Book Review – Still Alice

by hollycombs

Still Alice by Lisa Genova Still Alice by Lisa Genova is an up-close look at a family struggling through the diagnosis and affects of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alice has worked her entire life to get where she is as a linguist and Harvard professor, but with a single diagnosis, all of it was taken away — early onset Alzheimer’s. Alice isn’t dying from the disease, she’s living with it. And every day seems to bring another end — an end to her career, an end to her daily jogs, an end to her relationship with her children. She has to learn to let go and live the best she can, for as long as she can.

Still Alice was well worth the read, though I can’t say I would classify it as “enjoyable.” Reading about a woman’s deterioration from successful to unaware is hard to do. The book reminded me of those I have known who have struggling with debilitating illnesses, including Alzheimer’s. And to be honest, it was rather depressing to watch someone lose so much, with absolutely no power to stop it.

But I am glad I read the book. It is well written. It is a thought-provoking glimpse into the life of someone who is faced with an unimaginable future. And, told from Alice’s perspective, it gives the reader a small sense of what it must be like to live it.

I would definitely recommend Still Alice as a book just about everyone could benefit from reading — whether illnesses like this have been a part of your life or not. If nothing else, it will give you a renewed respect for families suffering through disease, and it will hopefully give you an extra dose of compassion for those experiencing such devastating diagnoses.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Our farmhouse table, made from reclaimed wood

The farmhouse table came to nearly 10 feet long, made from old pine beams that were once rafters in a church built long ago here in Virginia. Now to find enough chairs to go around it…

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Yarn Along – Marshmallow Fluff Cowl

by hollycombs

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along Dauntless and a Cowl

I’m preparing to start a new cowl with this Marshmallow Fluff pattern, probably my last of the season as Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to move on to outdoor projects. But one last knit is always a good idea. Also, I’m reading Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman. This is my first book from this author and I’m still not quite sure what I think of it, check back soon for a review!

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

moments of inspiration: building farmhouse table

Progress on the making of a 10-foot-long reclaimed wood table.

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Adventure: A Kentucky Cabin

by hollycombs

Kentucky CabinMy brother has a cabin in Kentucky, a small, two-bedroom, *mostly*-finished cabin in the woods. It doesn’t have an address. He needs to call the post office about that. It doesn’t show up on Google Maps, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t have a bathroom, yet. Someday it will. March snowfall has made the road to it nearly impassable, but he has four-wheel-drive and he can pick us up at the bottom of the hill.

Kentucky Cabin

We came from all around — Peter and his family from Ohio, John and his family from Georgia, myself from Virginia, my parents from another place in Ohio. Only one couldn’t join us this year, the brother in Washington, D.C. I guess it’s a city that never sleeps, or takes a vacation.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Nieces and nephews were everywhere, tumbling over each other in the tiny space. They’re all getting so big.

Islay is nearly 11. I was her nanny when she was a newborn. Hard to believe how time passes.

Ian is nearly 10. He wears glasses now, and looks so studious.

Tessa is 8. I remember being there when my sister-in-law learned she was pregnant with child #3.

The twins are 9, they hang on every word Ian says, fascinated by the boy. Their only brother is 2 years old. It shows.

Sarah is 6. She just wants to be included with the big kids.

And little Peter (little Peter to differentiate from big Peter) is two. Adorable. Precocious. He tries his mother’s patience, but makes the rest of us laugh a lot.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

I want to treasure the memories. Islay showing us her gymnastics skills and recently-won medals. Tessa sitting on my lap to play Battleship. Sarah playing Sorry! over, and over, and over. The twins sharing their love of reading with me. Little Peter putting on a “show” (ie. turning the lights out and singing one line of “Let it Go”). Big meals shared around a giant table. Warm fires in the wood stove. So many wet boots, hats, mittens, and snow pants. Knitting and talking and more knitting. Hikes, walks, tromping through the snow. A truck stuck in the mud. Laughter. So much laughter. These are moment to cherish.

Kentucky Cabin

I desperately hope Husband can join us next year at this Kentucky cabin, and my DC brother. To be complete. It would mean so much.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin

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Yarn Along – Seed Stitch Cowl

by hollycombs

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Seed stitch cowl

I really enjoyed this easy pattern as I joined my family in a backwoods Kentucky cabin for a weekend. Easy to knit and chat, set down and pick up amid other goings-on. And I do love the look of the seed stitch, as easy as it is to create. I find that it makes to a tightly woven cowl, especially compared to some of the drop-stitch cowls that I’m used to wearing. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And, more than anything, I now have a lovely cowl to wear with so many of my black work clothes to keep me warm in my frigid office.

Seed stitch

And I’m still reading Persuasion, because I like to savor the reading of any Jane Austen and because I can hardly keep my eyes open to read at night these days.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

So many moments of inspiration this week after spending several days with all my nieces and nephews in a two-room cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky.

So many “moments of inspiration” this week after spending several days
with all my nieces and nephews in a two-room cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky.

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Yarn Along – The Gathering Cowl

by hollycombs

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along The Gathering Cowl

It took me a while to start this project, between getting the right size needles and learning what a provisional cast on and Kitchener stitch are. But I’m glad I didn’t let the new lingo scare me off, because once I got started, I completed The Gathering Cowl in one evening. And I absolutely love it! Also, finishing in one evening gave me more time to read — Persuasion by Jane Austen, because in the bleakness of winter, Jane is a good friend.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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One Year of Home Ownership

by hollycombs

March 7 marks one year of home ownership for us. One year filled with a lot of ups and downs, fun and reality.

home

We just learned how to replace the pressure tank in our well system. Yay for learning, boo for the cost of parts. But I figure that after having replaced the hot water heater, submersible well pump, pressure tank, circuit breakers to the well pump and the inner workings of all toilets (along with disinfecting the well and other myriad water-related chores), we should be all set for water in this house for as long as we live in it. That’s a silver lining, right?

While the repairs might drive us crazy sometimes, and there are so many things we want to do with the house that we just can’t afford (after all, we NEED a new roof, and that’s going to take every penny we can scrounge), but at the same time I often remind myself to just take it all in. I sit down at the end of a long day and remember back to when we were aching to own our own space. And here it is. All ours. And it’s looking pretty nice — all painted, furniture mostly situated, most boxes unpacked.

It’s home. Cozy. Comfortable. Hygge.

House under snow

There are complex feelings about it too though. This was a dream we’ve had for a long time, one we thought we would share the joy with Husband’s brother, who is no longer with us. So it’s sad, that we can’t share this abundant blessing with one we love so much. But it’s also a piece of our “new normal” as they call it — a place without constant reminders of the one we miss. A place he was never a part of. Both a blessing and a curse.

So on this day, I will rejoice in the blessings bestowed on us by a loving Father, and I will mourn the loss of the one we can’t share it with. But most of all, I will give thanks. For the Lord is good.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Moments of inspiration with hot tea and a good book

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