Sun Rises and Clean Slates

I really, really don’t like working on weekends.

Oh sure, I knew that when I became a nurse, I should expect to work holidays and weekends. Expect I am going to miss out on stuff because of what I do. That being said, I really, really hate working weekends. I hate getting up early, I hate being away from my husband, and I hate being away from my daughter. There’s one thing I don’t hate, however, is the drive to work.

We live in a rural area. Not podunk country, we’re 15 minutes away from all the creature conveniences of city life. No, we’re rural enough that we have a big-assed propane tank by our house, and a septic tank buried somewhere in front of it. Our place is nestled in the slow rolling hills of our county, the beauty of the nature surrounding us only matched with the crappiness of the cellular signal. Driving out of our “neighborhood”, you climb a big hill, and upon cresting, you can see for miles. You can see the city in the far off distance, the activity of the airport, the little McMansions dotted across the countryside, the trees, the fields waiting for their crops to be planted.

On those Sunday mornings I am driving to work, I also get to see the sun rise when I crest that hill, painting the land with its oranges and pinks while it waits for the rest of the world to wake up. It takes my breath away every single time.

I love going on cruises. Logtar, not so much. He asks my why I love it, and I really don’t have one singular answer. There’s a lot of things I don’t like about it: the crowds, the seemingly inflexible schedule, the crowds, the rude passengers. But probably one of my most favorite things is pulling into port.

Usually, ships arrive at their port early, early in the morning, while everyone is sleeping. So, when you wake up, boom, you’re there! Excitement builds as everyone gets ready for their island adventure.

For me, I tend to wake up right about the time the ship nears the port. I wake up on my own, I don’t know why. I step out onto the balcony and watch as we drift slowly towards our stop. The island coming closer and closer. The only sounds you hear is the splashing of the water as the ship navigates its position towards the dock, you may hear the squeal of a seagull or two. The air is fresh and salty. The temperature is just right. You feel a slight breeze on your face. Meanwhile, you’re a little closer to the island, and from your elevated vantage point, you can take a better look. The dark of night ebbing slowly, like a wave good-bye to an old friend. No people milling around. No cars. Virtually no activity. The sun makes its sleepy debut, and your pupils begin to dilate in delight of the beautiful pastels of the sun rise. You are witnessing the world, still asleep, on the cusp of waking up. You are witness to a brand new day, full of endless possibility. Your day is a blank slate, and you have the ability to make your own adventure in this new place. Small worries melt away as you realize just how awesome your life is. You lean over the balcony rail, and look up and down the side of the ship, seeing a few others doing the same thing you are doing, with the same look of peace and contentment on their face.

I get this exact same feeling on those Sunday mornings when I am driving to work.

It’s so easy to get caught up in worldly events. It’s even easier to fall into despair because it seems hope is a luxury that few can afford. I’ve fallen prey to it just as easily. In my early morning commute, I wondered why I just don’t feel this way all the time. The answer is easy…you just simply forget to.

How hard would it be to wake up every day with a sense of wonder? Instead of worrying about what may or may not happen at work, instead be excited that you have another day to be master of your life. To spend with family and friends. To finally make plans to do something you have been putting off. To make a difference. To have an adventure, no matter how big or how small. How difficult would it be to get out of bed thinking about all the cool stuff you have in your life, versus what is missing? What a challenge would it be to wake up with the singular thought, “MY LIFE IS AWESOME!” Instead of waking up and just going through the same motions you do everyday, and not take notice because you think what you do is unremarkable.

Attitude is everything, and you can have one everyday. Everyone has the choice: will it be a good one or a  bad one? Why wait until an early morning sunset on vacation or just driving in your car to have an epiphany on how great your life is? Appreciate ALL THE THINGS. Your hot (or iced) cup of coffee. That your husband gets out of bed, and makes a beeline for your side to give you a kiss good morning. That your baby always smiles when she sees you. That your husband is always excited to see you.

When you start thinking of all the good things, and start approaching each day like a blank slate, more and more you feel that amazing lift that comes when you crest a hill and see the whole world laying before you. Before too long, you will agree…that your life is awesome.

Now, go out there and have your adventure!

My Breakup Letter to CNN

I’m breaking up with you, CNN. It’s not me. I’m fine. Actually,  better than fine. It’s that feeling you get when you realize that you don’t have to swim while carrying a dead rhino on your back. You just let it go, letting it sink to the bottom of the river, where the bottom feeders reside. Where you will fit right in.

As I sit here, the day after the shit show of the elections, my emotions still roll like a slow boil. Heartbreak. Disgust. Disbelief. Shame. Embarrassment. Fear. Anger. So much anger. We were supposed to be an advanced society. An accepting society. A society where my daughter would grow up in and everyone belonged. Turns out, we were wrong on all counts.

What does this have to do with you? Well, I will tell you.

There’s a lot of blame going around. CNN, and you deserve the lion’s share. You and your friends at Fox. And MSNBC. But this isn’t about those other networks. I haven’t been in a committed relationship with them. It was you. Always on in the mornings when we got ready for work. Always on in the evenings when we got home and were unwinding before switching over to Netflix. You were our constant. Always there for us. Sure, it got weird when you started obsessing over missing airplanes, but eventually we moved past it.

Then, the campaigns began, and everything was all about Trump. In the mornings, we would see Chris Cuomo practically orgasm on live t.v. because he got to talk to Trump every day. Just like buddies having morning coffee. A friend of the show! The small-fisted orange one would make outrageous claims, and no one would call him on it. At some point, you fell out of favor with Orange Hitler, and fewer calls came, but that didn’t stop you from talking about him. All Trump. All the Time. You would marvel that he was spending very little on his campaign, while ignoring the obvious truth: he didn’t have to when all the major networks were climbing all over themselves for the chance to be his preferred network.

Oh, sure, you would mention other candidates sometimes. Sometimes, you would even interview them. But you never got over your first love.

I once got so sick of hearing about him, I turned onto the local channel. They were talking about a car being on fire, but I remember feeling so relieved because for once, no one was talking about him.

Now, I am not a journalist.My experience only extends to being the editor of my high school newspaper (which has been well over 20 years ago), but even I remember that a few basic tenets of journalism were to be honest, unbiased, and fearless.

I don’t know what your play was. Did you have a meeting and decide you were going to see if you could sway the election to whichever candidate you thought brought in better ratings? Is this what the owner of your network wanted? Do you even know that what your anchors do barely passes for journalism? Did they know they gave up the mantle for being our truth bearers so they could be entertainers instead?

At the end of the day, what’s done is done. We, as a country, will live with the fallout for the next four years. Maybe more. I can only apologize to my daughter for the mess that is left for her, and hope her generation has the tools to clean it up. But that is for another blog post.

So, this is adieu, CNN. I’m sure you understand. While we don’t have someone else we’re going to start seeing right away, we’ve decided to date around. You know, to see what’s out there. Today, you can find a news site that caters to whatever news fits your narrative, so it may take us a while to weed through it all to find that diamond in the rough. That source that reminds us of all the good things journalism used to be, and gives us hope that it can be again. Meanwhile, we’ve replaced your coveted saved space on our t.v. remote with the local news channel. Sure, it may be about car fires and chili cook-offs, but after a couple of years of lost airplanes and fear mongers, it will be a nice break.

This Old House

front view

Late last summer, Log and I moved. On the drive back from a two-week Chicago visit, we discussed, in earnest, what we wanted for our future. Staying in our current house wasn’t ideal. We were quickly outgrowing it. I told him that I liked the idea of having a house on some acreage, room for Lil G to play and grow.

Less than 2 months after that conversation, we were moving into our new country home. What can I say, my husband gets shit done.

What to do with the old house? We toyed with the idea of renting it out, but ultimately decided that neither of us had the time nor patience for that, so we listed it. We took a pretty big hit, but the house was finally closed on this past month.

Before we closed, we cleaned out the house. I made one last trip the say I signed the contract, and sat on the stairs. The same stairs I sat on the day I closed on the house so many years before. I stared into the vacant living room, the same as I did back then.

To be honest, I was sad. This was my first house. That I bought. On my own. I shared it with my dog, Sam, and my cat, George. In this house, I experienced heartbreak and triumph. The joys of home ownership, and the pitfalls of it.

Log moved in, but it wasn’t quite his home. It took me a while to understand that. The pets passed on, the house being the only remnant left of my old life. The life of solitude, and sitting around in the cover of darkness, waiting for something to happen.

And then something did happen. I met someone. Got married. Had a baby. Changed jobs. Opened windows to let the sunlight in.

As I sat there, I thanked the house for being a good house. For being solid while my little family sprouted. For being warm in the winter. Cool in the summer. Dry when it rained. A safe place to bring my baby home to. Allowing me to know what being in a stable house felt like. I wished for the house to have a new owner that would appreciate it and love it just as much as I did. It may sound like a silly thing to some, but when you come from nothing, a good house can mean everything.

After one last glance back, I drove away. Like a new butterfly emerging from the cocoon, I flitted away to my new adventure.