Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Blog also Rises (17)

This morning I headed out for my run, saw the sunrise *jaw dropping*, and ran right back inside to get my camera. I can’t honestly remember seeing a more intensely bright, fiery, glowing orange sunrise. It was truly spectacular.

So I stopped to take some pictures (which barely do it justice), cranked up the Berlin, and trotted off feeling like I just got a massive dose of bliss shot straight into my veins (and at 153 beats per minute it was circulating quickly). 

And we all know now where Berlin takes my thoughts, so I started to remember “all the boys I’ve loved before”…and why I even loved them. I think I’ve had maybe 5 significant/memorable loves in my life. I am not counting my crushes in grade school. Because then there would be some embarrassing
amount more. And of those 5, there are 3 that *glow*. They glow because I know how much they loved me back. That makes a difference. If I’m going to be out there on that shaky love limb, they have to be right there with me, just as vulnerable and exposed, and just as stupid twitterpated as me. Not saying I felt anything less intensely for the other 2, but it wasn’t as safely reciprocated. They will still be memorable and significant in their own way. Even with a bit of mystery…did they truly love me back?  Will I ever know? What would that change? And if you think there is a hint of resentment on my part for falling for these guys without their willingness to give it up for me too, you’re probably right. I mean, come on.

It’s just something inside these men that I recognized. And so I let them into my bubble, and then let my love for them into my heart. Let’s just say, the right ventricle. Like I breathed them in, let them into my pulmonary veins through my lungs, then the left side of my heart pumped them through the
Mercedes Benz symbol-shaped aortic valve into my entire body, into my brain, then back through the superior vena cava into my right atrium, through the tricuspid valve, and then safely tucked back away again in that crescent-moon shaped ventricle. Just stuck there, ready to be pumped through again as needed.
They are there; sometimes causing my heart to skip beats, sometimes ache, sometimes pound with fire, and sometimes just remain inert yet ever present.

I can’t really discuss the order or when they appeared in my life without revealing their identity, and this isn’t really about them anyway. It’s about me, and how they made/make me feel. Those glowers, they’ll keep glowing. At least I married one of them, we can glow together now. :-)

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."  - Robert Frost

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Blog*mas (16)

'Tis the season, right?  It's the most unusually warm Christmas in Denver.  50s, sunny, no snow.  I rode 30 miles this morning and mostly saw people out walking their dogs.  Actually, I saw two gentlemen out jogging in jeans and leather jackets.  ?
But I thought as a nice reminder of what the holiday season/life is truly about (since most people I know are crazy busy with shopping and cooking and spending money), I found another e.e. cummings poem to celebrate the small, beautiful, (and sometimes tragically fleeting) magical moments in life.

Poem 33:

christ but they're few

all(beyond win
or lose)good true
beautiful things

god how he sings

the robin(who
'll be silent in
a moon or two)

So Merry Christmas, all.  Listen to the birds sing.  Treasure your special moments.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blog-cardiogram 15

This morning was another one of those foggy, dream-like misty mornings.  Cool thing was, the waning cold full moon was still up high enough to see it.
I headed off on my run, my breath coming out in clouds in front of me, swirling in with the fog.
Brought my phone with me on my run so I'd have a camera to try and capture just how ethereal this morning was.
This was the view as I turn West onto the Highline Canal trail.  See the moon peeking through the trees?  Beautiful.
This week at work I have been learning as much as I can about pulmonary arterial hypertension.  So I've been reading articles, patient brochures about right heart catheterization, reading info online, getting training on the registry I'll be working with, and interestingly - following the study physician and nurses around the PH clinic in the Hospital.
One of the most memorable things so far was looking at echocardiograms.  These are done with a sort of ultra-sound machine, capturing images of the heart from different angles.
On the computer, it's just like a black and white movie of the heart, with the EKG components running along below, like a sub-title to your innermost film.  Heart valves fluttering like delicate petals.  Beating, pulsing, so fragile and yet so strong.  Angles showing me the atria and ventricles. 
The crescent moon-shaped right ventricle, working so hard in these patients to just pump blood into their lungs from their usually dilated right atrium and regurgitating tricuspid valve, through their enlarged pulmonary artery.
Cardiac fellows sit in front of these images all day, interpreting results, logging Q-axis and abnormal heart rhythms, and so much more.  To them, it's narrating the patients health and heart function, cardiac output, degree of prolapse and/or regurgitation, etc.  Analyzing the electrical firings of the right and left nerve bundles, triggering the exact right contractions to make it all work.  Strange currencies.
To me, it was beautiful.  When do you ever get to see your beating heart?  The organ that most represents emotions and love.  Throbbing ventricles, flittering little valves, keeping you alive, feeding your body it's oxygen.
I wanted to ask the fellows if they see these images in their dreams, but it seemed like that would be lost on them and would just seem like a weird question from "new girl".  It's their job.  It's their data, their science.  It's that to me too, but so much more.
Beating out life's rhythm, pounding in my chest to keep my body moving down the trail, hurting with life's heartaches, filling with love and gratitude, swelling with pride and affection, becoming a tangible representation of everything *meaningful* and *felt* in life.
I want my own echo.  I want to see my heart in my chest, make it real.  See my own strange currencies.  See that despite the aches, it's just a beautiful, crescent moon-shaped four-chambered machine, capable of so much more.  Capable of anything.  I want to feel it now.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quick Blog #14

This week I started my new job as "Professional Research Assistant" at the University of Colorado.  Still not actually clear if I work for the School of Medicine, the University Health Sciences Center, or the Hospital.  If I had to guess, SOM.  ??
The campus is huge, modern (with the exception of the original Fitzsimmons Army base buildings), and strangely deserted.  With weird stone and metal giant sphere sculptures.  I work in the Leprino Office Building, which is funny because I have been in the Leprino cheese research and milk plant buildings in Denver and Fort Morgan.  I have stuck my hands in milk with rennin added, which feels like soft milky jello.  So everyday now, I will report to work in the building I affectionately refer to as "the cheese building".
I didn't get my computer set up until Friday, when I discovered Pandora IS indeed, blocked.  I <3 my Droid.  In fact, I spent way too long fashioning a make-shift little lanyard loop with some wire and hooked it to my neck ID badges and listened to Pandora most of the day while unpacking my stuff.  It's weird to see all my old things in a new space.  And it's all stuff people from previous jobs have either given me, or that I've kept as souvenirs.  So sentimental.  So comforting and painful at the same time.
Much like something that happened to me on my run Friday morning.  It was frigid cold, bleak, overcast, barren, frosty, and seemed like evening instead of dawn.  It just felt sad and empty.  Then on my way back home, a snowflake fell from the sky and gently *touched* my cheek.
As if to say, "Hey.  Even in this gray strange world, in a cold, unexpected place, something is here to reach out and touch you, to offer you peace and comfort."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blog-day the 13th

I went for a ride yesterday and headed East instead of West.  Just to see what was out there.  New views. 
I also wore a new pair of sunglasses.  They were cheap, but have those little nose pads that rest on the sides of your nose as opposed to the pairs I have now that are plastic frames that sit right on the bridge of my nose.  To most people there would be no difference, but I have had my nose broken 4 times.  First time in junior high by a hockey puck, second time (thankfully) under anesthesia, third time was self-inflicted (by doing a pull-up into a door frame), fourth time under anesthesia again.  Apparently the third time was pretty gruesome.  The doc that fixed it said not only had I dislocated the nasal bones from my skull; they were shattered.  Several layers of cadaveric and synthetic cartilage later, and I have a sore and tender nose as
you can see by the look on my face (this was about 24 hours after the fourth break).  So anyway, new sunglasses to help take the pressure off the poor shattered remnants of the bridge of my nose.  And what I didn't notice in the store was immediately obvious when I set off on my ride.  The tint on the lenses turned the sky this surreal and bright turquoise blue and the dead leaves and grass on the sides of the road had this strange rosy-orange glow to them. 
So new views on new trail direction in crazy techni-color.  Heading East was not as productive as I would have liked.  I lost the trail somewhere under the highway (225) and ended up sort of diddling around Aurora until I figured I'd just go back the way I came. 
And I tried to deal with the turmoil that has been my emotional state this week.  Uuuuugh the drama is exhausting. 
In grad school I started working as a "Professional Research Assistant" (PRA) for a few years.  I handled sputum samples, input data from questionnaires, and probably most importantly (at least to me, probably not for the study), maintain contact with the study participants.  This involved long phone calls, extensive internet and credit report research to find phone numbers, and occasionally calling homes to ask for someone who had recently passed away.  I actually enjoyed the work (unless sputum leaked onto my desk ew).  Then I got it in my head that with my master's degree about to be completed that I needed to be doing something bigger and better.  I thought I'd find it at Denver Health.  Instead of sharing everything I didn't like about that place, I'll just say "I didn't find my bigger and better there".  So I transitioned from research to environmental health. 
I took a job as an "Environmental Health Specialist" at Tri-County Health Department.  Basically, a health inspector.  I was trained to conduct regulatory inspections of retail food establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, convenient stores, etc.), child care facilities, pools, hot tubs, on-site sewage disposal systems (septics systems), and answer phone calls and handle complaints from the public.  I also went into remediated meth labs to verify the contamination was at an acceptable level.  Good grief.  Every day was completely different, and always busy.  I picked dead squirrels up off the road and had a very shocking and unpleasant experience involving said dead squirrels and maggots. *shivering*.  I set mosquito light traps, scraped baby poo out of diapers into sample containers, closed down hotel pools, dealt with failing septic systems, got yelled at by angry restaurant owners when their walk-in refrigerators were running at 53 degrees and all their food had to be condemned.  I also got promoted and transferred to a different office.  Then an opening came up at the State health department, and was hired on to work with them. 
Similar job, just bigger.  No pools or septics, but add milk plants and farms and warehouses and processors, tanning beds, prisons, youth correctional facilities, non-community ground water (wells) and plan reviews.  I had to learn all about exhaust systems installed over dish machines and stoves in restaurants and learned more about high-temperature short-time pasteurization than I ever thought I would.  I also had to travel to different parts of the state to do these inspections.  It was totally fun at first - I had never been to the Great Sand Dunes before, and got to spend time in Glenwood Springs.  Lots of time.
I enjoyed seeing all the different parts of the state. I can honestly say I would've never been to Rifle Falls otherwise. Then I got that weird virus infection. It was already kinda hard to be away from home for 4 days at a time, but worse to be losing feeling slowly over my entire body while in Glenwood Springs.  So it became my mission to find myself another job.  Inspecting was certainly interesting, but challenging.  I'm not a confrontational person, and as an inspector that's what I had to do.  It was a constant personal challenge.  Add that to being numb and isolated away from home, and my general state of "can't sit still for too long" and I started looking elsewhere for jobs.
I found one that sounded really interesting with the State, different division.  I would've helped county health departments get insurance reimbursement for vaccinations given, which would've allowed these health departments to afford more vaccine and help more people.  Something I actually cared about!  I interviewed first for this position the day after my spinal tap.  I could barely walk and my head hurt, but I nailed the interview.  A week later, they wanted me to meet the director for a second interview.  This was the day before I went back for the blood patch to plug my poor leaking brain.  So during this interview I was faint, pale, shaky, covered in raw milk (from my sampling route), my head hurt like I didn't think was possible, and I wasn't sure if I was going to pass out or throw up or both.  But somehow also nailed this interview.  Job was mine.  Except then HR initiated the hiring process by opening it to the public and I didn't make it.  Really??  Thanks for that, Universe.
I had several other interviews over the following months.  Then, on a whim, applied for a fairly vague job posting at University of Colorado in the Pulmonary Sciences division.  I figured since I was "detail-oriented" and had worked with lung stuff before I'd give it a whirl.  HIRED!  Boo-ya. 
So now, here I am, between jobs, freaking out.  I was a really good inspector!  I got high levels of compliance, got my work done, was dependable, reliable, and had some damn good friends at work.  And it wasn't so bad when I wasn't stuck in my hotel with a piece of cake the size of my head every night (already losing weight without that temptation).  What if I go nuts sitting in a cube all day?  What if I don't like research anymore?  What if they make me do Institutional Review Board submissions *make slitting wrists gesture*?  What if I have to do difficult statistics I don't even remember how to do anymore?  What if I can't stream Pandora on my computer there?  What if the girls in the cubes next to me talk all day really loud on the phone or have fake nails that clack on the keyboards and feels like they are typing ON MY BRAIN?  And now I have to pay for parking and I won't get to see my buddies anymore....did I make the right choice?  What if I miss my giant delicious chocolate cake?
Anyway, I guess I am now heading East.  Different direction.  New views.  Hopefully I don't lose my trail under the highway.  Or at least, hopefully I'll find my path eventually.  Right, to Zion?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The 12th Blog of Punctuation

It's pretty much December in Denver now.  I mean, I know it is actually December in Denver, but now it's starting to feel like it.  It's cold, it's dark, the trees are bare and gray, the ground is brown, and the sun is at that tedious angle in the sky that no matter where you're looking it's RIGHT THERE burning a hole in your retina.
It's probably my least favorite time of the year. 
I have several topics on which to blog today:
1) I am changing careers.  AAAAAAAA
2) I went for a ride on Sunday that had several amusing highlights
3) I ran this morning and for the first time in a long time I had that "I must've swallowed broken glass because there is no other explanation as to why my stomach would feel this way" feeling.
4) I got a new smartphone
To give brevity it's props, I'll select the topic from the list above that is the least emotional and scary because that's how I like to approach life in general.  Ignore the big scary things and deal with the fun stuff up front.  WAY easier.  Ha ha.  I'll get back to items 1-3 at a later date.  Or just really item 1 is the big deal.  Big scary holy crap my life is in transition deal.
So let's talk about item 4, my new smartphone!!  It's stellar.  For as over-the-top digitally connected as I am, it's a dream come true.  My possibilities for communication and entertainment are endless.  Limited only by the battery life and my skill at using the device. 
It connects to my facebook account, so now all my facebook friends are in their own "contact list" folder, and I can check for updates and postings with one swipe.  It connects to my gmail and hotmail accounts, so I have another "contact list" with those emails.  It even imported people's facebook or google profiles, so I have pictures and websites and birthdays and whatever else people have associated with their accounts.  I KNOW ALL bwa-ha-ha.
But a feature that I truly appreciate, as a child born both of technology and from a literary and poetic father, is the virtual keyboard available to me.  Let me attempt to explain why this actually matters. 
Because there is a difference between the spoken word and the written word.  That's obvious.  But in order to communicate most effectively through writing, it's incredibly useful to have all the punctuation marks available.  My old phone was limited.  It had no " or : or ; or / or () or *.  Try texting something with subtle humor or anything even slightly complicated requiring explanation without those little marks.  Seriously, no parentheses??  WTF?  I couldn't even make an emoticon.  I had to type out 'smiley face'.  And no backslash?  How am I supposed to say "and/or"??  :-$
And yes people, this is how intricately I choose to text.  To me, it's not just a simple easy form of quick communication.  It's how I am expressing myself to my friends.  And I want no limits.  The only thing it cannot do is italicize or bold words.  But I have found ALL CAPS has a similar effect.
A favorite poet of mine may best represent the differences between hearing something and how using punctuation and spacing can really change how one reads something.  e.e.cummings.

And now, poem 7 from "73 poems":


so damn sweet when Anybody-

matter who,some

of course)

or on the other

your oldest
for instance( or


' wife)

-does doesn't unsays says looks smiles

or simply Is
what makes
you feel you

6 or 6
teen or sixty

but for once



Now if you were to read that aloud to someone: "WTF?", right?  But reading it the way he writes it, you know what he means.  He means, "isn't it friggin awesome when someone (maybe a hot blonde ['blonde' gets it's own line to show you how HOT he thinks blonde is], your old friend, or I guess maybe even your wife) does something (or doesn't say, or says, etc.) that takes you away from where you are, feeling unrecognized, feeling unspecial, and makes the You you really are just all of a sudden float above everyone else and everything tangible."  Because they just simply Are and they touched you in some way that that deep inner You is now special.  Just imagine that feeling.  I know you know it.  As he says, "it's so damn sweet".
Comic provided by "Cow and Boy"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eleven blogs dancing...

I got up a little earlier than usual this morning.  We have to give our cat this awful medication and it can take a little extra time.  That, and my garage door has been refusing to open.  So I set my alarm ahead 15 minutes to make sure I would have enough time to poison the cat and get access to my car without feeling rushed to get to work on time.
That said, I headed out for my run 15 minutes earlier than usual.  Funny how this time of year at that time of day everything changes so quickly.  I mean the sun rises later and later each day, now I think it's coming up after 7am.  So leaving at 6:50 before the dawn changed my whole sunrise experience.
It was a little overcast this morning, lots of high wispy clouds.  And they were all on fire.  When I left the house they were all intensely pink blending with more orange on the eastern horizon.  My route takes me west first, and on the western horizon was one of those UFO-shaped clouds.  The only white one in the sky.  The rest of the sky shifted from bright hot pink to a burning orange, then just flat gray at the moment I hit my marker and turn around to go back east.
Then with the sky all gray and just the tops of the trees lit up by the sun, I see it - the blazing yellow spot in the clouds when the sun came up over the horizon. 
And this all just happens without me having to do anything at all.  So then I started to think about all the things I used to think about when I was a little girl that would happen to me when I got older.  They were all events like, the day I could get my ears pierced or start shaving my legs.  Drinking coffee the first time.  My first kiss.  The day I got my first period.  The day I'd start driving.  The day I graduated high school.  My first day of college.  Graduating college.  Getting a full time job.  Falling in love.  Getting married.  I can actually distinctly remember all these events (except first day of college - hangover maybe?). 
Well, I can place check marks next to all those standard rites of passage.  And after that, besides having babies (no thanks), what are my next standard "firsts"?  And then the realization: Duh, I have to make them up. 
First half-marathon.  First new road bike.  First reckless car purchase.  First major career change.  First major career change back. what?  Stay crunchy.