Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Personal Reading Challenge

New Series for Dusty Pages


It turns out I did not miss the deadline to sign up for this Reading Challenge; so I am going to play along with everyone else. If you'd like to join me for mutual encouragement and/or discussion of never-before-read books, then "Welcome!" You join the reading challenge I linked to above, or just do it your own way.

I'm not even going to tell you how many books I have on my TBR list. About a third of them are physically in my possession, sitting on more than one shelf of one of my bookcases. Several are already downloaded onto my computer or Nook, and the rest are simply names on a file in my Google Drive. I know I am not alone in having an enormous TBR list. I have watched mine grow seemingly exponentially this year!! Seriously, I've added so many this year without taking many off that it was starting to depress me.

So I'm going to set myself a challenge to read two off my pile each month. I believe that is doable. I listen to audio books a lot, so I will count that format in this challenge; however, I will only allow one audio in any given month off my TBR list. All of the books read that count toward this challenge have to be off the list as it stands right now. New arrivals to the list after December 31, 2015 will either have to be read immediately or added to the list and read in addition to the 2 per month off the standing list.  As in the challenge I linked to above, the books have to have been released in 2015 or earlier in order to count.

Now, I need to give myself some sort of reward for meeting or exceeding my goals. Hmm.... I'll have to think about that. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

I will post about my book(s) and how I'm doing with this personal challenge every second and fourth weekend (Fri., Sat., or Sun.) of every month, except January when it will be the third and fifth weekends.

So by the end of 2016, I should have taken at the very least 24 books off my TBR list -- and as for any physical book, it will have either been passed on to someone else, donated to a library, or, if very special, given a permanent place on one of my shelves.

Join me if you like! Set your own challenge guidelines or follow mine. Or just check back with me around January 8 or 9 to see how I'm doing.

  Happy Reading!!

~ ~ Lori


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Revving Back Up To Blogging Mode

I'm trying!!

This has been a difficult month, with deaths, illnesses, and hospitalizations scattered amongst extended family and friends. My winter blues haven't been as bad as they usually are, but then it's just the beginning of winter.

I plan to get back into blogging gear very soon -- BEFORE the new year! And that means MY blogging AND reading other blogs.

~ ~ Lori

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Two Funerals In One Week

Last week was very stressful. A lady beloved of our family who has had a chronic illness for the past three years took a turn for the worse and passed away last Friday. The day we went to see her in the hospital we found out that the younger daughter of another very good friend of ours had been found dead that morning by her boyfriend. Needless to say, I have had neither the time nor the desire, really, to blog or read blogs for the past week.

Our friend Dian, 79, along with her husband, Buel, who died three years ago, were like surrogate parents to my husband, Thomas. When we married, Buel and Dian and their children welcomed me into their family as well. When Thomas was a teenager they were a very good influence for him and had the kind of warm, fun family that he didn't have at the time and really needed. He could always be sure of a welcome at their house.

I liked them because, well, they were just likable people, but also because they reminded me of my own family. They were a very musical family, like mine, and Thomas used to enjoy going over to their house on a weekend evening with everyone singing and/or playing an instrument. That's how I grew up, too. I had come to be good friends with the two daughters of the family over the years, and Andrew and Eler Beth are friends with some of the grandchildren.

Dian had pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic disease. She had managed it well for the past three years, with a bad bout now and then. A couple of weeks ago her older daughter who is the only one of the four children who doesn't live locally, came down to stay with her for a while, to take her to some doctor's visits, and ended up staying two weeks because Dian's PF was getting worse. On Tuesday evening she passed out and was put in the hospital.

On Wednesday we were called because she was doing so badly that the doctor had said it was time to call in Hospice. He calculated from her lung function that she had a few days or maybe a couple of weeks. She was joking and laughing in the background when we were on the phone, and she asked for us to bring her a deer burger. She'd already had dinner that night, so we said we'd bring her one for lunch the next day. 

It is funny because I usually don't keep ground deer in the freezer. I don't use it ground very often, and I hate the thought of all those lovely steaks and roasts being ground up as a lot of hunters do. But we keep what I call "stew" pieces, and if I do want to make something that calls for ground venison, then Thomas can quickly grind up some for me. He had ground some for a friend two days previously, and I'd asked him to grind up about three pounds for me while he was at it. So I had the venison and I was honored to make Dian a burger.

So Friday morning I seasoned up the venison and made the burger the way Dian had particularly asked for it. We called the hospital and were told come right over; she wouldn't be able to eat the burger, but she'd know we had brought it. Her lungs had started failing much more rapidly than her doctor had anticipated, and he now gave her only hours to live. She had already instructed the family that when it came to that point, she didn't want to be kept alive only with oxygen.

I can't count the number of friends who came in to see her that day.  One of her granddaughters was with her husband visiting friends in New York,but had left at 9:30 that morning when they were called. Dian said she did not want to remove the oxygen until they got there. 

Dian knew us -- Andrew and Eler Beth were able to come by after they got off work --, and she knew we'd brought her burger for her. She was still trying to joke and talk to everyone. Almost all of her sisters and brothers were able to get in to see her. Sometimes her blood pressure would rise, and her oldest son would play one of her favorite songs on his guitar and the four kids would sing to her, and her BP would go down.  Once they started singing what she called "our song," a favorite of hers and her husband, and she moved her foot like she was keeping time and tried to sing along. 

We said our goodbyes and left around 7:30 that night, although we were welcome to stay longer. Thomas said he just couldn't be there when she went to sleep. At 11 when the granddaughter and her husband got there, the first thing Dian said through her mask was, "Did you have fun?" She visited with them for a while, all of her children and grandchildren in the room with her. Her oldest daughter asked her if she was ready to take off the oxygen. She replied that she wasn't quite ready yet, and she'd let them know when she was.  

Just before 3 a.m. she said she was ready. At 3:03 a.m. she went to sleep in death.

To the extent possible she went the way she wanted to go and when she was ready. To the extent possible she was in control. 

Her funeral is this Saturday. Thomas is one of the pallbearers. We will be at the visitation tomorrow as well. 

While we were at the hospital last Thursday we were told that the 29 year-old daughter of some good friends of ours had been found dead by her boyfriend that morning. The young woman had been in remission from cancer. They did  an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, but of course that won't be back for a couple of weeks.  That was a shock to everyone. It is especially hard on her parents. Her father is fighting cancer as well, so this has been harder for her mother and father even than one could imagine. Her funeral was Tuesday. 

So I have not felt up to blogging for the past week, nor have I felt like keeping up with blog reading. I am sorry for that, because I was really enjoying it. I'll get back into it over the next few days and continue to read some new blogs highlighted on the Blogher FB page.

~ ~ Lori

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed

BlogHer Writing Lab 

I decided early this morning that I am going to try to keep up blogging regularly the way I used to. So I went to to see how they were handling December blogs. They are trying something new this year. In November ONLY they will do the Blogroll with links to blogs and posts. For the rest of the year the monthly themes, daily writing prompts, and the opportunity to read new blogs and post links to your own blogs has moved to a Facebook page. I think I'm going to like doing it this way.

I may not blog every day, but I do want to write more often than I have this year -- or, to be honest, the past couple of years! I'd like to get back to blogging the way I did when I first began many years ago. So...I joined the FB group, and I'm going to introduce myself to other bloggers there tonight. 

This is the link to the Facebook page if you'd like to join. 

~ ~ Lori