Only Once

“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas

I have an apparently peculiar quirk. I think that I should only have to do something once. Say it once. Touch it once. File it once. Isn’t that the teaching of efficiency? Oh dear…I have another quirk-I think things should be efficient.

No wonder some days annoy me. My expectations that things should run efficiently and smoothly are adversely affecting my blood pressure. Ah…a splash of insight. Many of the above expectations occur in an office and are impacted by other people; other people who are messing with my mode of efficiency.

Wait. That still admits I have an expectation of efficiency. Perhaps I could change that to a desire for efficiency, but realize that a multitude of events, and people, will complicate my hope. I do get paid for that complication. However, it does slow things down. Damn…another expectation-that I will get a lot of things done in a day. Some days it takes all day to get someone to get labs done right, packaged correctly, picked up and processed as they should be. How could that take so long? I don’t know, but some days it does.

What am I left with? Go to work, don’t expect people to be competent,  an office to be efficient, or to get much done. There! My frustration could vanish.

But who would I become?

Best I keep my quirks, and learn how to manage letting go of my expectations of others. Perhaps that was the mother of invention to the happy hour/cocktail after a day’s work!




Decisions, Decisions!

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Clarity is a valued commodity. How many times do I wish I could look up in the sky, or down on the street and see sentences written by my future of exactly what I should be doing. I have never seen it, and it is not from a lack of trying!

Sometimes I am faced with a clear decision which must be made. I weigh the pros and the cons, discuss with friends, and seek ethereal guidance. I realize that the point of absolute certainty may never arrive, so I make the decision based on the facts I have at hand.

Other times, the need for a decision is not so clear. It isn’t that I must make a decision, it is if I WANT to make a decision. Wanting to make a decision changes things by choice. Sometimes other people are affected by that choice. If others would be unhappy with my selected choice, it could seem that I was callous to their feelings.

Yet,I believe that there are natural ‘change point’ times in a person’s life. Somehow your soul lets you know that it is time for a change. You don’t mean anyone ill will. You don’t mean for your decision to have any negative impact on anyone else. But you know that the time is right for you to make a change.

Such has happened in my life over the last few months. I have been at my current job for 13 years. I like who I work with, and I like what I do. Yet, when I read Steve Jobs tip: “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” I knew that his sentiment rang true for me.

I studied to be a nurse. I moved into the administrative role for the last many years. I have decided to return to working with patients. I will be directing a research department and working with the physicians and patients who come seeking clinical trials. Our first clinical trial is for patients who have had surgery for melanoma. Melanoma is not the most prevalent skin cancer, but it is one of the most progressive. We are working with a company to develop a vaccine to prevent re-occurance of the melanoma.

I am certain that when I look into the mirror in the mornings, there will be days that I wish I wasn’t going to spend my day at work. But if I have to work, I am pretty certain that when I look into the hopeful eyes of a patient who is seeking medical advances for such devastating diseases, that I will be grateful that my days of working will be in an effort to help those who so  desperately need help.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Relaxed Yet Balanced

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Scampi is our adolescent Bichon Frise. He plays with abandon and sleeps in contentment. I found him the other day sleeping on the top edge of the couch. It isn’t a very broad edge. The couch is a glider and moves easily. Yet he sprawled out, kept his balance and relaxed.

relaxed and balanced dog

Just watching him inspires me. His natural sense of play and ready engagement. After play time, he sleeps. I see his example day after day. I remind myself to relax and maintain a balance. Yet-I go about my crazy schedule every day.

I wrote a poem a year or so ago. I put it on a picture poster below:Slide1


I am reminded that we are the ones in control of our balance. Donald Trump has said, “If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” There is some truth to that. Most of us have to work to pay the bills. Some of us work to change the world. Few of us work as our plan for fun.

But, how we spend any hours of the day-at work, or at play-we do decide how to engage in them. Let them take over and control our emotions (you know, work drama-it is everywhere)? Or do what you can, make the difference that you can and move on? We make that choice everyday, every hour.

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” Aristotle

Pass the Norvasc

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.” Edgar Allen Poe

My son calls it ‘work drama’. It doesn’t seem to matter where a person works, there will be work drama. It is pervasive. It is the cause of millions of people on medication to modify high blood pressure. I felt it myself last Friday.

The pervasive questions arise, “When will this resistance go away? How many times does it have to be discussed? How many times, or how many ways, can it be said?” Then I wonder, “Why can’t I just say, ‘because I said so.’ Why do I have to couch everything is such a way that people are not offended?” Couch is a good word-please sit down and let us all be comfortable and discuss this….

I battle the decision to throw in the proverbial towel nearly everyday. My job is complex and directed by tedious, legalized diatribe regulations. If I explain them, the supposed listener looks at me with glazed eyes and the hint of reviewing a grocery list in their head as they nod understanding.

Working in a field of compliance, daily decisions are made related to what must be fixed and what can be let go. The Serenity Prayer advises me to change what I can-and to know the difference between what I can or cannot change. Hence, the need for the prayer-that knowledge is nebulous.

Friday, I stood my ground, although I nearly threw in the towel. In the end, we did what was compliant to the regulatory directives.

Sometimes, I have to let it go. The organization is too strong. On those days, I manage my reaction by reminding myself that I did my duty in informing the players involved of what was required. I am not the decision maker. I am the advisor. Then I go home and have a Margarita Meeting with me, myself, and I. We ‘let go’ of the situation, laugh and remember the story of the dog- “if you can’t eat it, or play with it, piss on it and walk away”.



We recently sold a patch of land in Tennessee. The first thing we did was pay the estimated taxes. I understand that I may be in the minority in my dearth of outrage related to taxes. I agree that there should be a limit to the percentage of the tax, but this is not really a financial blog. It is one of philosophy, so I will not diverge into the debate of how much, or what percent, but will try and keep to the sentiment that generally speaking I do not mind taxes.

I do know people who bombastically declaim the collection of taxes as offensive. When I ask them why, to the one they at some point comment that taxes go to support people who sit around and eat bon bons all day, and that they are sick of entitlements to those who don’t work. When I ask them who do they know that is receiving such assistance, they cannot identify anyone, they just use the nebulous ‘they’.

So I then bring up people I know who have received assistance.

* a young teenager who was pregnant and chose to keep the baby. She received food stamps and medical care for the baby. While caring for the baby she studied to get her GED, then she went on to become the Vice President of an Insurance Company.

* a young man and his wife received food stamps and medical care while they were trying to get established in a new state and work was hard to find. Now he works for Dish Network.

* a military man gave 20 years of service to the Air Force and receives retirement and social security.

* a young woman who received food stamps and medical assistance while she was a single mother without work. Now she works for a Cable Company.

* my daughter who has a disability receives food stamps, medical care, and housing assistance. She is trying hard to be independent and give back to society. She has worked in many jobs, usually losing them because of the special needs, or inabilities she has. Once for not being able to transfer from her wheel chair to a bar stool they wanted to place at the cashier register, once for taking too much time in the restroom for breaks. She can only get into the wheelchair stall, and I cannot tell you how many people use that stall because it has more room and is more comfortable for them. Kristen cannot get into another stall, so if she has to wait, her neurogenic bladder may not. Now a change of clothes is in order. Or if she gets in the stall, she has to self catheterize which takes longer than it takes others to go. Even with a doctor’s note and a full description of her process-employers just don’t like to make concessions. Yet, she will go out again and again to try and find gainful employment. A job service sent her to a place of employment with curbs and stairs; she couldn’t even get in the door for the interview! She had to call from the parking lot to explain her inability to get in. Of course-no job for her there. She will start at a place and have to miss for multiple doctor/ brace/ therapy appointments-let go again. She inspires me on her continued attempts. She is now considering volunteering at the local hospital or hospice so that she can give back to a society that is helping her.

These are the stories of people I have known who have received assistance because of my taxes. If someone knows a person who is receiving assistance who does not need it, that person should be named and an investigation should be initiated to review the situation. The nebulous ‘they’ has become tiresome to me.

“I like to pay taxes, with them I buy civilization.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr