Thursday, March 17, 2011

Esmeralda--Discussion Thread

Mr. Bamstra is a genius with a hammer.  Eeeewwwww.  Esmeralda has always stuck out for me as one of La Neels' more nitty-gritty medical romances.

Leslie drives an elderly Lotus Elan with too much chrome-work and painted an aggressive yellow:
Boo!  Hiss!
Mr. Bamstra drives a Bristol 114 (But I can only find Bristol 411s so there is maybe a typo here):
What's the 411?
Esmeralda contends that 'one always thought clearly in the dead of night'. I think very clearly in the middle of the night...for stretches of two or three seconds at a time.  Seriously, when I'm tossing and turning it all becomes a jumble.  Discuss.

'Adam and I go to church, but we thought you'd rather not, and in any case Thimo will be over here by eleven - he goes to church too, but for some reason the service is an hour earlier than ours....'  I have a little religious envy whenever I drive by a church and see their services posted and you've got an assortment to choose from. ("10am, 2pm and a 5pm en Espanol") LDS services arrange themselves differently.  Since our wards (congregations) are geographical in nature, you're supposed to go to the service that's assigned to you (because we've got a lay ministry, everyone has a job to do and it wouldn't really work if everyone were migratory.  It makes for an interesting dynamic--there's a reason they call it a 'ward family'.)  Usually two wards meet in the same building. (Sometimes three or four--but that's only if you've drawn the short stick.  My sister goes to a building with two wards and a Spanish 'branch' (smaller than a ward) so they get pressed for time and space.) One service is usually from 9am-12 and another from 1-4pm--the early and the late both have their good points and bad.  I generally prefer the early.. (My brother's ward on the coast has only one ward in the building and they get to meet at 10am which is like the golden unicorn of service times--mythical and coveted.)  So this year our ward meets early (so wretchedly difficult this Daylight Savings Sunday) and next January we'll switch again. How are your church times determined?

Thimo's ceiling is painted with cherubs and flowers.  When I moved into my home I found that the previous homeowners were arty types--by which I mean they slopped paint on the walls in a careless, if vivid, manner.  My flooring was a mix of orange, beige and purple elementary school type tiles (which required an industrial-grade buffer to look clean, btw) and for the first three years of living there (while we were fiscally hamstrung by having to fix all the other issues with the house) I had to go about decorating (on a shoestring) as though the floors didn't exist.  (Put your hand under your nose.  Now try to look down.  You get the picture...).  Anyway, I wonder if Thimo (and the previous generations) had to do just that with the flying naked babies on their ceiling...
Thimo eyed the Eames chairs flanking the fire place, the Lucite end tables and the imported Finnish sofa and begged his guests not to look up.
 When she goes to physio, they add heat to warm up the joints (they still do that - when Betty Debbie was going through 'physio' for her broken wrist, she tells me, they first heated up the joint with a combination of electricity and a hot, damp wrap).  Is that why I feel like a cooked chicken drumstick, with meat falling off the bone, after a dip in the hot tub?

After Esmeralda has her surgery, she attempts to be stoic about the pain. It's described in great detail (the pain)...she doesn't want to bother the nurses (having been one herself) - but by golly, she does appreciate the pain relief when it comes.  When I delivered my second child no one told me that with each subsequent delivery, the postpartum uterine contractions become harder.  They call them 'afterpains', a suitably Midwife-y term.  Generally they are accentuated by breastfeeding (dirty, dirty pool, I say) and as I knew how to do that really well my babies were good at nursing right off.  Needless to say, I did not mess around with Tylenol but I did feel like one of those lab experiments where they drive a mouse nuts by having him press a button for cocaine... 


  1. Afterpains are a vile conspiracy. I hate them.

  2. Betty Barbara here, with a few thoughts/comments--
    Re: pain management. After each of my last two knee operations, I came to with a really nice IV drug pump already in place. Push button (once every 6 minutes), et voila! Nice, drug relief from PAIN! Great stuff! But they take it away within 24 hours(rats!!).
    And, believe me dear Bettys, if your orthopaedic surgeon had used a hammer and chisel (or in my case a hammer and a power drill) on your bones-you are going to feel it for a long, long, time!
    Warm wraps at the start of a P/T session--oh, yes!! Standard practice at the physio location I use. Really makes doing the exercises easier.

    Re: Church service times. I am a Catholic by heritage, and most Catholic Masses are around 1 hour long. So it is easy to schedule several Masses on a Sunday morning (and there's the late Sat afternoon Mass that qualifies as a 'Sunday' Mass.) And then, depending on the parish, there is usually an early morning daily Mass.

    I do believe that Esmeralda has it wrong about 'the dead of night'. Personally, I have found that 2a.m. tends to amplify the fuzzy thoughts: that headache? at 2 in the morning, it's a brain tumor--etc. 6 a.m. and that first jolt of caffeine tends to give me my clearest thoughts.

    However, I have no experience with cherubs on the ceiling--sorry. So I'll sign off now.

  3. I went to a critique group for the first time tonight and they were talking about having totally clear and fabulous ideas and drafts in their head in the middle of the night. Not me. If I'm awake in the middle of the night it is for no good reason and the only clear thought I'm having is that there's no way I'm getting to sleep any time soon. And that would make a very boring book!


  4. Betty Barbara here--
    H. Allen Smith, in one of his books, had a good one about those clear, dead of night thoughts. He put a pencil and notepad next to his bed, so he could write down the brilliant idea when it struck, so it wouldn't be forgotten in the morning. His first result was something along the lines of "Isn't it amazing how the tip of your little finger fits right inside your nostril?".
    So much for the dead of night and clear thinking!