So many of my habits seem to be ephemeral… here today, gone tomorrow. This blog sometimes seems like one of them, but I like that I have it despite its irregularity.
Can’t possibly fill in everything from the past two weeks, so I’ll summarize. School is mostly frustrating and stressful, but I really like the hand-on experiences I’m getting to do in my Med/Surg clinicals. My social life is erratic, but more alive than you’d expect considering that I’m so busy with school. Last weekend, I had scheduled work but they cancelled me, so I got to go to a Phi Mu social event that I had not expected to attend, which was really fun!
I’m feeling really great right now! Got an early start, but after my clinical day, I took advantage of the great weather. Not only did I run 5 miles (in my new Saucony shoes) but I took a dip in the pool afterwards. One of those rare days that I could do both in the afternoon. Then after a quick clean-up and dinner, I took Bonnie to the park. It was so beautiful today!
This weekend I finally made it out to spend time with James at his new place. The drive is unfortunate in length but pretty nonetheless. We had an awesome time…took the dogs for a walk on the beach Saturday and then on a nature trail Sunday. He’s still exploring the area, so we did a lot of scenic driving.
Also, Friday was exciting because I got to see Steve! Met up with him and a couple others at Plaza for lots of delicious food, and he and I ended up having a great talk afterwards. Then I got up early Saturday for The Color Run! Carrie and I finished together, and I was so proud of her. She’s a future runner – I just know it 🙂
That’s as far back as I can go without getting muddled. All I know for sure is that this month (so far) has been a roller coaster of feelings and experiences.
It’s not quite the end of the year, but it’s incredible what a difference an almost-year can make. The story of this year is quite a bit more monotonous than 2011, but I have traveled much further down a single path than I have since I graduated from college.
The year began with the loss of my grandfather, at age 90, after a stroke that left him hospitalized for a month for the first time in his life. I was lucky enough to be able to visit him often while he was sick, in addition to having spent the previous Christmas with him and his wife. I miss him so very much, but he had a good, long life, and I’m glad he only had to suffer for a few weeks after his stroke. He passed away during the first week in February, and after his memorial service, my life returned to a state of relative calm.
During the same time frame, I began my pre-nursing courses at the community college. I also helped welcome my friend’s new son to the world by hosting two parties…one was a post-birth baby shower, and the other was a winter crafting party. I also reconnected with an old friend from years past in a rather unexpected manner, which is noteworthy because we went from literally no communication in over 5 years to communication at least once a week, and sometimes every day.
By March/April, several exciting things happened. My college Roomie visited me (my visit to her, as of this writing, is unfortunately still unscheduled), I started making friends with people in my community college classes (one in bio and my “gang of 5” in psych), and I hosted a visit from my friend Alice over her spring break (she’s a music teacher). I also met Randall Munroe, the creator of XKCD with my friend Jen, took my Little for a day at the nearby theme park, and started running 4-5 mile distances for the first time ever.
At the end of April, life took a pretty rough turn in a business-related way. In order to remain as vague as possible, it started a 7-month saga of annoying things I had to deal with that won’t officially get wrapped up until the beginning of 2013. It was awful, and it cost me a lot of money and faith in humanity, but I learned some valuable lessons.
In May, I focused on finals for my spring courses and starting my three summer courses, which were much more intense due to the abbreviated semester. Also, my Little graduated from her teaching master’s program and (which made me very sad) and my summer roommate moved in (which made me very happy). I ran a 5K, visited my friend Purcella for her graduation party, and took Lyds to a Flogging Molly concert.
The nutrition class I took this summer gave me a lot of great information about eating that has made me paranoid about certain types of food. I really noticed this on a camping trip I took with friends when I wasn’t in charge of the food I was eating. I have gotten less vigilant about it since the summer, but it was a really interesting awakening. I also started biking a lot more, possibly as a result of the class, but also because it’s fun. In July, right after my summer classes ended, I started working at a local hospital. I attended a two-week orientation, after which I started working part time.
In August, I took a trip to visit my friend Jess in grad school before my fall courses began. In September, I spent nearly all of my spare time planning my birthday party and applying to Nursing School, but I also had a fun weekend with friends at The Color Run 5k. In October, I turned 25 and had my Safari Murder Mystery Dinner Party. I also found out that I got into Nursing School (!!!), enjoyed seeing many friends over homecoming weekend, and ran my first ever 10k race, which was Halloween-themed.
By the time November rolled around, I was mostly focused on finishing up my classes and completing all of the final things necessary for Nursing School after our orientation like vaccinations, ordering uniforms, and arranging background check. I took a trip to visit my Little and her family over Thanksgiving. In December, Lydia and I visited Jess and we all went to the SYTYCD tour. I also went with Molly to an alt rock concert. At the same time, I managed to take all of my finals, mail all of my Christmas cards/packages, and get my house decorated for Christmas. I celebrated Christmas/Hanukkah locally this year, with many of my friends, because I had to stay in town for work. Interestingly, a really bad thing that happened to me (a speeding ticket) has led me to make a lot of positive changes.
As I look back on this year, I have noticed a few key themes. First, it seems like it is possible for me to balance fun activities with my school and work responsibilities. The balance was leaning a little more towards the work/responsibility side in 2012 as compared to 2011, but that is definitely a good thing, and I will be better off if I push it even more in 2013. Second, it is important that I write about all the different parts of my life, because I really enjoy looking back on a complete picture, not just at my most emotional moments. Third, it is really easy for me to get completely lost in unimportant things and completely lose focus on my larger goals. To be honest, writing helps keep me accountable, so I say again that I need to do more of it.
Looking forward to 2013, I have a tough spring semester ahead of me with more credits than I have taken at once since I started community college. However, unless something unexpected happens, I will have all summer off of classes. I plan to travel to AZ as well as FL over the summer, and also to pick up more hours at work than I have had while I have been in classes. I have also signed up for a half marathon in September, so I plan to spend the next 8 months training with that in mind. In the Fall, I will continue RN classes and I also plan to start BSN classes online (if I get in to that program). I predict that 2013 will be full of challenges, new friends, and an avalanche of nursing knowledge. I hope the groundwork I laid in 2012 has adequately prepared me: only time will tell.
I think I’m migrating to a new blog. I’ve started it, but I haven’t shared it with anyone, so if someone happened to find it, that would only be an accident. Really what I’ve realized is that this blog is getting tough to keep up because I don’t have a theme. The theme is everything. So I start to feel guilty when I don’t write about anything, and then the problem gets worse. But let’s give it one last hurrah and maybe I will change my own mind. Either way, I’m planning to move forward with the new blog because it will be thematic and purposeful. The role of this blog would become a home for whatever doesn’t fit there. And hey, it’s tough to be any less regular than I’ve been. Okay, let’s begin the end…for now.
So yesterday I finished up my huge block of four tests, and to celebrate, I baked dozens of cookies. I’m not really sure how many I ended up making, but I had a guest to keep me company, and lots of tupperware to mail them off to my relatives. Now, the genius in this plan (if only sarcasm could be less bluntly alluded) is that I decided on Friday night to bake fresh cookies for people I care about. FRIDAY NIGHT. Do you know what a bad idea this was? I’ll tell you. I had to not only put together their whole Christmas packages, write all of their cards (which involved futzing with the photo printer for almost an hour), and pack all of the boxes. I ended up at 1:30am with cookies made, letters written, boxes packed, but no packing tape in sight.
The other factor that made this plan even more perfect is that I had plans this morning which required me to be up by at least 8am anyway. So what did I do? I got up at 7:30, took care of the dog, and then hustled out the door (forgetting breakfast on the end table) to go mail things! But did you know that it’s nearly impossible to mail things on a Saturday morning? I sure didn’t! Kinkos, usually open for freakishly long hours, decides to sleep in on Saturdays. The post office in my area didn’t open til 9am. I discovered this at 8:20 when I had to be somewhere 50 minutes away at 9:30. So I drove and drove to my destination, hoping to stop by a post office nearby before my planned arrival. So it’s about 9:15 and I’m feeling great, and then when I drove up to the post office, I saw this BIG SIGN that says they don’t open til 10am! It was a continuous catastrophe! Fortunately, my friends were understanding and we waited around until 10am rolled around and my pumpkin turned back into a chariot. They even gave me some packing tape so I could just drop and go at the actual post office! Huzzah!
From that point on, the day was amazing! It was just like in that song “I can see clearly now the rain is gone…” The fog lifted (literally) and we enjoyed an unseasonably warm December day at the zoo! It had been awhile…about two years…since I had been there, and they had opened up a brand new exhibit! My favorites were the giraffes (obviously), but we saw a baby siamang nursing and a squirrel monkey in another exhibit came right up to the glass and interacted with me (giving me an adorable picture to boot).
Once I left the zoo, I gave a call to another friend of mine who I’ve been out of touch with in the past few weeks due to poorly timed unavailability. We had a surprise impromptu get-together including lunch (for her….salad for me since I technically ate an early lunch at the zoo) and a quick Christmas shopping trip.
And then I booked it back home to make it to the dog park in time. Bonnie was sure happy to be there (as she always is). She especially likes playing with her dog friends Mindy and Arrow across the fence, and I like talking to their owners, so it all works out! And then, to round out this delightful day, I had a nice relaxing evening at home watching Boy Meets World. I forgot how adorable that show was, and I’m counting it as research towards the upcoming reboot, Girl Meets World. I have high hopes that it will be great, but only time will tell!
What an interesting society in which I find myself. I am lucky enough to live in an area where there is curbside recycling. This means that in order to fill my eco-karma for the week, all I have to do is throw my recyclables into a SEPARATE bin, and then remember to put them out once a week for collection. It’s amazing that anyone could fail to do such a simple thing. Fortunately, compared to 10 years ago, many more people do recycle. Every Wednesday morning, the streets are lined with bins like these. It warms my heart, just a little.
But what happens when, all of a sudden, the system breaks down? This year, the weekly recycling day fell on a National Holiday: July 4th. Yet for some reason, my neighbors still expected that the recycling pickup would commence as usual. What do they think this is, that famous geyser at Yellowstone, old faithful? No, this is a man-made, governmental system that does not operate on holidays.
So the regular recycling day came and went, and still PEOPLE LEFT THEIR BINS OUT, hoping the collection truck would come the next day. It did not. Nor the day after that. My neighborhood was beginning to look like this…the recycling was taking over!
Okay, I may be exaggerating a little. And it’s lucky for everyone that we didn’t have any major storm events in the intervening days. But I doubt people would have taken the time to take their bins in.
Finally, this morning, after 3 full days of staring at those bins, the recycling collector put me out of my misery! I turns out there was an official notification that only one bored neighbor read informing us that collection was scheduled to occur today all alone. But if the collection hadn’t come until the following Wednesday, I bet those people would have left those bins out for a full week, just in case.
My main point here is not about the recycling bins. Honestly, it wasn’t a major concern of mine. But I do think it’s symptomatic of some problems in our society. First, very few people think to ask questions…they just assume that things will occur as expected, and don’t question when they are amiss. Second, most people are resistant to change. Instead of realizing that the collection was rescheduled and adjusting by putting their bins in, they simply left them as-is. I think that’s just pure laziness.
And finally, I really do think that if all of a sudden, trash and recycling collectors stopped coming to our neighborhood for months on end, people would still put their bins and trash out for collection. They might even realize the change, but that wouldn’t stop them from piling it up outside. It makes me think about how quickly our society could disintegrate if just a few small things were to go amiss.
I don’t know about the rest of you, fellow citizens of the world, but I prefer outside temperatures within a fairly narrow range. I am happiest when the outside temperature is between 55-75F. Any colder and a slight breeze can make things uncomfortable, and any warmer and the humidity of the southern US can make things stifling. I’ve always thought that humans are poorly adapted to tolerating changes in temperature. We bundle up in the winter and sweat bullets in the summer. But that’s life, and there’s not much you can do about it. And that’s why it’s so nice when things swing your way, temperature-wise.
I’ve been rolling out the old bike a lot more recently. I’ve been biking to the store, to see nearby friends, and even down to the farmer’s market! Well, one thing I have discovered is that there is a special ‘bike zone’ that you achieve when it comes to temperature. It may be a blisteringly hot day, but as soon as I get up some speed on my bike, the heat just seems to melt away! Now, I know this is wind, and I could achieve a similar effect by just putting down the windows on my car. Of course, the big difference is that my bike lives indoors, and so I don’t have to deal with the hot handlebars (analogous to hot steering wheel of car). By biking, I also miss out on that oppressive level of heat unique to cars that have been sitting in the sun in summer. Even with AC, the first few moments of getting into a car on a hot day are miserable. With a bike, I only have a few seconds of heat before I get up enough speed for the ‘bike zone.’ And this is just a subjective measure, but I think it feels about 15-20 degrees cooler on my bike.
My other example of a thermal oasis is just today in general. A pretty intense storm blew through here yesterday, knocking down tree limbs and causing some minor power outages. But following the storm, a wonderful cold front has bathed us in an unseasonably cool day! It started out today below 60F and stayed under 70 until almost noon. High of 80! In June! In ‘the South’! And so far I have squeezed every ounce out of this delightful day. I was on the road for a run by 7:15 am (which isn’t early for most people, but is quite early for me). Then, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon with a friend of mine at a nearby amusement park. I’m inside now, but in another couple hours I’ll be taking the mutt to the dog park. It’s been a beautiful day!
More good things:
– I’m doing really well in my anatomy & physiology class. I’m having to work really hard, but it’s paying off!
– I received a second-round interview for a job that I’m really excited about!
– My classes end in just 2.5 more weeks! And then I have traveling plans in August.
– I’ve got some fun things planned for the next week, like happy hour, a local baseball game, and some pool time 🙂
But instead, I’m sailing. Figuratively. In reality, I’m packing for a weekend camping trip.
But that’s not all! I also watched a new favorite TV show, after I went to the park, after I baked some salmon for dinner. This dinner (salmon with sweet peppers, baked potato, and broccoli) is the second of the new dishes I’ve tried recently. The first was Chicken Tikka Masala, which I made last week with my friends Jenn and Katrina. Both dinners were unexpectedly delicious. Unexpected mostly because they were easy. Delicious despite the fact that they were new.
I’ve been so busy with school recently, but now I’m taking a break for a couple days. It will be nice. I hope it won’t cause me additional stress upon my return. It probably will, but it’s worth it.
Seriously, I’m having a tough time getting a handle on life right now. I can hardly believe that my Little graduated less than 10 days ago. Life has been insanity since then! I literally had plans every night of last week, from making pizza in with Emily to movie night with Lydia, because I had to get up early Saturday morning for a 5k. I spent exactly 22 hours visiting my friend Purcella at her grad party, not including driving. That was after the morning race. Then Sunday I only had time to go to the dog park before I had to focus on my homework!
Yesterday night I took Lyds to a concert for her birthday. It was awesome…mosh pit and all! It was my first time at that venue, which made it quite a memorable experience. Also, it was one of Lyd’s favorite bands, so I loved getting to experience it with her. And then tonight, “the gang” and I met up to see a movie. It’s madness, I tell you, because I’m doing it all while balancing three summer classes. I’m going to have to slow the pace down pretty soon, or else I will end up compromising either my grades or my sanity! Too bad I am spending an entire 4-day weekend visiting my grandmother back in my hometown. I’m going to have to bring the study materials and squeeze in a fair amount of work in order to keep my head above water!
What I think it so funny about all of this is that my summer roommate moved in the weekend of graduation, and so she’s literally only seen me in this complete overdrive mode. I keep trying to assure her that this is not the normal pace of my life! It only seems like I’m an overbooked socialite! I haven’t even been keeping up with my TV shows…THAT’S how busy I’ve been! And what’s worse is that I have actually had to turn down plans with people recently, which I hate having to do. I love having plans and spending time with my friends, I just don’t know if I can afford to do it as much as I have been.
Gosh, I really do sound like I’m complaining. I promise I’m not! I’m really happy, I just need to take the less-fun parts of life a little more seriously or else it’s really going to catch up with me.