Thursday, February 28, 2008

this weather brings forth a burst of energy! got permission from my therapist to lift some free weights ie., 3 and 5 pound and to do some upper body stuff. Leslie and i moved in my exercise bike from the garage and am using that until i can ride my regular bike. it's exciting for me to be actively doing something that i hope can prevent a repeat injury.

work has been odd to say the least. first called to do a job i am not trained for, then randomly called on a sunday to come in suddenly without any mention about all the paperwork that normally is involved in cases such as mine. and then i suggested i talk to my manager first to see what i could do to be able to help within the flippin' limits i still have. i phoned her, as promised and offered to come in for computer training (they have a new system since i've been off), and to sign off on my limits, until the next doctors' appt the 10th, so then i could indeed be a relief/on call for at least phone and computer help until then...and then no further response. hmmm. so i'm not sure what to make of it and will assume the ball is in their court for now and that they know as well as i we need things on paper, like hours i can be called and what i can and can't do at least until the 10th. it so sucks to find myself the stickler on these points. but i did not invent workmens compensation; i just have figured out the rules and intend to follow them until it's done.

so, onto more exciting stuff like gardening and stove projects. steve has gotten me all gung-ho, what with all the motivation he's had lately to put in berry bushes and clear brush, etc, given all our very nice spring like weather. both of us want to use our respective spaces for food as much as possible and eliminate pointless lawn space. my hands are somewhat tied though, ie, i cannot shovel...darn....nor can i haul in amendments for my soil....darn....i used to do all of this with such abandon, it annoys me. today someone is coming by to give me an estimate! so as long as the price is right, i am willing to pay! what i want to end up with is ready-to-plant beds, so i can just get on a knee pad and happily plant away with just my trowel. i've been watching where the sun goes and where beds would be best placed. it's exciting and i'm thankful i can at least consider paying someone for help.

stoves. letters are going out for this and that related to our project. friends have expressed an interest in going and at this point no promises are in place as to how i can financially help. (frustrating! i would so love to have the money to sponsor everyone!!) i've written to CMMB and don't know yet how they may be able to help us. my fingers are crossed and i trust they will do what they can. still waiting on hearing from the other non-profit who had expressed an interest in collecting and holding funds for our work. and i am waiting to hear from a program in Bolivia that i want to send Pavela to visit. expenses shouldn't be too much and i think i could cover it now. but no word from them yet. she would love to go and it would be a "shot in the arm", so to speak in terms of getting things moving. i spoke to pave and she is looking into bricks and the types they're making there. there are rumors of a recipe mentioned at ETHOS where there is a brick used in a stove in El Salvador that lasts eight years! waiting on that also. Pavela is worried about me and my back, stating i can't help others if i don't take care of myself first. such a sweetie to be so concerned. and she's right. it means alot to me to do this work even if all i ever do is give and only get back the peace of mind i feel in seeing others move forward. everybody works for something, right? some for a house, some for a business, some for college educations, whatever. i try to not feel guilty for having my heart be in this work. i have so given of myself in various positions and to various employers over many years. (nurses can be so co-dependent!) my doctors indicate i will be back to normal soon. it's my personal goal to be off of workmens comp as soon as is reasonable, and over this nine months to give ICU nursing again my best, in spite of my fear of hurting my back, and by the time we are ready for the next phase of our volunteer work to either plan on staying with ICU nursing on our return (if they will still have me!) or to change my area of focus then.

crazy, huh, that i can think this far ahead and fuss? i suppose i could call it "intention" but honestly and perhaps to my detriment i think about all of this really alot, up one side and down the other, questioning my motivation and intent, and analyzing all aspects because i want to feel deep down in me it's the way to go. if that feeling is there, one of a mix of faith, confidence, fear, and/or foolishness i can defend and follow through with almost anything!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

well the job did not work out. as i told sleeve i feel weirdly bummed about it all. it wasn't really my fault to not know how to do charges and coding, or what prices were for treatments or services, but i usually push through things. this however was not a job i would have ever sought, or even been hired for had i conventionally applied. apparently the person who had done the job had quit and there was some pressing work to complete. they saw a "nurse" was available, and went for it when what they really needed was someone actually trained for the job. and i am not ready to be at a deskjob surrounded by unfriendly people just yet. (not to mention i discovered it hurts to sit all day even with getting up and down.) it did bring to mind once my weight limit is raised, at least ICU nursing has one always on their feet.

so back to my walks and exercises and trying to not take any pain pills. i know its still only 10 weeks or so since the surgery and to have low back pain is common at this point. it just is hard to think of much else when it bothers me so i take a pain pill. and now off of them i can't sleep very well. i went to an acupuncturist friend yesterday to see if she can help me get past this. i have little tacks near my ears to help with the pain. and while i didn't sleep well last might, i slept some.

enough complaining. it's time for a walk.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Great weekend!
1.) joined the wonderful folks of River Ruin for a yummy-licious gourmet mac and cheese cooked by Shelley
2.) weeded (very carefully) 1 3/4 of the stone beds at Steve's house.
3.) finally saw Into the Wild, no less at the $1.50 show at Gateway
4.) cooked an incredible seafood soup with tomatoes, garlic, fennel root, and fresh shrimp, mussels and rock cod
5.) enjoyed an incredible seafood soup with french bread and wine on the side with my sweetie
6.) did my exercises
7.) watched Steve dig up my beds, so that i may now gently come through and weed them in prep for peas and such
8.) visited Bring Recycling and found some chicken wire for my soon to be planted peas to climb upon.
9.) finished the other 1/4 weeding of the stone bed at Steve's
10.) rode along to Lane Forest Products in what we discovered was a smoking Ranger pick-up
11.) discovered with Steve something that looked like bubbly pale chocolate milk when we checked the oil in that dang Ranger pick-up
12.) had a beer with my sweetie and bemoaned on all the gardening i want to do but can't just yet, and the dang truck
13.) talked to my Dad, the mechanic, who has diagnosed the problem as either a cracked head or bad head gasket
14.) finally left a message with the guy i got the truck from sounding as firm as i could that my Dad said there was something wrong with the head or the gasket and it was time to right this truck situation
15.) prepared a small area for my peas, fastened up my chicken wire and planted the little buggers.
16.) prepared myself for what will be my first day of work tomorrow. it's been like 4 months! i got a call and will be filling in doing some chart reviews!

Friday, February 15, 2008

i guess we could entitle this entry as "Stoves, Spines and Records". some day i will need to separate various entries into appropriately entitled blogs. for example i would hate someone to find my blog and be expecting entries about our volunteer work in peru, only to find an entry about the my going to my first record convention, how my recovery is going from spinal surgery or what i might be whining about on a given day! so for now dear readers, if you are indeed out there, i ask patience and request that you please read on until i figure all that out.

so as to "stoves", i have alot to report. recently we met with a family, lets say A, J and A,jr, who are very interested in accompanying us on our next trip. they are so interested that in fact they have begun to save their money and take spanish classes. Another person, we'll refer to as S is also interested.

so it has spurred me to begin making baby steps towards our next trip and projects, and to begin to visualize what the aims are. we want to return to Sipascancha and Soncco to repeat family testing and interviews and to hopefully find an improvement. we also will be inspecting stoves for usage, the condition of our heavy metal, clay layered combustion chambers and chimneys, and for ideas from the users on improvements. (i would also simply love to bring them examples of retention cookers and solar cookers just because i've recently learned more about it and it seems like such a no-brainer to tell them about this, if not more!!) secondly, we are going to a village named Usi to begin another stove project following similar steps as our previous project with the exceptions of utilizing a ceramic or refractory brick material for the combustion chamber, maybe improving on the chimney, and introducing other appropriate technology such as the solar and retention heat cookers. and based on our previous project our goal this time is to have a more continued presence in the village so to obtain even better baseline data and to work more closely with the women in teaching use of the various stoves, and to provide more available technical help in the construction. this is why it is so nice to have other interested parties accompanying us.

that being said, i am overwhelmed with the financial aspect of all this, as well as feeling a huge responsibility for everyone. it's one thing to get you and your partner down there, to speak spanish reasonably well, to deal with just two people in regards to cultural issues and living arrangements, and various illnesses, let alone logistically cover all it takes to make the stoves. i am fairly freaked about the potential of making this all work for a bigger team. and especially since none of us are by any stretch of the imagination rich. and i would so like to help each one. my god, i am not even released for working regularly!! (this being said it is my strong intention to be back to work by early march and out of the workmens comp thing within a few months, this being the opinion of my doctors.)

on the upside:
1.) My buddy Rosanna has agreed to provide cheaper intensive spanish classes at Machu Picchu Spanish School in the event our crew needs that! also she is making changes to our bank acct down there and we'll be able to put our savings in soles rather than dollars, if it indeed looks like it will be better financially for us.
2.) i've written a long letter to Pave about everything, as well as spoken to her and all is a go for Usi. She is excited. what i hope to be able to do is get her working on critical issues such as a refractory brick maker, or a source of a floor tile similar to refractory brck for our combustion chambers. And maybe she will be able to visit the CEDESOL in Cochabamba, Bolivia in regards to their program in integrated cooking i have mentioned previously. (in fact it would be incredible for us all to visit and we'll see about that!)
3.) we are meeting with Ken, a gentlemen involved with similar work in Africa but with the potential capability to "umbrella" our pseudo-organization under his. what this really means is more possibility of applying for grants and secondly, being able to provide folks who donate the proper documentation for tax deductions. hopefully we'll meet up with him by the end of the month, but this is dependent on his schedule.
4.) and in regards to finances thanks to Brian and Maryam, Nan, Richard, Emily and Dell, and David and Laura, we have $500 and want to thank them all again for their faith in us to continue this incredibly rewarding work, and at such an early date!
5.) i did write to the wonderful organization of Catholic Medical Mission Board in regards to potential assistance. Because i am a longterm volunteer and a nurse they would be happy to assist me with plane fare, stipend and medical insurance if i agree to be there at least 6 months. (hmmm.) as to our crew, i'm not sure; they may be able to assist with insurance and again this could be only if they are there for 6 months as well. this particular group generally works with medical folks who agree to longterm missions. obviously, any help would be appreciated. so, i need to respond to their last letter once i think abit more about all of this. having insurance for all is especially important to me, after actually using it myself. and what with more people and a young one as well, it is very important to me to see that everyone has it, somehow, someway.

and finally in regards to stoves i want to report on a phone call i received today from Mike Callahan from Colorado State University. ( abit back in entries i mentioned being contacted by Mike as he had stumbled on my blog and asked for assistance in talking to people who would help guide decisions regarding a HUGE program involving CSU, a company called Envirofit and a UK organization called Shell Foundation. in a nutshell, they are looking for the potential of a model/eventual market for better stoves and solar lighting in various countries.) happily he was able to meet with Pavela! He mentioned a few times, and this being after he and their group had visited some projects in various areas of Peru, as well as gov't officials and our dear Pave, how he felt our model was the one of the best! and why? mainly because we had used local resources for our parts, that we had local help, and that families built their own stoves and had paid a portion of the cost, not to mention the health based approach. how about that!! so, we will be staying in touch. no decision has been made if they will actually be working in peru. he believes if they do, there would be good chance one base would be in Cusco. there is no saying what in the way of possibilities exist in regards to this, either in the way that we may be able to collaborate with them or vice versa!

"spines" will be short. i am faithfully doing the exercises, working with my physical therapists and gratefully receiving workmen's comp. i did make an extra visit to the doctor a week ago as i was worried that i was noticing when i did do a bit more or was more fatigued that i would have these spotty nerve-y pains sort of like burning sensations down to my right thigh. thankfully these are just more signs of recovery and there to guide me as to when i need to back off, and Angie, PA added, this was exactly why its good that i'm not back to work just yet.

well i went to the Eugene Record Convention for the first time, really ever and as a buyer. this is what happens i guess when one has a record collector boyfriend. first it was my first turntable and now what did i get? well old Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Donovan, Rickie Lee Jones, Sly and the Family Stone, some Latin-y hot stuff, Marvin Gaye, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Madonna, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, folky stuff like Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, The McGarrigle Sisters, Richard and Linda Thompson, Kate Bush, an old Grateful Dead, from back when i did like them, Janis Joplin, Peter Tosh, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Miles Davis. i guess i am showing my age! everything was pretty much from the dollar bins altho i did buy a more expensive Moondog and a collection of Hank Williams favs. i still haven't heard it all! with it looking like such a nice weekend, it'll be good listening as sleeve digs in my flower beds for me and i dink around, likely thinking about all we have going on and how if done one step at a time all is possible....

Friday, February 08, 2008

A link to "Safeguarding the 'Crown Jewels' of International Agriculture" Glad to know someone's thinking ahead.