Sister Trips


Many years ago, my sister and I started taking an annual “Sister Trip”, a long weekend together usually spent in the Gulf Shores, Alabama, area.  It actually started as a Christmas shopping trip, but we always had so much fun that we decided to make it official.  Originally, we would stay in a hotel in the area, once in a condo owned by one of the doctors I worked with at the time.  After my mom passed away, we tried to work it out so that our trip would coincide with her birthday weekend (early November), a way for the two of us to honor her memory that would have pleased her greatly.  Then, ten years ago, my sister and her husband bought a condo in Fairhope, Alabama, a beautiful little town on the Mobile Bay.  And our Sister Trip had an official home.  Oh, the wonderful times we have had there!!  Shopping, eating, drinking oceans of wine, laughing, being sisters.

This past weekend was our last in the condo.  It has been sold.  After much hand wringing and soul searching, my sister and brother-in-law decided it was time to let it go and find a real house to live in full time there in Fairhope.  Of course, we had a great weekend, but there was a bittersweet edge to it this time.  Just knowing that I’d never again sleep in that living room on the fold out sofa, after imbibing a little too much wine, was nagging at my brain and heart the entire weekend.  I know my sister was feeling it, too.  As I drove away, I swallowed my tears, trying to be adult about it.  I know things change and life moves on.  I was lucky to have been able to share time there, get to know friends and neighbors there, grow to love it there.  Fairhope will be home for my sister soon, but I’ll always miss that little condo.  What a slice of heaven it was…


2014–Year of being puny?


I started this year off with a bang–on vacation in Minnesota and got sick as a dog on New Year’s Eve. Sick for over a week, yuck!! But, I got over it and was buzzing right along. Then…the dreaded toothache. Now, this tooth broke over Christmas holidays in 2012. I was afraid I’d have to have a root canal done right then, but my dentist just built it up with filling material, and off I went, glad that my wallet had not been emptied. Then, a couple of months ago, I noticed that the tooth would kind of flare up a bit, but I’d take some Ibuprofen, and all would be well. Until Monday evening. That horrible kind of toothache that makes your whole head pulsate with pain. Ibuprofen wouldn’t touch it at all. So, first thing Tuesday morning, I called my dentist’s office begging to be worked in. By 10:00, I was in the chair, in tears. Mind you, I haven’t cried at the dentist ever, that I can recall. But I had reached my pain threshold. My dentist numbed me up and started the root canal. Now, in the past, when I’ve had a root canal, it was actually a relief. Once it was over, the pain was gone, so I expected the same result. Not so much. When all the Novacaine finally wore off around 3:00 or so, I learned what the true meaning of pain is. OMG!!! I really didn’t think I was going to be able to tolerate it. I took one of the prescribed pain pills and a handful of Ibuprofen, but after 30 minutes, I was still wallowing in misery. Called my dentist back. He told me to take another pain pill, and that he would give me a prescription for something stronger. I got my friend to drive me to pick up the Rx, and by that time the second pain pill had kicked in and I was feeling much better. But I knew what to expect when it started wearing off, and I was right. This morning, when I first woke up, I thought I had turned the corner…wrong again!! I got in the shower, and before I could get the shampoo out of my hair, the pain was back with a vengence!!! Back on the phone with the dentist office, and this time I was in the chair by 8:30. Numbed again, some grinding was done, and got another Rx for pain meds and a steroid pack. Can I tell you how much I was dreading the numbness wearing off? And yet, when it did, AHHHHHH, thank GOD!!! Sore, but the toothache was gone!!! Hallelujah!!! I’ve been tentatively waiting for the pain to return, but so far, so good.

I’m really a very healthy person, so I am hoping that this will not be a sign of things to come in 2014. I really don’t want to remember ’14 as the year of being puny!!!

So, I had forgotten all about this entry, and just noticed that I had a draft.  Read it, and, oh, did it take me back.  The pain I was having after my root canal?  Well, lo and behold, it was from the tooth right next door.  I ended up having a root canal done on it a few days later.  Once it was over, like magic, the pain was gone.  Hallelujah!!!  Just in time for my vacation to California!!  Cut it really close, though.

Then, in November of ’14, I had the absolute worst UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) I’ve ever known.  Peeing was a new experience in pain.  It was like peeing blazing hot razor blades. Seriously.  I never knew it could be that painful.  Took two rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it.  Man, I don’t EVER want another one.

Other than all these health issues, ’14 wasn’t really that bad.  Took some fun trips, completed my first Whole30, and made it to 2015 none the worse for wear!!



Ten years ago, I took off for Washington, DC, for a three month travel nurse assignment. All by myself.  Was I scared?  Yes, indeedy.  But good scared, if you know what I mean. My family was not exactly in shambles, but a reasonable facsimile thereof, and I wanted to get away.  Far away.  My heart was still heavily bruised from a relationship that fell apart. And, I wanted a challenge professionally.  I had heard horror stories about the hospital where I’d be working, but I didn’t really care.  (They all turned out to be true, by the way, and then some!!!)  I mainly wanted to be where I only had to take care of myself and my dog.  And where at any given time, nobody would know exactly where I was, or who I was.  The travel company would pay for my furnished apartment, utilities, and travel expenses.  Sounded good to me.  So I hit the road.

My apartment was just a couple of minutes away from National Airport, the Pentagon, all kinds of cool things.  I got all moved in pretty painlessly.  My best friend had ridden up with me, and we did lots of sight-seeing that first weekend.  At one point, we were waiting for the Metro at the Pentagon (I hadn’t quite figured out the system at that point), and I thought I’d snap a picture.  From somewhere up above, a deep voice boomed, “Don’t take that picture!!”  I stopped, looked up expecting to see God, and heard the voice again.  Then I noticed a security guard slowly driving past.  Whew!!  I was kinda freaked out, I must admit!!  I showed them, though.  Later, I took a photo of the Pentagon from the top of the Washington Monument!!

Yep, the hospital where I worked was pretty much a nightmare.  I worked in the Pediatric ER, which was SEVERELY understaffed and VERY busy!!  The people I worked with were nice and for the most part helpful, but it was just crazy all the time.  For the first time in my life, I lost weight without trying, because I never had time to eat while I was at work, and when I wasn’t, lots of times I was too tired to eat.  And if you know me, you know that’s TIRED!!!  It was really weird, I was expecting all top of the line, cutting edge equipment and facilities.  Boy, was I wrong.  Some of their stuff had been around since the days of Ben Franklin!!  Thanks to a fellow travel nurse, I managed to figure out which section of the ER was the best to work in, and was quick to volunteer for it. Helped that most of the other nurses didn’t like working in that area, but for me it was great. The doctors only came over when necessary, and I was pretty much able to do my work without much interference.  But, damn, that place was busy!!

On days off that I was’t exhausted, I’d go exploring.  DC was great!!  I loved walking around the National Mall, and going to all the museums.  I had never been so alone in my life, but I really kinda liked it.  It was fun not having to answer to anyone, to just go with the flow.  My apartment was small and cozy, my nearly blind dog adjusted easily, and I had everything I could ever need just a stone’s throw away.  Several friends came to visit, and it was fun checking out all the coolness of DC with them. Before it was all over, I even met a guy I really liked!!  If I had liked the job, all would have been perfect!!!

Hard to believe that was TEN years ago.  Man, it seems like yesterday in so many ways. I’ll always be glad I did it, because if I hadn’t, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.  In fact, I enjoyed DC so much that I came back the next year.  Well, kind of.  I lived and worked in Virginia, out in the burbs of DC.  That hospital was like a vacation.  I even extended my contract and stayed three extra months.  If the cost of living weren’t so outrageous, I’d have stayed there permanently, that’s how much I liked working at that hospital.  Fun, nice people, EASY workload, low aciuty patients for the most part.  What more could you want from a Pediatric ER job???

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.  I came back home and to my old job.  Not a bad gig, and great people.  But I will always treasure my DC adventures…


Say it ain’t so…


Stunned?  Yep.  Disappointed?  Absolutely.  Scared?  Deeply.  I’ve been on the verge of tears all day, really having trouble keeping my shit together.  To think that the country I love will soon have a president who seems to be such a bigot and misogynist is beyond my comprehension.  I say seems to be, because I just don’t know who the real Donald Trump is.  He has flip flopped on so many issues over the years that how can anyone trust anything he has to say?  In my heart of hearts I wonder if he really wanted to be president, or if he just wanted to win so he could say he won.  Woe be unto us in any case.

I really have never had an election affect me this way, and I’ve been on the losing side a few times in the past.  But this one has rocked my soul somehow.  I guess I feel that my faith in the American people was misplaced.  I never really thought he had a snowball’s chance in hell.  How wrong I was.  I went to bed last night hoping that when I woke up my nightmare would be over.  Instead, it was just beginning.

I’m going to do all I can to keep an open mind.  I sincerely hope that my America is stronger than Donald Trump.  No, I BELIEVE that my America is stronger than he is.  There is no way he will ever be able to pull off all the crap he has said he will.  A wall?  I doubt it. But I doubted this day, too, so who knows?   My biggest fear is the Supreme Court.  I shudder to think what can happen in the days to come.

All I can do is try my best to move forward.  That’s all any of us can do.  This is a bleak day, though, no doubt about it…


Restaurant woes


I’m one of those horrible people who likes their steak (among other things) well done. And I really don’t understand why some people take this as a personal affront.  Others feel completely free to shame me about this, even waiters.  I had one tell me once that he would not ask the chef to “ruin a perfectly beautiful piece of meat.”  My response?  “If you or the chef  want to pay for my steak, he can cook it however he pleases, just box it up so I can take it home and cook it how I want it.  But since I’m paying for it, cook it like I want, or I can leave here and go to another restaurant!”  Who would the chef be ruining it for?  Not me, since that is the way I prefer it.  How big do you think that waiter’s tip was?Here’s another thing that irritates me–that disclaimer that the restaurant won’t be responsible for steaks requested above medium.  Really?  Because your chef can’t cook? Due to all this, I almost never order steak in a restaurant.  There is one place near my home that ALWAYS gets it right, Ely’s, so I know it can be done.  And the Longhorn steakhouse that I go to gets it right.  But these are absolutely the exceptions to the rule.  I have never once gotten a steak at Outback that I didn’t have to send back at least once.  I guess most chefs just don’t want to or don’t know how to cook a well done steak. That should be included in all culinary school curricula.  I even have trouble getting a burger well done.  I was in Perkins years ago and ordered a burger.  I told the waiter that well done was imperative.  The damn thing was still mooing and trying to graze on the lettuce when he brought it to the table.  I sent it back.  Next time?  Still blood red inside.  When it came back the third time still underdone, I just told him to take it back and forget it.  All my friends were done eating by this time,  and getting annoyed with the whole situation. You know what the doofus did?  Brought me a ticket!!!  WTF??  You really think I’m going to pay for something I didn’t eat?  I had to argue and finally request the manager before it got worked out.  Ree-donk-u-lous!!!!

So, all you people out there who like your steak, burger, whatever, rare, medium rare, however, enjoy.  I don’t have a problem with how you want to eat your food.  I may have to look away while you eat it, but I will never make fun of you or try to shame you about your choice.  It would be nice if all of you would give us “well doners” the same consideration.

Blew it out–figured I would…


Well, I had a BIG weekend.  Got together with a couple of friends that I hardly ever get to see anymore.  We hit the Gulf Coast with a vengeance!!  Stayed at one of the big casinos and had a blast.  The first day I didn’t do too bad as far as food goes, but, man did we drink!!  When you’re sitting at a slot machine with two good friends at your side, laughing and catching up on old times and new, those drinks just slide right on down without a thought.  And the cocktail waitresses were on top of their game–every time you turned around, there they were.  Needless to say, the next morning, none of us felt so swell.  So you know we needed good old greasy burgers to make us feel better…with fries on the side of course. Then floating around in the pool’s nice cool water was bliss.  On the way home, I really blew it when we stopped at an old fashioned fruit stand for a watermelon.  I noticed that they had honest to god hand dipped ice cream.  Was one dip enough?  Hell, no!!  I had to have two, one of dutch chocolate and one of butter brickle.  Was it pure heaven here on earth?  Hell, yes!!  So, yesterday I ended up sleeping most of the day.  I had every intention of getting up early and taking the kayak out to the rez for an early morning paddle.  Didn’t happen.  I literally did not get out of bed, except to feed Stella, until almost 1:00.  I wanted to stay in bed then, but I really needed to go grocery shopping, so I had to get up.

I’m trying really hard not to beat myself up too bad.  I had a wonderful time, so now I’m just going to put it behind me and climb back on the straight and narrow.  Had watermelon for breakfast and egg salad with tomato for lunch.  Trying to get all my steps in on my Fitbit.  Gonna grill some chicken thighs for dinner.   Just going to keep moving…

Day 30–Gulp!!


Well, here it is, my last day of my 3rd Whole 30.  Okay, I’m going to be honest here, I caved over the weekend.  I was in Mobile visiting my dad, and just couldn’t resist some fried crab claws, scallops, and shrimp.  It was DIVINE!!!  So, I’m not going to beat myself up or start over, I’m just going to keep on keeping on and try to stay as close to the straight and narrow as I can.  Still going to try to avoid Coke Zero, haven’t caved on that one yet.  I know this weekend will be tough, and I’m not going to lie and say that I won’t be drinking, because I will.  I’m going down to the Gulf Coast with two dear friends that I don’t get to see nearly often enough, and there will most definitely be a throw down!!  However, I will do all I can to try to eat as close as possible to the Whole 30/Paleo plan.  Oh, and BTW, I’m down 12 lbs.  A decent start, anyway.

Side note–at the hotel in Mobile there was a “Toddlers and Tiaras” type pageant going on. OMG!!  Oddly fascinating but at the same time disheartening.  I just wonder what type of message is getting through to those little girls with their false eyelashes, huge hair (the higher the hair, the closer to God), fake tans, and pushy parents.  I would venture to say that the biggest majority of the parents are doing this for themselves and not the kids. Kinda sad if you ask me.  But then, who asked me?

So, onward ho!!  Wish me luck!!