Friday, February 24, 2006

The Order of Things (Grow Up!)

My life is as demanding as ever, and yet.....

The Order of Things

When I was five I’d walk to school
With little question about the rules.
I knew teachers would like me fine
If I were cheerful and mostly kind.

When I was nine I began to see
My face and grace were mostly me,
But about then I sought to be
Someone else—a mystery.

I tucked my dress in my snowpants
And imagined myself as Sherlock Trance
In the field to solve the case
Of the missing pencil case.

When I was twelve something changed
My hair and body rearranged--
Colorless and very drab--
Though I was funny, I discovered sad.

I learned appearances ruled the roost
And pushed forward the awful truth
That I would not be viewed the way
That winey Natasha became one day.

She’d throw her shoulders back and grin
Knowing that she’d made in
To the elist group of gawky boys
Who loved her cool and polished coy.

When I was fifteen I found a way
To advance myself to where I’d stay—
Popular, cool, myself unique
Still, my inner self dared not peep.

I mastered the tricky art of fame
Built a business, made a name
It was easy to believe
The order of things was to achieve

When I was thirty I met the challenge
Of loving a child and seeking some balance
But even then I tried my best
To push myself without a rest

What mattered most was quite apart
From who I was in my sweet heart.
I began to feel a hole within
Deep and hollow, like empty tin.

I knew enough not to settle
For surface joy made of metal.
So I dropped the charm and tried instead
To be myself, both heart and head

I began to listen more than I spoke
And success became my private joke
About the privilege of a good life
That included truths of loss or strife.

Today I am who I will be
In just this moment, gratefully.
I love and lust and lunge and laugh
I understand when I get half

Instead of whole it hardly matters
Because beneath the wind and chatters
My world is simply full and real
And I’ve become the real real deal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

mom and the hospital

only because my mother fell at the doctor's office, while being helped off the examining table by my brother and godmother, who by the way is 89 years old herself, simultaneously landing flatly on her back and just as flatly hitting her head--only then did she end up at the hospital, this after she had seen 3 doctors in six days, and after a chest x-ray that reassured that she did not have pneumonia.

once admitted, my mother was found to indeed have pneumonia as well as dehydration and a urinary tract infection--all of which had demobilized her in bed for the preceding 8 days. she was given iv's and antibotics, which rejuvinated her long enough to walk up and down the aisle of the hospital wing accompanied by a physical therapist, not just any physical therapist, but the director herself, who proclaimed her able to walk and thus fit to go home.

so it was that after my mother's one night in the hospital, being 90 years old and following an xray and 3 physicians and 4 nurses that all missed all three of her problems--as flatly wrong as her flatly fall--her daughter--myself--was unable to convince the hospitalist--which is a new specialty of doctors who confine their work to hospitals and thereby relieve one's family doctor from visiting or checking up or following through or god forbid treating his or her patient--that my mother could use a little more time, and maybe a little rehab, before being sent home where she lives alone--my mother who is 90--and has been in bed for now 9 days.

despite her daughter's most persuasive efforts, rose is sent home with a somewhat hard fought guarantee that a nurse will visit her two days later. there is some discussion, initially raised by her daughter--me--about home care services and physical therapy and companion assistance since the daughter and son and grandaughter live some distance away, although among them they can cover about 65% of the time, assuming a 90 year old woman with pneumonia, dehydration, urinary tract infection, and how many days in bed now should probably not be left alone, at least now right away, which the hospitalist and social worker patiently listen to and politely advise that home planning of that kind is a family matter, not a hospital service.

ten days later, after she has been again examined by her doctor--in the same exam room where she fell--him declaring my mother sufficiently well that she does not need to see him again for two months--she is still mostly in bed and still mostly sick.

over lunch, delivered reliably by meals-on-wheels and mostly pretty tasty, after the daughter--me--has pursued and managed to uncover ways to get a nurse, a physical therapist, and a homemaker companion to see my mother in her home, for at least a week or two, my mother says to me, "What good is a hospital if they send you home sick?"

My mother is sick but definitely not unobserving, and definitely not stupid.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thought for the Day

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.- Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Why I Write...

Last month I took a weekend writing workshop and was totally amazed by the talent
in our baker's dozen group. I knew I needed to "put myself where I want to be" and
that is exactly what happened.

Many months ago, I submitted a query letter to a few book agents and two
invited me to submit a book proposal. I had read and followed advice that it is best to
write a proposal and sell one's book before completing it--that way you get "paid"
during the writing process and remain necessarily flexible about publishing input.

My "book" is about happiness--are you or aren't you, and what if you are but don't know it because you're using the wrong standards?! It's kind of a serious book, including research about who is really happy and why. It's also about myself, my clients, shared hopes, and what matters most. Anyway,

Long story short, I am still trying to polish up the book proposal to my agent's
satisfaction. In the meantime, I am not sure that the actual form of the book will be what
I would have written if let to my own devices. S0---I decided to write a second book--
from start to finish--before I compromised too much on my first book.

Today I have just about finished book # 2, tentatively titled, "Good Work! Straight Up
Advice on Finding a Career and Building a Life". Since my background includes
helping people start businesses and choose careers, it will be interesting to see how I do
in selling myself. I will start this process in a matter of days.....

Am I explaining why I write? It's pretty simple: It matters.

Best wishes...


Welcome to the "better world" blogsite. Here you will find information,
musings, advice, and my personal stories about life, career, happiness,
and living well. This may come in various forms, but the underlying
effort and intent is to affirm and re-affirm the ability and responsibility
to live a good life.

More to come,