Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What's Your Favorite Color, Baby?

BLUE & WHITE!!!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Grouchy, Disgruntled and Otherwise Unpleasant People Who Call Me at Work,

Let me start off by thanking you for calling me each day and not only wasting my time with your endless barrage of inane questions (most of which a small child could probably answer for you), but also for reminding me just how lucky I truly am to have, as they say, the sense that God gave a goat. I mean it. Each time you call I say a little prayer of gratitude that up to this point in my life I have managed not to make a fool of myself by asking such idiotic questions or treating another human being the way that you treat me.

That said, I realize that "Hospital Administrator" sounds an awful lot like "Medical Doctor" and can see how you would get those two terms confused. I understand that when you're upset the most logical thing to do is to call the first Hospital number you can find in the phone book and start yelling at whoever is lucky enough to answer the phone. This makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, why wouldn't everyone in the hospital be thoroughly familiar with your particular story and set of circumstances and able to give you exactly what you want?

I'm writing you this letter today with the hope that I can clear a few things up for you because I know how confusing everything in the medical world in general, can be. First things first, as crazy as this is, I can't write a prescription for you. I know, I know...the injustice of it all! You're preaching to the choir, baby. But I can't do it. For some silly reason the powers that be have decided not to award prescription writing privileges to anyone who doesn't have an M.D. after their name. Self-righteous exclusivists. But they make the rules and if you call and ask me to write you a Rx I will have to politely say "No." If you call back and ask again I will still say, "No," only slightly less politely because, haven't we been over this already? Now the third time you call and ask you're going to start irritating me a bit and if you're bold enough to try a fourth time...well, I don't recommend trying that fourth time. As my mom would say, "Do NOT make me tell you this again."

Next let's talk about money. Yes, I realize that I work for the CFO and yes, I realize that the "F" in that stands for Financial and in your mind, Financial = all things money. Certainly things would be much simpler if that were the case but unfortunately, here at the hospital we like to do things a little less straightforward. We have an entire Finance Department here! Crazy, huh? And on top of that, we have a whole other department that handles Patient Billing! And here's the kicker; not only are neither of those departments located in my office, one of them isn't even located in this state! You know what that means? When you call and demand that I let you talk to the CFO because you don't think you should have to pay your bill, my hands are tied. I know this is a tough one to wrap your brain around but the CFO does not actually handle any individual patient accounts. If I let you talk to him he wouldn't be able to answer your questions. Trust me on this. When I tell you you really need to call the Billing Department, I say it with all the love in the world and your best interests in mind.

(As a side note, when you do finally figure out the magical formula for absolving yourself of all financial responsibility and for getting out of paying for anything just because you don't want to, let me know. I've got a student loan that by golly, I ought not to have to pay for)!

The last thing I'd like to bring up hits a little closer to home for me. It really offends me when you call and ask me the same question over and over again and imply that you don't believe what I am telling you. Why do you call if you're not going to trust what I say? Ask yourself this; what motive would I possibly have for lying to you? You don't even believe me when I tell you things that are public information and that you could easily verify if you took fourteen seconds to look at our website. If I don't know the answer to your question I will tell you I don't know the answer and promptly set about trying to find it. But if I tell you I know something then don't question that! It hurts my feelings and makes me less inclined to be friendly to you.

In closing, I would just like to reiterate how much I appreciate our relationship and how I so look forward to your calls each day. If you should have any questions about the things we've discussed today, please feel free to give me a call (God knows you have my number).

Hugs and Kisses,

P.S. I don't care if your uncle's cousin's boyfriend said it's ok; I can't give out patient records either. Sorry.

Weekend Update

First and foremost, Finals are over. Thank goodness. Hallelujah, Amen. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for getting us through them. (And I didn't even have to take any). But seriously, I'm only slightly less excited to have them over than all the law school kids who actually had to take the things. If I had to go through one more study guide that I didn't understand a word of, I was seriously going to start looking for a very tall building...for realsies. I don't think there are awards for such things but if there were, I would definitely expect to be nominated for providing the best study snacks over that two week period. I also put myself on unofficial suicide watch during that time which thankfully, proved unnecessary.

Friday night, just as I was sitting down to watch the greatest movie ever made (don't even act like you don't know I'm talking about Gone With the Wind) my sister called to announce that SHE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, her boyfriend of seven years proposed Friday night so we've got another wedding in the near future!!! I'm so excited for them. And I can't wait to get home for Christmas now to see the rock.

Saturday morning I did what is maybe the girliest thing I could have possibly done and went to a high tea party at my friend Ashley's house. I had never been to a high tea before. In fact, I haven't been to a tea party period since I was maybe four. I had no idea what to expect but it was so much fun! She's definitely very creative when it comes to throwing parties--I'm jealous actually. She's constantly coming up with really cute ideas like that. Having never been to a high tea I made and took the only thing I was positively sure even went with tea; scones. I did blueberry-lemon and (in the spirit of the season) gingerbread. Never made scones before but I'm gonna go ahead and say I rocked these.

Sunday was church and then I spent the afternoon braving the crowds to finish the last of my Christmas shopping. Seriously, everyone and their brother was at the mall yesterday, I'm pretty sure. The good news is, I finished and more importantly, I made it out of there with all of my limbs intact and without having a nervous breakdown. I'd call it a successful mission.

Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure anyone cares all that much about what I did this weekend. Maybe I shouldn't have spent the past fifteen minutes typing all this up but well, on the off chance someone was curious about what I've been up to, now you know. You're welcome.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Read This

"The soul of the city is in the Lower 9th Ward, in the classrooms of Carver High. The school is still rebuilding, and the seniors are the first class to go to high school entirely after Katrina. Students all write the same header for their school papers. It's the same in every class, every day, every year: name, period, date, teacher. This year, they've added a new category on their own. Next to the date, the students write the Saints' record. So, today, it would be: Dec. 17, 2009. 13-0."

This is an excerpt from an article on ESPN.com about New Orleans and the Saints. Read it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Trees Part II

*Someone* has been so busy studying for finals that we just got around to getting a Christmas tree this past week. I was starting to worry that we weren't even going to have one but lo and behold, Thursday night we mustered up the energy to drag ourselves to Lowe's when I got home from work. Given the limited amount of space we have in the living room we opted for a much more petite tree than I'm used to but once we got him home and situated in the corner, I must admit he's pretty darn cute.

Meet Allan.

I named my Christmas tree Allan? You're darn right I did. The picture is a bit blurry and this is pre-ornament donning, but you get the idea. What a stud, huh? (Check out our ghetto fabulous newspaper and tree stand. We somehow managed to forget the tree skirt when we moved and decided that we like a more "rustic look anyway" so we've yet to buy a replacement. Also, I'm really cheap).

Unlike my parents lame artificial tree, Allan is the real deal. Our entire downstairs now smells like pine tree and Christmas which I happen to love.

The other thing I love about this tree?


Words of Wisdom

A ship in harbor is safe - but that's not what ships are made for.
~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

I want to GO

I'm feeling particurally restless today. More so than normal even. Either my ADD is kicking in or I'm just so sick of rain and crappy weather that I'm beside myself. I want to go to Thailand,
Italy (Rome specifically but all over really),

And back to Paris.


I have caviar (travel) tastes on a fast food budget. The good news is, if you're trying to decide what to get me for Christmas, a plane ticket would do nicely :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

So I had a personal "first" on Saturday afternoon. Driving through floodwater.

It rained off and on most of the day Saturday before really letting loose with a complete downpour around 3:30. I was at the mall probably twenty minutes from home when the deluge started and I told myself that I'd just wait it out inside where it was nice and dry. Well two hours later I was still waiting and with no signs of the rain letting up anytime soon and standing water beginning to deepen in the streets and parking lot, I decided I needed to get home.

So, I took off my shoes, rolled up my jeans and waded out to my car. You think this is an exaggeration but it's not. The parking lot was under about six inches or so of standing water...and it was elevated. The street was under about four feet.

Lucky for me the jeep sits up off the ground or there's no way I would have made it home. As it was I was driving through water up to my bumper most of the way and there was one point it was so deep I was afraid to drive through (I had to get up on the grassy median in the middle of the road and drive up there for awhile to get around the deepest parts). Traffic was a complete and utter disaster. I maintain that most people don't know how to drive in incliment weather anyway and Saturday once again proved my theory true. People in cars that sat close to the ground were out of luck but instead of pulling off to the side of the road and waiting for help, a lot of people just abandoned their cars in the middle of the road! I've never seen anything like it. Myself and the few other bravehearted (smart) souls who own SUVs and trucks who continued driving were forced to maneuver around an obstacle course of abandoned vehicles. One guy stopped right in the middle of an intersection, got out and walked off! It was nuts. I don't understand the logic there. It's not like this was moving flood water; then I would understand. This though, was standing water.

Two soggy, tension filled hours later I finally made it home. By then the poor jeep was so water logged I felt sorry for it. No water actually got in but my breaks were definitely starting to slip and I was very grateful to be home and out of the storm.

This is what it looked like when I was driving home.

What's frustrating to me is that while it did rain a lot Saturday, its not like it was a monsoon and we still flooded. Since then I've seen/read in the news that one of the biggest causes of flooding here is that the city's drainage system is so sold and outdated. The storm drains are not big enough to handle the amount of water the city takes on on a regular basis and the pumps that New Orleans has to have (since some genius decided that building a city in a hole was a good idea) aren't powerful enough to keep up. Forget hurricane season--they're not even designed to be able to drain the city when we have a big rainstorm. As one person so eloquently put it, if more than two people in New Orleans spit at the same time, it's gonna flood. Grrrrrr!
Come on New Orleans, get it together!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh Christmas Trees

I love Christmas trees but the caveat is, they absolutely have to be real, live trees. Have to be. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing festive about those artificial metal and fiberglass things that have been shaped to resemble a tree. They don't feel like a real tree and more importantly, they don't smell like a real tree.

Growing up we always had real Christmas trees. When we were little I remember stopping at a tree lot every year on our way home from my grandparent's house after Thanksgiving. More often than not those trees were still wrapped up in netting and we couldn't unwrap them lest we not be able to get it home on top of the car, so we never really knew what our tree looked like until we got it home. That was ok though. It was all part of the adventure.

When we got a little older we advanced to going to a Christmas tree farm and actually cutting down our own tree. These times are some of my best Christmas memories even though in hindsight, they also tended to be some of the more dysfunctional parts of preparing for the holidays. Leah and I always searched until we found the absolute biggest tree we possibly could. And let me tell you, we picked out a couple of monsters in our day. We'd then fight over who got to "cut it down" using the hand saw the farmer provided but more often than not we were worn out before we even made a dent in the thick bark and Dad ended up having to finish it (while we stood back and whined about how long it was taking and how cold we were). Of course we always acted like we were going to do the lions share of dragging those things back to the truck too but in reality, that was rarely the case.

Whether we bought the tree at a tree stand or cut it ourselves on a tree farm, the best part came when we got the thing home and Dad had to get it in the stand and wrestle it into the house. Keep in mind we had some BIG Christmas trees--well over 10 feet in most cases. This was not an easy task (I'm assuming; since I never actually did it I could be wrong). Watching Dad push/pull/wrestly/fight the tree into place never failed to be hilarious to me. Looking back he probably came darn close to giving himself a heart attack a few times, but that didn't stop Leah and I from laughing our heads off. For some reason though, Dad was convinced for years that he needed to "trim" the tree before he brought it inside. Not trim as in decorate; trim as in cut into pieces. He's start by whittling the trunk down to a toothpick under the guise that it needed to be smaller to fit in the tree stand, and before long, he'd be knee deep in a pile of branches he had cut off. Every year we ended up having a showdown about how much he was allowed to cut off the tree and Leah and I stood watching him like hawks to make sure he didn't cheat.

With memories like these you can imagine my utter devastation when I came home from college for Christmas break my Freshman year and discovered that my parents had sold out and bought an artificial tree. I feel dirty just saying that! I mean, how weak can you get? They acted like it was just getting to be too much work to haul in a real one every year but in all honesty, I think they had just been waiting for years to get me out of the house to do this because they knew I'd throw a fit. I did, and I still do, five years later. Even though we've moved out, Leah and i still go home every year to help decorate the Christmas tree. And every year I complain as much as I possibly can about how much I hate our weakness and how this isn't a real Christmas tree, etc. It's yet to do a bit of good but it makes me feel better.
Fake or not, I still love the act of decorating the tree. I think everyone does it differently but in our house there are no themed trees, or pretty color-coordinated trees. No, ours is more like a color explosion made up of lights and ornaments and such that we've collected over the years. Nothing really matches but by the time we're finished, it always looks incredible. I love opening that box of ornaments every year and pulling out a bunch of memories I haven't given much thought to since the Christmas before. Our ornaments represent trips we've been on, milestones we've met, and things we've accomplished. There's the yellow school bus ornament I got when I started kindergarten and got to ride the bus for the first time. There's Leah's ballerina ornament that we laugh about every year because she hated ballet lessons and cried every time mom and dad made her go. There are ornaments given to us by some of our dear friends to commemorate family vacations we took together and there are ornaments that we've picked up on trips we've taken ourselves. The best ornaments of all though, are the ones that Leah and I made when we were little. I think they are priceless. This one for example, I made when I was in preschool Sunday school. I think it's supposed to be a bell...

The buffalo was given to us by family friends to commemorate a trip we took "out west" years ago.And of course, Mickey came from Disney World my junior year of high school when my basketball team played in a Holiday Tournament there.

At the risk of getting sappy and sentimental I'd just like to say that as I sit here and think about decorating that silly fake tree, I'm almost overcome by how blessed I feel. All those good memories I have truly are priceless to me and each and every one of those ornaments (as goofy as some of them are) represent a little piece of my life serve to remind me of just how fortunate I am. I still hate the artifical tree with a firey, burning passion but nonetheless, I love what it represents.

Wow, I had planned to include in this post a part about my and Zack's tree here in New Orleans but this has gotten ridiculously long so I better hold off until another time. Guess you'll just have to wait in suspense until then...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Big Blue Love

Fact: I scream at my TV during Kentucky games.

Totally out of character for me, I know. I'm not big on expressing lots of emotion per se, but gee oh, when the CATS are on I just can't help it. It's like I'm possessed.
For the past two years I've screamed at the TV out of frustration and for the most part, bitter disappointment...

"What the HECK are you doing Billy G?!?!"

"Porter, I hope you fall and break your leg!!!"

"I don't believe this. I don't freakin' believe it. Billy G. do you even realize you're coaching a basketball game right now??"

Stuff like that. I've yelled and cried and moaned and for the past two years it didn't do an ounce of good. Not one stinkin' iota. Games were, on the whole, painful and unenjoyable and left me feeling downright depressed by the state of our basketball program.

My, my, what a difference a year can make. Have you seen the CATS this year? Finally, for the first time in a long time, we are good again. In fact, we are really, really good. John Wall is unreal. I know I've never seen a player like him in all my years of watching college basketball (they compare him to Jason Kidd who was a little before my time). He's so darn fast! I don't believe once he makes up his mind to go to the basket there's another guy out there who can even keep up--much less stop him. Kentucky hasn't had a point guard worth his weight in salt in the past decade as far as I'm concerned, including Rondo--Yeah, I said it, so I'm personally a big time fan of John Wall.

(Side note: A lot of KY people may get mad here but I never liked Rondo. He got a lot of hype when he came to Kentucky too and yeah, he was quick and could handle the ball well and made some crazy good defensive plays. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it. But Rondo never cared about anyone but Rondo and regardless of his ball handling abilities, I think he absolutely sucked as a point guard. He couldn't run the offense! Granted, I didn't think Tubby's offense was worth running most of the time either but still, crappy or not, it was Rondo's job to run it and he didn't. He didn't make plays, he didn't make things happen, and he didn't get the ball where it needed to go. End of story).

Jonh Wall does all of those things. He pushes the ball, he moves it around on offense, he understands the game and he stays for the most part, composed. He is flashy and his speed does lend itself to letting him get a little sloppy and out of control sometimes. Seven turnovers per game is too many for a point guard for sure. But good grief, does he make up for it! And truthfully, even though I've never been a fan of the "flashy" player, I'd take that over what we've had the past twelve years any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I like John Wall because even with all the attention he's getting and all the hype surrounding him, he goes out and plays hard and from all appearances, has a really good attitude about it.

Jumping off the John Wall bandwagon for a second, can we just talk about Patrick Patterson? I love this guy. I think he's absolutely my favorite player to come along in a long, long time. He's so consistent. He is money in the paint and when he gets it under the basket there're not many who can stop him. I like his attitude, I like his style of play, I like that he loves his team and came back for his junior year instead of entering the draft so that he can graduate and have one more chance to lead Kentucky to a title. That's awesome. He's awesome.
Now that I've slobbered all over myself to praise the Cats I do feel the need to bring things back to earth and be a little bit and be honest. Are the Cats without their problems? No way. They're young and they make way too many turnovers and silly fouls and as Coach Cal said last night, sometimes he looks out there and wonders if any of these guys have ever actually played basketball before. We lean way too heavily on Wall (its fine that he's our star but we need to get to the point where we don't fall apart at the seams if he leaves the game) and we don't utilize Patterson nearly enough still. We miss too many free throws and our defense is hit or miss at best. We don't have anyone who can shoot consistently from outside.

Those are all things though, I feel completely confident we will work out over the next few months. The young guys will get more confident and as such (hopefully) more consistent and less out-of-control. Coach Cal will work on the team's defense and free throw shooting, and the more time they play together, the better the Cats will get at not depending so heavily on Wall.
For the first time in a long time, Kentucky basketball is fun again. Those of us in the Big Blue Nation are just beside ourselves with excitement. We're 9-0 right now and you know, I'm sure we'll eventually lose our fair share of games and who knows what will happen come March...but I think I speak for all of us when I say Kentucky basketball is back and we're absolutely loving it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finals Time

Zack begins taking Finals today. (Where the heck has the semester gone)?? I know he's probably pretty nervous but for what its worth, I think he's going to be just fine. He's just as smart as anyone in his class (I know because I've met these people) and he knows the material (I know because who do you think got to quiz him over it all weekend?) so I think he's got this.

(Yes, I realize that in this matter my opinion plus a buck ninety-nine will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks--that is to say, my opinion is worthless, but I'm giving it to you all the same).

The best I can tell, the spouse of a 1L has a few responsibilities of their own during Finals Week(s). For me those responsibilities have been to provide an endless stream of "study snacks" and to make myself available to quiz him over his study guides when he needs me. (I've also tried to take over all household chores for the next couple weeks so that he doesn't have to worry about anything but school, but that is not necessarily required). Oh and also to make sure he eats and sleeps and consumes some beverage other than coffee at some point every day. Those are my jobs.

The study snack one has been easy, and fun, because its given me an excuse to make chocolate chip cookies and come up with creative ways to surprise him. The quizzing him over his study guides has been roughly equivalent to gouging my eyes out with a rusty spoon.

Since I don't speak Lawyer, I usually have no idea what he's talking about. I mean, I'm totally and completely lost. Our household is now bilingual and I'm not so sure that English is the official language anymore. Limited subject matter jurisdiction what? Um I'm sorry, did you just say real words? Its like listening to someone talk to you for an hour and a half and having to follow along with what they say and point out what they forget, only they're speaking a foreign language so really, you 're not entirely sure if you've gotten it all right or not.

In all seriousness though, I know he is working really hard and I'm happy to do whatever I can to help make this process as easy and painless as possible. Finals last for two weeks (TWO!!!) though, so we'll see if I still feel this generous next Friday afternoon...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Holidays

I feel like its a bit (and by "bit" I mean "a whole, whole lot") cliche to say that this is my favorite time of the year because everyone says that about the holiday season. Seriously. Do you know a single person who doesn't claim Christmas as their favorite holiday? I don't. But if I'm being honest, Fall is actually my favorite time of the year anyway. The holiday season comes in second. Yeah I know. It practically makes me a terrorist to say such a thing but I can't help it; I just like Fall better.

That's not to say though, that the holiday season doesn't get me excited. I was home for Thanksgiving last week and it was great! I took off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so we had a (much needed) five day visit to Kentucky. I'll have to tell you all about that in another post though, because I have other plans for this one. I thought I'd share with you now why exactly I do love the holiday season (even if it is #2).

Mainly, its for the baking. (I like decorating the tree and singing Christmas music and opening presents too, don't worry) but I love to cook and bake and the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the one time of the year I can completely justify baking just a retarded amount of sweet and yummy things that no one needs but we all end up eating too much of anyway. Do we need three different types of cookies for one party? Probably not, but who cares! For the month of December we've all accepted the inevitable weight gain that goes along with holiday food and we're all a lot more likely to just indulge and enjoy ourselves and throw calorie counting to the wind. At least I am.

I try to come up with something different to bake every year. I definitely have some tried and true recipes that are staples at our holiday functions but I also like to use this time as an opportunity to get a little more adventurous since I know there will be lots of people around to eat whatever I make. Here's some things I'm planning to do this year:

Red Velvet Cake (with Creole Cream Cheese Icing) - This is one of Zack's favorites and its not a new recipe with the exception of the creole cream cheese icing, which I'm curious to try. Creole cream cheese is something I'd never had until we moved to NOLA. Its just like the regular stuff only slightly more "tangy" and less sweet, if that makes any sense. I've made these in years past and I love them because they're so festive looking. Even if it comes out tasting like dirt it still looks really nice when you cut into it which I think counts for a lot.
Bourbon Balls. Um, does it get anymore "Kentucky" than these? I've made these the past few years too. I usually make them with the intention of giving them to friends and Zack's work colleagues but since he likes them so well himself, its rare that Zack actually lets them get that far. So to all my friends who in years past have been promised homemade bourbon balls and not received them--I'm sorry. Blame Zack. He probably ate yours.
This year I'd like to make a bunch and give them to our new friends here in NOLA, who are unfamiliar with Kentucky and all of its tastiness. That's my goal anyway. We'll see how well it works out for me.

Peppermint Bark Shortbread - Now this one is new and I'm pretty pumped about it, not gonna lie. I love shortbread and I love peppermint bark and I think the genius who thought of combining the two ought to win a medal. There's no way this can't be good. There just isn't. Plus its going to be super easy to make. So...win-win.

There are probably others that I'm forgetting about or have yet to find but this is a good start. This will definitely keep me busy in the kitchen for a little while. Oh and, if by chance you want any of these recipes, just leave me a message and I'd be happy to send them to you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Should Write a Book

I'm really thinking about it. Writing a book that is. A book about all of my experiences with patients in the hospital where I work. "That's funny," you're probably thinking. "You work in the Administration office; why would you ever even come in contact with patients?"

See, I was young and naive once too and thought that working in the office meant I'd be effectively hidden away from the human side of this job. Ha. Ha. Hahaha! That's just funny to me now. I've learned over the past couple months that in fact, working in the Admin part of the hospital makes one a target for patients actually. At least once a week or so we get some random crazy person who will wonder into our office and "Need to file a complaint with the CEO." Obviously, that's not exactly how we handle patient complaints here. You can't just walk in and demand and audience with the top execs. More often than not these are psych patients who have escaped from their rooms and found their way into our office...that or they're people who are drugged out of their minds and looking for someone to write them another prescription.

Some of these people are pretty funny (in a crazy, talking-out-of-their-head kind of way) some are kinda scary, and others are just very sad. My patience for dealing with these people is directly correlated to my mood and how busy I am at that particular moment. If it's a slow day I'll sometimes sit and listen to their ramblings for awhile. It's amazing what kinds of stories people come up with. If I'm super busy I'll just politely direct them to our Patient Relations Department, or in some cases, call Security to come haul them off.

I also get lots of phone calls. Lots and lots of calls. Sometimes two or three a day from people who either want me to give them drugs, cancel their bill (one guy told me that; he thought he just shouldn't be held responsible for the billfor his treatment), or let them in to talk to the CEO. None of which I can do.

I got a call yesterday from a lady who had "lost" her prescription and wanted me to call the pharmacy and get them to give her another bottle of pills. Are you kidding me? Now, I know I'm still pretty new to this but I didn't fall off the old apple cart yesterday! I'd say the odds that this woman truly lost her prescription and needed another one are oh...1 in 4769603746585. Give or take. Maybe she did and I'm judging her unfairly but based on the slur in her voice and the "seemingly" drug-induced, borderline incoherent rant she went on...I'm gonna go ahead and say she was already hopped up on something.

The fact that they've called the Administration Office means nothing to these people either. I'm amazed at how many people out there truly believe that as long as they call a hospital number, any hospital number, anyone who answers the phone is going to be a doctor and thus capable of answering all of their questions. Our conversation went something like this (just imagine her voice with a thick Cajun accent):

Her: I'm calling cause I done lost my prescription and I'm trying to tell these people at the pharmacy and they tellin' me they can't give me another one without the doctor's approval and I just don't understand that cause don't they know I NEED these pills? I've got fluid and breathing problems and fluid and fluid on my heart and I lost my prescription and I need to get another one. I done talked to the nurse and she said she gon' investigate and talk to the doctor about what he want to do about it but I done told her I NEED this prescription and I don't understand this.
Me: Ma'am, you've already spoken to the nurse? What's the Doctor's name who wrote the prescription for you?
Her: Yeah I done spoke to the nurse and she said she gon' investigate but I don't understand why you can't just call me in another replacement cause I already told them I lost mine and I need these pills. You just gotta go get my chart and look at it and see what pills I have and call them and tell the people at the pharmacy that I need some more cause I done told them I already lost my prescription and I need some more. That's all. I don't understand this. I don't understand why you can't just look at my chart and see what that doctor gave me and give me more.
Me: Well ma'am, I'm really sorry but only doctors can write prescriptions. A nurse can't write a new prescription and I certainly can't. This is the Administration Office. I don't have access to any patient records so I can't go pull your chart. What's the Doctor's name?
Her: I don't know no doctor's name I just done told that nurse that I need this prescription and she said she gon' investigate it but I done never heard back from her and the pharmacy say they can't give me no pills without investigating. That doctor's name was Paul maybe I think.
Me: Ok, so you saw Dr. Paul? Do you know a first name? Or do you know the name of the nurse you already spoke to?
Her: Well I don't know if Paul was a first name or a last name but the nurse's name is Terry.
Me: Terry? I'm really sorry ma'am, but if you can't give me a name for the doctor who saw you I don't know exactly what you want me to do. If you've already spoken to his nurse then you need to call and follow up with her.
Her: But I done told you his name was Paul. And I was there on the 19th. All you have to do is go look at my chart and see that I was there on the 19th and what doctor I saw and then you can call in that same prescription.
Me: But ma'am, we have several hundred doctors here; I don't have any way of tracking down someone who either has a first or last name Paul. And like I said, I'm not a doctor and I don't have access to your records. Now if you can give the name of someone who treated you I'd be happy to try to track that person down for you. But otherwise I'm not sure I can help you.
Her: Well I saw a Dr. Lisa Craft once.
Me: Dr. Craft? Is she the one who wrote you the prescription?
Her: No.
Me: Did she treat you for the condition you have this prescription for?
Her: No.
Me: Did you even see this doctor at this hospital?
Her: I don't remember.
Me: *Bam bam bam. (This is where I started banging my head on my desk).
Me: Ma'am, I'm very sorry but unless you can call me back and give me the name of the person you actually saw I don't think I can help you. You need to follow up with that nurse you already spoke to.

It went on from there for quite some time more (luckily it was a slow day so I let her stay on the line and talk for awhile) before I finally transferred her. She then proceeded to call me back not once but twice, with the exact same story to which I gave her the exact same answers.

I guess when I think about it its really very sad. Its sad that people get so addicted to drugs that they get to this level of desperation. It's sad that there are still people in our society who are so ignorant of how the "system" works, and its sad that in a lot of times, these people are all alone and have no one to help guide them through it. So yes, I sometimes laugh about some of the calls I get because hey, you gotta admit some of it is pretty comical. But a lot of it is also pretty heartbreaking too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Almost Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is now only three days away and I'm pretty pumped, lemme tell ya. We are going to be able to go home to Kentucky for the long weekend and I can't wait. I can't wait to see Leah. I can't wait to see Mom and Dad and my grandparents. I can't wait to see my dog. I can't wait to eat until I'm in pain and then lay around and relax and take long naps and generally do nothing. Aaaaaahhhh. I'm not looking forward to the drive (10-11 hrs each way) but otherwise I'm going to be in hog Heaven.

Mom has already promised to fix whatever I want for dinner while we're home, I'm HOPING HOPING HOPING I'll get to see whatever of my Kentucky friends are in town, and we're going to the UK vs. UT football game Saturday. Could it get much better than that? I don't hardly see how.

Just so everyone knows, I am fully expecting to freeze to death at the game Saturday. I'm not exaggerating. I'm barely able to stay warm enough as it is; I'd imagine that living in the tropics for the past five months hasn't done anything to thicken my blood. I'll most likely be a Lauren-Popsicle by halftime. It'll be ok though. It's going to be worth it to see one Kentucky football game this season...especially if we can pull out a win against Tennessee. Funny story. The people who have lived down here in New Orleans are seriously messed up when it comes to their body temperatures. This summer when it was sweltering and I thought I was dying on a daily basis, our landlords made fun of us for keeping our house so cold. Every time they came in they commented on how cold it was, and how they didn't see how we could stand it. Yeah...our house wasn't cold by any stretch of the imagination. It was barely cool enough to keep from breaking a sweat just sitting on the couch. Well, now that its finally cooled off and the temperature has started to approach what I would consider pleasant, our landlords are freezing to death! They've had their heat running since the beginning of October (at which time we still had our A/C going, if that tells you anything). Every time they see us out they ask if we've turned our heat on yet. This confounds me. It gets kinda chilly at night I guess but its still in the high 60s to 70s here during the day. Heat? Really?? At this rate I'm planning not to turn the heat on all year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I may or may not have done something totally stupid.

Do any of you get up before dawn on Black Friday to go Christmas shopping? See, I've never done it before because well, in principle (with the exception of getting really, really wicked-good deals) I hate everything about what I imagine that experience to be. Even under the best of conditions, I hate waiting in line. I hate shopping in over-crowded places. I super-hate sitting in traffic and I super super-hate feeling rushed and stressed when I'm trying to do something important. Yes, the sales are enticing but up until this point I've never even remotely desired all of the downsides that go with shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

Until this year. This year I have somehow managed to find myself slated in to do this whole pre-dawn frenzied shopping spree with Zack's mom. Gulp.

It really started innocently enough I guess. Then again, doesn't it seem like any story that starts out that way does not usually end well? I think this is a tradition his mom has had for years and being the new daughter in the family, this year I got invited. "Sure!" I agreed, when she asked if I wanted to go. "Sounds like fun."

And it did.

At first, I was actually looking forward to it. Maybe I've been wrong about this whole shopping thing and it will be really great; it will definitely be a new experience if nothing else. That's what I told myself. I love to shop and I'm always up for a new experience, so why not? The more I think about it though, the more I'm starting to get really scared. Probably this is an overreaction on my part but I have this mental imagine of getting mauled or maybe trampled to death trying to get in the door at Macy's. How cut-throat do people get about their 50% off big screen TVs and $7 jeans?? Am I in any physical danger here? In my mind I see women fighting over the last of an item on the shelf, beating each other with their purses until one or both lay unconscious on the floor. (You know the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Jingle All the Way? I'm picturing a scene like that). I see crazed shoppers dashing madly (and blindly) around the mall, knocking over displays and mowing down anyone dumb enough to get in their way. I see myself waiting in line for approximately 47 days to get out of the store once our purchases are made...you know, assuming we survive to that point.

Its scary I tell you! I've committed to go and I'm gonna do it but not without apprehension and not, I've decided, without some sort of full body suit for protection.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Should Not Be This hard

There are some days where I look at myself and am appalled by my own laziness. Granted, there aren't many of these days but every once in a great while I just hit a wall and I feel like if I have to exert one more iota of effort I'm going to just wither up and die.

I had a moment like this yesterday.

I was trying to login to one of the Accounting programs we use here at work so that I could run a report for my boss. When I typed in my password I got a pop-up box informing me that my current password will expire in 15 days and would I like to change it now? Sure. Why not? So I clicked on the Change Password link which lead me to a screen where I had to type in my old password, a new password, and then a confirmation of the new password. Standard stuff. This should not be hard.

(As an aside, I have a real problem with password setup boxes that don't explicitly list the restrictions on the password; don't make my try to guess the exact number/letter/symbol combination you want. Good grief! Just tell me what it needs to be)! This was one of those boxes. I swear I tried no fewer than half a dozen new passwords and every single time I got a different error message. My password must be longer than 7 characters. It must contain at least one capital letter. It cannot exceed 9 characters. It must contain at least one number. It must contain at least one non-numeric symbol. It cannot be a real word. Blah, blah, blah. See, if I had known these were all the restrictions I could have easily enough started out with a password that matched. But no. Whatever genius decided to write this program apparently didn't have the foresight to include any actual instructions so instead, I just got to blindly type in combinations of stuff and hope to get a match.

So here's where I got lazy. After trying all these different password combinations with no success I just gave up. I sat fuming, looking at my computer screen and I just couldn't muster the mental energy to to to come up with another password right then. Couldn't do it. So I just stopped. I told myself its all cool cause I still have 14 more days to think of something.

Yes, today my computer won.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Let's talk about Kentucky basketball for a moment, shall we? The season is just getting underway (the CATS are 2-0 so far in exhibition with another game coming up tonight) and let me just say this is the most excited I've been for the start of basketball season in oh...about ten years.

The Billy G. era was (thankfully) short-lived but even so I think it forced even the most devout Kentucky fan to struggle for something positive to say. It was just horrible. Painfully horrible. A horrible, horrible two years in the history of Kentucky basketball if you ask me. (Did you get that? Horrible). I wish we could have a do-over. Or an annulment. Like "Hey remember those two seasons where we had that redneck Texan as our Coach? Um, yeah...just kidding! Those don't count." I wish I could erase the past two seasons from my mind completely.

It's not that we weren't winning (although 18-13 and 22-14 are pretty sorry records) or even that we didn't make it into the NCAA tournament last year (but talk about an insulting way for this program to end a season) that made me loathe Billy Clyde so much. Oh no. I could have tolerated a couple rebuilding years, as could I believe, most of the rest of the Big Blue Nation, had he given us any other reason in the world to keep him around. Anything at all. If he had been a super likable guy who played to the media and made us CATS fans feel loved and appreciated, we'd have surely given him another season or two to get his program up and running. Had he been a really stand-up guy who was setting a great example for the community while slowly rebuilding the tradition that is Kentucky basketball, we'd have been more than happy to keep him around then too. But no. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Billy G. was either too arrogant or too busy or straight up too stupid to realize that in Kentucky, basketball is King. As long as you're winning you are a God among men; but the second you stop winning, well, you better have a backup plan in mind. Mocking and belittling fans, earning a reputation for being a womanizer and a drunk, and sacrificing a team victory to prove a point to one player are just not good ideas around here and won't make you very many friends; especially when you're losing. Just horrible.

As much as I disliked Billy G. and kinda wished sometimes that he'd get hit by a car on the way to a game (not mortally wounded, just enough to keep him out for the remainder of the season) it pales in comparison to the absolute disgust I had for our previous coach, Mr. Tubby Smith. If Billy G. was a flash in the pan of Kentucky basketball despair, Tubby's tenure was the equivalent of dying a very slow and painful death. In my mind he literally sucked all of the life right out of Kentucky basketball. He turned our program into one of the most boring, lackluster, almost painful to watch in the whole country. We were big and slow and got repeatedly and handily whipped up and down the court by teams that were smaller and quicker. We played a slowed down style of ball that was so out of touch with reality that it wasn't even funny. We recruited guys based on nothing more than their size (who cares that he's not really capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time?? He's 7'3"! We'll take him) and then seemed stunned when they failed to perform. Uggggggh. I think my blood pressure is rising just thinking about this. It got so bad that I literally just quit going to games altogether; a move that bordered on the sacrilegious (cause when you're a UK student and have access to $5 basketball tickets, you better be on your deathbed if you turn them down). But I couldn't help it. I couldn't stand to watch. It just hurt my heart too much.
So yeah. The Gillespie era was like a gunshot wound; painful and fatal, but mercifully quick and over almost before you even realize its happened. The Tubby era was more like slowly suffocating to death. Or being buried alive. Together they combined to form a very dark and dismal period in the life of Kentucky basketball.
Which brings me to now, and why I'm so fired up about the beginning of this season. I already LOVE Coach Calipari. Love him. I think he's great. I think he's the best thing to happen to maybe the whole state in a very long time and if I have to eat these words later because it comes to light that he used illegal recruiting strategies or was involved in some underhanded dealings, well, so be it. For the time being I'm a big, big, big time supporter of Coach Cal.

He makes it so easy to like him because so far, he's doing everything right. He's doing the things a Kentucky Coach should be doing and technically, the season hasn't really even started yet. This just proves that Kentucky fans are not quite the bloodthirsty win-mongers we're made out to be. Ok fine, we're pretty close but still, we do care about other things too and its possible to be hugely popular here without the Win/Loss record to back you up. For a time anyway.
And Coach Cal gets that. He understands and appreciates that he's at the pinnacle of men's college basketball coaching jobs. For a man in his profession there is quite simply no better place in the entire world to be than at Kentucky. A coach won't find a more devoted fan base in all of college basketball, or a program/university/state more devoted to the sport. It just won't happen. Calipari knows that and more importantly, he appreciates that. He's playing to the media, he's befriending the fans, and he's making us feel like this is "our" team again. Oh and also, he's recruited one of the best freshman classes in the history of the sport which has lead to a preseason ranking in the Top 5. That doesn't hurt either.

I'm almost sick with knowing I probably won't get to see the CATS play in person this season because based on what the experts are saying, we're going to be one heck of a fun team to watch. We're going to be quick and we're going to push the ball and we're going to be, for the first time in a long time, really really good. I can't wait.

Friday, November 13, 2009


This picture was taken at an Anti-Gay/Anti-Black protest that took place outside the Sidwell Friends school in Washington D.C. earlier in the week. Sidwell Friends is the private school President Obama's daughters attend. I'm going to ignore the brazen ignorance of protesting an entire race for now (though on another day at another time I may bring this up again) and instead focus on the one detail that first caught my eye when I saw this picture.

That sign. The one that reads "God Hates You."

Really? Really??

What kind of disgusting, hate-filled person do you have to be to justify in your mind carrying a sign like that around? I don't know which is more disturbing; the fact that someone actually believes such a thing and is ok with broadcasting it to the world, or the fact that someone who is clearly an adult is audacious enough to wave that sign at a bunch of elementary school kids. These people call themselves Christians too, which I cannot fathom. Who do they think they are, to speak for God like that? Who are they to tell someone else that God hates them for a lifestyle they've chosen or the color of skin they were born with?

The God I know does not hate anyone and all I've ever learned in Sunday School and Church has taught me that we, as Christians, should practice and cherish love and acceptance above all else. Period. End of story. What happened to Jesus loving all the children (red and yellow, black and white) of the world? We were not put here to condemn each other, or to decide for ourselves who is or is not worthy of God's love. And I'm pretty sure God doesn't need any of us to speak for Him.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Don't Get It

I wrote about this awhile back but then this morning there was an article about childhood obesity online and I decided it was a topic worth revisiting. The article was about some studies that have been done which concluded that today's kids are astronomically more likely than their parents or grandparents to suffer from heart disease. The article went on to say...

"Our study suggests that more of these young adults will have heart disease when they are 35-50 years old, resulting in more hospitalizations, medical procedures, need for chronic medications, missed work days and shortened life expectancy," said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, lead author of the study. A study released last November at a Heart Association conference found that the neck arteries in obese and overweight children were similar to those of 45-year-olds. The children in the study also had "abnormal cholesterol" and were said to be at high risk for heart disease in the future."

Isn't that horrible? Overweight children have the arteries of 45-year-olds??? I mean, that just makes me sad. It also makes me kinda sick. Sick because, barring any rare medical conditions that cannot be helped, this is an epidemic (yes, epidemic) that is largely avoidable. Childhood obesity isn't like cancer, or autism, or even H1N1 swine flu. Those are all things people are either born with or may contract/develop at some point later in life for no foreseeable reason and which can't be helped. This isn't like that. Today's kids are getting out-of-control fat simply because they and their parents are too lazy to do anything about it. If you ask me, there's far, far too much of this...

and this...
and this.And there's not nearly enough of these...

or this.

I mean, do kids even play outside anymore? Do they still have bicycles and rollerblades and trampolines like we did when I was growing up? I don't really understand what makes any parent think its ok to feed their kid a continual diet of processed, packaged fast food and then let them spend hours on end sitting on the couch in front of the television. My brain cannot wrap itself around the line of reasoning that goes on there because its just ridiculous!

Whew! Sorry. I got a little fired up there. I just think its a horrible failure on the part of any parent who lets that happen to their kid. Children who struggle with their weight don't have easy childhoods. I know they have to deal with self-esteem issues, getting made fun of by other kids, and just a general inability to participate in the physical activities they should be able to participate in at that age. What part of that sounds good, or like something you would want for your child? Why as a parent would you ever let that happen if you could prevent it? I just don't understand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Friends

They say that if, over the course of your life you have five real friends you are truly lucky. I can say with total conviction that in this respect I have been exceedingly and abundantly blessed. I have some of the most loyal and supportive friends anyone could ever ask for. Most of the time I don't deserve them at all and I have no idea why they put up with me...but they do and I am humbled by and indebted to their unfailing love and support.

Moving to a new city where I know no one hasn't been easy for me. It has however, made me painfully aware of just how fortunate I am to have the people in my life that I do, and has shown me how much they really mean to me. I miss them like crazy and if not for their constant long distant support (the texts, the phone calls, the silly cards in the mail and the care packages) I don't really know what I would do or how I would survive.

I don't really know how I managed to do this but somehow, I've convinced this incredible, amazing, wonderful group of people to love and accept me unconditionally...and for that I am very grateful.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hurricane...no wait...Tropical Storm Ida

This little beauty is a satellite imagine of Tropical Storm Ida, which is bearing down on the Gulf Coast as we speak. Guess what? I live on the Gulf Coast now and old Ida seems to be headed this way! Actually, that's a bit of a fib. I don't think New Orleans is even in its direct path. I think they're saying now the only fallout we'll see from the storm are some potentially high winds and of course, truckloads of rain. As in, several inches over the next day or two. (I fail to see how this will differ from the weather on a normal day here, but that's just me).

For someone who said a couple months ago that I'd be out of here at the slightest hint of a storm, I feel like I've failed miserably in my prep for this one. To be honest, I didn't even really know about it until I got to work this morning. They're not calling for evacuations so I guess the only things I might have done differently would be to buy a couple cases of bottled water and fill the cars up with gas. I'll admit; working at the hospital has given me a sense of security for any storms that may come. Maybe it's a false sense of security and I'm being foolish, but whatever. During Katrina most of my co-workers actually rode out the storm here in the hospital. They've told me stories about sleeping on cots in their offices and having emergency planning meetings in a board room that was upwards of 110 degrees. I know conditions got pretty unpleasant at some points (once the power went out and the generators flooded especially) but it was for the most part a safe place to be. So,worst case scenario if it ever comes down to it and for some crazy reason we can't leave, I'd probably just hole up here in the hospital with everyone else.

But seriously, I don't think it's really going to be that bad. There are very mixed reactions about the storm by people here. Those who were here for Katrina seem to be the most cautious. They're already talking about how they're going to go about draining the water from their yards and gauging how high they think the water will get. At the same time though, those people don't seem too overly worried, you know? They know it won't compare to Katrina and after living through that, well...there's not much that can scare them. Then of course there are those who are completely freaking out right now and others who think the whole thing is ridiculous and everyone is overreacting big time.

So, we'll see. They say that we can expect the rain to begin this afternoon/evening and I guess last until...God knows when. January maybe. I'll keep you posted and if not, just assume that New Orleans is under water and I'm floating around the hospital somewhere.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Geaux Saints!!!

Remember back when I told you that Zack was determined we were going to become Saints fans? Well, slowly but surely I think its happening. I've personally never lived anywhere that had a pro team (of any sort, not just football) to root for so I've never developed a real loyalty to anyone. Since we're here in NOLA now the Saints seem like as good a team as any to get behind. Plus, they're really, really good this year so its easy to like them. (How's that for fair weather fandom on my part)?

The rest of the city though, is absolutely manically obsessed with the Saints. Their reverence for the team is (and it pains me a little to admit this) on par with loyal Kentucky fans' love of their basketball teams. Of course, no team anywhere has fans that can completely match the Big Blue Nation in terms of sheer unabashed loyalty for their team, it would be blasphemy to even say that, but Saints fans come as close as any group I've personally ever seen. In Lexington everyone wears blue; here everyone wears black and gold. During basketball season back home its a safe bet that just about any new conversation you begin on a given day will include at least a two minute discussion about the team. It's the same here. It's been a little unnerving to me actually, because I feel like everyone else is in on this big secret that I'm just now starting to hear about. Everyone at work has been crazy busy the past few weeks trying to finalize the Budget; the Finance department has worked 14 and 15 hour days for weeks. I was talking to one of the ladies on Monday though, just asking her how things were going and she said, "Obviously this is one night where no one is working late!"

I was completely stumped and started running through all the possible reasons for such a comment. Monday? November 2? No. Is it a holiday? No. What gives? Come to find out, the Saints played the Falcons Monday night! I knew this in the back of my mind but it just hadn't occurred to me that a football game would dictate the budget work schedule. But once I realized this was the reason I think I started liking New Orleans just a little bit more. I can totally respect a town and a people who plan their lives around their sporting events!

So yeah, the Saints are having an amazing season so far. Monday night made them 7-0 and supposedly the rest of their schedule is teddy bear soup. If they can manage to avoid any serious injuries everyone's saying they're going to the Superbowl. Granted I'm not a hardcore fan yet but I've got to admit that would be an awesome thing. And like I've said before, it would maybe do as much to boost the morale of this city as anything possibly could. Below are a couple of pictures from the game the other night. No, I didn't take them but I thought they'd be fun to have on here anyway.