As I sit here typing this in Pensacola, I hear the sound of the train passing outside. It definitely has been a year to remember. I never knew how much I enjoyed reading. And medical issues aside, 2016 is over and I know how much God provides in every way possible. I’ve learned more about myself and the world from eyes of each book that I read. It all leads back to God, his greatness and wonderful plan. I can see their views on our creator. When I go back to the Word, I enjoy it more!
I managed to read 32 books last year. And I will give credit, where credit is definitely due for my book reading inspiration. From a friend and her blog @ Take It or Tweak It with this particular post.
It has been quite a fun year enjoying classic literature, and a few others. I want to inspire you dear reader to challenge yourself, and pick out a number of books to read. And set your course and stick to it. Classics, are a perfect place to start. Most are referenced in other literature, and it gives you connections and a way to start a good conversation. So, you will be up to date, when an author references one of these.
Here is a link to a good place to start from Clifton Fadiman’s lifetime reading list, which I mentioned in my post at the beginning of last year.
Top three books in 2016!
1) Moby-Dick 2) Middlemarch 3) Count of Monte Cristo.
And I will add a 4) Night by Elie Wiesel, because it is captivating and it gives me a deeper appreciation as I read back through the Psalms and other scripture. You will have to read it for yourself (I will eventually add a review another day)
Medical related update for 2016:
MRI Femur/CT Chest, followup: Result for 2016 is good!! 3 year milestone was reached.
MRI Brain, followup: Results are stable, no growth which is always good.
Abdominal pain referenced in a previous post is gone now. But doesn’t mean possible surgery is still not in future. Which I’ve decided not to do for the time being.
Having bacterial pneumonia at the end of November though initial days of December is not fun. I am better now. But I haven’t got rid of a headache that has started since then. It comes and goes with time.
Eye related issue, that I had was rescheduled to this month, because of the above sickness interference with the scheduled appointment.
But 2017 is a new year. I look forward to what is to come this year. Another year behind and a new year is now on the frontier. And more books on the horizon. : – )
Week 22-30: Ambassadors by Henry James – 463 pages
Week 29: Rebecca and Rowena by William Makepeace Thackeray – 104 pages
Week 30-33: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – 415 pages
Week 34-35: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – 452 pages (Bought 8/8/16 after MRI)
Week 35-37: Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – 1100~ pages
Week 37-39: Little Women by Louise May Alcott – 504 pages
Week 39-41: Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – 253 pages
Week 41-44: Paradise Lost by John Milton -300 pages~ ( Bought 9/14/16 after MRI/CT)
Week 44: How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill – 246 pages
Week 45: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – 210 pages
Week 45-46: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolfe – 138 pages
Week 46-47: Break of Day by Colette – 168 pages
Week 46-47: Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft by William Godwin – 133 pages
Week 47-51: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville – 615 pages
Week 51-52: Night by Elie Wiesel – 120 pages
Week 52: Twelve Baskets of Crumbs by Elisabeth Elliot – 173 pages
13000~ pages according to Goodreads among these 32 books.
I’ve neglected to provide another update on my delve into a world of books.
Below is my latest list.
Week 9-12: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray [3/5-3/23] 754 pages
Week 12-14: Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton [3/24-4/4] 304 pages
Week 14-17: Adam Bede by George Eliot [4/5-4/26] 483 pages
Week 17-19: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell [4/27-5/9] 1037 pages
Week 19-22: Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton [5/11- 6/2] 414 pages
Adam Bede, should have been finished faster. I was reading a 127 year old copy of the book from 1889. Especially, taking great care with this older edition, is one reason.
The second being the in the hospital from 4/15-4/17. I went into the emergency room on that Friday morning at 7 AM. I wasn’t feeling well the previous day. Then when I threw up that morning, it did not look normal. It was was old blood, which was black. The diagnosis was LA Class D Esophagitis. I feel okay now, currently taking medicine to heal it. I have a followup EGD on Monday to check on the healing of my esophagus.
Last week, I went to an ophthalmologist and she performed a laser treatment on the retina. It was done to help prevent retina detachment down the road, because of symptoms I was experiencing. A burst of green laser to the left eye, while seated with head and chin strapped in. It was hard to reply to the doctor, while a laser is flashing into your retina. It was no big deal. I’ve been through a lot in my life, so this was a minor inconvenience to myself. Basically, the treatment was plugging the small hole in the retina. Follow-up for that is next month.
Okay enough of that chapter into my life.
Gone with the Wind, is a wonderful book. It has become one of my favorite books now. There is so much in the book to say which can’t be confined in the few lines that I am giving here. Scarlett and Rhett both have dynamic characters. You will either love or hate, Scarlett. And of course the book is better than the movie. Too much is left out in the movie, because of time (haha). If you haven’t watched the movie. It is three hours and forty-five minutes. Read this book now.
Custom of the Country. This book has been on my bookshelf for a few years. I actually forgot that I owned it. I noticed in January, while perusing my book shelves. Another great book by Edith Wharton, written in 1913. It is fun to compare and contrast characters from your other books to the one you are currently reading. I read one short review comparing the main character to the one in Thackeray’s Becky Sharp. And that’s why picked it up finally. Undine Spragg is… Well, you will have to find out for yourself.
Adam Bede, was enjoyable from the first few pages. I read this book, because it was written by George Eliot. As usual, her characters come to life. Quite a lot to say. If you have enjoyed reading Eliot, read this one as well.
Age of Innocence. Another great book by Wharton.
Vanity Fair. Great book. Am I overusing this word??? A character you will get to know is Becky Sharp. Quite a terrible character. You will see her antics in the first few pages.Vanity Fair, has also been called a book without a hero.
Thackeray has a lot of good commentary. Have you built your castles in the air lately?[You will not understand, until you read this book] One more thing. He has written a short parody of Ivanhoe in 1850, called Rebecca and Rowena. Which I need to add my to-read list. I will give an update later.
I didn’t originally attend to put mini review of these books. It was a pleasure reading through them. Quite enjoyable indeed.
Reading classics will broaden your mind and outlook on life. There is a lot to learn. Until next time.
Another month of books has passed on by. And another has already begun.
week six(1of2): Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
week six(2of2): To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
week seven: Middlemarch by George Eliot
week eight(1of2): Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
week eight(2of2): Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
week 9: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray [currently reading]
Where will I end. Who knows. I’ve been reading slower at a snail’s pace this week, it seems. This current book (754 pages) is about equal in length to Middlemarch.
I have to say now that George Eliot’s Middlemarch has become my favorite book of all time. I immensely enjoy Eliot’s intellectual mind that comes across in her writing. I was originally considering reading Middlemarch at some point this year. While reading, To the Lighthouse, Woolf casually drops the title in her book. I knew from that point, that I should read Middlemarch next. It may be a longer book than most people are accustomed to reading. Definitely does not disappoint.
After finishing her book, I went on eBay and bought an 1875’s?? edition of the book, that came from across the pond. I didn’t stop there!! HA. I now own other late 1800’s editions of her other novels.
I was looking upon my bookshelf last week. I noticed I have a book, Poems of George Eliot. !!!!!
I remember buying this book several years ago. I failed to realize who she was then. She is not known for her poems.
Page after page after page. Reading is quite a pleasure and enjoyment for the mind. : -)
So, I’ve started this year out reading quite a few books. As of today, I am on my sixth book.
I have read the following starting with:
week one: The Iliad by Homer
week two: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
week three: The Odyssey by Homer
week four: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
week five (1 of 2): Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
and I finished Rebecca in three days, a lot earlier than I expected.
week 5 (2 of 2): Emma by Jane Austen
I now read in my spare time now. Such as slow times at work or on my lunch break.
It opens you up to whole another world. And I think to myself, why haven’t I read these classic pieces of literature. Time never changes. As I read these authors, you see similarities that still exist today of the human condition. One gleans from words of old.
There are far too many distractions today, that could be better spent instead by reading a book.
I set a goal to read 30 books in the 2016 GoodReads challenge. I know I will surpass that goal in a few short months. One way to help to be on a firm reading schedule is by using you local public library. Deadlines such as a due date for a book, can give you the confidence to finish the book in time.
There are numerous books to choose from that I want to read. I’ve even asked friends on suggestions on what to read. So far, I’ve read four suggested from one friend. I still have another three from other friend’s suggestions that are on my to-read-list.
The ones I am choosing mostly will come from this list Clifton Fadiman’s lifetime reading list
I think this will be a good year of reading. : -)
Last year had its ups and downs. A whole hosts of things were interwoven to make the year of 2015.
In 2016, I still have unanswered questions and concerns, which hopefully in two to three months will reveal themselves.
Last year the number of scans came to the total of 6. I haven’t updated on the scans since August, which I had 4 more. The additional scans are still good. I was hoping two of the scans would answer concerns I am still currently experiencing. But it is great there is nothing that shouldn’t be there. So, that is a relief.
Along aside working, the doctor’s appointments, scans, and concerns can put additional strain on work and life.
Realizing that you are having pain on a daily basis, hinders everyday tasks. I started to journal my everyday food consumption from the advice of my doctor. And then I started to notice pain that shouldn’t be there. I know now, I’ve had this a lot long than I realized. The only way I can remember those days, is an event or meetup happened on that day. So, it’s ingrained in my mind more clearly.
I’ve noticed the pain in my abdomen can last for several hours, if not controlled properly. I originally used a heating pad, but moved onto OTC medicine in the last few weeks. Even that doesn’t always work. I’ve used one with sleep aids to get through early morning hours.
This has also caused missing a few Bible studies, a Symphony and other various things and events. Simply, I wasn’t feeling well enough to attend, move, or sit for that matter comfortably.
I will meet with the doctor now in February to hopefully find a solution to my problem.
… And I forgot to update that my scans have moved from every 6 months to once a year. Managing work alongside scans, does have extra stress involved. Usually an extra day or two for results, with whatever the work day brings. So, only having to do that once a year is a relief. : – )
Also, September ’15 is when I stopped using Facebook. It allows myself to free up time for additional things. I have time for reading books, such as Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Which is a great book that I really enjoyed. There are still distractions but not as much anymore. I will admit I was spending too much time on Facebook.
So, a resolution is not to have pain throughout the year. I hope it might resolve itself in three – four months. Which might involve surgery. I’ll just have to see what the doctor thinks.
I also decided this year to use a planner, which will hopefully provide motivation in other every tasks. Keep tracking of food consumption late last year, is one reason that I know that I can plan for the week.
2016 is a New Year. New possibilities and responsibilities. New books to read. Only time will tell.
The title says it all. Two years today, I had surgery to remove a soft tissue sarcoma from the vastus medialis muscle of my right thigh. I’m glad I’ve reached this point. : -)
What have I learned so far???
God has been my rock and redeemer throughout all my trials. I still know to trust Him in everything. Because he delivered me in those trials, He is there in everything else. I still need God’s grace everyday.
I appreciate the life I have been given. I know I need to build relationships with others. I’ve taken for granted a lot of things.
We all face various trials in our lives. And we all experience difficulties. You don’t have to let certain situations bring you down. I know we wish that we would feel comfortable all the time. Life of course is not like that.
Life can still be stressful.
Your world is turned upside down after a diagnosis. You are not the same anymore. And then you start to appreciate everything that you already have and not to waste it.
All interactions and daily life changes, despite the same routine. There will of course be worry or anxiety around the corner. We don’t know where we will be five years down the road.
I am thankful for all the comfort God has provided. I trust and depend on Him daily.
I met with the doctor today for followup of the scans on Monday. Good MRI and CT. And I have the next 6 months scans in December, then I go to yearly after that. I’m glad for the good results.
Also, it is two years ago today, that I had a biopsy of this tumor. The diagnosis of it was not able to show its true nature. That is very common with sarcomas and it can be easily misdiagnosed. Which of course can delay the proper action that is needed. I am glad that I had it removed, even though I was told it was benign. 🙂
Anxiety can happen with dealing with scans. Especially with all that I have been through, it easy to fall back into that feeling. I know that I will never feel normal. I’ve never experienced that. What I feel would be normal is not having to deal with any medical issues or trials of that nature. I know everyone has different experiences along the way. But going through all the surgeries and other related things, has shaped my life in great ways. I know that God has been there the entire way. I’ve depended on Him since my first surgery at age five. Even today my hope and trust is in Him. And I don’t know what the future holds, but God has been preparing me for it. I still have to rely on Him everyday.
I’m ready for next week to be here already.
I never thought I would this happen. Even though I have been through a lot. The feeling of wanting answers but waiting as the the day approaches can set life back. Scanxiety is setting in.
It is more of a combination of things that has made this set in more.
Well, with leg pain and discomfort setting in, back in late March. Then general feeling of not sure of what is going on but to wait to see if is just temporary. I was able to have an ultrasound on my leg last month, and it was all clear. It did not clear up answers in that respect. But my leg was still not feeling normal. So, I’ve been going to physical therapy for the past month. I’ve found out that my right leg is much weaker. Most of that is likely due to the large chunk of muscle being cut from both surgeries in 2013 for better margins. (The muscle that was largely cut out was the vastus medialis muscle and its function is for knee extension.) And yesterday was the last day of physical therapy. The goal was to strengthen the the muscles supporting the knee and ankle/foot. It has definitely provided improvement more than I realized. I just have to keep up these exercises.
The two upcoming six month scans are the MRI of the femur and CT of the chest next Monday. One checks the surgical site for recurrence and the other checks for metastasis in the lungs. The common site for a sarcoma to go next is the lungs. Still watching that to make sure everything is still stable there.
I’m sure everything will be good. There are days that everyone experiences that seem harder than the previous one. And I still have to trust God in everything because He has constantly provided. In every aspect of my life.
Another review of a play from New Stage Theatre.
It is a British play by Richard Bean based on an Italian play from 1743 named Servant of Two Masters.
I will give a quick synopsis of the play in a few lines . Basically it revolves around the main character Francis Henshall (Joseph Frost). He gets himself into a situation with serving two different guvnors, thus the title. The two different masters have no clue but only you the audience. So, you see Henshall juggle his two jobs with comedy bits thrown into the mix. I don’t want to give away too much but that is the basic gist of it.
I went to this play last Saturday night alone. I am glad because I wouldn’t have felt comfortable bringing anyone to see this particular play.
The play does have British humor which doesn’t always translate to the same humor you are to expect here. There are of course some funny parts in the play. But there is too much repetition of jokes and or gags that run its course by the end of the play. I don’t agree with all the sexual innuendo being necessary in the play. I didn’t really care for the 50 Shades references either. Again with the comedy bits being a bit dragged out.
This play did have a live band. Even the characters were singing during certain parts in the play. Which brought a different life to this play compared to other plays. At one point in the night, I wanted them to stop playing because I couldn’t bare the sound of them any longer. But I moved on eventually.
OK. I will give credit to the cast. I did enjoy watching them perform. They did an excellent job. Each character had their own idiosyncrasy. So, with all roles combined it did bring the play together.
Sometimes, I laughed and at times it made feel uncomfortable with some of their gags. Some of the jokes brought out some silence from the audience. But they kept on rolling with what they had.
I was reading a review of the play and when performed in Hong Kong, it did not go over so well with the comedy bits with Alfie. The review states, “Where old people are treated with rather more respect. There it was met by silence and the odd gasp of disapproval. ” And it is because there is a repetition of gags with Alfie falling down stairs and other antics. The audience gets the perspective of what is about to happen next to the characters. So, they don’t even see what it is coming to them. I did laugh at those parts but it is not necessary to overdue it.
I could go on about it, but I will stop. This play is not for everyone. I would say I am ashamed to tell anyone that I saw this play. Because of the general material within the play. But I respect how plays come to life on stage.
It is great New Stage can bring plays of all calibers to the stage here in Jackson, MS. I can’t be expected to enjoy every play that I see. Not everyone appreciates the live stage. But for what it’s worth, everyone should get out and go to a local play in their area to support the arts.
I’ve realized my last update on this side of the blog was back in May 2014. I think I will use this day in 2015 to bring it to life. Even though I saw this play a month ago, back on January 10. It is never too late to start back.
I don’t think I would have went to this play alone. Even though I enjoy the productions put on by New Stage. I usually don’t have that many free Saturday nights after New Stage and Mississippi Symphony get onto my calendar. So, I went with a friend who expressed interest in it. And thus I bought the tickets in December in anticipation of the play. I am glad I followed through with it.
The good thing about the play being Peter Pan is that you can actually can have show dates after Christmas. Unlike the Christmas Carol which I’m sure most people would not express interest in seeing after Christmas.
I’m always impressed by the plays of New Stage, even the ones that I’m unsure of seeing. I was looking forward to Peter Pan
Now, on to a semi-review of Peter Pan.
Again for a local theatre, this play was impressive.
It easy to immerse yourself back into the play once it begins. From the lights, to the sounds, and nicely designed sets. Of course the play was geared towards children, because who else would need the memories of Peter Pan once they finally grow up. We sometimes don’t want to grow up, just like the lost boys in Peter Pan. Thus we watch this particular play to bring us back to a time, when we were not there yet. So, as adults we can indulge ourselves in a play like Peter Pan.
Once of the main things, I was looking forward to was the flying effects they were incorporating into the play. And it did not disappoint. From the shaggy dog to the crocodile it was all there. It helps having a great cast to pull the play together. The play overall was great.
So, for two hours you can immerse yourself into a different world when you watch a play live. It is a different experience, then watching a big production movie at the movie theatre. Sometimes you have to get out and support the local arts. It helps getting out, and experiencing life around you.
I’ve realized more now that I’ve been sitting in the wrong seat to view the play. I have two tickets for each play in the season. And my favorite seat doesn’t give the vantage point of viewing a friend enjoying the play. The first time I switched seats was back at Ms. Mannerly when I brought a friend along who enjoys plays at New Stage. It was the best seat for him to see the play better. I noticed then I could actually see a friend enjoying the play. I’ve been missing out in the past seasons by not switching seats. I was focused on the play, and did not see the enjoyment of friends who came along. I’ve missed all those smiles and laughs. I have now found my new seat. And all it took was giving up the best seat, so a friend could enjoy the play without obstruction.