Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Happy Halloween!

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No, this isn't my costume... but wouldn't it be awesome? It looks like I have a whole year to get one to look like that.
Anyway, here's hoping everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween. Be careful out there while you're out and about, going to parties and such. And as always, Don't Drink and Drive.
Have fun and and stay safe!
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Ok, here's my update on the dreaded mandatory meeting our department had at the hospital last Thursday. First, let me just say those of us remaining still have jobs, haha. The bad news about that is, there are no plans to fill the vacant positons.. in fact, in management's opinion there are no vacant slots.

The meeting ran way over, and lasted at least an hour and a half, mostly because it turned into a gripe session which is kind of what I expected. Even the Chief Operations Officer, Natalie was in attendance. But a lot of the concerns were legitimate. Work load, the pulling of people from their original areas to do others so that a lot of them aren't getting done, or at most not getting done right...

improvements on recognizing a high standard of effort... which I think their answers to that were mostly for show to impress Natalie, especially when one of them said, "I'm always happy to pat someone on the back for a job well done." I was laughing internally at that statement, because in reality its more like "no news is good news"... she's more happy to focus on the negative than the positive.

With the closing of the skilled care unit on 4 North, there were some concerns about the rest of the hospital following suit. In fact, there was a recent item in the local paper (The Examiner) stating the hospital was scheduled to close "soon." Apparently, Natalie doesn't read the paper much, and wondered out loud how such rumors get started. But she assured us IRHC will continue as usual until they open the doors at the new hospital in 2007... time will tell, I'm still not holding my breath.

Teamwork was a key phrase throughout... but at the same time, I'm wondering how they plan to implement teamwork when they pull somebody off the floors to do piddly detail projects when someone else is swamped with dismissals... I guess the only thing there is for us to continue to use our own best judgement... I believe we as workers know better than management what should take priority at any given time. It might sound pompous, but I've never really seen any of them work as hard as any of us do...

Comic relief: at one point it was brought up very tactfully (or as much as possible, haha) ... that on any given day all of us are so busy doing our own little thing, what all needs to be done, and we don't have much of a chance to actually know what the supervisors are dealing with.. "and to be honest, I really don't care." (That statement brought a round of laughter and applause from the entire room.) He continued on, "I'm sure you're just as busy and stressed as the rest of us, but I wouldn't want your job. Her anwer: "Are you sure? "Cause after this meeting, it may be up for grabs, hehe."
In the end, they promised to work on getting the schedules posted in a timely manner, reboot the use of a suggestion box, take into account all our concerns and address them via a bulletin board, as well as verbally, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Again, time will tell, and I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


If I could dodge and burn
the electrical wires away
from a perfect structure still
holding onto life, however frail,
however bone dry these brittle
feathers are, all golden shades
of red and lime,

it would be the perfect season
of change caught in circles
understanding how you turn, how
we all turn away from certain
things eventually, and then
toward others, around again.

You would understand a feline
affinity, an elfin stature...
how less could be so much more
than one man
could ever imagine.

You could see the visual
still in my mind's eye
from this very early morning,
of soon dormant colors whose
goal is the sharpness of
chemistry, depth perception.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

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Majestic, aren't they? I've always admired those who have the freedom to work with such animals... It takes a special person to have that kind of patience.. I'm sure the reward is incredible.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Holding Pattern

Outsourced, this charleyhorse attacks
me at 2 a.m. Impossible to find
my way back again now...

And in the middle there's
no happy medium to be found
between rage and futility,
indignity and despair.
No rant can fix this.

How dare they -
having found it absolutely
necessary to do this
to us. How could they
forget what this means
to us, their pawns in
a game of chess, checkmate
and loss, with it comes
hollow victory. At this
point, one can only hope
to the bitter end.

The longer the wait,
can you even wonder how
much mutiny could take
place with no one left
to mute...
Silence! The air grows
louder, stronger, more
stagnant with each unspoken
grievance, the clock is

as we drop, one by one
like dinosaur flies
facing extinction.
The facade of this structure
has crumbled already, all
the money saved won't fix
this mess, you are already
scheduled for the
wrecking ball.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

What can I say? What fresh hell is this? I can't wait to leave. The only thing that's holding me back is the fact that when I do, there will be more work piled onto the people I work with...
The problem is not who I'm working with... it's the collective "who" and "what" I'm working for.
For days now, I've been so close to giving notice to leave... and again I almost did today. I was talked out of it, at least until next Thursday when we can all find out once and for all just what the hell they plan to do with us.. the grumbling at this point is that we believe they plan to do away with our benefits and cut our hours way back..
It's all I can do not to just walk out for good. It feels to me, by staying I'm in approval of all this mess they've been dealing us.. Geez! Its hard to even stand myself.
I hate this.. absolutely hate this.
Oh.... they fired another co-worker today.


Attention, companion animal caretakers. The ASPCA offers these common-sense cautions to keep your pets safe and sound during this time of the year:

All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers in unusual garb can be scary and stressful for pets.�
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that Max or Mittens doesn't dart outside. Make sure all your pets are wearing current identification, just in case.�

No sweets for the sweet: Keep all Halloween candy out of your pet's reach. Chocolate can be poisonous to animals, and tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.�

It's not a bright idea to keep lit pumpkins around companion animals. Pets can knock them over, and curious kittens in particular run the risk of being burned.�

Don't leave your pet in the yard on Halloween. There have been reports of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen and even killed pets on this night.�

Although the ASPCA recommends that cats remain indoors at all times, it is especially important to keep your feline inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be at risk from children's pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. As a safety precaution, many shelters will not adopt out black cats around Halloween.�

Don't dress up your dog or cat unless you know she loves it. If you decide to do so, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe, and doesn't restrict her movement, vision, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that she could chew off and possibly choke on. And please supervise pets in costume at ALL times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Mandatory meeting at 7:30 this morning lasted an hour and was quite useless, really..
It was called, hospital wide (at several times today to give everyone the opportunity to attend) in order to launch a new program called "All*Star Service."
Solve your customer's problem.
Treat your customer with respect.
Acknowledge your customer.
Respond quickly to your customer.
such a cute little program, I'm surprised they haven't offered an entire course on the concept.. because I know of more than a few people who could use a crash course in employee and interpersonal communication.. namely my boss and her "by-the-book" sidekick working amongst the rest of us..
While it was basically a waste of time in my opinion, it did offer a chance to rest my feet.. and yet another the chance to actually fall asleep sitting up in her chair..
Later during lunch, we all happened to notice a group of suits converging toward the entrance, hurrying for the free luncheon they had scheduled down in the auditorium.. not too long after the last one hurried through the door, Lloyd, one of the leads happened to look up and saw a flock of birds circling the air above the parking lot.. Ok.. so we have the suits invading the hospital, and now there are birds circling in a holding pattern... would anyone dare to guess what this means? I take it as an even deeper level omen.. how much worse can it get though, really?
On a much lighter note, I got a chuckle from what I saw coming home from work today...
First let me say in case you don't know that the Kansas City Chiefs lost a critical game last Sunday (hee-hee) which caused a lot of disappointment for a lot of the fans here.. (the entire city and surrounding areas)
I pass this house every day and it wasn't until this afternood that I noticed that they had their red Chiefs banner waving in the breeze on the flagpole, at half-mast.
My boss is an idiot.
Can't order supplies..
Can't make out a schedule...
Can't effectively communicate..
Admits to having problems with forgetfulness...

HCA is the Anti-Christ.
Changes things for the "better" (?)
Impossible workload for those still on the payroll...
Leaves entire floors of staff high and dry with no viable employment option...

... And they call themselves an "Employer of Choice"?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Irony of a Nameless Muse

In the dark and
stumbling over frozen

this early in the morning
I wonder, should I take
a moment of silence to
mourn the dead
or simply be relieved...
better the racoon
than me.

There but for the grace
of God go I...
just as easily and quick
with one wrong turn, a
driver with eyes elsewhere

Maybe with the distraction
of a cell phone, or he's
looking for that one song
on the radio
he just has to hear before
pulling into work.

A dropped cigarette..
spilled coffee...
It could be anything.
Light hasn't yet graced
the roads and I'm wearing
dark clothing
approaching on foot the
blind spot over a trench.
There's more a sense of dread now than ever in going back in even after a couple of days off.
You always wonder how could it get any worse.
When will it not? The day you quit wondering, that's when.
I think the logo on my jacket says it all... I'm "Fed Up" with the whole chaotic mess. They run a place into the ground never caring about the backbone of the machine that used to be such an efficient one. They fixed things that weren't broken.. now look at it all.
On a more personal note, I can't believe the stupidity of some people. How they can self-destruct over such a long period of time, and how human nature dictates the drawn into quality likened to being helpless to do anything but watch a train wreck in slow motion. More accurately, our Birthday boy ended up in the ER after he fell and hit his head, unconscious for a few moments (whether from the alchohol or the fall is unclear.) But he'll probably still be off work for a while now over it. That just leaves more to do for the rest of us. Oh joy... I can't wait for that.

Friday, October 15, 2004

My daughter Laura came over this morning and brought her cat.. I met her coming up the stairs carrying him, and when I asked her where the carrier was, she said he didn't want to get in it and she didn't have time to struggle with him... in the same breath she said, "He pooped in my car... can you help me? It stinks now!"
Hahaha, first he pees on her, now he's poopin' in the passenger seat. Hey wait a minute, that's where I'll be sitting! So I rushed to get supplies, cleaners, sponges, Lysol spray, pet odor stuff plus some odor eliminator I got from the hospital and along with some tissue and plastic bags, I got the mess cleaned up faster than you can say "Garfield" (which he resembles, btw, lol) That was basically the excitement for the day. I guess I'll be in for some more later when I go to Bill's birthday party tonight.. Bill from work, he'll be 47. I imagine he'll get a good head start on the celebrating way before any of us show up. But I think I'll just make an appearance then go home. I don't feel much like being around people tonight, but I said I'd go...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Following links from Wordwarrior's Xanga site, I also found this cool name generator:

What is your Japanese name?

My Japanese name is Fujiwara (wisteria fields) Kumiko (eternal beautiful child)

Note: For authenticity, be sure to enter your last name first, then your given name.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


The rich get richer
and the poor get time,
time out - write-ups
and an incomprehensible
load on which to draw
impossible breath.

Burned out is what you
see of the dead and dying
weeds and ex-flowers still
upright and parched, roadside.

They've fulfilled their
purpose. We don't need them
anymore. Let's get fake ones
to line the halls, showcase dust
that increases daily with every
living ghost that graces the past.

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Ok, so I've gone flickr happy.. I can't help myself though. I have to post. Now, on with the blog...

There was wall-to-wall sleeping bodies in the ICU waiting area this morning at 8 o'clock.
So I did what any self-respecting housekeeper would do... pull trash and wait till they wake up to run the vaccuum.. By my 10 o'clock break they surely be off the floor. Well during my break, the lead got paged overhead to stat vacuum the area. I don't know the full details yet, but apparently he was a little upset with the other department that called for the page. More to be updated, I'm sure...

Tonight my daughter must be on cloud nine, attending a live show. Her favorite band, My Chemical Romance is here in KC tonight.. Jason, Lauri, Laura and maybe some others have gone too.

Meanwhile, I'm anxiously looking forward to the end of another work day tomorrow. Usually that would be payday, but in keeping with HCH policy, they have notified us that our checks will be distributed on Fridays from now on, just like everybody else... what makes us not like everybody else though, is the possibility of the place eventually being torn down, after they finally close the doors.. what a shame.
I was born thene in that facility.. my mom and dad were born there... they say it's cheaper to tear it down and build something else than to renovate... Oh, what should I care? Its just a job now.. I just work at the place. Burned-out... I feel I'm getting there fast.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This is my daughter Laura just after graduating from Truman High School last May.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


All the insides of trees
along this street
lined left to right
have come alive with the
chatterbox and cat calls
of crow and squirrel.

The longer I walk
the louder they become
as if I signal a faster
onslaught of cold...

They hurry now into yards
a flutter, a flurry of
activity, the flicker
of brush tails caught from
the corner of my eye.

I turn the corner
and a midmorning sun
is melting vague glimmers
of frost from the grass
at curbside.

I can post pics!

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My daughter Laura and friends at a local concert.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I love this pic, it reminds me of Morris from the old Nine Lives cat food commercials. Remember? Finicky Morris, turned his nose up at anything else they'd set down before him.... sort of like Mikey in the Life cereal commercials. "He won't eat it, he hates everything... he likes it! Hey Mikey!" Don't ask me why, I've just revisited my childhood just by seeing a photo of a cat, lol. Actually this was one of the participants in a cat show held in New York (I believe that was the place)
and as an animal lover, I couldn't resist sharing this picture here.

Orange is the color of the day, I believe. Someone from one of the poetry groups I'm in has invited me to be a guest poet on an online publication. She wanted my poem "Orange" and just updated the page, and I'm there already. So I'm real excited about that. :D
Poetry And More

It's my day off, after a very difficult week. I'm just happy to be away from the place for a while. The hospital is having some kickoff event of some sort, a free barbeque lunch for all the employees... but I'm staying as far away as I possibly can. It would be ironic that once I show up (on my day off) they'd surely put me back to work, filling in for somebody who conveniently called in sick, lol.

Extra time to get busy and continue going through some unneeded junk around here. Sell it all or throw it away. A sort of complete ransacking of closets, "fall cleaning" sort of thing. I'm getting the heck out of here if it kills me.

How about those Chefs? Yeah, I said Chefs.. even though they won last time, I don't believe they will continue. I hate the "Chefs" anyway. Oh, if anybody from work heard me say that, they'd probably try to scalp me with an Indian tomahawk prop they bought at the last home game.

Fall is here, in the air, rainy and supposed to turn off cold by Sunday, but for now it's really pretty nice. And it hasn't rained today.
Poured down yesterday, though. I was glad I got a ride home from work, sort of saved a little wear and tear on the tired puppies (my feet).
But going in yesterday was so nice, the sky had cleared and there was just enough break in the storm to enjoy it all. It seemed to bring a little warmth to the morning and the early morning dark was still kind of hazy, with all the moisture in the air yet. Really nice.

Halloween will be here before you know it.. and there's a few birthday celebrations coming up... Including (cough, cough) Bill's, from work. That should be interesting, if I go to it. Apparently he chose a place close by, up in the neighborhood. Presumably so he can stay as late as he wants and not have to ask a designated driver to stick around if they don't want to, hahaha.. Hmmm... it might sound mean, but a lot of people in the group do get tired of babysitting when they go out with him... Nah, he's an ok guy, harmless and all but he's messing himself up big time, healthwise and won't listen to any of us...

I haven't written anything lately.. just preoccupied with a lot of things. One of the floors in the hospital is to be shut down completely by the 31rst... Not only that, we're now guessing that they'll end up shutting the whole place down ahead of schedule, and so that's got everybody scrambling to look for other options. Meanwhile, they're sending part of the crew home everyday, having them come in later, or not scheduling them at all on certain days. So the outlook after this doesn't look good. I've been putting in my application and resume to a lot of similar places.... go where the work is.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Motivation: why isn't there enough to go around? Even the cafeteria ppl are leaving while there's still time. One guy, a grill cook, put it this way, "I'd rather jump ship than be pushed off it." And he'd been there quite a while. So far I haven't heard from anyone I've sent applications to.
When I last saw Viola, my old boss who had been let go, transferred actually to Lee's Summit, the only thing she said to me was, "You're still here?"
I don't know how mamy times I've played out scenes in my mind on the way to work how I'm gonna quit. I have a feeling that it will be something of a "last straw" type of thing, where I just can't take anymore bull from middle management. One last imposition and I simply clock back out and lay my id badge on the desk and just disappear. So sweet! The idea of finally being rid of the place. They're testing the patience of the best they have, only they choose not to acknowlege it. What would they do exactly if one morning every one of us was a no call, no show.. or a "sick out" scenario? I have a good idea they would resort to call in the temps and hardly anything would get done.. Would they even realize they had a good thing and blew it? Nah, not a chance.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

"Groan..." It's only Tuesday, that means two more long days to go. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were trying to kill us all by working us to death.. The latest development is that the census is way down. It was 100 filled beds this morning and at least 15-20 dismissals estimated late afternoon/evening. Most of them leave just as the day shift people are setting up to go home. And today we got hit with them hard.. doubles and back to back stat cleans.. a lot of the crew is more than fed up by now..
But this morning really takes the cake. During a meeting it was explained that since census is down, that means the supervisor is now looking for people to HR, that means basically cut hours.. with a cruel twist though.. she'd ratheer have folks come in later in the morning than sent home early. That means we're still going to get stuck with all the dismissals at once.. It's like we're being given even more to do now but with that much less time to do it.
Oh yeah, and if we don't volunteer for the schedule changes, it will be a mandotory imposition on her part. So we're screwed..
I'm dead tired at 8:00 and I'm calling it a night..

Monday, October 04, 2004

Mt. St. Helens
Stuff in the news... I wouldn't wanna be there right about now, that's for sure.
A lot of stuff happening these days... disasters. Hurricanes, one after another.. earthquakes as far inland as Fresno, tornados on the east coast... China asking the U.S. for help for their AIDS crisis..
A friend at work believes these are the end days.. Because of all the disasters happening nearly all at once. I realize that this is just one person's opinion, but she happens to be, well, more churchgoing and religious than I am. I suppose if you delved further into it, it would really be scary. Not that this isn't scary enough. The conversation today just kind of stuck with me for some reason.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Something unsettling here,
a vague recollection watching
passengers board the last
orange route of the day;
once I reach my destination,
this bus heads to the garage
to sleep off the evening's
conversations and prepare
for a brand new onslaught.

But for now, I'm listening
to a tall man with a high voice
and a long blond ponytail who's
showing some other riders what
they gave her at Goodwill.
"Try it on," they say.. "see if
it fits." A woman's jacket, warm
for winter. These days sometimes
you just can't tell. She bears a
strange resemblence to Jar-Jar Binks.

And driver Sam rumbles on, rambles on,
pushes the big machine forward, through
ins and outs, side streets toward
Englewood, carrying the load of separate
conversation with each... that Sam...
sure loves to talk.

Slows to a stop for the dysfunctional
woman with the everpresent bulky cargo
on wheels, everyday with that Rubbermaid
storage tub held in place by two bungee
fasteners, parked inside now, at the
entrance. Folks can't exit, they're
stumbling trying to pass, Darlene gives
them each the evil eye.

Sam is whistling a tune of relief
once Darlene reaches her stop,
watches as she pulls the load behind
her on down the street.
"I swear she must be carrying around
her dead husband in that thing, its
like her shadow..."

Chuckles all around, its the running
joke. Then immediately on to the next
topic.. the Chiefs, religion, politics,
anything and everything, Sam's got
something to say and says it even
when no one's there to listen..
I like to think he's just practicing
for the next day.