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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Its Harvest Time!

The August Photo Assignment "Sunshine" winner and runner-ups have been selected!  This month was probably the hardest to choose from yet! There were so many incredible entries that I didn't even want to pick one, but inevitably I had to.  

And with the end of one photo assignment brings the beginning of another!  The next photo assignment has a little something to do with this...

This photo assignment has another great prize and it lasts a whopping two months!  That's because I know that fall doesn't arrive in mid-August everywhere like it does here in Vermont.  Not only can I not wait to take my own autumn and harvest photos, but also to see yours.  I can't be the only one that thinks this is the best time of the year, can I? 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Its More than a Job

As if I needed to add anything more to my life, last week I went and got a job as a licensed practicing nurse (LPN).  Yes, I have officially become a nurse, not just on a piece of paper, but in practice.  I'm doing a job where I'd never thought I would work and developing empathy for people I never thought I am.  My new job is at a substance abuse rehabilitation center.  I'm a rehab nurse.

Drugs and substance abuse are something I am so unfamiliar with you think I never took that D.A.R.E. class in middle school.  The show COPS has shown me what the drug life is like until now.  My parents forbade me to associate with "these types of people" that I now joke with and take care of.  Honestly, I never thought I would even like a job like this, but I after only a week I know I am going to be shown a who knew side of humanity I never could have imagined.  I think I am going to like it.  

For me the biggest challenge has been the medications.  The people are, for the most part, are just like you and me.  They are polite, smile, and joke just like any of us, but they are addicts.  Some are criminals too.  Before this week I would have look down on many of these people.  I would have judged them.  It hard to be that honest, but its true.  This job, being a rehab nurse, is teaching about people

I can't wait to learn more... the good and the bad. 

And in case you were wondering, yes I am still working at the rescue squad.  I'm not giving that up.  I'm not giving anything up, but rather adding on.  Its created quite an interesting balancing act that I haven't quite figured out, hence my weekend of no sleep, but I have faith in myself.  I'm like my mother... an exceptional juggler.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A "Fair" Week

Oh those sweet summer nights beneath the carnival ride lights....

I've had a weekend the lacked in sleep, but was steeped with interesting ambulance calls, too much caffeine, mullets, maple creamees, and work.  Lots of work.  My life is pretty overwhelming at this point, but a good kind of overwhelming, I think?  Once I wake up I'll let you know....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh, Hi!

This weekend is the county fair weekend!  
No, that photo has nothing to do with the fair....  
Its just a donkey that kept following me as I was taking photos the other day.

Because its fair weekend that means that I will not only be eating mounds of cotton candy and maple creemees while working for the rescue squad, but I will also be scouting for contestants for the "Third Annual Most Amazing Redneck at the Fair Contest".  If you missed out on the last two years you'll have to check them out and laugh your butt off.

I'll also be working the entire weekend from tonight through Sunday morning.  No, I'm not just working at the rescue squad.  I've got a new job, too.  But despite all my jobs (I think the total is up to four now) I really don't feel like I work all that hard.  After all... I'll be enjoying fried dough and riding a gator through the best agricultural selections Caledonia County has to offer all weekend long.  If you work a 9 - 5 office job I feel very sorry for you. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Turtle That Was

I have had a turtle.  Did you know that?  I don't think I've ever talked about my turtle before....

This is the moment we first met.  It was two years ago.  I was kayaking Marshy Hope Creek in Maryland with my father when the little guy floated by my kayak and I scooped him up.  He was so tiny and cute!  I couldn't put him back into the water so I stuck him in my kayak and paddled back to shore with him.  He made the long journey in the car with my back to Vermont.  (is that even legal...?)  A little terrarium was made up into a home for him.  For two years he swam around and around in, never growing, but always eating.  It took me almost a week to figure out that he only ate meat, raw meat.  He grew accustomed to me.  Poking his head out when I was near his little world in the terrarium.  When I held him he would stretch his head out as long as he could and let me pet his head.  That was as much affection as I got, but that was ok.  He was just a turtle after all...

Then this evening I went to feed him.  His back was to me and he was just floating there.  I tapped on the terrarium lightly, but he didn't move.  Suddenly I knew he wasn't going to....  The turtle had died and rigor mortis had even set in.  Even though he wasn't fluffy and never really showed any sort of affection other than not tunneling his head away at the sight of me I was sad and my eyes teared up.  God I would hate to see myself if my dogs or cat were to pass away.  He was just a turtle afterall...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day in a New Standard

My job never ceases to amaze me...  even after almost a decade of responding to almost every type of 911 call imaginable something always happens that is a first.  The other day I was called to my first "Car in the Pond"

Yes, that is a red Suzuki half submerged in a pond on the college campus. Don't worry... no one was inside it.  Honestly... if someone was do you think I would have stood around and photographed it?  C'mon... Once it was determined no one was inside, injured, or otherwise needed an ambulance I grabbed my camera and began snapping photos.

It was brand spankin' new with temporary plates.  The man who owned it look shocked beyond belief.  "It only had 600 miles." he said and then slunk away as a crowd formed.  His story was that it must have popped out of gear, but the momentum it had and the distance it traveled made a different scenario a little more likely.  What seemed more probable was that he quickly pulled into the parking spot, which was about 3 ft from a pond's edge, and hopped out of the car before putting the emergency brake on or making sure it wasn't in neutral. The car seemed to have never stopped completely (the blinker was still on when it was pulled out even).  You be the judge...

The car submerged before being pulled out.  Its about 30 yards from the parking lot.

My friend, Patrick, who happens to be a certified diver, donned his SCUBA gear to hook onto the car with the tow cable so it could be pulled out.

Clearing the pond edge so the car can be pulled over it.  See the parking lot location compared to the pond?

The tow truck operator. He did a heck of a job.

Water pouring out of the car once it was up and the door was opened.  It was actually completely full of water when it first surfaced.

The owner took off, with the keys, before the car was completely pulled from the pond so the car had to be pushed out of the way to where the tow truck could be hooked on.  There was relatively little damage to the outside of the car, just a torn front fender, but believe me it was a total loss. 

I wonder if insurance covers you for something like this?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Being Cool on the First Day of School

Today is my first day of school.  While I am beyond the years of swinging a lunch pail in my arms as I walk to the bus stop I am no less excited anxious and apprehensive.  

Apprehensive because my summer course ended last Monday.  You're probably thinking what summer course? Yeah... can you believe I didn't blog at all about an entire summer of microbiology?  I figured you didn't want to hear about microbiology as much as I didn't want to take it all summer.  Passed it with an A, though.  I'm 

Anxious because some of my good friends from last year won't be coming back this year.  Not all of us were accepted.  One of the ones that wasn't was my best friend in the LPN class last year.  We sat next to each other, made jokes, shared notes, and pretty much were inseparable.  Now I don't know who I will sit next to and have to make a new best friend. 

I'm sure I can make a new best friend, though.

Maybe even a couple.

I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out and sit next to the girl with the rainbow set of highlighters and the hand drawn cartoon on her notebook? 

Since the class is "Principles and Practice of Nursing IV" I figured I would get a little creative with the title.  
Get it? heh...

So, having such a cool notebook officially makes me a cool kid, right?

I'll take your silence as a resounding yes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Are You Sure it wasn't Friday the Thirteenth??

Shawn and I had a fairly ambitious day planned. Our camp (cabin in the middle of nowhere halfway up a mountain in the woods without water, power, or any other amenity except an outhouse.) had been neglected pretty much all summer. The grass had grown long and mice had invaded we figured it was fine time to put in some time doing maintenance, both inside and out.

I tackled the mess that was the "lawn" in front of the camp.  For some reason Shawn trusted me with the lawn mower despite my past history of destroying expensive outdoor lawn care equipment.  He decided to tackle the overgrown road leading up to camp with the bush hog.  Ten minutes into mowing Shawn came trudging back up the camp road, swearing, and pulling a broken bush hog.  

For once he had broken something, not me, and I giggled on the inside as he mumbled obscenities.   Shawn decided he had turned into a mechanic and had to fix the bush hog immediately.  He asked if I wanted to tag along with him as he went down into town.  I declined.  My mowing was going quite swell and I figured it would be a better idea just to stay and finish it up.  That way I would have more time afterward to play around with my camera.   Shawn asked me again, mentioning how he didn't like me up there alone, so far out in the middle of nowhere.  I declined again.  What could happen?  So Shawn headed down the mountain and into town.  I was left alone up at camp. 

Ten minutes later I was singing loudly to iTunes with my headphones in my ear.  No one else could hear the music except me, but no one else could hear me since I was so secluded.  Then suddenly I felt an incredible painful sting on the side of my head.  It was definitely a sting.  I had been stung by a bee on my head!  Then before I could react I was stung again.  And again.  And again...  I had stepped on a stump that contain a hive of bees.  Dozens had glommed to my pants, back, and hair. 

Can you see the bees?  They are there!  

Can you see them now?  Those are the ones that were left after I was stung and ran screaming like a mad woman a quarter mile down the road that led to our camp to the dirt road leading up the mountain.  

I cried.  I hurt.  I had been stung at least ten times all over from my head to my calves.  Shawn wouldn't answer his phone.  I had to talk to myself like I had split personalities just so I didn't completely and utterly freak out.  Eventually the calm woman won.

Ok, I've been stung before and nothing bad has happened.  
But wait... I've never been stung this many times! 
Its ok.  Is my throat closing? No. It's going to be ok.
I think those are hives forming on my chest though!  Is that the beginning of an allergic reaction?!
That's not hives.  You're just flushed because you did a world record quarter mile. 
Oh the stings hurt so bad!
It's ok. The pain will subside.
How am I going to get the mower? I abandoned it next to the hive!
Don't worry about that now.  You just need to calm down and take a deep breath.

Deep Breath

I pulled myself together.  Finally got a hold of Shawn, who was in the store at the exact time I was stung while his phone was in the truck, and had another good cry.  True as my husband always is he first asked "are you ok?" and then followed it with "I told you that you should have come with me!" He said he would bring me some ice to sooth the stings.  "Should I get a five pound bag or three pound bag?" was his attempt at humor.  I laughed and it made me feel a little better.  I wasn't going to die.  It wasn't the end of the world.  Everything was going to be ok.

Waiting for Shawn seemed to take forever.  I had already fished out the stingers from my hair and pants and decided that I had to retrieve the lawn mower.  It was further than I thought from the hive and I somehow managed to sneak up the opposite side of the mower from the hive and pull it away.  I tried to pretend I didn't hurt and didn't almost die if my body decided to release histamine twenty minutes earlier so I began mowing again.  Just as Shawn pulled in I heard a loud crunch and saw plastic fly out from under the mower.

My sunglasses.

I had completely forgotten I flung them from my head when I was running trying to shake the bees out of my hair.  They landed in the tall grass that I just mowed through and didn't survive.  I guess if that was the only loss of the evening I could count it as a positive afternoon by comparison.  Getting stung by so many bees at once really puts the rest of the unfortunate events of the day into perspective.  

At least I did manage to get the lawn finished, aching, swelling, painful stings and all.  Shawn never did fix the bush hog, either.  Firefighter he is.  Mechanic his is not...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How My First Ever Photo Shoot Went.

I had forgotten to tell her what I was driving.  We had planned where to meet, but I had no way to know out of the half a dozen cars in the parking lot which one was hers.  God must have been laughing at me because there were at least three cars there filled with a mothers and sons in the parking lot at the same time.  Finally I was able to distinguished which mother and son pair were there for me to photograph. They were the ones with the Georgia plates.  That's some detective work there...  

We shook hands and headed down the road to the location where we were going to do the shoot.  Her and the son had picked a spot they saw in one of my photos from my gallery.  It was a very run down old brick building.  A wired fence and signs saying "Keep Out" surrounded it.  The young man, to my delight, wasn't deterred by the signs.  We crossed under the fence and began the photo shoot in and around the building.

 This is the photo of the old brick building in my gallery that was taken this past winter.

To my surprise my nervousness melted away when I began snapping the shutter.  The kid was so laid back it was great to photograph him.  When I told him that he laughed, but I still couldn't crack much of a smile out of him.  He had his own style and I wasn't going to try and fracture that image.  My goal was to capture him, not a posey-looking, unnatural version.  Despite never meeting him before I think I was able to do just that!

For almost an hour we ventured through the wreckage of the building.  I couldn't believe how much time had passed because I was having so much fun!  To be honest, I had a lot more fun than I thought I would and I really cannot wait to do it again.  ...hint hint.  If anyone local is interested don't hesitate to email me.  Trust me, I am cheaper than the other local guys, I've checked. 

Thank you for all of you who told me I would do great, because I think I did!  The mother was super happy with the shoot and the photos I showed her on my camera.  I don't think I've ever made anyone so happy with my camera.  Its a good feeling.  Here is a sample sheet of a few photos from the shoot... 

I spent a couple hours last night and a couple hours this morning going through every single photo.  Retouching, adjusting, resizing, etc.  If you calculate the money I made from the shoot with the hours I spent working on the photos it's pretty darned close to minimum wage.  Hopefully I can get a tad bit more efficient to make it more worth my while! 

If you'd like to hear about what I've learned from this photo shoot then be sure to check out my Photo Blog!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Too Bad I'm Over/Under Qualified

I've worked the same job since I was eighteen.  I'm now twenty five.  Not many people my age can boast a job reference that is seven years old.  As much as I love my job its not where I want to stay.  I want more.  There is a pretty love ceiling at a rescue squad, especially one as small as where I work, and I've pretty much reached it.  Unfortunately for someone who has only worked at one place since she was eighteen there are limited other jobs you can do with such a limited skill set. 

A few months ago there was a rumor going around the Emergency Room at our local hospital.  They were going to be offering a full time position that an EMT would be qualified for, an Emergency Room Technician.  I was excited.  There looked to be a chance that there would be a full time job that I could do in our hospital!  Being in nursing school I figured it would be an incredible opportunity to not only work with other nurses, but to have a step already in the door when it comes to finding a nursing job.  Months passed by without hearing anything more about the position.  I actually had forgotten about it...

Then a couple days ago I received an email that was forwarded to everyone at our rescue squad about a full time job opening.  They were looking to hire an EMT to work full time in the Emergency Room from 11pm to 7am.  I squealed with joy!  That would be perfect.  The night shifts would afford me the ability to seamlessly work around school.  I would work shorter shifts than the 24 hour ones I work now.  The nurses (and doctors and other staff, too) there would be able to help me with skills and material in school  Nights are often quiet, which would allow me time to study.  It would be a foot in the door to a nursing job.  And most importantly, I would be working in a emergency room!  
There was just one problem...

What's the problem?
By the time they listed the job I had become a licensed practicing nurse.

Now why the heck would that be a problem? Isn't being a nurse even better at a hospital?
You would think so, but its not, at least being an LPN is not.  That is because the hospital does not allow LPNs to work in the emergency room.  The only position an LPN can hold is either in the wellness clinic (boring) or on the general inpatient floor (also boring and lord heavens are some of the women there catty).

But aren't you an EMT, anyway?

Then why does it matter that you're an LPN if you're an EMT, also?
Because an LPN is technically has a higher scope of practice than an EMT in a hospital setting.  Legally the hospital has to allow me to function at my highest scope of certification.  Since they don't allow LPNs to work in the ER I can't apply.  

There is nothing you can do about it?
No. Their policy is strict and has to do with JHACO certification.  There's nothing I can do if I want to work in the ER except wait until I pass the NLCEX-RN and become a registered nurse next spring.

That's ridiculous.
Yes. Yes it is.
Or as my father-in-law would say.  "That's Bull-pucky"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Senior Portraits - Then and Now

I have been asked to do my first photo session ever.  In fact, its tomorrow afternoon!  I've only ever photographed landscapes, barns, and things that can't complain and tell me how bad they think they look.  To be honest, I am scared out of my pants to have a professional obligation to someone I don't know to make them look good with my camera.  

The session I am doing tomorrow for a young man for his senior portraits used in the yearbook.  Up here when you are a senior you go to a professional photographer (or me) and pose creatively in a way that makes you look good in a setting that reflects who you are.  When I was in high school they had a photographer sit in the gym all day.  You were scheduled a time for your photo where you went and were draped in the appropriate tops.  Girls were given some V-neck drape that looked like a fancy dress.  Boys were given some suit top with a tie to put on.  We posed the standard poses.  The girls took a couple holding roses and a couple without.  Then we handed back the draping garments and headed back to class.

Here is my senior photo.  Coincidentally I think it is one of the best photos I have ever taken, which is amazing considering the circumstances surrounding the day I had it taken. 

Our photo times were assigned alphabetically.  Since my maiden named started with a "W" I was scheduled at the very end of the day, during fourth period.  My fourth period class was gym and my scheduled time was right in the middle of class.  The gym teacher had no sympathy for my hair or the significance of the immortality of a senior photo.  I had to participate in gym class that day, right up until five minutes before my photo time, or else.  My hair never frizzed the entire time we played mat ball and ran laps around the gym. I also didn't have a single zit on my face that day (at 25 that's still a miracle... I thought that stuff went away as you got older?!) and you can't even tell how puffy my gums really were because I had my braces removed just TWO DAYS before the photo was taken.  

True story... I had braces for almost four years despite my orthodontist telling me I'd only need them for 18-24 months.  When it came time for my senior photos I forced him to finally take off my braces, because I refused to have braces in my photo.  He removed them and gave me a retainer that I promptly lost two weeks later. That was money well spent, Mom.

Today's pending high school graduates have a lot more options when it comes to how they will be immortalized in their yearbook, but the importance of capturing that moment and making the student look as perfect as possible is still the same.  I only hope that I can do as good a job as my photographer did when I meet this young man tomorrow!   

I'm curious. What was your senior portrait like? 
Did you get to wear what you want and choose the setting/pose for it or did you have to wear the "drapes" like everyone else?  Do you like your photo as you look back at it or think its reminds you of the hellish awkward stage in your life you'd like to forget?  

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Boardwalk Keeps Getting Weirder and Weirder

Its been a couple of years since I've walked up the boardwalk in Ocean City.  The last time I did I was barely 21, newly engaged, and bar hopping with my old high school pals.  There were stores and bars.  Occasionally you'd see someone playing a musical instrument with a change bucket, but now the boardwalk has been transformed into a free, weird, side show of amusement that rivals the county fair. 

The boardwalk is full of people (if you can't tell from the photo).  On the weekends people are as far as the eye can see.  That is when the most street acts can be seen...

Some acts put in very little effort...

This couple, along with a good half dozen other people along the mile we walked, were making balloon figures for a small price.

There are also people dressed up in various costumes for photo-ops.  They each have a bucket placed in front of them for "tips", such as that cooler there.  On our short walk we saw two Shreks, a bunny, Sponge Bob, Dora, and spider man. 

Then there are the acts that are completely weird...

This guy was dancing this marionet around and talking to passerbys with zero attempt to act like a ventriloquist. He seemed rather angry and irritated when people walked away without much interest. Or maybe it was just his crazy mustache?

Then there was this pair.  They had martinets too, but also did not attempt to act like ventriloquist.  Instead he had a stereo playing some rock song that he moved the puppet to.  The puppet wasn't attempting to sing and neither was the man.  There was also that kid next to him with the plastic guitar from the video game Guitar Hero.  It wasn't hooked to anything.  He was just strumming away as if it was, though.

Amidst all of the randomness and weirdness there was a handful of actual talent...

This man was creating incredible works of art using spray paint.  A huge crowd was gathered around him watching.  I think every single one of them were high from the fumes.

This older fellow didn't have a crowd around him at all, but wasn't short of talent.  He had an incredible multitude if instruments and was completely capable of playing every single one, even two trumpets at the same time.  As a former trumpet player I have no clue how he can pull that off...  

And then there was the piece-de-la-resistance to all the street acts, an act almost worthy of America's Got Talent...  The Escape Show.

This husband and wife duo performed various little tricks together.  Then their finale involved the man being tied up, locked in a box.  The woman stood on top of the box, the whole lot was then shrouded in a huge curtain, and then the woman disappeared.  Suddenly her husband had taken her place and she was locked inside the box.  Poof, just like that, in a matter of seconds.  

The boardwalk is definitely a lot more lively than I last remembered it!  Its pretty darned cool to go out for an evening, take a stroll along the beach, and take in so much free entertainment... or free laughs.  Have you ever seen anything like this?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

There's Nothing like some Summer Sunshine

Have you had a chance to enjoy the summer sun?  The long, cool nights.  Can you feel the season slipping away into fall?  I can.  Up here in northern Vermont summer is soon to come to a close.  Nights are growing cooler and the days becoming shorter.  As much as I long to see green sprouting from the ground every spring I can't help, but love the feel of a comfortable fleece, those brisk autumn breezes, and the clouds that leave you wondering if they harbor snowflakes or a cold rain.  Don't you agree?

But, before all of that slips away I am savoring every short-wearing, sunshine filled afternoon I can get.

Don't forget:
This month's photo assignment is "Sunshine"
Check out this month's entries, and submit your own photos by visiting the assignment page.
One photo chosen from this month's selections on the assignment page will receive a $100 B&H gift certificate.  Another runner-up photo will be selected for another prize, too!

If you need some help or instruction with shooting into the sun be sure to check this entry out.

Before you know it September will be here and so will a new photo assignment.  So if you have any ideas be sure to shout them out!  I'm always looking for new topics. If you'd like to sponsor an assignment I will feature your business/product all month long! Just email me (vtcabinfever at hotmail dot com) if you are interested.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mingling with the Wild Ponies

Since I was a little kid my parents took us to Assateague Island almost every summer.  Even if you aren't from anywhere close to Delmarva you've probably heard of the Assateague/Chincoteague ponies or perhaps you even read the book Misty when you were younger.  It is just as much fun to visit the Island now that I am older, especially because I have a very nice camera to play around with.

While Shawn was golfing and I was far too sunburned to spend another day baking in the sun on the beach I decided it would be the perfect afternoon to head to Assateague with my littlest sister for some bonding time.  It was a blast and we saw more wild horses in a couple of hours than I have seen of moose in the last two months.

Does this pony look pregnant to you?  She did to me... but I am no pregnant pony expert.

Chincoteague is an Island full of people and condos while Assateague has the horses, but many people know them as the Chincoteague ponies.  I wonder why they are called after the Island they don't live on?  Perhaps its because Assateague isn't as pretty of a name, or people just don't like saying the "ass" in assateague? 

The horses will walk right up to your car.  They really have zero inhibitions since they see people day in and day out.  This guy seemed like he was begging for food, but the driver didn't so much as roll down his window!  I don't think I would be able to resist.

They do, though, have park rangers and "pony patrols" throughout the Island.  The patrols and rangers follow around the big herds that meander along the roadways and make sure that people don't get too close to the horses.  Signs are scattered all over that mention big citations for feeding or bothering the horses. 

One trip we made to Assateague Island when I was little I remember a horse that approached our car.  It was a very friendly, small, brown horse that nuzzled our windows.  My mother fed it gold fish crackers and the horse couldn't have been happier.  You can't get away with that now.

However, you can get really close to horses if you have a kayak.  Many ponies can be found on the water's edge in the marshes that are perfect for kayaks.  If you don't have a kayak then you get to stand on dry land hundreds of yards away and take photos like this one with your zoom lens.

The horses really are BEAUTIFUL.  Their manes are long and wild, hanging over their eyes like a beach bum. Colors range from light sandy whites to dark chestnut browns.  Compared to other horses they are a little smaller.

And they are truly wild.  Ponies can be found anywhere on the Island.  I was surprised to find this little herd in the middle of a parking lot for beach access. All of these horses have never had any sort of human control or captivation.  Once a year excess ponies are rounded up and brought to the neighboring Island, Chincoteague, and acutioned off in order to control the population for food/habitat purposes. 

And of course, along with the ponies come their piles...of... well...  yeah.  They are also everywhere.  Is it cow poop or horse poop that psychadelic mushrooms grow out of?  Don't worry, I didn't try to figure it out.

No matter how many times I visit this Island it is always a great trip and I always see ponies.  Even though you can see horses all throughout the country side.  Heck, my parents even have a horse... there is nothing like seeing a Chincoteague pony.  They literally are wild and free, something many of us are trying to achieve.

If you would like more information of the Chincoteague Ponies on Assateague Island visit these links:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eerie Foreshadowing

It must be a new thing they are doing at the beach.  I was relaxing in my beach chair, listening to the sounds of the waves and children screaming when the familiar trill of the lifeguard's whistle began blaring.  I opened my eyes and glanced over the twenty yards or so to the lifeguard chair to see the incredibly bronzed and muscular man in charge of our safety hailing us all over.  He was waving his neon orange flags for us to gather around.  I had no idea what was going on and figured I should follow his instructions so I trotted over to the circle of people that were forming around his wooden white chair. 

I tried to pay attention to what he was saying rather than the sun glistening off his muscles.  In my head I chanted "I'm a married woman. I'm a married woman."  Fortunately he wasn't talking or looking at me as he introduced himself and gave everyone a sort of Beach 101 lecture.  Had he talked to me I would've only been able to articulate vowel sounds I'm sure. 

After explaining to us the "rules of the beach" he advised us that the surf was pretty dangerous that afternoon.  He mentioned how several people were seriously hurt all across the eight mile stretch of Ocean City's beaches yesterday.  Injured by the waves.  He cautioned us on how to not break our necks while body surfing and boogie-boarding.  Then the crowd dispursed and I went back to my chair to work on my tan sunburn.

My sisters and I ventured out into the waves.  They were brutal, 5-6 foot tall, walls of water that would mercilessly smash down on us if we turned our backs to the sea.  After a good half hour of battle we decided to call it quits and head back in.  As soon as our bodies cleared the water we turned at the horrifying sound of a woman screaming "lifeguard!" at the top of her lungs.  My mind raced, wondering what in the world had happened, and then I saw the man floating in the water.  

Before my sister could tell me not to I rushed over and helped carry the unconscious man from the water.  The muscular lifeguard was there in a split second, grabbed the man's head, and tried to control the scene.  A half dozen of us had a hold of various parts of the man's body.  We lift him to dry sand, away from the incoming tide.  Then other lifeguards from further stands had made it to the unresponsive man's side and pushed all of us out of the way.  It seemed frantic.  I just stepped back and let them do their job.  Not once while I was helping did I tell them I was an EMT or a nurse.  To them, in the moment, it doesn't matter.  They don't know me and, in all honesty, don't care.  That's how it is... you don't trust strangers when it comes to patient care you're liable for and I was a stranger.  Plus, I was suppose to be on vacation, right?

So I stood there and watched, critiquing their care.  Lifeguards really don't have any medical equipment whatsoever.  They basically held C-SPINE (cervical spine immobilization - keeping the neck in line) and waiting for the paramedics to arrive.  The man regain consciousness, but had no clue what happened.  A glaring red abrasion on his forehead indicated he had come in contact with the sand, hard. Before I knew it  sirens could be heard echoing off the condos behind us.  The paramedics were there. 

In a moment that resembled the television show Ocean Force the paramedics packaged and removed the man in a quick fashion.  I smiled at their precise technique that was the same way I would have done it had I been dispatched to this call.  Its reassuring to know we all really do the exact same job the exact same way.  Just as they carried the man to the four wheeler to remove him from the beach a large wave came up and washed away the sand where he was just laying.  The entire ordeal last a short ten minutes. 

The beach was somber after the man and the paramedics left.  Fewer people were in the water.  Some had packed up and went home.  Half an hour later a medical helicopter flew over our heads and I had to wonder if the man who nearly drowned was in there.  Then I reflected on what the lifeguard had said earlier...  the eeriness of his foreshadowing was enough to keep me out of the water for the rest of the afternoon.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Reterneth from Vacation

When vacation ends it is always bitter-sweet.  Saying goodbye to the Ocean and the Eastern Shore of Maryland is always sad, but five days with your family sharing a condo at the beach and only two room keys between seven people can be enough to drive anyone crazy.  So much happened in a span of just a few days...
  1. Paid almost $100 in parking within 24 hours of our arrival.
  2. Ate some of the best seafood EVER
  3. Saw the famous wild horses on Assateague Island
  4. Found out I am still awesome at body surfing
  5. Got the worst sunburn known to man despite SPF 50 protection
  6. Finished another good book
  7. Gawked at the ungodly hot life guards
  8. Played mini-golf and lost horribly
  9. Helped pull an unconscious man out of the water.
  10. Watched some pretty cool street acts on the boardwalk
  11. Shopped and spent WAY more than I should have. (outlets are dangerous!)
  12. Watched and photographed the most gorgeous sunset ever.
I wish I had more time to tell you about everything, but I have so much catching up to do here at home...  It will have to wait until later!

But I won't leave those of you who "guessed" in my last post (I know about the urls.  I didn't want it to be an impossible guess for ya!).  I've randomly picked a winner from those who commented with my correct vacation location.

Ocean City, Maryland.

Now I didn't know who the winner would be so I couldn't get shirts or anything size/gender specific so I browsed a couple souvenir shops for a variety of things that I thought would appeal or be useful to most anyone in some way.  There's a little sand castle sculpture, a sea shell Christmas ornament, an OC iron-on patch, and a cool, wiggly, crab magnet! 

Congratulations to "katie", the tenth commentor.  You were randomly chosen by as the winner! Please send me an email to vtcabinfever {at} hotmail {dot} com with your mailing address and I will send you your souvenirs!  Thanks to everyone else who guessed  or scrolled over the photo to see the url! haha.  

So, while I was gone, did I miss anything?  Did you post something interesting? Fill me in!  I haven't even so much as watched the news or read a paper (or a blog for that matter!) and don't know how I'll possibly catch up.  Help pull me back into the loop!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Take an Educated Guess - Vacation Edition

Guess where I am!

I am here on this Penninsula until Tuesday!

I will be gallivanting on this boardwalk 

And playing mini golf here.

Of course I'll be playing in these waves.

And watching airplanes pull ads across the sky.

And I can't forget the lifeguards.  Oh, the tan, muscular lifeguards...

Do you know where I am?

Just leave a comment below with your guess!  If you are right you'll be thrown into a drawing for a mystery souvenir (or two) from my undisclosed location!  Don't worry.  I'll pick out something cool!

If you can't figure out where I am by these photos I will add some more photos throughout the weekend to help you out!  :)

Guesses close Tuesday at 10pm, when I am back in Vermont! 
I'll announce the winner, location, and the mystery souvenir Wednesday.