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Everything posted by ShadowLion

  1. < Rant about the "great" corporatization and deregulation of America > I decided not to post my incisive but inflammatory commentary on the state of our society. Suffice to say I've seen and experienced much the same things and have many thoughts and feelings about them!
  2. That is great you have such an awesome boss! It's so nice when you know you are valued and appreciated.
  3. Glad you got the time off. Thanks for the info. Your theory and your explanations of the staffing dynamics, state oversight ineffectiveness, and corporations maximizing short term profits over anything else are about what I expected. Unfortunately. I was seeing similar, though not yet as severe, things in the 2000s as an EMT when transporting patients between nursing homes and the hospital. The warehousing of the old and the use of underpaid and inadequately trained staff are still happening. I am glad the state stepped in with some effective education and assistance for handling covid. Indeed, skilled nursing saves lives! I work in a company that makes and supports clinic and patient management software for physical therapists and PT clinics. There has been a huge increase in healthcare conglomerates--that already own chains of hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices, etc--buying up small, local PT clinics and turning them into just another revenue stream. The pandemic has only accelerated the trend. The company I work for has itself been acquired as an asset of an international investment firm, with a whole portfolio of different health care companies with complementary products, and will leverage those however it sees fit. The result of all this corporate privateering will be fewer, bigger companies with outsized influence on policy and regulations. Workers and patients will be the losers. Enjoy your time off!
  4. Wrapping up... OBJECTIVES I resolve to use the next five weeks to: √ 1) Reduce my soda consumption √ 2) Increase my physical activity √ 3) Reduce my stress level √ 4) Create cool stuff GOALS & RESULTS 1) Reduce my soda consumption to 25% (or less) of what I am currently drinking, with the end goal of being 100% soda free on or before November 1st, 2020. RESULT: I reduced my consumption to 30% of what I was drinking. Close to the goal, and I will continue to reduce my consumption in the next challenge, though I am struggling a bit with going completely to 0 as I was not able to negotiate keeping soda 100% out of the house. Not sure how I am going to deal with that yet. 2) Increase my physical activity gradually, and as steadily as possible, given that I am still recovering from COVID-19 and am still quite de-conditioned from it. RESULT: I increased my endurance/cardio type activity, though it was not a steady progression. Will be continuing this goal next challenge and will attempt to add in strength training. I was unable to keep that going this time as it was making ribcage pain worse. Still not sure if that will work, but will see if modifications allow for it. 3) Reduce my stress through meditation and journaling. RESULT: This went well and I want to keep going with it and ingrain the good habits further 4) Create cool stuff at least 5 times per week for a half an hour (or even more!). RESULT: Yes! This went well and I want to increase my time to at least one hour per day in the next challenge. I reached that several times during this challenge and feel I can take this to the next level. I didn't track as well as I would have liked and I had some notable misses here and there, but overall, I'm happy with how I did and feel like I can bump things up at least half a notch in the coming challenge! It's good to be back! And I will continue the saga of my quest. It's about to get interesting...
  5. I'm glad you're able to take a day off. It sounds like you've been really stretched to your limit and need some time to relax and recalibrate. That said, I see a strong reaction to how you were treated as being a reasonable one and totally understandable. You were not treated well or fairly, language barrier or no. Professional, she was not. That doesn't speak to the internals of your reaction, though, and how that may be ricocheting around in your head. Whole other ballgame there. I know, for myself anyway, that just getting angry can kick off a chain reaction of other stuff that is very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with all on its own. If something gets that cycle in motion, crying can make me angry and totally legitimate anger can turn me into a weepy mess and round it goes until I can step back and recenter. I am curious how nurses, who are in positions where communication is essential to care outcomes, cannot be required to have basic English skills. Have regulations been loosened to that degree due to shortages? Is it the rapid consolidation of health care corporations and their increased clout with regulators such that they have managed to water down hiring standards? Are they bending/breaking the rules and there isn't proper oversight? Is that a big part of how nursing home care has come to have the problems that we hear about in the news, the horror stories, especially around COVID19? Lots of questions, I know! I don't expect answers, especially not right now, but those are the kinds of questions occurring to me and I would like to hear your take on it when you feel like it.
  6. You're welcome! Wow, your family is sure seeing the CA wildfire situation up close. Can't imagine... 😀 Yes, tremendous respect. They did an amazing job under harrowing conditions. Doing alright. Need to catch up a bit, but got in some art time this weekend which was much needed! I hear you. I can't think of anyplace in the San Joaquin where I'd want to live. I left California 35 years ago for Flagstaff, AZ and would have been happy spending the rest of my life there. Fluke of fate that I've ended up in Phoenix, which is like a chunk of LA was transplanted to the desert. 😣
  7. FIRE AVIATION FRIDAY Creek Fire Rescue Operation In the past, fire aviation resources were grounded by dusk for safety reasons. In the new normal for western US megafires, that is changing. But there is one thing, now and historically, that has always caused air units to take to the night skies, even under dangerous conditions - rescue operations. A normal holiday weekend turns into a rescue for the record books for Stockton, California based Chinook and Black Hawk crews. Full Story: Fire Aviation Magazine For those of you who like planes and helicopters, here's CalFire's Firefighting Aircraft Recognition Guide that has details on on the units the send skyward.
  8. This has been a challenging week: I have been trying to be It's Friday and
  9. Bob's Red Mill is in Milwaukie, OR, south of Portland. That may have been it, as my mom and dad spent time on a couple of trips to the PNW when my brother lived in Portland. It was really sad. My mom so wanted to save all of those things, but there was no way we were going to have time to properly crate a stained glass window. It would have fallen apart in transit. Oh, Emma, that must have been terrifying! I knew you were somewhere in Sonoma County and had to evacuate before, but didn't realize that was the fire. (Or one of the fires? I think you said you've had to evac more than once..) The thing that surprised me about the vid I posted was that the pictures in it were from the first responding units and the fire was already running across the landscape to that degree. Your post really drove home how far and how fast it spread. Engine Strike Teams are typically some of the earliest mutual aid units called out for structure protection in WUI/Wildland Urban Interface incidents, so they can have time to coordinate and prepare to defend neighborhoods and business areas. The fact that they were only an hour away (usually enough time), their intended staging area was already surrounded by burning buildings when they arrived, and then their reactions and the video of what they saw as they moved further into the area was just jaw dropping to me. I had an instructor that was on the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 and he told us what it was like to watch a firestorm sweep across neighborhoods and be completely unable to change the course of the destruction. It made a big impression on me, not only because a dozen years afterwards he still choked up talking about it, but he warned us that we would undoubtedly see more fires like that in the coming years. We had a big discussion of what was happening in the west, drought, climate change, the WUI and forest management, bureaucratic inertia, and more that would need to change if we were to have any hope of getting ahead of what was coming. He was doubtful that we would. Kind of like listening to some Old Testament prophet, looking back. So glad to hear about the ALERT cameras. A good use of technology! I hope the winds are still calm and that you are safe.
  10. It is definitely real, but I like to go stealth. No one would think the mousy little old lady is a super-hero in disguise - haha! I just turned 62; I was in my mid-fifties when I first started disappearing from view. The being dismissed does get under my skin, though. Happens at work all the time. I tell myself that I probably wouldn't have the freedom without some annoyance factor in exchange. Kind of helps. Unwanted is harder. Hoping the winds stay calm and people are being careful.
  11. Me, too. It is visceral - an instinct level form of self protection. Aging enhances the effect. I remember the first time I realized I'd reached the age of invisibility. Being over 50, fat, and letting my hair go gray was like a Romulan cloaking device. It gave me a great sense of relief. No more of the constantly appraising eyes; no more of the subtle (and not so subtle) physical contacts, handiness, and invasions of space. Excess weight can bestow a certain sense of freedom that is difficult to let go of.
  12. TRUCK PORN TUESDAY The view (and the radio traffic) from inside the truck... Well, I had it ready to post on Tuesday, at least. Then got distracted and never actually posted it! 🤦‍♀️
  13. He had custom touches like that throughout the house. I wish I'd taken pictures of the stained glass windows he'd made. We were so focused on getting the smaller items boxed up, we didn't think to take pictures of the things that were still there when we left. Plans had been made for those, but none of us dreamed that someone would break in and take them. Someone did, though. My uncle had made a stained glass window of a bald eagle in flight and installed it high up on the living room wall on the second story. You could look out and see the blue sky and clouds moving behind it and it almost looked like one was flying past. Good suggestion on dealing with the work situation - I will add to my strategic repertoire! He really was. In an amazing array of media, too. Coming from the dry Southwest, the Columbia seems enormous! My mom really was impressed with the woolen mill when she and my dad went there. There are supposed to be some good places to eat, too. She talked about someplace that used locally grown stoneground corn. I think that was Pendleton. I'll ask her about it and see if I can get a little more detail. She said it was the best cornbread she'd ever had.
  14. I missed the big one in my list! Go ahead and wallow, sometimes that's what it takes to feel better! The details of your work night sound really sad and lonely all the way around, like no one is able to communicate or share much, even if they want to. I can see why you would feel isolated and cut off. My experience of diversity is quite a lot different, probably because everyone in my workplace speaks English, though half the developers on my team are based in Latin America - Mexico, Bolivia, Peru - and the company has quite a few developers from other parts of the world, too. The shared language lets us enjoy learning more about each other's cultures and work together smoothly. Your description makes me realize I have been taking a lot for granted. In the job I mentioned last night, I was an EMT on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, working for a Native owned ambulance service. Though about a quarter of the staff at the local hospital were Anglo, it wasn't unusual for me to be the only white person on an emergency scene or in quarters. English was the lingua franca, and while Hopi and Navajo were spoken sometimes in quarters, they were always translated out of politeness. I would have been absolutely lost with the language barriers you described. Like others of the cat kind, Shadowlions are known to be nosy. 😸I've written a few things, but mainly I arrange and transcribe pieces for guitar. Don't play very much anymore, but want to get back to it again when I have more time and my hands feel better. I used Finale years ago and liked it, and Audacity for recording. As long as the hard drive itself is still functional, there''s a good chance your sample library will be usable in newer software. The base file type probably has not changed. If there's an proprietary interface to browse the files, that might not work. But even then there is probably a folder of the samples that could be accessed directly and imported into other software. Good luck with the new computer! That's good progress on the fire. I hope you stay safe over the next few days. I saw the news report about the heat dome forming over CA and thought of you.
  15. I don't blame you for wanting to cry! From my time as an EMT, I know how those sorts of things can wear you down over time, especially if you putting a lot of energy into your own inner work. It can leave you feeling raw and with less available in your emotional well for others. Beyond emergency responses, we also did a lot of transports between nursing homes, hospitals and dialysis centers. It was often very sad work. There's a lot of suffering that isn't preventable, but there is so much that comes from human laziness, stupidity, and greed - individual or collective. It's maddening. One would think that could/would/should be preventable, but it never seems to go away. Sometimes I'd drive back from my three day shift (it was about an hour and a half trip for me, too, but most of it out in the middle of nowhere) and just let out a scream. Or three. Maybe your music will help you get some of that sadness and/or frustration out? That sounds like an absolutely awesome Christmas present to yourself! What software do you like to use for writing and recording your music?
  16. My mom sent me a couple of pictures of my uncle's carvings. He had two different styles he'd do. This first one is minimally painted, somewhat simplified, and maximizes the look of the natural wood. It has less texture in the carving and features driftwood and other items he'd collect on his beach walks. This next one looks to me like one of the second type that he didn't finish. That style of his carvings have a lot of texturing on the feathers and are totally accurate as to the number and types of feathers and all the other details. The reasons I think that are the feet are painted very realistically and the feathers all have the texturing, plus any of his Wood Ducks I ever saw were completely painted. This one has the typical underpainting in white areas that he used, and all of the other colors would be layered on after that. My uncle would make special cases for these with a glass enclosure with a wood base and top, glass etching of the bird's natural habitat on the back panel, and an etched glass duck name on the front. The base on this one looks like something my mom put it on as I don't think she found a matching case while we were there. Soda consumption - complied. Six yard laps today. My joints hurt, but they do that whether I walk or not, so I'm walking! Not doing the strength training again yet. Rib cage is better, but still tender. Gentle stretching, breathing exercises - yep. Meditation and journaling - 2x each, yep. Creativity time - been going through my sketchbooks and critiquing my work, figuring out what my next project will be. I've put the owl on the back burner for the moment. I'm considering changing that one to a traditional medium - either watercolor or gouache - and see what I can do with that. There's something about the digital work that seems kind of harsh and I'm not willing to put all the time in on those cactus spines if it's going to be a dud. I'll at least do a few studies and see if real paint frees me up a little.
  17. Glad you got the break you needed. What is your music upgrade going to be? It sounds like you sing and write. Do you play any instruments? That's great that the fire is 90% contained now - progress! I can understand your neighbor's security concerns, but it is kind of creepy knowing there is continuous monitoring going on.
  18. So, back to mid-July of Summer 2019... We finished our lunch and left Bonneville Fish Hatchery and focused on making good time the rest of the way. Zipped through Portland and across the Columbia to Vancouver, Washington on Interstate 5, and on to Olympia. There we turned onto Hwy 101 and continued on the two lane road that runs up the east side of the Olympic Peninsula alongside the Hood Canal. Dense forest to the left and a steep drop down on the right to the waters of the Salish Sea, it is the kind of road that takes concentration to drive and my mom was pretty quiet over in the passenger seat. She commented more than once on how few guard rails there were. We kept looking for these guys, but we didn’t see any… There were numerous bridges along the route that crossed over the many streams and small rivers coming down out of the Olympic Mountains. It was sunny, though, when we came through. More like this: We arrived in Port Angeles in the afternoon and got a motel room. There was a car club that was staying there as well, in early for the Lavender Festival that was happening in a few days. The weather was pleasant and sunny, much as it had been the whole trip so far. I actually took a couple photos with my phone. We had dinner with my uncle’s best friend and he caught us up on everything that he’d been doing and what our itinerary would be the next day. The next morning we woke up to a mist and drizzle that turned into rain and lasted most of the day. I’d never been to my uncle’s place, so did not quite know what to expect, though I had heard my mom’s descriptions of it many times. The pictures of his place are things I pulled from the later real estate listing. At the time, it was hard to see much of anything for the mist and rain. Hidden among the many trees My uncle had sold his landscaping business in SanDiego and moved to Washington 40 years earlier and had built the house, garage and the workshops himself. He supported himself as an artist and craftsman, and had a following for his bird carvings and the unique birdhouses that he made. And though my mom said the place had gotten run down due to his illness and resulting inability to keep everything up the last couple years of his life (he was just shy of 90 years old when he died), his love of plants and woodworking still showed everywhere. Custom stair/ladder to loft. The light area on the cabinet back was where he had a driftwood shelf that held carvings. Old workshop - note the variety of trees We only had the one full day before we needed to head back south, so his friend had gathered his artwork and woodcarvings for us to go through and pack and I made it a point to go through my uncle’s papers and books to find as much of his poetry as possible. I found some of his sketchbooks and art supplies, too, along with his art books and saved them. We were on a mission, despite the rain, to sort and save as much of his artwork as possible. Two of his friends were there and we were deciding what my mom wanted to take and what they would take, and what would be stored to be shipped later. There were several stained glass windows that his best friend wanted to try and remove and either send to my mom or that we might make a trip back to get, along with his tools and woodworking machinery, which she wanted, too. It was tough seeing the works that he had left behind, as so much of it showed the struggle he had had in trying to make art after a stroke that messed up his eyesight and the unsteadiness in his hands that caused him to give up carving and turn to working in clay. It was cool to see his clay works, though, as his humor and sense of whimsy came through in spite of the medium not being what he preferred. And, what I saw was really a tiny fraction of what he had made over the years, and I know that there are wonderful pieces of his all over the area and beyond that continue to bring joy to the people who have them. I’ll see if I can get my mom to send me some pictures of his duck carvings and I’ll post them. We were so pressed for time to get as much done as possible before the memorial service at sundown, that taking pictures was the last thing on my mind.
  19. Thanks, Xena. Things are improving! The big news is that one of the jobs that D was on required all outside contractors to get tested before coming onsite, so D had to get tested. Good news there - his test came back negative. He's still not entirely through the recommended quarantine period, however, so still keeping infection controls in place. That's kind of a pain, but only a few more days left and he remains symptom free. All of the chaos and stress kicked up my auto-immune symptoms late in the week, so I spent most of the weekend resting, meditating, and doing all my protocols to get my challenge back on track. I'm calling last week "Hell Week" and moving on. The only thing I did maintain consistently for my challenge goals this past week was to continue cutting down the soda consumption. Everything else was pretty spotty, but I am now back on track. Sunday, October 11, 2020 Walked 5 yard laps; currently at 40% original soda consumption and on track to be at my goal of 20% by challenge end. Back meditating and journaling at goal amounts, and maintaining my daily half-hour creativity time. I spent about an hour today reviewing and revising my life goals for the next couple of months based on how I am doing physically and emotionally at the moment. It also helped me clarify what I want to accomplish in the next couple of challenges, too, which is giving me a boost and some clarity heading into this next week at work. This is the week I expect to formally get yanked from the team I have been working with (and greatly enjoying) and put back full time on the old team (which is having a hard time on a variety of levels and I am somehow supposed to be a "good influence" on). I'll do my best, but it has all the hallmarks of one of those work situations where you are given a bunch of responsibility, but have no authority. It is something I will do my best on, as it is a mandate from on high and my only alternative would be to quit. I'm not ready to do that yet, not in the middle of a pandemic and the associated economic and political woes here in the US. My plan is to stay gritty and keep focused on reaching escape velocity on my side work as soon as I can. Staying healthy and keeping my stress level down is a top priority to making this all happen...
  20. FIRE AVIATION FRIDAY! Fighting Fires with the Force It's still Friday here in Arizona and I have a good excuse for running a bit late. I tabled the Fire Aviation Friday I had started in favor of something a little different. You may or may not have seen this story in the news. I will only summarize it here in order to focus on one particular aspect. It's well worth taking the time to read the background first, though. It's not long. I'll wait. TLDR - A five year old boy wanted to do something to help the firefighters who have been battling the blazes near his home in Oregon. He thought that many of them might be lonely being away from their families for such long stretches of time. (He's right.) So, he asked his grandmother to buy a Baby Yoda doll; they donated "The Child" to a local drive meant to buy food and other things the firefighters might need. What happened from there is heartwarming. You can see more details on the "Baby Yoda Fights Fires" Facebook page, which is where I found what follows. Baby Yoda has gotten around the western US - Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and is still traveling - fighting fires with hand crews, engine crews, and... Helping out the crew of this Colorado Department of Public Safety observation plane With their preflight checks of equipment True to their name and mission - Safety First! The Child assists in the important work of monitoring the fire and weather conditions, collecting data, and being incident command's eyes in the skies. Word is that firefighters in California and Canada have requested Baby Yoda visit them. I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually visits Australia or Brazil.
  21. It probably was that street - it's the main drag and there's just the one main intersection where it intersects with another 2 lane highway (it narrows back down as soon as you get out of the middle of town), where you see the stoplight in the picture. That's pretty much it for downtown. Beautiful area!
  22. Yes! Good to see it restored and operational. We have a few of those in some of the small rural communities around Arizona that are too small to even have a local volunteer fire department. My dad and a couple of the other old retirees in our little community kept an old tender with a water pump on the front - a "pump and roll" type setup - going for quite a few years before it, and they, got too old to keep going.
  23. Awesome antique fire truck - thank you! Poor teddy bear, so glad you got the bunny. May you have many happy and healing memories together. Sad to hear how bad the fires are there, but glad you haven't had to evacuate and that they are getting it contained. That bookstore sounds incredibly tempting. 😄
  24. Respect! It certainly has all the hallmarks of being a dangerous highway. I've driven in blizzard conditions a few times in the mountains of Arizona and I try to avoid it whenever possible. That stretch of road and its signs got my attention and is one of the reasons why I went a different route to Port Angeles this past March! One of the stories my mom told me on the trip was that on a solo trip to see my uncle a few years ago she nearly dozed off along that stretch. She was smart, and lucky that there was a rest stop nearby. She stopped and took a break and walked around for awhile before continuing.
  25. It is gorgeous and I definitely plan to go back and spend some time. We just blasted through on the trip up to WA. I'm a total book hoarder and the famed Powell's is on my list for when I go back!
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