Sunday, February 11, 2007

She's Gone.......

I just wanted to let you know the my mother-in-law, Laura, passed away Saturday evening, at 7:00pm, from lung cancer.  We only found out she had lung cancer about five weeks ago, after we had to rush her to te ER for shortness of breath.  Several days and diagnostic tests later we were told that she had a large cancerous mass in her right lung.  She was sent home from the hospital two weeks ago Friday with hospice care.  A week ago she quickly declined and her kidneys began to shut down Sunday.  The rest of the week was pretty scary and heartwrenching to watch.  She gasped for breath all week long and she finally took her last one tonight.  Mike and I were at her bedside and she quickly smiled and then she was gone.  I am glad she is out of pain and in a better place.  Thanks so much for all of your warm thoughts, messages, comments and prayers.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Random Things That Piss me Off

Okay, one of my friends recently wrote a blog about the things that piss her off. I thought that this was such a wonderful idea, so I decided to copy her. Here's my list:

1. Cashiers that do not pay attention their customer--especially when I am their customer. I think it is so rude for a cashier to be talking to friends, chomping gum, rolling eyes and head about, and then lazily look at me for money.

2. People who do not know how to properly drive on reversible lanes. For example, GA Hwy 78 has reversible lanes to help control rush-hour traffic. From 5-10am, there are three westbound lanes with an additional (shared) turning lane, leaving two eastbound lanes with an additional (shared) turning lane. They reverse at 10am. Why do people not know that there is a fucking turning lane and which one it is? There are several signs indicating which lane to use, so, WTF?! I have been going 50mph in a lane and had to suddenly slam on my breaks because the person in front of me decided the fast lane is now the turning lane. These people should not have licenses that allow them to drive on reversible-lane roads.

3. Passive-aggressive people. Really, this is a serious personality disorder people--get therapy for this, please! You are what is wrong with the world!

4. Suck-ups. How can y'all even look at yourselves in the mirror?

5. Hypocrites. Again, WTF?!

6. FOX News (unless it's being viewed strictly for its comedic value)

7. Teenagers - okay, just make that kids in general, but especially teenagers. Mark Twain once said that when kids are born, they should be put in a barrel with a hole cut in it. Once they become teenagers, plug up the hole. He was a wise man.

8. People who dress their pets in people-like clothing.

9. Bills

10. People who do things half-ass. Why do something if you're not going to do it right. I'm a half-ass student right now and it's really pissing me off. But apparently I don't give a shit because I don't seem to be doing anything about it. God, I am so fucking ready to be done with school! I'm no quitter, though. So, yes, I piss myself off. Deal with it.

11. Stupid, and I mean literally stupid, professors

12. People who want things from me, or want me to do things when I don't want to do them

13. People who do not keep their word--this is really bad people. If you give someone your word, keep it. If you absolutely cannot keep your word, tell the person before hand and apologize profusely. Then don't let it happen again.

14. Couples who speak baby-talk to each other. That's just gross you guys. You should seriously consider counseling.

15. People who use God to try and prove a point.

16. People who read blogs but don't comment. Geeze, just leave a little note saying hello--would it really kill you?! You Voyer.

Well, that's good for now. I know there are several other things and as I think of them I will try to update my list. So tell me, what pisses you off? This has proven to be very therapeutic.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Career Advice Needed--Anyone need a Queen?

Okay, I need some advice. I want money--which I guess means I need to get a job. I'd just pefer to be given large sums of money with no strings attached but if I have to do the job thing.....well, then I guess I'll have to... Anyway, since I'm gonna have to get a job, I'd like to find a job that I will truly enjoy.

So here's the deal: I don't want to sell anything, because I'm not very good at it. I don't want to drive to Atlanta every day. I don't want to process anything. I don't want to do the same thing over and over again every fricken day. Something I could do from home would be ideal--something legitimate, not any pyramid schemes or other bullshit. I'm good at problem solving. I like big-picture kind of things. I'm tired of managing people--people mostly suck and I'm just over them. But, I am a good manager and I enjoy watching good employees grow and develop. I'm good at reading, writing and editing. I'm not good at hand-holding. I can do finance/budget stuff but I hate it and don't want to do it. I dealt with it a lot at Piedmont and it's just god-awful boring. I am a very down-to-earth and simple-spoken person. I have a large vocabulary but I do not use it. I don't understand why some people use 10 fancy words when 25 simple ones will work. I don't like pomposity. I also don't really care that much for kids. There's nothing about them that really appeals to me. So working with them is out. I don't like touchy-feely kind of stuff. I'm not very maternal--not one of those "turn-that-frown-upside-down" kind of persons. So I'm definitely not the social-work type. I like to speak my mind and have people be able to take it--not run off and cry in a corner or call me a bitch. I am assertive and aggressive when I need to be. I'm good at telling people what to do.

My Myers-Briggs personality type is INTP. Even though I am an "I," I am really borderline introvert/extrovert. I scored one more point on the introvert portion of the test, hence the "I." I do look inward for strength, another explanation for the "I." I am not a punctual person and I do not do well on jobs that monitor the clock every second. I am a workaholic, so the company that I work with will always get more out of me than they probably deserve. I have difficulty balancing work/family. Work seems to always win. I care too much and I'm passionate--which is good and bad. Mike doesn't too much about his job and uses this to his advantage. I wish I had his self-discipline and determination. He really doesn't care that much about his job but it does afford him the freedom to work from home and write his books, which is his passion, so keeps at it. He doesn't get involved in work problems because he doesn't care. He does what's expected of him--nothing more and nothing less. He's really one of those employees that does not take ownership of a problem. I truly admire this in him and wish I could adopt that "don't-really-give-a-shit" attitude. Me, I'm always too committed. I try to take ownership of every problem that comes my way--which just causes me lots of heartaches, headaches and position.

I do have problems with authority if the authority figure is an asshole/dick/bitch of a person who is not open to ideas and feedback. When I feel like I am not being heard or listened to (that does not necessarily constitute the other person having to agree with me) I become disengaged and bored. When this happens I'm not really any good to anybody--not even myself--and can even be quite destructive. I can take criticism and rejection so long as they are not personal and they are reasonable. My mind is first analytical, then emotional--not vice versa. I am my worst critic. I am also critical of others and good at pointing out their flaws. I have high expectations of others, mostly which consist of common sense. If someone does not have any common sense I usually do not have a very high tolerance for him/her. I think common sense should be a fundamental part of everyone--those without it should do everybody a favor and throw themselves in front a speeding train. I like to laugh and I absolutely love smart-asses (the witty kind--not the mean kind). I'd like to do something creative. I like acting but that pays nothing. (I'm also not very good at it right now but I am gonna start taking acting classes pretty soon.) I'd like to write and direct films, but again that costs money--which is the opposite direction in which I'm trying to go here. I need to make more than minimum wage--lots and lots more. I don't want to be underemployed.

Mike's (my husband) suggestion after reading all of this is that I apply for the position of Queen. If anyone knows of any Queen positions please forward them on to me. Okay, so what are your thoughts? No, I would never say any of this stuff in an interview (well, maybe a few things, but not the inappropriate parts). What kind of jobs do you think I might like, or might be good for me?

I'm copying and pasting my work history from my resume. This will give you an idea of what I've done. I've removed my address, phone numbers and email address in case some of y'all are psychopaths, perverts, homeless, family members, or a combination thereof.

Paula R. Martinez
Accomplished, results-driven management professional with 14 years of experience focusing on staff development and training, program development and implementation, and organizational development. Expertise in daily Business Operations, Total Customer Service, and Program Management. Effective communicator with demonstrated success building relationships with community organizations. Proven track record for consistently maintaining monthly accounts receivable in top 25 percent of Medical Group Management Association benchmarking standards.

Qualifications Highlights
• Program Development
• Organizational Development
• Employee Development
• Team Leadership
• Total Customer Service
• Account Management
• Budget Administration
• Strategic Planning
• Risk Management
• Program Implementation
• Business Operations
• Committee Leadership

Professional Experience
Piedmont Medical Care Corporation, Atlanta GA
A non-profit corporation and a subsidiary of Piedmont Healthcare. It was created to open satellite facilities, attract physicians, and provide management services to practices.

Director, Specialty Services September 2005 – October 2006
I supported the overall day-to-day administrative and clinical activities of specialty-physician practices and services throughout Piedmont Hospital, specifically Piedmont Gynecologic Oncology, Fuqua Center for Heart Prevention, Heart Failure Resource Center, Palliative Care, 60 Plus services, and Transplant Services. I established and maintained an effective operating environment which assured effective, efficient and safe operations of the practices that responded to the needs of patients, physicians and staff. I directly supervised all non-physician employees. Additional responsibilities included interviewing, hiring and training of employees, planning, assigning, disciplining employees, addressing complaints and resolving problems. I was also responsible for initiating and maintaining physicians' credentialing with insurance companies and hospitals. Piedmont Medical Care Corporation has won "Best Practices" award from MGMA for three concurrent years.

• Developed structured plan for new specialty practices to ensure consistent and timely billing
• Created training classes for physicians and mid-level providers on proper billing and coding practices, resulting in an 18% increase in collections
• Chaired a committee that developed an internal staffing float pool, reducing external labor costs by more than $100k annually

Practice Manager April 2003 – September 2005
I managed multi-physician primary care office in Duluth, Georgia and a gynecologic-oncology office on the Piedmont Hospital campus. I was responsible for the overall day-to-day functions of the office. I supervised a staff of 16 at the Duluth location and a total of seven staff at the Piedmont campus location.

• Promoted employee development with professional training and personal enrichment classes which resulted in a 98% employee retention rate for two years straight
• Restructured physicians' schedules increasing provider productivity by 10 percent, which led to a monthly three percent revenue increase
• Marketed and generated B2B ancillary services such as pre-employment physicals and drug screening which created an entirely new line of business and services for the Duluth practice

Meridian Medical Group, Duluth GA
A multi-facility healthcare group headquartered out of Durham, NC. Owned and operated by Scott Medical Group, the parent company filed bankruptcy and three Georgia facilities (Duluth, College Park and Marietta) were sold to and purchased by Piedmont Medical Care Corporation, a subsidiary of Piedmont Healthcare.

Practice Manager June 2000 – April 2003
My primary responsibility was to ensure patient satisfaction via proper workforce development and training. Maintain a base of approximately 5,000 active patients. I managed the day-to-day operations of the practice, staff and providers' needs. Developed and implemented policies and procedures to ensure consistent compliance OSHA and CLIA operating
procedures. This practice was purchased by Piedmont Medical Care Corporation.

• Created and established a monthly inventory system to control costs and account for waste, which reduced annual pharmaceutical expenses by 10 percent
• Reduced facility cleaning costs by $40k per year by changing janitorial services
• Reduced overtime expenses from eight percent to three percent by implementing flex-time scheduling and lunch rotations

Georgia Medical Institute, Jonesboro GA
A multi-campus proprietary school offering post-secondary vocational training in the medical field (medical assisting, medical office assisting, patient care tech, massage therapy, etc). Since my departure, the schools have been purchased by Corinthian Colleges whose corporate offices are located in California.

Medical Assisting Program Director August 1997 – May 2000
I served as principal administrator of a technical program that employed 14 full-time instructors and educated approximately 300+ students, annually. I scheduled and taught classes, developed course syllabi, monitored instructor effectiveness, placed students at externships and assisted them with job placement.

• Established several preceptor relationships with local medical practices and clinics for graduating students
• Maintained a 79 percent placement; industry standard was 75 percent
• Developed and wrote curriculum for new Patient Care Technician program

Additional Employment/Job Titles
Below is a quick view of positions I held prior to 1997.
Americorps/YMCA, Atlanta GA August 1996 – August 1997
Corps Member, Elementary School Tutor.
Corning Clinical Laboratory, East Point GA November 1992 – August 1995
Laboratory Manager.
Knoxville Plasma Center, Knoxville TN July 1990 – October 1992
Floor Supervisor/Phlebotomist/Medical Assistant.

Stetson School of Business and Economics,
Mercer University Atlanta Campus
Master of Business Administration
Will graduate May 2007

Oglethorpe University
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
with concentration in Philosophy and Political Science
Graduated May 2001

Professional Associations
Medical Group Management Association, Georgia Medical Group Management Association, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Manchester Who's Who, Atlanta's Executive Forum, Women in Film-Atlanta Chapter

Current/Upcoming Projects and Hobbies
The Woman's Angle, Writing/Directing a PSA on Ovarian Cancer, Acting in independent films/videos, Acting classes at yourACT, Volunteering for Image Film & Video Center (marketing department) & Southern Screen Report (marketing & advertising), watching movies, dancing, laughing and having fun

Monday, February 5, 2007


Death has moved in to my house. Seriously, she has. She hasn't yet shown her complete self, but I have caught glimpses of her. I've never had to live so close to her before. We all know that we will meet death one day, but we never think about her hiding out in our house, like a ghost just waiting for the exact moment to fully appear and then suddenly disappear--leaving us talking about her for weeks, months and years.

My mother-in-law, Laura, is home from the hospital. She has an aggressive lung cancer that is terminal. She is going to die. The doctor said it could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The cancerous mass on her lung is too large to remove, plus she's not a good surgical candidate. Chemo and radiation might provide another couple of months for her, but the side effects would make the rest of the months depressing. She decided to not treat the cancer.

She has started hospice care. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a nursing service that is specifically designed to ease the pain and suffering of those who are dying. They can help manage pain by providing Morphine and Ativan (those drugs that the not-dying seek and find it so difficult to get). We got her a hospital bed so that she can elevate her head and legs, whatever it takes to make her comfortable. Oxygen tubing is wound around her face, providing her with a direct source of air, something that is difficult for her to retrieve on her own.

I do not handle death well. I'm very confused, amazed and afraid of it. I find it very perplexing how a person (or an animal) can be alive one second and dead the next. The activity that takes place in the space of those two seconds is so powerful: It has the ability to change lives, even the course of history. Many movies have dealt with time-altering plots--how dropping a napkin saved a person from being shot because she leaned down to pick it up, thereby missing the bullet that was fired from the car speeding down the road, or, how not hitting the snooze button a second time could've saved the man's life because he would've left for work earlier, thereby missing the traffic accident that took the lives of all involved. All of these play with the idea of space and time and chance and how it relates to life and death.

Just the fact that we even exist is quite amazing. Imagine all of the possibilities--what if our parents had had sex the previous day, twenty minutes prior, or the following day, we might not be here. The sperm cell that won the race had drive, strength and tenacity. Isn't it funny how we all start out like that--being the winner of that million-sperm-cell race and then some people end up as TSA agents at the airport? C'mon, how do you think that happened? What changed in them, causing them to go from the speed-demon, determined sperm cell champion to the gum-chomping, fake-nailed, smartass that lazily looks at you and your ticket while she discusses the latest episode of Divorce Court with her identical twins sitting across from her and behind her and everywhere else within shouting distance? Something seems physiologically wrong here.

So, the fact that we're even alive is quite a feat. How can life be taken so quickly, and callously at times? For example, a couple of weeks ago, I helped organize an actor/director meet-n-greet for The Woman's Angle. One of the actors that came was Robert Smith. I personally do not know him. We exchanged glances a few times, acknowledging each other's presence and maybe thinking that the other looked somewhat familiar. He spoke to a friend who sat next to me. A couple of days later he was dead. Robert had been driving to an audition and was killed in a car accident. A truck traveling in the opposite direction crossed the medium and crashed into Robert's car. I found out about his death on a local film forum ( I frequent. Upon learning about it I was shocked. I had just seen him a couple of days prior--as though that somehow made it not true. You can read more about the accident here. What if he had stopped to get a drink or fill up with gas a couple of miles before the accident? If he had only left 10 minutes later, perhaps he would still be alive today. Why did he have to be at exactly that spot and his life have to end at that exact moment? He was too young.

Do you think cats and dogs know they are going to die? I tend to think they only know it right before it happens. What do you think it would be like to live your life not knowing you were going die? Do you think you would live it any differently? What is the purpose of knowing and/or not knowing? Why would humans know but dogs not know of their eventual fate? Does knowing that you're going to die help you choose the way you live your life? I'm reminded of an episode of The Simpsons when Homer is told he is going to die. He immediately goes through the different stages (anger, denial, etc.) and at the end of the episode Homer is told he is actually not going to die--that he still has a long life ahead of him. Homer is happy and elated and states that "from here on out, [he's] gonna live life to its fullest." The closing scene is Homer sitting on the couch in his underwear watching TV and eating potato chips. What's so funny is that that is living life to its fullest for Homer. What could be better than totally relaxing and fulfilling your lowest appetites?

Anyway, I realize this blog has gone on forever so I feel the need to wrap it up. So, it is only a matter of time before death shows herself to us and takes Laura. I've lost quite a few family members throughout my life but they've always been away from me--in another state or something. I've never had to watch a loved one die one day at a time. I was having quite a rough time of it on Friday. Laura lives in an in-law suite in the bottom of the house. It's a very nice set up. She has her own entrance, living room, bedroom, big kitchen, washer/dryer, etc... It's a very nice one-bedroom apartment down there. Mike (my husband) had moved her regular bed out of her bedroom and into her living room, as to make room for the hospital bed and also for visiting family members coming to say their final goodbyes. When I went downstairs and saw how different things were, it just kind of hit me. The bed being delivered is the bed Laura will die in. Her room is now death accessible. I cried several times, just as I'm doing now, but it didn't help. What did help was seeing Laura in her room. I was in class when she was delivered by the ambulance, but I got home very shortly afterward. She is completely aware of everything that is happening and she's accepted the fact that she is going to die. She's dealing with it so much better than Mike and I. It's almost like she feels relieved--since she's not felt comfortable in her body since the stroke three years ago. I just wish I knew why everything has to happen the way it does. Maybe there's no reason at all. Maybe we create reasons to comfort ourselves or just to help us deal with things. Who knows?

Here are some quotes from some great minds:

I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death. ~Thomas Browne, An Essay on Death

I wouldn't mind dying - it's the business of having to stay dead that scares the shit out of me. ~R. Geis

Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor. ~Homer, Iliad

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ~Albert Einstein

And finally, from one of the best books,

Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody. ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1945

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Driving Tips 101 - Using the left-hand lane (aka: the fast lane)

1.  If you are driving in the left lane and people are passing you in the right lane, GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE.  The left lane is for people going fast--and that's not you!

2.  If you are in the left lane, and a car approaches you from behind, appearing to be driving faster than you, please move into the right lane.  You should only be in the left lane when you are passing the slow people in the right lane.

3.  If you are going to drive the speed limit, stay in the right-hand lane.  The left lane is for speeders, not slow-pokes like you.

**UPDATE (I think this is going to be an ongoing blog)**

4.  Delivery trucks, or any other oversized vehicle does not need to be in the left lane.  I can see you getting in the left lane to pass, but choosing it as an extended driving option is unacceptable.  People can't see around you, you can't go as fast as cars can on a hill, plus, you're not as fast as you think you are, daddy-o.

5.  Women, please don't perpetuate the stereotype by applying makeup while driving.  This goes for time spent at red lights as well.  C'mon, apply your makeup at home, or in the parking lot of your destination or stop along the way somewhere and apply it.  Otherwise you continue to feed the stereotype.

Driving Tips 101

1. If you are driving in the left lane and people are passing you in the right lane, GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE. The left lane is for people going fast--and that's not you!

2. If you are in the left lane, and a car approaches you from behind, appearing to be driving faster than you, please move into the right lane. You should only be in the left lane when you are passing the slow people in the right lane.

3. If you are going to drive the speed limit, stay in the right-hand lane. The left lane is for speeders, not slow-pokes like you.

4. Delivery trucks, or any other oversized vehicle does not need to be in the left lane. I can see you getting in the left lane to pass, but choosing it as an extended driving option is unacceptable. People can't see around you, you can't go as fast as cars can on a hill, plus, you're not as fast as you think you are, daddy-o.

5. Women, please don't perpetuate the stereotype by applying makeup while driving. This goes for time spent at red lights as well. C'mon, apply your makeup at home, or in the parking lot of your destination or stop along the way somewhere and apply it. Otherwise you continue to feed the stereotype.