Wednesday, November 30, 2011


A fabulous excerpt on the definition of integrity as it applies to marriage, from Marriage Transformation:

Integrity means that our ideals, intentions, words, and actions are honest, just, defensible, and in harmony as a couple.

We choose the best words and behavior for each circumstance. Our clear moral and ethical code guides our lives and work.

We do not allow others to influence us to lower our standards.

Our integrity contributes to the harmony and trust in our marriage. We do not inappropriately keep secrets.

We use reflection, prayer, consultation, and spiritual guidance to strengthen our integrity.

Integrity is achieving a state of balance and wholeness in life and character

I probably don't tell my husband this enough (Husband? Are you reading this?) but I feel incredibly fortunate to have married a man who is strong enough to stand up for his family, who works with me to set and enforce appropriate limits for those whose relationships directly affect us (hey, isn't that pretty much everyone?), who calls me on my crap (sometimes this happens daily. When you're married sometimes you find out that you have a lot of crap.), who graciously accepts it when I call him on his crap, and who does other awesome things, like laundry and making morning breakfast scrambles.

I love that man.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lord give me patience, because if you give me strength I might choke someone.

I'm sure you've run into them too - those insipid creatures who demand their own way at the expense of your patience, who kick their feet and sob when something goes wrong, who sometimes seem to be the behavioral equivalent of a ticking time bomb. No, I'm not talking about toddlers - I'm talking about adults who act like 'em. I ran across a print by a lovely artist out of Iowa recently that very much reminded me of the particular brand of behavior that I am forced to deal with all too often:

"What are the rules? I said & she said, Do exactly what I want whenever I want, make no demands of me whatsoever & love me forever, no questions asked & I said, how do you win? & she said, you don't understand. I'm the only one who wins & then she laughed & clapped her hands. Isn't it a great game? she said." - Brian Andreas

How do you deal with the people in your life who seem to only be pleased when everyone else is miserable? Personally, I'm finding that a combination of techniques from Supernanny (calm, consistent behavior with follow-through on consequences) and Cesar Millan (no hitting, beating, or poking) seems to be working nicely.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Courage & Love & Play

Do you ever have moments where you think, "When I have kids, I'm going to..." or "I swear I will never do that to my children?" I do. In no particular order, a list of promises to my as-yet unborn (and unconceived - let's not get ahead of ourselves) child(ren):

1. I will do everything I can to help you pay for higher education. You pretty much need that to get almost any kind of a job these days, and I want you to graduate with as little debt as possible. That said - this does not mean you can go to whatever school you want, so calm down there, Study Abroad McGee.

2. I will never threaten to "pull this car over." Unless you are really being bad.

3. We will go camping as a family.

4. Yes, you can have a puppy.

5. If Aunty Melissa, Maggie, and S.S. take you to get your tongue pierced when we come visit you at college, I won't be mad. (If you do get your tongue pierced, it's probably best to avoid eating with forks for the first few days. Don't ask Mommy how she knows this.)

6. I will provide your clothes, shoes, cheerleading outfits, soccer uniforms, ballet tights, paintbrushes, and clarinet reeds, regardless of your gender. However, after you turn 16, if you want the cool jeans, you are going to need to make up the difference in cost yourself.

7. I am going to make you get a job in high school. You might hate me for it, but you'll thank me later, when you have work experience, money, and the beginnings of a resume.

8. I will love your spouse and welcome him/her into our family. Unless he/she is abusive, an unrepentant alcoholic, or tells me to shush at Thanksgiving so he/she can watch the football game, I will love the person you choose to share your life with as much as I love you. Even if they chew with their mouth open. Ew.

9. I will do my very best to never make you feel like a horrible person. When I am wrong, I will apologize. I will teach you to do the same. I will respect you as a human being. I may not be your friend while you are growing up, but I will do my best to raise you to be a loving, capable, self-sufficient adult: and when the time comes for you to go and live your own life and embody the very qualities that your Daddy and I will try to instill in you - I will let you go and be the person you are.

10. I will have an identity outside of you. It will be better for both of us - trust me.

11. I am not sending you to daycare because I don't want to spend every day with you - I am sending you to daycare because it will socialize you, allow you to develop immunity to multiple childhood diseases, and because if Mommy and Daddy have two incomes, we're all going to have more opportunities. (See #1.) Also, if Mommy doesn't spend at least part of her day talking to grownups, Mommy will go crazy.

12. I will let you paint your bedroom whatever color you want. Even bubblegum pink. Even if you are a boy.

13. I will never say the phrase, "Go give such-and-such a hug." I will teach you that your body is your own - and if you don't want to hug someone, you don't have to.

14. I will consider the way I treat you, and I will always try to treat you with respect. I will consider the things I am doing, and the things I am saying, and I will try to never, never say things that you will remember years later with the uncomfortable stingy feeling you get when someone says something horrible.

15. Your daddy and I will do our best to give you a childhood filled with mostly happy memories. That said, you will be appropriately punished. For example, if you color on the walls, you will become really good friends with Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser. You know better. Seriously.

16. You will always be allowed to build forts in the living room.

"This is a dress-up box for the future & it's filled with stuff like courage & love & play because they're the only things that are any use at all when you get right down to it." - Brian Andreas

Sometimes, you can't fix crazy.

When you take stock of your life, do you get along with the majority of the people in it? How do you feel about your peers, your co-workers, your family, your teachers? If you're getting along with 99% of them, with the exception of 1 or 2 people who strike you as completely, positively, diagnose-ably crazy (or whom, at the very least, are just jerks), more than likely, the problem truly isn't you - it's them.

However, if you have issues with your family, very few friends, are unhappily trudging down your educational or career path, and are going through life with the distinctly uncomfortable feeling that everyone is mean, rude, horrible, or out to get you, odds are - you're the problem.

Society, and our relationships therein, can be a wonderful litmus for evaluating our mental state, or at the very least our level of functionality as we relate to our fellow humans.

Many, many thanks to a counselor I saw some time ago for introducing me to this concept. It helps me take stock of my life and my attitude - and more importantly, is distinctly comforting when I'm confronted with the 1% and their abject irrationality.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Recollections from a barf bag

6:30 - 7:30 a.m. - woke up, showered in notoriously small cruise ship bathroom, packed, bolted from bro-filled ship. Sad to leave tropical beaches - not sad to leave group of approximately 2000 spring breakers, most of whom were wearing Greek shirts emblazoned with obnoxious sayings. ("I don't cruise control, I control the cruise," "Bitches, booze, bros.")

7:47 a.m. - caught shuttle from pier in Miami to airport in Ft. Lauderdale.

7:52 a.m. - sat quietly in shuttle with six other people while port authorities yelled at our shuttle driver for a. not having his pier ID and b. the fact that the shuttle company owed the port approximately $2900. Found out we were the first, last and only shuttle that would be allowed out today. Thank goodness - a cab to the airport from Miami would also cost approximately $2900.

8:23 a.m. - arrive at FLL for our scheduled 12:30 p.m. flight. Check in, grab coffee, settle in for an anticipated four-hour wait.

8:47 a.m. - find out flight is delayed to 1:10 p.m.

9:33 a.m. - find out flight is delayed to 1:50 p.m.

9:42 a.m. - bathroom break! Stopped by Broward County sheriff, who inquires as to whether there is a man in the woman's bathroom, as someone had reported a potential predator lurking there. Before he goes in and causes more chaos, he asks me to look in and see if there is, in fact, an XY in the XX pool. I peek in - the "predator" is an 80-some year old man wearing a cardigan sweater who is helping his 80-some year old wife (also wearing a cardigan sweater, hers emblazoned with embroidered flip-flops and palm trees) out of her automated wheelchair and into the handicapped stall. Ooh, scary!

11:03 a.m. - find out flight is delayed to 2:20 p.m.

11:40 a.m. - realized our food options in Terminal 1 consisted of Dunkin' Donuts and two vending machines. Out of desperation and the need for sustenance, we chat with an airport employee and are advised to broaden our search area. Apparently the only real food options at Ft. Lauderdale are in Terminal 3, a short shuttle ride and two escalators away. We opt to eat at Chili's To Go! in Terminal 3 - what's a short shuttle ride and a bit of a walk, we say? Speaking of to go - my GI tract will not thank me later.

12:53 p.m. - head to the airport bookstore to stock up on books and magazines. Calculate that we have spent more money on food, books, and entertainment today that we have spent the entire duration of the cruise.

1:30 p.m. - find out flight is delayed to 3:40 p.m.

1:33 p.m. - check with Southwest attendant to see whether flights will actually be leaving today. Promised matching sets of Southwest jammies if we are delayed past midnight.

1:40 p.m. - crack up at the extremely gay attendant manning the overhead announcements: "Michael Shaw - if you want to go to Orlando today you had better run to gate B6 like you have never run before!"

2:03 p.m. - find out flight is delayed to 4:20 p.m.

2:27 p.m. - find out flight is delayed to 4:50 p.m.

2:59 p.m. - start to wonder whether Southwest is toying with us as part of some sort of sick psychological experiment. Try to be annoyed at Southwest, then realize that it's impossible, because a. I've never been delayed on Southwest, ever, and b. if Southwest is delayed by several hours, the poor suckers flying AirTran are probably delayed until Tuesday.

3:03 p.m. - find out flight is delayed to 5:30 p.m.

3:17 p.m. - purchase Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Committed." Bookstore guy promises a 50% refund if I return it to an airport bookstore in 6 months. Reassure him that I will probably be returning it in 6 hours, as I will more than likely still be here.

4:03 p.m. - 80 pages into new book. Good read - highly recommended!

4:21 p.m. - find out flight is delayed to 7:50 p.m.

5:00 p.m. - flight is still delayed to 7:50 p.m.

5:15 p.m. - flight is still delayed to 7:50 p.m. Our fellow passengers are steadily beginning to wilt. Hair is frizzing, countenances are drooping, breath is getting bad. An air of growing solidarity descends upon the airport as we realize that we may, in fact, be sleeping here tonight. An un-reassuring statement from a Southwest employee lends to the sense of dread - "Don't worry, we'll get you out of here! Last night we had flights getting in until 3 a.m.!"

5:40 p.m. - flight is still delayed to 7:50 p.m.

5:45 p.m. - confirm with attendant that flight is still delayed to 7:50 p.m.

5:50 p.m. - decide to head to Chili's again for an attempt at dinner. Board bus to go to Chili's, located 2 terminals away.

5:59 p.m. - arrive at Chili's, have lovely conversation with Canadian man about their healthcare system, sit down, informed by harried waiter that food will take 30 minutes.

6:20 p.m. - On a whim, text to check flight status.

6:20:21 p.m. - Flight is listed as departing at 6:30 p.m. Surely not - call mom to confirm.

6:20:42 p.m. - Dinner, in the form of a cheesesteak sandwich only slightly less tired-looking than our fellow passengers, is delivered to the table.

6:21 p.m. - Mom confirms flight is boarding.

6:21:01 p.m. - Exclaim obscenities, throw cash at waiter, abandon sandwich on table, bolt.

6:21:30 p.m. - Last people to board bus at Terminal 3. Explain situation to driver, who makes a perfunctory swerve at Terminal 4 (to fulfill the requirement that he stop there) and then floors it for Terminal 1. En route, exchange less than encouraging story with man on bus who missed his last flight because they moved up the departure time. Man on bus - "Yeah, they can move up the flight times any time a plane gets in. That happened to us last time we were here." Me - "Did you make the flight?" Man - "Um. No."

6:21:31 p.m. - attempt to fight off feeling of hopelessness. Mentally check status of bank account to determine whether cab to hotel, hotel, and replacement airline tickets are feasible, or if we will have to remain permanent residents of Ft. Lauderdale with nothing but the clothes on our backs, four magazines, two books, and a camera to get us through.

6:23 p.m. - Arrive at Terminal 1. First people off bus. Hit sidewalk at a dead sprint. Husband's statement earlier in the day that "These flip-flops would be really bad for running," now seems to have ominous overtones. Husband and I remove shoes, run through lower level, take escalator two steps at a time, and arrive at security. Make mental note to be impressed later at husband's ability to hurdle an old lady's suitcase in a single bound.

6:23:41 - Make it through security. Two people in front of us allow us to cut. Security guard finds water bottle in purse. Conversation as follows: security guy - "Is this water?" Me - "Yes I forgot about it my flight is leaving now please just throw it away!" Security guy - "You're going to have to come with me while I search your bag." Me - "OK, just please hurry!" Security guy smiles evilly. S.G. goes through purse, insists on sending purse through x-ray again, then finally lets me go. Note to security at Ft. Lauderdale airport - your people are awesome at removing water bottles. But I would like to point out that my husband's pocket knife made it through not one, not two, but FOUR screenings. Maybe sharp objects aren't as dangerous in the hands of thirsty people? Meanwhile, Husband is flustered, and, in his hurry, neglects to remove his belt, cell phone, spare change, and wallet the first time he goes through the metal detector. Necessitates two more trips through metal detector before he is finally cleared. (Mind you, due to our eight-hour delay and constant ins and outs, this is his third time through security today, and the only time that he had a problem.)

6:25 p.m. - Finally clear security and begin mad dash to gate.

6:26 p.m. - hear gay announcer on overhead - "Erin Jamison and Andrew Johnson, we love you, but we're going to have to leave without you!"

6:27 p.m. - Husband and I's sprints take different trajectories, resulting in me getting tangled in his garment bag, tripping, and falling into the laps of two ladies. Jerk posing as a business man behind us says, "Way to go - nice one!" and then explains that he is heading to the same flight, and he sees no reason to hurry. Good for you, sir - perhaps your aversion to hurry is the fact that you weigh 300 pounds? Andrew, ever the gentleman, insists that he board the plane before us.

6:28 p.m. - With the flight attendant cheering us on, we skid into the gate, thrust our tickets at her, and run on to the plane, shoes in hand. After collapsing into our seats, we learn that we have made the last flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Kansas City for THREE DAYS, due to weather delays and sell-outs. I have never been so happy to be on a plane in my life.

6:30 p.m. - Cleared for takeoff. Kansas City, here we come - every last sweaty, panting one of us.

*Note - the title "Recollections from a barf bag" was inspired by the fact that this post is transcribed from scribbles on, you guessed it, a barf bag.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Xanax smoothie with a side of down comforter, please.

I am cranky and exhausted.

I thought it would be a fabulous idea to get a job. My new schedule is class 8-4 Monday and Thursday, clinical 6:30-3 Tuesday and Wednesday, work 6:45 p.m. to 7:15 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Fridays and part of Saturdays are used for sleep. Sunday is for studying. Probably not so coincidentally, school stopped being fun about the same time that I started working. I feel like I have absolutely no down time - every minute is spent either sleeping, eating, studying, or at work. I feel pulled in a million different directions and the only direction I actually want to go in is toward the couch. Plus, I feel like I'm quickly losing nursing school friends just because I've become "that girl who always says no." I'm sure this will be worth it in August, but for now I just feel overwhelmed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This photo pretty much sums up how I feel about nursing school finals. (Exhibit A - Manifestation Man, Hypo- and Hypernatremia.) Fluid and electrolytes/musculoskeletal/sensory test tomorrow, pharm test Tuesday, and then, you can find me at 10:15 a.m. with some lovely future nurses, sipping a sparkling water and having my nails whipped back into shape. But for now - I'm wearing pajama pants, have crazy hair (not to be outdone by crazy eyes) and have become a shadow of my former self. And, last night I picked a fight with my husband. For no reason. I just. Want. This week. To be over. Not even over - I'd settle for Tuesday.