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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Monday, October 31, 2005

Today There Is No Inner Me

With my first phone call at 0630, I knew I would be screwed today. My facility has multiple personality disorder. No one can figure out what we do.

We're a nursing home but we're psych. We have crazy people but they aren't acutely crazy. We fall under the nursing home regulations but we don't do the fancy medical care.

Over the weekend we dealt with one acutely psychotic patient who was assaulting people. And one crazy old man who is very ill with a serious infection. The hospitals would keep neither of them. One because we're psych and they think we can do the same things they can. The other because we're a nursing home and they think we can do the same things they can.

At the insistence of my boss, I will be running around dressed like a clown so that everyone will have fun. I will be trying to get these 2 guys taken care of while wondering just exactly why I allow my boss to force me into these things.

Who needs a halloween costume? I have a ready made Nurse Suit that I wear every day. The pockets are filled with intuition, organization, facts, and some compassion. But it never feels like Pam when I wear it. I suspect that this is how it feels to be a mother sometimes.

There was a line in a movie I watched this weekend: "It's not who you are inside that matters. It's what you do that counts." Something like that.

I just wish, some days, that the 2 could be a bit more congruent.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pissed Off

And I do mean pissed off. Pissed off with that impotent kind of rage that is completely nonproductive. The sort of rage that makes one spin in circles and pushes one to the precipice of a stroke. As is always the case, it is over something supremely stupid.

It's that old game from Wayne Dyer: NIGYYSOB: Now I've got you you son of a bitch. And it is being masterfully played by the nurse who used to be my assistant.

I will not bore you with the long, sad story of her downward spiral into codependent hell. But she is hanging on part time only for the benefits. And she is playing the Olympic games with myself and with some of my new nurses.

Apparently, jealousy and a sense of entitlement factor in to this equation. She is being mean, divisive, and just generally stirring the pot of steaming shit that lies in wait somewhere in any large corporation.

When one of the new nurses called me this morning to tell me what this woman did to her last night, I went internally ballistic. I began to conjure up everything I might do to totally disempower her and force her to resign. Just go away. Leave. And choke on her own smart ass self. I would like to bitch slap her from here to eternity.

Now it does occur to me that if I react as she hopes I will, I will definitely fall into a trap and hang my own stupid self. This type of operation requires stealth, silence, and care in thought and action. My higher self says that if I pray for my enemy for 90 days, she will go away.

My baser self says she can do a whole lot of damage in 90 days. Better to strike quickly and cut out the cancer before it spreads.

In the meantime, if I allow myself to obsess over this situation all weekend, she will have won the battle if not the war. So I'm going to have my nails done. Topped off with a new book and a Starbucks. I think I'll be OK until Monday morning.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Worthless Blog

This may have something to do with the fact that I don't have any advertising links. Still, I love the heck out of my blog.

Dear Diary, today I found out that you are worth 0 dollars and 0 cents. It's a good thing I make enough money to support both of us. Otherwise, I would have to throw you out on your worthless bum.

Thanks Gina, for showing my blog her true value!

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Baby Boomers Beware

You have already entered Heart Attack Country.

By next week, 4 of my female coworkers will have undergone cardiac angioplasty during the past 5 months. They push these little mesh thingies called stents into your coronary arteries with a balloon. It's sort of like Roto Rooter for the heart. With a little something extra thrown in.

WebMD even has a little section called The Baby Boomer Heart. Scary. And did you know that WebMD is funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies?

Some of you might have heard about, or even read Kevin Trudeau's Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About. I know little if anything about him. He could be the century's biggest charlatan.

What I do know is that drug companies fund most of medical research in this country. I onced worked for a research center at a large university hospital. The bulk of research subjects for all of the drugs we studied were sick children, street people, and the terminally ill. Hardly a true cross section of the average American citizen.

Mind you, I'm not telling anyone what to do here. But you might want to start studying up on wellness and alternative healing.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Real Me

With special thanks to Gina, via Pat.

Pulverizing Abomination of Madness

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Woman Thou Art Loosed

It really is too bad that it took me until this point in my life to realize that I need to plan my sick days. While making my list of things to accomplish for the weekend, I noted that it probably was not going to happen.

When I first took this job, my boss told me to take my sick days. At the corporate level, it's use them or lose them. Everyone else can cash out at the end of the year or when they terminate. Not us. They go into the Benefits Black Hole.

Did I listen? Of course not. NursePam is the responsible one. The one who plods hopelessly on while all others fall by the wayside. Actually, they just stay home and watch Days Of Our Lives. (Like sands through the hourglass. These are the days of our lives).

On Friday, out of nowhere, most of the department heads did not come to work for one reason or another. NursePam, being the caring and compassionate person that she is, volunteered to take calls for the Staff Development Director who lately looks like hell. I have taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 calls this weekend over one crisis or another.

Well, duh!

While making my rounds of the grocery store, the pet store, the video store, the bookstore, and the ever ubiquitous Starbucks, I stewed. Then stewed some more.

It occurred to me, quite suddenly, that I now had 4 movies, 3 books, and a car load of groceries. I could either spend the rest of my Sunday doing laundry, having my hair cut and doing the dishes. Or, I could take a sick day and act human like the rest of the world.

Tuesday seems like a good day. Mondays are always a bad day to be out. Wednesday is our quality assurance meeting. Thursday is the corporate operations meeting. And Friday is always iffy.

One of the movies I picked up is entitled, Woman Thou Art Loosed. It somehow seems appropriate. I am going to take action on behalf of myself. Perhaps, if I just pace myself a bit, I might make it through the holiday season without my usual knock down, drag out, world cup flu.

Woman! Thou Art Loosed!

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sartorial Splendor

Southern California has no seasons. Not seasons like those found in the midwest or the northeast of these great United States of America. Oh, there are subtle changes.

Sometime in October, the nights become longer and cooler. If we are lucky, the rains come. In the east county it might even reach freezing. There is snow in the mountains. But you can reach 80 degrees in February if a Santa Ana blows through.

If weathermen have a reputation for working a crap shoot, southern California has to beat them all. Take this week for instance. We were promised rain on Monday and Tuesday. Partly sunny skies and warming temperatures through Friday. And bright sunny days with temperatures in the high 70's through the weekend. NOT!

It did rain Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Midweek we reached 92 degrees in Lakeside for about 10 minutes. And this weekend? It rained Friday night and has been gray and chilly all weekend. This sort of weather pattern makes for great difficulty in planning one's wardrobe.

I could wear my wool skirt and sweater to work in the morning and be sweating buckets by noon. I could just as easily wear my capris and tee only to be freezing my arse off by quitting time. Everyone says the secret is to layer your clothes.

Does anyone have any idea how many items are needed in their wardrobe in order to layer on a regular basis? One would think that a person would need less clothes in California. Not so.

The teenagers walk around half naked all year round. But then they have lovely budding bodies. And they value fashion over function. It no longer surprises me to see
Daisy Dukes and halter tops at the mall in December.

I am going to put forth the theory that this is why California women are so terribly unfashionable. In the midwest, there were rules and we followed them. You dressed up to go downtown, to church, and to the theater. You wore wool in the winter and cotton in the summer. You did not wear white after Labor Day. You had one coat for winter and a lighter coat for the spring. The weather, with the help of Seventeen magagzine, guided young ladies along the path of fashion do's and do not's. The end.

In California, young ladies grow up destined to suffer from Fashion Personality Disorder (FPD). Instead of reading
Seventeen magazine, or
Glamour magazine for the slightly older young lady, they read the supermarket tabloids. They believe that sunglasses are part of their wardrobe. That and big boobs.

California women are so out of touch with fashion mores, that they will wear short shorts and tank tops sans brassiere, even if they weigh 200 pounds and are over 40. The beach is one thing. But while out shopping? One can barely stand to watch.

I'm not necessarily a prude. One must always forgive the young their need to muddle through the differentiation stage of life. In fact, it can be rather charming to watch the young boys showing their butt cracks, their tats, and their jive walks, and the young girls their legs and bellies. But one would hope that by the age of 30, people would forego wearing their
jellies and spandex to work.

Not so in California where anything goes. Granted, the amazing amounts of sunshine make it all worthwhile. But there are days I cannot help my longing for the fashion sense of the east coast.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Something Wicked

Yes, Halloween is right around the corner. But it isn't Halloween that's on my mind this morning. I'm thinking about deliberate cruelty. The sort of cruelty in which adolescent children taunt the mentally challenged kid. The cruelty of kicking a dog. The cruelty of tipping someone's wheelchair to steal his shoes or his wallet.

People are cruel, I imagine, for a variety of reasons. Some of us have the sense to recognize that cruelty within ourselves and to be ashamed. Shame, in this sort of instance, is a good thing to have.

There is a particular kind of cruelty one may find among some who are mentally gifted. There are people who make a living using such a razor sharp wit. Pundits and political commentators use that kind of wit. In it's proper place, it is fun, fascinating, and invigorating.

I believe that there is always a place for criticism. I believe there is a need for that kind of insight and ability to sift through the garbage to find the jewel. But instead of using uber-brains to slap down someone's individual failings, why not fire up those synapses for the greater good?

I have been there and done that. I have found my fun in verbally ripping people to shreds. I have rejoiced at intellectually beating someone to a bloody pulp. And walked away proud. But this is what I have learned:

It does not make me happy. It has not made me a better person. It has not filled me up inside. Quite the opposite. It has left me feeling hollow, empty, and small.

I took a page from a dear, dear person in my life. She said to me once, "I used to want to be smart. Then I decided that I would rather be wise." She is a person I greatly admire. She understands the richness of living and the value of the individual. I so much loved the way I felt while in her presence that I decided to work to become more like her.

My friend is unique and gifted. I do not ever hope to reach her level of openness and giving. But I derive so much more joy from being a mentor and a teacher. From pumping up someone's self esteem rather than trampling on it. From watching another blossom and grow. I love that I can help them to do that by giving them space and support.

To each her own, I suppose. And thanks. I think I'll keep to the path I have chosen.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, October 21, 2005

Pay It Forward

I had some fun last night, at the end of my workday. It was a day filled with stress, with people fighting and bickering and not wanting to listen to each other. It was a day where my Project Pile seemed to grow like Topsy. And my Out Box was not shrinking. It was the kind of day where all of my employees seemed to have the need to tell me what I could do to be better at my job.

My bag was slung over my shoulder, and as I was running out the door I looked around and saw that the nursing staff was working like a well oiled machine. Everyone was busy and engaged. The residents seemed to be quiet and happy. I had spent several hours dealing with a night shift that does nothing but cause distress to each other and to the residents. Watching the afternoon shift helped me to feel like less of a failure.

Someone asked me what I was going to do for the evening and I said that I was going to stop at Starbucks. Oh my! Several people got that look in their eye. The look of the 4 year old watching big sister or brother opening their birthday presents.

A friend had given me a Starbucks gift card a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea how much it was worth but an idea occurred to me. 9 of the 11 nursing staff wanted a Starbucks. Why not? I hopped into my car, gift card in hand, and drove about 2 miles to their nearest store. My friend had been generous. There was more than enough to cover the tab. I drove back to the facility with 9 coffee drinks sitting on the floor of my passenger side.

I never did get my Starbucks. But I felt really good. And was reminded once again how little it takes to thank someone. And to let them know that they are appreciated.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Trip To The Dentist

Surely in life, there is not much that is more humiliating and painful than sitting in the dentist's chair with your mouth open, fingers, cotton, and sharp instruments in your mouth, while you choke on your own spit. Unless of course you are female and have suffered the tortures of the stirrups and the speculum.

It sure in the hell took long enough for them to get around to inventing the plastic speculum. But that's a story for another day.

A couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business and eating a bowl of granola with soy milk. Suddenly I was chewing on rock. Then I spit out a piece of tooth. When I went to the mirror, I discovered that half of one of my bottom molars was gone. Such is the way of all flesh.

Luckily I have an excellent dental plan. Fully paid for by the corporation. They don't want their leaders to have bad teeth, obviously.

Two weeks ago I signed on for a new dentist. I was pleased to find that she is young, female, and rather cute. She is also a good dentist. She said that the dentist who told me I needed a deep cleaning was just trying to make some extra cash. I was relieved because I have always had very healthy gums despite my myriad bad habits.

Today was the day that she did the prep for a crown and made me a temporary crown. She had to give me 2 injections of novocaine in my cheek and 4 around my gum. I'm a tough customer. The princess and the Pea.

There is no point to this story. But if you're a lesbian, it's always fun to have a cute female healthcare provider. One day I'll tell you all about my cute lady veterinarian.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

56 vs 7

I remember reading a psychologist's odd theory about stages of development. Her theory went something like this. We travel through the stages of childhood development throughout life. I can't remember exactly how it worked but it went something along the lines that people relive their unfinished stages when they reach multiples of the years in which that stage should originally have occurred.

At the age of 25, which is 5 times 5, you are reworking the stage of development that, had you been raised in the perfect family, you would have been entering or completing at the appropriate chronological age. If you are a parent, you have a double whammy because you are also working through any unfinished business of the current developmental stages of your child or children.

Can you imagine being 3, 7, and 13 all at the same time? I must have been pretty screwed up when I discovered this theory because I found it wildly fascinating and enlightening.

If one subscribes to this theory, it means that I am working through the developmental stage of a 7 year old. Today, this sounds just about where I am. In the second grade, I ruined the class photo by bending over to pick something up that I had dropped on the floor just as the photographer snapped the picture. In those days, you only got one shot.

To top it off, my braids were in my face and my bangs were flying. My mother never let me forget this.

49 years later, I continue to be perpetually late, a procrastinator, and a dreamer marching to the beat of her own drummer. We had a corporate meeting today. I screeched into the parking lot to meet my boss, 15 minutes late.

While she drove, I brushed my hair and applied my lipstick. And when we arrived, I waltzed out of the car only to realize that the hem on the left leg of my navy pinstriped slacks was completely undone. I picked a seat front row and center and chatted up the nurses in my area.

The room became quiet and I looked up to find the corporate attorney, and one of the owners of the company, watching as I taped the hem of my pants leg together with scotch tape. Suddenly, I was 7 years old again. And apparently, I have not improved one iota in the organizational skills department.

Other than that, I made it through the day relatively unscathed. Well. My dishes are still in the sink. And my bed is unmade at 7:30 p.m. But at least I'm bringing home a paycheck.

Kinja, the weblog guide

The Legitimate Life

A little thought that crept into my head this morning. Someone on my favorite message board asked some questions this morning. When did you first accept the fact that you were a lesbian? How did it change your life? Something along those lines.

Asking me how accepting my sexuality changed my life is a bit like asking me how my life was affected when I, who was born blonde, accepted the fact that I would not be blonde for the rest of my life. It's simply a fact over which I have no control. Of course, it's not that simple but it's the analogy that immediately comes to mind.

The little thought that crept in was this: Am I living a legitimate life? And what exactly is that? Do I get brownie points for being a nurse? Do I get negative points for not having children? How many points, exactly, do I get for the money I donate to charity. As opposed to the number of Sundays I have spent in church?

What makes me a good person? Does paying my bills late send me one step closer to hell?

The question of what constitutes a legitimate life is not something I am prepared to answer at 6 a.m. But it will probably be bugging me for the rest of the week. If I come up with a good answer, I'll let you know.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Light As A Feather

Some days, I feel light as a feather. I could almost take flight. Most certainly my spirit soars. I watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants last night. One of the characters talked about stringing together all of the little bits of good until they seem bigger than all of the bad times and struggle that nip at our heels.

I think that I was born an optimist. Despite everthing I have lived through, I still believe that I will find my soul mate, and that there will be children in my life. I believe that I will have a beautiful home on a mountainside and that I will dance to the end of my days.

Some people may call me a fool. A person living in denial. I had one shrink try to diagnose me as bipolar.

Bipolar, bischmolar. I had a few good days mixed in with my depression. So sue me! I will grant you that I have done some self destructive things in my life. But nothing that has lost me a home.

I have made rash decisions that I regretted. I was forced to declare bankruptcy a number of years back. That was because I didn't really understand credit.

For that, I didn't need lithium. I needed some financial education. I needed to be slapped around a bit more by life. I needed to learn some hard lessons. I never went into a psychotic state that left me powerless over my less wise decisions.

I remember reading, many years ago, that the moods of a woman mirror the menstrual cycle. When her body is preparing a bed for a baby, she retreats into herself. She becomes quiet and introspective. And when her menses begin to flow, she turns outward, to the world of work, and people, and connection. I always thought that that was a beautiful way to describe the inner life of a woman.

It is the way of the Seasons of the earth. It is the cycle of renewal and rebirth. As women, we have a natural path to growth and healing.

Not to make light of the serious struggles thrust upon those who suffer mental illness. But please do not take away my highs and lows. Don't tell me to cheer up. Don't ask me to calm down. I insist upon, no, I demand! I demand to be fully, the woman that I am.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just For Today

Just for today I will be calm. Just for today I will maintain my equilibrium. Just for today, I will not allow the "future gremlins" to get in the way of the here and now. I have a full plate.

It's Friday. I have a new nurse to mentor. A new assistant to set on the right path. Payroll is closing over the weekend. The Holidays are coming. The nursing supplies must be out before I leave. Patients need my attention. The daily schedule must be reviewed for the weekend.

There are only 8 hours in the day. Well, 10 or 12 in mine. My boss will try to steer me in one direction. The Staff Development Director will have projects she wants back from me. The activities department probably has me scheduled to teach the medication class to the residents.

Where am I in all of this? I sometimes begin to feel panic in my chest at the thought that my own life is dripping away, like a leaky faucet, while I put bandaids on everyone else.

Just for today, I will be in the moment. Life somehow has a way of working out.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sadie Full of Grace

My sweet friend Sadie-Mc is stepping down as co-host of my favorite message board. I have had the great pleasure of watching her, over a nearly five year period, grow from a shy lurker, to a full participant, and finally to step into the board host position.

She has done an amazing job with a very high spirited and head strong group of women. Now she has found the love of her life and needs to devote time to her budding relationship, as well as to her son, her job, her IRL friends and family.

I had the unique privilege of driving with her, just one year ago, from Houston to the Great State of Vagina. We had a Dueling Banjos moment in Redneck, Mississippi. And we followed God into Richmond.

We got lost trying to find Kim and Court's home in the dark. On the return trip, we hit torrential rains through the mountains. And Sadie forgot to bring her glasses on the trip. I still cannot believe she did all of that driving half blind.

She gave me a small peek into the inner life of Sadie. Both the joy and the pain. It was a rare gift from a very private person. I would like to think, had I been blessed with a daughter, she would have grown up to be like Sadie: beautiful and strong, bright and independent, sweet and loving. With a good dollop of spice.

So long Sadie. I'll see you at the wedding.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hierarchy & Reality

I am living proof that the smartest people are not necessarily the people on the top of the heap. Take J. for instance. She is an L.V.N. (practical nurse in some States). Newly minted and thrilled to have realized one of her dreams. She has a vocabulary that would send you to the moon and back. I'm pretty bright and I don't understand half of what comes out of her mouth.

J. is 43 and just graduated, having worked 20 years as a lab tech, a nursing assistant, and at a variety of other low level medical jobs. Her dad is a doctor. Her sister is a doctor. She said to me the other day "I'm just a loser."

That remark couldn't be further from the truth. She's a delightful, funny, bundle of energy and joy. And I have no doubt that my IQ pales in comparison to hers. But she is definitely on a different path than I.

A piece posted on Radical Goddess Theology got me started with this train of thought. According to sources cited in this piece, the ancient Minoans, a goddess worshiping culture might have had woman on the moon by the time of Jesus had other events not interfered.

How is it that humankind has so often been on the right track, only to be derailed by some patriarchal notion of how the world ought to look? When did we get to "The one who dies with the most toys wins"? And why is it not OK to just be who we are?

Geez guys. Trust me. I don't want to blame this on the men. Frankly, if we women are the superior gender of the species, then we have to take some responsibility for this mess that we're in. There are still women out there who tell their little boys that men don't cry. They buy them toy soldiers for Christmas and call them little men. They firmly believe that God is male.

Need I continue?

It is all well and good to blame the patriarchy. But as long as we participate, we are liable. You tell your daughter you like her independent spirit. But are you secretly relieved that she married a nice dentist rather than complete her doctorate in physics?

I don't mean to insult people's intelligence by reciting feminism 101. I'm just saying that maybe we ought to revisit the basics again.

Meantime: Go J! You rock grrlfriend.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I spent a very simple weekend just taking care of personal tasks. Laundry, online bill pay, ordering medications for the dog, watching movies, and reading. This evening I stopped at a local Denny's for some of my favorite comfort food: the veggie cheese omelet with hash browns and an English muffin.

I drank hot tea with honey and lemon and read the Sunday news while waiting for my food. It's one of those little things that I used to do for myself on a regular basis. But I have been so wrapped up in my financial woes that I have not been allowing myself these simple pleasures.

I realized, during my short drive home, that I have much to be thankful for. I have a good job. I have a home. I have nice clothes. I have a car that runs. There is at least one creature in the Universe who believes that the sun rises and sets on me.

I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and the ability to love. I have met many people along the way who have been kind and loving enough to help me grow as I traveled my path.

What good would all the riches in the world do me if I did not take a moment to enjoy them. And to thank the Universe for bestowing such bounty upon me.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, October 07, 2005

Control Freak Central

Control freak. That's me. The intellectual part of my brain, that being my NON-lizard brain, knows that control is merely an illusion. But my lizard brain runs around my head like a little green golem sighing myyyyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy.

My functioning, non-lizard brain finds this horrifying. It is obvious to me that my lizard brain does nothing but wreak havoc upon my dream of an orderly existence. The little golem has outrageous ideas about how my life, the world, and other people ought to work. And every idea about the world has myself as the focal point around which all else revolves.

This world view is not politically correct. It is not attractive. It repels me. And yet my little golem grunts and groans through my days arranging and rearranging my world to whip everyone else into shape.

Today someone new came into my world. I hired a little RN to be my part time assistant. I worked with Josie when she was a nursing assistant. I worked with her when she was a licensed nurse. She's a Filipina tornado. She took one look at my wreck of an office and said "I'm going to fix this."

I couldn't watch. Somehow, I got my little green golem under control and went to my boss's office with a stack of incident reports that were long over due for sorting.

2 hours later I worked up the courage to walk back into my office. My lizard brain went nuts. My desk was spotless. There was a place for everything and everything in its place. I walked out and walked back in again.

Unbelievable. I was overcome with a curious sense of peace and well being. I let Josie take over and sure enough. Josie had a better way to do it.

Maybe I can try letting go of control again. If only I can get that lizard brain back into its cage.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Life, The Universe, And Everything

Thanks to Douglas Adams. I read his books eons ago.

I wanted to let the previously posted piece on Mr. Bush stand alone. Mostly because it's so frightening, what could I add to that?

I don't have time to do the research this morning but doesn't history somewhere tell us that when your leaders begin speaking directly to God it's either time to leave the country or time to leave the Planet?

My schizophrenic patients are locked up because God talks to them. Mind you, I make no judgements here. God may in fact be talking to some of them. The problem is that they make bad decisions based on what God tells them. They hurt themselves, they hurt other people, and they can't find their socks in the morning let alone make breakfast or find their way to gainful employment.

Local schizophrenic: "I can't sell you your ink pen because God has told me that ink pens are the instrument of the devil. If you don't leave the store now, I will have to hurt you."

George Bush: "God has told me to blow up your country. Those aren't really innocent children sitting in your schools. They are instruments of the devil and I shall cleanse the world of them."

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the flags are flying high and we believe that we are OK. With leaders like George, can internal terrorism be far behind?

Nursepam: "So long and thanks for all the fish."

Kinja, the weblog guide

News Flash: God Speaks Directly To The Prez!

Thanks to my bud Sandra for posting this on the LL message board:

Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC Thu Oct 6, 5:44 PM ET

US President George W. Bush allegedly said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, a new BBC documentary will reveal, according to details.

Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003, the ministers told the documentary series to be broadcast in Britain later this month.

The US leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said.

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God.

'God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.'

"And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq...' And I did.'

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it'," said Shaath.

Abbas, who was also at the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recalled how the president told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

A BBC spokesman said the content of the programme had been put to the White House but it had refused to comment on a private conversation.

The three-part series, "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs", charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from former US president Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999-2000 to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The programme speaks to presidents and prime ministers, their generals and ministers, about what happened behind closed doors as the peace talks failed and the intifada grew.

The series is due to be screened in Britain on October 10, 17 and 24.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How Does She Do That?

My 7 year old Yorkshire Terrier provides me with endless hours of entertainment. Her latest trick is this. She gets a diet of rice, veal baby food and a special kibble mixed together thoroughly with a little hot water. She has learned, somehow, to suck up all of the veal without touching the rice or the kibble. She then sits next to her bowl and looks up at me with those beautiful brown eyes, giving me her "pitiful puppy whimper."

If I leave the room she will eventually eat the rice and the kibble. But she never fails to give it the old college try. It's one of the things I love about dogs and cats. When it comes to food, they are ever hopeful.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Psychotherapy & PsychoBabylon

Or, one could say Psychos Babble On. I'm kidding but there is rancor beneath the surface. I have spent decades on the couch and I must say that, overall, I am none the wiser.

The 12 step program, Adult Children of Alcoholics, was a bit more helpful for learning how to organize my social and spiritual life. Body work helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin. Literally.

But there is a secret that no one tells you. Other than the relationships that we manage to build with other people, there is nothing much else that lets us feel whole and complete.

Those houses of relationship may be shacks in the bayou or they may be mansions in the sky. But face it, it's all we've got.

When Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana and Mississippi. When the houses were gone. When the jobs were gone. When the televisions, computers, DVD players, refrigerators, cars, and Play Stations were under water, what did everyone do?

They looked around to find their people. Their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, co-workers, cousins, and neighbors. In that split second between life and death, they knew what was their most precious possession. It was their relationships. The people who are the glue that help to hold their lives together and give them meaning.

Not much important happens in life without the people who surround us. They hold up a mirror to show us who we are. The give us comfort. They challenge us. They cheer us on. They tell us when we are wrong. They tell us when they are right. They give us glimpses of love. They allow us to love.

Psychotherapy is OK. But it won't give us the secret to life. For that, we have to travel the back roads and highways of relationship.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dioxin Hell

As I sit down to eat my Amy's organic tofu vegetable rice bowl, it strikes me that I have once again been punched in the kidneys by progress. Why do I keep thinking that progress is my friend?

Some green conscious entrepreneurs out there have been kind enough to provide me with healthful frozen foods so that I can feel smug and still save time in the kitchen. Then, on Friday, my boss hands me an article that says that studies show that when plastics are heated at high temperatures (as in a microwave oven) dioxin is released into the food.

I would cite the article and give you the link. But it made me so depressed that I tossed the printed copy into the trash and promptly forgot about it. This not only killed a tree but it will eventually cause more killer dioxin to be born since our largest source of the poison is generated by incinerating waste.

So, back to Amy's. I realized that although the bowl is paper, the overwrap is plastic. I am either going to poison myself or starve. Peering back into the bowels of the refrigerator, I find 2 plums, 2 oranges, some wilted spinach, some cheese spread, an avacado, a few water crackers and some week old bread. And an aging quart of soy milk.

I could make a salad, I think to myself. Immediately my Inner Child begins to throw a temper tantrum.
So much for good ideas. I opt for the dioxin laced rice bowl and sit down to do a little online research. Here is just some of what I found on the Dioxin Homepage:

Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and was the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy.

Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more. For an detailed list of health problems related to dioxin, read the People's Report on Dioxin.

Juicy bedtime reading, no? I could probably install a woodburning stove in my little tin can home and plant a vegetable garden on my patio. But I can tell you right now that tough though I may be, I doubt I would have survived the days of the Puritans. Digging in the dirt is so hard on acrylic nails.

I suppose, as has so often been said, that I will eventually die of something. I just didn't think I would die of scientific and technological progress.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Secret Pleasures

I am convinced that all of us have our dirty little secrets. My boss says "Don't invite your employees over to dinner. They do not need to know that your dog poops on the carpet, that you leave dirty dishes in your sink, or that you only clean behind your toilet during a harvest moon."

Personally, I think the world would be a better place once we all get it straight in our heads that none of us is perfect. My employees probably know better than anyone on the Planet, outside of my family, that I'm not perfect. Surely they do not believe, after one look at my office, that my home looks like a Better Homes & Gardens home.

But I speak of secrets and guilty pleasures in which most of us engage to one degree or another. And of which we prefer not to speak. Take masturbation for instance. Even partnered people masturbate. When someone tells me that they have never tried this, I think one of 2 things.

1. You're lying. Or
2. You poor bastard.

I suppose there are people out there who are truly asexual and have absolutely no interest in the places their body can take them. But I would guess they are in an astonishing minority. Ripley's Believe It or Not. "Lillian Wellagrump, age 82, died in her sleep on the 18th of January. She lived a long and happy life with never the slightest interest in what was between her legs. She tried to start a support group but no one would join."

Obviously, Lillian was lying. If she wasn't interested, she would not have tried to start a support group.

Other than masturbation, and television which I have mentioned earlier in this blog, here are some additional guilty pleasures in which I indulge from time to time.

Coffee. It's bad for my heart. Murder on my blood pressure. And it makes me hyper. But there is nothing like the smell of a good dark roast wafting through the house. I have this nifty coffee maker that grinds the beans and then brews the coffee on the spot. It has a timer. I set it for 10 minutes before my alarm is set to go off and wake up to the smell of freshly ground coffee beans brewing in my kitchen. I love technology.

When I have had enough of the home brew, I go to Starbucks. On occasion, I will drink 7-11 coffee, a decent stop gap when the better stuff isn't available. I also have a coffee pot in my office. My boss hates coffee pots at work. When I started working for her, she informed me that they were forbidden in the workplace. I informed her that I would have a coffee pot in my office. She has finally given up on that issue. If my coffee pot goes, I will not be far behind.

Another little pleasure is chocolate. I have a long standing love affair with chocolate. Good dark chocolate rings my bell, rocks my world, and leaves me feeling delicious. I do not eat massive quantities of chocolate although I would like to. I always throw some fruit, vegetables, and a little protein into my diet. But I am ever on the hunt for a tasty morsel of chocolate. I imagine myself looking a bit like Hannibal Lecter when he speaks of fava beans.

No meal is truly complete without a nice glass of wine. I am not a wine snob. Actually, I am rather ignorant when it comes to wine. But a small glass of merlot can take the edge off a particularly hard day and certainly beats a sleeping pill. In the good old days, it was quite common for doctors to prescribe 2 or 3 ounces of wine at bedtime for the old folks.

Then there is my obsession with smell. The smell of freshly laundered sheets and underwear. The scent of lilacs in bloom. The rich odor of sandalwood incense filling my bedroom. And clouds of perfume wherever I go. My preferences in the perfume department run to florals and musks. My bathroom is filled with scented creams, lotions, potions, bath gels, shower gels, bubble baths, and oils. My triple wide dresser groans under the weight of candles and incense. I cannot get enough. Beautiful scents soothe and comfort me.

Nurses are not supposed to wear scents. Ah well. I don't feel like me without them.

Television, wine, perfume, and chocolate aren't really something to be kept secret. But cigarettes are. If one smokes in this day and age, one is either very young, very stupid, or a redneck. I do not fall into the first and third categories. This leaves stupid. I do not like to think of myself as stupid but I have my moments.

I actually quit smoking for about 10 years. I went back to being a nursing director and lasted 3 whole months before lighting up. That probably says something about my fitness for being a nursing director. It just may kill me.

I keep telling myself that if I don't quit, I will die a slow and painful death. So far, that isn't enough to dissuade me from the nasty habit. In the meantime, I do enjoy a smoke with my coffee or my wine. A throwback from the days of careless youth when the world was new and sophisticated people smoked cigarettes.

I once subscribed to the theory that putting one's secrets on the table was the first step to healing. This may be so up to a point. But I also believe that secrets are a necessary fact of life. We need those small spaces filled with pleasure, shared or not. My work gives meaning to my life. My friends bring companionship and sometimes joy. My home helps me to feel secure.

Ah, but those small secret pleasures. They are the things that I enjoy when I am simply being me. They are at the heart of why I so enjoy being alive.

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

I saw a wonderful film last night. It's an Israeli film entitled Walk On Water. It's a tale of hatred, love, and redemption. And just an fyi. There are subtitles but very few. Most of the dialogue is in English.

It caused me to think about my own crooked path to love and redemption. What has been in my heart has not always matched what I have wished to be in my heart. Some of us are born good. Most of us have to work at being good. People who appear to be good can have evil in their hearts. And some who appear to be evil can have goodness in their hearts. It can be complicated. Most of the time we have to trust ourselves to know the difference and hope that we have made the right choice.

Religion in this country has become pretty darned scary. I have nothing against organized religion. There are some good things to be said about it. But I go on record to say that Christians freak me out. My argument is not against Christianity. My problem is with the legions in this country who call themselves Christians. The fundamentalists who take the Bible literally but have a tendency to interpret in ways that are convenient to their own world view.

This is the so called religious right. They are sweeping the country with their Righteous Broom and will not be satisfied until we are back to the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner. They believe themselves to be agents of God. But that cannot be. God cannot be known on the level that they profess to know Him. S/He does not tell people anything. S/He shows our hearts nothing more than the power of love and forgiveness. This brings us to a state of understanding, acceptance, and reverence. From there we can discern right action. Everything else we do because we listen to our lizard brain.

I know not if the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, falls into this category of Christian thought. I suspect he does. If you aren't sure, check out
SaveTheCourt.org. If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

The God who lives in my heart does not speak to me in such a concrete manner. (Yes Virginia. Queers do have God in their hearts). My God speaks only to my heart and S/He does not use words. God gives me gifts of insight and understanding. But God does not tell me what to do. Spirituality is a very personal thing; a journey that we take throughout our lives. It can be expressed. It can be seen in word and deed. But I cannot give it to you. You have to find it within your own soul.

When I say to a friend "I need to get back to my spiritual practice," I am not talking about going to church. Going to church can help me to organize my spiritual life. But it does not make my spiritual life. What I mean is that I must return to honoring my mind, body, and spirit in ways that are loving and healthy. When I am in that space, I give the same honor to those around me. It is honoring my life, and the life of others, that leads me to God.

Finding my spiritual base was a long and painful process. At one time I hated the idea of God. I did not realize what a powerful force the spirit of God could be in my life. I will not address the history of my spiritual awakening here. But I will say that if you ever sit with a dying person and witness her spirit leave her body, it will change your way of thinking about life and death. You will have no choice but to ask questions about the meaning of it all.

It is my knowledge of God that keeps me sane in a world gone mad. I find my center. I focus on my heart chakra. I call God into my space. It allows me to move forward with hope. It allows me to continue to look for the good in people. It let's me believe that all life, including mine, has a purpose. When I am in that heart space, I catch a glimpse of the Real Me. And of the Real You.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Delusions of Grandeur on a Small Budget

I started out life like most middle class Americans in the 1950's. That is, I was secure in my place in the world and blissfully ignorant that life as we knew it was about to change drastically.

I would grow up to go to college, become a teacher, get married, live in a house with a white picket fence, and have lots of babies.

Yeah. Right.

The 60's hit like a giant meteor from outer space. The world blew up. Kennedy was shot. King was shot. I hit puberty. The Vietnam War dragged on forever. The economy went global. And I began to realize that I might be a lesbian. Oh shit.

So I changed my major from education to psychology. I tried marijuana. I marched in civil rights marches. I marched in peace marches. I watched the militia roll down Woodward Avenue in Detroit after the Kent State Massacre. I had long hair and wore mini skirts. I shunned the material in favor of the spiritual. I slept around. I went into therapy. I was too cool for words.

Somehow, I ended up working for General Motors as a computer programmer. This was in between stints as a teacher, a waitress, a payroll clerk, and a sales clerk. In the early 70's I was laid off with the rest of Detroit. After odd jobbing for awhile, and spending a couple of semesters in graduate school, I decided to move to California to become a poet.

Nursing seemed like a good way to make a living while writing my poetry. I had considered medical school but I thought nursing would give me more free time. Life is full of little cosmic jokes like that. I waitressed, went to nursing school, took poetry workshops, and explored the gay scene in southern California.

This is all when I was young and thought that I was already old.

One day I woke up and had the terrible feeling that life was about to pass me by. I had no lover, a crappy apartment, and a job that I hated. I feared that I would leave not one footprint upon the world before I said my goodbyes.

My insides were writhing with self doubt and a sense of something lost. I just didn't know quite what I had lost. At that point, I dropped out of nursing and signed up for massage school. It was a rich and exciting experience. I started my own business. I continued to write. But not as much.

Within 5 years, my nursing friends had dragged me back into nursing. I had a dream that nursing was a giant toilet where I could dump all of my crap. I think my return was a sign that I still had more crap to dump. The fruits of a dysfunctional childhood. Who in their right mind quits something that makes them happy to return to that which causes them unhappiness?

Inside of me is a woman dancing on a mountaintop. Surrounded by beauty. Filled with love. She has let go of all illusions. She carries her sadness with grace and can tap into her joy in living. She has no need to be rich or famous, or even to be remembered by anything but the wind. She simply is. And that is enough.

Kinja, the weblog guide

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