Category Archives: humor

As a nurse …

and thinking as such, I think it is safe to say that every now and again, nurses wake up one morning and ask themselves why in the hell they ever decided to do this job.  It is thankless.  It is, at times, backbreaking.  It is confrontational.  It is humbling.  It is rewarding.  It is unbearable.  It is heartbreaking.  It is encouraging. It is maddening.

When I first became a nurse, we still wore hats, all whites (including hose) and really and truly believed that Doctors were a god of sorts.  Many young nurses I have come into contact with have been enamored by the “hat statement” … but then they never had one fall off into a bedpan.  There aren’t enough  bobbie pins in the world to keep a hat securely in place when you are bending over doing lord knows what to lord knows where.  I was never so glad of anything as I was when hats became a thing of the past.

I don’t want to portray the opinion that I don’t like being a nurse.  I do, for the  most part, but I feel that I have reached a place that many nurses reach after many years of seeing things, even as they change, stay the same; burnout.  I find that I have to work harder to really listen.  I roll my eyes more, wish I were somewhere else more, hope that I win the lottery more.  I think it is safe to say that I have all the signs.  I have a wanderlust that eats away at me.  I want to be so many other places than where I am.  I know that I have the freedom to just get in my car and drive; it is the courage I lack.

I don’t want to carry the responsibility.  I don’t want to bring people home with me in my mind and think about their well-being in the middle of the night.  I want to be selfish and self-centered and think of no one but myself.  I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  The problem lies in the fact that I’m not wired that way.  I don’t really know how to say “you have no importance to me”.  I can’t, in a million years, imagine telling someone that they don’t matter; even people I don’t especially like.

I give it everything I have.  I don’t believe in doing something halfway.  It’s just not what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Sand Cave

Anticipation of its wonders…

nearly has me giddy.  It has been over two months since I have been out in the wild with my pentax, hiked a steep and winding mountain trail, sat on my favorite rock or stood in front of the falls.  I find that I am in serious withdrawal from the beauties and bounties of being alone in the midst of nature.  But the waiting is about to end.  After multiple injuries that kept me in a state of suspension on level ground, I am at the cusp of being released to return to my normal, weekend warrior activity.

The bone doc shakes his head at me each time I speak of climbing narrow mountain trails, scaling over rocks, holding onto trees to keep from falling backwards on steep paths and standing inches from the edge of a cliff just to get a vertical shot; he doesn’t understand that those things are as much a part of my life as the air I breathe.  He doesn’t understand that it is part of what sustains me. They make no sense to him and why, after all, should they.  I am part of distinct breed and we know what makes us tick whether anyone else does or not.

I long for it and longing is a very strong emotion.  I find myself thinking of the magnitude of loss that not having the hikes and jaunts every weekend have brought me.  No, it is not like losing a loved one or dear friend.  It is more like losing a cherished lover.  The envelopment of the wonder of nature is so complete that I feel untouchable when I am in the midst of it, held in the beauty and silence and soothed from every negative thought.  The silence of human voice combined with the chatter of nature is so alluring.  Setting up the tripod for long exposure shots, zooming in on a bloom, rock, leaf or whatever may catch my eye, is intoxicating to me; yes, I long for it.

It doesn’t matter what the good doctor has to say tomorrow.  I have been doing my own Physical Therapy and my shoulder is strong and ready to take on whatever comes my way.  I have already waited far longer than I wanted to.  I have exercised to way too many aerobics videos, practiced yoga until I can put my foot around my neck and into the opposite ear, lifted weights and performed hundreds of lunges and squats to keep my body strong.  I hate it.  Every single moment of it.  I don’t want to try to keep up with some bimbo that does things that make no sense and, regardless of how limber I am, I can only stretch so far.  I feel that I am well on my way to being a contortionists and warn my friends that they should not be surprised if they open a box and I am in it.

I have made an executive decision that I don’t really care, one way or the other, what the doc says tomorrow.  I am going into the mountain on Saturday.  I am going on a trail shoot and see what January in the mountains has to offer.  I have missed it more than I have the missed my dearest friends that I have neglected to keep in touch with.  Not great for their egos, but I’ve never lied to them before, why start now.  I think they know anyway; know that they take a back seat to the chance to get into the wilderness and see what waits for me there.  It’s why they are my dearest friends.  They understand me and, inexplicably, like me anyway.  Plain and simple.

While I still have a little soreness, the backpack will be a challenge.  But challenges don’t scare me, they inspire me.  So I’ll fill it up with water, toast-chee crackers, nekot cookies, a first aid kit, a few of my favorite lens filters and deal with it.  I’m already so excited about the adventure that everything else has suddenly become obsolete.  It just proves what I have said all along … I have a selfish bent.  And this Saturday, I’m playing the “me” card.  I have few responsibilities, when it comes to everyday weekend life, so being able to go where I please, when I please, for however long I please, is priceless.

Now to turn a complete 360 and change the subject entirely; I took out my Christmas tree tonight.  It was the first tree I have had in many years and the only one that has ever belonged solely to me.  I was apprehensive about putting one up at all.  I just didn’t want the past to become more a part of my future than it already is.  But I put it up, decorated it with only lights, and enjoyed it for over three weeks.  I now look out the unobstructed window and, with a regret I never imagined, miss my tree.  If I could have found a way to sustain it, I may have kept it up for months.  So soothing and comforting were the fading and blinking lights.  I don’t know for certain that I will have a tree next year as I doubt I will ever be as enamored as I was this year.  Taking back to myself what I had lost to sorrow, disappointment and plain disillusionment was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  And I owe my dear friend, Missy, along with her young son, for picking out my perfect tree.  Many thanks in this shoutout to her and TAS.

Tomorrow is another day, and if I am blessed to live until then, I will embrace it and take it in as best I can.  My daily work has become a burden to me as I find my thoughts everywhere but where they should be.  It takes an enormous amount of concentration (which I am not know for), dedication, which I can  handle and people skills that though, I have a knack for, can’t find the passion that should be there.  In my heart, I am a photographer and writer; I am a nurse because I have bills to pay.  It didn’t start that way, but it’s how it ended up.  Anxiously awaiting Saturday when I will immerse myself in the beauty of winter.  I can barely sit still thinking about it.  That, in itself, speaks volumes.  That, in itself, defines a huge part of me.  My drummer, my march.  Selfish?  Yes, on some level.  Regretful?  Not a chance.  Bring it on.  I am willing and able.  No other requirements are necessary.  Praising God as I go and thank Him for all that He shows me.  I am blessed beyond anything I ever thought possible.  Yeah.

Little Stoney Falls, Southwest VA

Isaiah :12 ~ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

When hatefulness spews forth …

I am nearly always sorry afterward.  Nearly.  My closest friends and my sister know my moods and how my mind works.  They understand that there are times when I am not feeling myself and I try, with everything I have, to pick a fight.  If someone decides to fight back, knowing that in the grand scheme, it is irrelevant, but crucial to my psyche, then all is good.  When I am left to my own design, I deal with the the only way I know how.  The way that works best for me.  I throw things.

Yep.  I throw things that shatter and break.  Tonight it was a Bone-China cup.  A wonderful sound does Bone-China make when it shatters into a hundred pieces.  It seems that, as that glass shatters, so does all the hatefulness and stress that is, at the moment, overtaking my body and mind.  When my husband was living, he became adept at dodging flying objects.  I hit him once and, after the first pump-knot, he learned that I aimed to hit.  We laughed about it, even though, at the moment of impact, it wasn’t funny.  Fulfilling and comforting to me, but not funny.  Not at the moment.  I hurt him, physically, and shocked him otherwise.  I was sorry, but not enough to promise to never do it again. I did it again, a few times, but he had learned to gauge my moods and knew when flying objects would be part of his world.  He would never fight back with me though.  And so, the outbursts to my sister and friends continued, escalating after his death, and  now back to normal outburst frequency.  It amazes me sometimes that they don’t just tell me to get lost.  I am so very blessed.

It is a rare thing for me to get so stressed that I resort to that.  If the truth be known, when I stopped at my sisters house last evening, it was to provoke a fight.  She knows better than anyone that sometimes, I just need to have it out with somebody and is, usually, a willing sparring partner.   She wasn’t home, though, and I couldn’t find enough hatefulness in my heart to take it out on my niece and brother.  So I turned to my friends.  They must feel so special to get a message a couple of times a year that tell them just how badly they have pissed me off.  I know, were I to receive such a message, I would just cry; maybe for days.  But they know how my mind works.  They understand the need for release and none of them, so far, have held it against me.  I have, however, had to offer an apology or two when I forgot my boundaries.  I don’t forget my boundaries as much as I ignore them.  But I never, ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings intentionally, although, on occasion, I do without meaning to. For that, I really am sorry.

I used to apologize for myself all the time, but in the last few years, I have decided that I am who I am.  And who I will be is yet to be determined because I haven’t crossed that bridge yet.  My friends know me, my family understands me and I am at peace, for the most part, with myself; what else on earth could anyone ask for?

beach_birds-158-2

Proverbs 27: 5-6 ~ Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

On this, the first day of 2013 …

After The Storm

I haven’t left the house other than to walk to my mom’s for some sausage balls and homemade chocolate chip cookies left over from last night’s New Year’s Eve celebration.  But not leaving the house on such a dreary, rainy, wonderful day doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished anything.  I did a lot of thinking.  I thought about taking my Christmas tree out today.  Since it was, however, so rainy, cold and dreary outside, I decided I could handle looking at the lights for one more day.  I’m going to miss that beautiful old tree when it’s gone, but nothing can go on forever and while I love the tree, I have missed the view out the window.

Besides thinking, though, I got many things in the house done.  General cleaning, straightening and taking stock of my pantry.  It seems that I have some baking soda, a few bottles of spices and a bag of flour.  Not conducive to cooking anything of any substance.  I’d like to try to get back into cooking, otherwise, I may have to break my cardinal rule and eat a hot pocket.

Besides coming to the conclusion that there is no truly edible food in my house, I’ve been getting my hiking gear oiled and cleaned, ready to get back to weekends in the mountains.  I am confident that when I see the Orthopedists in a couple of weeks, he will clear me to get back to the trails and hard places that I love to go.  I was complaining a few days ago about the belligerent 9-year old I had to wrestle into submission in order to obtain a flu swab, but I think he did me more good than harm.  I actually believe he helped put that pesky, out-of-place bone back where it belongs.  Guess I owe the brat a thank you.

twitter

I cannot even voice how much I miss nature, the mountains, the rocks and trees, the waterfalls, the arduous climbs and the smell of the earth in every season.  So far, I have missed Winter completely, but lucky for me, Winter really only officially began a few days ago.  I long for the bare branches of the trees as they stand sentry over a barren earth, biding their time until she blooms again, bringing forth life and a different kind of beauty.  She calls to me; Mother Nature, that is.  She calls to me as the light changes, shifting over the mountains, shadows forming and dissipating almost in the same moment.  I long for the adventure of what I will find at the top of the next hill, around the next turn, behind the thunderous sound of water falling for hundreds of feet.  I dream of standing alone with nothing but the glory of nature surrounding me and find myself nearly trembling with anticipation to get back to it.

2-46

While I have been out of commission, I have exercised at home, keeping my legs and thighs strong and ready for the hikes and climbs that I so dearly love.  Yes, in a couple of weeks, I think I will be able to stop those mind-numbingly boring, in-home routines, strap on my heavy backpack without feeling like my shoulder will detach itself from my person, grab my tripod and head out with my trusty Pentax to see what I’ve missed while I’ve been gone.  I wonder if  my favorite places have missed me as much as I’ve missed them.  I’d like to think so.

whiterocks_trailshoot-150

When I am manic …

everything becomes a challenge.  Thinking straight, keeping a single thought in my head, knowing reality from fantasy; all challenges.  I would be lying if I said that the feeling I get when in a manic state is anything but exhilarating, it is also exhausting.  The thoughts run through my mind at a speed that I cannot keep up with and the important things are often lost in the fray.  It is difficult to explain the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas to someone who has never experienced mania.  It is like being in a hurricane, protected from the wind and rain, but not the chaos.  How odd is that.  There are those who will read this post and say to themselves, “I know that feeling … I get it”.  At the same time, there will be ones who read it who say “that gal is as nutty as a fruitcake”.  But the reality of it is that I’m not nutty, or crazy or over the edge.  I am simply, at the moment, in a state of hypomania.

Manic stages are a part of my existence.  It took me a long time to realize that these episodes were, for me, part of normal life.  It is so abnormal to most people and they find it absurd on so many levels and simply, even if they try, cannot comprehend that the mind can warp at such a speed.  It is both fascinating and confusing, enlightening and disturbing.  I wish that there were words in my head to explain what I feel when I am in a manic state.  Though I have never tried cocaine, from the descriptions of those I know who have, it is similar to the feeling that comes when the hyperactivity takes over my mind and body and reality becomes blurred with fantasy; dreams become real and thoughts are not to be trusted.

I find it addictive, the feeling that nothing is impossible and all things are within my reach.  It is nearly a letdown when this feeling begins to ebb, which it must, if I am to survive; a disappointment to know that the chaos of my mind will, once again, become somewhat normal.  Being in this state does not change who I am at the core, but it changes what I am to the observer.  Try as I might, I have not found a way to harness the charge of energy that overtakes me and throws me into an atmosphere that is full of everything.  Again, to one who has never experienced such a moment, it is hard to explain.

Imagine being in a forest, a beautiful forest with the leaves alive and every growing thing beautiful with springtime in the mountains.  Now imagine that all the growing things have a personality and can interact, on a personal level, with actions and words. Being in a manic state is similar to that.  So much information.  So much stimulation.  It is like having goosebumps all the time.  Who doesn’t like goosebumps, right?  But constantly?  Not such a great thing.  But I am not alone in my experiences.   There are so many others who are in or soon will be, in the state I am in.   I count myself among the lucky ones that the manic cycles last only a few days as opposed to a few months, for I fear that I would really try to fly if it lasted more than a day or so.  Yes, I am one of the lucky ones.  But to those who live with this feeling day after day, month after month, I can understand how it would be so easy to try to find a way to put an end to everything.  To make it go away.  I spent one entire year of my life in such a state and am still wondering how I lived through it.   If it were not for the support of my family and friends along with the faith in my God that He would, eventually end this state of chaos, I could not have survived it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but it is difficult to function in a normally functioning world while in this place.  It takes extreme concentration and is, on every level, exhausting.  Knowing that there are others who face the same experiences is a help, but it doesn’t make living through an ordinary day any less stressful.  It is like fighting fire with gasoline.  The more I try to contain it, the more out of control it seems to be.  As much as the hypo-manic state makes me feel invincible, I am always glad to see it come to and end, for once again, I can feel normal in the sense of what the world deems normal.  I am different.  I don’t mind that. As a matter of fact, I embrace it, but being different has its limits and I am, almost always, happy when my thoughts slow down and I feel like I am, whether I am or not, in some modicum of control. I would not change my experiences for anything, for they make me who I am, but if it were in my power, I would change the perception of myself when I am not myself.  But life is life and I live with it.  And I’m not the only one.  That brings me comfort; knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.  I am encouraged.  And so a former blog post about encouragement comes full circle.  Nothing is as powerful as the sharing of life experiences.  It connects us all; I am not alone and for that, I am grateful.

octobersaturday-151

Happiness …

is waking up one morning, brushing my teeth, finishing my morning exercise routine, showering and dressing only then to realize that, for the first time in my entire life (I say entire, but the first three years are pretty fuzzy) my thighs no longer touch when I walk.  What an incredible life moment.  I think of all the people I could call at six am who would find this interesting and can think of no one.  I think of all the people I could text who would find this amazing and again, I can think of no one.  Facebook?  No, not really the kind of thing people want to read about first thing in the morning.  Twitter?  Again, TMI at such an early hour.  So what do I do?  Blog about it, of course.

Unless you have been there, overweight, I mean, there is really no way to find excitement in the fact that you can walk without the “shhhh … shhhh … shhhh” of  your legs rubbing together.  It’s hard to describe the beauty of the moment when that is no longer an issue.  I’ve struggled, as long as I can remember, with my weight.  A couple of years ago, though, I decided that enough was enough.  I started exercising and going on hikes, which, since I always had my camera along, renamed “trail shoots”.  As the weeks and months passed, the trail shoots became more difficult and arduous, requiring strength of body and mind in order to complete.  It was better than Sudoku for my brain and made me feel strong and (nearly) invincible.

As the pounds fell away, well, that is really pure nonsense as they didn’t fall away but took effort, a great deal of effort actually, hard work and self-control, I found myself even more motivated.  First 25 pounds, then 50, then 80 and, to date, 96 pounds have been shed.  Self-control is not my strong suit so implementing that was more work than I anticipated.  As I learned to control my physical condition, however, it spilled over into other aspects of my life.  It is, after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit and something that I wanted to master.  I haven’t mastered it completely but feel that I have, in the words of the old Virginia Slims commercials, “come a long way, baby”.

A recent injury to my shoulder has inhibited my ability to hike to the difficult places I like to go, so  I have had to increase my efforts at home.  I hate exercise as much as the next person; the repetitions encouraged by the ridiculously toned, way too blonde, much too excited to be doing crunches individual who happens to be on the video I am following, but until I am able to resume the weekend jaunts that leave me feeling strong, toned and energized, I have little choice but to endure them.  Yoga has also become a new pursuit.  I find that, while I am quite flexible, I have a long way to go before I can fold myself into a box and be happy about it.  And Yoga, while it may seem to be a simple form of exercise, is actually quite strenuous and requires a great deal of concentration and focus, neither of which come easy to me.  At times, I find my enthusiasm lacks what is required to do it regularly and then I remember just what, once I am able to contort myself into a pretzel, I will be able to accomplish. As I sit here this evening gazing at the lights on my Christmas tree, enjoying the feeling of accomplishment, I think of what is yet to come and all I can think is that, in my heart of hearts I know; I. Can. Do. This.

highknob_falls_gorge-38

Dogs are man’s best friend …

up until the point when they start barking all night, every night,  just outside the window; then friend becomes past tense and nuisance takes its place.  What is it that makes dogs want to bark at air?  When I was a kid, I often heard my dad say to me and my sister that he wasn’t talking just to hear his head roar, but I have to wonder if the same is true when it comes to dogs.  Do they do it simply to ensure to themselves that they are still able to make the sound?  Or perhaps they perceive, in the black and darkened nothingness of the middle of the night, some kind of being that is unperceptible to the human eye.  Unperceptible is not, as Merriam-Webster will tell you, a real word, but in my life, at this moment, and every moment for the past few nights, it is real; I am coining it even as I write this post.

Living on a farm in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, is supposed to be a peaceful, wonderful, life-altering experience; one that allows you to get closer to nature, closer to God and just feel good about being alive.  It used to be that way for me, up until the moment when the dogs all went crazy.  I had the spotlight out last night trying to see what they were barking at, thinking that the enemy had finally infiltrated the camp and we were all destined for death.  I didn’t see anything but rocks.  So I yelled at the dogs and they stopped barking; for about five minutes.  As I tried to drift back off to sleep, the sound started up again.  This time, when I yelled at them, or mayhaps, more aptly, squalled at them, it wasn’t quite so nicely.  Again, they stopped barking for about five minutes.  I remember praying that they would not bark anymore that night, but I suppose that God had more pressing things to attend to at the moment than barking dogs.

When they started up again, I began to think of all the ways that I could murder them.  But it was dark, cold and I was still half-asleep, so the choices were limited.  I don’t own, now have I ever fired a gun, so that was out.  The cast iron skillet would have made a dent, but as I said, it was dark and cold and I was in my sleep attire, which is not suitable for dark, cold nights in the back yard chasing dogs with a cast-iron skillet.

When three AM came along and the sound of their barking woke me once again, I became desperate.  I searched my house for an adequate weapon to use upon the creatures that I had loved dearly, at least up until this moment.  I found the lids to a couple of pots and took them to the back door.  I yelled loudly words that I dare not print and banged the lids together.  The dogs, all three of them who were causing the ruckus, tucked their tail between their legs and went into the warm, hay-filled shelter that my dad makes for them each winter.  I didn’t hear another peep all night.  Needless to say, I have my pot lids close by and am ready if they start their nightly bark-fest.  I am starting to realize that while I still love dogs, it is only during daylight hours.

stuff