Saturday, June 27, 2009

To Blogging Friends Who've Lost a Loved One

Loss can be a long and often lonely journey. We know the paths can be steep and the valleys deep. May you find the memories that bring you joy and that heal your heart. ~WR

What is it about the Bad Boys?

This is the bad boy, "Salsa" - obviously, given his name, it was originally thought that he was a she. I often refer to him as a her - wishful thinking on my part.

The tell-tale evidence that Nano is captivated by the Bad Boy Salsa
The love struck Nano - who so tiny that I can just barely feel her weight when she sits in the palm of my hand.
The broody finch has a crush on the loud and brash parrot - Salsa. They live in adjacent cages. There is a third member, a Love Bird (ironically enough) named Pip. He is annoyed with all the twitting and carrying on and spends much of his day chiding the other two.

If ever there were a relationship doomed before it begins it is this tri-angle. Salsa would certainly be abusive - he already is. If anything disturbs his environment he complains loudly and we all pay the price. None the less, Nano is doing all she can do to get his attention. He gives the occasional nod followed by his rendition of dishwasher sounds or the telephone ringing. But that is about it. He continues to blow kisses in my direction. I've warned Nano "don't trust this guy...he's a cheater" but she chooses not to listen.

I blame it all on summer and having far to much sun light. It does strange things to the brain and hormones! Nature works in mysterious ways! :-D

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Journey continues

"Does the road wind-up hill all the way?"
"Yes, to the very end."
"Will the day's journey take the whole long day?"
"From morn to night, my friend."

~Christina Rossetti
Up Hill 1861

The decision has been made. The letter written and agreement signed. Time to move again. In one month I will be near the Pugent Sound ~ the NorthWest.

The Central Valley has been an interesting journey. The dry landscape has made it feel like a long trip. Are we there yet? Almost. Almost. A long one and up hill for the lack of cool green places and familiar seasons. This blog will continue. Am not so sure what to do about Nomad. Perhaps I will just wait until the answer presents itself and demand that I recognize it - like the bastard child that claims to be an heir to the throne. It is enough for the time being to think about finding enough boxes, to figure out the expenses, to arrange for a place to live...a name change for the Nomad blog may just knock on the door ...or not.

One more month.


How can it be Monday? Good grief! Back to work with all the other soilder ants and worker bees.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Almost Missed a Visitor!

While editing photos this morning I noticed a tiny vagabond on the very bottom of a fern photo posted a few days ago. So that this small creature of God may have his/her 15 minutes of fame, I add this photo as an amended post on June 13th. :)

Photo Challenge

The theme for this weeksBrenda Photo Challenge is
"Get Up Close, Using Macro"

What a fun thing to do. It was wonderful to see the work of so many other photography fans! Of these only one is brand new. Won't get out and about until Sunday (it's all about the truth in posting law).

Friday, June 19, 2009

He Had Me From....

"Little joys refresh us constantly, like house-bread...."

He was a slim and young, with a sunny wide smile. That broad happy smile somehow made the man seem taller. I asked the usual question "do you ever speed when driving?" It has to do with honesty as everyone goes over the speed limit now and then, if not always (I want to discover if he can tell me what I need to know not what he thinks I want to hear). He said no he did not. A brief sadnass passed through me. Oh no, I thought he would be a perfect new member of our health care team. However I could hear that he continued speaking. Still the bright smile on his open face. "I used to speed all the time but my girl friend and I figured out that we could save more money for our wedding and then for our future if we both drove just slightly below the speed limit. We could save on gas" His English is softly accented with Spanish. The sound of his words are as sweet as the look on his face. His fiancee, he tells me, is studying to be a nurse. When she finishes he will study to be a radiology tech. I know that many of the aged women who live here are going to fall in love with him. He will remind them of when they were young and planning their futures with some handsome young man. I believe he and his finacee will succeed. They've already thought this through and planned how save every penney that they can. It is a joy to see a success story in the making. I find myself hoping life will be gentle with this young couple. Before the interview is finished, I know he has the job.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sleepless in the Central Valley

"He should have started worrying before he had things to worry about."
~ Her Masters Voice, Act 1
Clare Kummer
The middle of the night and I am sleepless. After tossing and turning I rose from the bed, moved through the dark living room and found my chair in the office (rule number one: no lights on this time of night - NEVER wake the parrot up). I've browsed the blogs of the gentle writers (Morning Coffee and her friends). When fretting about the things that one will have to change, the things that can not be changed and those things that simply "go bump in the night' it is time to listen to the words of women who have a centered calmer approach to life. I do not share their religious beliefs but I value their thoughts about life.

On my mind are these things: 1) later today I will terminate the employment of a health care worker who has violated every level of trust at work: with co-workers, with me and with her patients. Trust is as essential to the profession of nursing as breathing in and out is to being human. She called me although she was asked not to have contact with the team during the investigation. Her calling is part of the problem. Do what you are suppose to do not what you want to do...but she does not understand that work boundary. She wants to know if she will lose her license. I can not answer that...I do not sit on the Board of Nursing. For that matter, I will not know until later today when I find out what kind of misconduct the BoN wants and needs to know in this State. 2) Some one in another entity would like me to work for them. so I learned last night. It would mean another move. A move that would take me to the Northwest. I love it there - trees, rain. clean air, something of a real winter (shorter and less severe that New England) and several friends who are the very heart of me. The things and most important, people I love and miss so much. I will hear these folks out. Moves are terribly expensive. It may not make finacial sense. Niether does fretting in the middle of night make sense but here I am, doing just that. Lastly. 3) my dear friend (she lives in NorthWest) has finished her chemotherapy treatment. I am so relieved for her and those of us who love her. She has been brave, humorous and her most usual logical self during this ordeal but even her logic has not always been a match for the rigors of chemotherapy. It is over now and her prognosis is excellent. I feel blessed to have her in my life and relieved that this part of her journey is come to completion. If I remain here in the Central Valley I work with good people...most of whom I admire and trust. I shall take vacation in a few weeks so there is much good to ponder ~ just needed to find it in the dark. Now back to bed for an hour and a half. The business of the new day will begin in earnest in the blink of an eye.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Saturday Morning!

Saturday is a tender pleasure. Actually slept until 7 A.M. - Three Extra Hours - bliss. No alarm clock errors on Friday night this time! It is a bit cloudy out and I'm hoping it will stay that way...may even be able to get some photography done two days in a row. Now that would be a joy!

Picked my first tomato from the vine in the patio garden last night. In June...who knew! Several more are on the way to ripe. These small wonders are now officially added to my gratitude list.

If you visit this blog know that I wish you a peaceful week-end. For now I will savor a cup of real coffee (as opposed to week-day instant) and engage in a tiny bit of planning and email catch-up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Finding "The One..."

Unemployment has created a new class of nurses in the work place. Much of my week has been spent interviewing a number those nurses to fill a few vacant spots in my department. Most of the brand new nurses went into this work for the money. When I 'went into nursing' - many years ago -nurses were just barely earning above minimum wage as new grads. When I ask questions about what brought the applicant to nursing and why elder care, some of the people are more candid than others about the cash factor. For LVNs the answer is simple – few other places (hospitals) will hire them. The schools are churning out LVNs/LPNs to fill open positions in nursing homes - we have a shot at having enough staff to pass medications and do treatments. Most people being interviewed will tell me that they like elders because they once cared for an aging parent / grandmother or something along that line. Most will express the desire to become RNs – more money and more options. A few of these people will make very good nurses no matter why they wanted to get into this demanding job. Somehow they will learn to see the humanity in their patients in spite of the terrible demand on their time. Those exceptional nurses will with bond with their patient and their staff in order to provide leadership, guidance and care. Some will work eight hours and go home. That exceptional person will ask questions and attend in-services. They will search for excellence and strive to attain that goal. I search for that person as I interview the mass. It becomes quest - to find that one person who is looking for a pay check and a mission, the person who brings passion to care giving. Offers will go out to three people today. Is each person “the one”? I doubt it. I’m hoping at least one will rise to the challenge of caring . (To be continued…..daily)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fishing from a pier...

It is a Sunday afternoon on the Manhattan Beach Pier in L.A. Men stand with several poles between them fishing. It is a type of fishing I do not entirely understand. Some men cast over head - although there is a sign that clearly states they are not suppose to do just that. The each pole is then rested on the pier rail and the wait begins with the fisherman watching the water. It seems perhaps too distant to sit and wait with the pole not in his hands. I wonder how often they actually catch a fish and what kind of fish lurks in the salt water shallow trying to decide if it should nibble on a minnow? How will the fishermen know the right moment to set a hook if they do not feel that tiny tug that whispers to their hands "NOW"? Of course these fishermen are there with other men. Perhaps that is the point of the wait. These men may be simply enjoying the sun and the breeze, the talk of wondering if something will be caught, and of course the company of male friends.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dawn and Doves

This is the perfect time of day. When all goes well, the household has a peaceful, quiet hum to it – a domestic mantra. The dawn is just creeping into the sky to give us a sleepy good morning. I’ve been living in this place of few neighborhood trees for nearly a year. It was not until this morning that I realized that I almost never hear bird songs at this time of day. When I lived in New England, this was a nois, bustling time in the new-growth forest that surrounded my home. Spring arrived and from 4 AM until the sun was fully up the birds would sing at a full tilt. On week-ends I shut my windows so that I might sleep through the early A.M. avian orchestra. Nevertheless, it was a happy noise.

The above photo of my small, winged neighbor was taken in the evening. This little fellow arrives at the same time every evening. The Dove visits after I kennel the dogs and peace descends on the back yard. It also occurred to me that my avian friend cooed every evening but never in the morning. Why are Doves silent here in the morning? I enjoy his cooing and his searching the yard for seeds. It is a soft sound for reading. The evening serenade is a delicate joy but I would love a phrase or two in the morning as well.

Have a good day my friends…bird song or not.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Early morning error - hit reboot

Why did I do that? When I finally gave into exhaustion and went to bed last night I mistakenly set the alarm. What was I thinking on a Friday night? In my drowsy state of mind did I think it was Sunday night? What a cruel surprise to have the alarm sound at 4:45 A.M. It might as well have been screaming “hit the deck sailor” - to the sound of bugles. If I lived completely alone it would have been a simple matter – turn it off and go back to sleep. Alas, my dogs responded with immediate glee. The alarm means “BREAKFAST!” and they were instantly circling the bedroom door impatiently waiting for me to come to enough life to find slippers, glasses and cell phone (I’m on call 24/7, so the gadget is another constant companion). The canine companions vanish into the early morning darkness when I open the back door to the yard. I know I have minutes to feed my ancient cat buddy (20+ years of age). He is part Siamese so even now his cry is piercing and demanding “Feed me now – Feed me first!” I oblige him out of respect for his age and to make him shut up. I know I have only minutes to accomplish said feeding because the Red Bone Coon Hound will begin to bay at the closed back door. His old age (11 years) demand for nourishment is powerful and loud. I don’t want the neighbors to leave hate notes for me because I forgot what the day was. I’m quite sure the hound’s bay can be heard for miles in the early quiet of the morning. Dogs fed and kenneled. No playing after food – I don’t want to deal with bloat. I tip toe into the office. Why tiptoe? Salsa, the Jenday parrot, lives in the office. He needs 10 hours of sleep and he didn’t go to sleep until I did. A cranky Jenday puts a Red Bone Coon Hound to shame in the noise department. I’ve heard that the shrill, complaining cry has made grown men weep! I read email and blogs and catch up with the world - all the time wondering what am I doing up. There is a bit of poetry to catch up with and a To Do list that includes going back into the office late today. At 7 A.M. I free the dogs and send them to the back yard. They make a bee line for the fence to let the neighbor’s dogs know just what is what about territory. The cat has gone back to bed and I uncovered the parrot who is engaged with imitating the sound of the dishwasher. I think he is showing off to the wild birds perched outside office window. I will move the desert dust off furniture and kitchen tile, vacuum the floors and make the bed. I slip into the rhythm of the day. My plan for the remainder of the day - off to the gym – far earlier than I had originally planned. Perhaps the silver lining is that later today I can take a long nap and not feel a shred of guilt about that small indulgence.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Rain! The perfect way to begin a Friday in June. What a gift! I had resigned myself to not hearing the sound of rain until October. A small grace to hear that sweet sound in the early hours of the morning. This has been a difficult week. Systems have been reshaped to improve patient care and staff have been anxious and fearful of the change. The monitoring, coaching and supervisor has been tiring. Sleep has been rare and fitful. Long term care looks more like hospital care each day - but without the funding for that acute level of staffing - more about that on another day. So we work with good intention, integrity and a small touch of magic. The reward this morning is RAIN and I for one am deeply grateful for it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When It Goes Wrong

A man lies in his bed dying. A relative sits stoically next to the bed bearing witness to the end of his time on this earth. The Nursing Assistant assigned to his care - nowhere to be found. The Nurse Supervisor is buried under the month end paper work and cannot see her absence. The medication nurse, brand new to her license, has thirty patients to attend. She frantically passes 350 doses of medication to her patients over the eight hours of her shift. She visits the man once during the day. His pain in control and she moves on to the next person. She assumes the Nurse Assistant will do her duty. The man dying harbors a bacterium that terrifies the Nursing Assistant. She tells no one that she is afraid. No one knows that she has decided to refuse to care for him. The relative of the dying man watches the minute hand on her watch and becomes angrier with every passing second that this dying man receives no care. The relative is angry but tells no one of the over sight. She is afraid to leave his bed side. She does not think to ring the call bell. Eight hours pass and no one enters the room. It is not until the next group of workers arrive that the care begins. The evening Nursing Assistant listened to her trainer and knows how to protect herself and her patient from the germs lurking in the dying man’s body. She comforts and sooths this dying man. A nurse with many years of experience assesses his needs and renders care to him. Some balance is restored in a system out of tilt – dignity and compassion again find their places at the bedside. The other Nursing Assistant calls in sick for her next shift. There is a reckoning awaiting and she knows it.