3000 PLUS

On this special Thanksgiving day, it’s also a special day for me–and for you, if you loyally keep reading this blog.

 

I have 3,000 PLUS posts.

Maybe that’s not a lot. But it seems that way to me!

In honor, as you’ve probably noticed, I changed the name of my blog–I like it. It’s the same as my url. Perfection. And exactly what this blog is about. Not that “Lost Is Where You’ll Find Me” didn’t fit…but sometimes, things should change.

I’ve looked back over these past six months when I started this blog: a LOT has changed. Not just that my blog has been viewed over 3,000 times.

I moved away from home for the first time, snagged a live-in boyfriend for the first time, started my first big-girl job, started and finished a temporary job at a nursing home that was surprisingly influential, and found myself connecting to the inspiring blogging community in ways I never pictured.

Um. WOW.

In honor of my followers, the few that may be out there, and in honor of Thanksgiving, I just have to take a few words to be grateful. Look how far we’ve come! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, not a flattering picture. One of the kids cut it out too…I’m not sure what it means that a good portion of my head was cut out. Perhaps I was having a particularly interesting hair day.

On a different note, I’m celebrating Thanksgiving HERE this year!:

Seattle, if you didn't get the hint ūüôā

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Housewifely

I start my job tomorrow!!!!!

Which is good, because I’m not a very good housewife.

I'm sometimes a little more enthusiastic than this...

I’m also learning that living with a boy is fraught with complications.

Although, to be fair, I think Eric is a fairly clean member of their species. Sure, the bathtub had muddy footprints in it upon my arrival (a huge¬†mishap if one knows my penchant for tubs) but that wasn’t so hard to clean.

After all, I did visit my brother in several of his apartments, and one of them had a literal layer of grime, dirt, and scum in the tub. So I can handle a few footprints.

(Plus my travels through South America and Southeast Asia has given me a wide experience in what a truly¬†awful “bathroom” is.)

However, while I always thought Eric to be fairly anal, he is when it comes to his¬†side of the closet and his¬†desk and his gear and his car. The kitchen and basic cleaning? Not so much. I am well known as a messy, chaotic disaster of a housekeeper and organizer, but apparently, my this-is-so-gross-I-can’t-stand-it level comes a lot sooner than a that of a boy.

I can’t say I really¬†mind cleaning our charming little apartment–especially the kitchen, which is my favorite room. (It has granite countertops! I feel like a queen!) It’s kind of fun to clean our¬†dishes and unload our dishwasher and cook food that we¬†bought.

But, I’m getting bored. I hardly ever get bored–I always have a book, or a project, or show/movie lined up. I always have a blog I want to write, or a place I want to research, or a place I want to explore, or stuff I need to plan (I do a lot of planning).

Not to mention catching up on all of my blogs and Pinterest.

However, I know only Eric here, and I never realize how social I am in Bozeman until I leave it.

That combined with my very real fear of driving here (SO MANY cars! going SO FAST!) and the excessive heat, I am getting a little stir crazy.

I’m really, really excited for my job. While our apartment is in Aurora/Centennial–kind of far away from the city–my main office is right in the middle of everything. I might even get to take the light rail there, which to my little city self, sounds pretty exotic and exciting.

Who knows how long that will last. ūüôā

Well, since I only have one day of orientation before I have a four-day weekend, I’ll be sure to keep all you loyal readers updated on my new, grown-up, big girl¬†job!

Didn’t Even Make A Sound

Yep, my last day at the nursing home is complete, and another door in my life has closed, quickly and quietly.

I can’t say I felt like it was my LAST DAY. I was training my replacement (also named Amy…I think my boss partially hired her so he wouldn’t have to learn a new name. Plus, she’s already better at the job than I ever was so…good choice) so it was a different kind of day, i.e. it went much faster with two people working.

I actually got done on time! On my last day!

I said a few goodbyes, felt a little sad, hugged my Ray (my favorite old man) and got many ‘good lucks.’

(I think I have to go back next week because I accidentally stole the key…but I’ll worry about that later.)

I just can’t believe I’m done. Like every major moment in my life, it feels surreal.

Well, the ending of this job isn’t so major…but the moving part is!! I don’t quite believe this is really my life.

As I swiped my time card for the last time, I reflected on the past few months at this job. Did I learn anything?

I think I did. I think that dealing with the elderly actually drew me out of my shell a little, and the constant reminder that life is short, while definitely an up-and-down experience, is also an invaluable lesson. I also honed my ability to talk to families and older people–I think I’m good at that; I’ve always made friends easier with those older than me. Old soul? (Good thing I’m working with my peers and those younger than me in just a ¬†few weeks…)

I walked out the door, with Kenny Rogers (had to look that one up) on the radio, and as the door shut behind me (and I scrambled to type in the code so the alarm wouldn’t go off–the alarm that signals a possible escapee is nearby) I heard these words. It was a this-is-the-soundtrack-of-my-life moment:

image courtesy of wikipedia: Kenny Rogers

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.”

(Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”).

Seems like a good lesson. I hope that I remember those words throughout my new adventure. Sometimes I feel trapped in the commitment I’m making–to a job, a city, a guy. While ultimately I feel that all of these commitments will make me happy and enrich my life, I also want to remind myself that sometimes, I can walk away, I can run, I can fold and start over.

While this job did continually impress upon me the true fragility of life, I also need to remember that life, while fleeting, is never set. The wheels, they keep a-turnin.’

When I took this job, I simply needed the money. I never considered the connections I would make with strangers, strangers who would remind me to consider what I want out life.

I still don’t exactly know what I want this life to be for me…but I’m asking the question, and that has to be a good start.

Right?

P.S. I’ve come full circle since I started this blog…unemployed again! But not for long (dot dot dot)!

From Old to Young, Wills to Homework

I think working at a nursing home is getting a little, well, old…no pun intended.

I actually am in love with several residents, and I really enjoy working with them. The first week, I was seriously depressed. I imagine it was the whole dealing with the mentally/physically disabled aspect, not to mention the near-dying part, but I cried every day. It broke my heart to see the the old husband come in every day to eat lunch with is wife who barely remembered him.

However, in about my second or third week, I talked to a different couple: this one includes the most adorable old man (who always kisses my hand!!) on hospice (sad) and his wife who faithfully comes in every day right after breakfast and leaves right before dinner.

The wife and I were chatting as I cleaned the dining room, and I got to asking how they met.

“Oh we met in California, got married a few years later, and lived happily ever after,” she smiled, patting his shaking hand. The husband is in his late 90’s, barely talks (although when he does he’s the sweetest guy ever) and is on hospice with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and a host of others issues. His heart is beating so slowly he shouldn’t¬†be alive. Yet his wife still considers it “happily ever after.”

That sort of changed my mind about my job, and I began bonding with all the residents (the elderly seem to find my incessant questions and talking charming) and as I said, I love ’em.

However, the close proximity to death¬†is what’s getting to me.

My residents are often right at death’s door and present the great fear of our society: the inescapable destiny we all face. While “to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”¬†(thank you, Albus Dumbledore) our society still carries a stigma attached to death.

This week, one of the aides brought up paperwork for a recently deceased lady accidentally…which was met by some amusement when the story of the mortician asking if said ¬†lady would need her glasses was told.

(Perhaps she needed them for her paperwork…it’s nursing home humor).

To continue the theme, my grandparents were also visiting this week and discussing their will. They’re probably the most organized couple ever (perhaps they relate to Dumbledore’s above quote).¬†I’m sure we’ll all be grateful when they do pass and everything is tied up in a neat bow; for some reason when I fast forward 50 years and see myself going through my parents’ stuff, I see an image from this episode of Friends (“The One Where Nana Dies Twice,”¬†if you’re interested)¬†where Ross finds his grandmother’s collection of Sweet N’ Lows.

I’m not sure what I’ll be getting in the will (not that I’m terribly concerned)–they were just double checking my middle name (which should be easy as my younger cousin has the same one, and there aren’t that many grandchildren, plus I was the first¬†granddaughter, so you’d think that would command some space in the brain, but whatever, they are 80) but I do know I won’t be getting the antique beer steins my great-great-great-great something brought over from Germany. (Aw, bummmmmmer).

My mom thinks that her youngest brother (younger by the rest by at least 11 years) will get all the “good” stuff, since he got all of her¬†grandmother’s interesting items. I pointed out that he did¬†help clean out her house, and from what I can tell all he got was a weird rocking chair that for some reason my mom and her siblings all really wanted.

I lost the point of this post–mostly that I’m not used to being around death so much–it’s weird. Every day I am consumed with thoughts of how short¬†life is, and so every decision becomes quite weighty.

Well, not every, I don’t think that picking out which shirt to wear is that monumental, but even spending a year with a job in Denver seems long and I am constantly questioning whether I should just head back abroad.

In the fall, I’ll begin working as an AmeriCorps member with the Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation.

courtesy of americorps.gov

Which will¬†be an incredible experience. Which I will in¬†no way¬†regret doing–but it’s still a tangible decision and direction.

Despite my contrary nature, it will be fun working with the young. Although I’ve enjoyed working with the old (and I won’t be finished until August) it will be nice not to have to PROJECT my voice at decibels my vocal chords clearly find uncomfortable.

There are many more benefits–that’s just the start. The great thing about working with kids is the amount of hope¬†and innocence they still retain. (Although if I recall my 7th grade year, I remember a lot¬†of brats…maybe that was just my personal experience?)

In conclusion, though, my residents seem to like me a lot more than any kids ever have…so wish me luck.