Category Archives: Books

Living History

This story is coming a week or so late, and I do want to post about yesterday’s half marathon, but I just finished reading this book and I want to get this story posted while it’s still fresh in my mind.

After my last infusion a couple weeks ago I sat on the bench in front of the infusion center reading my latest library find, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. As I’m reading, the woman next to me asks me for the time. She too, is waiting for a ride home from our local paratransit service. I notice she has a slight accent and I ask her where she’s from. She’s from Latvia, she tells me, and asks me if I know it. I regrettable do not, as geography was never my strong subject. She proceeds to tell me all the surrounding areas, and I ask her more about her story, what brought her here to America. This opened up a big can of worms.

The woman was happy to share, not at all shy, about her experience. She lived through World War II. Her family was driven from their home in Latvia because her father owned land and the Germans wanted it. My dad tells me this was common during the war. This woman sitting next to me told me how she worked in slave camps during her teen years, until her family was able to escape to a refugee camp in Sweden. She came to America in 1950 and she’s been here ever since.

As we were talking, the paratransit van arrived and it turned out we were on the same van because we lived near each other. Our conversation continued until we arrived at her home.

It was incredible to talk with her, and I just wished we had longer together. But even in that short time we were given I learned that she is a survivor, though she was quick to deny it. She has PTSD from her experience. And because she subsisted much of that time on soy beans, she still can’t eat anything with soy. She smiles as she tells me that even soy sauce is unbearable. Those odors bring back horrific memories that she can’t bear, even all these years later. I tell her she is a survivor because she kept going when many others did not. She keeps going even now, as she suffers the residual effects of the trauma she lived through.

Her name is Mitsy. She has a precious cat who loves to greet her at the door and she looks fabulous in her big floppy red hat. Mitsy is a survivor. Living, breathing history. I thank God that I had the privilege of that brief ride home with her. It was an encounter that left an indelible mark on my heart.

Short Runs

Post run puppy kisses

Today’s short run was fantastic! Barely had to walk at all, and foot drop feels like just a thing of the past. I can’t believe I’m calling 4 miles a short run, but I guess that just shows what progress I’ve made in this training process. What really struck me as interesting during this run is that my breathing was not labored, and I was still able to maintain a pace around 13 minutes per mile. The other exciting thing was that my feet and legs felt lighter, and my legs seemed almost like they were propelling me forward, almost wanting me to go faster. I had to fight that urge, because that’s what landed me on my face last time. The cooler weather is nice too. Overall it was just a really great run, and I feel like I’m finding my rhythm, my groove.

The thing that has me a little perplexed is Friday’s scheduled run. My plan has me running 12 miles. TWELVE MILES! Aside from that being a really freaking long distance for me to run, I don’t even know WHERE I could run from my house that could get me to 6 miles, so that running there and back would bring me to twelve. I do have a decent 8 mile route, 4 out and back, so I guess I could shorten it to 3 miles out and back and just run it twice. That’s 12, right? I’m making a huge deal about that number, but I am curious to see how my body holds up to it, since I’ll be running 13.1 in just 25 days EEK!

I don’t know if you can tell in the photo above, but Piper is wearing a hoodie. Luke has one he wears with the sleeves cut off and the kids thought it would be fun to put it on the dog. Turns out, she doesn’t hate it, and it really seems to calm her down. She’s a high anxiety dog, and when we told our vet about the sweater, she said she would really benefit from a thunder coat, which would fit her better since they are designed specifically for dogs. So we’ve looked at them and will probably buy one for her soon. In other news, I added a pet category to our monthly budget so we can stop using our food budget to buy Kong balls and dog treats. HA!

Now I’m going to let you go because I have banana bread in the oven and the heavenly smell has me wanting to snuggle up in my recliner with a cup of coffee and a good book. Have a great day, friends!

What day is it?

It’s been that kind of week. I’ve been confused about the day all week. But, all for good reason. None of it is because I’m drunk, so I’ve got that going for me. Not being drunk is always a plus.

But also, I’ve just had a lot of great things going on! My son’s baseball season is in full swing (excuse my accidental pun), I was able to visit with several really great friends this past week, and the weather is warming up so we leave the doors and windows open and the breeze and the birds chirping is it’s own kind of intoxicating. Let me just note here how truly grateful I am to be able to hear those things, the breeze and the birds. Cochlear implants for the win.

My son had some friends over for a sleepover last night to celebrate his birthday (he’s 12!!) and that was fun and not terribly crazy. He has some really great friends. It’s funny to think back on previous year’s birthday parties and how much anxiety I felt leading up to each one. Overwhelming anxiety. This time? None. Zilch. Nada. And I don’t know if that’s because the kids are older or if I’m in a better state of mental health but I suspect it’s a bit of both. I know it’s a lot of the latter though, because I can’t even remember the last time I had an anxiety attack. And that there is another reason to be grateful.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Tons. It might not seem like it because it doesn’t always make it here on the blog but my mind is constantly in a state of gathering ideas and formulating posts in my head. I just finished a book about writing by Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, and I’m convinced now more than ever that deep down, I am A Writer. It’s what I long to do, nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I wake up and think, “what did I just dream about? I could write about it.” I want to keep writing, whether anyone is reading or not, because maybe one day I will write something that touches someone in a good way and makes their life a little better than the day before. I can only hope.

So. Today is Saturday. Most of the day has been extremely relaxing. A lot of cleaning up from the slumber party and then just your regular putzing around. I took a wicked nap, ended abruptly by the dog barking her head off when hubby came home from an afternoon at the shooting range. I’m pretty sure I jumped a couple feet straight up from the bed.

I did go for a run yesterday with a friend, but my knee started hurting in the 3rd mile, so I know I still have some healing to do from when I messed it up a week or so ago. I’m pretty confident it’s IT Band Syndrome, but I think it might be a good idea to see a sports therapist to check it out and give me some pointers on my running form. Also, I need more strength training if I’m really going to do this half marathon without damaging myself, so I’m looking at getting back to CrossFit. I had sort of slithered out of going a few months ago so I’m in contact with the trainer to see if she’ll forgive me for going dark on her and let me come back.

Tomorrow is Sunday! Back to church, and this week we’re working in the kids’ church so I get to play with the little ones. I miss hearing the sermons but I do love the babies. I can never understand what they are saying but a couple of them know some basic ASL so that helps a lot.

I was going to sign off but then I was looking through my pictures and see that so much happened and I totally forgot to blog about it! Like the Walk MS, and maybe other things. I’ll get to it. Pinky promise. Let’s talk again soon.

Reading in my sleep

I read most of my books on the Kindle app because i can change the coloring so that its easier to see. Sometimes I’ll check out a large print book at the library, just because I miss holding a real book, turning the pages as I go. Swiping left on a screen just isn’t the same, you know?

Last night, as I do most nights, I read from my Kindle in bed. This morning I slept so hard I slept through two alarms and missed my chance to run before the heat of the sun showed up. So I slept pretty hard. I must have been pretty tired. Want to know how I know? I opened up my book just now and the bookmark was in a totally different chapter, far past where I remember reading. So I guess I did quite a bit of reading in my sleep last night.

I’ll be swiping right for awhile, until I find a familiar page…

Slow down, you move too fast…

This new “job” doing bookkeeping for the church has been a really great thing for me. Missing the work these past four years, and wondering if I was even still capable, really wore down my confidence level. But as I do this job, day by day, my confidence is building back up. This time, however, I’m doing the work with a full reliance on God to help me through.

The only problem might be that I’m taking it a little too seriously. As my husband said to me the other night, I’m going at this like it’s my career. True, I was up a little too late straining my eyes on balancing and reconciling. I forced myself to go to bed and get some rest, but it was too late. I had already pushed myself past my limit. The next day I had some serious pain in my left eye (my ‘good’ eye). It figures the right eye was fine, as she is absolutely useless. The sharp, throbbing pain was surprisingly more tolerable than my regular headache. I just put an eye patch over that eye, sat back with a cup of coffee and my Les Mis soundtrack, and rested for awhile. It was much better by the evening, but hopefully I’ve learned my lesson not to overdo it.

Today the kids are home for a snow day so it’s nice to have the company. They are busy playing their video games and I’ve just been putzing around the house, doing some reorganizing. It’s a lazy day, and I’m loving it. I started reading Lord of the Rings this week and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Humor was not something I expected, but it’s given me a few laughs and I’m only on the third chapter. I’m trying to move away from my normal genre of legal thrillers. I just finished Angela’s Ashes and Cider House Rules and they were both great books. My list of books to read is growing shorter, so if you have any books you would suggest I read, let me know.

I’m struggling to find a smooth transition to a closing, so I’m just going to leave it here. Have a happy Friday everyone!

 

 

 

Reading

When I came to bed last night I found a note on my bedside table from my son. He was asking if we could go to the library the following day, and if so, he asked that I wake him up. That last part is laughable because he’s an early riser – no way am I getting up before him. But I was touched by the request anyway, and super proud that with one week left of summer, my kid wants to walk two miles to READ. 

We had a great time. Luke checked out some Michigan Chiller books he had been wanting to read, and Natalie perused the children’s cookbooks. Then they both put on a couple puppet shows for me, and we headed back, stopping for lunch on the way. 

Nothing super special, but we all really just enjoyed each other’s company and had a good time. These are the times I hope they will cherish and store away in their memory banks for years and years to come. 

Do more of what makes you happy

I have a sign hanging in my living room that says “Do more of what makes you happy”. I look at it regularly and it always makes me wonder: what makes me happy? I really want to know, so that I can follow this rule. I feel like I lost some of this self-awareness when I lost my hearing, and I certainly don’t do many of the things that make me happy. So I thought I would start a list (I love lists) here on the blog, and maybe it would help me to think of those things and perhaps take some steps to start doing those things.

What makes me happy:
1) Drinking coffee – I do that plenty
2) Tattoos – I only have four, plenty room for more
3) Concerts – The hearing loss makes this extra challenging and scary, because I don’t know if I would enjoy them the same, but it’s worth a shot, right?
4) The city – I love walking around cities, big, small, it doesn’t matter. Chicago, Lansing, Mason, they all fascinate me.
5) Reading – On any given day my mind is partly stuck in a good book. Reading makes me happy, for sure.

That’s it. I can’t think of any more. I’m sure there are more, but that’s a start. Maybe more ideas will come to me in my dreams tonight.

What about you? Tell me readers, what makes YOU happy?