If

This is one of the ten poems that my mother made etchings for, the year I was just done with college. 1983-4. I wanted to write, but had no idea what to do with the poems that I was writing. My mother Helen Burling Ottaway had done a series of etchings with a family friend’s poems, so I asked if she would do the same with me. She said, “Yes, on one condition.” “What is that?” “They have to rhyme.” She did not like the free verse. Almost all of the poems were about animals, except for one about my sister. Another friend printed the poems on a lead type press and then my mother worked on editions numbered 1-50 of each, inking the plate separately for each one. This one is number 5/50. You can see the imprint of the plate on the paper in the photograph.

If I could be anything
I’ll tell you what I’d like to be
One of those small green frogs
That sails from tree to tree

These frogs can jump, they have no laps
They are not birds with wings
the have parachutes between their toes
And I am sure that they can sing

They spread their toes and jump so high
To float like snowflakes in the air
Frogs fall like rain from clear blue skies
It must be nice up there

Why they jump I do not know
Maybe escaping hungry eyes
Perhaps to catch a tender bug
Or they just like to fly

If I could be anything
I’ll tell you what I’d like to be
One of those small green frogs
That sails from tree to tree.

What I learned from my first doctor job

When I started my first job, I had a nurse and a receptionist within a bigger clinic, all primary care. Fresh out of residency. One month in I asked to meet with my nurse and the receptionist.

The receptionist brought the office manager. I was surprised, but ok.

I started the meeting. “I am having trouble keeping up with 18-20 patients with fat charts that I have never seen before, but I think I am getting a little better at it. What sort of complaints are you hearing and how can we make it smoother?”

The office manager and the receptionist exchanged a look. Then the office manager excused herself.

Weird, I thought.

The three of us talked about the patients and the flow and me trying to keep up. About one third were Spanish speaking only and I needed my nurse to translate. That tended to gum things up a bit, because she could not be rooming another patient or giving a child vaccinations.

I thanked them both and the meeting broke up.

Later I found that the office manager had been brought in because another doctor tended to manage by yelling and throwing things. And another doctor had tantrums. So the receptionist was afraid of me and had asked the office manager to stay. The moment they realized that it was collaborative and I was asking for feedback and help, the receptionist was fine without the office manager.

That was an interesting lesson on working with people. I had been very collaborative with the nurses and unit secretaries in residency. As a chief resident, I told my Family Practice residents to treat the nurses and unit secretaries and in fact everyone, like gold. “They know more than you do and if you take care of them, they will save your ass!” The unit secretaries would go out of their way to call me in residency. “Mr. Smith is not getting that ultrasound today.”

“Shit. Why not? What the hell?” I would go roaring off to radiology to see what the hold up was.

The unit secretaries did not help the arrogant residents who treated them like dirt.

I thought it takes a team. I can’t do my work without the nurse, the pharmacist, the unit secretary, the laundry, the cafeteria workers, the administration. It takes the whole team. I value all of them.

many flags

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: language.

I spent three days with the Rotary President Elect Training this past weekend. I am part of District 5020, which stretches from the end of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada down the Olympic Peninsula, WA, United States. There were people from ten districts.

The Rotary’s Polio Plus program is working hard to eradicate polio. This year the match from the Gates Foundation will be 2 dollars for every dollar the Rotary brings to end polio.

The flags from all the different countries and people working together: that speaks the language of peace and hope to me.

gridiron

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: gridiron.

This is my son in 2010, grilling.

Cooking off the gridiron.
Trey and friend Otto.

By 2012 the high school team is the Redhawks. My son played football, though he knew I didn’t approve. Too much brain trauma. He was fast or lucky or both and no concussion or broken bones there.

teamwork

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: orchestrate.

Photographs of my father’s boat, Sun Tui, returning to the water after a lot of repair work. I was looking for photos of my children playing violin or viola, but came across these. We had a team to repair the boat and a team to put her back in the water and raise the mast again. All the players play their parts and play together.

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Dang motor.

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And out and about:

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At the fair!

I had fair duty yesterday at the Jefferson County Fair. Two hours in the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary booth. We’re in the new Commercial Building. The day started out with a fabulous band parade. I got a few photographs, next post. The fair booth is to tell about our Sunrise Rotary and what we do in the community and the world! The list is the banner on the right, everything from picture dictionaries for every 3rd grader in the county, to exchange students learning about the world, to Polio Plus and Shelterbox and big and small projects in our county and other countries. Hooray for teamwork and for all the people who donate their time and energy and fellowship and money.

The booth is still up today. We are already selling tickets for our “Running of the Balls” fundraiser. We roll numbered golf balls down Monroe Street before the Rhody Parade and the winner and 2nd and 3rd get cash! $2000.00 to the winning golf ball!

If you buy five tickets for $20.00 at the fair, you go into a drawing to get 50 more numbered golf balls in the race. Stop by!

And for the golfers, we need more golf balls. We don’t have enough for next year. Some get away, darn it. Contact me or another Sunrise Rotarian to get rid of the old golf balls.

 

 

incubate

For yesterday’s Daily Prompt: incubate.

Taken in February 2011. One thing I loved about synchronized swimming is that our older girls worked and played with the younger ones.

And here is my daughter and another teammate posing for one of the younger girls to take a picture: their smiles are much bigger and more spontaneous than when they pose for us!

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