Friday, December 31, 2004

Quiet Night Tonight

Today I must go back to work, I have called out for 2 days to aattend my Uncle's funeral, and to be with my family, on top of 2 days off from working this weekend. I can't believe that it's only been 3 days since I got that 3AM call. It seems like forever has passed.

Today I must go to work. I have no plans for New Years except for tonight (hopefully) and tomorrow (definitely) I will go to shul so I can say Kaddish for my Uncle. I know I'm not supposed to, or rather I'm not obligated to say Kaddish for an Uncle, but my Uncle's mother, and also my Aunt wanted to have someone do it besides them, someone to do it on a regular basis this year, they were going to make a donation to an organization to have it done. I volunteered, so as to have a family member say Kaddish on a regular basis, as I am one who attends Shul on a regular basis. My Uncle's mother was grateful and happy to know this. It also helps me to know that I can do this for my Uncle and my family, that Kaddish will be said that his soul might rest in peace.

I will also be spending the rest of the weekend with my family as they conclude their Shiva period.

Also, many have asked me if there is a charity that they could send a donation to in my Uncle's name. My Aunt has chosen St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, a wonderful and worthy cause.

A Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The last few days have been surreal.

Tuesday morning at about 6am I drove to my Aunt's house and we stayed there all day. Making arrangements, meeting with the Rabbi, getting food, and most importantly comforting my Aunt and my 2 cousins. It was a very loooong, very hard day.Yesterday was the funeral and burial and the start of Shiva, the week of Jewish mourning.
The funeral was very nice, though very difficult. Almost 500 people were there to pay their respects to my uncle. After an extremely difficult and extremely cold burial we went back to my Aunt's home for Shiva.
For those of you who don't know about the Jewish mourning process, Shiva is derived from a Hebrew word meaning "seven.” It refers to the seven-day period of mourning that takes place following a burial. During this period of time, family members suspend all worldly activities, and devote full attention to remembering and mourning the deceased. This is what is called "sitting Shiva."
This is a very old practice in Judaism. The earliest mention of a seven-day period of mourning occurs in the Book of Genesis. It is said that after Jacob's death, Joseph "made a mourning for his father for seven days" (Gen. 50:10). Also, it is said that at the time of the Flood, Noah, and also Gd Himself "mourned seven days for the destruction of the world.” Throughout the ages, Jews sat Shiva to remember and honor the dead, and to comfort the bereaved.
A good website if you want to know more information on Shiva and the Jewish mourning process is: Also at there is a good piece on the Stages of Jewish Mourning.
I will be spending much of my time over the next few days with my family, mourning, loving, and comforting each other. My family is, needless to say, devastated at the loss of my Uncle Lloyd. He was a great man, a Wonderful Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, Friend. He was greatly loved by his family and also by his extended family of close friends. He will be missed, and continue to be loved for a looooooong, loooooooong time to come, now and forever.
Thank you to all those who have supported us all over the past few weeks and past few days. It is greatly appreciated, and so wonderful to see how much my Uncle Lloyd meant to so many people and how much support his immediate family has.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stop The Search

Its almost 4AM, and my parents called me about an hour ago.

My Uncle Lloyd has passed away. They knew no details yet to tell me except that his body had been found.

Thank you all for your recent support, and anyone who may have helped, kept their eyes peeled, etc. My family at least now has some closure and we can properly mourn my Uncle's passing. He was a good Husband, a good Father, a good Uncle, a wonderful, loving, caring Person. He will be greatly missed. Although I'm sure now he's with my grandparents, his parents-in-law who loved him dearly, in as he put it when my Grandma Annette passed away "The Great Diner in the Sky."

Right now I am saddened and shocked and somewhat sleepy having been woken at 3AM, but all I want to say is this. In the Jewish mourners custom...

Yit gadal ve-vitkadash sh'mei raba b'alma di v'ra khir'utei v'yamlikh malklhutei be-hayekhon u-ve'yomeikohn u-ve-hayei d'khol beit Yisrael,
ba-agala u-vi-z'man kariv, v'imru amen.
Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varakh l'alam u-l'amei almaya.
Yitbarakh v'yistabah v'yitpa'ar v'yitromam v'yitnasei, v'yit-hadar v'yit'aleh v'yit-halal sh'mei d'kudsha b'rikh hu l'ela min kol birkhata v'shirata, tushb'hata v'nehmata da'amiran b'alma v'imru amen.
Y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya aleinu v'al kol yisrael, v'imru amen.
Oseh Shalom bi-m'romav, hu ya'aseh shalom alenu v'al kol yisrael, v'imru amen.

Hallowed and enhanced may He be throughout the world of His own creation. May He cause His sovereingnty to be accepted, during our life and the life of all Israel. And let us say, Amen.
May He be praised throughout all time.
Glorified and celebrated, lauded and worshiped, acclaimed and horored, extolled and exhaulted may the Holy One be, praised beyondall sond and psalm, beyond all tributeswhich mortals can utter. And let us say, Amen.
Let there be abundant peace from Heaven, with lifes goodness for us, and for all the people Israel. And let us say, Amen.
He who makes peace to his Universe will bring peace to us and to all the people Israel. And let us say, Amen.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Well, figuratively anyway. At work. It's CRAZY! Our schedule is like a black hole with super magnetic powers that suck is inand don't let us go. It's extremely frustrating to look at.

We are so behind that is has become super scary. First of all, we went into the holiday weekend behind. I was the ONLY therapist in THE ENTIRE HOSPITAL (Rehab unit and the Acute Care side) on Saturday. There was another therapist on the Rehab unit on Sunday, but I was it for the rest of the hospital. There was something like 30 outstanding evals left over when I left Sunday night. Plus, all the treatments that haven’t been done. There are people who haven’t been seen in a week or longer. I left only about a half hour late each day, I was super shocked, but it was at the point where I figured I could stay an hour or two late and finish one or two more evals and then there would be 28 left over instead of 30. Not much difference. ESPECIALLY considering that even if I did evaluate the extra patient, they probably wouldn't ever be seen again anyway. So who really benefits? The patient gets seen once and not again, and I'm more stressed? I don't think that one treatment makes such a huge difference. I'm only one person, and I can only do what one person can do, and I can't carry the weight of our schedule on my shoulders alone. As much as I had to this weekend. So I did the best I could.
The sad part is, that so many of these patients REALLY NEED PT services. We often are the only ones who get them up out of bed, get them moving, encourage them to keep moving, do exercises etc. So many lose strength and mobility and balance just by being in bed. I want to help them and see them all, get them up get them walking and moving safely so they can go home. All of us therapists at work do. We're frustrated more for the patients who suffer because we can't see them. But there's only so much we can do, there's only so long we can work, and there's only so much time before we burn out. And it's the patients who are suffering.

We get consults for whatever reason, and we’re supposed to address them and evaluate the patient for PT within 24 hours. Unfortunately, we have patients waiting 2, 3, 4, 5 days for that evaluation. And when they finally get that evaluation, if they need more therapy, they usually won’t bee seen again, unless by some stroke of luck we have time for it. Unless you’ve had orthopedic surgery, open-heart surgery, or a burn, you usually aren’t seen by PT. There’s just no time. And if ortho is crazy and we’re short staffed (like we so often are) then the cardiacs and burns get cut too. Don’t come to my hospital if you have a stroke. You won’t get the therapy you need. Unless of course you have insurance from an incredibly stinky company that pays for nothing and makes our lives crazy. Then you are seen because the case managers yell at us to see you.

The mai reason we are in such a hole is that we are VERY SHORT STAFFED. This is the main reason we are so behind. We need more therapists. Plain and simple. We don’t have the staff to cover the hospital's needs, and the hospital is unwilling to hire us more help at this time. They fired our techs which makes tons more work for all of us. People left and they’re not being replaced. The hospital is trying to save $$$, and meanwhile we’re working 10 hour days just to get the basics done. If this keeps up the therapy staff is going to dwindle to nil. One therapist told me that in the 18 years she’s been working there, it has NEVER been this bad. And it’s getting to the point where insurance companies are threatening to deny a patient’s whole hospital stay because we aren’t seeing them enough. Which makes us more stressed when the case managers yell at us.

To make it worse, some of the staff we have doesn’t pull their weight. Nostly everyone is great, but for the one or two who leave early, call out all the time, don’t show up, play numbers games with their hours etc. And this makes more work and creates more stress for the rest of us. Nuff said.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Although I think even if we all worked for like 48 hours straight we still wouldn’t get it all done. Not that we COULD actually work for 48 hours straight, but you get my point.

Anyway, this hole is bad and I’m starting to get depressed about work. I Love PT, I love the people I work with, I love the hospital I work at, and I don’t want to leave. But if it keeps on like this, I don’t think I’ll be the only one. Our schedule is a deep black hole that is sucking us in, and I don’t know when we’ll ever be able to climb out….

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My Uncle Lloyd is Still Missing.

Lloyd Stark
6' Tall, 190lbs.
Last seen Tuesday December 7, 2004
On Rt. 59 in Suffern NY.
Seen driving a dark blue
Jeep Grand Cherokee
with New York License plates - BXE4215
Crossed the George Washington Bridge into NYC
at about 10-10:30 PM that night.

It has been over 2 weeks, and has affected my family in so many ways you can never imagine. I never could, never, when I saw things like this on the news, when I watched families in agony, it all seemed so far off, so distant, so not real. Until it happened to MY family. This has been an extremely emotional and stressful time. And our lives will never be the same.
It is felt, through the police and detectives, that he is still alive and is probably in NYC.

PLEASE, if anyone in the NY area should notice this man, or his car, in a hotel, in a garage, on a bus, or a subway, ANYTHING,
Call the Suffern Police Department at 845-357-2300.
Please keep your eyes peeled. Thank You.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cover Letters

This AM before I go to work and get people OOBTC I'd like to post an Instant Messenger Conversation that I had with Stephen Belsky last night. It made me smile to see it on his "away message" this AM and I'd thought I'd post it here to make everyone else smile. :)

Steg said: I'm writing cover letters for sending out resumes. This stuff sucks, it's already (something like)2 AM!!!!!!! grrr

Carie said: Cover letters suck. It''s like a repetition of your resume.

Steg said: I agree. It is like a repetition of your resume, except with more sucking-up and self-aggrandizement!" Oh you're so great, I'm so great, let's be so great together! It's like a bad country song.

Tee Hee! Maybe you had to be there, but it made me smile at any rate, and that's what's important, I needed a smile. Have a good day!!!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Feeling Cranky

Short post, Somehow I don't think that anyone wants to hear all the gory details of all the stresses in my life. Let's just say it hasn't been the easiest few weeks of my life for a variety of reasons. Although I suppose it could always be worse.

I just wanted to write a bit to say HI to the internet world, say yes I'm surviving and I hope that you all are happy and peaceful and mostly stress free. I usually dislike all the hooplah of the Holiday season, but I wish you all a happy holiday, and may this (non-lunar calandar) New Year shine brightly on your lives, may you never know sadness, may your lives be filled with joy, blessing, and peace.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bon Voyage

Last night I went to a Bon Voyage party for Rob's grandmother. She is going on a four month World Cruise on the QE2.

The link above shows the itinerary, but well, highlights include NYC to the Caribbean and South America, through the Panama Canal, to Aculpulco to LA to Hawaii, Across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia up to the South Pacific, China, Japan, and the Philippines, to Thailand, to and around India to The Middle East including Dubai, Egypt and through the Suez Canal to Turkey through the Mediterranean stopping by at Italy, Spain, and then to Southampton, England, and back to NYC.

101 nights aboard the QE2. Pretty amazing for someone who is almost 90 years old.

Bon Voyage, and have a great trip! Can't wait to get those exotic postcards and hear all about it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Silly Little BLOG Post

Well, it's hard to follow up my last BLOG post without looking silly, as my last BLOG post was extremely serious. My Uncle Lloyd is still missing, it's been a week, with no real news. We have gotten something out of EZPass, one days worth anyway, and we do know the he did cross the George Washington Bridge last Tuesday, the night he disappeared, at about 10-1030 PM.

I do urge anyone who may have any information, or if you've seen him or his car to please contact the Suffern Police, or email the address below. This is an extremely difficult time for my family and myself, and any assistance on the whereabouts of my Uncle would be beyond appreciated, and that's even too much of an understatement to be said.

And so I'll follow with as unserious a post as I can think of, because like I said, ANYTHING seems unserious and dumb when you have things like that going on in your life.

My New Fleece Pajamas.

I LOVE FLEECE PAJAMAS! The are so soft and warm and fluffy and YAY for Fleece Pajamas!

A couple of years ago I got a yellow fleece nightshirt from Lord and Taylor. And I loved it. It kept me warm and toasty on those cold NY nights. And Rob like it too. He calls it "Yellow Fuzzy Thing" in his boyish way that always makes me smile. It is always a pleasure to snuggle up together with the softness of fleece. :) Well, yellow fuzzy thing has been washed a lot, and while still pleasant to wear and snuggle up in, it has lost some of its "fuzziness"

Last week I went to Lord and Taylor to buy Rob a Chanukah present, pajamas. He only owns one pair and is always complaining of cold at night because he doesn't have pajamas. So I bought him a couple of pairs of flannel PJ's. While I was there I took advantage of the sales and the coupons and got myself a new pair of fleece PJ's. I usually wear mismatched nightshirts and pants to sleep because I like longer nightshirts and also pants to really keep me warm. And pants come with either too short for my liking shirts or alone. So I buy them separately. ANYWAY, Lord and Taylor didn't have nightshirts in my size but they did have longer length shirts with pants as a set AND they were fleece. SOOOO SOOOOOOFT!

So I have been immensely comfortable this week in my new PJ's. Soft and warm with pink and blue and purple stripes, and such a pleasure to cuddle up in. Rob, needless to say is extremely comfortable also. He loves his own PJ's, and also loves mine. He keeps finding excuses to hug me when I wear them, which I won't complain about because of course, Hugs, are one of life's "cure all's."

And sometimes you need mindless little pleasures such as Fleece Pajamas and hugs to get you through the tough times. The semi-point of my silly little post.

Please keep you eyes peeled and your prayers with my Uncle, my Aunt, and my 2 Cousins who miss their father. Thanks.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

My Uncle is Missing, Please Help

Suffern Man Missing!
Lloyd Stark
6' Tall

Last seen Tuesday December 7, 2004 On Rt. 59 in Suffern NY

Seen driving a dark blue jeep grand Cherokee with
New York License plate - BXE4215

If you see him or this vehicle PLEASE Call:

The Suffern Police Dept. at 845-357-2300
or E-Mail to

PLEASE forward this to everyone that you know and help to spread this information so we can find him.

Thank You!
Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I drafted a long response to your comments on my School Loans Post, so I figured I'd just make it a post so it's easier to read.

To answer both comments, my education for what it was, was relatively cheap. The only things that could have saved me money were
Doing a “5 Year” Program, and
Living at home.

I didn’t do a “5 year program” because I didn’t know I wanted to be a PT until my junior year in college. Too late. I needed to finish my undergrad degree in Biology and do PT as graduate work. And living at home was out of the question due to physical space issues, and other more personal “needing to get out and live on my own and grow” issues.

My undergraduate education was at a SUNY school so it was as cheap as a college education gets. My 3 years of graduate school were relatively cheap as private schools go, I could have gone to more prestigious schools such as Colombia or NYU for about 3x what I paid. Touro’s PT program has an EXCELLENT reputation, it was reasonably close to home, and there was a Jewish community as it was a “Jewishly affiliated” school. Touro was the right place for me to be.

And as surprising as it is to most people, this is what PT school costs. Very few people realize the scope of a PT, what we learn, and what we do. I think only the people who have experienced the not as well known facets of PT truly understand. Not many people think burn patients, autism, heart attack, GI surgery, wound care, hospital, ICU, etc, when they think of PT. The profession is so much more than back pain and knee surgery, strokes, and spinal cord injury. I personally didn’t fully realize it all until I was in school. I learned A LOT of medical, physiological, histological, and pharmacological stuff that I never thought I would use, but I do every day. And PT’s are grossly underpaid for what we do, for what we know and for what our education costs.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my work and I would not change what I do for anything. When I have children, I still want to be able to work part time. When I’m old and retired from physically working in the profession, I want to be involved somehow, hopefully teaching, which is where the PhD comes in. If I won the lotto, my loans wouldn’t be a problem anymore, salary wouldn’t be a problem anymore, but I’d still continue to work. I LOVE being a PT, I am happy to go to work every day, the profession fits me so well, and I consider myself truly lucky to have found a profession that I feel this way about. Not many people can say that.

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I took out the loans. But my education was worth EVERY PENNY. It’s just frustrating sometimes to pay it all off. Given all this, is my “complaining” justified? Yes and no. Do people who buy houses that they love living in and don’t regret buying complain about their mortgage? Yeah. I guess with this particular post I was just venting a bit of steam after writing out a lot of checks.

As for a PhD, my eventual goal is to teach in a PT program and you need to have a PhD to teach nowadays in most PT programs with all the shifts and inner politics happening in the profession. It’s not something I can start for at least 5 or so years of experience though. I have some time. And most employers/hospitals offer some tuition reimbursement for continued education and degrees. So I’m hoping to work it out so that it won’t cause another hundred thousand dollar dent in my life.

And to answer the question about per diem work, I cannot do any kind of “home care” adult or pedi until I have 2 years of work experience. So I have another year to wait for that. I am however currently revamping my resume to send to other area hospitals/rehab centers to pick up some per diem time on my days off. Not a thrilling prospect for me, but if that’s what I need to do to make ends meet, there have been worse things. I do hope to pick up some home care patients when I can, 1 or 2 a week after work in the evenings, it’s GREAT $$$.

Hope that answered your questions, and thanks for your comments/support/advice.

The Lion King

I recently purchased The Lion King special edition DVD before Disney locked it into their vault. I LOVE this movie. It's so powerful. A little violent for the young children but it is really an amazing story. And the DVD was full to the brim with tons of behind the scenes and insights into the story and the Broadway show and how it was all put together etc. It was worth buying. Onw of my favorite parts of the movie occurs at the end when Pumba and Timon are trying to divert the hyenas attention so Simba can get past them. It never fails to make me smile/laugh.

What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?
Camera switch to Timon in a hula outfit. The music sung is The Hawaiian War Chant much like the Spike Jones arrangement. Pumbaa is set up like a roast pig, even with an apple in his mouth. Jungle drum riff.
If you're hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat
Eat my buddy Pumbaa here because he is a treat
Come on down and dine
On this tasty swine
All you have to do is get in line
Parenthetical parts are Pumbaa singing; the apple is at his feet.
Aaaare you achin' (Yup, yup, yup)
Foooor some bacon? (Yup, yup, yup)
Heeee's a big pig (Yup, yup)
You could be a big pig too.
They run off screaming to lead some of the hyenas away. Simba and Nala make it by.

I have ALWAYS wanted to know what all the African (the language is Zulu btw) chanting meant. I found a website that has the script, and subsequently (ooooh I like that word) has the translation of the Zulu.

In the very beginning during the Circle of Life, the Zulu chorus chants this:

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba [There comes a lion]

Sithi uhhmm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]

Various shots of animals raising their heads at the sunrise: rhinos, antelope, a cheetah, meerkats, storks...

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba [There comes a lion]

Sithi uhhmm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]


Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]


Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [It's a lion and a tiger] {repeats 5}

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Se-to-kwa!)

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Asana) {repeats 1}

When Rafiki finds Simba is alive and helps him to go find his place as King, he chants this, which annoys Simba greatly. This is actually in Swahili, not Zulu, and was taken from a Kenyan "schoolyard chant" which the production team heard on their research trip to Africa.

Asante sana! [Thank you very much!]

Squash banana! [Squash banana!]

We we nugu! [You're a BABOON,]

Mi mi apana! [And I'm not!]

When Simba follows Rafiki through the woodsy brush just before he sees Mufasa in the stars you hear this chanting of the Zulu chorus in the background.

We sangoma ngi velelwe [Oh, spiritual healer, I'm troubled]

We baba ngivelelwe [Oh, my father, I'm in pain]

We baba ngivelelwe [Oh, my father, I'm in pain]

When Simba is running across the desert back to Pride Rock to fight Scar and become King, the Zulu chorus is singing this

Busa le lizwe {"This land, invincible."}

Busa le lizwe [Rule this land]

Busa le lizwe [Rule this land]

Busa lomhlaba [Rule this land]

Sabusa le lizwe [You shall rule this land]

Sabusa le lizwe [You shall rule this land]

Sabusa le lizwe [You shall rule this land]

Busa lomhlaba [Rule this land]

And at the very end of the movie when Simba is now king and he roars off of Pride Rock you hear the re-singing of Circle of Life with this chanting.

Simba's expression gains confidence and strength. He roars. The lionesses roar in reply. Time switch to the savannah in full bloom again.

Busa le lizwe [Rule this land]

Busa le lizwe [Rule this land]

Busa le lizwe [Rule this land]

Bus-busa ngo xolo [Rule, rule with peace]

Se-fi-le Baba ti-tabo Maye babo Busa lomhlaba [Rule this land]

He! Se-fi-le Busa Simba! Busa Simba! [Rule Simba! Rule Simba!]

Ubuse ngo xolo [You must rule with peace]

Ubuse ngo thando [You must rule with love]

Ubuse ngo xolo [You must rule with peace]

Ubuse ngo thando [You must rule with love]

Ubuse ngo xolo [Rule with peace]

Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and Nala are on Pride Rock. Zazu flies up to the point. Timon, of course, is shaking his arms in the classic victory sign. All the groups of herds are there and making noise as in the presentation of Simba.

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [It's a lion and a tiger] Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [It's a lion and a tiger]

And that is some of the cool stuff I didn't know about the Lion King that I've always wanted to know. Pretty cool huh?!? I'm glad I bought the DVD.

YAY for The Lion King!!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My Greatest Wish

School Loans. To pay off my school loans. I HATE my school loans. VERY MUCH. I knew what I was getting into when I took them out, but I still hate them.

I have school loans for my undergraduate Bachelors degree at Binghamton University. I also have loans for my Masters in Physical Therapy at Touro College. Thats seven years of schooling that I have to pay back. My parents are paying a small amount of it from Binghamton, but the majority of it all is mine. There's over $100,000 to pay back over the next 25 or so years.

Month by month I pay large sums of money to the US Department of Education, The Student Loan Corporation, and Sallie Mae. I pay more in school loans than I do in rent. HUNDREDS more.

Most people are shocked when I tell them about my loans. Can't you consolidate them? They are. Why didn't your parents help you? They couldn't afford to. I had one person tell me that her parents were paying for her education (and a rather expensive one it was too, more than mine) because they didn't want her to have to worry about her having to pay back school loans later. Well ya know what? My parents didn't want me to have to worry about that either, unfortunately they couldn't afford to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition. They helped me as much as they could. And I'm grateful for that much. I know other people who pay school loans, but pay about half or a quarter of what I pay. They just had more help than I did. People my age who are working with me are putting down payments on condos, putting a lot of $$ away in savings, going on one or more vacations a year, talking about being young and having fun etc, and I'm still struggling. (SFO btw was fairly cheap for a vacation, I saved for it for a loooong time and it was STILL a struggle)

I know that my debt is "good debt", if there is a such thing, I spent it on my education, its not like I bought thousands of dollars of DVDs or something silly like that that people go into debt for. But I do feel it's limiting. I want a PhD, can't afford it, more school loans. I want to get married eventually. My parents can't afford a wedding, I can't afford a wedding. Not a HUGE deal to have a simple wedding, inexpensive etc but the thought is there. Want to buy a house, MORTGAGE! Want kids, more money I don't have.

Physical Therapy is a great career, but I think therapists are grossly underpaid for the work they do. ESPECIALLY in the Hospitals. The $$ is probably in private practice, but I have NO desire to do that kind of PT. It would make me VERY unhappy.

I have a hard time getting by on what I make now. And I know I'm lucky compared to much of this world. But I dunno, maybe it's the small somewhat selfish part of me that makes me feel guilty inside, but I just figure if I didn't have to shell out almost $900 a month in loans I could put $$ away for other things, further education, house, children, charities, savings, retirement, etc. People always talk about winning the lotto. I don't want millions of dollars, or even one million dollars. I just want about $200,000. To pay off my loans and put away for a PhD. Wouldn't THAT be nice... until I wake up that is and shell out a paychecks worth of bills in an hour.

Ahhhh to dream. A dream is a wish your heart makes... So that's it for me, my greatest wish. To have my loans paid off. Again, wouldn't it be SOOOOOOO nice.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Chanukah is the festival of lights. Instead of one day of presents, we get EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS!..... And so sings Adam Sandler.

Chanukah starts on Tuesday night, and lasts for eight nights. Every night we light an additional candle to commemorate the miracle of the Maccabees.

The story goes that the Syrian Greeks were ruling over the Hebrews, and they had imposed restrictions over them, in fear that they would revolt etc. Learning Torah, keeping Kosher, or Shabbat, all were outlawed. And finally, Idols were brought into the Holy Temple, and Jews were encouraged to worship Zeus and other Greek gods. At least this is how I remember the story told.

So Judah Maccabee and his brothers and others decided to revolt, and gain their freedom. And after 3 years, a small Army of Hebrews won against the strength of the Greek soldiers. On the 25th of Kislev, when the Hebrews went in to restore the Holy Temple to it's holiness, they could only find enough oil to light the eternal light for one night, and well, it lasted for eight days and nights. That's the story I remember as a child.

With more research and reading and actually listening to my Rabbi's sermontheis past Shabbat I learn that there's a lot of symbolism to this story relating to how Chanukah is practiced today. Some I knew of and others, well it was kinda nice to learn.

We eat foods cooked in oil, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and dohnuts to remember the importance of the oil in the story.

We play the dreidel because during the rule of the Greeks the dreidel was used to mask the study of Torah so that the Greeks would not find out that the Jews were still studying.

We give Gelt (money) as a symbol of freedom, and also as a symbol of the freedom and mandate to channel material wealth towards spiritual end.

There are 2 miracles that occur, large and small. The large miracle is that Gd was with the Hebrews, and helped them to win the great battle over the Greek army to gain their freedom.

The small miracle is that the oil lasted for eight nights instead of one, just long enough until additional, pure, oil could be brought to Jerusalem, to the Holy Temple. And so we celebrate these miracles by celebrating and lighting our Menorahs, like the one that was used in the Holy Temple at that time. We especially celebrate the light the Menorah gives. The light is considered a holy light, it can not be used for any purposed except "to gaze upon it." The light to many, represents being brought out of the darkness of oppression, to freedom. The dark loss of ritual and Torah study to the light, the freedom of Judiasm not practiced in secret and hiding.

Chanukah is not a gift giving holiday. It has become one in recent years owing to its proximity to Christmas. As a child, I did recieve presents, one every night. I grew up in a fairly secular home, and we did exchange gifts for Chanukah. But I never remember them being huge big gifts, as I see children (and adults too) getting for Christmas. (I am ALWAYS amazed at the amount of gifts, and the expense of gift giving at Christmas time. It is completely overwhelming to me.) Anyway, the gifts I got as a child were small games and books, and on the last night, it was not necessarily the largest or most expensive present, but it definately was the best, the one you wanted the most.

Now, I do exchange some gifts, usually with Rob or other close friends. But I don't make a huge deal of it, one or two small gifts, I don't get too extravagant.

Personally, Chanukah was always a favorite holiday, not because of gifts, but because I loved (and still do love) lighting the Menorah. I love the candles and the light, I love to watch them burn, and to me, it always seems Magical somehow. They're not just candles burnong but something more, like the light of my spirituality is reflected in the candles. And I guess that's what they are supposed to represent. The light of Torah and Judaism. I never really could put it into words until now.

Happy Chanukah all, may the light of the holiday shine into your lives.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Labcoat Pockets

My lab coat has a lot of pockets. Most do. Well, it makes sense if you think about it. Most who wear lab coats have to carry a lot around with them.

Personally I carry around so much that sometimes I wonder how I'm still standing up straight! I have 2 large, two small pockets in my lab coat.

In my left large side pocket I carry pens (multiples of course), highlighter, goniometer, reflex hammer, chapstick, hand lotion, pager (when I'm NOT working, when I'm working my pager is in my pants pocket), and some random keychain I got somewhere that I'm not sure why its in my pocket except it's fun to play with when I have a moment of thinking and fiddling with stuff in my pockets.

In my left breast pocket I carry bandaids, paperclips and a couple of business cards I got from vendors. Oh yeah, and my badge is hanging off of my breast pocket.

In my right large side pocket I carry my stethescope and gait belt. In the small pocket that is inset into my right large one I carry money. We don't have lockers so I carry a small wallet to fit a couple of bills only and theres some loose change in the pocket as well.

When I'm travelling from floor to floor I put my water bottle in my left large pocket, when I'm writing notes or treating patients it sits on whater desk/table is available with my large clip board with my schedule and all my papers and forms and little red book (LRB). The clipboarsds inside is pretty packed actually. When I go to lunch I put my juice bottle in the pocket with my water bottle. Oh yeah and I have a pink ribbon pin on my left collar.

We laugh at work at the contents of all our pockets. Some carry small books, some put their schedule in their pocket, planners, granola bars, sucking candies, post-its, you name it, it's often in there. Sometimes I think labcoat pockets are bottomless pits.

And on that note, it's time to go put on my lab coat and head off to work. Have a good day!