Show Off

My son finished his piano solo at the Christmas program. Oh Little Town of Bethleham. He played every note perfectly. I was so dang proud of him! I stopped the video I was taking with my smartphone so I could clap like a crazy woman. I *might* have even shouted, “You are so frickin’ awesome!” 

All of the other kids took a bow or curtsied while the audience clapped politely. My son? He paused right there at center stage, a slow grin spreading across his face. And then? 

He dabbed. 

Yes, the boy dabbed. In the middle of the church auditorium in front of hundreds of people, he dabbed. Dabbing, the weird dance move that appears as if you are sneezing at the same time as you are trying to fly off like a super hero.

People laughed. They screamed. They cried. Some whistled. One woman fainted. Strangers were giving him high fives and knuckles as he sauntered back to his seat. Every single boy that followed after him on stage also dabbed at the end of their performance.

And so I was left wondering how on earth did I end up with a cool kid? I was never that cool. I was so square I couldn’t even dream of being that cool. I am still terribly uncool, even in adulthood. Especially in adulthood….


campfire at night
I made my list and I checked it twice. 

Three times, in fact. 

When I pulled out of the driveway, I did so with confidence that everything important was packed and loaded up in the back.

It was not until the next morning back at the campsite, as I was preparing to wash the 10K of sweat off of my body, that I realized I had not packed clean panties.


And eeeeewwwww.

Figured. My brain was mush after a full week of the new electronic health record. Hence the list. And the double checking. There was nowhere nearby to get new ones and no one to borrow from. I was just gonna have to suck it up. Maybe some hand washing. Still, soggy underwear? Ick.

Three days later….

As I was packing everything up I found where my kids stashed them when I wasn’t looking looking.

At least we had the food and toothbrushes.

Meanwhile, those stinky underwear? 




“Um, Doc, I can’t do that.” A look of horror crossed her face.

“You are here for your physical, right?” I checked the schedule again to make sure I was not hallucinating. Then, I double checked her preventive care, just in case. She was indeed due.

“Well. I wasn’t expecting to have to do… that.

“Technically, I can’t force you to do anything. It IS your body, after all.” I shrugged, trying to use my body language to convey that I was not trying to pressure her. 

“It’s just,” she leaned forward and whispered, “I didn’t shave my legs.”

“Look, I haven’t shaved my legs in ages, either, so you have nothing to worry about.” I lifted a pants leg to show off a bit of scruffy ankle. “See? No judgement here!”

We both laughed.

She got her PAP done.

A Day of Patient Comments

carvings, Field Museum in Chicago

She looked me up and down disapprovingly. “Doc, that scarf. You need more color. Too much black and brown today.” 

Several hours later, a different patient… Same scarf. “Doc, you look so gorgeous! I adore that scarf!!!”

“Doc, we love your butt! We could just eat that butt up!” From two grown women in with their elderly mother. 

“Oh, Doc, I know it’s a benign skin lesion. I’ve got another one over here. I just wanted you to hold my leg like that. Made my day. My year! I might be old, but I’m not dead…”

“Doc, I am glad to see you don’t drive a sissy sports car!” Yelled across the parking lot by a patient as I was getting out of my big black pick-up truck.

“The only good thing about coming to the doctor is that I get to see you!”

Pan, at On The Road Cooking, asked about best patient one-liners. These are a few. I’ve done a bunch of other posts over the years with funny things patients say. While some of the things may seem shocking to you, I am used to it. Provided they are not being ugly, I just let it go. 

Fiction Friday will start next week!


hissing cockroaches
I was asked by dfolstad58 from Life and Random Thinking what irrational fear I possess. As it turns out, I have two.

The first is that I am afraid someone will think I am stupid. It is a deep seated childhood thing that is not going to go away. I am starting to find my peace with that.

The second is cockroaches. But not just any cockroaches. BIG cockroaches. The picture above happens to show a cluster of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. In the Southern US we have a cockroach that is a bit bigger than this. They can grow to be the size of your big toe fist foot and they don’t hiss. 

They growl at you.

Now, as you are no doubt well aware, cockroaches are disgusting, even nauseating. They crawl around in sewers, feeding on rotting, fettid debris and God knows what else in your walls. I take one in my house as a personal affront, an assault on the sanctity and cleanliness of my home. This is a big problem because I happen to live in an old house with tons of cracks and crevices and detritus…. a veritable cockroach heaven.

The worst part about a roach of this size is that they squirt and crunch when you step on them. I cannot stand the squirt-and-crunch from any insect, but especially not from a giant, growling cockroach. Fortunately my kids are big enough there is no risk of one of them getting carried off at this point.


What does an independent, resourceful woman do when she spies one crawling across the floor? 

Her floor? 

First, I let out a good long shriek. I do not know for sure if cockroaches can hear but I like to think of this as a stun tactic.

Then, I grab a glass and turn it over on top of the bastard. Once one of the beasts escaped by throwing itself against the side until the glass toppled over, so for good measure I pile on a couple of good, thick medical school textbooks or perhaps A through J of one of those old encyclopedia sets. You know the ones I’m talking about, right?

And finally? 

I wait. I wait for someone or something that can take it from here. If I shrieked loud enough at the first sighting, often help has already arrived. If I am alone, though…. Sometimes, that wait can last a very long time. Days, in fact. 

In case you were wondering, these cockroaches don’t just give up and die…. Oh, no. I have even had one trick me by playing dead for a few days only to scurry off lightening fast once I removed the glass and tried to sweep the carcass up for disposal. Sneaky buggers.

So there you go. My fears. The fear of being labeled stupid and the fear of cockroaches. I am not sure which is worse…..

The Crevice

Chicago Sky

I am not entirely certain why he comes to see me every year for his physical.

Each visit is exhausting. I make a statement, he argues. I argue back. He has said that he considers himself to be smarter than any physician. I try to show him why he is wrong.

Thrust. Parry. Stab. Duck. Turn. 

I felt I had managed quite well this time, getting through the visit without bloodshed. I was quite proud of myself. 

Relief flooded over me. 

“Well, I am done here. My medical assistant will be in in a few minutes to take you over to the lab.” I smiled to myself as I picked up my computer and started quickly for the door hoping to get there before he said anything else.

“Hey, Doc!” I could sense a sort of glee in his tone.

I cringed inside. I turned around and smiled at him, hoping to show that he was not going to get to me. 

“Yes?” I asked, keeping my tone even.

“I just wanted you to know that you have something stuck in your teeth when you smile.”

I ran the tip of my tongue over the teeth. Sure enough, I could feel a big chunk of the breakfast sausage I had snatched from my daughter’s plate on the way out the door that morning had lodged itself between two teeth in that sneaky crevice right at the gum line. 

Damn it!

He had struck the final blow. 

This time.

The Scent of Flowers

pink tulips

“Doc, I just want him to send me flowers. But if I have to say it, it cheapens the whole thing. So when he comes in for his physical exam this afternoon do you think you could work that suggestion into the conversation somehow?” 

“Um, sure…”

Family practice is truly awesome. 🙂



“Dear Doctor,

Dr. Susan Smith knew when she died she wanted to give her estate to The University Medical School to help continue our tradition of excellence. You can, too! Click here to learn more about planning your will.


The University”

Vultures. I’m not even in my fifties yet. Bugger off you bastards!!!

Door To Door, The Aftermath


This Halloween we gave out 1,780 pieces of candy in about two hours. Friends came over, bringing extra candy to help out. By 7:30 PM we were done, forced to make a rapid retreat into the house while ducking insults from those who got turned away. At some point the police showed up next door…

Each year, I see things that drive me absolutely crazy. This Halloween was no exception. 

My favorites?

The grandmother taking a little girl around the neighborhood who had a tiny Chihuahua dressed as a pirate cradled in her arms. I gave the little girl a piece of candy and she turned to start back down the walk. The grandmother, however, stood there expectantly, holding out another bag, indicating that she was trick or treating for her dog. She refused to budge until I dropped a candy bar into the bag.

Worse, there were several other grandmothers and parents in no costume at all and with no dog in costume who were also trick or treating for themselves. I just don’t get it. Steal from your kids like everyone else, OK?

Some parents were drunk. 

Some were high.

Some drove slowly down the street in their car, watching their very little kids (ages 4 or 5) from their vehicles instead of walking with them. Some had their kids ride on the hoods of the cars or on open tailgates from house to house. This is not a neighborhood of vast estates, mind you. We are pretty darn close together. 

Some were having loud conversations on their phones as they walked their kids around. “Hold on… Sweetie, tell the nice lady thank you... OK, so Steve says blah, blah, blah…”

There were a lot of kids carrying two bags, one for them, one for a mysterious sibling that was not with them. Does that sibling actually exist? I have my doubts.

Several kids were running, elbowing their way in front of the other hoards. They were too out of breath to say “Trick or treat!” and did not stick around long enough to say thank you before they were tearing off to the next house. I sort of hoped they would trip on a flower bed… A skinned knee maybe? Nothing serious, just something to slow them down a bit.

Many walked right through my yard (a thousand people walking through your wet, muddy yard is NOT cool). There is a side walk.

Others came through two or three times. I know because they had no masks on and I recognized their parents.

There were parents dressed up as police officers or princesses while their two year old was dressed as a terrifying bloodied zombie carcass. I don’t get it. I doubt that toddler asked to be a zombie.

Some kids did not like the one candy per person policy and demanded that I give them more. Some did not like the candy they were given and demanded that I take back the Kit-Kat, damn it, and give them a Butterfinger. Others argued that I did not give them candy at all and when I told them that I did in fact give them candy twice (their costumes affected their peripheral vision so I tried again to get them to register the weight of the candy bar plopping into their bag) refused to leave until I gave them more. Maybe it was my fault. When they show up 30 or 40 at a time, it is hard to keep track.

Several had no idea where they were and wanted the name of the street spelled out for them, perhaps to text it to their ride or enter it into GPS?

But my biggest pet peeve of all is having to pick up after people who eat their candy right then, dropping their wrappers on the ground in front of me. Is that really necessary?!?!?! I understand that you like chocolate. Who doesn’t? Put the wrapper in your gosh darn bag for crying out loud, NOT in my grass!

Be warned: Next year I will not dress up like pirate Merida. No Victorian princess. No steampunk diva. Oh, no. Next year I am dressing as an elderly curmudgeon and yelling at people from my front porch. 


 Hotdog octopus 
My kids don’t get hotdogs very often but when they do they think it tastes like octopus. 

Not sure why they would think that…

(I first did a version of this post last year. It still makes me giggle every time I see this photo. Sometimes you have to choose between healthy and survival. Choosing survival is OK.)