Bountiful Books

For a few years, I was not really reading much (for me) and enjoying it less and less.  I'll explain why in a later blog post, but, now, I just want to enthuse about all the great books that we've been reading lately.

LordValentine'sCastleYounger son is reading one of my favorite fantasy novels, Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg.  I last reread it 4 1/2 years ago (while healing from knee surgery).  I wanted to reread it again so that I could discuss it with fresh details.  The local libraries didn't have an available copy so I ordered another one from Amazon.  Older son is filling out his book collection with family books that he'll want a copy of whenever he moves out on his own.*  I told him that I could either order the book for me and give him that copy as a used book, or I could order it for him and borrow it right away.  He wanted a copy with the same cover photo (right) as the one we have so I ordered a used copy which will be his when I'm through with it (and which is in better shape than our copy!).

Dear husband is reading Kraken by China Miéville.  I'd like to eventually read it, although older son and dear husband have cautioned me that it has more violence in it than I usually read.  I shouldn't read it at bedtime then.  I made that mistake with American Gods by Neil Gaiman - an excellent book, but not one to wind down with.  I ended up reading half a Regency romance to get myself calmed down enough to sleep after that!

Older son is reading Iron Council, also by China Miéville.   I'm wondering which one of us will get to Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane first.  That came this week.  I don't usually order hardbacks, but it's his newest book, it was on sale for half price at Amazon,** and it would have taken a long time to get from the library.  The Durham County Library has 29 copies and 116 holds (Chapel Hill Library:  6 copies and 42 holds)(Hmmm... Orange County Library is down to 11 holds on 6 copies).

DiscoverersDaughter read Daniel Boorstin's The Creators when she was homeschooling in high school.  Younger son loves science and also likes reading about explorers so I was going to get Boorstin's The Discoverers for him to read.  I thought it was the shortest of this series of books.  

At the Chapel Hill Library, I found that I was wrong.  At over 700 pages, it's only 100 pages shorter than The Creators.  The Seekers is actually the shortest of the three at 351 pages.  I got The Discoverers out anyway just to take a look at it and see if I wanted to recommend it to younger son. 

However, I got it out a week before the opening night of the musical so I didn't get around to checking the book out right away.  After a few days, it disappeared from its spot on the kitchen island because younger son decided to read it.  He's enjoying it, and, if he's still reading it by the time can no longer be renewed, I'll just order a copy.  It would be a good book to have (I was surprised we didn't already have it since we have the other two).  

My books... of which there are a lot.  I've kind of gone crazy reading this last half year since I've started really enjoying it again.  I've been keeping track of what I've read/am reading in Goodreads, and I'm currently in the middle of twelve thirteen books.***  

I've been getting allergy shots since last March, and I've had a few reactions.  I always wait in the office for about 45 minutes to make sure I don't have a reaction.****  It's a wonderful time to read.  In my allergy shot bag, I currently have On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs:  Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing.  It's the sort of book that I only read a chapter or two of at a time and then think about it.  I just finished The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley.  This Robin Hood story started a bit slowly, but it turned out to be as beautiful a version as I'd expect from her.  I'm also reading Oh Myyy!:  There Goes the Internet by George Takei which is as funny as I expected.

[Later addition:  I'm now also back into reading Adventures with Old Houses, which younger son recently finished.  It's a large book to bring into the allergist's office.]

LittleBigAt the times when I have the most attention (which is not when I might be having an allergic reaction) and ability to savor a book, I'm reading Little, Big, one of dear husband's favorite books, and a beautiful fantasy, and Amadeus.  

And, at various other times, depending on what I feel like at the moment, I'm rereading Going Postal, another wonderful Discworld book by Terry Pratchett, and reading Lackadaisy, a graphic novel recommended by other family members, It All Turns on Affection, essays by Wendell Berry, and Searching for God Knows What, which I've posted about before and which got buried under a pile of other books.  

I used to read while eating breakfast, but younger son has gotten past the sleep-until-ten-am part of his growth spurt so Hiking NC's Blue Ridge Mountains, which was my breakfast book, is still unfinished.  

I stopped reading out loud when younger son hit his growth spurt and started sleeping in.  I had been reading The Sword and the Stone out loud at breakfasts (back when he ate breakfast later than I did).  We both recently mentioned that we need to get back to that.  

I injured my hand back in June, and gripping anything hurt - which means no spoons, spatulas, etc.  Since I couldn't cook, I read out loud to dear husband while he cooked, and then, of course, the guys came in and listened too.  I read parts of Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson, which is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.  Since then, I've read essays in The Art of the Personal Essay and The Americans:  Fifty Talks on our Life and Times.  

Last weekend, however, on a rainy Saturday evening while dear husband was making dinner, I started reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making out loud (post here), and all the guys enjoyed it.  

What a wonderful world to have so many books in it!



*  No current plans, but his intern job ends this fall. 

**  If you follow an author on Facebook, you find out these things.

*** I started another before finishing this post.

****  You only have to wait 20 minutes, but I hate having a reaction on the way home so I wait longer.

Movies you would see if you grew up in our house: Part 3 - Drama/Suspense

These are the movies that you probably couldn't avoid if you grew up in our house (the ones that are italicized are the ones younger son hasn't seen yet):

  • AmadeusA Man for All Seasons ("That's a dancer's leg!")("His looks.  I give you his looks.")
  • Princess Caraboo 
  • King of Hearts ("Plumpick.  Isn't that a German name?")
  • Beckett
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Amelie
  • Lion in Winter
  • Heart and Souls ("Walk like a man, talk like a man...") 
  • Cyrano de Bergerac ("Will he write to me?" "That, I promise.")
  • Deathtrap ("A person with no sense of moral obligation whatsoever.")
  • Witness ("A horse only needs one good...")
  • The African Queen ("Oh, miss, miss... hair of the dog!")
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Amadeus (above right)("I am the patron saint of mediocrity.")
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Arsenic and Old Lace 
  • Charade ("We'll have six boys and name them all after you!")
  • ScentofaWomanNorth by Northwest 
  • The Godfather ("Leave the gun, take the cannoli.")
  • Scent of a Woman (below right)("Don't shrug you idiot...")
  • Casablanca ("I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment!" "Here are your winnings sir." "Thank you.")
  • The Remains of the Day 
  • The Big Sleep ("She was trying to sit in my lap - standing up!")

Movies you would see if you grew up in our house: Part 2 - Fantasy/Science Fiction/Adventure/Western


  • PrincessBrideDuelThe Princess Bride (right)("Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line!  Ha, ha, ha, ha..." clunk)("My way is not very sportsman-like")("No good, I've known too many Spaniards.")("Humperdink, Humperdink, HUMPERDINK!")("Aaaaaas yoooooouuuu wiiiiiiish.")
  • Stardust ("Murdered by pirates. Heart torn out and eaten. Meet Victoria. I can't quite decide which sounds more fun...")
  • Star Trek IV ("Take me to your nuclear wessels.")
  • Star Wars IV, V, VI ("These are not the droids you're looking for.")
  • Independence Day ("Welcome to earth.")
  • Galaxy Quest ("Whoever wrote this episode should die!")
  • Night at the Museum ("Who's more evolved?")
  • ET 
  • Superman (did you know that Christopher Reeve modeled his performance of Clark Kent on Cary Grant's performance in Bringing Up Baby?)
  • Romancing the Stone ("Oh, Anita Wilder.  I've read all your books!")
  • Silverado
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark I, III ("Snakes.  Why did it have to be snakes.")("No ticket!")
  • REDJurassic Park ("Welcome, to Jurassic Park!")
  • Space Cowboys ("I might be blind, but my memory is still perfect.")
  • Harry Potter I, II, III ("We could be killed, or worse, expelled!")("She needs to get her priorities straight!")
  • The Incredible Journey ("He threw me into the big litter pan!")
  • Back to the Future I, II, III ("Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!")
  • Die Hard ("I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.")
  • RED (right)("If you break his heart, I will kill you and bury your body in the woods." "Wow.")

And I've added Treasure Planet to the post on animated movies ("Spider psycho, spider psycho, spider psycho!")


Movies you would see if you grew up in our house: Part 1 - Animation

Last weekend, we were talking about some of the movies we refer to the most - plot, quotes, characters, etc.  These are the movies that you probably couldn't avoid if you grew up in our house (the ones that are italicized are the ones younger son hasn't seen yet):


  • Totoro (right)("Gollywollypogs!")Totoro
  • Fievel Goes West ("I love the long Aaaaaah!")
  • The Iron Giant ("You're right in the middle of the road!" "Yeah")
  • Rango ("Her aging father, strucketh by Cupid...")
  • Rudolph ("Let's be independent together!")
  • Frosty the Snowman ("Us evil magicians have to make a living too you know!"
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town 
  • The Emperor's New Groove ("Llama face!")
  • Mulan ("My little baby's all grown up and saving China")
  • Up ("I was hiding under your porch because I love you! Can I stay?")
  • Wall-E ("Out there, there's a world outside of Yonkers...")
  • Beauty and the Beast ("Flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep.")
  • Rescuers Down Under ("These are not Joanna eggs!")
  • Robin Hood ("Hiss! You're never around when I need you!")
  • The White Seal ("Mystical island? Mystical poppycock!")
  • Rikki-Tikki Tavi ("Run and find out.")
  • Aladdin ("And I can't bring people back from the dead.  It's not a pretty picture and I don't like it.")
  • Lord of the Beans ("You're not a real elf!  You're just an elvish impersonator!") Marzipan Pig
  • The Selfish Giant ("He visited with the Cornish Ogre for seven years, and then he left. His conversation was limited.")
  • The Lion King ("You're so wierd, Uncle Scar." "You have no idea.")
  • The Marzipan Pig (right) ("Love has hit me like a thud in the stomach!")
  • Cricket in Times Square ("Liverwurst!")
  • Thief and the Cobbler ("I'm not tall enough to ride this ride, and I suffer from dizzy spells, and I'm pregnant!" (said by a male character))
  • The Incredibles ("If everyone is special, that means nobody is.")
  • Finding Nemo ("Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!")("I will call him squishy, and he will be my squishy, and he will be mine.")
  • Treasure Planet ("Spider psycho, spider psycho, spider psycho!")


Hoping to blog again

I actually have an evening with time to blog, and I don't even know where to start.  Christmas was wonderful - daughter was home for almost a month, older son was off from college, no major illnesses, and we had a great time.  Daughter didn't go back to college until after younger son's birthday on the 10th so January has actually felt shorter than usual.  Some of the weather has been really cold, and we had snow and sleet on two different weeks.  Today was beautiful with a high around 70 so I took a long walk this afternoon.

Dear husband and I took an anniversary trip for the first time in quite a while.  We were trying to decide between Blowing Rock, NC and Richmond, VA (both about the same distance).  That was the weekend of the snow so Blowing Rock would have been really pretty, but it was also going to be colder there, and there aren't as many things we do inside there.  If it got too cold in Richmond, there are lots of stores and museums.

It turns out that we didn't spend much time inside.  It got warm enough in the afternoons to go to Maymont Park and the Ginter Botanical Gardens.  I took lots of pictures (of course!), but my camera hasn't been working right lately so the photos will require a lot of fixing up.  The light meter has gone rather crazy, and the focus has a mind of its own.  The camera is now at a local repair shop, and I'm left with a sad and empty camera case.  I probably won't blog that many of the photos.  

I've had a number of bad doctor's appointments (including the worst one ever) having to do with my blood pressure, asthma, and allergies.  It's gotten to the point where my blood pressure goes up a day before a doctor's appointment because I'm dreading it, and it usually stays up for a week after because I'm so angry at how the appointment turned out.  I talked to my doctor about the way my blood pressure tracks with how tense I am,* and she agreed that I should see someone about better ways any way to handle stress.  Three doctor's appointments later, I still haven't found anyone in the regular health system who will help with that.  

However, I've been getting occasional massages for the last half year.  They're wonderful, and I slow down so much.  I really can focus on things and appreciate beauty for the next few hours after a massage - before I go back to normal.  Because it's so expensive, I alternate massages with voice lessons - which means that, if my voice isn't up to having a voice lesson, which happens all too often, I use the money for a massage instead.  My massage therapist actually also specializes, not surprisingly, in how the emotions affect the body so I'll be talking more to her about that next week (because I lost my voice (and voice lesson) last week).

RulerandCompassHome schooling is going wonderfully right now.  Younger son has gotten into programming in the last week.  He's also started enjoying math.  Along with the algebra he's doing, we've been doing the constructions from Ruler and Compass (for those of you familiar with homeschooling math books, although he liked the other Key to... books he found the Key to Geometry books boring).  I think younger son is past the worst of the past year's growth spurt, with the migraines and dizziness that went along with it.  He's got a lot more energy for things.  I'm glad because, even though we were still homeschooling, I felt like I missed him during his 13 yo hibernation year.  

Unfortunately, the second session of the Swing Dance class that Dear Husband and I were taking is on Sunday evenings so we aren't taking it.  On the happy side, the Broadway Dance class is back on Thursday evenings.  So far, we've done One from A Chorus Line and Forget About the Boy from Thoroughly Modern Millie.  

There are lots of posts I've thought of in the last month, but didn't have the time to write down (and edit, and edit...).  I will mention one thing from one of them:  I loved Les Misérables.  It's one of my (many) favorite musicals.  As I said to my kids at the theater, I've been waiting for this movie for about twenty years.  I did see a student production onstage, but I haven't ever seen a professional production before.  Were all the singers ideal?  No, but I think that, given the usual need for box office stars, they did a fantastic job, and they got the spirit of the musical.  


* Whereas, my bp hasn't changed at all when I've gained or lost weight or when I added lots of fruits and vegetables - and, now, I'm on to the low sodium thing.**  By the way, do you know that, if you feed three hungry guys taco salads with no salt at all, none of them will have their usual seconds, but two of them will be back in the kitchen later for snacks?

** Which means no soups in the cold parts of the winter because canned soups have so much sodium.  :(

Health and Homeschooling (Or Guilt Over Changing Priorities)

The first half of that title sounds better, doesn't it?!  However, I'm having a difficult time keeping the first from leading to the second.  

I've had allergic reactions to three blood pressure drugs this year.*  The one I was on the longest (two weeks, back in February) actually made my blood pressure constantly higher.  Back in September, after the third allergic reaction, my doctor referred me to a specialist, but I won't be seeing her until next week.

Even before I had the third allergic reaction, I decided that, if the third drug didn't work, I was going to work hard on more natural means.  However, this involves lots more time and focus than just popping a pill. 

I already had done the easiest natural things, adding more fruits and vegetables, exercising daily, etc.  Now, it's time for more drastic, life-changing measures - things that will inconvenience other people.

I try never to inconvenience other people.  

It's easy for me to let my health take a back seat to all the other demands on my time and my emotions.  There are lots of reasons for this, which I might blog about during NaBloPoMo.   However, I don't think that I can rely on drugs like most people can - so I'm changing lots of other things (also maybe to blog about).  

I need to narrow my focus down to two things: health and homeschooling.  Those are the things that are only for me to do.  Nobody else can do those for me.**  Everything else - the state of the house, the state of the gardens, other people's expectations - even my expectations about how things "should go" - aren't even a distant third.  They should be barely on the chart because they don't matter when set up against my actually continuing to be around for my family.   

Oh, and for me too.

I'm so used to going along with what everyone else needs, though, that it will be very easy for me to feel guilty about not doing that.  My usual attitude is that the other person really seems to need this so I can adjust to them.  I can't keep always adjusting anymore.  


*  The three blood pressure drug allergic reactions and four magnesium allergic reactions this year really did a job on my voice, and they've caused me to miss a lot of choir this year.  

** Homeschooling is going very well so it would be stupid to stop it unless younger son wanted to go to school, which he absolutely does not.  

Saving the hummingbird

Archilochus_colubris_NBIIWe tried to get rid of anything red in the front of the garage years ago.  Hummingbirds would be drawn in by the color, then they would fly around the ceiling until they were exhausted, and they would rest on the wire to the garage door opener.  Dear husband would climb up on the roof of the van, get the hummingbird off of the wire, and climb down (that's the hard part while he's carrying the hummingbird).   He'd take the hummingbird outside and feed it sugar water from a potato peeler.  That sounds strange, but the curve of the potato peeler keeps a small line of sugar water which the hummingbird licks off.  It works better than an eye dropper.  Once the hummingbird felt better, it would fly off, and sometimes come back and dive bomb him (after all, he was a large predator holding it).

We weren't able to find one hummingbird, though.  Months later, we just found a pile of feathers behind a box.

As I said, we tucked the red cooler away in the shadows of the garage, took off the red ring that was hanging from the garage door opener string and replaced it with a washer, and moved every other red thing we could... except for the big red van, which really can't go anywhere.  What would be going through a hummingbird's tiny mind:  "Look at that humongous flower!"?  

After we cleaned up the garage of all but one of the red items visible from the door, we've gotten far fewer hummingbirds.  We had one this morning, however.  She was flying around frantically, and there wasn't anything we could do for her.  An hour later, we went out again, and she finally had come  to rest on a long pole with a blade for cutting branches.  The top of the branch-cutting tool is up near the ceiling, and it has a small ring for a rope near the top.  The hummingbird was clinging firmly to that ring.  It took a while to find her because she was facing the wall, and her dark back looked like part of the tool, but we were determined to find her so that she wouldn't become another pile of feathers!  We could tell she was still in there because of her peeps, which were getting fainter and father apart.

Older son doesn't have any classes on Thursdays so, the last few weeks, he's stayed home and worked those days.  We were so lucky he was home today!   After younger son got that corner of the garage cleared out, older son got the pole off the wall.  The hummingbird was actually so tired that she stayed on there while he carried it outside!  I was very worried that she'd just start flying around frantically again.

 It took three of us to take care of her:  I had the hummingbird food (sugar water), older son fed her, and younger son held the pole steady.  I don't have photos, of course, because we were too busy for that, but I think I will always have the memory etched on my brain.  At first, she barely noticed the food, but she slowly started eating.  They're so small when you see them still and up close.  Her eyes stayed shut for a long time.  She gradually started eating faster and faster, and we happily watched the bumps going down her little white throat.  At first, it was swallow, swallow, swallow, peep, but, as she grew stronger, she stopped talking while she ate.  She also fluffed out more as she felt better.  Eventually, just a bit before she took off, she opened her eyes.  It was wonderful to see her looking alert.  

When she felt better, she flew off into the Japanese Maple in the front yard.  It's a fairly dense tree so we couldn't see her.   A few minutes later, we saw her flying around the front flowerbed happily eating and peeping.  

[Hummingbird photo from Wikimedia Commons]


Not Back to School - Already? Really?! - and "Futura" by the Slackmates

For years, we've done special things on the first day of school.  It's been pretty much our Not Back to School Day since we homeschool.  This year, it snuck up on me.  To me, it feels like summer has been about a week long. 

The summer has been so full (the musical, visits, Asheville trips, older son going to Prague), that it has flown by.  I was just getting to the part of the summer where you can say, "What a nice day to go to the pool!" (Or not.)

We're not doing anything particular on Not-Back-to-School Day today.  In previous years, we've done picnics at Duke Gardens, hikes, trips to the science museum, lunch at the Mad Hatter Cafe, etc.  Last year, younger son and I went to Frankie's Fun Park for go karts and arcade games.

The first day of public school was more noticeable when I was homeschooling all three.  This year, older son started at NCSU while daughter was still home from UNC-Asheville.  She's already settled into the room she rented over the summer so we didn't even bring her back before school started (sniff!).  She headed back up with a friend.  I've been hearing about college classes for a week and a half now.  I'd forgotten that the local schools started today until younger son mentioned that he was one of the only kids at home on the court now (there's another homeschooling family a few doors down). 

I asked if he wanted to do something special today.  He looked at me with wide eyes. "Do I have to?!"

He's been in an amazing growth spurt the last year.  He's grown almost six inches in fifteen months.  He's only 13, and he's been mistaken for a 15 yo.  He spends lots of time sleeping and lots of time by himself in his room.  13 has been a hermit-ish age for all three kids.  Unlike the other two, he's often too tired to go anywhere (but the other two never grew this fast).  He was even too tired to go to the Paperhand performance last night.  If he were the oldest, I'd be worried, but I know, from experience, that this is just a stage and not to worry. 

Instead of going somewhere special today, we'll have a nice quiet, special day - the sort he likes.  He's been reading the book about the Udvar-Hazy Space Museum this morning (and making catapults out of Legos, and letting me try his remote control truck, and playing Kerble Space Program...).  We'll watch more of last week's So You Think You Can Dance while we eat lunch.  We're listening to a mix of music he likes - The Veronicas, the Slackmates, the soundtrack to Victor/Victoria, Ingrid Michaelson, and the soundtrack to Come Fly Away, the musical based on Frank Sinatra's songs.

I'm never sure which music he will or won't like (except that he dislikes country, doesn't care for folk, and only likes about 5% of rap). 

He was walking around the house earlier and snapping his fingers in time to a Frank Sinatra song. 

Makes me smile.


The writer in me says that I should stop there for this blog post.  However, the musician in me threatened to beat up the writer in me if we don't include this song (younger son agrees).  Here is Futura by the Slackmates:

Spring Break (and a video of a hip hop dance to "Back It Up")

"Mommy, there are white flowers starting to bloom outside your bedroom window!" younger son said to me, Sunday, with a meaningful look on his face.

We've always started our spring break from the formal part of our homeschooling when the dogwoods start blooming.  It's the most beautiful time of year in central NC, and I'm usually really excited.  We finish the break when the temperature starts hitting the 90's regularly.  I noticed on Friday that the dogwood buds were starting to open, and I knew we'd be breaking soon.

It always feels strange to call it a "break," though.  We're only breaking from the formal part of our homeschooling (grammar, and math).  Younger son will still be doing plenty of reading, we'll be hiking, he's working on circuits in Minecraft (a game which has gobbled up the brains of three members of my family now), we'll be going to museums, etc.  What it really means is more spontaneous time. 

Usually, I look forward to spring break, gardening, and being outside more.  I've found that I'm not this year, for the first time ever.  I realized that, partly, it's because of how life has changed in the last two years.  Last year was the first year that I was only homeschooling one child, but we still had plenty of things we wanted to do during break.  This year, younger son is 13, or, as I put it, the hibernate-in-your-room age.  I actually sometimes get more time to myself than I need now.  Thinking about starting break this week felt like a huge void ahead, and that's not normal for me. 

Sure, I have a list of house projects that I want to tackle, and I'm going to get started on those today,* but that kind of stuff doesn't excite me.  Housework is what I do in the time squeezed around the interesting stuff.  I'm also not as in touch with the outside as I usually am, probably because of having to focus so much on my body with the blood pressure stuff, so I'm surprisingly unexcited about the spring. 

I went to Zumba this morning and came back to a quiet house.  Younger son is up in his room doing Minecraft on the netbook.  He says it's nice and cozy.  Some evenings, the guys are all upstairs on computers, and I'm downstairs with two affection-deprived cats.  They get really pushy.  Lina is now sleeping next to me on the floor after I took her off of the keyboard a few times.

After years of homeschooling three kids - with someone always having something they wanted to do that involved me, either driving or doing things together, this feels like a vacuum.

I don't like it.

Dear husband and I talked about this on our walk yesterday afternoon. Younger son will still get plenty of time to himself, but I'm going to bring up things to do also.  Yesterday, while older son and I were at church, dear husband and younger son went canoeing.  Younger son had a wonderful time, particularly when he was challenging himself physically.  This afternoon, we're going hiking nearby.  We've been wanting to get back to the NC history exhibit at the museum in Raleigh. We're going to go to the zoo for the first time in years. 

I'm going to stop at the garden center tomorrow to start some projects that will inspire me.  I've been really missing learning choreography at dance classes so I'm going to learn the choreography in this video to Back It Up:

We'll try kayaking again!

[That part was written on Monday.  The rest I finished up Wednesday.]

It supposedly takes about three weeks to make a habit. 

I was on the recent blood pressure medicine for almost two weeks, and, adding the week that I had side effects from it a few weeks prior, I've been dealing with the side effects for three weeks.

In those three weeks, I got very used to two things.  First, pushing myself when I was exhausted, since I was exhausted all the time, and, second, just sitting and playing computer games when I wasn't pushing because I didn't care about reading, blogging, or, really, anything. 

I've made both of those into habits.**  I can't even tell normal tired anymore.  When I was on the full dose of the med, I felt as exhausted as if I had the flu.  When I was on a lighter dose, I felt like the day after the flu.  But I didn't have the flu so I kept going and trying to do as much as I could make myself. 

So the thought of taking a break?  relaxing?  - is very strange.  Last night, I was exhausted at 11 pm.  I did the dishes and the laundry and woke myself up enough that I couldn't fall asleep until 2:30 am. 

There are times in your life when you have to push yourself, particularly when kids are little.  Now isn't one of those times for me. 

However, not pushing myself feels lazy.  On the other hand, I think I might need to relearn how to relax, in some way that doesn't involve computer games, in order to try to get my blood pressure down.

So, it also doesn't feel like a "break" because I've gotten into the habit of just grimly forcing myself through the day.

* Anyone want a child-sized sleeping bag?  Younger son grew out of it a few years ago. 

** The other habit I got into was just sitting and staring at the table during meals while listening to everybody else talk.  Even though the drug is long gone from my system, it's still difficult for me to get back into having conversations.