Meaning


It has been a week of contemplation and ultimately deciding to let go–surrender.

For months now I’ve been preparing (with the online course) and then trying to get a job here. For any of you out there  who have tried in recent years, you may know it’s no fun task. Online job searching and applying has become, it seems, like all our communication now: a distant and computerized grind. It takes anything remotely human out of the chore. There is no more going into a place (like a store for instance) and asking for an application, where maybe you might have a real person see you. Everything is handled by some invisible robot now.

So I have been reduced to my statistics, and sadly they aren’t good. And don’t believe the lies they tell you. This America we live in now (or maybe even before), isn’t the equitable place everyone may believe. No, it’s really about the bottom line. It’s not about knowledge or experience: age does not bring wisdom folks, it brings the fact that you may just cost too darn much. Or in their minds you might anyway.

It doesn’t seem to matter that younger folks may not have the savvy for a particular job, or the personal presence shall we say (at least in some instances). I’ve noticed that many of the ‘kids’ seem too busy checking their phones to really know how to talk to a real person. But bosses and companies don’t seem to mind this flaw as long as they can keep hiring these kids cheaply.

And I’m not even asking for a lot of money! I just wanted a job. So does my neighbor. But try as we might, we just keep getting rejections, no matter how stellar our resumes may look. So it was time for me to just take a breath, because honestly, my breathing was getting too rapid about the whole situation. I was getting Indeed.com anxiety. It was nuts!

Enough already.

During a meditation it came to me that it was time to give in. My arms were heavy from swimming against this current. Fair enough. So time to take another tactic.

I applied to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Within 10 minutes they called me. I start tomorrow at 7 am. No, I’m not a good person. This totally isn’t about being generous. It’s about me. I won’t lie: this is doing something for me. I need to feel like I have meaning.

And it didn’t hurt to apply somewhere and have someone say yes.

You Can Teach Old Dogs…


So a while ago, when I was sitting at home, in the thick of my contemplating about my life and future–I had a harebrained idea: I would take a course. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but what I did know, even though it was kind of intimidating, was that I would attempt to do it online.

This may not seem like a very big deal to many of you out there in computer-land, but to me, the gal who is a ‘hands on’ learner, it felt very strange. But on the other hand, I also knew that I was in no position to go schlepping off to some place for a class, nor did I want to pay a huge amount of money for some program that maybe I wouldn’t like after a few weeks. And I knew that nowadays there are so many courses offered online. How hard could it be?

So I started to search, and sure enough, our local community college had some very short and very inexpensive courses that seemed quite reasonable to explore. Hey, I had nothing to lose since my time was wide open, so I decided to sign up for the Veterinary Assistant class–actually a set of three of them (maybe I was a bit ambitious) which started today. In the long run I guess I hoped it might land me a job.

My job is to look beautiful

I literally had no idea what to expect when I logged into ‘my classroom’ today. But there were my lessons, a syllabus, some quizzes, some assignments (optional), a forum area to talk with the Professor (a Vet from Canada) and other students, plus other relevant stuff.

It was all fairly straight forward. Of course I couldn’t get my printer to work when I tried to print the lessons (I finally did after 2 hours), something suggested by the teacher and a good idea for studying for the Final to have for later on. Once the class closes, one doesn’t have access to the information again, so I will create a notebook for reference.

This kind of learning is actually perfect for someone older (like me) or busy…go at your own pace. And it’s basically open book for exams–who wouldn’t love that? I’ve always felt that in real life one gets to look up what we don’t know, so why memorize everything? It’s great.

I have a memory like a steel trap

Will I get a job out of it? Well, the funny part is that after I had already signed up for it, I got a call for a job interview for a job that I applied for about a month ago. I’d given up thinking about it actually, but it so happens it’s at the very college where I’m taking this online course! Imagine that. The interview went as well as expected, but I am still waiting to hear. Who knows?

But I will take this course anyway as it is designed with pet owners in mind also. Plus it’s fun and always good to stretch one’s mind. Maybe I will even use the information to volunteer…

And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks….??

No tricks for me Mommy

Walking


During my walk through my ‘village’, I am constantly struck by what an alien landscape it is to me. Even the name of the place reminds me of some sort of Sci Fi novel where you can’t be quite sure who is human and who might appear so, but is really a look-alike with highly functioning artificial intelligence.

The homes are all blazingly white, with only specifically allowed colored shutters and all laid out with the same floor plan–this giving the effect of some weird colony created by Big Brother (it was actually in the ’70’s, and BB was the usual group of condo types trying to create the ultimate paradise), but getting cookie cutter instead. It was a good thought and the prices were good, so the humans came…

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But as I stroll around a corner and am by myself, the southern sun shimmering off the dazzling white homes, I feel transported to decades into the future. Maybe I am the last ‘real’ human left here, wandering the streets, pretending to be one of ‘them’. They sit behind their curtains, with no honest food in their refrigerators (because they don’t eat) and their hollow laughs echoing in my mind. Who are they really?

I walk and wonder. Do they know who I am? Do they watch me from behind those standard colored shutters? Am I safe? My heart picks up a pace. The heat beats down.

Then I turn a corner. Music drifts from one of the identical homes. I listen: some 60’s tune I recall… And in the driveway next to this home, a car has a bumper sticker: COEXIST. You know the one: with each letter representing some spiritual symbol.

And I snap back: maybe they are really human after all? I remember now, it’s 2017 and it might be OK.

As I’m walking, I briefly look up at the empty blue sky above me. And just for a moment, I imagine a huge billowing mushroom cloud. I lower my head and keep walking…

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Ooo Fire!


My new toy.  Because I was spending too much time watching Prime videos and not enough time reading, it was time to rectify the situation. In fact, I love to read! But returning books to the library or buying them all the time wasn’t feasible. This was the perfect solution. 

Soon I will be fully unemployed again  (sigh) with too much time on my hands. So in between looking for jobs and my usual routine, I can squeeze in some reading. I’ve already knocked off three books.

And I will go get a library card and check out their electronic loaning system. Apparently I can download them to my Fire?! Perfect. 

So, if I am digital, at least I’m not simply wasting my time for hours just watching movies. I’m also trying to volunteer at a nature preserve….

Hopefully my brain won’t just frizzle up into a ball of mush while I’m home.

Doctor Doctor


With all the medical stuff going on in my life and in my Mom’s, I decided to make a quantum leap and step out of the norm and change Doctors. This is always an interesting decision to make, and sometimes hard, but in this case it was a piece of cake.

Since I have moved to this part of the country I have been even less impressed than usual with the health system. I’ve never been that impressed to begin with, but here and there one can find a decent provider. My doctor from where I moved had a relationship with me for 18 years or so, and while it wasn’t perfect, I did like her. She still was very traditional, but she did seem to care and listened…for the most part. But she had her great limitations based on the Western tradition of medicine.

Leaning toward a different way of life than most, and being an outside the box person, sometimes I test the patience of Doctors (and many people I meet). This is something I am not ashamed of, actually I’m quite proud of it, although I’ve come by this with some tough moments in life.

Being the odd woman out is not always easy and often leaves one feeling alone or odd, but I’ve come to embrace my differences and see them as good. And those that embrace me for them, I consider special and wonderful friends. And those special Doctors who understand that I don’t fit the mold of a ‘normal’ patient (and I don’t mean in this case that I have mental illness–although some may think I do)–I simply mean that I don’t embrace the typical style of medicine we see now…especially these days.

The more I am around Doctors, hospitals, providers and caregivers–the more I see folks that don’t much care about an individual, I see youth and immaturity, often rude and harsh behaviors, cut corners and people without true listening skills or compassion. Not always, but generally. It’s very, very disheartening. And when this happens with patients that can’t advocate for themselves, or don’t really know what to expect–it spells disaster.

Patients forget they are the customer and deserve the attention and care their money is buying. They feel that anything a Doctor says must be true because they went to school for so long and paid so much for their educations. But sadly, this isn’t always the case. We all have the right to question something if we feel, in our guts, that it isn’t right for us–even if a Doctor says it is–or even just to ask a question. It should be team-work, not a dictatorship. And there should always be a sense the Doctor truly cares.

So in this vein, I decided to find a new, more holistic approach to my health care. No more typical Western approach: sterile waiting areas, answering systems where no humans answer the phone, lost faxes and Doctors looking at computers instead of you. I’ve had it with this type of care! I remember the days when a Doc came to my home to see me. This is a far cry from those days…

A quick search found me a holistic Doctor right near my home. I called the office, left an easy message (there were no thousands of mailboxes I had to press 1 or 2). My message was answered the next day promptly, and I had a lovely conversation with the office person Carol the next day–we spoke for maybe 15 or so minutes about our respective lives! It was refreshing. And appointment was made.

When I came for the appointment, the office smelled wonderful: of incense and herbs. The office was lovely with beautiful music (not Muzak). My visit was one hour-long (a couple of times the Doc went out to see others) and we spoke about what the plan was for me and what I hoped to get from our relationship together.

I’m going to do acupuncture, herbal remedies and maybe some other modalities to help fix some chronic issues. Honestly, I’m really very healthy most the time, so I may not even see her that much. She respects that I may need to see some Western Docs for certain things, she’s cool with that for sure. And if I have a bone sticking out of me someday (hopefully not) that I have to go to any emergency room anyway. Of course! But she said she helps her patients getting ready for surgeries with special things so they heal faster and without scars.

I came away feeling very positive. Hey, 1000 years of Chinese medicine can’t be all wrong. And certainly I have not felt right about what’s been going on with my treatment thus far, so why not? Anything is worth a try. She seemed caring and positive and very attentive. I felt comfortable and peaceful.

And best of all: she spoke to me directly and not into a computer!

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Wounds 


The wounds we suffer from an unexpected illness or traumatic accident or incident can go layers deeper beyond our physical being. The bruises, broken bones, scars, lumps or changes going on under our skin may be seen under a microscope or with an X-ray, but no one has a clue what is churning within  our psyche—sometimes not even us.

Certainly if an injury involves the brain at all, then it’s impossible to understand how we feel. Even a concussion can cause memory loss, depression and a host of other feelings the individual may not be aware are related to the injury.

We are such complex machines. We include part computer, pipes, motor, lenses and this crazy soul. If any one of these parts isn’t functioning, the rest limps along poorly. 

The odd part is that we may not even be aware something is wrong or unable to articulate what it is….

So in a system of health care providers that don’t care or are too busy to really pay attention, we are left with lots of people who aren’t being treated properly. If a patient is elderly or simply just too hurt or ill to understand what is going on, they will slip through the cracks and get poor care . 


So what do we do? 

I was one of these people a number of years ago after a horrific car accident. I had no clue just how brain injured I truly was at the time. I was a mess. Yes my physical injuries were bad, but the hidden mental, spiritual and emotional injuries lasted much longer.

Luckily I had friends nearby to help talk me off the ledge. My depression became cavernous. It snuck up on me. My memory was shattered for a while too. And the pain was like a lover that wouldn’t leave my side. It was dark times.


If we are lucky we will have an advocate  or at least someone who cares a lot and who still is in touch with reality when we are not. It’s hard to listen when our lives have been shaken and our bodies rattled. A part of us believes nothing will be right again.

But actually I believe these things actually do change us for the better. It’s like nature’s way of doing a rapid mutation, sometimes only lasting seconds, as in the case of my accident, but with everlasting positive effects.

 

Being Human


“Being Human is more important than being full in the know.” Pico Iyer

I heard this on a TED talk the other day and thought it very poignant. One can interpret it many different ways I suppose. This gentleman was talking about what we will never know…that the older we get, the less we know.

Most people feel that with age comes wisdom, but maybe Mr. Iyer is correct. Maybe, instead we learn that as humans we really know very little. That with all our technology, science, predictions and machines–there is so much about the world around us, important stuff, that we simply just will never understand.

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We might predict if someone has cardiac disease, but not the exact minute they might have a heart attack, or if they will at all. So in the end, even though I moved here to help my Mother, I was not with her the moment hers came, therefore the incident became bigger.

Humans have never been able to predict love: when love will strike, who will be blessed with its arrow or when it will be wrenched away. For the ages poets, writers, painters and almost all creative people have tackled love within their medium. But none can truly define it. It remains a sacred mystery, one that is cherished, sought after and defined abstractly depending who is creating the script. It just is and anyone who has felt it understands it. It’s part of being human. We ‘get’ it, but a Webster definition…? Good luck.

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Is ignorance bliss? Maybe in many cases this saying is yes. With the onslaught of the internet and the overabundance of information, being in the know can be a dangerous thing. We have stopped being simply human and relying on those skills we once did that provided us the ability to survive. Our ‘gut’ told us what and who was safe or which way to go; we could sense when our body needed something or when something wasn’t right. Those subtle signals that made the hair stand up, or when we just knew someone was nearby even though we couldn’t see them. Now we ignore signals either about these invisible others (or we are overly sensitive about people different from us) and we are completely out of touch with our own bodies.

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How do we begin to detach, then, our ever whirring minds, so filled with all the data, and get back to ‘just being human’? Can we relearn to trust our inner selves again to become at least partially instinctual in our decision-making? It would be hard for many who have become so co-dependent on digital information. They must be ‘in the know’ for everything. Trusting in themselves would be a hard thing. Especially the generation raised on computers–they have been breast-fed on them, so how do they know otherwise?

For me, tuning in more and more–over many years–to my inner voice, the nuances of my physical self and trying to quiet my chattering mind has been a challenge. But it has been one I take on gladly. Because I am human, this is the animal I was born to be, and getting back to the bare bones of this beast is where I belong.

When we truly quiet the mind, turn off the data stream and just be the beast, we become in tune with the Universe and all things sacred.

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Cray-Cray?


As the hurricane is getting closer to where I live, I’m wondering if I notice its pull on the human beings around me? Am I imagining it or is it real?

Certainly humans are overly preoccupied with the weather now that we can have a minute to minute account of what it’s doing via social media on our phones and computers–this with a full onslaught of radar, photos, video and people telling us about the death and destruction about to hit us. No wonder everyone gets coo-coo.

I HAVE LOTS OF WATER!!

Are people better off not knowing? Well, probably not, because at least we can prepare, but wow, one would think it’s the end of the world rather than the possibility of a power outage, wind and some flooding. But maybe it’s just something to talk (complain?) about.
The endless lines for gas, the empty grocery shelves, the incessant talk about what our work wants from us. These folks have obviously have never lived through an ice storm and the following 11 days of no power in sub freezing weather after! Now that sucks! At least it’ll be warm here. Not to diminish the issues that may befall us…just that getting cray-cray is of no use.

HERE’S WHAT A VEGAN STOCKS 🙂

But clearly this kind of thing brings out the best AND the worst in folks, as I’ve experienced both in the past couple of days.

My most wonderful neighbors, who were just hanging out yesterday having a drink or two, chatted with me about the upcoming storm. I asked about preparations and two of them offered to help me get ready! They came over and together we put up my hurricane panels, a job I had never done before. They assured me too, that I have the special windows and should be OK. When offered money or a bottle of wine, they flatly refused, saying that this is what neighbors do for each other! Wow, finally a neighborhood where I belong and where folks are kind and caring.

On the other hand, my desk mate went off on me today. Instead of simply telling me something I was doing bothered him, he got very personal about it. It got mean and hurtful. And when we talked later, he took no responsibility for how it made me feel. While this didn’t totally surprise me, it was rather out of the blue and seemed ‘stormy’ that he should attack me the way he did.

IT GOT UGLY AND SPOOKY AT WORK.

Luckily, I’m used to it there and have learned so much better how to handle these things. It bothered me, but I will let it pass over me like the hurricane. It won’t change me any more than any weather pattern will change me.

In instances like this we can let the pressure make us or break us. We can pull together or decide to let the burden of stress be so heavy that we lash out like the items we haven’t battened down.

It’s really up to us how we want to be and how we want to come out of this: surrounded by our own wreckage or in good shape because we all worked together to prepare.

I’D RATHER BE PEACEFUL.

Genius 


I’m not as dumb as I look 

This nifty little device turns a dumb TV into a smart one that picks up WiFi. So rather than buy a whole new television, I spent a lot less and can do everything a laptop or smartphone can do. So now I can watch my Netflix on my TV instead of my laptop! It’s very cool. 

And the best part: I don’t pay Comcast a penny more!

Poem : Drone On


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Some people drone on
And we want to walk away
Yet others are cool!

(Note: I came across a man and his drone today. A first for me. So of course I had to stop, ask him lots of questions and get a photo. Sadly he couldn’t connect to whatever he connects to–maybe satellite–so it wouldn’t fly. I was as disappointed as he was. He was attempting to photograph the gym where he worked for an advertising video–or so he said. Who knows, maybe he was really a spy. Either way, I thought it was cool and learned a lot–like most technology, when you need it to work, it won’t!)