Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zelda and a Zenith Moment

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
―    Zelda Fitzgerald

I’m late to a very important date with Z.  It’s been difficult because I wanted to do something nice with Z.  It’s such an underrated letter, yet it endures its position at the end of the alphabet with a quite elegance, waiting, knowing it will be the last letter heard.  It will be the enigma of alphabet and word challenges.  Z knows it's not like the other letters.  It doesn't even try. 
I think one of the reasons I was having trouble with Z was I was relating too much to it.   This past weekend was Jazz Festival in New Orleans. All my friends seemed to be going but nobody asked me. In the past we always went, but as people get married, start dating, they want to go with spouses or significant others, or they have to stay home with kids. It's not their fault. It's just what it is. Not only did nobody ask me to go with them I had to work Saturday and Sunday, resulting in me going to work 12 days in a row. Then, a coworker asked me what was I waiting for when I said I wasn't worried about getting married, like something was wrong with me.  (I loathe that question!)
Feel sorry for me? Don't. I only felt sorry for as long as it took to think about it. My Zenith moment was this: I'm not waiting for anything.  And as I took in a play and dinner out, I realized people think wrong.  I'm not alone. People miss out getting to spend time with me. I felt sorry for them as I had a lot of fun talking to strangers, peeking in a Hot L in Baltimore, and enjoying a tuna steak presented to me by a really cute waiter. (young men serving me seem to be a weakness of mine.)

I don't want to live. I want to love first and live incidentally.--Zelda F.

I love this of ZSF.  She looks confident and ready.
Another Zenith with Z was finding—again—Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. For those who don’t know she was a writer in the early 1900’s and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I know we’d read of her in class, but only in passing, a mention of the “crazy wife of F. Scott.  On now to The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises.”
Wait, slow down! I want to know more.  I feel cheated.  So, I’ve found this new novel about Zelda.  It’s called Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.   I’m excited to start it.  I’ve been scanning articles about her and wonder why in school we didn’t get to learn more about such an interesting woman who obviously influenced one who’s considered a significant author of the 20th century.  I say obviously because how could she not?
Like the letter that begins her name, Zelda seems to have been delegated to the end, waiting with a quiet elegance…how horrible would she find this!  A woman who lived to love and loved to live. 

I hate a room without an open all seems so permanent.--Zelda F.

Others find Z to be useless, difficult, or elusive, but that's only because Z's a strong letter that intimidates others with it's confidence and uniqueness.   The letter Z for me has been a letter of discovery, of encouragement. Z came just when I needed it.  Z is my reward for being patient and hanging in to the end.  Z is meeting new people and rediscovering old.

She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring--Zelda F.

Z is at the end because it's the best saved for last and challenges me to make this not an ending but a new beginning...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yersinia Pestis--ICD-9 078.2

“I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.”

You have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Yersinia pestis but you probably know it by another name:  The Plague or the Black Death. 
Yersinia pestis is a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas.  According to the CDC, Y. pestis infects an average of 5 to 15 people in the United States a year.  The World Health Organization reports anywhere from 1000 to 3000 cases a year. 
There are three types:
  • bubonic--characterized by painful, swollen lymph nodes
  • pnuemonic--characterized by high fever, cough, bloody sputum, and difficulty breathing
  • septicemic--characterized by fever and GI symptoms
Y. pestis is treatable by current antibiotics, but delay in seeking treatment and in diagnosing can be fatal.  In the U.S. 14% of Y. pestis cases result in death.  50-60 % of untreated bubonic plague and nearly 100% of untreated septicemic plague is fatal.
Plague is a word meaning any worldwide calamity, especially seen as divine retribution, as in the Egyptian plagues described in the Bible.  It also can mean any epidemic, usually fatal, disease. The Plague usually indicates the one believed to be caused by Y. pestis.  In the 1300's The Plague spread throughout Europe, killed anywhere from 50 to 250 million people.  This is the Black Death that most are familiar with.  There were actually three major pandemic episodes:
  • The Justinian Plague beginning in 541 a.d. and spanning over 200 years, killing up to 100 million people in the Mediterranean basin, virtually all of the known world at that time.
  • The Black Death--beginning in 1334 in China and spreading to Europe by traders and soldiers, killing over 60% of the European population.
  • The Modern Plague--beginning in China in the 1860's. (what's with China and all these pests?)  In the 20 years it spread, scientists discovered the bacteria, where it came from, and how to stop the spread.  Go Science!

How about some Fun Facts about that wild and crazy Yersinia?
    Plague Doctor
  • Yersinia pestis is huge, measuring in at 1.2 microns in length. That's like 0.000047244 inches, for us Americans, or one millionth of a meter.
  • The swollen node in bubonic plague is called a bubo, not to be confused with Bilbo, a character in the Hobbit, and LOTR (incidentally a movie in which Sean Bean dies)
  • Cats are highly susceptible and are a common source of human transmission through bites, scratches, coughing, and of course, fleas.  Dogs aren't so susceptible, but still can get sick.  So the answer? Get a fish. 
  • In the 1300's the Plague was thought to be punishment from God on sinners, or by the Jews to destroy Christians.  This quote from The Plague comes to mind:  “stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves”  ― Albert Camus, The Plague  (not that Christians haven't had their share of blame for things)  
  • The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosy is thought by many to describe the progression of infection and death from the plague. Just what are we teaching our children?
  • There is an upside to the pandemic.  Due to high labor shortages people had to get creative resulting in economic, social, and technological advances, helping to usher in the Renaissance.  Funny what happens when there's no FEMA or government interference.
  • Cologne was first used in the 1300s to cover up the smells from not bathing or changing clothes, which was common practice because it was thought to be a sign of vanity inviting more wrath from God and opening pores so bad air could enter and exit the body and spread disease.  Brittany Spears or Justin Bieber would probably kill or scare it away. 
  • Many TV shows and movies have used the Plague as a plot device, including NCIS, in which Agent Tony DiNozzo was infected with a letter laced with the Plague.  Everyone got to wear cool hazmat suits.  (SWAK, season 2, episode 22)
  • In the 2010 movie Black Death, Sean Bean would've died from the Plague if he hadn't been ripped apart by horses first. Oh, what?  You can't possibly think I spoiled the movie for you.  I mean, it's not if he's going to die, but how.  I must say, I wouldn't have guessed quartered.
  • Many doctors believed that bad smells could drive out the plague. As a result, some of the treatment for the disease included dung and urine, as well as other ingredients that were more likely to spread disease than to cure it. Once again, I refer back to Justin and Brittany. That acutally might have worked.
  • The Plague, by Albert Camus, has some interesting quotes and really is an interesting novel.
  • Yersinia is an interesting word.  I'm looking for someone naming their kid that.  I mean, people already call their kids pests, right? 
“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.”
Albert Camus, The Plague

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Liebster: an award, a responsibility, an excuse not to do housework

Like the elusive Flying Dutchman, so are the origins of the Liebster Award.  I've found that it's a German word meaning sweetheart or favorite.  But, beyond that? 
So, The Armchair Squid gave me this award. I am flattered and humbled and glad not to be mopping floors. But, as we all know, with great awards come great responsibility.  Like the Miss America award, the Liebster isn't just something you put on the mantel to hold ashes. You share it with others, you become a representative, you have to pay it forward. You just don't get a fancy tiara to wear, unless you go buy yourself one.
But, I am up to the challenge...I hope.  I did some strength training: research, first drafting, editing, re-editing, caffeine loading, napping in the  hammock, watching White Collar and Sean Bean death scenes.  Now, I think I'm ready. 
I'm never one to follow rules, but in researching this I found that the rule seems to be change the rules. So, I will follow the rules set out before me as in following the rules I am breaking them.
The rules of 11 are as follows:
  • supply 11 fun facts about myself
  • answer 11 questions asked by Armchair
  • award 11 bloggers
  • ask for 11 fun facts about them and 11 new questions
Eleven Fun Facts
  1. I prefer hockey over golf, but I'm a big fan of golfers.
  2. I'm especially fond of performing classical music, especially that rebel Mozart.
  3. I love Pediatric medicine but undecided on having kids of my own. 
  4. I don't know why certain men attract me as they most often go against my Christian upbringing. Maybe it's my Hosea complex.
  5. I'm not a fan of any alcoholic beverage...especially beer. Yuck!
  6. I'd rather be outside than in.
  7. I used to be the tallest person in my class.  Now I'm the shortest.
  8. I'm a true crime addict. One of my favorites is John Douglas.
  9. Blue is my favorite color.
  10. My two favorite patient types are psych and cardiac--pedi of course.
  11. Facebook makes me crazy. 
Eleven answers to Eleven Questions
1. If you could live one year of your life again, which would you choose and why?
      My fifth year.  I got a birthday crown from my kindergarten teacher.  It set the tone for the whole year. Awesome!
2. If you could be good or better at one thing without putting in the time and work, what would it be?—playing guitar.
3. You've been invited to join a bowling league and you may choose any five people to be on your team. There's just one catch: you can only pick fictional characters. Whom would you choose?
       Death (of the Endless), Harry Dresden, Darth Vader, Spiderman, and Donna Paulsen (I'm pretty sure they're all fictional)
4. How do you really feel about pears?---Why, what have you heard? 
5. How do you feel about the metric system?---It was just a fling.  It didn't mean anything.  Inches and I really want to make it work.
6. The Doctor knocks on your door. He'll take you to visit any place on Earth at any point in history (he always seems to make the choices with interstellar travel). Where and when do you choose?  Back in the days of Queen Maeve of Ireland.  Don't say she's just a legend.  The Doctor can make her real.  He's got the Tardis.  They're all-powerful. 
7. If you could learn any new language, which would you choose?   Shiriiwook
8. You have one personal quality which eventually annoys everyone in your life including, on occasion, yourself. What is it and do you feel it's within your power to change it?  Precognitive mind reading. It works everyone's nerves.  I drink coffee--lots of coffee--- to slow it down, but it never really stops.  (PMR is knowing what someone's going to say or think before they do)
9. If you knew when you were younger what you'd be doing with your life now, how might you have planned things differently? Do you think your life would truly be better overall if you had?  Seriously, the only thing I'd change is maybe be married and figure out how to acquire magical powers, but I don't know that it could get better than this.  I'm pretty much doing what I planned.
10. If all went south and you had to turn to a life of crime (assuming you haven't already), what line of dirty work would you choose?  Professional thief hiding out as lead guitar in a rock band.
11. How do you get your geek on?   My geek is religious history, criminal psychology, and fantasy (as in wizards and elves).  Tech guys have their gadgets.  I have my supernatural aberrant behavior in the name of God.
Eleven Questions for Eleven Victims...I mean, Awardees
  1. What did you do on your favorite birthday?
  2. If you were held captive, what kind of Duck tape would you want to be taped up with?
  3. What is your favorite city or town?  Why?
  4. If it were possible, would you be taller or shorter than you are now?
  5. Do you prefer tennis shoes or heels?
  6. Which of Neil Gaimen's Endless do you most relate to?  see The Endless for details if needed.
  7. If you could be a color which would it be?  Why?
  8. Espresso or regular roast coffee?
  9. You're a white collar criminal.  What is your crime?
  10. What fictional character would be a good leader for your country?  Why?
  11. In a spouse--whether you're married or not--what trait is most important to you? 
And the most important part:  The Award goes to
The Incurable Itch
The Coffe Lady
Gospel-Driven Disciples
Tales of the Rock
Boots and Blue Stockings
Fictitious Amo
A Creative Exercise
Have You Heard?
Rabbit Trails
Ordinary Never Sleeps

These are just a few of the blogs I've found in the A to Z challenge.  Except The Incurable Itch. Linda's a writing group buddy.  Even if I haven't always commented, I've enjoyed visiting and revisiting their sites this month.  They are worth the effort of stopping by. 
For the nominees: there's no penalty for not answering the questions and sending the award on. Nobody will visit your home.  But as the A to Z is winding down maybe it will help the alphabet withdrawls? 
Either way, we're all winners! 
Thanks to Armchair for the nomination.'re it..


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanadu Lost

 Rivers without names, oceans unchecked
rushing from under ground, wild, untamed purity
carrying to stand in Pleasure Dome,
drunk on milk of Paradise, sated on honey-dew.
It was once mine, inside of me. My home.
From beyond an echo stirs, ancestral voices crying out for war
I did not ask for, enemy I never wronged.
I'm not leader, singer, minstrel, poet. My words are poison to the soul.  Honey bitter, sour milk, my lost Xanadu haunting once pleasant dreams.
Nothing left to hold, shadows faking light. "No reality, nothing here to see"--words spoken without substance or form. Caves of ice melt into stone.  Trapped inside my mind, prisoner of Paradise.
How did poetry go so wrong? When did the tune leave the song?
What's it all about? Did we misplace our faith hoping for too much?
Drunk on the milk of Paradise, sated by honey-dew,
prisoner of dreams lost in Xanadu.

author's note:  see also Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan and Rush's song Xanadu

Friday, April 26, 2013


Wahoo | Acanthocybium solandri photo

Wahoo is one of my favorite words.  It's a happy sounding word I use to express excitment. 

But did you know:

  • The name Wahoo is Native American, applied to any small bush or shrub?
  •  Wahoo is a plant with medicinal properties, including cardiac and gastrointestinal effects.
  • Wahoo is a city in Saunders County, Nebraska?
  • Chief Wahoo is the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team?
  • The Wahoo KICKR is a fitness training bike?
  • Wahoo! is a grill in Decatur, Georgia?
  • At University of Virginia, the mascot is often referred to as a Wahoo
  • The USS Wahoo was a Naval submarine sunk in 1943 during WWII?
  • Wahoo is a brand of boats?
  • Wahoo is a fish found in tropical and subtropical areas?  (This means you can fish for it off the Louisiana coast. Have to do that sometime.)
  • Wahoo McDaniel was an American footbal player and professional wrestler? 
  • Who wouldn't want to go to the First Baptist Church of Wahoo in Florida?

Who knew Wahoo was so much more?
Do you know any more fun facts about this great word? 

Wahoo! only three more posts to go...X,Y,Z.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victims Voices

You don’t remember me.
You remember Ted Bundy, Charles Whitman, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh. Tsarnaev has become a household photo on every news show and will soon join the list.   You analyze them.  You make them antiheros, celebrities, prison pen pals. You sell their movie rights.
Without me, you wouldn’t even care about their names.
Before I was Victim #5 I was Cynthia Hinds.  When you could still recognize me I was Gloria Davy.  I once had the face of Mary Ann Jordan.  I hadn’t even started high school as Samuel Stapleton.  As Josephine Otero I would never experience middle school. I am over two thousand in the Twin Towers.  I’m buried in Oklahoma and Boston.  I was at the UT-Austin Bell Tower.  I’m too numerous to name.
I’m the one who deserves recollection.  I’m the one who suffered, fought, prayed, and did not go quietly.   I’m the one who gave you evidence to find the one who killed me. I crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania.  I’m the face that keeps the fascination from becoming less than human.
They aren’t worthy of their notoriety. What they did is nothing compared to what I could’ve been: healer, lover, artist, scientist, mother, father, grandparent.  The world is a poorer place without me.
When you look at them with wonder, will you remember me? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 On E-day we met Erik Shepherd, newest addition to the James Gang.  Via text Creating Wordlenik caught up with Mr. James to see how things were going.  This is what he had to say: 
Wow, I've been here 26 days now!  Where did the time go?  For the most part it's been great.  Bath's are the best, so warm and relaxing, getting the spit and drool off me.  And, waking the parents up every 1-2 hours is amusing. 
Speaking of amusing, everything I do makes people laugh.  Cross eyes, stretch, coo, spit up--doesn't matter.  They go into hysterics.  Except at 2 am.  I haven't found anything they find amusing at 2 am, but not giving up.  Sleeping is so overrated.  I mean, what's this deal with bedtime?  Bedtime is when I say it is. 
So, are there any negatives?  Gas, for sure.  Having anything clipped, tongue or otherwise.  The most frustrating thing is when I do get to sleep, my passy falls out of my mouth and wakes me up.  Why does it do that when it knows I HATE that!
Looking forward to more adventures as life continues.  Heard about a few cool things I'm excited to try: solid food, juice, church nursery, crawling, being lead guitarist in a rock band,watching the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Let me just say, Michael and Mandy make terrific parents, but Grandparents Rock! They love to hold you and talk to you all the time, and I heard they can't tell you No.  How awesome is that? 
Advice for those younger?  Well, expect some frustration--even anger--with mom or dad when they aren't acting the way you prefer.  So, scream louder---it makes them move faster!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two for T-Tuesday.

Table for One

"Is anyone using this chair?"  he asked, putting his hands on the back of it.
"No.  Take them all, I only need this one,"  she patted the chair she was sitting in. 
"Really?"  he sounded surprised. "Okay."  But he took just the one.  She watched the group he joined. They were laughing, talking, eating, enjoying being together. After a few moments he came back.
"You know, you could bring your chair to our table."
"Not now.  Maybe later?"
She finished her firecracker shrimp, unconcerned. 

T is also for Travis, our Terrific Waiter at Nona Blue.  He Totally Rocked with his suggestions for Firecracker Shrimp and G-Mac and Cheese, Though he probably Thought Twice when the crazy girls started pouring beer on a bracelet in the salad bowl. (see S post) He didn't Tattle, though, and Tallied a good Tip. 

Monday, April 22, 2013


I have this #9 Mike Modano hockey jersey.  Every time I wore it during his time with the Stars they played poorly.  So, I hung it up and didn't touch it until Mike retired.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem the bad luck ended with his career and I'm worried I might not ever get to actually wear the jersey during hockey season.  I'm looking for a ritual to lift the curse. At least I have my Ed Belfour goalie jersey. It doesn't seem to effect things one way or another.
I also have a formerly cursed bracelet which seems to effect Graeme McDowell's play.  I love this bracelet and sometimes wear it even though I know it might have a negative impact.  On the plus side, I say formerly because I seem to have found the cure.  I was in Orlando last week and was at Graeme's restaurant.  My friend was drinking a Guinness when I got this idea.  We bought a Guinness Black--thinking the dark would be stronger against dark mojo--and poured it over the bracelet , said a few words, and let it soak for a while.  Then we dumped the beer. It did tarnish the copper a bit, but the bracelet still looks good.
Ok, so did we really believe we were lifting the curse off a bracelet?  No, it was just us being silly. 
But then, Sunday Graeme did win his first major this season.  It's hard to argue with that, right?
Superstitions are weird, because rationally we know we really aren't doing anything special to effect an outcome, but we can't help ourselves.  We wear the lucky shirt to the interview.  We don't say  "it's quiet" on a shift.  We avoid ladders and get nervous when a mirror breaks.  Some have history, some don't make any sense.  Maybe it's about control.  Who knows?  It's where rationality meets magic.
It's what's making me wonder how much beer it takes to soak a hockey jersey.

You know you have superstitions.  What are some that come to mind? Why do you think you have them? 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Roy Kesey: Review (sort of) of a Reading

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Roy Kesey at McNeese State University last Saturday night. I enjoyed the stories and the commentary and was looking forward to meeting Mr. Kesey when it was all done.  Unfortunately I did not get that privilege.  No, he’s not a snob who thinks he’s too good for his audience.  At least, that’s not the impression I got from the reading.  In fact, he seemed gracious and willing to converse. 
No, the reason was I need better friends.
A friend was supposed to go with me to the reading, but she stood me up for what she considered a better offer.  I told her he could come, too, but she just laughed.  Well, I’m no stranger to going places by myself so I went anyway.  It was fabulous.   I was enjoying Mr. Kesey’s recounting of a time where  he ended up on a roof with a guy and a pistol with the orders “shoot whatever comes in the driveway”  when my phone vibrates.  I ignore it.  It vibrates again.  Then I have texts.  So, I pull it out.  It’s my friend—I’ll call her Jane.
            To sum up: apparently boy I got stood up for ran over a puppy in the road—or it may have been a cat. He wouldn’t turn around and let Jane check on the animal.  So now Jane was in the ladies’ room at Darrel’s Sports Bar wanting me to come get her because she obviously can’t stay with a man who wasn’t worried about a puppy--or cat.  I told her I was at the reading and couldn’t and she said oh, you went by yourself? 
            Well, yeah, since someone stood me up.
           But, she sounds distressed and I'm a generally nice person who likes most animals, so I can't say no.   I wait to find out what happens to the Sea Monkey scheme before leaving, though.
            So, I get to Darrel’s and go to the ladies’ room.  The only person in there is a transvestite. “Have you seen a girl in here recently?” I ask.
            “You mean, cute little thing with a Tinkerbelle haircut and gorgeous pumps?”  Sounds like Jane so I nod.  “She was crying and then a guy knocks on the door, said something about a possum and then she left” 
            So, I text Jane as I go out.  No answer, but I see her at the bar with some guy.  “Hey, what’s the deal?” I ask.
            “Oh, turns out it was a possum, so we’re good.”  She answers.  She turns back to some guy.
            My answer?  “Oh, no, ma’am.” I pull her by the arm off the stool.  He’s putting a twenty on the bar and pauses when I grab his date.  I take it too.  “You made me leave a very good reading and I missed meeting the author.  So, you will go home.”  I’m pulling her out of the bar. We pass the transvestite on the way.  I hand him the twenty and say “Thanks for the tip.”  He gives me a thumbs up. Some guy is following at what he probably considers a safe distance. 
            “But, we’re…”
            “I don’t care.  I will take you home all despondent and then you will put on your old PJ’s and get a bottle of wine to cry into while you watch one of those awful chick-flicks you like.”
            “No,” I say as I push her into the passenger side of my Avalanche. She doesn’t say a word as we drive.  Her house is only ten minutes from Darrel’s.  I follow her in and make sure she complies with PJ’s and wine.  “Here.”   I toss Titanic to her.  “Now, I don’t care what else you do.”
            I left her staring at me.  Her date was pulling in the driveway as I was pulling out.  I couldn’t help but think “Shoot everything that comes in the driveway.” 

            I’m inclined to think that for Roy Kesey this wouldn’t even be a remarkable occurrence, if  Cochlear, a short story he read, is any indication.  He has a new collection of short stories, Any Deadly Thing, that’s worth checking out.  I’ve read a few and they are fun and different.  If they are any indication the other collections and novel will also end up on my reading list.  Check him out here:   Roy Kesey   (hint: click on the bee)

Friday, April 19, 2013


I hate to see you here
You choke behind a smile
A fake behind the fear
The queerest of the queer

                       Queer, Garbage

The word queer is a curious word with many implications.  I know, though, many of you read that and went "hey, Garbage!" 
Back in the late '90s I was watching MTV when it still played music videos and saw Shirley Manson singing Stupid Girl.  It was awesome.  I got the CD and loved every song on it. Saw them in concert not too long after and liked them even more.
I know they're a different kind of band with a different kind of attitude.  Here in Louisiana my friends often listen to the songs a say "Huh?"
However, I know I'm not alone in being a fan. 
You can watch the video--and some other great Garbage videos--here at youtube


Garbage are, from left, Steve Marker, Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, 
Butch Vig.
pict borrowed from

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pre and Probiotics

I went to an excellent talk yesterday on neutraceuticals.  For those who don't know, neutraceuticals are natural substances used as medicines--to put it in a nutshell.  So P is for Probiotics and prebiotics. 
Prebiotics are non‐digestible food ingredients that stimulate growth of probiotic organisms.  Prebotics are found in foods like asparagus, milk, and onions. 

Probiotics are non‐pathogenic bacteria normally found in the intestinal microflora.  Lactobacillis is an example of probiotcs.  Who hasn't seen Jamie Lee Curtis advertising Activia yogurt?

In our office we use probiotics in kids with diarrhea, whether chronic or illness related so it's nice to hear that probiotics have been shown to have benefits in gastroenteritis--aka stomach virus--and in immunity, including decreased number of  colds in formula fed infants. Breast milk naturally has probiotics.   They have been shown to have some benefit along with the regular therapy of H.pylori to eradicate it faster.  Probiotics may also benefit premies in prevention of necrotizing entercolitis, but have not shown benefits in short gut syndrome.  In short gut syndrome there have been some cases of lactobacillis sepsis. 

So, take your Culturelle, or Florgen, or BioGaia, or whatever your probiotic of choice is.  Or eat your yogurt.  Unless you have short gut syndrome.  But as always, check with your health care provider if any concerns, especially if you have any other health problems or are taking any medicine. 

(information summarized from talk by Teri Moser Woo, PhD, CPNP, FAANP.  She has spoken and written on various pharmaceutical topics, including a text book for nurse practitioners.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This will be short since yesterdays was so long? 
I picked Orlando because that's where my PNP conference is.
Don't know much except Mickey Mouse and Graeme McDowell live here.  But then, isn't that all you really need to know? 

Planning on eating at Nona Blue.  Any thougths that don't involve theme parks? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


      Dark brown eyes peered through binoculars from under a black silk hood and mask.  From his vantage point on the rooftop Tamoarichi could make out the outline of the Empire State Building but he wasn’t there for sightseeing.  His interest was the family in the apartment across from him. 
   How foolish, he thought, watching them prepare for bed. They didn’t bother to draw their curtains. The mother was in the master bedroom, at least closing the bathroom door.  The father carried the boy to his bed and leaned in for a goodnight hug.  Covers were tucked in.
     Tamoarichi gave his head a slight shake.  Those kinds of details were not important. The only thing that mattered was waiting for lights out.
      The boy’s room became dark.  Then he saw the father appear in the master bedroom, the mother in bed already.  The father turned out the light. Tamoarichi saw the silhouette of him climbing into bed next to the mother.
      Now was the time. 
      Tamoarichi stood on the ledge, judging the distance from his perch to the next rooftop. It was an easy jump. He was a dark shadow crossing silently from one roof to the other, not even visible if someone happened to look up at the right moment.
      This was what he had been trained for. He’d done it dozens of times. He was an assassin.  He was a Ninja.
      This time, though, he felt an unfamiliar anxiety as he attached the grappling hook and scaled down. Tamoarichi ignored it.  He couldn’t afford to give into emotions.
     He hung from the rope and tried the window to the boy’s room. Locked. He pulled out a glass cutter. Why this family? Why the mother and child? he wondered as he cut a hole with enough room to reach in his hand and open the latch.  
      He pushed his thoughts aside again. His was not to question.     
      The room was lit only by city lights. Tamoarichi could see the small form under the covers.  He crept towards the bed, unsheathing his katana.  A ghostly grey shown from the metal. Tamoarichi had honed it himself until the katana could split a small child without effort. Many of his counterparts had forgone the old weapons for modern poisons and firearms, but Tamoarichi favored the quiet elegance of the blade. He had followed in his master’s way.  
     His master.  The thought gave him pause. His master had recently died, a wrinkled old man ravaged by time. Tamoarichi had been at his side when the man passed. He’d heard his master’s last words spoken not in graceful wisdom, but choked out in fear and pain.
      Choose for yourself, Tamoarichi.
     His thoughts were broken by a scream. The boy had awakened and climbed out of the bed. Tamoarichi refocused on his mission, rushing towards the boy. He sliced through the air, barely grazing the child’s arm. The boy screamed again. Tamoarichi was angry with himself.
     The boy had run into the hallway. Tamoarichi followed, bringing the sword back around. He almost made it to his target when a flash distracted him.  It was followed instantly by a booming echo.  For a second he was disoriented, then realized he was on his back.  His chest was burning.  He tried to take a breath, but his lungs felt heavy. His vision was blurring.
     A shadow appeared above him.  The father was standing over him, a pistol pointed at his face. The muzzle flashed again.
     Tamoarichi’s last thoughts were this was why the Ninja did not question, for when the Ninja began to question, the Ninja died.


Monday, April 15, 2013


taken from the cover of
Sharpe's Company  
Those that critique my stories comment how death is prevalent in my writing.  I was beginning to think something was wrong with me, but perhaps my Muse is the problem.  This poem was the product of my examination of the issue.

Ode to A Continually Dying Muse
I want to write
like C.S. Lewis wrote,
to make phrases come alive,
and tell more than just words.
I want to craft a poem
studied in classes a hundred years from now
like Shelley and Browning
and those Bronte girls.
 I'd write something so magnificent
                                         if I only had a muse
                                         that whispered lines and rhymes
                                         soft in my ear.
                                         Or maybe just a picture
                                         of a muse would do---
                                         in which case
                                         I'd hang Sean Bean on my screen
                                         and inspire words anew.
                                         I doubt he'd be offended.
                                         I'm sure he's used to it by now.
                                         But if Sean's my muse
                                         then that explains why
                                         in my stories someone always
                                         seems to die. 
What inspires your writing?  What inspires your life? 

Note: I own the picture, but not the man--sigh--though I heard a rumor he might be available---again. Which brings up one final question--do you own your muse, or does your muse own you? 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Knowing Killers

I’ve been watching Hannibal—the new TV series—and while it may grow on me, right now it’s just annoying.  I know it’s way more dramatic to make a flawed character, but I don’t understand why Will Graham has to be some borderline personality which he describes as closer to autism than narcissism, or something like that.  I mean, I get that it’s difficult to think like a criminal, but you don’t have to be crazy to do it. 
It does bother me when my kids come into the office wanting to shoot or blow up something or someone.  I’ve heard some disturbing things in my practice.  But, when I sit and talk to these kids, I get it.  You should hear some of the things they say.  They’re pretty fascinating.   I wouldn’t say I’m disturbed though—just maybe a little nutty.  But then, aren’t we all? 
I’ll admit the obvious sociopaths don’t bother me as much as others.  I know I can do something about those:  call psych, admit, call the cops, CPS, whoever.  People intervene on those. 
What bothers me more are the ones I can’t intervene on because they’re not doing something classified as wrong.  Things like “Oh, he’s just like his lazy, selfish sperm donor,” and “He’s out of control.  I can’t get him to do what I want him to do.” “He’s so bad” —spoken in front of their children.  One place I really cringe is the ball parks:  football, soccer, baseball, any of them.  I want to take some of those kids home and say, “Don’t listen to them.  You’re just fine.”  What about those who decide their current family isn’t good enough?  Try helping a parent explain why mom decided that other guy is better than her kids and their dad.  Then you have those kids that never have rules enforced. "No" is a bad word to them.  Don’t ask the parents to train them in the way of considering others and delayed gratification.  You’d do better telling a serial killer to stop killing. 
I think what’s most distressing is that this is considered acceptable behavior no matter how much it hurts others, killing confidence, self-esteem, and ability to love and care.  Maybe that’s why we like to classify and label the “monsters.” That way we can feel good about ourselves and say “well, I don’t act like that” as we criticize and gossip, tearing down others.
See, it’s not so disturbing when those with true disorders act in accordance to their condition.  They are fairly predictable.  You try to anticipate and intervene early.  It’s those who are supposedly normal that bother me most.  You can’t figure out what to expect.  Their actions are more subtle and far more damaging and long lasting, especially since they’re most likely directed at those we say we love. 
I do understand Will Graham’s emotional turmoil at trying to categorize and keep a normal perspective.  Listening and looking at the worst humans do to each other is hard day in and day out.  It’s easier when we can explain it away by having some kind of sociopathy or psychopathy.  It’s harder when it comes from someone who is supposedly a “really nice, upstanding person.”
Kind of makes me wonder: Who gets to make the rules on what defines humanity? 

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Jonathan slammed open the door to his bedchamber and brushed past Maor, his personal servant.  “Your majesty, I heard what happened.  Are you okay?”  Maor picked up the robe Jonathan discarded on the floor.  Jonathan opened the wardrobe and started digging, tossing clothes out. 

“Where are they?” 
            “What?” Maor went to him.  Jonathon was like a madman. 
            “My leathers.  Do you not put things where they should be?”  Jonathan didn’t slow down.  Maor put his hand on the prince’s arm to make him stop.  He felt the muscle tremoring.   
            “They’re on the desk, Sire, where you asked me to lay them for the morning,” Maor said softly.  Jonathon looked at the servant like he was crazy, then turned to the desk.  He  pulled his tunic off as he walked to the clothes.  Instead of dressing, though, he sank into the chair next to them and put his head in his hands. 
            “He threw a spear at me.” Jonathan said. “I swore to David he was wrong.   I’m such a fool!”  Maor didn’t say anything.  He knew his prince’s moods and he’d already heard of the events at dinner from a kitchen maid.  This wasn’t a time to respond.  Jonathan abruptly stood.  “Help me get ready.  I need to warn him.”
            Again Maor remained silent as he helped Jonathan change to his archery attire.  “My father proved tonight he wants David dead.  I need to warn him.”  Now Maor understood why the prince insisted his clothes be ready for early morning.  It wasn’t for archery practice. 
“Are you crazy, Sire?  You’ve already angered your father enough to throw a spear at you.  That’s just with words.  Who knows what will happen if he finds out that you went to David and warned him?” 
“Then don’t tell him.”  Jonathan said.  “David’s my best friend.  I won’t let anybody hurt him.  Not even my father.” 
“It’s your throne your father is trying to protect.”
“What do you know of that?”  Jonathan was harsher than he meant to be.  Maor grinned at him, though, in an attempt to calm the man.
“You mean all that nonsense about the prophet saying David would take the crown away from your father so the King is out to kill him? Nothing, your majesty.  Just palace gossip is all.”
Instead of calming him, Jonathon was angrier now. First David and now his servant.  How could Jonathan have missed it?  He threw a leather glove. It landed without a sound.  The next victim of his ire was a gold wash basin.   It clanged off the wall and clattered across the floor with a more satisfying clamor.  “It seems everyone but me is privy to this information.”   Why couldn’t his father and friend allow God to bring peace between them?
Maor seemed to read his mind. He stopped the prince before the water pitcher was sacrificed.   “Your father and best friend are at odds with each other. You care about them.”
“I’d talked to my father before.  He said he wasn’t going to harm David.”
“He said what he wanted you wanted to hear.” 
“That’s what David said, too.”  Jonathon knew his father and others didn’t understand his friendship with David.  They thought him crazy for protecting the man who had taken his place as heir.  He often prayed that God would give them the faith he had.  “My father’s advisors tell me I shouldn’t be loyal to David.  They think I should be jealous for the crown.  What do you say?” 
“Me?  I’m just a humble servant.”  Maor made a show of picking up the clothes Jonathan had thrown out of the wardrobe.  It had Maor’s desired effect. Jonathan laughed at him.   
“Humble servant?  You?  But, your words are worth more than 20 court advisors.”
Maor thought for a moment before responding.  “It seems to me it’s Yahweh’s advice you should be seeking.”
Jonathan sat on the edge of his bed. Jonathan knew what God had spoken against his family.  “It’s no longer my crown, Maor.  Because of my father I have no right...”  Jonathan stopped himself.  No matter how much he trusted his servant, he wasn’t going to be disrespectful to his father and his king.
“I know, your majesty. Palace gossip, remember?”  He handed Jonathan his bow.   “I know you’re anxious, but don’t you think it might look suspicious, you practicing at night? Maybe the original plan of going out in the morning is better.” 
Jonathan wanted to hurl the man across the room.  He was irreverent and infuriating, but he was also right.  “You fool.”  Jonathan had calmed down, silently thanking Yahweh for an honest, level-headed servant.
“If I’m a fool, what does that make your advisors?”
“Useless, of course.”  No, not just servant, Jonathon thought, but friend.  One of two that Jonathan could name.  He knew the other would keep until the morning. 
“Yahweh will protect him, Sire, just like He did you tonight.  Trust in Him.”
“I know, Maor.  But He doesn’t make it easy, does He?”

 Author's Note:  I love the friendship between Jonathan and David.  I know we all hear Saul's and David's POV.  Jonathan is so interesting, though. This is a "missing scene" from the events recorded in I Samuel 19-20.