Escape to the past: books and movies for when you need to get away

This one is about historical dramas. It’s also about love and loss. The reason all of that is on my mind this week is because of my grandparents.

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My grandfather died on Monday. I sat with him near the end, trying not to cry as I read the words in the hospice pamphlet the hospital dropped off when they brought him home. I knew it wouldn’t be long.

Not more than an hour after I left, my aunt called to say he’d slipped away.

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He wasn’t perfect. Grandpa was bipolar and had a complicated relationship with my dad. He was the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. (Stubbornly refusing to eat is why he died when he did.) His jokes could be odd and more than a little embarrassing in restaurants. He liked to lie in his stories–you could rarely believe half of what he said–and conversations frequently turned into a test.

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Of course, that isn’t the whole story.

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Grandpa was very sweet to me for all but the last nine months. He loved cars, even lending me the rest of the money I needed to buy one of my own. I know that he loved me and wanted, more than anything, for me to be happy. He was completely and utterly devoted to my grandmother.

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Who told us that she wanted to come back as a pelican because she liked to eat^

Grandma died a little over a year ago. They were married for 57 years and it’s hard to think of one without the other. While I’m glad Grandpa is no longer apart from her, I’m sad that I’ve lost all three of my grandparents in less than five years.

So, I’m trying to focus on happy moments. Neither one of my paternal grandparents was a big reader, but one of the ways I spent time with my grandmother was by watching historical dramas at the movies.

In honor of her, and the love my grandparents shared, I’m going to go over some of my favorites:  Continue reading

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Choose your own adventure

I wanted to give some background information before I delve into my topic. They connect, I promise, but feel free to scroll down if you only want to read about books.

Personal note: 

I haven’t written in a long time.

Reasons

It’s mostly down to stress. Not only have I been interviewing for jobs–a fun activity at the best of times–but my grandpa is dying. (He’s entering hospice care this weekend.) My current job hasn’t exactly been helping.

But wait, there’s more! 

As a result, I’ve been getting tension headaches. (Which have been nearly continuous for a week now.) They’ve either been causing or exacerbated by my insomnia.

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Ah, insomnia. It’s horrible to go to sleep early enough to get a good night’s rest and then spend half the night lying awake. I’m too wound up to sleep, but too tired to do anything else.

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A couple of nights like that and I feel like this:

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Side note: why are there so many disturbing images in a kids’ cartoon?

My insomnia stems from stress as well. It almost always shows up around the time I have major life choices. Which brings me to my topic:

Have you ever seen a “choose your own adventure” book? 

They’ve been on my mind lately.

At my elementary school, they were the most popular books in our library. There was a mad dash for the best ones during reading time. Even when you promised your friend they could have a turn too, it was hard to give up once you’d started.

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The crack cocaine of third grade Continue reading