Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Things have changed since 1985. Just a bit.
(Oh, I'm 55 years old.)
The hospital is wonderful. I'm so impressed with the nursing staff. They are orienting me as though I were a new grad (GOOD IDEA!), and at the halfway point, I'm now taking my own patient load, under the watchful supervision of my (SAINT of a) preceptor. She is a sweet, beautiful soul, three years out of nursing school. She is a very good nurse.
(Yes, I am 55.)
While I'm in orientation, I work my preceptor's schedule. We worked Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I will be honest with you: I was very worried about my physical capability of working three twelve hour shifts in a row. The young nurses at work said that it's really hard.
(I am 55.)
I was worried about the dogs. Okay, that's not the whole truth. Bill has been doing great with the dogs. I was worried about me missing them. You know. There is a big ol' chunk of my heart that doesn't beat quite right when I'm away from them for too long. It beats, but that big ol' chunk is not quite in rhythm, so it sounds like, 'lub-dubb, oh thunk, lub-dubb, hmmmm thunk, lub-dubb, sigh thunk.'
(My heart is 55, too.)
Well, it turns out, that I was worried for nothing. I am a Tiger! A fifty-freaking-five-year-old White Tiger*! Three twelves in a row was a cinch.
See? Here I am arriving home on Monday night:
Note the victorious thumbs up!
The dogs rush to greet me.
Sammy -- don't forget he is a Therapy Dog -- astutely checks for a pulse, and immediately calls
a CODE D.E.D.
Swede William says, "Whew Lordy!! You can say that again!!!" Easy can't look.
Mama Pajama to the rescue!
A sweet Mama Pajama kiss can revive the weariest of souls. It can make a 55-year-old soul feel brand new. A Mama Pajama kiss can make a heart that was going kerthunk-plop just race along lubby-dubby, lubby-dubby, lubby-dubby-doo!
I am the luckiest older than dirt nurse alive.
hug your hounds
* Thanks to Sue for the White Tiger reference!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Hotel Irvin Cobb - a classic from the past, where Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, The Tommy Dorsey Band, and more entertained Paducans - now hosts a lovely florist shop, and housing for the elderly and disabled.
The costume store is in the spirit. (Click on that to see the look the 'Car Freshener Baby' is giving his less than thrilled Christmas Tree Mother.)
The downtown gazebo, where you can catch a horse-drawn carriage ride.
The downtown directory, reflecting the snowflake street decorations.
Back in the Arts District, The Colonial. Isn't she graceful?
I hope to write a story tomorrow. One is tickling my brain. I'm back to work on Saturday. I get to see how I do with my first "three twelves in a row." I work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I'm afraid they might have to call a code on me by Monday. Not a code blue; it will be too late for that. Just a code D.E.D. (It's spelled D-E-D, but it's pronounced dayedd. There is no such thing; I made it up.)
If you hear one, that will be me.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This week's My Town theme is from Emma in Arizona, who said:
When I think of trying to photograph weather, I think about [...] any type of clouds, the sunset, a beautiful snowfall...should the weather cooperate for us, I thought it would be a fun topic to catch on film!
I haven't been out in the weather much. Heck, I haven't even been out in the daylight much. So here are some photos of last winter's once-in-a-hundred-years ice storm, just to make you feel warm and snugly where ever you are. Except Minnesoooooota. And Norway.
It will be another hundred years before the trees recover, and I will never forget the sound of all of those huge branches cracking and crashing. Some people in neighboring counties were without power for 32 days.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Playing catch up.
I've got some orders to get out: thank you wonderful people who are buying my book! You know how in that James Stewart Christmas classic movie every time a bell rings an angel gets wings? Well, for me, every time a book sells, I feel like I can fly. Just for a second.
But it feels great, so thank you.
We went to a dog show on Sunday and had a blast. All three dogs showed like pros! Emmett went first, and did better than I imagined he would. His Heather was home - baby Ben's little brother is due in four weeks, but that wasn't why. Ben's daddy had to work, so Heather had a day with Ben, just the two of them. My great and generous friend Dee (of Lee and Dee fame) went with me, packing a yummy lunch to eat on the way, to hold dogs ringside and be excellent company on the SIX hours - three up, three back - of fascinating southern Illinois Interstate.
So Emmett had to go first, and didn't have his Heather to cheer him on, but he was a brave and happy and wonderful boy. No stage fright for him! Then it was Swede William's turn and he gave me goosebumps. Not so much the judge, though, who apparently got indigestion from William's glorious Swedish color. Dee reported hearing collective ooooh's and aaaaah's from the whippet folks ringside, which is gratifying.
Lindy Loo, who is the worst little fussbudget when we practice, was showier than a Rockette! She stood like a statue, arched her neck, cocked her head at the judge and moved like a dream. I couldn't help smiling - okay, beaming - at her. She had a blast.
These three dogs just love to show, and that makes it so much fun for me. Plus I got to see some friends who I haven't seen forever. Dee and I got home to Bill and Lee enjoying wine and cheese in our kitchen while Bill made a signature pasta dish - oooooh sun dried tomatoes artichoke hearts shrimp wine and cream sauce ohhhhhh ahhhhhh. It was just a great day. I was asleep under a pile of whippets by 8:30.
Work is going fine. (Although you've noticed it cuts into my blog time something fierce.) Bill is doing a heroic job of being primary dog servant. I am so enjoying giving patient care again: it is such a special privilege. I don't have the time to devote right this minute, but in another post I'll talk about that. The gift of caring for people.
And I'm having a blast getting to know the staff of the floor where I'm working. It's a delightful, fun, energetic, responsible, cooperative group of people. They help each other, and they put their patients first. That makes for a rewarding work environment. My preceptor is a very good nurse. So young! More on that in another post, too.
It's a busy day. The Paducah Kennel Club Christmas Party is tonight. No rest for the weary!
Hug your hounds - it's good to 'see' you!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
One of the treasures of my town: Baby Ben. I love this picture. I think my sweet, late Giacomino (Very Old Dog) is smiling a little bit in his sleep.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Someone is trying to tell me something.
Last Sunday I was a big jumble of raw emotions as I walked the dogs on my final Sunday of life before returning to hospital nursing. I was excited, nervous, frightened, grateful, reticent, eager, worried. The old dogs go around one block, maybe two since Mama Pajama is doing so well and the weather is just right.
These old dogs: Fat Charlie, Mama Pajama, and Easy. In their eyes are twelve golden, magical years of my life. Of long trips with heart friends, of thrilling runs, breath-stealing sorrows, of laughing so hard that soda shoots out of your nose, of soaking toes, wrapping feet, of pride, of couch piles with me on the bottom. Of children growing up and moving out. Of grandbabies born. In Easy's eyes are my late friend Carolyn's voice and laughter. Her "Oh gawsh!" Greg's jokes. And Spice. I always see Spice in Easy's eyes.
As we walked last Sunday, I heard music coming from the Presbyterian church. It was in the afternoon; long past Sunday service. I deviated from the old dogs' normal route - much to their delight - and turned right, to hear more.
Oh! I thought it was a recording of Handel's Messiah. But it was (I think) The Paducah Symphony Orchestra Choir rehearsing. All of the windows were open. The old dogs and I stopped on the sidewalk just outside those windows. All three dogs pricked their ears and tilted their heads, listening.
It was such beautiful music. The voices didn't strain, they gloried. We walked in the grass around the church. I couldn't bear to walk away. That music gave me a sense that it would all be okay.
And then the week of reality hit me. I forgot.
This morning I headed off to blog land to play some catch up. The first blog I came to with my coffee and my sleepy breakfasted dogs was a new one I just started following last week. I don't know the blogger well yet. She's in Australia and it's hot there. She posted a video of k d lang singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. (Do click on that link. Do!)
I sat weeping.
I spent the next hour listening to all different versions on Youtube. Here is one for you.
I have read your generous comments, and I thank you. November 18th was the one year anniversary of Maria's death. This awful year of loss. I pronounce that year OVER.
I pronounce that year OVER.
I pronounce that year OVER.
Hall Lay LOOOOOOOOOOO YAH!!!!
hug your howling hounds - we're having a good one here!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Well, Paducah is Quilt City. First, foremost and famously.
It is home to the Museum of the American Quilters Society. And if you think of quilts as grammy's old mothballed fuddy duddy stuff, think again. Click on that link and take a gander on what is housed here, right here in Paducah, Kentucky.
The annual Quilt Show attracts around 37,000 visitors to Paducah in April. Retailers do better during Quilt Week than Christmas. Our UPS man always takes his vacation during that week. It is wild. The Quilt Museum is right downtown. Traffic is clogged. There are routinely cars heading the wrong way on any number of one way streets! But we love quilters, yes we do!
I would be remiss if I didn't mention The Paducah Bank and Trust.
It is still un-conglomerated, and it won some huge award and honor for being chosen as one of the best places to work in the entire United States of America! I think that is really something.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
The whippets have a friend out in blog land who needs some good thoughts and prayers. She has the same name as a wonderful 15 year old whippet who is so very special to us, and who is FINE, so we didn't want to scare anyone. This wirey friend is named Snickers, just like our 15 year old whippet friend.
But Wire Fox Terrier Snickers is needing some positive healing energy.
And at exactly 11:00 PM GMT on Saturday 14 Nov 09
(Go to this link to find what time that is for you)
5:00 PM Saturday evening in Iowa (that's 5 PM in Paducah, 6 PM on the East coast)
as Snickers' family sits down to eat
And join together in a silent minute
Of prayer, meditation, contemplation, reflection
Whatever feels right to you.
Followed by whatever means of communication
To wish and send Miss Snickers and her family
whatever is in your hearts
That will help them feel the Love and Support
They need right now.
Personally, we’ll be sending Miracle Whippet Magical Wishes.
Blow a Kiss
and send your Love and Prayers and Best Wishes
to Miss Snickers and her Family
and they will feel their arrival
in the breeze.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
This week I picked places of worship because I was thinking that so many churches & synagogues (etc.), have such interesting architecture and symbolism both indoors and out. In addition, there is often much history surrounding the older buildings used for worship as well, adding to the interest.
Western Kentucky is known around these parts as the very buckle of the Bible Belt. I could fill up blog posts for the next year and still not come close to including all the churches. I've chosen to show you some of the ones in my immediate neighborhood.
The flood wall features a mural with Paducah's historic places of worship. The beautiful Jewish temple - seen with the golden minarets - burned before we moved here, but it was right downtown.
you might have to click on the photo to enlarge - use your back button to return
The Methodists are also just three blocks from our house. There's an indoor swimming pool in this church! They're very generous about letting the neighborhood use their meeting rooms to gather.
This is Grace Episcopal -five blocks from our house. The Stars of David fascinate me. During the Civil War, her courtyard was used as an infirmary. They allow us to hold our rehearsals of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues there. Every year the performance raises money for the domestic violence shelter, and it raises awareness. Grace Church lives up to her name.
This is the Catholic church, St. Francis de Salles. It is six blocks from my little computer room. Ironically, Bill took care of the brothers from a St. Francis de Salles monastery back in Maryland, in his old practice. I miss Brother John.
St. Francis de Salles
This is another Baptist church. I don't know if it is for white Baptists or black Baptists. It's the furthest, about eighteen blocks away. But it's right across Broadway from the hospital where I'll be working. (Yipppeeeeeeee!)
This is a spiritual place for so many people. The cars in this photo each contain one man. And there are always cars backed away from the river, occupants staring at the water. Always. I have written about these lonely men.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I got a job!
Thanks for all your good wishes, encouragement, hanging in there with me, and being there in blog land and real life.
Yay oh yay. I'm going to be looking up some dog shows and agility trials to enter.
OH YES I AM!!!!
hug your hounds and any nurses you know and hug yourselves for me!
image from google images HERE but I messed with it. I tried superimposing my face but it was spooky freaky.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
So he helped his mom Heather get all ready, and he even wore his big boy underpants. He brought his Old Dog Edgar, and his Young Dog Emmett, who is Ben's good friend. Ben helped print out the directions and the whole kit and caboodle headed north to Ferne Cliffe State Park, in Illinois.
Before they all started hiking, Ben peed right on a leaf and the grass. (It was okay, because we were in Nature, not in civilization.) That was very helpful. His mom was glad that he did not need to change clothes.
Once they started hiking in earnest, (they were in Illinois, but they were also earnest), Ben realized that the stroller was going to be a lot lighter without a Ben in it. "I'll walk," he said. And he did. The whole way.
Ben grabbed his mommy's hand and helped her escape from being squished on the head by a giant tree!
Ben helped his mommy from tipping over when he showed her the cool stuff. Ben's mommy is a little tippy these days, since his baby brother is taking up a lot of room in her belly.
Ben was showing his mommy the gargantuan rock. Ben's mommy smacked her own forehead in disbelief and amazement.
Ben helped his mommy and his baby brother and his Old Dog Edgar and his Young Dog Emmett who is his friend through the muddy slippery part. He held on extra tight, which helped his mommy be extra brave.
They made it! They thought this was where Ferne Cliffe State Park got its Ferne Cliffe name, though they didn't know where the extra ees (Ferne Cliffe) came from. This cliff was covered with ferns. (You can click to enlarge and use your back button to come back. Ben said so.)
Ben helped show his mommy and his dogs the way.
Then Ben showed his mommy the slimy stuff under the biggest rock in the world. Young Dog Emmett didn't care to see, and Old Dog Edgar thought they should have a snack.
Ben helped by posing handsomely in front of a Big Dark Crevice. Ben is not only helpful. Ben is brave.