Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elevator Conversation

I stepped onto the hospital elevator today between two people. The woman on my left wore a white short coat and a nutritionist name tag. The man on my right carried a tray of fancy desserts. They stared at the front wall in silence. The door closed.

The woman said, "--- went to get her shots today. She was by herself."

I wasn't sure who she was talking to at first. Me? She talked so low I almost didn't hear her. Then the man on my right grunted in acknowledgment. They knew each other, I surmised.

We rode the rest of the way down two floors in silence. The elevator stopped. A bell dinged. The doors started to open.

Woman on left: "--- attempted suicide last night. She is in the hospital."

Man on my right: "For real?"

It was as much of a statement as a question. We walked our separate ways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Knowledge Loopholes

I went down to the basement with my partners to a reception today. It was reminiscent of the one two weeks ago where we grouped together and traveled down in a pack to attend a farewell reception for the CEO of our hospital - he had been working there for over 30 years. I went to high school with his daughter. Today it was time to usher in the new CEO and COO.

The mood again was festive. We are so busy we rarely have time to get together. We joked and laughed as we took the stairs to the ground floor and walked through the cafeteria to the reception hall. We had planned a time earlier in the day - I was the ringleader calling and reminding everyone of the 4:30 event.

As we walked in it was immediately apparent that the crowd was smaller, but the event was still young. Our goal was to mingle and dole out our congratulations then get back to work. I was trying to find the new COO - I used to live down the street from him - he is a boyishly handsome man with a nice smile that shows in his eyes more than his mouth. I located him and noticed with a partner that he wasn't as surrounded as the new CEO. "Let's go surround him" I said, and marched in his direction. My partner agreed and followed me.

As I walked up to shake his hand and congratulate him he introduced the guy standing next to him, who frankly dwarfed him and myself and most of the room. "Of course you know Keith Jackson." I was within less than a foot of him, and cranked my head up to peer into his face. I tried to place him but couldn't, and I felt embarrassed. Where should I know him from? I hadn't seen him around work. I smiled and shook his hand and introduced myself. My megalomaniac sports loving partner and jazz musician laughed behind me. "You really don't know who this guy is, do you?" He apologized to the man. "She doesn't know sports at all. Please forgive her."

Then my close girlfriend partner walked up and unknowingly added salt to the wounds. She reached out to him to introduce herself and shake his hand. "I don't follow sports and I'm not from Arkansas but I of course know who you are and it is my great pleasure to meet you." I was dumbfounded and chagrined. I started laughing, what else could I do?

He was so calm and gracious in his reaction to my ignorance. "Around here I am known best for being my Mother's son. She worked here for 30 years. It is a pleasure to be here and to meet you." He turned to my partner. "I'm happy to meet you too. Where are you from?" She smiled and told him, "Virginia Beach."

On the way out the door, after we greeted and congratulated and ushered in the CEO, my jazz/sports partner was laughing so hard he was annoying me. "I hate these things but that was so worth it. I can't believe you had no idea who he was." I replied, "Well, I don't know sports at all. I feel bad that I didn't represent." He said, "Oh, don't worry, he is pretty laid back, I'm sure you didn't ruffle his feathers. But did you notice the Superbowl ring on his hand?" Ribbing me, laughing again.

"So I guess that means he is/was a football player?"

Caption: Keith Jackson

Sleigh Bells: Comeback Kid

A Scientifically Stellar Lunch Date

Where I talk about eating lunch with my senior year high school physics teacher.

Read it over at MiM.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ice Dream Contest

Last night in Boston: In this contest, everyone is a winner.

First we made up ice cream company names. Effie was the judge, so she was exempt.

Then we started the creating process.

Caption: The Template

Effie brought home some new Baskin Robbins flavors from her food scientist job at their headquarters. I would tell you the names but then I'd have to kill you because they have yet to be released. No matter though, we had lots of toppings from the local ice cream store and Whole Foods to make them our own.

Caption: Jack scooping

Caption: Jack stirring. Notice the repeated arm blur. All action.

Caption: Cecelia creating Schlag. That's the fancy name for homemade whipped cream (Uncle Mike taught us that)

Caption: It's a collaboration, not a competition (Um, Cecelia? Uncle Mike?)

Then we showcased our creations.

Caption: Giz's Creation from the company Dancing Daisies Ice Dream. It is a mixture of birthday cake (loosely) ice cream with cookie dough, Japanese rocket candy Effie brought from a trip (think best rock candy you ever had) and maraschino cherries. The inspiration was Uni Kitty from The Lego Movie. Winning Category: Texture

Caption: Jack won for appearance. Bits of waffle cone butter cookies graced vanilla ice cream dotted with mini chocolate chips. His company name was Freezer Overpowered.

Caption: Uncle Mike won for darn I forgot. Because I hate to lose anything to him. His company was Fabulous Frozen Foam aka My Three Schlags. I'm going to screw this up royally, but he flavored schlag in three different amazing ways and did some caramelized sauce that smelled and tasted incredible over vanilla ice cream. He is a freaking trained chef and food scientist so he had a big handicap. We made him work only with his feet. Kidding.

Caption: Cecelia's OMG!!!!Brainfreeze trademarked creation. The oreo cookie schlag on top was good, but the ice cream mixed with natural peanut butter and oreo cookie bits and mini Reese's pieces stole the taste category. I gained five pounds on this trip darn you all and swam a mile yesterday to try to begin to burn it off.

It was the best last night of a trip I've ever had. And the fullest. What's a competition without a subsequent gorge?

Caption: The Competitors 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

World's Worst Mom

Last year, my boyfriend and I were completing a 20 mile bike ride on a Saturday and I got a phone call. My kids were the last ones left at their week long summer camp. I thought the pick up date was Sunday. We sped like banshees to retrieve them almost two hours after the last campers left - they were mad we had returned so soon they were soaking up the one on one attention from the staff and the Lord of the Flies atmosphere of having the solo run of their camp.

This year was a big time crunch. I arrived 5 hours late from Boston Thursday night, and had to prepare them for camp before drop off on Saturday at 3. We needed lots of errands and packing. I group texted a Peds mom and an OB mom Saturday morning - their kids, friends of ours, are also going to camp this week.

Me: Happy Camp Day! What time is your drop off? Ours is 3:00. Just wondering if I'm going to see you there.

Peds mom: We are dropping at the same time. We usually meet at this parking lot at 1:30 to caravan. You guys game?

Me: Sound great! See you there.

Peds mom: Peds spouse and I are both working clinic today. We have a lot of packing to do.

Me, alarmed: Oh my good luck. We are doing Target run do you need anything last minute?

Peds mom: Two loofahs. That is a huge help! You rock!

Me (laughing at the term she used that we call bath scrubs with C): That is on my list too no prob. I'll drop on your porch.

OB mom: Sounds good! We will see you tomorrow.

Me: OMG I thought it was today ha ha whew I can breathe.

Peds mom: At least you are ready for tomorrow!

Stepmom on phone after hearing my mess up: Ha better day early than day late like last year:)

Peds mom today: Hey Giz - it's today!

Me: Oh no I dropped them off in the night. Where the heck were y'all at 1:30 am in that parking lot.

Caption: Captain Jack in his bunk with his Minecraft Trunk

Caption: Kids headed to week of hedonism

The Bird Protector

My trip to Boston to visit bro Mike and his amazing wife Effie was so full and wonderful I'm going to have to dole it out slowly.

Caption: Photo of George Washington Statue I thought was Paul Revere

We took the train into Boston last Sunday to eat at Sportello (my daughter still remembers the amazing pasta from two years ago) and wander around the parks and shops downtown. Advantage of Little Rock over Boston: there are bathrooms they let you use in the stores. You don't have to go to that one Starbucks two blocks away and stand in line for 30 minutes to use a bathroom that disgustingly rivals the worst back town gas station bathroom you have ever been to. Good for Starbucks though - after that long wait you are willing to wait another 30 minutes for a coffee to wake you back up so you can shop some more.

Wandering around a park - I dunno which there were people riding swan boats and statues of George Washington (that I mistakenly thought was Paul Revere until I read the plaque), we encountered lots of birds. The kids were fascinated but not so much Aunt Effie. "I don't like the birds they freak me out. They are so unpredictable." So my son took it upon himself to chase all birds out of Effie's way for the entire trip. The Bird Protector, we called him, even though the Aunt Effie Protector might have been more accurate.

Caption: Jack waiting on pasta at Sportello

He really got into his role for the rest of the trip. On our last night we went to The Shake Shack - my foodie bro gave me all of the back history. After our burgers and dogs and fries we headed back to the car. Jack spotted two small birds and ran screaming and waving his arms to clear the way for Effie. We all smiled at the spectacle.

Me: "Jack, you are The Bird Protector. Thank you for doing your job."

Mike: "Yes, it's nice to have a break. When Jack is not around that's my job."

Me and Cecelia laughed at the thought of Uncle Mike screaming and chasing the birds away from Effie.

Effie, laughing: "It's true, he does that for me. It's a little weird, but he and I don't worry about anyone else's opinion but our own."

Caption: Aunt Effie and Cecelia

Friday, July 18, 2014

Boston Bound

I'm taking a few days off with my kids to head Northeast to visit Uncle Effie and Aunt Mike. Sometimes I accidentally say this, to my kids amusement.

I'll leave you with this.

I encounter this on my walk from the doctor's parking deck to the super high security wave a magic card to open the heavy back entrance lab door into work each day. What is this even called? I have no idea. An electronic arm. A gateway. Once, when I was really angry, I imagined I might rip it from its anchor and whack something (a bowling ball? a giant boulder? the person I am pissed at?) all the way to another planet.

Sometimes, when I am leaving work, I am texting and forget it is there and almost bump into it. Often it is up, and I don't have to worry about that. Occasionally, I will be walking along oblivious, see it coming down in my peripheral vision and scatter frantically out of the way. Would it really hit me or does that anchor have the sensitivity to avoid objects? And if it does how big does the object have to be? Am I big enough?

Once I had a pretty near miss that left my heart pounding. I imagined myself sprawled out on the asphalt. Now that would be dumb way to die. And an embarrassing way to be discovered dead.

I love my job, so I like walking into work. But they way out to the parking deck, especially on a Friday before a week of vacation, is always a little bit brighter.

Enjoy your week. I know I will.