Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm Out, Blogger!

Hey Everyone!

Come check me out here. I plan on making this home from now on and have settled in quite well over there.

I hope to see everyone at the new journal! And sorry about the move - I promise it will be the last one... unless, of course, my journal address falls into the nefarious hands of some trouble-makers again or some such thing!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Back Again, Part II

Oh wow! What an incredibly busy last few days it has been!

I've missed my bed, my pillows, the stupid cat that curls up on my chest and tucks it's head against mine, purring herself to sleep, while I, myself, am trying to catch some shut-eye. I've missed my INTERNET and the ability to blog whenever I feel like it about random crap. And I've missed my family, although it's not as bad as I thought it would be when I first decided to get a job in GJ.

Last night was my first night on the actual floor, taking care of residents, and learning the routine of the place. There are some highs and some definite, definite, lows! The toileting and all that wasn't too bad, although it can get pretty stinky. But nothing, nothing, NOTHING, will EVER beat the raunchiest, nastiest, stench I have ever had the misfortune of smelling - that of "burping" a colostomy bag.

For those of you that don't know, a colostomy bag is a what is placed over a surgical incision in the stomach after some re-routing has been done, when people cannot poop out of their anus anymore. They basically crap through their stomach. This bag fills with stool and intestinal gases; the gases inflate the bag and it has to been routinely "burped." This is accomplished by lifting the snap connecting the bag to the base. The air that comes out of there, wooshes into your face and to be honest, my stomach is churning again just thinking about it. The lead CNA, my trainer, anticipated this and moved to the opposite side of the bag before telling me to snap it open, which I did. She must have been expecting my reaction because as she was laughing, watching me turn green, she told me to "GO!" - which I was already doing. I had to run into the hall and puke in the trash can...

Other than that; however, things went really good. It's going to take time to learn each of the resident's individual needs and learn who they are - not just the names and room numbers, although that will take some time as well. Once I learn the latter part of that, charting will be quite simple - the program they use is easy to master but you do have to know certain things about each resident. Getting my own routine will come with time, as well as getting used to being on my feet for 12+ hours.

I'm definitely a hurtin' unit today, physically... which I was told will last about two months. But I feel like a part of me is being fulfilled now that I'm finally in the line of work that I've always wanted to be in. I still have some insecurities and concerns, but I think they will fade with time. And after going back through the night (with the exception of the puking incident) in an objective mind frame... it hit me that I AM going to be a great CNA. The other people who have told me this weren't just blowing smoke up my butt. I really do have a way with these people and I found myself getting irritated with the trainer because she... doesn't have as much compassion and patience as she should with some of them. I don't know. I really liked her and I definitely am learning some handy "tricks of the trade" from her, so I don't want to bad-talk her or anything... I just know I'm going to be handling some things differently I guess.

I HAVE to find a place of my own down there and soon, too. Right now, that is probably my biggest stress/concern. It took me a little over two hours to get home today.

I got up yesterday at 4pm, got a shower, yadah, yadah, and was at work by quarter till 6pm. Worked until 6:30am, dropped my aunt's stethoscope off at her house, and hit the road. The 45 minute drive from GJ to Rxxxx is a massive blur in my mind, even now. I remember jerking a few times and I knew I had started to fall asleep which scared the ever-lovin' shit out of me. I know I was swerving around the road a bit and when cars got too close to me, it made me really nervous. I stopped in Rxxxx to get some breakfast and caffeine which did the trick. The last hour I didn't have any problems staying awake... but the first half of my trip has really made me nervous. I think I might email my father and ask him for some help to get into a place of my own. I really don't want to, but I can pay him back the loan and I'd rather dump my pride and ask for help, then wind up in a car accident that may have serious consequences. It's become more of a safety issue, than an independence one at this point. The start-up costs are what is hard but if I can just get ahead of the game there, I'll be fine with managing my bills and paying back a loan for the deposit as I'll have first month's rent with this upcoming check. Ack! The stress of this matter is the only "down" side I'm really having at this point.

Anyway, I do believe I'm going to enjoy working at this place. Like any place, they have their issues and things that need to be better, they have the snotty women, etc. but overall, it seems great and I'm excited. Plus, Mindy (the lead CNA) told me that I was one of the best CNAs she's ever had to train. Since she's been there for five years and it was said after the puking incident, it really meant a lot :).

I went to Wal-Mart to get socks and ended up walking out with the socks, plus a diaper bag, two baby outfits, a package of "footy pajamas," a baby blanket, three bibs: "Where's My Grandma?" "Skip the Green Beans, Just Pass the Pudding!" and "I Can Be Bribed With Cookies," and a stuffed Valentine's Day dog - Ashley's first appointment with the OB/GYN doctor is Wednesday, February 14th. Her theme is Precious Moment's Noah's Ark and I couldn't pass up the really cute baby animal stuff I found! Besides, it is my perogative as the auntie to spoil my nephew/niece as much as I want (it's so going to be a boy though!). My parents aren't blameless either. My dad bought her a Precious Moments baby book, they picked up an outfit for the baby, a picture frame that says "Jesus Loves Me" in colorful, building blocks, and two bibs: "I Love Grandma" and "I Love Grandpa." They also got her a maternity top that is adorable and two pairs of jeans. She normally wears a 4/5, but she can't wear them anymore - she barely has room in the 9/10's they got for her (lol). Looks like the spoiling has begun! And it's obvious my dad is coming around and getting more and more excited. My mom had already picked up everything and said, "okay, we're done." To which he replied, "no we're not." Then proceeded to meander around Wal-Mart until he found the baby section and promptly got what he was looking for - the baby book.

Chad is also coming around although he's being a COWARD and keeps making excuses to not come visit with my parents. But at least he's gone from not wanting this baby at all, to feeling Ashley's stomach and showing an interest in what is going on and what she has to do. He helped her fill out a bunch of paperwork for medical stuff and what-not. Now if he would sac up, quit the damn drinking, and come sit down and chat with my parents... I think things would be going quite well on that end of things :).

I told my mom that she and Ashley have to make all future doctor appointments with Dr. R, the OB/GYN on Mondays or Tuesdays from now on. The first one is on Wednesday at 10:00am which is kind of going to suck for me. I don't want to miss any of her appointments, much less the first one. But it's going to short me on sleep for the graveyard ahead, but oh well - it will be worth it! We're getting the first ultrasound done so yay!

Anyway, I'm wiped out. I took about a four hour nap this afternoon but that was it and it's now almost 12:30pm. I've got church in the morning and the Tylenol PM I took is starting to kick in. It has a pain relief ingredient in it which I hope kicks in any time. My back is frickin' killing me and so is the ankle I broke in the fifth grade. It's okay though, because it IS worth it and it's totally added just that much more fuel to the fire for me to get my LPN (Licensed Pratical Nurse) and maybe my RN (Registered Nurse) after that.

We shall see. I'm learning to stop trying to second guess what life is going to throw at you because just when you think you know, a curveball comes your way!

In any case, I've missed you all and I can't wait to catch up on your journals and see what I've missed, which I'll be doing tomorrow. Hope all is well! :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

And I'm Off Again...

Here it is, about 10:30pm Tuesday night. The family, along with Mike, Danyella, and their girls all went out to the local steakhouse for dinner. Then came home and I watched American Idol and House - cannot wait for the episodes of both shows next week!

Then we had a chat with Thomas on the phone. This court thing he's having to deal with has just multiplied into other things and he's having a really hard time. He and Jimmy are Ashley and I's brothers-of-the-heart and I hate to see either one of them struggling. Especially when they sound so down and just... broken. God put it on my dad's heart to send him $500 and after he was told to be looking for the check in the mail, he did start crying, while talking to me. I can only pray for him and trust that the Big Man Upstairs is looking out for him and has a plan behind all of these trials he's having to go through.

While we were doing that, Ashley announced that she had to go talk to Chad, who is running away to his daddy in Salt Lake City for a few days. They had talked earlier and he's really not wanting to be a father. He came over earlier and talked with my mom and told her how scared he was about all of this. Then promised to come by later this evening to talk with my dad. When Ashley called him to see what time he was coming over, he'd "had a few beers" and "wanted to be completely sober when he came over to talk." All I could do was shake my head and think about how cowardly he's being. For the love of God! He is 25 years old. My sister is 19 and she's had to tell her parents and deal with all of this crap head-on. Abortion is not something that any of us believe in and she's excited to have this baby, but scared shitless too. It's a huge responsibility, but I've been proud of her seeing how she's stepping up to the plate and doing what she has to do. Meanwhile, Chad crawls into the nearest alcohol bottle he can find and stays hiding there. Ugh! He promised Ashley that there would always be money there if she needed it, but she basically told him to take his money and shove it - that she wasn't interested in that, she was interested in having THEIR baby know his/her father. Apparently, at least at this point (it's not in me to completely give up hope on anyone), it's not a real priority for him.

I want to be SuperSister and march over there, tell him to quit being a shithead and get it together - Ashley didn't get pregnant by herself! And on the other hand, I know this is something that my sister is going to have to deal with and nobody can force someone to be a part of their child's life. My own biological father did the same thing Chad is doing now when he was told my mom was pregnant so it's not exactly uncommon, I guess. At least I could reassure Ashley that there won't be a day in his life that he won't regret it if this is the choice he makes. Brad is a part of my life now, but I've heard how much guilt and regret he feels over his decision. And it hurts him that I don't call him "dad" and he's going to have to take second place to the man who has been my daddy my entire life forever. We're doing what we can to make her feel better and reassure her that there is a man out there who will love this baby and earn the RIGHT to be called dad and who will love her as well.

Sigh. I guess that hard road has already started for her. But it's not insurmountable!

Anyway, I am pretty much ready to go with the exception of a few items I'll need to use to get ready in the morning. My scrubs are neatly folded and packed away. Extra hair clippies and all that good stuff is there. I have to be there by 9am. It's an hour and a half to two hour drive so I plan on being out of here no later than 7am. A quick run through the drive thru at Starbucks in Rxxxx, the halfway point between here and GJ, and I'll be good to go! All I have to do now is find a way to chase the butterflies out of my stomach who have been growing in there for the last few hours and get to work on time.

Has anyone ever been handed their dream? I mean, I worked for it, but now this opportunity has been placed in my lap and it's my foot in the door. Thoughts keep running through my head that maybe I'm just not going to be good enough at my dream and it's really making me anxious. So then I have to chase those thoughts out and keep boosting myself up. It's a little hard to explain I guess...

In any case, I'll be MIA again for a few days. Depending on what I work Friday, I'll be home either Friday night or Saturday morning so you can expect an update then and comments on your journals :). Please keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me and say a little prayer if that's your thing. I'm going to need them! But hey... at least I won't have to worry about accidentally emailing my boss a mean message about her again... I will be much too busy with the residents and learning the ropes :D.

Gah! Okay, I really need to get to bed and get some sleep. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow! Take care everyone and have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Big News In My House Tonight!

Over the last couple of days, I was really struggling with depression. Little things were huge mountains that I couldn't overcome, old nightmares were tormenting me at night, and I've been a moody hag.

It turns out I just needed a good cry. I haven't been able to release my grief since Thanksgiving Day and it was past time. I watched Raise Your Voice with Hilary Duff - it's my sister and I's "cry movie" because of the parallels between the movie and our lives. I feel a lot better now and better able to deal with things.

Which is a damn good thing because...

... My sister came home today from the doctor. She had gone in to talk about how to keep away from drugs and basically to seek assistance. She also had a pregnancy test done and SURPRISE! She is 10 1/2 weeks pregnant.

She told my mom first by handing her the prescription for prenatal vitamins and I guess my mom said, "HOLY SHIT!"

I came downstairs to find out what was going on and she handed me the prescription as well. I said, "HOLY SHIT" and started laughing because, well, it's a bit of a shock.

My dad is worse of a morning person than I am, especially when he gets woken up. He had just fallen asleep about five minutes before my mom went in and got him. He came out asking what in the hell was going on and Ashley blurted out, "dad, I'm pregnant." Cue the long pause...

It was obvious he was less than thrilled because he firmly believes in the institution of marriage and the creating of children within that institution. But it was also just as obvious that he is a loving, supportive, father and he will be there for her in every way. They had a long talk about the changes that were going to come about in her life and how she was going to have to handle them. He asked her about how she was feeling and what she was thinking. He made it clear that he loves her very much and he said he was sorry if he wasn't saying the right things, but that he'd be happy and more understanding tomorrow after he'd caught up on his sleep.

I can't really blame him for being stern with her during parts of the conversation. That's quite the bomb to drop in a father's lap. But he's handling it well and I think he'll get even better as time goes by, although he did warn her that there was going to be changes everywhere - including within him and mom. And to prepare herself for a bootcamp into adulthood over the next few months. His goal is to help get her ready for parenthood and adulthood - she's barely gotten her feet wet in the latter. He also told her that her days of being foot loose and fancy free were over - she has more than just herself to think about now. He softened that by telling her about what in an incredible joy it is to raise a child and how much fun it can be if she lets it.

Overall, I'd say it went pretty well.

I'm excited about being an aunty! My cousin, Sarah, did her usual evil comments and tried to suck the joy out of things. She called my cell phone to ask me about everything. After I'd told her, she started laughing and I asked her what was so funny. She says, "oooh, just that after all those years of mothering all of us, you're going to be the last one of us to have kids." I very politely told her that it was BECAUSE of all those years that I've made the smart choice to wait. And then I ever so sweetly told her that if she made another comment like that, I would rip her arms off her body and beat her in the head with them the next time I seen her. Bitch.

But whatever... I'm going to be an aunt! My sister just had both a blessing and a huge responsibility dumped in her lap. Based on what I know and what I seen tonight, this is going to change her life for the good. There are going to be some hard bumps along the way - there is nothing easy about being a single mother. However, she's a strong, independent, young woman and I firmly feel this is going to center her. She's still a little scared about her off and on drug use over the past couple of months, but the doctor reassured her that the chances of something being wrong because of that at this point, were very slim. He also will be assisting her with staying clean for the duration of her pregnancy and after.

My bet is that it's going to be a healthy, perfect, baby boy and she already has the name picked out: Dominic Matthew - after our brother.

It's amazing to me how in just a split second... a moment in time... life can flip around and change irrevocably.

Looks like it just happened again.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Made In America: Spoiled Brats!

This was sent to me in my email the other day and as I feel it has some very valid points, I was curious as to what other people think about it.

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy. Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are: the most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig. So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did ... Insane! Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.


Saturday, February 3, 2007


Wow... I cannot begin to explain how good it feels to be back in front of a computer screen with internet access!!

The trip to GJ was great! I got to visit with my family and play with the kids; Little Shadow rarely left my side which made her dad a wee bit jealous as she is a "daddy's girl."

I got JOB! At a very reputable Skilled Nursing Facility - my aunt is an LPN there, but beyond bragging to her co-workers when I called her to tell her about passing my state boards and bringing an application home with her, she didn't do anything. I know, because I asked her and made her promise to tell me the truth.

It's very important to me to do things on my own!

I had one interview with the CNA boss which she did five minutes after I handed her my application. She reviewed it, got excited I wanted to work nights, and got one of the residents who sits in on all the interviews. After I answered a few questions and the resident informed Donetta (CNA Boss) to "hire the girl!" I got handed a bunch of paperwork and had to fill that out. We continued to chat while I wrote and she told me how much I'd be getting paid an hour and what days I'll be working. I asked her some questions regarding training and about the facility. Then we talked "personal" about her goals, my goals, her husband, kids, etc. By the end of it all, while shaking hands, she said that she could tell I was going to be a wonderful CNA and she was excited to have me here. Then asked me to come back on Friday at 10:30am to meet the Nursing Director aka Big Boss aka Kathryn. Which extended my stay, but that was okay with me :).

I arrived at 10:20am and was taken directly to Kathryn's office. I was told my background check cleared and asked to fill out more paperwork. Then I had to pee in a cup for the drug test - which I passed, although the Valium I stopped taking a month and a half ago is still in my system apparently. After that, I was done but Kathryn had taken an interest in talking to me - at least that's my guess as she kept me in there for another hour and a half just chatting about personal things.

To be honest, I was a little surprised that she talked to me for so long and confided so much in me about her personal life. Even Donetta came in after about an hour and commented that, "she really likes you! Normally she doesn't take this long with people, so that's a good thing!" Kathryn told me about the loss of her husband when she was 32 and he was 27 and how she's never married again. How she lost her mother 7 years ago and how much it hurt - her mom was her best friend. We talked about "seeing" our loved ones in dreams and strange things that have happened. About the "new normal" that is created out of neccessity and how surreal it feels to know that your world was just shattered, your heart broken, and yet... people all around you are still going to work, picking their kids up from school, basically just living life.

I felt very at ease with her and she reassured me that I could come to her or Donetta at any time and talk to them - whether it was on a professional or personal level it didn't matter, it would stay between the two of us. When we finally wrapped it up, I shook her hand and she told me that she was very impressed, I would be a great CNA, and welcome aboard!

I left feeling comfortable, confident, and excited about starting work there. My only nerves left are just related to my doing a good job, but only time will tell that. There is so much to learn, so much to do, so much to remember; it's a heavy responsibility! CNA's are not educated to the point where we can decide what kind of medications they need or how much and we don't really get to do any of the "cool" stuff. But in any nursing home or hospital, CNA's are the backbone of everything. We are responsible for their day-to-day care. We get onto very intimate levels with the residents and once you've become familiar with them, you can tell when they're having a bad day or are not feeling good. Their families entrust their safety in our hands as we have the most contact with them. It is our job to report any signs that something may be "off." Making sure they have oxygen, are clean, fed, bathed, able to go to the bathroom, encouraging them to take part in the activities they offer, etc. And everything has to be charted and/or reported to the nurse if it's something serious, like a fall or no BM's (bowel movements).

I guess I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of being directly responsible for all that and more; especially since from 12:30am to 6:30am, I will be the only CNA on the floor and will be responsible for all 28 of the residents on my hall.

I think the fears, misgivings, and basically the lack of confidence will let up more and more as I get to know the residents; their likes/dislikes, habits, schedules, etc. And once I get into the routine of things, it will make a lot of it easier.

In any case, that's it on the job end of things.

The apartment hunting was a lot less successful.

At first I was considering answering some of those "roommate wanted" ads and I even called a few of them up. But in the end, I just couldn't bring myself to live with a stranger. For one, that's a little bit creepy. For two, I don't like the idea of having to tip-toe around someone else because it's their house. If I want to let the dishes sit overnight because I'm too tired and don't feel like doing them, then I want to be able to let them just sit! And then there's the whole "security" issue - at any time, they could decide they don't want a roommate or just don't want me and I would be left up shit creek without a paddle.

So I nicked that idea in the bud and started searching for apartments. I found a few that are in my price range, but one of the offices was closed, one realtor was an A-S-S-H-O-L-E and I refuse to deal with him, the other place just rang and rang and rang. Sigh.

Hopefully I will find a place very soon, but until I do, my aunt and uncle are going to let me stay with them for the three days a week I have to work (it's twelve hour shifts). I'll be working 6pm to 6:30am, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday mornings when I get off, I'll make the two hour drive home and stay until Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoons. I'll stay up all day Saturday and crash early that night so I can go to church on Sunday and have a "regular" sleep cycle for the rest of my days off. At least that is the plan right now.

I am praying that I'm moving in the right direction and going where I am supposed to go.

I feel like I'm trapped between two worlds in a sense. That of creating stability, a secure life, staying in one place for a few years (or more), building friendships, staying close to my family, and so on. Or the part of me that still yearns to travel, explore, discover. To have adventures and excitement. It's really quite odd.

Anyway, I have a lot more to write about but this was my GJ trip and "the Plan" for now. I got back last night and dealt with a whole lot of drama, then went out to Teresa's and ended up spending the night. I had been asleep in their rocker for about 3 hours when their stupid dog jumped up on the head of it and flipped me all the way back at 4:30am. Teresa and her Redhead have been teasing me all day about the fact that I was screaming "SON OF A BITCH!" among other things. Scared the crap out of me and woke me up from a deep sleep. Never a good thing. Then I got pinned on my own hair and ended up having to roll off the side, all disorientated and dizzy. I was not happy.

Then I couldn't go back to sleep till like 7am because of the adrenaline rush and the fact that her Redhead had me go get in bed with Teresa when he was leaving for work. I kept screwing with her because I was in an onery mood and she finally whipped down her shorts and stuck her bare ass on my leg.

Needless to say, I'm tired. My dad wants me to come watch House with him, then I'm going to bed! I'll be catching up on all of your blogs over the next couple of days; I missed all of you! :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It's Off to GJ I Go! (And other tidbits)

It's almost 12:30pm and I just woke up about 45 minutes ago - although my parents (especially my dad) would have a fit if they (he) knew that. I don't really know what's been going on with me lately, but I am tired. The small things just wear me out and I'm kind of wondering if my thyroid hormone is off, but I'm praying that it's not. That would mean a med change and those just absolutely suck; I don't want to have to deal with that in the midst of all this either.

Last night, around 2:00am, I was in that strange half-awake/half-asleep Twilight Zone kind of place. And I remember thinking about the cost of this move, how I'm going to have to play catch up on bills for a month or two, trying to calculate how much money I'll be making as I looked up the average pay for CNA's in the GJ area, and so on. I started having a panic attack thinking about all this responsibility that is on my shoulders. Maybe it's not so much the responsibility that is on my shoulders, but the fact that I HAVE to make a choice - I feel a little trapped. This is why I like keeping a lot of options open and giving myself time to mull it over/prepare for it. But I am kind of jumping right in this time and trusting that things will work themselves out. It's scary! I am wanting to get ahead and not be forever watching my hard-earned paychecks disappear as I pay my bills every month.

I guess it just dawned on me that I am walking into the blind, more or less. I have no job, no savings that is worth mentioning, and I have no apartment down there. It's a bit nerve-wracking when you start looking at what the facts are now, instead of focusing on where you'll be at a few months from now. Plus, I truly hate living alone. I grew up in a busy, busy, busy house. There was always something going on (not neccessarily drama either). My brother and sister were quite the popular ones and always had friends over. I was very involved with academics and school programs - like Student Council. Yeah, I was kind of a dork. But even when I was at home, studying or whatever, there was just movement and noise all the time. That is what I am used to. So when I live on my own, it gets too quiet and it bothers me. It can also be scary at 3am, with strange noises outside and the slightest board creaking.

Yeah, yeah - I'm a big 'fraidy cat! So what? :P

I am considering finding a two bedroom place so that I can get a roommate, someone to share the rent with. While I was drowsy and in the process of falling asleep, I mentally composed this ad: ROOMMATE WANTED. Prefer female. Reasonably clean, quiet. Responsible. No partiers and no psychos. Contact me at for more information.

It could work?

I have to get a shower, get packed, fill up my gas tank, check the air in my tires, etc. before I leave. I'll probably arrive around 4:00 this afternoon, which will give me an evening to spend time with the kids before I start The Job Hunt. I'll pick up a GJ paper before I go so I can look through the job openings and apartments for rent. I'm pretty familiar with the area as I lived down there for a year previously, so I kind of know what areas are safe, which ones are decent, and which ones are a big no-no. If I don't recognize a street or whatever, my aunt and uncle have lived there for nearly 1o years so they'll be able to help.

In the last week or so, I've "found" some really interesting, cool, new people and have added them to the "My Fave Reads" list. Egan, Jedimerc, and I have completely different lives.

Egan is passive-aggressive, bouncing with life and energy, and is always asking questions of people that are designed to open your mind, making you analyze the "why" behind your opinions. He and his wife are expecting their first child and the level of emotion you feel from his words when he writes about his unborn child... well, it's intense and it makes me cry.

Jedimerc is well-traveled, well-educated, divorced, and on a journey to self-understanding. To figuring out his place in this world; where he fits and why. He is a very intense person and his writing reflects this. He's been through a lot and I get the feeling that he's finally starting to pay attention to all of that and letting it make him grow.

And I... well, I'm 22 years old, trying to grow up and be an adult. I'm terrified and confused and excited about all these changes that come with stepping into the adult world and am making my way forward, one step at a time. I get impatient with myself and sometimes have to remember to just slow down and smell the roses.

None of us really have anything in common as far as who we are, other than a shared passion for blogging. But these two men have both lost a brother. Both of them have written about it, at least a small part of it, in this last week and touched something in my heart. I can feel their grief, their pain, the shock that still comes in spite of the reluctant acceptance you gain when you are forced to face reality. So much feeling, so hard to describe. But I know all of it, because it is mine as well. I haven't met anyone IRL or on the net thus far that has lost a brother, with the exception of one kind, older lady who works in the laundry up at the hospital. People try to relate and with the best of intentions, tell you the story of their great-great Uncle Meryl's funeral that they went to when they were eight. They know, and you know, that it doesn't even come close, but you appreciate their effort so you smile, hug them, and say thank you. They walk away with relief and you still feel numb.

I guess I'm just saying that seeing them write about their tragedy, even if only a few short sentences, has helped me in some ways.

I don't feel as alone or isolated. Because even knowing in your head that you aren't the only one that has ever lost a brother, it's different when you're confronted with the reality that countless others have had beloved brothers, whose lives were also ended prematurely. And there are others out there struggling with it; you recognize the struggle and therefore feel a bit of a connection because you relate, you understand.

In any case, they are both wonderful reads - inspiring people that will make you laugh and make you think. I hope they both know that as painful as it is to write about or talk about some days, that by sharing their loss, even in the smallest of ways, it touches people.

I feel inadequate trying to express my feelings on this, but I guess that's the best I can do and I'll leave it at that.

My sister made it safely to Florida and was absolutely thrilled when she texted me to tell me that she was at the beach and LOVING it. She called this morning at not quite 7am and I vaguely remember talking to her. She wanted to talk to mom and I said, "Ashley, it's not even 7am yet - nobody is awake!" To which she immediately got an attitude with. "Well sorrrrryyyyyyy, Amber! I'm at the beach, two hours ahead of you guys and I didn't REALIZE!" "Ashley - drop the damn attitude. I'll have mom call you when she gets up. Have fun, I love you." "I love you too, BYE!"

Teresa has told me that I've been that angsty and attitude-ish when I was 19 (although I don't remember ever being as bad as her), but said that I was also responsible. Something my sister is clearly not.

I love my sister very much, nothing will ever change that. I'd be lying though, if I said that I wasn't looking forward to moving to GJ because I am not going to have to deal with her crap as much. I know that sounds horribly selfish. She can just be very difficult at times; she needs to get her life together. We've given her the options, pointed her in the right direction, and offered to walk the road with her. It's all up to her now and you were all right when you guys said that I can't be responsible for her - I can't. I can be supportive and encouraging, but not responsible. Ashley is so caught up in what she's going through, and has been for a while, that she can't think past that. It's rare that I get anything besides bitter, snappy, angry, etc. from her. Or I say something to hurt her feelings (very easy to do)... or just something. The rare times where we laugh together or spend time with one another and aren't arguing or nit-picking, are times that I treasure. I pray that eventually she's going to grow out of all of it.

Anyway. I was going to do some kind of "ten more things you didn't know about me" but I can't think of anything at the moment. And I really need to get my butt on a move if I am going to ever get out of here.

So take care, fellow bloggers and Dear Readers! I shall be back Thursday night and you can be expecting an update from me then. I'll also be looking forward to catching up on everything I'll be missing with all of you! :) If it wasn't absolutely neccessary, I so would not be going anywhere for four days where I do not have internet access. C'est la vi, I suppose!

Have a great week, everyone!