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November 11th, 2015

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August 18th, 2014

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May 5th, 2014

I enjoyed writing this paper. It took me down memory lane to a more "carefree" moment in my life. Yes, this is a true story...

Ticket To Be Carefree

What to do? There was only so much entertainment a rural town could offer a teenager. Going to the bowling alley, cruising the streets, and watching movies with friends at home had lost their appeal. I had just graduated high school and saw no need to waste my summer before starting college in the fall. My friends and I were searching for a place we could let loose and get away from the ever watchful parental eye. However, this particular July evening, we got more than we anticipated. In the process of our antics, I learned a few lessons along the way. Stepping out of my comfort zone afforded some carefree fun and evoked self-confidence that I still tap into today. Of course, like many experiences, it came with a price.
“We’re going out,” my friend Casey announces over the phone. “Be here in one hour. Craig will be joining us….”
I groaned; I didn’t want to be a third wheel on Casey and Craig’s date! But before I could launch a proper complaint, she finished by saying, “Oh, and I think he’s bringing a friend. So wear that cute sundress, you know the….”
I zoned her out. I certainly did not want to be set up with some unknown guy. I was enjoying my new found freedom of not dating anyone. However, I was restless and wanted to go out.
I arrived at Casey’s house ready for adventure just before the guys did. “So, who is this friend Craig is dragging along?” I asked. Her only answer was Jonathan. The guys had just pulled up and were waving for us to come outside. With brief introductions made, we piled into Jonathan’s car and sped off.
“Where to?” was the common question between the four of us. “I heard there is a dance club or teen hangout,” Craig suggested. “It’s about 50 miles from here. Who’s up for it?” With no objections, the destination was decided. Away we would go…dancing.
However, this was before everyone had cell phones and a GPS. We came to find out our hangout was in a different town another 50 miles away. Chipping in for more gas, we loaded back into the car with spirits a bit dashed while dance music continued to blare on the tape deck. An hour later, we finally arrived at our intended destination only to find it was closed for renovations. With less vigor, we once again climbed into the car. It was starting to get late. Jonathan, our trusty driver, pointed the car towards home while disappointment set in among the four of us.
“Which highway do I take?” Jonathan asked as we came to a crossroads. “I don’t recognize this place. It says Norfork Lake is only a couple of miles away.”
“Hmmm, why don’t we all go to the lake? The park shouldn’t be closed yet and I bet they won’t be manning the toll booth at this hour,” answered Craig. “I know the perfect place.”
Just as Craig had said… open park, no toll, and a perfect little beach that we could have to ourselves. The family that had been boating all day was busy bringing up the boat as we walked down to the water’s edge. We watched them leave and then settled down on the hot sandy beach. Even at this hour, it was still muggy and there was no breeze to bring relief. The energy was all but sapped from us. We scooted closer to the water’s edge. My sandals quickly came off and my feet appreciated the coolness of the water. Craig started a game of twenty questions which quickly turned to truth or dare; not the greatest game for a girl who is self-conscious and unsure about present company. But little by little, I was getting more comfortable. Of course, I spoke too soon. Casey and Craig, being the outgoing and slightly risqué couple they were, dared each other to go skinny dipping. However, it didn’t end there. They begged Jonathan and me to join them. “It wouldn’t be right if we were the only ones... you are our guests,” they pointed out.
Poor Jonathan, he was obviously more self-conscious than even I was. Despite my modesty, I wanted to join the fun. However, if I was going to take the plunge, Jonathan would have to join too. “We’re all miserable from the heat. The water will feel fantastic.” I prodded. The idea of cooling off finally won out. Rules were: no peaking and we should keep a respectable distance from one another. On the count of 3, we would undress as quickly as possible and head into the water.
“1”… I can’t believe I’m going to do this!
“2”… How did they talk me into this?
“3”… I hope no one peaks!
I stepped out of my comfort zone and out of my clothes. Casey and I made a mad dash to deep waters.
Oh, the water was so amazingly refreshing! The cool water instantly washed away the heat and worries of the day. My muscles released their tension as the water encompassed me. I dove down to the sandy bottom to retrieve a shell. When I resurfaced, I held up my prize. In the moonlight, the beautiful shell’s cream color and ridges were revealed. The water lapped against my bare skin. I scrunched the cool sand between my toes and let out a belly laugh. What a perfectly wonderful night it was turning out to be. The clear sky, bright twinkling stars, and full moon were ours tonight. They existed just to illuminate our little beach and outline the trees along the cove.
I wasn’t the only one enjoying our dip in the lake, though. Laughter could be heard by all and smiles adorned each of our faces. We continued to play games along with swimming and jumping off a large bolder we had found in the lake. After some time of frolicking in the water, we noticed Jonathan wasn’t in sight. Craig went off to find him while Casey and I resumed our girl talk. The conversation led to Jonathan’s whereabouts several minutes later. When we turned around to look for Craig and Jonathan, Casey and I were struck by awe. Framed right in front of us was a breathtaking scene. There Craig stood, with his back turned towards us. The moon illuminating his left side with the lake spread out all around. He, and a lonely tree at the end of the cove, was silhouetted against the backdrop of the night sky. You could just make out his strong and slender body. His shoulder muscles and all along his spine were expertly shaded giving off a subtle definition along the curvature of his backside. Casey and I sighed; it was a dreamlike image that would forever be imprinted in our mind’s eye.
Suddenly, our thoughts were interrupted. Craig called out to us. Jonathan was not on the beach but someone was coming down to the water’s edge with a spotlight! Casey and I momentarily panicked. We were too far off shore to reach our clothes and get dressed before the person arrived. We quickly swam out farther. Could it be a false alarm? Maybe Jonathan had finally found a flashlight. Perhaps whoever it was would not spot us and would leave soon without disturbing us or our clothes. As luck would have it, it was not Jonathan. It was a park ranger and he was directing his spotlight at us!
Casey and I simultaneously dove into the water trying to avoid detection. My mind was racing. Did he see us? Has he gone away? We came up gasping for air only to hear, “Girls, I can still see you.” Again, we dove back down into the lake wishing and hoping with all our might the park ranger would just give up and leave. I quickly learned it is infinitely more difficult to hold your breath when taken by surprise and adrenaline is coursing through your body. Yet, after several attempts to evade the park ranger with his glaring spotlight, it became clear we would not win this battle. The park ranger refused to back down and take his spotlight with him. He would stand there much longer than we could tread water and hold our breath. It was with much reluctance and humiliation that we began to leave the safety of our lake. I was totally mortified and more thoughts rushed through my head. I can’t believe I’m doing this! How did they talk me into this? This time though, my mind also screamed… and why can’t he just put that spotlight down already! With a pounding heart, my trembling hands tried to cover whatever dignity I still had left as I approached shallow water and the beach.
Damn! His spotlight was still trained on Casey and me as we dressed. Mind you, we had no towel to dry off with and clothing yourself in a spotlight made a difficult task even more challenging. Plus, our clothes were mixed up. I can only assume this mishap was due to our rush to disrobe quickly. With embarrassment immense and ever escalating, we decided that quickly getting dressed was much more important that figuring out whose clothes were whose. Underwear and bras were stuffed into pockets. Some shirts were put on inside-out or backwards, but most importantly, we were dressed.
I don’t think I ever managed to look that park ranger in the face. Still, he lectured the four of us for what seemed like an eternity. Jonathan had shown up fully dressed while we were giving the park ranger an account of the night’s events. “It really was just innocent fun. No alcohol or drugs involved,” we explained. Turns out, it wasn’t illegal to go skinny dipping in the lake. However, after hours, the lake was closed for all activity. With a written warning and each of our names recorded on a ticket, we were finally allowed to go home.
I can’t say it was the ending that I would have chosen for that extraordinary night. I suppose it made it all the more memorable, though. The real nostalgia comes from the lessons I learned and still apply today. That night, I gave myself permission to step outside of my comfort zone and discovered the true meaning of carefree. In the words of Katharine Hepburn, “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” Well, perhaps maybe not all the fun. I realized my comfort zone wasn’t placed just for my safety, it also held me back. New experiences didn’t mean the world would stop turning; the opposite might even occur. I could feel alive and carefree. Bit by bit, each new experience has added to my self-confidence. Whether it’s taking another class or beginning a new adventure, I summon that self- confidence I discovered that night. We never went skinny dipping there again. Lesson learned. However, we did return a week later during park hours with swimsuits donned. We were still searching for some carefree fun minus the ticket.

January 30th, 2014


Jackie 1
Chico 1
Jackie 1
Ms.Olive 1
Ms.Olive 2
Ms.Olive 3
Ms.Olive 4
Parakeets (1st group)
Tweety 1

January 16th, 2011

The letter is postmarked March 24, 1993


No tears left, that is my curse.
Only pain can bring out tears.
Having wept so much before
For things large and small.
For pity and sadness and loss and gain.
Weeping ever again for me, nevermore.
All releases of sadness gone.
No more tears shall flow.
Condemned to live life with no release,
Sadness simply ever grows.
To never have this or that, my sentence stands.
What am I to do now? I don't know.
To see the others taking part,
To be condemned to stand to the side,
Always watching, Always observing,
waiting for my time to come.
Sadness, anger, and doubt, all pent up,
Has only bred cynicism, death.
'Tis time to move on.
For here I lay, upon my bed,
Watching life around me end.
Wondering why it all must go,
I can only say.... nothing.
For here are my words, the words I have to say.
Whether 100 years from now, tomorrow, or today.
When life around me ends, people passing by,
I wonder where this comes from, wondering why.
Waiting, watching, will my time ever come?
Will this all be for nothing, or
will I ever find love?
Snubbed away from the world,
this pen only release.
How much more can I take,
will I ever come to peace?
The hour grows late, the time has come.
'Tis time to say goodnight, my
tale now is done.
But I cannot stop, not
with so much to tell.
All these words flowing from me,
all from some untapped well
And when the clock finally stops,
when the end is here.
I wonder, where will I go,
can I fly there?
In life there is so much to do,
so little time to do it.
Where to go, what to do,
How the hell to get through it?
But the time has come,
to speak of many things.
Not happy, not joyful,
nowhere near content.
I wonder what to do?
No one notices me.
It's not like I'm ignorant.
I know what it's all about.
What to say, what to do,
I'm tryin' to find a way out.
But I wonder, will she ever come?
That person made for me,
and will I notice her?
All these things course through my mind,
and I wonder what to do.
I'll just write a while longer,
and wonder about the world.
Sure I laugh, I seem like fun sometimes.
Have you ever seen me cry?
Not from pain, but from sorrow or emotion?
I thought not.

October 6th, 2009


I saw this blurb on tv this morning about a website called  FutureMe.org.  I decided to check it out.  Basically, you send your future self an email.   I thought it would be funny, so I sat down to write myself an email.  By the end of the email, it was less lighthearted.  Sure I had all kinds of questions about my upcoming new job.....  But what I discovered was that I had a lot more deeper and pressing questions on my mind.    Happiness, Peace, Forgiveness.....  Learning not to be a perfectionist and how to make new friends....  I knew I had a lot on my mind, but no wonder I stress so much when I have so many questions about the future.   Faith is not needed when you already know the outcome- that's knowledge.  In light of this, I need more faith.  Faith that things will be okay.  Somehow I'll get through it, I have thus far anyway.  Another strange thing I noticed is that I was reluctant to mention some things....especially too far ahead.  I was afraid of disappointing myself and dredging up old hopes that never came to be....  Yeah, I'm a pessamist when it comes to planning.  I've had so many plans that never followed through that I stopped making plans a long time ago.  Until recently- going back to school last year was a very big and scary plan for me.  Somehow I made it through, so perhaps not all plans are doomed from the beginning.  But still I hesitate.  My wonderful pesimistic side says "What if....."  I only sent my future self a letter 6 months in advance.  That feels like a huge stretch to me.  At this point, I can't imagine writing a letter to myself in 1 yr....never mind farther in the future.  So ..... I live in the present much more than I ever realized.  Plans are scary, but I think I'll work on that.  I'll start off slow.  Maybe make a plan for in 2 weeks, then a month, etc.  I'll start now.  (YIKES!)  In two weeks I'll come back to LJ and evaluate how my "plan" is going.  LOL  Ugh, that actually  is scary to commit to.  My "what if" is already kicking in.  What if I don't.....what will the punishment be?  (See, that perfectionist is kicking in as well.)  I suppose if I don't follow through, I count it as a forgiveable mistake and make it up asap.  Ugh, I hate plans.  They're as bad as those stupid "Hello my name is______" stickers. 

September 4th, 2009

My Birth Plan

In response to another post, I'm posting the birth plan I used with my last baby.  Here it is.  Feel free to use any part of it.

Mother’s Name: xxxx    OB: xxxx   Pediatrician: Dr. xxxx
Husband: xxxxx   Doula: xxxxx   Hospital: xxxxx   EDD: xxxxxx

We have chosen to give birth to our child at xxxxx because of the outstanding care we received with our last birth here.  We are also glad to have Dr. xxxxxx  assisting us through this joyous occasion.  We understand that birth can be unpredictable.  In our desire to have the happiest birth possible, we are presenting this birth plan to help us achieve a safe and satisfying birth.  Our baby’s health and well-being is of utmost importance to us.  These decisions have been made after much research, consultation, and thought.  We look forward to working with you, and appreciate your help with our family to achieve our personal birthing goals.  You can be assured that in the unlikely event of complications, our full cooperation will be rendered after an informed discussion with the doctor has taken place and adequate time for private consideration has been given to us.

Before Labor begins:
*I expect, and trust, that my practitioner will seek my opinion, and that of my husband on all issues that may affect my birth experience or that deviate from this plan.
*If my water breaks at the onset of labor and there are no signs of infection, I would ideally like to wait at least 24 hours before further evasive action is considered.
*If my baby is overdue, (Past 42 weeks), I would like to monitor the baby with non-stress test until labor begins by itself.
*Unless necessary, no scheduled c-section before going into labor on my own.
Latent labor:
*When labor begins, I prefer to stay home as long as possible.
*I would like the option to return home if I am less than 5 cm dilated and/or not in active labor.
*Upon entering the hospital, it is crucial for me that I will not be separated from my husband at any point during labor or birth.
*I prefer a private LDR room with tub or shower.
*Ideally, I would like my environment to 1) have dimmed lights 2) voices respectfully lowered  3) music I provide.
*I would like the opportunity to wear my own clothing.
*I would like my husband to have the opportunity to film/ photograph labor and delivery.
*Hospital staff: I may walk, moan, and grunt.  I would be grateful for the personal space to do this comfortably without feeling hushed or rushed.
Active labor: *It is important to me that my husband and doula be present with me at all times during birth
 *I would like to keep internal vaginal exams to a minimum
 *I would like to have access to water and or ice chips if hospital rules do not allow food.
*I would like a heparin/saline lock to be considered if an IV prep is necessary.  Please remove as soon as possible after birth.
*I would like intermittent fetal monitoring by Doppler.  Please, no continuous fetal heart monitor (external or internal) unless there is fetal distress, then only as long as the distress is present.
*If intermittent monitoring is not possible I would like portable fetal monitoring.
*I want a drug-free birth.  Do NOT offer medications.  If I ask for drugs, I need more support.
*I would like the opportunity to try non-medical, non-invasive pain-relief methods.  Some therapies I feel would be useful for me include: 1) Massage  2) guided relaxation  3) water (shower/bath)  4) change in position  5) hot/cold therapy  6)birth ball
* I would like freedom of movement to walk, rock, use the bathroom and move as my body dictates.
*I am interested in having access to (if available):  1) squatting bar  2) birthing bed  3) birthing chair
Augmentation: I would prefer to walk to speed labor.
Transition: At this point my body may be most sensitive.  If I am feeling that my support person’s or staff member’s voice and/or touch feels too much, I will indicate so.
Pushing: I would like to be free of time limits on pushing as long as it is clear that my baby’s heart tones are good and receiving sufficient oxygen.
*I will be using spontaneous bearing down when appropriate.
*I would like choice of positions for pushing and delivery.  If my pushing is not progressing efficiently, I would like to be encouraged to try 1 or more of the following delivery positions:
    *Squatting   *side-lying position   *standing upright     *hand and knees on floor   *Kneeling, resting       arms on bed/chair   *semi-reclining on bed   *whatever feels right at the moment
Vaginal delivery
*I would like to avoid an episiotomy.  I would like support with 1) warm compresses and positioning
 2) encouragement to breathe with my urge to push
*If episiotomy becomes necessary, please let me participate in the decision.
*I would like local anesthesia for repairs (stitches).
*I would like to touch my baby’s head as s/he is crowning.
*I would like the option to view my baby’s entry into the world by using a mirror.
*My baby should be placed on my abdomen immediately following the birth to bond and breastfeed.
*If warming is necessary, please allow baby to be warmed on my abdomen covered by blankets.
If Complications lead to a cesarean delivery: *If at all possible, please wait for my express consent, or my husband’s before initiating any procedure.
*Husband and doula be present with me at all times during birth (prep, surgery, and recovery) regardless of the form of anesthesia.
*Ideally, I would like to remain awake and aware, avoiding general anesthesia if possible.
*Please, no arm restraints so that I can touch my baby as soon as possible.
*I would like someone to explain the surgery as it is happening.
*I would like the screen to be lowered, or be able to use a mirror so I can witness my baby’s birth.
*Ideally, I would like the opportunity to photograph my baby’s birth.
*Assuming baby is well, I would like to hold my baby on my chest and nurse as soon as possible.
*I would prefer baby and husband to stay with me in recovery.
*If absolutely necessary to take the baby from the OR, Husband to physically remain with baby at all times.
*Please delay newborn procedures till after bonding and breastfeeding.
*Please discuss options for postpartum medication with me.  (No morphine please.)
*Please provide nutritious food and drink as soon as possible.
*Baby’s condition permitting, Please allow my husband to hold/care for baby until I can hold baby and nurse.
*Newborn exam done in my husband’s presence if I am unable.
*If absolutely necessary to take the baby from the OR, Husband to physically remain with baby at all times.
Delivery of placenta:  Baby to breastfeed immediately to assist in natural delivery of placenta.  Please, no pitocin, uterine massage, or cord traction.  If a procedure is necessary after given time, please explain to me
Cord Care:  Cord to be cut by my husband, and not until pulsing has stopped.
Eyedrops, Vitamin K and other procedures: *With either a vaginal or cesarean birth, Please postpone routine newborn procedures until I have had a chance to bond with my baby and breastfeed.
*If warming is necessary, please allow baby to be warmed on my abdomen cover by blankets.
*I would like for my husband and /or me to be present during all newborn procedures. (Preferably done in my room.)
Rooming-In and Feeding:  Healthy baby in-hospital infant care as:
*Full rooming in-no separation
*Please DO NOT OFFER my baby formula, sugar water, pacifiers, or artificial nipples.
*I will breastfeed exclusively on demand.
*If unable to breastfeed under UNUSUAL circumstances, AND with my consent, please allow ONLY my husband to feed by dropper (rather than bottle) my EBM.
Family time My sons, xxxx, (age 5) and xxxxx (age 3) to visit with my newborn, my husband, and me as soon as possible.  
*During private time for family bonding, we ask that the Dr and staff exit.
*We ask that other family members (Grandparents, etc) be allowed to visit for the first time AFTER private family bonding and nursing is finished.  (Regardless of visitation hours.)

Sick Baby and postpartum care: If my baby is not well, I would like to:
 1) accompany my baby, or have my husband accompany the baby if transported to another facility  2) breastfeed, or provide my expressed milk  
 3) Have unlimited visitation for my husband and myself
 4) Hold, rock and care for my baby if possible.
*Extra nursing to be used for any signs of jaundice
*If jaundice continues to be a problem, we ask that the baby is wrapped in a bili blanket and continue rooming in with mother.

*I would like my hospital stay to be as short as possible for a vaginal birth.

In order to make this birth a success, bonding and breastfeeding with my healthy baby as soon as possible is extremely important to me.  Your guidance and cooperation will be greatly appreciated.  We thank you in advance for your support and kind attention to our choices.  We look forward to a wonderful birth.

Dr. xxxxx_______________________________________________________________   

Mom’s name:  ________________________________________________________________

July 21st, 2009

As I am finishing cooking dinner, the phone rings.  I've been waiting on this important call all day.  One son answers the phone and hands it to me.  While another son knocks off a flower wreath I made for Sarah when I was pregnant with her.  (Took me hours to make.)   So while I'm having this phone interview, Sarah brings me part of this flower wreath.   The 3 kids start arguing in the same room that I'm taking this call in.  I take part of the flower wreath away from Sarah, and order the 3 kids out of the kitchen while I talk on the phone.  (Had the phone plugged in - this morning I lost the call in the middle of the interview...)  Sarah and Andrew start crying and screaming they're hungry.  I quietly motion to them to go get their food....but they most be quiet.  Of course, this brings them back into the kitchen.  Andrew shatters a plate as he's getting his food.  Sarah is still crying because I took away the pieces of the wreath....  Andrew is freaked out because he thinks I'm mad over the broken plate  (no, I just need them to be quiet!)  Jeremy is ticked because I won't answer his pressing question  ("Can I have milk with dinner?")   Finally, the call is over.  From the parts I've heard, I have a temporary job starting in September.  It's hard to get excited under the circumstances.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, this is the 3rd night in a row Brian has had to work late.....  That means after I finish dinner, I get to make sure everyone bathes and gets to bed.  Oh joy. 
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