Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

These reviews are from my Goodreads page. I’d love for you to follow me!

 

 

I heard Dan Rather on an old Howard Stern show and thought it would be interesting to read his biography. I wasn’t disappointed. Covering the assassination of JFK, Vietnam, Watergate and the Gulf War, just to name a few, Mr. Rather comes across as an authentic newsman and person. From his early days on CBS news to the time when he was asked to leave to what he is doing now, this is a great book. If you love autobiographies, and even if you don’t, I highly recommend it!

 

 

Agatha’s ex-husband is getting married again and Agatha begrudgingly attends, but the wedding is not to be as the bride is shot to death. Knowing Agatha’s reputation, the bride’s parents ask her to investigate. I took a break from reading the Agatha Raisin mystery series and was delighted to plunge back in again! This is the perfect English village mystery and Agatha is a perfectly unlikeable character. She’s not all bad actually, and I enjoy this middle-age woman ever in search of love. I’m looking forward to the next book! You may want to start with the first book in the series, Quiche of Death.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy these selections. I’d love for you to follow or friend me!

 

 

 

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TBT: Disney Vacation

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt #1  Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous April and write a poem or a blog post.

It was three years ago this month when my husband, whom I am separated from, my son and I went to Disney World. Although we are separated Grant and I are amicable enough that we could go on vacation together. Tyler was seven at the time, a perfect age we thought.

The vacation was a bit more than we could afford but Disney World had been a dream I had had for my child pretty much ever since he was born. Besides, we had never taken him on a vacation. I remember him being five years old and asking me, “Mommy, what’s a vacation?”

Since then we haven’t gone on another vacation but we do have enough money every year to join our city’s pool which Tyler loves. We’ve also been able to enroll him in a few weeks of various camps so I think his summers have been pretty good. I just want to create happy memories for my child.

This summer, however, Tyler and I will be taking a road trip. My cousin who lives in Rochester, NY invited us over to her house in June. She lives in a beautiful home in the woods. Her sister is going to come too. They haven’t seen Tyler since he was a year old!

So I’m really looking forward to the trip and to Tyler seeing my father’s side of the family whom he doesn’t remember. I know they are going to eat him up!

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The Mountain

On Sunday I planned to take my son to the park, it was going to be a beautiful day. On Saturday night I prayed that I would be well enough to take him to the park. On Sunday morning I wished upon my “Best Mom” necklace clasp that I could take Tyler to the park. An hour before I would need to get into the shower I was still on track to take him to the park.

But by the time it was ready for me to get in the shower I started to feel sick to my stomach. I felt faint. I had anxiety about getting into the shower, getting dressed, getting Tyler ready and walking out the door. I knew if I could get to the park I would have a good time but I felt as if I were on the bottom of a mountain that was too steep to climb. My therapist always says I am never supposed to say “couldn’t” or “can’t” but on Sunday I couldn’t.

I knew I would have to let Tyler know that we weren’t going to the park. That thought provided some relief from my anxiety but also depression because I was once again failing my son.

“Tyler, could you come here? I’m sorry but I’m not doing so well so I won’t be able to take you to the park today.” A very quick look of disappointment showed on Tyler’s face, but just as quickly he said, “It’s okay, mom. I love you”, and he made kissing noises.

I know I often fail my son and unfortunately he is getting used to it. I am not getting used to it. I feel so frustrated by my lack of progress with my medications and in therapy and I wonder when I will come out of this.

I was reading and Tyler was on the tablet when I said, “Why don’t you teach me chess?” “Yeah!”, he said. I had never played the game but Tyler was a pretty good player and played with his dad. I was taking notes and Tyler was giving me little hints and showing me where I was going wrong. “You’re a good teacher”, I said.

I may have limitations but the love we both have for each other is strong and there are still things we can do together.

A mother’s and child love knows no boundaries.

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Oh, Fudge

This year my fourth grade son Tyler has gotten into trouble four times for using profane language. He’s had to miss recess a few times because of it.

Truth be told (I know, I’m a horrible mom), Tyler has been swearing since he was probably five years old. Hearing it on the school bus, and yes, from my ex and I. While we’ve always tried to correct him, cussing didn’t rank much on the scale of raising my child to be a good human.

Indeed there are several studies that say cursing can be good for you and that it even is a sign of intelligence, showing that people who swear more tend to have extended vocabularies.

But now it’s a different ball game as he doesn’t seem able to control where he uses profanity, so we have a declared swearing to be off limits for ALL of us. The only one who I have never heard utter a cuss word is Jacques who can’t even say “He*l”. I’m doing it for him too as I know it bothers him when he hears me say a bad word.

The punishment for using profanity at home (at school they punish him) is a one minute time out on the porch stairs, again for all of us. So far I’ve only had to send Tyler out once.

The hardest time to avoid cursing is when you stub your toe or something similar. That “Oh sh*t!” just pops right out. That happened to Tyler the other day at school and as he started to spew that “s-curse” he said, “I mean oh shoot!”

Words like “shoot”, “darn”, and “heck” sound really strange to me but that will be what will be flying out of our mouths from now on.

How do you deal with bad language in your own home?

(Photo credit: quickanddirtytips.com)

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Book Reviews!

Inspiration provided by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

I’ve been reading a variety of books lately and I want to share them with you!

I probably read this in junior high, but it’s worth a reread as an adult.

13 year old Anne Frank along with her family and another family spent two years in an annex (attic) in Amsterdam hiding from the Germans and often her diary was her only comfort. She wanted her writing to be published and her name forever known. Unfortunately the families were found and they all died except her father Otto Frank. Sympathizers had saved Anne’s diary and Mr. Frank followed Anne’s wishes for it to be published. Anne showed so much maturity in her writing. My favorite quote of hers was “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne’s diary is a book you can’t put down, despite knowing what is coming in the end.

Jacob Jankowski has lived quite a life in his 90 + years. Now living in a nursing home he is excited when the circus comes to town. We are then taken back to when Jacob was forced to leave his veterinary school just shy of his degree after his parents death. With no money and no direction he hops on a circus train and becomes the circus’s vet, where he meets a beautiful equestrian star and an elephant that people think is stupid. The book switches back and forth to old Jacob and young Jacob flawlessly. A great story; Jacob’s young life is exciting and his old seems to describe what it’s like when your body gets old but you are the same person you always were.

The Valentine clan head to Memphis to keep an eye on Mama entered in a dance competition with her new beau, and the reincarnation of Elvis Presley, now a Bassett Hound, is along for the ride. When a woman is pushed off the roof of the Peabody Hotel and Mama claims someone is trying to kill her too, Callie and her cousin Lovie, must find the killer. The “Southern Cousins” is a great cozy mystery series. Very funny and a romance that’s sexy without being “husky”.

These were taken from my Goodreads reviews. I’d love it if you followed me!

Happy Reading!

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So My Psychiatrist Went Off On Me

I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist since last August. She is a resident but I picked her because she was under the supervision of a psychiatrist who has a good reputation. The resident can’t do anything without her final approval.

When I met her this summer she said I was on too much medication (which I agree with) and she wanted to change some of my meds. So far the only things she’s done are to lower my anxiety med and increase my mood stabilizer. Not very many changes in the past six months and so it’s not very surprising that my depression and anxiety are the same.

When I saw her this past visit I brought Jacques in to help her understand that I have made no improvement and to give her some examples of this. We also mentioned that I was still having nausea even though I was now gluten-free because of the celiac disease so that was contributing to my mood.

She said she was at her limit with what she could do for me! “You want a magic pill, well there is no magic pill! Look, there are two ways you can go with this. You can go with ECT (that’s what they now call Electric Shock Therapy) or you can push through it and get better!” Meanwhile, sometimes I can’t get out of my house for two weeks and still feel sick to my stomach so what was she wanting me to push through and how was I to do it???

We were stunned at the mention of ECT. I don’t judge anyone for having it but I’d have to be suicidal to consider it, it is just not an option for me.

Then she said, “What about your son? Do you want his only memories of you to be you sick in bed?” She has never spoken to my son so she has no idea what our relationship is like. I have been very honest with Tyler. He knows that sometimes I can’t do things and we concentrate on the things I can do. More than once he has said I am the best mom in the world so I don’t think he is feeling deprived.

If I was in a worse frame of mine this certainly would have brought me lower and made me feel more hopeless.

At this point the head M.D. came in and Jacques said that the doctor had mentioned ECT for me. “ECT? No, you are not a candidate for ECT!” Then the Resident started backtracking and she said that we had misunderstood her!

The resident is graduating in April so I will never have to see her again, otherwise I would want another doctor.

I guess I will try my luck with the new resident and hope for someone who truly wants to work with me.

Photo credit: vox.com

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Book Review!

Thursday is Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop day!

What if there was a drug you could take that would erase the memory of a trauma you experienced?

15 year old Jenny is given the drug to erase the memory of her brutal rape, but Jenny still has the feeling that something isn’t right.

All is Not Forgotten is a book I couldn’t put down yet sometimes I thought about not reading further because of it’s very violent nature.

In all I recommend the book. This suspenseful thriller will keep you guessing to the very end!

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Five Years of Surviving

Today is a special day for me. Five years ago I attempted suicide and I am celebrating that I wasn’t successful. I suffer from Bipolar Disorder, a disease that is characterized by extreme lows and extreme highs. The risk of suicide is high among those with manic-depressive illness; approximately 10-15% of people with a bipolar diagnosis complete suicide while many more attempt suicide unsuccessfully.

A lot of factors went into my suicide attempt. In 2011 I was on an antidepressant that my doctor was giving me free samples of because of the high cost of the drug. This went on for over a year and I was feeling well. Then the doctor ran out of samples. The co-pay for the drug was hundreds of dollars and I had no choice to go off of it. From there my mental health went downhill.

In December of 2011 I found out I was denied Disability (SSDI) and would have to go through an appeal process that would take over a year. I felt a sense of uselessness. I wasn’t bringing in any money to help support my family.

In 2012 my pain levels really kicked into high gear. I would go to the emergency room and was told that the best pain medicine I had was at home. I began experiencing sleepless nights because of the pain.

Throughout it all was the feeling that I couldn’t be the mother Tyler needed. I couldn’t support him, cook for him…play with him. I felt that Tyler would be better with another mother. He was five at the time and I thought he would barely remember me if I killed myself.

Luckily I was unsuccessful in my suicide attempt. I spent two weeks in the hospital but I wasn’t better. I was experiencing suicidal ideation, fantasizing about trying again and how I would do it. I realized that it was difficult to kill oneself but that didn’t stop me from wanting to.

In August, through a miracle, my depression and suicidal thoughts went away. I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist who put me back on medicine. I began to get my life back.

If I could tell someone who is as low as I was anything, it would be that depression lies to you! I would have ruined Tyler’s and my husband’s life as well as my friends and other family. Depression tells you that everyone is better off without you but that isn’t true.

Today, five years later, is a day of mixed emotion for me. I am so thankful I survived my attempt but I am currently experiencing depression. However, I am not as low as I was and I hope never to be again. I see a therapist and a doctor. Tyler is the light of my life and helps me get through my days.

If you feel like striking up a conversation with me because you are having suicidal thoughts please feel free.

If you need someone more anonymous you can call The Suicide Prevention Hotline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255 or if you are in the UK, there are many numbers so you can go here. All of the hotlines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But don’t hide your thoughts. I have been where you are. Get help, speak up and speak out for suicide prevention.

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Rhymes With Nice

Late last year my psychiatrist recommended that I up my dosage of one of my medicines. Pretty soon after I did this my scalp started to itch. I looked up the drug’s side effects and sure enough scratchy scalp was one of the side effects. I called my psychiatrist and told her what was going on. She was mystified because she had only increased my med, it wasn’t a new one, but she lowered my dosage anyway.

The scalp issues continued. The itching was driving me crazy! My doctor lowered my dosage even more.

Then I went to the salon to get a color and cut. The stylist said, “Ummm, you have bugs in your hair.” I was horrified and mortified! She gave me a number and directions to the local lice center which was conveniently located in my very own town.

I got on the chair and the owner started to check me out. He said, “Wow! You have the worst case of lice I’ve seen this season!” He said I had to have gotten it from Tyler. Grant brought Tyler in and sure enough he had it too although I was much worse.

They then recommended I have my house sprayed. $210 later and the both of us and the house were treated. The owner said we had to come back three to four times to get the lice completely out but I might need more treatments!

I learned that lice hits people of all economic backgrounds. There were some lovely little girls getting treatments.

I called Tyler’s friend’s dad to let him know that Tyler had lice and she had it too.

So it was just a coincidence that my scratchy scalp started at the same time I increased the dosage on my medicine.

Tyler and I are both lice free now and I hope we never have to deal with it again!

One of my many treatments!

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Christmas Whine

How was your Christmas? Mine was a mix of good and bad. Besides my chronic challenges I had a miserable cold and had somehow managed to strain my back. I was in a lot of pain, and walking, even sitting, was absolute agony.

If it wasn’t for Jacques, I think Christmas would have been quite bleak. He did absolutely everything; cooked, shopped, wrapped gifts, all while I just laid in bed or managed to make it over to the couch.

We got the tree up on the 23rd, the latest I have ever put up a tree and that day Jacques was still buying lights of which were slim to none. He first came home with lights with white wiring that would not do for a green Christmas tree. He was able to return them and got white lights the color that makes me think I am living in an office they are so bright white.

I need sunglasses for this tree!

I did add five new ornaments this year to my all cat-themed Christmas tree, one of which was this Caribbean pink kitty:

 

 

 

And there’s always my all cat Nativity scene:

 

 

I don’t know what was wrong with the mail this year but three of Tyler’s gifts didn’t come and he told us it was a great Christmas anyway. I’m so proud of him!

I’ll end with a picture of him putting the cat angel on the tree. No pictures of myself to put up here as I wasn’t wearing a bra on Christmas morning and it showed.

Hope your Christmas was a Merry one!

It’s never too early to start thinking about the kids for next Christmas! Check out this gift guide by My Kid Needs That.

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