Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Making Of America.
Lately I've been watching politicians carefully and closely. Looking for their platforms, and their favored causes, I got so deep in all of this I dragged out history books. Old ones, 'cause that's where you'll find the real stuff, events you were part of. Whoever wrote them can't make us more campaign promises, or how the economy will be, or wars will turn out. It is just what it is.

Seeing the one hundred year event in Denver this week, noticing the candidates' fresh new hope, gave me energy to work longer at campaign headquarters, making call after call. I am on such a high about this election, almost makes me wish I could be for both parties. The voices I heard from the other end of the phone calls make me remember how much we need great leaders for our country. Most of those voices sounded eager for better tomorrows for all of us,

As our country's government formed, an unlikely social triangle developed that in many ways continues today. Its three parts were the slavery of Blacks; the treatment of Native Americans, and the refusal to allow basic human rights to women.

When I set out to write this, I thought to show facts only about this trio, but realized that many aspects of the prevaling culture they found themselves in greatly affected their time on this earth.

The following list at the end of my thoughts here grows and grows. It is taken from Culture And Important Dates In American History, The New York Public Library Desk Reference, 3rd. edition, A Simon and Shuster MacMillan Company: 1633 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019. Copyright 1988, 1989, 1993.

1607- The first European settlement in America is established at Jamestown, Virginia.

1619- The first black slaves land at Jamestown, Virginia.

1619- The first representative assembly in America, is established in Virginia.

1647- Margaret Brent is the first woman to claim the right to vote.

1688- The first formal protest against slavery is made, by Pennsylvania Quakers.

1712- A slave revolt in New York leads to the excution of 21 blacks; 6 commit suicide.

1741- The second slave uprising takes place in New York; 13 are hanged, 13 burned; and 71 deported.

1749- Black slavery is legalized in Georgia.

1758- The first Indian reservation is established.

1779- George Washington orders a military campaign against the Iroquois, The Battle of
Tippecanoe, thwarting plans for an Indian Confederacy.

1808- The importation of slaves is outlawed. 250,000 are illegally imported between
and 1860.

1811- While Shawnee Chief Tecumseh is away making alliances with other tribal
eaders, Indiana Governor, Wm. Henry Harrison and one thousand men destroy his
settlement in the Battle of Tippecanoe, thwarting plans for an Indian confederacy.

1830- President Jackson signs the "Indian Removal Act."

1838- Cherokees begin "the Trail of Tears", their 1200 mile forced march to Oklahoma.

I848- The first Women's Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls, N Y.

1857- The Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court upholds Slavery. This decision also
stated that slaves are not citizens of any state, or of the United States.

1860- A nationwide shoemakers' strike wins workers higher wages, and the National Labor
Union is founded.

1861- The Civil War begins.

1862- Slavery is abolished in Washington, D. C.

863- President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclomation, freeing the slaves.

1864- Black prisoners of war are massacred by Confederate soldiers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

864- One hundred thirty three Cheyenne and Arapahoe are killed by Colorado Cavalry v
volunteers at Sand Creek, the Sand Creek Massacer.

1865- The Confederacy surrenders, and the Civil War ends.

1865- The Ku Klax Klan is formed in Pulaski, Tennessee.

I868- The fourteenth amendment is ratified. Grants due process to all but Native Americans.

1869- Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony establish the National Women's Suffrage
Association to press for women's voting rights.

1872- Susan B Anthony is arrested for voting.

1875- The Civil Rights Act gives equal rights to Blacks in public accomodations, and jury duty.

1896- The Supreme Court upholds the "Separate but Equal" doctrine.

1903- Mary Harris leads a week long march of child mill workers from Pennsylvania, to President Theodore Roosevelt's New York City home.

1905- The Niagra Movement later to become the NAACP, is founded.

1908- Women demonstrate in New York City, demanding an end to sweat shops and child

1911- The triangle Shirt Waste fire in New York City kills 146 Sweat Shop workers, mostly
women, and leads to demands for better working conditions.

1914- The Colorado National Guard burns a striking miners'camp and kills thirteen children
and seven adults in the Ludlow Massacre.

1915- The Women's International Leage for Peace and Freedom is founded, and 25,000
women march in New York City, demanding the right to vote.

1916- The national Women's Party is founded. The first birth control clinic opens in Brooklyn.

916- Margaret Sanger is arrested for operating a birth control clinic.

1917- Women picket the White House for the right to vote.

1920- Hallelujah! It's about time........Fifty one years after Stanton and Anthony began

campaigning for it, the ratification of the 19th amendment gives women the right
to vote, and the Leage of Women Voters is founded.

1921- The Ku Klux Klan begins a revival against Blacks in the North, South and Midwest.

1921- Margaret Sanger establishes the American Birth Control Leage, the predecessor to
Planned Parenthood.

1923- Under presidential pressure, U. S. Steel institutes the eight hour work day.

1924- Native Americans are declared citizens by Congress.

1929- The Stock Market crashes, and the Great Depression begins.

1933- President Roosevelt closes all U.S. banks during 100 days. A special session of
.Congress passes the National Recovery Administration and the Tennessee Valley
Authority, TVA, and the WPA.

1935- The National Labor Relations Act, recognizing workers' right to organize and bargain collectively, passes.

1935- President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act

1944- Congress passes the G I Bill of rights, providing veterans' benefits.

1965- The Supreme Court holds that "the rite of privacy" covers the use of contraceptives.

1967- Two hundred thousand people march against the Vietnam war, in New York City.

1971- Five hundred thousand demonstrate in Washington D. C. against what some call
America's Longest War, Vietnam.

1973- Oglala Sioux occupy Wounded Knee, South dakota, and declare an independent Oglala
Sioux nation.

1978- The "Longest Walk" by 300 Native Americans begins, to protect treaty rights.

It takes a while to get through three wars, and the need to change important things in our country. I could not list them all here. What I got from revisiting this part of our history
is that our freedoms did not come easily. Many died. Many were treated horribly, and those who campaigned on our behalf for women's rights were ridiculed and disdained, as if they did not know their assigned place in society.

Those who live on Indian reservations could use some charity from we who live more freely. If you really care about the social plight our race placed on blacks, resolve to have no part in keeping it alive with off color jokes, or stories thinly disguised as humor. While much has been achieved regarding women having basic rights, there is more to be done. The best way I know to strengthen a right is to use it, as in this coming election. Every time I pull a voting machine lever, I will remember that brave souls before me made sure I could.

  posted at 7:19 PM  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Everyday Life And Flag Waving
At the risk of sounding a little like Charles Dickens, it was the best of shifts, it was the worst of shifts, depending upon your perspective. A required employee meeting chewed up almost two hours of our time, but starting late was only one part of the problem.

As I neared the nursing station, some things looked rearranged, I thought housekeeping was doing heavy duty cleaning. But that usually didn't entail moving more than sixty patients' medical charts somewhere else.They were nowhere around. Then I noticed most of the stations' chairs were gone, and buckets of icky looking stuff setting around, and rolls of carpet stuck out in places you wouldn't want a child to play on, and certainly not eighty to ninety plus year old patients to walk around.

Records and forms and nursing care helps looked like they weren't stacked anywhere, but had landed wherever somebody tossed them. Phones were rearranged in places hard to get to quickly. In the halls workmen were installing new carpet. As they slathered sticky stuff on the floor with tools that looked like giant pancake flippers, it reminded me of a children's story character and his blue ox, Babe, greasing a giant griddle to make their pancakes on.

But I quickly returned to the reality of getting patients to and from the dining room for supper, and trays to those who stayed in their rooms, and doing baths, and how I could give medicines before the patients fell asleep.

I trudged down the hall, careful to not step in the way of the workers, and knocked on the room of a lady I thought may be German. Other times I've been in her room, I've noticed she has a small red, white and blue miniature stuffed elephant that is waving an American flag. She seems happy someone takes time to be with her, so I ask how she feels about the election, and a torrent of emotion surprises me.

"I come from Germany,", she says, "A long time ago". Her teeth seem to be closer together. It is like they bite down to hold a thought as she speaks. "We lost everything. They took everything." She stops for a moment, and I worry she is over tired, but she's only remembering. "We had a fine home, and a summer home, with a lake, and cars. And we had money.Somehow we get to America, a place called Tennessee", She gets very quiet. Her teeth and her shoulders relax, then she looks at her little stuffed elephant who is still flag waving, and smiles at me. "In America we vote" she says, and her words erase my concerns about getting through the shift, or how our country will be. "In America we vote."

  posted at 12:50 AM  

Monday, August 18, 2008
Life Moving On.
The last time I was here much of it was about going on a job interview. I still don't know if the assisted living place may offer it to me, but either way is alright. I've decided to not work there.

It is a beautiful place for the elderly to live in and enjoy, but not the kind of work I'm looking for. Most of the time I'd be doing huge amounts of paper work, and have very little interaction with the residents. There are also concerns about breaching guidelines for knowing residents' whereabouts, and handling medications, especially narcotics. I don't see the job interview as a waste of time. I think it's good to learn various kinds of caregiver places, and it's another study in being interviewed. I learned things in this one that could help in others. So I'll keep working where I am for now, and not worry about where I may be later, for there are other things to be doing.

Some of you ask how the book I'm writing is coming along, and I'm happy to tell you this morning I wrote chapter 14. Woman doesn't live only to work at home or in the village meeting place. It helps to have something else you so love doing, so we don't give the drudgery of making a living more importance than we should.

Other news to share, if you haven't already, click on "A Chelsea Morning" to see daughter, Barb smiling out at you on her birthday. Chances are you may also see her two so loved grand children, and of course, the name sake of her blog, the poor little doggy who got febrezed, but survived it. Another daughter you all know, Bev, at "Scratchin' The Surface" is back home after a marathon to choose their next home. When she has time to exhale, we will probably see pictures of it, with plans for turning it into a home.

Nothing outstanding going on here. It's nice not having broken car door handles. But two or three days of heavy rain made new leaks in the sun room. I consider myself greatly blessed that a son lives nearby, and has already got the supplies to fix them.

No complaints, life is good. It is time to put on my scrubs, and go see how the patients at the nursing home are doing. Hope your day is going as well as mine.

  posted at 11:18 AM  

Friday, August 15, 2008
Miscellaneous Prayers and Thanks.
I owe much of what's happening to "Rocking Chair Reflections" Linds. When I went on and on recently about how to change my work situation, Linds said this: "God has plans. But like Moses, we need to step into the water before He parts it".

I struggled with the discomfort of making big changes; leaving some things, while reaching for others, and decided Linds is right.

I don't know how good a swimmer Moses may have been. I barely qualified as a dog paddler. I embarrassed my whole family once by chickening out on the town's high school high dive, and crawled back down the pool ladder. But I'm here to tell you I am ready to try again. A few days ago I spent hours filling out job aplications, and took two of them to local nursing places. Today one of them called, wanting me to come talk with them. I think there's a chance I may get the job. So thank you for your caring and your prayers.

Considering my hesitating to "take the plunge", I wonder why some of us sometime put up with the familiar, when we know how bad it is, instead of dealing with having to make changes. I think important things are sometimes mislabeled. What can possibly be comfortable about that mysterious comfort zone, that leaves you hanging; kind of like when I was on the high dive.

  posted at 10:48 PM  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Life, Its Bits And Pieces
Daughter Barb, at "A Chelsea Morning" said something I can learn from. She's been sewing endless hours, turning her little Santa stars inside out. It's intricate work you need tweezers for, for crying out loud, until she said she couldn't look another Santa star in the face, or words to that effect. Being her mom, I understand her Southern expressions, and I also recognize overload. as she sews like she's a one woman factory.

Barb dealt with it by setting her Santa stars aside, and enjoying a few nanoseconds of the Olympics, and then declaring war aganst killer crickets. I dealt with my own kind of stress by getting together with a friend and her six year old daughter. We were to have supper and then go to church. Because they are Korean, choice of where to eat is almost always oriental, which is fine with me, as long as there's some shrimp. I'm quite a bit like Forrest Gump's army buddy, I don't need a menu, just name the different ways to cook those oceanic crawfish.

As soon as we got to this marvelous place, the little girl, who can fix her own plate now, headed straight for the seafood. She piled several clams cooked in their shells, and steamed mussels, and a shis- ke-bab of to die for chicken, and topped it all off with, that's right, shrimp. She eats like her mother, adores foods loaded with protein. Doesn't waste empty stomach space on fattening carbs.

I've come to believe she also thinks like her mother. A few years ago her mom and I worked in the same nursing home. I'd heard there was some heavy drinking going on, but didn't know how serious it was, until it got so bad she ended up in a rehab program. That was about four years ago, and she has, as they say down South, done herself proud.

It was a no nonsense live in rehab. Their rules were designed to help alcoholics reclaim their lives, and while a big number of them fell by the wayside, she did it well. As a nurse, she was governed by the state nursing board. Numerous required therapy meetings, and expensive lab tests went on for a few years.

No one would hire her in nursing. There's much abuse in the medical field of narcotics and alcohol. What I remember most about her ultimate fall in it, is that never, not ever once did she put the blame, the responsibility for what she had done on anyone else. Words like haughty and being too proud are not in her vocabulary. She is thankful and humbled by all of it. Last year a nursing home hired her. No more paychecks of only seven or eight dollars an hour.

We sat in the heavily seafood laced buffet, my own plate piled as high as the six year olds, and there's still different kinds of shrimp we haven't checked. I may never get to the dessert bar. I asked my old nursing partner what's going on in her life now. and wasn't at all surprised when she said she's paying off some bills, and soon will begin her R.N. training, and after that plans to become a physician's assistant. It wouldn't be socially right to not include my friend's bursting with energy daughter in our conversation. I love asking little people questions because they are so honest, and still hold on to hope and wonder. I said, as if it were frivolous, tell me again what you plan to be when you grow up. Last year this child was so taken with how my stethoscope worked, and perhaps saw one hanging on a nurse's shoulders, she decided to become a nurse. But knowing it's much more than that, and today there may be more options, I gently suggested, "you don't have to stop at being a nurse. If you want to, you can be a doctor." That's how our talk went then. Today, when I asked the growing up question again, my young friend gleamed at me, and said, as calmly as her mom had about her future, "I want to be a scientist." I couldn't let something that important just lay, so I asked her what scientists do. She said they wear pretty white lab coats with big pockets, and do things that help people cure diseases. Contrary to what you'll hear in the morning news, I think our country is in pretty good hands with this generation.

  posted at 12:08 AM  

Monday, August 11, 2008
Breaking Free
I haven't written much here lately, but what I have has been negative, or leaning that way, and I feel I should apologize for laying that on you. But there is hope, there's a lot of it.

Help for dealing with life's problems comes from various places. I suppose if I don't listen to God's and His angels' hints about it, He or they try something else to get my attention. Yesterday a gem of that came from across the Seas. Though she has more than enough to deal with, herself, Linds at "Rocking Chair Reflections" wrote a beautiful and helpful devotional about stones. It was much more than thoughts on what our earth is made of, and she ended it by asking what we do with the stones in our lives.

I had to think some on that, for many have come my way. I am not turning negative again here, I promise. I answered Lind's question this way. I thank God for lots of things, but more than any of the good things, I thank Him for the stones rained down on me. I didn't like it when some of them fell, but oh the serendipities they bring.

I remember a psychology teacher, to get across a point, told of being in a special needs class, where another student bullied her. My teacher would not talk, would not say anything. She just sat there staring ahead, and they assumed she was deaf and dumb.

When her teacher wasn't looking, the other student would pull her hair, or kick her under the seats, but she didn't fight back, until one day he leaned over and spit right on her face, and the insult of it woke her sleeping fears she had until then, protected with muteness. That little girl eventually earned a Masters' degree, and stands out as the best of college instructors.

We need to understand that David had much more going for him than fighting the giant who expected to turn him into putty. Chances are David wasn't thinking of anything then, but where to aim the stones he held in his hands. We know the rest of it. We do have some choices when we hold the stones life sends. We can keep our fears and doubts about ourselves tucked away, but not using our strengths, our talents, our possibilities, is a giant price to pay for dodging the stones.

That is how I feel about my knee injury. And my awful working conditions. I think you might even be a little proud of me. When work called today, wanting me to work a station none of you would leave your Mom or Dad on, I told them no. There are jobs somewhere, maybe even different kinds of jobs. I truly believe God didn't take care of me all these years, to leave me to work in a place like that. But there is something else that is important, too.

God had future plans for young David, and He has plans for you and me. Perhaps I will not write a best seller, or do any other creative thing. The point of this is, if I'm constantly dealing with knee pain, or working conditions that suck life out of me, all of my energy goes for those things. Not much is left for talents or abilities the stones keep me from seeing. Creativity
and contemplative thinking cannot begin. So bring the stones to me. I will deal with the job hunting, and tonight I'll write another chapter of my book. I cannot stand wading in this wasteland that keeps me from me.

  posted at 12:47 PM  

Thursday, August 07, 2008
Human Resources, Where Are You!
Familiar roads draw me toward the mountain peaks. At work not a single car slot is open in the parking lot, but I 'm early, so pull over and wait for a car to leave. Without checking calendars I know there's an employee meeting, and head in that direction.

Nursing staff and other employees see me, and wave my way. A few thought I quit working there, since I'd been gone more than two months, dealing with the knee problem. When I got ready for work today, I wondered how I'd feel being back. Everything looks pretty much as it did before. Residents tooling along in their wheelchairs say hello, or wave at me. A huge renovation
is going on in one of the nursing units. Painting, papering, installing new fixtures for more residents.

I go to where I'm scheduled and it looks the same. Nurses hurry to finish required paperwork, while sharing a station about the size of an overgrown taxi stand. Everything in me wants to turn around and leave.

Residents are lined up in wheelchairs, as aides hurry to meet their needs. One man needs a shave so badly, and I notice dried food stuck to his stained clothes, and don't know whether to cry, or get mad about it. It should not be this way.

The day shift nurse and I do report and count the narcs, and check more of them in a fridge in a utility room. This nurse looks at me and says she's been there only a short time."Is it always this heavy a work load", she says more than asks, and continues, "I keep hoping I can find a better place to work". "Are they all the same?" We look at each other. If I did speak I'd be talking to myself. The questions go unanswered.

She tells me she's headed to her doctor, to get a cortisone shot for bone spurs. I try to lighten things by saying something about being the walking wounded, but this nurse is serious about working conditions, and her bone spur pain.

The evening is hard to keep up with. All the resident beds are filled. The medicine cart is stuffed full of pills for them. Paper work that can wait does, as the hours outrun me. I don't know many of the patients, so med pass takes longer. At a quarter to one o'clock in the morning, I complete my work, and can leave. My knee that was doing so good reminds me it's been working too hard tonight. I suppose it could be worse, maybe a bone spur, but the pain coming back scares me. I was just getting able to do some of my yard work.

At home I'm so wound I don't even try to go to sleep. It's about three a.m. when I can. The next work day is about the same, except I got out a little earlier. but again, you can't do the work and drive home, and hop right in bed, so I'm up til wee hours, and sleep so late the next morning I completely forgot Comcast was coming to switch my phone and computer service. I feel bad about that, and have to reschedule, but am not up to it today.

This situation is no different than it's always been, and not likely to change. I've given a lot of thought to it, and realize As I'm posting this, it is not just the awful working conditions. It is everything that's decent about myself being violated, when I have to walk by a resident, and can't take time to clean their bearded face, or change soiled clothes. I do not understand why State and federal rules, laws even, allow workloads that result in this, I cannot be a part of it anymore.

I already have a stack of employment applications, and will fill them in, and check on openings at Assisted Living places. I am considering having a sign made for my car, something about Nurse Granny taking care of homebound oldies, only saying it more nicely. They and their families could use some nursing TLC.

  posted at 9:50 AM  

Sunday, August 03, 2008
Wistful Thinking
I haven't written much here lately. Today feels like the last of a needed break, which it kind of is. I'll be back at work tomorrow. Yesterday I found myself trying to use every moment like it would be a long time til I could again.

I took care of errands, and guarded my free time like I'd never have more. Last night I wrote a long chapter seven of the book, and as soon as I started early morning lawn watering, I sat right here, and wrote all of chapter 8. If you're thinking of doing therapy, I can save you lots of money. Rope off a lot of personal time, and beginning as far back as you can remember, take another look at yourself. It doesn't have to be, shouldn't have to be, negative and sad. Just look at the trails you blazed, and maybe that will help you understand yourself and others. The biggest surprise in all of it was feelings I've carried around for years. It is more than sweet bliss to hold them again for a moment , and let go of them.

I took time to visit a nearby church yesterday, during their open house event. I liked what I saw there - friendliness all over. People maybe as old as me cooking hotdogs, or serving lemonaide, or making cotton candy, and popcorn, and kids and young people all over the place, with most of their faces painted. The pastor and his wife were working as hard as anybody else, probably more. It does take time and effort to keep those children away from all that goes on in our present world. Speaking of religion, my summer reading devotional is centered around Max Lucado's "Next Door Savior". If you can read this book, and not be affected by it, I don't know what other reading material to suggest.

This time I've spent getting my knee well again is a huge gift. When I got out of bed this morning, I remembered weeks of not being able to bear weight on it, but I am walking now, and hope to never take that for granted again.

The house could use some heavy duty cleaning, and most of the yard, but I've mopped and cleaned and spiffied up what matters. I will go to work, and drive the miles, but from now on work only gets a part of me. I am saving the rest to put in chapter nine of a book that although I lived it, can hardly believe it.

Excuse me while I choose a lighthearted movie to see. There's still several hours left in this last day off. I leave you with some wonderful words I once stumbled onto:

If I Had My Life To Live Over by Nadine Stair

I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax. I would limber
up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer
things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more
mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less
beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer
imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour
after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had it to do
over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead
of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the
spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I
would ride merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

  posted at 11:01 AM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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