March 29, 2008

Profile For Courage

My good friend, Floyd, and my little sister Sandy can rejoice with me that they were wrong, and I still have a nursing job come Monday morning.

My friends and family (cyber family included) will be pleased to know that sometimes our words DO make a difference, and we should always be true to our inner self and life’s moral values.

Yesterday, I received a face-to-face “redo” of my annual performance appraisal from the nursing director of the company I work for.

A few days before that, I received an unexpected blasé’ performance appraisal in the mail for me to sign and return. The surprise evaluation was what I termed “ho-hum” with all the check marks down the middle “ME” (Meets Expectations) and a few simple comments reflecting that I, “always turn my time sheets in on time” (hey, I get paid that way), and the families I work for “have no complaints” although I’ve heard them speak to the director in glowing terms about me.

I was disappointed and perplexed.

(Read my (cyber) lips slowly…) After almost 40 years of hard working, continuing education-seeking, management experienced, owner-of-my-own nursing-agency, business woman with diversified nursing experiences who excels in computer literacy and has advanced specialized training combined with a pleasing personality and brings excellence and integrity to any facility where I’m employed in the sunset years of my nursing career, (my resume' in one paragraph),
I said NO to this uninspiring, lackadaisical misleading report about my skills and abilities!

In response, I posted on this blogsite an honest but somewhat sarcastic ‘rebuke’ article related to my ‘mail-in' Performance Appraisal. (Click
HERE for that article.)

After I posted the article questioning the purpose of people who write performance appraisals without thought or consideration, several family members and friends cautioned me that I might be in deep trouble.

“They’re going to fire you,” my concerned sister pronounced.

Darlin’, you mentioned the company by name?” my loving husband kindly rebuked (before he even read the article). “You bit them in the ankle.” (He said after he read the article)

Clayfeet (Floyd) wrote in his comment ….”the only reason for these totally fabricated reports and exercises is to create false paperwork to justify the pre-determined decisions of upper management to deny the lower classes any pay increases so as to reserve more money for their own bonuses….The second issue here is whether anyone facing this kind of enormous pressure to simply sign and return a sheet of obvious lies is willing to take the high risk of rocking the boat and challenging the whole carefully constructed sham or whether their job is more important.”

Now I had a mix of disappointment at my family and friends combined with alarm that I might loose my job and, even worse, maybe I had unintentionally hurt innocent people that I actually enjoy working with!

I quickly went in and deleted the name of the company (although traces still remain) and considered deleting the entire posting even though I didn’t think it was fair that I would have to.

“Maybe I’m stupid and naive,” I scolded myself. “But I don’t think so!” I retorted.

I didn’t delete the disturbing posting. I even added it to my blog at MySpace! But, I worried as I chipped away at my bite-proof artificial fingernails.

A few hours later (after people at my employment found and read the posting), I got a call from the Director. (She had signed the condemned appraisal.)

I was trembling as I answered the Caller-ID number listed as the company I work for.

“I heard you were disappointed in your performance appraisal. I’m really sorry because I honestly think you are a wonderful nurse…I plan to re-write your appraisal to reflect the great nurse you are,” she promised.

It was pretty well a one-sided but honest conversation. I felt elated as I hung up but not quite good enough to tell anyone, “I told you so”.

Because I figured that everyone at work was now peeking into my blog, I posted a thank-you note - then I turned off my cell phone and went shopping!

So, Friday morning the Director met me at the home where I work as a home nurse. I had not wanted to involve the family, but because we had to meet there, the mother knew about it more than I would have wished. She had some of her own comments ready for my supervisor. I hoped she wouldn’t need them. I was most nervous about when the “get-even” part would start.

“You’re a great nurse, BUT...”

“I wish you hadn’t written…”

“You excel in this area but here are your weaknesses…”

Bless her. She didn’t go there.

“Because you brought this to my attention, I’m revamping how I do ALL evaluations. I really appreciate your input. It has changed how I’ll do future evaluations for all the nurses,” she said softly with respect in her voice and honesty in her eyes.

The mother of the home working quietly in the kitchen quickly realized she would not have to get involved.

EVERY MARK ON MY EVALUATION WAS MOVED FROM THE CENTER COLUMN TO THE FAR RIGHT COLUMN. FROM “ME” (meets expectations) TO “EE”. (Exceeds Expectations).

She included a separate page with 13 additional positive comments listed.
(Would it be proper to list them all here?) Here goes - for the world to see…

“Linda approaches her job responsibilities with a seriousness of purpose.
She is careful to follow policy.
She is responsible to work assigned shifts and is on time.
She is calm in the midst of sometimes chaos.
Her documentation is legible and neat.
She turns in her documentation to the office in a timely manner.
She follows the care plan as reflected in her documentation and she does not deviate from the care plan.
She is careful to obtain physician orders for any care provided. She then writes the supplemental orders and turns them into the office in a timely manner.
She did an outstanding job post hospitalization of obtaining physician orders.
The families with which she works have verbalized appreciation for the care that she provides.
She is responsible to call (the office) and notify the office of changes.
She asks for guidance when she needs direction.
She carefully assesses the needs of the clients and follows through until the needs are met.”

“(The Company) is blessed to have Linda as an employee. She is an example of a quality nurse. (The Company) would benefit from having more nurses like Linda.”

In retrospect, this may have been resolved more pleasantly without my frustration and worry if I had gone directly to the Nursing Director.

I recall past experiences with problems in the homes when she has reacted swiftly to resolve issues and get everyone back on tract.

I appreciate the strength it takes, and I honor her willingness to look at herself and ask if she can change her management style to make something better for the employees even if it means much more work for herself.

Managers like this are very few today! That's why those who followed my story predicted the worst. Compassionate leaders are rare and probably very under appreciated!

Four years from now, when I’m eligible to retire, I may post this evaluation next to my computer as I write my 10th book. Thirty years from now when I’m too tired to write anymore, and need to be turned every two hours, I’ll have it hanging above my bed.

But at the end of the report, I'll write in the name of this truly exceptional nursing director.

That will be easy because her first name is the same as mine!

Take Care on the Journey,

~Linda

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

March 27, 2008

Tulips, MySpace and AuthorHouse Publishing

Here's my usual late-night update to all my cyber friends. I'm fighting an irritating sore throat and night-time cough, but getting better.

Also, have been working tirelessly on a project I'm not even sure I should be bothering with! It's my personal site at MySpace! (Link at end of this posting.) This isn't especially my kind of 'space" but my sister got one started and I wanted to have one to enjoy together. (And, I like tinkering with and learning new techno challenges.) I've finally come up with a nursing theme for my site. It was difficult to find a respectable replica of a nurse - if you know what I mean) but now I've perhaps gotten it to work like I want it to. I hate "wasting" my time on things that don't work right. But, it's been updated and now I'm going to let it cool off for awhile.

Many long hours have found me on my hot cell phone getting the run-around at my publisher, AuthorHouse in preparation for my next book, "The Laughing Place". My customer service rep (Ryan) was replaced (with James), and Ryan didn't take notes on what we verbally agreed on for my package. They are charging me more (of course), and James thought the Contract on file was for The Laughing Place when it's really the old "Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" contract.

I finally wrote James that my next book is about the affects of Alzheimers, but I do NOT have Alzheimers and I did NOT sign a contract for The Laughing Place. Let's see if James has a sense of humor....

For those who understand more techno stuff, they keep sending me documents in .tif format which my computer will not open. I've been unsuccessful in convincing anyone at AuthorHouse Publishing that I need the more current format of .pdf. Jim says .tif is really, really OLD!

(Yes, I would try another publishing company but AuthorHouse already took my money. So, I'm going to insist in getting it RIGHT.)

Now if I only would take the time to finish writing it!!!! My plans are to spend a lot of quiet time writing when we are on a week's vacation at our Smoky Mountain cabin in May.

My James is enjoying his new state job very much. He doesn't even fuss about getting up early! They appreciate his experience in fiscal and interest in financial matters. He's in "Management". Something he surely deserves with his lifetime of experience and education.

Sheba and Ching-Ching are doing very well. (Sheba lying at my feet snoring as I write this.) Ching-Ching sitting at Jim's feet begging for cheese and crackers...

I'm working 40-hours a week on my baby home nursing case so it's hard to get much done when I'm home except make supper and have some personal time.

By the way, on Easter morning I got up early to take Sheba out just as the sun was coming up. Here in the center of Ohio, it was one of the most sparkling, rose-colored sunrises I've ever seen. I'm sure many people in the area enjoyed the early morning beauty because of sunrise services. I just simply enjoyed it - for me and my blind Sheba.

My tulips and crocuses are starting to bloom all around our front door. Our neighbor said I do more landscaping on the property than management does. I'll try to take some 'photos-by-linda' to post here when they are at full bloom.

Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda
MySpace http://www.myspace.com/linda5555
Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

March 25, 2008

Can I Have This Dance?

(I love that song...And it's going through my head tonight)

Did I accomplish anything good today? It's after my bedtime. Hubby is already there (sleeping). I refuse to close up shop until I've come to a conclusion about this day. I suppose I want to conclude that the day was good and worthwhile, and that comfort is not coming so easily tonight.

My written words both here and other areas seem to have done nothing but beat me up.

Well-intended actions got dumped into the wrong shoot.

Time spend in worry about what I've done right and what I will do next time occupied way too much of my mind.

Have you ever had one of those days? Or, do you have them every day? Perhaps, lucky you, NEVER have one of those days!

Except for a promise from The Company to re-do my performance evaluation 'yesterday', I've heard nothing - good or bad. I even dressed nicer for work in case my boss came by. Not that he/she should have or anything. Guess I thought a little bit of effort might be put into making sure 'everything was okay'. Clayfeet was probably right in his comment.... I just wish I hadn't mentioned it at all.

Then, an e-mail of sorts was taken the wrong way - and turned around and taken the wrong way again. I deleted a dear (young immature) relative from my MySpace site because I didn't like her language that could be picked up at my place. Now the email is circulating that defines me as "BAD" and "getting forgetful" in an effort to make the young immature relative feel better. That's to assume I'm actually GOOD and MATURE enough to take the inference in good nature. If you're confused, I am too. All to be taken in the good spirit that I am. (Nice try.) I just wish it hadn't happened at all.

Now the profound and disturbing question remains as to who I want listed as 'friends' on MySpace, or should I just delete the entire site because linking to friends (who are mostly cherished relatives) could result in viewing material quite unrelated to the Puritanical site I host at Dusty Angel MySpace? (Yep, that was a question.)

Hubby says I should keep my site up (He likes it) and write a disclaimer if I'm worried about someone linking to soft porn (soft?) or vulgar language. We came up with something we like. It is: Oooops. I'll have to insert that quote later because I've just lost my server!

Here it is: DISCLAIMER: Clicking other sites listed here is solely the responsibliity of the clicker. Linked sites may not represent the Puritanical environment found here at Dusty Angel MySpace. Laugh if you want to. It pleases us, and gives me an out to allow unconditional friends.

By the way, I tried editing with the editing tools they offer, and seems I've really messed up my page at MySpace. I'm hoping tomorrow will find it all in perfect order but so far tonight it is overwritten and out of sync. UGGG. URRRR

In another frustrating area today, the second nursing agency company that I work for a few days a year, asked me if I could work at a facility where I went last year because they asked for me by name. This is two weeks in September. No. They didn't ASK for me by name, they said I PROMISED to work those two weeks for them, according to the scheduler who called and asked if I could work there.

1) I don't PROMISE anyone I'll be there in 9 months! That's why I work for agencies. So, I can take off when one case is done and get a break. And, I don't live my life expecting that I will even ALIVE after a minute from this moment. So, I don't promise anyone my presence in human form nine months from now. Although I'm sure I told them I'd like to and would try my best.

2) I don't WORK for this facility, so I can't promise them anything. I work for the agency who decides if they want to ask me if I want to go.

To make a long story short (so you will keep reading - if anyone is reading this) I told the agency I'd do it, then I remembered that I don't promise ANYONE my presence in the future, so I called them back and said "no" I can't promise September.

All that confusion for nothing too. Funny part is, the agency had already told another nurse she could do it. They were actually very glad when I called back and said no.... How about some quality communication while we're at it?

Very early this morning, I should have known the happy goddess was still sleeping because the dogs wanted out THREE TIMES in the half-hour I gave myself to get ready for work. And, both Sheba and Ching-Ching just wanted to lie down on the porch and watch for the little spring rabbit that hides in the tall grass at the edge of the yard. CC has already broken several expensive leashes by dashing off after the rabbit...

Then, while trying to do the first kind deed of the day, I had stopped and picked up an extra large (32 ounce) Pepsi for the mom where I work. I held it tightly in the cup holder until I stopped at the house where I work with a little more step on the brake then I indented and it went crashing to the floor of the van.

As I was getting out of the van holding the dripping cup in my hand, a car slowed and stopped beside me. Bracing for something bad about to happen and wishing I had something bigger then an empty paper cup to defend myself, I heard a lady's voice saying, "If you're going to buy yourself breakfast, why not get some for the poor old lady who lives across the street."

"This is empty and it's not for me," I said with a bittersweet smile.

The two things that stand out as "feel-good" things have nothing to do with me, and one would never have guessed this would make me smile. My sitemeter showed that my two 'faithful readers" stopped by my site. I'm sure they didn't stay but a few seconds because there was nothing new posted, but the best I can do for this day is to say "Thank-you Bonnie and Katy". I appreciate others who stop by too, but sometimes I can't tell who everyone is and these two women don't get any benefit from 'my presence' these days. They still stop by to see what's in the toaster.

Say a little blessing (or whatever you do) for my little sister's husband that he will feel better and can go back to work soon.

Take Care on the Journey,
Love, Linda

Home:
http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

March 20, 2008

Employee Evaluations and Why We Hate Them

The Company that I work for has great employees, and I am one of them. But, my performance doesn't show it.

(The Company name has been removed out of respect to their response to this article and my complaints regarding my annual evaluation. )

Mention performance reviews to most any employee and their pulse will sharply quicken. Ask most anyone about their last workplace review and expect exasperation and frustration.

Why does this subject strike fear into our hearts and stir up so many negative emotions? Maybe it’s because workplace annual performance reviews sum up the basic core of our personalities, moral standards, life goals and innate abilities by someone who rarely, if ever, walks in our footsteps!

Our truths are meticulously reviewed and judged. Our basic motives often erroneously determined to be less than perfect before we have opportunity to deliver closing arguments. And, the verdict is usually, “Not guilty but not good enough for a pay raise”.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve comforted a co-worker after a lackluster, discouraging or outright false performance review.

“Don’t worry about it. Nobody ever reads it after it’s put in your file. By law they can’t pass this information on to another employer.” Usually to little avail on the frustrated I’m-going-to quit-this-job vowing employee!

I’ve written about this before. In fact, an unfair and totally outrageous annual performance review of my nursing performance, written by a biased misinformed unit supervisor (NOT where I am employeed now!) last year caused me to question my nursing career and shook me to the core! It did steer me into a different direction of nursing, and is the opening chapter of my next book, “The Laughing Place”.

Last week, unbeknown to me, I think the nursing director at "The Company" completed my first performance evaluation. The first I knew of it was when a two-page report was handed to me to sign during a quick visit to the office to drop off some paperwork. At first, Human Resources (HR) couldn’t even tell me who had completed the epic piece of paper laid before me.

Another "ho-hum" evaluation with all the check marks equally down the middle to keep everybody in the company satisfied that we are up-to-date in our paperwork, and no effort spent trying to figure out the real nurse on the case.

Few of my co-workers and/or supervisors are aware of how many years I’ve spent as the person in charge of running the nursing aspect of a company and evaluating its employees. While evaluations are never easy, and often my best attempts to create honest, positive performance reviews that praised my staff’s strengths and nurtured higher goals, fell flat, I always tried to offer no surprises and include accurate reflections of my employees in a most positive way.

I hold no grudge against anyone where I work as a contract nurse, and really do enjoy working for this nationally recognized professional medical staffing company. It is listed as one of the leading providers of medical staffing, home health and wellness services in the United States.


There are several young men in the local office who are the 'schedulers" whom I have the most contact with. They are all great to work with and have a fantastic sense of humor in an often stressful and usually thankless job! It's very difficult for me to ever say no when they call and ask if I can change my schedule or pick up a case in an emergency. They have a lot of positive energy and are always respectful and professional. (Even though they tease me about my last name, they always pronounce it perfectly.)

But, it appears that they have no input in my annual evaluation... First mistake by Corporate leaders.

Then there's my immediate supervisor who apparently also has not contributed to my evaluation because none of the statements she made to me when evaluating me (three times) in the home setting where I work, were included in the formal paperwork being placed before me.

"The director said to tell you that the orders you wrote were excellent. Your paperwork is excellent. It's something we can use when are records are reviewed. We'll bring them (the inspectors) here an example of great home nursing," she has emphatically informed me more than once.

The kind but slightly flustered HR person admitted that my required annual skills reviews are up to date. The two-step TB test has been completed and my CPR Certification is current.

Somewhat surprised by the lackadaisical, apathetic effort to outline my strengths and weaknesses, I wrote in my comment section that after almost 40 years of nursing, I would have expected something in my work to be a more than just “ME” (meeting expectations). I gave it back to the HR person with a heavy heart.

At least it wasn’t a bad report. It simply didn’t reflect my personality at all. Except maybe an inference to me Virgonian tendency to be meticulous in detail with the brief comment, “ Linda is meticulous in her care of the client”. Perhaps a reflection of my request for all my medication records to be rewritten when I found several typo errors that I would not put my signature on unless they were corrected.

If it was the nursing director who completed this required review, (she signed it), I’m not intending to demean her at all. The few brief encounters and phone calls we’ve had have always been pleasant, courteous, positive and professional. The first (and only?) time she spoke to me at the office commending a doctor’s report I had done, I quietly asked one of the schedulers who she was. I suspected she was the nursing director, but I had never been introduced to her in person. (I think she's fairly new there.)

Maybe performance reviews were something she inherited from her predecessor and something she also had not much control over. Perhaps I should have made more of an effort to get to know my director and allow her to discover more of my unique qualities and experiences I offer to "The Company". (But, who has time? And one wonders if anyone really cares.)

In a surprise and shocking turn of events, yesterday’s mail included this same performance evaluation requesting that I sign and return it. It was the original form. Nothing changed.

Oh boy, now I could do what I should have done the first time! I will explain in each section how I think I actually do better than 'average" and why! And, I will request this be attached and placed in my file.

This is what my husband had said he would do if presented with an appraisal that was not a true reflection of his career abilities and strengths. (In fact, he told me that is exactly what he did several years ago after three years of the exact same middle-of-the-road check marks and bland comments.)

Will anyone read it? Probably not. Will it affect any raise I might be in line for? Probably not.

I suppose the question; "Will Social Security still be around when I retire in a few years?" would be the more appropriate question now.

What's the big deal about those phony, undeveloped evaluations?

Appreciation? Pride? The truth? Honesty. Satisfaction? Acknowledgement?

To be politically correct, I should do what the director didn’t do. I should call her and ask for a sit-down to review and discuss who I am and what my expectations are for the company I work for. I’m sure she would be happily surprised to discover I really care about my career and the effort I take to keep everyone happy. The company. The doctor. The patient. The family. The schedulers. My supervisors. Even “corporate”! Maybe she would be shocked to discover that I really do care about this evaluation.

As my Jim often says, “In 50 years, what difference will it make?”

If it means spending money, I usually decide to spend.

If it means I need to “get over it”, I say, “Let me enjoy my bad moment”.

And it will probably mean that after I write and post this, I’ll sign the second replica and move on down the road of life like I always have.


I’ll keep reassuring weeping co-workers that it really doesn’t matter. It’s just paperwork that no one will remember 50 years from now. (When my oldest child is 86-years old and I am dust scattered in the wind.)

Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

March 15, 2008

Snow, Rain & Power

As I scroll through my site, I see there's a lot of snow pictures and articles. After 20+ inches of snow here in Columbus, Ohio followed by a couple days of rain and warmer temperatures, the creeks are rushing along and rivers overflow their banks.

Atlanta, Ga had a tornado last night. We're still waiting for the strorm damage reports.

Now that we don't live on the second floor of an apartment building, our serene little ground level dwelling is close to a babbling creek that, if redirected by flooding, could find its way to our front door. Although, not really because I've noticed that it actually floods into a field the other way.

I enjoy watching it try, though.

I'd love to sit here and chat all morning, but this is a work day and I must leave within the hour. I wanted to stop by the library and refresh my reading material before then.

It's 35 degrees here and very very foggy. I opened the window shades of the living room and couldn't see more than a few feet into the yard. There's puddles of water in the soggy grass when we walk the dogs. Sheba lifts her paws one at a time trying to find a dry spot.

Ching-Ching has recovered supremely. She can climb onto the bed once again and wake up Daddy Jim with her cold nose. (Better than my kisses?) Sheba lives in her darkness and gets around like a pro. We noticed that she makes strange noises a lot to herself,. We think she is keeping her head occupied with visions on her own making.

Don't we all!

PS I'm working on a story about "unwritten rules". I'd like your ideas and some of the unwritten rules you know about. Feel free to leave a comment or write me at my email; lindasbook@usa.com (Don't click my email link here, but send me a message from your online mailbox.)

Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

March 9, 2008

Digging Out Ohio Blizzard

You won't see any back-breaking shoveling going on in these pictures because a good-Samaritan did most of the job for us!
My two sons, Billy and Philip owe the young man who lives next door a return favor for coming to our rescue.
"Go back inside and stay warm," he ordered. "Let the young people do the hard work." And so he did!
Well, Jim and I shoveled a small path through the sidewalk, but our un-named friend did the rest. To tell you the truth, I don't know how our aching backs could have done much more!
Billy and Philip. If you ever read this posting, remember your mother's words to keep your eyes open for ways you can return this Random Act of Kindness.

Click photos for larger pictures.



































Glad this isn't OUR front door.
~Linda

March 8, 2008

Evening Photos of The Ohio Snow Blizzard

Here's more snow photos with our dogs after the snow quit about 6 p.m. on March 8, 2008. I'll post some pictures and a slideshow in case you can't view the slideshow. Click on pictures for close-up views.



I'm sure we didn't get as much snow in New Albany as they did in some parts of Columbus, Ohio about 10 miles away. It's still beautiful.

HOPEFULLY THIS SECOND SLIDESHOW OF THE DAY WILL PLAY FOR YOU.

video

Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda
Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

Slideshow of Ohio Dogs Play in Snow

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com
Sheba and Ching-Ching (the Golden) explore the Ohio Blizzard of 2008 on March 8 in our back yard near Columbus, Ohio. Sheba (the black dog) is completely blind! The photographer (me) got frostbit fingers and soaking wet in blowing snow. (About 5 degrees windchill.) But, we had fun!

Enjoy our show! This online video/slideshow is a first for me!
Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda

video

Blizzard of 2008 in Columbus, Ohio

Local news report that Columbus, Ohio got a record 21.5 inches of snow in the Blizzard of '08!
We just woke up on this Saturday morning to the greatest official "blizzard' in Central Ohio in more than 90 years. I opened the front door to let the dog out and was blasted by Arctic winds and blowing snow.

Although the pictures don't reflect the severeness, the blowing and drifting are causing white-out conditions and huge drifts. I'll post more pictures after it settles down.

For now, I'm thankful for my long flannel gown, hubby's PJ bottoms, two pair of socks and the dark chocolate Milky Way I have tucked away in the kitchen. In the past, I always had to worry about going in to work as a nurse - or getting called in - but today the family whose baby I care for told me not to try to get there because they would be "snowed in" too. Leave that for the younger generation of nurses~.

Here are some morning photos I just took from the front door and looking out the windows.


















Our Van that Jim is going to dig out on Monday morning. (Photo taken from our bedroom window.) I'll post additional photos as the storm continues throughout the day here.
Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda

March 7, 2008

The Purpose of Friendship

Last night I had a dream that I died. No, I didn't wake up in heaven or hell, but when I shook myself awake and looked at the bedside clock, it was 4:55 a.m. - and you who know me or have read my book, know the momentum the number 55 carries with me.

At first the dream was information that my sister had died and I was surprised that no one had told me. When the "knowing" of her death came over me, I wondered who was feeding her cats and why her husband looked so unkempt. Suddenly, I missed my sister very much and wanted to catch the first plane to go there. I was sure she would be there laughing to welcome me and show off her 'babies". Eventually, something told me that it wasn't her who was gone - but ME!

I'm satisfied that the dream was a flashback to this story that follows because I stayed up real late to write it and doing so created some strange thoughts!

Just so you know that I believe when I die, I'll be transported to pure love (or deep sleep) and a peaceful journey. It will be those I leave behind that much suffer the emptiness in my wake. For that reason, I hope I'm the last one out!

Anyway, here's my posting that created the haunting dream....

FRIENDSHIP - accord, acquaintanceship, affection, affinity, agreement, alliance, amiability, amicability, amity, association, attachment, attraction, benevolence, brotherhood, brotherly love, closeness, coalition, comity, company, concord, consideration, consonance, devotion, empathy, esteem, familiarity, favor, favoritism, fellow feeling, fondness, friendliness, fusion, good will, harmony, intimacy, league, love, pact, partiality, rapport, regard, sociability, society, sodality, solidarity, understanding
Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)Copyright © 2008 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

What if every friend we have in life was only suppose to be there for a specific purpose; for a specific amount of time, and then, according to the big book written in the sky, had to be written out?

What if the only reason we continue to keep friendships longer than intended is because we selfishly don't want to let them go? What if those people who we hold dear were only meant to show up for a reason, and then had a destiny to move on? Like the kind stranger who stopped to help fix the flat tire, or the courteous driver who let us cut in on the highway, or the nice person who loaned us the extra quarter we needed at McDonalds.

My purpose of this message is to propose that life would be accomplished much faster if we could let go of every friend when their purpose was fulfilled. We could move on to a higher level of meaning - and they could too!

Presently, our minds were developed to store every tidbit for recall anytime and sometimes at the most unexpected times! I wonder if in doing so, we are held back from moving on to our true destiny. We hold other people (our friends) responsible for our hurt feelings, lack of motivation or even depression.

"But, But", you hurl at me, "But, there would be no meaning to my life if I didn't have my friends!"

Okay, I'm not including close personal friends who continue to walk with us on life's journey every day. But, all those people who have 'touched' our lives in the past, either in a profound way or just simply in passing. These special people now reside in our memory banks, but no longer provide useful daily experiences. You know them. We gush when we encounter them along the way. They are worth the 41-cent postage stamp at Christmas time or a phone call once in a while. What if those people were 'erased' after no contact in, say, three years? Or if in any way, the Universe determines that these people are holding us in a restraint from maturing as we were designed?

I envision a life where we would continue to experience more NEW friendships than we ever imagined, but they would always be greater and grandeur as we experience different levels of relationships - always building on a more wonderful, thrilling harmonious growth in the universe!

I'm sure a few of you reading this feel slightly hurt right about now that I'd even consider not having you as a friend. Actually, I'm just like everyone else. I don't want to let go of those who mean so much to me in so many ways.

But, because I've been thinking about this subject for a few days, I've let myself think outside the box and imagine a different picture for my life.

Right now we are having the Blizzard of '08 here in Central Ohio. As I was driving home from work yesterday on extremely slippery roads with my heart beating very fast and both hands on the steel-but-unsteady steering wheel, I was listening to the local radio station taking call-ins from drivers like me trying to get home on a busy Friday evening during official "blizzard conditions".

So many callers commented about how courteous other drivers were during the stressful drive on the freeway and busy city streets. "I saw two cars bump into each other and slide off the freeway," one caller said. "They got out, shook hands and got back in their cars and drove off. I was simply amazed," he told the DJ.

To me, this is also a form of friendship. I'm sure these two will never meet again, but the magical moment affected many people (because of the phone call to the radio station). These memories should go into the "keep' box.

On the larger picture, I think of a good friend I had when I lived in Michigan. (I had many dear friends there! I refuse to let them go!) This particular 'friend" came into my life when I became the township clerk. The experience of being a public figure and elected official was absolutely new and uncharted territory for me. This women became my mentor and also a wonderful support person, listening post, unconditional friend, advisor and loyal friend when things got very difficult in my personal life.

Then, she retired and moved to another state. I got re-married and also relocated. But I missed her steady influence in my life. I thought we would be 'close' forever, but one day I realized that I hadn't head from her in a long time. Nor, had I contacted her. One year I didn't get a Christmas card from her, and although I didn't mention it to anyone, I felt saddened that our friendship might be at an end. But I said to myself, "When I needed this friend, she appeared. I didn't ask for it. I didn't know I needed this friend, but looking back, I did! And I'm thankful she was in that time and place for me.

Another "friend" in my life only contacts me when he is discouraged. He doesn't even let me talk very much, but I'm someone who will listen which always helps him feel better. He has strong religious beliefs, and sometimes his well-meaning comments cause me to me feel guilty about my spiritual life, my health habits and how I take care of my self! Why do I continue to encourage this friendship? Did the purpose for our paths crossing end decades ago? Who decides? Why?

In my work as a nurse over the last 40 years, I have made literally hundreds of 'friends' in co-workers, doctors, nurses, patients and their families. Why do I not have but two or three of them in my address book? So many have made an impact on my life and perhaps changed it in some way. Most have been lost in time and are but a fleeting memory that I can't quite grab and hold on to! Sometimes they show up in a dream and leave footprints that slowly fade away again. Is this really the way it's suppose to be? Or, is there something wrong with my lasting friendship ability? Could it be there's something true about people who are suppose to serve a purpose and move on? Is that why I let them go?

I think of a special couple in Michigan who have been a strong positive influence in my life just because they love me so unconditionally while always staying true to their high standards of religion and life. Never "preaching" although they could. Never "scolding" although they could. Always welcoming me with open arms when I go there to visit. I ask myself what is their purpose in my life now? They reflect what true friendship means to me. If they or I never touched again, I would feel blessed for having had them in my life. But, on the other hand, I appreciate knowing they would be there for me anytime! Thy are "keepers".

My mother called me while I was writing this. She wanted to let me know she's having cataract surgery on Monday. As I typed these words, I noticed that I took a deep, deep sigh. As most of you know, my mother and I were separated from the time I was three-years old until I was 42 years old! Our family was reunited after a long search on my part. Many have asked me about the relationship between me and my mother. Are we 'close'? Are we "friends"? My little sister supplies the best answer when she says, "It's really hard to buy a store-bought Mother's Day card."

Perhaps there's a reason why the Bible says, "Honor thy father and mother". (For those who believe in the Bible, sometimes this verse is mysterious.) But, then someone comes along and determines that the word "honor" isn't what we think it is today. And in this day and age, who IS our mother and father? For me, it is important that I 'honor' my mother, although I don't insist that anyone else has to. Maybe the word "honor" replaces the word 'friendship" here?

Before I finish, I want to mention a very short-lived friendship I think I made here in our town while I had the photography studio in New Albany. I did a photo session for a cute, rambunctious little white poodle and her owner. Our 'encounter' was very brief. But, I want to say here that this women made a lasting impression on me. Mostly, I guess because she was kind when I needed some kindness. Anyway, for reasons too long to mention here, I probably won't ever see much of her again. That moment moved on. But, I think she comes to read this website often, and that means she still much cares about my life - and I don't want to let her go. Her 'unseen' friendship means a lot to me.

Last week I got a card from a woman who used to be my boss, but one of the best (in my opinion). Until I got the card, I thought of her as a former boss who gave me a career opportunity of a lifetime. A wonderful person in life, but I always thought she was too busy and further along in her life experiences to hold much thoughts of someone like me - although we have shared some good moments along the way because we had a lot in common.

She wrote that my friendship has made a difference in her life. (I almost fainted.) Not only that, but this blog and my book mean so much to her! I thought it was the other way around! Who can predict what the touching of two lives can do for yourself - and others! Even though we have moved on to much different lifestyles than we had back when we worked together, this friendship is sacred.

I was taken back when I read something on a very long-time friend's website. It sounded like he was doubting how anyone could be his friend. I can't think of anyone who doesn't "like" this person! He would never refuse to help someone in need and carries respect for life and those around him. I responded to his posting by saying that people who thought of him the way I did would be his friend. I believe that was to say - accepting unconditionally whatever you are because I love you.

Perhaps its like a good marriage must be. We love the person in spite of the muddy boots, insideout socks, tired mornings and purring at night. And, we say good-bye when it's time because we know that our universe will reunite us again when it's the perfect time and place.

Take Care on the Journey - I love you
~Linda

March 2, 2008

Getting Organized for the Week "Off"

NEW - So much for the “list week”. The baby I do home nursing for came home two days early, and they need me back to work! While I can’t return tomorrow because I made a doctor’s appointment, this does mean that I’ll have to call a moratorium on the list thing. The good news is that keeping to my list did help keep me focused when I might have ‘wasted’ a lot of down time. I’ve added many of my homemaker touches to the home and got a lot of other stuff done too! Please keep your lists flexible if you much make one. I hope my cyber friends will always 'take the long way around' and be sure to stop and help your neighbor.
Yippee. I have 5 whole days off from work while the baby I take care of is in the hospital for planned tests. Actually, he’s expected to be there three days, but I’m taking off Sunday (today) and Thursday before and after the admission.

As much as I hate “lists”, I have made up one for the next few days. My former husband always made and lived by his lists, and that was a great turn-off for me because it seemed I was never on any of them. So, most of my life since my departure from the ‘list-man’, I’m careful not to delegate my life so symbolically.

With tongue-in-cheek, and a promise not to forsake feeding the dogs or kissing hubby good-morning, I’ve set myself on a course to accomplish more than I would normally do and not feel guilty about it.

This program doesn’t provide me with the editing tool to cross off things I get done, so I’ll put the items that are completed in italics and bold instead of that bold dark line we usually use to ‘kiss-off’ on our list. I’ll update this article during the week so please feel free to make a little bet with your favorite person as to how much will actually get done!

Okay, here the 5-day LIST. Feel free to COMMENT at the end and CHEER me on.

Yeaaa! Sunday's list is all done - and more!

Write the LIST story for the blog
Clean out and organize the laundry room (Big job!)
Hang curtains in the bathroom doorway (Need sewing machine)

(You could see the toilet from the hallway.)
Hang the curtains in the computer room. CUTE

(There's about a foot between the back of the computer table and the wall - so Jim can get back there. I put a narrow curtain at the end so you can't see all the wires from the doorway! I also put up curtains on the two windows that reach nearly to the ceiling! I debated if they needed them since the windows have pull-up shades. But it really adds elegance to the room.)
Take books back to the library
Get the laundry all done, folded and put away
Clean out the Saturn trunk (It’s suppose to be warm)
Take the trash collected to the dumpster (Jim may do that) He did that TWICE!
Paint one wall of Jim’s bathroom (paint is ready) (Jim helped)
Go to breakfast with Jim (A Sunday thing)
Take timesheets to the office
Go visit John & Denise - He lost his job. (He's got a new job.)
NEW - Washed the Saturn
Surf my favorite website when done with chores

Monday:

Organize the kitchen cupboards (not a big job)
Organize the computer room (also not a big job)

Curtain in bathroom doorway if I didn’t do it on Sunday
Pay bills – Don’t get distracted surfing the web too much
Call my doctor regarding question about meds. ? Appt. later
Organize, put up a shelf in Jim’s bathroom after the paint dries
Pick up/Hang up in my closet (not a big job)
Replace burned out Christmas lights on the China cabinet
Find TV tray for the living room
Finish laundry if not done on Sunday
Dust throughout the house
Clean bathrooms (if not already done)
Get Cadbury treats for Philip’s care package
Get package ready to mail
Make appt. to get oil changed on Wednesday
Get nails done
NEW - Wash van and shampoo back seat
NEW - Wash bedspread at Laundromat
Surf the web when done!

Tuesday:

VOTE vote OBAMA
(Vote also for Cindy Lazarus and the MRDD Levy)
CC to vet for stitches out

Copy and mail refund letter to Missouri for bank account grandma started in the 60’s
(Library, post office)
Mail Philip/Shelley’s care package
Write on blog and surf web for FUN.
Work on myspace.com
Make weekly supper menus
Grocery store
NEW - Pick up IRS forms for Jim in Columbus
NEW - Have lunch with Jim in Columbus

Wednesday:

Keep Saturn. Jim takes van to work.
Get oil changed @ 1 p.m.
Doctor appt. at 3:45 p.m.
Wash Saturn in car wash

Thursday:

Organize and get layout and get started on The Laughing Place
Enjoy getting my list done
Do NOT surf the web until layout is done for book!

Take Care on the Journey

~Linda