My most recently completed book was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I remember long ago reading a review in Entertainment Weekly that raved about it so on a whim I added it to my Amazon Wish List. Christine bought it for me shortly thereafter so it has long been a decoration on my bookshelf. Rather than download a newer book on the neglected Kindle, I'm sure glad I chose to read this one. It is about a woman whose cells were taken without her consent in the 1950s. Her cells were the first to successfully multiply in a scientific setting and became both immortal and insanely successful. Those cells, named HeLa, are the most widely cells used in scientific and medical research to this day, around the world.
Henrietta was no ordinary woman, much like her extraordinary cells. This book delved deep into her life as an impoverished black woman in the south. She was a tobacco farmer who married her cousin and had several children before succumbing at a young age to a very severe case of cervical cancer, which led to the biopsy and HeLa. The devastating part of this book was learning that despite the tremendous value her cells have, her children and their children continued living in poverty, without proper health care or coverage. While so many others profited from HeLa, her family didn't even find out until much later that her cells were even being used! Their ignorance - thanks to crippling poverty and no real education - kept them wondering if their mother was out there being cloned into monsters. Absolutely devastating.
This book was engrossing. I could not put it down. My emotions were all over the place. I was shocked that this incredible story was not taught in schools. Why must American history be so utterly male and white washed? How the hell does the USA live with itself when it has been and continues to be so cruel and downright unfair to people of color? The way Skloot wrote about the Lackses really made those very real characters come right to life. I laughed, I learned, I cried. I was shocked. I was educated. Honestly, this book was tremendous. I highly recommend a read.
Down .4 since last week. This seems inconceivable to me because a) I have eaten a tremendous amount of cookies thanks to the little pity party I am having from being hurt and b) PMS like a boss. I guess sticking to a good lunch must make a difference, though it could just be dumb luck. Seriously, so many cookies.
Lifetime Steps: 1,512,597
That's 62,272 steps this week which averages out to 8,896 a day. Wednesday and Thursday were the only days I hit or exceeded my goal of 10K and was only short about 653 on Sunday. Not great. On Saturday we went to the zoo and out of nowhere my back started to spasm and pain started shooting down the front of my quads. I could not rise from a seated position without Husband physically lifting me up. I borrowed a heavy duty prescription pill from my mom because the pain was so intense. Those pills made me nauseous and knocked me out but did nothing to alleviate the pain. I ended up taking an Epsom salt bath, getting an icy hot rub down from Husband, smoking some pot, chasing that with a beer or two and basically lying on a heating pad for the rest of the day. I'm still feeling a dull ache in my lower back but I have been mobile (at least) since Sunday morning. Unbelievable. My co-worker, who is trained in sports and physical training, said it sounded like my sciatic nerve. Because I'm an elderly woman. Either way, I have decided to "rest" this week rather than do my lunch walk so I can be ready to do all the miles this weekend at Legoland. On a "restful" day I'm still clocking between 5K and 7K steps a day so I guess it could be much worse. Frame of Mind
I'll be honest, the shit-show that is the SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the United States) is stressing me out. It is probably irrational but I fear war. A lot. It sucks. I mean, a lot of his BS in regards to legislation in this country won't make it through the Supreme Court, etc, but his utter idiocy and incompetency makes me feel like we're going to be the target of some legit retaliation. Other than that... and this pain... and the PMS, things are okay I guess. I'm excited to get away this weekend to celebrate Christa turning three. Casey is showing some real signs of ADHD so that is on my mind. He and I have soccer tonight so I hope that will be fun. You know... just life. Hills and valleys and what have you.
It's no secret around these parts that I was a big fan of The Lego Movie and that one of my favorite things about it was Will Arnett as Batman. When we found out they were going to do a movie just for him, we were all super pumped about it. Next weekend, we have a Legoland trip planned to celebrate Christa turning three. It seems almost serendipitous that The Lego Batman Movie came out just in time for us to watch it this past weekend, right before our big ol' Lego weekend!
We don't really go to movies so much anymore unless we can bring the kids. Date nights are better spent actually talking to Husband over dinner or a game of Sequence at a brewery rather than being distracted by yet another screen. I have to admit, I was not as much a fan of this one as I was of the original. I'm not sure what it was, but I felt it lacked the heart of the first. I noticed Christa was a lot more restless than she normally is in the theater and that Casey sort of just un-enthusiastically watched whereas he is usually a bit more involved.
Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of action and a lot of laughs. I'm continually stunned by the special effects of these movies. The colors and scenery are so rich and detailed that it's hard not to be impressed. Everyone and their mother has a voice cameo and it's such a treat for me to put an actual name to the character. It felt like it just took a while for the story to get off the ground. Batman is a solitary vigilante who is afraid of relationships. The new commissioner Gordon wants to work with him and he's more interested in flying solo. He accidentally adopts Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Robin voiced by fellow Arrested Development alum, Michael Cera - I'm a big fan of that show, P.S.) and Alfred forces him into becoming a "padre." Watching this gorup of misfits form a family was touching, I just wish the story could have been a little more streamlined. It probably deserves another viewing where my expectations aren't so high.
No loss or gain which is great because, boy, did I eat like I was never going to see food again this weekend. Pizza party on Friday, date night full of sushi on Saturday, and Super Bowl Sunday replete with all the beer and snacks... Yikes. It's also PMS time once again so yay bloating!
Lifetime Steps: 1,450,325
That's 80,426 since last week which averages out to 11,489 steps a day. I hit or exceeded five days this week! Friday I was short 1683 steps and Monday I was short 791. I walked the dogs both weekend days (which is how I got about 9K extra steps!) and I guess the way I walk with them is different because I was sore afterward, like a less aggressive shin splint. Looks like I should walk them more often so I'm not aching afterward. Nevertheless, I persisted and walked during my lunch hour Monday and Tuesday through the pain (and rain).
Frame of Mind
Good but not great. To start off positive, we broke even with our taxes and I'd been worried for months that we'd owe in the thousands. Luckily, we made some successful readjustments and that whole thing is behind us. I am happy to report I am almost done reading my book so that feels very nice. I also just bought Queen tickets so that's super rad. I am very proud of all the walking and credit it for making things much better than they otherwise would be.
Now for the not so great. The PMS definitely reared its ugly head this morning. I have not been sleeping well at all due to some outrageously graphic and detailed nightmares for the past several days. I have had some odd interactions at home and some bad days here at work so I think I just need to shake it off and refocus. I'm not doing great on my goal to not drink Monday through Friday but I did succeed on the 1st. Otherwise that ball got dropped except I have stuck to just one with dinner.