Reflections

November 2021 Reflections

(My Reflections posts are more stream-of-consciousness kind of posts so I apologize up front if some of what you read doesn’t make sense. But this is me we’re talking about here so … are you really surprised?)

Nov 1: Today was the first day I actually felt “normal,” whatever that means nowadays. I wasn’t dizzy, I had energy, I felt great! It was such a relief to actually feel like myself again. And again, I will doing whatever I need to do to NOT sink into a Vertigo hole again – it was awful, would not recommend. Worked Dr. M’s clinic today and saw him for the first time since “THE INCIDENT.” I was a little embarrassed to face him but I gave him a big hug and told him thanks for basically holding my hand throughout that whole nightmare. I also hugged H, Dr. M’s physician’s assistant, and thanked her for making sure I had a fresh barf bag and for wiping snot from my nose. We all had cookie cake together after clinic today and it was nice to sit down and just chit chat for a change. I really do care about my work family. They are very good to me.

I had a little trouble getting my car started this morning. Actually, it wouldn’t start at all. I knew it wasn’t the battery, we just replaced the battery not too long ago. My car wouldn’t recognize my fob. Which has never happened before and I had no idea what to do about it. Kevin tried his fob and it did the same thing – just dead in the water. Since I needed to get to work, Kevin took me to work and then spent some time reading the manual to figure out what was going on. Apparently, there is a small panel inside my drink holder that I can hold my fob up to and it will connect to the car and come on. I had NO idea that was even there but it’s good to know for future reference. I guess the fob lost the sync with the car. I don’t know, I can’t pretend to know what I’m talking about here. My car only has a push ignition, it doesn’t take a key, which is weird and I’ve never liked it and this is the reason why – because if something happens to your fob you’re sort of SOL. After Kevin figured out how to get it started again, we figured the batteries in the fobs must be dead so he bought some fresh batteries to put into the fobs. What’s weird is that his fob also wouldn’t work – what are the odds that BOTH fobs’ batteries died at the exact same time? So crazy. But, at least I was home and we weren’t traveling or something – it could always be worse, right? Also, I will now put a notice to myself in my calendar to change the batteries every year.

I had to submit my first sputum sample today. That was fun. As a condition of my religious exemption being granted I have to test weekly for COVID. It doesn’t really matter when I test each week, it just has to be done each week. I’ll likely test after clinic is over on Mondays – that seems to be a good time for me. I received some papers with a map to tell me where to go to get a test and some stickers with my information on them to use for my samples. When I checked in, I gave them one of the stickers, they gave me a bottle and a biohazard bag and told me to spit into the bottle, put another sticker label on the bottle and put the bottle into the biohazard bag. I’m supposed to receive a text, I think, whenever the results come back. I have no idea what to expect if it comes back positive but of course, if it comes back negative, I’m cleared to work for the rest of the week. I guess I’ll just make sure I have some paid time off in my bank in case it comes back positive. Who knows what is going to happen. At any rate, this will continue for the unforeseeable future. No one really knows how long it will last but whatever, I don’t really mind, I still have a job, this is quick and easy and at least it’s not a Qtip up the nose – I’m good.

The boys came over last night for Halloween. The weather was nice enough we hung outside on our pergola, built a fire in our outdoor fireplace and ate chili dogs. We didn’t do much, just chit-chatted and enjoyed each others’ company. I think the boys enjoyed it, too. They really liked keeping the fire going. We saw a few trick-or-treaters out but not very many. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood because our houses are spaced so far apart that it’s a lot of walking for little legs. We don’t even bother trying to hand out candy because no one ever comes.

IT’S GO TIME! NaNoWriMo starts today and according to my time management calendar, I’m slated to write 1000 words today. I didn’t really know what I was going to write or how I was going to start it until I got home from work today. I have a writing sprint up, (these videos REALLY help me get motivated to write), and I will hopefully write 1000 words before I go to bed tonight. Good luck, fellow NaNoWriMos!

Nov 2: Surprise! I don’t have COVID. Shocker! I found out by checking my chart in our system. (You can look up your own record, but you CAN NOT look up your family members or be in a chart without a damn good reason – like it’s a patient coming into the clinic). Then I received a robotic message on my phone. I didn’t like that because I thought they weren’t going to call you unless it was positive so now I will be holding my breath every time I get a robo call on my phone. Though to be fair, I will likely look it up in my chart before I get THE CALL. Anyway. I will doing this for the foreseeable future. Not ideal, but still, it’s not a Qtip up my nose, so that’s a plus.

Nov 3: I pretty much feel back to normal. I get a little woozy if I turn my head quickly, so I try not to do that and not look like a robot.  We had lunch as a team today because we’re still trying to celebrate PA (Physician Assistant) and MA (Medical Assistant) weeks because it’s hard to get all of us together at the same time though to be fair, it’s mostly Dr. M’s fault because he’s a busy man and usually needs to jet after clinics for various doctor stuff. I love these team luncheons, though. I especially love it when we just sit around and crack jokes or shoot the breeze. It’s nice to get away from the clinic setting and just … be people. Believe it or not, we don’t usually talk about patients, though we have, but just catch up on each other’s lives. That tells me we all care about each other and LIKE each other, which is such a rarity nowadays. I know we all appreciate the fact that we have a rare team dynamic and that it doesn’t happen very often, if at all, which I think is another reason why we’re all so close – it’s just unusual. For example, I work with another MA who desperately wants the same connection our team does but her and her nurse are just too different and it’s never going to work. They work together, but they don’t necessarily like each other, which is sad, but typical, I feel. I know how she feels – I used to work with a nurse that I DESPISED. And it wasn’t her personality that I hated, per se, though she was one of those loud, obnoxious people I would equate with fingernails down a chalkboard, but she was just a lousy nurse. She didn’t care about people, she wasn’t very smart when it came to applying her skills to real-life applications, though she was book smart, I guess, and she was just abrasive in nature. I don’t respond to that and by the time shit hit the fan, I just couldn’t even stand to breathe the same air as her. So I get it. It’s really hard to work with someone you dislike or just don’t jive with. That’s why I really, REALLY appreciate the people on my team that much more. IT’S RARE. So I live for these luncheons. I really do. They are fun, relaxing and give us all a moment to bond just a little bit more.

Nov 4: Dr. S’s MA – the other Dr. S, not the Dr. S I routinely work with, had a funeral to go and I was the only MA who wasn’t assigned to work a clinic that day. So I had to work his clinic at the last minute. I didn’t really mind – these things happen – LIFE happens, so I worked his clinic. T, the MA that had to go to the funeral, had prepped everything and all I had to do was put people in the rooms and start the ambulatory portion of the note so it was easy peasy. Dr. S has been working remotely since COVID hit so I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with him directly, which is a good thing, because Dr. S is a SCARY man, only in that he flies off the handle easily and he can be a monster to be around when that happens. Here’s how it works. Patients show up, I put them in a room, do my thing, take their blood pressures and then the PA comes in and does his thing. After he’s done, I put the patient into the “virtual” room and Dr. S. comes on and talks to them. It’s really not that big of a deal though patients aren’t necessarily happy about seeing/talking to their doctor on a laptop.  But that’s what Dr. S wants to do and we’ll continue to do that until he either gets tired of dealing with his patients that way or when insurance says they will no longer pay for Telemedicine visits. There’s some talk that that will happen next year, but who knows what will happen next year – hell, we though COVID was going to be over THIS year and that didn’t happen. And I’m predicting there will be another “variant” when it’s time for the 2022 mid-terms so … COVID is not going away. We just have to learn to deal with it.

Nov 5: I went into work nervous today. In order to be included in an MA program to recruit new MA’s from the hospital’s MA educational program and potentially get MA’s from the program to come work with us, we have to be “re-certified” every year. Which means, we have to be tested on blood pressures, drawing up injections and quizzed on various safety protocols. It’s a good idea, I’m not knocking the necessity of that being done, but when it comes to me, it makes me nervous because remember, I never had any formal education on becoming an MA – I just sort of fell into it. I learned on the job and I learned a TON when I studied up for my certification. I’ve been an MA now for nearly eight years so I know my stuff, but I know my stuff when it comes to my job at this clinic. We’re not a typical clinic – we don’t do blood draws or EKG’s like a lot of other MA’s are required to do in their offices so I went into this feeling anxious. We all had assigned times, my time was 10:00 AM. However, at 9:30 AM, one of the nurses dropped off the schedule and came to me to let me know that I could go in her spot and I walked/jogged to the room to make the appointment. By the time I got there, I was out of breath and they were getting started. I lucked out and was able to do the appointment with T, the nurse I usually work with, so that helped, but the first thing the instructor wanted to do was take my blood pressure.

I always cringe whenever anyone takes my blood pressure because I know it will be high. I’ve always run high. I don’t know why, I just do. Part of the reason, I guess, is because I’m always sort of worked up, hyped up and nervous at work because I’m always ON. I’m hyperaware of what is going on and I always have so much to do that I’m very focused on the job at hand. Anyway, I knew it was going to be high, especially since I walked/jogged to the appointment at the last minute and I wasn’t given a chance to calm down before the reading was taken. Pro tip: that’s usually the reason your blood pressure is taken at the end of your interview with the MA and not at the beginning because you need to give the patient time to settle down before taking their BP as it will likely give you a more accurate reading.

T, my nurse took my blood pressure on a teaching stethoscope, meaning, it was two stethoscopes in one so that the instructor could listen as well to make sure our readings were close and yes, it was high: 173/110. Yikes. I felt weird, too. Just … off. Not dizzy. My heart didn’t hurt, just … weird. I can’t really describe it. After it was over, I went to a quiet place in the clinic and took my pressure again on an automatic BP machine. (We routinely use an automatic – it’s quicker and it’s more accurate than you think it might be). It was 146/93. Still high, but not as high. After some time, I took it again and it was 134/88 – better. Anyway, I’m on a mission to lower my BP. I need to buy a machine for home and monitor it at home, too. I’m curious to see what it is when I’m relaxed and not at work – I’m betting it’s pretty close to normal. I need to know this as well as I’m sure the nurse practitioner I’m seeing on December 2nd will ask me what it runs at home.

Other than that, it was a busy Friday. the phones were CRAZY. I was covering the calls for another physician’s team and he had close to 30 calls, which is crazy. Dr. M only had about ten. Pro tip: if you’re a patient and you call the office multiple times and we try and call you back with an answer and you don’t answer, you go to the bottom of the priority list. If you’re expecting a call from your doctor’s office, keep your phone close and ready to answer because I can assure you, we do not, and will not, take the time to hunt your down because we have 15 other people who need to be called back. And you have to give the office time to process your question. This may mean they are waiting on an answer from the doctor, or your insurance is giving us trouble, or we simply haven’t had time to actually call you back. Be patient, please. It will happen it just may not happen as fast as YOU would like it happen but remember, you’re not the only patient. Chill.

Nov 6: I think I have finally figured out that I’m not cut out to write a novel. I just don’t like writing long pieces of fiction. I’m more of a short story writer. I’m not giving up on NaNaWriMo, but I am changing my strategy. I’m writing whatever the hell I want to write. Whether that’s a blog post, a short story, or parts of my “novel.” I don’t have ADHD but when it comes to writing, I am wondering.

I got my hair done today. I dye it back to my “original” color though it’s dark and I’m getting so much gray hair that I may have to start getting it worked on more often. I currently get my hair done every 12 weeks. And I only have her trim it because I end up putting it up most of the time, so why bother with an actual “style?” However. She cut my bangs too short so now I will have sideswept bangs until it grows out. Ha! No worries. It’s hair, it’ll grow back. I never quite understand these women you see on YouTube that agonize for hours about whether they should cut a few inches off or not and then end up regretting it and act like their lives are going to be over. It’s hair, people. I understand that hair can, and often is, part of one’s identity, but geez louise, enough with the drama. The thing is, I end up paying over $100 dollars for each salon visit, which makes me sick to my stomach. Is this price normal? I mean, she’s good, her cuts ARE really good and it’s not her fault she cut my bangs too short, I tell her to do that most of the time so I don’t have to worry about them getting too long before my next appointment, but wow – that’s a lot of money. But to be fair, she does spend two hours on me so … $50 an hour? I’m sure some of that money has to go to the salon and her booth rental but still … I’m just cheap, I guess. No. I don’t guess, I’m cheap.

Spent a considerable amount of time on Barnes and Noble’s website to figure out what to spend my $30 gift card on only to decide and get ready to check out and the website goes down. FRUSTRATING. (I’m buying two games, in case you were curious. We love board games. I don’t buy physical books anymore – I don’t have room for them! I’m strictly an Amazon Kindle reader now).

Nov 9: This is my least favorite day of the year – my birthday.

I was unreasonably angry this day and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve always hated my birthday – always. I don’t like the attention, to be honest. Yeah, yeah, it’s the day I was born and it’s nice to hear people tell me happy birthday, but you know what? I really don’t care.

But as I get older, I just get ANGRY. Time goes by so fast and I don’t want it to. Slow down! What’s the rush? And then when I look in the mirror, sure, I have a few more wrinkles but I don’t think I look THAT old and yet, when I think of the NUMBER … GAH. Seriously!?? It’s the weirdest thing, and just wait, you’ll get there, but when you get older, it’s almost like it’s happening to someone else. It can’t be my birthday, AGAIN? Can it? And so SOON?

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like we lost two years of our life with this crazy pandemic crap.

And I know part of the reason I feel this way is because I haven’t achieved my goals yet and time is ticking! Father Time doesn’t wait for anyone and I’m left behind with my mouth hanging open and wondering how the old man got past me.

We used to decorate and give gifts for birthdays, doctor’s day, nurse’s week, etc. but there are so many of these celebrations every year that we felt like we were constantly throwing a party and spending way too much money, so now, we eat lunch and/or desert together and call it a celebration. I’m absolutely okay with that, by the way, I would prefer just to spend time together and have some laughs, that works for me. The lovely H brought me a cake and we ate part of that on Monday, (it was really funny because the icing was so heavy that it fell off the side and by the time we got around to cutting into it, it was lopsided and funky – which was perfect because ever since my vertigo episode that’s exactly how I’ve felt!) and T brought me donuts on Wednesday. Krispy Kreme donuts, I might add, because she knows they are Kryptonite to me. (I can seriously, and have, eaten a whole dozen in one sitting before).

I then worked late, came home, barked at Kevin because I wasn’t in the mood to talk about my birthday anymore because I was tired and OLD and went to bed early.

Bah humbug.

Also, one of the new MA’s started today and I’ve been assigned, (Okay, I volunteered. Also, I’ve been working Dr. S’s clinics and she will be Dr. S’s MA so it seemed the most logical thing to do to take her under my wing), to train her and though I’m very excited that she’s here, I know I’m going to be behind and working late to catch up these next few months. I get .50 per hour more for “mentor” pay so though it’s going to be hard and exhausting, the paycheck is going to look good! Booyah!

Nov 11: I’m off work! I took a little vacation time because I’m burned out and since I wasn’t able to take my vacation at the end of September because of the whole hanging onto my job with my fingernails thing and putting in my resignation only for the hospital to approve my religious exemption appeal at the last minute, I lost that time. I wanted to go ahead and head out to Branson for our camping trip, but Thursdays are the busiest day of the weeks for Kevin so I hung out at home, relaxed and just vegged. It was nice.

Nov 12: Kevin worked the morning and while he worked, I packed up the trailer. It’s getting easier. All I have to do is pack our clothes and food and we’re pretty much ready to go. We learn something every time we go on a trip, though to be fair, this was only our second time using the trailer, but we’ll get it down to a science before long.

I wrote about our trip here, if you’re interested in reading all about it.

Side note: I was shopping around on Etsy and ran across some cool stickers for the trailer. I really like this one and this one, but Kevin doesn’t seem to be overly interested in either option so we’ll see if I can talk him into something like this. I would really like to jazz up the outside of the trailer with either a decal/wrap around something on the outside of something like these stickers. I don’t like that the trailer looks so plain but that’s the part that Kevin likes. He likes being “incognito” and making people think it’s just a trailer and not a living space. He doesn’t want to draw attention to it but to be honest, when we’re parked in a campground with all of these $50,000 RV’s surrounding us, we sort of stick out – I like to affectionately call us the “Beverly Hillbillies” of camping – I don’t think Kevin likes my pet name for the trailer.

Nov 16: Back to work and hit the ground running. The new girl, E, was with me and we worked Dr. S’s clinic for the first time. Dr. S’s team had already met her, she interviewed with them briefly before she was hired, so they weren’t complete strangers though you know how it goes when you start a new job, it’s just awkward. She’s pretty sharp though and I think she’s going to catch on fast, thank goodness. I like Dr. S and her team, but I’ve been taking care of two teams now for six months and I’m READY to get back to normal.

Though we have a nurse quitting December 1st so … *sigh* No rest for the weary.

Continue reading “November 2021 Reflections”

TBR

December To-Be-Read Stack

Once in a while, I get an itch. An itch to start writing book reviews again.

But here’s my problem – I’m lazy. No, no, we can say it. When it comes to actually putting my thoughts to paper, computer, Internet, whatever, I poop out and watch YouTube videos instead. Why? Because it’s easier! Because I don’t have to think. Because I’ve used up all of my brain cells at work and sleeping is the only thing that will replenish my brain cells.

But I have dreams. I have goals. I’m just not sure when I will actually achieve my goals.

So who knows? Maybe I’ll post book reviews, maybe this is just another pipe dream, but if you care to subscribe and follow along on my real, or imagined, writing journey, you just may find out.

Also – I made an account on Kindle Vella. WHO KNOWS WHAT 2022 WILL BRING!

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You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

I have currently read 50 books out of 55.

Moving on, here is my December TBR stack:

  1. Edge of Collapse by Kyla Stone
  2. Riley Thorn and the Corpse in the Closet by Lucy Score
  3. In the Deep by Loreth Anne White
  4. King of the Court by R.S. Grey
  5. Crimson Lake Road (Desert Plains Book 2) by Victor Methos

Happy Reading!

NaNoWriMo2021

NaNoWriMo FAIL

I tried guys, I really did. I started out strong and about three days in, I just couldn’t summon the creative energy to keep up. Work has been BRUTAL. I’ve been working 45 (ish) hour weeks and I’m just brain dead when I get home. Then, on the weekends, all I want to do is watch mindless YouTube videos, read or nap. I can’t be bothered to write anything creatively. I can’t even be bothered to write anything for this blog.

I also have bouts where I feel woozy and it’s hard to focus on words as they start bending and become distorted and I’m afraid I’m going to have another Vertigo attack so I get off the computer and rest my eyes. (Also – to be fair, I stare at a computer all day at work, too, so there is a lot of eye fatigue going on).

So. I’m tired of stressing about it. NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun and it wasn’t – at all. I don’t need the extra stress in my life right now so I’m officially calling it quits for NaNoWriMo this year.

I have some ideas for another project that I’m brewing in my brain but I’m done making empty promises. If anything comes from it, I’ll let you know, otherwise, if you don’t hear anything, it was yet another fail in my life.

You know, it’s funny, but I take GREAT pride in excelling in every other aspect of my life EXCEPT writing. Why is that? I know I’m scared of failing, maybe even scared of succeeding. Writing is so near and dear to my heart, like a child, that I can’t stand the thought of people criticizing it. Well, my creative writing, that is. The stuff I write on my blog is simply … me. Take it or leave it – I am who I am. But when it comes to creative writing – I freeze up. And I don’t really know why, truth be known.

And it frustrates me!

I don’t know if I’m making sense. I’m tired, as usual. It’s late, I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open, let alone making sense of my thoughts right now. Suffice it to say, I’ve thrown in the NaNoWriMo towel and I’m moving on.

However, I hope YOU’RE doing well. And learning a lot about your own writing in the process. I think that’s one of the biggest NaNoWriMo wins, in my opinion, the fact that you learn and grow as a writer. Me? I’ve learned that I don’t do long projects. I get so bored with anything over 5000 words. I need to stick to short stories, I guess.

Anyway, good luck if you’re still in the game! I’m cheering you on from the sidelines!

Glamping

Cargo Trailer Glamping – Trip #2 – Musicland – Branson MO

Because we had to cancel our September camping trip to Ozark Outdoors because the hospital I work at mandated the jab and I wasn’t about to succumb to an experimental injectable for a disease that was little more than a severe respiratory infection and I wasn’t in the high category risk for it and I couldn’t justify taking it, I put my resignation in. My last day was supposed to be 9-29-21, however, my religious exemption was approved at the last minute and I agreed to weekly testing so I could keep my job. But we had canceled our trip because we didn’t want to forfeit our deposit – so we didn’t go camping in September. Once the dust settled, I looked to the next little vacation I had asked off for – Veteran’s Day weekend. We knew we would likely go camping but we didn’t really know where – we just knew it would be somewhere close to home. We settled on Branson but we still hesitated on making reservations because my working life is volatile right now and honestly, I’m taking one day at a time. Who knows what the environment will look like tomorrow.

Once the time arrived and the world continued to revolve and the sky didn’t fall on my head, again, we figured we were safe to go ahead and make reservations about two days before we were supposed to leave. We stayed at Musicland Kampground just off the 76 strip. For those familiar with the area, you know exactly what “the strip” is. Branson is a lot like Vegas – all of it’s attractions are all located on one strip of road. It’s a mini Vegas, truth be known. And the campground is right off the strip. We like this campground because you can literally go through a gate and walk up to the strip. This campground is always super clean and the people are very friendly. They also have someone that will show you to your campsite and help you back in which I always appreciate because that’s always the most stressful part for me – navigating Kevin into tight spots.

(That sounded ….. never mind).

I packed up the camper on Friday. We’re really getting packing down to a science so that the only thing I really have to pack is clothes and food – we keep a lot of stuff in the camper so that we don’t have to pack it again and again. We, (I), did forget to pack a few things – more on that later.

This was the first time we pulled the trailer with Kevin’s new F150 truck. By the way, if I didn’t mention it before now, the guy that bought Kevin’s F250 finally paid off the balance and they came and towed the truck away.

Kev was pretty sad to see it go. He got used to driving this monster, it was pretty powerful, so driving the F150 feels kind of weak in comparison.

The F150 did great, by the way. It was really windy when we drove to Branson so that was a complication, and Kevin was getting used to the brakes on the trailer, so there was a lot of bumping as he made adjustments, but once he got the hang of it, it seemed to pull it just fine. I would still like to take it somewhere to get weighed though – just to see how heavy this thing is. We had too much weight in the tongue of the trailer and it bounced quite a big. I think that worried Kevin a bit that the F150 wouldn’t be big enough for future trips, but we’ll see.

We arrived at the site at about 2:00 PM. The guy helped Kevin park it, (THANK GOODNESS), and we worked on setting everything up. The wind was bitterly cold and it was not fun to set up the outside, but I helped him as much as I could and I felt like it went pretty fast. Once we had the electricity hooked up, I uncovered the mini-split and turned the heat on. We’ve never tested the heater part of the mini-split before so I was holding my breath until we confirmed that it was working.

The only thing we really had to set up on the inside was to hang the TV on the mount on the wall and to lift the fridge up on it’s platform and plug it in. We take the fridge off the platform when we’re traveling so it won’t fall off and smash into a million pieces. In the meantime, we pack our perishable food in a cooler with ice packs to keep it cool and once the fridge cools down, (it takes about three hours), I will transfer the food to the fridge and put the cooler in the back of Kevin’s truck to get it out of the way. It works well. Once Kevin hooks up the water/sewer, we fill the toilet up with water so that it’s ready for those late-night pees.

As we were getting the trailer set up, I figured out what I forgot – our pillows. I also forgot to bring my jacket. Kevin had his but I forgot mine and it was simply way too cold to go without, so, we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy pillows and a jacket. I was pretty annoyed with myself for forgetting stuff so important, but at least now we have pillows that we’ll keep in the trailer so I won’t forget them in the future. 

Once the trailer was set up, we rested for a bit and then we went out to eat at a BBQ place. Since it gets dark so early now and was dark when we finished eating, not to mention bitterly cold, we headed back to the trailer, changed into comfy clothes and watched “Stripes.” I had forgotten just how STUPID that movie really is. Gah.

The temps dropped to below freezing that night and the mini-split, though worked well, had trouble keeping up. In fact, we were actually a bit hot, but since I’m such a light sleeper, and never sleep well the first night we are away from home, I knew right away when the mini-split started sounding different. It sounded like it was freezing up and we shut it off for a bit so that it could thaw out. Kevin slept pretty well and he had his earplugs in so he couldn’t hear anything and didn’t notice there was anything wrong with the unit. (He has to wear earplugs because I SAW LOGS at night. By the way, he uses these these earplugs, they work REALLLY WELL in case you’re looking for good earplugs and/or you sleep with a partner that also SAWS LOGS).

Also – our water quit working so we assumed it had gotten so cold it froze. Nope. Our connection had fallen off and we hadn’t realized it.

We “slept” in Saturday and had a relaxing morning. We had chicken wraps for lunch, which were delicious and side note: we use coleslaw in a bag instead of lettuce – more crunch, more flavor and lasts way longer than normal lettuce. Afterward, we walked the strip. We really wanted to go to “Beyond the Lens” where you can take selfies in all sorts of fun backgrounds, like Bigfoot and on the moon, but it was like $35 PER PERSON and we’re too cheap to pay that price so we didn’t end up going. In fact, that was the theme of this trip – too cheap to have fun. We would love to do a lot of things in Branson, but like any touristy place, the prices are outlandish and we would prefer to spend our money on other things. Because I was so tired I had a hard time walking without tripping over my feet, we headed back to the trailer and I took a nap while Kevin watched the Discovery channel. (He hooked up the cable and took advantage of the shows he hasn’t watched in forever because we don’t have cable – remember the cheap part?)

After I woke up, (actually, I was woken up by our neighbor who knocked on our door because our water hook up was leaking and causing a puddle), we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. It was really good and Kevin commented that their refried beans were the best he’s ever tasted. After we ate, we walked around a few craft malls where Kevin found me a really cool leather purse for a reasonable price. (I’ve since been carrying the purse around and I love it – it has a side zipper pocket for my keys [I never have to take my keys out – it’s a fob and I just push the starter button in my car – not sure I really like that option], and a pocket on the side that is perfect for my eyeglass case).

After that, we headed back to the trailer and watched “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. I had seen it before. Another stupid movie. This is why I don’t watch movies anymore – they are all so DUMB.

Sunday, after taking showers, (by the way, our trailer doesn’t have a shower, we use the showers at the campground. Which is really not that big of a deal, unless you forget to bring a bag to carry all of your stuff in, (another thing I forgot), TO the shower and then it’s a pain in the butt but since most of the rigs at the campgrounds have their own showers, we rarely encounter anyone in the showers, so that’s nice), we walked around another craft mall. After that, we drove to the lake and walked along a hiking trail for a bit and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. It was cold, but it was nice. We also realized that when we go camping in the future, we are going to focus more on secluded campgrounds by water as opposed to trendy campgrounds near a lot of things to do. We are both perfectly happy to sit around the site and read, nap, watch TV, go for walks and just enjoy the nature and the peace and quiet. That’s really WHY we like camping – to get away from everything and everyone and relax. The Musicland Campground was great, but it wasn’t really what we were looking for. We stayed at this campground a few times in the past with the boys and it was perfect then because it was in the middle of everything and we were near a bunch of attractions, which we did with the boys, but now that we’re older and just us, it’s just not something that we’re into anymore.

We headed back to the trailer when it started to get dark and we cooked pancakes, eggs and bacon for dinner. As part of my ten-year anniversary with the hospital, they sent me a brochure of things I could pick from and for my “gift” and I picked a two-skillet set to use in the camper. We used those skillets and we really liked them. We don’t have a stovetop in the trailer, but we used a single burner and Kevin had to wait for me to cook the pancakes before he could get started on the eggs, (he cooks eggs are WAY better than me), and it took a while. So, I will be buying a dual flat burner to keep in the trailer from now on. After dinner, we watched some more Discovery Channel shows.

Monday, we packed up and came home. The weather the whole weekend was nice and Monday was no exception. It was sunny and warm and Kevin didn’t have any trouble pulling the trailer back home. In fact, he made sure the majority of the weight was in the back of the trailer this time and the ride home was a lot less bouncy. Weight distribution really does make a huge difference.

Kevin parked in the driveway behind our house and I unloaded the trailer and caught up on laundry. Kevin had to go to his office to do some work.

We learn something every time we go camping. I have a list of things I want to buy and keep in the camper, and we are going to try and put a murphy table in as well. We don’t have a table now, though Kevin did build a “desk” of sorts just under where the TV sits so we’ve been using that, as well as our bench that we sit on at the desk, as a table. We likely won’t go camping again until the Spring as it’s getting a bit too cold for comfort but hopefully, by then, we’ll have a table to use. It wasn’t that big of a deal this time, but it would be more comfortable.

Our goal is to take a trip every other month in 2022. Kevin wants to take impromptu trips but I can’t really do that because I have to give my work at least two weeks notice whenever I ask for any time off and even then, it’s not a sure thing, so we have to make reservations at the last minute to avoid forfeiting our deposits and that can be a gamble because you’re assuming the campground has space. In addition, Kevin has a client that he does payroll for every week, on Thursdays, so he HAS to be in his office on Thursdays to take care of that so if we leave town, it has to be Friday afternoons, (because he delivers the checks on Friday mornings), and we have to be back by the following Tuesday to give him time to prepare for the upcoming week’s payroll. It sucks, but they pay the bills so we have to make due.

Overall, it was a fun, quick little trip and we’re looking forward to more trips in 2022. This trip was easier than the last trip and I’m sure we’ll get the whole process down to a science in no time. I do think I was more of a help to Kevin this time, though. I was able to help him set up and breakdown all of the outside stuff this go around.

Here are some pictures from our trip – starting from left to right:

This Italian restaurant is on the 76 strip in Branson. We didn’t eat there, but we passed it when we were walking down the strip. 

Kevin and I wanted to go to Beyond the Lens, this is the entrance, cool, right? But it was way too expensive for our cheap selves so we settled for looking at it with longing eyes as we walked by.

Kevin gained a little weight this trip. 

These next three pictures were taken in front of Ripley’s Believe it or not. Hulk is made entirely out of cars parts, King Kong is made from old tires and the werewolf is made from gears, nails, etc. Pretty cool.

We did eat at this chicken restaurant. I had chicken fried tenders rolled in an almond crust and the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. They were short staffed and it took a bit to get waited on and our food, but I’m glad we stuck it out because it was delicious. 

These next pictures were taken at Table Rock Lake. We were trying to capture the beautiful sunset as it shined through the trees, but I’m afraid we didn’t do it justice. It was magical. 

The last picture if our campsite. As you can see, there is a hotel behind us. Again, not the prettiest, or the most peaceful site, but it was super convenient as you literally walk through a gate and you’re on the 76 strip. So, if you’re looking to camp in Branson and want to be close to everything, the Musicland campground is the place to be. 

Thanks for reading!

 

NaNoWriMo2021

NaNoWriMo Warm Up – Day One/Two

Hello NaNoWriMos!

Day one is done – how did you do??

I ended up writing 2,736 words. Part of that word count was updating my November Reflections post that you’ll read at the end of this month, but the majority of that was on my NaNoWriMo project, “For the Greater Good.” I don’t think I’ve mentioned my project on here, before. It’s a Dystopian Fiction story and OF COURSE, it’s about the current vaccine madness and cult, (be honest, it’s a cult following at this point in time), but with a sinister twist. I’m excited about writing it, but because I was down for the count with my Vertigo episode for nearly a week, I didn’t have time to actually outline anything so here I am, again, participating in NaNoWriMo by the seat of my pants.

It makes it way harder to write this way, but it also makes it fun and exciting, too. I wrote my prologue yesterday – it just sort of came to me, but I hated every part of it, even as I was writing it. It took everything I had to actually get through it and I will definitely NOT be using it for the “final” product, if there is a final product.

But no worries. I got some words down and I’m just sort of muddling my way through this and there will inevitably be a few false turns here and there, I just wasn’t expecting to have that happen right out of the gate.

I’m counting my blog and my project in my word count because let’s face it, writing a blog post IS writing and I use writing in my blog as a warm up “for the real thing” so yes, I’m counting this with my word count, too. I don’t know if this makes me a NaNoWriMo Rebel, but that’s how I roll – I do what I want!

In case you’re curious, I’m writing on the SmartEdit Writer software. This is a FREE software and to me, it’s set up like Scrivener though to be fair, I’ve never used Scrivener so I’m not sure how accurate that statement is, but I’m liking it so far and did I mention it’s FREE? No, this is not sponsored, but if you’re looking for a writing software, you might check it out and if you do, let me know how you like it. I would like to buy Scrivener at some point but we’ll see. If SmartEdit Writer is working, why go with something else?

I also LOVE writing sprints on YouTube. Watching these makes me feel part of a writing community and it motivates me to write something. Yesterday, I watched/wrote with the Word Nerds.

You can find a hodge-podge of various writing sprints at Devin Cutting’s YouTube page. If you haven’t tried a writing sprint, I highly recommend it. It’s really fun and you really do feel like you’re in a writing group and not entirely alone.

If you would like to chat with me you’re welcome to send me a DM on the NaNoWriMo website – my username is take2max – and I’ll be happy to extend an invitation for the private chat room. My group is at this link – I don’t know if it will work if you’re not signed into the NaNoWriMo site, but you’re welcome to try.

I wasn’t planning on writing anything today but I’m in the mood to write and I might as well take advantage of that enthusiasm while I can. I think I’m sufficiently warmed up and ready to write. I’ll post a small excerpt from “For the Greater Good” from yesterday. Fair warning: keep a barf bag close by.

I’m working on Prologue #2 today. And if I hate this one as much, then I will continue to write until I get it right. This will be good practice for me and give me a chance to get to know my main character, Nashe, a bit more.

Let me know how you’re doing!

Excerpt from NaNoWriMo project:

Nashe cracked her eyes open. She blinked. Had she lost her sight? Why was everything so dark? She stared up at the ceiling and took a moment to adjust. What happened? Where was she? Why was she lying on a cold, hard table? She tried to move her arms.

Nothing.

Her arms were strapped to her sides.

She tried to move her legs.

Nothing.

She could feel straps around her ankles.

She inhaled a shaky breath. “Don’t panic,” she mumbled as she forced herself to remain calm so that she would have the wherewithal to think.

She turned her head from side to side. She could just make out shapes in the shadows. To her left, was a long sink, it looked deep, like a sink you would see in a science lab. She could make out cabinets lining the rest of the wall next to the sink.

She turned her head to the right. She could just make out the shape of a large window, only it was boarded up and completely dark leading her to believe it was either night outside or the window wasn’t really a window to the outside but a window to an observation room.

That thought caused her to nervously squirm.

She winced as she lifted her head from the table to look toward her feet. Nausea rolled in her stomach as her head swam, a pressing headache knocking at her temples. She concentrated on breathing deeply and forced herself to open her eyes once more. She saw a door with a shade drawn over the window.

She put her head back down on the table and stared at the huge light directly above her. She could feel her heart hammering painfully against her breast bone. She clamped down on her fear and inhaled sharply before exhaling a shaky breath.

She tightly squeezed her eye shut. “Focus,” she whispered. What happened? How did she get here? More importantly, how can she get free? She began to squirm to test how tight her bindings felt. She was able to move her legs somewhat, but her arms didn’t move an inch.

“Breathe,” she muttered momentarily succumbing to the tendril of fear that coiled around her throat and tightly closed her eyes. She took a moment to still her frantic heart and focused on breathing in through her nose, then out through her mouth.

 

Reflections

October 2021 Reflections

Oct 1: I don’t know if you guys actually visited my blog in October but this was the header. When I saw it on Unsplash, it IMMEDIATELY resonated with me. I’m not sure why. Sure, it’s creepy, but there’s something compelling about all of the hands on the wall, like they are begging for help. I feel like this was a common theme this past year, and really, this year as well. Who knew that 2021 would be just as awful as 2020. Well, maybe not AS awful –  our lives pretty much went on though my job situation was stressful, but still, definitely not normal. And the quote I put on the header:

Stare at the dark
too long and you
will eventually see
what isn’t there.

I feel like that perfectly captures people’s mindsets nowadays. We’ve all been staring, obsessing, over this COVID thing and what the media and the government was telling us that we couldn’t see the truth behind the handprints. We didn’t stop to use any sort of critical thinking skills, we just blindly went along to get along, and though we’re slowly getting back to normal, at least some aspects of the country are, the keyword is S.L.O.W.L.Y.

I was Dr. S’s medical assistant today and we traveled to an outlying clinic. I have mixed feelings on outlying clinics. On one hand, I hate them because you have to pack, you have to work in an unfamiliar environment, you race to get things set up when you get there and it’s stressful until you have some rooms full and you give your doctor and your mid-level something to do. On the other hand, it’s nice to get out of the office, the team is much more relaxed and you get to know them a little better than you would in the clinic and though the change is stressful, it’s also challenging – break out of the same ole, same ole.

The clinic ran smoothly – like REALLY smoothly. Like, not one thing went wrong. All of the patients showed up, Dr. S’ got two surgeries out of it so it was worth her time to go and everyone was in a good mood. I really enjoyed it. I like this particular clinic because we use a family provider’s office and it’s part of the hospital so we don’t have to worry about Internet connections, which is REALLY nice because I have worked some clinics where we use a competing hospital’s office and we have to take Wi-Fi hot spots and connecting with that is sometimes a challenge and then the doctor is waiting on me and I can’t do anything because I don’t have Internet … it’s stressful. Not fun. But this was a pleasure to work and I wouldn’t mind working that clinic more often, to be honest.

My manager gave me the green light to leave early so it was really nice to get home an hour early and just breathe. When we had our MA meeting, I again brought up the proposal of taking turns leaving early on Fridays – just leaving a few hours early on a Friday, once in a while, does the mental health GOOD.

Oct 2: Kevin bought a fancy-smancy camera for our podcast. Like, a professional-grade camera, like a $1,500 camera. *gulp* I don’t really have a problem with him spending that much money because A. cameras are his hobby and I know he actually got a good deal on it because he bought it from eBay and the normal price for this type of camera is $5,000 new but B. I trust his judgement. It’s not like he goes out and spends money like this all the time.

I was really more worried about the timing of the purchase, to be honest. Again, I have no idea what is going to happen with my job. Though my religious exemption was approved to opt out of the COVID jab, I still haven’t heard back about the flu vaccine and the clock is ticking. I have no idea what I’m going to do if they deny it but at the same time, how can they deny it if they approved my COVID jab request? My point being, I have no idea how long I will have this job. Not to mention, the “conditions” of this approval haven’t been discussed yet so again, I have no idea how this is logistically going to work out and for how long. And how long will I put up with it? I’d like to stay at this hospital for my remaining working years but again, who knows with everything else going on right now? At any rate, we filmed our Right From Us podcast last night and the camera worked like a dream and Kevin seems really happy with the quality of it. He’s editing it now and will post it soon. You can find that podcast on YouTube, (though only an introduction since YouTube won’t allow free speech anymore), Rumble and Gab TV for the full, unedited versions.

Oct 3: Jumping into Preptober! I freaking love this time of year and it really gets me excited to write fiction. I plan on buying Natalia Leigh’s Preptober Workbook. It looks like it has a lot of fun stuff to help prepare for NaNoWriMo next month. She’s asking for donations, just give what you can and what you think it’s worth. Then you can print it off and pay a place to bind it for you if you wish. I am happy to donate some money to her because she spent a lot of time on the project and it’s going to help so many people. I don’t know if I’ll bind it and I likely won’t use all of the pages, but there are some that look really promising.

Kevin still have his diesel truck. He’s had a few bites but no luck so far. He actually took it off Craigslist because he wants to try a few things to see if he can get it up and running enough to maybe ask more for it. The truck body itself is in excellent condition and F250 diesel trucks go for a lot of money so it makes him sick to think he might sell it and come to find out, it was an easy fix. So, he’s not giving up on the diesel truck yet. I have yet to ride in his new truck.

Oct 7: I found out today that my flu vaccine exemption request was denied. I was not surprised. I’m not even that upset about it because I understand it. I’ve taken flu vaccines in the past, how could they approve it? I’m at peace with this decision. I will do what I think is best for me and my family at this point in time. I will get the vaccine. However, I know, at some point, likely in the near future, this decision will likely come back and bite me in the ass. Because at some point in time, they, the government, Big Pharma, are going to come up with a flu vaccine that will incorporate the mRNA because it supposedly makes producing vaccines faster. And perhaps it does. But until mRNA has been thoroughly vetted and tested, and until I’m convinced that it will most likely not harm me, as opposed to now when I don’t have that opinion, I will NOT succumb. So. What does this mean for my future with the hospital? I don’t know. And I don’t care at this point in time. I’m sick of thinking about it, I’m sick of stressing about it, I’m sick of living under this black cloud. I am at a point in my life right now that I am DETERMINED to live my life the best way I know how and right now, that means one day at a time. A lot can happen before next August, which is the deadline for my religious COVID exemption, I don’t know what that means but I suspect something is coming that I will not be on board with, but for now, I have a job and I’m thankful. I was told today that the hospital is working out the logistics on where and how I will succumb to a weekly COVID test – again, I will deal with that when it happens.

You know what’s weird? I’ve done such a good job of just pretending and moving past this nightmare that when my manager came to me today to tell me about the flu vaccine decision, I was surprised. I had momentarily forgotten that I was on probation, so to speak. I had forgotten that it was even an issue. I want to go back to to those days. When people minded their own damn business and left me the hell alone.

I will get back to those times. Mark my words.

Brandon has been having a lot of problems with his hands. He is very sensitive to a lot of things. We took him to an allergist when he was small – they poked his back with a number of different things and he had a reaction to a lot of them – the worst being oak. Which was unfortunate because we have four huge Oak trees across the street from us. But his hands seem particularly sensitive. He has had outbreaks for years – red, splotchy, peeling, itchy. He’s tried all sorts of OTC creams and some of them helped for a bit, but here lately, it’s gotten bad. He works at a bank so I’m betting handling all of that filthy money all day only makes it worse. I finally talked him into going to a doctor and they prescribed him something today that he says seems to be working pretty good. I don’t know what the medication is yet because he hasn’t answered my text yet (*ahem*), but I’ll let you know when he does. But it warms my heart that he took the initiative to seek help. That he’s being helped. That he’s healing and will get better. There is nothing worse than seeing your offspring hurting or in pain. It’s a very helpless feeling and I don’t know how much more helpless I can take. I want to be in control of my life and I feel like this past year and a half, has been complete chaos. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I want off this merry-go-round. And I’m jumping off in 3…2…1…

Oct 9: So tired today. This is one of those days I could sleep all day. Sometimes that happens to me, I just want to sleep. I remember doing that a few times back before I met Kevin and lived on my own. There would be entire days I would sleep and then sleep all night. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was just exhausting. And of course, I was exhausted the next day, too. I could easily do that again.

Trying to make plans to go camping in November. There is a campground just off the strip in Branson that we have stayed at before and it’s walking distances to so many attractions. We haven’t made reservations yet, but I really want to go.

Question – when they start requiring me to test weekly for COVID, (*eye roll*), how will that work when I’m out of town or on vacation? I’m assuming I will have to test on Saturday to give them time to get the results back before Monday, what if I’m not in town on Saturday? For example, this upcoming mini vacation – I’m taking off Thursday and will be back on Tuesday. How will I test then? Will I have to take the rest of the week off? Will it be a rapid test? It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

This is the last hot weekend of the season, I think. I’m ready for cooler temperatures and sweatshirt weather.

Oct 11: Dr. M was back in the clinic today. He was a good patient and wore his sling all day. He was back to his old self and it was really good to see. I hope it lasts. I, however, was bored. This job is never slow but sometimes boring. Just because it’s the same thing, over and over again, at least, the process. Patients, of course, are never the same. It make me feel good when patients recognize me and greet me like we’re old friends. I guess that’s what happens when you work for one doctor for ten years.

Oct 13: Dr. M was pretty frustrated today. He had three surgeries that needed immediate attention and obviously he can’t do surgeries for a while so he had to refer them to his partners to take care of. This is his livelihood, this is what he’s gone to school for so many years to do and he can’t do it until he heals. He was a bit cranky today but considering the circumstances, I completely understand and empathize with him.

Kevin sold his F250 today! He didn’t get as much for it as I had hoped but he didn’t do too badly, either. Some guy in Arkansas bought it – he and his buddy work on trucks so this will be the perfect project for them to tackle. I think Kevin is relieved that it’s going to someone that can work on it because if he can get it up and running, he’s got a great truck on his hands. The body is in great shape. The truck is still sitting at LeRoy’s house, the guy has to have his buddy come back with him to tow it back home. I think Kevin is relieved but he’s also sad to see it go. It was a BEAST of a truck. His new(ish) F150 is nice but it’s not as mean as the F250. I’m relieved he’s getting rid of it because I didn’t realize when he bought it how much maintenance a diesel engine was. It’s a handful.

Continue reading “October 2021 Reflections”

TBR

November To-Be-Read Stack

Didn’t read as much as I wanted to this month, but I knocked some rocks loose and my brain short circuited so I had a good excuse. I should still meet my ultimate goal of 55 books by the end of December assuming I don’t have any other mishaps between now and then.

God willing.

___________________________________________________

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

I have currently read 46 books out of 55.

Moving on, here is my November TBR stack:

  1. One Day Fiancé by Lauren Landish
  2. Maybe Now by Colleen Hoover
  3. Dead of Night (Harry Bauer Book 1) by Blake Banner
  4. The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
  5. Lethal Defense (The Nate Shepherd Legal Thriller Series Book 1) by Michael Stagg

Happy Reading!