The Week in Review: Dead Peonies

June 11, 2017

peony

I can sum up my week in just a few words: it was awful.

I am used to working nights. Night shift is a world unto itself. If you have ever worked nights, you understand that it has a different rhythm than days. This week, I worked Friday and Saturday night. I only slept about 3 hours on Saturday before going in for the night shift. I was shot. I had Sunday off, but had to sleep instead of going to church.

Did I mention that the basement flooded again on Saturday night while I was at work? And on Sunday we had 50 mph winds and a huge branch fell in our backyard.

I worked evenings from Monday through Thursday. I saw my husband early on Monday and not again until Friday evening. Changing shifts felt like starting an entirely new job. Here is how I spell new job: STRESS.

Sometime during Monday to Thursday, my dryer broke. The repairman did not show up when he said he would and my husband did not have time to wait for him.

I dried my scrubs by hanging them on the rack and aiming a fan at them. By the end of the week, I had worked six shifts (2 noc and 4 evening) in seven days. I was weary.

I cannot tell you anything else about work because that is all private info. I will say it was a difficult week for a whole lot of reasons.

My new peony bush died.

The thing that made everything worse was that I could not seem to quit complaining about it, about working evenings. Everything I know about Bible history tells me that if there is one thing that God really, really does not like, it is complaining. So, on top of having a really yucky week, I knew that I was pretty much disobeying God in the Promised Land.

I want to start this week over differently. I am going to list some good things from the week.

  1. My husband fixed the dryer himself. By the end of the week, I had a real working dryer.
  2. I had leftover homemade mac n cheese in the freezer to heat up for lunch.
  3. I was extremely worried about my husband’s physical health, and I got an encouraging report on Friday.
  4. I had the opportunity to babysit for my grand kids on Friday night. They were adorable.
  5. Our grandson came over to see us again on Saturday morning.
  6. I got in a lot of morning walks this last week which I wanted to do to help me get in shape.
  7. I have a job.
  8. I have great coworkers.
  9. I love what I do.
  10. I am paid generously.
  11. My work is a short drive from my home.
  12. I didn’t get sick. (Although I had a headache just about all day today despite Ibuprofen.)
  13. The branch did not hit and kill anyone when it fell. I got it moved to the patio, and my husband was able to cut the grass.
  14. I am physically healthy.
  15. I got invited to a cook out this week with a friend I have not seen for a few weeks. It should be loads of fun.
  16. My tomato plants are doing really well and have blooms already. I do not usually plant seeds. I planted seeds this year, and lots of things are coming up in little green rows. My roses look better than they have ever looked.
  17. Both the washer and dryer work.
  18. My dishwasher works.
  19. I have hot running water and a comfortable bed and my refrigerator and stove work.
  20. I got a letter from Aunt Charlotte this week. She is over 90 and lives alone on a farm in Minnesota.
  21. Bible study books that I really wanted showed up in the mail this week. I started a study on Genesis with Nav Press.
  22. The dishes are caught up…pretty much.
  23. I had time, energy, funds and inclination to grocery shop today.
  24. I am thankful that I have this weekend off.
  25. I am thankful for a loving Father who hears and answers prayer even when I feel overwhelmed.

 

Life: Favorite Things

June 5, 2017

oceanOne of my very favorite things about my life is that I get to live in the city. When we were looking at houses over twenty years ago, I tried to get us right downtown in an old dilapidated fraternity house, but the financing was no go.

We ended up in an older home up on what is called the Bench, or the New North End, as realtors like to call it now. The old North End is an area with tiny cottages and postage stamp yards that are uber expensive. It was once the yucky part of town. Then someone decided it was the trendy wonderful “historic” part of town, and now it is expensive.

It is a mecca for the political left. One of my conservative friends was stopped at a light and a man who objected to her bumper sticker got out of his car and forcibly removed it from her bumper. She was an elderly non-confrontational type of person, but it was upsetting for her.

I would have responded and, it would not have been one of my best What Would Jesus Do? type of moments.

I write tangentially. If it is driving you to distraction, my recommendation is to read just the first paragraph and the summary sentence of the last paragraph, or as an alternative, you could read the blog of someone more mentally balanced.

The Bench is not nearly as expensive, but boasts older, usually but not always, larger homes with old trees.

Another of my favorite things is just taking walks around my neighborhood. I have a favorite route that is three miles. I know because I drove it in my car for the purpose of measuring it. Sometimes when I am extra ambitious, I also take in the Capitol Blvd. hill which if you return behind the Anniversary Inn is about ninety nine steps pretty much straight up, or as straight up as you can be without having to actually climb.

There are a lot of beautiful gardens in the front yards of the houses in my area. They probably have some eye popping floral spectacles in the back as well, but I don’t want to be found trespassing to find out.

I was going to say that people are really friendly, but the truth is that I would not like it if they were overly friendly. I like the level of friendliness that lands somewhere between nodding and/or smiling as you pass one another or for the other end of the parameter, the extreme of bold, saying something inanely rhetorical such as, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

I don’t want political comments or satire or investigative questions. I don’t want to have the burden of having to remember the name of someone who lives one and a half miles from my house. Life is just too darn short for that. An exception would be that I don’t mind knowing your dog’s name. I like petting other people’s dogs since I don’t have one and won’t anytime soon in the future.

Have you ever thought about volunteering to walk someone else’s dog for them? I have, but then I thought it would involve a lot of interaction and actually getting to know other people, and I just felt all tired inside.

I was reading a book the other night in which someone expressed my thoughts about people so brilliantly, so succinctly that I noted it in the margin and indexed it in the back of the book.

I will be quoting from Furiously Happy, A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Remember in my review a few days back, I said it was incredibly funny, encouraging to mentally ill people and completely profane. You have been warned.

“I believe it was Sartre who said, “Hell is other people,” and I suspect he wrote that after spending an hour with over-involved parents who won’t stop yelling at coaches, instructors, or crying four-year-olds who really just want a snow cone.”

I love my family and friends, some of my neighbors and co-workers, but people are exhausting. Let’s be honest. Part of walking is intentionally leaving the cell phone, the internet, and people behind, so that I can recover whatever emotional equilibrium is left to me in this life. Why would I want to talk to people while I am doing it?

Well, there you have it. Two of my favorite things. I was going to do three, but I don’t know what the third one is. It is probably seeing the ocean, if I had to guess. If I don’t know what my third favorite thing is, I don’t know how to find out. I will got out on a limb here and say that my third favorite thing is the Oregon Coast/Pacific Ocean/any ocean. The only bad thing about seeing the ocean is that when it time to leave, I always feel incredibly grieved with my whole heart to the point of actual tears. Yes, it feels like a death to drive away from the Oregon Coast. That is why it is number three and not number one. If I could stay there always, it would be number one.

I like to take walks there and be comfortably distant with people and friendly to their dogs. Lots of people bring their dogs to the Oregon Coast. It’s the thing. The ocean always make me think of the Lord and how He is big beyond anything we can really grasp with our minds or senses. He is just as big when I am in Boise, Idaho, walking around, but I don’t think about Him that way when I am here.

That is probably why I usually carry around a little card with a Bible verse on it when I take my three mile walk. It just turns my heart that way spiritually. I don’t need any cards on the Oregon Coast. It is like the difference between skyping someone or actually being with them.

My last paragraph was no doubt filled with heresy or scriptural inconsistencies or both. I meant that is how it feels.

My three favorite things are living in the city, walking in the city, and chaining myself to something immoveable at the ocean.

The End

 

 

 

Bad Decision

June 2, 2017

bikeDid I ever tell you that I worked in  a Traumatic Brain Injury Unit for over two years? It made me dictatorial about bike and motorcycle helmets. If I saw a biker at a stoplight with no helmet, I would roll down my car window and confront them.

Not many people that you know confront stranger bikers when they are stuck in traffic.

Today I was going bike riding and got about half a block down the street when I remembered that I did not have a helmet on, just a baseball cap. I was in a hurry so I didn’t go back. After all, I reasoned, I never wreck on my bike. Just once will not matter.

I went on a long ride, quite safely, until I got within a few blocks of home. I was making a turn and also going up an incline from the street to the sidewalk and lost my balance. I tumbled right over and landed on one elbow, one knee and the side of my head bounced on the concrete.

A kind man in a pickup truck stopped and assisted me in picking up all of the things that fell out of my bike basket and into the street. He told me that his wife had fallen recently and had torn her ACL, so he waited to see that I was able to get up and get out of the street before he left.

When I got home, nothing was broken. My head is sore, my elbow was scraped but not really bleeding and my pants did not even get a hole in them. I am really grateful; it could have turned out much differently.

I am going back to being a safety dictator, but I will be starting with my own behavior.

Book Review

June 1, 2017

used shoesMy latest completed book is No Need For Speed by John Bingham from Runner’s World magazine. For those who hate running, I promise a riddle that has nothing to do with running at the end.

The subtitle is A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running.

Mr. Bingham’s nickname is The Penguin because his body is really not suited for running. This tends to make his running book be better for people like me who are never, ever going to place first in a race. (However, I placed first in my age group once in a fundraiser 5K at Veteran’s Park. I think that there were only two of us, and I wanted it more.)

At the risk of sounding like a fifth grade book report, I really like this book because…

it is all about enjoying running without the pressure of trying to achieve Olympic status.

To save time for you and me, I am just going to type out two of my favorite quotes.

“Whose voice do you hear inside your head? Whose voice narrates the tapes? Who is it that’s the spokesperson for your soul?”

This is kind of an entertaining concept. I have to admit, however, that no matter who narrates my soul, I don’t seem to run any faster.

At any rate, Bingham’s book is funny and encouraging. Here is another quote I like:

“After exhaustive research, I have finally reached the conclusion that runners’ bodies come in three distinct shapes: 1) better than mine, 2) much better than mine, or 3) better than mine will ever be.”

End of book report.

I worked last night, and I made up a riddle. I only slept until noon today because I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do. I can’t really remember the riddle. It went something like this.

What do you call a psych nurse who likes to work nights and enjoys drawing blood?

A vampire nurse.  Bwa ha ha!

 

 

 

Best Case Scenario For a Day Off

May 29, 2017
  1. time-fliesFirst of all, I get to sleep in until I wake up with no alarm and no noise from the neighbors. The tea is black and hot with half and half and a teaspoon of sugar. I have my favorite Bible.
  2. There is no scheduled activity anywhere in the day. No guilt.
  3. The weather is conducive to outdoor activity. It can even be rainy, as long as I can get out. I have comfortable walking shoes.
  4. I am in possession of books that I want to read, not books that I must read.
  5. I have a bath bomb from Lush, a clean tub and a CD of the ocean.
  6. I am able to walk for miles and meditate on a favorite verse.
  7. I have time to regroup, plan and organize if I want. Of course, this also means ordering books online not from the tub, of course, and I have a discount coupon.

Working On It

May 29, 2017

So, I didn’t go three miles. I went one mile. cow smile

This Year’s Theme

May 25, 2017

steep hillIf I had to hazard a guess about what I have been writing about the most this year, it is probably having less stuff or losing weight/getting in shape.

The actual truth is that I am better at making lists and reading books about these things than I am about actually doing them.

However, during my last trip to Portland, I could not keep up with the Abbigator when she rented bikes for us to ride around the park. A few times I simply got stuck behind really slow people and lost momentum at key points. A few other times I honestly just couldn’t keep up.

Excuses include being horribly overweight, out of shape and getting older. None of those are good excuses. And by the way, getting old is not synonymous with dying tomorrow.

I promised her, not that she asked, but I was promising myself, that before we go on a trip together in July that I will be in shape. In shape meaning I will be able to keep up hiking and on bike rides. I wish in shape meant discarding all of this extra weight quickly, but I can’t do that by July.

I have been vigorously walking long distances (about six miles a day) and taking in a big hill once a day. I can get up the dirt hill from the Anniversary Inn to Crescent Rim Drive in 99 steps without stopping now. It is reasonably steep.

One problem with working nights is that I cannot do some big workout and then expect to possess the energy to stay away from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. doing nursing stuff. My coworkers (all the guys anyway) told me to exercise after the shift, but before going to sleep.

At first, I could not consider this mentally. I decided to get a grip because I only have so much time. If I don’t exercise on the days I work, then I will not be able to get in shape. At first, I just took about a mile walk after work, but before going to sleep.

This week I am going to step it up to a three mile walk. That is tomorrow morning.

The guys in the book I reviewed said to always be increasing goals in working out. This is the next step up.

Mental Illness and Other Stuff

May 24, 2017

I haven’t written much lately. We didn’t have internet access at our house for about a month. I went to a local Starbucks to read my email and do necessary stuff. I didn’t feel like staying longer to blog.

Without the internet, and also since we dropped our cable, which did not return when we reinstated the internet, I started reading more books. Some were worthwhile. Some not so much.

I will spare you a recap of all of the books.  I am fast forwarding to what I am enjoying lately.

My current books are Minimalism – live a meaningful life by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemua, Furiously Happy – A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, and Colossians and Philemon from the NavPress Life Change Series.

mnimalismI first encountered Minimalism in a Netflix special by the same name. I was intrigued enough by what they had to say that I ordered the book , used, of course, you know me. Since it is fairly in demand, I had to be patient. Thank you, Thrift Books.

Minimalism explores the transformation of the lives of two men who left their six figures corporate lives to pursue meaningful lives by discovering minimalism which allowed them to eliminate life’s excess and focus on the essential aspects of life. I stole those words from the book jacket because they are concise and to the point. The book is a lot better than that. You will have to trust me when I say that it is worth reading. If you have caught the show on Netflix, it is much different than the show which chronicles their lives. The books examines the five general areas of a person’s life which can be changed and improved with minimalism. Minimalism is kind of trendy right now, i.e. Leo Baubata of Zen Habits, and the kazillion books out on having less stuff like Marie Kondo. I think the reason it is trendy is that we are all sick of all of our stuff.

furiously happyMoving on. The next book I am reading, usually at night right before I fall off to sleep is Furiously Happy. This is a book written by a woman who is mentally ill. It is one of the funniest books which I have ever, ever read. Warning: it is profanely funny. I decided to overlook that and read it anyway because it is one of the only books that my psych patients have ever recommended to me that cheered them up. I am not going to ruin the book by telling you anything else about it. I will say that if you have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with mental illness and hospitalized that I would recommend that you visit them and take a copy of this book with you. I can’t give it a higher recommendation than that.

colossiansNumber three. Colossians and Philemon has been one of the best Christian books which I have read and studied in a while. I took it with me on a recent trip to Portland and spent a lot of my free time studying it there at the Rain or Shine Coffee Shop. The best thing I can say about the book is that it has stirred up a hunger in me to study the Word of God in a more intense way. Of course, that could be God working in my life and He just happened to use this book, but then again, maybe the book is really good also. No matter. I feel more alive and focused spiritually than I have been in a while. The best thing I can say about the Rain or Shine Coffee Shop is everything. Great coffee, great aesthetics, great service.

Lately I have been called upon in different venues to explain why human life has value. When I am asked this, I give an illustration about Jesus and real estate.

Many years ago, I was called to jury duty in a civil case. Our job was to decide the value of a condemned building which had been destroyed previous to the trial.

A building is worth, in simplest terms, what someone will pay for it.

If someone will pay only $10,000, then that is what it is worth. If they pay $1,000,000 for a shack on the side of a hill which might fall into the ocean, then that is what it is worth.

When Jesus died on Calvary, the value of human life was determined. Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, was of infinite value and worth. He gave his life for yours, for mine, for each of us.

Your value as a human being was decided at Calvary. Once and done. He decided your value.

That is why you can go on living when every person or circumstance in your life is telling you that you are worthless. In the eyes of God, you are a person of worth and value. No experience or encounter or assessment will ever change that. It is not based on your accomplishments or achievements or your lack of the same. It is the same for each human being, Christian or not. Jesus died for all.

Infinite value.  Grace decides.

That is all.

 

A Day Off

April 2, 2017

So I went back to sleep and slept another eight hours. I woke up just in time to miss church. However, I feel like a person again. Two more nights and I get some time off.

working nights

April 2, 2017

nights

So, I got one day off. I woke up for a little while and got to see my grandson for a bit. Made some lunch. Went back to sleep and woke up at 6:45 p.m. Too late to go out to eat as my husband eats at 6:00 p.m. Too late to go to a movie. So I just hung out and we watched TV, but I must have fallen asleep again. Now my days and nights are totally mixed up and I am scheduled to work two more nights.

I started running again, and that was the one thing I was supposed to get done today, on my one day off. I did not get it done. I feel like I missed the day, and I feel like I failed. On top of that, I may need a little more sleep.

Jeepers.