Why Meeting Kristan Higgins Was Important

Bestselling author Kristan Higgins is a mama bear, unabashedly in love with her kids.  When she visited the library last night on her last book tour stop before heading home she spoke with great emotion about her family.  She had a late miscarriage in her 20’s that makes her appreciate her two healthy children even more than she might have otherwise.  She said something like grief can break your heart wide open and make it even bigger.

Most of you know the challenges we’ve faced over the years and  I mentioned that Gage was having nightmares for a few weeks and the doctor wanted me to watch him.  She recommended us to a pediatric neurologist so yesterday we went to our appointment to discuss the nightmares and the shaking with a very nice doctor.  After about 15 minutes he, very nicely, recommended a 3 day video EEG.  Gage checks into the hospital on a Sunday afternoon, gets hooked up with all the wires, and then stays there in his room until Wednesday afternoon.  Needless to say I was completely floored, not at all expecting this.  It seemed so extreme.  I was a bundle of nerves, anxiety and a lot uncertainty.  I even let myself have a glass of wine over dinner with Jason as we discussed it.  Then it was time to leave to see Kristin and I did.  Because I needed it.

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She was every bit as personable as I’d hoped she’d be based on her presence on social media.  She told funny stories, got a little choked up when discussing her miscarriage, answered questions, and spent time with each of us even though the line was long and it was getting late.  I made some friends in the line while we waited to meet her and left the library feeling 100% better about life, deciding all worries could wait until morning.

Well, it’s morning and I’m still feeling okay.  And I bet if I read one of her books I’ll feel even better.  Gage is fine and the hospital stay could answer a lot of questions I’ve had over the years.  Keeping my 8 year old in a small room with wires on his head for 72 hours still causes me much anxiety, but I’m putting off the worry until tomorrow.  He isn’t scheduled until next month so I can keep the worry away one day at a time for awhile.

Thanks Kristin for getting me over the initial panic 🙂

 

Sound Bites: Life Lessons By a Boy Who Has Autism by Aaron Broadstreet and Taff Price

Sound Bites. Finished 8-3-19, 43 pages, pub. 2014

Aaron is a boy with Aspergers, no longer a diagnosis on its own but now just part of the autism spectrum.  He is local and I was delighted to find his book for sale at our local grocery store.  The book was written by Aaron in his journal at the encouragement of his parents.  Aaron mentioned that he wished there was a life guidebook and his father told him he should be the one to write it.  So he did.

It’s a brief glimpse into his view of the world and how we can be better.  I enjoyed his voice and his drawings.  We all need to see life from someone else’s eyes more often and this book can do that for you.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Title: The Friend Zone, Author: Abby Jimenez The  Friend Zone. Finished 8-3-19, 3/5 stars. romance, 362 pages, pub. 2019

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.   from Goodreads

My book group received the ARC for our August meeting, but I missed it so I have no idea how the others liked it.  I started reading and enjoyed the banter and predictable romance plot.  The main character is kept from loving herself because of her ongoing issues with her reproductive issues and the knowledge that she is infertile.  She has a perfect boyfriend who is in the military and she only sees for a few weeks every year, but he’s getting ready to come home for good.  Enter Josh, a sexy fireman and carpenter who steals her heart.

So, had this been the story it would have been fine, but there were a few things that happened at the end that were…wrong, just wrong.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was disappointed in the direction it took because it felt insulting to the reader.  Nonetheless, I did like the main characters and their chemistry and it was fun read, for awhile.

 

Pleased To Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are by Bill Sullivan

Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and t… Pleased To Meet Me. Finished 8-7-19, 4.5/5 stars, 335 pages, pub. 2019

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for asking me to participate and apologize for not getting this up last week when I should have.

Why are you attracted to a certain “type?” Why are you a morning person? Why do you vote the way you do? From a witty new voice in popular science comes a life-changing look at what makes you.

“I can’t believe I just said that.” “What possessed me to do that?” “What’s wrong with me?” We’re constantly seeking answers to these fundamental human questions, and now, science has the answers. Clever, relatable, and revealing, this eye-opening narrative from Indiana University School of Medicine professor Bill Sullivan explores why we do the things we do through the lens of genetics, microbiology, psychology, neurology, and family history. From what we love (and hate) to eat and who we vote for in political elections to when we lose our virginity and why some people find drugs so addicting, this illuminating book uses the latest scientific research to unveil the secrets of what makes us tick. Filled with fascinating insights–including how experiences that haunted our grandparents echo in our DNA, why the bacteria in our guts mess with our minds, and whether there really is a “murder gene”–this revolutionary book explains the hidden forces shaping who we are, pointing us on a path to how we might become our best selves.   from Goodreads

There is so much to unpack in this book.  First, I need to mention that it’s written with a lot of humor to make it more readable, especially the first half or so.  Second, any book that tells of the Kenny Rogers Seinfeld episode has already won me over.  Just so you know there is a scientific reason why I agree with Newman that broccoli is a vile weed.  Third, there’s a lot of information in here that I think women should be aware of BEFORE they get pregnant.  For reals, I felt that I failed Gage in so many ways just by what I ate or didn’t eat in pregnancy.  And lastly, this book attempts to make scientific studies fun and does a really good job.

I love when mainstream books make the gut-brain connection and that showed up here.  Your gut is your brain people.  This is an issue that I’ve studied quite a lot for Gage.  Many kids on the spectrum have compromised guts and healing them can go a long way in their future diagnosis.  And autism isn’t the only brain condition that this applies to, so I was glad to see it featured.  Grumpy old men is a real thing – who knew?  There was an interesting idea on the Chicago violence (hint-lead).  In the last bit of the book he talked about politically leanings and I was intrigued.  Just by looking at someone’s brain scan they can predict with 72% accuracy their political leanings.  (hint-conservatives scare more easily than liberals)  But both sides, once entrenched find it almost impossible to change because of the way our brains work.  Interesting stuff that explains a lot of what’s happening today.

This is a fun book with something for everyone.

This Week in Nightmares

Fave Pic

IMG_1336 There weren’t many rides at the fair, but the swings made him happy.

Highlights of the week This was the last full week Gage has at home before he starts 3rd grade.  He’s got Lego camp next week and a few more days and then, poof! School starts.  Last weekend I had the 24 hour read-a-thon and it was a lot of fun.  And the fundraiser for DBSA Solon was a wonderful afternoon at a renovated home in Shaker Heights.  I’m sharing a few photos because it really was hard to believe that people lived here!

We also went to the Cuyahoga County Fair for the first time and I fell in love with pretty much every animal in the rabbit and chicken barn, lol.  I’m a city girl and was amazed at the variety.

Could’ve been better  Well, for the past few weeks Gage has been waking up with nightmares every few nights, completely out of the blue.  And then he woke up and got sick two nights in a row.  So, we headed to a doctor who was lovely, but mentioned sleep seizures as a possibility and ‘as a mother’ would recommend being in the room with him when he sleeps.  And to touch base with her on Monday.  So, sleep is…tricky.  It’s only been two nights so we’ll see.  Prayers are always appreciated.

Finished readingEat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root…Just Who Will You Be? by Maria ShriverElevation by Stephen KingThe Friend Zone by Abby JimenezIndeh by Ethan Hawkeand Sound Bites:Life Lessons By a Boy Who Ha Autism.

Continued reading Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and t… as part of a TLC book tour I was supposed to have this review up days ago, but I still have two chapters left that I’ll finish when I take over bed duties from Jason in a bit.

Plans for the weekend As part of house renovations we now have a room ready for Gage to use for Lego City so his #1 goal this weekend is to go and buy all of the necessary tables. As for me, I’d love to go see a movie.  Have you seen a good movie at the theater lately?

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh Peace Is Every Step. Finished 7-17-19,  5/5 stars, buddhism, 134 pages, pub. 1991

Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh’s experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is—in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. the deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindFUL.    from Goodreads 

I have been reading Thich Nhat Hanh for my daily meditation this year.  This is the second book I finished and it’s my favorite of all his books that I’ve read so far.  He is a Vietnam monk who coined the phrase ‘engaged Buddhism’.  Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice. (wikipedia)  Because of his peaceful protest belief he influenced Martin Luther King Jr. during the Vietnam War and was actually nominated by King for the Nobel Peace Prize that year.

Here’s a link to some quotes from the book.  They might not be the ones that touched me the most, but they will give you a sense of his writing.  I was raised from birth in the Christian church.  I’m still a Christian.  But if we all took to heart what Hanh has to say this world be a much better place.

This week in wineries

Fave pic of the week

IMG_1009 I didn’t post last weekend because I was at my family ‘girls’ weekend.  We were in Madison, Ohio, only 40 minutes from me, and our rented house was within 10 minutes of at least 4 wineries, probably more but that’s all we managed to visit.  I always appreciate the time and effort from everyone to make this happen every year.  Next year my mom and I are in charge of planning.

Highlights of the week  This week Gage didn’t have camp (next week either) so we picked up Grandma and headed to the President McKinley Library & Museum and Memorial.  It was 55 minutes from home and was a full day affair after we stopped at Aladdin’s for a very late lunch and a quick stop in Books a Million where Gage bought a Lego set and I bought up the board game Labyrinth.  It was a fun day.  Also, Gage was so proud of himself for completing the library Summer Reading Challenge.  We made a special trip to the library so he could get his free book.

Could’ve been better  They have started ripping up our side of the street so it’s 2 more weeks of parking on the cul-de-sac and walking through our neighbor’s yard.  But at least we got front row seats to how it was done.

Finished reading  Airs Above the Ground and listening I Know Who You Are both of which I reviewed here on the blog.

Still reading Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root… and Started reading Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and t….

On the Small Screen  We wrapped up season 3 of Stranger Things and I finally finished the last season of New Girl.  And we’ve starting watching a few shows a week of Justified.  I love Timothy Olyphant so I’m a fan.

Plans for the weekend  We have a wedding tonight at 5:30 and then there’s this

On the way home from the reception (whatever time that will be) we’ll start listening to a Stephen King Book in the car and then I’ll see if I can make it the rest of the 24.  I’ll post updates in IG.  I’m stacybuckeye if you want to follow. Here’s my stack to choose from IMG_1207.JPG

Anyone else giving the reverse readathon a try?

 

 

July’s Movies and $ for charity

Is it possible I only saw one movie this month?  I guess so.  We finished up season 4 of Game of Thrones and Stranger Things season 3 and that’s been our screen time for the month.  So, what have you seen?  Please add your words – it makes it so much more fun!

You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $15 right now.  Your charity could be next 

John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum.png John Wick 3: Parabellum, 2019 (Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Angelica Huston, Mark Dacascos, Asia Dillon, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick)          Grade C+

Wanted more story less headshots.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

Title: I Know Who You Are, Author: Alice Feeney I Know Who You Are. Finished 7-26-19, 3.5/5 stars, suspense, pub. 2019

Unabridged audio read by Stephanie Racine. 9 CDs

l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.   from Goodreads

Aimee is one of those characters you can’t quite trust.  Yes, she’s an actress but she’s acting all wrong and you’re not sure why.  Her husband goes missing and obviously they had their problems and she’s lying to police, but why?  She’s not quite likable enough to pull it off.  You also get the story of the little girl and it’s no surprise that it’s Aimee’s story and it helps explain why she seems so off.  The police are sniffing around and she is totally unconcerned.

Honestly, I really didn’t really care one way or another but it was just interesting enough to continue listening and I’m glad that I did.  For any fireworks that were missing for most of the story they all showed themselves in the last part of the book and they were worthy of a grand finale.  I think the end will shock you, maybe even more than once.  So, if you are willing to go slow and wait for he payoff this is your book.

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Title: Airs Above the Ground: The suspenseful, romantic story that will sweep you off your feet, Author: Mary Stewart Airs Above the Ground. Finished 7-22-19, 3.25/5 stars, suspense, 373 pages, pub. 1965

Lovely Vanessa March, two years married and very much in love, did not think it was a strange for her husband to take a business trip to Stockholm. What was strange was the silence that followed. She never thought to look for her missing husband in Vienna — until she saw him in a newsreel shot there at the scene of a deadly fire. Then she caught a glimpse of him in a newsreel shot of a crowd near a mysterious circus fire and knew it was more than strange. It was downright sinister.

Vanessa is propelled to Vienna by the shocking discovery. In her charge is young Timothy Lacy, who also has urgent problems to solve. But her hunt for answers only leads to more sinister questions in a mysterious world of white stallions of Vienna. But what promises to be no more than a delicate personal mission turns out to involve the security forces of three countries, two dead men, a circus and its colourful personnel. And what waits for Vanessa in the shadows is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.   from Goodreads

I’ve been wanting to try a Mary Stewart book for years since I knew she was one of the first writers of romantic mystery.  Although over 50 years old, the characters and dialogue hold up remarkable well.  I enjoyed Vanessa and Tim and their adventures across parts of Europe.  There was a twist not quite in the middle that I loved, but I don’t want to spoil it by telling you any more about it.  There was some brief romance, but I’d have a hard time characterizing this as romantic suspense by today’s standards.

As much as those things worked for me, just when the story hit its peak, there was a long, drawn out chase scene that bored me to tears.  And there is a lot of horse in this story.  If you like horses I’d guess that you would get way more out of the story than I did.  I learned a lot about the Spanish Riding School and it’s not something that drew me into the story, but might someone else.

Overall, I thought it felt fresh even though it was written in a time when people watched their news at the movie theater 🙂