Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My face hurts

       I know I said that I was going to continue in the direction of my hobbies, but a few things have been on my mind today so I'm going there instead.
     Last week I mentioned that I was nervous about Thursday. To be really personal, last spring, I was diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer. I have always had extremely sensitive to the sun. Despite the fact that I wear sunscreen every day and avoid the sun like it's the plague, I still burn very badly. I even burn inside my classroom at school since I have a large window that the sun is directly in line with. (I'm not kidding. It's bad.) I had surgery to get rid of it in June. During a follow up appointment in August, I pointed out a spot of concern on my face. It turned out to be a freckle kind of mixed with melanoma. Well, this made me quite nervous. I kept it to myself for a while. (Sorry if you're a family member hearing this through my blog.)
       Thursday I had the spot on my face removed. I wasn't quite sure what it would look like and I found myself worrying about what my return to school the next day would look like. The dr. told me that bandaging would be "less than subtle." Fortunately, what I imagined in my head was way worse than what it actually looked like. It was, however, really noticeable. Oh, did I mention this week was school picture week too? After a quick discussion with my principal, I decided that I would just be upfront with the kids. I know that some people would answer "It's personal" or "None of your business" to the kids but, frankly, they know I care about them and I know that many of them care about me too. So, I just told them what had happened and that I was going to be just fine once it was all gone. Then we could look past the gigantic bandage on my face and get on with life.
       Fortunately, my surgeon is wonderful and he got all the cancer on the first go. Today I went in to get the wound stitches up. It was... painful and uncomfortable. I saw the wound before they closed it and it was basically a hole the size of the pad of my thumb. It was bigger than I expected but a scar scares me less than dying from cancer so I'm good. The surgeon came in and explained everything that would happen. I was really aware of how carefully he spoke about how he was going to sew everything up, the scar, etc. Maybe it's because I'm not super beautiful or because I don't usually care about how someone looks, but I wondered how many people would be devastated by having a scar across their face. Mine seems like it's going to be about the length of my pinky, maybe even my index finger. He tried to make it follow my smile lines,
       I thought about how much my face hurts and how my new black eye and bruised cheek is going to look in a few days. (Luckily I wanted the students that it might look like this this week.) I got another giant bandage running down my cheek. I thought about how nice some of the people who know what's going on have been treating me- and even of how the students who have the potential to be snarky and unkind went easy on me this week.
      My mind couldn't help wandering though to people who might have problems that aren't visible. What about people who are struggling with a medical issue that you can't see or mental issues?  What about people whose issues are visible that I might be able to deal with, but are hard for them? I am usually pretty intuitive about noticing people, but I wonder if lately I've been too consumed in my own medical fog to notice all of them.I don't know why, but all this weighed heavily upon me today. Maybe it just goes along with the "be kind" post from the other day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Recent reads and my reading challenges

      I LOVE to read. It is one of my favorite pastimes. If you left me in a room for days with a few good books (and maybe a mailbox too), I would be happy. I used to have a huge book hoarding problem but I've managed to gain some self-control. lol.

   Image result for some girls prince i wanted books meme 
      Fairly recently, I became a member of NetGalley.  NetGalley is a site that asks readers to read advances reader copies (ebooks) of their books and send feedback to the publishers and authors. I have read a bunch of great books that I have gotten from them. Here are my 2 latest books:
This book was an amusing, yet slightly terrifying read.  I was fascinated to read about the beliefs people had about how the body worked, how to fix medical issues and some of the crazy things used for medicine. I'm not going to lie, I thought about which medicines/medical treatments that we're using now that will probably be considered insane to later generations too. The pictures in the ARC did not have captions. I imagine that I would enjoy it more when those are in it. If you're interested in how people in different times and places have lived, I would recommend this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company.

Not to be shallow, but I loved this cover and when I heard about a hidden letter and Bible pages in this story, I knew I'd like it. The story follows a girl named Jessica who survived the Paris attacks at the Bataclan. While trying to heal, both physically and emotionally, Jessica is convinced to follow through with a previously planned trip by a steadfast friend, Patrick. On this trip she buys an antique sewing box and finds a secret compartment that contains a letter and Bible pages. The sewing box belonged to a girl named Adeline who had lived 300 years ago. She was a Protestant Huguenot who was persecuted for her faith. Jessica and her newly found friends search for the answers of what happened to Adeline and her family, questions of faith and evidence if things can be okay after you have experienced traumatic experiences.
      Although I found the book a little repetitive and predictable in some places, I really liked to story and some of the questions that arose from the situations. Since I had an advanced reader copy, I didn't have the authors notes or discussion questions, but I'm sure I would've really enjoyed those. Another book I would recommend. Thanks NetGalley and Thomas Nelson.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


    I have felt slightly disappointed in myself that I did not choose 1 topic for my Write 31 days topic. Realistically, knowing what was going on during the month, I knew that some days would be tough to sit and write, other days had a lot of fun and excitement and I wasn't quite sure on a direction. Now that I have my feet under me a little more, I think I'm going to dedicate the month to my hobbies. My main hobbies are reading, penpalling/postcrossing and art. I have not done any art in a while so I'm hoping this will push me into starting a project that takes a ton of time that I usually do in November. Tomorrow I'm going to update the page with a few books I've read and where I am in my current reading challenges.
      What book are you currently reading?

Aquarium pics

I was going to share Tim's small blog with his pictures, but he's taking a long time to get to updating it so I'll share some of his fantastic pictures on this. Tim just turned 12. My husband took a few of these too but I don't know whose is whose. These were all taken at the Aquarium du Qu├ębec
    They had the most extensive jellyfish display I've ever seen. 

 I love this one.

 They had a ray touch tank. The white ones were especially friendly. They kept coming up out of the water.

 There was a path outside with trails. The colors were so vibrant but it was an extremely rainy day for a while. There was also a playground. I'd love to see what these paths look like in the spring.

 Possibly the worst picture ever taken of me. lol. It POURED on us right until we paid for these ponchos. Then the rain miraculously stopped.

 Back inside to another touch tank.

 Some skulls.

 This guy was amazingly cute.

 I had never seen a polar bear before. Beautiful, massive creatures.

 Contemplating eating the child that the hand belongs to,.. lol


 The salt water tank inside

    If you're ever up in Quebec, I would highly recommend bringing your family. About 40% of it is outside, so be prepared if it's rainy!