Wednesday, January 20, 2016

OH BABY!!! Original Artwork/Paintings for Laura Hart by Artist Whitney Madison


I was very blessed to receive a request a couple of weeks ago from one of my sweetest friends. She was requesting that I do the artwork for her baby's nursery--the babe she is still carrying, and making a sweet, loving home for.

This girl and I have some history. She is one of my Labor and Delivery coworkers. She is brilliant, beautiful, and one of the best L&D RNs I know. I was asked to do a painting for her nursery with her first baby--and that was awesome, but I also got to be one of the nurses in on her delivery of her sweet baby boy, and that was the REAL cherry on top!!!

Laura sent me a picture of her nursery, and sent me some ideas of nursery artwork that she liked. She has not seen these paintings until now, so I'm hoping I didn't take too much liberty with color/content/etc!!! These paintings will go in the nursery below. I love the horizontal paint on the baby's wall--and the colors are fabulous!

The following are the paintings I made for this room. I took some liberty and peppered in some light sage greens, soft yellows, and some navy blue highlights to add a pop of color and some definition.

This sweet little elephant blowing bubbles.

LOVE--the reason we live.

And this cute little tree.

Laura Hart--I love you, Beautiful Girl!!! You are an incredible woman, and this baby is such a blessing, but is also SO lucky to have you and your sweet husband as parents (and that awesome big brother!!!)!!!


Please visit my website to view my paintings at

Custom orders always welcome!!!

(:   CHEERS!!!  :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

CHEERS Original Painting by Artist Whitney Madison

Original Painting by Artist Whitney Madison

This is an original painting that I made to CeLeBrAtE my love for LIFE, LOVE, and CHAMPAGNE!!! I think champagne is the the most beautiful, fun, exciting, and BUBBLY beverage, and it is my absolute favorite (besides Fiji water, and Perrier).

There is just something very HaPpY about a delicious glass of golden bubbles! This painting is a mixed media painting on a 12"X24" canvas. The base paint is an acrylic Sahara gold metallic medium, and it is texturized in my signature style.

I used many different shades of gold throughout, so the color variation shifts and is pleasing to the eye. I used authentic gold leafing to accent the hand-sculpted bubbles that stand off the canvas. There are also gold micro-beaded embellishments flecked throughout, and the entire painting is highlighted in a sparkle gloss and high gloss glaze, and sealed for protection. The painting is on a stretched canvas that requires no framing, and is ready to mount directly to the wall.

This painting is perfect for any room, and fun to touch! A classy convo piece :) Celebrate, and decorate with everything you have to be thankful for! Shipping is free in the U.S.  :) CHEERS!!!  :)

(Custom orders are always welcome--just drop a message to me on Etsy in my inbox, or on this site in the messages)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Watch Me Whip, Nae Nae, and Praise the Lord (A Blog About Perceptions of Proper Forms of Worship)


I don't know how many times I've said that statement in my life--either as an expression of relief, happiness, joy, or sarcasm (at least I'm honest).

I usually get really excited to fly home to Colorado, and attend church at my regular church with my children. This weekend was no exception. As I was talking to one of my friends later in the evening, he asked how church was today. All I said was, "OK."

As he prompted me elaborate further, I actually admitted that I was a bit disappointed with this Sunday's service. See, I have attended this church for quite some time--years as a matter of fact. I love my church, and adore my pastors. It's a shall I say..."enthusiastic" church. Some of us are more enthusiastic than others. I enjoy the energy of the worship and praise that happens there, but I have always participated the way that I participate in worship in any other church--my own way. This does not include trying to fit in for the sake of fitting in--either with words, actions, or going through the motions.

So why so disappointed this past week? Since I have been attending this church, I have now counted three times that I have sat through sermons on ways to worship, and sat throughout the service feeling somewhat lectured on how to worship properly (if there is such a thing). This week's topic was about showing praise. I have no issues with praise. It is a great, and intense manifestation of your faith, appreciation, and true acknowledgment of the power of the love and grace provided by God and Jesus Christ. Praise can be very moving, and intensely emotional. Some people are tearful. Others are more vocal with their praise, sometimes offering the quintessential "AMEN!" after agreeing with something that was said during the sermon. Some people sing loud during worship songs. Others look at the words on the big screen during the songs and process the message of those words--which happens to me a lot--I also don't sing if I don't know the words/tune to a song, or if it's a song I've never heard before. Not always ideal, but true. I like to actually survey and process some of the lyrics before I just toss them up to Heaven all willy nilly. ;)

But to come back full circle with the convo here, the topic centered around the idea of showing praise through raising your arms up in the air and using them to glorify and praise God. At the beginning of the service, they showed a video which was actually pretty hilarious about all the different ways you can show God praise by lifting your arms/hands up in the air. The video is below--and it's worthy of watching...

So this video was the precursor to the Sunday sermon. Then the sermon followed. There were at least three to four times where my pastor said throughout the sermon (and I'm paraphrasing), "I just don't understand why people would choose not to worship this way". Then he started to go over possible reasons for not worshiping with hands up in the air and with arms open wide. Maybe people were too shy. Maybe they didn't want to feel silly. Maybe they were too cool. Maybe their arms were tired. Maybe they didn't have arms. Actually, I made up those last two, but I could definitely see that he was perplexed as to how anybody could possibly consider their worship good enough if they didn't go all out, and go through the motions of what I felt was being deemed the only acceptable method of praise. I mean, really, everyone knows if you don't worship with your hands in the air that you are a mediocre Christian, right? It says it right there in John 3:16.5--"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life--unless you believe in Him but don't sing worship songs with your hands in the air, then it's all over."

Please don't confuse my sarcasm with blasphemy--that is not the intent. However, everything after the -- in that bible verse was all made up by me. Shocking, I know.

But the whole thing did make me uncomfortable--just like the previous times I've had to sit through similar sermons. The worship team took the stage at the end of the service, and we had all been heavily encouraged to show our praise properly prior to leaving the service, so if you didn't raise your arms up you were likely going to look like a giant butthead. I felt like it was our last opportunity to prove that we were obedient to the message in the day's sermon. And I didn't do it. I can only count on one finger how many times I've ever raised my arms or hands up in public worship--and that was a very special circumstance that was between me an God.

So why do I have to be such a rebellious jerk face of a Christian? It's actually not about that at all. And if my pastor reads this, he can officially have his mind blown because I'm about to answer the question that perplexed him throughout yesterday's service.

The reason I do not raise my hands publicly to praise my God is very simple--that is the motion that I go through, and have always gone through when I am having my most intimate, one-on-one moments with God. It is private to me, and it is sacred to me. That is the one thing that I have, in the most desperate or fantastically precious moments of my life, that is between me and God--and I'm not willing to start using it for other purposes just because someone tells me I should.

Have you ever had something that was amazingly precious to you? Have you ever had something that used to be precious, used it frequently, and then it became not as precious, or you just use it mindlessly because you truly are just going through the motions? My experience with precious things is that when they get over used they often times lose value and meaning--or as is this case with me with public arm raising and public praise, the sanctity that I have placed on that expression.

 I have no doubt that the people who are frequent hand and arm raisers in my church do it to manifest their utmost praise and worship to God. That's great for them. I'm happy that they worship and praise God in a way that they feel and choose to worship. I'm glad they feel comfortable enough in our church to praise God the way they choose. I only get frustrated when I am "expected" or "lectured" to praise that way, and alluding that anything less than that is labeled as mediocre. That was how I felt after the sermon yesterday.

When I told my friend how and why I was feeling the way I did, this is what I said, "This, in particular, is a sensitive subject for me. That is something I save for my most personal, intimate times with God when I am one-on-one with Him. I am not ever going to let someone tell me or make me feel bad that my worship is mediocre because I don't have my arms up, and I'm not going to let someone steal that intimacy that I have with God to conform to their ideas of worshiping properly."
To which he replied, "Good! You should never feel like you have to put on a show to fit someone else's vision of worship!" Then I said, "I do feel like it sometimes becomes more of a show than legitimate praise." And he replied, "It definitely can become that. I'm glad you are willing to be a rebel!"

I'm not trying to be difficult. I usually am by nature anyway, but in this instance, I am really not trying to be a pain in the butt. However, I'm pretty protective about my intimate moments with God. I wouldn't invite the public to view any of the other intimate things I have done in my life (I think they call that porn), so there is no invite to view my private expressions in worship with God, either.

I think that we can pick, and pick, and pick at ways that we can all do things better when it comes to our church life. However, I feel like we should support each other through our relationship with God--regardless of what that looks like, and regardless of personal opinion about how it needs to be. I  would bet that I am not the only person who disagreed with the topic of yesterday's sermon, and I'm not the only person who didn't throw my hands up in the air during the last songs to conform. I didn't get the lemming gene.

  PS--if you showed up to church yesterday at all, you are doing better than the vast majority of the Christian populous. Just be yourself, and PRAISE THE LORD! ;)

PPS I still love you, my pastors. Just let us get our God groove on our own way, k?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

LaUnDrY dAy!!!!!! A Breakup Blog

I've always been someone who has been somewhat cautious about airing out my laundry on social media. I usually only divulge enough information to keep light conversation going, or show pictures, etc. However, the other day was the first time I have talked more "openly" about my private life on Facebook. I guess I finally just reached a point where I needed to. I needed to bounce some frustration off innocent bystanders--and my Facebook friends delivered.

Actually, I felt much better after initiating the topic of my recent breakup on Facebook. I didn't do it in my actual status, but I did in the comments on my status (so those who were morbidly curious had to dig deeper to find the grit). I had posted a status last week about how excited I was that the Cute Alaskan Man was coming into town and we would be celebrating my birthday (I posted in my status, "I'm going to Disneyland!!!--because while my boyfriend was here I wanted to celebrate my birthday at Disneyland with him). Then a few text messages and a phone call changed everything, and before he ever actually flew here, the follow-up status on my Facebook merely said, "I guess I'm not going to Disneyland." 

I have some awesome, and curious friends, so I decided to elaborate as to why that was the case in my comments--and you responded exactly how I thought you would. Why? Because that is exactly how I responded when told that my long distance boyfriend, who I hadn't seen in over two months, was cutting his 4-day trip to L.A. short so that he could fly back up to Alaska in time to attend his 4-year old nephew's birthday party (the 4-year old that lives 5 minutes away from him, and he sees as frequently as he desires). 

Some of my friends have followed this relationship roller coaster for years. I have been told by multiple people, multiple times that it is time to move on. I'm sure he gets the same thing--nobody has been particularly supportive of our relationship, and everyone has had plenty to say about it--either to our faces, or behind our backs. Perhaps because they don't know the details of the intricacies, and how hard it has been to hold it together in the first place, or because NO RELATIONSHIP SHOULD EVER BE THIS HARD.

The NO RELATIONSHIP SHOULD EVER BE THIS HARD part, is probably very true, and I could've settled with some "easier" guy, ended up in suburbia making him dinner, had a nice double income, and settled for a very predictable life. However, that sounds dreadfully boring, and is totally not my style. I will say that there is part of me that desires that. It's about 15% of my entire being, and I can't talk the other 85% into being that normal. I guess once I lost myself to domestication with my marriage, and became totally unrecognizable to myself in the process, that once I broke free I never looked back. I have always been a renegade of sorts--until I got married that is. During my marriage, even my own sister was like, "What happened to you? I don't even recognize you anymore,"

And it wasn't because I became a Stepford wife. I did have a husband who was a workaholic. I never saw him, and my main form of entertainment was my two twin toddlers. I went through a horrible phase of feeling useless--like I had no purpose in life. I felt trapped. He was hardly ever home, and when he was, he was just a roommate. When the twins got old enough to go to kindergarten, I decided to go back to school for nursing so that I could establish a true career. At that same time, he decided that he was going to go back to school for his Ph.D. in Geology, and then our worlds just parted ways. He had his agenda, and I had mine, and they did not mix, and were not compatible. We had no common goals--we only cared about our individual goals. Nothing was going to get in either of our ways, or thwart our efforts--including one another.

After our mostly friendly divorce, I reclaimed myself. I finally started recognizing myself again, and the strong woman I used to be was back. I never wanted to let go of that. However, although I have not let go of all of it, I have compromised more of myself than I ever wanted to in effort to maintain my current relationship with the Cute Alaskan Man--and there have been many times I felt weak again, and unrecognizable. *blech*blech*blech*

For years I have dated the Cute Alaskan Man--almost 7 to be exact. That's nearly a decade of being with a man who "loves me tons" but refuses to commit to me. I've gone back and forth on the whole commitment thing (ie the idea of marriage again). I had a "commitment" once, and that piece of paper is just that. It's a binding contract that entitles you to half the person's shit if there's not a pre-nup in place. Oh, and it means they will "love you forever". *scoff*gag*hack*splutter*

Back to the Alaskan...

There's always a reason he can't move forward. He doesn't want to leave his family. He loves Alaska. He hates my attitude when he pisses me off, and he doesn't know if he can live with that. The excuses change depending on the immediate circumstance at hand, but there are a million excuses nonetheless.

He recently attended the wedding of one of his friends in Alaska who met her boyfriend online, was a many states away from him, met him in person once, and then married him. Not that I'm saying I would ever want such a circumstance for myself, but in the 7 years we have been dating, everyone has moved forward except for us. It doesn't look super awesome. As a matter of fact, last New Year's we were at his brother's house. His friend is military and was in town for the holiday. He had brought his girlfriend home to meet his parents, and a few months later they were engaged and then married. His sweet girlfriend (upon just meeting me) inquired about my relationship with him. I told her we had been dating for 6 years. She said, "I'm sorry--did you say 6 years?" which I turned to the Cute Alaskan Man and said, "Yes--why don't you go ahead and elaborate."


It's been a bit of a ridiculous ride. Love makes you do stupid things. I've gotten perpetually frustrated with this man, likely broken up with him over 30 times in 7 years, and somehow end up back with him time and time again. I should probably get a CT scan or something to make sure I'm not functioning on a partial brain, or genetic testing to make sure that I'm not developmentally delayed in some way that makes me continue in the same stupid pattern.

It wouldn't be so bad if he constantly wasn't telling me that moving forward with me is what he wants. But I never quite make the grade. The key piece of info that he has left off of that is that he wants to move forward--just not necessarily with me unless and until I am capable of checking all his boxes. This would include, but not be limited to me wanting to be an Alaska resident, have gone through behavior modification courses, and modify my life so that he never has to be "uncomfortable" or homesick.

When he called the other night, I at first was sympathetic to his disappointment that he was going to miss his nephew's birthday party by being here. I told him I understood that he was disappointed in missing the party. Although I understood that he would be bummed out to miss his nephew's birthday party, I also had not seen him in over two months, and this trip was only supposed to be 4 days long. I guess I selfishly felt like I deserved all 4 of those days, and that the toddler could take a number. Especially since this is a 4-year old who will likely not remember down the road that his uncle missed the damn thing, or at the very least, will forgive him for missing it.

Our text conversation continued, and it hit me like a ton of bricks in between texts. I suddenly realized that he was buttering me up. He was using frowny face emoticons about missing the party, and saying how disappointed his nephew was going to be. However, what he was really doing was trying to make me feel bad for him so that he could cut his trip short with me to attend the party. Once he had my sympathy, his next text said, "Oh thank goodness...the party is on Sunday! I can leave early and make it back for'll just be sleeping anyway because you have to work that night." Not a direct quote, but a paraphrase that is spot on.

My head exploded. He just played me. He manipulated me into feeling sorry for him, and was banking on me feeling so sorry enough for him about his little toddler party that cutting his trip to L.A. short became ok. Apparently after nearly 7 years he doesn't know me well. I have a very low tolerance for bullshit.

I got a fiddle. And then I blew up.

In true Cute Alaskan Man form, after I imploded, and exploded in rage, he played victim, and basically said he couldn't ever handle being with someone who could become so "enraged" so quickly. I definitely said some things, but when you have been through what this man has put me through FOR YEARS there are a few things that might roll off the tongue with little, if any effort. And I was genuinely hurt. And I'm tired of him hurting me.

7 years. Within that 7 years I have had to leave the state I love and have had to leave my children as a full time parent because I can't afford to live there on what they pay, and with the inconsistency with my work. I feel like a man that truly loved me would've stepped up, gotten a job in CO, and tried to make it work so that I did't have to uproot my entire life. However, he only offered to move to Colorado one time in the first 4.5 years we were dating--and he showed up with a duffel bag, spent 11 days on my couch, and was so homesick he had to leave. Sucks to have to be away from your family, doesn't it?!?!?! After everything I have been through with having to leave my family for work--cry me a river. I get the missing family thing, but sometimes you just have to be strong.

My job in Colorado went south. I had to find an alternative. I got licensed in California and Alaska--the two highest paying states for nursing. Alaska jumped at my resume first. I moved there. I did not move there for him, but I did move to Wasilla, Alaska to be closer to him. He always claimed one of the reasons we could not move forward was because we didn't know what it was like to date from the same state (we had been long distance dating for 4.5 years). So I commuted--1.25 hours each way, on shitty Alaskan roads, so we could "date normally" for two years. But it still wasn't good enough.

So...IT'S OVER!!!

There will always be an excuse as to why we can't move forward. I told him that one thing he has taught me is that talk, and commitment are cheap.

SO I WENT TO DISNEYLAND!!!!!! (by myself)

I almost didn't, and then I thought--why the hell not??? I just had a birthday. I had no one here to celebrate it with me, and DAMMIT!...I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!! 
(It is, after all, only 35 minutes up the road--which is a new concept to me and kind of freaks me out a used to be a major destination/vacation).

I got to the park, and immediately I felt EXCITED! I felt like a little kid! They have the whole park decorated for the holidays, and this is the first time I've seen Disney during the holidays!...AND IT IS AWESOME!!!

I decided at the gate that I should probably buy a year-long passport. One trip is over $100, so considering my kiddos are going to be here multiple times over the next year, and I will be escaping to Disneyland on some of my days off, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT! 

Then I got in the gate, and found out that all of my parking is now included in my pass, my meals get a 15% discount, and every gift shop item is 20% off. MONEY WELL SPENT! 

I was like a little kid (by myself) all day--only I had no little kids to haul around, so I made some damn good time going around Disneyland! Let's do a ride tally...

*Pirates of the Caribbean X3
*Haunted Mansion X3
*Splash Mountain X2
*Matterhorn X1
*Indiana Jones X1
*Riverboat Ride X1
*Fireworks display X1
*Disney parades X2
  *Thunder Mountain X1
*It's A Small World X1

Not bad for a day at the park!--especially during the holiday season! I never made it over to California Adventure--I thought the winery might send me a get well card or something. Actually, being a loner/loser is the way to go to Disneyland. They have "Single Rider" lines all over the park, and you get in immediately, and IT.IS.AWESOME!!! However, there were three of us girls in the "Single Rider" line tonight at Indian Jones, and as the ride attendant said, "Alright, single ladies, you may go ahead", there was a group of gay men standing in the crowd that busted out in Beyonce's "All The Single Ladies". It was priceless, and made us laugh. ;)

I also think that holding a season pass will open new doors for me romantically. There were a lot of cute men holding doors and gates open for me today. Granted, they all had name tags on and got paid to do so, but nonetheless...

Anyway...I've gone from the most miserable place on earth, to the happiest place on earth ALL IN ONE DAY! I feel kind of bipolar. I think I might go back again today and do California Adventure! Might as well--no sense in sitting around crying in my Cheerios.

Cheers to new beginnings.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

THE KEY New Original Painting by Artist Whitney Madison


I recently read a book that had an entire chapter dedicated to keeping a representation of your dreams in front of you. The idea being that if you had something tangible to look at and remind you of the goal you are working toward, you are far more likely to achieve it because it is at the forefront of your mind.

This painting, "The Key" is symbolic of those goals/dreams. Keys can be such beautiful, and amazing things. Even as babies, our parents gave us plastic keys as toys. They represent the power to unlock, to discover. What do you dream about? What do you need a key to unlock? The words on this painting leave room for you to fill in the blank. Do you need the key for happiness? The key for love? The key for wealth? I personally want a key to a beach house in Kauai--that is what my personal key represents. ;)

This painting is done in a mixed acrylic medium on an 11"X14" stretched canvas. It includes my signature handcrafted frame in a black sequin high gloss. The key is centered on a light sand colored background, and it texturized to stand off the canvas, and fun to touch! The entire painting is coated in a high gloss glaze for protection. The frame of the stretched canvas mounts directly onto nails, and is perfect for any room. Chic, stylish, simple, and intriguing, this painting is certain to turn into a conversation piece. Free shipping is included.

Please visit my online art gallery at to view more of my paintings, or to place a custom order. Cheers! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

California, Here I Come...

I think the actual lyrics to the song are, "California, here I come. Right back where I started from..."

Which is totally appropriate for me because I was actually born in California! Only it was northern California--in Eureka. I think they have a Banana Slug Festival there every year. My place of birth lacks the normal "California" image. But I'm a legit Cali Girl nonetheless!!!

So yes...I'M MOVING BACK TO CALIFORNIA! I moved from there when I was like 3 months old, so they have probably been wondering where I am! How in the world did I decide that I was moving to California from Alaska? I'm glad you asked. So I will tell you.

I left Colorado two years ago, and moved to Wasilla, Alaska. I came to Alaska for work. Work in Colorado was unpredictable and slim--I was being put on call nearly every week. Some of you might ask why that is a problem. When you only work three days per week, and you lose one of them on a regular basis--your bank account begins to notice.

At that time, I was licensed as a nurse in Colorado, Alaska, and California. When work became slim at my hospital in Colorado, I thought that taking a job at a different, busier hospital, would help. So I went to work for one, but it didn't help. And I was put on call every week--again. I knew that I couldn't make ends meet in Colorado as a nurse specializing in labor and delivery. Some of you might say, "But you're a nurse! You could get a job in any area of nursing!!!" True, but the only thing I went to school for was so I could one day specialize in labor and delivery. I would not have gone to nursing school for any other field. I'm not that enchanted with nursing as a whole. I don't enjoy any other field in nursing, and I've always said that if you don't like your job as a nurse, then you shouldn't be a nurse. It's too personal, and your human interactions are too important to not like your job. My calling is labor and delivery--and I LOVE it.

So I had to go. And I had fired off a couple of job applications, and I heard from Alaska first. So I went. Some of you are probably like, "But Whitney! are dating the Cute Alaskan Man! You can't tell us that isn't why you ended up in Alaska!"

Yes, I can. I ended up in WASILLA, Alaska because of the Cute Alaskan Man. But I ended up in ALASKA because I needed a stable job, and they were the first to offer. If I had stayed in Colorado, I would've been eating Top Ramen under a bridge, and my pimpin' ride would've been a shopping cart that I stole from the local Walmart.

Anyway, I moved to Wasilla so I could be closer to the Cute Alaskan Man--who lives in Palmer, Alaska (right up the road from me). But the true impetus for me coming to Alaska was for work. Like Britney Spears says, "You gotta work, Whit!" Actually, I think she called me something else in that song, but it was all about me, nonetheless.

I started my new job in Anchorage, Alaska. I signed a two-year contract. They sent movers, packed me up, and north to Alaska I went! But it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Do not get me wrong--I have been super blessed to work at an amazing hospital, with as many hours as I want, and I have seen some wonderful things, and spent time with the Cute Alaskan Man. But it has been a long two years for me.

You also know that my kiddos were not uprooted to come with me, and consequently, I have worked tons of overtime to make frequent travel between Alaska and Colorado possible. I didn't even know if I would be able to make it to the end of my two-year contract. The first year was horrible for me up here--I cried almost every day. I was SO homesick. About halfway through my contract, I was SUPER homesick, and my ex-husband had just lost his best friend to cancer. All I could think was, "I'm stuck here, and my kids aren't here, and I could die tomorrow--and I just want to be with my family!"

I freaked out. I probably over-dramatized the situation, but the death of my ex-husband's friend really made me do a reality check. None of us know how long we have on this big blue marble. His friend was a divorced, international geologist. He rarely got to see his child, and all I could think was that the same thing was going to happen to me. And I couldn't take it. I wanted to be with my kids.

So I have worked, and worked, and worked, and not done much else this last year besides WORK. This is so I could fly back and forth between Alaska and Colorado to be with my kiddos. Well now my two-year contract is nearly up, and I needed to make my next move. I thought that move was going to be back to Colorado--but a harsh reality check revealed that wasn't going to be the case.

I started researching housing in Colorado. When I left, I was living in a beautiful 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath house. I have twin girls who are turning 13. They have to have their own rooms. I cannot put these two early teen wolverines in the same bedroom--they will kill each other. So, at the very least, I need a 3-bedroom place. I left Colorado the year that marijuana became legal. Due to the influx of people flocking to Colorado since the legalization of marijuana, they can charge whatever they want for houses now--and it has priced me right out of the market to move home. I cannot find a 3-bedroom place under $1750 that is not in "the hood". And that is a huge problem--because wages in Colorado have not gone up.

I crunched numbers, I researched housing, and I figured there might be one hope for me to move back home--so I applied to the highest paying hospital I could find. And I was offered the job! (Yay!) And then the lady who interviewed me told me that I would likely be on call at least two times every 6 weeks (BOO!). And she told me that was the nature of labor and delivery throughout the Denver/Metro area. And I knew it wouldn't work. Apparently people are too busy smoking weed to have babies.

I was heartbroken. The commute between Colorado and Alaska has been brutal. Realizing that I could no longer afford to live in Colorado was a real blow. I had looked forward to nothing else for the past two years. But it was a reality I had to face head-on.

So where to go next? Well, I work for a great company. I want to stay with them. I got on the internal career site for my hospital, and looked up what my options were. I had options in Washington state, Oregon, and California. I don't have a license in Washington, or Oregon (and it's a pain in the butt to get licensed--not to mention EXPENSIVE). So I looked at my options in California. I pulled up a map of Cali, mapped out all the hospital locations, and picked the hospital that is literally blocks away from the beach. SO I'M MOVING TO TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA!!! I put in an application for the position I wanted, and put in a transfer with my hospital, and I am California bound!

Advantages of living in California:

1.) Cheap airline ticket to Colorado from LAX. I can travel there as often as I want.

2.) Surfing

3.) I will be working for a busy hospital and can work as many hours as I need.

4.) Surfing

5.) I can fly my kids out when they have 3 or 4 day weekends from school.

6.) Surfing

7.) I am going to be about 30 minutes from Disneyland, so when the kids come out, we can go have some fun!

8.) Surfing

9.) I will be able to walk, or ride my bike to work.

10.) Surfing

11.) I will no longer have to deal with winter!!!

12.) SURFING!!!

Can you tell that I'm a little excited?

"But, Whitney!!! There are great white sharks in California!!! Aren't you afraid of getting eaten by a shark? After all, the water is colder there, and you will have to wear a wetsuit that makes you look like a seal on your surfboard!"

I've got it covered.

I have been researching shark deterrent surf gear. Some of you might think I'm a Sally if I'm willing to go surfing looking like a zebra, but I'm all over it. From the research I have done, sharks cannot clearly make out banding with their vision. This is why banded fish follow them all over, and they never get eaten. The shark cannot make them out to make an attack.

These are pilot fish, and they swim right alongside the sharks. The way they tested the shark deterrent wetsuits was to place a bait bucket, covered with the banded material, and one that was covered in regular black wetsuit material. The sharks could smell the bait in the bucket, but could not make out the location of the bucket to make an attack on the banded one. Pretty awesome! So you might make fun of me for looking like a zebra when I surf in Cali, but I will be the one who makes it in with all my limbs! ;)

Also, my girls told me they will surf as long as we sport shark deterrent gear. Although I cannot afford the actual brand name shark deterrent suits, I will be adorning our wetsuits with fabric paint, and call it good. The shark deterrent suits are upwards of $450+. I can buy a quality wetsuit for $100 and paint them myself. I will also band the bottom of our boards.

So, YES...MOVING TO CALI!!! And I'm thrilled. I'm ready for a BIG change. And if I can't move home, at least I can move to a state where I can catch a flight, and be home in two hours. Heck--that's nearly my commute to work right now!

"But, Whitney!!! What about the Cute Alaskan Man???!!!"

Look, I've known this man, and he has been my best friend for 15+ years. I've dated him for 6.5 years. We've had some bumpy ups and downs because of the complexity of our relationship, but we also have dated long distance for 4.5 years, and survived. I don't know what the future looks like for certain, but what I do know is that we are capable of dating long distance. He is supportive of my move, and is flying down with me to look for housing. He will remain in Alaska for now. All we are sure of is that God is the captain of our ships. We will end up together if we are meant to be together. Until then, we will be back to dating long distance. Heck, he has been out of state so much for his job the past year--does it really matter anyway? He can work from anywhere, so I'm sure I'll still see him a lot. Not as much as I do now, but we will figure it out.

"But, Whitney!!!! Aren't you afraid of getting subducted into the earth's mantle during an earthquake, or afraid a giant tsunami is going to kill you--like in the movie San Andreas?"

First of all--San Andreas is a strike-slip fault, which means the two blocks are moving past each other vertically. It's simply relocating California in a north/south direction (geology geek moment). I'll either be on the side of it that ends up in Alaska, or the one that ends up in Cabo (let's vote for the Cabo side of things). I'll be fine--unless it kills me. Look, we can't live forever, and I refuse to live my life in fear. If my number is up in a Cali earthquake, at the very least, I hope God let's me die by surfing on the tsunami wave.

Some of you might have seen my Facebook post the other day about buying 7 new bikinis. Now you know why. Time to pack up the snow boots and put them in storage. ;)

South!...To California!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Can We All Try To Be A Little More Humane On Social Media? Check Yourself...Don't Wreck Yourself! (Or Anyone Else)

Oh people. What in the hell is going on in the social media world these days?! Maybe it has been going on for longer than I imagined, but it seems like I have read a lot of crap on social media lately--and I'm becoming very disenchanted with it.

Remember the good ol' days when you thought somebody was a total asshole, and you either had to walk right up to them and let them know how much you thought about them right to their face, whisper it under your breath, or not say anything at all for fear of retaliation and because you're a total wuss? 

Well guess what? Now you can fly incognito under the radar with cute and clever made-up names on social media, and literally bash the ever-loving snot out of anyone and everyone on a regular basis! You don't even have to know them! You can just cyber stalk them (cuz that's not creepy)!!! So fun, right?!? I mean, really--let's bash on people for EVERYTHING! It's our right! We had a legitimate email address to sign up for a social media account! And we're American, so we can say whatever we want, RIGHT??? (Ugh)

In the spirit of letting things fly willy-nilly on social media, I've decided to start my list of potential social media targets for my future of entitled, unfiltered, commenting rage (I'm being sarcastic, BTW):

I'm going to start bashing the following:

**Any girl who looks beautiful, is more popular than I am, surfs better than I do, or can pull off a bikini better than I can (cuz really--it's all about me). I'm going to say something on Instagram like, "Wow, getting a little cellulite on the back of those thighs, Gisele Bundchen!! If I were you I would go puke up that teaspoon of cottage cheese you ate today." Clearly, if I can make her feel bad about herself, it makes me feel more beautiful, right??? (I know it doesn't. Shut up. Keep reading.)

**Any far right Republicans (you guys drive me nuts)

**Any far left Democrats (you guys drive me nuts, too)

**Any fanatical Christians (you know...the ones who came up out of the holy water with guns-a-blazin', a do-right stick, and are of the bible-thumping persuasion. CAN'T STAND THEM. I'm going to tell them all they are going to hell. Just kidding. No, really...I was.)

**Anything to do with essential oils, Jamberry Nails, or trying to sell me the latest protein shake that will make me 20 lbs lighter in 2 days. (I can't wear nail polish at work, I don't want to smell like a dirty hippie wearing patchouli, and I would rather go on a water and Ex-Lax diet than chug down some protein shake that tastes like a dog turd smells. I hate it when people use personal social media to sell things. I still like my friends, I just don't need them to sound like they work at a used car lot in their status on a daily basis.)

**Anyone trying to sway my vote with a political Facebook post (BTW--you will almost never see me on FB during an election year--I don't want to deal with any of the garbage, and I have also threatened to unfriend anyone who goes nuts with political postings. I could care less who you vote for, or what your care about politically. I have my own feelings about things, and I'm not afraid to express them in the voting booth independent of your daily rants on Facebook.)

These are just a few things that drive me batshit crazy about social media. But these are things that are more mildly annoying than where I am about to take this blog. Ahem...

What is the matter with us on social media, people? When did we get so mean, and be able to distance ourselves from the fact that REAL PEOPLE are receiving, processing, and internalizing the things that we write?

I was sent over the edge with anger this week after Bristol Palin revealed on social media that she was pregnant with her second child out of wedlock. This girl might as well have painted a target on her, and walked in front of a firing squad. Some of you may have heard some of the backlash and controversy, but I followed it pretty closely. Is it because I voted for McCain and Palin? No. Is it because I live right up the street from this girl in Wasilla, Alaska? No. Is it because I have nothing better to do? Hell-To-The-No. I have a ton of crap I should be doing besides blogging about a pregnant girl in Wasilla. However, there is one reason I am doing this--to vent about how horrible the social media world has become, and to show my support for this single mother--a cause that is very dear to me. You ever want to see my head explode, heckle a single mom. 

As some of you are aware, I became pretty fired up over the past 48+ hours since the release of information that Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin, announced she is pregnant with her second "illegitimate" child (whatever the hell that means anyway). You may think it is ridiculous to get up in arms over a situation that I am not remotely directly involved in, but as small as my voice is, I will shout it loudly that

"But Whitney, how is that possible? You have bashed far-right conservatives, gotten upset about trying to throw church and state in the same mixing bowl, and basically told us that you are a fence-sitter who will vote for whatever you feel is "right"." How can you support this girl who preaches abstinence as an 18 year-old single mother, and finds herself knocked up with baby number two, without a husband, six years later?"

I'm glad you asked. So I will tell you.

Some of you saw that link that I posted on my Facebook page--the original blog that Bristol posted about her pregnancy. As I read the title, I actually took a deep breath in, and could feel a change in my heartbeat. I knew what was coming next. She was going to say she was pregnant. Why? How did I know before I read anything? Because I've been in that place. I remember having to have this conversation with my parents--not only once, but TWICE. It feels like an impending myocardial infarction--the feeling of impending doom right before you have a massive heart attack. It's very real, and I know this girl probably felt it about 10,000,000X more than I did being in the public eye. It's times like these that I'm grateful that People Magazine isn't beating on my door for answers, and that nobody really knows my name (I'm like the opposite of Norm on Cheers).

In 2008, John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential Candidate. Prior to that, Sarah Palin was living a fairly quiet life in Wasilla, Alaska. However, when the Republican party saw that Hilary Clinton was receiving a ton of the female voter support during the running, the conservatives pulled Sarah Palin into the picture to sway the female vote on the republican side. Some thought it was brilliant. However, even Palin herself was shocked at the nomination. Here you have a woman who has dealt with rural and small metropolitan politics, and then thrust into the position of running to be the Vice President of the United States of America. Oh, and did I mention she's also a full-time mother to 5 children? I can only imagine the reconfiguration her life had to take at that time.

At that time, Bristol Palin was a teen young woman, pregnant with her first child. I truly believe that because of being thrust into the spotlight of the far-right conservatives, marriage promotion for the teen pregnancy was the only ticket for her at that time (nothing like having to marry someone just because you are pregnant with their child, and it is "expected" because of the general consensus of your political party affiliation--talk about an arranged marriage).

So let's tally some of this:
**Hockey mom from Wasilla, Alaska suddenly thrust into National spotlight for government
**Teen daughter already pregnant out of wedlock
**Mother of 5 children, including a special needs baby, now running for Vice President of the United States of America.

I am not implying that there is ineptitude for adjusting to a national platform from a state platform in politics. However, I would venture to guess that even Sarah Palin herself was blindsided with the Vice Presidential Nomination. And she already had a lot on her plate to boot...

So back to Bristol. This heart goes out to her. Why? Here ya go...

So imagine yourself a pregnant, scared teen (I know it's hard for you boys/men who lack a uterus). Mom becomes Vice Presidential Candidate. You're barely even ready to come out to your BFFs that you are pregnant, young, and out of wedlock...let alone the entire country. But you have to. So you go on TV. Your hair looks nice. You sport the latest conservative fashion for pregnant women. You hold hands with the father of your baby, and your mom tells everyone on stage that you're going to "make it legit". 

So what's the problem? Real life is the problem. What they created was an image for candidacy that their daughter could not, and did not aspire to live up to. Sometimes "what is right" is not what is right for your life--and I admire Bristol Palin for having a lack of follow through after all of conservative America decided that she needed to be married to the father of her child.

Here's where I get selfish and interject part of my story.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I cried. I was freaking out. I was a teen girl--and I was scared. I told the father of my baby. I had not known him long. He asked when we were going to get married. At first, I thought I had to marry him. That was what you have to do, right?  But I couldn't do it. I couldn't justify committing to a relationship because of a pregnancy. Not that he isn't an AWESOME guy. I have a great relationship with him, and I am so happy we share a beautiful daughter together, but I can't imagine a pregnancy being the foundation of a marriage, and it is rarely the foundation of a strong marriage.

In the same way, I'm glad Bristol didn't marry for her babies. And I think she'll be a stronger woman for it. There is a great sense of rebellious relief that comes with not doing what other people tell you you should/have to do. It's called empowerment. Since we are the ones who have to endure the ridicule, and carry the load, we should be empowered to know that we are still driving the boat for our lives. The main goal as captain is to ensure that it does not become submarine for our lives (much to the chagrin of those who would like to watch us struggle and sink--and those miserable hecklers are in great abundance).

So here comes the good stuff. The reason why I'm pissed. The advocacy that I have for women who have the audacity to get knocked up and carry their babies while the public judges them and calls them whores (because unfortunately, a lot of you do).

I follow Bristol Palin on Instagram. I enjoy seeing the photos of her son, and Alaska. Hell, I live 5 minutes away from her, and her mom and dad in Wasilla, Alaska. I didn't grow up here. I have no "ties" to Wasilla. I don't "party with the locals". And I don't know the Palins. I am here for work, and although Alaska is nice, I struggle with the lifestyle here, and try to understand it more than I make fun of it (sometimes). I digress...

When Bristol was first thrust into the public spotlight as a pregnant teen, I felt sorry for her. Not because she "did it the wrong way" but "because I've been there"--and there is nothing glamorous about it. I don't care how much you want to spin it as an amazing thing or a "blessing". When you're a single parent--it will scare the shit out of you. And frustrate you. And kick your ass.

This week I became even more keenly aware of the fucked up society we are living in. I watched this woman post her baby news on Instagram and Facebook in a very humble fashion. And I watched the literary "unleashing of the beast" that followed. It made me sick. Social media is about 25% awesome, and about 75% a disgrace.

So, what do we really know about this girl?...

Bristol Palin's Job(s):

This is a girl who is a blogger for Patheos. I follow it. I don't know the ins and outs of it. I am a follower, not a stalker. She posts a lot of special interest blogs. Blogs on more conservative things. Blogs on more religious things ( I think the blog is actually backed by a religious group--not sure). That is her job. It is how she gets paid, and supports her family. She also works at a doctor's office in Wasilla, Alaska.

After her pregnancy at the age of 18, she took over the roll of promoting abstinence and safe sex as a means of avoiding teen pregnancy (as much "safe sex" talk as what was allowed by the conservative far-rights anyway...God knows if we talk about safe sex, then we are condoning it, right??? *sarcasm*) . She did this through public speaking (public service announcements, public speaking venues, etc).

She got paid for this (most public speakers do). Not sure why she took on that role, and I'm suspicious she was more strategically "placed" into that role because of the McCain/Palin candidacy, and due to being in the public eye at that time. However, depending on the subject matter, it's hard to practice and preach the same thing--which is why I try not to preach too much. I keep my relationship with God as "non-preachy" as possible because I am very aware of my human side, and that of others. But now the public is outraged because they think she is a "whore that talks out of both sides of her mouth". Their words--not mine.

Because this girl has been paid to preach teen pregnancy prevention (like 6 years ago, she was 18 and 19 at the time), she is being hammered by the public for being a single expectant mother (again).

I think the thing that bothered me the most was watching her get kicked while she is already down. Hell, the girl was engaged and ready to walk down the aisle a month ago. I'm sure this is a lot to process for her, not to mention she is probably mourning the loss of her relationship at the same time (not that I pretend to know anything about the details of that, nor do I need to).

So now that we live in a day and age where we can just let things fly out of our mouths, and onto our social media pages without a care, here are some of my favorite (*gag*hack*splutter*) post-baby announcement Bristol bashings on social media:

**crabbycripple81 says: "I'm praying for a miscarriage."

**tracyboutges says: " Hypocrite! I hope you feel embarrassed! You have been so judgmental in the past. I have to say I got a kick out of this cause it makes you look like a fool!"

**23ssmagnolia said: "Do you know how to use condoms? Shouldn't the baby daddy be marrying you to promote this conservative family your mom has paid to promote?"

**googie2311 says: "I see someone's been up to deleting some negative comments this morning,"

**pink_evolution says: "You lying whore!"(and then went on in numerous posts to fight with Piper Palin--who is 13. This woman then made her profile private due to backlash, and continued to stalk every post Bristol made for days, calling her a whore, and antagonizing everyone on there in every way possible...a real gem!)

**doctor_fever: "The only thing wider than your mother's mouth, is your legs." (to which I wanted to reply, "The only thing smaller than a Mike-And-Ike, is your penis."

**aedenandaedrian: "Abstinence anonymous called, you breached your contract and they want their $262K back. Should've closed your legs."

**reno_keoni: "You put on this stupid "I'm pregnant" announcement and now you tryin' to act like the vicitim when it backlashes on you. Girl, bye. Keep your dumb ass in Alaska. You're an idiot, truly. And for anyone saying "why am I following her if I hate her?" I'm not. I just felt like I wanted to go out of my way unnecessarily to look her up as a waste of time--just like she wasted her time when she announced her second pregnancy." 

And multiple people suggested that this was a great argument for abortion, and that she should kill her baby. (Bravo, America!)

WTF?!!! We treat people like they are sub-human. We lash out. It's like we all have Tourette Syndrome, and lack a filter. Most of the people we hate on--WE DON'T EVEN KNOW!!! And then to start slinging hatred at a pregnant women?,,,WOW. Impressive. Not in that they are balls-y enough to sling it, but in that they're such a total Sally for slinging it in the first place.

I've been pregnant twice out of wedlock. Not proud of it--but it happens. I am a labor and delivery nurse. I chose my roll in my career because of  what I had been through as a patient, and wanted to help women/teens/and tweens through it.  I take patient histories. I know how many times they have been pregnant, how many times they have miscarried, and how many times they have aborted intentionally. It is hard to sit there and take a history on someone who has aborted 15 times, and now this baby is "the lucky one".

Have we really become that society? And then we sling mud at those who would actually carry a baby--wed or unwed? Meanwhile, we're encouraging the filling up of the dumpsters behind Planned Parenthood as a means to avoid inconvenient pregnancies? I don't get it.

I'm not trying to start a war about abortion here, but I will always support a woman through her pregnancy, and at the very least, we should be that respectful of ALL pregnant women as a society as well. Stress can lead to a rocky pregnancy, an early delivery, and an unhealthy or non-viable baby. Be careful with them! Let them create a person without putting in your two cents worth about it! They have enough going on without having to listen to your opinion about their life! I get super fired up about stressing out pregnant women--I see the ill-effects of it all the time in labor and delivery and OB Triage, and spent a fair amount of time in the hospital with my first two pregnancies due to stress!

I'm reminded of the toast that Ike (Richard Gere) made to Maggie's (Julia Roberts) family in the movie "Runaway Bride". He was mocking them for always making fun of her for running away from her potential grooms at the alter. It goes as follows:

"May you find yourselves the bullseye of an easy target, may you be publicly flogged for all your bad choices, and may your nose be rubbed in all of your mistakes."

Amen, Ike. A toast! all you who can't control your comments on social media.

Until you have been in the position of a single mother, you cannot possibly understand the magnitude and hurt of the external judgement that comes along with that "scarlet letter" that is your pregnancy. Our society takes it, and runs with it. Stop calling the women "whores" who get pregnant, and high-fiving the men who knock them up. This is 2015. Ejaculation doesn't make you a man--it makes a mess. It also doesn't make you a manly man. Any idiot male can impregnate a woman. I see it all the time at my job.

Long story short--BE KIND TO OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!! You don't know the shoes that person is walking in, and (I feel like we're in kindergarten here, but it's a good reminder), YOU CAN EITHER USE YOUR WORDS TO BUILD SOMEONE UP, OR TEAR THEM DOWN. What kind of a person do you aspire to be? Just say NO to being an ass on social media!!

Let's clean it up, people. Let's think about what we say before we say it, and the implications it might have on someone's life. Let's be advocates for responsible use of social media so that we can be examples to others. Time to step up and be leaders--not followers and stalkers of the garbage.

Have a blessed day.
(And Bristol Palin--congratulations on your adorable family addition)

#bristolpalin #bsmp2

PS This in NO WAY means that I agree with the far right politics of Bristol Palin, or her family. This is simply support for a pregnant woman, and that is all. My belief in the political views this family preaches is a whole other ball of wax.