Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Coffee House Tao

I never cease to be amazed at the things that can happen at the coffee mega giant. I have met and conversed with some very interesting people. I have made some good friends over a mug 'o latte. It is the greatest place to find a variety of thoughts about politics and all the things in between to religion.

One of my favorite places to sit is out on the cobblestone patio. There are tables and umbrellas and on a warm, sunny day, if you are there long enough, many people will pass through and stop at your table. On any given Sunday you could end up talking about many things. This past Sunday was just such a day. I had intended to mostly read and write, but ended up having a long discussion with the table next to me about the universe and then people that I know, or either work with, would sit down for 20-30 minute intervals and the topics would change and mutate into something else. A grand time.

This past Monday I read an article that I felt pretty passionately about and was going to use it as my next blogging topic,, quality of life and death with dignity. Very serious stuff. I brought the paper home and sat it on my desk in preparation of the next time I would sit down and type. Then I went to work on Tuesday. That morning I started at 5:00AM and around 7:00 one of our newer regulars came in to get a french press. This is what he usually drinks. I told him that it would be a few minutes, as I was a bit busy, and then I began to prepare and time it. It takes 4 minutes to steep and then you press it and pour. I walked it over to his table and told him there would be no charge since it had taken me a tad too long since there were just 2 of us working at the time.

He was reading a book and I asked what it was. "Change Your Thoughts- Change Your Life. Living the Wisdom of the Tao. By Wayne Dyer. I told him that I wanted to write that down because it sounded like something that I might like to read. About 10-15 minutes later he came up to the counter and told me that he wanted me to have his copy. It was a brand new book!! I said that I couldn't take it and he told me,"You will see why I gave it to you after you get in to it."

I was really surprised. What an awesome gesture and really cool gift. Without even beginning to read it I know that I will also have to pass it along at the end. So, when I sat down for my break I opened it up and read a few lines that hit me between the eye right away. "Let the world unfold without always attempting to figure it all out." I am one of those people that has always had to know the "whys" about everything. When things happen I always want to try and get to the bottom or know why they have happened. I drive John crazy sometimes. I imagine that life could be much less stressful if we just sat back and enjoyed the ride instead of always trying to figure it all out. I know that I have probably missed many golden moments by not being in them as they happened, but tried to figure out the details.

"Judge less and listen more." How powerful is that? I try, but I know that I am still a work in progress where that is concerned! Hard to do. Last, "Accept whatever comes. Encounter the mystery within without labeling, explaining, or defending." Something that I have started to practice, but still have much work to do in this area. It is hard not to get involved in these activities when you get tired and are overworked etc. Most times the words are out of your mouth or in your head long before you have a chance to control yourself or your thoughts. I think that it is an area that will always need work and constant contemplation.

All of this just up to pages 5 and 6!! What a gift I have been given and it is so in tune with what I have been reading all along and with the paths that I have started to walk. I look forward to coming to the part that inspired him to give it to me.

Thanks Bill.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Family Reality Style

It has seeemed as if I have been on hiatus in these past few weeks, the last time I posted was the beginning of August, and I am finally taking & making some time. I have been working 12 hour shifts at EMS, 7AM - 7PM, and that really drags the energy out of you by the end of the week. Not to mention that I live in a college town and the students are coming back this week, so the coffee shop has been crazy as well.

The thoughts and inspiration for this blog come to us courteousy of the Fort Worth Star Telegram writer Linda P. Campbell. It's not earth shattering or very current news, but it is a topic that I have had reason to think about now and then. It is about the family. Which is what gave me the idea for the title of todays blog as well. There used to be the Norman Rockwell idea of family, kind of what it was still like when I grew up, you had dinner every night at the table and there was meat and potatoes. Now, I am not that old, but I think that my moms generation was one of the last to raise kids in that fashion.

I think more of us are living the Family Guy life today. Now, I don't claim to speak for everyone because there are probably those of you out there, in the real world, that still sit down several nights a week to a full dinner and I do not want to insult you or your traditions, but I am saying that based upon most people that I know the rest of us are living the alternate lifestyle.

"Just because times have changed doesn't mean that the fundamental value of family has. Sometimes, I worry about not doing the old fashioned Sunday dinner together that's still traditional in many families. Instead we steal family time on the long drive to baseball games, soccer games, you name it games and the meal afterwards. On the multiple short drives to and from school. On occassional afternoons or evenings when we magically have down time," says Campbell, " When the iPods are off and the conversations seem random, that's when the most enlightening revelations occur".

This is how the speed of life affects you. When Max was small we would make the time to sit down and eat a meal together at night. It is not until they actually begin to get active and have their own activities that the meal gets pushed back and we eat on the run. Then it just seems to become a hectic way of life as you and they run from activity to activity. These days it also seems that parents seem to be more active than ours did. I join classes and John meets guys out for a beer when he is in town. I don't rememebr my family ever doing anything of the sort.

Even when we hit the fast food we have had some good talking time. There is no phone ringing, or TV to distract. Some of our best chats have been when Max and I, or he and John, have been at a fast food joint. Maybe casual food leads to more casual conversation. Hmmmm.

I am not a big video gamer, but when I have sat down and given it a try, like Guitar Hero, we both laugh allot, but it has been a time where he has shared and we discuss things. Discussion need not always take place under serious and somber situations. Yesterday I had him come in and watch the Daily Show with me, Barack Obama was the guest, and we had an important discussion about registering to vote when he turns 18 and how important this next election will be. The whole thing only lasted about 10 minutes, but we both felt the impact.

I used to berate myself for not being like, what I thought was typical, family. I thought we had to go to church every Sunday and come home and have the roast beef dinner and spend family night together in the evening. Now, I know that that is just an unrealistic paradigm. Life moves far too quickly today to try and make yourself in to someone else's mold or idea of what a family is or should be.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Star of Life

This symbol is called the Star of Life. You will see it on almost all ambulances. It is on my uniform. It is on both of my certification cards. Each of those points are the care that I have chosen to provide for the sick, injured and critically ill. When I arrive at a call I have no idea what I am walking in to, but I have sworn to provide service and to carry out my service in all areas to the best of my ability.

There has been much argument recently that doctors should be able to withhold services based upon their religious views. So under the same umbrella should all emergency personnel. Firemen should be able to decide that they can not run into a burning crack house because they believe that drugs are evil. They should be able to allow women to burn to death because prostitution is a sin. Paramedics should be able to walk away from a severe car accident because the driver was intoxicated, and although their guts are hanging out they feel that they can not save them because they do not believe in alcohol in their church.

How far are we willing to let this argument go before it gets to this extreme? As for me, I will continue to save all lives no matter what my views are. I would respect those of the patient and no matter what I might think of them, in a worldly sense, I will provide them all the care that I am capable to give.

That should be the "christian" way. It is the right thing to do.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

From France to Oostburg...... and DOA.

Last Sunday John returned from France after 35 days. He was as happy to be home as we were to havehim here. I have been cooking and grilling out ever since. He was very ready for some good 'ol American cuisine. Burgers and brats and corn on the cob drippingin butter.

The weather here was so much warmer than it had been there that we had to immediately turn on the A.C. Fine with me as well. Adding to our burger and salad delite has been the delicious vegetables outof my garden. A garden that was just a small patch when he left and has now become a full fledged jungle! Nothing quite like a large warm garden tomato.

Now, after only a week, he is leaving again on Monday. This time for Oostburg, Wisconsin. Into M
ixter country. Where is that in relation to you Mixter? Also Esteban land. How about where you reside Esteban? He will be there for 3 to 4 weeks and then right on to Oregon.

This Wednesday I had my first DOA. A person that was not much younger than me. They had not been too well and had moved back into their parents home. They were found deceased in the AM by their parents. We were called to verify. It was strange.

It did not bother me and still does not, but it makes me think. There were those who thought that I should be having night mares about this experience. Does it make me abnormal because I am not? I wanted to keep looking. I wanted to learn more about the process. Maybe I should go to medicalschool. I did not see them as anyone,but as a subject to study. I wonder if it would have been different if it was a child and not someone so close to my own age. It felt strange to be there at the beginning of this families grief. We left once the police began their photographing and the coroner does the rest.

This really is a lame post because I still can not verbalize exactly what I think about the entire episode.