Saturday, November 6, 2010

This Weeks Movies

The Thrill Killers (1964)

I imagine this movie was done to try to cash in on "psycho". It is interesting to see the difference in thrillers made in the 60's and those made today. They are better because they have a plot even though the special effects are practically nonexistant.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

no better or worse than any other Alice in Wonderland ever made.

Road Trip: Beer Pong

men would probably like this movie for the T and A

Heartbreak Ridge

one of my all time favorites. the only Clint Eastwood movie that I ever really liked.

Night at the Museum


The Karate Kid

I guess you can't go back again. It was good.

The Hot Tub Time Machine

'sall right

Chased by a Bear!

Back in the 70's we went to the Smokey Mountains almost every weekend in the summer. We were a typical touristy family and did all the touristy things that were humanly possible to do each weekend. Anyone who has ever been to the Smokey's and Gatlinburg and Cherokee can tell you it is a mecca for tourists. It has everything from nature to metro and in between.

Everytime we would go into the mountains we would see the bears. They were constantly begging and they were so adorable. My dad in his wisdom would never allow us near them - except for one time. We were with my Uncle and his family doing a giant family vacation before they shipped off to Germany for a few years (Air Force).

We were in a picnic area and a there was a bear and there were tourists feeding it. Before long we were drawn in with the rest of the tourists and we were feeding it as well. The bear was really happy because I don't know what everybody else was feeding it but we were giving it Kentucky Fried Chicken and it was scarfing the stuff up.

Pretty soon we were only a couple of feet from the bear, surrounding it I might add. It seemed safe enough at the time. Now here is the part that only I seem to remember. I watched as somebody threw a "red hot" piece of candy on the ground at the bear. I remember thinking that the bear was not going to like it. (for those of you who don't know what a "red hot" is, it is a very hot, cinnamon piece of hard candy) As soon as the bear put the "red hot" into it's mouth it started to shake it's head.

Then it started to growl and paw at it's face and buck around. Immediately everybody scattered to safety. People were ducking behind trees and running to their cars and my mom actually jumped into a car with 2 men she had never even seen before! The bear started to run. My dad was directly in the bear's path. He started to run! The bear chased him about 30 yards and my dad ducked into an outside toilet to get away fromt he bear! Actually he jumped over the partitions that they build around the outside of the building to give privacy to the user.

Thankfully the bear kept running.

That is the favorite family story about my dad that people in my family tell to this day. Because I am the only one who remembers the part about the "red hot" they insist that I must have been the one to feed it to the bear. I am stating for the record.


I just happened to be in the perfect spot to see it hit the ground, that's all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I seem to be doing better

Since they put me on the bi-pap machine (and FINALLY adjusted the settings properly) I seem to be doing better. Every where I go people who know me are stopping me and telling look good. It has been years since anyone has said that to me.

Of course it could be the fact that I finally have my long, blonde hair back. I had forgotten how pretty my hair is. It is now long enough that I sit against it when I sit back in a chair. It is over halfway down my back now.

Anyway I have a dreaded stress test next month. I guess I'll know for sure if there is any improvement at that time. If not, I'll be out of commission for about a week after the test.

No matter what they say, I am feeling better. I am tiring more quickly than ever though but my recovery time is much quicker as well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Love Mountains/I Love Coal

Those are actually the 2 political parties in West Virginia. The sad thing is they don't have to be mutually exclusive of each other. There are responsible ways to mine coal that don't have to actually destroy the mountains.

West Virginia needs both the mountains and the mining. Each side needs to recognize the importance of the other. Coal was mined for generations in West Virginia without removing the actual mountain. While it will never be 100% safe it is safer now than ever. When I was a kid I can remember coal miner's dying weekly in and around my hometown. There were also many more jobs in the industry back then.

While mountaintop removal is safer for the worker than underground coal mining there are usually several fatalites every year at the mountaintop sites as well. I think things are finally changing and miners are expected to work safely now - not just go in and work in whatever conditions they find and keep their mouths shut.

For the first time in my memory the EPA shut down a Massey Mine a couple weeks ago due to safety violations. Several supervisors were fired and about a dozen miners suspended for the violations. Now another mountaintop mine in Ky. is being threatened to be shut down for safety violations. I applaud these efforts to keep miners safe.

As long as the sites are reclaimed by the coal companies and they rarely are - usually the US government has to step in and fix the damage after the coal company declares bankruptsy and comes back to do business under another name. This is a practice that needs to be fixed as well.

The problem is when you remove the entire mountain you can't put it back. We now have several sites in southern WV that are bigger than Charleston (our largest city) that are completely flat and ready for development. Unfortunately we don't have the need or the population to develop these sites.

At this point the state can handle the environmental damage but there has to be a point at which the value of the mountains are considered. West Virginia is fast becoming a multibillion dollar tourism destination for the east coast and as the states around us continue to lose their natural assets we still have most of ours. We need to keep our mountains and replace mountaintop removal with more traditional underground methods which will also employ at least twice as many coal miners in the process.

The two pictures at the top show how much land has been lost in the last 15 years due to mountaintop mining. I am trying to get a picture to show the difference from last year to this year but I am having trouble posting it and I am running out of time today.

Here's a link. I can't get a picture to post.,-95.677068&sspn=32.335236,55.458984&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Logan,+West+Virginia&ll=37.836903,-82.054138&spn=0.50324,0.866547&t=h&z=10

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Day My Dad Died

Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of my dad's death Nov 5, '09 11:51 AM
for everyone

That is probably why I have been in such a funk lately. Anyway here is what happens when you put your parents in a nursing home.

Blog Entry The Day My Dad Died Oct 26, '08 4:56 PM
for everyone

At 6:30 in the morning I received a phone call from the nursing home that my dad was in. The voice on the line asked if "Mrs. Brennan was home." I said "yes". Then she says that we think your father is having a heart attack and we don't know if he is a code or not. (meaning do we try to save him or not) I said, "of course he's a full code, it's written right at the top of his chart!"(I had watched the admitting officer write it there myself)

I asked her what hospital they were sending him to because I intended to meet them at the emergency room. She asked someone else and all she said was, "I don't know," then she hung up on me. I raced out of the house and jumped in my van and flew to the nursing home watching for an ambulance the whole way there. (I lived 5 minutes away) I was praying that I hadn't missed it and when I pulled up to the nursing home there was a paramedic truck sitting there.

I let myself in the front doors and I could hear my dad gasping for air and begging for help with every breath - even though he was at the other end of the nursing home (about 50 yards away). I ran down the hall and he was sitting in his wheelchair and the nurses were gathered around him. They did have oxygen on him but the weren't doing anything else. I asked how he was. They just said he was bad and they were waiting on the ambulance. I said, "But the ambulance is sitting outside." Then a man with a walkie talkie stepped up and said, "That's me mam, I am not the ambulance."

I asked where the ambulance was and that is when they told me that the ambulance was on it's way but there had been a wreck and it couldn't get around it. I asked how long it would be and they told me they didn't know, but that the ambulance was trying to get to us. Then I turned my full attention to Daddy. I told him that I was there and I kept talking to him trying to calm him by telling him that help was on the way. At first he didn't realize that it was me, but as I kept talking I could see him responding to me - trying to hang on with every breath. I had saved his life more than once when I was taking care of him and he knew that I would do everything in my power to do it again.

The nurses wanted to put him in bed. He had told me once that when he was in that kind of shape, not to lay him down because he wouldn't be able to fight anymore. He said that, "no matter how bad things got, I have always wanted to live!" I asked him if he wanted to lie down and he shook his head "no" while gasping "help",breath,"me" ,breath - over and over. He was responding to me.

I asked the nurses why they weren't doing anything. They said they couldn't do anything but wait on the ambulance. They couldn't give medicines or anything else. I asked the man with the walkie talkie why he wasn't doing anything with that huge bag of medical equipment that he had carried in. He said, and I quote, "Mam, I'm just a first responder. I can't do anything!" So I in my panic asked what the hell he was doing there then. Because he certainly wasn't lifting a finger to help my dad and neither were the nurses. They were just waiting. The nurses were even standing there commenting," Oh God, he's going to die". Which certainly isn't something that somebody in that kind of shape needs to hear.

Daddy had a power wheelchair. I started moving the chair to the front door because I knew that every second counted. By the time we got to the front door probably 15 or 20 minutes had elapsed not counting the time before they called me. I knew he was running out of time. I asked them to let me put him in our van and take him on to the hospital. They refused. I told them that they could drive that they didn't have to let me drive if they were worried about me driving. I told them I didn't even have to go with them if they would just take him to the hospital. Still they refused.

We were at the front door for about 10 minutes when I tried to take matters into my own hands. I started moving his wheelchair to the van. One of the nurses grabbed the chair and held it back. I pushed her off. Then another nurse joined in and I pushed her back too. I knew the only way to save my dad was to get him into the van and get him to the hospital. Something I had done in the exact same situation 2 other times before! Then there were 3 nurses trying to hold him back and I held them all off while he wedged his arm against the button and tried to make it to the van. He knew I was fighting to save him and it was the only chance he had. We were making progress when the 4th. nurse jumped in. Then there were too many of them. I couldn't fight off 4 nurses. I knew I was going to hurt him if I kept it up. So I stepped back. The 4 nurses were holding on to his wheelchair while he held down the button trying to get to the van. I knew it was over then. I stepped over and turned off the wheelchair. The nurses just looked at me because that is when they realized they were fighting him - not just me.

As my dad sat there in his wheelchair at the frontdoor of the nursing home, he died.

The ambulance came, forty-five minutes had elapsed since that phone call. They got out of the ambulance and they didn't go to help him. Instead they started argueing about who was a certified driver and who was going to drive. An old woman nurse became so irritated that she started trying to put my dad on the gurney by herself. I watched his arm flop limply to the ground. They loaded him into the ambulance. Still not doing CPR or anything. Then I told them I was riding with them. I got in the ambulance and asked them why they weren't trying to shock his heart or anything. They told me it wasn't necessary. After what seemed like forever they did start CPR and manually pumping air into him.

We got to the ER and about 20 nurses met us at the door. My dad's face was black. They escorted me to a small room and told me to wait. There I stood watching a doctor do paperwork and I asked him for directions to the restroom and I washed my face and went back to the little room. There the doctor had given me directions told me how hard he had worked to save my dad but that it was no use. It was over.

My dad died because a group of people refused to think for themselves and get him to the hospital. They were too worried about following rules and not getting sued. Now I have to live with the thought that possibly my actions contributed to his death. I do know that he died knowing that I tried to save him. I told him many times when I was caring for him that I might make mistakes but I would never intentionally do anything to hurt him - and I didn't.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Should Have Been a Make-Up Artist

Last Halloween I worked with Shane. I did my make-up to look like I had been severly beaten. Shane dressed in his usual bad boy, rocker apparel with some extra make-up. When customers would ask me, "who beat you up?"

I would tell them, "Shane did it." We would laugh and have a good time with it. By the way my make-up was extremely realistic looking. I looked beat up in a battered wife kind of way, not a Halloween gore kind of way.

One particular customer came in and he demanded to know who had beaten me up. I replied with my usual, "Shane did it," and a nod of my head toward Shane. The man started grumbling to himself. He told me he would take care of the situation. I continued to kid with him.

Then it dawned on me that the man was serious. He really thought Shane had beaten me up. He told me, "he doesn't know what I do for a living, but I will take care of this." So then I tried to fix the situation by denying that I had been beaten but the man didn't believe me. Finally I had to wipe some of the make-up off of my face so he could see that no one had beaten me. I was really worried about Shane for a minute there.

It was kind of nice to know that one of my customers was so protective of me. I have wondered ever since, "what in the world he does for a living?" I have asked but he won't tell me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


This is a game we used to play when we were kids. Is there a version of it where you grew up?

First of all the game is meant to inflict pain. Kind of like when you used to punch your brother in the leg and holler "CHARLEY HORSE!" Remember that one? Here is what you do to release your holy spirit.

Take your friend's (for example) hand and clasp your hand around her/his wrist - effectively shutting off the circulation is the goal. Then you SLAP their hand as hard as you can and they IMMEDIATELY close it into a fist. At which point you VIGOROUSLY massage their fist and each finger and generally create friction and pain all over their poor hand. All the while both of you are laughing deleriously at each other.

Then ask your friend, "ARE YOU READY TO SET FREE YOUR HOLY SPIRIT!", in your best fire and brimstone voice. When they say yes and open their hand to you, you have to simultaneously

1. let go of their wrist

2. pinch the palm of their hand and move your hand away in an upward motion while holding their holy spirit between your forefinger and thumb.

If you have successfully released their holy ghost then they will feel the spirit leave their hand.


Here's why:

Every year they have trick or treat on the Thursday before Halloween. Here is the logic behind it. If Halloween is on Friday or Saturday then people are out partying and so the little buggers can't go out because they might get hit by a car. To my knowledge this had never happened in Charleston but that is the reason for it. Never mind the fact that trick or treat is from 6 to 8 pm. Although there are exceptions, most partiers don't even hit the bars until around 9 at the earliest.

If Halloween is on Sunday, well then we can't have that, Sunday is the Lord's day. No more explanation needed. Consequently, Halloween was over around here on Thursday. All the decorations are down and the Christmas shopping season is upon us - NOW THAT'S SCARY!!!

This week's movies

1. afterlife

2. dream a little dream (I liked it just as much as I liked it 20 years ago)

3. There Will Be Blood (completely pointless)

4. Freakshow

5. Devil's Rejects (better than the 1st. movie - house of 1000 corpses)

6. White Noise (this movie bothered me - probably because I keep dabbling in that same kind of stuff)

7. spiderman III (couldn't get interested)

9. Grudge III (I'm watching it tonight - I loved the first 2)