Um…Tuesday Coffee? Graduation!

I meant to post Sunday, but life went from the planned “busy” to the unplanned “insanity” over the weekend:

Jason’s parents were due to arrive either Wednesday evening or on Thursday. They were driving down in their RV, which they just purchased used, which may not have been the best choice as first their a/c went out in Oklahoma and caused the first delay (now they should arrive Friday), and then their brakes went out about an hour north of San Antonio and left them stranded on the side of the road. Jason had come home from work an hour early to help us with all the baking, prepping, shopping, and decorating we were doing for the next day’s events. He immediately had to go out in Friday rush hour traffic to go pick up his mother. The hour-long trip took two hours re: rush hour, and Jason’s dad had to stay on the side of the road while he waited for a specialty tow truck. Then when that finally arrived, the RV was carted off to New Braunsfels to a place that claimed to fix RVs…until the RV actually arrived around 10pm. Grandpa had to park the RV in a lot and then Jason had to drive another hour north to get him and bring him back to San Antonio, finally getting home around midnight. And of course, Grandpa had to drive back to New Braunsfels between the two events on Saturday to move the RV to another dealership to fix.

In the meantime, my mom called to tell me that my almost-91-year-old grandpa was in the hospital with a septic gallbladder, and my family was doing hospital rotations to be with him and my grandma, so no one knew who would be where the next day during the grad party. (No new news on this yet, and with all the crazy I haven’t been able to go see him yet. Hopefully soon.)

(piping credit: Ambrose!)

Saturday at least ran mostly smoothly. Morrigan had decided to get baptized into the LDS church, which happened Saturday morning. Then we had about an hour or so to get ready for his graduation party (hence all the prep work the day before) while Jason’s dad went up to deal with the RV. We did all the last minute prep and were ready when guests started to arrive. The party went smoothly. People seemed to enjoy it. There wasn’t a lot of cleanup. That’s about the best I could hope for! Afterwards, we all went out to eat and then crashed out early.

Sunday was a catch-up day for cleaning and paperwork, and of course prepping for Monday, which involved graduation practice and the actual Graduation event. Monday was a long, crowded, hot, chaotic day, but a lot of family showed up to watch Morrigan cross the stage, and we got some good photos afterwards. My favorite was of the boys together:

More photos available on my instagram.

After graduation, we spent nearly an hour in rush hour traffic (sigh) then had dinner at Texas Roadhouse, one of Morrigan’s favorites. Then it was home-and-crash-in-bed time! Today, Jason is back to work, and I need to go do all the chores and paperwork and errands that we’ve neglected for the last week before Morrigan’s oral surgery (wisdom teeth removal) tomorrow morning. Busy busy busy! See y’all soon!

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The Bride Test, by Helen Hoang

Khai believes he has no feelings after a combination of his autism and his odd reactions to grief lead him to that logical conclusion. He’s irritated when his mother brings Esme over from Vietnam to be his potential bride, and sets her up in his house. Esme is on a mission to make a new home for her family back in Vietnam. Neither of them expect things to go exactly as they do…

Honestly, I could just take 90% of what I said about The Kiss Quotient and repeat it here. This was a delightful book, a fun romance, with brilliantly-written characters and a handful of cultural and political topics (autism, immigration, classism) mixed in to give it depth. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what Hoang writes next.

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211 Days

November 5th to June 4th – seven months – 211 days. November 5th was my last binge. I made it to 100 days on February 13th, and it was the longest I’d gone without a binge since I began binge-eating that disastrous year in Boston (2014-2015). Of course, just because I’d made it 100 days didn’t mean I was going to end the streak! In mid-April, around day 160, I stopped keeping count. And yesterday, on a day that I’ve calculated to be Day 211, I binged.

Why? I haven’t got a clue. I said back in February that I tend to binge when I have a lot of anxiety, and it’s especially bad if that anxiety doesn’t have a source that I can pinpoint. The last few days have been filled with that generalized, source-less anxiety, so that I feel triggered without knowing why. I spent three days fighting the urge to binge before breaking down around mid-day. And so this morning, I feel simultaneously gross/shaky from all the consumption and calm because the urge to binge has passed. I still don’t know why, and can only make guesses.

Maybe it’s because this time last year I found out my uncle was dying, and a friend of mine also died, and my house was suddenly totaled in four rooms. Your amygdala stores those feelings and can trigger you on those days for years to come. Maybe it’s because on Sunday, I strained my upper back muscles during my workout, so that they’ve been tight and tense. Since they also get tight and tense when I’m under immense anxiety, maybe my f-ed up brain was misinterpreting those signals. Maybe it’s simply because with school ending, my routines will be upended, and on top of that, there have been multiple last-minute changes for days now, and stress about graduation and grad parties and the million things that will be happening this month…

Does it matter? Not really. I binged. 211 days is a long time, and now I start the count over. I made it all the way to June 4th before having my first binge of 2019, and who knows, maybe it’ll be the only one. Now, I just need to accept, recover, and start again, not dwell on the “why”s.

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May 2019 in Review

Hello! I’m still on break, but I wanted to pop in for my monthly review, particularly because May turned out to be a fairly good month! Tons happened, and almost all of it (except for one particular medical scare from Jason) has been positive. Advance warning – because so much happened and because I haven’t posted all month, this post will be LONG. Continue reading

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It’s no secret that I’ve barely been on my blog for the last two months. I’m hardly reading, not really writing/posting, not really looking at my feed reader, etc. I’m repeating the same things over and over, and I’m getting tired of doing so. With the summer coming up and a lot on my family’s plate both in scheduling and in health, I’m going to take some time away from blogging. I’ll probably still post month-in-reviews and maybe a book review here or there, but I’m officially taking away the pressure to post on a more regular basis. I’ve done this over the summers before and usually return invigorated by the end of August when my boys start in school again. Hopefully it’s the same this year. In the meantime, I plan to focus more on my feed reader and connecting with all of you, instead of spending my time trying to force out posts here when I’m not feeling it. See you all on the other side!

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Sunday Coffee – The Power of Good Narration

This week I listened to a book, title not to be mentioned here, read by my favorite audio narrator, Kate Reading. (If you need to know, you can check out my 2019 Books page for book #20.) This is a story of how a truly good audio narration can alter a book. This is a perfect example. If I were to write a review for this book, which I won’t, I would mention stuff like:

– There’s no plot. The entire book is world-building and character-building and setup for book 2.

– In a book where thousands of humans are culled from all times/places and brought to a single location, there are ridiculously few non-white (three so far) and post-current-day (one so far). Also, of course the bad guys culled from history are going to be WWII nazis.

– The book needed some serious copyediting. There were lines like, “They were dirty and sweaty, their faces streaked with mud and dirt.”

If I’d picked this book off a library shelf and begun to read, I likely wouldn’t have finished it. The world-building was interesting and compelling, but eventually I would have needed more than that. And yet, I read the entire book – because Kate Reading is amazing.

Kate Reading kept me engaged even when the story didn’t. She helped me to connect with the characters and get past things that normally irritate me to no end in stories and in writing. Despite all my issues with the book, I never considered abandoning it, and I’ve even considered picking up the next in the series when it releases. If and only if Reading will be narrating again. To me, that shows the true power of a fantastic audio performer – to take a book and make it great, regardless of where the book lies on its own.

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April 2019 in Review

It has been a very busy month for us. As a senior in high school, Morrigan has had event after event after event this month, and beyond that, we’ve been pushing hard to finish our front yard after 14 months of work. Blogging fell to the wayside again this month as other things took precedence. I’m looking forward to getting things back to a more even (and predictable) rhythm soon. (Ha! It’s almost school’s-out-for-the-summer…say goodbye to routine!)

I managed to read a few books this month – five – but honestly I was forcing myself to read, at least until I got to my favorite: What Alice Forgot. That one was so good that I used an Audible credit and then reread it via audio immediately, then didn’t pick anything else up for the rest of the month.

Last year when I was going out to see a lot of movies, I’d watch the trailers and find so many movies that I’d want to see next. This year, I’ve gone to half a dozen movies in theatre, and I’ve seen the same trailers pretty much at every one. So there are a few movies coming out this year that I want to see, but not many, not like last year. The only movie I went to see this month was Clue, which of course came out in the 80s. And since I’ve watched pretty much all of my backlist now, I mostly spent the month binge-watching a few Netflix shows instead. Favorite: Big Dreams, Small Spaces.

We made a big push to finish the front yard this month, since we had family coming for Easter. Because of some miscommunication in plans, one of the projects became much bigger than it was supposed to be, so we’re still not 100% done. However, we’re very, very close, and I hope plan to finish this by the end of May.

I was so hopeful when this month began. I finally had a doctor listening to me and testing so many things. I thought the answers would be soon forthcoming and I’d have a path out of this nightmare. Only then the tests came back with no answers, and more steroids still didn’t get rid of the hives and inflammation, and I was back to square one. My nose is still messed up (everything still smells like rotten onions), I still can’t sleep, my depression and fatigue make it difficult to do anything at all. You know that metaphor about the spoons and chronic illness? I have like two spoons a day and I have to use one of them just to get out of bed. There was one day when I was on my steroid treatment that my alarm rang and I popped out of bed, throwing the covers off, and this felt simultaneously normal and foreign. That’s how it used to be for me all the time, and it’s been years since that was the case. Even when Jason and I had three infants/toddlers and were barely getting any sleep, I’d still pop out of bed at the alarm and get going immediately. I’m more exhausted now than when I had three babies. This. Is. Not. Normal. 

My doctor put me on a couple new medications toward the end of the month and we’ll see where it goes from here. (I’ve had no hives since then, which is definitely a start!) I’d really like to get to the bottom of this though. I’m barely able to function, much less exercise or prepare healthy foods. What energy I’ve had goes toward the yard and making it to Morrigan’s various functions and attending doctors’ appointments (mine and the boys’). After that, I’m tapped out, and I’ve consequently spent a lot of time watching TV as I recover!

Highlights of April
My world was quite insular in April. Other than appointments and Morrigan’s functions, I rarely left the house, so many of my highlights this month are little things I’ve come to love about the place I live.

  • Morrigan’s senior prom
  • Easter brunch with my extended family
  • Morrigan’s senior award night
  • Clue movie party
  • finding all these little lives in the garden – ladybugs and teeny snails on leaves and baby praying mantises and lizards and bees – we have ourselves a mini ecosystem! Honestly, while this is only a single bullet, nearly all my happiness of the month came from watching the garden spring to life.
  • seeing Morrigan on TV with the band for the Battle of Flowers parade
  • an impromptu afternoon hangout at home with a new(ish) friend
  • complements from strangers on my outfit when I went to vote
  • wind-chimes outside in my garden that I can hear from anywhere in my house

Coming up in May
I don’t know. Because of the traumas I experienced in May back in 2014 and 2015 both, the last few years of Mays have been very PTSD-laden. I can tell myself that I’ll fight against this or whatever, but you can’t control what your amygdala does to you. Memory-echos are powerful things. I’m hoping that four years out is enough that I can function this year. Fingers crossed. Especially since we’re going to be prepping for the summer, which in addition to being harder for me (as my job becomes 24/7 nonstop once the kids are off school), will involve college visits for Ambrose, a trip for Morrigan’s college orientation, surgeries for both Jason and Morrigan, moving Morrigan across the country in August, and my brother-in-law’s wedding. This all, of course, on top of the ongoing medical issues. May is my last month of semi-freedom until September, and I’d like to make the most of it, PTSD be damned. Fingers crossed!

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