Monday, November 30, 2009

a good place to read

Saturday my visiting family and I traveled up to Bainbridge Island.  My California kin were chilled to the bone by our damp cool Northwest weather but they warmed up quickly with a tasty meal at Winslow's and then we nourished our heart and souls by book browsing at the Eagle Harbor Book Co. across the street.  What a gem of a book store!  The interior is bright and warm with enough room to move around and yet see all that is new to read.  There are great selections along with little nooks to sit and read a bit. It is exactly what a book store should be ~ even has one section dedicated to the many authors that live on the Island....and I might add that is quite a number.  There are also some whimsical stocking stuffers arranged here and there through out the store.  If you find yourself in Seattle, hop on the ferry to Bainbridge and visit this neat little store.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Puddle and Leafs on the roof

"Man's real possession is his memory.  In nothing else is he rich.  In nothing else is he poor."
~ Alexander Smith

I was gazing out the window between classes. It is a moment between one group of learners and the next.  The staff and I had been chatting about communication in the face of a dementing illness.  From the window I could see wet leafs piled on the roof below.  It reminded me of the subject that so recently stimulated discussion...memory and and the mind struggling with clots of 'plagues and tangles'...of the frustration of the adult who knows she has something to say and can't find the word.  The reflection of the word ~ the memory of what she knows still a shadow in her mind, but she is unable to breech the mass of protein plague to let her care givers know what she needs or wants.   I am reminded that to think in abstraction is a gift of health.  To discuss 'communication' with a classroom full of people who want to understand is also a grace of health.  That I can look out the window and discern that it is a rainy wet day and that there is a puddle on the roof and leafs are piling up is a blessing of health.  It is all so simple and so complicated ~ at the same time.  It is moment when I feel the brush of the eternal.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brenda's Photo Challenge: Ageless Bronze...

The bronze statue was recently installed in Enumclaw, Washington.  It is a tribute to the men and beasts of logging.  I thought the artist did a magnificent job of capturing a timeless memorial to the logging history of this part of the country!

You can almost feel the strain...

the snorting and panting

the sweat of man and oxen...

to get the days work done....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

an old dog learns new tricks!

Have been teaching a course to care givers about caring for people with diseases that have dementia as a symptom (usually that's Alzheimer's disease but there are some 40 other diseases with that component).  Because there are so many who need the training and I wish to  1) not strip the units of staff and 2) not drive over time through the roof - decided to give the 8 hour training in 16 ~ 1/2 hour sessions.  It is soooo interesting to see how it is working.  It means stretching a course normally done in one long day or perhaps two 4 hour days into snippets.  The enthusiasm is higher among the participants.  People are actually amazed that time passes so quickly.  There is less time for questions but we manage to get a few in and no one stares off into space or falls asleep.  :-)  I'm betting I will see higher retention rates.  If individuals only retain 15 minutes worth of an hour lecture ~ so 25% retention, might these folks retain 50% or more with a half hour lecture?  The tricky part for me is to stop at the same spot for each session so people can get to the next part regardless of which day it is given.  Had to rewrite my entire course and put it all on index cards: part A on Mondays and Tuesday in 4 half hour sessions  and Part B on Wednesday and Thrusdays.  So far 42 people have attended class one with no over time and no short staffing on a care unit.  Pretty cool.  Will complete the entire course sometime in the beginning in Juanuary.  It will be so interesting to see the test results! Now my voice just has to hold up!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Long Drive Continues...

The daily commute north continues.  112 miles a day.  Every day opens a new chapter in the 'what to repair today' book.  The fundamental problem with this work group is there is no "team".  Too many people for too long scrambling to get a job done but their effort was often incomplete or worse inaccurate.

Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.

We search for growth in the midst of messy  habits...people working without regard to outcome.  We ( the   administrative get it fixed team) externally impose order, reintroducing policy and procedure and  "best practice" concepts.  Which employees will survive this ~ it is not known yet.  First we need to get the focus back to what is in the best interest of the patient.  When they do that ~ everything else will fall into place.

 There is little time for my other life at the end of the day.  Home to a quick dinner, walk the dogs and fall into bed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the joy of old friends

I have loved the little Chickadee for many decades.  They are the hardiest of tiny souls.  All winter, even in the severe minus 30 and 40 below that the forests of New Hampshire can throw at human, beast and bird, these tiny creatures would show up in the yard and turn the bird feeder into a bustling train station.  Last night we had a frost.  This morning the new feeder finally had old friends visiting.  It is a simple joy.  Makes the new home in the Northwest feel like the old home in New England!

I am always amazed by the amount of energy they expend in seed gathering.  Chickadees do not linger at the feeder.  Each bird takes a seed and flys off to a branch to crack it open.  Then they make a bee line back to the feeder.  I suppose there is a life lesson here.

My parrot and love  bird are thrilled with the 'company' and as in New England have spent the morning chattering with the winged visitors just outside the window.

Friday, November 13, 2009

mid-autumn for a young tree

Washington's autumn seems suspended in time  or perhaps suspended between rain drops.    The process somehow drawn out in this mild, wet place.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November is Rain

"I think rain is as necessary to the mind as to vegetation.  My very thoughts become thirsty, and crave the moisture.  ~ John burrows

It is November.  Rain in November in Western Washington is ubiquitous.  This area averages 38 inches of rain a year.  The summer months are dry.  November is the VERY wet month.  The coast of western Washington is home to a rain forest.  The Cascade Mountain range forms a kind of barrier, those tall peaks create a rain shadow and keep  Eastern Washington arid.  The forest that surround us are lush and dense.  Trees seem to have shallow roots as many are ripped out of the ground in a strong wind.  The roots don't have to work very hard to bring nourishment to the rest of the tree.  Grass in western Washington is not drought  hardy in the summer.  Lawns turn yellow in summer but bounce back in the fall.  It is November and the gardener is still coming here every two weeks to trim. the lawn (bless him!).  That will cease in about another two weeks but resume in February.  When I lived in New Hampshire, my yard would be still be buried under feet of snow in February.

So what does all this rain do to a people?  I know many women are vitamin D deficient.  Is the rate of breast cancer higher in Washington because of that?  I also wonder if Seasonal Affective Disorder is high in this part of the country.  Seattle is home to famous coffee makers of the world ~ strong drink to ward off dampness.  What else?   Almost 7 million people live in Washington state.  60% of these folks live in the Seattle metropolitan area...60% of us are being rained on day and night in November. The mission is:  what does rain mean to so many rained on folks; how has it altered their lives or has it altered their lives?  What does rain do to the arts?  Does it change reading habits?  Recreational habits?  Work habits?

I  want to photograph rain as well as write about it. Explore rain so to speak...let the investigation begin.....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Moss and time

Moss in a moist environment is an amazing plant.  It makes a new home in a variety of places...even human clothing.  While exploring why trees would wear a thick coat of moss Google helped me find numerous articles about this tiny botanical wonder.  If it is of interest, here is one of the articles:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Organic Condo living

Naturally Green...

"All art, all education, can be merely a supplement to nature" ~ Aristotle