Breaking Stereotypes


Last night I was fooling around on YouTube as I often do, & in the process I discovered what to me is a new band: Motionless in White.  If you’re not familiar with them, they are a metal band based out of Scranton, PA & are fronted by a guy named Chris “Motionless” Cerulli who draws inevitable comparisons to Marilyn Manson.  As I always do when discovering a new band, I starting Googling the band & its lead singer, looking for interviews & such to familiarize myself with the band & to better connect with their music.  I soon discovered that despite the rather gothic appearance of the band, the lead singer is actually “straight edge” & is well-renowned for the fact that he has never smoked, drank, or used drugs & has no interest in such things.  In case you’re thinking this must be one of those Christian or pseudo-Christian metal bands, let me assure you Motionless in White is anything but that.  (On the other hand they are not Satanists either despite what some might naturally assume based on their appearance & the sound of their music).

I bought this album today, & it is EPIC.

I bought this album today, & it is EPIC.

chris motionless

From what I’ve read, Chris Motionless isn’t gay, bisexual, or transgender, despite having long hair & wearing a lot of make-up. How’s that for breaking stereotypes?

What struck me the most about this band is not only their unique sound but the lead singer’s ability to break stereotypes.  This led me to ponder my never-ending fascination with people who break stereotypes, whatever they may be.  As the Nigerian novelist, poet, & professor Chinua Achebe said, “The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity – that it’s this or maybe that – you have just one large statement; it is this.”  Indeed the world is very complicated & it’s not so shocking that society has created stereotypes to try to make sense of such a complex world.  And yet, the result of such stereotyping is that we often miss out on the joy that can be found in embracing the complexity of this world & the people around us.

chinua achebe quote

As some of you may know from reading previous blog posts, I grew up in a very small town in Virginia.  One of the saddest things about small towns is that stereotypes are so ingrained into the fabric of society that one can quite easily feel stifled in such places.  Over the past eight years since I graduated from high school I’ve often pondered the irony of how I graduated with some 140 odd students, the vast majority of us having been together in school since kindergarten or at least 3rd or 4th grade.  The result of this is that we all assumed we knew each other & often assigned each other to stereotypical roles & groups without much of a second thought.  The reality is that most of us knew next to nothing about each other, only what we THOUGHT we knew because we’d “known each other forever.”  I suppose this phenomenon occurs everywhere to a certain extent, but I daresay it’s worse in small towns where stereotypes can often be magnified due to the naturally insular nature of such places.stereotypes

In any case when I went to college I was immediately gratified by how so many people I met broke a lot of the traditional stereotypes I grew up around.  One of my best friends in college was a girl who had been an athlete in high school, yet she loved classical music, opera, & classic literature.  What also gratified me was finding that everyone I met didn’t naturally assume I was a boring nerd who couldn’t possibly be interesting, funny, or attractive.  Instead of being regarded as weird or dull because I’m naturally intelligent, people often seemed to find this intriguing. How gratifying!

As I’ve matured as an adult I continually find myself attracted to those who break stereotypes in one way or another.  Whether it’s a football player like Arian Foster who writes poetry & studies philosophy or a rock star like Chris Motionless who eschews drinking & drugs or some of my elderly patients who have iPads & are very adept with technology, I’m naturally drawn to those who somehow “break the rules” of what they’re “supposed” to be like because of their age, race, gender, or profession.

Many people probably wouldn't guess that Arian Foster writes poetry & studies philosophy . . . but he does.

Many people probably wouldn’t guess that Arian Foster writes poetry & studies philosophy . . . but he does.

At the end of the day, I consider myself fairly average.  When I say that I just mean that I’m not someone you’d look at twice in the grocery store, & yet I like to think I break a few stereotypes myself.  Today I thought it would be empowering to list a few of those & in doing so encourage my readers to think about the stereotypes they break in their own lives.  So here are a few ways in which I break the “rules of society.”

  • I love rock & roll & metal but I have no tattoos & no piercings, aside from standard earrings. I am not opposed to such things, but I just have no personal interest in them for myself.  When I go to rock shows, I’m often one of the only people without tattoos or piercings & who isn’t dressed in all or mostly black.  For some reason or other, I am often immediately assumed to be a “nice girl” & thus people are often shocked to find I like such heavy or “dark” music.  I resent the implication that people who value compassion & kindness can’t enjoy rock music, so I always enjoy the look on people’s faces when they find out some of my favorite bands are FFDP, Godsmack, & Halestorm.
  • On the other hand, when I go to country concerts, I’m always one of the only people not wearing cowboy (or should I say cowgirl?) boots. I’ve never owned a pair & don’t care to.  There’s nothing wrong with them; they’re just not my style.cowboy boots
  • Despite the fact that I grew up in a very rural area, I have only been fishing once & have no real interest in going again. I’ve also never been hunting or “mudding” & don’t particularly care to try either one.
  • Despite living in the South my entire life, I do not like sweet tea or gravy.
  • I’m an introvert who strongly prefers the city to the country.  When you really think about this, it’s actually quite logical because the anonymity of the city is far more suitable to an introvert like me who detests the idea of constantly having to make small talk.  In a small town everywhere you go, you see someone you know & thus feel compelled by some social construct to converse with them.introverts cats
  • I’m strongly considering becoming a mom in the next year or two (or three), but I love heavy metal & have no plans to stop listening to this music just because I have kids.
  • Sex, drugs, & rock & roll is a phrase that exists for a reason. But as much as I love this kind of music, I’m married to my first & only boyfriend, have never experimented with drugs or smoking, & drink alcohol only in moderation.  (Additionally there is a hell of a lot more to rock & roll than just sex & drugs, & if you don’t think so, you’re missing out on a lot in life.)
  • As much as I hate wars & violence, I am a strong supporter of gun ownership.  There are a whole host of logical reasons for this, but this isn’t the time or place to go into all that right now.gun-rights
  • I was a straight-A student in both high school & college, but I never once stayed up all night (or even half the night) studying for a test or final exam.
  • I’m a female who loves science & math, yet I also love literature, music, & history.
  • I’m a humanist & thus I don’t believe in moral absolutes, but despite what some people might think, I DO have moral & ethical standards for how I live my life, & I will teach them to my children someday.
  • I identify myself as a feminist because there are still plenty of places in the world where women do not have even basic human rights, but I do NOT hate men & I don’t think men automatically have an easier time in life.
  • I have no idea what happens after death (to be truly honest, NONE of us does because we haven’t been there), yet I volunteer with hospice & seem to have a special talent for caring for patients & their families at the end of life. Where most see only grief & suffering, I see a chance to make someone’s final days as painless as possible, to give that person a peaceful exit from this world, & to assist the family throughout this entire process.hospice

At the end of the day, I think we all break at least a few stereotypes in our lives, even if we’ve never given it a lot of thought.  Because stereotypes can be so damaging, I think we all could benefit from taking a few moments to think about what kind of stereotypes we break in our own lives as well as to examine the prejudices we might hold towards others due to common stereotypes in our society.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with a few quotes about stereotypes that I find very empowering & perhaps you will too.

Reducing a group to a slur or stereotype reduces us all.”   ~ DaShanne Stokes (author & human rights activist)

If you’re struggling to fit me into a box . . . Then build a bigger box!”   ~ Serina Hartwell (novelist)

P.S. If you want to check out Motionless in White, I’d strongly suggest starting with Reincarnate off of their latest album of the same name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQC3bx_AXs

46 Things I Want to Teach My Children Someday


As some of you may know, for many years I was quite sure I never wanted to have children.  Deep down I knew I’d probably change my mind someday but I just couldn’t imagine that ever happening.  I’ve just never been one of those women who instantly connects with children or feels really comfortable with them.  Perhaps this is because I wasn’t the happiest child myself; indeed I was always in a hurry to grow up & I’ve never been happier than I have been since I reached adulthood.

As it so happens, I’ve been thinking A LOT about becoming a mom lately.  It’s probably partly due to having Chaucer (my dog) & watching him grow up & how wonderful that is.  And it’s probably partly because I’m 26 so I’m hitting what might be considered a normal age to start having kids.  (Hell, where I grew up I’m already far behind!)

Our Welch corgi, Chaucer

Our Welsh corgi, Chaucer

When I do decide to have kids, you can be sure I’ll have thought about all the possibilities & consequences.  I’ve read all the articles about how kids ruin your sleep, your appearance, your metabolism, your sex life, your marriage, your career, & everything else.  (May I just say my husband & I are determined to prove all those articles wrong?)  I’ve never been one of those “starry-eyed” women who see babies & only think of cuddles & love.  No indeed.  When I see babies I mostly think about the pain of labor & breastfeeding & the sleepless nights.  Does this make me cold-hearted & unfeeling?  No, I think it just makes me realistic.  And as one of my dearest friends told me today, the fact that I’ve thought about all of these things & am taking this decision so seriously is probably evidence that I will actually be a good mom.  Her saying that means the world to me because whenever I express doubt about becoming a mom or admit that I’m not particularly fond of most young children, it seems that most people give me that look that implies something must be inherently wrong with me & say “Well, if you’re not sure, you better not do it.”  Whenever I become a mom, I know I’ll be a bit different than most of the moms in my family, but I can only hope I’ll be half as good, even if I am a bit unorthodox.blankie baby

In any case, as part of my pondering about becoming a mom, my mind keeps thinking of all the things I want to teach my children someday.  I know some people will probably think I’m really pretentious for writing out this list, but the way I see it is it’s better to have a lot of plans that I might never fully accomplish than to have no plans at all. 

  1. I will teach my children the importance of asking both “Why?” & “Why not?” If the subject is something to believe or trust, the appropriate question is “Why?”  If the subject is something fun to do, the appropriate question is “Why not?”
  2. I will teach my children to play in rain puddles, piles of leaves, & grassy meadows.
  3. I will teach my children to value people of different races, ethnicities, & cultures. I will teach them that no one is superior or inferior than anyone else but especially not because of something so superficial as race, gender, or nationality.diverse kids
  4. I will teach my children that love is love & it doesn’t matter who it’s between as long as they are two consenting adults who are not hurting each other.
  5. I will teach my kids the value of good nutrition & eating well.
  6. I will teach my kids to enjoy exercise, even if it’s just running around the yard chasing the dog.
  7. On that subject, I will teach my kids that dogs really are man’s (& woman’s) best friend.
  8. I will teach my kids to love rock & roll. I will take them to rock concerts when they are old enough (probably 10-12 or older).  I will be that crazy mom who is screaming to the music with my kids & I will not be ashamed or apologize for it.  In the car we will rock out to Halestorm, Godsmack, & Black Stone Cherry (among others).freak like me
  9. I will teach my children not to judge others based on appearance. I will teach them that some of the best people in the world are covered with tattoos & piercings while some of the most deceitful people in the world are dressed in suits & ties.
  10. I will teach my children that life isn’t all fun & games but it isn’t all misery & suffering either. It’s a little bit of everything & we have to learn to appreciate all of it.
  11. I will teach my children that life’s not fair & they better get used to that real fast.
  12. I will teach my kids that they alone are responsible for the choices they make; thus they better be ready to face the consequences of their actions, no matter what they are.choices
  13. I will teach my children that sex is wonderful & amazing . . . & because of that they better be careful who they do it with & when. But I will never make them feel that sex in & of itself is something dirty or something to be ashamed of.
  14. I will teach my children about birth control & how it works & why they had better use it until the day they (& their partner) are absolutely certain they are ready to be parents.
  15. I will teach my children that education is the key to success in life . . . but they better have a plan to go along with it because degrees alone are worthless these days.
  16. I will teach my kids that there is no job that is beneath them & working hard at everything they do is essential to success in life.
  17. I will teach my kids to show respect to everyone they meet, whether it’s their doctor, their teacher, or the janitor.
  18. I will teach my children that “everything in moderation” is a really great motto in life, the only exceptions being things like heroin & cocaine. Just have some common sense!moderation
  19. I will teach my kids that things in & of themselves are never evil; it’s how we use them that makes them good or bad. For example, the internet isn’t evil just because some creeps use it to prey on children or watch porn.  Books aren’t evil just because some of them say things you don’t like.  Music isn’t evil just because some of it contains lyrics that are rude or disparaging.
  20. I will teach my kids the importance of valuing every single day they’re alive because life is never guaranteed.
  21. I will teach my kids that they don’t have to be just like me for me to love them or be proud of them. There is more than one road to success in life & theirs might look very different than mine.  And that’s ok.Dalai lama quote
  22. I will teach my kids that in order to be successful in life they need to get off their ass & get moving. Success doesn’t come to those who wait for it.  It comes to those who set goals & work hard to meet them.
  23. I will teach my children that the exact words people say are far less important than the feelings behind them.
  24. On a similar token, I will teach my children that actions speak far louder than words.
  25. I will teach my children to always be honest about their intentions with others.
  26. I will teach my kids the value of empathy & how important it is to just listen to others when they are suffering.
  27. I will teach my children that the world doesn’t owe them anything. They will not be entitled brats if it kills me.
  28. I will teach my kids that the purpose of life is to live it, to soak up every experience life has to offer, & to revel in the love we have for each other.purpose of life
  29. If I have daughters, I will make sure my husband teaches them how to check the oil in their car & how to change a tire because these are all things I’ve never learned & I want my daughters to be more independent than I am.
  30. If I have sons, I will teach them how to do laundry & basic cooking because I love that I never had to teach my husband any of these things.
  31. I will teach my children that society has various expectations of them based on gender but they need to choose their own path, regardless of what society says.
  32. I will teach my kids to value the simple beauties of nature: the way the sky looks just before it rains, the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the spring time, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the feeling of snowflakes tickling your nose, & the way a little frost makes the whole world look magical.

    P1080662

    Taken along the Highline Trail at Glacier Ntnl Park, Sept 2014

  33. I will teach my children to love curry & all foods Indian & Mediterranean. If not, they might starve at our house . . .
  34. I will teach my kids that having an argument with someone doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It just means you disagreed about something & the worst thing you can do in such situations is to bottle up your emotions & hold them in until you explode.
  35. I will teach my kids to question everything & never believe something just because such & such person said it. I will teach them to judge everything based on its own merits.
  36. I will share with my kids the joy of reading & searching out used book stores in all corners of the city.
  37. I will take my children to visit their elders & teach them to appreciate all the things the elderly can teach us about life.
  38. I will teach my children that being weird is awesome & following the crowd is for losers.weird awesome
  39. I will teach my children that no one can make them feel inferior without their consent.
  40. I will teach my kids the difference between serving others & being a doormat. It’s a fine line but it’s one you have to find.
  41. I will teach my kids that in order to take care of others, they must first learn to take care of themselves. As hard as it will be to do so, I will role model this for them as best I can.
  42. I will teach my children that, like things, emotions are never evil. It’s what we do with them that matters.  I do not want them to grow up feeling guilty for experiencing anger, sadness, lust, or any other “sinful” emotion.  I just want to teach them heathy ways to express these feelings.
  43. I will teach my kids that nothing in life is perfect all the time. Life isn’t a fairytale but it’s still pretty damn good if we make smart choices & chase our passions.fairytale tequila
  44. I will teach my children that even though being a mom is immeasurably important I am still other things too: a wife, a sister, a daughter, a nurse, etc. Even though I know all children have a hard time thinking of their mothers as anything else, I hope they’ll learn to appreciate me as more than just “a mom” if that makes any sense.
  45. I will teach my children that we are all hypocrites sometimes & no matter how hard we try, we all fail to live up to our own ideals at times. We just have to keep striving to do the best we can & stay humble when we make mistakes.
  46. And, perhaps greatest of all, I will kiss & hug my children every day & teach them to never doubt how much I love them.

What do you think, readers?  Are these worthy goals or am I just tilting at windmills?

5 Reasons Why Getting Married Young Rocks


The longer I live, the more I’ve come to realize that most people just don’t think logically & that is why I constantly feel like most people make life way more complicated than it needs to be.  There is nothing about which this is truer than marriage (or relationships in general).  Moreover, our society seems to have swung a bit too far on the pendulum & now often views young marriages as destined to fail.  While I strongly believe in not rushing into marriage, I for one know that I haven’t missed out on a single thing worth having due to getting married at “just” 22.  Often I hear people say “But your 20s are supposed to be for fun!”  And I’ve only read a million articles on the same subject.  The implied “truth” here is that marriage & fun are mutually exclusive.  I for one take real issue with such comments.  My blog isn’t mean to be a research paper so I won’t bother to list my references here, but many research studies have shown that married people have more sex & are happier than their single counterparts, regardless of age (you can use Google too if you want to find these studies).

irritating love cartoon

So today I just want to put together a list of reasons why getting married (relatively) young was perhaps the greatest choice of my life.  (For the purposes of this post, when I refer to marriage I really mean any long-term serious relationship because at the end of the day that’s all marriage really is.)

  1. Because we got married young, my husband & I have quite literally grown up together. Yes, we are the proverbial “high school sweethearts.”  And despite what some may think, we haven’t just stayed together because we didn’t know what anything else was like or that something else (read: someone else) could potentially be better.  We’ve stayed together because we consciously realize that we both got INCREDIBLY lucky in “striking gold” the first time around.   Because of how long we’ve been together, we have a comfort level with each other that is probably a bit ridiculous, but we tell each other all the time how grateful we are that we have a partner with whom we can be so incredibly honest, even when it means telling the other person something they might not want to hear.  true love chickens
  2. Getting married does NOT mean an end to fun. Anyone who says that is clearly married to the wrong person.  In college before we were married but were seriously dating & might as well have been married, we went to parties together, hosted parties together, & went on all kinds of crazy hikes in the wilderness every chance we got.  Getting married has just meant that my husband & I have continued to experience the fun of life together.  We still get to travel & explore the world the way that 20-somethings “ought” to do.  This past Fall we had the time of our lives exploring Yellowstone, Glacier, & Grand Teton National Parks together.  Then we went to Boston for a friend’s wedding & explored that fascinating city together.  In September 2012 we attended Uproar Festival together, & this coming May we are going to another rock festival in Charlotte.  These are just a few examples of the fun we’ve had together over the years.

    My husband & I at Glacier Ntnl Park this past Fall

    My husband & I at Glacier Ntnl Park this past Fall

  3. Married sex is the best sex. Anyone who says differently is obviously married to the wrong person.  End of story.  Think about it scientifically: having sex causes both genders to produce oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone.”  This is the hormone that makes you feel connected (both literally & metaphorically) with your lover.  Who better to share that with than your best friend?  Who better to be adventurous with than the one person you know won’t make fun of you or laugh at your interests?  (Aside from the obvious concerns about pregnancy & STIs, oxytocin & the feelings it produces are exactly why we ought to be so careful about who we choose to sleep with.  It’s clearly not a good idea to end up having feelings of desire & attachment for someone JUST because you’ve slept together.  This is why friends with benefits is pretty much always a recipe for disaster.)  Just to be clear, I think all of this can & does apply to people in long-term committed relationships who for one reason or another aren’t married yet or perhaps never even plan to actually get married but more or less live a “married” lifestyle.  There is really nothing all that special about getting married legally.  It’s the love, friendship, trust, & commitment that is in your hearts that matters most.  And that is exactly what makes married sex the best. he's the one
  4. Getting married young means we have not had to rush into having kids. Since we got married at 22 & 23 years of age respectively we could easily wait 8-10 years before having kids without having any serious concerns about fertility problems.  To be fair, at the time we got married I was reasonably sure I never wanted children, even though my husband was sure I’d change my mind someday.  As it turns out, he was right, & the truth is I’m thinking more & more about becoming a mom with every day that passes.  If we do decide to have kids soon, even though we may still be “young” parents, we’ll have already had over a decade together & a good 4-5 years of marriage before jumping into the parenthood adventure.  I’ve also started to realize that I have the rest of my life to work on my career, but I do NOT have the rest of my life to have kids . . . But that is another post for another day.real act of marriage
  5. Getting married young means we have missed out on the heartaches & tribulations that come with the supposedly fun single lifestyle. Maybe some people actually enjoy one-night stands, but even my husband will freely admit that it’s not something that interests him in the least.  And trust me, my husband isn’t the kind of man to say such things just to appease me.  If he were that kind of man, I wouldn’t have married him!  I do not begrudge others who enjoy the “single lifestyle” in their 20s (or whenever), but I truly believe marriage is more fulfilling & worthwhile in the end.  AND more fun.  I mean what could be more fun than getting to experience all the ups & downs of life with your best friend AND being able to have sex with them any time you like?marriage annoy

Just to be clear, I do not feel sorry for my peers who are in their 20s (or even 30s) & aren’t married.  Everyone’s path in life is (& should be) different, & far be it from me to think my own path is superior just because I chose it.  HOWEVER, please don’t feel sorry for me because I’ve chosen to spend my 20s as “an old married lady.”  If you think my life is boring, that is fine.  Maybe it is.  But I am having a ton of fun living it.

Inside the Nurse Mind: 16 Ways We Think Differently Than Everyone Else


I remember many of my professors in nursing school encouraging us to “Think like a nurse” & describing to us how differently our minds would process certain information in just a few short years thanks to our nursing experience.  At the time, I (& probably most of my fellow students) couldn’t quite picture exactly what they had in mind, but after just a year or so of nursing I knew exactly what those professors meant.  Nurses really do think differently than the average person (& differently than how we thought before we became nurses).  As many have said before me, this is truly a profession that changes you!  In light of that, as I was taking a shower the other day I thought it might be fun to create a list of some of the many ways nurses think differently than everyone else.  So here it is!today was a good day

  1. Our standard for what makes up a good day can be pretty bizarre.  See the picture above.  It’s not a joke.
  2. Nurses can collect a stool sample or clean up blood & other bodily fluids, then wash our hands & go eat lunch without a second thought.
  3. Along that same vein (there’s a nurse-y phrase!), there is no topic of conversation that nurses deem inappropriate . . . even at the dinner table.
  4. Once you’ve been a nurse for a while, you’ll find yourself constantly evaluating various scenarios for fall risks. See a puddle on the floor in a public restroom or some other situation that might pose a risk of falling, particularly for an elderly or frail person?  As a nurse you can no longer ignore these things.  And even if you’re someone like me who hates to be a complaining customer, as a nurse you’ll find yourself compelled to speak to a manager or someone who can be sure to alleviate the situation & decrease the risk of someone falling (& maybe becoming one of your patients!).fall risk
  5. On a similar topic, I know there have been multiple occasions over the past few years when I have notified a restaurant or other business that the water in their bathroom was dangerously hot & could potentially burn someone, especially someone like a diabetic with decreased nerve sensation. I know this is something I would never have thought to actually report before I became a nurse.
  6. As a nurse there are days when you’re really grateful to have a stuffy nose & thus no sense of smell.

    As a disclaimer, I do NOT condone smoking.  I just thought this was a funny cartoon.

    As a disclaimer, I do NOT condone smoking. I just thought this was a funny cartoon.

  7. When you read the weather report & see that the temperature overnight is going to be zero degrees with a wind-chill of negative 20, your first thought is “I wonder how many homeless people will be in the ER with “chest pain” tonight?” And your second thought is “I can’t blame them for coming in & I wish we could give them all beds & a warm place to sleep without taking time away from those who are truly sick.”
  8. Medical TV shows have been ruined for nurses because we can’t watch them without screaming at the TV every time we see an error (which is often . . . Asystole can’t be shocked, people!!) or every time we realize how completely untrue to real life these shows are. (Doctors don’t start IVs or give medications or perform MRIs & CT scans.  Nurses & various techs do those things!  And in real life, nurses & doctors don’t have time to have sex in the elevator or the linen closet, at least anywhere I’ve ever worked.  I could go on & on but I’ll stop for fear of boring you.)

    scrubs tv

    “Scrubs” is the only medical TV show I can watch now that I’m a nurse because it’s just plain funny & frankly more realistic than “House” or “Grey’s Anatomy.”

  9. Nurses (& other medical personnel) view the holidays differently than almost everyone else. We might be excited for holiday events, but usually we know we will have to miss them or at least plan our family’s celebrations around our own work schedule.
  10. On a similar topic, as much as I love snow, I must admit I view it a bit differently now that I’m a nurse. After all, there’s no such thing as a snow day at home when you’re in the healthcare field. no snow day
  11. This is probably slightly off-topic, but only nurses can know the frustration of not having the authority to give your patient a Tylenol or a cough drop without a doctor’s order, yet having the responsibility to know exactly when & what to notify the doctor about at any hour of the day or night, not to mention coordinating care between all the various disciplines of healthcare (RT, PT, OT, ST, lab, social work, doctors, family members, etc) who all expect us to be the expert on every patient we have.
  12. Nurses obsess over I&O (intake & output; in other words how much you drink & how much you pee) like most people obsess over sports statistics . . . Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but as a nurse I know I sometimes have to remind myself that I don’t have to measure my own I&O.  That is NOT an exaggeration!I&O
  13. Nurses know that sweet old ladies & kindly old gentlemen can be exactly that during the day time . . . But once the sun goes down, you never know what “personality” will come out! (In case you’re wondering, this is the “sun-downer’s” phenomenon associated with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia as well as the even more serious condition called delirium that often sets in during hospitalizations.)
  14. As nurses, thinking about starting our own families can be incredibly scary because all we can think about is all the things we know can go wrong during pregnancy & delivery. (Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s definitely true for me.)
  15. Really big “juicy” veins are like porn for nurses. Trust me.nurse porn veins
  16. I’m sure a lot of teachers, police officers, & various people in other professions also feel this way about their chosen field, but as nurses we know that despite the millions of things about healthcare that drive us crazy, there is nothing else we’d rather be doing.

Things I’m Abandoning in 2015


I just finished reading what I found to be a very inspirational post

(http://satinsheetdiva.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/things-i-left-in-2014/) by a fellow blogger regarding the things she wants to leave in 2014.  In other words it’s kind of an inverted way of doing new year’s resolutions.  Instead of saying these are the things I want to accomplish this year, it’s saying these are the things I’m going to stop doing or abandon this year.  For some reason, this really spoke to me so I’ve decided to make my own list of things I want to abandon in 2015.  Here goes!

t.s. eliot quote

1. Focusing on my weight as a pure number.  I’ve got to make my heart realize what my head already knows: numbers don’t matter; how I look & feel does.  If I like what I see in the mirror, my husband finds me as attractive as ever, I’m healthy, & my clothes fit, there is no logical reason why I should care what number is on the scale.  (And all of those things are true, by the way, so really I have nothing to worry about.)  I’ve been telling myself this for years but it’s never fully sunk into my psyche.  This is the year to let it sink in for good.

2. Beating myself up for not particularly liking young children.  I’m slowly starting to realize that there are other women out there who aren’t super fond of babies & toddlers either . . . & many of them have still made great moms.  My tolerance for young children has actually grown in the past few years so while I still cringe at the thought of having a baby completely dependent on me, I’m slowly starting to realize that that stage won’t last forever anyway & “mommy brain” will kick in & get me through it . . . someday.motherhood

3. Eating out entirely too much.  Ok, let’s be real: I love to eat.  I am very suspicious of anyone who doesn’t.  There has got to something majorly wrong with anyone who doesn’t enjoy eating.  Anyhow, possibly because I rarely ever ate out as a child/teen, I have somewhat of an addiction to eating out now.  It’s not something I do every day, I never go anywhere expensive, & quite often I order relatively healthy things (relatively being the key word here).  But nonetheless it’s something on which I know I waste too much money that would be better put into savings.  And it’s not exactly healthy either.  Part of me thinks it’s justified because once I have kids I won’t have the freedom or the energy to go out to eat much, but the more logical part of me knows that’s just a lazy excuse.  Last year I swore to myself I’d do better about this . . . and I probably did worse than ever.  So this year I’m forcing myself to do meal planning each week (nothing formal, just planning it out in my head & making sure I have all the necessary ingredients) & spending Sunday cooking several dishes that will last me throughout the week.  I know I’m a lot less likely to cave to the desire to go out for a meal when I already have good meals prepared at home.  So far this year I’ve made curry pork chops, a delicious curry chicken & apple soup, Tandoori cod & curry lima beans with Tikka Masala sauce, & my coconut curry chicken with mashed potatoes (yes, almost everything I make involves curry).

Curry lima beans & Tandoori cod with Tikka Masala sauce . . . I've had this twice already this week & it's delicious . . . & easy!

Curry lima beans & Tandoori cod with Tikka Masala sauce . . . I’ve had this twice already this week & it’s delicious . . . & easy!

4. Comparing myself to others.  To be perfectly honest, I know that as long as I’m alive I will be guilty of this to some extent, & I also know that I’ve gotten a lot better about this over the past few years.  But I still have a lot of room for improvement.  The fact of the matter is I will never weigh 130 lbs (at 5’6″ & with my bones/muscles that’s not even realistic anyway).  I will never have an immaculately clean or perfectly decorated house.  I will never be the perfect housewife who loves to bake & never leaves clothes in the dryer or dirty dishes in the sink.  I will never enjoy getting drunk & going to clubs & generally living the “party girl” lifestyle that is supposedly “normal” for my age.  And, short of porcelain veneers that I will probably never be able to afford, I will never have perfectly white teeth.  But none of that stuff matters because none of it is a true source of happiness or contentment for me anyway (if it is for someone else, that is perfectly fine of course).comparison

5. Worrying about what others think of me.  As above, I know that as long as I’m alive I’m going to care at least a little about what others think of me.  That’s just part of being human.  However, this year I’ve got to stop allowing other people’s opinions (or what I assume their opinions will be) to stop me from being honest about who I am or what I believe.  To that aim, let me just state a few things I believe that I sometimes keep to myself for fear or how others will react:  I support gay marriage.  I support the trans-gender movement.  I don’t think abortion is a good thing but I do think it should be legal.  I think our country spends way too much time & money on ill-advised overseas missions that are doing absolutely nothing to contribute to our country’s safety or overall well-being.  I support the legalization of marijuana.  I am a Humanist.  I am a Libertarian.libertarian quote

I sincerely hope this post doesn’t turn into a long debate over any of the above issues because that is far from the point of this post.  But I’m also tired of keeping some of my opinions to myself just to appease others.  At the end of the day, I know I need to have faith in my friends & family & trust that they won’t abandon me or treat me like an infidel just because we have different beliefs about some things.dr seuss quoteHow about you, reader?  What do you want to leave behind this year?

The Best Albums of 2014


Last year I was a little slow to post my hall of fame choices for best albums of 2013, but if any of you remember that post, you might recall that at the end of it I mentioned my two most anticipated releases for 2014.  Well, not too surprisingly both of those albums are at the top of my list for this year’s album hall of fame.  I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to click on at least a few of the links I’ve provided in this post & discover some new music to enjoy in the coming year.  eric church the outsiders

  1. The Outsiders by Eric Church (Country . . . with rock influences)

I already have an entire blog post about why Eric Church is such a musical genius which was largely inspired by this album, so I won’t spend too long describing the individual songs on this one (you can read that post here: http://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2014/02/25/why-eric-church-might-be-the-musical-genius-of-the-21st-century/).  I’ve seen Eric Church in concert twice in the past three months which makes for a total of three times in the past two years.  And I’d still go see him again tomorrow, no questions asked.  Eric Church just has such a raw, inspiring energy that his music, especially live, never gets old.  If you don’t normally like country music, I sincerely implore you to check out this album anywayThis is clearly the most rock-influenced album Church has ever produced (listen to the title track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_P-YNJIdNc or to “That’s Damn Rock & Roll” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rknp0kkVzY), yet there are several pieces with some serious blues influence that bring to mind old-fashioned swamp music from the deep South (see “Cold One”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKvE-WoooLE).  But true to form, it’s the sometimes witty, sometimes heart-wrenching lyrics that are the greatest strength of all of Church’s music.  Church has stated in an interview “One thing I miss is turning on the radio & just having a song punch me in the gut, &, as a songwriter, knock me on my ass.  And I think we could use more of that” (see: Eric Church Misses More Substance on ‘Feel-Good’ Country Radio).  I miss that too, but I’m happy to say that every track on The Outsiders is one that has punched me in the gut, in one way or another.  Also, do yourself a favor & listen to the whole album from start to finish.  Church has stated that’s the way it’s meant to be heard, & he’s 100% right when he says that each song becomes more powerful when listened to in order.BSC Magic Mountain

  1. Magic Mountain by Black Stone Cherry (Rock/Southern Rock)

This was my second most anticipated release of 2014, & happily it did NOT disappoint.  If you’re not familiar with BSC, they are a four-piece rock band based out of a small town in Kentucky whose music has notable Southern rock influences.  There are plenty of upbeat “partying” type songs on this album, including the notable title track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAtHWXtEV7w), but there are several more serious pieces as well.  The ballad “Sometimes” is easily one of the most well-written songs BSC have ever recorded (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrnUpoJ9sno).  The emotion in Chris’s voice in that song is just so palpable that it’s impossible not to be touched.  Additionally, check out “Remember Me” which was written the day the lead singer’s grandfather died (you can see the video & read about the inspiration for the song here: http://loudwire.com/black-stone-cherry-remember-me-exclusive-video-premiere).  For a great motivational “pick-me-up,” check out “Never Surrender” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68ELngYG3IU).  BSC is one of those bands who clearly deserves more radio play than they get, so do yourself a favor & check out this album because there isn’t a single bad song on it.blood for blood

  1. Blood for Blood by Hellyeah (Hard Rock/Metal)

I had actually never heard of Hellyeah until I started seeing their song “Sangre Por Sangre” on a hard rock blog that I follow (https://hardrockdaddy.wordpress.com/).  Intrigued by the Spanish title of the song I decided to check it out on YouTube one day.  Rarely have I ever been so immediately blown away by a song as I was by this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keZ-GsRRVlQ).  The words, the music itself, the message behind the song, all of it is just undeniably powerful.  I ended up buying the album & quickly fell in love with it.  With songs that touch on the horrors of war, child abuse, & violence in general, this album definitely isn’t for the faint of heart & probably shouldn’t be played around young children (though you ought to be able to guess that just by the band’s name), but please don’t let that stop you from enjoying one of the year’s best albums.  Be sure to check out “Moth” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIWeIChes5k), “Cross to Bier” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRBc8YqePrg), & “Hush” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQd3HYHYXA).black widow ITM

  1. Black Widow by In This Moment (Metal)

I just bought this album a few weeks or maybe a month ago, & it’s been on almost constant replay in my car ever since.  ITM’s 2013 album Blood caught my attention & made my hall of fame for last year, but Black Widow is even more impressive than Blood.  Maria Brink wasn’t kidding when she said the lyrics to this album are largely based on her own personal experiences.  “Sex Metal Barbie” is Maria’s devilishly witty response to all those who trash her & her music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–bhD1uItK8) while “The Fighter” is a piano-driven ballad about survival that is easily one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWNkqfn5oh4).  Even if you don’t traditionally like metal or ITM, I beg you to at least listen to “The Fighter;” it’s just that good.  I could go on & on about this album, but be sure to check out the title track with its infectious melody (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMEQ4aWnK2s), “Big Bad Wolf” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJBQzF1AwvU), & “Sexual Hallucination,” the haunting duet with Brent Smith, the lead singer of Shinedown (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fp4yRDEVyM).  Both lyrically & musically I have no doubt this is ITM’s best album to date, & you will be greatly remiss if you don’t give it a good listen.Godsmack-1000hp-album-cover

  1. 1000 HP by Godsmack (Hard Rock)

When 1000 HP debuted this year, it had been four years since the last Godsmack album & many of us weren’t quite sure what to expect.  While the title track describes the band’s rise to fame & is wildly fun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rL4em-Xv5o), it’s some of the other pieces that I believe truly make this album one for the record books.  The current single “Something Different” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH_SbTsOBxo) showcases a lot of the Alice in Chains influence for which Godsmack is famous.  Sully’s growling voice is perfectly in place in this brooding piece, just as it is in “Turning to Stone” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xWNxdmXqe0), which is very reminiscent of “Serenity” & some of the other more melodic/acoustic pieces from earlier albums.  Being Godsmack, of course there are plenty of upbeat/angry pieces too including one of my favorites, “Locked and Loaded” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJGUB8ws8uQ).  While staying true to their signature sound, this album truly showcases the various different sides of Godsmack & a real maturity that is nothing short of scintillating.nikki lane all or nothin

  1. All or Nothin’ by Nikki Lane (Alternative Country)

Some of you may remember reading about Nikki Lane in one of my blog posts from November (http://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2014/11/14/the-6-best-bands-youve-never-heard-about/), but if not let me introduce you to one of the most fascinating voices in alternative country today.  I discovered Nikki Lane sometime this year & was immediately intrigued by her unique voice & her cleverly crafted lyrics.  This album was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys & actually includes a duet with him, “Love’s on Fire” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUKZshEAWSg).  Check out Nikki’s rock & roll spirit in “Right Time” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzS3vU6wZa4), & then check out her more jazzy/bluesy side in “You Can’t Talk to Me Like That” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCRRO_IqVgs).stuck adelitas way

  1. Stuck by Adelita’s Way (Hard Rock)

I’ll be the first to admit that this album actually disappointed me a bit the first couple times I listened to it.  Before I purchased it I had already fallen in love with the lead single “Dog on a Leash” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqrNmlK2nog) so I was expecting a lot more songs like that.  As it turns out the album is a conglomeration of some more traditional harder songs like that one as well as quite a few softer, more ballad-like pieces.  With time though, I’ve come to really appreciate the entire album.  There is no question that this band is very talented both musically & lyrically, & if you read any of his interviews, you’ll quickly understand why I have so much respect for lead singer Rick DeJesus.  Be sure to listen to “Save the World” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3062FJuCZI), “Something More” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f926saj7Bvg), & “Blur” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kO4WYoawUA).the gallery band

  1. Restless by The Gallery (Soft Rock/Pop)

This is actually a 2013 album but I discovered it this year so I’m including it in my list for 2014.  (It’s my blog so I can do whatever I want anyway, ha!)  In any case, The Gallery is a four-piece soft rock band based out of Massachusetts who opened for Honor By August at the Pourhouse in downtown Raleigh this summer.  I was there to see Honor By August, but I was very impressed with The Gallery as well.  Being the music junkie I am, I of course purchased their album.  Being a hard rock fan, it took me a little while to warm up to the mellower sound of this band, but once I did I realized how truly ingenius their song-writing is, both musically & lyrically.  This band really knows how to write songs that pierce to the heart of 20-somethings today (probably because they are 20-somethings!).  Check out the infectious melody of “Fast Friends,” a tribute to the oh-so-popular “friends with benefits” arrangement & how it’s never as uncomplicated as it’s “supposed” to be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlRIczaovdw).  “The Catalyst” was the song that really caught my attention at the concert because the lyrics “You lit me up like a cigarette/Then you burned me down & now there’s nothing left/You were the one who put the spark to this/You were the gasoline, you were the catalyst” just struck me as so fascinating (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQnmzqvLAd0).  Also check out “The Runaround” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo1toCvDv8E).

As I did last year, I’ll end this year’s post with my most anticipated releases of the coming year.  I for one cannot wait to hear Halestorm’s third album which is scheduled to debut sometime in early 2015 (the sooner, the better!).  I’m also sincerely hoping Gemini Syndrome will come out with another album this year.  (If you don’t know them but you like FFDP or Tool, check them out NOW.  Their 2013 debut album Lux is amazing & has become a favorite of mine as well as my husband.)

Happy listening & happy 2015, everyone!

Three Small Words That Will Improve Your Relationships

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rlcarterrn:

Thank you, James M. Sama, for reading my mind once again when you wrote this post. I could not possibly agree more with every word of this article. And you even quoted my favorite line from one of my all-time favorite books . . . Seriously, everyone needs to read this article & take it to heart.

Originally posted on James Michael Sama:

Many people read through my articles or see what I post on Facebook or Twitter and tell me that they wish their relationship could be “like that.” They tell me the expectations I set for individuals and couples are unrealistic. That nobody is really that happy. That romance and chivalry are just…dead.

To all of you, absorb this: You have the power to do better.

Like anything in life, great things don’t come to those who wish, great things come to those who actually take action and make changes in order to attract the love, success, and happiness they desire.

standards2

Are you not happy with the person you’re with? Walk away.

Do they mistreat you or act in ways that are unacceptable? Communicate your concerns to them, and if they don’t change, walk away.

Are they physically or emotionally abusive in any way? Run away. Now.

I understand that it’s…

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