Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

Last Saturday, before the evil virus set in on Sunday, we visited with my brother, his wife and their little boy. I haven't seen him in over a year so I was excited about finally getting to spend some time with him!  Of course the poor children felt like celebrities surrounded by papparazzi before the day was over, even though they took it in stride like the champ children of today's mommy's photographers seem to be doing :)

Of all the photos we took, these are my favorites: 

My little nephew attached himself to my youngest...I guess she was the closest person to his size and he immediately was drawn to her.
Both of the pics above were taken with my Iphone and were "polished" with Instagram layers :)

One of my sister-in-law's favorite photos was this one.  In fact, she changed her FB cover to this picture :)

This photo was also taken with my Iphone but "tweaked" with a different app called Filter Mania :) 

Love my Iphone and its fabulous photo apps :)

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce over at At Home with Books.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway - I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands - TLC Book Tours

I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD by J.J. Keeler
Paragon House, 2012

Format? Oversized paperback

Source? I received my complimentary copy from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Why?  It's probably only fair that I disclose upfront how close I am to this topic.  One of my daughters was diagnosed with OCD a few years ago.  Up until then, like most people, I also thought OCD was about hand-washing or manic cleaning.  The truth of the matter is that OCD can manifest itself in many ways.  It is an illogical obsession...for rules, organization, cleanliness, perfectionism (my daughter's flavor), things to be done a certain way, etc.  Once my daughter was diagnosed, I looked around and began to recognize some of the same tendencies in myself and other members of my family...fears or ways of doing things based on illogical, unrealistic fear...and true panic when that order breaks down.  Lots of folks kid around and say, "Oh my gosh, I thought I was gonna have a panic attack!"  Until you've really had one though, there's no way for you to understand.  I read just about anything and everything I can get my hands on about OCD in order to keep us all somewhat stable...whatever that means ;P

What Now?  I'm happy to pass this one along to someone who'd like to read it.  I gently read it on purpose, no bindings are broken, and I even annotated on post-it notes instead of inside the book itself!! Yay Me!!  The author also autographed the inside cover of the book :) 
Just let me know in the comments if you're interested.  I'll keep this giveaway open for a week and draw a winner next Friday, July 27 :)

Golden Lines
Looking back, it seems I've always had it, the way I've always had blue eyes or a tendency to tap my feet to a song's beat.
It hasn't always been the same.  It has jumped around from an obsession with AIDS to an obsession with rules, from an obsession with praying to an obsession with morals.

Nowadays, the obsession ebbs and flows.  The vast majority of the time, I don't worry about it at all.  My mind has moved on to other things.  But it is always there, sitting behind the scenes of my brain, waiting to be called to center stage.

If you can say anything nice about OCD, you would have to compliment its creativity.  Just when you're working on conquering one demon, another pops up, like the purple gophers in the old Whac-a-mole game. The better you get with your large, rubber mallet, the quicker the gophers start coming right back.

The weird thing about OCD, or more accurately one of the weird things, is its ability to seesaw: on occasion, it allows reason to seep in, like a ray of sun through a broken window shade.

I do, however, believe in God, and have come to accept that it is called faith for a reason: if there was proof - irrefutable video footage of Heaven - the word wouldn't fit.

I sometimes wonder if mental illnesses are like snowflakes with no two being alike. It's important to keep that in mind and remember your OCD might be different from mine.

Keeler discusses very personal stories about growing up with OCD and not realizing what was driving her crazy until well into adulthood.  She adds humor mixed with facts in order to press forward her most important points, OCD is not always the stereotypical hand-washing disease and those suffering from OCD in its many variations can and do live normal lives.

What I Liked
The #1 most important thing in this book, to me, are the examples and concrete statements explaining that OCD isn't always what we think. 

If I suffered from Keeler's particular kind of OCD I would be scared to death...and she does a great job of portraying her fear...of hurting someone, of telling others about her fears, about thinking something is really really wrong with her, etc.  I think, if nothing else, someone with the irrational fear of hurting others would be thankful to finally read something that shows them they are not the only one...and, most importantly, that a fear of hurting someone is a lot different than actually hurting someone.

The bomb in the Teddy Bear - this chapter was one of my favorites bc it reminded me of an incident with my older daughter that happened when she was a child.  She collected Ty Beanie Babies, had tons of them, and everybody, knowing of her love for them, gave them to her as gifts.  There was this one Beanie Baby, however, which I kept finding all over the house.  I would put it back in the toybox, on her shelf, on her bed, etc. only to find it again the next day hidden somewhere in another part of the house.  A few times I simply found it in the hall where it had been tossed.  At that age, probably 6-7, she couldn't explain to me why, but she simply could not/would not have it in her room.  Even if she could see it somewhere else, as long as it was not in her room, she was ok...but it could not cross her threshold.  I promptly threw that sucker away (it's probably worth a bazillion dollars today).

The chapter on Rules - this chapter fits my OCD flavor the best...I didn't get in much trouble when I was young either...bc I didn't want anyone to be disappointed in me, I believed what they told us in school about drugs and I took following directions very seriously (still do, much to the chagrin of my students at times).  I don't have to have EVERYTHING exactly the way I want it, but the things I can't let go of, I simply can't let go of.  My way has order, it makes sense and gives me some semblance of control in a chaotic world.  I do not, however, try to control things I cannot control...I'm not afraid to fly, for example.  
I must pick up pennies, no matter how nasty or where they are found.  Poultry also must be washed, hands and sink scoured and the poultry washed again...salmonella, you know, is a living breathing bacteria just waiting to attack your family :P  Expired items MUST be disposed of.  The day before those items can be lifesavers...after that, you're on your own.
I like law; I like security; I like making rules and expecting others to follow them.  I don't like it so much when some particular "others" don't follow my rules (my two teenage daughters).  I've made it home with something from the store that I didn't pay for, and gone all the way back to pay for it.  Everything must be good.  Period. Check.

What I Didn't Like
The Title - I almost didn't read this bc from the title I thought it was going to be about someone who was "opposite" from hand-washing, i.e. someone who never washes their hands.  That, my own OCD wouldn't have allowed me to read unscathed, and I try very hard to stay away from things I know will set off my reptilian brain (that's what our therapist calls it anyway :)
The author never mentions an aversion to hand-washing...she mentions being untidy but nothing that would make my germ-warfare captain jump up and start calling out orders.

The author's fear of hurting others truly outweighs any of her other compulsions and made me wonder time and time again if this book should have been marketed specifically to people with that particular brand of OCD.  I cannot even imagine living with that kind of fear and would assume that those who do would benefit tremendously from this book.

The author didn't talk much about therapy...just a mention in the last chapter, "Dear Friend."  Again, I am biased here, but an exceptional therapist has been the key to our family's management of OCD.  I also am not a believer in medication without therapy.  We do medicate, but we also "therapize" (my made up word) to the point sometimes that I think I'm therapized to death.  I need my own therapy just to deal with everybody else's therapy...and so on.

Overall Recommendations
For someone who's suffering from Keeler's OCD of hurting others, I think this is a must read for support purposes.  For others with OCD it's an interesting read and you'll see yourself in some of Keeler's examples with her other OCD characteristics since OCD tends to's a "compulsion" disorder...what a person has a compulsion about is up to his/her own individual brain.


J.J. Keeler is on Twitter and Facebook

Other Stops on the TLC Tour

Tuesday, July 10th: A Bookish Affair

Monday, July 16th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, July 17th: Oh! Paper Pages

Wednesday, July 18th: Surviving the Madhouse

Thursday, July 19th: 50 Books Project

Friday, July 20th: Peppermint PhD

Monday, July 23rd: Lolly’s Hope

Tuesday, July 24th: I’m a mom. I have OCD.

Wednesday, July 25th: Bringing along OCD

Thursday, July 26th: she treads softly

Monday, July 30th: Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, July 31st: The Beat OCD Blog

Wednesday, August 1st: 71° & Sunny: One Christian’s Odyssey

Thursday, August 2nd: Adventures in Anxiety Land

Friday, August 3rd: OCD BloggerGirl’s Blog

Monday, August 6th: Expoing OCD

Tuesday, August 7th: OCD Talk

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop - July 19-25

Update: Kim from Where the Wolves Read is the winner of The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd: Ninth Grade Sucks from the Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop :)

For the Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop hosted by 
and co-hosted by 
I tried to think of something I've read on the beach in the past.
As I scanned my shelves, a couple of authors kept popping up that brought back beach memories, James Patterson and Charlaine Harris.

I have fond memories of Alex Cross and some of the scariest serial killers/criminals you'll ever meet.  Only the shade of my umbrella and my pina colada kept me from getting the willies :)

And, of course, Sookie Stackhouse in all her glory, especially some of the first installments.  I gulped these like ice cold water after a long walk on the beach in the sun.  Can you smell that sunshine? :)

Anyhoo, the books in the photo below are some I pulled off my shelves for this giveaway.

1 winner will win either

4 Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris.
1 oversized paperback ( #8 From Dead to Worse) and 3 mass market paperbacks ( #3 Club Dead,  #7 All Together Dead, and  #6 Definitely Dead
all gently used


3 Alex Cross books by James Patterson (#5 Pop Goes the Weasel, #8 Four Blind Mice, and #4 Cat & Mouse)
These are book club hardcover editions and are pretty old (pages are a little yellowed)


4 other Alex Cross books by James Patterson
all oversized paperbacks
all gently used

If you're interested in one of these 3 sets of books, just follow me on one of these fun sites:

Networked Blogs

Only one of the four follow options is mandatory, but any other follow will count as extra :) 
If you're already a follower, just say so and this one's on me :)

Be sure to tell me in the comments which set you're entering for, your email and blog address so that I can find you if you win!

Dah, ta Dah, 
Now for the rules!

Hop Rules 
You must host a giveaway on your site, you are responsible for obtaining a prize for giveaway and taking care of the shipping charges. 

  • You must giveaway something a reader, author or blogger would enjoy. 
  • Your giveaway post must include the hop image & linky (or links to the hosts' sites if you can't get the linky to work). 
  • Please only 1 mandatory entry - Keep it simple!  No long list of things for people to do to enter.
  • Your post must be live by 12:01 EST on July 19th. (That is 9 pm July 18th if you live in California) 
  • The giveaway must be specifically for this hop. 
  • Your site must be family friendly - no erotica or 18+ sites. Your site & giveaway must be free of steamy images and book covers. If it would embarrass me to have my teenagers see it, it can't be on your site. 
  • It is your responsibility to check the linky on July 19th to be sure you are still on the linky and that your link is accurate. Please send me a direct link to your post when it goes live. 
  • If you are using Rafflecopter set it to begin on JULY 18th and to end on JULY 26th. Do not use the point values +4, +5, +10 + 25, etc.

  • Hop along, ya'll! 

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Sorta Wordless Wednesday - Walkin' in Memphis

    Old folks having fun on Beale Strreet...on a Thursday night.

    Public Service Announcement: Went back to Beale Street on Saturday night, not recommended :( actually kinda scary.  Armed policemen everywhere, controlled access in and out to the area, etc.  The heightened security is there due to recent violence on the street...the vigilant security is certainly is a good thing...but we decided Thursday night was enough for us.  I can have a much safer cocktail on the roof of my hotel watching the beautiful sunset  over the MS river, thank you :)

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    The Youngest vs. The Evil Stomach Virus

    On Sunday morning, while still in Memphis, my mom called around 6 a.m. to say our youngest was throwing up.  The husband and I got up, got dressed and drove the hour or so to my mom's house to relieve my mom and middle daughter who'd actually been up with the youngest since around 3 a.m. 

    While I hate being sick, and a stomach virus is the ultimate in misery, I'd take it any day, all day if I could take it away from one of my kids...especially the little one.
    While I don't want to gross anybody out, let's just suffice to say that this evil virus has attacked all the youngest's ins, outs and all abouts.  Go ahead and imagine all that happening at the same time.  
    I'll wait while you go take a Dramamine and spray Lysol all over your house.

    With some help from a friendly small town pharmacist, we were able to get some dissolvable nausea/vomiting meds to try and ease the youngest's suffering.  Each time we gave her one, we'd count the minutes between meds and the next retching incident (and I mean retching, people), hoping at least some of the meds would be absorbed enough to help her.  

    We caught a break around 4 p.m. and loaded her up in the backseat of our car, complete with blankets, pillows, bucket, washrags, etc. and drove the 4 hours it takes us to get home.
    Miraculously, after only one close call, no vomiting took place in the car.
    Small miracles are greatly appreciated by this mom.

    After arriving at home, around 10 p.m. the youngest requested ginger ale, so I gave her some with instructions to take it one sip at a time.  I knew this was progress and was relieved enough to leave her side and start the mountain of wash we had accumulated since the beginnings of this mom had been steadily washing, but I have a paranoia when it comes to germs...EVERYTHING must be washed again and daily until the germs have been annihilated.
    Yes, I'm a little OCD; why do you ask?

    Unfortunately, in her dying of thirst state, my youngest convinced one of the teenagers to bring her the ginger ale and drank it too fast.  
    She called for me when she became nauseous again, and I was standing right in front of her, trying to figure out why the nausea was coming back with such ferocity when the lid blew open and Exorcist style projectile vomiting began...and yes, I was right there to catch it all.
    Only then did the culprits admit that they gave her the ginger ale while I wasn't looking.
    Oy again.
    You know it's been a bad day when you're just thankful that the vomit is made of gingerale.
    While I showered, the youngest partook of a long soak in our bathtub with whirlpool jets running and actually began playing with some of her toys.  I didn't have any toys to play with in the shower...I was just thankful for the hot water, shampoo, and soap.

    Yesterday (Monday) was a better day with the youngest either in bed or on the couch, depending on what I was washing at the time, watching Full House and Brady Bunch DVDs.  
    Can I get an Amen for DVDs of 70's and 80's sitcoms that were actually made with kids in mind? 
    She has lost her taste for gingerale as you can imagine, so it was ice chips or ice water all day yesterday and finally around 9:30 p.m. she asked for something a little more substantial.  I made some chicken broth, helped her sit up and eat it and then she went to sleep for the night.  

    She's sleeping this morning after waking a couple of times to go to the bathroom and saying that the nausea was back.  I'm sure her delicate tummy is trying to decide what to do with the chicken broth, not to mention the weakness from no food for 2 days, so I suggested she close her eyes and sleep more.  
    And, that's where we are right now.

    Yes, that's the youngest's loyal protector Layla at her feet, keeping watch for any more germs that try to attack her girl :)