Family rebels

On my father’s side, his father’s branch are English. Most families would boast of the illustrious ancestors, but mine boast about the black sheep. I am related to the last man to be publicly hanged for poaching in Sherwood Forest. My father’s father’s sister’s child, who is my age, went to Nottingham to check this legend and said that it appears to be true. I do not know his name. After his hanging, there were still hangings but they were not public. You couldn’t gather up your children and a picnic and go to see the punishment and gruesome death.

My father’s mother’s side are the Scots. My greatgrandfather is in the 1901 census in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in his late teens, with his father, a French stepmother and many half siblings. He played saxophone in John Phillip Sousa’s band and toured the world. Links in the Sousa website lead to a book with my greatgrandfather in the index. I have a very newsy letter that he wrote to me in the early 1970s.

My mother’s grandparents were Congregationalist Ministers, at least the males. The women were ministers’ wives. They were in Iowa and one was part of the Iowa Band, a group of twelve ministers from Andover that went to the wild frontier to spread the gospel: the frontier was Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. They started Iowa College that later became Grinnell. I have lots of relatives that went to Grinnell, including a first cousin. My mother’s mother’s father went off to Turkey with his family to help start Anatolia College, that moved to Greece at the start of World War I.

morris temple and cornelia

The photographs are Cornelia Temple and Morris Temple “about 1860”. They were in my mother’s father’s lineage, and my middle name is Temple.

Those Elks…

The photo shows part of the ceiling decoration in the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, OR, which was built in 1923 as an Elks’ Club. I have some questions about those Elks…..

This week I was in Portland, Oregon for a Primary Care Review put on by Oregon Health Sciences University. The conference was held in the Sentinel Hotel. It has high beautiful decorated ceilings and walls. In the afternoon there are break out sessions, which are held in the Library or the Billiard Room. We need a candlestick, a wrench and Colonel Mustard. It is a little bit surreal to be in this gorgeous setting and then hear lectures about complications of diabetes and the United States obeisity epidemic.

Our last breakout a few days ago was two hours about addiction medicine, held in the Library. The photo is of the frieze just below the ceiling. There are cupid satyrs with weapons and horses. Some are nude and they are definitely male. They are not engaging in activities like the brothel wall paintings in Pompeii, but it does make me wonder about those Elk members in 1923.

I asked a person at the front desk about the building and she said that it was only an Elk’s club for a few years, because of the depression. I asked what else it had been used for and she looked rather severe and said, “other things”. There are naked women and cupids around the frieze in the lobby: I will try to get a decent picture of them, too.

Weekly Angel/Devil Fight: Love everyone

This is my weekly (biweekly, snarls my devil) blog about the arguments between the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.

Do I really see an angel and a devil? Well, no. But we all use archetypes and we all have all of the archetypes within us. So when I have a dilemma or something comes up, I call the angel and the devil to the internal conference table of my mind and ask for their advice. They are going to give it to me whether I ask or not, so it’s more effective to be polite!

Ok, sometimes it isn’t a conference table. Sometimes it’s a hell scenario with bubbling lava or the fire forest from A Princess Bride… or it could be a field with daisies and a blue sky….

Today I am thinking about what we are supposed to do: Love everyone.

How good are we at that? Not very! Or are we?

My angel: You can love everyone. (The angel is kind and completely confident.)

My devil: Yeah, til they knife you in the back. Right. Go ahead, love them and they’ll treat you like dirt!

My angel: You can love them anyway.

My devil: Paula Pell said, “Be nice to all assholes because it disables them!”

My angel: Yes. You should be nice to those people too. (She doesn’t approve of swearing.)

Devil: sulking.

In my job, I get to love everyone. That is, as a doctor I want to be able to treat everyone and anyone who walks in my office. They can be talking about aliens or refuse to do what I suggest or they can say, “I hate doctors especially YOU.” and I am still supposed and do try to help them. Sometimes it doesn’t work very well. Sometimes we don’t connect or they are going to do the opposite of whatever I say or they return to using heroin. But I still get to try.

In my personal life, I would like to be the same. I am not there yet.

Devil: yeah, and don’t want to be….

Angel: keep trying….

But I can bring something from my job to my personal life. I don’t have to love what people DO and they can be MEAN and I don’t have to LIKE IT. But that is separate from the person themselves: I can still love the person even if they seem to be acting like an idiot and my devil wants to strangle them…..

Devil: oooo, strangle, I like it

Angel: separate the person from the action. Love them anyway.

Keep on trying…..