I am so glad that it’s finally fall! It’s been overcast all week, here in Charlotte, but that’s fine with me! I got to bust out some cute boots and tights.
Also, nothing says welcome to fall like some candles!
2. Speaking of the above mentioned tights and boots, I seriously wish I had somewhere to wear them everyday!
3. Another perk of this overcast weather is the storms! It may seem a silly, but when it storms, my dog, Josie, who is normally the dog who sits at my feet instead of on my lap, is all over me. It makes her little sister jealous, but I’ll take all of the “cheap love” that I can get! #nomakeup
Fun fact: I am wearing a shirt with a Shih Tzu on it, designed by the one and only Rebecca Chapman!
4. Soup! My husband and I finally got it together on Sunday and did a major grocery shopping trip. Since then, he has been chopping vegetables and I’ve been making soups! I can’t wait to share some of my favorites with you during Fall Welcome week!
<insert soup picture>
5. Lastly, I’ve been reading some good books! If you missed the Goodreads account linkup and all of the great book recommendations, you can click HERE to check it out!
What was your favorite book that you read this summer? Link up your Goodreads account at the bottom and leave a comment with the best book you read this summer!
I got tagged on Facebook to list the top 10 books that have stuck with me in some way. I’m not much for tagged Facebook posts, but I thought it would make a great blog post! Here are my top 10:
1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
2. Sanctuary by William Faulkner.
3. Tess of the d’Urbervilless by Thomas Hardy.
4. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.
5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
6. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorthy Allison.
7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
8. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
These aren’t just my favorites, although they all fall into that category, but each of them is important to me in its own way. For instance, Sanctuary sparked my interest in Southern Gothic literature. Bastard Out of Carolina shook me to my core, and The Things They Carried gave me an appreciation for writing and story telling.
Listening to… Audiobooks! As usual. I’m also listening to a lot of State Champs in the car.
Cooking… Sloppy Joe’s! I found this great recipe for veggie turkey sloppy joe’s that uses dark beer. It’s so good! After a few tries, I’ve figured out the best tomato paste to ketchup ratio, in order to keep them from getting too sloppy.
Reading… The Thirteenth Tale. I just started and love it! (Thanks, Amy!!!)
Smelling… Fall candles! Apple Spice candles! Pumpkin Spice candles! My husband and I picked up a few at Walmart and they make me happy!
Redecorating… with fall decorations! The fall wreath is on the front door, the navy blue table runner is out, and all of those things went out on Sunday.
Wearing… boots! Oh, how I wait for the first boot wearing of each season.
Drinking… cappuccinos at my favorite spot, with my husband!
Looking forward to… October. I know it’s only mid-September, but this month is kind of boring. We have a lot going on in October. Oh, and I am also looking forward to the weather cooling down more. #iheartscarves
Glad… that I finally was able to remove the bandage from my stitches. I kind of have all 10 fingers now, but I think I did lose some feeling in my pinkie.
Excited that… Presbyterian college beat Furman last night! GO BLUE HOSE! And that South Carolina victory was pretty nice, too.
Thankful for… my family living close by. That my college roommate is only 20 minutes away. That I have the cutest dogs that ever lived. That my husband cuts most of the vegetables now (see: stitches). And most of all, all of the amazingly awesome emails that I got last week. I didn’t realize that people even cared about my posts. I am really looking forward to regaining my health, so blogging can be less of a back burner hobby, since I really love it!
I’ve blogged a lot about invisible illnesses in the past, but since this week is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I thought that I would participate in 30 Things You May Not Know. The list comes from Chronic Mom, who posted it earlier this week. The reason that I have not posted as much as I have wanted is that my illnesses have really been keeping me down, so to speak.
1. The illness I live with is: Cervical Dystonia, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Tourette’s, and other autonomic nervous system dysfunctions.
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: April 2011 was my earliest diagnosis (other than Tourette’s which was diagnosed in 2001).
3. But I had symptoms since: January 2011.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Changing my dreams. I had a life plan. Then I got sick and it went right out of the window. Good things have still happened, but they were not what I ever saw for my life. I am blessed, though, because I really thought that I would absolutely never get married after I got sick.
5. Most people assume: That I am totally fine, exaggerating, or that I kind of don’t exist anymore. I’m never going to scream because of the pain in public, but when I am at home, that’s a different story. The pain is always there, but I can hold it together for a few hours. I think that people can see some of the pain on my face sometimes (or at least my mom can), but it’s really hard for me to let my guard down, even around doctors, when I really need their help. Striving for perfection, even through the pain, is deeply ingrained in me. I don’t get out a lot anymore, but I want to pretend like everything is ok when it isn’t. And for the few friends that I did have, I honestly only hear from a few of them anymore.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Waking up! I was a morning person at one point in my life. Now that I can’t get to sleep because of pain (for instance, I was up until 3 AM last night), I end up sleeping pretty late. I guess I am fortunate because once I get to sleep, I can stay asleep. However, I feel like I’ve been beaten black and blue with a baseball bat when I wake up.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House. Every doctor that I see tells me that I am an “interesting case,” and one went as far as to say “and that’s something that you don’t want to be in medicine.” So, I guess I like House because he’s cranky like me and he actually works on the hard cases.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My iPad. I can read all the books that I can get my hand on (yay for free Kindle books that are out of copyright! Going back and forth to the library gets a little exhausting sometimes. And when I can’t drive, I have to have someone take my books back for me.) Plus, I can listen to my audiobooks, surf the internet, and listen to music. The iPad is frequently used in conjunction with the recliner.
9. The hardest part about nights are: the pain. My pain seems to get worse as the day goes on. I am terrified of going to bed because I can never get comfortable. No sleep aids work either. I’ve tried every pillow combination possible. I just can’t get it right. If I could sleep on my back (which I’ve tried to train myself to do), things might be better.
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) Today, in addition to the powdered vitamins that I mix with water (8), I will take somewhere around 12-16 pills, depending on how I split up the doses.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried a lot. Some are better than others, but nothing is going to cure me. They are more like complimentary therapies to help me cope with pain.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Visible. Some of my symptoms are visible (tilted head when my Botox injections run out, Tourette’s–occasionally visible.), but other symptoms, like breaking out into random sweats, the inability to stand for a long time, tremors in my arms, make me look weird. So, I guess just something like a wheelchair to distract people would be nice.
13. Regarding working and career: Gone.
14. People would be surprised to know: I cry almost every time I leave a doctor’s office because they hardly ever help me. I go in with hope, especially if it’s a new specialist. And every time, they turn out to not be helpful.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: feeling useless and worthless. In addition to physical pain that just floods my brain with pain so that I can’t think, if I get a spare thought, I just feel like a drain on everyone.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Get married. Find love. It’s hard. The pain is like an annoying third person in the house that makes me super cranky, but we’re almost at 1 year. Honestly, it hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.
17. The commercials about my illness: make me furious! All commercials for medications make me horribly mad. I think that without so much money in pharmaceuticals, people might actually be researching or accepting/approving alternative treatments that don’t have the same kind of side effects. One of my illnesses is a side effect of a medicine that I took for another illness.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: socializing. After I got sick, I was more careful with what I did, how late I stayed, out, etc. But over time, I’ve lost friends because I can’t get out. Now I couldn’t socialize, even if I wanted to. I guess that’s why I blog.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: being active. I know that one day, I will work back up to where I used to be, but right now, I am in a place where 20 minutes on a stationary bike is about all that I can do. I would give anything to go on a hike, take bar method class again, or even pilates.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: reading and writing. I listen to audiobooks when the medications make me too tired to open my eyes. If I can be awake, I am usually reading. I used to be pretty into blogging, but it is so hard to take pictures, edit them, and all of that sort of stuff, so it’s more on the back burner than it used to be. It definitely was a priority for awhile.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: stay out all night dancing. It seems trivial, but I used to go dancing all the time when I lived in DC. I miss it a lot.
22. My illness has taught me: that there is not a pill for every illness. Growing up, I always thought that there was a corresponding treatment for every illness. Now I know that is not true!
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: essential oils. Seriously. Like, some peppermint oil helps my headaches occasionally, but I have brain damage that causes my problems, which people don’t understand. Oils are not going to help.
24. But I love it when people: Accept my invitations to do things or include me. Even if I can only stay for a little bit, it’s better than being totally left out.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Fight for good treatment. Don’t let doctors take out their frustrations on you. If you aren’t happy with your care, find another doctor. Please don’t waste time, like I have done, with complete duds. You know yourself the best, and you deserve to be treated with respect.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How much my family is fighting for me and my healthy. They see better future for me than I see for myself.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Bringing me care packages. Like just little things like a slap bracelet and lotion, but it was the nicest gesture.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: invisible illnesses are EVERYWHERE. When you get sick, you can see the signs a little better. The statistics back it up. I just think that a little more compassion towards everyone, not just sick people would make the world a better place.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: A little bitter. I try to have a good attitude, but sometimes, it is really, really hard.
Today’s Blog-Tember Prompt: Let’s talk personality types. Introverted? Extroverted? Unsure-troverted? If you know your Myers-Briggs type, tell us about it! If not, you can take this similar test and share your results.
I thought it would be fun to celebrate my husband’s birthday today by comparing and contrasting our tests! (Fun fact: This weekend marked the one year anniversary since we got engaged and our wedding anniversary will be coming up in a few months. Woo!)
Extravert (89%) Sensing (1%) Feeling (50%) Judging (17%)
You have strong preference of Extraversion over Introversion (89%)
You have marginal or no preference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
You have moderate preference of Feeling over Thinking (50%)
You have slight preference of Judging over Perceiving (17%)
According to Personality Page, an ESFJ is a caregiver. The assessment of the ESFJ personality type seems pretty spot-on, except for the rule following part. I really hate rules. I’m not a rebel or anything, but whereas I thought it was hilarious to get back at our hotel neighbors who played Evanesence on repeat for 4 hours straight by playing Chumbawamba loudly just two times, my husband was very uncomfortable with breaking the noise level rules.
As a caregiver-type person, being sick is extra hard on me. I want to not only take care of myself and everyone else, I resent being taken care of. The Personality Page describes The ESFJ as taking their responsibilities very seriously, and being very dependable. I think that I used to find my identity in being the dependable person. Now I can’t make plans or keep them. I dread making doctor’s appointments because I end up having to have my mom drive an hour to my house to take me when I wind up too sick to take myself.
Introvert (78%) Sensing(25%) Thinking (62%) Judging(11%)
You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (78%)
You have moderate preference of Sensing over Intuition (25%)
You have distinct preference of Thinking over Feeling (62%)
You have slight preference of Judging over Perceiving (11%)
According to Personality Page, the ISTJ is a duty fulfiller. I totally agree with this assessment of Brian. It says: ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who are interested in security and peaceful living. ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are “good citizens” who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor. ISTJs tend to believe in laws and traditions, and expect the same from others. They’re not comfortable with breaking laws or going against the rules. (Which is obvious from the story above). Brian also drives like a grandpa. He is, though, hilarious. He has a totally off beat sense of humor. We bonded over our love for Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny. What more do you need?
I think we work well together because I’m extroverted and will drag him onto the dance floor. He is good for me because he’s so laid back that he’ll keep me from running myself ragged. He also keeps me in line, obviously!
Today, I am linking up with Brave Love’s Blog-tember Challenge to post about what’s going on currently! (Click here for all of the great prompts!)
Listening to Judah & the Lion’s new album, Rich Kids. O-my-gosh. You all need to check it out. I got my copy last week because I preordered, but I think that it’ll be available on iTunes/Amazon on Tuesday.
You can watch the video here:
you spend your life runnin’ away from your family.
in your old age now it’s all that you’re wanting.
ain’t it funny how the simple things in life are the only things that really matter?
your life is complicated found your dreams were overrated now you’re old and wanna go back, but you can’t.
Ok. Sorry if I gushed. Love them.
Looking forward to celebrating my husband’s birthday on Tuesday! Also, the final book of the White Queen Series will be released on Audible on the same day, so… definitely looking forward to that.
Reading lots of things. Villette has been really good so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I heard a rumor that it was better than Jane Eyre, so I had to see for myself.
Eating homemade zucchini chips. I dehydrate them with ranch seasoning on them.
Drinking Iced pumpkin spiced lattes, made at home, again. I can’t wait to share my recipe during the Fall celebration week link ups later this month!
Confessing that I haven’t read blogs in a long time. I’ve been feeling super sick, and I don’t really have any rational hope for feeling better soon, but I hope that I will.
I read a ton of books last month. I don’t really know how it happened. I would like to give a huge shout out to Whitney at Journey Mercies for talking about The Modern Mrs. Darcy on her blog last month, so now I am armed with a huge new list of suggestions.
Don’t forget to come back September 18 to link up your Goodreads account and tell us the best book that you read this summer!
The Night Circus
My Rating: *****
One word: Magical. Now go read it.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story
My Rating: ***
I was able to read this book is fewer than 24 hours. It was a quick read, which kind of read like an extended movie. There was a twist, and it was even a little bit thought provoking. It’s not my favorite book ever, but it was good entertainment.
Where’d You Go Bernadette?
My Rating: *****
This book was the perfect summer read. It was witty, smart, and hysterical. It was light reading, but it made some very good points. I highly recommend it!
What Alice Forgot
My Rating: ****
This novel was a quick read, which was super fun. I think that it was fun exercise in reminding us what would happen if we could live our lives with the ideals that we once had. If you have some free time and want fun, I would recommend it.
The Cuckcoo’s Calling
My Rating: ****
I liked this! It was a bit hard to follow at parts because there were a lot of characters, who were fake celebrities. The relationships between the characters were important for the story, but sometimes I couldn’t remember how people were connected. However, my migraine in the middle of the month may have significantly contributed to my confusion. I still liked the story and can’t wait to read the second in the series.
The Silver Linings Playbook
My Rating: *****
Loved this book! Wow. Even better than the awesome movie. You can read my full review here!
My Rating: ***
I don’t even know where to start with what was wrong with this book. Without giving anything away, the main character learns that she is too preachy and closed minded, which gives the novel exactly that tone. The author does exactly what she rails against. The novel leaves you feeling like that if you don’t agree with the viewpoints of the the author/main character, you too, are an awful person who needs to change their ways. Also, it was a horrible audiobook, despite the fact that the wonderful Elizabeth McGovern was narrating. She has such a beautiful voice, so it was weird to cast her as a midwesterner who goes to New York. The novel starts off wonderfully and is well written, which are its redeeming qualities.
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
If you didn’t watch the entire series, plus the movie, you’ll probably be very lost and not enjoy it at all. However, if you’re a fan, it’s a great consolation prize, now that the series has ended.
All Fall Down
My Rating: ***
When this novel came out this summer, it kept showing up in all of my suggested reading lists–thanks Amazon. It got a lot of press, but I have to wonder if those people actually read the book. It was depressing as hell, which addiction is, but the ending left me with nothing. I got nothing. I wanted to know more, but it was like the author ran out of pages, so she had to wrap it up.
Jude the Obscure
My Rating: ****
Ok, I know I am a little bit weird. I am a huge Thomas Hardy fan. His novels are sad and some of the characters drive me crazy, but they are so rich with social, political, and religious commentary. The most interesting part is reading them over a hundred years after they were published because I have the benefit of a hundred years of history through which to view the novels, which were scandalous and banished at his time. Sue drove me up the wall in this novel, but Hardy really did a brilliant job with this one.
Split Second (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell #1)
I absolutely loved this novel. All of my friends have been recommending Baldacci’s novels to me for years because of my work background, and they know I love a good procedural crime novel. This was even better, though! I couldn’t put it down. It had the feel of a Criminal Minds episode… like when the show used to be good.
Me Before You
My Rating: *****
I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down, either. It is so thought provoking and wonderful. Seriously. What are you waiting for? Read it.
My Cousin Rachel
My Rating: ****
I absolutely loved Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, so when I was deciding what to read next, I thought that I would try another one of her novels. This one did not disappoint at all! It’s been awhile since I’ve read a great Gothic novel, so this one fit the bill.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
My Rating: *****
I’ll admit that I didn’t read this in high school when everyone else was just because I didn’t want to be like everyone else. In hindsight, I’m glad I waited until I was 26 to read it. I feel like I had my high school experience during college because I moved in the middle of high school. Additionally, I lived a pretty sheltered life until the end of college, so I’m not sure that any of this novel would have made sense to me. In college, I had a drive. I had a focus. I knew where I was going in life, and how I was going to get there. Now that I’m 26, sick, and really reevaluating things, this book actually made more sense to me than it would have 10 years ago.
Hour Game (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell #2)
My Rating: ****
After I finished Split Second, I immediately wanted to read the next novel in the series, but I made myself wait a few books in between, which was a good idea. This one was still better than the current Criminal Minds episodes, but I figured out the killers halfway through the novel, even though I didn’t know their motives. Still, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read!
Ok, that was a lot. This post took days to put together. The whole time, I just kept thinking “I could be reading…,” so for September, maybe I’ll work on the post as I read the books.
As many of you know, Dystonia is something that I think about every single day of my life. It affects my neck, but other people have it all over their bodies. Starting yesterday, the petition to make September the official Dystonia Awareness Month began.
Please take a minute to watch this video that was made by someone who suffers from dystonia:
An official awareness month would mean faster diagnoses for people who are suffering. According to the NIH, the average time between the onset of symptoms and a diagnosis is 5.4 years. I can’t even count on a single hand anymore how many doctors that I have educated about dystonia. Raising awareness means that primary doctors would send their patients to neurologists at movement disorder clinics, instead of bouncing them around among all the wrong specialists.
I was fortunate enough to already be seeing a movement disorder specialist for Tourette’s when I started exhibiting symptoms. Even so, it took several months to be diagnosed and then for the insurance to approve my much needed Botox shots.
An awareness month would mean that people who need understanding would have it. The worst part of having dystonia (aside from the pain), is the absolute lack of understanding from people who have never even heard of it. Some patients have families that think that they’re exaggerating. Awareness would mean funding for better treatments. Overall, only good things can come from having an official awareness month.
If you use gmail, the email verification may show up in your updates folder!
I watched the movie a couple of years ago, when it was in theaters. I absolutely loved it, of course. So, when I saw that the book club was reading the novel, I had to take part. I wasn’t expecting the movie and the book to be so different. I think both versions of the story are awesome, but I was able to read the book without feeling like I was just reading the movie’s script. Although the endings are the same, the way the characters end up there are totally different!
I’ve chosen some questions from this site to discuss the book! (My husband had not seen the movie, so we watched it as soon as I finished the book–bad idea. I find that I confuse them now!)
1. How does the book redefine happy endings? What makes Pat so determined to believe that every cloud has a silver lining?
At the start of the novel, Pat has a very specific goal–to get his wife back. He sees each obstacle to get her back as a positive. He sees his self improvement (weight loss, reading, etc.) as the silver lining in getting back to his wife. As Pat grows throughout the novel, he begins to learn that life is a journey and the self improvements he makes and the friendships he makes are worth the pain of trying to get his wife back. My favorite part is his friendship with his doctor and his friends at the Eagles games!
2. Discuss the relationships Pat and Jake have with their father, Patrick Senior. What does their father teach them about being a man? Why is it so hard for him to show emotion?
His father teaches him that a man is loyal to his family. Even when Patrick Senior can’t show emotion, he tries very hard to keep the family together.
3. Watch the movie or play favorite scenes from it. How does the film compare to the book? Were the actors the ones you would have chosen?
I love both the book and the movie, as I mentioned before. I would not change anything about the casting. Jennifer Lawrence is perfect! Her intensity is contagious. Both endings are great, but I really prefer the ending of the book. There is something about how much time that he spent away that adds more to the story.