Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jello at my age

A woman of a certain age acknowledges she has occasions for flights of fancy but when she has jello shots two weekends in a row, it makes her reflective.

My tailgating buddy
The first week out of school has gone by so after going into liquid state, the girls have re-materialized into solid form and are into the swing of their summer rituals:  babysitting, diving, running, piano playing, malling, lunching, TV watching.  Jobs you ask?  Well....Chip and I have them.

The cats are having the summer I used to have as a kid.  Out at 9am, home at 9pm.  Dirty and up to no good, holding back their stories because I would worry.

Darling girls at Jimmy Buffett, beautiful and chill
My first summer working in 10 years so far?  Difficult.  Teachers, stay-at-home moms and part-time professionals make up my social circle so while they’re working hard for their kids this summer back and forth to camps, the pool, family vacations, they are “off” in my mind.  I wake up each morning wishing I could just sit in my garden and drink coffee for a few hours then head to the pool or take a bike ride or a paddle or even just clean out a closet.  But then I remember how much that work pays.  I want to say that it makes me savor the weekends and that I make the most of that time, but really it just makes me greedy and anxious for more.  I’m still adjusting, is the politically correct answer and the one people close to me want to hear because they love me.  I’m crabby and unsettled, is the reality.

Glow bracelets really complete an outfit
Outdoor lunch with a friend, Jimmy Buffett, Trivia Night at the pool, gardening, family reunion, glass of wine on the patio…our grown-up summer rituals have also begun.  Despite the feeling that there's never quite enough time on the weekends, all possibilities are entertained and planning is rich with verdant and abundant blooms like my garden.  Not until my ferns start to get crispy and I begin to look at weeds and think, “meh…” will I feel that wistful slide of summer on the down slope.   I hope at that point I can look back and feel like I found that balance, enjoying both summer and working simultaneously.  Jimmy Buffett works all summer, I tell myself.

The sun sets behind a sea of happy drunks--the steep grade of the hill at Alpine Valley
is a cruel joke on all these people after dark.  Many of those above us on the hill were below us later in the evening,
not of their own accord.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A new perspective


And the new view is not just out my window.  Although that's changed, too.  This lovely shot is the view from the porch of my new lake house.  Ok, ours.  That feels very weird to say aloud, even in print.  And so we get to watch a new chapter in our family's life write itself from this vantage point, perhaps even quite literally if I can get Internet there.  Liv and Ally are only mildly impressed and somewhat baffled.  I don't think they see the relevance of a lakehouse to their lives right now and that's probably appropriate from the perspective of a teenager.  It's just a place with a lot of attention-seeking dragonflies and sketchy cell phone service.

front and center which is how we see her
Olivia's high school graduation was executed with Wisconsin precision.  On time start, the reading of each individual's name graduating -- 480 plus students-- in addition to hosting five speakers all in under 90 minutes.  Mussolini must have consulted here at one point in history as I've never been to a school, arts or public event that hasn't run on time or finished within 10 minutes of its scheduled completion.  Compared to Philadelphia time, where start times are merely suggestions for the under part of an over/under bet, Madison time is laughably accurate.

Catching up with Aunt Pol
And the million dollar question?  How does it all feel?  It feels like it's time.  It was nice for our crazy families (ok, just mine is crazy and it may be a small betrayal to write that...and yet I write it anyway) to see each other again.   It came together before the ceremony in a day's long arrival of family like stars on the red carpet one after the other building to a crescendo of an Italian feast at a local restaurant.

I hear they all had fun

The scene from my kitchen window on many sunny summer days

Absolutely no idea if Olivia is the brown haired one or the blond haired one.

It resumed after the ceremony as a wonderful thank-you gathering for family and the neighbors who helped me bring this here child to adulthood with sanitys intact.  Each friend in her own way has had a hand in making this kid feel safe and secure in this world.  She calls them collectively the "aunties" and many live in our backyard.  The phrase "it takes a village..." may be trite from overuse but it's not without absolute meaning.  Because if you can raise a kid by yourself for 18 years, you deserve some sort of recognition or some sort of a job from the United Nations or the Pope or maybe Desmond Tutu.

dinner at Bella Vita, new locally owned restaurant that shows some local love
Almost as good as a hug from JJ Hardy...but not quite

Advice taken with some skepticism
a video assembled by some girls in Liv's class.  truly artful.  liv at around 1:50 secs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Management 101

I spoke up in a meeting today, a big monthly sort of deal with women all doing my job plus a director or two.  I try to contribute, to be visible, because the truth is if I didn't show up they wouldn't even miss me.  Just a little pediatric fish in a big pond of sickest of sick adult care practitioners.  I'm alone in my sunny disposition and pediatric friendly colors.  They rarely smile except when I alone try out some material on them and they think big thoughts about wound healing, urinary infections and heart disease.  Some scary bitches I tell you, although you'd probably want them taking care of you if you were sick.

Later, a woman introduced herself to me because she was "interested to hear my comments" at the meeting.  Uh oh.  Is that a good thing or an "I want to remember your name so I can avoid committee work with you."

My comment was in reference to a journal article about nurses needing to break through professional silence to protect patient safety.  Never having been silent my whole life, it was hard to relate.  But the conversation turned to communication and I reflected that as tricky as it can be for women to manage other women, ironically in the female dominated nursing field we end up spending most of our professional lives deftly managing everybody from patients to doctors without ever having any formal management education or training.  A lot of nurses are just winging it so maybe as advanced practice nurses we should advocate better for management education for our staff groups.

Speaking of women ineffectively managing women, there are 7 days of school left and somebody needs to finish 10th grade before her mother a) checks into Betty Ford or b) sells her to the carnival folk in the deserted defunct Italian restaurant parking lot behind the mall or c) both.

As for the graduating senior, she's unusually sassy as hay'll.  I literally waved a pencil under both their noses tonight and used the words "I'm your mother and I want respect."  It was so absurd, I think it worked.  Thinking that demanding respect will be my new thing.

Thing 1
Thing 2