Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Bits

*This week marks one year since I got my first (and so far only) tattoo. So to be a bit brave and daring I have entered a picture of it in Sunshine's match the tattoo w/the blogger contest (coming soon, Monday I think?). Head on over and see if you can guess correctly. Let me know if you do!

*The highways are a bit scarier now as Anime has started driving. If she passes her driver's education test next week we'll be heading in to get her official driver's permit (and I'll be quaking in my flip-flops) to see how much my insurance premium is going to jump.

*Gearing up for another round of house-hunting on Monday. Will this be the day?! Will we find the one!? There don't seem to be very many new houses coming on to the market in this city, at least not in our price range.

*I have managed to avoid sitting down and setting up my Financial Peace plan. Reasons? *too depressed *the sun was shining so I had to be outside *the house needed cleaning *someone needed to play the Wii

*I had my first "stiff" at the restaurant. I had a table with split tickets; one person paid & the other didn't. Nice. That cost me $ out of my tips thus contributing to an already slow money night.

*With the help of Dawn I figured out how to move pictures from my Kodak P850 internal memory to the memory card. Score! Found pictures from a year ago that I didn't even remember where on the camera!

*I think I may have "worried" Vanessa with my desire for severe weather. I don't care for the damage that severe storms leave, but I have an intense fascination with storms and tornadoes. Before you get all "you come live through a few severe storms & see what they're like", I have. I lived for several years in Oklahoma, including when the F5 hit Oklahoma City, destroying several suburbs. I've seen the destruction and the fascination is still there. My dream job if I didn't have to consider anyone else? To work for the NSSL (National Severe Storms Laboratory) or to be part of a research chase team. Yes, I'm just that kind of weird. :P

I'm going to go drink my morning brew outside and bask in the sun now. You go enjoy Saturday too!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I was tagged by LizSara for my first meme! So here it is!

4 Things I did 10 years ago (1998):

1. I moved into the house we had rebuilt.
2. I graduated from my third attempt at college.
3. I accused my husband of having an affair. (Finally got the truth last year)
4. I chose to give the marriage another shot and agreed to move to a new state.

4 Things I did 5 years ago (2003)

1. I started the job that I resigned from this year.
2. I learned how to run (and what not to do to run) a campground.
3. I got my grandpa by marriage hand-me-down car.
4. I entered my second year of raising the kids basically on my own.

4 Things I did yesterday:

1. I played Wii with the kids.
2. I read some of Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace Revisited" & "Letters From Pemberly: The First Year" by Jane Dawkins
3. I battled the demons of depression.
4. I watched "Dogma" and "Austen Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" to boost my mood.

4 TV shows I love to watch:

1. House & Ghost Whisperer tie for first
2. Scrubs
3. Lost
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

4 Things I love to do:

1. Read
2. Watch movies
3. Hang out with my kids
4. Write

5 things in my bag:

1. Wallet
2. "Knit One, Kill Two" by Maggie Sefton
3. Planner
4. Stride gum
5. Burt's Bee's lip balm

5 Fav things in my room:

**I'm changing this to my house because I couldn't come up with 5 in my room

1. My comfy chair
2. My current stack of books
3. The piano
4. My 2 prints of Monet's paintings
5. My dining room set

5 things I’ve always wanted to do:

1. Travel the world
2. Live in Italy & Australia
3. Chase tornadoes
4. Write a book or a regular column
5. Learn more about photography

5 Things I am currently into:

1. Tornado season
2. House-hunting
3. Flip-flops (right there w/you LizSara!)
4. Reading financial books/blogs
5. Playing the Wii (am drooling over Wii Fit, can't wait to get one!)

I'll leave the tag open for this meme. I know who a couple of my regular visitors (Hi LizSara!) are and Vanessa and Sunshine are welcome to tag themselves for this! I'd love to hear from and meet some of my other subscribers and regular readers!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Happy Songs

Music is deeply embedded in my soul. I can't live happily without it. To quote someone somewhere "Music is the soundtrack of my soul".

I've recently discovered the joys of purchasing songs online. (Yep, I'm a little slow, I know) That led to the even bigger discovery that I could then burn those songs to a CD and keep them in my car! (And before you ask, no, I do not have an mp3 player ... yet)

My favorite CD has what I call my "happy songs". These are songs that pump me up and boost my mood. Here's a sample:

Starry Eyed Surprise

Sweet Home Alabama


Hollaback Girl

Soak Up the Sun

Walking On Sunshine

Life is a Highway

Do you have "happy songs"? Care to share? My list continues to grow as I stumble across old favorites that I've forgotten from years past.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Started Out as One Post Simply Became Another

Even when you think life is going to slow down, it doesn't. School is ending, piano lessons are finished (good-by job #3), the summer stretches before us. Not. Remember when we were kids and summer seemed to stretch on for so long? Why does it seem to shrink as we age? I look ahead to the events of this summer and it seems like barely any time at all.

Anime starts her drivers education course the day after Memorial Day. That will fill much of her time until she goes to camp for a week in the middle of June. Actress and Action start summer school in June, four days per week for four weeks. They also have softball and baseball respectively. I will have work at the restaurant and we will all have packing/boxing to do. Plus there is all the visiting of relatives to be squeezed into the month, not to mention house hunting. Come the end of June I will have to pass them over to their father and his fiancee for 5 weeks. (Gulp. Can't think about that yet. Too hard.) When the kids return there will only be a couple of weeks before school starts. There goes the summer.

This summer marks another change in our lives, which is good as this is my year of change, after all. The past several years have seen us spending our time at the nearby lake, hanging out with friends and family. I enjoy the lake, I grew up there, but it is no longer where I want to spend my free time. I love my family but it's time for me to forge a life outside of them, a life beyond that lake. Yes it's fun to hang out there but now is when I need to be exposing the kids to the other things that are out there. I want to take them to some festivals, some minor league baseball games, a couple of museums, and show them that there are ever so many things to do with your time beyond sitting on the beach and playing in the water. I want to broaden their horizons so that they can see that there is life beyond the small town and that there is always more out there to explore and fill their minds.

There are more reasons to why I'm choosing to pull away from this past-time. Some has to do with realizing that I think differently from my family and am choosing not to spend time with people who want either want to force me to see their way, talk about me when I'm not there, or choose to silently display their disapproval by ignoring facts. Case in point? My mother refuses to acknowledge that I am dating. Mr. Irony and I have been together for almost a year and she has never once mentioned his name and changes the subject if the kids bring him up. I have not yet informed family that Mr. Irony and I are house-shopping together. I want to wait until we have a house and a moving date, and until my parents have met him. Seeing as he lives almost 2 hours away and currently works seventy hour weeks it's been impossible to get them together. I'm hoping that during his vacation next month we can rectify that.

What is really comes down to? I'm scared. There's nothing they can do to change my choices but it's still scary to me to voice something that is going to bring more disapproval. However I can't live the life they seem to want for me. I can't stay here in a town I dislike, a job I hate, being alone and lonely until Action graduates from high school. My mother actually told me that I needed to wait 2 -3 years following the divorce before even looking at another man and that I should stay put until Action graduates (11 years from now!). Well, the divorce still isn't final, I knew over 2 years ago that the divorce would be occurring (didn't tell family until a little over a year ago), and I've been raising the kids alone for the past 6 years. I'm not jumping into anything. Believe me I've had plenty of time to figure out what I wanted in a partner and I was lucky enough to find him.

It's hard to use my own voice when I've let it be silent for so many years. It's scary. But I'm doing what I need to do for me and for the kids. Knowing that I'm doing the right thing will just have to be enough for me and somehow I'll work through not having my parent's approval.

**On an interesting side note, my posts seem to be more cheerful when the sun is shining. Can you tell that it's cloudy today? The lack of sun affects my mood and disposition more and more as I age, I'm noticing. I'm going to take my coffee now and see if a walk will improve my spirits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

House Hunting Rerun

Is it wrong to wish that the realtor would just drive us to a house and say "Here, it meets all your your specifications, fits the price range, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it."? (and why does spell check want to capitalize realtor anyway?)

We looked at one house today that was really cute. Sure the living room and dining room were in the same space and a bit on the small side, but the rest of the house was good. (Although the dishwasher was super tiny! It wouldn't even hold all of the dishes that the six of us will use just for lunch! Maybe breakfast dishes though...hmm.) Are you waiting for the "but"? Well here it is. One spot in the basement drywall that looked to have water damage. I'm hoping that the realtor will follow through and try to find out what is going on with it, if there are water problems or what exactly caused it. I'm just starting to feel a little despondent because from the time we offer on a house and then close on it we're probably looking at 5 - 7 weeks before being able to move in. That puts us as having to offer on a house by the middle of June in order to be moved in and still have some time to settle in before school starts. Not to mention the fact that I don't want to still be living in our current house when the kids get back from their fathers' house in August. I would hate for them to come back to this house only to have to move out within a week or so. I know, I know. Settle down, there's still a lot of time between now and then. Not to mention that we have at least 3 more houses that we want to go look at. Unfortunately what with the holiday weekend, doctor's appointments, and work schedules we won't be able to go look again until the first week of June.

Spring has decided to stick around here. We've had sun and fairly nice weather for the last several days now. Yeah! That helps so much in improving my mood.

Nothing seems to be opening up as far as education-type jobs go. That's okay. I have 2 1/2 months to find something as I will have a paycheck through the end of August. I'm taking the fact that no doors seem to be opening in this area as a sign that it really is time to move on. I felt that way when I decided to resign in January but then second-guessed myself, thinking that at least it's a stable job with insurance and day hours to see me through school. Maybe it's better to be doing something different as long as I'm not miserable at work and bringing it home with me. Maybe? Hah! Definitely!

Tomorrow it's back to the school to (hopefully) finish paperwork. I will leave packing the office for part of Thursday. Then it's back to the restaurant Thursday night. I'll also be working on my budget this week and plan to put my restaurant tips towards paying down debt.

Have a happy hump today tomorrow ya'll!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random Bits of Life

**Everything is better with sunshine! It's finally spring here. (Shh! Keep it quiet though, so Mother Nature doesn't hear. She might send a snowstorm this way like she did at the beginning of the month.) I'm contemplating actually putting away the winter clothes and snow boots today.

**Wow! What's gotten into me? This is the third post in three days! What the heck! Oh, wait, that's right. I actually have FREE TIME now. I'm not sure I remember what that is.

**I'm ready for some spring storms. I apologize to all of you down south and the middle Midwest that have been hit by some massive and awesome storms and tornadoes lately. You see, I'm somewhat a weather nerd and find it fascinating to peruse the radar and drive out to watch/photograph storms. I think the bug first hit me when we lived in Oklahoma and the F5 of May 1999 struck, subsequently destroying many suburbs. Yes, I'm warped. I hate the destruction these storms cause but find an odd beauty in the clouds and funnel formations. (Go ahead, you can mentally slap me, it's okay.)

**Yesterday Actress and I went bike shopping and this is what she chose. She chose the pink bike of course. Action has the same bike in blue. Are we cliched or what? Anime broke the gender color cycle by choosing a blue bike a couple of years ago. I am the only one in the family without a bike but I use Anime's since she so rarely does.

**Tomorrow is my last official day at school. I'll be there for a couple of extra days this week to finish going through paperwork and boxing up my office. It's rather telling, isn't it, that there are no tears or sadness within me for this ending. I have issues with this school that are a post within itself. The only thing I will miss is going to school with my kids almost every day and a couple of good friends that I've made there.

**More house hunting on the agenda for this week. I'm trying not to despair but maintain hope that the right sized house with an affordable price in the suburb I like best, will appear on the market when our loan is approved and we will be the ones to snap it up. (yes there was a deplorable lack of comma's in that sentence)

**Also this week I will go back to being a server in the restaurant I worked in during the school year. Would you believe I miss it (a little)? It will be mainly new people that I'll be working with (many who are new to the industry and thus require teaching - see I can't get away from the teaching) so we'll see how it goes. I have committed to working there until we move. Why you say? Continue reading...

** At the beginning of the debacle of 2007 I attended classes by the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program. I'm sorry to say that I did not put them into practice at that time. Now, having spent many hours reading the blogs of Frugal Dad and Paid Twice, I'm planning to sit myself down this week and put that plan into action. I'm tired of always living paycheck to paycheck with nagging worries about finances.

***Yes, I'm having a little fun with "linking" today! :)

**Last, but certainly not least, I will be beginning the end of the divorce paperwork. I've put it off until the end of the school year so that I could give it the attention it deserves. I am doing most of it myself, to be reviewed by an attorney after Mr. Ex and I have settled on things (which may prove to be entertaining and frustrating) in order to cut costs. I mean really, why should I pay an attorney to negotiate all of this when it will go more smoothly between Mr. Ex and myself? Also, I can drive to the county courthouse and file the paperwork instead of paying $150 an hour for an attorney to do it. Just the initial divorce and child support paperwork cost me $1500! It will be a relief to get this monkey off my back (and no, I'm not referring to Mr. Ex as a monkey, silly people :P - the monkey is the divorce paperwork, which falls to me as he lives out of state).

**Now quit reading, grab your coffee, and go outside! That's where I'm heading!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Employment History

I look back on my life and am somewhat amazed at the number of varying jobs I've held. Starting with my high school job they are:
1. Fast food worker
2. College admissions tour guide student coordinator
3. Waitress
4. Dental office receptionist
5. Dental office manager
6. Waitress (in HAWAII!!!)
7. Waitress (not in Hawaii)
8. Movie theatre attendant
9. Clothing store assistant manager
10. Candy store manager
11. Patient care tech for a children's "assisted living" school
12. Temp worker (data entry)
13. Waitress/Bartender (lasted for 3 years. Ugh.)
14. Line worker for a playsystems manufacturer
15. Waitress
16. Special Education Specialist (I prefer not to reveal which offshoot of SpEd that my degree is in)
17. High School SpEd teacher
18. SpEd Specialist (city #1)
19. SpEd Specialist (city #2)
20. Waitress (concurrent with #19)
21. Piano teacher (concurrent with #19 & 20)
*while working jobs 18 & 19 I also learned the finer points of campground management

WOW! Considering that I've been employed for that past 21 years that equals out to one job per year. Some of the jobs were held concurrently, some were not. Along the way I attended college at three separate points in time (well actually four as I had to take a semester off while pregnant with Actress). Some of the job changes were precipitated by Mr. Ex wanting to change cities. (We moved approximately every 2 years while we together. I should be a professional mover as I am now quite skilled at the finer points of cross country moving!)

Best job I've ever had? Teaching high school special education. However I think this relates more to how the school ran their SpEd department than to teaching in that specific area. I taught separate classes in Life Skills, Basic Algebra (hilarious! It took me THREE tries to pass College Algebra) and a general Science class. This school was large enough that the SpEd students took their classes with SpEd teachers just as if they were in the "regular" classrooms. It took a lot of effort but was worth it. I even had to take a self-defense course to teach these students! They weren't really that scary but some had the teenage equivalent of parole officers. (PS. The best training I had for teaching these kids? Bartending. I kid you not.)

College attempt number one found me looking towards a career in hotel/restaurant management. That ended with my marrying Mr. Ex and moving. College attempt number two was for nursing. That ended when I learned I was pregnant with Baby #1 and was too ill to continue. (Baby #1 did not make it past the fourth month of gestation.) Attempt numbers three and four were for my current profession as a special education related services provider. After attempt number three I wanted to change directions and go back into nursing or respiratory therapy but was subsequently convinced by family to continue along the path I had previously chosen.

I am now planning for attempt number five. Nursing school, hopefully to start in January of 2009. Is it the right choice for me? I don't know. I do know that I have a high interest in the area of medicine and at a couple points in my life have wanted to attend medical school. Nursing will double my current salary and with continued education, give me the ability to eventually teach at the university level. This choice to go back once again was prompted by the upheaval of divorce and the realization that I was doing what was best for Mr. Ex's life and not what was best for me (and ultimately for my children). I could have chosen to continue with my Master's in my current profession (I have about 15 credits finished) but that would have raised my salary by about $2000 per year, whereas obtaining my RN will double my current salary. Not to mention that it holds far more interest for me than what I have done for nine of the past 10 years (and disliked almost every minute of it).

Of course, I have to be admitted to school first (the application period begins in July). While I have my worries about that, they are not too troublesome. When I visited with the admissions counselor a few months ago I was told that I am just the kind of student they are looking for. Good grades with a previous degree and a non-traditional student (apparently we non-trads have a higher graduation/employment rate).

Now it's just figuring out what I'm going to do to support us over the next three years. I'm trying not to be to worried, though. If there's one thing I've learned, something always turns up.

The sun is shining here so it's time to head outside and enjoy it before it disappears into clouds & rain again. Happy Saturday, ya'll!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I passed! The National Registry of EMT's exam that is. Yeah me!

The question is ...... now what do I do? I had planned on helping with the local ambulance crew until moving but here's the problem. I have to be "voted" on to their crew at the monthly meeting which doesn't happen again until the 3rd Thursday in June. I plan on moving about 2 or 3 weeks after that (hopefully, keep your fingers crossed). As I'm not having much luck finding a job in my offshoot of education for next year (and trust me I'm not particularly sad about that) I'm wondering if my EMT-B would be good for some type of medical job. Any ideas?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Emergency Room Care

I recently had the opportunity to spend 10 hours straight observing in the local emergency room. The local hospital seems to be somewhat unique in that the EMT's are based within the ER and work in the ER if they are not busy with ambulance calls. I wasn't sure what to expect going in and was second-guessing myself as to whether or not I should have driven the 2 hours to the nearest big city to do my time in one of the large regional medical centers there.

The day started slowly as I had to wait for the paramedic on duty to arrive back from lunch. The second medic on shift was sleeping in the on-call room. After a while of standing (& studying) a call came in from the local police who were en route chasing a vehicle heading towards the ER. We grabbed a wheelchair and headed out to the unloading area. Sure enough, a vehicle soon came tearing into the parking lot followed by a patrol car. One passenger jumped out and hustled a second passenger towards us. The medic had me assist the patient into the wheelchair, at which point we headed back into the ER. The officer following the vehicle was left to deal with the driver & first passenger. I was instructed to obtain baseline vital signs and a brief patient history/chief complaint. I have to say that I wasn't very impressed that they left me, who is not even a certified EMT-B yet, alone to obtain all of this info. Luckily I've had several family members who have spent hundreds of hours as hospital patients so I had at least some idea of how to work the machine. You see, in class we have practiced obtaining vitals manually with no electronic equipment. My natural inclination was to obtain a pulse by finding the radial pulse and counting heart beats. Silly me, the machine will do that for me! After having that kindly pointed out to me by the medic (after I manually obtained pulse/respirations) I felt a little silly but hey! at least I'm prepared for what the local ambulance is equipped with (certainly not machinery that reads everything for us!).

This patient was rushed to the ER for a potential overdose. The hard part of this, for me personally, was that this patient was someone I knew. I was left to spend the next couple of hours talking to the patient to help keep them from falling asleep. As what they had ingested was not potentially fatal, nothing was done for them in the ER other than to place a call to a counselor to visit with the patient. I found that very surprising and a little disturbing.

The vast majority of my day was spent obtaining vital signs on patients, watching the medics insert IV lines, and assisting with transporting patients to X-ray and CT scans. Not one ambulance call the entire time I was there. Bummer. There were several patient transfers in which the on-call EMT's were called in to drive patients from our local hospital to the nearest big city regional medical centers.

In hindsight I realize now that I should have gone to one of the regional medical centers for my hours. In my time at this ER I saw one dehydrated infant, two possible strokes, and one silent heart attack. The down side was that so much equipment was not functioning that day that the stroke patients were transferred out to a bigger center and the heart attack was eventually transferred also.

I have informed my family that should they or I ever require emergency medical care, tell the local ambulance to keep on going and bypass the local ER. I know I'm not a professional but I was not impressed with the quality (or rather lack of quality) of care. It took almost 2 hours to diagnose the silent heart attack due to the malfunctioning equipment and I found that very scary.

The day provided me with just another reason that I'll be happy to be in the big city...quality medical care. On the flip side, I enjoyed the time spent in the hospital and it served as a reinforcer that I am making the right decision in applying to nursing school. It was also a big confidence booster as I study for my EMT practical & written exam coming up this weekend.

One thing I noted that day was that almost everyone assumed that because I was wearing scrubs I must know what I was doing. Scary. People listened to what I said as if I were an expert. I think most people are so frightened or unnerved to be in the emergency room that they forget that they have the right to ask questions and to question the care that they are receiving. It's a lesson that I don't want to forget... it's my right as a patient to ask as many questions as I need in order to understand the care that's being given.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring: the Season for New Life

I wish that I could say that my posts have been few and far between due to the wonderful spring weather. I can't. The weather here has been sucky(suckish?). We have run the gamut between sunny spring days and Mother Nature thinking it's still winter. Just this week in the space of a few hours we had one part of the state spot 2+ tornadoes and another part of the state receive over a foot of snow w/blizzard conditions. In MAY! But seriously, I can't blame my lack of posting on enjoying the weather. It's been just me, avoiding writing.

Why? The old battle of being fearful of saying/writing what is on my mind and having it twisted to use against me. Granted I know that the person who initiated this fear does not even know I have a blog, but as this fear has been my companion for 8 years now, it's somewhat hard to kick it out the door completely. And yes, I can tell you to the month and year, as to when this fear first entered my life. I began journaling at some point during my junior high years and continued to do so until May of 2000. Things were not going well in my life at that point. Outwardly things looked fine, inwardly it was a mess. Someone extremely important to me at that time decided to go through my most recent journal and began twisting things I had written and using them to manipulate me. That person REALLY messed with my mind to the point where I believed I had no options left open to me except what that person wanted me to do.

The scenes & conversations that happened in regards to my journals traumatized me to the point that I not only ripped up the pages of every single journal I had saved... I burned them as well. I never wrote again until July of 2005.

That July was 6 months after the passing of my grandmother. Her death seemed to be the kicker to me spiraling down that slippery ladder of despair and hope lost. I went to her grave that July and sat there for the entire afternoon. It was (and is) a small, beautiful, quiet, rural cemetery that is quite literally miles from anywhere. I cried & mourned my grandma. I lay beside her grave in the hot July sun on the crisp green grass and talked to Grandma as if she were there. Eventually I was settled enough to write.

I then went home and hid the notebook. I didn't open it again until this past week and even then, it wasn't intentional. I stumbled across it as I was going through boxes in the basement in preparation for packing for our move this summer. And I sat there amidst the boxes and read what I had written almost 3 years ago.

Isn't it incredible the power that we will allow others to take from us? I realized that I have still been (inadvertently) allowing that person from 8 years ago to control what I do and do not write. As I go throughout my days there is almost always a story or blog post running in my mind. I am maybe odd in the fact that many of the things that run through my mind do so in the format of a book chapter, or newspaper article, or even a blog post. And I can not continue to give power over myself to someone else. By doing so I am allowing myself to continue to be toxic and not breaking the cycle of manipulation. Obviously there's much more to this story but in time, I hope, I will give myself permission to tell my story. Because it is MY story to tell and I am claiming it now to break the circle of control and manipulation. Granted I know this sounds fairly dramatic. In the grand scheme of things it is not but as far as my life goes it is.

On a side note: When I sat down to write this morning this is completely NOT what I had intended to write. My idea was to catch up on life as it has happened over the last couple of weeks. Obviously my subconsciousness needed to say something else. I'm glad it did because there's so much I want to write and have allowed this inner fear to keep it pushed down deep. Spring is the season for rebirth and new life, after all, and this year is the start of a new beginning for us. Spring is the time for me to allow the rebirth of hope and dreams that just might come true.