Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life Changing Moments

Okay, so by now you know that I am a reader of nearly any genre and/or topic. I have been reading since I was 4 years old. Reading, for me, is like thumb sucking (to which I also subscribed) - escapism. Opening the cover of a new book, or now - clicking to the first page of writing on my Nook, is one of the most exciting moments in life.

As such, you can imagine my horror when my current health challenges affected my vision. I was as panicky as a baby bird fallen from the nest in the path of a feral cat. I adjusted my glasses, got closer to the e-reader screen, brightened the light - anything that would allow me to see the words clearly on the screen. None of these things worked. I even enlarged the print, thinking maybe I am getting older even though mentally I feeeeeel 32. Still, unclear vision.

After a 10 minute deep breathing exercising that nearly ended in hyperventilation because nobody needs to deep breath for more than 3 minutes, I tried a 'real' book, only to find the same end result: blurred words, unclear vision.

Now that I was more calm, I prayed:

Dear Jesus, I know I have done some things wrong, but I repented and tried really hard to turn from my wicked ways. I am sorry. PLEASE don't take my vision. Please. In Jesus, your, name. Amen.

I called my doctor, because the atypical migraines do affect my vision for a short period of time, but not this long, and (voice rising) I should be able to read, shouldn't I? I mean I have to see to read, right?

After more ambiguous and expensive co-pay testing, the Doctor explained in basic English and in medical shenanigans, that he has no clue WHY my vision is affected although he can tell me this is a side effect of the migraine. We will continue with the prescribed method of treatment of the neurologist until we find some solution. However, because my vision does return to clarity after anywhere from a few hours to a few days, the suggestion is that this is a temporary side effect. Not permanent. Nope. Not forever.

Does this tell you the same nothing it tells me? Good - we are on the same path of discovery then. My good friend pointed out to me that my Nook is equipped to read to me. God bless America and the friends that I love.

As usual, I am now reading up on these migraines and what I can do naturally to help myself. I am grateful that my neurologist is also a believer in natural remedy over medication. I am doing some new things that seem to help alleviate the strength and length of each episode. There are more specific tests scheduled for my vision and my body. Most of all, I am writing - because this life changing moment has taught me that I am taking far to much for granted. Like vision.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This story will keep you involved and on the edge of your seat until the very last chapter. Cameron Stracher pulls the reader into the story, and we are on the quest for answers and freedom with the main characters.

Imagine, in our world of immediate gratification, not being able to quench thirst or alleviate hunger at free will. Think of the plight of a homeless person, except personified by 1 million and spread to the multitude. That is the result of a world ravaged by environmental abuse and war in Stracher’s “The Water Wars”.

In a United States with only 10 remaining republics and limited clean water sources ruled by capitalist conglomerates, real H20 is for the elite, and those who have the talent to find it. The rest of the population is relegated to water rations and synthetically created foods. They are dying off, unless they can be used to mine for real water. With no real communication except that supplied by the so-called government, they are mind washed to believe there is no more water to be found in the earth at all.

But as young minds will, Vera and Will quietly question the propaganda, and believe the water is actually killing their mother. When they meet up with the enigmatic Kai, their zest for the possibility of a world where water is free to everyone is further ignited. Then Kai disappears and the adventure begins.

Along the way, the author injects renewed hope in the basic kindness of people, while at the same time encouraging the reader to reject stereotypes and question propaganda. The greatest underlying message is of course environmental. The story allows us to envision the reality of global warming and environmental abuse as it exists today. It gives us a look at what happens when the earth doesn’t wait for the inhabitants to get it together. It is not a pretty picture, delivering a pseudo wake up call to the previously asleep.

I read this book in one day, because I had to see how the story played out, and what would be the end.

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Purchase at Amazon.com

Patience is a Mother.....virtue...

I birthed my children late in life. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this phenomenon. I have more patience than when I was 20 or 25 years old. I fear that I would have smacked my 6 year old back into the birth canal at the age of 18, having to help him through this simple math, which he has done three nights a week. "Repetition only works if you work it." I tell him this as if he is in a 12 step program.

Tonight I am feeling slightly under the weather, which cuts my patience by 1/4 and tolerance by 1/2. I pull out my Dad's old leather belt and sit it between us. Elijah looks at it, because he knows I never do this unless I am going to use it. I reserve that decision for times when you may have mortally injured yourself or someone else with your actions. Tonight, I am the 'someone else.'
(Pause for station identification: I am a terrible disciplinarian, but I do believe that it is my responsibility to whip my child's behind if he/she puts himself or herself into danger or someone else, and/or revolts against authority. If I don't do it the world will when he/she reaches just about 16 years of age. Call whatever services you want. Unpause.)
Sitting at the table next to my 6 year old, doing basic math. I am struggling with the onset of a cold and winter fatigue, enduring the caterwauling of a pre-teen singer pretend auditioning for American Idol, and a one sided migraine. However, my biggest struggle at this moment is math with Elijah.

"Elijah" I say, "If you have 8 and you gain zero, how many do you have?"
"Uhmmmm," says the spider to the fly, "zero".

Breathe. Rethink. Go again.

"Okay, Elijah", I say, "If you have 8 cookies and I give you no more, how many do you have?"
"uhhhhhh...8" he says and writes down the number in the appropriate square.
One down.

"Okay, let's use our fingers. If you have 3 and you add 2 more, how many do you have?"

My mostly hyper son, well on his way to mathematical genius, screws up his fingers and his face and does this weird bending thing of several fingers and says:
"Elijah." I say "How many fingers do you have up?"
Silent prayer to Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old. Come now.
"Soooo...start again. Put up 3 fingers."
"Oneeeee, Twoo....Three," he chants as he puts up his double jointed fingers in freaky contortions.
"Now, add two more."
More chanting "Onnnneee. Two."
"Now count them all together." This is me thinking how easy this is, right?
"Onnneeee...Twooo...Thr...wait....Oneee...Twoo...Threee...Four....Five. Five." Happy writing in the appropriate box is underway again. I look to check the box.
"Elijah, what is that?"
"The number 5," with exasperation at my idiocy.
"Why is it backward?"
"Oh" Erase. Erase. Erase some more. Thought. Intense Thought. Finally.....a written 5.
Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old, be a fence.
At this point we have only solved two problems. There are 10 more on the page, and the opposite side to complete. I am thinking that I may take up drinking as a result of motherhood. Elijah is thinking, "Bobbi is watching American Idol tryouts and laughing. I am going to miss them all." I know because he tells me this as he whines and slides down the seat half way into question number 3.

Elijah likes math. He does not like it when he doesn't want to do it. That is when we start writing numbers backwards, counting to 8 on one hand like we are a Martian child with extra digits, and yawning repeatedly. Tonight is that night.

In my youth, I would have snatched this child up and done some major irreparable damage. God knew. That is why he withheld children from me until He himself could endow me with some sense and clarity. I had a little talk with myself.

Self, I said, look at this child. You will be sitting here forever if you don't find a way to help him catch on. Think outside of the box. Be creative. Do not envision yourself standing said child in the middle of the room with hands outstretched for an hour counting from 1 to 10.

"Elijah", I say "go get your cars." He runs to get his collection of matchbox cars. "Count out 10 cars". Oh, happy happy, joy joy. He starts counting, and playing, because he is distracted from math homework and thinks it is all over.

Not so.

"Okay, what is the next question on your math homework? 6+2. Count out 6 cars. Now count out 2 cars. Put those all together and count them. How many do you have? Write it in the box."

"Now do the rest of your problems the same way."

"Okay, mom." says excited 6 year old, fingering most important and prized possession cars, "I can do it with my cars."

Oh happy happy, joy joy. I think. I lay back down on the sofa.

Until he gets to the word problems on the backside of his math homework. Really. Word problems. In the 1st grade.

Dear Jesus who helps mother with math and 6 year old. Come now.

Review: At Death's Door - An Alex Troutt Thriller

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