Family emergency plan.

Recently I had an anxiety episode late at night where I was certain I was having a heart attack.  Dwelling on the fact that my children could possibly find me unconscious on the floor didn’t make me feel any better.  Like many people with anxiety, we are our own worst enemies.  One of my greatest fears as a single mom, is that something will happen to me and my children will be put in the position of needing to decide what to do in an emergency.

The next day I woke up alive, exhausted and determined to get a grip on things.  I decided that while I cannot control my once a month anxiety/heart attack sessions, I can control some of the worries associated with them.  I decided to put together a kit for my children to help them get through an emergency.  I purchased a plastic zippered pouch and filled it with the following items.

I sat down with my boys and went over the contents, instructions and as a family, we decided where we would keep the pouch.  While they weren’t exactly thrilled thinking that mom could have an accident or fall ill, I think they were relieved that they had a plan to follow.   For me, it was very important to walk through the steps of what may happen.  We worked with a scenario that mom fell down the stairs and was knocked unconscious.  They knew the first step was to call 911 and get the kit.  My children were completely unaware that they would not be able to ride along in the ambulance to the hospital, so I explained that they needed to go down the list of emergency numbers until they found someone to come and help.  Discussing some of the possibilities seemed to make them feel more confident that they knew what to do.  I had originally intended to write this post as a single parent emergency plan but realized that it would be just as beneficial to 2 parent households.

Below are the things that I felt were important for our instruction/information sheet.  Please feel free to use it and add things that could be beneficial to your family.  Obviously, this list will not be appropriate in households where the children are young and cannot read yet, but it would certainly help a friend or neighbor make sure the correct information is given out.

Family “in case of emergency” information

Important phone #:

Other phone #:

Medical Information:

Misc. Information:

30 Second Story…….Esther’s Obedience School

Esther was an amazing trainer.  In just one afternoon, she had taught both her husband and dog to sit and stay on command by merely holding one of her homemade cookies above their heads.   Scruffy wagged his tail with delight as he sat on the porch gobbling his treat.  Jim enjoyed his cookie as well, but wasn’t quite sure he liked being called a good boy.

Inside the Rabbit’s studio.

My friend Rabbit did a post today titled, Another Year,  where he answered the final questions that James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actor’s Studio.

This list has become a once a year ritual for Rabbit and it’s interesting to see what changes from year to year.  As Rabbit said, “I encourage you to steal them and answer them for yourself – even if you don’t post them, tuck them away and revisit yourself next year. The trick is to not read your previous answers before answering the new ones.”

This is my first year doing the list and here are my answers. I would love to read yours. If you do them, please do leave a link to your own post in the comments.

1. What is your favorite word?  

I would normally choose the word, dream, but today I’m going with pulchritude.  I learned this word last evening from my 5th grader during homework time.  I couldn’t believe such an ugly sounding word could mean beauty, so I looked it up for myself and found it was true.  Kind of reminded me that even the ugliest things in life can have beauty, if you look hard enough.

2. What is your least favorite word?

Pulchritude.  (I hate being showed up by a 5th grader)

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


4. What turns you off?

People who do not acknowledge kindness.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

*Fuck.  I believe this to be the universal favorite.  Definitely my go to word from the curse list.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

Early in the morning when all is quiet and I hear the sound of my boys stirring in their beds all safe, warm and cozy.

7. What noise do you hate?

The sound of gossip.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would like to be a pulchritudinous 5th grade teacher.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I could never be a Doctor.  I would totally have all my patients symptoms and be on the verge of death daily.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Oops Catherine, it’s not your time yet….you’ll have to go back.  I’m not supposed to do this, but there are several dogs and an old man here that would love to see you while you are passing through.”



*Note to my mother, I do not say this word unless absolutely necessary.

The Jotter Pages….what’s his name part II

The Jotter Pages are a glimpse into one of my many notebooks.  The italics are the actual writings from my jotter and the roman type are my comments today.  This entry takes place in Florence, Italy 1984.  Part I of this story can be found by clicking here and apparently somewhere between  part I and part II, I found out his name.


Yesterday I went to meet Gustavo where he works and then we went to lunch.  It was a busy afternoon of meeting his commercial artist friend to see about finding me a job and then going to visit his mother in the nursing home.  She was there due to a stroke and was the sweetest little lady I have ever seen.  He seemed so happy to introduce me to her and even told her how he wanted me to come back to stay forever.  We drove the motorcycle all over the city and ended the afternoon back at the same restaurant as last night.  I had ravioli again and it was so good!   Our conversation was focused about me coming back in January to live and pick up where we left off.  After dinner, we went back to his apartment.  It was a small studio walk up off of a narrow stone street.  His apartment was dark and although it was evening, I imagined that it was just as dark in the daylight.  I sat on the couch and we kissed for a while.  I needed to use the bathroom and was nervous when I closed the bathroom door to find there wasn’t any toilet paper.  Opening the door a bit, I called out to Gustavo that I was in need of some paper.  His reply was a little shocking in that he told me to use the phone book that was sitting on the floor next to the toilet.  I didn’t have much of a choice so I tore out a page from the directory and sat down on the seat.  Upon exiting the bathroom, I realized that I was suddenly looking at him in a different light.

While kissing him, all I could think of was the phone book.  Things began to turn physical and my “attitude” turned into an argument.  We bickered back and forth and finally, I asked him if he would like me to leave.  He said yes.  So I did.  It was late and the narrow little street was dark as I headed to find a bus back to my hotel.  I was aware that The Monster of Florence, a serial killer, was still on the loose so I was very nervous about getting to the bus quickly.   After a long wait, I realized that the bus was not coming and that I had better head back to Gustavo’s apartment.  With all the little side streets looking the same, I became lost.  Alone on the quiet street my heart raced as I saw a figure of a man approaching.  I could tell by his shape that it was not Gustavo and I prayed that it wasn’t the Florence killer.  Thankfully, it was a policeman and he helped me find my way back to the apartment after reprimanding me for being out on the streets so late with a killer in the city.

I truly don’t know how I found his door, they all looked the same.  I knocked several times before Gustavo let me in.  I asked, but he refused to take me back to my hotel until morning.  I apologized for leaving in a huff and things seemed to be smoothed over.  I went to sleep on the couch but had a very bad night’s sleep imagining what could have happened on the dark streets below and for a fleeting moment I wondered if Gustavo might be the killer.

We got up today and  went for a ride to the mountains where the view was so beautiful and he was so sweet that I forgot all about last night.  About midday, he drove me to my hotel so I could catch my train later in the afternoon.  I was expecting a long sad goodbye filled with I’ll miss you and come back soon.  But when I got off the bike, he said, “Thanks, it was fun.”   I was shocked that he was just sending me on my way, so I made some small talk thinking that he was going to say he was just kidding, but he never did.  My pride kicked in and I turned and said goodbye heading back into the hotel in disbelief sure that he would call after me, but he never did.

Once back  in the room, I packed my things all the while thinking that he would call and say he had made a mistake.  This couldn’t be happening.  I have never had a guy use me before.  Once at the train station, I waited for my train to be called.  I just knew he would pull up on his bike and run in to find me…but he never did. 


This is a story that I don’t like to remember but I learned a big lesson that weekend which I have carried with me ever since.  I am aware of how lucky I was that it didn’t turn into something horrible.  However, this experience didn’t stop me from traveling on my own and I continued to have many more adventures…. but looked at handsome strangers with a different eye.