To Honor Those Who Have Served….

I wrote this short story a couple years ago on Veterans Day. I’ve brought it back, touched it up a bit. Thank you to everyone who willingly, selflessly took on the job that so many can’t or won’t. Regardless of your roles, you are all heroes to me.

I Bled For You

He was tired. Mentally, emotionally. The weight of guilt and grief and anger were a heavy mantle around his shoulders. Today, when his little girl came home in tears because of him, had been more than he could take. Feeling like a failure, he’d gotten into his car and drove.

Pete knew he should have probably let his wife know he was leaving. She would worry. She was a good wife. A better mother. She didn’t deserve all the hardships and sacrifices she’d been forced to face, mostly alone. He just couldn’t help himself. After looking down into his 6 year old’s tear stained face and coaxing the story out of her, he’d needed an escape. He didn’t want her to see the rage that was floating close to the surface.

Looking around, he found himself in the middle of nowhere. Up ahead, to the right, there was what looked like an old abandoned church. The tiny building with its dark wooden doors flung open seemed to beckon him from the road. As he pulled up and put his car into park he noticed the decay. Tall weeds surrounded the building everywhere except along the rubble path and the steps made of carved gray stone. The white paint curled and chipped with heat and age.

Stepping out of his vehicle he looked up at the little cross at the steeple. He walked carefully up the steps noting the cobwebs in the corners of the door jams. Although the doors were open with welcome, it was obvious to him that no one had been here in a long time.

He contemplated the dark, scarred wood that made up the cross in the front of the sanctuary. His feet led him forward, down the aisle. Stopping at the second pew, he glanced down. They were in good condition.

“What the heck,” he thought to himself as he sat down, “I’ve got nowhere to go anyway.”

Gazing up at that cross he started talking.

“I didn’t ask for this war. I believe in this country and what it stands for. I enlisted hoping to better myself. To make a difference. I wanted to provide a better life for my wife and my daughter.”

He laughed bitterly. “Little good that had done,” he thought. That same little girl that he’d wanted to give the world to, whose birth he’d missed because he’d been deployed, was the same adorable face that had looked up at him, eyes swimming in tears.

“Excuse me for interrupting, but it sounds like you’re having a crisis of faith, son,” a voice came from beside him.

Looking over, he saw a gentleman sitting beside him. He had been so lost in his thoughts that he never even heard the man join him. In coveralls, little chips of wood and sawdust in his dark brown hair and clothing, the man was fairly nondescript. Pete figured he was probably a carpenter.

He tried for a friendly smile, but only succeeded with a grimace, “It’s been a rough day.” He snorted softly as he rolled his eyes, “Who am I kidding? It’s been a rough few years.”

“Care to talk about it?” The man asked warmly. “Sometimes it helps to tell a stranger.”

Pete didn’t trust easily, especially after the welcome he’d received when he’d gotten home from overseas. This war was doing some crazy things to this country he loved so much. Something about this man called to him.

He found himself speaking, “My six year old came home from school today, crying.”

He swallowed hard, blinking back tears of his own as her precious face swam into his memory, “She was playing with the neighbor kids in their yard when she overheard a couple of the parents talking. One of the parents said that they thought it was ridiculous that we were even in this war. That our soldiers were out there murdering innocent people for a selfish cause that nobody agreed with. As other parents nodded agreement someone else added that they couldn’t believe that soldiers just went along with it. According to these people I should have voiced my disagreement and insisted on coming home.”

Pete ran his fingers through his razor short hair and looked into the sympathetic brown eyes. “They never considered the damage their hurtful words would do to those innocent six year old ears.”

He huffed out a breath, “Who am I kidding? I doubt they even cared. I came home from the war to be greeted by picketers, hate and angry words. Why should they care about how their words affect my wife and daughter?”

“Only your wife and daughter?” The man beside him asked, eyebrow raised in a very astute question.

“No,” Pete answered. “Not just them. I left today because I was so filled with hurt and rage. I didn’t even tell my wife I was leaving. She’s probably worried sick. I didn’t want them to see me that way! I feel betrayed! I serve for love of those same people who hurt my daughter. Who mocked my trip home. I’ve done it so they can enjoy their lives. Enjoy their freedoms. They don’t know. They have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard so that they can taunt me and make my daughter cry. I still hear the explosions in my head. The screams and chaos that follows never quite go away. I carry it all with me. In my heart. Scarred on my soul.”

He looked at the kindly stranger whose face was filled with such understanding, “Part of me wants to scream at them. I bled for you. I died a bit for you. Don’t you see I do this for you? How can you turn away from me so completely? How can you make my wife and child so sad for love of me?”

The man gently put his arm around Pete’s shoulder. “I know how you feel. It’s not easy to be turned away by the people you love so much. When all the things you’ve given up or missed seem unnoticed and unappreciated. Hang in there. Give them time. One day someone will realize what you’ve done and how deeply you loved them. Go home to your wife. Your daughter. Give them a hug. They love you.”

With that little bit of wisdom, the carpenter stood up and walked away.

Pete thought for a moment about what the man said and turned around to thank him for his kindness. The man was gone. As he looked back toward the cross, prepared to head back home, he looked up again. For the first time he noticed Jesus. He shook his head. He didn’t remember him being there when he first walked in.

Shrugging he walked to the car. As he pulled the car back onto the road he realized three things. First, the guy on the cross had a very familiar face. He looked an awful lot like the guy he’d been chatting with. Second, as he thought back to that man, he remembered the scars he’d seen on his new friend’s wrists. Third, those voices in his head had stopped screaming for the first time in years the moment he’d entered that church.

He bowed his head for a moment to say thanks. Someone understood his sacrifices all too well. It was time to go home.

So What’s Under Your Kilt?

I’m a sucker for Highlanders. I admit it. In fact, Julie Garwood spoiled with characters like Alec Kinkaid and Ian Maitland. The Bride was probably my first ever “trashy” romance. So when my awesome blog buddy, Jessi Gage, came out with her first book entitled Wishing For A Highlander, I was stoked! There’s not a lot sexier than a man in a kilt….

Wishing For A Highlander

Since I absolutely love Highlanders, I’ll kick this off by telling you a little bit about my favorite new Highlander, Darcy. He’s got a problem most modern day men would love to have. He’s young, handsome, in line to become the next laird of his clan…and he’s got an extremely large dirk. Unfortunately, a vengeful witch (well, okay…she’s really more of a bitch) convinced him that no woman would want him because he was too big. In this day of technology and internet, it sounds laughable, right? I mean, how often do we hear guys talking about the size of their daggers? If you’re female…and have spent any time on the internet…you hear it all too often. Unfortunately for him, windmills were about as advanced as their technology went, so he couldn’t exactly check with Google or WebMD. (Of course, then he might have been convinced that he had elephantitis or something even worse, but that’s a story for another day.) So here’s this hot warrior with a sexy Scottish brogue…and he’s a virgin. That ain’t right.

Fortunately, his answer comes to him from the future in the form of a museum worker named Melanie. As she prepares to head home, she sees this old artifact, a box with a mysterious past and mutters a wish for a sexy highlander. In my universe, the guy would magically appear in front of me. Thankfully, this book uses Jessi Gage’s imagination, because she transports Melanie back in time and lands her smack in the middle of a clan war and in need of rescue. Don’t get me wrong, this is a modern woman…she saves herself from the first skirmish, but being out of her time (and pregnant…did I forget to mention that?) has her a little out of sorts and needing a team assist. And in runs Darcy…literally.

For a few, that would be enough conflict to make the story interesting, but Jessi Gage is no average story teller. She takes it up a notch with action that keeps you on your toes and enough plot twists to make you feel like you’ve just hit the corkscrew on a roller coaster ride! The best part? The heroine is no wilting violet, but a strong, capable woman. And the hero? Whoa, baby! Hot, smart and brave…in a kilt! And a nice strong sword to sheathe in the right woman. Just the way I like ’em.

If you haven’t found your lifetime love(s) yet, this book will definitely have you wondering if maybe you’re just in the wrong century…and if you’ve got a Highlander waiting somewhere for you.

Have you read Jessi’s book yet? If not, what are you waiting for? She’s fantastic! If so, what did you think of Darcy and Melanie?

On a final note, it is incredibly hard to insert foreign accents, brogues and other languages into books and still sound utterly natural…and she does a stellar job! Jessi is an awesome writer with unlimited potential….and she’s a wonderful person, too. I strongly encourage you to check out her blog, follow her on Facebook or Twitter, or buy her book. You won’t regret it!

The Final Goodbye (A #MemorialDay Story)

Hey guys! In honor of Memorial Day, I decided to write a little story. As many of you know, I have very strong feelings about our armed services and those who serve. With the story, I included songs that I felt conveyed the sentiments of each moment. I hope you guys appreciate this small tribute to those we’ve lost who have guarded our freedom with vigilance.

He stood alone. As he gazed out at the white crosses that covered the beautifully manicured lawn he felt the weight of his 48 years drag his shoulders down in a way he never had before. It had been a long time since he’d been back to this place, and he’d hoped to never return.

“A parent should never outlive his child.” Grief scratching at his throat.

He blinked back tears that stubbornly refused to fall. Part of him clung to the image he had in his mind’s eye. Full of laughter and vitality, that precious dark head bent over to kiss his young wife’s distended belly, before he turned around to say goodbye. David promised to come home soon.

He shook his head as the pain threatened to suffocate him. Not like this. This had to be a bad dream. He just needed to wake up and everything would be okay again.

Unfortunately, the folded triangle of fabric pressed tightly to his chest told him everything was all too real. His bowed his head, fingers digging into the precious flag. Alone with his grief he dropped to his knees and cried out to the only person who could hear him.

“God, if you’re listening…this is too much. Almost more pain than I can bear! My boy was a good son, a great husband. He was going to be a great father. He loved you. Loved this country. He wanted so badly to follow in his grandpa’s footsteps. Did you really have to take him?”

The hand on his shoulder felt familiar. It had been decades since he’d experienced that touch. He looked up to find his father standing beside him. He wore the same dress blues he’d been buried in 40 years ago and he hadn’t aged a day.

“Dad…” he choked out, blinking, sure this was some sort of hallucination.

There was a wealth of understanding and regret in his father’s eyes.

“Hello, son.”

“I’m finally losing it, right? Hallucinating? A psychotic break caused by grief and stress?”

“No, son. You’re not. God heard you…. So did I. We’ve never been far away. When you called out, I asked him to let me go to you.”

Although none of this seemed real, he decided to go with it. Maybe he was dreaming. What harm could it do?

“It’s all so damned unfair, Dad!” he railed. “First you, then my son? Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of him. Proud of you… But did the price have to be so high?”

His father wrapped strong arms around him, something he’d missed most of his life. He soaked in the comfort, gaining some strength before he let go. With a bolstering breath, he straightened his spine, threw his shoulders back and raised his head.

“I’m proud of you, you know.” His father looked at him with the same piercing blue eyes as his son. “I’ve watched you grow into a strong, honorable man. I know it wasn’t easy for you to let David join the service. After the way you lost me, it would have been all too easy to encourage him to go a different direction.”

“It wouldn’t have been right. Being a soldier was all he ever wanted.” He shrugged, his smile, bittersweet. “To be a hero, just like his Grandpa.”

“It may have served you better not to paint me with such a heroic brush,” his father laughed. “I appreciate that, by the way. The way you kept me alive in your heart. The way you shared me with your family. It meant everything to me.”

The man shook his head. “I didn’t do anything all that special.”

“Yes, you did,” his father smiled. “It may seem like nothing to you, but it’s what gave your son the courage to chase his dream. He knew the danger, but he also saw your gift. When his number was called, he didn’t worry. His son and wife are in good hands with you. He knows you’ll keep his memory alive, just like you did for me.”

“You’ve seen my David?”

Tears finally flowed, unchecked.

His father nodded. “Of course. You didn’t think I’d let your son get to heaven without a welcome party, did you?”

“He’s okay? My boy. You’ll look out for him, Dad?”

“Of course,” his father nodded his head. “He’ll be loved. Surrounded by family, both military and kin.”

With one more shuddering breath, he clasped his father’s hand and squeezed.

“Tell him, Dad.” He bit his lip as his voice broke. “Tell him I’ll watch over his family down here. I know he’ll be watching out for them with you. And please, tell him I’m so proud of him.”

“I will.” His father smiled one last time before fading away.

As he stood gazing out at all the soldiers that came before, he could have sworn he heard David whisper on the gentle breeze.

“I love you, Dad.”

Squeezing the flag to his chest, he nodded.

“I love you, too, son. I’m proud of you.”

What Ever Can I Do, Officer?

What have you done to get out of a speeding ticket or traffic violation? Has it ever backfired on you? In my imagination, getting out of a traffic violation can get very hot…but that’s all it’s been for me…and my friends.

Hubby and I went to dinner with another couple last night. It’s our “usual” Friday night thing. In fact, we have a “usual” place, and fluctuate between two specific waitresses (upon request). Anyway, when our server got to our table, we chatted her up…and since she’s used to seeing us every week she’s also become accustomed to our men and their teasing.

Last night, when we asked how her week had been, she told us about a ticket she has to pay today. The ticket was close to $300, prompting the guys to ask her how fast she was going. The speed limit in the area she got busted in is 70 MPH. She said she was going around 85, but that when she’d been pulled over initially she thought maybe they were doing an “every car” kind of search, the way they do when there’s been a kidnapping or “criminal at large” search reported. Why did she think that? Because there were about 20 cars pulled over on the side of the road. She quickly found out…she hadn’t stood a chance. She’d been busted by air. Yup! A Cessna got her.

As you can imagine, this got to talk of tickets… More specifically, how people have gotten out of tickets.

Speeding Ticket

Hubby looked at our table and decided to share his “I got out of a ticket” story. He was about 21 or 22 at the time and living in the City Of Chicago. He had been on his way to my house in the suburbs. Back then he was one of my best friends. Anyway, he got pulled over by a Chicago cop….and here’s what happened.

Police Officer: Where’s the fire, son?
Hubby: I’m sorry, Officer. I’m on my way to Hinsdale Hospital. My girlfriend just called. She’s in labor.
Police Officer: (Looks him firmly in the eye) Well slow down, son. You won’t do your girlfriend or your new baby any favors if you get in an accident and die.
Hubby: You’re right, Officer. I’m sorry.
Police Officer: Good luck, son.

When he got to my apartment that night and told me…I won’t lie. I punched him in the arm. My response? “Seriously? We’re not even dating and you make me pregnant with your child?”

He laughed, “Hey, it got me out of my ticket.”

Ass.

It reminded me of a story with a good friend of mine, so I shared THAT story. It was around Christmas and we’d been in Florida for a little while. She had gotten out of work early, and we’d decided she’d come to my apartment so we could bake a bunch of cookies to give away during the holiday. On her way to my place, she saw those dreaded sirens in her rear view and pulled over. Now my friend has a lead foot, so she’s been pulled over a few times…but she was also a natural Double D, so most of the time she got out of her tickets…well, between that and tears. Quickly, she pulled off the work polo she’d been wearing, knowing she had a flattering, white tank top underneath…showing off her girls.

The officer walked up to the car:

My friend: (turning toward her window, pushing her ladies together just a bit and putting on her innocent face) What seems to be the problem, Officer?

Seeing a female officer standing at her window…completely unimpressed with her “endowments”, she knew she was screwed. When she came over to tell me, she was red faced…and I was unsympathetic. Yeah…I was rolling over, laughing my bon-bon off.

Now, me? I’ve had no luck getting out of tickets…of course I’ve only been pulled over once. I’d “run” a red light in a left turn lane.

Police Officer: (after asking for license & registration) Were you aware you ran a red light? Did you not see me behind you?
Me: No, I wasn’t aware, but yes, I did see you behind me.
Police Officer: I’m going to have to give you a traffic violation ticket. Unfortunately for you, this is considered within the “downtown” limits which raises the ticket by 5 dollars.
Me: (I’m a firm believer in owning your behavior and not making excuses) I understand. I ran a red light.
Police Officer: You must have been too far under the light already and not noticed that the color had turned. I’m sorry, I can’t give you a warning. Since running red lights has become the biggest cause of traffic related injuries and deaths in the area we’ve been told we have to crack down and that there’s zero tolerance for this violation.
Me: It is what it is. I understand. I, apparently, ran the light.
Police Officer: (after running my license) Here you go, ma’am. Again, I’m sorry. But, you know, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so maybe there’s a reason that I stopped you. (He must have been feeling pretty bad about the whole thing because he then went into this long, drawn out story about how he was from NYC and would probably been in the center of all the action around 9-11 had he not been heading down to Florida for an interview that week, causing him to miss the whole thing.)

I just wanted to get on with things. I didn’t need him to feel bad for me. Like I said…if I screw up, I’m not much for excuses. Oddly enough, I think that’s what threw him. He was expecting that…or maybe some flirting…or for me to give him a difficult time. I did none of those things. It wasn’t my style.

Of All The Naughty Places…

I seriously don’t know what it is about being sick that makes me think all sorts of raunchy, inappropriate thoughts. But it does. Maybe it’s the fact that you hear about all these people who get sick, get on antibiotics and get pregnant…(mostly because some antibiotics can negate birth control).

So what kinds of thoughts start bumping around in my mind you ask? Places. Now a place on it’s own is not a big deal, right? But the places that were coming to my mind were more of the “naughtiest places you’ve ever had sex” realm. See? Like I said…raunchy.

Everyone has a place that they’ve had sex that made them feel a bit daring…a bit racy. Sometimes it’s not so much the place as the situation. I mean, there’s a reason people have fantasies about The Mile High Club…or the Catholic School Girl…or even Hot Librarian, right? Or for us ladies…The Police Officer or Fire Fighter or Biker Dude.

Now I’ve had some strange conversations about this over the years. Someone once told me that their fantasy was to do it in a church…under the pews. Yeah…that did nothing for me. I honestly think it had more to do with her need to rebel against traditional religion….maybe her parents overdid the whole strict church parents thing with her. Who knows?

And hopefully no one is as deviant as Jake Busey’s character in Tomcats, because although the movie was funny… Someone doing this in real life would cross a line for me. But that’s me…If it works for you, more power to ya!

Compared to that, my naughty places are a bit tame. Now I may not be willing to have sex in a church sanctuary, but I have (in my younger, wilder years) done “the deed” in the church parking lot. LOL! Fortunately it was late at night and the parking lot was abandoned. No one was ever the wiser…well, until I shared this tidbit with you guys.

Being bad can also be very fun in a moving car…on a busy road or highway. I enjoy the thrill of wondering just how much people can see… (yes, I’m well aware that makes me a bit of an exhibitionist) I also get a kick out of testing the self control of my partner. Living dangerously, I know….

Have I actually done the beach thing? Yes, though not on sand… I don’t like the gritty feel in all my nooks and crannies, sue me! There are perfectly good deck chairs that can be used for that sort of thing! LOL!

But the wildest place I’ve probably ever been naughty was in a store, after hours…With big glass windows. I was toward the back of the store, facing those windows, bent over a desk. It was fun and daring…

I have a couple of works in progress right now that have scenes in unusual places, but I can always use more fodder for storylines. If you’re feeling daring…where is the wildest place you’ve ever done “the deed”? Is there a place or scene you’ve fantasized about but either haven’t had the time, opportunity or courage to make it a reality? Dirty minds want to know! Inquiring minds hope you’ll share….

I know… You’ll have to excuse me. I’m a little sick. 😉

Awkward Emergencies And Other Hilarious Moments

Truth truly IS stranger than fiction.

There is one awesome side benefit to having been so close to the medically related world most of your life. Most of you may think it’s the free medical advice while others may think it’s the info you soak up along the way. The former is definitely a good thing. The latter…eh…let’s just say that then you know enough to become a hypochondriac with strong webmd skills. For me, though, the best part are the very interesting stories that you get to hear…and the images that fire the imagination.

When I was in eigth grade I remember tittering with laughter in one of my girl friend’s rooms as we talked about the sheer humiliation of two of her classmates. These two youngsters had snuck to the girl’s house during lunch period that day to make out. Well, they both had braces. Yes. You guessed it! Their braces locked together. Fortunately they had the same orthodontist and it was a small town. The humiliating part? They had to walk to the orthodontist’s office locked at the mouth, then their parents had to be called.

When I wound up in braces myself, I had flashback moments to this story. I was very reluctant to date any guy who was also wearing braces for fear of this situation happening to me. As I got more experienced I realized…if you’re a decent kisser and know what you’re doing…this isn’t really an issue. The problem becomes when you get more sexually active. For example…an EMT friend of mine responded to an emergency call. As he and the rest of the guys walked in, they weren’t sure exactly what was going to greet them. Sitting on the couch was a pretty young woman in her early twenties…with her boyfriend attached, quite literally, to her nipple. The boyfriend in question was not trying to nurse on this young woman…but he wore braces. When he went to suck on her nipples, apparently some how, some way the skin from her breasts became caught in his braces. As he tried to pull away, she howled in agony, advising him to keep still. As they told the story to the paramedics/EMT’s, the guys tried very stoically to maintain professionalism. The young lady proceeded to tell them that she freaked out. She’d considered trying to drive them in, but realized that as he was attached to her left breast there wasn’t really a way to get him into the car and to the ER. Even if she could, she couldn’t get her arm both around his head and on the steering wheel in a way that would allow her control of the car. Oh, the images THAT one evoked.

But wait! It gets better! I used to work in the ER sometimes, but mostly upstairs in admissions. When I’d work evenings, I’d lock up the admissions office, then bring all the pertinent information I had to the ER registration people. One night, as I dropped my info off and was getting ready to head out the door, one of the guys pulled me aside to tell me what I’d missed. It was around the holidays, so a lot of the college kids were back in town. Apparently, a cute little brunette in her 20’s had come in a few minutes before I arrived. When she walked up to the registration desk, my friend invited her to sit down. She declined, preferring to stand. She moved around quite a bit & paced. Her face was flushed. He took down her name and address, got her emergency contact, then asked her our standard question.

Registration employee: What seems to be the problem today?
College girl: (blushing profusely) Do I have to say?
Registration employee: Well, I have to write down what’s wrong so that they know what they’re seeing you for.
College girl: (Mumbles)
Registration employee: I’m sorry, what did you say? I didn’t quite understand you.
College girl: Ummm…(leans in close and whispers softly) I lost my vibrator.
Registration employee: Oh. OH! Ok. And do you have insurance?
College girl: (realizing her parents will get the ER visit bill) Um, can I pay for it myself? And can I give you a different address to send the bill to?
Registration employee: Sure.

As he told me the story, all I could think of was…no wonder she declined to sit. Can you imagine what her drive into the hospital was like? Guess she was missing her boyfriend!

Then there was the day that my mom came home from work back when I was still in high school. She got off at 11 pm and also did time in the ER. Apparently when her relief person came in the lady was disgusted. She was a larger German woman with four children. Her hands were waving dramatically as she muttered under her breath. That convo?

Mom: Karen, what’s wrong?
Karen: There are some really sick people out there Jos’!
Mom: What happened?
Karen: As I was walking in there was a man laying face down on a guerney.
Mom: Oh, dear. I hope he’s okay.
Karen: He was fine! He was an idiot!
Mom: What makes you say that?
Karen: He’s here because he got a carrot. Stuck up his butt! (hand motions pointing to the derriere) The carrot broke! Now he’s here.
Mom: Oh dear!

But wait! There’s more! I got promoted from my registration job to “bed control”. This meant that when I was on shift in the evenings, I became the manager on duty. It also meant that every time a person got admitted into the hospital I got called. I also got called with updates from the emergency room when someone would go on lunch, filling me in on potential admissions or situations. So here’s a call I took one evening.

Me: Hey, Tam, what’s up?
Tammy: You’re not going to believe this one.
Me: I don’t know. We both know I’ve seen some pretty interesting things over the years.
Tammy: Um, this was interesting even for me.
Me: Soo? What is it?
Tammy: There’s a guy in the back right now because his wife shoved a real thermometer up his urethra.
Me: What? Seriously? A MERCURY thermometer?
Tammy: Yup!
Me: That’s poisonous. Does she have any idea how dangerous it is?
Lady walks up to Tammy’s desk: (embarrassed) You know, I’m his wife. I find it very rude and unprofessional of you to be discussing my husband this way.
Tammy: Hang on, Kitt. (Puts the phone down and turns to the woman) Ma’am. I’m sorry that you’re embarrassed about what is going on with your husband, but it is my job to update my supervisor on potential admissions before I go to lunch which is exactly what I’m doing. (Turns away, dismissing the woman) You still there?
Me: Yup! Did the lady walk away?
Tammy: Yeah, she finally stomped off. Hey! She shouldn’t do stuff like that if she doesn’t want people to hear about it.
Me: LOL! I think this is worse than the call I got from the Operating Room a few minutes ago. They needed a bed for a guy who had a penile fracture.
Tammy: I wonder if they put it in a cast? And if this thermometer breaks, who knows! (laughing) This guy may have a fracture, too.
Me: I was wondering the same thing!

Had enough yet? How about one last one? Tammy seemed a magnet for these strange situations, because it was she and I working in the ER together for the last one. She got called into a room to register an elderly woman. She was sweet and adorable and looked like everyone’s grandma. Tammy told me about this conversation when she got back from the room…she couldn’t keep a straight face.

Tammy: Hi there, ma’am! How are you today?
Grandma lady: Hi dear! I’m doing okay.
Tammy: Do you have your drivers license and insurance card so I can get started on your registration?
Grandma lady: Sure! (hands the info over)
Tammy: So what brings you in today?
Grandma lady: I have some greenery growing…Down there!
Tammy: What?
Grandma lady: I appear to have some sort of shrubbery growing…DOWN THERE! (pointing toward her lady parts)
Tammy: Shrubbery?
Grandma lady: Yes dear. I felt something strange down there, so I took a mirror and I looked. There is greenery growing…down there!
Tammy: Um, ok. Thank you ma’am.

She walked back to me, told me the story and asked, “What in the heck do I put the diagnosis section on something like that?”

“Foreign body in vaginal area?” I guessed.

What had actually happened? That’s what you’re wondering, right? Well, so did we, so we asked. Apparently the woman’s uterus had been prolapsing. One of her friends had just had the surgery done, but she felt she was too busy to have the surgery after the doctor had told her what was wrong. To temporarily “fix” the problem she’d shoved a potato up there. What do we know about potatoes? What is the ideal environment for them to grow in? Warm, dark, wet areas you say? Imagine that! You see, dementia had begun to set in for this poor woman…and she’d forgotten that she’d shoved that potato up there. Wow!

So what about you guys? What are some of the strangest “wound up in the hospital” stories you’ve heard? Have you been one of those strange stories? C’mon…share, share! It’s all fun and games until a potato starts growing…;-)

I Bled For You

First and foremost, I want to say Happy Veteran’s Day. If you are a Vet and have served for your country…regardless of which country it is, know that I appreciate you and the job you did. I am sure it was not easy.

My blog posts the last couple of days have been fun and sexy, so I felt I needed to give notice…this next post is in honor of Veterans Day and is a little bit different. I was compelled to write a short story this morning. Most of you are well aware that the military is near and dear to my heart. Having grown up a child of the military has opened my eyes to all sorts of experiences and opportunities to really appreciate people and different cultures.

If you were ever made to feel that your contributions to our freedoms were not appreciated or respected, please know I appreciate you and the freedoms that you’ve enabled me to enjoy. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. We’ve had so many wars lately that many have not always agreed with. You were doing your duty and your obligation…regardless of whether you agreed with the reasons or the politics. You didn’t deserve to get caught in the crossfire. I’m sorry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He was tired. Mentally, emotionally. The weight of guilt and grief and anger were a heavy mantle around his shoulders. Today when his little girl came home in tears because of him had been more than he could take. Feeling like a failure, he’d gotten into his car and drove.

Pete knew he should have probably let his wife know he was leaving. She would worry. She was a good wife and didn’t deserve all the hardships and sacrifices she’d been forced to face, mostly alone. He just couldn’t help himself. After looking into his 6 year old girl’s tear stained face and coaxing the story out of her he’d needed an escape. He didn’t want her to see the rage that was floating close to the surface.

Looking around, he found himself in the middle of nowhere. Up ahead, to the right, there looked to be an old abandoned church. The tiny building with it’s dark wooden doors flung open seemed to beckon him from the road. As he pulled up and put his car into park he noticed the decay. Tall weeds surrounded the building everywhere except along the rubble path and the steps made of carved gray stone. The white paint curled and chipped with heat and age.

Stepping out of his vehicle he looked up at the little cross at the steeple. He walked carefully up the steps noting the cobwebs in the corners of the door jams. Although the doors were open with welcome, it was obvious to him that no one had been here in a long time.

He contemplated the dark, scarred wood that made up the cross in the front of the sanctuary. His feet led him forward, down the aisle. Stopping at the second pew, he glanced down. They were in good condition.

“What the heck,” he thought to himself as he sat down, “I’ve got nowhere to go anyway.”

Gazing up at that cross he started talking.

“I didn’t ask for this war. I believe in this country and what it stands for. I enlisted hoping to better myself. I wanted to provide a better life for my wife and my daughter.”

He laughed bitterly. “Little good that had done,” he thought. That same little girl that he’d wanted to give the world to, whose birth he’d missed because he’d been deployed, was the same adorable face that had looked up at him, eyes swimming in tears.

“You look like you’re in a crisis of faith, son,” a voice came from beside him.

Looking over, he saw a gentleman sitting beside him. He must have been so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t even hear the man join him. In coveralls, little chips of wood and sawdust in his dark brown hair and clothing, the man was fairly nondescript. Pete figured he was probably a carpenter.

He tried for a friendly smile, but only succeeded with a grimace, “It’s been a rough day.” He snorted softly as he rolled his eyes, “Who am I kidding? It’s been a rough few years.”

“Care to talk about it?” The man asked warmly. “Sometimes it helps to tell a stranger.”

Pete didn’t trust easily, especially after the welcome he’d received when he’d gotten home from overseas. This war was doing some crazy things to this country he loved so much. Something about this man called to him.

He found himself speaking, “My six year old came home from school today, crying.”

He swallowed hard, blinking back tears of his own as her precious face swam into his memory, “She was playing with the neighbor kids in their yard when she overheard a couple of the parents talking. One of the parents said that they thought it was ridiculous that we were even in this war. That our soldiers were out there murdering innocent people for a selfish cause that nobody agreed with. As other parents nodded agreement someone else added that they couldn’t believe that soldiers just went along with it. According to these people I should have voiced my disagreement and insisted on coming home.”

Pete ran his fingers through his razor short hair and looked into the sympathetic brown eyes. “They never considered the damage their hurtful words would do to those innocent six year old ears.”

He huffed out a breath, “Who am I kidding? I doubt they even cared. I came home from the war to be greeted by picketers, hate and angry words. Why should they care about how their words affect my wife and daughter?”

“Only your wife and daughter?” The man beside him asked, eyebrow raised in a very astute question.

“No,” Pete answered. “Not just them. I left today because I was so filled with hurt and rage. I didn’t even tell my wife I was leaving. She’s probably worried sick. I didn’t want them to see me that way! I feel betrayed! I serve for love of those same people who hurt my daughter. Who mocked my trip home. I’ve done it so they can enjoy their lives. Enjoy their freedoms. They don’t know. They have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard so that they can taunt me and make my daughter cry. I still hear the explosions in my head. The screams and chaos that follows never quite go away. I carry it all with me. In my heart. Scarred on my soul.”

He looked at the kindly stranger whose face was filled with such understanding, “Part of me wants to scream at them. I bled for you. I died a bit for you. Don’t you see I do this for you? How can you turn away from me so completely? How can you make my wife and child so sad for love of me?”

The man gently put his arm around Pete’s shoulder. “I know how you feel. It’s not easy to be turned away by the people you love so much. When all the things you’ve given up or missed seem unnoticed and unappreciated. Hang in there. Give them time. One day someone will realize what you’ve done and how deeply you loved them. Go home to your wife. Your daughter. Give them a hug. They love you.”

With that little bit of wisdom, the carpenter stood up and walked away.

Pete thought for a moment about what the man said and turned around to thank him for his kindness. The man was gone. As he looked back toward the cross, prepared to head back home, he looked up again. For the first time he noticed Jesus. He shook his head. He didn’t remember him being there when he first walked in.

Shrugging he walked to the car. As he pulled the car back onto the road he realized three things. First, the guy on the cross had a very familiar face. He looked an awful lot like the guy he’d been chatting with. Second, as he thought back to that man, he remembered the scars he’d seen on his new friend’s wrists. Third, those voices in his head had stopped screaming for the first time in years the moment he’d entered that church.

He bowed his head for a moment to say thanks. Someone understood his sacrifices all too well. It was time to go home.

~~~~~~~~

The life of a soldier isn’t easy…not on them, not on their family. Here’s a song for those still in service and overseas.

And for this country that I love…

Freaky Froggy Findings

It’s okay… You can admit it. When you read that I was terrified of frogs a while back you laughed. That’s okay. I get that reaction a lot! But before you judge me, there are a few things you should know (of course there’s a story behind it. Isn’t there always?)

Between the ages of 6-10 I lived in the Philippines. It’s a beautiful place. It is a culture full of great food, warm welcomes and family and they’re blessed with great scenery. I absolutely LOVED being there. What does this have to do with my fear of frogs? Here’s the thing. I lived in a subdivision with a lot of multicultural kids..mostly because our dads were in the military. As kids we’d get into mischief. I’d climb trees and bring down coccoon husks and open them, curious about what was inside. We found a pregnant dead bird once and dissected her, trying to save the egg. So it was natural that when she told me that in her mom’s culture (her mom was Thai) that crickets were delicacies that we’d go out and try to catch them. We wanted to surprise her with a “treat”! What a lucky mom, right? Of course now I know that there are all different kinds of crickets, but hey…it was the thought that counted.

Somehow our cricket crusade morphed into a frog catching expidition. (It may have had something to do with hearing that people also ate frog legs and they tasted like chicken, but I’m not sure) We were armed with glass jars and since it had just rained, there were plenty of frogs out. We stayed out catching frogs until our parents called us in for the night. My family was vegetarian, so we sent all the catches with my little friend. The next morning I woke up crying and in pain. My precious hands had water blisters all over them. Turns out, I’m allergic to frogs.

Fast forward to about 8 years ago. I was leaving my house. As I turned to lock the door, from along the door jam a white frog landed on the corner of my face. It happened very quickly, but not fast enough that I didn’t recognize what tapped the side of my face (near my eye). I screamed bloody murder! My heart was pounding a mile a minute. My next door neighbor, bless his heart, came flying out of his house. Apparently he thought I was getting raped or murdered. How humiliating it was to tell him it was simply that a frog attacked. Fortunately the contact was so minute I didn’t have an attack. Curious as to what the frog looked like? I found a likeness…

That’s okay…I’ve also learned that when you’re in a long termed relationship, your phobias become contageous. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I do know that my sister was in town visiting us one fall. She and I had went to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for her to make potato soup from scratch for my guy who wasn’t feeling well. We got back and he was standing out on the driveway with no shoes on, his boxers and a tshirt. He was a bit upset. Apparently a frog had tried to eat his ass! Laugh! I know I did.

He’d gone into our master bath to use the toilet, and just as he went to sit down, something caught his eye. He jumped back up just in time to see a toad the size of a grapefuit staring up at him. He insists that there was malicious intent in that toad’s eyes…but regardless, it freaked him out. He slammed the toilet lid down, yanked his pants back up, found the biggest, heaviest book he could find to put on the lid so that the big toad couldn’t escape…and planted himself on the driveway for one of us to rescue him.

As you already ascertained from my deep fear of frogs, I was the wrong person to be looking at for a rescue. In fact, I believe the words “you’re insane” may have come out of my mouth at some point as he looked at me to find a solution. Finally, after my sister was able to stop laughing hysterically, she grabbed a big plastic cup that we didn’t mind losing along with a magazine. She scooped the toad into the cup, covered it with the magazine and released Mr Toad back into the wild. Thank God for the practicality of nurses.

But is my fear of frogs really so irrational? After the news down here in Florida this week, I’m thinking it’s just good sense! If you have dogs, this story is a must read! It may save your dog’s life! Yes, there have been doggie deaths in Florida recently and it’s all been attributed to my nemesis.

Considering I have my two adorable furbabies, I think it may have turned out to be a blessing that I have this fear. I’d be devastated if anything happened to these two cuties….

These are my two girls. They’re Shiba Inu’s…The little one to the left is named Ryka (after the Mord Sith from Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series. The one on the right is Isabella. She was my Christmas gift several years ago. I’d be devastated if I lost them, so they are not allowed to play with frogs. Lucky for me, they prefer to chase rabbits. 🙂

If you’re a dog lover and a book lover, you should check out this review by Sheri DeGrom. This one may be right up your alley!

If you’re wondering what your dog is thinking, maybe you should check out his/her diary as written by Raelynn Barclay.

Or if you just want to talk about your adorable dog and commisserate about their bad habits, then Jen is your gal!

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent about my frighteningly froggy freak outs…and for adoring my cute doggies.

Happy Friday!

A Blogger’s Choose Your Own Adventure?

So a few weeks ago I’d brought up the thought of playing a story game much like one I’d done in high school.  Several of you expressed an interest in playing.  Through the comments it became clear that we’d need to come up with a way to do this successfully and to make it as people friendly as possible.  We didn’t want the chance that two writers may be simultaneously coming up with the next part of the story and one person might not get included or both would get posted and simply confuse the storyline.

So I’ve been chewing on this thought trying to figure out how we could do this story game without such craziness.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.  I’d kick it off by writing the first paragraph or two.  Next, what we could do is this…make it kind of like choose your own adventure.  Each participant could post the first sentence or two on my page then link back to their own blog to write their part of the story.  This way, readers would have a choice as to which path they want to go with the story!  From there, the same rules would apply.  Anyone from your blog group that would like to participate would just put in their first sentence or two and link back to their blog with their part of the story and so on and so forth.

Gosh, I hope that’s clear.  As I’m thinking it it makes sense…but I don’t know if it’s making sense to you, the readers/potential participants.  The cool part of being able to do it this way is that it can go in any direction you want to take it.  You want romance…it can go there.  You want racy…it can go there.  You want suspense…there’s room for that, too!  And our readers can join in the fun…and maybe find new and interesting blogs along the way!

So what do you guys think?  Could this work?  Does it make sense?  Do we need more rules?

Beauty In Ballads

Ok, so I have two big ways of expressing myself. Music and poetry. Most of you who stop here regularly have already figured that out. Thanks for stopping and commenting, by the way…your welcome has been amazingly warm and I’m beginning to feel right at home.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve decided to look into ballads a little bit. First, I’m a sucker for a slow song, but more importantly, I love songs that tell stories. In fact, I remember being in 4th or 5th grade when our music teacher told us about ballads. Oddly enough, we were also learning about ballads in English class. She told us that ballads were songs that told a story. Today I decided to look up the definition. This is what I found.

Ballad:

1.
narrative song: a song or poem, especially a traditional one or one in a traditional style, telling a story in a number of short regular stanzas, often with a refrain

“The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde”
2.
slow romantic song: a slow romantic popular song

“two up-tempo numbers followed by a ballad”
Definition #2 is what most of us know ballads to be these days, right? A slow song that allows you the opportunity to get all close and cozy with the one you’re with…also one of the only songs almost any man is comfortable dancing to because he doesn’t have to do more than hang on and sway. (No, not all men…there are a few out there who can really dazzle a woman or man with his footwork..but generally speaking I’ve found this to be the case.)
Now the first ballad poem I remember reading was Casey At The Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. I really liked it! Between poems like this and my ties to music, me writing poetry was practically a given.
The first musical ballad I remember learning to sing was…and don’t laugh…Don’t Fence Me In. My music teacher at the time was in her 70’s, so I’m guessing she learned it being sung by guys like Gene Autrey or Roy Rodgers. Me, I prefer Ella…Love her voice!
Anyone have any idea what a cayuse is? I don’t…but I still like the song. Go figure.
There’s something about the story you can picture in your mind when you hear a ballad the way it was defined to me as a child. Take The Gambler by Kenny Rogers…people love it because they can see the story unfold! Oddly enough, that’s not my favorite Kenny ballad, though he’s done many, including songs like Lucille, Reuben James & Long Arm Of The Law. I’m a sucker for heroes, which may explain why this one is my favorite…which is saying something because Kenny has done a ton of amazing ballads. (BTW, this one has the Supernatural hotties in it)
If I consider Kenny to be the reigning king of ballads, and I do, Reba would have to be the queen. With songs like Bobby, Is There Life Out There and The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia, how could I not? She’s not only a vocal powerhouse, but she made those songs huge hits! Of course, Fancy is my all time favorite one. The story blew me away and left me in tears…proud for the woman she became, sad for the things she had to go through to get there.
There’s something about a ballad that draws me in and touches my soul. Not only do they tell a story, but usually, if you listen hard enough, there’s a message. Now I know there are more ballads than just in country music, but these are the ones that stand out to me. I love music, and especially discovering new ones, so if you have some ballads that you’d like to share or any of these songs touched you in any way, please share! I’d love to hear them and from you. I’ll leave you with a few more that are guaranteed to touch the heart strings….Such amazing poetry and artistry. Is it any wonder I’m fascinated with ballads?
Tragic and destructive…filled with regret.
The video says it all!
This is committment!
And this is how I feel about my guy…:-)