Tuesday, May 31, 2005

F**K! Hours of work lost!

I worked all night on fulfilling the obligations of holding the musical baton that had been passed to me by pi22seven, complete with graphics and links, etc. and when I hit the magic "post" button, rather than posting, it sent me to the log-in page, which some bloggers may recognize as the kiss of death for your post. Thankfully, Blogger now has that "recover post" option. Regrettably, it only recovered a small fraction of it. And now it's 6:30 AM. I don't have it in me to reconstruct it and pull all the links together again. Whaaaa!

The only thing lessening the annoyance of this was my son telling me that he decided to start a page on MySpace and giving me the address. After reading the "Heroes" section, I'll forgive little Negro Joe (a nickname he's embraced and used in his page's URL) for neglecting to point out that he's only half negro in the page's first incarnation, and for giving the impression that he "never so much as gazed at a Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, or Chili Peppers album, all of which reside on shelves in this house, some on both vinyl and CD. He's borrowed them from me many times. Maybe he was really talking about Kiss or Ozzy Osborn, because he owns several of the others he listed... But none the less, I think he really is the neatest kid ever!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Escape From The Crab Nebula
Indifferent (More or Less), Part 1

Spikes and Barbs
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
indifferent (adjective)- of no importance or value one way or the other; marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something.
Of the seven variants, I chose the definition most appropriate for this evening.
I've been avoiding this subject for several months, but only because I didn't want to become the girl who cried wolf. I've made a few cryptic allusions to trouble in my relationship with Renard and I posted once about what looked like an impending break up that soon resolved itself. This scene has been repeated several times since then. Lately, things have become so tempestous and ill-defined that I've taken to calling the relationship The Crab Nebula. (Imagine how crabs behave around each other- that's us now.) But I think I've finally had enough of the spikes and barbs, the grayness and the ever-present eggshells strewn everywhere that I've had to so carefully navigate.

To wit: I have been very cautious and measured when I've presented the situation in my posts, just as I've had to be with almost every damned thing I've said and done in this relationship. But tonight, I speak as I please, because I am riding in with the Fourth Horseman of the Relationship Apocalypse: Indifference.

Renard and I have paradigm differences. I've mentioned that before. I will present some of the most significant tonight and in future posts. Tonight's entry will certainly reflect my irked and indifferent state.

Paradigm Difference #1- Love

Lisa's Paradigm: "Real love is unconditional." This means you accept the other as (s)he is and allow the other be him/herself, whatever that happens to be.
This is possible because you fell in love with the authentic person, not some "idea" of the person that was crafted in your mind as the perfect solution to your own unmet needs. Therefore, there is never a need to "fix" or alter the other. The light of real love blinds you to what might have been considered "flaws," and actually allows you to love the other for those flaws, because that's just part of what makes your beloved who (s)he is. If you can't give the other person the a freedom to be the truth of who (s)he is, then you are willing to let him/her go so that (s)he's open and available to experience such love with someone who can give it. After all, what you want for the person you truly love is his/her happiness and whatever is necessary for his/her highest good.

Renard's Paradigm: "When someone really loves you, they want to make you happy, and if you really love someone, you should help that person improve him/herself." Never mind that this need for improvement is based only on your own perception. Just take the narcissist's position and assume that your perception is the "truth," and everyone would naturally agree with you. So you should tell your beloved all the things that you don’t like about him/her so that, in his/her awareness of how much you dislike those things, (s)he can change them to please you and make you happy, and ultimately, everyone else as well. This will give your beloved a happier life because (s)he will now be more pleasing to be around, and therefore more loveable to everyone. Let's not address the issue of whether or not the object of your love also sees the offending traits as problematic flaws, nor whether or not (s)he has had others express the same grievances. It doesn't matter if the offending traits have never really been problematic for your beloved before. Nor should it matter if the object of your love is happy with him/herself just as (s)he is. You will simply have to demoralize your beloved and undermine that sense of confidence. But it will be well worth it, because after all, it's your happiness and how you feel that really matter.

Since it's after 5:00 AM, I'll stop here and elaborate in the next post on what all this means in context and on the thing that irked me to the limit tonight.

Friday, May 20, 2005

B-Up Soda (with Lithium)

B-Up Soda (with Lithium)
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
I'm posting this picture because I want to post but know I shouldn't B-Up right now.

I wonder if this was 7-Ups precursor? This old bottle sits on the table in Kirk Joseph's backyard. It may have helped someone get on a real Backyard Groove long, long ago. Kirk says it's been there forever. Though I'd seen the bottle many times, I didn't notice the lable until someone recently pointed it out.

Some quick research dates it to 1948-1949. It was apparently a local beverage. So, they were lithiating us New Orleanians back then. Hmmm. Given our crime statistics, we could probably use a little of that now.

OK. OK. I'm going to sleep now. Right now. I promise.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

For Love (and Money) -or- I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No

It's possible that I am certifiably insane.

It's not like I wasn't busy enough. It's not as if I hadn't enough diversity in how I earn a living or how I spend my time. Nope. And my friend, Jay, is not in the Mafia, but he made me an offer I couldn't refuse: the opportunity to revisit my past as a clinical research coordinator for a healthy chunk of change, plus some nice fringe benefits.

So, look out all you CRAs, CROs, IRBs and other pharmaceutical research acronyms. I'm coming back. (You didn't know about my secret "other life," huh?) My first study will be related to HIV-Associated Neuropathic Pain. Jay is a neurologist who specializes in HIV and AIDS related neurological afflictions. He knows that a good research coordinator is considered to be more essential to a successful study than the physician investigator. My compensation reflects that. We have more of a partnership arrangement than employer/employee. (I'm working as an independent contractor anyway.) And because this is only one study (for now), it's something I can do on a part-time basis, scheduling patients around my schedule, or vice versa. Actually, he's ready to get an other one started ASAP.

Now, the fringe benefit about which I am most excited is Rosana. Once upon a time, when I had a little more money, she kept house for me -something I have always desperately needed help with. To augment her income, I had hooked her up with gigs with a couple of my friends, one of whom was Jay's then-ex wife. They remarried, then divorced a second time and Jay got Rosana in the end, His current wife, who I only know as Wife Number Six at this point- #6 for short- fired Rosana, which is insane because NO ONE cleans a house like she does. And now I hear she even does repair jobs- she's refinishing the floors in Jay's son's apartment. Wow! Jay's a really caring guy and, despite having lost her impeccable housekeeping services, he continues to pay her so that she won't experience financial hardship. And he's offered to have her come and give me a hand over here as part of the deal! I am ecstatic! (But at the same time, I'm terrified that she might drop dead at the state of disarray, particularly in my kids' rooms.)

So that's the deal. I'll give my final exam on Thursday night, then I'm off to Miami on a 6:00 AM flight on Friday for the investigator's meeting to kick the study off. I'll turn grades at some point on Monday, I'll still be working on business for Kirk Joseph (more on that later), and then back to the classroom in three weeks for two summer classes. Busy, busy, busy.

The big dilemma will be what to do come fall or whenever UNO decides to actually materialize the full-time position that they have been dangling a just out of my reach for quite a while now. It's supposed to become real this fall, but I have not had any confirmation on this. It will be a FULL workload if I take it, which means lots of work taken home. But the research gig is lots less work, a kind of work I love, a kind of work I'm good at, (I was in this business with Rachel's dad once upon a time and he said watching me in this milieu was like watching Michael Jordan play basketball), the kind of work I probably don't have to take home, and the potential to make twice as much or more than UNO will pay me for full-time work (albeit for a 9 month appointment.) And Jay is easy to work with and he's flexible and he's a night-owl like me and often doesn't do morning clinic hours, but works into the evening. I like that.

But I'll be some busy in the next...several months. I've always said that the more I have to do, the more I get done. It's too easy to slug-out when the load is light. I guess I'm going to be living this for a while. Oh, one day at a time, I suppose. Right now, I'm sick AGAIN, thanks to lovely little Rachel and the germs she and her schoolmates and playmates so generously share. She gets it first, I get it the worst.

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print right now. I need some sleep....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Best of All Possible Worlds...

Firey Flower Stigma
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
... one where love rules and learning abounds. That's where I'm living when my eyes are open, as they are right now; in a world where I'm aware of the love and learning that surround me every day. All I have to do is remember to pay attention to notice them. And I can have nothing but gratitude for these blessings.

I've just hung up from a 3-hour phone call with a former student, and it was one of the most enlightening three hours I've spent in a long time. We all have so much to learn from each other and he provided me with such valuable insight about the world from where he stands; a world that looks very different from the one in which I live, where just about everyone is color-blind. He's quite a remarkable young man and will no doubt change the world in his own way, just like all of my students will, in theirs. The things he shared with me will no doubt help me to understand what life is like for my biracial son, when he's living in his own world and not the one we inhabit together, where everything is so racially friendly and benign.

I had little sleeping Rachel snuggled next to me with her head on my chest, positioned so that I could kiss her little forehead with ease, throughout the duration of my conversation with the aforementioned student. This is such bliss for me. I will hold on to every shread of her babyhood (and I can still find it in her, despite the fact that she will be nine in August), until the last thread of it turns to dust between my fingers. There is so much love in this sweet, judgement-free embrace. I hope the world never teaches her that it's not "cool" to love your mother as much as she loves you.

Tonight I had the opportunity to once again be awed by my 16 year old son and his keen ability to articulate newfound insights into himself and his behavior. I am constantly awed by him and just can't help breaking into a smile during some of his most serious revelations, just because of the amazing experience of seeing the "becoming" of this young before my very eyes. (I tell him this, too, so he doesn't think I'm being irreverent.)

I even had a lovely hour-long conversation with my ex, Alex's father. We began as friends and will always be friends who love and care about each other, despite the path our marriage took. We have learned a lot from each other as well, particularly unconditional love.

Human beings are the most valuable things we have in this experience called life. Each and every one of us comes bearing many gifts. Some of these gifts may be cleverly disguised as painful lessons, but they are never delivered without purpose. Our greatest offerings come in the two things we have to give to each other in limitless supply: love and knowledge. What else can you give without restriction and still have all you had when you began, and more? Like all currency, these things have no value when they're withheld. They must flow. And they are the only things worth taking with you from any experience. Leave the rest behind.

I feel a heightened awareness and a tremendous sense of gratitude from being on the receiving end of these tonight, from friends, family, former and current students, and even from strangers, (thanks to Muse Urbaine and her gift, which was actually, and ultimately a gift from Richard, author of two of my favorite blogs.)

The Fest is over and I'm still quite tired. It may take me a week to recover. But, what a happy and love-filled vibe it is that fills me at this moment. (No kidding, huh?)

Happy Birthday, John. I don't know if you ever stop by here, but the good wishes are not contingent upon that, or anything else.