Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The struggle continues.

I haven't done a medical update in awhile so I figured I'd do one so people don't think I'm miraculously awesome.

  • My mental health is... shaky. I don't mean that like I'm on the verge of hanging off the bridge, but just that it doesn't seem to have any consistency. Some days I feel really great and think my combination of Wellbutrin and Trileptal are working. Then other days I feel like a ton of bricks has hit me and I check the calendar to see when my next psychiatry appointment is. Turns out it's tomorrow. But then I think, what am I even going to say? I don't know how to convey what I'm feeling. I can't even do it here. But then I wonder if maybe it isn't just circumstantial. I'm dealing with two deaths, navigating those losses with my kids, we're broke and it stresses me out, and we're only three weeks into school and I feel defeated. I don't know I guess. I mean, this is better than when I was on just Wellbutrin, that's for sure, but it's hard to know where the top is, you know? Like what is my best outcome here? How will I know I'm at the best it can be? 
  • Therapy is going good. Again, sometimes I walk out of there feeling like I have a good handle on how to handle things and cope, and then other days I'm crying in my car the whole way home. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to any of it. 
  • I am realizing that I have either always had it and just didn't realize it, or I'm just developing and almost crippling fear of What If? What if I get cancer? What if there is something wrong with me and nobody is finding it? What if I never get better? What if they think I'm crazy? The list goes on. I feel like I'm not really able to convey how I'm feeling, like I'm not able to get the words and thoughts out, so I just give up and say I'm fine. I'm not fine. I'm very much not fine but I'm also tired of people telling me they don't know. 
  • Rheumatology is kind of freaking me out. I basically dread going. My doctor is retiring so pretty soon here I'll be seeing someone new and the idea of going through it all over again is just daunting. She doesn't really know what to do for me. The methotrexate isn't working miracles and to be honest, being on that long term kind of freaks me out. My next stop would be Humira. I absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it, cannot inject myself. I can't even have Matt do it. I really struggle when a trained professional does it so I just can't. I know people tell me I'm being a baby and I know, and I don't care. I can't do it. So that means it would be Humira infusions. Which... that's scary because my mom did infusions of a few different drugs and she developed cancer. That's one of the "it might happen but probably not" side effects but knowing it happened to my mom scares me. The doctor doesn't seem to be worried but then I think- maybe I ought to just deal with chronic pain because that's probably better than fighting cancer. Right? But it's been getting colder and the seasons are changing and I can feel it in my body. I used to think people were weird when they said that but nope, I get it now. I feel like I have a fever and the start of the flu every day. It's just the worst. 
  • I see Endocrinology in November. I have to ask about weight loss. I'm not kidding when I tell you I am barely eating 1000 calories a day and I have not lost a pound. I'm at almost six months of this and not one pound. It hurts to exercise. I'm so frustrated. I'm terrified because my grandma's cancer could have been found sooner had she been thinner and that's constantly going through my head. The cancer she had is what I'm at risk for and I keep thinking, if it's a freakish and bizarre thing, it's going to happen to me. I just know it. 
  • Gastroenterology.. I don't even know what to think. I'll tell you right now I'm not taking that Linzess every day as prescribed. NOPE. Now I'm at the point where I'll take it when I feel constipated and plan to be home bound for several hours. It's not gotten any better, I am legitimately on a toilet for six or more hours. If I'm lucky I actually make it there before all hell breaks loose. Literally. But I still have stomach pain and at this point I'm so frustrated that I don't know if there is even a point for all of this. 
  • I went a year EXACTLY without a period, then got one. Then a month after that I got some random spotting. I've had just a dull pain all of the time but it doesn't feel like period cramps. I figure I'll wait until my physical to deal with that. 
  • I have THE WORST rash under my left boob. It's always my left boob. At first I thought it was a heat rash or like a diaper rash would be, but no. This keeps coming back and today it feels like it's on fire. No cream is doing it. I took a picture of it (sorry, you don't get to see my under boob) just in case I don't have it during my physical- which is how everything goes. 
  • That's my medication spread. It's all fun and games when you've met your deductible but I'm really worried about the cost of all of this come January. I now have to have all of medications reviewed thoroughly periodically and that's really nice because honestly, how would I know if I shouldn't be taking something?? I finally labeled them with "AM" or "PM" on the lids so I'd remember which pill slot to put them in. 
So that's the scoop. I'm getting weary. I'm starting to feel resentful over all of this. I think I always kind of did but I'm recognizing and acknowledging it now. But it's OK- I have therapy next week. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book Review: Mistletoe Miracles

I know, we aren't even at Halloween yet and already I'm coming at you with a Christmas read! But honestly, you have to order your books now so you can read them all December long. Get on the Christmas train, you guys!

Mistletoe Miracles - Jodi Thomas

A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.

Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit.

I am really glad that this was the first holiday read for this season because this was an excellent one to start with. I enjoyed the entire book, all three couples, and I'll start by telling you that I'm giving this one a 4.5 stars. The only thing that brings it down just a smidge is it got a little slow in the middle for me but not nearly enough to consider stopping. You end up invested in all three couples, which are all connected, and it's so good it makes you wish this would end up in one of those Hallmark Channel holiday movies. No joke. I've read a couple other books by Jodi Thomas and she's a pretty solid writer and gives you a feel good romance, a little ranching thrown in, and leaves you wanting another book by her.

So we have Mallory, who is trying to start over from her abusive ex but before that can start she's in a car accident. She finds her dog, and a second chance at love, in Jax. (This was my favorite couple because that story line always gets me!) My second favorite story line is Jamie and Wyatt. Jamie has been telling people she's married (she's not) so enter Wyatt. He's a soldier who is looking to slow down and see where life takes him but everyone assumes that he is Jamie's husband who has come back. He ends up at Jamie's house (when she's not there) so when she comes back, obviously she's shocked. Except it works out for both of them so they go along with the charade to keep up appearances except (no shocker) they start to fall for each other. This story line was so out there that I couldn't help but like it because it would make for kind of a great romcom movie, wouldn't it?? I didn't love the Griffin and Sunlan relationship only because Sunlan kind of comes off as a wuss. Her father is a grade A jerk and she's trying to find a way to get out from under this thumb. Griffin is in bad financial shape and his ranch is going to go under unless (logically) he marries rich. (Massive eyeroll here) So Griffin sees Sunlan as his cash cow and Sunlan sees Griffin as the guy to save her from her father so she's going from a bad situation to a questionable one. (Because what gal doesn't want to marry a man to pay his bills?) I didn't love this story line and I kind of skimmed over their story because the premise annoys me.

Overall? I really liked this book. I like the holiday tie in, I liked how every couple had their own ups and downs and felt cohesive with the book. Normally I don't like multiple story lines in a book but the author did a good job bringing them all together.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Review: The Heart of War

I am SO close to finishing my Goodreads challenge early. Like super early. I have to have a marathon reading session to get there!

The Heart of War - Kathleen J. McInnis

Dr. Heather Reilly has been an anti-war activist since her brother died fighting the Taliban. But her crushing student loans drive her to take a job working on a peace plan for Afghanistan, in the last place on Earth she ever thought she'd be employed: the Pentagon. On her first day, however, her position is eliminated and she’s shuffled to a war-fighting office focused on combating Russian aggression. Unfortunately, she knows little about Russia and has deep moral reservations about war. Making matters worse, she’s also working for Ariane Fletcher—a woman so terrifying, she eats generals for breakfast. As Heather learns to navigate the Pentagon’s insane bureaucracy and petty power struggles, she finds that her successes come at the expense of her personal life... and that small mistakes can have major consequences in the Department of Defense.

From Washington D.C.'s corridors of power to the dusty streets of Kabul, Kathleen McInnis spins a smart, hilarious, and heartwarming tale that shines a light on the often frustrating but sometimes rewarding experience of a career in the Pentagon.  Packed with insider knowledge about one of the least-known—yet most-powerful—organizations in U.S. national security, McInnis' debut novel establishes her as a major new literary voice with a point of view we've never seen before.

I have to just confess right now that originally I thought this was a memoir. I had it in my head that this was a memoir about her time working inside of the Pentago. So I was (and here's the embarrassing part) maybe half way through the book when it dawned on me that something wasn't quite right. The names of well known officials were not the same as I remembered them being and I (hanging my head in shame) actually Googled it because I was kind of annoyed someone would get key names wrong in a MEMOIR. Turns out, it is not a memoir. The first clue should have been the authors name is NOT the same as the main character.

You guys, I am going to blame the combination of not a lot of sleep lately, and my brain injury, and yeah. This is not a memoir. It is fiction and so if you're coming here from Instagram and you saw me reference this as a memoir, it turns out I'm an idiot and it's OK. It's fiction. It's really good but it is fiction.

Phew. So now that we have that cleared up, this book is kind of great. I was reading this at a time when my Grandpa was passing away and he's a decorated Vietnam veteran so I was interested just because I really don't know a lot about the Pentagon. I know basically what they do but how that sector of government works day to day so I thought this would be interesting for that alone. And it was. I once had a job that rivaled The Devil Wears Prada so I hold a special place in my heart for people in that crap situation, and Dr. Heather Reilly is one of those people. She's taken a job within the Pentagon basically to make ends meet. Her fiance is across the country, their financial situation is pretty bleak, and this job would help shore up some things for them but also give her some experience in the field and that would benefit her in her job as a college professor. So she takes it. But day one she finds out her job has changed and she wouldn't be doing anything that she thought she would be doing, then she meets her boss from hell and it is shenanigans from there.

Overall, I thought the book was really good. I'm giving it a solid 4 stars and the only negative about the book is that it's kind of slow to get going and it felt overly chatty. If that makes sense. Normally I like books with a lot of dialogue but this one had a lot and it almost took away from the story. Things I liked about the story are obviously Heather and her personality. I mean, she has a lot of embarrassing things that happen to her so you can't help but laugh with her because any one of us would die right there. The book is pretty humorous, not an easy fete when you're writing a book about war torn countries and the potential of sending US troops into danger. Somehow the authors makes a serious situation funny and I really appreciated that because without that this book could have been a complete downer. Interestingly, there is a romance thread in the book and I didn't really expect that from this one and while it felt a little unrealistic, it oddly fits. It feels like a movie arc, where the girl has the crap job but somehow makes it all work and falls in love along the way and the hero is there to catch her as she emerges from the job triumphant.

If you like a good romcom this is going to be your jam!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

We threw on 24k gold because we're beautiful just the way we are

I feel like life is swirling around me and I'm forgetting things left and right. I just found my sticky note to remind me to blog about the Bruno Mars concert and that was already a week, two weeks ago? Good god I don't even remember. 

But I do remember I went! My friend Amy bought tickets and I drove down and it was really nice. I mean, as long as the drive is, I don't mind it like I used to. It's a few hours of time dedicated to singing by myself and thinking about things. Then I get to have fun, and then do it again. It's a few hours of freedom and it's really nice. I have a couple more concerts on my calendar between now and May 2019 so I'll have to keep my eye open for some more. 

We had a great dinner and it worked out really well because Amy ordered our food so it came not long after I got there so that was kind of an amazing idea. They have the slowest service ever but I guess if you're across the street from the venue you don't really have to be awesome because you're convenient. 
But Amy and I did our obligatory concert selfie! I kind of love this picture of us. 
 Biggest disappointment of the night- the opener. It was bad enough that Cardi B bailed, and she had a good reason and that's fine. But I saw it advertised as Ciara, Boys 2 Men, and two random acts and I was like, HOLY CRAP- it's going to be a 90's party!! 


You know who we got? Random Charlie Wilson. 

Like who the hell is that? 

I'll tell you who he is: someone who is feeling his damn self. He must have said his name 76 times during his set. It looked like a rainbow threw up on the stage. The backup dancers/brass section/backup singers (they were a three in one package) came out with jackets with sewn in glow bracelets and everyone LOST it. Like, have you people really never seen neon colors? Glow in the dark bracelets? Come on, no need for freaking out, this isn't cool. If it was 1993 this would have been banging, but it is 2018 and this is not cool. We do this kind of thing at little kid birthday parties and even they aren't impressed. 
 Anyways. So after he was done it was time for Bruno Mars. And I'm not a mega fan, but I have all of his albums and he's been on my bucket list of concerts I'd like to see. 
 Was I wowed? No. Was it good? It was. It didn't blow me away like it apparently did with everyone else. It was good, I sang along and the crowd was really fun. It felt like his concert was really short. Like the opening act sang longer than he did so that was weird. 
 He did sing live though, so that was really nice. He has a really great voice and he is professional through and through. Absolutely no doubt. 
 Maybe the second best thing about the show was being able to see stuff happen behind the scenes and the stage come apart. We were sitting beside stage but I've never gotten to see how the stage opens up to bring a piano up or down, see people walking around underneath, etc. So that was kind of cool. 

Drawback- holy EXPLOSIVES, Batman. I'm all for pyrotechnics and all of that but holy crap those were actual explosives. Which, OK, but literally no disclaimers anywhere. And maybe because we were next to the stage it was louder but it was SO LOUD. Thank god I don't have a heart condition because the sucker would have failed me. And my ears were absolutely ringing the entire way home. I had my stereo turned way up and it sounded so far away and when I turned my car on the next morning everyone started crying because it was so loud. I absolutely should have taken the ear plugs Amy offered. HA! 

Overall it was a really fun night. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to see him again but I definitely wouldn't say no. I'm just happy to have gotten out for the night!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book Review: Yeled Tov

So hear me out: I know this book doesn't grab you. I know you have no idea what this title means. I know together you're not sure what the heck is going on, but let me tell you this was a pretty interesting read especially if you are someone who works with the LGBTQ community and maybe don't know how a religious dynamic plays into that.

Yeled Tov - Daniel M. Jaffe
1974 and Jake Stein wants to be a good Jewish boy, but he finds himself struggling to reconcile his traditional beliefs and his strong faith in God with his growing attraction to other boys. He lands a part in the school play, The Diary of Anne Frank, and while he should be imagining the suffering of the Holocaust, he feels real tsuris over falling for the kid who's playing Peter van Daan. Even college is no escape, as his freshman roommate happens to be gorgeous and rarely dressed. Author Daniel M. Jaffe's newest novel offers readers a compelling young hero trying to find a path between desire and devotion, often with advice from the voice of God, or at least how Jake imagines the Almighty ​would instruct a young man to do the right thing.
Ok so let's be honest, this book isn't going to be for everyone. I almost gave up on it around the half way mark because it is SO SLOW. I consider myself a pretty fast reader but I was really struggling to get through it. Thankfully the back half of the book does pick up a little more and it felt like we were riding downhill on a bike so that was good. Everything about the set up of this book, we have a coming of age boy living in a semi-Orthodox Jewish family who is homosexual but trying to deny/hide it. It's the 70's and when I think of the 70's I think of discos, Studio 54, sexual experimentation, drugs, questionable music, and even worse fashion. But for Jake Stein this isn't the reality he's living. He's learned at home and through religion that homosexuality is wrong on all fronts, that it's deviant behavior, and that it cannot be tolerated. He's growing up confused and it's hard to not be sympathetic to that. It's not surprising that this is semi-autobiographical because even in current day there are countless youth experiencing this fine line and walking it confused and scared.

Even if you can't identify with the seriousness of the subject matter you can absolutely appreciate what it's like to feel like you're living two different lives. You go to school, to work, out in the world with a smile and a "everything about my life is great!" facade, but then you come home and cry because you're alone and you're not OK. Jake is doing this except he can't just be himself at home either so he never really relaxes. He goes through great lengths to hide his homosexuality and sometimes it's pretty funny so it lightens the seriousness of the book and that's really nice.

I wish there were more funny passages, which sounds terrible to say because I understand the intent of the book, but I think more people would be inclined to pick it up if they knew it would be funny. I do think this is a really great read for a young man who is maybe in this same boat and really struggling. It's kind of nice to know someone has gone through this too and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Overall I'm giving this one 3.5 stars. The slowness of the first half of the book is what takes it down for me and though it does pick up, I don't know if everyone would hang in there in the hopes it does get going. But if they do, it's a great story. I really liked Jake Stein and I liked the people around them, as flawed as they are. The only other thing you should know is that there are a few fairly explicit sex scenes in this. This maybe isn't something I'd give a teenager to read just because of that and you know if I'm telling you about this... there is a reason. ;)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Changes: maturity vs death

I've noticed for awhile that my outlook on life has been pretty different. I think some of my long time readers have noticed, and maybe some on Facebook, but I have really noticed it in myself. I'm not as snarky as I once was. I don't always have a smart ass comeback. I don't always hit the funny mark- sometimes I try to be funny but I miss and it ends up being hurtful and I'll tell you- I really don't even know it's happening until someone points it out. I don't think the same way I used to, my brain doesn't actually function the way it once did.

Social issues that I used to be very black and white on have turned gray for me. I used to think people would get shot by police just needed to follow some damn directions or, better yet, not commit a crime. I used to think people who were on welfare just needed to work harder, stop looking for handouts, learn to help themselves. I would snicker at a fat person, or judge someone on what they were wearing.

I don't know what happened. Sometimes I think maybe I just matured, but sometimes I wonder if dying on the table did it for me. Maybe I had an epiphany or something.

I noticed when on Friday there was all of the hurricane coverage and I had several people on Facebook talking about how the people who didn't evacuate, even though it was mandatory, are idiots and shouldn't be saved. And it really struck a cord with me because if this was 3 years ago, I would have fully agreed. No question. But then after that hurricane hit Texas a year or so ago, I spent a lot of time watching the news and documentaries, reading stories on Facebook and interviews, and I realized that there were a LOT of people who legitimately couldn't go. They had no resources, no place to go, no way to get there, no money, they'd lose their jobs if they left for too long, etc. Then I thought about my life- would I be able to go if someone gave me a couple of days notice? Just pick up all four kids, and my pets, and go?

Not a chance.

And it's not like we are without means. Matt has a good job and a steady paycheck. BUT.... I don't have a job. I can't contribute to our family like I once could so all of the bills we have, our home, our car, was all based on both of us having some kind of income. And that's not our reality anymore. Nobody could have predicted I would have died on the table and come home impaired for life. It was such a freak thing, who can plan for that?

My aftermath truth is that I'm impaired. I rely on others to help me. I cannot work. I have health issues that affect my daily living. I cannot lose weight and I struggle with that. I'm not at all like I used to be. I have lost friends because they'd rather have me like the old Sara. I have been humbled but also blessed. I am able to understand the plight of people more. Not all, because I will never understand what it's like to be a minority in this country because I am white and I have privilege that comes with that. But I'm able to listen to both sides. I'm know what sympathy and empathy are now. It's really true that everyone has a struggle that you maybe can't see. People look at me and I can fake it and look normal. Look OK. Look happy. Look like I have it together. But I go to my car, or I go home, and it all falls apart. I don't want people to see my impairments because it is embarrassing.

Honestly? I'm grateful. I feel lighter in my life. I feel happier in that regard. I will help others until I have nothing left to give. I compliment strangers and it still surprises me the responses I get from those people. I enjoy my friends more because the ones still here mean the most.

So I don't know what the point of this post really is. But it really struck a cord with me because I see people bashing the hurricane victims, I see people support a President who is unbelievably hateful, I see people not understanding that a lot of people are really struggling out there through no fault of their own. Families are being separated and it's upsetting. Kids are struggling in their home life and then in school. People are working several jobs and still barely make rent. People are homeless and can't get the leg up to improve their life. There are so many things wrong in this world and I'm at the point where.... being a bitch isn't helping. I can't save the world but maybe I can make somebody's day a little better somehow.

I guess I just ask that before you post something on Facebook, ask yourself if there's a point to it. Or are you just criticizing because you can? Are you doing something to help the people you're criticizing?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Review: A Good Time Cowboy

I'm slowly coming out of my reading slump but a Maisey Yates book is an amazing way to come out of one!

A Good Time Cowboy - Maisey Yates

When Lindy Parker lost her cheating husband, she gained a vineyard. She’ll do anything for Grassroots Winery, including teaming up with the hottest devil she knows, rancher Wyatt Dodge. Wyatt is her ex’s friend and has an ego as big as the bulls he rides. But in spite of that, disciplined Lindy has always wanted him…

Lightning struck Wyatt Dodge the first time he saw Lindy Parker. But there were two problems with that: she was married to his friend, and Wyatt doesn’t do strings. But now Lindy is free, and the two of them can finally explore the heat that’s burned between them for so long. But can Lindy make this good time cowboy decide on forever?

Alright, so this is the third book in the Gold Valley series, and of course, it's a stand alone but it's fun to read them in order because we see little pieces of the couples from the other books in this one. That and the story for Lindy is introduced in the other two books, we learn she's divorced and basically took her ex to the cleaners and took over the winery which was long held in their family, and some people are still a little bent about that. But in this book Lindy finds herself having to work with Wyatt, who is friends with her ex-husband, and she doesn't have positive experiences with him. She basically sees him as a man whore who has no regard for anyone's feelings, and Lindy is very much not a whore and has no desire to be another notch on his belt. What can't be denied though is that they are both attracted to each other, but neither one of them is able/willing to suck it up and give it a try.

The better part of this book is them working through their insecurities. She puts herself out that as very prim and proper, and ice queen. He is seen as the playboy without a worry in the world. As it turns out they are neither of those things but they fit into the roles others have given that. I really loved watching them work through that all while flirting and being stubborn, often at the same time. It's like one step forward, two steps back throughout the book. The event their two businesses are putting on obviously comes with it's own hiccups and challenges but watching them having to work as a team to pull it off is entertaining for sure.

Overall I'm giving this one 4 stars. It wasn't "oh my god" great to push it to a 5, but it was definitely more entertaining than a 3. I'm really enjoying this series so far and I'm looking forward to what's next. I will say though that of all three books so far Lindy was my least favorite character. Her insecurities lead her to be too much of a bitch at times and that didn't sit well with me at times. Nonetheless, this was a fun book to read at the end of my summer!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Book Review: Memories in Dragonflies

I have dealt a lot with death in the last two years. From dying myself and being revived, to knowing my grandma was dying and dealing with her passing, my grandpa being ill, and knowing several people who have all taken their turn at passing. I know life is full of life but it's also full with death and I don't think anyone is ever really ready to lose someone. I don't know if you can really prepare for that and understand what it means until you're right there. So that's why I picked this one to review.

Memories in Dragonflies - Lannette Cornell Bloom

Lannette Cornell Bloom, a typical, overworked nurse, wife, and mom of two, was forty-three when her mother was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She quit her job and dove headlong into the familiar role of caretaking. This choice—to slow down and be present for the hardest year of her life—resulted in an awakening. In unexpected moments, as childhood memories flooded into the present, Lannette glimpsed bits of magic that existed just beyond the pain. Without knowing it, she was experiencing a mindful dying process with her mother—and it was a journey that would change the way she lived the rest of her life.

A touching and soulful memoir that gracefully uncovers the beauty that is often lost within the dying process, Memories in Dragonflies is a beautiful portrait of what it means to be human and a gentle reminder to enjoy every moment, because even the simplest ones bring lasting joy.

Normally at the end of a review I'll tell you who will like this book the most but I'm actually going to start with it. Everyone. Literally everyone should read this because we all have parents and grandparents, we will all face someone close to us dying. We might even be the caregiver, we might not know how to navigate the feelings of wanting to grieve what you're going to lose but trying to be strong for that person so you don't make them feel worse about the situation. But everyone can benefit from this book.

The book is relatively short, only 112 pages, I finished this in about two hours. The story is written by Lannette who becomes the caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. I know we talk vaguely about death and say, "Oh they died of this" but nobody really knows what the process is going to be like. Or maybe we don't want to know. But Lannette frankly states that her mother's lungs will essentially harden and calcify and basically suffocate her. And when you hear it like that you think- who WOULDN'T be terrified of this process?? Her mother is determined to challenge this head on until she can't and the family respects her decision and her care turns from fighting to comfort care to hospice.

I don't know these people but I teared up reading this. She talks about how she struggled with wanting to talk about the truth they were all staring down but how the rest of her family didn't want to talk about it. How she struggled with being the caregiver and the feeling that nobody recognized what she was doing, what she was giving up, what she was going through because being a caregiver is really difficult. I know some people just cannot do it, and I can't fault them. A person knows what their limits are. But for the ones who are in the trenches doing it, they need some respite and maybe someone to check on them.

The other thing I really liked about the book was it touched on Lannette listening to her mom's stories and watching her end relationships with people. Asking them to carry on in her absence, and that was sad. But Lannette also struggled with trying to learn everything she could about her mom. What didn't she know about her? What did she want to ask her in this limited time? I mean, if you knew your parent was going to die soon, what would you want to know? What pieces of history or life lessons would you want to squeeze out of them? I don't think we can ever know too much about someone and I wonder if someone can pass and have had all of that information passed onto someone, or do they pass with some secrets never to be discovered? I don't know. But it makes you wonder. 

The greatest part of the story is this daughter's unending, never wavering love for her mom. It's a realization that as we decline it's like we revert back to childhood only this time our children are caring for us. Lannette struggles with helping her mother while maintaining her mother's dignity and man... what a fine line to walk.

The whole book reminds me of the Death Cab for Cutie song "What Sarah Said". It's a really wonderful song and it's one of my favorites, but there is a line in there that says, "Love is...watching someone die. Whose going to watch you die?" and man... isn't that the truth? The most loving thing we can do is guide someone at the end and bring comfort. To assure them it's OK, to not be scared, to know that it's OK for them to go.

I really loved this book and I just hope that when it's my turn I can do as much for my parents as Lannette did. And if you're reading this Lannette, your mom appreciated every minute of every day that you dedicated to her. You couldn't have shown her how much you love her in a better way. I couldn't think of a better way to have gone than what you were able to give her and I hope you know that. We all could only hope for that for ourselves.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Review: Strictly Confidential

I am in such a reading slump and my goal for September is to absolutely get out of it. I have too many book reviews coming, I have too many amazing books to read, I've got to get going. I'm only 9 books away from hitting my Goodreads Challenge goal of 105 books this year. Woot woot!

Strictly Confidential - Lynda Aicher

Life is about power—who has it, who doesn’t.

Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t spent time in Kennedy Keller’s business-casual two-point-five-inch heels. A woman in a world very much run by men, Kennedy does whatever it takes to keep her power, in the office and outside of it.

Until she lets her guard down and decides to submit to a man for just one night. He’s everything she doesn’t usually let herself have: sexy, strong…dominant.

Matt Hamilton said goodbye to the Dom life years ago—power games and the delectable push/pull of dominance and submission might start in the bedroom, but it never stays there.

Reunited in the Boardroom, Matt and Kennedy test their desires and boundaries…and learn that one night is never just one night.
This was a great book to read to get me out of my reading slump, coming in at 284 for the mass paperback this is a fast read. It starts almost immediately with some sexy action, which is what you'd expect from an erotic romance. Both the leading woman and man are interesting characters, though wildly different in different ways. They come together on a business conference and neither can let the one time encounter go. A chance meeting in The Boardroom brings them together again, to both of their surprise. They tread carefully and almost reluctantly start a relationship. It's new territory for both of them so you can expect some mishaps and an incident that threatens what they've worked so hard to build. 

Things I really liked are definitely the sex scenes in the book. There are several so if that's your thing you won't be disappointed. The only thing I found tough to chew was the incident that plays as the major conflict in the book. I didn't totally understand the situation or why each person felt the way they did but that is on me, I don't know if other people would wonder about that. I liked this book enough that I want to read the rest of this series and I'm definitely interested in Lynda Aicher's other books. This is book three in The Boardroom series but it's a stand alone, you don't need to read the others to be up to speed in this one. It's a great read and I definitely recommend it if you like the erotic romance genre, or maybe you haven't read any and would like to start.