Saturday, May 25, 2013

Parfum de Salad

We've all had our routine doctor appointments.  But my most recent one was...well...let's just say at one point I think I was pinching myself.

I had lost my hearing in my right ear for two days, so on Tuesday I called my ENT doctor--Dr. A--to schedule an appointment to see what was wrong.  I was thrilled when they said they could squeeze me in that very same day.  Once there, I was seen almost immediately.  Dr. A examined my ear, and it turned out I just had a bad case of swimmer's ear.  A simple irrigation process would restore my hearing.

He and a nurse's assistant started the irrigation process, which basically involved blowing a bunch of hot vinegar into my ear with some other stuff.  In the beginning it wasn't too bad.  They kept saying, "Are you okay?" and I said, "Yeah, this is like a jacuzzi for my ears!"  But then the power suddenly went off.

I ended up with a doctor on my lap and hot vinegar down my shirt.

Then Dr. A says "Mmmm.  You smell like salad." 

We were laughing so hard we were nearly crying.  At this point most of the office staff was in our exam room, because, well, that's where the party was.  The lights came back on, and Dr. A eventually got back to work shooting bottle after bottle of hot vinegar into my poor over-scoured ears.  He said, "Okay, now this is getting personal. I don't care if I kill you with vinegar, I'm going to get this damn ear cleaned out!" I told him that killing me seemed counterproductive and that he was incredibly unprofessional and asked if there was a comment box on the premises.  He said "No," so I then asked if I could talk to the manager.  He said, "She's the manager," (pointing to the sweet, blond secretary).  I proceeded to file a complaint with her regarding Dr. A's bedside matter, but she didn't seem to be taking the matter seriously and pretty soon we were all in hysterics again.

Dr. A, who apparently likes his women antagonistic, then proposed to me in front of his entire staff.  I told him I was married, but he said he didn't care; he wanted to whisk me away and take me to Italy (maybe my wafting aroma had delicate Italian dressing undertones).  I told him "I can't marry you."  Hurt, he asked "Why?"  I said, "Because you'll always be the man who said I smelled like salad." 

Unfortunately the fun ended shortly later.  The nurse was in my ear with some sharp tool when the lights flickered again, and she slipped and nicked my ear drum.  That hurt.  A lot.  I ended up with a ruptured ear drum, but it's not as bad as it sounds.  I previously thought a ruptured eardrum meant that the whole thing had exploded or something.  It just means a tear in the tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear.  I had light bleeding in the ear for two days, and loss of hearing.  It was kind of perfect though because I had a crazy end-of-the-year party at a laser tag venue with my Builders Club members last night, so you couldn't ask for a better time to lose your hearing.   Today my hearing still isn't up to par, but it's improving every day, and the ear's not hurting anymore.

So yeah, between having my life threatened with hot vinegar, insulted with vegetable-dish digs, hit on by the doctor, and leaving the exam room with a bigger injury than I showed up with, Dr. A. should count his lucky stars that I'm not the suing type.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

So this is Therapy

There are times at my job where I am confronted with such madness that everything I learned in school just seems totally irrelevant.

I had a family meeting the other afternoon (on Unit 3, which is always a red flag). Prior to the meeting, I asked the case manager, "Do you believe the patient is stable enough to participate meaningfully in the meeting?" She said, "Sure, he's good!"

Famous last words.

The patient (who I will call Pete) rolled into the meeting in a wheelchair, holding a Bible. I guess this should be a perplexing thing, since he isn't disabled at all. A couple hours ago, he was running all over the unit (you know, on his feet, which work quite well). I'm not even sure where he got the wheelchair. Anyway, Pete gave a cheerful "hello" to his family (who were already appearing confused about the wheelchair), and then started singing at the top of his lungs: "I fell into a burning ring of fire! I went down, down, down and the flames went HIGHER!" They looked totally stunned, and I was trying to hide my smile (I can't help it, but I REALLY like that song).

I asked Pete, "How are you doing? Are you feeling any better?"

He looked at me and loudly recited from the Bible:

"Put on the cooking pot; put it on and pour water into it.
Put into it the pieces of meat, all the choice pieces--the leg and the shoulder.
Fill it with the best of these bones; take the pick of the flock.
Pile wood beneath it for the bones; bring it to a boil
And cook the bones in it." was that a "yes" or a "no"????

I glanced at his family, and they stared back at me, wide-eyed. His father tried to ask Pete a simple question, and before he could finish, Pete interrupted loudly, "I FELL INTO A BURNING RING OF FIRE! DOWN DOWN DOWNNNN AND THE FLAMES WENT HIGHER!" His father, not to be deterred, continued to persist with his question, albeit louder this time. Pete's response became thunderous, "AND IT BURNS BURNS BUUUUURNS, THE RING OF FIRE, THE RIIIINNNNG OF FIIIRRRRE!!!"

The family looked at me, probably hoping for some kind of meaningful assessment of his behavior. You know, since I am the clinical therapist and stuff.

In that moment, the best I could come up with was, "Well, on the bright side, he really DOES sound like Johnny Cash..."

Not my most therapeutic moment.

I said to Pete, "I really want you to be able to participate in this meeting, so I want to give you one last chance-"


Pete's grandmother sweetly declared, "That Bible passage sounds like a recipe."

I replied, "You're right, it DOES...I'm waiting for the 'just add 2 pinches of salt' part." Then I kicked Pete out of the meeting.

The meeting was actually really productive after that. At some point, I unearthed my brain, and was able to educate the family about the onset of Schizophrenia and give them a little hope.

Changing the subject, Andrew has been bringing an umbrella every day to group lately. It started a couple weeks ago. I asked him, "Andrew, why are you bringing an umbrella?"

He looked at me like I was the biggest moron in the world, and flatly stated, "In case it rains." I walked over to the window, and peered out into the sunny, blue sky. There wasn't a single cloud.

Earlier this week, Thelma told me she had an iron marble lodged in her brain. I asked her why she thought that. She said, "I was taking my medication, and I accidentally swallowed the marble, and now it is in my brain."

I said, "Don't worry Thelma, since you didn't choke on the marble, that means it went in your digestive system, and you'll probably just poop it out."

"Really?" She asked, hopefully.

"Yep! In fact, you may have already flushed it down the toilet!" 

I'm telling y'all, it is such a good thing I went through all those years of school.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

The End of #WorldsEnd -- *sniffle*

If you haven't already, scroll down to my blogroll on the side-margin, and find the blog titled A Beginning, an End, and all that Lies Inbetween.  Now read the title of the latest post.  Yep!  That's me.  My story finally went live on Wednesday night.  Oh my gosh what a thrill ride!  Minutes after J tweeted that it was published, my twitter exploded with commentary from other writers.  It was so much fun.  I've never publicly aired a story before, so this was a whole new world for me.  It felt strange to know that others were reading something I had written.

Oh, and J wrote a very sweet bio about me too...check it out here:  Introduction to Gumball by Jodi Leigh.  

AND for a complete list of all the #WorldsEnd stories, including author bios, check out this entry by my twitter pal, Rob Kristoffersen (us #WorldEnd-ers call him Huggy Bear): #WorldsEnd - The Compilation.

The story I wrote, "Gumball," should sound familiar, because I used the story of Elijah's endless childhood search for a free gumball as the inspiration for my story.  Something about the way he never gave up his search for that stupid gumball, and how his faith was rewarded in the end, seemed to be the perfect symbol of hope for the #WorldsEnd series.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I did write a part 2 to the story.  I don't have a name for it, so for now I'm just calling it Gumball: Part 2.  After reading the story, J mentioned that I was creating an entire world, and that I should keep the gumball traveling from story to story until I've created a book.  Shannon reiterated this same point as well.  I love the idea, but hate to interrupt my current WIP with a new project.  Although writing short stories IS a lot easier for me than trying to flesh out an entire novel, so maybe I'll give it a shot.  If I take it one story at a time, it could be a lot of fun without the same pressure as my DoT manuscript.  We'll see.

About my new[ish] blog, It Makes a Sound.  I never announced it because I wasn't sure what I was doing with it yet.  So far all I've done is post a few poems and short stories from my old blog, and then the two Gumball stories.  I'm thinking I might merge my Glazey art blog with this one, turning it into my personal space for both paintings and writing.  The problem is I know myself, and I'll probably go months in between entries.  That's why I'm not advertising the blog--it's too much pressure. 

Okay, enough rambling from me.  I'll just sum up this post by saying that the #WorldsEnd project was an amazing experience, I befriended the most awesome people, and I feel so blessed that I got to be a part of this project.  A shout-out to Joshua Hewitt for an ingenious idea that brought so many writers together. 

Oh, I almost forgot!  With no further adieu, here is The Gumball: Part 2 (did you catch that rhyme there?)....

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Spayed my Cat. Twice.

I had this really weird dream that I accidentally spayed my already-spayed cat, and then a transformer box blew up at my work leaving me trapped in a dark classroom with my rowdy 7th period class all day, and then I won Teacher of the Year.

Oh wait.  Those things actually happened.

Let me start with the power outage.  It happened today,* on an upside-down week.  On upside-down weeks, kids start with their 7th period class in the morning, and then proceed to 6th, 5th, 4th, and so on.  Today started perfectly normal.  I conducted an in-class Spelling Bee during our 7th period morning class, the kids took a break (I have each group of kids for two periods), and then we started reading A Wrinkle in Time during 6th period.

That's when the power went out. 

The kids immediately screamed because, well, that's what 12 and 13 year-olds do when their classroom descends into darkness.  I just played it off and said, "Come on guys, this is no big deal."  There was no way for me to call anyone up front to see what was going on since our classroom phones were dead, and the level of darkness in my room made it impossible to do any work or read, so I took the kids out into the sunshine where we finished reading our chapter.

Right when 6th period was nearing its end and students were packing up (in the dark) for their next class, a campus aid walked in and informed me that I would have to keep this group of students in class with me until the power outage was over.  I think my response was, "Um, wha...?  Come again?"  She explained that for accountability purposes, all students were required to stay with the last teacher who took their attendance, that way they would know exactly where everyone was.  That just went in one ear and out the other.  I was like, "No Amy, you can't leave me here!  Take me with you!" as I flung my arms around her feet and allowed her to drag me across the campus (this might be a good time to mention that 6/7th period is my rowdiest bunch. And that I might be bit of an unreliable narrator). My students, on the other hand, were elated, with shouts of "Yay! We get to stay with you all day Mrs. P! ALL DAY FOR ETERNITY." (Again, unreliable). Basically the prospect of spending the day trapped in room 405 didn't bother them a bit.

So I did what any sensible 7th grade teacher would do in this situation.  We played Heads Up Seven Up.  Followed by Silent Ball.  And Spelling Bee Ball.  I even came up with a little slogan--a mantra, if you will:

Staying Alive in Room 405.

Catchy, huh?

Anyway, a few minutes before lunch (yes, it's been half of a day at this point--aka: Half of eternity) the school counselor came into my room and told me that I was allowed to dismiss students for a 30 minute lunch.
"And after lunch would be a perfect time for them to go to a different class, right?" I asked.
"Nope.  These kids will return to your class."
Oh good.  Because I hadn't gotten my fill of them yet.    

After a very dark and strange lunch (I think the students ate emergency peanut butter jelly sandwiches or something), I plodded dejectedly hurried enthusiastically back to class where I was greeted by my now-high-on-sugar 7th period.  Because I was starting to look like this,

I decided to send two of my students to fetch some board games from nearby teachers.  We managed to procure four games of Monopoly.  This was a GOD send.  I divided the class into four groups, and we spent the rest of our time together playing a classic game that has virtually no end--which is perfect for a day that has no foreseeable end either. 

On a side note, I am now adding Monopoly to my survival kit for both home and school purposes.  As far as I'm concerned, it's right up there with food, water, flashlights, and batteries.

Oh (another side note), speaking of flashlights, did I mention that mine was dead?  I've had an emergency flashlight in my classroom for seven years now, and the first time I go to use it, it doesn't work.  Words can not describe how much fun it is to try to use the staff restroom in pitch darkness.  Especially for those who enjoy stubbing their toes on porcelain and head-bashing walls.  And don't even get me started on the damn toilet seat liner.

So back to my story.  Monopoly saved my hide, and the power finally did come back on that afternoon.  Turned out a transformer exploded underground.  Trinity was in P.E. jogging right passed the transformer when it happened, so she heard the boom and saw the cloud of dust.  But even better than that is the fact that she was stuck in her P.E. clothes all day.  That's every girls dream, right there. 

During 1st period, the principal came into my classroom, and announced in front of all my students that I had won Teacher of the Year at my school site.  That was  My kids went crazy, and I cried a little.  She told me to dress nice on Wednesday because they're coming to take my picture for the paper.  I don't know who "they" are or what "paper" she's referring to, but I told her I had already set aside a nice sloppy outfit for Wednesday and now she was jacking with my mojo. 

After 1st period ended, it was time for homeroom.  And I'm sure you can guess what kids I have for homeroom.


Yep.  They came in, and I said, "Hi guys!  I missed you!"  'Cause, you know, we just didn't have enough time to truly bond.

And that officially ends the story of the longest Friday I have ever had in my whole life.  But hey, did I mention that I won TEACHER OF THE YEAR??  And let me tell you, I was truly feeling the whole teacher of the year thing when I was screaming, "No, I get to be the thimble!"

Oh, one more little thing.  As I alluded to earlier, we dropped off our new cat (Toshi) to the vet to get her spayed.  They called around lunchtime where the following conversation commenced (Vet = red):

"Where's your cat's uterus?" 
"Um, I don't have it." 
"Well we can't find it." 
" you want me to go over there and look for it?" 

After exploring around in her stomach some more, they finally concluded that the cat had already been fixed and stitched her back up.

Yeah, that's a little awkward.

But it was an honest mistake.  Clint's sister had the cat before us, and when she took Toshi in to get her vaccinations, she was told by the vet "your cat is in heat."  Little did the vet know that Toshi is just a really affectionate cat.

So the poor cat came back completely stoned last night from a surgery she didn't even need.  Not many animals get fixed twice, so I'm glad this one has nine lives.

*(post written on 5/10 but published later to give Shan's very cool  technology post more time on top)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Last Time I Loved Technology

I just found out that my husband has been conveniently depositing his paychecks through his CELL PHONE, because his employer does not offer direct deposit. Apparently, he takes a picture of both sides of the check, enters a few key pieces of information, and the bank deposits the $$$ without ever possessing the actual check. And apparently, a lot of people are already aware of this, and I am just utterly oblivious.

In the past, this would be something that would have completely amazed me. And it should amaze me. There was a time when I used to feel so astonished with each new, technological invention or concept. However, at some point, technology started evolving so fast that I became numb to it all. Not just numb, but...a little repelled. I started regarding it with some distaste. It's like the kid who freakin' LOVES candy, but after eating it all night on Halloween, doesn't want another bite.

Here are a few examples of new technology that I should find astounding, but I don't.

Google Glass

And you thought your Oakley's were cool

This is a wearable computer with a head mounted display, which displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format. If you can't walk and chew gum at the same time, this probably isn't for you.

Wireless Solar Keyboard

Hopefully you have a wireless, solar monitor lying around

This keyboard doesn't look like much, but it contains a solar battery that will stay charged for up to 3 months, even when the keyboard has been indoors or in total darkness. It comes in really handy for those three month power outages.  

Livescribe Echo Smartpen

The pen yet again proves it is mightier than the sword

This pen allows you to record audio while you’re taking notes, and then play them back later. You can save and share interactive notes to your computer, iPad or iPhone, and the memory storage holds 400 or 800 hours of recorded audio. Also great for blackmailing your coworkers.


I don't know what the hell this does, but it looks cool.

So yeah, this is some pretty neat stuff. But my failure to feel any sense of wonder with all this new technology got me thinking....when DID I last love technology? And I remembered three times when...I did.

The Cordless Phone

I can't remember how old I was when we first got a cordless phone, but I am guessing I was either in my preteens or early teenage years. And holy shit, I LOVED that thing. The first time I used it, I kept a running monologue going of my astonishment to my poor friend on the other end, that went something like this:
"Now I am approaching the door...It is still working...Now I am outside, can you BELIEVE I am OUTSIDE? I am walking ON my driveway now, and it is STILL working. I can't believe this, I am by my street, and I can STILL talk to you! Now I am ON the street-*static* Hello? *static* HELLO?!"

Super Mario Bros 3

To be honest, I was pretty impressed with all the old Nintendo games. But Super Mario 3 blew my mind away. My brain couldn't grasp the sheer amount of different worlds/levels. I loved all the secrets in the game. I loved the animation. Up until Super Mario 3, all the other games seemed repetitive, but this game offered so much variety. My parents and Jodi also loved the game. I remember all of us sitting on the bed in their master bedroom, laughing and playing for hours.

Compact Discs

I first heard about CDs from Jodi. I think it was her high school Spanish teacher who had a CD player, and she excitedly told me all about it. She described this "disc thing" that you could put in the player, and you "didn't have to REWIND or FAST-FORWARD to get to your song." I was dumbfounded. I could not imagine sticking a disc in and just being able to press the number of the song you wanted. The first CD I saw with my own eyes was at our friend Scott's house. It was "The Cranberries." I picked up the CD and gently held it up, letting it reflect the light. I thought it was the prettiest, most modern thing I had ever seen in my life.

I MISS loving technology. I wonder if anyone else feels this way?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Little Boxes

This week I am going through a marital issue that I can't really discuss, a medical issue (small, I hope) that I won't discuss, and a family drama that I really shouldn't discuss.  So yeah, fun day to blog.

Since I am officially passing on writing about any thing that's actually on my mind, I thought now would be a good time to bring up my favorite parody band, "Walk off the Earth."  Have you heard of them?  My friend Julie introduced me to them well over a year ago.  Most of the time they specialize in covers, but they are so original and talented that I am really surprised they haven't made a bigger name for themselves by now.  Although I do believe they are on tour right now, plus they have an entry in Wikipedia, so maybe it's just people in my world who haven't heard of them.  At any rate, the members of the band can play just about any instrument, and they always choose interesting, quirky instruments over your everyday guitars and drums.  Or, if they do choose a guitar, all five of them might play it at once:

I love the female member, Sarah Blackwood.  She has an incredible voice, and she herself is so beautiful and adorable.  Although I can NOT resist the dude on the very right.  His facial expressions (or lack thereof) and level of participation crack me up.  They actually have his face on a t-shirt now, though I can't remember what the caption says.

The group does have a few singles of their own.  My kids adore the song, "Summer Vibe."

I enjoy the song as well; it has a happy, calming feel to it.  I'm not sure why, but it has become our car wash song.  We listen to it every single time we go through the car wash.  The problem is every time I hear the song now, I think of summer breezes, a warm buzz, that special someone...and giant sponges spinning toward me, foaming with suds.

Here is my personal favorite original piece by the group.  This would never be a song you'd hear on the radio, but I think these lyrics are really onto something.  

Now I need to get off of my computer-box and jump into my shower box and try to wash off the last two days. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Maybe this is what Ragnarok would look like if it were real?  I swear this picture is a perfect replica of where I live.  Minus the ginormous planet loitering in the distance.  
#WorldsEnd has really taken off.  I almost feel sorry for J--his blog has been completely monopolized by this series.  Plus with all of the bios he has written, I'm sure it has left very little time for him to pursue his own writing.  But the work he has put into this project is really paying off.  The word is spreading, with authors all over the place perpetually intrigued by the idea of having a variety of writers create stories geared toward one compelling prompt.  Take this, for example:
Josh Hewitt Made Me Do It
This is a blog entry written by writer David Eccles regarding #WorldsEnd.  Even though he isn't technically part of the project, he is a fan who has followed every story, and even decided to create his own unofficial #WorldsEnd tale (the link to that story is available on his blog post).  I really like this entry because he does a great job of explaining the project.  Plus he includes this awesome graphic which I told him I was going to steal:
A week and a half ago, a New York Times bestselling author posted a link to #WorldsEnd on twitter because her friend was one of the project contributors: 
@JoshilynJackson20 Apr
My friend Heather Truett's story is live, offering some hope at the end of the world. A nice way to end a crap week:
That was pretty cool.  Other tweets say stuff like this:
@eisparklz25 Apr
I'm becoming addicted to the stories that is posting. The wait in between is tortuous!
Or this:
@jlizhill26 Apr
because you don't want to miss the great series of short stories he's hosting.
The tweets go on and on.  Just click on that last #WorldsEnd link and see for yourself.
I could not be more thrilled to be a part of this project.  The #WorldsEnd-ers have slowly evolved into their own little sub-network within the twitter writing community, and I have to say, these are the coolest people.  I've never met a group of tweeps with so much personality.  I have a feeling that the relationships created through this project will last well-beyond the final piece.

That being said, I now [sorta] know when my story is going live.  Part 3 offcially started tonight, beginning with a thoughtful and chilling piece that J himself wrote.  Part 3 consists of six stories total, and mine ("Gumball") will be the last one...roughly about three weeks from now.  You can check out the intro to Part 3 here (and don't forget to read Josh's piece afterwards):

          Part 3: Down Among the Dead
So, I now have to concur with Mr. Eccles--Josh Hewitt made me do it.  But I'm glad he did.