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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vardin Village --- A Novel Review

Disclosure: I was given a free book in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own!

Vardin Village was written by Maggie Spence. It's available in Kindle Format or in what I call a "sturdier" paperback format (not hard). If I can I usually prefer a paperback or hard book, since I can take it places with me to read, without worrying if I have "bars" on my iPhone and how much data am I using! I took this book initially to several doctor appointments early this year, and I did the rest of reading Vardin Village at home or when husband was driving us in the car somewhere. Her novel Vardin Village, is a 305 pages in length, and it is without pictures. I want to explain why I made a point of mentioning that it had no pictures in it! When I received the book, I was impressed by the illustrator's picture of the Vardin mansion on the cover! It was beautiful! I really feel that it helped me to paint the picture of the Vardin Village town in my mind. I cannot begin to tell you, my blog reader, how I felt that I could envision the story in my mind as Ms. Maggie told it on paper! I could feel like I was in the story seeing what was going on with George and his sister! She told the story about Vardin Village so well in detail that the story "painted" the picture for the reader! I seriously don't know if anyone who read her book felt that way, but I definitely know that I did! Okay, so I am "WOW"-ing her book before I even tell you a few brief synopsis! I can't help it, I seriously loved the book!

 Okay, so now onto the book review! Vardin Village is a small village that George Vardin's great, great, great, great, grandfather founded many years ago. The "many" great-grandfather wanted to give back to the village.  Many years later, George and his sister Eleanor are living in the cottage on the property of the mansion. The cottage is one step away from being condemned. They are living in conditions worse than you could imagine, compared to their ancestors. He'd like to be able to do the same things that his friends do, like date, be on the varsity team for football, and to hang out with the guys. Slight problem, no money to be able to do any of those cool things. His friends don't know what kind of situation he's in, especially being a Vardin. When his father married his mother, his grandfather disinherited his father, and made sure that his mother couldn't get any of the money. George and Eleanor's father died, and their mother took off, becoming a drug addict. Friends of the family got together, especially Uncle Morris, to try to keep the two kids together and in better living quarters, such as the mansion. I do not want to give away the rest of the story, you really need to read the book, I am so serious! I really enjoyed it, regardless of being given it in exchange for my review!

For more information on the book by Maggie Spence, go to Vardin Village . You can get the book in paperback or in e-book format. I had taken pictures of the front and the back of the book, but they aren't showing up for me when I go to look for them on my Mac.


Friday, June 26, 2015

A quick update on the family!

Hey y'all! I've had a sinus infection that has taken up the better part of this month, and I'm on round 2 of antibiotics (I finished the steroids up yesterday! I did not like the hot flashes with them! The sweating part was so intensified!). I didn't know that I couldn't take Diflucan if I was on Lipitor (I found that out earlier this month!).  I have come home from work this week and fallen asleep on the sofa--- not getting anything done on the blog. Forgive me, I was exhausted! Steven was off at Mission Is Possible, and hubby was at work those mornings!

Son informed us that he was healed of his back pain when his pastor prayed and put healing oil on him during Mission Is Possible week. I was hoping that someone would lay hands on him or pray for the healing for him this week! Alleluia! He's felt so much better today!

This afternoon was spent at the vet, two of the birds, Trouble and Shrek needed to be seen for trimming. Trouble was due his annual visit, and he freaked in the office in his typical Senegal fashion. He bumped into the wall and hit a blood feather close to its entry site, and it bleed some. He wasn't happy at all about being toweled for wings, beak and nails to be trimmed! Shrek's got used to having his beak dremel'd by the vet. We have to keep it trimmed or it starts to grow up towards his left eye---- long story, he got caught up in the door about two winters ago, and his beak grows strange now because of it.

Still working on a few posts, I'm not sure if I'm going to be working a 3 or 5 night stretch, it depends on how our census is at work this weekend and Monday. Changeover night is Tuesday night, and it's when we have to check July's med and treatment sheets against June's sheets for all of our patients that night. I'm scheduled off, but I volunteered if they need me.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Joy Williams "Venus"

Disclosure: I was given a digital copy of Joy Williams album via  One2One Network in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own!

Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars(they officially split in 2014), has recorded a solo album called "Venus". This is not her first solo album, but her first solo album since prior to being in The Civil Wars.  I was surprised to see online that she had maybe 2 or 3 other albums in the past. As Joy describes "Venus, it's her "coming-of-age" album. She has been working on writing songs for "Venus" since June of 2013, and has written over 75+ songs since then for this album (but obviously there aren't 75 songs on it). It's made of 11 songs which show a change in Joy, in what I want to call a growth and transformation! Coming out of the darkness and out of the sadness, and being able to be free and to be one's self!  The album's due out June 29, 2015. Here's a video of "Woman (Oh Mama)".





I listened to this album many times prior to writing my review. The songs that keep popping up in my mind are "Sweet Love of Mine", "Woman (Oh Mama)", and "Before I Sleep".  "Sweet Love of Mine" sounded like a sweet love song, and I love the rhythm of it. It was my favorite out of the 11 songs on the album.  It was hard for me to discern some of the lyrics on some of the songs, unless I turned the volume level up high. ( I've had a sinus infection during the past 3 weeks and because of it, my head's been congested and it's been hard to hear through my ears.) "Woman (Oh Mama)" has a catchy beat. To me, it's about women being empowered, but that's just my opinion.  "Before I Sleep" made me think of the Robert Frost poem line, and "miles to go before I sleep". There seemed a bit of weariness in that song, but it was interesting to listen to. I did like the whole album, don't get me wrong!




Usually in the past, I've listed all of the names of songs from new albums, but this time I won't! It will give my reader the opportunity to check out Joy Williams' new album! I'm sharing a few links with you below for Joy Williams.

iTunes

Amazon

Joy Williams on Facebook

The Official Joy Williams site

Joy on YouTube

Instagram

And if you are on twitter, follow her  @joywilliams.  




Saturday, June 13, 2015

How To Raise An Adult

Hi, I'm Barbara, and I'm somewhere between a semi-overprotective and a permissive parent. Now that I've introduced myself, let me talk about a book that I'm reviewing for you! How To Raise An Adult : Break Free Of The Overparenting Trap And Prepare Your Kid For Success was written by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Let me give you a nutshell of information about the author. She has served as a dean of freshman and undergraduate advising at Stanford University. Ms. Lythcott-Haims has spoke  about and has written numerous articles about helicopter parenting. If you are familiar with TEDx talks, her work has appeared  on them. Julie holds two degrees, a BA from Stanford University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is working on a MFA (to be honest, I have no idea what it is!) from California College of the Arts.


Getting to her book... I want to tell you about the parts that spoke to me! (I actually had at least a dozen or more tagged with sticky tags in the book!) She mentioned about Baby Boomers being the first to be helicopter parents, and I'm one of the baby boomers (born in 1962). I've tried to be there for Steven, but due to working 40 hours a week most of his early years and until about 2 years ago--- I was busy most of the time sleeping or working the nightshift.  Julie talked about kids riding their bikes to school with a parent riding with them. I didn't want Steven to ride his bike to school, I didn't want him to get bullied or hurt on the ride to and from school. Was I trying to overprotect, or did I not give him the chance to be capable to learn to handle things himself? Good question. Did I butt in too much when I took a matter to the teacher and the principal that son had been bullied for two to three years in elementary school, or should I have let Steven speak to the teacher and the principal himself?
I definitely don't plan on calling a future employer of his or to interfere with his job! One Millennial mother called his boss over a weekend regarding her son putting in too many hours, and he was greeted at the building Monday morning with a box of his stuff--- and a note "ask your mother"!


We've let him make the decision on his classes throughout the years. Honestly, Steve and I couldn't have steered him to do a career that we'd want him to. We can only hope that he makes wise choices. We don't do his homework for him, like some of the parents that Julie wrote about. She wrote of parents even writing their young adults' college essays and whatever it took to get their kids into "the right" college. We got involved when we needed to switch him to hospital/home bound schooling through the county when his back pain became too much for him to sit in class. The way I figure it, from Julie's book, I can only guide and teach him skills on organizing and getting his act together in regards to school and further on with college or armed services.

Parents need to make sure that the children get the opportunity to have time for being themselves and time for homework, but the kids need to learn how to balance the two! There were a few things in the book that Julie brought up, like young adults doing whatever it took class wise in high school so that the prestige schools would pick them over Joe Schmoe would didn't take 3 years of a foreign language. She had a chapter on the college kids taking Adderall and pulling allnighters after taking it to do more studying. One student had been taking it at one point, and he questioned about the long term effects of it. Would they be continuing the drug when they were out there in the workforce?


There are certain life skills that should be learned by certain ages, like being able to shop and cook a meal with multiple items in it between the ages of 14 -18. They need to be able to pump gas, and check the oil level in their car. He can prepare a meal for us, after he has shopped for it. He grill a meal of chicken or hamburgers and make a side dish. He does some laundry, though he doesn't always treat stains on clothes. He's learning those kind of skills, the ones that you need for at least taking care of your place. Childhood should be an experience that helps and prepares child for life in the world later on!


He interacts well with adults and can carry on a conversation with them, even if they are strangers. Steven's doing well about learning how to get himself to and from places on his bike without us, and he has no qualms about riding his bike to and from a dojo a few miles from the house in the dark. I'm fearful for him, though I do realize that he's old enough at 16 years old to bike ride in the dark! He didn't master managing his classes and getting assignments and tests turned in on time during hospital/home bound, and he maybe paying for the consequences of his actions. (That time management/organization/classwork/papers thing is one of the skills that 18 years should be able to do by the time that they go to college.  Steven can help contribute to the running of our home, by doing laundry, cooking dinner, and cleaning dishes, along with taking care of our birds.  I think that he's got the handling of interpersonal problems down pat. Managing money---he's still working on it.
An 18 year old must be able to take risks, and he's getting there.


What I've learned from reading Julie's book is that I need to step back from the hovering, and to guide him gently as he makes his own decisions with school, college and life. All my husband and I can do is to help sure his got the skills for life coping for the future.( I have stickers on pages in her book to help me to stick task teaching! )

For more information: How To Raise An Adult .

How To Raise An Adult trailer

Four Tips on How To Raise An Adult

On Facebook








I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A look at 2014/2015 from my perspective

I should actually start with last summer... Steven was going through different doctors around that time. Steve was running him to and from appointments, whether they were for acupuncture, physical therapy and even throwing in a doctor's appointment or two. I had a MRI to which the doctor (who had done my neck and lumbar disc surgeries) said that my back pain wasn't a surgical issue from his standpoint. I was thinking, "well, what am I supposed to do with my pain?" I put off dealing with the pain issue for a few months.

My father was diagnosed in August  2014 with myelodysplastic syndrome, a kind of cancer that affects the bone. He held off deciding whether or not to get an infusaport for chemo for a month or so. Mom had had issues with her infusaport during her chemo days back in '96, and she ended up with a clot in her subclavian (if I can remember correctly). Dad was afraid of having issues like the clot Mom had, and didn't want to get a port no matter how many times that I tried to convince him that it probably wouldn't happen to him. One of my aunts on my Mom's side was able to talk with him and finally convince him to get one. He spent time getting a port put in sometime in October.

From here on a lot of the events that happened blur, since I was working 32 hours a week, and trying to help with things going on in our household and Dad, too. Steven had a few falls around the house, yes, the boy. One of them happened in the garage while I was at work, but before he was supposed to get on the bus. Dad had chemo, and ended up in the hospital with counts very low. I want to say that his WBC's were less than 0.5 -0.7, and he was on neutropenic precautions . That means no fresh flowers, no produce, no sick people near him. He ended up leaving there to go to a hospice unit, and then to our home for a few weeks. Steve, Steven, and I helped to pack his apartment up, in between work and school and Steven's appointment in Gainesville. Hospice came to visit him at our house while he was there. I took Dad to a few doctor appointment and spent Black Friday with him as he received 2 units of blood. My sister  Laura and her family came over from Orlando along with Dad's older sister and her husband to finish packing up his apartment. Karen and her husband Bruce came down in early December to fly Dad up north to their home, and Bruce drove the moving van from FL to up north.

Dad ended up in the hospital, I think one more time, between a few outpatient blood transfusions and one more inpatient stay. He decided no more treatment in mid-January. From there till the day he died in February, Karen and Bruce took care of him.

During that time down here, we were trying to straighten out things in our house and tried to get things back to pre-Dad being here. We were dealing with issues with Steven's back pain keeping him out of school for almost 2 weeks between early January and late February. I spent a lot of time on the phone with doctors, trying to get Steven  hospital/home bound schooling in our county. He was at the point where he couldn't tolerate sitting in class for even an hour. We finally got him on the schooling through the county in early March. His pain kept him from concentrating much on even the homework much less tests, and he got behind. (As of early June, I'm not sure what his school status is for next year, sophomore again, or heading for a junior.)

We had issues with trying to get a pain management procedure done during Spring Break. He ended up with having a wisdom tooth or two removed instead! I finally was able to focus somewhat on getting my back pain and fibromyalgia taken care of. My rheumatologist decided to refer me to another pain management doctor#2 whom she felt could better handle meeting my needs for the fibro pain, maybe the other doctor could do something different with my meds. I went back to my pain management doctor#1 for my lumbar pain issues, and we had a discussion. He opted to refer me to another neurosurgeon who could look at my MRI from last summer to see what else could be done, like surgery or if not maybe a spinal cord stimulator.
The neurosurgeon recommended a spinal cord stimulator trial. 1/3 of the patients who have the surgery to get the SCS put in according to him say that it worked wonders on them, 1/3 say "meh" that it helped some, and then 1/3 want it removed after they've had it put in. Encouraging or discouraging, I don't know! All that I know is that with the back pain, my quality of life is nowhere that I want it to be. I have a consult with a therapist next month, and the therapist will send results and notes to pain management MD #1. From there, the SCS trial will happen. It's just this waiting for things to happen that gets to me.

Steven's at church camp this week, and he wanted to go regardless of how his back pain was. He's scheduled to see pain management doc #1 next Monday, I'm hoping that he gets some form of relief. We have him also going through Nemours this summer for another doctor.

Oops, I forgot to throw in that we had to put down our 21 year old yellow collar mini-macaw last month. It was the hardest thing that I've had to do in a long time. We had her euthanized and cremated, and her ashes were scattered in Central FL somewhere.  We were blessed earlier this year to receive Poppet from our dear friends Alesha and Doug and Ike. Poppet's an Timneh African Grey, and she's brought joy into our house.

You probably have also noticed or will notice in the next couple of weeks several posts a week. I got majorly behind on posts and projects during the time that Dad was sick/we were dealing with Steven's back pain. I am still trying to get caught up. I will be running a very late giveaway within the next 2 weeks re: "The Good Lie".  For those who have stood by me and continue to do so, thank you! For my new readers, bear with me, I am getting caught up! Thank you!



Saturday, June 6, 2015

Adovia Mineral Skin Care 100% Dead Sea Bath Salts

Disclosure: I was given free product from Adovia Mineral Skin Care in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

What do you use when you want to take a bath or a soak in your bathtub? Somedays I prefer bath bubbles, and other days I prefer to use bath salts! I do like to soak at times for my arthritis, my back pain, and my fibromyalgia. Son likes to soak for long periods for his chronic back pain issues.  I was happy to review Adovia's 100% Dead Sea Bath Salts!

Adovia's 100% Dead Sea Mineral Salts are fine-grain, which means that they can dissolve easier in the tub as it's filling. They definitely dissolved quickly in the warm water in my bathtub! They don't have any added scent to them, and I was pleased about that. They have a higher level of minerals in their bath salts than epsom salts, per Adovia!  They are formulated with 26 essential minerals! You can use their product for a soak in your tub for skin issues like eczema (I suffer from eczema once in a blue moon!) and psoriasis.  My skin didn't feel dry after soaking in the tub with the dissolved salts in it. I felt soothed and relaxed after using the salts in my tub! (I realized as I'm writing this post that I've been a little bit grinchy with my bag of the salts from Adovia! I could have used more salts in the tub, like at least 1 cup at a time! I was using an ounce or two at a time!) I liked their Dead Sea Bath Salts, and I'm still trying to remember to get Steven to use them!
 Adovia recommends that you do the following with the 100% Dead Sea Bath Salts:
"1. To use these natural bath salts, simply pour 1 cup of salts into a bath tub that is filling with warm water or that has already been filled with warm water.
2. Allow the salts to dissolve before getting in to the bath tub.
3. Get in to the bath tub, relax, and soak for about 20 minutes.
4. Follow up with a warm water rinse. "

I would say, "Soak, relax, and rinse!"
For more information: Adovia Mineral Skin Care 100% Dead Sea Bath Salts They come in two different sizes, the 1.75 pound zip locked bag that I received  and the 10 pound size.







Saturday, May 30, 2015

True Skin Under Eye Gel (Review)

Disclosure: I received free product in order to facilitate my review. The options expressed are my own.

I have been working on treating the under eye and around the eye area of my face lately. I have a few fine wrinkles around my eyes and some dark circles. The dark circles have been there for years, and the fine wrinkles have creeped up on me in the past few years, maybe less than 10.  I tried True Skin Care Anti-Aging eye gel with Vitamin C in it. All you have to do it is apply a small amount of the eye gel onto one of your fingers, then you gently massage it around the eye area twice a day.  I used it in the morning and before bedtime as part of a skin care regime.

The great thing about this eye gel is that it is unscented, and both women and men can use it! It is non-greasy and very soothing, in my opinion! On my days off, when  I had used the eye gel during the morning, I didn't even want to wear cover-up under my eyes! The gel was helping reduce my fine wrinkles and dark circles. It's definitely a product that I need to continue with for maintenance!  For more information  go to  True Skin Care Anti-Aging Eye Gel with Vitamin C. They have a 100% guarantee on this product!