Friday, February 21, 2014

Windy and Rainy

February is nearing an end, and it's been a busy month with lots of emotions.    The 'issues' with the Chairman on my subcommittee continued all week.   The good news, from my perspective, is that I've gone from hurt, to mad, to just feeling sorry for him.   He has been raving for the past several days, losing respect among his colleagues, making little sense, just a pathetic spectacle.    I don't think he'll be trusted with any positions of authority again any time soon and if he hasn't figured out yet that he isn't getting any support, he will soon, and I feel kind of bad for him.

It has finally stopped snowing, at least for the moment.  We're getting rain now, which is washing away the foot or so of snow on the ground.   Now it's just a matter of time before the flooding begins, and my basement will likely get wet because there was SO much snow this year.   And in between the raining and the icing, the weather guys say that we'll get hit by snow again before the month is over.  The seasons come, the seasons go.   That's why it's so important, in weather and in life, to grab onto the good days with both hands.

Speaking of good times, right before our first rain day, the grands and I had a snowball fight, the two of them against me.   I laughed and laughed, and ended up with snow all the way down to my underwear.   I was wearing jeans while they were wearing snow pants; I didn't have a chance of staying dry.   We had hot chocolate afterward, which sounds like such a small thing but was a childhood fantasy of mine that never came true.   I didn't grow up with a hot-chocolate-type of mom or grandma.    I enjoy the heck out of it now.  :)

Today I'm doing a little research into healthy recipes, especially healthy dessert recipes since I understand regular healthy cooking pretty well.   Funny, I never bothered for myself, but a friend has been put on a heart-healthy regime, and so now I'm motivated to do what I can to help and I am usually asked to bring dessert to our dinners.   A week ago I thought I knew enough, but now I need to find out a lot more about sugar.  Like, is it okay to use agave if you've been told to avoid sugar, or is that just another form of the same problem?   I don't want to use artificial sweeteners at all, so I need to find other ways to make things taste a little indulgent.

Another wedding this weekend, I'll be marrying another lovely, hopeful couple tomorrow.  I hope the weather clears a little by then.  The road between me and the wedding is closed today because of 30 or 40 accidents, caused by the ice and high winds.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

February Nothings

Not a lot is new in my world.   Valentine's Day is pretty much meaningless to me, since I have no Sweetie.     A friend and my daughter both called me to wish me a happy Valentine's Day, which was more than I'd expected from the day and very nice.   

Work continues, with the usual and sometimes unusual sadness.   One man, about my age, wanted me to sit and hold his hand last week and that always breaks my heart.   I wanted him to have someone there who loved him, although I probably loved him more than he would have guessed.    And one couple admitted to me how distant they felt from one another during this dying process, and we were able to talk about that and come up with some ideas for how to bridge the gap -- most of my patients don't know I'm single but if they did, they might find it ironic how quick I am to tell people to crawl into bed or onto the couch together and just hold one another.    I tell them to have their hands on each other every second of the day, no matter what else they are doing, because I know how much they will miss that touch down the road.    They always look so surprised, although the men often start to grin.  


I married another couple over the weekend, always fun to do.  This couple gave me a rose to wear on my robe, which is something no other couple has ever done for me.   So sweet.    Young love.  :)
And I got a pedicure -- loved every second, until I had to go out in the snow in my flip flops.   What was I thinking?!
One fly in the ointment of life is coming from a subcommittee I'm working on for a volunteer group.     I was asked to be on the committee in order to create a specific proposal where my legal experience was needed -- it wasn't my idea -- and I thought we had completed our mission when we unanimously voted to present a proposal to the Board.    The Board is set to vote this week, but yesterday the subcommittee Chair sent an email to the four of us saying that he thought we should redo the whole thing because he's had second thoughts and he's worried that two of the members (we are a 70-member group) won't like it.   I responded to our little committee that I thought the Board should vote on it as is since we had already presented it to them.  If they vote no, we'll know it needs to be redone.   He then responded, not only to the subcommittee but to the whole Board, chastising me for speaking up and pointing out several times that he is the Chairman and I am not.    We have a meeting set for tonight -- where he wants to revisit the proposal -- and I've decided that I'm busy.   The other three people on the subcommittee are all Board members and so they can do what they want with the issue.  I can't see much point in my being there if my opinion on even small disagreements was so unwelcome.   The funny thing is how much this hurt my feelings, for reasons I don't really understand.   I found myself actually crying in my sleep and more than once the tears have started again today.    What a big baby I've turned out to be.    I don't plan to quit, certainly not over one bully, but I think I'll take some time to lick my wounds a bit before I return.   

Glad I at least have pretty toes.    They always cheer me up.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Days

Nothing much is new.   Work, a funeral service to prepare every now and then, a new couple who wants me to marry them every so often, volunteering, occasional fun with friends and family, and crafts.    My life in a nutshell, and I'm not complaining.     

I started this winter by reminding myself, often as it turned out, that I like to shovel.    I have reminded myself of that every time it's snowed, which has been often.   I reminded myself of that again yesterday and today.    It's getting old.  Really, really old.      Some days I've shoveled several times.     It's a balmy 13 degrees today, with a wind chill dropping to below zero.   Oddly enough, though, I am not losing any weight.   In fact, come to think of it, I have gained several pounds.    Clearly there is a wrinkle in the universe.
When I am not shoveling,  I busy myself with useless projects as often as possible.     I have several lamps in my home that are filled with seashells that I gathered over the years.     Over a year ago I started working on filling a lamp with bullet casings since target shooting is one of my favorite hobbies.    Every time I shoot, I add a few but it's slow going since my .22 casings are pretty small.   Last month is was just over 1/3 full.   But a friend heard about my lamp a couple of weeks ago, and he brought me a bag of casings to add to mine.   He also polished all of the brass until it was shiny and bright.    And now my lamp is almost full!    His bullets are the bigger ones, not that size matters, right?    A few more trips to the range and my lamp should be fully full.   :)
I am working on a large variety of documents and ideas for the search and rescue group, but none of them are interesting enough to share.    Mostly I'm putting on my tattered old lawyer hat to dot i's and cross t's.    Yawn.  And yes, I am still plugging away at Morse Code, although, as with my weight, I seem to be going backwards.   Four months ago I was copying at about 10 words per minute, now I am a solid 7 1/2.    I blame lack of practice, or the snow, or climate change, or any other excuse anyone wants to suggest.
 
I bought myself a new present this week (I am SO good to me, no wonder I love me so much!)    I finally got a new HT, a submersible handheld radio.   It just arrived and is still charging.      If I like it, I might need to buy another right away, because I understand they are discontinuing this model.   Which gives you an idea of how long it takes me to make up my mind about something!   My old HT works fine but is bulky and not waterproof, so the new one should be a big improvement in the field.  And, for the one person who might find this interesting (73 there, Piper), I got the ampr names for the packet stations I hope someday to have.      It's a little like getting the driver before I get the car, but I am ever hopeful.  :)

So you can see that I'm doing a whole lot of nothing.   But I have big plans for tomorrow -- maybe I'll take a walk, and maybe I'll finish one of my sewing projects!    Right now, snuggled up in a blanket on the couch with my chex mix and my laptop, anything seems possible.   

Stay warm out there!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Another Best Year Ever Begins

January was a cold but lovely month.   Nothing much happened, which also means that nothing bad happened, and that's my favorite way to spend a month.   

Work went on as usual.   Our hospice patient load is pretty small these days, so I create a lot of busy-work . . . to keep myself busy, duh.   I come up with ideas for new events, for the public and for the bereavement program, and then 'pitch' them to our managers, usually with little result.  And of course I continue to visit with patients and their families,  do bereavement activities with families who have suffered loss through death, and perform memorial and funeral services.   I wonder often if it's time for me to move on to something different.   It feels increasingly as if it might be and if my restlessness continues, I will have to start looking for my next life-adventure.  I have worked with lots of sadness over the years, including AIDS support and homelessness, and three years in a hospice might be enough.  I want to do meaningful work, but sometimes my spirit just calls out "enough."   One tender experience this month, though, resulted when a patient in our residential hospice brought her cat with her.   Sweet kitty stayed close to his owner, but would stand and greet me whenever I came into the room.    "Meow," he would say, and then rub my hand with his head, before going back to curl up by his master's legs.     There was no family and when the patient died, the cat was left there at the residence, wandering the halls and crying plaintively for his missing owner.   It took a couple of days before we figured out where he would go next.   My vote would have been to invite him to stay, but I was not in the majority.   In the end, I am happy to say, we had more offers than one cat needed, and he has now joined a happy new mama to help him get over his loss.   Animals grieve intensely, but with a purity that is both painful and beautiful to see.    No self pity, just the sadness of loss.
It has been colder than heck here the last month or so, with many days below zero and dangerously cold wind chill temperatures.    School was cancelled so often that local districts used up all of their snow days.   We did have a bunch of snow, but the cancellations were because of the danger of having kids wait at bus stops when the wind chill was 30 below.  No snow days for grown-ups, though.   My Search and Rescue activities continued, with weekly committee meetings for me and long lists of tasks to complete.   Like many volunteers, I find that no matter how eagerly I chip away at the pile of work, there is always more to be done.    I also met with a couple of Brides in January as we finalized their upcoming February weddings.

February began with an almost great weekend involving a Search and rescue drill in the snow.   In our drills, which run from 9:00 am until 1:00 or 2:00 pm, we are given information about a make-believe subject and we plan and execute a search involving two or more teams.    If our command structure has planned well, and if we have searched well, and are lucky, we find our pretend subject, a stuffed dummy who has vital statistics and information attached that informs our response.   We've had a LOT of snow this winter, and trekking around in winter gear and full packs for several hours is a lot more work than it sounds like, at least for this old lady.    We trudged through a lot of very dense and puckery puckerbrush.   I was in charge of communications so had to keep taking off my gloves, and my hands ended up scratched til they bled.    I later found a big thorn in my back. 
During the drill, I also fell twice and lost one of the radios I was carrying in the deep snow.   But we found our pretend subject and carried "him" out of the woods on a litter to a waiting pretend ambulance.    By the end of the day, even the younguns were exhausted, and I was completely done in.     I know, it doesn't sound like very much fun, but it truly was.    Of course today my body is berating me for not acting my age, lol.

After the drill, I had dinner with my kids and grands and that is always nice.   Lately we've all been so busy that I am not seeing them as much as I want to.  The Littles are getting big and growing up way too fast!
Today was supposed to be a Dominos-Bowl since we are not football folk.    But it was cancelled late last night because of illness -- not mine, thank goodness, although I'd generally rather be the one who is sick than have the people I care about go through it.   I am ridiculously disappointed, but I know that's childish and have no choice but to get over it.   Instead of the silly fun I was looking forward to, maybe I'll get caught up on a few chores.   There is a pile of field-dirtied laundry to do, and because dirty clothes don't keep one as warm as clean ones, I need to get them washed and ready for the next drill or call-out.     I have a stack of calls to make for work.    I have dozens of tasks to complete for Search and Rescue, final details to complete for upcoming weddings,  morse code to practice (I am falling behind again!) and a house so messy that I am embarrassed to look at it myself lately.    It's time to shake out these aching muscles and get to work!