Monday, November 14, 2016

Soul, I Hear You Calling!


I have four songs I sing to residents when I know they're close to passing.

It's not as morbid as you think-- it began in September when my first resident passed. I really loved this person, and I felt my heart grow heavy as I learned to accept the gravity of what was going to happen while working as a caregiver; yes, I provide a means for people to live, however my position is so much more than toileting people. It is providing hugs, comfort, reassurance when someone feels lost, scared, lonely, and I help provide quality, end-of-life alternatives to a hospital.

I felt helpless the first time I watched life slip away from one of the residents; I remembered how I felt when my grandma lived with us during her last days. My Mama had spent the entire summer praying to Jesus, asking for another day with her mother, and begging that when her time did come that all four of us kids were not in the home. She didn't want our last memories of grandma to be of them taking her body away. She did not want us to ever see our grandma died.

It's weird. I had a paper route when I was 13, so I never slept over at other people's houses. I spent my summer working, and staying up all night, doing my paper route, then sleeping in all day. In between these activities I helped out with my then 2-year-old brother, Andrew, a 7 year old Devon, and hung-out with an 11 year old Amanda. Moreover, it was a summer at the hospital, and a skilled nursing facility, before finally my grandma came home to live with us in our house on 51st Street in Springfield.

The night before my grandma passed, miraculously all of us children were elsewhere. My Mama had agreed to do my paper route, and I was at my friend, Katie's, sleepover for her 13th birthday. I think my siblings were at Shannan's. We never saw my grandma's eyes gloss over, or hear her breathing become ragged as it rattled to alert that death was near.

I've watched people pass away several times now. I am not nearly as afraid of death as I use to be-- I've had haunting dreams since my biological father passed away in 2009, that have only increased after my jeje (2012) and mama's passing (2015)-- it was a reoccurring topic when I was in therapy after my pregnancy losses. And, my job has, actually really helped alleviate those dreams and that fear.

I've seen good deaths, and ugly ones. I've cried a lot, and have learned to feel peace, and gratitude as the person we say goodbye to frees themselves from this mortal coil-- their souls going on, and their bodies become part of the the Earth. They are stardust and part of this magical universe in away that I am not yet. And, as for the act of dying?

I have learned to sing in the face of that fear.

I hold that person's hand and I sing. The first time I did this, it felt so natural and right. It felt comforting for me on levels I could not understand, and the person I was singing to, seemed at peace.

And, I do this by singing the songs I have continuously sang to Violet throughout the years. They're songs that soothe a warrior to sleep, the songs that comfort me, and though I don't sing particularly well, in these precious moments where we hold hands, all there is are feelings of peace, and love-- I feel like in some small way Cash, jeje, the babies I have lost, and especially my mama knew in their hearts in their last moments how deeply they were loved. That they weren't alone.


And if I should falter
Would you open you arms out to me
We can make love not war
And live at peace with our hearts

She broke down and let me in
Made me see where I've been
Been down one time
Been down two times
I'm never going back again

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

"What's this dying for"?
Asks the Stork that soars
With the Owl high above
Canyons mighty walls
Owl said "Death's a door
That love walks through
In and out, in and out
Back and forth, back and forth"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hoch poH muSHa'ghach Hot pIm: Every Time You Feel Love It Will Be Different

I wrote a blog that was about four paragraphs in, but erased it, since sitting for a few days, has made most of what I wrote irrelevant. Regardless, this morning I feel the call to write, so I sit here-- heating pad on abdomen, cats, and partner snoozing around me, feeling enormous feelings trying to articulate the things I need to get out.
Heaven's Gate?

Let's just get the big one out of the way, so I can quickly focus the microscope in a little tighter. As a Native American, woman, rape survivor, and someone who has identified a lot with Margaret Cho's comic bit about "slut pride" ("am I gay? am I straight? Turns out, I'm just slutty")-- I would be lying to say that I am not sadden and scared currently after the election.

I don't want to open this blog up for politics talk. I also needed a safe space to say that.

Moving on, I feel really guilty about calling in today to work. I woke up at 2 this morning in phenomenal amounts of pain. Yesterday, my period came a full 8 days early, and as a result my whole body feels broken, and out of whack. I don't know why I feel so guilty. It's not like I am faking, it's not like I don't show up, and work as hard as I can while at my job. I guess the reason I feel guilty is because I WANT TO BE THERE.

I hate calling out because of pain. I always feel guilty, and like I am not doing my part when I am like this. I get grumpy in my home life, I never take it easy, and I am just mad. It is something I have never learned to accept-- living with chronic pain means that I experience pain often, and though I have learned to deal with it on a near daily basis there are times, when I simply can't. So, as a result I become incredibly angry on the days I can't manage the pain enough to go to work.

It's a frustrating cycle.

But, it is my hopes that since I found us an apartment in Florence things like self-care will be ultimately easier. And, that is one of the best things going on currently-- it looks like after working so hard, and looking for what seemed like forever, we have finally found a place that will suit our needs, and I am so excited.

Bradford and I were talking about our place in North Salt Lake-- how much we both felt like that was a home, and not just a place we were staying, how even when we lived at the Parkside we never quite felt like it was home. And, I am really looking forward to building a home again. We need it.

Anyways, our new place was once a large house, and has been converted to five apartments. Ours is a little one bedroom on the end, it is located on the west side of 101, near the Safeway, and within walking distance to Old Town, and about a ten to fifteen minute walk to work.

To say I am excited would be an understatement. I feel like a major goal is about to come to fruition for us, and Bradford and I have worked hard, and have had such amazing support getting this far-- starting with even our relocation last year to Utah. Though, an extremely painful step, it helped us in so many ways and we couldn't be more grateful for the people and help we've had every step of the way. The only way we can even begin to repay the people that have helped this far is to continue to pursue all our goals-- one step at a time.

Random date before an extra swing shift pick-up
 I can't believe we are this close, this close to finally be living in Florence, an intended spot for us. A place we've talked, and prayed about. We've had so much support; Jess, Steve, Skye, AJ, Ann, family, Annie, Brett, Stephanie, Colbi, Theya (the KIDS). As I sit here reflecting it is overwhelming, and I hope over the next few months we can start properly thanking people-- suppers, thank you cards, locks of chest hair. You know normal things that say gratitude and love.
North of Florence

In the meantime, its been 24 days since Jess last spoke to me-- it's incredibly weird, but okay as well. We've actually gone longer periods of time not talking, just not when upset with one another. It feels peculiar to lessen her as an option in my go-to daily. It's like an insincere, but necessary time for both of us, and though Skye has reminded me several times that when you're close like sisters these times are bound to happen I still find myself so upset that I continue to find solace in my decision to let things lie as is for now.

But, I also still can't help feeling dumped for the stupidest reasons imaginable. I had expressed feeling undervalued and unimportant to Jess, feeling a distance grow between us, and me trying to tell her that I have lost five souls since starting my job, in addition to people moving out, and new people being placed into the community (I have signed a privacy clause with work, so this will be the last I speak of stuff regarding residents, or coworkers), and needing her-- trying to explain that I no longer wanted to feel one sided in our relationship. Plainly; I need Jess to call and text me, even if it was feign interest, I need to feel like she cares. 
The day before moving home to Oregon

8 days ago I saw Jess had unfriended me on Facebook when I went to share something on her Wall. I blocked her, and have pitched several fits, not to mention me getting pretty damn passive aggressive when we were texting last. It's because of me acting like a child I've decided that Jess can worry about Jess and Sari for Sari.

It's hard, though, because even though I haven't interacted with her, or seen her online even in 24 days, I've been sick, so I am sure she has been too. It's weird how things like that happen when you've lived with someone for years. I know that all my hurt, and angry feelings she is feeling too. I know that we are both going over in our heads what the other person has done wrong. I know we are both assessing what things we've done wrong ourselves. And, my final conclusion goes as follows; it's okay.

We are both okay.

I can't help be a little sad that we have our first visitor from Utah coming (baby Jacob!!!), and it's not Kieran-- I kinda always thought when we got into our new place in Florence he would be the first person in our Utah family to sleep on our floor for a week. I am beyond words stoked to have Jacob for a weekend, and hope that either Jess or Kieran are our next visitors from our Utah family to come and stay (Kieran because he is old enough to visit for a Spring break). 

Bradford and I have talked about this repeatedly through the summer; both of us think a week on the coast is exactly what Jess needs-- no kids, beach access, clouds, hikes, rain, and a week of us cooking together. And, that's what I am looking forward to-- pitching the idea of her coming for my birthday right around her birthday. You never know. It could happen. 

I guess now that I am rambling for rambling sake I should wrap this blog up.

Friday, October 21, 2016

October 14, 2013: "There is no substitute for hard work or integrity..."

After work today, Bradford and I spent $12 on a little date. We've been trying to make the time to explore, adventure, get out, and smile a little more often. So, this late afternoon/early evening we took advantage of some spare time we had.

We drove to the Florence drive-in A&W and grabbed a couple of burgers to go, then headed 5 miles North out of town to Darlingtonia Natural Site. The little state park is the only Oregon state park dedicated to the protection of a single plant species-- and, Darlingtonias are awesome, interesting, carnivorous, and pretty!

We ate our burgers in our little two door car, as the rain hammered outside. Once finished, I was grateful I had changed into my hiking boots while I was still at work, because my Columbia boots are well insulated not to mention water proof. We spent a good portion of time looking at not just the cobra lillies, but at different mushrooms growing wildly on the 18 acre park. After hiking around the bog and peat, Bradford and I drove up Mercer Lake Road up to the boat ramp, and saw beautiful views of clean, clear blue waters, as the fog started to roll in.

We took that fog as a sign to start heading East, back to Eugene, to enjoy a much deserved weekend.

I think it is really neat how easy it has been for us to find things to do, look at, and enjoy. We've done a couple different trail heads at Sweet Creek Falls, we have plans to travel to Triangle Lake soon so we can look at the Salmon at the rock slides (fish ladders, yo, look it up), there is a county park that we often stop at on our way from Florence, that we are constantly enjoying, because of the changes in the Siuslaw River, and little hidden trails, and I imagine it is only a matter of time before Bradford discovers the endless new things to see around the Siuslaw forest-- including, my fear of him deciding he must see Drift Creek Falls for no other reason to look at the suspension bridge.

It has been fun getting to know our soon to be new town. Bradford goes for walks, almost daily, on the Oregon beaches. It makes me jealous most days. He recently was hired full-time for a new position that he will be starting soon. I can't help feeling a little sad that I'll no longer have him all the time. He does a really fair job of catering to my needs with the high stress that comes along with my job. It has really made me appreciate him. The caregiver's caregiver.

Honestly, I have a great deal of appreciation for the support I have received since starting this job. I've been combating the negatives by being a little more social with friends, and it has been nice. I see Skye, and Juliet the most (proximity), but I have been lucky enough to see my friend Stephanie and her husband a few times, and I had supper last week with Brett and Colbi and may have also watched Dances With Wolves.

In the meantime, I've decided to take a break from hashtagging everything "Fit Girls Guide." It isn't that great, or interesting a thing-- it is simply not for me at this time. 

Last Jumpstart, I mentioned (on IG) wanting to try FGG stylechallenge for no other reason than thinking it would make Jessie happy. I participated in twelve days of both fitgirlsguide's photochallenge, and of the FGG stylechallenges, and I started to take note of a lot of things I did not enjoy. First, participating in both challenges for that short period made me realize how much time and effort was being invested online, instead of being present with my partner and friends when I am in my off time.

I've mentioned before that I work a four day on, two day off rotation, however I also work twelves, and pick up shifts, within reason-- in a four day span of time (that's 96 hours)  I worked under sixty hours, when you add on top of that the 9 hours and twenty minutes of driving we did during that time that only leaves me with 29 hours of free time. Naturally, I slept during that time, so, really I have no free time during my work week.



Doing the challenges was a type of shallow stress I couldn't handle. And, for me, it does feel extremely shallow to spend that time on social media when I could be doing yoga, walking Jack, spending time with Bradford, meal-prepping, balancing my hard work life with brevity and time with loved ones, and legitimate care for myself versus being one of many just "friend" collecting under the guise of being supportive.

I haven't been online much, but when I have my social media accounts have been getting an overhaul-- my Instagram in particular has been whittled back down to a manageable number. My feed still has a lot of the Fitgirls on it that I have met over the past several months since finding the community, because despite my inability to focus on some aspects of challenge, I still long for community and support, but it's a lot more legitimate fitness orientated men and women, a lot more positivity, more workouts, more outdoors, and meal prepping ideas, and a lot less foolish selfies and licking one another's taint for drinking a glass of water.

It is the stuff I need to see to keep me focused on my goals of caring for myself without the pain and anguish I feel as I desperately struggle to keep up, and stress when I can't participate the way I want to. So far, I've liked this jumpstart better, so far, doing my own thing while still enjoying watching the community participate. And, hopefully, soon, I will be participating to some degree again, but until then I am feeling happy, and free setting and smashing the shit out of my goals, a little more quietly.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Go, Go, Go -- Action at The Raisin Ranch

Yogi wisdom

Four days on, two days off schedule rotation has me renaming the days of the week to better suit me. That is one example of how my life has changed the last 28 days. Funny enough, the last 28 day Jumpstart began on my first day of work at my new job as a caregiver.

And, things have changed, drastically, and I find myself reeling from all of it sometimes. The biggest change can not be seen-- my faith has been awaken after eleven years of sleep, and it feels surprising, new, insincere, and jarring.

I guess it's not overly surprising, seeing that I have a clearly agnostic view on life, and I have quite a few spiritual practices I do on my own-- mostly honoring tradition, and seasonal change. I guess the surprise is the feelings that I feel at work.
Owens Rose Garden

I see truly miraculous things every single day at my work.
I see truly ugly, and heartbreaking things every single day at my work.
It has been 28 days of personal growth, new adventures, discovery, new stories, unexpected change, and real, quiet reflection.

If I weren't shaken at times from the experiences I've undergone the last month then I would be heartless.

In the meantime, I've been really struggling with the fitgirl community. I honestly feel that the struggle must be stemming from jealous feelings; I want to commit and participate 100% in the group challenge, however with adjusting with my new schedule I fell behind on the photo challenges. Then I started feeling angry, because I see a lot of the same girls being featured on fitgirlsguide, and the more I viewed things as a weird popularity contest the more I felt put out by the idea of participation.
#fitgirlstylechallenge

What originally attracted me to the community was the go-at-your-own-pace, happy comradery. I don't feel that anymore. I feel like unless you are online constantly, non-stop then you are not part of the community-- which was fine when I was miserable in Utah, however being happy in Oregon, and with the new job now certain aspects of participation feels shallow. Which is funny, because for the most part, I LOVE my instagram feed during my breaks, because my feed is full of fitgirls and positivity, and is a million miles away from shallow.

So, here I sit, feeling grateful for meal prep days, grateful for being active, and grateful for the commitment I feel toward my health, but feeling like it's okay to need the space from Facebook and Instagram to focus on human connections versus the approval, likes, and validation of strangers. I love social media for making far away people feel close, but I hate how social media makes me feel, and overall fitgirlsguide is all about social media.

My time lately is precious, and I've been making it a point to keep some resemblance of a social life to help balance work. Normally when I work this much, I counteract that with sleep only. Lately, I've made it a point to work 40+ hours a week, have over a two hour commute a day, meal prep, yoga, hoop, and walk, along with trying to visit friends from time to time, and keep up on our home as we look for a new place closer to where I am working. And, soon, Bradford and I will be studying again together!
Partying down at Stephanie's house
We've both been so active (Bradford and I), and so excited about moving soon (fingers crossed, happy thoughts, prayers, and warm wishes welcome while we look). I've been trying to enjoy flowers more, hike as much as possible, participate with Jack Harvey as much as I can, appreciate every moment I am on the beach looking at the Pacific, take pictures when I can, and now that my phone is activated(yes, it was disconnected for a little while) I want to make it a point to send more texts to my family more often (pictures included), and I plan to start writing to Jessie, Ian and the kiddos again once we are in our new place, and I can have a writing area for myself.





 






Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bewitching Witchy Witch Ways


I have officially been hired as a Personal Care Attendant at an assisted living residence, and as my sweet love snoozes silently to my right, I can't help feeling a giant weight lift from my shoulders-- along side Steve, my friend's dad, deciding to let us stay in his home while we get on our feet 100%, honestly, this is the best life has felt in a long while for me.

I have never been more elated, nervous, and enthralled by the idea of starting a new career venture. This job can potentially mean so much to us, and I am so excited by that. First, it is in Florence, Oregon-- the town that Bradford and I have decided to make our home we are hoping for five years to indefinitely. And, most importantly, I have high hopes of this work being very rewarding-- providing quality care, love and support to people at the end of life. I am working in the memory care wing, which means, heartache and joy.

So, this weekend we are getting ourselves ready to start this new chapter in our lives. We have plans to get many things done, and hopefully we actually do some of them!

First off, get paid! Thank god, for Theya today!

We meal planned for the first few days of work, and plan on grocery shopping today, and meal prepping tomorrow. We need to get me new work pants, and shoes. Bradford asked if we can budget some money to get him two, or three new tops to possible interview in-- and, if we have the money, I want to do that for him sooner than later. We need to get our cell phones fixed, and pay our car insurance.

We want to make a run to the Eugene Mission with some second hand, well loved goods to donate prior to the weather getting too terrible. We also want to get both of the spare rooms in the house picked up, find our coffee maker (we've been using the mocha pot), I have a hoop to finish for my friend, Kendra, and a hoop to make for an online acquaintance's 9-year-old daughter.

And, that brings us to this-- I have pushed Buckleberry Hoops to the back burner.

However, I have continued to make and wrap hoops for friends. It's not about the money, or making a name for myself. It has been about loving the hoop, and trying so hard to do what is best for both Bradford and I.

I really want to make Buckleberry Hoops a priority in the very near future-- I even told Bradford the other day that I really wanted to plan on selling hoops at the Rhododendron Festival in Florence, Oregon next Spring. But, for the time being I am really enjoying my time *inside* my hoop. I am enjoying helping friends, and doing a good job, taking my time, and doing things mostly at cost for people. I have learned more than I thought possible since putting the business side of hooping on the back burner, and I have loved hooping a lot more since I have put space between me and the hooping community.

It has been a beautiful, full summer. I am loving this time between Lammas and Mabon. I am loving the feeling I am carrying around inside of me as we enter into Mabon. It's gratefulness, and love. It's calm and peace. It's determination, and quiet fortitude. It is moving forward, setting goals, and working hard.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Too Lovely a Taint

Things have been moving quickly the past two weeks and four days.

Since my last post, Bradford and I have made the decision to move to Florence, and since we made that decision things have been moving quickly, and smoothly. I have had a total of five interviews with prospective employees in Florence, some in person, some via phone, and one on Skype.

I am getting excited at the prospect of our move for so, so many reasons that it is hard to find words.

Stephanie at Heceta Beach
Taco and Bellamy
Also, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of love and support we've gained from our people since making this decision. My parents, as usual, want for me whatever I want in this world as long as it makes me happy. My friend, Stephanie, drove me last week to make some face-to-face contacts and make appointments-- she braved a long car ride with two dogs, and a nervous me, and after we were done with responsibility we smoked a joint on the beach. It was love.

My friend, Skye, took me again to Florence on Wednesday for an interview that went really well.

Wednesday was my favorite, because I didn't have to miss "work," we packed Kyran, Kesey, and Juliet in the car and made an entire day of it. Skye got me to my interview on time, and then took the kids to the local Safeway by herself to gather the remaining things we needed for our picnic after I was done with my interview.

I was picked up probably four minutes after I was finished talking to the hiring manager about plans to potentially have me working as a Personal Care Attendant come the beginning of September. It was enough time to get my nerves in check prior to getting in the car with children and having a full, fun day, and it really was a fun, full day!

Juliet and I hiking the Hobbit Trail -- the pictures are a little over a year apart

I love these faces.
Ah, da zee. 
 On Tuesday night, I had baked some Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, fixed up some Chicken Salad (I used the Salade Nicoise Redux Recipe from the FitGirlsGuide 28 Day Jumpstart with Chicken instead of Tuna, and chopped up the red pepper instead of serving the salad in a red pepper) and with the Chicken Salad we made awesome 5 Second Wraps. Matched with Sliced oranges, celery sticks, hummus, salad, and cucumber from our garden-- we ended up having quite the feast on the hiking trail on our way to Hobbit Trails Beach.

And, Hobbit Trails Beach in Florence, Oregon is one of my favorite places that I have experienced in my life (and I love that living in Florence means I can keep going back, as often as I would like).

After having such a serious interview that made me feel like I had taken a hard look at the brevity of life, it was important, healing, and good that we had planned a full day on the beach. The half mile hike from the parking spot down to the ocean is easy, and fun for kids-- with lots of hiding spots and misleading side trails, the trail is aptly named.

Seeing the ocean, even from the trail made me feel instantly small, made me think about my mom, and brought about a lot of positive emotions for me. I felt elated and nervous at the same time over our current life plans, and I felt happily put back in place in this huge, wide, universe as I found myself quoting Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot as we made our way through the Siuslaw National Forest down to the Pacific Ocean.

The kids had a great day. Skye had a great day. And, my Wednesday, and work week felt enriched experiencing so many emotions while having such amazing tiny humans nearby.


And, while on the beach, in the midst of soul searching, and quiet meditation I spent my time looking for special beach treasurers to send to our sweet Violet, who turned seven on Wednesday, August 10th. Ever bewildering, our littlest beast is getting more mighty and I can't help, but feel sadness mixed in among my joy, because no matter how perfect and beautiful things are I can't help missing the Littles and Jess back in Utah.



 


When I called Violet on our way home after driving Kyran, and Kesey home (we had to get some BJ's Ice Cream on our way home, otherwise what's the point of the trip?!), my sadness didn't last long on the phone with her. She was so happy to be talking to me (I could hear it in her warrior voice), and as I told her about finding special things to send her from Oregon and her telling me she would really like it if I got her a Fennekin (fox Pokemon), I told her my plans to move to the ocean, and she was so joyous for me.

It made my heart want to burst with the love-- and maybe also kidnap Jess and Ian's children, but that's for another blog post... <3


BJS!

Sleepy, happy children <3