Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good Morning

"Good Morning, Vietnam!"

I don't know why I woke up to one of Robin Williams' screen personae bellowing in my ear, but I did. Figuratively, of course.

I think it's because today is the first day of fall and for the life of me I cannot come up with an expression that is well known for acknowledging the seasons. We acknowledge holidays - usually with "Happy something-or-other," when holidays are notorious for not always being happy times. But we don't really acknowledge the changing of seasons, and I wondered why.

Perhaps it's because, while there is a date and time for the season to change, our realization that it's changed comes with the weather or our schedules, and those don't line up with the scientific definition of season.

Is fall when school starts? August 30: "Happy Fall!"

Does it come when the weather turns and the leaves change color? In California that's Novemberish: "Happy Fall!"

What about people who live somewhere else like Maryland, or Australia?  Pick random day: "Happy Fall!"

So, I see the challenge of acknowledging a season - it isn't always the same day. Also, some people don't like one season or the other, so a "Happy" exultation might not be true for them. I still think the seasons are important enough to be heralded though.

What to do . . .

We could make a national Candy Corn day (I swear I don't know why I love them so, but I do), and then that would announce Fall. For Winter it could be those peppermint patties, Spring would be "Peeps Day," of course (although I'm not fond of those really), and summer would be - tah dah - "Ice Cream Day :)" (with the silly smile face and everything!).

Have you noticed a food theme here?

Fall means oatmeal for breakfast and a big cup of coffee. I wonder what they eat for breakfast in Vietnam?


Jo Taylor

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lost and Found

I've been working on establishing a better routine for my life, so that I get more done and have more time to write. Here I am at Oh-Dark-Thirty wide awake after maybe six hours of sleep. What does that mean? The more I try to organize my time, the more my internal clock gets screwed up.

Maybe I just function better without a routine. Writing my blog is a perfect example at the moment. I have found it nearly impossible to post with any true routine. My thoughts and what I have to say get boring even to me and I really want to say something at least moderately interesting when I do take the time to blog. When I was working 12 hour shifts, most of them were at night, and most of the time I worked 3 on, 4 off. I always thought I would get a routine when I worked "normal" hours. I've worked "normal" hours now since February, but still no set routine. It feels like a failure of mine, but it's a personal failure and therefore not so important as the failures one can see - such as losing something.

I almost never lose any of my stuff (oh, I think I see the Karma sword off in the distance). The funny thing is, stuff is not all that important to me. So if I did lose it, I probably wouldn't care much. I have wonderful people in my life, and I'm lucky enough to have the ability to replace said stuff should it really be an important piece of stuff.

One of the duties of my new job is dealing with people who have lost stuff in the hospital - not that it happens very often, but as you can imagine, sometimes stuff gets lost. It makes me have angst. I care way more about other people's stuff than I do for my own. I have absolutely no control over whether something gets lost and this control freak pretty much freaks out. I really don't like it.

When I worked in the ER as a nurse, I frankly didn't care about people's stuff - I was saving lives dammit! I was never reckless with said stuff, but really, it was so low on the priority list for me, and for the most part, for the patients at that moment. I cared about the person, and cared for the person, and stuff be damned. So I really get it that in crisis moments, stuff gets pushed aside. But now I work on the other end (meaning the administrative type end) and caring for people means that I'm upset for them if something is lost.

What I don't like is the weird mentality that pervades our society of "someone else" being responsible for  your stuff. If you really value your things, take care of them. Don't expect those in service to do everything for you if you are able to do it for yourself.

Yes, I know, sometimes people's stuff is more important to them than life, or they are temporarily unable to care for themselves, much less their stuff. I have a nebulous concept of that. But because I personally don't care about stuff, I think the angst I feel is more about having to care about it. I'll get over it. My personal value system usually meshes with my work, and it certainly won't affect the performance of my duties, but I think this one issue speaks volumes on a societal level.

Do you ever notice how many Self Storage places there are? Why do we have so much stuff? I have an absolutely astounding amount of stuff and I try to use it or give it up, but if the house burned down, there is nothing material I would have wanted to save. (It would be bad if it burned down because my husband is a fire chief - but that's an embarrassing kind of bad).

My novel that is complete, but not finished (meaning revised, edited, perfected) is about a girl who is compelled to pick up the clothes she finds lying in the road. Her mother is a hoarder. It's all about how we value stuff and let it take over our lives. So, I think about this topic a lot. Do you ever wonder how/why those various and sundry pieces of clothing end up on the road? I do. I have a theory that there is a portal from the dryer to the roadway and that's where all of the socks go.

Now I've spent more words on the subject and am no closer to any kind of personal resolution than I was before. I do have another kind of lost and found story that is part of the reason for my absence of late. In mid August, we went to Hawaii for two weeks. It was great, fun, great fun. When we came home, our dog Jessie did not seem very enthused to see us and I thought she was mad at us for leaving her for so long. The next day she was still not herself and I noticed her gums were pale. The diagnosis was a hemangiosarcoma and our sweet Jessie died on September 14th. She was the best dog we ever had, and we miss her.

I swore I would not get another dog . . . for about 2 days. What we lost could not be replaced. But we found another puppy. We'll bring her home in November - a black lab girl born on the 19th of September. We don't have a name for her yet, but we can't wait to get her.

So this loss, and find, is an exchange of the immaterial kind. I much prefer that kind of lost and found, even if it is more personally painful, because if it hurts, it means that it meant something.

Jo Taylor