Saturday, June 30, 2007

Happy 1st Anniversary, Mike & Laura!

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Last weekend my son, Michael, made the trip from Rhode Island to Connecticut (a good stone's throw if you're any good at throwing stones!) to put in my air-conditioners for me. Having a bad back, I know it's paramount that I don't do it myself so it's a good idea to either rely on the kindness of someone with a strong back at work or call in the Prodigal Son. Considering that the Prodigal Son also had a second guitar peripheral for Guitar Hero II that he wasn't using that I wanted to borrow it made for the perfect "kill two birds with one stone" situation. Hmm, perhaps it was the same stone that was thrown over from Rhode Island?? Well, either way, I digress.

While Mike was here he asked me why it was that my blog always referred to my having two daughters but there never seemed to be any mention of a son. Granted, I have made mention of he and his wife in past posts but he's right, I haven't really mentioned him much at all recently and with my template and pictures, etc. it would be very easy for one to say "what? you have a son? I had no idea!" I hope to rectify that error of omission with this post!

Laura, Me, & MikeTomorrow, July 1st, marks the very first wedding anniversary of Michael and his bride, Laura. If I remember correctly, it was an awfully hot summer day in Rhode Island but the humidity wasn't bad so that was a real plus!

Mike & Laura's wedding was only the second wedding I have been to in Rhode Island and it wasn't all that far from the first wedding I attended there which was that of Mr. & Mrs. Bulldog, a regular commenter on this blog. I have to say that both were very special occasions and, despite the fact that I have stated that I don't dance, I reluctantly admit that I danced at both weddings. I had actually completely forgotten that I danced at Mike's wedding until Jamie reminded me of it recently just as Bulldog reminded me that I danced at his. I'll chalk it up to old age that I had forgotten both occasions - well, either that or I really, really, really wanted to forget them and was hoping that everyone else had also! Sadly, that is apparently not the case!
Bill, Mike, & LauraAnyway, all talk of dancing aside, I find it rather hard to believe that it has already been a year since my son who proclaimed that he was never going to get married proved himself wrong. As my cousin Amy likes to say, don't ever say you're never going to do something because as soon as you do, you're going to end up doing it (that and "only idiots buy soundtracks", right cuz??).

If Mike had chosen to never get married based on his mother's track record, I could certainly understand that. I haven't exactly been a shining example of wedded bliss having tried and failed twice at the "till death do us part" thing. However, where I have been less than a beacon of light when it comes to matrimonial success, my parents' marriage was a perfect example and two of my brothers seem to be doing pretty well with it, too. I hope that Michael emulates them and not myself or his father - another not so shining example though at least he had the good sense to have only tried marriage once!

Mike & Laura w/wedding cakeTo Mike and Laura - I wish you many more years of happiness as well as a successful partnership as I think that's really what makes for a good marriage. It's not easy to put your own needs aside and take into account those of your partner and children but many, many people (other than myself) have proven that it can be done. Happy Anniversary!!

Oh, and for those who didn't realize that in addition to having a son and a daughter-in-law I also have a grandson, may I present to you Mathew Kendall? This isn't a recent picture but that's because my son who owns a digital camera never sends me any new ones! Hint, hint!


Things that make you go "hmm" but certainly not "zzz"!

As I've been having some trouble sleeping lately to the point of feeling like I am tossing and turning all night long, I mentioned it at my last doctor's visit and Dr. Joe was nice enough to give me a prescription for Ambien. Actually, he gave me a prescription for something else first but because I have really lousy medical insurance, there was a $40 co-pay to get it so I got him to give me a script for Ambien instead, which only has a $10 co-pay because there is a generic medication for it. I need to sleep but the girls also need to eat so a $40 medication is a luxury that I can't afford!

I've never taken any sort of sleep aid before so I wasn't sure how Ambien was going to affect me. A couple people at work who take it said to make sure that I had at least 8 hours before I needed to get up and also that it kicked in within about 20 minutes. The instructions that came along with it said basically the same thing so last Friday I took one as I didn't have to work in the morning and it seemed like the perfect time to "test sleep" it.

I took the very tiny blue pill with some water, settled back into bed, and waited for blissful sleep to overtake me. An hour later I was still waiting. An hour after that I looked at the clock and thought that it was a darned good thing I didn't have to get up in the morning. Sometime after that I finally drifted off but it was that kind of sleep where you always feel like you're partially awake. I swear I woke up every five minutes and when I awoke in the morning I sure the heck didn't feel like I had gotten any sort of restful slumber. So much for Ambien.

However, I had paid $10 American for this medication and I wasn't willing to just toss it away after one failed attempt. Not having to get up for work this past Friday morning, I figured I would try it again Thursday night but this time I was going to double the dose as the label on the prescription bottle read "one or two pills as needed". Obviously I needed two as one didn't work at all so this time I took two tiny little blue pills with some water, settled back into bed, and waited for blissful sleep. And waited. And waited.

At least this time when I finally did get to sleep, close to 45 minutes later as best I can guess based on when I last looked at the clock, I actually seemed to sleep pretty good and don't remember waking up at all during the night. I had gone to bed close to 12:30 (I was catching up on episodes of The Closer I had on the DVR) and it was almost 1:30 before I fell asleep. I had expected to sleep until close to 9:00 but I woke up at 7:00 instead. Ugh ... It was pretty easy to convince myself to stay in bed, though, so I rolled over and didn't wake up again until the preferred 9:00 that I had been shooting for in the first place.

I just don't understand why it is I seem to have such a high tolerance to medications. Everyone raves about the wonders of Vicodin and to me it's like taking a couple of extra-strength Tylenol; Percocet simply makes me sick to my stomach; Tylox does virtually zip for me; and now a sleeping medication that other people can take and find themselves happily snoozing away in Dreamland 20 minutes later is so ineffective that I can write this entire post after taking it.

Somehow this just doesn't seem fair ...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I've Got a Question, You've Got an Answer

As evidenced by my most recent Wordless Wednesday post depicting the thermometer (that's thermometer, not clock!) showing over 80 degrees in the shade at 9:00 at night, summer has arrived in all of its scorching glory.

It has been a miserable three days here in Connecticut with the three H's - hazy, hot, and humid - in full force but it hasn't officially been a heat wave, the definition of which requires three days of 90 degree temperatures or higher. Because it's supposed to cool down significantly later today with incoming thunderstorms, we shouldn't have the required 90 degrees or higher for a full three days. It's only going to feel like we were having a heat wave!

I'm going to be honest here - I truly dislike hate Summer! It is my least favorite season of all which is going some because I am not a big fan of Winter either! If I could find a place that had Fall all year through I think I'd move there in a New York minute (defined as significantly shorter than a real minute!) - especially at times like this when you just feel like you're melting as soon as you make the mistake of going someplace that doesn't have air-conditioning.

However, I know that some people not only list Summer as their favorite season - they revel in it, worship it, dance when it arrives, and grieve when it's gone! For those people, the hotter the better (though I've got to think they're referring to a dry heat and not heat that makes you think you live in a sauna!). I'm not going to say they're nuts as I fully believe to each their own but still ... ugh!

So, now that I've mumbled and grumbled about the weather let me ask you this week's question - which is actually several questions but don't tell anyone!

What is your favorite season of the year? Winter? Spring? Summer? Or Fall?
And why? What makes it so special to you?

While you contemplate that, I'm going to go chew some ice cubes while I dream of pumpkins, crisp apples, and the glorious colors of Fall foliage ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Am Sad

Tahoe FireOne of my very favorite places in all of the country has been steadily destroyed by smoke and flames since Sunday when a forest fire (thought to be sparked accidentally by human activity) broke out in the Angora Lake region of South Lake Tahoe, California.

Over 3,100 acres - about 4.7 square miles - as well as 220 homes and other structures have fallen victim to the fast-moving flames which, according to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Control Unit, are currently 44% contained. Over 1,809 personnel have been battling a fire that they hope to have fully contained by July 3rd though they still face the possibility of high winds in the region over the next three days which could cause the flames to jump the fire lines again.

Tahoe Fire
“This is the biggest disaster that has happened to this community in, probably, forever,” said Lt. Kevin House of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department in a televised interview.
I'm going to have to agree with Lt. House as it has always been my belief that Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful areas in the country and there is no doubt that a fire of this magnitude will leave scars on the area for a very long time to come.

Some of my best memories of my years in California are from various trips to Lake Tahoe with not only friends I had made in California but with my Mom & Dad when they came out to visit when I lived in Stockton. No trip to California was ever quite complete without a trip to Lake Tahoe, though I'm sad to say that my last trip out didn't provide the opportunity for a drive through the mountains to visit a place I have come to love.

The shores of Lake Tahoe were the home of the Washo Indians for thousands of years before John C. Frémont, an American explorer dubbed "The Great Pathfinder", and his guide Kit Carson first spied the lake on an expedition in the Sierra Nevadas on February 14th, 1844 from an area now known as Carson's Pass on Route 88. The first non-indigenous man to view Lake Tahoe from what is now Highway 50, my preferred route of travel, was John Calhoun Johnson, another Sierra explorer.

There is just no way to describe the beauty that lies before you as you round the last turn on State Highway 50 from Sacramento and look out towards the lake - which is still 10 miles in the distance. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States with its depth plunging to 1,645 feet. It's 22 miles long, 12 miles wide, and has 71 miles of shoreline, two-thirds of which lies in California. Is it any wonder that Mark Twain, when visiting the lake in 1861 for several weeks declared: "The eye never tired of gazing, night or day, calm or storm."?

I came this close to taking a job as a dispatcher at the City of South Lake Tahoe Police Department in the late 80's before I remembered that I didn't really like the cold weather in Connecticut so how much more would I not like it in a place that has an average winter snowpack of 225 inches, or nearly 20 feet! In retrospect, though, I always wonder if that was the wrong decision and how different my life might be now had I taken that job. I guess I will never know.

Though it has been way too many years since I've had the pleasure of coming around the bend on Highway 50 and having my breath taken away, yet again, by the natural beauty that stretched out before me it truly pains me to watch the news reports of what is happening to that beautiful land. Rather than the fiery images above this is how I will always choose to remember Lake Tahoe:

Lake Tahoe
I hope they are able to get that fire under control soon without too much further loss of land and property. Best wishes to all the brave firefighters and to those who call Tahoe home.

Wordless Wednesday - In the Shade at 9:00 PM


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another meme for me! me!

I was tagged today for another meme by The Freelance Cynic and when it comes to memes, I'm just a girl who can't say no! I think that Mimi, Queen of Memes would be proud of me!

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

  1. The Ice Box
  2. The Buzz Queen
  3. Opinion Minions
  4. Freelance Cynic
  5. Are We There Yet??
Next select five people to tag:
  1. Mags
  2. Asara
  3. Morgen
  4. Akelamalu
  5. Jeni
THEN answer the following Questions:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
  • I was married, living in a town named Plainfield, and starting "Round Two" at the Norwich Police Department as a 911 Emergency Dispatcher (I had worked there previously from 1990 to 1991 prior to getting married to a Navy man and moving to Long Beach, California).
What were you doing 1 year ago?
  • Sadly, pretty much the same thing I am doing this year! Working too much while trying to think of the occasional fun thing to do with the girls that doesn't cost much while they are on summer vacation.
Five snacks you enjoy:
  1. Microwave popcorn - any kind, I'm not too fussy.
  2. Ice cream - especially a vanilla cone with cherry dip from Dairy Queen!
  3. Cheese and crackers (especially Triscuits!)
  4. Seedless green grapes
  5. Strawberries with or without a dipping sauce
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
  1. Cancer - My Chemical Romance
  2. This Ain't A Scene - Fall-Out Boy
  3. White Flag - Dido
  4. Come What May - from the Baz Luhrmann movie, Moulin Rouge!
  5. Trouble - from The Music Man (preferably the Robert Preston version)
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
  1. Buy a house.
  2. Give some money to friends and family for their enjoyment.
  3. Go on a cruise!
  4. Take a vacation to Lake Tahoe - heck, buy a vacation home near Lake Tahoe!
  5. Send Amanda to the School of Visual Arts in New York City
Five bad habits:
  1. Procrastination thy name is Linda!
  2. Caving into the convenience of calling Domino's when I'm too busy blogging to cook!
  3. Rolling my eyes and sighing at work.
  4. Spending way too much time on the computer.
  5. Being overly critical.
Five things you like doing:
  1. Sitting on the front porch and watching the squirrels jumping around in the trees across the street.
  2. Going to the casino and occasionally throwing $20 in the penny machines.
  3. Playing Guitar Hero II and driving my daughters crazy!
  4. Walking through old cemeteries and reading the stones to try to get a feel of who the people buried their were and what their lives were like.
  5. History research.
Five things you would never wear again:
  1. Pretty much any bathing suit!
  2. The heels I got for a holiday party one year that freakin' killed my feet by the end of the night!
  3. White pants.
  4. Anything polyester!
  5. The wedding ring from my defunct marriage.
Five favorite toys:
  1. My laptop computer.
  2. Dan's PS2 game console that he's letting us borrow.
  3. My digital camera.
  4. This really cool pen that my cousin gave me for my birthday that spins and lights up (pretty!)
  5. My golf clubs even though I haven't used them in a few years due to back issues.

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixty!!

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A lot of people may not agree with me but when it comes to birthdays, I've always felt that more is better. After all, think of the alternative! Hence the reason I have no trouble showing a countdown clock over on my sidebar for my impending 50th birthday which is still well over a year away. Whew!

Today, however, is the special day of a very special lady and I wanted to wish a very happy 60th birthday to the amazing Gracie from Echoes of Grace!

I just got to "know" Grace this year and I am so glad I did as she is one of the warmest souls out there and that's not just because she lives in Bakersfield, one of California's hot spots! How can you not love a woman who writes in her Blogger profile that she is "Tap-dancing through life on two left feet without a compass; laughing, crying and holding hands with others who find themselves in the same place!"

Add on to that the fact that she loves Blazing Saddles, (one of my favorite movies of all time!) Braveheart, (Mel Gibson in a kilt - rowr!) Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, (music from heaven) Seal, (I just love A Kiss From A Rose) and is a proud patriot who has no problem speaking her mind and heart and you've got one amazing woman that I am proud to call friend.

Happy, happy birthday, Gracie and after you're done having a big ole' slice of this yummy looking cyber-cake you can go back to tap-dancing with those two left feet of yours holding the hands of all who love you while enjoying the fact that you are 60 years young. Tell the Hubman to give you a big hug for me; I'd do it myself but I have to be back to work tomorrow!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

It dawned on me that I haven't posted any of Amanda's artwork in awhile so I asked her what she had good over in her Deviant Art account that I could snitch for here. She told me to take a look and after perusing her gallery I decided on the sketch below.

Lately she's been dabbling in watercolors a little bit and doing quite well with them (though making one heck of a mess on the dining room table!) and I'll probably be posting one of those pictures soon but for today I thought I would post this pencil sketch that she did of Bob Bryar, the drummer for her favorite band My Chemical Romance.

Drawing of Bob BryarFor those of you who have been following Amanda's art here, you'll recall that she generally does drawings in a Japanese animation Chibi style and even though she does very well with that, I was quite pleased when she did this sketch as it shows that she can draw in other styles as well and do what I think is a more than passable job.

It's beginning to look like we might need to start saving up for the School of Visual Arts New York very soon ...

Please Mr. Custer, I Don't Wanna Go!

George Armstrong CusterOn this date in history, June 25th, 1876 Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 265 men of the 7th United States Calvary Regiment under his command lost their lives in the Battle of Little Bighorn, forever to be known as Custer's Last Stand.

A brash young man who attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Custer first proved his brilliance and daring as a calvary officer with the Union Army in the Civil War. Leading the Third Calvary Division in General Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign, Custer was sent to pursue General Robert E. Lee's Army of the Confederacy as it fled from Richmond, Virginia and he himself received the Confederate flag of truce when Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.

At the end of the Civil War, Custer was commissioned to the western frontier as part of the U.S. Army's effort to impress and intimidate hostile Plains Indians who had very good reason to be hostile. After the discovery of gold in the Black Hills territory in 1874, the sacred land that had been ceded to the Sioux ten years earlier was overrun by white miners looking to get rich quick. Although the 1868 second treaty of Fort Laramie clearly granted the tribe use of the Black Hills, the U.S. government reneged on the deal and ordered the Sioux to return to their reservation.

Custer's division of the 7th Calvary was sent on an expedition to locate and rout tribes gathered under Chief Sitting Bull, the great warrior of the Sioux and Cheyenne, who was believed to be camped in the Little Bighorn area. While Custer's commanding officer, Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry, branched off with the majority of the 7th Calvary down the Yellowstone River, Custer and his division followed the Rosebud River with orders to meet up at the mouth of the Little Bighorn where they would combine forces and push the Sioux and Cheyenne back to their reservations.

Chief Sitting BullFinding a group of about forty warriors encamped on the Little Bighorn River in Montana, Lieutenant Colonel Custer decided to ignore orders and wage an immediate attack rather than wait for General Terry and the rest of the 7th Calvary. Dividing his forces into several groups Custer headed out not realizing that the number of the warriors in the village outnumbered his troops three times. He also didn't realize what kind of terrain he would have to cross before making his assault and found himself having to negotiate a maze of bluffs and ravines.

His troops were quickly encircled by the Sioux so Custer ordered his men to shoot their horses and stack the carcasses to form a wall. This provided very little protection against bullets and in less than an hour, the five companies under his immediate command were slaughtered in the worst military disaster ever. Nearly a third of the men of the 7th Calvary, including Custer and his brother, died at the Battle of Little Bighorn. a stunning victory for the Sioux.

Map of the Battle of Little BighornAfter the battle the Sioux and Cherokee stripped the bodies and mutilated all of the uniformed soldiers believing that the soul of a mutilated body would be forced to walk the earth for all of eternity and could never ascend to Heaven. However, because Custer had been wearing buckskins and not a uniform, the Indians mistakenly thought that he was not a soldier and neither scalped nor mutilated his body, instead they merely stripped and washed it and then left it on the battleground. Eventually a myth emerged that Custer had been left untouched because of his reputation but more than likely it was simply because the warriors had no idea who Custer was and thought he was an innocent and not a member of the Army.

Harsh retribution was soon brought down upon the Indian Nation as news of the death of a popular Civil War hero on the very eve of the country's Centennial spread. Though many Native Americans surrendered to the federal authorities, Sitting Bill fled to Canada in 1877 and sought refuge there for four years before returning to the United States on the brink of starvation.

Returning to the Standing Rock Agency in North Dakota, he fought for the sale of tribal lands and participated in the Ghost Dance Movement - a cultural and religious awakening among Native Americans that "expressed a desperate longing for the restoration of the past; a return to a life free of hunger, epidemic disease, and the bitter warring and divisiveness that accompanied the Indians' subjugation by whites."

Fearing the end of white dominance in the West, federal authorities attempted to take custody of Sitting Bull in 1890 but his followers were still loyal and a scuffle ensued. Thinking that the Army meant to kill Sitting Bull, shots were fired between the factions and both Sitting Bull, who was shot in the head, and his son Crow Foot died in the mêlée.

Someday I hope to be able to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument just as I have been fortunate enough to visit many of our Civil War Battlefields throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. I think it's important to know the history of one's country, both the tragic and the heroic, as then you can have a greater appreciation of what you have and how you came to have it. Many people died to make this Nation the great country that it is and it's only fitting that we honor and remember them.

Little Bighorn National BattlefieldAs Winston Churchill once said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Hopefully tragedies like the one at Little Bighorn taught us many valuable lessons, though sometimes I'm not so sure ...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Think There's Nothing Good on Tuesday Evenings? Think Again!

Okay, so it's Tuesday evening and you are bored, bored, bored with the line-up on the talking box otherwise known as the TV and you've surfed your entire blogroll and just don't know what to do next. You could always clean the house, spend some time with the kids and/or spouse, or read a book but why do that when you can listen to The Mo Show instead??

I am pleased and happy to announce that Morgen of It's A Blog Eat Blog World has decided to heap one more helping onto his over-flowing plate in the form of a Blog Talk Radio show all his own. One of the nicest guys ever to author a blog, Mo already has his hands full operating The Wren's Nest, a lovely little shop located in beautiful downtown Dowagiac, Michigan.

The Wren's Nest
The Wren's Nest Shoppe

If you can't make it to beautiful downtown Dowagiac, you can always go to Mo's on-line store of the same name where he has over 31 categories that you can shop from including candles and accessories, wind chimes, bird feeders, gardening needs, cat and squirrel stuff as well as a great selection of Badger Balms. I haven't had a chance to order from him yet but I hear tell from many satisfied customers that Mo goes above and beyond when it comes to making sure the customer is treated just like a friend. I'm sure once I can order something, I won't be disappointed.

In addition to his duties as shopkeeper extraordinaire, Mo authors It's A Blog Eat Blog World where he gave birth to the popular Manic Monday meme, the written version of The Mo Show, and Purrchance to Dream; his claim to fame in the Cat Blogosphere where he is Not the Mama to four of the cutest little felines you've ever seen - Daphne, Chloe, Jazper, and Spooker.

Jazper the cat
Jazper Displaying the Patience of a Saint

Add to all this his new adventures in Blog Talk Radio on the live version of The Mo Show on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. where he plans "An eclectic cornucopia of entertainment, rants, raves, and ramblings." and I'm just not sure when he's going to have the time to care for his other flock at home including this fine, though angry!, looking specimen:

Marshall Is In a "Fowl" Mood!

I hope you'll have a chance to stop in and listen to one of the nicest guys in the Blogosphere when he makes his debut with In The Beginning on Tuesday evening at 6:30 Eastern, 5:30 Central. If you're feeling brave you can even call in and chat with Mo live at (646) 716-7100. Should you do so, tell him Mouseski sent you!

MoGood luck, Mo, my friend - I'm sure you're going to be a hit!!

Happy 35th Anniversary to the Company I Work For!

As I mentioned in yesterday's Photo Hunt post, American Ambulance Services, Inc. celebrated its 35th anniversary on Friday evening with a party under the tent at the American Wharf Marina. Today, however, marks the official date of that anniversary.

On June 24th, 1972 Ron Aliano, CEO of The American Group, started his ambulance service in Norwich with just two ambulances that operated out of the back of a service station. If you want to know what it was like, it has been suggested that one watch the 1978 movie "Mother, Juggs, and Speed" as that will give you a pretty good idea of what early ambulance service was like. Personally, having seen it, I find that to be a little bit scary and I'm glad I never needed an ambulance back in the 70's!

In 1986, American moved into its new headquarters at One American Way and those original two ambulances have definitely multiplied over the years. Now their are over 50 vehicles in the fleet including both ambulance and chair car vans as well as over 200 employees consisting of Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, Chair Car Van Drivers, Schedulers, Dispatchers, and Office staff.

American Ambulance Car Apollo I joined American on June 3rd, 2003 after breaking my vow to never dispatch again - yeah, that worked out real well, didn't it? - and though there are times when I want to do nothing more than beat my head against the counter on which my keyboard rests in sheer frustration, I have never regretted taking the job. I have met some of the nicest people at AASI that can be found anywhere on the face of the earth and they have made a sometimes over-the-top stressful job more than tolerable.

They're so good, in fact, that I was awarded Employee of the Year in 2004 and I have never once forgotten that it was only through them that I was able to achieve that honor. I've always believed that a dispatcher is only as good as those people he or she dispatches and I can honestly say that the road crews I work with are some of the best anywhere. I appreciate every single one of them even though I probably neglect to tell them that as often as I should.

In a post awhile back I mentioned that as a police dispatcher I worried about the men and women who were "under my care" and Bulldog, a favortite EMT and regular reader of this blog, asked me the following question:

"... how do you feel now that you dispatch EMT's & Paramedics as opposed to cops? Is your "worry level" higher or lower because of the difference in actual job specifics? Not trying to put you on the spot ... just curious!"

Up until now I hadn't had a chance to address that question but I have been giving it a lot of thought ever since it was asked. My level of worry now depends on the type of call that I'm sending a crew out on. If it's just a routine transfer or even a lights-and-siren transfer from one facility to another, my worry is mainly one of road safety. Just because there's a large white and orange ambulance possibly with lights flashing and siren wailing doesn't mean that people will always notice said vehicle and I worry that a crew is going to get t-boned, hit head-on, or even have a tree jump out at them (ah yes, Titan and the tree - I remember it well ...). Accidents are a constant source of concern.

As for other worries, I don't fret quite as much as I did when dispatching police officers as EMS is normally looked on as "the good guys" but that doesn't mean that something can't go wrong on what may appear to be a routine call, especially when it comes to psych transports. I learned to worry about "my guys" as a police dispatcher and even though I haven't done that particular job in years, I carried that over with me and I still worry about "my guys" - just now on a slightly different level. Hope that answers that for you, Bulldog, without being too vague!

Unless something in my life changes drastically (like finding that elusive winning lottery ticket or having Prince Charming sweep me off my feet and cart me off to his castle) I'm pretty sure I'll still be at American when its 40th anniversary rolls around five years down the road. I'm sure that's going to be quite the party, too! In the meantime, Happy 35th and - as always - "safe trip and 110 upon turnover"!

American Ambulance 35th Anniversary

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - "Shiny"

Photo Hunters Logo
As per usual, I wasn't sure what I was going to be able to find for this week's Photo Hunt theme of "Shiny" and was giving serious consideration to punking out again this week when opportunity presented itself in the form of a hanging disco ball.

The company that I work for, American Ambulance Services, Inc., celebrated its 35th anniversary at a party held under the tent at the American Wharf Marina on Friday evening. All employees were invited and we were treated to unlimited beer and wine along with a delicious variety of foods. We were also given a commemorative t-shirt to celebrate the occasion.

Because I'm not much of a drinker (translated that means very, very rarely) unlimited free alcohol doesn't hold a lot of attraction for me but it sure does for a lot of the other people I work with. On occasions like this I prefer to sit back with my one glass of white zinfandel and observe the evening unfold.

After everyone had eaten, our boss gave a small speech before a large cake was cut and then the DJ turned up the music and the real entertainment of the evening began. I thought I had stepped back into the 70's as the DJ opened up with Play That Funky Music and followed it up with a plethora of disco dance tunes that beckoned those who just couldn't resist strapping on their boogie shoes out to the dance floor.

Let me just say right here and right now that I don't dance. I never have and I never will - except on very rare occasions when forced onto the dance floor under duress by well-meaning friends. Despite the fact that I graduated from high school in 1976 and was more than old enough to do so, I never set foot in a single disco club - ever. That's not to say that I didn't watch my fair share of Dance Fever and I saw Saturday Night Fever a couple of times, as well as owned the soundtrack, but outside of that the entire disco scene was as foreign to me as Japanese writing. 私が意味するものを知りなさいか

While watching some of those who had truly enjoyed the free beer and wine attempting to recapture the 70's out on the dance floor and rolling my eyes towards the ceiling in utter disbelief at what was going on out there, it dawned on me that I needed a picture for today's post when I noticed the silvery disco balls that were hanging overhead. A picture of one of them would be the ideal thing! I only had my cell phone camera with me and it takes notoriously bad pictures so Beth, a lovely lady that works in my department as a Scheduler, took a picture for me using her much better cell phone camera and emailed it over to me.

So there you have it - shiny - a little blurry but shiny! Now if you'll excuse me I have to go try to get this nasty disco beat out of my head as it's still there ... Dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin' ... AUGH!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've Got a Question, You've Got an Answer

Summer officially arrived at 2:06 PM EST (for those of us who reside on the East Coast) on what is known as the longest day of the year or the Summer Solstice. There are two solstices, the time of the year when the sun either tilts closest towards or furthest away from the Sun, one in December and another in June. After today the days will start to grow incrementally shorter again as we start to slide back towards Winter. Now there's a depressing thought, eh??

But for now it's summer and most people's thoughts turn to vacations whether they be full-blown affairs requiring all sorts of logistical wrangling or just a casual jaunt to the local campground to get away from it all.

I know that a lot of my friends in the Blogosphere have already made their summer plans while some are currently enjoying a holiday but what about the rest of you?

What plans do you have for this summer?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rock Me, Amadeus! Well, actually it was Kai, Tisha, and Sandee!


I knew all those hours of playing Guitar Hero II were going to pay off as I was just awarded the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award by not just one or two but three other rockin' girl bloggers! I am so psyched! Kai, Tisha,and Sandee are three of the nicest bloggers that I've ever met and have the privilege of calling friends so I was just tickled pink (much like the color of this badge!) to have been given this award by all of them. Truth be told, I am beyond flattered!

The Buzz Queen Kai wrote:
"What can I say about Linda? She’s an amazing writer (even working on a novel!) who is a single Mom to two teenage girls! She’s also a full time, shift working ambulance dispatcher. And she’s a wonderful blogging friend to boot!"
While that Crazy Working Mom Tisha said:
"Linda is an AWESOME momma who works long, tireless hours to make sure that her daughters are taken care of. She ROCKS because she went to an MCR concert with her daughter and rocked the show. She's got pictures to prove it. She is a 911 operator and she's darn good at it. She is a proud supporter of emergency personnel and has countless posts to back that up."
Finally, Sandee at Comedy+ wrote:
"Linda has two daughters that she cares for very deeply. She works as a dispatcher and has numerous stories about that. She does frequent history lessons and always about stuff I don't know enough about. She is a smile for me everyday and I doubt that she knows it. She cares very deeply about law enforcement, fire, and EMT's and those of you that know me understands what that means to me."
Aw shucks ... you ladies are making me blush but I am so honored to have been awarded this along with yourselves! I can't wait to throw this one on my bogged-down sidebar!

Now, the rules state that if you're tagged, you get that spiffy little badge at the top of this post and then tag five other chicks who you think rock. Hmmm, who shall I present this kickin' badge to? There are just so many that I could choose and yet I'm limited to just five ... this is going to be tough!

1) My first choice has got to be Dayngr Girl of the blog Dayngrous Discourse as this girl knows how to rock and then some! A resident of Florida, she's mom to the Dayngrous Duo, is married to Mr. Right (also known as Big Daddy Rooster), and recently went through the pain of losing her beloved mother followed by what could only be called scenes right out of a bad Hollywood drama involving her mother's second husband, Ego. This girl knows how to rock and roll and she does it with style and grace!

2) Polli of Polliwog's Pond is my second choice for this award. Polli is mom to six - count 'em - six children and has also become the proud owner of Millie, the dog who belonged to her friends who recently died in a tragic plane crash. Even though she is admittedly not a dog person. Polli has opened her home and heart to this gorgeous animal. Polli has a heart as big as the outdoors of her island she lives on off the Washington coast and it's always a pleasure to visit her at the pond.

3) Third up is Mimi Lenox of Mimi Writes formerly of Bloggingham Palace in North Carolina and now residing with Bud Weiser here in Connecticut. And no, that's not a brewery but her new home with her man and WTIT tape radio wit, Bud. If anyone deserves to be called a Rockin' Blogger Girl it's Mimi for her undying devotion and dedication to her fantastic Peace Globe movement. Besides, how can you live with a man who idolizes John Lennon and not rock??

4.) My choice for the #4 badge is Gale of Gem-osophy whose blog I always love to visit. Gale is a published author whose most recent work appears in The Christian Science Monitor (you can read her story here) as well as the recipient of several writing awards and the writer of three other blogs. She rocks overtime from her home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she's hard at work on a new novel that I am eagerly awaiting my autographed copy of!

5.) Last but certainly not least I present the fifth badge to Gracie of Echoes of Grace because she's just amazing! In the heat of Bakersfield, California she and her Hubman recently moved to a new home so she's been busy settling in there but that didn't stop her from doing a fun meme where she told us that even though she's a church-going lady she knows all the words to anything by The Doobies as well as "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"! How can that not rock??

I hope that these five recipients can pass this along to five other Rockin' Girl Bloggers but if not, sit back and bask in the glow of being a rock star in my book because you all are!

Wordless Wednesday

Dedicated to the nine Charleston, South Carolina firefighters who died in Monday's tragic fire.
May these brave men rest in peace and God bless and comfort their families.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Something to Really Think About

If you were to pop in over at Dayngrous Discourse, you would notice that Dayngr Girl does a Thought for the Day post with a beautiful picture each day. A week or two ago she posted a thought that really made me think as I believe it was designed to do. I was so taken with this particular quote that I asked Danygr if I could borrow it and use it as a post of my own and she graciously agreed.

I love quotes. Early readers of this blog can attest to that as I used to title every single post with a quote. I gave that up after I seemed to spend more time looking for the perfect quote than I did writing the actual post! Part of the problem was that I didn't like to use anonymous quotes; I preferred to attribute it to the person who actually wrote it or uttered it so sometimes it took awhile to find the perfect quote that wasn't attributed to "anonymous". I tell you this now as, before I give you the quote that made me stop and take pause to think for awhile, I wanted to tell you a little about the person who wrote this particular thought.
"Stephen Levine is a poet and teacher of guided meditation healing techniques. His work is said to stretch from the most painful experiences of the human spectrum to the furthest point on the human horizon, from hell to heaven, from pain to ease, from our ongoing sense of loss to the legacy of our unending interconnectedness. Levine's bestselling books Healing into Life and Death; A Gradual Awakening; and A Year to Live are considered classics in the field of conscious living and dying."
I thought it was rather ironic when I was researching Mr. Levine that the word "interconnectedness" came up as my good friend Miz Cyn and I had just recently been discussing that very topic during one of our late-night phone conversations; she in the context of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and myself in regards to several books that I had read at the recommendation of a friend several years ago involving a character named Dirk Gently, a con man who bills himself as a "holistic detective". The author, Douglas Adams, wrote two books in which Dirk appeared, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. Dirk claims "to use the fundamental interconnectedness of all things" to solve crimes while running up exorbitant expense accounts. They were both good books but I digress and wander away from what I really wanted to write about today which is the following quote:
"If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?" - Stephen Levine
Mr. Levine poses a very interesting question and one, I daresay, that Miz Cyn and I bounced around almost five years ago using the scenario of being on an airplane that you knew was going to crash. I was going to be flying out to California for a visit and because I'm always slightly nervous on a plane, that was how the conversation came up then.

However, even outside of that sort of scenario, it's an interesting question and one that is very tough for some people to answer. For Cyndi it's always been an easy question to answer as she would call her beloved husband, Jeff. For me, it's always been more complex because I don't have a significant other that immediately comes to mind as the person to call.

I don't think that I would want to pick one of my children above the other for that final phone call as I wouldn't want any of them thinking that I loved one more than the other nor do I think I would want to burden my mother with a dying phone call. Parents don't handle it well when their children die before them no matter how old that child may be and I would hope that I would have had the good sense to tell my mother ahead of time how much I loved her and appreciated her for all that she had done for me throughout my life prior to finding myself at death's doorstep.

I could call Cyndi but knowing her, she would argue with me about my actual dying and insist that it was not an option! Besides, she truly has enough to deal with in her own life with the heartbreak of her autistic son and the physical ailments that she personally suffers from. I would be loathe to weigh her down with more hurt. Besides, the woman knows that I love her dearly, that I hold our friendship in very high regard, and that it would not be a good-bye so much as a see you later. There isn't too much we haven't said to each other over the years.

There are, however, two people that I feel that I have unfinished business with; one I don't care if I ever talk to again and the other - well, the other one I worry about. If I had one last phone call, that would be the one that I would make and in regards to "what would you would say?" ... I think he knows what that would be. As to "what are you waiting for?" ... chalk that one up to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of too much water under the bridge, fear of that person just not caring anymore whether I were to live or die. Just plain fear.

So, that's my answer to this rather tough question. Anyone else want to take a stab at this one? It's not as cut and dried as you might think - or is it?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Today is my daughter Amanda's 15th birthday as well as my mother's ... uhm ... not 15th birthday! A very happy birthday to both of them with much love!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Sunday Afternoon History Lesson

Bunker Hill
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston, Massachusetts

On this date in history 232 years ago, American forces fought and lost one of the more important battles of the American Revolution on a 75-foot high spot of land called Breed’s Hill on the Charlestown Peninsula section of Boston, Massachusetts. Even though the battle was fought on Breed’s Hill it has always been referred to as The Battle of Bunker Hill, which was the 110-foot high hill standing behind Breed’s Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought between 2,500 British regulars under General William Howe and 1,400 New England militiamen under the command of Colonel William Prescott, of Massachusetts, and General Israel Putnam, of Connecticut fame.

On a cloudless afternoon on June 17th, 1775, British troops struggled up the hill over uneven soil in knee-deep grass with each man loaded down with a knapsack, blanket, and ammunition totaling 125 pounds. With General Howe leading, the British troops launched an attack up the slope on the waiting American forces.

After three frontal assaults against accurate sharp-shooters, the battle finally ended with the British victorious but at great cost to them. Of the 2,500 British troops engaged in battle their losses stood at 42% with 228 dead and 826 wounded; 92 of those were officers. On the American side losses totaled approximately 450 of which 140 were killed and 30 were captured.

Even though Bunker Hill was a loss for the Americans it changed the attitude of Britain significantly. The ferocity with which the Americans fought and the losses that their own troops suffered gave Britain pause to sit up and take notice of what they had previously thought to be simply a small group of upstarts who could easily be squashed with their superior forces.

The American Revolution raged on until the surrender of Lord Charles Cornwallis, British Commander of the Southern Campaign, at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19th, 1781 but didn’t officially end until the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783.

Most Americans don’t realize that it took over nine years for our country to emerge as an independent nation. From the time of the first battle on October 10th, 1774 at Point Pleasant, Virginia until the British troops occupying New York left in November of 1783 it was just a little over nine years. Nine years.

People seem to be under the misguided impression that America gained her independence on July 4th, 1776 as that is the date we celebrate our birthday as a nation but that just goes to show that it’s easier to say “We’re free! We’re independent!” then to actually be free and independent. Nine years is a long time - no matter how you look at it.

Freedom doesn’t come easy nor does it come fast which is something our forefathers learned the hard way. It also seems to be something that we currently seem to have forgotten while we take for granted those very same freedoms that so many lost their lives for over 230 years ago and continue to lose their lives for today.

Just something to think about on a Father's Day afternoon.

Israel Putnam
Israel Putnam, Connecticut Revolutionary War Hero

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Of sleep and dreams

Between my work schedule, an upcoming pleasant evening out with Paula, the girls, & Captain Jack Sparrow, and my all-consuming obsession with being able to get through "Free Bird" on Guitar Hero II I didn't have a lot of time to come up with what one might call a "really good post" for today. Hence I have resorted to a Blogthings Quiz to help fill in the gaps!

You Sometimes Don't Get Enough Sleep

You're often more tired than you'd like, and you're probably not getting enough quality sleep.
Sleeping a little more could make you a lot more energetic and happy.
Try having a bedtime, keep your bedroom cool, and only eat fruit before bed.

Somehow I don't think I needed an Internet Quiz to figure this one out but, like I said, was looking for some quick fill today!

I know for a fact that I don't get enough sleep but it's not necessarily from a lack of trying on my end. I just flat-out don't sleep well these days and am quite sure I wake up at least a dozen or more times during the night. Every great once in awhile I will wake up in the morning and think - wow! I slept pretty good! - but that doesn't seem to happen too often. More often than not I wake up in the morning and groan while glaring at the alarm clock and wondering how many more days it is until I can sleep in!

I could've sworn I heard or read somewhere that the older you get the less sleep you need but I have yet to see that work in actual life. Maybe I'm just not old enough to need less sleep yet? Is that something that doesn't really take effect until you're 50? Or 60? Or even 70?

It probably doesn't help that I have been having some really, really strange dreams lately - the kind of dreams where you wake up and think "whatever I ate before I went to bed, I gotta remember not to have it again!" Not that I can clearly remember them as the day goes by but that's probably for the best!

Oh well, perhaps tonight I'll have some swashbuckling dreams involving Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom (yay!)

Though, with my luck, they will more likely involve Davy Jones (eww!).

What about you? Anyone have any interesting dreams they want to share?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rock On - Virtually!

If I had my life to live over again I would love to have learned to play drums and been the female equivalent of Ron Bushy, the drummer for Iron Butterfly and master of one of the best drum solos ever in rock & roll history during 2-1/2 minutes of the 1968 rock classic, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Unfortunately, I don't have my life to live over again and besides, where Amanda has been blessed with musical talent, I wasn't. Oh sure, I can tap my foot in beat with the best of them but I'm not coordinated enough to actually play an instrument. Somehow I don't think a kazoo counts! Especially not when it comes to rock bands.

It appears that the closest I am ever going to get to being a rock star is in attempting to play Guitar Hero II, the PS2 game that Amanda's friend Dan left here for awhile so that she can play while he goes to visit his mother in Florida for a few weeks. Amanda first played while visiting her brother Mike while at his house in Rhode Island for Thanksgiving and I think she drove him just as crazy as I drove her yesterday while I was trying to learn to play.

Video games have changed vastly since I was younger. Heck, I'm old enough to remember Pong which was one of the very first video arcade games ever and it didn't require a whole lot of coordination as it simply involved batting a ball back and forth across the TV screen - sort of an electronic ping-pong game. Yawn!

Guitar Hero II actually requires not only hand-eye coordination but a good sense of timing and a love for rock music as songs run the gamut from Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" to The Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" to The Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica" as well as Avenged Sevenfold's "Beast and the Harlot". Some of the songs I've heard and some I was completely lost on.

The object of the game is for the player to use a guitar peripheral (which resembles a miniature Gibson SG) to play scrolling notes by holding the corresponding fret button on the guitar neck and simultaneously pressing the strum bar. If it sounds easy, trust me - it isn't!

There are four levels you can play at - easy, medium, hard, and expert. My son Mike and Amanda's friend Dan can play quite well at the expert level; Amanda does pretty good on hard and some expert levels; Jamie does pretty well for a new player; and I am a complete hack on the easy level!

I named my band Mom (it seemed somehow appropriate) and chose Judy Nails to be my lead guitarist. In the Career mode we hit the road to play in eight different venues with the difficulty of the songs increasing along with the size of the venue. Play well and the crowd loves you while cheering and clapping but hit too many clunkers or miss too many notes and they get ugly with plenty of catcalls and boos. Even the lead singer manages to look disgusted if you screw up too badly! Needless to say, I had a pretty ticked-off lead singer for most of my sets!

After spending way too many hours at it, I did finally manage to beat the easy level and got a letter from the Death Threat Record Company welcoming me to the "big time" and suggesting I now step it up to the medium level. Uh ... no, I don't think so, I tried one song on medium and I stunk - on ice. Better that I leave the big time to the experts!

Still, it was fun and given the right setting I suppose I could almost manage to pretend that I was a rock star playing in front of my adoring fans ... until I missed too many notes and they boo'd me off the stage!

create your own slideshow

You'll notice that there are no pictures of me actually playing the game as I prefer not to further embarrass myself by showing you what intense concentration it required for me to just conquer the easy level. Instead you get pictures of Amanda laying down video licks while playing Anthrax's "Madhouse" at the expert level - show off! Maybe someday they'll make "Drum Hero" and then I can show these kids how it's done! Maybe ...

I Have Been Honored - Twice

Every great once in awhile I will get an email that just surprises the heck out of me -and no, I don't mean the ones where some lawyer from England writes to tell me that I've won the lottery or some such garbage! I mean the ones that make you smile, the ones that come from a friend you might not have heard from in awhile, or the ones that make you feel like maybe, just maybe, you're doing something right.

I got one such email last night from Judd Corizan of The Rising Blogger informing me that I had been awarded the Rising Blogger Post of the Day for my recent post titled Again. Always. and I am just beyond thrilled by this honor.

The Rising Blogger is a fairly new site that awards posts, not blogs, and Judd went on to tell me "You have won this award because we truly feel you deserve it. Great post, good job!" When I went over to The Rising Blogger to read the post that was written about my award I was even more honored by what was said there. Thank you so very much for this honor, it really means a lot!

Speaking of honors, awhile back I was awarded The Thinking Blogger Award by not just Joan of The Erstwhile Librarian but also Akelamalu of Everything and Nothing. I was equally honored that these two ladies felt that I wrote well enough to actually make them think about things and I sincerely apologize for not writing a post about it sooner.

I am flattered and humbled by both of these awards and I thank each and every one of you who take the time out of their day to read what I post here. It means a lot to me to know that what I write is well received. To everyone who leaves a comment, I send out an extra thank you - I really do appreciate every single one of them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to add these fantastic awards to my massive sidebar that Ed over at The Pisstakers likes to crack on me about!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I've Got a Question, You've Got an Answer

As summer descends upon us thoughts turn to one of the greatest pleasures of long, hot, lazy days ... no, not lounging poolside with a cool drink complete with a fancy little umbrella (though that's good, too) but ice cream!

Being the stodgy New Englander that I am, I have always been a vanilla kinda gal when it comes to trips to the local Dairy Queen but I will branch out to something more creative when it comes to picking something out of the freezer section at the grocery store. Scanning the choices this week I found a new flavor that just screams summer! - Turkey Hill's Southern Lemon Pie. Mmm-mmm-mmm-good! And the best part is that the girls don't seem to like it so it's mine, mine, all mine - bwaahaahaahaa! Well, at least until the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge is gone and the Southern Lemon Pie is the only thing left in the freezer, at which point it will become an empty box and nothing but a tasty memory!

Dig into your own tasty memories for the answer to this week's question:

What's your favorite ice cream??

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

THIS is one of the reasons I worry ...


I subscribe to a website called Police Link and as part of that, I get Line of Duty Death Notifications in my email box on an extremely way-too-frequent basis. This is the one I got today and this is why I worry not just about Patrol Officers but Sergeants, Lieutenants, and on up. As a police officer, you are never out of danger no matter how high your rank.

Chief of Police Randy Lacy
Clay City Police Department

End of Watch: Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Biographical Info
Age: 55
Tour of Duty: 23 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: In custody

Chief Lacy was shot and killed by a prisoner who was sitting in the back seat of his patrol car.
Chief Lacy was transporting a suspect that had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The prisoner was able to produce a gun and shot the chief in the back of the head.
The suspect was taken into custody following the shooting.
Chief Lacy had served as a law enforcement officer for 23 years, and had served as the Chief of Police in Clay City for three years.

Rest in peace, Chief Lacy; and to anyone and everyone out there who serves the public in an emergency capacity - from police to fire to EMS to our military - take care and stay safe. Please.

Eight Things I Know

Another good meme has been making its way through the Blogosphere and I was tagged for it by Jamie of Duward Discussion. This one is called "Eight Things I Know" and, from what I can gather, it can be about any eight things that the writer knows.

Jamie's post is excellently written, as always, and has some very good "life lessons" that we could all learn from. Sandee over at Comedy+ also wrote a great post on the eight things she knows and brought to light a lot of really good blogs.

After reading the posts by those two ladies, I wasn't sure what direction to take this in and then decided that since I was on a "dispatch" kick these past few days that I would write about eight things I know when it comes to dispatchers.

Eight Things I Know About Dispatchers (from years of experience!):
  1. A dispatcher has the bladder capacity of 5 people
  2. A dispatcher can talk on the phone, listen to the radio, and type a request into the computer at the same time without missing anything
  3. A dispatcher can tell a 10-minute story over a two-hour time period after many interruptions without losing his or her place; or, he or she can follow a story told in like manner
  4. A dispatcher sees stress as a normal state of life
  5. A dispatcher refuses to allow anyone to say "Have a quiet shift."
  6. A dispatcher views caffeine as one of the major nutritional minerals
  7. A dispatcher has answered his or her phone at home at least once with, "911, what is your emergency?"
  8. A dispatcher can only tell time with a 24-hour clock, as in, "Yes, I have an appointment at 1430."
As a bonus 9th thing I know about dispatchers - no matter how long ago you stopped being a dispatcher, most of these things will always apply - guaranteed!

I'm not going to specifically tag anyone as I did that the other day with the Eight Random Facts meme but if you'd like to play along, I'd love to read it on your blog! Let me know in the comments section if you wrote a post or, if you'd like, leave me eight things you know for a comment. After all, the more you know the more I know, too!

Wordless Wednesday - Circa 1986

Explanation in the first comment!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Again. Always.

I am a worrier. Not sure if I've ever mentioned that in any of my previous posts but suffice it to say that I am one of those people who manages to worry about everything and anything. I swear it's turning my hair gray quicker than I would like but alas, I have not been able to find the "off" switch.

I worry about finances, I worry about the girls, I worry about throwing out my back, I worry about the constant pain that has begun invading my left leg, I worry about the bills, I worry about my mother, I worry about whether I'm ever going to be able to retire, I worry that I am going to grow old and die alone, I worry that Hillary Clinton may actually be elected President, I worry about what to make for dinner ... I worry about a veritable cornucopia of craziness while I'm trying to fall asleep at night and then I worry about the fact that I've been lying there for over an hour, I'm still awake, and I have to get up in less than 6 hours!

Now I have one more thing to add to my list of worries thanks to my good friend Miz Cyn (she of the post below this). We were having one of our fairly regular long distance chats last evening when she told me that she had run across an article in the local fishwrap newspaper regarding police response to a fight in a large crowd this past Friday evening in her hometown of Stockton, California.

Stockton, sadly, has a pretty high crime rate though it has come down in some areas in recent years. In a recent blog post by Michael Fitzgerald, Metro Columnist for the Stockton Record, he stated that:
"Homicide – murder – is down almost 10 percent over 2005. Rape is down. Aggravated assault, which put Stockton in the Hall of Shame in 2004 and ’05, when the city suffered the state’s worst rate, is down 2.4 percent. On the other hand – a hand with sticky fingers – Burglary is up 11.7 percent. Robbery is up 11.9 percent."
All in all, Stockton is no longer #1 in the State for crime but has been bumped down to #2 and replaced by Oakland. Good news but not exactly grounds for releasing the pigeons and resting on one's laurels. Rather that means that the police need to continue to work hard at fighting crime and can't really afford to relax their guard.

Stockton had definite crime problems when I packed up the UHaul (well, Hertz-Penske truck actually) along with my 6-year old son and headed East. Unfortunately, when I packed up that truck there were certain items that I couldn't take with me - items in the form of people I cared about such as the aforementioned Miz Cyn and her family, Grandma Edith (my beloved grandmother-in-law from my first marriage), and some people that I still really cared about at the Stockton Police Department where I had dispatched for almost three years before turning in my headset.

I was one of those dispatchers that honestly cared about the people on the other side of the microphone and that made my job that much harder because I was sending men and women I truly cared about into some very scary situations from time to time. For every brave cop out there patrolling his or her beat, there is a very nervous dispatcher sitting on the other side of a console hoping and praying that every one of them comes home healthy and accounted for at the end of his or her watch. I was that dispatcher on many a 5 pm to 3 am shift and I continued to be that dispatcher even when I was no longer dispatching. Once a dispatcher, always a dispatcher ...

At any rate, you're probably asking yourself what on earth events of 20 years ago have to do with the here-and-now and what it said in that article that has me adding to my list of worries. Either that or you're bored to tears and are just continuing to read to be polite! Well, here's the thing - it wasn't so much what was in the article but who they quoted in the article.

Shortly after I began dispatching at SPD, I met a patrol officer who became very special to me. I probably worried about him more than I worried about the others (okay, I admit it, we dispatchers have favorites) and I'd say a special prayer for him each shift. After I left California he continued on at SPD and eventually was promoted to Sergeant while I continued to worry about him always afraid that I would someday get a phone call from Cyndi with the worst news I could have heard. Thankfully I never got that call though I did get a call about another dear friend, Timmy White, who died after being beaten by a suspect with his own flashlight following a foot pursuit. Timmy was a Patrol Sergeant, too. Obviously there was reason for worry; Stockton was not a nice place at times.

After spending a few years as a Patrol Sergeant, my favorite cop became a Detective Sergeant which took him off the road and out of the "direct line of fire" and I was able to relax a little bit. That's not to say that Detectives aren't in danger, too, but as a Detective Sergeant he was mostly patrolling his desk and the paperwork that constantly came across it. I wasn't too worried about a fatal paper-cut or an occasional stapler accident!

Well, now it seems that I am back to worrying as he has now been promoted to Lieutenant (a position I distinctly remember him saying he never wanted) and is back out on the streets with the Patrol Division. It was he that was quoted in the aforementioned article. The man is once again out there with the bad guys with the guns and the knives and Lord knows what else gangs are arming themselves with these days. Granted, he's not patrolling a particular beat and probably spends most of his time behind the Watch Commander's desk as opposed to the wheel of a cruiser but still ... I worry. Again. Always.

I wish I could tell him congratulations on what I'm sure was a well-deserved promotion and to please, please, please be careful but, due to reasons I won't/can't go into here, we haven't spoken in years. I hate that. It sucks. All I can do is worry and say a little prayer. Again. Always.