Thursday, February 28, 2013

Little Life Lessons

Right now this picture is only meant to make your heart melt and your mouth to do an automatic "awwww"....

This week there were a few traumatic, albeit to others, probably minorly so, events that occurred that 1- made me cry .... 1 - made me sick in my stomach for a few days and 1 - made me kind of off and on angry for a few days.

All three of these events were things that happened, didn't really happen yet or happened because of something that maybe I didn't fully think about before I did (I don't know how much I would have changed if I had, but all the same it was one of those shoot, then consider things that I'm willing to admit I do quite often).

I've spent most of the week phasing in and out between several emotions and festering and lying awake late at night and even waking up mid way through the night (which I really don't often do).  These events were life changing for this week as far as they seemed pretty dog gone big to me.

Last night I felt like I needed some perspective so I picked up this book by this girl who had been in Auschwitz for three years during the 40s.  I know its a redundant kind of story and some people are tired of it - I understand - put I think that anyone would agree that what certain people when through during the 40s does make things that we go through now seem a little pithy and small.  I've never had my house taken away (well, without getting a lot of money for it), I've never not had food (even if in college it was only ramen noodles and microwave popcorn - of my own choice may I add), I've never been sent out in the winter with no gloves, no coat and shoes that had holes in them and made to walk miles in the snow or do manual labor (although I have often seen my niece go to the dog park in December in flip flops and a hoody and fingerless gloves - but thats her "cool" choice...).  So when you look at all those things, the things that I'm traumatizing my tummy over are pretty insignificant.

I could say "hang it all!" and do whatever I want and not concern myself over what people think or how I should handle a situation.  Ok, I already do that sometimes.  I think theres a good balance between making decision and executing them and not worrying about how people will or won't judge you because theres probably always going to be someone who WILL judge you -- and then theres the side that I do think I need to consider the feelings of others and wise or unwise ways to handle situations that concern people, especially friends and family.  But, even with consideration, mistakes will be made and self-lashing my back won't do anything to fix a mistake.

Its coming to the end of this traumatic week and, thanks to thoughtful reminders from my sister and my best friends, I'm realizing that (thanks to you all for letting me moan and cry -- literally)...
1 - sometimes you can make mountains out of molehills and ruin your sleep over things that will be memories by the end of the week... don't sweat the small stuff is true, trying to decipher what is the small stuff is important (which most of it is)
2 - sometimes you have to bite a bitter pill that you may not even agree with all the time and just say "I'm sorry" if offense was taken (mind you its best not to say "I'm sorry, but just so you know I don't agree with you"-- just bite it for the sake of a relationship and maybe learn a little something)
3 - sometimes, when you want to hastily respond, or when you want to respond at all, the best thing to do is to wait -- or better yet, sometimes, not to respond at all.
4 - and finally - sometimes, when you don't know what to do to fix your fences and soothe your worry-induced indigestion -- the only thing you can do is pray about it.  Pray for wisdom, pray for peace and pray for resolution with a good end that will bring you closer with your friends and closer to God.

And then when you've done all or most of the things above you get a good reminder lesson ... one of those, now-I'm-going-to-show-you lessons ...
one of the situations that I had been losing sleep over since Monday resolved itself in a way that I was hoping it would all along and it was, in fact, no big deal when it did present itself in resolution.  And with that one - all I had to do was pray pray pray and then make a simple request and then wait and pray some more and - bam.  There it was.

I suppose the hard thing is is dealing with the situations where you wait and pray and all, and it doesn't always resolve itself the way that makes things easier or nicer for you.  But then - thats what those survivor reminder stories are about for me -- when I think those things that inconvenience me or make me mad are just SO horrible - its all in perspective.  Whats an issue today will probably be done and in the past by next year at this time.  And even if its not - there are bigger things AND theres always someone you can turn to if you can just bite it and admit you need some help....

And that being said - you can then go to bed at night and look like little Calvin Coolidge at the top of this post - all peaceful and content and relaxed.....

Just remember that when you're learning, you're usually learning from "little" life lessons....

Friday, February 22, 2013


So the big hubbub last night was the huge impending snowstorm.... Whoooo - people were talking about stocking up and not going out and getting back in on time so they weren't caught in the snowstorm.   I was out with some friends last night and there were some of us doubters who were like "how much snow are we supposed to get?" -- "oh - 3 - 4 inches!"  WHHHHAAAAATTT!  3 - 4 inches - thats like snowstorm in Georgia.  We're Chicago dog-gone it!  Windy City - midwest - we're used to much more than 3 -4 inches.  We're becoming weak and snow-fearing.  Who are we!?  Granted - I've come to hate snow on a regular day to day basis.  Give me a pair of skis and I'm ok with it all as it has a purpose.  But, on the normal day, its just slushy and dirty and yucky and cumbersome.....

I had to remind people about true blizzards.... I call to mind the "BLIZZARD of 2011" where we were literally stuck on streets and in houses for a day or two.....

Now lets flash forward to this morning after the big "blizzard" ---

WOW!  If I can only get my car out of the garage I should be good......

Enjoy your dusting of white powder which will soon melt and become liquid puddles of mud and salt that coat your car and ruin your shoes and give cause to washing the dog.

Ah - snowstorms.....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm So Excited!

I'm sitting here having a normal, slow day in the office - nothing really exciting - and I get this fabulous email!  Its an email with news about an upcoming conference that I'm attending in May and they're announcing their "speaker line-up".

This is a medical conference for the Central Sterile Department so its on instrumentation and cleaning and sterilization and regulations and standards and all.  I've attended this conference every year for about 6 years now and there has only been one year where I've gone and the keynote speaker has actually really been relevant.

For instance, last year, they had that little lady from that show on TLC --- Small People Big World or something like that.  I can't even remember her name and I have seen the show once or twice, enough to know that she has absolutely nothing to do with the medical field except that she's been to the doctor.  With that information, any of you reading this would be qualified to speak out our next conference :)  Granted, she did give me a little perspective, or rather herself, in that, because of her condition and her son and her husband's like condition, they spend a lot of time in the hospital and having procedures and stuff.  She was talking about how they would go in and if they had a good feeling with the doctors and the nurses than they felt good about the hospital they were in.  They never stopped to consider how many people did so many important things in areas and departments they couldn't actually see.  It brought the truth home to me, but it wasn't anything that I personally hadn't considered before.

So -they send out an email with an announcement about the keynote speaker this year and I'm getting ready to get excited about hearing the chair person of McDonalds or the Vice President of Avis Rent A Car and instead.....

Well - I'm so excited, I'll just show you who's speaking!....

I KNOW!  Can you believe it!  I'm SSOOOOOO excited!  I'm serious!

I know there are some ignorant people out there who actually don't know who this is -- for those people.... ITS JOHN BOOKWALTER!  Its so crazy to actually be able to hear him speak!

There are some people who are still totally ignorant to who this is, so, I'll give you another little piece of information.  This is the man who invented an amazingly popular medical device.

I mean seriously - how can you not know who this is.  I'll give you one more little hint...

I know - I kind of gave it away with this picture, but now you're probably all slapping your heads and thinking how stupid you are.  Thats ok - don't feel badly - it could happen to anyone.....

The Bookwalter Retractor (better known as just "Bookwalter") is the Phillips screwdriver of the thoracic surgeon's Instrument Set.  Its this huge ring retractor where they attach it to the side of the OR table and the they cut you open, spread your ribs and plop this thing inside to keep you all spread open nice and even-like.  Then they start attaching various separate instruments of torture that help a surgeon do his job, like blades and other things and then they can easily work on your insides from the outside.

The word Bookwalter is soooo common in CS and OR.  This is like the big time instrument that people refer to and it really has, I'm sure, revolutionized the way thoracic surgery is done.  So, I truly am excited to hear Dr Bookwalter speak (thats sounds so weird to be using that word in the context of a human being,  "Bookwalter" - crazy, I never even thought about this being a person!) and I'm excited that, for once, someone will be able to speak in relevance to the medical field and to surgical instrumentation and what we do in CS.

So - that being said - I'm SOOOO excited about hearing Dr Bookwalter speak and I'll totally let you all know what amazing things he says during the conference in May.  Don't everyone be jealous that you can't go - I'm just lucky that way....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I had to post this quick as it tickled my funny bone.... I'm doing research for a new buying group contract we got thats pretty big. I'm going through numbers of larger orders and I'm seeing this one account thats listed in AK. I get a little confused sometimes, embarrassed to admit it. I was pretty sure AK was for Alaska, but wanted to check and make sure it wasn't Arkansas. So I did a little google search on the account name and sure enough its Alaska.

Upon googling this hospital in Alaska I couldn't help but read their little info piece on their facility and - I did learn something that I found slightly amusing. See if you can spot the amusing....

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, a 74-bed hospital accredited by The Joint Commission, is located in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley. The hospital’s beginnings trace back to 1935 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt relocated stricken farmers from Minnesota to the lush Matanuska Valley as part of his “New Deal.”

There are actually a few little amusing tidbits. I'm thinking "really Delano - like those poor Minnesota farmers need a double whammy of being stricken!" AND then the word "lush" tickles me as I've been to Alaska (not this area, but Alaska all the same) and I'm going to stake my life on the fact that there is lushness going on at some point in the year, but you better hurry up and catch that train because its not gonna be a "lush" season by the time you get there.

But - on the positive side, I did learn some general area information about Mat-Su Valley, Alaska. Score one for Alison. Score two for you that I passed my new-found knowledge along - as well as my comedic take on this knowledge.

Enjoy your day in beautiful-not-Mat-Su!

Friday, February 15, 2013

I'm Loved!

I've discovered that as of yesterday, all the Bikram studios I've ever attended across the country LOVE me! At least thats what every email announced and the slipped in how they'd LOVE for me to come and try another class.

Ah well - beggars can't be chosers....

Happy VD (as Kim calls it!:)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Update On Worthless Information

I love New York! Ok, not really, but flying there with New Yorkers is always an adventure!

I just had to update my info on an awkward moment right before take off. It did take a while to board, but the flight was overbooked so a ton of people ended up having to check bags which meant they got on and then had to go all the way back once they found there was no place for luggage. We ended up pushing back a few minutes late, but not horrible. Nonetheless the purcer gets on the intercom and as were backing up, in effect, says "on behalf of your New York based flight crew we'd like to apologize for the inefficiency of the Chicago ground crew for their lack of knowledge on how to load baggage. We hope that in the near future their performance will be corrected so your next experience will be timely and pleasant."

REALLY?!!!!! That is SOOOO New York! I dont even know as if that's professional! I feel like the Marines just turned against the Army on the battlefield.

That comment is definitely going on my "experience" feedback form that they send after each flight. New York may be cocky and we may indeed have our issues here - but New York, you best not mess with Chicago! :)

Catch Up On Some Worthless Info About My Life

When one travels so much, contrary to popular belief re excitement and glamour, things all look pretty much the same when you're not home except for the occasional kinks customers, the airline and other intrusive people throw up in your way.

Last week the major highlight was that, mom and I checked one big bag to Greenville and with all the hubbub of things with mom and the airport and all, I didn't even notice until it was too late that the helpful employee who was checking bags put the wrong bag tag on my bag. It wasn't until she asked to see my I.d. a second time and I looked up to see my bag going down the chute did I realize that they had put the tag of the woman standing next to me on my bag. So while they clickety clacked around on the computer acting like they were trying to fix their mistake, my check in neighbor and I spent about 15 minutes chatting, whereupon I discovered my bag was inevitably on it's way to a west side vacation in "sunny" Seattle via snowy Denver.

Sure enough, we got into Greenville late and found our bag was, as anticipated, in Denver. The hope was to catch it before it headed to, technically, Tacoma. But in the harsh light of the next day it was discovered that our overstuffed purple bag had gone onto the state of Washington and was then having to hop a flight back to Chicago to make it down south. Unfortunately, I believe Purple had gone standby and so she didn't make it back to ohare in enough time to jump on the little puddle jumper down to Greenville.

Two days later, still bagless and beginning to smell, mom and I had to go shopping. And now, after finally getting the bag, I'm furiously trying to find the form I need to submit to United with my receipt for reimbursement.

It's now Wednesday and I'm headed to Norfolk, VA via a flight hop through to Newark. That means I got to the gate 5 minutes early and found an anxious, already anticipatory angry mob of New Yorkers trying to all cram through one door at the same time. I booked my flight late so I'm currently smashed against the window on an oversold flight, pushed against the wall by a rather robust Indian gentleman currently conducting a business meeting in Hindi on his phone while loudly crunching on baby carrots and snack mix.

Indeed -travel is packed full of glamour! I'm so coated in glamour racked events I feel like Princess Grace of Monaco. Did she ever repeatedly have to remind herself "don't kill anyone, don't kill anyone".... Seriously - do you think she did? It would be encouraging to know someone even named "Grace" had the same invirtuous packed flaws as myself.

Just one more query... It's something I've observed for a while but had a few extra seconds to actually investigate and have still not found a satisfactory answer. In the B gate United Club, in the woman's washroom, the sink countertops are marble. There are two soap dispensers hanging on the mirror over the countertop. Directly under the release where the soap comes out of the dispensers, there is a large pit in the counter under both dispensers. What? There are two logical explanations. 1) the soap is so heavy that when it falls from the dispenser and misses someone's hand, it actually leaves a dent in the counter which has inevitably built up to a giant pit over the years 2) the soap is an acid based soap and, when missing a hand, falls on the counter and slowly eats away at the marble leaving a jagged, rough hole. No matter which answer may be correct, I'm a little scared of the United Club hand soap upon observation.

And with that, you are now all updated on all the important stuff in my life.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

More Family

Was working in Spartanburg and Charlotte this week so mom came along to get out of the cold and see some family. She stayed with Riley. We got to spend time with Shelley and Pete and got to see Jessica and her boyfriend. Spent Friday night with Olivia and Justin and Jenny even came over from GA. Also got to see Yvonne, an old friend who lives on Asheville. Sad to come back to the cold and snow after sun and 60. Oh well - keeping my fingers crossed that it will all go away soon!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Just thought I'd share...

Roy and Giny popped by on Saturday for a visit with mom.

Friday, February 1, 2013


How do people live in Minnesota????! It's cold in Chicago - but really? It's so cold here that people literally leave their cars running when they go into the store. Ive seen it! I stayed in Rochester with my friend and notices this phenomena.... Left their cars running with no one in them!

I get to go home today to my warm weather. It's 15....