This grief is making me tired.

I wanted to be writing about backpacking in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula today, to be sharing with you some details, lessons, and views from my recent adventure. But I can’t, not right now. Life as we know it has been interrupted. There’s been a huge bump in the road, a snafu. A shift in the fabric of the universe.

My sister died. And that’s all I can think about right now.

It was sudden. I’m stumbling around wondering what exactly to do with myself, as I have been for the past 28 hours or so. My family came together last night, all who could make it, to cry and hug (two things we do not do often); to offer support and share the pain that each of us were just beginning to feel. There’s been an outpouring of condolences, thoughts and prayers, and well wishes on social media as well as multiple organized efforts to help her husband and two young children through the next few weeks. It’s touching to see the reach my sister has had in her community. She is, or was, an amazing person. Everyone is sorry and sad.

This loss, her death, the permanency of it is only just starting to sink in. It’s still catching me off guard as the initial news did. A sucker punch to the gut, a riptide pulling me off my feet to sweep me into the tumultuous depths. Waves of numbness followed by deep, hollowing grief are washing over me, changing the shape of my soul. I’m not sure what to do with it all, not sure how to adapt, how to be okay today. Or tomorrow. Or next week.

There aren’t words in my head, there is no vocabulary for a world without my sister in it.

My sister and her daughter circa 2014

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Impatience

I think of myself as a relatively patient person. I worked with kids for years then I moved on to traumatic brain injury patients. Both jobs relied on keeping cool and being patient with whatever situation arises. Even now, on a regular nursing floor, I understand the importance of being patient even though there are ten million other tasks to complete.

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I rarely have road rage. (Unless someone cuts me off.) I can make a (usually) unbroken cheesecake which requires so much waiting and patience for a properly finished product. I just don’t get riled up easily.

BUT, then there are times when I’m extremely impatient. Waiting in long busy noisy lines gets me. I’m impatient when other people are running late and I’m meeting them. It drives me crazy.  And once I’ve made a decision, I just want it to happen.

This is also the case with New Year’s Resolutions. I just want them to happen. Unfortunately they are all things that take time. As I mentioned, I’m job hunting, and, probably, driving everyone crazy because I’m talking about it so much. I just want to know what that next step is going to be. Now. I want to know now and I want to begin down that path now! However, everything moves slowly in the healthcare world. So I just have to be patient and wait.

I’m a whole 2 days into trying to lose weight…with no results yet. Obviously.

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I’m realistic. Really. But it still tests my patience. I’m trying, so what do you mean I have to wait for results?! How many times do I have to go to the gym and not eat fries before I start seeing results?!?! (I do understand the reality of it all, honestly.)

I’ve got some long roads to go down, I get that. And I’m trying really hard to be patient.

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It’s that time again….I love a good New Year’s Resolution

I say it every year (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017) and I’ll say it again, I love a new year’s resolution. I love the fresh start even if it’s just because the calendar is turning over.

Last year, 2016, was a maintaining year with no big changes. That was not the case for 2017. In April I graduated from nursing school and in July I left my job of seven years and started a new nursing job.

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It was so exciting to graduate and pass the NCLEX. However, I took a hospital job and I really don’t like it. I never enjoyed the hospital during clinical and I really dislike it on a regular basis.

Resolution #1: Get a new nursing job. Preferably one without a midnight shift and not in a hospital. After years of a messed up schedule- night shifts, weekends and everything in between, I’m really looking for something consistent and normal.

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Along with the change in jobs and the end of school I now have time. It was pretty elusive in 2016 but all of sudden I actually have downtime. I haven’t really made good use of it either. It’s time to get some other areas of my life together. Especially if, as a nurse, I’m going to be preaching self-care and healthy living, it’s time to take my own advice.

Resolution #2: Lose 50 pounds. With diet and exercise, of course.

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You know, the normal ones that everyone makes.

#3: Try some new hobbies. – I’m taking a photography class in January for six weeks with a DSLR camera. I’m interested to try my hand at something new. New hobbies might including cooking too. I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef lately. Those meals and ingredients are amazing. It’d be interesting to learn just a little of that.

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I think those are it. They seem big enough to tackle for the year.

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Filing Cabinet Renovation Gone Wrong.

I’d been wanting a larger filing cabinet for awhile. I love some good organization. Plus I’d been using a filing cabinet I rescued from the garbage years ago that had a healthy dent and was rusting. So when I saw this guy at a garage sale for $20 I thought awesome! I’d try repainting it. Pinterest makes it look totally doable.

I read up on how to do it and purchased some spray paint. Seemed easy enough.

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This one drawer took 2 cans of spray paint! It was so much. So before tackling the rather large base I thought it would be better if I primed. Make the spray paint go further, right?? This was only my second attempt to do anything with spray paint. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Primed! Should be easy now right?

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Well, shit, everything is a different color now. How did that happen?!?! Not great progress. At this point I decided that instead of spray painting the base I should roll it. Spray paint wasn’t working in my favor. Rolling the base would work, right? I went back to Home Depot, for what felt like the billionth time, and purchased some Rust-oleam. The non-spray kind. I had a roller from when I was painting my walls so I didn’t get one. And there was my mistake. You definitely can’t use the same type roller. Why? Well it leaks fuzz everywhere.

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Can you see all the lint/fuzz bits?? Oh there were so many swear words.

This project was getting ridiculous and expensive. Also, on a side note. Rust-oleum really sticks to everything including hands. I painted a day before I was to attend a wedding. Not all the black came off. It was a look.

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This was after washing my hands! 😦

I had a very fuzzy discolored filing cabinet. I went back to the sander and Home Depot. I resanded and repainted with a foam roller. It’s definitely not perfect but it’s done.

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Can you see the spots I missed?? Ugh, I didn’t think they would show so much

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Quick Trip: Getting out of the slump

As I mentioned, I was in a slump. I didn’t blog or really do anything terribly creative. And, also, as I mentioned per my co-bloggers advice I just started doing stuff. One of the things I did was plan a quick road trip through Ohio with an old friend. I had been wanting to go back to the Columbus Zoo for years. I hadn’t been since I was a kid. So I persuaded an old friend who had vacation time to burn to take mid-week road trip with me. The Columbus Zoo did not disappoint! It was awesome and allowed for seeing some animals very close up.

 

After that we went to Cleveland and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was interesting and I enjoyed the fashion but I don’t feel the need to repeat it.

 

It was nice to get away with very little agenda and just because I could.

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Time After Nursing School….the Black Dog

Recently I was grumbling to my co-blogger about my job and, well, life in general. I was noticing a trend of procrastination and, let’s be honest, downright laziness. I’d work my three days a week, perk of nursing schedule, and then do nothing on my days off. Maybe not quite nothing- I’d have lunch with friends I’d been neglecting during school or do some general shopping but that was it. I have a rotating schedule, so a day right after night shift that’s completely acceptable but the rest of the time…it just wasn’t okay anymore. As I was grumbling that it had been six months since graduation and I didn’t have my shit together my co-blogger introduced to the concept of the Black Dog. Essentially I’d been having a really long “now what?” period in my life.

Now what? I have all this time that I didn’t have before. I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

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And on top of that I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to crochet. I didn’t want to bake. I didn’t want to blog or start home projects. I was in a slump. A quality six month slump.

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The solution? Advice from my co-blogger was essentially fake it until you make it. That’s advice I’m actually a big believer in. I think she told me to “just start doing stuff.” So I did.

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The Problem with Perfect Endings

When I was young, somewhere in my early teen years maybe, I developed a love of romantic movies mostly in the form of musicals but also those with a bend towards comedy. The neatness of it all appealed to me along with the magical feeling of getting swept up in the story and carried away by its currents. I recognized that most these stories followed a similar formula: the build up where the main romantic couple either meet and dislike each other immediately or where their lives overlap ironically or coincidentally without them meeting; the revelation where the seemingly unlikely pair starts to see or notice one another, maybe they finally meet for real or maybe it occurs to them that there is attraction lurking beneath their tense interactions; and lastly the dramatic, often epic, conclusion followed by the inevitable possibly metaphorical ride off into the sunset. Once in a while the story took a twist and didn’t end this way but mostly there was this satisfying tying up of all the loose ends into a lovely, neat bow. And I so enjoyed that process and the perfect ending.

In fact when it didn’t happen I felt a little robbed. When I read Little Women and Jo didn’t end up with Laurie I was downright angry, even more so when her calmer, kinder sister did. What the actual eff, Louisa May Alcott??

Somewhere along the lines things changed; I changed.

I very distinctly remember going to a movie with my then (but not too far from ex) husband somewhere in the late 2000’s, I was slightly past mid twenties; we saw one of those romantic comedies. It followed the formula and presented the same perfect ending after the token conflict or overcoming of circumstances. But the satisfaction in that was gone. Vanished. Instead a white hot anger flickered up inside me. I literally wanted to take off a shoe and throw it at the giant screen.

“Lies!”, I thought, “it’s nothing but lies.” Why do they sell us this bullshit? Like everything is going to magically be great some day. Almost ten years into a marriage that was fatally flawed from the start, and not romantically so but destructively so, I knew better than that and I did not enjoy the empty promises I was being sold in the form of that perfect ending.

Shortly after that, during the divorce yes, I couldn’t even watch romantic movies, especially the comedic ones, unless I was in a dark place and wallowing in the bit of self loathing I had yet to battle through. I felt angry, so so angry, and betrayed by them. It was a twisted form of punishment to sit and watch the trite, idyllic story unfold and know that the reality of relationships, the real stories, were tinted with hurt and brokenness. Pain, more often than not, inflicted by the very person standing there swearing they loved you.

Time heals all wounds, as the saying goes. Heals, yes, but it never puts things back as they were. The more help you give time, the more work you do, the better those wounds heal. But there’s still always a scar.

While I don’t thoroughly enjoy those romantic stories like I once did, I can occasionally watch and enjoy them now. These days, though, I appreciate the less than perfect endings more. I like when the film gives nod to the possibility of perfection in romance but then gently reminds us that is not the norm. So maybe the couple rides off into the proverbial sunset but then they fall off their horse which insights bickering and blame casting; suddenly yet stealthily the seeds of resentment are sown. Or, more likely, the couple doesn’t end up together but they both treasure the time they shared while going on to lead full and fufilling lives. It’s a reminder that even relationships that don’t last forever have value and are worthwhile; sometimes things end and people part ways but that’s okay. Perfection isn’t always ideal.