Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time for Change

I'm taking a day off tomorrow.  This has been a very busy week and I had so much overtime already I thought I'd just take off.  I'm really tired.  At our Tuesday night Board meeting our Commission selected a new Director.  Our hospital was established in 1948  by members of the 40 et 8, an honor society of the American Legion.  It was an all male veterans organization until just about 4 years ago when they finally accepted female veterans into their organization.  Until just a few years ago our Board excluded females from membership but now we have our first female CEO.  She has been the Deputy for a few years and I think she will be very effective as the new CEO. So....we've come a long way baby!  It's been a long time since I've had a female boss.  In fact, not since 1978.   The other thing about this change is that VK and I were roommates for about 7 years.  She commuted every other week from Florida and while she was here she lived with me.  Sooo this will be the first time I ever had a personal relationship with my boss.  That could make for an interesting dynamic at times.  Change is not always easy but it can also provide an opportunity for growth and new ideas.

The power of advertising!

"If the light stays on for more than 4 hours, call your erectrician."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Enjoy the day!

I have a long day ahead.  I have a Board meeting this evening so I won't get home until after 9 pm.  So here's a little funny to start your day!


Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat.
He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back To the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water.

She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!"

Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."

After reading an Associated Press article today about President Obama posting his new play for overhauling health care as a last ditch effort to report the system it got me wondering.  The Republican leaders warned Democrats against the go-it-alone approach.  Now it seems to me they've been "going it alone" for some time now.  But that's just me.    I found this blog today that I found interesting asking the question as to what do most Americans want and when should politicians do the job we elected them to do and when they should listen to polls.  I found it interesting and maybe you will as well.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I got to thinking over the weekend that life is like the reality show Survivor.  We try to make it to the end of the game with as many of our major organs as possible.  I am now in my 60th year of playing this game.  I did pretty well until age 5 and that was my first time not to make it out of tribal council intact.  My tonsils were the first to be voted off the island.  We made it through the next few years pretty successful.  We dodged all the challenges and even won immunity a few times thanks to numerous vaccines like polio and smallpox.  Unfortunately there were a few roadblocks such as measles, mumps acquired long before immunity was offered.  We (my major organs and I) were holding our own until age 32 when 30 of my fellow teammates conspired to vote off my wisdom teeth.  They were the victims of a conspiring alliance established by a few deciduous molars who had arrived later in the game.  Fortunately, none of the fallen players had been essential to my overall strategy to this point  and frankly were hardly  missed after being exiled.  It wasn't until the next year when another  secret alliance formed and those players conspired to vote off another smaller yet powerful alliance.  The larger alliance became aware of this smaller groups ability to multiply and decided to go after them with gusto.  In one vote the entire alliance of female reproductive organs was voted OFF the island.  It was about this time that I realized just how quickly ones own tribal members can turn on their own.  I decided I'd better improve my strategy if I was going to sustain myself in this game.  No more members of my tribe fell victim to tribal council until suddenly the galbladder starting behaving in such a manner as to cause all the other members of our tribe to react with disdain.  The gallbladder just started going nuts without provocation.  There were sudden outbursts of venom and bile with no apparent cause.  We didn't know if the island was just getting to be too much or what.  This time I had to agree with all my other teammates that voting him off as quickly as possible was our best strategic move.

So, here I am, still in the game and it's my 60th year.  I still have some strong players in my tribe.  However, we are down to the essential players and although I have a few more that can be spared the majority of them are vital to our tribe's survival.  Tribal councils are getting rougher and the challenges are definitely picking up; upper and lower GI's and that one evil challenge the colonoscopy ( I don't know who thought that one up)  but we've  survived so far and I'm still in this game to win it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What is selflessness?

After a good nights sleep I'm up and ready to do it again.  However there is a light at the end of this tunnel and it is called FRIDAY!  So glad.....tomorrow Ron is taking me to the city so I can see the showroom of a place that does bathtub resurfacing.  My 50+ year old tub is looking a little less than stellar.  It would cost a fortune to replace it with all the construction involved and I just had the tub surround retiled about a year ago so this seems like a good alternative.  I just want to see what it looks like and how hard it would be to clean. Home improvement never ends!  My little house doesn't even resemble what it looked like 40 years ago when I moved in.  Of course, neither do I  !!!!  

Lately I've been thinking a lot about characteristics I admire and hope to cultivate.  The one characteristic I most value is selflessness.  My mother was one of the most selfless people I have ever known and it is something I admired about her.  
“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.” - Khalil Gibran
I know it is possible to be truly selfless because I have seen in demonstrated in the actions of others.  I remember my mother sitting on a river bank while her two aunties fished for hours.  My mother was anything but a fisherman or an outdoors woman but she sat there for hours because it brought pleasure to someone else. 

Selflessness means we act without thought for how we will profit or be rewarded. If we give help to others, but expect recognition or the favor to be returned, this is not a selfless action. True selflessness means we would do the action, even if it was never known to anyone else.

As hard as I am trying to cultivate selflessness into my own character I am finding it to be more challenging than I could have ever anticipated.  I find myself questioning my motives at times and having to stop and honestly evaluate my thoughts or actions.  

As I have written about my brother many times before it is not always easy to admit there have been times when I harbored a great deal of resentment toward him.  

His mental illness began when I was 18 years old and of course it affected an entire family.  Struggling to understand schizophrenia is difficult enough but living it with it is even harder.  I watched my parents resist coming to terms with the illness and even remain in denial as to the severity of it.  I have been so frustrated at times.  

Because my brother lived with my parents he could make it very hard to even visit them.  He would get very agitated if he was forced to share our parents attention with siblings or even grandchildren.  It was just often too miserable to be stay in their home for too long.  I resented being isolated from my mother and father.  

After my dad's death it didn't get any better but I moved my mother and brother closer to me.  Mike continued to make it difficult for me to be around my mother.  Mother and I worked around it at first by slipping off together to go shopping or on outings away from Mike.  But as my mother's health declined it became impossible to be near her without enduring the confrontations with my brother.  

Anyway....that is all in the past.  Now I find myself the object of his obsession.  I'm the person he feels he has left in the world.  He calls me 20 times a day.  His mental illness has become more manageable and we can talk and have a relationship for the first time in 42 years but sometimes I think it is more because he is no longer in competition for the attention of our parents.  That's when my resentment surfaces.....which I immediately try to squash.    

Because my parents were unable to face the reality of my brother's illness they didn't make arrangements for his care in their estate planning.  As far as they were concerned they had 3 children and everything they had should be divided equally.  My older brother and I realized a long time ago that we needed to deal with that issue on our own and agreed that we would use anything and everything remaining in our parent's estate to care for our brother.  So, once the will has been probated we plan to put everything in a trust to care for Mike.  He will remain in our parent's home (which so far has been workable and is a miracle in itself) but what I'm struggling with is that every now and then I feel that surge of resentment float to the top.  I hate it!  I want it to go away and I want to be a more selfless person.  I love my brother and want him to feel safe and secure.

In my quest to heal my own heart and to give my brother the love he deserves I am discovering that love is not like a bartering service at an auction. If we wish to love in a selfless way it means we must identify with others. This is a very different love than the human love that demands and expects things in return. Real love and friendship must involve a forgetting of self and a willingness to put others first.  When I feel that twinge of resentfulness I think about my mother sitting patiently on the river bank.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This has been one heck of a hectic day.  Up at 4:30 this morning in a meeting 6:30 followed by 3 more meetings throughout the day.  I haven't stopped since 4:30.  I'm TIRED!  I'm going home after work and putting myself into a stupor.  I may be too tired to eat.   Nahhhh who am I kidding?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Car Shopping

I haven't looked at cars for more than 15 years so the other day Ron and I went to the Nissan dealership here and I wanted to look at an Altima.  I wanted to see if Ron would fit in one because he is so tall.  He has difficulty getting in my Sentra now and couldn't possibly ride in the backseat.  Unfortunately the Altima was a no go.....Ron about decapitated himself getting in and behind the wheel he looked like he was driving a clown car. So we then looked at what the car salesman described as a cross-over vehicle, the Rogue.

It was a cross between an SUV and a station wagon.  I really liked it because it was low enough to be easy for me to get into and yet it had the cargo room with the seats down.  It passed the Ron test and the gas mileage was about the same as a car.  24 mpg in town and 34 mpg on the highway.  The other feature I liked was the rearview camera.  Because I have no sight in my right eye it is sometimes hard for me to see behind any vehicle.  The right rearview mirror is no help to me and I have to twist and contort my body to turn all the way around and look back.  That camera made it soooooooooo easy!  I was already to test drive the car when my blood sugar took a nose dive and I was shaking and goofy headed.  Soooo I got some crackers and Ron did the driving.  He really liked how it drove.  Soooooooooo now the Rogue has become a contender on my search for a new car.  I'm taking my time and want to look at other options.  Anyone have any favorites?  I have to add that I really liked the Nissan dealership.  There was no pressure sales and they simply answered all questions.  That alone makes me more likely to return when I do decide to purchase a vehicle.  The less stressful the process the better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cupid's Day

What a great Valentine weekend!  I received valentine cards from great friends I haven't heard from in awhile.  What a treat! My brother Mike gave me the sweetest card I think I've EVER received from anyone.  He signed it "To my loving sister".....brought a tear to me eye.  Now I have to live up to that endearing title.  He also gave me pink roses and a helium filled balloon.  We had dinner together and it was just a sweet day!  Ron and I had lunch with the girls and their friends on Saturday and then we took my daughter Jamie for a makeover!  It was my treat to her.......she and her husband have been separated for almost a year and I thought she could use a little pampering and extra attention.  I plan to do the same for my other daughter next year!  It was just a fun weekend and I enjoyed every minute of it.  

Another friend emailed me today to let me know he has a new baby....Benjamin Michael.  How wonderful!  I wish they didn't live so far away in the UK but pictures are great too.  Another friend is expecting their first baby in about a week and they are right here in town so I know I'll get to cuddle this new little one.  

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day!  Any secret admirers?

This is for everyone who has had enough snow for the year!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Birthday Boy

Today's birthday boy!  Ron is 61 years old today.  Unfortunately he has to work today so we won't get to celebrate his birthday until Saturday when we are meeting with friends and family to celebrate two birthdays.  Ron's on the 11th and Pam's (good friend) on the 14th.  Tomorrow marks one year since my mother first got sick.  We took her to the hospital on the 12th of Feb. last year.  We had celebrated Ron's birthday with her and my brother the night before.  Gosh it doesn't seem like it has been a year already.   

There is an eerie coincidence about our birthdays.  Ron's is the same as my brother David who passed away when he was just a baby and mine is the same as Ron's brother who passed away when he was 5 years old.  I thought that was an unusual coincidence.

I have to get out and purchase some birthday and valentine cards this afternoon.  Ron is the best at sending cards but I'm not so good.  I forget to purchase stamps...I end up with all kinds of cards that never got mailed.  My Bad!  I can assure you there will be a card in my mailbox come Valentine's Day as Ron never forgets.  He is the best at getting thank you cards in the mail as well.  I keep telling him he should have been a postal worker.  He loves going to the post office.  I bet he goes 3 to 4 times a week just to send packages to his grandson or daughter or to purchase stamps or any other excuse he can think of.  But who can knock such thoughtfulness?  Not Me!

 Well dear birthday boy I'm hoping 61 will bring you good health, happy days and lots and lots of good wishes!  Love you Ron..........HAPPY BRITHDAY!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


What is the difference between being a spiritual person and a religious person?  Is the term spiritual used by people, like myself, who do not attend church regularly as a way of redeeming ourselves? When spirituality came along it was often referenced to mean everything spiritual was good and everything to do with religion was bad. Religion became equated with dogmatism and moralism. I realize that at times I fall into that thinking but for myself spirituality simply means that I believe in something greater than myself.  I can't look at nature and NOT believe in something greater than mankind.  The first time I was really struck by that thought was when I was about 29 years old and saw the ocean for the first time.  It took my breath to see something so powerful, so beautiful and yet know that man had absolutely nothing to do with its creation.  I don't believe there is only one religion but I do believe in one supreme being.  I struggle with the thought that anyone could have found the one and only religion when I think of it as being mostly attributed to geography and genetics.  I just happened to be born in a country where Christianity is the religion of majority and I just happen to have been genetically born to Christians?  I believe God knows what he is doing and I don't believe he excludes anyone due to geography.  As a human being I was given two gifts, opposable thumbs and the ability to reason.  I can choose between right and wrong because God gave me that ability and responsibility.  I will continue to work on my relationship with God and to keep my heart and mind open to all possibilities.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God and Dog

My daughter sent this to me today and I thought it was so sweet I had to share it.  For all you dog lovers or animal lovers of any kind enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Senior Moment

Click on copy to enlarge!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Replacement Parts

At my last doctor's appointment I was told I had a knee replacement in my future.  I am going to see the orthopedist on the 16th for some kind of injection.  The prospect of a knee replacement is not very appealing to me but I saw how much pain my mother had with her knees and swore I would have the surgery if ever necessary.  My mother was terrified of it and refused and she was literally crippled by her knee pain.  By the time she died her knees were frozen and she couldn't straighten them out at all.  I think she denied herself years of activity because of her fear to do anything about her knees.  If anyone has had knee replacement any information you would care to share would be appreciated.  How long is the recovery?  What about therapy?  Any regrets about having it done?   What was your experience?   I have a ton of questions for the doctor too.

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid  arthritis when I was 14 and have had osteoarthritis for probably just as long.  I've had two surgeries on my hands for joint replacement and one surgery on my ankle (fusion).  So I'm not afraid to have surgery but I've never had any major joint involvement until now.  At least not what I consider major.  I just think that the older we get any surgery is riskier.

Extreme Home Makeover has been here all week building a home for a family whose little boy had heart transplant surgery.  The mother is a pre-k teacher and dad is a rancher.  I think the house will be finished either tomorrow or Sunday.  Pretty exciting!   I still can't believe they can build a house in a week.  It took 5 years to build our current hospital and though we've occupied it for 5 years there are still things that haven't been fixed and were not done right.  We've had water leaks since the day we moved in. 

I'm looking forward to the weekend although the weather isn't supposed to be that great.  I don't have any big plans and sometimes no plan is good enough.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who needs an ego when you have a brother?

OK, I can take a lot of criticism but even I have a limit.  Vanity has never been a huge issue for me as I have always accepted the fact that I was never going to walk a runway in Paris or be a beauty contestant but I wasn't prepared for the honest observation of my brother.  Now, mind you, my brother has no filters and knows no social boundaries and for the most part I'm prepared for just about anything that comes out of his mouth.  But the other day he called me and said he had something he needed to talk to me about.  I said go ahead and he answered, "I've been thinking about it for four don't look right."

"Don't look right, what do you mean?"

"Your face doesn't look right."

Thinking he was concerned for my health I said, "Do you think I look sick?"

"No, he said, your face looks like it is melting."

Realizing that my brother's schizophrenia might be talking here I inquired further.  "Is it my wrinkles?"

Without hesitation he said "Yeah, that's it".

Good I have to be insulted by my hallucinatory brother.  I said, "I'm 60 years old, I'm supposed to have wrinkles, I'm not melting for heavens sake so stop worrying.  I'll still be around to cook for you."

That seemed to satisfy him but I told him to NEVER say that to another woman.  They might not be so forgiving!

I don't have to worry about getting a big head as long as he is around!:)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ice Storm 2010


Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in  Antarctica - where do they go ?
Wonder no more ! ! !
It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. 

The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life,   as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.   

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of  the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their
vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:
                         "Freeze a jolly good fellow"
                         "Freeze a jolly good fellow."
You didn't really think I knew anything about penguins did you?

(Thanks Greg for that one)

Here are some pictures of what Mother Nature left us last week!  
We received about 2 inches of ice and 6 -8 inches of snow on top of that!  It is beautiful to look at but a  bear to navigate.  

Ron and I managed to replace the breaker ourselves so that saved me an electrician bill.  Thank goodness!  We read the gas meter and it appears a mistake was made since it read less now than what was on the bill.

I just looked outside and saw the strangest site.................sunshine!
                           Winter wonderland!

            A view from the hospital parking lot