Monday, July 31, 2006

Father knows best?

In the midst of my sleepless morning, I decided to make my telephone calls. When I talked to Father, we talked about the usual things and I mentioned my canoeing trip last week with PF. He immediately jumped on that and told me maybe I shouldn't do things with "another man." Then he quoted the Bible to me: "Avoid all appearance of evil." Not only that, but what are this man's motives for going canoeing with you? Well, I told him that I appreciated the concern, but didn't see a problem. j. likes me to have someone to do outdoor activities that he doesn't enjoy with. Father conceded about a tenth of a point, then told me to avoid emotional intimicy with other men.

Being in a particularly shovenistic mood today, he then started talking about how "Women now expect to work the same jobs as men and get paid the same wage. When I was a boy, women knew they were just expected to be wives and mothers and homemakers. NOW has planted all kinds of bad ideas in women's heads. They're even encouraging women to pursue careers in math, science and engineering." I try not to engage in charged discussions with anyone, especially Father. I bit my tongue and didn't point out that his own mother was the major wage-earner in their family and had an advanced degree in Mathematics. He wouldn't get it anyway.

He continued in the same vein, noting that he had heard on the radio that fewer people are getting married, people are getting married at a later age and having fewer children. I again bit my tongue to keep from pointing out that he had so many that he couldn't devote personal time to any of us as children. This could have gone on for some time, but fortunately Father had many things to do and had to go.

I love Father and he is a good man in many ways, but today he was a major bigot.

two headed baby- dream journal

(I finally got back to sleep.)

Little Sister and Mother were visiting, so I decided to take the baby out of the womb for air. I didn't even know I was pregnant. They admired the pretty baby girl with lots of dark hair and bright blue eyes. When they left, I went to put the baby back and noticed that she was not only much too large to put back, but had an extra head growing out of her bottom. I told j. that we needed to go to the emergency room right away. Our ER said, "Go elsewhere, we're not equipped for this." We made the drive to a larger hospital. As time passed, the second head shrunk and by the time we got there, it was gone altogether. We finally saw a doctor and he said the baby had a kidney problem and needed a procedure. He gave us the name of a doctor who had "talked to someone who once saw it done" and said he could help us. I said I wanted someone who had actually done it before. "By the way, how far along is this baby? I didn't even know I was pregnant." Doc said the baby was about six months gestation; doing great for a preemie.

Sronnoc Esor

contretemps- word of the day

Word of the Day for Monday July 31, 2006

contretemps \KAHN-truh-tahn\, noun;plural contretemps \-tahnz\:An inopportune or embarrassing situation or event; a hitch.

Mrs. Post was the center of a notable contretemps when she spilled a spoonful of berries at a dinner of the Gourmet Society here in 1938.-- "Emily Post Is Dead Here at 86; Writer was Arbiter of Etiquette", New York Times, September 27, 1960

He looked worried, distressed, more distressed than one should look in the face of a slight contretemps.-- Anita Brookner, Undue Influence

Nathan was a fiercely ambitious and competitive man, as quick to take offenceas to give it in his business dealings, and it is not difficult to imagine him responding impetuously to such a contretemps.-- Niall Ferguson, The House of Rothschild

Contretemps comes from French, from contre, "against" (from Latin contra) + temps, "time" (from Latin tempus).

menage a trois- dream journal

(I'm too hot to go back to sleep and I don't feel too good either.)

I arrive at a hotel in my hometown with my lover and another woman who I also perceive to be with him. We didn't live in town, but my Grandma did and that's what our mail said. There are no hotels there. We check into a very nice suite with two large rooms. The other woman says she'll take the single bed and let me sleep with man. I have the distinct impression that it's very nice of her, since she's known him longer. I am suddenly very worried about a hangnail and start looking for a nail file. The other woman goes out onto the deck and I follow her. There is a little anteroom and then a big private deck with a wooden fence around it. We can see out to the Creek and the Big Bridge to the right and the railroad to the left. It's still the same white trash neighborhood. People playing music too loudly, dogs barking, and old cars in the yards. We go back in and I start looking for something to wear to bed. I can't decide whether or not to wear the silk nightgown that I brought. All I can find in my luggage are things that I don't need or want. After that I don't remember anything.

Sronnoc Esor

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Banshee hill

In our part of the Oregon dunes, there is a place called Banshee hill. It is a lovely tall mountain of sand dotted with firs. Tourists from all over come here to ride quads, 4 wheelers, rails, ATV's, OHV's up and down this hill. They make a huge tent and RV city in the sand by the roadside. At the hospital at night, the scanner tells us how brakes went out going down the hill and a man died. An ATV rolled over on a man and he broke his pelvis. A man's rail crashed, trapping him inside, unable to feel his legs. A man got off his quad and had a heart attack.

EMS has special dune buggies to rescue these guys. They show up in the ER covered in sand. And often blood. Worrying about fixing up the new, expensive quad. Wives and girlfriends and mothers call from far away or arrive in the entourage, all worried that his expensive, dangerous pasttime has done him in at last. The staff works hard to keep hearts pumping and lungs breathing. Often the adventurer leaves with a bandaid, sometimes he stays with us, occasionally he is flown out by helicopter or shuttled by ambulance to another facility.

I don't usually hear the outcomes. But when I see a 4x4 truck with an ATV in the back parked in the doctor's parking when I arrive at work, I always grimace. Sometimes I feel like crying when, through radio static, they tell us they're bringing another one.

Now, the really scary part. The government sells tickets. That's right. This is all done by permit on federal land. Funded by your tax dollars. Fueled by advertising. And driving the economy of our small town. Writing my paycheck, I suppose. Well, this is the land of opportunity; nobody ever said anything about the land of safety.

R. Connors

Revenge- movie review

Starring Kevin Costner as an American hot shot jet pilot who is retiring. He goes to Mexico to visit his friend who is some kind of mob boss and has an affair with the guy's young wife (accidentally, of course). From here the title tells the story. Mob boss beats up pilot and wife and sends wife to a whore house. She gets so sick that by the time pilot finds her at the end, she is near death in a convent. The end.

What can I possibly say about this movie? It begins pleasantly enough. There was enough graphic violence to keep me from watching some of the scenes. I like Kevin Costner, so that adds some appeal.

What is the message?

1. the sanctity of marriage? Mob boss had a girlfriend, so that can't be it.
2. the power of revenge? After all, that's the title. Maybe it's the ultimate revenge. The wife dies and leaves a broken-hearted lover. No doubt more broken hearted than he would have been if he just left Mexico and forgot about her before getting caught.
3. the power of true love? The passion is so strong that the lovers "do it" for the first time in a coat room. Is love stronger than death? Or is fancy pilot going to find a new girlfriend in a month?
4. love conquers fear?
5. selfish love leads to ruin?
6. be cautious when having an affair?


new blog

Here's a hearty welcome to the blogging world for Little Sister!

Follow my link to her blog: where the river flows.

And please, buy her book, when it comes out.

You're going to love her poetic and descriptive gift with words.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


I stayed busy last night at work and it was time to go home before I knew it. Nobody went bad and I think everything got done. Then one nurse called in sick and one nurse just flat didn't show up. It turns out she switched with someone who then got confused and thought she wasn't working. This facility is so small that we don't often have backup. Calls were made, someone would be there in a few hours. In the mean time, one nurse was left with eleven patients, so we all pitched in and gave an extra hour to get him started out. Only after I left for home did I realize that j. needed the car so he could go to work.

A quick check of my correspondence before going to bed revealed an email from Little Sister. She doesn't have enough college funding, so won't be able to start nursing school this fall as she had planned. Becoming a nurse would not only help Little Sister with a fulfilling career goal, but help fund her small family so Brother-in-Law could get out of the rut he's been in for 15-20 years managing a practically dead-end pizza business. Must find a way for Little Sister to go to college.

Little Sister also reveals that Granny is in the hospital again after breaking her pelvis. She is 88 years old and this is one in a series of hip and collarbone. Granny doesn't want to leave the farm where she has lived for 65-70 years to go to a nursing home where she will have help. She fires the home care aides that the family finds and has been increasingly difficult for even family to help care for.

Granny raised five children on the farm, taught upper level high school math, earned her master's degree and basically supported the family. Pappy never made a living from the farm and supplemented his income as a bus driver. I thought three times before saying anything to Granny to make sure it wouldn't sound too stupid. She probably still accomplishes more on an average day than I do.

Granny is a devout Christian and it is hard to see her suffer. She believes that when she dies, she will go to a better place, and she doesn't understand why God is leaving her on earth to suffer. Pappy died almost forty years ago and she has been alone for a long time. I say the odd prayer that if God is up there, He will spare Granny from her suffering.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Lawnmowers and the environment

The following statistics are taken from the July/August 2006 issue of "Health" magazine.

800 Millions of gallons of gas used each year by lawnmowers.
11 Number of new cars it takes to create the same amount of pollution that one lawn mower makes in an hour.
11 Millions of gallons of crude oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the largest oil spill in history.
17 Millions of gallons of fuel spilled each year while filling lawn mowers, tractors, and the like.

Now I will grant that these numbers are not cross-referenced and not very specific either. It is likely, however, that they are from our good old U.S. of A.

What bothers me about these numbers? The noise of lawnmowers in my small community, where it seems someone is mowing nearly every day, has caused me to start thinking about a natural, no-mow lawn. (We are renters, so this is a moot question until we purchase a home.) My idea is to plant native species that don't get very tall and are pretty to look at. Who came up with this notion of neatly mowed grass anyway? What's wrong with white clover, for instance?

So far, the only impediment I can think of to this plan is bugs, specifically ticks. I'll have to do some more thinking about that one. Of course, the people who make lawn tractors would also hate this idea.

I remember as a child the joy of rolling in clover; it is very soft and pleasantly aromatic. This would reduce human-hours of labor spent on lawn care as well as fuel consumption and resulting noise pollution, air pollution, and ground water pollution caused by spills. This would bring the hyperactive modern American one step closer to spending quality time with family, self-improvement, or some calming practice like exercise or meditation.

It would also help us to appreciate the diversity in small things. The number of tiny gems of blooming wildflowers that I find when I go hiking always amazes me. These lovely specimens could be interspersed throughout the lawn, a lesson in the beauty of small things and the value of diversity. After all, that's just what white-bread America needs: a lesson in accepting small differences in people like gender, sexual preference, skin color, ethnic background, opinion, relgious belief, and moral creed.

Am I reading too much into a lawn care question? Maybe. But I don't think so.


two kinds of bad- dream journal

Another confusing work dream. We were acting like we were working in a hospital, only it wasn't a hospital, more like a dormitory or a hotel. It seems the nurses lived there too. One old man that I was working with got very sick and had to move to another institution and I was going with him on a permanent basis. I had two things to do: pack my belongings and give report on the other patients to the nurses that were staying. I gave a poor report during which the nurses kept asking questions I didn't know the answers to and criticizing what I had done. Then I went looking for boxes to pack in. There was a movie theater and game room downstairs and I thought for sure they would have boxes. There were many boxes in the dingy downstairs hallway, but they were all falling apart. I then had to find my way up the maze of stairs, some seeming to "go nowhere just for show". In the game room I was shocked to see that it cost fifty cents just to watch someone play chess. It cost a dollar to play. I returned without boxes and hadn't even begun packing when it was time to go. Someone had brought cookies and my co-workers encouraged me to get some, but the fat nurse had her hand in the cookie jar and I decided not to have any.

Recurring (scary) elements: not being packed in time and doing a bad job at work.

Sronnoc Esor

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jeremiah Johnson- movie review

In this classic movie, Robert Redford plays an ex-soldier turned mountain man. He gets stuck with a boy whose family has been killed by Indians and receives an Indian wife as a gift. It takes him awhile, but he becomes connected to this conglomeration of a family, and when they are killed in an Indian attack he takes vengeance on the party that did it. As a result, the Indians keep sending assassins after him, all of whom he manages to kill. In the end, the narrator leaves us with an image of mountain man Johnson, wondering if he's still roaming the mountains somewhere.

First of all, who doesn't want to watch Robert Redford in the prime of youth? Add to that the sweeping panoramas of the Wasatach Mountains in Utah and the beautiful red rock canyons and you have a feast for the eyes, with or without a story.

Which raises the question, is there a story? We watch J.J. go from basically greenhorn, nearly starving in the beginning, to seasoned mountain man, able to meet whatever comes along head on. We never get too much of an inside track on how he or anyone else really feels about anything. Is that the intention? Are we to believe that the mountain man is a recluse who doesn't really care much for people and can take them (in small doses) or do without companionship entirely?

J.J. gets a rifle that he wanted off the dead body of an old mountain man who got his legs broken by a bear and froze to death after shooting the bear. In the note that the old guy writes, he expresses no regret at his death; his biggest concern seems to be that a white man and not an Indian gets his rifle. That sounds like detachment to me.

Another mountain man that J.J. meets, a grizzly hunter who has run out of grizzlies, doesn't even want to bother with a "night woman", he basically shies away from people altogether.

So is the message of the movie that mountain men were the social misfits of the time?

Or is it a roundabout way of telling us how beautiful the wilderness is and how the native inhabitants, human and animal were killed off and opressed by encroaching civilization?

It could be interpreted as a noble savage story, with J.J. making a journey from civilized soldier to savage.

Or, since it is supposed to be based on the life of a real man, it could be just telling a story.


touring an old town- dream journal

I was with Little Sister and my mother going through all the old buildings in some ex-town. Many of the buildings had been converted to gift shops or junk shops. As we were getting ready to call it a day, some ships pulled up to the dock. If you went down to the ships, you could get free food, a hairut for a nickel and other good deals.

The sailor serving the fruit clearly liked Little Sister a lot because he gave her a double helping and wouldn't give me any more. I guess I got my feelings hurt over this. After that, I climbed up in a bell tower someplace that I wasn't supposed to be. (I typed that phrase yesterday, too.)

Sronnoc Esor

professional milestones or how I became a nurse, part one

Science Woman's post and subsequent query about professional milestones has decided the topic of today's blog. That long road to "RN" and what has happened since.

The reason I originally wanted to become a nurse was actually pretty convoluted. As you recall, as a child I wanted to be African missionary Mary Baker. In high school I became enamored with India. At the time anyway, India was closed to American missionaries. Two ways around that were to be an English teacher or a medical worker. So I chose nursing, having no idea what that would entail.

I enrolled in aforementioned Bob Jones University as a nursing major. The first year they throw the hard stuff at you: Chemistry, Bio-chem, Anatomy and Physiology. Okay, I know some people reading here are thinking that isn't hard.

For me, just being at college was hard. I never took class notes one time in high school. I often skipped out on homework and required reading and was one of those "bad" students who only studied for tests on the bus on the way to school.

I was used to about ten hours of sleep and was getting less than eight. In addition, I had some mysterious stomach ailment that caused me to wake up nauseous every morning. (No, I wasn't pregnant. I didn't even know what sex was.) I would sleep through Biology first hour, go to the bathroom and throw up, sit through Chemistry second hour in the same lecture hall where the prof pointed me out in class and wondered when I would start taking notes. By virtue of going to summer school, I managed to pass all those classes.

The second year, we started clinical. I must have blocked this experience. At BJU, the RN students wear navy blue polyester dresses covered by a white pinafore, and an old-fashioned white cap. The girls who were really studious did their homework after required bedtime using a flashlight.

Halfway through second semester, we started labor and delivery. I really loved this rotation, but it's also the part where I failed. I was watching the fetal monitor on my patient, noticed the decelerations (danger!), but remembered that we had been told that can be a result of artifact from the machine and said nothing. The nurse was at the bedside in moments and the woman was rushed for an emergency c-section. I had to stand in front of a remediation board of about 10 people including the director. My punishment was being babysat by my nursing instructor. One of the few nice ones.

The babysitting went okay until one day when my nursing instructor was "helping" me teach a new mother to breastfeed. The infant wouldn't latch and it wasn't going well. My attention strayed to what the new father was watching on television and we made a few comments to each other. Believe it or not, this turned into another remediation for watching television instead of helping the patient. The verdict was that I could complete the semester, but I was unlikely to pass.

After much soul searching, I decided to change my major to Christian Missions, which is a harmless liberal arts degree with a fair amount of religion thrown in. Up to that point in my life, that was the hardest decision I had ever made, only complicated by family and friends who encouraged me that I could finish nursing if I trusted God. I completed the degree, getting a BA in four and a half years and taught school for a few years at a small church school in Utah, not giving much thought to nursing in the intervening years.

Although I enjoyed my two years molding young minds, I knew that it was not where I was meant to be. I resigned after my second year and moved back to Pennsylvania, where I moved in with my brother in his bachelor pad and got a job at an airport car rental.

It didn't take much of that to motivate me, and I started thinking about nursing again. I submitted my application to Penn State University, their branch campus was the closest nursing program, and waited. I was as surprised as anyone to be accepted. This turned out to be an excellent program. It had recently been started from a local hospital's diploma program and the instructors were trying to fit what they used to teach in three years into the new two year associate's degree program.

(continued later.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

slow day

J. has been working hard lately getting his personal training business off the ground. He gets up very early and gets home about the time I wake up. Since I work nights, that usually is sometime around noon. Then he takes a nap in the afternoon. We watched the disc of "The Lone Gunmen", a spinoff of "The X-Files that came in the mail today. I cooked some dinner. Now we're going to bed. I'll read for a while before I fall asleep. Tomorrow I need to get out and do something again. Too much of this schedule makes me crazy.


Wound up watching a movie after all. Will review it tomorrow.


dead squirrel in the bedroom-dream journal

I was sleeping in the corner of the barn in a sleeping bag on the floor. I went out for some reason and when I came back, a dead squirrel was belly-up in the middle of the floor. I went to bed and pretended it wasn't there, but when I woke up it had moved. If it moved, then it must be alive ...eekk! Then I started seeing more little squirrels playing dead. I was throwing coffee cans at them and trying to hit them, but I wasn't causing any damage and I just cowered on my pallet hoping none of them would decide to get in bed with me.

Later on, I was wandering around outside trying to escape detection, so I guess I was where I shouldn't have been, although I have no idea why.

Sronnoc Esor

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

21 Grams- movie review

Introducing a new blog feature to let you know what I think of recently viewed movies. We don't have cable television, but subscribe to Netlfix, so we watch lots of movies.

Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending.

Sean Penn plays Paul Rivers, who is awaiting a heart transplant; his wife Mary is trying to get pregnant. Jack Jordan, played by Benicio del Toro is a born-again ex-con who volunteers at some kind of boy's club and attends a church where they sing songs that I remember from childhood. Jack hits Christina Peck's (played by Naomi Watts) husband and two young daughters, who are all fatally injured. Jack drives home without stopping. Paul gets Mr. Peck's heart, hires a PI to find out where it came from and makes friends with Christina, who has returned to using cocaine and other drugs in her grief. Paul and Christina connive to kill Jack, but Paul can't bring himself to do it and winds up shooting himself in the struggle that ensues and eventualy dying in ICU. Christina discovers that she is pregnant when she tries to give blood to help Paul.

First of all, I love the way the movie was filmed. I'll need to see it again to really understand it. About half the scenes are completely non-sequential. This style of telling what I found to be basically a good story only enhances the movie's value in my opinion.

What I really like about a movie, though, is the light it sheds on interpersonal relationships and personal motivation and actions. This movie really delivers when it comes to that.

1. Bible-thumper Jack. Loves to say, "Jesus knows if a hair on your head moves." Drives a truck all tricked out with Jesus stickers which he won in some kind of contest. Jack has a major struggle with how God gives him a great truck and then lets him kill three people with it. He leaves his family after he gets out of jail for the hit-and-run, but finally returns to them.

Question: A. Did God (assuming his existence) allow the accident, cause the accident, or watch the accident? B. Given the above choices, what was God's role in Jack running away?

2. Recovering addict and mother Christina. Can't believe her father's assurance that life goes on after a death, yet eventually winds up pregnant. Not only has life continued, but a new life is begun. I couldn't find convincing proof of whether the baby belonged to the dead husband or Paul (whose own wife can't conceive).

Question: A. Does this demonstrate the whimsy of fate, favoring a paramour with a child instead of the wife? or B. Does this demonstrate an intrinsic fairness in the universe, replacing a dead child with a new one?

3. Heart transplant recipient and cheater Paul. Receives a heart transplant which ultimately fails, but shoots himself anyway. Of interest, his surgeon suggests that he stay in the hospital until they find him another transplant.

Question: A. Is he doomed to die one way or another? B. Does he shoot himself because he knows he's dying, or would he do it anyway? C. Does a heart transplant change a person's heart?

Having thought of these questions, of course I don't know the answers. I'll close with one more question though: Why does everyone in this movie smoke so much? Don't they know it will kill them for sure?


first date

Here's the blog I promised yesterday about the boy in my dream.

I already mentioned that I was raised an extreme religious conservative. I attended 13 grades of Christian day school and then went to the bastion of conservatism, Bob Jones University.

For those not familiar with it, when I went there (I graduated 10 years ago) the boys and girls dorms were on opposite sides of a closed, fenced campus. No one of the opposite gender was ever allowed in the other's dorm with the exception of boys helping girls moved in accompanied by a crier yelling, "Man in the hall!", and boys picking up girls for special concerts called Artist Series. Pantyhose were required for women at all times outside the dorm. Skirts covering the knee were standard attire; culottes were allowed for weekend intermural sporting events. Boys and girls were never allowed to touch, never allowed to be alone together, and never allowed to speak to one another in the library. Mandatory bedtime at 11pm, mandatory rising by 6:55am for room inspection.

So, to start out with I wasn't a fashion plate and had no idea how to talk to boys. One day I got a note in the intercampus mail systerm. A box was located in the lobby of each dorm and the boys distributed the notes to the appropriate dorm each evening where they were slid under room doors by volunteers. A boy named Stephen Goodwin had noticed me in our English class and wanted to go to dinner. He had earned an associate's degree in missionary aviation and was completing his BA, therefore he was technically a senior, but was still in my freshman English class. My upperclass roommate looked up his picture in last year's yearbook. Looks like a real dorkster, but I try not to pin everything on appearance.

We met at the dining hall for dinner. Stephen was a little over 6' tall (height over 6' is my requirement for a man, excluding XBFRN), skinny as a rail with aviator type glasses and curlyish red hair (I hate red hair in a man; I'm a redhead myself.) But the real problem was that he couldn't carry on a conversation. I bore the burden of the conversation and we said goodbye. Now, no one would expect a second date after that, right?

Wrong. I guess I met his expectations. Another note arrived asking for another meeting. I forget what. My roommates convinced me that I should give him another chance. Maybe he was just nervous. I didn't know anything about dating, since I wasn't allowed to date in high school, so I took their advice. Second date didn't go any better. Then came the real disaster. He asked me to go on a dating outing that my friends were going to and I really wanted to go. A dating outing was a rare opportunity to get off campus and have a little fun. They were sponsored by the literary societies, BJU's answer to fraternities and sororities. Of course I said yes. We traveled to the site by bus, my friends were much too interested in each other to help me out at all so I was bored stiff, but had a great time at the outing.

After that, he asked me on another off campus date: a group roller skating event. Writing this makes me realize how stupid I was. I went, of course. I didn't have the guts to say no when he asked me to Sunday afternoon vespers, a required religious program with singing and speeches. As we walked out of the darkened building into a drizzly day, Stephen asked me for yet another date. I finally told him no. In response, he pointed to a bright spot in the cloudy sky and said, "It looks like it's going to clear up."

I didn't expect to hear from Stephen again, and I didn't. But before the beginning of the next school year, I was sitting on my bunk reading when there was a knock on the door. I had gotten a job on campus and spent the summer there. The student body wasn't back yet and summer storage was being delivered to the rooms. It was Stephen, delivering barrels for my new roommates. He actually made a half-hearted attempt to suggest that we get together. It was no struggle for me to say no this time.

When we returned from Christmas break, I learned that Stephen had gotten engaged. After all, he was graduating in May, and in the Christian conservative world, BJU is a meet (meat) market. If you don't meet someone there, you might never get married.

I never met anyone there, by the way. But that's another blog.


confusion- dream journal

I can't really get much of a story line out of anything.

In one scene we seemed to be warriors returned from battle having a feast. Those with the highest rank ate first, one by one. I was one of only three women present, none of whom seemed to be warriors.

In another scene a teenage boy was locked in the basement and he kept sneaking out to try to get food. I was trying to help him. There was also a young girl there who had been separated from her family.

There were more that I can't remember.

Sronnoc Esor

Monday, July 24, 2006

Come along for a hike.

I woke up this morning, checked my correspondence, did some accupressure work on the kinks that I made yesterday and geared up to go hiking.

I applied sunscreen in the drive- through, drove to the trailhead, and from there the pictures tell it better than I can.

I don't know what this berry is, but I ate one. Hope it doesn't kill me.

What is this bean? They're everywhere.

The woods are atwitter with chickadees.

This is snowy plover country. That's a protected species.

This daisy-like flower makes me think of Little Sister.

Snowy plovers behind the marker. Stay out!

Now I know what that was: invasive non-native Scotch broom.

Strawberries in the sand. I don't see any berries though.

Purple asters. One of my all time favorites.

Just a few cumulus clouds flying by fast.

The boardwalk cuts through an oxbow- a detour the stream makes.

For XBFRN, what's it look like?

Lunch by the lagoon- Subway spicy Italian, extra jalapenos.

Mixed red and white clover. I think this would make a fine lawn.

Some unknown fungus here. I've always like fungi.

That's the end of the trail. Thanks for coming and don't forget to stretch.


Wikipedia birthday meme

Borrowed from Science Woman, whose blog archives I have been devouring every spare moment.

Type your birthday, sans birthyear, into Wikipedia. Record 3 events, 3 births, and 3 deaths.

May 12.


1364- Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, was founded in Kraków, Poland.

1967- At Queen Elizabeth Hall, England, Pink Floyd stages the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert.

2002- Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro's 1959 revolution.


1820 - Florence Nightingale, English nurse (d. 1910)
1828 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet and painter (d. 1882)
1907 - Katharine Hepburn, American actress (d. 2003)


1784 - Abraham Trembley, Swiss naturalist (b. 1710)
1889 - John Cadbury, English chocolate entrepreneur (b. 1801)
1994 - Erik Erikson, German psychoanalyst (b. 1902)

also Day of Finnishness in Finland


in the pouring rain- dream journal

To start out with, I was at work, but at no job I've ever had. I was a nurse and my patients were scattered all around this huge building with one in a nearby cottage. We had no regular forms to fill out and had to do our documentation on regular notebook paper. Everything was a mess, I never even saw all the patients and when morning came, I was very relieved to pass them off to someone else. The patient in the cottage had the same name as a patient who died two weeks ago.

After that I went to the movie theater and ran into Stephen Goodwin (my first college blind date and another blog;) he was with a girl that I knew and didn't like, but I can't put a finger on her identity. I was just getting ready to reminisce with them about how I didn't like either of them when they told me they were married and asked me if I wanted to have lunch with them. I had already agreed to have lunch with someone else, but I said okay.

We set out for the dining hall, I was wearing an evening gown with knee high boots, and we came to an obstacle that we had to cross. First was a cast iron fence with two horizontal rails like pipes, then a deep ditch, then a second, smaller but similar, fence. Since I was wearing a dress, I tried to climb between the rails only to discover that there was a razor edge on the other side that wouldn't allow me to cross, but had caught my dress. I carefully backed out with minimal damage to the dress and looked around only to find a way around the fence so that I didn't have to climb at all.

After getting over the ditch we found ourselves in an isolated room with no door, just a window. It was pouring down rain outside. Someone had been to the dining hall already and brought back a diamond tiara. At this point, I remembered that I had taken off my boots and left them outside. I had to take the window glass out and climb out the window to retrieve them.

Just then my very real kitty Ailleanach jumbed on my tummy and my very full real bladder, and the dream ended.

Sronnoc Esor

Sunday, July 23, 2006

another silly exercise- songs of your life

Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

How does the world see you?
Macavity the Mystery Cat- Sarah Brightman

Will I have a happy life?
Addicted to Love- Robert Palmer
(That seems like a nonconclusive answer.)

What do my friends really think of me?
Heave-Ho- Smash Mouth
(Didn't even know this was on there. I don't listen to this.)

Do people secretly lust after me?
America- Simon & Garfunkel
(Does that mean the whole country does?)

How can I make myself happy?
Stop- Meredith Brooks
(Another one I never heard before. Interesting.)

What should I do with my life?
Christmas Song- Dave Matthews Band
("Love is all you need.")

Will I ever have children?
Ave Verum Corpus- Mozart
(Hail,true body
born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed
on the Cross for man,
From whose pierced side
flowed water and blood,
Be for us a foretaste
In the test of death.)

What is some good advice for me?
Night Time- George Thorogood
("I wanna be with you in the night time.")

How will I be remembered?
Rainbow Connection- Kenny Loggins
("...the lovers, the dreamers, and me..")

What is my signature dancing song?
Friend of the Devil- Grateful Dead
(It's true that I'm not much of a dancer.)

What do I think is my current theme song?
Concrete Angel- Martina McBride

What does everyone think my current theme song is?
All the Pretty Little Ponies- Kenny Loggins

What song will play at my funeral?
For What It's Worth- Buffalo Springfield
("Stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down.")

What type of men / women do you like?
Broken Wing- Martina McBride

What is my day going to be like?
Go Your Own Way- Fleetwood Mac
(When I do this, I usually get semi-lost.)


where I've been

Here's a fun toy copied from Science Woman. An interactive tool to list all the states you've visited. There's an option for countries too, but that's depressing.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Paddling along and crayfish fate

After a few hours sleep today, I woke up to go canoeing with friend and co-worker P.F.. After dragging the canoe out, hosing it off, and loading it on top of the Jeep, we set out for a local lake. We paddled for four hours or so, good exercise for my muscles that have become lazy and stiff lately. The speed limit on the lake is 10mph, but another boater, North River OR 33 AAP was trying to go water tubing. They would have been called in to law enforcement by PF, who enjoys a calm lake, had the cell phone coverage been better. As it was, I guess the driver thought my binocular level interest in him was personal. We meant to circumnavigate an island in the lake, but found ourselves at a dead end, not an uncommon scenario in blind navigation around here.

Anyway, a good day seemed to be had by all, talking about whatever came to mind and chewing the snacks of cashews and dried mushrooms PF brought along. Dried shitakes are a surprisingly good snack.

The subject of a grade school science experiment came up. Sometime around fourth grade my science teacher asked two students to bring in a live animal in a jar. I volunteered to bring a crayfish (we called them pinch crabs,) and a boy brought in a bug of some kind. It turned out to be a question of oxygenation. The bug got holes in the lid, the unfortunate crawfish had none. Of course, you know the result.

Question: Why did my pinch crab have to die? I wonder if my fourth grade teacher made a judgment call to allow the creature that she deemed to have the most merit to survive. What's better, a bug or a crawfish? Crayfish eat bugs or their larvae. Or was it a decision based on her personal affinity for the students in question? Who knows, maybe it was a random choice, crayfish fate decided by drawing lots.

Does it mean anything? I guess not. Those crayfish were my personal pets. I spent many hours carefully catching them, keeping them in jars and always eventually returning them to the DeWitt Run behind my house. I don't remember many details from my childhood, but suddenly that is clear in my memory. I was never a favorite of either teachers or classmates in school and it seemed like a slight to me.

Is there a lesson to be learned? Is one species better than any other? I'm a meat eater and leather wearer, so obviously I think so, no matter what I say. I think my kitties are better than the bugs they sometimes kill and eat. I leave rat poison in my attic crawl space. I religiously deflea the kitties and gleefully squish any mosquito unfortunate to land on me. Maybe it's a lesson about giving the underdog a chance.

On the other hand, it could have something to tell me about people. A reminder to be more considerate of others. A comment on illegal immigration or racism or gender discrimination. Some people say I overthink things. Is this too much too derive from a long-ago-dead crayfish?

What do you think?


Saturday, July 22, 2006

I got to thinking.

Talking to people at work last night got me to thinking about what happened at work last weekend. When you look at it objectively, it wasn't really as bad as I thought. At my old job, I took care of seven patients all the time and it didn't seem so difficult. So was I really upset because this job is easier and I can't hack it anymore? Or was it that I overreacted to someone else having a much smaller patient load than myself? Because I finally realized that it wouldn't have mattered whether the other nurse got paid to sit on the other unit and paint her nails or take care of ten patients; I would still have the same amount of work to do. So, was it just a snit because someone I don't always get along with well seemed to have it easier? Or is it part of something larger that is happening to me emotionally? There's no doubt I feel a huge sense of relief today after having a relatively normal night at work last night. I realize that it's important to have people who ground you in reality and point out your inconsistencies.

Next time I get into a funk I'll ask myself, "Did you spend a few days composing this in html and you just don't recognize it in plain text?"

R. Connors

seeking answers to a timeless question

What does Love mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds. The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
-Rebecca age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
-Billy age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
-Karl age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
-Chrissy age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
-Terri age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."
-Danny age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
-Emily age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
-Bobby age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
-Nikka age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day."
-Noelle age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
-Tommy age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
-Cindy age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
-Clare age 6

"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."
-Elaine age 5

"Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
-Chris age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
-Mary Ann age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
-Lauren age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
-Karen age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.
-Jessica age 8

Finally, author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighber was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man crying, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Friday, July 21, 2006

nice wake up call :P

I woke up this morning (afternoon, really) to find a message on the answering machine from work. They know I'm working Friday and Saturday, but could I possibly do Monday or Tuesday as well. It's no big secret that we're short staffed now. Good thing I keep the ringer off.

My usual reaction to these scenarios is see how the weekend goes first, but after last weekend I don't see extra time in my near future. I return her call and tell her that. Then I rashly tell her that it would ony take about three more weekends like the last one for me to start looking for a new job.

I hope that can remain simply a threat, because I really like my job, but I do mean it.

R. Connors

a journey- dream journal

I've had a similar dream before, but I think I'm getting somewhere.

In the previous dream, I travel a long distance over rough roads to see a beautiful spot by the lake. When I get there I realize that I'm only 50 yards from where I started, but I still have to travel the whole rough road to get back.

In last night's dream, I travel to the lake again. The dream is only about the return trip where I find a shortcut. I recognize the main road across a field and quickly turn off onto a gravel lane. The lane is full of potholes, in a few places there is a deep ditch down the middle of the road deep enough to swallow my car, but I manage to stay on the road.

I come out in a small town and go into a few shops. By this time it seems that I am on foot. I get a leash for my cat and the shop owner tries to talk me into taking a puppy. I decline. The cat has unraveled a spool of string and I clean it up.

I segue into another dream sequence where I seem to be at some sort of church function.

People keep giving me sandwiches and drinks for someone who is going on a trip. I am supposed to mail them to her if I don't see her. Then everyone starts rushing around in a panic as if there's a fire. I am left aiming a hose into a big wooden bin full of papers and stuff. It seems like I am trying to burn it only it obviously won't catch fire with the water hose I am using so I pour accelerant on it. (Maybe a Fahrenheit 459 reference?) It still doesn't catch.

After that we clean the place up and I finally see the girl going on the trip, it turns out to be Melanie, and give her her food. I pass two people having a clandestine conversation in what used to be my father's sunday school room. (This is a recurring scenario.) I want to know what they are discussing and try to eavesdrop without success.

Before leaving the building I use the tiny bathroom at the end of the hall. In the full length mirror there, I am obviously showing.

Sronnoc Esor

Thursday, July 20, 2006

word of the day -nescience

Word of the Day for Thursday July 20, 2006

nescience \NESH-uhn(t)s; NESH-ee-uhn(t)s\, noun:
Lack of knowledge or awareness; ignorance.

The ancients understood that too much knowledge could actually impede human functioning -- this at a time when the encroachments on global nescience were comparatively few.
-- Cullen Murphy, "DNA Fatigue", The Atlantic, November 1997

He fought on our behalf in the war that finally matters: against nescience, against inadvertence, against the supposition that anything is anything else.
-- Hugh Kenner, "On the Centenary of James Joyce", New York Times, January 31, 1982

The notion has taken hold that every barometric fluctuation must demonstrate climate change. This anecdotal case for global warming is mostly nonsense, driven by nescience of a basic point, from statistics and probability, that the weather is always weird somewhere.
-- Gregg Easterbrook, "Warming Up", The New Republic, November 8, 1999

Nescience is from Latin nescire, "not to know," from ne-, "not" + scire, "to know." It is related to science. Nescient is the adjective form.

why cry?

I have to admit to the occasional bout of depression. What's good for depression? SSRI's, MAOI's, TCA's? No thanks. Just give me a M*A*S*H* marathon or DVD. I'll cry my eyes out. Don't ask me why crying a river gets me over the hump, but it does. Am I really that upset because Radar's girlfriend chose to break up with him by sending a record? I mean, I know Radar was really broken-hearted, but it doesn't make me that sad.

So why am I crying today? Playing sappy country love songs on the piano- How do I live (without you)?, Feels so Right, classic Don Williams' I Believe In You. Does the keyboard sound as blurry as the notes look to my teary eyes? Is it about not getting pregnant this month, stirring up old memories, having a tougher time at work than usual? Or do I have some weird hormonal pattern going on? In truth that's the best culprit I can ever think of.

It's good when you have a jag like that to have a man who holds you tight and makes you laugh. I have some movies that can always make me cry, and normally I'd go pop one in the DVD player, but I must've gotten some toxins out already. I guess people knew how to be depressed even before television came along.


dumpster diver-Shadow

This kitty loves to play with trash. Maybe it's because she's a pet shop kitty. Maybe it's just like my friend says, and they're all completely crazy.

We walked by the pet store on our way to the car and I wanted to go in. J. was a few minutes behind me. When he came in, he asked if I'd seen the gray kitty.

"Nope. I didn't think this pet shop had any kitties today."

"Could we take it home?"

Well, okay, if the price is right. You already know the end of that story. She was the last kitty left from the litter. The lady at the pet store said she sat in her little terrarium and mewed and cried all day. No doubt the pet shop lady would mew and cry all day if locked in a glass box, too.

Poor Shadow didn't have any fur when she came home with us, only sparse gray hair. She sat in my husband's lap inside the crown of my cloth sun hat all the way home. The first night she slept on my pillow, cuddled up in the corner of my shoulder and my head, purring loudly. Every little while I would wake up to feel a coarse, wet kitty tongue licking my ear.

She ate like a horse for the first several months. Her fur grew in quickly. On her first trip to the vets I learned that she's a "dilute tortie". That's tortoiseshell to those of you who aren't in the kitty know. A regular tortie is chocolate and ginger or so, but Shadow is blue and cream. That means gray and beige in English. She has astonishing sea green eyes.

Shadow turned out to be just that, my husband's shadow. She follows him around every waking moment. She sits on his lap a lot, on the keyboard, on the remote control. At night she often cuddles up against one of our legs.

Here she is bringing her toy to play fetch. My husband insisted on buying this baby toy for Ailleanach when my sister was having a baby, but Ailleanach never cared for it too much. It has a rattle in the tail. Shadow's favorite toys, however, are rubber bands and trash. I woke up this morning to find a wood chip next to my pillow. I guess it either came out of the litter or she's chewing up the furniture at night. Newspaper is a good toy, too.

So, we're not sorry we brought her home. We think she's cuter every day.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

my inlaws- first installment

My mother in law came from an Irish Catholic family with lots of kids and no money. Perhaps for that reason, the family are all big drinkers and crazy as loons. Obbie, as she was called, was the pretty one, her pictures remind you of Jackie O. The department store always asked her to model for their fashion shows. I don't know whether she was too picky or all her prospects got killed in the war. Anyway, she was left with Joe.

My father in law came from an Irish Catholic family with only two kids and lots of money. People thought he should be married, so he married Obbie. They spent their honeymoon sailing down the intercoastal waterway from New Jersey to Miami.

In the first five years, she had 7 babies: three sets of fraternal twins, one set died. My husband and his brother were born premature, only 2 and 4 pounds in 1956. No one expected them to live, but they did. The nanny is said to have run down the street screaming, never to return, when the second set of twins came home.

Obbie wasn't very happy. She would carry her suitcase outside and sit in the car crying. She didn't know how to drive. The children would press their faces to the upstairs windows crying when they saw their mother doing this. She drank too much, cooked like an Irish-woman, and had no control over her diabetes. Her young son always carried candy in case of a fainting spell in the store somewhere.

For all this, Obbie raised her children to know how to act. They learned early how to hold the door for a lady, order for themselves when eating out, and make polite conversation at a party.

Obbie had serious heart problems and had a valve replaced. She died from complications of an ensuing surgery when her children were still college age in the 1970's.

crazy dreams last night- dream journal

I dreamt that I was sharing a swanky apartment with Dad. We were having some family members over. First we were driving in the van, then the main highway was closed and we had to go through town. Apparently, Dad got lost; we drove around all the back alleys past stores that I didn't even know we had, including Albertson's. Eventually we ended up on foot; it seems we knew the route better by sidewalk. My know-it-all brother struck out ahead as though he knew where he was going although he had never been there before.

When we got to the house, everyone wanted to see what Dad had gotten for Christmas. The gifts were fabulous, Dad didn't know why everyone gave him so much stuff. There was a telescope, a hanging lamp with a constellation chart, and a huge wall painting done on starched felt. I was trying to put up one of those lamps that goes from the floor to ceiling with the lights on the side like tree brances. That wasn't working out too well and then water starting pouring in through a floor vent.

I had paid for my cousin's plane ticket and it turned out that he had bilked me out of about $500 by having his ticket changed and taking the refund in cash. I was sorting through receipts in my wallet and saving change, of which I had a lot.

Another dream was the usual unfinished sex dream where I'm making out with someone. When we started getting undressed, it turned out that I smelled too bad for his taste.

Sronnoc Esor

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

an irreplaceable memory

We were in college. He was young; I was older but completely innocent. I knew he wouldn't have minded sleeping with me, but I had no idea he might have actually had feelings for me. I squelched my feelings for him because I was looking for someone churchier. We survived nursing school together, an experience that cements a firm bond. We hung out together too, smoked some pot. I had my first drop of liquor with him. Got more drunk than I've ever been on a bottle of Jim Beam. Puked out the car window, sat in the grass because it felt good. Slept together in his single bed with all our clothes on. He was the first man to hold me, and when I was alone in my own bed I tried to remember how his arms felt. We fit together on the sofa or an armchair. After my breakup, we fooled around. He was pre-Lewis, the only man I could trust. Now he tells me that he wishes we'd become more. But that bittersweet night that we held each other for the last time and I whispered "I love you" he could only say "Thank you." Maybe he didn't hear right.

sledding- dream journal

In last night's dream I was pushing a sled. It was like a dogsled with those big curved handles. My sister was lying in the bottom of the sled. We came to a place where sand had piled up on the path and the sled got stuck. She got sand in her mouth and complained. I told her to cover her mouth with her jacket. I had to back up and get a running head start to gain enough momentum to plow through all the sand. We were in the middle of nowhere, but over the hill I could see the lights and hear the noise of a gigantic car dealership.

Sronnoc Esor

Is there more than one way?

What decides how your life turns out? My husband always says you choose your own destiny. Is it like one of those books? "To battle the monster, turn to page 32; to wet your pants and run away, turn to page 79." And will path A and path B have different outcomes, or do all roads really lead to Rome? Can you change your fate? And would you really want to?

Then there's the idea of alternate realities. I never really got into that whole idea, but what if there actually is no choice to make, you do A and B both, they lead to different places or the same place, but you're only aware of one at a time. Could it be like that Nicholas Cage movie "Family Man" where he wakes up one day married to his dream girl instead of being a crusty old bachelor who can't throw his socks in the hamper? Heck, why not time travel too?

What about the theological concept of predestination and foreknowledge? Of course it's basically meant to be applied to redemption, but God won't mind if we generalize it. Does the Great Brain in the Sky have a big dollhouse up there with a little dolly for each of us? "I think it would be fun if Sam got stuck in a rainstorm without an umbrella today"? What did a friend once say? I'm God's hackey sack. Or does He just have a big crystal ball that lets him see what's going to happen? Point of interest. If you go with the crystal ball theory, is that still God? A question for another day.

If you can change your fate, would it change just the details or the whole enchilada? Would I just have different cats and a longer nose to look at across the table over breakfast and still be the same happy, satisfied person? Or would I be an old maid who got not pleasure from life, or slave to a dozen snot-nosed brats that gave me no peace, or for that matter buried under the ashes of a bombed building somewhere in the world?

(As long as I'm asking, will Jesus and Mohammed both give you the Golden Ticket, if there is such a thing?)


Monday, July 17, 2006

The making of a feminist

I don't think my father would be pleased if he thought that I turned out to be a feminist.

I suppose he would be less pleased if he thought that he was directly involved in a positive way.

Nevertheless, I'm beginning to realize that both are true. How did it happen?

My dad's philosophy on women, based on his behavior, is that a woman, specifically a wife or daughter, should never talk back, should listen attentively and intelligently to what the man says, should ask permission before doing anything, should cook the food, wash the dishes, wash the clothes, keep the house, go to church, pray, read the Bible, be good to everyone, and look nice while doing it all without benefit of makeup. I'm sure there are other things in there that I missed.

So how does that make me a feminist? Well, the little part in there where she has to think. Maybe it sprang from the fact that his own mother ran a farm, raised five children, kept a house, and basically paid the bills by teaching calculus to high schoolers. She received her master's degree from Penn State University at the same time as Dad did. I grew up afraid to speak in her presence for fear that I would say something stupid.

Oddly enough, that magical day that I turned eighteen years old, although I didn't realize it at the time, he stopped telling me what to do. It went from complete control to suggestion, and sometimes only opinion when asked for. I didn't practice my new decision making power for a while. My first rash act was cutting my hair short. I was never allowed to do that in high school. In the twenties bobbing your hair was very feminist.

Dad always hoped that all three of his girls would marry good Christian young men, hopefully pastors or missionaries. He still doesn't know it, but he ruined us for that. Most of those conservatives are as shovenistic as anyone, more than most. They want to see the barn painted if it needs it, frilly dresses, and pantyhose. They want to hear "yes, sir", no matter how stupid what they're saying is. Matter of fact, the dumber it is, the louder you better say it, since no one else will. My older sister is the equivalent of a nun, and the other two of us married heathens. So much for Dad's dream.

At college I idly wondered why the fat, ugly girls had dates and I didn't. I knew I was pretty. Dad told me so. Aside from the fact that I got real nervous when I had to talk to boys, the "natural" look just wasn't in at all in 1992. The journey began. Instead of dating, I became friends with boys. At summer camp and around my brother's friends, I was just one of the boys. The truth is, I grew up acting simply like a person, not a girl or a tomboy or anything else.

Now I understand that lipstick and rouge give a man a preview of what a woman looks like in a sexually excited state. Since that's all many men think of anyway, you can see why that's a big selling point. Going without makeup makes a woman look asexual. It makes her a person. I've worn makeup. I used to let my roommates give me a makeover sometimes. People would do a double take and say, "Is that really you? You look so nice." Unspoken is the statement that you needed to do something with yourself. How is it feminist not to wear makeup? Ask any woman who spends an hour putting her face on in the morning and 30 minutes taking it off at night what else she would like to do with that time. Look at your picture next to whoever is on the cover of Glamour magazine. See how strangers treat you all dolled up compared to when you're wearing your painting jeans.

Try this scenario. On a first date with the average man, bring up some topic that you know more about than he does. Lots of men will listen and participate. Many will change the subject. Some will just act uncomfortable. A very select few will ask for a second date. After all, it's a basic law of nature. Women choose men because they look strong and virile. Men choose women because they have child-bearing hips. Or derivations thereof. You don't have to be smart to have babies. Statistics show us that professional women have fewer children at a later age. That image doesn't push the biological imperative. The result: when it comes to men, society teaches women to act like bait to catch a man who can pay the mortgage.

Dad, thanks for the biggest favor of my life. All the men that I didn't want bypassed me while I learned how to think for myself. The most special man in the world bypassed all the girls in makeup and skin tight Levi's and waited around for me to get old enough. He's seventeen years older than me, a true gentlemen like they don't make anymore, and he loves my mind. He has no preconceived notion of my role. A true feminist man, and you prepared me for him.

I always say everything in life happens for a reason.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Meet me.

Here I am.

Rose Connors.

Registered Nurse.

I look forward to meeting you.


I got to work this week to discover that they had opened our second wing. The ortho surgeon who was doing a knee replacement on the mother of the man who owns the gym where my husband works decided he didn't want her on the regular floor with the patients we have with MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus)- you know, one of those super mutant bugs. As a result we have one wing with four patients and one wing with seven patients. Guess who the lucky nurse is who got the seven? Well, theoretically I had help, but they helped on the other side about as much as they helped me. Friday was busy enough. I just barely got a lunch break in twelve hours. Saturday one of my patients started going bad as soon as I got there and required constant care. After a few hours, I got the ICU nurse who was there (but not allowed to take regular patients according to new rules) to take over, leaving me with six patients. It was a beter night than Friday, overall, but when the day nurse got there she started hassling me because I didn't clean up. You can't have everything, I told her.

I slept good today.

R. Connors

dreams from the past- dream journal

I dreamt that I met up with my ex-boyfriend in the airport. It just happened that we were on the same flight, so we sat together. This was like no aircraft I've ever seen. There were big quilted leather seats that were big enough to lay down and sleep on. I was taking a little nap when I rolled up against the window. It was a huge window that latched at the top and was hinged at the bottom and it came open. I screamed for Bob to help me and he sprang to the rescue. After that we ended up making out right there on the plane. It was obvious that Bob wanted to go all the way; he was getting very excited. Suddenly he passed out right on top of me. I spent the rest of the flight trying to revive him.

Near the end of the flight the flight attendant came around with drinks. "I have this pineapple juice left. Does anyone want some?" Noone did.
"I think there's a little something else in it." I took one and downed it quickly. Then we landed. My parents and younger sister met me at the airport. It turned out Bob was going to stay with us until he could get a ride home. When we got to my parent's house, the place was a wreck. There were two toilets in the bathroom, neither of which worked right, and my parents had decided against toilet paper and had a big pile of washcloths as a replacement with a hamper to throw them in. The bathroom door wouldn't even shut.

My mom was playing practical jokes like throwing water on people. I decided to go for a walk in the woods and asked Bob if he wanted to go along. First he thought it would be too sunny, but the assurance of plenty of shade won him over. (Sounds more like my husband than Bob.) When I went to the car to get my hat, the dream mercifully ended as I awoke.

Sronnoc Esor

Dancing in the street

As I drive around our small town, I wonder who's teaching modern children to act this way. True, the kids that we pass by when we walk in the park often wave very politely. It's the skateboard crowd that puzzles me. We have an ultra-cool skateboard park that resembles a dry swimming pool with rounded edges complete with a full pipe. There are usually quite a few kids there. We also encounter many skateboarders riding in the street, coming around a blind turn, going down the middle of the street, crossing where there is no crosswalk, stuff like that. A friendly tap on the horn to alert two teenage boys with the bodies of grown men to our presence in the street was greeted with obscenity.

Now when I was growing up in the country, my dad would take us for bike rides on the road. When we heard a car coming, we stopped our bikes and waited in the ditch for the car to go by. If we were going for a walk, we got well off the road when a car came, too. Some people might consider that to be a little extreme, to some it's just common sense, to me it's somewhere in the middle.

Skateboarding in the street is not in the middle. Is it a death wish? If so, I'm told that it works for about 2 kids a year. Is it adrenaline, rage against the machine, have they been bullied away from the park? Now I admit that the last one is inevitable for a certain amount of kids. But call me old school, I think our underactive cops should haul them down to the station and call mommy and daddy to come pick them up after a little lesson, something like, "the street is for cars".

Well, that's a bit of a tirade, but I have a horror of seeing one of those kids in the emergency room, or worse, the morgue, one day.

Stay safe,


What's real anyway?-Thursday

In response to my brother's reminder, I picked up the biography of an old family friend this week and read through it again. He's reading it to his wife and three pre-school boys over dinner and met the lady for lunch this week. I remember her fondly. During my church days growing up I wanted to be her: Mary Baker, missionary to Africa. Turns out even if I still wanted to be a "missionary", I could never tolerate the heat. South Florida was enough to do me in.

Upon my rereading though, I find that the lady really is something. She seems like a spiritual pillar to rival Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama or Pope John Paul II (I can't weigh in on the current guy). I realize now that I only wanted to be like her because of her travels and adventures, but she makes me wonder if there really is a God. Don't get me wrong, I still believe in some kind of ultimate power in the universe, I just don't know what it is. But when Mary Baker talks about having prayers answered before she said "amen" and mysterious answers to questions coming from the Bible, I know she has something.

I can't admit that it's what they say. I still can't believe the Bible has all the answers to life. Or like my father says that it's the only book worth reading. Maybe it's just that spiritual awareness that governs her life. Funny, even my adult, rational mind can't admit the remotest possibility that she's a fraud.

When I first doubted the party line, I wanted to read all the philosophy and religion ever written until I got down to the truth. Now, I know it's enough just to have my own truth. Something that fits my skin and makes me happy. Something that is always changing. The church of "all you need is love".

After all, isn't love enough?

R. Connors


I stayed in bed all day. In the afternoon my period came. Just a few months ago, in an environmentally friendly moment, I got a Diva cup. It's a little clear plastic cup that replaces a tampon and it's reusable. I'm still enjoying using that. For me it's a little more comfortable than a tampon. Unfortunately, Diva cup notwithstanding, I was not comfortable. I got out the extra long heating pad and the regular size one. Together they wrap the whole way around my middle and I tie it with a bathrobe belt.

The pain was just starting to ease up when I heard a car pull up outside. Uh oh. I forgot. The piano tuner and I'm in my skivvies tied to an electrical outlet. I woke up my napping husband and sent him to open the door and take all the pictures off the piano. One kitty darts under the bed and the other hides behind a curtain. I usually do the dishes and dust before he comes, but I guess he'll have to see what a slob I am.

I finally get up and dress. I was trying to make do with Aleve and the heating pad, but since I was up now, I took a Vicodin. I enjoyed a pot of chocolate macadamia coffee and read my book until the piano was done.

After the tuner left I started to feel ill, I mean sick to my stomach, nauseous. And hot. It was only 64 degrees in the living room, but I asked my husband to turn the fan on and get me a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Maybe the soup would soothe my tummy. Too late, whatever was in there was insistent that it come out the short way. I went to sleep for a while. Shadow nosed under the sheets and made herself into an exploring bump crawling around our legs and bodies. Now I'm better.

I'll probably be up all night.


Ailleanach- a birth story

My husband picked me up one night from work. I was doing the 3-11 shift at the time. That's when we still lived in southern Florida. We made a run through McD's drive through for dollar chicken sandwiches. On the way home he told me that he'd seen two kittens in the parking lot between our apartment and the gym. Did I want to see if they were still there? Okay.

"They were under that pile of ties. I left them some tuna fish and water."

No signs of any kitties and the food was untouched. I got out of the car and sat on the curb eating my sandwich. Then I heard the tiniest possible little "mew". I mewed back, trying to coax the little one out. Finally a little gray tabby came peeking out from under the tie. She wouldn't come close enough to touch though. I worried that the little one would starve. I kept mewing and moving toward the house. She answered and followed in the shadows. We had to take the long way around, providing shelter for the kitty all along the way. After an hour or two of mewing she was in the hedge beside the front door. She wouldn't come in for anything. I left milk out and went to bed.

The next morning I couldn't wait to check on the kitty. She was still beside the door, but she wasn't eating. I was afraid she'd starve. My husband and I took positions on each end of the hedge and moved in. After a long game of cat and mouse- with us playing the cat- I finally had her in my hands. She was so tiny I could hold her in my palms.

Then the process of trying to feed her really began. It soon became clear that she hadn't even been weaned. I drew up milk in a needleless syringe and dropped some on her tongue. This was rewarded by rapid lapping. After much milk drunk in this way, she graduated to milk mixed with wet food served on a spoon. Eventually she started to eat this out of a dish and was eating dry food the same day.

A name anything is always difficult. We called her Ailleanach- the Irish word for shy- because of the run around she gave us. Now she's two years old and we can't imagine life without her.

A glad day and our first baby.

trying for a baby-Tuesday

Every day in America a high school girl misses her period. She stares at the two lines on the stick and wonders what to do. A middle aged news anchor who thought she was beginning menopause looks at a similar stick, she got the pricey digital kind, and wonders how she should word her request for a sabbatical. For each of those two, probably another ten or more women of more standard child-bearing age gaze dejectedly at a stick with only one line. I can't tell you which is more depressing, but I avoid those sticks at all cost.

When I start bleeding this time, tonight or tomorrow, I'll move on to page 28 of the journal I started when I quit taking birth control pills. Every page is a monthly cycle. I circle the minus sign that represents a negative home pregnancy test on the chart. I draw a red line through the day of ovulation and write "O" in the upper right hand corner to separate those months from the months I didn't.

It took a long time to even get one of those "O"s. After that, I was more positive. I started to have severe pain the first day of my period, laughingly pointed out my failure. I would lie in bed with the heating pad, taking pills and feeling dejected.

Then PMS symptoms started to appear 10 days before I was due. My breasts would get painfully heavy, I would grow irritable, crave salty snacks and snap at my husband. All those typical early signs of pregnancy fooled me for a while.

I learned about herbs that regulate the menstrual cycle and started drinking a tea of red raspberry leaf, red clover, nettle, and oatstraw every day. The PMS symptoms began to abate.

I had blood tests drawn. My estrogen and progesterone levels were completely normal, but my TSH was high. My body wasn't making enough thyroid hormone. I started taking Synthroid every day. I learned that hypothyroidism causes infertility and early miscarriages. New hope.

Now my thyroid levels are normal too. My nurse practitioner says I'm healthy a horse. I keep taking my prenatal vitamins and drink the herbal tonic every day. This month, I don't suffer from PMS. Instead I start having strange dreams. In one my husband is shot by police. In another an itchy skin rash that I really have grows into an occlusive mass of growths, covering my body completely. Even my husband says I must be pregnant now. But today there is old brown blood on my panties. I'm sure I'll start bleeding soon.

I sound depressed about it and sometimes am I. But mostly, I'm just happy for a good life and a second (28th) chance to make it happen.

Life is good.


In addition to eating donuts...

The house on the side of the hill affords a view of nearly the whole town of four thousand some people. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else's business, it seems. I haven't been here long enough to know it all, but I'm catching up. The police pull by every strange car that comes through town on the main highway at night. They run the plates and driver's license numbers. Sometimes they catch methamphetamine users this way, sometimes a guy with a dime bag in the glove box, sometimes a deadbeat dad who's wanted for nonpayment of child support. Usually everything is clear and the people continue on. If you have a scanner, like we have on all night at the nurse's station at the hospital, you'll hear exactly what happened.

One night a 17 year old girl ran away from home. As she ran down the middle of the highway, she became tired. First she dropped her knapsack by the road, shaking it free of her shoulders and running on. Then she dropped the duffel bag she had packed an extra change of clothes and assorted food items in. Next her shoes came off. By the time the police responded to her worried parents' call and picked her up she told them she was running to Mexico. That's a far piece from Oregon. After the cops took her home, they said they would be more than happy to bring her stuff by, piece by piece, as they found it.

They publish the police report in the daily paper. It's a regular piece of copy paper folded in half. The front has a small news feature about the latest chainsaw carving competition or the fireworks display. In winter, it gets pretty mundane. Inside is a listing of upcoming community events and the police blotter. A typical day has 5 or 6 calls. Here's an example:

Driving Complaint- 1500 block Hwy Ave- Informant reports ad river in the supermarket parking lot nearly struck his family.

Theft II- Safeway- Report of pallets stolen.

Assist Agency- Warrant Arrest- Contempt of Court, Failure to Pay Fine, Failure to Carry & Present Driver's License, Driving Uninsured- Male, 41, was booked and lodged.

Medical Assist- 700 block Myrtle- Ambulance dispatched for elderly female with breathing problems.

Verbal Disturbance- 1400 block Hawthorne- Officer responded and situation resolved.

Disturbance- 22nd and Hwy Ave.- Officer dispatched, unable to located (sic) subject.

That's pretty much the way it goes here. It's a small town, plenty to gossip about, but nothing to support any kind of local news organ. When you go to sleep at night, you're not to worried someone is going to break in and steal your children. If the neighbors dog barks too much, you can always call the local PD and they will take care of it.

Sweet Dreams.


What does make the world go around?

The songs say that it's love.

In eighth grade they told us it had something to do with the sun, moon, and stars.

In Sunday school we became convinced that God is the one doing the whirling.

That old Atlas holding the world on his shoulders, he must be getting dizzy by now.

I've met more than a few surgeons who think they're responsible.

Let's think about this:

There's no question that if you're in love (whatever that may be), it can feel like it's spinning pretty fast. If you lose your lover, it feels like it stops for sure & you might be inclined to stop it and get off. But really, lover and lovee are the only onces affected by this phenomenon. There are a lot of people out there who haven't had the experience or been able to maintain it and they're still spinning.

As for the theory about gravitational pull and centrifigual force and that other stuff that I don't understand completely. They sure make it sound plausible. But maybe it's just those Martians twirling us on a spit. Is it done yet? That theory keeps a lot of scientists in a job though, including NASA, not to mention giving us something to study in science class.

Is God really responsible for everything? For some people, God has the same effect as being in love. Nuns even marry God. When I was growing up I thought it was something to build your life around. I even learned that people who didn't have God in their lives were miserably unhappy & always searching. Only one day I found out that I wasn't sure if He was really up there or not. I thought for a minute that the world would stop, but it didn't. I'm not miserably unhappy either. So that one spins it for some people sometimes.

Atlas? Is there anyobdy left who still thinks that?

Those surgeons sure spin the world for people once they get their hands inside their guts. One more good reason to stay out of the hospital, avoid plastic, nicotine, alcohol, exhaust fumes and synthetic fabrics.

Answer: What makes it spin for me? Well, love of course.

What makes it spin for you?

Rose Connors