Long Time No Update

So, it’s been a while. I’ve discovered that taking care of a now-mobile baby makes working on the computer very difficult. He pulls on the computer cord, wants to be held so he can slam his hand down on the keyboard, and is otherwise distracting. So, sorry for the long delay in posting.

And see? Now he’s crying. that’s the end of my update.

Alright, bottle in left hand, baby in lap, typing with right hand on phone. Back to update.

These are my most recent photos of IL (almost 8mo), D (9) and M (7). They are growing, no?

Over the past month, I have been applying to daytime jobs. I’m switching from my evening job. I’ll be putting IL in daycare and working days in order to get better benefits. It’s a lot of work researching jobs AND daycare at the same time! I got a job offer to start on the 20th, so now I need to fill out the daycare paperwork and get IL registered by Tuesday at the latest.

Currently Reading

Completed This Week

The Apothecary’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen

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Summary: In this Historical Christian Romance, Lily Haswell struggles with choosing between the high-society life of her mother’s family and the less glamorous life of her father’s apothecary shop in the village she grew up in.

Thoughts: This was an engaging and well-written book. I had a little difficulty sorting through my thoughts about the many suitors that Lily had, though. They all seemed so nice in their own way, and it got a bit emotionally exhausting. I’ve never been a fan of love triangles. However, that was the only downside of this light, sweet read.

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Update Week 59

Hi all! Real life has been a bitch lately, so I think I will go for a fresh start. I have 15 book reviews that I’m behind on, but I think I’ll narrow it down to only a few that I really want to write a review on. That will make catching up much easier. I therefore will work on reviews for Scarlet Letter, Gulliver’s Travels, Much Ado About Nothing, and Brave New World over the next couple of weeks.

We’re currently working on getting IEPs for my two stepkids, as they have both been having a lot of stress lately. What a confusing process! The school’s social worker talked us out of doing one last year, because it was “too late in the year,” and he talked us out of doing one at the beginning of this year because “let’s see what happens.” So now that things are bad, we don’t have IEPs! We won’t let him talk us out of it again!

One fun thing I did in the last two weeks is go on a date with Aaron. We went out to a brewery for dinner and to a comedy club at the Mall of America afterwards. Here’s our date-night picture:

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I also snapped a good picture of my mom with IL. Her Alzheimer’s is getting a lot worse lately, and dad has been talking more and more of selling the house and going into assisted living/memory care. I have been working hard on cleaning out the stuff in their house so that it is easier to move when the time comes. It’s shocking how much stuff one accumulates in a lifetime.

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Here’s a picture of IL “enjoying” the first really sunny day we’ve had this “Spring.”

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And a picture of D holding IL:

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In other news, I have decided to change my diet plan because, since January, I have simply maintained weight and have not lost any. I am now doing calorie cycling. I will eat 1150 calories on each weekday and 2650 calories on weekends. Theoretically, this is supposed to discourage long-term leptin changes common in low-calorie diets, blah, blah, blah. I am skeptical of diets which don’t have a lot of research to back them up…but I figure this plan gives me days that I keep low calorie count and days that I can cheat without cheating. That’s my main problem with a normal diet is that I cheat on a daily basis, because every day seems like a good cheating day. 🙂 Obviously, I intend on supplementing with exercise. Now that it’s spring, maybe I can save up to buy a hiking baby backpack! He’s just old enough that I’m willing to try him out in one.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

Due to real life getting in the way, I haven’t read anything except the IEP guide recently. But hopefully today I can get back on track.

 

 

 

Update Week 57

Well, this is why it’s hard for me to post reviews anymore. This is me trying to write my review of Scarlet Letter, which never got finished. I had to wedge IL between my tummy and a pillow against the table in order to prop him up so I could type.

The week went really well. I had an interview with a really promising biomed startup company here in the Twin Cities. They make bioartificial kidneys and livers that they hope will be transplantable within the next 10 years. I enjoy being a homemaker, but it would enjoy using my PhD again even more. So it’s an exciting prospect. My phone interview on Tuesday went well, and it was followed by another phone interview on Friday. This upcoming Monday, I have a 2 hour in-person interview. So wish me luck!

This week was also M’s first grade concert and art show. Unfortunately we were way in back, so my pictures of him are very zoomed in. But there he is in front wearing the purple shirt.

And here is his self portrait, which had been chosen to be displayed in the district office.

Here is the rest of the family waiting for the concert to begin.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

I’ve already cut down the number of books I’m reading to 4. Not pictured is the audiobook I’m listening to. This is rare for me, but I can’t decide what to listen to next (because I’m waiting for several holds to come through at the library and one has been “any day” for about a week).

Completed in the last week

Completed

M pounded out 4 of the Dragon Masters books aloud to me this week. I also finished Brave New World. No others, since I gave up on two books last week.

Update Week 56

 

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

 

Well, it’s Saturday again, and another winter storm is about to hit the Twin Cities. Apparently 6-12 inches of heavy, wet snow is expected starting around noon today. Maybe this will be the last storm? Maybe?

This week was uneventful. Partly, that’s because we forgot to take D to her Pinewood Derby weigh-in on Thursday, so she didn’t get to race on Friday. I guess it was partly her responsibility to remember as well, but I do feel pretty bad about it. Oh well, at least she enjoyed making her car.

Feeding therapy for M has been going well, finally. Now that the stress is off eating a variety of foods, M is eating more regularly again. At least he did THIS week. We’ll see how long it continues.

IL has, of course, stopped rolling over. I think he figures he has that skill down and he doesn’t need any more practice.

I had a reminder earlier this week of why dad and mom should move to assisted living. Dad was out raking his roof and he fell down in the snow. He couldn’t figure out how to get back up again, and he was out of breath. So he just decided to take a nap in the snow (it was a little under 0 degrees F at the time). Luckily, he managed to crawl to the sidewalk after a short rest, so it ended well enough. But it’s scary to think how long it would have taken my Alzheimer’s stricken mom to notice my dad’s absence, find out where he was, and call 911. And does she even know how to call 911? Over a year ago, when I was living there, I heard him say “call 911” in the middle of the night, and she said “I don’t know how.” (I called 911 that time, of course.) This is not reassuring at all. 😦 But I guess lots of people go through this with their aging parents.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

I’m getting back into the habit of reading a lot of books at once. I generally keep that up for a while, and then taper back off to one nonfiction and one fiction. But for now, I’m reading 5 books and listening to one.

Completed

Completed

I finally finished Washington Black and American Overdose. I’d set Washington Black aside months ago only 50 pages from the end (it was the end of a reading-a-lot-at-the-same-time era). I’m not sure what took me so long with American Overdose, as it was excellent, and I’d been reading it since before it was published, lol. M read the 3rd Dragon Masters book to me, and I read the second Emily Windsnap book to D. I’m reading the Ranger’s Apprentice Series for my own amusement. It’s excellent so far.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Summary: In this open letter to his son, Coates discusses how black people in the US have lost their bodies – first to slavery and now to statistically disproportionate murder, imprisonment, and threats.

My Thoughts: This was a short work, but a powerful one. Coates makes the point that “race” is a false way of categorizing humans and that people who view themselves as “white” in the US have built their empire with the blood of people they view as “black.” It is a very personal account of how Coates feels that he and his friends have lost their bodies to this empire. I think it was the personal nature of his letter, combined with intelligent points, that has made this work touch the hearts of so many Americans. This is a must-read for everyone, no matter their race.

4 and half snowflakes

American Overdose, by Chris McGreal

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Summary: In this heartbreaking work, McGreal covers a detailed history of illegal distribution of opioids by doctors, immoral advertising and drug pushing by big pharma, and the failures of the DEA and FDA in regulating prescriptions. He described how the careless over-prescription of opioids led to addiction, and too frequently to a switch to heroin and/or to overdose.

My thoughts: This book was utterly tragic. I am horrified at the failures of these powerful people who are responsible for keeping us safe. I already knew about the opioid epidemic and how people were switching from prescribed medications to heroin, but I had no clue how careless the FDA and DEA had been. I had no idea about the magnitude of immoral advertising by drug companies and of the illegal prescribing by doctors. I realize, of course, that most doctors prescribe as they see best, and that this book spent a lot of time focusing on a few doctors and pharmacies who did their best to make fortunes off of illegal prescriptions – so I’m not trying to say that all doctors are to blame. That was not McGreal’s point, either, though he did point out that even doctors who are prescribing as they see best may be working under misinformation about how well opioids work on chronic pain and about the addictiveness  of these medicines.

This is by far the most powerful bit of nonfiction I’ve read in quite a while. I would highly recommend this book to everybody – it’s a book that should be read. Especially for people who blame the “addicts” rather than recognizing the failures in the system that led to their addictions.

5 snowflakes