Jun 26, 2012

I can see the finish line!

Here's hoping I don't strain a muscle or blow an Achilles tendon right before the end ;-)

I have 7 weeks left in nursing school. 7 weeks! I decided that I was too excited about that, and needed to break my 'radio silence' here on my blog. I really only did that because it was READILY apparent that my blog was being viewed by the other household, and obviously I have known about and read theirs for just about as long as they've been up. Eh, I'm tired of the 'intrigue'. I miss blogging.

Things are looking good, though. New people in my life (maybe even one in particular, tee hee hee!), nearing the end of school, hoping to find a job soon......it feels like I can finally start a new chapter. And I am so relieved! I've got a full 2 months in front of me, but after that? NO SCHOOL WORK.

The Redheaded Wonder is LOVING summer. She gets to go on all kinds of field trips at Metro Kids. They go swimming twice a week, and she hates that she misses the second time (she doesn't attend on Fridays). That's caused more than a few fits ;-) This week, they are going to Adventureland! At least the positive here is that if she needs to be in some kind of daycare while I'm in school, it's one that takes her swimming and to Adventureland. She really loves going.

I start my final rotations this week. It's really difficult to go back to a regular med/surg area after the activity of a critical care area. I miss critical care. And I never, EVER, thought I would say that. Thankfully, my preceptorship hours are in a critical area, but I'm not sure this particular one is going to be critical enough a lot of the time. We'll see ;-)

I've been a total failure at the whole exercising/meditation/eating write department. Eh, one thing at a time. I can't really prioritize my exercise needs like I should right now. There are far too many things/people/responsibilities that need to come first. But, I'm hoping I can get my feet under me again soon. Hopefully in some kind of Downward Facing Dog like fashion. We'll see.

So, back on the radar I suppose. We'll see where the wind blows me ;-)

Apr 26, 2012

Nothing is Sacred

Including this blog, LOL!

I need to go on hiatus here folks. Personal reasons, and all that good stuff. I need to go on lock-down for a while. It's been real!

Apr 25, 2012

Apr 24, 2012

Chicken Pox Magic Cream

It's official. The itches have started. ;-)

I'm not a fan of Caladryl, and it says RIGHT on the package - Do not use on chickenpox. There's a reason for that. If used too extensively this antihistamine cream can end up in your blood stream. A lot of people just slap that on for the itch relief, but you can actually overdose on it (yes a topical cream). Anyone choosing to read up on it at all would see that.

So, what's a Mom to do? My kiddo has the itchies. The Redheaded Wonder is of course doing the standard oatmeal-in-the-sock bathtub soaks. Relief is pretty temporary, however. I have, right now, a completely content kid sitting next to me. Why? Coconut oil.

Yup, that wonderful anti-microbial, all natural, coincidentally tasty magic oil. Redheaded Wonder is calling it Magic Itchy Cream.

Magic Itchy Cream
Equal parts of coconut oil and aloe vera gel

Woah, complicated. ;-)

The aloe vera gel I use is from Trader Joe's and it has calendula and arnica in it as well. (Bonus). You could add in lavendar essential oil or tea tree essential oils. But I didn't (mostly because I am out of both). But this worked so well, it probably doesn't even need it unless you are worried about possible infection (or active infection) of specific spots.

It's good stuff. And it works a heck of a lot better than the over-the-counter, chemical laden, lazy person crap that you can go buy at the store.

Low Simmer to Rolling Boil

Man, someone turned up the heat in here.

The shit has hit the proverbial fan. End of the semester in nursing school going horribly, horrifically awry? Check.

I'm having issues with a professor regarding a particular assignment that I'm trying to hash out. I'm trying to do a make-up clinical. I have several appointments that I kinda CANNOT miss over the next few days. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue except for one pesky little issue.....

Oh yeah. My darling daughter has chicken pox. This right here, this is the first time that I have truly felt and had problems with being a single Mom. I can't be five places at once, and quite frankly I don't want to be. I also have no issue with the fact that I am in this alone. It's just a cold bucket of water to the face when you find a need to be five different places at once and you can't figure out how to keep all the balls juggling and up in the air.

This also reminds me why having family around can be such a blessing. It's hard to ask friends (even very close ones) to take time away from their families to bring me things, or help watch Redheaded Wonder. It's a very lonely feeling. I miss my Sister and my Mom and all my other siblings deeply. We are a tight knit family. I had a picture perfect time growing up, and I have amazing parents and siblings to show for it. I just wish they were here sometimes. It's hard without them.

We'll manage, we always do. Next week/month/year there will be a whole new set of challenges. And we'll rise to the occasion just like we always do. Kicking and screaming if need be. My nursing instructor made fun of me a bit today - "It's like a movie! Every thing that can go wrong just does!". She laughed, but it was also a bit of sobering moment.

Survival of the fittest my friends. /pity fest.

Apr 22, 2012

Your Mom Goes to College


Oh my goodness. I am so excited everyone! SO EXCITED! By the time I leave this program I will have spent almost three years getting this degree.

I graduate in Mid-August of 2012. That means I have one more semester, and I will be eligible to sit for the RN boards (aka NCLEX). This transition scares me a bit. I won't lie. Being a student has sort of become my identity. There is a seasonality to the whole experience. Every semester starts and it's exciting! And by the end of it....you're just ready to move on to the next one and get this one over with. With nursing school (at least with mine) it goes straight through the summer without skipping a beat. Three straight years.

What WILL I do with myself?

Well, actually....

Yeah. I'm probably going straight back in. I know that's crazy talk. I had a goal when I started this crazy adventure, and that was to my Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, or ARNP. ORIGINALLY I wanted to get my Certified Nurse Midwifery, or CNM. But, I do believe I would prefer to get my Family Nurse Practitioner, or FNP. This would allow me to see a wide range of clients in a more general way. I've always loved working with babies and women. Big fan. So who knows. Maybe I'll even get my Women's Health, and my Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I DO know that I plan on doing this all at Frontier Nursing University.

I'm obviously still sorta figuring the details out.

But the important part of this message is this - I will be able to take care of myself and the Redheaded Wonder. By myself. It won't be a glamorous lifestyle, but I don't need glamour. I just want comfortable. Happy. Self-sufficient. Independent.

Honestly, I love being a nurse. It's a great job for me, I think. I love the critical thinking, and the teaching, and the skills, and customizing care plans for patients individual needs. My original motivation was essentially to extend my doula role into a larger childbirth specific role - but I have discovered that the entire field (while there are still floors I don't like) happens to be something that I think I am pretty good at. It's nice to feel that way.

So here goes fifth semester. I've got my eye on you. And I'm taking you DOWN.

Apr 20, 2012

Violets are blue...

Violet the kitty cat

Defining Success

How do you define your own success? In what way do the stars need to align in order for you to feel successful, happy, fulfilled?

An interesting issue has come up for me. This phenomenon that in order to successfully have completed this journey and this transformation that I need to become involved again in a relationship....just leaves me pondering the underlying message that sends.

I think a lot of people pity 'the single girl' (or Mom as the case may be). Ya know what? I am a truly happy person. I mean, not all the time every single day of the week, who's like that? The pressure of being perfect and wonderful all the time is just too much. I mess up, I screw up, I make mistakes, but it makes me human and I get to learn and grow. What a gift, truly.

But, back to that underlying message - why is it that success is measured on whether or not you choose to take up a partner? That's not success, that's a conscious decision. Just like choosing to NOT involve a partner in your life for whatever reasons you might have is a conscious decision. I don't want a rigid ideal prescribed to me. I don't need a partner in my life to feel like the picture is complete. It's not complete, it's different. Just like having a dog makes some people complete and makes some people crazy.

I often sit back and ponder on my actions and what things I have chosen to do over this last year, and I think it's important that I do that. I journal about it (this isn't that journal, by the way. Although I'm sure it seems that way sometimes, LOL!) I know with 100% certainty that I have absolutely zero regrets. What would the point of that be? I'm not going to make myself a prisoner within the regrets of my actions. Whenever I have a regret, or worry about whether or not I have done the wrong thing, I try to justify it. But that's just masking my regrets. I don't regret a SINGLE decision, choice, interaction, anything that I have done. Because I am so comfortable and have no regrets, any criticism for my actions truly does for the most part just leave me pitying the person with nothing better to do other than decide that they would have done it better. I don't need to justify doing the right thing. 

Because I have zero regrets, and because I am choosing to define my success by MY standards and not some societal set of rules, I get to be the person I want to be. What a gift! Find your bliss. Define your own success. Live by your rules. Screw anyone that tries to put you in a box. And tell them to get a hobby. ;-)

And by the way....who says that I don't? I don't tell you all everything.  ;-)

Apr 15, 2012

Insert Witty Title Here

I don't even know what to call this blog post. Random conglomeration of updates? Eh, whatever.

It has been many, many days since my last blog post. What's been going on since then? Well let's see -

Redheaded Rosie - this child has turned into a bottomless pit. I don't know where she is putting all this food. I am just positive that she will be having a huge ol' growth spurt here soon. We've also been having some emotional upheaval, for several different reasons. She's just been advised that she is about to have a Stepmother. For the most part, she reacts well to this news, but she has her occasional breakdowns about it as well. I think it's all pretty normal, but her whole last 12 months have been a series of ups and downs. This is just another detour, we'll manage.

Funky Mama - well.....things are still going pretty well for me! There is always the underlying drama revolving around the other household, but quite honestly I don't really have or want to spend too much time or effort worrying about that. It's a lot of pot stirring. Nothing that can't be managed.

School is going well. I'm in the final weeks of my 4th semester - so I have one more semester after this. I got my confirmation on where my preceptorship location is. I'm pretty excited about that! It should prove to be a wonderful experience, I got the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Not my first hospital choice, but I don't mind Mercy Hospital either. It'll be great.

My love life....hmm. Yup, not going there yet. Not ready to talk about that ;-)

Short, sweet, and to the point. One day at a time over here. And my days sure have been nice lately!

Mar 23, 2012

Rough Week

This week.....has been rough. For a lot of different reasons. I'm battling some demons, running out of steam, missing my kidlet, running from pillar to post with appointments and things to do, people to see......but it's been good. I mean, what a blessing, truly. I have some of the most amazing, selfless friends that a girl could ask for.

This week I:
  • Went to several movies
  • Held a 5 week old
  • Drove to Iowa City to confirm that I don't need surgery (WOOT!)
  • Did some studying
  • Did some cleaning
  • Did a whole ton of exercise
  • Did some knitting
  • Slept. Finally. For more than a few hours.
  • Cooked several new meals
  • Spent not one, but TWO nights eating dinner with some new friends and their adorable (LIKE SERIOUSLY FREAKING PRECIOUS) boys
  • Made a few major life decisions that I am still mulling over
  • Started meditating again
  • Shared a bottle of wine with a wonderful friend
  • Re-sparked a flailing friendship
  • Unloaded a whole bunch of things I can't and won't use anymore to someone that will
  • Made a decision to let some things go
  • Didn't study as much as I should have
I can't ask for anything more. This week has been rough, crazy, wonderful, horrible, and all the other extreme bits of emotion you can think of. And It's only Friday. The wee one isn't here for another 48 hours. And the night is young (and you're so beauuuuuuuutiful.....).

And my friends......I was blessed with some wonderful people in my life. I realize that I have absolutely zero family in this state. But my goodness sakes alive if it doesn't feel like I have the biggest extended family in the world all crammed into this one little town. Thank you everyone, you have meant so much more to me than you realize! 

Mar 17, 2012

Spinning into balance

Have you ever spun a top on a hardwood floor? You get a good spin on that sucker and it just keeps going, and going, and going.....sometimes it will hit a bit of grit, and it falters a bit. Usually it keeps going. Sometimes it spins out, and you have to start it again. But either way, with your own steam behind it, that little top just keeps on spinning and spinning.

I know - odd way to start a blog post. But I've had this recent....attack, I guess you could say, on my 'lifestyle'. Ya know, the one where I sometimes choose to go out and share a single drink with a group of friends at an adult location of my choosing. No concerns about the amount of drinking, but rather what I could be doing instead of it. Primarily that if I choose to have a drink with my friends, maybe that means that I am somehow taking less time with the Redheaded Rosie. The 'source' of the attack would come as no surprise to absolutely anyone that has any idea who I am, or anyone who has ever read this blog. Instead of being upset about it, I think I will use this springboard to address something we all are looking to work on everyday - balance in our lives.

To me, part of being a good parent is having that balance. I had a wonderful conversation last night that talked about finding that flame within yourself. Finding the thing that sets you on fire, that feeds your soul, and that being with a partner involves the synergistic growth of those flames. Not one shining more brightly or one taking over the other one, but two flames separately being fueled by their own combustible, and as a result creating a stronger, brighter relationship.

I think that being able to have a drink with your friends is important. I think deciding you are worth taking the time to do things like exercise is vital. I think that finding a hobby that fuels your soul is essential. I think that being YOU, and not the wife, mother, employee, student, friend, etc that you are labeled as is the only thing that makes this life a unique experience.

Look, my top is still a little wobbly. I don't have everything figured out. And I won't pretend to. But I kinda had the damn thing stopped in it's tracks a year ago. I had to restart that puppy back up. And it wasn't easy, and there have certainly been a few wobbly moments. But I refuse to sit here and apologize for that, so don't you dare ask me to. Don't fill my inbox with crap that attempts to 'hold me accountable'. Generalizations notwithstanding, I find it fascinating that those with the worst track records are the quickest to pass judgement on someone else' life.

So please - be kind. To yourself, to your friends, to your family members, acquaintances, total strangers and yes, even your enemies. Nobody likes to hear that they are a bad person, or a bad parent because they are just trying to find themselves again. Especially when attempting to find yourself is done on legitimate time. No one should ever have to apologize for choosing to be more than a single label. And quite frankly, I can't afford to do that. I don't even know who I really am. But I'll be damned if a few nasty emails or blog posts are gonna keep me from finding that out.

Mar 16, 2012

Top 5 Worst Pickup Lines

After some convincing a while back, I joined an online dating site. I figured - why the heck not. I don't have a lot of time to date conventionally, and at the time, didn't really have any prospects. I wasn't looking for love, just for a few good times with some new people.

Well, my online dating experience was....odd to say the least. It started out fairly normal - I got a lot of messages, a lot of interest, a lot of very nice people contacted me. But, I also got a slew of just yuckiness in my inbox. I very quickly lost interest after that. Well, I've gotten a few new ones lately. So, it reminded me that even though I was able to chat with some nice people, it wasn't all fun and games. I have created a top 5 list of the worst pickup lines that were messaged to me. I should note - these are the ones that are appropriate to post on the internet. There several that I am NOT going to share. Too raunchy and I deleted those right away. But the rest of these gems are straight copy and pasted from my dating site inbox (an account that I am going to shut down today). Perhaps not the average representation. Just the ones that really left me scratching my head a bit.

5. how r u? u got some sexy ass eyes. we shld grab some cofee. or I could grab yo ass. message me if you into it. Wow. Really? I hate to start out with this, but I do judge people a wee bit on their ability to converse in an online environment including basic sentence structure, grammar, and spelling. Aside from the obvious suggested assault on my posterior, I'm not really sure where to go with this one.

4. I've got a dog. Maybe we could take it for a walk sometime. What do you think? I'm still having a hard time determining if this one is innocent or not. And what an interesting proposition - would you like to accompany me on an activity that may or may not involve my pet shitting right in front of you. In the first 10 minutes we've met. Oh you ask all the girls to do that with you, don't you....

3. Hey sexy. What color are your eyes? They look green. Green like my jealous heart. What's with my eyes? Are they neat or something? A lot of them involved my eyes. Anyways....what the hell do you have to be jealous of? I'm confused. And I don't get the desire to call someone sexy right off the bat. What happens if I am a huge raging wench? I won't be so sexy then.

2. I saw that you like music. I play the guitar. Well I don't play it, but I have one. Maybe we could make some music together. You're interesting. Well I didn't mean that, but I thought I should say it. I'm not sure that I feel like I wanna 'make music' with you dude. Especially when all of the pictures you have on your profile include your ex-girlfriend.


1. Hey there, gorgeous. I am attached but looking for discreet fun. I have pics if you're interested. This is the cleanest one of these 'offers' that I got. I can see that you took absolutely no time to read my profile, or have any interest whatsoever in what I am looking for. And pics? Pics of what exactly? A penguin? The McDonald's on Grand? Your little pinky toe? THE LOCH NESS MONSTER?

Sigh. Look, I am all for a wide variety of people in my life. I love getting to know new people, especially these days (and that goes for everyone, not just men). But really? REALLY? This is what the online dating world has to offer? Again, I will remind you, I kept the nasty 'do you wanna see my manhood' ones off of here, which I have to admit was a good chunk of them. Keep your 'manhood' to yourself there buddy.

And I, for one, will be turning off my online slime-o-tractor.

Mar 12, 2012

Great Grandma's Winter

So, it was recently brought to my attention by the other household, that the Redheaded Rose was concerned and confused regarding my surgery and was under the impression that I might die. In an effort to give credit where it is due, they did a fine job of explaining things to her and advised me as such, so I have no beefs. Just to clarify. RR and I have had the conversation about the surgery and what it means MANY times. But, just as with an adult, things pop back into your head.

So, I decided to ask her about it. She said, "Mommy, are you going to die?"

I knew she had asked that question, but it was VERY hard to hear it coming from your kids lips. I got a little teary, I won't lie. I was trying to figure out a way to explain it to her in a way that she would understand, and that went along with my beliefs and understanding about death.

We discussed how everything dies, which panicked her. We talked about how it doesn't have to be sad, which she didn't believe. We talked about how having surgery didn't mean that you died, she wasn't convinced.

Finally I had a flash,"RR - what happens in the spring time? What's happening with plants in the spring time?"

She kinda looked at me funny. She said she knew that flowers started to grow. And vegetables and trees. And it got warmer and it was nice outside. All this is true. So I compared myself to an apple tree (I have no idea why, just go with it). I told her that when apple trees start out in the spring they are just a big stick in the ground. But by the end of spring they are covered in leaves. And by summer, there are apples growing on them. And by early fall, those apples are ready to pick and eat, and the seeds inside those apples could grow more trees. And then, in the fall, the trees turn pretty colors, colors they don't usually show. And then, in the winter, the trees lose all their leaves. So while the big stick in the ground isn't dead - every year it gets new leaves, a new life. (Yup, reference to reincarnation).

Then I told her that's kinda how people are. They start out every year as baby trees, grow a bit bigger each year, leaves get added, they grow apples (like having children, I said), and then when the apples are all gone from the tree, they have a wonderful season of beautiful colors, and then all the leaves fall off and they pass into winter.

"So, what season am I, Mommy?" (Again, with the tears)

"You my baby girl are in the early spring. You are just a baby tree."

"What season are you Mommy?"

"I'm probably in the early summer, when the apples are just starting to grow."

"What season is Great Grandma?"

".....Great Grandma is in late fall. Her leaves are turning pretty colors. She's starting to lose some of her leaves, and soon it will be time for Great Grandma to have her Winter."

I got worried at this point that it was too much, and maybe telling her that her very elderly Great Grandmother may at some point in the next several years die, might have been a bit much. But that kiddo of mine....

"Great Grandma was a very pretty tree, Mommy. She'll have a nice winter." (I'm not making this up. I had to like....keep myself from bawling in the car and crashing us into a freaking....well, tree.)

I have the smartest kid on the planet. I swear. I thought I would share my tree story because it worked so well for Autumn. She's very perceptive, and extremely empathic. I just love her to pieces. I'm glad she's my Apple.

Mar 8, 2012

In (over) my head.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is get the fuck out of your own way.

I live in my head a lot. A LOT. I run things through my head looking for meaning, I re-live and re-tell myself the same scenarios and stories over and over and over.....

I don't like it.

I  just wish I was...cool. More able to accept things as they are. But a part of me feels like I would be missing out. I mean, I may be neurotic, but I am very emotionally invested. I realize that sometimes that is a flaw, but I would argue that it's usually a good thing to be emotionally involved in the things that are important enough for you to worry about that much in the first place. I suppose I like to know where I stand, and it bothers me when I am in the dark.

I have some really wonderful instructors at school - I may not love the program, but I have some great instructors. A few in particular have been exceptionally helpful. The last few weeks have been a particular challenge for me. A lot of different issues and problems have come up. My advisor is worried for me. Which I find both endearing and equally concerning. She isn't the type that seems to worry.

I might need to add a job to this crazy mix - and that sort of has me in a panic. I'm not sure when/how I will make that happen. But it's either that.....well no. There isn't an option, actually.

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe I'll be a little less in my head tomorrow. Always tomorrow. 

Mar 5, 2012

I Go Out Walkin'.....

Dear Sleep -

Sleep. You cruel temptress. I'm not sure how we ended up here, but I do know this - it's gotta stop. This isn't healthy for either of us. I mean, we used to be so close. I could just sense when you were near, and I was never shy about cuddling up with you. It was a delicious experience, curling up in bed with you, and being lulled to sleep. But now....now there is just this disconnect. I crawl into bed, and you don't follow me there. When I can't find you, sometimes I get in the car and drive around Des Moines, just aimlessly following the roads, playing music, drinking some cheap gas station coffee, trying to find you. It's true. But I never do. A few times, I've found the only place I can fall asleep is at a rest stop about 15 miles outside of Des Moines. I'll pull in, find you there in the back corner of the lot. It's why I keep a blanket in the back seat of my car, so we can curl up there and find each other again. I don't tell a lot of people about our rendezvous - because quite honestly, it's a bit embarrassing. We can't keep sneaking around like this.

You make me worry, sleep. You keep me up at nights, wondering where you are, and why you aren't here with me. I'm tired of looking for you. I'm tired of taking pills, hoping you'll be at the bottom of that bottle. I'm tired of waking up at the same time every single morning, regardless of when I fell asleep the night before (namely around 3:30am). I just don't feel like you care about me anymore sleep. And being without you scares me half to death. Or leaves me feeling just crazy.

So, you and I, we gotta figure this out. I don't know if we need counseling, or a weekend retreat. Maybe we need to try a medication. Heck, maybe we need to invite someone else into our relationship. Maybe we just need to survive until school is over and then re-approach our problems then. I don't know. But I do know - only seeing you for 2-4 hours a night just isn't enough for me. I can't keep living our lives together like this. I need you around more than that. So please, come and find me in the dark at night. I'm tired of walkin' around like a zombie searching for the next time when we can be together. Mama needs a sleep cuddle. And I need it now.

Love and sleepy kisses,

Funky Mama   

Feb 26, 2012

Lists for the Future

So, this last year, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to look for in a future partner.....I could easily make lists. Solid job. Believes education is more than a means to an end. Likes kids. Isn't a shit head. You know. The normal stuff.

But, I started to realize that it left my issues and my baggage out of the process entirely. So recently, I have started thinking about things that I would do differently next time. Ways that I could improve based on lessons I learned during this last marriage. It was a somewhat eye-opening experience, really.  Now I should clarify - I'm not looking for the ways that I failed, or the things that I did that were awful. We're beyond that now. But, now that I can analyze things with a healthy dose of detachment, I found several things to be cognizant of.

I won't share some of the more intimate details. Cause....well that's none of your damn business. Some of the things - if I had to do it again would be as follows:

1) Not take my partner for granted. I did this. Especially after the honeymoon period. To be fair to myself, I think everyone does this. And I suppose to be specific, make sure that they know that I appreciate what they are doing for me and for our family. I think that showing your partner that you respect their attempts at bettering the family overall is extraordinarily important. I didn't do enough of that.

2) Don't shy away from fights and confrontations. I think it's fair to say, that as a society, we haven't quite mastered the art of ESP. And yet, I always did everything I could to keep the peace, while silently stewing about something for a long time. Only, to then have an EXPLOSION. When, in all reality, the entire thing could have been avoided if I had simply said 'Ya know, I really hate it that you leave your laundry on the floor. If I buy a hamper and put it in approximately the area that you leave your clothes, can you try using that? It would mean a lot to me.' That would probably be more well received than 'Your @#$ clothes are on the #@%$ floor again. I #%#$ hate that @#$%#@. $#$%%^#%$@$@#%.' You get the idea.

3) Remembered that my needs to feel attractive are just important to me as they are to him (even if he doesn't realize it). This actually is at the root of a bigger issue. In my attempts once again at keeping the peace, I put my Husband's and my Daughter's needs above my own. My weight swung wildly out of control because I didn't feel right taking the time to work out. I served what was requested, not what I knew would be better for all of us. I didn't want to spend the money to do the things that made me feel pretty and attractive, because I felt like I was wasting our money (when in all reality I was just sending my self esteem further into the shitter). Depression is an ugly monster. And whether you mean to or not you can often drag everyone around you down with it. My depression was at it's worst when I was at my....not prettiest. Which makes sense - it was a direct physical representation of what I felt like on the inside. But making the effort would have benefited myself, as well as my family. Asking for some time to myself to attend to the things that would make me look and feel good ARE important. And we all deserve that time and those things.

4) Date nights. They're kind of vital. You hear this advice all the time. 'Make sure you make time to nurture your relationship as husband and wife'. I don't even need to go into this one. We didn't. We should have. I'll try to do better next time.

5) My need to be right really doesn't need to supersede his need to feel my support for him. I know this sounds kind of odd. But, did I need to stand behind him and micromanage the way he was painting that wall, or cleaning that thing? Nope. I didn't. And I think the worst was probably implying that he just didn't know what he was doing. Maybe he didn't. But how many things did I bluff MY way through? ALL KINDS OF STUFF. And how unsettling - to have your partner constantly question your abilities. How about having a little faith? And even if there is 'failure' how about being the loving and supportive person you can be, instead of the 'I told you so' person? I think this one is a big deal because this one REALLY swung both ways. I was constantly being reminded, even if it was unknowingly, that I would surely fail at what I was trying to do. Not cool, dude. Not cool. So, making a conscious effort to affirm his actions, that he is doing the right things. Because, if there isn't affirmation inside your relationship, they might seek it somewhere else. Or so I'm told.

I guess those were the big ones. And I bet a lot of people can connect with a few of these, so I thought I would share. Your partner needs to hear that you appreciate them. Your partner needs to feel like you prioritize them, as well as yourself. These are issues I hope I can remind myself of when I'm having a hard time finding where the problem is. Maybe that's why I had to blog it. Either way. If one of these looks familiar, maybe today's the day you can decide to try a different approach.

Feb 24, 2012

Sweatin' and Swearin'

I, Funky Mama, am about to embark on a fitness experience - known in larger circles as "Kosama".

I'm kind of excited! And, I feel like this could be the final feather in the cap on my weight loss journey. Can I tell y'all a secret? I've lost 77 lbs.....in a completely unhealthy way. Well, actually, a few completely unhealthy ways. Time to come clean, I suppose. Y'all probably know by now that I like to be honest with you.

First and foremost, please allow the words 'eating disorder' to just fall right outta your mind. Nothing that I ever did was intentionally bad for me. That is not part of my magical equation. But......but....Phentermine for a short time was. More on that in a moment.

As a brief disclaimer - my standards for my own appearance and beauty should have NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on what yours are for yourself. So please don't read this as - 'If you are a large woman you aren't pretty, or deserving'. I have some friends who were this size or larger, and they are STUNNING. And happy. I comfortable in the skin that they were meant to wear. I applaud that. The point here is that I WASN'T comfortable in my own skin. Alright. /disclaimer.

Right after my divorce, I went through this absolute panic. I weighed, at the end of my marriage, 220 lbs. I was a size 16, bordering on an 18. I'm not ashamed of this, nor should I think anyone would actually be surprised by the actual numbers. I LOOKED that size. So, I went through this aforementioned panic.....who will want me now? Aside from some other very emotional scars that I will likely never blog about due to their sensitive nature, I had this absolute panic about my size, and what that meant for me ever finding another partner again. Obviously, I was not in an emotional or physical space to be partnered at that point, but I digress.

So, in an absolute panic, I went to my provider. I discussed my fears with her. I discussed my health concerns, being as I was at the largest size that I have ever been. And, most importantly, I was a newly single Mom, working with birth clients, going through full time nursing school, while maneuvering a nasty divorce.

I believe in an attempt to actually help my mental health more than my physical health, my provider recommended and prescribed Phentermine. Does everyone remember the Fen-Phen days? Well the 'Fen' was the one banned. The 'Phen' was Phentermine. Essentially, it takes away your sensation of hunger and speeds your metabolism. It's a medically prescribed diet pill.

And when I say takes away your sensation of hunger, I MEAN it. I got to the end of a few days and realized - I haven't eaten anything. At all. Since yesterday. And it's way past dinner time. Not only that, but my heart would race all day long. I felt like I had just run half a mile.....all the time. I didn't last too long on that medication, but I did lose 20+ pounds in a very small amount of time. Like 3-4 weeks. Healthy choice? No. It wasn't. And I wouldn't recommend it to just about anyone, unless they are reaching a medically necessary weight limit.

So, I switched off of that. And that's when the divorce got heavy. I mean, bad. So, without a diet pill, I still didn't eat. Ladies and gentlemen, the stress of this divorce caused me to drop another 20+ pounds.  I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I studied non-stop. And....I spent a lot of time with my lawyer. I was a wreck for a while, even if know one knew it. So, that was fun.

Then, I realized, somewhere along the way our diets had changed. In my previous life, fast-food and takeout was a way of life. Not because I didn't have time to, or couldn't cook. But because it was the preference of my partner most of the time to get something quick and easy on the way home. 'I'll just grab a $5 pizza'. Not only was that expensive, but it was awful for us. Hello, 220 lbs. But, the Redheaded Wonder and myself.....we aren't eating like that anymore. We eat at home a lot. We are working on re-adjusting her palette to being more fruit-and-veggie-centric. She packs a lunch. I don't touch the vending machines that often. Pizza is ordered not often, and in a completely different way (veggie, light cheese, light sauce). We eat off of the small plates, and not the big ones. I have slowed down and have taught both myself, and my daughter to determine 'when our tummies are full' and that we don't HAVE to clear our plates. More water. Less soda. It's been good.

I will also briefly say that I had not one, but two surgeries in the month of late Nov/early Dec, totally unrelated to one another. But, both had a dramatic effect on my ability to eat. I would say another 20 lbs was due to those 4 weeks alone.

So that leaves me with the 20 that I DID lose in a healthy way. By altering our eating habits, and slowly over the course of the year, getting us to a good and healthier place. We still have a lot of work to do, I see the light at the end of the tunnel on that one.

But there was always something missing there. Something that at one point during my marriage had made me feel good, feel stronger, boosted my self esteem, made me sleep better.....all those wonderful things that exercise 'claims' to do. And for me, it really did. One of the healthier times of my marriage is when I was attending and then coaching at Farrell's. I loved it. But, it got boring. And then my shoulder went out and I had to go through physical therapy to repair my rotator cuff. But the kickboxing....oh that punching bag had a few different 'faces' for me. That's for damn sure.

So, with all of that said (HA!), I am about to start Kosama in March. I am DISGUSTINGLY excited. I mean, I have dropped just short of 80lbs. That's a lot! And I am proud of it. But....I am WAY out of shape. I like curves, I don't want to get any smaller per se, but I would like to be fit and active and a bit more toned up. And I think Kosama is just the ticket to kick my butt into gear. I'm sure I'll write more about it, but for those that don't live in my area, it's sort of like an 8-week bootcamp that's 6 days a week, an hour a day (I will have to miss my regular time 1-2 days a week due to nursing school, but will be able to make them up later in the day). They rotate through 6 different workouts - upper body, lower body, plyometrics, yoga, kettlebells (YAY!), and kickboxing (YAY!). They don't do them on a consistent schedule either - there are cardio heavy weeks, where you might do kickboxing several days in a row, to trick your body up. It's pretty damn smart, actually.

So, that's where you will find me 6 days a week starting March 12th at 9am. Kosama. Sweatin', swearin', and getting my ass in shape. And I am SO STINKING EXCITED.

Feb 20, 2012

Unclench My Jaw

It's 4:28am. I can't get back to sleep. I have a horrible migraine, a throbbing back and a tightly clenched jaw. I wonder if I'm stressed out.

I just had the privilege of spending a very enjoyable evening with a man that, for the most part, loathes the internet and especially things like social media. He doesn't have a Facebook account, barely knows what Twitter even is, and doesn't have internet at home. I am also reading a book called "The Winter of Our Disconnect" by

Feb 12, 2012

Let go....or accept?

I've been working through a lot of odd thoughts lately. I recently made the decision that I wanted to start considering the idea of dating again. It's kind of a big step, one that I didn't think initially that I had leaped blindly into. And also, a decision that I thought I would get to make by myself.

My friends and family love me. I know this. They have helped me so much this last year. I take their advice, their love, and their ideas about what I should be doing very seriously. It's difficult, then, when what many of them think is a horrible idea.....is something that you really want and feel like you need in your life. But apparently, there is an order to these things, a checklist you are supposed to run through. Well, I'm a big fan of lists, but I don't usually end up using them. I like to plan the things I never do, and spontaneously decide to do the things I should have planned. It's a disease I tell ya.

So that's why, when it comes to deciding to start a relationship or consider dating again (a decision I will choose to take more seriously than my previous partner) I feel like I need to stop plotting and just do it. But, that ideas doesn't seem to work well with my loved ones.

The arguments are pretty standard - you are in school, you have a career starting, you have a daughter to parent, you have a horrifying ex that you deal with on a very regular basis, you aren't in a financially strong place.....I hear all of that. But, if I had to sit here and wait for those things to get better, I wouldn't ever get anywhere. If I had to wait until I loved myself enough again, honestly, I better start collecting cats.

I think the real truth of the matter here, is that it's going to take quite a bit of want and desire for someone to be willing to involve themselves into my crazy life. I DO have a lot going on. I DO have a lot of things to work on still. But, I'm not going to close myself off to the possibilities that I could have some little glimmer of happiness, and something that is just for me, amongst all of this shit. Maybe that's selfish, I'm not sure. And those things that are part of my life now aren't going to go away. I will always have a job, and maybe school, and a daughter, and a difficult ex-husband. But it's time to consider that the priority of a few of those things need to start taking a backseat to my happiness. Or else, what the hell am I doing it for anyways?

I think I'm doing a pretty damn good job, all things considering. I think I'm holding my own, even if it is with some complaining. And I also think, that means that ultimately I get to make the decision on whether or not I am ready. And my friends and family know and respect that, I know they do. I'm just tired of fighting. And defending myself. So I won't.

My spirits are low, but my resolve is high. It's time to climb up out of this slump, stop allowing people to tell me what they would do, and start deciding what I want to do. It's funny, I recently had a healer tell me that I allowed people to have my personal power, that I gave it out like candy. She also told me that I allow other people's emotions to take safe harbor in my own heart, and push my own wants, needs and emotions away. I think she's right. And that's gotta stop.

Because, I am awesome. And I'm tired of having to defend that fact. To myself, and to others. I can either accept my circumstances as they are, or I can choose to let go. I'm ready to free fall, whether someone catches me or not.

Jan 14, 2012

Getting Outta My Head

I'm a little lost. Not entirely. Things look kind of familiar. That spot over there. Those people, there's something familiar about them. I swear I have seen his face before.

But not really. I think, and I don't want to admit this, this whole anniversary might be having a bit of a delayed effect. Not in the sense that I am sorry for the way things are exactly. Just in the sense that I haven't quite accepted the boat I am in. I don't leave my house a lot, except when I have to. I don't.....know where to go. Or what to do. I feel a bit lost, and I was hoping that by now I would know what being me was supposed to look like.

You spend such a large chunk of your life perfecting and molding the role that you are supposed to play. You orchestrate your environment to optimize what will best support the illusion of the life you are currently attempting to live. When that's flipped over and throw into the mud, the best you can hope for is that somebody will laugh with you and try and help you stand up.

But, what happens if everyone you know helps define the old life? Not in a negative way, mind you. Not at all. But, when like 95% of your friends are married, for example....before that was fine. Perfect. Now sometimes, and it's not anyone's fault whatsoever, you realize that what you are expected to do now is in stark contrast with those around you. It's like....you won't be 100% if you aren't in their same shoes.

So, maybe you start befriending your single friends a little bit more. But they have their lives. They don't need more friends. They don't need some chick coming in and messing up their flow. I TOTALLY get that. I have one foot in each camp, and it's just kind of exhausting to live up to the expectations of both sometimes.

I also know that this is 100% in my head. And I have GOT to get out of my own head. My friends love me. It doesn't matter that I am single, or that I am 30 instead of 25, or that I have a child, or that I am not the vocalist I have always wanted to grow up to be. And for that, I will always be grateful. I don't HAVE to be anything, except for who I am. But it's a little bit frustrating when you don't know who that person is. It's pretty easy to pretend like you know the chick across the room. That is, until you are put face to face with her. Nobody's gonna hold my hand through that one.

It'll be fine. It WILL be. It's just another hurdle. Time to hike my shorts up and try not to fall on my ass.

Jan 11, 2012

Fourth Semester

And so......it begins. I am closing in on the end of this program. Just two more semesters.

I'm kinda scared, actually. Being in school has become my identity for the last 2+ years. It will have taken me almost 3 years by the time I am done. The thing about school is that while you have a place you have to be most days of the week, you also then go home and have twice as many (or more) hours of studying. Well, when I'm just working.....what the heck am I gonna do with myself? I have a funny feeling my life won't be any less hectic.

I was originally planning on immediately returning back to school. There are so many different factors that could alter that plan. And, I might just need a break. Being in school creates a horrible void in your ability to have any kind of social life. Forget dating, unless the other person can be understanding about the fact that I don't have a lot of time to give them. Which will be a change for me, that's for sure. I am so used to not having too much of a life outside of my partner. Eh, I don't need to worry about that yet. But, I do know that I hope whatever may happen with someone in the future is the total opposite of what happened before.

Sorry. I'm not feeling very articulate today. I've got some more thinking to do. 

Jan 9, 2012

The Ties That Bind

I have 290 Facebook friends. I have my Facebook friends divided up into lists, so that if I want to filter whose messages to read I can. I also have a 'restricted' list for those people that I am friendly with, but perhaps don't need to see every detail of my life. I even have a very short blocked list, but that's another issue all together.

If I was to sit back, and go down that list of friends, there are less than 20 people that I would consider close friends. I am only really socially interactive with less than 20 of 290 friends that I have on Facebook. And those people, are individuals that I don't communicate solely through Facebook with. I am only tied closely to 16 people.

It's an interesting concept, this social media construction. I think my biggest problem with Facebook is that it gives me a false sense of 'family'. I have several friends whose postings I follow religiously. And comment on their postings quite often. But, if I was to take away Facebook, would we ever see each other? There are a few of them I haven't ever even met in person.

I think I utilize tools like Facebook to give myself an easy way out. If I comment enough on your stuff will it make you feel like we are friends, and forget about the fact that we haven't seen each other in over a year?  Perhaps it's the now hectic lives we lead, overflowing with obligations and distractions, that has caused us to feel like a connection created in a virtual world could ever substitute for real human interaction.

Facebook has it's uses as well, for example; public figures can utilize it to stay in contact with their many supporters or fans. It's a valid platform for such a cause. In a world where we have become instantly globally connected with the boot of a modem it can serve as a fantastic free marketing tool. Announcing events, scheduling get-together's, allowing your fans to see the more human side of you as well. We like to feel connected.

But is that connection? Last year, when I had less than a day to pack my belongings and leave my house, I sat on the floor of my bathroom and cried. I sobbed like I never had. You know why? It wasn't because I had just got the most shocking news of my life, it wasn't because my world had just been turned upside down, and it wasn't because I had stubbed my toe on the bathtub. It was because in that moment I realized that I had an extremely short list of people that I felt safe enough to call. I had 4 people locally at that time that I felt like I could call for help. And none of them were family. (I will say, however, two of them truly are exactly LIKE family, even if we don't share a bloodline).

So, are we perhaps deluding ourselves into a false sense of connection? What TRULY ties us together? How well do you REALLY know the people whose Facebook pages are littered with things that you have liked, commented on, or re-shared? Do any of them know my favorite color? Do any of them know how many different states and cities I have live in? Do any of them know what my drink at a bar is, what my family is like, or that I am actually a huge nerd that thinks farts are still funny? Well, they might know that last one.

A year ago, in a cruel moment of irony, I realized I had hundreds of people that were total strangers to who I really am, and what I really feel. I am starting to feel less and less like I need hundreds of people to know what I am doing everyday, or what funny thing my kid said. I would rather share those things with people who are actually interested beyond the click of a 'Like' button. But it is a cold bucket of water when you realize how few of your Facebook friends would drop everything they had and rush over to your house at your absolute lowest moment.

I'm actually not entirely disenchanted with Facebook, even though this may come across that way. But, I am a little tired of utilizing it as a cheap fast-food version of a social experience. And, in some ways, I am tired of others proclaiming that we have such an amazing connection when they don't really know a damn thing about me. I mean, I know I post a lot, but there is nothing of true substance there. I think I can count on one hand how many times I have posted anything about my divorce, as an example.

Your social media experience is your own. And I certainly don't mean to prescribe a definition of your interactions, or the benefits or experiences you have gained because of it. And my experiences haven't been bad for the most part either. But, when you are sitting on your bathroom floor staring at a long list of people that you label as friends and you don't know any of them well enough to truly BE a friend......what are they really?

Our jam packed lives have created a need to modernize our friendships, and redefine them in a way that allows us to feel a connection. But the minute you power down that computer, or turn off that Facebook app on your cell phone, those connections become exactly what they are. Two lives joined together by a tiny string. An illusion. A bathroom floor actualization.

I hope that I can try and spend more time creating true connections, and true bonds. Which means that I am probably in for a lot of heartache. This is a world where people are used to being able to anonymously confront or friend one another from the comfort of their own home without having to carry on a conversation face to face. But I want a hug. A real one. And I want to be able to touch, and see, and smell, and experience my friendships. I want the opportunity for some of them to evolve in a way that a virtual world just won't allow. I want to have to become a brave person who is able to speak my mind directly to someone's face. I want to feel a REAL sense of longing to see someone, instead of being satisfied with words on a screen for now. And I'm pretty sure I'll get there. I just have to log out.

Jan 8, 2012

Long Journey to the Middle

Something has come to my attention lately - I think one of the things that has changed for me (or least is a change in progress), is I am not interested in a lack of follow through. Sounds logical, and sort of 'Well.....duh, Funkymama!'. But lately it has been bitch-slapping me in the face and I am, quite honestly, getting really saddened, and irritated, and disheartened by the whole thing.

Why are we all so afraid to get what we want? Why do we all over analyze a situation, try to play it out in our heads and guess what the outcome is? Why, for the love of everything sacred, do we not just take a risk, make a decision and actually have the stones to walk the walk when we have just been talkin' the talk?

Living a life of maybe this will happen, or being scared of that happening is EXACTLY what landed me in the position I now find myself in. It just makes me so tired. Risks are wonderful things. Bearing your soul is a noble action. Deciding that what you want is more important than how it might play out, or not caring what other people might think of you, is a goal we should all strive for. And instead, why does it feel like everyone I know, myself included, is incapable of reaching down and finding the self respect within themselves to let their gut, or their heart, or their feelings be just as involved in the decision making process as their head? It's really hard, that's why.

A false sense of logic plays into so many decisions we are faced with. It's not really logic then. It's more like......social preservation. It's a big shield we can easily hide ourselves behind when we are too scared, or too unsure, or just don't love ourselves enough to be selfish every once in a while. Ya know what? You ARE worth deciding that you deserve something other people don't think you should have because it 'isn't something people should do'.

But worse yet? Worse yet, for me, are the times when we say we want something, proclaim from whatever rooftop we can find ourselves on that we REALLY want something....when we really don't. I just wish there was more honesty in this world. Human interaction is hard enough without adding all those subtle curtains, and shades, and screens to what we say and how we say it.

Be forthcoming. Be honest. Be true to your word. Own your truths, and don't deny your desires (within reason of course). These are the signs of a truly great person. The ones that know what they want, and get it, gracefully dealing with the situations as they unfold. That right there is sexy. And that's the type of person I want to be.

I know that I have a long road to walk on becoming that person. But, I had a really great wonderful friend, lost to this world but always in my heart, give me some really wonderful advice. An email, exchanged a very long time ago, that I have forwarded to all of my different email address over the years, just to preserve it's original form. It actually has nothing to do with my experiences in this last year, but it speaks so fucking loud to me lately that I have opened and read it many times. They said:
I know you're scared Sabbath. I know it's hard to become that person that you want to be. I know it's painful. But right now, in your fragility, decide what you want to be like when this is all over with, for that will be your purest form. Decide the person that you want this experience to mold you into. And maybe you aren't ready to become that person. But you can hold others to that standard. You can decide that you don't want to put up with anything but honesty and speaking your truth. You can decide to be brave, and walk the walk. Because by doing what I know you are about to do tomorrow, that's exactly what you are going to do.  Don't accept less than that from those in your life. If you do, you have just allowed them to win, for them to walk all over you, while you become trampled and stomped by their inability to show you the same respect that you are showing them. Hold the people in your life to a standard and the ones that don't make the cut? Well, they can go to hell. But, by holding those people to a standard of how you want to be treated, it will allow you to actually believe and realize at some point - that you truly are worth that standard. You deserve to be treated with respect, and honesty, and to not simply be talked to, but walked with. No matter how scary it all might be for both of you sometimes.
 He is right. By deciding what you are willing to surround yourself with, you are creating an environment that will mold you into that person. If you allow people to mistreat you, mislead you, walk all over you with their own agendas, you are allowing THAT to be your reality. And I'm just not willing to allow someone's size 10 boots to kick me in the face anymore. I deserve so much more than that. And so do you.

You don't like something? Change it. You want someone to treat you better? Do something about it. Being treated unfairly? Have the self respect to speak up about it. Are you to scared to go after something you might want because of what others might think of you? Stop living your life to please other people. Living each day simply to get closer to the next one is a waste of your precious time on this earth. Worrying about social norms, others expectations of you, or a standard that was set by some small group of popular people that are part of a much larger collective that may not want the same things in life, allows for your life to become someone else's life. You don't have to answer to them. Because the people in this world who cut the new path, aren't usually the popular ones, are they? The popular people are the ones that keep the standards, that demand the cookie cutter mentality that we force ourselves into. It's the dreamers and doers that are the real heroes of this world. It's the walkers, not the talkers. I refuse to be dictated by the talkers anymore.

Surround yourself with walkers, and not talkers, and you might just become one of them. Maybe, one day, you can claim to be one yourself. It starts with that single moment of realizing that you are worth something better than what has been prescribed for you by a nameless collective. Fuck them.

I don't care what they might think, or say, or if going out for the things I want in this world doesn't end well or work out quite like I planned. Truly honest people that are worth your time and energy will move through those defeats with you. The ones lost along the way just aren't strong enough. At the end of this long and winding journey of life, you don't answer to any of those people. You answer to yourself. Don't live a life you are ashamed to answer for. And you, my friend, will become one of the few walkers. Maybe one day, I can look back and have no regrets, and I can truly identify with being a walker. I sure as hell hope so. Because if that day was tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I would still be a talker.

Jan 3, 2012

Approaching One Year

I looked at the date today and realized - in a few more days, it will be the one year anniversary of my separation. January 7th, which also unfortunately happens to be my Brother's birthday, as well as the anniversary of my Grandfather's death, is the day that my life got turned upside down.

I suppose I should be truthful about the fact that despite my obvious emotional upheaval at the time, I cannot begin to express what a blessing it has been. It was extremely hard, but honestly, it was the hard that made it great. As a newly single woman with no job, while being in the middle of a college program, fat, lonely, and depressed, I was pretty sure I wouldn't manage to survive the separation without some obvious scars. Sure, I got some. But hey - chicks dig scars.

My life is exactly where it should be. I am about to start my 4th semester at school, which means that by the end of summer this year I will be graduated. I am pretty sure the Redheaded Wonder is adjusting just fine. I have a cute little apartment. I have amazing friends that never make me feel left out, and always make me feel welcome. I have started to rekindle those 'I sure would like to try that' things. I've lost around 70lbs, and become a healthier (for the most part, LOL) person. I've got a plan. I don't have a man.....but I suppose I should stop thinking of that as a character flaw. ;-) Truth is, I often think that I am too domesticated, to be dating. I know that sounds weird.

The last few months have been particularly challenging. More issues with the ex, and two different surgeries that were completely unrelated, within one month of each other. One of them with a fairly extensive hospital stay of 6 days. I had a lot of alone time (like....a lot), at the hospital. I had a lot of thinking time, and resting time. I guess, I have a hard time being too upset about either one. They were both pretty darn necessary.

I have a few things I need to work on. But, I am not thinking of them as negatives. I could clean up my diet a bit more. I could exercise a lot more. I could study a lot more. I need to bring that fiddle out every day and at least do some scales. Less Facebook, more real books. Less fast food, more homemade foods.  More singing.....like...in front of other people. Yoga. Definitely yoga. I like having goals, and writing these out doesn't make me feel like I have been doing anything wrong, but excited at all the things I could be doing right. That outlook has certainly changed from a year ago, that's for sure.

I think my parents are proud. They tell me they are, and I have no reason to not believe them. More importantly - I am proud of myself. It's been rough. I've made some mistakes. But mostly, I've been doing that whole surviving thing.

Surviving is starting to feel more like living.