Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices

Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices
moving audiobooks

If you are like me and love audiobooks, you may have discovered how great it is to have them be portable. I love Audible because they automatically download to my iPad, plus I can increase the speed up to two times the regular speed. However, I read so many books (you can read how to get classic books on the cheap and apply the same principle to other books, too), that sometimes I just need to get audiobook cds to put them onto my iPad. You can pick them up with 2 credits on paperbackswap.com or lots of other places. I would love if I could fit them on my phone, but it’s really full! So, you’ll be able to see at the bottom how I manage my iPad because it’s also kind of full, too!

Step One: Import CDs

01 white oleander import FINAL

Even if you are importing a bunch of cds from one box, they won’t always be consistently titled with the author or album. Some might be missing the information all together. Some are consistent in how they name the tacks, but others are not. I used to care and make the titles all match the albums, like 01a, 01b, and so on, but then I realized later that I could just sort by date added, so I let that go to save time.

You can give every album same title and a different disc name or you can name them things like White Oleander [Disc 01], White Oleander [Disc 02], and so forth. Again, that’s personal preference.

021 white oleander rename FINAL

 

Create a Playlist: By Artist or Album

If you have multiple books by a single author, you may want to sort by album, or you can do this anyway.

white oleander create smart playlist FINAL

Personally, I name all of my audiobooks “Audiobook – Name” for consistency purposes. It makes them easier to find, plus keeps them out of my music playlists.

04 white oleander rename playlist FINAL

After naming the smart list that I created, I sort by date added, so that the first track or the first album is first and down the line, then copy to play order. This can be accomplished by sorting, right clicking on the playlist on the lefthand side bar, and clicking “copy to play order.” This is important so that you listen to the book in order!

Creating Podcasts:

This is what will allow you to speed up your playing speed! I select everything in the smartplaylist and change it from music to podcast! You cannot listen at a faster speed in iTunes, but you can on an iPhone or iPad. My example will be on my iPad because my iPhone is full of pictures, but I’m too lazy to move them. Playlists are important if your device is nearing full/you have more audiobooks than your device can hold.

05 white oleander change to podcast FINAL

If your device is nearly full, instead of syncing all podcasts, just check sync “selected playlists.” Then you can check the ones you want to listen to next and that will fit on your device!

06 white oleander sync playlists FINAL

When you use Podcasts, you can change the playspeed and sleeptimers. Also, don’t forget to play your book through the playlist!

change play speed

I think the best part about putting it on a portable device is that I can move it around the house with me, plus, I can play it in the car or use headphones. I don’t have an auxiliary cord in my car, so I use one of those cool cassette adapters. It works great!

Do you like audiobooks?  Do you prefer e-readers? Paperback?

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads here!

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Categories: How To, Reading Tags: , , ,
Audiobook Challenge Update


Audiobook

 

This post is to update my progress on the audiobook challenge!

I said I would listen to 30-50 books between January 1 and December 31, 2015. Let’s see how I’m doing (all titles are clickable to go to Goodreads!):

Venetia

Never Let Me Go

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

One Plus One

Still Alice

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

The Woodlanders

Cousin Kate

In Cold Blood

The Book of Joe

The Professor

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

The Invention of Wings

Wessex Tales

Joyland

The End of the Affair

Only Time Will Tell

Moral Disorder and Other Stories

One Last Thing Before I Go

Astonish Me

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

King and Maxwell

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age

This is Where I Leave You

I Capture the Castle

Adam Bede

The Sound and the Fury

This Side of Paradise

The Girl on the Train

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Madame Bovary

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The Beautiful and Damned

Cranford

Well, I’ve listened to 35 audiobooks so far this year! That’s way over half of the novels that I’ve finished this year. Without audible and the library, I definitely wouldn’t read as many books. It was able to swap out a lot of my paperback books at paperbackswap, so I do have some that I want to read, but I usually opt for an audiobook first because I find them the most relaxing. I really liked As You Wish and Still Alice because both were read by the author!

What do you think about audiobooks? Do you love it when the author reads the novel?

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Categories: Uncategorized
My 10 Practical Relaxation and Soothing Techniques


My 10 Practical Relaxation and Soothing Techniques

If you know me in real life, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that I’m easily overwhelmed, especially when I’m easily upset. Years of chronic pain have left me unable to relax, sleep, or even get into a comfortable for a myriad of reasons. For a long time, and even now, I am still trying to find the best treatments for my underlying conditions, but I also ignored the emotional aspects of what chronic pain and illness have done to my life.

The long-term consequences of chronic pain… “negatively impacts multiple aspects of patient health, including sleep, cognitive processes and brain function, mood/mental health, cardiovascular health, sexual function, and overall quality of life. Furthermore, chronic pain has the capacity to become increasingly complex in its pathophysiology, and thus potentially more difficult to treat over time.” -NIH Study

I started to notice things like friends abandoning me, the lack of motivation to do anything outside of my comfort zone, and how poorly I coped with stressful situations. These are serious issues that I needed addressed. And as I work on them on my own and with help, I put together a relaxation list. After reading books on chronic illness, doing workbooks, etc., and this is still a work in progress. While there are techniques to cope outside of the house, these are my favorites for at the house.

You should note that I have been through a lot of biofeedback and neurofeedback and I am backwards, so to speak. The things that they do to stress people out (like counting backwards by 7) or reading actually slows my brain down and relaxes me. I find it physically painful to try to lean back in a recliner, shut my eyes, and clear my mind. So, naps are not relaxing (or possible) for me.

  1. Listen to my favorite music. Before I got married, when I lived by myself, I had music playing if I wasn’t watching TV. So, basically all of the time. It’s pretty interesting to look back at my last.fm account and see how my music consumption dropped dramatically. Once I thought about it, even if it’s not my husband’s favorite band (Fireworks, Man Overboard, Fall Out Boy), I can still listen. And it really does relax and distract me, if I’m upset.
  2. Put on headphones while I listen to an audiobook. This prevents multitasking and encourages relaxing. My husband had an old pair of headphones that aren’t noise canceling, but they block out a ton of noise, so I can recline back and focus just on the book.
  3. Go through my Feedly. I love to read lifestyle blogs on Bloglovin and comment, but I use Feedly to set up searches for topics that interest me and that I want to learn about. I also follow a lot of news, books, and other websites on there where I find inspiration, something funny, or just get distracted from anything upsetting and relax! Learning is fun?
  4. Do something for myself. Sometimes this is plucking my eyebrows (it hurts, but self care was one of the first things to go when I got sick), trying to paint my toe nails, or putting on a little make up before my husband comes home, even if he’ll be the only one to see it.
  5. Make a special coffee drink or tea. I love London Fogs, fancy coffees, or iced coffee, depending on the season. So, if I am not full or too tired, I at least attempt to make one of these. The easiest is to have iced coffee ready to go these days, since I’ve had a few accidental nasty burns recently.
  6. Bubble bath! I use Epsom salts (unscented) and a scented bubble bath. Sometimes I turn on my favorite music or an audiobook because I have a hard time sitting still, having something for my mind to focus on helps me relax.
  7. Light a candle. I love florals in the spring, beachy scents for the summer, and heavier scents for the winter. I can’t go wrong with a candle.
  8. Pet my dog(s). If I grab Josie for a hug, Rylie will definitely be part of the dog pile, but Josie plays harder to get. However, if I am really upset, Rylie runs away, and Josie is the one in my lap. Rylie is smaller and friendlier, so sometimes I just grab her. Either way, petting them or watching them play with each other relaxes me.
  9. Make a list. I know this stresses some people out, but if I make lists of everything that I need to do, I feel better. Even if I can’t do anything like reschedule an appointment until the office opens on Monday, just having it out of my system and down on paper helps!
  10. Treat myself to a TV show. You would probably think that I watch a lot more TV than I do. But, between reading, filling out paperwork, and going to the doctor, I honestly don’t watch much.

What do you do to relax? If you’re in chronic pain, do you do anything special?

 

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Categories: Chronic Illness Tags:
10 Important To Do When You Start a Blog (Checklist!)


starting a blog

This is definitely not a technical post on how to set up a blog. Can’t help you there! However, there are plenty of resources out there. However, this is just a short checklist for things to do once you start a blog.

Recently, I was talking to Megan, who I met on Instagram because we both have dystonia (different types). After reading her brand new blog, I had a few suggestions for her, so I thought I would come up with a quick checklist for new bloggers!

  1. Create a new email. This email should only be used for blog communications. You can list it on your blog, email other bloggers, and interact with brands through this email. Don’t mix your personal email and new blog email. I was able to set my email up through my domain (I don’t know how – my husband did it), but a simple gmail that is related to your blog’s name should suffice.
  2. Get a headshot! You will need a picture that you can use everywhere. Even if you just have a friend try to take a few flattering photos of you or crop a photo from someone’s wedding, pick a flattering photo, make any edits (the ability to make it square is important because a lot of places want square photos) is important.
  3. Limit yourself to two “usernames.” Your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all social media should go together. I know it’s not possible to always get the same name everywhere, but try to keep it consistent. Shorter names are better, so if you’re having a Twitter conversation, half the tweet won’t be take up with your handle. Also, use the same profile picture everywhere.
  4. Since most people already have social media accounts, decide if you’re going to incorporate your current accounts or create new ones. I never thought about this at first. After a few months of blogging, I was interested in growing my blog through my Instagram, so I started to promote it. However, later, I realized that it was kind of creepy that people could just scroll back through years of pictures. So, I created a separate account. In hindsight, I wish that I’d made my handle shorter. It’s easy to change, but that would require updating a lot of profiles.
  5. Set up a Gravatar account with your new email and new profile picture. That way, when you leave comments, which you’ll find out how important that is later, your picture will show up! Pictures will make you stand out and keep your brand consistent. This will help you when you comment on any system.
  6. If you are NOT on Blogger, read up on how NOT to be a no-reply blogger. This took me several attempts, but I finally got it. Basically, you make a fake blog (you will need a gmail address to get started, but you can use any email as your reply email later) and use your new email and picture, so when you comment on a Blogger blog, you’ll know if the person replies. Go to this post and look at the third section. The screenshots are PERFECT.
  7. Start reading blogs! You don’t have to comment, yet. You can start by reading “big” blogs. Then start checking out other commenters, people on the sidebars, etc. Over time, you’ll start to read people who you connect with. I’ll have a follow up post on this!
    >>> You don’t need to copy these blogs, but the more you read, the more ideas you’ll get. You’ll start to see what you like and don’t like.
  8. Research Link Ups. These are premade content for you, plus you’ll have a chance to find new blogs because most ask you to comment on a few others. They change a lot, based on the hosts’ schedules, but a few that I like are:
    Grateful Mondays
    Wednesday Wishes
    Weeks End (your favorite post you wrote from the last week)
    Blogger Love (share 5 favorite posts from other bloggers)
    Between the Lines (a monthly book club link up with good discussion questions)
    Top Ten Tuesdays (if you LOVE books like me, these are prompts about books. The topics are posted in advance, so you can get several ready!)
    > Basically, the link ups are endless. There are link ups for recipes, crafts, and any interest you might have. Things like Weeks End, Five on Friday, or any type of Currently or Coffee Date link up will expose you to new bloggers. You could probably have a blog of nothing but link ups, but it’s nice to mix it up.
    Here are tips on finding more!
    > Check out the top of blog pages because some people keep lists.
    > Google!
    > Check out Twitter hashtags. You might miss the first one, but you’ll know when the next one is.
    > As you read blogs, you’ll see people participating and you can put it on your calendar to participate in ones that interest you.
  9. Make sure your blog is visually appealing. Have your headshot at the top, links to social media under that, and any other things you want on your sidebar. Less is more, but don’t leave it bare. A busy blog is a blog that people don’t want to read. (I’m not kidding, I read a post about that, but only about 20% of the page was dedicated to text. The orange and blue didn’t help, either).
  10. Have fun! This is your hobby! Maybe you’ll make money. Maybe you won’t. But, if you do it right, you’ll make friends. Stay tuned for how to find your blogging community from scratch!

 

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Categories: blogging Tags: ,
Classics Club Membership Reviews

I couldn’t think of an easy way to link my reviews of my (eventual) 50 classic books the way that the Classics Club requests, since I do a simple round up at the beginning of each month. I do separate the contemporary from the classics, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to do a quick recap of all of the classics to update my membership!

If you want to know more about the Classics Club, you can go here! You are welcome to start your challenge, pick your number of books, and set your time period at any time!
For my membership, I am trying to read 50 books within two years. My deadline is December 24, 2016. You can read my projected list of books here. It’s already changing, though!

The Awakening

the awakening

Rating: ****

This is the first novel from my list of 50 Classic books that I read! It was a short, but good one that I had always meant to read, but never did.

Daisy Miller

DaisyMiller

Rating: ***

This novella by Henry James was fun look at cultural expectations placed upon women, which A Portrait of a Lady, which I read earlier in 2014, explored more in depth. (This novel was also read as part of my 50 books)

Little Men

little men

Rating: ***

I’m sorry. I can’t not compare this to Little Women. It’s like half as good, so 3 stars was a generous rating.

Cranford

book recommendations cranford

Rating: ****

This short(er) novel from Gaskell was much more fun and lighthearted than North and South, the only other novel that she wrote that I have read. I enjoyed the fist person narrative about the “quiet” country town that was anything but quiet. It was full of quirky characters who had a touching dedication to helping their neighbors–no matter how silly the circumstance might be.

The Beautiful and Damned

book recommendations the beautiful and damned

Rating: ***

I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds’ since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise first, since it was Fitzgerald’s breakout novel.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

book recommendations lady chatterley's lover
This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned, which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920’s, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley’s Lover does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy.

Madame Bovary

Madam Bovary

Rating: ***

I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it. It’s not on my list of books to recommend to anyone, anytime soon. Honestly, I didn’t find Madame Bovary very sympathetic. I know the point that the author was trying to make, but it got lost among the tedious whining and immorality of Emma (Madame Bovary). I know that social conventions were different when the novel was written and where it was written, but that doesn’t change the fact that the main character was written in such a way that I really wanted her to be unhappy.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

the talented mr ripley

While I enjoyed the novel, I hated the fact that the novel ended on a cliff hanger! You have to read the entire series to get the whole story! I couldn’t bear 3 more novels of reading the tedious thoughts of the main character. He’s actually kind of boring for a murderer.

This Side of Paradise

this side of paradise

Rating: ***

I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the “lost generation.”

The Sound and the Fury

the sound and fury

Rating: **

Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try it again some day!

Adam Bede

adam bede

Rating: ***

I did enjoy this novel, however it was not Middlemarch. It wasn’t close. It felt like an early Thomas Hardy novel. The rural setting, unrequited love, odd/far-fetched situations, and may an attempt to make commentary on social mores and hypocrisy left me feeling like I really did just read something along the lines of The Mayor of Casterbridge (minus the the whole wife selling thing…).

I definitely enjoyed it, but I guess I was looking for something either along the lines of Middlemarch or something more original than an early Hardy novel with a slightly happier (only slightly) ending. So, if you DO want more Hardy novels, read this.

I Capture the Castle

IMG_5694 (1)

This novel was a reread for me! You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here! (Josie enjoyed it, too!)

Wessex Tales

wessex tales

Rating: ***

Some of these stories were insanely creepy. I can see why they are included in anthologies with Poe. I also think this was my last Hardy novel (well, short stories) to read!

The End of the Affair

the end of the affair

Rating: ***

This was an interesting novella. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it is not at the top of my recommendation list.
I honestly enjoyed the novella a little bit more in hindsight when I looked up some more information about the author and criticism of the novella. Putting it in context would have made the novella more entertaining, but I was afraid of spoiling the book!
It didn’t hurt that I listened to the audio version read by Collin Firth… :)

The House in Paris

the house in paris

Rating: ***

It took me a while to get through this book. The prose was very thick, so to speak. There were beautiful details and insight into human nature, but the French characters who spoke broken English made it harder to understand the middle part. I am glad I read the book, but I would not recommend that anyone rush to read it immediately.

The Convenient Marriage

the convienent marriage

Rating: **

Just not funny. I prefer Heyer’s funny novels. All these villains and “silly” women kind of rub me the wrong way.

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

February 2015
January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
October 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
Currently {Vol. 10}


Currently
Well, if you haven’t been following along on Twitter or Instagram, you may have missed that I have had a LOT going on in my life in the last few weeks. I went to The Mayo Clinic, had my birthday, and had some bad customer service, among other things.

Ok, I know wrote my complaint post about Passionfruit. I have tweeted them in the past to complain about not getting my refund, too. Earlier this week, someone tweeted about leaving Passionfruit and going to AdProval, so I tweeted “Slow Clap.” And then, while I was complaining about the customer service of another company, I mentioned how they were like Passionfruit. Passionfruit favorited the tweet and then blocked me. That sure is a great business practice, in addition to being notorious for delaying refunds until you’ve publicly called them out.

I haven’t purchased a single ad from anyone using Passionfruit since August 2014, and I will continue that for…ever now.

Actually, after I tweeted that, an employee for the company started tweeting at me to “forgive” the company. I blocked her, so she emailed me. I should forgive bad customer service? She wanted to have a conversation about it? You can’t have a conversation about the fact that Passionfruit tried their damnedest to not give me a refund.

 

Last Saturday morning was nice to sleep in and recover from my trip to the Mayo Clinic. Yes, still recovering days and days later. My husband snapped this awesome picture of our dogs, but I used some newly acquired editing skills to make it look a little better!

Thank goodness for night mode on my phone.

The company that I was complaining about and compared to Passionfruit, in terms of getting my emails responded to was obviously datamining for mentions of their business. Good for them. You know what’s not cool? When the founder sees it and jumps into your conversation (where you did NOT tag them) and attacks you with his private account. Then your complaint emails about the ethics go unanswered. If this company had any competition, I would switch in a heartbeat. Their product is amazing, but seriously, answer your dang email.

My baby Josie probably isn't a baby anymore. 3 years old today! Happy birthday! We ❤️ you! #shihtzu #shihtzusofinstagram

A photo posted by Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? (@seriouslysarahblog) on

JOSIE TURNED 3 YEARS OLD! We still haven’t had a chance to officially celebrate her birthday because I was at the Mayo Clinic on her birthday, but we will!

I haven’t worked in a pretty long time, but I officially left my job last Friday. My dad worked there for 30 years. I planned on working there a long time, too. I have no idea what the future will hold, but I hope it will help people.

I got a mug WITH MY DOG ON IT!!!!!! #ilikebigmugsandicannotlie #shihtzu #shihtzusofinstagram #mugs #coffee #birthday

A photo posted by Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? (@seriouslysarahblog) on

So, I officially turned the big 2-7! I was still recovering from my trip, so nothing too fancy (Papa John’s pizza at home and cupcakes), but my husband had a custom made mug with a cartoon version of Josie made! I knew it had to be custom because he coloring is so strange. I have hand washed it every day, so I could keep using it. I love it that much.

Since I got sick, styling my hair has been very hard. It is thin and fine, so when it was long, I found myself curling it every single day, which was time consuming. Before I left work, I cut a ton of it off. After leaving work, all I wanted was a ponytail. Regular washing and styling for short hair was too difficult. Now, although I can get a baby ponytail, it makes me feel sad because I can never feel pretty like I did before I hurt so much. I had been thinking about getting hair extensions for a long time, so I decided to get a clip on ponytail. I absolutely love it! Within seconds, I can have hair that I’ve always wanted (in a bun or ponytail), plus I feel pretty again.

I am planning on writing a post with a few more beauty hacks for the chronically ill!

I haven’t watched American Idol in years, but a girl from my college, who currently attends, made it to Hollywood week, so we had to watch. Now we can’t stop watching. I love Harry Connick Jr., anyway. I definitely have my favorite singers, but I have a bone to pick with these “theme” nights. Just let them sing what makes them sound great!

When the coffee cups are small, I will double fist it. #coffee #coffeelove #mayoclinic #WhyIsTheAppointmentSoEarly? #sleepy

A photo posted by Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? (@seriouslysarahblog) on

Going to the Mayo Clinic has taken double fisting coffee in a whole new way on day 2. #coffee #mayo #spoonie #needmorespoons

A photo posted by Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? (@seriouslysarahblog) on

Finally, the first day at the Mayo Clinic, I was unable to fast because they weren’t able to tell me when my bloodwork would be, but I needed to eat for my medication. So, I went ahead and had breakfast. Unfortunately, I had to register before the hotel breakfast started, so when we made coffee in the hotel room, all they had were these tiny little cups that were far too small. After double fisting them, registering, going to my first appointment, and then finally having a short break before more things, I bought the largest coffee possible in the cafeteria. I was up at 4 AM, 5 AM, and 6 AM on all the days that I had appointments, plus I didn’t sleep well over the weekend because of all of the stress. Don’t go there to relax. So, after my 6 AM blood draw and fasting, I ended up REALLY double fisting the coffee! I got some hilarious tweets #ilikebigcupsandicannotlie

I hope this caught you up a little, since it’s been awhile since I’ve done a Currently post. You can keep up with me real time on Twitter and Instagram!

 

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Categories: Currently, Uncategorized Tags:
Pros and Cons of Social Media for Chronically Ill


Pros and Cons of Social Media for Chronically Ill >>> Tips on Combating the Cons
Last week, I wrote about the social media break that I took. There are parts of social media that are a little different for me because I blog, which is not done in a vacuum. Blogging, at least these days, requires the use of social media to promote and interact. However, when I was reflecting on my use of social media, I thought about the implications of it for the chronically ill.

This post is about how social media and the internet can be used for people who are chronically ill or homebound. Until I had a family member take me to a national conference, I never met another person with my relatively rare neurological condition, yet I can connect with them on the internet to ask questions about managing symptoms or coping any time that I want. Doctors shuffle me in and out of a 15 minute appointment and then outsource me to “specialists” for other symptoms, but these specialists don’t know squat about dystonia. I’m the one who has to educate them on my limitations and pain.

Basically, the internet, specifically social media, because most people with chronic illnesses don’t have blogs.

Pros

  • There are people who live tweet their medication usage to bring awareness to their conditions.
  • There are people who write insightful posts about what it’s like to be harassed for using their handicapped placard, even though they don’t have a wheelchair. Actually, the list of how blogs can be used to raise awareness is astounding.
  • Facebook/Twitter campaigns can be used to raise funds and awareness.
  • There are people who join private Facebook groups to find support, understanding, and answers to their questions.
  • No matter if it is Twitter, the comment section of a blog, Instagram, Facebook, email, or something else that I’m leaving out, there are ways to connect with other patients.

However, there are downsides to using social media when you are chronically ill. There are downsides, like when you are housebound and you are getting on Facebook to check on your support group, but see pictures of your peers living the life you thought you would have. That’s why I wrote this post. There are some solutions!

Cons

  • When someone is isolated, it can feel like the only way to stay connected to the world is through social media.
  • I will admit, being tethered to phones, tablets, and laptops is exhausting.
  • Social media friends are great, yet, they are not substitutes for real friends. The level of comfort you feel from behind the screen can keep you isolated, if you mentally struggle with getting out and making friends.
  • Envy. It’s easy to see pictures everywhere of the fabulous lives of non-ill people. Envy can eat you up.
  • Seeing peers living the life you thought you would have before chronic illness hit can hurt. Even if you’re normally fine, everyone has a bad day.

Solutions!

  • Not everything requires an immediate response. Take time for yourself.
  • Categorize/Organize your email for newsletters to read later, emails to respond to when you are well, and delete what is not relevant.
  • We all can agree that people only post what they want people to see. They aren’t posting pictures of themselves crying and sad, just like you don’t either.
    >>>However, if that is still hard to remember, it’s easy to create a Facebook page that you use only for joining private support groups and liking/following advocacy groups that inspire you.
    >>>Also, there is a new app for your phone that allows you to JUST go to your Facebook groups. I you turn the notifications on or off.
  • Clear out your blog feed. If looking at fabulous fashion blogs makes you long for the days that you used to wear high heels and blazers to your corporate job, and then go out for drinks (day to night outfits, anyone?) take them out of your feed. Only scroll through blogs that inspire you to live a more fulfilling life. If someone writes consistently depressing content, take that out, too. Just read blogs that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Instagram: You can delete it. However, I love it. It’s one of my favorites! I have a personal account where I follow my real life friends (or I should say people that were my friends at one point in my life), but I don’t even log in anymore. I have a blog account where I only follow people who inspire me. I don’t follow fashion bloggers. I follow the bloggers that I read. I follow fellow chronically ill people who post funny pictures poking fun at themselves or who are raising awareness for their condition. I find that they are like-minded and inspiring.
  • Twitter: If you scroll through your feed and someone is non-stop tweeting about their vacations or anything that you don’t like, you don’t have to follow them. You can also mute them, if you don’t want to unfollow for some reason.

 

Pro-Tip: Turn off notifications on your phone! No sounds. No pop ups. Move those icons to the back. You decide when and where you’ll check. You decided when and where you’ll respond. Being chronically ill can make you feel utterly powerless, but you can exercise a little control here! Take it!

In Summary:

Social media can be used to connect and interact with other patients. It can be used to learn and raise awareness. You have control over what you do and don’t see.

 

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Categories: Chronic Illness Tags: , ,
Oh, Hey. I’m a Person. I Need Goals.


Chronic Illness can rob you of all of your goals. This is how I'm slowly rebuilding mine.

Goals After Chronic Illness

I know a lot of people post their goals at the beginning of the month, but I do things on my own time table. It’s part of accepting my limitations with chronic illness. For years, I thought because I couldn’t “get things done on time,” there was no point in trying to set goals for my life. I had to leave my dream job, drop out of grad school, move to a strange city, and gradually lose more and more ability to care for myself. I’ve always been goal-oriented, so losing the ability to reach even self-imposed goals has been heartbreaking.

Honestly, I never quite saw the point of posting monthly goals, other than accountability. I thought, hey, I could just write these down in private. No one would know that I can’t reach them...

Then I thought, oh, wait. I’m a person, too. Just like I need hobbies. I need goals.

Current Attitude:

Recently, though, I started thinking about my own goal-oriented-ness. I know that I can’t do everything that I want to do at once, so I made a list of HUGE, broad goals. Ones that could take years and years to accomplish. I wrote down the ways that I would measure if I accomplished them, so writing them down was helpful. I will probably start being one of those monthly goal people, but mine’s a running list! I promise that future posts will be shorter and more concise.

Now, I am keeping that really long running list of small goals for along the way. Much like the way that a runner who wants to run a marathon sets small goals along the way, I think of new things that will eventually get me to where I want to go. As I make tiny bits of progress, I add a new daily/weekly/monthly goal. I just have to accept that I won’t achieve everything all of the time, but there is something powerful about writing it down and at least thinking about taking control over my life, since I don’t always have control over my body. I have the kind of goals that take some energy, but some that can still be accomplished as long as I’m not totally screaming in pain.

I really enjoyed reading people’s goals this month for some reason. Maybe it is because I have a little bit more motivation than I had in the past? Because I’m writing my own goals down in my binder? I even got some good ideas for goals! It was fun to celebrate with my favorite bloggers when they accomplished their goals or even to offer a bit advice or encouragement. Because, honestly, I always skimmed through blogs on the first day of the month (too many goal posts). Maybe now that I have goals again, I won’t feel an unconscious resentment.

Some of my goals are meaningless unless you understand my physical conditions, but I thought that I would share a few things that I’m going to try to work towards during the next few months.

I’m not naive enough to think that I can accomplish anything in a single month. Most of these are long-term. Some are like “do this once a month,” or things like that might just get done once. Others are super obvious goals that other people do without thinking twice, but once I got sick, I stopped doing them.

Aside from creating a little accountability, I hope maybe my tiny goals will inspire other people who have felt like they can’t accomplish goals anymore.

 

A few timely posts from a blog that I love came to my attention after I started working on my own goals. Life in Slow Motion talks about reframing your setbacks and how to symptoms to prevent flares. Personally, I use a mix of apps and paper to track.

Starting at Home

  • Purposeful reading
    > Read a memoir each month
    > Read a literary theory book each month
    > Read a book towards a reading challenge each month
    > Read a book about writing (this may take longer than a month)
    > Read at least part of an anthology of anything
  • Organization
    > Keep my goal list running and add as possible
    > Organize emails for immediate response, respond as soon as possible, and answer when my health allows me to write the best response
    > Track my goals and schedule, as my health allows! (I found some printables on Pinterest that work well for me)
  • Blogging
    > Since blogging is one of my few current hobbies, I set a few goals for it.
    > Keep a running list of ideas.
    > Try to write when I feel well, so I will have a surplus of posts to publish when I don’t feel well.
  • Life
    > Plan one activity with Brian per weekend where we put away all technology at the house or leave the house, if possible.
    > Treat myself to a favorite TV show or two every few days.
    > Keep a “get ready/go to bed” list taped to the bathroom mirror.
    >>>That’s how bad things can get when you’re sick. You need a list to remind you how to take care of yourself.

I’m working on all of these things slowly, but surely.

How do you set your goals? How do you set goals, especially after a prolonged illness?

 

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Categories: Chronic Illness, Goals Tags: ,
Top Ten Authors On My Spring TBR List


I’m linking up again with Broke and Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday! It’s a perfect time for me to share my top ten books to read this spring!

What's on my To-Be-Read list for the Spring!

Instead of sharing just 10 books – because I’m not super great at choosing what to read next – I am going to share 10 authors that I intend on reading, plus the books they’ve written that I’d like to read!

edith wharton name

I need to read The House of Mirth for a reading challenge, but the other novel seems interesting, too.

edith wharton

The House of Mirth
The Custom of the Country

Emily St John Mandel name

I absolutely loved Station Eleven, so I can’t wait to read more books by St. John Mandel.

emily st john mandel

Last Night in Montreal
The Lola Quartet
The Singer’s Gun

stephen king name

Joyland was my first Stephen King novel. It was a great read. Of course, I’ve watched a ton of movies based on his novels. Now, I’m ready to read more of his novels.

stephen king

On Writing
11/22/63

jodi picoult name

I’ve never read any Picoult novels, but a lot of my friends lover her. I have two friends that have entire bookshelves dedicated to all of her novels that they own, so I guess it’s time to take the dive.

jodi picoult

Plain Truth
House Rules
The Storyteller

Jonathan Tropper name

This is Where I Leave You is now in my top favorite novels of all time. I can’t wait to read way more Tropper novels!

jonathan tropper 2

The Book of Joe
How to Talk to a Widower
Everything Changes

Anne Lamott name

anne lamott

Bird by Bird
Traveling Mercies

Georgette Heyer name

I definitely won’t get to all of these, but they’re on the list…

georgette heyer 3

Cousin Kate
Cotillion
Venetia
The Corinthian
Lady of Quality
The Unfinished Clue

Beth Kephart Name

beth kephart

Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir
Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things That Matter
Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self

jojo moyes name

I’ve loved every Moyes book that I read. I can’t wait to read more. P.S. Who is so excited for her new novel this fall?!

jojo moyes

One Plus One
The Last Letter from Your Lover
Honeymoon in Paris
The Ship of Brides
other novels

These are just some random books that I’ve been wanting to read; some of the novels fulfill some reading challenges!

The Bookman’s Tale, Charlie Lovett
Still Alice, Lisa Genova
Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, Flannery O’Connor
To the North, Elizabeth Bowen
Death of the Heart, Elizabeth Bowen

I guess, if you read my 10 Book Problems that I Have, you’ll understand why this list is SO LONG.

What I Read small

Don’t forget that you can read my previous book reviews and literature posts here, plus add me as a friend on Goodreads here!

spring to read

 

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Categories: Reading
When You Are Feeling Embarrassed of Yourself


When You Are Feeling Embarrassed of YourselfWhen Feel Embarrassed of Yourself:

I have had Tourette’s Syndrome since my earliest memories. It used to be really bad and painful. I could hold it in at school, but the greedy monster of needing to have a tic would come crawling out of shadows when I got home. The more I tried to satisfy the urge, the more the repetitive motion hurt me; then, the more I had to do it.

Age and wisdom has taught me my triggers. I have small, yet painful tics. I sat in the office of a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, giving my history, while having tics, yet the doctor said he never observed any. That’s how well I hide them, but they are still quite painful.

However, extreme stress brings the tics out in the most vicious way. The tics present in a way that is entirely new and different.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that spent awhile at the Mayo Clinic. Talk about stressful. Packing. Traveling. Sleep deprivation. Uncertainty about appointments. Doctors who didn’t listen. After a day of travel and the first two days of appointments, I broke down. All of this was after even finally letting my dad push me around in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk any longer. I just had nothing left to give – not even to walk.

I reclined back in my hotel bed. (Shout out to Megan for recommending the bed wedge!) I was fatigued and crying, yet I couldn’t sleep. I tried to hold a book to read. That didn’t work because my head was out of control. Dystonia normally causes my head the pull backwards and sideways. My tics are normally very hidden.

Yet, I couldn’t stop pushing it forward, rolling it from side to side, clenching my jaw and neck muscles, and finally throwing down my book. The tics that normally feel like a sneeze or an itch, but I was out of control. Stress took my normally small tics and made them large, uncontrollable, and horrifically painful and embarrassing. I couldn’t let my dad into the room.

Negative Self-Talk:

With tears in my eyes, I though about how if I could see a video of how I looked, I would be embarrassed of myself. I would be horrified of how I looked. How pathetic and stupid I must look. I might have looked stupid. I might have looked like a worthless person.

What does that say about me? Because I move my head in a painful manner, I have no worth? I would never say that about another person. I would never think that about another person.

I rail against the stigma of handicaps and mental illness, but as the stress of seeing doctors (yeah, go figure) for two days had me moving in ways that had me locked away into the hotel room, and I realized that I was judging myself in the same way I wouldn’t want to judge someone else. I wouldn’t want someone to judge me. I’m sick. I’m not stupid. I’m in pain. I would give anything to be able to just cry and fall asleep when I get stressed out, but instead my body reacts differently.

I started to wonder if my different was bad. I wondered what people would think if they really knew. My emotions tell me that my body’s neurological problems are “bad,” and other people react “good.” The false good and bad dichotomy that I’ve learned and lived by since I was very young was at work. Sitting still and getting good grades is “good.” Moving around and getting bad grades is “bad.” I want to be good. Yes, there are good things and there are bad things, but not everything falls neatly into either. In this case, my embarrassing and painful health condition was neither. So, when I hurt myself from repetitive motions because I am stressed out, I believe I am bad and worthless because I am not normal. I am not being the quiet, A+ student.

I don’t have any answers. This is just my story.

I want other people to know that they aren’t bad when their health conditions make them abnormal. Aside from what is normal?, because maybe a lot of people go to their bedrooms and act out in private, I just wanted to write this because I know that I can’t be the only person who feels like this about my health conditions.

Rationally, I know that I’m not a lesser person because I have health conditions and odd neurological reactions to stress – not just odd, but really, really embarrassing. I am writing this because I cannot be the only person who deals with feeling embarrassed of myself, even in private. I cannot be the only person who feels like a hypocrite because I judge myself in a way that I would never to do another person.

I suppose, I would encourage you and myself to embrace ourselves and treat ourselves with the same kindness that we would show to other people. I know that golden rule is to treat others as yourself, but when you treat other people better than yourself because you are mean to yourself in your mind, remember that your emotions lie to you. Try to replace some of your emotionally driven thoughts of embarrassment with the kindness you would show to someone else in your situation. I know it’s easier said than done, but if I can practice it, you can too. I’m really stubborn and resistant to change, but that kind of thinking is self destructive, and I don’t want that pain anymore.

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Categories: Chronic Illness Tags: , , ,