Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts on the Election

Official Election Day is Tuesday. Many have already voted early. In 2008 I voted early and had to stand in line then to do so. Not this year. I will stop by my polling place before I go to work.

Much info is out there by way of radio and television to help us make a decision or to validate our decisions. The way I see it is that CNN and the big three networks were biased toward the left, so the entertainment giant Fox saw an opportunity for profit to bias news to the right. That's business. Spending money to be elected is business also. I heard that three billion dollars has been spent on television campaigning alone so far this year. All that money for the approximately 225 million Americans eligible to vote! And probably half that many who will.

We have choices. Some of us align with the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, or The Rent Is Too Damn High party. Some folks don't really care. However most of us agree enough with one the two major parties to accept their thinking as we understand it. So here we are, individuals with different life experiences and education joining in with one of two huge groups. No wonder there are different voices within the parties. As there should be.

One thing I liked from the Restore Sanity rally this weekend was the mention that in spite of what the various news feeds may lead us to believe, we do get along. Television news invites and suggests strong discord among us and pits us against one another (ratings - follow the money), but differing opinions don't have to lead to hostility. In my hospital for example, like any other microcosm of society, there are all different kinds of people. Whatever the political party and whether nurse, housekeeper or physician, we work together peacefully, help each other, and actually like each other.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Creepy Opinion

I am usually glad when Halloween is over. Passing out candy is as far as I go with it. Creepy stuff is creepy. Today I passed a house with an overturned old car in the front yard with what looked like bloody bodies hanging out. That is more than bad taste even for Halloween. How traumatizing for someone who has lost a loved one in a wreck. I don't love to see faces with blood seeping from the corners of the mouth, witches hats, fangs, rotten teeth, tombstones rising eerily out of the ground, cobwebby decorations, grotesque expressions, or hairy werewolf faces. Even though there are some fun parts like changing a plain pumpkin into a jack o'lantern or dressing in cute costumes and pretending, the annual October creep show isn't all that funny to me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Newt yesterday

When I heard yesterday that Newt Gingrich was in town and was to speak at 7 pm, I decided to go hear him. I think he has an intelligent, common sense take on what's happening politically in America. I got there early and took a seat - all by myself - and pretty soon it was full of people of all ages. Newt has been to - I think - eleven states talking primarily about people's need to work. Jobs. I suppose he talked twenty or thirty minutes. He also touched on things he learned during the filming of some documentaries, what the authors of the Declaration of Independence meant when they wrote "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" and how government is to protect those rights, how America's political system differed from any other. I liked what he had to say and was so glad to be able to hear him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today's Interesting Story

It was about five forty-five in the evening one day last week on my way home from work. Traffic was heavy, and I had just inched onto the short overpass that from my direction leads downtown. As my speed picked up, I caught a glimpse of a young woman sitting on the raised area on the side of the bridge, very close to the hundreds of passing cars who probably would not see her. I quickly passed by, but my split second spotting was enough to see blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, a gray jacket on a soon to be chilly night, and an empty expression on a pretty face. I tend to watch for people’s safety – it’s my job – and I figured I must do something. Who knows what is in someone else’s mind. I called 911. What did she look like? What was she wearing? My mind snapped a decent picture.

The next morning I told my co-workers about it, and we wondered if she would show up where we work. Since she didn't on that day, it slipped my mind. We hear many sad stories. But today there was a patient in the ER with a story that reminded me of the girl on the bridge. I wanted to find out, went to interview her, and soon I determined she was the one. I spent some time talking with her as she squirmed, sat, and lay on the gurney, and after enough conversation, I told her I had seen her sitting on the bridge last week and that I called for help. Her face brightened and she replied, “Thank you. I was so scared.” The cops picked her up that night and took her to the ER. Several hours later, after finding someone to take her home and feeling that she was OK, they discharged her. I understand. An Emergency Room cannot keep everyone who comes in. Needy and desperate once again, she found her way back this week. With her nutty family and her own mental illness, unfortunately she does not have many options. The ER is not just for medical crises. I was really glad to learn the outcome of my call that evening. Now it is our turn to try to help her.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Leaves

The entrance to my hospital was so pretty this drizzly morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Another Monday night of watching Dancing with the Stars. When I was working at night, I rarely got to see a television show regularly, and now I can. What fun! Dancing is entertaining and happy - usually. It was always a special part of my small family when I was growing up. My mother loved pop music and was always dancing around the house. In our living room, she taught me the samba and the chacha and how to be led by a male partner. Daddy often joined us. I went to ballroom classes where I learned the fox trot, the waltz and even the Charleston. I was no better than average, but my lack of greatness did not prevent me from enjoying it. (I eventually figured out that my brain does not configure instructions very well.) The shag became the dance of my generation and from eighth grade on we had school dances that included sock hops. In college, weekend fraternity parties often had bands playing either as the main event or in a corner somewhere, and I loved them as I was a dancer, not a drinker. Dancing is such good exercise and I am sure it must release a lot of those good feeling endorphins, even when we watch others in motion on the small screen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Vote for Reading!

The election that will determine about a third of the Senate seats, many governors, and an assortment of other positions across our land is only ten days away. It's a crazy time! This year was a first for me as I contributed to the campaign of the Republican who is running for the State Superintendent of Education. It is something I believe in. South Carolina hovers embarrassingly around the bottom in most things educational. While there are some good schools, fine teachers, and committed students, there must be something amiss. Our people are as capable as any, but I believe there is not enough focus on teaching all about language and reading. (I was appalled at the local adult nursing students I have taught who were poor readers and writers.) It is the most basic educational need in my opinion. If people can read well, they are more likely to succeed in other areas. Let's go for emphasizing that most basic skill. I hope SC does it right and makes a change for better education on election day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sharing Stories

I must say a few words about my Aunt Margaret, too. At eighty-four and a half, she is remarkable. (Do you notice that as we get older, those half years start counting like they did when we were children?) Her quick mind could put any forty year old to shame, and she still seems to love life. Using the computer, Margaret has written a historical and humorous synopsis of her life and has turned it into neat books for her children and grandchildren. I received a copy, too. It's really a good thing for us to tell our stories - good for us as we review our lives and informative to those who come along after us. Everybody has a story to tell. It seems that my family seems to be blessed with the need or desire to share ours. hmmm . . . I think I will introduce blogging to her next time I am there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Living Long and Well

If I had asked my ninety-five year old Uncle Marty the secret of his longevity, I doubt he would have identified anything special. He hasn't necessarily tried to live this long. It's just that he has naturally done many right things. Among my observations of him are that he has been a person of moderation, even temperament, and common sense. He is interested in others and directs conversations toward them/us and not toward himself. He is slim and straight, and as to his diet, he eats regular, balanced meals and has stayed away from those loathsome dairy products. In the evening, he enjoys a beer or a glass of red wine. Over sixty-five years ago, he married his one true love, and through the years, they have been lovingly committed to each other. He has also kept good relationships with his children and grandchildren, friends, and extended family. I see Marty smiling most of the time as if he has a deep yet light-hearted understanding of whatever is going on. He does not appear to live with much regret, because I think he has probably tried to live each day the best he could. At dinner this weekend he offered the dinner blessing in a strong voice, and I believed it was not just a rote habit but from the heart. I think it is pretty cool to have this great guy in my family.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blue Sky over Wrightsville

At the beach this morning the wind was still and the air warm; the water was glistening and the sky a brilliant blue. Women were sunning in their bathing suits, and plenty of people were walking, shelling, fishing, and socializing. It was glorious. Here is my pic of the day, birds on power lines where I parked the car.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

...then the afternoon

Last August we ate at a great little French restaurant here in Wilmington, and though my flounder was fine, I wished I had gotten the beautiful salad that I saw being served at other tables. Since I have been lusting for one since that evening, I put it on my must do list for this short visit. I was glad I did not weaken and go for the triggerfish special, as the salad was even more delicious that I imagined. It worked like this: On the tables in the restaurant is a small metal cylinder with a pencil and pieces of paper on which is a list of potential ingredients for a salad. The diner makes checks next to ten of the items, and the waiter takes it to the kitchen. Then...voila! Dinner is served. Topped on my baby spinach and mixed greens, three of my other ingredients were the creamiest Roquefort cheese, haricots vert, and pears poached in red wine with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Yummm... Then on to downtown to walk along the waterfront. It was bright and clear this fall day, and memories from childhood floated about my head . . . the drugstore where we would stop for a nickel Coke, the old tugboat faithfully docked, and the market where my Papa took me on some Saturdays. A coupla pix of the afternoon.

An October Morning at the Beach

Wrightsville Beach was beautiful this morning. The cloudless sky was of a pure blue hue and the sun was brilliant. Migrating monarch butterflies were flitting around the sea oats, and the sea predictably ebbed and flowed. At the south end fishermen were trying their luck off the pier or surf, and I drank in my only day at the beach this year. I do love it in October. Here is my paparazzi snapshot of the morning. Now off to enjoy the rest of the day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Little Lesson from the Garden

Sometimes those things that appear weak and delicate are actually strong and tough. These sheer blooms survived beautifully during the rains.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


If I had been home today, I would have been glued to the miner rescue on television. Now that's amazing! I can't imagine what it would have been like to have been trapped so far underground in so small a space for so long a time. Today - however - I did get accidentally locked in a small room in the ER with a psychiatric patient, and for a few seconds I was panicky. Though I wanted to beat on the small window and yell get me out of here, I nicely tapped...three times with increasing anxiety. I was rescued by a nurse friend. My hero - on a small scale. On a huge scale, there are many heroes in this thrilling, miraculous rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners. I look forward to learning more about the heroes, the brave miners, and the country of Chile as the stories are told.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Junk Mail

Another Monday evening. Another night to push the trash can to the road. How is it that two adults can create so much trash in spite of recycling as much as I can. No wonder our landfills are overflowing. One mess maker is mail, all that unsolicited stuff that arrives in the mail box daily. Much of it is intended to make me part with my money through lust, greed or guilt. Those glossy ads are easy enough to place with the recyclable papers or in the trash, but there are also sensitive papers with my name and numbers that I need to take time to shred. And what's with the bar codes on everything? In case they also include info about me such as a credit card number that I would prefer to keep private, I take time to rip that part of the paper up. And since I have started retirement income, I receive papers that say I will be getting a dollar more or less on my next deposit, as well as invitations for retirement planning and ads for burial plots. Today we got a reprieve from the mail since it is the Columbus Day holiday, but tomorrow I imagine the mailbox will once again be full with unneeded, messy paper stuff.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Once in a while a date with consecutive or repeating numbers rolls around, and today is one of those numerically cool days. All tens, if we shorten the year. Ten is a "big" number. We rate from one to ten, ten being the best. We have the Ten Commandments as well as less important lists of ten. The metric system is based on the number ten. We have the Powers of Ten. Here is the little movie if you haven't seen it. We remember history in decades. I don't know if there is something special about this day with three tens, unless of course, it is someones birthday, but it is a novelty date for sure.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Today while the blossoms....

On the way home from Kelly's baby shower today, I had a "God wink." It came in the form of the unexpected playing of a very special song that touched a memory from when I was at the same place in my life as she is now. It was 1964 and the awful morning sickness stage of my first pregnancy was consuming me. One of the popular songs of the time was the beautiful Today sung by The New Christy Minstrels. The words and the lullaby tempo seemed to express the joy and gratitude I was feeling, in spite of the constant sickness, and I claimed it as "our song," mine and the beloved little person growing inside of me. It was still being played on the radio after Trip was born, and each time I heard it, I would hold him close and sing along to him. On this day it was being played seemingly out of the blue! Kelly's baby boy will be here in about a month. I'll bet she has a special song for him.

Some of the lyrics as I remember them. Still pertinent.

I can't be contented with yesterday's glory.
I can't live on promises winter to spring.
Today is my moment and now is my story,
I'll laugh and I'll cry and I'll sing.

Today while the blossom still clings to the vine,
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine.
A million tomorrows shall all pass away,
Ere I forget all the joys that are mine today.

What lovely poetry.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

People Business

Being back at work has been a very good thing. I had reached a point in my "sabbatical" that felt like the end of the line, and I didn't like it. So I was quite pleased to go back, and even better, to a role I always enjoyed. I used to help patients once they came to the hospital, now I help them get into the hospital. I like seeing the change in a patient from, for example, helpless and sad to hopeful and cheerful. Most people really do improve dramatically.

Any person who comes to a hospital for a stay or a procedure must sign several papers. One of ours, and it must be the same in any psych facility, may be considered a disclaimer. It says something like, and I paraphrase, this is an inexact science but we will do the best we can. In fact, this is true. Even the most knowledgeable practitioner does not know it all. A career in a people field, is not like the pure science of math. It is on the other end of the science spectrum.
We work with often unpredictable variables. Just as we all are different on the outside, making us recognizable to each other, we are different on the inside. We can predict outcomes, but we do not know. People are endlessly interesting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Excellent Pineapple

I tend not to buy pineapples because they are so messy, but they are worth the trouble. The one I cut up this morning is delicious, but it's not just the taste that makes it worthwhile. Like all fruits, they have a lot of health benefits. But pineapples especially are a good source of manganese, which is important for bones, and they also have bromelain, which helps to fight inflammatory diseases and helps with digestion. They have Vitamins C, B1, B6, and copper all of which our bodies need for multiple reasons. And that messy tough outer skin that protects the inner goodness? It enriches the compost.

Monday, October 4, 2010

She determined her course early

People who have a dream and then make it happen are fascinating to me. Jessica was starting eighth grade in a new state, with a new family, and in a new school, and a more well behaved classmate,Traci, admired Jessica's seemingly rebellious nature. They quickly became good friends. Traci was a happy girl but sort of disadvantaged, and we were always the drivers when the two went somewhere. At age thirteen or fourteen, I remember the serious tone her voice changed to when she stated, "I'm going to be a doctor." I probably said something like "how nice" while thinking "how will that happen." I didn't see her as particularly studious, and I knew that even if she were an excellent student, the education would be grueling and expensive. Both girls moved away from Lexington and lost touch with each other, but through facebook they have now reconnected and talked. Traci did become a doctor, an internist to be exact. She also married a doctor. She did not have the traditional advantages, only a goal, a vision of what she wanted, and obviously enough determination to make it happen. How do people do that!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lovely Little Art Show

When it became obvious the house was not going to sell, I decided to get involved in the life of Greenville. After all it really is a great place to live. Yesterday afternoon I attended a neat thing. Four local women artists had a show in the backyard garden of one of their homes. Easels holding paintings - oils, watercolors, sumi-E - were set up along a curving, brick lined walk, and guests were admiring and buying, too. The weather looked precipitous, and I thought at any moment the nice art was going to be gathered up and taken in, but the rain stayed away, and it was all fun.