the dinosaur in the room

January 29, 2023

Driving home from work last night, I sunk into my seat with a contented weariness. I realized that I missed this feeling of exhaustion from work that is consuming, and fulfilling. It was a feeling easy to come by when I lived in other countries, working in cultures out of my comfort zone and encountering daily struggles to, at times, simply exist. In this modernized western world, conveniences and technology can strip us of the privilege of having to work hard for our livelihood. 

That said, I should clarify that my husband and I had both grown jaded and burnt out from our years abroad. For all that we loved about the work we got to do, and the people we got to do it with, we were tired. Tired of the rootlessness. Tired of people leaving us as soon as we grew close to them. Tired of moving.

We were ready to make a home.

So now, nearing four years into life as homesteaders, we are just now starting to feel as if we are settling, putting down our roots, able to function as reasonably normal-yet admittedly odd-Americans. Life is good.

Yes, this is what occurred to me on that drive home last night. Life is good. 

Remember this feeling, I told myself. 

The next time you are stressed to the max, overwhelmed with the dailies, insecure, or anxious, remember this: in the great and grand scheme of things, all is well. You have a home-a good and solid and quirky home.

You have work to do. As my great aunt so wisely quipped last week, while I updated her on life, “You feel happier when you are working, don’t you?” Almost embarrassed to be understood so well, she then added, “I know I always did.”

Relieved by her admission, I smiled. “Yes,” I admitted.

Yes, it is good to have a job that I love. Sure, some days I readily proclaim as “poopy days.” But others I leave with a deep joy. Perhaps this is prideful to write “out loud,” but yesterday I felt as if I had done really good work. I had cared for the patients to the best of my ability, and had felt the satisfaction of blood draws done well, with the outcome of smiling and relieved youngsters. 

Thinking about this, on that drive home, I inadvertently pictured my grandma. I remembered how proud she was of me, and how much she longed for me to be fulfilled. Yeah, GramBea, I whispered. I know you’re proud of me. You knew I could be a good nurse.

Later that evening, I leaned on my husband’s shoulder and I wept. He didn’t need me to explain more than a blubbering “GramBea.” He quietly held me until the tears dried up. I got up to make tea, he went out to close in the chickens, and the dog barreled in a few minutes later, looking for the pat of butter he assumed would be waiting for him (I’ve created a monster.)

This life is good.

*photo is from a walk with a friend. A walk on which I shared with her some of these same thoughts I am writing now. And a walk on which we, of course, took a selfie with a dinosaur. As one does.

fist bump

January 19, 2023

Today I got a fist bump. It wasn’t a great work day. Truthfully, I spent the majority of the day staring at my computer screen and frantically typing, trying to keep up with the flurry of concerns, troubles, problems coming out of the mouths of furrowed-browed parents. I wished I could do more than type their words. I ached to speak out loud, to use my hands. But that was not my role today. Today I was scribing, on a day in which the schedule did not even allow a moment for me to switch to a nursing role. But for a moment, a brief moment, there was brightness. We had gone into a visit with a child who, the last time he had an appointment, had been combative, violent against attempts at any physical contact. When we walked in, I rolled my stool next to him in the room and began to type, continuing my habit of the day, focused on the screen. But then, as I typed, I saw him gazing at me. I looked up. He looked into my eyes, lifted his arm, and held up his fist. Copying his motions, I did the same, holding my own fist a few inches away from his. He grinned, then gently bumped my fist. I smiled behind my mask, heart lifted out of the day’s stress. About to go back to my typing, I realized he was still staring at  me. I looked back to see his palm opening. I copied his actions and then he gave me a gentle “high 5.” One more fist bump completed his routine. The doctor moved to his physical exam. I resumed my typing. But a part of me stayed suspended in that moment, inwardly beaming, à la “Princess Bride” …”She kissed me” 😉


January 8, 2023

This new year, I resolve (will try) to:

  1. Watch more TV (discovered that there are about 3 superb shows out there right now that peter and I both enjoy. The ability to focus in that manner, not just have it as background to something “productive” is a skill that I would like to develop 
  2. Read less books (and take more time to enjoy the ones I choose)
  3. Spend more money (it’s ok to sometimes be impractical about a purchase rather than scrimping all the time)
  4. Waste more time (do a jigsaw puzzle, pet a rabbit named Stew, kiss a Doe named Dosie. A young friend recently told me she had a pet bird named Bread. “Bread?” I asked. Yes, she nodded. Her mom added that Bread used to have a mate named Butter. Until their pet cat decided to demonstrate the circle of life …)
  5. Let my house get messy (I recall my childhood discomfort with homes in which I was afraid to touch anything. I don’t want an unwelcoming home)
  6. Drive faster (just kidding. but I was pulled over last year for driving too slowly. A couple friends know the sordid details …;)
  7. Write shorter (and less) lists
  8. Leave things…
  9. …unresolved 

2022 reading life

January 1, 2023

out of curiosity last night, after hearing various people talk about their year in books, I did a quick inventory of my reading journal. I’ve never actually tracked my reading-in part out of a knowledge that I need to be careful about adding anything that might become another goal to add to a daily checklist I invariably create for myself.

that said, I have enjoyed keeping up my journal this year and figured I might as well make a bit of a tally. So I went through the pages, first counting the books I completed. Then I circled in blue all those that stood out to be as fabulous. This came to 20 that I called my “honorable mentions.” Next I narrowed down the list, drawing gold stars over the truly standout titles. This conveniently came to a total of 10.

without further ado, here are the snapshots of the applicable pages in my journal

*the right column is where I wrote my brief reaction upon finishing the book

**titles that are crossed off are those I abandoned. If I though I might revisit it, I included the page number where I stopped. But these titles were not included in the number tally