Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012

For last year's words belong to last year's language
and next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

T. S. Eliot
The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul.

G. K. Chesterton

I resolve - not to have resolutions!

I don't do well with edicts or rules; hence, I don't do well with resolutions.

Maybe it's my self diagnosed Oppositional Defiance Disorder; maybe it's lack of discipline; maybe it's a form of arrogance - believing rules are something other people need to follow but not me - whatever the reason, the surest way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can't do it!

Given that mind set, you can understand why it's been several decades since I made any New Years resolutions - and why I'm OK with that.

It just seems to me to be a VERY negative way of starting off the new year;

it says you aren't doing something well; that you're a failure - and we all know how difficult and short lived most change really is and how people who are labeled failures most often live up to that expectation, - so basically, with resolutions, you're screwed right off the bat!

Instead, I'm going to suggest we make lists of what we're doing right that we want to continue doing ... not that refinements and improvements can't be made in all of us, but why heap on the guilt when everyone is just trying to get through every day the best they can, right?
Ya know what I mean?

All behavior is purposeful; it helps meet some need you have, even if you wish it didn't.
And, since the behavior is there for a reason, there could be ugly consequences if you remove it.

So, if you make and then -heaven forbid - keep a resolution, just be prepared is all I'm sayin'!

That being said, my first 'Unresolution' would be to keep on being curious - about myself, about others, about why people do what they do and about why, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, folks (including myself) keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting, or hoping, to get different results, which is the very definition of insanity.

In other words, I'm going to keep channeling Dr Phil and ask myself and others "How's that working for you?"
Maybe this year, I'll even pay attention to the answers!

My second 'unresolution' would be to keep talking to strangers.

Basically I have to do this in order to keep my job, but this one goes beyond that requirement and, I fear, may be genetic.

I have NO doubt that GI Joe and Art Boy hate this one as much as I hated it when my mother felt perfectly at ease opening up all sorts of superficial details about our life to anyone who crossed her path. (Although it does make for wonderful training as a Walmart greeter if the economy continues to tumble!)

But interacting with all kinds of life forms with whom you share this planet is NOT always about developing long term relationships; its about making individuals feel they are worthy of being noticed; they are special and you're glad that, in this moment and time, your paths crossed and briefly intersected.

As annoying as it is for my children to witness, I believe as people sink into the hole of invisibility with aging, it can be a life saver to have another human being 'see' you, on any level, and believe you're worth interacting with.
So, sorry guys, I'm going to keep doing it!

I also will continue to eschew trendy clothes and shoes.
I mean, really, what's the point?

I have a great chance of getting puked or peed on every day and I don't want one set of clothes for work and another complete set for after hours.
I simply don't have the closet space.

Give me washable, all purpose clothes good for all events in my life - work, church, NASCAR, wrestling matches, shopping in thrift and antique stores - and I'm satisfied.
(Told you I was low maintenance! I'm also pulling your leg about some of these - you can decide which ones!)

I will also practice being more patient; 'practice' being code for I know it's a problem and I'm working on it.

Ditto for 'practicing' making better choices about food and exercise.

Apparently walking the dogs several miles each morning is not enough to counteract all I put in my mouth and I don't have time to walk to LA before work each day so something's got to change!

Wait, that's feeling suspiciously like a resolution...

Most of all, I'm going to continue to be open to love, laughter, 'signs', seeing humor in the worst of things and appreciating the chance to start over every day that I'm above ground and breathing!

And then there's THIS... a reminder I have to take seriously - and which may impact how often I show up here!

How about you?

What would your 'unresolutions' be?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Change of life

It's not the cases... those I can do.
It's not the staff... those folks I love - and, since most of them work some swing shifts, I'm used to working with them already.

It's the rhythm of things... it's the timing I don't have down.
And not necessarily timing at work -
calling the police or the Hotline is no different in the middle of night than during the day.

... no, it's the timing at home.

It's going to bed at 2:30am and, thanks to decades of conditioning, waking at 6:30am.
Do you stay up? Turn over and try to go back to sleep?
Get up, do something productive and then try to take a nap later?

I have worked all my life since age 14 - thanks to 'progressive' New Jersey state law which, back in the day, basically allowed child labor to continue -

so my association with being home during the day is that I must be sick...which obviously explains why I'm spending so much time on the couch or in bed, dozing, watching daytime TV (yikes!) and being half conscious.

Then there's the issue of clothes.
When you work during the day, you get up, get dressed and get out the door.

With my new hours, there's a big quandary...
do I get changed, go out to do something productive, only to come back and get changed again for work? (Should I be worried that that sounds like so much work!?)

Or do I stay in my pjs - OK, a sloppy T-shirt - and wait until getting dressed for work which precludes being out in public until I'm in the car headed for work which eliminates the ability to get anything done!

God help me, I'm one heartbeat away from getting pajama jeans to solve the whole problem!

I could just sleep in those suckers AND then get up and go out!
AND, on really bad snow days, I could still wear them to work, tucked into trendy Ugg boots!
Dear co-worker, whose shift I'm covering so you can stay home with your adorable newborn, things are deteriorating rapidly...
come back soon!

ps: I know it's only the first week... will it get better?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First snow

there's something magical about it!

I don't care how much people complain...

"I am younger each year at the first snow.
When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving;
then I am in love again and very young
and I believe everything.”
-- Anne Sexton

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Have patience.
All things are difficult before they become easy.


I won’t say it’s become ‘easy’…
but I can sense a sea change;
a lessening of tension;
an appreciation of how hard this must be for her –
and of how little she complains.

I'm not sure why, but it’s easier to be with her; to answer the same three questions repeated on an endless loop.

She’s lost her mobility, her independence and her orientation to time & place.
She's lost her past, living in a 'now' that only lasts for seconds.

She’s lost vocabulary, concentration, names and relationships.

She’s kept a smile, a sense of gratitude for small gestures and faith in her God…
not bad things to have when facing the end of one’s life.

Thoughts and visits these days evoke more sadness, less anger…

but ‘easy’?
Nope, can’t go there yet.

Monday, December 26, 2011


There was peace,

time for silence,

time to be together,

time for fun,

and for eating.

There were things that made us smile

and memories of those not with us that made us cry.

It was a wonderful weekend; almost magical.

Hope that was true for your family as well.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

God bless us - every one!

Christmas began in the heart of God.

It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you keep Christmas.

Henry Van Dyke

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bah humbug!

Seems some folks have lost their ho-ho-ho!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I’ll have no trumpets, triumphs, trails of glory.

It seems the woman I’ve turned out to be
is not the heroine of some grand story.

But I have learned
to find the poetry
in what my hands can touch,
my eyes can see.

Judith Viorst

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

"Embrace the darkness", she encouraged us.

It was during a mini-lecture on the origins of the day - winter solstice; its history and how ('back in the day' - 1400-1500's) Christianity combined its beliefs with established pagan traditions as a way of ensuring the 'new' religion would be accepted by the early Celts and Druids.

It was an informative talk, and the speaker was entertaining and knowledgeable ... but I couldn't help but think of an experience I had with GI Joe shortly after the death of his father.

The first Ash Wednesday after his dad died, 5 yr old GI Joe was attending a sermon for kids at the altar about what the imposition of ashes signified and why we did it.

The Rector giving the lesson was a woman my son had known for years; she was one of my best friends.
Right after she got through the explanation - that it's a way for us to remember that God formed us from the dust of the earth and to it, we will return - GI Joe stood up and started to walk away.

When Susie asked him where he was going, he replied "Thanks, but I just saw my father put in the ground; I don't really need another reminder".

I understand that today's the day when daylight is it's shortest since our planet is in its furthest rotation away from the sun.

I appreciate that 'the ancients' (why do I feel uncomfortably like I could fit into that category!) feared that the failing light would never return unless they intervened with anxious vigil and antic celebration.

I hadn't known that Mesopotamians are believed to have been the first to have engaged in a 12 day festival designed to help the god, Murdak, "tame the monsters of chaos" for 1 more year.
To which I say, "Nice try, but it didn't work!"

I've seen several monsters of chaos in the past 2 weeks and, not only have they not been tamed, they're going stronger than ever!

We have all kinds of wonderful ways to ward off the darkness this time of year and many of them work, at least, temporarily.

When I was a child, confusing, scary and hurtful things happened when the lights went out.

I have worked VERY hard to overcome a lingering fear of the dark and have succeeded all too well, according to family and friends - many of whom ask for a miners helmet when they enter my house since it's generally so dimly lit.

(Can you say overcompensation?)

I don't think there's a single person working in the ER who isn't painfully aware that there are forces of darkness at work in the world.

And, for all the beautiful ways we try to fool ourselves and keep it at bay, it's still there.

Whether it's the solstice of winter - or summer - there's a darkness that lives within human beings which makes itself known in both blatant and insidious ways.

So, for now, I'll continue to combat the darkness with the only means that I've found to be effective.

Do some folks really need a whole day to recognize, honor or celebrate the darkness?

"Embrace the darkness?"; thanks, but NO.
I've seen a child who was beaten to death this week; I don't need another reminder.