Thursday, February 27, 2014

I’m still here…

breathing slowly into a paper bag; 
trying not to pass out from the realization 
that my life is changing in 2 weeks! 
How did 34 years go by so quickly? 

Seems like just yesterday – 
and not 10 months ago – 
that I was called to leave ’the known’ 
and head toward mystery? 

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that I did. 

I stepped out in blind faith
and moments of great confidence 
but there are still times 
when the structure of the life I’ve had 
for decades 
seems to be the only reality
I could possibly know. 

And yet… 
I’ve deliberately chosen to put myself to the test. 

The emerging reality is that, 
in 1 month, 
when I wake every morning, 
I’ll have no idea what’s around the next bend, 
where and what I’ll eat, 
where I’ll lay my head, 
who I’ll meet 
or what I’ll see. 

I’ve never had the opportunity for that to be my reality. 
Even on a trip to a new country or place, 
things have been scheduled, 
reserved and ’itinerized’. 

There’s been an attempt at controlling the chaos 
within the travel. 

Feels reckless and scary 
and liberating 
to give the unknown 
free reign. 

 And maybe that’s the point.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Its not just another day.

Its the one day that is given to you today... 
Its the only gift that you have right now. 

And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

I was very grateful this weekend - 
for signs of new life
in unlikely places;

for reminders that 
I don't have to carry
the largest burdens by myself

that there will always be unexpected angels 
along the way

and that you're never too old to laugh
 and play.

Workshops about the Camino
and rehearsals for Mardi Gras consumed my weekend.

It was a wonderful mix of
old and new friends
and concentrating on new beginnings
and possibilities.

Hope yours was filled with events that made you smile as well,

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I'm not usually much of a diva...

this ones too hot, 
this ones too cold,
this ones too big, etc.

But that's exactly how I've felt about my backpack.

I took the first one back because I overbought -
there was no way I needed 65L - 
especially not one
that weighed almost 6 lbs 
in and of itself!

The second one just didn't feel right either;
it hit my neck in the wrong place,
restricting my neck flexibility;
it also felt like I was carrying all the weight in my shoulders,
not my hips.

So back it went -
with profuse apologies
for being so high maintenance.

Truth be told however,
I was proud of myself for not 'settling';
for saying "this isn't right".
It's easier to do that, isn't it?
To make do,
to pretend its OK; 
to say you'll get used to the things you don't like.

But I didn't.
I tried again -
and got someone who wasn't willing to settle either.

And then somehow, 
you just know...

Numero Tres -
ding ding ding, 
we have a winner!

I'm SO sure this time
that I even took the tags off!

I can start training in earnest now!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Honeymooners

It's been 3 months since the wedding.
The newlyweds are great,
settling in to their new lives - 
the perfect time for wedding pictures to arrive!

There are SO many I love -
but I'll limit myself 
to these favorites!

All the world's a stage -
and we're ON IT!

The whole tribe

The cousins

we're huggers.

and the newlyweds
at iconic St Louis venues...

the floodwalls

Lafayette Square Park

and my favorite soda building!

It seems so long ago!

That's why pictures are so important...
it brings it all back!
What a great time!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It keeps going...

whether we're ready or not!

Busy getting things wrapped up at work
and home; 
preoccupied with details of the pilgrimage
to the point of nearly excluding all else!

May be posting more often on
than here 
as I get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trust me, I mean it

"Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist."

Mary Oliver

I thought the wind up to retirement would be slower;
offering more time for reflection;
giving me more time alone; 
to begin the slower pace which I envisioned
would comprise my days.

I was delusional - 

maybe if I truly wanted that 
I shouldn't have planned a massive journey
would would take me away from home for weeks,
which means getting the rest of my life in order 
to be handed over to others!

Still living and learning!

Friday, February 14, 2014

As if you needed a reminder

about what day it is!

 even if you've lost before...

But feel free
to keep it real!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Messages from the Universe

Its one of the reasons why I’ve stayed in pediatrics 
for so long –
so many of the kids I work 
with have delightfully few filters.

While you might have to interact with them for a while 
to build rapport and let them see you are, in fact, 
someone who’s genuinely interested in what they have to say, 
once they know they have a receptive ear 
and an open heart – 
all bets are off.

She was 6.
We had been talking about the details 
of her sexual assault 
by someone at her school.

She didn’t know his name 
but he was an adult she saw every day.
When she was asked to describe him, 
she looked me in the eye and said 
“He’s old, like you and he has white hair, like you”.

She paused, clearly picturing him in her mind. 
I asked, anything else you can tell me?
She said “yeah, he’s light skinned like you 
and he has a white beard”…
and, hand to God, 
if she had said ‘like you’, 
I’m not sure I wouldn’t have pushed her off her chair!

I know, I know;
even thinking that 
shows how much this sister 
needs to retire!

My dogs escaped from the yard 
in the midst of yet one more snow storm 
while I was shoveling the driveway.

I drove all over town, 
risking life and limb on unplowed streets, 
calling for them, 
telling anyone who was out shoveling 
or walking by in the winter splendor 
about the escapees.

One came home on her own – 
the oldest, fastest and (truth be told) the brightest.
A knock on my door, 
2 hours later, 
told me the youngest was ‘corralled 
in a Good Samaritans yard one block over.

I got back in the car 
and went to rescue my panting 
but totally unrepentant puppy 
who was delighted to see me 
and eager to get home.
But as I put her collar on
and stood on her rescuers steps, 
chatting and profusely thanking them 
for taking the time to get her safely restrained,
she decided she’d had enough outdoors adventure.

She made a beeline for the car – 
so warm, inviting and so close – 
and, as she did, 
I was jerked backward off the steps 
and, due to the velocity of her pull and my momentum, 
went ass over elbow, 
doing a backward somersault 
and, surprisingly landing on my two feet.

I can’t say I ‘stuck’ the landing, 
in Olympic parlance, 
but there was only a tiny bobble.

With shocked looks on their faces, 
the Good Samaritan and his wife rushed to my side,
no doubt
ruing the day they took in this damn dog
and the wife blurted out, 
“OMG, are you OK?; that was pretty impressive. 
You’re pretty agile for an old lady” 

OK – I get it; 
I’m not as young as I used to be!

I love honesty – 
but I love it even more 
when all the reality checks in a day 
aren’t about me!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

thinking outside the box

I was younger then;
i thought i knew the form 
and the look of love;
the definition of its gifts,
the look, the taste, the smell of them.

age has changed that,
as it changed so many things.
its the blessing and the curse 
that comes with the living.

Someone I loved once gave me 
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this too
was a gift.

Mary Oliver

Exactly right.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I have an idea...
every attorney that sends his client into the Emergency room - 
"to just document their concern
in the latest round of ongoing custody battles 
with their spouse or soon to be ex-spouse - 
has to pay all medical costs 
from his/her retainer.

It will also be HIS/HER child
sitting and waiting for medical attention
for a bonafide disease
while ED staff 
wastes their time 
dealing with this nonsense.

Or better yet...

After the day I've had,
either option works for me!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

“it is a serious thing / just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.” ― 
Mary Oliver

And it can break your heart to be aware of just how broken it is…

Deaths out of time –
well, out of what our senses tell us should be the ‘right’ time –
are never easy for me to comprehend.

Whether its someone blessed with talent and gifts
in roughly the same measure
as demons and doubts
or the teenager in the ED this morning,
recently released from ‘Juvy’,
yet still imprisoned 
by overwhelming grief, loss
and the absence of hope.

A man-child who believed 
only oblivion and permanent darkness 
could provide the release from a life 
that seemed to hold nothing 
but more despair.

I don’t understand where resilience resides
or why it’s not allotted
in equal proportions to all.

Some days, 
standing silent witness to the fallen, 
shaking my head
in disbelief and sadness 
about what the world loses
on a daily basis 
is exhausting.
today was one of those days.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Early February

I couldn't bring myself to put away the 'twinkle' lights;
but I also didn't want a 'wintery' look.
I'm sick of winter this year!

So I took antique Xmas light reflectors,
which surprisingly are shaped like flowers and stars,
and turned the lights into harbingers of spring.

Even the silver ones are eye catching.

 And I threw some antique Valentines
around the room
to add another touch of spring!

All in all,
a fairly productive morning.

not everyone was impressed!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Selective deafness

You know all those recent posts about all the things I’m going to miss when I retire 
and how sad I am to contemplate leaving behind 
so many funny, dedicated, compassionate people?

Yeah… well yesterday was one of those days 
that I was reminded of SO many things 
I will not miss!

Reasons 189-193 WICWTR
(Why I can’t wait to retire)

*Incompetent Children’s Division workers 
who try to cover their mistakes in protecting kids 
by attempting to throw “the big bad hospital Social worker” 
under the bus.

*Being the point person for a team decision
 and having to inform a mother 
she wouldn’t be taking her baby home with her.
*Being the target 
for all her anger, pain and fury 
associated with that decision.

*Lack of support, 
even hostility, 
from a department leader 
about not being immediately available 
for a case in the ED 
because I was defusing the situation 
on the inpatient floor.

*Not getting a bathroom break 
or eating lunch 
until almost 4pm 
because putting out 
back to back fires 
is SOOO damn time consuming.

True, I only got through the day because of all 
the funny, dedicated, compassionate people 
I was surrounded by – 
but, on any given day, 
the drama and turmoil 
associated with my working life
drowns out their voices 
until all I hear 
is the chaos.

It will be a blessing to become deaf to all of that.

Happy February