Tuesday, September 30, 2008


(Sorry if you stopped by earlier and this looked all nonsensical-I had just "scribbled" down some notes for a future blog, but then I accidentally hit the "Publish Post" button, and I don't know of any way to delete a post once it's out there.  I'm sure there's a way, but I figured it would just be faster if I went ahead and wrote the darn post.)

Apparently, this upcoming week (the first week in October) is Buy a Friend a Book Week.  I learn new stuff all the time!  The idea is you randomly buy a friend a book just because.  I love this idea!  I love books, and I have lots of friends who love books, so this seems like a great idea.  I like it too because it incorporates the idea of random acts of kindness...well, maybe not kindness so much as generosity, but you get the idea.  So, I am officially encouraging everyone to get out there and buy a friend a book!

Now, I realize that not everybody likes books or not everybody's friends like books, so here are some other alternatives to BAFAB week:

BAFAP-Buy a Friend a Pizza
BAFABOC-Buy a Friend a Box of Chocolates
BAFSF-Buy a Friend Some Flowers
BAFD-Buy a Friend Dinner
BAFAM-Buy a Friend a Manicure
BAFABODFFTP-Buy a Friend a Bag of Dog Food for Their Pets
BAFACODFTB-Buy a Friend a Case of Diapers for Their Baby
BAFAMTAWSCLSOCSTTCSMITCET-(Oh come on, at least try to figure it out!)


Ok-Buy a Friend a Membership to a Wholesale Shopping Club Like Sam's or CostCo so That They Can Save Money in These Crazy Economic Times

What other Buy a Friend gifts would you be thrilled to receive?

Friday, September 26, 2008

What I'm Reading Now-Traveling Mercies (and, (finally!), a few pictures from our trip)

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott-When an atheist relative told me that this book sent her into the ugly cry on the treadmill at her gym, I figured it was worth checking out, and I'm so glad I did. I loved this book! I'm not big on religion; I don't want to be preached to, I don't want to hear about how I need to be saved and how everyone else in the world needs to be saved, I don't want to hear about how much better you are than me because you've been saved and about how now that you have Jesus in your life He will take care of everything and you never have to worry about anything ever again and how anybody who isn't on this path is Screwed.

What I do want to hear about is how religion or faith or spirituality has inspired someone, given her strength, caused her to see beauty in the world that she otherwise might not have seen, encouraged her to find a grace within herself that she didn't know was there, you know, the good stuff. Anne Lamott delivers all of this, and she's hilarious to boot. While she does have a pretty unshakeable faith, she also has plenty of, "You've GOT to be kidding me!" discussions with the Lord, which I found refreshing. I think that was what appealed to me the most about this book, the fact that it was written by someone who is not perfect in her relationship with God and does not claim to be. Absolute, unquestioning faith in something that you can't prove exists is tricky, even for the most sincere.

One of my favorite examples of this is when she is trying to explain the significance of Ash Wednesday to her child, Sam. She has turned off the TV and explained that if he wanted to draw or play with some of his other toys that would be fine, but just for today, in observance of Ash Wednesday, they were not going to watch TV. A few minutes later, he has turned the TV back on and Alvin and the Chipmunks are singing "Achy Breaky Heart," and Lamott LOSES IT. Personally, I think having to listen to Alvin and the Chipmunks sing "Achy Breaky Heart" is a totally justifiable reason to lose one's mind, but I think this had more to do with Sam's blatant disregard of the somber speech she had just made about the importance of Ash Wednesday. Anyway, she proceed to shout, cuss, and then she

"grabbed him by his pipecleaner arm and jerked him in the direction of his room, where he spent the next ten minutes crying bitter tears.
It's so awful, attacking your child. It is the worst thing I know, to shout loudly at this fifty-pound being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It's like bitch-slapping E.T." (p. 93)

I've read that passage several times, and it cracks me up every time. Maybe that just means I'm warped. I don't know.

I've mentioned recently that I've noticed a lot of coincidences involving the books I'm reading and my real life activities. I was reading this book on our recent vacation in Oregon, which began with an ill-fated trip to Vegas, a drive over to L.A., and then a drive from L.A. up to Portland during which we stopped to check out many of the redwood forests and groves along the way.

(Me sitting next to the Founders' Tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park)

For those of you who have never seen a redwood, they are amazing. For those of you who have, you know. They're so huge and stately and...and...I don't even know how to describe them. (However, Bob Neubauer did a pretty good job of it, so I'll let you read his article here.) For me, they're comforting and feel like home. I've always liked evergreen forests, and living in Hawaii has reinforced that love. As beautiful as the tropical forests (jungles? I'm not really sure what the proper term is here) are, they're messy. Evergreen forests are always neat and orderly and covered with that soft, springy, uniform covering of needles, not a disorderly mess of decaying leaves under which there could be hiding any number of creepy crawlies or decaying fruit. (Stick with me here; this does eventually tie back in to the book). They feel serene and tidy. Perhaps this appeals to me because I tend to be the exact opposite of that-our house is a cluttery mess. As much as we try to keep it up, by the end of each week, there is just clutter everywhere. I don't really know how it happens. I'm pretty sure it might involve gnomes. Anyway, evergreen forests are already tidy; you don't feel like you have to straighten anything up, so you can just be and relax. A redwood forest only amplifies this. Not only is it tidy and calm and serene, but the trees have been there for longer than we can comprehend and (hopefully) will continue to be there, standing guard, sentry-like, providing a calm, secure, safe retreat from the rest of the world for as long as there is still some good in the world.

All of this is to say that in Lamott's book, she talks a lot about the northern California area (through which we had just driven!). She also talks about a health scare involving her son. After an extremely nerve-wracking wait, she finally receives some good news on this front and calls her friend in order to share the news. His response: "Baby? Sometimes deliverance is as cool as the air in a redwood grove."

Of course, this was cool for me because I was like, "Hey, we were just in a bunch of redwood groves!" but it was more than that. It was a reminder of how lucky we have been to experience things like that. I realize there are probably millions of people each year who visit the redwood forests and there are people who live with redwoods in their back yards, so it's not like we are an elite group or anything, but that doesn't make the experience any less special. Also, there are a lot of people who have never found themselves surrounded by redwoods and probably never will, and so in that regard, I do feel lucky to have had that experience.

So, long story short, I would totally recommend this book. It's funny and uplifting and honest and heartfelt and just an all-around good read.

What I'm Reading Now-City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau-This is a book for older kids/young adults, but I liked it anyway. At the beginning of the book we find out that Something Bad has happened, but we're not told what. The Builders have created an underground world, and when it is safe for humanity to surface again, certain events will unfold that will help guide them along. Well, there's a hitch in the plan, and the city of Ember ends up supporting it's underground inhabitants longer than it was meant to. There are power outages; they are happening more frequently and lasting for longer and longer periods of time. Supplies are running out, and people are starting to panic. The mayor assures the citizens that everything is fine, but there's something not quite likeable about the mayor. Two of Embers young residents, Lina and Doon find themselves in positions to help the city, and the search is on for a way to fix Ember or get out.

This book was a quick and easy read, and I enjoyed it. It is the first in a 4-part series, and I will probably read the other books eventually. As soon as I was done reading City of Ember, I thought, "I bet that would make a good movie." Lo and behold, what is coming out on October 10th? Okay, so I'm not always on top of what's going on in Hollywood, but I do know which kids' books will make good movies when I read them! I am going to chalk this up to one of my weird little reading coincidences, which I've mentioned a couple of times now, even though it's not a big one, it's still fun to have something to add to my collection!

Also, Ann discusses this book during Books On The Nightstand's podcast, episode #14, which you can listen to here. She and Michael discuss a lot of other books too, so don't skip it just because you've already read my post! I enjoy all of their podcasts, but this week's discussion includes the topic of banned books and Banned Books Week. This is something that just baffles me, so it's always interesting to hear people talk about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I'm Reading Now-Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Alright already! The library is sending me hate mail, so I guess I should get on the ball and get this book reviewed so I can take it back along with the library's standard check in the amount of $7.50 (the maximum fine they will levy against one item...THANK GOD!)

So, I've changed the format a little; instead of "What I'm Reading Now-(today's date)" I've decided to just do "What I'm Reading Now-(book title)." I think one post per book will be a better way of doing this since I tend to get a little wordy and more than one review per post can be a bit overwhelming for both my readers and me!

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan-Here's the thing that I've come to notice about Michael Pollan: His books are full of small fonts and they don't have any pictures. They read a lot like text books. On the one hand, I admire the fact that he really gets into whatever he's writing about and gives the reader a lot of information and doesn't just do the easy, glossy, feel-good write up about whatever it is, in this case working the neglected land of his property, which used to be a farm, and in the process trying to discover man's place in nature. What does it mean to garden? Gardens have had a lot of different purposes and definitions throughout history. When and how much should you garden? Is it "ok" to garden purely for aesthetic reasons, or should a garden be functional? Can it be both? What defines a weed? One man's beautiful tree can be another's eyesore and a strain on the local ecology. Where and how much should man interfere in nature? How "wild" should we allow our wilderness reserves be? Once we interfere, are they still considered wild?

Pollan delves into all of these questions and does a good job of exploring all of these issues. I don't think he comes to many definitive answers, but he does give the reader a lot of good information to digest in order that he may come up with his own answers. Oh, and I guess I should finish my "on the one hand..." statement that I started earlier. On the one hand I appreciate his thoroughness and his willingness to really get into a subject and study it from a lot of different angles. On the other hand, I feel his books are always more work than I expected them to be. I'm interested in what he writes about. I want to read his books. I want to enjoy reading his books, and I do-o-o-o...I just really have to commit to it. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying.

Something that surprised me about this book is that it left me wanting a lot of follow-up information. The book was published in 1991, and one of the things that Pollan writes about is his decision to plant a tree, a real tree, not a wispy willow or a fruit tree, but a mighty oak or a sturdy maple, something that will be there for generations to come. He quotes Russell Page, who said, "To plant trees is to give body and life to one's dreams of a better world." Indeed. If you are going to plant a tree which might not even reach a good, solid, shade-worthy size until it is 25, 50 or even 100 years old, you must have faith that it is worth planting in the first place, faith that future generations will A) be around to appreciate it and B) appreciate it, not to mention C) that the tree will survive that long in the first place. This requires a lot of faith in both humanity and Mother Nature. Pollan finally decides on a maple, a spindly little maple that will take years and years to come into all of its maple-ness even though he has a hard time seeing 20 years down the road, when he might see "a bit of shade." You can read Pollan's first-hand account in The New York Times Magazine article here. It's almost 2010 already, the time allotted for his tree to grow to adequate shade-producing size; I would like to know how it is doing.

Along the lines of the "how much should we interfere in nature?" question, Pollan tells of Cathedral Pines, a large stand of old-growth white pines that was wiped out one year by a massive storm. The big question was what to do with it after the storm. There were people who wanted to leave it exactly as it was because to do anything else was to mess with nature. To these folks, clearing out the fallen trees would be akin to building condos-human intervention is human intervention. Clearing the fallen wood, replanting the pines, introducing wolves, building condos, making it a nuclear waste site, clearly all of these things are on the same level. To these people, I would like to say, "Get over yourselves, you giant blowhards," but that is way more confrontational than I am comfortable with, so I will just think it quietly to myself over here behind my computer. Anyway...others worried about all that dead wood becoming a fire hazard to nearby homes, and others saw the fallen trees as resources-cabinets, flooring, tables, firewood, etc. Some wanted to replant, to try to restore it to its former glory, and some said let nature take its course. Ah, "let nature take its course"...what does that mean? In the case of Cathedral Pines, it could very well have meant allowing brambles and vines and who knows what else, to take over. Returning to the old-growth pine forest that it once was was probably not in the cards, and if any of the plants that were hypothetically going to take over this recently denuded, now-sunlight-flooded patch of land were to get out of control and spread to neighboring areas or start threatening other existing flora or fauna, then what? Then would it be ok to interfere or not? Well, the final solution was to leave it exactly as it was and then to clear-cut a huge area around it to create a fire break. That way none of the dead wood would be touched and the nearby homeowners could sleep at night. This sounds like the worst possible solution to me, but what do I know? Anyway, the storm was back in 1989, so again I would be curious to see what has become of Cathedral Pines. Is the forest slowly recovering or is it becoming something altogether new and more beautiful than it was before, or is it turning into a giant wasteland? Or has it been struck by lightening and burned up completely? If so, did the firebreak do its job? If anybody out there has any intel on this, please let me know.

Finally, Pollan makes the point that,
"Indeed, the wilderness ethic and laissez-faire economics, antithetical as they might at first appear, are really mirror images of one another. Each proposes a quasi-divine force-- Nature, the Market--that, left to its own devices, somehow knows what's best for a place. Nature and the market are both self-regulating, guided by an invisible hand. Worshippers of either share a deep, Puritan distrust of man, taking it on faith that human tinkering with the natural or economic order can only pervert it." (p.188)

Wow. Is that timely or what??

I have noticed lately that there tend to be a lot of coincidences between my reading and what is going on in the real world. I got this book thinking that it would be all about gardening in the "traditional" sense, if indeed there is one. You know, hoeing, planting seeds, harvesting vegetables, fighting off deer and ground hogs, and all of that was in this book; but it went so much further with an entire treatise on trees and their relation to society and the land. Since we just got back from our big tree adventure (which I will write about soon, I promise!) this was particularly timely for me, particularly reading about Pollan's maple. Also, the thing about human tinkering perverting The Market-I think I read that on 9/22 or 9/23, just on the heels of the announcement that investment banking as we know it is dead and that the government wants to give $700,000,000,000 to a bunch of companies as a bonus for failing. Oh, is that not what they're saying? I'm sorry, I might be a little fuzzy on the details. Anyway, I think Pollan hit it right on the head, and I think it's a bad, bad idea.

*Edited 7/27/12-I DID finally write about my big tree adventure (warning: it's a looong post, but I put a lot of pictures in it to make it more fun!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I know, I know, I'm such a slacker.

Okay, I know I haven't posted anything really worthy lately, and I'm sorry! I have lots of stuff to write about-vacation adventures to rave about, books to review, and possibly even a rant about the current economic situation-I just can't quite get into it.

Part of my excuse is that I just got a new computer (an iMac-it's so pretty!) and have been in transition mode for the last few days. Prior to that I can blame it on not wanting to subject myself to my old, PIECE OF CRAP HP Pavilion zd8000. Anyway...how can I explain the current state of my HP screen? Ladies, take an old pair of pantyhose that you don't mind ruining. (Gentlemen, don't try this without first checking in with your lady and getting her approval. Never mess with your lady's pantyhose without checking with her first. If you have your own pantyhose, then feel free to disregard this warning.) If you already have a pair that is ruined, better yet. Now, take said pantyhose (pre-ruined or otherwise) and give them to your cat to play with. If said cat happens to be wrapped in Velcro and living in a briar patch, all the better. (If you don't have a cat, perhaps you could borrow one of these vicious cats!) After a couple of days, retrieve the pantyhose. Are they nice and full of runs? Good! Now take the pantyhose and stretch them over your monitor. This is what my screen looks like.

You might be thinking, "Wow, how old is your computer? 4-, 5-years? Sounds like it's been through a lot, maybe even 6-, dare I say 7-, years?" No. No it's not. It is almost 3 years old. That's right. At almost 3-years-old, my computer screen is no longer useful for anything other than opthalmalogic (?) torture. Huh. Apparently opthalmalogic isn't a word. That's ok. You all know what I mean. The keys on the keyboard are sticky, (meaning they stick, not that they are covered in any sticky substances), the volume control button sort of works...sometimes, the paint is flaking off the front of the computer, and it's noisy as hell. I won't go into any further detail, but I will say that the downhill slide started around 6 months in. From there it has gotten progressively worse. Oh yeah, and it refuses to talk to my HP printer/scanner/copier for purposes of scanning. Just flat out refuses. If we wanted to scan anything, my husband had to hook up his Sony Vaio or his Dell so that we could scan using our HP scanner. Because my HP computer couldn't do it. Because it's a GIANT PIECE OF CRAP. **Update 10/25/08-upon further consideration, I'm willing to concede that the scanning issue may have more to do with my HP printer/scanner/copier than with my computer. This comes as a result of the new HP printer/scanner/copier that we received as a free-rebate deal in conjunction with our iMac purchase. The scanner function wasn't worth a crap with our iMac either, so maybe it's just that HP makes crappy products all around. We now have a Canon Pixma MX 310 and it actually prints, copies, AND scans, just like it's supposed to!**

Anyway. Enough about that. I now have a lovely iMac with a clear screen and a thin, dainty keyboard that acknowledges every key stroke I make, it doesn't make any noise at all, it can speak to my HP printer, and it's just so pretty! I am still trying to learn all the ins and outs of mac ownership and operation, but so far, so good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dutch Bros. Coffee Rocks!

I always hear people complaining about Starbucks and their phenomenal grasp on the coffee market. People are always saying there are other coffee places in the world, places that offer better coffee, better service, etc., and these people are always SO PISSED OFF that Starbucks is as big as it is. To them, I've always said (or at least, thought non-confrontationally to myself) people don't necessarily go to Starbucks because they want great coffee, they go because they are jonesing for a Caramel Macchiato or a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino, and they know that they can go to Starbucks and get what they want. It's the same reason McDonald's is a success. People don't go to McDonald's because they have the best hamburgers in the world; they go there because sometimes all you want is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, no onions, some fries, and a fountain Coke. (I realize that sometimes people DO go to Starbucks just for a coffee, and that I don't understand...but let's face it, that's not how Starbucks is making the big bucks, so my reasoning stands!)

That said...why have I never had Dutch Bros. Coffee before??? OMG! While we were in Oregon, we kept seeing them around, and our friends told us that we HAD to try them-they make their mocha drinks with chocolate milk! Toward the end of our trip, we finally ponied up and drove past our usual Starbucks to try out Dutch Bros. Not only was their Milky Way (espresso, caramel, and chocolate milk) fabulous, but my husband and I both got ours for free! We didn't complain, we didn't have our order made wrong the first time, we didn't have a coupon; what we did was talk to the girl who took our order and told her that we had never been to a Dutch Bros. before. She was super nice, and, as it turns out, she is from Hawaii too. As we were preparing to hand over our money, she informed us that since it was our first time visiting, our drinks were on the house! Now, I know most people would not question this, and I was thoroughly thrilled to get my free Milky Way, but as a former business owner, I couldn't help wonder if the girl had given us the official Dutch Bros. "Thanks for trying our product" free drinks or the "Hawaiian hook up" free drinks. I didn't want anybody losing money because their employee was hooking up her Hawaiian "friends". After talking to Tim, our tree climbing instructor, (who is possibly one of the nicest people in the world), we found out that this is indeed a common practice, so I felt much better. I hope that putting this information out there doesn't encourage anyone to abuse Dutch Bros.' policy. If it does, I hope that it will also encourage enough honest potential customers to come forth that they will cancel out the negative effects of any dishonest people just looking for a free coffee.

So, Dutch Bros. Coffee rocks! If they had a presence in Hawaii, I would totally be their newest revenue stream; but since they don't, I will continue to get my White Chocolate Mochas from Starbucks. HOWEVER, if you live anywhere where there is a Dutch Bros. Coffee (currently Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona) (or will be vacationing anywhere where there is one), get yourself to one of their locations and try one! And if you will be flying back to Hawaii, maybe you could smuggle some back for me! Let me know-I'd be happy to provide a cooler. Seriously.

P.S. I should mention that the inspiration for this post came from Patrick over at The Selling Sherpa. His Sales Tips of the Day, "End of the Line" and "A Little Bit More" reminded me of our Dutch Bros. experience, and I thought I should get the word out. So, thanks, Patrick!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Las Vegas

When people find out that you live in Hawaii, they always ask, "Where do you go to vacation if you LIVE in Hawaii??" Fair enough. The answer is Vegas. Seriously. Vegas is where people go to vacation when they live in Hawaii. There's no gambling in Hawaii (okay, there's no LEGAL gambling in Hawaii) and there's a serious shortage of quality entertainment out here that isn't Hawaiian-themed, so Vegas has that going for it-gambling and quality productions. Other than that, I am seriously missing the draw. 107 degrees is just too damn hot, dry heat or not. The entire freakin' city smells like an old ashtray, and our time share presentation lasted THREE HOURS. Oh, did I not mention that this is how we got suckered in to Vegas in the first place?

We initially had a trip to Oregon planned where we were going to participate in Tree Climbing Northwest's Tree Week. Since Hubby is a Hilton HHonors member, we received a call from the Hilton folks telling us about a Great Property! they have in Vegas called the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and asking us if we would like to receive some discounted rates, gambling money, and free food to come and listen to one of their spiels. Hubby and I have done the time share spiels before and knew that we could endure sitting through one AND not fall prey to their tactics. We are nothing if not jaded after our Cold Stone fiasco (thanks, Cold Stone!). We can say no to practically anything now, no matter how good a deal it might actually be!

Anyway, we decided to tack on the Vegas trip, catch a show while we were there, drive over to L.A. to see some good friends, and then drive up to Portland. Bad idea. Vegas was so not meant to happen on this trip. First of all, the Hilton Grand Vacations Club is at the far end of the strip, so if you're idiots like us and decide to walk down and check things out at noon when it's 107 degrees out, you will be miserable by the time you get anywhere. Second, as we were packing our things, preparing to go to the airport I noticed what felt like a bladder infection setting in. Awesome. There's nothing like long hours on an airplane, being outside of your primary care...jurisdiction or whatever, and a four-day road trip to make a bladder infection even more exciting!

So, on to the good stuff, but first our itinerary, as it appeared in my head:

Saturday night-Catch red-eye flight to Vegas
Sunday-Arrive Vegas, walk around, check things out, try not to fall asleep immediately upon landing so as not to screw up internal clock too badly. Chill.
Monday-Sit through time share presentation, enjoy remainder of afternoon, go see "O", for which tickets had been purchased far in advance and for a lot of money.
Tuesday morning-Drive out of Vegas.

Saturday and Sunday pretty much went as planned. On Monday, we made it through the THREE HOUR time share presentation (it was only supposed to be two) and managed not to buy anything. Incidentally, Hubby no longer stays in Hiltons when he travels because every time he does, they don't have any hot water when he shows up, and after 20 or so hours in the air, this tends to piss him off. After that, we walked around for a while and then went over to the Bellagio to pick up our tickets for the show that night. This is the part where the Lady Behind The Counter (the LBTC) informs us that "O" doesn't show on Monday nights. Oh no. Oh no,no,no,no,no. Please don't tell me the tickets were for last night. The tickets were for last night. F&*#$#! She politely tells us that even though the missing of the show was through no fault of their own, they would be happy to honor the tickets the next time we are in town. The last time Hubby was in town was 20 years ago. The last time I was in town was January, 2007, but that was for a mandatory work conference. Before that, 1993. The show was the main reason we decided to take advantage of the Hilton offer in the first place. We don't go to Vegas, and honestly have no interest in ever going back again...except maybe to catch another show. After listening to all of this, the LBTC kindly conferenced with her supervisor again and informed us that, although it is not their normal policy, they would go ahead and refund the money for us. So, thank you to Natalee, the kind LBTC who decided to help out a couple of schmucks who couldn't remember what night of their 2-night stay was scheduled for fun and entertainment.

Tickets for "Mystere" were still available for that night, so we got them instead. The seats were actually pretty good, and we got a really good military discount, so it worked out ok as far as that goes. The show was good...but I had a hard time enjoying it because A) the bladder infection which had never completely set in, yet had never completely gone away either, made it hard to sit still and enjoy a show, and B)when I could no longer sit still and had to get up and go to the bathroom, I realized that my ID and credit card were not in my back pocket, like I thought they were. So, the first half of the show was spent in physical discomfort, and the second half was spent in mental and physical discomfort. We could have left the show to deal with the missing items issue, but I figured A) there was a chance that everything was still in our hotel, B)if anyone had stolen it with bad intentions, they were already doing damage-we might as well enjoy the show, and C) if someone had found it and turned it in, then it was safe and would continue to be safe until after the show. Turns out everything was sitting on our bed, right where I had left them when I took them out of my other pockets right before we left for the show. Phew!

Since we were setting out on a four-day road trip the next day, and my bladder infection was still lingering, we decided we should deal with it now, and that's how we ended up at the Las Vegas Emergency Room at 2:00 in the morning. The triage nurse who checked me in and got me set up to see the doctor was great, but after that, things went downhill. As I sat in my gown behind my curtain, waiting for the doctor, they wheeled a patient in to the bed next door to me. Apparently, the patient, whom I will call J, had tried to kill himself by stabbing himself with a shard of glass. Some people saw him and called the police. J was pretty out of it-I'm not sure if he was drunk or on drugs or had just lost a lot of blood. This is all sad and disturbing, but the worst part was the conversation that the doctor had with him, which went like this:

Doctor: J? J? Are you suicidal, J?
J: (Incoherent response)
Doctor: Have you tried to kill yourself before?
J: (Incoherent response)
Doctor: You almost succeeded. There's a lot of blood. You'll have to try again, J.

Now, I understand that as an ER doctor, you probably see a lot of attempted suicides, and I understand how you could become a bit jaded; and, granted, I've never been to medical school, but I'm fairly certain that there is something ethically awry in telling a suicide survivor that he is going to have to try again because he failed this time.

After that disturbing little exchange one of the nurses came in to give me my cipro. I said, "Isn't that pretty hard-core; don't they give that to people before they go into the jungles of Borneo or something?" and she said something to the effect that it's pretty broad-spectrum but fairly gentle, so it should't make me nauseous or anything. Then she told me, "It's also good for STDs. I just thought you'd be interested in knowing that." Um...okay. Look, I know it's 2AM and I am in a Vegas ER with a bladder infection, but could you not imply that I'm a whore or that my husband, who is outside in the waitng room, has been sleeping around and has brought something home? Geez, lady. I'm on vacation here.

After I got my clothes and my dignity back on, we went outside to wait for a cab. As we were waiting, we heard a lady on the other side of the waiting area having a very heated phone discussion with someone about the treatment of her son. I'm not sure what the person had done, but nobody was to treat her baby that way, and she spared no cuss words in making sure that her point was understood. Hubby asked me if I wanted to go back inside. The onslaught of cussing was offensive, but I really didn't feel like going back inside, so we waited it out. As we got in the cab, I finally looked over at the angry, cussing woman, just to see. I didn't want to make eye contact while we were waiting for the cab, but now that we were safely ensconsed in a metal shell, I figured it was ok to look.

Me: She's not on the phone???
Hubby: No
Me: Jesus, I thought she was yelling at someone on the phone.
Hubby: Nope. She's nuts. That's why I asked you if you wanted to go back inside.
Me: Well, I didn't know she was crazy. I just thought she was on the phone!
Hubby: Nope. Not on the phone.
Me: Why didn't you tell me?
Hubby: I thought you knew.


And so ends our adventure in Vegas. Leaving Las Vegas never sounded so appealing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be back soon.

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. Well, in case you've been wondering, I have been on vacation. We left here on August 23 and returned September 9, so that covers most of my absence. It would appear, however, that I was a giant slacker for about a week before our vacation. Well...what can I say?

Coming soon: Book reviews! 2:00AM visits to the Vegas ER! Driving through California-California is BIG! and Sleeping in Trees!