Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

Goodreads: Nonna Bannister carried a secret almost to her Tennessee grave: the diaries she had kept as a young girl experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. This book reveals that story. Nonna's childhood writings, revisited in her late adulthood, tell the remarkable story of how a Russian girl from a family that had known wealth and privilege, then exposed to the German labor camps, learned the value of human life and importance of forgiveness. This story of loss, of love, and of forgiveness is one you will not forget.

Stasy: I came across this book in the grocery store and because it was a book about WWII and the Holocaust, I added it to my cart without reading about it, assuming it would be much like The Diary of Anne Frank, but by a Jewish girl who survived.

I made a mistake that many do about the Holocaust. Not all the victims were Jewish. Nonna was a Russian Christian. A lot of the reviews harp on that fact as though it makes her less of a victim. Her family was destroyed by the Nazis and she barely survived her time in the camps.

This book is awkwardly put together, but that fault lies with the editors and not the author. Her memories and original pieces included in this book are so well written and heartbreaking.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thai Spicy Coconut Soup

Lately, my husband and I have been making a lot of the recipes I have pinned on Pinterest. (Who knew you could actually make the things, not just pin them?)

Tonight was a Thai coconut soup.

It's a fairly simple recipe and cooked quickly. I did tweak it a little.

2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 cup red pepper (diced) 
1 inch ginger (peeled and minced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 stalk lemongrass (cut lengthwise)
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Cilantro to top
Serve over brown rice for extra heartiness.

My changes:
2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 extra cup stock (personal preference; always use it in place of broth in recipes) and 1 extra tsp of the red curry paste due to the extra volume because of the chicken.
We did not measure a 1/2 cup of pepper, just diced an entire medium sized pepper.
No lemongrass because my grocery does not carry it and I never made it to the Asian market.
We used white rice because we were out of brown.
We also did not use the 2 tsp of oil because we used our cast iron skillet to cook everything and as anyone who uses cast iron knows, it's always greased up and ready to go.

My husband sliced up the chicken fairly thin and then I cooked it mostly through. From here on out (minus the lemongrass) we followed the recipe.

Heat oil in pan. Add the garlic, ginger, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for three minutes. 
Stir in the curry paste and cook an additional minute.
Add the coconut milk, broth (stock), sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for ten minutes.
If you use the lemongrass, you would remove it before serving over rice. Top with cilantro.

I really liked it and thought it was a good soup for a cool rainy night. (Our first this season! Fall might actually be on its way!) There were no leftovers because I went back and finished it off for seconds. My husband is not as big a fan of soups, but he scooped out the chicken, etc and put it over rice like a stir fry. He did not like it as much as I did. 

We are going to try this again, but we will probably tweak it some more. It says spicy and it has a little bite, but we do like more heat than this recipe provided.

I also forgot to take a picture. (Sorry! My first time blogging about food.) It was really pretty, but dinner was so late tonight that I was starving and dived in before I even thought about it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us, but we cannot strike them all by ourselves."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It went well.

My talk the other night at the remembrance ceremony, that is. I had to stop a couple of times and there were tears, but my husband said that he was proud of me and my friends that were there all said I did a good job.

I started off the with Hemingway and my "Never Worn" before telling William David's story. I did also talk (very briefly) about my take-home baby and how I had a "happy" ending, but that I still get angry because I could have both of my boys. That watching my second son play with his dad sometimes makes me cry because I will never get to watch my first son do that.

Next, I talked about my grandmothers, both of whom lost babies 50+ years ago. My maternal grandmother had a second trimester loss like mine; paternal grandmother lost a baby three days after he was born prematurely. I mentioned how only one of those grandmothers was allowed to grieve because the other was a pregnancy loss and therefore something to be kept silent.

I talked about the women I have met on this awful journey. How they saved me. How they really saved both of us, because their husbands were always willing to be there for my husband if he needed to talk to another loss dad. I do not think he ever did, but I know he appreciated knowing he was not alone and the offer was there.

I finished by telling my fellow loss parents that while it does get easier, it never stops hurting and that it is okay to not be okay.

After I sat down, a loss dad got up and told his story. It was heartbreaking to hear how he tried to be strong. How he pushed down his hurt to take care of his wife and ignored how much he was really hurting until months later, he fell apart. I think I cried more during his talk than during mine because I could see how much is resonated with my husband. So often, the dads are forgotten.

A great majority of the parents there were newly inducted into this shitty club. It hurt seeing how raw their pain is. I hope I was able to help that if even just a little bit. Tuesday night is when my loss support group meets and several of them mentioned that they will be there. I hope they do. I know how much you need to be able to talk with others who understand.

When we got home Tuesday night, I was was emotionally done. I am glad that I was in a place where I could address a group like that, but I was so focused on how nervous I was speaking in public that I never thought about the emotional toll it would take. 

I am glad I did it and even more glad it is over and I do not have to put myself out there like that again for a very long time, if ever. It is so much easier to be "vocal" through a blog, on, and through other forms of social media.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

15 months

***This is a proud momma post.***

Today, G.T. had his 15 month appointment. He was 35.5 inches tall (99th percentile) and 29 pounds (97th percentile). The nurse said that at his 18 month appointment, he is going to have to stand to be measured. (Good luck with that!) He also got four shots and while he cried (a lot) he still did well with them.

The pediatrician's only real concern is that the Muppet does not talk. Oh, he babbles (all.the.time.), but he does not have any real words yet. He said we have until his 18 month before we start talking about speech therapy. I do not know how I feel about that right now. Like I said, he makes a lot of noise and babbles a lot of nonsense. He also follows directions pretty well. 

For now, I am going to push it out and not worry about it. Too much going on.

Tonight is the memorial service. I am so nervous right now I could throw up.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What could have been...

Not a day goes by that I do not wonder what could have been and who William David would have been.