Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sunday Snapshot – Olympic Pride

Today is the last day of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  I’d forgotten how interesting and exciting the Winter Games are, with so many of the events performed at breakneck paces. The opening ceremonies were excellent and the Canadian team members set Olympic records and thrilled their compatriots with their accomplishments. It’s been a great event.

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The Wednesday Word – Emergency Ward

Emergency Ward: noun – a hospital or primary care department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and require immediate attention.

I spent the last couple of days in the emergency ward with an elderly patient, which prevented me from writing the entry I originally had in mind for today, so here are some of the observations I made while there.

Seven people came in on Monday with chest pain, which made me wonder if there was a correlation between the pain and the first day of the work week. Maybe when those people say they’re really dreading going back to work on Monday, they’re not exaggerating.

The incessant beeping of assorted monitors was so irritating to me at one point that I’m sure it raised my blood pressure to a level where I almost needed my own monitor.

The nurses worked very hard, especially on Monday night when the ward was so crowded that there were occupied gurneys lining both sides of every hallway. It was lucky that we arrived early in the day and secured a highly sought after cubicle.

On Tuesday afternoon the ward seemed substantially quieter than Monday and the nurses, while still helpful, had more time to gossip. I learned that the blond, female nurse just had a nice vacation, although the weather wasn’t great. The male nurse has a six-month-old baby who is doing just fine, thanks for asking. One of the nurses is on a power trip and had a run-in with another nurse, who wasn’t about to take any nonsense, but Power Trip apologized to Are You Talking to Me? so everything’s okay now.

I got to see an echocardiogram  (ultrasound of the heart). I don’t know how it looked to the trained technician but for several moments I thought the image looked like a disembodied alien head floating in space and I wondered if  this type of test has been the source of inspiration for more than one science fiction writer.

If you are a tiny, confused, 88-year-old man who looks surprisingly similar to a garden gnome ornament, you can get away (at least occasionally) with being nasty to the very people who are trying to help you. Some of them will even laugh and call you “so cute”. Thank goodness for the patience and training of hospital staff.

Other words and phrases that may apply to this situation: waiting and waiting and waiting, tiring, sad

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Sunday Snapshots – Phooning

The still pose in the photos below is called a phoon. People are phooning all around the world,

in high places,

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

and low,

Scuba diving

in forests,

Sequoia National Park, California

and deserts,

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

with beautiful backgrounds,

Portishead, England

and funny props,

with famous landmarks,

Eiffel Tower, France

and in places they don’t belong.

ebay headquarters

There are over 4,000 photos of people phooning at www.phoons.com. The pictures are divided into categories so you can even check by location to see if anyone in your neighbourhood is phooning. If not, maybe you could be the first!

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The Wednesday Word – Naive

Naive: adjective – having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information

A co-worker is expecting her first child soon. She’s made a point of having her business magazines and journals rerouted to her home because she “might finally have the time to read them” and, she told me, has a vision of returning to work a better employee, caught up on all the latest business news. In fact, she’s mentioned several time-consuming chores she plans on accomplishing with the oodles of free time she’ll soon be enjoying. Uh huh. The moms who know her have been polite in their responses, which is to say, we’ve saved our hearty laughter for behind her back. It’s been a long while since there was a newborn in my house, but having time to do things for myself that I couldn’t achieve when there were just two adults living here is not how I remember the first months of motherhood.

Sure, I’ve heard tales of babies who started sleeping through the night when they were three days old (although I don’t recall if I heard those stories from parents or if I’m thinking of an episode of Tales of the Unexpected). Maybe this baby will sleep for hours on end, smile whenever she’s awake, and generally be undemanding. Maybe every picture taken will be of a well-rested, even-tempered, beaming mom and child, and maybe cheerful, singing mice and birds will help mom tidy the nursery.

Then again, maybe mom will have backed the car out of the driveway one morning, after a particularly rough night when baby was up every couple of hours, before she realizes that she’s still in her pyjamas–not that the other bleary-eyed moms at the Baby and Me class would care.

Maybe mom will find that the ridiculous antics and goofy faces that made baby laugh hysterically one day make her cry hysterically the next, as she realizes that somewhere a village is missing its idiot and wonders why it has to be her mom.

Maybe baby will indulge in a 24-hour TV viewing marathon, marred only by the occasional 45-minute nap, before finally succumbing to deep, coma-like sleep just minutes before mom’s cousin Minerva arrives with the family to meet her. Baby’s refusal to acknowledge the guests after their two hour drive, never mind coo sweetly, is unfortunate (“What a sound sleeper,” Minerva exclaims, “You’re so lucky!”), but mom’s cousin insists on a picture anyway, so a family photo is taken featuring impeccably presented Minerva smiling brightly through her disappointment; mom, decidedly droopy, with bloodshot eyes that can’t be helped by any red-eye reduction feature; and baby, a snoring sack of potatoes with lolling head and drool dribbling drown her chin. It’s a real keeper.

My co-worker will soon learn that despite her best-laid plans, baby will be in charge from the moment she arrives. It won’t matter though, because another thing expectant mom can’t know yet is the incomparable joy that the birth of a baby brings. She won’t miss her business magazines at all.

Other words and phrases that may apply to this situation: delusional, amusing, good luck with that

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Sunday Snapshots – Happy Valentine’s Day!

What chocoholic wouldn’t be delighted to receive this beautiful box of chocolates?

Actually, it’s a gorgeous cake!  So the question should be, what chocoholic wouldn’t be delighted to receive this beautiful cake?


Check out Bakerella’s site for more pictures and step-by-step instructions on how to make your own Sweet Heart Cake.

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The Wednesday Word – Automatic

Automatic: adjective – operating with little or no direct human control.

It’s my first time using the renovated washroom in the office building where I work. I hold my hands under the new automatic tap and wait expectantly. Nothing. I move them lower down–still no water. Higher up–zilch. Come on! Back and forth. Give me some water! Up and down. I could just move to another sink but now it’s personal. Left hand, right hand, both hands. A human hand is supposed to trip the tap’s sensor. Frenzied waving. Who (what?) is this faucet to judge me as less than human! Back and forth, up and down, circles. The tap remains stubbornly unresponsive.

Meanwhile, in a well-intentioned but somewhat misguided attempt to atone for its co-worker’s churlish attitude, the automatic soap dispenser is merrily spewing great blobs of soap.  Wait, I silently implore the dispenser, I don’t need soap yet–squirt squirt–and my hands aren’t even near you–squirt squirt. Suds are congealing on the bottom of the sink at an alarming rate–squirt squirt. I try keeping one hand waving under the faucet–up and down–and the other lying motionless under the soap dispenser in a sly attempt to limit the waste while remaining undetected, but there’s no fooling the cheerful dispenser–squirt squirt. It is thrilled by the presence of an actual hand and excitedly dispenses enough soap for several more people–squirt squirt squirt.

Finally the tap grudgingly acknowledges that I’m not about to be put off and gushes water. Now my hands are clean, but the sink is a frothy mess. I wonder–can I use one hand to keep the automatic tap running and the other to wipe the sink clean of the suds without setting off the automatic soap dispenser again? After a few false starts–squirt squirt–I accomplish my mission and, leaving the sink tidy and the dispensers quiet, I head back to work.

Other words that may apply to this situation: frustrating, messy, go!, stop!

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Sunday Snapshots

Here are the road signs posted at the end of a highway exit ramp nearby, clearly informing motorists that they can either turn left or carry on straight.




This is what lies straight ahead.

I always turn left.

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