Health Update: I was closer to death than I realized

Hello my great friends,

I am still at the hospital and the mystery infection has been solved.  First they thought I had meningitis so they did a spinal tap.  Then they thought I had a tick-borne infection but were waiting for results of many tests.  Then they checked my kidneys via an ultrasound.

After massive headaches, back pain and fevers, they have determined that a bacterial infection made it to my blood stream and was going septic.  Had I not come to the emergency room when I did, the doctor said I would have died, particularly because I have no spleen.

Wow, how do you process that kind of information?

She told me how glad she was that I came in when I did.

So am I.

Maybe they will release me tomorrow if all blood work comes back ok.  The good news is that my fever is gone.

BTW, I did enjoy my vacation immensely and luckily didn’t get sick until this Friday.

Off to sleep off more of my morphine and to feel grateful that I am alive.

xo Brickhouse





From Mussels to Morphine

My weeklong vacation went something like this:

Beach chairs to back aches
Jugs of sangria to bags of saline

S’mores to sores
Crispy chips to numbing chills

Sandy dunes to swelling joints
Family time to fever spikes

Hermit crabs to headaches
Savory lobster rolls to spinal taps

Ultraviolet to ultrasound
Inventions to infections

Exotics to antibiotics
Enchanting room to Emergency room

And hospital rooms, where I write this from.

I am in good hands and feeling better. They want to keep me for one more night stay at which point I will run, far, far away.

Love: Lost & Found – A Blog Tour

I am away this week but scheduled this post for the talented poet, Pamela Beckford. See her new work released:

Alone (double cinquain)

So incomplete
Gazing at the moonlight
Wondering just when you’ll be here
With me
To start our lives
Never to leave again
Becoming whole and not just half
As one

Pamela has written a second collection of love poems. Poetry is an expression from deep within the soul. It can be therapeutic and healing. It can bring out all the best or the worst in life. Her poetry comes from the heart, not the head. It is an outpouring of emotion and she exposes it to the reader in the pages. Love: Lost and Found contains over 90 poems representing over a dozen different forms of poetry. The poems span the angst and despair of love lost to the exhilaration and ecstasy of a deep abiding love.

Love: Lost and Found has already received a five star review that says

“Pamela Beckford writes with her heart as much as her mind. She makes me feel things when I read her work that usually stay buried beneath the surface. Her way of expressing emotions that usually aren’t captured for later evaluation is amazing.

I also enjoy that she uses a lot of different styles and forms of poetry in her collections, making the book varied and interesting. Some are shorter and some longer, but all of them carefully constructed. Her ability to say so much in so few words is a indication of her talent as a writer.

If you are looking for an excellent poetry book, look no further.”

Pamela’s other books have also garnered some great reviews and both are available on Kindle or paperback as well.

Season of Love (tanka)

First there is summer,
Followed by fall, winter, spring
But lest we forget
The season of love appears
Bringing hope for all lost souls

I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up





 If anyone is looking for me, this is where I will be all week.

Don’t I look relaxed?

If I am able to open my eyes, I will visit your awesome blogs and comment.  If I don’t, it means I was not able to drag my beautifully tanned and incredibly hot body (see above) away from the sun and sand. 








The What-Ifs

Poor Bruce.

For three Saturdays in a row, he made up excuses for not going to the meadow to play with his forest friends.  After being asked by his friends why he didn’t want to come out to play, Bruce said, “If I come out and play, something might happen.”  When asked what would happen, Bruce’s imaginary what-if creatures came out of his head and clung tightly to his antlers.

“What if I leave my home and clouds come, and it rains, and I slip and fall and hurt myself?  Or what if I try to cross the bridge and it breaks and I fall into the stream?  Or what if I make a mistake playing a game and you all laugh at me?”

It had been many years since I had set foot inside the Children’s Room at our local library. After taking a walk up town today and listening to my bladder beg me for relief,  I decided to use the facilities at the library, which are right next to the Children’s Room.

One hour later, I was still in the library watching all the toddlers and babies reading with their care givers, singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, playing with the germ-infested toys that haven’t been replaced since 1965 and sitting comfortably in the very tired looking bean bags.

Oh, the memories.

Spending time in the Children’s Room for hours was my kids’ favorite pastime   It was right up there with going to the candy store.  The only disappointing aspect of their visit was having to limit the number of books they could check out in one day.  They wanted them all.

Bruce Moose and the What-Ifs, was one of our favorites.  I had seen it on display on one of the shelves and was intrigued by the title.  A book that talked about anxieties, worries and overcoming what-ifs?  Yes, please.  We read that book together on many occasions.  It was the go-to book when my son was anxious about the bees outside, the go-to book when my daughter was afraid to take the training wheels off and the go-to book when starting kindergarten.

Bruce Moose taught my kids to speak sternly to their what-ifs, telling them to leave them alone.  He showed them that the more secure they felt about themselves, the quicker the what-if creatures would disappear.  A “pop” sound would be heard every time a what-if was overcome. Pop! Pop!  Away went the worries.

I could not resist.  I looked up the book on the library computer system and saw that it was available.  It was waiting for me to check it out.  Right in the same shelf we frequented nearly 15 years ago.

As I sat on my couch reading it, I realized that I too needed Bruce to remind me how to handle the case of the what-ifs.  “What if I feel too lonely when the kids are gone? Or what if try something new and I make a fool of myself?  Or what if I am not smart enough to succeed?”

Thank you Bruce Moose, for your wise words.

Now 20 and 18, I cannot wait until my kids get home from their respective jobs today and re-aquaint themselves with Bruce  .

A Glorious Sunday Drive What you looking at, lazy?
What you looking at, you lazy bum?

You have to understand that not only does my husband (Mr. B), have a very demanding job but he also has the work ethic of an Ox.  Me?  I like to work hard but my pace is more like that of a three-legged donkey.

So weekends for Mr. B are not about lounging around with me drinking Sangria and doing jigsaw puzzles.  For him, daylight hours are to be used to their fullest.  One must get things done from sunrise to when the sun don’t shine no more.

 Imagine my joy when last Sunday, he decided to be a slacker and take me on a mystery drive during daylight hours, people!

He told me to dress sporty (because he knows me too well) and to prepare for an active day.  After changing my outfit 17 times, putting my sneakers on and applying bright red lipstick, I was ready for the day.

Take a look at the images of this glorious day:

Shelburne Falls, MA

The only bridge of its kind in the world.  It was built in 1908 as a trolley bridge across the Deerfield River between the towns of Shelburne and Buckland.  When the trolley line stopped in 1928, the 400-foot concrete path was left abandoned. In 1929, Antoinette and Walter Burnham with the help of the Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club, transformed it into a bridge of flowers.  There are more than 500 varieties of annuals and perennials planted on this bridge.

It was truly breath-taking

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We then ate brunch at a quaint outdoor café, where I spotted a bald eagle flying over us.  When you are married to a birder and you spot a good bird before he does – YAHOO!

Sorry, it was pretty high up there.

Right around the corner from the bridge, we headed down to see the historic glacial pot holes.  Originally a cascading waterfall, it is now one of the 10 dams built on the Deerfield River (one of the most heavily used rivers in the country) as part of the hydroelectric development in 1910.

Here is a brief description on how the potholes were formed:

“When the last glaciers melted, the Connecticut River Valley was flooded, creating a huge lake – Lake Hitchcock. As the lake drained, it swelled the flow of the Deerfield River. The river, carrying in its rushing waters a large load of stones, sand and mud, began to erode the hard metamorphic rock over which it flowed.”

“Potholes formed when stones trapped in cracks in the riverbed were twirled and vibrated in the fast-moving current, drilling their way into the river bottom. If you look carefully, you can see some of the rounded stones that carved out these potholes.” (courtesy of Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce)



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Until several years ago the public was allowed to walk the potholes and swim by the river but because of hazardous conditions and injuries,  access in now restricted.

Our last stop (well, I waited in the car because of my fear of train tracks, it’s a long story) was the Hoosac Tunnel.

Hoosac Tunnel U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Hoosac Tunnel
U.S. National Register of Historic Places

It is an active railway tunnel that runs through the Hoosac Mountain.  At 4.75 miles long, it remains the longest active transportation tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains. The tunnel project was completed in order to connect Boston to upstate New York.

Sadly, there were 193 lives lost during construction.  It was nicknamed “The Bloody Pit.”

An old Postcard from 1909 advertising a Hoosac Tunnel excursion.

An old Postcard from 1909 advertising a Hoosac Tunnel excursion.

Mr. B was brave enough (it’s an active track, mind you) to walk to the entrance of it and take a peek.   Fortunately, he did not go inside.  Between the fear of an oncoming train and  tales of ghosts heard screaming inside, he felt it was imperative that he make his peeking, a quick one.

Read about Ghosts of the Bloody Pit here.

Our wonderful day ended with a family dinner out with our kids, once we got home.

A Glorious Sunday Drive Indeed

Because Your Kiss Is On My List

When I look back at my kissing career, I remember very distinct experiences that shaped my kissing preferences and styles, to this day.

Although I am not an expert in this field, my extensive research on this topic growing up, yielded some successful results.  I was able to repeat the experiments with all my subjects and almost always, got the same results. There were however some deviations that ended up skewing my data.

Just like there is an extensive list of ice cream flavors to choose from, there are a considerable amount of kissing styles that are used.

Like first impressions, first kisses can leave lasting traumatic memories engraved in your mind that you may never be able to erase.

A kiss can either seal the deal or break it.

I have had mostly positive kissing experiences, apart from the three that stick out in my mind.

 Let us take a look at some of the different types of kisses and kissers most of us have encountered during our kissing pilgrimages and which ones scarred me for life:

1.  The Soft Kisser –  This kisser kisses you so lightly, you worry that you may have fallen asleep in the middle of it and missed it all together.  When you do feel it, it is gentle, somewhat ticklish and leaves you wanting more.

2.  The Powerful Kisser – You did not even see this one coming.  Without warning, you find yourself pinned against the wall gasping for air.   Your knees buckle, you feel a tingling sensation down south, you become dizzy, nauseous and then you, faint.  At least that is what happened to me when I was in high school.  It did not help that I was on a diet and had not eaten a thing that whole day.  Since then, I make sure I eat a ton, prior to smooching.

3.  The Mouth Shut Tight Kisser –  This kisser will not open their mouth for anything or anyone.  You consider running to the garage to get your pliers but realize it is a lost cause.

4.  The Mouth Wide Open Kisser –  You wonder if this kisser is ravenous and wants to eat your entire head, for dinner.

5.  The Heavy-Breathing Kisser – You swore this kisser was human when you leaned in for the kiss but soon realize that you are kissing Darth Vader.

6.  The Slobbery Saliva-Producing Kisser –  Really?  Drool begins pouring down your chin and you end up slipping on the puddle of spit.

7.  The Tongue In Your Ear Kisser –  I met one of these in college.  His tongue  went inside my ear canal, drilled and punctured my ear drum, pinched my auditory nerves and reached around the inside of my cheek and out my mouth.  My ear has never been the same.

6.  The Biting Kisser – This kisser is obviously still teething and needs to gnaw on your lips to sooth their aching gums.  Your friends think you had Botox injections and tell you to ease up on the stuff.

7.  The Eskimo Kiss Gone Wrong – Instead of a loving nose to nose affectionate nudge, this  kisser’s humongous schnozzle stabs you in the face and makes it impossible to find their lips.  You rotate your face from side to side to steer away from the brute but this nose is permanently in the way.

8.  The Vacuum Cleaner Kisser – This kisser sucks the life out of you and leaves you begging for an oxygen mask.  You end up with hickeys even on your toes.

9.  The Bad Breath Kisser – Just, ew.

10.  The Home Depot Drill Kisser – This one drills their tongue so deep into your mouth that you are left gagging and later find out that your esophagus is full of holes.

11.  The Purring/Humming Kisser –  This kisser is the reason I do not like cats.  When he kissed me, a very strange noise was heard coming out his mouth or was it his belly?  Wherever it was coming from, all I know is that it sounded like the high pitch purring screech of a whale in labor.


Happy International Kissing Day 7/6/14

What influenced your kissing career?  What experiences scarred you for life?

Ooh, yea. A little more to the left…

It has been a week since I last posted.  That is unusual for me as I enjoy boring keeping you briefed on my whereabouts and happenings.

  Let me sum up for you a few of this past week’s newsworthy facts from around the country,  in case you missed them:

1.  Shia LaBeouf was arrested after a theater outburst – Shia, Shia, what are we going to do with this bag-over-his-head Transformer?

2. A California Nanny would not leave the home of the family that hired her after being fired – now she has gone missing

3. Rob Lowe‘s French vacation home almost got washed away in a storm

4. Two men (in New Jersey) threw away a $1M lottery ticket, after thinking it was a loser because the lottery website had not updated the winning numbers – they are suing the state.

5.  A new report by US psychologists suggests that one-night stands can boost life satisfaction and self-esteem – Hmmmm…. Read about it here.

 6.  USA got eliminated in the World Cup – Olé to Tim Howard , though.

7.  Cheerleader posts selfies with big game hunted in Africa – and this is news because…

**8.  Corporations can now (for religious beliefs) choose not to pay for some contraception for women as part of their health insurance, yet will continue to pay for  men’s condoms, vasectomies and Viagra.  This sounds perfectly fair to me.  Don’t even get me started…

But, enough about what is happening around the country; let me tell you about some  real and exciting news:

1.  My daughter is back from her trip to Puerto Rico (where the drinking age is 18) with her three girlfriends (who are 18 and can drink in PR), safe and in one piece (did I tell you the drinking age in PR is 18?) Phew.

2.  My son began his internship with our local police department.  He needs to wear a shirt and tie and will shadow some detectives and officers.  I am secretly hoping he hates the whole idea but I have a feeling I am going to lose this battle.  He has two more years of college, a lot can change, right? 🙂

3.  Mr. B took me on a wonderful walk on a bike path before the oppressive heat hit the Valley and we sort of fell in love with each other all over again.  I know that sounds corny but you should have seen the elderly couple walking behind us holding hands the whole way.  They were giddy with excitement as they told us that they had been married for 60 years and were still in love.  That did it for us.  Utter Adorableness.

4.  I had a reunion with three childhood friends whom I adore.  We lived in the same neighborhood growing up and were inseparable.  I hope we can continue to meet up in spite of the distance that separates us.

5.  Remember how I signed up for a jewelry making class?  No? Well, I did and I went.  The best thing about the class was that I was the only student who signed up. SCORE!  A private two-hour free lesson.  Oh, yes I did.  Take a look at the creations I made for my twin nieces who have a birthday coming up this month.

*Move over, K Jewelers.  Every kiss begins with B.

6.  I have mysteriously developed the case of the itchies.  I am going insane scratching away.  Every part of my body itches.  I need to go get this checked out soon.


I found this scratcher tucked away in the basement and it has  been my salvation.



There is  nothing better than scratching an itch.   I know, I know –  I always talk about gadgets (ie. battery operated necklace fan) but when you find something that works, it is complete happiness.

Happy 4th of July My Friends!