Monday, December 6, 2010

Come With Me

Any of my friends will tell you I am almost the perfect shopping companion as I can put together the flawless outfit for any occasion. You want a dress that shows a little cleavage, I know exactly where to go for that. Looking for that jaw dropping, head turning New Years Eve outfit, hang with me and sweet success will be yours. Most of my friends who need shopping advice or assistance come to me for guidance. After years of doing this I have come to be considered a shopping authority and this knack for shopping makes me very popular, sometimes at the most inopportune times. When I have an essay due for 262 and someone needs a hot dress for Saturday night, what’s a girl to do? Don’t tell my instructor, but the shopping usually wins.

Before we embark on our shopping expeditions I lay down certain ground rules. If we follow these our chances of success increase exponentially. The more we deviate from the system I lay out, the chance of failure goes up greatly. The last time someone didn’t follow the game plan the outfit she came away with was too hideous for even Blackwell’s worst dressed list. And she wondered why there was no second date?

First you must allot enough time to complete the mission and yes this is a mission. Weak of heart or body can just go to the local big box store and purchase a mannequin outfit, but if you stick with me that mannequin won’t be able to hold a candle to you. This will be a trip that will entail at least a half a dozen stores and possibly more than one city. We may start in Bangor and end in Portland, after all the perfect pair of shoes knows no city limits.

Once we start you must buy the clothing part first. We will buy accessories, shoes; whatever else you may want only after we have in our possession the main attire. I have been with those who fall in love with a necklace or a pair of shoes and buy them first, only to spend hours searching for the outfit to compliment them. It is much more difficult to dress the accessory than accessorize the dress. They may be the "neatest" pair of neon green stilettos you have ever seen, however if the only dress you look decent in is an orange one, those green stilettos have just become the "neatest" dust collectors in your closet.

Next, you will spend time in the outfit before you purchase it. You will try it on; you will walk in it and sit in it. Holding it up in front of you will not work, nor will just putting it on and standing in front of a mirror. You have to spend some time in it to see how it moves with you. If it is uncomfortable or horribly wrinkled after 10 minutes, then spending an evening in it is probably not going to work. How miserable is your night going to be if every time you move, you’re picking your dress out of your butt because it doesn’t sit right?

After the main purchase is made, we will take a break. We may do lunch, dinner, or drinks depending on the time of day. Well the type of meal depends on the time of day; alcohol recognizes no such time boundaries. This is a mandatory break, because the sensory overload the stores have put us in need of time to calm down. After we have sat for at least 45 minutes we can continue on with the undertaking.

This is the point where you need to be prepared to back track. Odds are we have already seen the perfect pair of shoes for the dress you have or the bra that is going lift those bad boys back to where they were when you were sixteen. Oh and the glitter of jewelry. Which of those sparkling gems is going to be the one that will make your outfit a head turner?

Shopping for the perfect item is not an easy task. It is work and not meant for whiners or those without stamina. But if you come with me and play by my rules I can guarantee you, we will end the day with exactly what you are looking for.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Not So "Common Cold"

As a paramedic when I came down with the “common cold” I felt pretty comfortable it would run its course and I would be over it in a week or ten days at the most. Week one went by and I wasn’t feeling much better, so I went to the CDC website to see if there was a particular cold virus this year that was stronger than usual. No unusual cold viruses were being reported by them, so I attributed the lingering symptoms to my hectic schedule and lack of sleep. No sense running to the doctor. There is no cure for the common cold.

Halfway into week two my eyes started drooling pus from the corners of them. I suspected it was a symptom of my cold and still having no desire to seek medical attention I Googled conjunctivitis and Google health told me that if it was a viral conjunctivitis as a result of a cold it would clear up on its own in a few days. Forty-eight hours later my eyes were cleared up which reiterated my cold theory. Bacterial conjunctivitis would have needed an antibiotic to clear up and mine had resolved on its own so I was clearly infected by a virus.

Week three saw the hacking cough worsen and sinus congestion that made my head want to explode continued. I also had a recurrence of fever which I hadn’t had since week one. Family and friends were urging me to go to the doctor, but still I resisted. Diagnosis of pneumonia and bronchitis were being thrown around by all my medical friends, yet I insisted it was just a cold. Pneumonia would have affected my breathing and I was breathing fine, though after three weeks of mouth breathing my lips were in pretty rough shape. I was starting to waver a little on the bronchitis, so I snuck a quick peek at Wikipedia to see if bronchitis usually was associated with a fever. Fever and cough were symptoms, but it also reported that ninety percent of bronchitis cases were viral, so once again I decided to tough it out. No sense in insulting my body with an ineffective antibiotic when I had a viral infection.

I tried zinc with no luck and vitamin C was out for me due to my IBS. I tried some other home remedies suggested online without much success. I went through a couple of boxes of cold medicine, enough tissues to paper a ballroom, and cough medicine was becoming my drink of necessity not choice. Yet week four rolled around and I was still feeling crappy.

Thanksgiving weekend was here, yet I felt so bad I couldn’t even fathom the thought of a two hour drive to Machiasport, so I spent the first day of my Thanksgiving holiday alone on my couch with tissues and taking shots of cough medicine much more frequently than the recommended four hours. Even the thought of my famous day after turkey sandwich couldn’t overcome the misery this damn cold was inflicting on me. I had suffered through the junky eyes, the hacking cough, chapped lips, head the size of a watermelon and a nose raw clear to the nerve endings, but when it hit my ear I started singing a different tune regarding medical attention.

I had developed some pressure in my ear late Friday night and then all of a sudden I had an excruciating pain in my right ear. The next thing I knew pus and blood were literally running out of my ear. Now this isn’t something we spent a lot of time learning about in paramedic school, so this time I shamelessly (easy to say, as I was all alone) went to the web for information. Adult ear infection sites were fairly easy to find and reading through the sites it became obvious I had perforated my ear drum due to infection. strongly suggested seeking medical attention if you had the “above listed symptoms”, which I did. Saturday morning saw me bright and early at walk in care where I was diagnosed with multiple infections, including an upper respiratory infection, a sinus infection and bilateral ear infections.

Needless to say after three days of medication (yes it was bacterial and I did need an antibiotic) I felt much better though a little meeker. Like a lawyer defending themselves has an idiot for a client, the paramedic who tries to self diagnosis herself is a lousy paramedic with a fool for a patient.

Book Review The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells is a story of complicated relationships between generations of women explored through tears, humor and love.

Sidda Walker is a grown successful woman who at best has a tumultuous relationship with her mother, Vivi and has spent years in therapy trying to make sense of it. Sidda and Vivi have a vicious argument that threatens to destroy their already fragile mother daughter bond. Vivis’s lifelong friends, the Ya Yas intervene, by kidnapping Sidda and try to make her understand this person who is her mother. They stow her away in a cabin and share their lives with her through a scrapbook they have kept chronicling their lives.

While pouring over the collection of treasures from her the Ya Yas, Sidda comes to realize her mother was once a young girl had dreams and aspirations, not unlike her own. Through the scrapbook she learns about the triumphs, tragedies, successes and failures that have made her mother the difficult, but exciting woman she is. She learns of Vivi’s tormented childhood, and her one true love lost. She finds out about a woman who settled for less than she wanted from life and regrets it. Through the Ya Yas she also comes to realize her mother’s darkest secret which leads her to understand the suffering that has contributed to who Vivi is today. Sidda ultimately reaches a place where she can forgive and make peace with her mother. She realizes that the years of therapy were not nearly as healing as was discovering the person her mother is.

This is a book every female should read because at the very least they are a daughter and it is a funny, yet poignant reminder that our mothers are individuals with identities outside of “Mom”. Wells does an excellent job of humanizing Vivi making Sidda realize that she is not only a mother, but a female with desires, heartaches, and a life outside of motherhood. I first read this book in 1997 as the mother of a fourteen year old daughter and now the pages are tattered as I often find solace in it after a particularly trying day in our mother-daughter relationship. As a daughter who is estranged from her mother this book left me wishing I could repair that relationship and the fortitude to take steps to try and assure my daughter never becomes alienated from me.