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First bike commute! March 28, 2008

Filed under: bike — girljen @ 2:55 am

I did it!

Three miles there!

Three miles back!

I almost wussed out. I could think of a million reasons not to ride in today: Too cold, high winds in the forecast, scratchy throat, do I really have all my stuff?, running late, and so on. I even went as far as to ask Stephen if he really needed the car today. He said he would, and then it hit me: He was counting on me to bike commute. Peer pressure rocks. I got on my bike and left.

It wasn’t exactly enjoyable; I mean, I would have much rather spent three miles on a roller coaster, or in the back of a limo with the guys from the fire calendar, but it wasn’t bad! Sure, it was 0400 and freezing outside, but my cold weather gear did its job, and I got the bonus of being outside during my favorite time of day, just before sunrise.

The highlight of the day, though, came well after my ride in. I was just sitting at my console, dispatching my dudes, when my best friend EMT Mr. C. came in to the comm center. His face LIT UP. He was so geeked-up about the fact that I rode my bike in that his voice cracked! He’s a hardcore bike geek. He’s the type of guy who will ride 50 miles in a day just for fun (hmm…him and Twin Bro should exchange numbers). The fact that my friend was proud of me gave me an ego boost that I’m still coasting on now.

I got a pleasant surprise on the way home, too: Those 20 MPH headwinds that the forecast was predicting never materialized. It was just a nice, mellow ride home, with plenty of quiet and nature and a few other bike commuters to say hi to on the way back.


Balance March 25, 2008

Filed under: family,work — girljen @ 9:24 am

For the last…month? few months? as long as I can remember, I have been working at least 48 hours a week.  This isn’t my choice; then again, it isn’t really forced overtime either.  I work a job where I feel obligated to show up and cover shifts.  If you called 911, you’d want a dispatcher to answer the phone, right?

Anyway, 48-hour weeks.  And 60-hour weeks.  Add to that my husband’s work schedule, the fact that I sleep during the day, errands, meetings, and whatnot, and I hardly ever see my husband or my baby!

One of these days, she’s going to get up and walk around and speak in full sentences, and I’ll be at work, worrying about which ambulance I should send to which call.

One of these days, my wonderful husband might run out of patience with me.

One of these days, the friendly banter with coworkers (whom I see more of than my own family) might turn into the dreaded “emotional affair,” followed by drama and soul-searching and drama and counseling and internal turmoil.  And drama.  Ugh.

Before any of that happens, I need some balance.  I need to go home and stay there for a while.  I need a few hours alone with Stephen so I can remember that we’re friends and lovers instead of just coworkers who work opposite shifts running a household.  I need to play with my little Lizard, too.


The start of something March 23, 2008

Filed under: bike — girljen @ 5:22 am

After much convincing, soul-searching, and psyching up, I walked in to REI today and bought myself…a bicycle.

Starting very soon, probably this week (!!!),  I’m going to be riding to work.  It’s not that big of a deal.  It’s only a three-mile commute.  I spent all of last summer walking back and forth; I’m enamored with the greenbelt that runs pretty much from my door to the station.  So what if I have a bad day at work?  On the way home, I get to be around nature!

The bike thing was a big hurdle, though. I didn’t think I could do it.  I still have my doubts sometimes.  The last time I was on a bike was when I was 12 years old; I would ride my secondhand BMX around the neighborhood.  I’ve never really had to deal with gears or hand brakes or any of that newfangled high-tech stuff.  Besides, it’s dangerous.  Most of the “auto vs. cyclist” accidents we run on end up with the cyclist being hauled emergent to the trauma center.  And all of the bike commuters (all the cyclists in general, not counting kids) I know of are WAY more hardcore than I am.  These are people who will ride 30, 50, even 100 miles in a day just for fun.

But after consulting my (hardcore cyclist) twin brother and my husband and the internet, I’ve finally made the leap of faith and bought a bicycle.  So one of the many subplots of my life (does it even have a main plot? i don’t think so) will now be the story of some n00b attempting to become a somewhat-serious bicycle commuter.


What a stupid world. March 18, 2008

Filed under: work — girljen @ 7:30 am

So far, and this is just today, I’ve dealt with the following calls:

-A man threatened to blow up a hospital and was shot by police.

-A pregnant woman was assaulted and went lights-and-sirens to the hospital.

-Another pregnant woman overdosed on illegal drugs.

-A one-year-old was transported to the local pediatric hospital due to burns on his buttocks an genitals.  The crew was delayed because the police were taking pictures of the injuries.  This was most likely non-accidental.

What the hell is wrong with people?!  

I was telling one of the EMTs today, the hardest part of my job isn’t the multitasking.  It isn’t keeping track of all the information.  It isn’t the boredom.  It definitely isn’t the sitting on my ass for 12 hours.   The hardest part of my job is the constant bombardment of bad news.  I hear five radio channels of shootings, stabbings, fights, child abuse, assaults, drunk drivers, and suicides; with heart attacks, strokes, allergic reactions, and cardiac arrests thrown in for good measure.

We spend a surprising (and somewhat alarming) amount of time not being affected by these bad calls.  We laugh at them, pick them apart from a medical standpoint (people shooting each other is bad; gunshot wounds themselves are interesting! and so on), tell jokes that are no doubt going to send us all to hell…but sometimes, the gravity of everything that happens around us catches up with us.


An atheist’s lecture on religious tolerance March 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 10:48 am

I was raised without religion.

My husband was raised Mormon, but it didn’t stick. He’s an atheist. The contact I have with his family, combined with my experience in EMS (first as an EMT, now dispatching) and the fact that I live in the United States of America, has exposed me to many different views on religion.

I have noticed an alarming pattern, one which I don’t fully understand: the need for some atheists to openly show hate and intolerance toward religion.

I’ll start with a fairly minor example. Dispatcher Ms. W was telling Important Guy Mr. K (I don’t know his real title, all I know is that he’s the guy who prevents mutiny and he’s kind of my boss) about how a touching sermon had helped her make it through the day. She was going through a very hard time in her life. Dispatcher Ms. A piped up, “I don’t go to church, organized religion is some scary shit!”

Sure it is, Ms. A. It’s responsible for quite a few of the world’s problems. But not only was that a totally inappropriate thing to say, you just missed a HUGE point. Religion had just helped poor Ms. W through a situation that would have left her lost and despondent if not for the pastor’s words.

That’s just ignorance. The real hate comes when a person turns on the computer. The most recent flame I saw on a message board, the one that inspired me to start ranting, was this: Christian love — burn in hell. Have you seen Passion of the Christ — all that blood will inspire your hateful little Christian heart. You are the closed minded ones. … … You have ignored all the facts that we have presented, but have given none yourself — because you have NO FACTS to support your hateful, god and hell beliefs. … … There are no miracles, and there is no god, heaven or hell. Get over it, and get a real life sucker.

Yes, those words piss me off. No, I don’t believe in God. I’m not a Christian. I just don’t see why a person would feel entitled to make such vitriolic comments about another’s beliefs. Beliefs are part of one’s being.

A common argument is that “Christians try to push their beliefs on others.” By bashing Christianity, by saying that a person’s faith or a person’s church is wrong, the intolerant person is doing the exact same thing.

Whether or not there is a god is a moot point. Faith is a higher power in and of itself. It guides people who would otherwise be lost. It comforts people who desperately need comfort. And when a person is teetering on the line between life and death, prayer can save them. Do these things happen because God makes them happen, or because human will is just that strong? It doesn’t matter. Religion is NOT something to be discounted or belittled.

When someone prays, I respectfully bow my head. When someone talks (or posts) about how his or her faith changed things for the better, I am happy. When someone tells me, “God bless you,” I thank that person and take it as a compliment.

And when someone knocks on my door and asks me to join their church, I say, “No thank you, this is a secular household,” and leave it at that. When I see picketers who tell me that God hates homosexuality/reproductive choice/members of other religions/single mothers/etc., I turn the other cheek. Arguing would do no good; neither of our beliefs will change.

Spreading hate and intolerance will make anyone look like an asshole, be they Christian, Muslim, atheist, pagan, pastafarian, whatever.


This post brought to you by amoxicillin March 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 6:18 am

I am currently undergoing my first-ever strep throat ordeal. It sucks!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I thought I had a cold. I had a few sniffles…whatever. Thursday morning at about 0100, I woke up feeling like I had swallowed a porcupine! By the ‘morning’ (when everyone else wakes up), I was so achy and miserable and feverish that all I could do is lay in bed and cry. I’m normally not like that. Mom casually mentioned that Little Bro had strep throat. DAMMIT!

I figured I should call the doctor, to either rule out strep or get antibiotics so I could work on Sunday. We’re short-handed, so I really can’t miss work. Well, I guess I could in an emergency, but I’d feel like the world’s biggest asshole. We’re also short paramedics, and the person most likely to cover my shift is a paramedic who works the front half overnight shift. So, we’d be down another paramedic, and that’s not good.

Anyway, I went to the doctor. She stuck things down my throat. That bitch! Then she told me that I have strep, which sucks, but she gave me a prescription for amoxicillin. I had no idea how awesome that stuff is!

I spent all of yesterday feeling miserable. I spent a good portion of today feeling crappy. The in-laws saved my ass by agreeing to watch Liz today and tomorrow while Stephen’s out of town. Normally, I would have loved to have kept her, but I couldn’t do it yesterday (probably not today, either). Now that it’s 1215 in the morning, and I’ve taken a couple more pills, I feel pretty good! By tomorrow, I’m going to feel like I’m back to my old self!

And that means…….I get to clean house. Hooray.


Here, have a lyre bird. March 12, 2008

Filed under: video — girljen @ 9:00 am

I showed this to Liz yesterday.  She signed ‘bird’ every time the camera zoomed in on the bird’s face, and she cracked up laughing when the lyre bird was having words with the kookaburra.