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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Favorite Spaceman

The one, the only....Ace Frehley!

My fellow Taurean marks his birthday today, and I wish him many more.

Being a major KISS freak since an early age, I always leaned toward Ace because of his "Spaceman" persona, the silver costume he would wear, and one of the sweetest-sounding guitars ever. I was always interested in space, and was quite sure once upon a time I would grow up to be an astronaut. So, naturally, Ace was my man. For so many years, I ate, slept, drank, and daydreamed of KISS. It was my first concert ever, in the Summit in Houston, in 1978. Could you just imagine the thrill of it all for an eleven-year old and her very best friend? We so loved the band, we had just about every album they made, and when each member did their solo albums, we stood in line for those, too.

Because of you, Paul "Ace" Frehley, I loved the color silver. I dreamed of one day owning a silver Corvette; no other color or make would do. Well, Ace, I have my silver car. It's not a Corvette, but it's perfect for me all the same. The hours I would spend in front of my mother's makeup mirror, perfecting your look, with the makeup and the feathered hair, I lost count of. It was worth every minute, as I have memories that last a lifetime.

The best way I can honor the man on his birthday is to let his talent (and guitar) speak for itself , both with KISS and solo. I think the best is yet to come for him.

Happy birthday, my favorite spaceman.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Because I Have Very Little Resistance

To puns. Here is another to make you smile.

Or groan.

Two musicians are walking down the street, and one says to the other, "Who was that piccolo I saw you with last night?"

The other replies, "That was no piccolo, that was my fife."

Speaking of piccolo, enjoy this wonderful moment from one of my all-time favorite shows, "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Was there ever a more talented cast? I just love this!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why I Do What I Do

This is a repeat of one of my older blogs from my Victoria Advocate archives. I am posting it now in honor of National Laboratory Week, which begins tomorrow, April 19th. Enjoy.

Like the color here? Blood red. That's why I do what I do. For the blood.

For the love of blood, I mean. For the fascination it holds as all animals' life-giving fluid, for the secrets it keeps and for the secrets minds much greater than mine are just beginning to discover. For the most basic meaning to life that I have seen proof of: the graceful strands of DNA, the unfathomable capabilities of RNA, the frenetic dance leukocytes, erythrocytes, and thrombocytes do in their miles upon miles of vessels. For the sustenance of oxygen, proteins, ATP, and carbohydrates those cells deliver to keep us alive and well.

I am blessed and so proud to say, "I am a Medical Laboratory Technologist". Yes, I am a "lab rat" of sorts, and, yes, you may (and have many times) call me a bloodsucker, a leech, a vampire, and other names I cannot possibly print in a family paper. Yep, I'm the one with the needles who draws out those vials of blood (no, I am NOT draining you; yes, I will leave you some), the scientist you mistakenly call nurse, but of no offense to me. I understand you are anxious, you are worried, concerned, and just a little bit scared when you have to get your blood drawn. I have been spit on, vomited on, yelled at, cursed, hit, pinched, and kicked by patients who sometimes don't understand that the only reason I am here is to help them, to relieve them of their pain, to get them well, to lend a sympathetic ear if needed, to be a part of their healthcare team. I do what I do for you.

I do what I do because the fascination never wears off. There is a vast other world that exists beneath the lens of a microscope, and therein lie the clues that may reveal a diagnosis, sometimes common, sometimes rare, sometimes unexpected, sometimes devastating. I am, along with the dedicated pathologists, phlebotomists, and laboratory secretaries, the physician's detective, piecing together a puzzle so that patients may have a better chance at recovery. Did you know that 70-80 percent of a patient's "hard data" on their medical record is comprised solely of lab test results? There are people behind those numbers. I am one of thousands.

The microscope, needle, stain, spectrophotometer, fluorometer, cell counter, centrifuge, agar plate, incubator, refractometer, blood units, and chemical reagents are the tools of my trade. I measure, mix, separate, analyze, and "do the math" every day, day in and day out. I find myself at a crossroads when I culture out or find a microorganism that is not so common, exulting in my discovery and identification, but then remember that it is growing in a human being somewhere, causing serious damage, as bugs so often do. I find salvation in the fact that the physician can use this knowledge to now find appropriate ways to attack an infection, thus hopefully putting the patient on the road to recovery. Behind every tube of blood, every specimen jar, every bacteria on an agar plate, every cell on a slide, I remember that there is a person. This acknowledgement has kept me sane for the 20-plus years I have been a lab tech.

Last week was National Lab Week, a celebration in the medical community of laboratory personnel and the important work they do. For some reason, maybe because I sometimes feel that I have seen too many of these weeks go by, I just wasn't into it. Tonight, I am. What changed? A simple thank you. From a doctor. Because lab workers so often work behind the scenes, we are sometimes in danger of becoming invisible. So many times, the numbers we generate that go on a patient's chart seem to be spit out by a machine, not analyzed and scrutinized for accuracy by a real professional. We don't often hear "thank you", since we are not the nurses who are on the frontlines and answer your calls, and we are not the physicians who have a "Dr." before their name with all the answers. So every "thank you" we hear means that much more to us. And we remember why we are doing this, when our day-to-day workload sometimes seems more than we can bear. We remember we do what we do for the patient, and for the love of science.

I do what I do because those brilliantly bold scientists who have come before me opened up new frontiers, and the great scientists of today continue to blaze trails and make new discoveries every day. I do what I do because it never gets boring. I do what I do because I know that I can't imagine my life doing anything else. I do what I do because no other line of work allows one person to be so many - a blood banker, a hematologist, a serologist, a chemist, a microbiologist, a mathematician, a scientist, a dreamer.

I do what I do out of sheer love of science.

I do what I do because I am a Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Silver and Gold

This is reprint from my VicAd archives that was composed about three years ago. I have had this blog and these songs on my mind since last night, when an old, golden friend of mine called me in the midst of some of the toughest times he has ever had. My heart goes out to him, because when my friends hurt, I hurt. It was a sleepless night last night. I pray that he will be encouraged by the sun coming up this morning, as he was there for me during some of the darkest years of my life, and he became the sun I was looking for. I can count at least three of my friends that right now are experiencing hardships and heartache. I would give the world if I could just take their pain away. Since I can't do that, I just want them to know that I am there for them, and always will be.

FRIENDSHIP. Is there a sweeter word in this whole wide world? The events of the past week or so have left me believing in the power of friendship. I am reminded of a little song we used to sing in Girl Scouts: Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. I have truly begun to understand just how precious friends are as I get older. As life evolves, so do friendships.

Some friends made in childhood last into our later years, while many seem to fall away and are forgotten. The friends we acquire in our teenage years are an integral part of our growing and maturation process, while friends made in our adult years are appreciated with a wisdom and maturity that can only be earned by doing time on this planet Earth. Some friends are like a fragile flower - there when we need them most, but fading from view and our lives as that period of connection gradually morphs into something else. Some friends are like a sturdy oak tree - there for a lifetime to lend support and comfort, and steadfast in their devotion. Finally, some friends are like shooting stars - brilliant in their blaze of glory and blinding in their lifeforce, but just as rapidly burning out as your places in each others' lives seem to change abruptly, leaving you always with memories, and sometimes little else.

I have been so blessed to renew and refresh friendships this week, to enrich new (old) friendships ;) and to also be of service to a friend who needed my help and a kind word just yesterday. I am so fortunate that these people are in my life and consider me their friend. Some of my friends are old buddies from younger school days, and some are current or past co-workers. Some have absolutely nothing to do with either setting, but I am so fortunate to have them all. My wish this year and next is to be the kind of friend to them that they so deserve.

Who do you laugh with? Who knows your deepest, darkest secrets? Who can you count on to indulge your eccentricities and quirks? Sometimes, this can be one person. Or, sometimes, many different people play these roles. If you are blessed enough to have such friends in your life, I invite you to share your memories and gratitude here, and better yet, with that special friend.

The friend who needed a shoulder to lean on yesterday is one of my oldest and dearest friends of over 20 years. There is virtually nothing we wouldn't do for one another, and it is in this devotion that we know we can find comfort. The song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by the talented duo of Simon and Garfunkel has consequently been on my mind all day long, which suits me fine, since I think it is one of the most beautiful songs ever made. What a tribute to the strength of friendship it is! Do you have a friend that would virtually lay down his or her life for you, and for whom you would do the same in return? For my friend, and for yours, I include this powerful song so that we are reminded of just how rich our lives are because of friends like these.

For all of our friends that know everything about us, that we consider our "best friends" above all others, I give you this wonderful tune by Queen, "You're My Best Friend". I myself have been lucky enough to have many friends throughout the years, some come and some go. But there will always be just one "best friend". She knows more about me than I know about myself, I do believe, and the times we have had are legendary (or, well, maybe we are just legends in our own mind!) I'll bet you have a friend like that, one that you wouldn't trade for all the lead tea in China.

Finally, there are those friends that are just completely comfortable, like an old shoe, but in a good way. They are without guile or agenda, and around when you need them, but never in your hair or on your nerves.....they are the ones that "winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call", and they'll be there, because "You've Got a Friend". This is the spirit behind Carole King's uplifting song, a tribute to all the people in a person's life that make the world go round (and round, and round). What would we do without our circle of friends, some silver, some gold, but all links in the chain of our lives that makes us richer? I am indeed a wealthy about you?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And Just for Legion

Okay, and for me too. Enjoy these "later" Peter Gabriel videos. Thanks for the idea, Legion!!!!!

Did Gabriel not make THE MOST AWESOME videos EVER??????? LOVE HIM.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just Because

The guy is a genius. "Games Without Frontiers" has been on my mind since hearing it on the way to work yesterday. So enjoy these Peter Gabriel videos, just because. The guy has a way of making my day whenever I hear him, either solo or with Genesis. Never a Phil Collins fan, Gabriel was always my style.

Enjoy his "Solsbury Hill", then "Shock the Monkey". My personal favorite is next, "In Your Eyes", then, my favorite from his Genesis days, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". Hope your day will now be as good as mine!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Speaking of the Lab

So did you hear about the red blood cell and the white blood cell that began a relationship?

Alas, they loved in vein......