Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hand in Hand

A friend in the rehab counseling community sent me this link to a video on YouTube that is a must see: She without arm, he without leg - ballet - Hand in Hand

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Wednesday

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
Steven Paul (Steve) Jobs;
Commencement address by Steve Jobs at Stanford

There are quite a few thoughtful things in that speech. But I simply wandered into that quote from elsewhere and wasn't really thinking about inspirational things. The quote doesn't have much to do with my day or thoughts. But there are tangents it brings to the surface that I will hopefully pursue later in the evening... or not.

This has been a day; not so much difficult as it was tedious with one difficult person after another. I suspect I attract them on certain days (and after a while those are the only ones I notice so it doesn't matter which came first or if I am right about attracting them). None of them were my clients by the way- all service and care providers and family members. I should check the moon phase. ;-)

Coming home I was listening to the news, then turned on CNN when I got home. Golly gee, more crazies. NEws FOlks- truly I don't care what OJ did or if he will go on trial. Honest. I really really don't, won't ever. And a John McCain audience member's use of the "B" word? And he's raising money with the incident? Give me a break. I don't care. I'll bet Hillary Clinton doesn't care. Seriously, she wants to be president, so name calling better not bother her. I don't care about Marie Osmond's son, though I'm sorry about her father since I remember too well what that feels like. Even so, it doesn't seem like these things should be "the" news. Yet, these were the headlines on news radio and on CNN when I came home. Headlines- Those are supposed to be important stuff, right?

I care some about bomb parts being smuggled past security in the US airports. If that's truly the case and not some over-hyped story (the headline part is all I've heard and I've not fully read the story yet), it probably matters. I care about the US$3.55 per gallon I paid for gasoline yesterday. I care about the number of soldiers who died today and the number who are coming back seriously, severely, forever wounded. I care about the number of Iraqis and Afghanis who died or were injured. I care about the writer's guild strike as it will impact SoCal economy significantly, especially if it lasts very long.

Those seem like things that matter. But the news folks don't distinguish between the important and the not so any more. They seem to scream it all and give it all the same level of concern. I think it is much harder to find the important things that happened in a day. And just perhaps, the things I think are important this moment to know, aren't really either.

Yup. Pretty much almost talked myself out of another post. That's an example of the vague meandering focus I have when I get home at night. Occasionally I work myself up about something and in the end realize, nope, it doesn't really matter either.

After basic needs, love, kindness, relationships, and that tiny wispy daily poke at making a difference somewhere, I'm not sure much else matters.



Monday, November 12, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 249

  1. Treadmill :: Hampster

  2. Stroke :: soft

  3. Exclusively :: yours

  4. Lash :: eyelash

  5. Red carpet :: treatment

  6. Credit card:: bill

  7. Points :: bonus

  8. Domestic :: flights

  9. 21 :: too long ago

  10. Inject :: solution
Weekly word list found at Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, November 09, 2007

Preparation and What Matters

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think its forever."
~Carl Sagan, Ph.D

I should have some pictures of my own from various moments in the past few months. But life is just racing by and blogging is about the last thing I generally feel like doing when I arrive home each night. Eating, saying a word or two to the husband, a quick plan for the next day and sleeping are about all I can manage well... and actually, not so well. I haven't sorted through the pictures which include some from the Lake in July, from various moments around Sunland and other frozen bits. They are waiting to be reviewed and perhaps tweaked a little here and there. I haven't got the whole- work 9.75 hours, gone eleven plus, still have a larger life- down pat yet. It's a year officially in this new job, so I better be figuring it out really soon.

The recent firestorms required my sister to evacuate. Fortunately they were prepared, very well prepared, and their house survived despite the devastation around them. The fires marched and swirled up to their property, raged all around them, moved above and onward, but did not burn their home. One of their preparations was an amazing stuff called Barricade which my brother in law personally applied before they evacuated. You can see how their preparedness and luck paid off at: Wizards Web where he posted some pictures.


"How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most" ~Stephen R. Covey

I'm trying..

Monday, October 08, 2007

temporary end to sliding

"Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow." ~Douglas Pagels

Today I went back to work. Fortunately until I returned today, I hadn't given much thought to the fact that no one would really be working my case load unless there were a dire emergency. There were lots of not really emergencies and some almost emergencies and some not much to do after the fact emergencies. Of course. And every single one of them had someone involved who thought they ought to be taken care of first.

I feel as if I could sleep twelve hours just to recuperate from this day, if I only could find those twelve.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 244

  1. Cluster :: see the second and third definitions in this urban dictionary  for what comes to mind when I see the word cluster

  2. Announcement :: major importance or at least major to do about something

  3. Respect :: earned

  4. Incident :: special incident report; frequent headaches on my caseload.

  5. Accordion :: player

  6. Drunk :: pretty much never

  7. If :: -then statements

  8. Dexter :: blank

  9. Wedding :: gown

  10. Gambling :: Las Vegas
Weekly word list can be found at Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, October 06, 2007

seeking gold

Sometimes when I am trying to put something out of conscious mind to let it simmer to some next step or resolution, I have a habit of picking up whatever reading material is in front of me and opening it at random. I read whatever lines jump out at me and seek the destination they send my thoughts. I usually find patterns in the disconnected bits where there probably are none. But that is a thought journey I've traveled before and probably won't ever figure out with any certainty.

Anyway, picking up the book Buddha Is As Buddha Does, by Lama Surya Das , the words of Norman Vincent Peale leapt out at me:

"When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Maybe Vulcan just orbited its sun more slowly?

And on Earth, Mr. Spock wouldn't have been two hundred or four hundred or whatever age he was in whatever might have been his last appearance in the Star Trek mythology line. (Wasn't he last on Romulus trying to facilitate peace?)

There are things I probably should (oooo nasty word sometimes, that "should" word) be doing and one of them involved looking for something on the Internet. When I was done and cleared the page to blank, I just couldn't resist clicking on that "Stumble!" button.

It came up with this silly site which will calculate Your Age On Other Worlds" and also has a grade school lesson on planet rotations and orbits. I am a little over 4 1/2 on Jupiter, 228 or so on Mercury and 29 and change on Mars. Funny stuff those numbers. I am still trying to get used to the feel of that Earth number rolling off my tongue.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." ~Lucille Ball

I don't think I'll start lying about my age now, or at least not yet. Yesterday was my 55th birthday!

Some time ago (maybe July?) in a very quick dash around to check on my favorite bloggers, Andy, at Older, but no Wiser was writing about finding some sites using the Stumble Upon toolbar. I am not generally fond of full toolbar additions to my browser, but this one looked interesting, so I bookmarked it to check out later. Yesterday I finally had the time to check it out and take it for a test run. I found some wonderful things, some quick look, read and move on, some momentary amusements, some go back later and go deeper. I couldn't stay away from it today either. All in all it is a very interesting tool. (Thank you, Andy)

One of the sites I found was this one: Even Happier: The 7 beliefs of the super happy people . The rest of that website has some promise for some quick fixes when I am feeling less than...

Monday, October 01, 2007


Playing around at Magnetic Poetry, very quickly choosing words which appealed to me in that moment, I came up with this:

would you see your velvet yesterday
wild angel
laugh sacred woman
soon time will work magic
dance to the joy of the universe
smile with the starry sky

I don't know what it means that these were the words that "spoke" to me today. I tried to just go with the flow. The last step was choosing some connecting words to group everything into some pattern that might make any sense. I'm not so sure I succeeded. I'll analyze it all later... or not.

Imagine hearing a very huge happy relaxed sigh.... that's me!
It's very nice being on vacation this week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Never argue with a woman who reads

This made it through to my work email several days ago and I hadn't seen it previously. It made me laugh so I thought I would share.
One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"
"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, "Isn't that obvious?")
"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.
"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading."
"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden. "That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

Monday, August 20, 2007

there are no brakes

"If we learn the art of yielding what must be yielded to the changing present, we can save the best of the past." ~Dean Acheson

Change... Is change the one constant in life? Is there any "one" thing in life at all? Isn't everything perception? or how confusing and off tangent can I get with these thoughts...

My trip to Indiana proved to be another strange chapter. I thought I was there to scatter my father's ashes. My maternal uncle, who knew and was very close to my father for half a century was there to scatter my father's ashes. Childhood friends of my father's were there and ooops, my father's wife "forgot" to pick up the ashes from the mortuary and it was closed. So we who came for this final event for my father sat through a conservancy meeting, and a lot of paper honors and speeches from people who didn't know him naming him to the list of distinguished Hoosiers (the governor signed that), naming a "Larry lastname" day in the city of Bloomington, honoring his work (as one of a very tiny not quite handful of folks in this particular effort) on moving the the lake to conservancy district and managing its care for many years. These things were wonderful posthumous honors, but I didn't fly back to Indiana for them and likely wouldn't have. No ashes. No apology. It all shouldn't have been a surprise, given the exceptional number of other stunts this woman has pulled during the last few months, but it was.

I've recovered. Mostly. I think. Life seems a little strange still in some moments to think my father is no longer here... So many conversations left we didn't have. I felt and still feel that way about my mother sometimes too, but the ache is not quite as immediate or as sharp after twenty four years.

And another new stage of life is about to begin too. My child is leaving home, moving out on his own. Less than twenty minutes away, but not in my house any longer. This will happen in two weeks. Another ending, another beginning, another change.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

start here, pause there, and onward....

I was headed to the blog, but got stopped by a lengthy telephone call... then I thought I'd check one of my email boxes and got further sidetracked.... and finally wound up here after reading a quick couple of things including:

For a few days I’ve been peppering some of the smartest people I know with this question. Here’s what they said. You’re a grownup when…

* You know there are many things much more important than yourself.
* You’re willing to say “I was wrong.”
* You’re attentive to the footprint you will have left on the world.
* You forgive the carelessness of the young, regret the thoughtlessness of your own youth.
* You finally realize you have no one to complain to.

Growing up is a choice. The journey begins with the simplest of steps: identifying your values, then acting accordingly. This means jettisoning the excuses that have previously blocked your path (“I’m too tired,” “I don’t have the time,” etc.). And then the tricky part: doing all this while retaining your sense of humor. Few accomplish these goals. (Total success would mean being something on the order of a saint.) But the important thing is to point yourself in the right direction and start marching.

Steven Slon, Editor, AARP The Magazine
"What is a Grownup?"

Yeah... taking responsibility and retaining one's sense of humor is definitely right at the top of the list....

More grownup stuff: 50 Things You Need to Know by 50

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 232

  1. Situation :: self created

  2. Theme song :: still searching for one

  3. Kelly :: green

  4. Club :: sandwich

  5. Swerve :: car

  6. Couch :: potato

  7. Bigfoot :: lives in the really old forests ;-)

  8. Arbitrary :: rules; too many of those

  9. Inventor :: wish I were an

  10. Blazer :: silk and wool tweed

Weekly word list can be found at Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, July 14, 2007

wandering on a Saturday noon

How on earth did I miss this by Mary Oliver? I notice it was referenced by Sacred Ordinary in an entry dated May of 2006 and in Panhala at some point...

The page at Panhala is beautiful... Messenger, by Mary Oliver

The poem begins:

"My work is loving the world." ...

and later....

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be


"Messenger", by Mary Oliver; Thirst: Poems, 2006 Beacon Press

Completely unrelated, I'm off to see a matinee of the latest Harry Potter film.... I'm sure it will be good.. and I'm just as sure I probably won't write any review of it..

Thursday, July 12, 2007

wandering paths

"Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate." Henry David Thoreau, Walden (The Portable Thoreau, edited by Carl Bode)

I haven't figured out the way to return to blogging with any flourish or even a decent explanation of where I've traveled in the months behind. But with a telecommute day and a few moments in between reports and telephone calls, here I am. Back regularly or intermittently, only time will tell.

Of course, when I say "traveled" I didn't mean the physical, outward sort, rather the inner journey. However, in concrete terms, I'm also just back from Massachusetts (4th of July week), and next weekend (20th) I'm off to Indiana for two days, maybe for the last time in my life. I'm taking the camera and perhaps there will be a few pictures. My photos from Massachusetts are still being reviewed and processed, but they were almost all of family and friends and chosen for the people, not for art projects. Should that be the same? hmmm... perhaps if I were talented, they ought to be, but since I'm not...

Journeys and tangents... ongoing.. always.... and once again a stumbling resumption of a path from which I wandered....

Friday, April 06, 2007

beginnings and endings...

There are multiple reasons for the death and grief rituals we humans create. There is comfort in putting one foot in front of the other and knowing what comes next, in saying goodbye in prescribed ways in the company of others. Without the rituals it is a more lonely journey... A telephone call with the information of my father's death came today. There is no memorial, no burial, no funeral, no gathering in Indiana planned. I will probably be lucky to be called when they deem it time to scatter his ashes this summer.

This is a glimpse of the views where my father spent his last three weeks. Every room could see a slice of nature; every room opened onto a patio where hospital type beds could be wheeled out into the sunshine, where bird feeders were filled daily and the peaceful songs and sounds of spring were in the air.

Waterfall and bear

Angels watching

Sunset through the trees
Goodbye Dad...

Friday, March 30, 2007

"wider than the sky"

Part One: Life


THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

Emily Dickinson, Complete Poems

I stumbled across this and liked it. I have not fully explored the thoughts and meanings that come to me from her poem, but I believe it has no real connection to events and happenings of the moment... or perhaps it is that it evokes feelings or thoughts I wish to find in myself... or represents my need for escape into other thought... or perhaps any connections to the events of the moment do indeed "differ, if they do, as syllable from sound."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stealing moments

"Man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard." Chief Standing Bear, Ponca Nation


Orange Sky

Some days the sunset is just a brief flash in my side and rear car windows on the way home, so when I do get to see one and really drink it in, it is all the more delightful.

There are photos piling up without much chance to look at them. I uploaded a sparing few to Flickr, and will hopefully have some more later. I am heading to Indiana on Thursday, so it could be a while... although, I'm hoping that when I get back, I can head out with hiking boots and camera, and catch a little early hint of spring.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 214

"I say ... and you think ... ?"
  1. Contribution :: charitable or political

  2. Ryan :: Meg

  3. Minimal :: effort

  4. Cleansed :: fresh start

  5. Centered :: calm and in the moment

  6. Arrow :: broken

  7. Beyond :: unseen ahead

  8. Execute :: tasks

  9. Intuition :: strong

  10. Apology :: given
Weekly word list found at   Unconscious Mutterings

Monday, March 05, 2007


"Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens the understanding, and softens the heart" ~John Adams

"We can hold back neither the coming of the flowers nor the downward rush of the stream; sooner or later, everything comes to its fruition." ~Loy Ching-Yuen

There is that sense of the unseen layers, me watching me, experiencing the knowing. I knew my father is dying, but somehow some part of me didn't accept it. Maybe I still haven't really. But this layer of sadness is hovering closer to the surface. It feels different than when my mother was dying in 1984. With my mother there were too many things that needed saying that were left unsaid. I would have at least liked to have said goodbye.

I have tried not to let that happen with my father. Over the years, I said things as they came up; things I thought were important for him to hear.... such as my thanks for him choosing to be my father, for being there at different times that I really needed him to be when I was growing up. Unsaid, were any thoughts about the times that he was not there emotionally. I do remember, but long ago let any frustration or pain of those go as I accepted my parents as human after all. And now he is dying... three days, three weeks, three months.. more, less.. soon...

I cannot fix it or run away from it... or perhaps more accurate, this time I choose not to try to do either.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 213

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Nude :: sans coverings

  2. Support :: strength to lean on... hard to find

  3. Rachel:: the number one spot for this name in Google is  Ray; I've never seen any of her shows

  4. Crane :: Scarecrow

  5. Candy bar :: temptation when I'm tired

  6. Material :: woven, knit or crochet

  7. Mind games :: In my first thoughts about this phrase, I was completely ignoring  another definition... hmmmm, very telling.

  8. Eviction :: notice

  9. Produce :: grapes, kiwis, avocados, spinach, corn, carrots, tangelos

  10. Joke :: life

Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, March 03, 2007

"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears."

I'm having trouble with forgiveness and rejecting a sense of injury... ...

Once again, my father's wife is the root of distress for my sister and because of that, for me. In this case, it is her children. There are children on both sides of this second marriage for my father. My mother died in 1984, the same year my son was born, leaving behind a husband and two grown married daughters. My father remarried a couple of years later to a woman named Barbara, who helped take care of my mother in her last months and divorced her own husband after my mother died. The new wife had three children- two daughters and a son, also all grown and in adult relationships.

Apparently, all of Barbara's children are representing themselves as my father's children to the medical staff at the various institutions, which would be somewhat flattering except that my sister and I have been left out of the discussions and in fact even "forgotten" to be put on lists of family with access and so forth. Recently, Barbara's son suggested to my father's doctors that my father be put into hospice care and no further treatment be given (a new tumor was discovered, which the doctor was suggesting be removed). This of course was a horrible shock to my sister when she heard it from the doctor, as was the doctor saying, "your brother suggested". My sis went ballistic.

But it doesn't end there. Barbara hadn't been told the extent of my father's illness, for whatever reason, she didn't understand the various treatments, why and what to expect. She was told the surgeon had gotten all the cancer, that no radiation or chemo would be required and that my father would get better and would return home, but that there would be new tumors later which they would also remover. They implied it would be no big deal to remove the new tumors as they arose. This is a version of the truth, but not the truth. My father has had several setbacks and the cancer was much more extensive than she was told. So my sister explained in simple details what she knew and what Barbara should be asking the doctors. Because it does now appear there were and are some treatment missteps, including things like not actually having an oncologist until a few days ago, and the surgeon supposedly being the lead doctor but not bringing anyone else in to assist with other medical issues as they arose in the recovery. It was upsetting to Barbara to hear some of the details she hadn't previously been told, of course, but it wasn't malicious on my sister's part. She needed Barbara to ask the questions and get my father involved in understanding what is going on- so they could make the tougher decisions about what happens next.

Keeping mind that my sister has stage 3 breast cancer which had spread to the lymph glands (and that may have spread elsewhere), who is recovering from a double mastectomy and hasn't yet been cleared to fly, let alone to even resume normal activities, she is doing pretty well. However, Barbara's daughter called her up and raked her over the coals for upsetting her mother, for not coming to see our father because my sister's "little medical thing" was just an excuse, not a good reason not to come and be by my father's side. She also made many statements about our father being the only grandfather her children had ever known.. and so on.. trying to establish her claim as one of my father's daughters perhaps? Or justifying her and her brother trying to shove my father off into hospice care without even a discussion with him or us??

Excuse me??!!! I am beyond angry.. white hot, cold steel, icy burning, deep anger... It isn't good. I tried to take the "bad guy" stuff on myself so that the wife and her family wouldn't create additional problems for my sister. It is the very least I could do to try to keep the heat from her. She takes these things to heart so much more deeply than I do (which is not to say that it all rolls easily off my back), and it isn't good for her recovery.

I feel they injured my sister and I want to let them know not to do that again. I am about to dive in with not revenge, but something to try to protect my sister. I don't think this is the end of insults and problems. I believe it is just the tip of the iceberg... And I don't understand why they don't understand about my sister, about how this didn't have to be family against other family, and about why we might be upset about them deciding things for my father without consulting my father or us (he isn't mentally incapacitated). And I can't believe this is turning into such a soap opera. It's disgusting on so many levels. But they're injuring my baby sister and sometimes I'm not a pacifist. I just haven't figured out exactly what to do next...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings Week 212

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Soldier :: war injuries

  2. Lipton :: tea

  3. Reason:: rhyme, out of time

  4. Terms :: of endearment

  5. Positive :: thinking

  6. Example :: teaching guide

  7. Legacy :: what's yours? I'm afraid "they" will only say about me that 'she was a nice lady'...

  8. Solo :: act

  9. Instrument :: more frequently, mine is a computer... should be a guitar, a pencil, pastels, paper, a needlepoint needle, a crochet hook.... it's past time to dive back into using all of those

  10. Later :: yeah, it's way past my bedtime. Later.
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"... and those are just the sites we know about. We don't know about the sites we don't know about."

~a guest whose name I didn't catch on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 , speaking about Iran's nuclear program

Listening to talking heads is just so illuminating.
biggrin yellow

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

still collecting pieces

"Some of us are lost and some of us are found. ... Some people don't have that many questions and lack that belly of fire when it comes to their encounters with the world. They're content in their predictable lives, where everything that lies before them is like a re-run of 'Jeopardy'. They already know the answers and how the game will end. They don't have the urge to travel or to ask the questions that boggle the mind: Who am I? Why am I here? Is this all there is? Instead there's a certainty about themselves and the world around them. They work. They go to church. They take care of their families. They know their beliefs are correct; they know that anything different is wrong or bad.

Others of us are lost. We're forever seeking. We torture ourselves with philosophies and ache to see the world. We question everything, even our own existence. We ask a lifetime of questions and are never satisfied with the answers because we don't recognize anyone as an authority to give them. We see life and the world as an enormous puzzle that we might one day solve, if only we collect enough pieces. The idea that we might never understand, that our questions might go unanswered until the day we die, almost never occurs to us.And when it does, it fills us with dread."
~Lisa Unger in 'Sliver of Truth' (novel; 2007, Shaye Areheart Books, N.Y.)

I don't know about the dread part.. Frankly, it has occurred to me time and again that there are no answers... or the answers will be ever elusive... or the questions aren't the right ones... or....

wink pink

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I was flipping pages in More magazine   (for women over 40) and ran across a quick bit entitled "Life's a Mess and Then You Fly" which was actually a quick review of a new book by Sara Davidson entitled Leap!.

The thing that caught my eye and made me think I ought to purchase the book (which was just released 2/20) was the reference to the title of chapter five:

"Change Is Gonna Come, or Another F---ing Opportunity for Growth"

just insert the tiny wry smile here...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Abstinence and recovery

"Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."

Not really apropos of anything in particular, just something that struck my eye today, and sounded very true. Then again maybe it is apropos.

I said last month, that I would be back in a few days. I was of course, "back", in the sense that I traveled from California to Indiana and back again, but I didn't make it back to the blog. I kept tossing the words around in my head and into the private journal, but I couldn't find the words to write about any of it here.

I sometimes find it difficult to draw the lines clearly between sharing and being open and completely laying myself bare. When emotions are new and raw and I write them out for just anyone to pick over, the words are often something I cringe to see later. Reason, logic and rationality might be things I am entirely too prideful about (even in error about possessing!). Feeling as if it is one thing for anyone else to lay emotions of the moment bare and something else for me to do the same, is a double standard for which I haven't figured out the meaning.

Words, words, words....
a lot of words....

My father is making steps forward (literally and figuratively).. doing much, much better now that I tattled on his wife for continuously pushing his morphine pump instead of him handling the self medicating. Somehow she didn't see the connection between trying to keep him from feeling any amount of pain whatsoever, and his depressed breathing, inability to be weaned from the oxygen, dizziness, inability to walk and so on. When the doctor's heard about it, they stopped her immediately.

His vocal chords were paralyzed, either from the surgery or from the cancer, which strangely enough meant that he couldn't swallow. If he couldn't swallow it would mean the recovery from his extensive esophageal surgery would be very complicated. In the past few weeks since he has been off the massive amounts of morphine, he is slowly coming 'round. He is in a rehabilitation home (nursing home) now, and was able to swallow a bit of applesauce yesterday. He is walking several times a day on his own steam and working bit by bit on gaining strength. It doesn't sound like much, but the applesauce is a really, really huge deal. One of the things that going home requires is the ability to swallow.

My sister continues to heal too and every day she is a bit stronger. Chemo and radiation are in her future, but for now she gains strength, too.

I hope I've broken the spell of staying away and will be back here regularly. There is a balance. I've simply to claim it for my own.

Friday, February 02, 2007

"and the beat goes on..."

"Everyone needs to work. Even a lion cannot sleep, expecting a deer to enter his mouth." Hitopadesha (14th century India)

My office is full of brand new service coordinators working for one of six supervisors. Over half of the case workers have probably been around a year or less. A generous third have been working this job six months or less. There is a six month probationary period where one can be let go without the usual rounds of warnings.

On Wednesday, one of the ladies who was just about to complete her six months, was fired. She was a very, very, nice woman, who seemed to be handling her work well, and it was a huge shock to all of us new workers. There was quite a bit of fear and stunned whispering in the office yesterday afternoon. The mood was only slightly altered today. To everyone's credit, I've heard no bad gossip, only the whispered shock, worried about how she was going to manage and how she might be feeling, and who might be next, because no one can fathom what she did wrong.

There is a huge amount of paperwork and constant deadlines for this or that, some of it federal, some of it exposing the state to legal actions if it isn't completed in a "timely manner". We must handle phone calls, emergencies, vendor problems, consumer problems, regular visits to consumers and vendors... and paperwork documenting everything as well computer database case notes to ensure billable hours. There is probably an art to keeping the flow going and all the balls in the air, but I think one has to love the work to begin with. All of the new service coordinators that I've met are hard workers who seldom come out of their cubicles (I want to call them cubbies ;-) )except to travel to the printer, their supervisor, their hard case files or to head out to see consumer/clients and vendors (oh and the various trainings and office meetings). We nod at each other in passing and have minor conversations on the way to somewhere else - there just isn't a lot of time for socializing. It made the whispered conversations and expressions of quiet shock, stand out that much more.

My reaction to all of this was also one of shock and a touch of fear. I have a mostly closet case of insecurity that comes out into the light of day now and then. But being the fairly direct and honest type (and only because I needed his initials on some paperwork), I asked my supervisor: "Should I be worried about my job?" In the ensuing conversation, he said I didn't have to worry, that I was doing fine. I haven't decided if I really believe him.... which is what an unexpected coworker firing does to the folks left behind, I think.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"With kindly intent..."

Someone who is about to admonish another must realize within himself five qualities before doing so [that he may be able to say], thus:

"In due season will I speak, not out of season. In truth I will speak, not in falsehood. Gently will I speak, not harshly. To his profit will I speak, not to his loss. With kindly intent will I speak, not in anger."

-"Vinaya Pitaka," translated by F.S. Woodward
From "Teachings of the Buddha," edited by Jack Kornfield, 1993.
Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,
From BeliefNet Buddhist Wisdom

Isn't it amazing how if one is working on letting go, going with the flow, mellowing out, wink pink, that one's attention is drawn to the right thing at the right time?

...back in a few days....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

... untie the ribbons...

"That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not." ~James K. Feibleman

We just have to look... and sometimes we have to scrutinize in minute detail to find the barest glimpse.... but the good to be derived is there somewhere... I need to stay convinced of that..

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

~Dr. Seuss

Some moments I want to be like the Dr. Suess character who might have said this...

"Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons." ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

But this one is my favorite.. When I remember, things look so very differently. If I can't find the gifts in one place, they will be found in some other place. I just need to keep my mind open and looking outward.


update for the personal journal: My father still can't speak though he's off the respirator. He had to have a tracheotomy at one point, and it is interfering with the other parts of his recovery. My father's wife is angry at me because I got upset with her for not including me or my sister on the list of family that could call for updates, which we discovered by accident. It made my sister hysterical and I responded with big sister protector style... Probably a little too overdone. I am also no longer allowed to speak to my father. It was his wife's way of punishing me for daring to be upset with her. I didn't tell him of course. During the course of this whole big deal, she said the most hateful, cruel thing one could say to an adopted child... "you aren't family and you won't be treated like family".

Sigh.. It brought out the insecure child hidden away deep inside. I was completely surprised to see the little girl who was afraid of being abandoned.

My sister is doing well, sometimes in terrible pain, but getting stronger. In a weird way, this other crisis has forced her to focus outward and on gaining strength to deal with the weird family, not on feeling pain.

I bet there are some weird family quotes that I will find before too long.

I will be in Indiana over the weekend. I've already been told that I can't see my father, so I shouldn't come. I'm going anyway. I'm taking the camera, though I'm not at all sure i will find any moments to take pictures of the surrounding area....

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt