Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Everybody's Talking At Me

Being a speech therapist, my job is to try to help people with neurological disorders communicate. Some patients have more difficulty than others. One person might need work on making speech clearer. Another might need help with word retrieval. Another area a speech path might work on is cognition.
Memory, reasoning, problem solving etc.

Patients often say funny things. Whether or not they know it's funny is another thing.
For example, one man I saw recently was trying to tell me he and his wife knew nothing about Las Vegas before they went there to get married.
So he said, "We didn't know anything about it from Madam." I know he meant to say they didn't know anything about it from "Adam", but it just didn't come out quite right.

I was working with another man on word recall. I gave the patient three words and he had to name the object the three words described. So, if I said "time, hands, wristband", the correct response would be "watch".
After giving him this example, we were ready for the first question.
The three words were, "round, juicy, citrus fruit".
His response? "BOOBS!"

Sometimes, the patient catches the therapist saying something that doesn't sound quite right.

I was working with a woman on the following task:
As it is stated, the goal of this task is to write in the names of each person's parents.
Now, the patient was having some difficulty getting started. But, after a few cues, she was able to fill in most of the boxes. But, towards the end she didn't seem to see how to finish the puzzle.
As you can see, we still needed a father's name for Sally.
So, trying to cue her for the correct response I said, "Where do you think Dick goes?"
With one eye brow raised and a devilish smile on her face, she looked over at me and said "Do you really need me to tell you?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Over on my list of links, I have a website for April Winchell. She is a comedienne/voice over actress. I used to listen to her radio show when she was on KFI a few years ago.

She would play a lot of really, really bad music. Like Leonard Nimoy singing "
Both Sides Now" and "YMCA" in Cantonese.

It is on her website, that I discovered Wing Han Tsang. Her stage name is simply "

What Wing can do with the music of the Beatles, Elvis and Andrew Lloyd Webber is incredible, if not truly inspiring.

I found a video on YouTube that puts her amazing talents on display. I didn't think anyone could top The Carpenter's "
Close To You". However, Wing has made this classic her very own.

Go take a look.

And, you're welcome.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Book Worm

I am not much of a reader. I tend to like non fiction. But, I have read a few really good novels over the past few months.
Briana is taking full credit for my new found enjoyment of reading . She recommended two for me:

Quo Vadis, by Henryk Sienkiewicz. I loved this book. It is almost impossible to describe it. It is a fictional novel set during the reign of Nero. It's a story of war, faith and love. Quite an epic, and I loved every page.

The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. At over 900 pages, this book was more than a little intimidating to me. This novel is about a master mason longing to build a cathedral during the Middle Ages. Doesn't that description make you want to click on over to Amazon and buy it? Of course, it's not just about "Tom Builder".

It's about war, faith and love.
Hmmmm. I'm seeing a pattern here with Briana's book choices. But, these 900 pages flew by.

One of Briana's blog friends over at "
The Empty Sky" has a link to a list of books. So, I clicked on that link one day. This led me to my next book, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman. It is a fictional tale about what might have a happened to Peter, the boy who was also hiding in the secret annex in Amsterdam during WWII. Peter survives the horrors of the concentration camps and eventually moves to America. How he reacts to the publication of Anne's diary is quite compelling fiction.

After these three novels, I had to return to my love of "real" books. So, I picked up
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik. Despite the fact that the author comes off a bit arrogant (what doctor doesn't), I still enjoyed the anecdotes about her residency, her patients and her absolute passion for that part of us that makes us who we are: the brain.

Back to the novels, I took Lisa's advice and just finished
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.
I loved this book. It's one of those books that you just don't want to end. Ninety year old(or 93, he's not sure), Jacob tells the story of his life in the circus during the depression. Briana also wants to thank you Lisa for this recommendation. She loved it as well.
We are already trying to cast the movie. ;)

My favorite line from this book?
"Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important."

A lesson I need to learn, I think.
Maybe if I keep reading, I can keep up the appearance I have all my marbles.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

ForEVER (Fever)

Today the DCI Championships were held here in Pasadena. We watched the show at PCC in what seemed like 100 degree weather.

Jared's Corps won second place. Of course, he isn't satisfied with second. But, I am proud of him!

This is my favorite bro-in-law, Willie.

My sister Cheryl.

And this is what I envision Cheryl to be in about 30 years. Being out in 100 degree heat, probably watching a grandchild in the drum and bugle corps finals.

And wearing what looks like either a crocheted hat or a macrame plant holder on her head.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Where's Fred: Episode 2

This a shot from a baby shower we had today for a co-worker. That's Brad in the foreground, looking up briefly as he fills his plate.
But, where is Fred?? Hmmmmmm.

I know. I need some new blog material. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mac+leopard+Adrian's Mohawk=Dilly

I couldn't help but do the math:

Add these two together ...

With a touch of this.....

And, you get this!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

1984 in 2007

When they came after smokers, we should have known it wouldn't be long before they came for the rest of us.

Here's an employer who takes anywhere from $5 to $75 from the employees paychecks for health problems.

Cholesterol too high? That will be $30 less for you to buy burgers and fries with.
Blood sugar off the charts? That's another $10 you won't see in your paycheck.

And, don't think it will stop with your blood pressure, your cholesterol and glucose levels.
It won't be long until they get your DNA. Then they can deduct your paycheck or deny you health care because you merely have the genetic propensity for heart disease or diabetes or depression or cancer or glaucoma or toe fungus or any other ailment they don't want pay for.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Happy Friendship Day: Part Three

I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason.
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those who help us most to grow.
If we let them. And we help them in return.
Well I don't know if I believe that's true.
But, I know I'm who I am to day because I knew you.

Finishing off my Friendship Day posts: This my friend, Eva. Eva and I got off to a rocky start. If you ask her, she'd say she was afraid of me. A pattern that repeats it's self often at work. I'm not an easy person to get to know. And not such an easy person to like either. I am so happy you saw through all the gruff. You are so special to me and will be forever. I love you and miss you every single day.
This is a picture of Eva and Lisa when we took a short drive up the coast.
We went to The Hitching Post for dinner.
Here's... The Bickersons. This is Tommy. He has been my plumber, my carpenter, my computer guy and my reality TV watching partner. And, my friend. I have Lisa to thank for sharing him. Now Lisa.
We met years ago at the hospital. The thing that brought us together? A love for Rickie Lee Jones. You and Tom have always been a safety net for me. Two people I can always count on to catch me when I'm falling. Thank you for that. I love you both.
I have finally made it to the end. From my sister and Bonnie Nell to Ryan, Briana and Dylan. Briana is an OT at the hospital. I have posted before about trying not to let myself get attached to people at work. However, I got attached to Briana anyway. And, in return, I have what feels like a family to me. You and Ryan always make me feel welcome and loved. And no words can say how much your little boy has won over my heart. Briana, you have to know by now how much you mean to me. Let me say it again: If I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like you.
I love you.
One of my favorite pictures. The sperm sticker. ;)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friendship Day: Part Two

Continuing with my Friendship Day posts, I give you Annie Fannie Fishel. Anne and I have been friends since grad school. When I graduated, I moved to Bakersfield and then to Orange County. She went on to work at HMH. When the hospital had an opening, she recommended me. The rest is 20 years of history. Anne is one of those 'nice' people. You know the kind I'm talking about. She is such a wonderful human being. You saved me from a dreary career life of working in nursing homes. I can never thank you enough for that.

This is my friend Lynn. She is not really a french maid. This was taken at her Halloween party. I cannot say for sure that isn't a real hooker in the background, though. Lynn's real job was a PT at the hospital. We were roommates for a time as well. Everything that happened in the townhouse, stayed in the townhouse. We were very close then with many long talks into the night. I hope with the recent emails, we can begin a new chapter in our friendship.

This is my friend, Susan. She is another SLP at the hospital. We became fast friends when she came on staff. She always has a smile on her face and has something good to say about everyone. You have saved me many times from completely losing it at work. Thanks for being a constant source of support.

Ah...Karen. Yes, that is a basket on her head. Karen was a recreation therapist at work. Back when I was younger and thinner, we would jog around the Rose Bowl together. She was my buddy. My pal. She was just plain fun. Thank you for all the great memories, Karen. I miss seeing you.

I have met a lot of wonderful people at the hospital. Here are a few I remember fondly:

Alan, Dr. Kamal, Dion, Suzanne, Pete, Pam, Mike and Sue.

Eva and Sue Mc.

Kathy, Carmen, Josie and Fran standing at the nurses station of the old rehab unit. I can always count on Carmen for a hug on the days she works. I can almost hear Josie saying "Who cares?"

Christy, Betty and Maureen at a Dr. Hegde Christmas party. Even though she appears drunk in this photo, Betty was the best head nurse ever.

Jeanette and Isabel at Isabel's wedding shower.

Laura, Kirsten, Mo, Andi and me. This was taken at Andi's graduation party.

Flora, Briana and Jen at Playa Del Rey.

And, last, but not least for today's post: me, Suzie, Jen and Allie. If you knew Allie, you'd be laughing right now. She's that funny. And her husband is pretty cool too!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friendship Day: August 5, 2007

Friendship Day is this Sunday and I didn't want it to pass by without some recognition. I thought I would do a post about the people who have made a real difference in my life. As I got going on this, I realized I needed to break it up into three separate posts. So, I will have one each day leading up to Friendship Day on Sunday August 5th.

I guess my very first friends were my sisters.

This is Roxana. She is my older sister, but if you can get her to tell you how much older, you are doing better than me. We don't live close to each other anymore, but miles don't separate our hearts. I love you.

This is my sister, Cheryl. She is three years older than me. We shared a bedroom right up until the day she left home to get married. How much time did we spend in that room listening to records? We are not a very expressive family. But, I want you to know how much I love you. We started out in life together and we'll probably finish it that way too.

Cheryl and her friend Sara on the boat to Liberty Island.

This is a picture of my eighth birthday (if I'm counting the candles right). This is me with the groovy cat eye glasses. In the middle was my best friend, Bonnie Nell Wheeler. We lived in a small town called Fellows. And when I say small, it was small. She was my best friend until she got me to smoke a cigarette in the back shed in fourth grade. My parents thought it was best to try to keep away the bad influences. Not long after the Marlboro incident, we moved to the big city. Bakersfield.

I am going to skip from age 8 to about age 16. Lori was my best friend in high school. We sang together in the school choir. She was the most amazing singer. She had a beautiful alto voice and could sing just about anything. If she had put her mind to it, she could have really done something with it.

I still miss her.

I met Holly my freshman year of college. I was away from home for the first time and I was scared. And, lonely. I was ready to pack it in and move back to B-field after my first semester. She was the first person to offer her friendship to me back then. Without you, Hol, I would not be the person I am today. I would have dropped out and never would have become a Speech Therapist. So, thank you for being such a positive influence in my life.

What can I say about Wendell? At 28, he is one of my youngest friends. :)
We met working in the University Student Union at CSUN.
We spent so much time together in those years. While Holly got me through the first two years of college, Wendell got me through of the rest.
I know that the reasons we drifted apart fall on my shoulders. But, I will always have a special place in my heart for you, Wendell. I love you and miss you.

This is a photo of Renee, Chris, Joy and Lynn. While they were all my friends, I wanted to post about Chris.
I also met her while working at the Student Union. There are few people in my life that have had the kind of impact Chris had on me. We laughed together, dreamed together, cried together. We knew the best and the worst about each other. I sang at her wedding. I saw her first child being born. You will always mean so much to me. "Friends are friends forever."