Friday, December 13, 2013

Unloading My Cerebral Slop So That I Can Achieve Navidad Nirvana

Some Skull Scraps are skittering about, threatening my Holiday Organization and my Christmas Zen, so I thought I'd unload a few of them here.  How are all of you doing with your Holiday Preparations?  Are we downsizing and common-sensing?  Have we redefined our Holiday Philosophies?  I can't wait to hear!  Anyway, on with the Cranial Clear-Out!

Rick's company Christmas party was a little while ago.  It was a very
nice get-together at a local restaurant. His boss is so genial, and his coworkers are friendly and fun.  We ordered off of the menu--so cheffy and seasonal; I had fresh-made pasta--and the bar was open for the evening.  Unfortunately, at one point, one of the guests suddenly slumped forward in his chair, eyes closed, and he became unresponsive.  His wife, who said nothing like this had ever happened before, was paralyzed with terror.  Everyone talked at once, all trying to help, and it was a circus.   Finally, I grabbed a napkin, dipped it into my ice water, and started to press it against his wrists and forehead as well as the back of his neck.  I bent low, and in my Teacher Voice, I started asking very direct questions, addressing him by name.  I asked him where he was, what day it was, and who the President of the United States was.  He answered each one correctly.  I then asked him if he took medications for high blood pressure, then diabetes.  He said no.  Still, however, he was slumped and his eyes were closed.  I concurred with others that there should be a call to 911.  As I continued to apply a cool cloth, I overheard two other guests talking.  "Is she a nurse?" asked one.  "No, she's a teacher," responded the other one with a confidence and reassurance that made me smile.  She might have said, "No, she's Batman."  Happily, the stricken guest, after a night in the ER for tests, is back at work, but he has been scheduled for a stress test and more bloodwork to make a final determination regarding diabetes. 

Help me out here.  Is it just me, or is this package of men's underwear really...ambiguous and sort of winky winky nudgy nudgy?  I mean, when you have the words POUCH, JOCKEY, PACKAGING, and FIT on a bag of men's undies, you cannot tell me that I am the only one who is standing there in Macy's thinking...Those Thoughts.  Is this really a serious pack of underwear?  What exactly is "Same great Pouch fit"?  I asked Rick and he said he had no idea.  Then again, this is not his brand or type of undergarments.  And why is Pouch capitalized like a proper noun?  Is that an anthropomorphic name for men's genitals?  So, say a guy wants to have sex; does he say, "Honey, come to bed and say hi to Pouch"?  I'm telling you--this sack of underwear is taking up a lot of my time.

Tuesday night I was preparing dinner--another Nance Original--and it involved a lot of chopping and cutting. In the middle of quartering a Brussels sprout, the knife slipped and sliced deeply into my little finger, right at the tip on the side.  Holy crap, did that thing bleed like hell.  Of course I was home alone.  I applied pressure with a paper towel and held my hand above my head and ran to the bathroom.  Do you know how hard it is to try to open a box of bandaids and then put one on with only one hand, all the while trying to keep the cut hand elevated?  It is damned hard.  And bloody.  AND--do you know how hard it is to type with your left little finger all bandaged up and sore?  Do you KNOW how many words have A's in them?  Too effing many is how many.  I should have had stitches, but since that requires a visit to the hospital, that would be a NO.

I still have so many things to tell you about my terrific trip to Gettysburg.  We had an outing every single day, and sometimes more than one.  You know, I've been going to Gettysburg for more than forty years.  And one of the things I love about it is that it isn't afraid to change.  Oh, the historic preservation is astonishing and thanks to a very involved core of the citizenry, more and more land is regained by the land conservancy and kept from developers.  I don't mean change like that.  Gettysburg will always love and revere their history, and they constantly fight to preserve it.  I mean change as in perspective and truth.  When I first went to Gettysburg, it was all about battle strategies, generals, and casualties.  Into the seventies, it changed its perspective to peace and became more about Lincoln.  Now, Gettysburg focuses on the townspeople, the people whose lives were invaded by a war they didn't fight in, but one that came into their lives and changed them anyway.  It highlights the lives of women who were suddenly nurses, black citizens who had to live in fear of becoming slaves and being shipped south, and German immigrants who were accused of being cowardly and disloyal.  It also gives child visitors a look at the way children of the town helped out even though they were frightened.

One stop in Gettysburg was at a gallery called Lincoln into Art.  I met the artist, Wendy Allen, and she told me a little about her work and her gallery and living in Gettysburg.  She paints Abraham Lincoln.  He is her subject, her inspiration, and her livelihood in town.  It's really quite amazing.  She paints in a variety of styles: Pollock, Van Gogh, a sort of Mondrian with the words of the Address, even some Impressionist influence can be seen.  So many of her portraits had a singular feature which captivated me--the eyes.  She does Abraham Lincoln's eyes so that they convey the gentle melancholy of the man.  Visit her website here.  Incredible.

I wandered among history and, at times, became quite lost in it.  Yet, oddly, I felt quite comfortable among the relics of the Past as if it were sort of a homecoming.  It's hard to explain.  Certainly much of it had to do with a familiarity of having grown up with the battle and its lore since forever.  Being with my aunt and uncle, both gracious hosts and history enthusiasts, had quite a lot to do with it, too.  Still, I cannot discount the real affinity I feel with Gettysburg and what happened there and how much the people now work to preserve its legacy.  My family there--especially my cousin Mark--are all involved in the land conservancy project.  It's heartening.

Speaking of family there--allow me to end with a bit of a commercial.  Ann's items--or Purdy Sew 'n Sews--can be shipped Priority Mail in time for Christmas.  FREE!  But don't dilly dally.  Not to impose upon your New And Improved Relaxed Christmas, you know. But...even we don't have Forever.

Share oh, all kinds of stuff in Comments!

image credits:


  1. Nance-
    Glad you were there to take charge at the dinner. Operating by committee is usually something to be avoided. The statement by the other guest somehow reminds me of the quote from Field of Dreams - "Is this Heaven - No, Iowa". Anyway, that's stuck in my head now...

    I noticed the very same effect last week when I sliced my finger. Fortunately my wife, the Nurse, takes charge when she sees me wrapping my finger in a paper towel and applies Bandaid followed by a kiss on the boo boo. Did you see the NYT article where ER stiches are up to $600 each now?!

  2. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Good thinking with the cold water/napkin. Maybe you were a nurse in another life?

    Sorry about the finger. Knives make me anxious. More so since I've become a wee bit older and wear bifocals.

    I've never been to Gettysburg, which is amazing considering that my mother taught American history & planned all of our vacations around history. Somehow our family never got there. Must put it on the vacations-to-do list.

  3. Gosh, Nance, I loved this post, but, boy, did you have me on a roller coaster of emotions! I went from "aww, what a nice holiday dinner" to OMG to "Go, Nance!" to LOL and snorting (you better believe that "pouch" is intentional in every aspect!) to Ouch! (butterfly bandages and glue work pretty well it seems, although I'm scared of the latter with open wounds! your million dollar idea could be a band-aid box and wrapper that even the wounded could open) to remembering my own reverence for Gettysburg and our local battlefield sites to the Lincoln artist (incredible works! must visit!) to back to Christmas (as with the Whos in Whoville, it's coming whether we're ready or not). Thanks for waking me up, Nance! ;-)


  4. Wow! Maybe nurse is your second calling! It does not surprise me in the least that you acted the way you did. Teacher do so much more in a typical day than many other professions.

  5. Rainbow Motel--Oh, absolutely. I knew what to do because of training. I had a few kids who were diabetic, had orthostatic hypotension, panic disorder, etc. And I swear, after thirty years of using The Voice, I think I can command a room of anyone and anything.

    Shirley--hee hee! I just wrote it as I remembered what I wanted to write about, and I gave no thought to its narrative order. Sorry about that! My life, right? Thank goodness I'm retired.

    Ally--I love doing historical things on vacations. Gettysburg also has a few nice local wineries, so wine + history + WINNER for me. I hope you do get to Gettysburg sometime. It is truly a treasure.

    I've changed the dressing on my finger a few times, and it seems like it's ok. It's attempting to close, and it is far less sore. But I'm still hitting the caps lock instead of the A. Grrrrr.

    Dean--Those are some pretty expensive stitches. I saved us probably at least $1200 bucks, then. If Rick had been home, I'd have spared myself the Bandaid Dance, but would not have had as good of a story. Tradeoffs, I guess! (St. Patsy was here for the weekend; she kissed my booboo!)

  6. I did a similar bandaid dance a couple of months ago - by the time I got the offending digit wrapped up it looked like someone had been doing surgery in our bathroom. Ha!

    I may have already mentioned this before, but early in our marriage (22 years ago?) Mike & I drove up to Gettysburg (from Raleigh). We camped at a different camp ground each night - what a hassle (but cheap - & I shouldn't complain because Mike did all the packing)! I loved Gettysburg - such a lovely area and so full of history. But what I remember most about that trip was that on our way back south Mike "treated" me to a camping cabin at one of the KOAs. I was in heaven :)

  7. Bug--My camping days are long, long past. My sister goes "glamping"--glamour camping. She has air conditioning, her computer, all of that. She just loves to sit outdoors by a fire and drink. I like to sit on my patio or porch and do that, but then go inside and be civilized. Even in Gettysburg, my uncle observes cocktail hour every day at five and pours a wonderful martini. Here's to civilization in all it's forms!


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...