Monday, September 12, 2011

So this is me.

I don't really know where to start, and I guess that's why I keep putting off the bloggage, but from what I understand- y'all don't really care-- you just want the posts!  So, I will try to keep that in mind from this point forward.  Apologies... again...


Last week I bought a NEW CAR!  Well, new to me, but that's all that matters!  I love it so much and as geeky as this sounds, I sometimes find myself walking to the kitchen window just to catch a peek of my first big purchase.  For $xx,000-- I think it's a fair habit.  I found it online and knew right from the moment I saw it was in my price range that I wanted it bad.  So I started emailing back and forth with the dealership and was sure that because I wanted to look at it so badly, it would get sold from under me.  Well, I got lucky and not only did the car hold out for yours truly, but I got it for the price I wanted.  I had the greatest team of salespeople working with me, and it was from start to finish a really good experience.


Cars are a funny thing.  I saw on a documentary once (I think it was the docu Objectified) that people seem to identify with cars because of their face-like front and rear ends.  Which is why some cars seem cute and some cars seem bitchy and some cars seem snobby and some cars seem sporty and so forth.  I don't know what my old car "seemed", but it was mine and I cared about it and I loved it.  It was with me through thick and thin.  It was with me when I veered into the other lane without looking my freshman year of college and the lady in the beat up Taurus screamed at me, then asked that we please not call the police.  It was with me for 5 jobs.  It was with me through a high school graduation and two college graduations.  It was with me to the bitter end, when my friends started to jokingly make fun of me for having an old car.  It was my loyal steed, and when I excitedly hopped into my new car last Tuesday evening, leaving my trusty companion behind in the parking lot, I happened to look into my rear-view mirror to see the ole gal sitting there-- abandoned.  [Even writing this, I am feeling a little emotional... so silly!]  It's funny the connections we have with things-- namely cars.  I pride myself on not being a very sentimental person when it comes to things; I hang on to memories.  But leaving the Silver Bullet, as I lovingly called her for 7 years, in that used car parking lot really tugged on my heart strings.

Another funny thing about cars is how much we (well, some of us, if guiltily) associate them with status or personality or whatever.  The other day, I was running errands like a mad woman, and as I pulled up to a spotlight, the driver next to me casually glanced my way, causing me to take a quick, reflective third-person look at myself.  The phrase, "So this is me" popped into my head.  Why?  I'm not sure, but it stimulated a cascade of reflections on who I was thinking I was.  At that moment, this is what I thought (given recent experiences and my current surroundings):

I guess I'm a 25-year old nurse who drives a silver Altima and uses reusable grocery sacks when she remembers and worries about stuff like where used cars go to die and buys books but takes weeks to start reading them... and really loves her friends and family and people in general, and is living better than she ever thought she would at 25 years old.

Before the light turned to green, I made a mental note of that proclamation.  I hope it doesn't sound like I think too highly of myself, but that's what I thought at that moment and for a second, I felt proud of myself.  Sometimes you just gotta put it all down-- write it down, jot it on your mental notepad of thoughts, sing it, say it in the mirror.  It's good to get a grasp of who you are, even if pieces and parts are silly and superficial (I drive a silver car?).  Have a third-party perspective of yourself.  It's like believing in a higher power; stepping outside of yourself to recognize that you are not the end-all be-all of existence.  You are an ant on the anthill, but you are important.

So with this new reflection, I will be moving- driving- forward into all of the different phases of me, however unpredictable they may be.  I will focus on acknowledging the moments and the details and the pieces and parts that are defining the experience I am having, and my role in those details since they must be culminating before my eyes for some purpose.  Silly things (like the purchase of a new car) can be friendly reminders to live an intentional, awake life, so don't pass them up.  Be awake and aware, and find time to enjoy superficiality if you are so inclined.  Just don't forget, the definition of superficial is on the surface, so it stands to reason that there must be something else underneath...

Now this is a moment to be awake.

Unrelated, but my hair this morning.  When I moved my eyebrows up and down, it wiggled and made me laugh out loud.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Healthy

Oh.... my god, y'all.  I am going crazy today.  I was so excited last night that I had a lunch date with two of my favorite people today (Aimee and Bilal), that I didn't make any other plans for my day off.  The lunch date was perfect.  I laughed the entire two hours.  My dates with Aimee and Bilal have little to do with me... I just like to go so I can watch their interaction.  It's so awkward and beautiful.  I'm like Aimee's cheerleader.  She brings the jokes, I'm the easy audience, Bilal is the victim of the jokes.  It's all in fun.

We went to Bento downtown (or, according to Bilal, "Bentos"... personal pet peeve when people add an S to the end of an establishment... as to imply the name is possessive or plural. It's not.).  I got the Caliente Roll... crab and fresh jalepeno = yum!  Afterward, we went to Mochi for Fro-Yo, which is- in my opinion- way too popular for health.  It's like bagels were in the 90s... "healthy".  Yeah right.  I even convince myself of this lie every time I eat it.  It is not healthy.  It's loaded with sugar, and the cups are pint-sized so no one eats a proper serving size.  Regardless, perfect, if not-so-healthy, start to my day.  (Oh yeah- I had the best sleep of my life last night and woke up at 10, so lunch was the start of my day).

When I returned home from lunch, the rest of the day was a big question mark.  It was super hot and muggy out, and the sky was gray with stratus clouds everywhere and scattered cumulonimbus sitting Indian-style,  so a walk or the pool was kinda out of the question.  (I have been big into walking everywhere lately.) Also, I didn't want to go shopping, or spend money for that matter, so that further limited my out-of-the-apartment options.  I have a book to read, but I have also self-diagnosed myself with Adult ADHD, so laying in bed reading wasn't appealing to me.

I ended up downloading two albums on iTunes (thank you, JM, for the gift certificate!).  Foster The People and Nicki Minaj (JM would not approve of the second).  Then I listened to iTunes for 3 hours.  I just scrolled, selected, and listened while browsing Facebook and Blogger for three hours.  Then I started going a little insane.  I have got to start volunteering ASAP.  And get another job.  If you know of anything, I'm your girl.  I'm good at everything.  (Kidding, but I can try.)  I got hooked up with an awesome volunteer shindig (hate that word), so I need to get on it.  Otherwise, this is my face:

I work tomorrow and have something fun to do most of the day Saturday, and work Sunday... then I am off for 6 days.  I better get something figured out.  I know this post was the furthest thing from intellectual, but this is my outlet and I love you people!  You and you and you and you.  xoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clinging to Life

I'm back. F'real. As you know, I had family in town and it was so nice. It's nice to have people at my home, enjoying my space. I would let them eat all of my food and mess up my carpet and throw my pillows on the ground if it made them happy. Luckily my guests were more polite than that, but I loved sharing my space and my things with my people. It felt great.

I took my parents to the hospital where I work. Showed them the floor. The whole nine. I'm sure some of my coworkers thought it was a super nerdy move, but I don't really care. They're my parents and they care about me and they wanted to see! My parents are so supportive- I was so happy to share that with them too.

Luckily I had 3 days off in a row while my parents and sister/brother-in-law/niece were in town. We went shopping, walked around Lake Eola, got massages, had lunch downtown, swam in the pool, had dinner parties, and played my favorite game- Scattergories. Dad definitely won for funniest answers, though his tally marks suffered on the point sheet during the game. "Funniest" is always the best consolation prize, anyway.

Shots from the weekend:


So, something has been on my mind since it happened last week. I had a patient who was reaching the end of her life and she was very emotional. She was afraid of who and what she was going to leave behind. She missed the people and experiences that were gone, like trips to the beach she used to take with her sister and her mother, who have both passed away. She was literally clinging to life-- not quite yet medically, but emotionally. She wasn't ready to let it all go. She wasn't at peace. With teary eyes and white hairs sloppily affixed to her clammy forehead, she turned at me and said in a shaky voice that's likely spoken millions of sentences, "I just can't believe it's all over." I nearly lost my composure, but caught the quiver that was beginning to creep across my lips and eyes, as it made its way down to my throat. She grabbed my hand and squeezed it, tugging downward in a motion that signaled to me that I needed to take a seat. I had no idea what to say, so I sat there in silence. I had never been so close to death before, and I had never before needed to summon "What to say to someone who's dying" from my stash of go-to insightful messages. So I sat there with her in her silence. She held my hand and cried and prayed out loud. I was running behind on my meds and tasks and charting and a whole host of other things, but in that moment, it didn't matter; it couldn't.

Being with someone in their sadness is a really powerful thing. Being the outlet responsible for receiving the messages of someone in their most reflective hours is humbling, and for me this first time around, a little scary and overwhelming. I was scared of my own mortality in those moments. I was scared of the mortality of my mom and brother and dad and sister and all the people I love. I felt like I was the wrong person to be in that chair since I had little if any insight and nothing powerful to say and I couldn't stop the woman from crying and bring peace to her heart. I just entered her darkness with her and sat there, scared and overwhelmed.

But here I am reflecting today. Here I am appreciating what's around me. It's so quiet you could hear a pin drop in my apartment, and I'm enjoying that. I enjoy that only a few days ago, there were many voices in this apartment; Strawberry Shortcake the Movie was echoing from my room while the guys watched preseason NFL and my mom rattled around in the kitchen. There are more fingerprints around this apartment than there were before, and I like to know that they belong to people I love. I'm clinging to life, too, just not so urgently.

From darkness comes light, and it took me going into someone else's darkness to reach this light. I hate to feel that I in any way benefited from that interaction, but knowing this particular patient, I think she'd be happy to know that in her darkness, she shed some light on me. I feel more enlightened than before, and through this experience, I feel I more truly understand the meaning of that word.

Love the little moments while they're little moments.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ain't been no good.

i know i ain't been no good. my parents are in town and life is so, so sweet and fantastic. i can't complain about a thing. i am happy to acknowledge the fact that i'm in one of those "happy places" i envision in moments of anxiety. so happy that i don't feel the need to capitalize a damn thing. i'll have a goood post up tomorrow. i have to borrow a camera-to-computer thingy from mom since brother lost mine. what a jerk. this weekend, i went to a bridal shower (i'm in the wedding) for my friend jessica, and her friend uploaded this picture. :) love you (yeah, YOU!)... more tomorrow.

Bridesmaids of her highness, Jessica. I got my hair cut last week... 5 inches off! Can you tell? :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I'm making changes. The last two weeks have been a bit out of the norm, which is fine, but I'm ready to get a routine going, and these past two weeks have been a good foil to my normal routine which has provided me the opportunity to recognize areas that need improvement. Namely, health and time management- which, for my purposes, go hand-in-hand.

This week and last week have been spent sitting at a desk/table from 8-4:30. YUCK! Isn't that why I chose nursing? To avoid the butt-in-chair, feet-under-table 8 hour day? These sedentary days, with a 4-day weekend full of friends and birthday celebrations and sleeping all over the place and, yes, some booze squeezed in between have really made me desire an active, healthy, wholesome life. Just as we yearn for summer in winter and winter in summer, I am now yearning for a much more active lifestyle.

Fun weekend with friends.
Me and Easy E

This weekend I intend on getting a gym membership. Today I signed up with our local school system to be a mentor for an elementary school kid at the school where I subbed pre-K for a few months in 2010. I have become really interested in obstetrics lately, so I want to see what I can do volunteer-wise in that arena--maybe something with Planned Parenthood or a birthing center or something.

I want to spend my time being productive. I try to enjoy relaxing, and I can usually enjoy it in the moment, but once I start thinking about it, I always have the "Darn, I wish I had ______ today" conversation with myself. That happened today. I even bragged on my Facebook about how extreme my afternoon relaxation session would be. Well, I ended up feeling guilty. I am such a type A person, as they say.

Speaking of personality tests, this week in my training, we dook the DiSC Assessment. I am apparently an S type person, S standing for Steadiness. According to Wikipedia, this is the description of an S type person:

Steadiness: People with high "S" styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High "S" individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low "S" intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low "S" scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.

For those of you who know me personally, would you agree? Kinda funny my last post was about my guilty reluctance for change. My second highest score was I: Influential. Below you can see what an SI person has going on. I have to agree! (Although I do realize that personality tests can be like horoscopes- anyone can see themselves in it if they want to.)

SI: Sees the environment as favorable to the self.

Tomorrow I head back to the floor. No more training! For now. Plenty, plenty, plenty more to come. But I have missed my patients and the nurses and techs and docs (some of them) and everyone else whom I work with. I'm ready to be back in the kind of nursing I love- the kind where my feet are free of a table roof and my rear is chair-free and in someone's face as I pick up 10 alcohol pads that fell out of my pocket as I yanked out my pen. I should probably work on my ergonomics. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

earning adjectives.

I intend for this to be a quick post because I have to wake up early, but we'll see how it goes. I am just feeling a little funky tonight and have chosen to turn to my favorite outlet for expressing the intangible stuff trapped between my ears, inside my head bone.

For all of the things I like about myself, of course there are plenty of things I don't like too. The thing I don't like that's really been giving me a hateful time lately is the apprehension with which I allow change into my life. I would love for some part of my eulogy to include something about how I was a free spirit or spontaneous or adventurous or something, but to this point I have done almost nothing to earn the attachment between my name and those adjectives-- besides say whatever a lot, and mean it. The question that's really bugging me tonight: Why I can't I whatever my way into change?

You may be wondering what specific events precipitated this train of thought. Well, as of this week, most of the friends I have hung out with for the past three years have all moved away (this all occurring within the last week), I am in a new (albeit better) place in my life, and Mollie (my friend of over 15 years--woah) and my cousin are doing totally awesome stuff in big cities that I envy.

I envy them because I can picture myself in a big city with a little apartment and the bare essentials; not knowing many people- making friends and work and being "The New Girl--From Florida". And I want it. But I haven't done much to this point to get there. And that is because when uncertainly beckons, I hide my head in my favorite, worn, most comfortable pillow and hide. I sometimes wonder why this is, and it is the trait about myself that I hate the most.

I am no hoarder. In fact, I have been known to toss or donate things that would probably be considered sentimental to most people. I don't hang on to many sentimental physical things. I hang on to comfort, however ambiguous it may be. I have tried to do a root-cause analysis on this whole enigma (not that realizing the cause would necessarily provide relief in this situation), and I always turn to the same life event, but at this point, it really shouldn't matter anymore. I should be a big girl and move and know that I'm not gonna diiiee or be forgotten or lose everything.

See, I realize these things. I have a rational brain and an irrational mind, I suppose. It's utterly frustrating.

On that note, I am going to end this post abruptly and go to bed. I have a big day tomorrow and I do have a little adventure unfolding beneath me, just not one that involves planes or trains. I know this was a scatter-brained post with terrible transitions and little if any flow, but welcome to my midnight diary. Nature of the beast.

Comfy place.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Learning through it all.

*Note: There will be pictures on this post as soon as technology wants to cooperate with me. :)*

Where to begin, where to begin... Not too much has happened in the past week, but it has been quite wonderful, nonetheless. Florida summer days come with heat and thunderstorms, tourists who bask in the sun and locals who complain about the weather, bad drivers and those who might be otherwise good drivers momentarily at the whim of a TomTom's faulty directions. At the hospital, I frequently have patients who came to Florida for vacation ("on 'Oliday" *british accent*) and one way or another wound up at the mercy of doctors and nurses like myself. My heart always breaks for them. This has reminded me that when I want to curse the skies or shake my fist at a slow-moving, indecisive lane-changer, I should instead enjoy what they came here for: sun, attractions, Florida, whateverness.

I don't know how to go about posting on what all has gone on in the past week, so I will stay in the here and now and post whatever pictures I took on my phone in the past week.

Today, Dan and I ran a bunch of errands, one of which included going to the post office to pick up some certified mail from our old complex. I was sure it was whatever they willed us back on our security deposit, so Dan and I took guesses at how much the check would read. I said something in the negative, Dan said $25. We got 29 bucks back. About what we deserved. Note to all movers out there: Boys spill paint on carpets and paint over light switch covers. Perhaps an extreme generalization, but go with it for safety and security deposit sake. $29. Just remember that. After that, we went and bought more produce than we'll be able to eat-- another plus of Florida summer.

We came home, dropped off the fruits and veggies and walked to the shopping center nearby. My phone has been a complete piece of junk for the past...forever... so we went to the Sprint store to try to see what we could do to remedy the situation. As we sat there waiting, another customer very loudly and tactlessly explained all his phone-related woes to the customer service representative. Nothing ever goes the customer's way when that sort of behavior is displayed, so that guy's scene was a friendly reminder to me to be kind to the rep, especially since I did have a request in mind that would require her cooperation. I really wanted a new phone, since mine has been replaced twice to no avail. When my name was called, we struck up a casual conversation, and I led into the situation at hand as gracefully as I could. I explained my woes to her, but after acknowledging through a friendly chat that she was a person deserving of respect. Lo and behold: She offered me a new phone of a different (better) brand, at no cost and without having to renew my contract. Lesson of the day: Although being nice can "pay out", as it did today, it doesn't hurt and it actually takes much less energy than being mean or snotty. Do you want to be the jerk customer being discussed at the water cooler... with the same old piece-of-junk phone you walked in with? Doubt it.

Today I got my new glasses in the mail, too, which was equally exciting. New phone and new glasses- good day.

Work has been going really, really well. I am working with a preceptor (like a mentor or a trainer) that I really, really like and who helps me whenever I need it and doesn't ever make me feel stupid (Pam, if you're reading this- I love you). I am enjoying my job as much as I had hoped to (at times, more, even), and I really enjoy the company and guidance of all the other nurses/techs/doctors/etc. who work on my floor. The patients offer me insight and laughs every day. I am constantly learning, and I feel like I am doing something I can eventually be pretty good at. Oh- I get paid, too. That's really nice. I have so much more to learn and I still make mistakes on a daily (hourly?) basis, but I am trying hard and I am dedicated to improving and learning through it all. So, in a nutshell, work is fantastic.

Mom and Dad are coming to town in two weeks. I am so excited to see them and have them in Orlando. I am trying to think of what fun things we can fit in to a week, and already have a short list of must-dos. Walk around Lake Eola after a tasty brunch, show them where I work, cook them a big anniversary dinner... the list goes on. I'm excited to show them the life I've made for myself- with their help. Being a grown-up is fun, and making my parents proud is even more fun. I go to Jacksonville this coming weekend to see my oldest best good friend, Mollie, before she leaves for a big new world in NYC, my sister and niece, and a whole slew of other favorite people. I am even getting a new haircut and some highlights. :)

I have so many moments of laughter and love awaiting. I am looking at the world so positively now, and I am feeling so proud of getting to this point. All of the studying, the "I can't, I'm broke", the waiting, the hoping, and the wondering have proven worthwhile, and have helped me to look forward to times of sacrifice to come. I am making a conscious effort to be aware and present, and learn through it all. I am appreciating this Florida rain for the Florida sun, the bad drivers for the good. I am feeling lucky just to experience life. Maybe being a nurse has done that to me. Whatever it is, I feel so grateful.

A song I've been digging for months and months. A real feel good tune.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A plea.

Please don't give up on me! Please, oh please! I know I have been a bad blog mommy lately. I have been working, yes, but that is no excuse. I get home from work and I am so drained, I fear I won't be able to be animated and colorful enough to be interesting. I promise there will be a new blog up soon, complete with pictures. I love that this blog has been viewed 1600+ times since May (not counting my page views!). I love that you guys like reading my public diary. I love when you leave comments here or on facebook. Can we please stay together?

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I sit here with chapped, sunburned lips and shoulders in complete contentment. The music of Sufjan Stevens is melodically flowing through my computer speakers as I type this message. I can hear the central air soothingly rumbling, and I can see the palm and magnolia trees just past the porch moving with the Sunday afternoon breeze.
...And as I just finished that last sentence, the mellow music of Sufjan was interrupted by an ad for Van Halen that screamed a harsh guitar riff. Such is life!

Late Sunday morning blogging


Yesterday was filled with friends. I began my day relatively early, enjoying the same type of morning I just described (less the Van Halen interruption). Two of my closest friends here in Orlando stopped by because they were in the neighborhood picking up a moving truck. That's right, that means they are leaving me. We chatted and talked about going on a cruise in the off-season. It's always good to make future plans with people who are moving away! When they left, I went to the pool and got a great spot between the lake and the deep end. I made sure to acknowledge the fact that I was in a sort of suburban paradise. I got a text from two of my girlfriends asking me to meet them at their pool, to which I responded with a picture of my scenery, to which they responded, "We're on our way!". Four hours later, I was a redder shade of white girl.
Saturday sun affair.

"The Sun is my god," a fellow pool-goer told me yesterday.

Me, Sofia, and Andrea

A redder shade of white girl.

After the pool, I got ready for my dinner date with Aimee. Between the two of us, making the decision of where to eat is next to impossible. I made Aimee decide since she knows the downtown area better than I do. She always knows the best little-known places. Last night, she didn't disappoint. She suggested an authentic Cuban place on Orange Ave. with "really good sangria". She had me at "really good", but when the word sangria was uttered, I became a bit more excited. She was right. Best sangria I've ever had. This is the restaurant and I highly recommend it. One of the diners was singing loudly to the live piano music- a Cuban song, I assume. She was pretty good. When I say authentic, I mean it. From the food to the sangria to the service to the ambiance... to the singing diner. I can't guarantee a singing diner during your experience, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it nonetheless.

I don't know what today will bring, and as one o'clock quickly approaches, I suppose I should make a decision. Or not. Maybe I'll just listen to the air conditioner and the ticking of the kitchen clock. Maybe I will enjoy my lack of obligation today. I think that sounds nice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Loving out loud.

Life couldn't get much better for me. But at the same time, I know it will. And sometimes it will suck more. I know that, too. For now, I am going to enjoy what I've got going. I am so happy. There are some things in my life that are finally true and real that I have wished and worked for. I still drive a piece of crap car and my student loan debts haven't been magically absolved, but who cares? Not this girl!

It's absolutely pouring outside right now and I'm enjoying listening to the rain fall to the ground. I am inside my apartment, dry, typing this message, listening to nonsense on TV. I am free to enjoy the luxuries around me... and there are luxuries around me. I'm not afraid, I'm not without, and I'm not sick. I just want to recognize this moment. I want to love it out loud. I need to acknowledge this moment, and that's what I'm here to do.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A big, awesome, happy deal.

This was a big week. A huge week. I took my state boards (finally) and started my first career job. Thursday morning I woke up to review some stuff even though everyone I spoke to and everything I read said not to. My anxiety is not relieved by "me time", it is relieved by productivity, so I did it my way.

The entire drive to the testing center, I felt very strange. I felt like I was on the verge of something. The testing center was in this big building on a rough side of town. It was ominously quiet, and the room where it would all go down was at the end of a very industrial-looking hallway. I sat patiently as the woman ahead of me made a lot of racket, shuffled through her small, over-the-shoulder purse with embroidered horses on it, answered her cell phone after it rang very loudly, and made weird jokes to the proctor about how unimportant the call was. The lady and the vibe of the testing center were absolute foils of one another, and it seemed rather ironic- especially in light of my state of mind. I realized that I was something in the middle of those two entities-- not completely eccentric, and not industrially rigid-- and for a moment, that brought me peace. It didn't last long.

When my number was called, I rose from my seat and approached the proctor, who would do a vein scan on each of my hands three times. I placed my hand on the contraption and felt like I was taking an oath. I guess I was, more or less; I was vowing that I wouldn't take a break and let my identical twin/impostor finish the test for me while I cried in the car. After that, I put all of my stuff in a locker, and showed the proctor my empty pockets. As I pulled the fabric out of one of my pockets, a dollar fell to the ground and the proctor and I agreed it was a good luck sign. The room was so silent. Aside from the occasional clicking of a mouse or keystroke, all that could be heard were the hums of computer towers and buzzing of fluorescent lights. I sat at station number 6. I think 6 is a pretty number, so I put that into my good luck bag with the found dollar.

As I was taking the test, I was simultaneously trying to practice every deep-breathing relaxation exercise I knew. Guided imagery, diaphragmatic breathing, in through the nose/out trough the mouth, the Valsalva Maneuver to slow my heart rate.... the whole bit. It didn't really work. I was a bit of a wreck the whole time. I took my pulse at one point and it was racing. The way this test works, if you stay at a "passing level" or "failing level" the whole time, your test will end at 75 questions. If you're kind of bouncing up and down, you can get as many as 265 questions. I've been told that getting cut off 75 questions is more often than not a good thing, so I kept an eye on my number. When I got to question 73, my heart started to flutter. At 74, I could really feel it. When selected my choice on question 75, the screen went blue and I think my pulse became audible. It was bounding. For some stupid reason, the testing company asks you to complete a survey at the end of the test. There is no way in hell anyone cares about those questions. I clicked "strongly agree" about 10 times, barely reading the survey questions. I felt like I was waiting for my ride outside the jail after serving a 10 year sentence... I wanted so badly to get out of there and fast! I felt sick. I was nervous. I was jittery as all get out, and the damn palm-vein-scanner-thing wouldn't read my veins because I was so shaky and weird.

When I was finally released, I got on the elevator and did breathing exercises while a man took an extra side-step away from me. I'm sure I looked like a nervous wreck. The whole ride home was a big, huge "what-if" story unfolding in my mind. It was miserable. I came home and had a glass of wine... a couple glasses of wine.

Today, I went to the testing company's website and logged into my account. At the bottom of the page was a message that read, "Your results are available. You may purchase access for $7.95." I took my computer and my credit card into the bathroom with me and sat on the toilet. I don't know why, but sometimes when I'm nervous, I find the bathroom to be a comforting place. Anyway, there I sat, waiting for this huge big deal to stare me right in the face. This is what I saw:
So very tiny. So simple. Such build-up with all the nonsense on the top of the page. At the bottom: what really matters. PASS. I PASSED! I PASSED?! I passed. In a deep breath, I said, "Oh my god!" I closed my computer calmly, and went and sat on my bed for a minute. I just sat there. All of the bullshit and the crying and the worrying and the studying and the anxiety were over. I did it. I have letters after my name. Letters that mean the world to me, and that I am proud of. What a big, awesome, happy deal.

This afternoon, I got to babysit some of my favorite kiddos, and they were so sweet and great and loving. It was a really good day. I got my letters, and I got my lovin'. What a big, awesome, happy deal.

Of course, Florence has the perfect song to go along with all of this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Here I am, distracted. The countdown is SO on for my state boards, and I am feeling more confident than ever, but man... this adult ADD that I have self diagnosed is really getting the best of me. Also, I have been having a major case of Afternoon Slump, and I scheduled my test for 1pm, like an idiot, so I'm not sure how that is going to work out. I am making excuses already, isn't this nice? I have studied the crap out of the meds, conditions I have seen time after time in practice, and which diagnostic procedures require special attention to allergies, such as, "Do you have any allergies to shellfish or iodine that you know of?" I really wonder if I could have skipped all of nursing school, less the clinicals, taken Kaplan, and gone after this exam like a champ. Who knows. No turning back now! I am on SFMDA (Sugar Free Mountain Dew Amp!) #2 today, and just wanted to drop in and waste some more time....

Going... going... gone.

And a song to wiggle to...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Night.

This is in my ear: (repeated 'er a couple times... perfect song to dance around to while taking sips of wine... alone)

I'm on a Florence + the Machine kick big time. I have been since I got the CD last summer. Yep, Flo and I are one year strong.

Here's another good one (sorry no cool video):

And here's how I'm enjoying my night after a long day of face-in-book.

I think I'll enjoy *you* tonight.

A thick, hearty life.

I could never be a full-time stay-at-home mom. EVER. When I was young, my mom and dad worked a lot and we were in daycare and after-school care a lot, and in my late teens and early-20s I always said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom so that my kids wouldn't have to go to extended day after school. Well, turns out I ended up just fine and my parents have had careers, not just jobs, and much thanks to their careers, I am now able to have one of my own. I know how to manage time, I know the value of a Friday night in after long week, and I sure as hell know the value of a dollar.

Before all the stay-at-home moms out there bite my head off, I appreciate you very much. I could never do what you are doing- not because I am better or smarter or more motivated or anything like that whatsoever. I couldn't do it because I don't think that's where my happiness lies. And maybe your happiness doesn't lie in the workplace, or maybe you were happy in the workplace, but you are happiER at home with your kids or in PTA meetings or cleaning or doing whatever it is that stay-at-home moms do that I am not privy to. You do something I could not do, and I admire that.

For my life, I have to say this: Mom (specifically), thank you for taking care of your career and your kids, even if that meant a little less time with them (us). I'm over my selfish "you loved your job more than me!" thing. I know that's not true. You loved us so much that you sacrificed time with us to be able to offer us the best of the best. The best school, the best soccer teams, the best cleats... and you made the time you did have with us good. Even if that meant we were cleaning rooms in between soccer games on Saturdays rather than laying on the beach. We did find time to lay on the beach, too, though.

Anyway, I say all of this because after my first week of full-time work, I have never felt better! I have had jobs in the past where I absolutely dreaded going-- even cried in the car on the way there-- but I have found something I am really proud to do and something that challenges me and keeps me on my toes. My mom must have felt that way too, and now that I know how it feels, I would never have wanted to take that away from her. To be able to be a good mother and make a difference in the world (she really did in her field) is something I would love to have the opportunity to do. I don't think that without her example and guidance, I would know passion for work like I do now. I don't work to show up, I don't want a job just to pay the bills, and I'm not counting down the days til my retirement (thank God- that's a really long way away).

I really encourage anyone reading this to find something you are proud to do; something that challenges you-- something you look forward to doing each day. Find something you look back on fondly at the end of the week. Find something that doesn't make you curse Monday morning. Really, you aren't helping anyone if your attitude toward you work is poor. Maybe you think, "Well, someone needs to do this work, might as well be me," but if you don't enjoy it at all and you don't put your all into it, that someone would probably do a better job than you are. Hate to say it, but it's true.

Make something of your life.

Would you rather drink a soup with a water base and no spices, but maybe some noodles and freeze-dried veggies- something that could sustain you but not satisfy you, or a stew with delicious meat, fresh vegetables, exotic spices, and a thick, creamy broth- something that makes you feel full and something you want to share with others? That's the way I look at my life. I want something that can sustain me, fulfill me, and something I want to share with others. If that something is your children and you get all of that from being a stay-at-home mom, then do it! If that something is a full-time job, then do it! Be sure to keep tabs on your happiness! It's important. Don't save your "happy days" for the short time you will get to enjoy once you retire (assuming you will be able to), or for when your kids can take care of themselves. Do what you need to do to find some happiness every day. I mean that happiness where you are happy in the moment, smiling on the inside (on the outside counts too), and nothing in particular is happening. The happy-to-exist thing. Find that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Workin' Woman.

Today was the big day! As I wrote in my Facebook status: "Today was the first day of the rest of my life, y'all!" I guess technically you could say that on any given day, but I think it really get's its oomph on days where something big happens; on days where you really cross that threshold separating yesterday from today or the past from the future. It really isn't a huge deal, since I am not on the floor yet, but shoot- I am a paid employee of _______ ______! <-- Mom, I bet you appreciate that ambiguity! (She doesn't want me being stalked, I can't imagine why...)
Anyway, what we discussed today were benefits, life insurance, tax brackets, letter/number codes I don't understand that have something to do with earnings, etc. The kid next to me (he was 23 or 24) complained almost the entire day. "This sucks.", "I'm gonna die.", "When will this eeeenddd?" He had a really great attitude. I didn't think it sucked at all, I didn't think I was going to die, and I didn't care if we went over on time a little because I felt excited to finally be at a point in my life where letter/number codes that I don't understand matter!
In health care, I rarely see fence-sitters when it comes to job satisfaction. I see people who love what they do, and people who hate what they do and complain about it all the time. I am determined to be someone who loves what they do. I don't even care if I sound naive. I will admit that I have had days on the floor in school where I wanted to leave, or I felt mistreated or unappreciated, or I thought that maybe I was in a little bit over my head. But I never allowed myself to hate it. And I never will. It isn't an option. When you don't give yourself the option to hate something, you will learn to love it- or at least like it enough to make everyone think you love it (and you may even convince yourself after awhile!). In a field like nursing, you hating your job is hurting other people's lives. Even if you are jaded, miserable, and feeling completely unappreciated, taking your misfortune out on others-- on SICK others-- is cruel. I believe that.
So, tomorrow is my second day at orientation, and I am going to sit my naive ass in the seat for as long as they tell me, and then I am going to take my naive ass to the floor and help sick people feel better- knowing that when they yell at me, or speak rudely to me, or ask too much of me, they are doing it because they feel like crap. I will not hate my job, I will not allow myself to become jaded, and I will not let anyone make me feel bad for that. And if I ever have a really bad day, I am going to come read this and think... "Maybe I was naive," and then maybe I'll laugh a little.

Obligatory First Day picture. Do I look tired? It was 6:39am.

Don't worry, mom... identifiers removed (Hospital, Color)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome Sunday.

It's amazing what a cup of coffee and a good song can do. The song? By happenstance on shuffle? Ani DiFranco, Sunday Morning.

I woke up this morning in pain. That's right, the oh-shit-I-have-a-big-week-ahead-please-don't-be-sick type. Scratchy throat, body aches, stuffy nose. Oh sh...well you get it. I was determined not to let that kind of wake-up define my day, especially after I had the most dreamy, relaxing single-girl-Saturday-night-in (okay, I'm done with the hyphens).

This is how I feel today, even though I woke up feeling ick.
Do you know what I did last night? You don't. I had a candlelit bubble bath while [...wait for it... wait for it...] watching Father of the Bride. That's right. And I'm sure my mother is clenching her jaw right now for two reasons: 1) My computer was in the bathroom, and 2) I just told the blog world I took a bubble bath and that is somehow inappropriate. Well, I did both of those things and they were magical. The computer is dry and functioning, and I just looked outside and there aren't any peeping toms trying to get a glimpse into my apartment. It was the perfect way to spend my Saturday night in. I have mentioned in the past that I prefer Saturday nights in- Friday nights are my single-girl-out nights (oops, sorry... hyphens again). I love my Saturday nights at home. They ensure that Sundays will be filled with good vibes and productivity (usually).

I will dream of this after 12 hour shifts...

Today I have some errands to run and it's back to the books. I took a personal day yesterday, but ended up doing 30 practice questions just to quiet the guilt.
To close this post out... a favorite nursing picture. Nothing to do with anything, just a picture I like.

Community Health at Pine Crest Elementary Pre-K

Saturday, July 9, 2011

yummy sips and my new beginning

Today has been one of those relaxing, do-nothing, stay-in-PJs-all-day kinds of days. When I woke up, I made Christmas coffee-- a dash of nutmeg and a teaspoon of cinnamon added to the coffee grounds, and a Bob's Old Fashioned Peppermint Stick as a swizzle. Yummy! I turned down the A/C to make it extra cuddly and read a bunch of blog posts and listened to the song I posted earlier about 20 times in a row. I get a little tired of summer sometimes, so I just pretend it's winter. I love winter. Maybe that's an easy thing for a Floridian to say, I don't know, but the cold and the snuggling and the coats... I love it all.

Minty, spicy, creamy deliciousness

Last night I had my first guests at the new place! Andrea, my roommate for all four years of college, and Sofia, a fixture in our college apartment, came over and we had a few beers and Dan brought home some pizza for us. We went to Ale House and I insisted that the girls try my favorite drink: Gatorade. Orange vodka, water, and a splash of sour mix. No hangover because of all the water, and it tastes just like lemon-lime gatorade! They are now hooked. :) We reminisced and laughed for a good three or four hours.

Andrea, Sofia, and me

This week I begin my new job! Well... sort of. I go to orientation. BUT, I get PAID! I have no idea when I'll see that first paycheck, but boy will she be a beaut. Yesterday I got a bunch of new scrubs, and I remember saying a little over two years ago when I began nursing school, "I can't wait til the day I'm walking into the hospital in my scrubs, as an employee!" The day has almost arrived! I will be getting my badge this week, eating in the cafeteria, opening doors without an escort... it will all be real!
Waiting for the future is hard! It's so important to stay in the moment, but I find myself with an eye on the horizon a lot, especially lately. I see my friends getting married, moving to big cities, buying houses, having children... and I wonder where on the horizon that is for me. At one point, this Monday was on my horizon, but now it's practically right under me! So, I have to keep that in mind. The phrase "Good things come to those who wait" comes to mind... but I don't know what choice I have other than to wait, so I'm not sure what comes to those who don't wait. Anyway, I am now sitting on the branch of a tangent tree! Time for me to climb down! Happy Saturday, my friends.


So, I started reading a new blog. My favorite blogs to read are "family blogs", particularly those authored by really cute moms with cute young kids, cute homes, and cute ideas. This is my new favorite. I want to be just like this mom! Another big plus, this girl has great taste in music. Every time I visit her page, she has a new song for me to become obsessed with (ending with a preposition... I hate doing it, but we're friends here, right?). Anyway, this is the song I am obsessed with at the moment. I stole it from her page. Thank you, Kelle Hampton/"Enjoying the Small Things". :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The best song I've heard in some time.

1. Push Play
2. Close your eyes
3. Listen as your favorite summer memories flood your mind

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the big little move.

Hi readers! This past week has been a crazy one. We moved into our new place (yay!) on Saturday, which meant that Thursday and Friday of last week were spent packing. Saturday morning I had to sort out a whole bunch of BS at the bank (of course things had to be especially difficult just to add a little flavor), but after that nonsense Dan and I picked up our U-Haul trailer! By 11:00am we were loading up.
Events like these tend to bring out some of Dan and I's major personality differences. I like to get everything done all at once, even if it means zero sleep and some complaining, and he likes to take his time and get plenty of sleep and take things as they come. I'm sure both ways of going about things have their pros, so I can't say either of us is wrong, but it can be interesting working together. That being said, we worked really well as a team and I only yelled at him once (and it was because he left the back door of the U-Haul open and we were about to leave the apartment complex... I could see our stuff bouncing around as he went over speed bumps and I guess the trailer was so loud that he couldn't hear me honking or screaming. Anyway, I think it was a warranted yell.).
We got all of my stuff and the living room stuff in the first two loads. It was nearly 100 degrees out and humid as hell (I'd imagine literally), but I was able to keep a positive attitude by thinking about what a good workout I was getting. Dan had to be at work by 6, so we wrapped it up and I stayed at the new place organizing while he went to work. We had no cable or internet, so I literally did everything in silence (I could have played a CD, but just didn't) and I found it extremely meditative. After it had been silent for about 5 hours, I thought to myself: Wow, I wonder when the last time was that I sat in complete silence- or did anything in silence- for five whole hours straight. I got a whole lot done and was ready for bed around 11, when Dan arrived home from work. He still had plenty of energy (and I suppose perhaps my "let's get everything done" attitude had rubbed off a little) and convinced me to do one more run with him. He had hauled all of my stuff in the heat, so I felt the least I could do was haul his stuff in the cool(er) night, even though I was delirious. (Did I mention I got 1.5 hours of sleep Friday night??)
By the wee hours of Sunday morning, all but our dining set were at our new place. When we got home, I was so excited to take a hot bath in my huge bathtub... to find that we had no hot water. :( I passed out dirty and stinky, but slept like a baby.
As of today, the whole place (less the dining set) is set up and functioning. Dan went to visit some friends from Japan in South Florida this week, so I've been holding down the fort. His room is still in shambles, but I doubt he would want me taking care of that for him (not to mention I need to study as much as I can). I have walked to the grocery store two times in the past two days, and I walked to get sushi last night. I love being able to walk! Our new place is right next door to practically everything I could ever need. I hope the walking isn't just nice because it's a novelty for now. I want to keep up with it! I just think about when my parents used to live in Japan and how far we would walk for things- not thinking anything of it because of the culture there. I feel happy when I'm walking to get my groceries with my reusable grocery bags--like a girl of the not-too-distant future. It's meditative as well. I try not to use my cell phone so that I am really in the here and now, observing what's around me even though I've seen most of it all a thousand times. It's interesting.
I'm hoping Dan comes home tomorrow because I miss him when he's gone! Also, I need his help cleaning up the old place :). But mostly, I miss him. I am not sure I could ever live alone unless I was doing it in order to find inner peace in an Ashram or Buddhist Monastery-- it would have to be some kind of personal challenge. I don't hate being alone, but I don't know how it would be to live alone... Anyway, I digress.
Time for bed. Night-night. :)

My big tub (might just go get in now!)
A little peek of my room

Thursday, June 30, 2011

a pic i like.

I just found this pic on Facebook of some friends at I at Britt's bachelorette party. Brought back good memories. This was taken in late March. I love these girls.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grey day.

It was grey all day today. It hasn't rained, but I've been looking outside on the hour to see if the clouds have given up yet. That's Florida in the summer for ya. I had a great tan in May, but come June, the tan has faded and the clouds have taken over the sky.
I made a reservation for our U-Haul today, which I am too excited about. I am so happy to think of us moving in say, three trips, rather than 10 or so in this July heat. I am scheduled to pick the trailer up at 8am, but I might be there at 7:45 so we can get to haulin' before the summer sun is in full force. As of today we have done nothing in preparation. Really. We don't even have boxes. Have I lost my mind? Oh- yes, I have... to NCLEX prep. Top priorities are hard to determine right now.... but NCLEX prep has been taking the top spot in most situations.
Hopefully we will be moved in by Sunday! I know that is ambitious, but I'm impatient.
Not much to report today, but I do think I just heard the first rain drop! Poor clouds must have gotten exhausted holding in all that rain...

Stormy day.
Studying and waiting for the rain...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom, the most adventurous woman I know, turned 56 today! I know she wouldn't care that I tell her age because she isn't like that. She is proud of herself and her age, and sometimes even lets her grays show. She is a wonderful woman who has gone through a lot, put up with a lot, and provides a LOT. I love you so much, Mom. I wouldn't choose any other mom over you.

Some love for mom

The day my mom became a mom... with me!
Mom in Algeria.
Mom and her twin sister, Terri. Happy Birthday to you too, Terri!
Mom, Aoi, and I in Japan. Aoi was one of her English students.
Mom and I this past Christmas in Kentucky.