Sunday, March 19, 2017

Absent

It is something of a ghost town around here.

My Drama Club alumni social group has settled of 7 of us, though it's a challenge to get everyone together.

CB, SO and I have had several nights just the three of us. Everything has felt comfortable and natural and fun. We all check in with each other to make sure things are ok. We are becoming closer friends and enjoying each other's company well outside the moments that end up with all our clothes on the floor.

SO has had a final interview with a company in Colorado. They had mentioned in passing that they wanted to move back there, but it didn't sink in how close they were to uprooting until SO and I were chatting about work and that came up. If she gets the position, they'll move mid-summer.

The three of us have been the most proactive about pulling our theater friends together. They've hosted almost every time (they have small children, so if they host they don't need a babysitter, and the kids are asleep by 8) and I'm the only other one who's always there.

If they leave, I'm afraid we'll all just drift apart.

As an odd coincidence, Colorado has been at the top of the list of places I'd go if I ever get around to fulfilling my lifelong plan to leave the midwest in the dust. CB (who grew up in Denver) has several relatives in Colorado who are in healthcare/nursing.

My struggle is that I'm not willing to take the risk of going somewhere without knowing what I'm getting myself into. I've had such bad experiences with nursing jobs, and I won't leave myself alone and vulnerable by taking a job that may not work out when I have no safety net. There are a lot of ifs, ands, buts, and caveats, but if they go, it might be a catalyst for me to take off, too.*

If I don't move, I could still visit them and get a super cheap launchpad into the natural glory of the Rocky Mountains. No complaints about that.

*I am very much aware of the potential complications of moving to a city where the only people I know are friends with benefits. Don't think I'm not mulling ALL of it over. But I wanted to think out lout with my fingers here today.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why is the rum gone?

It's been an odd few weeks. I started feeling off about two weeks ago, but didn't have a fever so I figured my body was angry about me trying to skip a period via the pill. But last week Monday the cold symptoms set in, and I've just felt gross and run down all this week, too.
I had my marketplace sale, and while the customer turnout was abysmally low (I think most brewery patrons that day didn't even know there was a sale in the adjacent room) I actually made three sales, and only one of them was a person I knew xD WS swung by and bought a galaxy pendant for herself (I didn't have any good photos as they were earlier work that I dug up for the sale), a tiny blue sea dragon for her daughter to give someone, my Up North lake landscape magnet, and several Starry Night magnets. I didn't let her pay me much for the magnets, as they were my first attempts and were kind of sloppy.
I just participated in my second monthly Spotlight Market Night sale on Facebook, and both months (each artist can list a single item) my item sold! This month I made a glowing flower fairy (electric candle and glow in the dark clay). I haven't made human figures in a long time and I wasn't really happy, but she got snatched up 13 minutes after I posted the listing. THIRTEEN MINUTES! The right publicity is everything, eh?
I hate that Blogger won't let me post photos from my phone anymore. It's part of why I haven't had good picture posts of late. For the moment I'm sharing some from my artist page on FB, but those links tend to stop working over time. I'm trying to decide if I want to let Google "store" (access) my photos just so I can post them here. There is no privacy anywhere anymore.
This weekend we got all seven adulty-adults from theater together! I think there's been some degree of gathering each Saturday for the last month, but one night it was just Props Master's girlfriend, CB, SO, and me, and last week was just CB, SO, and me.

CB mentioned Mardis Gras and I said I'll do dinner with them Tuesday if they have beads.

Anyway, last night we bandied about script ideas for this year's Short Play Festival, but Othello made the announcement of script deadlines super late and no ideas really came together. Maybe next year. Only one author has to be a current student, after all. This Wednesday is SPF auditions, and a lot of us are going to swing by to say hi to Othello and be on standby if there aren't enough students auditioning to keep the show going. This coming weekend is the SPF. We also made plans for a dungeons & dragons night in two weeks. Some of us (like Charlie) are veterans, some have only played once, and some are completely new, so this could be quite the adventure.

I am still tired and not entirely better from the cold and/or whatever else, so I think today is going to be a day where I sit around being a blob. I am ok with this. Working 5 days straight while sick is for the birds, but what can you do? I'd better rest up so I'm ready for the next stretch.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Butterflies in my Stomach

I have had tummy trouble for a solid (FOUR. Because I've it's 2017) years now. The idiot physician's assistant slapped the label GERD on it (despite not having, you know, reflux) then a year later they said it was an h. Pylori infection, but when treatment only provided a temporary reduction in symptoms they continued the "maybe you'll need to be on antacids for the rest of your life" line without looking too deeply into it.

I saw a gastroenterologist in January, and he started with a gallbladder ultrasound (didn't show any stones) and a blood test for Celiac (negative). The next step, if they ever call me again, is setting up an endoscopy so they can go poking around in my esophagus, stomach, and small intestine to look for problems and take a more accurate sample to test for h. Pylori.

I've had new and worse symptoms this year, but it really came to a head when I could no longer drink Diet Coke.

I live on Diet Coke.

I couldn't get the air back out, which was giving me dry heaves.

I tried continuing anyway, just cutting back over the course of about a week. Finally this week I gave up on it altogether, even the measly little can of Vanilla Zero in the mornings was torture.

My stomach has also decided to rebel at random as-yet-unidentified foods which were never a problem in the past. Including at work. I left early on Thursday because I was worried that I was going to refund my Spaghetti-Os (don't judge, they're cheap, an with meatballs and parmesan they're tasty, too) into a trash can.

So I haven't eaten much this week.

I needed a catalyst; I guess this was it. A few minutes ago I stepped on my own scale for the first time this year. It was 7 pounds less than the number on the gastroenterologist's scale a few weeks ago, and 4 pounds less than the last time I checked at home. I am pleased.

Dinner with CB and SO was nice. We'd established beforehand that I couldn't drink or stay up too late (I have to be up at 6 for work) so I figured when I made plans that we would probably just be talking.

We had dinner and talked. Got to know each other a little more. It was several hours before we even brought up the idea of friendly touching. We felt out boundaries, motivations, goals, ideas.

Everyone has been tested for infections, we will be using multiple contraceptive methods, we have outlined a few "I'm not down for that"s, we are going to take it slow. All parties are in agreement that it's not good to go in with a mission to have sex at a particular date and time. If you plan that way, the night is a failure if nothing (or not much) happens, and that just does not set the mood. We'll just hang out and get more comfortable with each other and see what happens.

This could be seen as reckless behavior in a sense. But it's also very thought out and calculated. We're being safe, we're being open about consent, we've all agreed that the friendships come first. We're not going to prioritize this over the group of friends we've been meeting with regularly, and we've all agreed that we're not ashamed of what we're planning and will be ok if (when, really... SO shares a lot when she's drunk) word gets out. None of us are casual about sex. I said I don't need to be romantically involved right now, but what I need is trust, and that doesn't come easily. CB said he doesn't need to be romantically involved, but he does want to know the person and care about them. SO is much less direct about communication, but her main roadblock is insecurity. She asked me "Why US?" and said what she really felt was "Why ME?"

I said because  I find them BOTH attractive and like them as people and I knew they were both interested in experimenting and I never in my lifetime thought that I would encounter people that I actually WANTED to try this with and I was ok with being shot down but I would regret not asking them and never knowing.

We tried to plan a group night (barbeque and zombie comedies) this weekend with the whole theater crowd, but no one else has RSVPed so it may just be the three of us again.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals (part II - adult content)

*Side note - I was not intending Hummingbird's history to become a focal point. CB and his SO were both involved in Drama Club several years ago. SO has problems with mental illness but works to take care of herself, and has always managed to get along until Hummingbird persuaded SO to leave CB and take their kids across state lines, which just happens to be kidnapping. In SO's words, "She took advantage of me while I was cycling." With what I know of Hummingbird, SHE was very likely cycling as well, and I suspect she believed whatever reality she concocted regarding that situation, and fed it to SO. SO came back home and they mended the relationship.*

Enough about Hummingbird. She is now an unperson. Back to Birthday Night.

So this is where it gets interesting. CB and his SO have been in a committed relationship for the better part of a decade. She is more than a little bisexual, but has never been with another woman.

There was actually a, um, group experience involving several Drama Club girls and the two of them several years ago. They gave each other permission to play, but there was a lot of alcohol involed, and she being a lightweight passed out early on and didn't get fully involved in the action.

He said he is open to other partners but they otherwise have not explored beyond their relationship because he respects her boundaries.

That night, we were all more than a little drunk, and we were all rather snuggly. It started giving me Ideas.

Last night a group of us went to their place for a movie night of The Princess Bride. CB made the plan because several people in the fall show cast have never seen it (CRIMINAL!), but none of those people were able to make it. That may be just as well, because we all hollered lines for 90% of the duration of the movie. Possibly intimidating for a newbie...

So I waited until it was just CB, SO, and me left, and started a conversation.

First, I asked about the fallout after the first time. I was aware that there were rumors about him within the old Drama Club. He said that shortly after, everything seemed to be ok. One girl even said she'd had her first orgasm that night. But eventually it devolved into rumors and distortion, and no one would own up to talking trash. What filtered down to Charlie (I asked when CB showed up, as I knew there were some former members that some disliked) was that CB had cheated on SO, which sounds a whole lot worse than "Had a drunken orgy." At least, in my opinion. Cheating is unforgivable in my book, but if you have permission, it's not cheating.

Rumors aside, SO was not uncomfortable with what happened. She said she's just sorry she missed out. CB said the only thing that made him feel a little weird was that they were all VERY drunk, and before he was with SO, he turned down opportunities for sex when everyone was that much under the influence.

Once I was confident that they were both ok with the previous experience as far as their relationship, I told them if they ever wanted to try something like that, I'd be interested in participating.

Then we talked for a while about comfort levels, planning, and possibilities. I told them that if they weren't interested, that was ok - and that I'd rather be friends than fuckbuddies if one would interfere with the other.

She once had a friend suggest a threesome on the spot, and SO was too nervous to go through with it. Apparently it has been a big regret, and that friend is now in a relationship, thus off-limits.

SO said that her trouble with insecurity and anxiety means that while she may really WANT to play, she drinks to get more comfortable, and it is hard to find the sweet spot between being comfortable enough to experiment but not sick. I said that as she is the most apprehensive, she would be the one to set the pace, and that I'd consider her a priority since she missed out on the last opportunity. I said that anyone could call it off at any time and that's ok.

I told them I would leave the ball in their court, and that if they didn't bring it up again, I would take it as a "No, thank you" and would not push the idea.

This morning CB checked in with a text asking how I was. I told him I was feeling ok, just tired after the long weeks of planning for my sales table yesterday and planning to have a day for rest. I asked how he was, and he said also tired, but good.

He and SO invited me to dinner this Wednesday. I said yes.




Sunday, January 29, 2017

You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals (Part I)

I had a birthday last week, so I'm officially 32 now.

I had planned a "10th 21st birthday" shindig last year, but was still early in recovery from hip pain and I halted plans.

This year I'm feeling better in a number of ways. Winters, and especially Januarys, have been absolute hell since about 2013. I'm not sure exactly what's different this year except a vitamin D supplement, but I WAS low when I asked to have it checked, and that was in the summer. Possible correlation.

I'm still not in great shape physically, but I'm in the least pain I've been in since the lifting injury at the end of February last year, and because I have full time hours again, I can afford physical therapy. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the pain tunnel. I keep planning to swim, but haven't gotten there quite yet. My last attempt was scrapped when I realized I hadn't deforested in about two weeks. So I went home and deforested, but didn't swim. I've joined a spring walking/running group that meets Mondays starting tomorrow.

Back to birthdays, though. I had an 11th 21st birthday or 1121st birthday, pronounced "eleventy-first."

I planned karaoke with theater friends, but two canceled last minute, which meant the bar I had planned was about 20 miles from anyone who was still involved.

Charlie was DDing for me so I could get smashed, and was kind enough to DD for Red and CB. We all got in the car and tried to figure out what to do. It was my call, of course, but I decided not to fuss with the long drive. We went to an Applebees for drinks and munchies while we mulled things over.

After a few drinks and the most delicious soft pretzels I've ever had, we decided to go buy some Proper Alcohol and go back to CB's place so that CB's partner (old blood theater - she and CB were involved before I joined, and he came back on the scene with the show I was in last fall) could join the fun, too. They have small children so often can't go out together.

We stopped at a liquor store for peppermint schnapps and chocolate syrup, cranberry vodka and cranberry juice, then headed back to CB's.


It was a magnificent night. I have never been so drunk. I totaled something like 7 drinks, when I'm not sure I've ever had more than 3 in a single night before. After a shot of cherry whiskey, a peppermint patty (chocolate syrup in peppermint schnapps), and a mixed vodka all in quick succession, there WAS a time when I wondered if I'd be throwing up, but it passed.

Jordan - DD, mind you - accidentally got wasted. He can drink a beer or two without feeling a thing, but he doesn't have much experience with other beverages. He apparently poured himself a glass of vodka, thinking it would be slightly more alcoholic than beer.

CB's partner is apparently a severe lightweight - she was puking in the toilet in no time. We spent QUITE a lot of the night just sitting on their tiny kitchen floor, alternating between making dirty jokes and spilling our guts out. Charlie had a good bawl about his mom being on round 2 of cancer treatment (breast cancer, metastasized) and I had a good bawl about my mom being on round 1, and told him he didn't need to be The Strong One for his family, that he was allowed to be human, too. CB said his mom has been doing chemo most of the last year.

I learned some fascinating things about Drama Club before I came on the scene. I'm not the only one that had a justifiable battle against Hummingbird.

*Am about to venture into weird possibilities and adult content. Not for the faint of heart. Part II to come.*

Monday, January 16, 2017

GUESS WHO

Is going to be a featured artist at the next bookstore brewery local artist marketplace!!!
This is my idea of a valentine.

*Completely handmade. Molds are against my religion*

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Farce is Strong with This One

I ran a few errands and bought supplies last night, and by the time I drove back down to where I met the man from last post, it was after dark and not a soul to be found. I went back today after work and he wasn't there, but THREE other people were in the vicinity begging.

I had two fleece blankets, a fleece pullover, three emergency blankets,
So they can stay warm while they protect themselves from the aliens

a package of thick black socks, and a handful of canned pastas and wrapped snacks.

So I divided everything up into three bags and gave one to each. Each person seemed genuinely grateful.

In the course of getting looped back around to head home (I had to make several highway entrances & exits and U-turns) I came across at least 3 more people. The first one got the rest of my snacks and my own purple fleece blanket. He was smoking (BLECH) but he also thanked me repeatedly.

So... hopefully 4 people will be a little less cold and a little more warm when the ice storms hit over the next two days.

IN OTHER NEWS. Behold this bullshit masterpiece, sent to clinic #2's front office assistant, with whom I must tolerate 8 hours every Tuesday and Wednesday:

FOA,

You seemed upset by an electronic message I sent on Wednesday afternoon.
_

I said:
You don’t need to “line up all the nurses and Manager and explain what a referral is” vs a renewal. A returning patient gets a Referral 223. Some staff prefer to call it a renewal, but the fact is we cannot legally see a patient if they don’t have either.

You replied:
OK, I WAS JOKING WITH FOA-IN-TRAINING. WHAT I SAID WAS “EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RENEWAL AND REFERRAL’ I ALSO SAID THE SAME THING TO OTHER NURSE.  THERE IS NO NEED FOR ANY OF THIS. [THE PATIENT’S] RENEWAL IS IN HER CHART. FROM NOW ON, I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD COME AND TALK TO ME INSTEAD OF MESSAGING. I THINK THINGS ARE GETTING WAY OUT OF CONTEXT FOR NO REASON.

I said:
I used your words, not mine, and in my book it would be unprofessional to address you in a room full of people who were sharing your “joke,” not to mention that I don’t have the time or interest in pulling you aside to ask you not to publicly “joke” at the expense of anticoag nurses. I had to include Other Nurse on the message about the patient who was checked in without a referral because I didn’t catch it until after I had opened the chart, and needed to explain that I don’t have the patient taken care of. It’s a statement of fact that we didn’t have a referral for her, and it needed to be addressed.
_

I’m sorry that you are bothered by communication via messaging. Let me explain exactly why I have chosen to communicate with you in writing.

The punchline of your joke seemed to be that you knew what you were doing and the ACC nurses didn’t, based on your preference for the use of a single word that did not interfere with jobs getting done or communication about referrals. That didn’t strike me as coworkers lightening the mood together, that was one group of people laughing at another group of people.

That same afternoon I heard you speaking frankly, again to the other front office/heart staff in a public area, that someone had made a comment to you about your messaging in all caps. You said “They’re going to have to get used to it” because you type in all caps no matter how you are communicating, even texts. I’m not sure if you meant that as another joke, but what I heard was that someone came to you with a concern, and that you not only dismissed the concern outright, but made fun of them with other coworkers. I have spoken with Other Other Nurse [one that did most of my orientation, that I really like] about messaging in all caps, but not you. It is commonly considered to be yelling. It affects the tone of your messages, and I find it much harder to read, especially in the awkward font that Our Messenger uses.

When you’re talking to other coworkers about someone that way, it strikes me as disrespectful. If you speak in the same manner directly to the person who is raising concern, that is a confrontation, not a conversation, and I will not tolerate it. I am not willing to have an unwitnessed interaction if you are comfortable sharing coworker concerns with others and openly stating that you plan to continue behavior that bothers the other person. I used a direct quote just minutes after you said the words, and your response was “THERE IS NO NEED FOR ANY OF THIS” and I was taking your words “WAY OUT OF CONTEXT.” Written communication is verifiable by all parties. The conversation IS the context. If you feel uncertain about what I am trying to say here, please ask me and I will clarify, again in writing.

For coworkers to laugh with each other, there needs to be a mutual understanding and respect. I’m new to the clinic and I’m glad you have a good rapport with many of the staff, but I haven’t felt any professional respect in the communications from you. For example, one day you messaged me “MR [JOHN SMITH] IS STILL SITTING OUT HERE – WITH THE NOTE BESIDE HIS APPT TIME”. The patient had been arrived almost 20 minutes after his appointment time, and you sent that message one minute after you checked him in. I replied “I don’t know why you’re saying ‘still.’ When I took the last patient back, she was the only patient checked in.” You ignored my message and offered no explanation. The appointment note said “HH CX INR AT 2PM.” You commonly put notes on patients that need to reschedule, and it looked to me like you noted that the patient canceled their INR. The patient was not arrived, so I had no reason to think otherwise. That tone and content is consistent with the way you have been communicating with me – statements that offer no context or even sound like accusations, which provide no explanation of the situation.

Here is what I am requesting:
Do not mock me with your other coworkers.
Explain what you need instead of statements that don’t give me information (e.g. “MR SMITH IS HERE”).
Do not give me commands (e.g. “SEE MR SMITH NEXT”).

Most of the time I have no idea what’s going on in the waiting area or the heart clinic, so if you need to talk to me to coordinate patient care, please explain the situation instead of trying to tell me what to do. Most of the time I take patients based on arrival time vs appt time – if there are multiple patients waiting, the patients who are there on time get seen first. I know sometimes the patient’s appointment is time-sensitive due to other commitments, or there is a check-in delay , for example, related to registration or another office working in the patient chart and they were really on time. But I don’t know that if no one tells me. What I’m asking for is clear, professional communication related to the running of the clinic and the care of our patients.

As I said, I’m not going to create a spectacle. If you feel that we can’t come to an understanding, feel free to get Manager involved for some face-to-face discussion away from the rest of the clinic staff. Please let me know if anything I’ve said is unclear.

Sincerely,

Tempest Storm