Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Thursday Three

Since we're leaving today for a week at the lake I have doing a whole bunch of nothing on my mind. Of course I need to do nothing and keep three kids amused at the same time, which presents problems. I'm sure this shows my age, but the first thing I think of is board games. On a real board and everything. No computer needed. So the topic today is...

My Three Favorite Board Games

#1. Backgammon. I've been playing since I was a little kid and I still haven't improved much. I love it in spite of myself. Logic and strategy games really appeal to me, even though I can be spotty on both. This was my dad's favorite game and he taught me to play pretty early. He had been playing since he was a kid and was an excellent player. He died suddenly a few years ago after a lifetime of us struggling to connect and the sight of a backgammon board always makes me think of him in a very nice way. This besides the fact that in my entire life I never beat him. Not once.

#2. Apples to Apples. This is a relatively new game on the market, and it is absolutly fab. If you've never played it you owe it to yourself to look into it. It's hard to describe but very easy to play. Every player gets cards that are descriptors and you have to play them in response to a subject card. You can play it funny or straight, but either way you learn a lot about the people you're playing with. I've played with a group of people ranging from 7 to 50 and everyone had a blast. As a matter of fact my set keeps getting lent out because everyone who plays it wants to borrow it. Too. Much. Fun.

#3. Monopoly. If I had a dollar for every hour of my misspent childhood I spent huddled over a Monopoly game...I could buy three hotels on Boardwalk. My best friends and I would have these marathon sessions that only ended when one of us got caught embezzling money from the bank in a fit of financial despair. To this day I can tell you (by heart) the purchase price and rental charge on every single property. My kids didn't believe me and insisted on testing me on it. Let's just say they're believers now. As an adult I haven't played as much. Who needs a board game to go around and around in circles never having enough money? Really. For quite a while there it was a real drag. Lately though we've been getting back into it. It's fun to play with my kids and whip their butts. And I always know when someone is trying to take the bank for a ride. It takes one to know one.

Honorable Mention - Scrabble, Clue and Boggle. It really is awfully hard to pick just three.

The Gabbies - part deux

Well, well. It seems to be Awards season again. And while I do agree with some of the other recipients that there has been an awful lot of air kissing going on I don't care. I love awards. I am the Nicole Ritchie of the blog circuit. Throw it my way and I'll gratefully accept it. Really.

From the always amusing Jo Beaufoix comes the Creative Bloggers Award. If creative means flying by the seat of your pants and cussing at your keyboard...that's Me! I always wondered what that whole process was called. Now I know.

And from Akelamalu at Everything And Nothing comes this gender modified Award. Can you just see me air guitaring right now? Seriously, how cool is this anyway?

The fact that these two gals who constantly keep me entertained would think to give me anything makes me smile. A big fat thank you, ladies. Mwah!

I will be handing out my awards when I get back from my trip next week. We're heading to my folk's lake house for a few days andI don't know where the time has gone this week. I've been running for daylight, and as all you other awardees know there's a lot of cut and paste involved in this!

Come back next Wednesday for the festivities. Please?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

doggie blues

The cheating dog saga continues at Chez Rotten Correspondent. Oh, he looks a little remorseful during the daylight hours but come bedtime he's nowhere to be found. Nowhere in my bed that is. If I didn't know better, I'd say my mother is enjoying this just a little bit. There is, however, a small silver lining. (For me. Not for her). Remember how I've mentioned that this dog's only bad quality is that he's intestinally challenged? Well, my mom staggered out of bed this morning with an oxygen deprived look on her face that clearly told me the honeymoon was over. Yep, he's gotten comfortable with her all right. Very very comfortable. Now she gets to see the real animal underneath all that sweet talking charm. And that boy can stink to high heaven when he lets loose. Oh well, he's her problem now. At least until she goes home. Then he can sweet talk me into taking him back. Hmmph.

This is going to be short today, as we're running around getting ready to head to the lake for a week. Check back in tomorrow for lovely awards that lovely people have passed my way. I love awards!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

revenge of the mama's boy

I've been jilted.

Thrown over, cast aside, dumped. Pick any one you'd like.

And, above, you can look into the eyes of the cruel male who did it to me. I don't see any remorse there, do you? Nope. I'm just a short pit stop on his way to break another heart.

The Most Perfect Dog In The World always sleeps with me. Always. In the same spot to the right of my feet, every single night of my life. I kind of curl my feet around him and he spoons his body around me and it's about as comfortable as one human and one dog can legally get. This dog's other nickname is Mama's Boy, because he really does follow me around like a little kid. Right now, in a calculated effort to kiss butt, he's lying on the loveseat right next to me while I write. Hmpph. He knows what he did.

He slept with my mother. All night long. I knew when I went to sleep that he was not where he should be, but completely expected him to slink in after I'd fallen asleep so I couldn't tell him what I thought. But no. I had chilly feet all night and woke up in a cold bed. My mom, seeing my pathetically wobbly lip this morning, immediately went on the defense and claimed he had only been with her for part of the night. Right. Like I'm going to fall for that. Or that it really makes a difference. Hmph.

They can both deny it all they want, but we know the truth. He just looked up at me and grinned. Rotten dog. Oh, he's giving me that look now and making his ears go all floppy just because he knows I think it makes him look adorable. Now there's a slight hopeful wag of the tail and he's rolled over on his back so I can scratch his cheating little belly.

Right. Like I'm going to fall for that.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A matter of perspective

My fifteen year old, Sasquatch, has been known to drive me crazy. Partly it's his age, but not completely. He's always been a challenging kid. I have been pushed to my limits by him, more times than once. Some of the worst moments of my life have occurred during these times. It has not been all beer and skittles. I guess if you're truthful, parenting is a series of battles - some important, some ridiculous, some funny...and some heartbreaking. Some won...some lost.

Things have been awfully good around here for quite a while. The honeymoon really does continue. He's changing. He's getting more mature, more capable of controlling himself. We're changing. We're realizing that sometimes we have to back off and let him figure it out on his own. It's a work in progress, but aren't all relationships constantly evolving? The ones that endure anyway. And at the end of the day, I look at the kid and see this incredible human being. Yes, he's difficult at times. Yes, he does have a crappy combo of some of our less desirable qualities. Yes, he can make a cement wall look flexible. But he's mine. And even in his worst moments I wouldn't trade him for anything. Even in his worst moments the pros far outweigh the cons.

I had a kid come in by ambulance last week at work. He was in severe abdominal pain. In tears. When I checked his ID bracelet his birthday was almost exactly the same as my fifteen year old's. I had to move his handcuff to check his ID. He was in a juvenile detention facility and came in strapped to the cart by a leather belt and cuffed at the wrists and ankles. Fifteen years old, anger management issues, psych issues. Obviously legal issues. Two guards at his bedside at all times. I don't know what he did or why he was in this facility. I'm not completely sure I want to know, to tell the truth. We got some phone calls from his family while he was there, wanting to know what was going on. It was a local number, yet no one came in to see him. He was really polite to me and very grateful for the treatment he received. We got him fixed up and sent him back to where he came from. Cuffs and straps in place. Guards at his side.

Perspective is an incredible thing.

So is gratitude.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

all done...

Disclaimer: No Harry Potter fans will be "Spoiled" in the reading of this blog.

Okay, so I read it in one fell swoop yesterday. Half of my ass still has no blood flow, but I'm done. So is Sasquatch. It's a funny thing. You think you are losing your connections with your teenager, but all day long we were within pages of each other. He reads like me. (I like that). The two younger ones ate noodles in a cup and entertained themselves and all was well. They read the books later for some reason and have never gotten into the whole marathon read thing. Oh well, only two copies I have to buy.

Discussion will have to wait, however, because I know that not everyone is a freak like me. So, in comments indicate when you have finished and when we have a group that is done - LET'S GO!! I am so ready!

This is going to be a quick one today anyway. My mom gets here from LA this afternoon. I have to work and my husband is in the final throes of film pre-production chaos. It's a little hectic around here.

But I finished the book... (uh, mom? Could you try to overlook the state of my house? Please?)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

P Day post?


Friday, July 20, 2007

deathly hallows predictions

I've been looking forward to midnight tonight for so long, and now it's almost here. Harry Potter. At last. I don't remember anything media related that I've dreaded and anticipated in such equal measure. Anticipated because I am head over heels in love with this series and have been for years. Because I want these characters to have a happy, well deserved ending. Some of them anyway. Dreaded because...well, lots of reasons. First is that it's the end. This is the last time we'll have this to look forward to. Also because I'm afraid of what's going to happen. I think J.K. Rowling is perfectly capable of killing off any of these characters I have come to feel I know so well and I don't want her to. For better or worse, we'll find out in less than 24 hours.

It's going to be something else.

During my recent re-reading of the series I thought a lot about what might happen in this last book. And because I want to give you all the chance to say "What were you thinking??" after you read the book, I humbly submit ( very abbreviated and underpontificated)

My Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

I believe that...

Dumbledore and Sirius really are dead and not faking it. I do think that in their own way they will each help Harry along this journey. I believe that somehow that two way mirror will survive being shattered by a foul tempered teen.

Snape is a good guy and will prove it by dying to save Harry. Or at least try. You don't have to be nice to be good. I think he killed Dumbledore because that was the deal the two of them made, not because he wanted to. Now that he will be Voldemort's go-to guy, he can help the cause a lot. I've also heard theories about him being in love with Lily Potter, which would explain a lot.

The R.A.B. in the fake Horcrux is Regulus Black, brother of Sirius, and that the real locket is somewhere in 12 Grimmauld Place. Maybe hidden in a filthy cupboard by Kreatcher. Speaking of Kreacher, I think that he could be an enormous source of information if Harry would just ask him.

The fact that Voldemort has even a drop of Harry's blood in him will be his downfall.

Aunt Petunia knows more than she's letting on. Her fear isn't just of looking odd to the neighbors.

The seventh Horcrux isn't Harry. Wouldn't it be bizarre if it had been Dumbledore? Or Snape?

Somehow, some way, Ginny is going to save the day with a bat bogey hex. And Neville and Luna will be very valuable players. I think Neville is going to be a major revelation here.

Who of the good guys will die? Ah yes, the nausea inducing question. Alright, let's hit hard first. Arthur and Molly Weasely are pretty vulnerable in my opinion. (And I will cry buckets). Hagrid. Lupin. (gulp) Every parental figure Harry has ever had. Maybe Draco? I'm not entirely convinced that Draco is going to follow in his father's footsteps.

And who will live? Well, I believe that The Boy Who Lived will live up to his name. With his best friends Ron and Hermione together (finally) and at his side. That he'll get the bat bogey hex girl in the end. And that after a showdown of epic proportions Lord Voldemort will get his wizard ass kicked and finally die a human death. Because this is a moral tale and good is supposed to beat evil. And live happily ever after. And because if Harry dies four people in my house will need therapy. Inpatient.

Just once could I be right?

Anyone else care to look the fool the morning after? Step on up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Thursday Three

How about...

Three of my worst Pet Peeves

We all have them - the things that drive us totally up the wall. They can be innocent or petty or even unrecognizable to others, but they're still there. The term Pet Peeves is obviously open to interpretation, but I generally think of them as things that really aren't earth-shattering or a matter of life or death. They're just annoying as hell. And, like nails on a chalkboard, they can send your blood pressure sky high. And with some things it seems there's a lower threshold than others. It's all about the thresholds.

Let's go then.

#1. Bad Grammar. I admit it. I am the grammar police. I can't stand it when people say "ain't" when they should be saying "am not" or "isn't". My skin crawls when people say "don't" when they really mean "doesn't". Double negatives drive me batty and a lot of the popular culture speak leaves me scratching my head wondering what in the world they just said. And while I'm pretty sure I don't really want to know, it still bugs me.

My poor children have had this drilled into their heads since they were in utero. I don't care if they haven't showered today, I can live if their friends eat all my food, I am even okay with less than fabulous grades - but don't say ain't to your mother. The grief is not worth it.

And just to keep me from being fanatical on this issue - I present my Alabama grandmother, at whose feet I worshipped. She could make double negatives cry and had her own grammatical shorthand that sounded fine coming from her, but could have run into trouble in the general population. One cold day she said to me "Doll, you ain't not got no slippers?" and I was stone cold flummoxed. I got the gist. Something about cold feet and warm slippers. But twenty years later I'm still not completely sure what she said.

And I couldn't care less.

#2. Spitters. Of all the disgusting, vile, revolting habits in the world, this one tops my list. It's not just that spit is the one thing guaranteed to make me gag either. It's the absolute disregard for the poor schmo who has to watch it or step in it or listen to that noise when you hawk it all up. Ugh. The back of my throat is twitching just thinking about it.

And I don't have body function issues either. I have three boys, remember? I haven't sat on a dry toilet seat in fourteen years. In my house people say "Pull my finger" like we're asking what we're having for dessert. I've lost more perennials to boys having peeing contests in the yard than I'd like to admit. My poor hostas never had a chance. And, thanks to a fifteen year old boy who shall remain nameless, (jack) Surfer Dude can now belch the entire alphabet at surround sound volume. I can objectively say that I'm a pretty tough gross out.

But spitting does it. It's just unnecessary.Use a tissue for the love of god. And did I mention it's disgusting, vile and revolting? Just making sure.

#3. One Upsmanship. This is a tough call because I also don't care for overall rudeness, but in its own little passive aggressive way this is plenty rude too. I can't stand it when people feel a constant need to one up you. I don't care how much more money you make or how many people you beat out for that job or why the boss likes you the best. If my kid has the flu theirs has pneumonia. If I lose two pounds they lose four. If my husband gets a promotion their husband buys the company. Come on. Could you just relax a little? Doesn't it get a little tiring to always attempt to come out on top of every situation? Can't you just be the bug today instead of the windshield?

I have given myself a gift as I've gotten older and I've weeded this type out of my life as much as possible. They can just suck the joy right out of you. I had a dear "friend" who never let me forget it when I took almost ten years off of work to stay at home with my kids. In that period of time I lost count of how many of her sentences started with, "Well, of course I'd like to (fill in the blank) but I can't because I work". And it wasn't said in a "boy, do I envy you" tone either. It was flat out bitchy. To some degree these are the people you have to deal with in work, family and social situations, so it doesn't hurt to be able to blandly turn the other cheek and not rise to the bait. But the blander I look the more I internally boil. One day I'm going to blow like Mt. St. Helen's and let them have it. I may even spit.

See if they can top that.

Allright, now it's your turn. I want pet peeves, no matter how small or petty. Surely I'm not the only person who feels this way? Say it ain't so.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a wild ride

My old buddy the snooze alarm seduced me again this morning, so this picture is going to have to speak for me today. I think it does quite well, actually. Have you ever noticed that chaos comes in streaks and that sometimes all you can do is ride it out? And like the old jokes goes, you can do it gracefully or kicking and screaming.
While I feel like tantruming like a two year old, I'm modelling my behavior after the gal above. Now I'll grant you that there are only two children in this scene and that one of them is a girl. If my husband has a suit on that's a very bad sign, and if even one of my boys ever put on a sweater vest I'd need a good stout sedative and a week at a spa. Unless someone somewhere makes Ninja sweater vests. The shade of green in her dress makes me look quite seasick and she doesn't have Roseanne Rosannadanna hair. Details Schmetails.
Now that enormous stack of dishes? That's what I'm talking about...
On a completely unrelated note I got my first spammed comment yesterday. Wahoo! So now I have one of those letter ID thingies that you have to type into. Or at least I'm supposed to. I know it says it won't show up on my screen, but could one of you nice people tell me if it really is there? Muchos apreciados.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2007 Gab Awards

Lord have mercy. I go to work for the 172 hour shift from hell, and I come back to so many awards being handed out that I actually had to make myself a flow-sheet. And at the top of that sheet was written "Yahoo! Someone actually thinks what I'm doing is worth reading. And I have friends!!" (I don't look a thing like Sally Field, by the way).

Okay, I'm done now.

So off we go. My buddies Jo and Mya both picked me for this Thoughtful Bloggers Award, which raises questions about their taste levels that I think we should leave alone. However, Mya is on vacation and Jo is about to go, so maybe they're a little pre-occupied. No matter. I'll take it. Gratefully.

Now I get to pick five people to pass on to. The idea behind this award is that different people do different things, and they should be recognized for that. In keeping with that we can pick the award tag we want for them. In our opinion. So here are the five people I'm giving an award to.

The Creative Blogger Award goes to...

Jo Beaufoix- who looks at things in ways that always make me laugh. So there, ma'am.

Jen - who is just creative with a capital C. With a Canadian drawl.

Mya - who has actually made me come close to wetting myself. I'd never admit if I really had.

Not wrong, just different - a new member of the bunch who is just twisted enough to fit right in.

And the Courageous Blogger Award goes to...

Happy In The Abyss. Who also happens to be my sister-in-law Leigh, and who is much more upfront about things than I ever could be. I just don't have the nerve. But she does.

Then we have the Schmooze Award, given to me by the pee-inducing Mya. This award is the idea of Mike at Ordinary Folk. He defines schmoozing as the ability to converse casually with others and make social connections. Mya compares it to arse-licking, which is a thing I would never say. Especially if I agreed. I'll still take it.

And for this I pick...

Not Wrong, just different - for reaching out wholeheartedly to her newly midwestern world.

Happy in the Abyss - for sticking out the whole blog thing. Just to spite big sis.

stratford girl - for being a very fun read.

relevance and revolution - because she's my bud and I love her. And man, can she schmooze.

wife in the north - because I want to schmooze with her. Can I? Please? We're all fans.

Okay, the trifecta is almost over. The final hat trick is the...

award. Given by the aforementioned Not Wrong, just different. I think the Kansas girls are sticking together. Now she did mention that she thought I fibbed a little and that no one could do as much as I say I do? Have I mentioned all the hours I sit on my ass eating popcorn and reading mystery novels? Drinking wine? On the internet? (uh oh). Pleading with the Health Department not to condemn my house? Now there's a full time job. Believe me, present schedule definitely excluded, I have the best part-time job ever. Lots of free time.

But...I'm not sure if this fits under fibber or something else, but I'm supposed to pick two people to pass this on to and can't. I have to go back to my heavenly trifecta...

because these three are the ones who get me through my worst days. And in my world, they rock. Big, fat, serious ROCK. I will now rest my case.

Are there blog thugs that come and beat me up if I ignore the "rules"? Do they know where I live and how to bribe my dogs? (beef, lots of it). I've seen the Sopranos. Bring it on...

Whew. Gotta go take off that gown. I can't breathe.
P.S. This post was brought to you by cut, paste and highlight. There's a trio for you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

ghost stories

I woke up in the middle of the night last night when one of my dogs brushed up against my arm, which was hanging off the side of my bed. This isn't completely unusual, although with my three dogs it's odd that they're off the bed instead of on it. A California King doesn't go far with two adults, three big labs and any combination of night wandering children. Sometimes I think it would be more comfortable sleeping in the front seat of my car. It would certainly be less hairy.

What got my attention last night was that the arm brushing episode threw me back to my pretty young childhood and made me think of ghost stories. Specifically this one. Some blind person has to spend the night in a haunted house for some reason. Do not ask why. This was always the weak point in all the ghost story plot lines. Seriously. It's always a person at some physical disadvantage and they always have to stay in a haunted (possessed, Bermuda Triangle-ish, etc.) house for the sheer hell of it. As an adult I want to know why this fool felt the need to do it. As a kid I was enthralled. Anyway, this blind person had a dog and when they got scared in the haunted house they would reach out for the dog, who would reassuringly lick their hand. Well, of course this poor schmuck was never heard from again until the next thrill seeker went into the house, where they found the blind person's dead body and a note that said...

Humans can lick hands, too.

Ewwww. Can I tell you that this story scared the bejeezus out of me until I was about thirty? Part of it was that I loved ghost stories as a kid, even though I was a wimp. Part of it was that any story with a dog was okay with me, even if the dog turned out to have two legs. But most of it was the way I heard the story in the first place. At the Gun Club...

My grandparents belonged to a Rod and Gun Club when I was little and I spent a lot of time there with them. There were a lot of social events, mostly involving food, beer and cards. Surely I'm wrong, but I don't remember much in the way of rods or guns. But I guess if you called it the Beer and Poker Club you'd get a whole different clientele. While the adults did their adult things, the kids would go into this big club type room with a fireplace and tell ghost stories. We would all sit around in a circle and see who could scare the others into a quivering pile of kid flesh. It was an ongoing competition to see who could, week after week, dominate the floor with their scary stories. Being one of the youngest ones there, I was almost always the scare-ee instead of the scare- er, but it didn't matter. I loved all the stories, but the blind fool and the dog tale was the one that made the biggest impression on me. It still kind of gives me the heebees.

And I have absolutely no idea what made this whole subject pop into my head.

talk to me

I guess I never realized that my comments section was set up so you had to have an account to comment. I think I 've fixed that so anyone with a desire can speak up.

Bring it on...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

a sunday scream

I got home last night after work and did something I never do. I went straight to bed. Normally I'm so wired that I can't sleep for hours, but not last night. Ate a few crackers with some cheese, snuggled with the kids, checked yesterday's blog for comments and crashed. Now I will admit to some strange dreams. In one of them I admitted a patient to the floor, but instead of an aide taking them up it was one of my husband's friends in a grip truck. (The Film Geek is heavy into pre-production for a film that is starting in a couple of weeks and whenever I'm home is on the phone or the computer hashing out all the details. More later.) So this friend in a grip truck took the patient to the hospital where I used to work but didn't know what else to do with them, so he left them, ventilator and all, in the parking lot. I found this out when my mother called me from Ikea to tell me that she had bought me some curtains and had covered up my patient with them and did I plan on leaving them in the parking lot all day because she needed the spot.
Right. No stress dreams there.
I'm on my last day of the work run and it's shaping up to be quite interesting. A couple of people have already, as of yesterday, called in sick. We're having ( I do not make these things up) a planned power outage to get a new wing up and running, and half of our unit will be without power for half of the day. I'd been getting the email memos, but ignoring them, because surely this was a joke, right? Serious like a vented patient in a parking lot covered in Ikea floral sheers. When I realized this, I (only half jokingly) said that maybe I ought to call in sick too. The charge nurse (whom I adore) looked up from the phone where she was trying to recruit victims to work today, and told me that if I did she'd come to my house, kick down my damn door and drag me to work by my heels.
I'm guessing that's a no.
I promise I will catch up with my blog buddies tomorrow. I feel like a big ol' slacker, but have opted for primal scream blog therapy this morning. Jo, thanks for the award. How cool is that? Iota - thank you!! I'm so glad you're stopping by. And Jen and Jo - I will get to the meme, I promise. Thank you for the comments, ladies. They gave me something to look forward to yesterday.
You guys are the best!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

do not START with me

This is the standard pain scale we use...

Note that it stops at 10.

If you tell us your pain is higher than 10, we automatically think that you're...

FOS - full of shit. This could be literal (you don't want to know) or figurative. You could, for example, be trying to con the nice nurse out of narcotics by exaggerating your pain. Do not think for a second that your nurse does not have direct input into the type and amount of painkiller you get. Critical Care nurses have enough of the doc's respect that they ask what we think. Do not think for a second that we don't tell them. Your med will reflect this. Every. Single. Time. So don't try and convince me you're not a drug seeker when I have a computer screen right in front of me that tells me you are. Tylenol for you, buddy. And yeah, I'd be happy to take this outside. I've been here for eleven long hours and would love to blow a little steam off somehow. Another possiblilty is that you could be suffering from...

Status Dramaticus - especially prevalent when hovering family members are present. Known by many names, the majority unprintable on this family friendly blog. This is the patient who screams and wails when we are in the room and then sends a relative out for fast food as soon as we leave. Rule #1. If you are well enough to eat you need to get out of that bed. I need it for someone sick. Rule #2. If you rate your pain at a 10 I'd better see a butcher knife sticking out of your head. On both sides. Or you might need to be in...

The Scrotum - these are our two attached mental health rooms. So called because the nurse is at the desk in between two nuts. I don't make these things up, folks, I just report them. I'll take a nut job any day of the week over a hungry drama queen with a backache. I have a huge amount of empathy for the nut jobs and none at all for the drama queens. You could also check out...

The ER nurse mission statement.

Can you tell I've been working too much lately??

Friday, July 13, 2007

curly girl

I have curly hair. Not wavy hair - curly hair. Cosmo Kramer hair. Rosanne Rosannadanna hair. Finger in an electrical socket hair. And I hate it. With a passion.

My entire life has been a battle with my hair and almost always I've been on the losing end. In High School I would spend forty five minutes a day blow drying my hair as straight as I could get it. Then I would step out the door into the desert LA air and even that tiny little bit of humidity would send me straight back to Kramerville. Once I had the brilliant idea to get a perm. My rationale was that maybe then the curls would at least be in the right place. Because, to make matters worse, I have one hunk of hair in the front that always wants to stick straight up. To call the perm a mistake is like calling Rosie O'Donnell slightly opinionated. You could have set a table on my head. Plate, silverware, glass - they would have all sat completely level. I looked like Bozo the Clown. Or a really badly trimmed flat topped topiary shrub. On to Plan B.

Wait a minute, I had no Plan B. I still blow dried and fussed and my hair still threw ringlets back at me. What I was working with was an ineffective Plan A. And this is the way things stayed for a long time. With each of my three pregnancies my hair got straighter for some reason, but I still wasn't happy. My friends with straight hair thought I was nuts to want straight hair and I obviously knew they were certifiable for wanting curls.

I had years to ponder this "grass is always greener" theory. And all I ever came up with is...why? Why do women do this to themselves with such predictability? It's almost never men. When have you ever heard one man tell another man that he wished he had his thighs? Or eyes? We do it all the time, though. If you have straight hair you want curly. And vice versa. If you have pale skin you want olive skin. And vice versa. If you're tall you want to be short. And vice versa.If you have small boobs you want big boobs. And...never mind.

Then last year an amazing thing happened. The gal who does my hair flat ironed it. OH MY GOD. I had straight, sleek, shiny, swingy hair. For the first time in my life I absolutely loved my hair. I bought a flat iron and from there on I was a new woman. I felt girly and sexy and sassy with my straight hair. It was nothing short of miraculous.

A couple of weeks ago I didn't have time to flat iron my hair and went to work au naturel. And I'm damned if a whole slew of people didn't ask if I'd gotten a perm and tell me that my hair looked fabulous. One male co-worker even asked if he could run his hands through it. When I told everyone shamefacedly that this was my "real" hair and that I usually straightened it they all looked at me like I was crazy and said "Why?"

And for the first time in my life I'm really not sure.

Check out the wonderful Jo Beaufoix for what started me thinking about my funky follicles.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Thursday Three

Today's list is...

Three things I am really embarrassed to admit that I really like.

and when I say really...I mean really. Really.

Exhibit A.

The Bay City Rollers. Might as well start off with a bang. But wait, it gets worse. It was bad enough that I was a tartan wearing teeny-bopper, but as an adult I still listen to them when no one else is around. Maybe it's the fact that it makes me feel twelve again, maybe it's that it was a simpler time. Maybe it's just that I have no taste. I don't wear tartan anymore, if that's any consolation.

As stupid as it sounds The Bay City Rollers were my teenage rebellion. My step-father when I was growing up in LA was a studio and touring musician and he worked with a lot of world class acts. If I'd adored the Rolling Stones or the Pretenders (which as a matter of fact I secretly did) it would have been a given that I at least had some musical taste. But the BCR drove him nuts. He would say, through gritted teeth, "Can they at least hit one of the notes they're trying to hit?" Teenage mission accomplished. I can't quite explain why I still (very occasionally) listen to them and sing along - off key of course.

Exhibit B.

Salt on fruit. You can blame my Alabama grandmother for this, but I love salt on fruit. Apples, melon, oranges and grapefruit, but especially watermelon. Oh my god, do I love salt on watermelon. I try to not do it, because I know all that salt isn't good for you. I just eat it plain like a good girl. Most of the time.

But when no one is out.

Exhibit C.

Reality Television. Not all of it - I do have some taste. (After reading this far you may doubt that, but I do. Really). I don't like the super cheesy shows like The Bachelor and the ones like Please Marry My Dad, but I do have a few favorites. I like Survivor and American Idol and most of the Bravo shows, but especially Project Runway. I watch some of these shows with my kids and it's a lot of fun to argue and debate about them. Top Chef is the show of the moment. My kids are really big on any show they can keep on for background noise and then as soon as it's over turn to me and ask me what happened. Sometimes I tell them the truth and sometimes I scramble it all up in the hope that eventually they'll watch it themselves. Right. Like that's going to happen.

Well, there you go. Thanks to those who gave me ideas for the list. In the end I decided not to do any of them because we all do similar lists and I started to feel really bad about taking all those good ideas for myself. And besides, I want to read what other people come up with.

Okay people, fess up. What are your guilty pleasures?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

meatloaf wednesday

I have a lot of odds and ends today, so let's call today a meatloaf day. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I'm having a bit of a mental health day today, since tomorrow is the start of a long work run for me - three twelve hour shifts in four days. I'm already, at ten in the morning, in emotional prep mode. So don't expect anything fabulous today, okay? 'Kay. As long as we're on the same page.

10 days. And the countdown to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits fever pitch. All the PR machines are clearly working over-time since you can't go anywhere without Harry in your face. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm just not sure it's even needed. This thing has a life all its own. I'm 400+ pages into Half Blood Prince, so I'm right on target. I've been having Hogwarts dreams for a week. Bingo.

We have advance tickets for Order of the Phoenix today. Our local theater is only having four showings on one screen, so I'm sure my mom stock will go up when we get there, tickets in hand, and sail through the ticketless masses. The Gooey Butter Cake didn't hurt my stock either, come to think of it. It's nice to be on a winnning run for a change. Won't last long...must enjoy now.

I'm kicking around ideas for the Thursday Three tomorrow and am taking suggestions. Anyone have any thoughts? Slide 'em this way. The more off kilter the better. *smirk*

We're still waiting for definitive news on our friend Maggie. It was definitely cancer, in both ovaries. The lymph node pathology is due today. Please think good thoughts. We hear she's being feisty and giving the hospital staff what for, so that's encouraging. This may surprise you, but in certain patients them giving me hell makes me very happy. It indicates a certain level of energy that can be a real relief. It's usually the limp ones that worry me the most. The nasty ones don't worry me. They just tick me off.

Go forth and enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

gooey + butter = good

I've never posted a recipe before, but I've seriously considered it. It would be completely in character for me, since I love to cook and god knows I can eat twice my own weight a day. The recipes I've thought about posting reflect my personal approach to cooking. Spicy, multi-cultural dishes that are, nevertheless, comfort foods. Meals that are healthy, down to earth and fabulous at the same time. This is the way we eat most of the time, and these are the recipes I gravitate toward.

So in keeping with all this, I've broken down and am officially printing my first recipe...for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. Doesn't meet a single criteria on my list and I don't give a damn.

Oh wait, yeah it does. This cake is fabulous.

Gooey Butter Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 box powdered sugar
1 stick butter-melted
extra powdered sugar for sprinkling

Combine cake mix, 2 eggs and melted butter. Mix well - batter will be really stiff. Spread in a greased 13X9 pan. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 eggs together. Spread over the cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until light golden brown. Don't overcook it or it won't be gooey. It should look kind of cheesecake like. Sprinkle with more additional powdered sugar.

Put on your biggest mumu, pull the blinds and go to town. Insulin optional.

I have to offer a caveat. This is not the exact recipe I ate, since that baker doesn't divulge her secrets. But I scoured the on-line recipe sites and this one is very highly recommended. It's also one of the easier ones, since it starts with the boxed cake mix. There are others that are from scratch and I'm sure taste like it, but this one got lots of raves and looks simple.

Another caveat - I haven't made this cake yet, although I plan to this afternoon. So why am I putting this out there when it could be the cake equivalent of Becca's BM? Because I know I'll lose my nerve if I wait to post it. This recipe is so not me that I need to get it out there fast while I can still taste it. And because from the comments posted on the recipe site I know it won't suck.

As soon as I finish licking the pan I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, July 9, 2007

stacey and jules

We got back yesterday from a great girl's weekend in St. Louis. I love a road trip more than almost anything, and this was a (mostly) very nice one. Hit the highway with a bag full of snacks, ate our way through a welcoming barbeque (with lots of desserts), a bagel brunch (with huge dessert table), a party spread with a World' s Fair theme (with huge dessert table) and a hospitality bag full of, you guessed it, a bunch of desserts. There was something in the bag called a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, which we'd never heard of before and is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I'm pretty sure at this point I have pure corn syrup running through my veins instead of blood, but it's okay. How often do these things happen? I can always abstain another day. (Right. Like that's going to happen).

The Bat Mitzvah service was incredibly moving, and I was in awe at my friend Leiba for organizing it. A hundred people from around the country, a weekend full of activities, some people (like myself) who knew almost no one and a large group of people who seemed to know everyone. Coming from a relatively small family it was a kick to see a huge, raucus Jewish family swing into party mode. This bunch knew how to cut loose. They do it with dessert, not alcohol.

There were some moments of levity along the way. My road trip bud Stacey and I had heard the stories of Leiba'a mother-in -law for years, but never seen the gal in action. Every time she visited when the family lived here we were discouraged from meeting her, due to her snappish nature. We saw this weekend that these stories weren't exaggerated, unfortunately. From refusing to leave the airport terminal because her darling son wasn't picking her up personally to physically jumping out of a moving car when she did actually see him, she lived up to the hype and then some. You could spot her easily at any point. She was the one who looked like she was smelling month old smoked salmon all the time.

And then there were the M&M's. Like I said, this event has been years in the planning, and a lot of personalized gifts were given out during the welcoming BBQ. Cup holders with the Bat Mitzvah girl's name - Becca - on them. Rubber bracelets imprinted with her name and the date. And so on. Well, one of Leiba's (I think) cousins wasn't able to help as much as she wanted, so she said she wanted to order some personalized M&M's for the weekend. I hadn't known until a couple of years ago that you can special order M&M's to say anything you want in any color you want. The trick, of course, is that M&M's are small, and it's hard to fit a lot on them. So instead of saying "Becca's Bat Mitzvah" they read "Becca's BM". We discovered this with a mouth full of candy and it was quite the effort not to spray everyone around us with chewed up chocolate. When we asked Leiba (very carefully, mind you) if she knew about this, she rolled her eyes and said her cousin thought it would be cute. Cute. We asked what Becca thought about it. Cute wasn't a word that came up. It was a constant chuckle throughout the weekend as people started reading the M&M's and choking as it hit them. Sadly (or luckily), I don't think her MIL ate any. I'm sure the whole room would have heard about it. Very loudly. Oy vey, no one knows what she puts up with with that daughter-in-law of hers. Could she tell us some stories.

The weekend would have been a home run except for one thing. As soon as she picked me up Stacey warned me that she had really really bad news, and she didn't exaggerate. One of our friends, who was vacationing in upstate New York, had developed terribly severe abdominal cramps, bad enough that her husband took her into the ER. Next thing they knew she was in surgery,where the docs removed a "huge" tumor, along with the ovary it was on. With no pathology in hand they actually used the "malignant" word. It was bad enough that she has a colostomy, and while waiting for final pathology results the team there is already talking to her about major cancer centers and possible treatment options. No symptoms. No signs. Oh yeah, she had been complaing about feeling a little tired lately. Anyone reading this not feeling a little tired?

So between the update phone calls and the fact that everything we did reminded us of our friend Maggie in some way, it was hard. We would be laughing one minute and on the verge of tears the next. She has kids the same ages as ours. She was one of the very first people who drew me into the group when we moved here. And all we can do at this point is wait.

I love road trips. But I really hate waiting.

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday to my own Mother-In-Law, who I love dearly, even though she doesn't provide me with any comic material. Couldn't you be a biatch just once, so I could write about it??

Friday, July 6, 2007

little ol' me?

Well, there was quite a party at Jen's place yesterday. I learned a valuable lesson. You can't post a bunch of beefcake shots and not expect the gals to get all het up. Clearly the estrogen was flying, because by the time I got home from work late last night, my name had acquired blog-in-cheek royal overtones. And you know me...I'll take it. As long as it involves double birthday presents (and cake too?, she asked hopefully) I'm there. But the Queen above is much more my style. I don't look quite well in hats. No one need salute or sing when I comment. Just try not to laugh at my mis-spellings.

Seriously, you all had me laughing so hard last night. (And I needed it. I'm still worried about where Jo will finally find that elusive poo. Just when I stopped fretting about Mya's MIL from Hell. It's always something). Think of me in blog purgatory this weekend, as I'm going out of town later today until Sunday. A dear friend in St. Louis is having her daughter's Bat Mitzvah and a couple of us are making a girl's weekend of it. I've never been to a Bat Mitzvah and am really looking forward to it. My friend has been planning this for years it seems, so it should be a blow-out. I'm sure the old blog twitch will start about five minutes away from my computer. Strength! I'll be back posting Monday.

Now play nice ladies. Don't nominate me to be the next Mrs. Tom Cruise or anything while I'm not around to defend myself.

and on the subject of my birthday...

I've been tagged by Jen and Mya -

Here's the deal. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday month and day. Then post three events, two births and one holiday that occurred on that day. When you're done tag five more people to do it too. This was fun!

My birthday is June 16th.

three events -

1903 - Ford Motor Company incorporates

1858 - Abraham Lincoln's House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois.

1967 - Monterey Pop Festival begins; Monterey, California.

two birthdays -

1938 - Joyce Carol Oates, American novelist

1955 - Laurie Metcalf, American actress

and one holiday -

Bloomsday, in honour of Leopold Bloom, the hero of James Joyce's Ulysses set on 16 June, 1904.

And I'm tagging -

have fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Thursday Three

Today let's talk about...

"Sexy" Men I Just Don't Get

I know we all have different tastes in the opposite sex. Or the same sex - to each his or her own. And surely this is a good thing, because otherwise we'd all be duking it out over the same few people. This would inevitably lead to a lot of us being stuck with nothing but cheap paperback romance novels and bad country songs to keep us warm at night. But there are some famous "sexy" men I just don't, for the life of me, get. To be perfectly fair, there a quite a few "sexy" women I'm a little puzzled about too. I almost hate admitting a couple of these, because I think something may be just a little wrong with me. Or maybe even a lot. And I apologize for jumping on the whole celebrity bandwagon, but at least these are people we can all recognize. If I said I didn't find the guy at the Post Office sexy we wouldn't have much to debate, would we?

#1. Tom Cruise. Pre-Open mouth insert foot stage. Pre-Katie Holmes. Pre-radical Scientologist. (Not sure when that was). I just do not understand what it is that makes so many people ga-ga over Tom Cruise. I was fresh out of college and working at Paramount during the Top Gun days when it seemed like he could do no wrong. The day that his production company was moving into their new offices on the lot every female (and quite a few males) felt it necessary to camp out for a glimpse of the man himself. And these were jaded Hollywood types. I passed on that circus, but did see him at other times on the lot. He's short.

Really, the fact that he does nothing for me is particularly odd because he sort of has the Black Irish coloring I've always found irresistable. Dark hair, pale skin, blue eyes. And even that doesn't work for him. (Are his eyes even blue? Maybe hazel, now that I check). But still.

#2. Justin Timberlake. Not even sure where to start here. Just. Don't. Get. It. Maybe it's the age thing, because I know a lot of younger girls who think he's the It Man of the moment. But I don't think so. I can think of plenty of other guys his age who do a lot more for me. Mrs. Robinson just can't think of them right now.

I do like the way he, uh, dances. But I'm opposed to anyone who has ever seen Britney Spears naked on general principle.

Okay, I'm saving this one for last, because even I know there's something wrong with me.

#3. Brad Pitt. Oh Jesus save me, for I have sinned. I do not find Brad Pitt sexy in the least. I think he's cute enough, I mean he doesn't gross me out or anything. I just don't have that weak-kneed thing going. This little glitch makes me feel seriously out of step with the rest of human kind.

I think part of my problem with Brad Pitt is that the "pretty boy" isn't a type I normally gravitate toward. And also that virtually any film he's in has at least one person who out-sexies him in my book. George Clooney. Vince Vaughn. Angelina Jolie.

I wonder if there's anything I can take for this?

All right people, lets have your lists. Someone please make me not be the freak here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

fraidy dogs

I like fireworks well enough.

But with spoiled canines freaking out and cowering at the noise, we tend to stay home when fireworks are going off. I have my own personal fireworks when three big furry babies all try to climb in my lap at once. The Rulers of our Household do not care for this particular holiday.

And I don't let my kids set them off because they scare me.

I'm a real party pooper, aren't I?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

too much information

When I walk into a patient's room to take a medical history I consider myself fairly bullet-proof. Really. There's virtually nothing they can tell me that will shock me. IV drug use? Check. Domestic violence? Right. Transexual? No problem. This whole information gathering routine is just part of the job, and I would never in a million years hold someone's medical or psych status against any way.

But there is a widespread affliction that does get to me. It's the TMI Syndrome - Too Much Information. Some people seem to think that they can tell nurses anything - anything at all - even (or especially) when it has nothing to do with their medical status. That's a stethoscope around my neck folks, not a clerical collar. Please do not feel like you need to fill me in on aspects of your life that are better left to confessionals or on-line chat rooms. Seriously. I've washed my ears until there's almost nothing left.

I'm sure it's the stuff of family legend that the baby you've brought in with a fever was conceived in the restroom at a Coldplay concert. Or that Grampa takes to his workshop every night after dinner because Grandma doesn't allow "those" magazines in the house. I don't really want the full explanation of the tattoo we discovered doing a pelvic exam, and why would you want a guy who needed direction arrows anyway? Too. Much. Information.

I had a gal last week who was in for a urinary tract infection. As I was discharging her the boyfriend walked in with their four kids, ages about three to ten. I try to be non-judgemental, but these people needed baths. And shampoo. And teeth. I ran through her instructions while all her visitors listened. Finish your antibiotics, no caffeine, no spicy foods...she kept nodding her head in understanding. But when I got to the part about no sexual intercourse until the antibiotics were gone, she laughed and said "Tell that to Mr. Four Times A Day over there". And the boyfriend and the kids all laughed and nodded.

There's no shower in the world that can wash away that moment.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The New Math

Whether I like it or not math is an integral part of nursing. I have a love/hate relationship with math - I hate it and love the fact that I've survived math classes in spite of myself. It was bad enough in High School, when my Algebra teacher only passed me after I promised I'd never take another math class in my life. Then in college (the first time around) I had the brilliant idea to take Logic as my math requirement instead of the dreaded Algebra. I spent the entire semester learning that, if your facts are lined up properly, I could be proven to be a male Australian goat herder with a speech impediment. It had almost as much relevance to my life as Algebra, but was twice as infuriating.

Then, a few short years back, came Nursing School. In our Orientation meeting one of the first things we were warned about was the Math Tests. There would be one in the first year and one in the second. Passing grade was 95%. Anything less was a fail. We would have three attempts to pass each test and if we didn't we were out of the program. Not the class - the program. They were nursing math questions, like this:

You have an order to give 5 mcg per kg of a med to a pt who weighs 184 lbs. Your med is one gram that is to be reconstituted with 10 mls of sterile saline. How many mls of the med would you give?

Do you have any idea how many hours of sleep I lost over these tests? And somehow (this is another post for another time) I passed them. I passed the first one on the first try and the second one on the second try. Good thing there wasn't a third or I'd have stroked out on the spot.

But like Algebra, this type of math is self-limiting. To start with most meds are pretty straight forward. So is the whole kg/lb conversion. Most of the meds we use in codes have very clear cut dosages that don't change. And as the final safety net all of us have someone else recheck anything that makes us nervous. So even though I dreaded the math it hasn't been all that bad. It just hasn't been that relevant.

There's a new Nursing Math that is a lot more applicable these days. It worries me, because if I were ever tested on this I'm not sure how I'd do. Here's an example:

1. You are assisting a primary nurse with charcoal administration down an orogastric tube. You are wearing a brand new pair of scrubs in a really cool color. The room measures ten feet by twelve feet. The patient starts to gag before the tube is pulled. Knowing that charcoal can spew out of a tube in a six foot radius (even with a thumb over the opening) and the stretcher is two feet wide, how many feet per second do you have to back up to get less charcoal on you than the primary nurse?

2. You are the primary nurse taking care of a very shy female teenager in the gynecology room. Her private physician arrives to see her, but you can see that he is in a really crappy mood. After much coaxing, the patient finally agrees to a pelvic exam. How many people will open the door during the exam?

3. One of your patients is an elderly, confused male with an enlarged prostate. He has a catheter and will be admitted to the floor as soon as his labs come back. Somehow he manages to get off the stretcher. The drainage bag is firmly hooked to the side rail. Knowing that the catheter is 12 inches long and the drainage tubing is three feet long, will he be able to reach the door before pulling out the catheter?

Now that's the kind of math I could use.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Me? OCD?

I got (gently) accused yesterday of being OCD in my re-reading of the Harry Potter books pre Deathly Hallows. Now I am the first to admit that I can put the A in anal, but I didn't think this particular accusation was quite fair. It came from my friend Stacey, in her melodic Baltimore brogue, as she said that she herself was re-reading the last two only in DH prep. (On a completely unrelated note, why is it that so many of my dearest friends are East Coast types? Must investigate further. Stay tuned for upcoming blog analysis).

My indignant answer to Stacey is that I am clue searching. Like the rest of the universe I'm formulating theories about what will happen to these characters that have become so real to me. And I think there are tons of clues buried all the way back from the first book on because this whole series was planned so well from the start. I've got a slew of ideas, and I'm sure I'll be sharing them soon enough. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The more I read the more in awe I am at J.K. Rowling and her forethought. To have plotted out seven books in such detail before even writing one absolutely floors me. I can't write a paragraph without changing course four times. The problem with so many book series is that the main characters change so much because they have to in order to become series material. For example, I love the Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta series. (Or at least I did until the last three, which were just bizarre). The first book, Post Mortem, won every single British and American mystery award imaginable and is absolutely brilliant. (If you haven't read it and feel the urge take my advice and don't read it alone in the house. Seriously. I lent it to a friend when her husband was out of town and she didn't speak to me for a month). But the problem is that the main character, Scarpetta, was totally different in this book than she was in later books. She did so many things in the first book that were completely out of character in the later books. In order to make her able to carry a series, Cornwell had to change her drastically. I got over it eventually, but it was really jarring for a while.

The beauty of Harry Potter is that the characters have remained so consistent over six books. People may not behave the way you expect them to, but you believe that there's a reason for it other than sloppiness. And I trust - completely - that this series will end the way Rowling wants it to and not just as a way to write herself out of a corner she's backed herself into.

I can't wait.