You know how to tell someone really does not care about their job? When you walk into a truck stop- and all you can smell is the stench of soured water being sloshed around on the floor with a filthy mop. 

You venture out of the warm cocoon of your car and wander through the freezing fog to get a warm cup of coffee. You are obsessed with the thought of the bitter caffeinated jolt of truck stop coffee.

As you step over the threshold you are assaulted by a wall of rancid odor. You can taste the sludge in the air. You try unsuccessfully to maintain your composure. You use all your nurse’s might to avoid gagging. You don’t want to breathe through your mouth or your nose. 

Obviously, you think the feeling will pass. You really want that coffee. So, you venture to the ladies room, expecting to see an oasis of cleanliness that so many of the roadside pitstops offer. 

Alas, you are disappointed. The filth is even more deplorable here. Nope. Not doing it. This is more distasteful than your terror of Port-a-potties. You decide to wait. 

You glare accusingly at the lone employee standing behind the register. This is obviously his fault. You do not respond to his apathetic “have a nice day.” 

Opening the door to the foggy abyss is a sweet relief. You hustle to your car. You can always stop up the road for your coffee. 

I don’t want to be a gawker

As most of you know, the weather has been crazy here in Texas. We had a blizzard in Lubbock, and the day after Christmas there were several tornados in the Dallas area. 

This morning on my drive home, I am traveling down I-30. To my right I see several apartment buildings with the second story demolished. My first instinct was how I should stop and take a photo. It was oddly fascinating. Then my brain kicked in and I realized I was witnessing the wreckage of tragedy. People lost everything they own. There were lives lost. I did not stop to record this interesting sight. 

I did take a moment to reflect on my gratitude that no one in my family was directly affected or injured by this storm. My brother’s family was entirely too close to this tornado for my comfort. (I swear, they are trying to make me a nervous Nellie with all of their close calls.) 

I don’t ever want to be a passive observer. I  don’t want to drive by your tragedy and not feel pain for your loss and suffering. I don’t want to be a gawker. 

Wish I had more talent

I have spent a lot of time over the years wishing I were an artist. A painter, poet, musician, dare I say- a writer. 

Yet, I scribble. I joy. Caterwaul loudly in the car. Spew random thoughts on this blog. 

Someday, maybe I will find that thing I am good at. Until then… I will continue to waste ink and space with my randomness. 

There is Hello and Goodbye

 Perhaps Mr. Dickens said it best, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

2015 has been quite a year for me. Somehow I have managed to be both a complete failure and raging success all at the same time. Well, if we are being completely honest, neither of those things are true. 

I found myself facing a lot of difficult choices regarding my career, and it has all turned out to be better in the long run in so many ways. I have had to do a lot of self evaluation and some of the things I discovered were painful.I had made many mistakes and frankly, I was an asshole a lot of times. While I can attempt to justify the bad behavior and excuse it all away, I have to be honest with myself. This is the only way to facilitate growth and it is the only way I know to improve. My dream job was still the place I wanted to be more than anything in the world; it just was not working anymore.

Making the decision to leave was exceedingly difficult. I had so many people who wanted me to be successful. They had reached out to me and supported me completely. They were and are still on my side. Walking away from their protection and guidance was scary. They had taught me everything I know. I still miss working with them every day. I don’t think that will ever go away. I cherish my relationships with my dear friends, and I remain so grateful for everything they do for me.

I do not know how I started working as a locum, but it has been quite a ride. Just like any job it has good points and not so good points. One of the biggest perks is the freedom I have now. I have more financial stability than I have ever had in my life. I no longer have to worry if I have enough money to take care of my responsibilities. I can make plans to travel and go on adventures. I can spend some time worrying about something else now. Now, I am about to start a new assignment and I could not be more excited.

There were many other situations which were both wonderful and terrible. Tough Mudder for one. Let me just sum it up and say sometimes you have to be willing to let someone else lift you over that wall. It does not mean you are weak, everyone has their own limits and fears.

Friendships. I have so many new relationships. I have lost a few too. The pain and joy have been exquisite and I would not go back and change anything. It is okay to grow apart. Sometimes it is even okay to say goodbye.

This year has been full of hello and goodbyes. Each one is difficult at times.

Starting over is exciting and scary all at the same time. Sometimes saying goodbye is a relief even while it is ripping your heart out. There really are no easy answers. I have new friends who make me laugh and are just a phone call away. I have old friends who I am missing when I am far away. I have met new mentors and owe so much to my first mentors.

I have had the good fortune of having my family completely support every single endeavor and adventure I embark on. They have encouraged me to challenge myself and test my limits. They have reassured me they will always be there for me. Somehow I am closer to my family now than I was when I was at home. I think I have stopped taking them for granted as much. I know I only have limited time to see them and I had better make it a priority.

Life does not fit neatly into a box. It is all messy and hard to explain. I think this is part of what makes it all worthwhile. It seems that even things that appear to be opposing- such as the best of times and worst of times may just be two different sides of the story. Much like how it takes strength to be vulnerable. Perhaps it is just a sign of having intense feelings and really incredible experiences. I don’t think I would trade any of it for a more perfectly boring and normal life.

No, I think I will keep my hello and goodbyes.

Daddy Issues and Contact

Poster image taken from IMDB

I know I am late to the party. For some reason I had never seen this movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Now, I am not going to get into semantics about the movie, I just want to talk a little about how it influenced me. We all know I am rather self-absorbed and the most important part of anything is how it all influences me. 

Daddy Issues

The biggest question bothering me as I watched the movie centers on the girl, who is looking for her father. Are we all constantly seeking a dad? Are men slaves to this as well? I am usually quite sensitive to this topic in literature and movies which leaves me wondering if this is simply due to my lack of a father. Do people with good fathers have this issue? I found myself thinking David Morse was cast perfectly as the doting paternal figure. Then he died. Sigh. 

There was a small part of me wishing she actually found a way to communicate with her father. Then, he made certain she understood he was just a hallucination. Once again there are no answers about whether or not our “souls” continue to exist after we die. Come on Sagan, throw me a bone! I found myself wondering if she felt closure after she saw her “father.”

My father is not dead. At least not as far as I know. I don’t imagine I would get any relief or closure if I saw him again. I think it would be more of the same bullheadedness that I inherited from him. While I cannot imagine completely turning your back on your child, I also know there is something so irrevocably damaged he simply lost capacity for maintaining a relationship with me. I am okay with this. Even if it still sucks sometimes.

Love Interests!

Look, this was NOT Matthew McConaughey’s finest hour. He was quite flat throughout the movie. So, while I am acknowledging the fact he was not my kind of dude, he did something I love. The whole compass thing. Come on! I know it is cheesy. I have had secret fantasy for years about a guy giving me a compass. Tom Hanks did it in Big! It is seriously the sweetest gesture to me. So, Mr. Right if you want to win my heart, all you need to do is give me a compass and say something incredibly charming about wanting me to always find my way home to you.

This would serve two purposes. First, it would indicate you pay attention to the cheesy, sappy crap I pretend I don’t like. Second, it would show you have been reading my blog, AND paid attention. You would win all the way around. There is absolutely no downside to presenting me with a compass.

Theology and Terrorists

This movie did a fairly good job of highlighting the struggles people in this country face when they are not religious. Her lack of faith almost prevented her from being the person who got to go on the grand adventure. The only thing I know is I value religious freedom. This includes the right to not have a religion and not be persecuted.

The bomber was relevant even for almost 20 years later. We are still using bombs and weapons to attempt to prove theological points. I still find it disgusting. I cannot wrap my head around how people get from “I want to save lives” to “I need to kill you.” Pro-lifers shooting doctors. Muslims shooting up Christmas parties. Strange dudes opening fire in a bible study. I lump all of these people into one big group. Anyone who fixates on some ideology and uses it to justify hate and murder is just a douchebag. I have tried to convince myself they are mentally ill, however I just don’t buy it.

Love Letter to Science and Progress

In the end I suppose the story is really a love letter to science as a tool to achieve progress. I loved the point about taking small steps and evolving through it. This is an important lesson for me. I find myself wanting to rush through every thing to get to the end point. Perhaps I need to relish the small steps I continue to make.

There is something beautiful in the little victories.

As a species, I feel like humans have a gift of curiosity. This eternal drive for knowledge and answers. We would cease to have ambition if we had all the answers handed to us. I will never run out of questions. This means I will have to wake up and not be excited about what I may learn that day. We cannot stop looking for solutions just because our first attempt failed. We have to continue on.

Stop using real footage out of context

Robert Zemeckis did a pretty good job on this movie. I did not like all the news coverage and CNN footage. It seemed jarring. It was cute when he did it in Forrest Gump, but he needs to find a new trick. Rather than making the movie seem more likely to be possible, I was distracted trying to remember what Bill Clinton was actually talking about in that clip. I did not like it.

Jodie Foster.

I related to Ellie as she went through her journey, and Jodie Foster somehow manages to suck me in with her understated charm and quiet demeanor. She manages to play strong women without making them overbearing. This is a skill I wish I possessed.

I am always uncomfortable when she is dealing with some romantic entanglement. Why is it always so awkward?

Pleasantly Surprised

Contact was worth the time I spent watching it. While there were not many answers, it left me satisfied. I really don’t know how I managed to never see it until now.

Merry Christmas

 Hospital work has given me an interesting perspective about the holidays. It is just another day. You can celebrate with your family any time! 

Don’t put off going to have that chest pain evaluated. Grandma looks like she may keel over any second? Of course she was fine last week, take her to the ER. 

I always wonder why so many people get sick on holidays. Maybe they just don’t want to have to do the dishes. 

Just kidding. Have a safe and happy holiday! I’m missing the great blizzard at home this weekend. I’ll celebrate when I get home. 

Then, in just over a week I am off on my next grand adventure! I can’t wait. For now, I will put my nose to the grindstone and finish my H&Ps. 

Sometimes edges are blurred

I used to believe avoiding detours and planning every moment of my life was the best way to ensure success. The past year has taught me that deviations are frequently blessings in disguise.

I am living my life with much more spontaneity these days. Planning is still an integral part of it, however I am only planning as far ahead as I absolutely have to. Instead of seeking a permanent job, I am relishing in the freedom working as a locum has afforded me. I feel a little like Vivian in Pretty Woman. “I say who, I say when, I say how much.” This untethered exsistance can be scary, but the rewards are much greater than I expected.

One of the bad parts is licensing and credentialing. I hate constantly bugging people for references. I only hope they know how much I appreciate the time they have taken out of their busy schedules to help me out. It’s not like my references have a ton of free time. These are busy people!

The shift from being a constant planner to attempting to maintain a more flexible lifestyle has forced me to trust myself. There have been offers I have declined because they did not feel like the right move and there has been a couple of opportunities that simply did not pan out. If I had panicked and thrown in the towel at the first sign of adversity, my next adventures would be impossible.

Life does not have to be perfect.

I am learning how a messy, unplanned, spontaneous exsistance can enrich my life and allow me to grow as a person. I relish the blurred edges. It opens the door to many potential wonderful surprises.