Sunday, November 30, 2008

In spite of common sense...

If I were being sane and rational I would not have brought home a free yellow lab, golden retriever mix puppy yesterday. But I was operating in "the zone" and conventional wisdom need not apply...

Occasionally I have days that flow from the moment I get up until I go to bed. No matter what happens, good or ill, it feels right. It feels like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing, connected with a higher power, the collective unconscious... Yesterday was just such a day.

I will try to keep this short. I posted stuff to sell on craigslist and it sold to people who instantly connected with me. They even had some of the same stuff I own in their home... similar minds/tastes/decorations. They had a dog, Daisy, who greeted me lovingly, which is not always common for the rogue beagle... I dropped off the little stove I sold them and we talked for an hour. They showed me their home, introduced me to their cats and we just clicked...

Next I went to my pet sitting appointment where I get along with the totally insane cat that Alycat passed on to me as a client. Even that felt right as Kikikat and her human live just up the street from my sister...

Driving to my next appointment (a human teen) I felt a wash of positive energy and realized that despite being broke, the lousy economy, the lousy week I just had, all the negative stuff that had happened, I was ridiculously happy and so grateful for everything and everyone in my life...

I met the client and we attempted to go to Wolf Run, but it was closed. As I was thinking, "hmmm maybe the Humane Society", she asked "Could we go to the Humane Society?" I laughingly said "Fate intervenes" and off we went. We got there, looked at dogs and cats and resisted adopting any of them.

Then as we were leaving, there was a women holding a golden puppy. Oh cute! I thought, a baby golden retriever...

The woman saw me looking and called out "Would you like a free puppy who has been neutered?"
Against my better rational judgment I walked over. She explained she had gone shelter to shelter, all were overcrowded and would probably euthanize him, LHS couldn't take him because she didn't live in Fayette Co. She was crying, he was fixed, and well, I am a sucker for a sob story....

So I woke the hubster holding a puppy. He can't resist me and a puppy apparently.

Now here comes the conventional wisdom defying part...

Jake (the pup) doesn't chase the cats, he doesn't get growled at by Molly. Sniffy Pie has groomed him already. He is already going to the back door when he needs to go potty. He knows sit. He sat perfectly still while I bathed him and then blew him dry w/ a hair dryer. He kennels up in a cat carrier....
He seems pretty healthy, he is already neutered (the most expensive part of puppydom) and he rarely barks or yips. Its as if he were meant to be our dog...

He will be trained and certified as a therapy dog. He may be our first animal with a job. I will keep you posted.

To quote my big bro the preacher, "sometimes you just gotta walk out on Faith..."

It's a God thang... dog thang... God thang. You decide.

His name is Jake. Maybe changing to Teddy. He was neutered. And Free. (Like there's really such a thing as a free puppy! HA!)
He is not chasing the cats, bugging Molly or being overly hyper or barky. After less than 24 hours he is getting the hang of housebreaking. Yes. I am an idiot...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Taking quizzes... and the results

The Medieval Career Quiz:
Many years ago there was a period of time that is often casually called "Medieval." It was a time, so the story tellers tell us, of tiny kingdoms, brave knights and ferocious dragons.

Transportation and travel were both crude and difficult, usually necessitating that each kingdom be as self sufficient and self reliant as possible. So it was very important that within each kingdom all the major crafts and professions of the day were ably represented to insure the survival of the kingdom. In the English language we still see remnants of some occupations in the familiar surnames such as Smith, Carpenter, Miller and Baker to name just a few.

Interestingly enough, beyond the specific title the vocation also took on its own greater personality. This personality preference can also give a broader understanding of the basic complementary style and types necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any organization's success. Although the specific vocation influenced the name, it was no accident that certain personality types and styles gravitated to certain occupations. The personality of these jobs suited the inclinations of the job holders, and the predecessor to modern day job descriptions was born. The successful matching of a job-holder's personality to the personality and unique requirements of the job was necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any organization's success. The successful kingdoms more than likely were able to blend the differences into a powerful and formidable entity. With today's diverse workforce, the corporate kingdom that acknowledges and nurtures these personality preferences could become an organization as successful as the Camelot of old.

Even though we now appear to have the freedom to explore many different career alternatives, we still have a medieval vocational personality within each of us. This personality, properly identified and understood, can motivate our success but, if ignored, may set the stage for our ultimate failure. Since times appeared to be simpler then, let us return to the kingdoms of medieval Europe and see what we would have done then, regardless of what our names are now.

Your distinct personality, The Shepherd is to tend to your human flock. You understand the needs of those for whom you are responsible. Shepherds are vigilant and reliable. You realize your obligation and commitment to the well being of those entrusted to your care. Shepherds are very dependable. You engender a feeling of comfort and stability to those within your charge. On the positive side, Shepherds can be empathic, caring, understanding, practical and realistic. On the negative side, you may be manipulative, close-minded and sentimentally rigid. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

old poems i found in my documents...

by Martha Parks Johnson

The first snow would fall
in the secret of night.
I’d wake to find
A wonderland of white ice.
My breath would lightly
frost the window
and I would hug my quilt tight
as Daddy stirred the sleeping
embers of fire
into waking blaze.

Later bundled in his old Pea jacket
in boots a size too large
I would step the first step
into the hushed wilderness.
I would wander throughout
the field discovering tracks
of squirrel and fox,
pausing to see
the tiny chit chit scratching
of chickadee and wren.

In the orchard
trees were black against
the aching whiteness,
stark and gnarled like an
old man’s hand upon his cane.
The cedars feathery and green
defiant in their vividness
danced along fence rows
as I clapped with delight
startling the jays and grackles
into flight , dark specters
against the jewel blue of sky.

Beyond the Veil
by Martha Parks Johnson

pure and shimmering
intensely white
me in.

my breath hastens
to slip
from my body.

My heart
ceases to beat.
I am floating
spinning in the light

No longer flesh
No longer bone
I am fleeting
I am,
I become
Pure and shimmering
intensely white.

Too Numb

I have forgotten how to grieve,
Leaving the land of loss
I left the skill

Tucked out of sight,
I didn’t remember
how searing
the pain of death
could be.

Watching the body slow,
watching the breath soften
and still
watching the light dim

All these things
I forgot.

I forgot the feeling of the heart
pulsing to the beat of the clock
until the last second came
and went
and the heart stopped
stilled to beat no more.

I forgot the tears that flow
hot and scalding
rivers of grief
overflowing running
down the cheeks
salty and slick

I forgot the wrenching
of the breath as I held it
the sobs escaping

I forgot it all
I forgot how to let go.
And now I must remember
and let the pain
once again...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Like Bread

They are but flashes,
crumbs too soon swept away,
these moments,
and some, too few,
I gather up in hand,
just for a moment too,
and taking them like bread,

I give thanks.


I found this a beautiful blog. I am trying hard to be thankful and live in the present and not worry. It ain't easy, is it?

RIP Tommy

Once again I drove the 2 plus hours home to say goodbye...

Tom (always known as Tommy to me!) died last weekend...
Tommy is the brother of my BFF of 34 years, Diane. I have been around this family most of my life. I know the layout of their childhood home almost as well as my own. I have so many pleasant memories of this family. And of course Diane has been with me through thick and thin...

Tommy was the cool senior guy who always spoke to us lowly, giggling, awkward freshmen girls. He always seemed really interested in whatever I had to say when I was at their home. Tommy always took time to listen. When I talked to him, I felt the full measure of his attention. I felt special. Apparently everyone who encountered him felt the same way.

Tommy was a huge man. Tall and broad, yet incredibly graceful and gentle. Qualities that I see in the hubster. Perhaps Tommy was one of my role models for what I wanted in a mate. Because he made me feel special, safe and secure.

Tommy loved animals. I remember his dog Sigmund. Sigmund was beautiful. I remember one day watching Sigmund and Tommy play together in the fall sunshine and that remains in my mind as a moment of pure joy: boy and dog, leaves crunching, sunshine and shadow, an achingly beautiful blue sky mirrored in his eyes...

Tommy's son Brian hung out with me on my wedding day. Brian was only 8 or 9 and since his aunt Diane was my only attendant we were getting dressed at her parent's home. Brian watched as we put on our makeup, talking quietly, focusing his full attention on us like his dad always did... having Brian around calmed me immensely. He brought the same peace and tranquility into the room that his dad always did. He is perhaps the finest gift Tommy gave the world.

Tommy also reminded me of my father in law. Like Dad, Tommy performed good works under the radar. Person after person spoke of his many kindnesses, mostly unknown to anyone but them and Tommy.

Tommy appeared to be a simple man to the world, a truck driver, but that wasn't who he was. Tommy was complex, he was more than who he appeared. Tommy was a true gentleman, a gentle man, a deep thinker, a man who loved deeply and wholly. Tommy gave of himself fully. He was a sterling example of a son, brother, spouse, father and friend. He spread kindness in a cruel world. He gave hope to the hopeless and touched thousands of lives about which we may never know anything. I am proud to have known him.

Rest now, Tommy, your work is done. Your love remains.

Jesus and Jello

I often wonder what church dinners would do if there were no jello?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Worry, worry, worry.

Lately I have taken to "brooding" the hubster sez.

Or to put it simply I haz a sad...

I am stressed at work, at home, and I just can't seem to shake it...
Everyone I talk with is stressed and sad. I imagine this must be what the country felt like during the great Depression.

I just found this article today. I am going to try it. Maybe this will kick the brooding out of my head for a while. I will keep you all posted...

Judy Pace Christie: Replace worry with gratitude for added success

Most of the people I encounter these days aren't in the mood for a challenge. They are busy and tired, worried about their 401(k)s and credit cards and how secure their businesses or jobs really are.

But maybe this is just the time for a challenge, the one I issue today — to replace worry and fear with gratitude during this Thanksgiving season. And then to hang onto the change into the new year.

During the past few years, I've discovered that worry and gratitude do not mix. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they are mutually exclusive. So, to get rid of worry and fear, heap on the gratitude.

Why should this matter in your work life?

Owning a business, managing a payroll, juggling projects, raising money, watching expenses, recruiting volunteers, doing an excellent job at work — all take energy and even courage. In this shaky season, it's easy to be fearful and forget to be grateful.

By deliberately becoming more thankful, you put your worries and fears in perspective. While the negatives in your life don't magically disappear, they become less powerful. Take a small step or two and see if it doesn't make a difference. Then take a few more.

You may find this simple attitude shift can help your business or organization flourish — because you build on the good that is already in place.

During the next week, take a few steps toward thanksgiving. To consider:

-- Start each day with a list of things you're thankful for, at work and home. Get specific. Go deep.

-- Notice the goodness in those you work with and overlook some of their foibles.

-- Expect good things to happen and don't fret over much when things go awry.

-- List all the things that have unfolded well in your business, organization or career this year. (Even in tough economic times, so many things are going right for so many.)

-- Say thanks every day for unlikely blessings, until your mental tone changes. Look for the good. Turn over daily rocks and see what goodness lies beneath.

As you develop this thankful perspective, look for these benefits:

-- The people around you will act more positively. As you give thanks, it wears off.

-- You'll observe previously overlooked details about your business, things you've done right, trends headed in the right direction. Instead of obsessing on what didn't work, you'll find yourself proud of what has gone right.

-- The people who work with you, for you, near you will suddenly be so much more helpful. Well, actually, they won't be more helpful, but they will seem more helpful. You'll realize how much they do for you each week. When you stop to give thanks, you see that you couldn't do it alone "» and that many step in to help out.

-- Cool opportunities appear. I call this possibility thinking — you are open to what might be available, what could unfold.

-- You see your business or nonprofit with new eyes. A fresh look can be like a deep, cleansing breath.

-- You realize anew how much you do have, despite what you might have lost or let slip away.

-- You set the stage for a more enjoyable holiday season. Thanksgiving is just the beginning of what has become a sprint to the New Year. Entering the season giving thanks can change your perspective and help you say no to frenzy, which can be extremely potent in your business or organization. The world needs this immensely, and you can be a leader here.

Replace your worries with gratitude — and see what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Judy Pace Christie is a local consultant and author. She owns Judy Christie Consulting Services LLC and helps clients with strategies for meaningful life and work. Her book "Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime: Having the Holiday Season You Long For" discusses how to develop a thankful heart. Contact Judy at

Sunday, November 16, 2008


In lieu of a post, I'm going to do this meme. I know, I'm a lazy bugger. Also, I was tagged by your friend and mine Katie.

Grab the nearest book.
Open it to page 56.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

"The lens through which they see themselves, others, and the world has a dim grayness."

from the book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life"

Nerd that I am, I was studying...

I tag Alycat, Tim B and anyone else who is reading my blog and writing their own!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Home life update

Molly dawg continues to toddle about keeping us on an emotional roller coaster. She has good days and an occasional bad day. But all in all she is hanging tough and we are keeping on loving her.

Buddy Love is ever faithful and cuddly, as is Mo, Kizzie and Sniffypie. Maggie the Cat remains totally insane and antisocial in the attic.

Dennis the fish swims strong!

My work is tough, exhausting, brings me to tears and is incredibly rewarding. I love being a therapist.

The hubster is quacking along selling the duck insurance. I got to see him act last week and he is as always, amazing. He is just so brilliant and wondrous. I am a lucky woman to have him around...

Our house is slowly getting purged of junk, occasionally getting origanized and we actually got the yard raked last weekend.

All in all, we are good.

We just miss family and friends because we stay too darn busy!

more small victories.

I have been going head to head with psychiatrists a lot lately.

I have a kiddo that I am convinced has the wrong diagnosis. I have gone through charts, interviewed his parents and teachers and former therapists to gather data. I have what I think is a good case that this kiddo is somewhere on the Autism spectrum. But the doctor kept insisting on Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

So I presented my opinion. The doc disagreed and prescribed more meds. In the meantime the kiddo continued to escalate and become more and more violent and aggressive. The doc would change meds... and they wouldn't work.
I presented all my research to the doc. Didn't work. More meds. The kiddo then stabbed a peer with a pencil and injured a teacher. He was expelled and sent to a restrictive placement.

BUT the school backed me and I was able to persuade the doc to recommend testing for Autism and requiring a shortened school day. IT isn't the solution I hoped for, but its a start...

small victories...

This week I am counting the small victories and letting go of my grandiose expectations.

I have been co-facilitating a teen girls group once a week using a new therapy ~ dialectical behavior therapy. Basically its holding 2 opposites in your mind at once with both being true. Confused? OK try this: Say (and believe!) "I accept myself just exactly as I am" and at the same time also say and believe "I need to change"
Its a hard concept for adults, let alone teen girls. And these girls are troubled, have mental health issues and some have very low IQ's. So, this experimental group has been a bumpy ride. I went in with expectations of them eagerly sitting and listening as I explained how relaxing silence could be, how to meditate, how to use breathing and yoga to relax...
But I forgot I can't work those things in my daily life! and they are forced to come to group!!! So they are not exactly open and eager. Rather they are grumpy and defiant...

HOWEVER they have begun to share their troubles in group. Open up and talk about what is going on in their lives: being expelled from school, removal from their parents and placement into foster care, their babies taken away and put into foster care, failing school, abuse, trauma, death, depression...
Things you don't expect. Things that are pretty heavy for adults to carry, even tougher for girls age 13 to 16. Yup, 13 to 16. My heart breaks.

I was so blessed to have had my family when I was that age. I had great parents, great older siblings. I never had a moment in my life that I doubted I was loved and wanted. No matter how bad things got I always knew that I was loved. These girls don't have that in their lives. They look for love without knowing fully what love looks like. And often they accept a shoddy imitation of love...
Again my heart just breaks for them.

I don't know if our group is helping or not, I hope in some way, that they take something away from it. Some self esteem. A way to cope. A tool to help them get through the day. If I can give them at least that, then it will be a success.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How could you leave all that?

Last night I was at an after theater party and was asked how I could leave the glamorous life of theater behind...

I didn't know how to answer at first. That was 2 careers back. I also didn't want to say "I grew to hate it." because I think that would have completely baffled the person asking me. Instead I explained that somewhere it stopped being art. Theater had at one time been a passion. I did it out of love; I loved creating something artistic, something that was ephemeral and transitory. Weaving dreams out of thin air...

But at some point, it became a job. I lost the passion of it. I looked at it as a way to support myself. To buy time to do other things. Except it consumed all my time and I never got to do the other things because I was often exhausted.

I missed a lot too. I didn't get to see my family very often. My nieces and nephew grew up and I missed all their high school years. I missed the last few years of my mother's life other than a few visits a year and weekly phone calls. I missed seeing season's change because I spent almost all my time inside a building in the dark programming light boards.

Granted I got to see great art, meet famous people, and see the world. If I had not been in theater I would not have met the love of my life, the hubster.

But there came a time to move on, to dream a new dream. I completed my goals, and made new ones.

I wanted more. I wanted to help heal the world. One animal at a time. One person at a time. So I worked for a veterinarian for 11 years until I wanted more. Then I became a clinical social worker to heal the world in a different way. That's how I could leave all that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Once again its time to vote.
I plan on getting to the polls early just to beat the rush.
The hubster and I were discussing this is one of the few things you can do privately nowadays and not have to explain it to anyone. You go in, cast your vote and leave knowing you did the best you could...

I have probably watched more debates and read more articles about the candidates this time around than ever before. It feels like we are on the cusp of something huge.

I go into peoples homes, wait, I am invited into people's homes and their lives through my job as a clinical social worker. It is an honor to be allowed into someone's home. Especially the homes that have bare cupboards, no food, no electricity or gas or water. People wounded and hurting, but who with dignity, ask me in and treat me like an honored guest.

When I enter these homes I don't see the color of their skin. I see their pain. Pain I understand. Pain is the common denominator of all human beings; of all living creatures. It touches us all and brings us to our knees. Pain levels the playing field.

In the upcoming election I believe both candidates have known pain. I believe they both have been brought to their knees. But what I am seeing is that skin color still, even in 2008, plays a role. I cannot believe we have come no farther than to still judge a person by the color of one's skin. Unfathomable. Ridiculous. It makes me wish we were all blind and couldn't see what one another looked like. But then I guess we would build prejudices on how we sound or smell...I actually heard someone say they would vote for Obama if he were white. (Discounting that he actually is at least 1/2 white!)

All I am asking and praying for, is that everyone vote FOR someone they believe in, not AGAINST someone just because of their skin color.

It is 2008. Time to stop the hate...