Thursday, August 31, 2006
Then work called me in for an extra day. It turned out they wanted me to work in labor and delivery. All the other nurses were acting really snooty. I went in to check on my first patient and she handed me the doppler to check for a fetal heartbeat. I told her that I didn't know how to do that. Then I went downstairs (the maternity ward was like a house) where all the nurses were sitting around my maternal grandmother, Comfort's, dining room table. I told them that if any of my patients went into labor they would have to take care of it. They told me no way. That's when I started screaming and yelling at them, telling them I didn't know how to do it and I wasn't about to, and they should be happy to have an extra body to help out.
I took the big blue glass water carafe from my patients room to fill it up. I put a scoop of ice in but it turned out to be peppermints. By the time I got it upstairs, the water carafe was more like a pizza box with holes in the bottom and all the water had run out. All that was left was olives. The patient asked me to collect them in a jar for her, as she had a recipe that used olives.
I went to the corner store to get a milkshake for someone. I had to make it myself out of a can of Boost and a single serving container of ice cream. I made a big mess, the ice cream melted, the container was full, and I was feeling squirrely about some of the other patrons. When I checked out, the clerk said it would be ten cents, but since I didn't have any change he took a dollar. His name was Ernie. On the way home I speculated that they must give things away to people they recognize.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The first reaction to this movie is perhaps, "what an ugly story!"
As always, I ask what the implications of the movie are.
A street hooker from the age of 13, the main character finds acceptance in a relationship with a lesbian woman.
She is driven by circumstance to kill or be killed by an evil-minded "john".
So far, so good, right?
Except that killing men for the contents of their wallets becomes a habit with her. Her rather shallow, young girlfriend can't understand why she would want to quit "hooking". She tries to get a job at many things, all beyond her education and ability. She loses her temper frequently when she doesn't get hired. So she turns to the only thing she knows how to do: the twisted permutation of prostitution that she has justified by reasoning that the men in question are perverts and abusers.
What a tragic story of a young girl's life destroyed by sexual abuse. There is no doubt in my mind that she was mentally ill. The question is, was she born with the illness or did life events impose it upon her? Was she intended to kill or would it happen to anyone, given the circumstances?
I showed up early last night to pick j. up from teaching his stretch class at the gym. While I waited, I did some stretching of my own. The owner of the gym, Ayjay, soon sidled over and commented that I knew how to do yoga. Well, yoga and stretching have common elements, and I have taken a yoga class or two. He began asking me if I would teach a yoga class & for some reason, I agreed. My first class is a week from today. In the interim, I will be doing my yoga video twice a day and studying Rodney Yee's book intently to memorize all the poses. Oh yes, and shopping for yoga duds. At least j. is going to practice with me and sit in the class. I believe I will call myself a yoga guide.
At least I'll be exercising.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
- the dark (only after watching scary movies)
- growing old alone
- Self Powered Man
- being made to feel stupid
- when other people act stupid
- pointless waste of human life and resources
- eating cheese quesadillas
- talking about j.'s day
- doing this meme
- have a baby
- learn to keep a house properly
- play the piano
- start an IV (sometimes)
- serious (per j.)
- tell a lie (except for a very good reason)
- take my vitamins every day
- scold Ailleanach
- the wind blow
- crashing surf
- your kitties
- popular thought
- like Science Woman, I had trouble with this one
- to be a Master Herbalist
- to give birth naturally
- all the yoga poses
- anything spicy
- dark chocolate
- my fertililtly herbal infusion
- water- very little
- The Rifleman
- The Big Valley
- I'm not going to tell you what to do
Suddenly I was in Altoona. I recognized it from the streets that went from hilltop to valley over and over again. My car broke down. I was getting ready to walk home (30 miles or so), and I decided to stop and see XBFRN first. He was living in a one room apartment and some people from my church were in the hallway folding clothes. That made me very uncomfortable and I shut the door. Then some of XBFRN's friends came over and we went for a ride. After driving a while, we came to a cluster of houses surrounding a small lake. It turned out to be flooding. A lady at her clothesline tossed us a key when we stopped there.
We stopped at a house and it turned out that XBFRN's father lived there. His father was a very nice, mild mannered, very religious sort (I'm pretty sure inaccurate, though I never met him.) The refrigerator was covered with pictures of missionaries and all I could think about was sneaking off to do it. We went for a walk that was so steep that I had to be literally pulled up over this big rock.
After that I started walking home. I was using a cane. As I waited by the street for a convertible to go by, the man stopped and offered me his services as a physical therapist.
Monday, August 28, 2006
1. Protection; support.
2. Sponsorship; patronage.
3. Guidance, direction, or control.
4. A shield or protective armor; -- applied in mythology to the shield of Zeus.
It is this ideal of the human under the aegis of something higher which seems to me to provide the strongest counterpressure against the fragmentation and barbarization of our world.-- Ted J. Smith III (Editor), In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M. Weaver, 1929-1963
A third round of talks is scheduled to begin on May 23rd in New York under the aegis of the United Nations.-- "Denktash declared head after rival withdraws", Irish Times, April 21, 2000
In real life, Lang's father was commercially astute and fantastically hardworking, and under his aegis the construction business flourished.-- Patrick McGilligan, Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast
Aegis derives from the Greek aigis, the shield of Zeus, from aix, aig-, "a goat," many primitive shields being goatskin-covered.
Ailleanach likes to sniff the lens. Here she is withdrawing from the sniff.
This is my honey crock, obtained secondhand for ninety-five cents.
Shadow strikes a nice geometric pose as she gives herself a morning bath.
My beloved Astin-Weight piano.
The arrangement I compiled for the dining room table. Intended to repel junk collection.
Finally, a random shelf containing an ebony elephant, bought at a village market in Kenya, the crystal ship that was a gift from j.'s old college friend, and a hobo vase that I painted at summer camp in junior high school.
It was delightful to have Self Powered Man's (formerly PF, deserves better than that.) company last evening. He brought along fresh Dungeness and red rock crab from his morning's catch and we spent an enjoyable hour shelling it together. We had it in cream sauce over angel hair. My cream sauce is sometimes a failure, so it is considered success that it was only slightly lumpy. Self Powered Man chose the movie of the night, The Red Violin, from our collection. The kitties came out and tolerated him as long as he didn't look at them. My poor kitties are quite socially inept.
(Alas, this post will win no awards, as it is quite badly constructed.)
Sunday, August 27, 2006
That makes me feel good.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
2 lb. chicken thighs
1/3 c. oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 green capsicum, seeded and diced
1-2 small green chilies, seeded and chopped
4 T. chopped fresh coriander
1. Coarsely chop chicken.
2. Heat a large wok over high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the onion and stir fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 3 more minutes.
3. Add the spices, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup water. Increase the heat to high and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
4. Add the tomato and 1 cup water and cook, stirring often, for a further 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pulpy and the oil comes to the surface.
5. Add the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Add the capsicum and chili and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Add a little water if the mixture is too thick. Stir in the coriander and garnish with the spring onion.
Being a carb lover, I added chopped yams and potatoes and served it over rice.
And, if you're not a fan, start out with my two favorite books:
A person's a person, no matter how small.
Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind.
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary
ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a
telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to
get better. It's not.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own..And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is
finally better than your dreams.
My Many Colored Days
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Curried Lentil and Vegetable Soup
2 T. olive oil
1 small leek, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garam masala
1 liter vegetable stock
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup brown lentils
14 oz. butternut squash, peeled and diced
13 oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 zucchini, cut in half lengthways and sliced
6 oz. broccoli florets
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 cup peas
1 T. chopped fresh mint
1. Heat the oil in a suacepan over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Add the curry powder, cumin and garam masala and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
2. Add the stock, bay leaf, lentils and squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, carrot and 16 oz. water and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the peas and simmer 2-3 minutes.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Interesting that right after j. brought this movie home, I read over at Science Woman's blog that she just viewed it. This is too much of an action movie for my taste, and I never saw Firefly, but it was an enjoyable flick.
There is plenty of human interest, a reasonable amount of romance, and enough humour to go with the space battles and Reaver gore. River makes for some interesting scenes with her ESP and superhuman fighting ability. She really comes through in the beginning with the idea that we don't need to be telling everyone else in the universe what to do.
Notable ideas from the movie:
Shepherd Book tells Captain Mal that it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you really believe in it, and Mal takes that advice to heart. Now that's right up my current alley of relativistic thinking.
At the end, Mal explains to River that the most important thing about flying a ship is love. Love will tell you when she's hurting and keep her in the air when nothing else will. I don't know if that logic practically applies to spaceships or not, but I do know that it applies to life.
So here's to the power of love.
Aerial view of a mushroom.
A framed bit of sky.
Imagine a face for this one. You might imagine "lady in a hairnet."
Entwined branches from the same tree.
The lost feather of a Steller's Jay.
little moss soldiers.
I'll let you guess what this is.
The lovely forest canopy.
I wanted to post more, but Blogger is being recalcitrant. Maybe later.
Monday, August 21, 2006
A sea star will survive low tide.
The purple asters are in bloom.
Even a rock wall is worn away by waves over time.
The reflection of ferns in a placid stream.
Surf and gulls.
Sand and rocks.
Green and Purple and Yellow and Orange.
The forest preceded me by ages and will survive me for generations.
I am just a tiny bit in all this, yet I am so blessed.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
In other personal news, I managed to stay up for church this morning, mass that is. This is always a good time of meditation for me. As a bonus, I got nonstop positive energy flow from the young man sitting beside me during the service.
I had a bunch of wacko dreams this weekend which I didn't get a chance to record and so are lost to memory. One was of ex-boyfriend Lewis, though. All I remember is he was wearing a hospital gown and had a very nice butt.
Well, I need to give j. some quality time now.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Vermont woman who caused all the ruckus on the flight rerouted to Boston Wednesday has been identified as Catherine Mayo, a peace activist and journalist. Below are some quotes from her and links to her writing. Maybe she's crazy, mabye she is making a point.
daily times article
undated article (preceded by thoughts on fascism)
When dissent is silenced, a person does not know the truth of the man standing
next to him.
There was no room in the American system for blind
Fear is the one thing that will destroy this world of
Fear causes each of us to act sooner than we need to. Without fear we
things through, make mistakes, learn from our mistakes. Without
fear, we can
laugh at ourselves. When we laugh at our own foolishness, other
with us. A world of patient fools has a power that we all
Here is a report of a naked scanner already in use at some airports.
Also now illegal, fear of flying. By now everyone already knows about the 59 year old Vermont woman, a U.S. citizen, who caused her flight to be diverted and escorted by F-15s, by pacing the aisles, peeing too much (okay, I don't really think people should void in the aisles), and saying "Pakistan". She was also guilty of carrying hand lotion. She was reportedly arrested for "interfering with a flight crew." Does that mean they couldn't get the drink cart through? (Addendum: More on the story. Matches and screwdriver mentioned. Cf. these contradictory accounts.)
Next we will be asked to don a paper gown before entering secure areas of the airport for our mandatory rectal exam.
Anybody want to fly?
Does anybody really think that volunteering our Constitutional rights as a burnt offering is going to keep us safe from terrorism?
This is America, folks. We started the place so we could have a peaceful cup of tea. We fought a major war among ourselves over rights. As far as I'm concerned, the terrorists are successful, because the fact is, American citizens are terrified.
The title really says it all.
This was not necessarily a fun movie to watch, but again informative and thought-provoking.
Is a thought-provoking movie worth making? Will it provoke thought in anyone who watches it, or only those who are already thinking?
Observe how peer pressure and need for group acceptance can drastically alter behavior and perceptions. Hilary Swank's character in this one appears schizophrenic at times, she is so divided between telling the truth, pleasing her mother, pleasing her boyfriend, and just being true to herself. At times, she allows herself to be sucked into the idea that sisterhood supercedes all else, including death or murder as you may choose to see it.
I pause to attempt to put myself in her place. I never really gave a fig about belonging to a group that I can remember. What about following a particular course of action to please Mom, who doesn't always notice much? Yeah, I spent a long time doing that.
I could ramble quite a lot about other things that make a person feel like she belongs. Nose jobs, breast implants, the right color lipstick, elective cesarean sections; around here it's hip to use methamphetamine. Follow your train of thoughts wherever it goes.
Let yourself THINK!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Ailleanach hits her in the head.
Shadow says, "Oh, please."
Ailleanach hits her in the head.
Shadow says, "okay, if you don't want to play, just hit me again."
slap, slap, slap, slap, slap.
Shadow grins from ear to ear.
arrogate \AIR-uh-gayt\, transitive verb:1. To claim or seize without right or justification; to appropriate.2. To claim on behalf of another; to ascribe.
What's certain is that another American President has arrogated to himself the prerogative of dispatching U.S. military personnel on an overseas combat mission, disregarding the constitutional mandate that only Congress may declare war.-- "Imposing 'democracy' in Haiti", The Progressive, November 1, 1994
A measure to abolish or radically restrict the ability of ministers to arrogate powers to themselves would be a necessary adjunct to the list of proposals on "open government/parliament".-- Mike Marqusee, "Stumped for success", New Statesman & Society, January 19, 1996
The most sinister dimension of this form of 'terror' was that it became an intrinsic component of Fascist and Nazi governance, executed at the behest of, and in complete subservience to, the ruling political party of the land -- which had arrogated to itself complete, total control of the country and its people.-- Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism
Arrogate comes from Latin adrogare, "to take to oneself, to claim," from ad-, "towards" + rogare, "to ask."
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
This blog post is probably just about as effective as communicating with you face to face. When I woke up at 5:00 this afternoon, I got your message begging me to come to work at 7:00 tonight. You said that I was your last straw, that you had no one to work, that you couldn't even get an agency nurse to come. I wondered if that meant I would be staffing the whole hospital if I agreed to come.
I returned your call but you were out of your office. I spoke to Krankschwester, who had absolutely no idea that there was a staffing crisis. I guess you didn't tell the nurses that there was no one to replace them and they would probably have to work 36 hours. Upon checking the schedule, Krankschwester assured me that there were the right amount of names on it. Someone with your first name was on there; she didn't know whether or not it was you though. I told her to call me if no one shows up.
For future reference, here is some advice on getting me to work extra shifts. I know you don't like paying those agency nurses $75 an hour. Maybe we could work something out. It's easy to understand that I'm a cheap date at $26. It should be easy to understand why I won't work extra for $26 either. Offer me $50 and you'll make us both happy. I know you don't have the authority to do that, but until you get some authority, I guess you'll be working a lot of shifts. You're salaried, aren't you? Oh well.
I guess we'll talk about this later.
P.S. Although you sort of conned me into working, thanks for the time and a half. I guess you have to start somewhere.
Back to the demons. I thought I had a lot of them. I am in the process of trying to figure out where to take my parents to church when they visit since I don't go anywhere most of the time. I will dutifully hide all the booze and consume all the beer before they arrive. j. and I will probably both "have to" work the Sunday that they are here. I was deathly afraid of Father growing up. We all were. I'll never forget the time during family devotions that I told him how to pronounce "Adoniram" and had the book thrown at me, literally. I would never ask him for anything; if I wanted something bad enough I would wheedle Mother into asking him if I could have it.
Well, now I discover that Robin has far more demons than I. Somehow Mother discovered that she was masturbating as a teenager and confronted her with: "I know what you're doing and it's evil." Robin was the last one left at home. The rest of us had each other. She spent all her high school years trying to book weekend visits with friends to avoid the misery she felt at home. When she left home, moving to another state after two years of college, Father had spies who told him of her doings. She thinks he still might. She has to keep Mother from telling A.E. that she's Bad.
I'm glad I moved far enough away. I'm glad he didn't find out about all the marijuana I smoked and those nights I spent with XBFRN. I know I can trust Big M anyway. My heart aches that my children won't have grandparents nearby, but given the choices, I'm glad we're most of a country away. Sometimes I wonder if it's not just completely misguided to try to avoid hurting the parents with the truth; and sometimes I wonder why telling them lies should bother me in the least.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Read the crime scene account.
Read about gender identity disorder.
Read the movie synopsis.
I wouldn't believe this movie if I didn't know it was based on real events. One of the sites listed describes gender as a continuum that most people fall at the ends of, but some people are at various places in between. An important fact that is left out of the movie is that Teena Brandon was sexually abused by a relative as a child and one function of dressing up as a boy was to avoid future abuse or molestation.
Biblical conservatives believe that homosexuality is one of the worst sins there is. Although this is not a story about homosexuality, it helps me to understand why people in that Bible belt of Nebraska would treat a transgendered person so cruelly. That being said, I don't understand at all. I can understand wanting to hurt people who are mean, wanting to punish people who have done wrong. I might not agree, but I can see why it happens.
Why are the targets of hate so often people who are themselves suffering? Is it because suffering makes people feel vulnerable themselves? Is it an attempt to right some great wrong in the universe? How can causing pain for someone else make some people feel better about themselves?
The only nice thing about this story is that Teena Brandon did find a few people who would accept her for who she was, and that she found an identity that felt right to her for a short while.
If there is a good thing about such an ugly movie, it is that it might promote awareness and acceptance of people who are not just like us. It might help to show us just how ugly we are when we hate.
About four a.m. I said, "Is it too early to say that this weekend has been much better than the last three?" My colleagues assured me that it was most emphatically not okay to say until 6:45. About then a Mexican-American woman came running into the emergency room with a limp baby in her arms: "He's not breathing!" she cried. The baby turned out to be just fine, but we admitted him for observation.
Now, we don't have a pediatric ward at my hospital & I love babies, but not as patients. This was clearly my punishment for enjoying the pace of the night for even a moment. I had been sitting discussing religion and philosophy with Wheat Grass Lady off and on for hours. She couldn't quite understand how I could so easily give up my views on Jesus-is-the-only-way, and she didn't really get my idea that all religions and spiritualities could be sharing god either.
I scurried into the belly of the hospital to find a crib. I guess they used to run a zoo here. The cage is a bit larger than the average crib, with chrome bars all around going up about a yard. It had obviously not been used in quite a while. The dust we got off the thing was repulsive. Fortunately, we had no need for it, as baby is used to sleeping with mom and dad anyway and was quite comfortable in a regular bed with dad.
By then it was morning and my sometimes friendly nemesis, the German nurse Krankschwester was there demanding report. She usually yells and screams about every little thing that is a bit untidy or out of place, but today she was agreeable. I gave her the report and came home and went to sleep.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
eremite \ER-uh-myt\, noun:
A hermit, especially a religious recluse.
He is in the private cave of his freedom, an eremite, a solitary; he orders his mind as he pleases.
-- Cynthia Ozick, "Writers Domestic and Demonic", New York Times, March 25, 1984
Eremite derives from Late Latin eremita, from Greek eremites, "living in the desert," from eremia, "desert," from eremos, "lonely, solitary, desolate."
In another dream I was hobnobbing with uppity-ups in fancy clothes who thought I was way beneath them. It didn't seem to bother me one bit.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Skiffington: "I'm happy with what I got."
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
A slave story told in an unflinchingly and uniquely honest way.
Attention is given to the fact that freed blacks became slaveowners. This reminds me of Jews who cooperated with the Nazis, and A Class Divided, the famous blue eyes/brown eyes exercise on discrimination done by Mrs. Elliot.
What does it take to make people act like they are so much better than others? Mere suggestion? Getting away with it?
Skiffington is the county sheriff in the book and one of his main responsibilities is keeping slaves from wandering off their plantations and running away. Henry Townsend is the son of a former slave who purchased the freedom of himself and his family. Henry buys his own farm and slaves. Although he intends to be fair in the beginning, his former owner, who he becomes friendly with, impresses upon him the need to show his slaves that he is better than them. When Henry dies, his widow Caldonia is unable to retain control & several slaves run away.
What perpetuates inequality? What was that mysterious factor that disappeared when the slaveowner died and allowed chaos to take hold?
My answer is fear. Fear of being caught and tortured or killed or maimed. Runaways were routinely hobbled by having the Achilles tendon cut or had an ear or part of an ear cut off. Why do women stay in abusive relationships? Why do people in general not stand up for themselves? What keeps some people from chasing their dreams?
Another interesting story involves a slave woman who gains a great deal of freedom and eventually runs away to freedom by acting like she is mentally handicapped. Everyone thinks she is harmless, but night after night she is scouting the roads and planning her trip to freedom. Is ignorance a protection? How many women act like the housewife that their husbands want, when a whole different intelligent woman is just beneath the surface?
"His (Skiffington's) only job was to pull it all back together again, make it whole and right the same way God had given it to him."
The lesson that I carry away from this book is more than intelligence and equality though. It is about not being satisfied with what you have and who you are; not settling for an outdated map of your world. It is about reaching for all that you dream of, things that can be within your reach. It is about not being happy with the way things have always been, but imagining a new world, where everyone is equal and no one is afraid to give their opinion.
An excellent first novel for Mr. Jones. I will be sure to look for more from him.
(Does this mean I havae a real problem with Baptist Nun or what? Gives me the willies.)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The zucchini for my courgette bread, made with molasses and wheat flour and plenty of nutmeg came from Ki'il's garden.
I couldn't resist the many fascinating melons. I have no idea what the yellow one is, but I'm sure when it gets ripe it will taste delicious.
The cucumber and onion salad with sweet Walla Wallas is a blast from the past. Lately I find that the simple food my mother gave us growing up pleases me in more ways than just the taste. After all, I am a comfort eater.
Comfort food to all,
So, after much research and thought, I have decided to start supplementing with progesterone cream. This is done only during the luteal phase, the part of the cycle that comes after ovulation, also called the proliferative phase. Progesterone is more effectively absorbed transdermally than orally, since the liver metabolizes it. I already know that I don't want to take synthetic hormones, one reason I'm not interested in fertility testing. The progesterone in the cream is derived from plant sources, and many people have had very good success relieving PMS with it. Some people also claim that it has helped them sustain a pregnancy after multiple miscarriages.
I'm moving on, and it always makes me feel better to have something to do about it. For the time being, I've learned my lesson about getting too optimistic, though. We'll see what happens now.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I do have my moments of acting crazy, but my goal is to wig out here and spare my household the drama. I really believe that my kitties are completely nutsy, though. When I woke up today, they were cuddled against each other, back to back. Ailleanach says she doesn't like to cuddle with Shadow, but sometimes she does it anyway. Now they are chasing each other around the house. For anyone who hasn't observed this phenomenon, it sounds like a herd of elephants. When Shadow is done playing or when she wants to play and Ailleanach doesn't, she has a funny whiny cry. I think she'll start talking soon.
Our friend Ki'il came last night as planned. We had homemade wheatbread pizza topped with onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Along with that we polished of a bottle of Cabernet, then we had fruity Dr. Pepper floats. We watched the movie The Hours, which defies review at the moment, except to say that it is satisfyingly multi-layered.
Life is good. Life is good. Life is good.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I am blessed to have the arms of my husband to run to. In his eyes I have no shortcoming; I see only sympathy for the pain he knows I feel in my body and in my heart. "Go ahead and cry" he assures me. j. is confident that one day we will have our own child. I know we will adopt someday if we don't. For now, I just thank Fate that I'm not miscarrying, that we have a wonderful life, that every day brings new happiness, that I have friends who will suffer my lunacy and listen to my tears, that a kitty is always ready to curl up on my lap and ask silently, "Mommy, why are you crying?" Because they know when something is wrong, they are empaths, my daughters.
I hope I can restrain myself from consuming the whole six pack of Amber Bock by the time my company gets here this evening. Maybe Fate is smling on me after all, and maybe by some Felicitous Fluke it will happen next month- that crazy cell collission that we worship at the altar of. I think I'm getting drunk and I have no idea whether I spelled collission right. I better go. Thanks for listening. (If you made it through.)
Monday, August 07, 2006
Karl is both blessed and cursed to be born with a kind and loving heart and a seemingly innate goodness. Although he kills his mother and her boyfriend out of rage, it is originally prompted by protectiveness for her. How ironic that each of us has a different idea of the right solution for a problem. How often is protection misguided or misunderstood?
"I don't think anything bad ought to happen to children. I think the bad stuff should be saved up for the people whose grown up. That's the way I see it."
The simplicity with which Karl sees the world is something for each of us to learn from. Though his parents lock him in a shed with a dirt floor, he is somehow able to understand goodness.
I love the tone of this movie that sticks up for the single mother, the fatherless boy, the homosexual and the mentally challenged. I love the way Linda kicks her boyfriend out when he gets drunken and abusive, but I hate the way she lets him come back when he apologizes. I love the quiet strength of Vaughan, who is as human as the rest of us, but still sometimes manages to do the right thing. I love the unconditional acceptance that Frank gives to Karl.
I would like to think that the percentage of characters in this movie who were honest and good-hearted is realistic. I would like to believe that there are few evil people out there, or maybe mentally ill. I would like to see the good in everyone.
It's probably true that our society will never have a place for the pure of heart.
I felt much too tired to take a shower this morning; actually felt barely able to get out of bed. Yet I was much too grimy too remain unbathed, so indulged in a midweek midafternoon bath. Everyone knows that kitties hate baths. Well, as soon as I run a bath, the kitties come running. Shadow comes first and jumps up on the side of the tub after a little sniff. She checks out the water and settles down on the towel that I carefully put on the side of the tub for my own comfort. Ailleanach follows soon and jumps up on the windowsill. She isn't above sitting on the side of the tub, but not likely to voluntarily plop down next to her sister. After taking a little rest, Shadow dips her front paw in the water, gives it a little shake, and starts cleaning herself. She seems to like this method and continues with it until I start washing my hair. As you can see, both girls are fascinated by shampooing. They continue to sit in their respective places and watch me drain the tub and dry off and then follow me into the next room.
I'm travelling down the road, intent on reaching my destination. I am walking on back roads to avoid detection. I hide in the tall grass once to avoid passers-by. I reach a town where I walk on the streets, at one place hopping on stairs, once sliding down a long hill on my behind. Children are playing on the hill. I reach a gate that is shut in my face. The area is clearly marked authorized personnel only. It seems like the end of the road. I consider trying to sneak in behind someone else. A fenced lot around the area holds horses. I think about going over the fence.
The phone rings and I wake up.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The movie starts with an optimistic scene. Mother and son Jack driving through beautiful Utah scenery, singing along with the radio; running from Mom's most recent bad choice in men toward a fortune in uranium to be had for the finding. Boyfriend turns stalker, they run to Seattle where Mom meets abusive alcoholic bigot Dwight. Jack is in some trouble at school and she sends him to live with Dwight in hopes that he'll be reformed and follows herself to marry him. A few years of abuse follow, during which Dwight keeps the money Jack earns on his paper route and nearly kills him more than once. Finally, Jack leaves for prep school and Mom finds the gumption to leave too.
I liked it in the beginning, was ambivalent in the middle, and liked it again by the end. Both Jack and his mother make serial bad choices, which is what lands them in the bad situation that takes up much of the movie. But by the end they each find a way to stand up for themselves. That is a lesson that we all need. Don't be controlled by your situation. Walk away from bad relationships. Forge a way for yourself. Think positive, aim high, and always hope for the best. The picture of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse that is painted by this story is ugly, but it ends with the message of walking away from the abuser. I wish it ended with him being punished. But injustice is real life, and there are more people than anyone wants to count walking around free, using fear to control the behavior of others.
Well worth viewing.
I was much more prepared personally this second time around. I am not a great scholar. I seldom read textbook assignments. If I was prepared for a quiz, it was something of an anomaly. I am fortunate to be able to pick up enough to pass in most situations. This time through, I wasn't quite so scared of the patients that were my weekly homework. I started to get a feeling for nursing that I had no concept of before. I'll never know how I knew that I wanted to do this when I didn't even know what it was.
Penn State's nursing program is generally considered to be a pretty hard one. They brag on 100% pass rates on nursing board exams for their graduates. It shouldn't have been much of a surprise when I failed the third semester (of four) by a hair. I swallowed my disappointment and re-upped.
I spent a semester taking classes that I really liked. I had a few outstanding sociology and literature professors who wanted to know why I wasn't a writing major. Because I don't love writing the way I love nursing, and maybe because it is without the short term reward that nursing is full of for me.
That third sad year I was without XBFRN, who successfully completed the program, so I suppose I had more time to study. The town was empty without him. No reason to leave early for class or hang out after school. When it snowed I had to get a hotel to avoid the hour drive home and hour drive back in the morning. Anyway, the net result was that I made it. I finished the program. I had no reason to attend graduation, but my parents wanted a ceremony, so I went and marched.
I had met my husband by this time and planned to move to Florida to be with him after graduation, but that's another story. I took the NCLEX, the nursing licensure exam in Miami. I studied those review books until my head just about fell off. When my scores started dropping, I decided I had overstudied and put them all away. The morning of the big test j. dropped me off at the testing center. I felt excited and prepared. I submitted my thumbprint, swore not to cheat and faced the computer.
NCLEX is a smart test. If you answer a question right, it gives you a harder one. If you miss it, you get an easier one. Once you answer enough hard enough questions, the test shuts off. Then you wait to find out whether you passed or not. My test stopped after the minimum number of questions. This doesn't mean anything. You can be so dumb that the test decides not to waste its time on you. You can also be promising enough that it gives you the maximum number, just to give you a fair chance, and still flunk.
A few days later, I checked online and found that I had passed. I already had a job that was just waiting for a test result to start me. That was the biggest happy dance ever. A long story to lead to a very rewarding success. It's good to remember that when I get bogged down. I am where I want to be, living my dream.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Science Woman tagged me for this one.
1. One book that changed your life?
Well, the Holy Bible most directly affected my life for the first 25 years. Reading Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code is what I attribute to jolting me out of that way of thinking, although it was really a combination of just being the right time for it to happen.
2. One book that you have read more than once?
Night by Elie Wiesel. His soul searching and doubt make the Holocaust story that much more gripping & I'm amazed that he finally returned to some sort of faith.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Webster's Dictionary or a good encyclopedia. It would take a long time to digest all of that.
4. One book that made you laugh?
Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford and subsequent books in the series make me laugh out loud.
5. One book that made you cry?
David Guterson Snow Falling on Cedars made me cry for many reasons. The injustice and discrimination depicted alone is enough to bring tears, but combine that with a sad love story and you have a tear jerker. When I was in high school, the Stonewycke trilogy by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella made me weep buckets.
6. One book you wish had been written?
How to Be Truthful without Being Hurtful would be useful in a variety of situations.
7. One book you wish had never been written?
The Holy Bible and the Koran together seem to have caused quite a lot of damage.
8. One book you are currently reading?
The Known World by Edward P. Jones. I'm a bit bogged down, but I think I like the book.
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
The course primer to the nursing class I went to in May.
10. Tag 5 people to do the meme!
Robin, Mtanga, C-A, Nuthatch, and Phil, whose URL I don't know. Assuming any of these people actually read my blog. Anybody else that does the meme, comment so I can read it.
(When I woke up, I was happy to see that I hadn't peed the bed. That used to happen when I was a young girl)
Thursday, August 03, 2006
concatenation \kon-kat-uh-NAY-shuhn; kuhn-\, noun:A series of links united; a series or order of things depending on each other, as if linked together; a chain, a succession.
But at this stage the accident appears to have been just that, a dreadful concatenation of random events.-- "Dreadfully random", The Guardian, March 1, 2001
She invested a variety of significances in the word "there," a concatenation of linked associations with space, time, and place too.-- Nuruddin Farah, Secrets
To most people the point she plays most brilliantly is the episode, which in the novel is merely one of the links in the concatenation of the plot, but in the short story is the form and substance, the very thing itself.-- Henry Dwight Sedgwick, "The Novels of Mrs. Wharton", The Atlantic, August 1906
The process of fossilization and discovery is a concatenation of chance built upon chance. It's amazing that anything ever becomes a fossil at all.-- Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time
Concatenation is from Late Latin concatenatio, from concatenare, "to chain together," from Latin con-, "with, together" + catena, "a chain, a series."
One point of the story is clear: do whatever it takes to catch the bad guys. However, Pistone really becomes Donnie Brasco, his undercover persona. He know that his mob mentor will die when he is revealed. They have developed a strong friendship and he doesn't want to betray the man who vouched for him. So we have another point: friendship. Or you could interpret it as a lesson about what happens when you run with the wrong crowd, like my mother always warned me.
In the end, the FBI pulls Pistone, gives him a medal and a $500 reward and sends him into their version of the witness protection program. Surprisingly, he manages to stay with his wife, who was undersandably extremely upset by his three year foray away from home. Chalk up a few points for the power of love, too.
I tiptoed gingerly around the house and headed for the porch armed with telephone and laptop. I called Mother, who commiserated with me about the dilemna and the absence of a strong, fearless husband to resolve it. j. got home sooner than anticipated and speedily banished the snake, and I was able to return indoors where I rewarded the kitties with a treat for defending the home.
As we left the house to get some dinner, I noticed the landing in front of the front door. Clearly, this was the scene of the fray. Blood was smeared all over. j. told me that the door had blown open earlier and postulated that the snake could have gotten in then. I have been mopping the floor on hands and knees using a sponge, but this is reason enough to finally purchase a real mop.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
It is yucky to wake up after only a few hours of sleep and unable to summon the Sandman.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
What I liked about the movie:
Tom, Ranse, and Liberty each represent an attractive man and a distinct personality type. If one hundred women watched this movie, you could never get half of them to agree on who their favorite was. Personally, I love Jimmy Stewart's idealism, passion for a cause and intelligence. I know a number of people who much prefer John Wayne's bluster and bravado and would find his silence about the shooting very heroic. Yet, there are a certain number of women who go for the bad boy Lee Marvin, swaggering around town and ruling by fear. (I would argue that those women need help so they can get involved in functional relationships.)
The Big Question:
Does Might make Right? Liberty Valance was finally defeated by force instead of Rule of Law. Is the story telling us that the justice system can't work, or only that it didn't work in that time and place? Or that it doesn't work for men like Liberty Valance?
The Minority Angle:
Ranse teaches Hallie to read, assuring her that it is a valuable tool for anyone; although Hallie protests that she has no need for such a thing and the Swedish lady cook thinks schooling is wasted on girls (but finally learns to read herself.) We watch the town election, where women and blacks aren't even allowed in. Noone protests about this. John Wayne does insist that his employee Pompey, and African American man, be allowed to drink at the bar. Pompey occupies a very slavish role in the film, though, waiting at John Wayne's beck and call. The women are basically similarly subservient.
The sod farmers who want statehood do successfully defeat the big ranchers, represented by Liberty Valance. I'm not sure that this has anything to do with minorities or just capitalism.
A very long movie, but not a waste of time by any means.
I made brownies for some friends who had made things for us yesterday. I don't want to eat any. Right now I am not tempted, but if I eat one, I will not want to stop. This morning I woke up with j. to pack the brownies for his clients. Since I was up, I decided to go to the 6am version of our monthly meeting at work. This was effective. The meeting normally lasts 90 minutes and it only went 60 this morning.
I'm watching Shadow playing with her favorite toy- a rubber band. She knows how to hook it on a shoe or piano pedal and play the banjo with it. I highly recommend the heavy duty, large size rubber band to anyone with a kitty.