Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Road Taken

"We want you to come work for us", said the man on the phone.

This was the turning point I had been waiting for. All these years, all my knowledge and experience had come down to this.

So I drove on down the road apiece to a hospital that was part of my past and present, and now to be my future. I knew this place well, and its people I loved and admired was to become a new family in a short while. When I walked into the lab, I saw it with new eyes, as I had never really seen it before. Having accepted the position I had dreamed about, fretted about, worried about, and ultimately decided I wanted more than anything, I viewed the lab as my own now.

SUPERVISOR. MANAGER. It had finally come to this. I was ready for this opportunity and prepared to take on additional responsibility. The hospital I was currently working at would be very hard to leave, true. So I decided to stay there PRN as I would pour my time and energy into the new place.

I have big shoes to fill. I am taking the helm from an excellent med tech who has been there for FORTY years in the same hospital as manager. He is known, loved, and admired by every employee in the hospital. He can never really be replaced, but I will do my best to uphold the standards he has set and to improve on them even more. It was hard holding back the tears last week at his retirement party, as I never saw this day coming six years ago when I first walked in the door and he gave me a chance. He waited for me to move from another town, and gladly took me under his wing. We had an instant rapport. He will be missed, but it's nice knowing he's just down the road if I should ever need him or just want to shoot the breeze with him. I told him that old techs never die, they just go on to play more golf, which I am sure he will be doing with relish. He will also have more time for those "honey-dos" around the house I am sure his wife will have lined up for him. He deserves this. It is his time.

Now it is also my time. My time to put my accumulation of skills to the test. Not only will I be responsible for the hospital laboratory and its personnel, but also the clinic lab within the hospital, the lab contracts for two nursing homes, three additional outpatient clinics (including one in another town), and a phlebotomist stationed at yet another clinic in town. A huge responsibility I will strive every day to meet.

It will be a challenge, for sure. The biggest challenge, though? Trying to switch gears to become a day person after a couple of decades of working almost solely nights. My family likes my new schedule, and it no doubt will do both them and myself a world of good. But lots of coffee will be a requirement. So tomorrow, as I begin my first day on the job, my primary goal will be to set up a coffee pot in the lab, and make a coffee bar of sorts for myself and employees, with flavorings, cups, sugar, creamer, etc. Hard to believe this lab doesn't even have a coffee pot, but it will now.

One goal to meet tomorrow. Then the real work begins. I have set many goals for myself and my lab, some small, some large. They will be achieved as fully as possible. I am realistic; I know some will, and some won't. But you know what will happen if one doesn't even try? NOTHING. And I've never been a person to settle. I am excited, anxious, happy, and a little apprehensive as I wade into uncharted waters here. But I know what I know, and have had many years to build on. If I don't know enough to run a lab by now, I never will.

So, it was with great joy that I accepted the opportunity presented me. After all, who knows when the opportunity might present itself again? The road of my career has taken so many twists and turns, and there were many forks along the way, prompting me to decide which way to go - left or right? Or perhaps through the pasture, where there WAS no road, whereupon I constructed my own? This chance felt right and I am so lucky to have so many supportive people behind me who have NEVER told me I couldn't do something. So I - I chose the road less traveled. I have a feeling I am in for the ride of my life. I intend to savor every moment.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Terrorism, that is.

Go here to view the worst the human species has to offer.

Good job, Feds. This kind of white trash scum deserves the harshest penalty the United States has to offer. I won't even post their pictures here because they deserve NO glory, NO kudos, NO recognition other than the funeral notice after they are executed.

On second thought, they don't even deserve that.

And guess what, you sick, twisted garbage? You will not have an effect on this great nation. We will stand proud and united. Law enforcement will continue to arrest cowards like you. We will continue to prosecute those who dare to violate the law. You will not break us. We will break you.

We ARE one nation. You do not deserve to be a part of this society.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Groaner of the Day

**Bad Pun Alert**

You have been warned.

So what do you call an earthquake fault?

A topographical error.


Yeah, yeah, I know. It is Monday, after all. Give me a break, okay.

You may continue with your regularly scheduled seriousness.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dinner With The Fam

No earth-shaking ideals here. Nothing to change the course of the world. No pontification, no moralizing. Just the closing of a fine day with the family.

Supper was simple: a pot of redbeans I tended since early, a skillet of cornbread, taco makings, and Spanish rice. Storebought shamrock green-iced sugar cookies, not even homemade as I would usually make.

Just good food and good family. Grandmother's brother and his wife down to work on their home (formerly grandmother's) which they will be moving into soon. Good music accompanying good conversation. The Doors, The Kinks, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, The Everly Brothers, and even "String of Pearls" by The Glenn Miller band thrown into the mix for fun, accompanied us.

We watched the sun go down through the living room doors that exit onto the back porch and saw the various wildflowers swaying in a gentle breeze, all tinted orange, even the clover, from the glorious sunset.

All in all, a simple, lovely day. Even on about two hours of sleep over the last two days for yours truly. Now exhaustion is setting in, and will be going down like the sun in a little bit. To the warmth and comfort of my bed, surrounded by my furry loves.

Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


If you can't make it to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to view their newest exhibit hall, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which opens today, then here's the next best thing. Try visiting this site. It is absolutely awesome.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Running Man

No, not the Arnold Swarzenegger film, but this neat little article here in Slate.

It gives an eye-opening look into just how insular America is at times, how we cling to the old, the known, and just how wildly divergent our thought processes are from what is widely accepted in the rest of the world. The U.S. has always been a fiercely independent nation, but sometimes our determination to buck standardized practices accepted throughout the rest of the globe just simply looks out of step.

Give the article a peek, and I'll bet you will never look at our "EXIT" signs in the same way again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Don't You Forget About Them

A basket case, a brain, a criminal, a jock, and a princess walk into a library.....

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one before. Don't want to pull a "Duckie" on you, after all.

Yeah, if you don't get the above references, then chances are you didn't spend your formative teenage years in the 1980s enjoying John Hughes' movies. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. These were the movies that sustained me and so many others in the throes of teen angst during those cheesy, tacky times. Hughes also made family favorites such as Vacation and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

So I can be forgiven if I became misty-eyed at the highlight of the Oscars Sunday night - the gathering of the Hughes crowd to pay tribute to the late John Hughes. Except for a notable absence by Emilio Estevez, they were all there. Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Judd Nelson, Jon Cryer, Macauley Culkin (who was seen later in the Hughes film Home Alone), Ally Sheedy (always my favorite), and Michael Anthony Hall. It was as close to a Breakfast Club reunion as my generation will likely get.

What sweet memories it brought back; completely unexpected and such a wonderful surprise. I realized how much time has gone by, just as I do when I hear those wonderful songs from the movies and other music of the era. Sure, some of it was cheesy and synthetic and otherwise just very eighties-ish, but it holds a place in my heart always. I had to look for the video that I took my title from, the closing song of The Breakfast Club, "Don't Forget About Me", by Simple Minds, and you can see it here. If you really want to relive that time, you can check out the original trailer for the movie. And just because I want to keep up that Simple Minds vibe, enjoy another song that is among my favorites here. In the John Hughes tribute at the Oscars, "True" by Spandau Ballet was also played, and I fell in love with the song all over again here.

Of course, the eighties could be several blogs by themselves, but I will stop here in the interest of keeping the focus on Hughes and his incredible accomplishments and the music that is intertwined within. If you like, you can also see the Hughes tribute at the Oscars here.

All I ask is, don't you forget about them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I am Strong. I am Invincible. I am Woman.

In honor of women everywhere, I offer this repeat of a post I made on International Women's Day of 2010. Now, on International Women's Day 2012, I believe it is still timely and important.
A very beautiful Internation Women's Day to ALL the ladies of the world.

Gather 'round, kiddies. I have a story to tell.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was surrounded by a great, big 'ol world. How was she to find her way? She could stumble along, all on her own, and make her mistakes then learn from them, which many times she did.

But, luckily, she was not alone. There were others who were once as she was, small, scared, and full of determination. There were women who would be her role models, her guides, her voices of reason, and the spark of every fire she would ever light. These women, who she would pay tribute to one day on her blog on the very occasion of International Women's Day, would serve as her strength, her inspiration, her very heart.

How to give thanks for all the strong women in her life? She had only words and deeds to convey her thankfulness.
So thank you, mother, for just being yourself, as so much of you is part of who I now am. You were the best anyone could ever ask for.
Thank you, Grandma Damon, for reminding me every day what love is all about, unselfish, unbridled and unending.
Thank you, Grandma Mozingo, for sharing your warmth, your humor, your poker tips, and your son, my father, with me.
Thank you, Nannie, for being the best great-grandmother in the world. You were simply the loveliest lady I have ever known. I will forever miss your pancakes and our times spent together.
Thank you, cousin MaryBell, for your independence and your sparkle, which always fascinated and entertained me. You never got tired of this little girl asking you to do your "motorcycle" impersonation during Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" when you came to visit, and your bachelorettehood, which came from your being your own woman, stamped an indelible impression upon me at an early age.
Thank you, cousin Frances, for you were the scientist I so admired when I was too young to even realize what an impact you would have upon my life. In your white lab coat, you would hoist me up to the microscope as a child and let me have a peek into the rest of my life. You are the giant shoulders I stand upon each and every day, and I pay tribute to you with each tube of blood I analyze.

Thank you, Bharti Sodha, for your patience and tutelage as a senior lab tech as you showed by your example exactly what a good med tech should be. You eventually trusted me to run your chemistry section during your absence, and you instilled in me unshakeable confidence and faith. You taught me customs of your beloved India and inspired me to reach beyond my comfortable borders of Texas to see a larger world out there. Because of you, I have a greater appreciation of diversity.
Thank you, Dr. RoseMary Stanford, for your patience and your tutelage. It is because of you I was able to excel in my education. You saw something in me I did not even know existed, and because you brought it out into the light, I accomplished more than I ever thought possible.
Thank you, Billie Jean King, for your decisive victory in the match against Bobby Riggs in the Houston Astrodome in 1972. I was lucky enough to remember the excitement my mother felt. Your victory was a victory for all women.
Thank you, Gloria Steinem, for your tireless efforts in fighting for women's rights. You laid so much of the groudwork necessary for all women to overcome. And we've come a long way, baby.
Thank you, Mary Tyler Moore. How lucky was I to grow up in a time when I was surrounded by such strong women, both in my real life, and on the television set? Your fearlessness in your career has inspired and strengthened me. Your character, Mary Richards, showed me that a girl really can make it after all and be her own woman.

Thank you, Janis Joplin, for never compromising. You sang your heart out, and we all took a little piece of it. Your music will always live.
Thank you, Alanis Morissette, for recording the soundtrack to my life. You were the one who got me through 1994, and I thank you for your Jagged Little Pill more than you will ever know.
And then there was Bea. As Maude. As Dorothy Zbornak. As a golden thread that would weave through my life from beginning to end. It broke my heart when she passed away just this last year, as she showed me what a real woman should be. Intelligent, talented, and beautiful, she was the whole package. I will always treasure her.
And so it is that I reflect upon the women who have made my life better. Without them, the little girl would not have such a wonderful fate. Without them, the little girl's life would have been less colorful, less beautiful. Without them, the little girl would still be a little girl.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Inglourious Basterds. At least from the movies I've seen so far that are Oscar contenders. Okay, admittedly, I've seen only two. That's right, two. So from a very limited scope, that's my winner. And I just saw that one, and the other one, The Hurt Locker, last night. Yeah, I don't get out much, and when I do, going to movie theaters is not high on my list of priorities. I would rather enjoy these at home on Pay-Per-View or DVD. We can enjoy our own fresh-popped popcorn (and I can control what I put on mine), our cheap sour pickles from the gallon pickle jar in the fridge, and have the pleasure of a cat on my lap, none of which can be found in the theaters. And, most importantly, I can control my own volume. After years of having my senses assualted at concerts, nothing hurts my ears like going to a movie theater. I mean, seriously, can't they JUST TURN THE BLASTED THING DOWN? I'm not deaf, for Pete's sake. Not yet, anyway...

Back to the movies. The Hurt Locker is a very well-crafted movie, to be sure. Taut direction, important story, and good acting. It is a movie that I am glad to have seen, and glad that it was made. It needed to be made. But the one that sticks in my mind? The one we thoroughly enjoyed last night? That would be Inglourious Basterds. And director of the year? Absolutely HAS to be Quentin Tarantino. Nevermind his Pulp Fiction should go down as one of the all-time greats in movie history. Inglourious Basterds is not like any movie, not even one by Tarantino, I have seen before. What a story! Now THIS is what movie-making should be like. I'm not a Brad Pitt fan, but he thoroughly charmed me in this movie, and Christoph Waltz! What an actor! Most deserving of his Oscar nomination, and I am confident he will receive that award, as he gives a spellbinding performance.
Shows I haven't seen but very much want to that are contenders for this year's best picture Oscar: Precious, District 9 ( which I will likely watch tonight), and....uh....that's pretty much it. The others? Not so interested. I would like to see Crazy Heart, for which Jeff Bridges will (hopefully) win his long-deserved best actor Oscar. Grandmother wants to see Avatar, so that will be on my list of movies to be watched, but not so much because I care to see it.
So, with my admittedly narrow scope of the movies from this past year, here are some fearless, and totally random, Oscar predictions, based only on things I have read, short film clips I have viewed, and gut feelings:

Best movie: Should win: Inglourious Basterds
Will win: Avatar

Actress in a leading role: Should win: Gabourey Sidibe
Will win: Sandra Bullock

Actor in a leading role: Should win: Jeff Bridges*
Will win: Jeff Bridges*
*A sideline here: Even though he wasn't nominated, I would have liked to have seen Zachary Quinto, who portrayed Mr. Spock in Star Trek, be both nominated and a winner in this category. And I don't say that lightly. Leonard Nimoy will always have my heart as Mr. Spock, of course, but Quinto gave his all, and convincingly, fiercely so in the role of the younger Spock. This movie was SORELY overlooked for Oscar contention, as I believe it should have been nominated for Best Picture and Screenplay, AT THE VERY LEAST. As it stands, it only garnered a nomination for Best Makeup. SHAME, Academy. SHAME.

Actress in a supporting role: Should win: Mo'Nique
Will win: Mo'Nique

Actor in a supporting role: Should win: Christoph Waltz
Will win: Christoph Waltz

Director: Should win: Quentin Tarantino
Will win: Kathryn Bigelow

Wait, what? The director of the best picture not predicted by myself, and only by myself, to win? Sure. It's happened before. In fact, I pretty much stopped watching the Oscars after the Academy, in all their highness and mightiness, slapped Ron Howard in the face by NOT EVEN nominating him as best director for his masterpiece, Apollo 13, although the picture was nominated for best picture. The man won the Director's Guild award, and deservedly so, for his work on that movie, and was totally and wrongfully ignored come Oscar time. This foolish decision by the Academy is the prime reason I have no respect for the whole production these days, but, like any other armchair quarterback this time of year, I still get a kick out of both making fun of the awards and wanting my favorites to win. Who doesn't?

So what are your predictions? What were your favorite movies from this past year? Feel free to let me have it if your favorites are different. Feel free to concur. Have fun at the Oscars this year (even if you just watch on TV). For the first time in a long time, I will likely be watching right along with you, sour pickle in hand.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pinball Wizard

He's a pinball wizard. My dad, that is. Inspiration can come from the strangest places. This time, it's from a buggy computer, and (maybe not so surprisingly), my dad.

So here's the scenario - for a few weeks now, my computer has been acting buggy. Well, beyond buggy, actually - try squirrely. Bizarre. Confounding. Stupid. Whatever. It's just been acting like a spoiled child with no direction home, like a rolling stone. The more I mess with it, the worse it gets. A couple weeks ago Aneesh in India (gotta love it) helped me with some McAfee issues. Cured the McAfee bugs, or so I thought. Then here we go again. Trouble with a capital "T". Problems galore, freezing up, error messages, blue screens that give me all sorts of dire information. What's a chick to do?

So dad tries to play his war game last night on the computer while I'm watching television in the living room. I hear "Dammit!" a couple of times. No biggie. This is getting to be business as usual. That only means the computer has frozen up again, and he has lost his game. Just unplug and replug, dad. That's what we've been doing to cure it. Then, later, well.....this is a semi-family blog, let's just say, *$!@!!! or something like that. Okay, that was different. Now he can't even get into his game, the McAfee is acting up, etc. He's just aggravated as can be, and so am I by this point. So we do the unplug, plug, and keep it up. Well, he decides to uninstall his game, and I decide to uninstall the McAfee, and to take it in for debugging in the morning. But wait, he spends hours playing that game, now what is he to do for entertainment?

Where does the pinball come in, you ask? He gets bored and discovers the "Pinball" game that comes with the Dell computer as a standard game. He promptly racks that thing up, within minutes of learning the controls, to over a MILLION. Okay, so I haven't played that in a long time, actually forgot I had it, and he VAULTS over my high score of around 200,000 with no problem. That's just how he is, good at everything. So I figure, hey, let's turn on the sound and he (if not me) will have even more fun. I try and realize my "sound" icon is no longer on the taskbar. Let me repeat that...NO SOUND!!!!!!! Okay, it wasn't a crisis before, but it is now! This means I can't listen to my music??? OOOOOHHHH no, we aren't going there! I promptly lose my cool.

We try to figure out the sound issue, and I keep coming back to "RealTek" sound, but that's not what I usually run. WHERE is my sound driver? GONE. This computer is about to be chucked out the window. By this time, after hours of messing with it, and around 5:00 this a.m. dad (a night owl like me) decides to give it up and go to bed. He had tried reinstalling his war game, and it kept hanging up when he tried to access it, and he had enough. He goes to bed, and I remain, forlorn and royally pissed at the same time. I mess with the sound options some more, make sure all connections are secure, and blow away some dust from the back of the tower.

And what does this stupid computer do???? It works perfectly, just like the events of about a month or so never happened. Sound? Intact. Speed? Faster! Not a single error message, nothing hanging up, and believe me, I have put through the paces. It is now quiet in the house (after listening to the Beatles' "Revolver", my favorite by them, on my computer library, JUST to make sure the sound is good.....)

And, now, I have time to think. There is dad, in bed, probably already dreaming. And I flash back to all the pinball games we used to play together, not on the computer, but the real, old-fashioned pinball machines. And what a good time we always had. Oh, he would let me win every once in a while, but we both knew who was better. And I liked it that way. He's my dad, after all, and I always looked up to him. I do more so now than ever, as a matter of fact. I was starting to show a bit of my short fuse earlier, and didn't have the patience I should have had when here in the library with him. I have time to remind myself that a couple of years ago, I would have given anything to see him at a computer playing any kind of a game. I have time to remember that each day with him is a gift, and to promise myself I won't let frustrations get in the way.

There he sleeps, unaware that I have gotten back on that pinball game, and given it my best shot (or three) and.....have I beaten his score? And I likely never will. But I know that later today, we will play together, and we will laugh and have a good time. We will be doing yard work as well, spreading weed and seed, and the sun will shine and I will be thankful he is healthy and whole and himself. I will be myself, also....the good daughter self, not the bullheaded, obstinate, short-tempered self I let this contraption bring out.

Will this computer act up again? I don't know. Maybe. But if it does, it can be fixed. Tomorrow will be another day. And we will play pinball once again. Perhaps even on a real one in the game room. Wouldn't that be a wonderful father's day present for him? Shhhh.....don't tell. I think I just got inspiration for a present for the most wonderful dad in the world.

MINE. The pinball wizard himself. My cool daddy-o.