Wednesday, February 28, 2007

God Bless and God Speed Mike

I said goodby to a friend today. He was on his way to Iraq.
We were elementary and high school classmates and I
remember him most as a friendly and always available
help to anyone who needed him. His family said goodbye at the
airport. His friends, like me, probably didn't know he was here until
he had to leave again. I made sure to remind him to watch his back and that we were praying for
his safe return. See you later Mike. Come home soon.

Monday, February 26, 2007


The blood of our brothers is on his hands
All they heard was the call
They did not question the WMDs
They answered and that was all

They didn't ask the reason why
They steeled themselves, they heeded
They didn't ask how long or even how
All they knew was they were needed

I question the call, the sacrifice, why
I carry the anger, the how
WE stand on the road and wave goodbye
And wonder how long from now

Will he call them again and again and again
And not look at his hands and see
That the blood of our husbands and fathers and sons
Will never set him free

Herein lies the irony of the blog:

I begin to write


And then I realize...

that's exactly how I like it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

And then - gone

To use the words of Joan Didion:
Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

I want to scream, I want to shout, I want to not want to do these things!!

It so majorly sucks to be me today!
It's been one of those days when you get to sleep in, and you are thinking to yourself in such a naive way that things are too good to be true. And then they are. Because the day you had planned out so perfectly blows up in your face. RAAHHHHH.

These Were My Plans
  1. Get those two chapters that are already late and the one due today done - TODAY! Yeah, whatever. I am so not in the zone that I can't even write a logical summary about stuff I already know. Like stupid Maslow's hierarchy of stupid needs. I am too busy obsessing about the fact that I can't even get past his basic needs. I have written two pages about getting past basic needs. I am stuck on basic needs.
  2. Plan out the bill paying strategy for this month. (Choking) So, all the ten and twenty dollar purchases I made for stuff like milk and gas and toilet paper and BASIC NEEDS all added up to .... eat soba until next pay day or die. I closed the checkbook and gave it the bird and moped.
  3. Don't eat carbs. Breakfast: donut. Lunch: soba. Dinner: guilt.
  4. NOT WORK. It's 3 O'clock and my kids are home without me. And, I still haven't started Chapter 4.
  5. Who cares, at this point I just want to throw my hands up.
Now that I've gotten this out of my system, I am going to go back to reading and trying to get my work done. See? Who needs therapy?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What I want for my birthday

The Mommy List
1. Those expensive ($7.00) pink razors that have aloe strips
2. A gift certificate to Java Joe's for those "worked all day and not gonna sleep much" study nights
3. A nice bottle of Billy Goat merlot
4. Re-gifted trinkets with gluey fingerprints all over handmade wrappers, complete with peanut buttery kisses
5. A shopping spree at the Bestseller Bookstore and twenty minutes a night to do some silent reading
6. No more war memorials in Washington D.C.
7. A guest appearance on "Deal or No Deal" - "$1,000.00?" - "DEAL!!!" - "I'm no fool, Banker!"
8. 10 more minutes to sleep in on weekends mornings

The What I'd Want If I Didn't Have So Many Bills and So Little Money Left For Myself List
1. A new cell phone like the one James Bond's girlfriend had in Casino Royale (evil text messages not included)
2. That new brown Coach Legacy Leather Satchel (drooooool)
3. A romantic night with my husband at a fancy hotel, complete w/room service dinner, massages and baby-less comforter
4. That new brown Coach Legacy Leather Satchel (sooooooo pretty)
5. The military troop withdrawal from war-torn Iraq
6. An all expense paid trip to Rome to stroll down the Via Dolorosa
7. A bottle of Mondavi private selection red
8. 10 more minutes to sleep in on weekend mornings too

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Driving Me Babies

6:25 am: Papago - Koblerville - Garapan
Drop son off at Saipan Southern and go to work

10:15 am: Garapan - Papago - Garapan
Pick daughter up for Kindergarten and go to work

4:15 pm: Garapan - Chalan Piao - Papago
Leave work and pick son up at Chalan Piao, then go home

This is my normal routine, uninterrrupted, minus the errands. What I like to call the "heavenly days" when I can just get from one place to another. They are few and far between and if I were to really track my comings and goings, it would look more like neural pathways than a road map. Thank God for Smiles One Pass Rewards, I get more mileage on land than I do in the air.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!

Some days only His word can suffice.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Needs Gluttony?

I'm rereading Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for my Administrator's Certification class tonight. Although the information is pretty basic (pardon the pun), I wonder if we've created a world where over-indulgence in basic needs has created individuals who no longer strive to attain self-actualization. What if we're satisfied being stuck in the "fast-food-bigger-and-better-more-and-more" world we've built for ourselves? I think the term is "affluenza" right Steve? Our nation's children are poorer and more overweight than ever before, yet our efforts as adults have been to feed primarily into their consumer frenzy. Media and industry have placed their focus more on reaching children as buyers. We are building cell phones, mp3 players, and game consoles for the child market and forgetting that our children are neglected at home. Sometimes we even have the nerve to reward mediocrity in our schools and organizations. What are we really teaching our future leaders?

There is an joke in our culture that Chamorros don't eat until they are full, they eat until they are tired. Although this is said in jest, and I am sometimes guilty of it, it is a disturbing truth for all of us to heed. Somewhere along the way, we've made it okay for kids to only feel satisfied when their animal needs are met. I agree with some parents that character education is best left to families, and that children should be inducted into the beliefs of their households. But, there is a real need, again, in today's world to introduce skills and traits that reinforce things like initiative, teamwork, perseverance. When I taught the third grade, I was faced with an issue I did not know how to deal with - how did I teach my students when some of them were going through life changing events? I decided to learn how to counsel them so that I could better reach them academically. It is one of those things I will never regret doing. Our efforts as educators will always fall short unless we take into account the importance of giving our kids something to look forward to. I am reminded of an interview with a teacher who said she wanted to teach so that she could impart to her students their potential. Potential is a big word. Potential is never satisfied. Potential is always striving. I'd choose potential over an A+ anyday.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

What to do when your baby hurls

I was in the middle (literally) of reading NIGHT by Elie Weisel. My oldest daughter was at a BeautifyCNMI! clean up, my teenage son was napping with his earphones on and the TV blaring, and my 6 year old was playing with her Bratz dolls (ugly things). Sommer, my two year old sweetly climbed into my arms, so I held her and placed my book over her so I could keep reading and kiss her at the same time. She still smelled like a baby, sweet and innocent and a little like the sunshine, if sunshine has a smell. Life was pretty good...until she hurled all over the recliner, her arms and my shirt.

Fifteen years ago, I would have screamed and gagged - well, I probably would have thrown up too. Now, I shrug my shoulders with the "no big deal" attitude only a mom of four can have and dutifully begin the clean up process. First, throw book on floor, being careful not to let stomach contents land on any pages. Then, look around to see if any bitty pieces are on floor. Second, carry vomit laden child on vomit free side and walk to the bathroom balancing vomit filled side and hand so as not to dirty the carpet. Third, place baby in tub and wipe her down so that chunks and slime are not visible. You must do this before baby starts to cry. See, at this point she is just repeating in disbelief, "I vomit mommy, I vomit". Fourth, and this is like the oxygen dropping in the airplane, clean self off before assisting baby. Fifth, start the tub running for baby and throw all soiled fabrics in wash. Sixth, scrub and spray recliner down admiring the new memory baby has etched into the fabric of the chair and your heart. Finally, hug and kiss clean baby, checking for fever or any signs of future hurling. When all seems fine, return to life as usual. Fifteen minutes later, I am at my computer logging this latest mommy adventure while Sommie sleeps peacefully on my bed. Mommy and Sommie are hurl free and life is good on the island of Saipan.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Pisces Anniversary

At 12, I wanted to be a judge. That was probably because I wanted to get back at all the people who refused to see me as I really was. At 13, I went through an identity crisis and reinvented myself. Not being too audacious, I changed the spelling of my name, hence the lack of the double "n" and "e". Cheeky huh? At 18, I felt like the world was my oyster -- soon thereafter, the stench proved real. At 21, I was in love with two men - a new husband and a gorgeous new son. Life has pretty much been a whirlwind since then. Four kids later and a real job under my belt, I find myself entering reluctantly into true adulthood (whatever that means). Eeeeh, maybe. I turn 36 in a couple of weeks. I have a gray eyebrow hair, the thunder and lightning evidence of childbirth on my belly and my own checkbook to prove it. Julia Roberts is excited about turning 40. Good for her, I'm terrified. I'm inching my way there, but for now, I take a ride on that beautiful ship of D'Nile.

Health sCare

My dad just gave a privileged senate speech about our recent experiences at CHC. It was a personal account, but the message is for everyone: if our health care providers don't begin seriously looking at the quality of services, not only will our people languish in our hospital with improper equipment and lack of staff, but they will wither away mentally before they can even be offered any physical relief. My husband spent a total of six agonizing days at the hospital. There were times when we angrily demanded to see a doctor, times when we begged in frustration and times when we were just exhausted and could barely whisper a request to have a doctor paged. All this happened as he was being pumped up with dosage after dosage of morphine, demerol and reglan. I watched helplessly as nurses came in to take his blood pressure, their eyes careful not to make contact with ours in case we asked simple question like,"how much longer until we see a doctor?". They knew as well as we did that no one would come, even if paged and that my husband had to endure more hours in pain. We were told he suffered from kidney stones (jagged little pieces that tear and scratch as they move down the kidney to the ...) They didn't know how many there were, they guessed at where they could be lodged (somewhere between the kidney itself and the urethra?), they did ultrasound after ultrasound as we waited and waited for answers which never came. At the end of a long five days, we asked for a referral. We explained that we would pay for our airfare and all other expenses, but that we needed to leave so that we could get adequate care. We met the most extraordinary opposition we could imagine. His attending physician suddenly could not say that he was suffering from a kidney ailment, that he needed more time and tests, that we were being pre-mature, that if we kept insisting, he would merely "wash his hands" of us. We left anyways, knowing that they wouldn't endorse our going. I remember asking a nurse point blank, "if this were someone you loved or you, would you still be here?". She told me very clearly that she would have been gone days before.

Many of our people do not have the resources to take their sick off-island or the audacity as we had, to challenge the lack of care they receive. Sadly, our health care system falls deeper and deeper into complacency, forgetting that they serve real people with real feelings. They forget that while people walk into their bubble with specific physical symptoms, there is a larger dimension of treatment that needs to be addressed. We told the doctors that if we had felt like someone cared, it would have made a world of difference. We are taxpayers, and when we are admitted into our hospital, we expect to be informed and respected. If our health care facilities are not equipped to treat certain problems, then patients need to given viable options before matters get worse. Relieving kidney stones can be a simple procedure. Shockwave and ultrasound treatment can pulverize stones in the junction. No one has to endure excruciating pain while they "naturally" leave the body. Let me use a laboring mother as an analogy. Would it be logical to give a woman in labor demerol or an epidural and not finish the task of delivering the baby? If pain persists and mother or child's heart rate drops, cesarean sections are done immediately.

Though they had no way to remove the stones, and they admitted that they were unable to perform surgery if he needed it, they outright refused to endorse our transfer to another hospital that could. I'm not sure that there is any explanation for it other than sheer arrogance and defensiveness. What angers me most is that many people accept this attitude, unable or unwilling to stand up and say that it is innately wrong to be treated in such a manner, especially at the hands of people you consider healers.

What happened to us CNMI? Why do we live in such a beautiful place and tolerate such inefficiency? I say,"VOTERS UNITE"!