Incarceration Status

Do you know how hard it is to convince someone you are not incarcerated after you accidentally told them you were? I do. In February I realized my pre requisites for the lpn to rn program were due to expire in the coming year. I made the choice to reapply to school and finish what I started before I lost it all. I don’t have the money to do this, one course cost me approximately $900-$1500 and that doesn’t include tuition. My single income household with 3 growing children cannot survive an expense like that. So I applied for financial aid. Two weeks ago I got the news that my prayers had been answered and financial aid would be provided!

I started making preparations for what is to come. I turned my resignation in for my beloved wound care position and requested to work the weekends. I enrolled in my courses, sought out the different options for my end result career, looked at pre med and clinical research options in case that is where I end up, and then I completed some final questions for my financial aid. Unbeknownst to me I made a small error that turned into a big problem! I plead insanity. I was in a pure state of delirium having worked the night shift before and misread a question that asked if I was currently incarcerated. I answered yes.

What the…

My financial aid came to an abrupt halt with red bleeding all over my beautiful white application. I tried to explain to the financial aid advisor that I was not in jail and that I thought the question asked “are you willing to go to jail?”… to which she wanted to know why I was willing to go to jail. Listen lady I’ll do whatever it takes at this point, don’t judge me.

After I repeatedly stated my claim to confinement was indeed false, I finally found a way to resolve my error. It will take some time and I had to pay out of pocket for this semester but it will be a memory for the books.

If I need to go to jail to finish school then so be it!

In the midst of all the confusion I said a prayer that God would help me be prepared for what is to come. Not even 5 minutes later my mom walks in my front door with a huge black duffel bag. She says it’s a 3 day survival kit for 5 people. She got it for me in case I ever have to make a quick get away. While I may have done a belly laugh, I have always fantasized about having to make a quick get away so I enjoyed it. Then I thought back to my prayer and did a double take at the heavens questioning what God has in store for this next adventure of mine. This story is to be continued…

My get away bag!

HOW TO MAKE THE TIME WORTH IT

The COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone. People have been out of work, self isolation and quarantine measures taken, the lack of home goods, mask being worn on essential errors, a complete uproot to our normal routine. Change is hard. It’s been a little over a month now, what have you all done to pass the time? The first week I worked around the clock, swing shifts. The second week I had a day off (I think) and I started deep cleaning my house. I began finding stuff I had forgotten. Projects, crafts, and if you’ve followed my previous blogs you know that I was starving. I am not a great cook. Social media began taking a toll on me, the conspiracy theories, people publicly shaming others for there lack of isolation and the media blasting case after case threw me into a panic, which had me then sitting in my house scrubbing my walls with bleach.

I began to pray for my patients that I was serving, my children who were out of school and out of care, for my family and then I prayed for myself. I asked God what I needed to do. The first thought that entered my mind was to further my distancing by shutting off social media. I can’t tell you how many times I was watching a movie or just got off the phone and went to pull up Facebook or Instagram. I still check my messages and get a little peek at the first post on the timeline here and there but that break has been the best thing I could have ever done. I’ve stopped listening to what everyone else is telling me to do and started listening to what God wants me to do.

Week 3: I quit drinking caffeine. What better time to kick a nasty habit? You have time to go through withdrawals and no outside influences tempting you to cave! The first few days were horrible, but I have energy that last all day now and no afternoon crash, a total win in my book! I’ve stepped up my game a notch and started working on my personal skills. With my kids back home and school happening right under my roof I’ve made a plan to sharpen their skills as well! After many failed attempts we are in the kitchen making successful meals and desserts from SCRATCH!

My youngest made almost all of this herself with a little help at the stove from mom!

My oldest daughter is learning to sew with a machine we’ve never even touched. She is a quick study and has made several mask with different techniques. She also helped me make my neighbor some banana bread as a thank you for cutting a fallen tree off my car and cleaning up the debris. We don’t know if he likes banana bread and we’ve never attempted to make it before but it came to my mind and so I took that as a sign that he would enjoy it.

We tried some and it’s GOOD!

I’ve started crocheting, reading more, studying gardening, I even learned from a Buddhist online how to remove a wasp from my home without killing it (the secret is a cracked window, blow dryer on cool, and talking to it as you guide it to the outside). I’m also creating new goals for what I want for my kids and I. I’ve taken a short night shift contract at work and flipped my schedule. My days off seem longer now and it feels great to have full days off to spend as I choose. I believe having my girls back home put the biggest worry in my mind at peace.

School at home!

I think the biggest question to ask yourself right now is, in several years from now what will you wish you had done with your time? Do it now. Make these days count toward the future days. Sharpen your personal skills, kick a nasty habit, read a book, study and pray, look out and take care of your neighbor, make your house your home!

Who needs a couch when you have a basketball?

An amazing woman named Marjorie Hinckley said, “The only way to get through this life is to laugh your way through. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” I’ve cried more than I’d like to through this pandemic and I agree with Marjorie Hinckley, crying gives me a headache.

Tooth Fairy or Not?

If it feels like you are doing something wrong then doesn’t that mean you usually ARE doing something wrong?! Well… that’s how I felt pretending to be the tooth fairy this morning. I felt deceitful. I felt sneaky. I felt… so alive. I’m starting to question my true calling in life. I could’ve been a spy. At approximately 6:03am my preset alarm went off notifying me that the tooth fairy needs to make her exchange. I, being said tooth fairy, entered operation sneaky mode. I tip toed into the next bedroom over trying not to breathe too loudly. Stepped on something wet in the floor, *please don’t be pee*, reached my hand under the sleeping child heads pillow annnnd… nothing.

I retracted my hand. Blinked to improve my night owl vision, and rubbed my hand on my pajama pants to stimulate my nerve endings so that they may be able to better detect said tooth. Then, for the second time I went back in. Ducking my head to the side, just in case sleeping beauty awakes. Nothing. “Where the heck is your tooth you rotten kid?”. I exited the room feeling a sense of defeat, grabbed a flashlight and went back in. This time from a different angle. “How are you sleeping through this? And where the heck is your pillow case?!”. Questions that will all have to be answered at another time. I let the light shine to the side of her face while examining the bed, careful not to beam the sucker in her eyes. And then I see it… I see a closed hand, tucked securely under the pillow. Oh dear, mercy!

This is what I have to work with

“So you wanna play hard ball, huh?” The things I whisper to my sleeping child as I’m trying to rob her of her baby teeth needs to be recorded somewhere. I turned the flash light off and wiggled my finger into the palm of her hand and found the TOOTH! Made my secret exchange and went back into mom mode. I turned on all the lights and told the girls to get ready for school. The kid didn’t even look under the pillow. Not even interested. I had to coax her to it. I did all of this, for an ooooh yeah, I forgot about that. Meh. I love you anyways. This tooth fairy may have just made her last run.

IF FEET COULD TALK

I was invited on a date by this dream boat of a guy who is 6’6, blonde hair, gym goer body, an all around physically gifted man. I was thinking to myself, whoa dude… I have birthed 3 kids and while I may have went to the gym once a few years ago, I don’t have the beach body that would match you. I accepted the invite with the internal thought that I could google how to became a supermodel in 24 hours and everything would be alright.

Cinnamon rolls for breakfast was not on the google results list but it’s what I had and I was hungry. Instead of picking out an outfit for the date, I went junking with my friend Casey and found some treasures to use my new paint sprayer on. I completely axed my Cinderella transformation. I had dirty boots on, dust in my hair, my jeans were soaked from the rain we had ran through, and when I got home I found gravy on my chin. This was not looking promising.

I rescued this beauty!

Quickly, I tried to make myself look like I hadn’t just rolled out of the sticks. I tried on seven pairs of pants. The only ones that looked modest, without holes up in the thighs, didn’t cover my frickin ankles! So I had to change my shoes to coordinate. Time was running out and the only pair I came across that could complete the coverage I was looking for were these G.I. Jane boots which made me look like I had just returned from Vietnam. “It’s cool”, I thought… we are going bowling and I’m changing shoes anyways so he will not even notice. Plus he is so tall, I bet he can’t even see other people’s feet.

When I first saw him, I went to give a welcoming hug and stepped on his foot. Like a gentleman, he chose to ignore it but as the awkward person I am, I brought it to his attention, “I just stepped on your foot.” He laughed his supermodel laugh and said yeah you did but it’s okay, and then it happened…. he saw my boots. “Oh nice boots, those are coming back in style.” Ah. I’m accidentally stylist. Nice. 🤦🏻‍♀️.

You can see the humiliation in my face 😂

I had Marco Polo my friend Kathy up until this point where she was coaching me to be brave and not chicken out. Because up until the moment I stepped out of the car I wanted to go back home, put on jogging pants, curl up under a fluffy blanket, and binge watch Netflix while painting quietly in my living room. She kept saying, “just breathe, take a deep breath in and out”. That girl could coach a Lamaze class. Sometimes we need a good friend to push us outside of our comfort zone. Thank you my friend 😉.

I used to be on a bowling league so I know all about how the bowling shoes run a size bigger. I have big feet for a girl, size 9 to be exact. I told the bowling employee I needed an 8, to which he sets a size 7 on the counter and says, “they run big”. Yeah I’m aware. But I didn’t want to make things more awkward with my feet than they already were so I silently accepted the shoes. I thought to myself there are people in other countries that wear smaller shoes all the time for beauty so you can do this girl.

Next to our lane there were a bunch of young girls, they were all drinking but they looked like children to me. I must be getting old. It was refreshing to actually hear him say the words I was thinking. I’ve dated guys who are still chasing the youngsters and it’s mind boggling to me, seeing as my daughter will be 18 in 4 years. Handsome and he has a good head on his shoulders. I really should’ve put in more effort to make that Cinderella transformation possible. Darn.

Approximately 10 minutes after the bowling game had ended I started questioning if someone had a voodoo doll of me, tormenting my feet. We had retired to a quiet corner for more personal time and mid conversation I noticed I had put my G.I. Jane boots on the wrong dang feet! What the heck. I wonder if he noticed when I excused myself to the bathroom to fix the mishap. If he did notice he didn’t say, or maybe it didn’t bother him. The night ended with me standing on my tiptoes because he is a whole foot taller than me. Oh mercy. This is to be continued as we are going shopping for some junk together, and pray for my feet.

New beginnings everyday

My eyebrows look angry today. The lack of self care this week does not make for a grand entrance into the new year. The emphasis put on holidays annoys me anyhow. They are just days. You can make goals more than once a year. You can surprise your loved ones with gifts anytime. Turkey can be cooked on a Monday. Dress up as a witch this Saturday and eat Chinese take out, it’s not illegal. I’m not sure about celebrating Independence Day in February. There may be a law about explosives that I’m not familiar so do your research before you go rogue. I didn’t make New Years goals. I have different goals every week. No need to add something drastic to my plate.

I enjoy seeing everyone’s Facebook post about the changes they plans to make the new year. Why they didn’t start before? Probably because there’s an emphasis put on dates. It’s nuts. “You can not become a better person until January 1st”. That is not a law people. If it was I’d be thrown in the chokey for starting on my baking goal weeks ago. That is going to be a long standing goal. I have successfully stopped burning everything I bake however the cookies and biscuits I made yesterday do not taste divine. My daughter took a bite of one of the cookies I made last night. She said “it’s good mom,” as she threw the rest away. My ex husband also stopped at cookie number one. I’ve known him for 15 years, if he likes food he will devour it in one sitting. So the baking goal continues.

At least they look pretty

Most of the things I’m reading this morning involve a reflection of the year. The people you’ve gained in your life or the accomplishments you’ve had. But no one talks about the failures or the losses. These things are just as important. The way you respond to failure and loss will build your character and create a better you. When I reflect on this year we have just completed I only go back to May. That’s when I made a big change for myself and I don’t want to see the bad before that. But that’s part of it and I’m proud that I was strong enough to say that I want a better life. There is no greater feeling than to be in control of your own life. This year I’m in control of mine and I feel free. I’m going to go enjoy my freedom at work now, hasta la vista. Happy New Year.

Dear elf on the shelf, I hate you.

I did the elf on the shelve one year for my kids. I thought it would be a fun time for the kids, so I Pinterest all the fun things to do and went through the motions. I hated it. Every. Single. Day. I hated it. Just call me Mr. Grinch. I hid the little doll and pretended it had to rotate families each year so it could visit all the kids. I even went as far as saying that Santa already made his list out and the elf only visits those people who aren’t on the nice list yet. I thought I got away with it too. Sleeping in every day. Minding my own business, wrapping my own gifts. Then it happened. My mom took my kids shopping this weekend and the smallest kid returned with a new elf.

I side barred my mom and told her I hated that stupid elf. That there was no way I could have that manic in my house again, it gets in all my stuff and leaves me exhausted throughout the holiday. It’s as bad as being married again, no thanks. “We already bought it.” Mom said. 😫. My oldest daughter happily joined the side bar and assumed responsibility for this elf. Fine. I’ve watched Kali night after night arrange this elf better than I ever could. The little girls run out every morning searching for it and giggling after the mischief. I still don’t like the elf but I love seeing the girls happy and Kali enjoys doing it so it’s a win, win in my book. Until one morning when I didn’t see it. Scared the butter right out of me. Literally. I dropped my toast and the elf went tumbling, the girls crying and me apologizing to Santa. Ah, the holidays are right on track.

This morning I woke to find the elf in the same place. I thought, oh Kali forgot to move it. I went to move the thing. As I got closer I noticed a letter:

There’s a strategy I haven’t thought of!

Kali is a smart kid. Using the elf to control the other kids… genius. She sounds like a mini mom. I love it. I can’t wait to wake her up this morning and give her smiling secret eyes that say, “now you know, now you know why I hate this elf business hahaha”. Both younger girls have already visited the elf this morning and promised to be in bed earlier tonight. Genius. Maybe the elf will disappear again next year, maybe Kali will keep this going, who knows. As for now, I’m enjoying this delegated responsibility of maintaining the elf from a distance. This probably doesn’t align with my goals of being one of those cookie cutter moms but we all knew I’d never reach that status anyways so I’m cool with it.

MURPHYS LAW STRIKES AGAIN

Pain is something I’m used to. I have to be careful when I sit Indian style, or to be politically correct “criss cross apple sauce”. Which by the way makes no sense because apple sauce can never criss cross. The cold hurts my bones and turns me into a hobbled old lady. I look like I’m auditioning for a role in the walking dead as a zombie. I’ve tried to get it fixed, ortho consults, injections, anti inflammatories, the works. I’ve given up on the dream of being pain free and walking like a runway model, besides I think the gangsta walk suits me better anyhow.

This passed weekend I watched too many hallmark movies and got inspired to clean my attic out, pull my Christmas decor down, and bake a pie. The pie part was challenging, I had to watch a YouTube video with my daughter on how to beat an egg and then we didn’t know what to do with it… the can didn’t say if we should mix it in the filling or where to put it so I had to contact an expert. My older brother Jo Jo. He has always been the baker/cook of the family and for Christmas one year he surprised me with a ton of cooking stuff I’ve never used until now.

A little too late, might I add. We already screwed up the pie and racked it up on our list of Pinterest fails. We like failure around here, it’s educational. The kiddos went off to their dads as usual on the weekend and I decided I’d get in the attic to try part 2 of my hallmark inspired weekend plans. I forgot my sister had a ton of stuff piled away since she is in the army and needs a place to keep her memories safe. Naturally I went through all her things like any good sister would.

Why are you saving this dinosaur?

After neatly organizing everything into clear totes, I started my ascend to the attic with the remains of my sisters youth. It was heavy. Too heavy. I got halfway up the ladder and gave the big tote a big push and whoosh, my shoulder felt like the devil being soaked in holy water! I dropped the nonsense memorabilia and laid against the wall pretending I didn’t just screw my shoulder up. The pain didn’t stopped, not after ice, not after nsaids and rest and praying. Crikey. Now I’m really in trouble with myself. I am a worker. I don’t simply watch a movie, or sit still for anything. I always have my hands going, knitting, crafting, writing, ect.

My new worst enemy

I decided to show my wound some attention when I realized I couldn’t hold my coffee mug and brush my hair without a stabbing pain. So I went to the dreaded doctor, actually I love my doctor but I hate going. It’s only torn, no break 🙌🏼 ! They said to take the rest of the week off and no lifting but that’s just a guideline… like stuff they have to say when you’re a patient so, I hid the note and went back to work the next day looking like the hunchback of notre dame with ice packs shoved in my scrub top. I’ve mastered the art of looking fine when I’m in pain for years so the next couple or weeks should be cake, fingers crossed.

Being home from work was too boring. I didn’t have anything to do while the girls were in school and I imagined spending sick days being productive, like laying on the couch with the flu while crocheting a blanket and folding laundry here and there but none of that happened. I grazed through the things I pulled down from the attic, reminiscing through memories of my dad. He’d probably make me a peanut butter sandwich if he were here. He always did that when I was out of commission. I remember crying in front of the fridge once in my wheelchair days because I couldn’t reach the milk and felt helpless. He saw me from his office and came to the rescue as always. I miss that old man. I was able to visit a piece of his life over the weekend.

He had great taste in books hahaha

I’ll be revisiting most of his treasures for the next few weeks as I’m not able to get them back in the attic so if I seem suspicious for the next little while it’s because I’m learning secret trades from an old crook hahaha. Talley ho!

Winter is coming, Scrooge this!

It was a cold winter morning, except it was fall. I had cracked the front door to spy on the yard. A thin blanket of snow snuggled the grass into the dirt, and I felt the cool air push passed the door to assault my face. I decided to make a run for it. The power bar on my phone blinked heavily for some juice. I took a deep breath, barefoot and all, to retrieve my phone charger from the car. The prickly baby ice chips tortured my princess feet. And I thought for a moment this might be how frostbite and I meet.

Enough with the riddles, enough with the rhymes… it’s just something I’m rambling to pass the time. School has been delayed 2 hours at least and I am standing in front of the stove playing hop scotch with my feet. This can’t be real, it can’t be right. It wasn’t like this just the other night. It must have been the time change that happens twice a year. Maybe the clock tower had too many beers.

The kids are happy and filled with cheer, but as for me, I always hate this time of year. The giggles and laughter don’t bother me much, it’s the lack of sunlight and fairies and such. I like to be warm and feel free in my clothes. This winter advisor has me snuggled up tight and putting on shows. I finally see how the grinch could be mean, because nothing about this makes me beam. Bah! Humbug!

Yes To This Dress

I’ve never tried on a wedding dress. Ever. Yes, I’ve been married before. It was not a planned thing. I remember riding down the road with my then boyfriend. He was covered in drywall mud and I was in a brown floral top and khaki pants. He asked if I wanted to get married, right then… I wasn’t really doing anything else. My day had been pretty boring and I’m a spontaneous person so of course I was all in. No tears or even witnesses, just me, him, and the lady at the tags office. Romantic right? Ha. That ended 7 years ago. He wasn’t the right guy, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy, just not the right guy. I’m not sure there is a right guy. I have been asked a total of 3 times for my hand in marriage but I’m a bit more cautious with my spontaneity now a days, and to be honest my hands are cold… wouldn’t want to hoodoo another persons life with these icicles.

I believe wholeheartedly that I was meant to be a single mom. Even as a child, when I’d picture my future life, I always saw myself with children but never with a mate. Sometimes now when I’m planning for retirement, or even what I’ll be doing in 10 years from now I see the same thing, mateless… just me and a garden, my one million projects lined around the yard, maybe a medical mission or 2, the company of friends and my kiddos. Perfection. My mom says that the way I’m feeling right now is exactly when my dad found her… well come and find me dad because I’m not going anywhere!

I recently went to a local thrift store to drop off donations. As I walked in the biggest, most poofy dress I had ever laid my eyes on caught my eye. It looked like the wedding gown donned by Barbara in beetlejuice. I snatched it up as my kids laughed saying, “mom no, oh man that’s hideous”… girls this is a work of art. I teased that I needed to try it on to wear to their first ball game at school.. want to look my best right? I slipped the dress on, unaware at the time it’d be my “first time” ever trying on a wedding gown.

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!

Everyone talks about that special moment when they find their wedding dress. Some even cry. I understand that feeling now. The broken mirror, the puffy lace sleeves, kids cackling from the door way, the thrift store find… I’m saying yes to this halloween dress 😭. It is perfect. I can picture it now, Maleah as Lydia. Kali as beetlejuice. Hailee as Harley Quinn… I can’t picture an Adam in all this so if that’s where your mind was going, sorry, no husband for me, just the creepy dress please. Thanks.

We go big for Halloween in this house. We plan out the houses we are going to hit. Extra bags in the car for the candies, what time we are going to the Halloween party, what time we will hit Main Street before the neighborhood homes. The book character day party and time it will take for a costume switch… it is all mapped out as if we are preparing for war. My girls make great soldiers.

I took my littles Halloween shopping yesterday. I usually know what to expect with each kid except Maleah. I know Hailee loves all things frilly and Princess related, Kali is somewhere between drag queen attire and full blown Disney Character (I know what you’re thinking but there’s not much difference), and then there’s Maleah… Maleah is that kid in your school who shows up in a hot dog costume when all the other girls are dressed as Cinderella. Try to pick her out in the above picture… if you picked the granny then you’re correct. This year Maleah was holding a cheerleader costume and something polar opposite from it, I don’t even know what to call it, but after heavy contemplation she chose the thing which I will now picture:

The other two girls refuse to let me snag a picture until they’ve gone through hair and makeup so I’ll have to update on Halloween! Divas. I couldn’t get them to go along with my beetlejuice plan so I guess I’ll just be Miss Havisham and sit it my wedding dress at home. I still think it’s perfect.

The Veils of Morality

I’ve heard that death is as easy as walking into another room. That there is a veil between this mortality and immortality. There is a sacred symbolic meaning behind the veil, it can mean obedience, modesty, concealing, humility or all of the above. I want to share the oddest dream I had the other night that changed the way I viewed the veils of our mortality.

I dreamt I was walking into work. It was quiet which is unusual for a nursing facility, there were no other employees, no call lights ringing off, and every patients room had a white veil hanging on the entrance to the doorway. In most of my dreams I can not talk, rather I feel what’s happening. I felt at peace in this one and continued to prepare myself to treat my patients. I approached a doorway and felt a voice ask me who I was. I’d describe it as a telepathic conversation as my mouth never opened but I answered with, “I am Annabelle”. The voice responded with the same question, “Who are you?” After a revolving Q&A with the same results I finally took a step back and thought there is a patient in there who needs my help and I am a nurse. The mystery voice said, “You May enter”. I stepped through the veil and only found the patient inside, no security guard at the door… it was odd but I didn’t question it. The patient was angry at me, he was asking why I took so long and why I hadn’t come to see him sooner. I wanted to respond with, “my child was sick and I’ve had a stomach ulcer so I’ve been out of work” but the voice in my head said again, even louder this time, “WHO ARE YOU?!”. I answered silently, “I am a nurse”. I felt a change internally, the stressors that control my time outside of that room quickly dissipated. I was no longer a woman who had only 4 hours of sleep, a sick child, a crippling stomach ulcer, or a single mom with bills racking up. That woman was not permitted into this room, only the nurse in me was extended an invitation. My response to the patient changed to, “I apologize for my absence but I am here now, how can I help?” The angry mood shifted as the patient allowed me to treat his wounds. I finished up and stepped back through the veil. As I entered the hallway I was Annabelle again, I was a mom, a painter, an adventurer, and a nurse all in one. But each time I approached the door to another room the same question was asked before entry was granted, “Who are you?”.

As I woke up I started pondering the dream with the veils. I thought about all the doors I walk through each day and the person in me who was permitted on the other side. When I come home am I bringing the stressors of work with me? Or am I stopping at the door and asking myself who am I with the response, “I am a mom”? Am I doing the same at work? It’s an interesting concept when I sit back and think about all the mortal doorways we each have in our own lives, with that invisible veil that only allows a part of us to enter. What have you come to that doorway to do? If it’s to give excuses when you get to the other side then take a step back and remind yourself who you are before you cross.

When I walked into work yesterday I couldn’t get the image of the veils out of my head. I believe the dream came about to remind me of who I needed to be in that room, and who I needed to be at home because I couldn’t be both. The hard days I have at work do not belong in my home with my children and the hard days I have with my family at home do not belong in the room with my patients. I thought to myself yesterday before I entered each room, “Who are you?” and that changed my entire day.