Archive for the ‘ Empty Nesting ’ Category


Cara Paiuk was attending an open house – a prerequisite – in preparation for her son’s entry into Aiken Elementary School in West Hartford, Connecticut when a question on the entry form took her by surprise.


She grabbed the form from her husband and said, “You can’t answer that question, it’s none of their business.”

I’ll have to admit, I agree!  It IS none of their business, and to quote Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make.”

Too soon?


Paiuk was a tad incensed with the pre-school’s question about her v-jay-jay, and can’t understand why they would want to know.

She was hesitant to speak UP at first, I mean, after all, the teachers were there, and who wants their kid branded as “the kid with THAT mom” before the first day of school?

Later that week, Paiuk called the school and spoke with a school nurse.  The nurse said the school needed to know about birth traumas, you know, like the umbilical cord wrapped around the child’s neck or an emergency C-section, since down the road the child might have some “issues” at school, and this information would come in handy.

Paiuk called “BS”, but admitted that birth trauma can cause developmental delays. She added they could be from both vaginal or caesarian births.

She also pointed out that delays or disabilities should be diagnosed by a doctor and not a school administrator – which is true, BTW.

The nurse then referred the mom to the school’s “medical adviser” who said the form was 20 years old and Paiuk was the first person to raise a stink.

Really, no one’s paying attention people – explains a great deal, don’t you think?

Paiuk said, “Let’s say it was added 30 years ago, there weren’t that many C-sections then, so maybe it might have been indicative of a birth trauma,” Paiuk says. “You might have been able to justify the question 30 years ago. But now there’s such a higher rate of C-sections that it’s not immediately indicative of birth trauma or developmental delay. The fact that this has continued for all these years just tells me that people are blindly filling out forms these days.”

OK, so let me chime in on the 30 years ago thing.  My daughter was a C-section, she’s 30, and guess what – she’s fine!  And there was a lot less trauma for her during the birth. So, now, I’m not buying the 30 years ago crap…

It’s a stupid question, and an intrusive one at that!

And on top of that, in the years at BHS, I never heard one teacher look at a kid, shake her head, and say, “C-Section, no doubt about it!”

I’m quite sure it is not all that odd for schools to require information about incoming students and the questions asked on admission forms surely vary from school to school.  But, type of birth, why?

Thomas Moore, the Superintendent of WHS says he intends to reevaluate all the forms for next year’s incoming class.

Good idea, Tom.

Heed Not The Call of Dog!

An open letter to Emily of .

Oddly enough, I have no pictures to go with this post!

Gilda was our first.  We got her six months after we were married, the day before we moved 400 miles away to Tennessee .  She rode in the car with me all the way, spent most of the time whining her box and some between my neck and the car seat head-rest.  She was a cutie.  Eleven ounces and six weeks old when we got her, she actually fit in the inside coat pocket of my old Navy Pea Coat.

We took her everywhere.

She chewed up everything, would not sleep in her bed, wound up in ours, and woke me up everyday like clock work once she was house broken.

But we loved her.

Eight years later, when our daughter was born, Gilda had to go.  She was jealous, snippy, and snappy.  I really didn’t want to A. permanently scar my child’s face; and B. Explain all that to the Department of Children’s Services.  I hear they can be picky.

After child number 2 came along, grew to walking stage, wiping his own butt stage (hallelujah, one of the greatest days of all time and a whole ‘nother blog), we all felt the ‘call of dog’.  Many feel the call of God, but alas, we felt the call of dog.

Then came Lacy.  A blonde Cocker Spaniel that was obviously more inbred than I, had the IQ of a lawn chair, and came with her own IEP.

She would dig one hole under the fence to get out and another one to get back in.  After a while it looked like it was warped, and the neighbors would point and shake their heads as they walked by.

One day she disappeared.  Really, just gone.  I had nothing to do with it, though I was accused, glared at and repeatedly questioned.  The lie detector test was “inconclusive”.  But alas, another one gone.  (Remarkably, my Sister-in-law’s dog, who was Lacy’s litter mate vanished the same week.  My brother-in-law survived the questioning much better than I.)  We never found either of them.  I was not sad.

Again, the dog conversation started.  I hedged, said no, fought, and as all of us do, gave in…just as you will Emily.

That was Dagy, or Dagmar.  Pure bred, black as coal, sweet as sugar and the most wonderful companion ever.  She met me at the door every night.    When every one else was mad, she loved me, when every one else was out, she was at the door.

Then her back went out.  $600.00 and several days at the vet’s later, we had to let her go.  On my 50th birthday.  Yeah, happy freakin’ birthday.

I swore off dogs, again.


But, again, I heard the call of dog.  So I bought two at the same time.  Don’t ever do this.  They won’t learn their own names, they will both come when you call one, they will not train, they will not stop chewing, and they encourage each other to mischief.

After I cam home from my quadruple bypass surgery (I promise to talk about that at length some day),  I was actually afraid they would jump up on me and open up every slice and dice the doctors had done.  Thank goodness for rescue sites.  They were both gone in 2 days.

Then one day, Mugly (short for my ugly dog, ‘cause she was clock stopping hideous – I mean, seriously, “cover your watch!”) showed up.  Really, she just arrived in the yard, decided she liked the place and stayed…for exactly a year.  Then she moved on.

Oh, I looked for her.  I put UP post-it notes advertising “lost dog” on telephone poles, canvassed the neighborhood…all ten houses…but alas, we never found her.  Until I went walking a week later and there she was, dead on the side of the road.  She wasn’t hit; she just went off to die.  I was sad, and swore off dogs, once again.

Then there was Lola.  Lola was my son’s dog.  She had feet the size of hams when she was born.  Now, the biggest dog I had weighed in at about 18 pounds.  This one was 40 at six months.

She was part yellow lab and part idiot.  She was a chewer, a whiner, a barker, a digger, just like all the others.

She had to go.

I bided my time.

Well, the boy decides to go to college.  (I’m happy about that.) He left his dog at home.


Duh!  Working two jobs and napping got in the way of play time with Lola, so she had to go.

Napping is important.

It just wasn’t fair to her.

One add on and 8 hours later.  I was runnin’ through the house singing “Dog Free” and praising Jesus.

This dog, the last dog, didn’t die.  She went to a nice family with four kids and big fenced yard.  She could have been a science project at UGA and I’d have lost no sleep!

She was the last dog…well, for now.

Seriously, Em, get that bunch under control!  Heed not the Call of Dog!

International Nurses Day…

…where would we be with out them?

Probably sick!

Today is the birth date of Florence Nightingale, and nurses world wide celebrate today as International Nurses Day.

The Lady With The Lamp

Born in the Grand Duchy of Florence, she was the child of privilege.  Her family was a well heeled UPper crust British lot, and Florence was expected as to the code of the day to marry well, have children, and run a wonderful household.

She had other plans.

Answering a “call from God”, Florence decided to become a nurse.

Her mother and her sister were fuming mad about it.  Well bred young ladies in 19th century England did no such thing.  After all, they might see things they weren’t sUPposed to see.

She became famous during the Crimean War, and due to her night time rounds, she was called the “Lady with the lamp.”

Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing – there were no schools for women at that time.  In spite of constant carping bitching pissing and moaning opposition from her family and society around her, she made a go of it.

Nightingale was courted by politician and poet Richard Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton, and could have taken an easier road, but she rejected him.  Convinced that marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing, she gave him the big shove off and sent him packing.

Mummy was steamed!

A deeply devout Anglican, her writings are full of references to God, His works, His wonders and His call to her.

She exhibited a gift for mathematics from an early age (oh how I hope my nerdy nephews are reading this!)  and was tutored by her father.

Again, Mummy – steam – etc.

Later, Nightingale became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information and statistical graphics. She actually used pie charts!

Mummy would rather she be making pies.

Pie charts may bore us now, but back then they were very new, having come onto the scene around 1801.

She is most well known for her, rather novel at the time, insistance on cleanliness and sanitation.  Much of the medical attitude towards sterilization and such are a result of Florence’s ideals.

Mummy was however, pleased that she washed her hands.

Her greatest achievement was the first official nurses’ training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses.  There were none at the time, and it opened in 1860. The mission of the school was to train nurses to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to teach.

Her main thought was that students would care for people in their homes.  Hospitals were pretty horrific back then.

Florence’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

She lived to be 90.  She became a legend in her own time, changed the course of medicine and all of England wanted to bury her in Westminster Abbey, but the family said no.

So, to all the nurses out there, and especially to my very favorite Florence Nightingale, my sweet, sweet, Shelby, “Happy Nurses Day”!

Shelby Brads, BSN RN

Catsona Non Grata

OK, I’m a dog person.

I’m not a cat person.

But, I have a cat.

Because I have a daughter.

Who has a cat.

Who also has a roommate.

Who is allergic to cats.

Ergo, I have a cat.

Her name’s Stella.

Stella Longing for the outside

I did not want her.

I did not ask for her.

I even said, “NO!” when asked if I’d take her.

But, I have a cat.

Stella actually belongs to Jessica, Shelby’s old roommate who is in Haiti ‘doing good’ for the next few months.  Shelby, not wanting to live alone and wanting someone to share expenses got a new roommate when Jessica left.  The cat had to go. 

Jessica’s parents took her for a while, but Stella doesn’t play well with others, runs with scissors,  talks out of turn, and was asked to leave.

After repeated ‘Nos’ from me, which never work with Shelby, I came home to have Stella greet me at the door.

I expect Blanche and Stanley any day now!

And, as cats go, she’s pretty cool.  And, other than the fact that she’s taken the shrine to the decorator living room as her own, she’s no trouble.

She likes to be petted, just like a dog.

She likes to lay in the sun, just like a dog.

She likes to be with people, just like a dog.

Stella on the table top

Ok, I have a dog.

Like I said, I’m a dog person.

But,  I’m still waiting for a “cat support” check!