Daily Post 161: Still Alive

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Things are going well.

The clinic is six days a week again. We have six patients on the TTS shift so far. They’re all super nice and those days are extremely short in comparison to the MWF days. It won’t stay that way, but at the moment, TTS is super chill.

I found a kickboxing app that I’ve been using on my phone. I’ve made it to the dojo a handful of times as well. Actually, they moved to the second floor of the YMCA in Beatrice. It’s super nice. Way more space than their other location. And… if I got a YMCA membership, it would discount the dojo membership…

So I could spend $70 for the dojo, or spend $70 for the dojo and YMCA membership combined and get access to the sauna and all of the classes and the weight room and locker room and all of the Lincoln locations in addition to Beatrice…

It was a bit of a no brainer. Oh… Did I mention that the YMCA is now 24 hours, too?

With all of that taken into consideration, I’m going to be ending my Anytime Fitness membership. I still have a few months to go with it, but that’s ok.

I’ve been doing well at the dojo. I feel like I’m progressing again. I’m starting to use MyFitnessPal again to log my food, water, and exercise when I do it. I stepped on the scale not that long ago and was at 227. That’s not all that far from where I was. Maybe four pounds higher? I would have to break out the last sheet I had from my trainer, but I hadn’t hit the 220 mark. I was close, but not quite there. So I guess I didn’t gain as much as it felt like I had over winter.

Which, while we’re on the subject… I totally survived winter. Woo. Go me. Nothing else really matters in comparison since winter sucked so bad.

I made it past the three-year mark of mom’s death. The past week has been a bit rougher and I’m sure that plays into it, along with being tired with the change in work schedule. For over a year I’ve been used to working every other day. I had that buffer day inbetween working to regroup, grocery shop, sleep, whatever. I don’t have that as much now. I work tomorrow, have Tuesday off, work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, then get the weekend. We get the kids on Thursday because it’s the Easter holiday or something special like that.

I’m most likely going to be getting a hotel room for Thursday and Friday night, that way I can stay in Beatrice, do the dojo Thursday night and not have to drive crazy far just to wake up to drive back down for a long day. Instead, I’ll have most of the day to stay in my hotel room alone to study. I’ll get to sleep in a bit Friday morning, wake up and do work, then go to the dojo again if I’m feeling up to it. I’ll get to stay in the area and have Saturday morning, again, alone to study before getting lunch and going to the dojo yet again before coming home to spend the rest of the weekend with the family.

I think it’s a good plan. Human Anatomy is no joke. It’s the first class in a while where I’m struggling just because of the sheer volume of information. I’ve gotten better about not breaking down and thinking I’m going to fail the class. I have a 94 so far with the quizzes and assignments that have been graded. The first exam unlocks tomorrow and is due by Friday. I’m planning on Thursday being my test day.

I had my first leadership class for work. It was fun and engaging. I have the new book that I “need” to start working through. They stressed that the book didn’t have to be read for the upcoming class. It’s not homework or anything, but if we could get through it that would be nice. With everything else going on in my life, knowing that if I need to cut something out I can is reassuring.

I guess that’s about it for now. I know I’ve been MIA for a while. I’ve been playing Torchlight II with Ox the past few days as a way to de-stress from studying so much. It’s been nice. I might play a bit more today or I might try to work a bit on the cross stitch that I haven’t touched in weeks. Today has been a really low key day. I know I’m not going to get many of them in the future so I’ve been enjoying it while I can. I even went so far as to take a nap. And yes. It was as amazing as it sounds.

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MUSING MOMENT 129: LFTIO – STORY 3

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.3
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





For the 2-3 most impactful and formative experiences and / or relationships, tell the entire story here: 


Story 3 – The Middle of Nowhere

The first few years after my mom’s death were hard for me. I had lost my strongest support structure, I had lost the relationship I had been in, I had lost my home due to losing that relationship, and I had left my career.

Essentially, everything I had been using to identify who I was had been taken away from me. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a girlfriend. I was no longer anything, and so I found myself with a vast expanse of nothingness within myself. A never-ending plane of smooth unmarred whiteness where once there had been “me”, or what I had felt was me.

I found myself in a phase I had never been before. Building. Who did I want to be? What did I want to be? What did I stand for? Why was I alive? What was my purpose, my reason for waking up each day knowing that mom was dead?

It took a while, but eventually, slowly, one day at a time, one breath at a time, I found myself. I found the answers to my questions and with each answer, a brick was laid on the plane of whiteness. A foundation, solid and unshakeable. I was going to be me and I was going to live my life and Life couldn’t stop me from doing it. I wouldn’t let it stop me.

During the first year, I obtained an apartment. Though it never felt like home, it was mine and I no longer had to worry about where I would be sleeping at night. I began taking classes as a way to get my foot into the medical field. I took a nursing assistant class though I never became state certified. The thought of succeeding at something while mom wasn’t there to celebrate with me was still too much to face at the time. I took an EKG class as well as a phlebotomy class where I overcame my fear of blood and needles. Eventually, I interviewed with DaVita. When asked if I felt dialysis was something I could do, I replied with, “I honestly don’t know. But I can promise that I’ll try my best and in the end, that’s all I can do; my best.”

I made it through the Star Learning program; two months of training where I was taught about dialysis and the skills I would need as a patient care technician. Once I was through training I began working full time at the downtown Orlando clinic. As time went on I became a stronger member of my team.

On a personal level, I began going to fitness boxing classes as a way to deal with the strong emotions of my grief. That led to joining a dojo where I learned jiujitsu techniques along with Muay Thai. Martial arts gave me a way to connect with myself. It gave me a new circle of people to interact with and a common interest to bond over. I met several key people in my life during this time which helped build me up as a person. They helped me discover things about myself and the type of person I not only wanted to be, but continue being as well. More bricks to add to my foundation.

During this time of growth and discovery, there were also negatives. I began working 12 – 16 hour days since that’s how the clinic was run. My time at the dojo and the gym became less and less. My roommate was consistently unable to pay rent and I found myself donating plasma as a way to keep making ends meet. I had to drive past my old place of employment nearly every day, a reminder of the emotional pain I had experienced and was continuing to go through, along with previous apartments which had harbored abusive relationships.

While there were positive aspects of my life in Florida, there were also negatives and while I felt this need to “get away” and start over, I didn’t know how. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I move all of my stuff? How would I afford the move when I already struggled with rent and personal bills?

It was a situation where there was so much to figure out it was easier to just stay where I was and accept that life just sort of sucked and would suck for the next while.

During the second Christmas without mom, against all financial logic, I rented a room at an extended stay for a week, packed up my computer, took time off from work, and spent a week alone, away from all of the stressors in my life. I renewed my subscription to World of Warcraft and spent a majority of the week inside my room playing the game with my younger brother.

It was the week of my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself; surviving and getting through one of the hardest times of the year without having to worry about my roommate’s dirty dishes being in the sink or the endless piles of dog fur floating around the apartment. No patients or teammates to explain my sadness to. Just me and an imaginary world where I could run around and blow up bunnies or pick flowers if I wanted to.

During this week there was a guildmate I began talking to. Through the course of our conversation my discontent for Florida came out and how I wanted to move but didn’t know where I would go and all of the other unknowns that went with the concept of moving.

“Well, Lincoln is pretty much the opposite of all of that,” was his reply to my story.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, a seed had been planted. The name of a town led to an InDeed search for job opportunities. Seeing opportunities led to looking for my own company in the area. That led to receiving the blessing from my former FA to reach out to the FA’s in Lincoln. That led to a trip to Nebraska and an interview, which led to moving halfway across the country to start my own life in the middle of nowhere.

There were people who thought moving was a bad idea. There were people who thought it was a good idea. And then there was me. Lost. Confused. Caught somewhere in the middle. Unhappy but not sure if moving was the right choice to make or not.

I would be leaving my brother. My clinic. My patients. My friends. My dojo. The last remnants of my old life. And I would be leaving for what? A possibility of things getting better? A “maybe life won’t suck as bad”? I didn’t even know if I would have a job when I got there. It was just a promising interview and knowing that medical areas usually had a need somewhere. Did I want to leave everything I knew and trade it all for some unknown leap of faith here I hoped I landed on my feet across this giant chasm?

Would I regret not moving and trying to make it work if I were to die tomorrow?

Maybe a little stark and morbid as far as a decision-making process goes, but one of the final things mom taught me was that life is short. I’m not ok with arriving at my death and regretting my choices, so if I were to die, would I regret moving or not moving more?

After sitting and thinking about my answer, I realized my answer. Yes. Yes, I would regret not moving. I would regret not trying. I would regret not knowing if it had been the best decision I could have made for myself, or the worst one where I would have to figure out, once again, how to recover from a mistake.

So I moved.

Because I moved I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. Because I moved I now have a renewed sense of family and belonging and home. Because I moved I have grown as a PCT. I am now a CCHT and NFACT certified. I am a CNA on the Nebraska registry and about to begin LPN classes with plans to continue to on to RN. I have attended Academy and plans are being laid for me to become a preceptor for my clinic. Because I moved I have floated to six other clinics and met the patients and teammates of my region.

Because I moved I can hear coyotes at night and see the stars filling the sky. I have found a dojo where I feel I belong and can continue to train.

Because I moved I’ve actually have had the time and space to make real peace with my grief.

So many of the positive events which have happened in my life can be traced back to that one week in the extended stay. So much of my life can be attributed to my choice to venture into the scary unknown and I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world.

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

Daily Post 147: Recap of the Weekend

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I think Thursday was the last day I wrote. Nothing much really happened I think. It’s hard to remember. My dojo gear didn’t show up, but I was expecting it not to since it was delayed by the weather. I think I cross stitched a bit. I’m pretty sure I finished watching Future Diary.

Oh. I made an OkCupid account since that’s something Ox and I have talked about. I spent a fair amount of time plucking away, answering their questions. I’ve had an account with that particular site before and have invested way more time than should be humanly appropriate answering their questions. I can’t help it. There’s always another question to answer… -_-;

But yeah, overall I think Thursday was relatively uneventful. I made the chicken taco soup recipe I found a while back for the family. It was approved for future dinners. Woo.

I admit that I’m always terrified when I make something new for the family. What if they don’t like it? Then all of that food (read money) is wasted and everyone is still left hungry and faith in my cooking ability comes into question and all of these other horribily horrific consequences that are made up inside of my head.

So far that hasn’t been the case. Most of what I have cooked has either been liked or tolerable enough to make it through at least the one meal.

Friday was a smooth day at work. Four of our patients didn’t show up. I worked with my FA, so that in addition to being short so many treatments meant I was able to do a lot of the more admin-y things like updating the checklists I’ve created and finishing off some online training I had been assigned.

I tried to mix acid… Note the word tried because of course something had to go wrong…

On Monday I opted not to do it since the morning started with a patient crashing due to low blood sugar. Wednesday I couldn’t get the filter container to unscrew so I could replace the filter. Our Biomed said not to worry about it when I text him. He would be there on Thursday and replace it for me since it could be finicky.

So cue the smooth day of Friday. The filter was replaced. Everyone was stable. Got the tank rinsed and ready to go. Added in all the granules. Went to test the specific gravity of the acid only to open up the hydrometer to see it shattered…

Right Brain: What the actual fuck, Universe? Could you just not? Like, for once could you calm your tits and just let me do this without some sort of challenge or hurtle or unexplainable bullshit thing going wrong? ;-;

Since acid can stay in the mixing tank for up to two weeks before transferring my FA and I came up with a game plan. Since I had to go into Lincoln anyway during the weekend, I would swing by our sister clinic and pick up their hydrometer to use on Monday to test our acid. They had just mixed a batch so they wouldn’t need it during the beginning of the week. We will test our acid on Monday. It WILL test ok, or else… >.> OR ELSE, Universe!

I’ll be able to transfer the batch from the mixing tank and everything will be right in the world. My FA will take the hydrometer home with her and take it back to our sister clinic on Tuesday morning before continuing on her way to teach a nursing class in Omaha. A replacement meter for our clinic has already been ordered, so the next time I go to mix a batch of acid I should have the new meter and not have to worry about borrowing one again.

Right Brain: There. Problem solved. Suck it, Universe. /victory dance

I didn’t go to the dojo Friday, but I did get a message from UPS saying my box had been delivered. Ox was fighting off a migraine when I got home so I didn’t have the warm hello I had been anticipating. It put me in a bit of a funk. I didn’t have the joy of opening up my box and sharing the experience with someone.

Instead, I started dinner so he could sleep for a bit. By the time dinner was done Ox was feeling better and the night recovered. He helped me put my headgear on for the first time. I feel like the gloves are too big on my hands, but I want to get the input of my sensei before deciding to return them or not. I also got to mess around with my new gym bag. It’s smaller than my current one. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I might also return it and go to a sports store to see what they have. That’s one of the things I dislike about ordering online. You don’t get to actually see or interact with the item you’re buying. If I had seen the gym bag in person I most likely would have decided against it from the get-go. : /

Anywho, dinner was alright. I’m not a huge fan of pork chops but everyone else seemed to like the meal well enough.

Saturday started fairly well. I went into town early to stop by the clinic. While I was there I camped out in the conference room and figured out the two recipes I wanted to do for dinner over the weekend and the shopping list I needed to go with those meals. I stopped at Walmart on the way home. That was more expensive than I had anticipated, but Mama Ox gave me $60 to cover what I bought. I’m grateful for the financial help.

After eating breakfast with everyone I put my gym bag and the hydrometer in the car and drove the new Trax down to Beatrice so I could go to the dojo for at least one class, maybe two.

Well… that would have worked had it not been for me forgetting that there was a competition going on this weekend and that dojo was actually closed both Friday and Saturday… Yeah… good thing I needed to stop by the clinic to drop off the hydrometer anyway so it wasn’t a wasted trip. Sort of took the wind out of my sails, though. Here I thought I was going to be able to see everyone and get feedback about my new gear, and work up a good sweat.

Oh, well. Hopefully, this coming week works out better in that regard.

I dropped the hydrometer off and sent a text message to my FA, letting her know it was there for us to use on Monday. She thanked me and said I was the best. I hardly feel like the best but I do appreciate her words.

When I got home I headed back to the kitchen. I took time to prep the veggies that were going to be needed dinner later that night and for the meal on Sunday. Mama Ox, Papa Ox, and Lil’ Ox went into town to visit family shortly after I got home. That left Ox, Ornery Ox, and my self at home by ourselves. We played a few games of Munchkin before Ornery Ox parted ways to go back to the computer room. I used the quiet time to listen to the first chapter of my leadership book. I cross stitched while I did so.

Once the chapter was done I set up my Chromebook at the kitchen table and began working through the reflection sections in the chapter. Since those are written and because I feel they are important, I plan to post them here on my blog. I’ll also be printing them out and taking them with me to my first class in March.

I made a spaghetti zoodle dinner Saturday night. I thought it turned out amazing and I was totally ok with there being leftover zoodles for me to have later in the week. I made regular noodles for the kids and they seemed to like it well enough. Not sure how Mama Ox or Papa Ox felt about the zoodles. Ox said they were alright. Not bad, just different from regular noodles.

Sunday, today, started out rough. I didn’t sleep very well last night which might be part of it. A nic-fit might have added to the morning being pretty doom and gloom for me. Ox and I are still working on the whole quitting thing. Luckily the day turned around. Ox and I made breakfast for everyone. I got my roast cooked along with starting a load of laundry. I continued in the kitchen after breakfast by meal prepping my lunches for the coming week.

After I was done in the kitchen, I cleaned up my computer desk and continued working on the reflection sections for chapter 1. That led to all sorts of emotional discord. Ox was supportive through it. I still have a section and a half to go, but I’m done for today and tomorrow. I think taking a step back at the moment is a smart move. The section I had been working on asked me to recall situations that were stressful for me and how I felt during those situations. Bringing up and experiencing all of those emotions all over again was rough.

Ox and I talked about it for a while. I felt better after explaining why it bothered me. I felt better enough to make a nest in my corner of the bed and cross stitch while starting to watch Ergo Proxy. After a couple of episodes I got up to start dinner; a cheesy taco skillet. Papa Ox said it was a Grade-A fantastic dinner. Score. Zero fucks given about what anyone else thought. Papa Ox liked it. I can die happy.

And so far that’s where I’m at. Plucking away at my leadership thing and questioning what I’m doing with my life because of what it’s making me think about and answer all while striving to make sure I don’t screw up dinner bad enough to result in my kitchen rights being revoked.

I’m content with this weekend, failed dojo attempt and all.

Daily Post 144: A Weekend of Puzzle Pieces

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The past two days have been pretty good.

Friday the RN was late getting to work. She called me as I was driving to the clinic. Of course, that was the morning I decided to wear a jacket over my scrubs in addition to my winter coat. So when my phone started ringing I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find the pocket of my scrubs to get my phone out.

Right Brain: I know my phone is in there. I can feel it. Why I’m I struggling so hard to get my hand into my freaking pocket?!?! The pocket will not win! I will be victorious! Cower before my might pewny pocket!!!!….. Oh yeah… The jacket… Glad no one was here to see that…

It made for a cute story at work.

Work itself wasn’t bad. The nurse practitioner rounded. Change over didn’t go all that smooth and we ran behind. I would have hated to see what it would have been like with just me and the float RN. It was the last day of training for our new tech. Next week I have the clinic to myself. The week after, she’ll be back and on her own. We’ll see how it goes I suppose.

After work, I actually went to the dojo. Well… first I went to Arby’s and had their smokehouse brisket sandwich; just the sandwich. That’s part of my routine for the dojo. Eat something protein-heavy beforehand with enough time to digest what I ate and drink more water so it has time to get into my system. It seems to work well for me and it gives me a bit of time to let go of the stress from work.

It was… nice going back. And maybe nice isn’t the right word. Comforting. Like putting on a well-worn sweater that has a lot of memories associated with it. There was a feeling of comfort in taking in my gym bag and changing in the restroom. There was a feeling of comfort in walking through the door and bowing to my sensei as he finished teaching the kid’s class. There was comfort in sitting in the seat furthest in the back and wrapping my hands and taking my hair clip out so I could use my hair ties and taking mom’s ring and necklace off and putting my shin guards on. There was comfort in getting ready.

It was all familiar. It was all ritual and I know that word gives it a sort of “other-worldly” feel. But it’s how I think of all of the things I have to do before training. I’m about to honor myself; body, mind, and spirit. I’m about to have my me time. Performing all of the actions leading up to it is part of the process. It puts me in the mindset of, “I’m about to train. Work doesn’t matter. Relationships don’t matter. What other people are doing or how hard they are pushing themselves doesn’t matter. What matters is me. My inner voice. My feelings. My sensations. My internal struggles and battles and worries and concerns. What matters for the next hour is me.”

I didn’t push super hard on Friday. I did most of the warm-up. I did the drills on the bag and got to do some drills with the guys. I was ok with not pushing myself to the point of failure. The main goal on Friday was to simply go. I didn’t even promise myself to stay for a whole class. I hadn’t been in three months, the last of which I had been sick for most of. If the best I could do was 30 minutes then so be it. There would be other days, other classes, where I could and would do better. My accomplishment was showing up and walking through the door. Everything else was bonus points.

It felt good to have a full body sweat. It felt good to throw punches and kicks again. It felt good to do them right even if I wasn’t doing them as hard as I knew I had in the past.

As I bowed to my sensei while I was leaving I said I would see him tomorrow; Saturday.

Left Brain: There. Now I’m honor bound to show up. I have to be here. No chickening out or whining about it and making excuses when we wake up with a sore body in the morning.

I called Ox to let him know I was on my way home. The drive was nice. It gave me more time to myself and to listen to music. I cruised along about 5 miles under the speed limit and didn’t care. I wasn’t in a rush. I wanted to enjoy the drive instead.

The kids were home by the time I got here. I showered. I cooked a dinner of burger patties with onion and mushrooms. I actually drank all of my water and then some last night. Before much longer I went to sleep.

I woke up super sore Saturday morning. My shoulders felt like they wanted to fall off from their own weight let alone the effort it took to actually lift or move things like cooking pans. I knew that doing nothing would be the worst thing for me, but the thought of the dojo class was intimidating. If I’m already this sore, what am I possibly going to be able to do in the class? I had already obligated myself to go, though, and I needed to stop at work anyway, so it was going to happen regardless of how much my body protested.

I needed to type up some notes for my FA. I started to at home but with everyone being awake and what not, it was hard to focus on getting it done. I decided to finish typing the notes at my clinic since I had to be there anyway to sent the email. I had breakfast with everyone. I had a moment of overwhelm that Ox helped me through. I was tired and sore and everything felt so loud and there was nowhere to go to get away from it until I left… I felt, I don’t know, defeated I guess?

While we were cuddling in bed and talking about it he told me to close my eyes, which I did. He got up and rummaged around in one of his drawers. When he came back he slipped something over my wrist. When I looked at it I saw it was a bracelet with a Sagittarius bow and arrow. It’s purple and blue and all stary and nebulous looking. I like it. The band is two braided leather cords framing a solid leather band.

I like it but I don’t think it’s going to be something I can wear often. Not at work at least, and not while I’m at the dojo. I’m glad that it wasn’t an expensive gift because I would feel worse about not being able to wear it if it was. He said it was supposed to be my one-year anniversary gift from him but it seemed like I needed it that morning and more things were on the way so he wanted to give it to me.

I can’t lie. It did help me feel more grounded and connected. Maybe that’s the submissive side of me feeling owned since he put something on me. It’s pretty and I like it and I’m wearing it now.

I drove down to the dojo, stopping in Cortland for gas and cigarettes for the coming week. I still got to the dojo early. There were more people in Saturday’s class than the one Friday night. We started with running and jump rope. Since there were so many people, I didn’t get the rope that I like. I’m thinking about putting mine into my gym bag so I can use it while I’m there rather than struggling to get one I want. I stretched a lot during the warmup phase of the class. My goal, again, wasn’t to push myself. Two days in a row would be a lot; maybe boarder lining not smart, but I was going to do it.

I listened to my body. I got through the whole class. I didn’t spar; only conditioned and stretched. My shoulders felt better after the class. Looser. Less angry. I was super tired, though, and I knew not a lot of physical stuff wouldn’t be able to happen for the rest of the day.

I called Ox when I got out to my car and we talked about the rest of the plans I had. They changed slightly. The weather was actually pretty nice. The sun was out. It was around 40 degrees with a light wind that wasn’t too cold. It was a good day for a car wash. Instead of going to the clinic then to the Walmart in Beatrice, the game plan changed to going to the clinic then driving into Lincoln for my free car wash, then going to the Walmart closer to home.

It worked out well. I spent about an hour finishing up my note typing, then sent an email to my two FAs offering help with the new project requirements if they wanted it. From there I drove to the car wash and waited in line for a while.

When I had gotten my car repaired, one of the things they tossed into the deal was a free car wash code to the facility next to the dealership. I had to spend $4 to upgrade the car wash from uber basic to the “deluxe” where it would wash the underside of the car, but that’s better than spending $14 so I didn’t complain.

After the car wash, I stopped at the Target across the street since there was a Starbucks inside the store. I still had a little bit of money left on the gift card Ox had gotten from his work. I decided since I had been doing fairly well not only for that day but for the past week, that I would treat myself to a small drink.

They had a triple mocha chocolate frappuccino. OMG. It was amazing. I still have half of it to indulge in this morning. Totally looking forward to that part of breakfast.

After getting my coffee drink, I drove to the Walmart where I took care of the small amount of shopping Mama Ox wanted me to do and the few items I needed to replace in my stash. I had used the last of the 57 sauce and Worcestershire sauce the night before when I made the onion and mushroom mix for my burgers. I also wanted to get cauliflower potatoes for my lunches rather than using regular potatoes because carbs are a thing and healthy blah blah blah nonsense.

Once that was done I came home. I ended up talking to Jon for a while. He’s thinking about taking out a student loan since working full time and going to school full time is hard. He has a lot of feelings over that and there’s still some people he wants to talk to but I believe 100% that he’ll figure it out.

I cooked and ate burger patties again, resisting the pizza and pizza rolls everyone else was having. Go me!

I cooked my lunch meal while I was in the kitchen. Chicken with broccoli and no-tatoes. I washed my clothes and got them in the dryer. Again, I didn’t stitch. Instead, I worked on a puzzle with Mama Ox for most of the evening.

There were a lot of emotions associated with that. Puzzles were something my mom and I did. I enjoyed my time with Mama Ox but I felt guilty as I put the last piece into place.

Did this mean I was betraying mom? Were puzzles supposed to be a me and her thing that I didn’t do with anyone else? Was I now a horrible daughter? Would mom have been mad at me if I could have called her and told her about that part of my night?

I don’t think she would have. I think she would have understood that she wasn’t there and that she wasn’t being replaced. I hope she would know that no one could ever replace her. It didn’t stop the tears before bed where I told Ox how I felt. How I was tired of my only options in relation to my grief were anger, sadness, and acceptance. Why can’t being happy and having my mom alive be an option?

I don’t think I’ve made peace with the emotions of last nights puzzle pieces and I don’t think I will until I get some actual alone time to think through it, but at least I’m not in a rut of depression over it. Just sort of solemn and achy around my heart chakra. It was nice to spend time with Mama Ox where she wasn’t critiquing me on buying bananas that were too ripe or throwing away something that was expired but “still perfectly fine and usable”.

So far today hasn’t been bad. Most everyone has still been asleep though, so I don’t have a lot of info to base good or bad on. I woke up at 3:30 and had a piece of toast with almond butter, dark chocolate chips, and a banana sliced on top. I went back to sleep for a while. I woke up with Ox around 6:30. I’ve already cooked my venison roasts and had breakfast. And now I’ve written.

We’re supposed to play some tabletop games with the kids. I would like to stitch since I haven’t been able to much this week. I would like to get to sleep early as well since I want to get to the clinic around 4:15. And a bit of time at the gym rowing or lifting weights might be nice. I’m not nearly as sore as I thought I would be.

It’s been a good weekend so far. Puzzle pieces and tears included.

Daily Post 138: Socks and Sickness

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So… I’m sick. That sucks but it could be worse. At the moment I’m pretty sure it’s just a head cold. I’m having a hard time keeping my body warm feeling. Being in sleep shorts and a thin t-shirt probably isn’t helping my cause. I’ve spent most of the morning in bed working on finishing Jon’s cross stitch. At the moment, sitting here in front of the computer, it’s hard to feel my fingertips. They’re cold so my typing is slower than my thoughts. Super annoying. It reminds me of the band competitions I used to be a part of, standing at the gates of the football field, about to perform struggling to keep my hands warm so I would be able to play good enough, fast enough. Mentally I’m there, physically my body is having a hard time and that disconnect is frustrating.

I didn’t have a lot of plans for today so at least I have that going for me.

My socks came in and they’re amazing. I love them. I wish they had made yesterday a better day, but with the sickness creeping in and getting worse as the day progressed the warm glow I was hoping to have with wearing something new didn’t really permeate my day the way I was hoping. I made it through Wednesday but didn’t go to the dojo. The sinus pressure in my skull gave me a headache and the drive home was enough to make me want to quit let alone going and doing three minutes of jump rope as a warmup where I would have been dying after the first thirty seconds. I was pretty pissed at my body but I think I made the right call.

Ox took out my frozen container of chicken taco soup before I got home. Having it soak in hot water meant it was defrosted enough by the time I got home that I could slide the giant ice chunk out into a pot to boil and melt. After about 10 minutes I had a warm, hearty meal that I could eat sans carbs which is something I’m trying to get back into. I’ve been doing way better than the past two months. Not perfect, but significantly better. It might be one of the reasons this head cold was able to take root; the whole keto flu and all that fun stuff.

I have a phone call with my therapist from Orlando today. I don’t feel like I have much to talk to her about. No problem to solve or focus on. I feel like it will be more chatting with a good friend; keeping her posted on all of the developments with work and my life. She may have questions which spark deeper conversation but it’s not like the sessions we first had when mom died where I didn’t know my direction or how to process through all of the events going on. While I know I hadn’t lost everything during that time of my life, I had lost a large amount of what I had been using to define myself. My job. My home. My relationship. My family. I was left feeling like the vast expanse within myself was a white nothingness. No ruble or broken pieces to pick up and put back together. No wreckage to salvage. Just blank empty nothingness. Where do you start when there’s nothing to build with? No tools to use? What do you create? How do you create it? What’s the point in putting in the effort in the first place when there’s no one at your side to enjoy the accomplishment with you?

That’s not where I am anymore. I’ve come a really long way since then in such a short amount of time. In a little over two and a half years, I am now firmly established as an expert cannulator in my own clinic, training a new tech and working towards a leadership position, though I may not have a clear idea of what that position is. I am still making progress on being healthier even if there has been a bit of a speed bump in that regard with the past two months. The CNA class and holiday season made it hard to have time for myself in addition to getting enough sleep and making sure I had clean clothes and food for my work days. Finding balance was hard but I made it through that stint and I’m not blind to all of the help I received in my endeavor to survive. Ox and his parents and the conversations I had with family and friends factored into my accomplishment of surviving mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I got the car looked at on Tuesday. It needs a handful of repairs, not all of which are going to be cheap. The front struts need to be replaced. That’s 850 alone in parts and labor. The overtime money that I saved will mostly be going towards that project. The parts won’t be in until around Tuesday this coming week. All of the work should be completed within a day, so I’ll most likely arrange to drop the car off to be worked on next Thursday or Saturday.

While I would prefer to put all of that money towards the car loan or credit card, I need the car to be in working condition otherwise I’m screwed. Nebraska is too spread out to not be able to drive myself to my clinic or the other clinics where I cover shifts. The repair work is a good and worthwhile investment. I’ve had to do very little in the way of maintaining my car. Aside from oil changes and getting new tires once, I really haven’t had to spend much money on it. It’s been a solid and reliable vehicle. I want it to continue being one and so here I am, being a responsible adult and taking care of issues before they become bigger, less manageable problems.

Jon and I have talked a bit over the past few days. He’s about to begin his first day of nursing school. That’s this coming Monday. There are all sorts of emotions he’s having to work through on that front, but I’m happy for him. I think he’s going to do amazingly well and his not shrinking away from the challenges before him. I’m proud of him and it’s warming to realize how much he has grown and matured since we were kids living at home with mom. He truly has become his own person.

I guess there really isn’t much else to talk about. I feel like I’m rambling but that’s just the type of day it is. Soft, introspective reflection with a cup of coffee and a couple of cats on a cold winter day.

Daily Post 134: Procrastinating on Studying

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I passed my test last night. Got a 98 since I missed one question. You have to wait 10-20 minutes before taking someone’s oral temperature if they’ve just had something to drink. Not 5-10 minutes. You’re welcome.

I’ve officially completed my CNA course. I’m signed up to take my state skills test tomorrow at 6:30 pm. I have my state written test at 5:30 pm. I’ll know if I pass both of them before I leave campus.

I’m about to begin studying for my skills test. That’s a whole process in itself that I’ve talked to a few people about but I don’t think I’ve ever explained it here on my blog and for better or for worse, I don’t really feel like getting into it right now. Maybe the next time I write.

Work today wasn’t bad. It was the first time that we had nearly all of our patients back from the hospital. It was just me and my FA on the floor today and even though we didn’t have the extra nurse there to help things went fairly smoothly.

I’m still tired, though, and that tiredness eats away at everything. I should care more about my test tomorrow, but right now I sort of don’t. Whatever happens, will happen. Either I’ll fail, drink and cry about it and then figure out retesting. Or I’ll pass, drink and cry about it and then figure out what I want to do with my LPN course.

Jon and I have talked a fair amount this week. Ox and I have talked, too. We both think I’m contending with depression right now. Potentially burn out as well. I turned down working an extra shift this coming Saturday. See… I can say no… sometimes. Not without mild guilt, but since the only thing I want to do is hermit myself away from the world, the thought of having to give up any sort of time to be around people, even to grocery shop, is sort of a no-go right now.

I’ve been thinking about maybe going to the dojo on Saturday. If I took the shift it would have been a definite no and I wasn’t ok with that. I’m about to work a crapton of overtime in the next two weeks. I don’t want to give up one of the few days off that I’ll have. I need to go to my eye clinic and get a receipt for my lens fitting so I can actually get the rebate I was denied today. Jerks. I need to do laundry. I need to finish meal prepping for the next two weeks since I will have a single day off during each of them and I don’t want to spend any of that day having to do chores.

I need to take care of me a little bit more than what I’ve been doing. I think a lot of it comes back to sleep. Lack of sleep makes everything harder. If that means I need to give up the dojo for a little bit longer then I guess that’s what I need to do.

In a way, the coming weeks will be easier. All I’ll have to do is work. No worrying about tests or studying or discussion posts that are so lacking in content that there isn’t really anything worth replying to. The extra shifts are only about eight hours. I’ll have the rest of the day to myself. I could go to the gym to run or row. It would be beneficial to run since I want to take vacation in February to go to Florida and I could do the Warrior Dash while I’m there.

I’ve decided not to apply to go to a convention for work in March. Not sure if I wrote about that either. There was an opportunity that I think I’m going to pass on. I’m already going to be doing preceptor training sometime around April. I might get into this leadership course which would be a six-month investment. I just went to Dever… I think I’m ok with not doing something.

I think I’m ok with taking a step back for a little while. I think I would be ok with having days off that are legit full days off with no additional side / personal development obligations.

And with that, I’m off to go study so I can pass my tests on the first try and not have them looming over me.

Daily Post 131: A Thankful Test Drive

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It’s Thanksgiving.

Today has been a decent day. I’m currently typing on a new keyboard. Yep. That’s right. I finally replaced the refurbished keyboard with its finicky spacebar key that I’ve had since I got this desktop computer. My companion of so long. Part of me feels… something. Not really regret or a sense of “badness”. There wasn’t truly anything wrong with the keyboard but I’ve wanted a new one and now that I have it I guess I feel a little like I’m being less than responsible.

This new keyboard is still too new to know if I like it or not. The keys feel different. It feels as if it’s at a slightly different elevation angle with the footrests out. It’s not my old keyboard that I’ve had for almost 10 years and my fingers can feel the difference. The spacing is just ever so different. The clicking and crispness of the sound is foreign.

I’m not expecting this post to feel the same because of it. It’s essentially a test drive. The keyboard is wireless which is nice. It came with a new mouse which I’m also trying out. It slides differently than my old one. There will need to be a trial period were I adjust to the changes.

I also got a laptop. A 15-inch Chromebook. It was $200. For all that I complain about the credit card and how I can’t make progress on it, I realize these purchases may seem counterproductive and not in line with my goals or true wants.

I’m glad I have the laptop though. It’s currently charging and my next post will most likely be written on it.

Yesterday was a decent day at work. There’s not much to report on that front. I’m still waiting to get the itinerary for my trip. I still need to fill out the application for the leadership course. I still need to write the thank you letter to my FA for my raise. Our new patient will most likely start on Monday. Tomorrow is still most likely going to be a disaster. My goal in that regard is survival. I’m not planning to go to the dojo afterward. I’m planning to come home once I’m able to and be done with it all for the weekend.

I was supposed to go to the dojo yesterday but didn’t. I came home instead because the thought of being home felt better then being around people or waiting for two hours for my class to start with literally nothing to do. I couldn’t write since I didn’t have a laptop. I couldn’t do school work for the same reason. I didn’t have my cross-stitch with me which isn’t something I’ve thought about having with me since I never have free time. I don’t know why, but yesterday I didn’t want to be around anyone; not even at the dojo. I didn’t get as much of a sense of fulfillment about going and sweating and pushing myself to be a better me as I did at the thought of being home with Ox and spending the evening together with him gaming and me stitching while I watched Netflix.

So I came home instead. We ended up going to the gas station and getting a bottle of Jack Daniels and ingredients to make chip dip. We drank together. Sexy time happened. I spent a fair amount of time afterward crying and talking about mom.

I told him how it felt like every step I take forward, every success and accomplishment feels like a step away from her. It’s a step away from the hospital room where I held her hand. It’s like I’m leaving her there to die by her self and even though I know that’s not what’s happening I can’t make the feelings stop or change and I struggle with that so much. I know she’s already dead. How can I leave her somewhere to die? I’m living life and doing the thing she would want me to do so how am I betraying her?

I talked about some of the stories I have of her. It felt good to be drunk and to cry and to voice all of these things that are mostly thoughts inside of my head that eat away at me. I’m not the only one who knows about them anymore. Someone else knows and that makes it seem more bearable.

I know mom wants me to strive to be happy with the life that I have, but there’s always the grief side of the equation now that I have to figure out and make peace with. Getting my raise at work and getting back to my starting square income-wise is not a betrayal to her, but there is a very real part of me that thinks that way and I have to figure it out.

It was a good night, tears included.

I’ve felt more on top of my life since Monday. More secure. More capable. More like effort does pay off and is worth it. Throwing down the burden of responsibility for a night helped too I think. Having today off where I’ve literally had no obligations to anyone or anything has been nice and today I got some things for myself that I’ve wanted for a while. Since I’ve been writing so infrequently it feels like I’ve done that a lot recently but I think on a logical, timeline level, I really haven’t.

I got the punching bag and the bike rack. I have the dojo membership and the gym membership. I got new clothes and additional scrubs. I paid for my new license plate and the CNA class. I got new work shoes and the new Vibrams for my race. There was also the new pillows and sheets for the bed. The cooking set… Soon there will be the expense of additional contacts, but I have the HSA account with work for that so I’m not sure if it really counts…

I’ve done things for myself here and there in small doses, making sure it didn’t interfere with my monthly expenses and that everything still got paid. I might not have made the progress in certain financial areas like how I wanted, but I’ve taken care of things that needed to be done along with getting things that made my life feel better.

I’m thankful that I am at a point in my life where I can buy things and not have to hold my breath while I put gas into my car or alter my grocery list because what I originally wanted might have been too expensive and put me over budget.

I haven’t used the laptop yet so I don’t know for sure if it will be what I’m hoping it will be, but I’m content in knowing that I own it. I’m content that I’m the one who picked it out and that I’m the one who paid for it. It’s mine. 100% and I like that. I like the thought of the freedom it will give me. Saturdays after the dojo I could go to my new sports bar and write and pay bills and make my shopping list before going to Walmart and then heading home.

I’ve talked to my older brother today. It’s been the first time in a while. I got to tell him about all the developments with work. I got to tell him about the dojo. I finally told him about living with Ox and his family and how his kids seem to like me. I told him about minigolf and Stuffed Fables and the pumpkin patch. I told him about the heart attacks I’ve had about not knowing how to be a parent and the fulfillment of watching the kids share in my hobbies and learning new things.

He’s happy for me and I’m surprisingly relieved that he finally knows my whole situation. With my history of relationships, I’ve been hesitant to share that side of my life with anyone. My blog is my safe space. A phone or in person conversation where I could be judged or may have to defend myself is a different situation. I can’t blame people for worrying about me or wondering if I’m messing up again. This is the healthiest and most supportive relationship I have ever been in though, and I want people to trust me and hear me when I say those words.

I talked to Allison today as well. She had tried calling last night. We talked until my phone died. We have plans to try to talk later tonight since she had to get going for her Thanksgiving plans anyway, but if we can’t talk later we have backup plans to continue talking on Sunday. Jon and I chatted for a bit, and now here I am, charging my laptop and typing away about nothing all that important on a keyboard that I’m starting to get a feel for.

It’s been a nice day. The only things that I might still try to get accomplished are calling my dad and Chrys so I can be caught up with most of the people in my life.

I’ve put the clothes away, finally.

Ox brought a keyboard home for me on Tuesday which I never wrote about. Like, an actual musical keyboard. He found it while he was at work and remembered me talking about wanting one. He brought it home to see if it worked and it did, so I now also own a four and a half octave keyboard which currently has no designated home, but I own it. I can play music again for the first time in ten years. I honestly don’t remember how to place my fingers properly since I switched to percussion during middle and high school, but I still remember how to read music and I remember all of my scales and parts of the pieces I played during marching band. I can pick away at the keys and it pulls at something within myself to do it; something long dormant and that I’ve missed. I’m looking forward to going into town at some point to get a keyboard stand and a few books. I want a beginner book for sure so Lil’ Ox and I can play music together and maybe an intermediate book. I could buy the sheet music for Two Trees like I’ve wanted to since I first heard that song.

I don’t think there are words to express how much it meant to receive a gift like that. I haven’t talked about wanting to play music in so long, and even when I did I’m pretty sure it was more of an in passing comment. “It would be nice if one day…” sort of a thing. But he remembered that conversation and went out of his way when the opportunity presented itself. Even if the keyboard hadn’t ended up working it wouldn’t have mattered. Knowing that he thought of me, that he went out of his way to do something like that for me, still fills me with warmth. That soft warm feeling of being snuggled up in your favorite blanket. It could have been the crappiest day ever but in that moment everything is ok because you have that warm feeling protecting you and the familiar scents surrounding you.

It’s that type of feeling.

Things really are ok. I’m actually able to take care of myself and all areas of my life are fairly figured out and my living situation is a positive and supportive one and I really don’t know what to do with my life not being a complete and total clusterfuck of what the hell.

Thank you, Universe. Thank you for letting me be here. And thank you, mom. Thank you for raising me the way you did. Thank you for everything you did that went into me being the me I am.