Emily M. DeArdo



Seven Quick Takes--the 60th of September

7 Quick Takes, Catholicism, CF, health, Seven Quick Takes, the book, transplant, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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Linking up with Kelly!


In case you missed it, here’s what’s been going down around these parts this week:

Simplicity Series #1—Reset Day!

Stitch Fix Box #8!


The reason this post is entitled the 60th of September is because this month has seemed insanely long. Isn’t there a song called “Wake Me Up When September Ends?” That’s how I feel right now. It’s just been so long. And sort of crazy.

One of the big crazy-making things is that I’m in the middle of Doctor Roulette, which I really haven’t written about here, so I probably need to catch you up.


(If you’re not interested in medical stuff, skip this and go to point four, where I talk about BOOK THINGS!)

So, being post-transplant, and being fourteen years out, is….interesting. Obviously, I am INSANELY GRATEFUL to be at that marker. I am. Never think I’m not. But at the same time, it’s a Brave New World of Medical Stuff, because it’s rare. So when things happen, there’s not a lot of research to go on. There’s just…..talking. And guessing. And seeing what works.

Essentially, all summer we have been messing with insulin, because my blood glucose levels have been off. (I”m trying to keep this as medical jargon free, but when I say this, what I mean is my A1c, not my BGLs. If you’re confused, I can explain in another post, so let me know if you want that much detail into my life!)

So my team decided to put me on some long-acting insulin.

But……that didn’t work. First, it didn’t lower my BGLs, which I was testing twice a day, and second, insulin is a hormone. That means it can affect lots of parts of your body.

For me, that meant—headaches. Not sleeping. Weight gain (DAMN IT), and insanely inappropriate mood reactions. If Big Ben threw an interception I wanted to break things. If someone parked next to me at the supermarket, I became incandescently angry.

This is not appropriate.

And the scariest part for me? Forgetting things. Words. Ideas. What I was doing. This is not good. I rely on my brain, and words are my trade. I can’t be forgetting them! I need to be mentally sharp.

(But you’re never mentally sharp, Emily, says the peanut gallery….)

I did some digging and found out that when you have too much insulin—as in, you have WAY too much, and your body doesn’t need it—this is what happens.

And this is the problem. My body is weird. Not just the transplant weird, but weird for a CF person. I’m what’s called “pancreatically sufficient”, which is rare. It means my pancreas works like a normal person’s, not like a CF person’s. I don’t need to take enzymes to help digest my food, because my pancreas does it. I never had CF related diabetes.

And my A1c starting rising once I hit menopause—so there’s probably a connection there as well.

So, long story short, my team is sort of confused, and I’m seeing an endocrinologist the day before Halloween. That’s one reason I haven’t been writing as much this month, because things have just been crazy, but also my body has been through a lot, and I’m trying to be nice to it. Which means, chilling out, after all the non chilling out. :-P

There are some other issues, too, mainly that I don’t have a great track record when seeing endos, because they look at me and go, you’re really messed up, what do you want me to do about it?

But anyway, that’s at the end of October. Yay.


in the meantime!


People are starting to ask for interviews, which is….weird. I mean, good, but weird.

The cover is 99% done. I’ve seen it. I can’t show you yet. If you want to be the first to see it, subscribe to the blog!

It’s really pretty, I like it. :)


Hockey season starts soon and this makes me very happy!


I am going on retreat next week, so if you have prayer requests, I am honored to take them with me! Drop them in the combox, or use the contact page.



If you haven’t seen the Word on Fire team’s newest entries in their Pivotal Players series—Fulton Sheen and Flannery O’Connor—I highly recommend them! They’re great! Flannery is a really important influence for me, in how to live as a Catholic and a writer, and I write this quote from her at the beginning of all my journals:

I feel that if I were not a Catholic, I would have no reason to write, no reason to see, no reason ever to feel horrified or even enjoy anything. I am a born Catholic, went to Catholic school in my early years, and have never left or wanted to leave the Church. I have never had the sense that being a Catholic is a limit to the freedom of the writer, but just the reverse. … I feel myself that being a Catholic has saved me a couple of thousand years in learning to write. (The Habit of Being *)

So I love the Flannery film. It was also nice to learn more about soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen—I had read some of his books, and I knew of him, but the film does a great job fleshing out what I knew.

(Also, in a nice twist, a college friend of mine composed the music for both films. Go Sean!)

And I really don’t think we can improve on Fulton and Flannery, do you? :) Have a great weekend!

*==Amazon Affiliate Link

Seven Quick Takes No. 112

7 Quick Takes, life issues, Jane AustenEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Previously on the blog, here (in case you missed any of it!): 

Sugarcoating Suicide: Me Before You
Ordinary Joy
Summer Reading

That first one has become particularly relevant since I found out that the state of California will legalize assisted suicide next week. 


In My Summer Reading post, I talked about Eligible. Well, I finished it yesterday, and it was terrible. Terrible isn't really a strong enough word for how bad it was, acutally. If you are at all tempted to read it, please, for the Love of All That is Holy, go pick up the real Pride and Prejudice, or watch the Only Version That Exists In My World. 



Also in the world of Jane, I'm re-reading Persuasion. If you haven't read that one, go for it, please. It gets overlooked sometimes!


If you're a Facebook friend of mine, you're probably wondering why, around 8:00 every other night, my feed becomes incomprehensible with sports jargon. It's because the Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Finals, and I adore hockey.  

My first NHL game was against the Hartford Whalers (Wow, I just dated myself) at the old Igloo--the Civic Arena-- in Pittsburgh. I think this was in 1990. But anyway, I have been a lifelong fan since then. Poor Mary, when we were in LA, had to put up with my attention totally deviating from her if hockey came on the TV when we were eating. I'm like a dog going "SQUIRREL!" 

So, until the series is over (and hopefully the Pens will sweep and it'll be over next week, and we'll have our Fourth Stanley Cup victory), there might be some weird Facebook posting. :) 


If you're wondering why I root for Pittsburgh teams when I live in Columbus--it's because my parents are both from Pittsburgh. In fact, they were born three days apart (although in different hospitals), and Dad is a Pitt and Carnegie Mellon graduate. Mom used to work at Pittsburgh Children's before she married my dad. So all of us kids were brought us as Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins fans, and it stuck. Even though my brother went to OSU, we're not very strong OSU fans. 

And I hate calling it The Ohio State University. Some of my friends do it just to spite me. :-P


It go so hot, so fast here. It's like we didn't really have spring at all. It was cold, and then "boiling lava hot" (as Jim Gaffigan says in his Hot Pockets sketch). Oh well. At least the pool's open and my A/C works!!!! 


Finally--do any of you use fountain pens? I just started and I have to say, I love them. I feel very writerly and Jane-ish (although I know Jane didn't use them). Ink spots on my fingers? Fun! 


Seven Quick Takes No. 83

7 Quick Takes, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments


OK, so this week, we are going to talk bout something THRILLING!

How to organize books

I know. You guys just can't wait. 

Actually, I get this question a lot. People come to my house and see the massiveness of bookdom and ask how I know where everything is. I will tell you. 

It's because I'm slightly crazy. 

(Really. The first thing I did when I got home after transplant? I re-arranged my DVDs, because they were out of order in my bedroom. ) 

I am that person. (and no, I don't color code my closet....)

But even if you don't have as many books as I do, these might be helpful to you in organizing your library. 

(And sorry the pictures are sort of smudgy...I wrote this on Thursday night, so the good light was gone.) 


First, I divide everything by broad category.

Fiction/Non fiction/ biography/autobiography/books about Jane/theater-performing arts, for example. Then I divide them into smaller categories: fiction--novels; fiction--poetry; fiction--short stories. 


Then I shelve them. 

Or we put them on the floor or windowsills. Because I've done that. Right now, actually. I do not have enough book cases for all the madness. This does not stop me, however. 


Yes, those are all my cookbooks. Because I am CRAZY. But these, for example, I keep by the kitchen. (DUH!) These are loosely organized by author, but really it's more about use. The ones I use the most are on the top bracket, not in the sofa table. 

(And yes, there's piles. I'm sorry. Keeping it real here, guys)


OK, so this is the "main" bookcase on the main floor. The pile is of my my performing arts/theater books. My scripts and librettos from shows I've done are downstairs by the keyboard with the rest of my sheet music. But here on the Shelf Proper, we have Jane on the top--books about her always come first--then autobiography/memoir, biography, current events, English Literature criticism, and some fiction creeping in at the bottom. 

Jane is nestled among the Precious Moments figurines (DON'T HATE). And yes, I've read Into Thin Air  a LOT. 

That bring us to....


I only keep books I'm going to re-read.

I know some people don't re-read books, but I do, compulsively. Right now, for example, I'm re-reading the Pink Carnation series. I've re-read Outlander more times than I can think of, and, of course, I re-read Jane. So every book I keep is either great for re-reading, or here because I will not toss them (like the Jane collection--people bring me books about Jane when they travel overseas. These are precious to me!). 

So every book you see here has been re-read, and some of them are heavily marked up. Yes, I do write in books. To me, books aren't here to be decorative. They are here to be loved! That being said, I do take exquisite care of most of my books. I do not like them torn or manhandled! But many of them have been well-loved. So well-loved, in fact, that I've had to replace them (Fiery Cross, for example.....pages falling out....) . And yes, I do fall asleep with them around me sometimes. I try not to hurt them. :-P 


Some books I have multiple copies of. This isn't just because I'm nuts. 

Behold--the Shelf of Jane (mostly). 

You see the Oxford's first, because that's my "scholarly" set. That's what I used for my academic work. The Annotated collection (Persuasion is being read, so that's why there's a space after Emma) I've been collecting, because they are darned useful for things like "What were the currency denominations in Regency England?" and exactly what a Barouche Box looks like. (And I have to capitalize that, because Lady Catherine Speaks of Hers in Capitals!)

The Ignatius ones (black spines) have a Catholic perspective on Jane in the end notes and essays, and the Marvel versions are just awesome. I mean, come on! So they all serve unique purposes for my Jane Girl Fandom. And yes, those are post-it notes you see in some of them! 


So, yes, that's a quick tour of my library, leaving out the book room on the second floor, which is two more bookcases and more piles.  (That's almost all fiction, and theology. And YA.) But generally, I arrange by category, then author, then publishing date (or, in the case of unpublished works during th author's life, when it was written chronologically.)

You do not have to do this! As long as you have some system that allows you to find what you want easily, you're set. But this is how I do it, probably because my college boyfriend worked at his town library in his summers before school, and thus introduced me to this system of author then pub date. Before, I had just done author. 


Do you have a book system? Or do you just think I'm crazy?

(Good crazy, right? :) )