My book blog now has its own home. Please visit me at LYNNE'S BOOK REVIEWS. Of course you're more than welcome to see what's going on in my personal life, but if you want to talk books, that's where I'll be!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eric's Heart News and My Heartbreak

YEE HAW!!! Praise the Lord! Yippeeeeee! Yah-hooooo! Woot-woot!

The genetic test came back as normal. Eric does not have Marfan's. That is such good news. Especially because E has had the best time this week at school with JV basketball camp. I pick him up afterwards and he'll get in the car, and in his ever so modest way says, "I dominated today." (In the next few days I'll tell you about an incident when he was 5 and how I knew he would never have a problem with confidence.) One day this week he had 10 blocks and was all pumped up. Today they scrimmaged and he had 12 or 14 points in each game. So needless to say, the call I got yesterday from Dr. Braverman could not have been sweeter.

What the normal test means is that he can continue to play basketball and work out, but he will need to be followed with echocardiograms every 6 months to a year, depending on what Dr. Sharkey wants. At 3.95 cm, his aorta is still big. If he stops growing and his aorta continues growing, he'll have to stop sports. But again, Dr. B had a patient who, like Eric, was really tall, had a big aorta, played basketball and continued to do so through college. He was just monitored closely.

The end!

I love happy endings :)

I can't tell you how much fun it's been watching these baby birds grow up in front of my eyes.

Momma bird has been protective and nurturing, shielding them from torrential rain with her plumped up body, leaving the nest only to find worms for her growing brood.

I often checked on her during storms, and as she sat there in the lightening, with rain pummeling down on her, she always had a look on her face that said, "The things we do for our kids..."

It seems like just yesterday that they looked like this...

I guess it's no wonder then...

is it?....

that I've got a serious case of....


(Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you with the heartbreak title, but it IS sad!)

But I've always got my husband to keep me smiling, as he tries on his new motorcycle suit for the big race next weekend. (Oh dear Lord help me.) And no, he does not know or care that he's 50-something and shouldn't be racing motorcycles.

You mean not everyone's husband spends $______ (too much money) on a motorcycle suit they are going to wear one time?

More good news? How can that be?

Two of Larry's condos are finished. He put an ad on Craigslist yesterday to advertise them for rent, and he already had two showings - THAT SAME DAY! Both people really liked them, and one lady already picked out which one she wants - the dark one. There are 3 light ones and 3 dark ones. I'll post his website when it's ready (should be soon) so you can see more pictures. They are beautiful. For now you can check out his Craigslist ad...

Oh, and the pictures in the ad and on the website? I took them. That makes me kind of famous.

What's that? Now you know where my son got his cockiness confidence?! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

SORT of Like the Ritz...

Can you canoe
down a river in the rain....?

Sounds like a song, but I'll answer that question. Yes you can. And yes we did. For three hours we canoed down the river in the rain. It was quite the adventure. Larry and Eric made fun of me because at one point in the canoe, while the rain was coming down and I was hunkered over and shivering, I said, "I wish I was back in the tent reading a book." It was pretty funny. Actually, it did clear up for about 20 minutes, so we didn't get rained on the entire 3 hours.

Eric finally went in the car to sleep at about 3:00 AM when the roosters started cocka-doodle-doo-ing and did not stop, nor did the rain on our tent :)

Me in the morning - smiling despite no coffee yet flowing through my veins. Honey, don't they have room service here?

Larry after a night on the hard ground saying Gee, that was really fun. Now I can cross that off my list of things I've done and don't ever want to do again.

This is the view from our tent of our friend Paul's mom's house, where lots of people got to sleep in nice soft beds. But I can hardly say we "roughed it" when Larry - sweating after setting up the tent upon arrival - took a shower in the house. How funny is that. See, Honey, it was sort of like the Ritz.

Two of the 12 horses on Paul's mom's farm...


Remember Momma bird? Her two babies are getting cuter by the day and finally getting feathers. The third egg never hatched.

Here she is feeding them a nice juicy worm...
If you look closely you can see the two babies with their mouths open.

My sister Krista with her two "baby birds" ...
I love this picture of her.

Stella through a dirty car mirror...

Eric starts JV basketball camp tomorrow at school. I'm thinking we'll get results this week from the genetic testing??

I heard a new term on TV the other day that I thought was so funny. When someone is whining (like I did about our camping trip above :), you say, "Waa, waaaaa...let me call the waambulance."

Oh, and here are some answers that people either emailed me or commented on the blog about what "floats their boat," what makes their adrenaline flow, what place they wish they could stay all day:

Cooking gadget and cookbook store



Own kitchen

Antique store

Running shoes store

Bar (I will not tell who said that but it's someone related to me)

Computer store

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What's the Missing Word?

This post requires participation. No more of this lurking around, reading my blog and not commenting. You entered the room, so now you gotta play :)

Don't worry, it's easy.

Here goes...

Fill in the blank:

"When I walk in to a _____________ , I take in the smells, my adrenaline skyrockets, I get a 'rush,' and I wish, oh how I wish, I could stay here all day."

I can answer this one for my dad - he'll say a computer store. My stepdaughter will say any clothing or shoe store.

People who know me well can probably answer this for me:

A bookstore, library, pet store or Humane Society

I guess that pretty much shows what my passions are.

What about you?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We've Got a Baby

We've got one baby so far...

I happened to glance in the nest this morning while Momma was out searching for worms, and up popped a baby's head. "Feed me!" Momma flew in with a swoosh when she saw me, not at all afraid to tell me to back off. This baby looks minutes or hours old, eh? There is skin still covering its eyes.


While watching a program about fashion models, my friend turned to her husband. "I would love to have a body like that," she said.

"Why?" he asked. "You'd only stretch it out." (Yvonne Williams)

(My husband knows better than to say something like that. I hope.)

Looking for the best online price of an item? Check out

Want to start a walking program? Check out the American Heart Association at where you take a ten-question quiz; the site selects one of seven walking plans matched to your fitness level, goals and lifestyle. You can also enter your zip code to find a walking partner in your area.

Tonight is the American Idol finale - Go Adam!

My stepmom Trudy took this at the graduation for Canine Companions for Independence where she volunteers. Forty-one dogs graduated to advanced training, from which only 30% graduate. As I mentioned in a previous post, she and my dad are on a waiting list to get one of the dogs that doesn't graduate. First the dogs are offered to their original "puppy raisers" and then to people on the list.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pictures and Puppies

Yesterday I took Eric and his friends Addison and Tyler to the Cardinals game. It was definitely a "beautiful day for a ballgame" and our seats were great.

And here is patient little Momma bird. Just sitting. And waiting.

Spoke to the lab today about Eric's blood test. They said it will take about two weeks for the results. That's better than the 4 weeks the doctor's office told me. Yeah.

Last night I took KC to the vet after a day of head shaking and ear scratching. Turns out she has a really bad ear infection in one ear and a slight infection in the left. Poor baby. The vet who saw her happened to have given her the blood transfusion last year when she ate the penny. He remembered it well :) For her ear infection he gave her ear drops (a two-person job) for two weeks and a pill for the inflammation.

What is everyone doing for Memorial weekend? Anything fun? We (Larry, Eric and myself) are going camping this weekend with some friends. Yes camping. Despite Larry's penchant for "nothin' but the Ritz," he has agreed to stay - just this once - in a tent. I'll take pictures to prove it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sweat, Syncope (fainting) and Scholarships

E had his blood drawn yesterday and is still recovering :) I told him not to look. Did he listen to me?!

Uh, Mom, you wanna come back with me? Eric isn't feeling well. As soon as the nurse called me in from the waiting room, I knew. He's got his mom's genes. And his uncle's. And his grandmother's. Fainting at the sight of blood runs in the family.

There sat my baby, whiter than a ghost, if that's possible. Sweat literally dripping off his legs, down his face and through his shirt. There were 5 nurses and a doctor in the room, one holding a small fan towards his face, one taking his blood pressure, one holding a wet cloth on his forehead, and all trying to figure out how to get this kid from the chair to a prone position on the table. Not gonna happen. He was out. We're talking dead weight. They picked up his legs and put them on a chair ("If the face is red, lift the head; if the face is pale, lift the tail"). Then the doctor said, "Look how much diaphoresis he has." Which is doctor talk for Have you ever seen so much sweat in your life? Eric and I laughed about that later. Why can't he just say sweat? Or perspiration? But diaphoresis?

Good thing the vagovasal episode (otherwise known as fainting) happened just after they had already gotten the two tubes of blood they needed, because I guarantee he was not going to go through that again, not voluntarily.

Hey, I told him not to look.

My mom with my brother Mike after receiving his scholarship award the other night. So proud!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Testing...

Sorry for the delay in posting news about yesterday's appointment. My computer was occupied by another human :)

Here's the skinny:

First of all, how ironic is this... In the hospital elevator, on the way to our appointment, a sweet old man and his wife stepped in ahead of us. Eric and I followed. So Eric - facing the elevator door and obviously towering above everyone at 6'7" now - hears the man behind him say, "Do you play basketball?" Well actually I'm on my way to find out whether or not I'll ever be able to play again. That's what he wanted to say. Instead he just answered with a smile - "yeah, I do." The old man said, "Well you should keep it up, because one day you might make a lot of money!" He was very sweet, it was just strange timing. Not that Eric hasn't heard the basketball question a thousand times, but most people stare at him and think of asking but don't. Except then. It broke my heart for Eric because I knew that whatever the doctor said, Eric was going to have to hear that for the rest of his life. Do you (or did you) play basketball? Later that day my dad said his answer to the same question when he was Eric's age was, "Nope, I'm an elephant jockey." Eric laughed when I told him that.

So, on to the visit...

Dr. Braverman said that since Eric does not have a lot of criteria for Marfan's, his is not such a clear cut case. He only has the pectus excavatum and the enlarged aorta. He would like Eric to have genetic testing to see if he has the gene for Marfan's. The test is 90% accurate, so if it says he has it, he has it (no false positives). And if that is the case, the doctor said no sports. It would mean that he definitely has the gene for Marfan's and his DNA is telling Eric's aorta to continue to grow bigger. If it says he doesn't have it, there is a 10% chance that he actually does have it, in which case Eric would continue to play sports and they would monitor him with frequent echocardiograms. Per Dr. Braverman, there is a chance that Eric simply has a big aorta because he's a big kid. The other doctor did not say that. She said his aorta is big and that's not good. Period. Dr. Braverman also said that Eric's aorta did not grow as drastically as we were told. He measured it himself. Eric has grown 9 inches in 18 months, and so has his aorta. It did not grow 1 cm in a year. It was more gradual than that. Dr. B said Eric will not die on the basketball court; his aorta will not dissect all of a sudden because they will be looking at it every few months. It won't just "burst" out of the blue. They will see that it's growing significantly and at that time Eric would have to stop playing sports because of the risk of it dissecting. Otherwise, like Dr. B said, "We don't want to restrict Eric unneccesarily."

I completely trust Dr. Braverman and what he's told us. He has as much, if not, more experience with Marfan's than probably anyone in the United States. He is on the Board of Directors of the National Marfan's Foundation and speaks at their annual conference.

Tomorrow I will take Eric to have blood drawn for the genetic testing. That should be interesting since he's never had blood drawn before :) The results take about 4 weeks. A long time ago I was told about the genetic testing, but many insurance companies don't cover it and I did not want to pay $2,000 out of pocket. The doctor's office checked with my insurance company and they do cover it. Yeah. Otherwise, Dr. B was going to check with colleagues who are doing Marfan's research to see if Eric could have genetic testing through them. Only problem with that is that it would take 6 months to get the results.

So we'll know in about a month. Hopefully it will show he does not have Marfan's, he can continue to play sports, and they will just monitor him every 4-6 months. If it shows he does have Marfan's, at least we'll know and we can move on.

Anyone have questions?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sister! Sister!

I had a great Mother's Day. Hope all of you moms did too. My stepdaughter Julie was home from Chicago, so we all went to breakfast and ate scrumptious high calorie crepes, but not, of course, before a strenuous workout to make up for it (okay, not that strenuous but we did work out). For Mother's Day I got a darling Ella Moss top and lotion that smells like Hawaii (thank goodness for a girl in the family :) and also some wonderful spray and body lotion from my sister (how did I get so lucky?). Oh, and the reason I haven't blogged in a few days??? I got a new computer for Mother's Day and our old computer was at Best Buy while they transferred our data. Our new computer is so much faster, so it's really easy to download and upload pictures. Woot woot! Lucky you.

My sis Krista worked a flight to St. Louis last night, so I got to pick her up and spend time with her during her layover for a whole 15 hours. We went for a run this morning, had coffee, then went to lunch on our way to the airport. We love spending time together doing absolutely nothing. I took this picture of her this morning before taking her to the airport.

Tomorrow is the big day - Eric's cardiology appointment. He told Krista last night that he's nervous about it. Yesterday he bought a new basketball and new net for our hoop. He was out there playing yesterday and today for the longest time. We've talked about what we think the doctor is going to say about sports: yeah or nay. Only God knows. And tomorrow we'll know too. I'll try to remember to Tweet during or right after the appointment at 1:00 so you can see it on the blog right away. Otherwise I'll blog after the appointment and let you know what the doctor tells us. I'm pretty sure they're going to do another echocardiogram, so it will be a couple of hours.

Momma bird is still keeping her eggs nice and toasty. I read on the Internet that it takes about 21 days for them to hatch, so in another 2 weeks I should have some cute pics for you.

Look for a book review on "Columbine" in the next day or two.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Birds and the.....DOGS?!

It's A...


Momma bird had two little babies, flew off, and then realized she had another one in there. Seriously - after I took this picture, she came back and now there are three eggs.

What is that little black speck????



It's KC, the hard working Driveway Guard Dog - AKA Superdog!!

And then there is Stella - working hard for her food. She L-O-V-E-S her cantaloupe.

That's about as much activity as you'll get from her.

I've added a link to my Master Book List on the left hand side of my blog so you can see all the books I've read. I'll slowly get around to adding a hyperlink of my reviews, which you can see by clicking on the book title in the Master List. I've done the one for "Rattled."

I've got to go read now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Momma bird is in the house! Well, not literally, but she is back in her nest. I love that I can watch her from inside our front door. Can't wait to see her babies. I think she's in labor as we speak/write/read. Do birds labor? I guarantee it's nothing like having the 10-pound bowling ball, uh, I mean baby I did.

You knew when you read the title of my blog that I'm an animal nut. But did you know that I once drove to work drowning in guilt because I left them, sitting there, vulnerable, hungry and alone, went to my boss in tears, asked her if I could please leave, drove back home, picked up four teeny abandoned baby birds in my yard, drove them to a bird sanctuary, then drove back to work? Guilt is a powerful force. All I could imagine as I drove to work after checking on them that morning were these little mouths, wide open, begging for someone to feed them and wondering where their mom was. The day before, some kids in the neighborhood thought it would be funny to take them out of their nest. (I let them have it in a scary kind of way.)

That was the first time I knew I was an animal nut - when my boss (a woman, thankfully) looked at me like I was nuts but let me go anyway. Please, go do what you have to do. A blubbering employee worried about nature was not going to be very productive. I came back, and I felt much better.

Something happened to me after becoming a mother. I'm not sure what it was, but fierce is a word that comes to mind; protective, another. After my baby grew up and no longer needed me like he used to, I simply transferred my love for helpless beings onto animals. And it made me nuts. What can I say.

Pics I took when I walked KC the other day in our neighborhood...

What the....?

This tree looked to me like a butt with two legs up in the air. I don't know...

My dad with some of the dogs from Canine Companions - an organization that provides guide dogs to help people with disabilities to live independently - which he is involved with...

He and Trudy put their name on the list for a "reject" (a dog that doesn't quite cut it as a guide dog but is still highly desirable as a pet because it is completely trained).
I'm addicted to Greek Gods honey-flavored yogurt. It's like eating ice cream.
I love the name Brooklyn Decker. I don't know why, I just think it's so cute. She is a model who recently married tennis player Andy Roddick.
I also love the name Slater for a boy.
Famous quotes:
"One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in." Wayne Gretzky
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." Booker T. Washington (check out for inspiring stories and ways to help others)
"No one is more cherished in this world than he who lightens the burden of another." Unknown

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nesting and Not Me Monday

I just finished this book and it was hilarious. Here's what the cover says: "Christine Coppa was 26 and living the life of a typical upstart urbanite - a great job at a women's magazine (Glamour); a cramped apartment with two Craiglist roommates; sushi nights with the girls, must-have handbags and overpriced cocktails; $271 in the bank - and then her life was....RATTLED." The author also writes a blog called Storked!

A momma bird spent two days building a nest in the tree outside our front door. I watched her build it from scratch. She carried twigs and grass in her beak and pushed her body down while stamping her feet to shape it just so. I haven't seen her now in two days. Where did she go? Is she partying it up until it's time to lay her eggs? Does she have to sell her other house before she moves into this one? Does anyone know anything about birds? I just hope she didn't decide there was too much traffic, with people going in and out the front door, that she abandoned her nest to build one elsewhere. She worked so hard. I hope it wasn't all in vain.

The nest...

The tree it's in...

Today is "Not Me Monday." I only have one but it's a doozy:

Yesterday I went with Larry to the grand opening of the fitness center at the Jewish Community Center. The son of a rabbi came up to us and introduced himself and a friend. I did NOT!! extend my hand to him in greeting because I would not do such a thing - certainly not to an orthodox Jew who is not allowed to touch women, which I did not know until Larry informed me of such when they walked away. The poor guy probably had to go wash his hands 52 times, repeat a phrase six times, and go to confession - all because of me!

What?!!!! I didn't know!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Basketball Breaks and Birthday Bashes

The basketball break is mom-imposed. I emailed the coach yesterday, and also called and left a message, telling him that I would like Eric to see the doctor before I let him continue playing. It just can't be a good thing to be letting his blood pump so hard like that through his aorta when it's already bigger than normal. Besides, the appointment is in a week and a half. He can wait.

My BFF Julie's daughter Amanda, who turns 16 today, got a big surprise last night. She got a car! Well not a car but a truck, and not just any truck, mind you, but the kind of truck she's wanted since she was a little girl. Her dad used to drive a little blue truck just like this, and that's what she's always wanted.

How priceless is the look on her face? Her brother Taylor looks, um, so happy for his sister (ha!)

Amanda, Eric and Max (Taylor's friend)

Oh boy...scary :)

Me, Amanda and E (below). By the way, Julie's kids Amanda and Taylor are like my own. Amanda and Eric act like brother and sister...they fight like siblings but are the best of friends. We lived three houses from each other for 15 years, we were single parents together, and our families both live out of state, so we relied (still do!) on each other a lot. We always celebrate birthdays together because we are each other's family.

This is at dinner before the big surprise. Amanda, Eric, Taylor and Max....

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