a simple thing

The other day, while driving home, I approached a red light at an intersection. With two cars ahead of me stopped of course I stopped and as I did the light turned green. But none of us moved forward. A scene not unlike this is why.

Literally this. Except the little old lady with the walker walked in front of us as the light turned green for us. Perhaps she might have been lost and confused, or perhaps she regularly walks about in the neighborhood with her walker dressed in a housecoat and slippers every day. Who knows? But we all waited as she very slowly made her way across the wide, six lane street. The drivers of the three cars in front of me, the two beside me and one behind me all seemed to be okay with waiting. What else could we do? We waited. I immediately thought of that “Hello Human Kindness” commercial witnessing all of this. But my thoughts were soon disrupted with the blaring of horns behind me because confused, old lady be damned, they had places to go!

Goodbye Human Kindness!

A police cruiser came into the intersection right around the time the natives began to get restless and impatient and the officer walked the old lady over to his car and helped her to get in. He seemed to know her so perhaps this hasn’t been a first for her. And as he came to her aid, a few of us rolled our windows down and applauded…hopefully more out of goodness and kindness than happiness that this old lady was now out of our way. I’d like to think that because I like to think that there is more kindness out there in the universe.

If only we all shared more of that kindness…every day…everywhere.


Shall we make a new rule of life…always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary? ~ The Little White Bird, JM Barrie



not even a wordless Wednesday: the nurses week edition

Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s Nurses Week. Of course as a nurse I am celebrating and enjoying the well wishes from my co-workers and the parents of former patients and anyone else out there because it is kind of nice to have a week of recognition; which we share with teachers. The irony that two of the most thankless professions most days (as in if there is a problem it is, of course the teacher’s or nurse’s fault) share a week of national appreciation and recognition.

I took the time to send a note of thanks to Daniel’s teachers today. Actually I sent them a note and email about concerns about him not understanding the current chapter in his math class and his parents not understanding at all because what the hell is up with Common Core…and then I thanked them for all that they do to help support, encourage and teach Daniel…as I do every single time I send them a note, or email them, or talk to them on the phone, or face to face because Daniel has some pretty wonderful teachers and I can’t thank them enough.

Then I found some of my favorite nurses-related memes and cards that I pinned on Pinterest to remind me on the days when I am feeling especially tired, exhausted, thankless or covered in the most disgusting yuck that I am afraid to enter the Big Top for fear of spreading it. I laugh. I cry. I think. I give thanks. Then I am ready to put the scrubs on again and do what I do because I do love what I do. So in celebration of me, some of the smartest, funniest, loving, hard-working people I get to work with and who have literally saved the lives of some of my circus act, most recently the darling husband; I give you some laughter and some deep, heart-felt thoughts on what I do.

and one more because, yes, this has actually happened to me at least three times in my 25+ year career…true story.

Happy Nurses Week!

Thank a nurse. Hug a nurse. Buy a nurse a cup of coffee…a massage…lunch…maybe some sleep.

Bound by paperwork, short on hands, sleep, and energy … nurses are rarely short on caring.” — Sharon Hudacek

play it again: that’s what friends are for

originally published May 8, 2012 and because right now, my girl, Tracey is rocking her final marathon. If you’re reading this go tweet encouragement and congratulations right now to her because I said so and because she is seriously kick-asstastic and family.

You gotta love social media. Yes, I know some days you can’t help but hate it…the drama, the “vague-booking”, the time suck. But some days you just have to love social media. The last couple of days I have loved it.

My friend, Tracey, was running her very first marathon back home in Pittsburgh. She trained well for it and, thanks to Facebook, I was able to follow her in her training all along the way. I was so excited for her…her very first marathon!!! I was also a little nervous for her too…a worrisome foot injury late in her training schedule and the typical race-eve freak out…I couldn’t help but be worried a little…it’s what I do. More than anything, I wanted to be there…to cheer for her at the start, along the route and at the finish…because I know how much fun it can be…but more importantly, because Tracey is my friend and I wanted to be there just as I have felt like I have been throughout her training that she has shared. I set my alarm to remind me while at work early, early Sunday morning, west coast time, to send out a shout out wishing her luck and I began to follow her posted split times as well as #PittsburghMarathon live tweet updates.

Okay, fine. It wasn’t like I was there but then again it was…kind of sort of.

It was then on my Instagram feed I saw my friend Kim had posted an amazing shot of one of the elite runners running past her. It was a great capture indeed…air under the guy’s feet as if he was running through the air rather than on the pavement…you know, like us

mere mortals who try to run. I KNOW that it had to be exciting as I once got to see running greatness run past me…in the opposite direction…while running in the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Excited I messaged Kim and told her how Tracey was running in the same event and just might be running by her soon…okay, later…still Tracey was headed her way! Kim messaged me back asking, “How can I spot her? I’m at mile 16. Would love to cheer her on.” Kim and I send back and forth messages with me trying to describe Tracey and then I send her a screen shot of Tracey with her running bib. An hour later I receive another message, “We just saw Tracey! I think we gave her a nice boost at mile 16!“, followed by, “Wish I could have lined up a few more folks to cheer for her.

Oh yeah, Kim is good people. She even came to my aid during BlogHer 11 with a dose of Tylenol…yes, it was part of her calling card but it helped me out and how can one ever forget that…oh, and I enjoyed sitting with her and sharing during a session or two. Even better, thanks to social media, I get to enjoy Kim’s company a lot and get to remind myself of the wonderful things that I miss about back home in Pittsburgh and that which makes Pittsburgh Someplace Special. Some pretty good people live there…like Tracey…like Kim.

It was after the race that I saw a posting on her Facebook wall from Tracey:

I’m home, icing every part of my body, reflecting on the day. A marathon isn’t fun or easy but parts of it did rock…My teammates, friends, fellow athletes! Laura Scarborough Setting up a surprise cheering section from 3000 miles away! The band at mile 9.29 playing Take the Skin Heads Bowling! Getting hosed down by a hot fireman in E Liberty! Knowing my Dad was with me every step of the way! My coaches Phil Thompson & Drew McCabe crossing the finish line with me! Best running partner Kathie O’Donnell finishing the last mile together!

Reading that made me cry…cry happy tears because although we can’t be face to face every day and we can’t just hop in a car and drive on over to be there for one another, I have some pretty amazing friends out there and thanks to the interwebs and a whole lot of social media I know that we can and are there for each other to support and encourage each other…to cry together…to pray together…to laugh together…tell me how and where to bury a body, you know, if I had to…to just be there for each other. It’s a small circle still it is a circle that has expanded my world in a way that I could never imagine…even when I am feeling alone here in Manteca. I have some pretty awesome friends…friends like Tracey, like Ann, like Kim, like Kari, like Kale, like Jenn, like Bill…I am so lucky…even if you all aren’t physically just around the corner.

Love you Tracey! Love you Kim! I hope that someday I can hook you two up…perhaps while taking in a game at PNC Park.

And one more time, congratulations Tracey!!! I am thrilled and honored to have cheered you on this weekend. You. Are. Awesome.

final marathon

When accomplishing something pretty amazing, most everyone can name at least one person who inspired them. When it comes to running and who inspires me two people immediately come to mind. There’s Kari, whom I hold personally responsible for the fact that I do run no matter how slow I go; and there is Tracey, a high school classmate and dear friend who remains my touchstone and connection to my “back home“…and because she pretty much adopted me into the Baker clan, my sister. Tracey can and will run in almost any crazy condition and considering the winter that was this past winter, I know she did while training for this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s kind of hard to whine about your running conditions in the Central Valley California when your friend is talking about ice and snow and freezing rain and freaking wind chill factors when sharing her running updates on Facebook.

Then there is the fact that she looks so damn good while running and looking like she is having a great time.

Apologies, Tracey, for snagging this picture from your Facebook wall. I couldn’t help myself because, yes, you look so damn good and like you are having fun. I would be the runner soaked in sweat with sweat drying so I look like a salt lick…a salt lick with a beet red face which would likely scare you and any spectators. I blame the ginger gene for the red face.

But look at her!

I’m inspired to run right now; except for the fact that it is nearing midnight and the Big Top is slumbering.

I received a text from Tracey early Friday morning that made me smile and cry sad and happy tears. This Sunday in Pittsburgh will be Tracey’s last marathon.

No, not her last run.

Thank goodness!

But, for so many reasons, it will be her last 26.2 mile race. And I was sad. Then she told me how she has read and re-read this particular blog post…and then the tears were happy tears filled with so much love.  I’ll be at work, again, but I am looking forward to following my dear friend and running crush via text alerts as she rocks this marathon in the ‘burgh. If I had the power and influence, I would make sure that all the hot firemen were all along the route cheering her on. I don’t have that influence and power…alas.

But I will be cheering my dear friend on 3,000 miles away in spirit, in my heart and via text messages because that’s what friends are for.

You’ve got this girlfriend!

touching a nerve

It would seem that the post I put up a few days ago touched a few nerves.Those words certainly fired mine.

Thank you everyone! I am beyond overwhelmed and encouraged by all of your words.

And then last night happened.

Jenny, The Bloggess, as she often does, found the words I was feeling last night and today:

I’m sad about last night for a lot of reasons.  And if you are human, and allow yourself to be so, then you probably are too.  Maybe it’s the verdict that upset you, or the destruction afterwards, or the long and difficult path that has led us here and has shown us we have so much further to go before we get to the place where we want to be…a place where kindness and compassion and vulnerability are the things which can be lauded and seen and encouraged and felt.  Or maybe, like me, you’re upset about all of those things and you feel too defeated to want to care anymore.

But if you’re like me, you can’t switch those emotions off.  It’s so much easier to turn those feelings of vulnerability and hurt into a shield of rage.  Rage feels powerful and strong.  It feels good.  And rage is important.  But not at the cost of compassion.  If, like me, today you woke up weary and wanting to become numb, or turn away, or lash out angrily at everyone involved then I feel you.  But I encourage you to keep compassion at the forefront.  Remember humanity.  Remember that your words and actions make a difference.  Remember that the majority of us are so much better than the worse things we see in the news, and that so many of us are leading a quiet revolution to be kind, and compassionate, and to listen to the hurt, and amplify the things that will make a positive difference in our world.  It’s a quiet revolution that will never be covered on CNN.  It’s a movement of people who redirect anger to kindness.  Who listen even when it’s painful.  Who take the hurt of others on ourselves and feel it so that we can become better people.  Who wade into horrible online threads and inject compassion and reason because we know that it can become contagious if done the right way.  Who hope that reason and empathy will somehow lead to a place which is safer for our children and grandchildren.


I like to think that Jenny’s words followed by her call to action is what led to the staggering spike in donations to the Ferguson, Missouri library because perhaps what the citizens of Ferguson need most right now is a quiet sanctuary along with our compassion…especially if we just don’t understand.

I know that I don’t. even after spending part of my afternoon reading through just some of the Grand Jury’s transcripts.


No I don’t understand. I imagine that I never will. But I can be outraged. I can also have compassion for people who are obviously hurting right now in a way that I can never possibly imagine or understand; and so while watching my own circus clowns as they enjoyed our new (to us) “dining room table” I ignored the hate and the rage expressed from all sides all over social media and I prayed, I gave what I could and I gave thanks that I could do these things.

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are ~ Benjamin Franklin