer. But it also kind of sucks because A) I don't want to do a lot of boring erasing and B) I would, in fact, like a new computer. But I am also very cheap/poor, and I know I won't buy it if it can be put off. Which, apparently, if I actually do the work, it can be.

So hooray for figuring out what the hell is wrong, but boo for actually having to fix it, basically.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Best Shots

I'm assuming that the majority of today's MBSM will be Halloween related, and I am so excited ~ I love to see all the costumes!

As for our Halloween, Lil Girl and Youngest Nephew came over early and spent the day hanging out with us... I miss spending time with Youngest Nephew now that school has started back up, and was so glad to see him. His sister was in a pretty nasty mood for part of the day (Sharing; what's that? Standing still so that Auntie can get a good picture: Que es esta?), and nobody understood my costume at all (Oracle; but nobody knows who the heck she is), but the majority of the day went well, nonetheless.

Youngest Nephew wasn't feeling particularly inspired this year, and wore his Army man costume from last year (and the year before), but with additional weaponry (yippee). Lil Girl was going to be a cat; then she wanted to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (because it came with a little stuffed dog), but while we were at the store, she saw this Dora the Explorer costume and decided she had to be Dora - because of Backpack (who she calls "Pack Back") - Lil Girl is all about the accessories. (There were a lot of comments in our family, about her being a little blond Dora, but I thought she looked adorable... I do wonder how many people she had to explain the costume to, though.)

We had more trick or treaters this year, in our new house, than I've had in the past 5 years at the old house, and were lucky enough that we had a bunch of older candy hiding in the cupboard, or else we would have run out of candy before 7 o'clock.

Now I'm off to see what everybody else did this weekend!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's November...

And we all know what that means: It's NaBloPoMo again!

It's time for an overflow in Google Readers, an influx of random postings, an avalanche of "what the hell do I write now"s!

I'm actually excited to be participating in my fourth annual NaBloPoMo, because I have a million half-posts which have been brewing in my brain (and in the draft folder) for too long, and for the sake of actually finishing them, having a deadline is probably a good thing. Which means you'll finally get my post on the new XMRV findings, a few posts about ableism that I've been trying to hammer out the details on, some of my thoughts on the blogosphere, more than a couple of posts with some pictures, and probably a ton of quotes, because that's the kind of mood I've been in lately.

And I'm going to do my best to comment (at least) once a day too, this month, giving myself a new goal to meet. I feel like I've been reading so many good posts, and then clicking away without saying anything. Mostly because it feels like all I have to say is "Me too" or "Totally THIS.", and those feel inadequate to me. But following a recent discussion with a fellow blogger, I realize that when I get those comments, they mean the world to me, so leaving them is worthwhile, even if it doesn't feel like it.

So there we go: Two goals, thirty days, and a blogger who feels like setting goals might be akin to tempting fate, but is going to do it anyways.

Deep breaths, everybody; deep breaths.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Has anybody seen my tambourine?"

Tim Curry is Halloween.

A lot of people have Halloween traditions that revolve around The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I don't think I've ever even seen the whole thing. For me, Tim Curry has some films in his reperitoire that are quite a bit scarier:

Between It, which basically ruined my sister's childhood & ability to go to birthday parties without melting down (and which, sorry SisterJ, they are remaking :yay!) and my favorite nonsensical Halloween 80's throwback treat, The Worst Witch, there is plenty of proof that Tim Curry is an excellent actor, appropriately cheesy, and just a creepy, creepy guy.

Evidence: He hates orphans; he wanted the rainforest destroyed; he ruined the word "poppet" for me; he plotted to kill a king; and he did it all with a smarmy, oil-slick sneer. He can be funny, could be charming - No: he is charming - but at the same time, you can't kind of tell he wants to rip you to pieces as soon as you aren't paying enough attention.
This is a guy who just can't help it: He's creepy in two Christmas movies... and a Muppet movie, for goodness sake. So here's a little Tim Curry to get you in the Halloween Spirit:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

15 years and counting...

I turned 30 earlier this year, and, in the months leading up to that day, I was getting a whole lot of "Is turning thirty going to bother you?" "Do you think you're going to freak out?" "Does being 30 make you feel OLD?" type questions. I didn't think 30 was anything to freak out over, and told people so, even if I don't think of the number as having any actual relation to my life. (If you're going by how I feel I might as well be 97 right now, physically, and about 12, on a good day, emotionally.) But there is something about turning thirty that I knew was going to really mess me up, and that is that it marks a different sort of milestone for me: I have now been sick longer than I have been ill.

The last day I remember being well was October 20, 1994: Fifteen years ago. I have now been living with chronic illness for exactly 1/2 of my life. And that is a heavy, heavy thing.

It shouldn't be, probably: It's certainly no surprise, at this point, to realize that my illnesses aren't going anywhere. For the first few months, and even the first couple of years, there was the constant thought that "I could wake up better tomorrow" just as suddenly as I had woken up devastatingly ill that first morning. As time went by, and test after test would come back screwed up (but not treatable) and doctor after doctor stopped treating anything except the active infections (rather than the underlying whatever-the-hell-is-causing-this), it got harder and harder to believe that one day I'd just wake up better. One thing snowballed into another, relapse ran into relapse, sleep problems followed pain problems followed breathing problems followed energy problems, and the cycle just seemed inescapable. (It still seems pretty inescapable.)

And to know that there is no end in sight, that these 15 years are probably just the beginning of a really long haul (if I am lucky), that's a hard pill to swallow as well.

But here's another thing I've been thinking about: There were also numerous times where I figured, "I'm just going to die from this... I can't survive this time." (I still have those times, too.) And if I look at it that way, if I look at the past fifteen years and think - "Well, I've survived this for half my life. I've coped as best I could, and survived a lot of things I didn't think it was possible to survive. And I am still here" - then it's not quite as hard to swallow, I think. Seeing myself as a survivor, rather than a sufferer is one of the many distinctions about my identity I have had to make over the years, and it's one of the hardest to hold on to.

Here's the thing, I'm a woman with a disability: I have now been disabled half my life, and I am so proud of the ways in which I have met the challenges of my disability, in the ways I've cobbled together an identity from the bits and pieces of myself that were left over and the new ones I discovered along the way. In that way, I figure that I am no different from anybody else: Everyone - disabled or temporarily able bodied - spends those 15 years of their life (from 15 -30) trying to figure out who they are, who they want to be, and how to live in a way that is best for them.

Life experiences change who we are, and being ill has certainly changed who I am - and not in a completely negative way. But still, when October comes, I remember the part of me that I lost - the part of me died 15 years ago: the dancer who could be touched without crying, who had energy to spare after walking 5 miles, who thought she was going to be a million things, but none of them included this - and so I'm still mourning that person that I could've been, that I maybe should have been, but, at the same time I'm also incredibly proud of the woman I am turning out to be. Does this make sense to anybody but me?

Basically, as I came up to this Sick-a-versary, I was more conflicted than I've been in years past - it feels like both a solemn occasion, because of all that I've lost, and a cause for celebration, because I am Still. Here.

(I've been working on this post for a week, and it still doesn't feel like it explains exactly how I am feeling, but I suppose this is the closest I am going to get, for now. I hope it makes sense to some of you.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The End

Final Tally!

Title of book(s) read since last update: The Areas of My Expertise
Number of books read since you started: 8 whole and two halves (of different books)
Pages read since last update:74
Running total of pages read since you started: 2282 + 74 = 2356
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 87 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1269 + 87 = 1356 = 22.6 hours/24!
Mini-challenges completed: 8
Other participants you’ve visited: Around 24
Prize you’ve won: 1 ! T

Alright Folks - Readathon's Final Hour

End Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Somewhere around 5 o'clock, and hour 19, when I completely lost the ability to do math.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? My first two books of the Readathon, The Sugar Queen and The Perks of Being a Wallflower were definitely winners.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Maybe I will when I have some time to think about it, but not right now.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Using audiobooks for exhausted/overly busy time periods; having enough of a TBR pile that I could just skip ahead to the next thing if what I was reading wasn't working for me. The Amazing Cheerleaders!
5. How many books did you read? 8 complete books (and 2 halves of other books)
6. What were the names of the books you read? The Sugar Queen, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, My Father's Dragon, Tempt Me At Twilight, Crouching Vampire Hidden Fangs, Positively Pooh, Visions in White, Bound By Your Touch and half each of The Introvert's Advantage and The Areas of My Expertise.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? The Sugar Queen, I think: it was the most enchanting, and unique.
8. Which did you enjoy least? The Introvert's Advantage: By the time I got to it, I wasn't in the mood, and there was a lot of specific science that I would like to read about, just wasn't happening for me today.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I know I'd love to participate again, I just am not sure whether I'd do it all exactly the same.

That said, I had a fabulous, fabulous time and I can't thank the cheerleaders/challenge leaders/organizers enough!

Hour 22

Into the last couple of hours here, and while I wouldn't say I'm still going strong, I am still going. Not all that unusual for me, except that I don't usually post every hour or two of my insomnia, so it's weird to try to think of things to say, or to attempt to add numbers together (thank god for calcuators!) Here are my latest, updated stats... I probably won't check back in again till it's almost finish-line time, so I just want to wish everybody who's still playing along a great last little while: You can do it!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Vision in White, Areas of my Expertise by John Hodgeman
Number of books read since you started: 8 & 3/4
Pages read since last update: 65
Running total of pages read since you started: 1840 + 167 (hour 19) + 210 (hours 20/21) + 65 (now) = 2282
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 40 min
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 180 +140 + 40 +909 = 1269 = 21.5 hours
Mini-challenges completed: 8
Other participants you’ve visited: None since about 1 o'clock this morning
Prize you’ve won: 1! Yay! From JoyStory.

Hours 20 & 21

Yeah, I'm still having issues with the maths, but I do know that I finished another book, which I'm pretty sure makes it 7, but I'll have to go back and double check in a little bit. It took me a little bit longer because of sleepy brain cells, but another 210 pages are done. And there's on a few hours left, so I'm going to turn off the lights and listen for a while, see if I can't get closer to the end of one more book.

Hour # I hate maths (also = 19)

We're getting into the wee small hours, here, and I'm not exactly feeling the number-love, so this post is just going to say that I finished another 100 pages of Tempt me at Twilight and am 67 pages into Vision in White by Nora Roberts, which is my first re-read of the whole Readathon. I've been reading non-stop since my last update, an hour and a half ago, so that's 180 minutes. And now I'm going to listen to the end of my audiobook, or head back into La Nora, (something nice and easy) with a short break to go grab another water and to close my window because it's getting cold.

Before she went to bed, Mum says to me "If you happen to feel your eyes closing... don't fight it," which is kind of one of those very sad jokes that only we get, because I've had insomnia now for at least 7 years: You can wager any amount of money that, challenge or no, if my eyes started to close? I would let them. She did have a good point though, that if somebody tells you you can't do something, it makes you want to do it even more, because people are perverse that way. So maybe, in the next couple of hours, I'll figure out that the way to solve my insomnia is to tell people I HAVE to stay awake. You could also lay a wager down that, if that works, I will pay someone to tell me that. Every night, for as long as it takes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Readathon - Hour 17 - Getting closer now!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Bound by Your Touch, Tempt me at Twilight
Number of books read since you started: 7 (and two halves of other books)
Pages read since last update: 365
Running total of pages read since you started: 1475+365 = 1840
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 105 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 804+105 = 909 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: I've got 6 previous ones, and I'm including the Children's Lit mini-challenge & I gave my dancing routine mini-challenge over at Fyrefly books, so that brings me up to 8.
Other participants you’ve visited: I've been lax this past chunk of time, but I'm planning on getting around a little bit now, between books.
Prize you’ve won:0

Infantbibliophile asked for 5 of our favorite children's books, and that is a challenge that could not be more up my alley:

Here are 5 that we've read this past week:
1Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser
2Baby Sees by Eloise Wilkins
3Big Dog, Little Dog by PD Eastman
4I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words by Michael Firth
5What do Doozers Do? by Michaela Muntean

Heading into Hour #15, here's where I am

Title of book(s) read since last update: I read about 60 pages of The Introvert Advantage, which was great, but just not holding my interested, and then spent the rest of an hour listening to some Tempt me at Midnight, and now I'm 144 pages into Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran
Number of books read since you started: 6 books, 1/2 of two others
Pages read since last update: 284
Running total of pages read since you started: 1189+284 = 1475
Amount of time spent reading since last update: All but 16 minutes or so, when I was talking, since 8:00, so that's about 104 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 700+104 = 804
Mini-challenges completed:
5 previous, and then I did the re-reading the classics mini-challenge, so that makes 6
Other participants you’ve visited: Nobody new this time, I've been caught up
Prize you’ve won:

Halfway through and A survey too!

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?Tempt me Twilight audio, and I think I'll be picking up Dairy Queen next.

2. How many books have you read so far? 6.5

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Three Cups of Tea, which I've been saving forever.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Not really: I was hoping to have Youngest Nephew over for a sleepover tonight, but it wasn't me that held that up, so aside from my parents, I've been all clear.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I've had very few interruptions, honestly. Mum or Dad wandering in, but that's about it.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That time goes by so quickly, so I don't get to fit in as many of the add-ons as I might like. I think I'm going to cut back a little on the extracurricular chasing in this second half, unless I feel like listening rather than actively reading.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I'm having such a fabulous time, I can't imagine what would make it better, at this point.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Definitely vary the books a little bit better, have more choices immediately on hand (if I ever unpack the bookcases, this will not be an issue, but as it is, I can't get to all those boxes right this minute.) And maybe asking for sponsors to help with the donations (I'm still thinking about that).

9. Are you getting tired yet? I'm always tired, so this is just an ordinary day for me, only more people are playing along.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
So far, the only trick I've got is the listening to audiobooks while I do the detail type things - the food getting, book retrieving, stretching of sore parts - so that I'm not losing any of the reading time. But I do that normally, too, so I can't say it's an adaptation I have just for the challenge.

Best of luck, everybody: We're halfway there!
(And, having made it to 6 books, I'm up to $50, so I feel pretty damn good about that!)

Readathon Hour #11 Update

Title of book(s) read since last update: My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett; Another couple chapters of Tempt me at Twilight
Number of books read since you started:
Pages read since last update: 140
Running total of pages read since you started: 1049+140 = 1189
Amount of time spent reading since last update: Since 5:55, I've been reading non-stop so that's 75 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 625+75 = 700 minutes (I love even numbers like that!)
Mini-challenges completed: Three previous challenges, plus the two I completed this hour = 5
Other participants you’ve visited: Skrishna (who has a fantabulous reading rate); All of the Readers of the hour
Prize you’ve won: 0

Things I would do differently next time: I would be better prepared - already, even though we're one hour short of the halfway mark, I find that I don't have the right mix of books - my non-fiction has been disappointing, the children's books too short - So I'm thinking next time have a better mix of re-reads and new-to-me reads, and probably add a few more YA books (which I love, but just didn't have any on hand) or branch out to graphic novels.

Readathon Mini-Challenges

Linus' Blanket has a mini-challenge called Feed Me Seymour, where you're supposed to post a scene where somebody is eating in from your books.

Here's Pooh Bear, being, well, Pooh Bear from Positively Pooh, Timeless Wisdom From Pooh:

Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" he was excited that he said, "Both," and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, "But don't bother about the bread, please."

And Joystory is hosting a Reading is Fundamental mini-challenge where we post a picture with kids and books... If you've been here before, you know I've got plenty to choose from... Let's see what I can dig up quickly (so I can get back to the printed books and give Kleypas a rest for a bit):

It's Youngest Nephew and Lil Girl at the local library - 2 years ago! - when we were first introduced to the joy of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama:)

See you back here soon!

Readathon Update - Hours 8-10

Title of book(s) read since last update:Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang by Katie Macalister & a few more chapters of Tempt me at Twilight
Number of books read since you started: 4.5
Pages read since last update: 399
Running total of pages read since you started: (650+399=) 1049
Amount of time spent reading since last update: I can't believe my last update post was at 1:30! I've read non-stop since then, taking only about 15-20 minutes out here and there to talk with the people who are actually real in my life. So that's about 220 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 405 + 220 = 625 (10.42 hours!)
Mini-challenges completed:I just completed theRe-read Challenge, so that brings me up to 3 mini-challenges.
Other participants you’ve visited: I visited all the readers of the hour for hour 8 (Thanks again, everybody: I am not used to so much traffic all at once!)
Prize you’ve won: Still nunca, but that's ok... I'm having a ball!

Mini Challenge !

This is for the minichallenge over at Bartsbookshelf:

My title is Delicious Dairy Queen: Don't tempt me!

Readathon - Hour 8

(I'm left wondering what it says about me that every time I try to type "Readathon" I want to type "Readathong"?)

While I was busy updating this post, there was a sudden influx of comments: It turns out I am a Reader of the Hour! Welcome everybody ~ I'm so excited & am having a great time... I really appreciate the feedback & support!

Since I've got your attention, I'm just going to mention again that I am reading for The Whittemore Peterson Institute, for their astonishing and groundbreaking work with CFIDS research; Donors Choose, which allows teachers to post classroom needs and donors to pick which they can help with; and, since this is about books, what better way than to support a new generation of writers by supporting 826 National, which SisterK introduced me to this summer and which has an awesome program that promotes creative writing in schools. For every three books I read, I'm going to donate $25 (I haven't decided how to split it up yet), so I'm already up to $25 for three worthy causes.

Best of luck to everybody, and I'll try to do some visiting while Poppy continues to chase her sister's ferret (in the audiobook listed below)!

Title of book(s) read since last update: I'm listening to the audio of Tempt Me Tonight, by Lisa Kleypas
Number of books read since you started: Still 3 (audio books take so much longer, but it gives me a chance to see what everybody else is up to)
Pages read since last update: I have no idea how you measure that for audiobooks, so I am estimating (by counting the # of pages in a chapter from the last Kleypas I have in print and using that) that I am about 65 pages in.
Running total of pages read since you started: (585 + 65)650
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 75 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 330 +75 = 405 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: The Map, and now a title game
Other participants you’ve visited:Eclectic Eccentric (whose mini challenge was cool, but I had no shot at completing); Biblophile By The Sea (who is supporting a very worthy cause!); Alita Reads(who's a great cheerleader);A Striped Armchir (who happens to have one of the same books I have in my TBR) and Just One More Thing (who have a great title sentence sequence!
Prize you’ve won:

Readathon Update - Hours #5 & 6

"But first, I want to thank you for being one of those people who listens and understands ... And even though I didn't know you, I felt like I did because you sounded like such a good person. The kind of person who wouldn't mind receiving letters ... The kind of person who would understand how they were better than a diary because there is communion and a diary can be found."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky

Title of book(s) read since last update:The Perks of Being A Wallflower; Postiviely Pooh
Number of books read since you started:3
Pages read since last update: 289
Running total of pages read since you started: (294 + 289) = 585
Amount of time spent reading since last update: I updated around eleven, I spent 20 minutes since then doing other things (I drank three cups of tea and a
bottle of water; I think you can do the math on that yourselves), so that gives me another 160 minutes... and I'm going to correct my math from this morning (when my brain was still trying to understand the numbers and say that 10 minutes from 3 hours is not 80 minutes, but in fact 170 minutes (IDK why I was thinking in terms of half hours, and so I made it every 3x30 and subtracted 10: Don't ask me)... so that means:
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) I've got 330 minutes total, 5.5 hours! Yay
Mini-challenges completed: Still only the map one, but I'm going to do a bit of that now, and start fresh at 2:00
Other participants you’ve visited: Also am on my way to do this
Prize you’ve won: 0.. except for reading two extraordinary books and one pretty positive one!

Readathon - Hour 4

I'm about halfway through The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and it is NOT disappointing. I'll be back to have some lunch and do some mini-challenges, when I'm finished!

Hour 3, Readathon

"Books can be possessive, can't they? You're walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what's inside will change your life, but sometimes you don't even have to read it. Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around. Man of these books haven't even had their spines cracked. 'why do you buy books you don't even read?' our daughter asks us. That's like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course." - The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen, p180

<3 Loved it! This was an awesome book - really: awesome. I am definitely adding Sarah Addison Allen to my autobuy list.

So, an hour and a half in, let's see what's what:

Title of book(s) read since last update: The Sugar Queen
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 294
Running total of pages read since you started:
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 80 minutes - 5 minutes for an update and 5 minutes for talking to the lazy people who are just getting up, and that's it.
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 80 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: I pinpointed myself (ish) on the map over at heylady
Other participants you’ve visited:
Prize you’ve won: 0

Up next is one that's been on my list for quite a while, because I kept seeing quotes from it all over the place and going "Yes: that is truth", and now I'm going to see if it's as good as the parts I've seen. It's The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

See you in an hour, all!

Readathon - Hour 2

Hi there! I'm an hour and 125 pages into my first Readathon, and I'm loving The Sugar Queen so far (I've just reached a twist in the plot, and am glad that I didn't see it coming from page one - page 71 maybe, but that's pretty dang good for me).

Here's the Dewey's Readathon Introduction meme that's going around:

Where are you reading from today? I'm reading from bed, at the moment, but I might switch it up later and head to the chaise or the couch.

3 facts about me … I'm living with my parents, one sister (out of 5), and three chronic illnesses; I have no idea how to decorate the my new space, but I like to cut out pictures of places that I'll never be able to afford to decorate like; and I like pigs in a blanket (the only snack I have pre-prepared for today's challenge).

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? I've started off with a stack of 9, but there's about 12 others on a shelf four steps away.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? I do: at least three books, so I can do my first charitable donation; I'd like to do at least 12 hours, which seems entirely feasible so long as the people in my house cooperate; and I'm going to participate as much as I can online!

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? Sorry: I'm a first timer!

Alright, I'm back to the North Carolina mountains, and some mesmerizing stories.

And they're off...

I've got a stack of books, a cup of tea, and my cosiest sweat pants: I am ready to go! I have no idea how this works, but I'll be checking back in pretty soon, to keep you guys posted - although, in all likelihood, this will just be a series of posts clogging up your Google Reader come Monday morning, in which case, feel free to skim/skip: Synopisis? I am reading A LOT, for charity even. Scroll through to the last post and see how many of the 24 hours I actually made it.

First book up: Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, whose first book Garden Spells was charming and enchanting. I've been saving this one for a special occassion, and now I've got one.

Best of luck to all the Readathon-ers, and I hope everybody has a great time!