Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A group of us were talking with one of our previous professors earlier this afternoon at the pinning ceremony for the graduating nursing students. He's an amazing professor, and a lot of us look up to him. He told us of a story he had been told by another much-respected individual in the nursing profession...

We all live in this strange (but fascinating) zig-zag pattern. We have ups, and we have downs. Zigs, and zags.

We were told that it's important to have a safety net around us, so our zags don't end up below the previous zig. (Am I making any sense?) It's so important to keep living in an upwards pattern. Our professor said to zig and zag in a way so that when we're at the top, we can look back and say "How the hell did I get up here?"

What is your safety net? Mine is my family, my boyfriend, my cats, my friends and my fellow nursing students. I also have my spirituality, my joy in my work, and the deep-seated knowledge that every day is a new opportunity.

I used to zag a lot. It seemed, some days, that I would zag forever and that there was no bottom to hit. I decided one day that I really needed to zig... this zagging thing was really getting old! I zigged away, going back to school and really developing myself into the person I saw myself as becoming. There have been some zags thrown in there from time to time, just to keep it interesting, but I'm zigging at a right pace right now, thanks to my confidence and my safety net. I love my safety net. It's always there when a zag is on the horizon, threatening my zigginess.

I'm consistently getting up there in levels that I never dreamed that I would reach. I'm determined to get to the top and look back, and say "How the hell did I get this high!?" Know what? I'm glad I'm not afraid of heights, because I'm already pretty high up here. I should have brought a flag or something.

Go for it. Zig. You can do it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Short hiatus

I'm fine, I promise...

I have my last final of the semester tomorrow morning, and I've been SO busy with work, and our student organization as well. In the final stages of getting over this cold, which put a lot of things on the back burner for awhile.

I promise to be back soon. :) And I will bring new levels of Awesomeness!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving, in every sense of the word.

A friend of mine recently invited me to read some of his writings, something which I was truly honored and humbled to do. Our written words are often a black-and-white representation of what we truly hold within, who we are, and what (and how) we've lived. In his writing, he expressed much joy with the little things. I think this is important for all of us to do, and something that I enjoy writing about.

I had a patient who was on hospice care, and who had rapidly declined. I was in her room, assisting her with breakfast, when her doctor paid a visit. He asked her all of the regular mental status questions, quick and to the point. She reached over and took my hand while he was questioning her. She would look over at me, and whisper, "What building is this, honey?" as if the doctor couldn't hear her doing it. The hospice nurse and I laughed, yet the doctor looked as if this was wasting his time. This woman joked and laughed with me, and would interrupt the doctor to ask, "Is your arm getting tired, honey?" because I was reaching over to hold her hand. These were a few precious moments of clarity and humor for this woman, and I was blessed to be a part of it. The hospice nurse and I talked quietly in the hall for a few minutes afterwards, and he told me that it was the first time in about four days that he had seen her smile.

It's the little things that can really make someone joyful, if only for a few minutes. Sadly, later that afternoon, she declined even further. I was happy that she was happy just for a little while.

I am so thankful for my patients. I am thankful for the other CNAs and nurses that made it possible for me to assist her; they took a few of my calls because they understood what it meant to have this woman laughing.

This Thanksgiving, I will be spending it with my family. I will be cooking up a storm, because that is how I relax. I love to cook, and I love to bake. Something in the activities of stirring and kneading and snapping beans and assembling the sweet potato casserole transports me into another plane in which there are no exams, no papers, no need for Foley catheters or vital signs every 15 minutes during blood transfusions. I am simply there, with the oven and stovetop, giggling with my Dad over past memories of exploded baked potatoes. And being needled into baking him his favorite lemon-walnut biscotti.

Yes, Dad, I will do that. Don't you worry. :)

p.s. Sweet potato casserole is a spin-off of my grandmother's recipe.
  • Canned sweet potatoes (okay, they're yams, but I can't say the word "yam" without just laughing my fool head off because it sounds so funny)... so 4 big cans of those.
  • Brown sugar, probably about 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground allspice to your taste. I never measure these.
  • Amaretto and Bourbon. Again, I never measure. Whatever tastes good and flammable.
  • Pinch of salt
  • Enough of the little marshmallows to cover the Western Hemisphere
Using a handmixer or potato masher, mush the whole mess together. Make sure there is enough spice and Amarettoeyness in there. I like to leave some chunks in there to make it look more rustic. Plop the whole mess in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, and then squish the marshmallows in an enormous layer on top, making sure to cover every millimeter in sugary, poofy goodness.

This part is important... put the baking pan on a cookie sheet. This way, when some marshmallows expand and inevitably fall off, you will not have an impossible cleaning task the next day. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the marshmallows are that gorgeous golden brown color.

Where was I?

Oh yes, the little things in life. Go out there and enjoy them! We're all so busy in whatever it is that we're doing that we overlook things. When we had that huge power outage here a couple of months ago, it was bizarre to have no power, no TV, no internet, no phone lines, nothing. After a few hours, it became nice! There was communication between neighbors and family members. There was politeness and quiet and realizing that there is a whole world around you. The small flame of a candle became as bright as an overhead fluorescent light, because it really did show you what was around you.

Reach out with your hands. Touch rose petals. Feel the cold rainwater when you splash through a puddle. Listen to the dog bark down the street... is he barking happily because his humans are home? I love waking up in the morning and hearing my cat snoring. She's happy and warm and cuddled against me, and there is nothing in the world like that.

If you have family photos around your house, look at them.  We get so used to having so much stuff around us that we never appreciate it. Remember those times, and cherish those memories.

Savor the first sip of whatever it is you're drinking. Sit in a sunbeam when you read your paper in the morning. Feel the energy of the world around you. We plod through our days with schedules and lists and "OHMYGOSHI'MRUNNINGLATE". There is always time to stop and breathe. Take a deep breath and feel the life in our universe comingling with your life. We're all here together. Isn't it amazing to think of all the living beings on this Earth?

I challenge you today to stop and find three little things that make you happy. Three little things that you probably would have overlooked on a normal day. When you find them, write them down and tape them to a place you see every day.

Life is beautiful. We just need to step outside of our own selves for a little while.

Friday, November 11, 2011

1 Lint, 2 Lint, 3 Lint, zzzz...

Once a upon a time, there were two sparkly unicorns. Their names were Fluff and Softy.

   "Fluff"                                "Softy"

(Obviously, you can't tell how fluffy and soft they are because they're sparkling like mad. Blinding, even. I mean, the glitteriness of these two makes your head want to spin around. Especially "Fluff". Her golden awesomeness is like taking a Bedazzler straight to your eyeballs. Forget about punching gems into your favorite Levis. This is right at the source.)

Anyways, Fluff and Softy were having a great day flying around in the clouds. Fluff's wings had been accidentally glitter-painted to her sides, but Softy was able to pull Fluff around in a red wagon. (Softy is pretty buff for a tiny little pink pony-unicorn.)

Backstory to their happy flying-ness, Fluff and Softy had been recently freed from their hiding spot in the Pocket of Protection. It was a fortress, really. See, there was a riot earlier in the day; someone had left their restaurant leftovers tucked away in one of the clouds, and the stupid Earthly seagulls had found it, and were just going mad in a frenzy.

That pad-thai is delicious, yo.

Fluff and Softy had galloped into the Pocket of Protection at a full rate once the Seagulls had become rather unhinged and squawky. They were unaware of the wonders they would find there.

Softy skidded on something (it was dark, she had no idea what it was, and didn't really care to find out) and landed in a pile of something marvelously cushy. "What is this magical stuff!" she said to Fluff. Fluff replied, "Softy, I don't know, but it is luxurious and I could just spend all day rolling around in it."

(What the sparkly unicorns didn't realize, but of course you and I do, is that this Pocket of Protection was filled with pocket lint. That spectacular, mysterious, enchanting, squishy stuff that seemingly appears whenever you need to dig change out for the parking meter.)

Rainbow colors, even!

Fluff and Softy hung out in the Pocket of Protection for several hours, frolicking in the lint and listening to the madness happening outside. "Wow, Softy," said Fluff, "Pad-Thai must have some addictive qualities to it. Listen to those silly Seagulls losing their feathers over it." (Yes, Fluff, yes it does.) They were lucky that these were Pad-Thai Seagulls, and not Unicorn Seagulls. The Unicorn Seagulls had attacked the cloud-colony earlier that year...


The two sparkly unicorns soon became hungry from all their frolicking and bounding and leaping. Amazingly, they found a corridor within the Pocket that led to a sweet shop and bakery. Fluff looked at Softy. "Uh-oh. This could be dangerous." Little did they know the wondrous properties of sugar.


Fluff and Softy ate so much candy and so many cupcakes that they were soon radiating rainbows and hearts and stars. The space-time continuum began to slow down and seemed to reverse. Fluff ran in circles over and over and over, until Softy mewed at her to slow down... "Fluff, you're making me dizzy!" Fluff squeaked back, "No, Softy, that's just the swirls on your lollipop! Must go faster!"

Rainbows and glitter streaked out of the Pocket of Protection, effectively scaring the Seagulls away from their prize. Pad-Thai rained down outside the cave as the Seagulls flew screaming into the night sky. Fluff and Softy collapsed in the pocket lint in exhaustion as the sugar-high mellowed out. They soon fell asleep to dreams of marshmallow clouds and magical fairies.

Thanks to @cherokeegirl74 for the conversation which led to this craziness. ;-)

Photo credits
Gold unicorn:
Pink unicorn:
Unicorn meat:
Rainbow lint:
Candy unicorn:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day 10

I thought the last blog topic was bad enough, but this one is even tougher. *Sigh* I'm going time-traveling for this one, as I think the music I listen to now is just fine by current standards.

"Declare your love for an uncool band."


Aw, go ahead. Laugh. Laugh all you want to. Little do you know how awesome they were back in 1990. And how my friend and I even flew to Detroit to see them in concert. Twice.

You don't know that my other friend and I had contests as to how much New Kids crap they could pin to their walls. I wasn't allowed to use pushpins on my newly painted (hot pink, oh yes) walls, so y'all should have bought stock in Scotch Tape back in 1990. Because I used about 25 rolls of the stuff that year. Actually, probably in about a month. Did you also buy stock in Teen Beat and BOP magazine? Frickin' embarrassing, really. The trees we killed for our own visual pleasure.

I knew people with the bedsheets and comforters, and pillowcases, and T-shirts, and pins and keychains, patches, jackets, beachtowels, books, jewelry and shoelaces. I know I had some of these, I don't remember exactly what. Definitely not the bedsheets. I draw the line at faces on my sheets, ever since my childhood nightmares with Raggedy Ann and Andy sheets. Those eyes glowed in the dark and messed me up.

I had cassette tapes (for those of you born after 1987, those are these little rectangle things that have thin strips of plasticy stuff, and music magically plays when you put these rectangles into a thing called a Walkman.) My friends and I played these things until the tapes snapped and we, in a panic, tried Scotch-taping them back together, which didn't work really well, so we just went out and bought new ones. I know I had most of their albums. Even the Christmas one. "Little Drummer Boy" was my favorite.

Those were the days where we made our own mix tapes off the radio, too. Call in on a Sunday morning and make dedications? Yes, that was us. We were obnoxious.

It still trips me out to see Donnie Wahlberg on the big screen as an actor. I'm used to him rockin' that weird side-to-side dance move to "The Right Stuff". Joey McIntyre will forever be 14 years old. Danny Wood will be Mr. Buff. Jordan Knight will always have that gorgeous falsetto that was laughed at endlessly by people who just didn't get the romance. And Jon Knight, that sweet, shy boy, will always be up there at the top of my celebrity teen-crush list.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day 9

Really? I have to do this today!? Okay. Here it is. Hide your children, and be prepared to scream. I have extra Kleenex for those of you who break down and sob.

(Hangs head in shame)

That's so awful. I am not normally this much of a disaster zone. More of a creative slob, I would say. Over the summer my house was spotless, however once school started back up, so did the piles.

This particular desk (which is really a dining table) houses everything having to do with my school, work, and nursing students' association stuff (which is now TWO board positions instead of just the one.) I am working on several projects at the moment, which is clearly evidenced by the pile of chaos going on here.

I think my Mom and I might officially now be in a "Desk-off" competition.

As you can see, The DayPlanner is on top of everything else, because I refer to it constantly. I also have my binder open because I'm constantly rifling through things in there, I have textbooks everywhere except the bookcase, I have various piles and stacks of association paperwork, and my poor laptop trying to get oxygen on the edge. The only thing missing from this picture is the giant mug of coffee that usually sits by me, but it's 7 at night and I would like to sleep in the next century. I also have name badge holders and a consistent pile of alcohol wipes which always seem to make it home in my scrub pockets after a shift.

It's temporary, and I know this. When I have breaks in the craziness, I like to clean. It's cathartic and makes me feel as if I'm cleaning out my mind.

Home maintenance, impaired, related to inadequate time management and insufficient energy levels, as evidenced by disaster zone on the dining room table and desire to curl up on the Magic Nap Couch with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Five things that make me smile

I love the blogs and women behind "Just Be Enough". We were asked to share five things that make us smile.

I smile a LOT. This is a toughie!

Ahem. *Giggles*


1. The fam. This is just a photo of the parents because The Man doesn't care to be shared on public domain, and the sister probably doesn't, either. She can tell me either way and I'll go from there. :)
But, let me tell you how AWESOME the parents are...

Mom and I like to put together puzzles and go to lunch and pretend we're going to have a healthy salad. Then we're all, "We're out to lunch for the first time in six months, screw the salad, let's get a big fat burger and fries." She rocks.

Dad and I like to go fishing and cook on holidays. Having a baked potato explode in our faces was the highlight of one Christmas, which caused a hell of a mess and much hilarity in the kitchen. Dad and I have had some of our best talks in the kitchen. He rocks, too.

The sis is out of this world. I love that girl. We still need to have our lunch date which we planned back in 2003 sometime.

2. KITTIES!!!!!!!

Bandit and Bubba are furballs of awesomeness. They have kept me sane and out of too much trouble. Bandit is a cuddlebug, and Bubba likes to knock you over in the hallway so you will play with him.

Bandit (left) and Bubba (right)

3. Batting cages. There is nothing in the world like going in there, smashing the living crap out of softballs for an hour, and feeling like you could rule the world. I also love playing softball, but haven't had time to because of school, work, and all of this other stuff. I am thinking of rejoining a league when I graduate. Because it's insanely fantastic.

Line drive, baby.

4. Carving pumpkins, and everything in the world having to do with Halloween and Autumn. I love doing simple pumpkins with various expressions. The first time you see your creation lit up at night is incredible and fills you with a sense of "Yeah, I totally did that." 

WTF are you looking at?

5. I'm on #5, right? I lose track. I don't think I stopped smiling all weekend, so it's hard to pick JUST ONE more thing that makes me smile.

This is random, but I love tall ships, especially the Star of India. Isn't she beautiful? I used to drive down to the harbor and just sit and stare at her. She's really gorgeous on the inside, too, all dark and shiny wood and energy.


There are a million other things that make me smile. The scent of lemon biscotti in the oven, nutmeg and cloves, a hot shower after freezing on the beach at a bonfire, marshmallows oozing over your fingers in s'more form, that first sip of Guinness, screaming your head off at a baseball game after a walk-off homerun, .... I could go on for days.

Start your day with a smile, and see where that takes you. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paranormal? Ghosts? These are some of my experiences.

I was talking with a friend on Twitter tonight, and she asked me if I had written about my experiences. Indeed, I have not. I've spoken of them to many people, but I think it's high time I write them down here. This is going to be a heck of a read, so sit back and have a pumpkin ale.

My first remembered experience was when I was about seven years old. My parents had taken me to the Whaley House in Old Town, San Diego. I don't recall exactly what the hell happened in there, on the second floor, but I do know I ran down the stairs, screaming, and out of the house. I guess there's a vortex at the top of the stairs in there. I don't know. All I know is that I remember smelling something strange, and I almost fell down the stairs in my haste to get out.  My parents were scared to death, thinking that I was being attacked by someone. Someone? Something?

I probably had several things happen over the next several years that I don't think really "hit me" in the way that did... and I was way too young to know what was really happening.

When I was in college (the first time), I dated a guy named Dave. We went to stay with his aunt and uncle in the middle of frickin' nowhere in central California. They owned this ancient farmhouse in the middle of a field, with a pond and forest about a quarter-mile away. There was an old train station nearby, too, which wasn't in service anymore. The whole place reeked of energy. I can still feel it now.

We were sleeping the first night, with Dave beside me and his younger sister sleeping on the floor at the foot of the bed. I woke up, suddenly, freezing cold. The room was pitch black except for the glow of the moon coming in the window. Although it was winter, I wasn't cold from the house being cold. This was a different cold. This was "something is in here right now" cold.

I was frozen. I couldn't move. Do you have those dreams in which you just can't move no matter how hard you try? Like that.

Then, in my ear, I heard "Calm. Be calm. Calmer... calmer..."

BE CALM??????

I knew, knew, that if I turned over, I would see her in the full-length mirror next to me.

Her name, it turns out, was Judith. She lived in that house during the early 1900's with her husband. One day she came home to find her husband in bed with the servant-girl. She pulled out a rifle and shot them both.

Dave's aunt told me this the next morning, when I told her why I hadn't slept all night. Evidently she was much the same as I, and would see and hear things around the house. She had researched the story herself a couple of years back, and told me that she had actually found a photo negative in the wall when they were renovating the kitchen. They had the photo developed, and it was of a woman holding a rifle. Judith's eyes were incredibly dark... not just shade, but full of hurt.

As of now, I kind of feel bad that I hadn't been strong enough to listen to her. I asked her to go away, that I was scared, and I hid underneath the sheets, shivering, for the rest of the night.

I had a few other things happen in the next few years... one time I tried on a jacket that had belonged to the grandfather of a friend, and I immediately felt as if I was having a heart attack. It turns out that his grandfather had died suddenly of a heart attack.  I saw shadows in his grandmother's house, and felt as if I was being followed, like someone wanted to talk to me but didn't know how. I didn't know how, either. I felt as if this was the grandfather, though, just curious as to who I was.

Years later, I went back to the Whaley House with a friend. I was a little wary of this, because twenty years earlier, I had been scared out of my mind. I tried to keep an open mind, and went into the building.

I was standing in the doorway between the storefront and courthouse, when I felt as if someone was sitting on my chest and choking me all at once. I couldn't get any breath at all, and I felt as if I was locked in a very dark and claustrophobic freezer. I backed up, in panic, thinking "Oh my God, it's happening again." This time, it was someone very tall, and he was angry. He was so angry. I retreated into the hallway, ready to run again. What the hell was going on with me that I was getting attacked in this house?! My friend was blissfully unaware, flipping through photo albums in the courthouse.

I stood against a wall, panting, in the hallway. It was a rare day where there were few visitors in the house, so I was alone. Tears were about ready to spill out of my eyes... I was scared, I was confused, I was unsure.

And then I felt it....

A cool, "clear", tiny airy hand wrapped itself around the fingers of my right hand. I followed this drafty, childlike kindness up the stairs to the landing overlooking the area in which I had been hiding in the hallway. There were three of them here, all below waist-height. White, blonde, blue ribbons, were images that I was receiving. The hand disappeared, but the immediate peace I felt was long-lasting. I felt as if I had been taken to a safe place.

I am forever grateful to these little ones. I went back a few months later to thank them, but they weren't there - at least not to the point where I could "see" them. Maybe it's because there were so many more people in the house. Maybe I didn't have the clarity I needed that day. I still whispered my thanks in case they were listening.

After speaking in private with the docent there, I learned a few things. My first name is the same as one of the Whaley daughters, who died in the house at an advanced age. I also learned that there were several Native American staff members back in those days, and the docent said that visitors in the house of Native American blood would often have experiences.  With me having Cherokee heritage, the docent believed that the spirits picked up on that and acted upon it. She also said that there were a few other people who had had the choking feeling. Upon further research, I learned that a gentleman named Yankee Jim had been hung on site, however he choked to death instead of having his neck snap immediately.

Was I feeling his anger? What he went through as he choked so slowly and painfully? Did those children think that I was one of their previous staff members and pulled me to safety? So many questions.

I will leave it here for now... I continue to hear and feel and see shadows. I am followed sometimes, but by nothing frightening. There are times where I can "hear" them, in my mind, much like I heard my Grandmother silently telling me that she was "going now", when she passed away. I am sometimes startled, but I am not afraid of them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Words

I asked today for my Twitter-loves to help me by sending me three words. This is the result. Their words, in order, are bolded.


I dreamt of the obscure, strangely-tilted sharpness of barbed-wire, which had been decorated lovingly by a small child with the crooked, elbow macaroni necklaces that every mother gets for Mother’s Day. 
Spotted Monarch butterflies danced in the air, flitting back and forth between the cold, gray, steel spikes, and the small child ate an over-filled peanut butter sandwich that she had made with pride that morning.
Over on the porch, a grinning Jack-O-Lantern looked on as a smiling sun crept over the cerulean sky and sprayed sunshine down on blonde curls. She carried a small, pink suitcase filled with secret treasures known only to her. 
Her name is Serene, and she was.
Nearby, a small, brown goat of the genus Capra nodded in agreement as he filled himself to the brim with soft, green grasses. The blonde curls danced in laughter as he nuzzled the small of her back. He was born on a Tuesday, and her daddy let her hold him for a few fabulous, precious seconds before giving him back to his mother.
She hears her name being called by a sweet, soft voice of a woman with hair like hers. As the curls trip up the wooden porch stairs, she sees that her mother has painted her toenails the color of pomegranates. She secretly hopes that she will get to pick out her favorite nail polish later, so she can show tiny, sparkly toes to her daddy. Two gray tabby cats rush by, meowing with pleasure at the thought of a romp in the tall grasses.
Inside the warm, inviting house, the Yankees game blares on the old radio; the announcer’s voice is offset by occasional static that sounds like a sudden hailstorm in the summertime. The last buttercups of the season are splayed in a small, clear glass vase on the kitchen table, holding onto the fading rays of summer. She takes off running, her footsteps echoing flatly on the wooden floors, reverberating oddly like blocked sinuses. The screen door flies open as she squeals out onto the porch, scattering the first fallen leaves with her whirlwind of excitement.
Her daddy is home.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I can't tell you how thrilled I am that it's October. This is one of my favorite months of the year, and the "official" entrance into my favorite season, Autumn. While "Fall" is another name for this season, I dislike the sound of it; the term makes me think of things crashing to the ground (I guess an unhappy side effect of working in hospitals with patients who are "fall risk".)

Leaves of a Thousand Colors (photo taken in Ukiah, CA)

Living in San Diego, we don't get a lot of color changes in the city. We usually have palm-tree-green and drought-brown. However, once you leave the smog and traffic and enter into the mountain areas, that all changes. Freeway noises are softened into whispering leaves of a thousand colors, rustled by cool breezes. The sounds of slamming doors and ear-piercing smoke detectors are replaced by the hum of local animal life, with excited chirps and scampering, furry chipmunk feet. The heavy stink of diesel and full garbage dumpsters are immediately forgotten with the first inhalation of smoke from fireplaces and apple pie fresh out of the oven.

I shiver with anticipation.

I love reaching skyward, plucking a glowing orange leaf from its stem, and holding the cool, downy side to my cheek. Running my hands over pumpkins and gourds, enjoying their unique textures and shapes. The feeling of a soft scarf wrapped around my neck, and gloves warmed from sitting on the car dashboard. The first sip of hot apple cider under a full moon, and the laughter about the smidge of whipped cream on the tip of my nose.

The explosion of color as squealing, giggling children pounce onto gigantic piles of gathered leaves.

Taken outside the Parducci Winery in Ukiah, CA

Autumn is a gift. The first day of this season is my "New Year". I am attuned with our Earth on an entirely new level during this season. While we have such joys as Pumpkin Ale, hot cocoa with pounds of marshmallows, pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts (amazing, you need to try these), and all that is cinnamon and nutmeg, this season offers reflection and beauty.

Look up from the keyboards and cellphones and DayPlanners. Do you see that? Can you feel that? No matter what your faith, religion, or spirituality, have you ever felt so loved by something higher than yourself?

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I love camping.

I haven't been camping in more than 4 years. Not because I haven't wanted to, but because of time schedules, school, work, family, The Man moving in, sharing of vehicle, that thing called money (Thing formerly known as money? Oh, that's my bank account.)

I loved to camp at Lake Cuyamaca near Julian, which is outside of San Diego. Julian is known for apple pie. It is also known to the Girl Scouts as CAMP! I developed a love for camping at an early age, when I went to summer camp at Camp Winacka. Horseback-riding camp was my favorite.

I loved being close to the horses, their soft, warm breath foggy in the early morning hours as we mucked out their stalls. I loved sneaking them apple slices from lunch, feeling the suede-like mouths move over my hands. I whispered secrets into their large ears, and received nodding responses in return. They kept my secrets. I've kept their love for all these years. At a time in my life where humans were confusing to me, these strong, dignified animals made sense to me.

Meet "Dinky", the smallest horse for the smallest rider (Me).

And meet "Rocky", the camp kitten who liked to sleep on my pillow.

I digress....

Lake Cuyamaca is an interesting place; depending on the amount of rain we get, the lake can be very small, or immense, crossing over the footpath leading to the peninsula. The waters can vary in color, from a deep indigo after a fresh rainfall, to more of a murky green from the algae and grasses living in the bottom. I love it all.

The fires in 2003 broke my heart when they ravaged this area. Enormous, gorgeous green trees were black, rotting stumps in seconds. The mountains and hills were black and brown rubble. Animal life ceased to exist for quite some time, having nothing to eat and nowhere to hide. Homes, memories, and lives were lost.

I returned to the area during a rough time in my life. I initially drove up for the day, and sat with my journal and camera by the Lake, writing some, but mostly staring off into the distance. I watched the clouds roll in and out, the ground squirrels chattering to each other, the long lines of ants making their way to wherever. I listened to the sound of the water splashing against the dock. I sat there for hours. I felt as if I had found my way home.

A couple of weeks later, I went back and stayed overnight, in the back of my truck. It wasn't true. So a few weeks after that, I bought camping gear and returned "for real".  I set up my tent, my camp stove, my chair, and brought out my flashlights and things that I would need for night. I set off on a hike around the peninsula, and was overjoyed to find a labyrinth. When I found it, it was completely covered in wild grasses, unfinished, and seemingly abandoned. I sat for hours in the center, feeling the wind and the energies around me. I was filled with a searing sense of "self". I returned to this place several times over the next few days.

I was shut off from the television, radio, and almost all phone contact, as cellular service in that area was not very good. I was in heaven. I missed my cats like mad, however I knew they were in good care, and would be understanding of my need to resurface my soul.

I went camping many times after that, and would often search out new spots. However, no spot seemed to be Home, like the Lake was. I would spend hours wandering the area, watching fathers and sons fish on the lake in tiny aluminum boats, and would share my flashlights with the giggling groups of high-school campers who had forgotten theirs at home. I would listen to the chittering of raccoons as they passed by my campsite, and would hear coyotes howling in the distance. I would look at the stars pass over through the roof of my tent, and relish the soft glow of the Milky Way.

One evening, I sat on a table overlooking the lake. The fog began rolling in, in strange patterns, tubelike, over the water. The sun was able to sift through the murky grayness from time to time. I was able to capture a moment that will forever be captured in my heart and mind. (All I did was darken the photo. No color was added, and nothing else tampered with.)

Do you see my Guardian Angel at the top?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from creaky, wooden mini-chairs in the backyard, from Wisk laundry detergent and 80 rolls of brown, 
Hi-Dri paper towels.

I am from yellow stucco, drains that gurgle whenever it rains, and the whooshing sound of coffee in the old percolator with the see-through plastic top.

I am from the bougain-villea, the cypress trees, and the pond that disappeared.

I am from player pianos and talking with your hands, from white beards, soft voices and colorful tattooes.

I am from slamming kitchen cabinets, cursing at defunct computer programs, and having too many papers on my desk.

From being adopted and being adored.

I am from a mixture of Paganism, Taoism, Buddhism, and the Green Flash. I am from the quiet curl of a baby fern leaf on the first day of Spring.

I am from San Diego, from Cherokee, Irish and English blood. I am from clam linguine and baked potatoes that explode when you open the oven door.

From the Wint-o-green Lifesavers on the patio over a card game, the Chasing of the Bunny, and playing superheroes on the enormous, brown swing-set.

I am from everywhere, bookcases, albums, fireplace mantels, computer files and libraries.

I am.

If you would like to use this prompt, please see HERE for the template.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day 7

Today's challenge: Share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.

For me, it's organization.

Now, arguably I'm clean, just cluttered. FlyLady helped immensely over the summer. The place was spotless. However, HOWEVER, I was not going to school during the summer. Once school hit, Typhoon Coriander blew through the damn house and upended everything. I'm happy to have a place to put this laptop. I can't see the loveseat because it's covered by clean laundry, textbooks, various coupons, and paperwork that I "might need tomorrow".

The Man is understandably frustrated. Bubba (the cat) is all, "Ooohh. Cool shit to play with and knock under the fridge and you will never see it again. Ha-ha-ha." Bandit (other cat) is like, "Whatever. C'mere and let me sit on your lap."

I am HUGELY organized with my scheduling, however. This semester we're required to do many things outside of school, plus with being on the Board of Directors in our organization, I have a zillion things to do all at one time.

Um, sure. I can fit you in... how's next February?

That is my actual dayplanner for the month of September. It has more stuff in it now since I took that picture a few days ago. I should have weighed the damn thing before and after I actually wrote, because I could probably buy stock in ink or something based by poundage.

I left my dayplanner at home today. I felt naked. Naked is not a good look for a nursing student on campus. 

(I wasn't actually naked.)

So while I'm great at planning and putting stuff on those pages, I'm not so great at organizing my home while I'm doing all the stuff on those pages. I come in the door and plop. I like to plop. Plopping on The Magic Nap Couch is a pleasantry that I haven't had much time for. There is also Norco. Norco has helped my shoulder feel better at night but does absolutely balls at offering me spare time when I am actually conscious and able to move.

Last night I was on The Magic Nap Couch trying to focus on House of Leaves and I ended up waking up at 4:30 in the morning. On the couch. With the book still on my stomach. Thanks, Norco. However, when I came back from a potty break, I found this:

Bandit absorbing the nightmare of the story through osmosis

So as you can see, my organizational un-skills weave their way through my thoughts as well. Start with a blog about a messy house, end with a cute picture of a cuter kitty who is claiming my book for herself.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


There are a million blog posts, Facebook entries, and Twitter feeds about what people experienced on this day 10 years ago. All of us have our own stories.

I was in Hawaii with my now-ex-husband and his family. We had awoken astonishingly early that morning to the promise of a helicopter ride around the island of Kauai. It was an absolutely beautiful morning for 3:30 a.m., humid after the rainstorm that had come through the day before. I had had my usual breakfast of fresh Hawaiian pineapple and Kona coffee. I was feeling a bit nauseated at the time (from a pregnancy that I wasn't yet aware of).

We arrived at the small airfield only to be turned away by a woman with a look of horror on her face. "A plane has flown into one of the Twin Towers," she said. All air traffic had been grounded.

We returned to the hotel and turned on the TV just in time to watch the second tower fall. My mother-in-law and I were horrified, tearful, and scared to death. We were on an island, hours away from family, and all air traffic had been halted. Phone lines were slow to reach my family. It turns out that a cousin was supposed to be in one of the towers that morning. He, thankfully, had been delayed at home.

My now-ex-husband was evidently untouched by what was happening, and kept telling his mom and me to calm down. I hated him so much at that moment for being so cold. (I really don't have any idea what was happening in his own head.) I took solace in my frequent phone calls to my parents, afraid that it would be a long time before I could see them again. Afraid that I would never get off that island. Afraid that we would be attacked, that my parents' city would be attacked, that life would never be the same.

The screams coming from the television echo still.

We eventually did make it out of Hawaii, accompanied by guards with machine guns and their German Shepherds. Tensions ran high among the throngs of people in the airports, and we were all terrified and silent the entire flight home. Reaching the mainland safely inspired a new outburst of tears from several.

I honor those who fought so hard to rescue people who needed help. I honor those who lost their lives. I honor those who continue to grieve for people they love. I honor those who, every day, strive to make our country a safe place.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I imagine most of the country heard about our blackout here yesterday and last night which affected about 6 million people. While it was "only" an 8-hour long blackout for us, it lasted longer for some people, and might still be affecting people in various parts.

We were in lecture at the time, and many of us had been distracted by Twitter and Facebook, listening to people saying how the power had just gone off here and there. I was wondering how long it would take to hit our campus. At 4:18, "click". The room went dark and it became eerily silent. After about 15 minutes, a loud siren sounded, with a voice over the speakers telling everyone to remain calm, and to leave their classrooms. My friends and I tried to figure out what to do, because two of us had taken the trolley to campus, and guess what? The trolleys run on electricity. My friend offered to give me a ride to my car, and the other friend took the bus.

That was when the second siren went off. We looked up to see police helicopters soaring over the campus. The siren was an eerie downgrade WOOOOOO-WOOOOOOO reminiscent of concentration camps and tornado sirens. My friend and I hightailed it across campus to the voice saying, "We are closing the campus. Please leave immediately and listen to emergency service personnel."

It was like we were being invaded. Or there was something awful about to happen. Maybe it already had happened.

The parking structure and the surrounding streets were in a standstill. After 25 minutes of sitting in the parking structure, we got out and went to the Veteran's "hang-out" for two hours. It was hotter than hell in there, being almost 100 degrees outside. We stayed there for two hours, trying to get any cellphone service or data plan usage. Nothing. It was like the world had stopped. The landlines didn't work, either.

After leaving, we were able to get to the trolley station where my car was. It was a slow and dangerous process because the stoplights were out and people were real brainless, not treating a dead stoplight like a stop sign. People blew through these dim lights like they didn't exist, and almost crashed. It was horrific.  The freeways were so congested that you would have thought the cars had broken down. As I drove by stores, cars were double and triple parked. The local 7-11 had a line going out the door and around the building.

The whole time I was worried about my cats in that heat.

I got home (finally), and one cat had already been sick. The other was hiding under the bed, probably in the hopes that Antarctica had magically shifted earthly positions. The Man was on the couch, apparently having melted into the fabric. Everything was slow.

There was no phone service at all. My parents, who live 20 minutes away, were unreachable. I had camping equipment and candles and water. I was not worried about us, but about those around us. I made sure my elderly neighbor was okay. We settled down for the evening and waited for it to cool down.

Eventually, it did. The moonlight shone through the windows, and I stared at the stars, which normally are unseen due to city lights. The constant electronic hum had silenced. Neighbors' voices sifted through the night, and we were able to hear people from blocks away. Normally I would be annoyed at this, but something about candlelight and the "escapist" feeling made it okay, and actually comforting. I received sporadic text messages from my family and friends (actual calls couldn't be made, but some texts got through).

At around midnight, our lights came on. I went to bed in peace, knowing that I would be able to get ahold of my family in the morning. When the lights came on, it was like the silence had been shifted. It was like an insult to the eyes. Such quiet and calm had been disrupted, which was in exact opposition to earlier thoughts that the quiet and calm had been the disrupting factors.

Maybe we need to shut off our own electricity more often. There is a human connection out there that nobody seems to know what to do with until hours after the power has gone out.

I issue a challenge, one that I'm going to take myself: Life your life in quiet candlelight once in awhile. Rekindle a human relationship with those you live with. If you don't live with anyone, rekindle that relationship with yourself, in the quiet.

We are all so surrounded by, and infused with, this technology and electricity that we don't know what to do when we don't have it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What happens when I think I have a lucid dream. #LifeFail

I'm now on the hunt for unicorns.

By now, you should know enough about me to be able to not call the local authorities, because I'm just weird all by myself.

So last night I woke from what I thought was a lucid dream. Creepy shivers and navy blue haze and a lone, barren tree far off in the distance. Sitting on a rock in the center was someone that I talk to a couple of times a week via a social site. We've never met, but have thrown fully-capitalized sentences back and forth just for fun.

He would trace single words into the blue haze surrounding him, and then his arm would fall, as if in defeat. He would try again. And his arm would, again, fall by his side. It was disheartening and very sad. The frustration and sense of loss filled me, and I couldn't shake it.

So what do I do? I tell him about it. Because I am totally lame.

He tells me that he's fine, really, and he hasn't drawn words in blue fog for at least 7 months.

I tell him that I'm so glad he's moved on from that phase.

He tells me he's moved on to red fogs and whole sentences.

I tell him how proud I am of his growth, and to let me know if he starts seeing unicorns.

He says, "Or should maybe... you... let me know if you see unicorns?"


I was able to shake this "vision", because after all, he was okay, and not only that, I was getting hugged and kissed by one of my patients as she was being discharged from the hospital.

She and her husband have been married for almost 60 years. They were incredibly cute to each other. He told me how they met (which I won't disclose here based on patient privacy), and that he still loves her now as much as he did back then.

I cried.

I'm sappy. What can I say?

I think love is an incredible thing.

And unicorns.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm going to Panama in January, and need your help!

Okay people,

If I haven't put you off yet by talking about death, or random people selling random disgusting things on the internet, or telling you all about C. diff., then consider yourself rad.

I need your help. WE need your help.

This coming January, with a fabulous group from my university, we will be providing medical care to people in Panama. We need donations, not only for us getting there in the first place, but to be able to buy simple things like Tylenol and toothbrushes.

Think about it. Some of these people don't know what a toothbrush is. Doesn't that blow your mind? These families receive medical care twice, maybe three times A YEAR, if they're lucky. And, all of that is provided by groups like ours. They don't have a place to go if they are sick. We have to come to them. Think about how blessed we are to live in this country. Yes, some of us don't have health insurance. But we're still able to find help if we need it.

I believe this is going to be the experience of a lifetime. What an awesome thing to be able to take into my future nursing career. I know I'm going to be surrounded by nothing but love and the knowledge that we were able to really make a difference. I can't wait for that first smile.

So, what do you think? Can you help? Will you help? I'm not asking for a million dollars, only what you might hand over for your McGriddle in the morning. You will have my eternal thanks, because it's YOU who were able to make this dream a reality for so many people.

Thank you in advance. Please forward this to anyone you think might be able to help.

If you want more information on the Medical Brigades, please click this link. And if you're able to be of assistance, please click the "Can you help" links above. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why do I want to be a hospice nurse?

I'm asked this question a lot. Many people are concerned with me going into a career that involves so much death. These same people don't seem to realize that hospice involves a whole lot of Life, too.

I was originally going to school to work on my kinesiology degree so that I could get personal training certification and help people to live healthier lives. I had been through a lot with my own health, and I wanted to be there as a cheerleader and coach for people who wanted to follow their own path.

Then my Grandma's health declined.

My Grandma had been my best friend since I was a little girl. I would visit her when she lived in Florida, and she would come out to stay with us for weeks at a time. I remember telling her, through a message written in Scrabble tiles, that I had started my period. She smiled at me and said, "Oh goodie, now you can give me great-grandchildren!" (I was 13. She was teasing. I think.)

When I was a rebellious teen, I would often stay with Grandma in her "tin can" house not far from my parents. We would get up early in the morning, make Taster's Choice coffee, and go watch Regis and Kathie Lee. If it was tennis season, we would watch Andre Agassi smoke the pants off his opponents, and she would tease me about my crush on him. She would make me tapioca pudding and microwave pizzas, and bring me warm things to calm my painful mouth after a visit to the orthodontist. We would sit out on her patio and people-watch, commenting on the awful clothing the other senior citizens would wear. On Sundays, I would accompany her to church, even though I felt out of place in that old building.

Grandma became weak and weary very quickly. She often told me that she'd had enough. The last time my boyfriend visited with her, she told him "I love you. Take care of my girl." It was like she was welcoming the end, and I couldn't really blame her. She had been through a lot in the last few years, emotionally and physically.

I was called by my dad one day, and he told me that Grandma had been put into hospice care. Within 24 hours or so, it became Crisis Care, which means that death was imminent. I took time off from school to be with my family, and we took turns sitting by her bedside. The hospice nurses were amazing, and spoke with all of us about anything and everything. They soon became a part of our family.

One afternoon, I was sitting by myself with Grandma, studying my Anatomy book. I was holding one of her hands. She wasn't really conscious at the time anymore, but I still felt her with me. I took a break from reading, and told her that I would be okay, that I had a great man in my life and that I wanted to marry him. Very slightly, she squeezed my hand.

It was early one afternoon, and Dad and I were sitting with Grandma. Suddenly, her breathing changed, and my heart stopped. The nurse put her hand on my shoulder, and said that it was close. Dad and I changed positions so that we were on either side of Grandma, each holding one of her hands. We spoke of memories while her breathing slowed. She took one more deep breath, then was still. I remember sitting there, waiting... waiting... waiting for another breath.

Nothing. She was gone.

I fell apart. My best friend was gone. I remember feeling the weight and warmth of the hospice nurse's hand on my back as I sobbed into my Grandmother's neck. I still cry now, remembering that day.

Turning around after I had calmed some, I saw the nurse was crying, too. And that, that moment, is when I felt my life change.

Two weeks later, I changed my major to nursing. I began volunteering for the same hospice program that had helped us so much. I remembered how the hospice program had treated my other grandmother back East, and that solidified my determination. I wanted to help families the way that we had been helped.

Hospice isn't just about dying. It's about helping patients and their families to really live during those precious last few moments.

Holding hands for the last time.
(Me and Grandma)

Monday, August 22, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day 5

Quick blog tonight because I'm supposed to be working on orientation stuff for tomorrow morning. 5 a.m. comes quickly, and this needs to get done. 

Procrastination at its finest.

Today's challenge is to rave about an uncool movie that you love. I love many uncool movies. I thrive on the SyFy channel's Saturday night escapades with bad CGI and stories of crocodiles the size of mountains. I love 80's kitschy movies that have absolutely no plot at all. I crave the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies.

1. Twister

While this might seem like a cool movie to many, it was NOT a cool movie to many more. When this movie came out, I was an amateur meteorologist in love with severe storms. I wanted to chase tornadoes. I watched every video imaginable. I still have about 7 VHS tapes of tornado programs. I love the stuff.

I saw the movie 14 times in theaters. By the 8th go-round, the ticket guy just let me in. By the 12th, I was usually the only one in the entire theater. I still watch it when it comes on TV. I used to have the movie poster in my bedroom.

I'm a dork.

2. Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Remember this one? Ugly-as-f*** clowns come down, kidnap poor, unsuspecting citizens by doing shadow puppets, and then wrap them in cotton candy until they dissolve into a gooey, sticky mess?

Yes, I still love cotton candy.

3. The Money Pit

Have you seen this? It stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a couple who find an unbelievable deal on a mansion. As soon as they buy the house, it falls apart. Hilariously. My favorite scene is when the bathtub falls through the floor, and Tom Hanks starts laughing hysterically. Cracks me up every time.

4. Earth Girls Are Easy

Remember, Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans are furry aliens that are made over by Cyndi Lauper and Geena Davis?

Uh, yeah. *drool* Jeff Goldblum. (Embedding disabled... blah.)

So, there are a few of my favorite things. Now back to my regular scheduled programming, which includes a lot of hot tea, Benadryl, and hopefully some sleep soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Power of Laughter

"Thank you. I haven't seen her smile or laugh in months."

This is what a patient's family member told me today as she was leaving the hospital. While I considered this a huge compliment, I was immediately saddened that it had been months since this woman had any publicly-displayed joy. I also was confused, as my patient and I had had a fantastic day (minus a couple of intense "sundown" hours) in which we giggled and planned a trip to Paris.

She did her hair and I brought her a choice of gowns to wear. Her eyes lit up at the green gown with the blue pattern, and she caressed it like I imagined Marie Antoinette caressed a new silken fabric. We pretended that her bedroom slippers were pointy-toed satin pumps. I made a big show of tying the bow in the back of her gown, fussing about as if it was some slippery ribbon that needed to be bowed perfectly.

When her dinner came, I made much out of the plastic domed plate, whisking the dome away with a washcloth over my arm as if she was in an expensive French restaurant, being served escargot and fine wine. I poured water out of the pink plastic pitcher as if it were Dom Perignon of the finest quality. When she went to sleep, it was on the best linens, of pink silk spun from Brazilian caterpillars.

Now I sit here in my plaid pajamas, eating Nutella with a spoon, while my princess slumbers in fairyland. I laugh and cry at the same time, enjoying the memories of today, and hope with all my heart that she might have more times like this in the future.

Did it take effort? Not at all. Did it take anything away from my day? Absolutely not. My life was enhanced by knowing this woman for half a day. I became a Duchess, today. I was on a cruise to Thailand with my new friend. We flirted with handsome pilots (paramedics) and conspired with each other to buy the freshest produce on the island before any of the other tourists could. The purple orchid that came on her dinner plate was immediately traded between her hair and mine, until she said that I was prettier than the flower, and I could keep it as a memory of our trip.

So, my Countess, I hope you are having sweet dreams. I hope you are in far-off lands with some dashing prince from a small country who drapes you with emeralds. You are beautiful. Thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I lived in a closet.

There is a wonderful blog/site entitled “Just Be Enough”. The ladies who contribute to this site have offered their stories, and have asked us to stand up and BE PROUD of ourselves. We are asked to tell of a moment that we are proud of. That makes us feel strong. That gives us a boost every day to get out there and do it again.

I want to tell you about what it feels like to know that you have beat something that literally kept you living in a closet when everyone else was out living life. I want to tell you how it feels to be able to take out the trash. I want you to hear me when I describe being able to shake someone’s hand without thinking that they’re conspiring against you. I want you to imagine the joy of having lunch with your mom in public without needing anti-anxiety medications.

Agoraphobia and panic disorder ran my life for over a year. I remember the day it started. I remember it very well. I was lying on my bed, talking on the phone with my mom. We were supposed to have lunch that day. All of a sudden, I felt this sweeping heaviness, like an energy form of Dread had blanketed me in cold weight. I fought it for several minutes; what was wrong with having lunch with my mom? We’d had lunch together many times in my adult life. Why was this so different? The feeling grew stronger and engulfed my entire being. It became a singular thought: “I can’t go out there today.”

Mom understood, although I’m sure she was confused. After we hung up, I lay there for many minutes, attempting to deconstruct this weirdness I was experiencing. It soon dissipated, and I went about my business, although sad that I had missed lunch with my mom.

That night, I was on the computer chatting with friends. Without any warning, I began hyperventilating and feeling as if my heart was going to burst through my chest. I was shaking so badly that I had to crawl into the bathroom to throw up. Tears flowed without provocation down my face. I felt hot, cold, hot, all within seconds. What the hell???

Imagine that happening up to 20 times a day.

When this became unbearable, I asked my mom to take me to the doctor. I was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. This was on top of anti-depressants that I had already been taking for quite some time. (Nasty divorce, bad experience with biological family members, work stress, severe illness, chronic pain, etc.)

While the panic attacks began suddenly, the loss of my ability to leave the house happened slowly in comparison. After having to turn down lunch with mom, I was still able to go grocery shopping and out with friends. One night, I was driving back from the grocery store. I passed through a stoplight, and immediately thought, “I could easily have driven through a red light, ran someone over, and killed them. I could have driven up on a sidewalk and killed someone. I could have lost control of the vehicle and killed someone.” That was the last time I was able to go grocery shopping normally.

I would walk into a store, fill my cart, have a panic attack, and have to leave before the crying started. I’m sure the store I went to became used to me leaving cartloads of groceries behind as I ran, wailing, out the door. I would try to buy a lot of food, because I didn’t know when I would be able to shop next. My mom would bring me things a lot.

Trash piled up in my kitchen because I would be too afraid to bring it to the dumpster. I was adverse to the idea of even running into a neighbor, because they would be able to see through my exterior, into the fear and hot mess that I was inside. I would buy cans of SlimFast and Starbucks because they wouldn’t stink up the kitchen. I would triple-bag kitty litter.

When I was actually able to go get my mail (at 3 in the morning), the box would be empty with a note inside. The mailman thought that I had gone on vacation. I would sleep in my closet during the days, because nobody could see me there. Blinds were drawn, curtains were pulled over them, but still, I thought everyone could see me. I lived at night. I could be me at night, in my apartment, with just the cat to see what a horrible state I was in. I could talk with people over the Internet without them really knowing how I lived.

This went on for over a year.

It had to stop. I became really determined to beat this. I was too damned young to let this rule my life. My life!

I would push myself. Open the front door for an hour. Step outside at night for 10 minutes. Take out a load of trash. Walk to my car. Sit in the car. Drive to the end of the block and back. Wave hello to people.

I had an enormous supply of anti-anxiety medication, and I used it. There were probably hundreds of times where I tried to go do something and I wouldn’t be able to do it, BUT I TRIED!

I remember the day that I walked into a crowded shopping mall for the first time in 16 months. I was terrified. The whole world was watching me. I could feel their eyes on me. When I came out of that mall, having done nothing but just walk through it, I was elated. Overjoyed. Empowered. I called my parents immediately from the car. “You guys, I did it!!!”

I continued my struggle. I signed up at a gym a few months later. I signed up for classes at a local community college. I WANTED TO LIVE!!!

Years later, I am now in a wonderful nursing program. I have earned two Associate’s Degrees and am working on my Bachelor’s. I want to earn my Doctorate. I have friends, and I have my family who never gave up on me. Most importantly, I have Me again.

Every time that I start telling myself that I can’t do something, I look back at that time in my life in which I literally couldn’t do anything at all. I look at what I did to beat that.

I am proud of me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day Two

Continuing on our merry path from the challenge of Jen O.'s 30 Days of Shamelessness, we are told to tell a story about a time where we were made to look a fool.

Well, after trying to narrow it down to just one, I remembered a story from when I was a kid. I guess there is a two-fer here, because my Dad and I looked like idiots that day.

I was probably about 8 or 9. Dad worked for a rather large company here in town, and they had annual Summer picnics down by the water. Growing up, we didn't have a lot of junk food in the house (including soda), so I was all excited about getting to have a root beer. It was a Dad's Root Beer. I still remember the can. Do they even make that anymore? Yes, evidently they do.

This scene occurred:

Me: Dad, can I have a root beer? Please? Pleaseeeeeeee????

Dad: Yeah, I guess so, since your mother isn't here. [Side note: Dad and I often do a lot of things when "Mom's not looking." Like let the bunny into the house to hop around.]

Me: Gee, thanks, Daddy!!! (skips off to dig through the cooler)

(Two frozen hands later, I triumphantly bring back a root beer)

Me: Okay, Daddy, I can't open it.

Dad: (involved in conversation with co-worker) Well, maybe we should get the bubbles out first before you drink it. I think if we stir it up a lot, that will help us.

Me: (innocently shakes the living hell out of the can and hands it to my beloved Daddy)

Dad: (opens up can, which explodes in a shower of root beer foam like never before witnessed on this planet) DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!! What the hell did you do?!

(Co-worker has streaked away to escape the sudden rainstorm.)

Me: (tearfully) I shook it to get the bubbles out!

Dad: (trying very hard to maintain composure, covered in dripping brown sugar-water) It's okay, honey. I meant that we should stir it when it's already opened.

Me: Oh.

(Crowd disperses.)

My poor, sticky father. He has been very patient with me all these years.