Thursday, July 31, 2008

And When I Say Dancing, I mean This--

Dear Neilochka,

Vis-a-vis your last posting about taking some time off from blogging ( ), I wanted to send you a little something for your mini-vacation.
Car with the windows down preferred, dancing around in your socks optional. Enjoy yourself!
For all others, wishing you hot fun in summertime. I shall be in Neuroramaville, saving bad brains--one neuron at a time.

Yours truly, Distracted by Shiny Objects

please note: music by Jason Mraz

Musee Des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking
dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
please note: art by Pieter Breughel

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This Just Makes Me Laugh

Who is she calling a loser?? Me? The guy behind her? The camera man? What's with the smirk?
She is definitely smirking.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thanks San

Found out today I am among the esteemed recipients
of the World Renowned JUST PLAIN FUN TO READ award
from, and, while it was a honor
to be nominated, it is way more fun to actually have the award and to have posters, banners, stationery and Tshirts printed with the quirky and sweet illustration.

Run on over to San's site and have a look/see. The last post (or one from this past Friday) has oodles of interesting sites to browse through and provide excellent excuses NOT to clean out the bathroom linen closet.

Like we really need a reason--we are Writers :>).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Locked Doors by Anne Sexton

For the angels who inhabit this town,
although their shape constantly changes,
each night we leave some cold potatoes
and a bowl of milk on the windowsill.
Usually they inhabit heaven where,
by the way, no tears are allowed.

They push the moon around like
a boiled yam.
The Milky Way is their hen
with her many children.
When it is night the cows lie down
but the moon, that big bull,
stands up.

there is a locked room up there
with an iron door that can't be opened.
It has all your bad dreams in it
It is hell.
Some say the devil locks the door
from the inside.
Some say
the angels lock it from the outside.
The people inside have no water
and are never allowed to touch.
They crack like macadam.
They are mute
They do not cry help
except inside
where their hearts are covered with grubs.

I would like to unlock that door,
turn the rusty key
and hold each fallen one in my arms
but I cannot,
I cannot.
I can only sit here on earth
at my place at the table.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Norman Rockwell, Meet Norman Bates

Had lunch the other day at the Art Museum
and across the hall from the restaurant were 5 large photographs of neighborhood scenes at twilight.

Actually, they are part of a larger exhibit, Beneath The Roses, the work of Gregory Crewdson. If it's in your town, or comes to your town, definitely worth a look.

He stages each scene; taking months to plan, and using 40 to 50 separate shots to create each composition; creepily compelling --each one making you wonder what's happened in the slightly off view you see in front of you of a familiar Americana.
Seeing life as presented through this collection of photographs makes you question all kinds of assumptions starting with--
is it really twilight, or could it be dawn?

This is making the email rounds so maybe you've seen it. The kid is hilarious and dead-on with the voice.

And, bad joke of the day:

A brunette, a redhead, and a blonde walk into a human resources department to apply for a job. The brunette goes into the interview first and the employer asks, "How many D's are in Indiana Jones?" She thinks for a minute and says," Two, no, one. One."

The employer says, "Good. I'll be calling you back for a second interview."

The redhead then goes in and the employer asks, "How many D's in Indiana Jones?" She immediately answers, "One." The employer smiles and says, "Excellent. I'll be calling you back for a second interview."

The blonde goes in next and the employer again asks, "How many D's in Indiana Jones?" She thinks for a bit and says, "Two, five, you have a calculator?...Twenty-six, sir."

The employer,flabbergasted, leans back in his chair and says to her, "How on earth did you come up with that number?" The blonde proceeds to sing,"dum, da dum, dum, dum de dum..." (Think movie theme song, then let the groaning commence.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Going To See La Traviata This Evening

Wondering if anyone else remembers when the summer opera was housed at the zoo. I remember seeing Madame Butterfly there and sitting underneath a white tent with the sounds of peacocks and lions roaring in the distance. And, the heat...Quite an experience.
Cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for the artists with heavy make-up and costumes. Maybe we were all just a bit hardier back in the 60's. Or, maybe it's that damn global warming. Yet another example of denying wild animals in captivity the opportunity to listen to classical music in the comfort of their own home. Go Green.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!"

Home after 14 hours of no lunch, no bathroom break, and might I say, no fun. Now that I'm in my favorite place with my favorite people I'm forced to recollect that my last patient, admitted straight from the OR, had suffered a subdural hematoma (please refer back to your notes from July 15th--"Hellboy and me") from LYING ON THE COUCH.

Yes, I know that he was prone to bleeding due to the medications he was taking for blood clots in his legs, and it would have only taken a slight bump...but the couch?? Et tu Brutus??

I love, love, love to recline on my couch. It is my sanctuary. And I believe it loves me right damn back. I cannot believe that because of this inconvenient piece of information it is no longer a haven of safety for me, a "soft place to fall" as Uncle Phil likes to say (again and again and again--enough, you crazy old coot).

Okay, I surrender. I'm going to go lay on the couch, put my feet up, and, yes, I will put on my helmet.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Take some Advil, drink some Gatorade, get off that HangoverHer couch and go see Mamma Mia

... you too can dance and jive,

and, if for no other reason
than they all look as though they're having a hoot doing this movie

OHIO by David Young


Looking across a field
at a stand of trees
more than a windbreak
less than a forest—
is pretty much all
the view we have

in summer it's lush
in winter it gets
down to two or
three tones for
there might be
an unpainted barn
water patches
a transmission tower

yet there's a lot
to see
you could sit
all day on the rusty
seat of a harrow
with the view before you
and all the sorrows
this earth has seen
sees now will see
could pass through
you like a long
mad bolt of lightning
leaving you drained
and shaken
still at dusk
the field would be
the same and the growing
shadows of the trees
would cross it toward you
until you rose your heart
pounding with joy and walked
gladly through the weeds
and toward the trees

Friday, July 18, 2008

"But the moon's promises, what are they worth?"

Lots to talk about after being away in The Land of the Neurons for the past two days.

We went to the Holiday Auto-In last night for a little goonies and greased lightening action. Jillie (thank you, thank you, thank you) came in early for me so I could get up and out, home by 7:15 and on the road to Butler County by 7:30. It ended up to be only a 45 minute drive from where we live and we arrived in plenty of time for my hubby's peace of mind. One nice thing about CinCity---a short drive can get you smack dab in the middle of corn country. US 27/ "Highway to Heaven" is a beautiful piece of road.

There was a full moon rising up behind us at the drive in, the Star Spangled Banner being sung by faceless voices in the cars and honking of horns at its finale, mattresses being hoisted to the roofs of vans and kids scampering up, little ones running around with green DayGlo necklaces, cats with gleaming green eyes skulking across the gravel, and hubby saw a shooting star. Honey haired girl and I only saw the stars in front of us, a young Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Did he really do his own dancing?? I had forgotten how good he was at it.

Got home and in the bed at 2:30am which is the downside to drive-ins when you're not 17 years old, but with about twenty pots of coffee the hubby and I are managing. A small price for a slice of some midwest pure Americana.

Onto another note....

Why is it that when a patient does poorly the first comment to be mentioned is that the doctors and nurses are trying to kill the patient? Doesn't matter if it's from a gunshot wound to the head or an aneurysm bursting in the brain with a less than 10% chance of survival, the muttering comments I hear as I walk into the waiting area to get a family are, "They're killing him."

Trust me on this--

if I were in fact some pathogically smart sociopath with the desire to kill people I would way more like to work as a hired assassin along the lines of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

hmmmmmm....ying vs yang....what to choose....

Oh, hell yes, the job with the 5am wake up call, no lunch break, no bathroom break, and no gun in my foxy black garter belt. Now that I'm thinking, no garter belt either. That's the job for me. I don't even get a posse to hang with.

And before anyone starts commenting--I know, I know...I know about the grief, and the anger, and the guilt that families feel, and that the hospital staff are the only ones that it's safe enough to be angry with at this point in time. I know. I really do get it. But after a week of battling dead and dying brain cells and the toxic effect of the neutrophils and cytokins they release, not to mention the mechanical injury of a mass of blood and the pressure pushing in on the brain, and losing the patient, it's demoralizing.

Brighter note-- it's my older daughter's 21st birthday. She's grown up to be a beautiful young woman and nose-snortin' funny to boot. I miss her company. She'll be home next Wednesday for a week of birthday extravaganza and in the meanwhile will have to make do with the 21 pink longstemmed roses we sent as a surprise.

The title of today's blog is taken from one of her favorite books as a little girl, Nancy Willard's The Nightgown of the Sullen Moon, illustrated by David McPhail.

"But the moon's promises, what are they worth? She took the nightgown off, and she hid it in a drawer at the back of the sky. And on those nights when you see no moon, you can be sure she is trying it on and dreaming she is back on earth sleeping under the warmest featherbed in the world."
I always thought the girl in the illustrations looked just like my little one.

I'm off now to hang a new shower curtain; a picture of Venice to make orientation to time and place that much more difficult early in the morning. Very exciting stuff.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Monday in Neuroramaville and Why Can't Hellboy Be My Pod Partner

I try not to complain much about work on this blog, preferring to save it all for dinner hour and my stand -up routine with the family. Yesterday, though, was too much for a mere mortal to withstand.

Quote of the day: "Tell them to hurry up so we can visit him. We just drove down from Dayton."

Let me set the scene here.

Mr. Patient, 72, was transferred to us from an Outside Hospital (OSH) for a subdural hematoma he had suffered after a fall. Mr. P. also has a cardiac history and was on a blood thinner at home which, while helpful for the heart, is obviously not so fabulous for a brain bleed. The family had been with Mr P. at the OSH and had seen him shortly after he was admitted to our ICU.

The ICU team and 3 neurosurgeons were in the room, examining the patient, discussing whether they needed to take him to surgery right now to evacuate the blood and relieve pressure to his brain, and preparing him for impending surgery by placing an arterial line for blood pressure monitoring and a central line for intravenous access in this gentleman with little, tiny, fragile veins.

The door buzzer rings with visitors for Mr. P. We explain that he is being examined by the neurosurgeons and having procedures done. Next thing I hear is, "Tell them to hurry up so we can visit him. We just drove down from Dayton."

Well, yes, sir. I will get right on that. In fact I will go in there right now and tap my foot and my watch indicating to the docs to hurry up and time's a-wasting because you have been driving in a car for 30 minutes and don't want to wait. I am quite sure all of us in this world are anxious to have neurosurgeons rush through their examinations of us and hurry in their placement of sharp needle-like objects into our radial arteries and subclavian veins--especially when we have increased risk of bleeding-- so that you,Mr. Visitor from Dayton, do not have to wait one extra minute out of your extremely busy and very important day. I live to serve and Lord knows, we are a freakin' hotel here.

Patty's Charcoal Drive-in by Barbara Crooker

First job. In tight black shorts
and a white bowling shirt, red lipstick
and bouncing pony tail, I present
each overflowing tray as if it were a banquet.
I'm sixteen and college-bound,
this job's temporary as the summer sun,
but right now, it's the boundaries of my life.
After the first few nights of mixed orders
and missing cars, the work goes easily.
I take out the silver trays and hook them to the windows,
inhale the mingled smells of seared meat patties,
salty ketchup, rich sweet malteds.
The lure of grease drifts through the thick night air.
And it's always summer at Patty's Charcoal Drive-in—
carloads of blonde-and-tan girls
pull up next to red convertibles,
boys in black tee shirts and slick hair.
Everyone knows what they want.
And I wait on them, hoping for tips,
loose pieces of silverflung carelessly as the stars.
Doo-wop music streams from the jukebox
and each night repeats itself,
faithful as a steady date.
Towards 10 P.M., traffic dwindles.
We police the lot, pick up wrappers.
The dark pours down, sticky as Coke,
but the light from the kitchen
gleams like a beacon.
A breeze comes up, chasing papers
in the far corners of the darkened lot,
as if suddenly a cold wind had started to blow
straight at me from the future
—I read that in a Doris Lessing book—
but right now, purse fat with tips
the moon sitting like a cheeseburger on a flat black grill,
this is enough.
Your order please.
please note: art by Kay Crain

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"This Sky where we live Is no place to lose your wings."--Hafiz

Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler

This novel tells the story of a tragedy and its aftermath. I am a sucker for pieces of writing that deal with what happens after the end of your world has come, and then gone, and you also have to go on if for no other reason than your heart keeps beating and your body keeps breathing.

The symbolism and metaphores might be a bit thick, but I think the author had a lot he wanted to say and he does it well.

Quintessential sentence: "May I ask, he hesitated, do they find their way back?"

Favorite word: crepuscular

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beginning by James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the fields.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.There they are,
the moon's young,
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely
Of her face,
and now she steps into the air,
now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree,
I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feeling Like A No Talent, Middle-Aged Slacker Now...

Has anybody heard of these kids before?? OMG. More talent in one tiny little finger than I will ever have in all my entire life. Okay, so now I'm also morbidly depressed. At least I've got some good sounding blues to listen to at my pity party...that, and a little Maker's Mark. It ain't the blues without a little whiskey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

12 Down, 12 To Go

That kind of a day, but without Marge to talk to. All Homer. All day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Old Timer's Day by Donald Hall

When the tall puffy
figure wearing number

nine starts
late for the fly ball,
laboring forward
like a lame truckhorse
startled by a gartersnake,
—this old fellow
whose body we remember
as sleek and nervous
as a filly's—

and barely catches it
in his glove's
tip, we rise
and applaud weeping:
On a green field
we observe the ruin
of even the bravest
body, as Odysseus
wept to glimpse
among shades the shadow
of Achilles.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Northside Fourth of July Parade

The rain graciously held off for three hours and the parade was a huge success. Drums were banged, sirens wailed, horns were tooted; there was glad-handing and dancing in the streets, petitions were signed, candy was thrown and dogs barked. We wandered through Hoffner Park then found a new favorite restaurant, An Intimate Gathering, where we ate ribs, red-skinned potato salad, green beans, collard greens, and watermelon. We saw a beaten up Volvo run into the back of a black pick-up truck and watched the two beautifully tatooed drivers exchange names and numbers. All in all, an exemplary holiday spectacle.

The memory to keep however is the one of the four older gentlemen, veterans, in uniform. Three caucasian men appearing to be in their eighty's and a gentleman of asian descent, all in United States military attire, carrying the American flag. They led the parade south down Hamilton Avenue. When the clapping started up the veteran closest to me looked shyly towards the people assembled on the curb and a slight smile came to his lips. That makes my day.

Rain, Rain, Go Away. Lookin' For A Little Lawn Chair Drill Team Action Today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hey, "I Ride Shotgun"--This One's For You


Found this on, and when he was looking the other way, I up and stole it. Has anyone else heard of this group before?? They're really beautiful...

On another note, you know the drill--wear your seatbelt, put your helmet on, and keep the firecrackers AWAY from your face. Cannot over emphasize the AWAY part of that reminder, as in NOT TOWARDS your face. Got it? Good.