Rolling Stones 

May 12th, 2008 (04:17 pm)

current mood: chipper
current song: Beyonce and Destiny's Child- Bootilicious


Last night, for mother's day, my darling 13 year old high-school freshman agreed to accompany me to "Shine a Light" - Martin Scorsese’s concert film of the Rolling Stones, at the IMAX. Ok, first, the sound system at the IMAX is amazing. And the view was like being in the front row of a concert. So that was great. But better was my adorable daughter rocking out. And afterwards, when we could both hear again, she noted that "Johnny Depp's dad" was her favorite. Oh my. But then she said, “Mom, of course I know that’s Keith Richards, and he’s a better guitar player than I expected” and "Mom, how do you know he's not Johnny Depp's dad in real life? I mean, with his life, who knows...???"

This adolescent was raised on Motown, gospel, Tejano, Gilbert and Sullivan, Rogers and Hammerstein, Sinatra, the Beatles, and Buddy Holley. The Stones and the Who I've just introduced, along with punk and new wave. She brought me Bowling for Soup ("post-punk meets pop culture"), Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, and Green Day. Our musical journey is remarkably collaborative - we share music, sync our iPods, wail together at the piano, and are teaching each other/ourselves the bass guitar. Because we really like that opening bass riff from Heart's "Crazy on you." Among others. Sometimes, if her homework is done, we head for Flipnotics on Thursday nights to catch Southpaw Jones ( and Matt the Electrician (, or down to Jovita's for Skinny Don and Tony Mazerati (Don Walser's bass player and a rock-a-billy wunderkind, together now and then...). We laugh until we snort at "Robin Sparkles - Let's go to the mall" from "How I Met Your Mother" (and I told her about Tiffany - I had to go to Wikipedia to prove I wasn't making it up). And we dance along with Dancing with the Stars. She's taking dance as her PE in public school, and is loving the hip-hop as much as the ballet.

We nerdy, techy women share some raucous diverse musical tastes. She may never forgive me for Aida in Verona on 2000-year-old stone seats at the Colosseum, but she has Aretha, Bette Midler, Joan Jett, and Grace Slick in her soul. Since she first tapped her tiny feet to the beat as mom serenaded her in her car seat.



[protected]May 14th, 2007 (09:16 pm)  

I rounded today at a new hospital. I'm back at in-patient care, and years of ER. Very different - many more nurses, but sicker patients with longer illnesses. I'm afraid I won't get paid. I just applied for new Medicare number (need a new one for this hospital) and was told it will be 60-120 days before I can send a bill.

Perhaps I'll change my practice name to Halliburton Medical Group. Maybe the feds will pay me for the work I've done.




April's Thoughts for the Day as posted on

April 15th, 2007 (10:17 am)


Albany, in King Lear, act 1, sc. 4.

Striving to better, oft we mar what's well. - William Shakespeare


"A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



"They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price." - Kahlil Gibran

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly." - Franz Kafka

"You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln

"If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me." - W. H. Auden

"Most of us love from our need to love, not because we find someone deserving." - Nikki Giovanni

"Just as the right to speak and the right to refrain from speaking are complementary components of a broader concept of individual freedom of mind, so also the individual's freedom to choose his own creed is the counterpart of his right to refrain from accepting the creed established by the majority." - John Paul Stevens

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist fears this is true." - James Branch Cabell

"The greatest cunning is to have none at all." - Carl Sandburg

"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill." - Barbara Tuchman

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from." - Honore De Balzac

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

"The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." - Samuel Johnson

"Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life." - John Stuart Mill

"Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go." - Bernard Malamud



This is my life

March 10th, 2007 (09:23 pm)

My 12-year old is an eighth grader. She spent yesterday afternoon "shadowing" at the high school she'll attend in the fall. She attended a lovely, small public elementary (15 children in her first-fourth grade classes), then a tiny all-girls school (7 girls in her 7th grade class). This year she's at a Catholic school with boys, but only 32 children/class. After shadowing, as we discussed her experience, she noted that I was much more anxious than she about the transition between small private and big public schools (the high school has 1800 students!!!).

She's right. She's also noted that I "obsess" about her homework, while she simply does it. It occurs to me that she's been telling me for years that she's a separate person, a different person, and not a repeat of my own school-years experience. I'm seeing just now that I've been so jealous that she gets to have such rich opportunities, and I do obsess over her taking full advantage of her circumstances. But she may not need to take full advantage. I sucked everything I could out of my tiny, poor, back-woods high school, and still showed up at college unprepared. She's about to enter an amazing public school, with an international baccalaureate program, four years of four foreign languages, computer programming, drama, sports for women (yes, all school have these now, but I pre-date Title XIX)- everything and more to prepare for college. Students from her high school get into Cornell, Princeton, Cal Tech, Emory....some of the highest average SAT's in Texas.

Perhaps it's ok if she doesn't do everything offered there. Perhaps she can take only requirements and a few electives she likes and still get into a good college. It's true, I obsess - because I was starved for knowledge until I got to college (Rice, thank goodness), and she's been eating at the all-you-can-eat buffet of schools her whole life.

She doesn't hunger for good grades, she just makes them. She doesn't anguish over getting into and paying for college. These will come to her; her mother had to scrape and claw. I worked 20 hours a week at Rice, gutted my way into med school, and worked my way through that as a waitress at a rough country bar outside of Dallas (we had to show we could carry three full pitchers of beer in each hand to get the job). I want her to get a summer job, but chances are she'll spend summers at an honors biology class in Hawaii one year, on a tour of China with the history teacher another, and at a program at Oxford the other. I worked full time at an office job in the summers, lifeguarded on the weekends, babysat, mowed lawns, played the piano at church...whatever I could do for cash.

She's a princess. One of those girls I hated at Rice. The ones who were pretty, thin, smart, and had enough family support, love, and money to be able to spend their time studying and dating non-desperately, not in a panic about whether she'll be able to afford another semester, graduate, earn enough to support herself after school.

So I'm jealous. Perhaps that's why I obsess about her grades. Fortunately, she's funny, sensible, and thinks sororities are absurd. Whew!

After we talked yesterday and she laughed about how I worried more about high school than she did, I mentioned that it's better this way than the opposite. That I'd be glad to do the worrying so she could enjoy school. She thought that sounded like a reasonable plan.

When she was 16 months old, she looked up at me in the kitchen one afternoon and announced, "Mommy, I'm me!"

Then, at age three, she got a wistful look in her eye one day while we were in her playroom, an almost teary, sentimental gaze, and cooed, "Mommy, this is my life!."

I'm just now getting this fundamental concept at 49. She's teaching it to me. Sometimes she asks me to get a life so I'll quit worrying about her so much. I can't truthfully answer "I'm me!" if asked who I am. I can't truly exclaim "this is my life" with any conviction. I'm not sure who I am, what my purpose is, and I don't feel like I'm living my life. I feel like I'm in preparation for life. Still in school, trying to learn what I need so I can live.

I think I did give my daughter the foundation, the tools, the preparation she needed. I think she'll do just fine in high school, and that she does already know who she is. I'm going to try to be an actual adult by the time she goes to college. I'm hoping to actually live before I die, and stop preparing for it instead.

It occurs to me today, as I mulled this over, that I'm part of the legendary "sandwich" generation. My parents are in their 70's, and will be around another few years. They grew up in the depression, didn't reach very far out of their small towns, and were scrambling for financial survival until I was in high school. Now they're doing ok in retirement with good pensions. They had a rough childhood and early adulthood, but are comfortable now. My daughter is growing up more than comfortable, and I think always will be. I have never stopped feeling impoverished. Never lost the fear of failure, never stopped feeling like I must carry the burden of my parents, and still try to carry my daughter more than she needs. I need to know, how do I turn some of my efforts in my own direction. How can I care for myself without feeling guilty about it - without feelings selfish, and wrong? And how can I convince myself that I need to learn to start living my life. No one else is living it for me, and no one will.