Friday, December 31, 2010

The First Four Months

I'm ending the year with a video of the first four months of my picture-a-day project (9/4/10-12/31/10).

video

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 Classics I've Never Read

2011 To-Read List
1. Rebecca (now reading)
2. 1984
3. The Scarlet Pimpernel
4. The Count of Monte Cristo
5. Oliver Twist
6. The Phantom of the Opera
7. A Wrinkle in Time
8. Little Women
9. The Screwtape Letters
10. The Great Gatsby

Turning Off Autopilot

I had high expectations for 2010. I made plans. But almost nothing was accomplished. This past year, my life was on autopilot. In 2011, I'm taking my life back. I'm not going to let things just happen to me. I'm going to take control of my surroundings and the people in it. Starting with my ex, or rather my soon-to-be ex-husband.

My first act of taking hold of the reigns was filing for divorce. In NC you have to be separated for a year before you can file. We separated three years ago. I never filed. I kept waiting for the right time. Why? There's no good reason I can think of. I finally asked myself, "is this important to you?" Well, yes, it is. "So why aren't you making it a priority?" Ummmmmmm. I FINALLY filed on December 9. He was served on the 17th. We have to wait 30 days to petition the court for a date. My lawyer expects the divorce to be finalized around February 3rd. We will have been officially married (including the separation) for 9 years and 4 months.

I have resolutions for the coming year, I just haven't organized them yet. If you were to ask me what they are, I could probably tell you a couple, but I'm pretty sure I have more. I'm going to dedicate the first week of the new year to writing down my resolutions. Each one will have a blog post, I just don't know how many there will be. They'll probably look a lot like last year's resolutions.

Like Daddy

Sammy got a Spiderman watch for Christmas. Before Christmas, he would put a rubber band or string around is wrist and say, "I need to see what time is." Once when I asked for the time, he looked at his rubber band and said, "it's 27."  We knew the watch would be a big a hit.

Sammy is right handed. Typically, right handed people wear their watches on their left hand. But not Sammy. Why? Because Sammy's daddy is left handed and wears his watch on his right hand. The first time I put the watch on, I started to put it on his left arm. "No, Annie, it goes on this hand [patting his right hand], like Daddy's." Whoops. So I switched to his right arm and fastened it up. The band was still a little big, so I moved it up his arm a little so it would fit properly. "No, Annie. It has to go right here [over the wrist]. This is where Daddy wears it."

Kids notice everything. Here's hoping we never forget that we influence their actions and thoughts, big and small.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Has this snow scrooge's heart grown?

Technically it's a day-after Christmas snow, but it's close enough to Christmas to call it a Christmas snow, right? It hasn't snowed this close to Christmas here in eastern North Carolina in a long time. And it's a beautiful snow too. Sometimes, our snows are more sleet and ice, but today was a real snow.

I'm an admitted snow scrooge. It doesn't snow much in this part of the state. We usually only get one snow per year, typically in January. So far this winter, we've had three, thanks to the jet stream dipping lower. I'm not fond of snows because my clothes get cold and wet. It melts during the day and freezes over night, causing lots of ice on the roads and driveways and sidewalks and porch steps. People here get stupid during the snow. We're just not used to it.

But we don't have to worry about the ice until tomorrow. Today, we have fun.

Sammy really loves playing in the snow

Say "cheese"

He ran all around the side yard
He made a snow angel and kept falling down in the snow because it was so much fun.

There's nothing like hot chocolate and warm pajamas after a fun time playing in the snow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Bed is My Friend

Every year, my family comes together to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. My oldest younger brother and his family live about 40 minutes away. My youngest younger brother and his son live with me, and my Mom lives beside me. Yesterday, everyone was over at my house (my house isn't very big). The celebration started at 5:00, but I didn't finish getting everything ready until 6:00. My day started at 8:00 in the morning and didn't end until 11:00 at night when everything was cleaned up.  It was a long day. It was a great day. But as a person with Multiple Sclerosis, it was a day that did me in.

This morning, Christmas morning, I dragged myself out of bed to watch Sammy open his stocking and gifts from Santa and his Dad and Mom. He's 3-1/2, and it's the first year he really understands Santa and Christmas. And then I went back to bed. I managed to get lunch, but then went back to bed. My Mom (who just had her hip replaced a month ago) came over and made dinner (open roast beef sandwiches and mashed potatoes-yumm!). If you can't tell, my energy level today was ze-ro. Spending fifteen hours on my feet, running around all day was too much. I used to be able to do it, and then do it again the next day. I'm getting old before my time. Thankfully, I had no plans for Christmas, except with my bed.

A little bit of self control

Every year we put out cookies and carrots on Christmas Eve for Santa and his reindeer. (Those poor reindeer have to share one carrot.)


Sammy carefully chose the cookies he wanted to put on the plate and then took one for himself. A little later on, I heard him walking down the hall, saying, "I'm just going to have one m...." Then he stopped, turned around, and walked back to his room, saying "No, I'm not going to eat one of Santa's cookies."

That took a lot of self control and quick internal dialogue for a little boy who's extremely picky about food but LOVES cookies and cakes and ice creams.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday 12/21/10

The Top 10 books I want Santa to bring (books currently on my to-read list)
These are in no particular order. I'm going down my to-read list on goodreads and adding them as I find them.

1. Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
2. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
4. When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett
5. The Maze Runner by James Dasher
6. Sex Dungeon For Sale by Patrick Wensink
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni
8. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
9. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
10. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Thwarted

It was 35 degrees at lunch when I went home to pick up my mother, brother, and nephew. When we got into the car, Sammy rolled down the window, but before we started, I asked him to roll it back up. Whhhhyyyyyy? (he's going through a why phase). Once he rolled it up, I locked all the windows.

At a stop light a little later on, he said, "uh oh, my bad guy hand is going to roll down the window." Knowing full well that he wasn't supposed to, he pressed the button. And pressed. And pressed. Then he looked up, and in the rear view mirror I could see a very annoyed look on his face. "Annie! Did you LOCK MY WINDOW?!! You need to unlock it RIGHT NOW!" (He's going through a demanding phase too.)

The joys of being 3-1/2. All of your evil plans are thwarted by adults.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What I'm Reading

Tonight when I got home from work, the rest of the family went out go Christmas shopping. I made myself a light dinner, turned off the TV in the living room, and settled down on the love seat to read a book. I stayed there until after 10:00. It was nice to be alone in the quiet, a kitty plopped down on top of me, with a good book to occupy my mind.

I'm reading HOW I KILLED PLUTO AND WHY IT HAD IT COMING by Mike Brown


I'm enjoying it very much. I LOVE science, especially physics, specifically astrophysics and astronomy, so I knew I had to pick up this book when it was released (which was 2 weeks ago). When I brought it home, Sammy looked at the cover and asked "Why is that rocket bullet dying that dot?" Such a simple question with a very complicated answer. 

Sammy used to have planets hanging above his bed, so I used those to explain why Pluto (which he used to pronounce Mooto when he was younger) was a small planet and couldn't be a BIG planet anymore. Of course there were many more factors that contributed to the definitions of planets and dwarf plants, but he's only 3. When I put Sammy's question on twitter, Mike Brown, the author, replied with "the dot had to die." 

I'm half way through (page 135)...I think Eris (the 10th "planet") is about to be discovered, which sends Pluto on the path to it's eventual doom. I've found this book to be very engaging. It includes aspects of the author's personal and professional life and explains the science behind astronomy in a way that a person of average intelligence can understand it.

I've checked this out of the library, but I can tell it's going to be a book I'm going to buy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Random Questions 12/17/10

1. What has made you smile today?
My stripy, warm, soft chenille socks

2. What are your New Year's Resolutions?
I plan on listing my resolutions in several posts, but primarily it's to get everything in my life organized and in order (my home, my finances, my job, my health etc.)

3. What moment would you relive and why?
Visits with my grandparents, because I was self-absorbed when I was younger and didn't spend time with them talking the way I wish I could now.

4. What music are you listening to right now?
Nothing--hold on, I'm going to hit shuffle on itunes, and I'll list the song that comes up. And the winner is: I Don't Believe You (Pink) followed by Run (acoustic cover by Ortopilot of Snow Patrol's original)

5. What is your favorite time of day?
I am NOT a morning person, but my favorite time of day is the 30 minutes before and after the sun rises each day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shoe Stasis

In my efforts to organize my home, I've made a deal with myself: if anything new is brought in, something has to go out. I have a small house. It's filled to the brim. Eventually I'll have more stuff going out than coming in, but until that time, I'm trying to keep it under control.

I bring this up because today I bought five pairs of shoes. (five pairs? really? Yes, FIVE pairs.) Almost all of the shoes on the clearance rack at Shoe Carnival were size six (my size ~ that rarely happens). In my defense, I went there for a legitimate reason. I needed a new pair of shoes to wear to work because the one pair I wear most often was falling apart, literally. They're not trendy (they are loafers after all), but they're super, super comfy. I love those shoes. I've put off replacing them because I can't find an exact pair anywhere and I can't remember where I bought them.

This morning it snowed, which later melted and made puddles. Puddles are the enemy of my favorite pair of work shoes because the soles have begun separating from the shoe. (as i said, they're literally falling apart.) The inside of my shoes got wet. My feet got wet, and they stayed wet and cold all day. My loyalty only runs so deep. I decided to get a new pair of shoes after work.

Cue the Shoe Carnival. It was the third store I went to. I checked out all the shoes in all the aisles and along the walls. Then I came to the back, and there it was...the Clearance Section. To make it better, ALL of the clearance shoes were further reduced to $9. (to be a success at clearance shopping/scavenging, one must look past the junk, i.e. the gold sequined flats or the multicolored spiked heels, to locate the gems.) I found a black pair of loafers with heels that were comfortable (but not as comfy as my favorite run down pair, but for $9 I'm not complaining) to wear to work. (mission accomplished. pay for the shoes and leave the store. now. back away...no, no, don't keep...oh look, these are cute). I also found a couple pairs of casual shoes to wear with jeans, a utilitarian slide-on pair for when I go clothes shopping or flying, and another cute pair that I don't have anything to wear with right now, but they were only nine dollars so cut me some slack! Retail price for all five was $265, and I paid only $45. Not bad. I tell myself it's okay to buy that many shoes because the last time I bought shoes was a year ago when I bought my now no longer wearable favorite pair of shoes, and these shoes were such a good price.

So, back to the beginning. I bought five pairs of shoes today. Does that mean I need to get rid of five pairs of shoes to keep the status quo in my house? I vote no, but I need find something comparable to get rid of. There are a couple pairs of shoes I rarely wear that I can give to Good Will, but that leaves three more things...I think it's time to give away a few of Sammy's toys that he no longer plays with. (don't judge me)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lame-O

I checked out my Google reader yesterday for the first time in a while. There were over 500 blog posts I hadn't read. I find I treat blogs like books...I find one I like, add it to my to-read list, and then don't read it for a long time. That's one of the many things I'm going to improve on next year. I have BIG plans for next year.

(raises hand) "I, Susanne, promise to not be such a lame-o when it comes to reading and commenting on blogs."

I also have a couple things to blog about, namely I finally got off my duff and filed for divorce, I bought a Christmas tree but haven't decorated it, and it's not supposed to be this cold in the South.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Five Random Questions 12/7/10

What did you have for breakfast?
Fried egg on toast with corned beef hash and orange juice

Do you want kids?
Yes, but I don't want to raise them alone so I need to get married again. But first I need to get divorced. (papers were signed yesterday ~ yay! ~ just needs a judge's signature) Plus, I feel strongly about adoption, so I'm not sure if I'll have biological children.

Where are you?
In my room on my bed watching Sherlock.

Are you happy with your life?
For the most part, yes. I'll be happier when my divorce is finalized AND my home is better organized. I'm working on both.

Do you like to walk in the rain?
It's not something I set out to do, but I don't mind it. I prefer having an umbrella though.

Top Ten Tuesday 12/7/10

The top 10 places I read (in no particular order)

1. In the bed
2. In a hotel room
3. In the hammock
4. At Barnes & Noble
5. At the Library
6. At Panera Bread
7. Work break room
8. Doctor's office
9. On the beach
10. On the couch

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Worth the 20 minutes

A TED video about the need to retain creativity and the importance of being able to take risks and make mistakes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Characters in Books I'd Like to Be BFF's with:
This list was harder to complete than I thought it would be. In no particular order:
1. Elizabeth Bennett (I wanted to BE her) -- from Pride & Prejudice -- because she's intelligent, rational, beautiful, confident, and can speak easily to others.
2. Fitzwilliam Darcy -- from Pride & Prejudice -- because he's handsome, rich, willing to recognize his faults and try to change them, loves without regard, kind, generous
3. Ender Wiggins -- from the Ender's Game "trilogy" -- because he's intelligent, clever, wounded, and stalwart
4. Nancy Drew -- from the Nancy Drew series -- because she's awesome
5. Scout Finch -- from To Kill A Mockingbird -- because she's outspoken, unafraid, curious, has a strong moral compass, and has fun
6. Hermione Granger -- from the Harry Potter series -- because she's intelligent (I see a theme, here), loyal, confident, always prepared, and can do magic
7. Thursday Next -- from the Thursday Next series -- because she's willing to learn, admit her faults, believes in true love, has the coolest uncle, and can jump into books 
8. Skeeter Phelan -- from The Help -- because she has a goal and goes after it, is willing to take risks for something that's right that she believes in, and recognizes her worth
9.  Alice Cullen -- from the Twilight series -- because she's loyal, has great taste in clothes, is a best-friend type person
10. Gale Hawthorne -- from the Hunger Games series -- because he's loyal, caring, respects boundaries (even when he doesn't like them), and can take care of me if the world comes to an end.


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adler Turns FIVE

Adler, the youngest son of my brother Stephan, celebrated his 5th birthday in style, complete with a bouncy house, two cakes (one was a cookie cake), a piñata, and the BIG gift.

Adler & Sammy

Sammy waiting for Adler to join him in the bouncy house

Proof that I'm taller than Holden...by a hair

He's cheating here, but soon he really will be taller than me.

This piñata didn't stand a chance.

Can you tell Adler's a baseball player? Look at that line! Baam!

The BIG gift!

Of course, Sammy had to try out the new bike.


The ping pong game OF THE CENTURY! Sam serves...

...Stephan returns. It was close but there can only be one winner.

My brother's family: Adler, Dara, Stephan, Holden


Monday, November 15, 2010

According to You

This is something new-ish going around Facebook, so I thought I'd post my answers here too. Just don't make fun of my music.

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.         
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.

(My  personal note: Some of these were really good answers...it was shocking. Others didn't make any sense. Some I wish I could move around so it would fit better. But, for better or worse, here it is.)

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS 'ARE YOU OKAY' YOU SAY?
Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
The Greatest (Kenny Rogers)
3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Fantasies and Dreams (The Weather)
 4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Happy to be Stuck with You (Huey Lewis & the News)
 5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Susanne (Swagger)
 6. WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO?
With or Without You (U2)
7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
In the Ghetto (Elvis Presley) ... ouch!
 8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Metro (The Vincent Black Shadow)
 9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
 10. WHAT IS 2 + 2?
I'm the Only One (Melissa Etheridge)
 11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Irreplaceable (Beyonce)
 12. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Another One Bites the Dust (Queen) ...really?
 13. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Some Girls (Rachel Stevens)
 14. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE
Imagine (John Lennon)
 15. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Run (acoustic cover by Ortopilot)
 16. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Neverending Summer (Dayplayer)
 17. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
I Don't Feel Like Dancing (Scissor Sisters)
 18. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
The Remedy (Jason Mraz)
 19. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
I'd Rather Be With You (Joshua Radin)
 20. WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Just Dance (Lady Gaga & Colby O'Donis)
 21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight and the Pips) 
 22. WHAT WILL YOUR CHILD'S FIRST WORDS BE?
I Fall to Pieces (Patsy Cline)
 23. WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR?
Falling Slowly (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova) 
 24. WHAT DID YOU SAY IN YOUR SLEEP LAST NIGHT?
You Just Call Out My Name (James Taylor)
 25. WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
According to You (Orianthi)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confession: I'm not the best blogger

My resolution to blog every day isn't going so well. But that's okay. I think it was unrealistic of me to think I could. But I am doing better than I did before September. At least I am blogging. I need to write more, though. I like the pictures and videos because they're easy and they express themselves better than I could ever describe. But I do need to write more. I promise to start trying.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sammy Helps Make Grandma's Cake

   








The H-D-A-Y melted on top of the mini oven. "Happy Birt" Mom!

Monday, November 8, 2010

If this doesn't make you feel inadequate...

...nothing will. This is a three year old conducting to Beethoven, and he actually knows what he's doing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

My Top 10 Favorite Books (series count as one)
(in no particular order)

1. Harry Potter (series)
2. Ender's Game (series)
3. Hunger Games (series)
4. Pride & Prejudice
5. Thursday Next (series)
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
7. The Help
8. The Davinci Code
9. Atlas Shrugged
10. The Last Lecture

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday with the Boys

My nephew Adler came to visit on Saturday. He, Sammy, and I decided to have to have some fun.

First, we collected pine cones and then went down to the creek to throw them in.


Then, with Grandma's help, they made ghosts for the halloween ghost tree.


Adler climbed the ghost tree



  
Before AND after lunch, we went 'splorin' through the woods.


 

Before dinner, the boys collected leaves, sticks, and pine cones for a little fire. When the fire started to die out, they'd go get more. Certain sections of the yard are now pristine!


I couldn't let the day pass without taking a picture of me with 2 of my 3 favorite boys. (Adler, on the left, will be five at the end of November. Sammy, on the right, will be 3-1/2 on Christmas.)





Sunday, October 24, 2010

6 Month MRI

Friday was that time of the year again. Time to have an MRI.

In July 2008, I switched MS drug therapies. I now take Tysabri, a once-a-month IV, and I'm very happy with it. But it does have it's draw backs. Tysabri is an immunosuppressant, an the largest risk of taking it is contracting PML, a potentially lethal brain infection. While the chance of getting PML is relatively small, it's higher than the general population. The only way to monitor it is through MRI's. So I have one every six months.

The Results: No change. I saw the pictures myself. A bit depressing because I was hoping my body would have at least started healing the existing lesions by now. BUT the good news is that there are no new lesions and there haven't been since I've been on the big T. I can't complain really, because I can still function. I don't have any pain. I don't get too exhausted. There are some limitations, but overall, I'm doing good.

Because I'm doing so well, my Neuro and I talked about increasing the time between Tysabri infusions from once a month to every other month. Tysabri is the most powerful MS medication currently available. Because it's so strong, they're trying to determine if reducing the the number of infusions in those who are doing well will still allow the meds to offer protection while reducing the risk of PML. This decision will, of course, take into consideration the newest recommendations based on the most recent research. So we'll see if there are any changes in protocols over the next six months.  We may also change the frequency of my MRI's from every 6 months to once year depending, again, on the potential to get PML based on the newest research.

I'm now "participating" in a study to see if there's a link between having been exposed to the JVC virus (which causes PML) and getting the disease. I say "participating" because it's only a blood draw once a year for three years. But I hope it helps.

I also talked to my Neuro about the new MS pill that was recently approved. I like to keep on top of what's going on with MS. As excited as I am about the advances that are being made, the side effects of this new med is a reason for me to hold off (even thought I have no desire to switch drugs). I mean, if the first time you take the pill, you have to do it in the doctor's office so they can monitor you for SIX hours, well, the risk vs. reward seems a bit skewed to one side.

We also talked about stem cell research, but I think I'll post that discussion in another post. This one has gone on long enough.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bedtime Stories

Tonight's bedtime stories were brought to you by:


We just barely made it through GREEN EGGS & HAM. It was a bit too long for a 3 year old with a short attention span. I'll keep trying, though. We've got to read the classics :)


THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK was a favorite tonight. I reread the whole book three times, and the first 3-5 pages I reread a kajillion times (yes, that's an actual number...because I say so.) 

   

When we got to pages 2-3, Sammy would put his finger to his lips and say "Shhhhhhhhhh", then I'd whisper Grover's part. He'd turn the page. I'd exaggerate Grover's reaction, and he'd cackle with laughter. After making "a terrible mess" on a few pages, Sammy'd lean in to Grover and say, "I'm sorry" very sincerely, but then he'd turn the page :)  My favorite words tonight: "Can we read that again."


Another favorite. When I first started reading WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE to him, I'd act out "they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws." Now I have to do that whenever I read it, but Sammy joins in too. It's so funny to see him gnashing his teeth and rolling his eyes.


Yet another favorite. THE POLAR EXPRESS is almost always the first book I'm requested to read at night, and tonight it was also the last. Sammy was into the "polar choo choo" movie big time last Christmas. He know's it inside and out, and tonight he kept asking, "Where's the girl?" (who's in the movie but not the book). But he still loves the book.


We also read THE GIANT JAM SANDWICH, a book I liked as a kid. I think he likes it because when I'm reading, my hand turns into a bee that flies around him. He grabs my hand and says, "I've got your bumble bee". He also points to different people on a page and asks, "What's they saying?" and I have to make up something in a funny voice.

WOW, that's a lot of reading in one night.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Always Together

Today Sammy asked me and Mom, "Can we be friends forever so we can always be together."

I just adore this kid.

A Halloween Card

Sammy received a card in the mail today for Halloween. He opened it up, looked at the picture, and said "Wow, it's for trick-or-treating!" When asked what it says on the inside, he said, "It says I'm supposed to go trick-or-treating tonight and put on my Iron Man costume." I think he's excited for Halloween.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

IF I STAY

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)Book: IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Format: Soft Cover (238 pages)
Series: #1 in a series
Genre: Young Adult

Language: Strong curse words used sparingly
Sex: One sex scene, mildly descriptive, not explicit
Violence: none
Themes: family, loss, death, making difficult decisions

Point of View: 1st Person, Mia
Summary: Mia and her family are driving when they're in an accident. Everyone except Mia is killed, who must make a choice between living and dying.

Told from the perspective of a disembodied Mia, I enjoyed how new characters were introduced and relationships developed through flash backs interwoven into her current timeline the hospital. The themese opens up a lot of questions, allowing for good discussion...Is there a heaven? (where did her family go?)...What would I decide if I had to chose between dying or living in these circumstances?...Would the possibility that I might have to cope with physical or mental handicaps because of the accident affect my decision?...Would I have guilt that I survived?...Could I recover from the emotional turmoil of losing those who are the most dear to me all at once?  There's also the non-existential question of would I chose to give up a dream for a boy I loved?

The author did a good job of making the characters real even though they were stereotypical. There's also a sex scene that's really cheesy.  These flaws aside, I fell in love with this family, and I could feel Mia's loss because I grew attached to them and could picture them in my mind. I didn't feel emotionally manipulated or hit over the head with "FEEL SAD HERE" experiences. It wasn't written with a heavy hand. It was very easy to read, a compliment to Ms. Foreman given the many directions this type of book could taken.

I recommend this book. It's worth reading at least once, and I will probably read it again 1-2 more times in the next few years. If I choose to buy it, it will be in paperback, but I'll most likely just check it out from the library when I want to read it again. I'd happily lend this book for others to read.

Originally Published: April 2009
Read: October 2010

You can find this and other reviews for If I Stay at goodreads.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Spoon Theory

There's a woman named Christine Miserandino. She has Lupus. She came up with The Spoon Theory to explain to people what's it's like to live with a disability or chronic illness. Her website is www.butyoudontlooksick.com.

The Spoon Theory explains what it's like to have to prioritize and choose which activities you do during the day and which ones you exclude because sometimes the simple things take up more than their fair share of energy when you have little energy to spare and more pain and immobility than others.

While I have to watch what I do, on a scale of 1-10, I'm a 2. I'm lucky. I don't have (yet) a lot of the issues that many of my friends with MS have. The Spoon Theory applies to everyone who has some sort of physical difficulty. Some of us just start off the day with more spoons than others.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Lesser of Two Evils

We're trying to teach Sammy to clean up his toys. He's 3 years old. He's old enough to clean up after himself, but he's also at the age where he doesn't have the will power to do it by himself. So we offer to clean up with him. That works sometimes. And then there are times like tonight.

Sammy made a HUGE mess in his playroom today. After refusing to pick up his toys, he was given the option to clean up or go to bed early. He chose to go to bed early. When he realized he really was going to have to go to bed, he started crying. It's a tactic he uses to get out of doing something he doesn't want to do. It didn't work.

My brother (Sam) let's Sammy watch TV as he's going to sleep. After the crying ended, Sammy hopped into bed and asked to watch Avatar the Air Bender. BUT Sammy's punishment didn't end with going to bed 30 minutes early. Instead of putting on a cartoon, Sam turned on his "Adobe Photoshop Tutorial" video. Sammy was again given an option: help clean up his toys or watch the video while going to bed. He chose the lesser of two evils. He chose to watch the Adobe tutorial.

Yep, he's going to be a tough nut to crack. Wish us luck.

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago this evening, I said "I do" with a man I thought I'd still be married to today. Before 10/13/01, we were together for five years. We've been separated for three years now. For no good reason, I haven't filed for divorce yet. I keep giving excuses. The most prevalent excuse is "I don't have the time to see my lawyer. I'll do it later." There's that word again. Later. I'm beginning to dislike that word very much.

I don't want to be tied to him any more. I don't love him any more. I don't talk to him any more. So why am I hesitating moving forward? I have no reason. All I know is that I need to give myself a good, swift kick in the rear and call my lawyer. I just need to take the first step. There's nothing to be scared of, right?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Later

In my effort to simplify, I'm s l o w l y going through the stuff in my house, giving away what can be reused as is, recycling what can be reused in a different form, and throwing away crap that should never be used again. I've found that I hold on to things so I can read them later or to remind me to do something later or to repair it later or to take it to Goodwill later or to organize it later. Later later later. I'm not liking this "later" pattern that's emerging. I knew I was a procrastinator, but it's worse than I thought. I have A LOT of stuff to go through.

I do this on twitter too. I favorite tweets to read later. I currently have 798 favorites. Seriously. I need to stop focusing on later. I need to follow up on my favorites and my to-do lists and my piles of papers to go through. I need to focus on now and, more importantly, the future.

I'm making my New Year's Resolution right now. It's early, but every day is a new day after all. It's never too early to make a change for the better. My new mantra is "I will take care of it now and I will follow through."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Universe is Awesome

This site is absolutely amazing:  UDF SkyWalker

The Ultra Deep Field obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope is the deepest view into the sky by humankind to date. The 10,000 galaxies that are visible have distances out to times where the universe was just 800 million years old, one seventeenth of its current age.

If you move the green circle to a dark area of the sky, it's astounding how many unseen galaxies appear. Or if you put it on one of the brightest "stars," the detail of some of the galaxies is breath taking.