The Good Stuff: Welcome, December!

I just needed to give an official welcome to December! Look at that weather forecast! I think we can finally wave goodbye to sweat-inducing afternoons and evenings and finally look forward to sweater weather. I don’t think it can get any better than that. No rain in the forecast, and highs in the comfortable 70s! I can live with lows of 40 for a few days… as long as the afternoons are crisp and beautiful!

Aside from the weather, with December comes Christmas and New Years. Of course, it’s always great to get a few days off of work, but I am looking forward to just being with everyone. Friends will be in town and we will go out. Then there’s shopping, cooking and eating! And let’s not forget seasonal beers! (I will be picking up a strictly seasonal six pack this weekend for future Beer Corners!)

But alas, December has only become so special for me only as recent as last year, when I started falling for the most incredible person in the world, my best friend and future wife. So of course, we’ll always have our special time in December when we fell in love and she came to surprise me, and our first date!

So as 2010 winds down, we’ll keep the writing momentum going here at The Heap. We’ll keep the tweeting, and we’ll keep living life and enjoying every little aspect.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

FTDO: A Message of Peace

theheaplogo.jpg picture by jmooser

The Heap presents a special edition of “From The Desk Of” since I really don’t have the chance to write from work anymore. It has gotten extremely busy these days, especially now that it is the end of the year! So I’ll tell the tale from the comfort of home!

I have stories upon stories to tell thanks to the vast array of interesting people my job allows me to help through the county’s patient assistance program. But this ONE story really touched me. I mean, it absolutely makes you appreciate the circumstances I was born into, how fate had it that I was born as an American during a relatively peaceful time, and how one of my patients was born into extreme poverty in what can be considered a third world country. He grew up during a time of political unrest and ultimately bloody revolution. He lives to tell of the atrocities he has experienced.

A lot of my older patients have a hard time understanding the general process of the program we run, and what exactly is needed. Now factor in that he can only speak and understand Spanish, and confusion reaches a whole new level. Both he and his wife are recent immigrants to the US mainland, so despite their age, they are not eligible for the mainstream government programs. Fortunately, they became citizens and are eligible for these other programs directly from the manufacturers of their medication.

Now let’s pause here and think about this. How bad must things be for someone to leave their country at an old age for a land where you don’t know the language and you have absolutely nothing. You are leaving poverty for poverty essentially, and I dare say that living in an impoverished state here in the US might even be worse than that of Cuba. Obviously, it’s not a question of quality of life. While poverty is not the ideal situation to find yourself in, the US has a rich history of community service and outreach programs. Americans are typically very generous.

The problem is that poverty and dependence on the government has such a negative stigma here (and in particular these days as fiscal policy is scrutinized seemingly every hour!). The situation MUST be dire to leave a place where EVERYONE is poor to a place where not only will you be poor, but you might even be looked down upon due to stereotypic generalization. (This is a rant for another day)

My patient takes a medication called Abilify. It helps with depression, but often causes “spaceyness” and forgetfulness. We’ve faced the same problem with the Abilify program for months. They require a state Medicaid denial letter in order to receive beyond the initial shipment of the medication. So of course, we have the task of calling to remind patients that this must be done in 90 days. Needless to say, there are a good number of patients who just don’t cooperate or don’t understand.

Our patient was one that didn’t understand. So he and his wife came to the office to see what could be done. His wife’s medications were simple enough, and we haven’t really had any problems with any of her applications. But for the patient, there were still some medications pending. To make a long story short, I offered to do the Medicaid application for him online.

So we went back to my office, and we just began to talk. My patient preaches a message of world peace. It’s on the top of his prayer list, as he told me. He grew up before and during the Cuba Revolution. He was deemed as a “government asset” and was assigned clerical tasks instead of being forced to be a laborer. Unfortunately, he lost favor with one of his commanding officers and he was forced to join the military, and was given the task of digging graves as well as digging up graves in search of precious metals. It was a period of extreme fear. He would come to work one day only to learn of the government executing a coworker.

He made it through, and somehow was allowed to immigrate into the US with his wife. He was able to bring his daughter and granddaughter over, and they are all able to get by together. They were lucky, and they know it.

This all happened maybe a month or so ago. What compelled me to write about this was that he called me today to with me a Merry Christmas! And again to stress the importance of peace among countries of the world. I was very touched by this.

How can we get to a state of peace here in this world where differences are grounds for war? Is it an attainable goal? It it plausible to even depend on God / religion as a cornerstone for developing peace among peoples? Especially with the issue of “God(s)” being the very issue that many go to war for?

Can society ever become “colorblind”? This is where John Lennon’s “Imagine” makes perfect sense. All possible categories of difference would theoretically have to be eliminated. Anyone have thoughts on this issue? Does religion have to be part of a solution, or would it further hinder the process? Why does the human race place figurative values on a human life according to category?

This Christmas, spread a message of Peace, Joy, and Love.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Trashman Chronicles: “It’s Been a While”

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Oh, how it’s been a while- for many things! It’s been a while since I’ve had a TTMC entry, letting my readers know what I’ve been up to and how things are going since graduating from Notre Dame in 2008. It’s has definitely been a while since I had had a nice little vacation from working. And of course, it had been a very LONG while since I had seen Kitty.

I don’t remember when was the last time I even did a TTMC, it’s been that long. So we’ll do a brief summary of the first half of 2009.

Life’s still a bit uncertain for me, even looking at it today. It’s daunting, to say the least, but it’s nice to see I’m not alone at times. Some many friends in the middle of their own transitions, changes, and even reaching new stages in life. Whoever says they are certain about life is lying to themselves. We can only guess what tomorrow will bring. We can only hope that there is a tomorrow.

Rest assured, death is a guarantee… and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll know that taxes are very guaranteed these days.

As for me, trash… mountains and mountains of trash… are guaranteed almost daily, not to mention a constant flow of patients with psychiatric, diabetic and/or blood pressure issues. It appears that I’ll be secure for now, and for that I must thank God.

February I went to Texas for Valentine’s Day. Aside from a dramatic breakdown by your’s truly, it was a fantastic trip… but it was the last time I saw Kitty until last weekend…

Since then, I have been working nonstop. I’ve gone out with friends when I could, but nothing too big. I did make it out to visit Tom and Bobby in Omaha for a weekend, where Mike met up with us too. ND hockey was also in town, so it was nice to see them in action. ND hockey would be the first sporting event I go to as an alumnus!

Since then, just work. I’ve met my sister’s boyfriend, we’ve celebrated Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day. We’ve celebrated birthdays and graduations. My grandparents from Puerto Rico came for a month. It was nice to see them!

I finally got my raise at work after my 6 month anniversary. Thanks to the trash I was able to put down a heft down payment for my new car, (post to come soon). I’ve watched someone I didn’t think would settle down this early find the love of his life, and move in together, starting life on his own. As a friend, it been a joy watching his success in work and a renewed motivation for school.

I’ve hit rough patches in my own relationships with family, friends, and Kitty. While the situation hasn’t been the most ideal lately, I’ve gotten a bit better at letting things go. I still have a ways to go in improving myself, but it’s a step in the right direction. Though my mind has wavered lately with everything that has happened in the last couple of months, I know that I couldn’t make it without her. We’ll get through this and we’ll get through anything. (There will be a more in depth entry for the vacation later!)

So that brings us to today.

Today is the night before I go up to Notre Dame. I’m going up for PV’s wedding. This will be the first wedding of a close friend I will go to, so it’s going to be pretty special to see someone take their relationship to the next step. It will be extra special with my date by my side!

It will be heartwrenching to see that Dome, and the quad, and the stadium, and Dillon, and Howard, and my friends, and going out… Oh how I miss everything.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I’m doing well, as I continue to grow and mature. Thank you all for reading, and may God bless you all!

Stay tuned for the next TTMC entries: Kitty/Moosie Vacation Time and A Notre Dame Summer Weekend!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

A Special Thank You…

To my mom. I heard you come by last night and peak in to make sure I was ok. I wasn’t asleep. Just pretending. Thank you for that little action. Thank you for being there. Thank you for giving me so much when I have so little to give to you.

Thank you for not saying “I told you so.” (Though I’m sure I’ll hear it later on!)

I don’t know what I would do without you.

And to my sister, who’s probably the best listener out there. Thank you for your support. Beat those exams.

Day 1.

FTDO…: “Happiness is Just a Tear Drop Away!”

All’s well that ends well. I guess all that was needed was a little bit of time, and just to get things out. We just needed to get out of each other’s hair for just a little bit. When faced with possibly losing something so dear to you, oh, you’ll find a way to make changes. I need to watch myself and what comes out of my mouth. And I need to quit being so damn anoying and needy and naggy. I will.

What a good talk last night.

What an affirmation of feelings. She missed me all day :).

Well now that that is settled, it will be business as usual here at The Heap. I’ll hopefully be able to find some time to write a quality post this weekend, some sort of review would be nice. I have a list of things I want to get to!

I haven’t had a TTMC (The Trashman Chronicles) entry lately, so Renaissance Festival adventure stories and pictures will surely be shared this weekend!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

From The Desk Of… “Bad Day in the Forecast”

Have you ever waken up and just knew it was going to be a bad day? Well, that was me this morning. I’ve known this since last night. Only when my body couldn’t stay up anymore did it surrender itself to the coming day.

Then it became “Today.”

I guess the cause of my feelings is a crushing load of uncertainty and annoyance. I faced a mighty inquisition this morning from my boss regarding refill requests and what not. I took it as, “So… what exactly would you say you DO around here?” to which I wanted to reply, “I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS!” in true Office Space Fashion. I could only nod, answer the questions, and move on. But it irks me to no end that I would get singled out like that. I guess if you are reading this, the irony of this post would speak for itself… I should be working, but I had to let this out.

This all goes back to yesterday when our boss implimented “WAR” reports (Weekly Activity Report… how clever!). Our boss suggests that this is to better track olume and see where future staff could be hired to streamline the process. My coworker and I have a conspiracy theory that this is being done to monitor us, since we feel that we have been being spied on. So that in itself is a bit stressful. I feel I do a damn good job at what I do. I think I’m just overreacting. He’s a good guy. He just wants the business to work. Ugh.

The area of most uncertainty is in my “relationship”. I usually don’t write about these things because I don’t know who could read it, but I have to now. This is my forum for self reflection, identification and expression, and it would be wrong to hold thigs back. 

Writing heals me, and it makes me calm down and evaluate the situation. It sucks going to bed upset, and it sucks even more not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Heh. I don’t even know what to say about it. There doesn’t seem to be any use in talking about things anyway. I don’t know what to say about anything. I guess it’s back to work then.

I just want to be at peace, and I want to be satisfied with how things are going, just in general, with life as a whole. I don’t know if drastic measures are needed at this time, but it wears a person down, and this is on both sides of the fence.

I want to feel in love again. I want to feel butterflies, I want to feel like I did at Notre Dame. I don’t want to be annoying anymore, just like I don’t want to be annoyed. Perhaps our differences are starting to surface, something we’ve never seen before, and we don’t like it. I don’t know. I want to feel how my sister feels now. I don’t want to worry about saying the wrong thing that apparently completely ruins conversations. I want to be appreciated for who I am. I don’t want to keep pushing away.

I’m tired of me. And it seems that she is too.

That time has come then. Just like she predicted it would.

 

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

On the Road Again

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I’ve always loved to travel.

It doesn’t matter by what mode of transportation, as it usually leads to a thrilling adventure, a reunion of some sorts with people you love, or vacation. Even when the reasons aren’t so happy and ideal, traveling may lead to familial and friendly support, a temporary escape, or ultimate closure.

Last weekend, it was a trip to Austin, Texas, to see my significant other for Valentine’s Day. It was the first time that I’ve really actually gotten into V-Day, and well, the first time I’ve had the chance to take a girl out for it. As she pointed out, who would have thought it would have been in San Antonio.

I sure didn’t.

It was a romantic weekend. We decided to go down to San Antonio to eat dinner at a nice restaurant on the Riverwalk. It was a picturesque perfection that I can only hope we can top as we continue to be together, despite the persistent chilly breeze that made us cold and a wobbly table. Our first official Valentine’s. Unforgettable.

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Today, it’s another reunion for me. I write from seat 6A on my Southwest flight to Chicago. There I will catch my connection to Omaha, Nebraska. It’s been nine months since I’ve seen my closest friends from Notre Dame. It will be wonderful to see them again and spend the little time that we’ll have together.

I guess it wasn’t until these past few weeks I’ve realized how much I enjoy flying. We know there are certain stresses that come with flying, such as worrying about finding overhead space for bags, getting through security with your belongings and dignity intact, and hoping you make connecting flights. But once you meet these challenges, you’re free. And you’re on a non-stop flight to the future.

Oh the freedom of flight.

For those few hours, you are free of the modern day ball and chain- the cell phone and the internet. Sure, people still know where you are. You’re on a flight! But there is no waiting for the next email or text or phone call. It can’t even be on.

It’s just you, your complimentary 6 ounces of your favorite Coke product, and fellow passengers.

Of course, even now there are business men and women typing away on their computers trying to meet deadlines. But we are free, if only temporarily, from the grasp the world has on us. Those 30,000 feet make all the difference. You can sit and take a breather from life almost, while peering down on it. It’s marvelous isn’t it? The countryside, the cities, the oceans. God’s partnership with mankind produces some wonders.

So anytime that you heapsters are on the road again, remember to enjoy those precious moments of tranquility. It’s only a matter of time until you arrive at the Future, where you’ll activate again your social shackles getting to where you have to go and doing what you have to do.

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