It’s been 2 weeks. Now, what am I going to eat?

Standard

I am hungry. It is dinner time. I am thoroughly sick of everything here. I know right up the road… (at the place you can buy beer!) there may be something new. (This town is dry. Why are there still towns that are dry? Give me a break.)

IMG_9723

This is seriously a place. I swear. Not a great selection but, you take what you can get.

First things first. Beer. Beer sounds good. I have had a long week.
IMG_9722Now, I have to be honest I don’t usually get my seafood fix at establishments whose appearance is better suited for snow cones. This looked interesting though. There were other cars there. I assumed they were locals. It should be fine.

IMG_9721It was pretty good.

My only complaint about all the food here: it is so salty! I don’t eat a lot of added salt to my meals. In fact, I tend to border on gross, bland food because of my disdain for overly salted food.

I am more than 3/4 of the way through the long stretch of 18 days. I am getting tired. Today, I overslept. I am ready to go home, see my cats, see my family, use my new washing machine, sleep in my own bed, and get back to real life. Even if it is just for a week.

This week has been hard. I miss having my work family around me. I could have used a shoulder to cry on this morning. It’s okay. I will be fine. This is part of it. I have heard some amazing stories, and my heart is a little bigger for this experience. I have to do what is best for my patient, even if it breaks my heart a little. After all, it is not about me.

Now, I want a snow cone. #FourMoreDays

Who is the boss of me? – this started out as a serious post, and unraveled from there.

Standard
article-0-18BAABB5000005DC-618_634x345

Fabian Oefner, the artist who took this picture- he gets me.

When I was a child, I was quite cognizant of exactly who had the right to tell me how to behave. If an adult gave me instructions, they were to be followed. My mother insisted we (my brother and I) were going to be well behaved children. For the most part, we were.

Now, I am an adult. I still crave direction. I don’t like ambiguity. If you have certain expectations of me, I need to know what they are. It is that simple. I tend to defer to whomever appears to be in charge. It just seems like respect to me.

As a professional, you have to be somewhat self directed and regulate your behavior independently. This is a lot of responsibility. I think this skill is honed somewhat in college. You are given a well- defined list of expectations (syllabus) and then it is up to you to meet your obligations. You develop time management skills, and learn that you can no longer wait until the last minute to do a semester’s worth of work. Oh. Wait. No, I did not learn that. I spent all semester agonizing over what I had to do, and then 12 hours before the due date I would finally sit down and try to assimilate the information into something coherent. 

All the planning in the world, and I still rush through every thing. I wonder if this is a common problem. I try to keep up with every thing, and I have the best of intentions. I still wait. Where does the time go? Oh, well yeah. I stopped working and watched that infomercial. I found a blank piece of paper which was oddly lonely and wanting some doodles.

I wake up hours before I have to leave every day. I have to have time to waste. It takes me forever to get ready. Right now, my hair is dripping wet, and I am partially dressed and partially back in my PJs. Why couldn’t I just finish getting ready? Well, I decided to write about wasting time. I am wasting time writing about wasting time. Can I label this behavior productivity?

I start a book, which reminds me of another book I wanted to read so I go off to find the other book. Oh, look there is a stack of mail to go through. I make piles of mail. Not sure what each pile means. I convince myself I am sorting it out. Stick the mail in various spots around the house. So I can find it later. When I stumble across these random stacks of mail…. sometimes 6 months later, I am not sure why I kept it.

Oh, I was reading a book. Pick up magazine and thumb through it. I dogear articles I want to read later. If I were smart, I would just read it real quick. I spend so much time preparing to do things. It is a struggle.

Oh. Crap. I need to go fix my hair. I pin up the top and start to work on the bottom half. Oh! I need to check Facebook. I have 300 emails. Start going through them. I should save that one to look at when I have more time. I need to drink some water. Walk into the kitchen, and see that I need to do some dishes. Start the dishes. My hair! I have to fix my hair. I wonder if the cats have been fed. Wander into the other room to check the cat bowl. Get distracted on the way by a Target bag. What is in here? OH! Socks. I love socks.

I now have ten minutes to get ready for work. Ponytail it is.

I need a nanny. Maybe a house husband. What was this post supposed to be about? Oh. Who is the boss of me? Unfortunately, me.

This is just a sample of what my mornings are like. The struggle is real. I did read an article about the cartel digging tunnels. I want to read more about that. Oh… I want one of those miniature foxes. Are these earthquake people right? I should go visit Seattle before it is washed away.

ADD and me. It is always entertaining. Squirrel.

article-2295849-18C5C1D4000005DC-414_634x508

Oh! I want to paint. I wish I had paints. I wonder if I could go get some. Doh! I have to get ready for work. Let me check my email real quick. I wonder what is on HBO right now…. Oops. I forgot to take my meds. Oh. and I have to get dressed.

Your Nurse Practitioner is only human…

Standard

  I may have underestimated the power of human connection. As a Nurse Practitioner, I am fortunate to get to meet and know so many different people. You can try all you want to keep an emotional distance. You can attempt to maintain “professional boundaries.” You can almost convince yourself these patients and their family do not affect you.

Sure, this is reasonable. It is all about self-preservation. You have to be able to leave work at work. Otherwise, you would be entrenched in stress and grief all the time. I have to be able to laugh while I am at work. I cannot allow myself to be mired down in the misfortune of the sick and suffering. I am not only a Nurse Practitioner, I am also human and I cannot help but to forge a connection with people.

It may be your wit and charm. Perhaps you told me a dirty joke I was not expecting. Your face may light up when you talk about your children and grandchildren. It does not matter what causes me to allow you into my heart, it just happens. We are humans.

When I am at work, I pour most of my energy into evaluating what you may need. I am filled with self doubt, so I agonize over every decision. (Well, as I mature and have more experience the agony is decreasing.) I hold myself to nearly impossible standards. Sometimes I am inexperienced in your particular condition. The panic sets in and I have to start reading. I rack my brain and try in vain to remember everything I have ever heard about this situation. I do not take my ignorance or inexperience lightly. I ask questions and I am very forthcoming about my need for assistance. My ego is not so fragile that I can’t ask for help. I work hard to remain teachable.

Keeping in mind when I am at work and I make a mistake, the consequences can cost lives or cause irreparable harm. I am invested. The boundaries have to be blurred a little. This makes it difficult when a patient is not responding to the course of action we have laid out. It is especially hard when we run out of tricks to try. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. This is the hardest part of my job.

Now, if you come to me looking for answers and I reach out to the experts and there is nothing else to be done… what now? I don’t get to sign off and retreat back into blissful ignorance. I am now tasked with explaining the situation and helping you decide on which actions are appropriate for further care.

I find this job especially cruel when I think you are going to do well. I see initial success in our last-ditch efforts. The Hail Mary pass seems to be working. Then, despite the successful catch, we fumble the ball. I am going to scramble to try to recover it. Sometimes the damn ball just disappears.

This is the worst part. Dying is part of life. We are all going to die someday. Yes, we can try to help people live as long and healthy lives as possible. There is going to come a time when I have to be willing to sit with you and discuss whether or not you want to continue aggressive medical care. If you tell me you are done, I have an obligation to honor wishes and to support your family through that transition. It goes against every thing in my heart. I want everyone to live happily ever after.

I can try to have boundaries and walls. I can try to keep work separate from real life. Sometimes, I will fail. In order to heal from this grief, I have to acknowledge I am experiencing it. I have to allow myself to feel. I do not want to become a cold, unfeeling person. This opens me up to heartache. I am okay with that. It also opens me up to feeling sincere joy when my patients do well. It is not all just another sad day, there are lots of victories. I get to feel them too. Yeah, it is exhausting at times. It is hard. I would not want it any other way.

How did they know? 

Standard

img_9655 This is pretty much a perfect fortune for me. How did the fortune gurus know that contentment is my most elusive goal?

I have shared about waiting for my life to begin many times. I always feel like I am waiting. Contentment is my white whale. The inner peace I have been hunting my entire life. I used to think it was success, fame, or fortune I was looking for.

So, what does contentment feel like? Is it just a feeling of calm? Is it gratitude? Does the rushed, panicked fear of running out of time dissipate?

I am not sure what this is going to entail. I am no longer sure what my future holds for me. I don’t even know what I want it to look like. For now, the closest thing to contentment I can find is satisfaction in knowing I am doing the best I can do. I am learning. I am working. I am being more open-minded.

I am experiencing new things at an astonishing rate.

Will I finally find contentment when I accept myself as being exactly where I am supposed to be?

These days I find myself a little adrift. I am forced to depend on myself, and to reassure myself I am doing an adequate job. There is no one looking out for me. This is new. I tend to adopt parents, role models, and mentors every where I go.

Perhaps contentment will come from standing on my own two feet. Finally proving to myself I can actually do it. I don’t have to have someone holding my hand through all the scary parts. I can work hard, and figure it out.

The adventures keep presenting themselves. I am going to make it a point to go experience as many new things as I possibly can. I do not want to feel like I have wasted my life waiting for some magic transformation. I have to facilitate the growth. I have to allow good things into my life.

No more remembering the past with rose-colored glasses. No more wistful daydreaming of the future. No more dreading yesterday or tomorrow. I am going to spend today loving the day. Appreciating myself. Treating myself a little kinder.

I get to meet new people. I get to be called a whole slew of pet names. Today, I got a “honey pie,” “sugar pie,” “hun,” and “Sweetie.” All in one patient’s room. (Kinda wishing they would have just called me Princess… but I suppose you can’t win them all.)

No one gets to decide who I am going to be except me. It is okay to set boundaries. It is okay to reach out to other people. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for assistance. No one expects me to be perfect. I can relax a little sometimes. Life is not a race. It is a winding path. You never know who or what you will encounter. May as well enjoy the surprise.

Sometimes clever (Aka smartass) is not the best way to go

Standard
IMG_9689

Nice.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. I was feeling a little homesick and wishing I were there to give her a hug and a kiss. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I sent her flowers.

However, I was a little distracted and failed to plan out what the card would say. I told them to just make it something nice for my mom. I told them I was out of town working and I missed her. Then, they asked what name they should sign the card. Hmmmm…. What is in a name?

I chose Princess. I thought it would make her laugh.

Well, they forgot to include the word “Mom” or “Mother” or “Madre” in the message. They referred to her as a Lady. So, later I get this text message… “Did you send me flowers?”

My first thought was “Duh.”

Well, perhaps I should have spent 45 more seconds to make the message a little more personal. I should have either used my name or a clue. (Although, everyone knows I am the princess….) There was nothing in the card to indicate anything about her or me. Next time I am going to plan it better. There will be no question who the flowers are from.

Oh, sending flowers is really easy. It is a nice gesture and you can even do it at the last-minute. It was pretty late in the afternoon when I made the call. So, boys and girls (Most especially my boy) there is no excuse for not sending your mother, sister, grandmother, best girl BFF, long-lost auntie, or whatever lady is important in your life flowers. Got it? NO EXCUSE. Make the women in your life feel special for a day.

They make a girl giggle and blush. For me, nice flowers are the epitome of thinking of you. It is not something you need. They only last a little while, and they brighten up any room. It is a pretty, fragrant little thing. We don’t hesitate to bring her dandelions and other weeds when we are only “this high,” surely our tastes (and budgets) should grow and mature as we do.

Love you Mom. Wish I were there.

PS: How are Gracie Belle and Bonnie Blue? Have you seen her yet? (My mom has never seen my baby cat because she always hides.)

Bandito Del Toro, his girlfriend, and green crickets.

Standard

IMG_9692

I know! He is not a green cricket. It does not mean I cannot pretend though.

There is an interesting variety of wildlife living behind my hotel. I first met this little guy Saturday morning. He was just chilling on the wall. I stood there and talked to him for a moment. I am not going to lie, I was secretly hoping he would respond in a wry british accent like the worm from my favorite movie. Sadly, he was too regal to stoop down to talking to a commoner such as myself. Perhaps I should have introduced myself as Princess Quirky… or at the very least, Lady Quirky. He looked like he was sitting there pondering the state of the union.

IMG_9693

His royal Highness… Sir Buddy Hoppy. He was up pretty high on the wall. I had to stand on my tiptoes to get this pic.

When I came back to the hotel for lunch, he had moved so he could better survey his kingdom. I am going to name him Buddy Hoppy since he makes me think of a Cricket, and that was the name of the guys who played with Buddy Holly. Somewhat of an homage to home… He still did not talk to me. The disappointment was palpable. I was feeling a little rejected as I walked to the car.

So, as I was driving through the parking lot to return to the hospital I saw this round squatty creature scurrying along the curb. My first thought was, “what an odd looking cat.” Then, I realized he had stopped and was sizing up my car. I squinted and realized he was a raccoon. I wanted to get out and make friends, but I have been taught to avoid carousing with the wildlife.

Since I was on my way to get tacos, and there is seldom a day in which Benecio Del Toro does not cross my mind, I figured this handsome chap was probably named Bandito Del Toro. It probably also helps I was listening to Willie Nelson, and so Bandito just felt like a good name.

IMG_9691

Bandito Del Toro. He is handsome, charming, and I imagine he speaks with a bit of latin flair.

Every day I have kept a watch out for my new friends. I have not been able to lay eyes on them again. Until today. I was slowly driving past, peering into the brush when I saw shadows moving behind the fence where the dumpster is kept. With bated breath I put on the brakes and got my phone ready. Bandito came flying over the wall, and then he stopped and waited. He appeared to be ushering someone or something over the wall. He seemed a little impatient if you ask me. Then, I saw her creeping over the wall. She was moving cautiously. I think she was scared. Perhaps she does not like heights either.

IMG_9690

Bandito was rushing his lady friend. I think she was nervous about the climb.

I was about to roll down the window to tell him to cool his jets and be supportive, and then he moved a little closer to her, and I swear he was talking her down. Then, he waited for her to walk in front of him. If I did not know better, I would swear he put his arm around her for a moment. Bandito Del Toro has a girlfriend! I did not get a chance to learn her name. Maybe I will figure it out in the morning while I shower. All kinds of random brilliance occur to me then. I can also sing just about anything.

I witnessed a very lovely act of flirting out in the wild kingdom today. I must admit, I would not mind finding my own Bandito to reassure me sometimes.

So, this is what I think about during all my alone time. Imaginary scenarios between green royal crickets and dating raccoons. I may be losing my mind.

It’s going to be a day late. – Happy Birthday Mom.

Standard

Hi Mom! Happy Birthday! I have been working on a post about you- and I should have started earlier. The words are not capturing the amazing spirit you have. So, I am going to keep working on it. I do not want to undersell how amazing you are.

I can’t say it enough, I am so grateful you are my mom. I could not have done anything without your support. You are helping me raise my son, and you have still been raising me this whole time.

I am who I am because of you. I think it is a good thing. I turned out okay.

I love you so much! I am far away working, and missing you terribly!

I am so glad you are my mom. Imagine if I had a different one, there is no way I would be as badass as I am. (hehe.)

You have been so supportive, all you ever told me to do is to be happy. To follow my dreams. You have allowed me room to make my own mistakes, and you have supported me through recovering from those mistakes.

You are one of my best friends, even if you don’t like the same movies, music, or books that I do. You will listen to me prattle on and on.

You have learned about the things that interest me, and you can talk about anything I am interested in. See?

You have always been my champion, and you have fought for me, helped me fight for myself, and helped me pick up the pieces if I made a mess of every thing.

I love you so much. I hope your day is special and wonderful.

IMG_3937PS. Thanks for taking care of my son. And my cats. And me. Gee- a mother’s job is really never done is it?

I love you. Happy Birthday. Even if you did name me wrong. (hehe)

It is all judgement.

Standard

I love it when people claim they are not judgmental. They love to effusively explain how they feel that the downtrodden are just needing a chance to change their lives. They preach about how they do not judge people based on their race, financial situation, or occupation.

I have found the opposite to be true. As a society, we seem to ostracize and attack the outliers on both ends of the spectrum. We don’t like the smartest, richest, handsomest people. We also don’t like the people who are ignorant, poor, or ugly. So, we pretty much act like jerks all the way around. 

Let me use this meme as an example:

1514614_1043048229052657_4160233486819479542_n

Hmmm. This was probably supposed to be funny. I found it sad. We have to tear down everyone who is doing well in life. How is that fair? Why can’t we just be nice?

First of all, how do you define someone as rich just by looking at them? Snotty? WTF? Maybe they are just shy. Furthermore, acting as if asking someone who is well-dressed if they work at the grocery store implies people who are employed there are not well-dressed. This whole thing is just disturbing. I completely understand this is supposed to be a clever joke, but I just can’t help but notice it is still judging someone based on how they look.

Treating someone badly for any reason is not okay. To single someone out based on your preconceived notion of their situation is really pretty shitty. Why are we such bullies?

One of the things I have noticed about people is how so many people feel the need to tear down other people. I do not understand this. Why would you punish someone for being successful? How is this behavior okay? Why do we condone marginalizing anyone?

I have noticed judgmental attitudes in myself. I can be an absolute asshole at times. It is rather disappointing. I do not want to be so shallow that I judge people without any information. I have to keep an open mind and give people a chance.

This whole “us” versus “them” mentality we have is terrible. Why can’t we just be people? It seems like we walk around trying to categorize people into these neat little packages. Personally, I have never met a person who actually fits into their stereotype. Didn’t we learn about all this in our after-school television marathons?

We are spending too much time figuring out why we should not like someone, or why they have not earned their position in life. Both ways!!! Successful people did not earn it, and the unsuccessful people are victims.

I sincerely doubt these situations are quite so black or white. I am beginning to understand how complex our societies are. We should really consider being a little more careful, and stop perpetuating these cycles of abusive behavior. You do not get to ostracize people for not being poor, just like you are not supposed to mistreat poor people.

We need to get a grip and learn to treat all people with respect. I am pretty sure we all learned this in kindergarden. Be nice. Even to the rich people.

Just stop.

Standard

Okay. I get it. You are a little crazy and you are suffering from some psychological pain. Someone hurt you or you have a chemical imbalance which leaves you without proper coping skills. Your life is a disaster and you have nothing to live for.

You want to be infamous or to leave your mark on the world.

You may just be a selfish prick and you feel the need to spread your misery to the rest of the world. OKAY. We all get it. You are a bad dude. You want to spread your message of hate and pain. You want to share your misery.

Perhaps you have a political or religious motive. Maybe you are a racist asshat.

Stop! Stop murdering people who are just minding their own business, living their lives and not doing anything to you!

I am sickened and disgusted by these freaks who insist on ruining lives to spread their angst. There is nothing to be gained by shooting up a church, grocery store, school, or movie theater.

Last night a movie theater in Louisiana was the latest mass shooting. The gunman committed suicide after he shot and killed multiple innocent people. What an asshole. I want to feel some compassion, however I don’t. Movie theaters are my place of worship. I go there to experience stories that enrich my life. It is my church. I should be safe there.

I cannot wrap my head around this senseless violence. I cannot fathom how you get to the point where your BEST idea is murdering people. STRANGERS! This is not appropriate revenge. This is not a crime of passion. You are not teaching your tormentors a valuable lesson. You are not preventing future injuries.

This man was 58 years old. This was not a moment of adolescent angst. (Which would not make this better, although sometimes it is easier to understand the mental illness involved.) Here is my question: How do you get to the point that murdering strangers seems like a good idea?

Well, screw you. Leave my safe place alone. Stop hurting the people who live in our communities. Leave the public alone.

If you are having crazy thoughts, go to a psychiatrist. Get a therapist. Call someone who is equipped to either help you, or lock you away from the rest of the world.

I know it is naive, but why can’t people just mind their own business? Why do they have to tear down other people in society? I don’t understand why bullies exist, and the bullied sometimes lash out. The real problem is that they fail to target their tormentors. They are hurting other innocent people. It pisses me off.

I do not really understand this kind of mental illness. I do not understand psychopathy.

If the problem is that your mommy did not love you enough, or that your daddy was not there, then go talk it out. Try to rise above it. Just stop. Stop hurting other people.

On another note, if you are a bully is who tormenting these sick souls, stop it! They don’t have the coping skills to deal with the pain. You are just as guilty as they are.

Seriously people! Why can’t we just be nice? Why can’t we respect other people as people? It does not sound like it should be that difficult. There is nothing good about keeping others down. There is nothing to be gained by hurting others.

I wish there were a good answer. Oh! I know. JUST STOP! Enough already. Let’s build people up instead of tearing them down. Remember what Thumper said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Grrr. Stop. Leave my movie theaters alone. I go there to escape. I go there to learn lessons. I go to there to fall in love with a hero. I don’t need to be wondering if the freak next to me is going to pull out a gun and kill me.

It is rare for me to have no words.

Standard

 

IMG_9637

Looking more than a little tired.

I have so many things I want to say, and yet I have no words.

We are not guaranteed anything in life. We have a responsibility to let the people we love know how we feel about them. We have an obligation to be kind and to try to leave the world a better place. Don’t waste your life waiting for it to begin.

So, in the spirit of that sentiment, here are a few of the people and memories I love the most.

DSCN2010

I love this picture so much. This costume was logistically more difficult than I thought it would be. He was the perfect little mummy.

bran pics for gradbook0145

May as well continue with the Halloween pics. Look, it’s my baby brother- wearing eye shadow! Looking tough Bubba.

bran pics for gradbook0154

I would not go to school with crazy witch hair and makeup. I did not want to be seen ugly. (One of my family’s favorite stories.)

me and ang at grad

I can’t believe it has been so long. We did it! One of my favorite pics of my BFF and I.

IMG_0587

Good times with my dear friends. Love these women so much.

011

Me and my little buddy. My nephew, Kyle. I love this kid so much!

IMG_8571

Tough Mudder Adventures. I can’t wait for the next one!

IMG_8621

Me and my other nephew, My Squishy.

IMG_7967

Kurt and I before the Tough Mudder. He basically held my hand, and let me flirt shamelessly with him all day. Love all my superhero friends. It certainly helps how easy on the eyes he is.

IMG_7976

My “little bro”- Trevor and my brother, also named Trevor- are two of the nicest guys I know. I am a lucky girl to have all these great dudes in my life.

IMG_8804

I vote for: it’s always a good idea to get a selfie with the guy in chains.

IMG_3587

This is one handsome dude. I love his heart. I do not know how I got to be so lucky with a kid like him.

IMG_9466

Fun times with fun friends.

IMG_2485

Hanging out in Memphis.

DSCN1819

Just because we don’t have shot glasses, does not mean we don’t do shots. However, the lack of a corkscrew- did lead to wine bottle breakage… Live and learn.

IMG_8009

Love these peeps. You guys look so cool.

IMG_3937

Me and my beautiful mom. She’s pretty much awesome. I am lucky to have her.

211

My first time! With Sushi, get your head out of the gutter…

DSC00112

Ty and Granny… He played my favorite song for his talent show. The Entertainer from one of my favorite movies: The Sting.

bran pics for gradbook0161

Just a girl and her dog. This was Cinnamon. She was the bomb-diggity.

Gracie Belle 053

Ty’s first time! …. With Sushi!!! NYC was so awesome. I am so glad I got to share the experience with my favorite person in the whole world.

IMG_3237

Just us grandkids with Mamaw. Always a good time. I love it when she is game for selfies.

IMG_8643

Just one of the random things I miss most from my other job…. getting to take random selfies with this hottie. (He is Shannon’s husband- I always send them to her….) It makes me smile.

038

Oh, my Gracie Belle. She is the coolest cat. Moody, temperamental, and my sweet girl. She nurses on my blanket, and she is always glad to see me when I get home. Her sister Bonnie Blue on the other hand…. not so much.

IMG_2007

My girl Brooke, who refuses to bleach my hair ever again… because the bleach makes me cry and whine… and then I demand to go dark again after the wounds on my scalp heal. Love that she humors my many whims when it comes to my hair.

pics for gma82

My dear brother and sister-in-law. Trevor and Robin, you guys are a good example of what a decent marriage should be. You love and respect each other every day. I love that you two found happiness with each other.

020

My four guys. I always wanted a “red-headed step brother,” JT, thanks for making that wish come true.

IMG_4528

I love having all these strong, beautiful, brilliant women as my friends. I think I may have the best group of people in the world. I am indeed a lucky girl.

IMG_0160

Selfies are always better when you are wearing shades.

Yeah…. now, we are all professionals and responsible for real human lives. Scary thought.

So, what’s the point? Well, my life is meaningful because of all these people. There are a lot of other people who mean the world to me too. I am lucky. We have to remember to love our people. Don’t take them for granted. My heart is with my family in California tonight. I will be sending you all the loving vibes I can. I love you guys!