Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I also started reading a book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The first thing that Sarah has the reader do is begin to keep a Gratitude Journal. The act of taking time each day to count my blessings really helped me. She also encouraged the reader to consider the every day acts of caring for one's family and home as acts of worship, celebrating that the opportunity to love and care for these others was available to you through the grace of God. The book was just what I needed. The nice doctor whose name I can't remember was somewhat miffed that I attributed so much of my recovery to following the principles outlined in Simple Abundance. I think he felt that talking to him once a week was really the more potent antidote to depression.
So that's a little background - two posts worth, oh my - about why Simple Abundance was such an important book to me. And completes the set up for my review of Moving On.
Monday, September 22, 2008
A fall ritual here in my town is the annual Friends of the Library book sale. I took DD Bookworm over the weekend and she stocked up on bags and bags of books. I bought just a handful although there were dozens that caught my eye. Why? Because I have a glut of books sitting on the shelves waiting to be read. It's not the current best sellers - it's the two years ago best sellers that I can now pick up for a quarter at a sale or at a thrift shop. So I was considering a post with a list of all the books that are sitting in the order that I think I want to read them. I envisioned the list with me going back to "cross off' the ones that I had finished - a testament to my reading stamina. And, of course, like the rest of my blog, it would be just for me - I'm alone out here in cyberspace you know!
But then I visited a blog on my Google reader that was participating in Fall Into Reading 2008: Time to Read! and it was a perfect fit for my state of mind. So I am joining a community. Which probably means I should edit my profile so it says something! I'm excited to see what everybody is reading. I can't wait to compare notes if there are any crossovers - that would mean someone else out there is as behind in their reading as me - boy, wouldn't that make me feel better! Improved self-esteem coming right up.
So, here's my list of fiction books that I have on hand waiting to be read. I'm not including the non-fiction books that I have that I think I should read because they will make me smarter - I'm going to throw in the towel on those for awhile and not even pretend that I might read them. I'm also not including my "To Read for Work" pile. Those get read in the hours that my appointments don't show and I want to use "professional reading" as my project code on my time sheet rather than "sat in the parking lot and did Sudoku" - which for some reason my employer likes to consider as "annual leave". But here is what I do plan to read, in order, although it could change based on feedback from others! My quesstimate of what I will accomplish between now and Christmas - maybe the first four - and then The Pillars of the Earth will do me in and it will all come to a grinding halt - have you seen it? That book is like three inches thick in paperback! But everyone says I will love it.
Here's the rest of the list.....
From the back cover: Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father - a former high school teacher - is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetary caretaker. When local prejudice and the family's own emotional fraility give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordianry odyssey of erotic risk and ingenius self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace - on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly "American" triumph.
From the dust jacket: Young Maggie Scanlon begins to sense that, beneath the calm, everyday surface of her peaceful suburban life, everything is going mysteriously wrong. Her all-powerful grandfather is reduced to a shadow by a stroke, and to Maggie's astonishment this causes her usually unemotional father to burst into tears. And Connie, her lushly beautiful mother, who Maggie could always be sure of finding at home, is now rarely there. Her street smart cousin Monica and her best friend, Debbie, start doing things that leave her frightened about sex and sin. All theses shifts become so linked in Maggie's mind to the building of a housing development behind her home that, years later, whenever she smells "the peculiar odor of new construction, of pine planking and plastic plumbing pipes," Maggie will think back to this summer.
From the dust jacket: In a small Greek island village, a group of travelers from around the world and the local residents they encounter are brought together in unexpected ways when sudden tragedy strikes.
From the dust jacket: Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan’s idyllic life in a close-knit Mormon community is shattered when her two younger sisters are brutally murdered. Although her parents find the strength to forgive the deranged killer, Scott Early, Veronica cannot do the same.
Years later she sets out alone to avenge here sisters’ deaths, dropping her identity and severing ties in the process. But as she closes in on Early, Veronica will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion…before she makes a decision that will change her and her family forever.
From the back cover: "I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?" The question is posed by Jean, a photographer, who in 1995 arrives on Smuttynose Island, off the coast of Maine, to research a century-old crime. As she immerses herself in the details of the case - an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women - Jean herself enters precarious emotional testimony. The suspicion that her husband is having an affair burgeons into jealousy and distrust, and ultimately propels Jean to the verge of actions she had not known herself capable of - actions with horrific consequences.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
I'm skipping this one...it is SOOOOO LOOOONG! I think I need to save it for Thanksgiving when I'll have a few days off of work. Especially since everyone who recommends it says once you start, you can't put it down.
From the back cover: Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living – every Sunday in an advice column in her local paper. But in her own life, Julieanne missed some clues. She is completely caught off guard when her husband, Leo, tells her he needs to go on a “sabbatical” from their life together, leaving Julie with three children. Things worsen when Julie is diagnosed with a serious illness and the children undertake a dangerous journey to find Leo – before it’s too late. As the known world sinks from view, the clan must work their way back to solid ground and to a new definition of family.
From the back cover..From her Academy Award-nominated screenplays to her bestselling fiction and essays, Nora Ephron is one of America's most gifted, prolific, and versatile writers. In this classic collection of magazine articles, Ephron does what she does best: embrace American culture with love, cynicism, and unmatched wit.
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Double Take by Catherine Coulter
The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough
Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell
Reading Lolita In Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King
The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha
The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
Out to Canaan by Jan Karon
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Whew! I need some vacation - full time employment is just not conducive to full time book reading!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I could sense what was happening - probably the non-stop crying gave me a clue. And I sought help. I went to see a psychiatrist. He had me fill out a checklist and talk to him a bit and then agreed with my self-diagnosis - depression. So he gave me a seven day sample pack of Prozac. Then he sent me out to see the secretary who scheduled an appointment for 14 days down the road. Depression doesn't exactly make you proactive (or at least me, I'm sure it affects everyone differently) so I didn't question this at all - 7 pills, 14 days - okay. Instead I simply came to my own conclusion that he wanted me to take the pills for seven days, see how I felt, and then not take the pills for seven days and see how I felt then. So I took the first pill as soon as I go to my car in the parking lot. The relief was instantaneous. I drove the five minutes home in much better spirits, the crying jags ceased, I had the energy to straighten up the house, cook a meal, and tend to my daughter, Bookworm. It was marvelous. I called my BFF to tell her about this miracle and she told me a bunch of horror stories about people on Prozac and all the horrible things they did when they had psychotic episodes. But I wouldn't hear any of it - this was the drug for me, it had cured my depression and I wanted to stay that way.
The result of my trial run was that the seven days taking the pill were great and then, to my befuddlement, the seven days not taking the pill were fine too. The mystery was solved when I went back for my day 14 appointment. When I relayed all that had transpired to the shrink he just stared and blinked and asked, "Why didn't you just ask me for another seven day trial pack?" I explained my seven on/seven off theory and he shook his head, saying, "No, no, no, that's not how it works." And then he proceeded to explain that a seven day course of Prozac would do nothing - nada, zilch to alleviate depression. That it took thirty days for the drug to reach a level in your system where it would be an effective treatment. And then he concluded by saying, "I might as well have given you an M&M." and that he didn't think I needed Prozac but perhaps a visit or two to sit on his couch and talk might do the trick.
So this is ending up a little longer than I expected - I think we'll have a part 2. Good night!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Just as I had a Mother Theresa favorite, I have to offer up my Mary favorite. It's a prayer for traveling that I start reciting repeatedly on the interstate and in the rain!
Be with us on our journey,
For all your ways are beautiful,
And all your paths are peace.
Created by OnePlusYou - Online Dating
Saturday, September 13, 2008
2. Water bottles.
3. Paperback books.
4. Paper towel rolls.
5. Kleenexes (preferably used)
6. Pantyliners (ditto)
7. Scooper for the bird seed.
8. The chair I sit on at the computer.
9. The baseboards.
10. The crotch of worn underwear.
12. Stuffed animals.
13. Puppy Kong.
14. Shoes, shoes, and more shoes!
15. Shin guards - the sweatier the better.
16. Soccer socks, school socks, any kind of socks.
18. The CD I placed by my handbag for just five minutes as I prepared to go to the very important meeting where I needed to show the photo presentation stored on said CD.
19. Homework and notes from the teacher, really.
20. Bath mats.
23. Table legs.
24. Pens, pencils, markers.
26. Bills (luckily just a few singles).
27. The USB cord for the digital camera.
29. The headphones for the computer.
30. A little hole in the wall!!!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So anyway, when you have such overlapping lives, there's no need to actually drive to the vet office, you just slow down in the car drop off line and exchange dogs and kids and whatever else you need to exchange! So Abby got out of my little Honda, into Dr. Former Future In-Law's bigger Honda and off she went to have her surgery. I did this without a qualm of anxiety because Dr. Former Future In-Law is one of those guys that inspires confidence. I knew he'd take care of my baby. And I didn't worry for the whole morning.
I brought my human perspective to the surgery and assumed that it would take place first thing in the morning. After all, anytime I had to go to the hospital, it happened at the crack of dawn. Induce your baby - be here at 6:00am. Remove a small cyst - at least by 6:45. It seems that surgery is best performed when the surgeon is half asleep - maybe that way he or she doesn't get all grossed out by the blood and guts - too tired to think about it yet.
All morning I am work, work, working and not worrying about my puppy at all. But then it hits me. I am overwhelmed with emotion. I am worried. I am scared. I am thinking what a terrible dog mama I am for not having driven Abby to the vet. What kind of unfeeling monster just tosses her from one car to the other on such a big day? And after I have worked myself up into a complete lather, I decide to call and check on her. The perky receptionist answers the phone and tells me, "Oh she just went into surgery a little while ago. Dr. Former Future In-law is operating on Abby RIGHT NOW (emphasis my own - she was not nearly so dramatic)" Right now? How's that for psychic? I have such a mental connection with my puppy that I felt her pain and anxiety from a whole town away.
I should end the post there and just bask in the loving connection that it illustrates. But there's this little basis for comparison that you have to have to get the full effect. Two of my HUMAN family members have been to the emergency room while I was blithely occupied with other things and ....nothing. Not a hint of a thing until the cell phone rang. Dog = physical response, psychic connection. Humans = oh, well, let me stop and buy some candy but I'm on my way. Uh-oh.
In my very first post (all of like four weeks ago) I laid out my fears about my blogging self somehow colliding in the real world with my real self. It sounds so silly. The Internet is a huge place. There are a gazillion blogs. No one I know is going to end up reading my blog. And, just in case you didn't click and read, even if they did, there's nothing to hide - my life is pretty plain. (I know that's a song lyric but I can't quite get the tune.)So I am logged into an old e-mail account that I have to check every once in awhile in case some old friend didn't get the news that I have switched. I delete the 500 spam e-mails - the reason I switched e-mail accounts - and then I "X-out" and go surf. But I didn't "log out". So when I came over to the blogs and clicked to sign in, it signed me right in under my old account. (That's because despite the best efforts of the IT people at my place of work to persuade me otherwise, I frequently repeat the same password.) (Hmm...lots of parentheses tonight - am I having a little trouble focusing?) So my old account took me to an old abandoned blog - are you with me thus far? And there on my old abandoned blog were.....COMMENTS! From someone I kind of know. She's not a local girl so she doesn't impact my day to day life but it was exactly the freak situation I predicted. She knew me from one place, knew it was me posting a comment on someone else's blog with what I thought was an anonymous e-mail, followed the old e-mail to the old blog and there it was...COMMENTS! From someone I kind of know. Egad - I thought I would soil myself. This post alone may not convince you that I have psychic powers but this one combined with the next one about my dog will make a believer out of you!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Abby is a black lab mixed with something. The something has curly hair and maybe a lighter color because Abby has thick wavy fur and auburn highlights. She has soulful brown eyes and had - past tense - sharp puppy teeth. She has grown from that sweet 10pound baby puppy to a 40+ pound six month old dog. In the process, she lost her baby teeth and now has large but duller adult teeth. Thank goodness! I was looking like a teen girl with cutting issues my arms were so scratched up. And she is not as nippy as she used to be. She started nipping to get attention. As I was laying down on the couch with my arm thrown over my head, she nipped me under the arm. It made quite a bruise what with the tender under arm skin. Somehow, she got me in the exact same place on the other arm so I had a matching pair. Just a few days later, I was in a training at the hospital and they showed us how bruises in that location could be an indication of domestic abuse - being held against your will so firmly that you get bruised under your arms. So between the bruises and the cuts on my arms from puppy bites, I'm lucky the police didn't come to the house to check out the ex-Marine for abusing me!
The first weeks at our house, Abby was up throughout the night as if she was an infant. Just like with all our other babies, ex-Marine could sleep right through the
So that's all the background you need on the dog just so that tomorrow ( or the next day) I can write this...My psychic connection with my dog.
Yesterday was Blessed Mother Theresa's feast day. I did not know that! It wasn't until I clicked on my Google Reader and read one of my favorite Catholic blogs - which BTW I should have up there on my list by the one lonely blog still waiting for the Mormons to join her - that I realized I was, as usual, a day late for the party. When I read it and exclaimed, "Yesterday was Mother Theresa's feast day!", Tween said, "Oh yeah, I knew that." Of course he did. He goes to Catholic school - they're all up on that kind of stuff. When I taught at our Catholic school, I was too. That is one of the things I miss most. I miss being with my kids during the day - catching that glimpse of them with their classmates at recess or lunch or walking down the hall. I miss the rhythm of the school year - the fresh start in Fall and the closure in May or June. But mostly I miss that connectedness I had to the Church. That day in and day out feeling that faith was the most important thing. In my secular world at the hospital, that gets lost. I do good works through my job - I'm not chasing some greedy goal but the good I do doesn't give me the sense of unity with the Catholic Church that I felt when I worked at the school. So I wasn't unified with the rest of the Catholic community in taking time on September 5th to remember Blessed Mother Theresa, to study her works, to reread her words, and to meditate on what a great example she was for all of us to emulate. Hmmm - there's been an awful lot of ME in a post that was supposed to be about ... HER!
Blessed Mother Theresa said and wrote so many things that touched my life. But this is "the one" - from the book of the same title..
I'll be looking for some times to incorporate silence into my life. (And hopefully it won't involve duct taping my children's mouths in anyway.)
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Should I stay or should I go? It's the question of the day here in my coastal town. Is Hanna going to hit us? Should we evacuate? What will happen if we stay? We are a house divided on the issue of evacuation. I almost always want to go - I was here through one hurricane and that was scary enough to last me a lifetime. Ex-Marine on the other hand, always wants to stay. He is some sort of survivalist at heart - who cares if a tree falls on the house, we have no electricity for days, there's no running water - he wants to stay. Usually followed with - "After all it's only a category 1" or 2, or 3 - not sure what he would say at 4 or 5 and it doesn't really matter because I wouldn't be here to hear it - I would have evacuated long ago!
I took a break from composing this post to take Bookworm to dance class and Tween to soccer and to buy the latest toy at Walgreens for The Youngest. In the time it took me to drive all over town twice, Hanna has shifted to the northwest enough that things are calming down here. So I guess we will escape once more. My prayers are with the folks down in Louisiana still struggling from the effects of Gustav.And for those now in the path of Hanna. And, I guess I might as well throw one up for whoever will be hit by Ike and Josephine while I am at it!
I guess we'll stay, stay, stay. (For now.)
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
I'm not sure how I became immersed in the world of witty Mormons. Wait - that's not true, I know how I got here - one click at a time. What I don't understand is how I didn't realise it was happening. I got here via blog lists and Google reader. When I am reading a blog that I like, I'll click on someone on their blog list or check out a few of the people who made comments. Invariably someone in the mix will amuse me and "click" onto my Google reader they go. And now Google reader has a feature where they have a page of recommended blogs for me. Click on a few of those and that's how I ended up with "Normal Mormon Husbands" on my blog list. He stands out in the Mormon crowd simply by gender; all the other bloggers are Mormon wives with lots of children. Now being Catholic I am certainly not poking fun at large families. One of the hallmarks of a good Catholic mom is children - lots and lots of children. I only have three so that barometer of faithfulness would seem to leave me coming up short.
So what is attracting me to the Mormons. Well, I gotta tell you - it's just good clean fun. It's this style of humor that is not too self depreciating, not unkind to others, just nice - nice little observations from their clean cut Mormon world. I kind of want to move to Utah. So despite being someone who is defined in great part by her Catholic identity, I am having fun with the Mormons and I think you should too. So I am going to figure out who's who and get them listed on my blog roll- right there next to the one funny Catholic I've found!