Monthly Archives: March 2012

What if

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My office is doing a lottery thing (I’m fuzzy on the details, but I guess we’re just all buying lottery tickets? All I know is I was asked if I wanted in and I said yes), and it has made me think about what I would do if I won. The boring truth is though, that I would pretty much do what I’m doing now, with just a couple of small tweaks. I would still go to Nursing School, and I would still want to work in underserved areas, and take a year off between my BSN and MSN to work. I’d still go to class, and it’s possible that I would keep my job, just so I wouldn’t be a total recluse for the next couple of months. I think that suggests that I’m having a nice life, even if it seems (and believe me, it can be) very boring sometimes.

Here’s what I would do:

  • Pay back all the student loans. Not just mine, but my sisters’ and brother’s as well. And pay Lillian’s tuition for the next three years, and mine for the rest of nursing school (which might be longer than I planned, because if I suddenly had all the dollars I might get a Ph.D in Nursing. I might still someday, just to have it, but I’m not terribly fussed about it. A Masters is plenty of school as it is)
  • Take/send my mom to France. I would love to travel around myself, but because I’d still have school I couldn’t just drop everything and go anytime in the near future. My dad would also be invited of course, but he doesn’t talk about France the way my mom does. If he ever got her to leave (not likely), he could pick the next place they’d go.
  • Offer my parents the option of retiring. Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of old lawyers? And not a lot of jobs for new, fresh-out-of-law-school lawyers? It’s because they don’t retire. Ever. They work until they drop, like plow horses. Retirement isn’t necessarily good for people, since they tend to get bored, and depressed when they don’t have anything to do, but there are always hobbies, and yoga classes, and long trips to Europe to keep them busy, so if they were up for it I would totally fund their retirements.
  • Buy some land. Nice land, maybe in the woods, or by the ocean (or by a large lake), where I could eventually build a house for vacations. Maybe in Washington State, or Maine, or North Carolina.
  • Buy a car. I haven’t thought about cars too much, but I have a license, and it would be handy. Maybe a Volvo. I like ours, but I wouldn’t want a wagon.

(Not that color though)

  • Sign up for CrossFit. I know you don’t need all the monies to do CrossFit, but it’s something I can’t afford now, and I want to at least try it, so that’s what I’d do.
  • Give Smith and Geneseo a bunch of dough. And I would give Smith Crew something pretty, like a dock. Jane Lynch just gave them a boat, so I’d want to out-do her.

  • Redo my parents’ kitchen. I love it, and it’s the hub of activity in our house, but it doesn’t have great flow, and if you drop something on the floor it disappears forever into the linoleum pattern.
  • Buy a stand mixer. For me. My parents’ have one, and I want one too. It makes baking bread so easy! (That’s actually what inspired this post. I was thinking “I wish I had a mixer for when I get my own place. If only I could win the lottery. I’m serious. Winning the lottery to me = stand mixer.)

 

Not sure I can do it

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For the past few days I’ve been having the same delicious breakfast of toast (whole wheat, after the homemade bread ran out) with Asiago cheese sprinkled on top, and plain yogurt with microwaved frozen raspberries. It’s delicious, and filling, and I love it, but today after microwaving my berries I discovered that we were out of yogurt! The whole meal was thrown off! I scanned the fridge, and then the pantry, looking for some kind of substitute (Sour cream? No. Cold roast beef? No. Beer? …no, probably not a good idea before work. *Sigh*), and settled on some Ezekiel cereal that I bought to make cookies before I realized that it’s like Grapenuts but terrible. I poured the cereal onto my berries, and it immediately sucked up all the moisture and turned into a red soggy mess. Not an auspicious beginning, but I figured I would be able to work with it. Now that I had ruined my berries I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy some yogurt and try to salvage what was turning into a pretty yuck breakfast. We stopped by the drug store on the way into the office to pick up a prescription, and I hopped out to buy some yogurt. At this point I was willing to compromise; I didn’t expect them to have Greek yogurt, so any plain yogurt would have been fine. Beggers being choosers and all that. Except they didn’t have any yogurt at all. They had a lot of beer, so it might have been a good time to reconsider my beer-in-the-cereal plan, but by then I was on a yogurt-seeking Mission, and  was unwilling to deviate from the plan. There is another drug store across the street from my office, so I checked there. No dice. The bodega off the lobby? Nope. It’s appparently really difficult to find any yogurt, let along plain yogurt outside of grocery store settings. You can get a tall boy to sip at your desk, but yogurt is apparently not a workplace-acceptable food, because they just don’t sell it downtown.

Back in the breakroom I gazed at my breakfast. During my search for yogurt it had become cold, and because I’m a grown up person I won’t get into gross descriptions of what my food looked like, but a couple good ones sprang to mind. I added milk, stuck it in the microwave, and hoped for the best. At my desk, I took the first bite, and immediately realized that this was a lost cause. I hate to waste food, especially precious frozen raspberries, but I just can’t bring myself to eat this stuff. Breakfast: 1 Caroline: 0.

Not the moss-gathering type

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I have this fantasy, of moving to a place, and buying (or even building) a house, and staying there forever. There would be a garden, and fruit trees, and chickens, and I could make whatever decorating changes I wanted because I would never want to sell the place, so who cares about resale value, because it’s mine forever, until I die and it belongs to my children. I want to be established, to live in a place for a long long time, and know people, and have a groove where I fit because I’m slowly dug it out, Grand Canyon-style. You’d think this would stem from a childhood spent moving all the time, but in fact I’m no stranger to immobility. I went to the same school for eight years (woo combination middle and high school!), and  I’ve lived in the same house since I was a baby (with the exception of four years of college).

I used to think moving house seemed really exciting, and my dollhouse people moved in and out of their houses on a weekly basis, but my solid home base stopped seeming that way around high school, when I realized I do not want to live in Buffalo forever. I love my parents’ house, and I love Buffalo, and when I lived somewhere else it was always very exciting to come back, but that isn’t what I’m talking about when I say I want to put down roots somewhere and never leave. There’s nothing wrong with staying in your hometown forever, but I also want to explore, so I’m a little conflicted on the issue. I want to see the world, but I also want to settle down, and the first desire really messes with the latter.

One of the (many, many) things I felt insecure about in college was the fact that I didn’t have much history with anything, or anyone. I didn’t stick with the same group of friends, or the same team, or even the same school, and I always felt a little jealous of people who had been in the same place with the same people doing the same thing for four years (the new theme of my blog is Caroline is Jealous). Instead, I had a lot of different experiences, sort of like getting the tasting menu instead of having a big burger, and I think it worked out just fine, but it’s only made my settling down fantasy stronger. I figured that grad school would hold all the answers, because graduate degrees take a long time.  I would go to school, and after four or so more years of education I would be so fond of the place I would just stay there forever, which would be possible, because nurses can pretty much do that, unlike academics, who spend even more time living in places where they won’t end up because those jobs are much harder to come by. Except of course things don’t work out that way.

I felt sort of rejected when I didn’t get into the BSM-MSN program at Hopkins. I got into an amazing program, and I’m super super lucky, and grateful, and terrified by the prestige, but I felt a little slighted. It seemed like they didn’t want me to get too attached, and I was on probation until I showed them that I deserved to be a midwife. I felt unloved (by a school I don’t even go to yet, which should be a good bench mark for my crazy) and unworthy. I wondered if it was a sign that I should let go of midwifery, and just be a nurse, at least for a few years. And then, out of my gloom, a little voice whispered to me that this just meant I didn’t have to commit to Hopkins and Baltimore, that I could go anywhere, and do anything, and armed with a nursing degree from one of the best schools in the world, it wouldn’t just be a pipe dream.

In roughly fifteen months, I’ll graduate from Johns Hopkins with my BSN. Maybe I’ll stay, and get my Masters there, maybe I’ll end up somewhere else entirely. Right now, it’s impossible to know. For now, it makes me feel like Vianne Rocher, from Chocolat, just following the wind until I meet my version of Johnny Depp with an Irish accent, and we plant that garden.

Little stings

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Once when I was doing trail work in Tennessee I was sitting on the trail, eating lunch, when I felt something, like a little pinch. I ignored it, but I kept feeling little stings, and when I looked down, I realized I was sitting right next to a hornet nest, and they were stinging me. I think they stung me five times before I even thought to locate the source of  the problem, and once I did I moved, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. I was so epically bug bitten that summer that a few hornet stings were nothing to worry about. They barely hurt, and I had other, more important things going on.

Last year, around this time, I was locked in a deadly struggle with one of my best friends on the crew team over a spot in the boat. She took what I viewed as “my” seat, and then I took it back, and rowed in the 3V in our last regatta while she rowed in the 4V. She’s a better rower, but I honestly believe I deserved it more, that I was a better rower for that boat, my boat that I had been with all year, and that I had earned it (she had been abroad in the fall, and sick for most of the season, and she had injury problems that prevented her from erg testing at all, and I had been killing myself training so I could finish my senior year strong). Things were unpleasant though, and it clouded my last couple of weeks on the team. Now we’re ok, considering the distance, and schedules, and just having busy lives. We don’t talk much, but there’s affection, and whatever happened in the past is water under the bridge.

One of the things we first bonded over was a mutual love of the ABC Family show Make It or Break It, which started again tonight. We were texting during the dramatic parts, and she dropped the detail that now she’s in the 1V. I knew she had moved up boats, but the 1V is for Amazons. I never even dreamed of being in the 1V, I wouldn’t have even liked it, I would have been too scared. I can’t lie and say I didn’t feel a smidge of jealousy, but it was just a tiny sting. When I thought about it for a second, and that’s all that it took, I realized that as much as I love rowing (and I really, really do), I’m not a 1V rower. I wasn’t even a 2V rower, I was a lucky-to-be-3V rower, and so I can be happy for my friend, because she is a 1V gal. I get it now, why last year was so hard for her too, and even though we’re past it, now we’re even more past it. Now that I’m out of school, and going to nursing school soon, and getting an apartment, there are too many things to focus on to be worried about tiny little stings. I’m happy for her. I don’t need to be jealous. This is a new thing for me, but I kind of like it. I’m not sure, but I think this is personal growth, and it feels good.

Yeah, that’s not delicious

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Why do I keep trying to like smoothies? Every time I make some kind of blended slush for breakfast I choke it down, and wish I had eaten something more delicious. It’s true that they’re a good way to get some veggies in first thing in the morning, but so are omlets, and those are tasty and nice. Smoothies aren’t even efficient! It took me forever to get mine to blend today, and even then I had slimey whole spinach leaves in there, lurking like crocodiles. I’m not going to give up though. Maybe I should, but I know that if I say I’m giving up on smoothies I’ll forget after a couple of weeks, and try again, and the whole thing will be for naught. No, I’m just destined to soldier on through chilly, unsatisfying breakfasts, hoping to someday find a smoothie that is both healthy and delicious, the Holy Grail of smoothies.

(This one tasted ok, but it was full of unblended leaves and chunks of fruit, and it just depressed me. And it was thin enough that I should have been drinking it, but instead I ate it with a spoon, and dripped some one my sweater, so it lost points there too.)

Yay awards!

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Sara from ModernAlice nominated me for the Versitile Blogger Award! (Thank you!) Her blog is seriously adorable, and has some really good content, and I highly recommend that people check it out.

So here are the rules for accepting this award:

  • Thank the person who nominated me, and add a link
  • Tell 7 things about myself
  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers

1. I drove all by myself the other day for the first time, only a couple of days after driving without another licensed driver for the first time. I’m just advanced like that. 😉

2. I can live very happily in an untidy space, but only if I made the mess. Other people’s messes make me really anxious.

3. I have a small collection of plastic moose (mooses? moose.) on my bookcase. I don’t feel any great connection to moose, but I like them, and I’m planning on bringing at least a few of them to Baltimore to live on my bookcase there.

4. My favorite painter is Marc Chagall, and I think it would be really cool to have Chagall-themed engagement portraits taken when I get married.

5. I really like Taylor Swift. I know she’s cheesy, and I’ve heard she’s unpleasant in person, but I don’t care, because she has pretty hair and her songs are bouncy. And when they aren’t bouncy they hit the right note of sad country music that I love. That said, I don’t actually believe she writes her own songs. I could be wrong! She says she does, but as pretty as she is, and as much as I like the sound of her voice, I think she seems sort of dumb.

6. I’m probably going to have a single bed in my apartment, just because it comes with a single bed, and the roommate I’ve been talking to seemed unsure of whether a larger bed would fit. It isn’t a big deal, since I use the other half of my big bed for storage, but it’s a little annoying anyway. Except when I complain about it I feel like it sounds like I’m complaining because I want to use my bed for…entertaining, and that isn’t actually it. I don’t see a lot of that happening in the near future (check out my post about being judgemental for more on that subject), and it could be done, but I like having a big bed. I like to use my bed as a desk, and I just prefer the look of a big bed. Besides, twin beds make me think of that Death Cab song.

7. Look how cute my cat is! (ok, that’s kind of a cop-out, but I couldn’t think of anything better)

And now for the nominations! This is where things get tricky, since I don’t read that many blogs, and I comment on even fewer, but I nominate the lovely Joy, from Of Stranger Sensibilities!

Fun with eggs

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They sell duck and turkey eggs at the farmer’s market! I think they’ve been selling duck eggs for some time now, but the turkey ones are definitely new, and so I had to try them. Fortunately, they sell combination cartons, so I was able to get a mix of chicken, duck, and turkey, in case someone (my mom) felt ambivalent about exciting eggsperimentation.

Aren’t they pretty? From left to right there are turkey, chicken, and duck. I love how freckled the turkey eggs are, and the duck ones are lumpy! They kind of remind me of reptile eggs, and you’d almost think to look at them that they’d be soft and leathery, but they’re hard like chicken eggs. Nutrition-wise they’re all similar, but turkey eggs have a lot more cholesterol, and both duck and turkey eggs have more fat. They have more good stuff too though, like protein, iron, and folate, so it’s a toss up. Turkeys apparently produce way fewer eggs than chickens though, which is why it’s sort of rare to see them for sale, but that just makes it more exciting if you do get to try them.

I’ve been sort of off eggs for a while, but this seemed like a perfect chance to get back onto the egg train (I’ve been eating toaster waffles for breakfast. Judge away, but I love a shot of sugar in the morning (Because yes, I drown them in maple syrup, I don’t even use fruit, or yogurt, or nut butter). I’m trying to get back to kale for breakfast though!). I opted for a duck egg today, which I scrambled with a bunch of kale, and some cheddar cheese. I ate the whole thing on a slice of my nice green onion bread, and it was delicious.

Eggcellent. 😉

Rain rain, come and stay

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the warm weather we’ve been having. I’ve been running outside, and sleeping with my windows open (oh my God, open window sleep is the best sleep ever. With the fan on, and just a sheet, and it’s actually light when you wake up, it’s incredible), and it’s great. In the summer. We sort of skipped winter, and that was weird, so skipping spring is not an option. I love spring. It’s my favorite season, and I was unhappy with the possibility of missing all the wet, green, lushness, so when I woke up to the sound of rain this morning I was pretty happy. There was a nice chill in the air, and if it didn’t feel quite like March, at least it didn’t feel like June.

Did you know that if you put cut green onions in water they’ll grow? It’s true! They won’t grow forever, so you can’t just buy them once and then have a lifetime supply, but they’ll grow more than you’d think. I did it a couple of weeks ago, with exciting results, but the problem then became that I didn’t need any green onions, let alone a lot of them. I just don’t use them very often, but they sat in their glass of water, silently judging me for not giving them a reason for existing. What was worse, was the fact that they were starting to wilt, and their flopped over stalks seemed so sad. If I hadn’t put them in water they would have dried up and been thrown away, and that would have been the end of it, but because I had gone out of my way to preserve them, they seemed to be asking me “Now what?”.  

In case you missed my last post, I’m super into The Hunger Games, and one of my favorite things that the book really emphasized, but that the movie sort of glossed over, was that Suzanne Collins loves to describe food (and I love to read about food, so it’s perfect!). The protagonist, Katniss, is often on the brink of starvation, so she thinks about food a lot, and when it’s available she’s all about nomming, and so there are some really delicious-sounding meals described in the book. The other night when Lillian and I went to see the movie we had lamb for dinner, which we thought was appropriate, because the characters are really into lamb stew with plums (I’m going to have to experiment with that at some point. It sounds so good!). Another food that gets a lot of press though is bread. One of the characters is a baker, and you can only read about him so much before you want to get your hands flour-y too.

I’ve made bread a couple of times before, but it’s always kind of an adventure. Cooking is fun because you can mess around, and not follow a recipe, and things will still usually come out ok, but baking is science. I didn’t want to go to the store, so I found a nice, basic recipe (Fannie Farmer’s white bread), and just barely tweaked it so I could use those green onions and relieve my guilt. I chopped the onions, and sautéed them in some olive oil, and mixed them in with the second round of flour. If I had been smart, I would have kept the oil I cooked the onions in, and used that to grease the bowl where the bread rose, but I didn’t think of it in time, so I’m just making a note of it for the future. I think it would be good though- it wouldn’t be too much onion flavor, but it would still give it a boost. I was going to add cheese too, but I forgot until the end, so I just sprinkled Asiago cheese on top, but I think that works perfectly well too, and is possibly better, because less cheese = more subtle flavor. A little bit of cheese and a little bit of onion work together really well without beating you over the head, and let the bread have some say in things too, which is a good thing, because the bread itself is light, and soft, and delicious, and just the thing for a rainy day.

The Hunger Games

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And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, my Hunger Games movie review!

Wow. Wowowowowow. First of all, I had some high expectations going in. I loved the books, and because there are only three, I needed the movies to be incredible so I could enjoy more Hunger Games-related agonizing anticipation, and I wasn’t even slightly disappointed. Honestly, just writing about it is getting me jazzed up again.

Lillian and I both dressed up, but our costumes were subtle, and the pictures we took were kind of lame, so I’m not going to post them, but it totally helped get us psyched. I went as Katniss, in…pretty much normal clothes (brown pants, tall brown boots, green shirt, jacket with my mockingjay pin, you know, the usual), and Lillian was Cinna, all in black. There weren’t very many people in costume, which was kind of disappointing, but the people who made the effort committed and went whole hog, with face paint, and wigs, and they looked great. It’s just more fun when people are willing to look a little silly.

(Just to add to my extremely tense state, last night I drove for the first time without a licensed driver in the car with me. My little sister and I had tickets for the midnight showing, and my parents weren’t about to come pick us up at 3:00 in the morning, so I put on my big girl pants and drove. And we survived! I lived to blog the tale! My heart was racing the whole time though, despite the fact that the streets were pretty much empty, so I was about as hyped up as is humanly possible.)

The theater was packed, but we got there an hour early, so Lillian and I found good seats, and settled in with kale chips (we scoff at concession stand offerings), and soaked in the atmosphere. It was…a lot of kids. The average age in the room was probably fifteen, and I was slightly apprehensive about how well-behaved people would be once the movie got going. Everyone was great though, I guess because the people who show up for the midnight screening want to actually watch the movie, and not disrupt things by yelling “Team Peeta!” every time Josh Hutcherson came on screen.

(Team Peeta! Wooo!)

The movie itself is just wonderful. I’ve read the book (twice), and I was still on the edge of my seat. I’m a known soft touch, but it made me cry at all the right places, and they hit a really great balance of action and romance. I don’t think Josh Hutcherson is very attractive (he isn’t bad, just not my type), but I was dying for him. He’s such a great Peeta, and I love Peeta, so I love him. They didn’t try to make the movie into Twilight though, which was really important. Personally, I would have kissed the heck out of Peeta in that cave, but I’m glad they showed more restraint, because it made Katniss seem nicer. Her character can come off as really calculating sometimes, especially when you aren’t privy to her thoughts, so by having her tone down her faked affection they were able to keep her likable without having to do voiceovers or something like that so people would understand why she was pretending to feel something she didn’t. I thought it was very well done, and Jennifer Lawrence was just terrific.

One of my favorite things about the movie was that it looked beyond the arena, and showed what was happening in Panem during the Games. I was a little confused about why people were talking so much about Seneca Crane (I mean, it’s a great beard, but he’s barely a character), so I thought it was great that they showed the Gamemakers running things behind the scene, and the people in the Districts watching. It gave the whole thing a new layer of depth. I had never really thought about what it would be like to watch the Games, only how it would feel to be a part of them, so that was very interesting.

The whole thing was just great. I can’t put it any more simply. I loved it, and I cannot wait to see it again.

I think I see the problem

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It sometimes feels like everyone is getting married (it seems like half my nursing school cohorts are married, but because it’s a second degree program people are coming from all walks of life, so I shouldn’t compare my experience to theirs. Will that stop me though? Pffft, don’t be silly!), and even though I know I’m not ready (the lack of a relationship tipped me right off to that fact) I sometimes feel jealous, and worried that I’m still so very single. And then days like yesterday happen, and I gain a better understanding of why I have yet to find “true love”. A guy from my lab asked me out, and without even thinking about it I said no. As soon as he asked if I have a boyfriend my shields went up, and I felt put-upon and defensive, which is probably more than a little unreasonable. My dad made fun of me later for my Jane Austen-esque reaction that the guy was in the wrong for putting me in that position, when I don’t even know his name, and I know it’s silly, but my first reaction was to feel affronted that someone would just ask me out, out of the blue. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think it is in part due to the fact that I have a negative association with the men who are interested in dating me, and so the thought that one could strike at any time (even though it’s actually a fairly rare occurence) is unnerving. It turns out, I can be kind of close-minded, which is weird. Most of the time I think of myself as so hugely open-minded, there isn’t even a door, it’s just a frame.

That only applies to things like pornography (it isn’t my thing, but I don’t think that should stop other people from enjoying it if that’s what floats their boat), sex work (same basic idea. If someone freely chooses to be a sex worker, and they are able to be safe, I don’t think it should be illegal), and trying unusual foods. I’m open-minded on the easy stuff. When it comes to people who are interested in dating me though, my mind is more like this:

I figure feeling attracted to me makes them similar to people I’ve dated in the past, and because they all turned out to be unsuitable, any new person who falls into that category would be just as wrong. It’s logic! …Not really!

The exception is when I’m also attracted to someone right off the bat. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, since I’ve picked lots of lemons in the past, so my judgement isn’t any better than anyone else’s, but it’s how I roll. And I am getting better at picking nice people, so that’s a step in the right direction at least. I’m also willing to consider people if someone I trust vouches for them, but unknown elements are too risky. Maybe if I had more funny bad date stories I would feel differently, but they’re usually just awkward.

Now, I stand by my decision yesterday; that guy is much older than I am, and he has kids, and I’m not looking for anything at the moment because I’m moving to Baltimore in May. Those are all valid reasons for turning someone down, and I made a point of being as nice about it as possible. That doesn’t change the fact that the takeaway from all of this is that I can be kind of a jerk. I don’t give people a chance, and that isn’t nice. I’ll give them a chance to be friends, but once I make up my mind on whether or not I want to date someone that’s generally that. It’s no wonder I’m not getting married any time soon.