Category Archives: Adventures

Not ready

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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.

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Back again

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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.

And then I didn’t

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I love the Goo Goo Dolls. I don’t remember when I started listening to them, but they were my favorite band for years. I’ve seen them live several times, though not since high school, and so when I saw that they were coming to Baltimore (and tickets were only $13. $13!) I had to go. I tried to convince my friends to join me, but they’re all lame/busy/not interested in 90’s nostalgia pop/rock, so instead I went solo. Part of me thought about wussing out when I realized how challenging it would be to get there by myself, but the better part of me that isn’t afraid of adventure stepped up and figured out the bus schedule.
I’ve ridden the bus a lot in Baltimore, and most of the time it’s totally fine and normal. Today however, I had a loose cannon driver, who when an old man couldn’t get on, and so stood in front of the bus (not a nice, or sane thing to do, but he wasn’t all there, so I guess it seemed like a good solution), continued to drive. The driver effectively drove the bus into this old man (albeit slowly, and not in a way that hurt him, but still)! People came over to intervene, and the driver got into a screaming match with one woman after she suggested he just let the old man on the bus, but that was what eventually resolved the situation. I was a little nervous sitting near the guy once he came on board, but he didn’t say anything, and seemed like a harmlessly crazy person.
I got to Preakness Field at 4:00, but the Goo Goo Dolls didn’t come on until after 7:00, so there was a lot of down time. The opening acts weren’t very interesting, but I liked getting to see all the people- it was an interesting mix of classy and redneck. There were lots of fancy hats, and lots of drunk people. I was purposely not drinking because I was alone, and I think that was the right call, because some people were pretty sloppy. I went up to the stage to stake out a good spot after the second act left, and the people there were intense. A very tall, very drunk girl offered to get me closer, and so I let her pull me through the crowd, but the people in front were die-hards, and made it very clear that they wouldn’t tolerate me pushing in front. I actually got part of a drink thrown on me (I wasn’t the target, and I made a point of being extra polite to everyone, but I still got wet) when someone else tried to push ahead, and there was an ugly confrontation between some college girls and a couple of grizzled middle aged women (maybe grizzled is the wrong word, but they were tough. I would’ve been scared- they looked like they’d punch someone, but the girls were too drunk to be easily intimidated). Even close the front I had an obstructed view- I was right behind an old woman in a straw hat (she refused to take it off at first, but then Johnny Rzeznik commented on it, so she threw it onstage, to my great relief), and two ten-foot tall men who kept raising their arms. The woman behind me held her camera over my head the whole show, so I had to crane my neck awkwardly, but it was worth it to be that close.
The Goos kicked off the show with Long Way Down (probably my favorite of their songs!), and then played a good mix of classics and new stuff. It was great. I was too wedged in to dance as much as I wanted, but I jumped around a bit, and had an absolute ball. I can go long stretches without listening to them, but they’re great- I love them. There wasn’t a lot of banter, but they move around a lot, and put on a good show. Robby Takac was especially great- I had forgotten that he performs barefoot, and he was clearly having a ton of fun, strutting around the stage, and headbanging to the music. I’ve always loved Johnny the best (because he’s so cute), but now that we’re all older I can appreciate Robby more (he’s also done more for the Buffalo art community than Johnny). I like them both though, and they both did a great job. It was a short show- only about an hour and fifteen minutes, but I had a blast, and more than got my $13 worth.

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After the show ended I realized that while I don’t mind going to concerts by myself (it really doesn’t bother me at all), getting home by myself is another matter. I had taken a shuttle to the field, but they weren’t running anymore, and I didn’t know where to find the bus stop. I wandered in the general direction of the crowd, and somehow ended up in the stables. There were guards everywhere, but I did get to check out the horses a bit (which was nifty), before someone told me which way to go. I have a smartphone, so I shouldn’t ever be lost, but I was, and I was standing on a street corner, looking pathetic, when a police officer pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home. I had a moment of doubt (what if he just looked like a police officer, but wasn’t really? What if he was one of those police officers who in his spare time likes to dismember young women?), but I didn’t know where to go, and so I got in the car (spoilers: he didn’t kill me). He was actually very nice, and we chatted about nursing, and Alaska, and the friendly relationship between nurses and cops (apparently nurses don’t get tickets, which is good to know), and he delivered me safely to my door. He gave me a short lecture on not going out by myself at night, and then asked for my phone number. In retrospect, I should’ve just given it to him, but I didn’t. He was nice, and polite, and not un-handsome, and he had really helped me out, but I didn’t really want to go out with him. I know that’s a lame end to the story, but it’s the truth. I don’t like dates, and I really don’t like dates with strangers, so I thanked him, but declined. I think it’s still a good story- I got a ride home from a Baltimore cop! His billy club was right next to me on the seat!- but I know it would’ve been a better story if I had given him my number. Maybe in the next telling.

Mission Accomplished?

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My internet has been truly terrible for the past couple of weeks, but there’s nothing I can do about it. As a result though, I’ve been trying to watch a two-hour movie all evening, and I’m only halfway through.
I’m watching Into the Wild. I read the book the summer before my freshman year of college as part of my orientation, and I hated it. I hated Chris McCandless, and I hated how John Krakauer admired him for being brave and independent when he was actually just selfish and stupid. I’ve read it a couple of times since then, and never liked it, but this is my first time watching the movie, and it’s pretty good. It’s startling how much Chris reminds me of someone (not really a friend, but someone I care about)- he even looks like Emile Hirsch, which gives me Feelings. Watching someone starve to death isn’t like reading about it, and when they look like someone you know…I felt weird watching while I ate my dinner (and I spilled salad all over my bed. I can’t wait until I have a place that’s big enough for a bed and table).
I’ve spent three hours on hold with my dream hospital this week, and never even got through to leave a voicemail. It’s making me crazy- it’s the only place I want to work, which is a dangerous way to feel (I was devastated in high school when I didn’t get into Vassar, so I should know better than to get emotionally invested in that kind of thing, but it’s hard not to sometimes). It isn’t the hospital though- I want to be in Anchorage. I’ve been trying to think of places that might be acceptable Plan B’s, and while it’s a big wide world out there, nothing else feels right. Into the Wild is reminding me why I want to go- I want to live at the edge of the world.

Should I stay or should I go?

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Next week is Geneseo Women’s Rugby Alumni Weekend, and I kind of want to go. I know I said last year that I had closure, and I wasn’t going to go again, but I want to. I don’t have Friday classes, and I’ve been thinking that I should use my long weekends for trips and adventures, and this sounds like just the thing. I’ve worked out the kinks from last year (wear sunscreen, drive myself, don’t put my stuff in someone else’s car, put on more sunscreen, immediately wash bloody wounds with warm, soapy water, don’t kiss idiot stoners, don’t stay overnight, put on even more sunscreen), and if I leave early Friday or after clinical Thursday I’ll have time for a decent visit with my family. Of course it comes down to more than just wanting to go- there’s cost involved, and homework, and other people’s schedules, but it could be a lot of fun if it works out.

Casting my nets

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According to Google Maps it would take 99 hours to drive from Buffalo to Anchorage, stopping in Columbia, MO (to see Emily and Joshua), Berkley, CA (to see my friend Riva), and Bellingham, WA (to see my aunt and uncle) along the way . Of course, the downside to driving is that I’ll right off the bat be adding almost 6,000 miles to my car, but it might be worth it, just for the trip (if I just go through MO it’s only 78 hours, which is a pretty significant difference in time, and less than 5,000 miles, but the journey is the destination. If I don’t go through MO it’s only 72). My mom has said she might come with me, which would be a ton of fun, and I’d love the opportunity to see the country. We’ve only just started talking about it, but that would be great if it worked out. It would be less fun to go by myself, but I can think of a few people who might do it, and I know a lot of people from school are moving back out West. Even if that didn’t work it might be a good kick-off for my adventure to hit the road on my own- I’d have time to get used to being independent (and I’d get incredibly comfortable driving).

I’ve been applying for lots of jobs. It feels a little weird, since I don’t have any experience, but I keep telling myself that everyone has to start somewhere, so I shouldn’t feel self-conscious.

I had planned on hiding away yesterday, but it didn’t actually happen. Instead, I went to the Spring Fair, had a postpartum visit with a Birth Companions mom, and played the Game of Thrones with my friends until the wee hours of the morning. I haven’t seen the show or read the books, but the game was still really fun (it’s sort of like Settlers of Catan). Even more than the game though, I loved my friend Sarah’s cats. It was my first time going to her place, and she has two beautiful, giant Siamese. They’re really friendly, and I got to cuddle one in my lap for a nice portion of the evening, which gave me all kinds of oxytocin. They actually really reminded me of the racist Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp (but in a good way).

Needing and getting

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This has been a roller-coaster of a week. I’m kind of processing everything that has happened and that I’m feeling, but it’s complicated stuff, and I’m glad I have such good support in place.
My friend has a new girlfriend, and today she stopped by the library while we were studying to deliver a care package of some farmer’s market smoked salmon. He’s a lucky guy- no one ever brings me salmon, and he very generously shared it with everyone. I hadn’t given it a lot of thought before, but sitting in our study room devouring delicious fish it occurred to me that next year I’ll be able to go and catch my own salmon if I want. If I do, I’ll need to get a smoker, and then I’ll send fish to all my loved ones in the lower 48, which will hopefully soften their hearts to the whole living-in-Alaska thing. Whenever I think about it (the Alaska part, not the salmon) I get excited- it’s going to be so incredible, and in so many ways that haven’t even occurred to me, just like living in Baltimore has been wonderful in all kinds of unanticipated ways. When I picture it I imagine hiking, and snowboarding, and rock climbing, and kayaking. I see myself cooking fresh-caught fish over a campfire, and going to the Anchorage Folk Festival, and spending long dark days watching Doctor Who with friends. Things are crazy right now with finals and life stuff, but it helps to have all of that to look forward to.
I need to learn to knit. I think it’s a good skill for a doula and midwife, and I like making things. I’d also like to get back into mandolin, though I keep saying that and then not practicing. One of the thing that has been causing me a lot of angst lately is my dating life, and I think I’ve come to some important conclusions. I need to do the things that I like. It doesn’t mean I’ll meet someone while doing those things, and even if I do it doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit just because we both like ice fishing or tap dancing. I just need to do them because they make me happy.

The time I ordered salad and water on a date

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Today is such a beautiful day. I woke up late (around 8:45, which isn’t that late, but I felt like Rip Van Winkle), and the sun was streaming through my windows as a sign of good things to come. I was with a Birth Companions mom yesterday, and had popped home to get some rest with the expectation that she would call me in the wee hours of the morning, but that call didn’t come (this baby isn’t in any hurry, and still hasn’t made their debut), so I got a solid nine hours of desperately needed sleep
My friend Maria and I went to the Farmer’s Market this morning, and I stocked up. I feel like I’m waking up from hibernating- I hadn’t been to the market in forever, and it was great to be back in my normal routine. I bought eggs, and onions, and garlic, and sweet and red potatoes, and the first kale that I’ve had in ages. The mom texted me while I was still out shopping, so I cut things short and went home to drop off my groceries and then went to the hospital.
(Because things are moving so slowly I’m at school, kind of studying, but mostly blogging. Things have been happening, and I haven’t been writing about them, but I’m trying to catch up.)
So. There’s a boy. That sounds a little more serious than it is, but we’ve been out several times, and I’m warming to him. He’s very sweet, and I’m really trying to give this a reasonable chance. It’s hard though! I carry a lot of neuroses around, and sometimes they bleed out a little, like the other night that inspired this post’s title. It wasn’t meant to be a thing- I don’t do that bit where I refuse to eat like my normal self in front of boys, but we had plans to go to a concert, and I didn’t realize that we were also getting dinner, so I had a snack beforehand, and my friends keep eating delicious-looking salads in front of me, so that’s what I wanted. The water thing was because I was on call for a birth- I had a mom who was being induced that night, and I didn’t think it was likely that I’d be called in, but it was a possibility, so I didn’t want to drink. It sounds so innocent, but then our meals came, and I looked at his plate and beer, and my plate and water and felt silly and self-conscious. Most of the time things are comfortable and nice though, and I’m pleased that this is happening.
I’m also moving to Alaska. That should probably get higher billing, but instead I’m slipping it in at the end of a post about dating and births because it’s so big. My family is having Feelings about it, and I’m sure as it gets closer I will too, but right now I just feel certain that it’s the best thing I can do for myself. I’m not even questioning it- I just know that I should go live in Alaska for a little while. I have reasons- there are lots of nursing jobs (and lots of L&D nursing jobs at that), and the pay is good, and it’s an adventure. I want to go places, and be out of my element, and totally uproot my life while I’m still unattached and can do that kind of thing. Plus there are the Northern Lights, and salmon, and summer days when the sun never goes down (and winter days when it never comes up, but that’s beside the point). I think it’ll be a really great thing, and I’m excited.

D&D

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Sometimes there are just too many attractive options. There are some Saturdays that are terrible, and boring, and I sit around feeling lonely and grumpy, but today was not one of them. Today I got to spend two hours at a prenatal with one of my Birth Companion moms, falling absolutely in love with her and her family, and getting incredibly psyched for her birth. I love Birth Companions so much- I have like eight moms right now, and because I’m staying over Spring Break I’m hoping to cover a lot of births. I think I’ll have to keep doula-ing after school, because it’s just so darn fulfilling. I opted to not become DONA certified (it’s a giant hassle-there are all kinds of persnickety rules), but even though I don’t want to hang a shingle and do it full-time, I love attending births in a non-medical, purely supportive manner- it’s way better than being an L&D nurse as far as I can tell.

I had two attractive offers for how to spend the rest of my afternoon, and I opted to play Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of friends. It was my first ever time playing, and I didn’t think I would like it at all, but I wanted to at least try. I think it can be really complicated and stupid if you play with the wrong group, but my friend Alex made my character for me (halfling thief), and was very nice and gave me all kinds of neat skills (and a magic bag that I can use to summon any animal (depending on what I roll- I don’t get to pick what comes out, and I wound up with a goat and a ram when I used it, which aren’t very good helpers)). Alex was the Dungeon Master, and he was absolutely perfect at it- he does voices, and sound effects, and because most of the players were new to the game he was very patient, and encouraging. The whole thing made me really appreciate how great he is, and how glad I am to be his friend, and that’s always a nice feeling. We played for hours, and the game isn’t even close to over, but eventually people had to get back to their real lives, so we’ll pick up again next time. Our game was about helping a village that is being threatened by vampires, and as silly as it sounds (and is), it was still exciting and fun. There are lots of rules, and my character is pretty useless in battle, but no one minded that I wasn’t a killing machine, and everyone enjoyed my random animals. It’s obviously super nerdy, but I had an absolute ball, and I’m excited to play again.