NYC Playwright

"We all know the same truth and our lives consist of how we choose to distort it." – Woody Allen

How To Make Whipped Cream – by a First Grader.

I handed my seven-year-old son his bowl of icecream and then squirted a generous amount of whipped cream on top.

“You know where whip cream comes from, mom?”

I never really thought about it,” I said.   From cow’s milk I guess.  After they seperate the cream from the milk.”

Jack laughed.  “Wrong.”

“OK Smartie.  Where does whipped cream come from?”

“Well, first they send a rocket to Jupiter,” he said.   “It collects Jupiter gas and then flies back to Earth.  You mix the Jupiter gas with cream, then whip it up real good and put it in the can.  That’s how you make whip cream.

“I see.”  I said.  Now, go eat your icecream.

“Squirt some whip cream in my mouth first.”

“Sure.  Open up.”

Now, I know why the whipped cream makes so much noise when it comes out of those cans.   Jupiter gas!  Who’d have thunk it?



I’m Looking For The Word – Private…

My seven-year-old daughter was doing cartwheels in the house, wearing a dress and no underwear while her seven-year-old brother cheered her on – both oblivious of her bare butt.

“Stop!”  I yelled.

She dropped to the floor in mid-cartwheel.  “What?”

“Where are your underwear?”

“I took ’em off.


“They were too tight.  I can’t do my cartwheels with ’em on.”

Sheesh.  I thought.  How do I address this situation without putting too much serious emphasis on the nudity part. 

“The reason we wear underwear,” I said, “is to keep our private parts private.  That’s why we call them PRIVATE.  Do you ever see grandma walking around with her naked butt hanging out?

Both of the kids went into gales of laughter and in unison said, “No.”

“And do you ever see mama walking around with her naked  butt showing?”

More gales of laughter.  “No”

“That’s right.”  I said.  “I wear underwear so people won’t see the parts of me that are … what?”

“Hairy!”  My daughter exclaims.

I went into gales of laughter.

“No not hairy.  You silly bird!  Private.  I  wear underwear to keep my private parts private.  So keep your underwear on.”

“OK”.  She agreed and then cartwheeled down the hall.

“Underwear!!” I yelled after her.

“That’s where I’m going!  To get my underwear.”

“Walk there.”  I said.

The things kids say!

NYC Playwright

New Job Falls In My Lap

Four weeks after being laid off from Hospice of Chattanooga, I still hadn’t sent out a single application to apply for another job.  Call it depression.  Call it laziness.  Call it stupidity.  Maybe a bit of all three, but I was happy to be able to spend some quality time with my kids and with my writing and that is all I thought about.

Of course, the money was dwindling pretty quickly and I knew that I had to get off of my keister  really soon and start looking for a job.  But, I didn’t.

Then, my best friend from Hospice of Chattanooga, called to say that she had referred my name to a fairly new Home Health company and they told her to have me call them.  I did, and within 4 days they hired me at a better pay rate than Hospice of Chattanooga had offered me!

How do I look at the fact that a job came to me without me applying first?   Truthfully, I think that I have a guardian angel who looks out for me and gives me gentle nudges in the right directions when I need a nudge.  Actually, this time I needed more of a shove than a nudge.  😉

I’ve done my drug testing, gotten a physical, and filled out all of the paperwork.  All I’m waiting for is the criminal background check to return and I’m good to go.  I’m guessing I’ll start no later than a week from this coming Monday.  Perfect timing too because I’ll be able to take my kids to their first day of school this Monday.

In the interim, I’ll continue working on an outline for my stage play.

Next project?  The romance department needs to be tended to.

NYC Playwright

“Little Deaths”

       a play in progress
by NYC Playwright

I want to try my hand at playwriting.  I think I’d be good at it.  But, my education is through UCLA and it’s focused on Screenwriting.

How much different can playwriting be than Screenwriting?  I didn’t know, so I went to the used book store and purchased every book they had on the craft of Playwriting.  In that group of 15 books, I found a gem entitled,  Playwriting From Formula To Form.  I had lucked out and purchased a $78 book for $6, and the book was a total jewel written by people who were experienced with playwriting and who teach it at a the University of Wyoming.  I read it.  Outlined it.  And, discovered that there are tons of differences between playwriting and screenwriting.

I finished the book today and went in search of something to write my first play about.  It took me less than an hour.  Phobias!  Now there is a subject I have experience with.

I went through a one year period, in the mid 80’s, when I suffered from constant anxiety and frequent panic attacks.  I was a basket case but never took a single drug or saw a psychiatrist.  I continued attending nursing school for my RN full-time during the daytime, and worked full-time 8 hour shifts as a LPN in the evenings.  Too much coffee.  Too much stress.  I felt like I was living in my own horror movie with nobody to scream, “Cut!”   There were times I thought my mind would snap and I’d just run out of the hospital screaming.   But I survived and six months after graduating RN school, the anxiety and the panic attacks had dwindled away to nothing and I haven’t had another one since.

I have a subscription to the NY Times and I can search all of their articles online.  That’s a big plus.  I’ve already printed off several articles and will sit down later this evening to read through them.  While I was collecting, I came across a line where one woman described her anxiety attacks as ‘little deaths’ because her heart would race and she’d feel like she was going to pass out or die.  That gave me a wonderful ‘working title’ for my play – “Little Deaths”.

I’m one who is very protective of her work until there is a finished product that I can register.  After that, I will share everything.  But, for now, I have the basic plot and the working title down, and a ton of enthusiasm for the research and writing of Little Deaths.

As for participating in the 31 one-page plays in 31 days which I signed up to do during the month of August, I will write one page a day, but it will be a scene a day so I can collect some interesting phobic scenes.

NYC Playwright

Hospice of Chattanooga Begins Massive Layoffs

Just barely a week after Dr. Deanna Duncan was granted a license to open up a new Hospice in Chattanooga, TN called ‘Hearth Hospice’, the hospice I’d been employed at for a year – ‘Hospice of Chattanooga’ – began laying people off, beginning with me.

None of the 11 of us had any idea that we were going to be canned.  In fact, Hospice of Chattanooga waited until we all had finished a full day’s worth of work before we were called into ‘The Office’ and told our fate.  Me on July 5th.  And per the information from my co-workers, nine more on July 9th.  And, another one on July 11th with the promise of many more to come.

Ripped Off – “Hand over your cell phone now.  We know that you were allowed to use it as a personal phone too, but you can’t take your personal pictures or videos off of it before turning it in.  I know you  have young children, but you can always take more videos. Sorry.”

Stripped of Dignity “Here’s a box for you to empty out your belongings from your cubicle.  I’m sorry, but  I have to stand here and wait for you to collect your things.”

Up until the lay-offs I was very proud of my job and how my co-workers worked together to provide the best care I have ever seen provided in my career.  The nurses, grief counselors, chaplains, social workers, and wound care nurse all worked together on my team like a finely oiled watch and provided excellent care.

In retrospect, a couple of months ago I was invited to a small, private corporate meeting where a speaker, from out-of-town, spoke for two solid days on how to tighten up the company and make a bigger profit.

I had a hard time trying to incorporate the concept of making a profit with a Hospice which is advertised as the only non-profit Hospice in Chattanooga.  But I was bedazzled by the care my team provided to our patients so I didn’t question much.  I was happy.

Then, the company had a huge meeting this past Tuesday where the CEO announced that the news is bad and that it is going to get worse because a lot more people are going to be laid-off in the near future.

I don’t know how this is going to affect quality care to our dying patients, but I surmise that it can’t be a very nice future for their care.  This week alone, Hospice of Chattanooga has already laid off three grief counselors, a handful of nurses, and THE ONLY ‘Wound Care Nurse’ on staff.

I’ve seen that ‘wound care nurse’ heal up the worst bedsores I’ve laid eyes on in 33 years of nursing.  She had tons of techniques.  When a patient develops a wound, we refer it to the wound care nurse.  She evaluates it, treats it, and then tells the Primary Nurse who has the patient how to continue treating it.

In my professional opinion, without a wound care nurse, the patient’s are going to be in big trouble. Bed bound patients are extremely prone to developing bedsores.  The Primary RNs aren’t nearly as good at diagnosing and treating bedsores as the Wound Care Nurse who specializes in wounds is.  Laying her off was a huge loss to the patients.  A severe bedsore will kill a patient quickly with the infections it can develop.  Look at Christopher Reeves who played Superman.  He was rich but a bedsore is what caused his death.  Stopping and treating bedsores in early stages are crucial to a patient’s longevity.

When the new Hospice Care Module, which was developed in that private 2 day seminar, is implemented, the nurses will have less time to spend with each patient, which will translate into increased profits and decreased quality of care – in my book.  I believe 50 minutes is the max amount of time that is to be allotted for a patient visit and that includes the 20 minutes of computer charting the nurse does.  That is going to take a big bite out of the time the nurse used to have to socialize with the patient, and for some patient’s, that is the only socialization they get.

How can quality care translate into laying off 3 grief counselors?  Grief is a huge part of Hospice Care. We use grief counselors like crazy.  The counselors who are still on staff are going to have to double up on their patient load.

I don’t understand how a place that is supposed to be Non-Profit can be focusing so hard on profit at all of its company wide meetings.  And, why they would spend thousands of dollars to bring in someone to analyze the company and develop ways of making the most profit possible.

During that private seminar, it was suggested that if employees could find ways to bring in more profit for the company they could be offered monetary incentives on a quarterly basis that could translate into hundreds of dollars if things were done right.

Am I misunderstanding the meaning of Non-Profit Organization?

Either way, if my friends or family members need a Hospice, I’ll choose one who has a wound care nurse, grief counselors, and nurses who are allowed to spend quality time at a patient’s bedside.

It’s a sad time for Hospice of Chattanooga and my co-workers there.

NYC Playwright