Saturday, January 27, 2007

Work Environment

Here's a picture of Frank and Rayanne, the happy married couple. Dang! What an ordeal THAT was! The rest of the pictures are of me in my office which also doubles as a quasi Salvation Army Museum. These were taken very recently...yesterday. The Salvation Army tambourine on the wall is the real deal, purchased at the Salvation Army museum, London. The two Salvation Army posters on the wall were purchased at the Salvation Army Regents Corp, Oxford Circus, London. The picture on the right is of William Booth's son polishing his trumpet. In the picture, is a picture of his dad, William Booth founder of the Salvation Army.

Steve's Retirement Party at Yardhouse Restaurant, Downtown at the Gardens

The tall guy in the red is Keith. Keith is one of those friend's a person can count on to be there. Last February, on my diagnosis day, Keith drove down from Port St. Lucie to be at the doctor's office for support and to translate the medical lingo to Larry afterward. In front of Keith is Gerri D.,The man of honor, Steve, and yours truly. Barbara is wearing the green sweater. The trio is Steve, Gerri D. and Rayanne. Rayanne is the wife of my co-worker PA Frank who couldn't come as he was on call at the hospital . Rayanne is a social worker at the VA. In fact we used to work together but she moved out of the trailer and into the building when she and Frank got married. They are great friends and truly funny.
Although happy that Steve retired, I've been lost. When you eat lunch with somebody everyday for for 12 years and then IM on the computer when you get home from work. Steve's a great supporter of my anti-war and political activism and is also involved in activism. Steve was our union representative on the hospital safety committee and made administration accountable for safety of our patients and staff. In our current government's administration, little value is placed on life which is considered disposable and as more and more employees were injured due to unsafe conditions, Steve worked hard to hold to get them to see employees as individuals not as a calculated risk factors figured by actuarial standards or some other round about way of providing a safe workplace. Steve and me also worked on the Kerry campaign together. Steve had the distinction of having Mark Foley as a congressman. Every time Mark Foley would support some crazy Bush policy designed to hurt the middle class or poor, Steve would send him an e-mail. Foley finally quit responding. We never had a proper farewell party for Steve. He was honored at our mental health holiday party which wasn't a proper farewell for somebody who has worked for so many years as a great social worker. So last night, his closest friends from work went to the Yard House Restaurant at Downtown at the Gardens and gave Steve a proper retirement party.

Work Friends

Steve in the white tee-shirt just retired after Christmas. He's a dear friend and social activist friend. Mickey in the blue scrub top is our program support assistant and Carla, our MSW is sitting at her desk. Below that is picture are of Carla and myself and then a picture of Physican's Assistant, Frank with Carla. We've been relegated to work out of a trailer, our co-workers inside the hospital affectionately refer to us as "Trailer Trash." We don't mind.
Marc in the blue shirt below came down to visit me in Fort Lauderdale when Iwas down there over Memorial Day weekend last spring. Marc is an R.N. at the hospital and we've been friends I've been friends ever since the hospital opened.
Brian, in the purple shirt is another dear friend and long time VA employee. Brian is a great chef who has worked in some of the top restaurants and resorts in Palm Beach county. Everytime he leaves the VA to take another posh job, he goes nuts; misses our veterans (and us!) and comes right back.

Work Life, Conflicting Emotions and Various Musings

A week or so after Christmas, my case manager from Alzheimer's Community care, Jo Ellen called me to tell me she received a telephone call from the science reporter from the Palm Beach Post and asked if I would be interviewed. It was the same reporter I refer to in a post from last Spring. She has family members with this disease and really wants to interview somebody with early onset and discuss how they cope with the diagnose, continue to work, etc in the early stages of the disease. Again, like last time, I respectfully declined. But yet I feel badly about it because I am depriving other folks with the important news that a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer's disease is not the end of the world and that one can work around the obstacles of the disease and have a happy life and continue to accomplish wonderful things. I feel badly because the House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Bill that Bush wants to veto so bad he can't stand it. We really need it passed in the senate with enough votes to override the Evil One's veto. A big part of me really wants to come out of the closet. I want to call Senator Nelson's office and let him know that I am willing to appear at the Senate hearings on the stem cell research issue.
On the other hand I'm absolutely paranoid that I'll be taken out of my position and put in some unpleasant light duty job. I'm worried that I'll lose my nice, comfortable office and have to leave my co-workers in the homeless program and all of my friends in the mental health department. I'm worried about having to take a huge cut in pay and not be able to travel nor have the financial ability fo pay for my Ipod accessories. That's a really big deal to me because I love music. Before I got my Ipod, I couldn't enjoy music like I do now. The digital technology of ITunes brings a clarity and sound to music I have never experienced before. No other MP3 player has the sound quality of the Ipod. I worry that I won't have the money to donate to important social justice causes or money to contrubute to Alzheimer's research. These things are important to me. I'm in anguish over this and feel ready to start crying as I write this. Oh, what to do , what to do?! These are some of the issues the reporter wants to address. In time, an answer will come. I'll continue to pray about it and continue discussion with those whom I feel closest to.

Farewell to Rev. Jeannie Part II Come to the Islands, Mon Part IV

Here are some more pictures from the great party. West Palm Beach TV News Anchor and St. Mark's member, John Favole and lovely wife Shannon, wife both dressed in white below seemed to be having a great time talking with Steve Whitney, our organist, and Maryly in the pretty blue dress. I love Maryle. I owe a debt of gratitude to her. It was Maryle, a retired scientist and President of Polk County Community College who found me better medical care. Maryle referred me to my neurologist, Dr. Brodie and away from Dr. Grumpy (TIC)! The Duke and Duchess with daughter Jennifer and hubby Ian are below as well as a great picture of Deacon Bob and friend, Keith Duke getting more food and immediately below the steel drummer.

Farewell to Rev. Jeannie Part II Come to the Islands, Mon Part III

The party included a magician/comedian, a steel drummer, parrots, cockatoos, torches, just about everything needed for an Island party.

Farewell to Rev. Jeannie Part II Come to the Islands, Mon

Rev. Martz's farewell continued on Sunday evening with her farewell party. It was only fitting that Rev. Jeannie, being an accomplished diver I tried to get the best pictures of the cake I could. One of our church member's,, Harry (pictured in the black flowered tropical shirt) is an architect. He baked the cake. Please note that every single shell and scallop on the cake and on the table around the cake are real cake not plastic decoration. Harry painstakingly used a variety of colors to make each shell look authentic. These are just a few of the many pictures I took.

Saying Goodbye to Pastor Jeannie Part I

21 of January, 2007 was Pastor Jeannie Martz's last Sunday at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. I took my camera to church, but had a lot of difficulty taking pictures because my hand wasn't very steady and they were looking pretty blurred through the view finder. Rev. Jeannie's last words in her sermon were "a time to reap, a time to sow and a time to go," at which point I was trying to get the pictures through a sea of tears. Immediately when Jeannie said those words the congregation lept to their feet and applauded. Their wasn't a dry eye in the church.
It was also a time of healing, of coming together and having to accept the fact that it's been 3 years since we've had a full time Rector. Jannie had been Associate Rector at St. Mark's for 13 years. And the rules of TEC say that the Associate cannot become full time Rector in the same church as Associate. It was a hard pill to swallow for many of us. Father Cook comes to us from Minnesota in mid-February and we look forward to his arrival and wish Rev. Jeannie the best.
Later in the day, we had Rev. Jeannie's farewell party, "Come to the Islands, Mon" was the theme of the party. It was the best party in the 10 years I've been a member of St. Mark's. Rev. Jeannie left with some wonderful gifts including our cash gift of $13, 500. Yeah you get the point. We love her and everybody wanted to contribute something.