Friday, December 30, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 4

Wow, if ever a book made you feel, this is it.  And how many feelings.  Rage, anger, disgust, disbelief, dread, to name a few.

I had my reservations with many slow spots and a few too many descriptions (that's where they could have cut it down, Kelly!) but the story, was fabulous.  Wow.

If you haven't read it; do it.

Things that stood out..

When the General stood up for Andras.  That General is the guy I would want to be able to say I was if I had been in that situation.  What a HORRIBLE comment made by the Major.  Sickening.  I cannot understand feeling that a whole group/race of people is below you.  (Unless of course they are U of M fans and then I get that.) Kidding...maybe.  ;)

I just don't understand how Klara would have felt it was safe or that no one would notice she came back? That just didn't seem believable to me at all.  Or how safe and secure they felt until it was too late.  How accepting they were of a lifetime of cruelties because they were Jewish.  I really must have lost the memo on why being Jewish is so bad.  (Are they U of M fans???) Kidding again..  I would have been trying to hightail my tushy out of there, but then again I do understand all that garbage about family and what not, but I kind of think I would look at it as, a I NEED TO SAVE MYSELF moment cuz I am selfish like that.

1. What details in the descriptions of Banhida (pp. 356–63, pp. 392–99), Turka (pp. 486–503), and the transport trains (pp. 558–66) most chillingly capture the cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis? In addition to physical abuse and deprivation, what are the psychological effects of the camps’ rules and the laws imposed on civilian populations?

2. Why does Klara refuse to leave Budapest and go to Palestine (p. 510)? Is her decision the result of her own set of circumstances, or does it reflect the attitudes of other Jews in Hungary and other countries under Nazi control?

3. The narrative tracks the political and military upheavals engulfing Europe as they occur. What do these intermittent reports demonstrate about the failure of both governments and ordinary people to grasp the true objectives of the Nazi regime? How does the author create and sustain a sense of suspense and portending disaster, even for readers familiar with the ultimate course of the war?

4. Andras’s encounters with Mrs. Hász (p. 6) and with Zoltan Novak (pp. 19–20) are the first of many coincidences that determine the future paths of various characters. What other events in the novel are the result of chance or luck? How do the twists and turns of fortune help to create a sense of the extraordinary time in which the novel is set?

5. What did you know about Hungary’s role in World War II before reading The Invisible Bridge? Did the book present information about the United States and its Allies that surprised you? Did it affect your views on Zionism and the Jewish emigration to Palestine? Did it deepen your understanding of the causes and the course of the war? What does the epilogue convey about the postwar period and the links among past, present, and future?

6. “In the end, what astonished him the most was not the vastness of it all—that was impossible to take in, the hundreds of thousands dead from Hungary alone, and the millions from all over Europe—but the excruciating smallness, the pinpoint of which every life was balanced” (p. 558). Does The Invisible Bridge succeed in capturing both the “vastness of it all” and the “excruciating smallness” of war and its impact on individual lives?

Any overall thoughts you'd care to share? A favorite character?

Once again, thank you for participating and making 2011 a lovely reading year!! Can't wait to see what we read in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The flu..


Hope to be back and at it soon.. ;(

Good news.. I've caught up on the book and should be finished by Friday ha.

Bad news? You don't even wanna go there..

Hope nobody else had family share their germs with them this holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 3

Hi, everyone! It's Amber from A little pink in the Cornfields, and I’m filling in for Emily today to discuss the third section of The Invisible Bridge.

I have a small confession. When I first agreed to write a guest post for Emily earlier this month, I had no doubt that I would be able to read this book and be ready to discuss the third section. Then the first week rolled by… and I didn’t get any reading done. Then the second week… and by the beginning of this week, I panicked a little. I didn’t want to not be able to follow through with this commitment!

 Luckily, classes ended last week and all I had to do this week was substitute teach two days. The students were watching a movie, so I had lots of time to read! I’m so glad I did, because I began to really get into the book!

 If it wasn’t for that commitment I don’t think I would have read this far in the book. The first part read a little slow for me, and typically when that happens I tend to put the book down and move on to something else. Halfway through The Invisible Bridge I found myself getting extremely attached to Andras and Klara, and their extraordinary relationship, as well as all of the other people in their lives, so I’m glad I didn’t give up on them.

I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t read the reviews of this book on Goodreads, because I’m constantly bracing myself for something that is going to make me cry. So far, I haven’t cried, but I have come close. I’m almost done with the third section and should start the fourth and final section today!

 1. Despite the grim circumstances, Andras and Mendel produce satirical newspapers in the labor camps. What do the excerpts from The Snow Goose (p. 331), The Biting Fly (pp. 360–61), and The Crooked Rail (p. 437) show about the strategies that helped laborers preserve their humanity and their sanity? What other survival techniques do Andras and his fellow laborers develop?

 These newspapers they wrote and illustrated showed that despite the dire situation they were in, they could still find humor in everyday life and knew this was important for their own mental health. I think other survival techniques the laborers developed were writing letters home and looking forward to letters from home. I think after awhile they learned that they would need to keep quiet and work hard if they wanted to be left alone from the generals in charge.

2. General Martón in Bánhida (pp. 399–402), Captain Erdó, and the famous General Vilmos Nagy in Turka all display kindness and compassion. Miklós Klein engages in the tremendously dangerous work of arranging emigrations for fellow Jews (pp. 422–23). What motivates each of them to act as they do?

I think people like Klein were very intuitive and realistic about what is happening and what could happen while others around them were trying to be optimistic. I was really surprised during the part General Marton discharged Andras. I was really preparing myself for something bad to happen and was cringing before I needed to. I’m very happy to see that things turned out well for Andras and he was able to go home two weeks early.

3. The Holocaust and other murderous confrontations between ethnic groups can challenge the belief in God. "(Andras) believed in God, yes, the God of his fathers, the one to whom he'd prayed ... but that God, the One, was not One who intervened in the way they needed someone to intervene just then. He had designed the cosmos and thrown its doors open to man, and man had moved in ... The world was their place now" (p. 432). What is your reaction to Andras's point of view? Have you read or heard explanations of why terrible events come to pass that more closely reflect your personal beliefs?

I think it would be very hard to be in Andras’ shoes and not feel this way, to not question your belief in God and his existence. I think his reaction is very human and should be expected. As for why I think terrible things happen, well, my explanation is pretty religious. I don’t tend to get very religious on the Internet, but it is my answer. There’s evil in the world simply because of the fall of Adam and Eve. It is very difficult to say what you would think or feel in a situation like this, it is very unfathomable and hard to comprehend. I would like to say that I would keep my faith, but I don’t know if that is true.

4. In Budapest, the Lévi and Hász families sustain themselves with small pleasures, daily tasks at home and, in the case of the men, working at the few jobs still available to Jews (pp. 352–55, pp. 366–77, pp. 405–10). Are they driven by practical or emotional needs, or both? Does the attempt to maintain ordinary life represent hope and courage, or a tragic failure to recognize the ever-encroaching danger? What impact do the deprivations and degradations imposed by the Germans have on the relationship between the families? Which characters are the least able or willing to accept the threats to their homeland and their culture?

I think both families are trying to stay as optimistic as possible and enjoy the little they have left. I think in the back of their mind they know it is going to get a lot worse, but are unsure what to do about it – if anything at all! I think the attempt to maintain ordinary life is a natural defense mechanism and survival tactic. I think they knew that more danger was approaching, but how could they leave? I thought many times during these parts that if I were in their shoes, I would just leave! Go to America or somewhere far away from Europe – but, it’s not that simple. I think the depravations and degradations are absolutely driving an even wider wedge between two families that were already very different and split down the middle in terms of class and privilege.

5. What are you thoughts from section three?

During this section the book really began to pick up for me. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the Levi and Hasz families – as painful as that might be. I also began to really question my choice in reading another book about the Holocaust this year. I have read so many, and although I enjoy learning more about WWII, it is heavy and hard to read at times.

Thank you so much Amber! Next week we will finish up on The Invisible Bridge.

Our book for January is going to be State of Wonder by Ann Patchett and I do not have it in my posession yet, but will tell you that we are going to discuss the first half on January 13th and the second half/whole book on January 27th.  Will let you know more exact details when the book is in front of me! ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A day in the life of Nora..

Happy Tuesday! Today Nora is sharing her day with us.  Nora writes over at Walking with Nora and hosts Wine & Love on Thursdays. Enjoy!

Hi everyone! It's Nora, from Walking with Nora and today I'm going to take you through an atypical day of my life as a bonus mom: this past Saturday, aka our Christmas with Belle & Jolie.

7:30am- Wake up to the sound of Jolie, the oldests, door opening and closing. Feet scampering down the hall. Toilet flushes. Feet scamper back. Door slams this time. This prompts Belle, the littlest, to wake up and open and close her door a few time, just for fun. I roll over and attempt to sleep for another 30 minutes... stayed up late wrapping presents with Knight and playing Santa. The extra sleep will do me wonders.

8am- It's clear the kids are officially up now, but Knight and I take our time getting up. I look out the window to find a dusting of snow, lazily change out of my pjs into yoga pants and a sweatshirt, even though there isn't much difference between pjs and this outfit, it makes me feel better. Knight and I take turns in our en suite bathroom prepping for the Christmas unwrapping with the girls.

8:30am- Venture out of our room, Jack (my dog) in town and within 20 seconds, both girls have their doors open and are chattering on about how they saw SNOW FALLING THIS MORNING! We choose this moment to tell them we had a special visitor last night- SANTA! In two seconds flat both girls are hovering around the tree, poking and prodding the presents, trying to find out which ones are theirs.

9:15am- All presents are open. There is a mess of paper on the floor. In fact, we have been done with presents for about 15 minutes at this point. Belle and Jolie run back and forth in between their rooms and the tree to put their presents away, and leave others that they want to play with more immediately under the tree and lying around. Belle is already in one of her princess dresses that she received for the day. Jolie has donned her Minnie Mouse PJs. And then they realize they are hungry for breakfast. But they want baths first! You know, so they can put on "stylish" clothes for the day.

10:30am-  Morning baths have been given and after a bit of a fuss, the girls are finally dressed. (Jolie is in that stage where she wants to pick out her own clothes yet she struggles with the concept of outfits, so she requires assistance, even though she doesn't like or want it. Which resulted in mini breakdown). It's amazing to us they have gone this long without food despite numerous offers to eat earlier; I suppose we have Santa to thank for this!

10:45- A brunch of sorts for the girls: yogurt, meat, cheese & crackers (their favorite since they aren't big sandwich eaters), fruit and juice. And finally we are ready to head to Target to pick up goods to donate to the Food Pantry, a new tradition we are starting this year.

11:45- Food pantry items purchased at Target, with the girls asking for some new toys (ah, to be a kid and think that every toy should belong to you!) and then off to the food pantry only to discover they are CLOSED today, so no donating. Knight drops me off on our main street so I can run into my new favorite boutique and pick up a few presents for Christmas, including one he can't see!

12:30- Pit stop back at the house to drop off the presents, food pantry items, and let the girls have some quiet time to play with their toys while Knight catches up on ESPN, we grab a quick lunch and then watch some Man Vs. Food Nation, a show that I'm endlessly fascinated by. Before this, though, the girls snuck into the snow to get their boots and coats all wet and snowy. Then they make pretend snow angels in the house, on our wood floors.

2pm- Quiet time is over, the girls have been snacked, biobreaked, cleaned up their rooms and now it's time to attempt to finsih my Christmas shopping for my family, with the entire family in tow. We weaved in and out of lines at various stores (North Face, JCPenney which is much nicer than I remember it being, Charming Charlies) with the girls being surprisingly awesome at helping pick out clothes for my Gram, and Jolie who spotted some great finds for my mom too (not clothes though).

4pm- We had discussed going out to eat but it's a tad early for dinner and we aren't really in the position to hang out in this area until dinner so we fill up at the inexpensive ($3.03, a steal for this area!) and head to another part of town that we like for dinner. First stop, though? Driving through a local ski resort that has over one million Christmas lights across their grounds. We oohed and ahhed over every.single.light, listened to Christmas music and discussed how Santa delivered packages to us: Through the back patio door, clearly, since we (sadly) don't have  a fireplace. The girls watch "Flight Before Christmas" in the truck as we drive around. proclaiming it's their new favorite movie.

5:30- Arrive at Chili's, Belle and Jolie's vote, for dinner. The inevitable "what should we have" discussion ensues. Several trips to the bathroom, lost crayons, several colored pictures (good thing I remembered the diaper bag), and nearly all of their drinks, dinner is served, and an hour plus later, it's time to leave. We survived with minimal spills, no tears, and kids who ate all their food. I deem this a success.

6:30pm- Pass a sign that says "Live Nativity, Tonight!" and go in search of it. Discover an adorable church we didn't know existed, sit on hay bales, and enjoy the live nativity complete with sheep, goats, and a cow. (Love that the little boys who are there to watch over the sheep threaten to scare each other's sheep if they don't treat them properly. And when that doesn't work? They threaten to let them loose. It was hilarious.) Pet the animals when we are done, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies inside the church and decide to return on Sunday for the Children's Christmas Service.

7:30pm- Home, after a veerrryyy long day. PJs. Teeth. Bed (for the girls). Outside and dinner (for Jack). No protests means the girls are pleasantly and thoroughly exhausted. Knight and I settle in to open Christmas cards and a package we received, put on sweats, watch Bad Teacher, write thank you notes and last minute Christmas cards and decide on bed at the early hour of 10:30pm. I got sucked into SNL and stayed up much later than anticipated.

We had a blast this past Saturday on our first official Christmas together as a family and I think the girls did too. Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into one of my days as a Bonus Mom! It was fun to recap it.

Holy crap! What a busy day! Sounds like a great family day. Thanks for sharing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Discussion 2 - The Invisible Bridge & January Suggestions!

Happy Friday!

What a friend Andras has in Polaner.  I hope that we all have that one friend out there that no matter what, stands by you, will take care of you when you are sick and just be there.  Also, Andras role as a go between with Paul and Elisabet shows a maturity that not many 22 year olds have these days.  I always think that people in their 20s in the 30s-40s were far 'older, wise and mature' than those in their 20s now.

Oh, and I'm still not caught up but I am getting close! ;) Busy week with conferences, observations, meetings and life! Ahhh...

1. In what ways does Andras’s infatuation with Klara, as well as his hesitations about pursuing her, follow an age-old romantic pattern?

2. Do Klara’s revelations (pp. 214–34) change your opinion of her and the way she has behaved?

3. In Budapest, the Lévi and Hász families sustain themselves with small pleasures, daily tasks at home and, in the case of the men, working at the few jobs still available to Jews. Are they driven by practical or emotional needs, or both? Does the attempt to maintain ordinary life represent hope and courage, or a tragic failure to recognize the ever-encroaching danger?

4. Is Andras's belief that “they wouldn’t deport me…Not for serving the ideals of France” (p. 102), as well as the reactions of Professor Vago and Andras’s father to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia (p. 266) naïve, or do they represent widespread opinions and assumptions?

5. What are your thoughts?

And what would you like to read as a group in January?  You can leave your suggestions in the comments in this thread.  I will put up a poll Monday and you can vote through Thursday when I will announce the January read! Thanks for participating!

And look next week for a wonderful guest post by Amber, who shall give this book a far better discussion thread than I!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Wednesday Confessions...

- I think Elf on the Shelf is a bit freaky looking and have no intentions of him gracing my home.  It seems like work (for me, the parent) and promotes tattling.  I think I will stick with, 'hey behave, because your presents can go back to the store or to other good little boys and girls." Or, Santa has a list and he will know... all without having a freaky little doll in our house.  Plus, tattling? So annoying. 

- I judge the lunches my students bring.  Rice crispy treats, peanut butter crackers and fruit snacks? Not a meal.  Nutrigran bar, chips and cookies? Not a meal.  There are some really good ones.  Apple, pepper slices, half a peanut butter sandwich, milk and sometimes dessert.  Oh and lunchables are so gross looking.  The meat and cheese make me want to puke!

- I have four loads of laundry to fold, a dishwasher to unload and dishes to wash but instead last night I Christmas shopped online, caught up on blogs and facebook.

- I really hope my kids learn their songs for our Winter Program soon because I don't want my off-key, tone deaf voice to be the ones parents hear singing.

- I bought 3 boxes of girl scout cookies and one box stayed in my car.

- Sometimes, err 99 percent of the time, I try to pawn my child off to her father when I smell she has a poopy diaper. ;)

- I sneaked a peek at my amazon wish list to see if anyone bought anything off of it (they did!!!).

- When people call me mama it takes a lot of self-control not to yell swear words at them.  I have a freaking name.

- I'm so brain dead, I forgot the 'really good' confession I had.

- When I read stay-at-home moms say they they are there for ALL of the milestones and with their kid 24/7 and know what they do all day it makes me stabby.  Unless you are a deadbeat parent, you ARE there for all the milestones, you DO know what your kid is doing and who the heck wants to be with anyone 24/7.  But, that might be my insane need for alone time coming through on that last one.  Frankly, the first time you see your kid crawl is the first time your kid crawls.  He/she could have been crawling forever in their crib when you are asleep and you too, could have missed 'the first time.'  I know what my kid does when I'm away from her, because I ask.  Not too hard.  Do I need to see her 24/7 to survive? No.  It's stupid comments like, "I get to be there for ALL milestones," with emphasis added, that make more women feel insecure in their parenting choices. 

- I like being away from my child.  And my husband.

- I wish some of the 'older crowd' never got on facebook.  Or, someone taught them they don't need status updates every day or telling us exactly what they are doing.  Life happens, even if it is not recorded on social media.

- I cannot wait until Christmas break.

What would you like to confess?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A day in the life of Kyria..

Hey all! Today, we hear from Kyria, who shares her life journey over at The Travel Spot. She enjoys traveling (and writing about it!) running and taking some fantastic photos. Thanks Kyria!

Hello, I am Kyria from Travel Spot! For me to explain a “normal” day in my life is hard, since I am not working during the holidays. Since I have the time off, I have been taking advantage of it by visiting with friends and family. The day that I documented, I was staying with my friend in Oakland. She had to work so I spent the day at her house with the cats. I guess some things are always there, such as eating or running, but depending on where I am and what I am doing, the when changes. So here is a day in the life, as normal as it gets right now!

7:30 Wake up, brush teeth, pee, put in contacts, make bed. These are all things that no matter where I am, I do them every day. Even the making of the bed, which I get made fun of for, since I even do it when I am staying in a hotel.

7:34 Make coffee. Another MUST. Well actually the drinking part is the must, but first someone has to make it!

7:40 Empty Dishwasher, tidy up house, drink coffee. I figured since my friend is letting me stay at her house, the least I could do is help with some chores. She probably won’t be able to find anything now, since I also organized her fridge.

8:30 – 9:30 Read blogs, drink coffee. I don’t have breakfast right away on mornings when I don’t have to work. Even when I do have to work, I sometimes take my supplies in with me and have a bowl of cereal or something around 9ish. I like to have coffee first and chill out for a while. This morning I had breakfast at 9:30 and then spent some more time reading blogs and drinking coffee.

10:30 –10:37 Attempt to fix drain. Fail. Another chore I promised to do for my friend is to see if I could get her drain to drain faster. I wasn’t strong enough to get the drain out of the tub though. At 10:38 I give up on drain repairs for the time being.

10:40 –11:45 Decide to go running instead, get ready to run, drive to park, run. It’s a beautiful day in Oakland and I have a great run around Lake Merritt.

11:46 –12:15 Attempt to fix drain again. Success this time! I realized that I did not need to remove the drain. Instead I took out a different part, snaked the line and put it all back together again.

12:30 – 1:00 Tonight I am going to Sacramento, to stay with a different friend and her family for the weekend of the race. I got all my stuff packed and ready. It barely fits though, since I not only bought a pair of boots, but also a few sweaters in the last week (and some tights – 4.99 at Ross!) I stuff it all in the bag anyway.

1:00 – 1:30 Lunch:Spinach and beet salad with goat cheese and a hummus and carrot side dish. Yum.

1:30 – 2:30 A friend of mine asked for help making a button for her blog, so I spent sometime working on that, then from 2:30 – 3:00 I worked on the last of my Christmas cards. I am pretty much finished except for a couple people who I still don’t have the correct address for. I like to get them done early. That way can spent time doing my Christmas shopping. I am almost finished with that too; I just have a few gifts left to buy.

3:00 – 5:00 Spent a little more time tidying up the house and then worked on some pre-scheduled blogs for next week, since I will be staying with my parents, who don’t have Internet or cell service. So if I am not always commenting right away on your blogs that is why! Sorry!

5:00 My friend arrives home from work and we hang out and chat for a while before heading out for some grocery shopping (she has a dinner and a movie date tonight at her house) and then she drops me off at the Oakland BART station,where I take the BART to Walnut Creek to meet my other friend who is driving up to Sacramento tonight.

7:30 - 9:45 I get picked up at the Walnut Creek BART and we drive to Sacramento, with a stop in Vacaville for some sushi and ramen.

10:00 We finally get to the house around 10, and then I spend some time chatting with my friend and her family, who are hosting me for the race. They are like my 2nd family and are going to drop me off at the start line as well as watch me in several places during the race! I am so excited to have spectators to cheer me on!

10:30 Get ready for bed, brush teeth, take out contacts. I try to sleep but I am nervous for Sunday, so it takes me a while to get to sleep. Usually I go to bed pretty early, but tonight my nerves keep me up until about 11:30 when I finally fall asleep.

1) Hanging with the cats 2) Make the bed 3)Brush/Contacts 4) Make Coffee 5) Drink Coffee 6) Empty Dishwasher 7) Make Breakfast 8) Eat Breakfast/Read Blogs 9) Packing 10) Running 11) Fixing the Drain 12) Lunch 13) Snack 14) Christmas Cards 15) BART Schedule

Thanks Emily for having me over! I can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s days!

Thanks Kyria! I find it funny that you always make your bed. I don't even know if I made my bed once in the past year! I also must drink coffee. Which reminds me, I need to pick some up or I will be a sad girl!

What is a must in your day?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Changes for 2012 Book Club...

Change is sometimes daunting, scary or hard.  Sometimes it is rewarding, beneficial and freeing. 

I hope the changes I am planning for next year's book club are of the positive nature.  While, the early months of juggling a child, work and daily life wasn't too much, it has now hit a point where something has to give.  My husband's business is thriving (which is EXCELLENT, so so excellent) but that means lots of late nights.  Which in turn, puts more childcare and house work on me.  Which in turn, makes me super duper tired and wanting to veg on the couch.  Which you would think, would make me read more, however, my brain can't handle words and I get easily distracted.

So, instead of 4 check-in's a month I will only be posting 2 check-in's.  If anyone wants to do an extra check-in on the other odd weeks that is more than fine with me, even if it is sporadic.  So, depending how the dates fall we will discuss the book on the 2nd and 4th Friday's of the month.  I am hoping that will give people even more time to get the books and more time to read / catch up.

Also, some months (I've got my eye on February and April off the top of my head) we may join up with another month and do an extra long month read.  So say we may do Feb/March together and April/May together.  I will let you know when I add the post for the monthly suggestions. 

I am so thankful for the participation and feedback given in the last 2!!! years we have been reading together.  I want to continue the monthly books and our talks, but I know to put forth my best effort and to be fair to those doing the reading, I need to adjust this. 

Thanks for being understanding and for participating!!

Do you like these new changes? Any other thoughts?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 1


I have to admit, that I far from being done with this first section.  Whoops, I apologize.  I was going to finish it up Thursday night, but the migraine from hell entered my life and I thought I was going to die/or had the flu.  It was bad.


1. What are your thoughts over the the book so far?
2. What does the opening chapter establish about the cultural and social milieu of prewar Budapest?
3. What do Andras’s reactions to Hasz household reveal about the status of Jews within the larger society?
4. Why do Andras and his friends at the Ecole Speciale tolerate the undercurrent of anti-Semitism at the school even after the verbal attack on Eli Polaner (pp. 39–40) and the spate of vandalism against Jewish students (p. 94)?

Please share any other thoughts or questions you have yourself!

Next week we will cover chapters 15-25!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Call me crazy but..

I'm joining a 2012 reading challenge.  It's okay, I will wait while you laugh and point out that I haven't posted a book review in a super duper long time.  It's cool.  I am joining up with Adam, in hopes I can spend more time reading and less time on the internet!

The jist, is pick 12 books to read that have been on your TBR list for over a year and also choose 2 alternates in case you really cannot finish one.  We all know I own faaaar too many books and I really need to stop getting over due notices from the library.  So in no particular order, here are the books I plan on reading for the challange in 2012.

1. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
2. Because of Winn Dixie - Kate DiCamillo
3. A Theory of Relativity - Jacquelyn Mitchard
4. Something Blue - Emily Giffin
5. She's Gone Country -Jane Porter
6. Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli
7. Prayers for Rain - Dennis Lehane
8. Suite Francaise = Irene Nemirovsky
9. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
10. The Girl in the Green  Raincoat - Laura Lippman
11. Naptime is the New Happy Hour - Stefanie Wilder Taylor
12. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

1. She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
2. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler

I will update this post and add links to my reviews as I fnish.  I will also post an update post in June. 
Anyone else care to join?  Head over to Adam's site and link up!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A day in the life of Crissy..

Hey all! Today's day in the life is Crissy, a respitoray therapist from Texas! Thanks for sharing Crissy!

Being a respiratory therapist has lots of pros and little cons. We are the critical thinkers in the hospital. Not only do we give people breathing treatments to people that have asthma, COPD(combination of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), and people with reactive airway disease we save lives. Going into this line of work I did not realize I would be doing this but quickly found out it is a very rewarding career! So I have picked out one of my busy days in the world of the Medical ICU at a big hospital in the Dallas area. I will be doing the time in military time as that is how we do it in the hospital.

0500- Alarm goes off. Time to start my second 12 hour shift in a row.
0600- Leave the house to get to work by 0630. We have to clock in by 0638 and no later than 0645.
0640- Told I need to go to the unit to get report from the night therapist because he is in a room fixing to help put a breathing tube in and place someone on a ventilator. On top of that I have 5 other patients on ventilators and a patient on a form of breathing treatments that help expand her lungs and we give her medication as well.
0645-Headed up to the unit and relieved the therapist from the room so he could give report to another therapist. Intubated the patient (which means put a breathing tube in their airway) and placed patient on the ventilator without any complications thanks goodness. While we are in the middle of that Im informed there is another patient that needs blood drawn to see if they need to be intubated as well.
0700- Go draw blood on the other patient that is just wearing a machine that pushes air into his lungs to help him remove CO2 in his blood so he can breathe better and not be so lethargic..
0710- The blood I drew looks awful. So we decide to place a breathing tube on him too. So in less than 30 minutes we have placed two breathing tubes. I haven't even seen the other 5 ventilator patients I have.
0740- Start checking on my assigned patients. Find out we have to go to Cat Scan with one patient that is on a ventilator. If the patient was just on oxygen I would not have to go but we use a portable ventilator to transport these patients. Thank goodness Head Cat Scans take at the most 15 minutes there and back. So I try to get thru all my ventilator checks before we have to go travel.
0820-Have checked all patients. We check the ventilators every four hours and giving them breathing treatments thru the ventilators. I have to make sure that the tape job that holds the tube in place looks good and the tube is in the right place. I retaped a few of them. Headed to get blood on the two patients that we intubated earlier in the morning to make sure the settings I placed them on will work out or if things need to be changed.
0840-Another coworker checks on me and she does a treatment for me!! Thank goodness because I felt behind.
0850-The two doctors in the unit that change orders went around to my other vent patients and were making changes so I have to go behind them and write them down.
0920-Now I sit down to finally get some charting in. We chart in two systems unfortunately that can take a good hour to finish.
0950-Grab something to eat real quick and Im told there is a ventilator patient in the ER that is coming to my unit but dont know when.
1000-We do rounds on every patient in the ICU. Sometimes this can last til 1100 or it can take 30 mins. This one took til 1045.
1045-Go set up a ventilator for the on coming ventilator.
1100-Start my therapy all over again. Instead of five ventilators I have 7 to attend to now.
1120- New patient arrives. 8 vents now and this one needs to go to Cat Scan too. Frustrated that ER didnt do this before coming up. Urgh.
1245-Get all vent checks done. Go grab a quick lunch.
1300-Headed to CT scan with the first patient that needed it done.
1320-Charted second rounds in the two systems.
1420-Changed tape on the patient from the OR before going to CT at 1430.
1500-New round starts with less vents. Thank goodness. Hoping my afternoon is better than my morning. I only have 5 of the 8 vents that I ended up with.
1615-Done with vent checks now time to chart again. I get so sick of computers by the time I leave work.
1700-Head down to the department to relax and eat a snack.
1800-Get a call that a patient needs to be looked at. Head up there and the patient just needed to be suctioned. Yes I get to pull some nasty stuff from peoples lungs but I dont have to deal with anything below the belly button and that makes me happy.
1840-Give report to the next therapist down in the department which was my husband!!! I have the luxury of working in the same department as my husband just opposite shifts. He works nights and I work days.
1908-Clock out and go home. Boy were my feet hurting after that day. Felt like I was on my feet a majority of the day. Not all days are this crazy but 70% of it is.

Being a therapist truly makes you appreciate life so much. Watching people struggle to breathe is one of the hardest things to watch. The feeling of helping people words cant explain. It truly makes my heart happy.

Thank you so much Crissy! It's so refreshing to hear from someone who cares passionately about what they are doing!

Do you work in the same field as your signficant other? Have you ever in the past? How does it/ did it go?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The books I'm asking for this year..

Yay Christmas!!! I love buying the perfect gift and getting the perfect gift. (Yeah, I'm a tad selfish, or honest.)

Every year, since I don't remember when, quite possibly my whole life, I've always asked for/got books for Christmas.  This year is no different of course, even though I still haven't read the books I got LAST year! Whooops.  I have about 100 books I've never read before, it is bad.  Anywhooo, tangent.

Yeah.  Christmas.  Here is my book wants for 2011...

Two Kisses for Maddy - Matt Logelin
I have read Matt's blog for so long and have been SUPER excited to read his book, but knew I had to put a few months between having Isla and reading this book for my anxiety/peace of mind.  Now, it is game on!

The Violets of March - Sarah Jio
All the recommendations I've read of Jio's first novel have made me excited to read it!

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
I am so late on this book train but I am super excited to read this book set in the 1940s while Japanese were being sent off to internment camps in the US.

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

How can you NOT want to read that?
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
Ernest Hemingway. Jazz Age Paris. A 'golden couple.'  Sign me up! I, as in any good stalker, ha, want to read about Hemingway and his wife Hadley. 

Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
Apparently, I have a WW2 theme going on with my list.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
And consider me hooked...

Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
What books are on your list? Any I should add?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Don't you hate...

When something is on the tip of your tongue and you can't remember what it was?  There is a poem posted in our bathroom at work that I wanted to post about.. and wouldn't you know it.. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the poem.. or the poet and my googling is not working..

Needless to say, I am looking for motivation wherever I can.  Winter has arrived and with it, my gloomy outlook.

You know what else it brings? The people who tell you to be thankful for what I have.  Don't ya think I know that? Are you supposed to be happy 24/7 just because there are people that want what I have? Well dangit, I want something that I don't have.  So bugger off.

In other randomness, cuz that is what this post is filled with... My baby girl is 6 months old and that means we have been breastfeeding for 6 months!! Woot woot!!! She is eating more big girl foods and so far has enjoyed some sweet potatoes, bananas, oatmeal, carrots, peas, and spicy beans and rice.  I am hoping that I will cultivate an adventurous eating like myself.

And hopefully, I will remember to check out the poem posted in the bathroom stall tomorrow so next week, I can wow you with my words.

Or maybe I will forget and spend 400 words randomly complaining about being cold and not being done with my Christmas shopping even though I started in October.