Friday, May 30, 2008

Would You Buy a Donut From This Woman?

I sure would! As a matter of fact, I'd travel to Boston to spend a day or two with Ms. Maggie Moo and that's exactly what I'm doing this weekend! Even though the forecast is calling for an 80% chance of rain in Bean Town on Saturday, that's okay by me as I'm sure we'll find something fun to do and it sure beats the heck out of spending another Saturday in dispatch answering 911 calls from hysterical mothers who have no idea how to remove a tick from their hysterical 7-year old son's neck or mothers whose child cut his hand an hour ago and doesn't have a car to get to the hospital to have it looked at even though it isn't bleeding anymore ... sigh!

Yep, I definitely need to get away for a day or two. It's been a hell of a week and I need some adult time with an adult friend in an adult city! I promise pictures when I get back!

Everyone have a great weekend! I know I'm going to! Oh, and if you haven't looked at the tree in the post below this to try to tell me what kind it is, please do so!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Return of the Tree

Back on Friday, April the 4th, I wrote a post titled If This Tree Could Talk ... and included the following picture that I took while standing underneath a tree that stands in front of the Norton Alumni Gym on the Norwich Free Academy campus where Amanda attends high school.

tree on NFA campusIn the post I had stated "I'd be willing to bet that by the time Amanda's next concert rolls around, you wouldn't be able to see a bit of the sky through the branches which will then be covered with leaves. I'll have to remember to check it out in May." It's obviously May and tonight was Amanda's next concert so before it started I took a walk over to the tree and took this picture while standing underneath it -

I was almost right as there is very little sky to be seen now that the leaves have all popped out and covered the branches so I'm going to say that I won that bet with myself. While taking the picture I couldn't remember the exact angle of my previous picture but I think I got pretty close to the one above.

height=This is what the tree looks like from a distance and - trust me - it's HUGE! You can barely see the building it stands in front of it's so BIG! If anyone out there knows trees at all, can you tell me what this one is? It's not a weeping willow, though it looks like one, and I have no clue what it is - other than big!

Stay tuned for a concert post which I'll be doing as soon as I get the video uploaded!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"I've looked at clouds from both sides now ..."

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone

So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow

It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris Wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel

As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go

And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow

It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed

Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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

It's been a rather frustrating couple of days for me what with way too many hours at work, a bit of teenage drama at home, and other things that I am not going to bore you with. Something as simple as loose cabinet knobs in the kitchen this morning were enough to just about push me over the edge. I decided to retreat to the front porch to water my overabundance of flowers and sit on the glider swing for awhile in an effort to regroup and straighten out my thoughts a bit.

While I sat there, I saw a couple of squirrels scampering amongst the trees in the woods across the street. They seemed to be playing a game of tag as they jumped from one branch to another and I rather envied them their carefree capering - they didn't need to worry about bills or teenage drama or the rising cost of gas. Maybe being a squirrel wouldn't be a bad thing?

Looking up in the sky I saw a couple of hawks floating around in the warm air currents over the river; "making lazy circles in the sky" as the song from Oklahoma! goes. I bet they weren't worrying about the next car payment, what to make for dinner, and the next upcoming 16-hour shift ... maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be a hawk either.

That's when I got to thinking about the question I want to pose for you in this post ...

If you could choose to be an animal, what would you want to be and why?
I'm not sure what the answer to that would be myself at the moment even though right now I'd like to be anybody but me. Perhaps a bird but then again maybe not as I'm scared of heights ... maybe a cat because they're independent and can stand on their own four feet regardless of the situation ... or better yet, maybe a dog so that I could be someone's loyal companion. Hmm, I think this calls for sitting on the porch with a drink and thinking about this some more while I ignore everything else ...

Insane Clowns - No Posse!

Knowing how much I totally dislike clowns and knowing that I've been losing some sleep lately, my darling daughter sent me this via email the other day just to make me smile. It did make me smile but know it's got me thinking about clowns while I'm trying to fall asleep, too, so let me tell you - my dreams have been downright weird lately! And creepy ... have I ever mentioned that I don't like clowns??

Accidents Account for Two More Line of Duty Deaths

Deputy Sheriff James ThroneThe Kern County Sheriff's Department in California lost an officer in a line of duty motor vehicle accident this past Friday, May 23rd, when Deputy Sheriff James Throne collided with another officer while both were en route to back up other deputies in a foot pursuit following a theft.

Fourteen firefighters responded to the accident that occurred around 11:35 p.m. on a highway north of Bakersfield. Deputy Throne was driving a marked patrol car without lights and siren on when he pulled into the path of fellow officer 30-year-old Deputy Doug Swanson of Bakersfield, who was driving a marked patrol car with lights and siren activated. Deputy Swanson was taken to Kern County Medical Center with multiple injuries but is expected to survive.

Sgt. Mike Dunham, supervisor for both Deputy Throne and Deputy Swanson at the Lamont Substation, who responded to the scene of the accident said “Your only thought while you’re trying to get there is ‘How are they?’ What happened or how it happened is at least secondary.” He described the mood amongst the other deputies as one of disbelief: “It’s a universal feeling that one moment everybody is thinking about the future and the next moment it’s gone.”

Deputy Throne, age 29, was a two and a half year veteran of the Kern County Sheriff's Department after previously serving with the Taft Police Department. He is survived by his wife Amanda and three sons ages 12, 10, and 7.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Sean ThomasOn Sunday, May 25th, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office in Georgia announced the death of Deputy Sheriff Michael Sean Thomas who passed away as a result of injuries sustained in an accident that occurred on April 26th. Deputy Thomas, a motorcycle patrol officer and eight-year veteran of the sheriff's department, had sustained multiple injuries when he collided with a 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck while on duty almost a month earlier. The pickup failed to yield the right of way while entering the highway and Deputy Thomas was thrown from his motorcycle when it impacted the side of the pickup truck.

Deputy Thomas was only 26 years old at the time of his death.

Please remember these young men and their family and colleagues they leave behind as well as offer up thoughts and prayers of recovery for Deputy Swanson who remains hospitalized.

Monday, May 26, 2008

“For love of country they accepted death...” - President James Garfield

“Let … no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
– General John A. Logan

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, a date that was originally set aside as a day of remembrance for those who died on active duty in our nation’s service. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day had many separate beginnings in towns all across the United States as people gathered for spontaneous or planned ceremonies to honor those who had died during our country’s Civil War.

The growing movement culminated in General John Alexander Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War), officially proclaiming the first observance of a national Decoration Day to be held on May 30th, 1868. In his General Order No. 11 that was issued on May 5th of that year in Washington D.C., General Logan proclaimed in part that:
"The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."

On that first official observation in 1868, flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery by members of The Grand Army of the Republic. Five years later, in 1873, New York became the first state to officially recognize the holiday and by 1890 the day of honor was recognized by all of the northern states. The Southern states, however, refused to acknowledge the day and chose instead to honor their dead on separate days until the end of World War I. At that time the holiday changed from honoring just those who had died during the Civil War and expanded to encompass those brave Americans who died fighting in any war or conflict. The name of the day was officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967 even though it had been called as such since 1882.

Unfortunately, in 1971, Congress changed the date of observation for Memorial Day from May 30th to the last Monday in May as part of the National Holiday Act to ensure a 3-day weekend. Shortly after that the reason for the holiday began to slip away as many Americans seemed to forget the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day – a day that was set aside to honor those who fell in service to our country and not just any and all dead or, worse yet, just an extra day to kick back and enjoy cook-outs, camp-outs, and hanging-out from work or school without any thought as to why such a day existed.

Here in Norwich the city still holds a Memorial Day parade each year with participants marching from the Cathedral of St. Patrick on Broadway to The Point at Chelsea Parade where official ceremonies will take place. It is here that one can find monuments “in solemn remembrance of those who paid the supreme sacrifice in all wars, actions, and conflicts.”

Across from the monuments at the Point, on the north end of the Great Plain - as Chelsea Parade used to be known - one can find The Soldier’s Monument which was dedicated to the 140 men from Norwich who gave their lives during the Civil War. The monument was dedicated on April 23rd, 1875 and stands as a tangible symbol of honor and respect paid by the Norwich community to its sons who died in the war. Topping the impressive 27-1/2 foot monument is a 12-foot tall soldier made of granite from nearby Westerly, Rhode Island who looks slightly down and to his left as he stands perpetual guard duty over Chelsea Parade and the nearby Norwich Free Academy grounds.

The Soldiers Monument, Norwich, CT

In another part of Norwich, at the eastern end of my favorite cemetery, stands another monument to Norwich’s Civil War dead - this time for the native sons of Norwich who perished at the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp in Georgia. At the Anderson Memorial Gun in the Yantic Cemetery one can find concentric circles of soldiers’ graves with a 30-pounder Parrot rifle mounted on an iron carriage at the center next to an American flag that flies day and night.

Of the 30 men from Norwich who were captured and interred at Andersonville, 15 died from starvation, exposure, disease, or execution. In early 1866 Norwich became the first Northern city to retrieve the bodies of its soldiers who had perished there when they brought back the remains of 9 of the 15 soldiers who could be identified. A public service for their re-interment was held on February 1st, 1866 which was preceded by the closing of local businesses and a parade then followed by an 8-course dinner at the Chelsea Hotel.

The Anderson Memorial Gun, Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, CT
Over the years, in addition to the original nine Civil War veterans from Andersonville whose gravestones carry the name of the prison where they died, 62 other soldiers have been buried at the veterans plot with the last burial occurring as late as 1925. Of those 62, seven gravestones mark the final resting places of veterans of the Spanish-American War. It is a very solemn place and whenever I visit this monument, I say a thank you to all those who repose beneath the gravestones for their service to our country and the freedoms that we oftentimes take for granted.

At 3:00 p.m. today, I ask you to join myself, and hopefully many others across the country, as we observe a National Moment of Remembrance, a movement that began in 2001 when a resolution was passed for all Americans “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’”.

At the observance of the very first Memorial Day on the sacred ground of Arlington National Cemetery on May 30th, 1868, President James A. Garfield said:
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue."
Though he spoke of our fallen Civil War dead, those words ring true for all of the men and women who have died in service to our country. The least we can do in return is give our fallen heroes a moment of silence while we enjoy the holiday they fought and died for us to have.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clouding My Vision

I've had this fixation with clouds lately and there have been some totally fascinating clouds in the skies over Norwich that have been feeding that fascination. This weekend was supposed to be one of those perfect May weekends without a cloud in the sky but, as it turned out, there were some rather interesting ones marching across the sky.

One of the best places to spot clouds is from the window in dispatch at work and even though I had initially thought about bringing my camera with me this morning, I foolishly believed the weathermen and left it at home. As I was kicking myself for not having brought it with me, I remembered that my cellphone has a fairly decent camera so I dug it out of my lunch bag (we aren't allowed to have cellphones on us in dispatch anymore due to a new policy) and snapped this picture really quick.

Absolutely beautiful clouds, aren't they? And not bad with a cellphone camera! I can only imagine, though, how nice they would be if I had one of those really nice cameras like Misty Dawn has!

Hope everyone is having a nice Memorial Day weekend and enjoying the long weekend that comes courtesy of our United States military and the men and women who served our country and gave you not only Memorial Day but the freedom to celebrate it!

Now go eat another hot dog and then go play my Pain at the Pump Meme!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pain at the Pump Meme

Here it is, Memorial Day weekend - the kick-off to summer and a time when a lot of people generally hit the road to take a much-needed end-of-winter break. Well, at least that's the way it's been in the past but I get the feeling that a lot of people had to think long and hard about hitting the road this long weekend due to the prohibitive cost of gas.

I have absolutely no plans to go anyplace this weekend what with having to work an 8-hour day Saturday, a 14-hour day Sunday, and a 12-hour day on Monday. However, I thought it might be a good idea to top off the gas in my car before prices went up any higher as the last time I put gas in I paid $3.83 a gallon. What I ended up with was this -

I've got to say I'm counting my blessings that I have a very short ride to work (about 3 miles roundtrip) because I'm able to get away with filling up about once every two weeks. I'm not sure how people who have to drive further than that are affording to put gas in their tanks while also buying groceries and paying their other bills. The worst thing is - there doesn't seem to be any end in sight and I've got no doubt that gas will either be at - or hovering around - $5 a gallon by the end of the summer.

The thought occurred to me (blogger that I am!) as I was grimacing at how fast the sale numbers were flying by while the gallons inched along that there was no reason we couldn't try to have some fun with this while biting the bullet. After all, the rising cost of gas had to be good for something other than the bank accounts of oil executives, right? Maybe I could do something creative with this? Maybe I could write a post? Maybe I could start a meme? Yes, that's it - a meme! A "Pain at the Pump" meme! Brilliant!

A meme needs some sort of rules and structure though or it's not actually a meme (at least I think that's written in the Royal Book of Meme Rules somewhere) so here we go ...
  • Rule #1 - Take a picture of the gas prices in your local area.
  • Rule #2 - Post that picture on your blog to share with other readers.
  • Rule #3 - Tag other bloggers as you like - or not! It's entirely up to you!
  • Rule #4 - If you'd be so kind, refer folks back to me at my Pain at the Pump Meme so that I can either feel envious of or sorry for people in other parts of the country/world and their cost of gas!
That seems pretty simple, right? So, when you're done barbecuing those hamburgers and hot dogs, finished eating that last bite of potato salad, and disentangled your fishing gear and put it all away until next time - join in and show us your Pain at the Pump!

For my contribution, this is what Amanda and I found while en route to the grocery store this afternoon. Made me glad I paid only $4.12 a gallon at my local Cumberland Farms!

As for tags, if you're on my sidebar consider yourself tagged and if you're not on my sidebar but stopped by to visit, consider yourself tagged, too! Or not!

Out of the Darkness and Into the Bright!

There was a time - not that long ago - when my darling daughter and wannabe artist would wear nothing but black. Black jeans, black t-shirts, black socks, black shoes, black eyeliner, black hair ... she wasn't over-the-top Goth or anything like that, she just liked black.

There was nothing to do about it except get used to the fact that if I brought her home anything that had some color to it she'd never wear it and resign myself to being the mother of a Johnny Cash clone. Which I did. It was shortly after that when Amanda changed her mind and decided that she wanted some color in her life. But not just any color ... she wanted bright colors ... very bright colors ...

Bapes shoesFor example - see these shoes? These very brightly colored shoes? These shoes that are anything but black? These are Bape Neon Green & Hot Pink Bapesta shoes and these are the shoes that Amanda wants for her birthday next month. Never heard of Bape shoes? Neither had I until yesterday when Amanda let out a squee from behind her computer in the dining room (which is running just fine since I completed the System Recovery on Tuesday - yay!). The squee was quickly followed by an alert on my Yahoo Messenger that told me an IM had arrived from the other side of the house. I clicked, I looked, I choked!

"I want those shoes!"

"You're kidding me, right?"

"No, I'm not! They're perfect!"

Perfect for what?? I wasn't really sure I wanted to know that!

A quick search of the internet uncovered that Bathing Ape clothing, who produces the lovely shoes above, was launched in 1993 in Tokyo, Japan and the brand was the first of its kind for Japanese urban/hip hop clothing. Huh? Apparently there is a huge market for urban clothing, even in Japan, so when the company decided to market shoes they took their inspiration from Nike Air Force Ones and then put their own spin on them. The goal of Bathing Ape shoes was "never to be an athletic shoe, but rather a limited sneaker that no one else would have ever seen or dreamed of." Well bravo to them as I'd have to say they got that right! I never would have dreamed of wanting a shoe that looks like this one does - never mind actually wear them out in public! A little more research revealed that these shoes are probably not authentic "Bapes", though, as they're only - gulp - $85 and the real Bapes are made in runs of 200 and less and cost upwards of - bigger gulp - $300!

Somehow, I don't believe that Amanda shall be getting a pair of genuine Bapes shoes regardless of the fact that this will be her 16th birthday and it's supposed to be special. Sorry, kiddo! Unless I win the Powerball sometime between now and the 18th of June I just can't see myself skipping the car payment to buy an expensive pair of kicks no matter how hip hop and urban they may be! However, because Amanda dares to be different I have to applaud her for having the gumption to want to stand out a bit in the crowd and I will do my best to find something a little less cost prohibitive. After all, there aren't that many urbanite hip hoppers strutting around in Norwich that one of them would put the recognize on Amanda's shoes as not being official Bapes and dime her out!

Amanda's concert outfit draftOh, and if you're wondering just what these shoes would be perfect for other than giving her band instructor yet another reason to look at her askance (he's never gotten used to her hair color!), the answer is the July 2nd Mindless Self Indulgence concert in Hartford that she's looking forward to. Apparently it's tradition for concert-goers to dress up as outlandishly as possible for these concerts in the hopes that Jimmy will pick them out of the crowd to come up on stage with the band for a bit and that's Amanda's goal. She did a quick drawing on MS Paint of the outfit she has in mind for the concert and after looking at it I can see why she said the shoes above would be perfect. After all, what better to wear with a neon green and hot pink outfit than a pair of neon green and hot pink shoes? I mean, come on, anything else might clash with her hair!

I feel so old ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meanwhile ... Back in the Bay

With no more birthdays of rocks stars to post about it's back to EMS Week and more pictures of people I work with! Even though yesterday was my day off and I normally like to spend a good part of the morning relaxing around the house and recovering from my 16-hour shift the day before, I managed to get motivated enough to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house in time to attend the EMS Week Breakfast that the managers were preparing. Not only did I want to try one of the omelettes that my supervisor had promised was going to be really good but I figured it would give me the chance to take a few more pictures. Who needs sleep when there are pictures to be taken?

As I made the short drive over to work the thought occurred to me that this blog certainly had me jumping through hoops at times - or at least jumping out of bed when I would have preferred not to! No wonder my friend Cyndi has still hesitated to really get going with her own blog - she probably wants to keep control of her life! Oh well, enough whining and on with the pictures!

These two fine upstanding gentlemen are Chris on the left, an EMT, and Pete who is a paramedic. Pete has been with American for a long time and also teaches classes in our educational department while Chris started awhile after I did and also works as a patient care technician in the Emergency Room at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

This is Bruce who is in charge of making sure everyone's paperwork is done correctly. Occasionally we have to pull him out from under the mountains of paperwork he's usually hiding beneath and put him on the road as an extra EMT when the call volume gets too high and available ambulances get too low! I figure he could use a break from paperwork from time to time but I doubt Bruce agrees as it puts him even more behind!

Jason is one of our four "white shirt" supervisors and I bet you can't guess why we call them that! In addition to being a manager, Jason is also a paramedic and has two young ones (very young ones!) at home. I took this picture during Morning Briefing which is when the crews that aren't already out on calls gather around and catch up on new policies or news.

As you can see from this picture, the crews are very excited about attending Morning Briefing! Listening intently are from left to right - Billy Jo who is a wheelchair van driver, Bruce and Pete, Andy who is an EMT that has just completed paramedic school and is in the process of testing for his certification, and Nicholas who is a very, very new employee and probably only a few years older than Amanda!

This picture is my favorite of the group and I think it's pretty easy to see why! Not only was everyone happy to pose but they got a chance to ham it up a little bit, too! Robert and Nicholas, both EMTs, are on the left with Justin and David, also EMTs, on the right. In the middle is JM who is one of my very favorite EMTs and a guy who makes me smile constantly. Not only is he ridiculously cute (they did not make guys who looked like that when I was his age!) but he has the personality to back it up. I have never once heard him complain and the patients he treats absolutely love him as he is definitely a people person. Hiding behind JM and holding his ears is Mark, one of our part-time paramedics who also works as a paramedic at the Mohegan Sun Casino. He's a little camera shy!

I know I've said it before but it bears repeating that I work with an amazing group of people at my job and I can't tell you enough how much I admire and respect them for the careers that they have undertaken. I couldn't do what they do, I wouldn't want to do what they do, but I'm glad they do it as you just never know when you or someone you love might need an ambulance.

The next group of pictures should be really interesting as I gave my camera to another of my favorite EMTs this morning with instructions to get me some good pictures to post. I have no idea what Seth is going to hand me tomorrow but I'm sure that it shall be interesting! Hope you come back to check them out!

Another "Mindless" Birthday

LynZ Birthday picture by AmandaApproximately seven years ago there was a band that was in need of a new bassist as the one they had decided to leave to become an astronaut (or was that start a family?). To that end the band held auditions in New York City where a young woman who had moved to the city from Connecticut to study art was told about the chance to try out for the band and decided to go for it. Even though her previous experience as a bassist was to simply "bang on the E string the entire time" and she had never heard of the band she was going to audition for prior to listening to a CD given to her by their manager, the young woman decided she simply had to audition to become part of the band. But what to do? How to win them over when she knew she really wasn't a very good bassist?

Not quite panicking yet, she called up a friend of hers who was a fabulous bass player to teach her the basics with the first lesson being "this is tablature" - something every guitarist knows! When she got a phone call and was given three songs to learn and an audition date, sheer terror did kick in and she came to the conclusion that there was "no way she was going to get into this band on bass talent alone" so she was going to have to do something more. At the audition the band had her play the three songs she was given through and then again a second time but she knew the audition really wasn't going very well (especially considering the guitarist wouldn't even look at her). It was time to do something to show them that even if she wasn't a very good bassist at that point, she was definitely a fantastic performer.

Knowing that there was a spot in the song Tornado where the bass dropped out completely for ten seconds, the young woman decided to pull out the stops - along with a film canister filled with Bacardi 151 rum she had stashed in her bra and matches that were hidden in her hair. When the short break in the song began she took the shot in her mouth, lit the match on the strike pad she had glued on her bass, and blew fire all over the room almost setting the entire place and the lead singer on fire! Everyone stopped what they were doing, dropped everything, looked at her with shock and delight, and it was at that moment when Lindsey, the artist from Connecticut, became Lyn-Z, the new bassist for the New York-based band Mindless Self Indulgence!

The reason I tell you this story today is to give you some background on the picture above that Amanda drew in honor of Lyn-Z's birthday - which is today. It just didn't seem right to post the picture of her holding flaming matches without giving you the reason why! You've got to admire a woman who knows what she wants and then goes out and gets it against the odds, a woman who might not have the skills of other bassists but who certainly has performing down to an art. To this day Lyn-Z has no delusions of grandeur about her place in the world of musicians but she has always had the courage to put herself out there while having a good time and a great sense of humor during the learning process. And fans of the band love her which is what really matters.

If you'd like to see a colorized version of the above picture that Amanda did, you can check it out by clicking here and if you'd like to watch the YouTube videos where Lyn-Z tells the story of her audition with Mindless Self Indulgence, you can find them here and here - though I should warn you that the language is not for those with delicate ears!

Lyn-Z - wherever you may be (Amanda tells me the band is touring in the southwest), best wishes for a very happy birthday and a fantastic year! May all your wishes come true no matter how out there they are and we're looking forward to seeing you perform in Hartford in July!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This Contest is a No-Brainer!

Enter Brain Foggles Blog Contest May 16 thru May 30
My friend Connie @ Brain Foggles is holding a contest from now through May 30th with the chance to win yourself a really nice prize - an SEO optimized Wordpress blog valued at $125. This great prize comes with the following:
  1. Hosting for one year
  2. Keyword research
  3. Advice on picking a profitable niche for the blog
  4. Complete set up of Wordpress and associated plugins
  5. Your choice of SEO Theme
  6. Technical support and continued advice through the Advisory Panel
  7. A custom header made by Lori of A Cowboy’s Wife who does some awesome work.
This is Connie's very first ever contest and she's pretty excited about it - as she should be! The contest is open to everyone regardless of where you live but you do have to be able to write in English if you want to take advantage of the advice and support. Of course, if you're here reading my blog then you probably have a pretty good grasp of the English language already or else you'd be reading nothing but a lot of gobblity-gok so I'm quite sure you've got that requirement under control! The other rules are simply as follows:
  1. Leave a comment on Connie's post announcing the contest HERE. Only one comment per person please. Please leave one comment including all that you’ve done as this will make it easier for Connie - who likes easy! (This is worth 1 entry)
  2. Fave Connie's Blog on Technorati by either looking for the green link on her sidebar or just going HERE. (This is worth 1 entry)
  3. Blog about this contest or about Connie's blog on your blog and include a link back to Brain Foggles. (This is worth 5 entries).
  4. If you include a banner in your post that’s another 1 entry. Connie has three banners for you to choose from which you can get HERE.
  5. Put up a banner for the contest on your sidebar. Choose a banner HERE. (This is worth 3 entries).
The contest will be open until Friday, May 30th, and close around 10 p.m. that night with a winner announced the following morning. If you're the winner you could have a brand new blog up and running within a day or two of winning this great prize which is perfect for anyone looking to either start a new blog or make the jump to Wordpress. The best thing is, you wouldn't be wandering around lost in the land of Wordpress on your own as this prize comes with that great technical help and support mentioned above. And who amongst us, by a show of hands please, could not use a little help and technical support from time to time? Uh-huh, that's what I thought!

Go check it out and enter Connie's first contest and tell her I sent you. You've got nothing to lose but a lot to win!

Allow Me to Introduce You to ...

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, this is National EMS Week; a time which has been set aside to say thank you to the men and women who are referred to as "first responders", a term which is used to describe the first medically-trained people to respond to - or arrive on - the scene of an emergency, accident, natural or man-made disaster, or similar event.

As an Emergency Medical Dispatcher who has been trained and certified in call-taking protocol and pre-arrival instructions for medical emergencies, I am what's called a "first" first responder as I more or less arrive on scene first via telephone, long before anyone has been started to the emergency. However, I believe that the people I send to the scene have a by-far much harder than job than I do as they have to physically deal first-hand with the suffering and/or pain of the patients they are treating. I hide behind a phone line and radio console while they're out there in the trenches doing what they do best - helping people in times of need.

The Dispatch and Scheduling Department, though, is definitely part of the EMS team as without us our EMTs and paramedics would drive around aimlessly in their ambulances waiting for a medical emergency to happen in front of them. That's not to say that this doesn't happen from time to time or that's what the crews would prefer but someone has to make them earn a paycheck and that's the job of those of us who work upstairs in the "Ivory Tower" - so called because our building is white and we're on the third floor in a part of it that does actually resemble a tower with a great view of the city though lousy air circulation as the windows don't open!

The three people above are the rest of my Monday evening shift team and I really enjoying working with them. Liz, who is known as Chica or Mamacita, is a Scheduler who takes routine phone calls from facilities for ambulance or wheelchair van transportation as well as handling the nightly paperwork and other duties. Chica is originally from Ecaudor, the mother of two gorgeous children, and teaches us all to say unrepeatable sayings in Spanish from time to time! She's assisted by Frank who is a part-time Dispatcher and Scheduler, former EMT at American (back in the day!), and currently a full-time Fire Inspector at the Mohegan Sun Casino. Frank has an extremely sharp wit and dishes out the snark just as well, if not better, than I do! His oldest daughter is the same age as Amanda so we can commiserate on the "joys" of raising teenagers! Sitting in front of Liz and Frank is Kevin, one of my Dispatch partners who also works the road as an EMT and is a volunteer for his local fire department. Kevin started out at American as an EMT, switched over to Scheduling for awhile, and then made the leap to Dispatcher. He leapt so well in fact that he was awarded Employee of the Month for February! Not bad for a guy who'd really rather be working on the railroad as he loves all kinds of trains which he takes pictures of when he isn't taking pictures of his beautiful two-year old daughter.

This is Andrew and when he isn't catching the biggest weed in the lake or saving cats from burning buildings with his brother Bob, he's doing his job as a paramedic at American or sometimes - if I'm lucky - filling in as a Dispatcher with me. Even though he's been an EMT since 1992, Andrew didn't become a paramedic until June of 2003. He was originally hired as a Dispatcher at American in December of 2000 and began medic school in 2002 after rethinking his career goals and deciding he wanted to do even more to help save lives. In addition to becoming an Associate Supervisor with the company 18 months ago, Andrew also volunteers for his local fire department where he has achieved the rank of Captain. His wife, Bethany, is the school nurse for Plainfield Memorial School and teaches both EMT and Paramedic Classes for American Professional Educational Service with courses that range from IVs to Med. Administration to Med. Math to a whole host of other skills needed by emergency medical personnel. Andrew and Bethany have two children; a son who is someday going to be scientist or astronaut and a daughter that they are going to have their hands full with when the boys come beating down their door because she's so cute!

Down in the ambulance bay is where you'll find not just the ambulances - duh! - but also the people who staff them. The three ladies pictured above are all EMTs with American. To your left is Amy whom I have mentioned many times in this blog as she is step-mom to Cate, Amanda's friend that she spends lots of weekends with. Amy started out at American as a wheelchair van driver (which was actually the first place I met her when I did my road time as a new Dispatcher) then got her EMT certification and switched over to the ambulance side of the company. Next to her is Angela, who prefers to work the overnight shifts as she attends college classes during the day. Angela is also one of my friends on Facebook and we've been known to play a game of Scrabulous or two. Next to her is Kayla, a fairly new member of the American family that looked at me like I was crazy when I asked her to pose for a picture but good-naturedly joined in even though I think she was a little leery of the whole "it's for my blog" thing!

Last but not least for this round of pictures is Amy once again with her husband Jason - the "Jason & Amy" that I refer to quite frequently! Jason was one of the very first EMTs that I met when I started at American as I spent the first two days of my "ride time" with he and Mark, another EMT. As a new Dispatcher with the company, you spend four days on the road getting a feel for what it is you're dispatching people to and I think it was a great idea as even though I was a 911 dispatcher for years, I was totally clueless when it came to emergency medical services. Jason taught me a lot of good stuff that I believe I was able to take up to Dispatch with me and utilize effectively to make me a better dispatcher. He wasn't too thrilled with the idea of posing for a picture but when I threatened him with using Halloween pictures that I have where he's wearing a mullet wig, he acquiesced and posed nicely with his lovely wife! They are a fantastic couple, great EMTs, and people I am proud to call friends. Plus they're great fun when playing "Rock Band" or "Guitar Hero"!

I hope you've enjoyed meeting just a few of the people I work with at American and I hope you'll join me in thanking them for the fantastic job they do everyday - if I wore a hat, it would be off to all of them! Now let's see who I can get pictures of for my next post!