Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bring on the New Year!

So. It is that time. December 31st. Time to make some resolutions and assess the previous year's accomplishments.

At the end of January 2011, I was so stressed about my work that my immune system dropped and I got a MRSA infection on my back.

Last year one of my goals was to join the local roller derby. I started that journey, but it was abruptly cut short by a broken leg.

In March I found out that I didn't pass my Professional Development Dossier, and therefore would not be able to continue teaching for the next three years. After several appeals to the Public Education Department Designee (who has less classroom teaching experience than me) I still am required to wait three years before becoming a public school teacher in my state.

In November I started getting a rash/patch of dry skin on my chin. Now it has taken over half of my face, and an internet diagnosis points to me having a fungus on my face.

THERE'S A FUNGUS AMONGUS! My face is a petri-dish of grossness, the likes of which is only amplified by make-up.

So, 2011 started with disgusting skin and is ending with disgusting skin, so I guess that's poetic.

How can I make things better in 2012?

1. Be more aggressive in the job hunt. I have felt a blow to my self worth since I am not working. If I can find something interesting that can supplement our income, then I would really feel better about myself.

2. Address my mental health. I think that so many of my issues go back to a vacillating depression that has been with me for a little over a year.

3. Add a true schedule to my days at home. Since June I have treated the days essentially like a spring break.
The kids and I sleep in, we kind of meander through the day, and around 4 or 5 I feel like nothing has been accomplished.

4. Incorporate more physical activity in my day. I feel better when I move more, but I am so unmotivated to do anything, so I sit around. Repeat cycle.

5. Follow my passion. I love to write, contrary to what it looks like here. I participated in National Novel Writing Month this year and got farther than ever before (while still not quite completing it). I want to finish that project and work on several others. I *resolve* to submit at least 2 short stories in contests this year. (To help this, I am going to read more so that I feel literature more in my head, if that makes any sense.)

6. (This one comes courtesy my sister.) I am going to be more positive. While I have the Negative Nelly or Debbie Downer act down pretty good, I think it would benefit everyone in my life if I started being a bit of a Pollyanna. So look forward to a bunch of "Life is great" posts on Facebook and attempts at uplifting blog posts.

In an effort to get a jump-start on my resolutions, I am going to start with number 6. Here's a list of things I am grateful for.

--My children are wonderful. I am so blessed to have two beautiful loving girls.
--My husband has been so supportive and caring. Thanks Jason!



--My sister. She has been such a great person and has listened to my whining when she has her own problems going on. I love you sis!



--My family. This includes my Mom, who loves me and takes care of me when she can. This includes Karl, who gave up my Mom for months at a time to help me heal. My dad, who loves me no matter what and is proud of my non-complishments this year. My aunts and uncles and cousins and everyone who loves me and who are so fun to be around I don't ever feel like family events are a chore (and we have a lot of them!).

--My friends. Sarah, Missy, Jewel, Matt, Tessa. These are people I have known for more than half of my life, and we have grown in many different ways, but I am still very close with each of you. I feel as if our conversations never stop (although there may be some long pauses).

--My health. I've had some issues, but none are chronic. I am very lucky to be healthy.


There you have it. The obligatory New Year's Resolution post. Tell me yours. Or don't. Keep me accountable. Or don't. Here's hoping for a great 2012.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drive

So my husband and I rarely get date nights. We are so busy and so are any family in the area. We don't like to inconvenience our family members, so the timing for date night has to be just right.

This weekend the stars aligned (almost) perfectly and we were able to go out to see a movie.

We had both seen previews for the new Ryan Gosling (the cutest baby goose I've ever seen) vehicle, Drive. It purports to be an action packed flick with throwback vibes of the 80s. The previews are full of chase scenes and Gosling looking intense. We thought it would be the perfect date night flick.

SUPER SPOILERS ABOUND, SO IF YOU PLAN TO SEE DRIVE, GO AWAY NOW. HERE'S A LINK TO LOLCATS.




The beginning was promising, but I should have read the foreshadowing better. Gosling's character (Does he have a name? I don't know and the movie never made me care.) talks menacingly on the phone and then picks up two people stealing some shit. He drives them away in a bland vehicle (coincidence?) but there are few "high speed" moments. The chase ends with him parking the car.

YAWN.

So after that Gosling runs into this chick, who is kinda cute and lives in his building, so yeah, they will probably do "it." Also she has a kid. Where there's a kid in a movie, there's baby daddy drama. Yep. Her husband is alive, in jail, and due to get out. Then we have lots of long shots of Los Angeles, lots of scenes of Gosling driving around with some sort of smirk on his face, while wearing his scorpion jacket. Through all of these long shots there is some faux 80s music playing, but that is about it.

I keep thinking when ole baby daddy gets out of jail there will be a fight. Nope. Gosling just fixes something, and Irene touches her lip and hair, and baby daddy gets all passive aggressive.

Scorpion Jacket has a couple of "square" jobs, in addition to his slow parking to get robbers away (?). He's a stunt driver (wha?) and he works in a garage for Brian Cranston. Brian has a limp and talks slurry, so you know that he owes a gangsta some money. That gangsta happens to be HellBoy. He is mean. He should die. (Spoiler: he does.)

So, a whole bunch of nothing happens while Gosling smirks ("Hey, they're paying me for this shit."), and Jason and I can't eat our candy because it is so quiet in the theatre, which is weird for an "action" movie.

Then someone picks on Irene's baby daddy, and since the Gos still wants Irene, he gets all sad. He agrees to help baby daddy out with some crime, and in the process of this crime we meet another non-character. Hey who's that lady? If you said she is one of the best new actresses in a few years, you would be right. If you expected that her acting abilities would be used in this film, then you would be THE KING/QUEEN OF WRONG. She shows up. Her, the Gos, and baby daddy go to a pawn shop and rob it. Baby daddy dies. Blanche cries. The Gos drives and gets all pissed off. Someone comes and kills Blanche after she has advanced the plot for the Gos (good thing too, or else he would have never got out of that hotel room).

So. Then the Gos puts it all together, while smirking and pining for Irene, who is the most boring character I've ever seen.

"Oh, hi. I have blonde hair. I fidget with that hair. I touch my lower lip. I look longingly." Blech.

So the Gos gets all violent and stompy and tries to be all Scarface but not scarred. There is money. Brian Cranston is a two-face. That likable guy is not so likable. HellBoy dies. There's a mask. The money gets looked at. Some stabbing. Some bleeding. Ambiguous ending.

Hot pink credits over 80s music.

The end.

I get it. I know that this movie wanted to evoke the asethetics of Miami Vice with the gore of Scarface. I know that this movie is the hipster nod to the 80s that we've all been dying for. Great. But you know what would have been nice to put with all those long shots of the city and the Gos smirking? A fucking script.

"Yeah."

"That's my husband's lawyer. He gets out in 2 weeks."

"Promise me she's safe."

That's all the fucking dialogue. That's it!!! I can only imagine that there are a thousand little brackets with scene descriptions and stage directions (Gos looks longingly out the window) and costume cues (Irene wears a cheesy gold necklace, a la Ringwold).

Save your 16 dollars and watch the previews. That's where most of the action is.

The soundtrack might be worth a listen, if you're into La Roux.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Planned Parenthood

Nothing truly phenomenal occurred while I was a patient at Planned Parenthood. One thing didn't happen. I did not get pregnant.

I became sexually active in high school, and I had an aunt that was kind enough to direct me to the local public health office to get birth control. My step-mother indicated that she was not inclined to pay for my birth control, and I thought that extended to my father's insurance. So the public health office was my best option. I wasn't aware of a Planned Parenthood in my area at the time.

I made it through high school without getting pregnant, and I moved to a larger city to attend the state's flagship university. I was intimidated by the Student Health office, so I flipped through the phone book to find Planned Parenthood. There were several locations throughout the city, and I had my choice of at least two nearby my residence.

I visited that Planned Parenthood for the next 6 years. I was in college for a long time. I was on the pill, so I would visit monthly to pick up my pills for the low price of $20 a pack. I was a terrible waitress at a chain resturant that promotes a $5.95 all you can eat lunch, so money was tight. Some months I could afford to pick up two or three packs, but most of the time it was a month to month situation. During this time I continued to have sex. For a while I was single, so I backed up the pregnancy protection of the pill with the STD protection of condoms. Guess where I got those condoms. That's right! Planned Parenthood gave me free protection from costly, irritating, and possibly life-threatening diseases.

Annually I was required to get an exam in order to continue to recieve birth control pills. I was always treated with dignity and respect, and the nurses and doctors were knowledgable of my medical and sexual history, even if they hadn't seen me before. This is because that office took time to review my file before opening the door and giving me duck bills. This is something that I often find lacking with doctors that my pricey insurance pays for.

Over that six-year period a lot happened. I got married. I kept going to college. I bought a house. I gained a lot of weight. I was a smoker for most of that time, and the nurses always provided me with information about quitting. They also gave nutritional advice. I would not have been able to afford this type of care anywhere else, as I didn't have insurance. They also noticed that my blood pressure was increasing. This led the nurses to see me monthly and monitor my blood pressure to make sure that the pills would not cause a stroke. I can bet that if I had been picking up my pills monthly from Walgreens, the drive through attendant would not have thought to check my blood pressure once, let alone every time before dispensing my birth control. While I found this annoying, it was also necessary in determining if I was having a health problem. Once I stopped taking Claritin and slowed the salt intake the blood pressure decreased. But were it not for Planned Parenthood, I might have gone years with damaging high blood pressure.

Since I was able to complete my education without getting pregnant, I was able to secure a teaching job immediately following college graduation. That job provided a paycheck and quality medical insurance. I bid adieu to Planned Parenthood and began seeing doctors on my insurance plan. When I became pregnant, I was able to see a variety of doctors and pay for my care.

I do not feel that these options would have been possible had I not had the opportunity to utilize the services of Planned Parenthood. The medical services that they provided helped keep me on track in college. That is why I often donate what extra money I can to them.

Throughout the country, women are being forced to go without these needed services. The beliefs of a few are affecting the health of many women. Women across the nation need these health services. Please raise your voice.

Contact your elected officials.
Donate to Planned Parenthood.
Share your story #MyPP on Twitter.
Read more at the Carnival Hub at What Tami Said

Friday, July 1, 2011

Caption this Photo




My caption: That's what she said.

But seriously, why does a football team need an Official Pickle?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well...

It has been a while. Much has happened.

I have fully recovered from my broken leg and MRSA.

I was threatened by a student via email.

I did not pass my Professional Development Dossier, and consequently cannot teach for 3 years.

That last one was a real blow. I worked very hard on my PDD and had several colleagues read it prior to submitting it. Failure itself does not bar one from teaching, but failure to pass by the 5th year of teaching causes one's license to expire and you can not relicense for 3 years. This means that I spent more time preparing to become a teacher than I actually got to teach (as I was on the 6 year BA program in college).

I am now attempting to rearrange my life knowing that my chosen profession is unavailable for the time being.

It is comforting to know that I can start over in 3 years (even though that means I have to redo the licensing process, which is pretty difficult). But I need to take this time and use it appropriately. As my sister pointed out, if I had passed, I might have sat in my classroom for the next 30 years and not explored any other options for my life. This forces me to try something else. These are the avenues currently open to me.

Grad School
Spending much more time with my cuties.
Attempt a new career (?)
Write more (I really do have a passion for it, even if my blog posting does not reveal that)

So, here I am, ready to try some new things. I am taking the summer off, as if I am still a teacher, because if I pursue a new career, I might not have any more summers with my kids. When the fall arrives, I will make a decision on what to do next. For now, I am getting organized (or trying to), and going with the flow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cabin Fever

Tomorrow is the last day of my Spring Break. I am pretty bummed, because I don't feel like I got to rest or get to the fun things I wanted to do.

I wanted to start on my vegetable garden. I wanted to write several blog posts. I wanted to finish The Partly Cloudy Patriot, the book I'm currently reading. I wanted to visit my sister.

Most of that was on hold this Spring Break, because I had to re-do one portion of my PDD. I wrote a 48 page document in hopes of moving up to a Level II teaching license. If I do not pass this portion on this submission I will not be able to teach next year.

This has me terrified. I am so worried about what might happen if I don't pass. I know that I will not starve, but I can't think of what my next move would be if I find myself without a teaching license. I don't know if I should return to school, or if I should attempt to stay at home with my daughters, or if I should seek employment through some other field (what field, I am not sure).

Another path I would like to take is writing. I have wanted to be a writer for years, but I have not had the discipline to do anything more than one or two blog posts a month. I also don't live in a writing hub. I know that the internet has opened the doors for writers, but I also feel like the options are limited.

All of this is to say that I am really nervous about what is coming next for me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What do I talk about the most?




This is a Wordle of my blog. Take a look at what I talk about most.

ETA: This was supposed to be a throw away post, and it took me FOREVER! Ha! I guess I should have just put in the energy to actually write something.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gratitude

For those of you who are friends on Facebook or talk to me on the phone, you know that I've been doing a lot of complaining lately. I've been a regular whine bag.

I'm sorry.

My circumstances are not ideal, but they are far from terrible. Here is a list (albeit incomplete) of what I am grateful for.

1. I am so grateful for my family. My mother flew down here as soon as she could after the broken leg x-ray went up. My father and his girlfriend allowed me and my kids to crash at their house for days while I moaned in pain and sadness on the recliner. My husband has been supportive and humorous. My daughters have been caring and sweet. My extended family has been calling regularly to check-in. It is nice to know I am cared for. I am truly blessed.

2. My friends. Missy has offered to play with the kids, and even invited me to stay with her family during recovery. Sarah came to my house to drain the beast in my back and brought me a delicious pot pie after my surgery. She has also offered some great advice on dealing with my life in general. Jewel called and told me the straight dope on this type of surgery, just to make sure I had all sides (thanks for scaring the shit out of me).

3. Modern Medicine. Had I not seen a doctor about my infection, I might have suffered with it until it was too late. The doctors got me on the right meds to deal with the infection and the pain. The doctors at urgent care stopped me from walking on my leg and recommended a good orthopedic doctor. The orthopedic docs looked closely at my injury and determined the best plan of attack to avoid pain in the future.

4. Insurance. My meds have never been more than $10. Antibiotics, pain killers, and a wheelchair have all come at little to no cost. My copays have been $20-$50, and since I have had to visit the doctor nearly daily for the treatment of the infection, I've only paid one copay.

5. The internet. Cuz duh.

I just wanted to send this out, because I am very aware that I am privileged. I have an extended network of family that helps me, I have a job that provides very good benefits, as well as time off. I have the money to go to a doctor when necessary. I have internet and cable to keep me occupied when I'm trapped on the couch. I am grateful for all that I have. And I want to thank everyone who has been helping me.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What hump/limp? TMI

Well. Let's start at the beginning, shall we.


About a week and a half ago I noticed a little red bump under my bra straps on my back. It got bigger and begged to be squeezed. I begged my squimish husband to squeeze it, and nothing came out. We both agreed to let it wait and come back to it later.

For days it burned and ached. I would look longingly in the mirror for a head, only to find a growing patch of angry red skin without a head. I finally went to the grocery store for a head of cabbage. I was determined to get this thing to a head so we could squeeze it and give me sweet relief. That night (Wednesday, February 2nd) my husband folded and taped a leaf of cabbage on my shoulder in hopes that it would draw this to a head so we could drain it.

The next morning, I awoke as if it were Christmas. I was so excited to unwrap my shoulder to reveal a giant white head, indicating sweet relief. My husband peeled off the bandage, I peered over my shoulder into the mirror, only to see the skin was more red, more irritated, and larger than ever. No head.

I had to soilder on, as the 3rd and 4th we were having parent/teacher conferences. When I arrived at school, I was in so much pain, the only answer was to go to the nurses office. She peeked at my wound, gave me ibuprophen, and told me I needed to leave immediately, as my infection should have had me on my ass.

I left and went straight to the doctor's office, and my doctor agreed, I had a nasty infection. She could not see squeezing it, as there was no head. She wrote me a perscription for antibiotics and Loratab. I was instructed to come back on Saturday if my fever or the pain hadn't subsided by then.

Well, Saturday came and I had a fever and more severe pain. I went to the urgent care hours at my doctor's office, which means I will just be seen by whoever happens to be there that Saturday. This particular Saturday I got to see Dr. Payne. No, for real.

Dr. Payne agreed that it was the most horrifying infection on the planet. He tried to squeeze it, but to no avail. I began weeping, as I couldn't believe that I was still going to feel the burning and stretching of my skin for days to come. Dr. Payne had a plan. He was going to attempt to extract some of the buildup of pus with a needle. He numbed my skin, inserted the needle, and began extracting. Immediately, I felt a release of pressure. I could tell that he was working magic. He let out a surprised "Oh my," and then said, "Well, that could be why you were feeling so terrible," and showed me this...





I was disgusted, but pleased to see it out of my body. He told me to expect it to leak and to come back on Monday.

Well, on Sunday, my great friend Sarah came over to change the bandage. When she looked at it, she couldn't help herself.
"Michele, this is ready. I've worked in wound care before. I'm going to work on this." She began to apply pressure to my back and clean what felt like gallons of goo off. I felt even more relief. We made an appointment for her to come back the next day before work, as my husband was out of town, so she was the only one who could change my bandage.

She came by, and yet again the wound was ready for more. I felt like I was surely about to be healed. Monday after work, I went to the Doctor, and she insisted that we lance the wound, drain it and pack it. If you ever have the opportunity to do this, DON'T! It burns like crazy.

I asked my doctor if I could still go to roller derby practice, so long as I took it easy. We are still in the beginning stages, so we mostly work out doing stretches, lunges, and jumps in shoes. I had missed the last practice due to the infection, but I wanted to show I was serious. The doctor agreed that physical activity would be a good idea, so I went to practice.

I got to practice, told my coaches my situation, and they both agreed that I should only do as much as I can do. They told me to take it easy and even step outside if necessary. I was excited. The coaches told us to strap on a pair of skates and do a few slow laps. We just needed to get used to being on skates. I put on my leisure skates and slowly skated around the perimeter of the rink. I even held the wall a few times. On my second lap I was still going slow, but I suddenly found my self losing balance.

My body does this ridiculous thing when I fall. It debates with itself. This way? That way? How bout over here? Meanwhile, gravity is still at work and I am rapidly falling. I fell and I saw my foot do a weird circle. I also heard a loud POP! I knew things were bad.

A couple derby girls came over, checked my foot, gave me ice and told me to rest for a minute. Another girl asked if I needed a ride. I thought surely I had just sprained my ankle, so I decided to drive myself. I hobbled out of the skating arena, to my car, and began the drive across town to the urgent care. When I got there I got an xray, and this is what I saw...




So. There you have it. February has started off a little rocky for me. But I'm on the mend. The doctor pulled the source of my infection out of my back today, so that should heal quickly. I have an appointment with orthopaedics on Thursday, so that should put me in a more appropriate cast.

Wish me luck.

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.