Category Archives: mental health

Oxygen Mask On, Head Firmly In Sand

When I was a freshman in high school, I knew I didn’t want children. I was told by other girls, and many adult women, that I would change my mind. the one woman who supported my fourteen year-old declaration was my aunt Prindle. I remember a heart-to-heart we had on my grandparents’s front steps in which she told me what a wonderful young woman I was becoming, and to always stick to my guns. I wavered over the kid thing at times, especially when I thought I was in love. Mostly, I felt a sense of duty to have children, knowing I’d be one of the good parents. I still know this to be true, but given my health issues over the last decade plus, and my active alcoholism before that, I know the decision not to have children was the right one.

Today, I am reminding myself of this often considered selfish decision after a mental break down. Not because of my mental pop, but because I needed a reminder that I do make good decisions for myself, for what might be considered selfish reasons.

I am sticking my head firmly in the sand.

I lived that way for many years and it suited me well, until it didn’t. I came to a point several years ago when I wanted to know what was going on in the world, finally giving in to that sense of not only civic duty, but humanist duty. I didn’t always handle it gracefully, like after the Aurora movie theatre shooting when I left my friend a sobbing message because she lived in Colorado and how was I to know she wasn’t at the theatre, nor even in the state that day? After that, as if I flipped a switch to off, shootings no longer dropped me to my knees. A callous had finally grown on my heart like on a stringed instrument player’s fingers, and I still don’t know if that’s a good thing.

That callous may prevent me from a breakdown with every shooting, but I have yet to harden my heart against what is happening to my country. And today I broke. Out of the blue. No warning. I’ve worked hard on my mental health in recent years and thought I was pretty well adjusted. I just picked up and moved to a new state for pity’s sake, I can do anything! Ha, right. Not this. I can’t do this.

Do what exactly?

cope. Okay, I suppose I did have some warning that I was on the verge of a break, the other day when the travel bans happened and it was too awful to believe and I felt so powerless to do anything and I projected my fear and disgust onto Facebook and those who voted for that man and then felt terrible for it.

the day my friend decided to work on sitting for the bar even though her own mental health is in question, because she knows lawyers are going to be needed, the day all the pain from around the world was projected on social media, that day should have been my warning, when I felt a sense of powerlessness so strong as to drop me to my knees, my powerlessness to do anything for my fellow human being.

I can handle it, I told myself. I need to know what’s going on, I told myself. It’s my duty as an American. I can handle checking the Associated Press every day. I’ll just cut back on what I read on social media. I’ll cut back on feeling all the pain, because as a damned empath, I feel the pain of others in my core.

And today I broke. No warning. Snap. Too much pressure on the rubber band. I didn’t shatter a coffee maker or throw a cell phone, I just decided I didn’t give a fuck and didn’t want to see what’s coming. I didn’t want my life to end, but I didn’t really want it to go on, either. I googled whether you can call a suicide hotline if you aren’t actively suicidal, just in so much pain that you don’t want to see what’s coming, and found the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I’ve retweeted that number countless times, never once imagining I’d be looking it up for myself. I still don’t know if I should call it.

I asked my friend Ricardo if he knew if one could call a suicide hotline even if they didn’t have a gun to their head, explaining that I didn’t want to keep the line busy in case someone who did have a gun to their head needed the line. Ricardo said my selflessness never ceases to amaze him. And here I berate myself daily for being self centered.

So I fed my dog and quietly told David I was taking my laptop to the bedroom to process some things emotionally and probably to break down so he might want to keep his son out of the room. I really didn’t mean for him to come inn, I just didn’t want his son to see me lose it. David came in after I closed the door and found me sobbing on the bed. He held me for awhile and as my tears soaked his fleece, I thought about all those couples the day JFK was assassinated. Is the sense of despair the same?

After my tears slowed and David got some Gatorade in me, I told him I thought I’d write a blog post and share my pain. Not to burden anyone with it, but because I know I’m not a lone. I know there are millions of us out there feeling the exact same way, and maybe there’s someone out there right now contemplating the gun in the closet or the liquor store up the street. For right now, I’m choosing my sober life. I hope you will, too. If you’re protecting sobriety that is. Hey, if you’re a normal drinker, will you drink one or twelve for me? thanks. and if you’re contemplating ending it all, please click that link above. I haven’t ruled out calling it myself, though I feel a little better after all this writing.

There’s a ten year-old playing his video game out there in the living room, as well as all those other children in this country and the world who need us adults to keep them as happy and safe as we can. In order for me to be there for him, I need to put the oxygen mask on myself first, and for right now, that means putting my head in the sand. Well, except when the ACLU emails me. I can avoid social media, but not email. I just wish I could do more for them than donate the money I don’t have. I’m a disabled woman. I’m one of the one’s they’re fighting for, I suppose. then my survivor’s guilt slips in. You don’t need fighting for. You’re blind, you have MS, and you’re white. You aren’t going to lose benefits (hopefully). Nothing is going to happen to you. I am a woman though, and it’s always been scary being a woman. So much more so now. Ugh.

I tried to find my usual cheery conclusion, but there isn’t one. Not today. This too shall pass. In four years.

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Filed under mental health, politics, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this

A Melancholy Joy

I jotted down those words on Christmas Eve because they so perfectly described how I was feeling, and the more I’ve thought about them, I’ve realized how they also sum up 2016 for me. This year has been absolutely life altering, both on a personal level and as an American. I did some travel in the early part of the year to see Josh Groban in concert, attend Rays spring training games, and visit with Florida friends. I returned home to get ready for a hysterectomy in the same month. I keep telling myself I should have feelings about now being barren, but I just don’t, ha! Not long after I recovered, My relationship ended and I fell in love again, and moved to Washington. Whoa, right? I watched Brexit unfolding on Twitter and prayed America would learn from Britain’s decision, and my hopes sank into fear and disbelief as my country elected, deep breath, I cannot write his name.

It’s hard for me to believe the turns my life has taken this year, some wonderful turns. I want to hate 2016 for all the awful, the terrorist attacks, the shootings, the steps backward in civil liberties, but I can’t help but love 2016 for what it has done for my mental health and writing. I completed the first draft of my memoir for National Novel Writing Month and am actively working on draft two. I took a fiction writing class and feel more in touch with my creative side than I remember being in a very long time. I have a file now rich with story ideas and character traits and observations. While working on draft two of the memoir, I’ve noticed how much I’ve learned about telling a story.

I thought that writing my own story would be easier than fiction. I know all the twists and turns, so it should be easy to write, right? Ha! Not only is it just as challenging to shape each sentence, it’s been taxing mentally to spend so much time in my past, especially during the holidays. That’s where the melancholy joy set in, when I received a Christmas card from my uncle and realized that I would not be getting one of his awesome hugs this year for the holidays or my birthday, the hug that he pours all his love and feeling into. I ran my fingers over the textured, glittery card as if it were braille and an ache grew in my chest and dissolved into tears. David and his son were putting up the tree, anticipation and excitement palpable, and my own joy at being here began warring with my sadness. Which one wins? The one you feed. I let the melancholy come, let myself feel it so it could pass, and moved on. I had a wonderful Christmas with my new family. David got me a soprano ukulele for my birthday, which was yesterday. I want so badly to play with it right now, but I promised myself I could have it as a reward if I worked on rewrites and posted a blog. Discipline baby!

So, 2016 comes to a close. I know many of us are ready to see the back of it. So much death this year. I won’t rehash it since we all know, we were all here, and we’ve all had our fair share of hardships along with worldwide hurt. I hope that 2017 will be better, I cling to that hope, though the pragmatist in me says, “hold on, darlin’. It’s only just begun.” I’ll focus on my art. I’ll work on making this book be the best it can be so I can share my silver linings and hope with the world. That’s my goal for 2017, to publish, yes, but most importantly, to continue to be a bright spot, continue to let my light shine. my goal is to make people smile, whether it be David or his family, a stranger on the street, a stranger on Twitter, or a reader of my blog and (hopefully) book. Let’s all strive for that, yeah? Let’s all hold on to our asses and protect those around us and love. All you need is love, right John Lennon?

Happy New Year! We can do it!

Ooooh now I can go play with my ukulele!

Here’s the first song to make its way into my memoir. It appeared during work on the second draft today.

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Filed under baseball, birthday, family, gratitude, mental health, music, twitter me this, writing

October’s Audio books and NaNoWriMo

So I was having a Twitter conversation with Lauren DeStefano and she mentioned that one of her characters in her Internment Chronicles books, has a brother who is blind. She didn’t give me many details about him and I decided I needed to read those books. So what does Lauren DeStefano do? Offers to mail me her audio book copy of the book! Of course I said no. Wait what? No of course I didn’t say no, in fact I asked her to sign the cover of the audio book. I’ve often wondered what I would do if I had the chance to go to a book signing. Ask the author to sign my iPhone? She told me the book was wrapped in black tissue paper to protect it. She wanted to make sure I knew it was just black tissue paper and I wasn’t missing any designs. I wondered why an audio book would need to be protected but whatevs.

So maybe a week later, I got an envelope with not one, but two audio books inside! Grinning, I opened the envelope and took out the books. The CD booklet didn’t feel smooth as I took off the tissue paper. Hmmm.

Lauren DeStefano signed the cases with puff paint!

I won’t lie. A lump formed in my throat. She thought of everything!

In other news, I’m officially doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. The novel writing finally begins Sunday!(Sunday Sunday Sunday!) The story’s working title is ‘Vivian and the King’. Months ago my cat, Timmy, inspired an idea and I began brainstorming. I fell in love pretty quickly and so decided I would develop the story for NanOWriMo and do it for realsies this year. When I first heard about it in 2010, it was already mid November so I didn’t sign up or anything, just decided to see how much I could write before November ended. a story was developed, characters created, chapters written. That novel, with working title ‘Yellow’, has been a practice novel for me over the years ever since. I still plan to finish the first draft one day.

My goal is to finish ‘Vivian and the King’ and then revise it, polish it, begin querying agents with it. I’ve been marinating on this idea ever since Timmy inspired it. I have pages of notes, an outline, tons of bookmarks on ancient Egytp and finally named the cat in the novel. I am so ready to go! I even went and met local writers. In person. People, in person. Wow.

So I won’t be doing NaBloPoMo this year for the first time since 2009, which is kind of bitter sweet since it’s nice to have those daily posts from Novembers of years past. But, this is my dream we’re talking about here, and my dream is to be a published author, so I think I can let go of NaBloPoMo this year. Who knows when I’ll post here in December with November’s book post. I work on these posts all through the month and I’ll be just slightly busy in November. I’ll also be working on my second review for Disability in Kid Lit. I’ll be getting my review copy soon. busy bee! I’m kind of ridiculously happy lately!

Oh, forgot to mention that the character of Vivian was inspired by my friend’s daughter, who I get to hang out with for Halloween. I’m super psyched about the opportunity to talk to her about some things that will feature in the novel. Love my life right now! *knock on wood*

*Ten books this month*

88. “The Traveler” (The fourth Realm book 1) by John Twelve Hawks – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished October 31

A masterfully written novel about a group of people who call themselves harlequins who protect people called travelers who can bounce around between dimensions, pursued by people who want to tap the traveling power and link it with a super computer in order to better control the human race, narrated by Scott Brick? Yes please. I’ll even forgive Mr. Brick for pronouncing saguaro sag-war-o.

Oh man, what an amazing book. Twelve Hawks can write, I mean he can freaking write. Wow. I feel like i’m in a master class with this series. the characters are all three dimensional and believable. The action? wow. I’ve found that long action scenes in novels tend to let my mind wander. Not in ‘Traveler’. I imagined every punch, every swerve of a vehicle, every sword slash.

There’s this community of people who go live off the grid, and it’s eerily similar to the town I’ve invented for Yellow, except they definitely don’t live off the grid haha. I can’t help but smile when I see something similar to something I’ve invented, in published novels. That used to make me panic, the thought that something has already been done. but now I know to write it anyway. Only I can tell the story in my head, and everything has already been done. It’s a fact.

I definitely recommend this series. What a book. Wow. Thanks Ricardo!

Big Brother is watching and he’s armed with a quantum computer. *Shiver*

@John12Hawks

87. “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld narrated by Sheetal Sheth and Heather Lind

Finished October 28

I read this book again in preparation for NaNoWriMo. The book came out this time last year and I read it then, but there’s no book post from that first reading. I read it back-to-back twice last year, its’ that good.

Darcy Patel participates in NaNoWriMo while she’s a senior in high school. “Afterworlds” opens describing how Darcy wrote to (queried) an agent, got signed and got a book deal. Lucky girl! She decides to move to New York city to be near publishing while she does rewrites on her book and begins work on the second novel of her two book deal. We follow Darcy on her journey as she falls in love, works on her career and eats noodles-lots and lots of noodles. I highly recommend having Ramen on hand.

Every other chapter is Darcy’s novel, “Afterworlds” We get to read what has become Darcey’s polished novel, watching as the two stories parallel one another. In Darcey’s ‘Afterworlds’, Lizzie Scofield plays dead to survive a terrorist attack and finds that she can travel to the flip side, where ghosts live. She meets a death god and a child ghost who’s been haunting Lizzie’s mother since she was herself a child. Darcey weaves a tale about Lizzie’s adjustment to life as a new psycho pomp, spirit guide, reaper. shine.

I loved this book the first two times I read it and even more now that I know about the publishing process in greater detail. If I wasn’t excited about my baby novel being born on Sunday before, you can bet i am now. I can’t wait!

@ScottWesterfeld

86. “Burning Kingdoms” (Internment Chronicles book 2) by Lauren DeStefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

finished October 26

For book one, skip to the next heading.

What a culture shock book two is! first, let me say that I think book two is cursed. None of the tracks on the CD were labeled so when I imported them and used Audio Book Binder on them, the tracks scrambled. Of course I didn’t notice this until I started reading, at night, all snuggled in bed. It took an entire day the next day to copy the tracks again and make sure they were all labeled properly. Cursed I tell you. Oh! See I knew there was something else that caused me to think the book is cursed. With about two hours to go one night, the book just stopped playing. I could tell the iPad was still on since I could see the light from it. It was plugged in. It wouldn’t speak. No amount of restarting it worked. Siri wouldn’t even talk. the next day, I plugged it into iTunes and it’s like yeah, this iPad has a problem. Maybe updating it will fix it, or else you’ll need to restore. Luckily the update fixed it so maybe the book isn’t totally cursed.

I don’t want to say too much about this second book since really saying anything will spoil the ending of the first one, as I discovered when I accidentally read the first sentence of the publisher’s summary at Audible. I’ll just say I didn’t like it as much as I did the first one. We get to know one of the characters better, which is nice. This book just sort of felt like a place holder between books one and three. I have high hopes for book three, though. It’s out next year. tick tock.

@LaurenDeStefano

85.“Perfect Ruin” (Internment Chronicles book 1) by Lauren Destefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

Finished October 22

What an interesting concept. Internment is a floating city, ripped from the Earth as a punishment. I totally imagined Dark city, the movie. The city is ruled by a king, and regulations are strict. Births are limited and planned, and babies are betrothed at birth. given glass betrothal bands, children wear them around the neck until the ring fits on the finger. At the time of the couple’s wedding, the glass is filled with the blood of their partner. Angelina and Billy bob much? The edge of Internment is surrounded by a fence and gale force winds, and if Internment’s residents get too close, they risk going insane. Jump off the edge, and one will be hurled back over and left with physical damage.

Morgan Stockhour’s brother Lex, is one of the jumpers, and was blinded as a result. He has an interesting contraption with which he dictates novels. He is completely dependent on his family, which shows what it might be like to lose one’s sight in a dystopian setting. Lex can no longer remember what shapes look like and he’s only been blind for three years. Not quite accurate, but hey, maybe the jumping attempt left his brain a bit addled too. Seriously though, I did roll my eyes a bit at some of Lex’s life, like how he constantly knocks over his wife’s vases of flowers. Is he just incapable of adjusting to life with blindness? Though, I do knock my own stuff over from time to time…

Lex is a side character. The main story is the brutal murder of a teenaged girl and her betrothed subsequent arrest for it. Morgan starts to understand that her life on Internment is much more complicated than she thought, and for the first time in her life, she begins to feel fear. She starts to understand why lex was so curious about the edge. what might life be like on the ground?

Once this book had its hooks in, it didn’t let go. I had to know what would happen next. It’s a quiet story. I don’t know how else to describe it. the city of Internment is so slow and sleepy but there’s this underlying tension that builds to a plummeting conclusion.

I recommend if you’re a fan of YA dystopia. It was definitely and entertaining read. Laura Knight Keating does a nice job, though Lauren DeStefano did tell me that the character name of Basil is pronounced like the spice. the narrator, and my screen reader, pronounce it differently, like the Greek name.

84. “Zeroes” by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti – narrated by Amber Benson

Finished October 20

Note I took just after starting:I had no idea there was a blind character in this book until a couple days ago, when Scott Westerfeld retweeted a tweet about it. I cringed inside, wondering how badly the authors were going to screw up blind. But, I just met the blind character and so far, aside from the bright dress she’s wearing for visibility, she’s spot on. I’m guessing the dress is the product of an overprotective parent. end note.

Actually, after reading some more, her bright dresses are explained. It’s part of her power. You see, all the teens in “Zeroes” have a power. they aren’t quite super heroes; they call themselves Zeroes.

Flicker is the blind girl but her power isn’t enhanced by her blindness. There’s a lot of complaints in the disability in literature crowd about disabilities being cured in fiction, or turning into a power. Now I understand why my friend Chupa hated the movie Powder so much. Flicker’s power is freaking awesome and I want it and I want to be her for Halloween. Except she uses a white cane and not a guide dog. sometimes she doesn’t even need her mobility tool, but you have to read the book to find out why. It’s so freaking cool! And Westerfeld and his writing partners nailed the blind aspect of the character. I talked with him on Twitter about it, and he said they spoke with a blind teenager. See? That’s how you write diversity. Anyway.

Other characters in the novel are Crash, who crashes electronics, Mob, who effects crowds, Scam, who has an inner voice that is all knowing and can take control of a situation with his charm, Anonymous, who literally hides in plain sight and I can’t remember the last one’s code name. The others called him Fearless Leader because he was the leader of the Zeroes. he also annoyed me for most of the book so maybe that’s why I can’t remember his code name.

Anyway, I freaking loved this book! It’s such a fun twist on superheroes. No one can fly or shoot webs from their wrist or wait, what exactly does Batman do? Fight evil with his money? I’m not usually a big superhero fan. Zeroes though? Hell yeah. And there’s two more books coming!

The narrator was incredible. She voiced each character in awesome, unique ways. She brought the story to life. the male characters weren’t even annoying, as they often are when voiced by women.

@ScottWesterfeld
@deborah_b
@margolanagan

83. “Apex” (Nexus book 3) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Stephanie Canon

Finished October 17

when is this book going to end OMG make it stop. last night I sped up the speech rate and it helped a little bit with the terrible narrating, and should make the end of the book come faster. The narrating, oh holy hell it’s bad. It’s not terrible until she mispronounces a word or has to read a Chinese character. They really should have gotten the actress who played Mrs. Swan in Mad TV to read this book. I new I should have taken note of the word Canon mispronounced so egregiously last night. Damn what was it. I think I have about six hours left. Make it stop, just make it stop. Why am I not giving up on this book? I guess I care about a few of the characters enough to keep going.

Last night I was thinking about this post in progress as I listened to the book. I follow a lot of writerly accounts on twitter and one of them posted an article about things not to do in your prose. I won’t mention one of the things mentioned in that article here, because Naam does it all the time in this book and it’s so distracting to me because it’s something I never would have thought of until a writerly type pointed it out and now I can’t stop analyzing it every time Naam does it, which is a lot. I’m guessing that might be part of why I can’t just get immersed in the story and ignore the bad narrating. If a writerly type happens to read this post, did my run-on just drive you nuts? I’m a fan of those.

Finally finished it last night. There was so much filler, unnecessary filler. We’re taken from our main characters too much, over to this side story in China with characters that came out of nowhere in this book and who are Chinese so we get treated to Canon’s awful Chinese accent. When we would finally get back to the main characters, I’d start to get in to the story again, only to be ripped out and taken to China again.

This series was interesting, set in the future where a drug links minds. It’s cool but terrifying. I recommend the series if you’re a scifi fan, but do this third book on Kindle or something. the narrating really destroys it, at least it did for me. Maybe the secondary story wouldn’t have been so annoying without the terrible narrator.

@ramez

82. “Furiously Happy: A funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson – narrated by Jenny Lawson

Finished October 11

Oh, how I needed this book. I read her first book back in July of 2012. What! 2012! No way. wow. Where does time go? Seriously. Whoa, Clair Danes just said seriously at the same time I wrote it. b is home on staycation and watching Homeland. Happy birthday B! Anyway, what was I writing about? Oh right, “furiously Happy’.

I realized while I was listening to Jenny’s voice read her words to me, that since I’ve made the decision to get serious about my writing, part of my personality got too serious. Does that make sense? I’ve gotten so serious about learning everything I can about writing and publishing, trying to get my name out there in some way or other, which will happen tomorrow, October 16th, when my first review gets published over at Disability in Kid Lit, that I’ve lost some of my silliness and personality. It’s coming back to me now that I’m upright and walking away from that depression, rather than crawling away, and I’m so grateful for it. I have to thank Jenny lawson for giving me that last push, getting me up off the floor. Thank you, jenny.

In ‘Furiously Happy’, Jenny tells her own stories of depression and anxiety, balanced perfectly with the hilarity that ensues when a mentally ill person decides to be furiously happy. It’s her way of fighting back, of saying f-you to depression and deciding that dammit, if she wants to wear a koala suit in Australia when she meets koala bears, she’s gonna freaking do it. She made the decision to be herself and embrace her damn mental illnesses because the alternative is…well…furiously ugly.

I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with mental illness or for anyone who’s loved ones are dealing with mental illness, or for anyone who just wants to look inside and see what it’s like to live with mental illness. I related to Jenny soooooo much! My anxiety and depression isn’t as bad as hers but I know it could get that bad and if it does? I’m buying myself a damned stuffed raccoon. yep. No, wait, not a stuffed animal toy raccoon. A taxidermied freaking raccoon. Apple dictionary says taxidermied isn’t a word. Whoa, I’m like a sentence in Jenny’s book.

I want a silver ribbon pin. Jenny, is there a silver ribbon pin? I’ll never remember to pin an actual silver ribbon on but a prefabbed pin? Yeah, I could remember that.

@TheBloggess

81.“White Trash Zombie Gone Wild” (White Trash zombie, book 5) by Diana rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 8

the only bad thing about a new White Trash Zombie book is the need to wait a year for the next one. In this latest installment, our favorite zombie, Angel Crawford, finds herself on her own, her zombie crew all off fixing things elsewhere. Oh right, and there’s also that little problem of her new addiction. Rowland is pretty dang good at writing the whole addiction thing.

so much was going on in this book that I felt my head spinning and thinking, wow too much is going on here. then, with two hours left, I was like how on earth is she gonna unravel the story she’s woven? And she did. the woman can write. and Allison McLemore does a fantastic job as always. I love these books! they have such a positive undertone, they are just plain good for my mental health. If you have an aversion to swearing and brain eating, this series is not for you, though if you expected anything else after reading the titles, I don’t know what to tell ya.

@DianaRowland

80.“White Trash Zombie Apocalypse” (White Trash Zombie book 3) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 6

I had reread White Trash Zombie book four in preparation for book five but didn’t time it right so I decided to read book three since book five wasn’t out for a few more days. That’s the thing about this series for me. It grabs me and doesn’t want to let go. I just enjoy Angel’s company so much that I never want to move on. She’s just a fun chick I could totally imagine having as a real friend, so long as she keeps well fed and doesn’t think my brain smells enticing.

Here’s my post from the first time I read this book. I’m kinda freaking out because I don’t remember that time at all. I read that in this house? in November? Yikes.

I had to laugh when I was perusing some of the reviews on this book. McLemore had a cold and you can totally hear it about halfway through the book. A reviewer said, get this, she has a weak stomach, and it was a challenge listening to the book and the narrator’s cold. I’m like, but the book has scenes with humans cracking skulls and eating brains! Ok, I suppose the reviewer meant she has a weak stomach when it comes to sounds. That must be it, right?

79. “How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back” (White Trash Zombie book 4) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison Mclemore

Finished October 3

I reread this in preparation for book five. There’s no post from when I read it the first time unfortunately. I guess that was from back when I lost control of my book posts and ended up changing the format for all my reviews to this new current one, which has worked so much better for me. I know people are reading the blog since I have stats on that, even though they seldom comment. I’m looking at you, dear reader. I also know that I’ve helped at least one person find books since she lets me know, so Brooke, these posts are for you!

In “Groove Back’, our Angel goes to the big city, NYC, to help rescue some of her tribe who have been kidnapped. It’s hilarious, watching small town Angel, who’s never been farther than Alabama, navigate the subway system. Her goggling at the swanky hotel she gets to stay at reminded me so much of me, especially on my recent trip to Hollywood, where I was afraid to go into the hotel where I just knew I’d stick out like a sore thumb. I was just grateful to have professionally cut and colored hair. I so related to Angel’s money woes and how small she felt next to her friends who seemed to have plenty of the green stuff. Money I mean.

I checked out reviews on this book too and one comment cracked me up, something about how there should be less swearing. Ba ha! Hey, you can take the trash outta the zombie and clean up her beer can paved driveway, but Angel wouldn’t be Angel without her swearing.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, apple Inc, Audio books, birthday, fellowship, gratitude, mental health, Timmy, twitter me this, writing

September’s Audio Books, etc

Where did September go? I’m really not sure what I did all last month. Though I suppose it’s evident I did a lot of reading. I also focused on recovering from the awful depression of August. Which, by the way depression and anxiety? I feel you lurking there, just below the surface, ready to drag me back under. I know you’re still hungry. I’m not going to let you have me.

I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo in November, writing bits of the book in my head since nothing can be written with my keyboard until November 1. I cannot wait to write the opening scene, especially since last night I came up with another angle that’s going to give my female protag the problem I’ve been searching for. Can’t wait to start! Ancient Egypt research has been done, thanks Amanda for all the links you’ve stumbled upon. Oh that reminds me, I need to get with my friends daughter to discuss some terms for that one thing…

In brand new and very exciting news, another trip to Florida is now in the works for the beginning of March. The only thing set in stone is the, drum roll please, JOSH GROBAN CONCERT I’LL BE ATTENDING! Ahem, ok I’m done screaming now. The tickets were purchased and I was given the express instructions to be in Clearwater on March 1. I’ll also be going to Rays spring training in port Charlotte, and seeing my florida friends so woo hoo!

I have the most amazing people in my life, that’s all I gotta say.

Happy birthday, Gamma! I miss you. 🙁

*Ten full books this month*

78. “Crux” (Nexus book 2) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Mikael Naramore

Finished September 30

the first book in this trilogy is a few headings down in this post. I read another book between books one and two since they have different narrators and Luke Daniels narrated the first book and he’s just awesome. Naramore was ok but he’s no Luke Daniels and I have to wonder if Daniels passed on doing this book on purpose. What a let down after the first one. I think “Crux” needed another revision or two. I felt like the information was being forced on me rather than shown to me. It ended up being terribly confusing since there were several parallel story arcs that didn’t mesh together. There seemed to be endless passages where characters were thinking. Thinking thinking thinking. So and so did this to me, I’m gonna do this, I really shouldn’t do that, what if this happened. The book just needed to be tightened up and it would have been fine, instead, those screws loose killed the pacing and bored me to tears. I kept thinking about the new White Trash Zombie book out on the sixth and how I was going to reread book four to prepare.

Ricardo says book three is good and full of action, so I’ll give it a try, but I’m glad for the break with my zombies.

77. “Cold Cold Heart” by Tami Hoag – narrated by Julia Whelan

finished September 27

I’ve taken to buying any book narrated by Julia Wehlan, or as Ricardo and I call her, our Gone Girl girl.

‘Heart’ is a book I found while doing such a search and wow. What a great freaking book. Dana Nolan was kidnapped by a serial killer. The book opens with her escape and agonizing recovery. Does one ever really recover from something like that, though? She’s lost not only her ability to think clearly and speak easily, she’s lost her identity as a reporter. Instead of doing the reporting, she’s now reported on.

In order to find a new purpose in life after she returns to her mother and stepfather’s home in the small town where she was raised, she decides to brush off her old investigative skills and look into the disappearance of her best friend from high school. If only she could remember to turn off the water faucet.

What follows is a riveting mystery with a deeply flawed protagonist struggling to make sense of the world post brain injury. though our situations are nothing alike, boy did I relate to Dana Nolan and her “before Dana” and “after Dana”, the way her relationships changed when she became “after Dana”, the way she struggled to figure out who she was after the “accident”. Oh, and there was a great mystery too, and a cute cat who looks like my Anastasia.

I love Julia Whelan so much I found her on Twitter: @justjuliawhelan. She’s been added to my list of favorite narrators. Great company with Scott Brick and Ray Porter, and so far, she hasn’t done a bad book that I’ve found.

@TamiHoag is also on Twitter but she’s not very active. She has an interesting author’s note at the end of the book, in which she describes her own traumatic brain injury and gives resources for others. She also tells the story of people who inspired another character in the novel, a war vet with his own traumatic brain injury.

76. “Nexus” (Nexus book 1) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Luke Daniels

finished September 23

Ricardo recommended this one. It took me a few hours to really get into it but once it grabbed me, it wouldn’t let go. Imagine a drug that lets you communicate with your own mind as if it were a computer. You could write code in your brain to make things happen, all with thoughts. You can even install apps. Want to be able to win a fight? There’s a Bruce Lee app for that. Now imagine if you could link minds with others on the drug and communicate by just thinking. At first, I was like ok that’s cool, but then it got scary. A woman is held captive, her mind under the control of those who have her, and she’s completely paralyzed. A hacker could break into your mind and make you do things. Totally shudder making. This is the first in a trilogy and it’s narrated by Luke Daniels, who I like. Definitely a good read. I look forward to book two.

Twitter: @ramez

75. “Darken the Stars” (Kricket series book 3)

Finished September 19

This is the last book in the trilogy, which I read all of this month. Book two is below this and book one a few headings below that.

I was bummed when this book ended, dangling bits and all. This trilogy was the perfect escape and I’ll miss Kricket’s sarcasm read with Kate rudd’s voice. I checked out the reviews on Audible last night and my were readers upset with the ending. I thought it stayed true to character and was a good lesson that not everything is a happy ending. I’m going to miss that world, that’s for sure.

Notes I took while reading*

I don’t want to like Kyon but his character is so awesome for humor. Was just eating mini wheats when he made me laugh so hard I slapped my leg and almost choked on cereal.

I did a search to find the spelling for Kyon’s name and I am so grateful I can read books just to enjoy them, not feel the need to dissect every character and the tropes they fall into. My goodness. This series is fun for book’s sake. You know, fun? That thing that’s well, fun?

Had to stop my vacuuming to jot this thought down. The teen reviewers of these books love them. Since the books are classified YA, the teen reviews are all that matter to me. On the adults writing about the violence and sex in the books? Well, adults enjoy violence and sex in their entertainment and teens are, wait for it, YOUNG ADULTS.

74. “Sea of Stars” (Kricket #2)

Finished September 16

*Notes I took while reading*

She says something like, I open my eyes, trying to get my wits about me, I can’t keep them open. She can’t keep her wits open. She’s feigning delirium, telling the enemy to be sure and follow the white rabbit, and then, you killed Kenny…you bastard. The aliens are dumbfounded. I laughed out loud despite the migraine.

*End notes*

73. “Lone Wolf” by Jodi Picoult – narrated by Natalia Payne,Louis Changchien,CelesteCiulla, Nick Cordero, Angela Goethals, Mark Zeisler and Andy Paris

finished September 15

This was yet another daily deal I picked up at some point since I generally enjoy Jodi Picoult books. they are always about regular people and family being shoved into a supremely awkward situation, testing the bonds of love within a family. I don’t know why these books draw me in. Maybe because there’s always siblings, and I’ve always wanted siblings.

“Lone Wolf” was interesting because the supremely awkward situation was the father in a coma, but he’s not just any father, he’s a conservationist who went into the wilds of Canada to insert himself into a wolf pack for study. He literally gets the pack to accept him as a wolf. I thought this rather unlikely until Ricardo found an article for me about a guy in real life who did just that. I should have saved the link but I’m sure, if you’re interested, some googling would find it. I should have known this actually happened since Picoult writes books ripped from the headlines. She’s got one good eye for spotting true events that will make compelling fiction. She also added a second ripped from the headlines instance of, should life support be continued on this patient?

You know, I wonder if she wrote the book after the true wolf guy. I meant to check on those dates but now the total curiosity has passed and since this is my blog and not, like, true journalism, I don’t feel like it. So there. *stomps foot*

I always enjoy how each chapter is told from the point of view of one character, which means the audio books introduce several narrators. The books are always excellent entertainment.

I could have done without the epilogue though. Cheeseball!

72. “Before He Finds Her” by Michael Kardos – narrated by Julia Whelan

Finished September 12

Audible, Have I told you lately how much I love you for the daily deals? I’ve had to stop buying them over the last few months since summer electric bills don’t allow for extras, but daily deals have added so many books to my library that I always have something to read. I remember when I first became a digital audio book listener, it was hard to afford them through iTunes. then I became an Audible subscriber and I’d have to stretch my reading between credits. These daily deals have stocked up my book collection so that I never have to wonder where my next listen is coming from and I have read books I never would have known about otherwise. The last few books on this list were all daily deals. I got this one because Julia Whelan narrated it and she has quickly become a narrator I’m guaranteed to buy, like Scott Brick or Ray Porter.

This mystery was fantastic. I didn’t want to stop listening, and I didn’t want it to end when everything was being resolved. Man but this book was gooooood. The main character was annoying at times but what pregnant seventeen year-old raised in witness protection who lives on Nancy Drew books wouldn’t be annoying when she decides to go into the world and find her father since law enforcement can’t seem to and she’s sick of hiding?

I hope you don’t get motion sickness because the twists and turns in this book will leave you puking on the side of the highway. So freaking good. Julia Whelan, will you marry me? I love your voice.

71. “Under Different Stars” (Kricket, book 1) by Amy A.. Bartol – narrated by Kate Rudd

Finished September 10

Total soap opera teen romance fluff set in a sci-fi world, terribly written with dangling bits everywhere, but I enjoyed it despite all that. It was highly distracting and a lovely escape from reality. this is not a serious book that’s going to dazzle the reader with beautiful prose. Instead, it’s full of tropes. Girl all the guys are crazy about but she’s oblvious, total meat head, overbearing men etc etc etc. the girl is nice and tall on earth but on this other planet she’s tiny and adorable. Awww. Total eye roller I didn’t want to end. Lucky for me there are more books in the series. Honestly though, I’m surprised it won UtopYA awards (I wonder what those are) for best book of the year and sci-fi. On what planet? Maybe Ethar. Audible got me on this one. Hook me with the daily deal so I get addicted to the series. Well played, Audible, Well played.

Twitter: @Amy_A_Bartol

70.“The Magician’s Lie: A Novel by Greer Macallister – narrated by Julia Whelan and Nick Podehl

Finished September 8

Oh man this book was so freaking good I pretty much listened non-stop. I am on a roll with good books right now. This was a daily deal I picked up since Julia Whelan narrated it. She did “Gone Girl” and she’s just plain good.

‘Magician’s’ did something I contemplated doing in my own novel, writing one character’s POV in the first person, and the other MC in the third. In my novel, I wanted to use first person to put emphasis on my female protagonist but I decided it wouldn’t work. In ‘Magician’s’ however, it totally works. Whelan narrates the character of the magician, written in first person, telling her story to the police officer who apprehends her for the murder of her husband. The chapters alternate between her and the officer, written in the third person, conducting the interview. Podehl reads those chapters. He’s familiar but I’m not sure what other books I know him from. He’s also good. I thought the book was extremely well done and the story the magician tells is absolutely captivating. the title of the novel tells the reader there’s a lie, so the narrative of the magician is completely unreliable which makes for a very uncomfortable reading experience. This book freaking rocked. I wish the author was on Twitter. If she is, I can’t find her. Her? the name makes it hard to know, but I feel like a woman wrote the book. Yep, she’s a woman. I looked her up and found this interview, in which she mentions nursing her child. I can’t wait to read more from her!

69. “A Curious Tale of the In-Between” by Lauren DeStefano – narrated by Brittany Pressley

finished September 6

This book was awesome! I had been looking forward to it for so long since I follow Lauren DeStefano on Twitter and love her but had yet to read any of her books. She has really engaged with me over writing and she’s just plain hilarious so I’m so glad I liked this book. I was a little worried since the last book involving ghosts that I had been looking forward to was a serious disappointment.

Not this book! Eleven year-old Pram Bellamy can talk to ghosts. She lives with her two aunts in an old colonial house turned nursing home. She knows she’s an orphan, that her mother died in childbirth and her father is absent but she doesn’t quite understand why her aunts are so protective of her, schooling her at home. Her only friend is a ghost named Felix. When social services insists she attend school, she meets Clarence, a boy who’s mother is also dead. The two set out to uncover secrets. What follows, to me, is more a terrifying tale than a curious one. It reminded me of the old Goosebumps stories I read as a kid. It was so good I clapped when it ended. I only wish it had been longer. It was so good!

Twitter: @LaurenDeStefano

68. “Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change” by S. M. Stirling – narrated by Todd McLaren

finished September 4

This book was so fun in the beginning. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale which I love. something happens to electricity and even compustian. What is it? No one knows. Planes fall from the sky, technology is dead, guns don’t work. So who survives? Wiccans and SCA members since those two groups of people already knew how to live off the land. It took me right back to my teens and early twenties, it did. I was a Wiccan and briefly an SCA member. In case you’re wondering, the SCA is a group that gets together and holds old renaissance festival type things.

So those people who respect the earth and can fight with swords are the ones to survive. It’s plausible to me. The book began to lose me the farther into it I got with the two main characters and their constant inner dialogue. I can’t explain why it got so annoying. then the story seemed to unravel near the end, like the author just wanted to move on to working on the next book or something. About the last quarter of the book suddenly got confusing, with no explanation of exactly how and why something was happening. It felt like the author was figuring out the story as he wrote it and didn’t quite tighten it up in revision. It’s becoming harder to just read now that I’m also a writer, that’s for sure. It’s an entertaining read if you’re able to suspend your disbelief. An attack on a strong hold with hang gliders? Really? In the dark? By people who had only a few days training with them? Alrighty then. Oh, or what about the fourteen year-old who teaches herself sign language out of a book in just a few months after she discovers there’s a deaf girl in the Wiccan camp? Uh huh. Oh well, it was the perfect book to follow Fitz and the Fool and I wasn’t yet ready to return to reality.

67. “The boys of Summer” by roger Kahn – narrated by Phil Gigante

finished September 2

This is the book I read for the book club I’ve mentioned in the last couple posts I think. The book club consists of Rays fans reading books about baseball. I could not get invested in this book. the writing didn’t grab me. The first part of the book is basically Kahn’s own biography and I was reading the book for baseball. The second part was Kahn visiting the old Dodger players he had written about in the fifties. parts of the book would be really interesting and then I’d find myself bored again. Discussing the book was interesting, reading the comments the people in the club wrote. since I couldn’t just leaf through the book for names, I was at a loss, not remembering which name went with which story.

the baseball history was interesting, especially Jackie robinson of course. The book just didn’t hold my attention. I have to wonder if the depression I was slipping into didn’t play a part.

I’ve always liked Phil gigante. He’s a great narrator, doing accents well, very easy to listen to.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, birthday, cats, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, mental health, music, twitter me this, writing

August’s Audio Books and a Case of Crippling Depression

So can we say wow Ro, you are sure late on August’s post. Ummm, Yeah. I’ll just say I’m grateful I can actually write this today. I am emerging from my worst…depression…EVER. Like, ever. Like, oh please oh please can I never go through depression that bad ever again? Please?It was awful. I’ve narrowed what I think to be the cause down to yet another physical problem with yet another new medication, though there doesn’t have to be a cause for depression. In me, there is typically a cause though. I’ll have what I call minor depressions, where life just gets too overwhelming, especially around money, but they usually pass. This one began as a minor depression, my story wasn’t published though I really felt ok about that, I plunged myself into work on the novel, then I read a book that brought back all my old alcoholic feelings, then a seriously dark and disturbing YA novel, and then the new medication was added and then yet another shooting happened and holy crap what the hell oh man no, stop it, no, go away, make it stop no no no, there’s no hope, life is horrible, humanity is doomed, make it stop. I quit reading the internet. I quit writing, all I wanted to do was read fiction. I even found it hard to care about baseball. then I finally told B all the things that were in my head even though I was scared to, afraid he’d lock me up, but he just listened and let me cry and that, along with not reading the internet, with talking to close friends, finally helped me ease out. It’s getting better by the day and today I was able to finish the first draft of a book review I had promised to others and send it off.

So now I’m working on my own stuff. It’s rainy today. I’m listening to music. The Rays are out of it for this season but they come to Arizona next year so that’s exciting. I spent the day in bed yesterday, just feeling physically “off”, worrying that I was doomed to not be productive yet again this week but today has been good so far. Minute by minute, that’s how I’m taking life at the moment. So, On to August’s books. Grateful I had the presence of mind to keep track of them. And grateful to Jayden for keeping me functioning during that horrible, dark time.

Happy birthday, Taylor!

*four books this month*

66. “Fool’s Quest” (Fitz and the Fool trilogy, book 2)
by Robin Hobb – narrated by Elliot Hill

finished August 31

I love robin Hobb’s Farseer books so dang much! This is her latest book which came out in August. Ricardo and I were both excited to read it and it was fun to complain about this new narrator with him. The way Hill voices the Fool is just plain awful. It definitely detracted from the book for me but at least this second book in the current trilogy was better than the first so that helped. I didn’t want to be done with the book when it was over. It was the absolute perfect escape for me, in fact B even told me to just disappear into it haha. I can’t wait for the third in this trilogy! Hobb’s Twitter said something about 2017 though, so that’s not happy making.

Twitter: @RobinHobb

Two books I walked away from: “The Accidental Alchemist” and “Mort(E)

I think I made it an hour into the alchemist book, bland narrating, or was it the writing with its dangling bits, who knows. Just didn’t care. Good thing it was a daily deal. I wanted something light hearted after ’ember’. Maybe it was a combination of my worsening mental state and the excellent writing it followed. I then tried the Mort book and made it a few days but gave up August 24 with four hours left. I just couldn’t do it. It was sheer freaking torture it was so bad. I blame you, Bronson Pinchot, for normally being so wonderful. Even you sounded bored to tears. I recorded a small segment for Ricardo since he’s also a Pinchot fan. I used to always suffer through bad books to see if they’d be redeemed. Not anymore. If they don’t at least entertain me, that’s it.

65. “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir – narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West

finished August 18

Holy crap, this book. So dark. So disturbing. So bloody. So good, but glad it’s not at all based in reality or I don’t think I could have handled it, it was so dark. Excellent narration and the book grabs you from the very start, never letting go until it ends, and you’re left wanting more. At least, I was. There’s a sequel and it’s written and hopefully out next year. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of young adult books and even if you aren’t. If you like dark fantasy, this is the book for you. Wow. I mean, wow. What did I say on Twitter? It’s “The Hunger Games” meets “Divergent” meets “The Bone Season”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though. wow is it dark.

Twitter: @SabaaTahir When she responded to me on Twitter, I was like aaaah scary author, scary author!

64. “Romancing the Dark in the city of Light” by Ann Jacobus – narrated by Apple’s voiceover

finished August 13

the above link is the Goodreads page for this book since it’s not out until early October. I was given an advance review copy since I’m reviewing the book for Disability in Kid Lit. I’ll link to that review once it’s up.

And, here is the review. It was posted October 16 and was a very cool experience. I’ve been asked if there’s an audio book, and currently there isn’t. I have a question in to the author about it.

Twitter: @AnnJacobusSF

63. “Sarum: the Novel of England” by Edward Rutherfurd – narrated by Wanda McCaddon

Finished August 12

Notes I took while reading:

It’s like trying to see an accident scene as you’re driving by on the highway. It’s like oh there’s Bloody Mary oh now she’s gone. The book tries to be character driven but the expanse of time is so vast that by trying to develop characters and stories takes away from historical detail. The balance is off. There’s not enough time to care about characters and not enough detail about history.

End notes.

There were moments of pure fascination and then moments of sheer boredom. After reading Rutherfurd’s New York book, I was expecting exquisite pacing. I think that would be next to impossible with the England book however. It begins with the dawn of man and ends in the, oh crap, I can’t remember when it ended. I was just so relieved it ended. Oops!

I love Wanda McCaddon though. She’s very easy to listen to.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, birthday, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, mental health, spoons, twitter me this, writing

Even in my morning desire to rage, I didn’t have the urge to smash it like a bullpen phone.

Welcome to another episode oF *CROWD CHANTS THE WORDS* SLEEP! DEPRIVED! FUN! WITH YOUR HOST, RO, THE RAYS DUCHESS OF THE ARIZONA TERRITORIES!

I HAVE THE TIARA TO PROVE IT.

NO REALLY, I DO. I WAS SERIOUSLY TEMPTED TO WEAR IT TO MY LAST STEROID TREATMENT YESTERDAY. I HADN’T HAD THE ENERGY TO BATHE THE DAY BEFORE AND BLOW OUT MY HAIR SO I STUCK MY RAYS CAP ON YESTERDAY AND ALMOST PUT THE TIARA ON OVER IT. I THINK I HAVE EXPERIENCED A LITTLE OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE IN A MANIC PHASE. I MENTIONED IN YESTERDAY’S POST THAT I LISTENED TO THAT GNARLES BARKLEY SONG CRAZY ALL THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. JUST ON REPEAT. THE DRIVER WAS A SPEED RACER TOO, SO IT WAS A SERIOUSLY FUN RIDE TO THE HOSPITAL. I KINDA WISH I HAD WORN THE TIARA.

Davis just informed me on Twitter that I was yelling. I hate it when I knock caps lock on and don’t notice it. Was I yelling in this post? Well, it would fit. I’m feeling crazy again this morning as the hours tick by. I don’t know for sure when I woke up. I try not to check the time so I don’t obsess but then I needed an ibuprofin and I always note the time when I take one since I take the 600mg pill and I don’t want to overload my kidneys. When I checked the time it was 3:00am and I had been laying awake for quite awhile. *groan*

So I lay there some more and then just gave up and got out of bed. I ended up reading through all my short stories here when I grabbed the link to the archives page to send to my new neuropathic friend. (His title. I like it.)

My writing schedule has been killed these last two weeks with all the medical stuff that came up so suddenly. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get a post up every day for NaBloPoMo. I’m sure the last few don’t make much sense. At least this morning I’m co-hearing ok that’s me trying to use Dictate on the Mac to spell a word and it’s just not working. Coherent There we go! Oh, it’s ent not ant.

Did I already write that I see the neurologist today? Maybe I’m not coherent if I already forgot what I’ve written. I’ve mentioned it on Twitter so that might be where I wrote it. this is why I shut Twitter down when I’m working on the novel haha.

It’s only 5:12. My alarm is going off in just under two hours. At least it’s not a three hour infusion today with travel to and from the hospital mixed in. I’m hoping to talk to my friend Shupa this afternoon after I get home. I’ve been drawing on her strength the last few days without her knowing it. Sometimes you just reach out through the ether to people who understand what you’ve going through.

I can’t quite seem to get silly like I have in past sleep deprived posts. Hmmm.

You know what sucks? Steroids. usually they’re awesome. this go round? Not so much. usually they increase your apetitie. Oh God I can’t type that word hahaha. Apetitie. What? Ok is a brain lesion effecting my finger nerves? Appetite. Ok had to type it super slow. Anyway, usually food is awesome right? I love food. And in the past on steroids when the hunger would hit and it hits fast, it was fun to wolf down food and appease the hunger monster. I mean it comes on FAST. It’s like, you better feed me now bitch, or there’ll be hell to pay. but yesterday? Hunger hit, had to eat but the thought of food was disgusting. I had my usual lunch at about 3pm after I got home and had to clean up cat mess and it was like forcing down my turkey and radish sandwich that I usually love. Then I went and got a light massage, therapist going easy on me just to help relax the muscles but not exacerbate anything. I had told B before my massage that I had no idea what I might want to eat after so I’d just make PB & J. I mean one can always eat PB & J right?

When I got home I decided I wouldn’t eat. But then the hunger hit and there was no choice. I had to force down that PB & J. I am not enjoying this.

My vertigo is pretty bad. I think if my eyes worked, I’d be noticing some vision issues. It’s hard to explain what I feel since I can’t see, but I feel my eyes trying to do something. It reminds me of the nystagmus I had as a kid. That’s where your eyes vibrate. It used to happen to me at night when I turned the lights out to sleep. I’d have to turn the bedside light on and stare at it to make my eyes stop vibrating. That’s almost how they feel now.

So I don’t know how much success the steroids were. I don’t know if the doc will order another MRI. Several have asked me that. I didn’t have a second MRI in the past after steroids, but that was after being treated at the hospital, so who knows what Dr. v will want. I’m looking forward to this week being over but I am grateful I see him today.

I’m just plopping my hat on today. Don’t worry, I won’t put the tiara on. I am becoming one of those people who goes out with hair overdo for a wash. Nooooooo!!!! I just have not had the energy to shower after treatment this week and I can’t do it in the mornings because bathing takes all my energy. So…body spray it is! I hope I don’t stink. I don’t think I do. I haven’t sweat. It’s been really beautiful here weather wise.

So I’m just sitting here drinking coffee, flipping over to Twitter and carrying on conversations. The heater is on. the air from the vent in my den is so loud I have to adjust the volume of my screen reader when it turns off and on .

Oh no, the hunger wolf is prowling. I’d really rather have breakfast close to the time I’ll be leaving to my appointment but when this wolf gets hungry, it gets really hard to ignore, like a dog who is demanding attention. I think I only have one more bowl of Special K left in the box. *sob*

I’m going to get some green tea later with my prescription. My massage therapist said green tea is good to help the body adjust after high doses of steroids. I didn’t ask how he knows that. Maybe I should see if I can get ARod on the line for his tips. Bah ha ha! I assure you my phone is safe from harm. Even in my morning desire to rage, I didn’t have the urge to smash it like a bullpen phone.

Dammit hungry. Maybe I can manage a slice of bread with some peanut butter. Hmmm. Yeah that sounds good. I’ll go try and eat that and report back.

Ok, that was pretty tasty. I stuck a half a banana on there. Jayden was happy with this development. A taste of peanut butter and a half a banana? Nom.

Only problem is I forgot to take a Zantac this morning. Steroid heartburn sucks. Just popped one so hopefully it’s not too late.

I think I’m done rambling about nothing. I’m getting sleepy. Go figured. Three hours till I leave for the doctor. Tick Tock.

Today’s song of the day:

I really like how WordPress handles youtube videos now. Just plop the link in and WP does the rest.

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Filed under coffeeholic, doc, gratitude, humor as coping skill, iPhone, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2014, num num food, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, Sleep Deprived Fun, spoons, twitter me this, weather, youtube

Take your Benadryl with your Solumedrol so you won’t go quite as craaaaaazy

So if any patient with MS stumbles across the post and you are about to go in for a solumedrol infusion, when you arrive for your treatment the nurses might hand you some Tylenol and Benedryl and you might wonder what it’s for and the nurses will tell you it’s what the doctor ordered but you can refuse it if you want.

If you’re like me, you’re probably going in for Solumedrol because your MS is flairing up a bit and you’re probably sick and tired of being sick and tired and you know the steroids are going to bring relif from your body aches and give you more energy than you’ve had in forever so the thought of taking Benedryl is abhorrant because everyone knows that crap knocks you out right?

Sorry this thing is full of typos. I just got done with four days of going into an infusion center for meds and I came home to cat shit all over my bed. Do you know how not fun that is to clean up when you’re blind?

Anyway, trust me on this, dear MS patient. Take the Benedruyl. The doc probably ordered two, you ccan try just one, today I took both because yesterday, during my third day of treatment, I got anxiety so bad they kept having to stop the infusion.

Steroids can make you crazy. They didn’t for me the first two times I had them but those were times of deep stress and duress. This time I went in relatively healthy expect for the MS flairing up so the steroids did number on my mental health. I’ve also got an anxiety disorder now that I take daily Lexapro for so the general consensus is that the steroids flaired up my anxiety bad.

This morning I was so nuts I felt like Carrie from homeland. I asked my mental health professional boyfriend is this what’ it’s like to be bipolar because yesterday I just wanted to sleep and this morning I was weepy and wanting to walk around raging.

I took the Benedryl today. both of them. And I zoned out, mildly sedated, listening to Josh Groban while the Solumedrol infused. I still feel sluggish now but it’s far better than raging, let me tell you.

I’m done now. I see the neurologist tomorrow and I’ll probably get a prednisone pill to taper off at home. Oh, pick up some Zantac too. Take on in the morning before your breakfast, and eat something for breakfast before you get your infusion. Take another Zantac before dinner. Trust me, steroid heartburn SUCKS.

Ok, that’s it. I harte that this crap has happened during the NaBloPoMo because the last thing i’ve wanted to worry about it posting every day but dammit, I must hahaha. O crap I’m feeling crazy again. I listned to that Gnarles Barkley song all thwe way to treatment this morning.

Let’s see if WordPress embedded that.

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Filed under cats, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, youtube

“Mr. Mercedes: A Novel” by Stephen King – narrated by Will Patton – A Health Update and Dark Mood Lifted

It pleases me that the book I’m up to on the list is a book I hated because I’m in a dark mood. I’ll go in to that in the life part of the post.

This book sucked. Or rather it sucked as a Stephen King book. It just wasn’t a Stephen King book. It was a Michael Connelly book with maybe some more violence and blood, but it was not a Stephen King book with some scary town like Derry or a clown or a haunted hotel or a Yellow Card Man.

It was a detective novel. A detective novel with no mystery at that. You know who the bad guy is because there are chapters written from his point of view. There was literally no mystery, not for the reader anyway. Connelly has written from the bad guy’s point of view before too but I don’t remember feeling like there wasn’t any mystery left for me.

This book started with so much promise! I remember being riveted from the first but then it just went on and on and on and was boring. If Will Patton hadn’t been the narrator, I don’t think I would have finished it. I returned it to Audible. That’s how much I didn’t like the book.

I had jotted a note for myself that read: Blatant, not subtle, foreshadowing that goes nowhere. Lexapro. I remember the foreshadowing bit, thinking that was my mystery but no. I don’t remember what it was that I thought was foreshadowing, just that it went nowhere. I don’t really remember the Lexapro part of my note to myself. Thinking back to the character that might have applied to, I’m guessing my thought had been that Lexapro wasn’t used correctly or something. I can’t remember.

I think the story had merit. I just wish he had published it under his old pseudonym so I didn’t go into it expecting a Stephen King novel.

Rating: Meh

“Mr. Mercedes” at Audible

Now for my dark mood. I shouldn’t say it’s dark as in depressed dark, just dark as in crap that thing I was worried about actually happened. usually when I worry myself to death over something, it never comes to pass. I shouldn’t even say I was worrying to death because I really don’t do that these days being on the aforementioned Lexapro.

I was worried about my MRI results though, and that worry turned out not to be for nothing. My new neuro was point blank in telling me I have four active lesions on my brain which means the MS is active and we need to act now. As he was talking I could feel my eyes getting wider and wider. Four active lesions? How did I not have any symptoms? How had I not lost the use of a limb? My hearing? My ability to breathe?

He said sometimes there are no symptoms. Since I’ve been home with time to think though, there have been symptoms, just small ones. My last two MS attacks were kind of huge, losing the vision in both eyes, so little symptoms like fatigue lasting for days, right foot cramping, joints hurting to touch, I just wrote off as getting older and having a chronic illness.

Four active brain lesions. He was able to see my old lesions from the MRI without contrast, the MRI with contrast lighting up the new ones. Unfortunately he doesn’t have my old MRI’s to compare to be able to tell how old these new lesions might be. That doesn’t really matter, the point is now.

I’m going to start IV steroids on Monday to “calm the brain down” as he put it. While I’m not looking forward to spending hours at the hospital and dealing with paratransit, yay steroids! Steroids kill all my pain! Yes, they suck too because they make you really hungry and give you hot flashes but no pain you guys! No pain!

Me and my silver linings.

I see Dr. V again next week and he’ll have the results of the blood test that got drawn today. I was so afraid he would push the old interferon injections on me like my last neuro but no! He said there are much better drugs now. The one we’re hoping I can take is a pill but I was tested for some virus that fifty percent of Americans have and if I have it, I can’t have the pill. I’ll find out more about this mystery virus but for now, I can’t remember what he called it.

If I can’t have the pill, the next one he would want me to do is a once monthly infusion of some drug. Again, I was in such shock from the MRI results I didn’t think to jot down the names of this stuff. I think from here on out I’ll be doing voice memos of my doctor appointments haha! I don’t think I’d mind even the once monthly infusion of a drug as long as it doesn’t kill my quality of life like the interferon injections did. And I wouldn’t have to give myself a shot every other day.

Ok so wow, my mood doesn’t feel so dark after writing that. I’m just really grateful I decided to get back under a neurologist’s care when I did and so grateful my Rays Twitter Family friend found me this neurology clinic all the way from florida. Thank you, Nurse K!

I do need to own the fact that I have neglected my health as far as the MS goes since 2008 because of my resentment at the MS itself and the doctors and the medications that didn’t keep me from going blind. My stubbornness is the reason for these four active lesions. I had no idea B was worried until I heard the relief in his voice when he asked what the next step was and I said treatment.

I won’t neglect the MS again. That’s my solemn vow.

I wonder what next week will be like. I’m looking at it as an adventure for Jayden and me. And no pain next week! Weeeee! Oh speaking of pain, I got a prescription for ibuprofin since I take so much of it it was breaking the bank haha!

Oh, please cross your fingers that my insurance will pay for the steroid infusions I need. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about that.

Jayden was just barking in his sleep. I’m glad he’s good an relaxed. He was off at the neuro this morning and I think it was because he could feel my tension. I’ll make next week fun for him even if it’s not fun for me haha.

Oh, when B asked if there was anything he could do, I told him chocolate would be happy making. I expected a Hershey’s Bar or something. He got me a box of Whitman’s! Such a good boyfriend.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, twitter me this

Thanks for the Bone, Universe. It’s delicious.

This morning I had a house call with a nurse practitioner. This is a program my insurance participated in a couple months ago but it’s not actually new, just new here. Basically her visit was just meant to supplement my regular doctor visits and the point of the program is to try and keep people out of the hospital. I was incredibly impressed with her and the program and they’re “mission statement” if you will, keep people out of hospitals, keep people healthier, the better for all of us.

The visit was very comprehensive including the normal sort of checklist you might fill out at the doctor, but more brief. She got to know all about my medical history just by asking questions and having a conversation. She was easy to communicate with, knowledgeable about MS, not at all condescending, understanding about my choice not to get a flu shot, not distracted by my dog and ignoring her patient, not rushing, just all around a good experience.

I was impressed when she said, “I bet you’re happier than most that summer is over.” She knows!!! She gets it! When I explained that I’m on gabapentin for my pain and that I’m trying not to go the narcotic route for as long as possible, she gently but firmly explained that pain can trigger my MS just like heat so I should not live with pain. I mentioned medical pot and she told me how to go about opening up the dialogue with my doctor and what to expect about the process. We talked about how B and I are both in recovery so there’s that to contend with. She just understood it all.

When I mentioned the tooth problems and how much Advil I’ve been taking she asked if I had tried calling the insurance to speed up the process. When I explained that I had and it didn’t go well, she gave me a phone number to try and basically gave me the courage to keep trying until I found someone who could and would help. I’m going to try again tomorrow. If at first you don’t succeed and all that.

She tested my urine to check my sugar and kidneys which came back normal despite all the Advil. We talked about my vertigo and I told her I wanted to get a cane and she agreed that would be a good idea. She told me to call that same number to get assistance finding a neurologist.

Gosh, what else did we discuss? Oh she gave me a physical and everything looked good on the outside and sounded good on the inside. She checked my feet for neuropathy and even though I’m having tingling in the right one, that came back ok too. I did fail the three word test though. I could only remember two of the words. So I don’t know what that means. I also drew a clock haha!

“Can you draw the face of a clock?”

“I’m blind!”

“Do you remember what a clock looks like? Here, draw it.” Hahaha! I giggled. She said my circle was perfect. I drew the hands to the time she wanted but they were a little off since I couldn’t remember exactly where I had drawn the numbers. Good times!

I am exhausted this afternoon but it was such a good experience. She really helped. It’s like she picked up on exactly what has been a stressor and gave me solutions. Oh and we talked about therapy too, which is funny because this morning I was thinking I wanted to get back into it. She gave me a phone number for that too, a number that will help me find the right kind of help. She iterated how important it is to have that outside party that won’t judge what you say. It was like this woman was reading my mind!

So wow, maybe the universe heard me when I asked if a bone could be thrown my way. I definitely don’t feel so lost at sea now. I feel like now I can just focus on not feeling well at the time being and can just relax. I feel like she was my spotter while lifting heavy weights. Which oh man have I gained weight. We talked about that, too. About how easy it is to get out of the habit of daily exercising especially when you don’t feel well.

Anyway, yay! As I was catching up on Twitter after I had some lunch, I read the following tweet:

@BMcCarthy32 I have a painful wisdom tooth situation happening, so I apologize if I’ve been cynical and sarcastic on this website recently.

Wow, I get to have a painful wisdom tooth situation at the same time as Brandon McCarthy! How lucky am I? Wait Ro, I clicked that link, he doesn’t nor has he ever pitched for the Rays. I know, but I admire him. Dude got his head split open by a line drive, fell into a coma, came out of it and is pitching again. I’m honored to share wisdom tooth misery with him. Though something tells me he doesn’t have to wait for insurance to tell him he can have it removed.

Random Happy

If you read my review of “The Fault in Our Stars”, you know how much I adored it. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much I like Mental Floss. So when I found out that John Green himself (author of aforementioned novel) does videos for Mental Floss, I was thrilled! That man talks so fast. Seriously.

So today, how happy was I to open a video full of outtakes from Mental Floss and John Green? It was the perfect way to unwind after the house call this morning. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.

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Filed under baseball, Dental Health, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2013, spoons, therapy, twitter me this, youtube

What’s a Newspaper?

first thing this morning I noticed the sounds of workers out behind my apartment and thought, great, I get to blindly search for dog poop in front of strangers. If only I had known that would be the least of my problems. The noise, oh the noise! The sounds of rocks thumping together, men shouting, eventually a loud machine doing God only knows what and it would have been fine if it weren’t for that meddling tooth pain that is back with a vengeance today going up into my ear hurry up insurance suits hurry up I need my ear! Thank God I’m on Lexapro, seriously. I called the apartment office to find out what the workers were doing and of course no one answered. They never answer. I called Carol. She told me the cutest story!

Friday Carol went to Starbucks with the intention of enjoying some coffee while doing a crossword before hitting the book store. There weren’t any tables available but she noticed two little girls sitting beside each other at a small table, playing on an iPad. Carol asked the two women next to the girls if they belonged to them and then asked if it would be ok if she sat on the other side to do her crossword. The older of the two girls hardly paid any attention but the younger girl was very interested in Carol. The following is what happened, told from the best of my memory of the conversation.

Carol: I only need this much space. (She drew a square around her coffee cup, making the girls giggle)

Youngest girl: What’s that?

Carol: This is a newspaper. (The younger girl came over to get a better look)

Youngest girl: What’s a newspaper?

(I groan at this point. How old do I feel?)

Carol: (Points to the iPad) It’s like that, but made out of paper. (The moms laugh)

The youngest girl is then interested in the crossword. Luckily the perfect clue presents itself.

Carol: How does every single fairy tale start?

Youngest girl: Once upon a time!

Carol: So that’s the clue for this four letter word, do you think the word is once, upon or time?

I can’t remember if she told me the rest but I just loved that story. Yes, the child not knowing what a newspaper is was a bit depressing, but the story of the interaction was happy making. I love random encounters with kids! I knew I had to share in today’s post.

There was also a funny part about the men working outside. At one point I heard a song being sung in spanish as one of the men worked. A little while later a phone rang and the ring tone was the “mine! mine! mine!” from Finding Nemo, which made me think of Tropicana Field.

It’s the little things.

Happy birthday, Ricardo!!!

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Filed under apple Inc, birthday, Dental Health, gratitude, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2013, random stuff