a slow day

When you have no appointments, no particular thing to do or place to be there is sooo much that can be done…so much to be accomplished. So you check that to-do list that is is just too much…but today, at least, it can wait for another day…another day. Today is a slow day and, for once, you are going to to take the time to do slow day kind of things:

Like curling your hair and putting on makeup.

Then take a picture because you know this won’t last. But now it will because you took a picture which will end up being your social media profile pic because it’s a slow day and you have time for that…and because you curled your hair and put on makeup.

A bit self indulgent, I know.

Perhaps I should consider others on a slow day.

Don’t judge. Son is at school. Darling husband is at work. Darling daughters are on their own in the world doing on-your-own-in-the-world grown-up kind of things. Don’t tell me that you weren’t asking the same question about Siri. Well now you know. You’re welcome.

Oh, and on this slow day I begin a little light reading.

And discover what was likely Lin Manuel Miranda’s epiphany while enjoying a little poolside vacation light reading…832 pages of light reading, y’all. On a slow day seems like the thing to do, to begin.


summer readings

Read any good books lately?

My summer reading goals began earnest enough.

Goals are good and yes, I had them right here on my nightstand.

I wish I could tell you that I read them all. What can I say, life, family, work, moving often got in the way. And one book too.

Four months ago, at our Disaster Planning Committee meeting, I was asked if I had ever read Five Days At Memorial.


You should. You need to read this book.

And so I added it to the pile of books to read for the summer of 2016.

So much in Sheri Fink’s 486+ page account is already known about what happened and what went absolutely wrong leading up to, during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Most of us can pretty much agree it was an all around fuck up with pretty much any government official, agency, response team at all levels responsible for the massive fail to the people in and around New Orleans 11 years ago this week. Fink’s book reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center (now known as Oschner Baptist).and draws you into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amid chaos.

For me, this was at times a very difficult read. I cheered for the nurses, the doctors, the family members, the patients. I especially cheered for Dr. Gershanik who cradled 24 weeker, Baby S, handbagging him trying to mimic an oscillator ventilator and the un-named nurse who tucked another tiny baby inside her bra as they were the last preemies to be transported out of Memorial on August 30 (page 93) But as the flood waters continued to rise and critical patients trapped began to die, I became very frustrated with the poor planning at all levels from the bedside to the corporate level that was happening at Memorial.

Yes, I had to close the book and find something else to do like searching for images of meowls because as creepy as they are, they are kind of cool too and a very much welcome distraction.

Five Days At Memorial is absolutely, positively an indictment of the poorest of disaster planning in healthcare. History of this hospital proved that they should have been better prepared even if government agencies and their own corporate owners miles away in Texas were not able to support them better…and they should have supported them better because people died unnecessarily in the absolute worst conditions…in America.

In the aftermath of Katrina and the rebuilding of some of New Orleans, Fink details the investigation of what happened at Memorial and the way that some patients died there during those five days. Again more outrage for me and the closing of the book and walking away…especially after the account provided by Memorial CFO Curtis Dosch and COO Sean Fowler who casually mentioned that the cancer institute connected to Memorial via sky bridges has a working generator and electricity throughout the disaster. Hospital executives went there to make phone calls and coffee…and watching TV for a bit. (page 320). Yes, that happened.

Five Days At Memorial digs deep into it all and so much more touching on years later with the response in New Orleans to Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy in New York City at NYU Langone Medical Center…yes, that amazing, heroic evacuation that is revealed could have likely been avoided had a better disaster plan been in place!

In the end the takeaway is that dramatic scenes like this do not occur often…but terrible triage conundrums can arise anywhere, at any time  and that they have the power to change lives irrevocably. Across the country many hospitals in flood zones have electrical backup power systems in their basement. Others, in earthquake zones, were constructed before modern building codes. Others are simply situated in Tornado Alley. To the extent that protections and plans have been put into place since Katrina and Sandy and Joplin, Missouri have shown them to be inadequate or misguided. Life and death in the immediate aftermath of a crisis most often depends on the preparedness, performance, and decision making of the individuals on the scene because disaster planning and preparedness in healthcare is so much more than fire drills.

And now, at last, I can sit down and read Hamilton!

upheaval benefits

Anyone who has followed life under The Big Top of late knows much has happened in a very short time:

  • my darling husband turned 53 and got really, REALLY, REALLY lucky in a car versus motorcycle accident so that he could enjoy celebrating turning 53.
  • Fallon now enjoys making direct eye contact with Mima’s camera and is literally counting down the days before she begins pre-Kindergarten…it’s coming y’all in DAYS!!!
  • Daniel is back to school in 8th grade and we are all pretty certain that I will be that mom as this is the last time ever for me to have an 8th grader who will be graduating 8th grade nine months from now. I’m already teary y’all.
  • And in one weekend, Abby and Jodie both moved out. Jodie moved back for another year at Arizona State which means that she won’t be home for dinner tomorrow or the next day or even the days after that. Abby ran away from the circus to her own apartment shared with her best of friends. She is not far but she is definitely off doing adult things like grocery shopping and hanging pictures and dealing with apartment maintenance trouble shooting a leaky dishwasher.

One would imagine that I am here just wanting to settle back into a quiet, calm, easy, normal routine.

Are you kidding?

It’s quiet around here…it’s even quieter than I might have ever imagined when all these kids of mine were home and noisy and loud and everywhere and underfoot and standing on my last nerve. This is too calm, y’all.

And so I decide to challenge myself with a little change or two or more.

Why not?

Yes, I know that I am late to the Whole30 party…but I am not the only one. Truthfully, I might have never given it a second or third thought were it not for the inspiration of two people I am acquainted with, two very busy moms of four. I watched them both take on the Whole30, making all the changes in their kitchens, their routines, their diets…and they did not go bat-shit crazy trying to balance Whole30 into everything else that busy moms of four kids under 12 must do. On the outside, they both looked better reporting inches and pounds lost, better sleep, better skin, hair and nails…and for one, who has dealt with a number of health issues after a major medical crisis a few years ago, dramatic improvements in her overall health.


Why not look into this. I am a woman of a certain age now…menopausal with all the fun and games that comes with that bull-shittery. Sleep well? I am a a nurse who works 12 hour night shifts…please. But positive health changes and inches and pounds lost aside, it’s too quiet around the Big Top and I need a challenge,,,soo…

Of course it takes time, planning, patience and support from people around you. It might seem hard but as Melissa Hartwig phrases it: Quitting heroin is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Childbirth is hard. Drinking your coffee black is not hard. I’ve birthed more than my fair share of babies…which doesn’t come close to beating heroin or cancer but I get it. This is a challenge but it is a do-able challenge.

The initial pantry-stocking shopping list will likely hurt but you got to start somewhere. The dreaded first week might have been hard except I had a killer summer cold to distract me from feeling miserable without sugar and pasta and bread. Let’s just say they both made me miserable. But I did survive Bill’s birthday cake by letting his children serve it up.

Ultimately, it wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be. The circus that remains under the Big Top has literally never eaten better. I didn’t miss Bill’s birthday cake or bowtie pasta with pesto sauce or even the big bowl of Jelly Bellies in the break room at work. I enjoyed feeling full between meals, improved sleep and energy levels. My skin literally has never, ever looked better.

The Whole30 is not really a diet but more of a dietary reset. Eliminating excess sugars, dairy, grains and over-processed foods resets your gut allowing it to heal and then work the way that it is designed work. Still people think of Whole30 as a diet and, of course, want to know what are the results? How much weight did you lose??

Well, 30 days later I am happy to report that along with all the other positives I have lost a little over 9 pounds and 8 inches and yes, that is pretty cool too. And now, 30 days later, where do I go from here? Whole60? 90? Whole30 forever? How about Whole30ish. I’m liking the overall changes in my health and physical condition and I imagine that I, like other mere mortals, will need more than 30 days to see far dramatic results…like the end to these ridiculous soaking hot flashes because menopause happened more than five years ago….so I will continue to maintain following Whole30 guidelines with the exception of treat like when a coworker brings in a Nothing Bundt Cake to share or wine or a Moscow Mule or an ice-cold glass of chocolate milk after a 5 mile run because, literally, there is nothing better than that!

my heart in San Francisco


He might have been super annoyed with me this morning, as only a fourteen year old boy can be with his mother, when I insisted the tank top, shorts and flip flops would not work at all for a walkabout adventure in San Francisco because it’s July. Seems the boy has never heard of Mark Twain so telling him about the coldest winter spent was a summer in San Francisco would likely not be something he has ever heard. Yes, making a note to add some of Mark Twain’s works to this boy’s reading list. Book 4 of Frank Einstein’s adventures will have to wait.

Meanwhile, yes, he was irritated that I insisted he add some layers. But he was glad for it later on and told me so while we walked hand in hand, fingers laced, around the Embarcadero and beyond.

My heart!

In San Francisco!

It was a perfect day to wander around and explore with no real plan other than just seek adventure where ever we might be. Daniel agreed. But if pressed for the best moment of today he would tell you it was this.

I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco but I am quite certain that he will be back.


just when I think getting older really sucks…

Today was my annual head to toe check up complete with lab work and boob smashing referrals. Hurray, hurray, hurray! Added bonus is a new med to take because menopause is becoming more and more of a bitch and all I can say is $140 is a helluva lot of money to charge for ONE PILL!!! Actually I can also say that I am so happy for the insurance that we have with a good prescription plan because although $10 for ONE PILL is ridiculous it is so much less ridiculous than $140.

And how in the world can I be dealing with First World Old People Problems when I don’t feel THAT old…except when I first wake up and get out of bed in the morning or when I hobble home after a 12 hour long shift?

I should really be allowed to feel sorry for myself right now.

I should.

But it could be worse.

So much worse.

On a barren seafloor, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber’s anus. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web. The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators.

These are among the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution’s most unbelievable, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, from trying to get laid to finding food. Join Wired science writer Matt Simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love.


What the actual fuck?????

It COULD be worse.

I’ll just swallow that bitter little pill of mine, find the right balance of exercise and, yes, buy Matt Simon’s book because I need to feel better about my aging self.