The Boys in the Boat

boys in boat


I don’t often read non fiction, but I recently finished reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  Okay, I’ve read a LOT of books in my life and this one is up in the top ten!  I loved it.  Totally loved it.  It’s a true story about a group of young men in the 1930’s who attend the University of Washington and decide to row crew.  I knew nothing, literally nothing about rowing, crew teams, coxswains, or the history of rivalry between the crew teams of California and Washington.  Yet… something about this book grabbed me, and good.  It’s a history story, it’s a sports story, it’s a human interest story.  It’s an example of human persistence to the Nth degree. You can read the full synopsis over on Amazon (where it’s received oodles of 5 star reviews!),  but let’s suffice it to say, this is an INCREDIBLE book.  It’s truly a must-read…. in my humble opinion.  Thanks to my friend Susan B who loaned me this fabulous read.  It was a great way to spend some time while recovering from my recent operation.

New Hip — Week Three

i survived

Well, it’s been three weeks since I got my new hip.  The operation I needed a year ago- but put off and put off, has finally happened.  I’m so glad it’s over, so glad I survived, and so glad this surgery was available to me!   Prior to the big day, I said lots of prayers and was given a great peace about the whole situation – I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying or dreading the operation.  On the way to the hospital that bright sunny morning of July 1st, I thought I’d want to grab the steering wheel and turn the car any direction AWAY from the planned destination…. but I didn’t.  In my logical mind, I knew I was headed to the exact place I needed to be.

Everyone was quite pleasant in pre-op, except for the IV nurse.  Oh, she was okay too, but I couldn’t help but say something when she decided to put the IV in my antecubital area (front of the elbow).  I said something like, “you drew the blood and kept the IV in the antecubital?”  She said, “well yes, is that okay?”  I then said, “everytime I bend my arm this is gonna bug me…..” so she suggested she take OUT the IV and put it somewhere else.  I wasn’t too keen on that plan either, so I decided to grin and bear it.  Before I knew it, they were wheeling me to the O.R.  I remembered in the pre-op class I took, that to avoid the possibility of infection, nobody gets catheters anymore.  They said (in the class) to be sure and use the restroom before you enter the O.R.  So, I had them stop in the hallway outside the surgery department while I hopped off the gurney and visited the ladies room.  Then it was back up on the gurney for a ride into the operating room.  Funny thing, when I got in there, First thing I saw was a large whiteboard with my name, birthdate, and etc written on it.  First thing they asked me was to state my name, birthday, and what surgery I was having.  I laughed and said, “if I didn’t know, all I’d need to do is read the board!!”  Before I knew it, they were putting in my spinal and next thing I knew, I was out.  Like a light.  Until… until I woke up!!  Yes, I woke up during the surgery!  I was warned by the anesthesiologist that that could happen, so I wasn’t in total shock when it did.  Weird thing, when I woke up, I could hear hammering.  Yup, hammering.  I couldn’t feel anything – for all I knew they could have been hammering on anyone or anything.  I decided that I better somehow let the anesthesia doc know I was awake, so I opened my eyes and started looking around, and may have lifted my head a bit.  I remember he saw me immediately, made eye contact, and zapped me with more of the happy medicine.  Next time I awoke it was in recovery.

I was up later that afternoon to use the bathroom, since nobody gets catheters!  That was okay, I wanted to be up as soon as possible.  Everything they say about sleeping in hospitals is pretty much true.  They have to do their checks, give meds, and do vitals, etc.    I have to say that my pain was fairly well controlled, even though I found out that taking any sort of narcotic was not in the cards for me.  Yes, I had a day of feeling sort of queasy and nauseated, but I’m sure that’s fairly typical.  I spent two nights in the hospital and was EVER so happy to come home on the third day!  The first thing I did was TAKE A VERY LONG NAP!  I was so tired – from the surgery, from the anesthetic, and from not sleeping well in the hospital, that I couldn’t wait to have some uninterrupted sleep.  I slept three hours that afternoon and then, after dinner went back to bed and slept pretty much through the night.

The first week I maneuvered around the house using a walker.  By the end of week one, I was pretty much through with that cumbersome thing, and got the okay from the Physical Therapist to use a cane.  After three weeks, I’m still using the cane.  Not quite sure when “most” people give up the cane and walk on their own, but I’m not there yet.  I still have pain in the operative leg, although the surgery site is nicely healed.  I’m working on building up the strength in my leg by doing the exercises that the PT prescribes.  It’s possible that my recovery may take a bit longer than some because I was SO weak on my “bad” side for so long, but I’m hanging in there!  One other thing I’m struggling with is LLD — Leg Length Differential. My operative leg is now longer than my other leg!  Sometimes “they” say it’s a perceived thing, but it’s a fact with me.  The PT measured both legs and the right one is 3/4″ longer than the left. One more thing to adjust to.

I’ll have more updates as the weeks progress.  I do not regret this surgery one little bit… I needed it so badly – my only hope to be a regular mobile person again!  I have great faith that in the coming weeks, I’ll be walking without any assistance (i.e. cane) and doing normal things again……….. like walking around Chateau Ste Michelle in September, enjoying a concert with friends and family!!!

I’m having a total hip replacement!


July 1st is D-Day for me.  I’m having my hip replaced.  Finally.  I’ve put this off for just over a year now, choosing instead to do a WHOLE lot of traveling during my first year of retirement.  We’re home now, to stay (for a while at least), so the time has come.  I called my surgeon’s office in April and said, “put me on the surgery schedule!”  July first was the first opening – so here we go.  Next I’ll do a Q and A regarding this operation…

1. Why do you need a new hip joint?  Several years ago, I had a tear of my labrum – a ligament in the hip, much like the rotator cuff in your shoulder.  This torn ligament caused irritation, which in turn caused arthritis to eat away at my joint. I’m currently without any cushioning in my hip, “bone on bone”.  It hurts A LOT.

2. How long have you known you’d need this?  I knew about three years ago that I’d end up getting a new hip, eventually.

3. Why did you wait this long?  I seriously considered having my joint replaced last year (2013).  After a visit to my doc, he asked if I’d like to try a different pain killing pill to try and put off the inevitable a little longer.  I said “yes” I’d try the new pill (well, it was new to ME, not a new drug). I started taking two Diclofenac every day and WOW what a difference it made!  I felt so much better, I decided to hang on to my own joint for a while longer.  Plus, we had a LOT of traveling planned (and paid for).  We had a big family vacation last May/June in Palm Springs.  Then in early September, we had a Mediterranean cruise planned for just over two weeks. In October we had plans to travel back to Palm Springs & stay till January 1st when we’d start our cross-country RV trip. We accomplished all these wonderful travels and returned home just last month.

4.  Have you tried anything else?  Yes, I took the Diclofenac until May of last year (with great pain relief) until I found out that it had adversely effected my liver.  My liver enzymes shot up (they had always been normal before), and I knew it was a result of this drug. I had to stop taking it.  When I quit taking it, – no surprise – the big time pain returned.  I also had a cortisone injection in this joint about 3 years ago.  That was a miracle pain killer – for about a MONTH.  Then it was all back with a vengeance.

5. How did you choose your surgeon?   One thing I know for sure, after being a practicing RN for 35 years, NURSES KNOW who the best doctors are. They know who does the best work & who has the best outcomes.  I had a contact at the hospital in our town who knows the nurse manager for the Joint Replacement ward.  She asked the nurse manager (very discreetly) who she would use, if she needed a new joint.  I was SO happy that she named the doctor who had done hubby’s hip replacement 4 years ago.  I know him and trust him. I feel even better, knowing that he is officially “nurse endorsed”.  :-)

6. What sort of prep do you need to do, prior to the big day?  I must say, our local hospital and the joint replacement center specifically, are VERY organized.  I received a notebook of information about an inch thick.  I have exercises to do, a class I had to attend with my “coach” (hubby), instructions on how to prepare our home, equipment I will need for a few months afterward, etc.  They even encourage you to eat healthy foods, high in protein and iron – which I’ve been trying to do.

7.  Are you worried/concerned/freaked out about it all?  At this point, I’m truly not.  On the day of the surgery I have no doubt that I’ll be nervous for sure!

8.  What about the pain?   Pain is no fun.  I’ve been in A LOT of pain now for a long time.  I know I’ll get a “PCA” for the first few hours (patient controlled anesthetic) and afterward, I hope they’ll find a pill that’ll work for me.  I think I’m more worried about the nausea, but they have medicine for that as well.

9.  How long is the rehab?  From what I’ve read and heard, I will have to be very cautious with my new joint for three full months. I’ll be going to physical therapy twice a week for a few weeks.  I’ve also heard that I could be feeling pretty darn good and fairly mobile in a couple weeks.  Hubby was, with his hip replacement.  I hope and pray I am able to do as well as he did.

10.  What do you hope to gain?  I hope to be able to walk a block or a mile or more, without being in crippling pain. I hope to be rid of this awful limp that makes me look like I’m 95 years old!  I want to be able to reach my right foot again, clip and paint my own toenails again!  I want to be able to bend over, feed the cat, put on socks and pants without a huge struggle, get in and out of the car like a normal human, and get back to KAYAKING again!!

So, there it is… all laid out.  I’ll write more about this huge journey after my pre-op appointment with the surgeon next week, so stay tuned to find out how it all pans out :-)

The Fault in our Stars


I’m not one who usually jumps on the proverbial bandwagon to read the latest trendy novel.  But, (you knew that was coming)… this time I’m sure glad that I did.  Even though this book is targeted for the “young adult” crowd, I read it anyway.  I wanted to know what all the fuss was about – and I found out.  I really, really liked this book.  I read it in two days.  If a person was a faster reader than me, that person could have devoured this novel easily in one day.  It’s not a huge book, but there’s no wasted space, either. Every single page was good and interesting and creative.  Everyone knows the premise of the book – two teenagers (ages 16 & 17) have different types of cancer, meet, get to know/love each other, and have an adventure.  I’m even tempted to go see the movie, even though I know the ending – but then, so does practically everyone else that goes to the movie because SO many people have read and thoroughly enjoyed this novel. We all know the ending. We still want to go. As always, it’s probably best to read the book first, since you can theoretically complete it in a day!  If you don’t go see the movie, at least read the book.  It’s good.  It’s really good.

May empties, three bravos, and a boo!

May meant a lot of changes for us.  We packed up our motor home for the final time and made our way up the west coast from southern California to Washington State. Please feel free to check out our RV blog that chronicled our trip from January through April across the southern USA at .  It was sure good to finally be home again!  So here are some items I used up this past month, several items I discovered and really enjoyed, as well as one I will certainly never repurchase!  Lets get started with five items I finished up this past month:


L’Oreal EverPure Color-care Moisture Shampoo.  I love this line of products by L’Oreal.  I color my hair, and this shampoo is sulfate free and claims to “gently cleanse and revitalize dry hair with essential moisture, leaving hair naturally soft and helping your color shine through”. I’m of the opinion that it pretty much does all that it claims!  I’ll definitely buy this again in the future. Price approx $5.99


Olay Total Effects 7 In One moisturizer + serum.   I don’t hear much – if anything at all – on YouTube about this product.  I’ve been using Olay moisturizers for years but just recently tried this one with the added serum.  I love this stuff!  Not long ago I watched one of my favorite YouTubers talk about her night skin routine.  I think she puts seven different products on her face every night – which is great for her, but there is no way I could be dedicated to a routine like that. Not a chance!  This product works and I’ve already repurchased a couple of backups!  Price approx $18.99

argan oil

Josie Maran Argan Oil, 0.5 ounce.  I have used up two bottles of this and am currently starting on my third.  Here’s what they claim: “A lightweight oil that can be used as a daily moisturizer or treatment for skin, hair, and nails”.  For me, this works like a dream.  I feel like it’s too expensive to use on my hair as some folks do, so I use it as my (one and only) nightly moisturizer after I wash my face. I would say that my skin type is “normal” (not really dry, not really oily) – and this never feels too heavy or “oily” on my skin.  It’s absorbed really quickly, in my humble opinion.  If you do have oily skin, they make a “Light” version – something I can’t vouch for as I haven’t tried it.  I use 3-5 drops from the glass dropper every night on my face and neck.  One bottle will last me at least three months, if not longer.  Price $16 for the 1/2 ounce bottle at Sephora.

almay getup

Almay Get up and Grow Mascara.  I used up a tube of the waterproof, but they do make the regular type as well.  This is one of my most favorite mascaras – drug store OR high end. The brush looks almost exactly like the highly touted “Better Than Sex” mascara by Too Faced.  The formula is perfect, not too wet or too dry.  Simply an awesome mascara that holds a curl and two coats later you’ve got lengthened as well as thickened lashes.  Will definitely get this again!  Price – approx $7.99


Bath and Body Works Cashmere Glow lotion.  Finished this off last week and will definitely get more!!  This has the softest scent, almost musky – really pleasant!  I bought this in January and used it frequently after showers to moisturize large areas like my arms and legs!  I didn’t use it after every shower, or it wouldn’t have lasted this long…  I particularly love it when BBW has sales as they often do, like “buy three get three free”! The regular price of this is $12 for 8 ounces, but I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for anything at BBW.  No one should, as they have sales ALL THE TIME!

Now for three products that I discovered and am REALLY enjoying this past month!


Milani baked blush in Luminoso.  What a perfect blush this is!!  Just the right amount of a golden-coral pigment. Slightly subtle, but still a perfect summery shade… just love it!  I picked mine up at WalMart for about $7.59.

revlon passionate pink

Revlon Colorstay nail polish in “Passionate Pink”.  First off, I really do like the Colorstay formula – I feel like it is the perfect consistency and really does resist chipping for a few days, at least!  I saw this color featured on one of my favorite YouTube channels and yes, I was influenced to go out and get it – and I’m so glad I did!!!  It’s the perfect summer pink! Rumor has it that Revlon is doing away with the Colorstay line, in favor of a new polish called Colorstay Gel Envy.  I’m glad I grabbed this before it disappears!  It was regularly priced at approx $7.99 but I think it’s now on clearance everywhere as stores get ready for the new Gel Envy polishes.


Revlon lip butter in “Lollipop”.  Looks like I’m in a pink phase of late!!  I love this bright summery pink lipstick…. heck I really like most all the Revlon Lip Butters.  This one looks so pretty and I feel like it is moisturizing for the lips as well.  Price – approx $7.49.  A well known beauty YouTuber says this is a perfect dupe for  Too Faced La Creme lipstick in “Fuchsia Shock”.  I’ll insert a photo of the Too Faced La Creme….

fuchsia shockSometimes it’s hard to tell unless you have both items side by side, which she does in her lipstick dupe video.  Click here to watch.  I love the fact that I can save a bundle of money buying the Revlon Lip Butter!  The Too Faced La Creme lipstick goes for $22!

Now for my last item, the NOT SO FAVORITE, also known as a “Boo!!”

bed head

Bed Head Colour Goddess Leave in Conditioner – Therapy for Racy Redheads or Bodacious Brunettes.  Whew!  That’s a mouthful!  This stuff claims on the bottle to:  “Battles fading, dulling, and dryness”.  Sounds good, eh?  Well…. first let me say that I picked this up fairly cheap at TJ Maxx a while back.  I’m happy I didn’t spend an arm and a leg on this product! My beef with this item is that I simply cannot get past THE SMELL!  When you spray this into your wet hair,  ALL DAY LONG you will smell it…. burnt brown sugar. That’s the only way I can describe it… a burnt sugary scent that is honestly nauseating – for me at least.  I tried it again last week, thinking that possibly I’d overreacted.  Nope, this stuff smells so bad that I’ll never find out if it does all the stuff it claims to do!  I hate to say it, but I got a set of mini LORAC lip glosses from HauteLook a while back, and THEY TOO have that burnt brown sugar smell that I despise.  Luckily, the smell dissipates in a short period of time, while the BedHead conditioner odor stays with me for hours!

So, there you have it, my Empties, Bravos, and a Boo for May!

The Light Between Oceans


I downloaded this book to my Kindle a long time ago.  I knew it was going to be a good one, so I waited to read it until I could totally savor it.  It was worth the wait!  I may be one of the last persons in North America to finally read this fabulous book, written by an Australian author.  After burying three babies of her own, Isabel hears the faint cry of a newborn, coming from a boat that has washed up on the beach of the island lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia.  What she and her husband (the lighthouse keeper) decide to do with this baby, is what makes the story a real page-turner!  Loved this book and highly recommend.  If you like books with realistic versus fantasy endings, you’ll enjoy this one.  A great read!

Winter of the World

winter of the world

It took me about a month and a week, but I’ve done it, I finished the 943 page behemoth seen above!  I got this book for Christmas 2012 and FINALLY got around to reading it.  Now I’m a bit sorry that I waited as long as I did to read it.  Why?  Because so many of the people/characters from his previous book, Fall of Giants appeared in this book as well.  If not the exact same characters, then the direct family members of the characters…. and I’d forgotten a lot of them.  Follett has a way of bringing it all back, reminding you ever so gently of who did what to whom.  Winter of the World  starts in 1936 and works and winds it’s way through the war years of 1939-1945, then finishes up in the late 1940’s.  I will admit that the first 250 pages or so were a struggle for me, but I KNEW it would be worth it to take the time to get reacquainted with the characters and families.  I was right, it was SO worth it.  If you’ve read my book reviews through the years, you’d know I am crazy for books set just before, during, and just after WWII.  It’s my favorite era, and the funny thing is that it’s been my favorite era now for years.  Since this book is quite detailed about armies and war plans and the like, you had better appreciate the WWII era, or at least be a history fan to completely enjoy this one.  Personally, I loved it.  Feel free to read my not quite as stellar review of the first book in the trilogy here. One of the complaints I had regarding the first book were the unlikely meetings of main characters.  While I expected that would happen again in Winter of the World, it didn’t.  In my opinion, all the chance encounters of the main characters were much more believable this time around. As mentioned in that review, the final book of the trilogy will be apparently about Vietnam and other events that happened towards the end of the century.  I’m still thinking I’ll skip that one, but I’m reserving the right to change my mind! My biggest beef about this novel is that it was heavy and bulky to tote around, and nearly impossible to read in bed (which I love to do).  It may be time to accept the inevitable, and just get books as big as this one loaded onto my easily maneuverable Kindle!

Be on the lookout for another review soon – I’m nearing the end of a Kindle book I can’t wait to tell you about!