Archive | June, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

27 Jun

{FYI: this is not one of my residents}

As part of my job, I am in charge of planning all of the activities for the residents on and off site with on site activities including potlucks, coffee socials, wine & cheese and tea parties, ice cream socials, dinners, movies, book club, blah, blah, blah. The perk of this job is when we go off site for activities because I also have to “attend” those. So I get to partake in going to things like the racetrack, plays, boat cruises, and of course casino trips. This post is about one of my more recent adventures off site with my seniors (55 and older). One of my worst fears came true on June 13th, 2012 where I lost and had to leave behind a resident of mine. Things were great that morning and right until we had to load up the bus to go home. Everyone showed up at 9am and were all pumped to gamble their money away at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan – about a two hour bus ride. Everyone that I talk to had a lovely time stuffing their faces (myself, included) at the all-you-can-eat buffet and enjoyed “getting out” for the day. So after winning $100 (and not spending a dime of my own money), I decided to make the trek back to the bus and round up the troops for our trip back to EGV.

At around 2:30pm I decided to start silently taking “role call” on the bus to see who of the 45 seniors was here and who still needed to rejoin the group. Within a matter of minutes, the seniors started to pile into the bus. Around 2:50pm I grew (extra) worried because the only person I had not seen was Herb; however, I thought maybe he snuck past me. I told the seniors that I was going to take roll call again and needed them to state “here” when their name was called. Going down the list, I was getting every kind of “here” you can imagine: loud, soft, a hand clap, a grunt, muffle, etc. I got to Herb’s name and stated, Herb (insert last name.)? I looked up where he had been sitting in the morning on the bus; however, there was no Herb to be found. The ladies and several dudes that were sitting next to them shrugging their shoulders, shaking their heads, confused as to where the heck Herb went. Knowing that I had a good five minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave, I asked the driver if I could make a “mad sweep” (yes, I said mad sweep to the driver) around the casino. The driver raised his eyebrows and told me to “go for it.” And so, I booked it. I walked faster than I normally do (so if you know me, it was bat shit fast) around the entire casino, trying to see if I could catch of glimpse of Herb. I called for his name in every men’s (and ladies) restroom, skimmed through the shops, and around the poker tables and slot machines but Herb was no where to be seen. I thought (just) maybe Herb liked to be “right on time” and sitting on the bus waiting for me to join then on the venture back to IL. So I made a mad dash back to the (purple) bus and asked the driver if our missing guy had returned. The driver shook his head, looked at his watch (It was now 3:10 pm CST), and told me that we needed to leave soon or else he would get into trouble with his manager. One of my smoker residents (who ironically helped me the last time we had “lost” someone) said she would help me find Herb. So we went. I made sure to stay close by to her because I did not want (nor had the nerves) to lose another resident. We skimmed and weaved in and out of the aisles of the slot machines. We briskly walked around all the poker tables, and even peaked in the buffet restaurant – even though I was 99% he was not in here because I had seen him rubbing his belly the hour before – but Herb was no where to be found.

This is, my friends, where I started to freak the f*ck out. I called my boss right away and told her the situation I was in. I asked her what I should do: Should I stay or should I go? (And now after reading that question, start humming to the 80’s song by Clash….too soon?!). My boss said she was going to try calling Herb’s cell phone to see if he would answer it and that she would call me back. It felt like eternity waiting for her phone call and it is here when it gets a bit blurry. My resident and I are walking back to the bus. My boss still has still not called me back. I see the driver looking at his watch and is on the phone with someone (I presume his boss; after all, it is now 3:25pm CST). I frantically called my boss back and asked her what I should do. She told me she was going to try reaching his son but before I let her babble on any more, I told her I didn’t have time for that and that I needed to know what to do. Do I stay here and wait for Herb or do I leave him behind (in Michigan)? After a short second pause, my boss told me that I “needed to get on the bus.” I sighed, told her “fine,” and hung up the phone. I was not even off the phone with my boss before the driver shoved his phone in my face telling me his “supervisor wanted to speak to me.” Under my breath I muffled “Oh shit,” and said “Hello?” The supervisor sweetly told me that the bus needed to leave or else would we be charged. I said that was fine and that we were leaving right now. She asked me what my residents name was and that she would have her staff be on the “look out” for him. She said that the Four Winds has a shuttle service that runs every two hours from the casino to China Town in Chicago and hung up the phone. (Chinatown, wtf, really?)

I give the phone back to the driver, tell him we are leaving, and get on the bus where I see 44 faces looking at me to see what my next move was. When I told them we were leaving without Herb, you should have seen the looks on their faces. Stunned. Mouths wide open. Shocked in disbelief. I had one resident ask me if “I was serious” about leaving Herb. I flailed my arms and in my spazzy voice said “Yes. We have searched the casino for almost a half hour and we are now late. There is a shuttle that runs to the casino to China Town every two hours so Herb is not stranded.” I then overhear someone mutter “What the hell is that going to do for him?” but I decided to ignore it, plop my butt down, and choke back the tears that were developing.

I was pretty silent on the way back and the residents near me noticed it. They kept trying to make me feel better about the whole matter saying that it “wasn’t my fault” and that “he is a grown man who shouldn’t have to be watched”, and “it’s not like you didn’t tell him when to be back,” kind of remarks. We are about 20 minutes away when my phone starts to ring. It’s my boss. I answer to her saying “Great news! We found him!” Apparently Herb got on the bus right next door to our bus (that was NOT purple) and didn’t realize he was sitting next to strangers until it was too late.  Fortunately, the bus was going towards IL and he ended up being about 20 minutes away from EGV. Herb simply called his son, told him he “screwed up” and that he needed him to pick him up. From what I was told, Herb made it in time to sit in the circle with all of his buddies to shoot the shit about today’s adventure.

The next day, Herb comes in and gives me a great big hug. He apologizes for all that “commotion” he started and said that even despite getting on the wrong bus, he had a wonderful time. He then asked me this….

“So, Ali, when are we going on the next casino trip?” – Herb

My response:…….

Now enjoy this awesome 80’s video by The Clash….




Lemon Lurve.

25 Jun

My thoughts exactly, Natalie Dee.

When life brings you lemons, you make lemon-y food and bevies! Lemons are perfection beyond a lemonade stand on a sunny summer day. I suggest you order a seltzer and lemon vodka at a bar. And what’s a Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss and/or Summer Shandy without a wedge of lemon?! I have dedicated many work nights as a waitress pouring myself a Diet Sierra Mist with wedges of lemon; it will make your eyes roll into the back of your head. It is one of the only ways I will ever choose a Pepsi product over a Coke product. Coca Cola is far superior, although I will not turn down inferior Pepsi if Diet Sierra Mist and lemon wedges are involved.

Zest it, juice it, wedge it up. Use it when it’s served as a garnish. I’ll never truly understand why parsley and lemon were deemed garnishes in restaurants; talk about a disservice to my palate and my plate.

For my pleasure – and now yours, I have saved several recipes using the loveable lemon. These recipes will not leave a sour taste in your mouth, I swear!

Fish has never tasted better than when topped with this combo before baking it into the oven. I have learned the hard way to not let the fish marinate in lemon juice for more than a few hours. Apparently the acidity in the lemon juice cooks the fish. Very dry; not very delightful.

Lemon Fish.

  • Two filets of fish [I’ve used Tilapia and Swai]
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 5 shakes of Worcester sauce [Love the stuff]
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Whatever fresh herbs you have around. My favorite combination is dill, cilantro, basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Gather a lot of it.


  • Whisk the lemon juice, oil, Worcester sauce, pepper, and herbs until combined.
  • Put aluminum foil over pan, spray with non-stick spray
  • With your fork, poke holes into the fish on both sides.
  • Spread half of mixture over top of fish. Place this side down onto aluminum foil. Repeat on other side.
  • Cook for 7 minutes at 350º. Flip. Brush mixture over top again. Bake again for another 7 minutes at same heat.

There ya have it, folks! I know I haven’t covered all the possibilities delicious lemon has to offer, but it’s a damn good start. Whenever you want something pleasant, light, and tangy – reach for a lemon.



18 Jun

“Listen up y’all, cause this is it
The beat that I’m bangin’ is divalicious”

Ladies. It’s time to talk about our menstrual cycle. I’ll just openly say this: it sucks. It absolutely sucks. Once a month (or once every three if you’re one of those lucky women) we shed an egg, bleed for days, and cramp like we just ate a crockpot o’ baked beans. Our hormones are out-of-whack and we are expected to go about our day-to-day lives with a positive attitude and smiles on our faces. And we should – having PMS does not give you the right to be a bitch to everyone you pass. I digress…mood swings warrant a different posting.

I’m going to introduce you to the single-handed most delightful menstrual product I own: The Diva Cup. I have had the Diva Cup for almost 4 months now and if it had feet, I’d be kissing ’em.

Here are a few reasons why I went from tampons, pads, and tissues to The Diva Cup:

  • Tampons. My heavy days were too heavy. I was constantly in the bathroom changing my tampons. After one heavy (heavyyy) day I immediately go to a medium-light flow, meaning mediums were too absorbent and lights warranted me to be in the bathroom every hour. By day 4 my twenty-something year old vagina felt like it aged 60 years. And every time I went to the bathroom, the downward pressure from “going” made the tampon push out to an uncomfortable spot. I was going through at least a dozen of unnecessary changes a day (ie. tampons were not saturated). Wrapping ’em up like a mummy was wasteful on toilet paper (but totally necessary. No one wants to see bloody tampons in the trash). And then there were times when I would enter my bathroom to see shredded tampons in my bathroom, bedroom, and hallway. Damnit, Scout – you adorable and disgusting pooch.
  • Pads. “But Meghan…what about pads?!” Well, friends – pads just weren’t cutting it either! I have thrown out so much underwear due to pads moving wherever they damn well pleased. Even Walmart packaged underwear was getting expensive. And although I work with babies, I did not feel like changing their diapers and mine throughout the night.
  • Toilet Paper. Yep. I’ve done it before. I’ve hated tampons and pads to the point where I would just bunch up toilet paper and shove it in-between my legs to get through a very light day. There’s a high level of anxiety with this: “Gosh, I hope my wad of toilet paper doesn’t fall out while I’m walking around in public.” And then there’s the actual wrapping of the tampon or pad, which felt so wasteful and expensive.

I initially heard about The Diva Cup from a friend in college. She just loved it. I wasn’t annoyed with tampons enough at the time to purchase the $34.00 feminine hygiene product, but The Diva Cup always stuck in the back of my mind. I was re-introduced to it by another dear friend of mine about 6 months ago. Again, the price tag made we weary about it. After a few conversations with said dear friend [and another puppy shredding incident], I was convinced that I needed to try this once and for all.

Ok. So what is The Diva Cup? As you can see in the photo, it is a silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and rests near cervix.

It comes in two sizes, the smaller is more ideal for women under 30 and who have not given birth. The other size is larger and ideally for women over 30 and/or who have given birth. Simple!

The Diva Cup can be worn for up to 12 hours before dumping & cleaning (although heavy days require more frequent dumpings). Inserting it initially was difficult and painful, mostly because I was having a difficult time keeping the “fold” as I was inserting. The more you use it, the easier it is to insert.

Another concern for me was the size of the sucker. It looks large, but after a few wears, I couldn’t even feel it! Remember your first time using tampons? Yeah, this, too, takes time to get used to the “feel” of it.

Removal. To remove, you release the “seal” by squeezing the base of the cup, making the fold, and removing. PLEASE SQUEEZE – I’ve suctioned my vagina and it hurts more than the time my finger got stuck up a vacuum.

Dumping. I’m a post-partum nurse who sees gushes of blood all the time. Even I got a little queezy the first time I dumped a heavy day into the toilet. It’s thick and goopy. After 2-3 dumps I no longer felt nauseated. Just like dating, you will survive your first dumps!

To clean. Use soap and warm water and air dry. The Diva Cup also has a cleanser you can use, but I’m not a sucker for unnecessary products. Soap and water work just fine. I’ve contemplated using a dishwasher, but I don’t think my sister would appreciate that.

The Diva Cup went from a “great” product to a product I cannot live without when I changed the type of birth control pills I was using. My body adjusted slowly, therefore I had an entire month when I was spotting. The Diva Cup was divalicious and I will never go to throwaway feminine hygiene products again.