Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life right now

Life right now is pretty darn sweet. I feel such contentment with how things are going with work and life and love. I am LOVING working days. It has only been three weeks but I can already feel the difference with how much being fully rested has helped me cope with the moments when, lets just say I am not feeling content:) We are settling into our new routines and so far, I think we are all happier with our new normal! Time to read, to work on homework, time to be up without passing out on the couch on my nights off!
I have just begun to orient with my team and my new position but so far I like it. Palliative care allows for thoughtful conversations to take place. It is very different from the ER in many ways but it is good. I was worried how I would feel about being in the hospital during the day after two years of the night shift but its been a nice change. It's nice to have other social workers around to talk to about certain patients or situations that are difficult. I am not naive to think that there will be no bumps in my road. I know I will make mistakes, and I am ready to learn, everyday , ways in which I can be the best palliative care social worker I can be.
The kids are focused on one thing right now...FLORIDA! We leave in 29 days (whose counting?) to go to Naples, Florida to spend a week at my parent's condo! We have many fun things planned including a dolphin tour, a major league baseball team training camp game, beach and pool trips. The kids can not wait to fly on a plane! I am excited to escape this winter hell and feel the warmth of the sun and be with my family.
My 40th birthday is 28 days away! 40! I am not afraid of 40! I feel for the first time in a long time, that I am finally getting my shit together. Like I said earlier, I am content. I love my husband, I feel so lucky to be married to a man who know everything about me, including some pretty ugly truths and mistakes, and  yet he loves me still. Being able to share my fears, my mistakes, my struggles with someone who gets it and gets me is something I certainly have taken for granted over the past few years. Jeff and I have had an opportunity through a series of situations to realize that at the end of the day, we get each other and we love each other. I have seen my quiet and reserved guy express his gratitude, love and support of me in some surprising ways over the last year.
Life can be hard at nearly 40. Life is usually about my kids, my patients, my husband. But, I have realized there are so many blessings in having people who depend and love you. There is such comfort in being married to a man whose known me for 20 years.  There is such hope in his continued faithfulness  and grace he has extended to me and our marriage. There is joy in being able to provide comfort for patients and their families in their darkest hours. I am blessed beyond measure.
Who knew that a fully rested Susan Simpson would be a happy and grateful girl?!

Monday, February 16, 2015


I feel like Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season came quickly this year. I just read a great article that a friend posted on Facebook about Lent. The article spoke about the importance of not only sacrificing and learning to go without, but to also look forward expectantly to the redemption of Christ. I love this time of year to  have an opportunity to spend more time prayerfully considering what my faith and Christ's sacrifice means to me. I tend to have lofty aspirations of all the ways I will change and grow throughout the days of Lent. I almost always fall short. This year, the timing of the Lenten season aligns wonderfully with my new schedule and the freedom it has brought me.  Although I work full time, I have already found that I am able to accomplish so much more with my time away from work. It is amazing what being full rested does for me. I often wake up around 5:30 a.m and I have loved having the time to enjoy a cup of coffee and usually I waste a lot of time reading blogs, checking my email or Facebook. I plan to devote this morning time by reading a devotional and simply spending time with God. I am leaving it relaxed because right now I just feel like God and I, we need to just BE with each other. I suspect if I show up, God will undoubtedly do the same and surprise me with what He wants to say to me. We've been acquaintances for awhile now, and I miss feeling that connection that daily meeting with God brings me.  My work has certainly made my thoughts of God never far from my mind. Working amongst the sick and the dying, especially when it is quick and often traumatic, brings my thoughts to the spiritual and religious aspects of life almost daily. I feel like my lack of discipline when it comes to working on my prayer and church life has only hurt me. As I have said before, God is always where He has been, right here, most likely shaking his head at this girl. Jeff and I have talked about recommitting ourselves to weekly church attendance. I would love to do a Lenten study with the kids. I want to be realistic about what is possible but not lazy or use busyness as an excuse to let these next weeks go by and end up the same person I am today.
I am hopeful and prayerful that once again redemption is mine for the taking, after all, isn't that what Easter and my faith is all about?

Saturday, February 07, 2015

All you need to know about eating healthy lies in nasty half and half....

I love coffee but I may love half and half even more. I would rather have the real stuff in my coffee and forgo other goodies. I use it regularly in my coffee and so I have never worried about it going bad. At the beginning of last week I was sure I was coming down with the stomach flu. After I had my coffee I just felt off. All day this feeling continued. I even called Jeff and said that the way I was feeling was reminiscent of the horrible morning sickness I experienced with all three of my pregnancies. Jeff was horrified at even the mention of another baby which for all intensive purposes can not occur anyways. As the week went on I continued to make coffee and use my half and half and then feel sick. You would think at some point, EARLIER in the week, I would have put two and two together,  that maybe the half and half was bad ,but nope!  You see ,that's why I had to get off third shift, I walk around in a fog unable to discern that there was a direct correlation between the cream and feeling yuck. Finally, on Thursday, I thought, you know maybe it is the half and half? I took a smell and oh my lord..horrible. I can't believe it wasn't curdling in the coffee, that's how bad it was. I can't believe I never actually got sick and just felt nauseous.
I immediately threw away the container and bought some fresh half and half and you can bet I will be smelling that stuff everyday to check for freshness. This situation had me think about the healthy changes I have made to my diet since June. I am still doing my diet but admittedly was "off the rails" for a large portion of the holiday season. Amazingly I did not gain any weight and am continuing to lose, although if I would have stuck to the protocol of the diet, I would be at my goal weight by now! There were several times over this period of eating poorly that I have felt yucky. Ever since my surgery, if I eat too much sugar I have what I call, "blood sugar attacks." One of those attacks is exactly what caused me to become faint on my first day of work in the ER! You would think sustaining a concussion and stitches would make you realize that you need to fill your body with healthy fuel. But, as I continue on this journey, I am realizing that for me, eating healthy and making the right choices is a daily, sometimes minute to minute struggle. Once I go astray I tend to take the attitude of, "Well, to hell with it! Bring on the queso!" The metaphor of the creamer resonated with me because I literally felt horrendous when I was putting something "bad" in my body and as soon as I figured it out there was NO way I would have ever had another cup of coffee with that creamer in it. Yet, when I eat other "bad" foods, I justify it.
I met with my weight loss coach last week and felt encouraged and proud of myself for getting it together enough post holidays that I am down overall. I am motivated to push on to my goal weight by May. I  have my fortieth and Spring Break as well as my cousin's wedding to keep me motivated and my eyes on the prize. Mostly,I think that realizing and owning that it will always be a struggle for me to do the right then when it comes to food, is my biggest accomplishment. I realize without changing how my brain thinks about it all, my actions will go back to what I have known my whole life.
Of course there are many life metaphors in all of this too. To take each day one day at a time. To learn from my mistakes and realize what is "bad" and what is "good" and just how much is in your life? What are you doing that is adding value? What am I doing that is detrimental to me?  To seek to make the best decisions I can, to give myself some grace, and sometimes to realize I am doing the best I can and that is all anyone can really do.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


Two blog posts in the same week, what is going on?! Lots on my mind, that is what. I have only one night left at my job in the ER. I can't even think about it too much because I am so, so sad to move on from what will certainly be one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. But, as I said in an earlier post, this change is needed for our family. I am excited but nervous. New people, new challenges, new patients, a new level of social work practice. The kids will have to adjust to more daycare, which they will be the first to tell you, they are not thrilled about. The weeks will be crazy as we adjust to these changes in the morning and afternoon while still having the craziness of our winter sports to contend with.
There are lots of good changes to look forward too as well. Sleeping at night, every night! Being able to go to hockey and soccer and all those other sports. Cozy Sundays at home. SLEEPING AT NIGHT!:) I think the kids will get used to after care and I am hopeful that we will find a great nanny to help us out this summer. Jeff will certainly like that I am not exhausted and able to help more with the routines of homework and bedtime. I am sure there will be some hiccups, and maybe a few tears, but six months from now I hope and pray that we will all say, this is better, this is good, this was right.
And if not I know one thing for certain I will forever be grateful that once again I am SLEEPING AT NIGHT!(Can you tell I am over the moon about that change?!)

Monday, February 02, 2015

Lucky thirteen

Jeff and I will be married for thirteen years this April! We met each other in 1995, March 31st, was our first date. It did not end well. Many years of chasing, by me ensued, and I finally landed my guy in 1999. Seventeen years with this guy. I have written before in this space of how I naive I was about marriage. I thought I had it all figured out! Oh, what a foolish girl I was. Thirteen years, three kids and lots of life has happened to us as a couple. Again and again, I am realizing how blessed beyond measure I am. Jeff gets me. He knows me better than I know myself and is fiercely loyal. He is the calm in any storm we weather, the voice of reason when his wife wants to lose her shit, the perspective I need when I am weary beyond thinking past today. He has supported me through graduate school and the last two years of working nights. He has never complained about the additional work my job has demanded of him. He is the best father around. Our children are so blessed to have such a dedicated, loving and patient man to call their dad!
I have always teased Jeff about his ambivalence about music. I love music and have always laughed at Jeff's light rock taste! The song we danced to at our wedding was Marc Cohn's True Companion. I really haven't given much thought or even heard the song much in the past thirteen years, but as I wrote this post, the song came flooding back to me. As I listened, I realized how perfect it was, thirteen years ago and now. I am fortunate to be married to my true companion.

Baby I've been searching like everybody else
Can't say nothing different about myself
Sometimes I'm an angel and sometimes I'm cruel
When it comes to love, I'm just another fool
Yes, I'll climb a mountain
I'm gonna swim the sea
There ain't no act of God, girl
Could keep you safe from me
My arms are reaching out
Out across this canyon
I'm asking you to be my true companion
True companion, true companion
So, don't you dare and try to walk away
I've got my heart set on our wedding day
I've got this vision of you girl in white
Made my decision that it's you alright
When I take your hand
I'll watch my heart set sail
I'll take my trembling fingers
And I'll lift up your veil
Then I'll take you home and with wild abandon
Make love to you just like a true companion
You are my true companion
I got a true companion, oh, true companion
When the years have done irreparable harm
I can see us walking slowly arm in arm
Just like that couple on the corner do
Girl, I will always be in love with you
When I look in your eyes
I'll still see that spark
Until the shadows fall
Until the room grows dark
Then when I leave this Earth
I'll be with the angels standin'
I'll be out there waitin' for my true companion
Just for my true companion
True companion, true companion
Thank you Jeff for being my rock, the calm in the storm, my true companion. And, today's cheesiness has commenced! :)