Monday, December 29, 2008

This is hard stuff

I work in a clinic with low income, medically and socially complex people. On average, the patient load is between twelve and twenty two per day. The pace is fast for primary care. Its not the ER, but its no cake walk either. I've adjusted, so far, pretty well to the pace and level of complexity. I think that this is because my life has been pretty stressful up til now. Now, I have to do two things really; work and take care of myself. Cake walk.

For those of you who don't really know what a Cake Walk is, here's your explanation. During a street fair in small town mid-west, the Ladies Aid Auxiliary or whoever makes a bunch of baked goods. A circle is marked out with numbers on the street. A flock of cake-loving contestants stand at each number and, while music plays, the contestants walk around the circle. Suddenly the music stops with each person on a number. A member of the LAA calls out a number and the one lucky person standing on that number wins a cake. Yay, cake!

But I digress.

So, the other thing I'm working on these days is forgiveness. It's a long story. But for the three of you who read my blog, you know what I'm talking about. I don't know if a person can really move forward and live without forgiveness. I stumbled upon this exercise on Pema Chodron's website ( Yeah, I didn't know that Buddhist monasteries had websites but here ya go. It is powerful.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wanda and I took a walk by the river this morning. It's 54 degrees, sunny, and get this: windless! Gotta love New Mexico. Five days ago we had 6 inches of snow, howling winds, and freezing temperatures. If ya don't like the weather, wait a few minutes.

Its the same way with teenage girls. We've had a high pressure front building for a few days that finally became a full-fledged storm last night. Ten minutes later it passed and there were blue skies again. The conclusion is that I need to nag less and she needs to show more responsibility.

There is something exhausting about constantly needing to re-set boundaries. That's relationships for you, though. Its always a new bone to chew on, or maybe its the same old tooth marked bone that's been buried and dug up again for the 100th time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What goes up must come down

Merry Christmas! I've been out of the bloggers loop for most of December, not due to lack of inspiration but more to lack of sleep and other complications. So much for my goal of continuing three posts per week.

Katie has been here since last Saturday and we've really been having a great time. It makes me miss her even more when she's gone. Her freind Crystal stayed with us on Monday and Tuesday. We had intended to drop her off on Tuesday but the interstate was closed because of snow and ice. She ended up taking the train back down to Albuquerque on Christmas eve.

We went to the Sipapu ski lodge for Christmas eve and Christmas day. We had a white Christmas, with snow falling most of yesterday along with that ridiculous mountain wind that never seems to stop. The big highlight of Christmas was snowboarding lessons and an attempt on the mountain.

Katie and I got our lift tickets and were fitted for boots and boards by some very patient employees and waited for our lesson outside in the snow. Our instructor, a twenty-something guy with cheekbones that could cut paper took us through the basics. Katie, of course, picked it up right away while I spent a good portion of the lesson on my ass. This theme repeated itself through the day.

We took a break for lunch and naps and went back to it. The beginners slope was set to one side of the mountain, obscured by a line of trees. The lift that served that slope was an old-fashioned platter lift. Basically, it's a disk about 8 inches across attached to a single post that drags its victims about 200 meters up the mountain. The platter is spring loaded and is not meant to be sat on. The skier/snowboarder places the platter between their legs and holds onto the post for dear life while heading up the slope.

So, up I went. Katie didn't want to snowboard after lunch so her job was to stand at the bottom of the lift, take pictures and taunt me. I attempted the lift a half dozen times with no success. The farthest I traveled was about 20 yards. Did I mention that one needs to be strapped into their skis or snowboard and be well balanced when riding the lift? After the 6th attempt at the lift and landing square on my tailbone I decided to give it a rest. When I returned to the base of the lift in humiliation I was informed that Katie, either out a well develope sense of competitiveness or out of the shame of watching her "old" mom try to go up the hill while she stayed safely at the bottom, had gone to retrieve her board. She did some practice runs down the lesson hill and came to join me on the lift of doom

I was completely determined that I was not going to be defeated. I attached the safety leash and binding of my rented snowboard and hopped up to the lift. I clung to it with the ferocity of a person clinging to the side of a cliff. For three quarters of the ride I stayed more or less up right but lost my balance about 20 meters from the top. I decided I'd be damned before I'd let go and made the rest of the trip on my backside. Katie joined me about three minutes later. That's when we both realized that Sir Edmond Hillary was right; "Its the getting down part that is the trick".

We had a moment of panic. In front of us stretched the intermediate practice slope and to the right was the beginners slope. Katie opted for the intermediate slope and used her snowboard as a sled. I opted for the beginners slope. Now when I think of "beginner" it is a nice gentle slope with no real turns. Something easy. This was not the case here. The beginners' slope was just as steep as the intermediate side and had the added bonus of a cliff on the right side that dropped through the trees into the river below. It must have taken me a good 15-20 minutes to reach the bottom, most of that time on my rear. The same people passed me three times, included an 8 year old boy shushing along who asked if I was ok. Damn kid.

That was the end of our snowboarding adventure. Neither of us were willing to fight the lift and risk life and limb getting back down again. We packed up our things and came home. We'll probably try it again after our aching muscles have recovered but it won't be anytime soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Happy Birthday Edition

Yesterday I turned 38. If this is what pushing middle age is like- WOW, bring it on!

I had been feeling really lonely lately and was being a little whiney. I was trying to envision my life with 50 cats and it just wasn't making me very happy. Yesterday, though, my wonderful family and friends reminded me of what a wonderful life I have. Starting at 6am I received emails, phone calls and text messages. Even my brother Aaron, who generally maintains radio silence, sent a birthday text. I got flowers from a new beau, had dinner with Vince (a classmate who has come up to work at El Centro) and Katie called and said she'd be staying for the entire Christmas break. All in all a fabulous day.

We try so hard to be independent and emotionally sturdy but its wonderful to be reminded that one is cared for in this world. Here's my favorite of the Thanksgiving pics: Those are my brothers Aaron and Josh and Aaron's baby EJ. I have edited out the wine glass...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Can't Trust the Weather man

Today was just plain ole cold. The temperature stayed in the low twenties all day. It didn't warm up, the sun didn't come out, the wind didn't stop blowing. Just frigid temperatures all day and into the dark night. Flurries were forecast for the late afternoon and evening. That would have been nice. A little picturesque coating of white over the trees, a little winter wonderland to complement the twinkling Christmas lights on the plaza.

Did we get snow? NO, we did not. The sky isn't clear but the bright reflective light of a snowy night is absent. So all we have is cold. Great.

Anyway, on the bright side I've no longer got the funk. My energy level is up and I'm upsetting as many applecarts as I can manage while keeping my job and not getting arrested. I'm blowing off my family at Christmas to take Katie to Sipapu ski resort and learn to snowboard. What the hell, I've got health insurance. Its a little more complicated than that of course but I'm not sure I want to get into the whole thing. In a nutshell, it's about getting out of the box I've squeezed myself into trying to please other people. Nutshells are for composting, not for living in.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Over-analyzing My Navel

So I've still been feeling fairly cranky the last few days. Since it's more interesting to poke at the dead snake with a stick and watch it squirm rather than to say "look, a dead snake. I think I'll just let it lie", I'm obsessing over my poor outlook.

After talking to my daughter's stepmom last night, I realized that the anniversary of leaving my 2nd hubby was imminent. It's been nearly two years and both Katie and I have had major improvements in our lives. We don't have to deal with the daily stress of living with a person who's unpredictable behaviour wreaked havoc with our sense of safety, well-being, and self-esteem.

Every day I work to let go of the anger and sadness of that time. For some reason, its not getting any easier. This morning, my father told me that I should throw a party and celebrate my liberation. Maybe that would be a good idea; have some food and a bonfire, invite some friends. It sounds pretty cathartic.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What color is blue

I've fallen pretty squarely into a funk. Thanksgiving was wonderful. Wanda and I went on a couple of great hikes over the weekend. There was a bright spot over the weekend and the house got tidied up and I had some wonderful couch-surfing guests. We soaked at the Montezuma hot springs while the snow fell. Work today was fine, had a great lunch with my colleagues. Wanda and I had a nice walk at sunset. I talked to Katie about Christmas and we did not have an argument (though she's being a little evasive about this boy she likes at school). My favorite cousin, Shad, is coming in from Alabama and we're going to meet in Santa Fe for dinner this week. I have an appointment at Ten Thousand Waves ( for my birthday. Really, there's no reason for it at all.

Its cold and dark. I'm in this weird cycle of hot and cold romance (which has not been blogged about) with a man which is making me a little crazy. My bike still has a flat tire and I haven't ridden in a few weeks. I've been feeling under the weather and have cramps. Blah Blah Blah.

So I'm resisting the urge to go immediately to bed. I practiced my flute and will do a little yoga and take some more ibuprofen. I'm going to start going to the gym with one of the girls from work and not answer my phone for the rest of the week.

Bed sounds pretty nice right now though.