Sunday, December 23, 2012

Finished Vanity!

While we finished this project ago, I've forgotten to post the finished product. We finished it at my last break, so that was approximately 17 weeks ago. Oh well.

Our original plans were to go get a granite countertop with a bowl sink and this awesome rustic farmhouse spicket-looking faucet. My parents also decided to list their house at that time and it wasn't worth the money to spend that to then turn around and sell the house and the next owners get rid of it (needless to say, I'd be pissed knowing they also got rid of the vanity seems as how I put so much hard work and time into it!). So we decided to get a pre-fabricated sink that (mostly) matched our original ideas and put the faucet back in that had been in the old antique vanity sink.

Without further ado, here is the finished product. I also got a nice little lesson from my faja in how to hook a sink back up ;-)

 Dad and I putting putty in the sink and applying the "backsplash"

 The not-so-original idea sink
 Dad with the finished product
The finished product....LOVE IT!!!

A few more DIY projects will be coming after Christmas....since I made them as Christmas gifts ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nurse Pinning

Yesterday, the longest and hardest year of my life (and a decade's worth of chasing my dream) culminated in my nurse pinning ceremony.

The pinning ceremony is a special ceremony in which undergraduates are pinned with a pin specially designed for that nursing school. It's a welcoming into the nursing profession. A welcoming that included a whopping 10 seconds on stage receiving a pin the size of my thumbnail ;-)

My family was able to be there, which was amazing, as they have been my support system and my rock through it all. A hard, indescribable year that I couldn't have done without their support.

Some schools have you choose a mentor within the nursing community to pin you. Our school allows us the choice of anyone we would like to pin us. I chose my father, as he has turned into one of my best friends, my mentor, and inspiration. Growing up he has always been involved in my brothers activities, coaching, mentoring, etc. He has turned into my DIY partner and my partner-in-crime for trouble-making. It was my honor to ask and have my father pin me into the beginning of my nursing career. 

 My father and I before the pinning 

My nursing pin....which is actually silver but looks gold in this picture
 The best picture I have of my father pinning me

 My parents and I after the ceremony 

My family and I after the ceremony 

*For the record, everyone take note, I am wearing a skirt!!! And lace, and ruffles, and high heels, and flower earrings. This never happens!! And I look the most professional. A moment that will forever live in history ;-) 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finale Nursing


I actually finished last Friday but I've still been incredibly busy between starting to move stuff out and helping my parents decorate their house for Christmas and catching up with several different friends.

I don't think the reality about being done has fully set in yet. Or that NCLEX will decide my life at the end of January. Or that this year is really over. It's been a crazy whirlwind that is inexplicable to anyone outside of the program. There have been tears, laughs, exhaustion, rewarding moments, confusion, clarity, stress, relaxation, and so much advancement in knowledge and self that I have no idea where to begin.

But I sit here, in our living room, with Christmas music going as Anno cleans her bathroom, our living room dwindling down to the remains of the couch, tv, and my side-tables from the place of life it used to be, my bedroom nearly cleared out, and I have a sense of sadness that it is ending. Despite the hardships, I enjoyed living with my roommates, I enjoyed the unique experiences we got during this program, and I enjoyed working towards my career goal finally. Obviously the road and the journey are just beginning but what a BEGINNING this has been!!

I will miss seeing my classmates and roommates in class but I'm sure I will see several of their faces as colleagues. 

There's no looking back, only forward, and striving towards bigger things and actually tasting the sweet relief of enduring towards this goal for the past ten years of my life.

My mind is heading a million different directions, as it has been this whole past year, so I am going to go see what I can find for my hands to do for now to keep me busy :-)

 This is only 1/3 of our cohort, the 36 of us in the same tract.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Facets

My last rotation of the year is Community Health, and it is unlike any other rotation. For one, no hospitals are involved. It's exactly what it says it is, serving the populations in the community! Second, a huge emphasis of community health is vulnerable populations. My clinical rotation is in Project H.O.P.E. which serves through the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. I'm personally at The Samaritan House 2 days a week and then I do health screenings at Civic Center Apartments for their Housing First program.

It has been so amazing to and so privileging to get this opportunity. There are not very many people who are actually aware of the needs and what goes on in the homeless community. I feel that I have a more in-depth perspective working at Denver Health as that is a huge majority of the population that we provide services for. We are a safety net hospital providing care and resources for populations that otherwise wouldn't be able to access or utilize them. I also get the unique opportunity to see connections through Denver Health from the opposite end. It's really cool to see how we are connected to so many resources and how our facility is utilized. The liaisons between community case workers, coalitions, and the services at DH are just incredible.

On Wednesdays I am in the clinic. I have gotten to work one day, where the nurses that staff the clinic are basically volunteers who go through a program similar to Americorps for one year. They live in a community and give their time to the Coalition, serving its populations rotating through all of the clinics. On Thursdays, I spend my day in the kitchen, first serving lunch, then helping to prepare the evening meal, and serving the meal to its population.

Fridays are spent at Civic Center Apartments giving health screenings, which is really awesome, for those that it serves. The populations are comparable. One huge difference is a lot of those that we see at Civic Center Apartments are very much acutely ill in their mental illnesses and are actively fighting and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol. In order to have a bed at Samaritan House, its residents enter into their 120 day program, where it is required that they remain clean and sober, advance through a series of levels in which they are actively pursuing employment (and usually must be employed after 30 days), and are required to participate in chores within the community of Samaritan House. Failure to meet any of these requirements can result in one being kicked out. They only serve meals to their own population, yet have an overflow area in which they allows 100 or so individuals off the streets to sleep in each night. That night is obviously quite longer than 100 people now that the weather is getting colder and those after the first 100 are turned away, to go find shelter elsewhere or hunker down on a street corner for the night. They also have a respite program that provides housing and care temporarily for those with medical needs. They usually only have 20 respite beds available. Both programs are run on a lottery system or happen by chance/luck for those that inquire at the right time. They house men, women, children, and families. They have separate men and women's dormitories, with the women's being much smaller than the men's. There is also a family dormitory where families can be housed together.

It is required that residents be out of the house most of the day, either working or searching for employment. There are exceptions for those working chores such as in the kitchen, etc or those who simply cannot be outside like those who are in respite care.

It's really quite amazing. And that is just a scratch of the surface of that facility. The Coalition also has several other homeless shelters and clinics available, owned and operated through the Archdioses of Denver. They also have many affordable senior living locations all over the metropolitan area. It's an amazing and extensive network that really offers a lot of services to the homeless community. And unfortunately, even with all that they do, they still only reach a small portion of the homeless community in Denver.

There are so many issues surrounding homeless, it's overwhelming to think of how to start repairing the system. It is a problem that encompasses financial hardships, mental health issues, the prison/jail systems, access to health care, community health, social work, government assistance programs, addiction, detox, etc. Really overwhelming when you start to think about it!

Anywho, that's where I'm at right now. Really exhausted, excited for this rotation, BUT even more excited to be done in three weeks :-) Just 3 more left to go. We can do it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

End of Practicum and (almost the end of nursing school)

Just when I think life couldn't get any busier, nursing school yet again pushes the limits!

I finished senior practicum a little over a week-and-a-half ago, yet it feels like a month ago thanks to HOW MUCH stuff has been jampacked into my schedule since then.

Senior practicum ended wonderfully. The staff encouraged and comforted me by saying I should come work with them, that I did a great job. My preceptor had the ultimate compliments in terms of she was incredibly bored at the end, and even entrusted me to leave the room most of the nights the last two nights of practicum. Having her trust my judgment was awesome! Granted my babies were lower acuity, it still was a great compliment to be entrusted in their care. I got some encouragement also from our last nursing buddy who is a new NICU nurse, who still feels very new to caring for the babies (and yet I think she is a rockstar). She echoed a lot of my insecurities being a nursing student in terms of still being unsure of herself and very new to the unit, feeling as though she didn't manage her time the most efficiently or have all the answers. I enjoyed seeing her ask for help and ask questions for things she was unsure of. It means being a nurse I don't have to have ALL the answers, rather I need to rely on my nursing team.

Overall, a really great experience. I learned so much about neonates, I became much more familiar and comfortable in being around babies ;-) and I had a great time doing so. I did learn, however, that I while I loved it, I would not want to start in the NICU. Because it is so specialized, I could see myself losing many different skills and knowledge, and for me, it didn't have enough of the challenge that I want when I first start. There is a lot that I would love to do with my nursing career and I don't see starting in the NICU lining up with any of that.

Now that I am done with practicum, I am in my last rotation....Community Health!! Yay, almost done!! However, this is the craziest rotation by far. It's the most jam-packed with assignments and projects and sheer demands of time. I'm in class two days a week, clinical three days a week, service learning Saturday mornings, and working Sundays....hence that leaves absolutely no free time, and the free time I have in the evenings is gobbled up by studying, writing papers, and finishing little things.

Oh and applying for The Children's Hospital Colorado's New Grad Residency Program!!

Let's see how these weeks progress....the end is drawing near!! Yet also so far away in terms of the projects I need to get done...and am hence avoiding while writing this....

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rock the Vote

I CANNOT wait for this election to be over. I don't think I've ever seen so much backstabbing, finger-pointing, and let's not even get started on the ads. Living in a swing state I want to pull my hair out most days. If you are ever watching tv, every commercial is a campaign ad of some sort, between the presidential campaign and then local political ads. Radio campaign ads. And all the damn ads that pop up when browsing the web. I'm TIRED of it.

However, all that aside. I voted today. Going to hand in my ballot later this afternoon (thank you mail-in ballots that allow the flexibility to research the issues from the comfort of home!). Exercised my constitutional right. Informed myself on the candidates and issues via several resources that indicated voting history and judicial performance, etc. One really great website is Utilize and expand your knowledge and OWN opinion, not the skewed media propaganda thrown our way.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I see the light!!!

Today is the first day that I have been able to wake up and enjoy the sunlight in four weeks, and baby am I really loving it! Of course I have four night shifts this next week but this weekend I get to enjoy a little of that wonderful Vitamin D :-)

And in other ways I am seeing the light. I am seven weeks away from graduating. Eight weeks from nurse pinning. While they are a jam-packed seven weeks, I am finally close enough that the end is a small beakoning light on the distant shore leading me in. What a wonderful feeling that is!! Although I have no idea what life holds after that.

The thought of being an RN is a wee bit closer, a wee bit more realistic, and I can say though the last year has been painful, I'm starting to see the pay off!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mid-Senior Practicum Reflection

This rotation has been a busy, chaotic, educational, lonely, and frazzled one.

I have never minded working nights. The pay differential is amazing, the evenings are usually more quiet and leave more room for really taking your time and getting to know your patients. However, that is when you are actually working, getting paid, and working your own desired schedule. When I did work nights, I did all three in a row so that I could have days off to myself....and I could be awake during days. Because I am doing three days of clinical and working at least one day a week, that means four nights a week I am doing something, and they aren't all in a row, which means I have to be diligent in keeping on my night schedule. So my "days" off are lonely nights spent watching tv, grocery shopping, and cleaning, much like tonight. However, it has proved a great learning opportunity to me.

The graduate NICU at PSL has allowed me a unique opportunity. Most of my classmates are also in ICU's or ED's, critical care units, on day shift. They are seeing tons of interesting cases/scenarios and taking care of some pretty intense patients. While I take care of a very focused population that experiences very similar situations, marked free of disease other than congenital anomalies, with disease processes that are understood and predictable. The unique aspect is that my preceptor is allowing me to take care of the babies on my own. She is allowing me the opportunity to assume being the nurse and making the experience really into the nursing role for myself. She allows me to critically think and provide my nursing reasoning skills in my care (and of course guides and corrects me when I'm not quite on target with her reasoning). What it is allowing me to do is learn time management, workflow, and clinical reasoning. I'm not seeing tons of interesting stuff, but I'm learning other aspects of nursing such as delegation, time management, critical thinking and reasoning, disease process, prophylactic interventions, physical assessments, etc. It's been an awesome rotation in that aspect. And I'm learning tons.

Contrary to adults, neonates bodies respond the exact opposite of how we learned adults respond to different disease processes or conditions. In that aspect, and in caring for neonates, it's all new territory.

The only problem will be studying for NCLEX, which is all geared towards adult med/surg after this rotation is done. I will have to go back and remember everything in the adult world. I guess it just means I will have to study even harder!! And go through tons of practice questions.

I've had a plethora of babies however. I'm currently up to taking care of 4 babies. I was able to take care of 3 babies all on my own last week. So much so that my preceptor was bored by 10pm and spent two nights playing games on her phone. This week (a week ahead of schedule), she thought me ready to bump up to 4 babies. We walked into a pretty high acuity 4 baby assignment, and while it was incredibly overwhelming, it was an absolutely great experience. We will be shooting to have 4 baby assignments for the rest of our time together over the next five shifts.

I've had respiratory babies, GI babies, cystic fibrosis, ostomies, OG/NG tubes, TPN/lipds, isolettes, open cribs, CF/HF oxygen delivery, and there is one baby who had a foley that I got to observe. All in all I would say I've been able to see quite a bit. I'm doing the initial assessment, cares, lab draws, etc. The only thing I haven't yet tried is starting a PIV, and that's because my only opportunity has been on a baby who is a notoriously hard stick and I'm just not going to do that to a poor little babe who has been nothing but a pin cushion since birth.

I need to get better at interacting with families, and confidence in myself, but I feel like that will come with time. It's a lot to take in and learn all at once. I feel like I'm getting there, slowly but surely. We will see how the next two weeks pan out!!

 This is me, while at work, looking out over the city through the 7A windows at work...while mostly you can see the desk and the reflection of what's behind me, you can also see the dots of the lights on the buildings. I thought it was pretty cool :-)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Senior Practicum Week One Reflection


I guess what's what happens when you work a shift at DH (staying up for 24h d/t class the next morning) and then turn right around and do 4 clinical shifts in 5 days. I'm also working nights right now so trying to get my body to readjust is sort of a pain in the butt. Sleeping during the day isn't too difficult but it isn't easy. My body really will only sleep for a few hours at a time. Therefore, I'm a tidge exhausted.

This has been quite the week!! I introduced myself into the NICU, and all it's unique needs, and newness of working with infants. And in four short shifts, worked my way up to caring for 2 lower acuity babes.

Like I said, P/SL was gracious enough to allow me into their graduate NICU, which is part of the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children @ P/SL.

I like to call it the med/surg of NICU's. The babies are stable but are chronically sick. That means after the critical care aspect has been stabilized, they are sent up to the graduate NICU where they remain for quite awhile until they are able to go home. Down in Level III is more like the ED/SICU of the NICU. The graduate NICU is like the MICU/med-surg floors. The babies are adorable and acuity can be low to high. The babies need a lot of support either way. They range from "grower-feeders" to those that are on the cusp of possibly crumping without constant assessment and surveillance.

My time has been amazing. I worked my way up to caring for two of the babies on my own, with the support of my preceptor Tami, who is a wonderfully sweet woman, who has patience with all my questions and nervousness.

There is one baby I absolutely fell in love with. He had a very rough start to his entrance in this world. But over the four shifts I had with him, he captured my heart. He's a tiny little thing, though for his gestation he is normal. I guess I'm just not used to working with such tiny ones. He has this hair that just spikes all over the place. He has these incredibly dark eyes, and such personality. He is calm and mainly quiet, very patient as you work with him most of the time. He just stares up at you and roots around for his hands, or simply just lays and stares at you. If you face him towards the wall, he gives you this "Are you serious right now?" sort-of look. When you feed him, he doesn't have a blank stare. His dark eyes piercingly and quizzically look at you the whole time. While burping, he enjoys the time sitting up and relishes in being fully supported.

I'm not someone who has a desire to have kids anytime soon. But he could totally convince me to have children. Only if they were exactly like him. Despite all he's been through (the roughest start to life) he was the champ in the room, coming off of oxygen, feeding every other cares time, and maintaining really well.

These next two shifts we will move to a room that has a higher acuity, and I will continue to care for two babies. I might even take over caring for three babies on thursday ;-)

Until then, here's a little hello from the graduate NICU (night shift of course)!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

1st Day of Senior Practicum

Last night was my first night in senior practicum. I'm in what's called the grad NICU at PSL. It's the NICU where the babies go once they are more stable but still unable to go home. There's potentially still a lot of risks involved with them but the critical care aspect isn't as high as I was hoping it would be.

The staff at PSL is incredibly welcoming! They all welcomed me in and treated me with wonderful courteous-ness from the beginning. My preceptor is incredibly smart and knowledgeable and is a mom herself, so brings a mom-like quality to the table yet still expects performance from me.

The night went rather smoothly. We had as assignment of three small babes. Each one of them was getting antibiotics which meant they all had peripheral IV's. We do "cares" every 3 hours, which include taking temps, changing diapers, flushing lines, quick assessments, and feedings. The night stayed pretty busy due to this but also due to having to replace each one of the little babes IV sites.

Babies have tiny tiny veins to begin with. Add in their smaller size and then trying to get a PIV started is almost ghastly. Really to the point that on the 2nd baby I got queasy and had to step away (also might have had something to do with getting incredibly hot from standing under the warming light). What really killed me was the number of pokes done to each child before help or use of evidence-based practice was used.

We are taught, and it has been shown to be remarkably more effective, that with babies with such small veins doing a thorough search using the little illuminators works very well for finding and getting a vein. Not to mention warming up the site to make the veins pop, etc. Very little of this was done and the babies were poked up to 6 times before someone from the level III NICU (the more critical babies) was called in to also attempt. 10 pokes on one baby to get an IV when probably half, or well below half, of that could have been attempted had a little more time put into the extra measures.

Or perhaps that's just my opinion.

And then there's the whole doubt in my mind over sucrose and whether it really eliminates pain, or just overwhelms the babies system. I'm not a huge believer in the sucrose for pain relief. Then again I haven't worked with neonates for many odd years like these nurses have. It did help to calm the babies down, but I'm not sure I would call it a pain reliever.

A few ethical concerns while there but then again that's to be expected, I knew that going in.

Overall a really great night and really exciting start to the next five weeks of my time there!! By the end Tami wants me taking care of a 4-baby assignment. Think I'm ready?! We will sure see.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


My first shift for senior practicum is tonight! I will be doing my senior practicum in the Level II NICU at Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital. So many emotions going through me: excitement, nervousness, fear, trepidation, enthrallment, giddiness, anxiousness....I have absolutely NO idea what to expect in regards to any aspect of the experience, all I hope is that I can learn tons, enjoy the rotation, and become more of a self-actualizing nurse and not just a nursing student who follows people around all day!!

It's getting closer to pinning ceremony. 10 weeks and counting. Wow craziness.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stronger - Seattle Children's Hospital

Sometimes we need those little reminders of why we do something or go through something. This absolutely heart-warming video fell into my lap last night and reminded me WHY I am going through this last frustrating year of my life. This is why I am doing what I do and this is what it's all about....this is why we want to be nurses. Soak in the amazing strength these kids have!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Looking Towards the Future

I think one of the things I lose sight of a lot in this midst of this program is what really matters. Wrapped in an atmosphere that includes always trying to 1up each other, always trying to be the best, you lose sight of what you came into this program for, what's important, etc.

I really need a break from this program and the chaos, the pressures and expectations, the massive quantities of random bullshit to do. There are good and bad aspects to each nursing program, this will always be true. There are some great things about Regis and there are also some things that I honestly can't stand, and can't wait to be done with.

But because of that, there are a bunch of things I am yearning for.

I yearn for a day where I can sleep in, wake up....without the burden of another assignment that needs to be finished or studying that needs to be done. Rather the only expectation are those that are laid upon myself, by myself.

I yearn for a day spent in the beautiful Colorado mountains away from the bustle of everything here. I have not had a chance and still have several weeks left before I will have an opportunity to not be tied to the immediate Denver metro area. I want to be able to get away from this place for even a day. Go take a day trip to Estes, and walk along the boardwalk until the sun sets with my grandmother. Go sit in a chair and listen to the river all day long if I so choose. Go see the changing of the fall leaves on the trees....inviting in the richness of the golds, reds, and autumn colors before the blanket of winter white envelopes their richness.

I yearn for a roadtrip. An escape from this place. A chance to get away.

I yearn for a place that is constant, where I fit in. I yearn for a work environment that stands for what I do and not what stands in principle for Regis. I want to be free of the expectations of a student and at the same time, get respect that most nursing students don't get. I yearn for a place where I get to be part of a permanent work family and develop relationships, where my personality can once again come out.

I yearn for a night off!! I yearn for a night spent having drinks with friends, joking around....because in this atmosphere I cannot and have not been able to do that.

I yearn from time away from my fellow nursing students. No offense, but I'm tired of only having these people in my life. It's time for some more variety to be added back in.

Variety is truly the spice of life.

I yearn for relaxation. Really. I think a massage, chiropractic adjustment, and day spent watching Grey's Anatomy with my mother would do my world SOO many wonders. Or a day spent shopping. Or how about froo-froo drinks on a warm beach :-)

I yearn to have time to set up consistent exercise again!! I need to lose this nursing school weight!! Get back in shape.

I yearn for a lot, and am ready to be done. 10 more long weeks and we WILL in fact be done with this program. And I can't flippin wait!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Human Experience

So this is what I do in my free time, my one reprieve: I watch netflix instant. It is how I unwind at the end of the day, it's what I use to break up the continual studying I've done over the course of this year. I like indulging in my tv shows and watching documentaries.

The other day I was pondering through my documentaries on my queue...and I decided to watch one I've had on my list for awhile. Titled "The Human Experience" it is a film about a few young altruistic men who set on on the ultimate experience: placing themselves in the shoes of others. They go through three profound experiences. The first experience is living homeless on the streets of New York for a week. The second is traveling with some surfers, who partake in an organization called Surf for the Cause, who travel around the world surfing the waters of several countries but also giving back to the communities with which they this case  with the lost children of Peru at the Villa la Paz Foundation started by Dr. Anthony Lazzara. The third experience finds them in Africa at a leprosy colony with a friend who is documenting the lives of the outcast lepers who are left to fend for themselves in an outside colony.

Each one of these experiences offers a unique looks into a world of humanity vastly different than the one with which most Americans are familiar. While no one's problems can ever be doubted, the documentary is powerful in that it shows the unique challenges, trials, and tribulations each one of these cultures of people experience...yet the happiness, faith, and love that exudes from each population.

There is something to be said about living beyond yourself, for others. It's one of those things that has always called to me. And since watching the documentary, it offered a brief glimpse outside of my nursing school world, back to why I am gaining this education and licensure. So I can travel the world and give to others. Not to sit in a comfy hospital for the rest of my life. I believe that each one of us can give to others within the means that we have. Whether that giving is monetary, time, or energy. We can give faith, happiness, support, encouragement, love and respect to others. We can give our time, listening ear, embrace, or time spent in silence...just to know we are not alone. Or we can give much more, if we have the means, whether it be materials or money, to benefit the lives of others. Even without excess, each one of us holds the power to connect with others of the human race, and to show the light of how alike we all are in our humanity. We all love, we all smile, we all belong to this world.

I still have 10 weeks of nursing school left. I am exhausted, overburdened, and overwhelmed. Most of the time I am not quite sure that I really can do this. That I am smart enough to pass my boards, to be a nurse, and be afforded the privilege to be let in the lives of others in their most vulnerable times and be entrusted with their lives. Yet I believe that is what fuels the fire for my nursing career. Not the money, prestige, etc. It's the opportunity to give back to my fellow humans, to provide for them, and to afford them opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

I believe that is one of the reasons the Lord has laid His hand upon my senior practicum to be in the NICU. To bring me back to what started this whole journey, to remind me of what I've been working towards, and what I desire in this nursing journey. What I believe in and what is important. Because I can tell you right now, many of the principles that this program encompasses do not hold true to my own principles and values for the future.

The emphasis on an esteemed reputation, and on being the best. That is not what I value. I value the ability to connect with my patients, to touch them and provide a human connection, whether it be at a turning point to continue on in life or to face death. I value respect and equality, not perfection. I value love and uniqueness, not uniformity. I think that's what I needed to be reminded of, and what a wonderful documentary to do that. If there is a will, there is a way. If there is a heart, then I will take great care of my patients. I won't be perfect, I won't know all the answers, but I will be there, and I will provide love and respect to my patients. I will look for opportunities to work outside of my comfort zone. And I will continue to learn more about other cultures and peoples and not stay in my cultured bubble. I want to travel the world, and see the people/cultures of the world. I want to experience humanity, and all the beauty it brings.

With a Sigh of Relief

I just finished my med/surg II comprehensive final (also known as care of the adult and older adult II), and I feel like I can finally let out a small sigh of relief. Of course in the world of the accelerated BSN, there is always one.more.thing. to turn in and/or do at all times. But I feel like I am slowly on the downhill slope.

We finished all of the crazy lectures, tests, etc. We have to finish clinicals and the benchmark ATI exams this week and do a comprehensive ATI (to see how well we might do on the NCLEX) but those aren't the huge things for this class.

Next are senior practicum and then we end with community nursing!! Senior practicum involves strictly clinical hours. 180 hours of working more in the role of a nurse. Following one preceptor's schedule. And that's it. No tests, no gimmicks, none of that. Strictly 3 12-hr shifts of working each week (plus my additional shift of working at DH of course).

I've kept a low profile. Between time constraints, my depressive mood, and being so exhausted I have stayed far far away from the public forum...both facebook and blogging.

Nursing school has literally eaten me whole, swallowed me alive. But I feel like I might be getting my life back.

My senior practicum will be the night shifts at Presbyterian St. Luke's in the NICU...and I'm SOO stoked. The place that started my passion for nursing, it's like it is coming back full circle!! I couldn't be more pumped :-) I feel night shifts will be great for me as they are "slower" paced, there are less people around and I can really focus on my nursing skills and perhaps even study what it is what situations I am in at that time. I can look up disease processes, care, diagnoses, etc. I feel it will be better for me to understand the nursing process of taking care of neonates in a critical care setting so much better!!

Other than that, I plan on getting back into more of my hobbies. I want to finish my painting, I want to work on my tshirt blanket, and I want to read a few books for fun. I want to get back to some normalcy. While socialization will probably still have to wait for a little while, I can start getting back to things that really interest and make up life, not just things that involve or revolve around nursing school. 

It will be SOO great :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vanity/Highchair DIY

It's taken me a little while to get this blog post up d/t the demands of nursing school as of late.

As of late, Med/Surg II has eaten pretty much ALL of my time, and I've spent more time studying than ever before.

However, on the week we had off I had a chance to work on the vanity project with my dad and get it almost completely finished. I was also able to make a necklace holder (thank you pinterest for the inspiration). I was also able to get the highchair finished.

Here's the pics with the explanations of what all we did!

I found some gems at a thrift store right before I started nursing school. We were walking through one of the Denver thrift stores when I happened to find this awesome vintage highchair just chilling among the furniture. I swooped it up, with my brother and sister-in-law expecting, thinking it would prove to be an awesome piece! However, it was a color that leaves a ton to be desired.

While it wasn't bad, yellow with golden accents isn't exactly my style. 
Just a peek at what it looked like before...

The first break we had from nursing school, I stripped the paint off of the chair with paint stripper. My pieces of advice: wear long sleeves and pants and make sure you have an awesome stripping tool!

after pain stripping

After the paint stripping, it still needed to be sanded down to get the loose paint off and in the nooks and crannies. I also used toothpicks to get in the round details. I recommend blowing it off with an air compressor or the like once done with that. Then it was on to painting. I initially wanted to do a weathered look but my mom (aka grandma) wanted a crisp look. She also wanted to do white but I wanted to add some color, so I chose this color. It's Schooner Blue from the Olympia line. I got it at Lowe's :-)
I chose the dry brush stroke method, to give it a little imperfection. Which meant I had to apply two coats and meant it took longer than just slothering it all over. I also took a small acrylic brush from Michaels to do the white decorative rings. All in all it came out really nice and I love it!! However, I'll probably be the last person in our family to have children ;-) 

 without any filters and with overhead lights in the garage on
The finished product

The next project was a quick necklace holder, inspired by projects found on pinterest. My father was replacing the front fence and gate so I salvaged some wood for my project, one of the old weathered beams. I got the teal knobs on sale and the clear/bubbly ones for full price at anthropologie. Simply, I pilot drilled the holes and counter-sank a small recess into the wood....or should I say my father helped me to do so :-) The we screwed the jigsaw picture-frame holders on each side of the back to hold it up on the wall. It's bigger than most that I've seen on pinterest...but I didn't want to alter the wood at all, simply sand it down a little to get the rough splinters off. I loved the weary-ness of it and didn't want to ruin that by sawing it off at the end. 

We also finished up the vanity, which I never blogged about. This we made from scratch. My mom found a simple plan she liked, my father figured the dimensions, and we set off to work. This project overall took two weeks to finish (and still isn't completely finished as we haven't fully set it up stairs and put the counter on). We used a raw cherry wood, in which we rabbit holed the pieces together by a pilot drill with a counter-sink. We were going for a more farmhouse feel. Simple yet farmhouse. Once all together, I used Minwax Special Walnut wood stain (two coats applied thickly with a brush and then wiped with a clean cloth), followed by two coats of Minwax Polyurethane.

the hardware looks like this, though I couldn't find the exact cabinet pull on the website 
  As for the process, here is a quick montage of the project up until we need to put the sink on ;-) 

 a lot of wood glue and clamps were involved in this project

 after the first coat of stain

after the second coat of stain, the two coats of polyurethane and the hardware application

Once we get the sink and faucet hardward installed I post the FINAL picture of the vanity. Also mad props to my faja (aka pops) as he was the one who mainly did everything. I provided moral support, physical support, and my common smartass comments during the entire project. And of course, the expert wood glue applier and excess wiper ;-) 
Once I'm done with nursing school, I'm sure we have more projects lined up but until then, my only other projects include a canvas and paintbrush. I'll also post that project once it's done.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


As of late I have strayed away from really writing in my blog for awhile.
Part of it is a sheer lack of time. The other part of it is a feeling of sadness, and being so overwhelmed and confused, that sitting down to write just seemed an attempt at futility. How can I possibly sum up into words the massive amounts of emotions that have been rolling around inside my heart and soul for the past several months? And how can I possibly explain the crazy chaos that is my life to most of the world. Even to those of us in this nursing program, it's impossible to relate each individual's experience of the program to another as we all have different facets at which we come into this program, different support systems, priorities, attitudes, etc.

Admittedly, I've had a desire to sit here and let the keys take me away like they normally do, and I've started writing several times.

But then I read it, and I read how inaccurately I was capturing what I wanted to say. The wrong words for indescribable emotions and feelings. And the sheer lack of positivity that I could bring into those words. And I would hit the delete key and erase all the words that I had just written, feeling it better to remain in silence and in my own head than to make my thoughts public. I've sat down with my written journal, only to look at my pen with sheer exhaustion. Not possible and too overwhelming. So much time, so many events, and so many thoughts. What would I write about? What would accurately reflect this past few months in my life? What would others think? How could I incapsulate the negativity accurately, yet also show the incredible experiences I am going through and what I am slowly learning?!

 I think another aspect to staying away from pouring out any part of my soul was that this has been a rough time for me and I've been concentrating more on getting my head/heart back to a solid platform, one where I could actually start to put words to my thoughts, once I had translated them and figured out where they were coming from.

The only way to look at a higher point is to be at a low, the only way to come back up is to first look up, to take a look at where you're going. So how do you do that when all you can see in your way is tons of boulders? And how can you possibly start climbing up when the boulders are taller than you, you have no climbing gear, nor a fellow climber to help you out? Well that's where I was. Stuck at a low point, surrounded by boulders taller than me, "unmovable boulders", with no way to see where I was, where I needed to go, nor any way to get out.

One thing I have realized in the past few months is I have been depressed. I started slipping into a depression somewhere before my first break from school. If I really start looking at when it started creeping on, it was probably more sometime around the end of last year/beginning of this year, with some very mild signs. I've always been very good about being positive, and looking on the bright side of things, but when life becomes preoccupied with one thing, without any way of maintaining my outlets, that has a tendency to go away. I think the reason it didn't affect me earlier was I loved my job (which is what was eating up so much of my time) and had a great support system there, I was looking forward to nursing school (and preparing for it), and I wasn't completely consumed by something I didn't really enjoy with people I didn't particularly care for.

Then I started this program, and the newness combined with how demanding it is occupied most of my emotional capacity. I was so busy, that I didn't have time to really think about how I felt, or the emptiness that was starting to be felt inside of me. Being in this program, I'm with some very intelligent and competitive people. Being a natural introvert, who hates too much competition, and with a somewhat lower self-esteem, this program started eating away at me. I can't handle too much negative stimulation, too much unhealthy attitudes/personalities. And that's what a lot of this program is. I don't thrive trying to prove how good I am, I thrive off doing and being surrounded in something that betters others. Not focusing on myself.

I wish I could say I could thrive in this dog-eat-dog sort of environment but really I just can't handle it. If everyone was more positive, supportive, and genuinely supportive that would be a different matter but as it stands, I hate how competitive it is, how everyone has to be right or better than everyone else, and how there's just an over-arching lack of genuine support. I do rely on having some personal fulfillment from my surrounding environment. And that's what I am attracted to. If something is not healthy for me, normally I learn to let go and find an area that is more beneficial. This is an instance where sacrifice wins out over happiness...nix that, it's mandatory. So here I am surrounded in a world of competitive negativity, where we battle each other to see how we can compare with each other, but never really making a difference in the lives of others, or doing something that can be a continual deed of good.

Couple that with the sheer exhaustion of the rigors of the program, coupled with still working at least one day a week....and I'm a melted chocolate chip cookie most of the time.

I hit an incredibly low point last month. I'm still not at a great point, but I'm not at an absolute low like I was. I don't think that will change too much until it gets closer to the end of this program. But I believe I have found a point where I can find a temporary area of contentment.

Once I hit that huge low point, I started facing the facts. I am in a depression. And that has been hard to admit. But I can't let it keep going. I absolutely am not a huge fan of man-made medicine (go figure...) so I put myself on some natural anti-depressants. Are they miracle workers?! Absolutely not. But they take the edge off the despair and anxiety that lives inside of me on a pretty consistent basis anymore. I don't think the depression will go away until my life really becomes my own again. So I have to sit still and wait for that for a little while.

But things have been getting slowly better. I withdrew from some of the things that get to me and have been trying to take care of myself. That basically has meant I address the first and second tier of the hierarchy of needs and have isolated. I try to catch up on sleep, I'm trying to focus on eating healthier (as I have gained quite a bit of weight since I started this program and need to start focusing on my own health), and if I am in the right state of mind, I will meet one friend a week to catch up. That's about all I can handle currently. Isolation to take my own personal breather has provided the best outlet for me.

So while I may not be out of the hole, I found some rope snuggled in between my boulders and I am looking up, with my foot on the first foothold, and I'm trying to climb up towards the light. Here's to looking up....and to taking control of my depression, and finding some resources to battle it.

Friday, July 06, 2012

99 Balloons

I'm currently in my OB rotation, with one week of five left to go. We are studying the end of OB, which means studying the end-of-life in OB. This was one of the videos we were encouraged to watch.

I'm more emotional at this point in my life than ever before, but even then I was surprised by how much this video affected me. Beautiful. Faith. Love. Three words that come to mind in relation to this video.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Avett Brothers on the Rocks

As of late, most of my time is occupied by nursing school related activities or work. In those rare moments that I have "nothing to do" (aka nothing pressingly due right at THAT moment) I find myself catching up on sleep and recharging my batteries.

Along with that, I've been trying to come back to my center, to regain site of parts of myself that are lost when everything is so overwhelmed with this program. I've been trying to focus on being grateful, thankful, and enjoying the present.

While I can't say I thoroughly enjoy most of my life right now, I'm trying to love the moment that I'm in, and cherish it for what it is.

It's a huge work-in-progress. Looking within myself and meditating on many things is quite a huge task at hand, but it's one I'm working on, baby step by baby step.

With that said, I bought tickets to go see The Avett Brothers last night at Red Rocks. I've never watched them perform but was tantalized with comments from Memphis (one of the roomies) that their persona on stage is insurmountable. Thoroughly excited to head to the beauty of Red Rocks and spend the evening sipping wonderful craft beer with a great friend and enjoying beautiful, wonderful music under the brilliance of the sky.

Up first was a band called City and Colour. Wow! Great music! Halfway through one of their songs the crowd started to clap and go wild...looking over to our left, there was a man who waited for one of their particular songs (a love long, of course!) to drop down to one knee and propose. The warmth and love that flowed from the crowd was just amazing, and watching that happen, brought tears of happiness to my eyes. I LOVE love :-) The band finished playing the song instrumentally while the proposal was going on and then congratulated the two, dedicating the next song to them. Of course she said yes ;-) What a beautiful reminder of the goodness of life!

After City and Colour, the stagehands starting setting up....and one of the most wonderful things happened. It started raining. For 10 minutes, I sat in my seat, and got soaking wet. A feeling of angst and dread came over me. I hate being wet, my makeup was running off, and my hair was destroyed. Being at a point in life where I'm not happy with myself physically, I felt anxiety as the rain washed away my outer layer to expose the insecurity that lay beneath. But after about a minute of rain, I remember a conversation I just had a few days ago with a friend (of whom I actually don't remember who it was!). The friend said something about learning to let go, let God, and instead of running from the rainstorms in life, to enjoy that moment and let it flow and cleanse us. So I sat, and let the rain take away my outer layer of confidence and cleanse my soul. And it was painful. So very painful. I won't lie. And while I didn't quite dance in the rain...I tried to enjoy the moment, that rawness, the beauty, the purpose, and even the "pain".

What a beautiful way to strip me down before the show!

And not much later, The Avett Brothers came on.

Passion. That's how I would describe their performance. Imperfectly beautiful. Emotional. Raw.

The atmosphere, the songs, the lyrics, the energy, the passion, the love...I needed it all. And I soaked it in. I enjoyed watching the band let emotions take over and direct the show, enhance the energy, and shower the audience with love and gratitude.

So beautiful. So what my soul needed.

To let music, and passion, take over again, last night, was exactly what I needed.

I was reminded of my belief in true love and the hope for romance, reminded of how much passion should direct what is my life, reminded me of the beauty of imperfections, and started to heal over some of the heartache and longings on my soul.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Keep Your Head Up, Keep Your Love

keep your head up. keep your love.
|The Lumineers|

Yesterday was a pretty great day at work. Though this might seem odd to some people, work is my reprieve in a lot of ways. It's a safe place for me. A place where people know me for my smile, my optimism, my humor, my excitement, and my wackiness. It's a place where I can joke and be passionate, all at the same time. While it's in a different manner than when I was working with my kiddos, it's still a place where I can be parts of myself that I haven't been able to be anywhere else for quite some time.

One of the most treasured aspects of my job is getting the chance to relate to my patients and to be their caregiver and advocate during some of their most vulnerable times. Even when I was working with prisoners, when one is sick one is in a very vulnerable position that brings out the best and worst in people. It's a time when we are seen stripped to the bone, quite literally (and figuratively), and the true meat of humanity can come out.

I enjoy taking care of others, so immensely. It's just built into how I am wired. And none more so than the most vulnerable. Those with special needs. A protective and caring nature comes over me.

Most especially, those with cerebral palsy. A huge contributor to that was my little Ethan. But more so, I came to really understand those with cerebral palsy and came to understand the brilliant, normal people behind the spasticity.

Yesterday at work, we had a patient there who had cerebral palsy. He's been there for a couple of weeks now apparently, but since I haven't worked the floor I haven't even known he was there. When I walked in to help my fellow HCT, I found out very quickly he had CP and automatically all my natural instincts kicked in. I found myself automatically protective and advocating for the best of care for him, helping Diane to get him cleaned up and into the chair, then encouraging him to come out in the hall and spend some time with us nurses (it was a slower day so it was possible to spend some time talking with him)! However, I soon came to understand just how much my heart gets wrapped up in my patients rather quickly. Case in point: when asking the charge nurse whether he could sit by the nurses station with us (which is encouraged in our nursing program), our charge replied with a short and curtly answer, of which I automatically walked off because I know the propensity of my mouth to not have a filter when opened.

I realized that I had to ask Diane to check me if I got out of line, as I realized that my heart was already too much involved with this one patient.

However, it got me to thinking: this is what is going to make me a great nurse. The ability to relate to, connect with, and then become an advocate for my patients. That's what nurses are right?! Not just caregivers but advocates for the best of care.

I realized my heart is already poured into my job, but I realized that's not a bad thing, it just means I'm going to have to find avenues and ways of making sure I maintain professionalism and my sanity when the going gets tough.

So keep your head up, gal!

Un-indated with Regis

The past month-and-a-half have been a flurry of impetuous activity. It's hard for me to get my brain to focus on any one task anymore as it is so used to speeding towards the next task, activity, test, assignment, work day, etc. To say that I have been busy is an understatement.

I think the word I would give it is in-undated, or if we're going for more blunt terms, swamped. 

Each time I think I might get a little breather, or catch a glimpse of "fresh air", I am amazed by the more consuming amount of nursing-school related stuff that is thrown my way. Maybe it's just me but I feel so there isn't enough time in the day to do it all....and by it all, I'm not referring to any other part of life other than nursing school related activities.

The sheer amount of time I spend in class and at clinical is ridiculous. Then add in studying, and the crazy amounts of extranuous activities.

Wow!! Is all I can say. I didn't think it's possible to have this much thrown into one program. It's crazy!

I'm finding more and more that I miss being a part of society and life. I look longingly out at the trees while I'm at class or at clinical, wishing I could just be outside with the world! And then I get to thinking about all the things I want to do and see....and how those things are continually put on hold until next year.

Oh how I can't wait!

I can't wait to go hiking, biking, traversing. Road-tripping, beer-drinking, sports watching. I can't wait to have a weekend off!! I can't wait to have an evening where the millions of things due aren't sitting in the back of my head. I can't wait to go on a trip, to sit in the middle of nature again. I can't wait to sit on the front porch with my family and not be exhausted.

All those things that I miss so much, and can't wait until I have a moment to do them again. Each time I think I might be able to add a little spice of those back in my life, my clinical schedule ends up eating up all my free time or another group project is thrown our way. When does it end?!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Axel Everett Carr

I welcomed my first nephew into this world! Axel Everett Carr was born at 9:53am on June 1, 2012. Unfortunately I wasn't able to be there for the birth (like originally requested from my sister-in-law) but I was able to head up to Fort Collins to meet him later that evening. I brought my camera along and snapped a few pics :-)

What a cutie patootie! Loving my little Thor already ;-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Color Run

My friend J has this wonderful wife named Tricia.

Tricia asked if I wanted to do a 5k.

I hate running. I'm not good at it, I never do it. Ick. Running not for me. However, I enjoy 5k's for the fun times and charities they benefit. Hence why I've done several. Let me clarify that I normally walk these 5k's with others!

Welp, Tricia and her friends are runners. I'm not. But when she told me about the Color Run, I just COULD NOT pass it up.

The premise: a 5k to benefit The Childrens Hospital (well at least the one in Denver benefits The Childrens Hospital). The catch: you start off in a white tee and during the "race" they throw color on you!

HELL YEAH, sign me up! I get to get dirty and turn into a rainbow. I'll take it :-)

Needless to say it was a blasty blast! Lots of color, lots of cheer, lots of super nice folks doing the run. And let's not forget we were one bright hot mess when done. Woot woot! I will also admit that I'm super proud because I actually ran half of it. That's pretty impressive for yours truly!!

A few pics of course displaying the awesomeness of the festivities.

Spontaneity. Adventure.

I miss those two! So bad. Seriously.

There's nothing like a spontaneous adventure, especially because they throw you outside your comfort zone, caution (mostly) to the wind. When did I stop doing that?!


Crested Butte. A handsome fella. A truck. Two days. That was my latest adventure.

Yeah yeah. It's not like I white-water rafted down the Grand Canyon or climbed Mount Everest on a whim but baby steps y'all.

Of course, my camera was with me and I kept forgetting to get it out. (Remember the whole passion thing...I'm having to consciously remember my camera...I forgot how much I loved being behind the damn thing! Sad day).

So alas, all I have is a few iPhone pics. So lame I know. But here was my fav. What a wonderful view :-)

Normally this is where I would mention going back to the grind of nursing school. Which I am. But I'm also doing a few things this summer to keep some balance.

So when my bestie and her bf put pics on fb of some tickets to go see The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks I followed suite to go with them :-)

Good beer. Great friends. Rad music. Recipe for success :-)

Alright blog world, it is time for bed. See ya on the flip side!

Far from what I once was....

"Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be..."

Sometimes when I finally stop to take a moment at where I'm at, I look back and am amazed at what's behind me and where I am. Sometimes that amazement is a good thing and other times it leaves a heaviness in my heart.

Both can accurately be said when I stop and look back at several steps behind me. When I look back to a couple years ago, I'm amazed at where I am and who I have become. There have been some huge hurdles and tribulations to say the least. Events that I never imagined would happen to me have left me stunned and weakened, and blessings I couldn't fathom have blossomed from piles of ruins. Lessons have been learned, my heart has been shattered, and I am all the stronger for it. On the other hand, I look back with sadness at those times because of the "jaded scars" they have left behind on my soul.

When I look back to a year ago, I feel triumphant (and scared) that I am finally chasing dreams. Goals are no longer being talked about, they are IN THE MAKING! For awhile I doubted I would ever actually be doing and not just talking about. I also feel sadness as the amount of hope and faith I had at that time was so strong, stronger than it is now oddly enough (I hate admitting that).

When I look back to right before I started this program, I look back in longing. I have been headed down a slow path of losing sights of small bits and pieces of myself.

Little did I know that in chasing my dream of becoming a nurse, sacrifices of my heart and identity would have to be made.

"It's a means to an end" my mother has always said and I've always hated that quote. Because when one believes in that line, one can also dangerously fall into a trap of always being in the mean, searching for the end, and can sacrifice the journey and happiness of that journey along the way.

Nursing school has been intense. I think the accelerated program was a great choice, and horrible all at the same time. One year folks. That's not that long right?! 15 weeks. Meh that's nothing right?! Wrong. That's the amount of time it took me for finally dive into losing a good grip of balance and of my identity. That 15 weeks of pure sacrifice, where nothing but nursing school was all that existed, were enough to throw me into a tailspin. One I'm finally just realizing that I've been in.

What makes me tick?! What makes me thrive?! Social interaction. Though I might be a little shy at times, and a tidge socially awkward, I thrive on relationship. I thrive on positivity, humor, happiness, welcoming souls. I find so much beauty in this world, and in the small things. The joy and hope and faith that can be found were so vital to me. Love, the most important of all. Kindness.

I found that when I left working with my preschoolers to dive into the "real world" and working at Denver Health I left behind a huge part of myself. You see, kids just naturally are so vibrant and joyful. It's time and heartaches that jade that away from people. Naturally adults are lackluster in these arenas, a great majority of the time.

That's ok though. Your attitude is what makes an experience. Usually. So I threw my heart and soul, and dug from the depths, and made work a great place to be. Because gosh darnit! If you can make others laugh and smile, and really care about them, it comes back to you. Though I admittedly found I have not been fed into in the same equalities I give to others.

One of my biggest strengths and weaknesses is my caregivers heart and always giving of myself to others. It's a weakness when my own well is not being given into.

Nursing school only intensified that. Thrown into an intense program that is so rigid and serious and all-consuming, with people who know very little about me, and unable to form very many deep quality relationships, I found that after awhile, not being able to do the things I enjoy or are my respite became a huge sacrifice.

Now here I sit. After two weeks of giving nursing school the middle finger and socializing with friends, family, and throwing myself back into my "life", I find myself realizing that I dived off the deep end of sacrifice and it left me feeling so empty.

I'm still mad. Super mad actually that I'm only halfway done with a program that consumes all my energy and time. I want to be OUT in the world, with friends, experiencing life! Sure my dream of becoming a nurse is important and is my passion (that after one awful clinical experience I am relearning all the reasons I wanted to be a nurse again), it's not everything.

There are much more important things! God, family, friends, relationships, happiness, love. Being a nurse won't define me, rather it will be an outward extension of part of my heart. I think I'm just mad right now that it's being made to define me. This year is defined as "the year of nursing school". Ick.

With that being said, I'm doing a lot of soul searching. I'm reigniting and relearning what it is that's deep inside me, what makes me who I am, and what makes me tick. Funny I was able to forget that huh?!

Here's what I've discovered.

My relationship with God is so important and needs more focus. Faith is something I need to start working on again. I had SO much faith, where did it go?! I'm quickly remembering how much faith my kiddos had in me, when did I lose faith in my God? And losing that faith has translated into a lot of doubt of myself.

Relationships. God I love relationship with others. What the hell is the point in living if you don't have people you love and care about and that know you beside you?! Here's to remembering to spend quality time with those that have gone by the wayside.

Passion, happiness, optimism, joy. I lost a lot of those and I definitely feel it. I could find joy in anything, and while I still do, it's not the same degree or intensity. Damnit, I want my emotions to be all-consuming and intense again!

Humor. It's just way too damn important to laugh your way through life. Really there's just no other way. Not to mention those who are happy and laugh live longer :-)

Love. This is such a deep area. I shut myself off to loving others, romantically. One blind date later and I realized just how much I had shut myself off to that. While I've always believed in fairy tales and true love and "happily ever after", I literally doubted God would even want or plan that for my life and in doing so, also shut myself off from taking risks. Risks that I used to take willy nilly! How can I possibly find love if I don't take risks. Duh. I might get hurt. We lose 100% of the risks we don't take. So here's to taking risks again! (Slowly and more mindfully of course).
And I will freely admit, I'm a sucker for romance. I might put on a tough bravado but romance...have always fantasized about being "swept off my feet". Well here's to hoping it might actually one day happen ;-)

So here's to me. I'm far from who I used to be, in both good ways and bad. I'm not yet who I'm going to be, and that's ok. But here's to strapping on my boots, realizing that this is just another part of the beautiful journey that God has laid out before me, and I'm stepping forward. While this is probably the gazillionth time God has thrown this lesson my way, I'm still gonna take it as a learning experience, that I might eventually peg down! So here's back to getting to myself, and to rediscovering myself, and rediscovering the beautiful parts of life, even with the bad and ugly.

Gosh it feels good to take a deep breath again and leap. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



That's really how I feel right now. A few years ago, vulnerable wouldn't necessarily make me sit down and reflect. That was sort of just part of my inner wiring. Very vulnerable to others, vulnerable to the world, a lot of guards down. Now I sit here a little unused to being so vulnerable as I was before, and when that feeling hits, it causes me to pause for a second.

My vivacious mother, whom I love to death, decided to set me up on a blind date.

Ok let's backtrack for a second here. After my very tumultuous relationship with Britton, followed by a horrible dating experience dating last summer, I have turned my head the other way on dating. For several reasons in fact. For one I just got plain ol tired of always being hurt, taken advantage of, and the sheer exhaustion that comes with a draining relationship/dating experience. For two, my life was starting to rear up in a direction I had been working towards for a very long time. I went from struggling week-to-week financially to obtaining a job at DH I loved, but that took me away from social circles (it's kinda hard to keep a social calendar with friends when you work weekend nights). Then I got accepted into Regis and I started gearing up for the accelerated program. I had to finish a couple classes, get a ton of paperwork started, worked my ass off to try to get my prereq classes paid for (those were out-of-pocket), all while helping my mother to take care of my grandmother.

For me it just worked to have no interest in dating. There was simply too much going on.

Starting this program, it was a relief that I had no significant other, no children, no distractions, etc. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For me that's what worked.

Have I wanted a healthy supportive relationship? Yes. Have I desired to have a companion? Yes. Do I want romance in my life? Yes. Do I long for a lasting love? YES!

Was I willing to date yet another douchebag? No. Was I willing to distract from my studies? No.

You see, all of my relationship/dating experiences have had pretty huge negatives. Because that was my experience, I felt it better to just not even give it a thought for quite awhile.

However, being 24, I'm already realizing how much smaller the dating pool is getting. Not necessarily in terms of numbers (though it is...a lot of people are getting married and starting families). Rather, I'm meaning quality. There's a reason a lot of people my age and a little bit older are single at this point, most usually, and it's usually not a good sign. There's another reason to not date. Trying to wade through that pool of potential suitors seems daunting when you know the reason they are probably still single is not of a desirable trait.

Alright so fast forward again, my mother decided that after almost a year-and-a-half of being single, and a year of me not looking at all for dates, and after a year of me professing (yet I have always done when I'm single) that I'm not interested in dating, she set me up on a blind date.

Now hold on a minute....what?! Yes my mother set me up on a blind date. I honestly never thought I'd see the day when that would happen.Nor did I expect it. I came home to my mother getting lunch and she slide a number across the table at me. Jigga what?! Aw hell no! That was my first reaction.

Long story (and amusing for another time) short I gave this mystery man a ring, and we went on a first date.

Pure petrification. I don't think I've been that terrified in awhile. And that's saying something, because I'm pretty nervous and scared every day walking into work or class, not knowing what I will be facing taking care of another patient.

However, I wasn't petrified for too long. Joking, direct questioning, laughing, and some talking later, I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

I got asked on a second date.

Pure nervousness and fear. Really?! He asked me on a second date?! Wow.

The reason I think I was so nervous the second time around is two-fold. He liked me enough to ask me to come out again. That shocked me, just because I wasn't expecting it. Also, it meant that with each time he asks me to see each other again, I become a little more vulnerable to him. That freaks me out. Because being vulnerable to others has gotten me in worlds of trouble.

That's not saying I'm going to flip my hard shell over and just be the belly-side of a starfish, begging to be preyed upon. But it does mean that the massive guards that I have slowly built up have to slowly come down. For the first time in a very long time, I might have to start letting someone in. Because it's who I am on the inside, past those walls, that someone wants to get to know, more than the superficial questions. That's a scary thought for me anymore. That includes an aspect of being vulnerable.

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, rather facing a realistic possibility. It's really kind of exciting and enthralling really.

With the unexpected, comes the most beautiful experiences :-)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Tyce & Tenley

My cousin asked me to take their children's pictures. As the one in the family who has a fancy camera, I'm automatically nominated as photographer for most family events. It's a good thing that the reason I even have a fancy camera to begin with is because I'm the one known for taking pictures and am halfway decent at snapping a good photo here and there.

Anywho, I was totally honored when they asked me to take Tyce & Tenley's photos! They haven't had their pictures taken together since Tenley was a month old. And Lisa just said she wanted some cute photos of them together, not in a studio, with all the contrived poses they do there. Thankfully Colorado is the most beautiful place to live and when she offers up that brilliant blue sky and sunshine, you can't ever help but get a good picture!! Here's a few of my favorites. (I can honestly say I don't think I did a half bad job!)

 Tyce & Tenley
 Tyce enthusiastically chasing butterflies!!

 Exploring what's in the water together :-)