Beating those irrational fears….

….before they beat us!

Irrational fears. Everyone has ’em. If you say you don’t have any, you’re either lying or you just haven’t found them yet! Phobias are irrational fears. Fear of spiders or snakes. Fear of heights (yep, I claim this one!). Fear of public speaking….oooh yeah! According to Jerry Seinfeld, public speaking is the number 1 fear of most adults, followed by “death” at number two; so indeed, if you are at a funeral, you would be better off being IN the casket than giving the eulogy!

I admit to irrational fears and phobias. I’m wickedly afraid of heights (to the point where it’s amazing I can even ski!) Auto-flush toilets kind of freak me out (ok, so that one isn’t a fear, but an annoyance). Being called to the office of my boss, or a manager, teacher or supervisor, even when I KNOW I haven’t done anything wrong! I could go on, but you know enough now to recognize a special kind of freak πŸ˜‰

So, for years, I’ve had a phobia about a song. Yep, you heard me, a song. I referred to it as the “dead pet song”. Anytime I heard it on the radio, (or so it seemed) a pet died. I heard it when my mother and sister were taking our old cat Misty to the vet to put her to sleep; at that time, it seemed like a sign, as it’s a happy sounding song, and I could picture our sweet kitty running and frolicking through a meadow of flowers, chasing birds, etc. I heard it on the radio again when I was taking my pet bunny, Beebe, to the vet (this was quite a few years later, so it’s not like the song was popular at the time); I thought it was a sweet little “hello” from Misty, saying that everything was going to be all right. Except it wasn’t, and Beebe never made it home from the vet. My old cat Syrie and I missed him terribly, and we ended up getting sister kitties Daulton and Griffey to keep Syrie company, who would then be with me for 16 and 15 years, respectively. (And aside, yes, I used to have a tendency to name pets after athletes I enjoyed watching or respected, with Syrie being an old orange cat named “Syracuse” for my grandfather’s alma mater. The current crop of Lucy, Ethel, Junebug and Weezie can attest to the fact that I no longer name pets after sports heroes!)

So, from that point on, I avoided the “dead pet song”. If I heard the opening notes come on the radio, the channel was changed quickly. If I heard it playing in a store, I would actively leave the store and go into the parking lot for 5 minutes. Kinda crazy, huh? And logically, I knew that hearing a dang song wasn’t going to kill a kitty, but I just didn’t want to chance it! (My sports teams don’t do as well if I am actively watching a game usually either, so superstition holds! It can’t be because they suck!)

Two days ago, I was in a store, in a changing room, trying on, and the damn dead pet song came on! WHAT TO DO??? I’M HALF NAKED!!! (yeah, no one wants to see that!) I finally sucked it up and dealt with it, and stayed in the store, trying on clothes, and hoping against hope that I wouldn’t go home to a fractured feline or withered weasel. And yeah, ya know what? No dead pets! Curse broken!

Yes, it’s a whole ridiculous thing. But so many of the boundaries and fears that we put up in our lives are ridiculous as well, when you get down to it. I fear heights; but I ski, and I’ve zip-lined, and I hike up high on narrow paths. I kind of fear horses (they are dang big and tall, and have minds of their own!), but I’ve learned how to ride. I’ve been intimidated by multiple challenges in my life, both professional and personal; but each of those challenges can be successfully faced and conquered. Telling myself that a stupid song would cause the end result of a dead pet for 20 years was ludicrous; telling myself that I “can’t” do something is equally ludicrous.

I am proud to have a quite wise friend who once made a comment of “we are limited only by the boundaries of our imagination”; we are indeed.

Limitless. Imagine THAT!

(no pets were harmed in the writing of this post! But ya know, I may still not play the video clip! πŸ™‚ )

There are no words


Eddie Izzard, who I think is a comedian on a different level than so many, stated in a standup routine once that people can’t comprehend mass murder, and he’s right. In his words “you kill 20 people, you go to a hospital and people look at you through a small window for the rest of your life, and kill more than that, we just can’t deal with it”. While in the context of comedy, in a seriously unfunny situation, he is indeed right that we as humans can’t seem to fathom mass murders.

Whether what happened last night in Orlando is a “hate crime” spurred by anger about gay rights, or an act of “terrorism” due to admiration of ISIS, does it really matter? Β 50 people are dead, with possibly more to pass away also as others are in critical condition, and over 50 people wounded. I personally think that A) yes, there is some kind of sociopathic hatred involved in this and B) you kill and injure that many people, it IS indeed terrorism.

The world is insane. Let’s face it, it’s true. Our society idolizes people who are famous for their last name. Our children’s heroes are people who can shoot a basket, or run a football, or sell a million records (heavily autotuned, usually). There are first world countries, third world countries, (I venture to say 9th world countries, but those are not acknowledged as such); entitled little twatwaffles in the society I live in (U.S.) who thinks that the world and their country “owe” them something that they haven’t worked for; crazy people killing people; drug and alcohol abuse running rampant; violence, homelessness, hunger, fear, war, intolerance, crimes in the name of “God” (whatever “God” is ascribed to by said person), death, taxes, Trump running for president, disrespect and lack of civility and courtesy. Sometimes I shudder about what children of today are having to be emotionally assaulted by.

A friend of mine who has always been wise beyond his years has always had a mantra that he follows in terms of dealing with people: “respect, accept, tolerate, or ignore”. People who you have a lot in common with, including like thinking on important issues, you tend to respect. These people will also usually become those who are closest to you in terms of friendship, and will be people you wish to emulate. Those who have good points, are good people, and are intelligent and kind, but whom you maybe don’t agree with on many important things, you accept. You can learn from these people, and polite and civil discourse is possible. There may even be some mutual respect with these accepted people. Those who somewhat annoy you, or you have greatly differing views on most or all important issues, but are still decent human beings and are still courteous/civil, you tolerate. Yes, they are maybe annoying, but they are those people with “a good heart” that you simply aren’t simpatico with. And those who are merely obnoxious or the antithesis of what you are, and you find yourself irritated by the mere mention of their name, you ignore. Because why is someone that annoying worth any of your time or energy expenditure? This friend, as I said, has always been quite wise in his views of the world and people around him (and I am sure his way of thinking is much better for his blood pressure than most other folks!) And his mantra helps explain his general demeanor of gentle fairness and kindness.

While agreeing with his views and mindset, I tend to lump “accept” and “tolerate” into the same category. Tolerance to me means accepting and valuing the differences of others in our personal world. Differences are important, crucial to the growth of the individual; because we do not grow and learn unless we are challenged. Unfortunately, tolerance is not just a thing, it is a practice, a philosophy; one that unfortunately many people are lacking.

In terms of tolerance, I define myself. I do not care what color your skin is, or what country your ancestors were from; if I am going to consider myself superior to you, it’s going to have a more substantial basis than skin color or ethnic/racial background. I do not care who you love or sleep with. It has no significance to me if it’s not me. It doesn’t matter who you love, it matters THAT you love, because LOVE is revolutionary. I do not care who you are voting for. Yes, that may be a stickler, because it may mean that we have very significant ideologies; but if you are a decent human being, I still value you and can learn and experience from you (and perhaps you can from me as well). I don’t care what work or job you do; I have respect for anyone who takes their job and does it well and with dignity. We are all important in the scheme of things. I don’t care if you have piercings, tattoos, purple hair; I have or have had all of those myself. It doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of my character or how competent I am in my job and my life. (And if you ask me about my tattoos and their meaning to me, you may learn even more about me). My only, long-held prejudice is against those who are ignorant assholes by choice. Otherwise, I give everyone a fair chance, until they prove themselves to me in a negative fashion; and if they do that, I certainly don’t take that negativity and generalize it over an entire population segment.

So horrified and saddened by what happened in Orlando, and that yet again, a specific group of society is seemingly being targeted. I wish so much that as we teach our children reading and math and geography, we could be teaching them tolerance and kindness. I have never used my trigonometry, and many countries of the world have re-divided and re-named themselves since my days in elementary school geography; but kindness is an art and skill that will never be outdated, and will always be useful and needed.

Please practice your own tolerance and kindness friends. Remember, practice makes perfect!

R.I.P. dear friend, and gratitude to Ben Stiller…


I lost a friend today. Actually, I lost her over a week ago; but due to the unfortunate situation of transatlantic mail, and never having had her phone number, I didn’t know it. I just received a card saying she couldn’t go on anymore, and thanking me for my friendship. After nearly a week of trying to locate someone else who had more ability to seek out contact of hers, or trying to get into touch with her or her family, and continuing to email repeatedly giving her my phone number, telling her I’m here for her….well, I find out she’s been gone all this time. Rather a double punch in the gut. From Mike Tyson.

Rosie was one of those little things in life who was also a big thing for me. We’ve been friends for some years, having shared interests and sensibilities, and maintaining that old-fashioned concept of “snail mail” (as well as e-mail and messaging; we aren’t that old!) Despite her ongoing struggles with painful thoughts, and the dark demons of depression, she was constantly showing an interest in the doings and well-being of her other friends. With all of her dignified fighting of depression and failed treatment thereof, she remained a beautiful soul, with an artistic vision, a very acute mind, and a wickedly sharp sense of humor.

Just a few weeks before her death, she sent me a beautiful card, filled with stunning photos of flowers in her garden, and a large packet of different flavored teas, for my birthday. I am drinking a wonderful decaf apricot tea from her right now, as I write this.

We shared so much, and I think our physical distance (she lived in beautiful England, I in the western U.S.) help our honesty, bluntness and sharing of vulnerable and sensitive things with each other. When I was annoyingly (for lack of a more appropriate word) released from my long-term, full-time job a few years ago, she sent me a beautiful flower arrangement, along with some wonderful candy (much enjoyed by myself, my brother-in-law, and the twins), just as a show of support. No matter what foibles in my life, what mundane things I was doing, what annoyances I was facing I told her about, her response was also enthusiastic, telling me how fabulous, wonderful and “brilliant” I was (“Brilliant” being one of her favorite words, and used in a very British way!) until I really started feeling better and stronger about myself again.

We shared pictures of our lives. Our homes, our countryside, her garden, my family. Anywhere I went on a mini-vacation, whether it was somewhere nearby like San Francisco, or our family vacation a few years ago in Hawaii, she received photos and post-cards. We emailed frequently, sent letters and cards frequently, sent gifts back and forth. I have a beautiful scarf I am using as a table cover, with pictures of the twins on it, that was a gift from her; a beautiful purse that I will be using for the next while to keep my friend close to me; numerous beautiful, stunning photos she took of flowers in her home garden. She sent candy and small gifts to the girls, and even included my sister on her gift list last Christmas. I sent her homemade apple butter and “biscuits” (cookies in my good old American terms!), and specialty treats from the area. I remember once her response when I had sent her jalapeno brittle from a local candy factory; “bloody hell, you Americans are insane!” before declaring it “completely tasty, if with a wicked kick”.

I called her “English Rose” and teased her about being Titanic-ish; she would respond by calling me “Cranky Yankee” and said that NO, her heart will not go on, and she would have shoved Jack off of that floating piece of wood if he had dared climb up on it (another moment that we shared that special bond!) When she said that she felt like she would be at home in my home because we had similar comfortable tastes, I said that I always imagined her very properly British, and having her in my home would be like being visited by the Queen, and I would be certain to say or do something completely vulgar and horribly inappropriate; her response to that was wickedly funny and totally vulgar, as were our continued messages to each other the next few days.

I introduced the concept of “fluffernutter” sandwiches to her, which she found both loathsome and intriguing; in her very “Rosie” way, she called them f*ckernutter sandwiches, and then went on in a very very long, detailed paragraph in this otherwise emotional email about how a deformed man may have sexual issues, and perhaps that is where the sandwich came from. I have no idea what that stream of thought was about, as I was reading it, laughing until I cried. That was so very much like her; when she is in the midst of a long depressive rant of an email, throwing something utterly silly and ludicrous in there, just to lighten the mood.

We talked about a lot. About dark, serious things, and about music, figure skating, entertainment, books. About the drudgeries of home remodeling and housework, about why she preferred flowers to most people and I prefer animals to most people. About big things like life, philosophy, politics, and about little things, like whether either of us would ever be featured on the show if our last name happened to be Kardashian. She told me about her mailman asking her out on a date when she was haggard and sick with the flu, and I talked to her about the epic adventures of Weezie the wonder-ferret.

In our friendship, we shared and discussed many “little things”; but the friendship was a big, huge thing, and one that helped me in a really rough time, when I was dealing with betrayal from a “friend” and an upheaval of my life. While so frequently thanking me for my friendship, and telling me that I can always make her laugh and thanking me for making her feel special….she was doing for the same for me. I am so grateful that I had told her that, and that I shared as much as I did with her. No matter what happens, no matter whether you lose your friendship or not, no matter how painful today is and the near future may be, it is never a bad thing to take a chance on such a wonderful person.

I am sitting here with “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” playing, one of my favorite ever movies, as I am drinking Rosie tea and writing about Rosie. The movie is a beautiful view of taking chances and following your dreams, becoming who you are meant to be. Along with some other friends, my incredible family, and a renewed understanding of happiness and gratitude, Rosie is someone who has helped me to become who I am now, as opposed to who I was even a few years ago.

Thank you my dear sweet friend. It is my hope that you are in peace, in light, and able to smile down gently on all who miss you. And thank you so much for the light that was YOU, that you shared. Just because you couldn’t find it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. I look forward to when we meet up again some day. I’ll bring a fluffernutter and some biscuits. You bring the tea. I love you my dear friend.


Magic, perception and ice cream!

So, I’m talking with my nieces tonight, as they are spending the night (Emery: Auntie? I don’t like black chicken!—-yes, my culinary skills when it comes to frying chicken is akin to the bacon I lit on fire on vacation a while back!) So we were goofing and talking, because one of my rules is limited movie time, and then talking/playing/reading time. So we were eating ice cream (since Auntie’s diet begins tomorrow!) and discussing deep topics such as whether Elsa or Anna has the prettier dresses, which of my cats is the softest, and what is the best flavor of ice cream. Somehow, this got to the famous old kiddie magic trick of pulling a penny out of one’s ear; a trick I am woefully bad at and can only fool a four year old, because I think that trick needs to be done by someone’s Uncle George to make it seem legit. And I’m not Uncle George.

So the penny trick works on Emery, since she is the more wide-eyed of the two. Maya smelled a rat, of course. So we try the penny trick on her, and then I asked her, well do you want it? I did pull it out of YOUR ear, you know! She said no I didn’t, so I said, ok, if you don’t want it, I guess I’ll just make it disappear; and then proceeded to do so. Then of course, Em yells “I want it!!”, and I had to confess, that the trick is to make it disappear, not come back, and I can’t make it come back because I’m not that good of a magician. But Em….I bet YOU are! So we get it all settled, get Emery a “magic wand” (Sharpie marker!), teach her the “magic words” (yep, “abra cadabra”!) and she swirls and then taps my hand, and WHOA, the penny is back! Yep Em, you’re a much better magician than I am!

Maya: That’s not magic. Oh, such sweet, serious, skeptical eyes! So we got into a discussion of what magic is….and all of the different kinds of magic. And how the most powerful magic in the world is each of us loving and believing in ourselves. If we believe it, we can achieve it, and our only limits are the boundaries of our imagination. Emery asked how a person can be magic? And then, the discussion turned to perception.

I reminded them about how there are two different ways we “see” things (something we had talked about once before); with our eyes and our brains. Our eyes “see” what is out there; our brain “perceives” what is possible with what is out there. So we talked about the power of perception, and how the mind can work such wonderous and powerful things, such as decreasing pain, or giving us fear, or decreasing fear, or helping us to succeed at nearly impossible tasks, or helping us to see answers to questions, or different ways of doing things, that we had never considered before. Emery “got” all this quicker than her sister; I think her very open and optimistic nature makes sense of this kind of thinking, while Maya the analyzer keeps her skepticism.

So I took Maya by the hand and took her to my front door, which was open with the security door on, and told her: “Look out there, and tell me what you see”. Being a very logical and literal four year old, she said “your front yard”. I told her yes, that is perfectly right and she is very smart, and that is what her eyes see; but, “what I see, is the WHOLE WORLD”. Because it is about perception. Taking two steps out my front door opens the whole world of adventure, opportunity, and amazement to us. Because that is what my brain sees. And the limit that your eyes see as the door, or the sidewalk, your brain doesn’t see any limits at all! All of that is out there, waiting for you to find your magic and go after it!

“WOW!!” two little girls say. Lesson learned. Eyes and brains opened. Hearts warm.

Wow indeed πŸ™‚

Treating each other…

As I continue to go in to work week after week, I realize that I fall more and more in love with the staff I work with! Some of the most remarkable, wonderful human beings on the planet grace the halls of our hospital.

When you consider the kind of work, and the nature of the jobs in health care, you would think that everyone would be compassionate, patient, kind, etc. Essentially, paragons of virtue. According to the almighty Gallup polls, Americans rate nurses as the most trustworthy professionals, with 80% rating nurses as being very high in honesty and ethics. Medical doctors are second, with 65% earning that “very high” standard in terms of ethics and honesty. High standards indeed, and with good reason. When you are working with people in the most difficult times of their lives, you have be pretty darned ethical.

So, when you think of it, my co-workers are a pretty high quality just by the nature of their jobs. However, I really think that my current job has hit the jackpot. My current position is one which involves some supervisory responsibilities. As such, I am better getting to know some of the other people in our division that I have been working with for some time, and wow, let me tell you! Such remarkable people, all of them! We have single parents, working 12-hour shifts, 3 and 4 times a week. We have people going through advanced education at the same time as working full-time. We have people who come in to work a night shift after 4-6 hours in school earlier in the day, and are just as bright and cheerful as can be. We have lovely young people, some in their first “real” jobs, who are so energized and enthusiastic, and so special in their efforts to make a difference to these patients. We have some older people who have been nurses or certified nurse assistants for years, who still exude their passion for the career. We have men and women, all who bring their personal experiences into the job, making them even better and more wonderful in the care they give to the patients. We have people who have been patients themselves, seriously ill or injured, who later decided to get into a career in health care, bringing their unique experience and viewpoints with them. We have people who champion healthy living, and are wonderful ambassadors of our profession. People who deal with stress with compassion, with humor, with fantastic teamwork. People who prank each other, and still have each other’s backs in the heat of moment. People who can be joking and silly with each other one moment, and amazingly professional and respectful to distraught patients and family members the next. Chameleons, magicians, advocates, teachers, humorists, humanitarians and brilliant multi-taskers.

I look at my place among all of these phenomenal people, and I am so very proud to be a part of this amazing group. Seeing the care, the compassion, and the amazing patience these remarkable professionals, young and old, share with every person they interact with is just so incredible to watch. I hope only that each of them, each of us, is capable of treating ourselves, and each other, as well as we treat these people who so highly regard us. Because each of these individuals deserves that same high regard, that same patience, and that same compassion.

To all of my co-workers, both present and recent past: I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!

People are strange….

“You’re too tall”. “You’re too short”. “You’re too fat”. “You’re too skinny”. You’re too……old, young, smart, stupid, your hair is the wrong color, your hair is too long/short, you have tattoos, you have piercings, you don’t wear the right clothes, you don’t live in the right neighborhood, you should eat organic, you should shop American, your house is too small, your house is too big, you are still single, you don’t have children, you have too many children……….

Think of all of the negative ideas that are being thrown at us by the universe. All of the ways that our own, denigrating society is trying to tell us that we aren’t good enough. That we are somehow failures because we are “too” something as demonstrated in paragraph number one (hmmm, too verbose? πŸ™‚ ) Think of the fact that, not only are we as adults being subjected to these ridiculous standards, but so are our children, and the younger members of our society. And where exactly did these standards come from? Some superficially impossible standards that have set us all up for failure based on the idea that all women should be 25, 5’10” and 120 pounds? Some insulated society that can’t handle the view of non-airbrushed people, and who feel that natural aging is “unfortunate”?

True beauty is up to individual interpretation. And as such, it is the same as art; it is truly in the eye of the beholder. So for those who find the only beautiful people to be those who are sculpted and surgically altered to the point of Barbie-doll perfection, that is all just fine and dandy. But that ain’t what I think of in terms of art or beauty. I live in Northern Nevada. I am surrounded by what I consider beauty (I’m fortunate though; I have found something beautiful about everywhere I’ve lived, from east coast to west, out of the U.S. and within it). I am surrounded by mountains, and trees, and stars, and sunrises and sunsets, and beautiful lakes and gorgeous snow in the winter.

But when it comes to art, I feel even more blessed. Because everyone in my life, every person I meet, is a work of art. All of those things alluded to in the first paragraph, all of those “too”s, just make that art even more spectacular. Because no two pieces of this art are alike, and that in itself is something stunningly beautiful.

My nieces and I had a discussion a few days ago about the word “strange”. Because they were under the impression that this was somehow a negative word. But, how is that true? “Strange” means “unique”, and different, and of a singular sensation. Yes, each of them is “strange”, just as I am as well, and as everyone in this world is. And there is no such universal insult as “too strange”, ever. All of us are just the right amount of our own strange!

With all of the negative rumblings we receive from the universe, love is rebellion; self-love is even more rebellious, happiness is a revolution—and I’ve always been a bit of a deviant!

To misquote the great Jim Morrison: People are strange, when you’re a stranger; faces are lovely, and we’re never alone! πŸ™‚


The boundary of imagination…

So, I took my 4 year old twin nieces for an ice skating lesson today. One of the wonders of spending time with children is getting to be in on so many “firsts” for them! I got to take them to their first rodeo; their first merry-go-round and roller coaster rides; their first time at the zoo; their first “hike” (about 0.4 of a mile, to a waterfall, but that’s a hike for 3 year olds!); taking them to learn to ski, to bowl, to swim. Now ice skating. As with most things, one of them took to it a little quicker than the other; but both of them were so very determined and bold, it just made me proud!

Afterwards, on the way home (and to get some hot cocoa!), they were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Maya wants to be a figure skater, and a princess. Oh, and a ballerina. And later a doctor, like her mom. Emery wants to be a pairs figure skater, because the girl “gets to fly”! And a downhill skier who goes really fast. Oh yeah, and a ballerina. And another doctor. The wonderful, tentative, ever-changing grownup goals of four year olds!

But, think about it: what keeps us, as adults from continuing to have such grandiose dreams? Has the universe really quelled our enthusiasm? Is it “reality” to know that we’ll probably never be an artist, a dancer, a published author, an entertainer; or is it the oppression of societal expectations and our own mind? Really, the boundary of our capabilities is really limited only by our imaginations. What we dream, truly dream, what we are passionate about, we truly can achieve. We just let the idea of “reality” oppress us into giving up, or even more sadly, not even trying.

There is so much of a child’s wonder and enthusiasm that I wish we didn’t seem to lose as adults. The ability to believe that anything is possible is just one of those things. And that we are much more than some easily defined and categorized creature in a plain box. Heck, didn’t the “Breakfast club” already teach us all that we are so much more complex than the labels assigned to us by society?

So, as adults, shouldn’t we be able to find a compromise between “reality” and passionate dreams? I think we can. Will I ever be a prima ballerina in the Bolshoi? Nope, but I can crank up my radio and shake my booty, and enjoy the abandon of dancing around with happiness. Will I ever be Jack Kerouac or Toni Morrison? Nope, but I can certainly string together sentences and paragraphs and get thoughts and ideas out in written communication (thanks, WordPress! πŸ˜‰ ) And will I ever be an Olympic athlete? Nope, but I can appreciate that my body is in better shape now than it was 20 years ago, and do everything in my power to keep it like that.

For those who’s dreams have died, I am sincerely sorry. But for those who may still have the spark, I say continue to go for your dreams. Yes, maybe you will have to downgrade them slightly; but there is nothing to prevent you from enjoying the heck out of what life is bringing your way at this point, and making your current reality your dreams come true! Rebel against reality, and become the princess you truly are!!


Nurses and teachers and bears, oh my! :)


So, ^^^^ THIS just happened! I’ve always felt that the top three honorable things I could do with my life would be being a nurse, a teacher or a mother. And so now, I’m hitting two of the three! (forget number three, I’ll continue to be Auntie extraordinaire!) It’s amazing to me, that while I’m looking around to find out where I can do my Master’s practicum requirement for nursing education, I’m suddenly being offered a job as a clinical instructor! Getting to take little duckling nursing students under my wing, and getting to teach them the RIGHT way to do things and helping them build a strong foundation and knowledge base as they go on into their careers; what an AMAZING opportunity! πŸ™‚

Thinking back to where I was less than 2 years ago: in the same job in the same hospital unit for almost 14 years (although liking and appreciating most of the people I worked with, if not the people I worked FOR!); finishing up my Bachelor’s degree after a long time out of school, with no intention to go on for a Master’s; living in a cluttered, dirty home as a moderately depressed hoarder, who preferred to isolate herself from the world, and put on a great mask of congeniality most of the time at work; and having minimal interest in interacting with the world around me (although I have always stayed up on news and current topics in the world, but just again, tended to be isolated, even from my own family).

Fast forward 2 years: Working at a fantastic hospital, for a fantastic boss, with wonderful people, and being given multiple opportunities to challenge myself and learn more; having the opportunity to be a clinical nursing instructor for new students; six months into a Master’s degree program; living in a fully remodeled and clutter-free home which I love and am comfortable in; socializing more at work and outside of it, going to events with friends, initiating such events at times, surrounded by more friends and fantastic people than I ever thought I would know (the amazing turnout at my birthday party last year still boggles me!) Learning to enjoy and appreciate more activities than I had ever done before, like more hiking and paddle boarding, Pilates and jogging 5Ks; teaching things to my darling nieces and watching them experience new things, and getting to witness so many of their “firsts”; and being completely happy, comfortable in my own skin, and ridiculously enjoying my life!!

Keep in mind, no matter where you are at in your life at this point, it CAN change. Don’t expect it to be easy. Just expect it to be worth it! Because YOU are!!!





Uhhhh, yeah


This may have kinda sorta been me today! Reason number 5,289 why deprivation (even in the name of “detoxing” or “cleansing”) is bad for me: I suck at it! πŸ™‚

Cheerfully moving on to the next day of “detox” for the 30 day period tomorrow, not giving a rat’s ass that I had a minor implosion of willpower today. Because really, this stuff just ain’t that important! πŸ™‚




Goodbye stardust

So, I don’t idol-worship people in the public eye. Musicians, authors, actors, athletes; let’s face it, they are indeed just like you and me. They just have a specific talent that is called for in limited demand, and work hard and have good fortune. For every Denzel Washington out there, there are 100s of actors of high quality and hard work who just don’t get the breaks. So while I respect their talent (one that I don’t have), I don’t feel they are superior to me. I have my own talents, and can do things these people can’t do; we are just cut from different cloth, right? My idols are usually ordinary people, doing remarkable things under extraordinary circumstances.

Having said that, there have been some celebrity deaths that have personally touched me, because the person themselves touched my soul. They may have been supremely talented. They may have seemed like really a wonderfully decent person, in spite of their talent. They may have made me laugh more, or cry more, or think more than some of their compatriots. The wonderful untapped talent of Amy Winehouse. The compassion and kindness of Princess Diana. (I leave the amazing Nelson Mandela out of the “celebrity” category, because he is indeed a true hero for me, someone so far above any categorization). There have been 3 celebrity deaths that I can think of which have truly emotionally impacted me on a deeper level. I still remember the stunned, shocked feeling I had when first hearing about the death of River Phoenix. The disbelief followed by tears upon hearing of the loss of Robin Williams. And now, the unthinkable phrase: David Bowie, dead at age 69. Yeah, nope. David Bowie isn’t supposed to die. Ever. (shut up, I can be irrational if I want to).

The fact that this death impacts me so much may surprise even some of the people closest to me. But if you think about what he represented, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me.

Forty years ago, this unique, brave man dared to be different. Bizarre. Strange. A public freak. And he didn’t give a shit, really, what people thought of him. He was talented, gifted, brilliant, beautiful, amazing. And by effectively giving conservative society who didn’t know what to think of him the finger, he gave permission for all weirdos, world over, to let their lights shine.

It has nothing to do with sexuality. It has nothing to do with political or theological ideology. It has to do with bleeding red. With being human. Whether you are gay or straight or something in between. Whether you identify yourself as cis- or transgender. Whether you are conservative or liberal. Whether you are the introverted wallflower, or the extroverted exhibitionist. It is about being YOU, and challenging the world around you to accept that.

Bowie was more than some public freakshow, the man who wore makeup and put out brilliantly weird music and defied labeling before others took up the same crusade. Before others made society look at them and say, oh, ok, yeah we can handle weird. Bowie was weird before weird was cool. I think that’s part of him being a lasting icon. His soul, his music, and his innate weirdness spoke to people. And told them, hey, you’re ok. Really.

Even right now, thinking about this amazing man being gone tightens my jaw and makes my eyes water. Because as a shy kid, as one of those introverts who preferred books and animals to people most of the time (still do!), as a kid who felt like she never fit in, and was too “weird” for the conventions of society, Bowie truly was an idol. A beacon of light saying “you’re ok, you don’t have to fit in, just be you”. A master of words that felt as kind and wise as anything from Gandhi or the ancient philosophers. A chameleon, an artist, a divine spirit, and a decent man. A great loss, no matter how you look at it.

Goodbye, Stardust. Rest in peace, Mr. Bowie. And the stars look very different, today.