Friday, September 17, 2010


Life in pseudo-Paradise has been extraordinarily quiet and busy at the same time. The big bad city is just that-big and bad, so I try not to mingle on the outside too much except occasional forays to the beach and down to Paradise again. I've been working a lot lately (nothing new), doing a lot of writing outside this blog and FINALLY getting my house in order (literally and figuratively!) HB's big house was a train wreck of excess furniture, old papers, countless bric-a-brac, and then MY stuff comes in too! I could just see the camera crew from "Hoarders" just jockeying for space on the front lawn! But finally, after all this time, the excess is almost gone, the house is falling into shape and it looks like a place normal people live in. All our stuff is integrated, rearranged, displayed, dusted and organized. No small feat, I tell you!

HB has been away for a few weeks and the house is quiet and neat. I miss him, but we're in constant contact, and it's given me time to do all this extra work without interruption. He hasn't seen the final results and I'm hoping he's happy with it. The TeenQueen was here for an extended vacation (winter break from school--yes WINTER in South America!). She came in pasty and left gloriously tanned. We managed to steal away to Daytona Beach for a week of fun in the sun and nothing but beachtime and trashy novels and junk food and catching up with old friends. Lovely time for both of us, and HB and his son, who joined us later in the week for the traditional shucking of the bushel of oysters. A trip to Daytona Beach isn't complete without the oyster celebration!

I've managed to get down to the Keys several times, not enough for my taste, but I got there. Did the usual-hang out with friends, Tranquility Bay, beach, etc. Lobster season started, but since HB's not here to clean the pesky critters, I'm not indulging. When he gets back, we'll get a sackful of them and celebrate. Some things are not the same when done alone. And with him, the whole lobster thing is a production in itself.

FantasyFest is around the corner, and it looks like HB will be home by that time, so I've gotten the green light for our attendance this year. Again, no costuming, just hanging out and good times. I just have to start touching base with people and see what their plans are. I was hoping not to miss it this year, and circumstances came through!

This year I'm actually looking forward to the holidays. Last year was such a disaster, between homes, TeenQueen gone, HB in Miami, working......just shitty all around. This year I'm settled. I want a tree. I want all my christmas ornaments up and displayed. I want to sit down to Christmas dinner with my new adopted family (they adopted me or did I adopt them? ) I want the holidays to be everything it wasn't this year or the year before (another crappy holiday, but for different reasons!) In fact, I was even thinking of putting up the tree next week. Oh hell, why not? Wouldn't be the first time it goes up early or comes down months later..... I'm looking forward to cooler weather, opening up the windows in this big old house, being able to enjoy the large balcony upstairs in the afternoon, having dinner outside in the outdoor patio without wilting.

I am looking forward to many things in the near future . I think a lot of things are looking up again.

When you spend any amount of time alone, you reflect on things and it forces some perspective on a lot of situations. I've come to realize that I am where I am, with whom I am, and it's ok. I may be out of Paradise, but I carry the attitude around with me. Nothing can take away the fact that I lived it, loved it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

And that's always something to shoot for!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Life is never too DULL......

I can't believe it's almost July! Where has this year gone? I know I've been busy BUSY BUSY but this is ridiculous! It seems like only yesterday I was packing up to leave the Keys, starting work in Miami, going back and forth and PRESTO!!! July 4th is just around the corner. Gotta learn to slow down, like I did in Paradise. Just the fact that I spend hours commuting every week is a drag. At the same time, I've carved out time to see friends, go to the beach, just tan is up to date, I'm still walking (just changed the venue a little bit) and professionally, I'm thriving again!

As you may know, I was an agency nurse in Miami for many years. I went EVERYWHERE!! I worked with a lot of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and CRNA's, most who I haven't seen in the 7 years since I blew out of town. Now that I'm back, I'm seeing people I used to work with everywhere. They've changed venues, I've changed venues. Sometimes they're in the same place. It's nice to walk into a healthcare environment and somebody instantly recognizing you from when they worked with you before. It makes the whole agency "walk in, hit the floor running" atmosphere just a bit easier.

Not that I'm work gives me the freedom to work when I want, where I want, in the department of my choosing for primo bucks. Surgical recovery and ER via agency is very democratic-whatever rolls through the door. Could be me this time, next time it's regular staff's turn. Unlike working agency for ICU, where you KNOW you will get dumped with the 3 worst patients on the floor because the staff needs a break. Understandable, but're really going to make me sweat blood for this $500 shift, aren't you?

I've worked for the same agency since the mid-90's. Surgistaff specializes in OR, PACU, and ambulatory personnel. They do some ER/ICU on the side, but they focus on surgical RN's. They have been absolutely wonderful to me from day ONE, and I've referred many nurses to them over the years. And usually, I don't do five different places five days a week. I get booked FAST. Places will use me once or twice, then they book me exclusively for extended periods of time. I've spent months in many locations.

The upside? NO POLITICS. You do your work, you take good care of your patients, you go home. End of story. I know it's not for everyone, but if you can ROLL with the punches, it's a great job. And no matter how bad it get to go home in a few hours and NEVER GO BACK! I've done that too!

Now if I could only find myself a rich doctor who would buy me a 50' sailboat!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


My sweet wonderful Bumby. Constant companion, unconditional-love-machine, snuggler, breakfast partner and travel buddy. Always at my side ready to defend my honor, if not my life with her ferocious yappy barks (since she can't bite anyone or anything, including her food!). Everybody hates Bumby but me-honest!! They call her spoiled, retarded, dysfunctional, untrained, yappy, unfriendly. And that's because she's a one-person dog--and that person is ME!

But I love her to death. And I almost lost her last week because she thinks she's Houdini, the ultimate escape artist.

I was spending some time at my best friend's house. I was out and I left her there with the family. And she got out, AND RAN, AND RAN AND RAN AND RAN. Didn't stop until she reached a major road. My friends went after her, but she just looked at them and went in the opposite direction---SWOOSH!!!!! RUN BUMBY RUN!!!! RUN INTO TRAFFIC!!!

SO.....she crossed the major road.....with half a neighborhood now joining the search party.....and promptly disappeared. Various search cars were out calling for her, looking for her. Bumby was nowhere to be found.

While all this excitement was going on, I arrive at my friend's house. I notice the garage door open, the door unlocked, and inside the house, her purse, her cell phone on the counter. No sign of her....odd. No Bumby either.....odd. So I wait. And wait some more....and then I'm hoping that what I'm thinking isn't happening but I'm not sure......

My friend arrives and breaks the bad news: Bubbles has ESCAPED!!! She's on Pine Island Road crossing at rush hour!! Immediate mental pictures of roadkill fill my head....NOOOOOOO!!!! Please God not this week!!! Anything but this!!!

Out I go on the road looking for her. No sign of the dog, but also, NO ROADKILL anywhere.....she's somewhere......but where? She's in a strange place, where she's never been before. She's not used to traffic. My Bumby.....lost and cold and wet and shivering.....Mom's freaking!

Some instinct inside my head tells me to pull over on the busy highway. I park the car and continue the search on foot. Not 3 feet beyond my car I call her name........and she crawls out from under a bush, shaking and terrified and OH SO HAPPY TO SEE ME!!!

I could have killed her if I wasn't so happy she was alive!!

NO DOGGY TREATS FOR YOU TONIGHT!!!! Just hugs and a silent prayer to God thanking him that my little bundle of dysfunction was safe at my side.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Boat Tales

Yesterday I bottom-cleaned my boat. It had been in the water for over a year and needed to come out for servicing and........ugh! cleaning. I couldn't believe what was growing underneath!! Marine life of all colors and shapes! Barnacles! Limpets! Clams! Bearded non-identifiable protoplasm! And of course, it was my job to get it scraped, clean and ready to be stored.

What an adventure! with the help of a high-powered pressure cleaner, a bikini and some Hawaiian Tropic, I set off in 90+ degree weather. Several hours later and with new respect for the stubborn persistence and toughness of barnacles, I was finished and the boat, while not spotless.....had no further discernible sea life clinging to the hull.

"Do something you fear every day." Mission accomplished for the day.

I definitely like being ON the boat not UNDERNEATH it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just when they said it wouldn't last.......


Last Memorial Day weekend, I celebrated another little milestone: HB and I celebrated our first year anniversary of being reunited.
All I can say is that's it's been a bumpy ride, but I can't imagine two people that were meant to be together more than us. It just took a couple of decades to get the right conditions to line up. I'm happy and he's happy, at least as happy as two people with two different lives and different problems can be!

When life gives you lemons, make MARGARITAS

Life is never dull in my reality.

Who else would be the wandering pilgrim, with 2 homes, several jobs, my possessions scattered, not knowing where I will be at the end of any given week? I think my existence would drive anyone insane. But, for me, it's normal. I roll with the punches.

Things have been shaken up since the last time i wrote here. I gave up my job here in Paradise. Now I just live here. No more ER for me. I loved it, enjoyed it, and was happy to be a part of the working community here. I worked with an incredible group of nurses, nursing supervisors and allied health personnel which were not only the finest in their field, but a great bunch of people to know personally. It's really too bad that the suits that run the place are a bunch of ASSHOLES. Power-hungry ASSHOLES with personal axes to grind. People not qualified to do their jobs and whose delusions of personal power have made them even more ineffective that they ever knew. They are running the place into the ground while the staff jumps over incredible obstacles every day to give good patient care. I'm taking a temporary hiatus from them, but I WILL BE BACK: there will be REGIME CHANGE soon! The management company that runs the hospitals has their lease expiring in the next few months; therefore, the current administration is out the door and they KNOW it. When they're GONE-I'm IN AGAIN!

(ps I miss my crew--day shift, night shift, the supervisors, Z: Love u guys! keep in touch! See u at Publix!)

So now I work in Miami. Not a bad gig, since it occupies my time and gives me something to work towards: going HOME!
I do my work time, and count down the days until I get out of work, pick up the dog and head SOUTH on the Overseas Highway while the ocean welcomes me home. It's a beautiful thing. Plus the hospital in Miami is by the ocean, so having lunch seaside gives me a chance to not get too homesick.

It's now full swing into summer. The heat is oppressive, tolerable only when you're submerged in a body of water. We're also gearing up for hurricane season and the probability the oil spill might be coming our way. What a freaking disaster that's going to be for this beautiful part of the world and all the marine life. Maybe even the end of things as we know them. How very sad for all......

TeenQueen was here for a week on vacation. Incredible change in her. Poised, mature, confident, happy. Somehow my snarky teen was taken and someone replaced her with an incredible young lady! She looked so radiant, so international......and my goodness, speaking SPANISH like a native! I am so VERY PROUD OF HER!!! All things happen for a reason and this was the best Mother's Day present I could possibly get!

Happy? As happy as I'm going to get today. Do I live a crazy life? Sure I do. And I get to keep two residences clean in the process, have groceries in both, make sure you pick up mail at both places. Would that drive anyone nuts? Only if you need to know where your toothbrush is at all times. You either have 2 of them, or you buy one when u get there.

You don't sweat the small stuff. You roll with the punches.

And then you're back in Paradise again.........

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's hear it for the NIGHT SHIFT!!

I can't help it. Call it circadian rhythms, call it comfy, call it inconvenient to everyone else in my life: I LOVE THE NIGHT SHIFT!!
Always have, always will. No matter that I sleep all day, will probably develop health problems and will live 7 years less according to all the studies. The night shift offers soooo many good things that I have to keep on going back for more. And the night shift in the Keys is nothing but a funshift! Good people working, less traffic, NO SUITS (if you get my drift) and a laid-back atmosphere. Not that it's any less acute at times (you fly people out, you code people, and BOY do you get your share of drunks and psychos!) but it just seems less like work and more like FUN in the wee hours.

When I was married, my husband hated me working nights. Hated to sleep without me, so apparently he slept with several others to teach me a lesson. Sorry, I was absent in class that day. I don't particularly like anyone telling me how and when I can toil at my profession. So when he went on his merry way, and when the TeenQueen was safely ensconced in a faraway land under lock and key, I decided to give it a try once again.

And I'm not sorry.

So I've been happily toiling away from 6pm to 6am, doing tons of overtime because we're so short of personnel (honestly, doesn't someone want to come play with us?) and enjoying every minute of it.

The tourist season is almost over. We've seen the traffic die down after Easter. Still some spring breakers hanging around, but the snowbirds are beginning to fly north again. The weather is beautiful, the water is warming up and the boat is ready to go. We took it out last week and had a wonderful time, so much so that we ran out of gas before getting into our canal. My tan is back, I'm back on the bridge and life has resumed its lazy, sunny direction. I'm happy to be back in Paradise.

The TeenQueen is doing well, in school, making TONS of friends, wearing a uniform and looking incredibly pretty and grown up. I miss her to death, but I make the sacrifice of not having her near knowing she is well and doing well. I love her dearly and the separation has not been easy for me, but maybe she'll thank me one day for having the foresight to change the direction of her life when she was unable or unwilling to do so. She'll be back for a few weeks in the summer and again, we plan to head to Daytona Beach for a week of sun and fun.

And the irrepressible, atomic HB? He landed a job heading up marketing at a local home health agency, so guess who lives in Paradise now? The big house in Miami sits empty again, apart from my weekly trips to work at Mercy Hospital, where I work in PACU. He's now wearing linen pants and short-sleeved tropical shirts to work and thinking about trading in the Porsche for a convertible. How's that for instant adjustment?

I'm home. And so happy to be here. As the TeenQueen would say, "Your fantasy, my reality."

Friday, April 2, 2010



Just couldn't stay away.

Couldn't get the sand out of my toes.

So now I ended up with 3 jobs, 2 homes to clean, constant commuting and both day and night shift--but I am back in Paradise!!

(Tranquility Bay, here I come!! Your honorary lifeguard is back ON-DUTY!!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It has been an incredible adventure living in Paradise. It has been relaxing, maddeningly so sometimes, peaceful sometimes to the point of being comatose. It has had its share of beautiful sunsets, incredible life-changing situations, renewal and rebirth. People have come and gone from my life, and their presence has left indelible marks. I came to the Keys with a husband and left with someone else. I came to the Keys with the promise of a new life, but actually things didn't turn out the way I had planned. They turned out better, the players just changed, the jobs changed, the logisitics changed. And did I change? Yes, but for the better. I regained ME. I came back to ME. I learned to slow down and smell the ocean. I learned that today is here, enjoy the moment, don't plan so much, don't stress out. Tomorrow is another day. And usually there's a terrific sunrise to welcome the occasion.

I leave Paradise today. Clear out the last of my things and head north. And as I do so, I try not to look back in longing, or fear, or regret. I have made my decision, and now I only look forward. I know there will be a time of transition, but I must find the beauty and opportunity in every day. I have to look forward. Living in the past is not an option. And my life is not a dress rehearsal.

I leave some incredible friends on a physical basis only. We live in a global society. Just because I'm not there doesn't mean I'm gone. We'll be in touch. And now it's have a place to crash here, I have a place to crash there. We're not that far away.

I will always say proudly, "I lived in the Keys." Because truly, I lived in Paradise. I had that rare opportunity to heal my soul there. And now it's time to rejoin the real world.

And I'm ready.

(But I'll be back.............)

THE END for now!

Friday, January 22, 2010

oops.........forgot I promised.......sorry!

With all the fracas going on, I forgot I did promise to post some FantasyFest pictures. Well, better late than never......

We did have a wonderful time that weekend. HB and myself, our friends V. and Dr. S. who did join us for some hours of fun before he turned into a pumpkin at midnight (he had to work in the early AM). We stayed at a beautiful little hotel right on the southern beachfront of Key West called the LaMer and Dewey House, which was a class act all around. We ate and drank and made merry all weekend in good company, reveled with the revelers and managed to stay out of too much trouble!

Even the TeenQueen had fun, she met up with her friends there, took some great pictures.

I leave you with some of the pictures

Monday, January 18, 2010

Alive and Posting

"I can either be part of the problem or part of the solution."

And so it goes. I believe I'm getting out of my little funk. I can't believe I've lost track of time and perspective the way I have. Life has been so crazy, so full of stress and loss, I haven't had the chance to look around me, to stop and smell the sea air, to revel in the fact that YES! I am alive! I live in Paradise (still) and I have a wonderful group of friends who love and support me. I must count my blessings in the face of all that has occurred, is occurring, ad nauseum.

The TeenQueen is doing well in Peru. Despite the fact she departed under less-than-stellar circumstances, she, too is slowly lifting out of her funk and moving on with her life without me. She's having fun, making friends, and supposedly staying out of trouble. Sometimes I even hear the voice of maturity in her words. She misses me and I miss her. She worries about me, which I hate, but I can't help appreciating her concern. I know it was the right decision for both of us and that one day, she will THANK me for the wonderful experience that was given her: living in a foreign country, mastering a new language, expanding her horizons and providing a little bit more structure than what I could give her now.

As for me, things are still up in the air. Only time and circumstance will tell what my final decision will be regarding staying in Paradise. I haven't made up my mind yet whether to stay or go. Never mind that I'm scheduled to start in 2 weeks, have a job, have settled into the house in Miami, and have finished my last full-time shift in Marathon. Things can be undone. Furniture can be moved back. Housing can be found. Jobs can be quit. I don't know anything for certain yet. I don't know which way the wind will blow right now, or next week. All I know is that I feel strong and resolute about other things in my life and I trust myself to make the right decision no matter what.

Work has kept me sane. It has given me a safe haven from all the madness. It keeps me entertained, surrounded by friends and co-workers who don't want me to leave, who keep asking me to stay and forget Miami. We are a tight little team. I've been working nights, just covering shifts for a co-worker who's out with health issues and I've loved it. I forgot how nice it is to work at night, when it's quiet and dark and cool and the streets are empty. It has helped me think and ponder and explore all my options.

I miss walking on the bridge. I miss hanging out at Tranquility Bay. Granted, we have suffering from the longest cold front that has probably ever hit the Keys and we have FROZEN our collective butts off here. Some days we didn't get out of the 50's and the nights were chilly and windy. It was miserable, and when it finally warmed up, it felt strange to walk outside and not feel the chill. My tan has faded, I want to go to the beach and lay out in the sunshine, and this is the week I will finally do so. Because I have nothing else to do. Only tan.......and think.

I can't thank my informal family of friends for reminding me to listen to my gut feelings and ask myself what I want. I can't be grateful enough for all my blessings, despite everything that has transgressed. You guys know who you are. I love you all. Thank you for your support and your advice and your care. It means the world to me to know that I can count on you, if only to vent a little bit.

I have also found comfort and support in the most unlikely of places. HB's parents have welcomed me with open arms and it's really nice to kind of belong to a family again. They are good people and they only want the best for their son, as do I. It just makes the loss of my father that more bearable.

And in the meantime, while events unfold and I ponder my future in Paradise, I chant the Serenity Prayer as a mantra. Because they are words to live by, no matter what life throws at you. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, whether it makes sense now or later or never. And I am not afraid.

Monday, January 11, 2010


SORRY SORRY so sorry for the absence, blog world. As someone pointed out to me, it has been MONTHS since my last post. I have had many emails from faithful followers wanting to know what the heck happened to the Mojo. You know sometimes shit happens. And it piles up. Onward and upward. Don't want to bore you, but life kind of fell apart after Fantasyfest at the end of October. Just to mention a few of the trainwrecks that were set in motion in the last 2 months:

1-House I live in was sold and I had to move-FAST!
2-The TeenQueen finally pulled her last prank and was sent to Peru to live with her father.
3-My father died.
4-Couldn't find a place to live, so moved into hospital housing. Moved everything to HB's in Miami.
5-Got a job in Miami.
6-Finally found a place in Marathon, but haven't moved in yet.
7-Spent Christmas alone. No HB. No TeenQueen. Worked all the way through.
8-Been commuting between Miami and Marathon. Hate Miami more than ever.
9-Have limited internet access at the moment.
10-And given the choice, would rather just stay in Marathon than work in Miami, even though the job there is lucrative.

On the life stressor scale, I scored a whopping 290. Any score over 300 gives you a 90% chance of contracting a major illness or having a nervous breakdown.

And I'm clean and sober.

Any questions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beware of KILLER DOGS in unfriendly towns!

This is Bubbles. All five pounds of her. She is small, yappy and has a BIG attitude. She's fiercely devoted to MOMMY (me), hates men (mostly) and very protective. She's also a Houdini who can escape at a moment's notice out any open door, especially if she sees something she finds interesting. I'm almost certain that her eyesight is poor because she barks at the most ridiculous things (shadows, coconuts on the ground, rope) but she is harmless. Her mouth is tiny. Her teeth are tiny. I have to cut up all her food in tiny pieces because she can't chew them very well.

She's never bitten anyone. Really bitten, like in teethmarks, open wounds. But she barks up a storm and is relentlessly IN YOUR FACE (ankles?) if you cross into her territory or get too close to me.

She goes everywhere with me. My choice of hotels is dictated on whether they are pet-friendly. She travels well and likes Dairy Queen, McDonalds and beef jerky on the road. She'll sleep in my lap while I'm driving, or look out the window.

She just went to Miami for the weekend. She accomodated just fine, thank you, once she found my bed and my covers. But I made the mistake of leaving the door open for just one SECOND and POOF!!!........out she ran right into the path of a large male jogger plugged into his IPod.

She ran. She barked!!! he PANICKED!!

It was ridiculously funny to see a big grown man panicked and screaming "It's got teeth!! It's going to BITE ME!!!"

And then my humorous moment turned to rage as he tried to kick the dog.

I went after Bubbles, called her, and she came, while continuing to bark. I yelled at him, "Look at the size of the DOG, you IDIOT!! She can't open her mouth big enough to bite you!!" I tell you, completely panicked!

The only parts of his body that fits in her mouth are his (lack of) manhood.

No one got kicked. Bubbles was safely returned to the comfort of her doggie pillow. Someone had to go change their underwear.

So there.....just another reason never to leave the Keys!

Sunday, October 11, 2009





Monday, October 5, 2009

October Begins

It is October. My favorite month of the year. The month that the weather gets divine down here in the Keys. The month TeenQueen and I celebrate another year above ground. Halloween. FantasyFest. The holidays around the corner. All good things. And hopefully, work starts picking up too, because we're hurting around here.

Celebrated my birthday weekend with a little side trip to Miami for some shopping with the TeenQueen. In the end I didn't buy much because, although I WANT, I didn't really NEED much of anything. Decided at 4PM on a Saturday afternoon while sitting in crazy traffic in South Miami that I had had ENOUGH!!! of Miami---so much for that---and picked up my stuff and headed home. Ended up celebrating on Sunday at LaTeDa's excellent brunch in Key West and practically had the whole place to myself! I had been planning to do a sunset cruise later that afternoon, but a little too much champagne during brunch killed that idea.....didn't last that long into the day! But it was a great time, with good company and food, and that's all that matters. The weekend was memorable, all were well-behaved, and things have a way of straightening out if you don't drag them around too much.

Back to work tomorrow. Everyone packed away and home where they belong. Next week my services have been requested by PACU to cover a co-worker's vacation. So a little change of pace is in store. Five days, plus an ER day. A little extra work comes in handy.

Things are quiet and peaceful. Just the way I like them. Let's see how long that lasts! HB and I have entered a period of detente regarding life in general. He's accepted my decision to stay here. He's not pushing. He realizes I need space to breathe. That doesn't mean he doesn't wish I'll change my mind. But it is what IT IS. And even he admits he's miserable in Miami. He breathes like a free man when he's here, away from work and his problems. Such a complicated man right now! But his complications don't taint me because I don't let them taint me. I'm here to lend an ear, a hand, but not to assume responsibility for things that I don't own. And the economic reality is always there....I have work HERE. Work there is scarce right now. And if the traffic situation this weekend is any indicator of my mood, I'm going to be pretty grumpy and unliveable with.....and we both know it!

Stone crab season is coming up. Life is beautiful. Just a series of sunrises and sunsets and the fun you have in-between!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I have decided I am the shit magnet in the ER this month. Everytime I work, it's wall to wall patients, nut jobs and repeat offenders. And I am the lowest common denominator. It gets bad when everyone, including the lab personnel, see me in the ER and go " .......OH's HER!" What did I do to deserve this? Some of the docs are even jokingly asking me when I work next month so they won't schedule on the same day. Funny, you guys...

So we're busy. It's ok, it's not like we have hellish days. Compared to real hospitals, a bad day in our ER is a great day anywhere else. So we see twenty people in a 12 hour shift. I've worked places where 20 people are triaged in an HOUR. Sound familiar? Our problem is we have a running shortage of docs. Our local docs are worked to death. Our part-timers fill in, but they're not in town. They can't just be called if one of the locals is exhausted, needs back-up, or becomes ill, as has happened before. And God forbid, something catastrophic happens, like it did several weeks ago. One of our out-of-town docs had a car accident and broke his hand and wrist, requiring plates/screws etc. Our local doc had worked 24 hours of a very busy shift, and there was no one to replace him. We were lucky to see our first patient at noon, but what if the trend had continued? I felt awful for him.

So if anyone wants to work as an ER physician in PARADISE, please think of us! Great sunsets, lobster benedict for breakfast across the street, a fun bunch of nurses in the ER. We treat our docs well. We feed them. Take them out for cocktails. Lend them boats to go fishing. Babysit their pets. Come on down!!!

Best ER story of the week. If you're unemployed, on Medicaid, on methadone for "chronic pain" issues, you have no business getting a boob job. You equally have no business not doing your follow-up visit for your boob job, taking a ten-day supply of narcotics in 3-4 days, then coming to the ER to get more narcotics because the boob job hurts SOOOOOO much and you're all bruised and could you please give me a note for class because I can't sit at the computer in school with these hurtin' BOOBS! And then fall asleep, stoned out of your mind while the doc is interviewing you........asleep with food in your mouth.

Sometimes I wish I could take pictures.........HIPAAA........I

Saturday, September 19, 2009

WRITTEN IN least for today!


For all of those who are wondering......

The MOJO stays in PARADISE!!!

Higher order: PARADISE
Lower order: HB

So low in the pecking order that I can't even see him......oh well.....(ps.----your stuff is packed).


Not Mentally Healthy......

We've had three crazy days in the ER this week. All beds full. Some beds full of fruitcakes. Sick people. Sick-in-the-head people. People you had to hustle to fly out to Miami before things got ugly. People who wouldn't accept that they were sick, dying, on death's door, but were too BUSY to get treated.

My favorite was the phantom pregnancy. Yes I was pregnant. Yes, I dropped it in the toilet. And flushed. Negative HCG. Negative ultrasound. No bleeding. No physical signs of pregnancy. Yes, this happens to me all the time. Next time, I'll fish it out of the toilet and PROVE to you all I am pregnant. All delivered with that wonderfully flat, blank affect. Lovely. Pregnant women, hold on to your bellies....there's been a lot of home-made C-sections reported lately by women who want babies....your babies!

Then we come to the litigious TIA person, who drinks and smokes crack cocaine, but blames a pill given to him in prison for his TIA's. The jail you spent a month in for.....breaking and entering, possession of *WOW* crack cocaine! There's a conspiracy theory everywhere. He signed papers under false pretenses. Everyone's out to get him. He has things to do at home.....I don't have time to be Baker-Acted! Yes, sir you do. And the police escort at your bedside will cool your heels until you are transferred.

Another lovely contestant happened to swallow a bag of cocaine while being searched. Then refused permission to have the surgeon extract it, saying he would rather die than go to jail, because you know what they do to good-looking boys in jail. Hate to break it to you sweetheart, you're not all that lovely to look at. And even the repeated explanations of a slow painful death by cocaine bag rupture didn't sway you. In a move against the clock, we had to call a judge on a Sunday afternoon and interrupt his daiquiris to get a court order to RUSH you to surgery and save your life. And we still got called every name in the book by you, sweet child. You ARE clueless. You play, you pay!

Lovely lovely patients. Of course they are not all like that. I had a little old guy latch on to my upper arm and attempt to bite me while in the middle of a rectal exam. No dentures, fortunately.....he just gummed me a little. I had to laugh, then he laughed too when I asked him if I tasted good! Such a patients like that!

Everyone gets the happy treatment in our ER. Just be NICE to us......we are LOADS of fun! Flirt with us, we will flirt back! Send us flowers (some patients do!) Send us chocolate and we'll love you forever. Buy us lunch and we'll flash you. You get as good as you give.

And after the long shift is over, and you're sitting in the pool having a know that you got your brownie points in for Heaven today. You didn't kill anyone, you tried to do your best, you probably entertained some, irritated others.... and that is the nature of the profession.

Happy weekend from Paradise!!!



Wednesday, September 16, 2009


That's me in Havana. On the other side of the water.

Four days off. Six days on. Eight days off. Essentially the flow of my life these days.

Days working mean 12 hour days in a non-busy ER. Get up early, then get home, eat, shower, go to bed and do it all again the next day, occasionally interrupted by a swim, a walk on the bridge, dinner with friends, an on-the-run martini at the Hurricane.
Hug the TeenQueen, cuddle with the dog, then into bed. Try to entertain myself in the ER during the day, but boy, if it's SLOW, the day drags.....sometimes we're actually all jumping on any patient that walks through the door.

Days off, however, are a study in tropical living. Beach time, pool time, tan time, boat time, lobster time, cooking for friends time. Even a little down time in Miami if the call schedule permits. HB time, if he happens to come into town for a few days (and is on his BEST behavior, which usually happens after a few days away from me). The off-days haven't even been interrupted lately with extra shifts because everyone is SLOW and there's no extra work to be found. Bad on the wallet. Good on the soul.

I just realized today that we are at peak hurricane season and there has been hardly a stir. No constant Weather Channel watching like last year, where every other weekend we were making evacuation plans. This year, if we have a passing shower in the afternoon, we're amazed. The days have been beautiful, and you can already tell the change in the season: the days are shorter, the sun sets earlier, the breeze is balmy, less oppressive. One more month before the A/C comes off and the windows open until May....and the electrical bill goes down significantly.

FantasyFest is around the corner, coming up next month. I think this will be the year I bypass the ER and actually GO downtown to see what the hoopla is all about. I'm trying to get a group together from out of town, since I don't really want to dress up/body paint/raise hell/get smashed, just go and mingle. I mean I love a good costume party as much as the next person, but the idea of public nudity, drunken idiocy and vomiting in someone's front yard is not really my idea of a good time. Call me old-fashioned....

I'm so happy here. Life might not always be stress-free, but my surroundings kind of melt everything away. I think I'd rather struggle a little here to make it than be in the lap of luxury somewhere else. It's not all about being happy. It's about being at peace with myself. With my life, how I live it. That I find joy in the little things, not the stuff I buy. Can't buy a sunset. Can't buy a manatee. Can't buy an ocean breeze.

But I can buy an expresso martini after my bridge walk!

Maybe I should change the nickname to MartiniGirl---naaaa! I've been Mojitogirl for way too long! And anyway, I only drink mojitos these days when I'm in Havana, sitting at the outdoor restaurant opposite the cathedral in the colonial part of the city. That's a tradition I intend to keep as long as I can hold a glass up to toast with. Mojitos in Havana. Anything else-everywhere else!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bittersweet in Paradise

I love the Keys. Other than Daytona Beach, where I lived previously, this is a place where I feel comfortable, like in my own skin. The relative ease of living here is palpable. Things FLOW here for me. I do my thing and no one bothers me. I walk the dog at 1AM down a dark street with a Q-beam so I wont lose her (she's a black MinPin, very EASY to lose, especially if there's a cat in the area) and I don't give it a second thought. I cruise in and out of places without fear. I drive like the locals, slowly, lumbering around in no particular hurry. I know the cops, the clerks at the market and drugstore, know my neighbors. I work in a little hospital where I can float effortlessly through any department without stress.

Lately I have been overcome with a sense of urgency, as if Paradise is coming to an end for me. I know why. It's because Paradise is not infinite. My time here is coming to an end. I just don't know when.

Why leave Paradise? Because if I stay here, I will become complacent. I won't be able to rejoin civilization again. I won't be able to work at a REAL hospital again, because it would be too stressful. Because I really have to go back to school and get an advanced nursing degree. I can't do this 12 hour shift thing forever. In a couple of years my knees and hips will be shot and I won't be able to run around like I used to. Couple that with a TeenQueen who just gets more expensive year after year, college, car, insurance looming before us like the 800 pound elephant in the room. Financially, it's just getting more difficult to live comfortably here, and while I can work 4 to 5 days a week and make extra money, I can't continue to do this forever. I've tried downsizing, cutting here and there, but it's just getting harder and harder.

Plus, we have the HB factor. Which I don't want to get into, but the crux of it is: He's got a business to run. And he can't run it from here.

The thought of leaving Paradise makes me extremely melancholic. All I ever have to do if I'm feeling down is go outside and see the ocean, feel the breeze, walk the bridge. Go sit in the boat even if it's parked at the dock. Just the fact that I wander around town in shorts, bikini top and flip-flops and no one gives me a second look is sooooo soothing to the brain. I never wanted to go back to wearing full make-up to go get the mail in the mailbox, to high heels and panty hose, to the latest handbag craze, to name-dropping. I hated it then. I hate it more even now.

I have a favorite saying: "Don't spend money you don't have on things you don't need to impress people you don't know and who don't give a damn anyway." This is the antithesis of living in Miami, where you DO spend money on things you DON'T need to impress people-period. To me this is nauseating to the core. It goes against everything I believe in. I don't want to be anywhere near this, much less sucked into this atmosphere. Yet this is what I'm contemplating.

I don't even want to think about the traffic, the road rage, the rude people, all squished together into a huge city.

I love the Keys. I love that I can walk into Tranquility Bay, swim in the pool and no one blinks. I love that I can go to Bahia Honda, sit under a palm tree and have a beautiful scene laid out in front of me-and have it all to myself. I love the fact that I have what I need here, and I don't need much anymore. I've downsized and downsized and still feel the need to DOWNSIZE much more! But I can't retire on the sailboat if I don't go back to school, then make the money to buy the sailboat ( oh, yes....and take sailing lessons so I can take it out of the dock!)

If I go, I'm going to miss this place. The ease of being ME here. My little ER, my crew, my friends. My sunsets over the water. My tan. My docs, who are a fun bunch of bananas, each and every one of them. The Keys gave me license to be ME-water sprite, ocean wench, happy and tattooed. The Keys gave me joy among all the calamitous things that happened to me here-marriage break-up, Thanksgiving in jail, financial set-backs, TeenQueen trouble. I probably would have gone nuts anywhere else. Here, you knew that the sun would set in all its glory and be back to offer you a new glorious sunrise the next day.

Sometimes you have to give up something of a lower order to achieve something of a higher order. Problem is, I don't know which is the "lower order" variable. Is it the Keys? Is it HB?

Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, I live every day like it's my last. I tell the people I care about that I love them, I'm good to my patients and my coworkers, I enjoy every sunset, I cuddle with the dog and cat. And I pray for clarity and serenity and the ability to make a sound decision without the subsequent need to be medicated on anti-depressants. God may close some doors, but he always leaves a window open. I just have to feel the seabreeze somehow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Unlikely Fishing Buddies.

The TeenQueen is a funny character of sorts. She's independent, smart beyond her years and in possession of her own STRONG opinions. She's also rebellious, somewhat of a procrastinator and never lets an opportunity slip by to tell it like it is. She's also a possessive, slightly jealous soul. When she first met HB, her opening line was "Oh, you must be the ass*****ole boyfriend." No shame. Whatsoever.

My, how things change in a short time.

The TeenQueen and HB went fishing yesterday. I don't go fishing with him because I can't do anything right enough for him, from casting a line to driving my own boat to having the right equipment on the boat. He yells, I get mad, I sulk, but we're stuck together and can't get away. He yells and carries on if the fish get away. He yells and carries on if a barracuda takes his fish. He's LOUD.....and usually in an inoffensive sort of way, but I don't like people who yell. I avoid them at all costs. Little childhood trauma of mine, but hey, I deal with it.

So, whatever possessed my worldly, "I can't be bothered to talk to adults because I'm the Supreme Center of the Universe" child to go fishing with him while I working is BEYOND my comprehension. But out fishing they went, side by side, on the boat for hours, catching fish after fish which they brought home. Who knew?

HB pronounced the TeenQueen a consummate fishing pro. He praised her single-minded devotion and concentration to the task at hand. He liked the fact that she knew good fishing spots and she helped bring in the boat to dock without prompting. He liked that she handled her own bait. He was impressed.

I was impressed that he was impressed.

Afterwords, I asked her how it went out there. She said she had fun. I also asked if he had yelled at her. She replied coolly, "He yelled. I yelled back at him. You know I'm a bitch, Mom and I don't take crap from anybody."

The sight of them sorting through the lobsters, with her explaining how to clean them, how to identify males from females, and scolding HB because one of the lobsters was too small almost brought me to tears.

My little girl is growing up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Finally getting some downtime in the ER. After a whirlwind of activity in there since before mini-lobster season, it has finally toned down ( and NO-the Q-WORD will not be used!) to where we're actually cruising through the day without much hoopla. It's been nice to the point that you can actually go out and pick up lunch, then come back and eat. That all 6 rooms aren't full at the same time, that stupid stuff isn't coming through the door every two minutes. We need a break before high season begins again.

The same goes for the town. Everybody's talking about the next two DEAD months. I've actually been out and about in town and the place is pretty empty except for the locals. The other day I had the pool at Tranquility Bay practically to myself. Which wasn't bad, since I was not in the greatest of moods and I just needed a quiet place to think, carry on conversations in my head and try not to scream in frustration at things that weren't going well. Even that has passed, and now I'm in full JOY mode again, doing the things I love to do without interruption or prior commitments. Even work is fun again when you don't have to rush home to SERVE the NEEDY....

I took a walk last night on the old Seven Mile Bridge while the sun went down and the moon came up over the water. I usually do morning walks before it gets too hot, but yesterday I missed my morning window of opportunity and decided to do it at night. As I stood on the bridge at dusk, listening to my IPOD, I couldn't help looking around at the beauty of the place, where I was standing, over the water, under the moon. I had to thank God out LOUD for the opportunity to be here. For the chance to savor this beauty before me. For the moment that I was living HERE. NOW. Even though I might not be here tomorrow, I was here today and I experienced ocean, sky, moon, sunset and profound JOY. And no matter how dire any situation was, I would be OK. And I am.

For those of you interested in the fishing report, snapper and swordfish are running in droves. Lobster is EVERYWHERE. If you can fish, you don't need to buy your source of protein. The weather is great, the hurricanes have for the most part stayed away, and the seas are calm. It's still hot, but we're crawling towards October already. Next weekend is Labor Day, and I'm OFF for 8 days. I'm having friends come into town and there will be a lot of fish tales to be made!

In the meantime, I swim in the afternoon at Tranquility Bay, walk the bridge, go to the beach, keep up with my friends, keep the TeenQueen on task, and plan my winter jaunt to Macchu Picchu. And work to pay the bills. Ok, it's not all fun.

Have a great weekend, wherever you may find yourselves


Monday, August 24, 2009

Bugger off, eh?

To all those naysayers that profess to think that I'm a difficult personality and that I'm a burden in their life.....I say this!


Don't like me much? Too complicated for you? Too bossy? Too ballsy? Too much baggage? I challenge YOU to do better!!

See ya.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TeenQueen 9-HB 0

The TeenQueen brought in 9 lobsters today on an afternoon jaunt with her friends while boating. When HB finds's going to get ugly......!!!! Bested by a GIRL? NO WAY!!

Something tells me I'm going to be sick of lobster by the time the season is over. When does stone crab season open? October? Oh goody........

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, those pesky BUGS!!!

HB is on a personal mission. He wants lobsters. He wants them NOW! And he's vexed because the lobsters he wants are living under the dock where my boat is parked. They live there, and you're really not supposed to harvest them unless you're a certain distance from shore. But they are (supposedly) easy pickings for anyone. Except HB.

He's tried and tried and TRIED to get at them. And they foil him at every turn. Every chance he gets, he goes over to the dock and peers underneath to see where they are. If the water is clear, he scopes out the whole underside of the dock, several hundred feet of it. Like a policeman doing a head count. And then he broods and plans how to bring them up. Never mind that the canal is rocky, probably full of bull sharks, which are notoriously aggressive, and other unkindly predators. He's already fallen off the dock once and scratched himself to hell. He's lucky that he didn't dislocate or break anything.

But it has become his own personal crusade.

Lobsters for lunch. Lobsters for dinner. Catching the wretched beasts. He's obsessed.

I don't understand. If you want them THAT much, go buy them. The prices are incredibly low this season.

Every hunter has his prey. And he's being bested by a brainless crustacean.

You can't pay for this kind of entertainment!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Jim Cantore Time!!!

It's a rainy day in Paradise.

So much for the weekend. Hurricane season is in full swing and our first taste of it is coming down in buckets in the form of Tropical Storm Ana. It's gray, overcast and pouring rain. So much for jaunting over to Key West, sitting by the pool and generally having a merry old time this weekend. I knew the boating situation was shot, since we have a small craft advisory all weekend. But hell, I don't want to be stuck INDOORS all weekend! Even if HB is home! I've got a killer work week coming up and I need RAYS!

We finally caught some lobsters the other day. And some great fish. We've been feeding our friends tasty ceviche, fish chowder and other concoctions. I even turned down fish last night.....for the first time in my life. No thanks, I think I'll have french toast for dinner. I'm all fished out!

The ER has been slow but steady. Lots of lacerations and pustulent abscesses lately. No more middle of the night bowel resections either, thank goodness. That's getting old real quick. The cool thing about my job is that I can pretty much do anything ANYWHERE in the clinical areas, so people pull me for emergencies, and that breaks up the monotony of the day. Yesterday I got pulled to the OR because one of the nurses was running a little late coming in for a call-back. So I got the patient into the surgical area, prepped him, did his paperwork, got him into the OR and was back in the ED in time to give report and get OUT! I like doing that sometimes. Key West keeps calling for shifts too, and I can't afford to turn them down at this time. Money is getting a little tight in Paradise, and we still have at least 3 months of slow season before we pick up again.

On a cool note, had a pretty gruesome propeller accident the other day. Almost total degloving of a leg, It looked like something out of a Terminator movie, when Arnold takes his skin off and you can see the titanium endoskeleton underneath. Lots of bare tendons, tib-fib and a pulsating pedal pulse like a little water balloon. Patient was driven from the boat to the dock to the ED, so TraumaStar wasn't called until he got to us, but we still managed to get the patient choppered out in 45 minutes. Very cool! It was an impressive wound, and I heard from the chopper crew that even the staff at the trauma center were impressed with the wound when they saw it. Patient did OK, too. So glad!

I've had a really good offer from HB, my knight in shining armor. He owns a beautiful home in Miami, two hours away. He's offered to move me up there, no expenses, just work and make money. I have lots of agency work up there, probably more work than here. The TeenQUeen's schooling wouldn't be an issue, since she's now homeschooling via computer. There's just one sticking point: I HATE MIAMI!! I would have to leave my beloved Keys. Not be near the ocean. I'm not starving yet. I appreciate the fact that he wants us together and that he spends lots of time here, but he also needs a home base. His house is empty most of the time when he's here. And eventually the travel is going to get to him, even though he LOVES it here. He practically grew up here and has fished and dived most of the upper Keys.

Dilemma. I have a cushy job. It's expensive to live here. I love the Keys. I hate traffic. I HATE MIAMI.

I'll keep working reaallll hard!! I am ocean. I'd be miserable in Miami. This is where I want to be. Even with the prospect of a beautiful home and being a kept woman, I still balk. I guess anyone else would be jumping at the opportunity. But I'd rather be poor (or semi-poor!) and independent in a place where I love than be well-kept and happy (?) in a place I hate.

Oh, well. It's raining outside. Time for some indoor sports!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Off-Season Peace and Tranquility

It has been a laid-back week here in Paradise. Hot, sunny, lazy days. After mini-season, the tourists are mostly gone. I'm unhappy to inform you that we caught NO lobsters during mini-season, due to the whipped-up currents and water turbulence. HB went out the first day, I joined him the second day. A big fat ZERO for a catch. At least we got in some boat time without incidence! No breaking down, no overheating engine, no colossal arguments or temper tantrums about broken lines and lost anchors. Life is always in Category 4 hurricane mode with HB around. Like Zorba the Greek on speed, he never does things quietly and smoothly. It's all about the DRAMA.....

I hate DRAMA. I get enough of it at work. If you ever call a drug-seeker's bluff, you get DRAMA. If you have a TeenQueen at home, you're guaranteed DRAMA. I have a very low tolerance for it. I have a low tolerance for adults who behave like spoiled children when they don't get their way, when they're told what they don't want to hear, when they make the same stupid decisions time and time again. I ain't your mamma.......didn't give birth to you, so don't ask me what to do and then ignore what I tell you!

But this week has been peaceful. HB is back home, attending to his business. The TeenQueen has two friends down from Daytona Beach for the week, and it has been positively low-key here with all these teens in the house. They're having a grand old touristy time, going out on boat and beach adventures, parties, Key West jaunts. They're polite and quiet and somehow manage to keep the TeenQueen out of her usual trouble. Nice girls, too, the kind you want to have back over and over again. I'm trying to convince them to join us in Peru at the end of December, when I drop off the TeenQueen with her father and go on to Macchu Picchu with HB and whoever else wants to come along.

The ER has been essentially tranquil also. Just the locals, mostly. I've actually had time this week to head to the pool at Tranquility Bay a few times to take a dip and sunbathe. My house is clean, my laundry is done, and I've actually had down time for a nap or two. As much as I miss HB, my house feels normal again, quiet, spa-like. No mess in the kitchen. No lost keys, phone, wallet, pocket knife, etc. In spite of all the on-call surgery I've been doing lately (a couple of big bellies this week in the middle of the night), life is peaceful.

I like peace. I hate drama. I like HB. I'm in a quandry. Maybe peace is overrated?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lobster Mini-Season Madness!!

Big events this week for the Keys. In the middle of the long, hot summer, we have a torrential influx of tourists. Tourists and their boats. Tourists and their otitis externa from diving and snorkeling. Tourists and their fish hooks in their fingers, their arms filleted by sharp objects while trying to clean fish, their heads, shoulders and backs banged up after falling off the dock after too many Bud Lights. What a weekend in the ER! I can't wait for Wednesday and Thursday, the official start of Lobster Mini-Season. That's when they open lobster harvesting to the masses for 2 days before the commercial fishermen put out their traps. Everyone becomes a lobster hunter with their tickle sticks and spearguns. I expect some trauma coming my way.

Key West had its Hemingway Festival this weekend. More drunken debauchery, a Papa look-alike contest, and a re-creation of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. So very Hemingway. Lots of drunks. Lots of people falling of their bikes, falling off the mechanical bull in front of Sloppy Joe's. Gotta love Key West. They do it cheesy, but they DO it!

Had a Lazarus code the other day in the ER. Patient pronounced dead, then a half hour later, while cleaning him up, found him breathing and with a pulse. A shocker. Left me speechless. I'd seen it once before, after a long code like this one, but it never fails to impress upon me the fact that if it's not your time, ITS NOT YOUR TIME. I hope he does ok. We flew him out to Miami. Maybe he'll walk back into the ER someday and say hi.

The fishing has been good. HB has caught some incredible fish lately. I've missed it because I've been working non-stop, but soon.......very soon.......I'll be back in the water. I have to console myself with views of the sea while I drive back and forth to Key West. I'm exhausted, as usual. But business before pleasure.

Hopefully I'll have some good ER stories for you all during the Mini-Season. And hopefully HB will bring back some tasty "bugs" to grill. And hopefully I won't gain too much weight from all this wonderful food he cooks up AND the wonderful wine selection. (yes, it's high on my list: Must cook. Must like the sea. Must like my dog.)

Saludos from Paradise!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack.......

Sorry to leave for so long, but it has been a whirlwind month for the Mojo. TeenQueen out of school, leaves the country, comes back, we go on vacation, come back, jump headfirst into a ton of overtime in Key West, back and forth to Miami, seeing friends, keeping company with a new guy (really an old guy, but that's another story entirely), get the picture. Oh, and no computer either. Another Mac bites the dust....just a little accident-prone, that lovable TeenQueen of mine.

It's enough to give the Mojo a bad case of ADD!

I'm exhausted. It's my first day back from a week-long Daytona Beach vacation. Sun, surf, great food and friends, lots of relaxation. The TeenQueen was scarce, preferring to hang out with her best friend and barely touching base at the beachhouse. So HB and I (he's the new/old guy, details later) went to the beach every day and got a killer tan. Lots of great food and cooking and catching up with old friends from Daytona and the old job.

Now I'm back home. By myself. TeenQueen extended her stay with her girlfriend. HB went back home to Miami, at least for a few days. I got booked for many many MANY overtime hours in Key West. So it is Day One of a six-day stretch. Week One of a very busy two weeks. The silence in the house is golden. Only the sound of Bumby's nails on tile, and the occasional mewing of PsychoKitty. I love it. I don't have to TALK to anyone. If only the cellphone would stop ringing.

So who is this HB person? An old friend, we've known each other for ages. We worked together at one time, and more than once attempted a relationship that for reasons beyond our control, wasn't meant to work at the time. I always liked and admired him. He was the RIGHT GUY. Just always at the WRONG TIME. And you can't fight that. But we reconnected several months ago, and realized that IT-whatever IT was between us-was still alive and kicking. And hopefully this might be the RIGHT TIME, this time.

He's funny. He's cool. He's smart and sexy beyond belief, even 20-something years after we first met. And we're older and wiser and hopefully not a bunch of idiots to believe that things might work in our favor this time. Yeah, I like him. I like him a lot.

And that's all I'm going to say about THAT!!

Anyway, lobster mini-season is coming up next week. Our next big ER event. Until then, it's all about fishhooks and jellyfish stings and sunburn as a medical emergency. The boat is up and running, the water temperature is almost bubbling hot and the heat and dehydration can kill you.

Until the next phone call interupts, I enjoy the silence.

XOXO from Paradise!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Ah, the ER in off-season. It is a joy to be there. Empty rooms, quiet hallways. The occasional stir of a drunk or drug seeker. Sunburns as medical emergencies. Quietly punctuated by the patient who comes in for "cold symptoms" and is in full florid CHF.

I tell you, they just walk in and say "I have a cold. I can't sleep at night because I can't breathe." Never mind that they smoke 2 packs a day, or that they haven't seen a doctor in YEARS or that they're coughing up black goop from their lungs. But the fun starts when you start a nebulizer treatment and their heart rate shoots up into the 180's, put them on the monitor and it's A-FIB, and suddenly they're huffing and puffing. Start the Cardizem, etc, etc. No cardiologist on call? It's time to FLY!!

Or when they sign in and say "I've got a terrible headache." Ok, let's give you some drugs, check out the CT. An hour later, the headache is still there, but now you're complaining of chest pain, midsternal, radiating to the left arm, suddenly relieved by 2 Nitro sublingual. Where the hell did THAT come from? Oh, and he forgets to mention the old meningioma on that side of the head that was gamma-knifed several years back. Yeah, we kind of picked up that one on the MRI. Whoops! forgot to tell us about it, huh?

So one patient flies to Miami. One patient gets admitted. And the sunburn with the horrible itching goes home and is warned, under penalty of DEATH, not to go out in the sun again for the rest of his vacation stay here. Surrrre.......

I wonder if I could get the nail technician to do a house-call (work-call?). Maybe I could get a manicure/pedicure between patients. Or pick up my dry-cleaning, or do grocery shopping. Twelve hours of this laid-back pace could kill.

I miss the juicy traumas. I need to wrestle a drunk or something. One shift in Key West should resolve the old ennui.

Scratch that, I might break a nail.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happiness Does Not Need A Cause

This morning at 0800 I had the old Seven Mile Bridge all to myself. The sky was cloudy, there was lightning in the far horizon, and the sun was doing its best to peek through. It was balmy, breezy, not hot yet. My sneakers were on, my IPod was charged. And so I began my walk.

I was lost in a world unto myself. Music in my ears, setting the pace for my morning walk. No one on the bridge. I could sing along without bothering anyone, off-key, smiling to myself. Song after song after song found me at the end of the pedestrian bridge, 2.4 miles away from the entrance. Still alone, I couldn't contain myself. I broke out into a hot Latin beat, all by myself.

I smiled all the way back.

I've got a lot to smile about these days. I've got a lot to dance about, too. The joy comes from within.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Serious Case of Bed-Head

I'm having a bad hair day. And a bad headache/sore throat/body aches/can't sleep day. I called in sick to work because, with a 5:15AM wake-up time, I was still up at 4:00AM trying to get comfortable and fall asleep. Not to mention, a million goofy thoughts pounding inside my head. I'm not particularly stressed or overworked, just unnaturally anxious over things I have control over. Funny how your mind trips you up sometime.

So I'm home, trying to get some sleep. As you can tell, I'm not succeeding. I finally decided not to leave the bedroom because I have a compulsion to tidy up and clean anything out of place that I see. Disregard the fact that I, the Clorox Queen, scrubbed this house top to bottom yesterday, so there's really nothing to do, except notice the little lint specks on the carpet, or a water spot on the kitchen counter. Yup. Obsessing again.

I wish I could focus on other things. I tried classical music, since I spent the wee hours downloading all this music. Nice, but no-go. Reading only makes my headache worse. I'm not hungry. I don't have any projects pending-I did them ALL!! I can't go outside because it's really hot and muggy. I won't clean the TeenQueen's room because that's HER JOB....and her mobility this weekend depends on her finishing the task.

Still trying to get some sleep. Bathed the dog, cleaned the kitty litter, approved the TeenQueen's cleanup of the toxic bedroom. Head is still throbbing. Downed some more Advil. I should have gone to work. At least I would have been busy AND paid for it! Still not hungry. I'm surviving on breakfast cereal and water.

We're expecting thunderstorms this weekend in the Keys. The official start of hurricane season is almost upon us *GROAN*
It's hot hot HOT!!!

I think I feel a nap coming on........Happy Friday from Paradise!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Yeah......give your kid a hug. And try not to strangle her in the process.

The TeenQueen is grounded for the holiday weekend. Seems that she took it upon herself to have a driving lesson. In my new pick-up truck. With my spare key. While I was at work. Without asking for permission. On the eve of a very busy holiday weekend when the Overseas Highway is teeming with tourists, boat trailers and happy-hour revelers. And of course, HOW did I get the bad news? Papi, whose sole purpose in life is to pass me in the halls and turn his face in order not to acknowledge my existence on this planet, happened to CALL ME with the news. A prophet of gloom and doom. Thanks.

Yes, the TeenQueen's all right. No scratches on her or the car. Even managed to park it nicely in the driveway. But she's grounded for the weekend. Nobody in, nobody out. And attempting to make my life miserable in the process. Nice try, kid. Ain't gonna work!

I'll take the boat out Tuesday--BY MYSELF--when she's back in school and the tourists leave. I'll have the sandbar to myself.

This too shall pass. My mood's too good to let ANYTHING bring it down! It's a beautiful day and I'm walking on air! The world is my oyster. And Bubbles and I have a date at the old Seven Mile Bridge at sunset!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It was a beautiful day in the Keys today. After days of cloud cover and stormy weather, the sun came up this morning, the winds died down and the scenery became postcard-perfect for my drive down to Key West in the morning. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to work. I was going to a memorial service for a colleague's young son. And even the dazzling beauty of the sky, sun and blue water everywhere wasn't enough to lift my spirits from the terrible sadness.

It's every mother's nightmare, outliving their children. As a parent you hope and pray it never happens to you because: HOW DO YOU DEAL? How do you wake up every morning with that terrible aching void knowing your child is gone and you're still here? And while we can empathize and console others with such a terrible loss, in the back of your mind you always know: This could have been ME. This could have been MY CHILD. After all, we're all one breath away from dying. I can accept that. I see it daily at work. People that are dying, about to die, close to dying, but not quite. You expect older people to die. I can handle that. You see younger people die and it shakes you for a while. Someone close to you dies and it rattles your foundation, especially if it was unexpected. But to have to bury your child---I believe there is no greater pain, no greater loss, no greater agony.

I'm sad. I'm sad for my friend's loss. I'm sad that it made me think again of possibly being in this terrible position someday. It made me realize there are no guarantees in life, that you must live fully every day as if it was your last happy day on Earth. Because when so much is at stake, that day may come sooner than later.

Go hug your kid. Tell them you love them. Make sure they know.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Every day is an adventure, an open book, a feast, a buffet table ready to be piled up high on your plate. No matter how crappy the day may start, there is always the opportunity that it might get BETTER! If you live believing this, you deliver this fate upon yourself. Live, love, laugh. Seize the moment. Enjoy the sunset. I certainly did today!

A wise man once told me that what doesn't kill you eventually makes you stronger. I had the chance to repay the favor today. I hope it helped.

Happy Friday everyone!! XOXOXO from the Florida Keys!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My oh MY! I hate leaving the Keys! I don't care that civilization, shopping, and metropolitan life are only 100 miles away. It gives me profound sadness to travel north on the Overseas Highway, enjoying the view of the ocean while going over bridges and islands knowing that I'm headed to the messy, rude, traffic-crazy place called Miami. It drives me nuts to know I have to be in a state of permanent stress while I drive, park, sit in endless traffic. I HATE MIAMI!! I HATE GOING THERE!! And not even the prospect of good things--friends, shopping, Peruvian food, Ikea---can make me feel differently. Funny, I never felt that way about Daytona Beach...I LOVED living there, knowing that it was calm, polite and soothing to the eyes. Miami is just a clusterfuck full of cars, loud people and road rage-namely mine. So my friends, please! Come and SEE ME HERE!! Don't make me go up there!

But I'm back and planning my next little venture out into the deep blue sea. The weather is perfect for boating. And I'm starting to look pale by Keys standards. And the weekend is upon us. I have an ICU shift in Key West tomorrow, and then.....freedom!!

So I'll be headed for Bahia Honda State Park, navigate the boat under the old bridge and park it in a blue hole somewhere. And let the day flow and ebb......

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I'm talking about FACEBOOK. I joined several months ago just to connect with friends I haven't seen in years, from college, high school and places where I've worked during my ever-lengthier nursing career (WOW! almost 20 years now!). Little by little, I started connecting and now it's kind of got a life of its own! I've got friends from the hospital in Marathon, friends from the hospital in Key West, friends from Miami, Daytona Beach and friends from Peru and Cuba. Since I live so isolated here in Paradise, at least this way we keep in touch and stay current. It's a lot of fun and the easiest way to not live like a hermit.

Our ER visits are starting to trickle down to slow again. Essentially the season is over, and the tourists and snowbirds have up and gone, since it's safe to walk the streets up north without slipping on the ice. The air conditioner is now a daily reality because it's WARMING UP. The mornings are still balmy and breezy--as a matter of fact, I took the dog for a walk on the old Seven Mile bridge at 0845 today and it was absolutely beautiful outside. Blue sky, blue ocean, nice breeze-PARADISE the way it's supposed to be. Our next big thing should be the Memorial Day weekend (which I ended up working, I DON'T know HOW....!!)

Anyway the boat is in the water, and I've got someone tuning it up for me today so it will sail smoothly for the summer months. We have islands and sandbars to explore! We have tans to acquire! We have fish to fry! And since it's now a GIRL BOAT, the girls are dying to go out and take a spin! It's time the boat had a name. So the TeenQueen and I are putting our heads together to come up with a suitable name for our tanning machine. GRRLZ? GRRLPOWER? MOJITOGIRL?

The TeenQueen is leaving me soon for a short vacation. She'll be in Peru for several weeks visiting her father and his side of the family. Mom will not be running interference. She would have stayed longer, but she wants to be back in the Keys for part of the summer. Anyway, it will be a climate change for her, because Peru is entering the winter months right now and the TeenQueen owns no winter clothes whatsoever. Shorts, flipflops, tee shirts and jeans. No sweaters, no coats, very few socks. And I've already told her she can't wear socks with flipflops.

And what's MOM going to do with her time off? Tell u LATER.....

XOXOXO from Paradise!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Well, I did promise you all the hot hospital dirt. Only I didn't figure to be right smack in the middle of it!

What happens when your husband runs off with a woman named Karma? This is not a joke.

Can you imagine how many jokes you can make? The possibilities are endless....... Especially since this Miss Special K happens to be middle-aged, dumpy and look like someone's grandmother. And she happens to be a co-worker. In the hospital. In the department I work in. On the opposing shift so she has to take report from me and I have to take report from her. Which is kind of interesting when you can't look at me in the face.

Because you're sleeping with my husband.

It's sooooo funny that I can't be mad. The whole situation is so freaking funny I've been giggling to myself since I found out.

Plus, look at all the neat things we can buy for the happy couple!! T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs.....the possibilities are endless......

PS to the blogosphere: The Mojo is FINE. Really. I don't have time to be pissed about it because I'm having too much fun LAUGHING!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I've been sooo busy lately my tan is starting to fade.

Between ICU and PACU in Key West, ER in Marathon, on-call in PACU Marathon and shuffling around to the beat of a certain TeenQueen, I've been a busy little Mojo. Not exhausted really, because no matter how early I'm up, once I'm UP, I'm UP! and I keep going from there. And I've noticed in my advancing age that 6 hours of sleep do me fine, thank you. One plus is that I'm dropping weight without even trying. I fit into clothes that I had given up on months before (yes I was in a FAT/UNHAPPY stage). I'll never be stick-thin like the TeenQueen, but hey, size 8 is nothing to sneer at either!

The Swine Flu situation has us scurrying at the hospital. Everyone we triage is thoroughly screened for previous travel to affected areas, and if there's even a hint of cough, cold or flu-like symptoms, slap a mask on them! One of our ER docs here is the CDC man for the Keys, and he is extremely well-versed in pandemic preparation and planning. Finally I have someone that doesn't look at me like I have three heads when we talk stockpiling, sheltering in place, body bags, ventilator capacity and the breakdown of supply chains and law and order. While I admit that I am not as prepared for a pandemic as I was three years ago in the midst of the Avian Flu rumors, I still read the websites for pandemic preparedness as well as the CDC and WHO sites. As usual, I hope for the best and expect the worst. Even though we are isolated, we're still exposed to lots of tourists and transients who come through here. On any given day, I triage more tourists than locals, and usually tourists that have been on an airplane, those harbingers of pesky respiratory viruses. Thank God I look smashing in an N-95 mask!

The weather has been beautiful, but the seas are still difficult due to winds in excess of 20MPH. So even the beach has not been an option lately. Thank goodness for Tranquility Bay Resort, which is right across the street on the Overseas Highway Mile Marker 48. It is a beautiful beachfront resort with a great pool and tiki bar, and they are very nice to the locals in that you can come in, use the pool and the facilities. It is absolutely awesome. I might even put in some pool time today, if I can.

Stone crab season in the Keys is almost over. I have my last 5 pounds in the freezer, just waiting for a special occasion, or even no occasion whatsoever. It's been a tough season for the local fishermen, with demand and prices low. So we do our part for the local economy and buy stone crabs whenever we can!

The Mojo signs off now. Time to scurry and maybe even dig out the Hawaiian Tropic!