Monday, September 30, 2013

laundry quandry

Today, Monday, is my laundry day. (Ugh)

Dirty laundry is the bane of my existence.

There are eight people in my house, and eight people make a lot of dirty laundry. Dirty laundry that needs to be washed on a regular basis, namely-weekly.

I've been campaigning for years that we should all move to a nudist colony 'cause then my life would be laundry free and so much easier, but my husband says, "No thanks." (party pooper)

So I carry on with my eternalaggravating, horrible, weekly laundry chore. I learned a while ago that I can not do anything on laundry day, BUT laundry.  I can't go shopping, I can't cook anything fancy, I can only do laundry or I will never get it all done in one day and it will stretch out for days on end like a case of particularly vicious stretch marks (or for example, this really long, run on sentence).

You may wonder why I don't have my children do their own laundry? One simple reason really, they don't have enough dirty clothes each to justify each of them running loads separately. Knowing my boys like I do, they would consider three pairs of underwear a load. And can you imagine how many loads would run every week if all six kids washed their clothes separately? (They do however, all take turns doing everyone's laundry all summer long when they are off school.)

This morning, right at 6am, I had everyone gather their dirty clothes and they sorted it into the appropriate baskets (whites, darks, mediums, towels). I was grabbing a load of darks when I noticed in one of the baskets what appeared to be a book.

Lest this confuses you, as it did me, let me clarify: I don't wash hardbound copies of Harry Potter. I wash shirts, pj's, jeans, underwear, socks, sports clothes of all kinds, and lots of other clothing type things, but I do NOT wash books.

I do however have children who, while cleaning their rooms, (mistakenly) think their dirty clothes baskets are some kind of magical catch-all for anything and everything. A soccer cleat with no partner? Drop it in the dirty clothes basket.  A Nerf gun? Drop it in the dirty clothes basket. Old homework papers? Dirty clothes basket. A Harry Potter book? Dirty clothes basket (obviously).

This my friends, is where I draw the line. The children at fault admitted to the misdeed.  One child admitted to placing the book in the basket (really?), the other child was at fault for sorting it into today's laundry piles.

And I am happy to report that my laundry loads will be lighter today. Not just one Harry Potter book lighter but all the offender's laundry lighter. They get to do their own! (Breaking my own rule.)

Parenthood. It ain't for sissies.

And for that matter, neither is laundry for eight.

Friday, September 27, 2013

books glorious books!

Since I seem to be writing a lot about reading this week, here are the best books I've read this year, in no particular order.

I love Gary D. Schmidt and read lots of his books over the summer. He always writes in the voice of a young boy, and I don't know if I think this is hilarious because my life is surrounded with teen/tween/young boys, or what?

Other Gary D Schmidt's that I recommend are Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster BoyTrouble (FYI- PG-13), and First Boy. I started What Came From the Stars, but it's very science fiction-y and I didn't like it.
Except for What Came From the Stars, I give all the books 4 out of 4 stars.

Oh my, Leif Enger, how I love your books!
I normally read at lightening pace, but with these books, I make a conscious effort to slow down and relish the gorgeous words.
Highly recommended.
4 stars.

I didn't expect to like this book.  Her blog is really fluffy and cutesy and I imagined her book would be the same.  I decided to try it out, mainly out of curiosity. I'm happy to say it was good. I will tell you though that it's in three parts and the second part deals with her plane crash, etc. and I sobbed my eyes out. It was really painful. But sometimes I like a good cry, it's cathartic.
3 stars.

Truthfully, it's been a while since I've read this, and I'm a little fuzzy on the details.  I do remember liking it, but it's probably PG-13, since one of the themes is choir boys and how they are "made" to stay sopranos..... ahem.
3.5 stars

 Just read this last week.  So very good and heartbreaking and redeeming all at once. I know a book is good when I think about it long after I put it down, and this is one of those.  Plus, I really love the artwork on the cover. I stopped several times while reading to admire it. Highly recommended, but PG-13, and Mom (hi, mom!) I don't think you'll like it.....
4 stars

Just finished this yesterday.  A good read, not the best thing I've ever read, but I would recommend it.  The story of a family who lives in Cambodia's largest municipal dump (!) and their fight for survival. (Based on a true story.)
3 stars

Read this with my book group, and I found it sad but good. I think often we don't realize, living in the USA that many, many people and even kids are living day to day, hour by hour and they don't know when or if the next meal will come.
3 stars.

Normally, I don't read books that make me think too hard. I'm much more of a read for pleasure type of gal. But I kept hearing about Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, so I decided to give it a try and I really loved it. It's very interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm an introvert and my husband is probably even more so.  If you are an introvert or you're related to one, I recommend this book!
3.5 stars

Finally, Wonder by R.J. Palacio. A must read for any kid going into Junior High and an interesting read for adults too. It will make you stop and think about your personal approach to dealing with people that look different.
3.5 stars

Well, that's it for today.
 But never fear, I picked up 5 new books from the library yesterday!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

to cheat or not to cheat, that is the question....

Fact #1: I'm an avid reader. There is never a time that I'm not engrossed in a book. In fact, I usually have a stack of about 4 books waiting to be read.

Fact #2: I'm a cheater.

Well, let me clarify that....

I don't cheat at games. I don't cheat on my husband. I don't even speed while driving (ahem, mostly).

But I always, always read the last page of whatever book I'm reading, after I'm about 1/3 of the way into the book. I don't start a book knowing that I will cheat, but I will be reading happily along when all of a sudden, I have to know what the ending will be like.

I don't like surprises. I want to know if the book is going to end happy or sad. I want to brace myself and be prepared if it's going to be sad.

My sister, who won't even read the inside jacket or the back of the book to get the summary, because she doesn't want to spoil the story, obviously thinks this is blasphemy(!).

Sometimes there is just a short paragraph on the last page, and sometimes the page is full. But I can usually tell what the "feel" is, by reading whatever is there. Most of the time, reading the last page doesn't give away the ending of the story, but it just lets me know whether to expect "happy" or "sad".

Is this cheating?  Probably, but I really don't care, it's a system that works for me.

This habit of mine, is just one of the many reasons MS is frustrating to me. I want to know the end of the story! Yes, I realize no one knows the end of their life story. But when you add MS to the equation, it changes the normal life story. Now that I know what I know, I'm pretty sure the end of my story will involve harder things than the average healthy person.

What I really need is a crystal ball!


Monday, September 23, 2013

game time (or not)

We are not a household of gamers. We do not own a gaming system or video games or DS's or Gameboys or whatever is the latest toy. Do our four boys wish we had these toys? Yes, they do. But my husband and I think they are a waste of time that could be better spent playing outside, or doing sports or whatever.

This article, however is really interesting to me. Not interesting enough to actually go buy the game (sorry, boys) but definitely food for thought.

How about you?  Do you game? Do you think it could help with MS troubles?

Friday, September 20, 2013

C is for Copaxone- the follow up

I'm done with Copaxone.

I've taken it for 21 months but my last shot was a week ago. It seems as if Copaxone is trying to kill me, and frankly, I rather die via the slow excruciating MS method.

One of the lesser known side effects of Copaxone is: Some patients report a short term reaction right after injecting Copaxone. This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing.

In other words, you feel like possibly you are going to die from a heart attack. I've experienced this side effect five times total in the last 21 months, with 2 of the attacks in the last two weeks. And just to make it extra fun, each time the attack happens, it's worse than the last time. One part of the side effect that they don't even mention on their web site, is that about half an hour after your real fake heart attack, sometimes (not always) the chills will hit like you have an instant case of the Avian-Portuguese-Zombie flu. I was shaking so bad it woke my husband up. 

By the next morning I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. On most days I don't feel that great in the morning, so having a real fake heart attack the night before isn't really helpful.

Let's recall that Copaxone is a daily who wouldn't want to have a real fake heart attack followed by the Avain-Portuguese-Zombie flu, EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I was already in the process of switching over to Tecfidera when my last attack hit. But starting a new medicine involves lots of paperwork, phone calls, and time. My doctor (who I don't really like, but that's another story for another day) seems to think I can just stop the Copaxone and wait for the Tecfidera to come. Which is fine by me. The thought of popping another shot in, and waiting for the next real fake heart attack is entirely unappealing.

Bring on Tecfidera!  Pills, no injections. Side effects could possibly be a flushed (red) face and GI troubles.  So I will look like I've spent too much time at the beach and I'll need a bathroom near at all times. But! No real fake heart attacks.

Maybe I should go back to school and become a mega-brain scientist who invents the next great MS drug. It will be taken in the form of chocolate bar to be eaten once daily. It will magically melt in your mouth. The side effects will be hair loss on your legs (for women) or your face (for men), so you don't have to shave any more. Another side effect will be instant improvement in your skin, no zits or wrinkles.  The final side effect will be minty fresh breath 24/7. Now, who wouldn't want that!

A new miracle drug.  I'll get right on it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michael J

By the time I was 14, I was 5'11" tall. I towered over everyone I knew. I was always known as the tall girl.  When friends signed my  yearbook at the end of the school year, their entries always had some form of "you're so tall!," as if I didn't know this and needed people to point it out to me.

Back then my dad, a regular giant himself, at 6'5" loved to tease me about my love for Michael J Fox. (Google tells me that Michael J. Fox is 5'4".) "How can you love a guy that's that short!," he would laugh. But I didn't care. I had started my love affair while watching Family Ties on tv, and then when Michael J. Fox starred in Back to the Future the deal was sealed. He was smart, funny, sarcastic and cute.  Who cared that he was 7 inches shorter than me?

Fast forward time to when I was 39 and had received my diagnosis of MS. It had been a few months and I was still wallowing in despair. In the library one day, I happened to come across Michael J Fox's memoir, Lucky Man. I knew that it dealt with his Parkinson's diagnosis and it featured my favorite short guy, so I brought it home.

I enjoyed the book, and I felt it dealt very truthfully with the realities of receiving a life changing diagnosis.  He treated the subject with self deprecating humor and charm. In a small way, it reminded me that people everywhere are dealing with things that they didn't plan for.

This morning while eating my breakfast I read the above article in Good Housekeeping magazine, a small excerpt is found here.  He is still the same funny, charming guy that he's ever been. He hasn't allowed Parkinson's to define himself. He carries on, he lives his life, he works to find a cure. He is happy. In the article he talks about "joy". He says, "That's really the emotion I'm most at home in. Not that I can't experience sadness or desire or whatever. I'm just most at home in joy."

I like it.

The article closes with: "Look at the choices you have, not the choices that have been taken away from you. In them, there are whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things."

Wise, wise words from my favorite short guy.