Monday, July 26, 2010

Okay, Now What?

So I have passed the NCLEX exam and can check the whole "get a career" thing off my to-do list (again-I did this when I became a chef, too). It is a huge relief to have Nursing School behind me and a freshly minted RN license in my pocket. I'm in my new job and loving it even though I am "the new guy" and still grinding gears and finding my way around. My patients like me and the doctors are receptive to my input. I even heard an attending physician tell a resident that I know my stuff. (Oh my gosh that felt good!)

I'm also on the precipice of building my family in a more permanent way. Still holding my breath for the legal hurdles we face over Little J next month. We have reasons to be optimistic about that, although until he is finally adopted I will not be able to exhale. Too many weird things happen in the courts for me to be able to predict the outcome with anything like confidence.

After years of excruciating work and no small measure of heartbreak, all of the above came to fruition at the same time. We moved into our wonderful new house, I graduated, we got a kid the next day, and I passed the boards last week. Life has been pretty lively. I'm just now starting to enjoy the rewards of all this rapid-fire change.

As any good Warrior Goddess would, I thrive when I am conquering. Resting on my laurels has never been my thing. I like to look ahead and dream big and overcome the trials to get the prize. I'm trying to open my mind to what comes next. I am taking a year off of school so I can explore my new job and decide what path to take to advance in my career. At some point I will have to decide if Little J will remain an only child or if I dare tempt fate to ask for a daughter again. Big stuff.

Here's some possible school options:
  1. Bridge to my BSN degree: This will most certainly happen, I just need to work out how soon to tackle that odious set of prerequisites. I need to take Statistics and some Chemistry. Ugh. 
  2. Become a Nurse Practitioner? Maybe. If I really like clinical practice and find floor nursing limiting, this would be a good option.
  3. Masters/PhD in Medical Anthropology: I LOVE this idea, but sadly UNR's Anthropology program is one I have ruled out as an option for a number of reasons. If I go with this option, we would have to move out of state. Not that I can't handle an adventure, it is just a really big move/investment. Tony would need to agree, and I just don't think he is ready for me to be heavy into school again like that. Nursing School was tough enough on our relationship.
Here's some possible family options:
  1. Adopt privately: Avoid the rigors of Washoe County altogether and find an agency I can stand to work with. Adopt a domestic infant or go abroad. Costly, but less uncertainty (only a little less) once a match is made.
  2. Continue to foster: Could we get lucky again or will we get our hearts broken? Big, huge gamble. Very low legal costs once an adoption can happen. Big time commitment. 
  3. Keep J as an only child: I dunno. I don't feel like the family is quite "done". Most parents can relate to that. You know when you are done adding members to the family, and I'm not there yet.
  4. Get another dog: We got Ember at a time when I was dying for a baby and it just wasn't happening. It helped me by giving me something small and helpless to nurture. Still, having only one dog now is less chaotic.
Misc. Goals:
  1. I need to do things to enhance my health and physical energy. In other words, get a grip on my stress-eating and get my butt off the sofa. Lots of options and classes, but have been waiting for my schedule to shake out.
  2. I need to get back in the groove of making art. That is: writing and also trying out other forms I have always wanted to improve in. I can't decide if blogging counts.
  3. Getting my spiritual house in order so that I can do ANY of the above with a little more hope and faith, rather than stressing out all the time.
  4. Take a vacation to Europe. This is way overdue.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dream: The Priest and I Don't Agree

I dreamed last night that I went back to Ohio for a visit and was over at my father's house to see my sister. For some reason, their parish priest was there for a visit, in full high-ceremonial finery, no less.

He and my stepmom were talking about the Mel Gibson epic "The Passion of the Christ", and how he thinks that everyone should see it to gain an appreciation for the Christian faith.

I am my outspoken self even in my dreams, so naturally I said I had avoided that movie because it was just too violent for my liking. I don't need to watch a religious snuff film. My nightmares are fueled with enough images for several lifetimes already.

Sigh. This was not a popular viewpoint. The priest started in on me about it, and the fact that he felt my spirituality was flawed because I lacked a proper fear of God. We argued back and forth so much that I didn't even get to visit with my family and left in disgust.

An interesting observation that I had about this dream when I woke up is that my family, rather than coming to my aid, mostly just rolled their eyes at me and apologized to the priest for how I was offending him.

It is true that I am distant with my dad's side of the family. My father and I have had periods of estrangement to the point that my siblings (all much younger than me) barely know me. I am an utter stranger to my youngest sister Molly, which was never my intention. It just got too hard to bridge the distance of 2300 miles and the emotional gulf that still lies like an open wound from where my brother Ryan used to be. Without him to bridge the generation gap as it were, I feel totally old and separate and different from the rest of my brothers and sisters.

Of course, I am different in that I have a different mother than they do. And I live far away. And I am a whole generation older. And I am different from most other people in a lot of weird little ways, or so I am told. I feel vastly misunderstood sometimes. Luckily for me I have people in my life who at least mostly get me as a person. But the fact remains that it has always been a regret of mine that I couldn't rise above the hard times I was having with my father to be there for my siblings more.

When Ryan was alive, he did that. He looked out for them. I am a poor substitute for him in that regard. I'm trying, little by little, to let them know now that I am in their corner, that I have always loved them, that I am, unlike Ryan, still within reach. In still, small movements, I am just trying to be there.

I may have imperfect faith, but I do have perfect love, if not fully expressed yet. It is still a big gap, but when wounds heal, the edges get closer together. Healing is my business, so I guess Ryan would want me to do the work.For him I really will.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dream: Showing up for Nursing Boards Naked

Plus Bonus Dream Subplot: Europe Won't Allow my Yankee Spices!

More wacky stories from the sideshow that is my subconscious.

I dreamed the other night that due to bad time management and stress, I showed up an hour late for my appointment for the NCLEX exam, plus I was naked. Plus, instead of a written test, it was to be a practical demonstration of cadaver dissection overseen by my old Anatomy & Physiology professor, Doctor Burke. He didn't approve of my lateness but didn't seem to notice the fact that I was nude. I had to dress in full isolation gear as if I was treating a patient with MRSA or TB, and go and quickly dissect a corpse without making a mess of it. In two hours.  Actually, I think that actually would be easier than taking the real NCLEX, but I digress...

One of the reasons I was stressed in the dream was that I had to pass on the first try, because I was moving to Europe to practice Nursing immediately afterward. It was in the back of my mind that the customs people had told me that I couldn't take my Dean & Deluca spices with me. Not like European countries don't have spices available, but I had purchased these at considerable expense and wanted to take them along. I was building an argument in my head that I should be allowed to take Herbes De Provence to freaking Provence! The nerve!

My dreams have been so jumbled up lately. I think I am finally processing all the changes I have been through since May. Life has been damn busy, and once I get past the NCLEX, things can calm down a bit. That is, if I let them. I am so accustomed to being in near-constant motion that I am not sure I know HOW to relax anymore. By the end of summer I hope to have fewer things hanging over my head and can enjoy the rewards of all this hard work!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dream: Seth Green and the Burning City

I have been super tired lately. Last night I went to bed super early to try to get some decent shuteye. Apparently, my subconscious had other ideas. I went on a wild ride in my head.

First up, the setting was in Reno where I live now, only the State budget was so bad that all the firefighters and police had lost their jobs. Things looked broken down and burned out everywhere.It  looked bleak.

But I had a date, I guess. I was at a bar with actor Seth Green. Now mind you, I do not have a crush on Seth Green. I don't really think about him that way. But in my dream, we were drinking and carrying on. We went into a private room and things got steamy. I was digging it and really getting into him. Bizarre.

Then he told me that he wasn't really feeling the same way. I was crushed. Like, beyond unhappy. I was desolate. I pitched a fit. I made a spectacle of myself. I cried and begged him to take it back. He was looking at me with a mix of pity and disgust. I felt horrible.

I was driving home and crying in the car. There were buildings burning all around me and there were flaming cars on the side of the road. I felt like I had lost the only person who would ever love me. It felt really real.

When the alarm went off, I had to shake that dream off. I felt like crap for part of the morning. All because of some make-believe crap. Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Trouble with Fashion

It occurred to me recently that now that I wear scrubs to work, any clothes that I wear outside of work can be truly for fun. In other words, I can wear WHATEVER I WANT. Gone are the days where I have to buy "business casual" clothes. I could buy clothing that expresses who I am in my purest form. I am free to dress like a freak if I want. I could skip down the street in a pink tutu as long as I don't mind humiliating my son and possibly my husband.

So, with a $50 gift card (a graduation gift from my mother-in-law) for Macy's in my pocket, I set out to find a garment that just spoke to me and said "Stacie" in no uncertain terms. That's where I hit a snag.

Either I have no idea what clothes are really "me", or Macy's had a slim selection of shirts that were not hideously ugly, or I am just a frazzled mom, but I was having a ton of trouble finding anything interesting. Add to that the fact that I am evidently invisible to the sales staff at Macy's. Literally nobody seemed interested in enhancing my shopping experience. Oh, and I guess I should just go ahead and mention that I am in my early 40's and shopping in the plus-sizes.

The fact that I was having trouble seemed to be something I took personally, like if I was thinner I would have had both more choices and more saleslady attention. I was feeling super-dejected. Eventually I picked up a pair of pants.

Beige pants. Beige capri pants.

Here I am with the world at my feet, personal expression-wise, and that is the best I could do? Or has it become, after years of corporate casual, the only thing I feel comfortable with? Have I BECOME freaking BEIGE?!?!?!?

Did it take me so long to get a career clue that I now have no personal style of my own? Am I doomed to look like a soccer mom until I succumb to some kind of granny cruise-ship gear? What the hell? Will I be buried in beige capri pants?

Oh, I suppose that shopping at a really mainstream store is at least part of my problem. I need to branch out. I need to learn to sew. I need to worry about more important things. Maybe I also need a pink tutu, just in case. What goes with a pink tutu?