What I was supposed to be doing today – Daily thoughts 7.11.13

When Jacob proposed to me in April of 2012 I didn’t immediately start thinking about wedding ideas. We were just so happy to be engaged that we were enjoying it. After about a month, we started throwing around ideas and places and dates.

We both preferred an even numbered date to an odd numbered date — I don’t even know how that one came up — and we wanted the date to mean something more, to have some significance to us in our personal lives. When I suggested that we get married on my Great Grandmother’s birthday, I expected Jacob to scoff and say that we couldn’t do that, that people would think it was silly or worse yet, be upset by it. Instead, the first thing out of his mouth was

Hey, if we do that, our wedding date will be all prime numbers! That will be so cool, 7.11.13! Lets do it!

I explained that I thought that my grandma would have loved for us to celebrate with her in that way, and he agreed too (but liked the prime number thing more.) So that was the date we set.

But then comes in that darn ‘ol life, and my back problems started flaring up again, even after I had lost 70 pounds since I had quit working on the ambulance. (The weight was what I attributed and blamed my back problems on.) Dealing with potential back surgery and school and working three jobs just wasn’t working out with our perfect prime number wedding.

It was after one particular nervous breakdown about finding time to plan and make all my DIY wedding things that I have planned, that Jacob suggested that we bump the date back, saying I shouldn’t be so stressed out about something that was over a year away. I was immediately relieved, the stress just *poof* magically disappeared.

Well today is that year! and today we were supposed to be getting married under the beautiful  towering white pines of Preachers Grove at Itasca State Park.

I know that there is no way we could have pulled off putting everything together with our busy schedules, but part of me just wishes that I had tried a little harder, pushed a little more. I feel like Grandma Roberts would have told me to “snap to it” with a grin on her face.


Lillian (Carbert) Roberts – Known by most now as “Grandma Lil”

She would be 102 years old today. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use something she taught me. The one thing I wanted more than anything was for her to see me get married and to hold my first baby. But celebrating my wedding on her birthday was the closest thing I could do.

I’m sad that I’m not getting married today, I’m sad that I can’t hear one of grandma’s jokes that she would mumble under her breath, usually just loud enough for my trained ear to hear her, when she thought no one else could hear her, even if it was at my expense — usually about being a “young’n.” And I’m the most sad that I can’t sit at her little brown formica kitchen table that sat over the brown 1970s carpet that spanned the length of her kitchen, listening to the Obituaries and “Information Please” in the mornings on her little black radio that was forever tuned to the local AM radio station.

People come into our lives, and we know that they can’t stay forever, but one of the biggest things I learned from Grandma Roberts wasn’t one of the many things she actively taught me — like how she taught me to spell Mississippi and Minnesota when I was three years old. The biggest thing I learned from her was that we should really cherish the time we have, and not to waste time with things that don’t make us happy.

Grandma made me very happy. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw her. And even though I’m not getting married today, on her birthday, I know that when I do get married (in less than a year from now) that it will be a very happy day because I am marrying my best friend, the only person I have known since Grandma who knows what I’m thinking before I say it, and sometimes before I do.

After some internet searching, I found this eulogy by my great-uncle Herb Roberts, Lillian’s son. 


Putting my foot in my mouth – Daily Thoughts 6.28.13

So this last week I have had two instances where I have wanted to put my foot in my mouth and take back something I posted on a social media site. The first is this facebook status:

I love nature, there is nothing more romanticizing than sleeping under a thin sheet of canvas as the weather rips the sky apart over your head. The power you feel is so connecting, very kami.

Well that same night, not even two hours later, a tree was blown over on top of my car. (This was around 2 a.m. Friday, June 21, 2014 in Sibley State Park near Willmar, MN)

Liza under a tree


Now this week, I posted this post about putting the past behind me and forgiving myself and my old profession for my back injury. Well…here is why I need to put my foot in my mouth for a second time in one week.

For the last year and a half I have lived across the interstate from the main base of the ambulance garage in town. About every 20 minutes we are blessed with the sound of sirens as the giant metal boxes scream out of the garage toward a patient in need.

At first, it bothered me a lot because of my aforementioned stress about not being able to continue in my career as a paramedic. I seemed to convince myself that every siren I heard was a personal attack on me and my inability to lose enough weight or be healthy enough to not sustain an injury. (Keep in mind I am aware of the statistic that 1-in-5 EMS professionals are taken out of the field by an injury within their first four years on the job.)

But last week, before I came to the realization of my last post, I applied for an opening for a paramedic educator at this same ambulance garage. I have assisted with classes in the past, and have taught many CPR classes. I know that my only way back into working as  a paramedic is through an ER job, which are few and far between, or teaching EMS classes.

Today, I met with the director of EMS education to talk about working as an educator through the ambulance’s high paced, very active EMS education center.

I was offered a full time job teaching paramedic courses right on the spot — and this wasn’t even an official interview, I just came to meet with this woman and talk about other possible teaching opportunities.

I was so excited that I started asking a million questions and I think I scared the lady I was meeting with. I wanted so badly to say yes to that job. Tuesdays and Thursdays and one weekend a month? Yes please!

I was so conflicted, I finally had a change of heart, had forgiven myself and my old career after years of upset, and now here I sit, trying to figure out if I want to go back into the profession.

I was so honored to have been offered the job, but after my hesitations with school and my other 3 jobs (one of which I would have quit, I like to be busy, but I know now how to not over-do it), I was offered a job teaching CPR classes.

I’m still conflicted. I think CPR is one of the most favorite classes that I have taught because CPR is the most basic things you can know to save a life, but also THE most important.

I say I’m conflicted because I just decided to work on what I’m calling “My New Life” as a journalism student. But I think I was too hasty when I said it was time for me to put the past behind me. I have a chance to help people again, and while I wont be saving lives directly, I could be saving lives through teaching others to save lives. What a great experience and a wonderful opportunity.

A mentor of mine told me “Isn’t it funny how good luck and bad luck seem to run in streaks?”

I am definitely on a good luck streak right now, I’m going to keep a positive attitude and see how far I can go.

Putting the past in the past – Daily Thoughts 6.25.13

Two months ago I hobbled, almost being carried by my fiance, into the neurosurgeon’s office and was told that I had to have spinal surgery.

I cried.

I was so afraid. I was in pain. I wasn’t myself.

Today, I walked, with my head held high and a spring in my step into that same neurosurgeon’s office. I am six weeks post-op, and this is the best I have felt in about a year. 

Besides some back stiffness from sleeping on a futon — who’s back doesn’t hurt after a few months on one of those? — this is the best I have felt in almost a year.

I have so many angry and upset emotions over this (see my previous post ‘Modern medicine can’t fix my broken heart‘) and I think I am finally ready to put all those feeling in the past.

I have never ever been a person who can hold a grudge. I usually tell people how I feel right up front and then forgive and forget. Sometimes it bothers me that I can’t hold grudges longer because even though I don’t like to be angry with people, there are a few times in my life where I wish I just could stay angry. I always forgive or just move on. Sooner or later, usually sooner, I find myself being nice and wanting to help this person who has jilted me. I get hurt all over again.

With this back injury, I didn’t have a person to blame. I certainly couldn’t blame the patient I was helping when I hurt my back. That person was much worse off than I was, even after my back injury.

So I blamed the profession.

Up until about three hours ago, I was still in this two-year-long anger cycle, a love/hate relationship where I was filled with hatred that I couldn’t work as a paramedic anymore, but I loved the job so much that I wanted to continue working even though it ruined my body, and in turn, my spirit.

But walking out of that neurosurgeon’s office today, I feel good. I am happy. My back is great, and I have a new profession that I am finally ready to fully embrace.

I am sad that I can’t work in the back of an ambulance anymore, but all of this heartbreak that I have been unable to let go of for the last two years — even though if it were a person I was angry with I would have only been able to hold the grudge for two weeks at most — I am happy that I am finally able to get this burden of anger out of my mind.

More importantly, I finally feel ready to jump head-first into journalism. I feel that I have only been dipping my toes in to test the waters. I am excited to see where this goes. I am finally excited to give it my all.

Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard on what I have already written for the student newspaper and for my classes, but I know that I can do better, I know I have been holding back. I feel ashamed that I have been holding a grudge so big that it has kept me from really going out and trying, especially when I have encouraged so many others to go out and do things, while I am cowering in my mind.

So here’s to my better back, better body (just being able to walk properly over the last six weeks, I have lost 10 pounds) and a better mind.

I’ve been away

I had a small surgery on my back to fix a problem I’ve been dealing with for two years. So far my recovery has gone pretty well, a few minor bumps, but I have been blessed to have what I consider to be a pretty good recovery.

The only thing I am allowed to do is walk  and lay down. Sitting is discouraged because it puts a lot of pressure on the lower back.  So I walk a lot and I lay around a lot more than that, and I feel like a shut-in because I am not allowed to drive.

My lovely fiance has been wonderful in helping around the house — making me food, doing dishes and laundry — he has been awesome. But the one thing he hates is driving. And the one thing I hate is being cooped up in this little apartment. But I am allowed to drive now, it is just very painful to sit in my car, so I mostly stay home.

I have many plans for some future projects on my Crafty Insomniac blog, most of them experiments for wedding decorations. As soon as I am able, I will be back with some fun paper-craft experiment tutorials!

I hope you are enjoying the lovely spring-ish weather. I had a lovely walk in the rain this morning. 🙂





Insomnia – Daily Thoughts 5.2.13

It is almost 5:00 a.m.

I am still awake. I do not like this.

Luckily, I am still awake because I can’t find a position to lay in without having pain.

“Luckily? Why does she say luckily?? That sounds miserable!”

Yes, it seems strange, but I say that because I am glad I am not awake due to insomnia

When I was in high school I had insomnia — legit insomnia, doctor diagnosed blah blah blah — I would be awake, laying in bed wishing and praying for sleep. Usually finally falling asleep around 4:00 a.m.

Looking back, I think it was more of an anxiety problem. I would lay awake thinking about anything and everything my brain could come up with to keep me from falling asleep.

Tonight is much the same. I am sitting, walking, pacing the hallways of my apartment, waiting for my surgery, wishing tomorrow was the day, but I’m also anxious.

I am really afraid of this surgery.

I am afraid because, as in most cases of every surgery, the surgeon cannot definitively say “I’m going to do this and it’s going to help you.”

I’m worried that something is going to go wrong in the middle of the surgery and they are going to have to do a spinal fusion. Fusions in your low back are one of the worst things you can do. They almost always make your problems worse by transferring the problem to the disks above and below the area that you had fused. And guess what the only treatment is for that pain? More fusions! Until your whole spine is fused and you are unable to bend or twist your entire back. And even then there is a possibility that you will still have the same pain you had in the first place.

I am getting a little irrational, but when you are up at night and there is nothing to do but try to fall back to sleep, your irrational fears and worries invade your mind. It’s a horrible battle to get rid of them, the only thing that seems to help is the morning sun. Leaving you dreary and tired to face the day.


Letdown – Daily Thoughts 4.30.13

One of the biggest problems that I have been dealing with lately is a feeling like I am letting people down and feeling like I am letting myself down.

I feel guilty that I cant work in the trucks anymore. I feel ashamed, like my old co-workers look at me and think I’m a failure. I feel bad that I can’t be as involved in my classes as I would like because some days I simply cannot walk.

I know it’s silly, I know that all that kind of thinking does is ruin me, ruin my attitude.

Sometimes I feel like there was something I could have done to prevent my disk from herniating. I feel like maybe I did something to deserve it, or maybe it happened to prevent me from something worse.

I lay in bed at night and think about ways I could have prevented my back injury. The longer I think, the more abstract and ridiculous the ideas become.

“Well, if I would have just stuck with one of the millions of times I tried to lose weight, then this wouldn’t have happened … Maybe if I was just stronger, when I was lifting the cot, my back wouldn’t have spazzed out … If I never became a paramedic or got interested in EMS … If I would have applied myself more in high school and found something else I liked to do … Maybe if I hadn’t jumped off of the swings at the playground so many times … If I was born in May instead of June …

The longer I think, the crazier it gets.

Now just to be clear, I know that this is all absurd, nonsensical and even comical. But as my Mom would say, I inherited my Dad’s penchant of worrying about things that don’t matter. Mix that with my unhinged, creative imagination and scary things start to happen.

What I am really trying to say is this; If, over the next two weeks, I am acting strange, extremely quiet,  anxious or just seem down, it’s probably because I am worrying about letting you down, or something else equally silly.

Also, thank you to all those who have sent me happy thoughts, messages and emails. I appreciate them!

Thoughts on long engagements – Daily Thoughts for 4.29.13

It has already been one year since Jacob asked me to marry him. I cannot believe how fast time has gone and how much we have accomplished together in the last year.

Jacob and I after he popped the question!

Jacob and I after he popped the question!

For a while I was kind of mad that we weren’t getting married sooner, especially because our original plan was to get married this summer. But the stress just got to be too much with my back problems and school and work. There just wasn’t enough time and I didn’t posses enough sanity to plan a wedding.

I really think it is for the better though. We have been through a lot together and Jacob really has seen me at what I hope is the worst shape I will ever be in. He has been so amazingly supportive.

When I told him I wanted to start crafting more and open an Etsy store (which would mean working less at my regular job but more at home and less income), he was behind me 100 percent. Now that I need to have surgery he is looking for another job to support us on top of managing our apartment building and his other job.

Some people have asked us why we ‘don’t just get married.’ I always give them the excuse that I am really busy with school, and it’s not really an excuse, I am very busy with school and work.  Of course I want to be married, but really, what’s the rush? We love each other and Jacob is my best friend. We already live together (Ahh! The sin!!). But why rush?

We are just enjoying life, enjoying being busy with things that mid-20-year-old’s do. Honestly, I don’t thing being married would change that, but I always find that things happen when they are supposed to. Also, Everything always works out in the end. I think that too many people rush into things before they are prepared for it. For now we are just enjoying life, living it up, finding out who we really are and what we really want to do with our lives. In a year and a few months we’ll be married, and I can’t wait.

We just fit together so well. I am so thankful to have him in my life.