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