Friday, December 19, 2008

New York City in December

Long time no post.

K and I finally made it into The City.
New York City for a small town person is a bit overwhelming.
To pass buildings so high they blot out the sky:

And the Lights:

Art in a tunnel in Central Park:

K and C in Central Park near the Boat Pond:

Things have been well.
K and C are still so busy at work and up to our waists in boxes.
We are healthy and well. Not much more need be said.

We hope you all are well, as well.

Maybe more soon, maybe not.
Tune in again.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lumps and bumps and Vets, oh my...

Well, as we grow older, we get lumps and bumps. So do our furkin.
I have found several lumps on Puppette in the past 6 months and have felt them almost daily to monitor growth.
She developed an ugly red thing on her tummy and it got opened on Sunday. I took miss thing to the Vet yesterday.
I had a lump chart our last vet had started so I whipped that out and then proceeded to freak out the vet as I pointed out5 more lumps that were not on the lump chart that was last updated 2 years ago.
She felt them all and agreed that most of them are fatty and really need no investigation, just observation.
But the three lobed red thing on her tummy that opened up and BLED on Sunday, that had her attention.
The Vet finished looking Puppette over and left the room. She came back and asked if Puppette had recent blood work. I handed over the small book that is Puppette's medical record and let them look. The Tech came back in and I said:
"Let me guess, you need a new blood sample because her last blood panel is over a year old."
She then made as if to take Pup out to the back and I stopped her and told her I hold Puppette for all minor procedures. So I held her while the Vet herself drew the blood. I told the vet, "I suppose you might as well clean her teeth while she is out"
She nodded and looked at me kinda weird.
I am guessing that she does not work with many "in the know" pet guardians.
She wanted to do Puppette today but I can't free the schedule until next Tuesday.
So my princess needs a biopsy and a teeth cleaning and I will be just as freaked out as I was three years ago at her last tooth cleaning.
I will keep you all posted.
She is 100% otherwise, good appetite, not angry poo, no weight loss, although she needs to lose a pound or two. But then again, so do I. Hmm, do I see more walkies in the near future?
Ahhh feel those grey hairs growing.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Year Later

Just over 365 days ago, we loaded our lives and loves into a mini van and left our long time home.
In that year, we learned some important things:
Jack Links beef jerky is manna
DO NOT EVER eat "moisturized" chicken
Nut rolls are great protein on the road.
Waffle House ROCKS!
Cherry lime aid and tots from Sonic ease the pain of travel
Kansas is flat
Never move 4800 miles unless it is a very good reason (Like your nephew calling you up to ask if you can swim underwater)
WiFi is your friend
Mini vans can be good
Parrots do not drink or eat in bouncy cars
Texas feels weird
Alabama has a lot of Helicopters
New York is expensive
Read the fine print
Communicate very well to keep your clients
You will always be right where you are supposed to be ( you probably will not always know it though)
A good companion is priceless

There is no place like home

I will keep writing when I can.
I have no idea if anyone still reads this, but I will keep it out there.

A new year begins.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Do you smell that?

The sense of smell is an incredible memory trigger.
Today, driving to work, I was three cars behind a school bus. The car ahead of me, the person was smoking a cigarette.
The smell of burned off diesel and smoke took me back to any given Christmas morning in my child hood.
Early Christmas morning, Mom would bundle us up into warm clothes and we would take the bags we had packed the night before.
We would go down to the Greyhound Bus station and board the big grey behemoth that would take four kids to Seattle for our Christmas break in Seattle with our Father.
The cold morning air, dawn still hiding over a distant horizon, held the warm exhaust and cigarette smoke close to the ground. High rafters with cold sleepy pigeons did not allow the heat to rise so it could get cloying after too long.
We were never allowed to go into the bathrooms alone. No one ever said why, just that we could not go. The cold would make me have to pee and I could not go until I was on a moving bus across the snowy state.
We would arrive in Seattle 5 to 9 hours later and encounter the same cold darkness with smoke and fumes. Punctuation of transit with a week in Dad's house and then the same sentence in west to east instead of east to west. Same closing paragraph of cold dark evening with a long pause until next time next year.
I saw the yellow behemoth turn off into a school and the air cleared of uphill poorly incompletely combusted diesel fumes and the fool in the car ahead threw a still smoldering butt out their window and sped off to the left where I turned right.
Over thirty years later and I am transported back to a place and time because two unique smells went up my nose and tickled my olfactory bulbs. Synapses connected and I remembered the good and bad and agonizing times of my child hood.
It all comes together in the present as I drive to work, a grown man looking back at a scared confused small human bundled up against the bite of more than winter.
It helped shape who I am.


Sunday, August 31, 2008


Still here, still kicking.

Work has been fast then slow, an amazing variety of patients that keep me on my toes, to be sure.
We are getting more settled in the house.
We are now just up to our chests in boxes, not our armpits like we have been.
Poppy is settling nicely, but the flight patterns still give him troubles. He will circle and circle until he loses so much altitude that he crash lands on something. We bark at the dogs to leave him alone and they are pretty good about that.
Bugsy loves to chase the laser pointer on the laminate flooring. He has just about learned how to stop or apply the brakes soon enough so he does not crash into the walls.
Poni runs about the back yard, a rolling gait that makes us smile and laugh a little.
Puppette has taken to lying on front of the door in the morning when I leave, as if to say I cannot go without her.
Not much to say.
Thought I'd post so those that still stop by would have a read.
More when I am not so damn tired.

Be well.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We went to the X files movie today.
One of K's favorite things is to go to a nice air conditioned theater in summer, enjoy a nice bag of pop corn with butter and get lost in a movie. She says it is a child hood thing she always enjoyed.
So we saw X files.
The movie was average. It was nice to see Scully and Mulder.
But, unfortunately, I was very distracted and annoyed by the person two seats over from K.
She kept popping her knuckles. Not just the knuckles from hand to base of fingers (MCP joint) but each individual joint on each finger (IP joints).
It is a pet peeve of mine anyway, being of the school that believes the popping of finger joints can lead to joint laxity and future joint problems like arthritis.
So I would be into the movie, waiting for the next twist inthe plot and these little snicking pops come from K's right side.
Common courtesy is dead.
Bring it back people. Please.
I, for one, miss it terribly.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome... home...

It has been a whirlwind of boxes, bags, packing and hauling to get our life out of the rental unit and finally into the house to become a home.
We had the floors professionally cleaned but it seems that wiener pee soaked in a bit too much and decided to turn amonia-y after the windows were closed on a hot muggy night.
So we will pay for new carpet out of our damage deposit and wave good by to the house one block from the water.
We are surrounded by boxes of speakers, phones, kitchen stuff, clothes, electronics, the art supplies that K was afraid would freeze and die in the storage container we rent elsewhere.
C put away his knives and moved the fiddle in so all is right with the world.
We do laundry almost every day since the miracle "space bags" left everything smelling stale and ewwww.
The dogs love the back yard and run about frolicking.
Ok, so not really.
They sniff all over and bark at the neighbors.
Puppette can't seem to roll around enough in the grass all four paws up inthe air, bent at the ankle and then she thrusts her back legs up and down a few times. She rolls over and chases Bugsy who gets scared of 75 lbs of gold running at him. He turns tail and runs for the end of the upper yard where he turns to face the golden avalanche and then panicks and manages to run between her legs only to be over taken and passed in a cyclone of shedded golden fur. Poni looks on with bewilkderment why anyone would carry on so...
The crickets increase in volume as the sun grows huge and red-orange in my western sky. The off schedule cicadas wind down for the night and the humidity threatens to smother us in its embrace.
Fans on, air conditioner humming, we crawl into bed, the frame re-assembled now, and sleep in our new home. Dreams of the west, of friends we miss, of adventures to be had chase each other like the night birds and stars in the heavens.

Dream big, live your adventures.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Boxes and painting and flooring, Oh my!

I have to admit, I have never really been in a situation where I owned a home and had permission and ability to do pretty much what ever I want.
K and I could have gotten away with not doing anything. But we are painting a few walls and changing some flooring.
We get to choose what the floor looks like. I think that is rather decadent.
I will probably pick bamboo flooring for my little office. It is 8 by about 5 with a closet in there. I will blog, play and generally goof off in there so I need to make it mine.
I picked a parchment like color for the walls and was thinking of painting the opening lines from my stories and other favorites on the walls.
The house is coming along great. We might shift the command HQ to there later this week, after phone, internet and cable are installed this week end.
So that is why I am not posting much just now.

The rush from work to house is keeping me occupied.
It is storming here so I doubt we will get much moved from the container to the house today.
But there is an office to be painted and boxes to unpack and sort out.
Pictures? Yeah, sure, one of these days. When I remember to take the camera with me and then bring it back to the rental. Or I just might wait until the cable is installed and I can do it from our new home in the making.

Be well.


Friday, July 18, 2008


We close in a little bit, here.
K and I did the in depth walk through last night and the place looked smaller than both our minds had built it up to be.
We chose smaller for the lower taxes and smaller payment so we aren't a slave to our mortgage.
But it seems smaller than before.
We will fill it up with our things and energy and life and it will become ours.
The dogs have yet to smell it other than a faint whiff on a shoe or pant leg.
Strange how damn hard this has all been.
Is it really necessary for it to be so complex to buy a house?
The yard is larger than I remember, that makes me smile. Even at the thought of mowing it with my new reel mower, I smile.
Today we own a mortgage and gain a new roof over our six heads.
I will post pictures soon, I hope.
Unless I am too busy making a new home happen with my family.

Be well, all.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Princess Puppette

Time marches on.
Puppette is still a stay at home dog.
With all the hub bub around buying a house and getting ready to move again, life in boxes... I have not had the time or energy to launch myself against Risk Management at Hospital One in order to get Puppette to work with me.
I have a box of papers, the policy and procedure from Hamsterville Hospital and all my recognition awards for animal handling. That box is somewhere in our storage container.
Puppette has grown older, 8 now, and I am relaxing the rules a bit.
She still must come when called, must obey the basic obedience commands she learned so long ago. She does respond, but at a more leisurely pace than years gone by.
I have relaxed some demands on her. She lives a life of semi-retirement. But she still comes to the door most mornings and looks at me so expectantly, as if to say, Why am I not going with you.
Her life, for six years, was going to work and offering a golden head for loves and pats. She brightened more people's days than I ever could. Her interactions with patients were sometimes miraculous and always rewarding to all parties concerned.
On Friday, she was waiting on the deck and I went into box the doxies. I got back to let her in and she was standing by the truck with that look on her face.
I called her in and she walked to me so slowly. She wants to go with me. The routine that has defined our relationship is gone and she wants it back.
But I am relaxing with her. She still can't have vitamin C so I can't give her the strawberries or blue berries or raspberries she begs for.
But I did something so out of character the other day.
I gave Puppette a french fry.
Yes, me, the champion of all dogs living healthy non human food filled lives gave Puppette a golden arches french fry. It was gone in a flash, but the look on her face clearly indicated the offering was enjoyed. The begging, beseeching look I got for the next ten minutes said she wanted to try another.
She now looks at me very expectantly when we go through the drive through and she smells fries.
I made the mistake of thinking once would be ok. She is older, and much smarter, and will never forget that fry.
Maybe, someday, if I feel bad that we can't walk the halls of Hospital One as the team we make so well, I will give her another one.
Maybe, someday...


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rules of the road

OK... I know, I have had at this topic before, but it is such a big thing.
It is unsafe to drive out here.
Out west, it is slow enough and the population sparse enough that there is at least a small fear of the law catching you if you violate motor traffic laws. You do not pass on the right, you never pass on a double yellow unless you are in the fit of road rage, you stop at RED lights and STOP signs.
Out here, it is merely a suggestion to a great many motorists.
Not a day goes by, literally, that I do not see someone blow right through a red light, a no turn on red corner, cross over the double yellow around a blind corner in the road.
I now hug the white line on the RIGHT of the road to keep from being pasted by some inattentive cell phone yacking self involved person driving, almost invariably, an urban assault vehicle.
This is a hands free municipality, but no one cares. They all have their cell phones to their ears driving mach 1 down windy roads.
I am in near constant fear of dying in a collision with a multi tone ChevyFordCadillacGMC monstrosity that some rich person is driving to self proclaim their insecurities.
Recently, at a major intersection, my turn lane had a dedicated green light. The two intersecting lanes also had dedicated green turn lights. I sat there as 5 cars ran each of the intersecting lanes red lights so my dedicated turn light cycled green to yellow to red. THEY DID NOT FUCKING YIELD TO A RED LIGHT!
I drive 35 mph in a 30. I have people pass me on the double yellow on blind corners and uphills.
There are times I wish I could just telecommute my job. Tell Ms Smith to do ten more short arc quad sets then switch to an isolated hamstring isometric. But it does not work that way.
California drivers, my dear fellow Washingtonians (the state, not the cess pool capitol of these here supposedly united states) are not bad drivers, they obey the laws of the road except the speed limit. Here, it is the worst.
I wish I could just stay home and not drive here anymore. But, alas, not to be.
Buckle up.
Drive safely.
Watch out for the other guy, he might be on vacation from Long Island New York. God save you if he is behind you or in oncoming traffic.
Drive defensively, no one else is. Except two lost Hamsters in the East.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where to start...

It has been a full and busy 2 weeks.
We have signed contracts and are moving into the financial side of the deal. We have a tentative closing date on mid July. the house is great, with little or nothing to do upon moving in!
Ahhh. A fenced yard for the pups and a great Kitchen for me, an art room for K.

Another brilliant thunderstorm last week where the lightning was so fast and intense that the thunder was a constant low rumble that sounded like distant un-muffled motorcycles. the sky turned a dark dark grey and the lightning flashed like a strobe light. Two lightning/thunder moments were so close there was no perceptual lag between the two. The noise is so awe-full, meaning full of awe. Bugsy sat up and bayed his defiance at Thor's hammer in the angry heavens.
That made me laugh. I called my sister and shared the storm with her.

It got hot as hell, into the 90's with humidity of 80%+ so we were all miserable.
Puppette will get her summer hair cut in about a week.

So that is all.
I have been noticing more things, differences between the Westerners and these Easterners. But that will wit for another day.

Stay cool.


Saturday, May 31, 2008


Something I have noticed out here in the wacky ass east:
K's mom, and several other women I have met, and a few girls, have all said basically the same thing.
"Don't buy me flowers, they just die."
One girl went on to say she'd rather have that money spent on a pedicure, or a dvd or cd.
Out west, most women I knew, and a few girls, would love to have a nice bouquet of flowers from a friend or relative to say "Hi, I am thinking about you and wanted to send you something beautiful"
(Sorry, sounds like an FTD commercial)
So I was struck. I asked this girl saying this a few more questions. She thinks that flowers are too expensive.
I asked, "What if your sweet heart grew them himself and cut them from his own garden?"
"I'd still rather have the pedicure." She said.
How sad.
Again, and I make this statement often so no one thinks I am stupid, but in the general sampling I have found, this is a common feeling.
Sad that some people would not want a little piece of beauty as a token of a loved one, but would rather have a tangible luxury item.
Is it just the younger girls? No, I find it, like I said, with K's mother.
Things are just different out west.
Go buy some one some flowers, not a pedicure.

Be well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


As I write this, I am sitting next to an open window listening to thunder and rain.
The work day ended and I was walking to the back room to enter my charges on a really bad program when I heard someone say" It's getting dark."
I knew there awas a chance of a t storm so I listened. But when you are in an institutional building made of cement and brick and mortar, it is heard to hear the outside world.
I sat down and logged in and, while waiting for the older Compaq p.o.s. to load up, I heard a rumble. It must have been very loud outside, because I could hear it so well in that back room.
I finished and helped a colleague out to her car with some paper for a presentation she is giving tomorrow. It was pouring.
I drove home noting the wet roads, the over full gurgling storm drains and the whish whoosh of cars hitting standing water.
The rain tapered as I got closer to home.
I was listening to the radio and thought I saw a bright flash. I killed the tunes and rolled down a window. I noticed there was no rain splashing down from above on the road to my house.
I had out run the rain, but the thunder was less than a 5 count from the lightning. Less than one mile.
I raced up the hill and into the house to free the puppies.
Poni won't pee in the rain.
I got them into the yard and every one was a peein' when I heard white noise coming at me. I looked down the block and saw the rain hitting the shiny slick asphalt. It was coming on, no stopping.
Bugsy squeezed off some solids but as the first drops of rain hit Poni's head, all her orifices locked down.
I put the puppies in and kept Puppette out to finish her duties. She lolly gags in the rain, but doesn't like the thunder.
I grabbed the mail, grabbed the garbage can and came in. Puppette got a towelling oof, I stripped out of pants wet to the skin and typed this.
The rain is still coming down, the thunder is still crashing about. puppette sits at teh foot of the bed, panting in stress and because it is warm. A warm spring rain.
Just listen...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Wow, has it been a while?
C got offered a job at Hospital one. That is where I want to work. K works there so I can meet her everyday for lunch, bump into her in the halls as a pleasant surprise. They offered it to me on a Friday. I thought about it all weekend, discussing it with K. Not whether or not I should accept, but what I should ask for as far as scheduling and expectations. I do not know how many others were trying for the position, but I got it. That makes life just a bit easier.

We found a house. It is not much bigger than the hamster house, but it is nice. I stood in the kitchen and had goose bumps on my arms. It is fully fenced for the fur kin. K will have her own art room.
We signed contracts on Thursday. We will hear back from their attorney next week. The we venture into the morass that is home finance.
We are excited to get a place of ours that we can unpack in and get to the things we have done without for 9 months.

Today is a cleaning day. Our landlords want to put the house we are in back on the market in June. We need to clean it and make it presentable for showings. If everything works out well, we will move into the new house in July.

Didn't we just spend 5 months packing? We have to do this again?
I just think of my newly remodeled kitchen, silestone counters, maple cabinets, skylights, and stay focussed. I get to cook in a new kitchen. I can unpack my books. K can set up her art room and start creating again. The puppies will have a new yard to explore. We are less than 2 blocks from the water. Ahhhhhhhh.

Where are those boxes? I gotta pack.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I do not remember if I wrote about K's mother saying she would just kill Poppy if K did not go to the store to get her some cigarettes.
In the past little while, I have noticed an interesting thing.
People in the east, not all of course, but a surprising number make threats to others.
"If you do that, I'll kill you."
"I'll give ya a smack."
"I wanted to slap her."
"I'll give you a smack if you do that."
"I'd kill her if she did that."

Where does this tendency towards threats come from?
Is it cultural?
Is it just how these people were raised as children, how their parents and grand parents spoke to them?
What is even more jaw dropping for me is that some of these were from Hospital staff toward patients. And it is accepted by the patient.
This really is not what I grew up with.

Maybe it is that population pressure again.
Maybe it is the Italian, Irish, German old world way of raising a child. I honestly do not know since I do not know very much about those cultures at all.

And speaking of Italians. I have noticed something else.
Out here, people wear their heritage proudly.
I have heard many people say "I'm Italian."
As if that is an explanation in and of itself.
I mentioned this to K and she said: "It is not an excuse, it is a reason."
I laughed at that and then thought on it for a while.
It is a reason to be the way you are.
From what I have noticed is that Italians can be loud, insulting, passionate, generous and proud.
I met a friend's parents, both immigrants from Italy. I came home with jam, blackberry and pepper jelly, a plate of chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter thumb print cookies with the chocolate kiss in the center, and a handful of herbs from the early garden.
The fascination with these new people, their proclivities and idiosyncrasies.
The great experiment continues.

Monday, May 5, 2008


A nebulous concept, home.
A house is not one, but can be.
Is it really where the heart is?

K and I are looking for a house.
That is not news, you all know that.
We have found two that would do. They do not knock our socks off, make us gasp in awe at the jewel we have found. We will have to put some work into them to get the kitchen I want.
Our criteria are kinda picky. I want a big kitchen I am comfortable cooking in. K wants a studio space. We are both committed to seeing the other gets what they want.
But the market, the cost of living here and our salaries do not provide us a large price range.
So we look at space, stairs, location in relation to busy roads since one certain brown dog is an escape artist who runs away when called. (embarrassing for an accomplished dog handler to admit)
We were wowed by one house but it went off market, some one else beat us to it.
So house one is nice, the bedroom would face east so K could have morning light to wake her up, two upstairs rooms, a fully finished basement, but no deck and horrid stairs leading down to the back yard.
House two overlooks a golf course in back, no neighbors there except golfers in good weather. It has two rooms upstairs, a beautiful deck. The bedroom would be on the ground floor with a north facing window so no morning light to wake K.
It is tough.
Our lease is up soon and the land lords here want to start showing this house for sale so we need to get moving.
This is the biggest decision K and I have ever made, it is a shit load of money, and we have to like coming home after work, not dreading a poor decision.

We have looked at every house in the areas we have chosen and these are the two best.
I don't know, I just don't know.
I just want to go home, where ever that is.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Just for fun

Driving home from an impromptu pet therapy session with one of K's patients, involving Puppette the birthday girl, I was passed by a flat bed truck with 4 portable pottys on board.
The name made me laugh very hard and call my sister with the pun of the day,.
The port apotty company name was:
Call a Head.
That is so good.
My sister told me there is a local company near her that is named:
Ker Plop.
Back in Hamsterville, I thought Port 'o Let was good.
OK you lurkers, tell me your funny port a potty names.


Monday, April 21, 2008


Spring is arriving.
Little blobs of green and yellow dot the trees and bushes. There is an overabundance of forsythia here. It must have been all the rage as a yard plant years ago.
I have passed several stands of "wild" bamboo. I say wild because it is not in a yard in some cases. It is twenty feet tall and sounds so wonderful when the wind caresses the leaves. I want some in our yard when we get a house.
Back in Hamsterville, I was told it SNOWED!! That is what happens out here, or so I am told.
We spent a lovely day with the nephews. It started with looking at an open house (too expensive dammit all) then meat ball hero sandwiches (too incredible to describe) then to the beach so the boys could play on the slides with the loving help of 4 adults. Next was ice cream from our local shop, made fresh on the premesis. We finished at the near by duck pond watching the ducks paddle around and do duck things.
It was the best birthday I have had in a good many years.
Work is hard, and long and still makes me happy.
K is good, the job is still kicking her ass.

Be well, all.

More sometime soon, maybe later....


Friday, April 11, 2008

Wedding Pt 4

Some thoughts on the night.

I learned that this venue where the festivities took place is a “castle” where they will not even entertain reservations for a fete under six figures.

We drove up to a gate that entered a rounded cul’d sac in the truest sense. It was a round walled off area with 4 or 6 statues in niches in the wall. The road continued up a long graveled drive with exquisitely manicured trees lining each side. It ended at a gate house that you drove under and into a cobble stone court yard.

A valet met us and we unloaded for the night.

Dude, do not take my car! I have done valet only once. It seems unnatural to hand a complete unknown youth the keys to a car only 6 months old.

We entered the grand foyer with a coat room to the left and a valet/attendant room to the right. The grand staircase:

At the top was a second foyer with a round table holding cards with our table assignments for the night.

Two men played stunningly beautiful classical music on violins, but it was almost lost in the din of over a hundred voices.

I met people K has told me of for ten years. Some I met 4 years ago at the christening of K’s first nephew. I met K’s cousins and aunts and uncles and second cousins… you get the idea.

Then we shuffled into the wedding hall, I wrote about that already. I noted the abundance of yarmulkes and saw one fall off a head. That is where the thought of bobby pins, not god holding them on came to me.

I laughed at the string quartet playing “All You Need is Love” and struggled to remember what movie I had seen that done in. I still can’t remember.

The rooms were magnificent in the true sense of the word.

In the room with shrimp and vegetable noshes, there was a picture of the castle before restoration. In the statuary alcoves in this room, someone had spray painted a Pac Man ghost in one. To look at it now, it was resplendent and humming with noshers.

The other room with food had a fire place and high ceilings. I looked out the doors to the “lawn” It was out of a European castle in that it was a long grass yard that ran the length of the castle. It was bordered on its edge by a low stone balustrade.

The dining room where over 25 tables were set for 12 people, was oval with glass windows 6 or 7 feet high looking out onto the “lawn”.

It had a wooden floor in the center, for dancing, and I do not remember if it was parquet or not.

The center piece of each table was a large glass vase with budding cherry blossom branches, encircled by smaller vases with white hydrangea and pink roses.

Large glass chandeliers hung over the dance floor and wall sconces soft lit the walls.

The too loud band murdered almost everything: Bon Jovi, AC/DC, The Outfield and an atrocious free form rap in the middle of Gloria Gainor’s “I Will Survive”. No mercy was shown or given to Run Around Sue, Don’t Stop Believing or C C Rider, which the band played about 4 times.

I do not dance. From long history, I just don’t.

The band launched into Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind and K took me to the dance floor.

We were dancing to a native Long Islander’s music, in a castle, in New York. We are here.

This was as if to say we have arrived where we are supposed to be for now. All was right with the world.



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wedding Pt 3


The father of the bride danced with his wife and they both danced well. There was one wonderful young lady in a stunning ivory dress that danced with graceful abandon, uninhibited.

Then it got crazy.

There is a Jewish tradition of the Hava Nagila dance. People join hands in a big circle and do a step twist step kind of thing that was really catchy. I really think everyone was on their feet for that. At one point, the bride and groom were lifted into the air on chairs and paraded around in a circle.

Some thoughts:

The yarmulke stays in place with hair pins, not the will of god as I saw many fall off in the Jewish mosh pit the dance floor became.

The little dude in the Yarmulke could DANCE!!

The band had to be flexible enough to destroy pop songs but have the ability to play Jewish traditional tunes as well. Almost brought them up in my eyes, almost.

Because the parents of one of the lucky couple had a long police career, there were a lot of police types there. Several times, men in suits, no smiles, walked by and looked at my glass to see what I was drinking (H20 as you who know me understand) look at my belt line, my shoes and then my eyes. Then they would dismiss me. It felt like I was being sized up as a potential threat. Interesting to say the least.

By now, many of the older people in the crowd had turned off their hearing aids. Amplified horribly horrible music is, well, horrible! So the conversation was even louder.

Then the bride and groomy cut their cake. It was a nice cake.

We were served desert. A chocolate cake, a cheese cake and a small chocolate cup filled with raspberries and blueberries. Wow! And then we all got a piece of the wedding cake.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Wedding Pt 2

The opening act was a beautiful salad with a delicate vinaigrette to compliment the field greens, bordered by a raspberry reduction drizzle with two big candied chest nuts at the corners, a cube of the most wicked bleu cheese ever and an orchid flower anchoring the other two corners.

I did not notice, until my brother in law pointed it out. You could tell I was not from around here. I ate all my dandelion green salad, the cheese and the walnuts. Most people at our table only ate the cheese or nuts. K and I ate it all! Hmmmmm, ok, it was not iceberg lettuce so no self respecting Long Islander or New Yorker was going to eat it. Pity, it was superb!

When the salad was served, the band played quiet dinner music and conversation was had at a near normal level. There was a lot of talking since no one was eating the salad.

Then, as the fantastic servers were clearing and setting up for the entrees, the band got back into it. The sheer volume of the band was surpassed only by its magnificent butchery of music.

The first notable sacrifice was so bad, K almost did not recognize the song “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey. K loves disco music, it was her era and she has many fond memories of school and friends around that music. But she almost missed that it was a song she knew and liked.

They played the first dance for the couple and it was one of my favorites, a song I sing to the dogs sometimes, when we are dancing around the house or doing chores Dream a Little Dream of Me. A dance for dad and daughter to “I Loved Her First”. Then more overly loud crap until the entrees.

OK, Here it got wow.

Apple sage stuffed chicken

fillet mignon

or Chilean sea bass (they spared no expense).

K had chicken, bro in law had fillet, I had the sea bass.

I have never had Chilean sea bass before. It was done medium so the outer edges were firm and the middle was soft. The flavor of the fish was so subtle that the accompanying sauce was ideal and ample. The band was sedate again and there was not as much talk as people ate, having waited over a half hour since the offending weeds and raspberry drizzle was set before them.

Then more dancing….

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Wedding Pt 1

A lot can be said about them.
A new beginning, the end of freedom, hope springs eternal.... pick your favorite.
K and I went to a wedding of one of her family members.
Now, there are weddings where you elope and tell no one, those where there are a few special guests, ones where the families come and then there are once in a lifetime shin digs that defy, well, explanation.
I am going to try, in several posts I am sure, to describe this one.
Where ever to begin?
A man and a woman came together to be joined in holy wed lock.
It was a Jewish/Catholic shared ceremony. That was a first to me.
I was raised in Leave it to Beaver Land where minorities were so rare........
SO the string quartet played Pachabel, exquisitely as the 9 groomsmen and 5 brides maids walked the aisle. Than the groomy and then the Bride with loving father to hand her off, er, give her hand.
The invocations in Yiddish and American English took place. I have never heard that much Yiddish. But the Rabbi, when speaking American, sounded a little like a bad Al Pachino imitation.
The groom stomped on a glass, we all yelled "Mazel tav!"
The quartet played "All You Need is Love" as the newly weds and the wedding party exited.
Much milling about and a bee line for the open bar ensued, like slow cattle to a free flowing river.
There were two feeding stations for noshing, one was veggies and salami and cheese and crackers and such. The other had an Oriental food bar, a fillet mignon and turkey breast carving station, an Italian pasta bar and seafoods. There was one bar open for shrimp, only shrimp.
Then, over an hour and a half since the nuptials x 2, the main meal was announced...
We all went into a huge ass ornate room with a band playing so loud, you had to yell to your seating mate to be heard. We searched for and found our table. I have always wondered at how they do the seating at a wedding. The pattern at this one was familial, cousins with cousins, immediate family with immediate family.
They announced the parents of the happy couple and then, in a manner any stadium announcer would have envied, they announced the Bride and Groom.
Then it got weird-er.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reality check please

I have striven, in the last decade, to reduce that place of judgment I sit in when I see or meet new people. I try, with thought and effort, to not pre-judge a person by looks, speech patterns, behaviors.
But there is a nurse at hospital one that I just can not stand. It is almost irrational, to me at least, that I should dislike someone so much just from watching his actions, listening to his comments.
I had a strong moment the other day, where i really wanted to go off on this guy.
All hospitals have codes they call out on the public address system. these codes let staff know if there is a fire, a heart attack, an emergent medical situation, potentially violent person, bomb threat, you get the idea.
We had a code for more man power called and this guy get weird.
He brought up a story that a person in Georgia shot and killed people at a local hospital. He starts ranting that in a call for more man power, bodies to show up at a location for a show of force or a potential work group to manage the situation.
He wondered, quite aloud, is rushing toward a place with a violent armed person might get more people hurt or killed.
I will admit he has a good point. BUT...
He was ranting in a loud voice at the nurses station where patients and patient families could hear him.
This bothered me on several levels.
One: Any person visiting a hospital has enough stress as is being in a strange, often smelly environment with worry and concern for their loved one. The last thing they need is to hear a hospital staff getting loud about an internal matter.
Two: He kept saying he would like to know if the person is armed so he can run away form the danger, not into it. Interesting. I try not to judge. If this man was from New York, he just completely dishonored every victim of 9-11. Further more, he expounded he would hide behind a refrigerator. Most nurses I know would shield their patients from further harm.
Three: I do not know this man's history, but I have run toward the violence to render aid to the fallen. His ranting upset me beyond what I felt it should.
K would tell me to put myself in his shoes, understand what his motivations are. In this case, I don't care to. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he has past traumas and wants to protect himself from ever facing the same again. Maybe he isn't getting laid. Maybe he lost a family member to violence.
But I just wanted to slap him.
I will probably talk to his supervisor on Monday and point out my concern of his loud voicing of the situation. But I just don't like the guy.
Oh, yeah, he is a charge nurse.

Keep your corner of the world clean, that is all you can do. Hope the other guy keeps his clean. Do not be so surprised when the other guy doesn't keep his corner of the world clean.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

How many restaurants...

K and I like to eat out. K says, to her, eating out is cheaper and just about as therapeutic as going to see a psychologist.
So we had a wonderful mid week day off together and thought we'd go try a new tea room.
In Hamsterville, the tea room was cozy but not crowded, or noisy. We went to the nearest tea room and found the noise level high, the tables very close together and we need to have called 24 hours in advance for tea service. Our Hamster tea place would fix you up a high tea with tea sandwiched, a savory, fruit, and a desert all with your own pot of tea. Not this joint. We left.
We turned down another restaurant because it looked more like an ice cream parlor that just also happened to serve food. That is risky enough, but in the off season, no dice.
We then tried a place K has told me about for years and points out every time we drive by. We entered a beautiful victorian themed restaurant and a nice maitre d' took our coats. We sat and noticed it was a prix fixe menu for 25.00! The offering were all certainly tasty sounding but way too heavy. All K wanted was finger sandwiched and a nice delicate salad.
Then they came to the table with two bottles of water and asked which we would like. All credit to Waiterrant, I wanted source municipal.
We left that place too, smelling of too much potpourri.
We went to an old favorite and had a consistently excellent meal.
The search for a new tea room to spend over an hour eating and recharging will go on. We crossed two places off the list, one we might go back to.

The search goes on.


Monday, March 3, 2008

On the other hand

OK, so my last post was a rant.
Sue me.

What I feel is needed is the other side.
Those that have been knocked down by stroke, illness, accident and do not give up at all.

One example is the athlete. I have to say that my athletics extends to what I do with my mouse finger, walking the dogs and an occasional bike ride.
But the athlete. They are driven by goals, standards, a history of performance.
When I am used to working with the average older person who is slowing down, the physically fit athllete makes me think to keep up with them.
They actually have to be told to stand down, step back, give the body a chance to heal before they consider full bore living again.

Or you have the home maker busy body that is retired and still is on the go from early AM to PM and does not know how to let themselves slow down, can not let the foot off the throttle.
They are the ones that think they can do more than they can. Ms Smith will have a good transfer in one PT session and then try it on her own. Sometimes a fall occurs, sometimes nothing happens and no one is ever the wiser. but human nature seems to make the person confess. They see you are busting your ass to help them learn how to maximize their abilities and they want to tell you "Hey, I transfered from the wheel chair to the bed by my self last night!"
"was there a nurse present?"
"No." with an incredulous look on the surprise and slightly saddened face.
Here comes lecture 227.2 and I pull no punches. I get gray hairs on my arms and in my beard from these people, but on the inside I am so happy they TRIED it. It is a conflict for me, but then I can walk through it and trouble shoot to make it safer, more consistent.
Then they practice it more and more the safe and correct way. The day they reveal it to their loved ones, I am vindicated and smile to myself.
I was the teacher, that is my knowledge and skill being demonstrated to the family and the smiles are on those faces from what the patient and I did together.
It pays for some of the gray hairs.

Got sick and shared a head cold thing with K last week so no work for me.
Things are moving along.

Be well.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are we so different?

We are, after all, advanced animals that have learned to adapt the environment to suit us. Not animals that adapt to the environment.
I have thought and believed that there is a difference in people "out west" versus "back east".
But when I get down to my job, helping people recover from the worst things that have ever happened in their lives, they are still the same.
For some reason, stroke, trauma, illness, these souls are in the hospital to heal and re-enter life. They have sons and daughters, fathers and mothers that have loved them or not, dissapointed or made them proud. There is a home to go to or to never return to again. The emotions are the same, too.
Kubler-Ross put forth the 5 stages of grief. It has become apparent that it is not just grief around dying, but also in any major trauma or life altering event.
I see people in the worst moments of their lives and I see the anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
I see it in the family members as well.
But I also wonder if environment and childhood roll models shape how one embraces the challenges these people confront.
They fight on, struggle, at least try, or just give up.
Giving up is the most frustrating. I have helped a 95 year old to learn to walk again. I have seen people no one expected to live regain so much function that they go home with little to no help.
But some give up. There are types of giving up. There is complete surrender of the will to live and they just waste away and die. There are the learned helplessness cases. These, to me, are the worst.
I can see their potential to recover, to regain independence, and they want some one else to do it all for them. It makes me mad, to be honest. I have limited time to work with a person. If you want to give up and make your family work so much harder than they need to, to burn them out on caring for you, tell me so I can move on to the next person that WANTS to get better, that dearly desires to be as independent as they can possibly be.
But I can't and do not say this. I do the best I can, crying a little inside knowing it does not have to be this way.
These people drain you so deeply.
The next time you see a health care worker drooping, dragging, looking drained, it could be this reason. Ms Smith could get up and walk to the bathroom by herself, but she has learned dependence so she lies in bed and wants help. Two to three people have to divert their time and care from others to come in, get her up, get her into the bathroom where she will probably, in a fit of hysterics, let herself fall or loose her balance, injuring the young nurse, mom of two children, so badly she can't bend overt to pick up her crying child because her back is so messed up. Then Ms smith will ring the call button every three minutes to have a pillow fluffed and her sheets straightened so a non-existent wrinkle is not under her sizable ass. Meanwhile, Ms Jones, next door, can get up with help but no one can answer her call bell because they are all wiping Ms Smith's ass and wondering whether or not to fill out an injury form and report the burning in the low lumbar area on the right side to her supervisor.
It is all the same as in Hamsterville Hospital. The people care just as much, the patients feel the same things.
Are we all that different?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The question of the day

Now that I have completed two weeks at the Hospital one, I have a growing sense of life on the east coast.
But maybe it is too generalized to call it the east coast. After all, the east coast is Florida to Maine. And I think I can fairly well guess that souther Floridians are quite different from a native of Maine.
The questions I am asked the most are:
Why did you move here?
What do you think of New York.
Followed by:
What do you think of the people out here.
and the cute smart asses that ask:
Did you have that/this/those out in Washington?

I am gathering more information daily from my patients and fellow Therapists.
I usually reply:
Because of the nephews.
It is much faster and more crowded than out west.
They are out for themselves before others.
No, we did not have that in Washington... we did have recycling bins though? Ever heard of those out here?
The answer is always no. Millions, literally millions of people in NYC and the Long Island, and no recycling bins in public, work places. Sad, really.

Hospital two wants me to orient as soon as I get time. Both are busy now with the later flu season getting up to speed. I keep seeing orthopaedic cases which are ok, but boring to me.
One of these days, I will get to work with a stroke or head injury patient. That is my place of comfort.
The Therapist that has been orienting me told me she talked me up to the Inpatient Manager, telling him they need to hire me.
Nothing against Hospital two, but I really like Hospital one.

Two days off and then I see if Hospital one needs me to work again.

Be well, friends.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Patient care

It is what it is all about, really.
Health care workers, in any position, it is all about taking care of the human in front of you. I am back to doing what I love and what feels so good to me.
But what really creates a great work atmosphere, is when the people around you are motivated for the same reasons.
I stepped out of the stair way onto the 4th floor and looked left and right to orient myself to where the hell I am at. I had rushed to get out of the house and had forgotten my name badge. I looked up and saw someone, who is in my department, and I said "I have no idea where I am at."
Without skipping a beat, he said "You are on 4 south." I thanked him and went down the correct hall way to get to the scheduling office to get my patient list for the day.
A couple of hours later, he walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said "You are now on 4 north." No disrespect, no sarcasm (ok maybe a little) but just a joke to help me feel not so overwhelmed.
I met a nurse and he asked me how it was going. I told him it was like a frog in a blender. (kids do NOT try that at home, ever)
I got to do three patients by myself and assisted with another and was just at home. The charting and charges systems are different, the charging system is horrid.
The walls are different, the outside is so different, but the needs and the diagnoses are so familiar.
It feels good to treat. It feels good to meet new people.
I am getting the information I need to see if these New Yorkers are all that different than what I grew up with out west.

On a painful note, I have a bitch of an infected ingrown toe nail and I had a 5 lb cuff weight fall on it. I hate limping at work. It looks bad when the pulmonologist smokes, the dietician is obese and the Physical Therapists limp.

Be well.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hi ho, hi ho, it is off to work....

Monday I reported at 9:00 am for Orientation at the first hospital. Wow. We covered a lot. the health care alliances out here, the Hospital history, policy and procedure. HIPAA and how it can ruin your career...
In one activity, we were to summarize, in a small group, a section of the employee propaganda and present it to the room. We were told to use "neumonics" in this exercise. How is that again? Mnemonics, maybe?
In discussing artificial nails, the video strongly stated that "Anything not natural is artificial." Thanks for the heads up on that one.
Another fire education video we were informed that "In a fire, exits are your only means of escape." And by definition, a lousy statement.
One presenter said "We encourage yous."
OK , the stage is being set.

The Rehab portion of this hospital is 10 times larger than my last hospital. It covers several floors. It is big. I think I might have lost two pounds my first day alone. Once I get into a groove, I will start relying on the stairs to burn a few more calories and try to regain my figure.
Day two I was oriented to the Hospital. The facility its self is so much bigger that I am at a loss to locations as of yet. I was informed that North hall and South hall and East hall have no relation to actual compass points. That messed me up.
OK, ok, I still can't tell you north unless I can see the sun or the water, but it does not help that the halls are randomly named.
Day three, I helped with some treatments and continued to shadow another therapist, learning all I could and getting hopelessly overloaded with information.
Today was day four and I actually did some treatments by myself, did some charting myself, did some charges under the watchful eye of a supervisor.
Tomorrow, more of the same.
I got told I will orient all of next week, to make sure I know the systems and procedures. And then it is a February break week from school and if census stays high, I will be working steadily.
Once things slow at Hospital one, I will orient at Hospital two.
I like the therapists at Hospital one. There are a lot of them and I know about 6 of 25 by name and by sight. More learning is needed.
I keep thinking the day room is on the 2nd floor when it is really on the 4th. Second floor has its own gym but I got lost and had to ask directions to get there today.
My brother told me to enjoy this time, like he told me to enjoy the exam. It is not often in life you get to experience these situations.
More experiences tomorrow, then I can come home and fall over.
But not too hard, I do not want to be on my own unit.

Be well.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Precipitation is vital to life. We all need water, that is simple. It can rain, sleet, hail, snow, monsoon and hurricane. Water falls and flows downhill, basic physics, gravity and all, you know.
Growing up in an arid high plain technically classified as a desert, and then living in a coastal town, I thought I had seen rain.
It has rained on us here, too, before yesterday.
But, in Hamsterville, it would take all day long to drop up to an inch of rain. In the high dry place it would rarely rain long and or hard.
I saw east coast weather in its glory.
It rained. Oh boy did it rain.
I can't find a good total from a web source, but a quick look at an hour by hour rain gauge looks like better than three inches in a 24 hour period. It came down.
Poni held it in all day. There was no way she wold do anything. I happened to take her out between systems and she RAN to perform her necessaries. And again this AM she RAN do take care of her business.
K and I went out to eat and then shopping for a bit. Walking into the store it was notraining. After about 5 minutes in the store and gentle roaring sound started to compete with the ever present '70s muzak all stores play here. The muzak stopped and the pounding of the rain on the roof was impossible to ignore. Even the store clerk who took our cash for goods thought we were nuts for being out in this weather. She voiced a longing for home and warm soup and a comfy couch.

Whilst out and about accomplishing errands long overdue, I was driving along a street where the rain water system had been hopelessly overwhelmed.
In my youth, as a passenger, I was thought that driving through a puddle of standing water could be fun, look at that rooster tail from the Maverick as it flies down the road. But I was also introduced to hydroplaning and wet brake pads.
I witnessed some nice hydroplaning from young men, mostly, who thought that rooster tail was the sign of high verility in the ever nauseating mating ritual of the testosterone hyper. It is interesting to see a big 4x4 pickup slide sideways in a deep puddle of water.
Then I hit a puddle that was deeper than it looked. I went to hit my brakes and got nothing.
I have never experienced wet brakes before. It gave my heart that little shot of adrenaline and I calmly pumped the brakes, like your driver's ed teacher told you, and got stopping power.
The tide was out as I got closer to home, otherwise I am sure the road would have been impassable and I would have had to go around and take the higher road approach.
This morning, you can see the grass is bent in the direction of the run off from the yard. Can you say erosion?
I love weather, I always have, always will, I hope. But K had warned me of the east coast rain. I thought I had seen it. K told me that this particular weather system was about typical for NY. Oh boy!

On another note.
It became more of a reality yesterday as well. I opened an east coast bank account, licensed my truck and got insurance. I start work next week. I am here, it is real and happening in a big way.
The adventure continues...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The quality of light

Years ago, having received a 35 mm SLR cameras for graduation, I was shooting black and white film. I was bored with color, I see in color so it was not too exciting. But to see in black and white was different.
In the middle of a snowy winter, I woke up around one AM and looked out my bedroom window. I saw a white world lit by a brilliant full moon. I set the camera lens on the window sill to steady it. I could feel the cold radiating off the windows, falling down over my hands and arms. I adjusted the shutter to manual and snapped several shots. Now, it is instant gratification, click the button and see the digital image. But I was working very little and money was tight, so I had to wait to shoot the rest of this roll and one more to make it worth my money to send it off for developing. Ironically I sent it to Mystic Connecticut, which now lies just across Long Island Sound. Ahh, anticipation.
Sometimes I would even forget what I had shot on the roll.
The photos were blurred, except one. This picture looks like it was taken at noon on a sunny day.
Then, later, I was asked by several friends to shoot them in color and black and white. I thought they were some of the best work I ever have done. I learned about the "sweet light" that happens with the sun low in the morning or evening sky.
Lattitude makes a difference in quality of light, so does the time of year with where the sun is in the sky.
I went out last week, into a cold, windy night with a blindingly bright full moon. Poni fairly glowed with radiant light, luminescent as she sniffed around for the perfect place to relieve herself. Bugsy was still mostly invisible, but he cast a shadow that I could easily follow. Puppette glowed as if lit from several angles at once. The night sky was that amazingly clear that can only happen on a freezing night. The limbs of the bare trees cast uneven shadows on leaf and grass. The wind made the stubborn clinging leaves rattle against their trees.
Poni was anxious to get in, he thin fur coat is no help against the wind chill. Bugsy was trying to scent squirrels in the night, nothing could dissuade him. Puppette was contenet to sniff the news in the leaves and yard detritus.
The Moon light was streaming in the window next to the bed as we all settled in to sleep. It was in my face, lighting the room we sleep in.
In the combination of freezing wind, bright moon and winter shadows, I felt a bit of home, a piece of the past in another place meet with this place and time.
I was the last to fall off to sleep that night, the last to see the full moon, so bright it was hard to discern lunar feature, welcoming me to a new home.
Quality of light. Quality of life.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


OK, so I learned a lot about the ideas behind bread making and some of the techniques.

I made a ferment. This is a flour, water and yeast mixture that sits in the fridge for a day or two or proofs for about 5-6 hours.
I made mine and then got sick, so it sat for 3 days in the fridge. Cold slows all chemical reactions, so it fermented slowly.
Then I made the dough and let it rise, then "punched it down".
Almost a kilo of flour makes one hell of a lot of dough.
I formed the baguettes like the book showed, but the dough was very tacky so it became a lesson in patience.
I let them rise and then ran into trouble.
I used fine semolina flour to make the bottoms slick so they could slide off the pan onto the baking stone. With the dough so tacky, they did not slide. I pushed them off and slapped them down on a 500 degree baking stone. That is really hot.
I hit the back of a knuckle on the door at one point. I hate the sound of sizzzling skin. Thank the maker for aloe

Proofing is when you let the dough rise. Then, you cut the top of the loaf so it can expand correctly. And, you add water to the oven to create steam so the crust does not form too soon.
So, I gave up on hte baguettes and made three boulle, one large, two small. The baking saw them rise in a wierd manner and they did not expand at the cuts like they should have. instead they balloned up from the base.

I cut a K into the big one, for my woman. The two smaller ones just puffed. They look wonderful.
Here are the baguettes

They look strange but they taste good.

So, I learned:
cut the recipe in half, I do not need to make a months worth of bread in one session
baking takes ALL FREAKING day between rising and resting...
I need a bread peel, so the dough slides off onto the stone more easily
find a better way to let it rise so the tops do not crust too soon and they puff out in all directions
a 500 degree oven makes the room really hot
artisanal breads probably are not the best to start with
working the dough by hand feels really good
fresh bread, even a learning loaf, is tasty

Wil, I am a long way from NY sourdough...

More experiments to come.......
Now for olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

La la la...

OK I did not get the banana bread made yet, the butter is softening as I type. Yes, with walnuts.

K keeps saying I need to post more pictures. OK, I could do that, but I do not carry the digital camera around with me that often.
I got a call from Hospital #2 so I get to go through another poke and prod and pee session next week. But I am getting closer and closer to working again.
Yes, Wil, I agree, San Francisco sour dough is the best, Seattle ain't bad. In reading three different sources on the matter, it is a longer process than I thought. Several days to make the ferment, sometimes up to 12 hours for rising and proofing. Wow.
I think I might just start with a whole grain bread, something simple to cut my teeth, as it were. The artisanal breads can wait a bit longer I guess. But the ferment is designed to reproduce and be "fed" every few days so you can bake often. But, when, in the American lifestyle, does one have time after or before work for a 2 hours rise and proof? Maybe I can find it.

I might even make carrot ginger soup with apples to serve with the bread.
Interesting idea, making a meal around a bread....

I gave in yesterday and bought an eastern bird book. I had a western book for years, and I know many more of them. But out here, different. I have seen yellow shafted flickers, little wood peckers I have not identified, chickadees, blue jays, cardinals. Hawks are in absence, seagulls are scarce despite living on a peninsula. I think I know where my cheap binoculars are, the good ones are some where, packed for the mini van, but lost in the current house keeping.
I miss the dark eyed Oregon juncos, I haven't seen a towhee.

The dogs are asleep all around me, Puppette is out of the covers, the wieners are burrowed. It is cold and will stay cold for about 10 days or more. They tell me January is the worst and this one has been extremely mild. We shall see, we shall.

Be well.
Do one kind thing for another person today for no reason and with no expectation of recognition and or reward. And smile.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


OK, I openly admit that I am from part of the instant gratification generation. I like new things, That is not all bad.
For my anticipation of passing the license exam, and for just taking it, I ordered a new toy.
It arrived yesterday.
Prior to its arrival and delivery by our nice UPS man who always gives Puppette a huge doggie bone, I cleaned the kitchen. I cleared counter space.
I opened the box to find three boxes. One held new kitchen implements, a spatula, an ice cream scoop, a balloon whisk, a can opener and a vegetable peeler.
The second box held my new, imperial grey stand mixer complete with dough hook, paddle and whisk. Ahhh. The third box holds the ice cream maker for the stand mixer.
I made a batch of hearty breakfast cookies. Yummy! Cut down on the peanut butter just a bit, about 3/4 vs a full cup. With my smoothie this morning, it made a great repast.
Today it will be banana bread.
I am looking at breads next. I might even chase after the crown jewel, sourdough.
I even bought a great book, Crust.
It comes with a fantastic DVD that demonstrates a great technique I can't wait to try.

OK, me buckos, I am off to make bread and enjoy my last days of leisure before starting work.

Be well, all.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Done and done!

I called the state department for licensing and updated my address.
Then, the phone menu offered:
"If you would like to check the status of a license, press 1"
"C was issued a license on January 11 2008. It is valid from January 2008 to December 2010."
I was so shocked I had to listen to it a second time.
I thought it was telling me my interim permit was approved.
But that permit is only for 6 months.
I had to listen a third time and write down my license number.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I passed my test.
I am now officially licensed to practice in the State of New York!
Thank you for all your support, good thoughts and prayers.


Peace, finally.
And then, back to work.

Be well.


Friday, January 11, 2008

And the thunder rolls...

No, no Garth Brooks meanings here.
It started last night with a big flash and a distant rumble.
Then another noticeable rumble at about 4 am.
Now, 7 am brings a flash so bright I see it with my eyes closed.
Puppette is uneasy, Bugsy barks and Poni could care less as the thunder rolls over the house like a breaking wave.
The flood gates open and the rain hits the bathroom skylight like a small drum with an irregular rhythm to start my day.
Up and out with the dogs into the wet morning. I try to keep the umbrella over Poni. No, not to spoil her, I can't find her rain coat and she won't pee if she feels rain on her ass. Would you?
We come back in and I start to exercise a little, get the bones moving. the rain is a gray mist outside, it falls so hard. the drum in the bathroom is loud enough to be heard over my work out music. I see day light pale flashes of lightning and count the seconds.
I read it is 5 seconds per mile, not three per mile as I was taught as a kid. Either way the storm is coming closer.
The lights flicker, Poni decided to bark her defiance at Odin's hammer being thrown about upstairs. I sweat out the aerobic part of my movements and count seconds to distract me from the burn in my legs, shoulders.
I love a good storm.
I wrote my very first short story about a thunder storm.
How cyclic.
I am going to watch the lightning.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


No, I typed that correctly.
I have debated with my self if I should ever write about any of the patients I have worked with over the years.
The Federal Government (sorry for using such an ugly word, people, but you gotta call things by their rightful names) in its highly questionable wisdom passed the HIPPA law. This is the Health Information Privacy Protection Act. It was passed to help protect health care information from falling into the unscrupulous hands of the unscrupulous. ( I just love that word...)
I have been reading other blogs of health care workers and of Waiterrant and see how they white wash people to make them as anonymous as possible.
That being said, I thought I'd share a story from the start of my career. Some of you have heard it, so just bear with me.

The patient came into the extended care facility (the better word for nursing home) responsive to pain only. This person had been hit by a car.
I was with the patient 5 days a week for about six weeks.
You start out moving the person, passive range of motion in all joints, so muscle shortening does not limit their ability to move. Then you advance to rolling stomach to back and return them. Next you, and another therapist get them from stomach to on all fours, then up to kneeling. We advanced to standing with three people in support, long leg braces on both lower legs so the knees do not buckle. Them you progress to walking, again with three people in support and long leg braces.
I learned about head injuries. How a person can appear normal but then have out bursts of word salad where not one word makes any sense, inappropriate responses to stimuli. This person was sitting in a room one day with many of the other residents and proclaimed ( I am not making this up) "You are probably all wondering why I called you here tonight.) It was a therapeutic recreation show where, if I remember, people were coming in to dance and sing for every one's entertainment.

I was not there the day of discharge. I missed saying good by to the family which I had gotten to know well with two 45 minute treatments a day for a month and a half.

I saw this patient six months later walking through the mall parking lot. The gait was still off in some clinical ways, but look good overall. Holding on to each hand was a grand child. There were smiles all around.
In that moment, tears in my eyes. I felt more satisfied with the world, myself, all things, than I had since I was a young kid with no greater care than which toy to play with.
In that moment, all the hell and hard work I put in to graduate was paid in full.
The Patient and spouse came back to the facility after a year. I walked up and introduced my self. The spouse remembered me, with a big smile. he patient apologized and said they had no recollection of me.
I learned then that this is not unusual. Head injured patients, patients you treat in ICU/CCU some times have no memory of the staff that help them. It is nothing personal, ever. It is a chemical mix up in the healing body and brain.

Taking the exam reminded me of what I get out of this investment.
Paid in full.


Friday, January 4, 2008

It is done.

I woke up with K.
Kinda hard not to when 2 out of 3 dogs wake up and pace, shake, scratch, yawn loudly (Bugsy) and walk on your face licking up your nose and over your eye lids (Bugsy again). Poni would not be stirred. They needed to go out into the deep freeze to relieve themselves.
I made a safe breakfast and had some tea. It is a one hour drive to the town where the test center is.
The time to leave rolls around. I bundle the dox in their new coats and take them out into 7 degree, -2 degree with wind chill, weather to give them one last pee before they are boxed for the day.
I make three false starts. I forgot my passport for ID. I forgot the GPS navigational device. I forgot the letter from the FSBPT. (do not worry about that last acronym, it really is not important)
I go to start my truck and get three very low sluggish whirs and then the dreaded rapid fire click. The cold has turned my oil to sludge and the poor 9 year old truck battery, unaccustomed to such frigid abuse, has not enough "crankin' amps".
There is no room for panic. I just will not allow it today. I must stay calm and focussed.
I drive a stick shift and I live on a hill. Problem solved.
No difficulties following the navigation thingy to my destination. The LIE (Long Island Expressway) is blocked with an overturned semi just past my exit so the traffic slow down does not affect me.
I had planned to eat a nice salmon lunch at a nice restaurant. The navigator tells me the restaurant is 20 minutes away. OOOPS. So I pick a nice looking little diner and they have Norwegian salmon. OK. The waitress asks me how I am and I tell her tired and on a schedule. I tell her about the test and she takes very good care of me. She even asks if I want a refill on my water or if I am afraid it will make me need to pee during my test. I tipped her well.
K calls as I leave the restaurant, so does my sister. Each ask how I am and wish me luck. As my sister goes to sign off, her two boys, my oldest nephews, start singing the Olympic Fanfare for me loudly. How can one not smile.
The testing center is quiet, security is very high. I am thumb printed and they use biometrics to assure I do not leave and a stooly takes my place. The man signing my in to the test area responds to mention of "Fizzbin" and we talk Star Trek trivia while we perform the legalities and necessaries. Always nice to find a fellow Trekkie.
I took the test and felt good about it.
I am under legal agreement to not mention any part of the test or its contents. That is fine.
Another test taker was leaving as I was and I asked him to jump start my truck. He was great and did so with a smile and wishes of good luck.
I have to wait for the FSBPT to score my test. Then they send the results to the state License board, then the State will tell me my score.
So I wait.

I had forgotten how much I know.
It is almost a compliment to take such a test because I can prove I know this. My brother told me to enjoy this because it is not often one gets to take such an exam. In some ways he is very right and to think of it as a rare happening, it shifts you out of fear, anxiety and apprehension.
I am knowledgeable about so many areas. I can think through the tough questions. I had shot in the dark answers on about 10 questions out of 200.
It is a relief to be done.

More on this another time.

Be well all.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A secret

Many of you know Puppette.
For those that don't, Puppette is a highly trained, very social, amazingly intelligent golden retriever that has been my work partner in the Hospital for 6 years.
I never taught her when to get involved with the terminal patient's spouse who is sobbing on the roll away bed in the ICU. I could never have taught her to sit at the side of a wheelchair being still so they could pet her and then stand and act normally for an able bodied person. She taught me that when she was done in a patient's room, she would turn her back on me and face the door, inching a step closer to the exit every minute I lingered talking to a patient or their family.
I did train her to come on command, to lie down and stay until told other wise.
She can hold a down stay outside a room on the insanely busy cardiac care unit or outside a room on the critical care unit while I work in the room, out of her sight, for up to 45 minutes and she will not move. We have a working vocabulary of over one hundred words and over twenty commands.
People always ask me if she is a normal dog, does she do doggy things. Is she happy?

OK, time for a secret a few of you know intimately.
My dog is a ham.
No, really, a thinking buffoon.
We walk out the door to the yard. She sits down and looks around for a minute and then flops over backward to wriggle on the grass, all four big blond feet up in the air, waiving like rabid fans at a sports event. Then she stops, holds the 4 legs up position, snorts LOUDLY, and gets up as if nothing happened. The other day I look out of the corner of my eye, keeping tabs on the wieners, and she was chasing her tail. I have tried to get pictures of this. But I swear when she sees me looking, she stops.
So this beautiful, brilliant, lovely girl of my heart topped herself last night.
We went out for the last pee before bed, all dogs should have a bowel and bladder schedule, makes life a bit easier, believe me. She stops in her tracks and I hear her growl. This mop has let a 6 year old boy fall asleep on her tummy, has sat in bed with patients hooked up to so many machines, has been calm when rushing gurneys, industrial carpet cleaners and massive portable x-ray machines rumble by in the busy halls of a hospital.
She growled.
Being such an uncommon noise, I looked at her, not verifying if Poni was peeing or not, and saw her hackles were up. ( I had a Maglite flashlight so I could see just fine, thank you) Looking across the street, I tried to see what had her up in a tizzy.
Back in November, just after Thanksgiving, our across the street neighbors put up their Christmas lights and decorations. On their lawn, near a tree, is a lighted white frame reindeer with a red velvet bow around its neck.
Puppette bobbed to her left and growled, letting it mature into a low bark/howl sound.
I stopped her at once, it was 11:30 after all, and got ehr under control. She was circling, just getting ready to go to the bathroom and she saw this minion of hell , in the same place it has been for a month, and decided it was here to end our days. She elevated us to red terror alert, defcon 4, Osama had brought jihad to Puppette's 'hood.
Poni peed and I brought my brood back in to the house. Puppette's hackles were still up when we got to the bed room.
I did the only thing I could do.
I told her that she was a good dog and that we were sufficiently warned to the danger and thank you for keeping us safe.
She sniffed loudly , jumped up on the bed and turned her back to me, sighing loudly.
My dog is the greatest.
My dog is a goof.
I love my dog.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holiday Wrap up

For many years, K and I really have not celebrated Christmas. We both volunteered to work at the Hospital so someone with kids could stay home and make merry memories for themselves.
And, neither of us has spent Christmas with family in a very long time.
So why was it different this year?
It seems just a bit strange to me but this year I was homesick and wanted to be near my family.
It came to mind that it is distance.
Have you ever bought a book, or a tool, or pieces for a project thinking that "some day" you would have time to do it? It is the potential for possibility, I think. When I was closer to family, I knew I could get to Mom of a brother in hours, a sister by hours in an airplane. So it was the potential ease that was comforting.
This year it is thousands of miles and many hours to get to them.
We spent a wonderful Christmas day with K's family and her in-law's family. There was only one melt down when oldest nephew got mad that some one else was playing with one of his toys first and made it do it's special thing before he got to. He crashed for a nap and the adults and the baby nephew just enjoyed a calm evening.
K was sick with some gawd awful sinus crap that made her tired and made her head hurt.
In bigger families, and parties, I do not have much experience. It has always been smaller groups for me. So present opening was scattered and personal on a one to one basis, but not what I was used to. It was not, by any means, a bad thing, just different. Vive la difference, but I need some more known routine just now.
K worked New year's eve and New Year's day, I am at home, studying because I sit my License exam on Thursday.
I really do not care what the average range is for blood pressure for a one month old infant is, and had never heard of Brunstrom! What the hell is a de-rotational brace and how many test questions do they need to ask about anterior cruciate ligament rehab?
So I continue to look at the practice exams and wonder if I ever knew some of these trivial facts... Today I need to re-familiarize myself with the bones of the wrist, specifically the carpals, and know what other bones they articulate with, I need to brush up on enervations and dermatomes and memorize Brunstrom's stages of recovery. I need the rule of nines and gait patterns with device. AAARRRGGHHHHHHHHH!!! Did you ever see Shawshank Redemption where Andy's student lost his cool taking the test? That is where I feel I am at.
Breathe... just breathe.....

So, go forth, in this new year, so young and innocent in its infancy.
May the very best day of 2007 be your worst day in 2008.