Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Edge Flex

February 27, 2013

When I got back from Thailand I really got serious about the gym. I met the trainer twice a week and tried to go to pilates and some other classes. But then we had the blizzard and I was stuck at home for four days and then I worked extra one week so was too tired to go to the gym.

But last Saturday Lori and I finally made it to the Edge Flex class. I though it would be, if not a breeze, at least something we could do with no problem. I was wrong. It was a hour of, if not exactly agony, extremely hard work. Brutally hard work.

"Okay let's rest," said the instructor. Five seconds go by and she starts up again. That's a rest? Really?We were tired when it was over but didn't feel all that bad. Energized, we thought. The next morning I went to meet the trainer. I could hardly bend my legs or bear weight on my arms. Lori was no where to be seen. I could hardly walk up the stairs into my house and when I called Lori she was in the same condition. I felt like a cripple. Monday was slightly better. Last night we took a yoga class. Not as intense as the flex class but  still a work out. This morning I can finally bend over to pick something up off the floor without moaning.

Guess I still have a long way to go. Not sure I'll ever get to the fit state I would like. But going to give it the old college try. Besides, when they tell us to go to that peaceful place in pilates or yoga it really does help calm me. But maybe I really enjoy the energy of Edge Flex to keep me in fighting shape!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hats,Scarves, Gloves

February 25, 2013

I'm sick of winter clothes! Sweaters, long pants, boots and long sleeve tops. But I'm really starting to hate the two long down coats one of which I wear everyday. The same ones I was so glad to have at the beginning of the winter because they are so warm. I can't stand looking at them or wearing them anymore. When will it end? I know, I know. I spent two weeks in a warm climate but after being snowed in for 4 days and the bitter cold that followed it seems like ages ago that I was laying by the pool.

I just want to be warm. I want to wear capris and sandals. I want to turn off the heat and open the windows. I'm even tired of the fireplace. I want to sit on my porch and eat dinner out there. I want to go to the beach. When I go to a restaurant I want them to ask, "Would you like to sit outside?"

It threatened to snow all weekend. I was on call this weekend so I paid particular attention to the weather. Although it didn't snow I worried about being unable to get to work. Or just being stressed by the thought of driving in unsafe conditions. And the cold!! There is nothing like getting called from your comfortable,warm bed in the middle of the night and going out in the cold, dark night. If George Clooney were waiting for me that would be a different story but most people cannot even begin to imagine what I am likely to encounter. And yes, George wouldn't even have to pick me up, buy me dinner or be conversant. I will lower my standards for a rendezvous with him. Of course if given a choice I would prefer to be at the Lake Como house but who am I to complain?

And as it happened I did get called to work. Not in the middle of the night, although 7PM COULD be considered the middle of the night for me sometimes! Yes, I wore the down coat BUT I got to see George on TV while waiting for my patient to come out of surgery. And you know what? Although he is looking older he is still a gorgeous man. But still, when will it get warm?

Friday, February 22, 2013


February 22, 2013

I have been thinking of adopting a cat for awhile. We had two cats until Muffin died. Then we had my two grandkitties when Josh and Jocelyn went to China for a year. They coexisted with Ophelia, if not exactly joyfully, but at least tolerably. I even thought they grew to have a love/hate relationship.

So when they left I was worried Ophelia would be lonely while we were at work. But Hilary didn't agree. Ophelia follows her around like a puppy, waiting for her outside the bathroom, sleeping with her and running to the door when she comes home. Finally Hilary agreed to go look at cats.

She started looking online. And what did she come up with? A blind cat and one with asthma. Of course, what else would two nurses want for a pet? So off we went last Saturday. I was concerned that we hadn't brought the carrier and I didn't have another litter box. Not to worry. I didn't leave with a cat that day.

I had to pass an inspection! Be approved. I asked if there would be a home visit involved. But no. Just a call to my vet and a credit check ( kidding ) but they did take my license number. Did they do a background check? Luckily I don't have any priors but there is still time. Anyway I passed inspection. I got a call the next day that I could come a pick out a cat.

So today we are going again to look them over. The blind one got a home already but there were so many adorable kitties I hope we don't come home with more one!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speed Dating

February 21, 2013

Have you heard of speed dating? I find the concept very interesting. A group of single people meet and do a sort of musical chairs. They spend ten minutes talking to a member of the opposite sex at each table. At the end of the evening you hand in a form listing your choices. The moderator then puts you in touch with anyone who expressed an interest in you. I think.

Anyway I thought that would be the best use of my very limited time. Ten minutes with each person to ask important questions. I wouldn't have to waste a few hours being with someone I knew I could never hit it off with. So, what to ask?

My list? Do you have a job and health insurance? A quick check of the teeth. Sense of humor and ability to make fun of yourself ( so important if you are to spend even a modicum amount of time with me.) Directness. Tell me what you want, for god sake! We were all in the kitchen at work discussing "the list."

The one thing I did not think to ask was brought up by one of my colleagues. "How much credit card debt do you have?" WOW!!! Having never had credit card debt myself I never even considered that question. See? It takes a village. But is that a question to ask at speed dating? And since I never plan to remarry again should I even care about that? And the other thing to consider is the fact that I am a nurse. This same colleague also pointed out that I did not want to be a caregiver to a needy man. And as my friend Jill stated I don't want to be "a nurse with a purse." Or as Jennie put it, "You'll always have a job!"

So I'll have to think a little more about speed dating. And I guess about dating in general.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Johns Hopkins Burn Center

February 19, 2013

I am so proud to count Leigh Ann Price as my friend. I hope I attached the link correctly so everyone can open it. We met on a medical mission to Vietnam several years ago. She was still a resident and we were all impressed with her surgical skills and dedication to her patients. I think you can see why.

Liberian Refugee Gets New Face Af Devastating Acid Burn »

Last night after I put this together I heard from Leigh Ann. It was quite unexpected. Karma? Is there really a God? I know Josh, just coincidence. But then again....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weight Watchers

February 18, 2013

I am a weight watcher drop out many times over. I have tried every one of their plans and have signed up too many times to count. I have gone to the meetings where people clap for a 1/4 pound weight loss and heard stories of people who put chocolate chips in their cereal. I have listened to the leaders talk about what to eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas to "stay on the plan." Come on. Who really does that? I don't even think the CEO of WW does that. I've lost lots of weight many times over but never stayed long enough to become a life time member. I am a very weak woman!

Last year when I was going through all that turmoil I just stopped eating. Not consciously. I simply had no desire to eat. I lost weight like crazy. For a while people were telling me how good I looked. But I was close to suicidal and didn't care how I looked. Then people started to ask if I was sick. Even I got scared at that point. I remember Annie calling me a few times a day to see if I had eaten. "Have an english muffin," she'd say. An ENGLISH MUFFIN!!! I couldn't possibly eat an entire english muffin. But gradually my mood lifted and I began to ( as you know ) enjoy food again.

I don't think I will ever return to WW. The thought of counting every morsel I put into my mouth depresses me. When the bread comes to the table I want to have some. I"m Italian. I want, no, I NEED, pasta. Regular semolina pasta not the whole wheat kind. Or god forbid corn pasta. It just doesn't taste the same. And anyone who says it does is delusional. And I want to dip my bread in the sauce. Or in olive oil. And put ricotta and parmesan on it. And have a salad with GOOD dressing. And I won't even begin to talk about pizza. Bread, sauce and cheese. The perfect food.

I don't want to take up two seats at the movies or have people pray that I'm not sitting next to them in an airplane but I'm pretty sure my chance for being a Victoria's Secret model has past. So, when the bread comes to the table I'm going to have a slice or two. Or three if I have enough sauce. After all we already established that the smile is the number one thing on!

Friday, February 15, 2013


February 15, 2013

I recently heard that mail delivery on Saturday will stop this summer. Why? I love getting mail. When the kids were little and I was alone with them all day and night seeing the mailman drive down the street was the highlight of my day. I would wait until he finished the street and turned around before I went out to get the mail because I didn't want him to think I had been anxiously awaiting his arrival. How pathetic would that seem?

But I still feel the same way about my mail. I love to get magazines and flyers. Even the stupid one. I really enjoy getting cards and letters. Yes I still have friends who send me personal correspondence via the USPS. My friends send me lots of cards and I never know what will be in the envelope when Margo's name is on the return address label. She makes handmade cards for me and uses calligraphy. Some are inspirational sayings  (which she thinks I don't appreciate ) and notices filled with things to do.

On Sunday I have the newspapers to fill the void of no mail. During the storm last week I read the papers on line because they couldn't be delivered and it was not the same at all. And even though the papers are getting smaller there is still nothing like spreading them out on the sofa in front of the fire. I was delighted when the newspaper and mail delivery resumed. I don't really know how the mailman is reaching my mailbox as I could only manage to dig out a narrow path for him. But what will take its place on Saturdays? No mail and just a regular newspaper. Woe is me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tobacco, Sandalwood and Bathtubs

February 12, 2013

I am barely getting through this storm. Trapped in the house for days and going stir crazy. Although I have power for which I am very thankful. But I HATE the cold, the ice, coats, hats and winter sports. Snow is pretty to look at for a day or two and then ENOUGH. Unless you are a "non essential" employee and then I guess it doesn't matter.

The only way I have been coping is to think of my recent stay at The Mandarin in Bangkok. So beautiful, so elegant and civilized. And so warm! The atmosphere so sensual and inviting and exotic. But what did I love the most? The bathroom! A room and a half really. A huge tub with balt salts, double sinks and a separate shower room. All kinds of toiletries and a white cotton robe for each of us. (Stop laughing, Lori) Bottled water in a fabric holder.

The tub was enormous. So big that I couldn't push myself up with my feet. The bath salts made bubbles and smelled divine. If I wasn't afraid of drowning I would have slept in there. But I did tear myself away long enough to sit by the pool, eat and drink and take an excursion to the floating market. But it was tough to choose.

Everyday we went in the gift store for some necessity. I found these wonderful perfumes in there. One was tobacco and one was sandalwood. How good could tobacco smell, you might be thinking? So good! I sprayed it on me everyday. It reminded me of a bygone era. And the sandalwood. Not quite as wonderful as tobacco but very nice. I decided I needed both of them to make my return to reality a little easier. And I am certainly glad I treated myself. I am transported every time I spray them on.

So maybe bathroom pictures are weird. I never claimed to be normal. And you know how much I worship my refrigerator. I also have a picture of THAT in my phone. Now, when I feel bad about being unable to retire early I look at all my favorite things. Just like my new perfumes, they make life just a little easier!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard 2013

February 11, 2013

Okay. First of all, I'm not listening to WTNH for weather in the morning. They pooh poohed the whole storm thing. But I listened to Channel 3. They predicted a BIG storm. So thankfully this time I was prepared. Except for the fact that I left the big shovel in the shed which I couldn't open so I had to use the teeny shovel I keep in my car. I'll add that to the list of storm preparedness for next time!

I had gas in my car, cash, food and lanterns. So when the power went out Friday night at 7PM I was under control. I reached for the Coleman lantern I had charging (thanks to Annemarie) and all the other flashlights I strategically placed in each room (thanks to Annie) and I promptly went to bed. And instructed Hilary to get under the covers also because it was going to get cold. But....I couldn't read because I was worried about running out of batteries and I couldn't sleep because it was too early. So I took an Ambien, something I haven't done in months. But "what the heck," I thought. If there was ever a time for Ambien it's when you have no heat. I guess it worked because when the lights went back on again at 10:30 I thought it was the middle of the night. And when my iPhone alarmed and vibrated off the nightstand to give me a blizzard warning at 4AM I nearly hit the ceiling. Why 4AM? They surely knew long before then.

Anyway I was so glad to have power. It made being snowbound so much easier to bear. My street wasn't plowed for three days. Hamden, it seems, got the most snow, 40 inches. So I was understanding about the roads not being plowed. Even after my driveway was plowed I could not drive down my street. I actually got tired of cooking, doing laundry and cleaning. One day I just sat around reading, watching Dexter and sleeping in front of the fire. Oh, and did I mention eating nonstop and starting cocktails way sooner than an ordinary day? Why did I do that? Because of the snow or the fact that I couldn't leave my house? Whatever the reason, it will be good to get back to a normal routine.

And to everyone who worked and stayed at work because they couldn't be relieved (nurses, doctors and first responders) as well as all the public works crews and utility employees and my neighbor Dom, who plowed my driveway, thank-you. You have made it possible to survive another storm as a single woman! The only thing that didn't go well was getting Hilary to work. And all you nurses out there know how guilty she felt about that.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Red Lotus Lake

February 8, 2013

The Thai government planned a trip for us on the Saturday before we left. It was to a place called Red Lotus Lake. The vans were leaving at 7AM. Really?? There was a lot of grumbling about getting up early on our day off after working 12 hour shifts all week. But the anesthesiologist from Thailand told Lori and I how beautiful it was and we were anxious to see it. Although we were told that it wasn't as lush as in past years due to recent weather conditions I found it breathtaking.

We went out in pontoon boats. It was so quiet and peaceful out there. I took so many pictures, wishing for the first time that I had a more professional camera. Leaning over the boat with my Iphone ( I do love that phone!) I was awed by the perfection of each flower.

Much like the time on Victoria Peak I wanted to stay out there forever. As we headed back to shore I knew I would have to face reality soon. All the same stresses and problems I left behind in the United States when I boarded the plane would have to be faced once I returned home. But I didn't want to lose the calm feeling of the lake. So I have one of those beautiful pictures as the background on my phone. Every time I see it I am transported to a serene place. Even if only for a few minutes. Sometimes it is all I need to put things in perspective.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 13, 2013

Good Morning America had a segment about yesterday. They talked about a survey done by the company regarding what people look for in the opposite sex. Guess what the number one quality  for both sexes is?

TEETH!!! I knew I was on the right track all these years! All that money and time spent at the dentist. And here I was worried that I was lacking in the boobs department. When all along all I needed was nice teeth. And a smile. Which I believe I have. At least that's what Margo keeps telling me. But she may be a little biased.

The second quality, again for both sexes is grammar!! Boy am I on the right track. I hate bad grammar and misspelled words. I remember when the kids were in school and the teachers told them to just write and not worry about the spelling! REALLY??? Why? I guess spellcheck has taken care of that problem. But it actually hurts me to see words spelled incorrectly in a note or letter. But who writes those anymore? And no matter how good looking a person is the minute they open their mouth and something stupid comes out its over for me. Of course, depending on HOW good looking they are I could probably stand stupid for a week or so!

And the third thing is hair. Who knew? All that work and plastic surgery to have bigger breasts, smaller thighs and firm abs and all you really need is dental checkups, education and a good stylist. I'd like to think I have all three.

So, am I ready for Not quite yet. But it's nice to know I have some of the requirements!

Monday, February 4, 2013


February 4, 2013

There is always one patient on every trip who is a heartbreaker for Lori and I. Sometimes it is the same child and sometimes not. Many of the stories of these patients tug at your heartstrings. The children who are born with deformities and many who have been burned after birth. There are so many burn patients in third world countries just because of their life styles. Cooking over an open fire and living in grass and wood huts and sleeping under mosquito netting. Using fire to keep warm at night.

My heartbreaker was a 6 month old with a cleft lip. I saw him in the morning on rounds and couldn't wait to see the final result. But he couldn't be done because when he came to the OR he had a respiratory problem. We sent him for a chest Xray and I hoped it would come back negative. But there was some question surrounding the results and our pediatrician who is nothing short of a genius (I think I get smarter just being in the same room with him) cancelled the surgery. Later that day he developed a fever so I know it was the right decision. But I couldn't bear to see the mom when she was told. Young and scared and full of hope for her child. I hope another organization can help him in the future.

For Lori it was a young girl of about 10. She was chubby which, as you can imagine in a land of petite, beautiful women, is hard in itself. And I can certainly relate to weight issues. She needed a lip revision. Her mother told us the kids at school made fun of her and they were both so happy to have an opportunity to have surgery. She did have her procedure but it still brought tears to our eyes to hear her story.

Then there was the 30 year old mom with a seizure disorder. She had a seizure while cooking over an open flame and burned one side of her face and neck. She could not lift her head up because of that. She was there with her mother and eight year old son. There was a lot of trepidation about her surgery to release her neck contracture due to her medical condition but it was successfully accomplished and she did great. She still needs more procedures and again, I hope she is somehow able to have them.

So although this sort of thing isn't for everyone I think you can see why I would give up my vacation, work 12 hour shifts and travel to some questionable locations. It is rewarding beyond belief. And it makes the world a smaller, kinder place.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sleeping in my Bed

February 1, 2013

I slept in my own bed last night after two glorious weeks away. I wish I could say it was better than the beds I slept in while I was away. It is so good to be home but I could have stayed in Thailand indefinitely. Not just because of The Mandarin Oriental (more about that later) but because of the country itself. Udon Thani is a wonderful city. The weather was perfect while we were there, warm but not humid. The people we encountered were genuine and loving. Dignitaries, staff, patients and families went out of their way to make sure we felt welcome and well cared for. The team I traveled with as well as the hospital staff was professional and low keyed and very good at what they do. It was a pleasure spending long days at work with all of them.

And the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok for our post trip! Such luxury is unheard for me. From the boy who pressed the elevator buttons for me to the ones by the pool bringing me drinks and cold cloths, my every whim was anticipated. The fresh flowers and the scent of lemongrass everywhere. Breakfast by the river in the morning, happy hours in the Bamboo Lounge and the last night dinner at Lord Jim's were exceptional.  No deadlines, no place to be, no clocks! Heaven. It took a little of the sting of humiliation and hurt out of the fact that Dave took Anita Pedulla on a trip with these very same people in spite of the fact that it made for an uncomfortable situation for all concerned. But just a teeny bit of the sting. I will need many more visits to hotels like the Mandarin to erase the bitter taste I have when I think about so many of the things that transpired these last few years. But I must say this is a start. A very very good start.

Next week I will talk more about the mission itself. I met so many special people. It was an incredible experience.