Category Archives: Basics

Just Keep Walking and Why I Stop

Trigger Warning: Racism. Domestic Violence. Violence Against Women

 

My friends who know me, know I stop. I stop for hurting people. I stop for hungry people. I usually don’t have cash or change to hand out but I almost always have some food in my bag. It’s what I can do. I’ll tell you if you need to go to a hospital or doctor or not. One of these days, stopping might get me in trouble, but I’ll probably keep doing it.

It embarrasses my friends.

It embarrasses my husband.

It embarrasses my family.

I keep stopping because I take the role of the nurse in the community seriously. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a nurse. You shouldn’t be shocked. And don’t go #notallnurses on me because we all know there are different kinds of nurses.

I feel guilty about what I’m about to write. I’ve felt guilty for a long time, even though I was a young child when this happened. But I want to speak out about this culture White people have created and what has been adopted. Because ignoring violence against women, especially Black women, is a huge piece of White supremacy that needs to come apart.

It was a sunny day. I don’t remember what time of year. It was in East Nashville. Somewhere along Eastland Ave. We used to live on Benjamin St. I went to Cora Howe Elementary. I think we might have been coming

I don’t remember where we were going but I was walking with my mother. There was an apartment building nearby that had a reputation. Most of East Nashville had a reputation at that point.

A Black woman came running out of the building, screaming for help. A man ran out after her and tackled her, beating her on the ground. I wanted to run to the payphone and call 911. I told my mother we needed to help. She held me harder and said “Just keep walking.”

Now.. was my mother afraid for her own safety? Probably. Was she afraid for our safety? Probably. But could she have knocked on a door or done SOMETHING? Yes. My mother worked for the Metro Nashville Police Department for years. She wasn’t a police officer, but her call would have brought half a squad. I’ve seen it happen.

And she didn’t. She walked us to the car, she got in, and she never looked back. We lived close by. She could have driven home and called for help and never identified herself to the abuser. She didn’t.

I remember that woman. I remember she had long, natural hair. I remember this because the guy used her hair as a weapon. It was how he stopped her before he tackled her. I remember her screaming in our direction, because we were the only people out there. But I don’t know what happened to her.

I also remember my mother  and step-father(s) abusing me and my sister.. I remember when we tried to get help because our parents had threatened us with beatings if my sister failed a test. My sister, suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia, failed the test. My sister is INCREDIBLY smart. She’s just dyslexic. But when we went to the Kroger on Gallatin Rd, that had a giant “Safe Place” sign in the window, we weren’t helped. The police jumped to help one of their own. My sister and I were taken to a counselor, we were never allowed to speak without our parents present, and we were told if we persisted with our complaint, we would be split up, pulled from our school (the only haven we had), and how selfish we were to accuse our parents of these behaviors. I remember how we went to subsequent “therapy” appointments after that, where the therapist called us lazy and told us we had to do more to help our mother. Our abuser. Again, we were not allowed to speak without our parents present.

So now I stop. I call 911 if it’s needed. I help. If I need to, I’ll scream my head off to draw attention to what’s happening. You don’t get to abuse someone near me and feel that’s it’s okay because no one stops. I’m going to stop. If I can’t stop you myself, I’m going to get someone who can. I couldn’t stop when I was a little girl, but I can stop now.
Making rules for yourself and standards for the people you associate with IS NOT easy. It doesn’t even really get easier. But it does lead to a more fulfilled and honest life. I’m not done learning, changing and growing. But learning to stop was one of my earliest rules for myself as an adult, and it’s a good place to start.

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45 Minute Chili with Vegan Option

Several people have asked for my super easy chili recipe, so here it is:

 

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)

1 pound ground beef

2 cans kidney beans (drained)

2 cans tomato sauce

5-6 cloves of garlic

2 jalepenos

2 green bell peppers

1 large red onion

Chili Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Salt and pepper

Optional:

Sour cream

Grated cheese

 

Directions:

Chop the vegetables and add to a large skillet or non-stick pot

Use caution when cutting the jalepenos. If you don’t want hot chili, remove the seeds.

Add ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cayenne.

Saute until beef is thoroughly browned.

Add tomato sauce and kidney beans

Add more chili powder and cayenne pepper until you have achieved your desired level of heat.

Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese (optional). Also goes great with cornbread.

 

I have a vegan variant to this recipe. I use tempeh and add corn as an extra veggie.

If you use tempeh, chop it into small squares. Add grapeseed or another flavorless oil. Then add chili powder and saute until tempeh cubes are completely covered in chili powder. Then add vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. Follow the recipe from there.

I’ll post a picture of my chili the next time I make it, probably next week.

A Fitness and Diet Post

Over the last year, I’ve gained about 50 pounds due to developing painful tumors between my toes and steroid treatment for them. Prior to that, I’d lost 30 pounds with diet and exercise, but the tumors were so painful, all I could really manage was work.

My husband has also been gaining weight. I’m putting down our weight loss and exercise plan here because I want to keep it simple and document what we are doing.

 

1) Exercise 3-4 times a week, at least twice in the gym with weights.

2) Smaller portion sizes with more vegetables. Vegetarian/vegan meals 3-4 nights a week.

3) Better snacking. Rice cakes and almond butter. Veggies and Hummus. Veggies and salsa

4) Less alcohol. If we want more than one beer or glass of wine an evening, we have to walk to a bar.

5) If we want a splurge meal, we go to the gym, walk or bike to it.

6) Take a 30 minutes walk after dinner every night.

Most of my plan is activity oriented. I’m getting really good at planning meals as well. I wanted to put this down because I don’t believe in diet fads, but I know where John and I could be doing better to lose weight.

Along with this, I am working to be more accepting of my body. I’m never going to be a size 8 again, but I can get stronger and more comfortable in my skin. I am still in much better shape than when I started exercising 2 years ago. That’s really important. I also need to be accepting that I have Meniere’s Disease, which causes me vertigo, so I cannot always exercise, and I should not make myself feel guilty about it. This diet and fitness plan is not just about changing my body, but about accepting my body.

A Day in the Life Of

Tonight, I’m just going to write about my day and things that are going in my life. I don’t often share these things with my public blog but I really feel like it tonight.

Backstory: last Monday I was in the ER with chest pain from pleurisy. Tuesday Comcast jacked up our cable rates and we cancelled cable because we’ve been spending too much time on the couch. We wanted to exercise more, read more, talk more, and actually be present in each others company. It’s been such a good week.

It starts at Saturday evening, 5 PM. That’s when I woke up, had dinner and went to work. I had a good shift at work, REALLY nice patients, worked with a new grad I like, and got off on time. I came home and slept for 4 hours.

After I got up, my husband John and I went to the gym. We worked out. On the way home we stopped at Vitamin Cottage and I got the ingredients for the awesome dinner I made Sunday night.  We came home, I worked on my homework for Community Health (I’m in college to get my Bachelor’s of Nursing Science, I have an Associate’s Degree), made that kick ass (like really) dinner.

Last night, I didn’t sleep. Maybe I slept an hour, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. This isn’t new for me. I see a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders and it is not unusual for me to go several nights without good sleep. The last month has been particularly hard because I had bronchitis and now I have pleurisy.  It’s extremely painful. I’m on prednisone, a steroids, which has been keeping me awake at night.

This morning, I got up with John after a sleepless night. I think I slept about an hour. I was in a lot of pain. A LOT. Our automatic cat box, the Cat Genie (which is normally awesome) malfunctioned and smelled. Smells keep me awake, but John had a long work day ahead so I didn’t want to wake him up. Also, I didn’t realize the extent to which it had malfunctioned. We heard the engine start moaning a week ago, so we had the new Cat Genie ready to go, thank goodness.

I couldn’t sleep so I got up and made John breakfast while he made me coffee. He said it was an awesome start to his week. John left for work. He works part-time in office, part-time from home, which is a great arrangement because he works about 60 miles from home. My husband sold his house and drives that commute so that I can live near my hospital. I’ve never met anyone so supportive of my career and life goals.

After John left, I cleaned. I stripped the Master and Guest bedrooms, mopped the wooden floors upstairs, cleaned the guest and Master baths, and did a ton of laundry. My sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I want everything really, REALLY clean. While in the guest bath, I saw the Cat Genie wasn’t working properly, so I sent John a text to tell him we needed to work on it tonight.

Then I called my doctor’s office and was seen. They gave me a prescription for percocet to take at night. I can manage the pain during the day with tylenol, but at night, the pain is so nagging I just can’t sleep. I still had not slept. I went to the grocery store. I got home, put the Master bedroom back together, flipped the laundry again, and finally started feeling like I could sleep, so I took a 2 hour nap.

I had physical therapy this evening. He’s been working on my severe plantar fasciitis, which is getting better. He also did dry needling, on my back and shoulders. All of the coughing has really thrown my back out of whack. My PT helped me stretch my body back into place and I’m feeling much better.

I got home, and after last night’s fancy dinner, just made some gluten free chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli. After dinner, per my weight loss plan, we went for a 2 mile walk. It’s a beautiful night in Denver, not too cold, and we had a nice walk. We made plans to get a puppy by the end of the month.

So here I am, very little sleep, in a good mood, but in pain, heading towards delirium.

When we got home, we decided to tackle the Cat Genie because if the odor is too much, the cats like to pee on the couch. We do not want the cats to pee on the couch.

We took it apart and John assembled the shiny new one. This left scrubbing the old one (we want to save it for parts) to me. I scrubbed and scrubbed. IT WAS A LOT OF CAT SHIT. There was SO much. Finally, the worst happened. A washer, still covered in poo, flew off and hit me in the face. I came close to losing my dinner, but I’m not a nurse for nothing. I scrubbed my face with antimicrobial dish soap and kept going.

On the way back upstairs, I stopped and poured John a whiskey and myself a glass of wine. We finished assembling the new cat box and watched it’s inaugural run while toasting each other’s awesomeness.

My house smells SO good now.

Getting rid of cable TV has been the best thing we could have done for our marriage. I was watching way too much TV when I could have been out doing things. I wasn’t exercising. At night, we weren’t talking, just watching MSNBC or Aljazeera. When the news wasn’t on, we were watching shows we didn’t really like because nothing else was on. We weren’t talking. We ate every night in front of the TV.

Then Comcast raised our rate by $50 and we had a serious discussion about it. John and I have been cutting our expenses by turning down the thermostat, planning meals and eating at home, planning shopping trips, etc. No way was I going to see money I’d been saving to donate to heat Pine Ridge Reservation and Keep Marissa Alexander out of jail go to Comcast. So we got rid of it.

It’s only been a week, but I feel like I got my husband back. Sitting there in the bathroom, watching the robot do it’s thing, drinking wine with my geeky husband, it felt so good. Like when we were first married. We were such a team. We are that way again.

Tomorrow night, we’re going to have a gym date and workout, then go out for burgers afterward. It’s going to be awesome.

I’m so relieved to have my husband back. Also, very relieved my mouth was closed when that shit covered projectile aimed for my face.
Good night, world.

 

 

Trolls and Patience

I’m really happy my post “The Effects of Nursing on Nurses” is still generating commentary and discussion among nurses and other individuals. Unfortunately, there are a few trolls who have latched onto the post, attacking people in order to get more attention for themselves.

When I think of a troll, I don’t think of a hairy little dude under a bridge. Rather I think of a fisherman, slowly making his way around the water, with several baited lines, waiting for a bite.

That’s all trolls are. They drop aggressions, make offensive commentary, and hope they get a rise out of us.

Because I want discussion to continue, but I want to limit the amount of trolls on my blog, I have placed comments back under moderation on all posts. I have generally approved all comments, as anyone can tell by the number of “quit your job, you lazy nurse” comments I have received. As long as you are not attacking other users, comments will be approved.

I will continue to check the blog several times a day to approve comments. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

In addition, I have gotten a lot of new followers. I like to follow people for conversation, if you’d like me to follow you back, please post something here about the theme of your blog.

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