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Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’

The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.
  —  Yogi Berra
[Today my wife will be boarding a jet to go visit her family back in Liverpool.  Her mum isn’t doing too well these days and this may be Hil’s last chance to be with her before her mum passes.  The trip will be sad for Hil and lonely for me as she will be away for seven weeks.  As with every separation, I miss her before she has even gone.  Sometimes, I’m just silly that way…
PS:  Today’s post title is a line from the song: “Ferry Cross The Mersey“, by Gerry and the Pacemakers.  Liverpool sits on the north shore of the River Mersey estuary.  LOL  …And so ends today’s combo musical lyrics and geography lesson for today.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Recently Seen On A T-shirt:
2017 Rhythmical Creation
2016 In The Beginning
2015 False Gods
2014 But Sometimes Careers Choose People
2013 Pretty Sure Of Uncertainty
2012 Face Reality
2011 Intelligent Luck
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Yesterday I went to the hospital for an Electrocardiogram (ECG) in preparation for my Lithotripsy today.  Basically, I need to have a kidney stone reduced in size so I can (less) painfully pass it / them.  The following is a description of the today’s procedure and is taken from the John Muir Hospital web site…

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Passing a kidney stone can be very painful.  Shock wave lithotripsy is a treatment that helps by breaking the kidney stone into smaller pieces that are easier to pass.  This treatment is also called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).  Lithotripsy takes about an hour.  It’s done in a hospital, lithotripsy center, or mobile lithotripsy van.  You will likely go home the same day.  This treatment is not used for all types of kidney stones.  Your healthcare provider will discuss whether this is the right treatment for the type of stone you have.
Image of Kidney during Lithotripsy
Energy waves strike the stone, which begins to crack.
The stone crumbles into tiny pieces.

During the procedure

• You get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax or sleep during lithotripsy.  Once this takes effect, the procedure will start.
• A flexible tube (stent) with holes in it may be placed into your ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder.  This helps keep urine flowing from the kidney.
• Your healthcare provider then uses X-ray or ultrasound to find the exact location of the kidney stone.
• Sound waves are aimed at the stone and sent at high speed.  If you’re awake, you may feel a tapping as they pass through your body.

After the procedure

• You’ll be closely watched in a recovery room for about 1 to 3 hours.  Antibiotics and pain medicine may be prescribed before you leave.
• You’ll have a follow-up visit in a few weeks.  If you received a stent, it will be removed.  Your healthcare provider will also check for pieces of stone.  If large pieces remain, you may need a second lithotripsy or another procedure.

Possible risks and complications

• Infection
• Bleeding in the kidney
• Bruising of the kidney or skin
• Blockage (obstruction) of the ureter
• Failure to break up the stone (other procedures may be needed)

Passing the stone

It can take a day to several weeks for the pieces of stone to leave your body.  Drink plenty of liquids to help flush your system.  During this time:
• Your urine may be cloudy or slightly bloody.  You may even see small pieces of stone.
• You may have a slight fever and some pain.  Take prescribed or over-the-counter pain medicine as instructed by your healthcare provider.
• You may be asked to strain your urine to collect some stone particles.  These will be studied in the lab.
I had the procedure done twice before back in the 1990’s while I was living in Liverpool, England.  Hopefully, I’m good for another 20 – 25 years.  (LOL)
A big shout-out to the office staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital – Concord, CA, campus!  You were all terrific and I felt VERY well cared for!
I am home and resting comfortably.  And, another shout-out to my lovely wife (Hil) for driving me back and forth and looking after me in my recovery at home!   💖
Just a side note:  my weight at the hospital yesterday was 332lbs.  My weight today (at the hospital) was 330lbs.  2lbs difference.  My weight at home yesterday was: 325lbs.  Today it was 324lbs.  A 1lb difference.  I was wearing virtually the same clothes (shoes, shorts and underwear).  I was wearing a change of underwear, but they were the same types of briefs and V-neck T-shirts.  I just thought this was “interesting”.
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On This Day In:
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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Because one can never have enough pictures of your spouse on the internet, here are a few pics of my Hil visiting her mum over Easter during her visit to Liverpool in March / April…

Hil in her Easter hat

Hil in her Easter hat

Hil in her Easter hat (2)

Hil in her Easter hat (2)

Hil and Lynn with mum

Hil and Lynn with mum on her mum’s Birthday

It is kind of a tradition for the staff and visitors to don “Easter hats” to give the “old dears” a bit of a chuckle…
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On This Day In:
2017 Decisions
2016 Along The Path
2015 Make Mine Rare, Please
2014 Passion Flooding
2013 On Purpose
2012 Sans Gall Bladder, Day 4
How Did You Spend Your Day?
2011 It’s Hammerin’ Time!!
Convenient Auxiliaries

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As an adopted son of Liverpool, one is inevitably forced to take a side – to make a choice…  Because my wife made the mistake of buying me a book about growing up in Liverpool and the author stated Liverpool was home to the two greatest soccer teams in the world: Everton and Everton Reserves…  With my wife (and her father and brother) being committed Reds fans, you might say I was destined to be baptized a Blue…

Image of Everton F.C. jersey patch

The Everton F.C. kit jersey patch

Notice at the center of the patch is a round tower.  This is an image of the magistrate’s tower where the police held drunks and criminals for overnight stays.  I didn’t see the original tower for many years – even after I lived there (in Liverpool) for almost a decade.  Still, visiting the “Tower” remained on my bucket-list.  In my imagination, this is what I pictured…

Image of Glendalough Round Tower

Glendalough Round Tower

or

Image of a Round Tower in Northern Ireland

A Round Tower in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

The reality was not quite as impressive…

Image of Everton Lock Up Looking Up Hill

Everton Lock Up – Looking Up Hill

and

Image of Everton Lock Up Looking Down Hill

Everton Lock Up – Looking Down Hill

And here’s a historical image…  (The sheep “cutting” the grass just kill me.  LOL!)
 EvertonLockUp_Old
Sometimes the reality of a bucket-list item just doesn’t quite live up to the spirit of the item.
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On This Day In:
2014 Penalty Period
2013 Theft
2012 Cranky Old Man
2011 A Man’s Got To Know His Limitations

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At the time, I was living overseas in Liverpool, but I remember the days and days of news coverage…
On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was the site of a domestic terrorist bomb attack.  Carried out by two survivalist and white supremacists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.  They were seeking to punish Federal law enforcement agencies for perceived attacks on anti-Federal groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and in Waco, Texas.
The following year, Garth Brooks sang “The Change” which is a tribute to those lost and injured and to those who rushed into harms way to provide aid.
See the video on YouTube.com at:   http://www.youtube.com/embed/LAJ9tNXZfu8 or you can click through the embedded video below.
The lyrics are available on my poems page at: “The Change
The song – and the memories it stirs – still brings tears to my eyes…   KMAB
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On This Day In:
2014 Who Was That Masked Man?
2013 Enemy Mine
2012 Strengthen Me
2011 Service, Please
2010 The Church In Crisis…

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Book Review:
Last Thursday I finished reading: “Everton Strange But Blue“, by Gavin Buckland (2010©).   The book was originally published in 2007, but it is updated yearly.  The author is what is affectionately known in England as a “stathead”.  That is, someone who loves (and does) keep track of the arcane knowledge of something – in this case, Everton Football Club, otherwise known as “the Blues”.  Fans of the team are also known as “Blues”.
 

First, a little background information.  Everton is one the oldest football (aka: soccer) clubs in England.  It is one of the two best clubs on Merseyside (aka: Liverpool), the other one being the Everton Reserves.  (Just kidding.  It’s and old joke, but it still works…)  The other, of course, being the Liverpool Football Club, otherwise known as “the Reds”.  (Manchester United fans might dispute this as their club is also know as the “Reds” and they are only a stones throw up the Mersey River.)
 

Anyway, getting back to the book, this was a going away present from a friend (a Blue) at the end of our trip to visit Hil’s family during this last summer.  Everyone knows I’m a avid reader, so I’m easy to get presents for.  Anyway (again), this book is a collection of short stories about interesting and unusual statistical facts about Everton F.C.  The book is well written with obvious enthusiasm by someone who clearly loves both the Blues and statistics.  There in lies my problems with the book.  “Footie” in England is not essentially a sporting event.  It is intertwined with the culture in a way that is not fully approachable for an outsider (like me) to appreciate.  The U.K. is a small enough country that you can actually attend many of the away games by car and until recently (the last 15-20 years) was reasonably enough priced that the average person could attend many home games.  The closest social / sporting equivalent in the U.S. would be the American football SuperBowl.  Even this isn’t the same, because it’s held on neutral ground, it’s only one game a year, and tickets are virtually unobtainable for the average person.  But we do hold SuperBowl parties which create the social / cultural equivalence (somewhat).
 

My point being, (you knew I’d get around to it eventually) while the book is full of wonderful trivia, which I normally love, I don’t have the lifelong fan experience to appreciate much of the nuances of trivial subtleties the author covers.  For example, games with four goalie changes, or games which are lost by multiple own-goals.  They are interesting occurrences, but I have not shared in the emotional depression of such a loss and so mean less to me (except as historical footnotes).  I remember being shocked by the murder of a South American player because he has scored an own goal in a World Cup match and his country was eliminated from the tournament.  The player was machine-gunned down at a restaurant after returning home.  Now THAT is a fan taking your sport a bit TOO seriously.
 

The second problem I had with the book – which is why it took me so long to complete – was there was no discernible theme.  By this I mean, there were no clear sections, “Here’s a few of our worst losses”; “Here’s a few of our greatest wins”; or even, the most simple – chronological – highs and lows from the earliest days to the present.  Having said this, I should say the 50 stories are chronological, it’s just that the stories don’t seem interesting that way.  Two or three goalie stories may be separated by 30 or 40 years, so by the time you get to the second or third story, I had lost track of the first.  This happened to me repeatedly while picking the book up and putting it down and I never got the feeling that reading the book straight through would have altered the perception.
 

The best thing about the book was (and is) the language.  “Scouse” is the local dialect of British English spoken on Merseyside.  For Brits, it’s an inflection or slurring or dropping of syllables and words.  For me, Scouse is poetry and imagery and humor.  It’s an imprecise description which means nothing and yet says everything.  One example: “the center-half finished the match courageously.”  What the heck does that mean?  Who was he (no name), what did he do (not stated), and most importantly what was courageous about it (undefined).  It says nothing, but it leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blanks.  In some ways, this is the greatest of storytelling.
 

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this to someone interested in enjoying the flavor of Scouse storytelling or to anyone who is a hardcore Blue stathead.  I would moderately recommend it to anyone who is a casual stathead or a Blue fan who wants to know more about the history of the club.  I’m not sure many others would find the book anything else but “quirky” and nerdy.
 

And by the way, thanks to my friend Dave, who gave me the book and who is one of those great Scouse storytellers, himself.  Over the years and during this latest trip, I’ve spent many hours enjoying Dave and my brother-in-law Robbie (another Blue) trading stories over a pint.  It’s a shame he doesn’t write his own book (or blog) on growing up in Liverpool, following Everton F.C. and working at Ford’s.  Now, that would be book worth reading!

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Nana And Poppa With Big Smiles

Hil’s Mum and Dad with Big Smiles

While I was back in Liverpool, I sat down to have a conversation with Hil’s mom.  Nana Carter recently turned 80 years old and I wanted to ask her what she’d learned in four score years.  Here was her reply:
1) There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet.  You don’t always have to say the first thing that comes to your lips.  You don’t always have to get wisdom from experience; although that’s usually where the most wisdom comes from.  Sometimes you can get wisdom from others; but usually you have to be quiet and listen to them first.
2) One of the best gifts in life is contentment.  If you can recognize that what you have is what you need, you don’t have to want for other things just to have them.  Count your blessings and be happy with what you have.
3) Be truthful to others and to yourself.  Follow the Ten Commandments and you won’t go wrong.
[The photo I’ve included is a section of another, larger photo which isn’t actually focused on Hil’s Mum and Dad (hence it’s a bit fuzzy), but it is one of very few “non-posed for” photos I’ve ever seen which shows a natural joy, friendship and physical closeness of an older couple who are very much in love.  Because Hil’s parents were both raised with a great deal of “British reserve”, this remains one of the favorite photos of them.  —  KMAB]
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