Goodbye Ember. Have an Awesome Life!

(This was a post I meant to share in late September about a kitten who graced our lives for two whole weeks.   I did the draft and forgot all about it, but thought I would share it now even though it’s November.  The good news is that from latest reports Ember is thriving in her new home.)

September 25, 2010

Yesterday we said a bittersweet goodbye to Ember (blog post and pictures here).   She left to go to her forever home last night.  I have to admit it was harder to let her go than I thought it would be.  Her little life had added a whole new dimension to our lives in just over two weeks.

Why didn’t went keep her?  There were several reasons the first of which is we already have five, and we’re just at a limit with space to allow all the cats to live comfortably together.  Secondly, she is a female.  Not that we’re prejudice against girls it’s because we have one female who just does not tolerate other females well at all.  Last year, when we added Ruby to the mix it pushed Ginger over the edge.  She now lives most of her life in our bedroom.  She needs her own territory in which she is the only female.  She has the run of the house when the other cats go to their room at night, but all heck breaks loose when we try to mix her with the other females.  It’s quite scary really.  Thirdly, financially we’re pushing our limits with five.

Also, it was important to let this little one go because  Eddie and I need to learn how to let go, or we may eventually become the subjects you hear about on the news or the show, Animal Hoarders.

No, no,   not really, but we have to learn to let go and realize that we can’t keep them all.

I really wish I could be an animal rescuer.  I believe my husband is more cut out for that than I am.  He’s always been a rescuer and was even on our small town Rescue Squad in his late teens and early adulthood.  He’s amazing.  I don’t know how anyone does it.  My initial response to an emergency is paralyzation .  Then, I want to run from the situation.  So, you better hope I’m not the first person on the scene if you ever have an emergency.

No, I’d help…but I’d have to fight every instinct not freeze or run away.

Last night was a prime example of how I can’t be a rescuer and have to let go of precious animals on a regular basis.  I was fine until about 10 minutes after she left.  I started cooking dinner, and the tears started flowing and wouldn’t stop.  After dinner I knew I had to clean out Ember’s living space (our guest bath) or I’d be tempted to lock the door and never go in there again.  I bawled while I dumped and cleaned her litter box (her little poops and pees, but she’s gone.  WAAAAH!)  I washed her tiny little food and water bowls….WAAAAH!   It was not pretty.  You would have thought I had just handed over my first born and not a kitten I had only known a little over two weeks.  Part of my over-reaction may have due to the fact  I had a totally rotten day yesterday, and letting Ember go was the cherry on top of that crap Sundae, but it was difficult…much more difficult than I thought it would be.

Today was somewhat better.  I scrubbed and mopped the bathroom, and it looks like she was never there, but there has been a malaise with me all day long.  The new owner reported that she is doing great.  We will be making a visit to see her in her new home soon.

I know she’s going to have an awesome life, but I’m sad that it’s not going to be with us.

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What to Do…What to Do?

No, I am not dead.  Present circumstances have reminded me that I am very much alive.  I’m considering what to do with this blog…whether to continue it, discontinue it, or combine it with another blog I have that delves more into my personal life.   This blog is called “The Scribe’s Pen” and while I’ve always talked about more than just transcription I’ve neglected this blog because transcription has been relegated to the back burner of my job description.  Do I miss it?  Yes, some days I do.  Got the chance to transcribe about 15 minutes worth of footage yesterday, and it actually felt good.  But honestly, most days I don’t miss it.   While transcription put food on the table for many years I am disheartened by the fact that I spent many years homing a skill that has become heavily outsourced.  While there are still many domestic transcriptionists they are finding it very difficult to make a living due to outsourcing and the subsequent cheapening of what we do.   The average salary for a transcriptionist is actually less than it was ten years ago.  Without delving into all the whys and hows (technology is the biggie) we’re quickly becoming what phone operators became late in the 20th century…slowly obsolete.

For many years I took comfort in the fact that I had a specialized skill in which there was great demand.  I knew I could always find a job.  Yes, I could probably find a transcription job pretty quickly still, but it would pay no where near what it used to pay unless I want to pound the keyboard 12 to 15 hours a day.  I know I  would burn out very quickly at that rate.

I am very thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to hone my administrative assistant skills, but fancy title aside, I’m just a secretary, and those are a dime a dozen too.

So, I move forward into a very uncertain future as even the job I have now seems temporary due to the economy and the fact I work for a non-profit.   There are definitely days my faith is shaky (like today).  I rest in the fact that God has taken care of me and my family so far, and I have to trust that he’ll continue to do so.

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Blogging From My New Phone

This is just basically a test post using the WordPress Application on my new Android phone. I’m pretty blown away by the advancement in cell phone technology in recent years. The good thing for the reader is that any blog post from the phone will be pretty pithy. It will allow me to share thoughts on things as they come to mind instead of waiting until I can get to a computer…because by then I’ve usually forgotten what I was going to say in the first place.

Mobily Yours….

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New Video from Remedy Drive-Rescue

Here’s a new video from BGEA (via  It’s Remedy Drive “Rescue”.  My favorite part of this video is the “guitar cam”.  This is a new little camera we’ve been attaching to everything.  We even attached it to a baseball and pitched it to Albert Pujols on a recent shoot we did with him.  Fun!

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Everything is Beachy!

Since I’ve been a slacker and haven’t updated this blog since February I figured I take some of my downtime while on vacation and catch you up a bit.

We are on our yearly vacation to the beach with my parents.  We are at Holden Beach, North Carolina which is a sentimental favorite in our family.  It’s a very low-key, family-style beach.  So, if you’re into excitement and a night life, Myrtle Beach…about 45 minutes south of here…might be more your style.  If you like the laid-back approach to vacation then Holden Beach might be a good fit for you.

We came down on Friday as Eddie was scheduled to teach at Baptist Librarian’s Conference at Caswell Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell.  He taught an assortment of technology-related sessions and did a great job.  He really enjoyed it too.  He may be asked to come back and teach a general session next year.

Fort Caswell was built in the mid 19th century but never saw any real battles.  At the tail end of the Civil War Fort Fisher….which is several miles North…was taken by the Union Army.  The Confederate Army then sent orders to Fort Caswell to abandon the Fort, but first they were told to destroy as much of the fort as possible so the Union Army wouldn’t be able to utilize it.  Well, the soldiers that manned the fort weren’t the sharpest crayons in the box and threw all their ammunition and gunpowder into the midsection of the fort and ignited the whole mess.  This resulted in an explosion that did considerable damage to the fort but also killed several of the soldiers and blew out all the nearby windows in homes up to five miles away.

After the Civil War the fort changed hands between government ownership and private ownership until shortly after World War II when the Baptist Association bought all the land and  structures on the property for $86,000.  That was quite a steal since a hundred years earlier it cost over $400,000 to construct the initial fort structure.

Camp Caswell is now a wildly popular destination for many Southern Baptists.  In fact how I grew up as a Southern Baptist kid in North Carolina and never went to Caswell until this week is some sort of anomaly.  Most SB kids went to “Camp Caswell” at some point in their childhood.

We are now at Holden Beach for the rest of the week.  So far the weather has been a bit stormy and windy.  Yesterday morning the storms that produced the deadly tornadoes in Mississippi rolled through here, and it felt like a hurricane here.  The storm passed, but it has remained very windy.  Still, a windy day at the beach beats a day in the office anytime.

There has been lots going on in my life in the last few months both with work an in my personal life.  Four weeks ago last Saturday Eddie had to undergo emergency gallbladder surgery to remove a gangrenous gallbladder.  His recovery has been slow but steady, and we’re so thankful that he is regaining his health.

Last week we also celebrated the grand re-opening of the Billy Graham Library.  I had the awesome privilege to serve at the re-opening dinner and got to see Dr. Graham in person one more time.  If you’ve never been to the Library I highly recommend that you come by.  Even if you have been there before there are lots of new things to see including a beautiful new mural created by the famed artist Thomas Kinkade.  (you  can see the image of  “The Cross” on the Thomas Kinkade website).

That’s all for now.  I’m going to enjoy the rest of my vacation!

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New Video from B.G.E.A./

Here’s a new video  we shot back in January.  Grab a tissue or a hanky and take a peak

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Are Transcriptionists Passe?

The only constant is change…which is true.  Some things change more slowly than others even in the face of rapidly changing technology.  The transcriptionist’s/scribe’s job has remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years…

From Wikipedia:

A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand as a profession and helps the city keep tracks of its records.The profession, previously found in all literate cultures in some form, lost most of its importance and status with the advent of printing. The work could involve copying books, including sacred texts, or secretarial and administrative duties such as taking of dictation and the keeping of business, judicial and historical records for kings, nobility, temples and cities. Later the profession developed into public servants, journalists, accountants, typists, and lawyers.

I’ll pause here and say I disagree with some of that definition.  I don’t believe the invention of the printing press made the profession of transcription lose any importance.  I believe it made it more important because the printing press doesn’t magically produce accurate info all by itself.

I guess what is at the root of this post is that I have taken recent comments made to me concerning my profession personally.  I have been told that since there are so many ways a person can convey their thoughts, work, etc. that transcriptionists have become obsolete or passe because “Everybody types…”

True,  almost everybody types. I believe I’m safe in saying that compared to 20 years ago a much larger percentage of the world’s population has  at least adequate keyboarding skills, but that does not mean that everyone is proficient in producing accurate records.

Don’t even get me started on grammar skills.  I’ve never professed to be flawless in my grammar, but I see people posting/writing/blogging things on the internet that if I didn’t know better I would think they were being written by cavemen (no offense to cavemen).  While I occasionally utilize “text speech” (BFF, LOL, JMO…etc.) it’s only for say….text messaging or “tweeting”.  Almost on a daily basis I get e-mails from professional colleagues (mostly 10 or more years younger than I) who speak in a vague…sometimes indiscernible text speech.  They then get irritated when I send them a reply of  “huh?” and treat me like Aunt Bea because I ask them for more detail.  It gives me great pause when I think that these darn whippersnappers are going to be recording our medical/government records and other important information within the next few years.  If we think the “pants on the ground” are a problem think about these kids programming nuclear code while trying to simultaneously hike up their pants.

I know I sound like an old school marm wielding her ruler while shouting “grammar, GRAMMAR!” but I’m more than a little concerned about the backseat proper speech is taking in our society.

Back to my main point…I still don’t believe scribes/transcriptionists are anywhere close to being obsolete.  Shortly after I started my career as a medical transcriptionist in the early 90’s I was told that I would be replaced by voice recognition within a few short years.  Fast forward nearly 20 years…while there are some entities using voice recognition the majority of medical transcription is still being performed by trained medical transcriptionists.  Even if voice recognition is utilized it is almost always QA’d by a trained language specialist.  So, voice recognition is far from a perfect way to produce an accurate record.  If voice recognition were so wonderful then we’d be bypassing the human editor.

In the last six years I have been in media transcription for a production house that is still heavily reliant on the written transcript to aid in editing footage into a finished product.   I have been told by some folks that transcription is  a luxury.   My experience has been that it’s just like having a cell phone.  Once you’re used to this “luxury” it’s hard to do without it.  While my particular position has evolved into more of a “transcription coordinator” (coordination the work assignment to freelance transcriptionists)  the demand for transcripts has not become less, in some cases it has become more.

Example, recently we had two crews on the ground in Haiti (after the earthquake) that shot anywhere from 50 to 75 hours worth of footage.  When this footage came back what was the first thing they wanted?  Transcripts!   The producer and editot did not want to sit in an edit suite hours on end spinning through hours and hours of footage.   Transcripts would cut the editing process down significantly.

So, if you’re thinking about becoming a transcriptionist or if you are already a transcriptionist and are job scared I’d say put your worries to rest.  I’m not saying that the industry has not suffered some in the last several years…most specifically due to off-shoring of work…but after the dust has settled and more work comes back into the U.S. (and I believe it will because the off-shored product tends to be terrible) I believe opportunities and wages will increase.

Transcription is one of the oldest professions, and I believe it will exist for many years to come.

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Anyone Need a Freelance Transcriptionist?

Okay, I’m going to take advantage of my blog to advertise my availability for freelance transcription projects.  I do hold down a full-time job outside the home but would like to do a little extra work on the side on the evenings and weekends. I am capable of doing a wide range of transcription projects including but not limited to:  Medical transcription, media transcription, interview transcription, manuscript transcription, thesis transcription, etc.

Here’s a brief synopsis of my experience:

  • Formal transcription training via my Administrative Medical Assisting Associate’s degree.
  • Fourteen years of medical transcription experience in multiple clinical settings including acute care, radiology, and neurology experience.  I am formally educated in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and pharmacology.
  • Extensive ESL (English, second language) dictator experience via my medical and media transcription projects.
  • Five years of media transcription experience.  I have the capability of transcribing from multiple media formats including DVD, mp3, Quicktime etc.

My rates are reasonable, and I can offer relatively quick turnaround (2-3 days depending on the scope of the project).  In my current job I have transcription projects almost weekly so my skills are not rusty.  I am open to almost any type of transcription job as long as the source material is not pornographic or overly profane.

If you or anyone you know might have need of my services please contact me via my e-mail address:

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Answers to the Christmas Carol Name Game

Here are the answers…pardon any inconsistent formatting.  I’m waaaay to full and lazy to be detail oriented today:

1.                   Bleached Yule—White Christmas

2.                   Singularly Specific Yuletide Melody—The Christmas Song…more commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire…”

3.                   Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors—All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

4.                   Righteous Darkness—O Holy Night

5.                   Arrival Time:  2400 hours, Weather:  Cloudless—It Came upon a Midnight Clear.

6.                   Loyal Followers Advance—O Come All Ye Faithful.

7.                   Far Off in a Feeder—Away in a Manger

8.                   Array the Corridor—Deck the Halls.

9.                   Bantam Male Percussionist—Little Drummer Boy

10.               Monarchial Triad—We Three Kings

11.               Nocturnal Noiselessness—Silent Night

12.               Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers—God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

13.               Red Man En Route to Borough—Santa Claus is Coming to Town

14.               Frozen Precipitation Commence—Let it Snow

15.               Proceed and Enlighten on the Pinnacle—Go Tell it on the Mountain

16.               The Quadruped with the Vermillion Proboscis—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

17.               Query Regarding Identity of Descendant—What Child is this?

18.               Delight for this Planet—Joy to the World

19.               Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings—Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

20.               The Dozen Festive 24-Hour Intervals—The 12 Days of Christmas

21.               Exalted Heavenly Beings to whom Harkened from Above—Angels We Have Heard on High

22.               The Christmas Preceding all Others—The First Noel

23.               Small Municipality in Judea Southeast of Jerusalem—O Little Town of Bethlehem

24.               Obese Personification Fabricated of Compressed Mounds of Minute Crystals—Frosty the Snowman

25.               Geographic State of Fantasy during the Season of Mother Nature’s Dormancy—Winter Wonderland

26.               Tintinnabulation of Vacillating Pendulums in Inverted Metallic Resonant Cups—Jingle Bells

27.               Jovial Yuletide Desired for the Second Person Singular or Plural by Us—We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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Christmas Carol Name Game

We played a really fun game last week at our department Christmas party, and since it involved words…while everyone else was eating…I was playing the game.   Word games are about the only thing that will divert my attention from food.  Below are actual Christmas Carols whose names have been changed to words with a similar meaning.  Now, some of the words may not be everyday words.  This game will increase your vocabulary as well as testing your ability to be a human thesaurus.   It will also get your brain to clicking again if it’s been slowed down by too much eggnog and fruitcake.  I will post the answers in my next post which will hopefully happen on Christmas day.  If my brain gets bogged down by two much eggnog and fruitcake then I might not post until after Christmas   You know how it is…

Get ready… get set… go!

1.                   Bleached Yule

2.                   Singularly Specific Yuletide Melody

3.                   Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors

4.                   Righteous Darkness

5.                   Arrival Time:  2400 hours, Weather:  Cloudless

6.                   Loyal Followers Advance

7.                   Far Off in a Feeder

8.                   Array the Corridor

9.                   Bantam Male Percussionist

10.               Monarchial Triad

11.               Nocturnal Noiselessness

12.               Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers

13.               Red Man En Route to Borough

14.               Frozen Precipitation Commence

15.               Proceed and Enlighten on the Pinnacle

16.               The Quadruped with the Vermillion Proboscis

17.               Query Regarding Identity of Descendant

18.               Delight for this Planet

19.               Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings

20.               The Dozen Festive 24-Hour Intervals

21.               Exalted Heavenly Beings to whom Harkened from Above

22.               The Christmas Preceding all Others

23.               Small Municipality in Judea Southeast of Jerusalem

24.               Obese Personification Fabricated of Compressed Mounds of Minute Crystals

25.               Geographic State of Fantasy during the Season of Mother Nature’s Dormancy

26.               Tintinnabulation of Vacillating Pendulums in Inverted Metallic Resonant Cups

27.               Jovial Yuletide Desired for the Second Person Singular or Plural by Us

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