Friday, December 4, 2015

Workplace Entertainment

Let me start by saying that I work with a bunch of children. Sometimes their antics make me crazy, and sometimes they amuse me. Today was the latter.

First, a little background.

Here at work, we often have "Lemon Cake Wednesdays." It's a nice thing that our shift supervisor does sometimes, and at the end of our shift, we leave the rest of the cake for mid-check to enjoy.

Well, one of the guys on nights thinks it's funny to cut off the top of the remaining cake and eat just that... because that's where the frosting is.

(Yes, I thought it was pretty messed up at first, but once you've hung out for a while, you realize it's just an ongoing game between shifts.)

Today, they got our shift back.

Last night, the "frosting thief" left part of a pacan pie in the fridge.

Today, we came in and our shift supervisor reached in to eat it... but the other shift had eaten the rest of the pie... and left only the crust... and put it back in the fridge!

The look on his face was priceless!!

It really is a war around here. You have to be careful not to get caught in the crosshairs!!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sometimes Ya Need To Roar...

Earn Some Money!

I've been using this app called The Panel App. It's super easy to earn gift cards & cash by walking around with your phone! Check it out:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Being Followed

On Sunday night, Jon, Carley and I were coming back from a camping trip in Ocala. It was dark out, and we were headed north on Hwy 301. Hwy 301 is a 4 lane highway, with 2 lanes going in each direction, with a grass median in between.

As were were headed out of Ocala, Jon was driving in the left lane and turned on his signal to move to the right lane, since he didn't need to be there. He glanced over his shoulder and barely noticed a black car with dark tinted windows riding next to us in that lane. They didn't have any headlights on, just their yellow running lights.

Jon let him pass us, and we got behind him at a light, so he flashed his lights one time at the driver, just to let him know that his lights weren't on. How he couldn't tell was beyond us, because it was pitch dark, and there were no street lights where we were.

When we took off from the light, he was moving a little slower, so Jon moved back into the left lane to pass him, and started driving. We got to the next light, the car still didn't have his lights turned on, and instead of staying in the right lane, the driver slowed down and got behind us in the left lane... even though we were the only 2 cars around.

We thought that was odd, but Jon just figured that maybe he knew his lights were out. They could be broken, so he was behind us so that in case a cop came, he was less likely to get caught. But the farther we went, the more it became clear that the black car was tailgating us.

Still, Jon figured that since he had no lights, then maybe he was just using us to guide him along.

Eventually, however, it became clear that he was intentionally following our car. We slowed down to 40mph, and the car refused to go around us. We sped up to 75mph, and he stayed on our bumper the whole time.

We caught up to some other cars, and Jon changed lanes. The black car cut off another car just to stay with us! At this time, Jon suggested I call *FHP on my cell phone and get ahold of the cops.

I was talking to a woman at dispatch, and since we weren't near any towns or anything, it was hard to give her an exact location of where we were. She kept putting me on hold. She wasn't able to locate any town cops near us, and there weren't any county cops nearby, either.

At one point, she suggested "just pull over and let him go by you."
Me: "We're not pulling over! We're in the middle of nowhere and my kid is in the car! I don't think you're hearing me. He's following us!"

About this time, we managed to catch up to another car and a truck, and Jon was able to cut off the car in the left lane just as it was passing the truck. The black car had to get behind the other car, which got him off our bumper. We immediately broke free, and sped up to about 100mph, thinking that either we could get away, or a cop would catch us and pull us over. (Since I was on the phone with Highway Patrol the whole time, we weren't too worried about getting in trouble.)

Anyways, as we were flying down the road, I'm still talking to the dispatcher, trying to make her understand that this person is FOLLOWING US. I don't think she was believing me...

I looked into the darkness out the rear window. I could see the two sets of headlights of the car and truck that we just passed, and I'm watching the ominous set of dim yellow lights weaving around them, trying to catch up to us!

Finally, we came over a hill, and the black car lost sight of us for a moment. Jon pulled into a turn lane on the left so he could either hook a U-turn, keep going forward, or to stay stopped when the car came back into view. As luck had it, either the car didn't realize it was us that had stopped, or he didn't have time to stop himself... He flew right on by!

I let the dispatcher know, and we kind of killed a little time driving through a gas station and so on, but it seemed like we had lost the car.

A little while later, a town cop called to check on us. I told him what happened and that we were fine. I appreciated them calling to check!

Then, just before turning off of Hwy 301, we stopped at a gas station for snacks, and as I got back in the car, my phone rang again. It was a county cop, also checking on us. As I was explaining to him what happened, Jon was driving down the road and we passed a black car that looked exactly like the one that followed us, sitting in the grass on the side of the road. Windows down. Not running. Nobody in it....

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting My Thoughts Out of My Head

I once heard my uncle say, "The people that study psychology are the people that need it the most."

That may be quite true.

During my college years, I changed my major several times, but the one constant was my minor of psychology. I have always felt this overbearing need to figure things out, including myself.

Because of this need, even as a child, I was compelled to talk with people about things that I felt were noteworthy. During the 80's, however, children were not taken seriously. After all, what life experiences have we had? So as I got older, I made efforts to learn bigger words and start using them in sentences. It made little difference.

My overbearing need to discuss the things in my head, and be heard, was not fulfilled.

Over time, the big lesson that I learned was that not all people think like I do. I can take a subject and dissect it until I know every aspect. Every single angle. Then, I want to talk to someone about the subject before starting from the beginning and reanalyzing the whole thing with the new information.

I thought everyone thought like this.
Turns out, they do not.

People think I'm "worrying" a situation. The funny thing is, however, that I sleep like a baby most nights. I've never suffered from insomnia. I can put my thoughts in a box, go to sleep, and open it back up in the morning. I'm not worried or stressed. I just have this obsessive need to figure out how something works.

The "Why" of it.

"It" could be something as obvious as a puzzle or algebraic equation, or as complicated as how to try to let someone back into my life after they have hurt me. And not everything creates deep thoughts, either. Some things do, some do not.

A part of my need to understand things includes talking about the subject with someone whose opinion I trust. Often times, my thinking out loud with someone as my sounding board tends to just make it harder for me.

I'm not looking for an answer when I talk to someone. That's the easy part! I need to take the subject apart and look at all of the parts and pieces. I have to know what each and every little part does. What each means to the whole.

Often times, when the person I'm talking with gets frustrated because I'm still pondering everything instead of listening to their answers. They give up and just tell me how much harder I'm making it on myself by over analyzing the situation.

But I can't stop!
I HAVE to figure it out in my head until I come up with some sort of conclusion. I must find a way to make peace with whatever it is in my head. Once I've done that, I'm finished with it!

I used to spend a lot of time apologizing to my friends or loved ones when I have basically reached what I call my Critical Mass Stage, but all I ever wanted was someone to understand.

These people have hurt me by yelling at me for not taking their resolution to the problem.
They get frustrated at me for putting too much thought into something that they deem unworthy.
They are actually mad at me because my mind thinks differently than theirs.

I try to explain.
Very few people have ever understood.
So I apologize to the ones that don't, and learn to talk more to the people that do.

I would like to think that all of my psychology classes have helped with that... or maybe it's just given me more to think about...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Write a book, they said....

Over the years, like anyone, I have underwent so many changes in life. My struggles aren't any worse or more important than the next person. Mine are just different.

Because of that, I've been told by several people that I should write a book about my experiences. Other people, they say, may be interested in what I have been through; and how I, personally, delt with life's challenges. I pushed the idea around in my head for a very long time. Other than this blog, what do I know about writing? And not a lot of people even read this!

Self doubt can be a crippling disease.

So is it worth all the work involved, only to risk failure?

I finally decided that maybe it would be. If my story can help one child deal with the fears of adoption.... one woman better face a cancer diagnosis... one stepmom find her path easier... then maybe yes. It would be worth it.

So, I began to brainstorm and put a tell able order to my life. I want to remember all of the really great stories to keep it funny, because the not so funny parts could get really hard to read for anyone experiencing what I went through.

Here is what I've come up with so far:

The first really important thing that I've learned in life is that things always get better. Of course, my luck being what it is, it always gets worse before it gets better.... but there is light down there somewhere. I promise.

The second thing I know actually came from the words of a song. "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers." I could probably write an entire book on how things didn't go according to my plan... but then ended up so much better than I had ever dared to hope.

And I think the third really important thing that I want to share has to do with courage. So many people have told me how "brave" I am.
How they admire my "courage."

Shhhh! I have an ugly little secret. I'm a coward. I fight for so many things in my life, not because I'm brave. Not because I have balls of steel. I fight because I'm afraid! The alternative of my situations have scared the crap out of me!!

You've heard of the "Fight or Flight Response?" I have a really strong fight reflex, apparently.

I've spent countless hours in my life, praying to God to help take this or that tradegedy away, so I can just crawl back to my comfort zone. Instead, per my 2nd lesson (above), God has his own plans.

I wasn't brave! I just didn't get a choice in the matter.

So. I am going to attempt to write a book. I know nothing of writing. But I do know my life. All I can do is pray that God helps me find the right words to help someone... anyone... to find their way out of their comfort zone and find the "courage" needed for their own situation.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unicorns and Rainbows

Sometimes, no matter how hard you want to change your way of thinking, you fall into a deep hole and only see negative in a situation.

And sometimes, even though you can see the other side with your logical part of your brain, you can't help the way you think and feel about a situation.

I'm not saying I'm depressed, or have a bad outlook on life, or anything like that. What I'm saying is, that sometimes certain situations create a jaded or cynical opinion. When the situation comes along, I have a hard time seeing the silver lining. For instance, I posted something on facebook that I was feeling today. It was just my opinion, and it in no way affected anyone else. In fact, I had even stated that I was trying to find joy in the situation, but was finding myself unable to.

After posting it, I realized that facebook really is no place for actual, deep thoughts. If it isn't Unicorns and Rainbows, then don't bother saying anything about it. People just tell you to change your way of thinking.

So, I deleted it.

But where does one go to have their thoughts actually heard? Thoughts are like emotions, they aren't really something you can control. If something pops into my head, it's there. I can't get rid of it now!

Unfortunately, because my feelings on the particular topic didn't mesh with the popular opinion, even my own boyfriend was saying I needed to focus on the good.

Where is a girl to go? Apparently, she goes to her blog, because there are so few people that actually read it that it serves more as a journal than an actual blog. I don't get any conversation about my thoughts, but at least it's a step. I can get them off my chest, and that's what really counts.

BTW, if you're wondering what the original fb post was about... I got so frustrated about not being "allowed" to share my non-mainstream thoughts, that the first problem now seems minor... so nevermind that...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Steelers & Michael Vick

First thing this morning, my boyfriend posted a link on my facebook page, stating that my beloved Steelers had signed Michael Vick as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger.

I love my Pittsburgh Steelers.
I am also an animal lover.
I like dogs better than most people.
If my pup doesn't like you, you can believe that I'll trust his opinion.

So, my first reaction?
"Please tell me this is a joke."
It wasn't.

So, I actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about this today. I considered boycotting my favorite team... the very idea kills me.
I considered just leaving the room when he plays, but what good would that do?

I know in my heart that somehow, I need to come to terms with this... or find a new team. Well Option Two was out of the question, so I started reading more on what Vick has been up to besides the NFL since the whole dog fighting/jail time incident.

Here is one of the articles I started with...
The signing of Michael Vick shows divide of Steelers Nation

In this article, it talks what he has done to try to redeem himself, including working to pass the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act in Congress, thus winning him the Ed Block Courage Award, voted to him by his Eagles team mates.

Well good for you. Your friends think you're great.

More info on that:
Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act

Well here's the thing. I do think his efforts should be commended. Good for him for trying to do what's right. But I'm a skeptic. Is it all for show? Or is it actually coming from someplace deeper?
Has he had a true change of heart?

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
Once a pedophile, always a pedophile.
Once a gambler, always a gambler.
Once an animal abuser, always an animal abuser.

He may not act on his "old ways" any more, but that doesn't mean I have to like him. Anyone to have the cruelty in their heart to do what he did is not someone I can be a fan of.

So, all I can do now (since the Steelers didn't ask for my personal opinion before signing) is to hope that nothing happens to Ben... pray they find someone besides Vick before Ben retires, and hope that Vick continues to stick to his path of proving to the world that he's not an all around bad guy.

We shall see. Maybe I'll have a change of heart, too.

Until then, GO STEELERS! And GO BEN!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Panic at the VA

Alright, now that it's all over, I can share what happened to me today. As you all know, I'm at the VA. It was for my annual boob-squeeze.... But let me back up a little...

I barely slept last night because I was worried about over sleeping and missing my appointment, because it took me months to get it.
I got up at 7am, drove in a sleepy haze, the hour-plus through Jacksonville traffic (had a VERY close call with another car), and arrived here by 8:30.
Because I have been so sick lately, I decided that while at the VA, I would attempt to get an appointment with sick call, before my mammogram. When I spoke with them, they said that my regular doctor had to refer me to them. So I called my regular doctor's office and asked if they could just give me a prescription over the phone for antibiotics for this sinus infection.
The nurse called me back and said she put me in to go to sick call. I have to be seen in person, in order to get antibiotics. So, I walked back over to that desk, they saw nothing from my nurse in the computer, but still made every attempt to squeeze me in at 11am, so I would be done in time to get to work.
I thanked them, and walked over to radiology for my mammogram.
The radiologist actually took me in to my appointment a whole hour early (gasp!!!). That is unheard of at the VA!!
I got my mammogram done...
Then was left awaiting the results for 20 minutes....
Instead, they said, "We need more pictures of the left side...."
We did that. That made me a little hesitant, but it seemed ok.
More waiting.
Then the lady that did the mammogram tells me that they're sending me to have an ultrasound done to "get a better look."
It takes about 45 seconds for my mind to fully process what that meant, and then I enter freak out zone!
Why do we need a better look??
They just walk away and leave me sitting there.

From past experiences, any time they use vague, neutral phrases, and really calm voices (like I am a child), it's never good news. It's their way of trying to prepare you, without actually telling you anything. They mean well, but I have a hell of an imagination, so it doesn't help me at all!
So, I text Jon. He wants to drive the hour to get to me. I have to talk him out of it.
I text Jess. She's asleep. Probably for the best. I don't want to scare her without further info.
I text Tammy. She was there the first time I dealt with this, so she panics too. She fully understands the ramifications if there is bad news!
I text Dano.
I cry and am shaking.
I'm reliving biopsies, surgeries, chemo, radiation.... It's the complete ruin of my life as I know it.... AGAIN, all in my head.
I'm not doing well. At all.
Dano distracts me, thank goodness! I needed to calm down...
Someone finally comes back out. Radiation is running behind. It will be a few more minutes.
About an eternity later, they finally come and get me.
I walk down the longest cooridor ever, or so it seemed.
They look at my breast with the ultrasound machine, and look some more. They probably used a half a bottle of the gel on me. The whole time, they talk over me head like I can't hear them. That's ok, because I'm contorted around, staring wide-eyed at the screen. My heart is pounding so loud that I can't hear them anyways. I'm busy trying to fight away the panic. I watch the screen until my eyes fill with tears from fear. I know exactly what they're looking for. It will look like a spot. A hollow spot on the screen...
I'm a pro at this.

But there's nothing.
How could they do this to me??

Relief quickly turns into annoyance.
Why do this? Why torture me in this way??
The doctor did apologize, and explained that the breast had become more dense since their last look, and she just wanted to be thorough. Maybe that should be mentioned sooner next time?? Perhaps BEFORE they just leave me sitting there, wondering, for a half an hour! Ugh.
In any case, because of that fiasco, I missed my sick call appointment, and they "promptly" rescheduled it for 1:30 this afternoon.
Fortunately, I didn't decide to go get some lunch, and I was still sitting there when they were able to squeeze me in anyways.
So, I just now finished talking with the nurse. My white blood cells are elevated from fighting an infection. My chest is clear, so my cough is coming from my sinuses draining. Antibiotics and some motrin... and I should be good as new. Maybe I will still make it to work on time, but after that emotional roller coaster, I really want to just go home and go to bed...