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year 2017!2017 is here!!

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.
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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)

[Updated book list at end of this post]    

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.  : – )

          [UPDATED BOOK LIST]

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 Wilde253 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 Stevenson210 pages
Week 45-46: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolfe138 pages
Week 46-47: Break of Day by Colette – 168 pages
Week 46-47: Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft by William Godwin – 133 pages
Week 47-51Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville – 615 pages
Week 51-52Night 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.

 

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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.  : -)

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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 [currently reading]

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.   : -)

2016

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.

 

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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.

If you remember watching the 1960 version of the Peter Pan movie with Mary Martin as a kid or even the Disney classic from 1953, both which I did enjoy. Seeing the play live brings it back to life.

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.

Side Note:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lot of things to do, but so little time. Next week is coming up fast. And this week should be fairly busy.

OK. I will talk more about coffee. I am thinking my coffee maker is not extracting properly. Thus my coffee is not good. Looks like I will just invest in a Chemex and just send this one back. There is a distinct difference in taste. Also, not feeling any different after drinking it. Rather not waste good coffee. It definitely needs more time to properly extract and most likely needs to be at the right temperature. I just needed more time to come to that conclusion.

If you like listening to the violin and want to hear it with a twist, throw some dubstep into the mix (just basically some drum and bass, electronic music with it). Lindsey Stirling has a new album out, called Shatter Me. I just came across the album on Google Play. I was listening while practicing writing with my left hand. I didn’t realize what I stumbled upon. I stopped and listened to the music. I then looked up more about the artist, then realized why I liked the music so much.  Beyond the Veil  is the first song off her new album, and found out today it has a music video. An impressive album.

Also, I just decided to look back at my archive of posts. And last year on this day, I started this blog. Well, it has been a long year with finding out that I had a sarcoma, two surgeries, recovery period and the road to feeling better. Once I get through the next two weeks, life will feel a little more normal, without the added stress of upcoming scans.

 

I’ll be heading back to the NIH for more followup scans for the pheochromocytoma protocol in May.  I’ll be there nine days which includes the two days flying in and out of DCA(Not much I can do around town carrying luggage).  On Thursday morning the day after I arrive will begin tests and the first MRI. I will have the next MRI on Friday. After that I have free time until the clinical appointment on Tuesday.

This will be the first time, I can enjoy touring around DC area because of the lull time between scans and clinical appointment. I’ve been to a few places already because of the last two years. This allows me to a focus on a few more places that I need to visit. And catch up with a friend or two in the DC area. I’ll post on the blog of a few things I had the opportunity to do.

Since, I thought the schedule would have me return on Tuesday.  I booked my round trip flight too early before I received my exact schedule. Now, I have a return flight on Thursday as well, to avoid change fees. It makes more since to forgo return flight on Tuesday, and book a one-way flight back on Thursday.

But, having the additional two days  will be good if an abnormality arises and gives me time to ask questions. I rather not rush to make the Tuesday flight with unanswered question.

Then, I arrive back Thursday night and have CT and MRI the following morning at 8 A.M. here at UMC. Which should be very tiring.I’m sure the MRI results will be fine, just another 6 month follow-up scan. Waiting is always the hard part. Hopefully I’ll remember to get a copy of scans on the CD, so I can review the scans myself. Otherwise on Monday, I will have to pickup the results instead of waiting for the doctor to give them to me on June 3.

 

 

 

I’ve just started drinking coffee. I am going on about two weeks now. I just realized it makes me feel great. I’m not sure why it makes me feel the way I do. I feel happy and have the energy that I need. I can accomplish more goals that I need to finish without the added fatigue.

I tend think, since the removal of my right adrenal gland with the pheochromocytoma back in 2008, that the coffee makes up for the lack of the other adrenal.  I know doctors tend to think the other adrenal will take up the slack for the missing adrenal. They are most definitely wrong(*I’m not a doctor). They say this while having two adrenals.  Living with the pheochromocytoma you do indeed have all this extra energy along with other junk you don’t like that it causes.

Here is where coffee comes into play in my life.  I enjoy the taste of coffee. Especially fresh roasted beans. Drinking black coffee is the only way, with no additives. I’ve been trying all the various dark roasts from a local coffee shop along with some of the medium roasts.  I’ve found roasts I love. I also hate flavored coffee. I can’t say I would ever enjoy them, not my cup of tea(Ha! I do love a cup of black tea e.g. Earl Grey).

So, next step was to invest into a coffee maker, because it was a waste of money to buy a cup of coffee every single day. I can buy the coffee and brew it myself cheaper. I found a perfect coffee maker that makes one cup at a time. The coffee maker is made by the Hamilton Beach called “The Scoop.”  It seems to pull the flavor and aroma out correctly. I still think it is wasting a small bit of the grinds but I’ll figure that out within a week or more.

OK, now  back to how is coffee changing my life. I am a person who loves to drink only water. So, of course introducing caffeine back into your diet has an immediate effect.   I am more alert, which is a given.  Last Saturday, I was able to clean up and finish several tasks I’ve be meaning to get done. I used to wake up and want to do something on Saturday.  Then I would  get extremely tired and go to sleep and the day was wasted. Well,  not anymore. Coffee has definitely helped where my left adrenal is not picking up the slack. It also has the added benefit when exercising. I am still training on the treadmill, for another 5k to improve over last time. The added energy does help.

I’m not sure why everyone drinks coffee. I’m sure it is because of addiction and they need it to wake up in the morning. Water can do the same thing for the body but maybe not quite the energy-inducing effect of caffeine. But I enjoy the taste of coffee and need to find out what coffees are good and weed out the bad ones as well. I guess that is one way that differentiates me from the crowd, because I do love the taste of what the coffee I have brings out. Hopefully, I won’t be drinking full pots of coffee in the morning because I am craving the caffeine.

So, in conclusion the coffee adversely affects me in a good way. I’ve never had soda bring on this feeling. I sure do miss the second adrenal sans-tumor. So, every little bit helps.  Also, coffee is good for you according to articles that are leaning towards that. Having a cancer diagnosis takes a toll on your mind and body. If I need drink coffee to make me feel better. I will. You have to step outside sometimes and do stuff to for yourself. It improves quality of life. Eating healthy does as well(I’ll save that for another post).