Wednesday, February 8, 2017

a tale of two lunches

1. Before I left my old job,  I had a chance to lunch with my possible replacement. We went to one of those sandwiches and soup type shops. A chain restaurant that is super overpriced. Organic carrot soup, gluten free buns, bags of chips on the side... blah blah. Five minutes in-- I was done with her. She was not right for the job. Call me judgey. Go ahead.

She was older. This is not why she was wrong for the job. She was older and well into her career which provides itself with certain creature comforts. I am now in the summer of my career. It's getting nicer. People cater to you a bit more. Bonuses happen. I had a special chair ordered for my new office without even asking for it. This is what she had grown accustomed to.

This was not happening with my old job. She had been a nurse practitioner for a long time but not in mental health. Which makes my old job entry level for her. If one is entry level, one must be humble. She wasn't.  One must be willing to suck it up because it was a government job.  No perks. Because government. She wasn't.

Her entitlement and attitude put my teeth on edge. All within the first 5 min. The food was actually very good. The soup was layered and lovely. They had some fresh crusty bread, perfect for dipping.

She turned down the job the next day. I hold myself responsible for the quick no. I told her she wouldn't like it  and wasn't a good fit. Honesty was the best policy I think. Plus, I was leaving so screw that, I'm not going to cater or wine and dine her. No one wants a practitioner that is bothered to even be there. Like I said, screw that!

2. Olive garden. Love the over cooked and heavily sauced pastas. The delish salad. The breadsticks disappoint though. Whattayagonna do eh?

I had my favorite nurse and my favorite doctor with me. The ones who had been my coworkers and friends for the last eight years. It was a private goodbye lunch and I was so sad. We were all sad. Then in the middle of it, my vision became blurry. Like someone was pouring liquid mecury in my visual fields. I could see maybe 50% above eye line. I knew this to be an ocular migraine. Painless but I couldn't see. I kept talking though. Kept laughing and soaking up the love. This was not going to stop the love fest that was my shrimp scampi lunch!

It was phenomenal that lunch. Top three in my life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

If there was a letter I could write it would be this... oh cuties my cuties

Hello Cuties!

We are the Halls. We've been looking for you. We are a wacky bunch. I'm Miss Stephanie. I steer the crazy ideas and untold expansion of our tribe. When I was 19, I had an idea of wanting to be a foster mom. Back then I was really, REALLY not capable of such things. But I chugged along, met your father, we had your sister and two brothers. Somewhere along the line your mom had you and a few others too. I'm sad that your mom and dad can't be what you need. So we want to be that for you, a mom and a dad.

It's probably too early to talk about this. We haven't even met yet. All we have is a photo of you two. Our social worker called your social worker and we're waiting to hear back.

But these are details darlings.. details....

If this works out it will be epic. We are a fantastic family. We like doing stuff. Going places. Eating tacos on Tuesdays. Any days really. We have a dog. She's fantastic too. We've been taking in kids for four years before we came across you and you.

If it all works out I can promise you this, I am a very loving mom. I have a lot of strong opinions about so many things big and small and can't wait to hear yours! Do you like tomatoes? Are you a fan of sharp cheddar? Do you sing in the shower? Can you do a cartwheel? Would you like to learn? Can you run faster than me? I'd like to see ya try!

But promises... I promise we're not perfect. That much will be clear. I get overwhelmed and cry sometimes. I get to hung up on things. I don't cook very well but what I can cook, I cook a lot of. I sometimes forget small people are just learning, so I pile too much on their plate. Sometimes I let things slide and need to ad just the right amount more!  I'm still learning how to be the best mom. I know you'll both be great teachers! 

I can promise I love Mr. Hall. He is really a great daddy. He's strong and patient. He's funny too. He's the best husband in the world and will show you how to love and be loved little girl. And he'll show you how to be a good husband and dad little guy! Our kids know you're coming, even the little 4 year old. He doesn't know what that means. I'm not sure we do either!

We do know our hearts are open and waiting. We are ready for you. And just like with our other kids, you both are very VERY wanted.

see you soon my cuties!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Revelation of new

Settling into the new job. Super fancy here in the private sector. They ordered me a chair, painted my office and sent my flowers. There is a whole marketing department. That is weird. It's all weird. The work is the same. I see patients for mental health reasons. I prescribe mental health medications. I do what we mental health nurse practitioners do.

Only it's bananas and super hard. At least it was. This organization is BIG. The patients are COMPLICATED. My coworkers are WICKED SMART. All of which forces my growth. Not growing is why (in part) I left my former job. I needed to grow. My brain isn't completely demolished from all the kids. It needs very science and caring things to do in the service of others. Which is what I do at my job.

For the first two weeks I felt very overwhelmed. Felt very exhausted and began to have nightmares. I took ambien for a week straight. I take ambien maybe once/twice a year. I started saying things out loud to Mr. Hall. My scary, sad, stressful emotional stuff. He laughed and hugged me. Because he's happy for me and my struggle.

This is the same Mr. Hall who happily cheered on my contractions during labor. All smiley and RAH RAH RAH!! That's right. He didn't comfort me during labor so much as cheered me on because it was happening and it's awesome. Because struggle is growth and happiness in the end.

So the nightmares and the constant rumination. I would never be without thoughts of what I said  or did at my new office. At night I would dream I was there too. It was no good.  It all broke loose when I went to church on Sunday.

I hadn't been to church in a long while. Holidays/lazy/what have you. But I woke up 5 minutes before the service and high tailed it there. During the singing I reached on up and asked God for help. It was then I had a revelation.

I had forgotten about that up there. God calls whom He calls because we are the ones to do what we are needed to do. I'm not here, at my fancy new job, because I'm the smartest and most capable. I'm here because He put me here. And it will come. The knowledge, the workings, the reasons I'm here will become apparent. All this rumination and second guessing it the evil one shooting me down, coloring my thoughts and he is wrong.

It was a great lift of ugly. Then there was this silence in my head. No more second guessing or reviewing everything I had said and done at work. No more feeling consumed by work thoughts. Just silence. It took some getting use to. It took a couple of nights but my sleep is 99% back to normal. My energy is returning. And all is well in the House of Hall.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

same old, same new

3 big happenings before the Christmas holiday.

1. I'm leaving my job.

I've worked long and hard to get where I am. And now I've been poached because of my skills. People keep stopping by and saying they'll miss me. I feel the same. When you spend 40 hours a week with folks for eight years you tend to get attached. I love this place to a large degree. But I need more growth in my professional skills and bank account. This was my first real job as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. I was just a wee bebe when I came here. It's the house where I grew up in. And even more so, that makes it time to leave...

2. We've a new foster daughter that came 2 weeks ago and she's leaving tomorrow. She was our 10th bonus kid. That's a lot of kids floating away when I think about it.

She  is our 10th bonus kid. I fell in love with her immediately because she is exactly the kind of kid we want to adopt. 10 years old, full of life, ready to bond and she folded right in. If you could see my heart it would look like this right now.

Geez, what a mess. I know this will be super duper hard but I'll survive. I'll heal up but right now, so much sad. I know this  isn't about me. I know she has family that'll be welcoming and safe. But wow, what a mess!

3. MY GYM. I'm breaking up with crossfit.

I got a personal trainer. Breaking up with a gym and it's people that you've been with for four years is tough. But for this, I know I need to move on.

And so no I press onward.

Merry Christmas Y'all!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What if all is not lost?

Got my hair did at the walmart salon last week. As I was checking in, I noticed the little boy's grandma pushing a stroller. The kind where the car seat snaps into the stroller frame. She didn't see me but I approached her.

The little boy was with us for 3 years for some foster parent love. More respite care because his grandma had custody of him and she is older and well, he was a 4 year old boy. She needed help. And M's mom was in/out of jail for stupid drug stuff.

The little boy is here somewhere, on this blog. I think I called him M. Let me go look.

Ok, found him! He's the fuzzy one below.

L-R (M, Mac, River, Pancake) 

Monday, January 14, 2013:

M's Sunday school teacher sent us the following:

"We were talking about family and how we are all different but all
part of GOD's family. That with GOD we can always talk to him even if
we don't see him. It's not like you have use the telephone.

M went on to say this-- 

'My big family that's all together love me all the
time even when I'm not there. Pancake (my other sister) reads to me,
Mac shares his toys, my other baby River smiles at me. My other dad, Pancake's dad,
plays cars with me, gives me snacks, hugs me and tells me he
misses me. Pancake's mom let's me hug the baby and calls me honey.
My other daddy hugs me when I go to bed and never yells at me....he
hold's my hand too and not too hard.'"


It's been a year since M left to live with this dad in another state. Even though we had him for 3 years, I never really met his mom. So when I approached M's grandma, I was surprised to see her, M's mom. The baby in the stroller was hers. It was like a very bitter sweet, but super chill pseudo family reunion steeped in the weirdest of sadness.

I just needed to get my roots done people. Frick if I'm not 40 years old with almost all gray hair. 2 inches of outgrowth is too much. I can't own the gray yet. Plus, I need highlights so only professionals will do when getting my hair did. And I'm cheap so that is what brought me to the walmart salon on that very day.

They, the mom and grandma, say M is still out of state with his dad. They showed me an updated school photo and he looks great. I wanted to hug M's mom and grandma. It's super hard because they are nice and still in pain like me with this kid being gone. He's with this dad but gone all the same. They say M still asks about all of us. I say we miss him. I say we're still at the same address and the same number. If he comes up this way,  then we can see him at any time. All of this was said. We said our goodbyes. Then they went about their Wal-Mart shopping.  

So there I was, getting prepped for highlights on a random Thursday morning, trying not to cry. Sighing super heavy and trying to be all casual because the hairstylist doesn't need a client having a meltdown in the stupid chair. Girlfriend had three other clients after me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A few thoughts on Stranger Things

Shows that have a child in danger as the major plot conflict bug me. I am tired and vulnerable. Kids are my alpha omega and so it's easy to over feel about any kids, even tv kids.

It's not a subtle show. The creators obviously have much love for Stephen King novels and played many rounds of D&D. They also seem like amateurs with their writing and production. It's like they have a nostalgia check list to write about. Banana seat bike, 80s music, corduroy backpack, walkie talkie (check! check! check!).  Don't forget to show the mix tape that the boy's brother made. (Super check!)

This betrays the subject matter which again, is about a boy whose missing. Gone. JUST GONE. There is a girl too. Resplendent with Carrie like abilities. The mine is deep but not explored sufficiently. There is an absolute devastation with missing children. The boy's mother, played by Wynonna Ryder, remains upright and functional. Soon she learns to talk to him through Christmas lights. It's a surface and inconsistent performance at best.

I blame the writing that relentlessly ticks off that list versus creating structure for the world to come alive. The creators underestimate the audience and tell too much. I also blame the actress. I don't think Ryder runs that deep. Plus, she's not a mom. What vault does she have to store complex emotions?

There is a cop in the show too. It's the same problem though. The creators are relentless with pulling up that list and using a cheap plot device (the cop had a daughter that died) to make us feel something for him. It's not a terribly complex character but the actor does what he can do.

I can say the kids are the best part of the show. I love the girl. That was the only scene were I loved Ryder. When she's in the pool and Ryder is comforting her like an actual mom. That read right. I honestly felt unsure if I could do that. Not comfort the girl but send her searching for one of my kids knowing it would be harmful to her. This bothered me.

The overriding issue that since all of this has been done before, how to make this series without repeating the master's material? It can be done. Walking Dead is a zombie show. Millions have been before. Game of Thrones has elements explored before as well. But everything can be done in a new way.

The key is to make everything smaller. Tighten up the place and characters. Use only what is needed and let go of wanting to show. Leave loose ends and inconsistencies. But we shall see, here's hoping the writers stop with the relentless checklist and get back to framing a world and characters that are real.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sperm donors, foster to adopt and the spaces in between

So here we are, in the spaces in between. No bonus kids at this point. Just me, Mr. Hall and our bio three. We are ready for more and waiting.

It's a weird space.

My friend is getting sperm injections. She's single, over 35 and done with waiting for a dude. By all accounts, this method of growing one's family involves a lot of doctor visits and people touching your hoo-ha. It also seems super expensive.  She has enough capital to cover three tries. The first one didn't work.

I didn't think it was going to work. It's almost like forcing a pregnancy with these injections. The magic is sucked right out of it, it seems. I have very fond memories of regular sperm injections from a loving husband and even then it took forever.

Now she waits to start another cycle and more injections are involved. Hormone injections. She had asked if I would help her and I said no. It was hard saying no. Super dupa hard.  But for so many reasons I said no.

I'm not skilled with injections--I haven't been a real nurse like that in over 10 years.
I don't want to screw it up.
If things go wrong, I don't want her blaming me.
She's sensitive to needles and has had reactions (nausea, passing out) before and I don't want to be there if that happens
Hormones make women crazy, these hormones anyway. I don't want to be part of that crazy.
The rest of the crazy I'm ok with.

But maybe I'm not. I harbor judgment. It's ugly and I have no right. But I like to hear kids having two parents. She is purposefully creating a life without a Dad there. And it's ugly how I feel because I know what it is to long to be a mom. The crazy of wanting more kids is strong in me. 

I know..I know.. go ahead and judge me. I'm not that good of friend for her right now.  

I've made my peace with her leaning on me. My heart will break for her if it doesn't go as planned.  I'm here for her in many different ways. Others are all gaga over her process. I'll let them do the injections.

but.. yes.. this is  ugly...

I think it triggers my own pain. Long time readers know the miscarriages I've been through. Getting pregnant with my third child was an ordeal. I've healed quite a bit but it'll always be there, the pain. Like a river that ebbs and flows. Just like all the women that have miscarried.

My friend does have a plan b.. if the sperm injections don't work... its to foster to adopt.

Which is where we are now. Starting our journey anew as they say. We are sufficiently recovered from our past foster hood excursions. Mr. Hall wrote the social worker and gave conditions on what we would like to do next. On what we are looking for. Conditions on age and such. Conditions! So up front that man. But, you get what you ask for I guess. NO need to beat around the bush. We don't want to be baby sitters and don't want to travel super long distances. We have space for one more at this point.

So here we are, the spaces in between... 

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