I Love

I spent a large portion of 2009 pointing out the things I don’t really like.  I feel like purging all of the negative energy that is built inside of me — tangible or ischemic.  In these first days of the new decade I want to put into place a few ideas that will be utilized for positive momentum.  I want to be a better me.  I want to be more “in the minute” and delight in everyday beauty. 

With that, I bring you a bulleted list.  None of the items is too big or too small for mention.

I love…

  • waking up next to Jay, and sometimes waking before him and watching him sleep.  In those quiet moments I find myself thanking God that I am exactly where I need to be.
  • the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, and my perfume wafting in a spring breeze (and then after I’ve been outside for a while and can smell a variation of my perfume, this time with a hint of warmed-by-the-sun-smell-a-la-moi).
  • the smell of a saddle.  And fly spray (for horses).
  • a brand new notebook.  And Sharpie pens!
  • my brother and sister… To the moon.  I only hope they love me with the same energy, and I hope that they actually like me, not just “love” me.
  • the memory of when my parents were functional parents: Mom cooking supper while Dad played Chinese Checkers with Chelsea and I.  I’m only sorry Cody missed out on this chapter of childhood.
  • to tell the story of how Chelsea and I put furniture polish on Cody’s feet and bottom and pushed him around on the hardwood floors of our childhood home.  We even made a “pillow helmet”, secured with an orange shoestring, for safety.
  • to drive.  I drove approximately 55% of the trip to Florida, including in-state driving.  I love being on a new road, sun beating down. 
  • car rides with Jay.  I look forward to travel being a main hobby later on in our lives.
  • trees.  I think they’re so expressive, and beautiful.
  • brand new socks. 
  • being a nurse.  I know it was meant to be.
  • to be surprised.  And pampered.  I think in a past life/different realm I was royalty.  I guess I say that because I struggle with admitting that maybe I deserve those things.  I usually put myself last. 
  • to read.  I’m completely in awe of this Twitter-Facebook-blog-internet-on-your-BlackBerry-generation I belong to!  I love that we are all real people who just want to connect, to share the array of moments in our everyday lives.
  • my story thus far; my life.  I look forward to good things in the new decade.  It will be most interesting to compare now and then!
  • that no two days are exactly the same.  No matter how bad a given day was, I can always strive for progress the next day.

 I have also decided to stop being a pessimist and begin taking the optimist train.  This parallels nicely with the aforementioned   I am cleaning my closets, ridding myself of clutter (emotional and otherwise).  I am not a victim.  I have a good life.  I need to appreciate it more before Karma herself decides to one-up me and prove to me that I have a lot going for me… Like, as in, with a debilitating lesson that may involve an injury.

I have always been hard on myself.  That being said, I think I spend a lot of time thinking about ways I could’ve done things better.  It is beginning to occur to me that in those times, maybe, just maybe all that was needed was my presence.  My undivided attention to the company and fellowship of my family.  I am making a personal committment to be more relaxed, and fully enjoy the moments.

I am taking this self-betterment/self-awareness thing quite seriously.  I want to be the best me I can before I have children (and while I raise them).  I want my kids to know that they are worth having a momma who is good for them, who never wants them to hurt in any way.  I want them to know that I prepared myself to be their mom, because, in a way, I loved them before they are even born. 

Can I just say that this being a woman thing?  Is amazing and daunting all at the same time.  I am filled with the nurturing and compassionate feelings of a maternal creature while all in the same, I am the chick who is only in her early 20’s and loves her freedom, her life sans kids and the opportunity for sleeping in and taking naps that all of this creates.  If that isn’t confusing…!

Today I am 22.  In 22 days I will be 23.  On 01/24/2011 I will be 24.  I am excited to see where I will be, how I will feel on my golden birthday!  I raise my glass of ice water to all of you and offer a belated “Happy New Year!”

Because drinking ice water makes you a better person, too.

I’m Ready!

Sunday, late afternoon.  Though I’ve only been awake for four-ish hours I’ve gotten a lot accomplished.  I was starting to feel pangs of guilt for having been lazy the entire time I’ve been awake so I decided to immediately banish those feelings and get busy. 

I, my friends, have just completed my FAFSA although I know, I know… It’s a little late.  In my defense, I had not been seriously thinking about going “back” to school until January 2010 anyways.  And I say “back” because I’ve been in college more-or-less for the past four years but I’ve only been away from the classroom for 2.5 semesters.  I graduated from Kaplan University’s Practical Nursing program in June, 2008 and decided to immediately return to classes last fall at a neighboring community college in Waterloo, Iowa but ultimately realized that I was “schooled out“– I needed to let my brain rest and develop professionally before advancing my education.  So develop professionally I have been.  I’m working full time as a charge nurse on my hallway in a longterm care facility.  I feel like my Director of Nursing and Assistant Director of Nursing value my professional opinion and both have expressed their faith in me at various times.  Highly rewarding.  I love my job, but I’m ready to climb up to the next rung and widen my scope of practice. 

Of late I have been longing for school.  I find myself thinking ‘I watch too much TV‘ and ‘I used to read so much, what happened?’.  I’ve become stagnant and, lucky for myself, I’m realizing that I’m not fond of it.  I like knowing stuff.  I like discovering information and linking the facts, especially when it directly relates to nursing knowledge.  I like being a good nurse and I’m ready to expand my education and sit for RN boards (now more commonly known as the NCLEX-RN).  It’s time.  It’s time to go forward in my career and become a Registered Nurse. 

By law I’m required to take a Supervisory Course in order to supervise my CNA’s and be an LPN at the same time.  It’s kind of a crock but whatever.  It was nearing August and I was dreading the start of this class; each coworker I had asked about her experience in the class gave the same sort of response, “It sucked”.  Okay, maybe the exact same response.  Whatever.  I refused to let their lack of enthusiasm ruin my hopes for becoming a more concise communicator in order to become a more effective supervisor.  You see, I’ve been having a struggle with one of my subordinates.  I thought to myself ‘If I can do anything on my end to try to make our work relationship  more affable and make me a tad more professional, I’m willing to give it a shot.’  I decided that no matter what my peer review of this class was, I was going to give it my full effort.  And it turns out that I love this class.  My instructor takes the time to let us evaluate our personal motivations for communicating with the styles that we do.  She’s wise, articulate and originally was a nurse.  She has made the classroom call to me and reassure me that I’m ready to go to school once again.

There is a stigma about LPN’s (licensed practical nurses) that I don’t much care for.  It’s a common misconception that LPN’s are glorified CNA’s (certified nursing assistants).  We are not.  We are nurses, licensed by the Iowa Board of Nursing (or any other state’s BON).  We went through nursing clinicals and were tested rigorously on our acquired skills.  We are “real nurses” too.  I had a patient ask me if I was a “real nurse” one time and I replied, “Can fake nurses give you morphine sulfate tablets?”  That’s what I thought, bitch.  It makes my skin crawl when people act as though my nursing education is discredited because I’m “just an LPN”.  I am a nurse.  However, I’m ready to be able to nurse without limits, so to speak.  There are only so many things an LPN can do. 

So in addition to completing and submitting myFAFSA in a mere 20 minutes (alotting for a phone call to both of my parents [I’ll elaborate later]) I also submitted my Application for Admission to a community college nearby.  I think it’s safe to say that although I may not have put a bra on today, I’ve gotten some shit done

I’m ready to go back to school, go back to the almost-too-busy schedule I notoriously have had in the past and I’m just READY TO BE A REGISTERED NURSE and mess with IV’s and not have to ask a potential employer “Do you hire LPN’s?”.  I ultimately want to work on a Wound Team at a hospital, and becoming an RN is pertinent.  Almost imminent for me.  I know I’m capable and it’s time to conquer the goal!

About my parents?  Yeah, so my dad stays with his sister (long story, some other day).  I called my aunt’s house to reach my dad, and I did.  I had to ask a quick FAFSA question and he was busy doing some repairs on my aunt’s house, so she can put it on the market.  As I was about to cut the call short, he sort of sideways slips in that my mom is also there, working on the house.  My parents are divorced.  Weird.  I’m not even about to speculate on what’s up with their amiability toward each other lately but it kind of strikes me as odd.  Oh, well.  I guess the Street of Surprise for parents isn’t a one-way!  I hung up the phone with a smile and a slight shaking of my head.  I mean, my parents deny, deny, deny that they still have feelings for each other but it doesn’t take a genius to wonder why neither of them are involved in a serious (or any) relationship with somebody else or why neither of them have remarried.  C’est la vie, time will tell.  I’m not one of those overly-hopeful-child-of-divorce-kids who always hopes her parents will realize they still love each other.  If you know me, you know that I’m more pragmatic than that.

And little ol’ pragmatic me is excited to hit the books again!  I’m not sure, though, if I’m going to go back full time and put work on the back burner or try to do half time and balance work in between…?  Any suggestions?



The eyes are the windows of the soul. And the eyebrows are the curtains. Part deux.

I refuse to listen to bullshit. In the previous post I broke a barrier of silence that I used to wear like a badge.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I had a less-than-favorable childhood.  Now, I want everyone to know that I am not the victim.  I am the survivor.  I wouldn’t have changed my childhood because I know the benefits I’ve reaped from it.
And that breakup I described yesterday shed a light on my life.  While I was picking up pieces of emotional aftermath after Philosopher and I had parted ways, my life was brought full circle.  I received one of the most important calls of my life.
“Hey kiddo. It’s your dad.”  I hadn’t spoken to my dad in months, close to a year.  Up until then, the last memory I had of him was him coming down from a high in his apartment.  He could barely speak, let alone look at me.  He was hitting rock bottom.  I left that apartment pissed off.  I didn’t need that bullshit in my life, not when I was trying to figure out who I was as an adult.
“I’m getting clean.”  Emotions and ideas and things I had waited for years to say flooded to my head.  And from my eyes.  I couldn’t think of what to say so I just bawled. “Really?? Is it for real this time?”  My dad had had stints in rehab and I had already forgiven him for being an addict a couple of times already.  My guard was up this time.  I wanted proof.  I wanted somebody else in a relationship to earn my trust.  Prove to me that my self-preservation won’t be sacrificed because I love you.
My dad did prove it.  He actually became my dad in the fall of 2007.   He called me almost daily to talk about anything and everything.  His sobriety.  My classes.  My breakup.  My dad gave me advice about what to do with myself post-boyfriend.  My dad became my best friend.  I’m 95% sure I was his.
When my dad told me he wanted to voluntarily go to rehab to ensure his path ahead, I was supportive.  It was only when he told me he might go to Des Moines that I was sad.  I was living in Cedar Falls, Iowa at the time and Des Moines was a solid 2 hour drive south of me.  There wouldn’t be much contact with this new dad I had become so fond of if he went that far away.  About a week after he mentioned Des Moines, he decided to move to Waterloo (a 10-15 minute drive from Cedar Falls; comparable to St. Paul and Minnesota-type cities, distance-wise).  I was ecstatic!  Now we could continue to be each other’s rock.
Dad completed his rehab program, transitioned into a community-based house for recovering addicts and enrolled in college classes.  We actually both went to the community college together for a semester and would meet each other in the parking lot after class in order to eat lunch at A&W together. (It’s my dad’s favorite restaurant in Waterloo. He’s so weird!) I kept my dad posted on a daily basis.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day, 2008: My family had gathered at my Grandma Deb’s house, my dad’s mom.  In his sobriety, my dad had a fear about being around his family sober.  I think he felt that they would be judging him instead of enjoying him.  In sum, Dad didn’t come to Grandma’s. Instead, he ended up consuming 40+ tablets Ativan.  That shook my world.  I was so filled with rage, hurt, disgust, worry, WHY? Why, why, why? Why did you do this?  This was not what Thanksgiving Day was supposed to be about!  I was not thankful that my dad was, in my mind, back at square one.  But really?  It was necessary. 

I was trying so hard to keep my dad clean that I didn’t realize I was enabling him.  I would drive him anywhere he needed to go, I would do next to anything for him.  But I realized that I was keeping him in his comfort zone.  There are taxis.  There’s a bus system in Waterloo.  I didn’t have to mother him, but I wanted to.  I wanted him to succeed because he’s my dad.  At that point, I was so invested in his sobriety that it was bordering on unhealthy for me.  Because this was his sobriety, his quest and on Thanksgiving 2008 I let him take the driver’s seat.

He’s still sober.  No meth since summer 2007.  He does have a couple of beers now and again but never have I seen him drunk since 2007. (And the first time I saw him have a beer since that summer? Another “letting go” moment.)  I have grown to understand that my dad loves me, but he doesn’t depend on me for his sobriety.  It is his choice.  Every day he wakes up and chooses to remain clean.  I consider myself fortunate to be involved in his success. It’s much the same for me: what my dad thinks means a lot to me, but ultimately I’m going to make my own decisions.

Fast forward to Fall, 2009: I’ve begun my career as a nurse, I’m involved with a great guy (a guy who is equally as good to me as I am to him), and I have a great relationship with my family.  I feel very satisfied yet I feel a sliver of guilt when I know I’m longing for something more.  The next step.  I’m having growing pains because I’m ready for the next chapter.  I’m ready to get married and start a family.  Above and before all of that, I’m ready to enrich my career and become a Registered Nurse.  I’m ready to fill out the last couple inches of these big-girl shoes I picked out when I was young.  Various people will say “But you’re still so young!”  I know, in numeric years.  But in life experience years, I feel older.  I feel ready for the next accomplishment. 

And pictures of me these days?  My eyes are happy.  My eyes even have a smile.  And?  My eyebrows rock!