7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 212)

March 22, 2013 | 45 comments

— 1 —

It’s Procrastinators’ Week here at the 7 Quick Takes meme! The linky list below is in reverse chronological order, so the newest entries will be at the top. I hope you all discover some great new blogs this way!

UPDATED IN ANGUISH AT 11:51PM ON THURSDAY: NOOOOO! After making such a big deal out of saying that I would post the 7 Quick Takes participant list in reverse chronological order this week, I just logged in to the linky program to realize that it doesn’t have that option! I don’t know if I can withstand another betrayal* by the providers of my favorite internet technology! Et tu, InLinkz?! GAAAAH!!!

* Okay, this one is less a “betrayal” than “me not doing my homework before making grand proclamations.” Clearly I’m lashing out over unresolved feelings about Google Reader.

— 2 —

So I guess I’m going to have the insane-o vein procedure done. My OB asked me for my decision at an appointment today, saying that he would relay the information to the hematologist, perinatologist, anesthesiologist, and the vascular specialist (you know you’re having a great pregnancy when it takes five doctors to figure out how to have a baby). Unfortunately he caught me at a time when I was too tired to come up with a smooth story about my decision making process, and so I just blurted out, “My blog readers think I should do it, so I guess I will.” He paused writing on the chart, looked at me for a moment, and said, “I’ll go ahead and leave that part out when I tell the other doctors.”

I can’t say that I’m looking forward to this procedure, especially considering that I’ll have to have a second one to take the filter out again in a few months. If nothing else, it’ll be a journey of discovery in which we learn whether my definition of “no big deal” is the same as that of my doctors. Considering that I’ll be heavily anesthetized (“Can I still get ALL THE BEST DRUGS even though I’m pregnant?” was one of my first questions for my OB), they’ll need to monitor the baby closely, which will add time and complexity to the whole thing. I’m not complaining, though! I’m just happy for the blessings of medical technology. [That’s a lie. I felt like I had to say that because it’s Lent.]

— 3 —

Speaking of things I’m not complaining about, I’ll have to go into the hospital a day or two before the April 8th induction date to be put on IV blood thinners that are easier to manage than the twice-daily Lovenox shots I’m giving myself now. I told my hematologist that I’m worried about this because I never sleep well in hospitals, and I’m mildly terrified of going through a complicated induced labor on no sleep. Never one to dance around a subject, he said, “Oh, yeah, it’s going to be really hard to sleep since we’ll need to do blood draws every few hours around the clock.” And, inexplicably to those of us who don’t understand medical technology, they cannot get this blood through the IV that will already be jammed into a vein in my arm; I’ll need to be stabbed with a needle anew every single time.

When I relayed all this to Joe I briefly attempted to put a positive spin on it. I started saying, “Well, maybe it won’t be as bad as it…” and then I saw the look on his face and stopped all the silver lining mumbo jumbo. I think my best hope here is if Hallie can find a way to get wine over to me without getting caught this time.

— 4 —

Despite the way I make it sound, there is actually more to my life than getting repeatedly stabbed with needles — not much more, but I do occasionally experience nice things. For example, I met up with Melanie Shankle for lunch this week! I used to refer to her as Melanie “from the Big Mama blog, ” or “Melanie who hosts Fashion Friday, ” but now I can proudly refer to her as my friend Melanie “FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST.” She was a little startled when I burst through the doors of the restaurant and immediately grabbed her by the shoulders and began shouting that she reveal to me her secret for writing a book that is hilarious and touching, having all the effortlessness of a blog post but the quality of a well-crafted memoir. Oh, wait, maybe I didn’t do that. I think that’s just what I was tempted to do, but instead I controlled myself enough to ask polite questions over fried catfish and iced tea.

Anyway, after the lunch was over I realized that we missed a prime opportunity to throw our weight around here. Last time we met, waaaay back in 2008, we were mere bloggers. Now that I’m a Producer and she is a New York Times Bestselling Author, we really should have gotten more mileage out of that. Maybe if we’d explained this to the staff at the Clear Springs Cafe they would have thrown in some extra hush puppies out of awe for their heavy-hitter clientele.

— 5 —

Melanie and I were meeting in a town that neither of us know well, and I thought I’d get all resourceful and take the lead on finding a place for us to eat. We’re both Tex Mex fans, so I got on Yelp to look for something in that category. Evidently this particular town is not known for its restaurateurs’ abilities to throw shredded chicken and Velveeta into a tortilla, so I had trouble finding a place that got good ratings. Finally I found one that a handful of people said was good (or at least “very authentic”) so I settled on that. I had an email typed up telling Melanie to meet me at this particular address. Then, just before I hit send, something told me to take a look at the customer photos. This is where I almost sent Melanie to meet me for lunch:

— 6 —

What are your favorite book covers? Whether or not you enjoyed the books themselves, what are some titles that had covers that caught your attention and made you interested in reading them?

I’ve been on a book covers kick this week, and am spending way too much time collecting examples for my new Pinterest board. I’ve learned a surprising amount about what makes a great book cover as part of the process. I noticed that all my favorites had the following qualities:

  • They’re original without being overly artsy. To my surprise, I found that some book covers were actually too good: I was so focused on the amazingly creative cover that I didn’t even consider what might be inside the book.
  • They effectively convey the tone of the book, whereas the title hints at the plot. Rachel Held Evans’ Year of Biblical Womanhood is a great example of this: the title gives you a feel for what subject matter it covers, and the quirky cover lets you know that the writing will have a light and humorous feel.
  • They’re hard to do. I noticed that all the best covers — even the ones that look simple at a glance — require an expert-level knowledge of graphic design programs, as well as a master artist’s eye for detail.

I apologize in advance to anyone who follows me on Pinterest: you’re about to see a lot of book covers floating through your feed.

— 7 —

Can you believe that Holy Week is next week? I hope your last few days of Lent are blessed. I won’t be hosting 7 Quick Takes next Friday (3/29) in honor of Good Friday, but I’ll see you back after that!



  1. Jenna@CaIllHerHappy

    I used to work at a book store in high school and college, and I bought wayyyyy too many books just because I liked the covers. It was good that I got out of there. My favorite covers are always simple and clean looking. I love fresh colors too.

    And, I literally laughed out loud at what you said to your doc. Sounds like something I would say.

    Praying for your insane veins.

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    I think this is your best ‘quick takes’ ever!! Made me laugh so much, though I am having a hard time believing the medical complication of this pregnancy. Hope you are thinking of some extraordinary baby names!!!

  3. Considerer

    Hah! Your poor doctors. You go for it! I’m sure y’all pay through the nose for medical care over there – make them work for their money. I hope everything goes smoothly for you. And just think; for each time you get woken up by the stab of a needle, there’s a penniless addict just WISHING they were experiencing that sensation right now.

  4. Peg

    Jen, love and prayers coming your way for total healing of your medical issues, and also for your loving family who supports you.

  5. TracyE

    The restaurant in the picture is making me think “Bridesmaids”….sounds like you made a goooooooood call on that one. Real. Good. Call.

    I can’t think of book covers off the top of my head, BUT….I enjoyed Rachel Held Evans’ book, not sure why there was so much controversy about it. And Pat Gohn’s new book cover reminds me of Bette Midler on the cover….super fun!!

    Happy Weekend and SHOOT, guess I’ll be at the bottom of the list….again…. 😉

  6. Amelia

    Ha..that restaurant story and picture is too funny! I love the bars over everything…makes you wonder if they are trying to keep customers OUT or IN.

    My favorite book covers tend to have bold, bright colors and very simple pictures. Although, I did just pick up a book from the library “Fed Up, The War Against Childhood Obesity” almost solely based on the cover. The entire cover was printed with french fries with the title superimposed on top. So, pictures of food on the cover always get my attention.

    Of course, you also need to design a cover for the ebook version (you ARE coming out with a ebook version, right? Pretty,Please.. I read all my books on kindle)…and I think with an ebook, even more you want a very simple, bold cover, which will show up well on people’s computers or devices when they look for books.

  7. Bonnie

    I saw that board on Pinterest last night and thought, “I know what Jen’s thinking about…!”

    Some of my favorite covers are How Green Was My Valley (it’s crisp and clean and pretty) and the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies books. I’ve never read them but I think they’re clever. Kurt Vonnegut’s books usually catch my eye and recently the cover of The Snow Child made me want to snatch it up.

    I guess for the most part there’s a crispness and a use of color that I’m drawn to in cover art.

  8. Emily

    Hi Jen–
    As a veteran of many, many hospital experiences and many, many IVs (I have a port-a-cath now, which one CAN get blood from huzzah!), I have often wished the same thing. The reasoning probably is that “regular” (peripheral) IVs just aren’t that sturdy and by drawing the blood you would probably collapse the vein, meaning you’d need a new IV and that would suck. Hopefully you have good veins? (I am jealous of people with good veins.) Sometimes I can’t sleep in the hospital either, but that’s usually because I’m chatting up the nurses or I found an awesome 80s movie on the TV. 😀
    Prayers that all goes well!

  9. Deanna

    Since we can’t be listed in reverse order we should all commit to reading from the bottom up.

  10. Jessi

    I used to work in a hospital, you can get blood from an IV line but your doctor would have to order you a picc line. The nurses would have to flush it with saline each time. It could save you a little distress, often times pregnant doctors will make sure they get them themselves but other doctors would probably argue that they don’t want anything to mess up your IV. As a veteran of difficult pregnancies, I feel your pain, hope it all goes well.

  11. Steph

    The first thing I thought when you floated the reverse order idea was “is that even technically possible?” But then I remembered that Jen is a pretty technical gal, no doubt she’s already checked that out. 🙂

  12. MemeGRL

    We are having the same tech week. My cell phone was inexplicably taken off the Verizon network and locked to Vodaphone in the Netherlands. So since I can’t get email on it, at least that made it easier to deal with the emails from Delta that were supposed to be our boarding passes but came with visible code (you know, all this and that) instead of the cool “wave your phone at the machine” barcode that was supposed to appear. I won’t even go in to the rest of my first world problems like the trackpad that won’t click on anything embedded, only highlight text, or…wait, I’m done. Good luck with everything going on in your world!

  13. Rachel

    I can only pray for you with all of the crazy medical stuff going on in your life right now! I really hope that it isn’t too bad. (Something more like a box of dropped cereal than a bottle of dropped wine.) Speaking of book covers, you have to check out the link that I have in my quick takes this week! These are some hilarious book covers… 😉

    I hope that you have a great week!


  14. J.R. Baldwin

    I love those book covers! I agree; those are the works of real masters.

    God’s blessings, especially during your medical treatments. I’ve been catching up and watching Minor Revisions this week – love it! Thank you for doing it!

  15. Christina P

    I get a real kick for a second or two when the pinteresters I follow start pinning a theme. Yeah, a part of me thinks “hey, stop cluttering my wall with these things I’ll never use,” but another part of feels like I’m getting a real peek into that lady’s mind/world. I tried watching Doctor Who because of it! And I’m pretty sure I found out about pregnancies because of it, too.

  16. Christina

    There was a fun book I read once simply called “Book” or maybe “The Book”. It was about a man who wrote a best-selling novel and was kidnapped. The fun part about it was that each chapter was written in a different writing style; like newspaper article, conversation, Gothic, etc. It also had a great chapter where the footnotes “took over” and the Editor had to sick a dog on them. The cover for this book looked like it had been burned (done well so at first I wondered why someone had burned it).

    Unfortunately it was a terrible title in that it’s next to impossible to search for just “book”, so I can’t show you an image of it, but whenever I think of clever covers I think of that book.

  17. Do Not Be Anxious

    Sorry, I don’t have time to think about procrastinating.

  18. Ceri

    Shut the front door. I read your blog faithfully and connect deeply to your introverted explanations (your take on SXSW a week or two ago was one of the richest analyses I’ve ever read). However, I’m not Catholic and Rachel Held Evans has such a similar faith journey to me that I deeply connect to her writing as well. You two are tied as my writing heroes, and I love that this merged in today’s post.

  19. Kerri

    This book isn’t the most artsy of covers, but I liked it because it intrigued me. I haven’t read the book yet, but I heard it was good. It’s a memoir called “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson and has a picture of a taxidermy Shakespearean mouse on the cover. The title and the mouse on the front cover combined totally intrigue me!

  20. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Did you ever see that book covers turned into bathing suits thing? I swear I’m not on drugs. It was real and it was AMAZING. I’ll see if I can find it…

  21. Lisa Schmidt

    And here I waited until nearly 4:00pm to post. Oh the shame! (just kidding, just kidding!)

    I still remember that fun story from Hallie about trying to send you that wine. What a great friend! I know a few nurses who would have helped you sneak a drink.

    Godspeed and many blessings to you and babe as you near labor & delivery!

  22. George @ Convert Journal

    Me too. Unless it had a bad rating on its last health inspection, I would have tried it.

  23. Laura Pearl

    I just checked out your Pinterest board and looked at all the book covers. It’s true, cover design is so important–there are a lot of books I might have missed out on if their awesome covers hadn’t called out to me. I did my own artwork for the cover of my book, and one reviewer (who was very kind as far as the content between the covers) called my drawing “amateurish.” (Ouch! I guess I should have hired someone to do it for me!)

    Good luck with your procedure. I think you’re very brave, and an inspiration in so many ways. (And funny, too. I’d love to have seen the look on your doctor’s face when you told him your blog readers thought you should have the procedure!)

    I’m saying prayers for your and your baby!

  24. Natalie Trust

    Number 5 had me laughing. I have neglected to look at Yelp pictures before! It was a mistake I will make exactly ONCE. Glad you double checked.

  25. Kelly M.

    My brother-in-law had the insane-o-vein procedure and regardless of how it actually went down, I’m going to tell you it was all roses and butterflies and more importantly, he’s doing great now. But he was told he had to give up alcohol because it could thin his blood too much with the medicine he was on; so, I think looking into that would be a higher priority at this point.

  26. Barbara

    Ah, your I.V. drama is making me break out in sympathy hives! I nearly passed out on Monday from a simple blood draw. I’ll pray for you, for shore.
    Now, excuse me as I go breath into a paper bag.

  27. Connie Rossini

    Girl, you are really suffering in this pregnancy. What a saint you’ll be by the time you’re done! You’ll be in my prayers.

  28. Gillian

    My husband explained that the IVs go in different directions… He did suggest you get a 2nd IV in the other arm that they can draw blood from like when you donate blood….

  29. Nayhee

    I just linked up for Quick Takes and wanted to let you know that my post might be something you would be into: Cannibalism, the Eucharist and other not heretical stuff! (I think)
    Thanks for hosting and have a wonderful Holy Week.

    • Becky

      I just read it and tried to comment, but (this has happened to me on other blogs and I never know what to do) it asked me to select a profile. It won’t let me leave a comment unless I select a profile and I don’t have any idea how to do that. I have tried clicking on various things, but none of them works. If this is a plan to weed out computer illiterate people, it’s working. Otherwise, could you tell me what to do?

  30. bobbi @ revolution of love

    Aw, I purposely didn’t hurry with my QT, thinking I’d finally be on top of the pile. Oh, well. Back to the 200’s I go.

    As for Melanie’s book, I’ve been hearing so much about it I may have to buy it for my Easter basket. 🙂

  31. Calah

    I still haven’t written my takes because I am lame, but I wanted to tell you that you are STILL MY FREAKING FAVORITE BLOGGER EVER BECAUSE THIS IS HILARIOUS, and the fact that you are keeping me rolling over your awkward convos with your OB/GYN about blood filtering issues is just…classic. Is there any other word for it? You’re the best. And I’m sorry you have to have filters put in your veins because that sounds horrible, but please remember that according to Dr. Hale, Percocet is B-OK (and let’s be honest, B basically means A) in pregnancy. I’m here to help, Jen.

  32. Eva

    One of the reasons that I prefer to read on the ipad with a kindle app rather than my kindle itself is the lovely shiny covers displayed on the ipad. I know in my heart that the book itself is the same, but I just can’t commit to a book in the same way if I can’t engage in the cover.

  33. Katie @NFP and Me

    I saw your book covers on Pinterest and wanted to like them all. I was definitely not jealous of your decision. I kept thinking “Ooo! That one!” then “Wait, that one!!” then “Crap! This one’s so good too!” Can’t wait to see what you decide!

    Also, thank you for not hosting 7QT next week. I have a hard enough time being penitential on Fridays and I’m very appreciative of the lack of a distraction for Good Friday. (I hope this came off as sincere but I am genuinely appreciative.) 🙂

  34. Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    Having delivered a baby twelve days ago AND having MTHFR AND having done the switch from Lovenox to heparin for delivery, I feel your pain. And continue to, since I am back onto twice daily Lovenox for another month. It is no fun but the baby is pretty darn cute. I had to have a section and was transfused the next day because of blood loss and I pray you avoid that. Good luck with the craziness and I look forward to seeing you on this side of the whole process!

  35. Jenn @ Home is Where

    just think, I *could* have been #1 on your linky!!!

    I love book covers, too- it’s such an art, finding the perfect look for a cover. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I don’t- but I have to admit that I will often pick up a book and read the back, because of the cover 🙂

  36. Kerry @ Brand New Catholic

    Hi Jen. Thanks for your wonderful website–you always give me a smile, even through the worst week of my life.

  37. TracyKM

    I haven’t read all your comments, but I remember when I had to have repeated blood drawns done for something, they put a thing in the vein, and left it there, and drew the blood from that. It wasn’t flushed with saline, they just opened a valve or something….it was a long time ago 🙂 Good luck!

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