I’ve been thinking that my upcoming new chapter requires a new blog, and so I’m moving to Nursing the North. It’ll pretty much be more of what I wrote here, but with Alaskan adventures!
Apartment hunting is the pits. I have to say, after spending the night sweating to death in my over-priced, un-air conditioned apartment last night that I am not good at finding places to live. My friends had great apartments, with fireplaces (not working ones, but even a decorative fireplace is nice), and hardwood floors, and sun rooms, and patios, and they didn’t pay much more rent than me, but I don’t know how to find that kind of place.
I’ve been trying to think of qualities to look for in an apartment to help me with my search. It needs to allow pets, and even though I don’t know when I’ll be getting a dog, it has to allow for both cats and dogs, just in case. I’d really like a place where I could line-dry my laundry (this might not happen, but it makes sheets smell so good! I’ve been drying stuff out on my fire escape, but I feel like that evokes the morning after a wedding night in medieval times, and that’s kinda gross. Also, sometimes things blow away and fall into the parking lot behind my building, which defeats the purpose of washing them in the first place), and for that matter, I’d like a place that comes with a washer and dryer so I don’t have to obsess over quarters. I’d like a fireplace (fortunately, they seem to be pretty common in Alaska- even the less-nice places I’ve seen at least have the gas ones), and a decent-sized kitchen. I think those are all reasonable qualities to look for, but I don’t know how to find that kind of place.
I’m done with school. Done with clinical, done with classes, my last assignment is turned in- it’s hard to believe. This year has felt like a lifetime. I’m a little too shell-shocked to fully process what being done means, but it’s big. So much has happened in the past 13 months.
The responsible part of my brain is telling me that I should start packing up my apartment, but I don’t want to. I don’t feel terribly attached to the place (even though it was my first solo apartment), but I don’t feel ready for things to be over. I don’t want to live in that weird, half-packed limbo just yet. It’ll come soon enough. Instead, I spend half the afternoon cleaning to get ready for my inspection- I want that security deposit back!
I had the most incredible biscuit for breakfast this morning. I was late getting to the market today, and when I got there it seemed like everywhere I turned people were eating them, and they smelled incredible, so I had to get one too. They were out of the chicken sandwiches by then, so I just got a plain biscuit, but it was still fabulous. It had to contain lard- there’s no other explanation for all the deliciousness.
I spent the night at my friend Judy’s house last night because we were up until the wee hours of the morning playing games and watching Wreck-It Ralph (which was actually really good. I thought it looked dumb, but was pleasantly surprised). It’s weird to think that these evenings are going to come to an end soon. I know there will still be game nights in Alaska, but it won’t be the same without my Baltimore friends.
Now that my time in Baltimore is coming to a close I wish I could tack on a few extra…years. Or at least weeks- there are so many things I would do if I could just work and not have to worry about school! I’m taking advantage of my time here though, and I’ve been keeping busy with good times and good people.
I worked a 12-hour shift on the 4th, but after I got off I walked down to the inner harbor with my friend Suzanne to watch the fireworks. It was crowded, but not a mad house, and because we walked we didn’t have to worry about parking or traffic, so that was perfect. We found a nice spot on the dock, with a lovely breeze, and it was mighty fine. Everyone at work had been saying that they’re so over fireworks, but I love them. It was a great display, and I loved listening to the kids behind us try to guess which colors would come up next. Afterwards we walked back to Suzanne’s place, and because I had a shift the next morning I crashed on her couch since she lives down the street from the hospital (and has air-conditioning. I’ve been dying of the heat at night).
My friends Scott and Emily hosted a barbeque on the 5th, and then yesterday I went tubing! I had never really been tubing before (my SCA crew tried once, but my tube burst, so then it turned into walking/swimming down a river instead), and it’s so fun! I love Maryland- there are fireflies, and wild strawberries, and friendly people, and beautiful wilderness-y areas- it’s just a great state. We were on a river in Monkston, which is actually where I did the moonlight race with my friend Josh last year. It was nice seeing it from a different perspective, and the scenery was really lovely. The water was freezing when we first got in, but then we got used to it, and then it felt incredible. I got super sunburned on my legs, but it was otherwise an almost-perfect day out.
I had meant to go run after tubing, but it was much too hot, so instead I took refuge in the cool darkness of a movie theater. I had been dying to see Much Ado About Nothing, but no one wanted to go with me (it’s only playing at one local theater, and they don’t do student discounts, so you have to feel pretty strongly about seeing a movie to go there), so I had a little date night by myself. I put on a sundress, and earrings, and I would’ve treated myself to some raisinettes, but I wasn’t hungry. Part of me was worried that I would fall asleep once the lights went out after my long day in the sun, but that was never an issue, because the movie was excellent. Joss Whedon likes to reuse actors, so I had lots of feelings about the cast, but they slipped seamlessly into Shakespeare. Clark Gregg is adorable, and made a great Leonado, and Reed Diamond was delightful. I also loved Jillian Morgese as Hero, and Amy Acker and Alexis Denishof were both very good, but I lost my heart to Fran Kranz from the first episode of Dollhouse, and so he stole the show for me. He’s just so cute!
Even aside from the terrific cast, it was a great movie. Joss Whedon wrote new music for the Shakespearean songs, and so the soundtrack was interesting, and fit perfectly. It was actually shot at Joss Whedon’s house (which is very nice- I’m jealous of his pool and big yard), and everyone seemed very at ease. It was easy to believe that this was purely a passion project- Whedon did it while working on The Avengers, and apparently he likes to have people over to do Shakespeare on a regular basis, which I think probably contributed to the sense of intimacy (and sounds like a very pleasant way to spend an evening, sitting around with friends, drinking wine and reading Shakespeare). It was funny, and attractively shot, and I would see it again in a heartbeat- I half-wanted to stay for the next showing.
I have a job! In Alaska! Come September I’ll be working as a pediatric psych nurse at North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage. It’s very exciting. Right now I need to do homework and get to the farmer’s market, but there will be more later!
How do real nurses have any kind of life after 12-hour shifts? I’m only working 8′s, and I’m exhausted by the end of the day. It’s all I can do to flop on my bed and I eat strawberries for dinner because I’m too tired to cook (except not tonight- tonight I was a grown-up and had vegetables for dinner- I cooked them and everything). I need to get it together- the gym just reopened this week, and I need to start going again.
Things are still awesome in Psych-Land. I’m legitimately sorry I won’t be back on the floor until Monday. I’d much rather spend the day in the hospital than go to my seminar on Fridays, but attendance is mandatory. It’s a good seminar, but I just want to interact with patients.
I have a meeting tonight, so I’m at the library, and the sky is looking ominous. I’m wearing my workout stuff, but I’m going to head home as soon as I can log off- I don’t want to get caught in a storm.
I hate to say it, because it’s the biggest possible jinx, but I’m super excited for this weekend. It’s Pride, and unlike last year, this year I have friends, and plans, and it should be a lot of fun. I’m also starting a cat-sitting job, which means I get to mix it up and stay in my friends’ apartment for a week, which is always fun. I like an occasional change of scenery.
I’m in love. It’s pretty serious- I would totally commit if they popped the question and asked me to stay in Baltimore. Granted, the object of my affection is a psych ward, but there are all kinds of love.
I started my final practicum on Saturday, and it’s brilliant. I want to be there all the time (which works, since I pretty much am). I spring from my bed in the morning, eager to start the day and help my patients. When I asked for a psych floor I didn’t think I would actually want to be a psych nurse, but I could totally see it now. It’s incredibly satisfying. I could literally do this work every day and be happy.
I went to the Charles Village Festival yesterday, and a band that I saw while out on a date with Peter Parker was playing. Then I went to a party at a stranger’s house, and I ran into people from contra dancing. More importantly, I had a super wonderful day, with live music, and cheap beer, and cantaloupe, and water fights. It was cool realizing that I fit into a community in Baltimore that isn’t 100% nursing students, but it was even better spending the first day of June with wonderful people I adore. I’ll be very sorry to move on.
It has been absurdly, cruelly hot in Baltimore, and I do not have any air conditioning in my apartment. It’s not good. As a means of coping I have decided to live off of popsicles, hummus and veggies, and bread and butter pickles, because it’s much too hot to turn on the oven or stove (I boiled an egg this morning and the fan actually made me hotter, because it blew the heat from the flame right at me). Pickles are an underrated breakfast food- I bought nice local ones at the farmer’s market, and I don’t know how I lived before without having them in my life.
I am officially in my last semester of nursing school! Where has the time gone?! I’m super ready, but also nervous. I really want to have a job lined up before I graduate- I sent in my application for my Alaskan nursing license, but I can’t move there until I have a job (Alaska has a super high cost of living). I want to spend time with my family, but I’d also really love to earn some money, and so I’ve been thinking about what I’ll do if I can’t get a job right away. Just getting to Alaska is going to be expensive, and I’ll have to get set up (some jobs offer signing bonuses and relocation money, but not the new graduate ones), so that’s freaking me out. I’m so glad I made this decision, but it is going to make things more complicated than if I just moved back to Buffalo (though the NY State nursing license application is a bear).
I got accupuncture the other day (as part of an enrichment activity for public health. It’s a free service offered at a local drug rehabilitation center), and after they put the pins in we all sat in the dark for about an hour. I didn’t know what to think about (I don’t meditate very often), so I thought about Alaska. I thought about being a nurse, and going hiking, and snowboarding, and berry-picking. I pictured the Northern Lights, and thought about meeting new people at contra dances. I pictured the kittens I’ll get (I want two Siamese kittens), and thought about hosting dinner parties, and game nights. I know it won’t be all nice things all the time, but I’m really looking forward to being there, especially since it’s fifty million degrees in Baltimore today, and I don’t have air-conditioning at home.
This morning while I was waiting for my friend so we could go to the market I noticed a baby bird on the lawn in front of my building.
There are lots of cute kinds of babies, but birds aren’t one of them. It was scrawny-looking, and hopping around, awkwardly trying to fly, and I half-wondered if it was even supposed to be out of the nest. It looked big enough, but I didn’t think it would be able to fly long or high enough to get back on the roof. There was a grown-up (starling? I think they were starlings) watching though, and soon another swooped down and gave it a worm, and they hopped around together. It was pretty sweet until they wandered into the street, and then I got nervous. There were cars! They were walking in the middle of Charles St. with a baby! I was kind of freaking out, and convinced that a car would come and squash the baby bird, and there would be nothing the parents could do about it because they don’t have arms and so can’t pick up their babies. How do non-human mothers manage? Some can pick them up in their mouths, but what do birds do? It seems very stressful- I really rely on my hands, and I’m not even responsible for someone else’s life.