Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hilo Protest 3/20/10

Notice no teabaggers. Just a bunch of nice people out protesting these stupid wars. We honked and waved and talked to the kids in the back seat about war and better things.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Chorusing of the Waves

Clarinets, flutes, and oboes, for example, are just tubes. Of air, set into motion by a player. So are trumpets and french horns. So are voices. So are pipeline waves; you know, those tall breaking waves that surfers shoot down the middle of. For a moment, when the wave-tube is correct and the air within it is vibrating, a complex set of pitches can be heard emanating from it. These waves sing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bobby McGee

Photo stolen from a most excellent island blog called The Daily Flow. Her travelogue charts the same course of Hawaiian back roads that we took. The picture is of Alahanui State Park.

The ocean beaches here are dangerous and many people have lost their lives in the high surf. This area, however, has an enclosed pool that is warmed to 90F. by lava-heated waters. Perfect. Clear and refreshing. We swam and then went out to walk along the lava flows at water's edge. We found hermit crabs double-hiding in the inches-deep pools maintained by splashing surf.

Back at the rental I espied a sea turtle skimming the waves and called the others to see it too. We saw whales going by the day before.

Like a sea turtle, my ocean is wide. Unlike a sea turtle, I have no shell.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fossil Braggery

Dr. Donald Johanson had just come out with a new book and he was holding a signing at a store in Scottsdale so off I went, with my young one in tow. There was a group of about thirty or so people there, most of whom had the air of academia about them. My child was the only sixth-grader among the crowd.

During his talk Dr. Johanson must've noticed how my little bowl of shrimp was doing because he drew the audience's attention to the pictures and illustrations in the book, much on behalf of my dear one. Afterwards when we went up to his table to get our copy of Lucy's Legacy autographed, he asked shrimpbowl if they were interested in human origins and to my dismay, they answered, "my dad just made me come here." Ouch.

Then in the days and months that followed, shrimpbowl read the book. They carried it everywhere in their school knapsack. I was not allowed to take it to read for myself. They learned how to recognize various hominid species by being shown drawings of their skulls. Homo floresiensis is their favorite now and shrimpbowl wants to study at the Institute of Human Origins when they grow up.

Anyways, I e-mailed Dr. Johanson this story and he very graciously wrote back that same day, inviting shrimpbowl to come visit the Institute anytime. And we shall do so very soon after we get back on the mainland. Right now, we are still here on The Big Island. Yesterday we watched whales swim by.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Yeah, Another Day

(Photo stolen from the web so sue me.)

My head wasn't really in the game today, but nothing came up at work that was much challenging. A lung patient who was doing well, a paraplegic whose short-term prognosis was very good because he'd soon be over this bout of pneumonia, a guy waiting for Monday to roll around so he could get a video-assisted-thoracoscopy and wedge resection (his sats kept dropping to 80% but he looked good doing it,) and a guy who went home first thing this morning. The patient I got in his place had a complex history including a perforated esophagus with an esophageal stent.

Now that's more like it.

Anyways, I blithered away the day thinking about other things.

My guitar studies have taken an intense turn and this has tossed me into the throes of a deep melancholic nostalgia; for music school, for my old musical friends, and indeed just for the repertoire I used to have. So there's that. I loved it all. The competition, the pressure to perform, the essence of perfection that only marks the beginning of understanding the performance of any given piece of concert music... well, I guess a lot of that can be translated into nursing, but it's not the same.

Nursing is a beautiful thing and I love my coworkers, but nursing lacks music. Sort of. Sort of not.

Tomorrow spousie is taking me to The Big Island along with our child and their same-age cousin. So I had that to distract me from work, too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lust and Greed

The Passionflower I have. Because, you know, passion is first.

For My Future Postoperative Patients

I work on a specialty unit. There are types of surgeries done here that no other hospital in the state, and no other nursing unit either, especially works with. I do not write about these things because it might betray my fragile anonymity.

Ironically, I may soon require just such surgery. I will be operated on by doctors that I deal with every working day, and I have complete confidence in them. I will be treated postoperatively by my coworkers. Hopefully it will make me an even better nurse. Hopefully it will be minimally embarrassing.

How would you like to get out of surgery knowing that your nurse has undergone the same thing? I will have been there and done that! So no excuses, buddy. Get up and walk, use your incentive spirometer, get better, and get the fuck out of here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Band of Jays

You don't really need anything in order to do nursing. Having a hospital around helps, though.

Six strings will do, but perhaps the ideal is eleven. With bass courses tuned scale-wise downward.

The fucking dog took one of my socks. Just one. I'd rather she took both of them.

Everything is a coincidence.

They tried to have one of their friends (for lack of a better word,) impersonate a doctor to give one of the nurses phone orders for intravenous dilaudid. The scheme didn't work. This is the kind of bullshit nurses have to put up with.

Schools are mostly comprised of empty space. If I were a teacher, I'd have my students use all the space they possibly could, for doing things.

Somewhere, there is a desert that is only one rainstorm away from not being a desert anymore. Lately I feel like I might be living in just such a place.

If pain did not exist, somebody would invent it.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


The guitar is the most beautiful instrument.

I have had many musician friends who who scratch their heads in puzzlement over that statement. Maybe they don't get the rather small sound, or the repertoire of mostly short concert pieces and etudes. Maybe it's the whole rock music electric thing that throws them off; violinists and pianists are found among rock musicians, but it's a guitar-based style for sure. For me, since I was a teenager, it had been the classical guitar.

It's like holding an orchestra in your arms, it's so colorful. The instrument that seems closest in ability to express different colors is to me the oboe, on which every note seems to have its own distinct vowel sound. I've always liked that, and I could never understand why anyone would want to even out that difference between each note on their instrument, as many are instructed to try to do.

The guitar is, fortunately, a contrapuntal instrument. Like a piano, but without that instrument's incredible ability to generate different lines in music. And the guitar has a huge repertoire, if you include all the lute music from the Renaissance and Baroque period that can be made to fit under the player's fingers. Having said that, we guitarists are always stealing music from other instruments' repertoires. I've played Chopin piano pieces, Bach solo violin music, and Mozart opera arias transcribed for the guitar, and I must say these things sound beautiful on the instrument.