Category Archives: books

I Want Your Books!

OK, when Mama Kat suggests we post about “books” I know she’s talking to me. The hardest part of this post was deciding on the name. “I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie” was a serious contender, but I couldn’t get Eddie Murphy’s Donkey Voice out of my brain. So we’re going with a song from my decade, the eighties.  Decade of the best movies and the best music. First you have to watch the video (I earned some awesome SwagBucks for searching this, BTW!

OK, I don’t care about your gender or sexual orientation – this is just sexy as hell. As has been said of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, “If you don’t think that’s hot you have issues!”
Next step: Replace “sex” with “books” or “reading” in all the lyrics.

“Not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Damn skippy! Everyone should read. One thing I liked about life before e-books was that you could visit someone’s home and learn a lot about them by the books on their shelves. It’s considered rude to ask to browse someone else’s Kindle or Nook, sadly.

But there are still red flags, even for those young enough to have gone digital with most of their library. One should never use a lovely Barrister’s bookcase for this *insert dripping contempt*:

There’s a special barefoot, no-pedicure area in the afterlife for people who do this.

Another is when you’re making small talk with someone you’re fairly sure has nothing in common with you and you pull your final card. “What do you enjoy reading?” If they say, “Oh, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book!” or worse, “Oh,” laughing, “I don’t read!” I’m done. I’ll text my husband where to find me and lock myself in the spare bathroom to lie on the bathmat, towel for a pillow, and pull up the Kindle app on my phone.

I’ve probably offended everyone who doesn’t read already (or they don’t read blogs to begin with because all the new hair and makeup stuff is on YouTube) but just in case you’re still with me here’s a tidbit of advice: Lie. Do not tell anyone that you don’t read books but have never missed an episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of Pittsburg.

Get creative: Come up with a writer’s name they’ll never remember, laugh and say it’s actually a nom de plume for (other fake name) and he/she only writes biographies of second-generation immigrant poets. Or look embarrassed and say you’ve been so busy with the triplets, your volunteer work, and raising chickens for those fabulous organic eggs that it’s hard for you to even keep up with your professional journals. You’re only a month behind on the Journal of Pediatric Neuroscience, but you’re at least two months behind on all the others. Play it right and you’ll never have to talk to that person again. Unless it’s me. ‘Cause I’d make a beeline for you next time and immediately ask about the triplets and the chickens. Just sayin’.

 

Extra Tidbit: I laughed hysterically listening to this song when I found it, because even if I watched the video a thousand times there’s only ONE visual it will ever bring to mind for me.  It was the summer before I was a Senior in college (or a weekend during my Senior year – hard to say) and I was working as a Nurse Tech in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. We had very strict visiting hours back then, so there weren’t family members just wandering about gawking. A nurse named KT was giving a comatose patient a bath. It could have been any hour of the day or night since they worked the techs 7a-7p, 7p-7a, 3a-3p, and 3p-3a. And they switched it every two weeks, just to show us what to look forward to after graduation.

Anyway, somebody out at the station had a boom box (ancient piece of technology that was as large and heavy as possible and played cassette tapes). George Michael was on, and “I Want Your Sex” started. She yelled, “Turn it up!” and threw open the curtain. She was an adorable little curvy brunette, and had killer dance moves. She shook everything she had, swung towels and wash clothes above her head, and twerked before Miley Cyrus was ever a glint in her daddy’s eye! She also sang at the top of her lungs. Yes, every single patient was fully sedated, I assure you. We laughed, applauded, cried, and rolled on the floor. By the end of the song the gentleman was squeaky-clean with fresh bed linens, and the only sad part was he wasn’t awake to enjoy the show. That’s one medical bill he’d have paid with a smile on his face!

 

Tips for Your First Colonoscopy

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Yeah, I know. Not what you really want to read. But if you are about to turn fifty or if you are younger and have a family history of colon cancer you need to be prepared for this. I wasn’t, but I got lucky. AND there were absolutely no abnormalities, so I don’t even have to think about this for another decade.

— 2 —

Know all the details about your “prep” well ahead of time. You will not be able to do anything during your bowel prep that you can’t do while having explosive diarrhea. The prep is designed to clean your colon out completely so the doctor can get a good look at all the tissue inside there. Your prep can be anywhere from twenty-four to seventy-two hours depending on your doc’s preference and your health history. If you have the seventy-two hour prep schedule yourself a day off afterwards to recover as well. Seriously.

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At an early point during the prep you’ll be able to have clear liquids. That means you have to be able to see through it. You can have apple juice, but not orange juice. Beef broth is really good – it tastes like “real food”. And here’s something I always have in the fridge for GI bugs, really busy days, or when I know I’m just not getting enough protein: Protein Water. I’ve found it in both grocery stores and specialty stores like GNC.  Twenty grams protein and only eighty calories. It only comes in Orange and Blueberry, and it’s pricey, but it’s not like you’re going to be living off the stuff!

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While we’re on the topic of clear liquids let’s talk about coffee. Black coffee is a clear liquid. Coffee with creamer is NOT. So wean yourself off your caffeinated drinks a few days before the big cleanse. I forgot to do this, so I got to add a big ol’ caffeine-withdrawal headache to my list of miseries on procedure day.

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Here are some things to buy or arrange for in advance. You’re going to need your own dedicated bathroom. If your house has only one bathroom anyone else who lives there is going to have to make other arrangements. Dead serious. This is like the worst GI bug you’ve ever had TIMES TEN. You also want plenty of nice, soft toilet paper. Don’t bargain-hunt. Buy the good stuff. While you’re in that aisle get some flushable wipes for the last couple of hours of your prep, when it’s going to feel like fire is spouting from your rear end.

And I was incredibly thankful we still had a pack of adult diapers Michael had received as a gag gift at his fiftieth birthday party. (Yeah, my de-cluttering isn’t going so well.) Buy a package! I wore a pair to the hospital the day of the procedure. With yoga pants. Honey, I took visible panty line to a whole new level.

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You will need something to distract you during the many hours it takes to drink four liters of rather nasty-tasting liquid and then have all of that spew out the other end. I read two really good books. I highly recommend them even if you’re not going to read them on the toilet! They are both light, funny, and exceptionally well-written. I’ve read books by both these authors in the past, and thankfully it looks like they both have plenty more available!

— 7 —

On colonoscopy day itself make sure you have someone with you. Odds are you’ll be too groggy to remember what the doctor tells you, and you certainly can’t drive yourself home! Make sure this nice person has a book to read, music to listen to, or games to play. Almost all hospitals have free wifi, and almost all doctors run late now and then. Good luck!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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Babies and Parties and an Upcoming Trip!

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We had such a wonderful week with Aaron, Catherine, and Emma! She’s almost three months old now, so we got plenty of coos and smiles as well as plenty of snuggle-time. She’s trying really hard to turn over, but can’t get her head to follow the rest of her busy body! She showed a very clear preference for John, as did our eldest niece’s one-year-old, Layla. He’s just a baby magnet!

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Since he and Emma bonded so immediately Aaron and Catherine gave him a spectacular graduation present: a trip to Austin for a week! He’ll be there over the Fourth of July holiday, which will give him a bit more “brother time”, but I suspect he’s going to spend so much time holding, wearing, or entertaining Emma that Catherine will have to tug her away when it’s time to nurse!

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We had a big party while they were in town to celebrate John’s graduation and Emma’s first visit to Kentucky. It ended (as all large Ballard gatherings do) with a cut-throat card game. My back pain sent me home much earlier, but Michael and John didn’t leave until midnight 🙂

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We’re still finishing up each recording our own special books to send to Emma, but here’s the first one I tried, before she was even born. (We have a pop filter on the vocal mike now)

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My latest addiction? The fidget spinner. I have a tremor that can get really bad some days – it has made my handwriting awful. But playing with one of these (which you can pick up just about anywhere) while I’m reading or watching TV has actually helped my tremor – go figure!

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After binge-watching Orange is the New Black I just wanted to shut my brain down, curl up in bed, and watch something else. I didn’t even feel like picking up a book, which is odd for me. So I gave another Netflix creation a try. It’s called Night Shift. Sort of a cross between Grey’s Anatomy and McGuyver, but without as many obvious errors as most medical shows. Worth a watch.

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Michael went with John for his college orientation, and it’s starting to get really exciting. Of course John doesn’t get the dorm concept, even after staying overnight. All he’s planning on taking are his electronics and a few changes of underwear. Which is pretty much how he’s planning to pack for Austin, too. Anyone traveled with an Amazon Alexa before? I can’t imagine it would be any different than carrying on a laptop, tablet, or Kindle, but I don’t want him stressed out before he even gets through security.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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