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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kidney Stones

Yea, the title of this post gives away the punchline...

O.M.G.  I ain't never birthed no babies, so I can't compare, but oh.my.God.  The pain!  The God-awful pain!

I have no history of anything like this.  My mom had kidney stones years ago, and I found out (yesterday, in the ER) that they're hereditary and it's likely I'll have a recurrence.  NO.EFFIN'.THANK.YOU.

We were up at the lake; it was garage sale weekend and we only had Saturday since we had a Cousin's Club picnic on Sunday.  We got up and into the car by 8:30, stopped at a few sales and hubby bought a few things:  a gasoline-powered pressure washer and a brand new shop vac for $30.  I bought 4 jigsaw puzzles for my mom. 

We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to get an iced tea each, and a bagel for me.  A whole OTHER story in itself, a story for another time...  We got into the car and drove to the next sale.  I took a sip or two of tea, then a bite of the bagel.  Literally ONE bite.

After that I stayed in the car while hubby got out to check out a sale and all of a sudden I had THE.WORST.PAIN.IN.MY.SIDE.IMAGINABLE.  It was 1000x worse that my WORST gas pain, and I've been in a lot of pain from gas...

I was panting.  I was sitting, standing, bending, stretching, laying down - NOTHING would ease the pain.  It was so bad I told him to take me to the hospital right away - this was NOT normal.  It was nothing I had ever felt before.  We went back to the lake house - it was only 5 miles away - and picked up all our stuff; by now the pain had eased a bit.  I told him to take me to the nearest hospital, St. Claire's in Dover, but I also said if I didn't have another episode to go to our hospital, Mountainside in Glen Ridge.

I had another bad one on the way.  I can't describe to you how bad it was.  My mother said it was worse than childbirth.  While I can't confirm that, I can tell you it hurt like holy hell!!

[Edited 10/31/14:  I had him take me to Mountainside Hospital, close to our home, when the pain decreased. I was worried if they admitted me, he'd be at the lake without food...}
They took me right into ER Room #1, started an IV line of fluids, and gave me an IV dose of painkiller and anti-nausea medicine.  The painkiller was incredible.  From the second they inserted it into the IV line, my body felt as if it weighed 800 pounds and was sinking into the gurney.  Hubby said I was as high as a kite.  Everyone sounded small.  Small and far, far away.  Immediately there was no pain. 

I asked, but they don't provide doggy bags of this painkiller.  Rats...

I had one more episode in the hospital so they gave me another dose of that good stuff.  But then they discharged me.

He didn't want me to walk all the way to the parking lot; I couldn't have anyway.  I was LOOPY!  He sat me down in a chair by the door.  I told him to beep when he got there, if my eyes were closed.

I saw the car pull up so I started to stand.  Slowly and very carefully I started to stand.  He hopped out and ran around to get me.  As he took my arm, he muttered, "$hit.  I didn't."  He tried to open the car door, and it was locked.

The automatic door locks on our Subaru are "UP" for lock and "DOWN" for unlock.  He mistakenly hit the lock button.  I just stood there, swaying a bit, saying helpful things like, "You didn't."  "I'm dizzy."  I went in and asked for a hanger but apparently hospitals don't have things like hangars available.  In the meantime he tried his best to pop the window, and use the windshield wipers taped together to reach the DOWN button.  I came out in the meantime and there were two police cars there.  They refused to help - "We don't do that anymore.  They're calling the Fire Department to help you."

I went back inside and the 21-year-old heavily made-up receptionist used really big words to ask me how I was going to "rectify the situation."  I asked HER for a hangar.  She asked ME if we were going to drive home to get another set of keys.


Even in my drug-induced stupor I knew that wouldn't work.  Our keys were locked IN THE CAR, YOU DIMWIT.

Then he came running in to get me - the wipers worked!  I sank down into the car and we came home.

I slept for a couple of hours, then was up for a while, then took a Percocet and went to sleep.  Overnight I passed part of the stone and the rest of it this morning.  I vomited a little bit, but not too much - I think it was the jalapeños on the bagel...

 I feel a thousand times better today - thank goodness. 

More stories for you later this week....

Friday, September 05, 2014


After we'd been our home a couple of years, my wonderful then-boyfriend-now-husband gave me the B.E.S.T. Christmas present ever:  he built bookshelves in what was the previous owner's dining room, creating a real, live library for me. 

They're made of oak, beautifully trimmed, 16 running feet of shelves along the wall, 9 feet high from floor to ceiling.  We have natural chestnut and/or oak trim throughout the house, around all of the windows and doors (in every room but the renovated bathroom and kitchen).  I chose a dark cranberry color for the walls in the library, and later he built me a library table.  I bought an old Underwood manual typewriter to put on the table.  It's my favorite room in the house.  I have a section of signed, first editions.  There's a section of cookbooks.  We have the rest of the books sorted by category:  fiction, motorcycles, gardening, home/how-to, health, literacy, Shakespeare, coffee table books.  There's a set of three glass shelves in the center, with a spotlight I can turn on, to feature my Depression glass and a few collectibles and photos from our families.

The front end of the room has two windows facing the street.  This is where I've put my Christmas tree every year but one since we've been in the house.  I chose shimmery gold drapes which surprisingly look wonderful with the cranberry walls and natural trim.  I leave my icicle lights up year-round in the windows, although I don't turn them on except during the holiday season.

And yes, I know I have to straighten out my shelves; they're too messy!  (see next paragraph)

I have a library.  In my house.  Which you might think would ensure a place for every book and every book in its place.  But no.  I have too many books to fit in the library!  Besides, I'm a firm believer that there should be books in every room.  Books make a house a home.  You learn from them.  You love them.  You share them.  You live them.  You experience them.  You touch them and feel them and smell them.  Well, you do if you're a reader like I am.

I would not be me without books.  My mini-autobiography on our work intranet starts like this:  "Ask me to describe myself in two words and I'd say, "I read." I am always reading at least two or three books at the same time."  I've learned from my books, I've grown through my books, I've improved through my books.  They're a part of me and always will be.  I'd rather read than do almost anything else!

In today's Shelf Awareness PRO, Robert Gray writes about planning the bookshelves he'll be building in his home, and how they truly "make" a house a home...  Here's his article (below).  He's much more fluent than I could ever be but his article this morning sparked my thoughts about my library...

Shelf Awareness PRO - Friday | September 5, 2014 | Volume 2 | Issue 2335

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: When Bookshelves Make a House a Home

We are currently in the planning stages of an ambitious bookcase-building project in the house we had rented since 2010 and purchased last year. That means four years have passed during which our substantial book collection, while readily accessible on temporary shelving in the finished basement, has lived in relative exile. This will change soon and our home will at last be fluent in the language of books.  
Sadly, not my library

Whenever I think of the power of bookshelves, I recall a passage from Frederick Buechner's The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found: "The Magic Kingdom is my haven and sanctuary, the place where I do my work, the place of my dreams and of my dreaming.... It consists of the small room you enter through, where the family archives are, the office, where my desk and writing paraphernalia are, and the library, which is by far the largest room of the three. Its walls are lined with ceiling-high shelves except where the windows are, and it is divided roughly in half by shoulder-high shelves that jut out at right angles from the others but with an eight-foot space between them so that it is still one long room despite the dividers. There are such wonderful books in it that I expect people to tremble with excitement, as I would, on entering it for the first time, but few of them do so because they don't know or care enough about books to have any idea what they are seeing."

It was not until early adolescence that I began to understand the influence bookshelves could have upon living space. Although my family did not collect books, my father built me a small bookcase. This modest addition altered my room, and life, forever. I've been surrounded by books since then.

"Any home, especially one that has been lived in for quite a while, is a three-dimensional text," Alison Lurie writes in The Language of Houses, adding: "For many people, the home is a kind of sacred site, one that is chosen carefully and honored in memory; sometimes it may be revisited long after they have moved away."

I think about the amazing book conversations Kathy Murphy--founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club (now with more than 550 chapters)--must have had in the Jefferson, Tex., house she is currently selling. Murphy recently told me that in 2000, she opened Beauty and the Book "on the bottom level of my house, out in the woods. Pulpwood Queens Book Club meetings were held in my home as we outgrew my tiny shop downstairs. I ran my shop and my book club there for years until I moved into an old house in town, which sold, then moved into the restored gas station." She has since relocated her business and book club to nearby Hawkins and will host the 15th annual Girlfriend Weekend in
Nacogdoches this January.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's study in Concord

Or consider legendary authors' homes. When we visit these "sacred sites," I suspect that even those of us who profess not to believe in ghosts may make an exception for the houses, and perhaps more so the personal libraries, of writers who matter to us. I know a discernible chill ran up my spine when I first visited Ralph Waldo Emerson's study, even though it is housed at the Concord Museum.

Real estate probably complicates matters a bit. In recent months, the former residences of John Cheever and J.D. Salinger have hit the market, along with Judy Blume's Martha's Vineyard waterfront retreat and even the "house that inspired The Adventures of Pinocchio's author." But I'm much more intrigued by the volumes that were shelved along the walls of these sacred sites than the people who lived there. It is the books that haunt.

"A building is an inanimate object, but it is not an inarticulate one," Lurie observes.

Maybe that is why I also love bookshops located in old houses, where the current inventory forms a kind of biblio-palimpsest over decades of bookshelves owned by former residents. Wendy and Jack Welch founded Tales of the Lonesome Pine Bookshop, Big Stone Gap, Va., a few years ago in a century-old house. In The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, her book chronicling their adventures and misadventures, Welch coined the term "B-space" to describe bookstores where "book-lined walls buffer against the world's bustling while browsing calms the soul and satisfies the mind."

I think that will soon describe our house, too, now that the books are coming home once again. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Books and Kindles and Nooks, Oh, My!

From Shelf Awareness PRO, Wednesday | September 3, 2014 | Volume 2 | Issue 2333

Quotation of the Day

Indie Routine: 'I Like to See the Book Before I Buy It'

photo: Chester Higgins Jr./New York Times

"I like to see the book before I buy it. My husband does not like going to bookstores with me, so you might see him sitting outside, because he says that's the one place I tend to get lost in and forget I have a deadline. But I want the kids to feel that way, so I like taking them to bookstores with me. I think we've lost that love of the books themselves; it's almost, if you're on a Kindle or a Nook or whatever, it's a little bit of a separation. So we take them into a bookstore like BookCourt and walk around. And they'll walk out with at least one or two books."
--Carmen Fariña, chancellor of the New York City Education Department, in a recent "Sunday Routine" interview with the New York Times.