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Old…fat…learning to be

So many things have happened over the past two months.  I had a birthday on April 19, I’m getting very close to the middle age status and have yet to accomplish much.  I have a goal to lose weight before my next birthday, and it is proving to be a lot harder than anticipated.  Since hitting 35 it has become harder and harder to get weight off…though I eat fruit and veggies and exercise, it still plateaus.  I am going to need to have my jaw wired shut. <hehe>.  My neurologist is not going to be happy with me, I’m getting close to my six month check-up and our goal was that I would be exercising three times a week, not happening. <boo>  I’m attempting to be a better patient.  Learning to be and make time for myself to become the best me that I can be.

We had a visit from CMS (Medicare/Medicaid)/State the past couple of months…it’s amazing how often you are required to wash your hands when dealing with a patient.  I will need a second layer of skin.  But hey, we passed inspection!!  Through it all I was learning to be the best person possible, and how to give the best patient care possible.  I worked on the floor for four days straight, I haven’t worked the floor “full time” since July 2014.  It was interesting and different than the ER.  I love the continued patient care and interaction with families.  But through the stress of working the floor, that I haven’t been on for over a year, and having state watch my every move…I was learning to be.  Learning to be the best I can.  Learning to be the person I need to be.

Summer has hit hard and hot.  We had a great spring, with rain and cool temps, then we woke up this week and it’s hot enough to melt your face off.  Attempting to be outside more than five minutes can cause one to turn into a puddle of water.  That’s hard on an old fat person…being able to move, breath, and function can be a challenge. <LOL>

So many things have happened.  So many things that I have had to roll with.  Learn from.  Do I always succeed?  NO.  I have a ‘scapegoat” that I vent to, go off on, and whine to when things do not always go as I think they should.  Is that right?  NO.  I am trying to be a better person, learn to roll with the punches and just be.  I don’t always portray the perfect christian attitude, I can sometimes be found without a smile on my face.  I owe this person my kidney basically…or something of equal or greater value.  She deserves it and so much more.

This is a major Hodge-poge of “things”…but it’s what is on my mind as I sit at home on a Friday night after an eventful day.  Life is good…though I’m old, fat, and learning to be.

ERM

 

The age old question…”Are you married yet?”

Am I married, no.  Do I want to be?  Possibly, maybe, maybe not.  On one level yes I would like to be married; I could come home from my crazy day at work and have someone to share my day with — the good, the bad, the funny, and the disgusting.  On another level no I rather enjoy getting to come home to quiet, talking to Pixel and Callie and enjoying time with just self.  After spending twelve hours in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s good to be able to not worry if I cook a meal or eat cereal.  When it’s laundry day, I love the fact that I can get ALL the laundry done with two loads, three at the most.

Recently I was at a funeral visitation for a lady from my church and ran into a cousin of my dad’s who the first words were not, “how’s it going” rather he asked “found you a man yet?”.  How degrading as I sat there in my nursing gear because I had just came from work.  I pleasantly smiled and said “why would I want one of those to take care of?”.  He then proceeded to tell me that I needed one to help out around the house and do jobs I couldn’t do.  Still smiling I kindly reminded him that I was raised by a carpenter and I could drive a nail and do basic “jobs” around my own house; and I could also change a tire and do maintenance on my car (even if I do just take it to the shop…I know how to dial a number).  And why would I want to have someone else around that I had to pick up after and deal with when I was very capable of taking care of myself.  It was not the most gratifying of conversations, though I did keep a smile on my face and I didn’t let slip all the thoughts that were going through my own mind (not kind ones to say the least).

God has blessed me beyond measure in my life.  I have a job that I LOVE, it has put me in a position to help friends and family.  I am able to support myself and travel.  I have have been privileged to get outside the boundaries of Ripley County, Missouri, and even the United States.

I have family that I get to hang out with and spend time with.  They support me in my endeavors.  Other than asking about grandchildren or making comments about wanting cousins…for the most part they are good with me and my singledom.

Do I get bored and want company or  noise on occasion, yes.  As stated before, it would be nice to have someone to share my day with and to just talk to.  Will that be my life?  Who knows.  But until it does become my life I will be happy in the life I have.  I will not ask you if you have made funeral plans yet or set up a living will because you’re aging.  I won’t ask when you will get your kids to be something in life and where you went wrong raising them.  I won’t even ask you how many “honey do” jobs you have completed in the last week versus the amount your spouse has done (since apparently that a reason to get married).  I will live my life to the best ability I can, be happy and content in the state that I am in, and keep a smile on my face when small minded people that feel that marriage is the only state to have in life ask me if I have found me a man yet.  There is so much more to life than that.

Until later…

ERM

Arizona – Day Six : Hoover Dam, Driving

Woke up this morning in Williams, AZ, a unique little town that has a train station which performs the Grand Canyon tours.  We did breakfast at Cafe 326, a little bistro type cafe with their own roasted coffee.  Sat down to my breakfast sandwich and tuned into morning service with  West Point Ustream, watching the awesome move of God and rejoicing with my church family.  After a quick stop by the train station we headed out to Hoover Dam.

It was another LONG drive today.  It’s only six hours across the state, going out we broke it up into four days, so it wasn’t bad, coming back it was two days… With a three hour drive to get to a destination.  But KJ had a book today so she stayed occupied.  I got to look at the scenery and keep scanning for a radio station.  It was better than previous days, for the most part we kept radio and cell service. YAY!!  There is so much traffic here…in Utah we would see maybe two or three cars.  We don’t know what to do with so many people.

Our first stop was Hoover Dam.  It was beautiful!!!  We did the tour and went down to where the turbines were.  It was a 70 second elevator ride, down 520 feet into the pit of the earth to see the workings of the power plant.  How they made it was beyond their time, they used a cooling mechanism to cool the cement that it would cure faster.  It blew my mind how it was built in 1930’s….but it supplied a lot of jobs during the depression.

Side Note:  I think I have an invisible sign on my head that states “My dad freely talks to strangers, please converse with me”.  Had some random guy that apparently was on his third trip to the Dam, he said he had been there when you could walk on the main floor by the turbines, then after 9-11 and you couldn’t go down to the equipment  area at all.  Interesting, but I have a bad habit of not being comfortable with random strangers.

We left there and headed into Las Vegas.  Found our motel and went to settle in.  Oh my lanta!!!  KJ and I are not that much on crowds, did I ever make a mistake in booking a room at the Circus Circus.  People everywhere!!!  The line to check in was like being at the airport.   Then to find our room…two different sets of elevators and a crowded “store area”.  When reading online they made it seem family friendly and low-key.  Not the case at all.  Needless to say we found our room and burrowed in for the night.  CRAZY!!!

Until Later…if I survive and KJ doesn’t put me out of my misery from my unwise decision…ERM

Utah – Day Four: Driving, Goblin

Finally nine hours of sleep…and it felt great!!  We woke up in Castle Rock, just outside of Torrey this morning, a town smaller than Doniphan.  It amazes me how unpopulated Utah is and how what little they do have available closes at 5:00.  There are no stand alone fast food restaurants, they are included in gas stations, and most are Subway’s.

We grabbed coffee and scones at the Castle Rock Coffee and Candy, very pleased with my Chi Expresso and Kirsten did a Carmel Machiatto.  The scones were very good…hit the spot as we headed out.

Our first stop was in Capitol Reef National Park, where we stopped and looked at Petroglyphs on the rock walls, etched by the Fremont Indians.  We also meet a nice gentleman who freely gave history on the THOUSANDS found in New Mexico, and how they are depictions of Aliens.  Luckily an unsuspecting family came up to where we were and KJ and I slowly made our way to the back of the group and walked away.

Our next stop was at Goblin State Park. Many movies are filmed in this area; such as Star Trek, Lone Ranger, Galaxy Quest, McGuiver to name a few.  This park allows you to get down and hands on with the hoodoos.  It was fun until we had to climb out and we couldn’t breath.  I thought I was going to call 911 for oxygen and was thinking I DEFINATLY have to start an exercise program when I get home…then I realized some of it has to do with our elevation difference.  My lungs/body is used to working/operating at 400 ft, we were at 5760 ft.  The other day at Bryce we were at 9,000 ft.  I know I need to get in shape but this realization made me rest a little easier. <LOL>

From Goblin we headed out and made it to an Interstate where we had cell service and radio stations!!!  And made it to our next stop Dead Horse Point Park.  It wasn’t what I had pictured from previous photos I had seen…pretty sure July has baked it to a nice brown blah.  I was tired and ready to crash out, so we headed to our motel.

Hit a local pizza joint for dinner, it was actually good.  We’re staying in Monticello, and heading to Arizona tomorrow.  The desk clerk of our motel is from Kansas City, he was excited about them getting fiberoptic Internet and cable service in their town.  We’re from a small town/area, but I’m amazed at the desolation here.  There is nothing for miles, poor cell service, and no radio.  There’s no place to even buy a book… Kirsten is starting to have withdrawals since she finished her one she brought.

Our motel looks like one from Psycho, at first I was wondering what I got us into.  Making reservations online is always a gamble.  But the desk guy was super nice, it is very clean, and they have Disney Channel (which since tonight is Decendents on Disney, KJ was happy).  I personally think it’s better than the Days Inn we stayed at last night.

Until the journey continues…ERM

Utah – Day Two: Zion National Park

First things first….Utah needs more pit stops.  If a person has some extra Johnny On-The Spots and some free time to set them out, many a traveler would appreciate it…believe me!!

This morning we got started a little late due to not getting to our motel until 1:00 am (Moutain Time).  Of course my internal Central Time clock had me up at 6:30 (this time), but I survived…and went for waffles.  I let KJ sleep until it was almost time to check-out; we had a very long night.  We packed the car and hit the road.

It’s beautiful here, around every corner is a different mountain, vivid colors, and something new to see.  Hard to drive and take it all in…but there are several pull off areas so you can stop and take pictures or just soak in the view.  Which is a good thing!!

With the late start, Zion National Park, was out of parking so we had to go back and park in the town prior and were shutteled into the park.  Inside the park they have a bus that takes you to all the different stops.  The buses run every 15 minutes (or closer together), which gives you the opportunity to do the hike and then come back and catch the bus.  It also made it easy to see the whole park and not walk your feet off.

Side note:  it’s interesting to sit on the bus and listen to the hearing impaired elderly decifer what the guide said through the overhead speaker system.

The park was beautiful!!!  We went for lunch and then headed to our next destination, Panguitch.  I ended up driving about 35 miles out of my way because I was unsure if the road I wanted to take was a drive through for vehicles…next time I will ask.  Crashed out in the motel to catch up on some rest and get ready for Bryce tomorrow.

Until later…ERM

Statistics…everyone is one

Statistics.  Dictionary.com defines it as “the science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation of numerical facts or data, and that, by use of mathematical theories of probability, imposes order and regularity on aggregates of more or less disparate elements”.  Statistics bring items together that would normally never have a basis for comparison.  Which, if you think about it is everything and everyone.

I’m a statistic, I’m a single white female, no children, who owns a cat.  That puts me into categories that the world then uses to define me.  They define who and what I am by what category I fall into.  Not always considering the back history of the “why” behind it all, and how that “why” affects and defines how we act and react to life around us.

Statistics is all around.  My classes for the next eight weeks will deal with them.  But mainly, what has prompted this blog is that I almost became a different statistic on Tuesday night driving home from St Louis.  A statistic that no one wants to become, the Troop E number of vehicle accidents.  I have insomnia, some due to the hours I work (night shift), some due to the side effects of MS, and some because I have been sick and napping through the day and random hours of being awake.  I woke up at 3:00 am on Tuesday morning, had an appointment in STL at 1:00 pm.  On the way home, I felt myself nodding off and decided to stop in Frederick town and nap at Wal-Mart (safe and well lit).  After seeing a sign that said I had eight miles left to go, the next thing that registers is that I am no longer on the highway.  I went off-roading in my new RAV4.  The guard rail was on my right, vaguely remember a concrete object to the left.   My brain said “break” my foot pressed harder…on the gas.  I went through the median, then at the end of the guard rail, my car went back up onto the highway.  It was by the GRACE of God that I did not flip my car, that I didn’t hit anything, that no other vehicles were involved.  I have no idea how long I was driving down the median, or how I kept from hurting myself or my vehicle…except by the grace of God.  His hand of protection was upon me.  We all say the quick “go with me today on my travels”, “traveling mercies” when we head out for a road trip…He was with me on my travels; and I am beyond grateful for His mercies.

Though statistics define us, I am beyond relieved that I kept from becoming a Troop E (highway patrol) statistic on Tuesday.  I’m working on finding the “me” behind all the mess and becoming the best nurse and person I can be.  I’m not sure that the legacy I would leave at this point in my life would be one that people would remember.  Sure, I’ve traveled to seven countries and extensively around the US, but will a stamped passport reach anyone?  I have a nursing degree, that about did me in getting, but will hanging my diploma up be enough?  What statistic bracket will satisfy me and make me complete?  Becoming a wife, mother, or furthering my education?

Statistics bring together disparate elements, items that would normally not be compared.  Yet, everyday we compare ourselves to others around us.  We compare ourselves to ourselves, or the ‘self’ that we have created in our heads as to what we think we should be.  When will enough be enough?  When will we be content with where we are in life?

I was saved from becoming a statistic that may have been devastating to some and not even a blip on the radar for others.  But though I was saved from being a Troop E statistic, I am statistic non-the-less.  An element that is compared to others, by others, and with others.  Am I the measuring stick, or what continues to be measured and coming up short.  What statistic will we leave behind?  When will we stop comparing elements that have no business being compared…the disparate elements of our lives?

ERM

Merry Christmas…annual catch-up (Holiday) letter from Leish!

Wow!  That’s about all I can say about all the changes and things that have happened over the past year.  How time flies when you’re having fun…or when you’re not…it just seems to go on by without notice until you have to put a date on a piece of paper, then it slams you in the face that another week, month, or year has passed by.  Hopefully time was spent smelling the roses, trying a new food, or just stopping to breath and enjoy the surroundings you find yourself in.

This is my annual Christmas/Holiday letter, I sometimes take the initiative to send out Christmas cards but this year I did not make it to that point.  I sit in an undecorated apartment savoring the fact that I do not have to ‘clean up’ within the next week; but my heart is full.  I have been truly blessed over the past year and I am working on making myself a better ‘me’ one day at a time.  Sometimes the colors have gone outside the lines and the picture has not always been pretty and perfect, but it is my picture and I’m learning to accept it.

In January I moved, for the second time in six months, to a loft apartment in downtown Doniphan.  Yes, those words could seem like an oxymoron statement; but I have open beams, a brick wall, and open living space.  I consider it a loft; and I overlook the downtown park…so I’m ‘downtown’.  It is just the right size for a family of one, and I love the fact that it only takes me two hours (max) to deep clean it.

This year saw me with a purchase of a new vehicle, YAY!!  I have wanted a RAV4 since renting one in Washington state back in 2009 when I went to a wedding of a friend.  I retired my Chevy Malibu, that was with me for eleven years, and bought a Rav4 in May.  I LOVE it!!  It is amazing how wonderful it is to step into and out of my vehicle of choice; instead of falling into and having to climb out of one.  Yes, I’m only 5’10”, but it’s a long climb out of a car when you’re tired.  During Christmas At Our House I assisted in moving vehicles around the lot, and I was even more grateful for mine when I had to climb out of some of the low lying ones I had to move.  Thankful!!

In June I added a member to my household, Pixel Olaf March came to reside in my humble abode.  We have a love-hate relationship.  He tends to bite and scratch to show his love, therefore I look like I have the hobby of running through briar patches.  Luckily I wear long sleeves to work.  He is a good cat though, and when he decides to cuddle, which is more often than the biting and scratching, it makes the disruption of my life for something that depends on me to feed and water, and scoop it’s poo, worth it.

Speaking of work, I moved to the Emergency Department full time in July.  I had split my time between the medical floor and the ER, but now work in the ER full time and LOVE it.  There seems to be themes, if one laceration comes in then we’ll have five.  Or if one with a stomach virus and abdominal pain comes in, we’ll have twenty.  But I get the opportunity to learn new things, and interact with the doctors and gain knowledge by just ‘chatting’.  I still go to the floor when needed, and enjoy the fact that I can be versatile.  I love my job, and am so excited that I made a career change at the age of thirty-two (many moons ago).

The end of July first of August, I went on vacation with my nieces and nephew to Washington DC.  The enormity of my decision did not hit me until we landed in DC and I was responsible for three individuals, not my own, in an unknown city.  Normally travel does not affect me, I go and see and do without a second thought…but I had three other people there all under the age of 18.  But, we had a good time, and I got to see friends from Gateway and meet their son, we had some great food and I got to show the US Capitol to my nieces and nephew.

Wrapping up the year I am looking forward to May 2015, I graduate from Central Methodist with my BS in Nursing.  I should have been completed in December, but I slowed things down and took less classes each session, I was TIRED of being stressed.  I have three classes left and I am beyond excited that this is the end of this step for me, for awhile.  I am unsure if I will continue, there are so many questions of “what now” and where to go.  I’m exploring the many avenues open to me…but will continue to enjoy my time at my current location.

In 2015 I hope to get a stamp in my passport, I’m ready to go beyond our boarders and see some new places.  But until then…I do hope that each and everyone of you take time to stop and reflect, relax, and soak in where you find yourself at this point in time.  Things change quickly and are never the same, or it’s a gradual change and you look back and realize that nothing is as it was.  I have been blessed beyond words and have a full heart this Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

ERM

 

Feeling the whisper…looking for the booming overhead voice

At some point in our lives we all question God, His existence, His plan, and where He is though He is supposed to be omnipresent.  We search, make excuses for what we are doing, and compare ourselves to others around us.  Is it right?  No.  Does it happen more than once in a lifetime? Yes.  I found myself questioning if it was “worth it”.  Do I live a complicated life?  No.  I have a good life actually, a job I love, family that supports me, and a church that I love and appreciate.  But there is always doubt.  We think if we don’t live a certain way we won’t fit into the life around us, we won’t have friends, and we will lose what we do have by being “different”.  I carved out a  life, making decisions that were not always right, and was living how I wanted.  I still attended church when the doors were open, I participated in activities, and life continued.

I lived my life knowing that I needed to pray more, read my Bible more, and forbid actually fast on occasion…not to mention to eradicate  certain aspects of my past from my present to be a better me and move beyond the state I was currently sitting in.  But then I would look around at “people”, how they were living and their attitudes and life choices and decide that if they could live like they are and still claim to be “right with God” and a “Christian” then I could very well live how I wanted to.  Making excuses to myself for the choices I was making and for not making time in my day for the One who gave His all for me.  Questioning if the path that I had been raised in was actually good and right, if I had just followed it unwittingly because it was all I had known.  Still attending church, still worshiping…yet questioning.

I would do good and read my Bible for a few days, find scriptures that would say “Yes, this is real”, “God loves me”, “I can live an overcoming life”.  But life happens a lot.  And with life sometimes our vision is skewed.  I was searching for “more”, not really knowing what more I wanted but knowing that it was out there.  I was looking for a booming voice from above to declare that I was His, that He loved me for who and what I was, and that it was worth it.  The loud intercom voice to announce that it was so.

I got a whisper.  I almost missed it.  I was sitting in service in a lodge in the middle of the woods, in nowhere Illinois quietly praying.  Feeling God and knowing He was there because evidence of His presence was all around me.  For three days I had soaked up physical peace from the creation of the One that loved me enough to die for me, I had made friends that were building a network of newness in my life.  But I was still floating…until I heard “Come here angel, the whisper you felt in your spirit is confirmed”.  And God confirmed as only He can…by washing over me with all His love, mercy, and grace a human being can possibly stand.

Are there still struggles?  Of course, because I have life to deal with.  But progress is being made, with baby steps.  I have a lot of steps to take…but the fact that I am taking them, daily, is what matters.  This all makes me think of the Bible verses in 1 Kings 19:9-13 the story of Elijah, when he heard the still small voice.  He was jealous, and searching, but God came…in the still small voice.

“9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”   I Kings 19:9-13

I got my whisper of confirmation…though I was looking for the booming overhead voice that is often seen in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire.  I must learn to listen for the whisper and accept it for what it is.

ERM

 

Tuesday: November 11

Today is Veterans Day, I’m off work because my schedule hasn’t started yet.  I appreciate and am thankful for what those who have served our country has provided for me.  Freedom to live!!  We are blessed to live in a country that is still, for the most part, free.  We can work, worship, and interact with others as we see fit.  I know that I take the freedom for granted, they ‘just are’, I have grown up here and have just accepted them as part of our due process.

Not only do I take the everyday freedoms for granted, I have come to realize that I also take my freedoms of worship and life in Christ for grated.  I was raised sleeping under the pew of a Pentecostal church.  The presence of God ‘just is’ in my life.  I have always had the opportunity to worship and attend church.  I have not always lived my life as I should, I have decisions in my past that I willingly made that I know go against the teachings I grew up under.  These decisions have altered my life.  What I do know is that God loves me, He is still working on me…I just have to be willing to allow Him to work and change me into what He intended me to be from the start.  I altered my life plan, but He still has plans for me.  I need to move forward and get beyond what I see in the present, and stop taking things for granted.

Changes are hard to make, walking away is not always easy, and being what we are meant to be is the number one thing in life…just getting our heart, mind, and soul in agreement and on the same page.  It is a daily process, and sometimes I still fail.  But I am working on being who I am meant to be.

ERM

Possible Trip to Washington DC — What I recommend

You can never fully plan a vacation, as much as I had list and ideas and more list and checked items off…nothing is every what you plan.  But if you are planning to take a family trip to Washington DC this is what I recommend:

1) Contact your state representative or senator and have them do tickets for the White House and Capitol.  These are both free activities, but you must contact them at least six weeks to three months prior to your travel date.

— Being able to say we went through the White House is something a lot of people cannot say.  This tour was a lot different than when I went when I was ten and Ronald Reagan was in office (we saw the back of his head).  We were able to actually walk into the separate rooms and had a tour guide.  This time we walked through and was able to just look into the room, and no guide.  But we can say we were in the White House.

— The personal tour of the Capitol is amazing.  We are not fighting to see things among 40 different members of a group, we were bumped to the front of the line a lot and was able to take different exits due to being with an aide of our representative Jason Smith.  The whole experience was a lot better for the kids because they could ask questions and not have to wear headphones to get information about what we were seeing.

2) Big Bus Tour — you can purchase 24 or 48 hour passes.  This is  a system where you can see the whole city from the top of a bus, get on-off at will, and save some wear and tear on your feet.  We spent $176 on two adult and two child tickets; but we also got tickets to the Madame Trousseau’s Wax Museum and the Crime and Punishment Museum.  It also included a river boat ride (we did not do this).  So we had two days worth of bus riding and two museums for the price of the tickets.  (Well worth it, and this can be budgeted in when planning the trip).

3) Park at Union Station — if you are driving up or rent a car, use the car garage at Union Station.  It is easy to get in/out of, everything is there (the tour buses, metro).  We found other parking that was five dollars cheaper, but it was on a side street and down underground…a little scary.  The parking garage here is open and with security guards, the most they charge is $22/day.  Yes, that’s a lot of money…but safety and ease of getting in/out of the city was a bonus; and I spent $14 on one trip on the Metro during peak business hours (which we traveled during the week, so it would always be peak hours).  So the Metro could be expensive, there is parking on the streets and at the monument areas that are by coin meters and some are free.  So if you have a large family the Metro could get expensive.

4) Stay outside the city.  Yes it would be cool to be on a busy city street and just walk out your door and be next to a neat building.  We had a motel with free Wifi, a pool, a large breakfast, and free parking.  In the city the internet connection and parking cost and very few of them have a free breakfast.

That’s all I can think of for now…it was a great experience, and I am glad I was able to take my nieces and nephew to see the Capitol of the US.