Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Medical Insanity

Okay, time for the soap box again.... I am thinking that everyone has gone a bit insane and has forgotten the secret to staying healthy is actually getting sick once in a while so we can actually build new immunities. What has set me off on this topic is the incessant bombardment about getting a damn flu shot I've had to endure in the last week. Remember, I work in health care now... Gawd help me! So let's break things down a bit. First, they spew all these crazy statistics about how dangerous it is to get the flu and how people DIE from it every year and how we must vaccinate against this deadly thing. HELLO, do we live in the dark ages? No, last time I checked it was the good ol' industrial age still. The reality is, that while there is indeed a very SMALL subset of the population who could benefit, there is very little actual risk to the typical person dying of the influenza virus. Which brings me to the second point. IT IS A VIRUS! Repeat after me, bacteria can be treated with antibiotics but if you go to the doctor and all you have is a virus they are going to tell you to get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids. Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T KILL A FREAKIN' VIRUS! Third, that crazy vaccine that they are injecting you with is last year's flu strain - which has already mutated as virus' are wont to do - and will not really protect you from much anyway. Just eat good food - you know, real food from whole plants and stuff with vitamins and minerals and all the good stuff nature intended for us - and you are going to be better off than getting that stupid shot. And if you don't believe me, remember what happened to those pesky invaders in War of The Worlds... We are building up immunities to everything around us that actually protect us from all the nasty things that are out there but only if we are actually exposed to them! Hey, while we are protesting the insanity, let's throw out the antibacterial hand crap and even the antibacterial soaps! And what do you say you don't wash your hands - unless of course you are in a public restroom or in a hospital where you might really catch some nasty bugs. And for the love of GOD, don't get a damn flu shot!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Choice

This book by Nicholas Sparks left me so wanting... I guess if you want mindless boy-meets-girl-who-has-hang-ups-and-then-life-works-out-like-a-fucking-fairytale that reads like most of his other books then go ahead and pick it up. However, if you want a book that was written thoughtfully with some actual research (or maybe thought?!?) put into it then I don't recommend it. The book is supposed to be about the choice of a husband to take his wife off life support or not and yet it gets sort of thrown in at the end. The bulk of the book is about the one weekend when they met and how they fell in love and ended up together - which actually sucked because the female lead character was really a little harlot who cheated on her long-time boyfriend and ends up sleeping with the male lead character after only a couple of days? Come on, Sparks, what do you take us for? The second part of the book, which starts about 2/3 of the way in and is supposedly what it is about, is so jumbled and confusing that you don't even know what has happened or what the struggle is supposed to be; almost like it was thrown in as an afterthought so he could have a new title and a new book to market. And let's not forget the blatant evidence of not having done a bit of research for this book that can be summed up by the little "Aztec ruins in Cancun" reference. Hello! They are Mayan ruins, not Aztec! The ending is so unrealistic from both a medical and a personal perspective that I found it insulting. Definitely not something I would bother with unless you are a super duper Sparks fan. Personally, I like my fantasy to be labeled as such.

(OMG, could becoming a writer actually make one a hateful reader? I am a bit worried....)

With all that said, it was still a very lively discussion at book club last week where we talked about all the relevant stuff that the book SHOULD have brought up and actually made a statement about. Why does one bother writing a book with such a political and social topic and then not even bother to make a statement about what you think? Self, repeat after me... When I become a NY Times Bestselling Author I will NOT sell myself short just to write another book on someone's damn deadline."

I'm back!

All praise the Internet gods... We now have Internet service at home and the withdrawals are over. Well, that's not entirely true since I still don't have a Blackberry. BUT, it is getting easier to live without one and don't feel like dying because I may not get one for a while. That has more to do with the fact that it isn't very practical right now when I have a brand new phone and am learning to live without Internet on my hip and constant email activities. I might have had a problem bigger than I have previously admitted and I'm going to just see how long I can take it. Should make the hubby happy anyway.

So, a week into the new job and I'm loving it. Every day I get a bit more info and training and like it that much better. The co-worker from the old job has only called me three times this week so apparently is going to be fairly okay without me. I don't miss being on call and am relishing the time in training before I know enough to be on call again. Being in health care is a bit weird for me since I swore I didn't like people enough to ever be in that field. Although I still get to deal with the very impersonal and logical computer system I love so I can't really say I'm doing what folks who are really giving patient care do. Weird still... I've spent my offline days working on the book outline and am getting very excited for the kick-off of NaNoWriMo in a week. And the new writing group is meeting for the first time this week. Life is good ...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Envy and Withdrawls

Okay, I didn't even make it two days without finding an Internet connection to check emails.... THANK YOU ACE!!! I had nightmares last night about the (as the hubby puts it) corporate sabotage I did by leaving my former co-worker in charge upon my departure. And I now know that an upgrade to the home PC is a must after having spent 20 minutes online with the neighbor's sweet system. Tomorrow I'll find out just what I'm getting into at the new job and can't wait for the adventure to begin. One thing is certain, I must find a different phone or get a Blackberry of my own. Texting without a full qwerty keyboard just simply blows!

Friday, October 17, 2008

End Days... going Incommunicado

Well, I've done it... The email is all cleaned out, all the personal effects are either already carted home or are bound for the "5-minute box" on the way out the door tomorrow, and I've checked off pretty much all the things that I wanted to do on my list titled Departure Tasks with time tomorrow to take care of what's left. I am even resigned to the fact that I will not have a Blackberry for the time being... although I found one on eBay that I do believe is going to be MINE. I am both excited for what's ahead and very sad to leave. In the end, though, I believe that even if I had the elusive crystal ball it would simply confirm that I am making the right career choice for me long-term.

With that said, this will be my last post for a while - probably a week at least - because things in life don't always turn out as we like them to and not only will I not have the Internet on my hip in the form of my little black beauty labeled Blackberry, we will not even have Internet access at the house. Long story short, our ISP dropped us from a local tower when they ran into problems with the home it was on a couple of months back and because I have a wireless card in my laptop provided for work access (a perk of being on call 24x7x365) we just didn't rush to replace it and it got buried in all the rest of the stuff I've been up to. I called yesterday to order an install with the company we decided would give us comparable service at a reasonable rate and then listened in HORROR to the sales girl tell me that the first available install date is more than a week away. We are on the waiting list if anything comes open before then and I am sure hoping that happens! I have to turn in my work laptop and all accessories tomorrow before I leave and I won't even be in my new office to get my new laptop until Tuesday. When I do, it does not come with a nifty little air card to access Internet anywhere so even with a laptop I won't have Internet access on it. Talk about going cold turkey! See you on the other side of a week of no-Internet-hell and wish me luck, I'm definitely going to need it! Maybe it will give me an excuse to work on my novel outline since I sure don't need the Internet to be creative...right?!?

On a light note, I heard that there's a pot at the new place and that the most anyone has given me is 6 days before my head explodes from information overload. So, I have THAT to look forward to! :)

Lunchtime with the Bitches

This was THE funniest moment of the week - hands down. My friend, who I won't name names but rhymes with Becky and might be short for Rebecca, and I were at lunch today in a semi-crowded restaurant downtown. While we sat there trying - mostly in vain - to enjoy our lunchtime conversation, someones phone kept ringing. At first it was merely an annoyance. But as the lunch progressed it became incessant. Think Blackberry on steroids; one little chime, like it was notifying of a new email or a text message or something equally annoying. Neither Becky or I were subtle in our annoyance and are both very vocal when the need arises or when we think the need should arise. So, we started making comments directed flippantly to the table nearest us of construction-worker types who all had phones and who all were playing with them. Never mind that the entire table was over 40, they needed to answer their damn phone or shut it the HELL up! Now mind you, these comments were delivered very passive-aggressively and not actually directed toward these men but we sure had a great time showing our truly bitchy colors. About 25 minutes later having finished lunch and gotten into the car to head back to the office when what do we hear?!? YOU GUESSED IT - the same little ring we had been bitching about! Ding... Hey Becky - IS THAT YOUR PHONE?!? It was in her pocket the whole time and she was oblivious that it was hers. We almost crashed into the two cars that had already been involved in a fender bender at the intersection we were laughing so hard! Even Becky, my bitchiest friend besides my darling sister said that she felt bad and should probably go back and apologize for being so obnoxious. Of course we didn't but it was the thought that counts. HEY BECKY... IS THAT YOUR PHONE!?!? It still brings a chuckle...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Someone Not Really Her Mother

It seems like ages since my last book review but it hasn't even been a month. This one I just finished was a purely recreational read - meaning not assigned as a book club book. One of my fellow book clubbers recommended and loaned it to me and what an incredible little book by Harriett Scott Chessman. It is a novel of a woman with Alzheimer's and her family. It kind of drove me crazy how all the details of the main character's life are all jumbled and seem to be hiding just out of reach or just beyond the next corner but it is the story told mostly from her point of view that gives the novel such great depth and uniqueness. And I was SO mad about the ending.... until I'd had a day to think about it. It ended exactly the only way it could and in hindsight I love even how it ends. The characters are beautifully depicted through the shadows of the woman with Alzheimer's and what a heart-wrenching portrayal of a story that is lived in reality by thousands of people every single day. I highly recommend this book. It is a short little book but at times not such an easy read; but what a great glimpse into life with such a horrible disease.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


4179.... That's the number of emails in my InBox at work THAT I NOW HAVE TO CLEAN UP BEFORE MY DEPARTURE!! (What the hell was I thinking letting things get so out of hand?) Granted, the majority of these items at one point were important and related to some project or another but MY GOD at least they could have been organized! It appears - officially - that my powers of organization were abandoned about 2 years ago at least in the realm of email. I had an epiphany this afternoon... ain't nuthin' in there that's gonna matter and they are just going to junk the whole email account when I'm gone anyway so just pick out the most recent stuff that needs to be passed on and trash the rest. Kind of liberating, although the pack-rat in me will be screaming at the top of her lungs when the trashing commences in earnest. I blame my Mom... she's certainly the one who passed on that particular gene. Repeat after me... I will not keep email (or consider it reference material that I could ever possibly find again!) Folks, learn from my mistakes and de-junk your inbox. The life and sanity you save may be your own.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I have attempted to get a grip on reality as it relates to me and my not having a Blackberry soon.... I didn't wear the thing on my hip for almost two entire days this past weekend and didn't die. Baby steps!

The Mechanics of Writing

More signs from the Universe helping me along the way toward novel writing month as I have declared November to be... Last night I was driving home and listening to NPR at a time that I don't normally tune in. It was a lecture by an author, Ann Patchett, being broadcast and immediately I was intrigued because it was all about the writing process. Coincidence? Probably not. One of the big points she made is that there are three things that are required to write a novel - 1) Commitment; 2) Mechanics (or Tools); and 3) Imagination. And, she said that it was really IN THAT ORDER that you needed these elements to be successful.

So, I began taking stock. I have the commitment - I will write every day in November and end the month with a completed novel of at least 50,000 words. Those are my specific deliverables that make the process real. The Mechanics (or Tools... I can't remember the exact word she was using but you'll get the idea) were the things that she said are essential to any creativity. Things like plot, character development, outlines, etc. Without the mechanics of writing it just doesn't work. Then, and only then, came the imagination. Huh, SO not how I pictured it going... I thought I had to have this big imaginative idea that would blow every one's mind and THEN I could come up with a plot and an outline, etc. Apparently according to Ann Patchett, this is a very common misconception. Lucky for me, I think, that I'm in good company?

Tonight I decided to skip the "should do" activities scheduled for after the little one was tucked in her bed and work on the novel. (Real estate continuing ed can wait, right?!?) I had already been collecting random thoughts over the last few weeks (read "imagination coming first" here) when I came up with ideas that fit with the book idea I have rattling around loosely in my head. But tonight I started to create an outline from a very high level making notes on each character and how they relate to the other characters. I started to create a plot and overall theme of "what is the book about". And as I exercised the basic skills of writing (my high school Engish teacher and college professors would be SO proud) the story started to emerge and get me really excited about it. Already I have taken things to a much more inter-twined and complicated level than I thought I could come up with simply using my imagination tool. But, when coming at it from the mechanics, it seemed to just fall into place giving it more depth than I thought I had in me at this stage of the game. I think the imagination has to come later when I really start to write the thing - when I will have to give substance and expression to what I have begun to construct in the mechanics phase.

Lucky for me I had this "little" revelation and bit of success since the newly-formed writing group has set the date for our first meeting and we all have to submit a sample of our writing for discussion. Since I can't "officially" start writing because of the NaNoWriMo program, we are going to discuss my outline. (I know, I know... ME, following rules! Just go with it...) Look out world, I might just be ready to start this novel when the time comes thanks to the help of all the various outlets I keep stumbling upon (or manifesting, whichever way you want to look at it).

The funny thing? I haven't picked up a book for almost a week so obsessed I am getting with writing. Stay tuned....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Real food or big joke?

Check out this photo that I came across in the vending aisle of the break room the other day...

Say it with me, "Big Az Bubba Twins". I know it is a poor quality photo but yes, that is exactly what it says. Is this supposed to be appealing to actual people? Is there REALLY someone out there who would purchase something labeled "Big AZ Bubba Twins"? Never mind that it is frozen chili cheese dogs from a vending machine.... I found myself repeating it over and over again... BIG ASS BUBBA TWINS... And then, of course, I kept repeating it at random moments the rest of the week. All kidding about the name aside, if it hadn't been $3 to buy it I might have been tempted to do so just so I could see what the ingredient list looks like. You can bet your "BIG AZ" that it doesn't have anything remotely resembling real food on it! Another example of chemicals in the form of imitation food products that people have been conditioned to think of as real food. My stomach turns thinking of the horror of putting something like that in it. Do you know how many vegetables I can get for $3? And do you know how big one's AZ would get from eating something like that? At least they have tried to keep SOME truth in the advertising, huh? Friends don't let friends eat Big Az Bubba Twins.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

How will I live without my Blackberry?!? (OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!)

Now that this whole craziness of quitting my job is getting real and hitting me where the Blackberry rests on my hip I am FREAKING out. Today I reached for my favorite accessory to mapquest where dance camp is for next weekend while sitting at a red light on my commute home. HELLO! Not gonna have that Internet connection on your hip 24/7 in like 16 days... but who's counting... BESIDES ME!?!?! I believe in a moment of realized panic at what I will be losing I actually embraced the little black beauty and tried to kiss it today.

It is really getting that bad.

How do I stay in touch with friends if it isn't on Blackberry Messenger WHENEVER I want? How do I ONLY check email when I've found free time to actually sit in front of my computer? How do I go back to texting without the beloved querty keyboard? (THE HORROR!) How do I sit through meetings without something to keep me occupied? (Well, clearly I may not need that where I'm going since I'm hoping they just have the productive kind but you never know...) And who - I ask you, WHO! - will look up words on dictionary.com mid-book-club-discussion every month? Oh, and I'm going to need a new alarm clock, too....

Told you, really getting that bad.

Why did I have to drop my personal cell phone in the toilet and WASTE my "new every two" credit so I'm not eligible for an upgrade for another 18 MONTHS. (Could have used the damn crystal ball on that one for sure!) I'm bidding on a used one on eBay but somehow I think my measly 12-dollar max bid won't do me much good in the next 2 days. Please be an obscure listing and let no one else see MY item... please... please... please...

I think the doctor would diagnose this as withdrawal symptoms... YOU THINK?!?

I might have had too much coffee today but I don't think that is the only thing that's happening here.... Universe, send me a cheap blackberry I can afford right now!