Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spending time

The pace of this week has been so much more manageable; my only true challenge has become one of dealing with the PT recruiters (which in the big picture isn't that much of a difficulty!). I am not used to dealing much with sales people and have a difficult time separating the true story from the BS it's framed in. I am learning though and have to realize we all have a job to do, theirs is to get me to sign up for one of their assignments and they want to do it efficiently and quickly before somebody else gets in. As long as I keep the right balance between flexibility, professionalism and my own goals and preferences, I think I'll manage. I'm certainly interested to see what the next week has in store....
Lisa's house is working out just great, although I seem to be incapable of figuring out how long it takes to get to work. I have been really late or really early for 2 weeks now. Maybe I'll get it right in the next 2 weeks, just in time for my last day at Children's. I'm also very much loving the fact that there is a 'Ben and Jerry's' right around the corner one way and a 'Trader Joes' around the corner the other way.
The weekend has been a relaxing one of spending time... over food. That seems to have become my theme lately; I am trying to spend quality time with good friends prior to taking off. I went to dinner Thursday night, brunch Saturday, both breakfast and an extended lunch today. It makes me realize how deep my roots here in St. Louis have become and I wonder how often I will be visiting back here and if friends will make it out to where-ever I will be,...
With the second anniversary of the Quantum Leap plane crash approaching on Tuesday, I'm also reflecting on those dark days immediately after and the time since. I'm thinking of everybody linked to it; family, friends and the whole skydiving community. I'm thinking of the skydivers who are often described as totally insane and downright crazy (which they are!!! ;-) ). But they manage to balance it out quite nicely with a love of life and its true priorities and a great deal of compassion, kindness and true friendship. I know: I have been the lucky recipient of it and still continue to be. It's hard to believe it has been 2 years. I remember some things crystal clear engraved in my mind forever and some just vague recollections of the initial day-to-day and week-to-week struggles. I have lived and continue to live through them. Life will never be the same but I feel somehow I have managed to to integrate the events into my life and go on..... I'm excited to see what the future has in store and am confident it'll contain good things, whatever they might be....

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I came back from my meditation retreat in Augusta, Missouri late afternoon. MABA (Mid-America-Buddhist Assocation) is a wonderful hidden treasure in the Missouri countryside. A monastery on beautiful grounds, home of several nuns and a monk, a quiet and sereen meetingplace for people of all professional and personal backgrounds, all ethnicities, ages, and life stages, with the one common interest of learning about and practicing the teachings of the Buddha. This includes traditional not 'new-age' meditation practice, listening to and discussing dharma talks including practical advice for real life situations, being totally 'green' without being 'trendy' and quiet work to maintain and improve the community, from house chores to planting trees to building projects.
It's hard to explain the 'in's and out's' in a simple blog entry and I won't try. I'm sure as time goes on, as I become more comfortable and familiar, I'll write more. I had a wonderful experience, I learned about Generosity, Patience, Wisdom, Joyful effort, Concentration and Morality, I sat in meditation for 9 hours over the 3 days and I helped prepare and enjoyed the most wonderful organic vegatarian food. It was hard to 're-enter' mainstream life -even after 2.5 days- which hit me like a brick wall when on my way back, I had to get gas at "Boone's Crossing" of all places.... Maybe only 30 miles from MABA in distance but lightyears in everything else.

I'll leave you with a little taste of an evening chant: "Verses on impermanence":

"The day is now ended. Our lives are shorter.
Now we look carefully. What have we done?
Noble Sangha, with all of our heart,
Let us be diligent, engaging in the practice,
Let us live deeply, free from our afflictions,
Aware of impermanence,
So that life does not drift away without meaning."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

a day of chores...

My only day off this week, so I should have been sleeping in and relaxing but there's not too much of that these days. After an early wake-up and my mandatory 3 mugs of strong morning coffee (in the interest of peace in my immediate vicinity), I felt ready to roll. I had my weekly conversations with mom and dad, this time with the occasional interruption of my darling niece Elisabeth who was spending her 6th birthday at grandma and grandpa's. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
After that, Joan and I took a trip to Soulard market to buy some fruit for the weekend; I am going to a 3 day meditation retreat at MABA (mid-America-Buddhist association) and volunteered to help with the food. 'Some' fruit is probably an understatement; my car was almost fully loaded with pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, avocados, peaches, plums, nectarines and melons. I don't think we'll be short on vitamines; it will be a weekend with nutrition for mind and body!!!
I went for a wonderfull lunch with Joann and Lucas and was the lucky recipient of an educational session on Indiana Jones (courtesy of Lucas Britt and Lego) in the process ;-). The rest of the afternoon was spent going to the bank, my property management company, the bikeshop, the jeweller... to than finish off on the phone dealing with the progress (or lack there-off) of getting my Arizona PT state license. I'm happy to share that things are looking up and the only requirement still to be fulfilled is the educational credentialing process. The fact that I went through all of that 10 years ago when my PT education was found to be equivalent to the US PT education, doesn't seem to mean much to them. I now have to do it all over again, same paperwork, same process, just a different $650!!! I'll get it at least in time for my second traveling asignment!
I feel ready for bed but the cats are ready to play, it seems like their day has just started. This is definitely as much male attention as I've had for a while....;-)!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Settling in

I'm settling in quite nicely in Creve coeur, in the home of Lisa (who is -mostly- enjoying her time in Madison, Wisconsin for the summer). It's 2 cats; Benji and Noah, and me. Benji is an older, larger, rather inactive creature and Noah, is almost still a kitten, following me everywhere (including into the bathroom ;-) ), wanting to play and be paid attention to. I would definitely not classify myself as a cat lover but they're growing on me and it's fun having some life company in the house.
Today is also moving-in day for my new renters. The house is spotlessly ready for them and I hope they will enjoy their new home for the next year! I think they will fit in well with the neighbors (lots of them young families with little children) and secretly wish they would become interested in buying it in the next few years.

It really is amazing how all the pieces of the big puzzle are falling into place, I'm confident it will continu that way over the coming months. The next few weeks, I'll try to get my job organized for the fall. I'm am receiving daily phone calls from the Physcial Therapy travelling agency's telling me about opportunities out west and wanting to sign me up. It's great to work in a field where jobs, pretty much anywhere in the US, are abundant, especially in today's economy!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


After hard work comes rest or better than that: PARTY! Although I'm still quite a few weeks from my last day at work,  vacation schedules made the party happen early. Mary Fran opened her home to a bunch of great work friends and their spouses with a fun south-western/USA citizen theme. Entertainment was provided quite successfully by Jo and Oliver; There are few things more fun than watching and listening to a 2.5 and a 3.5 year old living in the world of convertible cars and Thomas-the tank-trains, princesses and their 'afterlife' and the do's-and-dont's of dogs.......  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Unfortunately, no incriminating pictures as I forgot my camera (much to Deb's delight!!).
I have been so incredibly lucky to have met some of the people I have met through work. Their solid presence over the years has been absolutely invaluable. They are the real deal, no other way to describe them. I know they are lifetime friends and I so sincerely hope some of them make it out west for a visit!

Friday, July 11, 2008


What a day! I became a US citizen today together with 52 other people from 26 different countries. A true melting pot it was, all ages, all colors, all accents, all dress codes (I won't go into any detail about that, let's just say that they ask for 'appropriate dress code" for a reason!). I even had my picture taken with the judge handing me my "certification of naturalization" in front of the American flag.... It was actually quite moving, unlike the "welcome to the USA" letter from George Bush, which made me walk right out of the courtroom and register to vote in the 2008 national elections!!!  I had a little flash back from the days before my green card when every contact with the US immigration authorities was trying at best, impossible at worst.... I found out that you cannot legally re-enter the USA with this certificate and need a passport. As I'm in a little time crunch here (going home in August), I almost suffered a little cardiac event when one of the immigration officials told me I had the choice between not going home or not becoming a citizen. After some frantic phone calls, I found out I can expedite my application for a passport and it should be here well before my August trip. I'm just another $200 poorer!!
As that wasn't quite enough action for the day. I got the POD storage container loaded with the great help from Andrew and Connor's muscle strength and teenage enthusiasm, Brian's engineering brain and Deb's common sense approach. It all fit well together and we had it done in no time, well 2.5 hours, which considering the 104 degree heat index (that's about 40 Celsius for the readers in the motherland!!!) really is NO TIME!!
So, I'm no longer surrounded by boxes, just quiet emptiness with my trusted NPR radio station echoing through the house. I can't say it feels great to be here, but I'm happy with today's accomplishments and will hopefully rest well tonight.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My life in a 16x8x8 pod

I'm feeling all high tech, figuring I've just accomplished something big, whilst really all I'm doing is type and press "publish post" .... hardly brain surgery.... I was going to say 'kids could do it' but I'm re-phrasing it to 'great grand parents could do it!'. A few stressful days have passed.... Everything went more or less as planned: I emerged from the dental office, after a full 3 hours in the dental chair, with a lop-sided smile, some drool from both sides of my mouth, and some serious TMJ pain. Nothing though that some ibuprofen can't take care of. I found the pod container delivered on my driveway, not exactly in the spot I was hoping (and had asked) for, but still....., did the walk through with my new renters and the maintenance guy, and finally finished the last minute packing... No coffee in the morning as all the pots are packed and I cannot even boil water. For everybody that knows me... not having my morning coffee does not bear well for anybody in a one mile radius, really!!! Most of my plants have found good homes thanks to Mary Fran, Rebecca, Lisa and Christy. There are a few left that haven't quite made it to adoption status and are sadly awaiting their future in the yard waste container

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

learning about uploading pictures

Well, I do like the color "green" (or at least I did before wrapping up my life in "green").


Well, I guess this is my first posting. Today is as good of a day as any to start... I'm on the floor in the dark basement surrounded by boxes, wrapped up furniture and a spaghetti set-up of extension cords that still need to be boxed up. Not a real cosy setting but hopefully as time goes on, I'll be blogging from more exciting places....
I'm getting ready to move out of my house, my home for 6 years, on Friday. Without getting too sentimental, this move is definitely bittersweet; lots of memories, some of the best and worst days of my life spent here between the bright yellow walls, the noisy wooden floors and the jungle-like plant displays.... 
Although I'm exhausted from hours of packing, wrapping, sorting possessions, calls and emails  to and from my property management company, organizing address changes, storage and movers,... I feel ready to move on with surprisingly few second thoughts or doubts about my decision. I am sure they will pop up occasionally in the coming weeks or months and I'll have to process them as they come. Right now, I just feel excited and fortunate to be able to take on this adventure of travel and work, so I'm just going with that ;-)!!!