9/11

I was only 10 years old when 9/11 happened.

It started just like any other day: I got up, ate breakfast, and went to my elementary school. But when I got to my classroom, something was noticeably different: the TV was on. Something terrible was happening, something I didn’t quite fully grasp, but knew it was very bad.

My parents are teachers. My mom has taught Kindergarten for many years and is now happily retired. My dad, even though he retired four years ago, is still teaching high school history. I remember worrying about my dad having to be drafted, and worried that he would be sent off to fight in a war. While I knew about the draft, I didn’t know that my dad was considered too old.

I never thought to voice my concerns about Dad being sent off to war, not until I was much older.

20 years later, at age 30, I am still learning about 9/11 and all the horrible things that happened that day. But I am also learning about the kindness, unity, and bravery from that day as well.

I am blown away by the heroic acts of bravery from firefighters, police, and ordinary people. Watching the segment about 9/11, I broke down and sobbed–suddenly hit by a touching story of a couple who had lost their son in the towers, and how they stopped to pet some therapy dogs. The owner of one of the therapy dogs asked if she could name her next dog after their son. This hit me particularly hard.

The strength and kindness from complete strangers in that segment awed me. The unity that I heard of seemed like a distant dream compared to the disconnect that is currently ongoing in our country.

Seeing the 9/11 memorial made me realize just how big those towers were, and seeing the names–letters that you can touch and place flowers in–makes me think of the importance of tangibility. The flowing water made me feel at peace.

My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones on this day.

30 Amazing Things about Being 30

Good afternoon, everyone!

A while ago, I re-posted a picture to my Instagram story, one that mentions what it feels like (or can feel like) when you’re depressed.

My loving sister shot me a private message, asking me if I was doing OK or if the information was just that, informational.

I responded with yes, the information was just informational.

In my adult life, it feels like my depression has sometimes become worse than it was when I was younger. But, with the help of medications and support, I am doing so much better!

Here are 30 amazing things about being 30, in no particular order.

30 Amazing Things about being 30

  1. I’m the daughter of three teachers: my (retired) mom who taught Kindergarten for many, many years; my (was-retired) dad who back to teaching at the new high-school in our town; & my sister, who is wrapping up her very-first-ever year teaching near Morris, MN.
  2. I’ve got an incredible support system surrounding me: my family, my close friends, my friendly co-workers & bosses, my boyfriend Rory, his family, & my two Golden Girl Retrievers Bentley & Charlie.
  3. After having had a bowel blockage in March, & undergoing surgery, I’m very glad that my body is functioning like it used to.
  4. I’ve turned 30 years old! While it might seem scary to some, boring to others, I’m proud of this landmark age in my life.
  5. There’s never a moment where I think, Self, you’ve definitely got ENOUGH books. (There’s always more books to be read, books to be discovered, & books to be re-read, let me tell you.)
  6. Blue October is slowly starting to tour again! (Mostly in their home state, Texas, though. Please come back to Minnesota and First Ave!!)
  7. There’s the possibility that we might take a family vaca to Colorado this year. We didn’t get to go last year, for obvious reasons.
  8. More people are getting vaccinated!
  9. I’m fully vaccinated! (Yay!)
  10. Everyone in my family (& Rory’s family) are doing well & staying healthy.
  11. I can’t wait for the third season of The Umbrella Academy to come out! (Same for Rick & Morty season 5, the movie version of Dear Evan Hansen, & In the Heights. I also really watch more of My Hero Academia & I wanna see Raya & The Last Dragon.)
  12. Cute baby & puppy videos make me laugh & go “aww” at the same time.
  13. I bought new yarn & am gonna start (finally) making a scarf for my good friend Alex Hoyt.
  14. Yesterday, I got a haircut & went with a cute bob.
  15. It’s always nice to see people that I know personally or just from seeing them go through my check-out lane so often at work. (I cashier at Target.)
  16. I started reading Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau. It’s good so far!
  17. I’m going to go see Rory! I’m very excited.
  18. Family time is important to me. I try to hang out with my parents and sister more, & I’m still working on this, to be honest.
  19. The weather is getting nicer!
  20. I’ve got plenty of books to read, card games to play, & a new novel to write.
  21. I love seeing Charlie girl grow up. She’s the sweetest puppy!
  22. It’s now T-shirt & shorts weather! Whooo!
  23. Spring cleaning is a thing. That reminds me, I need to clean my desk. *laughs*
  24. Driving places is more fun, because you can see all the greenery.
  25. Dear Evan Hansen is being made into a movie!
  26. I get to hang out with my friends!
  27. I’m slowly getting back into my bullet journaling after letting it fall to the wayside. (For the month of June, I cut out the habit trackers that I had in April. I already use apps that are more efficient at keeping track of my moods. I also date when I write just for my personal records, and use Bookly to track how long I read.)
  28. I recently bought Shadow & Bone, as well as Six of Crows. Reading the books will enhance my Shadow & Bone watching experience with Abbie.
  29. Looks like I’ll get every-other weekend off, so it’ll be easier to plan when to go visit Rory in the coming months.
  30. All in all, I’m having a great time being 30!

Thanks for reading,
Meghan B.

Get Well Soon: My Recent Hospital Stay

Update!

Get Well Soon: My Recent Hospital Stay

  • March 17th: I’m admitted to the hospital due to a bowel blockage

  • March 19th: I undergo surgery.

  • March 20th – 23rd: recovery from my surgery.

  • March 24th – 25th: home/running around doing things like getting a COVID shot & a haircut.

  • March 25th – 27th: back in the hospital for inflammation/vomiting.

  • March 27th – April 1st: home again! I’m able to eat real food & not get sick!

March 17th, 2021

I knew something was wrong while I was eating supper with my parents: I felt a slight pain in my lower abdomen. I also didn’t feel very good while eating, either. Hours later, I lay awake in my bed, feeling nauseous. Finally, after going to the bathroom several times and not throwing up, I did. The pain in my intestines didn’t go away, either.

My mom and I briefly debated on who to call, then called the ER. They said I should come in. After some X-rays and blood draws, we had an answer: I had a bowel blockage.

This was not the first time I’d had a blockage: In my twenties, I had my first issue with my intestines. Thankfully, it resolved itself. But now, just 17 days after my 30th birthday, I was having the same problem.

I was admitted around 4-4:30 AM, after getting an NG tube put in. If you’ve never had an NG tube, let me tell you, it’s not a pleasant experience. You know the gagging sensation you get from moving a toothbrush too far down your throat? It’s like that, only it’s a tube going through your nose and down into your throat to your stomach.

I threw up when they put it in, because you have to swallow the tube that your body is vehemently trying to reject.

I actually had to have a second NG tube put in, several days later, because the first one had something wonky going on with it. So, I’ve survived not one but two tubes down my nose and throat.


March 19th, 2021

Two days later–it feels much longer in my memory–I was being prepped for surgery. I took a shower for the first time in several days, cleaning myself up, but not shaving anything, before my surgery. I had my first ever COVID test, which to my nurse’s credit, I barely felt. Thankfully, it came back negative.

Every nurse and doctor I’ve encountered in the hospital were kind, understanding, and helpful. It didn’t matter if it was 2 AM or 2 PM, everyone I came in contact with were extremely kind and willing to help. It’s made me realize that being a nurse or a doctor is more than just helping people, it’s about treating people who are going through a rough time with the same level of respect and kindness–night or day. Everyone I met treated their job like it wasn’t just a job: I felt like I truly mattered to those nurses and doctors, that my predicament was looked at with care, just like any other patient in the hospital at that time. It’s about treating people with humility when they need it the most. It’s about making sure that people are comfortable when they are uncomfortable or in pain.

I’ve had a major surgery before, back when I was 14 ounces and a month old. I had surgery to correct the necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that was harming my intestines.

What causes NEC?

The best explanation is some kind of injury to the inside lining of the intestine that then allows bacteria to travel from inside the intestine into the bloodstream.

http://www.necsociety.org

The treatment for NEC is as follows, which ultimately lead to my surgery to remove the dead intestine:

Standard treatment for NEC is to stop all feedings, place a large tube through the mouth into the stomach to keep the stomach empty, start antibiotics, and check x-rays of the abdomen at regular intervals. If the baby has signs that the intestine is severely injured, surgery is necessary to remove the dead portion of the intestine. In severe cases, the entire intestine may be dead and when that happens the chance of the baby surviving is very low.

http://www.necsociety.org

The surgeon who preformed my NEC surgery on me basically said, “If the baby lives,” meaning that I had a very low chance of surviving the surgery. I was extremely lucky, thanks in part to a shunt put into the back of my head. I also had incredible doctors and nurses to look out for tiny me.

Now, at 30, I was going to remember (to some extent) this particular surgery. It was a little nerve-wracking, but I didn’t feel scared. I was prepped for surgery, signed papers, then taken down to the waiting area where a kind nurse visited with me. We talked about Togo, the original hero to deliver the medicine partway to the sick children of Nome. We watched some YouTube videos on it, and even the trailer before I was able to go into surgery.

I honestly didn’t mind waiting. I had learned to be patient by then in the hospital. I mean, what else did I have to do?

I remember being moved onto the surgery table, and placing my arms on either sides of the table on little arm-rest thingies. It was about 3:30 PM when I looked at the clock. The last thing I remember was looking up at the bright operating lights.


March 20th – March 23rd, 2021

The next four days were spent recovering from my surgery. I finally got my NG tube out my my nose and throat on Monday, the 22nd. It was a happy day, because that meant that I could try to drink liquids, which I hadn’t really had, for about 6 days. I’d had fluids from the IV in my hand, but only a few swallows of water when I took my meds every day.

When I got to drink grape juice, it tasted better than any juice I’d ever had. The food I got to eat later on that night was delicious–soup, toast, easy things like that–but I deleted it from my phone. So, unfortunately, I don’t have the pictures anymore.

I was discharged around noon on March 23rd. After spending a week in the hospital, I was kind of used to staying there. I was excited nonetheless to go home. I got to eat lunch, then was wheeled downstairs while Mom got the car.

I got to hold my balloon and my flowers from my grandparents.

Mom ended up needing to go back to the hospital, because we’d forgotten my meds and my jacket. I just chilled in a chair reading/looking at my phone/petting Bentley and Charlie while I waited for her to return.

I also got some more flowers from one of my mom’s friends.

I was finally home! It felt great to be back in my own bed, although I didn’t mind the hospital beds.


I wasn’t quite done with going to the hospital.

After getting the first part of my COVID shot, and getting a haircut, I was struggling to keep anything down. I’d eat something easy, like beef bouillon, and then a few hours later I’d have thrown it all up.

We went back to the hospital on March 25th. I was admitted again, because there was some inflammation happening in my intestine. It could’ve been due to the COVID shot affecting my body, my surgeon later told us.

So, I stayed in the hospital for about two days, then went home again.

I still haven’t watched the latest Blue October show, but I plan to do so soon.

After a visit with my surgeon, Mom and I were reassured that the healing of my intestine would take time. I just needed to make sure I stayed hydrated, and if I didn’t eat for a while, that was okay.

Thankfully, my body has slowly reverted back to normal. I’m able to eat actual food and keep everything down. This has only happened a few days ago–Murphy’s law–shortly after visiting my surgeon on Monday.

I’ve had a very eventful birthday month to be sure. I didn’t expect that any of this would happen, but I don’t mind the extra time I get to stay home and recover.

I’m looking forward to finishing my fantasy novel and finish reading A Deadly Education, which I started reading in the hospital. I finally learned an easier way to knit the herringbone stitch, which is a textured knitting pattern. I love it!

Thanks, BHooked!

Thanks for reading,
Meghan B.

My Love for the German Language

Good evening, everyone!

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered German metal bands, and they have fueled my passion for the German language.

Rammstein has rock/electronic vibes, and writes powerful music you can jam out to in the car (or in your room).

Eisbrecker writes with a little more nod to Germany’s dark history, with the knowledge that in making these connections, you can help stop the past from happening again. Eisbrecker also turns German children’s nursery rhymes and songs into metal songs. I mean, that’s badass, right there. And a good way for me to learn German.

How did this language obsession start?

Easy: with one of my favorite adult novels, A Little Life. Jude knows German, French, and Latin. He’s one of favorite literary characters.

Also, one of my very good friends, Alex H., took German. So I’ll occasionally shoot him a text in what sliver of German I know, because why not? It’s fun!

I’m no Tolkien by far, but I do have a healthy interest in my German heritage. (I am also English, and a smattering of other things.)

But I’ve come to appreciate the power of words in other languages. There are things (phrases) you can say in other languages that can’t be expressed in American English.

I also love picking up on the meaning of words in German. It’s a lot of looking up the translations and memorizing the songs by good ol’ repetition–which is actually something I enjoy doing with music, by the way. I think it’s something to do with my autism and how my brain works.

I mean, that’s how I’ve memorized the original Broadway production of Les Misérablesand all of Blue October’s songs to date. It’s one of the (yes, slower) ways that I memorize things I’m passionate about.

Unlike my partner Rory, I do not have an eidetic memory, and tend to forget things or draw a blank on stuff. (Which is totally normal for me.)

German is a beautiful, rough-sounding language to me, especially since I’ve matured and know more than just Holocaust history–although knowing that particular part of German history is very important.

Someday, I want to go to Germany. (And England, and Japan, and Switzerland…) I want to experience different parts of the world first-hand.

I’m excited to hear different languages in their native countries, too! It just sounds like so much fun.

Thanks for reading,

Meghan B.

What do you need to know about yourself today so you can create your best self?

I snagged this journal prompt from the podcast “Writing Your Best Self”.

I need to know that I am strong and brave. I’ve recently been in the hospital for an intestinal blockage and am on the mend! I’m doing so much better than I was last week, when I was admitted.

I need to know that I am kind and sympathetic towards others. I genuinely care about other people, which helps me in my work life while I’m cashiering at my local Target. I feel for people when they are having a bad/tough day. I love it when I can brighten someone’s day at work or in my personal life by just being myself.

I am a highly sentimental person. Films like UP reminds me of the love my grandparents had for one another. Films like Max & Mary remind me of the power of friendship, as well as forming a life-long bond with someone who started out as a complete stranger in a telephone book. Anything Winnie the Pooh makes me cry because “the guys” were some of my first, most dearest, friends. (They still are.)

I am a very loyal person. I will never cheat on someone I’m in a relationship with because I don’t have it in me. I stand with and champion people who are seen as “different” because I believe that being different is what makes us more interesting and more caring towards others. Our differences make us unique, in every good way possible. If everyone were exactly the same, our world would be very boring indeed!

I’m an introvert who likes to be an extrovert from time to time. I love to hang out in my room, but I also love to hang out with my friends and family. I enjoy sharing the books, movies, and music I love so much with others.

I’m a dog lover. I have two sweet golden girls at home, Bentley (11) and Charlie (1). They are very funny at times!

Lastly, I am a creative person. I love to write, read, and knit. I’ve taken up bullet journaling again since last year and am really enjoying my new minimalist layout. Creating new characters and worlds are things that come to me naturally, since I’ve been writing for over ten years. Some ideas work, while others fall through. This past year, I not only finished writing a sci-fi novel, but started a fantasy/urban fantasy book. I’m on the last chapter of my fantasy novel at the moment. I’m looking forward to completing it when I get back home.

How would you respond to this journal prompt? Let me know in the comments section.

As always, thanks for reading!

Meghan B.

I’m a Pear Shape Now, But a Happy Pear

I’ve always been a skinny girl. I say girl because lately as a woman, I’ve started gaining weight. One of my medications, which does cause weight gain, has done just that: caused me to put on some pounds. When I say some, I mean a steady rapid increase of 50 pounds.

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Dear Reader

Hello, dear reader!

What would you like to see more of from my blog posts?

I know it’s a simple question, but one that you get to help me with. I’ve been writing this blog mostly for myself, without thinking about the most important person: You. You’re the reason why I keep writing, why I’m determined to get up-to-date on my book reviews. I’m sure you and I don’t read the same thing, but I feel encouraged to share with you all the awesome books I’ve been reading.

I’m very versatile in my posts. If you read this blog often, you’ll notice that I don’t have a set schedule for my blog topics. I write what I want, when I want. (Or more accurately, when I have the time.)

But you, dear reader, are very important to me. You’re keeping this blog afloat. You’re the one encouraging me to write and post my poems on here. You’re the one who gives me feedback on my blog posts, the one who replies to say that you liked my post for the day.

So, without further ado, here’s a little list of some of the topics I write about:

blog topics

  • book reviews
  • #weekendcoffeeshares
  • poems
  • gushing about blue October, my favorite band
  • music album reviews
  • bullet journaling
  • letters to heroes
  • letters to books
  • video games
  • films/movies/TV shows I’ve watched
  • my bucket list
  • & more!

You can suggest something from my long list, or you can give me an idea for what you’d like to see from me on this blog.

I would really like to hear back from you. You’re input will help me give you more written content of what you want to see from my blog.


Thank you so much,
Meghan B.

19 Things from 2019

Hello, dear reader!

As I approach the New Year here in America, I want to look back on all the fun and fantastic things I did this year. As always, this year went by pretty fast. It doesn’t seem real that we’re already going to enter a new millennium. It all feels quite strange. I’m excited and a little nervous about the new decade to begin, but I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.

In any case, I’m looking forward to a new decade, where I want bigger and better changes to happen in our world.

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