Thursday, December 16, 2010

Working - from feelings of dread to happy/high

I am mostly doing fine at my new job at Corvallis Manor, feeling good about the care I give, and enjoying my fellow employees. 

But one thing that can happen, working night shift, is an aide will call in sick for day shift.  It is a feeling of DREAD that it might be my section and I will be expected to work a few hours into the day shift.  When I work all night, I am living for that 6:30am hour to be free to go home.  It feels almost devastating to find out that instead of being free to go home, I need to continue on, getting patients toileted, washed, and dressed for breakfast.  A new round of vital signs needed, call lights to answer.

That happened this morning. What made it worse is last night I forgot to bring my phone.  I would normally call Gary so he wouldn't worry that I'm not home around the usual time.  I realized that I did not know his phone number.  I looked it up in the phone book, but mistakenly looked in the Albany section so it wasn't there.  Argh.  Luckily he saw my phone at home, and when I didn't show up, he called the Manor to verify that I was working late.  A really nice woman came to tell me, and to say that he wanted to make sure I knew that he knew, so I wouldn't worry.  She said she appreciated having a reason to meet me.

At night I'm responsible for 15-18 people.  The day shift is responsible for more like 6-8 people.  Luckily I had a pretty good group.  The first thing that came up was one of mine wanted her shower right away.  I haven't not given showers at this facility so hoped she could direct me on the procedure.  She was just great.  She is a tiny elderly woman, with only one leg.  She is amazing.  She grips things with her hands and hops to get where she needs to be, like wheelchair to shower chair.  She is cheerful and energetic.  It went well and I was so pleased.

The best part of this experience was having so many people thanking me for staying late (like I had a choice!) and pitching in as if I were a regular on day shift.  It made me feel just great to have the other aides thank me.  And I got plenty of smiles and nice words from others.  I ended up feeling happy/high.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Outlook

I am always wistful about the days when our WHOLE family got together - parents, sisters, their spouses, and all our children.  In recent years we've been scattered.  This year will especially feel scattered with the recent death of our father.  My son Jacob won't be able to make it home from Peru because of job commitments.  That is not all bad - this job was a promotion and the school he works for has done the paperwork for him to work legally in Peru.  Plus he'll be home for a visit in February and I look forward to that.  I'm grateful that he has a good job.  And a Peruvian girlfriend, and her family.

A bit of craziness for me, as I work the night shift on Christmas Eve, plus again the night shift on Christmas day.  Gary keeps saying "You don't HAVE to work", but I like having the money, a way of making my own friends, and stories to tell.  Plus the benefits.

Anyway, the way it will go this year is Debbie, bless her, is hosting a Christmas brunch.  Pam and her son Joe will come, Nick and Debbie's son John will be there, and Gary (bless him) will take me.  Then we'll come back to Corvallis where we will host a 4 pm dinner for Gary's daughter and her family, and anyone else who wants to come.

I am grateful for being with this wonderful guy, Gary.  And grateful for my wonderful sisters.  And wonderful sons.  I will miss going to the Christmas Eve service at Calvin Presbyterian in Tigard that I used to go to with my sons.  But one of these years I hope some sort of Christmas Eve service will be a tradition again.

Lots of love to everyone this season.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bearkat House Concert and Party

Last night we hosted a party for a performance of Bearkat, the group that Nick has playing with and touring with for the past month.  I was beside myself with excitement about their arrival - inviting guests, making food, and looking forward to hearing them play.  I was glad that they arrived early, plenty of time to get situated and to rest a little before the party. 

We have a variety of spaces for them to sleep.  They have been used to all sleeping in one room, and they said they have gotten used to that.  In face they said the first night on the tour that they were able to have separate rooms they had "separation anxiety" which I thought was so cute.  But they did opt for multiple rooms here, for a little better rest.

It made me so happy that they said they loved the food I offered.

The group leader, singer, and composer of the music is Katy.  She plays guitar, banjo, and ukulele.   Brian on guitar, Kent on drums, and Nick on euphonium.  But they all play different instruments including various percussion instruments and the lovely toy pink piano.  Meredith has been touring with them as the videographer.  Here are some videos of them:

The party was fun - except for guests being noisy and having the feeling that some were not listening to the music.  But afterwards Brian said he liked the lack of performance pressure - they could play in a very relaxed way.  But some of us did listen and their music was just beautiful.  There was a good variety of styles, volume, etc., which kept me very entertained.  And even the people who didn't SEEM to be listening told me enthusiastically how good they thought the group is.  I enjoyed getting to know some of Gary's friends a little better, and meeting some others for the first time.  Also, I really appreciated that a band mom, Linda, who lives in Corvallis came with a friend.  And my sister Debbie and husband Tony, who introduced Gary and me.

I didn't take photos until after the party.  Here is one of the group, being funny:

Later they played cards:

It made me happy that they seemed to enjoy each other's company so much.  Also, they were just fun to talk to and have around.  I know they will be going their separate ways soon, but wish I could have them all back once a year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bowling Alley and Best Burger in Town

Today I have been living in Corvallis for one month.  I count it from my first night at work.  I decided it was about time I see Gary's bowling alley.  He works there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I dropped in, and I really enjoyed seeing it.  They had a women's leagues playing today.

Here is Gary cooking.

And he DID make me a terrific burger - pretty spirals of mustard, catsup and mayonaisse on the bun, and lots of lettuce and tomato.

One of these days I will get my courage up and actually go bowling.

Water at the Farm - Amazing!

Gary changed the water in his aquarium while I was sleeping.  (Still working night shift.)  When I woke up, I asked - didn't you have to let the water sit a bit before putting the fish in it?  He said no.  Don't you need to let the chlorine evaporate off?

He told me that since our water comes from a well, it requires no processing.  I am still trying to get my mind around that - water from our tap is pure and tastes wonderful - and it is coming from the ground with no processing.  Really?

So no water payment?  No.  No sewer payment?  No.  And those in our neighborhood each have our own well, so we don't have to compete for water.


Corvallis Christmas Parade

I particularly enjoyed going to Corvallis' 26th annual Christmas parade.  I love smaller town parades anyway.  But it seemed especially fun to bundle up and get out for this.  Someone (maybe Starbucks?) was generously handing out cups of rich hot chocolate.  I loved seeing the families all out there together. 

There was quite a variety in the parade.  Big hair rodeo queens, corgi dog owners walking their dogs, the mayor in his electric car.  I especially enjoyed the Grace Lutheran Church music group -singing rocking music with the men in suits and dark glasses a la the Blues Brothers.  International exchange students marched by with their flags.  There seemed to be a world peace theme, which I can always appreciate.

But maybe the most exciting things were people powered vehicles that came from "The daVinci Days" - they looked like the old time bicycles with huge, and I mean huge, wheels.  Apparently this is an international event hosted in the summer in Corvallis - see  I can't wait.

Afterwards we went to the home of friends of Gary's for dessert.  An HP engineer and his wife that Gary knows from bowling.  They have a funny competition - the wife for her lemon bars and the man for his chocolate chip cookies.  He told us his that his wife's were "Duncan and Hines" when they were clearly home made.  She had a blue ribbon from a fair for them - they reallly were good.  It is fun to meet the wide variety of people who bowl.  And fun that everywhere we go people know Gary.

Society event, Corvallis style

We went to a lovely fundraising event for the group Zonta, which I had not heard of before.  According to their website,  "Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy."  I was impressed with the projects, both local and international, promoting women's interests.  See

Our neighbors Kelly and Dana had purchased a table for 8 for dinner, and we enjoyed their company.  Of course, before dinner there was a silent auction with MANY items, and during the last part of dinner was an oral auction.  They had enough items that there were two auctioneers, spelling each other while the other ran around confirming bids.  This was very familiar, from fundraisers I've been involved with, particularly for the kids' band fundraisers.

Kelly bid on a pecan pie, which he did not win.  I told him not to worry, I would make him a pecan pie. I  take pride in my pecan pies with the triple amount of pecans I use.  I made it and it was appreciated.

The most "Corvallis" aspect was that there was a beautiful, glamorous, silver fox coat in perfect condition, for the oral auction.  Despite any distaste for animal furs, it was truly beautiful.  However, no one wanted to big on it.  While everything else was going for outrageous sums (rich people here in Corvallis?), this coat went for $300-something.  The ladies at my table said that anyone wearing that coat in Corvallis would be laughed at.  OK - I will know to avoid wearing any beautiful fur coats here.