Day One

I already miss french fries.

Okay, not really, but I know the white hot passion for something that only french fries can cure, and it’s gonna happen.

Oh, it’s gonna happen.

Today I began the Whole30 program. It’s been a whole ten hours, and so far, so good. I mean, I slept for about seven of those hours, so how bad could it be, right? Truthfully, this morning’s breakfast of scrambled eggs and a banana was actually quite palatable. I have eggs quite often, so this seems like a treat.

Let’s see how I view eggs at the end of this 30 day program, shall we?

The only major difference for me is drinking black coffee. No creamer. No sugar. Oh, and wonderful husband of mine: don’t think I didn’t fucking notice that you hid the sugar bowl.

Nice touch.

Perhaps he hid it from himself, since he’s traveling this journey with me.

So, today it begins. I’m not setting out to achieve anything dramatic, but I would like my belly fat roll to get a little smaller, my thighs to perhaps not rub together THAT much, and maybe even get rid of some of this acne that’s been plaguing me in recent months.

So, allow me to apologize to you in advance for the things I may do out of hunger. I certainly won’t mean to snap at you when you ask me a simple yes/no question. I won’t hate you when you walk by me carrying hot french fries from the cafeteria. I won’t question our friendship when you sip on that Diet Coke.

But, I can’t promise that once or twice along this journey I won’t question my resolve, my willpower, or my ability to see this through. I’m human.

And this human loves cheese.

And wine.

Damn it.

whole30whynowine

 

 

A Nod to NOC

There’s nothing quite like working past the time that the rest of the world has turned its back on the day, closed their eyes, and directed their thoughts on the coming day. For them, the day is over. For us, the day has just begun. 

Driving into work with the late afternoon sun low in the sky or under the canvas of purplish twilight, I feel ready to face another day. This is when it begins. The realization that the faces I see behind the wheel as I share the road with fellow motorists are the faces of those heading home after a day at the office, on the job site, or behind the counter. When they say goodbye, I say hello. 

I arrive at work greeted by warm smiles worn by those who are smug with the realization that they will be leaving soon. They’ve put in their time. They’re returning the look I likely gave them 12 hours earlier. Their eyes seem to speak of the anticipation of what lies ahead not what they leave behind. I nod as I acknowledge the fact that I will perhaps see some of them in what will feel like moments, but in reality marks another calendar day. 

As the evening gives way to night, the voices quiet. The halls darken. The energy changes. The low hum of productivity permeates the air.  

The clock ticks ever closer to another day. Another day to be present. Another day to cross off the calendar. Another day to accomplish something. Or nothing. 

I’m keenly aware of being a member of a very elite club. Working at night has its definite advantages. It’s a club that we don’t necessarily want everyone to be a part of. That’s part of the allure. We rally. We rise. We scrap. We provide for others when all our bodies want to do sometimes is rest. Sleep. 

Yet we push through. 

Night shift means you sometimes do things that day walkers can’t imagine. We stay awake when our bodies are begging for rest. We come home, get our children off to school, walk our dogs, do a bit of homework, and then we might lay our head down to rest. And then after only a few hours of sleep, we join the daylight world. 

I’m typing this after working two back-to-back 12-hour night shifts with a combined six hours of sleep since Monday morning at 0700. It’s not a complaint. It’s a fact. My eyes are itchy. My eyes are tired. But, my body and my brain are awake. And I feel a sense of satisfaction that no day shift job could possibly provide. 

Does this sound crazy?

That’s ok. 

The other crazies know what I mean. 

Write It Down

journaling

I have begun journaling once again.

It’s been so long since I have put pen to paper in a diary sort of way. When I made my first entry, it felt a bit juvenile. I kept looking for the cheap metal lock and key in order to safely secure my deep, dark secrets. But, at the same time, it felt wonderful. I loved seeing the words go down on paper. The feel of the smooth paper as it glided along the side of my hand. That familiar cramp of holding the weight of the pen. Mmm….

There’s really nothing earth-shattering inside. I’m using journaling as a way to just decompress, unload the clutter in my brain, and make room for more. In the days since my phone returned, I find myself continuing to be less enamoured with that particular technology and returning to my creative roots. More reading. More writing. More real time meaningful interactions. Less Facebook. Less social media in general.

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue down the writing road, but for now, it’s occupying a much-needed place in my life. I find myself more relaxed once I write down how I’m feeling. I desperately need to unclutter my brain. I need the clarity. I need the focus that I hope it will bring.

Emotions, random thoughts, feelings, observations. It’s all going in there.

 

 

Toddlers Are Assholes

I know, I know. The title is a bit jarring. But it’s no less true.

I love my daughter. I’m still amazed that at the ripe old age of 45, I was able to not only conceive and carry her to term, but I was able to birth her, and we are, in fact, even still breastfeeding two and a half years later.

But, sometimes? She can be a complete asshole.

Meals have become a hostage negotiation. She’s either not happy with the presentation, the selection, or any other myriad of complaints. Daddy and I just roll our eyes and do the best we can. I can’t lie. I’ve attempted to bribe a few more bites. I’ve offered something I KNOW she will enjoy, but at the end of the day, I’m sick and tired of begging, pleading, and cajoling this pint-sized tyrant into eating her meal.

Fuck it.

Don’t like it? Don’t eat. If there’s a lesson I learned from my son 15 years ago, it’s that I refuse to become a short-order cook again. No way. Here’s what’s for dinner. If you don’t like it, you certainly don’t have to eat it. If it’s not presented in the precise order your exacting toddler brain prefers? Too damn bad. You’ve exhausted all your cuteness points. I vividly recall making toddler meals in addition to adult offerings, and I vowed then that I wouldn’t go down that road again.

So, sometimes, it’s a standoff. Fine by me. To be honest, her behavior makes meals easier. And faster. Last night she was IN bed BY 7:00 p.m. which left the remainder of the evening for me and hubby to relax without the shrieks of protest.

And, the whining. Why must you WHINE. SO. MUCH. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that in my advanced maternal age, my ears have become much more sensitive. I have always detested whining, but somehow these days, it makes me feel as if my ears are bleeding from the sheer pain. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but suffice to say, I can’t tolerate it. Call me weak. Call me a wimp. I don’t care. This is precisely why I am thrilled that other people are doing their job to continue the human race. Thanks for taking one or five for this team.

Because this uterus? It’s retired. With honors.

I’m sure a large part of the incessant whining has to do with the fact that our darling daughter at the ripe old age of two and a half years old has yet to grace us with any intelligible speech. She has precisely ONE word, and it’s ‘yeah’. She will answer nearly any query with that single word. You could ask her if she jumped out of a plane today, and she’ll happily retort,

‘Yeah.’

Okay, then.

We had a second speech evaluation today, and we are hoping that THIS time, our gal is delayed enough to warrant intervention. If not, I suppose we shall investigate the options of obtaining the services of a private speech therapist. We’ll likely have her hearing tested to rule out anything there, but short of that being an issue, we’ll just keep plodding along, doing our best to decipher her toddler sign language to keep her more or less placated.

This shit is rough. I can’t possibly convey the level of sadness I feel and guilt I harbor over that fact that our girl isn’t speaking yet. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t do all that playdate-immersion play-superduperinteractivefunsillyplay-notelevisionallbooks stuff that some mothers claim to do. I would lose my fucking mind. I love my daughter, but in the course of an average 8-10 hours per day, if I played with blocks, puzzles, and Dr. Seuss exclusively, I would likely become a raging day drinker. I feel like a failure for not finding ridiculously fun, educational, enriching activities to fill her days. I admit: I rely on her days at preschool to fill the void where I’m slacking. And, if you dare tell me that as a mother in a similar situation you don’t do the same sometimes, I’ll call you a liar.

Nicely, mind you.

I just wanna make it through the day with minimal tears, minimal nails-on-chalkboard whining, and maximum enjoyment. I dunno. Maybe if I played more silly, yet highly educational games with her, she would just open up her mouth and all those words that are captured somewhere in her brain would just pour out like a waterfall? Maybe she would just recite her ABCs flawlessly as she listens to mommy sing the lyrics for the 3,564th time?

Oh, I can’t lie. It’s not ALL bad. We have our moments of silly fun, happy days filled with lots of laughs and play. It’s just that recently the whining and fish-flopping tantrums sometimes outweigh the good, that’s all.

We’ll get there.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go let the ‘boss’ know that it’s time for a nap.

Wish me luck.

 

A new dog, a new day, a new outlook

Well, the time had come for the Fords to finally complete their family, and they did so with a bark. Not a bang. A bark. Yes, we got a dog. Not just any dog, but a kick-ass, fun-loving, 2-year old rescue from the Missouri Humane Society. Upon meeting him, his given name was Maury, and while I tried to remain neutral about said name, every time I heard it, I immediately conjured up images of paternity tests, screaming women, and mental images of Maury Povich saying, ‘You are NOT the father’. Yeah, that name had to go.

Meet Bernie/Bernardo/BernBern/TheBernerator/Bernardino/Bernasticator. He’s a sweet boy with quite the personality. We have had the pleasure of his company for over a month now, so I suppose it seems only fitting to mention him in this blog post.

bernieford

I think he’s sticking around for a while. Bernie is my homage to my failed Presidential nominee, but that’s where the similarities end. He’s a typical canine teen and needs some good obedience training and consistency with his humans, but we are up to the task, even if the toddler and cat of the household aren’t so certain.

Finished up a really nice vacation in Michigan, visiting my mom and son last week. Why is it that time just seems to literally FLY by? Ugh. I hate the end of vacations. Seriously. At least we have some guests coming for visits in September, a trip to Boston in October, and a return to paradise (Kauai) in late November. That should round out the year nicely.

One other interesting wrinkle in the recent vacation was the fact that in the hustle and bustle of planing, deplaning, toddler wrangling, and overhead compartment space, I managed to leave my beloved iPhone 6 Plus in the seat back pocket of the seat in front of me. I realized it once we arrived at the baggage claim area, and I was frantically searching for my gadget to check in on Swarm/update Facebook status/text someone.

I was actually quite calm about it once the initial shock wore off.

I mean, so what? I am literally surrounded by technology in the form of my husband’s cell phone, my mother’s iMac, cell phone, and a variety of other connected devices. Was I truly ‘unplugged’? Never. Did I tempt myself with those devices a handful of times during the course of the week?

Yes.

But, it never held my rapt attention as it had in the past. I was happy to be disconnected. I felt free. I felt unencumbered by some perverse desire to share mundane minutiae with ‘friends’ and ‘acquaintances’. It was deliciously liberating. As a result, I went to see a matinee movie with my son and walked in absolutely devoid of any sort of technology to silence, shut off, or otherwise disable for the duration of the film.

Wonderful.

I also enjoyed a relatively tech-free day at Cedar Point amusement park with said son and husband. The only evidence of our day was a short coaster video and a photo or two taken by my husband’s iPhone to chronicle a soaking wet, happy wife to mark my 48th birthday as I rode the wettest flume ride to appease the child that resides inside.

That. Was. It.

Did I glance at Facebook during the car ride? Yep. Did I update a status or two? Sure. Did I allow the phone to pull me into its whirling vortex of time sucking emptiness? Nope. I felt changed. I felt different somehow.

See, the thing is I’ve never been without my trusty cell phone for longer than it takes for me to close my eyes and sleep. It’s always with me. I admit, I even use it when I shower, as it doubles as a streaming audio device for purposes of listening to music or the occasional NPR news broadcast. I am nearly ashamed to admit it was the last thing I looked at before bed at night and the first vision I saw in the early morning before my eyes could even adjust to wakefulness. Such a damn shame.

I found myself waking up during vacation feeling relaxed, refreshed and actually looking forward to real interactions between my family, rather than spending time peering over the top of an iPhone screen, half-distracted between listening (not really) and nodding absentmindedly as my husband details a funny story that happened to him at work.

This just feels different this time. Perhaps it was meant to be, somehow. Eh, bullshit. I left my phone behind out of some absentminded parental lapse. What came after that, however, has left an indelible impression.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry to my friends, family, husband, and children for living in a state of near-constant distractedness. I’m sorry that when you may think of me, you have a vision of a woman with short, colorful hair always with a phone clutched in her hand. I’m thankful that my son grew up in a time BEFORE the ubiquitous cell phone, yet I’m sad that my daughter already may have a memory of her mother staring down at one.

What did I miss most about my phone? The camera. I wanted to capture moments on this vacation, yet I didn’t feel compelled to necessarily SHARE those moments with social media. I shared an image or two, but NOTHING like I would have before. I was grateful to my family for snapping a few photos, and that satisfied my inner shutterbug.

It all feels so meaningless. In the greatest fucking way possible.

I just don’t care anymore. And I don’t care that I don’t care anymore. Ok,  you get the idea.

What do I care about? I care that I’ve managed to devour a REAL book in a matter of days. Oh, Stephen King, how I’ve missed our visits together. I care about the fact that I don’t have the Facebook tab open on my computer, as I complete a grad school assignment. I care that I’m actually LISTENING and having real and meaningful conversations with friends and family, and most of all, my husband. I am looking people in the eye, not darting back and forth between iPhone and face, iPhone and face, iPhone and face. I care that I’m not multitasking. I’m not trying to watch a television program WHILE updating Facebook/reading a post/replying to a comment. I care that I’m here, blogging about it, because damn it, this is important to me.

So, today, my iPhone is being returned to me in the form of a FedEx delivery vehicle. I have tracked it, but beyond that? I don’t feel the usual overwhelming excitement once reserved for that little piece of technology.

I almost feel a little sad.

I’m sad that this little experiment is being forced to an end, yet at the same time, I feel determined to make this feeling last. And one things is for certain:

You won’t find this blog post on social media.

 

 

I’m Free

For those who don’t know, I managed to leave my iPhone on board a Southwest jet last week as we began a Michigan vacation. As I departed in Detroit, it managed to stay snug and secure in the seat back pocket bound for Baltimore, MD, and then on to Las Vegas, NV. However, after a great deal of legwork by my better half, my beloved iPhone is en route, and we will be reunited on Tuesday.

Honestly? While I lamented the fact that my phone was not in my possession, I really enjoyed the freedom. I didn’t feel tethered to social media, much like I have in the past. It’s been liberating, refreshing, and sobering.

I realize how much of my life has been lived through the lens of social media, and after being without it for a week, I have a new appreciation for a few things.

Books. Real books. In a few days I have managed to devour 200+ pages of a new Stephen King novel I have been meaning to start. I also delved into some Kindle selections that have been on my radar for quite some time. Talk about satisfying…

Relationships. I savored a wonderful birthday trip to Cedar Point with my husband and my son without stopping every few minutes to snap a photo, check in via Swarm, or otherwise chronicle the day. I can honestly say it was beyond wonderful to walk into the park with nothing but my driver’s license and a bit of cash in my pocket. Hands free is the way to be.

School. I managed to complete a paper that I had started a little over a week ago that was due tonight by midnight. Without the distractions of social media, the paper practically wrote itself: fluid, beautiful, flowing, and finished by 5:30 p.m.

Life. I have lived life this past week without the scrutiny of ‘friends’ or ‘acquaintances’ via social media. I don’t feel pressure to keep up, inform, or otherwise notify anyone about my whereabouts, my inclinations, or my motivations.

I have enjoyed a fantastic week with my family. I have made memories. I have savored each and every relationship. I have focused on what is important in life without staring down at an iPhone every few minutes.

And I have done so without so much as a status update summarizing as much. Let this be a lesson.

Damn. Time Flies.

Well, there goes two weeks off. Just like that. In a blink of an eye, I have managed to piss away nearly two weeks. Now, granted, we had big plans. We intended on traveling to Boston for a long weekend in order for Julia to meet her paternal grandfather for the very first time. A vague and unknown viral infection put a stop to that, and, in turn, sickened daddy.

Ah, well. Reschedule, we must. Thankfully, Southwest Airlines will allow us to use the dollar amount on future travel until March 31, 2017. So, we’ve got that going for us…

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I did manage to complete a paper and a handful of discussion posts for grad school, so that put me a couple of weeks ahead. I am feeling pretty fucking fantastic about having completed nearly a year of my first year in the MSN program. I should preface this by saying that I NEVER envisioned returning to school, so this alone is a major feat. I am also somehow managing to be 3/4 finished with this latest 10-week quarter, and scoring a perfect 100%.

Shit.

How does that happen? Whatever. I’ll take it. Bragging? Hell yes.

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Tomorrow begins a newER journey for me. I have once again put on my leadership cap. A cap I thought for certain I would NEVER wear again. A cap I threw out over a year ago after vowing I would NEVER do management again.

Never is indeed a strong word, and one I should really learn to NEVER use.

In any event, I have accepted an assistant nurse manager position in my current unit, and while I was, and continue to be, excited about the possibility, I did harbor some feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and unease. Just as before, I will move into a management position in my current unit, and, well hell, I don’t know. I guess I just wasn’t sure how it would be received. It’s nerve-wracking to think your peers would give you the side eye when just months ago you may have said, “I’ll NEVER do that job again.”

There’s that damn word again.

But, I’m happy to report that the news has been greeted with congratulations, messages of support, and words of encouragement. I can’t really ask for more, now can I?

I think what surprises me most is that I’m actually excited to give leadership another go. I have those familiar feelings of anticipation to learning new things, meeting new people, and easing into a new role. For that feeling alone, I’m grateful. I think the biggest difference this time around is that I find myself in a unit that truly speaks to me. I am home there. Med/Surg just wasn’t my cup-o-tea, and I knew it.

Anyway, tomorrow it begins. Again.

So, those two weeks literally FLEW by, and while I vowed to read more for pleasure, I didn’t. While I vowed to get out with Julia and do more, we didn’t. While I vowed to get more accomplished around the house, I didn’t.

Oh well.

I can tell you one thing, though. When you find yourself playing with Snapchat filters to kill some time, it’s time to get back to work.

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