Meet a Newbury Prize Winning Author Russell Freedman in Harford County, MD

5/5/10

Just a quick note to share this information with Northern Harford County young book enthusiasts – Russell Freedman will be signing books on May 14th at the Abingdon Branch of the Harford County Public Library. Freedman is an excellent nonfiction writer who gives the younger folks at look at the happenings in the world a glimpse that is engaging, captivating, but does not bog them down in details that might lose them. His latest book is about World War I and it ahs received a lot of great praise.

You can find all the details at the library’s website here. Parents, grab your kids and give them a chance to meet a successful author. If you don’t have kids – it should be a lot less complicated getting to the library. This event is for young and old alike.

Get your read on Harford County (a.k.a. – The Great Hockey Void) – peace – mia (sciencegirl99@excite.com)

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A Medicine Mix-up Makes More Mispoken “Mords”

4/26/10

I had a bit of a problem earlier this morning. I was in D.C. at the very crack of dawn this morning. That meant that I needed to be awake around 3 A.M. and out the door no later that 4 A.M. That was a tough trick in the first place, but I managed to sling myself off of my couch and get myself into the car full of coffee (which I drank out of my “home game” coffee mug this morning hockey gods – so the Capitals should win tonight right?) and one my two daily medications. It was a D.C. morning for me today, because I had to do some public speaking on a particularly important topic. I only mention it’s importance, because the gravity of the situation I found myself in can only be truly appreciated if you have that information.

I don’t have an office in D.C., so I have to bring everything for work in and out of the city any time I am called upon to work in the nations capitals. No problem for me – I have one of those “wheelie bags” that some of the guys I know in law enforcement just love to make “old lady” and “lookout you young hooligans – grannies gonna whack you with her 150lb. purse on wheels if you don’t behave” sort of comments about. The “purse on wheels” comment is very special to me. There is one person who found out the hard way that this “old lady” can and will swing my “purse on wheels” and hit my intended target pretty quickly if needled enough (he’s fine and he at least learned to be several feet away from me when he give me a hard time). Anyway, when I barely crawled my hardly conscious body around this morning, long before the sun lit the Eastern sky, I grabbed the wrong pill bottle and put it in my “purse on wheels”.

When I do spend work time in D.C., I have an “assistant” who keeps me on schedule and well prepared for my presentations. He knows I don’t like to call him my “assistant”, but that word is in his title, so it is acceptable. I call him the “Chief of Saving Ass”, but it’s now just “CSA” for brevity. He earned that title the last time I was in D.C. and pulled a total stupid by taking the Green line to the Chinatown/Gallery Place stop. Guess what’s at that stop? You guessed it – the Verizon Center where the Washington Capitals play. It’s like rote for me at this point. My brain says to itself without me hearing, “Hey, I’m taking the Metro in to D.C., I must be going to see a Capitals game.” I should have driven to New Carrollton and taken the Orange line right to my intended location. What can I say – those darn Washington Capitals have conditioned me, like a salivating dog, to go to Greenbelt and take the Green Line to the Verizon Center whenever I get anywhere near D.C. – bastards! But, Chief Saving Ass came to my rescue in grand fashion that day.

My special “CSA” realized that I was not where I usually would be 1/2 hour before I needed to be in front of very busy people giving them an “A++” presentation. He also knew that I had a rough draft of my presentation on a shared drive, so he smartly ran around recklessly trying to get that rough draft uploaded on an available laptop. Then this brilliant individual set-up the laptop in the presentation room and started reading the notes I had sent via e-mail the night before. I was still correcting my “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy – going to see the CAPS – do-do-do” mistake of the day (can you say “one track mind?”) and was about 10 minutes away from my final destination when the VIP audience had filled the room and was ready to hear some well put together information.

Thanks to my great ass-saver, the faces in that room did not turn sour due to my hockey-related blunder. The transition between the “CSA” tactfully going over some key-points to be covered (using my notes) and my covert arrival and subsequent switching out of the laptop with the final presentation and the laptop with the rough draft, went so seamlessly, several people commented afterward that he and I really had our “acts together”. Well, I’m not ashamed to admit – that “act” was a one man show. He is the “CSA” all the way. Well, maybe not this morning – I have to give him the following temporary title today:  “Chief of Make Mia Almost Fall on Her Face, Unconscious”.

Before I get to that “travel” pill bottle I mentioned previously (you can probably see where I’m headed); I will tell you that I still think he is the “CSA”. I mean, if I can drive to Washington D.C. while practicing the presentation I’m going there to give in my head the entire way, and STILL mindlessly go the WRONG Metro station and get off at the WRONG stop because I’m addicted to Washington Capitals hockey – my “CSA” can make a mistake too! And he did this morning – we’re even I guess. I was getting everything prepared and noticed that I had brought the wrong medication with me, because I grabbed the wrong prescription bottle containing a VERY strong pain-killer. I had only taken this pain medication twice before, about a year ago, and didn’t take it again (I shouldn’t have even filled the prescription). It made me drool and talk to a blank wall for a while. After taking the second pill, it gave the “junkie itch” and I scratched some of the skin of off my arms. Oh, you better believe that’s a controlled substance. I’ll take most types of pain over being so druged-up that I fall backwards into a closet, landing on a pile of shoes, then basically “sleeping” exactly where I fall for several hours. NOT FOR ME thanks!

So, now you can probably guess what my blog title means huh? I do not take a lot of medication considering my health situation, but there is one medication I MUST take a certain time of day with food. I did not have that medication with me and the time was approaching to take my pill. I called my doctor and asked if he could assist me by calling the pharmacy that was right around the corner. That worked out great and all parties were more than glad to help me out, so my “CSA” diligently took the initiative to go to the pharmacy and get my medication. The standard catered, breakfast layout displayed nicely in the presentation room, so I got some 4-star, or better, food in me in preparation for my medication.

I will give you the specifics of how the “switch” happened later, for now, all you need to know is that I took the pill that my “CSA” put in my hand just as I was walking to the front of the room to begin my presentation. Many people have a fear of public speaking, but for some reason, I have never really had difficulty when addressing any size group of people – thankfully. I started my talk and progressed through the first fifteen minutes of a forty-five minute presentation just fine. Then I started to feel flushed and got increasingly warmer as the minutes went by. I realized I was just very slightly slurring my words, so I put more effort into enunciating properly. With about twenty minutes left, I gave everyone a bathroom and food break. That’s when the real fun began.

In my world of “Mia, we haven’t yet discovered what your underlying medical condition really is”, I am quite accustomed to odd symptoms that pop-up out of seemingly nowhere, for seemingly no reason. Nothing new there. I figured I was suffering some adverse reaction to being awake at 3 A.M. and a lack of proper sleep. I drank an entire bottle of water during the break in the hopes that would cool me down and wake me up. Then I headed back to my speaking spot, but I was shuffling my feet and feeling very “heavy”. After starting again and getting to about the ten minutes left mark, I was very glad there was a table near me, because it was either lean against the table or sit on the floor. Everything got about ten times harder to do and concentrating was barely an option. I’m the prideful sort who certainly felt that I should continue my fine standard of giving good presentations. The faces looking at me didn’t seem to show any indication that I was doing anything wrong or different, but I could tell something was not at all right. My “CSA” had returned to the room and was eyeing me very carefully with a very concerned look on his face.

I did struggle through the last five minutes of my talk, barely able to stand up (still, no one listening seemed at all affected). Just as I was getting to the last few sentences; a little voice inside of me was saying “you did it without falling on your face and kept it together for just long enough“.  And then I said, out loud, to my group, “Sometimes, it’s not MORDS you’re looking for in certain situations.” Well, I almost made it without any observable issues. Yes, “words” was what should have come out of mouth, but I very clearly, and with great emphasis said, “mords”. Upon the completion of my presentation, most of the group meandered to the food area again and mingled. I found the first available chair and was then informed by my “CSA” that he had given me the wrong pill. No sooner did he make his confession, a very, very, major player in the audience approached me and said, “I suppose my group has been missing the mark all this time because they were putting too much stock in the “MORDS”. I can only hope that he was saying that with some sense of levity.

My “CSA” was pulling double-assistant-duty this morning. He got a rush request from someone else and put the prescription he had just picked-up for me in my “purse on wheels” for a few minutes. When he returned to get my regular, daily pill and bring it to me, he assumed he had the right prescription bottle. I had no idea he had gone anywhere near my “purse on wheels”, so I trusted that he was giving me a pill from the bottle he had just gotten from the pharmacy. Instead, he gave me something that almost put me flat on my face.

I stayed in D.C. for a good portion of the day and worked on this post offline. I had to return to my detail office this afternoon, so I took a train. My car is having a sleep over in Greenbelt and I will have to work late this evening. I suppose it was all meant to happen. I’m not sure I could stand to watch the Washington Capitals play game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens. It’s a deciding game for my D.C. based Capitals and I may prefer finding out if they will be playing golf soon tomorrow.

Keep your eyes on your medication – those are very important MORDS – GO CAPS! – peace – mia – (sciencegirl99@excite.com)

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