Monday, June 18, 2012

Consider the Lilies  This is a beautiful song. But I don't like watching their faces.

Well, I’m getting married in 13 days! Before you think that’s what this blog entry is about, I want to say that people have a lot of different reactions when I tell them how soon it is. Some people say, “Whoa! That’s so soon! Are you ready? How many people are you preparing for? Where are you getting married?” etc.  Up until yesterday, my answer for these questions has been, “I don’t know.”
Now, it's true that I’m a pretty Type B personality, and people generally can tell I’m laid back, but when I’ve told people I don’t know what’s going on with my wedding, some have become almost angry at my lack of “control” over what will happen. I especially have enjoyed discussing my wedding plans with people who I know are control freaks. These are my Type A friends who don’t let their 3 year olds out of the house unless they have their shoes on the right feet, pants on frontwards, and absolutely, under no circumstances, in a (gasp!) costume. They are also careful to arrive to everything 10 or 15 minutes early and think the sky is falling if they’re later than that, even if it’s a very casual meeting with a friend.
If you’re Type A, I don’t mean to make fun of you. And if you’re dying to know about my wedding plans, we got temple clearance, and it will be in the Portland, Oregon temple on June 30th at 4:00 PM, and we’re not having a reception. The only thing really up in the air is we don’t know if Jeff’s kids will have permission from their mom to be sealed to us by then.

Are you more comfortable now?

There have also been some things going on at work where it’s clear that some people really seem to need control, and have had a hard time delegating certain tasks to others. I’ve been wondering why I feel so laid back about things, why I don’t really have a drive to plan my wedding to the last gritty details, and why I’m totally fine walking through a grocery store, calm and expressionless, with my irrational, screaming toddler dragging his feet behind me. And why I send my little brood of kids outside alone all the time. . . NOT to a fenced backyard. Why can I stay at a park for HOURS relaxing and playing with the kids and totally lose track of time, while other moms I know are on a tight schedule and tend to get anxious about all the tasks they’re not completing at home? I think other people think I’m weird, negligent.

I think, in my 32nd year, I have discovered a spiritual gift of mine. I TOTALLY understand and take to heart this scripture:

3 Nephi Chapter 13 (from the Book of Mormon)

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the atwelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to bminister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, ctake no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than draiment?
 26 Behold the afowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the alilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
 29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if 
ye are not of little faith.
 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
 32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 33 But aseek ye first the bkingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. aSufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

Now, it is clear that Christ is not telling us to just be lazy and not work. I mean, these are his 12 apostles he’s talking to! If you think they didn’t have a huge work to do, you are wrong! But, for me, He’s putting things in perspective. What happens if I spend my day focusing on HIS work rather than MY work? So, dinner doesn’t get made, so we have nothing to eat. BUT, the kids are in good spirits, I throw PB&J at them, and they feel calm and secure, having been treated with love and consistency all day long. And, I feel the approval of Heavenly Father.
Okay, here’s a much more serious one. . . What if I take the kids to a nature park and let them run WAY ahead of me, so I can’t see any of them anymore. These are my lilies of the field, how they grow! They are feeling nature deeply, like animals. They are doing what children have done since the beginning of time, instinctively exploring and learning through their natural environment. One of them gets to a street crossing, isn’t watching, and gets hit by a car. I think a lot of people freak out at this point. I would freak out too, but for a shorter period of time. A lot of parents would blame themselves, and I honestly would not.
People, in general, think they can control everything. Look how we build these huge, tall skyscrapers. What a feat! How advanced we are! Look how we can take bare earth and turn it into THIS! Then there’s a tsunami and the skyscraper and everyone in it dies.
In the case of one of my kids getting hit by a car, how do I know that wouldn’t have happened with me watching, or that it wouldn’t have happened the next day in a different circumstance? Parents are SO JUDGMENTAL of each other. Sometimes bad things just happen, and it’s nobody’s fault, and there’s no need to place blame, it just is. Recently, there was an almost-two year old who drowned upside down in a clothes washer in a matter of minutes while his/her mom was doing something else. This little toddler was “helping” his/her mom do the laundry. I cannot tell you how many people I heard tisk-tisking this mother and blaming her. Are you kidding me? A mom involving her toddler in the daily work of the household? This is one of the best ways to teach and spend time with your kids, and help build their confidence. This is a bad thing that just happened, and I applaud this mother who was doing everything right. Incidentally, the people I heard bad-mouthing her were people who have never had children.

We are a society afraid of death. In nations where low-risk births are routinely done at home with a certified, trained midwife,  infant/maternal mortality rates are WAY lower than in the U.S. So why, in the U.S., do we freak out if we hear someone’s having a home birth? Why do the grown children of elderly cancer patients keep pushing for their parents to have yet another chemo regimen that only makes their parents sick, emaciated, and miserable for 3 more months of life? Sometimes death is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Personally, I want to go out clothed like the “grass of the field”, trusting that there is something better, more peaceful, more beautiful on the other side.
And how we grow from experiencing the hard things of life! If you think of a time when you’ve really had to forgive someone. . . someone who did something UNSPEAKABLE, did you understand life better through that experience? Did you understand God better through that experience, and your relationship with Him? If you’ve felt incredible physical pain, don’t you have compassion and understanding for those who have also experienced that kind of pain? We are often afraid of the hard things in life, and they keep us from living life fully, and even normally, as it was meant to be lived.

I think my gift is that I can understand this scripture. I’ve had some really hard things thrown at me, and I came out of those things stronger, with greater understanding, and with LESS FEAR. The scriptures tell us we won’t be given anything we can’t handle. I take this to a really primal level. I get really frustrated if I have to try to force or control something. My head gets hot, I’m irritable, I say ridiculous things. It is when I give up control that I feel free and at peace. I feel like I really could handle ANYTHING, including the death of a very close loved one. He has promised that He will take care of me, and He has, and I believe Him.
This has all been mind vomit. I don’t think I closed even one of my arguments.  I just think we need to live fuller, simpler lives where we trust each other more, blame each other less, and trust Heavenly Father the most. There is no need to put every thought or person into a category. Most things and people just. . . are. The way things are, are the way they’re supposed to be. No need to squish and force and confine them. My wedding will happen, no matter what, whether I freak out about it or not.
I don’t worry because I believe “all these things will be added unto” me.

 Jude, almost ready for the day

 Eddie and Jeff (Jeff is the man I love)
Leila with her new cousin, Amelia (born in May 2012)
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some quick details

Well, I don't know how many people actually still read this blog, as it has been MONTHS since I posted anything of substance, but I just want to say a few things about this amazing man I'm dating. Here are some things. . .

1) He received a testimony of the truthfulness of the LDS church while kneeling in prayer in a privy (nose toward toilet paper, not urinal, he will always add) in the middle of a sandstorm in Iraq in 2003. He was in the army for 9 years. We met in church.

2) He has 2 cute and lovable children, Eddie (5) and Leila (almost 4) of whom he has full custody. It is awesome to see this tough military guy so soft and nurturing and loving with his children.

3) He is a sculptor of wood and stone and is getting his BFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

4) He is, most definitely, without a doubt, heterosexual and is freaking hard-core. We share an interest in getting off the grid and living as local as possible, as well as an interest in outdoor survival skills.

5) He is manly and knows how to build stuff/ fix stuff

6) He plays the guitar and figured out the mandolin in about 2 minutes flat.

7) In true Hilary tradition, he is almost 2 years younger than I am.

8) I knew he was a keeper when he said he would run the Cascade Lakes Relay with me this summer. He is a generous boyfriend, in that he doesn't mind running as slow as I do. That, my friends, is true love.

9) Maybe the most important thing is that he completely loves and respects me exactly how I am. He accepts me and Jude as a package deal and is committed to our comfort and welfare. I have never felt so sure of anyone's love, and I feel totally cherished and protected with him.

I hope that answers some questions, especially the question, "Where is that Hilary lately? I haven't heard from her in a couple months now!" Naturally.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'm in love with Jeff Harris.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some Summer Fun

So far this summer, we've been to San Diego to visit my cousin Keriann and her family; and Utah to visit my mom after she got off the Navy hospital ship where she was a humanitarian nurse. So, here's some pics!

My awesome friend Karly took me to this cactus garden in Balboa Park in San Diego. I couldn't get enough of this interesting cactus!
Jude and his cousin Hazel. I think Hazel is about 9 months older than Jude, but the age difference does not come between their mutual interest in the book Cinderella.

Dave & Jo's family and me and Jude took a drive to Seattle to see my Grandpa Farrer who lives in an assisted living "institution" (as my grandpa likes to call it). Jude was very impressed with the size of Great Grandpa Farrer's house!
We picked strawberries. Well, David and I picked strawberries while the little kids removed the flags and then stuck them back wherever they wanted. They were causing confusion and delay.
Then it was the 4th of July. We all went to the Hillsboro, OR parade, and Jude got this free flag which he was obviously ecstatic about. I really loved that parade! There is something wonderful about participating in local patriotism!

Here's Jude at the "car store" which is our mechanic shop. That's Tim sitting next to Jude in an old Ford Mustang that sits in the middle of the waiting room. . . this is a BRILLIANT idea for entertaining kids while your car gets fixed. I cannot say enough good about Phoenix Autoworks. If their family had another son, I would promptly marry him and count myself lucky to be part of that family. I love them so much, and clearly, Jude feels at home with them too.
We stayed at "Hotel Kartchner" near Boise on our way to Utah. It just happened to be the weekend of the Richard Kartchner family reunion and Robin and Briton were staying there too on their way back from Utah. It was a HUGE COUSIN PARTY and we rented this gym full of trampolines. Only one person broke a bone, which I think was a small miracle considering how big our family was!
We made posters for my mom and Aunt Marianne the night we picked them up at the airport. Jude was helping us by providing entertainment.
We wrote a clever poem on that second poster. It says,
Roses are red, violets are blue
Cruise ships are nice, but the Navy's okay too.
My mom had no idea Jude and I would be there, and I think we surprised her real good!

We went to the "Dinosaur Skeleton Museum" with both of Jude's grandmas and had a wonderful time :)

This is Heaven to Jude

Okay, and secretly me too.

We played with my cousin Nichole's family up at my Grandma Kartchner's cabin in Provo Canyon. That creek was moving really fast this year! Here is Nichole handing out rocks to the children to throw.
More fun at the creek. Jude inherited that thing from me where he has to urinate when he hears rushing water. He didn't make it.
6 little cousins on the porch swing!

We met up with Brian and Tiffany at the finish line of a trail race Brian ran. He placed 7th in his division and won a pair of awesome running shoes in the raffle. Jude was just there for the treats.

There is more fun to come! We're running in the Hood to Coast relay in the end of August, and basically my whole family is busily training for that. We're also going to the ocean tomorrow. It's a rough life when you don't have a job!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here is the Truth

I was technically fired on June 30th. I have never been fired before. I have never even been considered for firing before, and I am left here, shocked, and wondering what in the world just happened? I have been working at OHSU, a humongus trauma I hospital here in downtown Portland, OR. I got hired on the adult oncology unit as an RN, with the understanding that I had 6 months to prove myself a good fit, and if I didn't make the cut, I would be "dismissed".

"Thank goodness I got a job so quick!" was all I was thinking when I got hired. "I'll just stay here for a couple years until it's time to go to grad school. I can do ANYTHING for 2 years." Or so I thought. At 3 months, my manager pulled me into her office, flatly told me all my flaws as a nurse, and told me she would fire me at 6 months if I couldn't "pull it together".

Here's where I think something's wrong with me. I think many people would look at this confrontation as a challenge, an opportunity to prove what amazing super nurses they are. Not me. I developed the strongest anxiety I think I have ever felt in my life. I suddenly felt like I couldn't ask other nurses for help because it would get back to my manager that I wasn't confident enough on my own. I felt like my manager had planted spies around, to keep an eye on my every move, and sure enough, she had! I would get called into her office to discuss something I had forgotten to document or a complaint from a neurotic patient, and other things that happen to just about every nurse. It is frustrating for me to think about these things. Why was I singled out so much? Why was it okay for another nurse to entirely miss a patient's temp spike, but it was unacceptable and grounds for firing for me to wait 30 minutes to notify a doctor about the same event?

I really do just feel picked on. My manager is a really closed, private, respecter-of-persons kind of woman. I am pretty much exactly the opposite. She saw my transparency as a weakness, a lack of confidence, while I view it as a strength and a sign of honesty. She told me she was dismissing me because she had to "make decisions based on patient outcomes." Here's something interesting. . .

In my head I was thinking, "What negative patient outcome have I personally, directly caused? When have I hurt a patient or done harm?" Then there was the phrase that often pops into my head when someone says or does something shocking to me. I said to myself, "What the hell?" I know that the answer to these questions is that I haven't done any harm. Everyone has gotten what they needed from me and all my patients have been safe. But my manager sees me as a threat. I am too open for her and it makes her think I'm a wild card, careless and unpredictable.

I was about to say these things out loud. I was about to make a beautiful rebuttal, but I stopped. I had already done everything in my power to defend myself in our previous little meetings. I always ended up feeling attacked and not listened to, like my word was not as valid as the person's who had reported me. So this time, I said nothing. Why would I defend a job I don't really like or want? A job that makes me miserable and feel belittled and scrutinized? I realized this job was not the right path for me. I have never felt as bad about myself as I have at this job. I was taught to feel guilty about things that were clearly out of my control, and I was blamed for things that were not my fault.

Am I a failure for not fighting tooth-and-nail to stay on this unit? I don't know that answer. I know I should not give things up just because they're hard. Is it fair to say I've had a lot on my plate since January of last year? I loved my sister-in-law, Miriam's blog post where she said,

So many critical moments in my life have been delayed. Like when John, one of my best friends from kindergarten through college, got killed in an auto accident. A year and a half later as I was walking down a wooded path, near the Genesee River in almost the exact location where I had seen fireflies for the first time, I started crying and it was finally for John. I talked to Matt Meyer about that after another friend passed away. Matt said that it was just that I was trying to survive and when the pressure let up a bit, I would finally deal with those emotions. The little parts of me screaming in fear and sorrow would out from quarantine to be tended to. He was right.

First of all, Miriam is so very eloquent. Second of all, I think that I have been in survival mode. Finally, it all came to a head, and I realized I could not hold it all together anymore, and I gave up the fight for my job. Can I put a time limit on how long it should take for me to deal with my grief? My own real quarantined emotions have finally erupted, and I could not handle the stress level of my hospital unit. For now, I can't function at the same level of acuity as I could when my life was stable.

It is really hard not to compare myself to others. I know there are incredibly strong single moms out there who work full time and build fulfilling careers and their kids are brilliant and inventing things. I don't know how to do that. Where do I even start to learn how to do that? I feel dysfunctional and broken. Where is my success? It's not in my family, that's for sure. Jude is addicted to watching movies and youtube because I have to get stuff done. He's started these screaming fits where he just cries and screams, "I want my daddy" over and over again. Any musical talent I once had has fallen to the wayside in my efforts to survive. In high school I had advanced English teachers tell me I could make it as a writer, and as you can tell from this post, I haven't had the focus to build that talent. I guess I am just moping, wondering how I am supposed to reach my potential when I'm so busy just surviving. Yet some people are able to do it, and excel at their talents in the face of adversity. I feel like I am neither successful at home nor at work.

One bright side is that since I don't have to go to work anymore, I can be more present and hopefully successful with Jude. We will just be poverty-stricken and not have health insurance.

Thanks for listening to me. If anyone has some uplifting advice or helpful things to read, I'd be interested in them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cooking and Other Sundries

This will be pretty quick. In short, I am doing well. I'm now working full time on the adult oncology floor at OHSU, 3 12-hr night shifts per week. This last week I was sure I had either breast or stomach cancer. Then I thought it was a peptic ulcer, then I had a bout of diarrhea and determined it was simply a virus that had to work its way through (without being too explicit!). So, now that that's over, here are some pictures! Dave, Jo, and I recently took our three boys to the zoo. Jude's favorite thing at the zoo is riding on Dave's shoulders.

I thought this picture was kind of funny for some reason. They look like they're waiting to get jumped or something.

Isaac and Jude are usually fighting, so when I saw them being nice to each other, I thought I would take advantage of the moment, and I told them to hug each other, while making the motion of hugging myself. So, they just hugged themselves instead.
Then they got the hang of it!

Jude made us some dinner tonight. It was his first time cooking. Notice the soup had to be Toy Story soup. Also, I let Jude pick out our microwave. There was a stainless steel one, and this red one, and there was definitely no question which one we were taking home.
Here he is pointing out a noodle shaped like some Disney character.

Jude was being the "Jurtain in the curtain" (from a Dr. Seuss book), so he couldn't really see from behind the curtain, then he came running out full-blast and ran smack into our table with his right eye. At least that's the story I gave CPS. And why is this underlined and blue?

Dishing up

I knew having a child would pay off eventually. Now I never have to cook again!! Ha ha!

He also asked me to dance with him today. That just means running around the living room and me throwing him around in the air while listening to music, but I thought it was nice that he asked.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (and I am tuckered out!)

This is what Jude does when I tell him to smile for the camera. I understand him so well. It is tricky to smile on demand when you are pretending to be happy you were born December 28th, when every other kid in the world also gets new and exciting toys and books. Poor Jude. And poor me for having to throw together Christmas AND a birthday party in the same week. . . a really AWESOME birthday party, I might add.

So, here's what's been going on. . .

Jude got to go see the REAL Santa this Christmas. This Santa is not just your basic overweight smelly guy with a fake beard who needs a job. This is the real Santa, and he happens to have a reception area at the downtown Macy's in Portland. He has a REAL beard, and is exceptionally good and gentle with children. This being Jude's first exposure, I didn't want to force Jude to sit on Santa's lap, so we just did a walk-by. Jude stopped right in front of Santa and said, "Hi Santa". To which Santa replied. "Hi". And then he just talked to Jude very kindly for a minute and asked, "What do you want for Christmas?" Jude replied, "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" (which I translated for Santa). As we walked away, Jude said, "Bye Santa" and the jolly fellow said, "Remember, Santa loves you." Jude then said, "Yup."

Jude has been obsessed with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He knows the whole song and often asks me to sing it with him. When he heard it come on in different stores, he would start running around and singing it as loud as he could! It has been a joy to watch him catch the Christmas spirit. Another thing he learned this Christmas is that "Baby Jesus lives in a barn with camels," and other important tidbits of information.
Jude really liked this snowman at Macy's. As usual, he has on his stoic picture face.
Dave, Jo, and I took Joseph, Talmage, Sydney, Isaac, and Jude bowling on the 23rd. I think that was brave of us, because we basically had 3 2-year-olds to take care of! They may have gotten hurt, but no one died, so I would call that a success.

Sydney found another use for the hand-dryer

the arcade, Jude and Isaac
Christmas morning was somewhat anti-climactic. Jude and I slept over at Dave and Jo's. Joseph woke up at 5:30 AM and got the ball rolling, even though no one else wanted to be awake. Jude was more stoic than usual, I think because he was tired out of his mind. But he played with his new train set FOREVER before looking to other presents, so I know he loved it! The other big Christmas present was a Buzz Lightyear with pop-out wings, noises, lights, and spoken phrases.
Have you ever seen such serious faces?
Isaac and Jude playing with Jude's toys, or rather, studying them closely, coming up with hypotheses about them.
Jude was the first to discover there was sugar on the other end of his helicopter. The other boys quickly found their sugar as well.
Joseph and Isaac's tent and tunnel
It was fun to go back to Robin's to see what the Barker kids got for Christmas. Sydney is secretly my favorite Barker kid. I mean, how could she be any bigger of a free spirit?

On the 28th, Jude turned 2. We had an AMAZING birthday party for Jude, and he shared the party with Sonia, one of his friends who turned 3. We reserved the church gym, made a 3-lane race track, and told all the kids to bring their Big Wheels and tricycles. Then we just set them free with basically no structure except a couple of organized races. It was just perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers, and the parents were glad to get their kids out of their houses and let them run wild.
Jude got this cool Lightning McQueen Big Wheel for his birthday, and he barely got off it during the party! Also, thanks to Briton who assembled it in 1/2 hour right before the party! I started assembling it the night before, but my long skinny phillips screwdriver is in storage, and Briton didn't have one skinny enough, so he borrowed one from his neighbors the morning of the party and had it put together JUST as Jude walked into the gym! Phew! Thank goodness for good men who cover your back when you over-schedule yourself!

We had a little "pool table" for the kids to fish stuff out with fish nets
But they mostly just used their hands
Sonia's mom, Karen, is a professional baker and chef (hooray!), and took care of all the food and birthday cake.

Check out that train cake! Karen threw this together in 2 hours. . . INCLUDING the gluten-free, allergy conscious chocolate car! BEAUTIFUL, and perhaps the most beautiful part is that I didn't have to bake! There are serious perks to being friends with Karen!

The girl taking a bite is Sonia. Her mom offered her the option of having an all-girl tea party birthday, and without hesitation, she chose the Big Wheel party instead! Atta girl!
Here is Jude showing off his blue tongue

Great party!

If you are wondering what we did with the left-over cake, ask Robin.

I like how little kids bowl. This is Talmage gitting 'er done!