Saturday, July 30, 2011

right on target

He's always been incredibly wise.
It's not just because he's dying that his words rang with truth.

My response to his query "How are YOU doing?" had been "I feel like I'm on speed. It's impossible for me to 'settle', to be still. I feel SO disconnected. I have to spend time centering myself this weekend and I'm not sure how I'm going to do that."

He looked intently at me and said "It's always harder to hit something that's moving. You might want to be curious about what you're afraid would catch up with you if you stopped running."

Bulls-eye! and I knew, again, precisely why I love this man!

When cases come at me as fast as they have been lately, when every room contains another story filled with pain and horror revealing the worst ways in which human beings treat each other, there's no time to feel, to process... and to be honest, I'm afraid that if I let myself feel, I'd be immobilized by grief and disgust and unable to get done what has to be done.

If I truly let myself take in the pain I see daily, I'd never come back the next day.

And when the days are as long as they've been lately, even when I get home, there's no time to deal with my emotions; there's only time for the most basic of chores.

I need space.
I need quiet.
I need to have my feet make contact with the earth as I walk down a trail.
I need to breathe in more than pain.
I need to feel the sun on my skin and the warmth of a hard rock under my ass and the palms of my hands as I sit and listen to a river - and my own thoughts.
I need to cry.
I need to talk more to God.

I'm headed out to give myself all of that...
trusting that the universe will give me so much more in return.

A heart away from nature becomes hard.
~Standing Bear

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal
give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

Friday, July 29, 2011

broken children

Another child abuse fatality today...and, if you think this image of an old doll is disturbing, trust me, it's nothing compared to the real thing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flood Wall

Down beyond the 'regular' waterfront, there's a whole world of street art that is AMAZING!

I can't believe I've never found it before.

The flood walls are HUGE pieces of prefabricated concrete - maybe 15 feet high and twice as long and they stretch for blocks!

In our town they also serve as canvases for talented artists!

It's mind boggling! (and I KNOW nobody 'cool' uses that phrase anymore)

But, really, what other word is there?

Why aren't these folks illustrating comic books and making tons of money?

This one made me laugh - what is it about Zombies that's so appealing to folks these days?

Art imitating life.

Some profound expression that should make everyone think!

I hear the 'artists' paint over the pieces frequently... I have NO doubt I'll be making other trips down there!

It's like having a private outdoor gallery.

Although I have to say the 'private' part was what finally made me stop the tour... it occurred to me I was getting deep into the heart of 'beyond the riverfront' industrial area and hadn't seen another human being for over 30 minutes.

I'm not easily spooked but I DO honor my 'gut' and it was time to leave.

I'll make sure I have my cell with me next time!

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Waterfront

It seemed like the perfect thing to do...

a HOT Saturday morning, with two hours to kill before a haircut and Project 365 that was needing an image for the day.

So I headed to the riverfront - and wasn't disappointed.

Truth be told, I had images I loved before I ever got near the Mississippi!

A gorgeous building whose spires always remind me of 'dribble castles' at the beach - and an initial that works well for me...

an old, beautifully colored door with an unexplainably newish doorknob and

girls dancing in a community garden.

Nothing unusual looking about the river... until you realize that the 'sand' is actually silt over the parking cobblestones because, while it is on its way down now, the river is still very high.

SO high that Lewis and Clark are halfway under water - and it's a statue on a pedestal!

Bet the sculptor never thought the dog would actually do the 'dog paddle' in the river!

I loved this bus parked along the levee... obviously SO much to read on the vehicle itself that the driver couldn't read the parking sign!

Folks were out enjoying the breezes on the water...although when it's over 100, as far as I'm concerned, it merely feels like standing in front of an oven with the door open!

I have to admit, it was tempting to take this sign for the office!

I found lovely driftwood (and I only came home with one small piece!),
multiple opportunities to play with shadows,

and muted colors that I just couldn't pass up!

And wait 'til you see - tomorrow - what I found when I drove down to what I thought was the end of the street in order to capture these hanging wires!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friends from the reservation are on my heart are their words.

You want to know how to be like indians?
Live close to the earth.
Get rid of some of your things.
Help each other.
Talk to the creator.
Be quiet more.
Listen to the earth instead of building things on it all the time.

Love and miss you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"How was your day?"...

is a question, I think, that matters a lot more than it seems.

I am SO grateful I have a job that matters; that, as tired and stressed as I can become, the adrenalin-producing, hypertension inducing, life shortening way in which I chose to spend the majority of the waking hours of my day is focused on others and not on self.

I was finishing the last note of the day - or so I thought -when a volunteer at the front desk brought him around.

"Excuse me... but this child walked in and said he needed to talk to someone. He said he was going to be killed by his mother".

3 hours - and multiple gut wrenching stories later, with him safely placed in alternative care and police looking for his mother and his infant brother - I was able to head home; secure in the knowledge that, for at least one evening, I made a child's life safer; that I had perhaps even saved his life - from the mental illness, savagery and demons tormenting his caregiver.

Is that how I planned to spend my time that night?
Hell no...

But I've learned to love reminders that I'm not in charge!

How do you spend your days?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back away from the donuts...

I know I should eat better…and I have every intention of doing precisely that.

Until I’m hungry or eating with friends and then I don’t and then, with a sugar and fat bolus on board, I don’t care…until next time I pass a window, look in a mirror or see a picture of myself and can’t even recognize who that middle age fat lady is!

Its not that I don’t know what to do.
I’m a fairly smart lady with an advanced degree… and a Lifetime membership in Weight Watchers…which I take to mean that, hopefully, sometime in my lifetime, I’ll finally get the hang of how to deal with my deep seated emotional issues (which clearly exist despite extensive and exhaustive therapeutic intervention) other than eating!

I recently came across dieting advice from Janice Small (who, in my mind, is as her name implies and probably a frickin size 2).An unregenerate Anglophile, she claims that lovers of Jane Austen have a built-in guide to weight loss if we would only follow the rules from her time as demonstrated in her novels.

So, without further ado, here are the ideas…

1. Stick with REAL FOOD.
All the food available was the real thing.
There were no fast foods and fizzy drinks, full of hidden fat and chemicals, in Elizabeth Bennett’s day. The foods eaten were mainly local and seasonal and meat was organic (not from huge ‘factories’ with animals pumped full of hormones or fed artificially. The only additives would have been herbs and spices.
Pizza , diet soda and chocolate bars had no place in Elizabeth’s life!

2. Focus on food.
For the upper and middle classes at least, food was served formally. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were eaten at a proper dining table and food, along with amiable conversation was the only focus.
Elizabeth Bennett did not mindlessly shovel forkfuls of food into her mouth while being glued to the TV and surfing Facebook.

3. No snacking.
Food was only available at set times, so Elizabeth never got into the habit of munching 500 calories worth of snacks as a way to pass the time on a boring afternoon (although God knows the girl must have had plenty of those!)

4. Manners maketh the woman.
It just wasn’t seemly to grab and gobble large quantities of food. Ladies would eat modestly, slowly and daintily, making it quite unlikely they could pack in vast amounts of calories at any given meal.

5. Ignore advertising.
Elizabeth was not exposed to the 10,000 commercial messages a day that are said to be thrown at us, so she would not be getting continual bombardment from the media with “Eat me” messages. Turn off the commercials whenever you can!

6. Set a calmer pace of life.
True, the girls in the Bennett household did not have to hold down a full time job, get the kids to school and dinner on the table. They had servants to take much of the load. But if you turn to food when you’re stressed, have a look at delegating some of your workload and think about reducing your commitments. With no TV to keep them up and distracted, in the evenings, the Bennetts would all get plenty of sleep too!

7. Take short journeys on foot.
Elizabeth would walk miles to wherever she needed to go. Only long distances would call for a horse, carriage or coach. She would burn up calories everyday in this manner. What about you? Do you pop into a ‘coach’ to go just a mile down the road?

8. Cultivate active 'pursuits'
Elizabeth and her sisters would go for walks as entertainment and, for sheer pleasure, they also loved dancing – fantastic exercise without going to a gym. How about trying salsa dancing or ballet…even line dancing – as a fun way to exercise.

9. Fashions with nowhere to hide.

The fashion of the day was fairly revealing – with flimsy material and an Empire line. It was a gorgeous look – if you were slender. But your dance card would, no doubt, stay unmarked, if you looked like a beached whale in a lace curtain.
10. Obviously, being in love helps.
A love interest in the shape of a tall dark proud (did we mention RICH) Mr Darcy helps a girl ‘go off her feed’ a bit too. See, all you need is a dark proud hero of your own!

Damn…should have known. There’s always a catch!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The weekend: and a visitation from BVM

New toy~~~~~

I think I'm in over my head...

I bought a new macro lens for the camera and it's not the one I intended to get.
It's a step or two UP from where I meant to be!
Actually it's like getting the top of the line microwave when all you really wanted to do is heat up Lean Cuisine and pop a bag of popcorn!
It has too many moving parts and rings and stuff I have no idea what the hell they are but I'm too intimidated by the camera store people to take it back so I'm watching how-to-videos on Youtube, pressing on and forcing myself to get comfortable with it.
(I know, pathetic, right?)

In 'Wordless Wednesday' tomorrow, see if you can tell which images I took with the macro... there are five!
And be patient!
We all have to learn new things, experiment and fail!

As many of you know, I have this 'thing' for the BVM (the Blessed Virgin Mary) which is very 'anti-Anglican' and, while I couldn't be prouder to be a 'cradle Episcopalian', I'm not giving her up just because some folks in the church think it smacks too much of the 'Mother Church' we broke away from in Rome!
It was 500 years ago - - get over it!

I've posted about her before (here) and made visits to the only shrine in America where she's appeared (here), so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she stopped by my house to pay a visit in return!

No, really..she did!

I was out on the deck taking a picture before 6am on Saturday, turned around and, on the way back into the house, saw something on one of the deck lights that stopped me in my tracks.

It had NOT been there the night before and, I'm convinced it's HER!

Thinking it was merely the result of condensation, I brought it inside.
Wiping down the glass panel, both inside and out, did nothing to make the image go away; it's been etched on, I kid you not - complete, I might add, with drops that look like tears!

Someone suggested it looked more like Mother Teresa... I can see that...
(for the complete effect, double left click on the image to see it enlarged).

which one of the 'girls' do YOU think it is?
Does this mean I have to quit my day job, stay home and build a shrine?

Or is it merely an acknowledgment that given my state of celibacy, poverty and lifetime of service, I might as well have been a NUN?!

ps: even though the light has been both inside - and outside - with the 'door' on the side open to air it out - - absolutely nothing has changed about the image after 3 days!

Is it time to alert the media??

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Old age is like flying through a storm;

once you're on board, there's nothing you can do but hang on".
Golda Maier

I know summer is, iconically, the time for weddings, swimming pools, going barefoot, "trips' of all kinds (float, Mission and road), carefree, lazy days and celebrations of every description.

In academic medicine, it's also the time for endings and stressful beginnings.
Residents and Attendings leaving and new students starting...
this year, I'm acutely aware of the leavings - and the sadness that goes with them.

As wonderful as the Mission trip was, concerns for friends on the reservation who are struggling, changes in leadership for the Habitat chapter, the serious illnesses of friends and their altered circumstances have all got me thinking about how precious - and precarious - our time on this earth is.

That's one of the blessings - and curses - of getting older - you have both the time and the life experience to contemplate the bigger issues while noticing the smaller details.

It's an interesting inner space in which to be.

Things change.
Some of them disappear from our lives.
Sometimes we see it coming and sometimes we don't.
Sometimes we cause the change ourselves and sometimes it is visited upon us.

Some change is temporary and some is permanent, two concepts that are meaningful only here, in our world of ticking clocks and the rapidly-turning pages of calendars.

All the changes we see, those we welcome and those we resist with everything in us, are earthly.
They bruise only us, and they only bruise us here.

In a life where everything that has ever been still is, where all that will be already is, nothing is lost.
This is the timelessness of God.

Spend enough time thinking about it, and you begin not to be as frightened by the thought of entering it as you once were.

Spend even more time, and your entry will be imperceptible -- to you at least -- because almost all of you will already be there.

Barbara Crafton

For those friends who are of 'a certain age'...the sister nailed it, right?
To all you 'youngsters'... you'll see.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Here’s why I love my job…

after 31 years, there’s always a new way of perceiving the same old same old; always something new to hear or learn.

It IS a teaching facility after all, with a never ending stream of medical students, residents, Attendings and Consultants and as long as people keep having babies, we’ll never run out of patients...
there’s constantly a fresh ‘take on things’.

While reading a pts chart yesterday, I came across a sentence - an expression - I had never encountered before… and it made me smile –so I grabbed a pen to write it down

Instead of saying a child was 'responsive to aversive stimuli' (meaning, the kid responded, by crying or movement, when you pinched him/her or rubbed their sternum hard), a doctor wrote: "she was easily aroused to the appropriate hostility for the situation".


Every female staff person in the ER today (OK, and half of the men) decided that we want a Tshirt with that slogan on it!

I mean, we ALL have those days, right?

We are NOT PMS…we are simply “easily aroused to the appropriate hostility for the situation”!

Emotionally labile?
Nope… “easily aroused to the appropriate hostility for the situation”.

The possibilities are endless!
I’m thinking T-shirts, pillows and hats with this embroidered on it!

This one’s a keeper!