Thursday, May 31, 2012

A feel good story

I work in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology at the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, part of the University of Rochester.  Our division supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  I am the Division Administrative Assistant, reporting to the Division Chief.

One of my least favorite jobs is answering the phone.  But today I received a call that would bring a tear of joy to anyone.  A very proud mom called to tell me back in 1994, her daughter spent 4 months in the NICU. She was born at 24 weeks of pregnancy.  One of the doctors told her "not to expect too much."

"Well, I want you to know," she said to me, "my daughter has just been accepted at Rochester Institute of Technology with a full scholarship."

I struggled to keep my voice from cracking.  "That is just wonderful!" I said to her.

"And she is the first one in our family to go to college," the mom boasted.

She told me when the doctor first told her not to expect too much that she became angry.  "Maybe that was a good thing," she said.  "It made me work that much harder with my daughter to help her overcome her disabilities."

I want to make it clear, that not all babies sent to the NICU suffer long term disabilities.  Some spend a few days or maybe a week or more there and then live a totally normal healthy life.  But walking through the NICU is a very humbling experience.

It is gratifying to work among doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who are so dedicated and talented at what they do.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lilac bush in full bloom

This is one of my lilac bushes in full bloom.  Of the six bushes, this is the only one that looked good this year.  They are all different varieties and so they start to bloom at different times.  The other bushes had buds on them when we had a killing frost late in the season so they floundered.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Molly's new bed

I provide Molly with a very nice dog bed from LL Bean and what does she do???  She emptied my dirty clothes basket and made her own bed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Andrew's artwork

My grandson, Andrew, had one of his pieces of art chosen to be displayed in the Suntrust Building in his hometown.  Way to go, Andrew!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Poor Molly

I don't have the heart to show a picture of this.  Molly has a lesion on her foot that isn't very pleasant.  The vet prescribed antibiotics and told me to bring her back on Friday.  She is making the situation worse by constantly licking/chewing on it.

So I asked if I could have one of those awful cone collars that will prevent her from being able to get to her foot.  I felt like a criminal putting it on her.  That look on her face was very clear. . . 'why are you doing this to me?'

Please wish for the best for me and Molly.  We will find out Friday the extent of this set back.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's amazing how far we've come!

My boss and his wife left Friday for Russia.  He was asked to speak at a conference.

"Here are my hotel phone numbers for Moscow and St. Petersburg," he told me, "just in case!"  "Try e-mail first if you need to get in touch with me."

While I laughed and made a joke of it, you always have to plan for the unplanned.

He then relayed the details of a trip he took to Europe many years ago, before e-mail and when fax machines were just coming into use.  "I don't know how she did it," he began, "but my assistant tracked me down."  He had completed a grant just before leaving.  Anyone that knows about applying for government grants will tell you, they are never "complete" until they are funded.

He re-wrote the part that needed attention and then faxed a dozen or so pages back to Rochester.  The fax machine in those days was painfully slow.  The hotel was irritated with him for tying up their line for so long.

Five years ago, I could never imagine that today I would not have a land line phone. Instead, my iPhone is my connection to the world and I carry it with me everywhere I go.  Who would ever think that e-mail and facebook would become such a big part of our everyday life?

Even cars are constantly evolving.  My new Honda Civic has a computer that tells me how many miles per gallon I am getting, when to change the oil, when to rotate the tires, and by punching one button, I can switch to "Econ" which gives me better gas mileage! Within 15 seconds of driving forward, the doors lock automatically.   And I was told cars today don't need a breaking in period.  You can drive off the lot right now and drive across country.

Kind of makes you wonder, what is just around the corner with technology?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For once, a happy story on the news

I admit it.  I'm a news junkie.  Fox News is my choice for reliable news.  But sometimes I get so tired of the doom and gloom in the news that I turn away from watching the news.

Then this morning, as I was drinking my coffee, there was a story on Fox News that drew me to tears. . . tears of joy.  A father returning from the war, watched as his young son, afflicted with cerebral palsy, walked unaided towards him.  Even the news anchors had tears in their eyes.  While the father was away, the young child learned to walk, something every doctor said would never happen.  The mother went to great lengths to keep this a secret from her husband so that their son could surprise him on his return home.

God bless this young family.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Driving is a joy with a 5-speed

I am amused by the responses I get when the subject of an automatic transmission vs. manual transmission comes up in conversation.

“You want a manual transmission?” the salesman asked me in a voice of disbelief.

I smiled.  “Yes.”

There are those of us who grew up in a home where a stick shift was the only acceptable way of driving a car.  I learned to drive a car with a stick.  I insisted my sons learn the same way.  “Oh, don’t do that to them,” some of my friends said at the time.  “They need to learn to control a car first.  Making them learn to shift gears is asking too much of a new driver.”

On Christmas Day back when they were in high school, I took them to the parking lot of a local shopping center, the only day of the year when that lot was empty, to teach them how to shift gears.  Our black Lab, Teri, sat calmly in the backseat, not knowing, or caring, what was going on in the front seat!  They caught on quickly to the coordination needed between your hand on the gear shift and your foot on the clutch.  

All of my driving life, except for the last 9 years, I have had a car with a manual transmission.  For whatever reason, my father’s last car had an automatic transmission.  When he died soon after buying it, I kept it since it was essentially a new car, with less than 20,000 miles on it.  I learned to accept driving with an automatic, but my heart will always be with a 5-speed.

“I tried to learn to drive a 5-speed,” someone told me this week.  “It just didn’t work for me.”

“It’s too much trouble to shift gears,” another person said.

“I only have two manual transmissions on the lot and at this price, I can’t go get one from another dealer,” the salesman said to me.  “One is black and the other is the dark gray that you just drove.”

“I’ll take the gray,”

It’s fun driving a 5-speed.  I feel I am engaged in the ride.  That is why I seldom use cruise control on my car.  If you aren’t shifting gears and controlling the speed with your foot on the accelerator, you are just sitting there.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My new car

Here is my new Honda Civic LX!  It is a 5-speed and a thrill to drive.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shooting sporting clays on a beautiful afternoon

Today was my first time to shoot sporting clays this year.  The woods were pretty with the new foliage and it was good to be outside.  Sporting clays is often called "golf with a shotgun" because you move from one station to the other.  The clays can come from any direction, toward you, away from you, from the side, high, low.  That is a sporting clays vest I am wearing.  It has big pockets to hold your ammo.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Don't mess with my coffee. . .

I order my coffee from Peet's.  I'm an admitted coffee snob.  I like good coffee.

According to the UPS tracking system, my shipment was delivered on Wednesday.  I came home and it wasn't there.  I checked with my close by neighbors, hoping that maybe the driver left it at another house by mistake.

First I called UPS.  They told me to call the company that sent the package.  Now, why would I do that?  It wasn't their fault the package disappeared from my door.  I called Peet's and explained what happened.  Their response made me very happy. They said they would contact UPS, but in the meantime, they were going to send me a replacement shipment at no cost to me.

Now THAT is exceptional customer service!  They sent the replacement Next Day Air from California and I got it today.

If you like good coffee, I highly recommend Peet's.