Day 21

Memories:  Where have you traveled?


I haven’t traveled much in my years on this earth, I hope to one day be able to afford to leave this continent.

I have been to Niagara Falls several times, and even into the interior of Ontario before.  Also Toronto.  I absolutely love Toronto.

I have been to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  If you have seen The Shawshank Redemption, you have seen Zihua.  It is the beach where Andy finds Red at the end of the movie.  Very beautiful.

I have been to the Caribbean…specifically Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Labadee Haiti.  On a cruise for my grandparent’s 50th anniversary.  It was amazing.

And in the U.S. I’ve been to Gettysburg, Philly (duh), NYC, Myrtle Beach, Disney, Washington D.C., Chicago and all of the states between PA and Florida and from Florida to Texas.

I want to explore the western part of this state, I have never seen a desert before.  I would love to go to New Mexico.  And Hawaii is definitely on that list.



Day 20

Something you are trying to figure out..

How to write a book.  I would love to write a book about my experiences as a teenager, relationships, my love story with my husband.  I want to write a book about my husband and his friends and their crazy exploits.  I have journals full of ideas.  I have even started a timeline and outlines.

I just get discouraged.  Look at Amazon.  There are millions of books on there for every genre, situation, idea.  I get 5-10 review requests per day with someone asking me to review their self published book.

I am not a trained writer, the last English class I took was in 2000.  Although I know how to express myself coherently, I have no idea how to structure it into a decent story.

The goal is to get SOMETHING written before I’m 40.  Even if it is just for me.


Day 19

20 facts about yourself:

Groan!  Really?  Didn’t this just go around FB awhile ago?

Here goes..

1) I am a huge sports fan.  HUGE.  I love hockey and football in that order.  But I can be persuaded to watch basketball, especially during March Madness.  Forget about baseball.

2)  I am a PITTSBURGH sports fan.  The Steelers and the Penguins.  The Pirates have to get back into my good graces.  Making the playoffs was a start.

3) I have wanted to “do something” in the health industry since I was a child.  I practically grew up in the halls of Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh (now the dreaded UPMC Presby) when I was a kid because my dad and mom are both nurses.

4) I met my best friend on the planet when I was 8.  We have been friends through EVERYTHING.  Boys, crazy family, marriage (and in my case, divorce), and now kids.  We live 1,500 miles apart, but we still keep in touch, frequently, and I know I can text/call/email her with anything at anytime and she will be there for me.  As I will be there for her.

5) I met my husband on AOL in a teen chat room in 1997.

6) I have a very eclectic taste in music.  I love the Los Lonely Boys, The Clarks, Pearl Jam, Eminem, Led Zepplin, The Who, Adele, Taylor Swift, and most “pop” music.

7) I rarely watch “mainstream” television.  I watch live sporting events and The Walking Dead.  And maybe a few documentaries on WWII or history.  I have never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo, Grey’s Anatomy or any show like that.

8) First day on my driver’s permit, I crashed my mom’s car.

9) I used to have my tongue and belly button pierced.  Like every girl my age in the late 90s.

10)  I originally wanted to have four kids.  Who knows…maybe there is still time for that..

11) I made all my flowers for my second wedding.  With beads.

12) If I had more money and time, I would scrapbook.

13) I couldn’t grow a plant if my life depended on it.  So I hope the apocalypse doesn’t happen soon.

14) I recently learned how to cook.  As in the last year.

15) I’m still friends with my ex boyfriend from high school.

16) I am EXTREMELY drug sensitive.  A half dose of most things is good enough for me.  I have found this out many, many times over the years…the hard way.

17)  I have a penchant for contracting rare or difficult to treat illnesses.  C.Diff in 2005, possible ocular sarcoidosis (they still have no idea) in 2012.  And I don’t react as expected to typical treatments.  Lucky me.

18)  The left side of my body hates me.  My usual fibro pain is typically in my left shoulder/neck, left hip and left knee.  Go figure.

19) I was in marching band.  As a flag girl.

20) I have kept a journal off an on since I was 8.

So there you have it.  I tried to throw in some health ones because I primarily blog about health issues.

Day 18



Your favorite:  Childhood books

I blogged about this on the Eclectic Bookworm awhile back.

The first thing I remember reading on my own was Dr. Seuss.  It was “Fox in Sox”.  I loved it.  I was one of the first kids in my grade that could read.

As I got older, I became absolutely obsessed with “The Babysitter’s Club”.  I had an entire collection up through the low 100s.  I still have many of them.

I was a voracious reader.  Still am.  I would read anything I could get my hands on.  And since this was 20 years before the Kindle, I usually couldn’t get my hands on much.  Which is how I started reading Stephen King at age 10 or 11.

“It” is NOT a kid friendly book.  But reading “The Stand” (the complete, unabridged version over 5 times) has made an impact.  Reading that book is probably why I love reading post-apocalypse novels and zombie books.

I also read sci-fi, mainly my dad’s books.  I remember reading “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton.  Then I saw the movie.  Again, not particularly kid friendly.

Some of the books I’ve read in high school have continued to influence me.  In my 10th grade Honors English we did an entire semester on Holocaust literature.  I read “Night” by Eli Weisel and “Survival in Auschwitz” by Primo Levi.  Reading those books further influenced my later reading choices.

With Sunshine, I definitely encourage reading.  Like me, she learned to read at a young(er) age.  She is always at the top of the class when it comes to reading levels.  She likes funny books, books about Barbie (ugh) and books about animals.

We both now have library cards, and go about once or twice a month.

My hope is that she continues to love reading as much as I do.

Day 17

Where do you work?

Well, I’m currently looking for a job.  I had an interview today, but I’m not sure I’ll get it.

I am a nurse.  I have been a nurse for 10 years.  I have a wide variety of experience, from peds to ICU.

After my first brush with chronic illness in 2005, I was advised to stay the hell out of the hospital.  I contracted one of those lovely hospital associated infections and was sick for 9 months.  I have been told repeatedly that my immune system is not normal and I should minimize my exposure to horrific illness as much as possible.

So the hospital and hospital like care centers are out.  That is probably 80% of the field of nursing.

I have done “telephonic nursing”.  I absolutely loved it.  I was able to talk to people all over the country about being healthy, their chronic illnesses and medications.  It was very rewarding.  I left that job when I left my ex husband.  And it killed me to do so.

Since I’ve been here in Texas, I have done public health nursing, which I found boring, and then I went into hospice.

I love hospice care.  I can  handle it, which many nurses can’t.  After my years in the ICU, where I had to disconnect vents, see people perpetually kept in a state of limbo between life and death, providing a “good death” for my patients is key.  A “good death” is where the patient passes away at a location of their choosing, usually at home, and without pain or discomfort.  Patients get that with hospice.

Many times they are diagnosed with something like cancer or lung disease and they decide to forgo all treatment and focus on quality of life rather than quantity.  I have seen patients do some amazing things with the time they have left.  It is very rewarding, very spiritual, very emotional.

My problem with hospice right now is that I don’t think I’m well enough to carry a full caseload of 12-18 patients.  Each patient needs to be seen once a week at the minimum.  Sometimes more.  And the Austin area is pretty spread out.

When I got sick with the autoimmune disease, I was seeing 14 patients in a 50 mile radius.  I was doing 100+ miles per day on my car.  I was also working call on the weekend.  I see now that working so much probably triggered my disease.  So I’m trying to avoid that.

I’m looking for anything 16-20 hours per week that is office based, home based, in home health.  Currently my car is pitiful,  but hopefully we will be getting a new ride soon.

I am applying for telephonic nursing again, office jobs, hospice “as needed” nursing.  Hopefully I get something.

Anyone need a nurse?


Day 16

What’s the thing you’ve wanted to do but haven’t (yet)?

I’ve mentioned this on days 12 & 13 before.  I want to further my education in some way.  Currently, I am not in the financial position (or the health position) to do that.

I also want to have another baby.

I want to experience with my husband all the things I missed out the first time around.  Mainly, someone being excited about a new child, being eager to share in the ups and downs of pregnancy.  I want to experience raising a child in a non-abusive situation.  To know what it feels like to have an equal partner from the start.

My husband is a phenomenal father.  To his son and to my daughter.  There is no distinction for him whatsoever.  As there is none with me when my bonus son is here.  I am so lucky to have found someone who is willing to parent a child that didn’t come from them.

With my ongoing health issues, it is unclear if I will ever have another baby.  We have both agreed that if it doesn’t happen “naturally” we will be ok with that.

I haven’t been on birth control in years, so it’s looking quite unlikely.  But who knows…maybe we’ll be surprised.

Day 15

Tell me:  How are you like your ma/pa?

Despite our difficulties, I can readily identify the traits I share with my parents.

Apparently, I have my mom’s facial features.  People have seen us and said “I can tell you are related”.  Which is strange, to me at least, because when it comes to physical features, I am a copy of my dad.

My mom is Polish/Irish, with blond hair, green eyes.  Obviously she’s white.

My dad is Mexican.  Dark hair, eyes, skin.

I look just like my dad.

My dad is quiet.  He loves reading, especially history books and zombies.  I’m just like him in that regard.

My mom is very dramatic.  Very opinionated, and very free with her opinion about everything and everyone.  Although I can be dramatic, I rarely share my opinion unless directly asked.

Like both of them, I became a nurse.

Like both of them, I am a die hard Steelers fan.  And like my dad, I’m a fanatical Penguins fan.  My mom likes hockey, but she doesn’t watch nearly every game like I do.

I’m a good cook, like my mom.  My dad’s specialty is breakfast.

Sunshine looks like her grandma.  People seriously ask if she is adopted.  When I lived in Pgh, people looked at me like I was the nanny i.e. “where did you steal that white baby from?”

Sunshine will never be called “quiet” in her life.  In that regard, she takes after her grandma.  But she has an enduring love for animals, and one of her favorite things to do is to take the dogs for a walk with my dad.

It’s interesting to see the traits that Sunshine has inherited.

And I hope Sunshine doesn’t take after myself and her grandfather with the autoimmune disease.

Day 14

Memories:  Been to any concerts?

I absolutely love live music.  I haven’t been to many concerts, not like my husband, but I’ve been to a few.  My favorite live act is Pearl Jam.  They are incredible live.  I’ve seen them at least three times.  I’m pissed I couldn’t afford to see them on this latest tour.

My favorite concert memory is attending a Metallica show in 1999 with the man who is now my husband.

He was visiting me, and he had just seen Metallica in Philly the week before.

He heard that they were in Pittsburgh, and wanted to see if we could get lawn seats to the show.

We ended up in the front row.

In the middle of the show, a thunderstorm rolled through the area.  It was amazing hearing (and seeing Metallica) and have Mother Nature put on a show as well.

Even though I was there with my boyfriend at the time as well, that show holds special memories for me.

And my boyfriend at the time and I are still friends to this day.

Day 13

Something you’ve been putting off:

Getting my bachelor’s degree.  I started a year or two after I graduated, but then I was diagnosed with the fibro and soon after got pregnant.  I was unable to keep up with the demands of school, even online school, after I was initially diagnosed.

My bachelor’s degree is definitely needed if I want to get better jobs as a nurse.  There is an entire hospital system here in Texas that won’t even look at your resume unless you have your BSN.

I’d like to get my master’s as well, or a master’s in counseling.  I would love to help people with chronic illness understand the link between mind and body, and the things that they can do every day to decrease their symptoms.

But school is definitely on the back burner for at least another year.

I’m grateful that my husband encourages me returning to school and doesn’t demand that I work full time, due to my health.  He encourages me to better myself.  I love that.

Day 12

Your bucket list:

Travel – Hawaii and Italy are at the top of the list

Learn Krav Maga

Write a memoir

Read The Lord of the Rings Triology

Go to a music festival like ACL (local) or Bonnaroo with my husband.  Especially if Pearl Jam is playing.

Get my BSN/MSN

Take courses on history

Volunteer for a domestic violence shelter

Have another baby.  I put this on the bucket list because it probably won’t happen…

Cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself

Learn how to knit

There are lots of other things, but right now that’s all I have…