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The Hibernator Welcomes a New Year

This topic was continued by The Hibernator Welcomes Records Her Steps.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Dec 26, 2017, 11:32am Top

Hi, my name's Rachel (the_hibernator). I'm recently engaged to a science-fiction reader/gamer (Aaron) who has two kids: Deirdre (8yo) and Malcolm (5yo). The wedding will be May 19th. I have two handsome nephews and one beautiful niece: Johnny (13yo), Bryant (3yo), and Leilani (2yo). I have three cats: Myra, Hero, and Puck.

I try to read a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Edited: Feb 24, 9:27am Top

Mt TBR for 2018


American Psychosis, by E. Fuller Torrey
No One Cares About Crazy People, by Ron Powers reading
Insane Consequences, by DJ Jaffe
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance
Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Listen Liberal, by Thomas Frank
The Populist Explosion, by John B. Judis
The Gene, by Siddhartha
Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
Justice, by Michael Sandel


A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer
A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin reading
The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
Watchmen, by Alan Moore
V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore
Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

Parenting and Relationship Books:

Get Ready to Get Pregnant, by Michael C. Lu reading
What to Expect Before You're Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff
Freeing Your Child From Anxiety, by Tamar Chansky
The Single Girl's Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife, by Sally Bjornsen
How to Talk so Kids will Listen, and Listen so Kids will Talk, by Adele Faber

This is just my goal for books I definitely want to get to. Hopefully I will read many more than this.

Edited: Feb 1, 9:34am Top

2018 Books Read

1. American Psychosis, by E. Fuller Torrey
2. Incarceration Nations, by Baz Dreisinger
3. Roots, by Alex Haley
4. Against the Tide, by Tui T. Sutherland

2018 Movies and Shows

1. The Hunger Games
2. Troll Hunters, Part 1

Dec 26, 2017, 12:28pm Top

Happy reading 2018, Rachel. I dropped a .

Dec 26, 2017, 12:51pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 26, 2017, 12:55pm Top

Hi Rachel!! Sorry I couldn't get out of the driveway to see you today. : ( Hope to see lots more of you here in 2018!!

Dec 26, 2017, 8:53pm Top

Happy 2018 thread, Rachel. My star has been dropped.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:03am Top

Best wishes for a great year of reading, Rachel, and for a great wedding and very happy marriage.

Dec 27, 2017, 12:24pm Top

Dropping a star, Rachel - LOVE your topper!

Dec 27, 2017, 12:24pm Top

And congratulations!!!

Dec 27, 2017, 4:39pm Top

And that kitten in >1 The_Hibernator: is ADORABLE!!!!

Happy New Year of reading and romance, Rachel!

Dec 28, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Love your topper! Many happy reads to you in 2018!

Dec 30, 2017, 9:01am Top

Thanks for stopping by Barb, Jim, Kim, Meg, James, Mamie, Ellen, and Lori!

Edited: Jan 25, 11:53am Top

Not going to force myself to finish the challenge, but the hope of reading a variety of books off my shelves, I will aim to hit some of these categories.

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen - Anne of Green Gables
2. True crime - Devil in the White City
3. The next book in a series you started - Storm of Swords
4. A book involving a heist
5. Nordic noir - Smilla's Sense of Snow
6. A novel based on a real person - A Picture of Dorian Gray
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you -
8. A book with a time of day in the title - Midsummer Night's Dream
9. A book about a villain or antihero - A Picture of Dorian Gray
10. A book about death or grief - A Man Called Ove
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym - Middlemarch
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist - Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical - Wuthering Heights
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you
- Underground Railroad
15. A book about feminism - A Room of One's Own
16. A book about mental health - American Psychosis
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift - Foundation
18. A book by two authors
19. A book about or involving a sport - Born to Run
20. A book by a local author - Boundary Waters
21. A book with your favorite color in the title - The Color Purple
22. A book with alliteration in the title - Storm of Swords
23. A book about time travel - The Time Travelers
24. A book with a weather element in the title - A Storm of Swords
25. A book set at sea - Moby Dick
26. A book with an animal in the title - Moby Dick
27. A book set on a different planet - Foundation
28. A book with song lyrics in the title - Born to Run
29. A book about or set on Halloween - The Legend of Sleepy Hallow
30. A book with characters who are twins - I Know This Much is True
31. A book mentioned in another book - Moby Dick
32. A book from a celebrity book club - I Know This Much is True
33. A childhood classic you've never read - Legend of Sleepy Hallow
34. A book that's published in 2018 - Time Jumpers
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner - Underground Railroad
36. A book set in the decade you were born - Nervous Conditions
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to - Underground Railroad
38. A book with an ugly cover - Underground Railroad
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library - 84, Charring Cross Road

Dec 30, 2017, 9:38am Top

Happy new thread!

Dec 30, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>14 The_Hibernator: Ooh, you already have titles for the categories, Rachel. I'm not that organized and would probably change my mind when I got to the category anyway.

Dec 31, 2017, 11:13am Top

Lovely topper Rachel, so cute. I'm hesitating over the challenge but really need to make a decision! Wishing you a great year of reading, and in general RL of course too.

Dec 31, 2017, 11:44am Top

>15 _Zoe_: Thanks Zoe!

>16 Familyhistorian: I may change my mind, too, Meg. But I very much enjoy making plans.

>17 charl08: You don't HAVE to make a decision right away, though I have been doing the same thing, struggling with a desire to challenge myself and a recognition that too much planning makes me go manic. 🤣😂

Dec 31, 2017, 11:46am Top

Happy New Year everyone! I love you all!

Dec 31, 2017, 11:50am Top

Happy New Year thread, Rachel! It looks like a very exciting year for you. We will all be here to celebrate with you.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:01pm Top

>19 The_Hibernator: Love that cute guy! And thank you I'll take a glass. Looks like you are already having fun with the PopSugar challenge--good luck!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Happy New Thread, New Year and a New Life........Congrats on your engagement and upcoming nuptial!

Dec 31, 2017, 1:32pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Rachel!

Dec 31, 2017, 2:05pm Top

Happy New Year,. Rachel! May all your plans go better than planned!

Dec 31, 2017, 3:10pm Top

Happy New Year, Rachel.

(sunrise at Newgrange, Ireland)

I've been seeing that PopSugar challenge on various threads. I'm not a big one for challenges, but I can see at least 10 that are guaranteed, so I might take another look at it mid-year. If I've unintentionally managed to cover a bunch, I might finish it off, just to say I did.

Dec 31, 2017, 3:45pm Top

Happy new year, Rachel. Congratulations on your engagement! I love your thread topper pic. I want to be that cat. :-)

Dec 31, 2017, 5:20pm Top

view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

Dec 31, 2017, 9:57pm Top

HI Rachel, Happy reading for 2018! Sound like a busy and wonderful year to come for you.

Jan 1, 12:20am Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 1, 12:42am Top

Happy New Year, Rachel!

Jan 1, 4:18am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 1, 7:14am Top

Jan 1, 8:16am Top

Jan 1, 8:40am Top

In honor of our goal setting frenzy:

Jan 1, 11:39am Top

That kitty in your opening thread looks so comfy :) Happy New Year and happy reading!

Jan 1, 11:47am Top

>14 The_Hibernator: Wow! Titles and everything. I am impressed.

Jan 1, 1:52pm Top

Happy New Year and happy upcoming wedding!

Jan 1, 2:33pm Top

Happy new year! Sounds like you're going to have a great 2018.

Edited: Jan 1, 4:35pm Top

Happy New Year, Rachel! May you have some great reads in 2018. And congrats on the upcoming wedding!

Jan 2, 1:12am Top

Happy 2018!!

Jan 2, 6:19am Top

Wishing you a Very Happy New Year Rachel!

Jan 2, 7:09am Top

Happy new reading year, Rachel - I see it's already planned out a lot.

Look forward to A Man Called Ove - a very funny and moving novel from my parts of the world :)

Jan 2, 8:43am Top

Happy New Year, Rachel!

What an exciting year ahead! Have you started wedding planning? Will there be a bit of the sci-fi in there?

Wishing you all the best of everything!

Jan 2, 9:16am Top

>20 msf59: Thanks Mark! I look forward to it! Since I will be a stay-at-home mom now, I have high hopes of not falling off the e-side of LT-world.

>21 Berly: through >24 swynn: Thanks Kim, Lynda, Anita, & swynn

>25 majleavy: hi majleavy! I never seem to complete challenges because I like to go with the flow when plans change later in the year. I'm using the challenge mainly as a way to make sure I don't fall into a genre-specific rut and to see if I can get some books off my shelves. So it's more for ideas than anything else. I will feel free to ignore it.

>26 cameling: Yes, Caroline, that does look pretty comfy.

>27 Ameise1: through >30 harrygbutler: Thanks Barb, Mary, Roni, & Harry!

>31 PaulCranswick: Thanks for the lovely poem Paul!

>32 Carmenere: through >34 nittnut: Thanks Lynda (again), Mark (again), & Jenn

>35 Narilka: Thanks Gale. Yes, as Caroline said, I would love to be that cat.

>36 richardderus: Hi Richard! Well, I picked titles mainly to figure out if the challenge would be useful for me - i.e. take a bunch of titles off my TBR shelves. My husband-to-be hasn't quite fathomed the number of unread books I own because they're a bit spread out at the moment. I'm trying to decrease for his sake.

>37 Miss_Moneypenny: through >41 Deern: Thanks Miss_Moneypenny, Jennifer, Kriti, Kim (again), & Nathalie

>42 ctpress: Mostly the planning is to give me ideas. I will feel free to read whatever I feel like. :) I DO look forward to A Man Called Ove. I bought it impulsively one day because I've heard so much good about it, but never got around to reading it.

>43 streamsong: Hi Janet! Yes, the wedding planning is coming along. So far it looks like it will be a bit of a hodge-podge of randomness. Aaron decided over the holidays that he and his (all-female) side of the wedding party will be wearing kilts. My party (my sister, nephew, and friend Todd) think that's stupid, they'll find something to wear within the color scheme. My officiator (my best friend Liz) doesn't want to wear a kilt and doesn't want to wear the wedding colors (which are light-shaded) so we'll see what happens. As long as people have some sort of reasonable plan in the end and we look good for the photos is all that counts. That, and enjoying ourselves. As for science fiction, I will be marching in to Strauss' Also Srpach Zarathustra (think Space Odyssey 2001 if you can't place that). Because Aaron thought that was funny, he wanted to march out to Star Wars' Imperial March. Which is a bit less classy than Strauss, but it's his wedding too. lol.

Edited: Jan 2, 9:34am Top

Phew! My first update of the new year! My drive back to MN from OH yesterday was very uneventful. Unlike the trip in (where we were caught in snowstorms and added an extra few hours on to our trip). Aaron and I stayed up till about 2am due to peer pressure, so we only got 4 hours of sleep and so took turns sleeping in the car while the other drove. So no audiobook. :(

Unfortunately, uneventfulness ended there, though. I dropped Aaron off at his place and then drove to my place. When I got there, an ambulance was in the driveway. I assumed it was for dad, because he's been going so frequently lately, but the ambulance driver told me "she's back there" when I told him I had just arrived and asked if both my parents were in the back. (I didn't want him to disobey HIPPA, but also didn't want him to drive away with both my mom (who can't drive and didn't know I was back) and my dad and for me to be left wondering what happened. (Neither has cell phones.)

When I went in to the house, my dad, my two nephews, and my niece were there. Johnny was placidly playing video games, but the little ones were really excited. They told me Grandma had a "big red owwie" and that she had gone to the hospital. Dad's story was that she "went all floppy" while cooking dinner and they sent her in. Apparently dad's was a better description of the issue. Anyway, I told dad to go ahead to the hospital, and I would watch the kids until my sister picked them up. Their father came to pick them up only an hour later, so it wasn't too bad.

As far as what's going on with mom, we don't know yet. The CT scan showed nothing, so we're cautiously hopeful that it wasn't a stroke. She was very confused when I got there, but awake. (She hadn't even been awake when the ambulance took her.) She knew who everyone was and where she was, but otherwise seemed uncomprehending of what was going on. To the point of seeming like she had dementia. She looked very frail and confused. :( They checked her in to the hospital, and we'll hopefully find out more today. She was in A-fib when I left (which is a new condition for her).

On top of that, Aaron had an adventure with his ex when she dropped the kids off. She's PISSED that she found out from the kids and not from him that I'm moving in next week. We had ONLY JUST decided the date of the move-in over Christmas, and she knows now, so I feel like she more just wants something to be angry about rather than having a justifiable reason. Oh well. *eye roll*

I just updated you on last year's thread of what I'm reading, and that hasn't changed, but since it's a new thread, I'll repost:

Currently Reading:

Jan 2, 9:36am Top

On the agenda for today:

*Visit mom at hospital
*Get marriage license
*revamp my list of things to do with my new stay-at-home status

Jan 2, 9:40am Top

Yikes, sorry to hear about your mom and all the drama with the ex. I hope they can find out what's going on with your mom soon and find effective treatment.

Jan 2, 10:02am Top

Yeah, what Mary said! Two things about your mom they may need to consider (we've been dealing with similar issues with my mother-in-law):

- Rapid blood sugar changes can cause temporary dementia-like symptoms in older people. When the MIL doesn't eat well, she gets woozy and confused.

- Medicine interactions. We got bit by a change in meds that went badly and it took a while to figure out.

I'm sure the doctors are on to these things, but it never hurts to ask.

Jan 2, 10:03am Top

Gosh, what a thing to come home to, Rachel! I hope they find what's wrong with your mom, and she stays comfortable in the meantime. On the positive side, your wedding plans sound like a lot of fun!

Jan 2, 10:16am Top

Happy new year, Rachel! Congrats on the upcoming wedding.

Fingers crossed your mom gets well soon and that the ex calms down.

Jan 2, 10:34am Top

Hi Rachel!

Congrats on your engagement and all the exciting things going on in your life. Sorry to hear about your mom and the drama with Aaron's ex.

Jan 2, 10:39am Top

I hope your mother is okay!

I've been meaning to say, I'm impressed by how quickly you've been able to make a major life decision and go all-in on being a stay-at-home mother. I feel like I'm constantly struggling with the impossible attempt to have it all, hoping that my career will somehow manage to be solidly established in the next few years so that I can have children before it's too late. It must feel great to just make your choice and move ahead with your life.

Jan 2, 10:44am Top

Edited: Jan 2, 11:58am Top

>47 bell7: Thanks Mary!

>48 drneutron: Thanks Jim! I imagine the paramedics took her BS when they had her in the ambulance, but I don't imagine dad thought of doing that with her yesterday. She doesn't have diabetes, so it wouldn't be the first thing he'd think of. She also has not had any medication changes recently, though the ER doctor suggested that it may be a reaction to one of her psych meds that she's been on for years. I kindof doubt something this extreme would happen so suddenly from a med that's had no problems before. But ?.

>49 rosalita: Thanks Julia!

>50 libraryperilous: Thanks Diana!

>51 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

>52 _Zoe_: There's a huge difference between you and I, Zoe. If I remember correctly, you have a potentially successful career that's only just starting. I, on the other hand, HAD a potentially successful career that was creamed by my undiagnosed mental illness. I have dealt with a lot of "failure" in my career due to my mental illness, and have not yet gotten back on my feet now that I know what's going on. So it's not really a sacrifice to make this decision. It's just one more way that my life is going a direction I didn't expect. Nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom with a PhD, right?

>53 rosylibrarian: Thanks Marie!

Jan 2, 12:41pm Top

>54 The_Hibernator: Possibly, though pursuing a PhD in the humanities isn't exactly known for great career outcomes. I was fortunate to get my current position in a math department, where there's actually demand for instructors. But it's only a temporary position, so we'll see what happens in a couple of years: will it be possible to get another math job despite not having a PhD in the field? I have no idea. History jobs are mostly non-existent, and I think I actually prefer being in a math department anyway because I feel like I'm making more of a difference for the students. So we'll see.

Meanwhile, Mark's employment options and salary are much better than mine, and I often wonder whether my Canadian health insurance would be worth more than my whole career in the US.

There's definitely nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom with a PhD!

Jan 2, 12:55pm Top

Happy new year!

And you definitely got to me with the fluffy cutie in the thread topper.
Sorry to hear about your mum, hope it all works out fine.

Jan 2, 1:15pm Top

Rachel, how scary with your mom, especially when you were just arriving home with no idea what was going on. Hoping they can figure it out quickly.

Jan 2, 2:09pm Top

Hi Rachel! Happy New Year!

Jan 2, 2:51pm Top

Rachel, happy New Year to you - have a wonderful reading year!

Jan 2, 3:27pm Top

Oh my gosh Rachel! How awful a homecoming. What >48 drneutron: said is an excellent suggestion. Since mom's not diabetic, checking her sugar might not've occurred to anyone. It's too late now but it's worth remembering to try giving her juice as soon as confusion sets in. It can't hurt and might help a lot.

Jan 2, 4:01pm Top

Happy New Year, Rachel, and congratulations on your upcoming marriage. I hope 2018 surpasses your expectations.

Jan 2, 5:05pm Top

Happy New Year, Rachel!

I hope your mom will recover soon.

Jan 2, 6:33pm Top

Wow, what a start to your new year! I hope your mom is doing better and the doctors can figure out what happened. So happy to hear about your engagement and wedding date. Being a stay-at-home mom was the best five years of my life! Hope you enjoy it too.

Happy New Year!

Jan 2, 8:46pm Top

Rachel, hope your mom is doing better! Happy new year to you! I look forward to following your reading and wedding planning over 2018.

Jan 3, 2:26am Top

Stopping by to drop off a star and add my happy new year wishes. Sorry to hear about your Mom - I hope the Dr's can figure out what happened soon.

Jan 3, 8:06am Top

Adding my good wishes for your mum, Rachel. The kilts made me laugh- have been to some lovely kilted weddings but the gender equal wearing is a nice touch I think.

Jan 3, 9:19am Top

>55 _Zoe_: Hi Zoe! You make some very valid points. And when to have kids is a very difficult decision. I mean, Aaron and I are both getting older now (I'm 38 and he's 42) so having kids is more problematic than it would have been when younger. But we're also more settled down with a paid off home, etc. And he already has two kids, so it's not a disaster if we can't get pregnant. But would it have been nicer if we'd met younger and had kids together then? Yes. Hard, hard decisions. Good luck.

I'm inclined to think Canadian healthcare MAY be worth a career in the US, depending on the career. That makes me sad. :(

P.S. I reread that message to you and saw that I wrote "between you and I" lol. Ugh! I used "I" as the object of a preposition. That and people who don't know how to drive in a traffic circle are my pet peeves! (I hate it when people think they can turn left from the right lane just because they're in a traffic circle. Use logic people! If there's a car going straight on your left side, turning in front of it is a bad idea!!!)

>56 PawsforThought: through >59 PersephonesLibrary: Thanks PawsforThought, Mamie, Brodie, & Kathy

>60 richardderus: Hi Richard! You're right, that wouldn't hurt a thing, and we always have some juice in the fridge for the little ones.

>61 BLBera: through >65 souloftherose: Thanks Beth, EllaTim, Mary, Rhonda, & Heather

>66 charl08: Yes, it is a very gender-equal wedding party. Aaron had suggested on a couple of occasions that he wear his kilt, and then shot the idea down himself. But when his friend suggested it over our vacation he apparently jumped on the idea and is quite pleased with it. (I was in the bathroom when the decision was made, so I don't know if it was he who jumped on it, or whether his groom's lady jumped on it - I think the latter is the more likely since she seems to have the confidence to make firm decisions that don't involve asking me first. I actually had to tell her at one point that the members of MY wedding party were just as important as she was.) I'm pretty laid back about all of this because having an actual wedding was more Aaron's decision than mine. I was fine without - to save money. But he kind of wanted one. And then we decided that it's really best for his kids to have a wedding - Deirdre would be SO disappointed to miss her chance at being a flower girl, and the wedding will make the whole marriage thing seem more real and official in their eyes.

Jan 3, 9:35am Top

No news about mom yet. They did an MRI, but mustn't have found anything critical, because they haven't bothered sharing the info with us or the floor nurses. They want to do an ECG, but as an outpatient. But they're also not even hinting when she'll get out. We haven't seen a doctor yet, and even nurses are hard to come by. Yesterday, mom peed her bed because they didn't answer her call and dad had to finally go get someone when they STILL didn't come for a long time after that. Bad care. Dad had the same problem at the same hospital in November when he was having trouble breathing in the middle of the night. Said it took a half hour for the nurse to arrive. People can die in that amount of time!

Jan 3, 10:10am Top

>68 The_Hibernator: What a damning indictment of our healthcare system. I'm so sorry the lack of quality care is adding to a stressful situation.

re: roundabouts, they call them circuses in British English, which I always think is a more apt description of the way drivers behave in them.

Jan 3, 11:27am Top

>67 The_Hibernator: I find it encouraging that your life has worked out so well in the end :). Hopefully I'll also have so much stability five years down the line.

And I didn't even notice that you'd said "between you and I", even though that's one of my pet peeves as well!

I'm sorry your mother has to deal with bad care on top of being ill. That hospital sounds horrible.

Jan 3, 12:26pm Top

>68 The_Hibernator: Sorry for your mom, I hope she can get out there soon.

Jan 3, 2:58pm Top

Adding my best wishes for your mom's health.

Jan 3, 3:13pm Top

Sorry your family is going through such a hard time right now. I'm wishing your mom a speedy recovery.
When my dad went to the hospital for confusion and loss of balance, they refused to let him eat for two days while they ran tests, which weakened him severely. After several experiences with hospital staff, it's clear that the ill person benefits greatly from having someone who will argue on their behalf.

Jan 3, 6:31pm Top

>69 libraryperilous: Hi Diana! Yes, "circus" is a great word for them! grrrr

>70 _Zoe_: I hope your life works out well too, Zoe. :) Good luck, lol.

>71 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

>72 majleavy: Thanks majileavy!

>73 mstrust: Yes, I agree, we need to speak out for our loved ones in order to get good care. Which shouldn't have to be the case - people should get good care regardless. :(

Jan 3, 6:35pm Top

So, two days in the hospital and we haven't even glimpsed a doctor since the ER. There's not even a doctor's name written on her board (where the nurse's names and other helpful info is listed..."doctor" is left blank). She seems to be fine now - we know of no new symptoms that she's exhibited. If there HAVE been symptoms that mom doesn't know about, nobody has told us. So we don't know why they're still holding her. Are they intending on running more tests (they ran none today)? Are they monitoring symptoms? If so, which ones and what for? I finally called my mom's GP and left a message for him. It was after hours, so he will not get the message till tomorrow. But he's a good guy who has been taking care of mom for 30 years. I'm sure he won't let us down.

Jan 3, 7:08pm Top

Your New Year's card drew me in and the kitten in your topper captured me! Congratulations on your wedding plans. It sounds like an amazing event and hopefully everyone will be satisfied with the final result especially since you are so flexible.

I'm sorry to read about your mother's illness. I hope things improve when her GP gets involved.

I hope 2018 turns out to be one of the best.

Jan 4, 4:14am Top

There you are! I couldn't find you on the Threadbook, but I realised I looked under H and not T. I'm just coming by to wish you Happy New Year! I'm sorry to hear about your mum. I hope she's feeling better and comes home soon. Good luck with the ex-wife situation too. And, once again, Congratulations on your engagement!

Jan 4, 10:16pm Top

>75 The_Hibernator: That's awful to not have a visit by a doctor. I'd be marching to the hospital administrator's office and demanding an answer.

Jan 5, 1:04pm Top

Are there any news about your mom?

Jan 6, 12:02am Top

Hi, Rachel. Dropping a star.

Congrats on your engagement! How exciting!

So sorry to hear about your mom. Our family has been having parent health issues recently. My 80 yo mother fell down the stairs in November and broke her kneecap. She lives by herself about 2 1/2 hours away and I'm an only child, so I was away from home about a week taking care of her. My aunt took the week before and the week after and my mom is mobile now. My 89 yo father-in-law had a stroke at Thanksgiving and passed away a week later. His 5 children were all at his bedside when he went. So the last month or so has been very eventful for us. I hope they can figure out what is happening with your mom.

My husband and I were both 38 when we had our first child, and we had our second at 41. Our first pregnancy happened the first time we actually tried, but the second took about a year. We ended up having artificial insemination with our second, and I'm so glad we did. So, my best advice to you is - you are not too old and if you want to get pregnant, there are certainly ways to do it. The best thing to do is to not stress about it! Life's too short. We are definitely the oldest parents of my younger son's friends, and among the oldest of my older son's friends (although he has a couple of friends with the same age parents.) It's a little weird but that's the way it goes!

Jan 6, 12:16am Top

Hi Rachel! Wow! Big news that you decided to move in. Hope (aside from the angry ex) that all goes well and it makes you happy. Good luck sorting out the kilts and colors. I am sure you guys will come up with a good a solution. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Hope the GP comes through and can shed some light on what is going on. Big hugs!

Jan 6, 12:25am Top

Hope everything is turning out well.

By the way, does Aaron know how many books will be moving in with you? ;0)

Jan 6, 5:22am Top

I'm sorry to hear about your mom. It's unbelievable that you couldn't speak with a doctor. For me that's a no-go. Sending lots of healing vibes. Thinking of you and yours.

Jan 7, 10:52am Top

The American Health Care System at work!

I'm so sorry that in addition to your mom's health problems, the system is letting her and her family down, too.

Hang in there!

Jan 7, 4:40pm Top

>76 Oregonreader: Hi Jan! Thanks! I expect 2018 will be an excellent year for me.

>77 humouress: Thanks humouress! Glad to see you found me!

>78 thornton37814: Hi Lori! I pushed until I was able to talk to the hospitalist. She told me that mom had talked to a neurologist, a cardiologist, and a daily hospitalist. She's just not remembering. :(

>79 PersephonesLibrary: Yes Kathy, I'll give an update in a moment.

>80 rretzler: Hi Robin! Thanks for the kind words. My mom was 41 when she had me, so I know it's quite possible to have children at my age, and it's always nice to hear of more people doing it successfully. Good luck with taking care of your ageing mom!

>81 Berly: Hi Kim! The moving in didn't go quite as smoothly as planned, what with paying attention to my mom in the hospital and a nasty cold I picked up. But since I'm a stay-at-home mom now, I should have plenty of time to catch up. :)

>82 humouress: Hi humouress, Aaron has an idea of how many books I own, but I imagine it's rather meaningless until they're actually moved into his house taking up room. lol There simply isn't enough wall-space for bookshelves here! I'll figure something out. I don't think my parents will mind housing some of my books while I work on this problem.

>83 Ameise1: Thanks Barb! We've now talked to a doctor, and know what's going on. But, yes, this whole process was very bewildering.

>84 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

Jan 7, 4:49pm Top

Well, I finally talked to mom's cardiologist on Friday. Apparently, she's having irregular heartbeat, and they think the seizure was because the heart wasn't getting blood to the brain. They were trying to solve the heart problem with meds, but the meds weren't successful. So on Friday, we agreed to get a pacemaker put in (to keep the beats above 60) and to some cauterization procedure which would slow the too-fast heartbeats. They released her yesterday. They were a little concerned about releasing her to my dad's care, but I told them I was a stay-at-home mom and could stop by and help with her care. Really, the main issue is that she needs to keep her arms below shoulder level. Problem is, it's hard to remember because she has a little dementia and needs to be reminded of WHY she can't lift her hands above her head.

I made some attempt to move in to Aaron's place on Saturday, but we were distracted by mom's release from the hospital and were only able to get the IKEA shopping done and not much else. I managed to wrangle one of three cats into the travel box. The other two struggled and hid. This morning, I managed to get one more of the cats in a box, but the third was terrified and got a good slice into my hand with his teeth. (He's actually a sweetheart, he just doesn't get put in the cage often, and apparently associates it with something terrifying - probably getting fixed). Tomorrow, I'll go back and try to fetch him by wrapping him in a towel and stuffing him into a slightly larger transportation cage that I'd bought when I moved with my cats from Ohio to Minnesota. It's possible he won't find it as terrifying as the little cages.

Jan 7, 10:39pm Top

I hope everything works out!

Jan 8, 1:45pm Top

I hope your mom is getting better quickly! It is even harder if she suffers from slight dementia. Does she unterstand principally what's going on?
Sorry to hear about the moving troubles: Hopefully everything will fall into place soon - and the year improves for you!

Jan 8, 5:11pm Top

As someone who had been following your dating adventures last year I am delighted to congratulate you on your engagement.

May the goddess walk with you and all of you on this.

Jan 8, 5:17pm Top

Moving kitties is hard on them and us. Good luck with number three.

I made my first trip to an IKEA store before Christmas to get my daughter some bookcases, and was stunned at the sheer size, offerings, and efficiency.

And good luck with your mom, too, helping her to remember to not raise her arms above her head.

Jan 8, 11:18pm Top

>86 The_Hibernator: Yay, IKEA! Herding cats, boo! Hope you get them all moved without too much stress.

Jan 9, 10:49am Top

Cat herding: It ain't easy.

Jan 9, 2:28pm Top

So sorry to hear about your mum - empathise with the patient not remembering what they've been told. Problem here too is unacknowledged deafness - my dad can't hear the specialist when they cover up their mouth/ turn away, but rarely points this out.

Hope she feels better soon, and that you get all those books shelved...

Jan 9, 2:33pm Top

Wow, Rachel, lots on your plate right now. Make sure you take care of yourself, as well!

Jan 10, 1:42am Top

Best wishes to you and everyone around you that things get easier soon! Very sorry about your mum, I hope she remembers to keep her arms down.
Good luck with the cats moving. Are there pets in Aaron's household as well or will they be masters of the new place?

were only able to get the IKEA shopping done and not much else - this alone would be a full day project in my world, even if the next IKEA wasn't 2 hrs away. You're doing great!

Jan 10, 1:49am Top

Whew! So much going on here. Best wishes to your mom (and you) as she recovers. Good luck with the move and cat herding. I am sure you will find a way to house your books. ; ) Hugs!

Jan 11, 5:11pm Top

Best wishes to your Mum!

Jan 11, 5:17pm Top

Pacemaker and anti-fibrillation cautery should work a treat in keeping mom's pressure up. I'm aware of how hard elders in ill health are on a relationship so I'm sending patience and happiness mojo your way, Rachel.

Jan 15, 10:35am Top

>87 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa!

>88 PersephonesLibrary: Yes, Kathy, I think she gets the big picture of what's going on. At least to the point of knowing she was in the hospital because she had some sort of seizure and that she had a heart procedure before getting out. She doesn't know the details.

>89 magicians_nephew: Thanks so much Jim! Your well-wishes/prayers mean a lot. :)

>90 karenmarie: Yes, my this (my first) trip to IKEA was quite a shock. I had no idea how large it would be. It's nice that Aaron knew how to use the system. I can see why so many people love IKEA, though large stores tend to intimidate me. :)

>91 rretzler: Thanks Robin!

>92 libraryperilous: Yup, it SURE isn't, Diana.

>93 charl08: Hi Charlotte! Yes, it's hard when they don't acknowledge "weaknesses" like not being able to hear as easily anymore. I mean, things like that are easily gotten around if everyone knows the problem exists.

>94 banjo123: Hi Rhonda. Yes, I keep feeling tiny panic attacks about how much I've got on my plate suddenly. But the nice thing is that I made a lot of these choices for myself, so at least life is going the direction I want it to (minus the parental health problems).

>95 Deern: Hi Nathalie! No, Aaron doesn't have any pets, just the two kids. Luckily, the kids and the two pets that I've managed to move so far are getting along quite well. :)

Our IKEA is only about 10 minutes away, so we don't really have a full-day of driving excuse. :)

>96 Berly: Hi Kim! Haven't even started moving the books yet, lol.

>97 SandDune: Thanks Rhian!

>98 richardderus: Thanks Richard!

Edited: Jan 15, 10:54am Top

Ok! So I was out of the picture for about a week now. It turns out that "cold" I came down with the Friday before my mom was released from the hospital was actually the flu. I've been laid on my back for a week now. :( I haven't managed to get my third cat from my parent's house yet because I don't want to give them the flu. I DID give my step-daughter, Deirdre, the flu, though. So far, Aaron and Malcolm have stayed healthy. Today I'm finally beginning to feel a little better, which is good because the kids have no school so I'm home alone with them all day! I have a lot of house cleaning and such to do (Aaron isn't too great at keeping the place decluttered), but I think I'm not going to push myself beyond a short shopping trip to the grocery store.

The two cats I've managed to move are settling in quite well, and I'm sure they'll be a little miffed when I finally manage to wrangle the third. :)

Since Facebook has conveniently provided me with these flashback pictures, thought I'd share my nephew and niece as babies:

Currently Reading

I set aside the baby-making book so I could read American Psychosis, which finally made it through my hold list at the library.

Jan 16, 11:19pm Top


Jan 19, 9:18am Top

I'm so sorry about the flu, Rachel, and hope that you're doing better. Don't do too much, though - relapses are no fun.

Jan 19, 4:55pm Top

So sorry about the flu, Rachel. It and its ilk have been making their way through folks at work, folks on LibraryThing, etc. I don't think I had the flu, per se, but my "cold" lasted for four weeks. Ugh. I hope you make a full recovery soon.

I love the pics of the niece and nephew.

Thinking about you and your mum. Lots of elder care themes around here lately. I guess many of us are just in that part of life where that is part of what we're having to attend to. It is difficult and important.

Jan 20, 6:20pm Top

>101 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa!

>102 karenmarie: I managed to make it through without any major relapse, Karen.

>103 EBT1002: Yeah, I've noticed a lot of people around here both are sick and have elder care problems. I guess it's a club. lol.

Edited: Jan 22, 6:51pm Top

Last week was my first week as a full-time step-mom (if I don't count the week where I had the flu). The week mostly went well. Monday and Friday of last week were days off for the kids, and they kept me busy testing my boundaries. But I guess that's fair. All in all, I'm settling in to mommy-hood well enough.

I DID manage to get the third cat (Puck) from my parent's house. He was hiding from me ever since the first time I tried putting him in the car carrier, but on Tuesday he finally peeked out enough for me to catch him and throw him in a much larger carrier that I'd dug up. He was so traumatized that he's been hiding behind the furnace ever since. :( He crept out and slept on my bed for a few hours last night for the first time.

Johnny, my 13 yo nephew has started self-harming, unfortunately, and my sister is concerned that he is suicidal. She works a lot, so asked me to spend a little extra time with him. I took him to get his Christmas present on Tuesday night. It was a steampunk photo with a friend of mine (who is also close to Johnny). Yeah, he looks sad, but that was a pose, he was actually thrilled to get this taken. :)

On Sunday, Aaron and I took Johnny and my step-kids to an indoor trampoline park. We all loved that. :)

Today was a snow day for the kids, so I learned to play Minecraft. Sort of. I can kill a tree pretty well.

Currently Reading

I've been so busy moving in and doing wedding prep stuff (and spending time with the kids) that my reading isn't moving along very quickly. Still reading the same books - though I expect to finish American Psychosis tonight.

Jan 22, 9:52pm Top

Best of luck with all the kids.

Poor Puck; but I'm glad you've got him now.

Jan 23, 7:28am Top

Hi Rachel!

I'm glad to hear that Puck came out from behind the furnace for at least a quick visit.

And I'm very sorry to hear that your nephew is self-harming. Glad that you can spend some time with him. I hope he's getting some counseling.

Jan 23, 9:39am Top

>106 humouress: Thanks Nina! I'm glad I have him, too, though part of me wonders if he'd have been better off left at my parents. They didn't want him, but would have taken care of him had I "abandoned" him. He was comfortable there. But hopefully he'll start coming out more and more often. I don't want him to live permanently behind the furnace!

>107 karenmarie: Yeah, I was sorry to hear about Johnny's self-harming as well, though he's had a really hard life so I'm not surprised he's depressed. I'm glad it didn't happen sooner! 13 is a hard time of life, too. Colette, my sister, doesn't know what to do at all. She stigmatizes mental illness, and doesn't really want to admit that he needs help. But I asked around and found some recommendations for therapists for him, and hopefully she'll follow through with them. I should have talked to him about the issue myself - I used to work at a suicide hotline for teens, after all. But it's hard to talk about with my own nephew because I want to cheer him up, not make him upset by pointing out that his mother has told me everything. *sigh* However, he needs to know that everyone thinks about suicide at some point, that it's nothing to be ashamed of, but that he needs to get any such thoughts under control so that he doesn't act on them.

Jan 23, 9:42am Top

Today's another snow day for the kids. I don't know how much accumulation we have, but it looks like about a foot from what Aaron is shoveling. So I totally have to re-write my plans for the day. But I guess I get to learn a little more about Minecraft, lol. I doubt we'll be hopping in the car and driving to the indoor park today because I want to make sure the roads are clear before I take out my little car. I guess that means I'll have some time to clean house and maybe even get some of my save-the-dates addressed. We'll see how much time the kids give me.

Jan 23, 11:53pm Top

>105 The_Hibernator: I'm sorry to hear about your nephew. I have self-harm in my past. It occurs due to different reasons for everyone obviously but mine was all about control and the lack of it. If he's struggling with something similar I found that a major change of routine sometimes helped. Some of it is just the age I think, and of course his environmental history and how he has reacted to it, but there are always other coping methods. I hope he reaches a happier place soon.

Jan 24, 6:12am Top

>110 Kassilem: Thanks for your thoughts Melissa. To be honest, I'm not strongly concerned about a small amount of self-harm. Yes, there are better coping mechanisms, and it can be dangerous if done in excess. It also can cause marks/scars. However, it IS a coping mechanism, and is actually a better alternative than many options. The important thing is that the issues that are causing the self-harming are addressed so that he doesn't become badly depressed and suicidal. Of course I recognize that self-harm does not always coincide with suicidality, but it can be a warning sign, and that's enough to worry me.

Jan 24, 6:25am Top

Good morning all! I'm apparently unable to sleep though the night tonight. I got 6 hours of restless sleep, and now can't sleep at all. Hopefully it's not a sign of oncoming mania. It's too late to take a sleeping aid now, as the kids will be up in a couple hours.

On today's agenda:

*I'll stop by my parent's place after dropping the kids at the bus stop. I haven't seen them in a couple of days because of the snow-storm, and I want to make sure their driveway was cleaned (my nephew was supposed to do it) and everything else is in order.

*I'll babysit my younger nephew and niece while my sister is at a custody hearing for the older one. Hopefully everything goes well with that....his father is quite the jerk and he's flip-flopping between trying to get 50% custody (so he doesn't have to pay child-support - he has no intent of spending TIME with Johnny, of course) and trying to legally disown him (so he doesn't have to pay child-support - the judge explained to him that this is not how the system works).

*Go out to dinner with my parents, sister's family, and my step-daughter-to-be to belatedly celebrate my sister's birthday. We always go out as a family for birthdays, but Colette's celebration was delayed by the hospitalization of mom, my flu, Johnny's behavioral issues, and finally a snow-storm, so we're going more than three weeks late and on a day that Aaron and my step-son-to-be can't come.

Currently Reading

I finished American Psychosis, so I'm picking up Get Ready to Get Pregnant again.

Jan 24, 6:58am Top

1. American Psychosis, by E. Fuller Torrey

In this strongly stated book, Torrey describes how the formation of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was formed, accompanied by well-meaning, but ill-planned federal programs for the out-patient care of mental ill patients and the emptying of state-funded mental hospitals. Due to terrible conditions in state hospitals and to the discovery of antipsychotics, many well-intended people wanted to improve the condition of mentally ill people by giving them independence and better living conditions through outpatient treatment. So the founders of NIMH, with the help of President Kennedy, began a federal program intended to care for patients on an outpatient basis, as well as providing resources which were intended on reducing the onset of mental illness in future generations. Unfortunately, as the state hospitals closed en masse, these federal programs didn't do their job as intended. The federal programs focused too much on trying (and failing) to reduce the new onset of mental illness, and not enough on taking care of people who were released from hospitals. Many people from the hospitals had nowhere to go and/or stopped taking their meds (for various reasons). The populations of homeless and jailed/imprisoned mentally ill people skyrocketed. Violence by and against people with mental illness skyrocketed. Chaos ensued.

Torrey provided convincing background and evidence that the federal program has failed and that the en masse emptying of state hospitals was a huge mistake. It did a fantastic job of laying out the problems as they stand as well as some of the history as to how we got to the failed mental healthcare system of today. However, he did not provide adequate solutions to the problems presented. Even the chapter whose title was dedicated to solutions was only a recap of the problems with few real solutions presented. And those that were presented were not argued in-depth. I'm still giving the book 4 stars, though, because it was interesting and informative.

Jan 24, 1:25pm Top

>113 The_Hibernator: One of the Popsugar challenges is to read a book about mental health. That sounds like a great candidate and an interesting read.

Jan 24, 1:50pm Top

Hi Rachel!

I'm trying to slowly find my way back to the threads and wanted to stop by and say Hi and CONGRATS on the exciting news! It's so nice to see so many 75ers are still here and reading up a storm! :)

Jan 24, 11:00pm Top

>111 The_Hibernator: I agree with you as long as it doesn't become an addiction, which is possible dependent on the reasons why it is happening in the first place. Hope it all works out without hassle.

Jan 24, 11:28pm Top

Hi, Rachel. Sorry to hear about your nephew, Johnny. I hope things will start looking up for him. I agree 13 can be a really tough time and I think sometimes it doesn't get any better for awhile, so I hope he can hang in there.

Glad to hear that things are going well with the kids.

Hope I'm not jumping the gun, but I noticed that you were reading baby books, and I thought I would recommend one that never gets any mention, but that I found so useful - for when you're ready. It is ostensibly a book for getting bargains when buying all that baby equipment, but it had some really helpful tips as well. I've purchased it as a gift for several expectant mothers, and they all have enjoyed it. Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby cribs, car seats, strollers and much, much more. The book was just updated in 2017. There is also a website: Baby Bargains.

Jan 25, 9:46am Top

>114 Narilka: Hi Gale! Yes, I am doing the PopSugar Challenge too, and counted that book towards task 16. Though I was planning on reading the book, anyway, as well as a couple more on similar subjects.

>115 jolerie: It's so good to see you Valerie! I wish you luck on keeping up with reading and on keeping up with the threads!

>116 Kassilem: You are right, Melissa, any coping mechanism can become an addiction. It's just another form of "self-medicating" with alcohol or drugs. And taking a DBT class or something like it can help to find other coping mechanisms that would be healthier. We'll see what kind of therapy my sister actually gets him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she actually reaches out to a therapist. As I said, she stigmatizes mental illness.

I have a friend (about 48 yo) who is addicted to self-harming. He recently had an period of time where he was obsessively seeking out stinging nettles. He works in landscaping, and realized that they were a "great" way to self-harm without causing any visible marks. This issue can become a huge deal if it's ignored for too long.

>117 rretzler: Thanks for your thoughts, Robin! I think/hope things will turn out ok for Johnny in the end. He has a good support network of people who love him, and now that we're aware of the problem it will hopefully be addressed.

And also thanks for the book suggestion. I'm not pregnant yet. We're trying - which is why I'm reading books about BEFORE you get pregnant. But hopefully your suggestion will come in handy soon. :)

Jan 25, 9:52am Top

Watching those toddlers yesterday was chaos since the house is not as toddler-proof as it should be. In fact, we have the crayons sitting right next to Aaron's 5-foot tall Storm Trooper, so I ended up spending a long time scrubbing it off at the end of the day. Lucky it wasn't marker!

On the agenda for today

*We have an exercise bike being delivered today, which means I need to move some cabinets which are currently sitting in the bike's spot. Aaron was supposed to do it last night, but I forgot to remind him before I left for dinner with my family. But that's fine. I'll figure out where to put them on my own, and if he doesn't like it, he'll have to move them again. lol

*I'm hoping to find time to cook some lentil soup tonight. I'm not much of a cook, but I figure it would be nice for Aaron to have something healthy instead of fast-food for his lunches. I cooked some chicken chili (also a new recipe) over the weekend, but that didn't last long after my nephew, Johnny, came and devoured half of it. lol Growing teens need their protein, I guess!

Jan 25, 11:47am Top

Well, Kathy (persephoneslibrary) brought to my attention a challenge by Penguin to read one classic a month. I'd been looking for a way to introduce more classics into my reading this year, so I'm going to join - to a certain extent. There will be a few I don't read because I've read them before.

January: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
-I have subscribed to this 29-issue book in Serial Reader. Which means I won't finish the book until later in February, but that's fine, since I won't be reading February's choice.

February: Persuasion, by Jane Austen
-Already read this twice. Don't feel like reading again right now.

March: A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolfe
-This is already in my unread Audible library. So, yay.

April: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
-Already read this three times. Don't feel like reading again at the moment.

May: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx
-I'll probably add in the Sparksnotes to help me understand this one. I will consider adding in Understanding the Communist Manifesto, by David Boyle. It's a book for teenagers, but maybe that's exactly what I need, lol. My library owns a copy, that's why I chose that one.

June: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare
-I've read this a couple of times and seen the play/movies. But I will probably re-read.

July: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
-Never read this one!

August: A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
-Never read this one!

September: Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
-Read this as a kid, but I'll probably reread. Maybe add in the Netflix series to boot!

October: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
-Read this one twice. I may or may not reread.

November: A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemmingway
-Never read this one!

December: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
-Read it already. Probably won't reread.

Jan 25, 2:00pm Top

I see you added the challenge. :-) Good luck, I will come back to you to see how it is going!

I am sorry to hear that you are going through stressful times: I hope Johnny will get better and he can find another way to express his emotions or deal with his problems. I imagine it must be very worrying to know he is self-harming. Much strength to you and Johnny! And here is to a night well-slept as well!

Jan 25, 3:40pm Top

Yay for cooking Rachel. I feel like for myself the hardest part is the meal planning. The "thinking" of what I need to cook is always hard to do but the actual cooking isn't too bad if I've done the grocery shopping and everything is planned out.

Jan 25, 4:33pm Top

Rachel, you have an amazingly busy and stressful life right now. I'm sorry to hear about your nephew's struggles. I'm sure your support helps. But it sounds like your new role as step-mom is a success.

The books listed for your new challenge sound like a great reading experience. I'll be watching for your reviews.

As for cooking, I am a great fan of the crock-pot. It has saved my bacon many times!

Jan 25, 4:41pm Top

>113 The_Hibernator: A scary, scary situation down here in Medicaidland...there are no beds in mental-health facilities so the less obviously disturbed but still not fully functional mentally unwell are placed in assisted living facilities (such as I occupy). For any number of reasons, non-medicated people come here and don't get the mental health care that they need so become combative or even violent in outbursts at times.

I've been stalked by a fellow resident, who openly stated he'd kill me when he caught me alone, and targeted by several religious-savior delusionals, so it's not hearsay I'm going on!

Jan 25, 7:17pm Top

Hi, Rachel!

Sorry to hear about your nephew; I hope all will turn out well for him!

Good luck with the soup. I've found soups are generally pretty forgiving so long as they get the time they need to blend the flavors.

>120 The_Hibernator: Have you checked out the books suggested by various people in the Classics I Have Not Read thread?


Perhaps you could find something that would be more appealing for the months you plan to skip the Penguin selection.

Enjoy your reading!

Jan 26, 9:32am Top

>121 PersephonesLibrary: Thanks for introducing me to the challenge, Kathy! I'm thinking things will eventually turn out for Johnny. He has been remarkably resilient in the past.

>122 jolerie: Hi Valerie! You're probably right about the planning. I am in a situation in which I did not cook much before - don't feel there's much point for one person (me) who isn't at all picky. But now I'm cooking for a family, and so it's a good idea to figure out how to do it, lol. Unfortunately, the kids are so picky about what they eat that they absolutely refuse to try anything new. And they eat things like hot dogs and hamburgers and cheese sticks. *sigh I'm going to have to start an at-the-table meal - once a week at first, perhaps. I just need to figure out what I can cook that they'll eat at the table.

>123 Oregonreader: Hi Jan! Yes, I've had a lot of stress this month so far, but hopefully the year will get better. It's better than this time last year, when I was having a manic episode, lol. At least I'm mentally stable! :D We have a crock-pot, and I thought lentil soup would be a crock-pot recipe, but the recipe I found called for stove-top. I should probably find a crock-pot cookbook.

>124 richardderus: That's so scary and sad, Richard. I hadn't known how many severely mentally ill people were living in nursing homes and assisted living until I read this book. I guess I never thought about where they live. That must be frustrating (and sometimes scary) to put up with those people. The reason I quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom early is because I had a coworker who thought I had hired a hitman to kill him. After he called the police and they laughed at him, I was worried that he'd take the issue into his own hands. I don't want to be the target of violent psychosis. So I figured that since I had already decided to be a stay-at-home mom, now is just as good as later. :)

>125 harrygbutler: Thanks for the thread, Harry! There are a few suggestions on there that I haven't read. I'll try to keep my Serial Reader active the whole year, thus I'll always be reading a classic. :)

Jan 26, 9:49am Top

Yesterday went well! The soup turned out a success, even though it turned out more to be a sausage stew with lentils than a true lentil soup. :) But it was really tasty!

On the agenda for today:

*I have a friend coming over. We'll eat some lentil soup and watch Downton Abbey. Thinking of making it a weekly event (hopefully with different kinds of food, though). :)

*Swim lessons for the kids. This is an evaluation lesson in which we determine what level the kids swim at, and whether we like the place enough to pay for lessons. (Which reminds me, I forgot to make Aaron get out the swim gear, and I have no idea where it is.)

Currently Reading

I decided to set aside Storm of Swords for a few days and read something lighter. Hoping to finish Incarceration Nations today.

Jan 26, 1:10pm Top

>126 The_Hibernator: Wow, that story about your co-worker is pretty nuts. Glad you don't work with him anymore!

Jan 26, 4:26pm Top

>128 mstrust: Yeah, I'd heard rumors that he's "crazy" and "on anti-psychotics" for a while, but I ignored them because I really dislike stigmatizing mental illness. Anyway I'M on an anti-psychotic, so who am I to judge, lol. He was a float, so I only worked with him about once a month, so his oddities didn't really bother me until we lost an employee and he started coming around much more often. I'm not sure why he picked on me for his delusions, but I hear rumor that his delusions always involved women coworkers. Women must be a trigger. What made me angry is that the police laughed at him when he called for help. That just escalates the issue. First of all, it's not his fault that he has a mental illness, this is something that's clearly destroying his life - it's sad, not funny. Second of all, by escalating him, they gave him reason to put the fight in his own hands. I'm more angry at the police than I am at him about all this.

Edited: Jan 27, 8:01am Top

>126 The_Hibernator: I try and have at least one vegetable dish on the table (not easy with hot dogs) and the rule is that our eldest has to have some of each of them and our youngest has to have, say, 2 out of 3 (though he’s sometimes better at eating veggies than his brother). Of course, on some days I have to get my husband to eat thget m them all, first; when we first got married he thought eggs and potatoes were acceptable vegetables, just because they’re ‘non-meat’.

>124 richardderus: >129 The_Hibernator: That’s sad.

ETA: typo

Jan 26, 5:10pm Top

>127 The_Hibernator: I'll always take closer to stew than to soup for preference, so that looks uberyum to me.

Considering the downward spiral the US is in, the treatment for mental health problem is only going to get worse.

Jan 27, 6:41am Top

Hi Rachel!

Cooking for picky eaters is a major challenge. Good luck to you. Can you at least get hot dogs without chemicals/preservatives and no-growth-hormone grass-fed beef? It may take them a while to adapt, especially as they have so much change going on in their lives right now. I'm not recommending that you use this method, and we only used it about 1-time-out-of-10 almost as a joke, but we paid our daughter $1 to try something new. It occasionally worked. It's only as she's been out on her own that she's gotten adventuresome in her eating. I was shocked when she told me that she now loves mushrooms, spinach, and feta cheese! She's 24.

Jan 27, 8:10am Top

>130 humouress: Aaron will eat veggies, though right now I'm not cooking every meal. The stew was meant for his lunches. I was going to cook salmon and asparagus last night, but he forgot his lunch and we decided just to eat the lentil stew instead. (Which has veggies in it and is actually fairly healthy.)

>131 richardderus: The stew was very delicious. :D Although the lentils apparently dissolved during the cooking - I haven't seen once yet.

Yes, I agree. The mental health system is unfortunately aimed at getting much worse right now. :(

>132 karenmarie: Yeah, I'm not going to try to make too many changes at first - they're going through a lot of change with me moving in, as it is. Their dad now goes to work earlier, and I take them to the bus stop (which was confusing to them at first). They were taken out of school aftercare and now come home on the bus to hang with me. And I just signed them up for swim lessons twice a week (they don't know how to swim or ride a bike). I'll probably leave their eating habits alone for a while, while they adjust to those changes. However, we're planning on introducing eating at the table instead of in front of the TV.

Unfortunately, Aaron was a little overwhelmed when his wife left him, and he is a bit ashamed of having never taken the kids camping (he's an Eagle Scout), feeding them as a family, teaching them to swim and ride a bike. He's excited to have help so that he can introduce these things into their lives. So it's not just me being overbearing with raising the kids, he wants all this very much.

Jan 27, 8:23am Top

My friend ditched out me yesterday, he needed sleep and since he has bipolar disorder I agreed that sleeping is more important than hanging out with me. Other than that, the day went as planned. Deirdre enjoyed her swim lessons and is really excited about it. Malcolm freaked out at pretty much every exercise - especially putting his head under the water. We decided to set them up each for two days a week. That'll start in mid-February after their trip to Disney World with their mom.

On the agenda for today:

*Stop by my parent's place to clean up their place a little bit.

*Go to "kid's day" at the Minnesota Winter Carnival. We'll take my nephew Johnny as well as Deirdre and Malcolm.

Jan 27, 8:37am Top

Hi Rachel! I've seen you around the threads and thought I'd pop in and say hello! I'm also doing the PopSugar challenge.
Good luck with your upcoming wedding!

Jan 27, 9:06am Top

>135 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! Working on book florists right now. I'm going to check out three of them, and pick the most affordable (as long as they provide what I'm looking for).

This is a bouquet that I think is gorgeous. Probably horribly expensive, though.

Jan 27, 9:17am Top

>136 The_Hibernator: Ha! My younger son came back from a guys' camping gear shopping trip today with a bunch of flowers and said to me 'We got these for you and you'd better like them because they cost sixty dollars!" He seemed rather shocked by the price (and while I agree it's expensive, it's nice to get flowers once in a while just because, but these were lilies which must have been imported from Europe or at least the Malaysian highlands). It's good to know he's finally getting a sense of what things cost. This is the guy who absolutely has to be bought something every time we walk into a shop, no matter how irrelevant their goods to his life.

The flowers do look pretty. Best of luck with your choices - or make friends with someone with a beautiful garden. (I can't help I'm afraid. Even if I had flowers, our wretched dog is busy chewing his way through all my plants, now that he's destroyed the irrigation system.)

Jan 27, 4:20pm Top

*wave* Sounds like life is full and busy. :)

Jan 27, 5:17pm Top

>136 The_Hibernator: Lovely, lovely bouquet Rachel, and quite probably can be brought in at a reasonable cost. So long as those unique sea holly blossoms are there, the others are merely color/texture matching and that can be done cost-sensitively.

Jan 27, 6:02pm Top

Hi, Rachel! I hope you all had a good time at the Winter Carnival. Was the weather cooperative?

Jan 27, 6:11pm Top

Happy Saturday, Rachel. Just checking in. I hope all is well. I have been curious about Incarceration Nations. I'll be watching for your thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Jan 28, 9:21am Top

Lovely bouquet, Rachel! Good luck for the the preparation of the festivities and all the best for the wedding day!!

Jan 28, 9:39am Top

>136 The_Hibernator: Love the bouquet Rachel- friends had thistles (that's what I'd call them, although am sure Richard's got the proper name) as it was a Scottish wedding. They did their wedding on a wing and a prayer as both were students- someone sorted out the flowers as a gift.

Hope the swimming goes well - so great that you have the time to support the kids now like this. I'm going to try cooking woth lentils tonight: hope mine are as successful as yours.

Jan 28, 10:17am Top

>137 humouress: How sweet that he bought you flowers! That's really thoughtful. I haven't gotten flowers from a man for quite a while. lol. I imagine Aaron things they're a superfluous purchase. But that's ok, having money to do other things is nice, too. :)

>138 nittnut: *waves back* It certainly is!

>139 richardderus: Sea holly blossoms? Is that what they're called? Good to know. I think they're beautiful. I'll talk to my florists about them and see what they can find. :)

>140 harrygbutler: The weather was quite cooperative, Harry. It was 34 Fahrenheit out, which is warm enough that we weren't freezing our behinds off, and cold enough that it still felt like the Winter Festival.

>141 msf59: Hi Mark! I finished Incarceration Nations and am about to do a review on the subject. Though I'll probably wait until tomorrow since the kids are around interrupting me every sentence I type. It was pretty good, though not quite what I had expected.

>142 PersephonesLibrary: Thanks Kathy!

>143 charl08: Yes, I was calling them thistles until Richard told me what they really were. lol. We're not really having a Scottish wedding, but since Aaron and his groomswomen are all wearing kilts, that's pretty darned close to Scottish. So I think it will be very fitting.

Jan 28, 10:38am Top

Rachel, you have been keeping very busy! Your soup up there looks amazing. I think you are doing such a great job stepping into a family and making it yours - you are so thoughtful in your approach. I think getting the kids to eat at the table some nights and getting them to expand their food horizons could be fun. We homeschooled our kids and the daughter of a friend through the middle school years, and so we made cooking part of the curriculum - we made lunch together every day. They got excited to try new things when they were helping to prepare the meal. And starting with things that are familiar and easy, like tacos, and progressing to more complicated things like pineapple chicken. They loved making their own pizzas and taco ring was always a hit. And we had fun deciding what we would try next - it was an adventure for all of us, and the kids still talk about "cooking school".

Jan 28, 10:40am Top

Yesterday was fun at the Winter Festival. I didn't get any pictures, unfortunately, since my phone ran out of juice and Aaron forgot his. But it's the experience that counts. The kids got to go ice skating (Deirdre loved it and Malcolm hated it) and see the Ice Palace.

Before we went to the Winter Festival, I stopped by my parent's house to do a bit of cleaning. My dad let me know that he was thinking of moving into an assisted living facility because he (thankfully) has begun to recognize mom's memory issues for what they are - signs of oncoming dementia. I'd been trying to convince him that she was having serious problems for a while, but he hasn't agreed. He was in denial - he saw the signs. Anyway, he's now decided that mom IS having problems. Additionally, he has to go off his experimental med that had really been helping his COPD. The experimenters want him to start playing around with his heart and diabetes meds, and he doesn't want to do that. So he may start having problems again soon. :(

I told him I thought it was the right decision. I found it very relieving, in fact - I had been very worried about moving out of their house. They really need someone there to help. So, anyway, I will be helping them look for an appropriate home soon. He's thinking of selling my sister's house (which is under his name) and letting her family move in to his house, which is bigger and has a paid off mortgage.

My sister is freaking out about this, because she doesn't want dad to be around "those sorts of people." Whoever "those sorts" are. *shrug* She wants to move mom into assisted living and move her family in with dad. lol. Not going to happen.

On the agenda for today:

*Carry a couple of loads of stuff from my parent's house to my new house. I will have to move in faster than planned if he's going to be moving (though I imagine the moving process will take a while for him).

*Make a Half-Price books run - we will have to get rid of a huge library if my parents move into assisted living.

*Make my first attempt at cooking salmon for dinner. Yum! (I hope.)

Jan 28, 10:49am Top

>145 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! That sounds like a great idea! They might become more adventurous if they're cooking themselves. Although another problem I've noticed with them is that they tend to avoid any responsibility. They expect us to lay out their clothes every morning, to lay out their "outside clothes" before we go out in the snow, to prepare the simplest snacks/meals for them (such as pouring Cheeseits into a bowl), etc. We had a talk with Deirdre, who is testing her boundaries by becoming bossy "cut my ham into smaller pieces!" etc. I don't think this is because Aaron is a bad father, simply that he had been overwhelmed since his ex left, and he's doing the best he can. With two parents here, I think things will get better soon. :) They're good kids, they just need a little encouragement.

Jan 28, 11:53am Top

Yeup, sea holly blue:

Sea holly purple:

Very very glad your dad made that decision now before it was made for him. That's a rough passage indeed. Sending hugs and warm thoughts.

Jan 29, 8:01am Top

2. Incarceration Nations, by Baz Dreisinger

Dr. Dreisinger travels to different prisons around the world, giving 2-day seminars to the prisoners and comparing the pros and cons of each prison system.

I admit this book wasn't quite what I expected. I expected it to have more complaints (with evidence) about the problems of overincarceration. Although it did contain such comments, that was not the point of the book. It was a fascinating description of different prisons throughout the world and what they were doing right (and wrong) in rehabilitating their inmates. She left some prisons feeling uplifted and left others feeling quite depressed. I found the book quite interesting even if it wasn't quite what I expected.

Edited: Jan 29, 8:04am Top

>148 richardderus: So beautiful! I'm definitely asking my florists if they can find some of these for my bouquet. And, yes, I'm thrilled dad has made the decision before it was forced on him. That's what I was worried was going to happen when I moved out.

Jan 29, 8:11am Top

Yesterday didn't go at all as planned. I did manage to get some cleaning done at my parent's house, but for the most part, I spent time with my sister. We had a long lunch discussing the pros of dad and mom going to assisted living, and she agreed that it was the best option. It seems a win-win, since she's getting a paid-off house out of the deal. Problem is, she slipped on the ice the day before and was worried that she'd broken her ankle. So we spent a couple of hours in urgent care. I didn't end up making the salmon because I was stuck with my sister.

On the agenda for today:

*I have an Occupational Health appointment. I had a dirty needle stick a while back, and there's a small concern of Hep C infection. The chance is small given the situation, but it's still there and this will be my sixth-month check-up. Wish me luck!

*Get a new drivers license with my new address on it

*Get my ring resized and my dad's watch fixed

*Make baked salmon for the first time in my life.

Jan 29, 12:39pm Top

Sounds like you have a busy day ahead of you Rachel! Hope everything works out smoothly and you have a stress free Monday. Squeeze in some time for some reading for a bit of relaxation when you can. :)

Jan 29, 12:56pm Top

Good luck with the salmon, Rachel! It sounds like a full day, especially if you have to spend part of it at the DMV. That always takes forever around here.

Jan 29, 10:53pm Top

>148 richardderus: Ooh, even more beautiful in close up.

Are you having any colour theme for your wedding, Rachel?

Jan 30, 12:16am Top

Fingers crossed for the appointment, and of course for everything else.

Jan 30, 6:24am Top

>152 jolerie: Hi Valerie! My scheduled reading time is from 8-10 after the kids go to sleep. I try to squeeze in reading at other times, but I generally don't get much squeezed in right now because there's just so much going on in my life. The whole elder care thing coming at the same time as planning a marriage and moving in with my fiancé and step-kids takes up all the time that I gained by quitting my job. I always knew I'd be a great homemaker, though, I don't get bored! lol

>153 rosalita: Hi Julia! I was at the DMV a little over an hour, but I had a book. :D And the salmon turned out delish.

>154 humouress: Hi Nina! I know, aren't they gorgeous? I'm definitely going to ask about them when my meet with my florists. :D If not, at the very least I know where to dig up thistles. lol They're not as beautiful, but they have the same prickly strength to them.

>155 Deern: Thanks Nathalie! Of course, I won't know until they send the results, and that seems to take a week or two, but I'm looking forward to being able to donate platelets again.

Jan 30, 6:44am Top

Yesterday went very well, as everything I had planned happened. :) Resizing the rings turned out to be more expensive than I had expected, but that's life. Because I had my rings resized and a gold chain fixed (I plan on giving it to my nephew for his 14th birthday coming up on the non-existent February 29th), he took two links out of my dad's watch for free.

While I was marinating my salmon, my dad gave a call and asked himself and mom over to dinner. He had bought a book for my step-daughter, and he wanted to give it to her IMMEDIATELY. She hadn't known she was named after a goddess, so he bought a book about Deirdre that is appropriate for kids. I managed not to panic at the invite - especially since I happened to have two extra salmon filets in the freezer. We had a lovely talk and everyone enjoyed themselves. We even paid Deirdre 50c to eat a bite of salmon and another 50c to eat a prune. She liked neither. But at least she's putting stuff in her mouth. (Thanks >132 karenmarie: for the idea! I like to think of it as incentive rather than bribing.) I then offered Dad 50c to eat a prune dipped in brown mustard, when he refused, I tried it out. It was disgusting. He paid me 50c to stop talking about it. :D

On the agenda for today:

*Deirdre has a hearing test, which leads up to an appointment with an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor. She's been having ringing and popping in her ears. We had her on a course of antibiotics in case there was a low level infection, but they didn't do anything. I'm concerned about starting her swim lessons the second week of February without getting this checked out first.

*I have an appointment with my first florist today (I'm screening three of them).

Currently Reading

Jan 30, 8:44am Top

Hi Rachel!

This is how it works with children - you make plans, and then have to break them. But it's totally worth it.

If Deirdre is having problems with her ears, check with her doctors before doing the swimming thing. I always got earaches when I was young, and when I did a lot of swimming one summer when about 7 or 8 got Swimmer's Ear, otitis externa. Major pain, peroxide and ear drops for weeks. It may be that swimming is okay, but just be aware.

I'm glad the incentive worked - like you said, at least she tried something new. However did dipping a prune in brown mustard become an option?

Good luck with the first florist!

Jan 30, 8:51am Top

>157 The_Hibernator: Yay for family dinners, however unexpected. ;0) I was going to say all these 50c are getting expensive, but if you keep swapping between yourselves, maybe not.

Good luck with all the appointments. Though why anyone would look forward to donating is beyond me. I'm quite happy to use the excuse that I lived in the UK in the 80s and they don't want my blood in case I pass on mad cow disease; I hate needles. (Yes, I've heard they found a way around it, but I don't want to know. Shh!)

Edited: Jan 30, 8:55am Top

Good luck with your florist today. Love the bouquet idea! Very unique and beautiful!

I often bribe my 3yo with a jelly bean to try foods. She often says she does not like things that I know she has had before.

Jan 30, 9:07am Top

>160 ChelleBearss: Better than my 9 year old. He often says he doesn't like things that he's never tried before. Ya know; try it once, at least!

Jan 30, 9:53am Top

I love the sea holly. "prickly strength" - Ah, but you left out beauty. I can definitely see why they appeal to you.

Sounds like you're having fun with the short people.

Hugs on the elder care - so many of us have dealt with that in the last few years!

Jan 30, 10:08am Top

Rachel, your 50-cent incentive dinner had me laughing out loud! Especially the part where your dad offered you 50 cents to stop talking about the mustardy prune. I just want to say Aaron and his kids are lucky to have you in their lives. It sounds like you are enjoying yourself, too. Best of luck to your parents as they downsize.

Jan 30, 11:50am Top

That is definitely a lot to juggle Rachel! I amazed that you are finding anytime to read at all. You go!
At the end of a busy day running around, wrangling children, cleaning up mess after mess, there is nothing I want to do more than just collapse into bed, escape into my books and fantasize about retirement haha. :)

Jan 30, 12:37pm Top

>160 ChelleBearss:, >161 humouress: I was the kid that wouldn't try anything. Now I get reminded of it every time I do something like try the curried goat at the Jamaican restaurant. They grow out of it. 😁

Jan 30, 12:39pm Top

>158 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I told Aaron to make an appointment as soon as possible with the doctor for just that reason. I don't want her in pain or to lose hearing or even have to get a tube (if she doesn't already need one).

As for the prune and the mustard, I'm just weird that way. lol

>159 humouress: Hi Nina! I don't expect the system to get very expensive because they don't eat at the table ANY day of the week at the moment. And they eat whatever they feel like eating. I am going to introduce a weekly (Monday) family night where we eat together. On those days, we'll give the kids 50c to try something new, and $5 to eat the whole serving. Just until they become more adventurous. They both insist they don't like the most delicious food, even when they've never tried it.

I guess donating itself isn't any fun. But it makes me feel like a good person. :)

>160 ChelleBearss: >161 humouress: These two will do both. They'll insist they don't like turkey at Christmas when they loved turkey at Thanksgiving. They'll insist they don't like something even if they've never, ever tried it. I don't really like bribing the kids, but positive incentives are better than negative ones (like guilt and disappointment).

>162 streamsong: Thanks Janet! I'm having quite a bit of fun with the kids, yes. Though they can be frustrating too, lol.

>163 Donna828: Thanks so much Donna! The kids missed the mustardy prune thing, and then wanted to know what dad had paid me not to talk about. I told them I'd tell them if they gave me $10. lol

>164 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Yes, it helps that I'm no longer working. And I WAS working 60-70 hour weeks on my feet, so this feels like a vacation right now. It probably won't feel that way for long, as I get used to it. :)

Jan 30, 12:41pm Top

>165 drneutron: Hopefully they'll grow out of it like you did, Jim. They'd be missing out on a lot of good food if they don't.

Jan 30, 12:49pm Top

HAHAHA! Yes, stay at home caretaker is FAR from a vacation. You are doing just awesome. :)

Jan 30, 12:57pm Top

So my sister was looking for reading material to help her communicate with her angry teenager. So I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a few books. One was for her. :)

This one's for me. Figured it would be nice to get some insight into problems that might come up with this whole marrying a man, his children, and his ex. Because that's exactly how I feel right now!

This is the first book in a series that I think Deirdre will like. I'm currently reading the 5th book.

Impulse purchase. Might gain strength and return it. Probably will read it instead.

I've been thinking on and off about working through Harold Bloom's Canon. But, darn, that list is long. So I figured instead I'd try this shorter list, most of which are on Bloom's canon. I can always move on to the bigger project later. Those of you who know me, know that I'm not that fantastic on finishing projects because I start too many, though.

I thought I'd start with the fiction and the histories from The Well Educated Mind. This is book 1 of histories. The Landmark edition has excellent footnotes, appendices, and maps.

For my sister

for me.

And here's the book that dad bought Deirdre. :)

Jan 30, 12:57pm Top

For some poor souls, food is simply body fuel. Often that's what manifests as pickiness.

Just keeping up the challenges will clarify the situation as time passes. And don't forget mom's influence...is she subtly, even perhaps unconsciously, imposing her own food preferences on the kids? Is it possible she's using food as a weapon against your integration into the family?

Jan 30, 1:00pm Top

New Currently Reading list :)

Jan 30, 1:05pm Top

>168 jolerie: Oh, I know the feeling of being on vacation won't last long, lol. It's already fading a bit.

>170 richardderus: Yes, I've heard of this "body fuel" thing. Sad. So sad.

The mom is definitely an influence. They adore their mom even though she's practically abandoned them - taking them only 36 hours every first and third weekend. Their mom has so far been very polite to me, except one incident when she freaked out because I was going to take Deirdre to get a pedicure. But she is obviously threatened by me...which is too bad, since I will never replace her in the eyes of her children. But people with low self esteems and abandonment issues tend to fear the worst.

Jan 30, 1:13pm Top

Also of note is that mom has abandonment issues therefore abandons the kids. Their high opinion of her is less likely to be challenged since it's largely down to imagination and not experience...and that also makes me think a few casual questions to the mom might pay off, ones about her own food interests. Restaurants she likes? Cookbooks? Something.

Jan 30, 2:12pm Top

>169 The_Hibernator: I have been doing a reading group based on The Well Educated Mind for several years. It is slow going but I enjoy her selections and rationale.

Jan 30, 5:08pm Top

>169 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. I'd keep the Sandel book - I read it last year and found it very stimulating and thought-provoking. Really clear introduction to prevailing theories of what makes something just.

Jan 30, 7:27pm Top

>169 The_Hibernator: Just requested The Well-Educated Mind from my library--looks really interesting. Thanks for the heads-up!

Karen O.

Jan 31, 1:01am Top

>113 The_Hibernator: I read your review of American Psychosis with interest, Rachel. That is basically what happened here in BC. The closed down the mental hospitals with some story about integrating people into society which is why Vancouver ended up with a huge homeless population with mental health and drug problems. In Vancouver it is called the Downtown Eastside.

You have so much on your plate right now. It's a good thing you are a stay-at-home mom or else you wouldn't be able to fit everything in. Looks like you instantly became one of the sandwich generation

Jan 31, 1:32am Top

>169 The_Hibernator: Oh, the Faber & Mazlish books are excellent--I used to run a parenting program using them!

Jan 31, 2:58am Top

Looks like a great haul Rachel. Hope the step family book is useful. We have a couple of ngos here eg https://happysteps.co.uk but I wondered if there are local support groups as well. Lots of people now in merged/ blended families (1 in 3 families according to this site). From friends' experience stressful negotiating across the new relationships as kids very good at playing all parties against each other!

Your food encouragement story made me laugh. Good luck with all the cooking.

Jan 31, 6:05am Top

>173 richardderus: That's a good idea, I can ask her about what restaurants and foods she likes. Deirdre has taken a huge liking to Olive Garden because her mom took her there on a special outing alone. Funny thing is, she won't actually EAT anything from Olive Garden, she just loves going there. lol.

You're right, their opinion of their mother is unlikely to be challenged for a while (until maybe they get to be teenagers or even adults and realize that their mother had a CHOICE in how much she saw her kids), maybe never. We are careful not to say anything unbecoming about their mother while they are in the house. At least the divorce is amicable and she doesn't say nasty things about us, either! That's a huge plus.

>174 Oberon: Hi Erik! I've seen The Well Educated Mind around a lot on the blogosphere, and have always resisted the temptation to pick up the challenge. I'm like "I have Harold Bloom's book...don't need this one." But now that I have it I can see that it was a good choice.

>175 majleavy: I very rarely return stuff once I've bought it, unless there's something wrong with it. So I don't see Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do being returned. :) So on Mt. TBR it goes. It looks like it's really interesting!

>176 klobrien2: Lol, you're welcome Karen! I hope you enjoy it.

>177 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! Yes, I felt that his blame of the US federal government was a bit overstated at times - it was a misunderstanding and miscommunication problem mainly. Well-intentioned people saw how horrible conditions in the hospitals were. Antipsychotics were new and were making symptoms disappear for the first time. There was no way of knowing at the time that people who were "better" would just stop taking their meds, since thinking you're not sick is part of the illness. I'm sure this probably happened more than just in US and Canada.

>178 ronincats: Oh, good! I'm glad I picked out good ones. I specifically went for one that had thousands of reviews on Amazon, lol. I wanted to get my sister something that was well-appreciated since she doesn't read as much as I do and needs more bang for the buck. The teen book looked so good that I decided to buy the kid book as well. I haven't had problems communicating with Deirdre and Malcolm yet because we're still testing our boundaries with each other. But I have noticed a couple times when Aaron's communication has made them cry or when Malcolm has been upset and Aaron hasn't been able to get him to talk. Not that Aaron makes them cry a lot. I've only seen it twice. Sometimes you NEED to be stern. But perhaps the book suggests better ways of being stern? We'll see! Deirdre's turning into a teenager young (in fact, by her smell I'm guessing she may enter puberty much earlier than expected), and these books will be helpful then. Because she's going to turn into a bossy princess monster. (I mean that in the most loving way possible...girls can just be really difficult when they're teens. I'm glad I tended to hang out with boys at the time!)

>179 charl08: I'm hoping A Single Girl's Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and his Ex-Wife will be as good as the reviews say it is. I could probably join a support group - I notice there's at least one on Meetup. But their next planned meeting is on Monday, which is going to be our family night since it's the only weeknight that the kids don't have anything going on. I can always message them and ask if they only meet on Mondays.

Jan 31, 6:21am Top

Wretched day yesterday, but I did a lot of comfort reading. :) The important two things went well - Deirdre passed her hearing test (still taking her to see the doc before swimming, though) and I'm happy with my meeting with the florist. Her idea was to create a bouquet using the sea holly and some dusty miller as the greenery, with some splash of color with peony. And her estimate was $100 less than the florist I was going to meet with today, so I've only got one more estimate to get.

Unfortunately, the day went bad after that. My sister called up saying that Johnny's dad recorded him saying that his mom hits him. That will not go well with the custody investigation - though that's the least of the worries. Johnny's dad doesn't want to see Johnny more...he just wants to not pay child support. As far as I'm concerned, the big worry is that Johnny not end up bed-hopping with his homeless dad. However, now my sister will be investigated by DHS, which is bad. The scarier part is that Johnny has now also told my dad that my sister hits him. Colette says he's lying, but we all know that Colette hits people when she is angry (always has - I've taken quite a few blows, and she shoved dad down right after his hip surgery a few years ago). And we all know that Colette lies like a dog. So we can't believe what she says. And we have no evidence that Johnny is a liar, other than Colette's assertions that he just lies and lies and lies. Colette is now ROYALLY pissed at Johnny, and is threatening to get rid of his dogs as a punishment. This is BAD with Johnny already having suicidal thoughts. I'm practically begging her to let him live with me for a while. Dad has also offered to let him live there until they move to assisted living. That's not a great long-term solution as elder care sucks the life out of care-takers, and Johnny has his own problems. But Johnny would prefer going to his grandparents. It's like a second home for him, and he's been worried about them ever since I moved out.

I'll probably take it easy today rather than trying to get a lot of housework done. Some more comfort reading is in store. I also made a lunch date with my best friend so I can vent. Aaron has been lovely to vent to, as well, but it's nice to have more than one venting receptacle.

On the agenda today:

*reading and venting to Liz

*trying to convince Colette to let Johnny live with me for a while

*I'll also stop by mom and dad's so he can do some in-person venting. He's very worried as well.

Jan 31, 8:16am Top

>166 The_Hibernator: I'm not above a little bribe to get Chloe to try new things. We will often tell her that if she tries something new we will let her have dessert. We were going to have dessert anyway but she is three and hasn't caught on to tricks yet :)

Jan 31, 3:51pm Top

>181 The_Hibernator: That is a *colossally* bad day. {{{Rachel}}}

Edited: Jan 31, 6:38pm Top

Sorry to hear about the day falling apart on you Rachel. :(

Relationships have a way of getting yucky sometimes...hopefully something works out even though when it comes to people, there isn't always an "easy" solution!


Jan 31, 10:09pm Top

>181 The_Hibernator: Sorry to hear about the continuing family drama, Rachel. Johnny living with his grandparents for a while sounds like it might be good for him and them. I hope you had a good lunch and venting session.

>180 The_Hibernator: Yeah, anti-psychotic meds were thought to be miracle drugs but it seems that it is common to stop taking them. Replacing psychosis with medicated reality is not ideal and there are the side effects like weight gain which is not good from a health or social viewpoint.

Feb 1, 8:25am Top

>182 ChelleBearss: Yes, that works for young kids. These kids earn desert only if they finish their meals. So we already have a reward system going on.

>183 richardderus: Thanks for the hugs, Richard!

>184 jolerie: I think their relationship can heal if she'd let him go a little. She can be a very controlling person, and by letting him come to my house or his grandparent's, she'd be risking him living under our rules instead of hers. As she phrased it herself "I want him to know how good he has it here." lol Hopefully she'll let go a little, then I'm certain things will start to get better.

Feb 1, 8:51am Top

>169 The_Hibernator: Quite a varied haul, Rachel! I have some of the Landmark books (all except the latest, The Landmark Julius Caesar, I think), but I haven't gotten around to reading any of them yet.

>181 The_Hibernator: A difficult situation -- I hope that all works out, and that Johnny can spend some time away with his grandparents or with you.

Edited: Feb 1, 10:08am Top

Yesterday was much better than the day before, though it started out a little rough. My step-son Malcolm wouldn't put on his outside clothes in preparation for the bus because his sister Deirdre had tickled him. I asked her to apologize, and she said she apologized in cat. (She reverts to cat mode whenever she's stressed.) I told her to apologize in English because he doesn't understand cat, and she had an anxiety attack. She froze and insisted that she couldn't apologize because her body wouldn't let her. Then when I threatened (and went through with) texting her father about the issue, she started crying and then yelling "it's all your fault!" We ended up missing the bus.

The incident wouldn't be worth mentioning, except that she's been having these anxiety attacks where she freezes and thinks her body won't let her do something about twice a week. You could easily say "she's just pretending, because that's silly," but I think she's really convinced that she can't move. This has apparently been happening for a long time - in school, at her father's, and at her mother's. So I'm not the cause. I'm concerned that she has the seeds of what might develop into an anxiety disorder. Both of her parents agree - her mom says that she had the same problem when she was younger (and it DID develop into an anxiety disorder). So, I did what I do when I'm stressed out, I bought a book:

I also decided that in order to keep myself from getting isolated as a home-maker, I'd join a Meetup book club. (For those in another country, Meetup is an internet gathering place to make groups with people with similar interests.) So I bought these audiobooks:

Now I just need to gain the bravery to actually venture out and meet strangers.

I finished listening to Roots while doing housework. I also finished reading Against the Tide. Reviews upcoming.

On the Agenda for today:

*Talk to another florist, to get my last quote before I decide which to go with.

*Make some Lasagna

Currently Reading

Feb 1, 8:57am Top

>187 harrygbutler: Thanks Harry! I have the Landmark Hellenika. I've only half finished it and may start over again, but it's an excellent series.

Feb 1, 9:11am Top

>189 The_Hibernator: That's good to hear, Rachel! I bought the Landmark books because of favorable mentions, but they just haven't made it to the top of the TBR pile yet. :-)

>188 The_Hibernator: Good luck with tackling the anxiety! And I hope you enjoy the Meetup.

Feb 1, 9:51am Top

>188 The_Hibernator: Meetup sounds like a great way to tackle that particular source of anxiety. Bookish sorts tend to be widely read and therefore more often than not deeply accepting.

Deirdre's anxiety manifestations aren't particularly unusual but also not particularly simple to deal with. I'm glad for these kids that you've got a real "challenge accepted" attitude!

Feb 1, 2:19pm Top

Anxiety disorders definitely can be tricky!
I had bouts of anxiety when I was pregnant and the scariest thing was I couldn't convince my brain that I was being irrational even though I know I was!
There was a few times where I felt like I was "stuck" inside the house. For me being able to open the window or even crack the door helped ease the anxiety a few notches but it was scary to feel like your brain was betraying you.
Good on you for not just writing it off as a childish thing. :)

Feb 2, 7:19am Top

>190 harrygbutler: Thanks Harry! I'm really looking forward to the Landmark books. I'll probably collect the whole set too. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. As far as tackling Deirdre's anxiety goes - she's lucky to be in a family that is understanding of mental illness and would be willing to put her in therapy should she need it. A lot of kids don't have that. Luckily, I don't think this is a full-blown case of an anxiety disorder, though, so hopefully just some understanding care will help dissolve the situation.

>191 richardderus: I'm actually a "social introvert" meaning that I love spending time with other people, but that it drains my energy when I do. Kind of a weird combination. So hanging out with new people sounds exciting in theory, but then I often have difficultly getting myself to GO - especially when the meeting is downtown. I've already got a plan to take the train, which means at least I won't have to drive and park, which will reduce my anxiety quite a bit. As long as I can get myself there without changing my mind, I'll enjoy myself. :) Provided they're a fun group, of course. Based on the books they've read in the past, I think I'll enjoy this book club.

>192 jolerie: Sorry about your anxiety issues when you were pregnant! I have generalized anxiety disorder that flares up rarely. Unfortunately, because it's so rare, I'm rarely prepared with some strong anxiety meds, which means I freak out and can't drive to the drug store and buy some because I'm afraid I'll get into a terrible accident and crash and burn and die. It DOES feel like your mind has betrayed you, doesn't it? Luckily, it's only happened to me twice. I do get twinges of anxiety about other things, but that's mostly manageable with cognitive behavioral / dialectical behavioral training. For instance, I foresee that I will feel anxiety about going to meet the new book club downtown, as I was saying to Richard. So I make plans that will reduce the stress before I even feel it.

Feb 2, 7:35am Top

Yesterday went really well. Nothing particularly exciting to report, other than having decided to go with the first florist who suggested a thistle/dusty miller bouquet. I also read the first chapter of The Well Educated Mind, which suggested that I set aside an hour in the morning 4 times a week for serious literary study. I hadn't intended on taking the project so seriously but she makes a good argument. Therefore, I've decided to set aside other reading projects, and make this my main reading project - the rest of my reading is for fun and can happen at night before I go to bed. Therefore, I made a change-up in the books I'm currently reading:

Currently Reading

On the agenda for today

*Eat some of my lasagna with my friend Todd. We're planning on having a weekly Downton Abbey watch

*Hang out with my nephew in the evening for a movie rental / pizza night. He'll be staying the weekend with us.

*The kids are going to Disney World with their mom for a week starting tomorrow morning. I'm very concerned that this will turn out disastrously since she's alone and she's never been able to handle the kids longer than 36 hours without freaking out and calling Aaron for assistance (like when she asked us to come back from vacation even though the divorce papers allow Aaron to take one vacation a year without the kids - she's now decided that this isn't what the clause meant in the divorce papers...he can go on a vacation, but not leave the kids with her). And usually she has her live-in boyfriend to help her out. Probably because I've worried about it so much, it'll go well. Fingers crossed!

Feb 2, 7:48am Top

>194 The_Hibernator: Hopefully the kid's vacation goes well and you and Aaron can enjoy some alone time.

Feb 2, 12:50pm Top

>194 The_Hibernator: That's a rough thing to cope with, the reinterpreting ex. Be well. Sending hugs!

Feb 2, 1:27pm Top

Hope the meetup group works out Rachel - I went to a book club through them when I was in Manchester - really friendly and fun.

Sorry to hear about your nephew, thinking of you and the family.

Feb 2, 2:49pm Top

Well, Rachel, ups and downs, but all good coping mechanisms involved, it seems. It will be nice for you and Aaron to get some alone time, for sure. I hope that the kids' mother does well with them for the week at Disney World.

Edited: Feb 2, 4:53pm Top

The Picture of Dorian Grey is another of those books that everybody knows about and nobody has actually read. Hope you enjoy it.

Feb 2, 6:02pm Top

Hopefully DisneyWorld will be the exception. I'm a total sucker for that place. We went there for our honeymoon without kids and it was a blast. We went to Disneyland last year for a big family getaway but this time we were there with all our children. It was a blast as well but in a different way. :)

Feb 2, 9:34pm Top

Heya Rachel - I'm slowly trying to catch up on a few more threads. Golly you've had a full on start to your year! Best of luck with everything, I'll try and check in more regularly.

Feb 3, 4:43am Top

>195 ChelleBearss: I'll toast to that, Chelle!

>196 richardderus: Thanks Richard! Their mother gave me the evil eye when I suggested the kids be careful about pickpockets, lol. Apparently that's not something they want to have to worry about. She's like "there's no need to worry. That's why we have wallets." *shakes head Oh well, they'll either learn or they won't. But I know someone who used to work there, and he said that they descend on you almost immediately, and that he'd walk around with his hand on his pocket.

>197 charl08: Thank Charlotte! I'm looking forward to the meetup. I've already done a little chatting with the coordinator over the Meetup app, and he seems very friendly.

>198 karenmarie: Again, Karen, I'll toast to that! :) It'll be nice to have some alone time.

>199 magicians_nephew: I am enjoying it quite a bit, Jim. I decided to set it aside and read it when I was done with Storm of Swords. Serial reading it just wasn't working. But I'm definitely hooked enough to pick it up again when I've finished the fiction I'm reading!

>200 jolerie: Hi Valerie! It's possible Disney World WILL be the exception, that would be wonderful. I know Deirdre's all in to being cooperative and to have a fun time. Malcolm seems less excited and less willing to cooperate with his mom for some reason. Hopefully he'll perk up when he gets there.

>201 evilmoose: Hi Megan! Yeah, I've had a lot to deal with this year, but you know what? Start to a New Week! Yay!

Feb 3, 5:05am Top

Gosh Rachel! You've got a lot going on. Just wishing you the best of luck with it all.

>170 richardderus: Sometimes, it feels like that. Unfortunately, the foods that attract me are chocolates and other things with calories. As I can't grow upwards any longer, I've got to grow in other directions. :0/

>180 The_Hibernator: Yup, never denegrate their mother to them. I made the mistake of venting to my older son (when he was younger) about my husband's family and now both my boys are fiercely protective of them when they discuss them with me.

>188 The_Hibernator: Might hand puppets work for Deirdre? I've heard that people can channel through the puppets even when the rest of their body refuses to obey.

And the bouquet sounds lovely. Even though I don't know what a dusty miller is. :0)

Feb 4, 5:39am Top

>203 humouress: Yes, my sister blasts my nephews' and niece's fathers in front of them (and to them) all the time. Yet for some reason she complains when they do the same thing about her. Poor kids.

Wow. Sock puppets. It might work. I would have to get over my own feeling of silliness suggesting it to her though. :) Not that it's a bad idea, it just seems childish and my instinct is always to treat children a little older than they are. But that's not necessarily the best technique to take with all kids (though it worked well enough with my older nephew...he respects me quite a bit and will have an "adult" conversation with me). Not sure why I feel weird suggesting childish stuff to a child. Sounds like my own hang-up there. :D

Honestly, when I think about it, I realize that sock puppets are fairly close to the reversion to cat thing. She's trying to communicate to us in cat - she seems to have no problem doing that even when her body refuses to do what we want it to - maybe she could try a sock puppet? I'd get her a cat one, but I'd be afraid that it would only talk in cat, like her.

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Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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