Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Westcoast Sunshine

Secret of Life #1. Beach (preferrably in somewhat close proximity of the equator, or at least south of Idaho) Vacays.

You were GREAT! And for so many reasons.

Let's begin with...

  • Studying on the airplane without any sensation of motion sickness (a definite FIRST).

  • Connecting in Oakland for the journey down to La-La land and forgetting my usual frustration of airline proclaimed "nonstop" flights due to the beautiful greenery and red tiled roofing.

  • Hour(+) nap on Huntington Beach, baking in the sun.

  • Jessica's "hypoglycemic" episodes

  • Swollen eyes in the morning from sunburn on the eyelids. (ice packs to defer the damage).

  • Proclaimed as the University of Utah basketball team in Sharkeez bar, and everyone believing it. With four 5'10"(+) women in the company, who wouldn't?

  • Jogging RIGHT next to the ocean.

  • Old geezers. Everywhere. Loving us. In turquoise blue Chrysler Sebrings.

  • Dairy Queen ice cream cones to allow exchange of dolla' bills for quarters, to feed 10mins=25cent parking meters.

  • BYU Men's Volleyball vs. Pepperdine for NCAA Final Four qualification.

  • BYU Men's Volleyball players.

  • Gorgeous sunsets. With BYU Men's Volleyball players.

  • Dancing with Julie, in african drum-beat fashion.

  • Purchasing a $6 gumball bag. And not thinking twice about it.

  • Sunburns and tan lines.

  • Best friends.

Secret of Life #2. Southwest Airlines.

Your tight airplane seating quarters, measley peanut bag snacks, and seating me last due to a Rapid Rewards 'free flight' voucher redemption is completely counteracted by cheap flights and extra money in my pocket to make my beach vacays possible. Thank you. I hope to see you again very soon. What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Secret of Life #3. Foreign Relations.

I have none. But greatly appreciate the fact that a patient AND a respiratory therapist think I do. Don't let the newly darkened skin and supposed 'foreign accent' fool you. I am still caucasian. And still from Idaho.

Friday, April 25, 2008

e-Harmony? Whatever.

Secret of Life #1. Utilizing {stealing} pre-recorded musical lyrics as my own.

"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" By Rupert Holmes {Meredith}.


"I was tired of my lady {man, or lack thereof}, we'd been together too long. Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song. So while she {empty baby blue and white striped sheets} lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed. And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:

'If you like {virgin} Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you're not into yoga, if you have half {full, please}-a-brain. If you like making love {out} at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. I'm the lady {tall, dark and handsome stud muffin} you've looked for, write to me, and escape.'

{more cowbell, please}

"I didn't think about my lady {anyone}, I know that sounds kind of mean. But me and my old lady {singledom}, had fallen into the same old dull routine. So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad. And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it was not half- bad {FABULOUS}.

'Yes, I like {virgin} Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. I'm not much {definitely} into health food, I am into champagne {sparkling cider, diet}. I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape. At a bar {beach} called O'Malley's {Newport}, where we'll plan our escape {elopement}.'"

{cowbell, fade out}

Newport Beach, Cal-EE-forn-I-ay... Here I come. So what if it's 1 in the morning, I leave for the airport in 5 hours and am not even packed yet. Who needs to sleep in empty baby blue and white striped sheets when a sun-soaked, skin cancer festering, nap on the beach is absolutely calling my name?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Inspiring Woman

Secret of Life #1. Maya Angelou.

I received an e-mail from my dear cousin, Alexandra Mangum (student at NYU), and inside was this inspiring treat:

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was 'exciting.' Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!

Maya Angelou said this:
'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'
'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'
'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'
'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'
'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'
'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.'
'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the
right decision.'
'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'
'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'
'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'
'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Need I say more?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Change of Pace

Secret of Life #1. Themed Photo Shoots.

After my sappy post regarding life philosophy post cancer documentary viewing, I vote for a lighter blogging this evening. Hence, I resort to you: Themed Photo Shoots. Thank you for allowing me to make a fool of myself and have fun while I am at it. Though the glass from the camera may be severely damaged from capturing such homely facial advances, the laughter you inspired definitely reversed any permanent LCD warping. I'll be seeing you when my baby sister wants to be 'famous,' including a one man paparazzi.. So, see you when she wakes up!

"Rollercoaster""Incoming Basbeball"

"Tough Girl" (apparently Abby is kissing her bicep)And finally our, "Musical Album Cover"

SoL #2. Domestication.

K, maybe I shouldn't go that far. More like, Sunday afternoon baking with my mother. It's one step towards being a novice homemaker. It is throwing on mess-inspiring clothes, licking every little last drop of chocolate off the plastic spatula, and experimenting with cream cheese frostings. It is fattening up Mangum teenage boys and inducing the most severe temptations for calorie-conscious Mangums age 21 (almost!) and above. Thanks for spiking my blood sugar, clogging up my arteries and satisfying my sweeth tooth all in one sitting. See you in a few weeks!

SoL #3. Pianos.

Here's to rekindling an old flame from my childhood; my fingers were on cloud nine as they danced across your palette of black and white keys, slowly sifting away the seven year dust collection between joints and palm creases. Fur Elise never sounded so discombobulated, and yet so refreshing. Does Every Good Boy (really) Deserve Fudge? With an abundance of goodies made from my Sunday afternoon cooking domestication and renewed musical capacities, I think so. And after a wake-up call in my hand's stretching capabilities, they, too, are in agreeance. You are not quite like riding a bike again or skiing down a mountain for the first run of the season, but I thoroughly enjoyed making the same sweet treble clef love from years past. Thank you for making me feel like somewhat of an accomplished woman, or at least from an Elizabeth Bennet status, playing "quite well." See you tomorrow!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Good Cry

Secret of Life #1. Living every moment as if it is your last.

Naturally, this post could have many titles, like Appreciating good health, Accepting Heavenly Father's plan for us, Carpe diem, and Rethinking our priorities. However, this Secret of Life is fitting following my viewing of the PBS documentary, "The Truth About Cancer," because for many- they know any day could be their last.

Being a requirement to watch this for a nursing course, I cannot adequately express what an amazing production this 'requirement' turned out to be. After a relaxing and enjoyable family night (a classy dinner at Taco Bell and a trip to the dollar theatre for the viewing of Vantage Point), my family went to bed. Naturally, being the night owl that I am, I put on my pajamas, carefully tip-toed downstairs and slipped into the coziest part of our couch to watch the DVR recording of this documentary. An hour and a half later, mascara is running down my cheeks, I am hiding my face in my old soccer t-shirt attempting to muffle my sobs, with a flurry of emotions racing through my body and an inevitable runny nose causing persistent snuffles.

A, what I thought to be, 'scientific' documentary morphed into a heart-wrenching, reality-based, real-life scenario absolute tear jerker. I have not cried this hard while watching a lifeless screen since the movie Titanic in fifth grade. Except this time, Jack was real. Rose's despair actually happened. And.. still happens. The basis of the documentary is from the perspective of a woman who lost her husband to cancer six years earlier. She revisits the Boston hospitals in which her husband received his care, to 'monitor' the status on the war against cancer. The brutal reality of her very endearing documentary is the actual footage of her husband pre-and post- cancer diagnosis. His health and vitality before the cancer warrant is shown as he climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro, the sweet and tender moments between husband and wife as they hold one another through the night, and his final days as he has grown weak and emaciated. I lost it; the tear ducts were obviously over capacity and needed to be drained, thoroughly.

I wanted to cry out loud. I wanted to hold the hand of each of those I hold dear who have lost loved ones to this medically-astounding disease. I wanted to pray to my Heavenly Father. I wanted to tell my cherished ones that I love them. How grateful I am for my knowledge and belief in the after-life, that one day I will be reunited with those who have gone before me. Furthermore, how grateful I am that if my future companion succumbs before I do, or at a young age, that it is not the end. Eternity is the contract, and it is binding. "'Tis better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." I am such a sap. Blah.

To revisit my Secret of Life on this late evening/early morning at 2:30am, I look forward to waking up to a new day. To succoring the precious time I have here on earth. To spend it with those I love. To acknowledge the hand of God in every day life and in everything I do. To be more grateful and thoughtful. To live more righteously and with more kindness. To utilize the Atonement more fervently. To share my life with others; our God-given purpose is not to be alone. Like these Boston hospital cancer patients, who once enter into palliative care or who fight every few months with a new 'smart' drug, every day is momentous. You will find them playing softball with their kids in the backyard, taking a walk hand-in-hand with their significant other, and traveling the world. Maximizing time with loved ones is of highest priority.

So, it looks like I needed to express and 'vent' my feelings after such an emotionally draining hour and a half. If you tuned in 'til the end, I applaud you. I am impressed, because I would have given up about five paragraphs ago. And I definitely recommend this documentary to anyone interested, especially those within the healthcare field and those who have lost a battle in the fight against cancer., "The Truth About Cancer."

I now place my dehydrated body, blood-shot eyes, and overly-dramatic emotions to rest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Secret of Life #1. Prom.

Or maybe this secret of life should be Memories, which includes you dear Prom, but memories definitely are more qualitative as a designated secret of life. Don't get me wrong, you were a lot of fun and gave me an opportunity to dress up to the nines, but I tend to produce a haze over high school years, as they were certainly not my golden days. But that's another story.
Anyway, it was four years ago when I was donning my Salmon colored gown (borrowed from a friend, Martha Darger; now Mrs. Martha Darger Carrington) and my white strappy heels, to attend you-my Junior prom, with Drew Anderson as my date. Lovely dress, lovely hair (thank you Heidi Weed), lovely date, had a lovely time. And one year later, the process repeated, except in an avocado green dress this round (which I drastically overpaid for a one time wear with my own dough), with my first love and boyfriend at the time, Derek Erstad. Tons of pictures, classy dinner at Mortimers in downtown Boise, and even a legitimate 'party bus,' decked with flashing neon lights and surround sound speakers. Oh, the prommenade memories are just flooding back to me.

Such memories were reincarnated last weekend, but in the form of my younger brother, Madison and in a sharp black tuxedo, not technicolor dresses. Earlier that week, I helped him select his penguin attire for the dance and brainstorm ideas for fun (and sober, such a good kid that boy) pre- and post- dance activities. I accompanied him to his date's house for the Red Carpet photos, but with myself behind the camera (usually), who's pointer finger captured the moments. He looked so handsome.

Madison and his date, Amanda

Proud Sister

Funny story- I, ME, one who is not even remotely involved in a high-class event for the evening, am putting on my make-up to later take pictures with my brother. After noticing Madison's tux still hanging from the doorway, I run downstairs and find him fast asleep, with fifteen minutes before game time. Needless to say, he showers, deodorizes, colognes and gels.. in fifteen minutes. And.. How many hours did I spend beautifying for school dances? So unfair.

And approximately 8 hours later.. Our car came home with a rear bumper dent and an $880 dollar repair. And at the repair shop, the clearly biased repairman took one look at the car and asked my dad, "Teenage daughter?" Psssh! How dare he? Whatever. Those days are in the past. ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Deja Vu

Father & Mother Mangum (twenty-seven years)

SoL #1. Forty Five Years.

Yes, I just wrote about you a couple of days ago (see "SOL, specifically SoL #2" post below), and yet you have reappeared in my life, and within an almost identical context.

While taking care of a 68 year old man who had just undergone a colectomy (removal of part of his colon), a woman left his room and I asked what was their relationship. He stated, in his very thick New York accent, that was his wife and that she has been more worried about this surgery than him.
And, "after forty five years of marriage, when one of us has a stomach ache, we both have a stomach ache."
I stopped what I was doing at the moment, looked up at him and smiled a very toothy grin. And he couldn't help but laugh.
It may be due to my pensive pondering on your meaning from devoting a whole Secret of Life post to you previously that I immediately noticed your entrance into another conversation, but am I seeing a reoccuring theme for a reason? If so, PLEASE give me one hint as to why.. Clueless. Nonetheless, so nice to hear from you again. You are working miracles within the healthcare system and St. Lukes Regional Medical Center (especially 6 East and a lowly Nurse Apprentice named Meredith) thanks you. Keep up the good work.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Secret of Life #1. Got Mail?
Apparently Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly do. And they are telling me I do, too. And I, like the actor pair who made their debut while fighting insomnia in the Starbucks capital of the world, am finding charm in bouquets of sharpened pencils, "taking it to the mattress," golden retrievers named Brinkley, reading Pride and Prejudice over and over- and wondering every time if Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett really will end up together. And they do; just like the way Shop Around the Corner and Fox Books is able to swallow their pride and fight first prejudices to form a romantic union that will beat the test of time, or at least the woes of spam and viruses.

SoL #2. Paternal Notions of the Bride-to-Be.
A 22 year old graduate artchitect student studying in Rome; Daddy's little girl. Independent Communications Consultant; Unemployed. Dream wedding in a church with a reception at home; A barbecue in the backyard. Hiring a wedding coordinator; What's there to coordinate? Stop at the market to pick up something for dinner; Remove the superfluous hotdog buns to save every penny. Loves her father; Loves his daughter. Priceless. "W-w-w-welcome to da 90's Mista Bonks!"

I appreciate the laughter and nonstimulating entertainment you back-to-back movies bring to my life, but on a Sunday evening, two nights before an important nursing exam, you merely pose as a distraction. My willpower and motivation is clearly facing the examination; and I am failing, miserably. But in the end, will I remember acing one academic test, or cramming onto one couch with family to watch amusing theatrical conversations on our modest 27 inch television? Definitely the latter, definitely.

"I'll be your... distraction." -Angels and Airwaves, "Distraction"

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Solely out of luck; usually implying a negative connotation, as someone is stuck, cannot further one's own circumstances in a positive direction. SOL. Except, here. Here is where you can find SOL to be (occasionally) uplifting, (possibly) enlightening, (maybe) laughter-inducing, and (hopefully, mildly..) entertaining. SOL. Or SoL, for emphasis. Mer's Secrets of Life.

SoL #1. Our Local Milky Way Galaxy Neighborhood Star.
After finishing my Mini-Spooners bowl of cereal accented with banana slices and 1% milk (the green lid), I took one glance outside and knew I could not let you or my breakfast of champions go to waste. Deciding to take my black lab, Cooper, for a walk, I soon realized HE would be walking ME. His excitement for your glorious shine and warmth seemed to mimic my own. Realizing what an odd pair Cooper and I must have seemed: His head willfully pushing down and forward against the strain of the cherry red leash, four legs moving at impressive master-imposed walking speed, my white knuckles holding on for dear life leading to the 180 degree angle of my right arm as it bounces up and down, attempting to maintain walking stasis according to the ever-growing leap created by my 5'10" frame; I couldn't help but offer a large toothy grin at such a scene. Feeling giddy in the midst of your warmth and shining glory, the smile soon turned to laughter. My step lightened, my smile grew, nothing could get me down. And Cooper took full advantage. Thank you, precious sunshine, for indulging my senses. I owe you.

SoL #2. Forty Five Years.
Taking care of a patient post-radical breast mastectomy tonight, I inquired of her journey through fighting cancer. Her husband said the doctor gave his wife 5 weeks to live if she did not have this surgery performed within the week. The husband sweetly remarked to the doctor, "Well that just isn't allowed. After 45 years of marriage, I need her in my life. And I am just too old to break in a new one." Here's to you, forty five years. The solidarity you have so graciously given to this marriage union is inspiring and tender. When your time is up and the years turn to fifty, fifty-five, sixty.. We will not and cannot forget you and the strength you afforded to allow fifty, fifty-five, sixty.. to come to pass.

SoL #3. Root beer Floats.
Mmmmm, you are the perfect treat following a VERY busy and active workload shift at the hospital. Would you mind cutting the fat, adding a bit more protein, and fortifying yourself with folate and fiber? My heart (and hips) would love you even more. If not, I will have to limit our time together and your travels through my digestive system. Thanks sweetreat.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A First Time For Everything

So, I was introduced to this whole 'blogging' business through my best friend, Jessica Kruger. With such experienced internet stalking skills, I only followed suit with this new social networking medium. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered this is such a fun, classy, and unique way to journal my simple, yet incredible life, and keep in touch with those near and far, young and old, facebook eligible or not.

Though I may not be curing cancer (today), traveling the world (today), or fighting terrorism overseas (today, and tomorrow isn't looking good either..), I absolutely love my life. I find such joy in the moments, moments of waking up to the sun shining across my pillow, of watching chick-flick tear-jerkers (Steel Magnolias, Return to me, the Notebook, to name a few) by myself- crying-inconsolably, of witnessing the pain ease for one second in a patient's eyes after making him/her laugh. I look forward to sharing my moments with you. And, yes, I am a cheese ball. Please stay tuned.