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Jul. 22nd, 2012

Robinson Crusoe

Ron - Help!


If you see this, I need help. How can I search my own blog? I want to start working (again) on a story I started a long time ago called "The Girl Who Became Trees". Can you give me instructions? It could be on "dolcedomum" or "dolcedomum2" -- yes, its that old!

Thanks a million,

Jun. 11th, 2011

Krazy Kat

Lesson Learned: Do Your Job!

The EverBright Nursing Home and Elder Care Complex where I work takes up one city block. It is private property and anyone crossing the grounds without a legitimate reason to be there is a trespasser,. If you work there- if you live there- if you are visiting a resident- if you are a volunteer- if you are a vendor or service person- or if you have any other legitimate claim to be there, no problem. But if you are a neighborhood kid who doesn't feel like walking around the block or if you are set on malice, you may not use the property.

Kids cut across the property all the time and there is not much one sole security guard can do to stop them. I can follow them with security cameras to make sure they don't harass anyone or mess with the cars in the parking lot. I can get on the loud speaker and tell them to keep moving and not come back. I can explain that they are trespassing if I come across them while I patrol outside. But all these things really do is inform a small number of them that they are indeed being watched.

Some kids even want to cut through the nursing home itself. I can watch out for them as they come in the front door and past my desk, but I can't always tell who is a visitor and who is a trespasser,. Plus, if it gets busy, it isn't too hard for them to slip by. I do the best I can and hope that proves good enough.

A few kids have developed an irritating strategy that forces me to either become a chump or a jerk: they ask me if it would be okay if they cut through the building. Some of these use weather or something else as an excuse others just use smiles or sad eyes to get by.

I have to admit that my tender heart let several groups of kids use the nursing home as a shortcut. But it always made me feel stupid and used. One group of kids actually laughed at me for letting let them through. That was it, I could take no more.

The next group of kids that came to the front door, not from the parked car but from the street, I met at the door instead of just letting then enter. I asked who they'd come to visit and they said they'd just like to cut through. Even though they had already started to enter I blocked their way and said "NO. you can't use this building as a shortcut. One of them replied "You don't have to mean about it, you could just say no!" I felt lousy after that.

Then it occurred to me that I had no right to let them pass through. EverBright was private property and not my property. It was my job to stop trespassing where ever I could. And lastly, I realized that as bad as it felt to refuse kids permission to cut through the nursing home, it felt much worse to let the kids take advantage of me.

Lesson Learned: It is better to do your job than to try to be a nice guy.

© 2011 EAH

Jun. 7th, 2011

Dove Nest

a found prayer

I found this prayer that I'd written a few months back. It is worth recording and renewing, I still need to culture this attitude.

Father God -

I suspect that my peace with being a security officer and no longer being a graphic designer is only a veneer. I don't know how deep it goes. I am still aware of grief, pain, depression and perhaps even shame lurking underneath it. Please help me to know, to really know, that whatever work I am doing, I am working for You. Please help me to deal with the pains in a godly way as they come to the surface -- if they come to the surface. Please help the veneer of peace to grow thicker, stronger and truer. And, Lord, don't allow me to become trapped where I am. When You want me to move forward into whatever plans You have for me, help me to know when, where and how to proceed. Although I am afraid to ask what I will ask next, because I am afraid of what You may ask me to face up to, I ask it anyway. Please, Lord, give me the wisdom and courage I need to learn so that I may change what I need to change. Thank you for all You have done for me. I know You have heard this prayer -- now help me to hear from You.

- Your servant

© 2011 EAH

May. 26th, 2011

Happy Kitten

right things to do

On Monday I was informed that I would be training a new guard at my post. Then I learned that my hours would be cut back -- the new guy would be taking part of one of another guards hours and that other guard would be taking away some of my hours. On Tuesday I trained the new guy anyway (it was the right thing to do).

On Wednesday morning a friend (of limited means) asked me to cosign on a car loan for him. I refused, which was the right to do, but it angered and hurt him while making me angry and miserable.


On Wednesday night, Pearl and I received one of the greatest honors of our lives. A couple we are good friends with, asked us to consider becoming godparents to their daughters and be appointed as their legal guardians if our friends should both pass to glory before the girls turn eighteen.

Pearl and I have no children. We love and have loved Chloe and Zoe for a long time now in a deep, special way. We love their parents and have grown closer by the year to them through our church. But their daughters -- we love them abundantly. Had this request come from any other source, including my sisters, we would say no. But yes filled our hearts immediately!

Still we took a day to talk it over and to pray to God about this great privilege and responsibility. On Thursday we told our friends that we accepted their request. It has brought huge joy (and some fear) into our lives.

The odds are against us ever being parents to these girls, but as their godparents we are now more than their friends -- we are family! We are truly, deeply happy today.


P.S. I drove though my old old neighborhood today and discovered that a small portion of my wood is still standing.

Oh, and I haven't written here lately because, as can be gleaned from above, I've been a bit busy.

© 2011 EAH

May. 20th, 2011


The Weasel in the Wood (04) Shepherd Family

It was possible for me to enter the wood by crossing the street and then cutting through any of several neighbor's yards but usually I entered through an empty lot at the south end of the street. This act of courtesy seemed to be universal with the kids at that end of Chickasaw and Chippewa Trail. My guess is that neighborhood parents taught their children the polite way to visit the wood at ages so young that we had no recollection of learning it.

I was still eating breakfast when I saw Angie and Andy approaching my back yard.

My whole family was very friendly with the Shepherd family who lived in the house directly behind us. In a lot of ways our back yard was theirs and their back yard was ours, not so much in possession as in use. Dad and Mr. Shepherd bought a lawnmower together and took turns using it. When I wanted a swing set my parents bought me monkey bars instead because the Shepherds already had a swing set.

I remember being confused when Dad and Mr. Shepherd started building a fence between our properties earlier that year. When the construction was done, however, an open gateway was left in the center so we could still move freely.

Angie and Andy rushed through the gateway and started knocking on our back door. "Can Eddie and Becky come out to play?" We had a big day ahead of us and we'd best get moving.

© 2011 EAH

May. 19th, 2011


The Weasel in the Wood (03) Neighborhood

It was 1966 and I was seven years old. Spring had been teasing all the school kids with the promise of Summer and the end of classes.

I lived on Chickasaw Trail in a small, simple house with Mom, Dad, my two younger sisters and our dog Bess. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were what are sometimes called starter homes. Most of the families were young married couples with children in elementary school. All of the streets had American Indian tribe names ... I should say Native American tribe names but in 1966 that term wasn't in common use ... and just to be cute, they were called Trails instead of Roads, Streets or Drives.

To the west of Chickasaw Trail were Chippewa, Ottawa, Osage, Cree and Crow Trail. To the east of Chickasaw, nothing had been developed, and that was where our wood began. All the kids loved to play there and during the first day after school ended, that is where we all wanted to be.

© 2011 EAH


The Weasel in the Wood (02) Weasel

The word "weasel" had a silly sound to it. The only weasel I could think of was from the song "Pop! Goes the Weasel" and I thought that it was just a nonsense word. "All around the mulberry bush, The monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought 'twas all in fun. Pop! goes the weasel." I knew what a monkey was but mulberry bushes and weasels were just silly sounds to me. I'd figured out that "pop" meant to pop up because the tune of "Pop! Goes the Weasel" was used by most jack-in-the-boxes that I'd played with.

But the word also felt a bit sneaky and untrustworthy, especially given the tone of voice that the neighbor used in mentioning the weasel in our wood. Later I asked Mom what a weasel was and she told me it was a quick and viscous rodent-like animal with a long body and sharp teeth. I asked her why they thought there was one in our wood. She told me that a dead animal had been found at the edge of the wood and it looked like another animal had killed it. Our neighbor thought that it had been killed by a weasel and Mom guessed she probably was right.

Our weasel sounded dangerous and it made me a bit scared. But it also sounded exciting and thrilling and very interesting. I wasn't sure I ever wanted to meet it but at the same time I longed to see it. I spent a lot of time in the wood and from now on I would be watching for a glimpse of our wild woodland resident.

© 2011 EAH

May. 18th, 2011


The Weasel in the Wood (01) Coffee Talk

"There's a weasel in the wood" that's what was said. Mom was having coffee with a friend, talking with a neighbor, and I was just hanging around. I wanted so much to be part of adult conversation, but I'd learned to be careful.

Mom had been talking with another neighbor about giving our dog Bess a bath, she said that it went a lot smoother than she'd expected. Bess was a basset hound and I saw my perfect entry. I told them that basset hounds liked baths. I told them that Dad had read to me from some book I'd owned about different breeds of dogs. The book had said, or at least I'd said that the book had said, that basset hounds liked to take baths. They thought that was interesting and I thought I was part of the conversation.

But later, Mom asked me why I'd lied about Dad reading to me about basset hounds. I was hurt and deeply embarrassed. I had lied and I had been caught in that lie. She'd asked Dad when he'd read to me from the dog book about basset hounds liking to take baths. He told her he'd not read that book to me. I'd been caught and the guilt set me on fire. I hated what I'd done, I did not like myself as a liar. I'd wanted so badly to be part of adult conversation but I'd failed. I was a liar. I told myself that night that I'd always speak the truth, I'd been caught in a lie and it had hurt me far too much.

I'd learned not to talk much when adults were conversing, but I did listen to what they said. I often didn't understand what adults talked about and I usually didn't care. This weasel thing was a different story -- I wanted to learn more. What exactly was a weasel? Was there really one in my wood?

© 2011 EAH

May. 14th, 2011

Robinson Crusoe

the uniform [02]

Ron's comments to Uniform Story One: The Police are probably valid. When the smiles dropped from their faces it most likely meant that they thought a coworker was approaching and then saw it was just a security guard. My self-conscience reaction revealed more about me than it did about them.

But let's continue to my second uniform story: The Collision

My father recently had some quite serious back surgery. He was in the hospital for a few days before they let him go home. I wanted to visit him but could only find time just before I started work. So I got dressed into my uniform early and drove out to the hospital for a brief visit before I continued to EverBright Nursing Home.

As I got out of the car I pulled on a leather jacket to mask the uniform underneath. I did this out of respect to the security guards that worked at the hospital -- they were on duty and I was not; I was visiting their post and not my own. The visit went well even though it had to be short. When I got back to my car I tossed my leather jacket over to the passenger seat and pulled on my security jacket.

When I'd backed my car half way out from its parking slot I noticed another car behind me just starting to pull out. Time froze as I realized she was going to back right into the side of my car and there was nothing I could do to stop it. She did just that. Fortunately she felt the impact and stopped while there was only the slightest ding on my car. She then pulled her car forward slightly and we both got out to check the damages.

Before she looked up at me, she began exclaiming that we must have both pulled out at the exact same time and so neither of us could be at fault. I barely listened to her, all I cared about was how serious the damage was to my own car. I saw that there was only a tiny dent on my wheel well so I was no longer concerned. She however was filling my ear with reason after reason that she couldn't be to blame.

It was then that she must have noticed my uniform. After that point everything she said and did was humbly designed to avert confrontation. It was as she was stammering something about her car taking on the worst of the damage that I said, "Let's just forget the whole thing, I have to get to work." She didn't argue at all, she just let me go. We didn't exchange names or insurance information.

I was puzzled about how I'd gotten away without all sorts of accusations being made. Then I remembered that I looked like a cop. My uniform had saved me from having to justify myself in a silly court battle.

© 2011 EAH

May. 11th, 2011

Robinson Crusoe

the uniform [01]

The uniform for Cityscape Security is blue on blue, just like the police -- and I'm sure that was what they had in mind! The first time I put it on I felt out of sorts, like I was an impostor. But Pearl assured me that anytime someone sees themselves in their uniform for the first time, the reaction is much the same. She felt that way the first time she put on her nursing uniform.

Still, who was that guy in the mirror! What right did he have to wear a lawman-like uniform? What right did he have to wear a badge? Just who did he think he was? ... A day later Pearl proved right, I didn't even think about the fact that I was wearing it -- except, of course, that I was aware that it was uncomfortable.

But I do wear a uniform, and the reactions I get from it are varied. At this point (as I look over my notes) I have four (or maybe only three) uniform related stories to share.

Story number one: The Police

One day as I was driving home I stopped at a local 24-hour convenience store. I noticed three policemen congregated in the back by the coffee machine. When I first walked in, they all looked up with smiles on their faces. Those smiles soon faded as they realized I was just a security guard dressed up to look impressive. I was glad that I had my baseball-style cap, with the word security embroidered across the front. I quickly put it on my head and felt much less like a policeman wannabe. That action seemed to pacify the cops. Since that day I always wear the cap when I'm outside or in public (unless of course I'm not wearing the rest of my uniform.) I feel small enough wearing the uniform of a security officer when I used to produce magazines with my bona fide degree to back it up. I don't want to look like someone who thinks he represents the law, when all he represents are the rules of a nursing home!

© 2011 EAH

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