When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“Man plans, God laughs.” — Yiddish proverb

 

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As the image above shows, sometimes things don’t go the way we would hope or plan.

Take for instance, my weekend:

I felt extremely nauseous Saturday morning when I went to work my EMS job.  I made it through the day and eventually started feeling better.  But I felt so bad I didn’t want to eat my favorite breakfast.  Saturday evening when I went to my hospital job, I was exhausted and just didn’t feel very good at all.  Still not very hungry, but I was able to eat.

Sunday, I made it home and slept for a bit.  Still nauseous but it got better after I ate a few bites.  I fixed dinner for work and OMG!!  While the smell of cooking fish has never bothered me, the odor of frying catfish just about sent me ’round the bend.  As I drove to work I experienced an uncomfortable sensation in my right side which worsened as the night went on.  By midnight, I was fairly certain I was headed down to the ER to be evaluated and probably have surgery.

Perhaps it was the continued, concentrated pain in the right side.  Or the fact that I couldn’t sit upright in my chair, instead doubled over, slightly guarding my abdomen.  Or even as I insisted it was “just gas” and tried sipping a soda to encourage belching, I fought the urge to puke.  Physiologically, the cards were stacked against me — I had a slight fever, an elevated white blood cell count and a CT scan positive for a “hot appy.”

Monday morning dawned bright and early and found me to be a patient in need of an appendectomy.  Fifty-one years and NOW the little bugger has to make it’s presence known!  Due to lifting restrictions, I am not allowed to return to my hospital job for two weeks; the EMS job is more willing to work with me in finding ways to get me back on the street.

In the meantime, I am sitting back, relaxing (which is harder than it sounds), reading, catching up on movies, and making plans . . . . and minus one appendix appendage.

Being genuine

“Curiosity is the process of asking questions, genuine questions, that are not leading to an ask for something in return.” — Brian Grazer

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People…  Pyschology…  Sociology. . .

Why people do the things they do.  Act they way the act. Think the way they think.

This has interested me for as long as I can remember.

While I struggle with meeting people and making conversation, I find that having a genuine curiosity leads to an interest that is also genuine.  I’m not one for making senseless small-talk.

Thankfully, that curiosity takes over when I meet new people which is a good thing.  In the field of EMS and nursing both, you have just a few minutes to develop a rapport with someone who is possibly having the worst day of their life.  And trust me, that person can tell whether you are genuinely interested in what is happening to them or if you’re just asking rote questions.

I have been a curious person all my life and my mother’s biggest complaint was that I asked “Why?” waaaay too much.  Even now, patients will present with a complaint such as the gentleman who blew his big toe off while cleaning his gun, and my first question is . . . “Why?”  And if it isn’t “Why?”, it’s “How?”

So here are a few of my favorite questions to ask:

For older couples that are married — How long have you been married? How long have you been together? How did you meet? What were your first impressions of each other? What makes a successful marriage work?

For people about their jobs — How did you get into this line of work? Is this a job you always dreamed about doing or did you kind of fall into it? Do you like what you do? If you could do something different, what would it be?

For kids — What is the best Disney character? Why do you like that one? What’s the best toy you own? What do you like about it? What’s your favorite subject in school? What’s your least favorite subject in school? Who’s your favorite teacher and why?  What do you think you want to be when you grow up?

For MY kids — Do you know I love you? How do you know I love you? What’s your favorite memory of something we’ve done together? What’s your favorite vacation we’ve taken? If Momma won the lottery, what would you want to buy first?

The questions are endless and when you lack a filter most of the time, I have no problem asking the questions.

Doing What You Love

“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want.  Take a job that you love.  You will jump out of bed in the morning.  I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume.  Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?” — Warren Buffet

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There comes a sense of contentment then, that you have found the job you love when you look forward to going to work.  You enjoy the time you are there, and you enjoy when the job is done and it’s time to go home.  Yet you still look forward to going back to work.

And that is where I am at right now.

It was a bit nerve-wracking after a 5 year absence, but . . .the routine, the joy of meeting a need, and meeting it well, even the paperwork . . . it all came back to me as if it were yesterday.  Talking on the radio to give a patient report en route came as naturally as if I’d never been gone from the field.

And I am happy.

Cheese, Bacon and Jalapenos

“People want honest, flavourful food, not some show-off meal that takes days to prepare.” — Ted Allen

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If you know me . . .

If you’re reading this blog and you don’t know me . . . .

You may start to get the idea that I like food. I like to cook. I like to feed people.

This is a red-letter day for my staff at work tonight! One of our nurses, Miss Amy, had gotten hurt about a week after I had surgery in March and is just now able to return to work. As with every celebration, there has to be food! And it just so happens that since it is Amy’s return to work, she got to pick the food.

You cannot go wrong with jalapenos. Stuffed with a mix of cheeses and spices and wrapped in bacon. And then baked to crisp and gooey perfection.

Cheese Stuffed, Bacon-wrapped Jalapenos

  • Servings: 32
  • Difficulty: easy, but lengthy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 16 medium sized fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 2 lbs. bacon

Directions

Combine the softened cream cheese, grated cheddar cheese, paprika and garlic powder, stirring until well blended. Set aside. Wash the jalapeno peppers. Wearing gloves, cut the top off each pepper, removing the stem. Slice each pepper in half lengthwise and using a spoon, scoop out the ribs and seeds. Remove your gloves and wash your hands. Preheat your oven to 425. Scoop a bit of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno, spreading to fill each half **. Taking a slice of bacon, wrap the jalapeno in a spiral, starting with the end of the bacon at the top of the pepper on the skin. (See video below) Place in rows on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 425. Turn oven down to 400 and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Line a 13 x 9 pan with paper towels and stack the jalapenos to serve or transport.

** If you have a cake decorating tool, such as the one pictured below . . . you can easily pipe the cheese into the jalapenos rather than spreading it on with a knife. Or, you can just use a knife.

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This little baby is the Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus Cake Decorating Tool which you can find here on Amazon for $7.99 as an add-on to any Prime order. I can’t recall actually decorating any cakes (maybe cupcakes) but using it to make the filling for deviled eggs, or filling my jalapenos . . . definitely.

I’m sure it works great for decorating cakes too.

Fried Chicken Woes and Workarounds

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” — Anna Thomas

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love a batch of crispy, homemade fried chicken. KFC comes close, but it’s not the same as homemade (as in I don’t want to leave home to go get it.)

Unfortunately, I have never been able to master the art of frying chicken.  I’ve been assured time and again that it isn’t difficult, but I beg to differ.  When I fry chicken it turns out one of two ways:

  • Either done near the bone and burnt to a crisp on the outside, or
  • A nice golden brown on the outside and raw pink meat on the inside.

So KFC gets my business.  However, the closest Kentucky Fried Chicken is 30 minutes away when you live in the boonies.  This is not always feasible for dinner especially when it’s cold by the time you get it home.

BUT . . .

I have found an alternative to frying chicken that I can perform reasonably well and that is “Oven Fried Chicken.”  Much like the Shake-n-Bake concept from when I was a kid, this involves mixing the seasonings and flour in a bag and then shaking the chicken pieces in it and baking them.

Oven Fried Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2.5 – 3 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken (thighs, drummies, wings, breasts, your choice)
  • 1/2 c. white or wheat flour
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.  Place butter in 13 x 9 pan and place in oven to melt while preparing chicken.  Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.  Combine all dry ingredients in a gallon-size zippered bag, shaking to combine.  Place 2-3 pieces of chicken in the bag, seal and shake until chicken is coated with mixture.  Arrange in 13 x 9 pan filled with melted butter.  Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated and placed in pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and turn each piece.  Bake an additional 30 minutes and remove from oven.  Let cool 5 minutes and then place chicken on paper towels to drain.

As is the norm, these days with the warmer weather . . .

There we all were, gathered on the porch with our plates in our laps.  Feasting on chicken, asparagus with hollandaise sauce and riced cauliflower.  Easy summer days with it’s easy summer ways.

Profits, Loss and Potential

“There are more ways than one to measure profits and losses.” — Randy Pausch

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When I do my staff evaluations, I like to ask them four questions before I hand them their written evaluation:

  1. How do YOU think you’re doing?
  2. What do you LIKE about your job?
  3. If you could CHANGE anything about your job, what would it be? . . and
  4. If you could do any job in the world you wanted, what would it be?

The evaluation is already written and signed by me.  It is sitting on the table or the desk in front of us and I will not add or subtract from what I have already written. This (I hope) lets them know I want and value their feedback to help our team function better.

The last question is my favorite and I actually like to ask anyone and everyone that question.  Call it a personal-hobby-sociology-experiment if you’d like.  If we aren’t doing the job we dream of doing, it leads to more questions.  Why aren’t you doing that job? What would it take to be able to do that job? How bad do you want to do that job? How can I help you find ways to work towards that dream job?

As a supervisor, part of my role is to mentor, guide, support and teach the nursing staff under me.  I take that role very seriously.  There are plenty of people out there in our lives who either A) don’t care about our dreams, or B) don’t believe we can achieve our dreams.  Without meaning to, these people, be it friends, family or acquaintances, have the power with their words to either build us up or tear us down.

Expectations are rampant in society.  We are expected to go to school, go to college or get a job, achieve a level of pay as high as possible to advance in life to a level of comfort and/or acceptance.  Work for the promotion, work for the raise.  Make a profit.  But at what loss? Is it better to disappoint our parents, our friends or family,  or live with the self-disappointment that comes when we meet everyone’s expectations around us EXCEPT OUR OWN.

Everyone has the potential to be happy, the choice is individual.   The happiness potential is not necessarily tied to the earnings potential.  If you feel stuck in a job or a career that has great earnings potential,  yet you are miserable . . . you dread going to work, you have no sense of purpose other than timing in and out to achieve the paycheck . . . is the earnings potential worth it? Is it okay to put happiness on the back burner?

This is a recent quandary in which I have found myself.  Follow along to see how it is resolving.

Share your experiences below — are you living your dream? Did you have to forfeit anything to achieve that dream? If so, how did your friends and family react?