Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of "The Man Who Was Thursday"

"I am the Sabbath," said the other without moving. "I am the peace of God."

The Secretary started up, and stood crushing his costly robe in his hand.
"I know what you mean," he cried, "and it is exactly that that I cannot forgive you. I know you are contentment, optimism, what do they call the thing, an ultimate reconciliation. Well, I am not reconciled. If you were the man in the dark room, why were you also Sunday, an offence to the sunlight? If you were from the first our father and our friend, why were you also our greatest enemy? We wept, we fled in terror; the iron entered into our souls -- and you are the peace of God! Oh, I can forgive God His anger, though it destroyed nations; but I cannot forgive Him His peace."
Sunday answered not a word, but very slowly he turned his face of stone upon Syme as if asking a question.
"No, said Syme, "I do not feel fierce like that. I am grateful to you, not only for wine and hospitality here, but for many a fine scamper and free fight. But I should like to know. My soul and heart are as happy and quiet here as this old garden, but my reason is still crying out. I should like to know."
Sunday looked at Ratcliffe, whose clear voice said --
"It seems so silly that you should have been on both sides and fought yourself."
Bull said -- I understand nothing, but am happy. In fact, I am going to sleep."
"I am not happy," said the Professor with his head in his hands, "because I do not understand. You let me stray a little too near to hell."
And then Gogol said, with the absolute simplicity of a child --
"I wish I knew why I was hurt so much."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving at Work!

It has been a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day, though I spent it at work. It was one of the best work days I've had.

To my delight, we had two nurse aides working. I'm not a slacker, but I distinctly feel that 13 patients (the most I've had alone) is too many for one aide to care for well. I am dissatisfied when I am unable (at a minimum) to thoroughly wash all of my patients and fulfill their requests. In 12 hours, one cannot thoroughly bathe 13 total care patients, pass trays, take vital signs and weights, and all the other various duties of the aide position. Personally, I think 6-7 patients per aide to be the ideal ratio for providing effective and efficient care. Hence my delight in having two aides yesterday.

In addition to the fact that I was caring for a number of patients within my ideal range, the nurses I was working with were some of my favorite nurses - nurses who are compassionate, industrious, and willing to help in whatever way necessary. My fellow aide was also of this type. I knew it would be a good day.

As if that weren't enough, there was food. Oh, yes. My co-workers had planned for a brunch and lots of pot-lucky food. So I broke my personal code and had a piece of chocolate at 8 am, only one hour into the day. The cafeteria provided a Thanksgiving brunch for workers, but I barely touched what they gave. We had better on the unit. While I covered the floor, my fellow aide cooked up blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and omelet. Some of the other nurses provided fruit trays and dip, caramel corn, fruit breads, danish, and so much more. It was almost too good to eat.

And as if that weren't enough, more than half of my patients were unusually pleasant people. I'm pretty used to the thanklessness of the job. I mean, when you're in pain and people are poking you and prodding you all over, and you can't do anything for yourself, it's understandable for you not to really be very polite or express any gratefulness to the pokers and prodders. But more than half of these patients said thank you, spoke pleasantly, and worked with me. It was so very nice! On days like these, I feel like I'm going to see a new friend every time I enter a patient's room.

When it came to baths, one of my patients was independent care, so after changing her bed, I had only to leave her with towels, washcloths, and soap. The others, were total care (except one who was partial care), but were so extremely obliging that bathing was cooperative task and not a battle. I was done with morning bathing before twelve o' clock trays and my two afternoon baths left me with plenty of time for lunch and various tasks. Vital signs and weights were finished an hour before I usually finish them giving me an opportunity to put in a Foley (urinary) catheter (I'm always ready to jump at a chance to perform sterile procedures) under the supervision of a nurse. To my relief, the task was easier than it often is and the patient tolerated it well. My duties were completed before the new shift came on, and I was able to leave just as the clock struck 7:20pm.

When I arrived home (only slightly hungry) leftovers were waiting for me and better than that, David and Karen were there playing cards. We played Rummy for a bit, then went to the barn to watch "Faith Like Potatoes". David and I were both exhausted by the time devotions were finished but then we got talking and before we knew it, 12:00 had rolled around.

Thus ended a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'll thank God for many more like it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Picture Panel Explained

For a while I've wanted to comment briefly on the panel I've placed at the top of my blog. Like many other things, that's been pushed to the very back burner while I'm pursuing education and whatnot. Tonight, I find an opportunity. Perhaps I could make better use of my time working on a research paper, but I'll lay that scruple aside for now and let myself enjoy writing for pleasure once again.

When I first made my blog, I wanted the title and description to say something about me and my intent for this blog. I wanted the title to reflect that the thoughts I here write, while often important to me, are not a matter of dogma nor would I refuse to be pursuaded contrary to them. Some posts are for fun and are therefore useful but not essential. Some posts are principles, observations, ruminations, and ramblings - non of these would I hold to adamantly. My writing is part of my thought, but not my essential identity. Hence I deemed it fit to title the blog, "The Adiaphoron".

When I began my blog, I did so in hopes that by writing for fun and by writing things I could not immediately express in conversation, I might be able to get to know myself better. I might be able to read back and get an idea of what I, the inward person looked like when turned inside out. Writing has always helped me get a handle on myself, and for a year or so The Adiaphoron served that purpose very nicely. Now things are altered - but that's another post. All this is to say that the quote from "The Scarlet Pimpernel" simply signifies that I sought to peep closer at that complex problem which is my own female heart through my writing.

Now for the panel. I included pictures because of what they symbolized to me. The first painting on the right,"On a Sailboat", was painted by Caspar David Friedrich, one of my favorite Romantic painters. We talked at length about this piece during one of our art lectures at Augustine. Dr. Tingley pointed out that the couple is sitting on a boat together. They are not sailing the boat per se, but the boat is carrying them. Unlike so many depictions of lovers, these two are not looking at one another, but at a point in the distance toward which they travel, toward which the boat is carrying them. It is a city. A golden city. In a larger picture, one can see that the city is lit up as if either glowing from within or as if the sun is setting behind it. Whether the artist intended it or not, to me (as to Dr. Tingley) this painting is an allegory of the kind of marriage I want to have. A union where both spouses are joined by a common journey to a common eternal destination, carried by the single boat of the holy church.

The next image is Luther's Seal. You friends of mine know that my confession is that of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. It was through my Lutheran fathers that the weight of the Gospel of forgiveness and peace first impacted my soul and pierced it through, bringing joy and comfort. Christ is foremost and a faithful confession of Him paramount to my life and practice, though I fall short in action. This picture symbolizes my confession of Christ crucified for my sins and free forgiveness by His resurrection. It reminds me that I have sworn to retain this confession unto death.

The next photo is of a group of my baby goats from several years ago. It's hard to explain to people who have only known me for the past few years, but my herd was a lynch-pin of my life for over a decade of my life. I grew it from one goat to twenty or more at one time, managed them in health, cared for them in sickness, grieved them in death, and competed with them in many shows. When one feeds an animal twice daily, milks it as often, and grows up with it, one loves it with a bond seldom formed between creatures. My goats were my children, my "bitties". Though I've not really consistently been a goat-herdess for two and a half years now, my herd was foundational to who I am now, my experience, and my character.

The picture of the the parchment with the heart and cross drawn upon it and the words, "Dieu Le Roi" I chose for somewhat obscure reasons. I found this image on a Wikipedia page treating the La Vendee resistance and massacres (as I have written elsewhere on this blog). La Vendee is the French province that refused to surrender their priests or provide soldiers to the Parisian Committee of Public Safety during the French Revolution. They clung to their nobility as well. When they resisted the Revolutionary Government, the entire population was brutally murdered. The fragment in the picture above states, "God is King" - a dangerously politically incorrect statement for the time and place. I first heard of La Vendee while reading G.A. Henty's boy's series. (Excellent works for the most part; I hope to write on them at some point.) G.A. Henty greatly influenced both my understanding of history and my moral development. (I've several shelves worth of his books and read them all; some twice or more.) It is as much because of his influence as because of my admiration for the Vendeans' piety and courage that I place this picture on my blog.

The next image is one I found when looking for artistic (not movie) depictions of Eowyn (LOTR). As many of you know, I used to (and still do to a lesser extent) strongly identify with Tolkien's character of Theoden's "sister-daughter". From the beginning of my fascination with Tolkien's works, I was awed by the insight with which Tolkien crafted Eowyn. I felt as if at last at I had found a male author who understood the female psyche. But that aside, the picture above depicts Gandalf, Aragorn, and Eomer around Eowyn's bed. Aragorn, in his office as the king-who-heals has literally brought Eowyn back from the dead with the "common" herb athelas which those esteemed wise treated as of little worth. Those who have only seen the movie completely miss the dialogue of Aragorn, Eomer, and Gandalf about Eowyn and the pathology of her condition. Read the book. It's beautiful. Eowyn has raised her eyes and set her heart on being what she is not, in a place not meant for her. She is restless with what she sees as her helpless femininity entrapping, caging her capabilities and spirit. When she finds and finally understands love, she is at rest. No more must she be a shield maiden and long to fight and kill and die, but she will "be a healer and love all things that grow and are not barren."

The next image - I'm sure there's a name for it, but I don't remember. But obviously, it shows Christ holding out His Body and Blood "for us Christians to eat and to drink". These are my life and salvation, my consummation yet here on earth. My life, the culmination of a week of prayer, and guilt, and the shame that threatens my sense of identity and worth. Before this Presence my fear would hang my head and plead for mercy, but Christ gives His gifts for peace and not fear. He has absolved me already, though my heart forgets or does not grasp it. Here, no matter what my fear or confidence, He loves me with a love that overwhelms any doubt and fear. "Here. I give my body to you." No mention of my sin or failures or my half-hearted devotion. The God of the Universe encounters me and instead of condemning He embraces me. "What sin do you have? My blood is for the forgiveness of your sin."

The last painting is also one that I encountered in my Augustine "Art in Western Culture" course, though I don't remember actually talking about it at the time. I think I looked it up later. It's called "Domine Quo Vadis", Latin for "Lord, where are you going?" Tradition has it (according to Wikipedia) that Peter fleeing from probable crucifixion in Rome met Jesus and put Him this question. "I'm going to Rome to be crucified again" came the response which turned Peter around in his tracks and sent him back to martyrdom. Sometimes "Domine, quo vadis" is the cry of my heart as well, "Lord, I don't understand. This isn't the way to do things. This doesn't make any sense. Where are you going?" My Lord didn't say that following Him would make sense or wouldn't hurt. But He goes before me. He's done it all before and I can trust Him, even when it looks to me like I'm only trudging along the procession of the condemned to crucifixion.

Anyway, that's the panel. Oh! I suppose I could mention Joan of Arc on the sidelines down there. She doesn't make it into the panel because I'm not really sure about her. (Material for another blog post someday.) She was one of my childhood heroes and I'm 99% positive that she was a faithful Christian. (She makes a good confession anyway.) What exactly she heard speaking to her, I'm not sure of. (Like I said, more later, hopefully.) But the lass had spunk, and religiously driven spunk too. She did hard things, changed people's lives, and changed the course of history without political background or aspirations. There's something that attracts me about courageous women who are not afraid to do what needs to be done. That's why she's on my blog. More of a symbol of female bravery for me than of the historical Joan.

I'm up too late again. Why do I do this on nights before church? Late or not, it's nice to write again. Maybe God will grant me time to do more blogging in the future. For now, so long, dear reader.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mental Nausea

We've all been nauseated before. It usually happens when one's about 9 years old and has just eaten Thanksgiving. You eat turkey like a pig, and then try to fit in apple pie on top of three piece of pumpkin and whipped cream. Finally, you look at the fruited pastry in you spoon and feel repulsion and a little bit of remorse. You think to yourself, "Why?" You realize that consuming half the turkey and one piece of pie would have given you greater pleasure. Now all that food is in your belly and you've got to let it sit there. After a couple hours you'll be able to sit up, run around, sing, and laugh again. But for now, all you feel is overload.

I've got the brain nausea. My head feels like vomiting, but it can't. There's too much going into it. "Don't cram," they tell me, "don't cram." But what else can one do when one has 15 chapters of reading and two papers due a week on average and must progress in group projects, independent clinical assessment study, and group research papers too? So I sit down with my text book and read for hours till the page swims. Then I go "work out" or hike while listening to my prof's lectures I've recorded.

It'll get better. Eventually, I'll digest and the pressure will diminish. But meanwhile when I say stupid things, or look at you blankly, or lash out senselessly, or burst into tears unreasonably, hold me accountable but forgive me. I am cognizant that I've a pretty easy life: I've parents who love me and each other, a home with electricity and running water, a church with pastors of high theological and liturgical caliber, food on the table, opportunity for education, a healthy body, employment, love. But I am weak and in my weakness, I am ashamed of my weakness. I am ashamed that you should see me in the nausea of my mind. When my wits return I wish that I could take back whatever I've said or done in the pitching and tossing of thought and word and deed.

It would be nice to be normal for a change, but it would be even nice to feel normal. I don't know that I remember in what "normal" consists.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

School. First Day Back

I think this semester will be good. I like my prof. I can see that sometimes she'll be intimidating, but she's good. Her lecture style is amazingly clear and easy to take notes with. I recorded one hour of lecture (after we used the first hour for syllabus notes) and played it back while working out. It was still enjoyable and easy to follow even on second listen.

I'll be spending a significant amount of time at the college this semester. I intend to stay at the school long enough to work out and get as much studying done as possible. Also, check email. Recreational internet has been (or is soon to be) banned at home.

I'm also trying to complete my online learning modules and tests for my work. Haha! Education they never told you you'd have to take.

Homeward bound, now.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

That "I'm gonna DIE" feeling...

I just printed off my syllabi and took a look at what I have to read for the first classes.

I was struck by a distinct sinking sensation akin the words, "I'm gonna DIE..."

All my classes are taught by the same professor. This could be really good or really, really bad.

Anyhoo, just sharing the gladness.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another New Blog

"Bedside Manners" is rudimentarily up and running. What on earth do I need another blog for? (After all, I only have 3 plus facebook already. :P ) Well, go look and see...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If you leave me to myself...

'Nother Michael Card song. From his album, "The Early Works": this album has some of my favorites as well as least liked Michael Card songs, but oh, well. Here's one that often comes to mind when I'm feeling empty and futile.

Failed again to make the mark,
lost my way once more.
Tried to do it by myself
like so many times before.
Once again I turn to you,
I'm hungry and confused.
Now all my strength's dissolved away,
and I feel like I've been used.

If you leave me to myself, O Lord,
it will always be the same.
It's you who'll have to hold my hand,
and protect me by your name.

I turn and find you there for me,
You've been waiting all along.
In your arms the sweet relief,
and you whisper me a song.
At times like these I ask myself,
"How could I have ever strayed,
and forgotten all you've given me,
and lost sight of what you paid?"

If you leave me to myself, O Lord,
it will always be the same.
It's you who'll have to hold my hand,
and protect me by your name.

Hmm. Songs from "The Early Works" that I really like:

Love Crucified Arose
This Must Be The Lamb
Hound of Heaven
By Your Name

Songs from "The Early Works" that I like but have theologically questionable lines:

The Voice of the Child
Light of the World
Stranger on the Shore
No Rusty Swords
Don't You Know
Now That I've Held Him in My Arms

Songs from the "The Early Works" that make me cringe or squirm decidedly:
I Have Decided
Tell the World that Jesus Loves You
Jesus Loves Me

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Phone Calls and Such

Has anyone seen Veith's post on phone conversations? Thought provoking.

I admit to feeling embarrassed calling specific people. Most of the embarrassment, though, seems to stem from a fear of being annoying or unwanted. I am alright with business calls, for the most part. One is expected to call about business, to straighten out one's affairs, and then to hang up. It's straightforward and no one objects. I enjoy getting personal calls, even though I'm often stilted, stammering and awkward on the phone. Personal-social calls tell me that the caller cares a lot. I mean, a TON. (It takes effort to carve out time for a call, and effort to maintain a conversation. It takes courage to reach out across the invisible miles to the unseen other and poke him/her in the shoulder. "Hey! Talk to me a bit. Please.")

Don't get me wrong. I like email. I appreciate email for the very reasons that at times I prefer phone conversations to email. With email one can precisely formulate one's words with deliberation, while phone conversations necessarily disallow deliberation. With email, one has a copy of what was said and can review the message at will to reassure one's self of the content and sender's meaning. With verbal messages, the words are distorted through memory. With email one has the opportunity to say much without interruption - to paint a landscape that takes concentration. A conversation necessarily involves a back and forth, a give and take. With email I personally am less inclined to hold back what I wish to talk about for fear that the other doesn't want to hear it. In a phone conversation or face to face conversation, I feel rude if I talk of myself uninvited, or talk long. The insidious little voice in my ear whispers that it doesn't really matter to anyone but me anyway - the listener is probably smiling and nodding politely with closed ear and thoughts afar. I could babble as well as any, but when I do, it leaves me feeling the emptier and more foolish because there is seldom a response that indicates anything other than the polite listener. Those who ask more, who draw me out, who respond genuinely, give me the best gift any humans have and I love them with a sinner's love (Even the pagans love those who love them). Among these are my father.

To sum up, I like phone calls because they are risky, unchoreographed, and pure grace. One must remember them in faith. I like email because I can control it, prepare it, return to it for (relative) certainty, and participate with low risk of rejection. Phone calls are dangerous because they put you in direct contact with another human being, their ambitions, aspirations, vocations, loves, hates, moods, babbling. Emails buffer you from all these things and put you in contact only with a mind - an almost disembodied mind - that can deal with you coolly as and when it will in a disembodied and removed manner.

As in the days of my infancy, blood and gore are more beautiful than unruffled clothes. The rag doll is more exciting than the stiff china maid. The fragile china makes one tingle with delight, while the disposable paper plate does not.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, my little blog.

I've dreadfully neglected my little Adiaphoron this past year, both from busyness and from a lack of time for thought. I've felt as though I haven't anything significant to say that touches not on either the highly personal or confidential. My confidence in my own knowledge and mind are declining. (At least, on most days. There's always the occasional spurt of confidence with which I do something idiotic to rue later.) I'm learning to shrug off my social accidents and awkwardness; it's not like I can do anything about spilling the drink down my dress after the fact. Sure, I can be more careful: if anything, I'm learning to be more deliberate about social moves. If I must be conspicuous, I try to choreograph the period of visibility ahead of time. At the same time, I'm tired of trying to be someone. Even trying to be who I am is challenging. (You'd think it a simple thing to be yourself, but, actually, if it is important to you to be consistent and you are a woman, being a consistent self is a constant struggle.)

I've always kept myself soothed and calmed by singing to myself. It's not a lullaby - it's a "workaby". If the song is running on, I can continue to move forward. When it stops, my wheels slow and grind to a halt. At work, I sing my day through, one song-story after another, out loud in the hall, inwardly as I bathe patients and clean up messes. When I stop singing, I'm in trouble. Truly.

When I was very, very small, it was Wee Sing Bible Songs. In early elementary, I sang patriotic songs, old Methodist hymns, kids' Bible songs, and songs from church. Middle school and highschool floated through on tunes of Michael Card and LW hymnody. My first year of college, I got to know LSB and historic Lutheran and Christian songs amid a surging tide of Hope College postmodernity and Augustine College classic Christianity. This past year, I've hit a new lode as I've nosed down the shaft of folk through a tunnel of celtic gems. There's more sadness here, to be certain, and a few wells to avoid falling into.

Speaking of work, that's a pretty new part of my life (though it seems routine to me now) that hasn't gotten much coverage on this blog. Confidentiality is partly to blame. I do like my work. If I weren't serving people whose needs (physical, emotional, and psychological) didn't demand immediate and careful attention, I'd be bored with working. But people can't sit on the shelf like paperwork, nor can one ignore them like dirty dishes. They literally scream at you.

12 hours is a long time. When I walk into the unit, I leave the rest of my life behind. It's just my patients, the nurses, therapists,aides, and doctors and me dealing with the same problems from different perspectives. I'm a valued part of the team as are all of the other members. If one of us left, the whole system of work would go up in smoke. Even though I'm relatively new, I feel like I belong and am useful - and that is nice. It's fulfilling to be needed (if only to empty a bedpan) and comforting to share something (if that something is but the challenge of getting a confused patient to eat supper).

Somedays, I feel as if I'm in a madhouse. Disoriented and demented patients are calling out without surcease and other competent patients hit the call button before you have even walked 5 steps from their door to have you rearrange the pillows yet again. On these days I constantly sing myself calm and constantly plan the next steps I must perform. When I leave, it is as if I have lost part of my life. Whatever happened that day has to stay at the hospital until I come back to it. My family and friends are totally excluded from it. And yet, my work is the most interesting and challenging (physically, psychologically, morally) part of what I do now.

I've taken back over management of the goat herd. We're selling out all but six does and the buck. I'm keeping them dry until school gets out next year, so hopefully I can get by with only daily chores. It's been hard letting some of the girls go. I've shed tears.

There's more I would say, but I cannot and if I could, time would not permit now. Dear reader, farewell and Godspeed where'er ye be.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Girl Left Behind: some initial thoughts

Ok guys, so I'm gullible. It's one of my lesser, but more dangerous delinquencies. Earlier today, I was directed to this website and being the aforementioned gullible person, took it mostly seriously, and seriously engaged it in a blogwritten argument. About 10 minutes from completion of this 2 hour blogpost, I found I was sticking pins in a chimera: it melted, leaving a pile of pins. Having spent two hours on it, I figured I'd let you see the pins, before I sweep them up.

I'll admit, when I first read it, it struck me as a tad incredible, but I believe in taking people seriously, when they appear serious. If they turn out to be joking, I've only enlarged the joke. Hence what follows.

What I write here is preliminary: some quick reactionary thoughts after skimming this website. But I think there is more in this topic worth discussing.

Will the reader be pleased to peruse the writing upon this site as the discussion below doth pertain thereto:

Many of the statements and lines of reasoning followed on this site make me nod and say, "I know exactly what you are talking about. I can see it. I watch it regularly in friends I love."

More than half of my close personal friends who are greater than 5 years my senior are unmarried - none of them from choice. Male and female. I know the females more intimately and have heard their longing for love, for a family, for children. (Almost every girl experiences these feelings for some period, age aside. I am no stranger to these.) Some of us have talked at length about how this comes about - that a number of Christian women are waiting for husbands who never come, while a number of young Christian men fool about or wait for the "perfect woman" who doesn't exist.

I've wondered to myself - what is the answer? Is there one in this earth? Shall we "leave the matter" to the hands of God? But are not His hands on earth, human hands? The hands of fathers, pastors, family, friends?

So, I am sympathetic, yea, even tentatively in favor of proposed arrangements as I read down the list of "Things You Can Do". But a few notes of the site strike a discord in my soul and unease in my mind.

1st. The treating of marriage as a "right".

No one has a "right" to marriage. If there is any such thing as a "right" (I admit to conflicting thoughts about "rights", not to be discussed here), then surely it is something that is universal to all in a set (eg, a human right is universal to the set of all humans)and the absence of it (the right) is an evil which denies the member of the set a part of her nature. To say that all humans ought to be free from ownership by another human is one thing: to say that all women ought to be married is another. God gives some to be eunuchs for the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:12) The one who can accept marriage, should, Christ says; yet Paul apparently did not marry and speaks to the Corinthians of the ways in which the celibate may serve the church even more vigorously. To say that all women have a right to marriage is to say that to live singly as a women is to be less of a woman, to which all Christians must cry, "error".

Further, marriage is a gift, not a right. Yes, first it is a gift of God. But it is also a mutual gift between husband and wife. It is beautiful because it is grace, undeserved love, promise. Now, if it is by right (or merit) it is no longer by promise (or grace). Where would the tenderness be if a woman could say to a man, "It is my right that you love me. By right, I require you to die for me everyday in everyway." It is absurd, but when one says, "all young women are naturally entitled to marriage" (I quote from the site linked above) that is what they are saying. It could as well be rendered, "all young women are naturally entitled to have a fellow human being lay down his life for them". But the reality is more like the reverse: It is the precious responsibility of every young man to lay down his life for the neighbor Christ gives him, and the closest neighbor is his wife, whom God gives him because it is not good for him to be alone. No human deserves love of himself or herself, but is made lovable and loved by God as a gift; loved through humans and by humans as a precious gift of God and man. God grants us to be like himself in the giving of this love. To treat marriage as a "right" of a young woman robs the young woman of the astounding joy of unmerited love. And it robs young men of the only truly God-like gift they can give their wife (other than forgiveness).

2. Where did the chain of command fly off to? Hello! When it comes to "what you can do" to help solve the problem of unwedded matrimonially aspiring maids, we see an array of advice bewilderingly out of keeping with biblical precedent. Sure, talk to your friends if you want. Blog if you want. Raise awareness if you have time, energy, and an iron to burn. But please, please, don't get the government involved. The bill mentioned just about makes me ill. Why are we going to the Gentile courts? Have we not competency to judge these matters in the church of God? The only truly sensible piece of advice on this 'action' page is communication with your pastor - but in the misguided form of "harangue".

If anyone should be consulted, any external body employed in correcting a problem of unweddedness, it should be parents and the church. Parents are given the governance of their children till they reach adulthood. Even after majority, a father who carries out his vocation will remain a protecting, guiding head for his unmarried daughter. This includes helping her to find a spouse if marriage is what daughter and father discern is her vocation. If a girl's father has died, a mother or brother may well facilitate this process. Failing this, or if family is uninvolved, or in addition to family, a girl should have recourse to her church in matters of marriage. In a more hierarchical church structure (by which I intend the type of liturgical/sacramental church in which a girl's clergy is [or should be] a close spiritual father to her, this can be a matter of personal guidance, advice, and activism by that father. In a less hierarchical setting (for example, numerous nondenominational churches)there are plenty of mature Christian couples who could take a girl under their wing and seek a husband for her if necessary. Mayhap church leadership would need to assign a fostering parent set to a girl, but there are ways these things could be arranged within any church.

3. Rights become Force.

But the idea of "external pressure" (I quote) to "force marriages" (I quote again) is a more grievous violation of human rights than any so-called "right to marriage". These phrases show clearly how warped the American idea of "rights" has become: If you have a right, we will force you to claim it. You must be married, whether you like it or not. It is like as to saying, "You have a right to freedom of speech. Therefore, if you will not express your political opinions, we will put you in jail."

4. The Government as Enforcer

To place the enforcement of rules coercing matrimony in the hands of the state is a recipe for disaster as well as a travesty. I'm sorry, the Bill is stupid from start to finish. Those of you who know me know that I never use the word "stupid", because it indicates a sort of brainlessness. But I do believe this whole thing demonstrates a remarkable failure of the speculative intellect. I sense that a point by point rebuttal would be a slap in the face to my readers' intelligences.

Indeed, it is at this point that I felt a bit mocked myself, just reading the piece.


I realize that this website may be satirical, a farce, or a joke. Nevertheless, the satire is so perfect and comical because the topic is serious. So, I don't consider the exercise of writing this post wasted, though I critique a paper man. The paper man is a caricature of a real one, and like all caricatures, the features are exaggerated, but not fabricated. Thus, there are real concerns which I could only think about clearly by meeting their ultimate hyperbolic incarnations. But my reasoning is the better for encountering them, fencing with them, and being humiliated by their vaporization.

Be gentle: I'm gullible.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Selling Goats.

This is not really relevant to this blog, but if you are interested in purchasing goats (not that any of my blog readers would be), please visit

Thanks, people. Hope to have something of substance soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sizzling Summer...Stuff.

So, after a week of sleeping in till 8am EVERY SINGLE GORGEOUS MORNING and wrapping up my affairs from the past year (money = ouch), I’m preparing to launch a new summer routine next week. This summer will be unlike any summer I’ve had yet. I suppose one could say that about every summer, but some summers are more alike than others. What’s new about this summer? I’m going to be taking classes and working a real honest-to-goodness job for real pay. Both are bran-new experiences for me.

I’m also trying to establish a routine for myself. I’ve found I need structure (this is why I pay people to teach me things that are written in books and keep me accountable in learning material). It’ll be a sort of “Liturgy of Life”, if you will, in which I order my days to include regular prayer and Scripture, exercise, sleep, study, reading, and song. Until now I’ve had only spasms of structure in my routine of trying to hap-hazardly crunch everything I need to do into my days and finding at the end of the day that exhaustion extinguishes other interests.

So, here are some goals for the summer.

Daily Readings every day. Compline every night.
Success in Microbiology. (my scale and grade scale)
Work as much as possible (goal of a minimum of 3 days a week).
Learn one new folk song every week. A cappella. Lyrics and melody memorized.
Workout MTW 1 hour &30 minutes minimum. Walk/Bicycle 30 minutes -1 hour per day HFSS.
Read good books and write papers and blog posts for pleasure. (Vague, I know.)

About my job:
I’m a nurse technician. Basically, that means I’m a nurse assistant with a few more skills and responsibilities. I can bathe patients, change their linens, feed them meals, take vital signs, help them walk, help them toilet, bring them things, turn them, check I.V. lines, empty catheters and drains, do basic assessments. I’m hoping to be able to give tube feedings, change dressings, put in catheters, take out I.V. s, do naso/oral-pharangeal suction, etc as well. I don’t know yet how much of these nursing type responsibilities I’ll have. My hours are “Relief” type. I’m told that that means I can work as much as I want whenever they need me. The shifts are 12 hours long. From 7am to 7pm and vice versa. The facility is a Long Term Acute Care Hospital: patients come here when they’ve outstayed their time in the hospital, but the nursing home isn’t the right place for them either. There’s a big focus on rehabilitation, at least from what I saw when I did my geriatrics rotation there. We want to get the patients to the point where they can go home. It’ll be great.

About my summer schooling:
I’m taking a Microbiology course three days a week and Voice lessons for an hour a week. It’s 6 credits in all, I think, but that still sounds like a good breather from the RN program. I’ll be able to use the internet while I’m at school so I’ll spend some time expanding my song repertoire in the afternoon of school days with the help of youtube.

Speaking of songs, I’m beginning a systematic effort to put together a collection of celtic folkish songs singable by me unaccompanied. So far, here’s a few I have memorized and can do decently. More to come. There’s plenty on the back burner that need some work on lyrics or melody. (One familiar with the Corries will guess my attraction of late.)

Loch Lomond – both versions
A Parcel of Rogues (Burns)
Scots Wha’ Hae (Burns)
The Trees They Grow So High
The Streets of Derry
The Water is Wide
The Rose of Allendale
Treat Me Daughter Kindly
Wild Mountain Thyme
Westering Home
Come O’er the Stream, Charlie
I Will Go
The Skye Boat Song

Friday, April 23, 2010

I get a Job and Mr. Stinky gets in a Tight Spot

Here's a newsy post since philosophy has gone out the dormer aperture since school began.

Today I slept in to the positively sinful hour of 9am (during the last hour of which I was mostly lounging, not sleeping), then studied Pharm (acology) for a couple of hours. After lunch, I ran over to the college, delivered pecan rolls from Snap to a professor, turned in an overdue ILL movie which I hadn't had a chance to watch, paid for classes, and unsuccessfully checked "lost and found" for a jean jacket. (Parenthetical note: I am quite distressed by the loss. The jacket was one of my trusty prime pieces of wear, and I had developed an attachment to it.)

Then I drove like a maniac to a job appointment. Yes, it was "processing" day for me. In the space of three hours, I was sent to four different facilities. First I proved my identity, signed papers, and got fingerprinted at the recruitment office. Then I was sent to the hospital for review of my vaccination history and Tuberculosis skin test. Following this, I got slightly lost on my way to a physician's clinic for a nursing home physical, but I finally found the place. As if this weren't enough already, I zipped over to the medical system's outpatient facility to get blood drawn for a Hepatitis B immunity test.

When I got home I took Fenella for a walk/run/get-the-dog-wrapped-around-trees expedition. Then Daddy and Snap and I ate supper (the rest were awa') and cleaned up a bit. While clearing the table, I happened to look out the window at the pasture which is currently littered with log piles. Between two of the logs stood Mr. Stinky (alias "Lightening", our Boer sire), unmoving except for his head, his belly bulged up on top of the logs. I couldn't help laughing. He apparently had either jumped on top of the pile and slipped in between or had walked in at the wide end of the gap and, pinched at the narrow end, couldn't figure out how to back out. Snap and I called Dad and laughingly suggested that he try pushing Mr. Stinky out. Dad thought it would be better to loose Fenella in the pasture to, uh, stimulate Mr. Stinky's self-preserving instincts. At the end of the matter, all it took was Dad rolling the log half a turn to release the compressed bucky.
He didn't learn anything from the experience - 10 minutes later, Snap pointed out the window. Mr. Stinky was sitting atop another log.

Anyhoo...that's been my day. Let's see if I can find the momentum to study more Pharm. Nih.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Life is Beautiful

I just thought I'd remind you all.

Life is beautiful. It's a lovely gift and each tiny piece and moment was designed and crafted by hand - God's hand. Sometimes I forget.

"Each little flower that opens/ Each little bird that sings/ God made their glowing colors/ He made their tiny wings."

Just think about a breeze. Each uplift and surge and diminishing and sigh and swirl of a single moment's duration is a unique creation and fits together like notes in a song to make a melody. And that breeze plays over a field, a wood, a hill, a valley wherein each blade of each grass and every bud of every flower and every mossy nick in the bark of every tree is designed to harmonize or contrast in a glorious ensemble. What is all this beauty for? Is it not for man, for us, that God made this earth and it's glory? How wonderfully kind and surpassingly rich is the gift of the great Artist and Author not only to give us daily bread but to serve it up in style!

"For not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."

That's all for tonight. Two weeks left of school! Yeeehaaaw!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This morning on the way to school Snap and I saw a cougar. At least, we think we did.

We came up over a rise and an animal dashed across the road in front of us on four legs. It stood about 3 feet or so at the shoulder and had pointed ears and a long tail. At first I thought it was a deer - but it wasn't. Then I thought it was a coyote, but it was too big and ran like a cat.

There have been cougar prints sited in this area, but nobody has actually seen the cougar yet, so we feel very fortunate.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom.

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed: "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions".
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered heaven!
It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that slept.
To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

If I Were Wise

If I were wise, I wouldn't talk so much. I would speak only to question, to discover, rather than to pronounce sentence on so much that I know not.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Milk Bank and Rambles

Announcing a new post over at Γραφω. It's an observation paper about the Bronson Breast-milk Bank. If you want to be added to the readers, drop me a comment or email.

I'm excited about finally posting something new over on "I Write". I haven't been lazy in writing, but so much of what I write in Nursing School includes confidential patient information that only I and my instructors can see outside of the doctors and nurses at the hospital. That's a downside of nursing that I think I'll always struggle with: I learn and experience so much that changes me and my thinking during my clinical work, but I am not legally able to discuss these experiences except in the vaguest terms with my dear friends outside of my work and study.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to holding more babies tomorrow in my clinical work, maybe see a delivery. Lent's coming to a climax and Holy Week will be refreshing as always. Seder with family and some friends tomorrow. Excited for that - matzoh, horseradish, and all. One day at a time I'll make it through the semester, by God's grace.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Head Stuck in the Sand, but Still Kickin'

My dear reader,

It's been so long since I've really written a blog post. Yes, I've written little snippets, but nothing really requiring serious time or thought. But this is not a complaint post.

I feel as if my head is stuck in the sand and I just can't clear my ears, eyes, or mouth. Nursing school will certainly "lairn" the stuffing out of me, but in the meantime, I haven't much of a clear idea about what is going on in the world, in my family, or even in me. I'd like to emerge from the sand sometime in the near future, but I doubt it'll be during this short spring break. Likely it'll be May before I really start to blink my eyes, shake out my ears, spit the gunk out of my mouth and ask myself, "who am I and what has happened to my world since last August?"

Meanwhile, I'm going back to Pharmacology studying and rather ill-fated attempts at not being selfish.

- TQ

Friday, February 26, 2010


You. Read Ecclesiastes today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perception and Motivation

We interrupt this Operating Room Observation Paper to bring you a breaking random thought from the mental apparatus of the author:

Theory - Attention span is directly proportional to felt need to know.

Furthermore, felt need to know is directly affected by perceived opportunity to learn.

I.E. higher stakes increase attention span. Limited opportunity with high stakes for learning increases attention span even more.

Parallel concept = application. A person applies herself more when stakes are perceptibly high and opportunity is perceptibly limited.

To increase attention span or application, one must increase not the stakes, but the perception of them and limit not the opportunity, but the perception of opportunity.

For many human beings, this necessitates an increase and limitation in actuality because the human being in question senses a bluff quite readily. Our perceptions of reality are remarkably accurate when it comes to quantifiable, observable, measurable phenomena. We are all more or less empiricists.

But the closer a thing comes to uncertainty, the more unsure, insecure a person's perception of the thing - the farther perception is removed from actuality - the less must one manipulate the physical to increase perceived stakes and decrease perceived opportunity. What one must manipulate is merely perception.

As distance between direct observation and perception increases, perception depends more on reports, words, nonquantifiables. Consequently, perception may be changed by suggestion, report, and nonquantifiables.

Threaten to withhold (or offer to give) a thing reported to a man by all to be of extreme value, and he may achieve the impossible - even if the object in question would not be in actuality withheld or were in its essence worthless.

On the other hand, if a man perceives a priceless possession to be secure or of little value, he may fail to lift his little finger if it is jeopardized.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Grandpa Saying: Life

I have no idea where Grandpa got hold of this rhyme, but I've heard it since I was quite small. Since I haven't time for anything more profound, I thought I'd post this exercise in equivocation.

What's Life?
A magazine.
Where do you get it?
Drug Store.
How much?
Ten cents.
Only got a nickle.
That's tough.
What's tough?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Les Miserables: Who Am I?

From the Les Miserables musical. Valjean agonizes over whether to reveal his identity to the court in order to acquit the man who is accused of being Valjean.

He thinks that man is me
He knew him at a glance!
That stranger he has found
This man could be my chance!

Why should I save his hide?
Why should I right this wrong
When I have come so far
And struggled for so long?

If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!

I am the master of hundreds of workers.
They all look to me.
How can I abandon them?
How would they live
If I am not free?

If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!

Who am I?
Can I condemn this man to slavery
Pretend I do not feel his agony
This innocent who bears my face
Who goes to judgement in my place
Who am I?
Can I conceal myself for evermore?
Pretend I'm not the man I was before?
And must my name until I die
Be no more than an alibi?
Must I lie?
How can I ever face my fellow men?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on

[He appears in front of the court]

Who am I? Who am I?
I am Jean Valjean!

[He unbuttons his shirt to reveal the number tattooed to his chest]

And so Javert, you see it's true
That man bears no more guilt than you!
Who am I?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drill for the Semester

I really hoped it wouldn't be this way. But it is. I'm going to have to give some things up.

I didn't want it to be church. But it's an hour travel time either way, 3 times a week. I've just got to come to terms with it: I'd be prudent to cut out midweek services. I'm running myself into the ground, and it hasn't even been a full week since school started.

Here's how the week looks.
Monday, get up at 4am, go to the hospital, work clinical till 2:30 or 3:30, home between 3pm and 4pm. Write up Nursing Process Papers on each patient till time to sleep. (around 10pm) Supper, shower, and devotions in there of course.

Tuesday, get up at 6:15am, pick up carpoolers, drive to school. Pharmacology 8am to 10am. Med-Surg Theory 10:30am to 12:30pm. View assigned audiovisual materials. Try to work out and study at the same time. Voice lesson from 3pm to 4pm. Go home, read my brains out till I go to sleep.

Wednesday, same routine, only without the Voice Lesson.

Thursday, catch up on Pharmacology and Med-Surg Reading. Finish Care Plans and Clinical paperwork. Read assignments for Clinical Sleep.

Friday, up at 4am again. Same drill as Monday.

Saturday, try desperately to read assignments for coming week's Pharmacology, Clinical, Med-Surg Theory, finish clinical paperwork

Sunday, go to church, finish clinical paperwork. Bury my head in my books. Try to sleep.

Pass Go, collect grades, stool specimens, bloodied paperwork by the pen of the preceptor.

Not sure where I'm going to fit in the hour and a half of voice practice in there.

My posts have greatly deteriorated, however, I have no time for anything more literary.
Goodnight. Peace to you, dear reader.

Friday, January 1, 2010

On New Year's Morn

Snow falls. 2010 will dawn this day. Another year of my life is completed.

As I review the past, recent years fall into discreet emotional categories. 2007 was the year of my spiritual searching and enlightening. 2008 was the year of my testing and breaking; emotionally, philosophically, and spiritually. 2009 was the year of healing and humbling in the same three areas. What shall be 2010? None knowest but him who knoweth all.

New Year's Resolution? I have none that I'll risk the utterance. A few public hopes have I here for the coming year:

I would like to sleep 8 -9 hours every night.
I would like to get all my homework done by the day before it is due.
I would like to get to church at least twice a week.
I would like to work this summer for a decent pay rate.
I would like to spend some quality time with my siblings every week.

Let's see how this works out. I realize that this post is ridiculously impromtu, but that's what I turn out at 0133. Blessings in this year of grace two thousand ten.

- TQ