I See London, I See France #Mondayblogs

I have a notorious and lengthy bad relationship with underwear and its proper placement. Thankfully there is only so much photographic evidence available. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas Morning 2002 – That is my brother’s Christmas underwear on my head. So much for potty training with those things. 10398514_57472255381_5448980_n


March 2009 – That’s me on the right, joyfully peering over inappropriate placement of underwear.

April 2011 – Not only am I wearing a pair of underwear over my jeans but I am also wearing a bra on my head. I’m a real winner. Ain’t no shame in that game!

And again, April 2011 – These photos were taken in a bar… and that my friends… is me dancing on a bar with underwear over my pants. Who knew making an ass out of yourself could also be lucrative? Count those dollas! For the first time, I might be able to put this weird habit towards the greater good. In less than two months, my coworkers from the animal hospital will be rallying together again to participate in the Run For The Animals Marathon. Some of us hope to beat our times from last year, some of us dream of coming in at the front of the pack…. Me? Well, I hope I get to walk that six miles with that bright red pair of bloomers over my pants! 10947255_10152604856430382_8661537753403909868_n That’s right! Me and these skivvies will be strutting it the whole marathon over my pants (fans of this public embarrassment have suggested blue pants so I look like SuperMan) if our team can double the donation money! Last year we raised $450 for game day! If we can bring $900 to the table that chilly morning in April, I will wear these where the whole world can see them! Want to help me out? We have two upcoming events to raise money – an ‘Everything’s A Dollar’ bake sale on February 21st from 8:00 am to noon and a $15 Paw Wash on March 28th. All money raised will be donated! For an added bonus – because I didn’t buy these red britches to sit in the closet- we will be holding a raffle at the Paw Wash with tons of great local gift certificates and items AND my amazing neighbor Roxane Ward will be holding a jewelry show that day. These events will be held at my animal hospital in Painter,Virginia! Can’t make it but you’d like to make sure I’m going to strut my stuff in the drawers? You can use our GoFundMe account! I can’t tell you how many people said that they wish they had an extra $900 because they’d donate it all to see this happen. Hopefully in two months I’ll be able to share some fantastic race day photos with you… of the marathon, my team and of my red hot undies!

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You Bought It, You Read It: An Available Man #Mondayblogs


An Available Man By Hilma Wolitzer

Much like animals seem to be able to sense the weak link in the pack, my mother could tell I was having a vulnerable moment in my You Bought It, You Read It Challenge. I had accepted a book from a coworker to read – The Dog Year- and I was determined to move on to the next book on my shelf. Until mom told me about this book.

Overview:
In this tender and funny novel, award-winning author Hilma Wolitzer mines the unpredictable fallout of suddenly becoming single later in life, and the chaos and joys of falling in love the second time around. When Edward Schuyler, a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher, is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattached women around, but a healthy, handsome, available man is a rare and desirable creature. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. Even an attractive married neighbor offers herself to him.

The problem is that Edward doesn’t feel available. He’s still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching. But then his stepchildren surprise him by placing a personal ad in The New York Review of Books on his behalf. Soon the letters flood in, and Edward is torn between his loyalty to Bee’s memory and his growing longing for connection. Gradually, reluctantly, he begins dating (“dating after death,” as one correspondent puts it), and his encounters are variously startling, comical, and sad. Just when Edward thinks he has the game figured out, a chance meeting proves that love always arrives when it’s least expected.

With wit, warmth, and a keen understanding of the heart, An Available Man explores aspects of loneliness and togetherness, and the difference in the options open to men and women of a certain age. Most of all, the novel celebrates the endurance of love, and its thrilling capacity to bloom anew.

My Review:
I kept pretty good tabs on my Goodreads status updates so I have decided to provide those to you here.
01/03 marked as currently reading
01/03 page 24 “#amreading Of course I love this book. The main character is a birdwatcher.”
01/04 page 65 “#amreading What seemed to be a cute little book now has me pondering how the beau would handle my death.”
01/05 page 101 “#amreading – I love when a book surprises you with the F-bomb. Didn’t see that coming!”
01/09 page 137″#amreading The main character should stick to bird-watching! Dating is not for him!”
01/11 page 179 “#amreading Boy, I thought I had some crazy ex’s! Run, Edward! Run!”
01/12 page 195 “#amreading I see a train wreck coming down the tracks. How about you?”
01/14 page 225 “#AmReading I hate it when I yell at characters in books and they don’t listen. Seriously, the bitch is crazy.”
01/16 page 258 “#amreading Is it wrong to tell a character I told you so?”
01/16 marked as: read

I loved, loved, loved this book. Only once did things slow down a tad too much, but otherwise it was fantastic. Okay, I was sucked in by all of the bird-watching parts but there was more than that. It truly made me ponder how the beau would handle things when I croak. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to go over that I am REALLY serious about my body going to the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology department. They’ve had my paperwork on file for ten years now. Put me on ice and point me south! And yes, I mean it that if there is a memorial service you better play Tori Amos’ song about being a ghost and running around naked because no one can see you (Happy Phantom… truly the best song out there for an amazing service). But, what would he do after that? Would he date again? Would he tinker with things and do a little bird-watching all alone? He’d probably acquire a dog breed that I have warned him about because of likely hip dysplasia, cardiac disease or dermatology disasters. If so, please tell him I told you so for me.
The book came together nice at the end, but I have to admit I wasn’t so sure where things were heading during those last hundred pages. There was the right amount of closure for a book of this sort.

And yes, there was bird-watching and you can’t go wrong with that!

Next on You Bought It, You Read It: The Better Bladder Book by Wendy L. Cohan.

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You Bought It, You Read It: The Dog Year #Mondayblogs

The Dog Year By Ann Wertz Garvin

The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin

This book was not part of my You Bought It, You Read It mission. I’m a sucker for someone handing over a highly recommended book, especially if there is a tie to the canine companion in it. It’s much like when you are dieting and suddenly everyone wants to give you a cupcake. That’s how I feel when I’m offered you a book. I could say know because I have a bigger plan to stick to… but I just can’t.

The Overview:
Dr. Lucy Peterman was not built for a messy life. A well-respected surgeon whose patients rely on her warmth, compassion, and fierce support, Lucy has always worked hard and trusted in the system. She’s not the sort of person who ends up in a twelve-step program after being caught stealing supplies from her hospital.

But that was Lucy before the accident—before her husband and unborn baby were ripped away from her in an instant, before her future felt like a broken promise. Caught red-handed in a senseless act that kept her demons at bay, she’s faced with a choice: get some help or lose her medical license.

Now she’s reluctantly sharing her deepest fears with a bunch of strangers, avoiding her loneliness by befriending a troubled girl, pinning her hopes on her husband’s last gift, and getting involved with a rugged cop from her past. It’s only when she is adopted by a stray mutt and moves her group to the dog park that she begins to truly bond with the ragtag dog-loving addicts—and discovers that a chaotic, unplanned life might be the sweetest of all . . .

My Review:
I never thought I would get around to this book possibly because my guilty conscious was shaming me for reading a book that was not on the YBIYRI list. At first, the book presents you with Dr. Peterman who is a thorough and competent surgeon that seems to have her life in precise order. Until you realize that she is lifting random medical supplies from the work. Then sometimes she can’t control herself at the grocery store, or a gift shop and even in public! She finds a dog roaming the streets and takes her home. (Sorry, that’s veterinary me thinking, ‘Aren’t you going to report her as a lost dog? Have her scanned for a microchip? Take her to the vet and have her vaccinated and spayed?’) Imagine my fears when she started to volunteer at an animal shelter.

There are lots of funny moments throughout the book and I enjoyed the banter that took place between Lucy and the other characters. I love sarcasm and this book has it! Everyone seems to be a smartass on one level or another.

I like a good happy ending, but I have to admit the way this books ties all the ends together is a bit of a stretch for me. The universe lined up perfectly, maybe too perfectly. I know, I know! It’s fiction. The writer can do whatever the hell they want.

I would recommend this to anyone who needs a nice light read with some snickers and emotional moments. It’s not going to be a book of intense deliberating as some parts you can see coming. Spring will be back before you know it. Pick this book up for a lovely story to leaf through in the park.

Learn more about Ann Wertz Garvin on her website. 

Next on You Bought It, You Read It : An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer.

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Work Day Cheat For Nursing Staff #Mondayblogs

When the New Year rings in we are all hell bent on making our lives better. Whether it is weight loss, better spending habits or more exercise – most of us do it. Call it a resolution, call it a new beginning.

I am going to implement a work day cheat for my New Year habits to win a few minutes back in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I am the noisiest quiet person I know. Seriously, if I’m trying to be silent I become this wrecking ball of crashes. I don’t know what it is but it happens all the time. In the morning, I get up before the beau and as a result I delicately fiddle (read: cause a loud ruckus) finding everything I need to get dressed for work. I think I have come up with a plan to reduce the deafening morning clatter.

I am not an iron kind of girl. Nor do I fold particularly well. That is why I hang my scrubs in the closet. I drape my pants on the hanger first and then pull my top over those. Tada! All ready for work! Here is where things are going to get serious!

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Every Sunday night, I’m going to stuff  all of my scrubs with underwear and socks in one pocket and my bra in the other. Every night when I get home from work (and here will be the challenge for me) I’m going to take my watch off and my nametag off and stick it in with the bra. I can’t tell you how many precious a.m. moments are wasted on the ‘Where The Hell Is My Watch’ game.

There you have it! I hope this is going to slim down wasted time on weekday mornings. How do you cheat the clock on work days?

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The Christmas Card Report #Mondayblogs

Some of you may remember that last year I went on a great crusade to bring back the Christmas card! I feel like my generation has fallen off the traditional holiday greeting bandwagon. With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Ho Flash (okay I made that up), we’ve given up on the ways of seasons past. I, dammit, am going to bring back the Christmas card! Last year, I was sad to announce that after all of my planning, signing, envelope licking and stamping I received 5 cards. FIVE.

As you can imagine, there was some thoughts in my head about not doing it this year. Nope. No one appreciates me and my one stab at holiday jolliness. You can take that disregarded candy cane of a notion and stick it you know where.

I got over my pity party and trudged on topping last year’s mailing list of thirty two by sending out forty cards. I sent the majority of them early (except the ones to my neighbors which also included an apology for not doing goodie bags this year) and hoped it gave everyone enough time to get a card back to me. That’s reasonable right?

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I’m a proud to report that I received 13 cards! Thank goodness! My faith is slowly being restored in humanity!

WHAT I SENT OUT:

This may come to a surprise to some of you, but the majority of my Christmas cards have a bird in the design. I did include one card this year featuring a cat. Cat people are crazy and occasionally you have to throw them a fake mouse to keep them in check.

All over the United States, people head out of their homes strode with destroyed wrapping paper to find After Christmas Sales! I may not fall for the Black Friday hoopla, but I do go online post-Christmas to buy one thing on sale. Christmas cards! Barnes and Noble has the cutest damn cards. It may be tacky to buy this year’s cards at half off and send them out next year. Say what you want. I call it thrifty. If you don’t like it, feel free to write ‘Return To Sender Due To Sender’s Tackiness’ and send it back to me.  I urge you to open them though.  The ones I got this year on sale… AMAZING.  Birds!  Birds!  Birds!

CARDS THAT STUCK OUT THIS YEAR:

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This frickin’ cute card was from my neighbors, Roxane and Gil. This is how you get in my heart, folks. Seagulls wearing Christmas hats get me every time.

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This card is from my ‘big brother’ Ernie. This is the second year Ernie has reciprocated and it means so much to me. I know sending Christmas cards isn’t a common bachelor activity, but he hasn’t let me down yet!

Here’s to next year. Can I hit twenty?  Do you send Christmas cards?

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You Bought It, You Read It Fail #Mondayblogs

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Last week I confessed that my 2014 Goodreads Challenge had finished with a big fail! I had challenged myself to read 36 books and I only squeaked in at 13 books. I can’t stop shaming myself over it. The lesson learned here is life happens and we’ve got to go with the flow even if that means missing out on flipping some pages.

Right before 2014 came to an end, I managed to screw up yet another challenge! My #YBIYRI challenge – You Bought It, You Read It! I’ve been working hard for over a year to chip away at my collection of books. Yes, books are pretty to look at and they smell quite lovely. However, they are meant to be read. I have to stop investing and start enjoying! I held myself to the mission of reading all of the books I owned before I bought anymore.

For the most part, I’ve done pretty well.

Then… this happened.

Ten books! Boom! Just like that!

See… what happened was…

The Friends Of The Eastern Shore Public Library puts on a book sale twice a year at the library in Accomac. This non-profit group works to enhance the services provided by the library and to improve the patron experience. I’m all about supporting this cause and therefor I decided to go obviously to only make a monetary donation and NOT buy any books.

Okay, you called my bullshit. I knew damn well if I stepped in that building I would buy books.

This was my first time going to this book sale. I’ve been to sales where libraries sell retired books from their collections. I was expecting to find books that were date-stamped, dog-eared, and fingerprinted (not in the criminal way, but the Dorito sort). To my surprise these are books that were donated to sell from personal collections. The books were in great condition and were selling from anywhere between fifty cents to two dollars. AND… they had free cookies and apple cider!

What I didn’t expect was the hordes of people in attendance! Since this number of people was a shock to me, imagine the look on my face when a nice little old lady said, “This is nothing. You should come back for the 4th of July sale.”

For the first fifteen minutes, I desperately tried to get myself worked in the rotation. There seemed to be no method to the madness. There were several tables loaded with books. I kept trying to integrate myself in the line to start circling a table. I felt like Forrest Gump for every seat seemed to be taken! I would wiggle my way between two people and start to move clockwise only to find out the person to my left wanted to go counter clockwise. Eventually, I had to put my game face on and start pushing my way to the books. Dammit, I want good books! These people had no idea! I had deprived myself from book sales for over a year now! I WANT TO BUY A BOOK!

These ‘Friends’ of the library are smart. They loaded me up with delicious cookies, surrounded me with books and would come take my armful away from me so I could pick up more books. “Can I hold these books for you at the checkout?”

“Uhm-mmm” I mumbled delightfully with cookie in my mouth.

I could have totally pulled a Scrooge McDuck and swam my way around the mounds of books.

BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! And cookies!

What I’m saying is I do understand how heroin addicts feel when they relapse. You really respect yourself for the control you’ve been exhibiting all this time, but when it comes down to it your wellbeing is no comparison to that amazing feeling!

Wooo!

Books!

It was a relapse in book buying but it was certainly worth it!

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Our Longshot Case

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It’s a small little world out there, so some of you may have already seen his story floating around on the USA Today website.  There’s so much I could say about the ‘miracle dog’, but the article says it all.  I’m proud of us for the care we have given him and so proud of this dog for pulling through.  The first few days he was with us, I wanted to cry every time I looked at him (and I know I’m not the only one).  I don’t think an hour passed during the work day that someone went back and sat with this motionless body, petting the few areas that weren’t wounded and shaved.

The article can be seen here on DelmarvaNow.com.  Get your hankies, people.

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Posted in Mel's Sappy Side | 4 Comments