Get to Know Me, A Little…

I’ve been on my Friend Crusade lately, as detailed in Ebb and Flow, and while meeting new people and actually opening up I found myself repeating basic get-to-know-you information as I exchanged with different people.

I know quizzes seem like something “everybody does” and almost meaningless but I enjoy them.  I like them on a bus, I like them on a plane…  I like them on Facebook and I like them on blogs…  SO, I know it may seem mindless that I’m posting it, but a la Hilly et al here is my Questionnaire:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Harmony.  Being successful in my careeer, being a great mom (someday), being a forgiving wife, having a rich life.  And not simply monetarily rich.

2. What is your greatest fear?
Drowning.  I’m not a strong swimmer and once was declared “hydrophobic” by a doctor.  I do not like not being able to breathe.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I can’t say I identify with her but Marie Curie holds a spot in my heart.  I think it’s because I know I either a) would’ve succumbed to traditional roles as a woman (puke) had I been born in a different time or b)I would’ve been the woman getting beaten for having talked back to her superior husband (barf. choke.).

4. Which living person do you most admire?
I admire qualities about many living people but I can’t say I’ve fully invested my Hero Trophy in any one person… My dad, my sister, my brother, my mom, my Aunt Shelly, her daughter Jasmine (my “older sister”), Jay…

Ann Curry, Jason Mraz… These two seem very in tune with themselves and spreading harmony.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The way I tend to interrupt and jump to conclusions.  I’ve caught myself muttering “Just slow down!”  Yet, I don’t take my own advice…?

Also, I’m learning in my adult life how to “unlearn” the victim attitude.  I’ve had a lot of demostrations about how to be a victim from my childhood so it’s time to unravel that mess and take my neurosis down a notch. 

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Anything that results in me not being able to trust you.  Basically, a violation of the basic human courtesy: do unto others… Sound familiar?

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Charity.  I mean, I love the idea of helping people but I think people get caught up in the idea that charity has to be a HUGE happening when really, I truly and honestly believe that charity should start at HOME.

8. What is your greatest extravagance?
Like the one who took this quiz before I: my hair products. Redken, Biolage (and their daughter product, Matrix), Kenra, Rusk, Catwalk, etc… Yep.  It doesn’t end there: OPI nail polish ONLY for this girl; and I worship Clinique as well… I’m really down to earth though!

9. On what occasion do you lie?
I have a twisted instinct to lie when I’m in the line of fire but (again, in my adult life) I’ve realized that if I don’t do shitty things I don’t feel the need to lie.  BUT, if I’m keeping a secret for somebody or blah-blah-blah then yes, I deem that an appropriate occasion to lie.  If there ever were such a thing.

10. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I’m having qualms with something that didn’t used to bother me… I don’t really like my teeth anymore.  I used to think they were cute or some shit but no.  I want orthodontics!

11. When and where were you happiest?
Probably graduating from nursing school.  And the day my niece was born.  I’ll never forget the feeling of my heart swelling as I held that swaddled blanket of beautiful baby goodness.  I’m waiting for that white dress event though… 

12. What is your greatest regret?
I try to live in such a way that I don’t have any.  Really, though?  It would be fucking up my credit at the tender age of 18.  I refused to listen to people who warned me against credit cards.  Now I’m trying to dig myself out of that quicksand.

13. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Romantically, Jay.  Otherwise, (what is the opposite of romantically?) my family.  Not all of them but they know who they are.   

14. What is your current state of mind?
Chill.  It’s my one day off in a while and I’m soaking up every minute of good feelings: lounging, drinking endless amounts of coffee, having many many options for my social activities today, being with Jay…

15. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a child of divorced addicts who has grown to be 22 years old, having graduated with a degree in nursing (and a motivation to keep getting degrees), and being an unwed, childless successful 20-s0mething who has good stuff going on to write home about.

16. What is your most treasured possession?
Ooh, so controversial!  Really, though.  My BlackBerry.  Or my jewelry.  Because each piece of  jewelry holds a story for me (I have old, new, family, past relationship and personal jewelry…)

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Feeling defeated.  It’s a crock of shit.  Every single time life has handed me an atrocious situation I have come out on the other end stronger and braver and more fulfilled than before. 

18. Where would you like to live?
California.  Or Maine.  On a farm with horses.  In a city for a while.  I don’t know.  I tend to change my mind a LOT.

19. What is your favorite occupation?
I currently LOVE nursing but I still want to be a cosmetologist someday.  I’ve also thought about majoring in equine science that way I could justifiably play with horses all day and work at rodeos.

20. What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, unconditional love, forgiveness, comedy, trust.  I have very few friends because I am so picky about the type of person they are.  I look for a friend I can cry in front of, laugh uncontrollably in front of (especially if I’m the only one laughing), fart in front of, etc… I have a need for acceptance.

21. Who are your favorite writers?
Oh Lord.  I cannot name all of the ones I like but I’ll name some faves: Anita Shreve, Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb, Nicholas Sparks.

Some of my favorite classic novels are The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird.  

I also loved Bernard Schlink’s The Reader

22. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Agent Booth.  I don’t care what you say.  He’s a hero damn it!  And Bones is his heroine. 

23. Who are your heroes in real life?

Our soldiers.  I haven’t met any “everyday-real-life” heroes so…. Pish posh.  I’m too busy enriching my own character while the world is tied up in meaningless drama.  Nobody really sticks out as a hero

24. What are your favorite names?
Finnley or Jacob for a boy.  Too many to list for a girl.  Oh what?  You’re dying to hear them?  Olivia or Ophelia (with Collette as a middle name to honor my great-grandmother), Maren, Madelyn, Heidi, Lily.  Alexa.  Who knows what my children will actually be named though?

25. What is it that you most dislike?
Lots.  I swear, I’m not high maintenace (just medium)!

Liars, people with a lack of work ethic, bad drivers, bad parents (especially bad mothers), unnecissarily rude people… Sigh.

26. How would you like to die?
Peacefully.  I want to die knowing that I’ve left my mark on this little corner of the Earth called life.  Preferably at an old age but truthfully I’d like to die when it’s time for me to do so.  I’m not devoutly Christian so who knows what death is about, really?

27. What is your motto?

If you do what you’re supposed to, you’ll end up on top.

(Hard and honest work pays off in many facets.)

At least if you read this and then we meet up, we’ll have something to talk about.  You know, you can ask me ‘What the hell did you mean by that?’  And then in my chatty-bordering-on-verbose manner I’ll gladly answer your questions over a glass of wine.  While wearing my homemade Friend Crusade T shirt.

Stars and Stripes

“My country ’tis of thee… Sweet Land of Li-b-erty….” I can recall the patriotic song being an anthem of sorts during my Kindergarten days.  For some odd reason, I latched on to a (what I deem) very right-wing mentality… I can vividly recall playing with dishes vs. trucks; playing dolls vs. building blocks; molding clay vs. abusing the indoor jungle-gym.  Somewhere mixed into all of that is my lingering patriotism. 

“Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride ….. Le-t freedom ring.”  Samuel Francis Smith penned the lyrics in 1831; the same lyrics I recall so fondly.  I have a deeply rooted love for my country although I’m not very active in politics (local nor federal).  It’s curious that I’m a rather blind patriot but so proud all in the same.

I voted “Democrat” in the Presidential Election 2008.  That’s right, I’m broadcasting my vote.  So taboo!  In my very own opinion, I’m an ignorant voter (to an extent).  I kept talking about how I wanted to research my candidates but never really got around to it.  In my defense, I watched the 2nd Vice Presidential Debate on NBC.  And got to be endlessly annoyed by Sarah Palin in my own living room.  Ahem.  I generally go with my instincts on Election Day and even I know that’s a stupid way to vote.  It’s better than not voting at all!! 

I chose Obama because what I learned about him was inspiring.  (The media, of course, plays a HUGE role in poll turnouts, votes cast, etc…) With that being said, I certainly relied on the media to paint a fairly objective picture of the candidates.  And even Helen Keller wouldn’t have voted for Palin/McCain (in that order, yes.  ‘Cuz we ALL know she has John’s balls in her purse.)  This, I know, is an ignorant way to vote.  But I also feel in my gut that our fine 44th President will lead us to a path of  progress.  Yeah, yeah, I have HOPE.  Seriously.

I feel very torn at times about my own feelings on American politics and government.  Shameful fact: I don’t even know how many amendments are in the Constitution or what amendment governs what.  It’s sad but true.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a clue about what I desire out of a government.  That doesn’t mean I’m entirely ingorant to the ways of politics and voting and knowing my rights.  I’m not passionate about Law therefore I don’t pay attention to many of the intricacies.  My bad.

The real meat-and-potatoes of this is:

Thank GOD for those brave men and women that I am hoping Obama will bring home soon and safely.  Not a day goes by that I don’t at least think about our soldiers and silently thank them for being brave when the fight loses meaning.  Today I want to publicly thank them for following our ELECTED President’s orders and fighting in the name of honor and freedom; even if our big-wigs in suits don’t know what the hell they’re even waging war FOR anymore.  (Really? Are we after Saddam or the Al-Qaida, or both/all? Is it even worth it anymore?)*

I, personally, want to thank my uncle: Jarrett “Jay” Klaas.  As a Navy recruit in the late 1980’s, he subsequently fought in the noted battle “Desert Shield/Desert Storm” in the early ’90’s.  My uncle was a good soldier, I’m sure.  He loves people, he’s smart and he’s assertive.  He knows when to speak and he knows when to listen.  (Klaas’ are known to be hard workers).  Not only did he serve our great country while in the Navy but he later rejoined the Armed Forces, choosing the Iowa National Guard.  He toured Iraq for a second time, this time being “Army”.  He is a brave, brave man and a true support beam in our family.  How he came home unscathed twice (figuratively) I’ll never know.  God and my Uncle Jay are quite chummy.  This is yet another reason I love and respect him so.  And thank him. 

I want you all to take the time on this Veteran’s Day (11/11/09) to thank a soldier or extend gratitude to a soldier’s family (in the case you can’t thank a soldier directly).  We owe a lot to our friends, family, neighbors who have made a personal commitment to fight for the Stars and Stripes; irregardless of what that means to each of us as individuals. 

I feel that politics have gotten so skewed and over-publicized that our politicians have lost sight of what really matters to an “average” American.  (OR SHOULD MATTER!)  Things like honesty, integrity, bravery, family values, work ethic, etc.  America needs to pull together and focus on being respectful citizens first and foremost and developing (or revitalizing) our sense of compassion in order to thrive.  We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we’re all humans and we’re all basically stuck on this planet together so we may as well make it the best in sum.  Right?

Happy Veteran’s Day!                                             

*The question is hypothetical and for literary wording perks.  I know we’re after some jerk in Iraq.  Or a lot of them.  Meh.  I guess I am confused about this war.  Who isn’t?

My Season Isn’t

Like many other women in the United States world, I am affected by depression.  Maybe you wouldn’t have guessed that about me, maybe you would have.  It doesn’t change what is true: I have it.  And it gets worse in the fall time.  And even worse than that in the winter.  Mind you, I’m not the woman with black curtains, refusing to leave her house but I’ve felt like her.  And it’s scary.

I’m sinking into a rut and I’m trying my damnedest to halt these feelings of vacancy.  Have I been making a true, real attempt to make some friends here?  A half-assed one, yes.  I know I’m capable of making friends but I’m lacking something.  I think I’m lacking confidence to put myself out there and be comfortable in the “meeting-new-people” game.  When did I get so out of practice with this? 

I moved away from my friends no less than 7 months ago and I still don’t really have a tried-and-true friend here in Iowa City.  I’m starting to feel discouraged, which downward spirals and ends in a faceplant in Seasonal Depression’s lap.  One doubtful question leads into many and just when I think I can’t take it anymore I sit up.  I take a step back.  And look at the big picture.

I’m not the only one who has moved from a very comfortable place (for me, Cedar Falls) to a new place.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever found it hard to meet new people and truly befriend them.  But here I sit, in my own company, wondering why I’m not out having a Halloween blast.

I chalk it up to “This isn’t my season.”  Excuses…

I know I’m good conversation.  I know I’m a good friend.  It’s not that I’m “ineligible”, I just can’t seem to find the people!

I have to tell the whole truth in this, though:  I’m still mourning the loss of a best friend.  No, the former friend wasn’t severed from “Best Friend-dom” by death but by a horrific argument that was akin to death.  I won’t divulge gruesome details (let’s just say it was a true bitchfight) and I will admit that I was not at my finest but I lost Maggie about two years ago.  Gone.  About six years of friendship just erased from the map!  We aren’t even Facebook friends.

We met in middle school and just clicked.  Our friendship grew throughout high school and by the time college came, we were still inseparable, even though we lived in different states.  Then she moved to Cedar Falls and it was bliss again!  But, wait, we decided to *gasp* become roommates.  And that, I believe, is what threw momma from the train. 

I miss her dearly.  But I know we can never be friends again.  Too much water under the bridge.  Too much time has passed.  But, still…

How do I move from that to a “Let’s meet new  people!” mindset?

I’m stuck, guys.  I need some guidance and some reassurance. 

Also?  I want to reassure you that I’m not a shut-in, that, in general, I am social.  I just need a “best friend”.  Who isn’t Jay…

Advice, please!

Our Getaway Weekend (A Pictorial)

I told you all about the surprise I planned for Jay about a month ago.  Well, we packed our bags and drove our little buns to Lexington, KY on October 10.  Here is the photo documentation of our weekend, with Saturday being spent in Lexington and Sunday being spent in Louisville.

KingsTIX!

Getting ready to hit the road...

We made it!

Rupp Arena

Here is where I was going to put a picture of us waiting for the Kings of Leon to take the stage but it didn’t pass editorial inspection.  Ha!

ultimate swoon

Kings of Leon rockin' the stage

Pretty horse

A plethora of these beautifully crafted horses were scattered about Downtown Louisville. We played "Where's Waldo" with them. Sorta.

:)

I think this one is my favorite. To be fair, I'm sure I didn't see ALL of them...

Tunnel

Home again, home again jiggety jog....

It was a great weekend!  The highlight, of course, was the concert but really Jay and I have a blast anytime we travel, no matter the distance.  We are disgustingly compatible so the conversation flows with ease.  We also share similar tastes in music and both like to dance in our seats… 

I have to mention that (being the procrastinator I am) I didn’t have explicit directions to the arena, which nearly gave Jay an ulcer.  HOWEVER, I am amazing (cough) and followed my instincts.  I was seconds away from Mapquesting the directions when I looked up to find myself pulling right in to the arena parking lot.  I wish I could put this on my resume, I’m so proud of it!  Ha.

Hey there, how’ve you been? An Update.

Though I haven’t posted here in (what feels like) ages, I haven’t been missing much in the way of news, trashy reality t.v., newspaper articles and shameful amounts of delivery food.  Read: I have the flu. 

“What? Oh, the flu?  But didn’t you get your ‘shot’?”  I know people will inevitably ask me this.  I am not one to instantly blame my illness on the fact that I did get my ‘Flu shot’.  I think whether or not I would have gotten sick without getting the injection is also a hit-and-miss guessing game.  I was around a lot of people last weekend, I work in healthcare and germs happen…  There.  There’s my justification for getting sick.  Am I glad I got sick?  No.  Am I going to be more careful not to get this sick again this “flu season”?  Yes.  Dear God, YES. 

It all started Monday morning…  I was achy.  I started to feel my cheeks get warm and felt drained of all energy.  (Not as bad as my bout with mono this summer, though.  Jesus, I get sick a lot.)  Oh NO.  I did not want to be sick!  Of course, it was kind of predictable because Jay had begun to come down with this just the day before me.  Bastard.  He did it!!  He got me sick!!

Anyways, I suffered through Monday by the skin of my teeth.  Later in the afternoon I noticed a cough coming on.  Shit.  I always feel like a skeezball when I get a diagnosis of bronchitis because I’m a dumbass I smoke.  Holy Lord, am I sure I want to admit that here?  I know, I know I’m a nurse for God’s sake!  Yeah, well, I’m also a human who actually likes to smoke.  Er, um, I thought I did.  But what about this cough?  And that new prescription for an inhaler?  Oh, yeah, I’m sure R.J. Reynolds cares about my respiratory infection.  Heh.  Time to expedite that New Year’s Resolution.  I digress…

So by Tuesday I was sure I was going to die.  I have never felt so terrible in my life.  (That I can remember.)  Given that I could barely handle a shower, I was skeptical about making it to my 5:00 p.m. doctor’s appointment.  Alas, I “Cowgirl-ed Up” and made it.  Even though I thought I was going to explode in the waiting room.  “BreAnn?”  FINALLY.  I felt like I was ice skating on my way back to the exam room.  I was so light headed.  My doctor had the audacity to ask me “How are you?”  “Horrible,” I replied.  My doctor is a god, though and redeemed himself for such an insensitive question…  I came out no more than 20 minutes later with prescriptions to fill:  Tamiflu, Azithromycin (“ZPak”), Albuterol, Tylenol #3.  He even empathized with how bad I really, truly ached!  I was impressed!!  (Seriously, I had been waking every 2-3 hours to roll over and try to get comfortable but to no avail…)

So fast forward to today:

I’m feeling much better!  Not 100% but if I had to give it a number I’d say 75%.  That’s better than nothing.  I return to work tomorrow, thankfully just to do paperwork (even if my boss did attempt to guilt-trip me into working the floor and then preparing the med sheets for next month… The NERVE!).  I intend to get my full energy restored which means I refuse to feel guilty if my house is still dirty by bedtime tonight.  Heh.

So much has happened in the past week or so!  I’ll share quickly: Jay sent me flowers, Dede turned 2!  A few snippets I’d like to share with you:

Flowers

Jay surprised me with flowers last Wed. at work!

I'm a giftwrapping goddess!

I love wrapping gifts! Dede's 2nd Birthday gift from Aunt Bre and 'Uncle' Jay!

Love

I love the crap outta these two!

Thank you for suffering through this rambling post!  Happy-almost-Friday!  Remember: Wash your hands, wash your hands, WASH YOUR HANDS!  Also, cover your cough!  And drink plenty of fluids and get an adequate amount of sleep…

Driving 101 (as told by Bre)

With winter right around the corner, I thought I’d take the time to act as a Good Samaritan and put out a friendly reminder about driving safety…  Actually, that’s my way of nicely saying “I am so sick of idiots on the road and MUST vent!”  Let us continue, shall we?

ANYONE THAT GETS INTO A CAR:

Wear your seatbelt.

I’m not as crazy about this if I’m a backseat passenger but really, if you’re riding anywhere in the front seat you should have a seatbelt on; it’s not only required by law, it’s basic safety.

For drivers on DRY roads:

1) Do not ride my ass.  This only pisses me off, subsequently prompting me to be the bitch that gives her brakes a hard tap.  Yeah, I’m that girl.  But only if it’s warranted.

2) Use your fucking signals.  Your car was equipped with them for a reason.  Also?  I’ve been in expensive vehicles and have seen with my own eyes that there are, in fact, turning signals in them.

3) The only drivers travelling in the left lane should be those going faster than the drivers in the right lane.  If I have to pass you on the right there’s no guarantee you won’t be able to read my lips in formation of a four-letter word. 

4) The most telltale sign of an idiot is if he (or she) races to a red light.  Morons!  If you go a consistent speed, maybe even slow down a little, you will find that you’re able to coast right through the green light (or something close to that…).  Not only that, it is BAD FOR THE EARTH WHEN YOU SPEED UP ONLY TO HALT QUICKLY!

5) Don’t be a dumbass.  Make eye contact with me at a 4-way stop, wait your turn at said 4-way stop, do not back out of your driveway in front of me and really?  Just be respectful.

For drivers on WET roads:

1) You should not be racing past me if it is either pouring rain or dumping snow.  It’s just not safe and it inevitably pisses me off that  you are putting my safety at risk.  (Melodramatic, aren’t I?  Well!)

2) If the weather is bad, turn on your HEADLIGHTS!  Chances are, if I can’t see you neither can pedestrians and other drivers.  This is basically a respect issue with me.  That, or it taps into my intolerence for negligent people.

3) If it is downpouring or snowing (basically, if the sky is puking out anything which reduces your visibility) GET OFF YOUR F-ING PHONE!  I am a habitual offender of this whilst driving in dry, “normal” conditions however when it comes to tricky situations, I am extremely focused on uh, well, not crashing.

4) In the months of November through April in Iowa you should anticipate ANY kind of precipitation, including snow and ice.  This means you should anticipate your stops, too, bitch and stop fishtailing into my lane!

5) The opposite of stopping is going.  Do not go in front of me when I do not have time to stop.  This is just plain stupid and if it’s some suicide scheme I do NOT want to be involved.  You see, that would then affect my life and that turns it into a homicide scheme and there ya go: your plot is foiled.

Living in a college town I encounter a lot of pedestrians.  Most of them are just as ridiculous as the drivers of this city.  But to be fair…

Pedestrian and Driver Interactions:

Pedestrians:

1) Use crosswalks.  I’m more bitchy about this when there are throngs of idiots walking into the street (on which I am trying to drive) at random and I’m about to nail one and get pulled over. 

2) Make eye contact with the driver.  If you are unsure whether to cross or not, your driver should be the one to let you know.  After all, they are the one with the 1500 pound machinery on their team.  If the driver wants to be an ass and cut through your crossing path let him go.  I’m not saying don’t flip him the bird (because I would)…

3) If you are a cyclist or a runner, I’m begging you to please, please, please wear something reflective if you’re going out at night.  My night vision is terrible and I appreciate those who are proactive about their safety.  (Or else I’m just lazy and want you to flash something at me to prevent me from hitting you… Technicalities!)

Drivers:

One last thing: If it’s rainy or snowy or whatever and you are warm and dry in your car let the pedestrian cross.  It’s just rude for you to be in a rush when you’re not even cold or wet or at risk of getting pneumonia.  At least you’re dry, right?

Parking Lots:

1) Drivers- road rules still apply.  Lights, turning signals, eye contact… Basically, pay attention!  I loathe parking lots because they’re a pit of bad “road communication”… Pedestrians wondering if they should cross, where they should cross, etc… and drivers zipping through the lot, looking for the closest spot, being nonchalant about who they cut off (and later walk into the store right next to the person whose parking spot they stole as if nothing were wrong)… It’s a travesty!

2) Shoppers who use carts: PUT THE GODFORSAKEN THINGS IN THE ‘CART CORRAL’!

3) Parents: If you can’t contain your children on foot then please place them in a cart.  Children darting in front of my car may shorten my life by provoking premature heart failure.  KThanks.

I’m not saying that I’m a fantastic driver or even a great driver.  But I’m a good driver and lately, I’m beginning to think “good” is the new “great”.  I have seen so many people with poor driving skills in the past month that I’ve begun to wonder if the D.O.T. is exhausted from issuing all those new licenses!  (I brought jokes today…)

Safe travels and have a good week everyone!

At My Doorstep

This has been a long week.  A very long week as evidenced by working three 12-hour days in a row, giving a presentation and coming down with a cold.  And yet, I am excited.  I’m excited because I pushed through the long week and came out on the other side feeling rejuvenated and hopeful.  At the end of the Long Week Tunnel stands a parcel of opportunity.

It is not my place to fully disclose the events leading up to/surrounding this conclusion HOWEVER, I need to divulge: the Assistant Director of Nursing at my facility was let go last week.  I am still befuddled, appalled, and on and on but the fact remains that she is gone and we now have incredibly large shoes to fill.  Of course, the Vice President of our company and our Administrator can’t really know how much she did for us so her work and other miscellaneous tasks are being “delegated” to floor nurses because they are not nurses themselves.  It’s a shame that she’s gone but I suppose that’s the way of the world sometimes.

On Tuesday I was approached by the CarePlan Coordinator.  She inquired if I might be interested in taking her position because she is assuming the role of ADON.  I was elated that my name was even considered let alone the fact that she pulled me aside to talk with me about it further.  I got really excited and took it as an offer.  Later that day I approached the Director of Nursing to inquire further and, to my surprise, she shrugged me off.  “If you’re interested, you need to get an application and fill it out and hand it to Candi… Of course, we want to hire from within first so that’s what you need to do….”  WHAT?  This was not my idea of being offered a different position.  Why would I fill out an entire application when they already have that information on file?  I was so put off that the idea has since faded in my mind.  I also realized that I’d be relinquishing my presence on the floor, giving direct care to my residents and honing my skills as a nurse.  I’m pretty much over the thought of accepting the title.  We’ll see what happens, though.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday contained me either at home or work.  I worked until at least 5:30 p.m. (and clock-in time is 6:00 a.m.!) those three nights and I was plum tuckered out by yesterday.  Alas, I had to push through because yesterday was the very last day of my Nursing Supervisory Class, a mandatory class for me in order to manage my C.N.A’s (which I’ve been doing all along), and I had to give a final presentation.

Presentations do not bother me.  I like speaking in front of people.  I like the opportunity to share and teach.  Obviously.  I do, after all, have a blog.  Ha.  ANYways, I chose to teach my classmates about wound care.  It was awesome!  My presentation was complete with a handout, samples of  common/popular dressing types, a white board example and a quiz and I loved every minute of it!

This entire class has really grown on me and I’m surprised it went so fast.  Past participants of this class have said “Oh, it was so boring!  It was a bitch-fest!” and “It was lame, nobody would talk” so I was skeptical about whether or not I was going to enjoy having my Fridays taken up for this.  But it was totally different than what people had told me.  Our instructor, Karna, basically embodies my mentality, has achieved goals akin to mine and is just a good person.  I have liked her from Day One.  She is a nurse who now teaches at Kirkwood Community College and also holds a business position at Rockwell Collins.  She is well rounded and respectable, knowledgeable and funny, compassionate about humanity and strives for personal growth in everything she does.  She is a great communicator and I have learned so much from her.

She has a great knack for keeping people down-to-earth.  She proved her abilities again yesterday when she conducted a farewell exercise that I will remember forever.  She brought pretty stationery to class, telling us that she had wanted to get doughnuts or bagels as a farewell-you-guys-have-been-great treat but she didn’t know if anyone’s presentation included food.  It occurred to her that we put too much stock into monetary values and ultimately decided that each of us had to write a short note to every person in the class.  We were told to spread happiness– we had to write about something good or something we liked about the person.  It was great!  It was like Valentine’s Day in October.  I will cherish these notes for a very long time.  They each made me smile; my classmates commended me on my assertiveness, complimented my smile and one even said she’s more outspoken now after having met me… *swoon*

But still, I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t ever really see Karna again.  Unless I spoke up.  Because, you know, when you have a potential mentor at arm’s length you can’t let her slip away.  (No, I am not stalking her.  I just admire her and know she holds a lot of wisdom that I’d like to be privy to.)  “If you wanted some help with your C.N.A. students, I’d be happy to volunteer,” I told her after most of my (now ex-) classmates bolted for the door upon dismissal.  She seemed surprised that I would offer.  “Even if it’s just making sure they’re on track at clinicals, I’d love to do it!” I pressed on.  We exchanged goodbyes and I went to grab a Mountain Dew before hitting the road.  As if it were an act of fate I decided to stop at the desk and obtain a form I need in order to register for my RN pre-requisites next semester.  The secretary printed my form and I prepared to leave.

Then Karna approached me and told me she’s never really had anyone volunteer to teach before and that she was surprised.  “I think you might actually be qualified to teach a section of C.N.A. clinicals and there’s a definite shortage of instructors so let me get your information and do some checking.  I could definitely help you get started and be your mentor.”  I was elated!  I am so passionate about nursing that it would be a pity for me not to teach, although I didn’t expect to be jumping into it so early in my career.  That doesn’t mean I’m not ready or unsure, I’m just stoked that it’s a possibility right around the corner.  I really, really hope that something comes out of the idea.  I’d LOVE to teach and know that even if I inspire just one person to become a nurse it will have been worth it.

There you have it.  The world of opportunity I found just lying on my doorstep this week.  I’m going to open it up and see what’s in store for me…

Time Flies!

“I can’t believe it’s October already!”  I’ve said this umpteen times over the past few days and it’s only the 7th of October.  I catch myself making these statements at various points in my day, sometimes altered with a time (“I can’t believe it’s 11:00 already!”), sometimes a day of the week, sometimes the weather…  It’s true, time does fly.  How else do you think it moves so quickly?

Somebody once told me, “The older you get, the quicker time passes” and I’m discovering the truth in this.  I’m only 22 years old but many of you know that my “life experience years” outnumber my earthly ones.  But I have noticed that as I get older, the time does seem to go more quickly.  Sometimes days merge together and the walls that hold information specific to one day bend, leaving me to ask “Is it Wednesday already?” 

On the 17th of this month my niece will turn 2.  I can’t believe it.  I have a flashbulb memory of the day I found out I was going to be an aunt.  It was a warm summer day, with bright Iowa sunshine warming my face.  I was taking a leisurely stroll and answered my sister’s call.  I immediately noted the worry in her tone and guessed she was pregnant.  It’s all so clear to me but, really, it was three summers ago.  I can also vividly recall the day I met my niece– the day she was born.  I checked my voicemail between classes and listened to my mom’s voice crack as she debriefed the birth into her phone.  I could hardly stand the 1.5 hour drive to the hospital that day.  I remember it as though it were yesterday.  Alas, it was nearly two years ago. 

Speaking of years… Jay and I are coming up on a mini-milestone in our lives.  We’ve almost been together for a year.  Yeah, yeah… I know you’re thinking “Wow. Why am I reading this?” or “So what? Big deal, being together for one year”.  But you know what?  It is a big deal to me.  Because the way we met was so random and unexpected and for us to have persevered through (almost) 52 weeks together and still be giddy to see each other is an accomplishment.  I’m still as much in love with Jay today as I was when we first met. 

Let me tell you a story…

          I was at a bar enjoying a brew with my girlfriend, sort of celebrating her birthday when someone caught my eye.  I had a pretty clear view of him and tried not to make it too obvious that I wanted to know more about him.  He was playing pool with some buddies and it appeared that he was on a date or something.  There were a couple of girls laughing obnoxiously whenever he spoke to them.  I periodically gazed across the room to gauge the situation, to see if he was on a date or not.  I ultimately decided to approach him and just get the facts.  I sauntered across the room, making sure to suck in my tummy and not hold my chin too far into the air.  ‘Shoulders back, easy gait’ I repeated in my head. 

          I approached Jay’s best friend at the pool table.  Noting that the game had ended I offered, “I’ll play you Rock, Paper, Scissors and whoever wins gets to be that guy’s partner (pointing to Jay).”  Caleb agreed and I ultimately beat his ass won the game and subsequently met Jay.  I was shocked to find that the conversation came easy and I was comfortable being my absolute self around him.  I brought down his game in pool and he didn’t even flinch.  He invited Samantha and I to go along with Caleb and him for some post-bar beer at his place.  We agreed to go and so it was.  Jay and I carried on a 4 hour meet-and-greet with each other, not going to bed until dawn.  We talked and talked and laughed and smiled and shared and listened and kissed.  I knew what I was feeling was lust and excitement.  At least that’s what I told myself, not wanting to be hurt again.  I was tickled when Jay said “It feels like I’ve known you forever”.  I wholeheartedly agree.  We clicked.  Of course, our friends gave us grief about spending so much time together but we didn’t care.  We fell in love.  When neither of us were looking for it.  (Fact: my legs were despicably unshaven.)  We were both recovering from a breakup and didn’t go out looking for anyone.  And still, we found each other.

When Jay told me he was moving out of Cedar Falls to attend the University of Iowa (more than an hour and a half away) I was disheartened and confronted with a choice: continue the relationship, knowing it has a boundary or end the relationship because, after all, he’s moving away.  What to do?  I followed my heart.  And it walked right into Jay’s arms.  The body of our relationship unraveled so quickly I think we both questioned our footing.  “I want you to know that I already care a lot about you” I would tell Jay.  After he reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for feeling so strongly I fell into a comfortable rhythym with him and ultimately decided to pack up and move.  The compass of my heart led the way. 

I feel like we’ve been together for years.  When I recall memories from early in our relationship I can’t help but say, “Isn’t that crazy?  We haven’t even known each other for a year, let alone been together for a year!”  And then the saying plays on the airwaves… Time flies!

Indeed, it does.  I’m glad time has flown me here.  I’m glad I met Jay.  I’m glad we’ll be spending our second Christmas together, building more and more memories.  I’m also glad I had the opportunity to surprise the hell out of him with Kings of Leon tickets as a souvenir of the birth of our relationship.  (This deems me best girlfriend ever, right?)

I haven’t figured out how to slow time down so all I can think to do is fasten my seatbelt and listen for the captain to say “Full speed ahead!”  Life is wonderful.

When Loving Your Job is a Luxury…

I often wonder about engineers.  My best friend’s dad is an engineer and on the whole is a quiet, almost-passive guy.  I picture engineers huddled around a white board, markers poised, ready to draw out the next huge layout for something useful.  The image my mind creates is comical and sound because I know that engineers are engineers because they like it or it interests them.  Why else would somebody go to school and do hard, complicated math and graduate just to do hard, complicated math in “real life”? 

Then my mind stumbles upon those who do their jobs because they must.  They have bills to pay and/or mouths to feed and need the money.  They are not at a spot in life to be able to do what makes them happy.  These are people working at jobs that we take for granted.  Like being a cashier or a janitor or a construction worker.  All of these jobs are vital for our society but not many of us do them. 

I got lucky.  Since I was 14 years old I have been telling people “I want to be a nurse when I get older” and be a nurse is what I’ve been doing.  I didn’t get my degree in nursing because it was a smart career move.  I didn’t become a nurse overnight, either.  Within eight years the forces of the earth have sculpted me into a finished product called Nurse.   The earth threw in assertiveness, efficiency, an interest in science and a deep compassion for people to make me the nurse that I am. 

My mother-in-love put it better: “For me, being a nurse is to get paid for being who I am.”  I wholeheartedly agree.  Nurses are a breed.  We function on reasonable explanations and “if A then B” rationalizations.  (Or at least, I do…  I’ve met a couple of bad nurses in my life but I digress.)  We get satisfaction out of making it “all better” and helping someone to be more comfortable.  We are teachers, scientists, pharmacists and caregivers all rolled into one cookie.

A little known fact about myself: I was two seconds away from being a cosmetology student.  I had all of the La’James paperwork in my backseat two summers ago when I felt a … something.  Something in me said “become a nurse, it’s what you truly want to do” and so I did.  I decided not to pursue cosmetology at this point in my life.  My grandparents were pleased when I told them “I wouldn’t have health insurance as a cosmetologist”.  My grandma, especially, did not want me to pursue “hair dressing”; she told me so many times.  She knew I had it in me to be a medical professional and her faith in me was like flame to a paper.  I recycled the La’James forms as soon as my heart changed my mind. 

An even less known fact about myself: I was sworn into the United States Air Force in late Spring, 2005.  I had intended to use the military as an accelerator pedal to becoming a nurse, fast tracking experience and education all at once.  I had some moderate health issues at the time and ultimately withdrew.  It was a blessing in disguise because I’ve learned more about life in the last 4 years of my life than I possibly could have while being government property.  

I am so passionate about my career that I even weird myself out about it.  I can talk and talk about why I love nursing, how it has helped me be a better person, what I want to learn, what I want to specialize in and on and on and on.  Then images of that cashier at HyVee or the housekeeper at work or the guy fixing the street flash through my head.  I think to myself “I’m lucky to have a job that I love.  I’m lucky that I can call my job a career.”  Especially with our economy.  Especially because I’m so young. 

I want my actions to reflect my gratitude for people who serve my burger, bag my groceries, mop the floors of the stores in which I shop… They might not have the luxury of doing what they love and if not, I don’t want to make their daily routine a hassle. 

I also want to tip my hat to the brave men and women serving our country.  I could have been right beside some of them, in an uncomfortable tent overseas.  However, I was whisked down a different path and now live in a quiet apartment in Iowa City and work as a nurse.  Thank you for allowing me to have this amenity.

I applaud those of you who wake up, tie your shoes and put on a smile all while maybe daydreaming about that some-place-else you’d rather be.  And thank you for trusting your grandmas and grandpas to me.  I take care of them as if they are my own.

 

**Please note that for the sake of this post I present a rather stereotypical view of blue-collar workers.  It has, in fact, occurred to me that just because somebody is a janitor doesn’t mean they hate their life.

A Complete 180

As you all know (or probably not) I had a rotten day at work on Thursday.  Need a refresher?  Anyways… Yes, that day completely sucked but I’m waaay past it.  In fact, I was basically over it after blogging about it.  But when I pulled into the parking lot yesterday morning I felt something in my stomach.  Like some kind of backflip or pouch of flatulence or something.  I marched forward, telling myself “I am in control of this.  My emotions don’t need to be involved as heavily today, since they’re still a tad bruised.”  Ahem. 

The morning went well, considering it was a Saturday and staffing is usually unfavorable.  I walked into the sub-office behind the nursing station and something caught my eye.  I read a misspelled manuscript of my name: “Bree”.  It was a card.  And there was a gray Hy Vee sack over another something.  What is this

A gift!  An apology, albeit from my resident’s wife and not himself.  But it put a grin on my face, from ear to ear.

4 white roses

4 white roses

I was pleased and seeing that beautiful sight that was intended only for me gave me the confidence I needed.  I continued working and when it came time to take care of Roger?  I was calm, cool, collected.  I can still feel a twinge of tension, each of us making casual conversation except it’s way more casual than before the outburst.  But we made it, with him even “allowing” me to be his nurse.  Heh. 

When I was trucking my giganto med cart into place, in preparation for my morning med pass, a different resident added more cheer to my day.  Stuart said, “Hey Flash, I got a surprise for ya.  It’s in my desk drawer, I’ll get it after breakfast.”  I knew instantly what the surprise was. 

I love it!

I love it!

Stuart is notorious for these little things.  They are usually seasonal and he hand paints them.  He’s kind of artsy and I like it.  He calls me “Flash” because I walk so fast all the time.  (What?  I’m an efficient gal!)  And I was tickled to get this because when I first started working at Iowa City Rehab I remember seeing them all over the place, with various names and colors.  “Mark, the Hardworker” and “Darla” with a flower painted on.  I remember I was most envious (yeah, stupid, I know!) to see one of these tokens taped to the nursing station where I spend a significant amount of time.  Both Tiffany and Tara had their own!  And now I’ve gotten mine and I’m likening it to being punched in at a gang meeting.  I’m proud.  WHATever.  It totally made my day…

All in all, this weekend at work made up for Thursday.  Maybe even two times over.  I’m glad, too, because I was feeling really sorry for myself (unfortunately).  My feelin’s was hurt! (spoken in Southern dialect)  Hearing one of my ladies with her (almost too many) compliments makes the energy exerted worth it.  But, really, she says some of the most off the wall things.  Example:  “Bre, you’re the prettiest girl in Iowa!!”  No kidding.  Thank GOD I learned how to gracefully take a compliment because with her I feel like I’m swinging at a softball.  Really.  But I love it all the same. 

In other news, Jay and I have every intention of seeing the Kings of Leon in Lexington next Saturday.  I bought the tickets and surprised him.  And really, truly surprised him.  He was thinking we were going to a ranch or some sort of hoe-down.  I was proud of myself for keeping it a secret but my original intent was to keep quiet until we were on I80.  I couldn’t contain my excitement and spilled the beans the minute I got home from the TicketMaster outlet.  However, there is a slight hangup.  Our intended cross-country vehicle has caught a cold or something.  Because that’s what cars do, right?  Wrong.  The power steering or some other major thing (unlike brakes that are worn or tires that promote hydroplaning or other “ignorable” things) has gone kerplunk.  So I’m hoping praying going to blackmail Jay and make it to the damned show!

Have a great week everybody!  Hopefully your weekend was grand as well…