Book Recommendation – ‘Eight Dates’ by John Gottman

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I’d like to share a book with you that my husband and I finished reading through together a few weeks ago – Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John and Julie Gottman.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone married or in a serious relationship – it doesn’t matter if you are newlyweds or have been married for a long time, you should check out this book! My husband and I have been married 11 years, and we found the book to be a great way to foster meaningful and intentional conversations about our relationship.

The book is organized into eight sections. The idea is that for each section you’ll read the chapter and answer some reflection questions on your own, then later go out on a date with your significant other to discuss your answers together. Your goal for the conversation is to listen to your partner, validate what they say, and ultimately “build respect, empathy, and a profound understanding of each other” (p. 5).

Ironically, since we read through this book in the middle of the pandemic, we did not “go out” for any of our dates. We had all of ours at home after we put our 4-year-old to bed. Even if you’re stuck at home, you can find ways to make the dates fun (cook a special meal or dessert, dress up in fancy clothes, sit outside in the backyard… be creative!)

The topics addressed in the eight sections include:

  • trust and commitment
  • conflict
  • sex
  • money
  • family
  • fun and adventure
  • spirituality
  • goals and dreams

There were so many things I loved about this book:

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My Sister Rachel (Part 3): Quirks

This is part 3 of a series describing my experience of growing up with a sister who has autism. If you missed them, you can go back and read parts 1 and 2. 

If you’ve followed me in the past year or so, you know that I am a BIG My Hero Academia fan. When I thought about what to title this post, I kept coming back to the word “quirk.” In MHA, quirks are superpowers, so when a person’s “quirk” manifests, it could be something like super strength or the ability to manipulate water or fire.

All of us have our own quirks – not superpowers, but idiosyncrasies. Often when we think of the term “quirks,” it brings with it a connotation of something weird or undesirable. I like the reframe that MHA provides, to look at quirks as a unique part of your personality, and something that could even be considered a superpower.

Rachel had quite a few quirks – some that have stayed consistent through most of her life, and others that seemed to have come and gone.

From a very young age I can remember my mom cutting out the tags in all of her shirts and pants. Following this same vein, if a piece of clothing had a string loose, that was something that would immediately need to be taken care of. Rule #23: tags and strings on clothes must be removed at all costs. If we didn’t get to it in time, Rachel would have pulled it (and possibly unraveled much of the item) on her own. Rachel was not the most careful or gentle in her actions, so her pulling a tag or string off could result in a giant hole in the garment in question.

In general, Rachel had her own ideas about what she deemed out of place in the world. And if something didn’t look right to her, by golly she was going to fix it.

One time when I was a freshman in high school, I had gotten my hair cut in shorter layers (above the shoulders) and parts of my hair flipped out here and there. I was in the bathroom (Rachel and I shared a bathroom) finishing up my hair and makeup, and I noticed that Rachel had walked in with a pair of scissors and was coming straight towards me. RULE #52: IF SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE FIXED, FIX IT. I got the scissors out of her hands in time, but I’m 99% sure that she was going to “fix” the parts of my hair that she felt flipped out to the sides a little too much.

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Foot Surgery Update: 1 Year Later

Today, February 4th, marks one whole year since I had foot surgery!

Just as a recap, I had surgery to fix a problem with my posterior tibial tendon… basically my feet have really flat arches and there was a lot of inflammation in my left foot around the tendon that connects from the foot arch to the calf muscle. I had been in a boot for the latter half of 2019, and nothing seemed to be helping my foot get better. Hence, foot surgery! (For a lengthier description of the surgery, you can read my post from May 2020).

June 2019 – my coworker and I matched!

At the time of surgery, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to go running again, and I hoped that I would at least be able to walk normally again in the near future. For a long time it seemed like it neither of those things would ever happen – but they did!

I wanted to give an update as a way to encourage those who might find themselves in similar “is-there-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” situations – the short version is I’m about 95% back to normal! (Hooray!)

Things I can do today:

  • wear a pair of matching shoes (aka. no boot!)
  • walk long distances without assistance
  • climb stairs
  • jog, run, and sprint (that last one only for short distances)
  • balance on one foot (left and right)

Continued limitations I have:

  • must wear very supportive shoes (no cute flats, flip-flops or high heels!)
  • need to wear orthotic inserts inside my already expensive supportive shoes
  • some pain/tightness occasionally with my left foot and calf
  • need to monitor and be better aware of my body – if something hurts, I need to honor it, not push through the pain – maybe this isn’t a limitation, just good common sense!

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