Lessons Learned from Being Pulled Over

Just once in my life I would like a warning. I’ve begun to wonder if “warnings” are really a thing and perhaps my other friends who claim to have been pulled over are lying to me. I don’t recall when I got my first ticket. It was likely speeding. There are a few that stick in my mind because I learned something with each of them.

The rolling stop. Age: 19-20 years old. I was on my way to school. It was a four-way stop that never had any other cars any time I’d ever come through. Rolling slowly though, I looked to my right, then my left and saw the cop too late. I went ahead and pulled over and waited for him. One would think that being nice enough not to argue would warrant a warning rather than a ticket. Nope.

Speeding. Age: 20-21 years old. Another instance of seeing the cop too late. Another instance of going ahead and pulling over to wait for the cop to catch up to me. The cop told me how fast I had been going. I must have looked surprised because she asked, “Would you like to see the radar?” Figuring I was likely getting a ticket and it’d be cool to see the radar, I said, “Sure!” She took me to her car where she hit two tuning forks together to show me how the radar worked (it was cool). Being a musician, I knew that hitting two tuning forks together is a good way to ruin them. I decide against telling her this. Ticket.

Speeding (again). Age: 23-24 years old. I was driving from my college in Milledgeville, Georgia to see my then-boyfriend-now-husband in Huntsville, Alabama. I was somewhere around Athens, Georgia. They Might Be Giants (brand new album: Flooood!) was on my stereo. I was the lead car. Don’t be the lead car… Also, use cruise control.

Fall 2016. Age: redacted. The cop supposedly followed me out of my neighborhood and witnessed a rolling stop and a failure to use my blinker. Considering these are common happenings inside a neighborhood, I don’t doubt those happened, but I can’t say for sure either way. But it was dark and I’m highly sensitive to headlights. I seriously doubted his following me but couldn’t really argue because I honestly couldn’t remember. Where he got me? I turned on to a major four-lane divided highway and, instead of establishing myself in the right lane then using a blinker to move over to the left, establish, blinker to the turn lane (all in one tenth of a mile. Yes, I measured.), I went straight into the left lane then the turn lane – no blinker, no establishing. Never mind there was a car in the right lane and had I done as he suggested, I would have cut that car off (never mind that if the car was that close, it would have been better for me to have waited). I also seriously doubt the lack of blinker, but again, I couldn’t remember if I had or not. I’m usually obnoxious in my blinker usage, though. He took my license and registration. (Fun side story: I had just renewed it two days prior. It had been expired for about three months. And I was with my teenage daughter on our way to a Bible study.) When he came back, I knew he’d seen that I hadn’t gotten a ticket in ten years and before that it had been around five years. “Well, I can tell you aren’t a bad driver…” Does he go on to give me a warning? Of course not. Instead, he graciously only wrote me up for one of the offenses (my guess is because he really only witnessed the last one, but I digress) and, “I believe it’s the cheaper of the three.” It wasn’t. They were all the same and all were over $150.

I feel a little sorry for the next cop to pull me over. Being nice and accommodating doesn’t seem to work, so I’ve decided to be blunt and honest and let them know that it would be really nice, JUST ONCE, to get a warning instead of a ticket. Please.

I figure, what the hell, I’ll likely get a ticket anyway.

Jerry’s Tale

I’ve been hesitant to post things from my writing classes because, when submitting for publication, most places require that it hasn’t been previously published and that includes personal blogs. Well, since I haven’t submitted anything for publication recently, I decided I should quit holding back “just in case.” Without further adieu, I bring you “Jerry’s Tale” which is intentionally in second person.

You’re a fairly clean person. No, your car’s not the cleanest. Nor is your house. But you bathe regularly, keep laundry washed, and the kitchen is (mostly) clean. If you were to ever have a pest problem, it would definitely be in the house, right?

Of course not. That would be entirely too easy to deal with. Instead, you’ll be sitting in the garage in your car, checking Facebook and waiting on your darling daughter to hurry up so you’re not late to work (again) and something will streak by.

What. The hell. Was that?? Oh. My. God. There’s a mouse. In your car.

In a flash, you’re out of the car. Garage door open. All car doors open. Searching for something to beat the hell out of whatever happens to come out of hiding. There! Golf clubs that were bought at a church yard sale Lord only knows how long ago! You proceed to beat around the floorboards, hoping beyond hope that the mouse was smart enough to get out while he could.

The drive to work is interesting, to say the least. You’ll constantly remind yourself that if “Jerry” decides to make an appearance: Don’t. Freak. You really don’t want to be a part of the morning traffic report. Jerry is probably just as freaked out as you and he’s not actually coming after you. He’s just doing his little scampering mouse thing.

That doesn’t work and you’ll still jump at practically everything. You make it to work in one piece and decide that, if Jerry’s still there, hopefully he’ll be smart and vacate while downtown. You decide that it might be time to (completely and utterly) clean out your car.

A couple days later, at church on a Wednesday night, you’ll be talking with friends and mention the mouse living in your car. Your husband will insist, “There’s NOT a mouse living in your car. Don’t be ridiculous.”

As you and Daughter are about to get in the car to leave, you both see something streak by the window INSIDE the car. Daughter is lucky. She’s able to say, “Nope!” and ride home with Daddy. He’ll hear the commotion and walk over to see what’s going on which gives you the opportunity to let him know you weren’t being ridiculous after all as you shout across the lot, “Hey hon! You know that mouse that’s NOT living in my car?”

Does he offer to drive your car home for you? Of course not. You really can’t blame him though – YOU don’t want to drive it either, after all. And you thought the drive to work was nerve wracking…

A day or so later and your car is cleaned out and vacuumed. You’ve made it as inhospitable and boring to a mouse as you possibly can and now it’s time to wait. And wait.

It’s been several months now and you’ve still seen no signs of Jerry. It’s a rather anticlimactic end to the story, but oddly, you’re okay with that.

Adventures in Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Edition

I’m attempting (again) to post on a regular basis. To that end, I bring you “Adventures in Dinner”

I’ve been following a low carb high fat (lchf) diet going on two years now. I was on it very well the first year and lost almost 70 pounds. I’ve been sort of on it this past year and am maintaining a loss of 50 pounds (so yeah, I gained back 20 – but I’m still down 50 from my starting weight and am determined NOT to return to that!)

Anyway, because I wanted to incorporate more veggies into our diet, I’ve been exploring hidden veggies with pretty good success for a while now (Brian no longer wants to know what I use for soup bases). Last night: Spaghetti Squash!

I’ve used it before and I like it. I think Brian tolerated it. Darling Daughter hasn’t liked it. I try to tell her it’s like al dente pasta and she corrects me, “It’s crunchy. Like UNCOOKED pasta.” In the past, It’s been on the side and we add a sauce to it. Last night, I put the spaghetti squash into my Instant Pot, set it for 17 minutes and relaxed for a bit*. After it was done, I cooked some ground beef, tomato sauce and spices, giving the squash some time to cool off. Sauce done, squash cool(ish), I cut it in half**, got the seeds out and scraped the rest into a bowl. It was more than I needed so I’ve got about half of it in my fridge to play with this weekend. I then poured the sauce over the “noodles,” covered it in cheese and baked it. Two hopes here: 1) it’s covered in cheese which helps hide the veggie and 2) cooking it some more hopefully softens the squash some more.

Taylor came downstairs and walked into the kitchen.
Her: Oooo! What’s this??
Me: Sketti…
Her: *kind of excited gasp* Sketti??
Me: Yep
Her: Yay! … wait a minute. What’s in it?

She ate it. Didn’t complain (much). Brian and I loved it so she’s likely out of luck in the future of “spaghetti”
(As I was typing this, “The Times They Are A’Changin'” came on my playlist. Coincidence?)

* Instant Pot. Electric Pressure Cooker. OMG if you don’t have one, get one. 17 minutes for a whole spaghetti squash. Seriously. Get one.
** Yes, I cooked it whole. Cutting them in half while raw is a good way to lose skin or a finger. It’s more difficult to get the seeds out (small serrated knife helps), but I handle difficult seed removal better than I handle a seriously cut finger.

Updates on Pat Gohman, injured in Albany, Ga. tornado

Jan. 26, 8:00 p.m.

This morning, doctors told the family that the prognosis for Pat’s recovery was not good. The best-case scenario was still a long way from what Pat would have been comfortable living with. She was very adamant that she was not to be kept alive by machines, if there was no hope of returning to an aware state. “If I go into the hospital,” she frequently told Lee, “I walk out on my own, or not at all.” The damage to her brain was just too severe. 

This afternoon, family came to the difficult decision to terminate life support. Pat passed away peacefully, painlessly and surrounded by her family and friends at 7:00 p.m. A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend and co-worker, Pat will be greatly missed by all who knew her, and all whose lives were touched by her warm smile, her laugh, and her love. 

On behalf of Pat’s family, thank you all for your love, your prayers, and your offers of help for our family during this time. We will update this one last time when arrangements are finalized. 

Jan. 26, 11:30 p.m.
Apologies for the lack of significant updates, but the truth is, we don’t have anything much to share on Pat’s condition. She needed a bit more oxygen help today than she did yesterday. The bruising on her face and neck, however, is noticeably improved. Her nurse today is a long-time friend of Pat’s daughter-in-law Kerin, so we know she’s getting the best attention possible. 

On the house front, most everything of importance has already been recovered. Tomorrow, a tree service will remove the trees from the house, and the rest of their salvageable belongings will be moved into a storage unit. After that, the house will have to be torn down, we learned today. 

Otherwise, we keep watching and praying. The family thanks everyone for the ongoing prayers and offers of help. 

Jan. 25, noon

We’re still waiting for Pat to wake up. She developed a fever overnight, which was treated. She’s experiencing some seizures — not uncommon after a brain bleed — but those are being treated with medication. 

There is plenty they don’t know yet about her condition. We just need her to wake up. 

Jan. 24, 11:30 p.m.

We continue to watch and pray. Pat is still unconscious, off of pain and sedition meds, and we wait to see when she will wake up. She still has significant swelling around her head, that needs to come down as well. 

Pat continues to do well as they back her off the ventilator. She is breathing more on her own. She continues to squeeze hands, and has moved hands and feet on both sides. She will chew on her vent tube some, even. Elizabeth had to change the music station from classical to jazz at one point, after it looked like Pat was trying to sing along. 

All hopeful signs, but she is still in a very dangerous position. Family is able to see her regularly, hold her hand and talk to her. 

Hoping and praying for another good day tomorrow. 

Jan. 24, 2 p.m.

Some good news to report: Pat is breathing more on her own than with the ventilator. She is now off of pain medication, and her blood pressure is still good, so she is not likely in pain. The meds keeping her sedated have been stopped, now we wait and see if she tries to wake up on her own.

Lee got to see Max and Rico this morning, and they loved all over each other. Max continues to recover well. 

Jan. 24, 11 a.m.

Not much to report this morning. Pat had a good night. We hope to know more about her next steps later today. 

Jan. 24, 12 a.m.

One of Pat and Lee’s dogs, Max, also suffered serious injuries to his hind legs. He had surgery today. Happy to report Max is doing well. His little buddy Rico misses him, I’m sure.

Jan. 23, 10 p.m.

Family visited Pat in ICU today. She reacts to voice and touch, even moving her left arm and leg a little. Elizabeth played some classical music for her, and her blood pressure lowered.

Doctors remain concerned about the blow to her head, but we won’t know anything until they try to wake her up, over a period of several days. We wait, we watch, we pray.

Family was able to get into the house today and recover some personal items.

Original post

On Sunday, January 22, about 3:30 p.m. ET, an estimated EF-2 tornado struck the Radium Springs area of east Albany, Ga. Pat and Lee Gohman’s house was not hit directly, but several of the large pine and oak trees in their yard toppled onto the house. One of the large branches pierced the roof of the bathroom where they were sheltered, hitting Pat in the head. She was knocked unconscious, but still breathing, and suffered several injuries.

EMTs reached the house quickly, and took her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a brain bleed and rushed into surgery. The bleeding was stopped, but she has been in an induced coma ever since. Doctors are concerned about the extent of damage to her left frontal lobe. All we can do is wait, watch and pray right now.

On behalf of Pat’s husband Lee, children Phil, Darrell and Elizabeth, in-laws, grandchildren, and all family and friends, we appreciate your prayers, your offers of help, your good thoughts and well wishes, but most importantly, your prayers.

This post will be updated as we have news to share.

– Brian

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

January’s #Reverb16 prompt: Changes | A lot of people use January as a jumping off point to implement changes in their lives. How do you implement change? Slowly? Cold turkey? Incrementally with a plan?

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Look here. Yes, I know I did February’s first. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to keep things interesting. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Quietly. That’s how I like to make changes.

I don’t like to announce, “THIS is what I am going to do!” Why not? Because of that little kid voice I mentioned earlier that says, “But what if it fails?” If I don’t announce it, the only one who knows I’ve failed is me. Except there are some things I can’t really keep quiet about and at least two have happened over the past year or so.

I’m in school, studying English this time (I have a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy). What will I do with it? I. Don’t. Know. And you know what? I believe that’s okay. At least for now. It’s a benefit my employer provides and I’m finally able to take advantage of it. As of this writing, I have two literature classes left and then I’ll wait (im)patiently for writing classes to fit with my work schedule. Don’t misunderstand – my employer works with me, but there are certain times that are just not negotiable. I’ve mentioned before that I work for a large teaching hospital, specifically, the Internal Medicine Residency Program. From early November to late January, we interview medical students for the upcoming Intern year. Our interviews are Tuesdays and Fridays and they’re “all hands on deck” days in which the earliest I’m done is 11:00. The problems:

  • Semesters overlap with Interview Season – Fall semester ends early December, Spring semester starts early January.
  • I’m limited to afternoons, evenings, or online – Classes offered during the day are typically M-W-F (can’t do Friday mornings) or T-Th (can’t do Tuesday mornings)
  • There’s not a whole great lot offered afternoons, evenings, or online. Yes I’ve talked, written, and had lengthy conversations with them about that. Not sure if it’ll make a difference or not, but I’m hopeful.
  • I’m losing weight. This is a good thing. I’ve been pretty quiet about it, but weight loss eventually becomes noticeable whether you like it or not. Over the past year, I lost just over 60 pounds. I have at least that much more to go. At the moment, I feel like I’m struggling. I find myself giving in to temptation more often. I need to stop that. Once in a while is okay. Every day is not. Multiple times a week, at least at this stage in the game, is not. Multiple times a day is definitely not. I think I’m hitting multiple times a week right now and feel like I’m inching toward every day. I don’t know for sure and so I’m bringing back… the food journal. I hate the food journal. I’d say I don’t know why, but yes I do. It keeps me accountable. The selfish kid in me is kicking and screaming, “I don’t wanna!!!” The reluctant adult in me is responding, “I don’t wanna either, but I need it so I’m gonna do it.” (my mantra at times: I don’t wanna but I gotta so I’m gonna!)

    There are a few other changes coming that I’m keeping quiet on because, after all, what if I fail?