Saturday, December 22, 2007

sorry, folks

until further notice.
y'all have a merry christmas.

i feel a need to take a break. back to the real world. peace.
Read more!

Friday, December 21, 2007

it turns on a dime.

today was a good day at mom's. there's a 1/2 finished blog about it with a gajillion pictures. and even a 'shopping days til christmas' post, but they will rest in the queue until the blood in my legs returns.
suddenly i am emotionally numb. don't wait up for me.

if that all sounds overly dramatic, i apologize. *i'm* ok. just kinda limp. and concerned for a friend--some friends. peace, y'all.
Read more!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2 items from & other craziness

this is a bar. can you guess where it is?

INSIDE of a TREE?! no way. really?
yep. i think the ages are incorrect, but it's still amazing. click here to see a most unique place to grab a beer.

(for *some reason* this reminds me of my favorite groucho quote: "outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.")

and click here to read what dr. wikipedia has to say about the baobab tree. pretty interesting stuff, huh?

also in the misc. wow! category (or what in the cornbread hell?) and maybe just in time for your last minute holiday shopping needs...
"Pump up the breasts to your desired size or just have some fun on Halloween with mismatched breasts." i'm NOT makin' this shit up, folks.

speaking of breast implants, don't i remember a story a few years back about some lady's implant stopping a bullet or somethin' and keeping it from piercing her heart?

yeah, here it is.
the comments there are hilarious.

i suppose after all this boobie talk it's only fair to include a little poke at the lesser gender...

Read more!

wha? only 4 more shoppin' days?

you gotta be kiddin' me!!!

"get that tire changed, boys...
and hurry it up! we're runnin' outta time."

"sigh...i'm just not sure how much more of this i can take."

(thanks for the pics, isis.)

make no mistake about it. isis had nothin' at all to do with the next part.

and now abideth faith, hope, charity, and chocolate, these four; the greatest of these is not chocolate, but charity. so just forget the shoppin'.

1st corickthians 13:13

Read more!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

how y'all doin'?

this is a follow-up to a previous post dated december 16th regarding the plight of an important segment of the health care profession. two readers expressed concern. one asked what they could do to help.

for Chris and Betsy in particular, and for anyone else so inclined, Anne has responded with an article specifying some of the professional concerns of the EMT/EMS community and what you can do to help.

(the original formatting was lost in my cut and paste. all emphasis in what follows the cut is mine.)

as anne says, "it's long." (that's an understatement! hahahaha.)

but i ask you again, what if *you* weren't there to care for your loved ones? who's gonna go the extra mile for them when they need it most?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is a long one......

I have been asked on more than one front to explain my last blog and so I shall. I will attempt to use a bit of brevity here, but if you know me, you also know that is a difficult thing for me to do. In order to understand where we are now in this profession, it is important that you understand where we have been and why today's issues exist. For those of you in the field, please bear with me as I try to explain to those who are not.

The 'ambulance drivers' as you know them today, did not begin as a profession until the 1970's. Prior to that, a person took their chances on funeral home services, the civil defense squads and just plain driving fast to a hospital. The hospitals were also ill equipped to handle emergencies as the doctors did not stay at the facility 24 hours a day. Even in the early part of my own career, doctors had to be summoned from home to respond to the emergency room (yes, a true 'room' as only one existed then). The doors were kept locked and it required someone phoning in, in most cases, to assure that the doors would be open upon our arrival.

The first people to work on ambulances did not necessarily have to be EMT certified, and paramedics were non-existent until the late 1970s. Even though the TV show Emergency was on the air waves in the early and mid-70's, paramedics were only found in large metropolitan areas, with most of them linked to the Fire Services. This is an important factor for part of the problems that we face today.

In 1973 the Emergency Medical Services Act dictated that all states in America develop an EMS system to respond to its citizen's needs. A template was developed by the Department of Transportation which gave direction for this federal law. Interesting to note that we are still regulated, federally, by the DOT. To make sure that compliance would be met, every state was given grant money to assure that the systems would be developed. This is another issue that came back to bite us in the butt later when the grants were eliminated.

I feel a need to explain the different levels of service that an ambulance crew provides when they are summoned as this is another area that most people do not understand. For the general public, we are all labeled as 'EMTs' and for those of us who have trained vigorously as paramedics, it is a near insult to be called such. Not that we feel that EMTs are less important, less efficient, or even less deserving of recognition, but it is equivalent to calling a Registered Nurse a Certified Nursing Assistant after all the long hours of training and responsibility that goes into the career. All nurses are not equal any more than all ambulance personnel are equal. There is a saying in our field that paramedics save people, EMTs save paramedics and that is very true. We could not exist without their expertise any more than a doctor can work independently of his nursing staff.

EMTs are trained to do more than drive, (please stop calling us ambulance drivers) and in this state they have the ability to start IVs, give some medications, and handle trauma patients nearly to the same capacity as the paramedic. Training here takes 14 weeks of intense 40-hour work weeks, or if they elect to be trained in a formal educational setting such as a technical college, they commit a full year of class work on a part-time basis.

To become a paramedic, you must already be certified as an EMT and in some cases, have experience under your belt to enroll. It is a full-time program no matter where the training takes place and with much cramming, it can be done in one year. To become a paramedic, it is a minimum of two years of training when you include the EMT level. As much time as it does to become a nurse. Starting pay for the average EMT is $8/hr., the paramedic, $10/hr. Nurses make up to $25/hr. to start. And let me add, that they generally work 40/hr work weeks and the average EMS person works 72+ hrs/week if they are lucky enough to have family to contribute to the income. Otherwise, they all work a second job and the hours can be in excess of 120/week. Even after nearly 27 years of service, I must work a second job to make ends meet. Think about that when you see an ambulance driving down the road at 3:00 in the morning and realize the person driving may be in their 48th hour of working straight, with little down time.

Paramedics can do everything, let me repeat that, everything that can be done in an emergency department in an acute emergency. They only things that they cannot do are the many diagnostic tests (blood work, X-rays) and the stabilization of injuries such as suturing cuts and casting broken bones. (In some states, they are even doing that) Our patches for such things are only temporary.

What is amazing about this field is that we are able to come to the same conclusions in most cases, treat with the same drugs and electricity, and tend to the general health and well-being of anyone, with any condition, all without the benefit of those diagnostics that are available in the ED. Most of these conclusions and treatments are done within literally, seconds. We train them to use all of their senses, see what is not there, and then react even before most people even realize that a problem exists. We do have some diagnostic equipment available and the speed at which more and more is available to us every year is astonishing. This alone elevates the costs of running an ambulance service tremendously. A cardiac monitoring machine costs somewhere in the area of $15,000, so you see how difficult it is to equip ourselves with the best tools that are available to us. We spend the dollars where it can do the most good for all.

Herein lays the problem. We are broke. We cannot continue to provide services with the resources that we are allotted. Now, before you decide to run off to another page because you feel I am merely whining about a money issue, let me give you some facts that may surprise you and may affect you personally.

We are mandated by law to respond to every emergency. This is not an option if you are a 911 service. Regardless of your ability to pay. We are also not able to pick and choose who we may treat and transport. "You call, we haul" is a saying in this field that is not a derogatory statement, but a fact. We are not able to say no, even if they are complaining of something as ridiculous as a hangnail. If you go to a doctor's office, he can elect to not treat you if you are not able to guarantee payment. A hospital must look at you in the emergency department, but they are not required to admit you, if you cannot pay. Many people call us not because they need to be in an emergency room, but because they need a ride across town and they know we do not ask for payment at time of service. I have had patients who were seen standing out on the street corner drinking a bottle of liquor from the local liquor store before I was even able to complete my paperwork at the hospital. They wave as we drive by. You call 911, we come.

Here are some hard facts:

Average cost for EACH ambulance transport is $415. This is factored by looking at costs to include fuel (almost all are diesels), salaries, mechanical wear and tear, insurance, equipment, etc.

70% of our patients are Medicare or Medicaid recipients, 25% are private insurance payees and 5% are self-pay.

In order for us to be reimbursed the patient must be suffering from an illness or injury which contradicts transportation by any other means.

If they can sit up, an ambulance is not required in most cases and payment is not made. We cannot bill the patient directly if they are not eligible for transport.

All medically necessary services, supplies and procedures are included in the base rate. We cannot bill for anything other than the transport.

Reimbursement is determined by zip code at point of pick up, not type of call, or services rendered.

Mileage can be billed, but only from point of pick up to closest appropriate facility. If the patient requests to go to a facility that is not closest, we are mandated by law to transport them there. We receive no mileage reimbursements for the overages. Medicaid will not pay for mileage until after an initial 10 miles have been driven.

Medicare only pays 80% of ambulance reimbursements after the patient has met their deductible ($131 for 2007). Here's an example:

Average Ambulance charge- $525.00

Allowable charges from Medicare- $330.89

Medicare reimbursement (80%) $264.69

Patient's responsibility- $66.20

Average collection rate for most ambulance services is at 40%. We will only see $26.48 from the patient. That means total collection is $357.37 for a $415. transportation expense. If transportation was denied by Medicare, we receive nothing and we cannot bill the patient.

Much Federal aid became available to emergency services after 9-11 and Katrina. Many of the grants available were focused on the obvious need for more training and equipment to handle terrorism and domestic preparedness. Not for operating costs to run a department. VERY LITTLE grant money was given to EMS alone. The EMS services that benefited were governmental or fire department based services, which brings me back to the origin of paramedical services. They were fire-based and therefore it is assumed that all EMS systems are still integrated with the fire departments. EMS services are the step-children in public safety and get very little in the way of aid. Some local governments give subsidies to their ambulance service to help defray costs, but average amount is about $200,000/yr. When most services put 200,000 miles or more on their units a year, look at the costs of fuel alone. How much did it take to fill up your gas guzzler at the gas tank? We probably average 10-15/mile per gallon with our units.

We are dying in this profession because we are no longer able to compete with the other healthcare fields. When salaries are so low, for twice as many hours and too oftentimes we are lucky to even put our head on the pillow, let alone eat, it is not surprising that the numbers are not there for people coming into this career. The technical colleges average a dozen paramedic students a year. In this state, only 38% of the paramedics who start a program are eventually licensed. We lost 81 paramedics last year alone due to death or retirement. The average age of an EMT is 43. For the paramedic, it is 40. Who will be left a few years down the road? We are literally, dying off, closing down and just plain going out of business. Many a day, I have purchased supplies out of my own pocket just to have what I needed to treat a patient. We have given until we can't give any more. We are desperately in need of help if there is any hope of remaining true to our commitments.

Here's what you can do. If you are in EMS, please call the politicians in your area and let them know what is happening. The ones we talked to at the senate hearings were shocked to learn of what our profession has become. They advised that they were not aware of the issues, and no one has approached them with any concerns, let alone any resolutions. Legislation is being drafted in this state to relocated monies to the EMS state offices to help us in becoming more financially secure, and try to make grant money available. Support the bills, call the legislators. If they hear from enough of us, they will act if only to shut us up. Go to and read what is happening and what is being proposed.

If you are in the private sector, please support legislative changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. At least help us to break even. Call your legislators as well. Find out the condition of the ambulance service in your area. Raise funds. Buy much needed equipment. Some services rely totally on donations. See how your system is financed. Do not wait until a disaster to recognize that we exist and then praise our accomplishments. You have no idea how many people die annually in this field. We don't speak of it outside of inner circles, as it is not in our nature to let others know of our pain. Do a google search on LODD (line of duty deaths) and look at the numbers. Please don't pretend we don't exist until you call 911 and want us to work a miracle with units that are falling apart and equipment that may not work.

I, too, have kept quiet about our issues because our field was built on the concepts that if you can't play with the big dogs, stay on the porch. Suck it up. Make do with what you have. But I am now afraid. Afraid, when I see the numbers gradually dwindling in this wonderful profession because we don't have the resources or the attractions to bring in another generation, that we are truly dying a slow death. Help me make one last positive change for the people that I love and the career which has kept me sane for so many years. Our healthcare system is broken. Help us fix it. Read more!


pretty bad santa picture today. sorry...
ok, maybe i should say, "REALLY bad"?


and in case you missed Bill Moyers' interview with Keith Olberman last friday, here it is with the complete transcript.

oh look! here's another bad one...oops.
Read more!

a brief interlude from the "shopping days until you know what" countdown...

do y'all know LEV? (no, not the artist in the Chaim Potok novel. the VIDEO ARTIST, silly.)

i think he's a pretty cool* dude. check this out and then look for more of his stuff. (thanks, terri.)

here's another really cool* video artist. (thanks, sean.)

BEWARE: that's a really mild brad neely video.
p.s. sean's my son. i don't know brad, but sean's way more cool* than brad.


* not cool like "the cool guys," but for real cool.
Read more!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

6 days...

it looks like santa might be in the pokey for christmas, folks. so you'd best get yer lazy asses in gear and hit the malls. time's a wastin'...

today mom said she was thinking about taking her santas down. i said that'd be ok if that's what she wants, but why not wait til after christmas?

"isn't christmas over? when is it?"

so we looked at a calendar together and she decided to keep them out for a while longer.

Read more!

Monday, December 17, 2007

only 7 shoppin' days left ... ♫ ♫ ♫

are ya ready? Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

more pictures here later...
Read more!

only 8 (eight) shoppin' days 'til christmas!

here are a few last minute ideas for you slackers..."have you been looking for that perfectly AWFUL kitchen accessory? well, look no further." (rampant plagiarism and random retooling of follows)...

this Egg Separator is very unappetizing and possibly the grossest kitchen tool EVER made, but... the goofy thing WORKS. yours for just $12.99.

"it's a hand-crafted ceramic head sporting a quizzical expression and a huge nose. t' use it, just crack an egg into the separator and tilt it forward."

this is where it gets interesting...(NOT!)

"while the yolk is blocked by the nose, the albumen *tastefully* drips through the nostrils"... and into your...... paper plate? hahahaha.

"sure it's tacky and gross and pointless, but" do you "eggspect any less" from

what choo lookin' at, willis?

if YOU have any taste, you WON'T click to "read more!"

how many times have you asked yerself, "whatcha get when you cross a slingshot with a monkey?"

well, if it's a real monkey, you get a dead monkey, right? but if it's a TOY monkey, you get this AMAZING NEW INVENTION!

"The Slingshot Monkey! is a stuffed monkey dressed like a superhero." (now that right there is worth the price) it comes "complete with a cape and a mask" so NObody will know his true identity. "his forearms are made of super-stretchy rubber, with special pockets in the hands so you can get a good grip on him and when you pull him back and let him go, the Super Monkey goes flyin'!!!"

"not only does he fly up to 50 feet, but he SCREAMS ALONG THE WAY!" (there's some sorta of chip and a speaker inside that's activated when the monkey whacks granpa upside the head.)

NOTE: stop reading now or forever hold yer peace. this is the most useful thing i've found. capiche? it's irritating AND it's a *mostly* harmless weapon.

and *i* want one.

now this may come as a shock, but kissing has been around for a long time. the medeans and etruscans kissed. (well, prob'ly not each other.) heck, even your PARENTS kissed.
i know it's scary kids, but it's true...

the fact was not until the 1930's, with the publication of this
book on kissing, that the true ART of the pucker was finally laid out, once and for all, in black and red.

THE ART OF KISSING is a genu-wine, smoochin', classic, publication.

this is the ultimate how-to book. it'll walk you through the steps required to become a 1st class kisser. "32-pages! filled with kitschy illustrations and useful (?) information." THIS is a MUST-HAVE item.

it's been so long since i've had a real kiss, i REALLY want one of these booklets!) it ain't no kama sutra, but it's only $4.99.

try and stay calm while you ponder this next one, folks...

i just KNOW you want your very own World's Tiniest Radio Controlled Car.

it's about the size of a quarter, yet inside this sucker is "a motor, a radio receiver, steering mechanisms, AND a microchip to control the entire thing." can you believe how advanced our civil-eye-zation has come?!!

tech-no-ology like this could be curin' parkinsonism or cloning the 3 stooges (see next item), but no....this fine and silly little TOY is nothin' but pure-D fun. and yes, i want one one of these, too!

are you surprised?

(here, check it out..."the controller of the World's Smallest Radio Controlled Car is a real, working wristwatch." when you're not smashin' it into things, you just "snap the car back onto the watch and wear it" like any other chronometer. and NO ONE is the wiser. HAH!)

is that COOL? or WHAT?!

i've saved the best for last...yes, it's THE THREE STOOGES IN YOUR POCKET.

"hey, porcupine! listen up, or i'll squeeze the cider out of your adam's apple." NYUK, NYUK, NYUK.

(this here's the greatest invention since the two-handed eye-poke)

with "The Three Stooges In Your Pocket" you can just press a button and you might hear Curley saying "I'm trying to think, but nothing happens," or "Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!" or maybe Moe will say, "why you numbskull!" and then bOnK someone over the head. hahahahahahaha.

there're 6 (six!) classic lines in all. words of questionable wisdom and indubitable mirth, indeed. fits inside your pocket!!

do i WANT one?

Read more!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

just passin' it on, folks...

i've posted about my friend Anne several times before. (on nov. 27 and dec. 2, for two.) she's an EMT in georgia and a Captain in the Fire Department there. as i've also mentioned before, most of her blog is side-splitting-funny, but she also has a serious side that blows me away.
[if the "too old for a thong" moniker (a link to her blog on this blog's sidebar) has put you off before, get over it, friends. anne's the cream of the crop in my book.]

this post is for one reason only: to pass on her plea for help. i don't really know how to help so i'm throwin' her story out for you to read after the cut just in case any of y'all know anyone with influence. as most of my readers are caregivers, i'm thinking this is as good a place as any for me to start.

it's really scary to think about it, but what if *you* weren't there for your loved ones? who would care for them when they needed it most? an EMT? hopefully, yes.

another blogger friend, Flintysooner, has wisely suggested that "being trumps doing." i agree with that on a very personal level and in the context of his observation. in another context, i think about those who are "doing" for others by their choice of profession rather than from familial love...oftentimes for total strangers, always by the cold whim of chance...

knowing Anne, i realize she is also "being" with them in the sense that Flinty speaks of, and i'm pretty sure that 'being' and 'doing,' when coupled,...trump either by itself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Humor is not here this day

Listen. Do you hear it? Ah, neither do I. No tones going off, no sirens blaring in my ear, and most of all, the sounds of screaming have died down to only an echo in my thoughts. It has been a horrendous shift today, and I'm trying to find that spot to which I travel after a day like today. My happy place as most people like to call it. I've washed off the vomit and blood and the touch of death with a hot shower, but the remnants of it still remain and those are harder to make go away with just a simple cathartic like water.

I've grown old. No longer immune to the cries that I hear in my sleep sometimes. I fear my days in this profession are nearly over. It has sustained me when my personal life was unbearable and given me a purpose most human beings will never know. My true family has been forged by all those people who proudly wear a badge and who have stood behind or beside me when things were most uncertain. It has never failed me. Never left me behind and wondering where I may have screwed up again. I've embraced its sorrows as well as its joys throughout these 27 years and if I had the chance to do anything over again, it would to be young and able to relive every single moment.

I attended a senate committee hearing this week in an appeal to prevent our field from dying. A plea to the political arena as this is the only avenue we have left to preserve what is near and dear to many of us. The average age of a paramedic in this state alone is over 40. There are few of us left with the love of what we do. Practicality has won out at last and the young ones are turning not to a career that asks so much of them, but to professions that pay the best. This one is not it. Over two years of intense education to become a paramedic for a mere $35K a year. The sacrifices of self and family cost much more. With less training, they are turning to nursing and other healthcare careers that pay twice as much.

We are dinosaurs in a world that demands so much, but gives back so little. My friends and colleagues who are also facing the end of their careers, painted a picture which would scare the average person if they only knew. As a collective whole, we wondered who would be left to take up the gauntlet when we are gone and have resorted to begging if only to keep this dream alive. Who will pick me up in the middle of the night and hold my hand when the end is near? Who will listen to my cries when the body is finally broken?

I am not a politician. I am merely a woman who has been driven all of my life to serve those who are in need. As are those I see around me every day. Even the very people in this field are not aware of the frightening state of affairs and the inevitable demise of our world as we know it if things do not change. There isn't a band-aid big enough to cure what ails us, my friends. The Golden Hour is upon us and it is no longer acceptable to continue hiding your heads in the sand. I beg of you to get involved before it is too late. Don't let the muffled cries you hear in your own thoughts be endured in vain. Refuse to be a lemming and stand proudly at the pinnacle of your own mountains you have climbed. For those of you not in this field, I beg of you to support us and give back what we have so freely given to you.*

The hope that death will not claim us.

*(emphasis, mine)
Read more!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


should i? or shouldn't i?
with your help, maybe i'll decide after the cut.

for at least a year now i've been dying to do something i know i prob'ly shouldn't do. any parent in their right mind knows better than to try suggesting a mate for their kid. right?
well, crap. i'm not particularly known for bein' of sound mind, so...

let's weigh the pluses and minuses, shall we?

+ he's awesome. she's awesome.
- i've never actually met her. i only know her through her myspace blogs. (they're *private* or i'd give you a link or paste a few here for decision making purposes.)

+ they're perfect for each other.
- that's *my* opinion.

+ she likes orange and pink. he's been known to wear orange and his sister's favorite color is pink.
- that's a stupid reason.

+ the big lebowski is their favorite movie.
- it's mine too. maybe i'm prejudiced?

- they live 2000 miles apart.
+ ever heard of AIRPLANES?

+ they both like cats, both of 'em are funny as all get out, both are good people, both are pretty much flaming liberals, they're both brilliant and gainfully employed, they're both single...
- i might piss him off for meddling.

+ both of their middle names have a *Y* in them!
- her name is worth a minimum of 13 points in scrabble. his is unacceptable.

+ he's taller than she is.
- she's a little older. (but not much and that's just stoopid, anyway.)

+ they're both quite fetching.

- oops.
looks like i forgot to wait for y'all's advice.

yikes! i sure hope i'm not in big trouble right now.
Read more!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Hat? or Hair? i sure can't figure it out. (i kinda sorta think it's a hairhat.)
more silliness beyond the jump.

too corny for ya? tough. *i* think it's fffunny.
(if you haven't noticed, *corn* is my first name.)

DOUBLE irony?
a friend of mine sent me this picture saying how ironic he thought it was. he thought it was jackie o and marilyn monroe...hey, give him a break. the kid's only 29 years old.
(i guess i've had the hots for sophia for at least 50 years now. uh, come to think of it, jayne wasn't too shabby either...)

Read more!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

the blue shirt

(there's an aide who works at VT by the name of Bebe. it's not spelled or pronounced the same, but mom's last name is very often mispronounced as, "Beebee.")

a funny thing happened yesterday as staff was gathering residents to string popcorn and cranberries for their tree.

aide 1: to aide 2, "go get Bebe."
aide 2: "she went home."
aide 1: jumping up, frantically, "SHE WENT HOME?!?"
aide 2: "calm down. her shift ended at 2:00."
aide 1: "her SHIFT? are you nuts?"

before a-1 ran down to check mom's room, a-2 figured the situation out and cleared it up quickly by asking if she meant for her to go get "the resident in the blue shirt."

"well of course that's what i meant. what (in the cornbread hell) were you talking about?"

yes, mom wears the same blue shirt pictured above every day. aides have been known to hide it in the back of her closet. or just "forget" to return it after washing it so she'll wear something different for a change. apparently it mildly annoys some people. maybe it's a guy thing, but i don't mind.

when we were at my sister's for thanksgiving, sister actually threw it away!

me: !!!!
sister: "oh, she'll never remember..."
me: "well...ok......"

guess what?
mom asks about it almost every day. she's asked the aides to check the laundry. she's asked 'em to check the klepto's room. she's searched her closet at least a dozen times. oh she remembers it, all right.

so i teased sister via email about it: "that's identity theft!"
she sent an email back admitting to still having it. saying, "OKkkkkkkkkkkkkay. I'll bring the dam shirt back."
my reply: "a better idea would be to wrap it up for christmas!!!!"

i think mom's gonna be one happy camper come christmas morning.
"i used to have one just like this," she'll say.

p.s. luckily mom still has a shirt about the same color. so people at VT do still know who she is.
Read more!

more than words

a song's lyrics don't necessarily express the emotions perceived by the listener. not for me, at least.
sometimes the eyes of this beholder tend to attach a different meaning to the artist's intention. what i *hear* in a song, as opposed to what i *get* literally, after reading the lyrics, is often very different from what i *feel* while listening.

this may well be a case in point.

peace to you and yours, cinnamin. Read more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

i made you a mom post...

but blogger eated it.

so i guess this'll just have t' do for now.

(i'm sure it was really my own dang fault.)

merry christmas, y'all.
Read more!

Bad Joke OTD

are you smiling yet?

(that's all folks...) Read more!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DOTD (this post partially inspired by Betsy)

if you don't know betsy, check out her blog here.

anyway...i was cruisin' blogs and found one in which the author apparently likes to leave an occasional *X*OTD, as i do.

ganked from "the perpetual three-dot column"...

(From "The Affair of the Lone Banana," a Goon Show episode aired in 1954)

Seagoon: Now what's this all about?
Moriarty: It is the revolution -- everywhere there is an armed rising.
Seagoon: Are you all in it?
Moriarty: Right in it -- you see, the United Anti-Socialist Neo-Democratic Pro-Fascist Communist Party are fighting to overthrow the Unilateral Democratic United Partisan Bellicose Pacifist Co-Belligerent Tory Labour Liberal Party.
Seagoon: Whose side are you on?
Moriarty: There are no sides -- we're all in this together.

ya know what? that kinda reminds me of another old satire. does anyone remember POGO?

dang, i just realized somethin'!

i may have someone to blame for the way i turned out.

yeah...i'm pretty sure it's all walt kelly's fault...

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

meet Annie...

somewhere in the now frozen minnesota landscape lives a most interesting young lady named annie. she's a blogger friend of mine.

annie raises llamas and alpacas. she hauls hay and water for her critters and she shears, spins, dyes and weaves their fiber into beautiful functional items.

annie also, singlehandedly, takes care of her mom who has alzheimer's. (when she's not rustling cattle and shearing her neighbors' sheep in her kitchen, that is! ...hahahahaha.)

if you're a knitter, weaver or anything of the sort (i'm sure i'm not usin' the correct lingo, but you get my drift) she has a website called Maple Corners Camelids where you can purchase what she doesn't give away to friends. it's pretty dang cool. take some time and cruise it here.

and please check out some photos of some of the above and more after the jump. i think you'll be glad you did...

(all photos by annie)

this is my favorite picture of her work:
(Specs: App 12 oz Polypay roving, using three colors of Gaywool dyes in three different dyepots.)

and here it is spun.

a felted purse...(can you believe that's home grown/home made?)

this is a shawl she says still needs to be *fulled* whatever the hell that means:
(Specs: 7 ft tri-loom, yarn is handspun one ply white alpaca (Laser Fine, barn name Peach Boy), one ply natural 50% merino/50% silk, then dyed with Gaywool dyes.)

and this... is Peach Boy!

a pretty cool dude, huh?

"damn straight i am! you wanta piece o' me?"

and... a minnesota sunset. (as talented as she is, annie didn't make that. she just took the picture.)

i can't decide which picture of Annie's Maple Corners is more beautiful.
... is it the cold, icey, gray one up top, or this last one of the sunset?


this video is not of, or by, annie. it's just something i found on youtube while wonderin' how in the cornbread hell one spins fabric. there're probably better demonstrations out there, but i kinda like it.

(i recommend replaying it and scrolling through the pictures while listening to the music. it's cheaper than therapy or drugs. i promise.)

peace, y'all.
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

bah humbug?

mom always decorated for christmas. never overblown or anything, but she always made her home look and feel festive. last year it was pretty minimal, but she was still slightly interested.

so, the day we left town for thanksgiving, while she was downstairs with an aide, i placed her few remaining decorations around her room so that when we returned it'd look sorta christmas-y for her.

3 days later...she walked into the room and immediately said something like, "it's too early." we talked about it and i reluctantly packed it all back into boxes wondering if she'd want any of it out in a week or two...


the subject came up again yesterday. she decided she guessed it would be ok to look at the stuff.

we set up the crèche and laughed about who would wander in and steal baby jesus or one of the lambs. we placed a few santas around the room. i hung a stocking on a lamp.
we looked at the miniature christmas tree that she has always been fond of and then she said, "no one's going to see any of this but you and me."

maybe to hide my sadness at that honest assessment, i reminded her that the resident kleptomaniac would see it! we laughed and i boxed most of the decorations back up again.

as i was doing so i asked her if maybe we should offer to decorate the common areas of the floor. "well, i guess that'd be ok," she said half heartedly.

-------------deck the halls--------------

today when i stopped by, mom wasn't in her room. i noticed she'd removed the stocking from the lamp and had apparently just dropped it on the floor there at the end of the couch. i admit to feelin' sorta crummy about that as i went to find her.

turns out she was sitting around with a half dozen other residents in the main social area, something she very rarely does. mom was smiling and looking rather regal, i thought. a couple of staffers were spiritedly encouraging them all. lawrence welk christmas music was playing on a tape. i was so happy mom was taking part.

they were all enjoying the decorations. Ms. Aronson was particularly enamored with the nativity scene (yes, LA, the one you made) and played with it and talked about it the whole hour or so i was there. i was offered a chair beside mom that Russell always sits in. i tried to refuse, but they wouldn't hear of it. when Russell came in a few minutes later i got up to let him sit there, but he refused and sat on a couch instead.

i sat back down in Russell's chair next to the 'queen for the day.'

they brought me juice and cookies they'd made this morning. i was feeling kind of embarrassed about the treatment, but then i figured, "hey! what the heck. it takes a willing receiver to have a willing giver. right?"

maybe tomorrow i'll take some pictures of the festive looking sitting area and post them here.
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tis the season

i've got a couple of posts in the queue, but in the meantime...on this 2nd day of hanukkah, here's a gift of laughter from this non jew to you.

a VT christmas story to follow soon.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

on this day in history, december 4

Video Update, Dec. 10
(this video from dec 7 refers to a dec 4 event mentioned later in this post.)

i may have said it first, but as always, keith olberman says it best.

lots of stuff happened. things change. some for the better, some for the worse. but shit still happens. and i can't do anything but marvel at it all.
(enough links follow the cut to bore your socks off. hahahahaha.)

i personally don't find any of it boring. i hope you'll read each link and think.

on this day in history, december 4th...(irony intended in all cases.)
1780- washington's cousin tricks loyalists.

1867- oliver kelley organizes the grange.

1917- psychiatrist reports on the phenomenon of "shell shock."

1942- polish christians come to the aid of polish jews.

1945- senate approves u.s. participation in u.n.

1969- police kill 2 members of the black panther party.

2007- Dumbya repeated history by, again, refusing to let go of his warmongering and america-demeaning ways. in spite of reliable classified information, and lying, again, (note the date of that news report) about when he was privy to it, president dumbya fired off yet another blistering bunch o' mind boggling bluster of rhetoric (again) aimed at savin' the world from those nasty, nasty persians. (again)

2007- if Iowans have any real say in the matter, the un-united slates of america may have found a worthy successor for president in mr. governor mike huckabee. (just think of the fun we could have with his name.)
he was quoted today as sayin' he has, "advocated for broad public school course lists that include the creative arts and math and science."

Why, then, he asked, "is evolution such a fascination?"

uh...maybe because it's science, mr former gov?

also on this day in history, i'm pretty sure every other politician said and did something i will laugh at, but those 2 guys take the cake.
the rest of 'em just disgust me.

i think they're ALL a bunch of nimrods.

well, maybe there's one i like, but he doesn't stand a chance in hell of bein' nominated.
and no, i'm not gonna tell ya who it is unless you ask nicely. i don't like bein' laughed at so much.
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Monday, December 3, 2007

conversation w/ mom. and jim makes an impromptu joke.

Every visit with mom begins Exactly like this:

me: (knocking and entering)
her: "WHO IS IT!!?" (yes, she hollers it out from 10 feet away.)
me: (entering) "rick."
her: "well hello rick!"
me: "what's up, mom?'
her: "i don't know what i'm supposed to be doing."

it goes on from there there, different each day. usually i'll say something like,
"i'm not sure you're *supposed* to be doin' anything. what *were* ya doin'?"

well, today she had an ad insert from the sunday paper she was utterly confused about. it was an offer for a new product from Camel stumping some sort of smokeless tobacco they're calling SNUS. after figuring it out and explaining it to her, we both had a good laugh about the absurdity of SNUS.
then she said, "i don't remember if i still smoke or not."
"well then i guess you don't, mom. good job."

...on the way to her exercise class (one of these days i'm taking my camera to THAT. it's so hilarious. and heart warming, too.), we ran into Jim and Nancy. his joke was a little risqué, so i'll throw it in after the cut...

this is Jim.

and this is Jim and Nancy. and their little dog.
they live on mom's floor at VT.
(he has alzheimer's, she doesn't. i don't know about the dog.)

anyway, as i was sayin',
we saw jim and nancy headed for exercise. we said our howdy-dos and then i asked, "how's that little dog, jim?"

without skippin' a beat, jim pretended to unzip his fly and smiled that inimitable smile as he walked by.

maybe you had to be there, but i thought it was fffunny. (the ladies smiled, too.)
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Sunday, December 2, 2007

"a beautiful mind"

good movie!

i just saw it on tv and thought it was a well written, well acted story. (oh yeah? you don't care what i think? fine. then don't read any further...)

i enjoyed the tricky way it kept me wondering about the hallucinations, but finally came clean with the truth. i also like the moral of the story, which i see as a really big lesson john nash learned in the course of his life regarding the true meaning/worth of both logic and love.
if you saw it and didn't shed a tear when nash was given pens for his accomplishments,'re made of completely different stuff than i am.

[photo above: my son holding a human brain in the sfasu science center.]

oh &, speaking of a well written and beautiful story. check out Captain Anne's latest blog post...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Psych 101

So we walk up and momma is strutting across the yard with her cane and hollering at us to "take that boy somes place". Quite outraged and not a force I would want to reckon with too often. Two old men are sitting on the front porch, nodding in agreement, "Yes 'am, yooze herd her right, uh-huh. That boy needs to go". "I's be scared of him". The call came out as a psych patient and knowing those are my favorite calls in the world, I jumped right in the truck for this one. Was ready to jump back in the truck after we heard the family's comments.

The south is a funny place. It is hard to describe the head nods and funny grins and mannerisms that make it such a delightful place. But sometimes it is a challenge to be around some of these people when they have their dander up. This was one of those times. So, I left my partner outside to deal with them and gladly went inside to deal with the supposed crazy boy. Him, I can handle with no problem. I can drop a 200+ pounder to the ground with little effort, but trying to stop up the mouths of angry people is something else. Took my chance on doing some wrestling inside the house.

To my surprise the kid was quite pleasant and cooperative. Saw no indication that he was violent or pissy with anyone. I began to wonder if we needed to round up the ones outside instead. Then momma came barging in and said, "This boy be actin' and talkin' crazy! Told me he wants to go live in the rain forest! What sort of crazy stuff is that?" I told her that didn't sound all that far fetched to me, as there were some days I'd like to move to a different climate. "He bought some swords! He gonna chop me inta little pieces! I saws that on TV, I did!" At that point, it was time to turn on the counselor/psychiatrist mode and get to work. On momma.

All I saw was a young kid living with ancient relatives, who had differences of opinion. So we talked for a good hour about how to get along with others and when I left they were all hugging and "I loves ya, son!" and grins all around. That is the difference between working in the big city and working out here in the country. There is time to be decent and understanding of the conflicts people tend to find themselves in. We learn to be good listeners and pick up on body languages that might be missed under rush, rush circumstances.

And it is entertaining to boot. Right in the middle of all this, Barney Fife showed up to back us up in case of trouble. Took him a minute to get his bulk out of the car and waddle up to the porch. I went outside when I saw him pull up, just to let him know all was alright inside, and I hear this exchange:

"Howdy, Miz Watson, Mr. Watson" (as he tips his hat). I see you havin' problems with Junior again. Why, you know one of them Riley boys done shot a Cooper boy just a while ago".

Momma clutches chest, "Oh, Lordy, no!. I knows those boys be no good" Poppa: "I told you they was trouble. Last year theys......"

In the meantime, Junior has been forgotten and I am chuckling so hard inside I thought I would pee my pants. They are funny and I love them and who would ever want to do anything else for a living?
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Saturday, December 1, 2007

a quick tale.

Adventure On An Elevator

yesterday morning, *L* was takin' mom down to the 1st floor. when the elevator opens on the alzheimer's unit an alarm goes off if a resident is nearby. while punching in the code to turn the alarm off, mom got on the elevator and the door closed before *L* could stop it.

uh oh.

a minute later the elevator came back. with mom's walker and... YIKES! no mom!

*L* alerted staff via walkie talkie and went to the 1st floor hoping to find mary anne.

nope. not there.

a few minutes later (it musta seemed like DAYS to *L*) someone found mom on the 3rd floor and safely returned her to the 4th floor. *L* was no doubt shaken up, but more concerned with how mom felt and asked her, "were you scared?"

"scared? no. why would i be scared?"
"i thought i lost you."
"were you scared?"
(((hug))) Read more!