Monday, December 31, 2012

Ok... last post for real...

Why my son and husband are awesome....

We have been having some serious money issues this year, what with the the house foreclosure, and the husbeast not working, and the unexpected trip to Miami.  No one really has any money...

I was able to get David a few gifts and a couple of small things for the husbeast...but there was going to be nothing under the tree for me. Which I was okay with, because my son and husband were taken care of.

In the past, my son has eagerly awaited the holidays for birthday and Christmas card with money. He always has big plans for these gifts. I think this year he had plans for some new games, maybe a PS Vida or PS3.  In previous years this would have been possible.

My son only received one birthday-money gift this year.....$20.  When he got his money, he asked my husband to take him to Target to get me a present.  He picked out the gift himself (a Hello Kitty toaster), and paid for it with his own money.

The husbeast chipped in a few of his gas-money dollars and bought me a movie and some chocolate.   Together they made sure that I would have a gift, too.

That's why they are awesome.

W. :)

Last post for 2012....

Another year come and gone.... I am looking forward to this one going, for sure.

I am going to enter this new year full of hope.  And a few other goals are on the horizon, as well:

Re-start school this summer. Life got in the way this fall and winter, and I totally lapsed on school. So,  starting with the summer sessions, I am going to get my butt in gear, and start working toward that BSN. First classes on the list: World History and  Life-span Psychology.

Decorate my apartment... We have been living in the apartment since July 2011, and we still have hardly anything on the walls or floors.  The apartment is still all beige and white.  Blah.... I want to finally tap into my style inspirations and change it up.  My husband may die of color overload, but that's his problem.

Hike... at least monthly, preferably weekly, especially while it is cool.

Walk... at least 30 minutes a day, every day. I have got to get my butt moving.  I spend entirely too much time sitting in my house, because others want to do nothing. The lethargy is killing me.

I wish we could get one of these... but, $2000 is way, WAY out of our price range...

I guess it is park walking for me....

Give up soda... this one may actually be one of the harder ones to stick with. Just drank my last Diet Coke... I don't usually drink them excessively, but I am getting older, and my bones need to keep all their calcium.

Knit a whole sweater.... I have been wanting to knit a cable fisherman sweater for year.  This will be the year to do it.

Volunteer... I have been wanting to volunteer for ages... but I could never decide on what to do.  This past Christmas was only the first step... Through the Lexington Rescue Mission, I have the opportunity to use my nursing skills in a helpful way. I also want to make regular food and toiletry donations to the Mission, as well as knit or crochet scarves and hats.

Find my style.... I know I have one somewhere.... sometimes I feel like I am too old to dress the way I really want. But, I am determined to find my style.... how does one dress like a preppy, rocker, quirky girly-girl with an affinity for Breton striped shirts?

Work on positivity......

Take a vacation with the family, that does not involve travel to Miami. I would like to go to New York City, Washington, DC or drive up into Canada!!

Other self improving items for this year:

Develop a budget and stick to it. 
Eat fish 2 times per week & eliminate white pasta.
Learn to paint with water colors.
Get regular pedicures.
Go to dentist.
Use no credit at all. 
Spend more quality time with my kiddo and husbeast. 

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This is me challenge: the final chapter

*What would you like to do before you die?  (Bucket list)

Travel to Europe
White water rafting
Learn to finally speak Spanish
Take David to Comic-Con
Travel nursing assignment to New York City for at least three months to experience actually living in NYC.
I have been working on this, and most of my list includes travel. I have serious wanderlust.

*What are your beliefs about death?

Well, I guess I believe that when our bodies die that energy that made us who we are gets reabsorbed into the Universe, to become something or someone else, much like our bodies are. 

I don't believe in Heaven or Hell, I believe we make our own versions of that while we are alive. I believe that we should do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not for some reward that one can only receive by dying. 

*Are you scared to die?

I am not scared to die for my sake....because I know it is inevitable. I fear death at this time, because my son is still a child dependent upon me.  I worry, because my husband is not working, and I worry about their survival. 

I do not fear death itself, but I do fear how I could die... which I think everyone fears.  
*How would you like to go?

Quickly, painlessly, and loved.  I do not want to linger on if there is no hope of recovery.
*What are your final wishes?

 Cremate me and sprinkle my ashes in the rose garden as Walt Disney World.

*What are your wishes for your funeral and burial?

I do not want a funeral. I do not want to be buried. See above. 

*What would you like people to say about you when you're gone?

She was a good person.

W. :)

This is me challenge: part 7

*Where is your favorite place to go to get away from it all?

I like to go hiking, alone.  Being in nature, listening to the bird calls, waterfalls, the wind in the trees... just perfection.

*What outdoor activities do you like to participate in?

Hiking, cycling, walking, swimming... and I REALLY want to go white water rafting.

*What are some of your favorite outdoor memories?

Going fishing at the lake in Wilson, NC with my father. Going fishing with my husband at the beach (totally catch and release). The funniest was when he caught a puffer fish, and the thing started inflating itself. Going out on a little 2 seater speed boat with the husbeast.

Going for walks with my son. (Great bonding times.) Going for hikes. Bicycling, especially when I lived on the beach.

*Where in the world have you been?

I have lived in a few states (NC, FL and KY).  I have visited a few more (CA, NV, NY, IL, OH, TN, NC, SC, GA, FL). I have lived in Sweden. I have visited Spain, Denmark, Canada, and Mexico.

I would love to travel all over Europe, and visit specific places in Canada (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Vancouver). I want to visit Monterey Bay and San Francisco, in California

*Where was your favorite vacation?  (As a child, as a teenager, as an adult, etc.)

As a teenager, my favorite vacation was a road trip that I took with my aunt and cousin.  We drove from Miami up to Tennessee, crossed over into North Carolina through the Great Smokey Mountains and then back down on the coastal side.  We stopped at little towns all along the way, had no hotel reservations and we had a great time. 

As an adult, my favorite vacation was a train trip the three of us took to NYC for Christmas in 2004. That was tons of fun.

*Where would your dream vacation be?

Well since we are talking about dream vacations.... I would like to take a year off to travel all over Europe!  Spend a week or two in all the major cities, and then travel by Eurail to the next destination. Rent cars for side trips to quaint villages, rent bikes for local in town travel. Of course, with this I would also have to have an unlimited spending budget, as well.

*How do you like to travel?  

I may be one of the few people who still likes to travel by train. Sure, air travel is quicker, sometimes cheaper, and definitely cleaner... but I love the clickety-clack of the rails, seeing the country go by outside the window. 


*What is the most daring thing you've done?

Daring....Well, up and moving to Kentucky with no job and no safety net was pretty daring. Fortunately, everything fell into place.

*What is the stupidest thing you've done?

Getting married, and hiding it from my family for 8 months.  It was one of those, "I'm gonna do what I want, and there is nothing you can do about it (especially if I don't tell you)" moments. Caused a huge rift in my family for a while. It would have been better to have been honest up front.

*What is your most embarrassing moment? (Or moments.)

 Can't really think of any.... Oh, well there was the time earlier this year when I went to stand up at work and my scrub pant drawstring had come untied, and my pants fell down.

*What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?

 Well, not being honest about the elopement. Buying our house. And, I wish we would have moved  when we originally talked about it a long time ago.

*What is your general attitude toward life?

I tend to be a realist, sometimes a cynic.  I don't sugar coat things, but I don't always look for the negative aspects of life, either.  I want to be positive, but my life forces me to see things as they are, and I have been exposed to far too much to do otherwise.

*What kind of personality do you have?  (Shy, outgoing, calm, stressed, etc.)

I am definitely an introvert. I tend to like to stick to myself, enjoy quiet time alone and I get stressed out in large social situations. I do not tend to get frantically stressed in most situations, and maintain a calm demeanor.  

*How has your personality changed over the years?  What made it change?

Well,  I probably have become more introverted.  I have a really difficult time making friends, which makes me sad... I have a hard time finding people who share my interests.  So, I guess the solution is to get new common interests? 

*How well do you associate with others?

I get along fine with people... at least I think so. I am never unfriendly, but do tend to be direct. I am not much for gossip, which can be a problem, working mostly with women. I am a firm believer that if someone will say something to you about someone else, they will say something about you, as well.  

*What makes you nervous/happy/angry/surprised/scared/etc?

The prospect of travel always makes me happy and excited!  I get nervous about speaking in front of people. I get angry about people treating others badly. Other emotions are on a case by case basis. 

*What are your current hobbies?

Knitting, crochet and quilting.  Reading is also a big hobby of mine.  Hiking. Cycling.

*What hobbies have you had in the past?

I used to be quite the philatelist (stamp collector). I like gardening. I like travel, crafting, bellydancing, cross stitch... I used to paint in high school. 

*How often do you get to do your hobbies?

Crochet, knitting and reading tend to be portable, so I get to do those things fairly often. Hiking... well, I would like to do that more...this past year, I did not get to very often, because it tended to rain on most of the days I was off work. I guess I am going to have suck it up and tromp around in the mud.

*What hobbies do you wish you could start? 

I would like to learn needle-felting, painting with watercolors, stained glass, and to get back into belly dance. 

W. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

This is me challenge: part 6

*How many hours do you like to sleep at night?

Like to sleep.... about 10.  Get to sleep... about 6. 

*Do you take naps?

If I have been off a few days, and will be working that night, I will try to lay down for about three hours before. Otherwise, usually no naps.

*Do you like a lot, or few blankets and pillows?

1 sheet in the summer. In the winter, 1 blanket and 1 quilt.  3 pillows (2 under head, 1 huggy)

*Can you sleep anywhere, or does it have to be in your own bed?

Oh, I sleep better just about anywhere but my bed.  I can sleep just about anywhere. Planes... I fall asleep immediately after takeoff, and wake when I feel the descent.  Trains, automobiles, doctor's office, Firestone, and my favorite, hotels.  However.... I sleep terribly at my grandmother's house. I have become so accustomed to sleeping alone, I can not sleep with my husband.  I tend to sleep on the couch if I am home at night. 

  *What are your favorite conditions for a good-night's sleep?  Does it have to be completely dark and quiet?

I sleep during the day more often than I sleep at my ideal sleep is in my house, alone, the neighbor's upstairs not at home. The temperature must be cool.  It does not have to be dark. And, I like some white noise, usually a fan.


*What are your favorite foods?

I have never met a noodle I didn't like. I tend toward pasta dishes... but not heavy, cheesy dishes. I like pasta with a lot of vegetables and a simple olive oil sauce. 

I also like Thai, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Indian and Mexican foods. 

*What are your favorite desserts?

Ice cream. The best vanilla you can get.  

*Do you like to cook or bake?  What are your favorites to make?

I like to bake cakes. I was really into baking cupcakes for a while. 

*Do you have any food allergies?


*What are some foods you have a hard time saying "no" to?

Ice cream, pasta, my favorites....

*What foods do you HAVE to have name brand?  Which can you do generic?

Pasta can be generic... sauce has to be brand. Cheese has to be brand. Lunch meats have to be brand.

*Do you try to eat healthy?

Yes.... usually. I love to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. But, I also love a good burger. 

*Do you prefer eating out?  Where?

Honestly, I prefer my own cooking, except salads.  Nothing is better than a restaurant salad. Oh, and Five Guys burgers can not be replicated at home.  


*How is your overall health?

Well, I really need to lose a lot (A LOT) of weight. But, otherwise, I am pretty healthy. 

*Have you had any surgeries? (If yes, give details.)

Lost my gall bladder. January 2002 I had to have it removed. It was a laparoscopic procedure. All I remember is waking up in the recovery room and immediately throwing up. 

*Have you had any broken bones?  (If yes, give details.)

I got a hairline fracture of my left ulna while learning to roller skate way back when I was 7 years old. I kept falling and breaking my fall with my left arm. Only had to wear a sling for a few weeks. 

*Do you have allergies? (If yes, give details.)

Just the seasonal stuff....

*What are you doing to keep healthy now?

Can I get back to this one?

Around the World:

*What major world events have happened in your lifetime?

Wow, since  December,1969?....Too many to list here. 

*Has it affected who you are now?

I think it is impossible to live life without being affected by the world in in which we live. 

 *Who was the President when you were born?  Who is it now?

Nixon was President when I was born.  Today, President Obama is serving his second term. 

*What natural disasters have you been in?

The first natural disaster I ever experienced was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Until Andrew, there had not been a hurricane in Miami in over 20 years. I have been through several hurricanes since then. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is me challenge: part 5

*What are some of your personal and family traditions for each holiday?  (New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Easter, Passover, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.)

Well, as we are now on our own, (i.e. no family nearby, just the three of us) we are developing new traditions as each year goes by. 

New Years has always been celebrated at home with family. In the past, I have been the only one awake as the ball drops.  In Florida, we would light sparklers and firecrackers in the front yard, then go inside to watch the programming. At midnight, people would shoot guns (highly dangerous), and we would avoid windows waiting for the gunfire to cease. Since becoming a nurse, I have worked every New Year's Eve, except last year. I will be working this year. 

Independence Day is for cooking out, and my son and I go watch fireworks. (Fireworks always make me cry, for some reason.) 

Easter is spent with family. But I want to change that tradition, and go to church.

Thanksgiving used to be spent going between all our families' homes, and stuffing ourselves like crazy (because you can't eat a little bit without insulting the hosts). Last year we went to the movies and Cracker Barrel. This year we spent it with our neighbors.  I made all the sides and they made the turkey.  Next year I will be working. 

Christmas has changed a lot for us. In Miami, we would spend Christmas Eve with Willie's relatives (they celebrate La Noche Buena), then spend Christmas morning with my family. Christmases were always spent at my grandmother's home. We always had lasagna.

It is our tradition to decorate the Christmas tree on the weekend nearest my son's birthday. While David prefers a real tree, I prefer the artificial variety.  Sure real trees smell awesome, but I get so sad throwing away a tree every year. So, large green toilet brush it is. :)  Decorations come down on the weekend after New Year's Day. 

Last year was our first Christmas on our own.  And of course, I worked the 24th, 25th and 26th. This year, I am off.  I will be making lasagna for 12/24. We will watch holiday movies, and spend it together. On Christmas morning I will make breakfast, and then we will go serve dinner at the Rescue Mission. Then home to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special. :)

*How do you celebrate adult's birthdays?

Dinner out and a homemade cake.

*How do you celebrate children's birthdays?

Dinner out and a homemade cake. (It is hard being born two weeks before Christmas. And David is not much of a party person.)

*How do you celebrate your anniversary?'

We used to go away for our anniversary (usually Disney World). This year, hubby rented a hotel room half a mile from home and we went out to dinner and spent a night just the two of us. It was nice.  My dream anniversary would be a trip to Ireland and a gift of a claddagh ring.

Home life:

*Describe the places you've lived.

 So many places... Well, Miami when I was very small was very different than it is today.  Miami in the early 70's was resort-y, and still Southern in a lot of ways. Now, it is extremely diverse, which is good and bad.  Good in that people get exposed to many different cultures and could use this exposure to learn tolerance and acceptance. Bad, because often the diversity serves to create more barriers between people (race, sexuality, language, cultural beliefs, etc). 

When I was really small we lived in my grandmother's house.  From there we lived in several places ( at least three that I can remember...this was all before the age of 5), until we moved to North Carolina.

Wilmington, North Carolina... it was a trailer on the beach.  I don't remember a lot about this time, except that I developed a huge crush on a drummer in a local band. The band played a lot of Beatles tunes, and I fell in love with "Penny Lane." I also remember seeing snow on the beach, which I remember thinking was so strange. 

Wilson, North Carolina.... think oak-lined streets, old houses, brick buildings.  We lived on the corner of Park Avenue and Kenan Street, in a huge old house that was converted into apartments. 

Obviously, it was not boarded up while we lived there.  The front door led into a foyer with stairs going up on the left. The windows on the second floor to the right belonged to my mother's best friend, Macon who was from Virginia. The attic apartment belonged to a guy named Bruce, who was awesome and had those clicker-clacker things.  Our apartment was the one on the lower left.  Being a converted house, the apartment was laid out in a weird way... kind of like a long row of rooms connected by doorways. From the living room, the next room was my parents' room, then the bathroom and then the eat-in kitchen.  My room was a little room that was just sort of stuck onto the back of the house, and when we first moved it was sealed shut.  There was a small screened in patio off the kitchen. There were fireplaces in the first two rooms. My room was always cold. We lived here for two years. 
photos borrowed from workingthejob 

Then we got a brand new trailer in Macclesfield, NC.  (A very, very tiny town.) The trailer backed up to a plot of farmland that had rotating crops, from corn to potatoes. This is a pretty good, though modern, representation of it.

Next to our trailer was a ditch, that my best friend and I would get into a just get covered with mud, and then spray each other with the water hose. 

From here we moved into my father's mother's (Lucy) house. I hated that house, and that woman. I had severe night terrors and walked and talked in my sleep while we lived there. Lucy was a mean, hateful drunk. This was the point at which my parents' marriage fell apart. My mother moved us into an apartment of our own on Elm Street.  I don't remember much about the apartment, except that it was an upstairs unit, it had wood paneling, and that there was a hair salon next door where I loved to hang out. All other memories I had of that time were not good.

Then we moved back to Miami, to live with my aunt.  At the time, my aunt was married to a paranoid, schizophrenic, cocaine addict. He would go off drug fueled crazy times, and we would have to run off in the middle of the night to stay in hotels. (CrAZY!!!!)

We moved several more times after that (11 times that I can remember).  I did not have a stable home life until I moved out on my own.  My first apartment was an over-the-garage in-laws apartment on Miami Beach. This is the main house:

The rent was only $400, and included lights and water. It was within walking distance to the beach, and this was before South Beach was SOUTH BEACH.  Lincoln Road was quiet, and usually pretty deserted. My apartment was a one bedroom, one bath. It had a little eat-in kitchen, and small storage room. I loved this little place. It was close enough to walk to everything, including my job, the grocery, the laundry...It was where I lived when I met my husband, and it was here that I had my wedding reception. I lived there for three years, until we moved off the beach to another apartment.

We lived in the first apartment at the top of the stairs pictured. We moved in October 1993. We moved out August 1997 (days after Princess Diana died). It was a large one bedroom apartment.  It had seven (7!!!!) closets.  We loved that apartment.  The rent was around $700. This was where we lived when I became pregnant with David.  We had my baby shower right under that canopy by the pool. Willie decided that we needed to have a house... that paying rent was a waste of time.  So.....

We bought a house.... where we lived for 13 years. Until we lost it due to foreclosure. Which sucks. 

Now we live in Lexington, KY, in an apartment.  In all honesty, I prefer apartment living. I hated yard upkeep. I like the convenience of just calling the landlord when something breaks. Perhaps one day we will consider purchasing, again... but, I doubt it.

*What was your favorite house or apartment?  Why?

My first little apartment on my own.

*How do you like to decorate?

I like lots of color against white.  However, that is not what I have.  I have beige and dark woods. :(

*What is it about home that you love?

My son.  But, I really like having alone time. 

*How has your standard of life changed through the years?

Well, it has gone up and down. For a while it was really good. But, my husband has never been great with keeping jobs, and the year I became a nurse was the year he stopped being an electrician (2007). He has not had a full time job since.... now, he is in paramedic school, which he should complete in the next three months. At that point he needs to find a full time job, or we will be renegotiating our contract....

Right now... we get by. And that's about it. If we were still living in Miami, we would not be able to make it, at all.

♫Sing along Saturday♫ (Christmas Edition)

This is an old video, hence the poor quality, but it is one of my very favorite Christmas songs. Plus it's Sting.... what's not to like about that.  The first "Very Special Christmas" album is one of many I play every year.

After years and years of forced commercialism, and losing what Christmas is really about, I am really looking forward to Christmas this year.

Financial issues have forced us to give fewer gifts to our son, about which, at first, I felt really guilty. I wrapped his three little packages, and placed them under the tree, and said to myself, "It's beginning to look a little like Christmas." :(  And, I really wanted to figure out  how to add more presents.  But, the more I thought about it... the more I was ok with it. And, David is not a little kid anymore. He is 16, and he needs to learn what Christmas means, and it ain't presents.....(we have done Toys for Tots many years, and we donate food to food banks all the time, but our holidays always ended up being the same every year... go to people's houses and get food and presents and then watch tv until it was time to move on.)

So, this year with me being off work, and it just being the three of us.... We are finally going to do one of  the things I have wanted to do for the holidays for years and years..... We are volunteering at the local Rescue Mission, and serving dinner.  I am so excited for this. My son, less so, but I feel it will be an invaluable experience for him, and maybe teach him to be grateful for all that he does have, even if it is not as much as his friends.

W. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Well.... It's December 21st, and we are all still here.....

So, I guess I will have to renew my car tags after all.  :(

I made a joke today at the pre-shift huddle, that on Saturday we will all say, "I guess I am going on my diet for reals."

Let's see, what else do I have to do since we are not going to be in the Rapture....

Grocery shopping (hiss)
Pay bills. (hiss)

Well.... that sucks.

W. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This is me challenge: part 4

*How did you meet your spouse?  Was it love at first sight or did it take some time?

I met my husband, William, while working at Dr. Slavin's office. He came in to work as a medical assistant intern, and I was the receptionist.  He had called to get directions before coming in, and I, being a horrible direction giver, directed him in the exact opposite direction from where he needed to go.

When we met, there was an immediate attraction on both our parts, but I would not call it love. Willie was exactly the opposite of anyone I had ever been attracted to. He was dark, hairy and Hispanic, not very into culture, music or dancing, and probably, most importantly, not gay.

We met on July 8, 1991. We started dating on August 8, 1991.  Our first date was dinner at Fuddruckers and going to the Improv comedy club. Bobby Slayton performed.

*How long did you date before you got engaged?  How long was your engagement?

We had talked about marriage a lot after dating for about 6 months. Willie asked me to marry him on May 16, 1992. We married on August 14, 1992. We eloped and got married at the Miami Beach courthouse.  After our little ceremony, we visited some friends and went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and to the movies. Our church wedding was actually on our first anniversary.

*How did you get engaged?  (The story.)

I graduated from Navy bootcamp on May 16, 1992.  Willie and I had dinner at the Olive Garden with my family. After dinner, we went back to his hotel (Days Inn), and "reunited." As we lay basking in the afterglow, the most romantic words ever spoken dropped from his lips:  "So, do you want to get married or what?" 

I can't wait to tell my grandkids that story.

*Who did most of the wedding plans?  Who helped?

I did all of the wedding planning. We had a very limited budget, and did everything ourselves. 

*Who were your bridesmaids/best men? 

Bridesmaids: Lisa Smith, Dorothy Mayse and Maria Marrero (Willie's sister)

Groomsmen: Joseph Dowling (My cousin), and Christopher Morris (My best friend, who also walked me down the aisle)

*Describe the details of your wedding:  the colors, the cake, the decorations, etc.
Where did your wedding take place?  Who performed the ceremony?

Our wedding took place on August 14, 1993, at the MacArthur Memorial Chapel in Miami Shores, Florida.  My dress was ivory. My bridesmaids wore peach colored gowns. Willie and the guys wore morning suits. My bouquet was osiana roses and stephanotis. The bridesmaids carried tiger lilies. 

The wedding was small. The pastor who married us was sick and had to frequently wipe his nose. Dorothy brought her year and a half year old son with her (after I specifically asked her not to), and he started screaming as soon as he saw her and he did not stop until my boss asked his father to remove him from the church.

Our reception was held in the backyard of my landlords.  The food was set up buffet style in the screened in patio. We set up a canopy with tables and chairs on the lawn. The decorations were crepe streamers, balloons and tissue paper bells. The favors were plastic swans with jordan almonds. 

Our cake was a three layer buttercream cake from the Publix bakery.  I made the topper with a statue I had purchased. My mother-in-law made the boutonnieres, and provided the napkins. 

*Who attended your wedding?

We had about 60 guests.  We had only wanted to invite friends and family, but my grandmother insisted I invite every person I worked with. 

*Where did you go on your honeymoon?  What adventures did you have?

We went to Universal Studios for our honeymoon. We stayed at the Ramada Inn Resort. We had a great time. 

*Give your children's full names, birth dates and places.

We have one son.  His name is David Angel.  He was born on December 11, 1996, in Aventura, Florida.  

*How did you choose their names?

Well, if the baby were a girl, the name would have been Gabrielle (after the angel Gabriel) Rachel.  David was named after my husband's two best friends.  He got each of their middle names. 

*What were the circumstances of each child's birth?

I did not find out I was pregnant with David until I was 24 weeks along (long story). I had a very short, pleasant pregnancy. The due date I was given was December 8. I was having frequent contractions, but no pain. I went to the OB for my weekly appointment, and the decision was made that I would be induced the following day. The doctor arranged for me to deliver at Aventura Hospital, as I was originally planning to deliver at North Shore Hospital.   I had hoped for a completely natural birth. 

I went in to the hospital that evening. My husband helped the nurses start an IV (I have terrible veins.) and I was hooked up to the monitor. In the morning, the pitocin was started, and the contractions started right away.  They were strong, but tolerable. At 2 pm, the doctor broke my water, and the pains got so bad...... I had to ask for something for the pain.  They gave me Stadol in my IV, and I was out like a light. I would wake up during the contractions (I had terrible back labor), and then fall right back to sleep.  I remember at one point, when a particularly bad contraction hit, and I could not get Willie's attention, because he was watching "Baywatch."

Finally at 4, they checked me and said it was time to push.....I said, "I guess it's too late for that epidural now." I was so out of it, I couldn't figure out why my doctor was putting on gowns and hats and stuff. She said, "I'm here to deliver your baby." Oh, ok (zzzzzzz). 

I pushed and pushed and pushed......finally, they had to get the vacuum extractor, and two nurses had to help push the baby out. David came into the world at 6:36 pm. He weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce. He was born on a Wednesday. 

*What are some funny things that each child does/did or says/said?

My son is extremely funny.... it would be impossible to pick just one thing about him. He is also very easy going, and willing to be my PIC (partner in crime). One of my favorite moments was a couple of Halloweens ago, we came across a banana costume in Target.  Of course I made him put it on, and he was so awesome, he immediately started doing the PB&J dance!  

*What do you love most about each child?  What are their strengths and weaknesses?

As, I only have the one.... I love that David shares my sense of adventure and love of travel. I love his creativity. I love his sense of humor. I love his love for me. 

His strengths are his strong moral compass and his sense of humor. His weaknesses are his lack of empathy and his unwillingness to see the importance of education.

*What are your children involved in?

David is involved in a video game club at school. Other than school, he draws, paints, does graphic design work on the computer. 

*How do you spend your time with your children?

Our favorite thing to do together is travel, even if it is just driving along a road we've never taken and seeing where it goes.  We also like to go hiking together, or even just walking. Just being together, and talking.  He is great company.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today is my birthday.....

My mother did not forget this year.... which is a plus. (Last year it was totally like "16 Candles.")

I am going to go see "Pitch Perfect" and then out to dinner with the boys.  Husbeast is making me a cake.

43..... at one point, that age seemed impossible.  I realize I am now older than my mother was when I met my husband.

This has been a crazy year... full of life lessons.

I have to make my list of goals for this year. There will be many.

W. :)

This Is Me Challenge: part 3

College years:

*Did you attend college or a trade school of some sort?

I had really, really wanted to attend the International Fine Arts College to major in fashion merchandising. (I had big dreams to be a buyer.) However, with the application fee being $300 and the tuition at $17K per semester (which was huge in 1987), that was not going to be my path.....

After high school, I tried college for a year, and that was a dismal failure. My transcript from that year is a B in English Composition, and the other classes are all withdrawals and failing grades.  I just hated my school (Miami Dade Community College). 

The following year, I enrolled at National School of Technology (now Everest) to study business... mind you this is back when computers were just becoming standard office fare.... we learned MS-DOS, which was all prompt driven software. (Wordperfect had not even arrived on the scene, yet.) Our information was stored on 5" floppy disks. The screens only came in amber and black, or green and black.  I learned accounting, business writing, and all sorts of clerical stuff. It was a year long diploma program. 

I did not attend school again until 2001, when I went back to school for my nursing degree. I was, once again, in the clutches of Miami Dade College, but this time I graduated in 2007 with honors. Paid my way through, and finished with no loans. Yay!

*How did you choose what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I am still undecided. When I was a child I wanted to do something with sewing (did not understand fashion at that time). When I was in high school, I took marine biology, and fell in love. For a time I thought I wanted to be a marine mammal trainer. Then there was IFAC.  However, I ended up an office worker for the first half of my working career. And, now I am a nurse.

*What did you think was the hardest thing about your chosen profession at that time?  Did it turn out that way?

I resisted being a nurse for a very long time.  (Working in medicine is kind of a tradition in my family.) I am not fond of the fluids that come out of peoples' bodies. But, after working for 20 years in administrative functions, I felt that my job really had no purpose. It didn't really help anyone.  So, after going to school for six years to earn my "two-year" degree, (I paid my own way, sometimes only taking one class per semester if that was all I could afford.)I graduated with honors from nursing school. 

I always new that I did not want to work with adults.  My heart belongs to the babies. I did a year in pediatrics, which was very interesting and fun. Then I did a year in pediatric transplant.... which was incredibly emotionally difficult, due to the long stays and poor prognoses of the kids. Then I moved into Maternity and the NICU.  I have been in those departments ever since. 

My biggest fears were hurting the little preemie babies.  When you have to manipulate an intubated baby that is the size of a soda can, it can be terribly frightening the first time. However, once I did it once, it was never difficult, again.

*What dumb things did you do during those years?

During college?? Well, as I was in my 30's, married and a mother during my college years, I guess the nothing dumb.  Oh, except professing my crush on a schoolmate. (Nursing school wreaked havoc on many a marriage in my class.  Stress will do crazy things to a relationship.) And, I got my one and only tattoo at that time.

*What good things did you do?

Completing my program with honors was pretty significant.

*Did you live on your own?  How well prepared were you for that?

As I stated before, I was married and a mother. However, I lived on my own before I got married. I got my first apartment at age 19. 

*What life lessons did you learn?

Don't profess crushes to classmates, especially when you are married. Not that anything happened, but it sure was messed up at the time. 

*What choices did you make that affect where you are now?

Waiting so long to attend school.... I mean, every decision I could have made would have put me on a different path than where I am now. If I had not attended vocational school, I would have not been working at the doctor's office where I met my husband. I would not have my son. So, what happened was meant to be the way it was.

*What jobs have you had?  (Give details of the dates, places, responsibilities, etc.)

Aside from high school jobs....

1989: I was an Au Pair in Sweden. (Best opportunity ever!!!) I took care of two little boys. 
 After my return, I worked at Shoe Works, Amerifirst Bank, and Biscayne Pet House. 

1990: I worked for Douglas Slavin, MD, cardiologist. I was the receptionist/biller. This was where I met my husband.

1991-1999: I was in the US Naval Reserves.  I loved every moment of active duty, and hated every moment of reserve duty. I was a yeoman (fancy navy word for secretary).

1991-1994: Lessner and Troner, MDs. This was an oncologist office. I was a receptionist, biller.

1994-2004: Video Monitoring Service of America, which was a new information service. I was the office manager, in charge of billing and invoicing, human resources, and supply procurement. I left this job because I was unable to manage the more than full-time hours required, along with nursing school.

2004-2007: Barry University. I was administrative assistant to the athletics department. I actually loved working at the university. If I had not graduated nursing school, I would have stayed there for years. 

2007-2008 Broward General Hospital - pediatric nurse

2008-2009 Holtz Children's Hospital - pediatric transplant nurse
2009-2011 North Shore Medical Center - maternity/NICU nurse
2011-present University of Kentucky - newborn nursery nurse

*What dumb things did you do during those years?
Hmmmm..... the dumbest thing I ever did as a nurse.... well, during my first nursing job, we had a patient that wanted to leave AMA (against medical advice).  However, they had just connected the child to a Holter monitor, which is a portable recording device that monitors the heart for 24 hours. Having worked in physicians' offices for years, I was used to sending the patient home with the device.  The patient's mother assured me they would drop off the machine the next day. And, of course, I believed them. So, off I sent the patient with the $$$$$$ piece of equipment, which we never saw again.

*What good things did you do?

 I have saved babies lives on more than one occasion.  It is amazing how when the panic sets in, you just rely on the training to get through the moment.

*Have you used any of that knowledge in later years?


*Who were your bosses?  Did you like them/get along?

I have never had a problem getting along with my bosses.

*How did you get along with your co-workers?

Well, working with a female majority staff can get tricky, if you know what I mean. Having previously always worked in pretty culturally and sexually diverse settings, working with only females is not really my cup of tea. But that goes with the territory of being a nurse. 

I loved my co-workers at VMS, Barry University and North Shore Hospitals. In my current job, I am pretty much locked in one room most of the time. Getting to know people has been difficult, to say the least. I am not a very gregarious person, and tend to be introverted. But, it is getting better... and I have only been there over a year!!!

*Which was your favorite job?

Barry University by far!!! The coaches and faculty were wonderful. The atmosphere was relaxed. And, I made several good friends there. 

*How many years until you retire?

Too many. I figure I will work in nursing as long as I can, and then retire, and become a greeter at Walmart. Our dream of retirement used to be to sell the house and use the money to buy a winnebago, and then travel all over the US. If we needed money, we would get a job at a Walmart or something, and then be off again. 

*Do you have any big plans for your retirement? (If retired: What have you done since retirement?  What's next?)

I really want travel as much as possible.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This is me challenge: part 2

Growing up, early years: 

*Where did you grow up?  Describe it.

My very early childhood, we lived in my grandmother's house. I don't remember much about the house, except that it had a pool. I would spend a lot of time in the pool with my aunt, Gloria (Glo). 

After my father and mother married, we lived in a duplex in North Miami.  I remember holding the football so Eddie could kick it. From there we moved to a motel on Biscayne Blvd.  I remember this motel had a pool, and I would jump into it without knowing how to swim.  I nearly drowned so often, I had to wear a life jacket all the time near the pool.

When I was in first grade, we moved to Wilson, North Carolina. It was very different from Miami.  Very small town. We lived in a big old house that had been converted to 5 apartments. Ours was downstairs.  The apartment was set up like a long rectangle.  From the living room, you'd have to pass through the master bedroom to get to the one and only bathroom and then to the kitchen. It had a screened in pack porch. I remember washing my Barbie clothes and hanging them on the clothesline during the winter, and them being frozen solid. 

Also while living there, one Easter I got a bunny as a present. It was black and white, and I named him Thumper.  Thumper had to live on the back porch. One day my mother told me to let Thumper out so he could exercise, and wouldn't you know that rabbit hopped away as fast as possible, and I never saw him again! 

*What was your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is sitting in the shopping cart while my mother did groceries. I vividly remember swinging my legs. I had on Dr. Scholls sandals. Mine were red.  And I was wearing courdoroy pants.  My sandals kept flipping off my feet, and I remember my mother getting mad, and throwing the sandals into the shopping cart. We were in the dairy aisle. 

*What games did you play as a child?

I don't remember playing games as much as I remember playing with Barbies.  I also loved playing with my Easy Bake Oven, Sew Perfect sewing machine and my Knit Magic!  I was kind of a loner kid, even back then. 

*Where did you go to school?

I moved schools a lot.  I went to Bethany Covenant (FL)  for Kindergarten, Gratigny (FL), Adams (NC), Margaret Hearne (NC), Macklesfield (NC), Ojus (FL), William Jennings Bryant (FL) and Sabal Palm (FL) elementary schools. 

*Who were your friends?

My best friend as a child was Wendy O'Dwyer.  She lived in Wilson, NC.  Her mother, Linda,  was a nurse. Her father was also named Eddie. He rode a motorcycle. She had a brother named Robbie. 

*Who were your favorite teachers and why?

In kindergarten, I loved my teacher Ms. Ethel.  She was an elderly woman.  I used to go spend the night at her house.  Other than her, I do not recall having a favorite teacher until high school.

*What were your chores? 

Never had chores at this time. 

Growing up, teenage years:

*What activities did you participate in?  (Sports, dancing, music, arts, etc.)  Explain what you did with each activity.  

Did not participate in extra-curricular activities.  However, I did volunteer as a candy-striper at Mount Sinai Hospital.

*How did you learn how to drive?  What kind of car did you have?

Well, I took driver's ed in high school.  We used to go off campus for lunch, and one day while we heading to lunch in a friend's car, we got crashed into by a tourist.  It made me very nervous about driving. So, I did not get my license until I was 19, and I had to get it before I moved to Sweden.  I did not have a car of my own. I like to say my car was the metro-limousine. (BUS)

*Who were your friends?  

I had a little group of friends... Dorothy Mayse and Lisa Smith were the two main-stays.  There were others that came and went...Ellen Bregman and Katie Martin. My best guy friend was Cyril Cohen.

*Did you have a girl/boy friend?  Talk about him/her (if your spouse is okay with it!).

I did not date much in high school. I had "boy friends," but no one I would call a boyfriend. 

*What did you like/dislike about school?

I sometimes feel like I went to a school out of a John Hughes movie.  It was very clique-ish. The hardest was getting picked on about my clothes. We did not have a lot of money, and for the first two years of high school, either my mother bought my clothes or I had to wear hand-me-downs. 

The other part I did not like was that at the time I did not see the point of it. Now, I regret not putting in my best effort. 

I really started liking school in my junior and senior years. I took classes I found interesting, and that was when I started getting better grades. However, if I was not interested in the subject (government and civics...I am look at you), there was no hope for the class. 

*What was your first paid job? 

My first genuine tax-paying job was at Woolworth's. I was 14 years old. My next job was for Burger King. I worked at Burger King for a year during my senior year.  I worked double shifts, opening the store at 6 in the morning, working until 1 or 4 in the afternoon, then coming back at 8 in the evening, and working until close at 1 in the morning. I did this for $3.85 an hour for a year. When it was time for a raise, they gave me a nickle raise. I told them to stick it, and went to work at Winn Dixie.

*What were your chores at home?

I was in charge of laundry.  My mother would drop me off at the laundromat every week with all the clothes while she went to do the groceries. I am still a great laundress. 

♫Sing along Saturday♫

 This is a band I fell in love with at age 19, when I was living in Sweden.  Kind of pseudo-punky pop.  This particular song makes me drive way too fast!  :)

This is Me Challenge...

Often my blogging lags because I just don't know about what to write. Sometimes, something will happen, and I think, "Gee, this would be good to write about." But, since I don't always have access to the internet, time goes by, and the topic seems less relevant or less funny or interesting.

So, today on the Pinterests, I found a link to this site:  This Is Me Challenge .  This site uses an LDS (Latter Day Saint) format to record your personal history.  The Mormon church is huge in the genealogy field, and they follow family records for hundreds of thousands families, not only in the church, but outside, as well.

So, for my birthday (next week, 12/18) I thought I would start this challenge. We will start at the beginning, because that's a very good place to start: (I am not including last names, due to the possibility of ID theft, etc.)

Your birth and family:  
*What is your full name and how did you get that name?  Do you have any nicknames?
Wendy Leigh ... My mother had originally planned to name me Michelle Ray (after my birth father, Michael Ray) or Jodi Lynn (cute name). My mother claims that when she saw me, I just looked like a Wendy... plus, the song "Windy" was very popular (a song supposedly about an Australian hooker).

Leigh was after my aunt Gloria Lee.

 My last name at birth was different, but it was changed when I was adopted at the age of four by the only father I ever knew, Eddie.

*What are your parent's full names and birth dates and places?

My mother's name is Cecilia Marie, and she was born in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Sept 12, 1950

My birth father is Michael Ray. He was born in Miami, Florida. He was born in 1952.

My mother was 19 when I was born, and my father was only 17. My father was not there for my mother during the pregnancy, and did not come around until I was 5 months old.  At that time my mother told him to take a hike, and was never involved in my life after that.  Not knowing my real father has been an issue for me my whole life. I never pursued trying to find him, feeling that if he did not accept me as an adult would doubly hurt. Through genealogy searches, I believe that he is now deceased. 

*What is the date of your birth?  Where were you born?  What are some of the circumstances (when your mom went in to labor, how long, her doctor, your dad fainting, etc.) of your birth?

I was born on December 18, 1969, at North Miami General Hospital in North Miami, Florida.  (The hospital is now a Johnson and Wales University.)  My mother ate fried chicken, and watched the Tonight Show when she went into labor. Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on that show. I was born at 8:57 the next morning, by forceps delivery. My mother was sedated for the delivery, which was not uncommon back then. 

*What are your sibling's full names and birth dates? 

I am, technically, an only child. However, my mother did give birth to a baby boy when I was nearly two years old. That baby was given up for adoption. 

*How was your relationship with your siblings and parents?

My relationship with my mother has been tumultuous.  My mother has been an addict of some sort or another my entire life. My entire childhood was shaped by her addictions, from her disappearing for days and leaving me with my father, to having to take on the role of caretaker to her as a teenager.   I love my mother, dearly, but her screwed up life gave me a screwed up life, which I still have to deal with the repercussions of today.

My adoptive father, Eddie, came into our lives when I was about three years old. My mother was working at a convenience store, and Eddie was working as a mechanic at a garage across the street. My mother would take me to work with her, and not realize that I had scampered off on my own to the mechanic shop. So, it was through me that they met. They married when I was four. Their relationship was totally demented. They both were alcoholics, and he was a mean, abusive drunk, but mostly toward my mother. 

At around age 8, my mother had to leave for an extended period to care for my infant cousin, leaving me with Eddie.  During this time, he sexually molested me repeatedly, which I did not tell my mother about until I was nearly 13 years old. Along with this molestation, I was also molested by several other men in North Carolina. These fucked up relationships with men has totally messed up my relationships with men today. 

*What are some lessons you learned from your parents?

Good question. Don't take drugs. Keep your hands to yourself. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Sex is not love, and vice versa. 

*How did you help in your home?  

Well, as a small child, I don't think I did.  I often remember my mother trying to get me to clean up my room. I would shove everything under the bed or in the closet. To fix that, my mother used to put everything on top of my bed, so the only way I could go to bed was to clean it up.