Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ouch! Hey - that hurt (a little bit)!


I recently had the, er, pleasure of having my blog reviewed by the "good folks" over at italk2much.com and I've got to say that it's an experience much akin to intentionally slamming one's hand in a door. In other words, it's painful yet it teaches you a lesson at the same time! The lessons being a) don't intentionally slam your hand in a door for it will hurt and b) don't ask very opinionated strangers to review your blog unless you can take the honest truth as it might hurt also!

The review was done in the style of American Idol and 'Simon' was typical Simon, 'Paula' appeared to be drunk as per usual as she was actually rather nice in some of her comments, and 'Randy' - well dawg, - my blog just didn't do it for him, he just wasn't feelin' it. In other words, I'm not getting a golden ticket to go to Hollywood and make an even bigger fool of myself!

What did they have to say you might ask? Well, what better way than to present that for your reading enjoyment right here in this post ...

"Simon: How old do you think we are that you find it necessary to inundate us with this massive font? It doesn’t matter how big the letters are, the white on blue positively glares at us. It’s awful, do I have to read this?

Paula: We have to be fair Simon, besides, isn’t the template cute? [Simon: No. It’s a bit too patriotic for me. And how much crap can you possibly jam into one sidebar?] Well, that is a lot of stuff in there. But she writes well and her posts are easy to follow. I think she’s sweet.

Randy: Dude, that blue is seriously messing with my eyes. If you have to be patriotic, invert the colors so we can read it without getting a headache. And starting every single post with a quote from somebody? That’s just lame, man. Be original. I’m not feelin’ this blog, at all.

Simon again: One more thing, that one post talks about wishing someone would invent fonts that indicate sarcasm, sincerity, sadness, and what have you. I’m sorry but that’s just stupid. If people can’t tell whether you’re being sad, funny or sincere, then you shouldn’t be blogging. It’s as simple as that."

I was given "one smack" -
which is one step up from sucking!

Alrighty then ... as I said, they had some valid points as the font that I had been using was rather large but in my defense, I had changed it per the request of several people who said that they had some trouble reading it. I have since attempted to correct that (you might have noticed) and have toned the color down, too, with the help of my good friend MizCyn who is much more of an HTML genius then I could ever claim to be!

As for the background colors of my blog I can only say "TOUGH!" as I think that the guy who designed my blog lay-out did a very good job and sure, it might be a bit overly patriotic but I work for American Ambulance for crying out loud! I haven't had any complaints from anyone else about the colors so I'm just going to chalk that one up to some people just preferring darker colors - which is certainly their right.

I beat them to the punch on the whole "quotation" thing as evidenced by yesterday's post; I've tried to trim down some stuff on my sidebar; and because there were some statements made in their "comments" section that a few people mistakenly thought I had twins because of the graphics, I threw a disclaimer at the top of my sidebar (which, of course, caused me to add more to the sidebar - oh gasp!). When se7en originally designed my blogskin he had put only the one girl in the picture which I felt wasn't right as even though Jamie doesn't live with me most of the time, I wanted her represented along with Amanda and so he did a mirror image. I apologize if it's misleading but it's a representation, folks!

I hope that the changes that I have made to my page now make it easier on the eyes and if anyone has any other constructive criticisms that they might like to offer, I would certainly welcome hearing them - but just remember, I said "constructive"!

Monday, January 29, 2007

“The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages, may be preserved through quotations” ~ Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister, 1804-1881

For some unknown reason, back in late August I started using a quotation as the title for each of my posts. I don't believe that I intentionally planned on using a quotation as the lead-in for the next 150 posts that followed but it appears that I have done just that. 151 posts with 151 different quotations (not counting the random one or two before that) ... holy smokes, Bullwinkle!

Sometimes it has taken me longer to find the right quote than it has taken me to write the entire post while sometimes my entire post has been written based on a quote that I came across and particularly liked. I've gotten quotes from books, from songs, from web pages, from movies, and even from fortune cookies. The sheer number of quotations out there is truly astounding and chances are good that if I look I can find one on just about any subject that I might want to write on.

That said - I have decided to break away from my "quotation addiction" and even though I might use one as a title from time to time and will definitely use them within the body of a post probably fairly frequently, I am not going to make my Post Titles exclusively quotations as I have been doing.

It's not going to be easy as "old habits are hard to break" but "first we make our habits and then they make us" so I need to "leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought "I release the need for this in my life" and then "cultivate only the habits that I am willing should master me." Whew!

In conclusion, as Linkin Park once sang:

"I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright
So I’m
Breaking the habit

End of quote!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"We think we understand each other, but we never really do." ~ Luigi Pirandello, Italian playwright, novelist, and short story writer

I wish that someone would invent fonts that could indicate things such as sincerity, humor, sarcasm, sadness, etc. so that we could better understand each other when typing something. Lately I feel like I have been misunderstood on so many levels of the typed word that I am ready to just put my keyboard away never to type again.

As a prime example, I recently received an email from a friend with one of those "funny" videos attached entitled "Never send a woman for an oil change". The video showed someone (there was no way to tell if it was a woman or not) pulling a vehicle into what looked to be a JiffyLube bay or one of those quick oil change type places. There was a male employee directing the person in who drove right into the big hole in the bay floor that the vehicle normally parks over. I'm sure that it's quite funny to everyone except the person who owns the car.

I sent a reply to my friend stating that I wished to object to the video on several levels (I used to work at Sears Automotive and did very nice oil changes, thank you!) and I thought (thought, mind you) that I was writing it in such a manner that he would know that I was joking. Well, apparently not as the response I got back from him was "It Is A Joke". No kidding? Really? Oh gee, I must have missed that part, thank you very much for pointing that out. And of course then I have to email him back and say "I knew that. I was joking, too". But obviously he didn't get that the first time as I neglected to advise him of that fact prior to sending the email.

Now if there was a font out there that indicated joking or if there was a universal font color for humor then there would have been no misunderstanding between myself and my friend at all. And I don't think that smiley face emoticons are the answer. Just as "SOS" is universal for send help or the color red means "Danger!" there needs to be some form of universal typing to indicate whether someone is being funny or dead serious or is dripping with sarcasm. For example, if I'm feeling melancholy or sad I should type in blue or when I'm feeling angry I could type in red; perhaps purple could be whimsical and yellow could indicate hopeful. Right now I'm beginning to think that green might work well for frustration, an emotion I'm becoming well-versed in!

This isn't my first encounter with a form of misunderstanding this week and I'm pretty sure it won't be my last anytime soon as, try as I might, I can't type voice inflection; you can't see that I'm laughing or smiling or maybe even crying when I'm typing something; and if you don't know me pretty well there is probably no way you can tell when I'm being sarcastic or serious. I work in communications; I don't like being misunderstood on the job or at home and I sure the heck don't like being misunderstood on the Internet either but it seems to be happening a lot lately.

Suggestions anyone? And I ask that in all sincerity!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!" ~ Mexican bandits from Blazing Saddles, 1974


Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt
This Week's Theme: Silver

This week's theme was tough as I wracked my brain to try to think of what I might have in my collection of pictures that could possibly be silver. I have never had piles of money lying around the house in the form of nickels, dimes, and quarters to photograph; I've never made it to my 25th wedding anniversary so no photo ops there; and though I have some jewelry none of it is anything I've ever wanted to take a picture of.

Then the light bulb went on and it dawned on me that the badge that I used to wear when I worked at the Norwich Police Department as a 911 Dispatcher was silver and I was pretty sure that I had taken a picture of it some years back. My memory has apparently not quite gone out on me completely as I was right and was able to dig this up from my archives. It's not the best picture in the world when it comes to quality but, by golly, it's silver and that fits the theme of the week! Plus it brings back some memories both good and bad of the time when I made my living telling cops where to go!

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. Skittles
2. Claire Rachael Pitt
3. empress bee (of the high sea)
4. Mike
5. incog
6. Crazy Working Mom
7. Daisy
8. eija
9. viamarie
10. Hootin\' Anni
11. Sanni
12. Dragonheart
13. Danella
14. Beckie
15. Caylynn
16. deb
17. SargeCharlie
18. gewels
19. Barbara H.
20. Christina
21. srp
22. Biker Betty
23. Sunflower
24. PEA
25. Teena in Toronto
26. Friday\'s Child

Get the code and join the Blogroll here!

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Friday, January 26, 2007

"Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war." ~ Hemingway

While over at Sarge Charlie's page, I read a post where he stated that his friend and fellow blogger Sgt. Dub was up on a soapbox today. Sgt Dub is serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan right now as a member of the Oklahoma National Guard. When he isn't serving his country overseas he's a police officer back home so he has not one, but two, very noble professions.

I went over to his page to see what sort of soapbox the Sarge had climbed up on and I've got to say that it was enough to make me stand up from my computer desk and applaud. I urge you to link over to his page and read the whole post but if you can't do that then at least read the following excerpt:

"If you truly support the troops, then tell your Congress representatives to give us what we need to win! Failure is not a viable option and makes the lives we've lost so far meaningless. Those lives from 9/11, from Afghanistan, from Iraq have meaning, that meaning is Freedom."
Well said, Sgt Dub, well said.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"People realize that when 'Weird Al' wants to go parody, it's not meant to make them look bad... it's meant to be a tribute." ~ Al Yankovic


My youngest daughter, Jamie, is probably one of the world's biggest Weird Al Yankovic fans as his music is something that her father will actually let her listen to (he won't allow her to listen to her beloved AC/DC as it goes against his Christian beliefs) so I thought it would be nice to post a little something here for her.

American Idol becoming the talk of the TV airwaves again these past two weeks it also seemed like a fairly good time to post this in honor of last year's AI winner - Taylor Hicks. I, personally, really liked the guy and was quite happy to see him win over the annoying Katharine McPhee (unlike many others I was never struck with "McPheever").

If Weird Al has parodied you then I think it means that you've really made it in the music business so Taylor should be quite proud of this little video brought to us by the good folks over at JibJab who also do some hilarious political videos. I can't wait to see what they put out for this next round of elections; if it's at all like the stuff they made when Bush - Kerry ran its sure to take some of the sting out of this current round of political overkill!

In the meantime, enjoy and have a laugh or two - I believe we could all use on every once in awhile!

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." ~ Clarence Darrow

We are barely into 2007 with another 21 months or so until the 2008 Presidential election and already I have about near had enough of the political goings-on. I was rather hoping that after the 2006 November election things might settle down for a little while and we could all maybe get a hiatus with some peace and quiet but that's apparently not going to be the case.

Nope - the Democrats have apparently decided that there's no time like the present to start vying for their party's nomination for the Nation's Top Seat as already former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, and New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (erg, just typing that name pains me to no end!) have declared their intent to seek their party's nomination. Illinois Senator Barack Obama hasn't formally declared his intentions but all signs lean towards him making an official declaration soon.

The Republic
ans are being a little less enthusiastic about throwing their hats into the ring though there are rumblings and mumblings about former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain being two of the front-runners in what is sure to be a hotly contested race for the White House. It should be interesting to see who else decides to take a stab at it - I'm sure we'll know before too long.

As my good friend MizCyn would tell you (on the rare occasion she actually finds the time to read my blog), I don't like politics. Never have and never will. She, on the other hand, loves discussing the candidates and the issues and spends an inordinate amount of time watching MSNBC; which makes her a lot more knowledgable
about what's going on than I am. For the most part, I prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the shenanigans in Washington if at all possible but that hasn't been very easy to do lately as every time you turn on the TV either Hillary or Obama or some other wanna-be is explaining to us just what's wrong with this country and how they can fix it. Right ...

I might as well come right out and say it now as I'm sure I'll be posting it again in the months to come but, just to make it official, let me say this - I don't like Hillary Rodham Clinton and I am quite disappointed in this country of ours that they think that she, of all people, would be the best choice that we have to be the first viable female ca
ndidate for the Presidency. Come on, people, can't we do better than a woman who didn't even run for the Senate as a candidate for her own State of Arkansas but ran in New York (where, for some unknown reason, she managed to win)?? Was there something wrong with Arkansas or did New York just sound better before the title of "Senator"??

My dislike for Senator Clinton has nothing to do with her philandering husband. A lot of women keep their husbands after they've been caught cheating on them so she's not alone in that area. Heck, were my husband the President of the United States and I found out that he had been "smoking cigars" with one of his interns, I might have been able to turn the other cheek also and keep him around. After all, who wants to give up the White House for crying out loud? Certainly Jackie Kennedy knew that John had his vices and she kept him around, too. But you can't really compare Hillary and Jackie - that would be doing Jackie a great disservice.

I can't exactly say WHY it is that I don't like Senator Clinton, it's just one of those things that can't be logically spelled out - I just don't. I don't trust her, I don't believe her, and I sure the heck don't want to see her in charge of the country. And I don't believe I'm alone in that sentiment if what I have been hearing a lot of other people say is any indication. Honestly, I think if she were somehow elected to the Presidency, we would have a country even more divided than we do now and that's not something that we need.

Oh well, I get the feeling that we're going to be hearing an awful lot more from Mrs. Clinton in the future whether I want to or not (and trust me, the answer there is NOT!). As for some of the other candidates, Senator Dodd (Dud) needs to just save his time and money as he has a snowball's chance in a very warm place of even being given any sort of serious consideration and I actually applaud John Kerry for being able to see the writing on the wall and not making another attempt of his own this go-round ... though one must admit that a Kerry-Gore ticket could have been, how shall we say, interesting??

Regardless of who runs - no matter who gets the nod from their respective parties - the most important thing is that the Senate learns to work with each other for the greater good of the country. They need to put party lines aside and work together to solve the problems with have in America for as Abraham Lincoln, my favorite President, once said "a house divided against itself cannot stand". It's as true now as it was back in 1858.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

“I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.” ~ Isaac Asimov, 1920 - 1992

When I was a teenager, back in the dark ages before computers were common in almost every household, my Dad used to yell at me about spending too much time on the phone. Of course, my Dad's idea of too much time on the phone was defined as anything longer than three minutes. In my Dad's household, that was more than enough time to say what you needed to in between 'hello' and 'good-bye'.

These days, my problem isn't so much getting Amanda off the phone as it is getting Amanda off of the computer so that I can use it for the things that I need to do like pay the bills, read the local paper, and tap out some sort of drivel for your reading enjoyment! Until recently, having only one computer in the house was enough but upon sitting back to reassess the situation I grudgingly came to the conclusion that it's about time we became a two-computer household.

To that end, I have been researching computers for the past several days in anticipation of my tax return hitting the bank this Friday (at least that's what Turbo Tax led me to believe). I've looked at PCs, I've looked at laptops, I've looked at new computers, I've looked at refurbished computers. I've checked out Dell and Gateway, WalMart and Staples, TigerDirect.com and even eBay. All of that looking has brought me to the conclusion that I do not like computer shopping! All of the technological terms make my head spin and I still have no idea what I want to get.

My original thought was that I would see about upgrading my current ancient Compaq (circa 2002) but after talking to one of the more knowledgeable computer geeks at work (sorry Dan!), that doesn't seem like a very good idea. The beast is over five years old, one of the CD drives doesn't work, the sound system is danged near shot, and Compaq doesn't make it easy to upgrade their machines. For what it would cost me to bring it up to where it needs to be, I might as well just spring for a new system and start over with a clean slate.

So - it looks like I'm going to have to buy a whole new PC and along with that I'm leaning towards getting myself a laptop as I'm tired of having to tell Amanda "I need the computer in about an hour" and still can't get her off the thing as suddenly she's got a school project due or she's right in the middle of creating her latest AMV. Having only one computer makes having only one bathroom seem like a real walk in the park around here!

This isn't something that I want to jump into lightly either. Computers are a big purchase as far as I'm concerned. It's kind of like buying a new car because as soon as you get it home it's depreciated tremendously in value due to the fact that someone just came up with six more "new and improved" versions in the time it took you to unpack the new system and set it up at your desk. Before you can say
"Intel Core Duo Processor" someone has invented a faster processor that makes the one you just got look slower than molasses going uphill backwards on a January day in Bismarck, North Dakota!

But I've got to do something soon as the squirrels in my Compaq are starting to wear out and pretty soon it's going to take ten minutes to log on rather than the five it's taking now. Still, I don't want to spend more than I need to as there are other needs that my tax return has to address before it's only a faded memory.

So let me appeal to all you computer savvy types out there ... Advice? ... Suggestions? ... Someone? ... Anyone?

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Listen carefully and I'm going to tell you exactly what to do next." ~ NAED Emergency Medical Dispatch Protocol

I thought maybe it was about time that I wrote about something that frustrates me on a fairly regular basis as a 911 dispatcher. It isn't anything new - it's something that I've been frustrated about ever since I first picked up a headset and answered a 911 call but despite the fact that I have heard the same thing over and over and over again for so many years, it still amazes me what the mindset of most people seems to be.

911 is not an instant fix no matter what people might think; no matter what the movies or television has portrayed it generally doesn't work like that. No one has yet to invent the technology that will "beam over" a police officer or paramedic or firefighter to the scene of an emergency - I wish someone would but until then it takes a bit of time for emergency personnel to get from Point A to Point B and, believe it or not - yelling in my ear to just "get the blankedy-blank-blank ambulance here!" (or cops) is not going to make them get there any faster.

I understand the frustration that people have during times of emergency, I understand the desire to get a trained professional to the patient as soon as possible, and I understand that five minutes can seem more like five hours when you're waiting for that help to arrive. I am not discounting the panic, the anxiety, or the fear. I get it, I really do.

But - here's the thing - I can offer help to that panicked caller who can then offer help to the patient and that might just make the difference as to the outcome of the call. The State of Connecticut requires all emergency dispatch centers like the one I work in to have training in Emergency Medical Dispatching. That doesn't mean that I just answer the phone, get the address, and then send an ambulance tearing out of the bay with lights flashing and sirens wailing. What it means is that I ask a specific series of questions designed to send the patient the best level of care possible - questions that seem to frustrate a lot of callers as some of them will interrupt me with "do you have to ask all these stupid questions, can't you just send the ambulance?!?"

What some people don't seem to understand is that generally my partner has already started the ambulance while I continue to ask the caller questions (if I've got no partner then I will put the caller on hold just long enough to get the ambulance going and then come back to continue the call). Even though I tell the caller that my partner has already started the ambulance most of the time that part seems to go unheard. Because of that the person on the other end of the phone feels like the ambulance hasn't even been started yet but help is already on the way. And more importantly, help may very well be the person that I'm talking to on the phone.

Part of the Emergency Medical Dispatch system is the ability for myself and other trained 911 operators to give life-saving instruction over the phone - instructions that could make the difference between life and death for some patients - instructions that give the caller the ability to render aid before the ambulance crew arrives. I can give step-by-step instructions on how to perform CPR, I can tell someone how to perform rescue breathing, I can tell a person what to do if someone is experiencing a seizure, I can even give instruction on how to control a nosebleed until help arrives.

The bottom line is I can help the caller to help the patient but the caller has got to let me do that. He or she has got to take a deep breath, calm down, and listen to the instructions that I'm giving. Together we can help the patient until the trained emergency medical services arrive and rather than feel frustrated and stressed and panicked, the caller can have a feeling of accomplishment knowing that they helped the patient.

There is nothing in my job that makes me prouder than when I know that I've helped someone help someone else - when I've had the opportunity to use the resources at my disposal to help save a life or at least give someone the chance to make a difference. Sadly, even with these great resources at our disposal, it isn't always possible to save someone but it's a far cry better than just taking down the address, saying I'll send someone, and hanging up on the poor person on the other end of the phone so that they can pace the floor and wring their hands helplessly while waiting for help to arrive.

All I ask in return is for the caller to understand that I'm not just asking a bunch of stupid questions, that I'm not delaying the help that is needed, and that the blankedy-blank-blank ambulance has already been sent.

As I said before, I know that minutes can seem like hours but together we can make those minutes count.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

“Never be the first to arrive at a party or the last to go home and never, ever be both” ~ David Brown, Reader's Digest, April 2004

Last night I went to The American Group holiday party (well, I guess technically it's a post-holiday party but if you consider any party to be a holiday then it's definitely a holiday party!) held at the newly remodeled Holiday Inn here in Norwich. This party is thrown annually and is a way for the company to say thank you to all of its employees - not only those of us at American Ambulance but also the other divisions of the company - The Marina at American Wharf, American Professional Educational Services, Macara Vehicle Services, Connecticut Ambulance Billing Services, and the Harbor Bistro. Needless to say, it makes for quite the gathering and is an event that everyone seems to look forward to every year.

As it's a semi-formal event there is a lot of discussion in the months leading up to the party regarding what we're going to wear - at least for us women. I don't think the men give it much thought; throw on a suit and tie and they're good to go. They have no idea how lucky they have it! No agonizing over hair or make-up or clothing and I bet there's not a single guy that worries about the chances of wearing the same tie as the guy sitting two tables over from him! Come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen a man have to take his shoes off halfway through the night because they're killing his feet! Sigh, the torture we women put ourselves through is ridiculous but I think we kind of enjoy it in some sick and twisted way!

Every year there is a lot of anticipation prior to the holiday party; the
anticipation of seeing what your co-workers are going to look like wearing something other than a uniform, the anticipation of wondering who is going to wear the most revealing outfit, the anticipation of seeing who might be the first to "fall out" of their dress on the dance floor (sadly it happens more often than one would like but it can be hard to dance to "Cotton Eye-Joe" without the occasional wardrobe malfunction!), the anticipation of how good the food is going to be compared to last year, and - of course - the anticipation of finding out who is going to be named the new Employee of the Year.

Because I'm one of those poor souls who never went to their high school prom, this party is about as close to one as I'll ever get (pretty pathetic, eh?) and I thoroughly enjoy going. Granted, it might not seem that way during the entire course of the evening to those who sit within earshot but I really think that it's one of the highlights of the year and I am grateful to my boss for giving me an excuse to go out and buy a nice dress once a year. I'm not the hair and make-up type (now
there's a major understatement!) but it's nice to break out of the mold at least for the evening.

I have to say that everyone looked very nice last night - the men were handsome and the ladies were lovely and everyone just seemed to be having such a good time. Well, most of the time ... there were moments here and there but there always are and they needn't be brought up in any detail here. Even Cinderella's evening wasn't perfect but she had a great time at the ball.

After the Service Awards, after the Star of Life Presentation, after the Power Point Presentation, which recaps the year in pictures, was the announcement of Employee of the Year. This year's winner came as no surprise to anyone as he has been an Employee of the Month every year for the past three years and is more than deserving of the honor. I don't think anyone would argue that 'Cookie' was not the best choice and I'm sure that he'll enjoy his parking space for the next twelve months - I know I did when it had my name on it.

After that the DJ kicked up the music, the dance floor was opened up, and the real fun began. Personally I don't dance. I lack the coordination, the
rhythm, and the guts to get out there to let loose and have a good time. I wish I did but I'm the lethal Hart-Orlomoski combination that just doesn't dance despite the fact that I took dancing lessons at Armand's School of Dance in downtown Norwich many, many, many years ago with my oldest brother and four cousins. Aunt Eleanor said that it would build character if we went but I'm afraid we all fell short of that goal. I think the only reason we really went was for the requisite stop at Dairy Queen on the way home!

At any rate, I enjoyed watching everyone else having a good time and am always amazed at some of the people who are the best dancers as they just don't look like they would be. Of course, when you're used to seeing someone walk around with a stethoscope hanging around his or her neck and trauma sheers poking out of their pockets, you just don't picture them on a dance floor! Which just goes to show that looks truly can be deceiving.

I stayed later than I had planned and didn't call it a night until almost midnight which may not seem very late to most people. However, when you've been up since 5:30 in the morning and have to get up the next morning at the same time it most definitely is late! When I finally walked in the door at fifteen minutes after midnight I was read the riot act by my 14-year old daughter who asked me if I knew what time it was and why didn't I call to tell her I was going to be out so late?!? Kids! Oh well, at least she knows exactly what I'm going to be saying when she gets old enough to start going out so it will come as no surprise to her!

Now ... I need to figure out what I'm going to wear next year ...

"The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right." ~ some unknown guy over at Wikipedia


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Blog Carnival banner designed by Janna at One More Raindrop in a Bloggy Ocean

Her Royal Highness, Mimi Queen of Memes, requests the honor of your presence at Bloggingham Palace on Monday, January 21st, to attend the latest Bestest Blog Carnival where the topic is - what else? - memes.

Big memes, small memes, funny memes, memes of all shapes & sizes ... more memes than you can shake a stick at (or in Mimi's case, her royal scepter!).

Stop on by and check it out - you'll be glad you did!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"All good things are wild, and free." ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt
This Week's Theme: WILD!

This week's theme was a tough one compared to last week's "technology" theme as - truth be told - I am just NOT a wild woman! I'm not sure if I've ever been wild when you get right down to it though I did get in my fair share of mischief when I was in high school! Ah but those are stories for another day!

My interpretation for this week's "wild" theme is the Cyclone Rollercoaster on the boardwalk at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Compared to the new super-steel rollercoasters that are all the rage at most amusement parks these days, this old wooden coaster probably looks pretty tame but don't let it fool you!

The Cyclone debuted on June 26th, 1927 and the ride was so intense that it made Charles Lindbergh say that, "A ride on the Cyclone is greater than flying an airplane at top speed." In 1969, the Cyclone was condemned by the City of New York but made a completely refurbished return on July 3rd, 1975 pulling in a record $125,000 its first weekend.

I first rode the Cyclone in 1977 when my friend Carol and I took a subway ride out to Coney Island during one of our frequent visits to New York City. We were both rollercoaster enthusiasts and to say that the ride was great! would not be doing it justice!

This past summer when I took this picture, I was able to ride the Cyclone again (bad back be damned!) and it was just as I remembered it - one heck of a wild ride with lots of airtime and screams. My youngest daughter Jamie and our friend Paula took the ride with me and they both loved it, too.

As for Henry David Thoreau's quote he's wrong about one thing - the Cyclone is definitely wild but it's not free. You'll pay $6.00 for one minute and fifty seconds of screaming terror but if you want to stay on and "go around again!" it's only $4.00. Trust me, it's well worth every penny!

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. Caylynn
2. Daisy
3. connie
4. abe-hap
5. Chateau
6. Chris
7. Mrs Lifecruiser
8. Dragonheart
9. empress bee (of the high sea)
10. Leah
11. Smalltown RN
12. SargeCharlie
13. Smalltown RN
14. Hootin\' Anni
15. Melli
16. Gattina
17. Mike
18. Kim Shenberger
19. Barbara H.
20. Beckie
21. Retro Girl
22. Becci-PowersTwinB
23. Morning Glory
24. Mari
25. Skittles
26. Pamela
27. Christina
28. Heather
29. Rose DesRochers
30. tiggerprr
31. srp
32. Sanni
33. In His Hands
34. Angelo
35. roman
36. Barbara
37. katherine.
38. Bee
39. incog
40. Teena in Toronto
41. Odd Planet
42. Desert Diva
43. Jannie Funster
44. tnchick
45. Local Girl
46. Friday\'s Child
47. exptraveler

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Friday, January 19, 2007

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Every once in awhile I'll get a forwarded email that I think is worth sharing with friends and family and rather than delete it, like I do so many other pieces of electronic junk mail, I'll forward it along or maybe - if it's really interesting and I haven't been able to think of anything else to write about! - I'll post it here.

I recently received such an email from a friend entitled "What's In a Name?". There was an attached link where you could go over to a new page, type in your first and last names, and see just how many other people in this great country of ours answers to the same name as you. After finding out just how many of you there are, you then went to the bottom of the numbered list on the email, added your name and the number of people who shared it with you to the list, and forwarded it along to anyone that you thought might be interested. There were no threats that you would turn into a cockroach within six hours if you didn't forward it to fifty people within the next 9.75 minutes or that something great would happen to you at midnight the next day if you were to send it along to everyone in your address book - just add your name and send it on or not.

Being the curious sort and all, I was fairly confident that there could be not be another Linda Orlomoski living in America without my knowing about it so I went on over to the link and - sure enough - not only were there no other Linda Orlomoskis but there were no Orlomoskis period. Apparently the name doesn't exist in the database at all. Gee, what a surprise!

On the other hand, I had always thought my first name was fairly common and it turns out I was right as according to the statistics on this page:
* There are 1,552,337 people in the U.S. with the first name Linda.
* Statistically the 14th most popular first name.
* More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Linda are female.
My mother once told me that she had originally wanted to name me Barbara but my father told her that Barbara was too common of a name so he suggested the name Linda. I am the only one of his four children whose name he picked out but it turns out that Dad was a bit off on the popularity thing as, again, according to the statistics on this page:
* There are 1,469,846 people in the U.S. with the first name Barbara.
* Statistically the 15th most popular first name.
* More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Barbara are female.
Turns out the popularity of the name Linda to Barbara squeaks ahead just a tiny bit but isn't it nice to know that most Lindas and Barbaras are female? I've really got to wonder about the other .1 percent though!

While I was checking statistics on names, I decided to run my two former married names through the check and I've decided that I rather like the uniqueness of being Linda Orlomoski as compared to being one of the 64 Linda Doughtys and the 171 other Linda McCanns. My last name might cause people to trip over the tongue a bit but at least I know my name is just mine and no one else's!

Curious to know how many people share your name? Click on the link below:

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." ~ General Robert E. Lee

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I was reading through some of my favorite blogs this morning and while over at sarge charlie's, I came across a link to another page under his post titled "Things That Make Me Proud" and I wanted to share it here with you.

As you might be able to guess from his blog title, "sarge charlie" spent time in the United States Army and served his country honorably. His blog has some wonderful tributes to our men and women of the Armed Forces and the pictures and music at this tribute and thank you are very moving. It takes a little while to load but stick with it - you'll be glad that you did.

It's easy to sit here in the comfort of our own homes, away from all of the fighting and violence, and protest the War in Iraq but let's not forget that our countrymen are over there giving their all in a very hostile environment. And they aren't just there but they're in Afghanistan, too.

This is not a popular war (and yes, that's probably the major understatement of the day) but what war is? Were people happy that we were fighting in Europe, in Korea, in Vietnam ... in any war? Were the wars that were fought right here on the soil of our own country popular wars? No ... wars are not popular and they shouldn't be - but sometimes they're necessary.

That said, I don't really think we should be in the Middle East, at least not in the manner that we are. I think we should let them figure it out for themselves just like I thought we should have let Vietnam and Korea figure it out for themselves but we ARE in the Middle East and until our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines come home then I'm going to support them in every way that I can.

I hope that you will, too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"I do not fear the verdict of Gettysburg. Time sets all things right. Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal." ~ General James Longstreet

Wordless Wednesday #3

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Words are a marvelous thing. They can invoke more emotions in us than I could possibly name - anger, amusement, fear, regret, love, disgust, boredom, inspiration, sadness ... the list goes on and on. I have no idea who the first man was that stood up straight and uttered an intelligent word or what the name was of the first guy who could tell someone what those drawings all over the wall of the cave meant other than that the cave-wife was going to spend the next day scrubbing down the entire cave before company came over for roast pterodactyl. But since the first man uttered the first word we haven't stopped speaking or improving our language. Well ... most of the time that's the case. Sometimes instead we like to mutilate our words or - maybe a better way to put it is - we like to rearrange our words to make them more understandable or meaningful. As a prime example to that, I now share with you the following that was sent to me via email from a friend. I found it pretty humorous and will probably add a few of these words to my constantly expanding vocabulary. After all, I've already found use for the 2006 Word of the Year "Pluto" so these should be easy!
The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners: Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid. Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.) Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer. Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you. Glibido: All talk and no action. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out. Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating. And the pick of the literature: Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an assh@le.
I truly do love a good play on words! Any one have any favorites they'd like to share??

Monday, January 15, 2007

“Clarinet, n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears." ~ Ambrose Bierce, ‘The Devil’s Dictionary’, 1906

On the way home from her first pep band performance at the Norwich Free Academy girl's basketball game Friday night, Amanda told me that she was considering learning an instrument other than the flute as there are already a lot of flutes in the band and with next year's incoming flock of freshmen, there were bound to be more.

Apparently the flute is a very popular instrument as there are currently between 15 and 25 flutes in the band, which does seem like quite a few. We discussed various other instruments that Amanda might like to try and she mentioned the saxophone and clarinet as two possible choices. I guess it's not too hideously difficult to go from the flute to a reed instrument so it might be more of a natural transition than going to perhaps something in the brass section. I told Amanda we'd have to kick it around and see what our options were. Translated that means - let's see what we can afford!

When I went into work on Saturday I told Jen about the discussion and she said that she had a clarinet at home which she had played in high school that she could bring in for Amanda to try. Along with that she has one kick-ass Gemeinhardt flute that she played when she was in All-New England band that she also generously offered to let Amanda use as it was currently sitting in her mother's closet not doing anything and probably would be there until her daughter, Paige, was old enough to learn to play. For the record, Paige just turned two in August so let's just say that flute would have been in the closet for a very, very long time!

On Sunday Jen brought in both instruments along with a series of music books which I in turn brought home to Amanda yesterday evening. Amanda was absolutely thrilled with both instruments and has been attempting to play the clarinet ever since she took it out of its case last night. She's been playing so much that her bottom lip has gone numb on her and yet she continues to play.

I applaud Amanda's enthusiasm and am proud of her for trying something new while attempting to branch out in her musical abilities but I gotta tell ya - waking up to a squeaky, half-played version of "I Am Iron Man" at 2:00 in the morning is NOT my idea of a good time! I doubt that it would be anybody's idea of a good time! Good thing we live in a single family home and not an apartment close to anyone else!

Today it has been a half-played Kenny G tune and the first part of "My Heart Will Go On" from Titantic interspersed with the occasional scale, pep band number, and errant note that could probably break glass if given half a chance over and over and over again! But I can recognize what it is she's trying to play so I'm sure that counts towards an accomplishment and she's playing these things without benefit of music but by ear - and I think that's pretty cool because it means my kid's got talent!

Until she learns how to play a bit better, I'm just going to have to practice selective hearing and perhaps invest in some earplugs. Hey, Jen, did you have any of those at home??

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments." ~ Rose F. Kennedy

I'm not exactly sure when the moment was but I do know that a milestone was passed here at "Are We There Yet??" sometime yesterday when my stat counter rolled over 10,000.

I would like to celebrate with a very loud and joyous "WOOHOO!" and send out a big thank you to everyone who helped make that milestone possible. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I've only been blogging here since July 25th, 2006 and to have hit the 10,000 page hit mark in less than six months is something that I am just as pleased as punch about because it means that there are people out there who are taking the time to stop by and read some of my drivel. Of course, some just take one look and keep right on going but there are those who have stopped by, liked what they've seen, and become part of my "cyber family". Some leave comments - some don't - but either way I appreciate the visit and the support from all of you. I've "met" some wonderful people so far along this journey and I hope to meet many more in the days to come.

On the way to my next milestone I hope you'll still be here with me sharing the trials and tribulations of my single working Mom, 911 dispatcher life and that I can maybe make you laugh occasionally or think "yeah, I know how that is" occasionally, or maybe even remind you that it really is a small world after all and that we are all more alike than we think we are occasionally.

Alright then - let's get back on the road and see if we can get that stat counter over 20,000 before June 1st!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

“Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms” ~ George Eliot, Victorian novelist, 1819 - 1880

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Banner created by Janna @ One More Raindrop In A Bloggy Ocean

Morgen from It's A Blog Eat Blog World is currently hosting the most recent Bestest Blog Carnival - the Animal Edition - and it is well worth clicking on the link to go over there to be treated to not only some really great blog entries but to see the fantastic way the carnival has been hosted!

I've only had the pleasure of stopping by Morgen's blog a time or two but I have to tell you - honest and true - that it's one that I'm going to be checking in on regularly. The writing is terrific, the page lay-out is gorgeous, and it's just an all-around marvelous page! Kudos to Morgen on the whole package!

This is the first Blog Carnival that yours truly has ever entered and I've got to tell you, I think that these things are great! Whoever thought the idea up should be crowned King or at least be made a Junior Senator with all of the job's inherent perks and privileges (whatever those might be!)

Young and old, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen of all ages go grab yourself a frozen lemonade, fried twinkie, and a candy apple or big pink glob of cotton candy then take a stroll down the midway over at It's A Blog Eat Blog World for some fantastic reading at the Bestest Blog Carnival Animal Edition - guaranteed you'll find no smoke and mirrors but you might find a dog and pony show or two!

“Technology: No Place for Wimps!” ~ Scott Adams, American Cartoonist

This week's theme: Technology

These are pictures of the dispatch center that I work in at American Ambulance Services in Norwich. Technologically we've got just about all of the bells & whistles that one could ever possibly want with the possible exception of a plasma TV to watch when things aren't too crazy!

From right to left in front of me at the dispatch console you can see the telephone at the lower right (a definite requirement if one is going to answer 911!); traveling up you see all of the radio buttons for our main base, back-up base, med radio, etc.; and up above that is the ITAC System which is used for Statewide emergencies and disasters (we would really rather it didn't go off!).

To the left of that is the computer screen with our current mapping system; underneath is the second monitor used for the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system that we use (the CPU is down on the floor to my right); below that is the radio paging system and main transmit keys; and on the counter is my keyboard.

Moving further to the left is our alpha-mate paging system computer and Nextel phone and base. Directly to the left of that are our two satellite radio phones which can connect us to any hospital in the State as well as all of the dispatch centers and the Department of Public Health. Oh, and let's not forget the Easy button which - sadly - doesn't seem to work most of the time!

This is the visible technology that I deal with day in and day out as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher. What you can't see behind me is the fax machine, copy machine, tape machines, shredder, and everything else in the room needed to run a dispatch center up to and including a coffee machine! The sad thing is, if this stuff goes down (which it does from time to time), I get to do everything by hand - a little something we call "manual mode" - and it can be a dispatcher's worst nightmare! Not to mention it doesn't make the IT guy real happy!

Kind of makes you wonder why I'm smiling - doesn't it?

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. abe-hap
2. Angelo
3. viamarie
4. Debbie
5. Sandy
6. Caylynn
7. Daisy
8. patti
9. Mike
10. Jane
11. Anni
12. mar
13. yoshi
14. Patricia of Pollywog Creek
15. Jennifer
16. tnchick
17. GoofyJ
18. Frances
19. Biker Betty
20. Becci-PowersTwinB
21. stacey
22. Rose DesRochers
23. Sunflower
24. Mackeydoodle
25. Teena in Toronto
26. Skittles
27. Chris
28. LibertyBelle
29. srp
30. meeyauw
31. Jannie Funster
32. Claire

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Friday, January 12, 2007

"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." ~ Albert Einstein

I was never particularly fond of Science when I was in school. Because of that, I was never very good at it either as I could just never work up the interest and enthusiasm that I had for other subjects like History and Literature. Science, like Math, was one of those subjects that I got through because I had to and that was that.

Fortunately, Amanda not only has a knack for Science but she seems to have an actual interest in it. I can honestly and unequivocally say that I was quite proud of the fact that she was placed in Honors Science upon graduation from Junior High. Because I am so inept in Science, that made me even more proud of her but I was a little worried that it might be too tough for her - especially after I went to Parents' Night at NFA and found out what was going to be required of her. My fears have apparently been unfounded, though, as one of the better grades that she brought home last marking period was in her Science class.

With mid-terms fast approaching, she recently had two tests that were making her a little nervous as they were both pretty tough but she scored an 'A-' on both of them with the word "EXCELLENT!" emblazoned across the top of the page in bright red ink. Apparently Amanda was one of only two students in her class who managed to get a 'A' on the tests and when she showed them to me she was justifiably proud of her accomplishment.

With some of the horror stories that I hear from other parents of teenagers, I've got to say that I am quite thankful that I don't have those problems with mine. Yes, I get frustrated that she isn't the neat-nik that I would like her to be and I would love to see her take the motivation to help out around the house on her own once in awhile but I really can't complain when you get right down to it.

Tonight Amanda is at the Girls basketball game at NFA playing in the pep band for the very first time and she was a little nervous as she's the only one in pep band that wasn't in marching band this year but despite that I think she's going to do great. I'm proud of her for taking part when it would have been easier to "wait until next year" when she felt like she fit in better.

Truth be told - I'm proud of her in a lot of ways with a lot of things and I probably don't say that nearly enough. I guess it's a good thing she reads my blog!