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"VA" stands for "Various Anecdotes"
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Our day at the VA was remarkably pleasant. There is nothing like being recognized as a "regular customer" and remembered as one with a friendly face and a pleasant word. I try to keep in mind that those people work every day with stressful situations, sick people and a demanding bureaucracy and I hope a few words of acknowledgement make it a bit easier.

I know that when the shoe is on the other foot, and one of my clients says, "Thank you. I appreciate all you've done for me," it makes my day. I've even had them tell me I'm the only person who has shown any real interest in solving the problem--that's a sad commentary on a service organization, where we're all supposed to be problem solvers.

It's hard, though, when you're hearing the same complaint for the umpteenth time, to see it from the viewpoint of the other person as the unique problem it is for them. And to marshall all my pens, telephones, lists and reports once again to do battle with the bureaucratic demons in the name of truth, justice and the American dream of equality.

Well, now I have that out of my system, I'm going back to my chair to finish reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I was really enjoying it until it turned into a romance novel of the mushiest kind about three-quarters of the way through. Well, I'll finish it, because Elizabeth I has just been born and it's a period of history that has always fascinated me.

Given the fact that women of the 16th century were chattel, to be bought and sold on the marriage market and good only for breeding and comforting me, how on earth did Elizabeth make her way to the monarchy, the ultimate seat of power in England, and rule absolute? Amazing.

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