TBR

April To Be Read Stack

Hello readers!

I thought it might be interesting to you to see what I have on my bookshelf to read every month. I periodically post book reviews, (when I’m feeling energetic, not always) and if I do, then you will have an opportunity to read the book so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

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. 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.

Here is my April 2020 TBR stack:

  1. The Last Sister by Kendra Elliott
  2. Last Day by Luanne Rice
  3. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal
  4. A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni
  5. Protecting What’s Mine by Lucy Score
  6. Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
  7. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
  8. The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos

Happy Reading!

Bullet Journal

April 2020 Bullet Journal Spreads

It’s time to share my April bullet journal spread:

I went with the cliché – April showers.

I actually got the idea from watching the hundreds of bullet journal videos on YouTube and it all started with a vision board. The idea of a vision board appealed to me immediately. It’s basically a collage page of pictures that inspire you or make you happy, or something you aspire to do or feel.

And after stumbling across Unsplash, a site that offers royalty free pictures, I was instantly hooked.

After looking through the photos on Unsplash, I decided April showers would be my theme.

I’m continuing to prefer an actual calendar page as opposed to a vertical calendar page. Though I’m tempted to do a full monthly cover page with a small calendar in the future because let’s face it, my social calendar is virtually always empty so it seems a waste to use two pages for a calendar I rarely use. I may try that option in my next bullet journal.

I found the cute, sparkly cloud stickers at Hobby Lobby and an idea was born.  (Though it looks like the cloud stickers are out-of-stock currently. Our local Hobby Lobbys are closed, which .. bummer).

Remember, my bullet journal is all about experimenting with different mediums and I really liked this picture of the woman with the red umbrella, though I wish it wasn’t as dark. I like how the red gives it a “splash” (see what I did there) of color.

You know what’s funny? I didn’t realize until I went back later to put Easter on the calendar that my numbering is off. GAH! Oh well, I’ll laugh about it … at some point. (Easter is on the 12th, not the 13th – see my note at the bottom? That’s why I chose the “it’s the little things” sticker – lol).

Here’s my April vision board. The woman with the red umbrella and the street lamp was actually one picture, I cut it apart and thought it turned out cool. I love the picture of the child stomping in the rain because it makes me feel carefree and young. I also liked the rain-streaked window because watching the rain fall relaxes me and it’s interesting to see how your world changes when it rains. I love this vision board idea and I plan on continuing this every month. I am not, however, crazy about the washi tape I stuck on there. I like washi tape, I just haven’t found a use for it yet. But I’m not giving up.

Again, I was playing around with pictures and though I really like the colorful umbrellas, I’m not crazy how bright they are when compared to the rest of the spread. I plan on making a rainbow spread at some point and using this umbrella picture would have been better suited on that spread.

Here is how my weeklies turned out. All of my weeklies look the same. I’m really enjoying this horizontal spread and I’ve been keeping up with summarizing my day on each one. At some point, I think I will make them bigger and do away with my notes at the bottom. I haven’t really been utilizing them at this point and I would rather make notes on my calendar spread than on my weekly spreads. We’ll see.

I think the step tracker page turned out cute, though my clump of clouds in the middle look an elephant with snot coming out of its nose. haha! I’m also really using my brain dump pages and I think I might make them two pages in my next bullet journal because again, I use my bullet journal as more of a journal than a planner.

And lastly, here is my quote – tell me this isn’t true!! Again, hate the washi tape element here. Washi tape frustrates me!

I finished my August spread today and will likely start my September spread tomorrow. I already have tons of theme ideas for upcoming spreads and can’t wait to start my 2021 bullet journal. I want to work ahead while I’m still enthusiastic because I know me and the novelty of this will wear off and I won’t want to do anything else with it for months. This way, I’ve worked far enough ahead that when the bug bits me again, I won’t be discouraged when I have to catch up.

I’m learning a bit more each time I put a spread together and I feel like the spreads are getting better, overall. Remember, I’m one of the least artsy people you’ll ever know so that fact that I’m doing this at all feels like an accomplishment to me.

I learn something each time I watch a bullet journal video so it’s hard to give you just a couple to watch here. Instead, here is a link to a ton of videos that will hopefully inspire you to do something fun with your own bullet journal.

Happy Journeling!

Work Stuff

Thankful to Still Have a Job

Isn’t that picture pretty?? It’s my hope to some day go to Washington DC and see the cherry blossoms, to walk this path, breath the fresh air, feel the sun on my face and just EXIST, stress free for a few moments.

Alas, that day is not today.

But it’s a nice place to visit in my imagination, especially right now.

I hate to be yet another person talking about this damn Coronavirus, but I wanted to document the crazy that our world is right now so that at some point, hopefully, in the near future, we can look back at this time period and think, “WHAT THE F*CK….”

First off, I’m so sorry, I’m so TERRIBLY sorry for anyone out there that is not working right now. I feel so bad for the people whose companies have shut down leaving them without a reliable wage. I can’t imagine, and I pray I never have to imagine, what that feels like. I’m sure there are a lot of scared, freaked out people right now and the sooner we can get back to normal, the better for all of our mental health.

I’m so very thankful, SO THANKFUL, that so far, we have not been asked to stay home. It was touch and go for a while, there was talk that the hospital would disperse us and “re-allocate” us to other areas of the hospital and my first thought was, “but I don’t WANT to wipe patients’ butts!” Translation: working the floor terrifies me. Largely because I have zero experience working the floor and I know I would be more of a hindrance than a help because people would have to spend their precious time training me and then going back later and re-doing what I did because it was wrong.

And let’s not forget the wiping peoples’ butts thing …

We have been given the option of working from home. We can check messages, call patients back, work on upcoming schedules, etc. and I’m very, VERY thankful that we have this option. I haven’t had the chance to take advantage of that option yet, but I hope to soon.

The week of Spring Break, when our doctors were out, was the longest, darkest week I’ve had since working this job. It was the uncertainty, and the rumors, and the daily updates and changes that were being made so fast it gave me daily headaches just trying to keep up with it all. I tried not to get sucked into the vortex of doom, but I’m only human and I too have bills to pay and retirement to save up for so I would be lying if there weren’t times my heart beat a little faster out of purely selfish fear.

But then, our doctors came back, ready to work but no surgeries to fill their time. And they’re bored and they want to see patients, but the hospital has cracked down on the number of people being allowed in so running clinics as usual was out of the question.

My doctor, who is freaking awesome and whom I just adore, is always open to new ideas. And our mid-level, who is like a spunky little sister, suggested Telemedicine. GENIUS! So, we started looking into our options. And we trialed our first Telemedicine clinic on Wednesday and I think it went pretty good for our first time trying something completely different and out of our comfort zone.

Our team has been the guinea pigs of the clinic – if what we do succeeds, then the other doctors will follow suit. And a few of them have already tried it.

My lovely daughter-from-another-mother nurse and I have been SUPER busy vetting patients and setting them up to try this Telemedicine. The technology is there, the problem is people don’t know how to use/activate their webcams and/or microphones, so I spent a large portion of my day trying to talk them into finding the right settings and then basically using it.

However, I’m proud to say that we “saw” nine patients via Telemedicine on Wednesday and it went relatively well. Sure, there were glitches and things we needed to improve, but I’m confident it will only get better the more we use it.

And patients seem to LOVE it.

And my team seems to really like it.

And it gives me an excellent excuse to go to work every day and keep my job.

WIN-WIN!

So, for the foreseeable future, until this craziness passes, we have found our new normal. And I predict just when we get used to our new normal, get everything down to a science, this craziness will pass and we’ll go back to our old normal.

I’m okay with that. I’m nothing if not flexible.

In addition to the hospital not allowing unnecessary visitors in, they are now taking our temperatures every morning to ensure we are not exhibiting flu-like symptoms. I get it, they have to protect the workers and patients, but I confess, I breathe easier once I have “passed” the test and get the colored sticker of the day on my badge. (We have colored stickers put on our badges every day to mark who has passed the screening).

The hospital has also erected a huge triage tent just outside the ER entrance so that can ensure they are not allowing someone with symptoms into the ER waiting room to potentially infect all who are sitting in the waiting room.

The hospital is also constructing a floor within our hospital to serve as a “MASH” unit, so to speak, to house potential Coronavirus patients. Which, on the surface, sounds admirable, but then my mid-level pointed out that it will actually bring the hot zone to us because of all of the nurses and personnel that will have close contact with the infected patients and then go to the cafeteria to mingle with the rest of us poor unsuspecting saps.

We honestly can’t win for losing here.

I do have hope, though. Watching President Trump’s latest press conference where he talks about ending the shut down soon because we HAVE to get back to work, is encouraging. The government is just trying to figure out how to go about that. I don’t envy them that job.

And side note: Did you know that CNN and other news outlets are either cutting away from the press conference in order to avoid the hopeful message that the president puts out there or they have stopped airing the conferences all together? Why would they do that? It’s almost as if they WANT to prolong this hell … (answer: they do)

In other news, Brandon’s 25th birthday was yesterday. He turned 25 on the 25th and we didn’t even get to go to his favorite restaurant to celebrate, though we did order take out from his favorite restaurant. We had a very lively discussion about the current state of affairs and I think we gave him a lot think about. To our chagrin, he thinks a lot like the majority of young people nowadays and we do our best to give him a dose of reality while trying not to sound too adult-ish.

Though it was a small, low-key birthday, I bet he doesn’t forget his 25th birthday.

Hang in there, peeps, this too shall pass.

In the News

Don’t Trust the Media

Gah. It’s raining here. I’m ready for warm weather and sunshine, 1. because I’m sick of the doom/gloom as I’m sure you all are, and 2. so that the warmer weather will start burning off this virus.

Just a quick word out there about the news media; DON’T TRUST THEM. Assume that whatever you’re being told, on whatever network you’re watching, that it’s cut and edited to push their own agenda.

I’ve been watching President Trump’s DAILY news conferences. He’s answering media questions for HOURS just to prove to us that he’s being transparent. He doesn’t have to do this, but he’s doing this to effectively communicate with the American people what is being done and what the future holds. He’s doing this because he CAN’T trust the media to accurately report anything because Trump does not represent their agenda – chaos and control.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

What part of Trump’s narrative was bad? He was talking about potential drugs that are looking promising for combating this virus. What part of that is bad? It shows the administration is making strides toward a solution and that can’t be anything BUT hopeful. And hope is EXACTLY what we need right now.

This reporter is disgusting in that he’s trying very hard to hang on to the fear. He’s trying very hard to inject another dose of fear into people when quite honestly, fear is exactly why we’re in the state we’re in now. The media has worked the people up into such a frenzy reason and critical thinking have gone out the window. It’s evil and wrong.

I watched this particular news conference and the reporter deserved what he got. Stop being an asshole. We don’t need politics right now, we need to pull together and combat this thing. And I really hope we learn some valuable lessons and prepare for the next virus – because there will be another one, it’s just a question of when it happens. (Hopefully, not for a very long time).

Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you to pick and choose your “news” sources carefully. Go to the source. Watch President Trump’s conferences. Check the CDC website. Forget these news outlets and “opinions” because let’s face it, these “news” outlets are reporting very little “news”, it’s all about sensationalizing what’s going on and continuing to scare people. How is that helping? Do you think organizations with that agenda exist to HELP you?

Seriously, think about that.

Stay healthy, friends.

AudioPlay

My Latest Playlist

Let’s lighten things up around here, shall we?

Music / Dance is a good place to start. I know I find it interesting to listen to other people’s playlists, perhaps you’d like to hear what I’ve been listening to lately.

(You’ll have to sign on to Spotify to hear the full songs – you only get 30 seconds worth here).

Happy listening!

Abundant Life

Got Time on Your Hands? Make Your Relationships Stronger

Good Sunday evening, everyone.

We just got done watching this video from the Truth or Tradition YouTube channel and I thought I would share it. I think it’s a timely subject and one that a lot of us typically don’t take the time to think about or work on.

Since we have some time on our hands with our self quarantine, why not invest in building your relationship with your spouse and children? Spend some time together. Talk to each other. Make plans, play games … this is the perfect time to do the things with your family that you otherwise never have time for.

This is a stressful time for everyone but stay positive, pray often and remember – THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Stay healthy, friends.

In the News, Work Stuff

Be Alert, Not Anxious – COVID-19 Update

Hi.

How are you doing?

I think this might have been the longest week of my life. I’m sure you can relate.

The world has gone crazy, are you keeping up?

On second thought, don’t keep up. Ignore the news. Or at the very least, tune in one or twice a day – no more than that.

I strongly believe we are where we are today BECAUSE of the media. They have taken great lengths to thoroughly and completely stir people up into a panic. Well done, media. You have induced mass hysteria.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t take the Coronavirus seriously, but again, when compared to the common influenza numbers, I don’t think it warrants the reaction that it has gotten.

Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the US. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000.

The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the virus.

So how do these numbers compare to flu deaths in previous years? So far, it looks like the 2019-2020 death toll won’t be as high as it was in the 2017-2018 season, when 61,000 deaths were linked to the virus. However, it could equal or surpass the 2018-2019 season’s 34,200 flu-related deaths.

Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year. Source

So, why the mind-numbing fear? The unknown, I guess. It’s something new and different and since the media have done such a good job of scaring the shit out of people, and fear is one of the, if not the most, powerful emotions humans can experience and only breeds and feeds off itself, people have completely lost sight of reality.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t treat the Coronavirus seriously, but seriously, get a grip.

This too shall pass. Take precautions, be proactive without being irrational.

You can’t control what is happening but you CAN control how you react to it.

What tightens my sphincter is how everyone is reacting to this latest crisis. Wow man, get a grip. It only takes a handful of people to freak out and buy all the toilet paper before human instinct kicks in and other people follow suit.

“Wow. The selves are empty. What do other people know that I don’t? I should stock up, too. It doesn’t matter that I already have two giant rolls of toilet paper at home, I need MORE. I need to protect ME and MY FAMILY. What if we’re sequestered for weeks? Months? Years??”

This is a natural progression of thought and I would by lying if I told you that I didn’t feel the pinch of fear as Kevin and I were doing our normal weekly shopping as well. It’s tempting, very tempting, to give in to this emotion and lose touch with reality for a bit.

We’re human. It’s how we’re programmed.

But the selfish tendencies of people during times like this really shine. Stop. Breathe. Think. What about the people who have nothing?? What about the people with bare shelves and no options? Buy what you need and leave some for other people.

I realize that some people do this because they are grasping for control over a situation they have no control over. I get it, I’m the same way. But I force myself to stop, breathe and think before simply succumbing to that dark monster of fear that likes to whisper in my ear from time-to-time.

And I would get the mass hysteria when it comes to groceries if there were no other options. THERE. CONTINUE. TO. BE. OPTIONS. Restaurants are still in business, you just have to use the drive-thru or the take out option. I honestly don’t think people are remembering that option. And these poor restaurants are just trying to keep their heads above the water so that they can provide a little work for their employees, let’s help them out, shall we?

Which brings me to the biggest part of this crisis that worries the most: the financial fallout.

Businesses are being shut down and people are losing their jobs. Jobs they depend on for money so they can pay bills and buy food. I think part of the hysteria is the fact that people are scared of that either happening, or happening, to them. It’s already  happened to my nephew. He works at a restaurant and he’s been laid off. I have no idea if they are giving him an option of coming in to help with take out orders, but I sure hope there is some option available to him until this virus burns off and we can get back to normal.

Some businesses may never recover – what happens to the poor people that worked there?

I predict it takes MONTHS for our economy to recover. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also predict we’re heading toward another recession. Think of the travel industry, they have shut down entirely. Disney has shut down and announced they are going to continue paying their 750,000 employees. Though admirable, where does THAT money come from? Employers are trying to do the right thing for their employees, and that’s certainly admirable, but at some point, the money will dry up if they’re not allowed to open back up for business. And even then, it will take them some time to play catch up.

People like to snarl and point out, “but it’s not about the bottom line, Karen, it’s about the people.”

Precisely my point. Who does the bottom line ultimately affect? THE PEOPLE.

And if we’re reacting this way to something that is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, (remember the influenza numbers? And that happens EVERY YEAR), how are we going to react if something like the black plague happens?

It will truly be a Mad Max scenario, I fear. I pray I’m wrong but judging by what is happening now? I think it’s a distinct possibility.

So, how is this affecting me personally? I work at the hospital, remember?

This past Tuesday, our hospital went into lock-down mode. Meaning, only employees and patients can pass the doors. And any other people who want in have to be screened and have their temperatures taken. And most entrances to the hospital are closed, you can only enter/leave by certain entrances.

It’s spooky, but I totally understand the precautions and I appreciate them. We had the added advantage of being on Spring Break at work, meaning most of the doctors were out any way to spend time with their families but what about next week? Are we going to cancel clinics? And if the clinic closes down, what about the rest of us? What does that mean for our jobs?

I’ll be honest, and a bit selfish, but that is my biggest concern.

The nurses will be reallocated to other areas of the hospital, that’s a given. But what about the rest of us non-licensed saps? The hospital has done a great job of communicating with us and letting us know how they will respond if that happens. And it’s already happened to quite a few departments – those people have been reallocated to other areas. Human resources is keeping a running tally of places that people can go to help out. But what happens when there are no more places to put people? Because we’re talking about A LOT of departments have been affected by this outbreak.

We can use our ETO (Earned time off), but what if we don’t want to use ETO? Then unpaid leave it is. But what about our bills? Money to live off of? Because let’s be real, most people live from paycheck to paycheck – I’m saying that’s wise, but it is real.

Kevin and I have talked, at length, about what we will do if I’m laid off. Because if there aren’t very many jobs and it comes to me or someone I work with who is not as financially secure as we are, I’m going home, hands down. That other person needs the work more than I do. And Kevin is self-employed and still working, so at least we have one income. And we have savings, etc.

But I really hope it doesn’t come to that. Some of our doctors have canceled clinics for next week but not all of them. Some doctors have proposed a telemedicine sort of compromise and we might end up doing that for my team, but at this point, we’re just taking it day by day. All elective surgeries have been canceled, probably for the next month, but our doctors need something to do, I guess.

In the meantime, one of the ways I cope with stressful situations like this is to gather information – facts. I don’t give a shit about a pundit’s opinion or prediction, give me the facts then shut up.

I stumbled across this Ted Talk on YouTube and thought I would share it. It’s worth a watch:

I found myself rolling my eyes at the part where she talks about climate change because I’m coming to this conversation with a pre-conceived notion, thoughts and opinions about climate change – i.e. I don’t believe it’s man made but I can’t dispute that our climate is changing – it’s circular in nature so of course it changes – where do you think we get our average temperatures from? However, I’m forcing myself to be fair and to listen, really listen, to what she’s saying because I think it’s important that we ALL start to retrain our brains to listen and stop jumping to conclusions, because when we do that, we stop listening.

It was interesting what she said about the structure of the Coronavirus and how it originates from animals and that we will continue to see outbreaks in the years ahead simply because we will continue to meet and encounter animals in various ways through societal ways. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this, I guess I was hoping that once the Coronavirus expends itself we would never see something like this again but I guess I’m being too optimistic. I do hope, though, that it’s several years before it happens again.

And it WILL happen again, on some level. I just pray we learn something from this experience and take proactive steps in the future so that we are better prepared and emotionally equipped to handle the stress of it all.

I also really liked what she said about better and honest communication so that we can talk about these sorts of things WHEN they happen to avoid misinformation, panic and agendas that do nothing but destroy and further alienate people from one another. I wish people would critically think before they react – the news media IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. They could give a rats ass about you, or about society: they are all about getting clicks, selling ads and generating enough buzz that you will choose them instead of their competitor the next time you need “news.” Fear is a powerful, POWERFUL emotion and it doesn’t take much to ignite that match. Fear muddies the water toward a rational, workable solution and I don’t know about you, but the faster we can educate ourselves and make wise choices, the faster we can move on to happier times.

Be CONSCIOUS of your surroundings. Be CONSCIOUS of things you touch throughout the day. Avoid opening doors with your hands, carry a tissue, or a rag, or something to use instead. Don’t push elevator buttons with your finger, use your elbow, or the back of your hand. Don’t touch  your face. Wash your hands after leaving someplace public.  Sneeze and cough into your elbow -NOT YOUR HANDS!!!!!! These precautions should be part of your every day life, not just when there’s an outbreak.

I’ll stop talking now, I just wanted to document what is going on right now and to hopefully give you, dear reader, some hope moving forward. Be alert, not anxious.

If you take nothing away from this post, then take this: The precautions in place now should ALWAYS be implemented. Every day. No matter the season. Watch this video of how germs spread if you don’t believe me.

Stay healthy, friends.

Work Stuff

An Update on the Coronavirus

Here is Dr. Mike again with an update on the Coronavirus:

Again, take what you hear with a grain of salt. It behooves the government to keep people in fear. I would even take what the CDC and the WHO organization say with a grain of salt

Again, WASH YOUR HANDS. Cover your mouth when you sneeze/cough with your arm, not your hands. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE throughout the day. Avoid touching high traffic areas: door handles, elevator buttons, handrails, counter tops – do not touch them with your fingers. Use your elbows, or use the paper towels you use after you wash your hands in public restrooms.

These are precautions that should be followed year round, but especially now.

We get routine updates from our Infectious Disease doctors at work. So far, there has only been education and awareness, we haven’t gone into lock-down mode and the world is not ending. We have prevalent diseases that occur every year, some years are more aggressive (and get more coverage because it’s an election year and they’re trying to make the economy tank so our current administration looks bad and less people vote for him – this is my own personal theory, of course). All you can do is be pro-active in keeping yourself healthy.

TBR

March To Be Read Stack

Hello readers!

I thought it might be interesting to you to see what I have on my bookshelf to read every month. I periodically post book reviews, (when I’m feeling energetic, not always) and if I do, then you will have an opportunity to read the book so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

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. 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.

Here is my March 2020 TBR stack:

  1. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  2. When I was You by Minka Kent
  3. The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart
  4. The Names of the Dead by Kevin Wignall
  5. The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy

Happy Reading!