12/01/2016

Life is a Puzzle

Momento Mori, e.schoettler, fabric






















Woke up this morning before my first alarm 
happy and smiling  
thinking about my grandson's stop-over at Dulles tonight 
on his way home to California from Amsterdam 

Then I opened my phone, 
scrolled through my email 
and was weeping 

startled by the obit a friend sent 
of someone I had known for years 
but had not known she was dying. 

The memorial service is Saturday but I will not be going - 

I am already committed to attend a shower 
for a band new baby girl 
who is expected anytime.
Life is just damned startling.

A puzzle.

11/29/2016

Six


















Lots of luck with that!

11/28/2016

A Bit of Elephant



An old sketch book page reminds me how often I have to take many parts and shift them around as I work through problems hoping to find a solution.

Lately I have felt bombarded by changes in the world that I have no answers for so I try to digest them slowly.

This reminds me of the stories of eating a huge elephant one bite at a time - not by trying to swallow it all at one time and ending up choking to death.

Not an easy lesson. But sometimes a start.

For at home care after my recent surgery I engaged a CNA - a certified nursing aide - through a local professional agency. All I asked for was that the aide be a woman and that she speak and understand English because English is my only language. She arrived next day - a slight, gentle and kind woman from Guinea who has fed me well and taken good care of me when I could not fully care for myself.

The only thing she asked of me - -
"I am a Muslim. Do you mind if I take my prayer time?"


11/27/2016

Back to Normal


 My apologies. I have not written for quite sometime because there has been
so much going on in the world I just did know what I wanted to talk about.

During the election for President I watched CNN much too much. Many have written excellent articles about the coverage - which left me, a Hillary supporter, furious one moment and then frustrated and disappointed the next. Then it was over. I am not one of the happy people. I have stopped watching CNN and anything else other than Public TV.

Fake news? What is fake news? I grew up trusting good journalists. Now I have learned that you have to be very careful about the articles you read.

I guess the biggest disappointment is seeing the appointments and reading that the Republicans in Congress are already speaking out about their plans to gut ObamaCare and then use a blunt knife on medicare and medicaid.

By November 15 I completely turned away from following the political scene because I was scheduled for some surgery on my right shoulder. All from a stupid fall in late September. I was nervous, no, scared is the more accurate word.

Held off the surgery until I completed three out-of-town performances of Ready to Serve - the story of WWI nurses - which went very well.

The surgery went well on the 15th and recovery has been easier than I expected which has been  good surprise.

So, now turning to the past to get back to normal.

Working on a new story about WWI nurses in France. I have applied for the 2017 Capital Fringe and I hope the new story will be accepted.

And then there is getting ready for Christmas.




10/23/2016

Bessie Baker: Chief Nurse, Hopkins Hospital 18, World War One





Bessie Baker, a Hopkins Nursing School graduate, Class of 1902, was assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Hopkins in 1916 when she selected as Chief Nurse for Hospital 18. She was 41 years old.

In 1875 she was born into a large family living on the  Eastern Shore of Maryland. She came to Baltimore about 1898 to study at Hopkins and stayed in Baltimore until she left for France June 14, 1917.

In their letters her nurses speak of her as warm, humorous, and good natured while also being a strong leader who expected the best from those who worked under her. 

She wrote a report back to the Red Cross on the work at Base Hospital 18 that dealt with the medical work and the difficulties  - "their ridiculous plight" her nurses lived through during in the coldest, brutal winters up to that time in France.

She vividly and poetically described the early Fall landscape and colorful foliage  "the valley blazed in a shimmer of blended color, the wild mustard tawny in the sunlight, the winding Meuse River, the meadows bright with daisies, gentians and poppies".  

On a brief sightseeing trip shortly after they arrived in France she reflected  on her visit to the village where Jeanne d'Arc was born.
"In that humble chamber where Jeanne d"Arc first saw the light three hundred years ago, I could not help thinking today of the thousands of women, French, English, and American, going to war for France, though not to the fanfare of trumpets that cheered the Maid to Orleans and Rheims." 

After the Armistice was signed and the fighting was ended,  the staff at Hospital 18 gathered for a Thanksgiving meal on November 29.

When Bessie Baker spoke to the gathering, 

"In the future when I am asked about the American Army nurses who served in France I will think of you. I will tell them how proud I am of blue-lipped women, heavy laden with layers of clothing, standing near a red-hot pot-bellied stove trying to get warm - and yet doing their very best for their patients. 

We came to do a job here, You have done your best and now,  it is time to turn our eyes West as we go home."

10/22/2016

Ready to Serve Goes on the Road



www.wwonenurses.weebly.com

We are booking now for 2017 - to bring this true story about unknown nurses out during programs to
honor the Centennial years. 

They have waited 100 years to have their story told.

Ready to Serve is a personal story of unknown nurses who donned Army uniforms and served with Hopkins Base Hospital 18 where they cared for hundred of wounded soldiers. This true story is down from their letters. 



Bessie Baker, Chief Nurse, Base Hospital 18, World War One





Introducing Chief Nurse Bessie Baker

Bessie Baker, a Hopkins Nursing School graduate, Class of 1902, was assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Hopkins in 1916 when she selected as Chief Nurse for Hospital 18. She was 41 years old.

In 1875 she was born into a large family living on the  Eastern Shore of Maryland. She came to Baltimore about 1898 to study at Hopkins and stayed in Baltimore until she left for France June 14, 1917.

In their letters her nurses speak of her as warm, humorous, and good natured while also being a strong leader who expected the best from those who worked under her. 

She wrote a report back to the Red Cross on the work at Base Hospital 18 that dealt with the medical work and the difficulties  - "the ridiculous plight" her nurses lived through during in the coldest, brutal winters up to that time in France.

She vividly and poetically described the early Fall landscape and colorful foliage  "the valley blazed in a shimmer of blended color, the wild mustard tawny in the sunlight, the winding Meuse River, the meadows bright with daisies, gentians, poppies".  

On a brief sightseeing trip shortly after they arrived in France she reflected  on her visit to the village where Jeanne d'Arc was born.
"In that humble chamber where Jeanne d"Arc first saw the light three hundred years ago, I could not help thinking today of the thousands of women, French, English, and American, going to war for France, though not to the fanfare of trumpets that cheered the Maid to Orleans and Rheims." 

After the Armistice was signed and the fighting was ended,  the staff at Hospital 18 gathered for a Thanksgiving meal on November 29.

When Bessie Baker spoke to the gathering, 
 
"In the future when I am asked about the American Army nurses who served in France I will think of you. I will tell them how proud I am of blue-lipped women, heavy was layers of clothing, standing near a red-hot pot-bellied stove thing to get warm - and yet doing their very best for their patients. 

We came to do a job here, You have done your best and now,  it is time to turn our eyes West as we go home."

There is more to  this story and that's for later.



10/11/2016

2016 - Back to National Storytelling Festival to Revel in Stories



Last Thursday Fanny Crawford, Susan Gordon, and I arrived smiling and looking forward to being in Jonesborough three days soaking up stories at the National Storytelling Festival. We are all long time veterans of making this trip from MD to TN - to dive into stories, to hear new storytelling, to see old favorites and to meet-up with friends.  It is a gathering fueled by story.

The posts from Facebook share a bit of the week-end.

Fanny, Susan, and me arriving Friday morning ready to get started.
Right away I bumped into Donald and Letty Nance - long time friends I count  on seeing at the Festival every year.
Minton Sparks - wonderful unique performer whose work really inspires me. I managed to see three of her sets!! Rich! She is an incredible wordsmith - opens new doors to using words.
First time I had seen Irish teller Clare Murphy. She is fantastic - in her storytelling, body movements and staging. She connects with the audience. She certainly connected with me!!!

Sunday we saw the set Clare Murphy and Minton Sparks shared - p o w e r f u l. At the close of the set the audience was on their feet applauding.

I know Judith Black's work so I was in a seat for her performance of "Lucy Stone" - her original story of Suffragette Stone. Judith gave a marvelous performance and my eyes filled with tears at the end when we in the audience jumped to our feet to value Judith and Lucy Stone. Clearly women want to hear stories of their history.


Connecting with folks in the seats was an important focus for me this Festival - some I knew and others were strangers. Every conversation ended in my learning something  and hearing a story. These exchanges enriched the experience of being in Jonesborough.

This was too funny. Those who know the storytelling world will know that Kathryn Wyndham was a revered teller who died years back nearing 90 years old. I deeply admired her work. But, having the young guy call me out because of my white hair struck me as absolutely too funny.


So the tents have been taken down and we start the wait for the 45th annual storytelling festival - 2017.