What is Your Job?

I am a nurse. I sometimes think I was born a nurse. Of course that is silly, but always within my heart, I have felt empathy for people who may be hurting, embarrassed, or simply disadvantaged.  I guess I was destined to take that career path. So as an adult, I immersed myself into studying for just that purpose.


I began my nursing journey after a serious life threatening illness. The two private duty nurses that oversaw my care during my recovery, inspired me to go back to school and acquire the skills and knowledge base that would launch me as a Registered Nurse. So, I was formally trained from books, had the pathophysiology pounded into my brain in college, and clinically overseen by my professors to make sure I learned the practical part of my nursing job without putting any of my patients in danger. Mistakes I could have made were never allowed to be life threatening and the burden of knowing that my decisions and actions might adversely affect a “real live” human being, weighed heavily on me. I took it seriously, always rethinking and prioritizing my choices, asking colleagues for their opinion and double checking to reassure myself that first I would do no harm. I didn’t want to be that “clear and present” danger to my patients. On any different work day I might have 3-8 patients under my care…each depending upon me to do the right thing, make the correct decision. And after almost 40 years of nursing, I look back and can be at peace because I held myself to that high standard and delivered the best care to my patients on a daily basis. They were and still are my highest priority.

Now imagine if the fate of a nation and 300+ million humans depended on the balance of your knowledge and decision-making skills. Scary, right? This is our President-elect right now. And so far, I am frightened, very frightened because he seems to have little interest in schooling himself in the very things that will protect us from danger. Refusing daily security briefings, exhibiting signs of seeking favors from foreign governments to enhance his own business profits, choosing people for jobs who have lurked on the fringes of society instead of making choices from a well-qualified, educated and experienced pool of candidates who might help him guide our nation through the daily chaos of world events. We should be afraid and cautious. For our very lives depend upon it, just as your life depends upon the physician making the correct diagnosis, or the surgeon making the right incision, or the nurse giving you the right pill or chemotherapy infusion. All very basic. Would you be concerned if this was going to directly affect your body? Absolutely. You may not be poor, or homosexual, or elderly or Muslim, or a person of color, but that does not mean that you can just turn a blind eye to what is happening to those around you. We are and should be our brother’s keeper. It is simply the right thing to do.

Anguish, pain, despair, fear! They all have a smell, a taste and it is sour! I’ve witnessed this in many patients throughout my years as a nurse. Today and everyday since November 8, 2016, our nation is screaming in pain, anguish, despair and fear. It is palpable. It is visible in the protests occurring in cities across our nation and the world. I am one small voice, one small cog in the wheel of our great nation. It is my job as a nurse to try to sooth the pain, calm the fear and replace despair and anguish with hope.

What is your job?




Seeking Normalcy

Seeking normalcy. Just what does that mean? Normal is being free of anxiety. Normal is proceeding through your day without worrying about the future, about the safety of friends or family, about being able to laugh, about being free of despair. Normal is NOT crying at the drop of a hat. For several weeks now, I have not been “normal”. And I fear that I may never be normal again. This is a sad comment from a woman who has been around the sun seventy times. I’ve never before experienced this anguish post-election. My candidates have lost in the past and life went on. But this time the loss affected me differently. Not because my candidate lost, but because someone like him won….This is how I feel about my America right now.img_1197

Seeking normalcy has sent me back to some of the things in my life that give me peace, make me feel happy and fulfill the purpose of grounding me in my life. One of those is birding and art. I enrolled in a Sparrow Identification Class and for a few weeks, I am attempting to learn how to identify different sparrows in the field. In the beginning, they were all “LBJ’s” or “little brown jobs”, but now they are slowly looking slightly different although I still need much assistance in the field identifying them. As is my custom, if I draw and paint them then I am more inclined to remember  in the future. So the printout given to us by our instructor is now covered in sparrow drawings painted with watercolors and inked to help me learn their field marks.


On Saturdays following our Wednesday classes, we venture out to different birding venues in the Austin area to practice our “searching” and “identifying” skills. Last Saturday we marched through native grasses 2-4 feet in height in a restored prairie habitat at Commons Ford. Little Blue Stem, Oat Grass, Indian grass and other species have been reintroduced to this prairie habitat and judiciously nurtured to help create a habitat for the birds that thrive on these grasses. And thrive they do. House wrens, Hermit Thrush, Sedge Wrens, White throated, Vesper, Song, Rufous-crowned, Fox, Field, Lincoln, Grasshopper, Chipping, white-crowned, black-throated, lark sparrows and Spotted Towhee abound in the Austin area at this time of the year. We spent a large amount of time trying to corral a Le Conte sparrow and this part of our adventure would have been hilarious to anyone witnessing it. A dozen or so adults running back and forth in high grasses trying to surround a tiny sparrow so we could get a good look at the little fellow only to have him effortlessly fly up and away each time we were close. The little guy won and some very tired humans gave up the chase.


Yellow bellied sapsucker, Pyrrhuloxia, American Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher, Chicakadees, Titmice, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Western Meadowlark and a mated pair of soaring Red Tailed Hawks made for some fantastic birding on our field adventures. Combined with beautiful crisp, cold weather and sunny skies, a true recipe for returning to normal.

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

I am trying to regain some normalcy in my life but that does not mean I will ever be able to accept a much flawed candidate as President-elect to the highest office in our land. He will never be….My President. And I will continue to post, continue to fight against racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia whenever and wherever I encounter it.

Wishing normalcy for everyone! Happy bird searching!!!

An Ordinary Day

As I was driving to work this morning I found myself thinking about the everyday minutia that comprises are lives…commuting to work, grocery shopping, putting gas into our car, cooking meals and actions as mundane as brushing our teeth.


On workdays, I always set my alarm for approximately 2.5 hours prior to my “I need to leave for work now” time. I enjoy drinking a couple of cups of coffee, reading the newspaper and generally easing into my work day. Driving to work there is always the possibility of seeing a Great Blue Heron flying over the freeway or a Red Tailed Hawk perched on one of the freeway lights. And of course, the whole world abounds with rock pigeons, white wing doves and the ever-present grackles. At work we have many house sparrows flitting in and out of the trees around our building. Last Spring I heard a bird calling in distress and opened the door to investigate. I spotted a killdeer frantically trying to encourage her two babies back into the grassy area. Her chicks were so very tiny yet totally complete birds and they were running here and there completely unaware of the dangers that surrounded them. I cheered the parents on in their efforts to conjole their offspring, but I am sad to report that they were unsuccessful with at least one of them. These chicks were so small (very mobile, but tiny!) and as I watched,  a car passed directly over one of them. The car’s tires didn’t crush him, but the air draft from the car passing over him tossed the chick against the underside of the car and a tiny fragile life was instantly extinguished. I was devastated. I cried and cried, frustrated that I could do nothing to prevent it. Although I don’t know for sure the fate of the other chick, I prefer to believe that he successfully navigated back to the safety of his parents.

Driving home in the evening, I pass a football field complete with those extremely high lights necessary for illuminating a night-time game. On the platforms just under these lights, monk parrots build great colony nests and raise their young. I once spotted a hawk hanging out near them….great hunting ground for his dinner no doubt.

Once home, the birding from the balcony kicks in. With binoculars or my spotting scope I can watch the snowy or great egret or the Great Blue Heron as they fish for their last meal of the day before settling in to roost for the night. It is a peaceful sight.

Nothing really unusual about the day but since I started my birding adventure, my world has expanded greatly and my observation skills regarding my surroundings have grown exponentially. An ordinary day can be filled with extraordinary drama. I love the drama!

Happy bird searching in every ordinary day!!!