Friday, August 29, 2008

To Vote Or Not To Vote

When I started this blog I promised myself not to engage in anything remotely political. My vow of abstinence was purely for spiritual reasons as anyone who knows me knows I am always mentally up for a good political tete a tete. The longest campaign in history and the same old politics as usual has simply wrenched the heart for debate right out of me. I can only listen to so much rhetoric and watch so much hype. It takes way too much energy, of which I have precious little. Honestly, I think everyone in this country but the politicians and their plebes and lobbyists are sick and tired of the whole charade.
That being said, the events of the last two days have seriously tested my resolve. I have to admit that I watched Obama's acceptance "speech of a lifetime" while anticipating McCain's well timed vice presidential pick. The punch-counter punch was incredibly great political theatre. Throw into the mix, Senator McCain's gentlemanly congratulations to Senator Obama for the historical relevance of his nomination on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic speech from the Lincoln Memorial and you suddenly have the makings of what might be a truly interesting presidential race.
But still, I hesitate to involve myself with the notion that anything at all will change regardless of all the theatrics. We are living in an age when kids can morph themselves into a video golf game and convince themselves that they can play like Tiger Woods. At the same time, politicians revise history through audio visual techniques to convince young voters that something was other than what it was. With today's technology, do we really know what is real and what is fabricated? I've got to confess, most of the time I can't tell the difference.
So, where are we now? Every election cycle we find ourselves on the brink of extinction, or worse. We are a nation at war, the democrats cry. The republicans claim victory and we are just cleaning up the mess. Our social security system is a failed endeavour and our senior citizens are eating scraps, say the liberals. They'll be alright, say the conservatives, we're just borrowing against the future. The boomers will make up the difference. On and on and on. Issue after contrived issue. No end in sight.
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief, "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."
"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke, "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl, Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl. Bob Dylan
Copyright ©1968; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yesterday morning, before work, the bees finally found the sunflowers. They have been so busy working over the corn, I don't think they even noticed the giant pollen pods scattered around the yard. Before they were through they were covered, head to toe, with the sweet nectar of the suns. I think they were actually drunk by the time they flew off, back to their hive to deliver their payload.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little Sunflower

What would a garden be without a little sunflower?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy Little Bees Of The Corn

These are some pictures of our corn patch and the busy little bees that pollinated it. Once I got the li'l dudes used to me, I could get close enough to take some pictures. After a while, they just ignored the hell out of me and went about their business like I wasn't even there. They are awesome, industrious creatures.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pickle Me Elmo

These are the results of our first attempt at pickling. We chose the refrigerator method for ease and because we didn't have the utensils necessary for the hot bath method. Besides, we can eat eight pints of garlic dill spears and eight pints of bread and butter chips in no time. Marie looked up some recipes and we chose two that sounded good and met our time and space requirements and viola, pickles from heaven.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Queen For Today

If you are like me and have never heard of Edgar Cruz, please give a listen to his version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. You will be blown away. The man can play a guitar. Following Cruz are a couple of videos I found that will amuse and entertain with their uniqueness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Up On A Tight Rope

My grandpa used to have a much more colorful expletive he used for this old saying. But I have cleaned it up for my blog. My grandsons still get the original because grandpas are like that. The point is still the same, however. You can wish in one hand and want in the other and see which hand fills up first. That's pretty much life in a nutshell, isn't it. Wishin and wantin and wishin and wantin. Wish it was this, wantin that. Holy shit, I'm half way through my life and I'm still empty handed. What the hell?
That's the dilemma at work. I wish I could fix all that is wrong. I want to quit. Which hand fills up first? Lately, I have been sleeping less and dreaming more. My dreams, more often than not, have been work related. There is never any resolution to the dreams, but there are always lingering issues. I have no doubt I am meant to be where I am. But I am only human and I have doubts about how I am supposed to handle it all. So I walk a tight rope. Say this-don't say that. Do this-don't do that. Life was so much easier when I worked on a golf course.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.When other helpers fail and comforts flee,Help of the helpless, O abide with me.Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;Change and decay in all around I see;O Thou who changest not, abide with me.Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,Familiar, condescending, patient, free.Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.I need Thy presence every passing hour.What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Henry Francis Lyte-1847

Henry Francis Lyte wrote this hymn three weeks before he died of tuberculosis. The verses could have been written yesterday by any number of people residing in the skilled nursing facility where I work. In fact, I thought they were because this morning I woke up dreaming about the hymn. I was out in the middle of nowhere with people from the facility all around me. I can't consciously remember ever hearing that hymn but must have heard it at some point in my life to have dreamed about it. So, this morning I looked up the lyrics and it was as if I already knew them. I live with them every day I work. I also knew I had to write about what is going on there. To the casual observer or even the state inspectors who comb the building for a week at a time, twice a year, it would seem the level of care is at best quite good and at least, adequate. But, to those who work there and truly care, it is a very different picture. Unfortunately, within the confines of a care for profit facility, the degradation of human dignity knows no bounds. In a company where care worker to patient ratio takes precedence over patients rights, where character is not a prerequisite to employment, where short staffing, unpaid overtime and working through breaks are the norm, the unthinkable happens all too routinely.
Recently, in his blog CODYNUS, my brother alluded to some things he had discovered were going on within the facility where we both work. He didn't want to discuss them at the time, probably due to considerations for his sources. I agreed with him then but after some recent developments, no longer have such reservations. When you learn that a resident can pummel another to the point of hospitalization, all within twenty feet of the nursing station, and is not removed from the facility, you wonder how this can happen. When you hear that CNA's are taking crotch shots of residents with their picture phones and sending them back and forth, you ask why aren't these perverts in jail. When a half dozen residents "fall down" in the same week and have goose eggs on the same side of their faces, you think what a coincidence. When a resident on full oxygen sets himself on fire while smoking because a CNA was too busy or to careless, you think there but for the grace of God.
Working in the dietary department, we are accustomed to feeding deceased residents for days and even weeks before the nursing department decides to notify us. It is only later that we discover the CNA's and nurses have been eating their meals. We have noticed residents sitting in their own excrement while eating in the dining room. We see residents sleep through meals because somebody doesn't want to be bothered with having to get them up and wheel them down to feed them.
The story we are hearing this week is corporate is coming to investigate the cell phone pics and the resident beat down. But it is kind of like the Falkland Islands War between the British and Argentina back in 1982. For three weeks the Brits sailed down and blew their trumpets, warning the Argentines that they were going to kick some ass. When they got there, the war lasted a few days and both countries, to this day, still claim the islands. Coporate has been coming for a week now and still is not here. Do you think you could erase some cell pics in a couple of weeks. And the bugles blow.