Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30

Today is my parents’ anniversary. Thirty-four years ago they married.

It is also the anniversary of the day my sister joined our family.

I used to joke that I was the only person in our family who didn’t have anything to celebrate on this date, but really nothing could be further from the truth.

Though I was an only child for the first 4 1/2 years of my life, I don’t remember my childhood without my sister in it. She and I had the usual sibling ups and downs over the years, but no matter if we were on opposite sides of the country or opposite sides of the world, we have been there for each other.

And my parents… I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t be here without them (ha ha ha), but I can also say that I wouldn’t be who I am without them. They are kind and thoughtful and smart and funny and compassionate and giving of themselves and I like to think that I’ve learned or inherited many of those qualities from them.

Happy anniversary to my family. I love you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Together Again

Today my mother returned from her travels and our family was reunited. I have many more thoughts that will come out over the next few days, but for now I'll just say I'm glad to have my whole family together again.

Friday, November 28, 2008

PSA: Drunk Editor Edition

One of the fun parts about being home with my dad is that we share a similar sense of humor. We had a good laugh at this insert from our local paper this morning:

Thursday, November 27, 2008


There's something about coming home...

Every time I return to my parent's house, my life slows down. And this is a good thing. I run myself ragged most of the time, and so to have a place to go and enjoy a slower pace of life is a really good thing. 

In years past I have written long blog posts with lists of all that I am thankful for. This year, I am keeping it simple. 

I am, as always, thankful for family and friends, for laughter and hugs. I am thankful for having a job that allows me to give so much of myself to others. I am thankful for the number of amazing people in my life (both old and very young) who give so much meaning to my life every day.

But on this day, this year, I am most thankful for the feelings of love and peace and quiet I get from being home with my family in small-town Maine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heading Home

I am heading home to Maine for Thanksgiving. I hope to post more once I'm there, but if I don't get more written tonight, at least I've posted for today.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things That Made Me Laugh Today

1. For some reason, as I was signing into my email this morning, I remembered back to when I was 8 or so. I was with my dad and we were signing in at some event. My dad signed himself in and then let me sign my own name, but somehow I got distracted while writing, and my sign-in name was "Phoebe Choebe" It made me laugh then, and it made me laugh now.

2. This is a photo I actually received yesterday. It made me laugh when I got it, and again when I opened it up to make it my desktop wallpaper at work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

History Repeats Itself

Ten years ago, I had a string of months in which many bad things happened to people I loved. These were my first experiences with tragedy, major medical challenges, and death and they all happened to people I knew well and cared for very much.

A year after that, just before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine from summer camp died. I was just about to head home for the weekend with my college roommate, and received a phone call telling me of this loss. I spent the better part of the weekend in shock and on the phone with camp friends, which apparently gave my college roommate a lot of time to talk with my parents.

Last night, I talked with this college roommate and updated her on all the tragic things that have happened to people I love in the past month. She remembered back to that Thanksgiving nine years ago and told me about a conversation she had with my mother.

My mother, thinking back over my experiences throughout the past year, had said to my roommate something to the effect of, "it's hard to imagine all these bad things happening to people Phoebe knows... but Phoebe just knows so many people." 

I laughed when she told me this, because it's true. And the truth is that I wouldn't trade all the wonderful people I know (tragic situations and all) for anything in the world. And I wouldn't trade being able to be there for the wonderful people I know (tragic situations and all) for anything in the world either. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I spent the better part of my 4 hour trip from NYC to Boston trying to compose this blog post, but no words can express the sadness, shock, and disbelief that I am feeling after hearing of the death of a relative this past weekend.

I debated posting about this because it feels like a more private thing than I typically like to share on this public blog, and I didn't want to put it up for comment. But I can't think of anything but this right now, and it feels too significant to not write about.

I hadn't seen this cousin in many years due to the great geographic distance between us, and we weren't really in touch because our lives had taken us in different directions. But we were relatives, so there was a bond and a love that was there even when communication was not. I always got updates on her life from her family members and would think back fondly to time spent together at summer camp and family reunions.

I always thought she was so cool because she was a few years older than I was, and I felt so proud when she'd let me hang out with her. We once spent the better part of an afternoon at one of our family reunions riding the elevator and seeing if we could get through the chorus of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" before the doors opened. The challenge was that we could only sing when no one else was in the elevator, and we never knew when the elevator was going to stop to pick up new passengers (it was a rather fancy resort we were at, so we definitely couldn't have kept singing with other people in there with us). It sounds like a ridiculous game, and it probably was, but it kept us entertained for a long stretch of time.

I spent the afternoon yesterday with another cousin in NYC and it was she who received the news first. Silently, we made our way back to her place, where we proceeded to make calls to our parents to get more information. And as the evening wore on, there were many moments I found myself grateful to be in the presence of a family member who shared my family history.

I received an email today from a close family member that both brought me to tears and comforted me with its simple message:

Sometimes when we experience terrible tragedies, there is goodness that appears through acts of kindness... Stick together and love each other.

So let this be a reminder to all of you out there to hold your children, spouses, partners, siblings, parents, and friends extra close tonight. Make sure they know how much they mean to you and how loved they are. And make sure to love yourselves, too, while you're at it.

Let your love cover me
Like a pair of angel wings
You are my family
You are my family
-Dar Williams

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dream On

Last night I had a dream that I was walking with a friend in the park, and we saw/heard two cars flying through the air maybe half a mile from where we stood. They crashed to the ground (though we could not see where they landed) and then debris started raining down on all the people in the park so we were running away and covering our heads all at the same time. We were all ok, though, in the end.

I have seen no movies with flying/crashing cars, nor have I been in a park recently.

I am completely open to interpretations on this one. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fibby's Trip to the Big City

After 6 hours of travel (7 if you count my cab ride to South Station this afternoon), I am finally settled in NYC.

Special thanks to Babs, for giving me lessons on how to navigate the New York City subway. I've mastered up-town/down-town travel. Tomorrow: cross-town.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grumpy and in Pain

Yesterday, I went to a class at my gym. I had actually attended the class the week before, but it was being taught by a substitute instructor, so I wanted to go back and see if the class was any better when taught by the "real" instructor. 

I'm not sure if it's something about this gym or what, but all three of the instructors were awful. So this rant will serve as the rough draft of the letter of complaint I now feel justified in writing (I wanted to write after the first class I attended, but felt like I should attend a few more before complaining).

I've been really lucky to be a member at some incredible gyms in the past. My favorite, the JCC in San Francisco, was just a block and a half from my house and had the most incredible instructors I have ever experienced. They were full of energy and enthusiasm and watching them stand up there in front of us doing everything they were asking us to do was inspiring and motivating. They also used the music as a way to pace the class - we lifted weights to the beat and did lunges to the beat. I like that, as it gives me something to concentrate on, other than the pain in my legs/arms/stomach/wherever.

The classes at my current gym are nothing like that. In none of the classes did the instructor make use of the beat of the music. In only one of the three classes did the instructor demonstrate what he wanted us to do.  But even then, he demonstrated and then stopped to watch us all.

Two out of three instructors did the exercises too fast. When you're in a conditioning class that involves lunges and squats and such, form is pretty important. Also, it is my understanding that if you do the exercises more slowly, they will challenge your muscles more, which is a good thing. These instructors had us doing things so quickly that form was completely ignored. 

All three instructors barked orders to the class attendees. There was no description of what they expected us to do, and no demonstration. The instructor said something like "Ok, it's time for Jackknives now!" and the people in the room who had attended class before and knew what the hell a "Jackknife" was would start doing it, then the instructor would yell at the class for not all doing it, and then we'd have to start over again. 

In all classes, instructors did not clearly delineate the various levels of difficulty of each of the exercises. In any good gym class, instructors start off by saying "this is what I'm asking you to do" and they demonstrate. Then they often will say "this is a modified way to do this that makes it easier" and "this is a modified way to do this that makes it more difficult" and THEN the good instructor will say "you choose which of these fits your level and do it."

In all classes, instructors recognized that there were new faces in the class, but then did nothing to modify the teaching style to accommodate the new people. For example, in my first awful class, we were asked to do lunges... on not one, but TWO Bosus. We were expected to have our back foot on a Bosu with the ball-side-up, and our front foot on a Bosu with the flat-side-up and to balance and lunge at the same time. For the six of us who were new (for the record, about 1/3 of the class), just balancing in that position was difficult. Some people managed to get a few lunges in, but none of them had good form. How hard would it have been for the instructor to have offered us a choice of how we could do our lunges so that we could actually do lunges instead of balancing for the entire time?

Tonight, at a class in which the instructor did not demonstrate a thing and just yelled instructions to everyone, I got yelled at for doing leg lifts on my right side before my left. When I informed the instructor that the woman in the front (who he had used to demonstrate sit-ups earlier, so I thought she was a good person to watch) was doing leg lifts with her right leg first, he shrugged and then went over and stood above her and shouted "LEFT leg first!"

Does it really matter? As long as I'm switching legs, I'm working them both out equally, right?

I realize that there are many more important things in the world to be outraged about, but I'm paying good money for my gym membership I want to be able to enjoy going there. Exercise is my most effective self-care strategy, and I don't want my gym to be a place that brings me additional stress. Too much to ask? Perhaps, but I'm not ready to give up quite yet. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One More, For Good Measure

Apparently, I focused a lot of my bad poetry on my bedroom ceiling back in the day...

I hear giggling through the ceiling
   One floor up a man and a woman lie
Having just come home from a night on the town
   Or having just eaten dinner or just made love

And though I cannot hear the words, I can hear the tone
   And it is sweet and full of love

And I am full of jealousy because you have such love and happiness
   And at the same time,
      I want to scream

SHUT UP! Don't you know you keep me up at night with that noise!?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Angst-Ridden Poetry of My Younger Days

My cousin shared that her favorite form of self-care is to do bad watercolors while watching old movies, which reminded me that there was a time in my past when I wrote really bad poetry as an outlet for my emotions. So this morning before breakfast I dug out my old journal and read through some of the poems. 

There's quite a collection, and some of it is really bad ("I'm sitting next to the fire, but I'm shivering, and I can't tell if it's the fault of the open door or my numb heart"). I am throwing out any bit of ego I might have had to share these next few gems with you, but it's worth it for the laugher I know I'm bringing to the world. 

I. Water Stain (absolutely the worst poem ever written)

There is a water stain on my ceiling
It just showed up one day
Or did it?

When I saw it
   I wasn't sure
      If it had just appeared
      Or if it had been there all along and only just been noticed

The building manager says
That once it is dry up there between
   The ceiling
   And the floor above
He'll tear it all out and replace it

But I don't see how one could tear out
   Only a little ceiling (or floor)
   And wall (since it dripped down)
Without making a terrible mess

Funny thing, but just after noticing the stain
I found myself noticing you, who just showed up one day
   Or did you?
Perhaps you were there all along

Either way, I like you better than the stain
   And hope you'll stay
Long after the ceiling that is my upstairs neighbor's floor
   Gets a makeover


I'm not sure what that was...
   The one-night stand
      The emails
         The phone calls

But I do know that I enjoyed it
And that I haven't giggled like that
   In bed
      On the phone
         As I walk down the street

In a very long time
So thank you

III. Pittsburgh
"A companion," she said, "is all I want
   someone to laugh with and talk with anytime"
"An on-call cuddler," I suggested
   And she laughed and agreed

And though we're thousands of miles away
   All of the sudden, we feel so close
Together in our alone-ness


And as I hold the phone to my ear
   A thousand miles away, I hear a sob
And from a thousand miles away, I extend my arms
   And wrap them around her

And the distance between us disappears
   and for a moment
      we are not alone

IV. Bird

Once there was a girl, who I will call "Bird"
   (for that is what I called her, actually)
And I loved her
   (for she was my friend)

And that girl is all grown up 
   (well mostly, anyway)
And I still call her "Bird" and I still love her
   (for she is still my friend)

V. Banoffee

You burned yourself tonight
I heard the crash and yelp
   from my seat on the couch

And I jumped up and ran to the kitchen
To see you with your finger under the cold running water

And then I went and sat back down
  For there was nothing I could do but watch
And I was pretty sure you didn't want an audience

But I do know that the dessert which you are making
   (and for which you sacrificed the use of your finger for the next week)

Is going to be quite tasty.


I love fiercely
I live scared

What am I scared of?

That someone might love me fiercely back?
Or that he won't?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Self Care

I spend a lot of time at work encouraging parents to practice self care. I remind them to take care of themselves so that they can best take care of their children. I try to do the same for myself, but sometimes I forget to make time. 

Going to the gym, crawling into my pre-warmed bed (thank you, mattress pad warmer) and watching House episodes, forcing myself to go out for drinks/dinner with friends after work even when I'm exhausted, and getting a full night's sleep are all things I do for self care. But lately, my self care standards haven't been doing it for me, so I'm opening it up for new ideas.

What do you, my wise and well-cared-for readers do for self-care? All suggestions welcome. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Words

I just came back from a wonderful weekend in Maine to some bad news about a friend who experienced a devastating loss this weekend. I am at a loss for words as to what to say to my friend, and even more at a loss for words about what to post here, so I'm giving myself permission to take another day away from "real" posting and will return tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rainy Day in Maine

I am home in small-town Maine visiting family this weekend and am currently typing this from my sister's house. I would have been writing this from my parent's house - probably from the comfort of a big cushy chair in the living room, perhaps under a blanket - but their phone/internet went down today, and so my sister and her fiance graciously offered me their place to type so that I don't fail my NaBloPoMo goal of posting every day.

I spent a wonderful night last night celebrating a friend's birthday and catching up with many Portland friends I hadn't seen in months. I left work feeling grumpy and frustrated at the end of a long week, and I left Portland this morning feeling refreshed and energized and so grateful for the friends I have there.

Now I'm having a family day and looking forward to the community theater production of The Full Monty tonight. 

Not an exciting post, but a post nonetheless, and I have not fallen behind in my daily blogging.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Docs

A few days ago,  MOMP requested topics about which she can blog and I included "your favorite pair of shoes ever" as one of my suggestions. It was kind of a joke, but I got thinking about it, and wondered what my favorite pair of shoes I've owned is/was.

I love the bright red patent leather heels I purchased last spring. I also love my first pair of Danskos (also red. hmmmm....). But over the course of my life, it is my navy blue Doc Martens, purchased just AFTER a summer trip to the UK (I know, I know) that win the coveted title of favorite shoes ever (so far).

I spent the summer of '93 traveling around the UK on a trip through my summer camp. Most of our activities were paid for through the enrollment fee, but we all brought a small amount of spending money to buy some souvenirs. I bought a sweater in Scotland and a skirt and top and dress shoes in England. I wanted to buy a pair of Docs, but I wasn't sure what color or style and they cost so much I was nervous. I had never made such a big purchase.

In the end, I chose to purchase half the contents of a Body Shop to bring back home to the US and not a pair of Docs (again - I know, I know).

But once I returned to Maine, I immediately regretted my decision, and desperately wanted a pair of Docs. I eventually found my way to J.L. Coombs and purchased my first pair.

I spent a lot of time considering my color options, but in the end I decided on navy blue. I bought these shoes early in my sophomore year in high school, and I wore them nearly every day for the next three years (along with jeans, an oversized white t-shirt, and some variety of flannel shirt). Few people had Docs in my high school, and none of them had them in navy blue. I loved them. A lot. And when the inside back of the shoes wore out, I had them repaired at the local shoe repair store rather than retiring them.

They were a good pair of shoes, my Docs. They were the first pair of shoes I owned that made me smile just to look down and see them on my feet. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This Thing On?

I thought perhaps the reason people weren't commenting on my blog for a while was that I wasn't posting regularly. Then I thought it was because I was posting about such heavy things. But for the past 12 days I have posted every day on a variety of topics with still not so many comments. So then I thought that perhaps no one has been reading this blog, but according to my handy stat-tracker, I've had 16 visits in the past 16 hours.

So this post is to encourage any of you shy readers out there to feel free to come out of the woodwork and say hello if you want. I'm a friendly blogger and would enjoy hearing from you. That said, I am a lurker of many blogs, and understand the attraction to staying silent, so if none of my 30 posts this month inspire you to write back, that's ok too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Operation Momentum - Nov/Dec

Goal 1:
Track spending and create a budget.
There was a month between when I was babysitting full-time this summer and when I began my new job where there wasn't a whole lot of income. There was also a need for me to purchase some professional clothing (because the professional clothing of a summer babysitter is not the same as the professional clothing of a hospital social worker) (and thank god for that). I also got into some trouble purchasing crafting supplies (how can paper be so expensive!?). A later (probably December) post will explain the crafting supply purchases, which I do believe they were totally justifiable.

At any rate, I am not in any significant debt, but enough that I want to get out as soon as possible. Also, I want to make a plan for saving money and figure out how I will be able to pay my student loans when they kick in in January. All of these are reasons that this goal was created.

Good progress has been made so far, and I am excited to have some clear goals and limits for myself regarding saving and spending.

Goal 2:

Yeah, I know. What's the point of posting about it if it's private? Well, just knowing that it's out for people to read means that I feel more accountability than if I kept it to myself - even if you don't know what it is. 

The good news is that the energy created from the reason for Goal 2 is motivating me to go to the gym more frequently than I had been before, making me all the more convinced that Goal 2 was the right goal to choose, instead of "going to the gym more" which was originally my second goal.

The bad news is that my gym is awful. A longer, rant-filled post on that later, but for now I'll just say that I had no idea it was so difficult to find class instructors who have the capability to find the beat of the music they've chosen to play. Wow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's About Love

I didn't see this when it first aired, but saw it linked on multiple websites today and finally just took the time to sit down and watch it. I don't know what side of the issue you're on, but please take six minutes to watch this piece. Then share it with as many people as you can.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Before You Sit... A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at a camp gathering. A group of past, future, and current campers and counselors gathered to watch the summer 2008 video and talk about why and how camp has meant so much to us. We even sang a few songs. And when I left, I felt infinitely lighter and happier than I had when I arrived. The magic of camp.

A while back one of my good camp friends requested that I tell the tale of how I sat on a dead baby bird. Since you all know the punchline already, I'm going to paint a fuller picture for you...

It was a typical day at camp during my my Senior CT summer. "Senior CT' means it was my second summer as a counselor in training - the first was spent learning first aid, CPR and lifeguarding while the second was spent teaching archery and swimming and standing in for counselors when they had days off. Oh. And living in a tent with seven of my best friends. Not a camping tent - a platform tent (see left - to this day, we still have people ask us how we fit 8 of us and our trunks full of stuff into one tent).

So that you can picture the bird scene as accurately as possible, it is important that you know that at my camp we had a camp uniform which consisted of a light blue or white t-shirt and navy blue shorts (unless it was Sunday - on Sundays at camp, campers and counselors wear their "Sunday whites" - white shirts and white shorts). (unrelated: I believe that our Sr CT summer was when we all began wearing Loony Toons underwear under our whites because we thought it was cool that people could see the cartoon characters through the white shorts) (I suppose it might also be important to note that it is an all-girls camp).

I spent the morning jumping in and out of the lake teaching swim lessons, changed into dry clothes, and then headed to the dining hall for lunch. At camp, breakfast and dinner are eaten inside the dining hall, but lunch is eaten outside. Campers and counselors go through a buffet line to get food, then head outside to find a place to sit.

I headed outside with some friends. We were lucky to be toward the front of the line, so we got out early enough to grab a spot in the shade. We sat down under the birch trees to eat.

Very soon after sitting, I became aware that there was something under my left upper-thigh. I shifted my weight and put my hand down to brush it away and felt something mushy. "Mushy" not being the feeling I was expecting, I looked down to discover that I had accidentally (let's repeat that again for those of you who might have missed it: ACCIDENTALLY) sat on a dead baby bird.

I screamed, jumped up, and brushed off my shorts. My friends hadn't seen what I had seen*, and asked why I was screaming and jumping and laughing. I pointed to the bird on the ground and kept brushing at my shorts and soon I had all my friends screaming and laughing too.

You all might ask how I know the bird was dead before I sat on it... I don't. But I don't like to imagine myself as a killer of baby animals - so to make myself feel better, I have told myself for the past 13 years that the bird fell from the tree and was dead as soon as it hit the ground.

Lesson learned: always look before you sit.

*Any of you who were there, feel free to enter your own version in the comments.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Survivor Gabon - Thoughts After Episode 8

Oh, Susie... why must you be the token stupid lady on Survivor? Really. Why? I don't care that much about Marcus leaving - I liked him, but I didn't have a whole lot invested in him - but I am now so much more worried about Bob! Bob, the rock-star Mainer who nearly won the painful endurance immunity challenge against a man half his age. Susie, consider this a warning: if you last longer than Bob, lookout. I will hunt you down to yell at you to your face.

I'm also not sure where this leaves Kota in terms of physical strength... Despite Crystal's chisled body, she hasn't really managed to do much with it since the competition began. Kenny is pretty scrawny and Susie is all but useless. I'll be curious to see what happens with them.

Favorite moment of this episode: Jeff tells Fang (pronounced "Fong") to head back to camp after winning the challenge. Corinne says "It's Fang" (pronounced "Fang"). And Jeff replies, well, don't forget your banner, Fang. Awwwww, SNAP! Oh, Corinne... I don't like you much, but I'm afraid you might be hanging out for a while. Grrrr.

Close to Home

Working in the field I do and being the age I am can make for a strange combination sometimes, since many of my friends are in the process of starting or building their families. A close friend of mine was recently put on bedrest and is now in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy (72 days or earlier if baby decides he needs to come out sooner). 

So now I am sending all kinds of "stay put" vibes to BabyBoy B. I promise you it's better in than out at this age, and as much as I want to see you, I really want you to be as healthy as possible when you join us out here in the real world. So rest up (and let Mommy rest as well) and hang out on the inside for a while longer. 

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Day in the Life

6:00 - alarm clock goes off. hit snooze once, then get up, shower.
6:35 - stand in the middle of my room for a ridiculously long period of time wondering what to wear
6:50 - outfit decided, change out of "work top" into "walking to work top". fold work top nicely and put next to bag. blow dry hair.
7:05 - make and eat breakfast
7:20 - transfer all items from yesterday's work purse into today's bigger work bag (thinking ahead for when I have to carry home the rain boots I left at work yesterday)
7:25 - start thinking "I should leave now or I'll be late"
7:35 - actually begin walking to work
7:50 - realize I have left my "work shirt" neatly folded on my bed. grateful for the fact that I've done this once before and have an emergency shirt stashed at work. appreciate the irony of all the time I spent picking out an outfit this morning.

8:05 - arrive at work. change into emergency shirt that smells strongly of mint, due to being stashed in a drawer next to some seriously strong mint gum
8:10 - check email, read electronic chart notes to catch up on overnight updates
8:45 - head up to the unit with a to-do list
8:55 - fill out timesheet, cross one thing off list
9:05 - accidentally stumble upon the medical team rounding. stand in for a while to see if they say anything interesting. they don't.
9:35 - am told of birthday tart in the break room. go to check out birthday tart. decide that a birthday tart from shop 'n save is not worth splurging on and do not partake.
9:45 - socialize with ladies at the front desk
10:00 - leave meal vouchers at bedside for a family. check another thing off list.
10:10 - once again stumble upon medical team rounding. decide again to sit in. regret decision again.
10:30 - realize i had promised a family i'd meet with them at 10:30. leave rounds. hear sounds of breast pump from behind curtain where parents i am meeting are sitting. decide to return later.
11:35 - back down to my office to eat lunch. starving. inhale all food leftover from various lunches packed throughout the week. wonder if food purchased from whole foods deli on sunday should perhaps be eaten before friday but am too hungry to worry much.
10:40 - mom still pumping. go to meet with another family to share some information they had asked for. hear pumping from behind their curtain.
10:50 - mom from family #1 is ready for meeting. we meet.
11:30 - meet with family #2 to share information. sound like useless loser when all i can say is "sorry, there appear to be no support groups that would suit your needs in the entire metro-boston area" feel stupid saying it, but know (after two days of research and phone calls) that it is true. promise to continue to look.
11:45 - realize i still haven't met with charge nurse who will share with me information regarding high-need families and information about scheduled family meetings. meet with her. wonder how i feel i've been so busy all day and still feel as though i've got just as much work as i did this morning.

12:00 - return to office. see that i have voicemail. listen to 4 voicemail messages and wonder how two of them are from yesterday but did not show up until now.
12:05 - detective work. research what it takes to establish residency in massachusetts, more support groups (of a different type this time), and book a room in the sleep space for a mother coming in to spend the night with her baby after being discharged from a local hospital. call and/or email people to tell them all these things have been done.
12:55 - head back upstairs to the unit. meet mother for whom sleep space has been obtained. offer to walk her there to show it to her. do so.
1:35 - check in with parents throughout the unit. discover one family will be moving to the floor in a few hours. offer to give them a tour of the floor. give tour and become jealous that the floor has a large selection of bread and english muffins in their kitchen that my unit does not.
2:00 - check in with father (husband of mother #1 i met with in am). he wants to meet, but cannot now. promise to return in an hour or so.
2:10 - chat with mother who is returning from grabbing some breastmilk identification stickers from the staff closet. think mom has been here too long if she's breaking into the staff closet. chat with mother about yesterday's family meeting.
2:35 - realize that my goal is to leave on time (4:30) today and chart as many notes as possible so they will not keep me at the end of the day.
3:15 - receive phone call from social worker at referring hospital letting me know that we will be getting a child who is in the custody of the state. obtain contact information for state worker. call state worker to clarify custody arrangements and parental rights.
3:35 - run into father (of the "afternoon mtg with father") in the hall. sit down with him to talk because they will most likely be transferred to the floor before monday and he would prefer to talk to me instead of monday's new social worker. wonder how long this will take because i have to work on state custody case. think i'm a bad person for wondering this when dad is pouring his heart out to me. decide to focus on being with him in the moment and worry about the other case later. within two minutes of sitting down, his wife calls and wants to speak with him. we chat briefly. he returns to his wife, and i return to...
4:00 - make multiple copies of official custody letter and distribute to appropriate people. while distributing note, run into another father who i've been seeing daily. say hi and pass on information he had asked for, but then rush off to...
4:15 - send out alert to relevant weekend workers about this family. wonder out loud how i will write a note in the pt's chart about these arrangements when pt does not yet have a chart. person who overhears me wondering out loud tells me to check the "temp" chart and - voila! - a place to write a note. note written. attending doctor notified.
4:35 - finish writing notes for the day. recognize that there is at least one family i should have seen but could not, and give self permission to follow-up on monday.
4:45 - run back into the unit to apologize to the father i had said a rushed hello to. wish him a happy weekend.
4:50 - head down to office to change back into "walking home from work top" (same as "walking to work top")
4:55 - walk home
5:25 - purchase burrito to go for dinner

5:35 - arrive home, change, eat dinner
5:55 - drive to babysitting job, play with two tired but happy kiddos
7:25 - begin bedtime routine
7:55 - both kiddos sound asleep. begin typing blog entry.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I (still) Heart The Decemberists

Tonight I went to see The Decemberists perform at the Orpheum. I was supposed to have seen them in the spring, but they cancelled their tour the day before the Boston show and I missed out. I must say that it was worth the wait.

During "16 Military Wives" Colin did a call and response where he said "Yes we can!" and we shouted back "Yes we did!" There was so much positive energy in the air and so many people shouting with joy at the victory of this past week. Their encore tonight was "Sons & Daughters" and it was incredibly powerful to be with such a large group of people all singing hopefully together "hear all the bombs fade away..."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After Yesterday

Last night I felt something I haven't felt in a long, long time: pride in our country. I actually felt proud to be an American. I felt optimistic about our future. I cried tears of joy when listening to Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech, completely inspired and in awe of the historical significance of it all.

Again, a few words from my friend Kelly:

It's the day after yesterday and there is a clear difference in the 7 million people who decided the fate of America and perhaps the world. The crowd in Grant Park didn't boo when McCain's name was mentioned. People in an overpriced spa resort did. The crowd in Grant Park was young, old, black, white, latino, asian, seasoned and virgin campaign operatives. In AZ, old white people with mouthes agape.

It's the day after yesterday, and they're going to need help. Let's have more class than those who have been in power for the past 8 years. They'll need a tutorial on compassion, faith, hope, optimism, perserverance, friendship, and maybe even a second (or first) read of that old, dusty Constitution. A friend wanted a list of promises Obama has made on the stump and their due dates. The first promise I heard was change and hope.

It's the day after yesterday and we've accomplished something already.

We have accomplished so much already, but there is still a long way to go. After the high of last night came the low this morning when I read that California's Proposition 8 will most likely pass. I read this news with much anger and sadness and as much as I kept trying to re-capture the feeling of hope I had last night, I couldn't shake my disappointment.

How can the majority of Californians support the rights of chickens to have more room in their coops (Prop 2, which was passed 63% to 37%) but not find it in their hearts to believe that a loving same-sex couple deserves the same right to marry as a loving heterosexual couple?

Though there is much hope to be found in the advanced research and more recent findings of Faith over at That's So Queer, it is still disturbing to know that so many people voted in favor of this proposition. I just don't understand how love is ever a bad thing.

But then I saw this video of the mayor of San Deigo from a few days ago and a bit of hope returned to me. A lot of hope, in fact. And the tears. They returned too.

Change and hope? Not always easy, but definitely worth fighting for. Because eventually, even if it takes time, change and hope lead to positive things.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted.

One blogging topic suggestion I received for this month of blogging was "what it's like to vote in a big city". I actually live just outside of the big city, but I have to say the line for me to vote this morning was longer than any I've stood in in the past (including 2004 in San Francisco).

(Apologies for the sideways photo. I have saved and re-saved the rotated version of this
photo a million times in the past 10 minutes and cannot get it to upload right-side-up.)

Two of my roommates and I drove to the polling place and arrived at 7:07. The photo above was taken after we had been standing in line (and moving) for about 15 minutes. The line behind us was equally long. In all, it took us one full hour to get to the polling place, stand in line, vote, and get home. It felt like a long time, but I kind of liked it. I liked that I had to put in a little extra time to cast such an important vote. It made my vote feel that much more significant.

My friend Kelly posted a beautiful piece last night that I read just before going to sleep. I'm pretty sure it caused me to have my first ever voting dream last night. And because I'm no good at keeping beautiful pieces of writing to myself, I'm sharing it with you:

You Saw History - a note to my son

You are so lucky to have been born in this time, in this country, in more ways than I can count. You saw history before your eyes saw its first image. Someday you’ll remember how you saw history. Here’s how I remember it.

You heard the first viable female candidate speak up for labor rights while you were still growing.
You heard your mother’s footsteps as she ran down a Cleveland hotel lobby to rangle the press for Senator Clinton.
You heard your mother make phone call after phone call to get out the vote.
You waited patiently when your mother was out New Year’s Day in the snow collecting signatures for candidacy petitions.
You saw the hustle and bustle of a campaign office run by people younger than most – voting for the first time.
You saw your mother rush to nurse you, then back to talk to Secret Service.
You sat on your mother’s lap when she voted for Senator Clinton and herself on the same ballot.
You watched the event on television, knowing your mother plugged those wires for the cameras to bring you that image.
You waited patiently while your mother ran as a delegate.
You heard your mother cry with joy when Senator Clinton took the stage to claim victory in Ohio.
You heard your mother cry when Senator Clinton ceded defeat, but then with joy when you knew promise stood in the name Barack Obama.
You played patiently in your stroller while at a table organizing with other activists.
You were curious at the picinics when the candidates wanted pictures with you.
You sat on your mother's lap while she watched the first African-American accept the Democratic Presidential nomination.
You sat at your mother’s feet while she organized yard signs, volunteers, canvassers for Obama.
You saw your mother write letter after letter to other mothers about why Democrats are good for their children.
You sat on your mother’s lap when she voted for Obama, Biden, and our other Democratic brothers and sisters.
You slept peacefully while your mother lead the local Democratic club.
You loved your first debate watching party, seeing on the big screen the tussle that ensued between two foes.
You listened intently every time your mother tried to persuade another voter.
You were inspired by speaker after speaker at a rally just 2 days before the age of reason.
You heard the sentiment that if I can’t, maybe if I work hard enough my child can.
You saw old, young, white, black, blue collar, white collar, women, men, children, disabled, non-disabled, rich, poor, educated, uneducated stand shoulder to shoulder nodding in agreement that this is truly a revolution, and we need to take part!

I didn’t knock on those doors for me – I did it for you. I did it so you wouldn’t lose the innocence you have now looking to the Statehouse steps later. I did it so you will have a safe place to live, a country you’d be proud of. I took every step on every sidewalk towards a better life for you – better health care, better education, to secure your civil rights, your financial and economic freedoms. For every door that was slammed, two more opened with a smile. For every voter who was disillusioned, I tried twice as hard to bring the next one around. I voted because my great-grandmother couldn’t.

I voted because I believe in the history you have seen.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Operation Momentum

A good friend of mine has created a self-improvement movement to action and away from stagnation and I'm totally on board. "Operation Momentum" requires that a person pick one or two goals that can be accomplished in two months and then set sub-goals that lend themselves to making the big goal happen. To ensure the goal has a high chance of successful completion, my friend is telling people about his own goals and encouraging them to set their own. 

I love this idea - both for getting me to write down my goals and make a plan to accomplish them, and also for setting up an informal peer check-in to keep me honest and motivated. 

My first goal is to choose two goals to work on through December 31. I've given myself through the end of this week to set my goals. What I've discovered is that I have no shortage of them (however, because I had committed to NaBloPoMo before I learned about Operation Momentum and because it is only a month-long commitment, I've decided it can't count towards one of my goals). Now I just need to prioritize and determine which get my attention for the next 2 months.

I'll let you know my goals once I've got 'em set. Until then, feel free to make your own and jump on the "Operation Momentum" bandwagon!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


As I drove into my driveway this afternoon, my car hit 180,000 miles. Made me think I should take a moment and publicly thank it for multiple trips back and forth across the country and all around New England over the past 9 years. It has worked hard for me, my car, and I hope with all my might that it continues to provide me safe transportation until I drive it into the ground or marry rich, whichever comes first.

In other news, I've committed  myself to writing a post a day for the month of November for NaBloPoMo (link on the top left). Blog post topics that you can look forward to include Survivor, looking out for myself, anniversaries, and friends. Thirty days is a long time, so if you've got blog topic requests, please send them my way and I'll see what I can do.


I have decided that this weekend will be a project weekend. Not just the usual projects such as grocery shopping and doing laundry, but the bigger ones like working on finishing a knitting project I started 8 months ago and other such crafty stuff.

Tonight I caught up on Survivor (post to follow) and knitted. What I've decided is that sweaters are hard to make. Photo evidence to come, but for now you'll just have to trust me.