ALERT: You may be seriously off my radar

I have been on a whirlwind of spring cleaning when it comes to social media. I feel accomplished. I feel fulfilled. I feel gratified. I still like all of you, but no, you can’t come back to my page, or inbox or timeline. Sorry, that’s just the way it has to be.

Twitter: I post this blog there although I’m not sure why as I have few followers from that source. Who do I follow? My son only. It has become the easiest way to keep up with him and interesting tidbits happening in his life.

Facebook: I chopped a lot of friends a few months ago and even more recently really cut down on the info I receive from the few remaining friends pages. Sadly, I didn’t even know I could do this until my daughter gave me the insight. I can now log on and see nothing new for days. It has become my place to play a few solitaire games and steal the latest pictures of the granddaughter out and about. I’m having a few withdrawal symptoms, but I really realized that what was filling my news feed was stuff that I didn’t want or need or care about. Now it’s important life events and some pictures, not every “like” or “status update” or “game score” from every friend.

I’m wondering if the day will come when I can toss FB entirely.


They are all still being subjected to this blog though as it is linked to Facebook. Many people do read it there so that won’t change. I am not a follower of many blogs. I have some that I look forward to reading each morning while I drink my tea. Those are the ones that I feel a connection to as their authors have touched something within me or post relevant information, or even not-so-relevant information but at least have important stuff to talk about that I enjoy. Those are my go-to blogger friends.

I have others that I picked up long ago and after really taking stock, I realize that many of these are truly no longer active. With some of those I’m okay that I can delete them. For a few, I wonder honestly what happened to the writers. These were blog authors who used to post on a regular basis. like every day. Their blogs have been silent for months. That is disturbing. Maybe they got busy. Maybe they took their words to another site. Maybe something else happened. That last one is the worrisome answer.

Some that got the boot are those that tickled my fancy for an odd reason or topic, but in reality haven’t sustained by desire to hang around. That’s not to say that the blogs are bad (and who the hell am I to judge good from bad) but that they just don’t touch the same warm spots that my favorites do. In that regard, if I can take them or leave them I decided to leave them.

It feels good to free up these ties to the world of social media and that endless checking into others lives. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I just don’t need to care every minute that I sit down at my computer.

My phone may be next, although I think I have weeded through most of the people there and taken that list down to the ultra important folks in my life.

I was on Pinterest for about 2 weeks, mostly to keep up with some of the ideas for the upcoming October wedding of the son. I pinned about 5 things, lost interest and ended my account there. I just don’t get Pinterest no matter how many times I hear how wonderful and fun it is.

I wiped out my Yahoo account long ago. My Google account I will keep because I use contacts there for work so I probably shouldn’t do away with that yet. My other regular email has to stay also. That because all my online bills sit in that inbox waiting anxiously to be paid and I have connected my college email account to that one as well.

I think I covered everything but how can you really be sure anymore? When your life is not your own, but dependent upon technology every second of the day how do you know who or what is coming or going, where you posted what and to whom, and if anyone really cares?

Do you ever feel like you’re defined by an @ sign, or a .com address or a user name? What did we do before social media? I don’t think I remember, do you?



You just never know do you?

I went to work this afternoon and just as quickly had the opportunity to leave. Saturday’s are my days to screen newborn babies for hearing loss at a local hospital. My shift begins at 2 pm and I arrived today to find literally nothing I could do. In cases like this we get paid for 2 hours but unfortunately that didn’t really cover the cost of my gas money to drive there and back. (This is not a lucrative job by any means, but I like the patients and I like the babies and so I almost feel as if I am being altruistic in a semi-voluntary sort of way)

I typically park in a lot associated with the outpatient surgery corner of the hospital building. This serves as a relatively well lighted, safe area on those evenings when I come out after dark. It is patrolled by hospital security and I have never had cause to feel uncomfortable using that lot. I still don’t, but after an interesting experience today I may be a bit more mindful.

I spent all of 30 minutes up on the floor and was heading back toward my parking space by 2:15. There were cars parked on either side of me. The one on my driver’s side was unoccupied. The red Kia on the other side held three local addicts all in various stages of shooting up. Okay, to be fair that is only an assumption but a pretty confident assumption if I’m going to be honest.

I also feel it is pertinent to mention that I saw a great dichotomy in this scenario.  The Kia was fairly new, and in really good shape. Granted I am exhibiting an incredibly biased, stereotypical viewpoint here, but the occupants of the car did not match in any way the rather well taken care of car they were getting high in.

I have to be honest. I didn’t stick around long enough to make 100% sure that this was illicit drug activity going on. I did however clearly see:

1. One man in the passenger seat, shirt sleeves rolled up and arms with bruises, scabs and other skin lesions indicative to drug use. This person by the way was holding what I suspect to be a syringe and quite quickly turned away from my car as I got in.

2. One man in the rear driver’s side seat with his shirt off, window down and a rather anxious look to his face along with a hurry up attitude for the female in the driver’s seat who was turned backwards and who I am fairly certain I saw…

3. Twice do the characteristic finger/thumb flick to a small TB size syringe, and who also had very distinct and characteristic marks along her arms and the face of someone one sees in drug education posters and videos with the caption underneath the gaunt, pock-marked, ravaged face that says: THIS IS THE FACE OF METH/CRACK/OR WHATEVER.

I feel comfortable enough after 5+ years working in oral surgery, working with various syringes of different sizes, to be pretty confident regarding what a TB syringe looks like, even from 15 to 20 feet away as I approached my car. I also have often done the finger/thumb flick on those very same type syringes to move along air bubbles and would recognize the motion anywhere.

It was a bit tricky maneuvering out of my spot so I had to stop trying to covertly spy on the action next to me. I also didn’t want to suddenly find myself looking down the barrel of a handgun either so I did the “of course you’re just three friends hanging out in your red Kia in a hospital parking lot and I have to get out of this f***ing spot before I get shot so I am going to ignore you” routine.

I did have a moment in which I contemplated going back into the hospital and trying to round-up a security person but really, by the time all that would have occurred and anyone could have gotten out there, besides the fact that the druggies cover was blown, and their car was completely exposed when I left, meant that they would have been long gone.

So now, guilt ridden, I am telling myself that this is certainly not the first time this has happened in this lot. You have to understand that this hospital is located in an area of the city which is known for drug/gang/violent activity. I am not guilt ridden thinking of these idiots doing whatever they were doing to themselves. That’s their busy and if they choose to kill themselves who am I to comment or attempt to stop them. I am rather miffed that they were doing this at my place of employment in an area where staff, patients and visitors come and go. I however realized that behavior such as this has probably happened inside this hospital in the public restrooms that I pass on my way upstairs.

At least these three had a level of respect in place to do their drugs outside the building. I think they deserve some kudos for that.

Afternoon projects: day 1 and day 2

Day 1:

Yesterday, because the sun was out and I was walking with the daughter and baby G and saw the multitude of weeds in my flower beds, it turned into a garden afternoon.

Each and every time I do this, I kick myself because it aggravates the arthritis in my hands and wrists. I was doing pretty well until I decided to lift and dump an old flower planter that had seen better days. That was a mistake and my right wrist is still sore, although I was smart enough to put my trusty splint on just after my stupidity session–maybe next time (because there will be a next time) I will splint BEFORE I proceed.

I seriously think it’s time to consider a yard service. It is just so, so hard to make that ultimate decision to leave even the simple gardening to others. I love puttering in my beds, but the fingers don’t pinch very well, the wrists are too weak, the neck screams for days and the legs come close to not supporting me at all.

I sit and ponder that question Take one more thing away and what do I have left that I enjoy?

So on to day 2:

The sun is once more out, the weather is lovely and I am doing everything I can to avoid looking at or even going outside for long because those damn weeds are still calling my name. Plus I have a bed directly in front of my front door that is overrun with a lovely variegated grass which I thought would stay nice and clumpy like the ones I planted in my back yard. No, this grass is true grass. It goes and goes and grows and grows. It now has to go, completely, because it is choking the other random plants in the bed.

So my indoor project has been to place my new loose leaf tea in some nice glass containers. If you remember by jump on the composting bandwagon from a few months back (which is going great I must say), I did note that I wanted to start drinking loose leaf tea rather than bags, even though those bags are compostable. I think I even mentioned that I found a few local varieties to try. I have not been too impressed with them. Just not the flavors I really wanted.

I broke down a few days ago and even though I could make a small road trip to Seattle to visit the store itself, I decided to order some of my favorite tea from the Market Spice store online just because it was more convenient. I got my all time favorite: Orange-Spice, as well as a Chai. The difference when I opened the bags to put them into the glass canisters was amazing. This stuff looked, and more importantly, smelled like tea. Strong, earthy, sweet, spicy, tea. Nothing like the rather bland, twiggy stuff I have been choking down.

That alone made me happy and helped me forget about sneaking outside. But wait, there’s another project.

While I was purchasing those canisters I also ran across some nifty little containers to put my spices in and create my own cute little spice area. I have long had one of those random, odd sized, bagged versus plastic versus glass spice sections in my cooking cupboard. No more. They are all nicely contained, labelled and organized. I would show you a picture but my camera is dead and I didn’t want to wait around for it to charge so just use your imaginations to see a highly organized spice cupboard and my smiling face along side.

I feel very productive even though I would rather be digging and pulling and feeling useful outside. Arthritis sucks big time. I would give anything on days like this to have my 35-40 year old, pre-arthritis body back.

Life in leaps and bounds

I just realized that it’s been a few days since I posted anything here.

I was rather cryptic in my last post about the wonderful son and older daughter because a few things in their lives hadn’t been quite finalized. I have no serious belief that anyone that would have mattered or cared reads this blog, but I am extremely conscious of the fact that just when you think non of those important people have a clue about a single word that is created by you, they somehow do–have a clue that is and it can turn into a post that maybe shouldn’t have been posted.

So you know the daughter and family have been sitting and waiting for their new home to take shape and finally that process has begun. They have a foundation and have been told that their home will be ready (fingers crossed) in July. That was great news but the even greater news was that, after a few years of dislike verging on hate of a job that went way beyond stressful and even dangerous at times, the daughter has a new position!

She actually interviewed for about three separate jobs within a short time and chose the one that she felt was going to be the most conducive to her life at this moment. It is within the same healthcare system that she is employed by now, but not in a hospital setting. She, along with three other RN’s, a few LPN’s, a few MA’s and the requisite number of physicians, will be opening a brand new clinic just ten minutes from the new home.

This position will gear up at the end of this month. That means that my 2nd job as a tutor will undoubtedly be coming to an end a few weeks sooner than I anticipated. I didn’t honestly see myself returning to that job next fall. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know my feelings on the system housing this 2nd job and my disenchantment with the whole process. I will miss the kids and feel slightly guilty that I won’t complete the entire year with them but I know that I am doing something important by providing care for my granddaughter versus my questioning the impact of my tutoring and finding not too much to feel good about in that area.

Onward to the son. You all know that he will be married in October. You may also know if you’ve followed for a while that his career has taken many odd ups and downs and turns since graduating from college. A short recap:

He landed a job early on in college thanks to a friend working in environmental science, a position that had nothing what-so-ever to do with his goal of a music major. This man is amazing though as he is self-taught in so many areas. He set up systems and programs and basically created a functioning program for this university department while being rewarded with low wages, no wages, lay offs, attempts at legitimate placement, run around from the university and HR and others, and just general crap for many years. He needed a job though and so stuck it out with the hope that one day he would be an official, titled employee, never imagining it would take 5+ years and more headaches than anyone should have to endure.

Just about one week ago he was finally made a real employee, meaning he was recognized with some titled department position rather than being this odd guy who sort of ran the program but in a non-official way. One day later he was offered and accepted a position with a company that works in development and data analysis for major wireless providers around the world. His salary with the new position will bring a gain of roughly $30,000 per year in income over what he was offered by the university.

So here’s this guy who has been trudging along, creating technology without formal training, making barely enough to live and overnight his life changes. It strikes just me how ironic this is. I took a creative writing course for fun about one year ago and wrote of a man whose life was music, and who through a chance meeting, found his life to be incredibly altered in a very positive way. That story was sort of my dream, my wish for my son. The ending there was that he was proceeding down a career path with his music. The ending in real life is that music will always be his passion, but his career path will be his second love, built from a natural ability that we saw glimpses of from childhood. Through a chance encounter his life has turned around. This is the man who as a child would sit for hours in between saxophone practice and composing music and take computers apart, write programs, and create with a minimal background.

Thus all of this good fortune yet not luck really, but skill and determination and drive and desire on the part these two siblings has allowed them to achieve something amazing for themselves and their families.

It doesn’t get much better in my opinion.