MUSING MOMENTS 133: LFTIO – Building Relationships

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 10
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Take some time to reflect on the following questions to help develop and build relationships:

Under what conditions do you shut down communication?
I tend to shut down with confronted with negativity. I like getting feedback, but if it’s not constructive I tend to become defensive or closed off. “You did a shitty job,” doesn’t tell me how to do something better. It just leaves me feeling bad. I do my best. I’m sorry if my best wasn’t good enough, but if you’re not going to tell me how to become better, just how I didn’t meet your expectations then fuck you. I didn’t see you doing anything other than standing on the sidelines. Maybe if you helped next time or you gave me an idea of what to do differently I would care about your opinion.

I also shut down when I feel a lack of empathy. If you’re going to act like my emotions, my perspective, and my situations don’t matter then I’m not going to care about your opinion or what you have to say. It’s a two-way street. If you’re not going to care, then neither am I.

Lack of honesty, or authenticity as this book calls it, is probably the number one trigger for me torching bridges without a second thought. If I can’t trust you to be real with me, if I have even the smallest hint of “snake in the grass” in regards to your character then I can guarantee you, while I may hear your words and log your comments away, they’re always going to remain at the bottom of my “care” list.

What beliefs are causing you to shut down under those conditions?
There’s usually the belief that there are ulterior motives to their comments or actions, which tend to be proven true given time.

There’s my belief that criticism is different from critique. Negative comments without avenues for change or recognizing any of the positive or “right” things in a situation leaves people feeling demotivated and that the effort they did put in didn’t matter.

How can you be more open in future situations?
I don’t think I have a problem being open. I feel I could be better about expressing my feelings during the situation. “I know you’re trying to help me be better, but right now I’m only receiving negative feedback and that doesn’t feel very good. How could I have handled this better or what things, if any, did I do right?”

In regards to the ulterior motives, I could try to find time to be self-reflective and to identify why I feel the way I do. Once I understand where my emotions are stemming from I could return to the person for a more in-depth conversation. “I know we were talking about this before, but I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable after we talked and this is why…”

Do you need to strengthen your “I” or your “We” to build even more authentic relationships?
I need to strengthen my “I” without a doubt. There have been several times where I have not spoken up purely because “I’m not a nurse”. I could have helped situations go smoother. I could have helped my teams avoid problems. If I had been more direct on how to handle change over, if I had stepped up and made leadership decisions, regardless of what my title is or was, I could have helped everyone involved.

My voice matters. I shouldn’t be afraid to voice strategies or suggestions. I have experience and perspective which are of value only if I allow myself to share them with others. Speaking up isn’t disrespectful or overstepping boundaries and that’s something I know I need to work on. It might be scary to have everyone looking at you and listening to what you say, but overcoming that moment of fear can lead to the whole team growing or to the clinic running smoother and more efficiently.

How can you more effectively build your relationship bridges?
I can continue to build strong, lasting relationships by not being afraid to speak up; to share my stories and experiences and at times being direct especially as I move into a preceptor role.

How can you bring your team trust and team effectiveness to a new level?
By continuing to be honest and conducting myself with integrity. If I am a person my teammates can trust, then as stressful and trying situations arise they will not distrust or resent my judgments and input.

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Daily Post 158: Saturday Burnout

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Writing from Saturday morning:


Work wasn’t awful yesterday. My FA was there for a bit in the morning but then had to leave to attend meetings in Lincoln. That left me with Float RN and New RN. We got everyone through their treatments and the clinic closed down on time. Go us!

I was dead by the time I got home. Sadly, the kids are here this weekend, so going to bed early wasn’t an option. I did crawl into bed with the lights off, but the TV in the living room was on and I could hear it. The kids kept running in and out of the rooms and chatting and being kids. It’s one of the pieces of friction with the home situation. I’m not able to have the solitude and quietness away from people when I need it, and yesterday and this morning were definitely times where I needed it.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I think I’m starting to fight off a cold again. I was congested for most of the night. I woke up several times even with using the Vix Vapor thingy we have in the room.

When I finally gave up on sleeping this morning, everyone was already up. The thought of having to cook breakfast and dealing with people being under my feet while I tried to do stuff or answering questions and just in general interacting with anything living that wasn’t a cat sucked. It all felt heavy. And that’s how my whole day was going to be; constantly surrounded by demands on energy I didn’t have to give.

The pervasive thought this morning is that it’s almost the three-year mark. Three years since mom died. Soon I will have to find another rose to add to her vase; a sign that I have once again survived to reach another year. A sign that I made it through all of the hard days, all of the good days, each and every day that ticked us closer and closer to “this” day.

It sucks. And knowing that I couldn’t have the one thing I wanted, to be left alone, made it worse.

I did end up making waffles for everyone. I used whole eggs this time instead of egg whites. I didn’t eat with the family, but I was told the waffles were good. I stepped outside with Ox for a cigarette after he had eaten. When I came back inside I curled up in bed under the covers with one of the cats. Mama Ox came to the doorway. Since the lights were off she couldn’t see me.

Mama Ox: Where did she go? It’s like she’s hiding. I thought she came in here but I can’t see her.

Right Brain: Um… yeah. I’m hiding. That’s sort of the point of hiding. To not be found or bothered.

Ox and I had some alone time. He let me cry. I had told him about a dream I had last night which might have added to the frustration I woke up with. I had been in the kitchen trying to do something, but there was trash everywhere that no one had thrown away. There was clutter and friction and all of this “stuff” that I had to work around or take care of before I could begin to do what needed to be done. It felt like I was the only one who cared and that made it all feel pointless. I can’t care for everyone. I can’t be the only one doing things all the time. That’s how people burn out and that’s what I woke up with; a burnt out feeling.

I’m glad to say that things are getting better. I’ve worked through all of the emails in my inbox that I didn’t get to on Tuesday. I’ve replied to posts and even an email from one of my uncles. I have a new niece. I doubt I’ll ever be very close to her, but I’m happy for my cousin. I hope she’s enjoying being a parent. I hope her daughter grows up to have a close relationship with her.

I proofread and posted my last writing. I’ve written this one, not that there’s really much to say. I feel tired. I feel emotionally drained. I still feel slightly confined though not as much as I was when I first woke up. I’m hoping to get through this weekend of rainy ickiness where the kids complain that they’re bored and how there’s nothing to do. I’m hoping one day I will have my dragon’s den and it won’t matter if the kids are here; I’ll still be able to sleep after an exhausting day of work. I’ll still be able to have my silence and solitude without interfering with everyone else’s life.

Today isn’t that day, though. Tomorrow isn’t going to be that day either. Right now I just need to breathe through the tension and realize this is a moment in time. Nothing is bad. Nothing is wrong. Everyone here loves me, it’s just not structured to the needs of an extremely introverted INFJ.

For today, I will be grateful.

I am grateful I had my mom in my life as long as I did. I’m grateful I still have her in my life in the ways that I do. I’m grateful that Ox loves me and tries as hard as he does to make me feel safe and cared for. I’m grateful for my life, even if it’s different than what I thought it was supposed to be.

Hopefully, I can remember those things when the tension starts to swell up again. I AM grateful. Even when things are hard and sad and I’m not alone like I want to be, I am grateful.



Written Sunday morning:

Today is off to a better start than yesterday. Granted, it’s only 6:30 in the morning, but already I have been equally as productive as I was for all of yesterday combined.

I woke up yesterday feeling out of it, and maybe that’s not the right way to describe it. I felt alright, just not up to the task of doing anything or socializing with anyone. It was one of those days where if I still lived in Orlando I would have slept all day and stayed in my room cuddling with Scarlet. Maybe if I had been feeling frisky I would have eaten something.

That’s not possible in the enviornment I live in now, though, and it most certainly isn’t possible while the kids are here.

I helped with breakfast yesterday, but I didn’t eat anything with the family. The bit of time I was in the kitchen with Mama Ox going back and forth and inserting her two cents on topics that didn’t matter and were mostly small talk that I had to fain instrest in had me frayed and feeling overwhelemed. It didn’t help that when I tried to go to the room to get away from it all, she followed me and commented about how I was hiding.

Yes. I’m hiding. Please respect that and leave me alone. >.<;

I wrote yesterday and continued with my posting for my leadership class. I have a handful of reflection sections left to post from the first book. I did buy the second book yesterday even though we won’t be working on it for the class until April. I figured since I’m going to be starting my Human Anatomy class soon that it would be better to try to get as ahead as possible. The next book is Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. I don’t know much about it, but the audio book is over 13 hours. I may start it up today depending on how things go.

I did start a load of laundry yesterday, but that’s all I did with it. I just switched it over before putting my roast in the oven, so both of those things are going. I’m trying something different with my roast. I used a Grill Mates marinade with it this time since I like how it turns out with chicken so much. We’ll see if it’s a success in about an hour.

Ox and I did go to the store here in town yesterday afternoon. We needed milk and eggs. Mama Ox wanted a new container of cashews. I wanted shredded cheddar cheese for the leftover chili that no one is eating. I got a small bag of the Reese’s snack popcorn that I like.

Other than that, I took a three hour nap yesterday and did a bunch of nothing. I haven’t cooked dinner all week, which I guess isn’t as awful as it sounds. There were leftovers for some of the days, and the others Mama Ox cooked burgers or other simple, quick things that the family liked.

This wasn’t really the best week for me to do much, what with working late and having to travel. Maybe that was part of yesterday; burnout from a rougher week than I had thought it was.

I told Ox last night that I feel like I don’t handle things as well as I used to. I don’t know if that’s me getting older or still being broken from the ordeal that was mom’s death. I don’t remember crying as much during high school, though. I don’t remember feeling as overwhelmed and bombarded by small, simple social interactions. I also didn’t have to deal with them very much for the seven-ish years I lived in Florida. I was able to have my own room and to avoid the world when I wanted to. I still don’t have that option here and so maybe I’m the same it’s just the situations are different. Different stressors, different coping behaviors… I wish I knew.

Ox, for his part, was himself. Ridiculously understanding, supportive, and reassuring. He let me sleep during the day. He dealt with my grouchiness. He held me, encouraging me to take deep breaths when the tension started to build in my chest. He said two months. He doesn’t want me to sleep in the addition with it being so cold. He didn’t want me to sleep in my car either for the same reason when I brought that option up last night. I didn’t want to be away from home, so the thought of a hotel room didn’t sit very well with me.

I just want a quiet space here. A safe space. A “my” space where I belong and I have my things with me instead of them being packed away still in a storage unit I haven’t seen in roughly seven months. I keep thinking in the back of my mind that I’m going to unwrap my china and all of the pieces are going to be broken because of how cold it has been. It’s a shitty thought that doesn’t help anything when my brain is already being a terrorist.

I don’t really know where to go from here as far as my writing goes. Ox said two months. I have my trip next week to see my brother and dad and Mother Earth and Sir. I don’t have a lot of time while I’m there. Maybe I should have tried to plan this better. I don’t think I’ll have time to visit my home clinic. I don’t know if I want to see Warren while I’m there. It will most likely be like pulling teeth and I doubt any headway will be made in regards to the money he owes me. I would like to see my therapist before she retires. I would like to go to the dojo, but I don’t know if I should or not. I haven’t been going to the one here, and though I’ve been better about the gym this past week, I still feel like I’m behind in regards to the workout section of my life.

It was rainy and misirable all day yesterday and it’s suppposed to stay that way for a while. The tempratures are supposed to rise, though. Hopefully spring is arriving and all of this snow will melt and it will be sunny once again. I hope so. I really, really hope that I’m almost at the end of whatever this is and that I do good in school and my yearly review goes well and I eventually get my safe, quiet place and all of this tension and stress and apathy melt away with the snow.

Musing Moment 127: LFTIO – Storyline Reflection

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.0
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”




List the significant events in your life in chronological order and rate them on a scale of -10 to 10.

What do you notice about your StoryLine? What events stand out? What are the significant patterns of work, relationship, and or change that you see?

I notice that a lot of the events on my timeline happen together. Seldom is there ever one event. Several significant things occur around the same time period. When looking at my events in relation to my age and how I felt those events rated, no one time in my life is ever wholly negative or positive. There is a balance I am able to see with hide-sight and the perspective this exercise offers. A pattern which seems to emerge for me personally is that personal relationships fuel change within my career.


How have the higher ranked experiences shaped you? Your leadership? Your beliefs? Your values?

The higher ranked experiences seem to be centered around schooling, personal projects, or work. They shaped me by honing my trade skills and soft skills such as time management, collaboration, and communication. As a leader, a lot of these experiences put me in a leadership position, each event a bit more so than the last. I suppose in a way I was gradually getting my feet wet. Each event taught me something valuable about myself and others. Each event affirmed something I believed in and was striving for. Each event supported my values and made me feel fulfilled and like I was doing something positive with my life.


How have the lower ranked experiences shaped you? Your leadership? Your beliefs? Your values?

The lower ranked experiences tend to center around relationships. These events I feel had more of an impact on shaping me because I learned how to stand back up after getting knocked down. At each point, I was faced with giving up or being true to myself. In the extreme case of my mother’s death, it was the struggle of actually finding myself; my true self.

While these were undoubtedly negative experiences, they were crucial moments in my life. I had the option to take the easier route of being bitter, judgemental, and jaded, or the harder option of trying to understand and learn from the experiences I was faced with. My negative experiences showed me how I didn’t want to be, in terms of other people’s behaviors, and affirmed why I did want to be the way I chose to be.

Why is listening important? Why is communication important? Why is honesty and trust important?

These negative experiences shaped my values and beliefs more firmly and irrevocably than the positive experiences and while I may not have enjoyed them in any sense of the term, I am grateful for them. Because of these lows in my life, I have a better sense of who I am and why I am that way.


Who has most influenced you and your development?

My mom. Hands down. Without a second thought. Until the day I die my answer will always and forever be my mom.


What does your StoryLine tell you about the leader and person you are? What does it tell you about the leader and person you aspire to be?

I think my StoryLine shows that I am emotionally driven. I am connection driven. I am loyalty driven. I am caring and compassionately driven. As a leader, my efforts are centered around others. Creating events for students. Taking steps to become a trainer within my clinic. Working with younger or newer members at the dojo. I like teaching and showing people new things, cool things, things they didn’t think they could do but can.

I don’t really think I aspire to “be” anything other than myself. Events happen along the way and I make the choices I feel are appropriate and in line with my beliefs. I feel that by centering around the development of others, that my influence could potentially be far-reaching. Several of the key figures in my life have been teachers or instructors themselves. They not only affected my life but the lives of others. As we, the affected students, go about our own lives, we spread that influence to those we interact with; sometimes consciously and at other times subconsciously. We can never truly know how far reaching something as small as the comment, “I believe in you,” can be.

Daily Post 145: An Uncomfortable Truth

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Written Tuesday. Posted today.

Today started out like most of my recent days off have; with no motivation, an overcast sky, cold weather, and the pervasive feelings of depression and pointlessness.

It stayed that way for most of the morning. I had a bowl of cereal knowing it was full of carbs and not caring because what’s the point in my hallow crusade to lose weight. It’s not that I’ve given up on being healthy, or that I feel the 60 pounds I’ve already lost is enough. It’s more that I keep losing touch with myself. The candle flame of drive that I find periodically keeps getting snuffed out when held up against the storm that’s still going within my inner world; a storm which I know is happening but have yet to understand why or how to whether it properly.

Do I bash myself about eating? Do I make myself feel like crap for putting in the effort to actually have something instead of staying in bed like most of me wanted to do? Do I say fuck it and have my single serving sized bowl of cereal with milk that reminds me of childhood and warmer, happier days and keep going or do I give up this early in the day and hope that tomorrow I do better since for whatever reason what I’m doing doesn’t feel good enough?

Most likely because it contained a curse word I went with the fuck it option.

Papa Ox wasn’t awake yet. Mama Ox had already left. It was the perfect time to finish up Jon’s cross stitch. I could have used the kitchen table to spread out my craft supplies and cut the fabric down to size. I could have used the Exacto-knife to carve out the piece of mounting board I need. But no. I went back to bed, the task of eating accomplished. A single task of necessity off my list with all other tasks lurking in my head gathering dust, waiting for a moment where they felt worthwhile.

When I woke up again Papa Ox was in the living room. The thought of walking past him to go outside for a cigarette was enough to keep me in the room. I knew I was getting worse. I could feel it and yet I didn’t know what “it” was. Just that it was building and eventually there would be a revelation where everything clicked into place and I finally gained clarity and understanding and I would know what to do to fix what I felt was internally broken.

Well… I guess that day was today.

Work went well yesterday; Monday. It was just me and my FA. We got everyone on the machines on time. I had to have my yearly TB test done, so that was one needle stick. I had to have lab work done as well. My FA tried to draw the labs on me but my veins didn’t want to play nice. After two attempts she said we would try again later. I said I would work on drinking my container of water since dehydration might have been part of the issue.

Fast forward to the end of the day where we to try to draw the labs again only for me to end up with a busted vein on my other arm and still no tubes of my blood to send to the lab. I have a pretty impressive bruise on my left forearm. She felt awful for not being able to get the labs and for having to stick me so many times. I felt ill for most of the drive home from work because of the swelling pressure under my skin. I was also covered in band-aids from all of my needle sticks. Once I got home and was able to ice my arm things got better. Eventually, I was able to take a shower since I could move my arm without feeling nauseous.

Workwise, It was a good day even with all of the evil spikes of death being shoved into my arms. That’s sort of where it ended, though.

The kids weren’t here and that’s always hard for Ox. He played on the computer for most of the night. When it was bedtime he fell asleep instantly like normal. I envy his ability to fall asleep. My brothers can do it, too. They just… sleep whereas my brain stays on. It can take me hours to fall asleep and all the while I’m ticking down the time.

Brain: If I fall asleep know I can get this many hours of sleep… If I fall asleep now, I can get this many hours… If I fall asleep now, I’ll get this many hours…

I felt alone Tuesday night. I don’t know why sometimes it bothers me and other times it doesn’t. I don’t know what I needed that I didn’t vocalize to feel so… unimportant, but listening to Ox’s steady even breathing made me want to cry.

Sometimes it feels like the game is more interesting than me. The game is better than reality and there’s nowhere for me to go to get away from it. No room where I can be by myself, away from the screen that is better than me.

I know all of that sounds horrible. It’s petty. It’s whinny. It’s needy and insecure and self-absorbed. It’s completely untrue that he likes the game more than me, and logically I know that, but when it’s dark inside of my head, those are the types of thoughts that my brain whispers to me and when I’m awake, alone after only a few cigarette breaks to facilitate interaction between Ox and me, it’s hard not to listen to it and think it’s right.

Ox has his own emotions he has to contend with. I should be understanding and supportive and strong enough to allow him to have what he needs to be ok and instead, here I am being emo. It only adds fuel to the self-destructive thoughts that I know I shouldn’t be having, but that doesn’t change that fact that I am having them and that I don’t know how to stop them or fight them.

The only thing I know how to do is to be alone to try to deal with my Evil Voice. Alone I can think through those whisperings. I can try to understand why those thoughts aren’t true. I can try to figure out where they’re stemming from. What’s the root cause? Listening to another person breathing a peaceful sleep while I mentally struggle isn’t being alone. It just emphasizes the feeling of, “I don’t have anyone to help me through this.” I ended up sleeping on the couch last night because being alone was easier than feeling lonely.

We still had our shared cigarette this morning, but the feelings of isolation and unimportance were still there. I hadn’t been victorious against my Evil Voice. I still knew what it was telling me wasn’t true, so I hadn’t lost ground, but I hadn’t gained any either. I was still where I had been and that was sort of a shitty feeling.

I was still in that place later when Ox called me and said he was off work. He had texted me earlier asking how I was. I had been honest and said that I was cold and sad and that I missed the sun and warmth. He said I had seemed sad this morning. I said I was sorry; that I didn’t mean to be sad. I didn’t mean to always be this way.

He asked if I wanted him to come home. He was supposed to stop and get more nails for the nail gun. We were supposed to work on the addition. There was a part of me who disliked myself for answering yes; I did want him to come home. I didn’t hate myself for it, but I should have been ok. I should have been fine and doing stuff and productive instead of on the verge of tears and wanting a hug more than wanting to make progress on a project that’s important to both of us. But, no, even if I didn’t like it I was honest both with Ox and myself.I wanted it to be warm outside and not winter and cloudy. I wanted to feel more important than a video game.
I wanted him home.

Ox came home. We cuddled. We talked. There was sexy time and not good feelings afterward because sex wasn’t what I had wanted. I had wanted to feel connected and now it was over and we would go back to playing video games and cross stitching and ignoring each other and it would be like nothing had ever happened. The feelings of aloneness were more intense then they had been and yet I still didn’t know how to vocalize that or explain why they were worse or even why there were there in the first place.

It sucked.

I did realize one thing in that particular moment, though. The issue always seems to be the same. Feeling alone.

I’m surrounded by people at work. I get touchy about being home because there are always people around who want to talk to me. I have so many people in my life who love and care about me and yet I feel alone.

Score. One small step towards understanding. I now have a place where I can start on my quest to untangle all of this confusion. Why is there always this feeling of being alone?

Ox and I ended up having what I feel was our first true BDSM scene together. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t about cute fluffy handcuffs and roleplaying out some make-believe slutty scenario.

It was about having a safe environment and letting me cry. It was about trust and safety and brutal honesty with myself inside my head. And while he held me against his chest, my face buried in the darkness he had created for me I heard the words my inner self had been screaming at me for months now but that I’ve been too busy and occupied to listen to or hear. I heard why I always feel so alone.

Mom left me.

When mom died she left me alone without a safety net and I’ve faced all of these challenges and trials without her. She’s not here to help me or listen to me or encourage me. She’s not here to answer the phone or have lunch or visit. She can’t send or receive cards in the mail. She can’t tell me about her coupon stories.

I’m alone.

Realizing those words were inside my head… that was my revelation today.

I know my mom didn’t leave me. I know she tried as hard as she could to not die. I know her death wasn’t her fault. I know her death wasn’t my fault. It was no one’s fault. I also know she’s still with me as much as universal energy can be. She’s still here and a presence within my life. But inside, in my heart chakra where I still hurt and ache and constantly count how many days before or after the 4th of the month it is, I feel alone because she left. She died and she didn’t take me with her. She died and I couldn’t follow her. I know she couldn’t take me and I know couldn’t follow, but inside none of that logic matters. Knowing all of that information doesn’t change what the emotions feel like. It doesn’t change that those words have been what the storm within myself has been feeding off of and using to build and build in its intensity since before my move to Nebraska.

I haven’t cried as hard as I did on Tuesday in a very long time.

I’m not sure if I was really ignoring this part of my grief. I always feel like I have to choose between anger and sadness and I opt with sadness more often than not because there’s no one to be angry at. But there is anger and heartbreak and abandonment with the words, “She left me.” Whether I want anger to be there or not, it’s there and it’s something that I needed to realize and make peace with and it’s something that until Tuesday I hadn’t acknowledged or really even truly knew about or understood.

I think it was healthy that I had this realization; that I finally realized these words are within me. Knowing they’re there means they no longer have the power to eat away at me. I still feel tired and raw from the outpouring of earlier but I also feel cleaner. I know there is more there, on the inside. I know my grief is something that I haven’t been paying enough attention to and so there’s most likely emotional infection that I need to tend to. I’m sure this new phrase is only one of many that I need to sort out.

Mom didn’t leave me. Not by choice. And I’m not alone. She’s still here and I have my brothers and Ox and my friends who support me and keep me struggling forward even when it feels hopeless and pointless.

It’s not pointless. Winter has an end. This weekend it’s supposed to be warm; in the 50s. Grief doesn’t have an end, but it’s not all sadness and loneliness and hopelessness, either. My grief doesn’t define my life. It doesn’t define me. I still have good days. I still have good thoughts.

Sometimes my brain is a terrorist. And sometimes it shows me what I need to work on. Tuesday was a little bit of both.

I don’t know what else to really say or type. I haven’t had any other breakthroughs. All I know is my inner-eight year old thinks my mom left me and that I know she didn’t.

My name is Jennifer Conley and my mom didn’t leave me. That is one of my truths.

Daily Post 142: Tax Forms and Other Things

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Written yesterday. Posted today.

So… I feel like I have a lot to write about.

Yesterday ended up being a decent day even though it started with a rant about how horrible socializing is and how my day was falling apart around me. I felt mildly better after writing. Ox and I made plans to still go into town. I made my shopping list. Mama Ox spent a majority of the rest of the morning in her room so the immediate interaction I had with her when I woke up was pretty much the extent of it. Not having someone in the kitchen talking me to while I planned out the grocery trip helped ease the friction in my brain.

Ox came home to pick me up. As we drove into Lincoln it began snowing. We had a really nice lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. I haven’t been there in a while since I liked my sports bar in Orlando so much more, but it’s an ok substitute. I got to have wings and a side salad since we were there early enough for the lunch menu.

After we ate we went across the street to do the shopping at Walmart. I got a small stockpile of seasoning packets since I’ve gone through all of the ones I had. I’ve been enjoying the GrillMates marinate packets for when I cook chicken. I also picked up rice to go with the bourbon chicken recipe I’m going to be making tomorrow.

Originally, the game plan was to cook the bourbon chicken for dinner last night, but since it’s a slow cooker recipe and we didn’t get home until close to 3 pm, we opted to save that for Thursday instead of waiting to eat dinner until 7ish.

Ox and I moved the insulation out of my dragon’s den together. Though no other work got done I was ok with the small progress we made. We also discussed the setup of the room more. We talked about building a custom bed frame so we can have drawers for our clothes. We also discussed furniture and have a better idea for dimensions and the spacing of things. We talked more about what will be going in the dragon den, which included my own twin sized mattress. I’m very much looking forward to having my own little corner of solitude.

I ended up cooking a dinner of BBQ chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and a side salad. It wasn’t a very complex meal but it was satisfying and filling and it seemed to go over well with everyone but Ox who isn’t a huge fan of chicken. He had a bowl of cereal for dinner instead but was content with it. At least he said that he liked it.

I got to cross stitch a bit last night, too. That, too, wasn’t a lot of progress, but some progress is better than none. I feel like I’ll get more done tomorrow while I’m sitting around waiting to pick up my car.

Anywho, that was about the extent of yesterday. It was a cold, snowy day that didn’t start anything like I thought it should have, but overall it turned out to be an ok day. I even put my clothes away and got Ox’s at least dried.

Today didn’t have a super awesome start. The snow as still coming down at 8 pm when Ox and I went to sleep. When we woke up there were about three or four inches of snow over everything, including my car. I spent time scrapping my windows, letting my car defrost the rest of the way as Ox and I had our morning cigarette together.

The drive to work was far from relaxing, but having my trip back to Lincoln from Fremont two weeks ago as a reference point, I can honestly say I’ve driven through worse. I left an hour early for work and pulled into the parking lot of the clinic on time. I drove 35 mph most of the way down. The roads sucked. There were no track marks from other cars that early in the morning. Most of the time, at least on Hickman Road, I didn’t even know where the center of the road was. Everything was ice and snow and sometimes there were black patches that looked like asphalt. Luckily there wasn’t a lot of oncoming traffic for that road, but it still wasn’t a cool feeling not knowing if I was too far over or not.

Right Brain: Doesn’t matter. I stayed on the road. Go me!

Highway 77 was a little better, but not by much. I was glad to pull into the clinic parking lot at the same time as my FA. The float RN called out due to the roads. She lives significantly further away from the clinic, and further north so she got more snow. With how crappy the drive was for the brief time I was on the road I totally don’t blame her for not coming in.

It was a pretty smooth day today at work. The tech in training is getting better. I know her first few days on her own is going to be overwhelming for her, but the only way for her to find her own flow is for me to not be there. I plan to take a serious step back on Friday. Essentially I’ll be there as a cheerleader. It’s going to be hard to not jump in and help. I’m not good at watching other people work.

We got her checked off on the few skills she needed to be observed performing. So yeah… after this week she’ll be a full-fledged Patient Care Technician. I think if she can get through the overwhelm of the first few weeks on her own that she’ll be fine. She needs to prove to herself that she can do it.

I had a bunch of emails at work today. Tax forms got posted, so I printed those. There were new emails about my leadership course, so I printed that information out. I have dates for all of the class meetings along with what our reading content will be. I plan to see if Audible has the books so I can listen to them while stitching. That would be super cool. I’m really looking forward to Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I want to jump straight to reading that one. Too bad that’s not until May or something like that. It’s one of the last books we’ll be reading for the class. So not cool. ;-;

I got to talk to my FA about taking time off in March to actually travel to Orlando to see my dad and stepsisters and Jon. She’s ok with me going so now I need to iron out the dates that will work for seeing everyone. It would be nice to see Warren #2 while I’m there and my home clinic teammates and my former coworkers at Full Sail. There’s Sir and Big Bad and my Blacksmith. There’s the potential to go to my old dojo and roll with the guys for a night or two. There’s a part of me who wishes I could see Mother Earth but I don’t know how to approach that aspect of my life just yet. I want to see my therapist, too, even if it’s only to give her a hug and to show her how amazingly well I have done since moving.

I know I won’t be able to do everything and see everyone. But at least I know there’s a possibility of it actually happening. The subject wasn’t immediately shot down. In fact, my FA wrote my tentative dates down and said if they changed to let her know. I can’t put into words how grateful, honored, and appreciative I am of her support. I feel like I matter to her as a person. I’m not just an asset. What I want matters and she tries really hard to make sure I’m happy and content both at work and in my personal life.

The new schedule for work came out today as well. That’s a big deal because our clinic will now have two techs, but we’re still only open three days a week. That means there are not enough hours for both of us to meet full-time requirements without covering at other clinics. We were told we would trade off weeks with our sister clinic in Lincoln. One week I would be in Beatrice, covering our three days, and the new tech would be in Lincoln. The next week she would be in Beatrice and I would be in Lincoln.

Neither of us wants to cover anything in Lincoln. XD

Well… with the new schedule, the first week I’m in Beatrice. Score. The second week I cover four days in a row at the Lincoln clinic. Boooooo. But, bright side, I’m either Census 1 or Census 2, which means I don’t have to stay until 9 pm to close the clinic. I’ll be one of the first people, if not the first person, to leave. Not a perfect situation since I still have to go to that particular clinic, but I’ll take it as an acceptable compromise. If I have to be there at least I’ll be out as fast as possible.

My FA also mentioned that she wants me to come to one of the regional FA meets that are held monthly. Sort of like how I sat in on the FHM meeting back in November I think it was. I’m very interested in seeing what those meetings are like. I don’t expect that I’ll contribute a lot, or that anything will really be expected of me. But with the push to have me become a preceptor for our clinic and my participation in the leadership course, our Regional Operations Director wants me to participate in one of these meetings. Like… He specifically spoke to my FA about having me attend.

Right Brain: No pressure or anything… brb while I go hyperventilate by myself in a corner… x.x

Apparently, there was talk about me become a regional float tech for the company since I’m so highly requested whenever there is a staff shortage. My FA told me about that today, too, and how she had vetoed that idea. Part of me is honored that my region as a whole feels like I would do well in a position like that. The other part of me is glad my FA told them no. I like where I’m at. I like knowing my schedule and having a clinic that’s “mine”. I like having “my” patients. I don’t mind picking up overtime every once in a while. I’m getting better at saying no; or at least saying, “I would rather not be the first pick if possible. If I’m the last resort, ok, but I really would like to be able to not have to cover that shift.”

It’s a weird feeling. I never thought I would be here when I started my own training as a dialysis technician. I didn’t even know if it was something I would be able to do. I knew for sure when I was in Orlando that I wouldn’t be able to maintain working 16 hour days. I admit to still having a hard time finding balance with the gym and dojo and school and life while working 12 hour days, but I think I’m more successful with it here in Nebraska then I ever could have hoped to have been in Florida.

I also have had so many more opportunities here to explore and branch out. Being the only tech in my clinic meant I had to step up and learn new things and cover more tasks. I don’t know… I just feel like I’m doing really well and that’s a weird feeling. I never thought about excelling or being a role model/trainer for other technicians. I just wanted to help people and to give my life some feeling of purpose because I didn’t have one when mom died.

I’ve come a long way and I feel good about that, but also sort of solemn and heavy because I wish I could share that with mom physically. I wish we could talk on the phone and I could hear her excitement and pride and happiness for me. Adult me knows she’s proud of me. Adult me knows she’s happy for me. But it would make my inner eight-year-old happy to the point of tears to actually hear it in her voice. To feel it in her hug. To see it in her smile.

Sometimes good things still suck and while I don’t think any of the positive stuff that’s happened for work really falls into the “sucks” category, it’s still tinged with this feeling of sadness because there’s still a part of me who wishes things were different.

So yeah, lots of stuff happened at work.

After work, I drove into Lincoln to drop my car off. Ox and I got dinner at Slim Chickens. They have pretty good salads. I was happy with a healthy dinner since I totally had a donut at work this morning. >.<;

We also stopped at GNC and got two more cases of Bang. Mornings can never be bad when I have that to wake up to. Maybe I should have focused on that yesterday morning rather than how I had to talk to people on my day off… something to keep in mind for next time.

Right Brain: Damnit! I have to talk to people… but at least I have a Cotten Candy Bang. All is still right in the world. : D

When we got home I printed out the other two tax forms I needed. One for the interest I’ve paid on my student loans along with one for my HSA account through work. I don’t know when I’ll actually file my taxes, but at least I have all the forms, that I know of, that I need.

And now I can feel accomplished because I’m at the end of writing. It’s pretty much bedtime, so I don’t think I’ll get to stitch at all, but I’m pretty sure I’m ok with that. I have all day tomorrow to be at home. I don’t have a whole lot of actual chores to do. I need to update my calendar with all of the new dates I have. I want to try to get in touch with my dad. I want to put the rest of the clothes away and cook dinner and other small things like that, but there’s not a whole lot in the way of obligations tomorrow. Really just dinner, which I did to myself, and picking up my car once it’s done.

I think tomorrow will be a good day. I’m looking forward to it.

Daily Post 136: Post-Test and the Other Three Weeks

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I passed my state tests. I passed with flying colors on the skills portion, including manual blood pressure, and with an 88 on the written portion. The 88 sort of eats away at me. I would have liked for it to be in the 90s. But when they ask things like, “Your resident wants to vote. What do you do?” it’s not really fair. The class taught me that residents had the right to vote, not what I am supposed to do as a CNA. Do I request the ballet myself on their behalf or inform the charge nurse? Nothing in the book told me what to do. Nothing in the class told me what to do. So now I have a 50/50 chance of getting the question right. Or wrong. There were several questions like. Nothing about proper temperature or blood pressure ranges. No “What does this abbreviation mean?” It’s frustrating, but for the time being, it’s over. No more classes to stay up late for. No more three hours naps before work the next day. No more discussion posts which aren’t worth the time to read or reply to. It’s done. It’s over. I don’t have to think about school until possibly October.

And no more six-day work weeks. I made it through that stint of the holiday season and all of the emotional roller coaster that goes with overworking myself during one of the hardest times of the year for me.

I made it through my birthday. Lil’ Ox baked a cake for me with Mama Ox. I blew out my candles after everyone sang happy birthday to me. I opened the presents I was given. I didn’t cry at work while people told me happy birthday. I saved it all for home where Ox held me while I cried on the front porch and admitted to being sad and missing mom.

I made it through Christmas and the week of having the kids here while working every day and having no true alone time. Lil’ Ox and I stitched a fair amount. Ornery Ox and I made a trip to the gas station, just the two of us. I stayed home alone while everyone else went into town to spend a few hours with the rest of the family. I talked to my brothers and my dad. I’ve even replied to all of the text messages and Facebook messages I’ve received over the past few weeks.

I passed my annual skills check at work yesterday. Actually, everyone at my clinic passed their skills check on the first try so we’re getting pizza tomorrow for lunch to celebrate.

I also cannulated our patient’s new fistula yesterday morning so I should be NFACT certified now as an expert cannulator.

Our new tech was there yesterday. She’s going to be in training with me for the next month. We get along extremely well together. She’s also super into organization and to-do lists so I think once the clinic opens up to six days a week again that we’ll be able to transition into it fairly well. We have similar mindsets and are both open to creating / editing systems and finding what works and changing what doesn’t. She’s open to trying the systems that I’ve developed over the past 10 or so months of working by myself and I’m open to changing my ways and trying new things. As long as we maintain communication I think we’ll be able to work through any friction or challenges that will pop up in the coming weeks and months.

There’s a new RN who started training this week as well. She’s been an ER nurse for the past however many years, so I think she’ll actually do fairly well. I haven’t interacted with her all that much but my impression is that she’s sharp. She’ll catch on quick and she’s used to a fast-paced, fluctuating environment. She’s used to having to react quickly to critical situations. I think once she becomes comfortable with the machines that she’ll be alright. It would be nicer if she were a little more open and friendly, but she’s not un-friendly so at least there’s that. I can work with distant and maybe as we interact more we’ll warm up to each other.

So, things at work are going well. I’m planning to take the second week of February off for vacation. I’ll be staying at home and not really do a whole lot other than not working. There currently aren’t plans for amazing productiveness or any trips to stress or plan over. Just a week of self-care essentially. Taking a step back and recharging my batteries. The new tech will, ideally, be through training and comfortable doing things on her own and if not I would only a 20-minute drive away to come help if needed.

This is the first week in a while where I’m only working three days and it’s only this morning where I’m beginning to feel more like myself and less on the verge of burnout. The thought of grocery shopping doesn’t feel like sandpaper under my skin. The thought of socializing still feels heavy, but not as much as it did.

I’m planning to take the last week of March off to visit Orlando, as well. It will be Jon’s birthday. My dad will actually be in Florida with my half-sisters visiting Disney. We’re thinking of trying to meet up, all of us, one evening for dinner.

And there’s a Warrior Dash in Kansas this summer. Originally I wanted to try to run the one in Florida scheduled for February, but I like the new plans more. I haven’t been going to the gym or the dojo. I know I won’t be where I want to be within a month. The new game plan gives me more time to ease back into my self and to continue at a pace I can be successful with.

In addition to all of the events I have been a part of and gone through, it’s also a new year. I don’t have resolutions. My goal was to survive and I did. I didn’t get Ox’s Christmas gift done like I wanted, so it’s turned into my “one-year” gift for him. That’s coming up. Hard to believe I’ve been here in Nebraska for as long as I have. Looking back at the past year makes me realize how much I have accomplished for work and my career, but also with my health, and with my relationships, specifically with Ox. I have been far from stagnant in any area of my life.

I also submitted my essay for the leadership course I applied for. I don’t think I’ll be heartbroken if I don’t get chosen. I’ll know tomorrow so we’ll see I suppose. I don’t think it will be as heavy of an obligation as what my CNA class was, but I’m also ok with not adding more to my plate. Whatever happens, happens and I’ll figure it out from there. I do think the essay came out better than I thought it would. It’s definitely better than the first draft I wrote.

Ox and I are doing well. He’s been amazingly supportive and encouraging during this roller coaster of a ride. He was there for me after my state test. He kept the kids entertained on the days I needed alone time. He’s cooked me eggs so I have breakfast while I’m at work. He’s helped with the laundry and making the bed. He’s listened to me talk and cry and helped me feel secure. I don’t think I would have done nearly as well these past weeks if it weren’t for his support and I’m grateful he’s in my life.

We had Tuesday off together since it was a holiday. The morning started with a lot of tears and crying, mostly because it was the first day off where I could begin emotionally processing through nearly a month worth of experiences. It left me feeling fragile and tired for most of the day but it was a very nice, quietly productive, and connecting day in spite of those feelings.

We cleaned the inside of our computers which was something we had talked about a few weeks ago. We ended up going into town for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was crowded and busy but we had a pleasant server and though it was six degrees outside, it was nice to be spending time together out of the house. We went to Best Buy and Walmart. I got a peppermint mocha from Star Bucks with a gift card he got from his work. I now have a pair of warm gloves to keep my fingers from freezing; the last piece of winter gear I was missing. We were even able to get a case of Cotton Candy Bang from the gas station since GNC was sold out and not going to get a shipment in for a while. While I could have made do with the Sour Head flavor I still have a few cans of, knowing that I have my favorite flavor to look forward to gave me warm fuzzy feelings about waking up on my workdays.

Ox and I got a USB / outlet wall mount to go above our bedside table. That meant we could get rid of the alarm clock that was taking up space and never being used aside from charging the phones. Not that I have strong feelings about an unused alarm clock taking up my cross-stitching space or anything…

The wall mount also gave me warm fuzzy feelings and actually did a surprising amount of work in regards to battling back the grief/depression of the past few weeks. It gave me a small, little project to look forward to when we got home. It made me want to go home and to do something other than nothing. It was one, small change to make things in the room better. And I keep saying “me” and “our” though, in truth, Ox was the one to set everything up. I didn’t do anything other than spend money and carry a bag into the house. He ran the cord and attached the mount to the wall. He’s the one who got rid of the alarm clock and freed up more space for me and my things.

Still, I can’t deny that the changed helped me. One, small step forward that makes all of the other steps not seem so bad. One step got accomplished so other steps can be made. It doesn’t have to be giant leaps that require energy and motivation and a mass amount of effort that I don’t feel I have. Things can be small and manageable while still being fulfilling.

There was a lot of quietly productive things about Tuesday that helped warm me on the inside and fight back the sadness that I’ve been struggling with.

I know I’ve been… something recently. I don’t know if it’s depression or grief since they feel so similar to me. I know burnout was part of the mixture which always makes me more sensitive to events, but I think Tuesday things started turning around. Our small bedroom project helped. Passing my skills test yesterday marked the last major stressor I had to get through. I’m not going to say it’s smooth sailing from here because I work dialysis. There’s no such thing as “normal”. But things should settle down a bit and I’m grateful for that. I will have more time to focus on myself and my inner world and my homeworld; my relationship world.

I’ve already been fairly productive today, and that too makes me feel better. I’ve gone through my emails, replying to comments on my tutorials and such. I resubmitted the rebate for the contacts I bought with the proper receipts. I’ve already put dye in my hair so I can rinse it out before much longer. I made a to-do list for my car on Tuesday so I have a game plan for that. I’ve taken stock of the bathroom so far, writing down things I need to get while I’m at the store; things I normally forget until I’m taking a shower and remember, “Oh yeah, I’m running low on body wash. I should write that down once I dry off….”

I’ve gone through most of my “inbox” stack of papers. Most of the things that are left are recipes I need to make a decision about. Jon should be calling me before too long so we can chat for a bit and catch up with each other and our lives.

Overall I think I’m on the right track. I still have a long ways to go to get things cleaned up, situated, and back to how they were, but I’m taking the steps I need to and I think I’m being mindful while I do it. I’m going to continue to take this week easy. I may go to the dojo tomorrow night. I may go Saturday, but I’m not holding myself to an obligation of it. I would like to cook dinner for everyone since that’s something I haven’t been doing as much as I was when I first moved here.

This week is about breathing and letting go of all of the stress and anxiety I’ve had to contend with over the past three weeks while getting back in touch with myself and the things I want; the things that make me feel happy, or at least content with myself and connected with my true inner priorities.

And so, with that, I guess I’m going to go so I can keep plucking away at the small to-do list I wrote for myself today. Writing was one of the things on there and I’m glad I took the time to do it. I know there are a lot of details from the past three weeks that will be forgotten about and left unwritten but I feel like I got a majority of the events. I’m glad I wrote about Tuesday because that really was the first step, the first day towards getting back to myself. Maybe I’ll be able to write more regularly in the coming weeks.

Daily Post 133: Finally Back Home

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I’ve been back from Dever for a few days now. I got back Wednesday evening around 8:45. I drove home and saw Ox. We went to sleep only to wake back up at 3 in the morning. He headed to work and I drove to Fremont to cover a shift at the clinic there, then came back to Lincoln. Ox and I met up for lunch before going back home. We had Chinese at a place we’ve seen before. I really liked it and hope to continue to be able to go there on those special occasions where we go out.

Thursday evening I should have gone into the class for my last chance to participate in clinical, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed home that evening, going to bed early to wake back up and cover a shift at my own clinic Friday morning.

I was dead. Not one of those “I’m sort of tired but it will burn off as the day goes on” sort of deads. No. This was a physical barrier of, “I’m your body and you’re asking too much of me so I’m going to make you feel like crap for the whole day because fuck you for not taking better care of me,” sort of deads.

I was ridiculously slow at everything I did on Friday and the only reason we stayed on schedule was because it was me, the float RN, and my FA on the floor and both of them were running circles around me. I’m grateful for them pulling my slack because I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day without them.

It was good to see all of my patients after an entire week’s absence. I got to share my adventure with all of them and that most likely contributed to me being “behind”. All of the time I spent talking and catching up with people was time that I wasn’t working or making sure all of the tasks on my PCT checklist got done.

It was a pretty good day overall, just one where I knew right from waking up that surviving my day would be my main goal. Mission accomplished, if just barely.

The trip itself wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I ended up getting into Dever close to 4 pm. I messaged Chrys since I had time to kill that evening. I booked an Uber out to Aurora and spent the evening with her and her son. We had homemade spaghetti for dinner and EJ got to read me a few bedtime stories. Once her son was in bed we were able to chat for a bit before I had to get back to the hotel since I had an early morning to prepare for.

Overall, it was a fantastic way to decompress from the trip out there and a very nice last minute addition to the trip. Having some social time with someone I care about was definitely restorative and a pleasant break from my normal routine. I made it back to my hotel room around 9ish. I met my roommate for the event and was pleased that she seemed pretty nice. Her name was also Jen. Go figure. XD

The first day of the event was decent but long. I didn’t sleep well the night before and had to fight off a headache for most of the day. We got into things like the MBTI and communication skills and conflict resolution. All sorts of psychology things, so I was fairly engaged through most of it.

We created our own personal credos and then graded ourselves on how well we were living up to it currently. Balance was one of the things on mine and the area where I graded myself the lowest.

I’ve picked up a lot of overtime for the coming two weeks. This week is going to be my only “normal” week work wise and that’s still with having to take the final tests for my CNA class, so even it isn’t going to be all that restful.

I need to remember to maintain balance and to not burn myself out. I need the things that make me feel fulfilled and which recharge me. I need time to grocery shop and do laundry and meal prep. I need time to go to the dojo and the gym. I need time to sleep enough at night so I don’t limp through my days depending on coffee to survive. I need time with Ox to feel connected with him. I need time to have phone calls with Jon and the other people in my life that I love. I need time to cross-stitch and write.

I need “me time” and I can’t have that if all I do is work seven days a week.

So while I can’t really back out of the obligations I’ve already given myself, I can be more mindful going forward and that’s what I intend to do. The new year should see things being a bit smoother. The new tech will be with me for a few weeks to train on our machines. We just hired a new RN since the other one wasn’t working out. She has to give 30 days at her current job, but it should only take her about eight weeks to go through the training process. I’ve already talked to my FA about taking time off of work in February to visit Florida. I could see Jon. I could run the Warrior Dash that’s held there. Big Bad said he would be interested in running it with me. I guess that means I have to work on that whole running thing again so I don’t suck. I could see my old teammates and patients. I could see a handful of other people from my inner circle. I could have lunch at my sports bar.

There’s all sorts of things I could do that I’ve wanted to do. It gives me something to think about and look forward to.

Chrys ended up having Wednesday off since it was a federal holiday so she drove me to the airport. That was also a nice change of plans. Both the fight out and back were non-stop flights on fairly small planes so I got to have a window seat by myself rather than being stuck between two people the whole time.

When I got to work Friday I had an email saying I had made it to phase two of the leadership application process. I haven’t worked on it any more than the rough post I wrote the other day, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

As far as this weekend goes… I’ve paid bills. I’ve gone through my email inbox. I’ve gone through the pile of papers that was next to my computer desk. I’ve unpacked fully. I’ve done laundry. I’ve meal prepped and am back to doing low carb meals. I’ve sent a message through Facebook to my sensei explaining my extended absence. I’ve bought Christmas cards to give to my patients. I’ve cleaned and dusted my computer desk with plans to open up my computer tower to clean it out later in the week with Ox. Ox has also been extremely helpful. He’s washed the sheets for the bed which we made together. He’s helped me fold the laundry and put it away. He’s cleaned his own areas of the room so it’s not as cluttered or icky feeling anymore.

He went grocery shopping with me yesterday where we had lunch together, just us. We got a new shower curtain and bath mat set this morning while we were out getting aluminum foil which he set up for me while I put bacon on the cooking sheets for breakfast. Go, team!

Spotify sent out their end of year stuff. I’ve listened to something like 4500 new songs this year. That’s almost 12 songs a day. And here I thought I slacking on expanding my music selection.

I finished the fairy cross-stitch pattern I’ve been working on, so I’ll most likely make a post with all of those progress images. I’ve started a new project, but since it’s for Ox and he’s not allowed to see it under penalty of death, I won’t be posting progress images of that one either. I’ll save posting a completed image of it until after Christmas once he’s had a chance to open it.

My class is almost over. This coming Tuesday I have the final test for the class and I sign up for state testing. Thursday is the state written test and for those signed up, the state skills test. Everyone else will have to wait until the following Tuesday to complete their skills test. Part of me wants to go on Thursday and be done with it. The other part of me wants to wait until Tuesday so I have more time to freak out and/or study. Mostly freaking out though since I know that’s what I’ll do.

I really do have other things my time would be better invested in other than freaking out but there you go.

I’m sure there are other things I could write about in regards to my trip or the events leading up to my departure as well as the events since my return home, but I feel this post covers a lot of it.

Ox and I have been doing well. He was supportive of me while I was gone, including taking a phone call where I asked if I could be honest. He said yes and I admitted to wanting to come home while tears rolled down my cheeks. It wasn’t a bad trip, but when you’re an introvert surrounded by 650 other people, forced to participate in team trivia where they ask which Super Bowl did the Broncos most recently win… you kind of just want to curl up in bed under the blankets and hide. Only you can’t because then your roommate is going to want to know what’s wrong or think you’re weird and can’t handle human interaction.

Ox promised that I could come home and hearing those words, as silly as they may seem, made me feel more ok.

We’ve had a lot of sexy time since I’ve been back. Totally ok with all of it. Just yes. All of the yes.

Anywho, aside from feeling like I’m caught back up for the most part with life, I think that’s about it. For now, I’m going to go cross-stitch before working on some discussion posts for my class later in the day. The rest of today should be fairly calm and relaxing. No working on the addition. No trips into town. Just hanging out and resting before what should be a fairly normal day at work tomorrow.

This coming week is the calm before the storm, but I’m already planning for that. I have a container of chili in the freezer. I want to make a batch of chicken taco soup which freezes nicely as well. I want to prep well in advance since I’m going to have so little time in the next two weeks to truly meal prep. I’m doing a keto BLT salad this week which seems to be doing well. I tried it yesterday. I might add more bacon to it the next time I make it, but overall I think it turned out well which is good because it was cheap and simple to toss together. Another meal I can add to my arsenal for the coming battle.

It was a good trip, but I’m glad to be home. And with that, I’m off to continue with my decompressing.