Sunday, January 31, 2016

January recap

The first month of 2016 is history. Who can believe that? Because I'm finding it really difficult to believe.

January didn't go like I planned. I'll remember it as the month I had pneumonia. I'm still not 100% healthy. The cough persists. Most days I feel like I smoked a pack of cigarettes the night before. While I'm glad to be "better" I'm kind of wondering if I'll ever fully recover.

Probably because I was so sick and had more time on hand this month, I read nine books! That's an ideal state, but highly unusual for me.

The thing I was into this month: France. I read a couple of books set in France and saw several French movies. And I spent a lot of time fantasizing about retiring in the south of France. I don't know if that will ever happen, but it was fun to dream about.

Bye, January.

Let's hope February will be a month of good health and happiness. I need to work on my stress level this month, and get back into a regular walking program (because I don't think running is working for me anymore).

Time to make plans for National Wear Red Day (February 5), Lunar New Year (February 8), Valentine's Day (February 14) and Leap Year (29 days in February this year). February may be short, but it'll definitely be busy!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Movie: Love at First Fight (Les Combattants)

I love France . . . and French movies. This afternoon I came across a movie on Netflix called Love at First Fight (original title: Les Combattants) from 2014. It's about a young woman, Madeleine (Adele Haenel), who dreams of joining the Army and learning survivalist techniques. She's really hardcore, as demonstrated in a memorable scene involving a raw fish and a blender.

Madeleine meets Arnaud (Kevin Azais) at an Army recruiting site, where she quickly whips his butt in a self-defense demonstration. Arnaud isn't sure what he wants to do with his life. His father recently passed away; his mother and brother are struggling to keep the family construction business afloat. He wants to do his part to help the family business, and takes on a construction job at Madeleine's family home. He tries hard, but construction just isn't his thing. He's a bit smitten by Madeleine, though, and decides to follow her to summer military camp.

Camp life is much easier than Madeleine expected, which disappoints her and plays with her emotions. She believes herself to be prepared, and feels a little superior to the others, including Arnaud. But she doesn't meet her own expectations. When Arnaud is selected to be the leader of an orienteering expedition, Madeleine's disappointment turns ugly. They get separated from the rest of the group. And there just happens to be a raging forest fire nearby. Madeleine and Arnaud must survive this experience and also deal with their feelings towards themselves and each other.

Love at First Fight / Les Combattants is a sweet "coming of age" type of story, with realistic modern characters and situations, and several laugh-out-loud scenes. I liked it -- a lot. Of course, like mostly every other French movie I've seen, it ends way too abruptly. Situation resolved. Boom. Roll credits.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Pneumonia update . . . and Jonas

It's January 22 and I still have pneunonia. There have been times when I thought I was getting well, such as last Saturday, when I made my every-six-week trek to my Myers Park hair salon and then had a nice lunch at Baoding in SouthPark. But the next day, Sunday, I was pretty much bedridden.

I managed to work this week, but only because I have the kind of job where I can work from home. I cannot image what I'd do if I had to actually be somewhere. I'm tired all the time. I have a constant cough. I'm still not breathing normally.


And now we're having an ice storm - named Jonas. Not that I care because I plan to spend the weekend at home, probably in bed most of the time, because I really want to do whatever I can to get rid of this bug once and for all.

Until then . . .


Monday, January 18, 2016


About ten days ago, I got that feeling that I was coming down with something. You know the drill. Sore throat. Fatigue. Not quite feeling like myself. I just figured I had a cold. After all, it's that time of year.

Three days later, I was completely wiped out. It felt like someone was standing on my chest, like someone was squeezing my lungs. Whenever I took a breath, my chest sounded crackly and made little kitten noises. I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open. I had zero appetite (when that happens to me, you know something is really wrong). And did I mention the fever? 102.2, and I'm not talking about an FM radio station.

I've had my share of upper respiratory infections, but this was a real doozy. It felt . . . different.  So last Monday, I went to my local urgent care and got checked out. After doing the intake, checking my vitals, and doing a chest x-ray and blood work, I was diagnosed with viral pneumonia. My parting gifts were a tube of albuterol and 10 days' worth of an older antibiotic I'd never heard of. I was told to rest, drink lots of fluids, and take it easy.

Here I am a week later, and I really don't feel that much better. Sure, the fever's long gone, and my appetite is back with a vengeance. But in the words of a memorable meme of a few years ago:


That's how I feel about pneumonia. I just want it to be gone. Forever.

But until it does, I guess I'll keep coughing and hacking and hoping that I don't crack a rib. Or worse.

Wash those hands and use that sanitizer! If you have to cough or sneeze, do so in a tissue or in your elbow! And most importantly, PLEASE, if you're sick, stay home.

Be well, Y'all.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Book: The Girl on the Train

This year, I want to write more about the things I enjoy and love. I've always been a big reader and there are few things I enjoy more than a good thriller. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is an example of a book that pulled me in from the first few sentences, and wouldn't let me go until the last page.

The story takes place in London and if you've ever been there and ridden the train from say, Gatwick, the imagery of looking into people's backyards and windows from the train will come right back to you.

I don't want to tell you anything about the plot, because since this book was one of last year's major bestsellers, there's enough about it out there already.

A few days after I read The Girl on the Train, I learned they're making a movie out of it. It's filming now. In New York.

New York? Not sure why "they" decided to change the location (I'm really disappointed with that). But "they" didn't consult me, dang it.

If you like thrillers, and you haven't read this one yet, do it. Recommended not just by me, but from all of my co-workers at the office.


Friday, January 1, 2016

A great start to the new year

This morning I made the perfect latte. At home. With my new De'Longhi espresso machine (thank you, Jenny!) With coaching from Jenny and Elyse (an actual former barista). I did it. And it was delicious.

After a lazy morning, I went to the gym and did some strength training. Then I came home, made a chocolate raspberry protein smoothie, read part of a book, and took a nap.

Later, I went on a couple of shopping errands, including to Home Depot, where I walked up and down all the aisles and put at least 2,500 steps on my Fitbit.

I attempted to make the traditional southern New Year's Day meal of black-eyed peas and greens. It was a huge fail because the peas were rancid. I ended up making kale chips and Elyse made some yummy cornbread, so we got two out of three.

Tonight I did W2D2 of my Couch to 5K program and afterwards, I walked until my Fitbit registered over 10,000 steps.

I'm not going to be detailing every day of 2016 to this degree. I just wanted to share that I feel like I had a pretty good first day of the year. I think this is going to be a great year. I'm excited to be in it!