Beer and Shampoo

     Today, I was reminded how great it feels when someone helps you feel “pretty” when I went to the hair salon for the first time in well over a year. My wonderful hairdresser acted as both a cosmetologist and therapist as she pampered my wild mane. I told her beforehand that if a tumbleweed and a rastafarian conceived a child in a clothes dryer, my hair would be the offspring.
     When my appointment was fulfilled, and my pocketbook wasn’t hit quite as hard as I had anticipated, I made a “treat yo’self” trip to the beauty supply store. It was my first visit ever, and I was incredibly anxious. I browsed for approximately two minutes before my lost expression caught the attention of the clerk working.
       Now, I have a very strong, deeply inbedded anxiety about talking to retail workers. My armpits sweat out, my face melts off, and I start talking really fast, and I get overly, unnecessarily honest all the sudden… it’s bad juju.
However, even though I had to admit that I had been using Walmart shampoo, the lady was super nice and helpful and I got out of there with several products (that all smell like Heaven, by the way.) Again, the bill was way less than I anticipated. So, I rewarded my frugal self with another “treat yo’self” trip to the beer store where I payed way too much for some delightful Arkansas microbrews.
     I got home, spent the evening with some of my favorite folks, played outside, ate leftovers, wiped some boogers… had basically the perfect Saturday night.
      My thoughts as I wind down this evening though, I feel need shared. I see too many people who seem to be putting a lot of effort out, and it’s all for naught. If you truly think that the most valuable attribute a person could have is their beauty, by all means, continue spending the bulk of your time and effort towards your looks. If you honestly believe that having a certain kind of house or vehicle shows one’s worth, keep on with your hustle, friend. I really hope you win your rat race. But, I don’t really believe you. I love you, and I want you to see your true value. So, if you value kindness, spend your time serving others. If you value knowledge,  crack a book. If you value a hard days work, there’s lots to be done, be that worker. Stop wasting your resources on trying to impress other people and live to your own standard. With that being said, don’t forget to “treat yo’self” every once in a while. You deserve it!

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The lady in lavender scrubs

Truth be told, I’ve never divulged the details of the day I decided to pursue a nursing career to a single soul. Not a colleague,  not my mother, not even my husband and father of my child have ever heard this story. I always have, and still do adamantly believe that those who are rightfully in nursing are answering a divine calling. Perhaps it is not always immediately recognized as such.
     It must have been December. I was wrapping up my first semester at a four year school for which I had miraculously obtained enough scholarship money to pay tuition. I was groggily trudging across campus to my 8 o’clock, which I’m sure was a basic class chosen by some “advisor” who no doubt couldn’t remember the face of the country girl with no declared major and no direction.   It was cold and I would have liked nothing more than to stay in my cocoon on the top bunk in the tiny dormroom. I’m sure I looked like a walking pile of dirty laundry crunching my way across the frozen lawn, contemplating nothing but my desire to return to bed. Eventually,  I must have gotten tired of staring at my feet (which isn’t a very safe walking habit) so I looked forward. This moment is one burned into my memory. She was a fair bit ahead of me, headed in the opposite direction. She had smooth,  caramel skin and her black hair was pulled back neatly. She had a stethoscope draped around her neck and wore lovely lavender scrubs. The sun casted the warmest orange glow behind her as it began its work of burning off the mist and frost. The lady didn’t appear much older than my eighteen year old self, but there was something different about her face,  a wisdom, it seemed. I don’t know where she was headed, but she definitely knew, she looked so determined. She never so much as glanced my way.
     By the next day, I was no longer an “undeclared major.” I had taken the first step on a journey that would ultimately define me in many ways. Yes, essentially I saw a lady and thought “She’s got it together, I think I’ll go for that.” I don’t know why such a mundane passing of strangers has such an otherworldly effect on my existence. Furthermore, I don’t know why someone in lavender scrubs was doing on campus at 0730. Student nurses wear burgundy and white. Perhaps she had worked a night shift and was furthering her education by day… although her scrubs were rather neat and fresh. Perhaps she worked at the Student Health Clinic, although I’ve never seen them wear scrubs. You can speculate for yourself who or what she was and what her business was that day, I have my own theories.

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Strong feelings about groceries

It may be a tad unhealthy to feel so passionately about food, but here I am, doing just that. Today, I won’t be discussing my profession, or my kid, or my husband.  I just really feel the need to share my ridiculously firm beliefs about certain pantry items. Particularly, those that I do not buy. The first of these being:

Cool-Whip.

Cool-Whip is gross. I believe if you say you like it, you just don’t know any better.  You probably like the idea of it more than anything.  Do yourself a favor, skip this glorified sugary tub of grease and dump a small carton of cream in your mixer with a fistful of powdered sugar or splenda, and crank that baby up to 6 or 7. In 3-5 minutes, your life will be forever changed. You can even get wild and drop a tad of vanilla extract in it if you wish. Substitute in ANY recipe that suggests you assault your families taste buds with “uncool-whip.” Also, I am not against opting for reddi-whip. It will do in a pinch, and the sound it makes is strangely satisfying..

Margarine/vegetable oil spread

Growing up, I thought butter came from a tub. (I also thought miracle whip was mayonnaise, if that tells you anything) I didn’t know what real butter was until I met my husband. That is all I buy. The difference is incredible. Worth every penny.

Cake Sprinkles

Don’t. Just don’t.  Playdoh is closer to qualifying as food.

PET milk

This one is more because I don’t understand it. I know so many recipes that call for it, especially “heirloom recipes. Why not real milk? I always have it on hand and it tastes better. We aren’t living on canned milk rations and we have a refrigerator. I just don’t understand.  Maybe someone can enlighten me someday why evaporated milk would ever be the better choice.

Seasoning mixes/blends

Taco mix, cajun seasoning, bbq rub, Italian seasoning,  the list goes on. Save your cabinet space for basic single spices and herbs. These mixtures are super simple, and you can tweak them to fit your preferences. The less shit you have, the less hassle.

Canned green beans

I’m not fixin’ to preach on the additives in canned vegetables. I just hate the flavor and always opt for frozen. Additives and preservatives are cool in my book (nods to the twinkie). Weird tastes? Not so much.

I’m sure there are more… I could talk about food and groceries and eating and cooking all day long. What I love… what I hate… I even like to hear how others feel. There’s nothing like defending a favorite food to someone like you birthed it yourself, nor like the special bond you form with someone that loves something as much as you do and you go off together and share a euphoric foodie experience together… Okay, I acknowledge that I’m getting a bit carried away. Just be forewarned,  this is probably now the last time I touch on the subject of food. Chow! (I mean ciao, of course.)

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Changes Ahead

   

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     Today, I broke my strict “no ironing” policy after retrieving a few peices of my ragtag assortment of “business clothes” from what had to be close to the land of Narnia. As I struggled with tangled cords, scalding steam, and learning a bit about what rayon is, I couldn’t help but be excited about the new job I’ll be transitioning into in the next week. The past month has been rather emotional for me as I have decided to try something completely new professionally. As with all change, I have a healthy amount of fear going on, but the good kind, like before you jump off the tall-ass rock into the lake. I have spent my first nearly three years as a nurse on a med surg floor in a small hospital. I know, in nurse years, that is hardly enough time to get your feet wet. I have learned so much in my short time there and I have met some of the kindest, most compassionate, and sharpest witted people you could come across. That is what makes the move hardest. The people. I’ve formed bonds during my time here that I will carry with me always. Each of the friends I’ve made has given something to improve me either professionally or spiritually. For that, I am ever thankful.
    This new venture is in some ways, a homecoming.  I’m going back to the organization that I worked for all through college. They were so good to me, even then, and wanted to see me succeed as a nurse. It’s going to be so exciting to maybe give back. Of course now, I’m returning in a completely new, nurse role. I’ll be serving adults with developmental disabilities and I couldn’t be more excited to use the skills I have acquired the past few years to meet the needs of this group. They say do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Certainly, I’m not afraid of work or challenge and I’m sure there will be plenty of both. But to be a nurse and exclusively with disable adults? It’s really a dream come true.

Don’t get your panties in a wad.

I am a panty snob. Mostly because the cheap ones tend to rip apart at the spot that I grab to pull them up after a couple of wears. I guess my delicate lady hands aren’t that delicate. I have a specific kind I like, and I order them online from a well known underwear store. I don’t like going into the actual store because it’s dark and pink and smelly. It’s basically an enormous womb decorated with animal print, glitter, and angel wings. The only downside is that if you order online, they get your mailing address. Once they have that, you can expect their catalog (basically a white sorority girl’s Bible) to embarrassingly hang out of your mailbox quarterly.
I’m not going to get all bent out of shape about how women are perceived in society or how we are represented.  It’s a Victoria’s Secret catalog. It is what it is, and it is more geared towards men than the actual consumers anyway. In the spirit of not being a feminist lunatic, I’ve decided that I could take some pointers from the models. My body is clearly not at the point that I should be prancing around in a naughty Santa getup (yet), so I shall focus on the neck, up.

Also, before you jump to any wild conclusions like “Kori was born to do this” or “she makes it look so effortless,” keep in mind that I had the benefit of all the light filters my Samsung Galaxy has to offer, and these artists work with no computer editing whatsoever.

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The timeless lip chew, ladies and gentlemen.

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Check.

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Eating food item.

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Double check.

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Eating nonfood item.

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Nomnomnom

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“Oops, bit my tongue.”

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Easy.

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“Dazed and confused.”

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All the time.

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“Shhhhh, I almost had a thought.”

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Perfection.

There are also several that I deem beyond my competency level. Maybe someday… with practice.

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See? I’m totally cool. Not everything has to be a political statement. I’ll be danged if I’m going to boycott my favorite panties just because I may be a little offended.

I’ll leave you with this sexy woodland creature to inspire you for the rest of the day.

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The Hardest Part About Life Without You…

     If I had to pinpoint a moment when my official adult life started, I’d say it was a little more than seven years ago. In August 2008, I moved to a town where I, for the first time ever, didn’t share a zip code with any relative or friend.
     Since then, I’ve started and completed a college degree. I’ve worked several jobs. I’ve built relationships with some awesome people whom I love dearly. I’ve started a career. I’ve married a man with a heart of gold and we have a happy baby boy.
      From a blank slate, I’ve made a very successful life in this place. I still have my loving family, but life has scattered us in such a way that I do not see them routinely. I’m sure that there are countless others my age who share a similar story.

     Now, I’ll rewind a bit further. As ambitious a teenager as I was, I was never planning to start my “grown-up adventure” solo. My very dear friend that had been my co-pilot through years of awkward adolescence and embarassing shenanigans had been accepted to the same university as me. It was the perfect plan. The girl who laced most every memory from elementary school on, would be by my side for our next big adventure. Except, I lost Rosie that spring in a car accident.

     Fast forward to present. I still get sad. Sad in ways I had never anticipated. Sad for reasons that I would have never been able to wrap my head around when the wounds were fresh and I was trying to build some semblance of a routine with what felt like my half-self. Nearly a decade later, I no longer feel the gaping void in my day. I don’t reach for the phone to call her, or put my face in clothes she left at my place, hoping for a shadow of her scent. But I do get sad. I get sad that I can’t reminisce with my new friends and family about her. That when I bring up her name, I feel crazy, speaking about an imaginary friend that they have never seen. I rarely go places where we spent time, or see people that we saw, and as a result, I lose her more each year. Things I was certain I’d never forget are getting fuzzy. Some days, she doesn’t even cross my mind. I grieve the loss of details, of inside jokes, of a look, or a sound. I grieve the loss of the grieving. This is a journey that I’m still traveling. And, as life moves forward, I’ll experience more loss. Time heals broken hearts, but the price is a clouded memory and a guilty concience. I have comfort in knowing that we shared a lot of love and a hundred years can never erase that.

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“I’m not a waitress” and other lies.

I have read roughly seventeen bazillion articles/blogs that discuss how underrated, and mistreated the bedside caregiver is. Most of these are beautifully and tactfully composed. I love reading them because universally, they give the public a glimpse into our day, they give accounts of why we are proud of what we do, they value our calling, and it’s just plain nice to see that others walk through the same fire that I do. We are not alone in our struggle.
I do have to say, however, that oftentimes I come across comments from other nurses that trouble me. These comments make our community seem composed of haughty,  jaded brats. Just as “entitled” as the family member they are complaining about asking for a diet coke, I’d like to challenge my fellow caregiver to hold yourself a little more accountable than that. Let me remind you that our profession is a higher calling. We are, and should be held to a higher standard. When we are feeling “abused” at the bedside, who are we helping by “fighting back?” I daresay no one, including yourself. When we see the media discussing our work with anything but the highest reverence, how could it help anything by lighting torches and tying nooses? Let us remember that our work is no longer strictly volunteer. We get payed to do our work, and the currency is not gratitude. You need to find another fuel for your afirmation fire. It makes me uncomfortable when the unsung hero’s of healthcare suddenly demand songs of praise. That is simply not why we are here. It makes me sad when I see my fellow nurses infuriated when retail workers ask for holidays off when “we can’t do that.” Have we forgotten that our purpose is a little more important than black Friday shopping? If we want to be respected for the work we do, we have to respect it for what it is. If you aren’t willing to be a bit of a martyr, a bit of a servant, a bit of a whipping boy sometimes, perhaps you should reevaluate your career choice. Please, don’t think that I don’t get upset when my colleagues aren’t treated with the respect that I know they deserve. I recognize that there is a perception problem in our society of healthcare workers. It is my opinion, however, that a portion of this issue rises from our perception of our own profession. It has drifted away from what it should be. I believe that we could improve the public outlook towards us if we first redirect our attitude as a community. The fact is that we shouldn’t be offended when we serve as someone’s waitress, their maid, or their masseuse.  All of those things can contribute to healing or to comfort and that is why we are here. So chin up, smile, you’re doing a great job. You are helping people. Just don’t expect to be told that all the time.

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