memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Challenging Pregnancy: A Journey Through the Politics and and Science of Healthcare in America by Genevieve Grabman

I’m pretty terrible at being pregnant. I start barfing about ten seconds after sperm meets egg, and I had to be hospitalized twice during my pregnancy with my son (not quite so bad with my daughter, but I still had to be medicated the entire time). But for all the issues I had with both of my pregnancies, the babies were never in danger and I’m truly grateful for that. But those pregnancies left me with both a fascination for all that can go wrong for both parties during a pregnancy and the unnecessarily complexities and sometimes deadly consequences the American healthcare system likes to heap upon pregnant people (would you like to hear how my insurance company wouldn’t pay for medication to keep me out of the hospital, but it would pay for hospitalization? And how during my second pregnancy, it wouldn’t pay for medication at all? I’m still incredibly angry about all of this.) This is why Challenging Pregnancy: A Journey through the Politics and Science of Healthcare in America by Genevieve Grabman (University of Iowa Press, 2022) caught my eye on NetGalley. A quick tap of the request button and it was added to my kindle in just a few days. Much thanks to NetGalley, University of Iowa Press, and Genevieve Grabman for the opportunity to read this thoroughly engaging account of the author’s medically complex pregnancy and the system that stood in the way of solutions every step of the way.

What doctors first suspected to be a blighted ovum turned out to be a set of twins, shocking Genevieve Grabman. And things would only grow more complicated. The twins were soon diagnosed with a complicated condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), for which the outcomes for both babies and mother are often not good (death for all three is a distinct possibility, along with lifelong neurological problems for the babies). Alongside of this, the smaller twin was suffering from sIUGR, or selective intrauterine growth restriction and a dangerous two-vessel umbilical cord (which was only tenuously attached to the placenta), both boys had heart defects- basically, a lot of what could go wrong did.

Ms. Grabman’s degree in public health and her experience as a lawyer helped her navigate the often difficult-to-understand research articles about the serious medical conditions she and the twins were experiencing, giving her a massive advantage over most other people dealing with similar problems, but even with these advantages, she ran up against the wall of politics. Anti-abortion legislation heavily limits what treatments are available to pregnant women in the US, and time and time again, Ms. Grabman found that what she wanted for her pregnancy and what was considered best practice and safest in a medical sense wasn’t allowed, in favor of more dangerous procedures with worse outcomes, thanks to anti-choice politicians.

Woven throughout Ms. Grabman’s tense and frustrating narrative are facts and statistics about the dire landscape that is American maternal healthcare. For every 100,000 live births in the US, 17.4 mothers die, a statistic that is the highest out of the fourteen most-developed countries. Women’s lives are sacrificed on the altar of politics, and outcomes are decried in favor of placating the religious right. Twin-to-twin transfusion system statistically has a particularly poor outcome (along with suffering from a dearth of good research), and readers will come away from this book with a fresh sense of horror for not only the dangers of such a complex medical condition, but also for the ease of which politicians are willing to disregard medical necessity (for children and mothers they have no stake in caring for) for ideals.

This is a moving, intense narrative. I appreciated Ms. Grabman’s attention to detail in terms of the research available, and her acknowledgement that if she found accessing proper medical care difficult, with her degrees and knowledge of reproductive law, how much more difficult and stressful is it to navigate the medical system for women with potentially deadly conditions who have less education, less ability to read the scientific studies, and fewer qualifications that mark them as someone to take seriously for the researchers and doctors she contacted?

Challenging Pregnancy will have readers questioning everything they thought they knew about the American healthcare system, abortion politics, and what the true consequences are for voting for candidates who call themselves pro-life.

Challenging Pregnancy: A Journey through the Politics and Science of Healthcare in America by Genevieve Grabman is available on March 1, 2022.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir by Aileen Weintraub

The description of Aileen Weintraub’s Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir (University of Nebraska Press, 2022) pulled me in immediately. A new marriage, high-risk pregnancy spent on bedrest, a potentially haunted house (what???), what’s not to like? I’m a sucker for a memoir, so I hit request on NetGalley and the book landed softly on my kindle a few days later. Many thanks to NetGalley, University of Nebraska Press, and Aileen Weintraub for allowing me to read and review an early copy of this book.

Aileen Weintraub lacks follow-through. From quitting Brownies in grade school to quitting jobs and relationships as an adult, she’s never been able to fully commit to much of anything. But once she meets Chris, all bets are off. Moving to her new husband’s creaky country house whose basement support beams turn out to be an old car (no, really!), her life takes a turn she wasn’t quite expecting when her much-wanted pregnancy is labeled high-risk, thanks to some monster uterine fibroids she wasn’t even aware she had, and Aileen is sentenced to full-time bedrest.

You’d think lying around all day would be easy, but it turns out to be one of the greatest challenges of Aileen’s life. Unable to cook, clean, do anything around the house (including preparing for the baby), work, or help her husband out with the new business they just purchased (one of THREE jobs for him), she’s left feeling helpless, useless, and alone (three jobs make for incredibly long work days, and in an area where Aileen doesn’t know many people, this means spending most every day completely alone). Their marriage frays under the strain, and throughout this challenge, Aileen delves into the grief she’s still processing from her father’s death. This open and deeply honest memoir explores the difficulties of a pregnancy with unexpected challenges, and the toll it takes on everyone around it.

So many of the other reviews I read for this book consider Knocked Down funny, but I didn’t necessarily experience it this way (though there are funny parts!). To me, this book was more raw and intensely emotional, along with being deeply honest. Aileen Weintraub isn’t afraid of painting herself in a way that isn’t always flattering but that display the frustrations and hardships of being confined to bed for months at a time. None of the pregnancy books I’ve read discuss the strain that bedrest causes on a marriage, and I very much appreciated her illustrating the guilt she felt, mixed with the occasional bouts of irrationality caused by being so isolated and stressed.

With a husband working twelve-to-fourteen-hour days and a dire financial situation (basically, anything that can break or go wrong does during her pregnancy), Aileen is thrust into a situation she can’t truly run from, and along the way, she processes her grief from her father’s passing and the lessons she learned from him- how not to act, why she shouldn’t give up, and what their relationship meant. These bittersweet recollections give the memoir depth and showcase Ms. Weintraub’s ultimate growth throughout a deeply challenging situation.

Knocked Down is a raw, emotionally honest memoir, fraught with the complications of a tough pregnancy and a marriage that can barely withhold the strain, but which is ultimately triumphant in nature, and hopeful. Ms. Weintraub’s genuine voice isn’t afraid to tell a difficult, painful story of doing the work necessary not only to survive, but to learn from those who went before us and to move beyond the mistakes they made in order to cling to what truly matters. More than just being about pregnancy and grief, Knocked Down is about true growth.

Knocked Down is available on March 1, 2022.


Book Review: Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

I’m still here! I’m still alive, I promise!

We’ve had some major life changes that I’ll get into in my monthly update, but suffice it to say, I’ve had so little time to read lately, and even less time to sit down and write out book reviews. It’s been NUTS and probably will be for a while. But one of those best-of-the-year book lists got to me in December, and that’s how I ended up with Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott (Random House, 2021) on my TBR. At over 500 pages, this was a long read, especially with my having less reading time, but don’t let the high number of pages intimidate you; this is a heartbreaker of a book that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

Journalist Andrea Elliott followed young Dasani Coates and her family, which consist of two parents and seven (I think) siblings, through their tumultuous lives in New York City. Dasani’s family is the epitome of poverty; the parents struggle with drug addiction and violence, and they struggle to provide for their children. Theirs is a story of generational poverty and trauma, and lives let down by the very systems that are supposed to help them.

Poverty, homelessness, hunger, behavioral problems, violence, drug abuse, poor choices, and trauma abound, but Ms. Elliott makes it clear that Dasani’s parents love their kids. It’s just that love isn’t enough, and where outside services could step in to help the struggling family, too often those systems fail, sometimes outright working against what their very mission claims to work for. At times, poor outcomes are as visible as a speeding freight train, but the various family members seem helpless to stop it. Other times, the family is failed terribly, through no fault of their own.

This is a story of poverty that didn’t need to be, of suffering that likely didn’t need to happen, of problems that we could solve, but we as a society choose not to. It is a story of problem after problem that, if not entirely caused by the downfalls of history colliding with modern-day life in American, certainly isn’t made any better by it. Your heart will break over and over reading this book, but it’s worth it, because Dasani’s story deserves to be shared. Her story, sadly, is the story of many.

Visit Andrea Elliott’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford

I no longer remember how Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford (Little, Brown & Company, 2020) ended up on my TBR, but the library turned out to not have the format I needed for my kindle, so once again, interlibrary loan saved the day!

In her second year at a private Episcopal boarding school in New England, Lacy Crawford is sexually assaulted by two male students. To compound the horror of the situation, she contracts herpes in her throat (deep enough that it’s obvious to medical professionals that there’s no way this could have been consensual), and the school not only learns of this years before Lacy does, they warn other students about her. And when Lacy finally breaks her silence, the school does everything it can to shut her up, including threatening to ruin her reputation by spreading lies about her.

In response, years later, Lacy Crawford wrote this book.

This is one of the bravest books I’ve ever read. It’s tragic, in the way that books are when their authors reveal so much personal pain, but there’s even more tragedy here: Lacy feels obligated to lay out all the details of every sexual encounter she had while at the school- some consensual, others not- in order to not only give a fuller picture of her experiences, but to get ahead of the officials from the school who may have tried to use her sexual history against her (because we all know how that goes. One consensual experience is all it takes to turn a girl or a woman into a raving slut in the eyes of the world. Consent to physical contact with a single man and that means you’re asking for it from everyone. What a disgusting society we’ve created). Women shouldn’t have to go through this in order to be believed, but Lacy knows exactly what she’s up against and bares her soul and her past in a raw, open way on these pages.

This is an emotionally difficult read, but it’s a story that will be familiar to every woman out there (men, I need you to step up and read this book and realize what we go through, what we’re subject to, what your daughters and sisters and mother and friends have lived under the shadow of our entire lives). The school officials threatening Lacy and passing along her private medical information- that SHE hadn’t even been told of- to the student body. The nastiness of the student body. Lacy’s desperation to reclaim some sort of agency over her life and her body. People constantly bringing up the STD Lacy contracted from the assault to her, decades later (on what PLANET is that an okay subject to broach with anyone but your closest friends who have made it known that this is acceptable to discuss?????) The way the school handled this is both utterly horrifying and humdrum at the same time- humdrum because this is how things work in this world. Men are allowed to hurt us, assault us, affect us, and walk free, and we shoulder the blame, the guilt, the costs.

Good for Lacy Crawford for finding her voice and shouting from the rooftops about the cesspool behind the administration at St. Paul’s of Concord, New Hampshire. It’s long past time that women started speaking out about the wrongs done to us and about the many ways these institutions will throw us under the bus in the scramble to protect their own reputation. The language used in this book is powerful and damning, and I’m in awe of Ms. Crawford’s bravery. If you have the emotional bandwidth of this book, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the finest examples of strength and bravery I’ve ever read.

Visit Lacy Crawford’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

fiction · New Adult · romance

Book Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

The celebrity/normal person trope in romance is my absolute favorite. Which is kind of funny; I’m not much of a celebrity watcher at all, so I don’t harbor any fantasies about running away with the current hottie-of-the-month. But there’s just something about this trope that pulls me in, and that’s how When It’s Real by Erin Watt (Harlequin Teen, 2017) ended up on my list. And there it sat until I finally decided to tackle all those ebooks on my list.

Oakley Ford is one of the hottest musicians out there, but he hasn’t come out with an album in a few years. His team decides that not only does he need to keep his name out there, he desperately needs to revamp his bad boy image. Enter Vaughn, the sister of an employee at Oak’s agent’s office. She’ll be perfect as his fake girlfriend- smart, pretty, a fan, and raising her two brothers with her older sister after their parents died in an accident a few years ago (this is a New Adult book; you didn’t think you could get out of a New Adult without some dead parents, did you?). Agreements are made, contracts are drawn and signed, and that’s that: for one year, Oak and Vaughn are legally a thing.

Things are rocky at first; despite being a fan and being super attracted to Oak, Vaughn doesn’t appreciate Oak’s immaturity and his self-centeredness. His fishbowl life doesn’t appeal to her, and it’s hard managing her real-life boyfriend’s whininess about her relationship-for-pay-that-her-family-truly-needs around the demands of her solely-for-show relationship with Oakley. But as the two get to know each other, a different side of Oak emerges, one that’s more mature and more real than what the public has seen so far, and the two begin to fall in love. But can they keep it together?

This was okay. Solid enough. I liked Vaughn. She’s stressed to the max, what with trying to help her older sister (I would’ve enjoyed a book about her!) raise their two younger brothers and deal with all the financial and emotional repercussions of losing their parents so young. She’s trying to figure out what to do with her life and struggling with the demands and pressures of a boyfriend who doesn’t seem to care about anyone other than himself. She felt pretty real.

Oakley…he was immature. Obnoxious. Self-centered. He was better than W, Vaughn’s whiny boyfriend, but he was still way more self-serving in the beginning than I would’ve liked, and he wasn’t someone I would’ve been attracted to, simply because of his attitude. He did grow and improve throughout the novel, thanks to Vaughn, but I would’ve liked to have seen more of those changes come from him, rather than from their relationship.

I felt like their physical relationship- which wasn’t even an actual dating relationship at that point- went from nothing to ‘You’re doing what now???’ out of nowhere. That kind of surprised me and made it feel like this was actually two books smushed together. I felt as though there should have been more build-up to this, rather than throwing it in what felt like randomly.

So this was okay. Not the best New Adult I’ve read, nor the best celebrity/normal person trope, but it was a decent read and I have no regrets.

Visit Erin Watt’s website here.

Follow them on Twitter here.

fiction · YA

Book Review: Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen

There aren’t a ton of books out there set in Orthodox Jewish communities, so finding a really fun one- especially a YA!- is like discovering a twenty-dollar bill in the crispy fall leaves at the edge of the sidewalk when you’re out for a refreshing autumn walk. That’s how I felt about Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen (ECW Press, 2014). I think this one came to my TBR via a suggestion in one of my Facebook groups, possibly one for Jewish women (that would make the most sense!), but I have book suggestions flying every which way at me on every social platform, so I’m not 100% sure. Either way, I was excited to read it and very much enjoyed this fun, spirited story.

Raina Resnick doesn’t have the best track record lately. Kicked out of her last school, she’s been shipped off to Toronto to live with her aunt and uncle, while her parents head to Hong Kong for her father’s job. The message is clear: if Raina doesn’t shape up, both academically and behaviorally, high school will become a Hong Kong homeschool nightmare. Toronto for Raina is lonely; there’s no breaking into the social scene, and her sister’s appearance clues her in that something has gone very, very wrong in their formerly close relationship. It’s this loneliness that pushes Raina to strike up a friendship with the woman who sits next to her on the bus every day, and before she knows it, Raina is setting her new single friend up with a family friend.

It’s a match, but Raina’s excitement is tempered by the fact that this family friend had been meant for her already-heartbroken sister. Whoops. But when word of Raina’s matchmaking gets around, all of lonely Toronto wants her anonymous services…including Leah, her sister. One mishap after another befalls her, but the successes and the potential to repair her relationship with her sister keep her going, despite the hits to her schoolwork. But when her secret comes out…how will everyone around her react???

This was fun. More a comedy-of-errors than I usually enjoy (you know, when everything that can possibly go wrong DOES go wrong, in a way that keeps you cringing and just so, so uncomfortable???), but Raina is so earnest, despite having messed up in the past, that you can’t help but root for her. Her family obviously wants what’s best for her, but they’re seeing her through a very narrow lens, which obviously leads to other problems.

It’s helpful to know a little about the Orthodox Jewish community, but not necessary; Raina does a pretty good job of explaining the ins and outs and why matchmaking is serious business, along with other tidbits that come up. Really, Raina’s just an average teenage girl, wanting friendship, a better relationship with her sister, to help other people and do some good in this world. Her path towards those goals may be a roundabout one, but she gets there and it’s so much fun to watch.

I hope Suri Rosen eventually writes more YA, because her voice is so authentic and enjoyable.

Visit Suri Rosen’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.


Book Review: Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts #1) by Julia Dahl

I *think* Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts #1) by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books, 2014) ended up on my list during the time I searched for Jewish books in my library’s digital card catalog, but I could be wrong. I’m a member of a few different book groups on Facebook, so it could have come from there. Either way, it ended up on my list as an ebook, and I dragged my feet long enough that my library no longer had it listed as an ebook. Bummer! (And I’ve got a new attitude about how quickly I’ll get to ebooks on my list.) Interlibrary loan to the rescue!

Rebekah Roberts is a young reporter on the beat in New York City for one of the city’s rattiest tabloids. She’s the daughter of a Christian father (who raised her) and a Hasidic mother (who split and returned to her community not long after Rebekah’s birth, leaving Rebekah angry and bitter and confused), and when she’s assigned to the story about a dead body discovered in a scrapyard, she’s on it…and is even more intrigued when she finds out the victim was a young Hasidic mother, and the scrapyard is Hasidic-owned.

The police’s chummy relationship with the Hasidic community means the investigation barely gets off the ground, and thanks to a friend of her father’s, Rebekah finds herself deep in the search for the truth. What happened to Rivka that she ended up dangling from a crane in a scrapyard? What did her insular community have to do with the circumstances that led to her death? And what does all of this have to do with Rebekah and her mother?

I have mixed feelings about this one. I don’t read a ton of thrillers and crime novels (and I’m absolute garbage at figuring out whodunit), but I tend to enjoy most of the ones I do read. I enjoyed the pacing of this story; it moved quickly but without keeping me anxious and on the edge of my seat, which I can’t stand. The writing was fine; I didn’t find it anything phenomenal, but it was readable without having to think too deeply, which I appreciate. I’m not much of a literary fiction reader; when I dive into fiction, I’m doing it to be entertained, not to discuss the themes of the book with a group of professors at a wine and cheese party.

The setting was interesting. There aren’t a ton of novels out there set among the Hasidic community, so that felt fresh, but Rebekah’s lack of curiosity about the Judaism she inherited from her mother was a bit irritating to me. Her anger at her mother was understandable, but her almost complete lack of knowledge (despite her dad being some sort of religious scholar), felt…off.

What didn’t work for me was the disrespect I felt towards multiple groups in this book. Let’s start with the Hasidic Jewish community. These are people living their lives in the way they think is best. I disagree with a lot of what they believe and teach, but they’re still my people, and it irks me a bit to see them placed in such a fishbowl. There are many, many problems in the community (as happens in every insular group out there), but to me, this felt like all those books setting romances and thrillers in the Amish community: exploitative. It felt more to me like this community was the setting for a grisly murder of a young mother more for the shock value than anything, and that bothered me. Especially since this is a series and there’s another Hasidic murder in the next book. This bothered me a lot as I got deeper into the book.

Secondly, the constant use of mental illness as a reason for violence really bothered me. I’m not saying that the Hasidic community does a great job dealing with mental illness; from what I’ve read, a lot gets swept under the rug for fear of making families look bad and ruining chances of children making good marriages (sigh). But mentally ill people are far more likely to be the victims of serious crimes than to be the ones committing them, and perpetuating this stereotype that mentally ill people are often violent and go around constantly murdering people…nope. Didn’t like that one bit. And there’s a LOT of references to mental illness in this book that didn’t quite hit the mark for me as a respectful, thoughtful way to discuss these conditions, even in a community who doesn’t necessarily have a perfect track record in how they handle it.

So this book had its ups and downs for me. I likely won’t continue on with the series, though I am curious what happens if/when Rebekah makes contact with her mother. If you’ve read the series, feel free to spoil this for me in the comments. ; )

Visit Julia Dahl’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: January 2022

Happy February!

PHEW. What a month. Started off quite well, ended up not-so-great (not THAT, fortunately, and nothing major), but definitely not as much reading as I would have liked, especially since I had to take multiple days off. HATE when that happens, but such is life. It’s been cold, cold, cold here, and we’ve gotten a lot of snow (though not as much as some of you in the East. We have some more snow on the way tonight, though, so we’ll see!). I’m working my way through all the ebooks on my TBR, so I’m hopeful for more reading this month.

Let’s get this recap started, shall we?

Books I Read in January 2021

1. Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science by Erika Engelhaupt

2. Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang

3. Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women by Kate Schatz

4. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

5. 100 Side Hustles: Ideas for Making Extra Money by Chris Guillebeau

6. Miss Jacobson’s Journey by Carola Dunn

7. Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers #1) by Sarina Bowen

8. Wonder Women of Science: How Twelve Geniuses are Rocking Science, Technology, and the World by Tiera Fletcher (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

9. The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis

10. Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back by Mark O’Connell

11. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

12. Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth by Noa Tishby (no review)

13. Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts #1) by Julia Dahl (review to come)

14. Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen (review to come)

Not fabulous in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality, this has truly been a phenomenal month. Several of these books will end up on my best-of-the-year list, I already know. Lower numbers this month because I spent the last week down with a migraine that wouldn’t die and spent the days huddled under a blanket. I highly prefer reading.

Ten of these books came from my TBR, hurray!

Reading Challenge Updates

Not currently participating in any reading challenges.

State of the Goodreads TBR

Last month, we ended at 162, this month, we’re sliding under the door with…158! Getting there. : )

Books I Acquired in January 2022

None! Hurray!

Bookish Things I Did in January 2022

None. Been a quiet month for that.

Current Podcast Love

Still listening to Ologies with Alie Ward, who is funny and brilliant and so enjoyable to listen to. I learn so much from this podcast and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge

I’m slightly over halfway through American Literary Almanac, edited by Karen L. Rood. It’s not the most fascinating book I’ve ever read, but I enjoy the bits of literary trivia on (mostly male) American authors. I picked this book mostly because I was tired of seeing it hang out on my shelf unread, so I’ll be glad to finish it- hopefully in February. I had to take a week off due to the Migraine from Hell, but I started up back with my daily 30 minutes of reading yesterday!

Real Life Stuff

It’s been like an entire year in a single month this month, hasn’t it? Exhausting.

We started out the month keeping our daughter home for the first week back to school. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of sending her back into the petri dish that is an elementary school, with case numbers absolutely exploding everywhere, with kids poorly wearing cloth masks. NOPE. And sure enough, her school had a massive number of cases that first week, as did basically everywhere in the area. I reluctantly sent her back the second week, but I wasn’t happy about it.

She ended up out two days this past week because on Monday night, I started having some weird symptoms and came down with a migraine on Tuesday at 1 am. (My doctor says it’s not normal to be woken up with a migraine, though it’s happened to me before, unfortunately.) Migraines, for me, are a full-body experience. I get chills and sweats, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, etc. It’s almost like the flu with a deadly headache- but this time, I also had a fever. Highest it went up to was 101.9, so you can see why I was concerned, right? I kept my daughter out of school (because if the house had COVID, it was likely that she’d brought home an asymptomatic case) and we went off for PCR tests- negative, thankfully, and I skipped off to the doctor, who put me on preventative meds and gave me a referral to Neurology. Doc also said I may have picked up a virus that triggered the migraine (although I’m not sure where, as I quite literally go nowhere- the places I have to go to, I’m in and out as quickly as possible and I avoid everyone, and I N95-mask everywhere and sanitize my hands after touching anything, but this would definitely explain the fever, and the fact that it took me so long to feel better). I see a neurologist in March, he specializes in headaches, so that’ll be…something. Likely not fun, but I’d definitely like to have fewer migraines. They’ve increased in frequency; I’m wondering if my body is trying to start a menopause party and this is one of the symptoms. Who knows. Bodies are stupid.

I’m doing *much* better now, thankfully, and we’re in waiting for a nasty snowstorm tonight that will start out as rain and then dump anywhere from a few inches to a bunch of snow on us. Plenty of time to stay inside and read!

For February, I’m continuing my assault on my list of ebooks; I’ve had some of them sitting there too long and I’m picking them off one by one. Other than that, the only thing on the schedule so far is a doctor appointment with the physiatrist I see for my back (which is its normal level of crummy- a good thing! No new flares, I’ll take it!), so hopefully the headaches will stay away and I’ll be able to spend my month with a pile of excellent reading.

Happy February, friends! Stay warm, stay safe, stay healthy. We’ve made it this far; we can go a little further, together.