Thursday, April 26, 2012

not Miracle Max

I work with some GREAT doctors… I mean, exceptional human beings: principled, compassionate, skilled clinicians.

 So I can’t say we were surprised when our Referral Center got a call asking for their help … at least, not until we heard the nature of the request!
 But we work in a parallel universe to the one filled with ‘normal’ people … so I guess, after all these years, the only surprise is that we were surprised!

 A teenager had been seen at a hospital in a small town in a rural part of our state, found to have catastrophic injury and, after a nearly 90 minute unsuccessful resuscitation effort, he was pronounced dead.
 Due to extenuating social situations prior to his life altering event, his excellent previous physical condition and the emotional dynamics swirling in the local ER, no one was truly shocked when family insisted he was just “nearly dead” (which as all movie aficionados of a certain age know from watching Princess Bride) is “mostly alive”.

 Apparently not wanting to be the only bearers of this bad news themselves, the local docs transferred him (by Air Ambulance, of course!) to an adult hospital within our system where he was assessed, futile resuscitative effort were terminated and he was, in fact, finally pronounced dead.

Family however, still refused to accept this ‘diagnosis’ and insisted on getting ‘a second opinion’, insisting "it was their right covered by insurance and Obamacare" … which by this point was, actually a third, fourth and fifth opinion since multiple doctors in several specialties, in each previous facility, had been already consulted.

Really, I never knew cessation of all body functioning was so tricky to diagnosis – doesn’t it just take a mirror held under a nose?

There was never once a hesitation about what the diagnosis was or what the outcome would be…fear of litigation and family pathology was driving the whole bus!

Anway, one of our docs was called to provide the ‘second opinion ‘and obstacles, like not being on staff or having hospital privileges in that facility, were swept away like so much sand on the linoleum floor.

A drive across town, a review of the medical chart, lab and monitor print outs plus one brief physical exam later, he was indeed pronounced dead.

I swear, all it takes is ONE article about a neonate being mistakenly pronounced dead in northeastern Argentina – and healthcare costs in this country sky rocket as a result!

Ever wonder why our healthcare costs are SO out of control in this country?

This story is the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

Tip. of . the. iceberg!

Friday, April 20, 2012

the truth is...

I'm tired.The accumulated losses of the past few months, adjusting to 'new' realities, ways of being and the stress of a workplace that gets crazier and more dangerous with every case has finally worn me out.

No matter how skilled or well defended a person may be at avoiding issues that are troubling, there are times when a step back for reflection is definitely called for.

The truth is I also need less time at this computer, playing with words, and more time outside, moving and reconnecting with the rhythms of the earth and my own body.

So, I'm taking a break from this space... and making space for different things.
I'll be back - 'til then... be good to yourselves.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

a picture is worth...

There comes a holy
and transparent time
when every touch
of beauty
opens the heart
to tears.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Playing with lilies

There was no place Mother Nature could go
for some privacy...
and it was beginning to piss her off!


Detailing wasn't his thing...
but it was a gig that paid the bills,
so what the hell!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rainy day - and one too many funerals

Maybe it's just me... but it feels like I've said Good bye to too many people lately.

Sadly, Saturday was no exception.

Carol, a friend from church died recently after a 3 1/2 year battle with cancer.

She was one of the first people I met in St Louis.
She worked at the publishing house where my husband got his first job.
She was an author (of over 200 books), teddy bear artist and an essential member of both choir and a Creation Spirituality group that was a huge part of our lives for decades.

She was irreverent, creative, funny and brilliantly eccentric.

She was also one of the few people with whom I still had a relationship who remembered me from the 'married' portion of my life.

After her Memorial service, I resorted to a coping strategy I rarely utilize - retail therapy.
And, while I wish I could say it didn't help, it did - and supported several other eccentric artists in the process.

I picked up something for Art Boys new studio, a 'flag' by Paul Webb,

and something for myself.
Despite how it looks, this is a totally flat piece of wood, painted to look three dimensional... and that screw? - yup, painted!
Mark Sheppard, an amazing folk artist!

I also poked around in an antique store and found a wonderful flock of pipe cleaner birds!

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild.
So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you.
And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

Somehow, it just felt right to get them.
I think Carol would approve.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wild Geese - and all other living things

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees,
for a hundred miles through the desert,
You only have to let
the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair,
and I will tell you

Meanwhile, the world goes on.

the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are,
no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese,
harsh and exciting---
over and over
announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Friday, April 13, 2012

Time sucks...

on the world wide webs!

As if I couldn't already find enough ways to play and waste my time on this computer - yes Pinterest, I'm talking about you!

Now, I discover -and all the photo editing fun you can have at the flick of a finger.

Here's Art Boys latest - hanging where it should - in some fancy ass museum.
(Only a matter of time, folks!)

Yes, Nora... this is what it would look like if your Aunt Donna had an up to date Smart phone and not 'Maxwell Smarts shoe phone' complete with an antennae!

Here's Nora, as a toddler brightening up NYC...

and either Lilliputians looking in the window at GI Joe, or museum viewers looking at his image at the MOMA.

And, what's your preference, my photo of an Iris as a jigsaw puzzle

or a painting?

I think I'll go with painting - give Art Boy a run for his money... (as if!)

And I do think compassion and caring are something to write home aboutand that members of our family create a beautiful mosaic - in more ways than one!

Told you, you can waste time here!

Don't go blaming me when you fall in the black hole!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The things we see every day

are the things

we never

see at all.

May each day

be filled with new vision.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Avert your eyes NOW if you don't like roses...

although, really, how can you NOT like roses!

I, for one, just can't get enough of their lusciousness!

If this whole social work thing doesn't work out for me, I want to be a photographer for Jackson and Perkins!

If anybody has a connection with that company, let me know immediately -

I would quit my 'day job' in a heartbeat.

I think I might have a real chance at a new career!
Wouldn't THAT be fun?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two by two

I've had all these thoughts myself - for years!

Leave it to our Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, to express them so well!

The Chairs That No One Sits In

You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop and do nothing for awhile.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It may not be any of my business,
but let us suppose one day
that everyone who placed those vacant chairs
on a veranda or a dock sat down in them
if only for the sake of remembering
what it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs,
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive on that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is only the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another; cries of joy or warning -
it passes the time to wonder which.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who needs Italy...

when we have The Cathedral Basilica of St Louis?

A Romanesque exterior that projects all the majesty, pomp and substance befitting a major place of worship.

Entering the church is literally removing oneself from the world...

and being surrounded by a very different sense of beauty.

I'm tempted to say a darker sense of beauty and more mysterious - but there's nothing much darker or more mysterious than the 'real' world we live in!

You don't come to the Basilica for the leaded or stained glass...

you come for the mosaics!

This is the world's largest mosaic collection: the work of 20 artists over 83,000 square feet.

Over 41.5 MILLION pieces of tesserae (mosaic tile) in approximately 7000 colors!

I love the almost Native American feel of this one!

Gold mosaic is everywhere - and while this Byzantine style of art (and ostentatiousness of worship, for that matter) isn't my 'cup of tea', I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship and 'otherwordliness' of the effect.

The mosaic work was 76 years in the making ( 1912- 1988).

The Cathedral was designated as a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

So, while you're saving all your money for that trip to Italy to see the frescoes and mosaics in Ravenna and Florence (and you really SHOULD go see them, they're exquisite too), don't overlook the beauty that's right here at home!

You really can get quite lost in your thoughts - and in 'looking heavenward' - while you're there.

It was the perfect place to spend some quiet hours on Holy Saturday.