Sunday, June 29, 2008

White Sox Winner!

I went into this weekend's Crosstown Classic with a hopeful heart but still recovering from last weekend's massacre. Friday afternoon I had to visit at pt. at one of my nursing homes, which just happens to hold a lot of Sox and Cub fan residents. Of course every floor had the game on so I was able to check the score in between my visit. When I arrived at the facility, the score was 1-0. I was pleased to see this. When I was done visiting with my pt., I looked at the score again. 8-0! I was even more pleased! My first thought: What a reversal of fortune from last weekend. And my hopes were even more raised but like any good Sox fan, I didn't want to jinx it so I kept these thoughts to myself. I watched the rest of the game at home and it was thrilling to the end. My mom and Grandpa were even watching- and my mom never watches baseball. A minute after the game ended, mom called me to congratulate me on JD's amazing 9th inning catch! She's too cute.

Saturday Brooke and I went to the game. I was a little nervous because my record has not been good in attending Crosstown Classics. Pretty sure I'm 0 for 3 (we lost even the year I had to sell my ticket!) Still, we both wore our Ozzie's Angels tank tops. I wore the 2005 black one and Brooke wore the white version we created last year. Brooke had her Sox naval ring in and was wearing her Sox necklace- she is sure these are lucky items and noted that she was unfortunately not wearing them last weekend. The game was an amazing nail-biter to the end! We were sitting by lots of dedicated Sox fans which made it even more exciting. There's nothing like high-fiving a whole row of strangers and this game gave us lots of reasons to do that! Our tank tops were a big hit as always- one guy said it was the best original shirt he'd ever seen. Why yes, sir. It is.

I watched tonight's game on tv while I studied for my LCSW test. Of course it's hard to focus on studying but the test is on Tuesday... Sweeping the Cubs was a dream but I didn't know how attainable it would be. I held my breath every inning. I told Jill last night on our marathon walk that it would be interesting to be hooked up to an EKG during one of these games. I get just a little bit worked up. I'm sure that's hard for you all to imagine! I'm so, so happy that we won once again! To sweep the Cubs after last weekend: priceless. But am I going to rub it in their faces? No. Sox fans don't do that. A Cubs fan always starts instigating. Do I defend my team? Of course. But do I start saying crap? No. I don't think that I need to do that. I'm confident in my team. It's been a great season so far, shaky at times but enjoyable to watch nonetheless. And lest I jinx myself, I will sign off now...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ruth

My favorite patient is dying. I have visited "Ruth", 93 years old and forever spunky, every week for the past year and a half. Our visits are usually in the 2-3 hour range and we cover all manner of topics. She's shared her amazing life story with me and dispensed her wisdom. One of her big wishes is for me to meet a nice guy and settle down- once she's approved of the guy, of course. Every week I have to give her a progress report on my dating life- and believe me, she's the only patient that gets away with this!

I was planning on visiting Ruth as usual this afternoon. Vickie, her nurse, called me about noon to let me know that Ruth had had a change in condition over the weekend. When I arrived, I didn't know what to expect. Ruth has had many ups and downs since she has been a hospice patient; we have expected her to die a few times only for her to bounce right back. In fact, the family jokes that I can bring her back from the brink, as she really has perked up at the sound of my voice. The moment I saw her, I knew that she wouldn't be bouncing back this time. She briefly woke up and smiled when she saw me but quickly fell back asleep. I spent the afternoon at her bedside, holding her hand and comforting her daughter. We shared our favorite stories about Ruth. At one point I took my hand away to drink some water. Ruth opened her eyes and asked "Where'd you go?" and reached her hand back towards me. I reassured her that I was there and held her hand once more. She was comforted and fell back asleep. Later on she asked me "So you found yourself a boy?" Her daughter and I had been laughing and reminiscing earlier about Ruth's matchmaking hopes for me. There's the proof that hearing is the last sense to go! I told Ruth about my latest date. Her eyes remained closed but I could tell from her facial expression that she is quite hopeful about this prospect.

It was very hard to leave the house today. It was very hard to say goodbye to Ruth. I don't know if she'll make it through the night or not. As much as we hospice workers prepare for these moments, there are certain patients that steal a piece of your heart. Ruth is that patient for me. She has told me in the past that I am her favorite hospice team member. It's rare that I trump a nurse in the line of favorites! I rarely cry during patient's final moments but I could not keep back the tears when I told Ruth goodbye. I will never forget her or her family. I know that I made a difference in Ruth's life and that means everything.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Friday

This morning a patient told me, "You're smart, you're confident. You're highly intelligent." I would have been more flattered if he didn't have dementia.

Hurray for Oswego selling gas for $4.06 this afternoon!

My weekend will happily be consumed by the Crosstown Classic. If I'm not watching the games, I will be obsessively checking the score from wherever I am. I can't wait until next Saturday's game. I may have heart palpitations from the stress but I will enjoy every minute of it. Go Sox go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh, it's going to be good!

Respect the key word in Red Line series
White Sox organization has little antipathy for North Side rivals
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- When Jerry Reinsdorf was the subject of ESPN 1000's "Lunch with a Legend" series back at the end of May, the White Sox chairman was asked for his opinion on one of the show's hosts, Marc Silverman, being a Cubs fan.
"Why don't you lie down, and it will pass," said Reinsdorf, taking an indirect but humorous jab at the White Sox baseball rivals from across town.

In complete honesty, Reinsdorf has nothing against the Cubs. Neither do most of the White Sox players, nor do the members of the organization. The White Sox are too focused on their own goal of winning the American League Central and pursuing their second World Series title in the past four years.

As for Ozzie Guillen, he has absolutely no hatred for the Cubs. The White Sox manager does desire equal respect for his team, in regard to how their current status is portrayed throughout the city.

"I don't really worry about the way people treat the Cubs in this town," said Guillen, prior to Wednesday's game with Pittsburgh and just two days away from the first Cubs-White Sox matchup of 2008 at Wrigley Field. "With all respect, they don't appreciate as a city what the White Sox have been doing here for the last few years.

"That's why I don't like it sometimes," Guillen added.

White Sox players have been hit with questions about the Cubs series for pretty much the past month, but that attention has heightened over the past week with both teams in first place atop their divisions. It's to the point now where these same players, some of the best quotes on the team, are offering up standard answers just to get through the respective interview sessions and move on to other topics.

You know, the "Let's focus on Pittsburgh right now" approach, followed by "It's just another series for us, but it has a little bit more excitement." In regard to hatred for the Cubs, a feeling the most ardent of White Sox fans regularly show off -- a feeling usually returned by the North Side supporters -- it's not outwardly present in the clubhouse.

"It's really for the fans," said White Sox third baseman Joe Crede with a smile. "I would never say that I dislike any team. As you play longer for one certain team, you grow accustomed to fans, and what they like and dislike about each team. You learn the whole situation of how passionate fans are here in Chicago."

"There's more craziness with all the fans and with all the hype, it's like a playoff atmosphere," White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye added. "It's an exciting series, but for the players, once you get on the field and start playing, it's like another series."

Dye has a friendship with Cubs first baseman Derek Lee, having grown up in the same area and played together as far back as the Arizona Fall League. Guillen also is close to Lee from their days together on the Marlins, as well as Ryan Dempster, while he also has a great deal of respect for manager Lou Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry.

So, the White Sox will lead everyone to believe this weekend will be just another series at a visiting ballpark among friendly rivals. The intense disagreements in the stands and the equally intense reactions to happenings on the field would lead everyone else to believe otherwise.

"Really, it's all about respect," Guillen said. "Am I a Cubs fan? Do I wish them doing well? As a fan, no. As a baseball man, yes. The thing is obviously when the game starts, it's another club to face.

"Off the field, a lot of people think I hate the Cubs or I'm jealous of the Cubs. But I have a lot of respect for them."

A little humor...

One of my coworkers discovered the DNR song and shared it with us after an endless afternoon of meetings. It was just what I needed! The video itself is nothing but the song is pure genius! Aside from the Kevorkian reference, it perfectly describes what I see everyday. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

James Taylor

This weekend is shaping up to be a far cry from the fabulousness of last weekend. Last night I had to cancel a dinner date because 1) it hurt when I swallowed 2) my glands were swollen and 3) massive sinus headache. It's been an exhausting week and must have caught up with me. I went to bed early and am feeling much better this morning. Such a disappointing Friday night though! Today I'm on call for work until 8 am tomorrow. I really, really hope I don't get called out! Of course, I hope that every time and sometimes my wish comes true. The real highlight (and perhaps my redemption) will be tomorrow- taking my dad to his first Sox game! Now if only the rain will hold off until after the 9th inning is over.

Last Saturday I saw James Taylor at Ravinia with 5 friends. James was amazing, as always. I got to see him at Rosemont a few years ago so I knew it would be a good show. Ravinia seems to make everything better. It was definitely a relaxed environment and I could almost imagine that James was singing to me in my living room. Obviously I knew I was outside but with an inflatable couch just a few feet away, you can see why one might forget their surroundings for a few moments. We may not have had our own inflatable couch but we still had an impressive picnic spread. Fruit, tons of brie, bread, chicken salad, chocolate, "crack" pretzels, and wine...delicious! Luckily the rain held off during the performance so we could enjoy our feast. I read in a review of James's Friday night show that he did not perform "Fire and Rain" but he did sing it for us! He played all the favorites and some great covers as well. I can't wait until I see him again!
Kibibi, Erin, Linda, Jill, and Annie with our bounty

Monday, June 09, 2008

A year in review

Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of Grandma's death. In some ways, I feel like the anniversary should have been over the weekend. She died at 12:27 am Sunday morning. I had been prepared to stay up with her Saturday night, giving her the medications she needed and making sure she stayed comfortable. It's such semantics to say she died on June 10. She was dying the whole week, slowly slipping away from us. And yet, she was my grandmother even on her last day of consciousness. She woke up Friday afternoon briefly. When I asked her if she needed anything, she said, "No, I've got you." That was Grandma. Friday night she said her last words- instructing us to sing Happy Birthday to my cousin Zack. She died about 27 hours later.

I'll be honest. It was a little hard to sing during church, as I thought about what I was doing at that time a year ago. Last summer was difficult for obvious and not so obvious reasons. I think I've come a long way since then but I am forever changed by this loss. Grandpa is still at Marianjoy for rehab so tomorrow our family will gather there to remember Grandma. I'm not sure that I want to go. I love being with my family. I want to pay my respects to my Grandma. Right now, the thought of a formal reflection time makes me unbearably sad. Still, I will go. I know it will mean a lot to Grandpa and to my mom. I will be with the people who understand exactly what I'm feeling. I will continue to learn what it means to praise God through our trials. And I will continue to remember Grandma and the ways that she blessed and impacted my life.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

History-making change we can believe in


I'm a little late in posting on Obama clinching the Democratic nomination but still just as excited! It has been amazing to see the response and support Obama has received since he first entered this crazy race. I'm glad to have played a part in it, albeit small. I love listening to Barack speak and this time was no exception- it's a little long but worth listening to. Onward we go to November!
"We may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first." -from Obama's speech June 3, 2008


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fried Pickles


Spears and slices, take your pick

If you've never been in the Peru-Mendota area, chances are you've never heard of La Grotto's. And chances are even better that you've never heard of fried pickles. And that, my friends, is a travesty. Three of my good college friends are from Peru and Mendota. There's not much to do in those parts but they do have a shining jewel in La Grotto's restaurant. Fantastic pizza and amazing fried pickles. So it was after our freshman year of college, 8 of my closest friends and I went on a camping trip that naturally incorporated a visit to La Grotto's. I've been hooked on fried pickles ever since. I'm unaware of local restaurants that offer this tasty appetizer but it is all the rage in Southern states. Every time I visit Tracy and Joel in Nashville, I make sure to get at least one order in.

Lately I've had fried pickles on the brain. I haven't been able to get back to Nashville since January and I've been craving a fried pickle dipped in Ranch dressing like nobody's business. What else could I do? I decided to track down a recipe and make them myself. Last night I attempted to create this delicacy for Annie's School's Out party (a celebration of her last day as a teacher and first day of summer). It was a bit of work but the fried pickles were a hit! I'm not sure how soon I'll attempt them again- especially as summer draws near- but I'm glad to know that I'm able to make such a wonderful treat.