301) Processed Turkey & T-day Celebrations

November 29, 2008

El Milagro:
Saturday after T-day holiday and I'm back on my regular Saturday schedule, up to 79 kgs, or 173.8 pounds --- proving that I did like all that food. The thing about food these days however, is that I regularly get naucious and upset stomach feeling if I eat too much. I don't throw up... but I do usually have to lie down and stay very still, while thinking things like, "Why did I eat the whole thing?" And, the difficult part is that the 'whole thing' is much less quantity than it used to be BKD.

Cari the Tech called last night and asked if I want to come in at 6 this morning or at 10:30. HUM? I say... 10:30. Then an hour or so later Rosie the Tech calls and says, "not 10:30 but 11:30: the starters of the second shift are at 10:30 and if we slip you in at the beginning of their shift they'll complain..." I agree: "I don't want to ruffle those starters' feathers..." I'll come in at the end of their seatings.

So here I a
m at 11:30, seated and poked by Dee the Tech... while Lizzie, Shayna and the cousins are geocaching with Larry. I woulda loved going too, but this time the schedule just didn't work out. Instead, here I am with all my dialy-friends, laying here in phlebotomizing repose... watching our TV's, sleeping, or just laying there looking around... taking in the sights of dialyland. I notice there are a few Thanksgiving visitors here today.

Processing Thanksgiving: Today is my quiet opportunity to review the holiday and ponder the meaning of the holiday with my family and to watch MythBusters as a break from my extemporaneous diatribe. These days I find that I no longer really care as much about my slips of the tongue, my rantings and ravings, or my sometimes careless and brainless mis-speaks. I am 61 and feeling a bit cantankerous and obstinate. I am slipping into drivel... extemporaneously speaking...

Okay. So, anyway...the Thanksgiving holiday has historically been, for me, that time of the year when I not only look at what I have to be thankful for, but also it seems to be a time when I recognize my misgivings and gripes (kinda like a secular Yom Kippur) bubbling to the surface and many years I have found myself in a corner of my house purging myself in stream of consciousness journaling... which does seem to help me get centered.

Okay. So, anyway... MythBusters has the team driving around on ice backwards to see if front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive gets more traction in reverse (a myth busted). We had our traditional Thanksgiving Day Celebration at Larry's house amid Dallas Cowboys and as a special treat after dinner, UT smearing A&M! All three of the kids came with us this year and that was grand... even with John & Katie mugging for all their photos. The food was simply delicious and I even ate Liz's baked curried sweet potatoes! We brought my own leached red potatoes so I could enjoy the giblet gravy and mostly I was able to eat a little of everything. The kids were upstairs wreaking havoc on Arron's room while we adults chatted, puzzle-worked (not me, of course), and visited downstairs. I got to cut the giblets, which made me feel like I did something constructive. It was a heartwarming dinner and gave me the wonderful sense of "family" I cherish. And desert was famous: David decided he loves pumpkin pie! With all the food stuffing my tummy, I started to feel like laying down, so we came home before the UT game was over (but satisfied that A&M was dust).

On Friday the traditions continued with Liz and her mom going shopping for lox, bagels and all the fixin's for our Nowicki Friday Family
Brunch... where my dad and my Aunt Irene (from Tucson) drive up from San Antonio for a festive visit that is our fall family get-together every year. We were all busy straightening up the house in the morning; Johnny getting his room together, Katie and Shayna helping set tables and pick up the downstairs... and Katie claiming "I'm starving... when are they gonna get here?" and actually they were later than their usual 30 minute early arrival. We finally saw my dad walking slowly up the driveway with a bunch of flowers for Lizzie, in his Stetson and with his sister following him with a box of Russell Stover's. There arrival was marked by the hugs, busses, and handshakes of relatives long apart, smiles all around, and Grandpa John's traditional giving of his homemade Pomegranate jelly to Shayna, who rushes off to hide it for consumption later and Grandma Joan, who is gracious in her thank yous. And of course, Katie wants to know, "Where's mine?" and grandpa assures her she'll get hers tomorrow.

Everyone sits around expecta
ntly until the food is on the table and we all sit down to gorge ourselves on the delicacies before us: lox, herring in sour cream, sliced roast beef, fresh bagels, cucumber salad, fancy herb bree, tinturn from Wales, and fresh strawberries, pineapple, and grapes and pies for desert: Liz's perfect blueberry pie (discovery of the day: Johnny doesn't like blueberry pie!) and Jen's apple-cranberry pie...Then, of course, its time for the family pictures... Joan and Liz; Irene and kids, the Three Johns, etc. Although Liz and Joan both said this was the best brunch ever, I still have anxiety and unease at these things. I am always hpyer-aware of myself evaluating every little thing Irene and my dad do and say: feeling sensitive and distant (my cancer crab hiding in it's shell, so-to-speak). At one point Katie asked my dad, "Was dad weird as a kid?" and my dad perked up quickly from his plate to affirm that: "Oh yeah. He was weird alright!" and I just couldn't get the humor of it, if there was humor there. There probably was and yet I was in my grouchiness and couldn't find it. I generally felt like I was hovering around the sidelines trying to fit in but also aware that the visit was really for the old folks to see the young folks and for the Austin Nowicki's to entertain the last generation as best we could. Clearly Liz is more objective than I in evaluating these celebrations.

At the end of it all, the old folks headed out amidst a darkening rain sky and Liz and Joan went shopping and Katie went to
her mom's and I relaxed and watched John and Shayna zip back and forth with John on his skateboard hitching a ride behind his little sister. All is well and I am thankful ...for all the blessings already are!

Back to the Present @ El Milagro: MythBusters is over, and my slipping into self-absorbing hallucinatory stream of consciousness is now flickering like an old 16 mm film snapping and crackling to a stop on an old Bell & Howell... I end by flipping over to Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein in French Kiss and finishing my time restfully until James the Nurse comes by and surprises me by telling my time is up. So it goes... and I remember as I step out into the drizzly night,

In at 79 and out at 75.4 kgs.


300) Postmodernism at El Milagro

November 26, 2008

El Milagro:
Jason the Tech sticks me painlessly and I settle in to reading a student's paper. Then he tells me that he has to wait for about 5 minutes to hook me to the machine cause they want the Heparin that he just shot me with to circulate completely and it does one circuatin a minute, about. "That's weird", I think. I ask "How long has that been a procedure?" and Jason replies that it has been a procedure for "awhile now" and I can tell that this is one of those things that Jason does but many of the "old timers" just skip. So, I continue to investigate. He says they are always supposed to let the Heparin circulate so they don't give it to you and then just suck it into the filtering system. He says that others "probably just forget cause there are so many things to remember to do in setting people up." And, the edicts from administration keep coming on down the pike... so this month it is one thing they are focusing on and then a month or so later it is something else.

I ponder that and wonder how such a supposedly "leading provider of dialysis services" can operate in such wishy washy ways... and then I wander off in my mind comparing the glitches I hear about DaVita to my dad's stories about the military, my memories about working for the state of Texas, and things I've heard from friends about places they work... and it all becomes clearer in my brain of brains! Bureaucracy breeds incompetency! The more administrations add on to the pile of rules, the more plain old folks ignore the rules. When caring people get overloaded with procedures and rules, they come to a point of overwhelm and then simply choose which procedures are important to them and then let the others go by the wayside. In the medical arena this can be seen in the number of medical staff who "forget" to wash their hands while working, even though that behavior is clearly connected to the spread of serious infections in hospitals. We blame individuals for these kinds of things and yet it seems to me that the overload of procedures causes well-minded folks to busily forget or slip by some important details... as Jason suggests.

We are in the postmodern world, where individuals follow their own rules (No, I don't mean chaos, I mean many truths with small "t"s) whereas in the modern world, people had to follow procedures more closely because they were the Truth (with a capitol "T"). My brain doesn't have the answer but I hallucinate that the Japanese group approach may increase people's sense of responsibility and pride for sticking to the little details. What, dear readers, do you think?

I shake my head off this train and focus more on the paper I have on my lap about SFBT and depression in adolescents. There are typos! I hate that. You would think that graduate students with advanced computers and programs like Word "X" would be able to produce a paper without typos and simple grammatical errors. It is a pet peeve of mine that I try to let the students in on when I say in the syllabus, "check for grammar". Catching these little edits takes away from my reading for content... so, I end up reading twice.

I review the paper, make some edits, and shake my frustration about grammar off and turn to the news. Then I nap for awhile and wake to watch the end of Jim Lehrer's News Hour and the coverage of the attacks in

I drift off again and wake again to watch the last half of Criminal Minds and the first part of Barbara Walters' interview with the Obamas and then it is time to unhook, weigh out, and walk out into the brisk night air and truck on home. So it goes in dialyland.

Notes: In at 76.7 and out at 75.5 kgs.


299) Dialysis & Documenting the Kick Kats Loss

November 24, 2008

El Milagro:
Rosie the Tech hooks me up to the machine and hits a nerve with the arterial needle. I get a jolt in my thumb and index finger that reminds me of those steel bars we used to grab in Juarez as kids for 25¢. You'd hold onto the bars attached to a car battary as long as you could while the Mexican operator grinned and turned up the juice... a slow surge of electricity that grew until your hands were trembling and you threw down the bars in excited pain. Anyway... this flashed thru my brain as I was climbing the back of my chair and Rosie is trying to hold me down and adjust the needle while I'm squirming... but not screaming cause I don't want to seem like a wimp in case Big Daddy Joseph is around. She finally finagles it to where the pain melts away and I only have tingling numbness in my thumb and about 3 fingers... not sure, since I can't feel em.

Kate the PA (actually a Nurse Practitioner, she explains) comes by todo the Dr's Drive By and she is even slower than Venkatesh... updates my Ropinirole script and talks about new breads for my diet now that ___ the dietician has discovered that my rye bread has whole wheat so I must forgo eating it anymore! Damn! I love rye bread. So, they console me and offer that I can eat sour dough bread (yuck) and I add 'botillo' rolls... which Rosie squinches at and can't figure out what I mean for a few minutes... deja vu... and then blurts out "Bollio... he means bollio... French bread!" and we all agree those wonderful hard crusted rolls are white bready enough to make my diet. I reluctantly agree that I'll change my habits and get rid of the rye. I complain that I've been eating my basic sliced turkey on rye with carrots and grapes to many years... and I think
of the complaints I used to get from Johnny and Katie over getting the same sandwich every day through elementary school.

So I settle into reading a paper I downloaded on the research on bereavement in prep for my Amarillo workshop on SFGT.

Later I catch the ABC News, and Jim Lehrer's News to get some better understanding on how and why the nation is going down the toilet. It is Monday so I am lost on what's on TV... never watch on Mondays I guess. We are here Monday cause of Turkey Day down the road on Thursday... and El Milagro's switching the days so the staff can have a Thanksgiving of their own. TTS people are MWT this week and MWF are STF (I guess).

I now lay back in my chair and watch whatever is on... without attending to it... b
egin to read a paper from the class but it is boring (sorry students) so I drift off in my mind to the events of the weekend... when the Kick Kats LOST a game in the tourney!*

It was in the game with the Starlettes, who we had beat Saturday... but because of Austin United's** disheveled tourney planning (which is always the case in the rec league) we ended up having to play them again and this time with a macho-type ref who only sees with blinders. If we wanted to gripe we could say that one of their scores was made by an off-side player and there were other gripes... alas... they did lose and the Starlettes did win, 3-2. In the last 10 minutes of the second half the girls pushed thru a score but the luck wasn't with them to score another one, even though they took about twenty shots during the final minutes of play. When the whistle blew... it was over and there was a silence of shock and dismay for seconds before a cheer rose up from the Starlette parents, who were also in shock about winning against us. I headed across the field to hug Shayna and the girls were all cryey and blubbery... Shay
na mumbling that they cheated and the ref didn't see the off-sides, etc. We took the kids back to the bench and as the parents drifted across the girls lined up to high five the winners.

Coach Charlie choked back his emotions as he addressed the kids and parents, stand
ing in shock and dismay in a huddle to the side of the field. The girls all had tears streaming down their faces as Charlie pushed out, "I've been memorizing this speech for over a year now... and it doesn't make it easier... it was bound to happen that we would lose a game... it is really a matter of luck and an inevitability that we would lose some time. I never thought it would go for two and a half seasons! That is incredible and you should all be really proud of that... all the other teams have been gunning for us for the whole season... you all have grown as a team and there is no reason to feel bad." As he was finishing up and the girls were dispersing I added that if they were angry they could take that to the next game at 3:30.

The girls did get their spirit back and beat the last team 4 to 1 and it was good to end the season on a win rather than on that loss to the Starlettes. They ended up third in the tourney and are given a invitation to the regionals. Now we have to plan for the district games in Boerne on December 7th!

Notes: In at 77.5 kgs and out at 74.7 kgs.
* Kick Kats online at http://kickkats.shutterfly.com/
**Austin United online at http://www.austinsoccer.org/


298) Soccer Tourney & Dialysis

November 22, 2008

Update: Since last posting on 11/15 I have had two dialysis sessions and here is what I remember about them:

11/18/08 ~ Drove in from Angleton (30 miles south of Houston) where I was doing a training on the "new STAR", leaving there at 12:15 and making it to Ellinger, where I stopped at Rick's for two delicious chopped beef sandwiches and a root beer, and then on to Enterprise by 3:30, turning in the car, and shooting over to dialysis by 4... and, of course, that is the day they were late so I sat out in the waiting room for 15 minutes
. My BP 90 something over 40 something was real low at the beginning of the session and the only thing I could figure was possibly that I had been meditating on the highway from Smithville to Bastrop. After a few minutes of sitting, my BP came up to an 'acceptable' number and Rosie the Tech poked me. The session was uneventful and I got out of there by 8:30, down below my new dry weight of 75.0 kgs... out at 74.6 kgs.

11/20/08 ~ Session after my class... where the Case Staffing group did a great consultation with the Math teacher related to one of her students! It was exactly what I wanted to see from this group before the end of the semester! Rosie the Tech hit me up and we briefly discussed high school students' behavior and Jo the Nurse chimed in ab
out her expectations of high school students... everyone has an opinion, don't they? I settled back as if after a delicious meal to relax, catch the news, and watch Survivor and Gray's Anatomy. Good day and out at my dry weight of 75 kgs (165 lbs).

Saturday Morning: Shayna is in her end-of-season soccer tournament today and we have already been to two games: against the Starlettes (1-0) and the Dynamite (5-0). Next we have the Comets at 1 pm. I call El Milagro and find out from Rita the Nurse that they don't know yet what time I can come in... they'll have Rosie call me when she comes in.

More to come....
Anne the Nurse calls and we set up for me to go in at 2 pm... right at the end of Shayna's next game, which starts at 1. Arranging for dialysis and soccer tourneys don't mix well. I could just tell Anne that I don't want to come in until 2:30, but I always feel fortunate that on Saturdays they usually call me first (I hallucinate) for the open chairs and so I
usually get my choice of times... and, I fear that if I am changing their offers too much, they'll just drop me as their first choice for open chairs. I may or may not be right about that... and it seems that I should mostly just accept their offers. So, I do.

My point is really that just arranging dialysis within anyone's Saturday schedule is annoying. I could have originally selected MWF as my dialysis days but I was afraid of threatening my work schedule... didn't want work to think that my dialysis was taking too much time for work... so, I selected TTS as my days, thinking that Saturdays would very seldom interfere with work, except for the once-a-year board retreat. So now my home schedule is interfered with on Saturdays. So it goes.

More to come....
El Milagro: I left the game with the comets with about 10 minutes left, and Kick Kats ahead 2-zip... Johnny yelling from the sidelines, cheering his sister on. That's a good th
ing cause we can see her play harder when he is watching... and basically she is playing very well today with lots more speed and energy than usual... and almost scored in the second half on a two foot shot that somehow missed.

A smiling Amanda the Tech is here to cannulate me today and I report on Shayna's games to her as she does her work. Ann the Nurse does my nursing eval. I watch the college football and begin grading my students' lit reviews. Read one and realize I didn't bring the others in their folder... instead I brought a folder of articles to read to prep for my SFG(rief)T training in Amarillo. So I review these for awhile until I get tired of it, and then turn my attention to the TV. I find Geena Davis' movie, A League of Their Own* and although I don't really care much for baseball, I love Geena and Madonna so this is good fare for a Saturday Dialysis Matin
ée and I enjoy watching it.

Now that I have added fedoras to my hat wardrobe, any movie set in the forties gives me an opportunity to check out the men's hats. I notice that the men are wearing broader
brims than my hat has... and I think that the narrower brims must've come in the fifties. Or, the costume designer just went for fedoras without concern for historical accuracy. I wonder which as I watch. I remember once taking my '52 Ford pickup truck downtown to see if I could get it into a movie being made in Austin, and they turned it down cause the wheels weren't accurate (fifties wheels being taller and narrower than the wheels I had on the truck). "Are these 3" brims accurate?" I ask myself. Speaking of hats, my order of my winter hat came yesterday and was too big! I must send it back and get a smaller one. Asi es la vida.

Notes: In at 77.6 and out at 74.7 kgs. Visit the Kick Kats site at http://kickkats.shutterfly.com/
* A League of the their Own retrieved online November 2008 from All Movie Guide at http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:28669
**Added a pic of John and Gabriella to the Halloween Pics, post # 294


297) The 2008 Conference on Solution-focused Practices

November 15, 2008

Preface: Since last Saturday I've been too busy to post: Solution-focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) Workshop for Austin School District's Social Workers on Monday; SFBT Crisis Intervention training and Cultural Competency TA for LifeWorks on Tuesday; co-facilitating the STAR Provider meeting and a facilitating a short workshop on SF Conversations with Youth at the PEI Statewide Conference on Wednesday; and ending up the week with participating on a panel discussion on EBP's and SFBT on Thursday and a presenting a short workshop on Crisis Intervention with SFBT on Friday! This is a much busier week (preparing for and delivering 7 things) than I usually plan for myself now that I am on dialysis... yet all these things just came together in the same week... and I basically had to do them all and do my best to make them useful to the participants.

Even though I had all these activities going on, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to attend
(and present at) at my first Conference on Solution-Focused Practices!* This is the 6th Edition of this conference and I was able to attend because it is in Austin and sponsored by the UT School of Social Work and produced by the SFBTA and Liz's office of Professional Development (making Lizzie a bit crazy for the last week). This year the conference had a real international flavor, bringing folks from England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Japan, and New Mexico! Let me tell you, I was really extremely nervous to be around all the folks who have written the books and carried on with Insoo and Steve's work and I must've worked over fifty times how I was gonna present my usual 6-hour Empowering Youth & Families in Crisis workshop** in 1 and half hours to this audience of high-powered, famous exemplars of SFBT!

Mostly I was worried in my head about presenting a defined theory of behavior as being connected to the a-theoretical, social constructionist paradigm we call the solution-focused process. I fretted that these
mighty epitomes of SFBT might argue against the idea that I am suggesting connecting this practice approach to a formalist psychological theory and they might actually refute my ideas as nonsensical and counterintuitive. Although this nagging thought had germinated early on and I had constructed my multi-framing of the material carefully, I became more concerned (like fixated) after sitting in Bob Bertolino's*** philosophically oriented workshop on SolutioNation: Next Generation of SFBT.

So, I review my copied materials, the way they are described in the program, and decide to (1) frame the theory part as "a sympathetic metaphor for externalizing the problem", and (2) present the material inside the frame (box) of describing how we teach [using a
(3) SF process] counselors in community-based youth and family STAR programs to utilize SFBT in working with clients in crisis. Since my participants usually have the belief that knowing more 'facts' about crisis helps them work with folks, we give them the Slaikeu theory and then dovetail it with SFBT. This frame leads to (4) sampling some of the exercises we use (ala adult education) and giving a brief overview of the important elements of crisis that lend themselves to SFBT: coping, re-establishing equilibrium, and listening to the client's story and their beliefs about how change happens.

Well, that is all fine and dandy, and within a few minutes in my workshop I realize that the participants, in describing their "challenges" in using SFBT with Crisis, are bringing up specific client situations, like "suicide", "homelessness", and such... indicating to me that they really want more of the type of presentation I do with counselors! So, here I am juggling telling the story of our educating practitioners, describing the link between crisis theory and SFBT practice, and teaching some about crisis, while sticking in the participant activity I wanted to do... and rushing through it all in 1.75 hours!

While processing it in the empty and hushed room afterwards I write: "too scattered, frenetic. One woman wanted to case staff a homeless suicidal person and I didn't want to go there. Reviewed important stuff about crisis - coping, restoring equilibrium, starting with what client wants, etc. Laura Judd was helpful playing Vanna. Was great having Millie (one of the original state monitors of the STAR program) there for historical anchor. I'm glad it is over... and now... I wonder where the bar is?"

Shayna and I head out to the fields for her early soccer game, while Liz heads up to the conference. Shayna's Kick Kats beat the Bobcats 2 to 1 in an interesting windfest... the winds are from the north at about 35 mph and bring a 40 degree chill across the field and we have the wind at our back! We can score from midfield... and of course, given nature's boost, the girls all try to dribble in to 5 feet to shoot. No score. Second half we score into the wind twice and the other cats actually use the wind to score one. Shayna plays best I've seen this season! We go for breakfast tacos and I take her home and zoom over to catch the second workshop at the conference.

Sit in on Joel Simon's**** workshop, When the Client Doesn't Follow the Script, and am knocked out by it! The information is good, his humor and facilitation okay, the videos fairly well produced. What is fabulous is the process he uses to bring everyone into the conversation and his non-threateningly directed activities that utilize modeling AND practice in a way that is PERFECT from my perspective! I write on my evaluation, and tell him personally that I intend to take this lock, stock, and barrel and use it in my trainings. He replies, "just give me the credit" and I promise to do so. For me, this is the highlight of the whole thing, workshop wise.

After this workshop there is an hour and a half break until the final plenary: Liz and I drift downstairs to the leather-couched computer/TV room to relax watch the Longhorns play Kansas on the largest TV I have ever seen (probably 50 feet wide, it seems). Millie from Seguin comes in so we spend time catching up with her.

The closing keynote, The Next Question, facilitated by Evan George and Chris Iveson***** is a continuation of their beginning keynote. In this continuation they start by having the whole conference audience split into pairs and share with each other what we have learned so far... then pick two others and share with them our sharings. I am sitting behind two women from the Austin Cancer Society (Kim and Sharon) and pick one of them. Stephen Langer*****, who was on the panel with me and Theresa on Thursday, is behind me so he come up a row to choose the other woman and complete our foursome.

Well... then Chris the Presenter calls my partner, Kim, up to be the "client" in this activity so we end up with a threesome, which works just fine. In this exercise, Chris interacts with Kim (the "client") and Evan instructs us to think up dialogic response questions to use next in Chris' conversation with Kim. Then we discuss our questions in our little group and hallucinate which directions the conversation might take if we ask our questions. Then Evan asks for a few of us to share our responses (like a reflecting team) and Chris selects one to carry on the conversation with Kim. This is another wonderful example of how to teach and consider SF questioning. It provides an opportunity to converse about various questions to use and to get others' views as well. Our threesome finds (in my view) that there is usually a two-person slant to our created questions; sometimes Stephen and Sharon agreeing, sometimes Sharon and me, etc. We find that we usually are thinking about cognitive (thought or meaning) or emotional (kinesthetic or feeling) slants in either a "jumping forward to solution" way or an "expanding the present" vein... it is very helpful to me to discuss these differences with our threesome. I always learn a lot in these kinds of activities and am happy as a lark when walking out for the break.

Unfortunately I have to go to dialysis right after the break... I finagle a copy of the Brits' book from Susan at the B
ook Woman stand and ask Chris and Evan to sign it and head out with a head full of ideas and thoughts and even some feelings(!). What a fabulous morning!

El Milagro: I arrive 15 minutes late after my agreed upon time (3 pm) because I just couldn't tear myself away from the conference before the 3 o'clock break. I am being directed to a chair by a smiling Amanda the Tech and I am smiling too, and she says something like, "you seem to be in a good mood..." to which I reply, "wonderful conference and Shayna winning her game this morning..." and describe the conference briefly [:)] while she sets up my machine, Connie the Nurse does my nursing eval and catches me up on the final UT-Kansas score (WE WON!), and James the Nurse takes my temp. I am set up, hooked up, and before I know it I am sitting back, thinking over my experiences of the last few days, reading my notes, and writing on this post.

I write in the stream of consciousness way of brain dumping --> very exciting conference! 1) Lots of ideas taking me back to the spirit of SFBT. 2) Lots of ideas about making my workshops more experiential and SF'd. 3) Lots of new people met, like
Sara, Laura, Stephen, Chris, Dvorah (discussed News of a Difference...Hans), Lance, Kim and Sharon, Jeff, and Monica. 4) Lots of old friends and acquaintances seen, like Millie, Susan, Peter, Frank, Yvonne, Keith, my students, Renee, and the folks from LifeWorks' residential services. Met Jeff Chang****** and describe briefly the idea I have for the chapter, writing about using spatial time line ideas with youth (with Leslie) and tell him we are getting together after the semester to begin work. Apprehension about my workshop and discussing it briefly with Lance Taylor******* and laugh to myself because now, a day later, it seems my brain knots about it were just my anxiety about considering myself a small fry jumping in the big pond with the big fish... yikes... that was scary! I get over my anxieties as I meet and converse with folks and receive some positive feedback from people in the workshop, including the woman who seemed to want the case staffing. We ate dinner together and she and her colleagues from Boulder were some fun... talking about visiting Allen Boots for boots and me telling them Cavender's is cheaper. Anyway, she also said that she did get some ideas out of my workshop and that she was just talking about a recent client she had that was homeless and suicidal and it was helpful to think about how he is coping in the present... in other words, what got him there to talk to her... so, that too made me feel better...

I am tired of writing and thinking... coming down from the rush-like hyper-kinetic energy I got from this conference... now I am hungry and tired and must see the sleepy-land spirits...

I wake up and watch Blade Runner, which wakes me up fairly well. Jason the Tech comes up to ask the name of this Harrison Ford movie and I tell him and he has never heard of it... ah youth's innocence! This is a great mindless way to end a perfect Saturday. I finish the movie, Amanda Ambrosia the Terrific Tech unhooks me and I move on into the chilly night with a quite low BP, which always makes me feel a bit dreamy and comfy on my drive home.
So it goes.

Notes: In at 76.9 and out at 74.6 kgs.
* 2008 Conference on Solution-Focused Practices, retrieved online from http://www.utexas.edu/ssw/ceu/sfbt/
*** Bob Bertolino
retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.bobbertolino.com/
Joel Simon retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.0to10.net/
*****Evan George & Chris Iveson retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.brieftherapy.org.uk/about_index.php
*****Stephen Langer
retrieved online 11/08 from
******Jeff Chang retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.paccc.ca/AGM/2008%20Workshop%20Speaker%20Jeff%20Change%20Biography.jsp

*******Lance Taylor retrieved online 11/08 from http://www.fittingsolutions.ca/


296) Saturday Dialysis

November 8, 2008

Morning: Just back from Shayna's soccer game where the Kick Kats beat Cedar Creek 14 to 1. Coach Charlie let the girls score all out in order to add points to make up for our tie last week. The other team was poor losers and at least one of the team spit on her hands during the high five line, causing Coach to have words with the other coach, and write up a complaint to the commissioner. According to Shayna, the team was grossed out about the hand spit deal and were all looking for water bottles to wash their hands off with.

I called El Milagro to get a chair time and they said they'd call me back after shift change.

El Milagro: I arrive at 1:30 after a call in by Rosie the Tech... the UT game is STILL going so I'm happy about that... and about UT showing no mercy to Baylor -- now 42-14 -- after an embarrassing loss to Tech last week. Rosie hooks me up quickly and has already set up my TV for watching the game. Rose the Nurse comes by and asks me how I am ("okay") and I guess that's my nursing eval today.

I watch the game while planning for my big conference presentation next week at the SFBT Conference. Finally, just as the game is over (45-21) at 2:30 Mary the Nurse comes up and does an actual nursing eval. The games over and I find that the win over Baylor doesn't really make me feel any better about the loss to Tech. Oh well.

I surf the channels and find a History Channel show about naval inventions of the past; such as the macabre collapsible death-yacht built by Roman emperor Nero to do in his own mother... and the chemical fire bomb ships used by the Greeks. Then I find the movie, Rumor Has It and watch most of it, before getting unhooked by JoAnn the Tech and weighing out. Another Saturday Dialysis in the books!

Notes: In at 76.4 and out at 74 kgs.


295) Election Day ~ Obama WINS!

November 4, 2008

El Milagro: Time Change Confusion strikes again! Twice today at work the time change tripped me up! At lunch I was about 30 minutes early because of a clock left unchanged. Then, after a meeting and a bunch of worky-type tasks I looked over at a clock on my phone and jumped up like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland: "I'm late! I'm late for a very important date!" I squeeled as I veritably ran outa the office, waving at Terry the Secretary. I rush over to the center and rush in and Celeste the Nurse reports my chair isn't ready yet... "Why're you here now... its 3:30...you're early." Okay. So now what?

Well, I can go sit at a bar somewhere, walk in the park, or just return to the office and get some more stuff done. I drive back to my office and check my clocks... my computer clock is right and my desk phone clock is still back in last week's time. I push all the buttons on it and it refuses to catch itself up... so I finally put a post-it over the time display and go on with my life. I get busy doing stuff and when it is really time to go, I end up talking to Christine the Policy Person about a situation and direct her and then am late leaving again.

Now I am back here at dialysis... and Joseph the Big Daddy Tech kids me that my chair has been ready for an hour... where have I been? He hooks me up and Celeste the Nurse does my nursing eval and we briefly talk about the election and how O'Bama can help our insurance woes. She isn't sure.

I am listening to ATC on NPR and there isn't too much election news... am waiting for the network coverage for that. My Republican friend, Jeff from Lufkin, yesterday conceded that Obama is gonna win and that with that win plus the loading up of dems in the legislature we BETTER do some good... wagging his finger at me. I can't tell if he encouraging me or taunting me in a friendly way. I want to see change without filibusters.

ABC News with Charlie Gibson starts... 130 million Americans will have voted! I watch and doze throughout my session (click Electorial Vote.com on the sidebar for more info). Later I switch through the channels and check on what each one is reporting and finally get bored and surf to the history channel for a brief watch extreme aircraft.

At 8:30 Amanda the Tech comes over and gently unhooks me and I scoot home to join Lizzie watching the election returns and Shayna, reading her book. By 10 o'clock ABC projects Obama the winner, 52% to 46% and Lizzie wakes me up from my couch slumber to celebrate. I stand up and say, "Great! I'm going to bed."

On the way up the stairs my brain is wandering thru the years I have voted, trying to figure out how many times the nation has agreed with my leanings... and there haven't been too many. Johnny & Katie voted this time for the first time and they have the experience of picking a winner on their first shot. I feel good about that for them. Back in my first vote, I chose Eldridge Cleaver in '68 and all dems after learning that the fringe votes don't count for much more than interesting stories later on. Now I lean towards the middle and think my vote can count when I jump into the bell curve rather than standing out in the tails, where my values usually reside. So it goes in 2008. History is made. We have an African American president! We have a liberal president! WOW.

Notes: In at 78.2 and out at 75.4 kgs.


294) A Katie Visit on Halloween

November 1, 2008

El Milagro:
Ann the Nurse called me this morning and set up a time for my chair and then I stopped by the office and then I was 15 minutes late. Oh well. I arrive and Gladys the Tech sticks me expertly while Rosie the Tech is checking out my Halloween photos of the kids and our visit to David's Druid Village last night. She too has heard about the village and is planning to go see it tonight.

I'm listening to Ed
Miller's Folkways, relaxing into my chair, and remembering the events of the last few days. With Liz out of town at CSWE I have been a soccer mom, picking Shayna up from an after-school party, supervising she and her friends thru trick-or-treating, getting the friends back to their dens, and getting Shayna up and ready for an 8 a.m. soccer game this morning. I am glad that Liz is usually around to do these things and note to thank her again for all she does for the family. The game this morning was difficult: Kick Kats tied 0-0 and the other team was ecstatic to do so well... while our girls were a little down about not winning. Shayna passed on going to get breakfast tacos with everyone, saying she just wanted to go home and take a nap.

Rather than g
oing to a friend's house, she is staying 'home alone' during my dialysis, which means I call her every so often to check on her. Before I even have a chance, she calls me and says now she wants to go to Maya's and spend the day. We negotiate about homework and I say okay, and now I don't have to worry about her home aloneness.

Last nig
ht I was just about to fall asleep on the couch, with the "awesome foursome" upstairs doing something that made no noise... and me wondering how long I could let them 'play' before calling a halt to the fun... when I hear someone come in and imagine it is one of the foursome's parents. No. It's Katie the Daughter, here to visit! I pry my eyes open and lay there facing up to her smiley face for awhile, while she shares her plans for going to Germany at Spring Break (her friend says its a lot like Austin), her fears about the economy (its wrecking her generation's chances), changing jobs (the management is all jerks these days), moving back to Austin and attending ACC (more affordable than TSU), and so on. I am listening and waking up to the fact that she is actually here and talking (highly unusual for this offspring).

So, now
I am sitting her listening to Irish folk music and replaying last night's Katie visit and smiling about seeing her; wishing I was more alive and awake when she came over. Maybe if she is living in Austin we will see more of her.

I drift off for a nap with the Katie thoughts rolling around in my little brain... and wake up some time
later, no longer interested in Folkways. Turn on the TV and almost immediately find a movie (no Saturday football today) to watch that meets my movie criteria... airplanes or old cars and starting at the beginning. I find Six Days, Seven Nights* with Anne Heche & Harrison Ford, which I've seen before and am willing to watch again here today. The timing on this movie is just right... it finishes right at the time I finish.

For the
last 20 minutes I have some slight cramping and finally Gladys comes over to unhook me and patch me up. My BP is a little low... 99/65 and we wait til it comes up to 105 before I leave. I have just enough time to grab a Dan's Burger on my way home to watch the Texas/Texas Tech game.

Notes: In at 76.6 and out at 74.6

* 6 Days, 7 Nights retrieved online from All Movie Guide, at http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:162688
Halloween Pictures: