Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On the Socialization of Medicine

No one who knows me will be surprised...these would be funny if they weren't so true!

Book Review: Almost Friends by Phillip Gulley

The Harmony series by Phillip Gulley features Sam Gardener, a Quaker pastor in small town Indiana. Much like Jan Karon's Mitford series, it is filled with quirky characters and a very human minister. Which I love. Sam struggles at times with his faith, with the perception from many that he only works one day a week (really, only one hour), with being on-call 24/7, and with loving his flock. And there are a few in his congregation that are truly unloveable.

Have you ever confronted someone that has done something really offensive? This passage made me laugh aloud, and then call my mom to read it to her:

The problem with Matthew 18, Sam finally concluded, was that it assumed goodwill on the part of the offender. Jesus, being a nice guy, believed if matters were presented to people in a straightforward manner, they would do the right thing. It ws Sam's opinion that Jesus had died too young and was still in the grip of youthful idealism. Five minutes with Fern and Dale would have doused Jesus's optimism considerably.

I think I know some Ferns...and Dales.

Gulley, himself a Quaker minister, writes with alot of candor about the internal struggles of Pastor Sam. It's all too easy to forget that pastors are people, too. The books in the series all stand alone. They are a quick read, great for bedtime...or a little escape.

Monday, October 12, 2009


...didn't Columbus Day used to be a holiday? Maybe I just remember doing all those fun craft projects at school.

*Update: According to Wikipedia, Columbus Day is a federal holiday. I'm confused, because the schools are open and I am not getting holiday pay.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Have a Sick Sense of Humor

Saw this bumper sticker last week:

Just because you're paranoid,
doesn't mean everyone's not out to get you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.
~Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Yes. Still alive. And kicking.

I just filed the insurance claim for my laptop, so it will be a while until I get it. Until then, I can only post at work or the library, and neither is an ideal choice. So I am on here updating my current reading list.

Updates: My social life is improving. I am seeing someone. He's new, so more about that later. I am getting full-time hours at work, and even more than that last month. More than I would like, but not more than I need at this point. Ah, to be independently wealthy. And my housing? For now, the house is officially off the market, so I am staying put, which of course, is great for me. Weather and work have thwarted my last two garage sales, so the living room is still a mess of boxes, which makes the cat happy, and me annoyed. Shooting for next Saturday.

Life is weird right now. But what exactly is normal? Certainly not me!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You'll Just Have to Pretend

There are two reasons that there is not a "real" picture included with this post.  First, while Rowdy-cat is totally enamoured of the boxes that are all over the house...he won't stay in one long enough for me to get an absolutely adorable photo of him climbing in and out of them.  Second (and more importantly), my house is in that period of absolute chaos that comes with sorting, resorting, pricing for a garage sale, packing up non-essentials for storage (and should I be packing those at all?), and trying to keep out the things with which to live here for the next month or so.  And I would be horrified for anyone to see it.

So you'll just have to pretend that you see me sitting here amidst all my junk.  You know, I thought I got rid of stuff during the last move!

Ruthless.  Just call me ruthless.

The garage sale is June 20th...the countdown has begun.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Really, I'm Not Psychotic

The funniest thing I overheard at work today was one of our mental health professionals on the phone with a patient's psychiatrist.  "What makes you think he's not psycotic?  He just had a conversation with three people standing next to his car, and neither the people nor the car are there...I think he's psychotic...heck, we all think he's psychotic!"

It struck me as quite humorous that this man's own doctor is clueless how nutty he is...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

Garage Sale

I am so motivated right now to downsize, clean out, and start fresh! I have made a list of things that I would like for my own place, whether that happens next month, or next year. And I have created a budget and prioritized the items. So I am saving. And I am having a huge garage sale in June. I love this part of the planning and preparation when my drive kicks in and I just get in "toss that in the pile" mode. After all, how much stuff does one person actually need? Not much, when it comes down to it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Need This T-Shirt

It may surprise you to know that I have been accused of being sarcastic. I come by it very naturally, I assure you. (Yes, it's genetic. No, not from my mom.) And it comes in handy at times. It's great for deflecting angry patients. And co-workers. And inappropriate men. Although perhaps that's more irony than sarcasm. But you get my drift.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


When my mom was here, some good friends treated us to a dinner out at Scott's Bar and Grill in Edmonds. Now, obviously, I love good food, but on top of that, I appreciate food served with nice presentation even more (drilled in by my mom, the college home ec major, and my 8th grade home ec teacher). I started with an amazing French Onion soup. (Sorry it's a bit blurry, but you get the idea!)

Mom had the Almond Crusted Sea Scallops. I am not a shellfish eater, but these were tempting in their beauty! I had the Prime Rib, which was delicious, and had the hottest horseradish ever. The waiter warned me...

We both finished it off with the Burnt Cream. Which obviously I was so excited to get into my mouth that I couldn't wait to start.

The full menu is online. Go there. Eat lots.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Digging a Hole

There is something very personal, final, and rather cathartic about digging a grave. Even for a beloved kitty. Buddy died in his sleep last night. Even though I knew it was coming before I went to bed, I wasn't really prepared for the sight of him this morning. Or how hard it would be to wrap him up in a sheet. Rowdy came in the room and kept nudging him with his nose. That just about put me over the edge.

Here are a few things about my Buddy. I got him at PAWS after my separation. My dad started calling him Buddy since he followed me like a puppy when he first came home. I think he thought I was going to run off. I wanted to name him something noble like Fitzwilliam Darcy or King Henry. But Buddy stuck. He also had the softest fur ever. Bunny fur. If he could have spoken I think he would have had a very posh British accent.

And I loved him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due

Earlier this week, I had to take my car into a detail shop to get an exterior cleaning. The new parking garage at the hospital leached lime this winter onto a few of our cars, and Providence sent us to get them cleaned. Having a new was a little frustrating, but not nearly as annoying as the one-inch paint ding that someone left on my front bumper...while in the same garage (and it's employee parking!).

But I digress. Shocking, I know. I headed to Auto Detailers where Glenn did a lovely job and I took my happy little car home. Imagine my surprise when yesterday after work, I noticed that the paint ding was gone. Fixed. And Glenn never mentioned a word to me! How easy it would have been for him to tell me how wonderful he was...but instead, he just did an above-and-beyond job on my car.

If you are in Everett and need auto detailing or body work...I highly recommend them!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ups and Downs...and Up Again

This has been "one of those weeks".

Buddy, the prince of all cats, has been sick this week with a completely blocked urinary tract. After a trip to his vet, and a rush trip to the kitty ER, and two nights in the hospital, he came home Saturday night for a trial run. Essentially, the big question is "will he pee on his own, or is he still blocked?"...and if not, I had decided to put him down the only other option is a $3000 surgery.

The kitty snuggled all night with me. He's really been my baby this past year. And this morning before work, I said my goodbye. Because there was no urine. None. And I was heartbroken as I headed out to work. My dad, who has really been supportive (financially and otherwise) with the cat-thing, agreed to take him to the vet for me.

Dad came and picked him up, took him in to the clinic, and waited out front. Imagine how he must have felt when they came back out with the cat and announced (he says very loudly to a full waiting room) that, "we're not going to euthanize your cat...he just peed all over the tech!" Nice going, Buddy. Dad says he is mortified and never going back there, as he is sure they think he is a heartless killer.

The little guy isn't out of the woods yet. But he is home. And I will be keeping an eye on him. He's still not feeling well. Rowdy knows this and keeps trying to get next to him and groom him. It's sweet. But I'm not sure how much more of the up and down I can take!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Need These

Well, need might be too strong of a word. But aren't they just the cutest? These were made by Holt Howard in the 1950s and are part of an extensive (adorable and highly impractical) collection. However, I doubt that I can justify a third set of salt and pepper shakers...even if they do meow.

In Christ Alone

...sung at church this morning...

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back on Track

Isn't it amazing how easy it is to get out of a good rhythm in your habits? I have been going to the gym at work with a friend at least four days a week. Until mom came to visit. Don't worry, Mom, I'm not blaming you.

While mom was here I hit the treadmill once. Only once. And I have no excuse, since there is one in my livingroom.

So I'm going back in this morning with a friend. We need to both get back in sync. My muscles (such as they are) are ready for the pain. It's good.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I went for a hike earlier this week at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island.

Perhaps "hike" is a bit of a misnomer. I actually just strolled along some very well groomed (but muddy) trails through the woods to Cranberry Lake.

Well, "lake" is a bit of a misnomer as well. The trail ends abrubtly at a marsh. A large marsh, to be sure, but certainly not a lake.
I did see some evidence of beavers. And I startled a mama deer with a spotted little one by tromping loudly through the underbrush to get a picture that didn't even turn out, but my camera wasn't nearly as fast as they were. That's a lie. My camera is very fast. I'm not.
Then I wandered out of the woods and down to the beach. I would like to say that the picture at the bottom does not do this hill justice. It's a killer. So near the top I turned around to "take a picture". What I really needed was to get my breath.

A Follow-up Article to My Medicaid Rant

This article appeared Wednesday in Austin, Texas' American Statesman. It was passed around at work today, and the general consensus was that we have patients who could probably surpass this record. I wish it were an April Fool's joke. But it's not funny.

Just Now on the Radio...

...I heard an advertisement that said, "Does your 401k look more like a 201k?" Uh, yeah. Every time I get my quarterly investment report, I have to remind myself that I can't withdraw it for 22 years...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Born on This Day: Hans Christian Anderson

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a prolific Danish author of fairy tales. I still have my much-loved copy of tales from my childhood. Many hours were spent losing myself in his marvelous stories.

In Minot's Scandinavian Heritage Park, there is a wonderful sit-by statue that I think really captures the whimsey of Andersen.

My favorite fairy tale was always The Snow Queen. What was yours?

A Rant on Medicaid

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. ~Thomas Jefferson

For those of you who either work with me, or who are subjected to my militant rants regarding the passing out of Medicaid in this state as if it were Halloween candy, bear with me. For the other two of on.

I can only speak for the state of Washington, because that is where I see abuse firsthand, every day. Our Medicaid system is broken, seriously broken, yet our governor wants to expand the program and hand out free health care at an even faster rate.

Let me interrupt here and point out that I am not against helping those who need it. Welfare as a concept was designed for either those truly unable to work, or as a short-term solution; not a lifestyle. I believe that if children need medical attention, they should get it. I also believe that their parents should bear some of that responsibility for their care, in the way of co-pays. And if the elderly need assistance, I'm all for it. Truly, I'm not a heartless wretch.

However, here's what I see every day in the emergency room. The key word is emergency. Off the top of my head, without exaggeration, I would estimate that 60-70% of our patients in the ER are receiving Medicaid assistance. They come to the ER for coughs, colds, ear aches, slight fevers, sprains, etc. They come without having tried Tylenol and rest. And they come without co-pays, without any attempt at home remedies that take time, effort, or out of pocket expense. And they certainly don't want to go to the walk-in clinics. The number one reason given? They don't think they should have to wait. Seriously. This is the biggest frustration that I hear from staff. We have patients that we see...wait for it...3 or 4 times a week. For the flu, for back pain, for that persistant cough. This is in the ER.

So how to fix the problem? It seems simple. If you are unwilling to work, we are unwilling to spend tax dollars on you. Period. If you are down on your luck, and need temporary assistance, fine. Let's set a limit. But when you go to the ER, it will cost you $20. No more going in for free Tylenol. If you need that, go to Walgreens. It's $5. That's what I do.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am looking forward to diving in here. I have found that I am missing the creative process of thinking of (what I think are) interesting and amusing things to write about. Of course, if no one reads this, it still will have accomplished the simple act of generating a bit of thought for my tired brain.

Expect to see me much more often here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Love Craigslist

I love selling stuff on Craigslist. Of course, I am only selling so that I have $ to pay for my loveseat that I want to get for my new apartment (whenever that happens!). Here's the loveseat I want. It's from IKEA. I love them too. When mom comes later this month, we will make one of our legendary treks down there, where I will proceed to drool over everything in the store, and end up leaving having spent fewer than $40. Until I have my new apartment.

Then. I. Am. Buying. A. White. Loveseat.

Which I never would do unless I were single!
While I am not looking forward to the added expenses of an apartment, I am looking forward to taking all of my decor out of the boxes and actually having some "me" in the place. It will be like Christmas!
Now, If only I could find this loveseat on Craigslist...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Latest at Work

We've had a little upheaval lately at work. The hospital, like many other businesses in the area, is having a hiring freeze...and a budget crisis. The joy of working for a non-profit hospital, is that as more and more people lose their health care, more and more come in for "charity" care. Which means our numbers go up, as does the work load. The flip side is that income is down, which means budget cuts.

It seems as though my job is safe. Relatively. But we will also be "bidding" for shifts based on seniority after the schedule is streamlined and reconfigured. And my schedule will look different. I'm actually excited, as this might be my chance to get to swings. We shall see, and I should know something by the end of the month.

All in all, I am just so thankful to be in health care right now. And to have my job!

Living in Washington

There are many things I love about living in Washington. When the sun is shining, there are few places more beautiful. After work today, on the way home, I took a trip down to the beach. (With a quick stop at Whidbey Coffee in downtown Mukilteo, where they make the best 16 ounce triple Americano ever.) It was just over 50 degrees outside, but you would have thought it was the middle of summer. Families were there, on the playground, collecting shells, skipping stones, and eating ice cream. Northwesterners, more than anywhere I have lived, have a real appreciation for the outdoors, rain or shine, but especially on days like today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Tax Time Again

I just wonder...does seeing someone standing on the side of the road in a doofy costume make you want to have that business prepare something as important as your taxes?

One very important thing is accomplished, however...I am more and more thankful for my job!

Quote of the Day: Louis Pasteur

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
~Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

The Beach Last Evening

It was terribly windy last night. Still is, for that matter. But the clouds were just lovely.
It's so loud down with the wind howling and the waves hitting by that you don't hear any civilization. And if you look in just the right direction and squint a can miss the houses and imagine how awe-inspiring the Pacific must have been to Lewis and Clark when they first saw it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Note to Self

Dear Self: Don't leave home without your camera. That's when you will find the perfect photo opportunity and the light will be spectacular. That's when the sun will be shining on the water, the animals in the fields (I was driving through a rural area) will be posing near the fences, and the old barns will be beautifully backlit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Even the Cats are Smarter...

It's 2:21 am. I am up, because I am headed into work for a 3:30-7:00 am shift. That's dedication! Or, because I am practical, I look at the $...that's my gas budget for the month. I really didn't get too excited about the 3:30 start time, or the (only) 3 1/2 hours available, but, oh well.

When my alarm went off at 2, neither of the cats moved. I just got the evil eye(s). "Hey,'s 3 hours too early! We're not budging, and you had better be here at 6 when we want our breakfast."

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Here are a couple of pictures from our local flooding:
This is looking east over the Snohomish River from the Lowell area
And this is looking west over what is usually Stanwood farmland....water as far as the eye can see....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The News I've Been Waiting For

See, I knew my skinny friends were missing out on something.
Hey, it's on must be true.
What a relief! I feel vindicated!

...irretrievably broken...

...those are the words on the dissolution (isn't that a nicer word than divorce?!) paperwork.Check Spelling

I guess now is the time to let you all know that I filed the divorce papers with the court this morning. It will be finalized April 15th. My reasons and the full circumstances of the last couple of years shall remain mine, but I can say that this was a decision not made lightly, or out of anger, and that I really prayed about it.

I asked God for some really clear guidance. It came, of course, in a way that I had not expected. That's usually what happens. Neon signs are good for those of us who are slow learners or who are sometimes oblivious to things.

My emotions are a little weird right now: I'm experiencing sadness over the fact that these things should have been worked out before they went too far; the feeling that I have somehow failed; and over wasted time. But I also am feeling that sense of relief, of renewal, and of hope that comes when a weight is lifted off of your shoulders.

You probably won't hear too much more from me on the subject. Many things are just too personal to put out on the internet, and really don't serve any purpose. I am thankful for the love and encouragement of my friends, for the scriptures that have been sent to me, and for the continued prayers and support.

And I promise to return to my deep and well thought out blog postings more often... :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Obligatory New Year's Reflection Post

Obviously this year has been one of ups and downs. On paper, the downs seem to outweigh the ups. But as I was discussing with a friend last night...surprisingly, when all is said and done...this has been a not altogether bad 2008.

I begin the new year with a sense of drive, of renewal, and of hope. Perhaps I am a bit of a "cockeyed optimist" (bonus points if you know what musical that is from), but I think that 2009 will be a good year for me.

I am ready (?) to start college this coming Monday. Work is going well. I have some really wonderful and faithful friends. The new-found relationship with my dad is growing. And God has been very present in my time of trouble. What more do I really need? Or deserve?

There, I'm glad to say that little bit of self-reflection is done. You possibly are as well.

Blessings to you all this upcoming year.