Category Archives: Creative Writing

Things That Make Me Crazy

7qt_lyceum_v2Crazy, in this instance, meaning more crazy than my usual amount. Just to clarify.

— 1 —

Being shushed. You know, when someone says, “Shhhhh!” I, myself, prefer the dagger glare with a finger to the lips for someone being loud in the library or movie theater. If that doesn’t work I go to the librarian or manager and have them show the offending parties OUT. They WILL do this. The phrase “Within sixty seconds after I resume my seat I want them GONE!” along with a smartphone clenched in your hand usually works well.

Being shushed is only for young children, usually those still in diapers. If someone shushes you as an adult, feel free to take umbrage and begin communication on the topic. BE WARNED: If you are cursing or behaving in a vulgar manner in public you are in the wrong. Tone it down or take it home. Being shushed by another adult in your own home is another matter altogether. NOT acceptable.

— 2 —

People who are “disabled” and can still live normal lives. As a nurse, I used to take this as a given. So many of our young patients came in on Medicare because they were disabled. And why should I even notice or care if my patients are disabled? Well, it’s part of the admission assessment (“What sort of work do you do?”). Also, we all know the insurance companies run the world, so when providing information to qualify a patient for a particular test, drug, treatment, or even length of stay I was always asked for their insurance information, which specified whether or not they were disabled.

Some people were clearly disabled. Some clearly were not . . . “Yeah, I’d gutted this eight-point buck and drug it ’bout a half-mile to my truck when my chest started hurtin’.” Dude, you can work for a living better than I can, clearly, since I’m in incredible pain just standing here with narcotics and muscle relaxers on board and an ice pack around my neck. Asshat didn’t even send me any venison sausage.

— 3 —

Kids who try to motivate other teens to do college “their way”. I know, peer pressure has been an issue since the dawn of time, or perhaps just since poodle skirts. Anyway, each kid should go to the school that works best for him or her, not for their friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, or their favorite teacher. Go to school where you feel at home or you won’t last. Listen up now or wait and see how many of those credit hours transfer later (50% if you’re lucky). If you feel the need to rush a fraternity or sorority, do so (if your parents can afford it – it’s more than you make!).

But first, before selecting a college, a major, Greek life, a job change, or any other big decisions . . . the pro/con list. I only do these for huge decisions, but they are certainly just as effective for deciding what to have for lunch.

— 4 —

Post-election whiners. It’s pretty much a given that this year no one got exactly what they wanted. Most years close to half the population voted for a candidate who didn’t win. The solution isn’t to whine about it or dramatize your “fear for the future”. And the #notmypresident thing is laughable, since both Canada and Mexico have made it clear you’re welcome to visit, but don’t plan on moving there without jumping through some hoops. Suck it up. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

— 5 —

Clean house snobs. Years ago, when both my boys were still young and I was working full-time and physically able to scrub floors, do yardwork, etc. I hosted Thanksgiving for a large group. Within the next couple of days I got a call from one of my guests. She wanted to apologize in advance for not accepting any future invitations to my home. She said that with my two dogs (chocolate labs) and the lack of cleanliness she just couldn’t justify putting her young children in that environment. Since I still had a “filter” back then I thanked her for being honest about her reason and for letting me know well in advance of any other gathering I had planned. My house is ten times dirtier now than is was then, so she should probably not even drive by.

— 6 —

Rude drivers. I usually don’t get worked up about this until the holiday shopping season, but this year people are already pushing me to my limit. Before you honk at someone in front of you because they are not going far enough above the speed limit to satisfy you, because they let someone pull in front of them, or just because they didn’t want to run a yellow light realize it might be me in front of you. And I might just put my car in park and walk back with my cane to discuss basic manners with you. Don’t make me do that.

— 7 —

People who duck out of Mass early. I’m not talking about people who have a fussy infant or a child who really needs the restroom. I’m talking about people who just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot and maybe get to the restaurant or country club for brunch before the rush hits. Stay for the final blessing. Stay for a little while longer and talk to the people around you. Sit in the car and discuss the readings, the homily, the music while the parking lot empties. And maybe once a month instead of going out to brunch give a gift card to the elderly people in the clunker parked in a handicapped space and go home to cook and eat brunch together. Just a thought.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Changing Sounds

grandfather-clockI miss the sounds of
footie pajamas on hardwood floors
my husband reading “The Night Kitchen”
little boy giggles
Guitar Hero
conversations overheard at sleepovers
two identical laughs at *cringe* Family Guy

I enjoy hearing
music from the studio
sticks on the practice pad
chimes from the grandfather clock
my son and daughter-in-law’s voices from Texas
big paws leaping onto the bed
laughter while my baby’s on the computer with friends

I look forward to hearing
my spine crack at the chiropractor’s
my youngest agreeing to meet me for lunch between classes
brush crackling as it burns in the fire pit
my granddaughter’s babbling
laughter with my husband
a college band warming up . . . again!

I used a couple of the prompts this week from Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. Drop by every Tuesday for prompts and Thursday to share your post and read the others. It’s a sure-fire cure for writer’s block!!

I Had NO IDEA What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up!

“What did you want to be when you grew up?” was one of the prompts at Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week. I thought I’d throw my two-cents’ worth in, since I’m probably one of the few children to grow up in America with no clue what they wanted to do when they grew up! I was a list-maker and a goal-setter as far back as I can remember. As soon as I could write I insisted on a constant supply of these:
I’m not sure how old I was, since Mom dropped me off for kindergarten and I came home on the bus as a first grader. Being one of the youngest in my class was a bit of a bummer, especially the year everyone turned sixteen and got their driver’s license, so I’m grateful Mom didn’t bump me forward another year when they suggested it a few years later.

I thought school was fun, and I always loved going back to school each fall. The only exception was my one experience with bullying, but it was so carefully done I had no idea what had happened to make me lose all my friends until years later. I read constantly, sometimes finishing two books a day in the summer. My dad had his Master’s in Engineering, so he taught me Trigonometry for fun one weekend when I was a little girl. This served me well since it meant I could sleep through first period Trigonometry in high school after being out way too late the night before. I aced the class, so my teacher gave me a pillow on the last day of class – LOL!

But enjoying school isn’t a job skill. If I could have gotten paid to learn things and take tests that would have been awesome! Anyone hiring? And I am probably the clumsiest person ever. Did I mention that I met my husband when I threw open a door and knocked him into a stack of pickle buckets? Or the time I was a salad bar girl and slipped and dropped a gallon of French dressing? I can’t stand the smell of French dressing to this day. And all my activities on the all-important college scholarship application involved only sitting, standing, and speaking. Individually, not at the same time. I’d have loved to be part of the color guard (what we used to call “flag girls”) in the marching band, but I knew full well that a long metal pole was not something I could be trusted to swing around.

I enjoyed cutting animals open in Anatomy and Physiology, and I always liked writing papers in English, but I got my second B in Physics and dropped that sucker like a hot potato, ruling out majors like Pre-Med, Engineering, and Architecture. And yes, my first B was in gym. I got an 11% on the free-throw test. My mom tried to help. She insisted I take a typing class “just in case”. That was more like an acting class since I refused to wear my glasses and Mom hadn’t given in on the contact argument yet. And my fingers are too short to hit the home keys accurately. So I’d hold my glasses up long enough to memorize whatever was on the board, then type away as fast as I could with two fingers of each hand. Thankfully, my teacher had mercy on me and never came to the back row. Cross out all careers involving typing. What’s left? Cutting open animals. So I earned scholarships and checked “Nursing” on the application form at the University of Kentucky. I didn’t know it was a selective college with a waiting list. I didn’t know anyone who was a nurse. I knew for damn sure I wasn’t going to pin on some silly hat to go to work. But I was a nurse, a pretty good one, for twenty years, and I have never had a nursing cap on my head. Now I write. With four fingers.

But lest you think I was drifting through childhood with no goals let me assure you my mom had goals for me. She wanted me to be Miss Kentucky and then become a paramedic, just like Randolph Mantooth on the TV show Emergency. (Randolph was an actor on the show, but was not Miss Kentucky – just to clarify.)The one episode I remember is when they got a call that a lady was in a bubble bath and had gotten her toe stuck in the faucet. I’m not a paramedic for the same reason I was never an ER nurse. There are many situations in which my only possible response is to look a person in the eye, say, “You are a dumbass,” and walk away. That would have made for a very short episode/career.
One of Mom’s proudest moments was when after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a 3.5 GPA, passing my State Boards on the first attempt, and being hired by a critical care unit that hadn’t hired a new grad in a decade, I passed the ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) Exam, which was at that time the tippy-top exam paramedics could take. But the Miss Kentucky thing was simply never gonna happen. I’ve never been able to walk in heels, I have absolutely no talent, and although I don’t mind public speaking I tend to ramble and talk with my hands. No crown for me! But she’s got the cutest little step-grand-daughter with blonde curls and a “take no prisoners” attitude that I think may just pull it off!

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