Monday, December 31, 2012

Shrimp Cocktail!

Happy New Year! Good bye 2012! Hello Healthy Eating and Exercise Resolutions.

Okay, hello plans to cut back on the red wine and M&Ms and do more yoga...

But, before the ball drops and we all dive over the fiscal, diet, exercise cliff...its Shrimp Cocktail Time!

That's right. Simultaneously the Swankiest and most often served appetizer in the world. (Allegedly.)*

Here at the Coast of Illinois we have moved past the traditional Shrimp Coctail and now participate in a full blown Shrimp Boil. And not just for New Years. I still have a brief moment of Quaker Frugality when I think of shrimp.

Growing up, shrimp cocktail was a sign of Fancypants Richness. Other signs of Fancypants Richness? Steak for dinner, manicures and pedicures, housekeepers, vacations in hotels...But I guess times have changed. Steak is no longer reserved for birthday dinner and nights out at Ponderosa. I have recovered from my Midwestern Guilt and have my nails done, once in a while. And while I do not have a housekeeper, I almost exclusively vacation in hotels. Although I am hearing a lot of noise about being able to 'camp' in the sailboat once it is completed. To which I counter with 'marble soaking tub'? And he replies 'Gulf breezes'. Then I point out '400 count Egyptian Cotton sheets?' And...


Back to Shrimp Cocktail. I have a very distinct memory of New Years Eve. I was probably four or five. We lived in a tiny house where Mom stayed home and Dad worked and I shared a room with Beanie and Cecil and was in bed as soon as I Love Lucy was over. But this one particular New Years I was allowed to stay up. I recall curling up on the weirdly bumpy couch with Dad as we watched the Orange Bowl parade. (It was a parade, there were palm trees and as I recall many forms of citrus fruit on floats.) A metal TV tray sat in front of us. (Alone a treat. We never ate in the front room.) And then Mom sat a Shrimp Cocktail in front of me. It was served in what looked like a juice glass. The glass held hundreds of teensy, tiny shrimp swimming in horseradish and catchup sauce. The shrimp were soggy and slightly fishy tasting. The sauce was still mostly icy.

It was heaven.

And every New Years Eve I remember that moment when I knew, I had arrived...

Thank heaven Cecil was our Designated Driver...

*I attempted to research the history of the Shrimp Cocktail but due to lack of time and the fact that I didn't start actually researching until this morning, I am taking some liberties with the claim that Shrimp Cocktail is indeed both the Swankiest and Most Served. I will however, go out on a limb and say that it is probably the only appetizer with a Board Game!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Palm Tree Power or the year in review, part two

I have a fetish for Palm Trees. I love the unusual way in which they grow- barely rooted and tall with feathery fronds that cast dappled shade. I planned on making this post a humorous examination of my attempts to acclimate the Palm Tree into my Faux Caribbean lifestyle here on the Coast of Illinois. But life had other plans and today I am not feeling very tropically footloose.

Thanks to a purely selfish act of violence two lives have been forever changed. And by extension, many other lives have been affected. Violence is acted out for one of two reasons. Someone either wants something which is not theirs or they do not want someone else to have what they can not. I don't know the 'why' of the act which has hit too close to home. It will never make sense so it does not matter.

I do know this: you did not just pull a trigger. When you selfishly fired that gun you lit a fire in the hearts of so many people in this world and because of that fire a wave of love and support has been sent out into the universe which will far surpass any small, petty, selfish reason you had.

And that is why I am still calling this post Palm Tree Power. Palm trees grow tall and straight, but they are also shaped by the conditions surrounding them. They may grow bent and crooked but they remain strong. Their fronds are sturdy enough to roof the huts of shipwrecked vacationers and sound enough to carpet the triumphant ride for a Carpenter and his donkey as He returned home. In nearly every faith the Palm symbolizes victory, life and peace.

I have a Palm Tree necklace which I wear to work when I am feeling the need for encouragement from a Much Higher Latitude. And to that end I wish you all Palm Tree Power.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prosthetics - The Year in Review, part one

I am not one to look for 'signs' but in reviewing this past year I have come to feel a little unbalanced. I blame the legs. Artificial legs to be exact.

Two right, one left.

I feel I must qualify here. This has NOTHING to do with my actual job. I work in a hospital and prosthetic sightings are really not a big deal. Nor is this a comment on people requiring the use of prosthetics. That guy who ran in the Olympics on blades should have finished off any sort of stigma surrounding amputation.

I am talking about unattended artificial legs. Two rights:

which I discovered while helping clean out the clothes closet at a local church. (Insert Miraculous Recovery Story here.)

and a left:

I suppose I should point out that the Left leg belonged to James Crutchfield, a blues piano man, who, for a good part of his life, made St. Louis his home. As a young man, Mr. Crutchfield lost his leg in a railroad accident. He was a regular performer at one of my favorite places: Venice Cafe.

I am unsure where Mr. Crutchfield was laid to rest, but for some reason his LEG continues to hang out at Venice. Not his piano, or his eyeglasses, or handwritten notes on his music. His LEG. The left one.

I mentioned these sightings to a co-worker. She smiled and said she might have something I would like. It was her Uncle's leg.

For purposes of equilibrium, I pray it is a Left.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Because its not the Holidays until Somebody Cries (which in this case may just be me...)

There is a commercial running right now with a group of children, all in PJ's with headlamps on their heads, crowded on a couch waiting for Santa. One of the kids – a little girl with chubby cheeks and curly hair – squeezes her arms close to her chest like she might just explode. In my head I can hear the tiny escape of breath – a high pitched EEEEEEEeeeeee – as she waits.

I can hear that sound because that little girl is me. At some point during every holiday season since I can remember I have struck that pose. It is as if the Holiday Spirit has possessed me and the only way to exorcise it is that high pitched EEEEEeeeeeeee!

The catalyst might be anything:
The long ride to Grandma's after church for the first round of gifts and food (the ride was a whopping fifteen minutes), the year Santa brought the Olympic Barbie with real-live-action foot joints allowing her to skate and do cartwheels all while wearing wiglets from her accessory pack; later it was delight in our first tree as a married couple and then the excitement of seeing our son actually hover off the ground the year Santa brought him a fireman coat and a workbench.

This year the trigger was different. Thanks to some sadly busy work shifts, horrific news stories and incompetent Mayan day-planners I have been obsessing about 'the end of the world'. In the literal sense it is a mute point. Planet blows up, game over. But in the more personal interpretation...suffice it to say, I have lost a little sleep of late. I fretted over our kids travel plans, counting the hours until I got the text: "I'm home :)" Four cars in the driveway and my world was safe for another day.

And with that tiny bit of crazy put to bed, my excitement was free to begin ramping up: holiday shopping-complete, groceries - put away, my husband - stewing about the rambunctiously wrapped, unidentifiable gift with his name on it, poorly hidden in the family room – set the timer. The anticipation of Christmas Eve dinner with my folks and the thrill of hearing from my brother and his family who live half a world away - winding the springs. And finally, last night as our grown children ate and laughed and joked with their also grown cousins in one of our favorite hangouts that excitement ticked its last tick...

And I was once again that little girl on the couch in my Pjs, squeezing myself so tightly I might explode. (and thankfully, it was so noisy in no one could hear the EEEEEEEeeeeee!!)

Here's to YOU and your own exploding moment, from me on the Coast of Illinois. Have a safe and precious Holiday, whatever Holiday you celebrate and may Your World be safe for every single day.

Me and Santa on the Floor Zamboni - because this is how awesome my World is!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Four out of Five Dentists....?

I fear I am developing an unhealthy attachment to Clooney, which is the name I have given my new spinning toothbrush. I went on the cheap and got the store brand. I am not sure if this was a wise choice. In the instructions is a warning: May cause bleeding for first few uses.

I don't know about any of you, but I am not real keen on willingly using a utensil that can cause 'bleeding'. Not even after only ONE use. What they don't warn you about is even more disturbing.

After the mandatory charging period, I plugged my aqua green head onto the wand and pressed the button. Now is a good time to mention that this thing sounds like a Very Large Personal Massager. Or a Ridiculously Tiny Chainsaw. I suppose it all depends on your mood. I swear the bathroom lights dimmed and Barry White songs began drifting from the exhaust fan. By the time my mandatory two minute spin cycle was complete my cheeks were glowing, my husband was pounding on the door asking what was going on in there and the bathroom was covered with minty toothpaste.

Maybe next time I'll breakout the cinnamon gel...

Monday, December 17, 2012


I have written and deleted this post about five times. So, I am going to let someone else do the hard part for me.

"Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."~Monty Python/Meaning of Life

Be kind, love one another.
 From the Coast of Illinois, I wish you all Peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yum! Tastes Like Chicken?

There is a new restaurant in town. My commute takes me past its billboard every day. The food looks  delicious. The problem? Its name.


Ei caras! Spelling it with a 'K' doesn't change the fact that there is 'cat' in your name!

(In all fairness, I have never eaten at this establishment and after checking their website I must say, the restaurant looks very pretty, seems to be filled with beautiful people and the food really does look tasty.)

((Also - the national drink of Brazil is the Caipirinha. This is also the national drink here at the CoastofIllinois, right behind coffee. Which might also come from Brazil...))

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Crazy of the Day and Its Only Five AM

I woke up at 0330 this morning because an alarm went off. I laid in bed for a few minutes trying to figure out what alarm it was. Two nights ago it was the alarm to our sewer system. I could have been dreaming about work. At my job people live and die by alarms. Literally. I wondered if dream work could be billed at time and a half.

I got up and did a house check under the annoyed stare of the cat who was resting on the back of the couch. I got a drink of water; further annoyed the cat by sitting on the couch and petting him then went back to bed where I laid awake wondering if I had just set the alarm incorrectly at bedtime.
The easy fix would have been to take the alarm into the bathroom and double check it.

I scoff at easy.

Instead I pondered the possibilities of mis-set alarms and the probability that the alarm that woke me had just been in my head. I pondered this until my husband's actual alarm woke me up at 0500 at which time I reported this mystery to my husband. His reply?

"Wow. All that crazy going on right next to me and I slept right through it."

I gave him the finger. In my head.

Friday, December 7, 2012

HoHoHoly Ghost of Beaches Past

So sorry I haven't been up-to-date with posting. But, what with being attacked with a vicious stomach hating bacteria and holiday prepping, I have been a little crunched for posts. So, to reward those of you who seem to still check out the Coast on a regular basis, and to pay tribute to Global Warming and the ridiculous fact that I was decorating the house in 70 degree weather,  I give you Dicken's Flamingos:

Forget those fruitcakes, get me some damn shrimp!
See you all real soon!

Friday, November 30, 2012

And Now a Fact From Mr. Science

Here's an interesting fact:
One side of the body feels pain more intensely than the other side.

Oh, wait. I have that wrong. Actually it is this:

Having someone jab a tiny needle with a syringe full of vein killing solution into a vein above your shin bone hurts like someone jabbing a tiny needle with a syringe full of vein killing solution into a vein above your shin bone.

Just in case you were wondering.

So here is where I would put a picture of my cotton ball covered legs after Round Three with Veinessa. However, I would prefer that you return readers continue to do so and to that end I am posting a picture of JoeyKatt. He would never jab a jab a tiny needle with a syringe full of vein killing solution into a vein above your shin bone. Unless you failed to feed him...or let him out....or feed him...

You paid HOW MUCH to find out having a tiny needle with a syringe full of vein killing solution into a vein above your shin bone would hurt?! Now feed me. Again.

Monday, November 26, 2012

When He Says Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain, You Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain.

Illusion. Delusion...

I made the mistake of looking up the website of one of my favorite new singers. The musician has a voice that fuels my dreams of dropping everything and working at a diner on a beach. In my head, he is 30ish with wind blown brownish-blonde hair. His tan bod is dressed in an open collar white shirt and well worn jeans. And he is barefoot.

Not that I have given it much thought.

(Here is where my husband would like it to be known that 'He told me so'.)

You remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz where the wizard is hiding behind a curtain warning Dorothy not to look? It was like that but instead of the kindly wizard Dorothy discovered Conway Twitty. No wait, that was me. I know I sound shallow. You should never judge a person by their looks but come on! Dreamy Bobby Sherman voice...with a Conway Twitty head. 

And to prove that I am not a hater: 

Me, with my very own Conway Twitty Hairdo.
Twitty Hair. Its not good for anyone. (Except of course  for Mr. Twitty, who seemed to do alright.)

(And, to be fair, the guy mentioned in the above ramble is an awesome musician and I refuse to put his name here because I am still holding out hope that one day I might meet him and get to tell him how much I love his music and once we have bonded over our mutual love of beaches and sailing he will be open to my suggestion for a haircut. I am thinking something more Bruce Willis and less Twitty-bird...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hello? Most Ridiculous Complaint Department?

I am a TurkeyDay Prepper. For the past eight hours I have been systematically chopping, baking, sauteing, pre-blending, displacement measuring and brining. All in preparation for a day of thanks. As I was stuffing the last plastic container of turkey broth gravy base into the fridge I uttered the Most Ridiculous Complaint ever uttered.

"There is too much food in this refrigerator."

As the twelve pounds of cranberry sauce slid to the left, providing a domino effect of open space between the brussel sprouts with bacon and the three gallons of whipping cream, it occurred to me that having 'too much food' was possibly the Most Ridiculous thing to complain about. Ever.

It ranks right up there with "there are too many people coming for dinner" and "this stupid huge house is a pain to clean".

Perhaps if we looked at these Most Ridiculous Complaints in a mirror we might spend more than one day a year purposely giving thanks. 

Wait! I think there's a spot between the water pitcher and the OJ

Happy Thanksgiving from the Coast of Illinois! May you have a year full of Most Ridiculous Complaints and not a single serious or sad one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hairnet Roundup 11-19-2012

The Hairnet Spotters have been uber-busy this week. I have received Net photos from all over the Greater Coastal Area. And with those photos we have come closer to understanding the lifespan and life style of the Common Mid-American Hairnet. (Don't be afraid. If you are new to the CoastofIllinois - check here for some background.)

Here we have an extremely rare photo of Hairnet DNA. 

The Building Block of Life

Notice the typical double helix design. But, if you look closely you will notice the beginning formation of the capsule or 'net'. This is the portion of the DNA strand that begins to break apart, forming the waffle weave normally associated with our Hairnets. This allows for maximum stretch to cover a wide variety of heads and hair-dos.

Here we have a mature Net. Take note of the residual DNA column extending from the bulky center. 

In Sight...It must be Right...

Most Nets are responsible and generally follow in the food service industry tradition of their fore-bearers. This particular Net was employed at a well known Fresh Food Restaurant known for its BeanCrock.

Our next Net is at the end of its life cycle. Sadly, it has not fared as well as its free floating brethren tumbling along sidewalks and parking garages to the whim the breeze. No, this poor Net has taken refuge in the corner of a convenient elevator, hiding amongst bits of paper and plastic; a sad attempt at maintaining coverage of something...anything...

A Hairnet is such a Terrible thing to Waste

I have included this final picture as a cautionary footnote lest Readers, you have forgotten how truly dangerous the Hairnet can be.

License to Lunch...Lady....

 Observe the heavy polyurethane containment device holding the Nets in a neat stack. This establishment is taking no chances with its Hairnet protocol. To the left you will see an emergency telephone. To the right please note the professional Hairnet Dispensing License as well as a Hairnet Safety Checklist Clipboard. And lastly, below the Containment Device an emergency release valve. Should the Nets dispense too quickly, the Hairnet Safety Office is charged with the task twisting the release valve thus filling the room with an ozone decimating layer of AquaNet.

Thanks to all my Hairnet Spotters. With your diligence and quick phone-camera snapping the Coast of Illinois, nay, the World is a safer place!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oh Don't Get Your Pantaloons and Petticoats in a Bunch

I really try my best to stay out of politics. I find political arguments discussions are a major trigger to stomach upset, migraines and the occasional black eye. Yet, post election there is talk of states seceding from the Union. I assumed it was just Internets chatter from people who had depleted their stock of cute kitten pictures. But on my commute to work I took note of the beginning invasion and I feel it is my civic duty to state the obvious:

Robert E. Lee! If the South is gonna rise again then fellows, you are gonna need a bigger boat!

I do declare! Fix me another one of them juleps. This invasion is gonna take forever.

The content of this blog is for entertainment purposes only It is not meant as an indictment of any of the fine states of this great nation or its citizens, no matter how silly. In fact, the author of this blog loves sweet tea, grits and the Gulf Coast. And cotton. She loves cotton. Not too fond of tobacco but man she loves cotton...except for the ironing. No riverboat captains were injured in the writing of this blog however, the author's ego took a beating from the smirks and laughter of her fellow train riders as she snapped a dozen photos of the coastline we see Every Single Day. But seriously, it was 0730 in the morning and there was an actual steaming riverboat traveling up the Mississippi. Oh wait, the author is being informed that the riverboat actually has a diesel engine and the paddle wheel is just for show.

Well, crapmonkey.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Screaming You Hear Would Be Me

As I write this I am sitting in the kitchen, a circa 1982 Madonna-Like A Virgin-size rip in the left leg of my support hose which I am wearing under denim shorts. Thankfully the right leg, the one doing the actual work, remains intact. It is November and here on the Coast of Illinois it is 70 degrees. Did I mention that I am in support hose?

"Why?" you might ask. (Although a sane person would just accept it and walk away.) But we both know that ship has sailed so I will tell you. I went round two with Veinessa this week and my reward was three rolls of tape wrapped around the my leg from just above my knee to mid calf as wells as a sentence of support hose for four days. Something about keeping the vein compressed and causing me much discomfort. I feel as though I am being punished for some previous crime against humanity. I am telling you right now, you make a terror suspect wear a pair of support hose for four days and that person will talk faster than a Kardashian can get married. Feed them a bean dinner and they won't last six hours.

You think I exaggerate? Let me paint you a little picture. Imagine sticking both feet into a rubber tube that will only stretch apart six inches. Now pull this rubber tube up both legs, avoiding the tender taped up area behind your knee. Next fling yourself on your back, both feet in the air, while you frantically try to loosen the tension caused by an excess of fabric wrapped around your calf so tight your baby toe has turned purple. Curse. Give one, final mighty tug, thus putting your entire fist through the nylon which attaches the lower half of the tube to the upper half of the tube. Curse, curse,curse. You can't change pairs because the back up is in the wash so you soldier on with the now semi-disabled stockings finally ending up with so much extra compression fabric that the waistband sits just under your second rib while the crotch remains firmly hammocked halfway up your thighs.

And that is why I find myself wearing two-thirds of a pair of support hose. If only I had thought ahead . The YouTube video would have made enough money to pay for my current treatment and psycho-therapy for the video's first hundred viewers.

(ps-I can't even begin to speak to the actual ripping off of the tape. It is now a suppressed memory destined to surface when I am an eighty year old nursing home patient.)

((pss- and while the nursing home attendants wrestle to restrain me they will comment on how lovely my vein free legs there's that...))

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Osmotic Carbo-Loading...its a thing

Thanks to the haranguing encouragement of a co-worker (Karen) I downloaded the C25K app onto my iPod. This adorable (because its free) app promises to have you running a 5K in just three-thirty minute a week for eight weeks workouts. I should point out here that I have NO interest in running a 5K. I DO have an interest in purchasing a new pair of jeans from the GAP in my current or smaller size without the scrawny 40K running salesclerk rolling her eyes when I step into the changing room.

I managed to 'jog'/walk through my first thirty minute workout without taking a break but frankly, if they don't want you to stop then they shouldn't include a 'pause' feature. And FYI Chirpy Disembodied Female Voice – I need more encouragement than 'you're halfway there'. I want encouragement in the form of 'Your butt is going to look like Selma Hayak's in those new jeans' or 'Is that the phone? It has to be Victoria's Secret calling for their holiday runway show'. As it was, I am pretty sure I heard a tone every time she said 'begin your run now'. For some people 4.5 miles an hour is running.

Did I mention that I was watching the FoodNetwork while on the treadmill? Oh, and the guy was making a (I am not kidding here) Grilled Mac and Cheese Sandwich with Bacon.

I am pretty sure that Chirpy Disembodied Female Voice deleted my Day One success check.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallow-Hairnet-een!

It is Halloween!
Crappy economy! Constant campaign phone calls and attack ads! Frankenstorms!
Like it could get any scarier out there...

But, Hairnet Spotters, it has. We have had an Private Interior Hairnet Spotting! Not only was this a PIHS, it was also Spotter Julie's first sighting. We could, of course, wonder about the security of her home and possibly the alliances of the person responsible for bringing the Hairnet in...but here on the Coast of Illinois we are more about saving lives than pointing fingers.

The Hairnet breach occurred last weekend as Julie was setting up her Very Topical Reality Television Halloween costume. She ripped open the package and whup (BAM! Would be more dramatic but Hairnets rarely go BAM!) the albino Net fell onto her table. In Julie's own words:

"Once I realized what I had my hands on (not a harmless fake beard!) I snapped a quick photo (as proof of my bravery) and then threw it in the OUTSIDE trash can! Whew! I washed my hands thoroughly (2 rounds of "Happy Birthday!) and sprayed Lysol liberally, making sure to rid the house if any bad juju."

"The sneaky infidel is masquerading inside the package of a hair called "The Savior." Blasphemy!"

Way to go Julie! Handled like a true professional. And an Albino Hairnet too boot! This may be our first observation of Hairnet Adaption.
They are adapting.
 But, they are also SPAWNING:

Jeez! Get a room. 

Be Wary out there people. Let this be a warning to us all. Hairnets are everywhere. They are getting sneakier. And, once you start seeing them.....wait, what's that on the floor....NOOOOoooo....

(No bloggers were actually injured in this writing. That last bit was just for fun.)
((Coast of Illinois is a non-denominational public service. The use of the words 'Infidel', 'Savior' and "Albino' are not meant to profile anyone.))
(((Thanks again to Mel for the horrifying spawn photo. And to Julie - welcome to the club!)))

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hairnet Roundup 10-25-2012

Welcome to Autumn on the Coast of Illinois. The leaves are changing, pumpkins are popping up on doorsteps and Hairnets are migrating. That's right. It is the beginning of the annual Hairnet Migration. To the best of my knowledge the Nets band together and head down to Rio. It even says so in that song by Duran Duran:

"Hairnets in Rio and they Dance upon the sand
Protecting hairdos all across the dusty land"

A diligent spotter (thanks Jen!) caught these three waiting to board the Red Line Metro to Lambert Field.  Bon Voyage Hairnets! Until Spring!

Good luck with the TSA. At least they don't have any carry-ons.

(I always get the bug to change things up this time of year. As a result, I have changed shifts at work and as expected it is bringing havoc to The Coast. Hope to get back to more routine postings soon. Until then: Keep your Eyes Open. The Hairnets that stick around for winter are of the most hardy variety.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time Warped

Today I start a new (tentative) work schedule. I say good-bye to twelve hour shifts and switch to ten hour ones. Naturally, I have an entire new life plan for this (tentative) schedule change. Exercising first thing in the morning, eating healthier and writing every morning so I can get the rough draft of this novel finished. Theoretically, I gain four hours of work and get home two hours earlier every day I do work.

Yet, all I can focus on is the fact that ONLY four more work hours a week equals ONE less day off?

I hate math.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dedicated to Mrs. Mose...

Dedicated to Mrs. Mose, who taught 5th grade, loved Lysol and her varicose veins and felt that I did not use my time wisely.

My vascular entity Vein-essa and I parted ways a couple days ago in a flourish of lidocaine and lasers. What follows are some of the highlights:

Technician: Do you mind if we leave the door open? We're the only ones here.
(let it be noted that I am in my UNDERPANTS on an exam table here)

Doctor: This is going to sting.
(As he proceeds to STAB me multiple times from knee to upper thigh.)
Internal Conversation with myself: Wish I had done more leg lifts in 8th grade PE class. My God. I am only 5'5" I think he is just stabbing me for the fun of it now.)

Technician: Wow!
(Everyone in room gets quiet. I prop up on my elbows and demand to know what was so WOW! Reassure everyone that I can handle it.)
Technician: Well, as he injected the local anesthetic there, a bunch of it sort of shot out of this hole a fountain!)
Internal Conversation with myself: So happy to be of entertainment value.
Me,out loud: Do I get a discount for that?

Technician: Let us know if you taste anything, smell anything or feel anything...unusual.
Internal Conversation as well as External Conversation: You really need to tell people that?

Doctor: Wait! She needs her goggles.
(Let it be known here – I am the only one wearing goggles. I can only assume they are to protect the other people in the room when the laser shoots up my leg vein and out of my eyes. Sort of like that Nazi Movie Director at the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark...right before his face melts off.)

What happens next is a blur of lasers, burning smells and several more stabbing injections after which I reminded myself and everyone in the room that I had entered into this VOLUNTARILY.
I left the office in no pain except for the pulling sensation two rolls of tape attached to my leg where one of my stab wounds continued to bleed and a brand new pair of awesome support hose.

Disclaimer: Except for the localization, this was totally painless. Unless you count the humiliation of laying around in front of total strangers in your underpants.

Disclaimer #2: The Doctor assured me that Varicose Veins are, in fact, not caused by:
Being Overweight
Not exercising enough
Exercising too much
Standing for thousands of hours
Wearing high heels
Crossing your legs
Eating too much red meat
Drinking too many rum drinks
Going Barefoot
Varicose Veins are just bad genetic luck.

So, Thanks Mom and Dad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Can Smell The Colors

I attended an artist talk last night as a sort of ceramic wing man for my friend who throws pots. (That's pots – plural – not pot – vegetative.) I really enjoy attending events like this. Although I will admit, my interest tends to veer towards the silly factor. Don't get me wrong. I am fascinated by the creative process. I truly appreciated the results, even if I don't necessarily understand them.

What amazes me is this, the minute I enter a gallery I find I must start talking all 'arty', sort of like the news people who suddenly become Hispanic when pronouncing names like Chavez and Hernandez. I start asking about medium and composition and perspective. I become a conceptual interpreter finding meaning in every color choice and brush stroke. At one point last night I found myself in a discussion with an artist over her use of gesso.

I don't even know what gesso is.

In all fairness – the art was truly interesting and in the spirit of The Coast of Illinois, I must add links to the artist:Tom Dykas   and the really cool gallery:


And in the spirit of keeping true to myself, I found this awesome and hilarious site for us regular folks that occasionally need to attend such functions...

although I don't see that happening any time soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Can I Get the Leopard Print Pump Discount?

Fine. I will admit it. I am a woman of a 'certain' age. And with that age comes great responsibility. Well, not really. It just means more maintenance. So:


Due to my advanced age, maternal history and twenty seven years in the Health Service industry (read that standing for at least 10 hours a day) I developed a gross, ropey vein on my right leg. In fact, it had grown so much it was now an entity who answered to the name Vein-essa. Vein-essa had taken to kicking people in movie theaters when they wouldn't shut up and so it was decided she had to go.

Which resulted in me sitting in a freezing exam room in a pair of shorts. Part one of my recurring nightmare.

The Doctor walked in and greeted us with "Whoa! I can see from here why you came in!"

Thanks Doc. Just what I wanted to hear. Vein-essa pulsated "Hello Big Boy" in Morse code. (Did I mention she is something of a skank?)

The consult was a two part, two visit affair with examination, treatment options, payment plans, insurance referrals, pictures, ultrasound and payment options. Did I mention the pictures? The photo session was part of visit two. Let me paint you a picture: Me, Vein-esse, athletic shorts, no socks, and Leopard Print Pumps. Lovely.

It was determined that only Lasers would evict Vein-essa. Lasers. You know, those things we fire at terrorists and moon aliens. I straightened my shorts, turned on my leopard print heels and made the appointment.

Vein-esse requested two 8x10 glossies on the way out.

$20 at Kmart, priceless at the Vein Clinic

(coming soon – Attack of the 30 ml syringe full of PAIN or Buh-Bye Little Vein-essa)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where Did You Say You Got That Medical Degree?

 Today I am having a 'minimally invasive' laser procedure done. These two terms: 'minimally invasive' and 'laser' just don't seem to work together to insure confidence. At least I figure it will result in a couple of blog posts. So, in order to set the mood, I am posting a  previous adventure in medical care:

                                        Yes, We Have No Bananas

I am lucky. I just happen to work at one of the finest medical facilities in the nation and as such, thanks to employer subsidized healthcare, have access to some of the finest medical care a twenty dollar co-pay can buy. This came in quite handy recently when my left foot decided to take on a life of its own and grow what can only be described as the spinal cord of what I am sure was my unborn twin.
I guess here is where I should insert the WARNING – this post will include discussion of feet. As much as I like shoes, I do not like feet, toes, toenails or any of the myriad of gross ailments that those body parts can acquire. That being said, when the ball of my left foot began to hurt I was forced to remove the Carlos Santana Hooker Heels and take a look.
After months of poking, pumicing and ignoring I decided that the painful lump was not going to go away on its own. So I did what any responsible healthcare consumer does. I made an appointment with my primary care physician, fully expecting a 'get that gross hoof out of my office' and a referral to a podiatrist.
Now, it should be mentioned that the building where my doctor – a highly regarded diagnostician – maintains his office, has the word 'ADVANCED' in it. This will become important later in this story.
I hobbled in for my appointment and after the obligatory blood pressure check and always fun weigh in, I took my seat on the exam table. I don't know about you but I find it impossible to not swing my legs like a three year old when I sit on an exam table. By the time the doctor came in I had performed most of the can-can and was starting in on a Rockette kick line. I took a gracious bow and proceeded to explain the reason for my visit:
"There is something sprouting from the bottom of my left foot. It feels like I have been walking in a cheap pair of Walmart pumps."
The Highly Regarded Diagnostician nodded knowingly, sat on his wheely chair and gently took my foot in his hand. He turned it this way and that, studying the intricacies of the offending growth and commenting on the lovely color of polish on my toenails. (OPI-Lunch at the Dehli). He then looked up sheepishly and said, "well, we have a couple of options here." He offered the expected referral to a podiatrist – a physician I can only assume either has deep seated mental issues or some major community service hours to execute - OR my Doctor said he could possibly take care of it himself.
Then he qualified his claim with "Now, don't laugh." (Here is where I ask that you keep the word ADVANCED as well as the word MEDICINE in the back of your mind.)
Doctor went on to outline his treatment plan. (WARNING!) Where he would shave the growth down, which would render it painless immediately. However, this was only step one. Feeling that I would be a compliant patient, he went on to explain my portion of the treatment, warning me again to "Not Laugh."
I was intrigued.
"Tonight, when you go to bed, wrap a banana peel around the foot." He barely got the words out before once again saying, "Please, don't laugh." It was sort of fun to watch him twist back and forth on his wheely chair as he told me to secure the peel with an ACE wrap. The treatment would only need to be performed one time he assured me. I did not tell him that with a banana peel wrapped around my foot, I would only be allowed to sleep in the same bed as my husband one time...most likely, the last time.
He left the exam room long enough for me to do a couple of high kicks and returned with a sterile knife blade. He proceeded to ask after my kids, our summer plans, and work. I am an extremely trusting human being, some would say gullible, but why quibble. When another human is coming at your foot with a sharp blade it is very hard to make small talk. I tried my best to answer but with my teeth clenched as tightly as they were I doubt he got much beyond "mmphh" and "eee".
Five minutes later I left his office, soul of my foot neatly shaved and no longer painful. He looked at me hopefully. "So, are you really going to try the banana peel?"
I shrugged and said "Only if you give me a cut of the bet you are obviously about to win."
He chuckled as he handed my chart to the clerk, his hopeful expression turned to worry. "And, please, don't tell anyone."
Now he was worried about who might hear this? Well, sorry Doc, confidentiality is not a two way street. I had a week's worth of tweets ready to post.
I left the office and made my way to Trader Joe's for some of the finest organic bananas my healthcare dollars could buy; all the while trying to figure out how to explain to my family why I would be tying an entire banana peel around my foot. They were surprising supportive. My husband offered to call 911 when I slipped on the peel in the middle of the night and broke my hip while my daughter did an extensive on-line search of 'banana peel+foot+insanity'. My son ate the banana for me.
In the end, I trimmed down the peel to bandage size and placed it – banana side in- to my foot and secured it with a large bandaid. Now, here is where it gets weird. When I first stepped down on the poulticed foot it tingled. Alot. The tingling was soon replaced by an almost electric thumping. And the next morning the weird little spot had nearly vanished!
Now I just need to figure out what to do with the remainder of those 26 nineteen-cent bananas I had to buy to meet my five dollar co-pay on generic prescriptions.

(For purpose of full disclosure-what I had was a plantar wart. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT search this malady on the internet. Take my word for it, the text search results are bad enough. The image search will make you want to wash your eyeballs with antibiotic ointment. However, treatment for plantar wart actually does include the Banana Peel Protocol. And you know what they say – If its on the Internet, it has to be true!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hairnet Round-up 10-11-12!!

Its 10-11-12! What better day to do announce a new Hairnet spotter in our midst?

Once again, we were walking to the parking lot after a long hard day of waking people up and giving them drugs to put them back to sleep. My friend, whom we shall call Shirley, was lamenting the fact that she had yet to spot a Hairnet. As with most non-spotters, I believe she secretly considered us nuts.

But that was before...

We turned onto Hairnet Alley (the side street which runs between parking garages and gunfire) when she stopped dead in her tracks. Her outstretched hand was rock steady as she pointed to the ground. Only her quavering voice gave her away. "Cheese and Crackers! Is that one?" Lying on the ground at her feet was a large heavy mesh sack with ties. We pondered the item and its possible uses but ultimately we concluded that it was indeed a hair containment device. A MUTATED hair containment device! Its uses too horrifying to mention. Implementing all the Hairnet Safety Protocols, we cautiously took a warning photo and moved along.

We spotted three smaller Hairnets within 100 feet of the Mutation. Clearly what Shirley discovered was The Mother Ship!

Do not doubt the Hairnets! They do exist! They do!