Thursday, April 19, 2007

Did you know?

Thought that this was a cool video that the hubby sent to me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Day One: Information Overload and Callouses

I should be studying my city maps right now. I should be reading and learning the departmental protocols. I should be..... but I have information overload today! In my 6 hour shift today we did not go out on any calls, BUT the paramedic, on my shift, went through my training material and by the time I left today my head was swimming and I had callouses on my palms.

Being the eager beaver, and hater of late people, I was the first person to arrive at the station, so I brought in the morning paper and turned on the lights in the day room. Then the rest of my crew began to arrive. I have to remember to thank my instructor for the heads up and shift suggestions. Thus far I really think I am going to like my Wednesday crew. We got along well and went out for breakfast. Good group, so that is a plus already!

Part of the on station training in intended to get you familiar with the vehicles and the tools of your trade and where to find them, how to use them and most importantly how to get them BACK into there space when you have finished with them. If you are short, like me just 5'5", either I will have to ask for assistance or make some repetitive jumping motions.

Most of the stuff is easy to use and has easy to find buttons or pumps or releases. It is the cot that actually took the wind out of me and left callouses on my palms. They had the smallest guy, at 185 pounds, lay on the cot while they had me practice moving him in and out of the rear of the ambulance. Not anything like class where we can only use the dummies. Nothing like an actual person who may also be tall and their feet are in your chest and face! Also, when you are a female, with smaller hands, it is not that easy to pull the levers to release the cot to move it up and down. Yikes! We spent a good amount of time on that activity and I was quite winded by the time we were finished. I am happy to report that I did not ever drop my new team mate. Good thing. So, thus far I am in solid with these guys.

Even before that I managed to bruise my left palm just going out to breakfast. I sat in the back and when I got out, never having shut the door of one before, I hit it to close to the door handle and let's just say that it hurt enough to make me want to say bad words. I refrained at the risk of looking like I did not know what I was doing. At least both hands hurt now and it will take my mind off of my aching triceps!! I did come to the realization that I need to work out even more and make good use of my free weights. We do have two workout rooms at the station and I think I am going to make good use of those as well. I definitely need more arm and upper body strength.

Then we climbed in back and began to pull out all the tubes and gauges and saline bags that go with setting up IV's for the paramedics. Learned how to check someones glucose level and change out an O2 tank. After that we turned on and got out all the parts of a heart monitor and AED. By that time I only had 45 minutes left on shift and they gave me a break, we went inside and watched some Antonio Banderas movie that was on HBO.

Good diversion guys!! Took my mind off of my aching hands. Dying of thirst I opted for a Diet Doctor Pepper and then it was time to pack up, say my farewells and unload the brain until tomorrows alarm clock and begin again for another day.

And I was wondering if this was going to provide enough fodder for blogging!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Complaint Free Zone

Well, this is going to be an interesting test of will. I have sent off for the purple plastic bracelet that you can see in the photos. Since plastic bracelets have been all the craze since Lance Armstrong introduced his several years back.

I happened upon this particular bracelet while reading some article over at MSNBC. It is an interesting bracelet. While others, of differing colors, are all about various diseases, causes and wars etc. This one happens to be quite simple in idea. It is called the "No Complaints" bracelet. The challenge is that you do not complain, criticize, gossip or use sarcasm for 21 days. Each time that you do, you must switch it to the other wrist. Interesting. It also lead me to a web site called Daily Good which I think I am going to link to because it is an awesome concept that we should try and do something of a good nature every day no matter how small the action.

The man that started this bracelet is a pastor of a small church in Kansas. There is no charge. That is also quite interesting since all of the other ones are for purchase. they have a staff of church volunteers that take the orders and mail them. They caution that it may take 3 to 5 weeks to receive them, but that gives me time to prepare myself mentally for such an ordeal. I am already thinking about the challenges that I will face.

I don't think about the time that I spend using sarcasm or gossiping. Even if it is just small moments in time, like a 5 minute rant about a manager at work or about someone that cuts you off in traffic. I think that it might be a great way to not only become more stress free, but also less condemning of other people. The crabby lady in the coffee line might be running late for work or just had an early morning fight with her hubby or kid. Instead of me complaining about how rude she was I need to realize that she might have had stuff that affected her world that day.

As for the rude people that refuse to get off their cell phones as they try to order, well, they may just be plain out rude, but who am I to judge them? It is just my job to hand them coffee and take their money. So, they are rude, why should I care. It is the people behind them that will chastise them with their audible sighs and leering looks!!

I am sure that I will be surprised at the amount of time I use to complain. I wonder how much less conversation I will be having? Makes me smile actually. Now, I will still have to listen to other people complain, but I think that I am going to continue to share the info and the idea and see where it leads. They are free. It is a cool idea. It would be nicer if we were all a little nicer. Let me know if you decide to give it a try. I plan to track my progress on this blog and I'll let you know when I begin.

I wonder if the written complaint counts. Probably. I hope that I am still able to find something to write about!! I'm up for the challenge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When They're Right, They're Right!!

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (66%) moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Orderliness (63%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.
Extraversion (70%) high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by

So, what are your demons?? :-) Care to find out?

Epiphany, Making Changes, Family & Friends

Today, as I was reading my inspirational reading/meditative thought for the day, it hit me quite literally between the eyes and I had one of those moments of epiphany. Where it all came together and I could really see the differences in many situations with people and things. For months, as I began writing almost daily in a journal, I began to see the many changes that were becoming more and more apparent in my life. Today was another of those days, and I have had many, but I am just choosing to blog about todays because I thought it was one of the more interesting changes or becoming aware moments.

While reading an article by Wilfred A. Peterson I came across this,"When we expect happiness to come to us from the outside we are usually disappointed. Happiness is not guaranteed by sunny weather, a raise in pay, a new car, a beautiful home or anything else of a material nature. External things are often possessed by very unhappy people. The source of happiness is not in events happening outside of us; the source of happiness is within us. We can not control the outside world but we can control our own thoughts and emotions. All true happiness is an inner experience. The only way life will change for us is when we change ourselves." ( Italics added for emphasis)

This is where I sat up straight and said, Wow! I realized many things all in that instant. One of them, that the reason that I have felt much happier, in recent months, is due to the fact that I stopped feeling competitive. I stopped wanting to have everything that my friends had and started to only get what I actually needed. I stopped letting myself feel that I was as good as them if only I had cool stuff too. I let my life to be run material crap. A tad shallow indeed. yes, I realized that I have enough stuff and do not need to add to anymore clutter in my home or life. As a matter of fact I am really trying hard to "de-clutter" myself.

I am also finding much more satisfaction from my family rather than looking outward for approval. What was I thinking? I was trying to get other shallow and insecure people to validate my sense of worth when they too are trying to hunt for their own validation! That doesn't work for any of us. After spending months listening to a certain friend, or person that I used to think was a friend, yammer on and on about their problems and life etc., without ever coming up for air to ask more than a cursory question about mine, I realized that this person was just using me as an audience. Kind of like they were the Pope and I was having an audience with her and she would listen to a snippet here and there and throw me an occasional bone of a nod or a thought and then we would quickly turn back to her life. Which by the way she thinks is far more interesting than mine. Mine is far less complicated and far more calm and fulfilling. Which I only came to realize in these last few months.

Now, I am no longer looking outside my own walls for happiness. It can be found within your own walls. Sharing time doing nothing or playing a silly video game or watching a comedy show. Talking on a short car trip. It really is all about sharing. the more you share and the more you put into this thing the more you get back. Who better to do this with than your family? Those that you live with. yes, I know that they say that a good girlfriend is very important, but those relationships are few and fare between I believe. Yes, I have one very good friend that I have had since high school. But good relationships between grown women are a rare bird indeed. It is hard to find friends that do not feel the need to be competitive with you, or "one up" you. It is especially sad when you have put a good amount of time into a friendship only to find out/or realize that they were not a good friend and that you are easily replaceable and have been replaced!!

Your inner happiness means so much more than the trappings of daily living. if you are happy inwardly then the rest just falls into place. This is what I am discovering right now. I am so much more peaceful these days, past months, due to this new sense of happiness. This path to personal enrichment has done good things for me. It has caused me to look at myself and really make changes in the areas where I was lacking. Each day I try to approach as the best possible me that I can be. I am trying to speak only good of everyone, and yes, that is a difficult challenge, but one that is a noble goal. As the lotus flower grows in mud, but is not affected by it, so is the way that I would like to live my life.

I almost believe that y being on this quest for meaning in life that it is causing me to shift my focus and my paradigms and forcing me to look at situations in new and improved light. That is a good thing. When we become complacent in our lives is when the boredom sets in and when we begin to question everything. If we look at what we have and make the effort everyday to appreciate it and those around us...well, that is when I think that we re-discover a vitality in ourselves and that makes everything seem new again. That is a great feeling to have every day!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Driving Miss Dharma

Well, I must admit that I had not been sleeping all week and was quite nervous about my driving class yesterday. I had to be there at 7:00 in the morning and had not idea how long it was going to last. I also had to get to my moms, it was her birthday, and so I had that pressure too.
I have not ever felt that my driving skills were technically very sound. I always think of myself as just basic. Well, I actually proved myself to be quite capable. We spent a few hours going over legalities and rules of the road and the science of shifting loads and driving with several people and oxygen tanks behind you. The difference between Code White driving and Code Red lights and sirens. Then the took us out to a huge parking area where we had to help set up the cones for a massive driving course.

I don't know about where you live, but it was unbelievably cold here this week and yesterday the wind was bitter cold and totally insane!! We were freezing. After setting out all the cones we each had to drive the 2 different vehicles through a variety of courses. Slalom, forward and reverse, tight alley, parallel park, tight turn and several others.
I had the slalom first. Forward was not too bad, but reverse had me very worried. I used the mirrors as instructed and ......I nailed it all!!!! YES!! I was awesome and I am quite proud of myself. I only nicked one cone. One stinkin' cone and that was in parallel parking, but I did it. I can fricking parallel park a huge ass ambulance!! I have to admit that I was on a mental high when I got home.

I did so well that my trainer actually let me drive back to the station, but he also let me pull it in to the station bay in reverse!!! Now, this is just the beginning, but I have so much more confidence now that I think I will not loose anymore sleep.
Monday I have to call the uniform guy and begin to get fitted for all my pieces parts and then I am on the schedule to begin my shift on Wed. the 18th. I will work 7am-1pm every Wed. & Thurs. and am free to pick up any shift after that. IT is all finally coming together. Even though there is still much paper work, and I hate paper work, there is much fun and experience to be had.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Dharma Needs

So here's the meme: you go to Google and type in your name + "needs" and see what comes up. Here are some of the things that I found out that I needed!!

Dharma needs: To give herself some credit. (I have been feeling very doubtful this week)

Dharma needs: To be on more talk shows. (Someone let Oprah know!!)

Dharma needs: A break. (Wow, these could not be more accurate right now! I am WAY overloaded!!)

Dharma needs: To do what she needs to do. ( I am aware of this and just need to gather my wits)

Dharma needs: Fun with toys. ( Does wine count as a grown-up toy?)

Give it a try and see what you need!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shattered Lives

It comes as no surprise that we continue to read and hear about young men coming back from Iraq and having episodes similar to this young man. It really, really brought tears to my eyes as I read this in today's New York Times.

Sam Ross is only 24 years old and his life is irrevocably changed. Granted, this young man came from a family & life that was alleged to have already had troubles, BUT the treatment, or lack thereof, that he received after his injuries sounds quite typical to what we have been hearing and reading about as more and more of these young people come back with catastrophic bodily and mental wounds.

Remember, a post I had awhile back, from a military psychiatrist, stated that they had far too few mental health professionals on hand to help these soldiers deal with these issues once they were back stateside. These are issues that must be dealt with and that can not be ignored. otherwise they are relying on self help with drugs and alcohol which can lead to very dangerous behaviors. They are not in their right mind.

This young man is an example of the poorer, small town country folk, that are being pulled in to, or lured, with the idea that they can go to college after they get out or maybe it is the only way out of a very small town. Now, I know what some might say, that there are many young people that go willingly, from these small towns and enlist, yes, this is true, but the numbers from the small towns has been proven to be hugely disproportionate to the numbers from bigger cities. A demographer, William O'Hare and a journalist, Bill Bishop worked with the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which specializes in the overlooked rural areas in this country. Their study produced numbers that stated that for rural soldiers (24 million per million adults aged 18-59) the death rate is 60% higher than for soldiers from the cities and suburbs (15 deaths per million). These small towns have usually lost their job base and there is little left for these young people to do other than join the military. Granted, they may go willingly, but the numbers still point to the fact that the recruiters seem to be pulling them in in larger numbers because they have noted these facts themselves.

I am not feeling sorry for Mr. Ross because his early life seems to be one of some amount of chaos. I think he may have been looking for his way out and due to the lack of care, as we have been hearing in many accounts , he has fallen farther into an abyss that he may see no light at the end of the tunnel. How many more must return to face such uncertainty? The mental and physical demands that have been placed on these soldiers has been huge, isn't it about time they they received the help that they deserve?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Fratellis - Flathead

A video from my favorite new band. Scottish bar punk rocers. Love them!! if you haven't checked them out give them a listen. Love the album cover and hope to find a tee shirt from it.

Odds & Ends, Coming Attractions & More

Here we are, at the end of another spring break, and no tan, no huge hang-over tales, no strange condoms on the floor along with assorted beer and tequila bottles. Good thing, but it sure was hard to control my mom this weekend!!!

I took the week off, originally, so Max would have someone at home through the week and John was going to take some time off and we were going to get a car. Well, you know how it goes with the best laid plans and all.... he ended up having to go to Boston and then my mom came up for 4 days. So a new plan took affect.

We jumped in to plan B and decided that we would just roll with the punches and make other car dates, but as karma would have it they called with my orientation date, how long have I been finished with the class and waiting on this, AND a date to begin the drivers training as well. When it rains you know!! So, this Wed. I will go for my 4 hour orientation, get fitted for uniforms and boots and have to look at schedule options and choose one. I hope I have at least a few days to make my choice. I know it is going to be a day shift, which runs 6:45 AM to 12:45 PM. My former instructor is going to give me a heads up as to which days they think I would be best suited as far as fitting in with the team that is already put together. I am hoping that I can give them a start date of April 23rd as the coffee mega giant already has me scheduled through hat date.

I begin the drivers training at 7:00AM on Sat. What an ungodly hour to begin maneuvering a big ass ambulance. I better get up early, but not do too many espresso power shots! Would probably not be beneficial to me to be uber shakey. Have to hold together the road rage thing as well, don't you think?

So, as I said my mom was here for several days and I am in the process of recovery from that. Not that she's a problem, but I just eat too much when she is here! We hit every thrift store, that I know of, in 2 counties! I was exhausted. We both got some good deals on the first day, but we did it for 2 days and after that we were both beginning to pick stuff up and walk around with it, but then put it back and find reasons why we did not need it. Like, how many more funky purses do I really need? Plus we both hate to try stuff on. If it doesn't look like an automatic fit we both put it back.

In one town we went to an old greasy spoon coffee shop, I have not been around that town for maybe 13 years or more, and can you believe that the waitress ended up being someone that had, at one time been a very close friend. I hardly recognized her! I finally told her who I was and she had not recognized me either. Well, she looked pretty rough and raw and with good reason. She informed me that she had quit drinking because she has had 10 DUI's and can't drink anymore. I asked about marriage and kids, but we both laughed, hey, with 10 DUI's who has time, outside of jail to make room for relationships!! We had been hard partying pals and the one thing was...she was a nasty, crazy and mean drunk. Sad to see. I had always thought that she was a prettier girl than me and was always more popular with the guys, but now she looked at least 10 years older than me and much harder. Makes you think.

Brought out 4 Brothers, with Mark Whalberg to watch with mom. I have seen it before, but love it and, as you know, any movie he makes. She had never seen it, so we had wine and some great spinach alfredo pizza and some good 'ol shoot'em up gun movie violence. Nothing like a good mom movie night!! By the way, John and I just saw him in The Shooter. Not that great, but who really cares. I would go and watch him read the phone book if it had action and fast cars and shoot'em up. We all have our tendencies and short falls.

So, today it was back to getting ready for the week. Made some pre formed cookies for Max, oatmeal choc chip, and got laundry caught up and watching some misc. stuff on the tube. By the way we also watched the Ohio State Final Four game and it was fun. She is a big Ohio State sports fan. Looks like the last game will be a good one.

So, there you have folks. The weekend wrap up and coming attractions. Things are beginning to pick up and I believe that once I get rolling that I will have some fun stories to blog about with regards to the new job. For now, I must get another glass of wine and let the dogs out yet again. They say it may snow here by the weekend and I am not too happy, but what can you do? I was lucky to have such a nice week off.