Monday, June 29, 2015

book launch: Living an Alive Life! by Tara Schiller

I have the privilege and honor to have guest blogger Tara Schiller here today, on a very exciting day for her! Today is the launch of her book, Living an Alive Life!  Tara is an author, life coach, business woman, and mom of four who will help you discover your true self, and live your life with purpose.  In Living an Alive Life, Tara shares her life experiences as she provides valuable exercises to help you discover how to live life fully as the person you are intended to be.  Please take the time to read Tara's post here, and to visit her blog, Absolutely Tara.  Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that I discovered it is ok to be selfish.  (I was surprised about it too!).  I had several AHA moments as I read Living an Alive Life, and I know you will too!  Read on, and learn how  you too, can life life fully.  (You can also follow @taraschiller on Twitter.)

From Tara:
If I could tell you one thing, it would be that you are amazing. And that you are absolutely and completely worthy of love for anything and everything that you are. I’d tell you that all those parts of you that you feel are ugly, bad, or worthy of shame, are in fact, what makes you so uniquely beautiful in the first place. Because you’re interesting. You’re full of character, and emotions, and life.

If you could see your heart through my eyes, you’d see perfection alone. You’d know that anyone who didn’t love you was completely out of their mind, and you’d feel sad for them because they missed out on something great in their lives by not knowing you.

But even if I told you these things, would you believe me? Would you take it in and protect it with your life? Maybe for a minute.

The reality is, most of us aren’t able to see ourselves this way. We’ve gone our whole lives being told what makes us accepted by others and what drives them to reject us. And since our mind is wholly devoted to protecting our heart, it has produced an acceptance gathering projection so we can feel loved.

But the problem is, we don’t just want to be loved, we want to be known. Being known is what connects us, not only to others, but to ourselves.

The mind doesn’t like that idea, because it can’t control how others react to our true hearts. It can’t create a good and bad master list and ensure we behave accordingly. And if it can’t do that, it won’t be able to protect us from rejection. The mind hates rejection. And so we aren’t known by others, and we aren’t in touch with who we truly are.

How do we overcome this? How do we retrain the mind to value the truth about our hearts over the acceptance of others? That’s what my book is about.

In Living an Alive Life, I focus on retraining the mind to value your true self, then turning those discoveries into something real and tangible with an actionable plan, and dealing with the emotional obstacles that will surface along the way.

If you go through this process and learn to value your truth, you will be able to live a life that fits you, not one that you’ve been told you’re supposed to live. And when you can become who you truly are, you will come alive. And an alive version of you will leave the world in awe!

-Tara Schiller

Friday, June 19, 2015

life, washed down with cherry garcia

These thoughts go hand in hand with #FridayReflection prompt:  Reflect on the following quote: "Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got." - Janis Joplin

When life throws me a curve, I head for my standby coping  Lately it's been music from my past, and last night it was the Grateful Dead.  I decided I needed some ice cream to add to my cope plan (that is my weapon for extreme emotional punches to the gut).  And my go to flavor is Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. I grabbed some, and then spotted my newest coping obsession beckoning enticingly from a shelf on my way out.  I swear I didn't intend to do it, but suddenly they landed in the cart.

So last night was a time for ruminating, minimal communication with my family to keep them in my loop, and just vegging with music and a sugar high.  Because let's face it, the Grateful Dead still effing rocks, and Cherry Garcia slides soothingly across your tongue.

Along with a big ahhhhh of a bite of Banana Hostess Twinkies, a new flavor in a cake that is as big a part of my past as the Beatles, Disneyland, Santa Monica Beach and on and on.

And I realized as I slurped, chewed and listened, that what is happening is a bump in the road, and not a mountain. So it is time to deal, and move on, not to whine or worry.  Time to focus on the present, and let the rest take care of itself.

Sometimes, when you are grateful to be alive, all you need is the Grateful Dead in your ears, and some Cherry Garcia to wash it down. is good with a little cherry garcia on it...  ~cat
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Saturday, June 13, 2015

rubberband man

Two weeks ago I opened my closet door, searching for the lightest material I could find. It had to be light as gossamer, and not add one ounce to the scale when I stepped up at the doctor's office. I knew jeans would add at least a pound of fake weight, so I dug through sweaters, tops, pants, jeans, searching...searching...beginning to feel desperate.

Then I saw it. Tucked back out of sight, never worn because it had always been too clingy. Too revealing of bulges and bumps I didn't want on display. The dress. Just a simple navy, scoop neck knit. You ladies know the type of dress I am talking about. I twisted my lips as I wondered if I could get into it. Then I lifted it off the hanger and my decision was made.

It weighed about 2 ounces. Perfect. If I could just squeeze my ass into it. I went to ask Wretch if she had a slip I could borrow. It had been so long since I wore a dress that I didn't own a slip. Wretched Daughter handed me a slip as she uttered the fateful words:

"It's a slimming slip."

That should have clued me. The key word was slimming.  I didn't have time to think it through so I grabbed the slip and headed to the shower to get ready for work. That is when the fun began. I learned some valuable lessons as I struggled to get this piece of spandex hell on:

1. Never put on anything spandex while your skin is still damp from a shower. It sticks like glue and refuses to budge.
2. Never use lotion before putting on spandex for reason #1.
3. Never EVER put it on over your head.  STEP into it.
4. Once you have put it on over your head, you are trapped.

It was nice and soft and stretchy when I was holding it in my hand. Once I got it over my head and under my armpits, it turned into a boa constrictor. It rolled up firmly under my armpits, and refused to budge. I couldn't reach it to pull it over my head, and I couldn't unroll it to pull it down.

I was stuck. At that point, I got a bit panicky, and started to sweat like a pig. Which made the boa constrict tighter. It began to feel like I would die, and end up with a rubber band buried up in my armpits.

I pulled from the front. Then realized I was pulling the bottom of the slip out over the top and it couldn't roll down. Not even one inch. I tried to unroll it from underneath, but it decided that it wasn't going to budge that way either. I tried to reach behind my back and pull it down from there.  Nope. I tried to pull the whole nightmare of a slip off over my head. Nope. By then my body was swelling from having the blood flow constricted, and it was buried even deeper into my flesh, if that was possible.

I was running out of time and made one last effort. I grabbed the front of the slip and yanked on it like I was pulling down a shade. It hesitated, then suddenly unfolded. I rolled it down my thighs, and then stopped to catch my breath.

Suddenly it felt pretty good. Or maybe it was that I could breathe again. I slid my dress over my head and looked down. Bumps, bulges and odd spots all under control. It really was a miracle slip. Wretch cautioned me that it wouldn't remold me (dang it) but that it would smooth me.  It sure did. I felt like a tire with a new tread. Today was going to be great, I could just feel it.

I drove to work. When I got out of my car, I realized that the rubberband slip was going to let me know all day who the boss was.

Because every time I sat down all day, the backside of the slip slid up and cupped my behind. I spent the entire day feeling like my ass was in a sling.

All that effort to save 6 ounces on the scale at the doctor's office.

The dress went in the garbage when I got home that night. The slip is still embedded in my skin.'re bound to lose control when the rubberband starts to jam... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

sex, drugs, and rock & roll

#Friday Reflection prompt: Reflect on how it's important to make the most out of life.

Several weeks ago Wretch noticed the Steve Miller Band was going to be performing  in concert  in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in June. I told her to book three tickets and we would drag Stevie Wonder along to it. We'd missed the Magic City Art Connection and Corks and Chefs on April 26 because SW decided to break his pacemaker that weekend. We gave away three tickets so that Wretch and I could spend the weekend watching SW lie in a hospital bed in ICU waiting for a new ticker on Monday.

At the end of May, after a couple months of testing and retesting with mammograms, ultrasound and needle biopsy, I got the verdict. Breast cancer, caught early, and was told the recommendation. Surgery (lumpectomy), radiation, and oral medication for a few years. Not a problem. I was ready.

Then it hit me.

The concert I had waited patiently for was in a couple weeks.

Oh hell no, I thought to myself. I am not missing this concert, or dodging elbows with a boob that is in a sling. I talked to the surgeon, and although my oldest daughter wasn't keen on it (neither was middle sister when she found out later on), Wretch understood where my brain and heart were. With the music. The surgeon assured us I that I would not drop dead if I put my surgery off for 3 weeks.

So I did.

Sunday my ass was sitting in a pool of sweat in a plastic stadium seat heated to oven temps by the 90F setting sun at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. I sipped a glass of red wine in a plastic cup, groped SW a bit, and enjoyed some of the best music from the 70's played by a couple of great bands, now old farts like me. (Steve Miller is 71.)

And damn, they can still play.

Some things just get better with age.

...rockin the good life... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Thursday, June 4, 2015

make it snappy

Truth is stranger than fiction. It's a fact that I am blind as a bat without my glasses. I wear contact lenses.  There is a small period of  time when I remove my contacts, and before I put my glasses on my face, when I am blind and lack depth perception.

Tonight I took my contact lenses out. I reached into the cabinet, got out my glasses in their case. What happened next is what caused the chain of events below.
I opened my eyeglass case upside down.

My eyeglasses fell out, headed for the ceramic tile floor (brand new glasses by the way).

I grabbed at the glasses with my left hand to catch them before they fell to the floor and got scratched (only you eyeglass wearers can appreciate my panic).

As I grabbed with my left hand at my glasses, I reflexively closed my right hand.

Eyeglass case in my right hand (spring loaded closure) snapped shut with a loud crack.

On my right nipple.

I screamed and yanked.

I'm still afraid to open the glass case. 

I think my nipple may be inside.

...make life snappy... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

why we eat our young

Someone recently told me something that disturbed me deeply. It was something I had heard before, but I chewed on it this time for a while and have been pondering about it since. It involves human nature, and behavior. This was the story:

"A young woman recently graduated from nursing school, and went to work in one of the larger hospitals in one of the largest cities in the state.  She was hired in as a new grad nurse in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and was excited and enthusiastic about being a nurse.

Her joy was short lived however.  The staff treated her so poorly, and were so rude and unhelpful, that eventually she quit, and now works as a nurse in a non-nursing position, away from the bedside nursing she had dreamed of doing."

Two things disturbed me about this. The obvious thing was her maltreatment from her peers. It isn't the first time I have seen this happen. Over the years I have watched nurses who are rude to the nurses they are training, who don't have patience to take the time to give them the guidance and support they need to become excellent nurses. They often do this because they feel they don't have the time to spend training and mentoring due to their own workload (this is another issue I will talk about at a later time), or they just don't have the skill to teach. Not every nurse is cut out to be a teacher/mentor.

The other aspect that disturbed me is the administrator who hires a new nurse and puts her in a high stress area to work, where extensive, expert skills are needed to keep a patient alive, straight out of nursing school. A nurse does not begin to even understand her job for the first six months, and functions at a very basic level. The book that brought this home to me and taught me a lot about the stages of experience for a nurse was a little book written by Dr. Patricia Benner, From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Practice in Clinical Nursing Practice.  In simple terms, it takes 2 to 3 years to reach the third, or competent, level of nursing doing the same or similar type of work.

To gain experience in an ICU, you have to work in one. This is where it is important to choose the proper preceptor for a new nurse hiring in, give her a workload she can handle with the added responsibility of training a new nurse, and monitor the relationship to make sure that it is the right fit for both nurses. I have to say that in 20+ years of being a nurse in many different areas, I have never seen this happen. EVER.

As I heard the story of the young nurse's disillusionment and resignation from her job, I was saddened, and thought of the saying "nurses eat their young". Simply put, it meant we don't take care of the new nurses coming into the profession, but instead throw them in on their own, with little or no support from the experienced nurses. The meaning hit me full force, and I felt anger and frustration. Anger at the nurses who didn't bring this new nurse on board, and support her as she tried to gain her footing in a highly technical, stressful job. Nurses too burned out, too overworked, too see this nurse as the future for all of us, not only nurses, but also patients. Someday those nurses will be patients in a hospital, and facing the same kinds of attitudes they displayed. I wish it wasn't so, but I fear it will be.

The ultimate responsibility though, goes to hospital administrators who don't encourage a different culture of training and mentoring for new nurses. Who think of nurses as a disposable commodity, with access to a never ending supply. As long as nurses are thought of this way, this type of behavior and treatment will go on.

It doesn't happen everywhere, on every unit. But to lose even one new nurse, full of enthusiasm and desire to care for people, is a tragedy. One we will all pay the price for, ultimately.

Let's stop eating our young. is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter