Friday, October 16, 2009


Yesterday wasn't as rainy as predicted, so I got some time outside on my break while the sky was overcast and the light was gentle, and shot around the "healing garden" of the metropolitan hospital where I work. Here is the shot I like the best.

There have been daily updates on protocols for dealing with the H1N1 virus, aka: swine flu. So far so good in the ancillary unit I work for, but other teams are reporting frequent absences due to having to care for sick kids at home. We were scheduled for a mass, hospital-wide vaccination today, but it was cancelled two days ago because the supplies could not arrive in time. There is a pervasive sense of urgency about nearly everything these days. Taking the time to go outside and concentrate on taking pictures felt indulgent, but necessary, somehow.

Actually everything feels indulgent but necessary to me lately. Paying off old debts while planning for new ones means I'm trying to find a way to make friends with ambivalence, an old nemesis. A few years ago I left a job that paid fairly well, but was soul-crushing and thankless. I like my current job better, and though it pays less, I get a greater satisfaction from my supporting role in a compassion-driven (if non-revenue generating) unit of a large Portland hospital system.

Moving from a tiny, jammed NW Portland studio apartment to a spacious, mid-century, two-bedroom apartment in my favorite neighborhood in NE Portland last month also feels indulgent and simultaneously necessary. It means that I'm budgeting even more carefully now and paying off old debts will take a little longer, but ultimately worth the delay in gratification, I'm sure. Now I have plenty of room for myself, family and friends; room for photography, cooking, books, movies, and poet/artists to drop in, and a little bit of grace to make a mess if I want to.

Speaking of messes: this month, I forgot my daughter-in-law's birthday for probably the 10th time in the 11 years I've been privileged to know her. At this point, I'm sure it's all she expects, but it always makes me feel awful. I'm getting a card into the mail today, Rachel, and all my embarrassed apologies go along with it, of course. I simply could not have asked for a better wife for my son, mother to my grandchild(ren?), gorgeous, accomplished and compassionate friend, or consistently-forgiving daughter-in-law. I adore you, Rach. No ambivalence there.

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