Sunday, February 19, 2012

Electronically Yours

Have you seen those electronic cigarettes? Not only have I seen them but I have one that is kept in the coffee mugg with the Arizona desert picture that sits atop the fridge. Most of the time I forget that it is there. I am not smoking right now and haven't been for almost three years now. I don't boast about being a non-smoker as I know I'm only one cigarette puff away from being a full blown smoker again. I fear relapse and I don't tempt fate by ever taking that one puff. I'm not one of those people that can smoke only when out at a bar drinking with friends. I'm not one of those smokers that can bum a cigarette and share a time out with friends. No, my friends, I am an addict. "Hello, my name is Charlotte Ann and I am a nicotine addict."
The husband is still a smoker and the electronic cigarette is something he bought with his money and the hope that it was the easy way to quit.

A hint to one and all. The only way to quit is cold turkey. Each puff of nicotine signals the brain to release dopamine. If you don't take that puff, the brain will be very insistent on reminding you to get some nicotine to it's dopamine receptors. The brain will start needling you..nudging and causing you jittery feelings until eventually you light up another cigarette and get that nicotine to the brain and those receptors that will release that dopamine causing you to exhale with a big sigh...ahhhhhhhhhh....and the jittery feeling leaves for a while.

I had to understand what was going on with my brain in order for me to give it up. I would be prepared for the brain's insistence on having it's way and it became a battle of wills. Me against my brain and I wanted to win. If it took angry conversations with my brain, so be it. I argued. I rebelled. I stood my ground and as the weeks past and each victory over the brain was attained, it became less frequent and less intense with the arguments.

We were staying at a Holiday Inn Express Shreveport, La. The husband was on a job and since he was only a few hours from home, I hopped in the roadster and followed him to Shreveport. While he worked, I explored Shreveport and Bossier City. My mornings were spent in the breakfast room sipping coffee and watching the morning news while
one eye tuned to my laptop. I multitask well.

Soon I became familiar with the staff. The desk clerk, the security staff, the maintaince person and the breakfast room worker. Every morning a conversation would erupt regarding the sites to see in the area. I would grab my camera, put the top down on the roadster and hit the road to wander around the little towns adjoining Shreveport. I enjoyed my morning talk with the locals that were working at this hotel. The maintaince man was especially kind. His family owned a Praline business and shipped Pralines all over the USA. I had him bring me some Pralines and insisted on paying the going rate for them. They were awesome.

One morning as I left the room, I grabbed the electronic cigarette and walking up to the maintaince guy, I put the cigarette between my lips and took a long slow drawl on it. The tip lit up a bright red, smoke curled from the end of it and from my mouth as I shot a stream of smoke into the hall.

The look on the maintaince man's face was priceless. I could read his facial expression of dismay. That look quickly changed to horror. He stuttered out reluctantly the policy of the hotel against smoking in the building and as he was speaking I took another huge hit off that 'cigarette' and then leaned forward and placed the red end of it on his forearm. That's when the look of horror appeared as he began taking steps to back away from me. It still hadn't registered that he wasn't burnt. His brain prepared him for the pain he was supposed to feel and he was still there.

Quickly I clamped my fingers over the red end of it while  I explained to him that it was not a real cigarette. It was not until seeing his expression that I felt a bit ashamed of the trick I had just pulled. We both laughed albeit his was a nervous laugh and he questioned me about the 'cigarette'. He wanted to quit smoking and was willing to purchase one if it would make quitting less painful. All I can say is, the husband is still a smoker and I'll just leave it at that.

I'm sitting here beside Carrie as she plays a game on the Wii. We cancelled our plans to go to Biloxi this weekend. The rain that blew through here yesterday left behind 49 degree temperatures. The wind is whipping and pushing those temperatures even lower. A hot shower and some warm jeans and sweaters, soups and naps are on our menu and I'm already looking forward to the nap part of these plans.
Carrie will hang around here until she gets bored then will request to be taken home.

I'm ready for that hot shower and that long nap. Happy Sunday...and I'm gone!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mardi Gras Weekend

It's Saturday. It's also the last weekend before Fat Tuesday and it's pouring down the rain. The splatters as it connects with the concrete is loud and constant. Severe storm warnings have been issued and we wait for it to pass and the warnings to be lifted. Parades and Boucheries scheduled for today have been cancelled. This is the first time since I've lived here that I can remember cancellations of Mardi Gras festivities.

The lamps around the living room are glowing to chase the dreary look from the room. Heavy clouds empty as they pass over this house and of course there is no sunshine to add sparkle to the rooms. The lamps warm up and chase away the gloominess and actually create a cozy atmosphere. I want to sleep.

Traveling is not on my "to do" list today. An old movie is playing on the TV and as I type this I peek over the laptop screen to watch. Both of these activities are barely enough to stimulate my senses enough to keep me awake. Before I actually fall asleep and plant my face into this keyboard only to awaken hours later with "asdf jkl;' imprinted across my forehead, I'll close this down and pull the covers over me and say "g'night" for a while. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And the World was Shocked?

Saturday bought the news of another music icon's demise. The reports ripping forth from the television announce the shock it was to the world.

I've taken a few polls on this and asked those I talked to if they were shocked. Denial, denial, denial. Watching her behavior in the past 10 years, the outcome wasn't shocking but expected. Every one's thoughts turned to drugs and alcohol at the news of her death. It felt much like the news of Michael Jackson's death. Everyone knew it was coming it was just a matter of "when" it would happen. Would we be shocked had it been Lindsay Lohan? or a handful of other celebrities that have bizarre behavior?

The coroner, I believe, states that the drugs she had in her room were no more then what any normal person has in their home. The problem with this is, all the drugs mentioned were to address the same problem; anxiety. A doctor wouldn't prescribe multiple anti anxiety drugs to one patient. Multiple doctors were apparently prescribing to this one person. Point number 2: Prescribing controlled substances to a known drug addict is not a wise medical decision. Just as what one drink is to an alcoholic, so is one pill to an addict. Speaking to the drinking problem Ms. Whitney had, she was seen out drinking and partying days before her demise. Another activity that can't be done on an occasional basis for a known alcoholic. All together, both the drugs and alcohol should be avoided. Her entourage must have known this just as MJ's crowd knew his behavior was self destructive. You can't protect a person from him/her self. Blaming Bobby Brown for her addictions doesn't wash. Her close friend Jennifer * states "She was doing drugs long before she met Bobby Brown." 
Stories are now emerging about the daughter and her drinking and drug habits. Let's hope she gets this wake up call and takes a different path then her parents.

It seems to be a trend lately with all these overdoses of celebrities to down play the drugs in relation to cause of death. It appears as an attempt to salvage some part of the persons' reputation by tauting the drugs as "prescribed". The biggest drug abuse today is of "prescribed" drugs.

The slew of celebrities that we worship, we know very little about except for the persona that present for our viewing. I'm always amazed by the star struck that profess their love for these celebrities. I'm a hoarder of my love. I reserve it for those I have a personal relationship with and  recognize that the person of silver screen fame is someone that I can admire for their acting ability while knowing at the same time, I do not "know" this person on a personal level and to worship someone is not in my makeup.

I'm on my way to the store. It has warmed up enough for sandals and capri's which signals my return to the great outdoors.

Happy Valentine's day (another reason for Hallmark to celebrate) and I'm outta here to find some chocolate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Food and Warmth

So what's all the fuss about? We had to start wearing long pants and shoes on our feet in direct address to the cold weather that has swooped down on us from the north. This  does not bother me in the least. I'm not sweating; summer is held at bay and I'm happy. Oh yeah,  a few more millimeters of mercury on that ole thermometer would make it perfect and we could rid ourselves of the long pants and shoes but I can deal with it.

How do I handle it? I have a soft cushy pillow at one end of my sofa and a nice fuzzy warm lightweight blanket. After doing a little touch up color work on my hair this morning, I assumed the position I favor on a cold windy day and with the remote control in hand and the TV tuned to a favorite show, I slept. A nice long nap while the pork roast simmered in the crock pot accompanied by a pan of fresh sliced carrots steeped in butter and brown sugar waited on the stove top. I'll add some fresh asparagus to a pan to be steamed and served with hot biscuits for dinner.

My solution to this cold wave is a nice long nap with an even nicer long meal to enjoy while the wind whips the bushes in the back yard and whistles around the metal flashing that supports the metal chimney on the roof of this house.

I'm nice and cozy indoors and I'm not sweating. I'm having a happy day here and I hope this finds you as comfy as me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Saturday Morning

It's a bit nippy here but there is no complaints from me. So what if I have to don a pair of jeans and a sweater? I'm not sweating and groaning in the heat of our summers here. I haven't been able to convince the husband to buy a fifth wheel trailer to tow to Colorado for the summer months but that doesn't mean I don't still slip it into the conversation as often as possible.

We traipsed off to the casino for a few hours yesterday where I watched the slot machines eat my twenty dollars up in one dollar increments. I'm not a big fan of playing the slots and only do it to kill some time while the husband is at the blackjack tables. The players at the tables that have plunked down a certain amount of money during their time there gets awarded a Mardi Gras necklace. I covet these as they are ceramic doll faces dressed in Mardi Gras splendour strung with beads and are never thrown from the parade floats. At seven dollars per necklace, the casinos are one of the few places that share them with the customers. The husband sat at the tables with the bag holding this necklace at his left elbow while beside his right hand sat a Margarita. I debated on which treasure I wanted to latch onto and decided to go for the beads then the Margarita.

Usually we finish up the evening by having dinner at the casino. The food used to be some of the best around and the prices were meager. Not so these days. Quality and prices have headed in opposing directions so we returned to Lafayette where we had a mediocre meal at a Mexican restaurant. The visit to this place where I usually enjoy going was a disappointment. The fajita meat was over salted and I don't tolerate salt well. I remembered why I prefer not eating out.

The husband spoils me with his excellent culinary skills and eating out is usually an affair I could do without unless it's to pick up a burger or a po'boy. A steak? I prefer the ones grilled right out back on the patio. The husband can grill a mean ribeye with some wonderful spices and a seared crust surrounding a center area of pink juicy goodness.

I'm on my way to the freezer to move a couple of steaks to the kitchen counter to thaw. Some cheesy potatoes, green salad and a ribeye grilled the way I like em, I'm looking forward to tonight's meal.

Carrie spent the night and is now up and bedeviling her Poppy. I can hear them in the bedroom laughing and teasing each other. Her father will arrive soon to collect her for her visit with him this weekend. It's time to gather up her clothes and get her ready to go....and to take those steaks out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sleep and Sleep and Better

I watched as she rolled to the side of the bed and while lying on her stomach she dropped her feet toward the floor and slid down off the mattress. She padded toward the bathroom, eyes mere slits. From the bathroom came the sounds of retching, stomach contents days past emptied of any food. Diarrhea soon follows the vomiting episode and in a few minutes she heads back to the bed. She slips back into a restless sleep only to awaken two hours later to repeat the entire "sick regime". Poor Carrie. A full week of this stomach virus where the only thing she consumes is liquids. She shakes her head violently when food is mentioned and we don't force her. Sometimes the body knows what it needs and doesn't need. It's the liquids that are important right now.

The following week finds me doing the sleep/bathroom/sleep routine. It has been four days now since my stomach has had anything other then Seven Up. The pounds I've dropped is a plus. Right now I can't think of anything else positive to say about this stomach virus.

Eventually Carrie was able to take some food but her portions have grown much smaller. This is not a bad thing either. 

Right now a pancake sounds like a nice light something. I'll be in the kitchen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clinically Speaking

Eyelids barely allowing small slits of her eyes to peer into the brightly lit room, she tosses and turns beneath the thin sheet. Her body is warm and the heat aggravates her. One leg rises in the air as she impatiently kicks off the sheet to let the air conditioner send a coolness over her body. Carrie is sick. It started during the night and continued all day  Tueday. Bouts of diaherra and vomiting followed by a few hours of restless sleep and a repeat of the evucations, she complains of a sore stomach. Sips of water and Sprite are offered; a bowl of crackers sits on the tall stand by the bed within easy reach. Any other foods are waved off when offered. Carrie is sick.

The daughter called for me to check on her and I took what little pediatric nursing skills I had and went to visit.

Clinically, a low grade temperature, lethargic but responsive to tactile and verbal stimulation. Abdomen soft and not painful but tender to touch. Palpation of the abdomen absent of hot spots or pain. Lungs clear to auculstation. Carrie is sick.

We are waiting until she wakes up this morning when she will get dressed and make a trip to her doctor to be checked. A viral infection is immune to medications. The doctor might not want to interfere with the elimination of the gut's content. Fever will be monitored and liquids encouraged. She will be checked for dehydration and that might be enough of a concern to have her IV hydration. I'll be making that trip to the doctors' office with her. She has been drinking sufficient amounts of fluids. Let's hope the doctor doesn't order a hospital stay.

I'm out of bed way to early this morning. My Ambien should have lasted a few more hours. I'm debating on making a pot of coffee or going back to bed to chase another hour or so of sleep.

Meanwhile I'll catch up on a little CNN news.