Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Interesting Experience

Ever since I gave up riding the bus for the privacy of my own car (and loneliness), my interesting interactions with fellow citizens has been reduced to my patients at the psychiatric hospital and staff.  Which is another reason why I've been eating Rice Dream Ice Cream by the gallon.  Daily.

And nothing goes better with Rice Dream than sprinkles.  It's been rather hard for me to have enough sprinkles on hand to keep up with my ice cream intake.  And I'm kinda particular.  I don't like the crunchy sprinkles, I do like them multicolored, and I like mass quantities of them.  Hence, my trip to Pavilions.

Pavilions is another version of Vons, which is another version of Ralphs, which is another version of Albertson's.  To me, all supermarkets are the same, more or less, and I visit whichever one is on my way home or to some other destination.  There are definitely food deserts in my city, but not where I live.  It's the choice, and keeping up with the specials, that is the problem.

I went to Pavilions for one thing, and one thing only - sprinkles. But I had to check to see if they sell Rice Dream Ice Cream - so far I've only found it at the healthy food stores (how ironic).  I didn't find the Rice Dream in the freezer, but I found something else.

A man's wallet, with a stack of dollars on top of it, the outer one a $10 bill.  Oh baby, I thought.  Someone crazier than me!  So I grabbed the wallet and cash and went to the manager's station to turn it in.  There was a sweet, young Hispanic employee there, and I asked her to get me the manager.  She got all wide-eyed, went to the phone, and paged the manager.  We waited and waited.  She paged again.

I looked at her and asked if he was coming.  She got kinda scared and asked if I had a complaint.  Now I was getting testy.  All I wanted was my sprinkles and I wasn't getting any closer to getting them at this rate.  No dear, I told her.  I found this wallet.

Well, if they had an Olympic event for getting the manager, this gal would win.  Turned in the wallet (apparently a regular), went back to the aisle to get my sprinkles, bought them and went home.

Just a normal day in the life.  Sure wish I had found the Rice Dream instead.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Girls Night Out

Yesterday my dear friend D called and asked if I wanted to go to the movies with her.  I was taken aback - a movie on a school night?  I mean, seriously, I have to get up early.

But it wasn't just any movie, it was an Israeli movie, at an art-house cinema and it started at 8 pm.  The movie is entitled, "Fill The Void," an award winning movie about Haredim (religious Jews) by an actual, self-proclaimed religious Jew.  How could I resist!

I'll tell you how I could resist.  I love Jews, don't get me wrong, but Israeli movies are a little tough to sit through.  In my college heyday I left no foreign film unseen, so the concept of subtitles and different cultural norms doesn't bother me.  But really, I need a movie to make sense or I just get cranky.

In terms of Israeli movies, only a handful actually fall into the "make sense" category.  "Walk on Water," "Ushpezin."  Okay, that's it.  So I didn't hold out much hope that "Fill The Void" would be any better.

It wasn't, but the acting was good and the portrayals were excellent.  I know the actors weren't  frum (the religious tend not to act in movies), so I was quite impressed.  You know a movie has an effect on you when you're still thinking about it the next day.

In fact, my dear friend D called me at work to talk about it this morning, and I stopped what I was doing to chime in.  Oh yeah, I may not have understood everything, but I liked what I saw.

Thanks D, for a great night out.  We promised each other to do this once a month.  Sounds pricey, but the truth is, we got in the movie on the senior discount.  Young people think anybody with a few wrinkles is old.  This movie may have been a drama, but we certainly had the last laugh!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Best Neighbor Ever

Only in America, my friends, only in America.  Charles Ramsey, you can move next door to me any time!

Scared Straight

As a Registered Dietitian in a mental health facility,  I've seen patients at their best and worst.  And I've walked into units during a code gray (patient that needs to be subdued) and have been interviewing patients when all of a sudden another patient became a code gray.

Yesterday was a little different.  Yesterday, I was actually talking to a patient who worked himself up to a code gray and I got scared.  I watched this patient go into sudden melt down and I stayed cool.  We were talking about his diet and he was telling me he wasn't going to eat because he wanted to die.

Truth is, many of our patients want to die, and often that's how they end up at our facility.  They walk in traffic, attack police officers, stuff like that.  So instead of accepting that this patient wanted to die, I asked for his food preferences.  "How about a melted cheese sandwich," I asked.  Patients in other units would kill for one, but I hold off on these offers for the patients who won't eat.

Things were going great until all of a sudden the patient snapped.  Took the diet sheets (diabetes and hypertension) but then ripped them up, spit on the ground, and started screaming about me and how I'm making him eat and he didn't want the diet information.  I moved into the nurses' station real fast, as the call went out for manpower and the nurses on the unit started putting on latex gloves.  It was time to give the patient a "cocktail" and put him down for a long nap.

I apologized to everyone, obviously missing some important cues, but the nurses wouldn't have it.  This patient was a volcano waiting to blow, and it was a matter of time they told me.

Funny thing is, the next day, he kept asking to see me.  Ate real well too.  When I saw him he was all smiles. The nurse on duty told me he wanted attention, and I had been particularly sweet to him.  Scared and sweet.  I totally felt the presence of G-d yesterday.  If I had been in his room, alone, when he lost it, who knows what could have happened.  I often see patients in their room, not too close, but close enough to be heard.  I could never have gotten out of the way fast enough.

Sigh.  What's the saying?  G-d protects fools and young children.  I stand before you, living proof.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Just Another Thought

157. Confidence & Humility
Iyar 25, 5773 · May 5, 2013

Confidence is best found among the truly humble.

Moses was the most humble of all men. Yet he had the confidence to stand before the mightiest dictator on earth and assert his demands. He had the confidence to stand before G‑d and listen without losing his composure. He had the confidence, when necessary, even to argue with G‑d.

Yet he considered himself to be truly nothing.

The confidence of Moses was not confidence in his own self. He had no self. He was but an agent of Above. Above there is infinite power.

Self-confidence is limited, at best. But if you trust in the One who has sent you to be here and do what you need to do—that confidence knows no bounds.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Having A Stupid Moment

I think when the temperature rises, I lose my mind.  I can't take the heat.  Add to that I had to put in time this morning at the downtown facility where the psychiatric patients tend to be really intense, and I was heading for a meltdown.

So imagine my excitement when I saw an Arco station right outside the hospital where the gas was $3.83 a gallon and my tank was near empty.  I raced over there, along with nearly half the city, waited my turn and finally got a slot to call my own.

That's when things kinda went downhill.  The pay stations by the pumps were all changed recently, and allow you to pay by cash.  Used to be you had to walk into the gas station store itself to pay cash.  So guess who stuck their ATM card in the cash slot?

That would be me.  I could not get the card out, and had to go into the store to ask for help.  The attendant gave me a big smile, and tried to make me feel better by staying I was the second person today to have this problem.  The other person was, can you guess, also a woman!

I as so embarrassed, that I ran back outside and, much to my relief, somehow got my card out of the machine on my own.  I started over, putting the card in the right slot this time, and was ready to pump gas when the attendant finally came out to help me.

It's stupid moments like this that make me stop, take a breath, and realize that while my car can't run on empty, neither can I.  Gonna be a soul searching Shabbat.

Just A Thought

Here's something I got in my email today - and I think it's worth noting.

Small Things
Iyar 22, 5773 · May 2, 2013

Great things are not what is demanded from our generation. The previous generations did all that for us. We need only do the small things—but in a more difficult time.
For us, self-sacrifice could mean nothing more than a simple change of habit.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crying Time

Generally speaking, I hate to go out to night time events, especially Jewish events.  If it's Jewish, there's food.  And drink.  And plenty of it.  For those of us who lack self-control (yours truly), it's a roller coaster of indigestion.

And emotion.  Tonight's event was the 10th anniversary of the Friendship Circle, an amazing group of people who help families with developmentally disabled children and young adults.  One of my sons has been volunteering for several years, and tonight I figured out why.

What could be more gratifying than helping a child with learning disabilities learn?  Or a child who can't understand the world around him smile?  Okay, this event was a fundraiser and I wasn't planning on giving any more of my funds, but after I saw the video of those wonderful children being surrounded by loving volunteers, I cried.

And then I filled out the donation card, offering to volunteer my time teaching children about nutrition.  I just hope I'm worthy of the task.  No doubt these amazing children, and their equally amazing families, will end up teaching me more than I can teach them.  That's how doing the right thing works.