McEwan Robbed Me of My Beauty Sleep


Three of my favorite authors live in the same general bookshelf at Barnes and Noble. Ian McEwan, Cormac McCarthy, and Larry McMurtry. They are masterful storytellers who inspire me as both a reader and a writer.

Yesterday I started The Children Act and I could not put it down. Somehow McEwan managed to convey the hopelessness I have experienced as a healthcare provider when I am confronted by patient’s philosophical or religious limitations on the care I think their condition warrants. I found the POV of a family court judge to be refreshing and fascinating. I devoured this book and will likely reread it in the future. His mastery of the English language is somewhat magical to me. 

I simply cannot comprehend making decisions to opt out of treatments to prevent some vague punishment in the afterlife. I find myself questioning their intelligence and reasoning skills. Even when I try to find compassion, I resent their decision. The key word is “their.” It’s not up to me. 

As a nurse practitioner I am tasked with providing information and offering suggestions. This is easy when the patient is amenable to my plans. It is more challenging when they decide to go a different route. Sometimes I find myself wondering if the patient actually comprehends the potential consequences of their decisions. I wonder if they are competent. (Obviously if you don’t like my answer there must be something missing, after all I worked hard to get to that solution.) Rather presumptuous of me, isn’t it? 

The gray areas of being in a “helping profession” are painful when people don’t accept your help. It is particularly maddening when their rationale is not a belief to which I prescribe. Explanations of their faith does little to ease my frustration. I feel bound by what I view as archaic and unenlightened manipulations by groups of men who sought to control their minions. (I realize that sounds harsh but I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. I’ve tried.) 

Despite my frustration I felt compassion for the family in the book. I wanted to like them. I wanted to understand their position. This is an important reminder for me. I don’t have to understand your reasoning (or in some cases my perception of your lack of reasoning) to be compassionate. Resentment serves no one in this situation. 

It also serves me well to remember most other people don’t care about my personal opinions and I need to focus on remaining as unbiased and openminded as possible. (Even if it sucks.) 

McEwan Robbed Me of My Beauty Sleep

36 Things on my 36th Birthday

This year has been a year full of adventures, travels, growth, love, and friendship. I have had a great year! I try to always learn something even when life is determined to be frustrating. It has all been worth it! 

 Here are some of the things I learned in my 36th year. 

  1. Even “mild” winters in the Northeast are rough for a Texas girl. 
  2. Five hour flights, seated between teenage boys who do not belong to you, are tortuous. 
  3. The sun is an important ingredient for sanity. 
  4. Adventures with my son trump any other adventure. He will always be my favorite travel buddy. 
  5. It does not matter where you meet someone if you have a real connection. 
  6. I underestimate my abilities frequently. 
  7. The peace I feel staring at large bodies of water is a spiritual experience. 
  8. Loyalty does not mean I can never move on.
  9. The same goes for appreciation. 
  10. My family will always support my dreams. 
  11. Just because he is dreamy and hot… does not mean he is not riddled with douchebaggery.
  12. Too many first dates in one week leaves me drained and ceases to be fun. 
  13. Bruce Springsteen is the most amazing performer ever. Which can set you up to be blindsided by his other fanatic fans. Just enjoy the show. That’s all you need for a magical evening.
  14. A good waiter makes a fantastic meal even better. 
  15. Sometimes it is okay to splurge on the ridiculously expensive purse. Well, only if you really love it. 
  16. Meeting new people requires a willingness to engage in conversation. 
  17. Binging on Netflix documentaries can make me a little crazy. (Keep in mind the filmmakers have their own agenda.)
  18. Red lipstick makes me feel like a million bucks. (Although, it’s important to keep in mind the fact it transfers when you are kissing someone. Oops.) It’s okay- it was totally his color. 
  19. It’s okay that I completely changed my entire belief system. It’s also okay that I am still learning about what I believe. 
  20. I still idolize newsmen. Spotlight was a phenomenal movie and I geeked out seeing journalists as heroes. 
  21. 20 minutes is plenty of time to spend looking at one of the wonders of the world. As long as you get a selfie. 
  22. Good natural light beats a filter any day. 
  23. Sometimes you see a picture of a dog and you know they belong in your family no matter the price or distance. 
  24. Honesty and open communication allow for amazingly intimate relationships. 
  25. The people who love you are not trying to fix you. They love you for who you are at that moment. 
  26. Good friends keep life interesting and keep the loneliness at bay. 
  27. Yoga hurts. Yoga speaks to me. Yoga haunts me. I have mixed feelings about yoga. Obviously. Sigh. 
  28. The miasmic hospital air cannot ruin your life if you find interests outside your career. This sentence is every bit as pretentious as I want it to be. 
  29. I will never be lost if I know where my home is. It’s with my family and the other people I love. 
  30. I have a lot of different definitions of love. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I get to do it just like Sinatra taught me. “My Way.” 
  31. It’s perfectly acceptable for my career to be about having a job. It does not need to define me. 
  32. My mother is still the first person I want to call with any big or little news. 
  33. I can’t stop buying and reading books. It’s an addiction for me. One I won’t give up. 
  34. Rental cars pretty much suck. Oh, and 100 on signs in Montreal does not mean mph. 
  35. Writing is still my favorite thing. I am still finding my voice and learning how to be authentic.
  36. You can’t tell the ones you love how much you love them often enough. Don’t save it for drunken ramblings… That diminishes the power of the statement. 
  37. And one to grow on: The comma still frustrates me immeasurably. Damn punctuation. 


All in all- it’s been a great year! I am pretty sure this year is going to be just as exciting! 
*I really like black and white shirts. It may be time to branch out more color wise. 

36 Things on my 36th Birthday

Insomnia and the Possum

No photo. 

I was just sitting out on my front steps as I frequently do. Simply minding my own business thinking about the movie I just finished watching. 

While I was lost in thought a cat came up and sat beside me. I absentmindedly reached out to pet it. Then, I turned to look. This was no cat. It was a possum. I touched a gigantic rat. Obviously I jumped and screamed a little. The critter jumped and ran away. I ran into the house and locked the deadbolt, just in case he/she wanted to come in. 

Despite having washed my hands twice, my heart is still pounding in my chest. I feel like I should wash again. What is this place with wildlife that is so friendly? 

Excuse me while I go take a shower. 

This is my last day as a 35 year old and I have been visited by a possum. What else could possibly be in store for me? 

Insomnia and the Possum

Endings


I hate endings. I hate the ending of books, movies, songs, even little internet videos. Somehow the ending always seems anticlimactic. It never seems to actually make me feel better about the loss. 

My job means I have lots of beginnings and lots of endings. All the hello and goodbye a girl could possibly handle. So, I choose to focus on the new beginning about to happen instead of the ending. It makes it all a little more tolerable. 

I am ready to go home. I am almost done here. It’s a little bit of a mixed bag of emotions. Lucky for me, I have a long drive to sort them all out. 10 more days until I hit the road. 4 more shifts until this assignment is over for a bit. 

It’s hard to stay focused. I’m going to spend the next few days packing up and sorting through the mountain of crap I ended up hanging on to. 

Trying not to focus on the parts making me sad. Focusing on the future. Remembering gratitude is a virtue. I get so many opportunities. 

Why is everything so emotional? I assume this is normal. I swear, I hate endings. 

Endings

Windows to my Soul

You know when you meet someone and you really can’t imagine what your life was like before them? 

I have several girlfriends who are like this for me. I don’t talk to them all every day. Some of them even live several states away from me. For some reason it is easy to take these friends for granted and rely too much on social media for keeping up. This is a mistake I fall prey to entirely more frequently than I like to admit. 

I cherish these girls. 

The important part about these relationships is how we always know what to say to each other. (Even more important is how sometimes we know when we just need to listen so we can get the crazy out before it takes hold of our entire lives.) 

These are the friends who don’t have to ask why I am misting up watching a Folger’s commercial. They don’t doubt that I became hysterical when Steve left Blue’s Clues. I’m still a little shaken up by that one. They now exactly how sick and twisted my sense of humor can get. They know how important living an honest and open life is to me. It’s almost like they are looking through windows right at the middle of my heart. 

We like and respect each other for exactly who we are at that particular moment. It’s enough. We don’t have to fix each other or save one another. We have the freedom to just be. 

Sometimes I forget to make time for these relationships. When I do this, I run the risk of allowing the friendship to wither from neglect. Relationships need tending. I have made so many mistakes in the past. I took friends for granted and we drifted apart. I don’t want to do that again. 

Lately I have been making it more of a point to speak to the people in my life. I use my voice. I focus on the conversation. It has helped immensely. It’s almost like it gives me a solid foundation. 

So, I am commiting to fostering better friendships with the people I love. I am glad I don’t need curtains for the windows to my soul. 

Windows to my Soul

Empire State of Mind

The world looks different 86 stories above the street. Despite the crowd of tourists I feel like we are the only two people in the universe. Picking out the most interesting views, wondering what lives are occurring behind the filmy windows of apartments, and watching the cars slowly advancing down the street. I have no worries at all. I reach out and his hand is right there. My fingers intertwine with his in a comfortable, easy grasp. I am having such a good time. 

The Art Deco lobby and the chrome finishes within the building shine brightly in the sunlight. I am reminded how small everything really is. This is just a moment in my life. Things will never be exactly like this again. I hope I can remember this feeling later. 

The Statue of Liberty is tiny in the distance. It’s odd how huge this sculpture seems in movies and on TV. From this vantage it is more simple. It is just a landmark. 

I have been excited about this weekend. It’s really our last chance to spend much time together before I leave the Northeast to head home. I am struck by my conflicting emotions. I can’t wait to go home and I am sad to be leaving him. 

This man has been such a good person for me. He has taught me about honesty and openness in relationships. I have learned more about communication than I thought possible. I have vacillated between fighting the ease of our situation and just accepting it for what it is. 

We have been dating since Valentine’s weekend. Our schedules have been a nightmare to navigate and we have just taken advantage of time when she was kind to us. There has never been any intention of this relationship being more than it is. We never pretended we were building a future together. We both dated other people. 

I always thought when you were in a relationship there were rules and expectations. Timelines that must be adhered to. I thought if I could not plan a future with someone, I should not be wasting time getting to know them. I thought emotional connections should be saved for people planning forevers. Relationships should be forced into submission until someone does something so egregious they can never be forgiven. 

I did not know I could have a healthy, loving connection with a man I would be leaving. I did not understand how investing in a relationship could be an investment in myself. 

There has never been any idea that this would continue after I go home. Life is not a movie. We are not going to decide to reunite and live happily ever after in the suburbs. 

I get something better. I get to know that perhaps you don’t only get one great love of your life. Maybe you can learn to love people while it lasts and appreciate the experience. I got to see how infatuation and all the mushy feelings I avoid can be fun and healthy. Those butterflies in my gut don’t mean I have to run away as fast as I can. 

I learned not all men are self-serving douchebags. I figured out how to move past my own insecurities and enjoy something as the reality it is. 

Love does not always mean forever. I was doing myself a disservice by feeling love was an anomaly that must be avoided. 

Yep, I did it. I loved and felt loved and I did not die. I believe I am better for it. I am no longer scared of being myself and letting someone in. I get to live for today and I am grateful. 

I will be leaving soon and I have a ton of happy memories of my time here. I will always remember this winter as a time full of new experiences and adventures. I will always think of my Tinderbabe and be happy I loved him. 

Empire State of Mind

The Beginning

Exciting plans for the future. Huge goal and project to tackle. Lots of preparation and training are commencing now!
The Princess- Lady Quirky is gonna go beyond the mud. This will tackle every single fear I have. More on that later.

Adventuring the Pacific Crest Trail

The beginning. In March of 2015 Ladyquirky and I (along with 40 friends) completed our first Tough Mudder event in Mesa Arizona. It was a blast, a challenge, and an incredible experience. From that though we became great friends. To the point where I’m Little Bro and she’s Big Sis.

Today marks the new beginning; the day we both decided to commit to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Cue a cheesy Frodo and Sam go to Mordor reference. We’re shooting for Spring of 2018. This blog will be used to track our progress as we prepare for that goal, and when we’re on the trail, will be where we update our status / do reflections.

The goal is to end up saying “I lived” after every major adventure.

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The Beginning

Hiding in the Open


This is a beautiful day. The breeze is cool, the sun is just starting to come up, and the world is shaking off her sleepy cobwebs. This little fella (obviously I am assuming it is a he, we were not introduced) is awake and doing whatever it is squirrels do first thing in the morning. 

I imagine his name is Stan. He works hard and plays harder. His squirrel buddies like to meet up at the end of a long day and share a snack. The morning is time for work though. He is taking a break up here on the pole. Just hanging out while the sun warms his fur. He has no worries. He is hidden from danger. Stan fits in. 

Humans have this ability too. We are able to disguise ourselves so we can fit in. We can hide the most unique aspects of our soul to avoid drawing too much attention. This is our mistake. 

I know I tried too hard for years to be the girl I thought others wanted me to be. I kept my thoughts to myself. No. Not quite. I wanted to. I never actually succeeded. I was always too much and too little all at the same time. 

I don’t know what changed for me. I think I grew tired of trying to figure out the expectations others had for me. I was bored with trying to be someone else. I was frustrated with how unsettled I felt. My skin crawled over my bones. I was inauthentic to my core. 

So, I allowed myself to just be me. I stepped out of the shadows and at first the sun was too much. I would dart back to the brush and cower from the light. I struggled to live this new way of life. 

I did not have to rebel against authority or prove my point any longer. I had spent so long fighting both for and against myself and everyone around me until I was exhausted. I surrendered in order to save myself from an exceedingly messy battle. Perhaps this is simply growing up. 

It’s amazingly difficult to allow myself to be me. It’s hard to juggle tact with being honest. I still have a tendency to overreact and I am still strident at times. Sometimes I am unsure of what I want to accomplish on a given day. 

My interests tear a wide path of ideas. Expert in nothing while interested in so much. I find my brain gets overloaded by the foreign information. I can only process little bits at a time. My conversations are frequently random and hard to follow. 

Every day is a new adventure for me. Every interaction is a chance to learn something new. I try to keep an open mind. I try to remain teachable above all else. I feel like I am learning more about compassion than I ever knew before. There are so many different sides to each story. I am learning to appreciate the different perspectives. 

Sometimes I still hide. The good news is I very rarely find myself hiding from myself though. I am no longer ashamed of who I am. This is the most free I have ever been. I am open to new experiences and ideas. 

It is new and strange to feel this content. I still have my internal motor, but it no longer leaves me feeling anxious about running out of time. Now it just allows me to feel alive.  

So I don’t have to hide anymore. I get to be me. In what ways do you still find yourself hiding? What would it look like if you stepped out into the sunshine? 

Hiding in the Open

The Greatest


I am The Accidental Boxer. I have spent many hours staring at this man’s athletic form on posters in the boxing gym I go to at home. It was a welcome distraction imagining his muscles rippling beneath a sheen of sweat. 

I was 16 the first time I remember having much thought about Muhammad Ali. I was watching him light the torch at the Olympics. I’ll never forget feeling like I was witnessing one of the strongest men on the planet overcoming an obstacle. 

I feel like I have more courage in my life because of the example The Greatest set for me. 

I am going back to the boxing gym as soon as I get home. I am going to continue to believe I can do anything I put my mind to. I am going to live a life without fear. 

RIP. You fought and won the hearts of the world. You truly are still The Greatest. 

The Greatest

Trendy or Sucker?


I know people who eschew “trendy” things as a matter of some sense of obligation to leading an authentic life. Whatever. 

Sometimes things are trendy because they are fun! I am usually late to the party. I only hear of awesome things long after everyone else has started doing it and they are becoming cliche. 

Today I saw about a million posts about Starbuck’s Pink Drink on the book of faces and it sounded yummy. So, I went and bought one. I took the obligatory picture of my lower calorie than some refreshment. Then, I drank this deliciousness in a plastic cup.

I felt refreshed. I did not feel all that much cooler. Okay, that’s a lie. I felt immensely cool. I felt like one of the elite beverage drinkers of the world. 

Whatever. 

I like Facebook. I like trending things. Perhaps instead of just being a poser, I could consider myself educated and resourceful. 

Come on, you could not expect me to drink Soy Chai Lattes with no water forever could you? It’s summer. 

I needed a refresher. Like everyone else. Maybe it’s just a trend because it tastes like summer in a cup. 

Don’t judge me. I do that enough as it is. I don’t seek to be cool. It’s just a happy byproduct of learning how to order off the secret menu at Starbucks. 

Trendy or Sucker?