Monthly Archives: December 2012

Home again


Flora and I are back in the apartment, and at least for now, blissfully alone. I didn’t want to leave Buffalo (I really really didn’t want to leave. I nearly started crying when my parents and sister dropped me off at the airport), but it’s actually nice to be home. There is something to be said for sleeping in my own bed.





Twenty-three was a pretty good year. I moved, started Nursing School, met lots of incredible people, and learned a whole lot, and ran my slowest ever half marathon. I did another doula training, and attended two births, moving myself that much closer to eventually becoming a midwife. I danced a lot, and baked a lot of bread, and established a reputation as a good cook, which is nice. I also lost a great friend (my parents gave me a framed picture of her last night  at my family birthday party and I burst into tears, but I still really like it. It’s just what I asked for), and lived in a toxic apartment with people I despise, but overall I feel very good about my twenty-third year. I think I grew up a whole lot. I lived on my own for the first time, and while my home situation isn’t happy, I at least know that I can survive independently. I can feed myself, and keep my space clean, and function as a normal(-ish) adult.

Twenty-four also promises to be a good year. I’m going to graduate, and take the NCLEX, and (hopefully) start my nursing career. I’m also going to move again, though I don’t know where just yet. I want to move somewhere that has a midwifery school (right now I’m thinking either Philadelphia or Milwaukee), so I can live in the same place for a few years and establish some roots. I’d like to live in the same place as my friends (not necessarily my current friends, who are all going to scatter come July, but I’d like it if I could make some friends and then live in the same place as them for more than a year), and maybe date. Right now I’m telling myself that I’m not dating because there’s no point since I’m moving in six months, but if I stayed put I’d have to either put myself out there or at least come up with another excuse. I’ve made friends with several boys this year, so they’re a little less mysterious and scary than they were before, which I think will help.

I don’t have a lot of plans for the day. We were going to go on a winter picnic to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday, but the roads are too snowy. I’d like to get a haircut, and we might go see Silver Linings Playbook, and I have to do laundry before I go home tomorrow. There are always things to do, even if those things are just lounging around reading David Sedaris. I think this break is just the right length- slightly too short, just to keep me wanting more.




I have been holed up like a hermit in my parents’ house and it’s been great. I’m not sure I want to go back to Baltimore. I love my life there, but I have to work hard all the time, and there are horrible roommates, and here there are family game nights, and kittens. Yes, I said kittens  . I thrive on chaos, and I somehow managed to convince my parents to adopt two little black kittens, and now I never want to leave.



They’re named Jinx and 13, and I’m utterly smitten with them. They only stop romping for about an hour a day, but when they do they like cuddles. My mom’s cat isn’t thrilled about the new additions, but she’ll come around- we kind of got the kittens for her since she’s been so lonely since Lancaster died.


I’ll be sorry when I have to go home where there aren’t any cats.

Otherwise things are pleasantly uneventful. I had a nice Christmas, with snow, and Muppets, and presents, and nice food, and lots of family time, and a nice Boxing Day with kittens and the Big Pink Hall of Fame.





(Last year’s class. My sister drew the portrait.)

People are clearing out unusually early this year- my paternal grandparents left town this morning, my sister and brother-in-law are going tonight. I’m heading out on Sunday, but there will be plenty of hijinks between now and then.

The trace


I’m home, surrounded by my delightful family, but I’m still furious about my horrible roommates, and it’s bleeding into other areas of my life. Months ago my friend told me that this was the kind of thing that could change a person, and I do feel different (my mom told me that I seem different too, and that she was concerned that my roommates were a bad influence on me, which I found very offensive, and didn’t help me calm down at all, and in fact created a positive feedback loop of anger. (She wasn’t wrong, but it hurt my feelings)). I may need some counseling after all of this. Or while it’s going on, because I don’t have a lot of confidence that things will work out and I’ll be allowed to move, so I’ll be stuck where I am until May. I don’t want to be a furious person, but I can’t help feeling so angry that I could just scream and break things, and I’m not only angry at my roommates. I’m mostly angry with them, but I’m also mad at everyone in their lives who makes them feel like their behavior is ok, and I’m mad at Hopkins for accepting them in the first place, and letting them stay for almost two years without realizing that they’re terrible people who 100% should not be nurses, and I’m really furious with my family for suggesting that I just suck it up and not move because moving is a hassle. That’s the ire that’s currently causing problems, because it’s hard to leave town and escape your problems when you’re coming home to people who are contributing to your hot, choking anger. I know it isn’t their fault, and I’m certainly old enough to accept that my parents are human, and flawed, and I’m better equipped to forgive them than my roommates, but that doesn’t make it easy.

If the world really does end I’ll really regret acting like such a pill, but I’m having a difficult time being pleasant right now. I want to get into the Christmas spirit, but it’s hard. It’s rainy, and chilly, and I’m out of my routine and out of sorts.

Praying for peace


“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”

“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.”

“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”

“When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.”

“If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also want satisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your own happiness, the result is actually less happiness. You get more anxiety, more fear.”
― Dalai Lama XIV


Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
Pope John Paul II

I hate being this angry, and I’m really trying to calm down and achieve some peace, but it’s hard.

Up a tree


I had an ugly conversation with my roommate today, and to cool off afterwards I went for a walk. It’s a chilly foggy day in Baltimore, perfect for walking, and I went to Wyman Park, because I associate it with rugby and I wanted to go somewhere that gives me good feelings. I walked on the trail for a bit, but then went down to the creek because I wanted to throw some rocks. There was a narrow bank, and I walked along it, and picked my way along the water, stepping on stones, feeling bitter and misused. Things are not happy at home, and I can’t do anything about it, which is hard to accept. The bank ended pretty abruptly, but there weren’t any stepping stones to cross the creek and continue on the far side, so instead I climbed up a fallen tree in the hopes of finding another way across. It didn’t work- instead of finding a way across the creek I just got myself stuck up a tree, not unlike a cat. It was a slippery rotten tree, and while getting up was relatively easy getting down proved more challenging. On one side I had the creek, which was not an appealing option, and on the other I had a bunch of rotten branches and a wet, sloping hillside. I wasn’t very high up, only about six or so feet, but I didn’t see an obvious way down since the ground was uncertain on both sides.





On the plus side, it was very pretty, and while I was trapped I didn’t feel angry anymore. I thought about just spending the rest of the day there, but it was wet, and you can’t spend all your time trapped in a tree- eventually you have to face the world, so I clambered down, and managed to only get a little wet and dirty. Once I came down I felt angry again, even after I wandered around Hamden for a couple of hours, but it’s just part of life now. I’m stuck, and I’m angry, and there really isn’t anything I can do about it (and yes, I know I could choose to not be angry, but you know what? No I can’t. This is the kind of anger that is entirely out of control. It’s anger that has a life of its own, and drags me down, and sits on my shoulder, whispering terrible things. I’m helpless against this anger). It was nice walking around though. That part was ok.



Sitting in the library today (for a change of scenery) I noticed a handsome lad. He was engrossed in his book, and so I got to sneak several long looks at him, and I thought he had a very nice face (he looked a little like Motel from Fiddler on the Roof).

While I thought he was cute though, I also realized that he didn’t look like he would fit with me. I think of myself as a very normal-looking person (it has nothing to do with prettiness, I just mean I don’t have a striking or distinct look. I’m 5’4″, brown hair, medium build- I blend into a crowd), but it’s hard for me to spot people who would look right with me. They can’t be too tall, since that makes holding hands look weird, like I’m their kid, and I don’t look like the kind of girl I see with really jock-y guys, or hipsters, or very polished-looking, put together guys like my friends Alex and Marlon (Marlon is an actual grown-up person, but Alex was just a grad student before becoming a nursing student, although I guess I know grad students who wear cufflinks on a regular basis, so maybe it’s a Thing). I think I’d like someone who dresses like my friend Sam (casual, kind of outdoors-y), but I don’t dress like his ex-girlfriend or most of his female friends (they always look ready to go hiking, or rock climbing or something), so I’m not sure if that would fit either. My friends all look really right with their boyfriends and husbands, but I don’t think I’ve ever looked like I belonged with anyone I’ve dated. I know looks don’t matter, and sometimes you get a surprise and someone you never would have expected turns out to be a perfect match, but I don’t know how people find each other in those cases. My sister has a big rant about how you sometimes need to judge people based on their appearances because the way people present themselves tells the world a lot about them and can help you figure out if they’re someone you’d want to date, and while it isn’t something I’d tell children, I think it’s kind of true for adults.

More than finding someone who looks right though, I can’t seem to find anyone who is right in other, more important ways. Maybe it’s unrealistic, but I just want to find someone who likes contra dancing, and Carbon Leaf concerts, and dogs, and know about hiking and camping (I’d love a guy who is good with knots for instance). And is a rugby player. And plays a musical instrument. Is that asking too much? Maybe. It’s asking kind of a lot, but several of those things at least go together, and I kind of just described a guy I knew at Geneseo (drummer, has a big dog, rugby player, maybe camps? He once invited me back to his apartment to “play in his tent” but he didn’t have a real tent set up (I honestly thought he might, which speaks to how trusting/naive I am), which was disappointing), but he’s married now and wasn’t interested in dating me then anyway. So even when someone makes a lot of sense on paper they aren’t necessarily a good match in real life (now that I’m thinking about it, I know several guys who would fit my criteria who I 100% do not want to date, and the feeling is entirely mutual).

One of my friends Judy told me the other evening that she never really dated in high school, or college, or in her twenties or thirties, but now she’s married to someone great and they compliment each other perfectly and are really happy. Things work out- I say it all the time, and it’s almost always true, but it’s hard to not feel a little lonely sometimes.



I had one job for today- just one, and I didn’t do it. Instead I had a lovely day and accomplished a bunch of other things.

My friend Jen and I went Christmas shopping in Hamden today, and it was great. If I stay in Baltimore next year I’d love to live in that area (though maybe not on 34th St since you’re required as part of your lease to decorate for the holidays). We hit several incredible antique and thrift stores, and they were treasure troves of awesome. I wish I had a job, and a more permanent home to decorate, because I saw all kinds of wonderful things that I wanted. My favorite item of the day was a 1948 stand mixer, still in working condition, that cost $25. That’s nothing! I was so close to getting it, but I didn’t and I’m kind of sorry. It was super cool. There were other things too, like a long (like maybe four or five feet) framed photo of a 1920’s bathing beauties parade, and fun chocolate molds, and a first edition of In Cold Blood, but I was strong and only shopped for other people. It was a great morning though, and then we stopped in at a coffee shop for lunch. I want to hang out in Hamden all the time- it’s full of men with beards, and there were Christmas carolers, and more consignment stores that we didn’t get to.

After our shopping outing I went on a prenatal, which was awkward because I’m going to be out of town on the mom’s due date. She seems great, and I’d love to be at her birth, but she’s due practically on Christmas. I’m hoping she’ll be late though, since she’s a first time mom, and I’ll get to be there, but I don’t think she’ll be happy if she’s still pregnant when I get back to Baltimore. Birth companions is so great. Last night at the party we were all talking about the best parts of this past semester and it didn’t even occur to me, but it has certainly been a highlight.


Every time


Every time I spend time with a group of more than two of my classmates I’m struck by how very very happy I am here, and how lucky I am to go to school with such delightful people. It never gets old.

Last night was the end-of-the-semester party (well, one of them, but the one I was interested in attending. There was another one on Thursday night with beer pong and blackouts, but that isn’t really my scene). My friend Marlon hosted the end-of-the-semester party over the summer too, and he’s really a terrific host and went all out, even buying an eight-foot fir tree for us to decorate. It was a pretty intimate party- there were only two people there when I arrived (it eventually filled up to maybe fifteen or twenty), but that was perfect because it wasn’t too loud, and everyone could chat and maneuver around, and it didn’t turn into wild partiers dancing in the living room and older students (and me, because I’m old at heart) mingling in the kitchen. I didn’t take any pictures because I was DJ for the night, so my phone was hooked up to the stereo, playing She & Him and Cajun Christmas carols (I love running the music!), but the tree looked great. Marlon has lots of fancy ornaments, and no small children or pets to break things, so we could put pretty things on lower branches for the first time in my life.

Everyone was still a little shell-shocked from finals, so the party didn’t go very late, but it was just the right amount of time. We talked, and ate (Marlon loves Costco, and so there were all kinds of nice cheeses and things), and trimmed a tree, and it was lovely. Without getting too too “God bless us, every one”, I’m just going to say that I’m very fortunate to be where I am.

I’m glad to be on break, but I was bored out of my mind yesterday and didn’t do anything productive. Today is going to be different though, because I’m going to go thrifting and then hopefully to a birth (a mom texted me last night but she said she didn’t want me to come yet, which was perfect because I was drinking). I also need to drink a little starch (metaphorical starch) and deal with a big ugly thing that has been looming over my head, sword of Damocles-style.



It has been quite a week (It’s felt like much longer. Months. My pharmacology test was so long that halfway through I was pretty sure I had always been taking it- I was born in the testing room, and would in all likelihood die there). I’m close to the other side of things though, so now things feel more ok, and I’m almost nostalgic for the good old days of studying all the time. I miss my study buddies.

My appetite is still wonky, but I’m being better about eating even without feeling hungry because I got really hypoglycemic the other night and it was not good. Feeling hungry and then eating is so great- it’s one of those feelings you don’t necessarily think about all the time, but you miss it if you don’t feel that way for a week. They had free breakfast at school all week and it felt like such a waste because I love free food but I couldn’t enjoy it (at least not as much as I would normally).

Assuming I passed everything I’m halfway through my nursing program. Every semester feels like a full year in and of itself, and this one was very full. Full of stress, and tears, and worries, but even more full of new perspectives, and growth, and joy, and wonderful people. This program is so intense that the bonds we make are extra-tight because we all really rely on each other for strength and understanding, and I would be lost without my friends. They’ve been incredible, especially lately, since I’ve been spending almost every waking hour with them and my life has been more or less falling apart. I can’t believe the program is half-over and my time with these incredible people is going to have to eventually end (we’ll stay friends, but it’ll be different).

Last night I went out for a celebratory dinner with my friends Scott and Judy. We had Mexican food, and then strolled over to 34th St for some holiday cheer.

I didn’t take any pictures (that one is from National Geographic), but it was really terrific-just another great thing to add to my list of reasons why I love Baltimore. I especially like the neighborhood where they do the lights- it’s called Hamden, and it kind of reminds me of Allentown in Buffalo. If I stay here I might look into living there- it has a nice sort of blue collar/hipster feel that I enjoy.

I don’t have much of a plan on the day, which feels a little weird. I need to go into school for a bit to hand something in for Birth Companions, and there’s an end-of-the-semester party tonight, but other than that I’m free. I might go to the movies (there are lots of things playing right now, but I’d really like to see Silver Linings Playbook, or The Sessions), or Christmas shopping, and I really should go to the gym. I have the whole day ahead of me.

I love this song. My friend is going through a breakup right now, and The Lumineers are his breakup soundtrack, which makes me feel a little conflicted about how happy their music makes me, but it’s so nice when you have the same taste as your friends.