have yourself a merry little christmas

     Christmas to me is music, family & friends, the bustle of the crowds and the hustle of all we try to fit into Decmember, but most of all it's the birth of our savior.  The season starts just after thanksgiving for me, for I refuse to let it leak into the niceness that is November just by itself.  The musts:  hunting trees in the forest, Nat King Cole, sipping cider, the annual Polar Express Party, gingerbread, Love Actually,  Handel's Messiah, "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"  rice pudding, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, and a little Bing Crosby (or maybe a heaping dose).   With all the things we are supposed to stuff into one month my mind keeps ringing with the words of silent night  "all is calm, all is bright."  I want to pause for reflection.  To remember the reason for peace on earth and the hope that was given to us.  All the good and traditions stem from centuries past and span many cultures.  They have all been compounded to make this holiday the biggest and the best-est.  I want to find a balance of peace and clatter.  I am grateful that this season fills my heart to the brim.

I thought this was a special sight at the Catholic church just down the street from where I worked on Christmas Eve.  I didn't go to a Christmas eve service this year.  I just stopped and said a prayer.

Here's the "crazy" us after mommy worked all night!

Grammy paid each of the kids a dollar for trying the pickled herring!

'God bless us, every one!' ('cuz you can't forget the Dicken's)


the best things about night shift

People always ask me why I like working the night shift.  Can't you get on days?  Well,  sure I probably could have switched to days by now, but ever since I've been working nights it's just worked for me.  I never have that feeling of dread for having to get out of bed early and go to work or having to wake up to an alarm.  I learned early in life that I am not a morning person although I've never considered myself a late night person either.  I LOVE to go to bed when I am tired, but I have found a system that works and discovered that for now night shift is for me as much as I am for it.  Here are 10 things that make the night shift at St. Charles so great. 

1.  I get to see the beautiful central Oregon sunsets with a 5th floor view of the full Cascade mountain range.  And a bonus, in the summer when the days are short I also get to see the even more gorgeous sunrise before I get off shift.  It's been a gloomy winter, but hopefully I can post some pictures of pretty sunsets soon.

2.  I am able to sleep pretty well during the day time and get up early enough to pick up my kid after school.  Commence the " I need a snack" routine and "did you do your homework" as I figure out something to make for dinner before heading back to work.  The hour and a half that I see my kiddos on my workdays is not much, but it's prime time (if not their "needy" time) and I like the fact that we can still make family dinner consistent.

3. The differential makes a difference.

4.  I have a really good excuse to consume greater amounts of coffee (my number one drink of choice).
5. My lunch time is still 12:30 but in the A.M.

6. The hospital is less busy with the hustle of the day which means less people, therapies, visitors and chaos. 

7.  I almost never see any of my managers.

8.  This is a big one.  I love my coworkers!!  The night shift seems to have a different gene or something.  We play it cool, help each other out, and also give each other space and grace.  It's definitely a good crew.   

9. There is a little more downtime where I get to collect my thoughts which is essential when I am a mother of 3.

10. The 30 minute commute gives me plenty of time to get my Kidd Kraddick in the morning fix.

*** The one thing not so great about the night shift (other than the grouch that surfaces every now and again) is the fact that I have to park in the cold, cold parking lot overnight and not in my climate controlled garage.  My body has all but went into shutdown mode by the time 0630 rolls around and I have to trudge into the freezing winter and scrape/dig out my car from the ice and snow.  But then that's only part of the year.  The spring/summer mornings are filled with fresh smells and dew kissed mornings.  And when fall arrives there is a crispness that resonates in the colors. 

And when it's not winter, I get to see sunsets like these from the 5th floor windows.

. . .and later in the shift, the sunrise.

almost home.

And, my kids are not deprived. . . I bring them doughnuts in the morning.  If I remember. . . so one night Corinne wrote me a note that I carried in my pocket.

Thanks to all who support my different schedule who help watch my kids, try and rearrange social gatherings and holidays even, and don't judge me when I'm a little (or a lot) cranky sometimes.

Now, it's time for me to get some sleep:)