Minggu, 30 Maret 2008

Random Points of Light

My friend Anne has a link on the right here. Go vote for the Easter egg(s) of your choice. What a hoot. She's a true inspiration. I think that at our house I will let the dogs have a contest, most creative "leave behind" in the yard. Obviously I've been spending too much time outside, WAITING for CONTRIBUTIONS. It does give one time to think about stuff.

Whiplash, topically, that is. We had a great sermon @ church again. Don't know about any of you but without worship the week just ain't done.

All right, it's movie recommendation time. This one will be tough to hunt down but do it. "After the Wedding". It's in Danish, and a few other languages, but it is beautifully filmed and the complexities of the plot actually are presented in a straightforward manner. If anyone likes the new James Bond actor one main character in this is cut from the same mold. The 40 something woman is gorgeous. I digress. The story, which is the reason for the film, is strikingly moving, touches your heart and eats at your soul as well as your conscience. The cinematic contribution is extraordinary in places, very intimate at times. It's a long film so make plenty of popcorn.

We had one of our foster dogs for spring break, while her family vacationed. Everyone welcomed her back gleefully. Never think dogs don't remember. It's just selective. She was picked up and taken home this afternoon so now no one is eating. They are bummed.

Speaking of dogs, we've had a run on runaways in this area. Plus, there seems to be more short tempers flaring in multiple dog homes. What's that about? Dogs always seem to know what is going on before we do so I hope this is fluke-ish rather than indicative of our future! Doomsday ready, I am not!!!

Rabu, 26 Maret 2008

Silent Pictures

Digging It - Poetry From My Past

Here are some random mini-poems, penned over the decades past.


First date
touch act to follow


I want a window
with a room

Multiple Personality Disorder

Wild Child born of a different form
known by no one but held by many
you run unpredictably hither

So abstract your thinking
none can pursue the depth
of the twirls and times which
resist and survive in a dimension
we lack.

Mind minglers distract and confuse.
Your awareness goes beyond what we
sense when you capture our thoughts,
refusing your own dream,you
want us to be your security.

Over, Easy

like two eggs
cracked open
poured out side by side
to be scrambled until inseparable
or left alone, sunny sides up -
anyway you do it,
they're cooked.

Sixteen (plus 43) Candles

How much money do you have to have to be rich? Money may make you wealthy but you can still be poor. Your life -- health, friends, family, and God are what make you rich.

I always thought that when I reached the age I am I would have it all figured out. But the older I get the less I know. I'm going to trust God, pray more, worry less, and definitely eat more chocolate!

If you want to stay active and in shape you need to find a fun way to exercise with friends. Something you look forward to doing, not something exhausting that you dread. For us, that is racquetball. I always look forward to the next game; it's always fun. I play with friends and when I'm done playing I discover I got a fee workout. Oh, and when you go back home, if there is a furry, four-legged creature hanging around to greet you, that's pretty cool too.

Life is what you make it - tired old saying, but true. You cannot expect other people to make your life more fun or to be there for you all of the time. Everyone is busy leading their own lives and you are not their top priority. If you are lucky enough to have a loving spouse/partner, a loving family and terrific friends, then you have a very rich life.

Sometimes I think I never grew up. I still believe life is all about giving of yourself and loving others. I have seen much death and destruction and sadness over the years. I have read and watched and been a part of many of these things. Yet, there are those moments, triggered by a picture, a comment, a sound, a smell- something where time stands still, and I am able to focus on how beautiful things may be.

When I read your request I had something pop into my head immediately. So here is my one thing I've learned in life and I feel it applies to more than Christmas.

Somehow or other it came just the same...
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store
Maybe Chrismas...perhaps...means a little bit more!

Selasa, 25 Maret 2008

Sally is back

The drama is over. Sally Grace, formerly Sally Sue, is back at our house. Her middle name became Grace because it was God's grace that went to work big time on her behalf.
Capturing a loose dog, especially one which has not fully bonded with its new owners and home, is a challenge. Long story short, we all did as much as we could to provide familiar scents for her to track. Clever girl that she is she did get into the live trap 2 times without engaging the door closing device! Clever woman, her new owner, put a piece of cardboard down and Sally had to step on it to get to the food and when she did the pressure set the release off and closed the door.
She's fine, trimmer than before, cleaned up now, and feeling relieved that she's inside. We'll get a couple pounds back on her, work with her more and see what happens. Everyone is grateful. For now who can ask for anything more?

Minggu, 23 Maret 2008

Easter Hodge Podge

Happy Easter to everyone!

We're getting snow. Very funny, God! I think Christmas was a lot like this. Well, it's not enough to stop people from going to church and on to dinner, or even the mall. Nothing stops people from going to the mall, who am I kidding? We went to the 5:30 service last night so that families with guests would have more room today.

Update on missing pooch - I know you're all tired of me going on about lost little Sally but get over it. She needs to be captured. And, if you'd all pray hard for that I'd be done with the story!!!! Last night she was spotted crossing the road at her usual fast trot pace and that was encouraging for her owners. They went back home and re-baited the live trap. Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. the trap was cleaned out of food but the gate was not tripped. Sally had been captured in a live trap before (during her stint as a wild, unloved, uncared for dog). We're hoping she just got lucky and missed stepping on the closing device and will realize now that there is good food there and she will return. One of our dogs went down on Friday and "laid her scent" making a trail back to the house. Now Sally knows her way even more so we have to all believe she will soon return and be captured!

Next week I teach in our small group - about the mind sciences. YIPES. Thank goodness for Google. I can probably get a lot on Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity and United Church of Religious Science. We've learned a lot about the other religions and cults - WORLD RELIGIONS & CULTS 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz. It's good to be informed.

Kamis, 20 Maret 2008

Photo Gallery

Since I have the spare time right now I've dug out a few other photos to engage your imaginations. I wish I took my camera everywhere I go but I have to admit I don't. The photo of the butterflies was taken in our yard.

The two girls were in a nearby town at a festival.

The demolition shot was in Biloxi, MS, while on a break during a mission trip. We worked on several home projects for elderly and distraught people. You get dirty. You learn you have always set your own limits and therefore underestimated yourself, especially in God's eyes. But He always offers more chances for you to wake up to your capabilities!

Mission trips have a way of bringing new understanding. But, then, so do butterflies gathered on a cone flower on a summer's day, and small, giddy children, anticipating the excitement of what's next at a small town festival.

We should take time to be amazed by the small things more often.

The Flame Continues - Birthday Candles

What have I learned in my 55 years? Not nearly enough I fear, but certainly this: In a world chock-full of options, a little patience and some prayerful thought and trust get us the divine guidance we need to make the right choices. My life is nothing like I thought it would be when I was dreaming in my 20s. It is, however, much better than I ever imagined. Each new day is a gift.

I have learned to try to smile at every one I come in contact with. I heard
somewhere that when you smile, you are giving that person a gift.

OK, one of the things I learned is not to expect people to be grateful.
When you give something just give it and let go.

As for life's lessons, I guess I'd have to say I've learned that life
definitely isn't fair. You just make the best of every situation, and with
God's help, move on.
And, I've learned that it is far more rewarding to give rather than receive.

Wanderlust and Ironies

We haven't been on a vacation since our trip to CA over a year ago. I'm getting ants in my pants, cabin fever set in long ago. It's time to hit the road. And, so I shall, but not until June! That will be to the opposite coast and I'll be working with wild horses for two weeks, on an Earthwatch trip. In the meantime I thought I'd share some of the CA photos.
There are always unexplained coincidences in life. As it turns out today I posted these as a draft, to work on the text later, and if you look closely you'll see the first photo is wild turkeys. After shutting down the computer I hopped in the truck to go to APL for a bit. On the way, about 2 miles from our house, was a flock of wild turkeys! The males had their tails spread. They were parading around for the females who were discreetly giving them the once over.
Spring has sprung, no doubt about it!
Oh, the closeup photo is at the botanical gardens we visited in CA. The next one is a far north shoreline. We were driving along shorelines then delving into the woods. What a sense of smallness this gave us!

Rabu, 19 Maret 2008

New Little Guy Photos!

Here's a couple of updated photos. We've been sick for about a week (can you believe that? Right after Asher was born!), but we're all starting to feel really good and happy now. The sun has been out the last few days and it has been very uplifting. I'm getting excited for Easter- It's going to be Eli's first Easter really because we didn't do anything last year. I made him a giant basket and we have dye for eggs! Woohoo! I'll have to get some photos of that because it's sure to be messy fun ;)

Minggu, 16 Maret 2008

The Candles Burn On

Life is now. Live in the past and you loose it, live too far in the future and it's gone, too. No, It's not an excuse
for complete Epicureanism, "Eat, Drink and be Merry for Tomorrow We Die!", but a reminder to find joy, satisfaction - and perhaps even fun - in every day.

“The longest distance in the world is the 18 inches between your head and your heart.”

A sense of humor is a way of looking at life. It’s all about perspective. There are multitudes of challenges that we must face in our daily interactions and throughout life. Looking for the humor in daily living can provide the avenue to maintaining a positive outlook and even our sanity. Not everything in life is funny; many events we must deal with are tragic. But if we can remember to look for the humor in situations, it makes it much easier to cope. I often try to inject a bit of humor whenever I meet with friends/relatives/strangers/other. If I can bring a smile to their face, my day's work is done. So, in the immortal words of George Washington or was it Ben Franklin who first said, "When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you", keep on smiling Kate. Your smile warms my heart and brings joy to my being!”

I used to think that the point of life was to find the "calm" spots...and that if I could just get through this one relationship problem, or this illness, or this financial strain....then I would finally be happy. God has been teaching me that the goal isn't to get through life without difficulty. The goal is to be transformed by the difficulties instead of just suffering through them.

Brain tumors, little paychecks, scary adoptions, new puppies eating my sunglasses and pooping on my carpet....they are all stretching my faith and transforming me into who God wants me to be!

Thank goodness, there IS a God.

Today, I struggled, not wanting to go to church. Not because of yesterday's rants and raves - those are minor frustrations in the Long Haul. I hesitated because other hopes hiccuped and that feeling of helplessness set in fast. A former foster dog is on the run. We can see her but not get her to come to us and that's disappointing for her, her family, and us. God willing, she'll return or come to one of us soon.

But, just when I think God's not paying attention, I've accepted my own personal invitation to a pity party, knocked on the door, and He opens it with a "Surprise"! Today I heard what we all should realize is so very, very true:

Mercy is that God does not give us what we deserve. Grace is that God gives us what we do not deserve.

Re-read those two sentences until they truly sink in and you are amazed at the stunning clarity. Be humble. And so it is, I know God has every right to throw the book of criticism at me as He gives me a good scolding for my lack of appreciation. I know He has His hand out and is not sprinkling me with grace. He is dousing me with it. While I have been poo-pooing what goes on He has allowed it and continued to take care of me. My travels have been safe. My searches have been safe and even promising. My heart has been filled with encouragement to continue.

Some would say that asking for prayer for bringing home a lost pet is mis-use of time and prayer. But God doesn't think so. By my going to church today I found the time I needed to have that message reinforced and to boldly ask others for their prayers about this. God's work is always amazing. It's difficult to grasp His direction because we are so "in the now". But, He is at work. Maybe someone I asked to pray for little Sally will do it and be changed. Maybe Sally is out there for reasons we do not comprehend. Maybe she is His message this week.

Look for the lost in your life. Do something so they are found. May your actions roar!

As you do for the least of these, so you do to our Lord.

Sabtu, 15 Maret 2008

Customer Service? Say wha?

Read this at the risk of becoming a ranting maniac yourself. If you choose to stop now, please return another day for a glimpse of a more cheerful me. I'm not always like this.

Today we ventured out into the world. I mean, we went shopping. Or, better, we tried to go shopping. It seems some things are clearly missing in the "experience" these days, most notably one thing known in years gone by as customer service.

It's not that the economy is so bad, I observe. There are new cars flooding the highways and bi-ways so there is money. I even see "sold" signs replacing some "for sale" signs. I don't know about anyplace else but in Springfield, our nearest city, shopping as a upbeat activity has died. And, it didn't go easily. It has suffered and now, with its final gasp, we all are quietly nodding, knowing that we saw the death of a good thing approaching.

For us, it started with trying to get our printer fixed. I know, I know. It's a disposable world. BUT IT IS A GOOD PRINTER and all it needs is a $15 part which we have already. It was sold to us by the manufacturer (Canon), which failed to enlightened us with a chuckle and a "Good luck with that." in terms of finding someone to put the part IN.

Hubby thought he'd struck gold when the Geek Squad which works out of Best Buys stores said they'd do it for $39. Take it on in. Well, too good to be true? Yup. You bet. They want $35 to send it away to see what needs to be done and to get an estimate. They don't understand the English we speak which began with, "Here's the printer. Here's the part. We were quoted $39. Please replace the old part in the printer with the new one." Later telephone conversations held between hubby and the Geek Squad HQ yielded a) no supervisors b) no service c) no association with Best Buy and d) an inordinate requirement to repeat the sordid and sorted details 5 times. At best he got, "I'm sorry you feel that way." See page 6 of canned scripts for answering geeks.

Moving on, our next stop was at a place that had COMPUTER in its name and then a "location" word. It did not have PRINTER in the name and alas, they don't work on them, don't know who does. CRAP. It's a good printer! He was nice about it but when we weren't buying anything and he couldn't fix it, it was "Next" and we were looking at the door.

How about a little mid-afternoon wine tasting. Alrighty then. Luck had it we were next to the store hosting such an event. But, turns out it was ales, whiskeys, and other St. Patty's Day stuff being poured early. That was OK, just not what we wanted. I put this in only so you'd be able to see that both entries for today refer to "Patty/Patti". There's gotta be a connection.

We moved on to a famous wool brand that used to make blankets and now makes clothes as well. I had a new suit in mind, for Easter and such. Saw it in their catalog; it was just what I wanted. There were no other customers in the store. My "attendant" rotated up and asked if she could help. I told her what I wanted. They don't have it. Pretty much that was the end of the discussion. The three employees then were on the verge of linking arms to keep me from looking at anything else. It was offered that I could order it and they'd waive the shipping. Nice thought but what if it doesn't fit. I was hoping, ready for this?, to try it on. I know returning it and getting another size probably would not be waived. We'll never know. See, a savvy sales person would have shown me around, even had me try on something else for possible purchase or even sizing. Not these ladies, they'd probably just straightened the shelves and racks. How dare I touch anything. I found yet another door waiting for me to open it.

We did visit two other stores and both were stocked with pleasant employees but nothing appealing as far as merchandise. Perhaps they have had their customer service classes but only after having to trim the inventory to what appears to be Rachel Ray's wardrobe extras and a bunch of filmy, stretchy, sequined items with martini, wine, highball images printed on them. Probably not the right touch for Easter Sunday choir, ya think? Besides, all items were of unfamiliarly low quality and made in China. What is with that?

At this point we have spent $0 other than the gas and stopping for coffee. My guess is we would have spent the $39 for the labor to put the part in the printer and then bought ink, say another $50. A reasonable wine would have allowed us to drop $15 - $50, depending upon our tasting habits. A new outfit for this sweetie, upwards of $150 including the trimmings.

I think that people are being more careful with the money they have to spend. We're on a fixed income (How I've waited to use that!) like many people. But, we're able to provide for ourselves and were willing to spend what we needed to spend to get what we wanted. It's not about the money. It's not even about the merchandise, available or not. It's about the way first line of contact with the customers - that's the sales people - treat those who make it possible for them to be there - that's the customers. We who are willing to spend money, given a few options, a few questions and answers exchanged, a few minutes of time and a little willingness of spirit, are now mere inconveniences.

With few exceptions (Isringhausen Imports being most notable) I'm beginning to understand, more and more, the beauty of shopping on line. Click.


Well, kids, it turns out I may have hit accurately for once. The NY gov and IL gov apparently were/are close friends and Blaggo has visited Spitzer on many an occasion. It is pure speculation from inside sources that Blaggo was treated by Spitzer to the amenities that come with knowing the in's and out's (oh, that was bad) of the prostitution industry. I'm not saying he did but I'm not saying he didn't.

aybe wife Patti B. will be the one who turns out to do what the other wives have not been able to do or have been advised it is not in their best interest to do: THROW IN THE TOWEL. Slap the guy and say you're keeping the house. Get the banana creme pie good and cold then put it square in his face. (This is an older photo of her but the one being used on the bio on www.illinois.gov)

Of course Oprah has picked up on this. I was glad to see she found someone who had sued the husband's mistress and was initially awarded $500,000. It was her own doing that she decided to get away from the whole thing when it was appealed and she settled for $50,000.

HOT FLASH: She who laughs last, laughs best, all the way to the bank.

Rabu, 12 Maret 2008

Power-Filled Men

DISCLAIMER: There's plenty of room in my life for improvement.

Having said that I cannot ignore the similarities between the New York (former) governor and the Illinois governor.

Both are married men with daughters.
Both have been severely and rightfully criticized for their public decisions.
Both cheat/cheated on wives.
Both know how to spend money they don't have.
Both have qualified Lt. Governors.
Undoubtedly there are more...
Both have wives who either don't care about themselves or are way more understanding than I can fathom. Bless them!
Both must think they are the exception to rules.
Both kept their city homes, not located in the state capitol.

The big thing I see is that one paid for it financially and now professionally and personally. The other, still in office, didn't pay financially so hasn't paid professionally. Who knows about personally.

But, before you get up in arms, read me out, here...my issue is with all of us who jump on one guy's case and not on the other. As an Illinoisan I am glad to see New Yorkers hold this guy's feed to the fire and I wish our law makers had the same level of gumption. Our state is the laughing stock of the Union. Our Blaggo's tumbles extend way beyond a local lawyer's ex-wife and daughter and a state employee, who knows who else. He's shredding our state. Soon there will be nothing left.

His latest ordeal with the fairgrounds and allowing it to be shutdown, thereby crippling much of the area tourism, is just another of the unbelievable destruction he has been orchestrating. Check the sequence of events for just this one situation. The State of the State address is given, albeit thankfully short. His Nims announces that there needs to be cutbacks in spending. Voila, soon after the fairgrounds experiences minor electrical explosions and the gates are closed. Events planned through May are canceled.

We all know he works out of his home, thereby making it the capitol. That's why it never occurred to him to tell his employees that they should shut and check the doors at his real office when they step out to smoke on the balcony. More structural damage we are paying for due to their carelessness and his absentee management is just what we needed. Anyway, given that he is up north (and I do like it up there too), reportedly working and kissing the girls goodnight, we all also know he and Patti hate coming here, especially for the fair. First, she never smiles and never puts the youngest (and growing) daughter down on the ground to walk in the fairgrounds. Next, he is always late and late without apology.

I guess our governor has some characteristics I cannot ID in the former NY governor: arrogance and rudeness to name two.

If he were a puppy you wouldn't take him home.

Selasa, 11 Maret 2008

Headline: Link Stolen From Friend's Blog


Check this out. The judge and jury holding court in my mind has yet to decide if there is a relationship between success at this quiz and any of the following: intelligence, gullibility, outlook on life, a preference for beef or chicken, hobbies, number of pets, or anything relevant to life itself.

It's fun, perhaps humbling or enlightening. I took it from a posting on Anne's site.

More Birthday Candles

One of the things in life that I have found very beneficial is when a job needs to be done, get it done and do it right. And, handle those with whom you come in contact, in a caring and loving manner.

We need to always know that God is in control and everything that happens has a purpose -------Stand in faith with Our Lord and move on!!!!!!!!!!!

Life is what you make it (tired old saying, but true). You can't expect other people to make your life more fun or to be there for you all of the time. Everyone is busy leading their own lives and you are not their top priority. If you are lucky enough to have a loving spouse, a loving family and terrific friends, then you have a very rich life.

Sometimes I think I never grew up. I still believe life is all about
giving of yourself and loving others.
I have seen much death and destruction and sadness over the years, I have read and watched and been a part of many of these things.
Yet, there are still those moments, triggered by a picture, a comment, a sound, a smell; some thing where time stands still, and I am able to focus on how beautiful things may be.

Sabtu, 08 Maret 2008

Birthday Candles

Before another year lapses completely, with me doing little more than blabbing about it I am NOW starting to post some of the quotes I rec'd last year as "thoughts to live by". It occurred to me that I should not publish names. That was my delaying, great debate. OK, it was my excuse. But, without further delay here are some wise words from people in my life.

No matter what happens in life, I always find something to be thankful for everyday. A positive outlook is a must and it will help to keep you healthy. And really, all you need is love.

OK, one of the things I learned is not to expect people to be grateful.
When you give something just give it and let go.

In a world chock-full of options, a little patience and
some prayerful thought and trust get us the divine guidance we need to
make the right choices. My life is nothing like I thought it would be
when I was dreaming in my 20s. It is, however, much better than I ever
imagined. Each new day is a gift.


The beautiful part of any moment of any day is that we can create something of it rather than letting the moment merely pass. We can consciously choose to connect with each other through the simple process of giving and receiving.

What if your day included the question, "What will I do with my choices?"?

More to follow...

Farm Fresh Eggs and the Things You Can Do

We are fortunate enough to have an Egg Lady. The eggs are in cartons, in a mini-bar size refrigerator, set out on a rickety old table each day. She does her egg gathering around 5 p.m. Sometimes the routine changes. Eggs freeze so they aren't out. In the fall there are gourds and pumpkins as well as eggs.

I took it upon myself to see what I could do with the eggs one sunny afternoon. Baking would have been too simple. This particular dozen was amazingly colored - browns of every hue, ranging from pale yellow-y to blush rose. My favorite bowls are yellow. We have a self-designed stained glass window in one room. I drew all the items together and God threw in the sunshine.

My favorite is the little feather still on the one egg. Nice touch, chicky.

Cabin fever takes me down old paths

Off to the sides are photos I've taken on various outings. The bridge one, a scanned image, was years ago, actually on a business trip. Often I would take my camera just to provide some diversion activity and if the weather was particularly pleasant, as you can see it was, I would take photos. Ah, the days of film, real film. There was a sense of anticipation associated with using a film camera.
I digress (but isn't that part of the journey?); across the top of the bridge is written, "Cross this bridge at a walk." Fine advise during any season. We should cross all bridges at a walk. After all, some of them are fairly major - the bridges from one life stage to another, from moving on. Some of them are less significant in description but can be large in impact. The stroll should be thoughtful. We should never cross a bridge, literally or figuratively, without marveling at its structure. With any luck we will then marvel at much more!
And, so it was, just last year I was able to marvel at stone statues brought all the way from Africa and installed for a display at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. This is one of my favorites. The statues were larger than life. Walking through the gardens one crosses many bridges. It's especially interesting to go when special exhibits are there and the bridges transition visitors' moods from calm, woodsy plantings to explosions of exciting florals, each interspersed with artwork that miraculously seems to be in a perfect place.
May the bridges you cross lead you to perfect places.

Coming early this year

Unless you are at least 95 years old you have never known an Easter to come as early as the one this year. And, it's going to be a LONG time before it happens again.
Isn't time an amazing concept? Calendars and clocks, not to mention all the electronic gadgets we carry around or hang on our bodies.
Why? Man invented time. Has it proven worthwhile? Do we miss a lot by being timely, on time, just in time? Yes, the BIBLE clearly reveals God created the Earth in 6 days and then rested 1 day. But we do not know if that was a day as we know it or a day to Him. In our minds it would take an eternity to create this world. We use it while God waits for us. In time, in His time, that's what will happen. Enjoy St. Patrick's Day and then go all out for a terrific Easter celebration!

Selasa, 04 Maret 2008


Yesterday morning I was asked I how get so much done because I am "involved" in many volunteer opportunities. It did not take long for me to respond that our house isn't clean. Notice there's no descriptive adverb use, such as "exactly" or "absolutely" or "nearly" or "frequently". It just plain isn't clean.

But, you know what? It doesn't matter. Long ago I actually did listen to someone who told me that the housekeeping can wait. And, taking that to heart, I have learned that it does! Not that the place is a mess every day but it's not move-in ready by any means! And, we have trouble finding some things which has often led to frustration and a re-purchase of said item so the next time we need it our odds are improved from 1 in a million to 2 in a million.

I can always find room for a foster pup or dog. It's a challenge to make that commitment but the joy paid for accepting it is amazing. Likewise, there's time for a multitude of other requests to be filled. And, it's not for any other reason than it is the right thing to do. Everything else - the smiles, the successes observed, the burden lifted, the licked cheeks - all bonuses.

There's nothing like getting outside; outside your house and outside your head. Exercise your heart.

Junior High School

These past few days of listening to the "women's movement" leaders harangue the rest of us, who often are already liberated, about not voting for HRC because she is a female, has taken me back to Jefferson Junior High. Most of us recall it was the beginning of real groups of girls, linked together, books slung on hips or backs, arms intertwined (we could do that then without criticism or concern), whispering about boys. Has NOTHING changed? These ladies, if it is safe to call them that, are stuck in time and habits. Instead of English Literature and American History they strap on notebooks or laptops with rhetoric stored. And, they don't whisper publicly, they yammer.

Come on, women. Don't vote for someone because he or she is one sex or the other. Vote for stability and ability. Regard for potential is what we must consider for no one candidate has yet been tested as President. Bragger's rights may go to one candidate and the victory to another. So be it. When the new President steps into a meeting room with foreign dignitaries and non-dignitaries, or with non-foreign dignitaries or no-dignitaries (that's about everyone except the UFO passengers) we don't want that person to recite a litany of "I did, I have, I was..." but instead to discuss what will hold this world together longer.

It ain't about the outfit. It ain't about the grades, the boyfriend (husband), house, friends, hair, jewelry, books written, clubs, secrets kept or told...It ain't Junior High. Change was a big player in that age group and change is mentioned in the 2008 campaign. Make sure it's not the same kind of change. Voting is a brain thing. Use yours.

Senin, 03 Maret 2008

Asher Dean: A Doula's Beautiful Cesarean Birth

On Wednesday the 27th, I went and saw my midwife for my weekly appointment. I was 7 days past due and thought I would have gone into labor at that point. I still felt pretty good though, and knew it was getting closer. When I got to the office, I saw my secondary midwife, and one of the students. They wanted to check my cervix to see if I had made progress from the previous week where I had been 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and Asher was at -1 station. When she checked me, she informed me there had been no progress from that point. I was ok with that, although a bit surprised. I had been losing bloody show for about a week (I'd never heard of anyone losing show for more than a few days) and I had been having pretty decent crampy contractions. She told me that my primary midwife wanted to do a Foley Catheter induction if I hadn't made any progress. I had never actually heard of a Foley Catheter induction (to my surprise, being that I am a doula myself). I talked it over with her. She was aware that I wanted to be as non invasive with this labor as possible, and I wanted to know the details. With a Foley Catheter, they insert a balloon into your cervix and inflate it to about 4 cm. You walk around and the pressure of the catheter causes you to begin dilating until you're a four, at which point the balloon will fall out. If it didn't work, there were no negative implications so I agreed to it. My primary midwife had to be called into the office to do the procedure. It was actually not nearly as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. She told me that she actually hadn't had a ton of success kick starting labor with the Foley, but had heard other midwives that swear by it. I started getting crampy immediately. I had left the office with the orders to walk as much as I could so that the pressure would cause dilation. I was also told that it shouldn't be in more than six hours, and if I hadn't dilated to four after six hours to remove it. I called my partner Jake to let him know what was happening (he had stayed home with Eli- our first son- during my appointment). I drove to Home Depot to walk around and pick up a few things. I had burnt the vacuum filter earlier that day and knew if I wasn't able to finish vacuuming I'd probably be horribly embarrassed when everyone got to my house for the birth. I was having regular contractions while walking around. When I got home, I tried to wander around the house and stay upright. I watched American Idol and tried not to pay attention to my contractions. After a few hours, I was getting upset the balloon hadn't come out yet, so I went on a walk to the Red Apple about half a mile from our house and back. My contractions were getting much crampier and I was pleased. Still the balloon hadn't come out, so I took a shower and decided I would have a quick nap. Jake told me he'd wake me up at midnight and we'd see what was going on. I was supposed to take the catheter out at 11:30. At midnight I woke up and it came right out!!! My contractions weren't as regular though, and I didn't want labor to go away. Jake's best friend Tommy was sleeping in one of the rooms to keep an eye on Eli (I wasn't ready to send him away yet), so Jake and I took a walk to the river. There was a nice cool breeze and we had a really good time walking together. Contractions were crampy while we walked, but once we were back and I was sitting or lying down, they weren't as intense. I was very surprised at how easily I made it to four cm this time around, because with Eli I had horrible back labor and it took a long time and a lot of very hard contractions to get to a four. I decided then (probably 1:30 am or so?) that regardless of whether or not the contractions peter out, I needed to try and sleep because I was sure to have a full day ahead of me. I fell asleep immediately. I remember waking up to a couple contractions, and Jake swears I moaned a couple of times in the night. I slept all night though. Woke up at around 7 am the next day, Feb 28th. I wasn't feeling regular contractions and I was slightly irritated. I called my midwife and left her a message saying that the balloon came out, I was having contractions, but they weren't regular and so I wasn't getting too excited about it. I wanted Jake and Eli to sleep, so once again, I got up and walked to Red Apple to get myself a coffee and back. As soon as I started walking, my contractions got regular again. Jake and Eli were up once I got back (which was surprising to me! Jake will normally sleep as late as possible. I knew he was very excited and antsy about our new son making his arrival soon though!). Eli played around the house, Jake cleaned, and I tried to busy myself with this and that. I didn't want to sit too much because I didn't want contractions to space out. I let my doula (Megan- also my business partner) know what was happening. It was a bit funny and ironic, because she had told me the week prior that Thursday was the only day I wasn't allowed to go into labor since she wouldn't have a sitter that day! I received a call back from my midwife in the late morning/early afternoon. I told her my contractions were coming back, but they weren't horribly strong yet. She told me she wanted me to call her at 2pm regardless of what was happening, to update her. She also highly suggested I have someone come get Eli at that time. One of my best girlfriends, Xamara, came and picked him up (she got pulled over on the way to our house!) I talked to my doula at 12:30 or so in the afternoon- right after Eli was picked up. I told her we were still doing well on our own. She listened to me moan through a couple contractions. She thought that she ought to head over at that point since it's a little bit of a drive. She arrived right before 2 pm. When she got to our house, I was having a contraction in the kitchen and smelling lemon dishwasher soap (I've been in love with the smell of lemon dishwasher soap this entire pregnancy)!! We chatted between contractions and tried to keep the vibe light hearted. The sun was shining through my windows and I was in a fabulous head space to be in labor. I called my midwife back at 2, as promised. I had told her the contractions were more intense, but I felt I was really dealing with them well. She listened to me vocalize through a pretty powerful contraction and told me that she and the students would be over at 3:30. I told her I still felt I was doing well if they wanted to wait longer. She had a chat with my doula, and they thought I was making good progress and that we should get the team together. Megan and I spent time together during contractions talking and just all around trying not to focus fully on the sensations. When the team arrived, I was checked. I was 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She continued checking me through another contraction, and I went from a 5 to a 6. I was very enthused to hear this! I knew I was doing hard work, but it felt completely doable! My midwife suggested that Jake, Megan, and I take a walk. I was ok taking the walk, but knew it would be a bit interesting. We live in a business district, and it was a sunny afternoon- and here I am moaning through contractions! We walked about forty five minutes or so. I tried to walk through contractions, but it didn't work for long. Megan was very amused at all of the cars that leered while I was contracting in the middle of everything! Once we got back to the house, I decided I wanted to take a shower and just have Jake in the room. I think this was probably my favorite part of the labor. I stood in the warm shower, and I had Jake bring his guitar in. He played guitar and I sang while the sun was shining through the bathroom window. It was very beautiful. We sang Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town, Mr. Jones, and Lola. The water then started getting cold and I had to get out. I was bummed the water was giving up because I was really enjoying that time with Jake and it made my contractions seem like they weren't even happening. She checked me again soon after that and said I was more than a 7, but not quite an 8 (this was around 5 pm or so). I felt like this was going so easily! The only issue we were having was that my cervix was still posterior. I labored in the living room with the midwives, Jake, and Megan. I still tried to keep the mood light and joke in between contractions. It was around 8pm now. The contractions began getting more and more difficult to cope through. I was really getting to a point where I wanted things to speed up. When I was checked again (time is now foggy), I was still about a 7. Because my cervix wasn't coming forward, Asher's head wasn't putting even pressure on it causing it to dilate further. My midwife held my cervix forward during a few contractions (Yowza!), but it wouldn't stay put. My water still hadn't broken, and I was thinking that it would be a good idea to help it along. I had been a 7-8 for a couple hours by then, and transition contractions were kicking my butt. When she broke my water, it absolutely gushed out. It was clear, no meconium staining. Contractions were the most intense I had ever felt. I wanted to go upstairs and labor with just Jake. We went up and turned on the labor music I had downloaded to our computer. I labored on my left side for quite some time. It made the contractions space out a bit, but they were even stronger. I was becoming very tired, and I fell asleep between a few contractions. It was hard, because once the contraction hit, it would wake me up and I didn't have enough time to get on top of it. I was alternating the ways I tried to cope to see what worked. I banged on the bed frame with my hand while I counted, I tried thinking of Eli and the cute things he says, nothing was working just right. I then realized that if I pushed *just a little bit* during my contractions, that it eased the pain slightly. Everyone had made it upstairs by then. I asked if it was ok to push just a little bit. I was told to go ahead, but don't push much if it's not time- and that I'd know when it was time. After a bit, I was checked again and I was still a 7. I was very irritated and disappointed. I had worked through these extreme contractions for hours, and nothing was happening. I remember thinking that transition was supposed to be the shortest part, and I was angry. I needed to get off of my left side. I went downstairs and got into the shower. I was hitting the shower wall rhythmically during contractions. Jake was in the shower with me. I kept telling Jake I couldn't do it and I didn't want to do it any longer. Jake was very strong for me, because I know it was hard for him to watch me while I was in pain like that. He told me I wasn't giving up and I had to keep going. He knew that I would be angry with him if I felt he let me give up to easily. It took me a little bit to get into the right head space and stop disagreeing with him, but I reached deep down and found every last piece of energy I had inside of me. I began to fill the bath tub with water. I thought this would be my secret weapon and allow me to get in some good contractions but still be able to relax slightly between them. There was not a ton of hot water left, so Jake began boiling pots and pots of hot water. He kept the water pretty warm for me and I am very grateful. I needed it.. I lowered my noises which had gotten very loud and screamy. They weren't helping me cope and I knew I needed to change that. I oohed and rolled my head from left to right, right to left, during contractions. I know it probably looked like they weren't too intense from the outside, but I have honestly never felt anything so all consuming before in my life. I did this for some time, but I'm not certain how long. When I was checked again, I was STILL a 7. This was around 11:30. I had been at a seven and having transition contractions for about 6 1/2 hours. My midwife said that although I could feel my contractions, they weren't affecting my cervix while I was contracting (based on what she felt during a check). She said that she felt we should transfer to the hospital for Pitocin. I was disappointed, but agreeable. I couldn't handle transition contractions unmedicated any longer, not to mention they weren't doing much of anything to my cervix. We grabbed everything and quickly left. The hospital was very close to our house, so we were there within a few minutes. We had called to tell them we were coming. They were very friendly to us when we got there. We were expecting a battle since I am a home birth vbac transfer. I told them to please have the anesthesiologist come to the room asap. I had to sign consent forms and give insurance information when we first got there. The nurses were working quickly to get a heploc inserted into my hand. Dr. Paul came in after we had been there maybe ten minutes or so (he was German? maybe and his last name was hard to pronounce, so everyone called him Dr. Paul). I asked him to give me an epidural quickly. He said something along the lines of wanting to give me a full spinal block for cesarean. I told him I was planning a vbac and wasn't needing a spinal block at this time, just an epidural. He sort of mentioned that since this is the second time I've stalled out in labor that I'd probably end up with a c- section anyway. It was a bit insensitive of him, although I understand where he was coming from. I explained to him the importance of my trying for a vbac, and we would decide at a later time if a c-section was necessary. He complied and gave me my epidural. When the OB Dr. Tan arrived, he had come on the assumption that we were here for surgery. I told him that I needed pitocin and I wanted to labor longer. He tried to talk me into a c-section, at which point I began my spiel again about the importance of a vaginal birth to me. He didn't seem very interested at first, and began to explain the reasons I ought to have a c-section right away. I finally talked him into letting me labor. I asked everyone to leave the room so Jake and I could talk. He had had a very hard time accepting the hospital transfer and then c-section with Eli, and I wanted to make sure he was holding up well. During that time, Dr. Tan came back and spoke with us. He said that he only wanted to let us labor for a couple of hours, and then if there was no cervical change, do a cesarean. I did not consent to that, but sort of told him to check back in a couple hours and we'd talk. I told him I felt I needed pitocin. He said that my contractions were two minutes apart and pitocin wouldn't be necessary. I told him they were two minutes apart, but they weren't strong enough and I did indeed need pitcon (I later joked with Megan that I never thought I'd be begging an OB for pitocin!) He said he'd like to check my cervix. His "check" took about half a second and he told me I was only a 6. I know for a fact that he didn't actually check my cervix. I have a posterior cervix and he had small hands. He didn't have to reach to grab it or anything, and even if it wasn't posterior, he couldn't have possibly measured it in the time he gave himself. He left the room. About fifteen minutes later, he returned. It was weird, it's like he thought about the things I had said to him and changed his mind or something. He said to me that he'd like to let me labor without pit for a couple of hours and measure the intensity of my contractions (thank you! That's what I was asking all along!) He said if they did not seem intense enough, that he would give me pitocin around 4 am. Sounded very fair. I fell asleep (sort of) in the next couple of hours. I don't know if it was the nerves or being in transition, but I was shaking like a leaf since before we had even gotten to the hospital. I prayed and I changed positions as best I could with an epidural. I chatted with Megan in between cat naps. Jake went home to get some things and to blow out candles (we had run out in a hurry!). He got back during my nap. I was woken up at 4 am by our new nurse who was fabulous- I believe her name was Lori. She was up to date from Dr. Tan and wanted to check me. She said I was a 6-7 and that we'd start pit. I was only allowed to have 8 somethings of pitocin ( I don't recall the measurement), but that normally they can do up to 30 on people that aren't vbacs. I tried to nap more and keep changing positions after they gave me the pit. The contractions were very hard and pushed on my ribs which made them quite sore. The Dr. came back in at 6 am to check me. He truly checked me this time because he had to reach a bit for my cervix and it took longer than a millisecond. He said I was still a 6-7 and he felt it was time for a cesarean. I sobbed and sobbed. Dr. Tan became very genuine then. He looked truly upset that I was so distressed over this. He told me he doesn't like to see his patients cry, and that he's sorry that this is happening. I think we really connected at that point, and I was glad that if I needed a c-section, that he would be doing it. Not only that, but I'm hoping that our experience together will help him understand his patients that desire vaginal births a little better. I think most patients are probably not as outspoken as me about my wants. There are so many people that don't even realize that they have a say. Then I spoke with the nurses who knew how badly I wanted a vaginal birth. Through sobs I told them about my fears from my previous cesarean. I told them about how the curtain had been up against my face and I have some claustrophobia and it frightened me. I told them about how, also because of claustrophobia, that the thought of having my arms strapped down scared me. I told them about how I can't do oxygen masks for the same reason and to use tubes instead if that was ok. I remembered how my mouth went dry immediately when I got into the OR and I wasn't allowed to have anything to drink...and I told them how a nurse that time snuck me a wet washcloth to suck on and could someone please do that for me? I also told them about how my anesthesia didn't take with my first cesarean and I could feel them cutting into me. Not only that, but everyone in the room was chatting amongst themselves and not talking to me to keep me calm and as happy as someone could be in that situation. The nurses all listened and really cared and absorbed what I said. So did the Dr. So did the Anesthesiologist. I told them about how I'd like to play music in the OR and how I'd really like for my doula, as well as Jake to come in. Their protocol is to only allow one person in the room, but they made an exception for me and allowed Megan as well. They prepped me and we went to surgery around 7:45. They knew how frightened I was, and they didn't make Jake and Megan sit outside while they got me anesthesia situated like they generally do. Dr. Paul (the Anesthesiologist) was very warm and caring and talked to me while he gave me more meds. He also mentioned that he could get in trouble for allowing them in the room while he was doing this, but it was ok because he wanted me to be comfortable. I was shaking very hard but trying to keep my head clear and allow it to be a beautiful birth anyway. I could feel the cold run down my spine every time he gave me another shot of something. He kept pinching my stomach. I went from completely feeling it, to feeling absolutely nothing. I got very anxious after each shot because of the feeling I got in my feet and legs. I didn't mind being numb that much, but there is a strange warm feeling with each injection that's a bit unsettling. Megan and Jake sat on either side of me and Megan set my birth necklace on my chest and I said a blessing. The Doctors put in my Janis Joplin cd and turned it up when I asked them to. When they cut into me, I was crying and telling Megan I couldn't feel it! I had felt everything with Eli's cesarean. When I was having a hard time concentrating and not getting anxious, I began singing to Janis. Megan sang with me. Jake looked into my eyes and held my hand. The Dr's explained what was happening and were talking with us, rather than amongst themselves. They told me we were almost there and that he was a big one! They told me how handsome he looked before he was out enough for me to see. I had to breathe through the tugging when they pulled him out. I told Jake and Megan that I was focusing on how interesting the sensations are and thinking about them as just interesting sensations that most people wont get to experience in their lives. When he was out, they let Jake cut the umbilical cord. They showed him to me over the curtain and Megan took a picture. Jake was able to sit behind me and hold him briefly, before he and Asher had to leave to recovery. I gave him kisses and told him I loved him and how beautiful he was. Jake had to leave with him while they sewed me up. I cried and told Megan how happy I was that she was there to experience that with me. She cried too. I kept asking if I was ok because I had a feeling something was a bit wrong. Everyone kept telling me I was doing fine. I did find out later that I had lost quite a bit of blood. They had to give me medication to keep me from bleeding further. They took a good long time sewing me up and did a fabulous job. I would say just about everyone in the room when we were finished came and either gave me a hug, or held my hand and told me what a great job I did and how beautiful Asher is. It was a very healing experience from my first cesarean birth. It's not exactly the birth I was dreaming of, but given the circumstances, I don't think it could have gone any better. Asher immediately knew how to nurse, and is an extremely content and handsome little boy. I now know that it's not the way you give birth that really matters, it's the way you feel about your birth that matters in the long run. It's a very humbling and eye opening lesson learned by this doula.