Sunday, May 24, 2015

Helloooo Summer!

It is 8:15 on Sunday. Memorial Day weekend 2015.

The neighbor, whose house I can not see because our yards were mapped by a drunk mathematician with a love of rhombussy parallelograms, has cranked up the radio. (Yes, radio. Not satellite, not iPod, not Pandora.) He has cranked up the good old fashioned radio. How do I know it is a radio? Because the DJ just shouted the call letters KSHE-95! And now what started as the end of an Allman Brother's tune has ramped up to 'Rough Boys' and The Who. And while I prefer the soundtrack of my life to be a tiny bit mellower on a Sunday morning, I can appreciate the sentiment.

We, my neighbor and I , both grew up in the 1970's when Memorial Day Weekend meant the swimming pools were open, school was over and for three glorious months we had absolutely no responsibilities. (Except for those two weeks when it was corn de-tasselling season; an activity unique to Cornfield USA. This is a time when teenagers are loaded into a truck, dropped at the entrance to a cornfield and slowly, meticulously walk the rows, pulling off the silky corn tassels to aid in hybridization leading to bigger yields. This was back when genetic engineering was spoken of in hushed tones in the back rooms of men's clubs.)

I never got to be part of the de-tasselling crowd. My Dad, knowing me all too well, informed me that the last thing I wanted to do was walk around in hot scratchy cornfields with a bunch of cute high school guys who would probably, eventually need to remove their shirts.

But, I digress.

While many things have changed, Memorial Day will forever mark the beginning of summer. (Yes, astrophysicists, I am aware that the true beginning of summer is June 21, when the stars align and Aquarius buys the world a coke.) To me, it seems that so many traditions are falling by the wayside. We no longer go on day long pilgrimages to decorate graves.

Gone are the seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables – thanks to those amazing people in Chile and New Zealand we can eat apples and strawberries all year round.Although I have to take issue with the so called 'January tomatoes'.

Television programs are now on-demand, TIVOed, and available for binge-watching. There was a time, back when we had to turn the channel by hand, that nearly everything in the summer was a re-run and we counted down the days until September and Saturday Cartoon Preview Friday happened!  I hate to admit it, but there are several new shows, which I am looking forward to, starting this SUMMER!
Simply unheard of in the days of manual genetic modification and wearing white only after the end of May.

I no longer have kids in school, or anxiously looking forward to that 'last day' and later the 'first day'. I no longer belong to a swimming pool. I now have to plan vacations around four adult work schedules. My husband grills year round and due to my inability to keep food off my person, I rarely wear white.

So I am here to say THANK YOU to my neighbor with the hearing impairment. Without you and your awesome sound system I would have nothing but a date on the calendar to mark the unofficial beginning of summer. 
This is my Summer home! Please note Robert Palm Tree to the left, who managed to survive winter in the basement and Carmen Miranda on the right who enjoyed a warm winter off my kitchen. Also - that leaning StoneHenge in the background, in my other neighbor's yard? Use to be the frame for a swing but is now a condo for tiny birds. I wonder if I should call FEMA when it finally falls over...

Now, before anyone gets all "Memorial Day is about more than YOU having a three day weekend" - I have written much more serious posts about remembrance. Please check out these links for the story of my family's Memorial Day celebrations and service. 

(and if you are super bored, check out a previous post regarding my neighborhood and music: 
Summer Sounds. But at least be sitting outside when you do so, unless you are under severe storm watch, then enjoy from the confines of your bathtub.)

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

And please, I am on call this holiday so for Pete's Sake:


*And thank you Mad Men, for allowing Don Draper to reintroduce that awesome Coca-Cola advertisement.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Grant Proposal

BREAKING NEWS! We have joined forces with the Eastern SeaBoard FiberglassVessel    Propulsion Committee. See the report here:
Grant Proposal:
The Ehlers 'Buffet' Hypothesis
Nuxoll Co-efficient

Comprehensive, real-time analysis seeking a direct correlation between morbid lethargy proportional to repetitive tasks and its resolution when treated with random, pleasure directed activities. A quantitative analysis of qualitative increase in subject's psychological disposition as affected by solar-heated atmospheric conditions combined with saline hydrotherapy will be measured using the following criteria:

Dietary restrictions including by not limited to crustacean consumption- Raw vs cooked.
Glucose variances in the form of distilled, oak-aged and cold processed liquids.
Semi-fowlers and full supine position as related to UV ray exposure.
Audio stimulation utilizing live vs prerecorded instrumentation of the 6-string and steel drum varieties as well as its subsequent kinetic musculo-skeletal reactions.

An increase in overall sparkling in subject's ocular region, as well as an increase in melanin resulting in unique skin patterns is expected after the conduction of the granular terrain between subject's meta-tarsals.

Travel will be provided by adjustable roofed automobile, manually propelled two-wheeled vehicles and floating wooden structure with large fabric attachments.

Pending approval, temporary research facilities will be as follows: 

Brent Burns and his story of my life: 

My friend and fellow land-locked beach bum, Angie
Jimmy Buffet
The Guy who parked a sailboat in my garage
Jimmy Cliff
The Maker of all crustaceans

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I'm stuck so...CLOWNS!!!

I have been having something of a difficult time getting ideas posted lately. I wish I had a great reason, like, I have been out of the country on a covert mission to find a calorie free chocolate which also makes your nails and hair grow faster or I have been reading all the New York Times best the blind.
But truthfully?
I haven't been up to a whole heck of a lot. There are ideas floating around in my head, but they refuse to form complete sentences, instead, preferring to present themselves as random, urgent Facebook statuses.
I have also been tormented by the fact that THEY (those bastards in Hollywood who insist on messing with perfection) have remade Poltergeist. And I hate to admit it but it looks even more terrifying than the original, if only for that SCARY ASS CLOWN!

There is absolutely no reason for calling this person, unless this is JAMES Frank-o the clown.

I have had may fair share of  Scary Ass Clown incidents around the Coast of Illinois. The above sign was the second in a long line of two signs creepily advertising clowns near my train stop. The first became the stuff of legend. Or at least a blog post, which I am repeating here, for your horror, I mean, entertainment.


See the woods behind the post? That is where they will find your body...
Could someone tell me – just when did clowns become scary? You mention 'clowns' to any adult I know and they turn pale, wring their hands and change the subject faster than a Congressman at a press conference.

I use to love clowns. The clowns I knew growing up were the happy, non-threatening variety. Red Skelton's Clem Kadiddlehopper, Captian Kangaroo's Town Clown and the grandfather clown of them all – Emmett Kelley. These clowns were loveable bums just trying to get by. They stumbled through my favorite television broadcasts trying to solve problems in their bumbling mute manor. I could relate to their clumsiness in the way that only a middle schooler who tripped over the vault horse could. I just wanted to give them a big hug.

And I guess, this is where the notion of scary began to evolve. As an adult I wonder, why would anyone in their right mind want to hug a grown man wearing all that makeup and baggy clothes? There is no doubt that these clowns smelled – most likely of 40 ounce malt liquor. It is now obvious that all three were probably members of some hobo-fueled street gang whose weapon of choice was disarming charm. Their gang sign was the pantomime for a train whistle and they most likely had tattoos of the various balloon animals they created.

I look at the clowns that my children watched growing up: Ronald McDonald and Bozo. One is trying to kill everyone with 'happy' meals full of artery clogging fat. Never mind that his organization provides housing for sick kids and their families. You scrape away all that goodie-two shoes stuff and you have a modern day Hansel and Gretel Witch luring children to his french fry play place.

And then there is Bozo. It was while watching Bozo's Circus that I began to notice the subtext, behind the makeup, the poorly masked disdain for all those screaming kids. He would call strange children down from the audience and on local cable television ask them to play with his balls in exchange for 'a surprise'. Really?

Driving home from work a while back I noticed a sign stapled to a telephone pole. In dripping blood red text it advertised Clowns...and more!! WHAT! From the shaky penmanship the sign looked to be the work of some demented mental patient who recently absconded from his cushy padded cell.I have no doubt that the poor mom who answered that ad thinking she was adding a touch of whimsy to her three-year-old's birthday would wind up buried in the woods beyond the post. Thinking it was just me, I mentioned the sign to a number of people and the reaction was the same: shocked speechlessness followed by talk of happy places and hiding under their beds.

As an adult, the clown, just seems to be the embodiment of all we teach our children to beware of. Grown adults masking their true selves behind makeup dressed in intentionally deceptive big shoes; they are obviously up to no good. Stephen King used a clown as the consummate image of evil in the book "It". John Wayne Gacy painted picture upon picture of clowns...and we all know how well he turned out. Yet we insist on inviting clowns to birthday parties and allow them to fill the gaps between floats in parades. They stroll the pavement at fairs with their squeaky balloon animals and offer 'whiffs' from their squirty lapel pin flowers. In fact, at a recent event I saw an entire busload of 'Clowns for Jesus'. I am pretty sure Our Lord would not have the following He has now if He wandered the roads of Jerusalem in face paint and asked lepers to 'honk my nose' for salvation.

And think about it. The word 'clown' is never used in a flattering manner. You have 'clown' pants and 'class clown' . If a woman wears too much make-up she looks like a 'clown'. Face it- when was the last time you called someone a 'clown' and meant it in a complimentary manner?

As a child, I had no idea of the scary crap waiting for me in the big wide world. But now, after years spent working in hospital emergency departments and surgical venues, years spent raising children while married to a member of law enforcement, very few things truly scare me. But I must admit, outside of Sock Monkeys, clowns are number one.

I have no doubt that those practicing the art of Clowning will take exception to my thoughts. And that is fine. Just pack yourselves into that tiny little car that miraculously seats seventy-five and keep on driving. With any luck you'll do us all a favor and run over a pack of Sock Monkeys on your way back to where ever it is that you keep those giant shoes.
DO NOT open that door...
(first posted 03.23.2011 The Clowns! sign disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. I had nothing to do with it. Really. And the Frank-O sign? I am not asking. ANYONE.)

(My apologies to the person/people who posted those signs...oh, who am I kidding. Clowns are just plain scary. If you are crazy enough to post your phone number on a sign advertising clowns you are asking for trouble.)

I am hoping to be back and functioning on a weekly basis soon. Thanks for sticking with me and please come back to the Coast!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Nurses Week 2015!

It is once again National Nurses Week!
Observation begins on May 6th and ends on Florence Nightingale's birthday, May 12th.

In that spirit, this post is dedicated to all those nurses out there. I have worked with so many amazing people over the years. We are all so different yet so much alike.

This is my wish for you..

May you get 'the GOOD' assignment.
May all your pages be answered promptly.
May all your computers work and when they don't may ALL handwriting be legible.
May your lunch break be uninterrupted. With the hot food-hot and the cold food-cold.
And may you have a chair.
May all your supplies be readily available.
May your narc count be correct.
May your plantar fasciatis mysteriously disappear.
May there be no 'unusual' odors and no 'interesting' fluids.
and no unidentifiable stains on your clothes.
May you have low re-admission rates and high satisfaction scores.
May you get an occasional 'please'.

And even though you say it isn't necessary, may you also get an occasional ThankYou. 
Because even though Nursing has been voted the most ethical profession, we all know we're big liars!

Happy Nurses' Week!
My Mom and me. Mom is not a 'professional' nurse, but I hear a lot of her wisdom spewing from my mouth most days. And, while I don't usually wear a flower at work, wouldn't that be AWESOME!
If you want to read more from some of my previous nursing week posts please click on the It's a Living tab at the top of this page!