Friday, September 24, 2010

It's a Numbers Game

5 - five is the number of times I had to bite my tongue today when a co-worker blew her nose at her work station. Go to the bathroom, please.

4 - four is the number of dirty instruments left soaking in enzymatic cleaner. I walked away. Too many Friday evenings spent cleaning other people's instruments, this was not my day and I will no longer be the one picking up that slack.

3 - three is the number of calls I took from a single patient today. This patient has used up her monthly allotment. Just sayin'.

2 - Two is the number of times I was able to actually pee today at work.

1 - This was one long day. Thank you God for making it a Friday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sombreros Anyone?

I snapped a few pics this spring/summer as I cleaned out my childhood home. I must say, my parents collected some interesting things, including refrigerator magnets. Little sombreros, aren't they too cute? Keeping the sombreros company included magazine articles about various health topics, newspaper articles about my sons and their service, random photos and other curious little magnets.


Upon closer inspection, I noticed that indeed these are not little sombreros, but little roulette wheels! Roulette wheels....but why should that surprise me?

After my mother's funeral, her long time friend Bert was reminiscing about their trips to Las Vegas. Keep in mind, these ladies were thrifty gals, given to save and sacrifice and not spend money foolishly. They would save, no - hoard, quarters for months (maybe years?) and then carry them to Vegas. In their little Samsonite hard-sided makeup cases.

Cashing their quarters in for paper money would apparently deprive them of a great deal of fun, of tangible proof that they were quarter high rollers. I can picture Mom and Bert carrying their cases, guarding them as they sat in the airport, awaiting that gleeful moment when they could pop the latches and delve into the fun that only a case load of quarters can bring.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Six Months, or How To Make A MAW** Happy

Dear Declan,

Oh, dear. You had me at hello, but still....your smile shatters my heart into a thousand brilliants.

At six months, you are squirmy.

You are happy, an easy baby. Now. Don't think we've forgotten about the first two months. No, Sir Ree Bob.

You are back to just formula. That's what you get for being small and preferring food to formula. It'll pass.

You are quick as a wink at rolling both ways and popping up on your hands and knees.

You are this close to sitting up.

You are a champion night time sleeper, and a good napper, most days.

You have no stranger anxiety, but your parents are so easy-going that this doesn't surprise me.

You are a drooling fiend. There'd better be teeth popping through soon to payoff handling a baby in a constant state of slime. Seriously dude.

You are doing this really funny "pose" that Mama has coined your "GQ" pose. I don't want to embarrass you to the internet, but O-M-G it is funny. I keep getting head pictures of Burt Reynolds posing for Playgirl. You're way cuter. Way.

You like to grab hair, especially Charlee's, but I understand...she is really pretty.

Even though you are small, you still manage to have one little fat roll on each thigh and tiny little dimples on your hands. Strong work, cause girls love this stuff.

You've finally put some effort into growing hair. It's a good thing. We were sorta hankering for a little red but I think we're going to fall short. I know you would if you could.

You hung out a little with Uncle Kyle today and taught him an important baby lesson. When baby falls forward and bumps his widdle nose, baby needs to be picked up, held close, with a few little back pats and soft words for good measure. With two women yelling instructions at Uncle Kyle simultaneously, he won't soon forget today's lesson.

You're the best.

Love, Mema

**MAW = Middle -aged woman

Friday, September 17, 2010


In November 1952, my father put this ring on my mother's finger, and there it stayed for 58 years. My mother faithfully wore the ring alone for over five years; she was never really the same after Dad died, and I suppose that was to be expected.

In November 1952, my mother and father pledged their love, their
commitment and their life to the other. There were the early happy years, with lots of pictures of their first "baby"...Rusty. Rusty was a dachshund who transcended the role of a pet. There are pictures of Rusty when he turned six months old. There are NOT pictures of me when I turn six months old. Oh, the joys of being the "third" child (out of two human children).

There were the years of being a young family, or rather a family with young children. My parents were older parents, especially for that era. I was born in 1957 to a thirty-seven year old mom, practically unheard then, unless you were child #12. I never knew my mom was older because she seemed no different to me than my friend's parents.

There were the years of just being a and I growing up, the family traveling for Dad's work, the wonderful experiences I had because of that. I think those years eventually slid into a sort of discontent for my parents, with my mom spending the summer away one year. I remember feeling adrift that summer, the summer of 1974. Brother had left home so it was just Dad and I. I remember sort of cooking for us, I remember having a new and odd freedom, I remember feeling that my solar system was slightly out of whack.

There were the years of being empty nesters and loving up on the grandchildren. Mom and Dad seemed to bond in another way then, in a way in which I am understanding more and more. It's a fundamental sense that there comes a time in which we can not stand alone. That one will fill in the chinks of the other's failing health, the sense that one alone can no longer conquer all. It is now about numbers more than ever, with two definitely being better than one. Gone are the days of feeling powerful and wanting to take on the world with all of it's injustices, now it's about survival, baby.

Today, I placed this ring on my own left ring finger, where it will stay until passed to my own daughter. There are no words. The ring brings tears of sadness, of happiness, of completeness. I know Mom and Dad are together. I hope they are pleased.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” Author Unknown

I know fear. I have felt the throat-constricting fear of watching my daughter being wheeled to surgery. I have awoken in the middle of the night tear-stained from nightmares when my sons were deployed. I have felt cold dread crawl up my spine upon hearing the doorbell, when a son was deployed. I have heard a doctor give news that made me question how many days I had left with my child.

I have known unbridled joy from those same children. I have loved a man with all my heart. I have grieved the loss of my parents. I have shelved dreams, but without regret as the sacrifice brought greater rewards.

I ache for a son whose dreams have not only been lost, but unbelievable pain and betrayal have stolen into their place. I fear for a daughter whose health is once again in question. I feel the emptiness of a son who has moved away and is weeding through choices his life will bring him. I cheer on a son who questions himself, in spite of my clear vision of his incredible gifts.

I celebrate those rare days when I have been with or spoken to each of those children, for it is they who ground me, who remind me of the fullness of life and for whom I see that all things are possible.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I recently received this lovely painted duck from my cousin, Vici. Her enclosed letter read:

I wanted to give you something that Mom had painted. I had brought the duck with me when I came to Kansas and forgot to get it out of the car. I hope that you will enjoy it.

It was so good to see the family. I know you think of your mother all the time and miss her terribly. In my experience, time does not heal all wounds - but it does soften the pain of loss.

Love, Vici

Hi Vici,

What a wonderful surprise. I love My Duck. Thank you so much for sending it to me, I will treasure it always.

As I was holding and admiring My Duck, I was thinking about your mom. I have clear memories of seeing her paint, of hearing her speak of how EASY it was to do. Hah! Even as a child, I knew better. You're mom had a gift. I was always fascinated by your mom...she was all the things my mom wasn't and as kids, we notice those things, even though we may keep them to ourselves. Where my mom was small and quiet, your mom was tall and spoke her mind. Your mom embraced her creative gift, and while my mom admired it, she was content to express herself in her cooking and sewing. I think our moms had mutual respect for one another, and I'm glad they had each other.

I'm glad I have you. (I'm glad I have My Duck - thank you).


Thank You