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.