Category Archives: Music

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.

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Oh wow

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I had a pretty awesome day. I wrote essays, and went to Mass AND the gym, and picked up a book at the library (after being helped out by a friendly librarian). I went on a prenatal visit, and out to dinner with a classmate/colleague, ate a tasty burger, and came home and read. My apartment smells like (pilfered) flowers and cookies, and I’m tucked into a bed with freshly laundered sheets that I successfully whitened by boiling them with lemons.
And I just found a beautiful new song. Ok, not a new song, but new to me.

And this one!

It’s so pretty! I sometimes forget how much I like The Decemberists, but that just means I get to re-realize how great they are every few months. It’s like discovering a new band, only lazier!
It’s gotten cold again, but I’m too stubborn to put my duvet back on my bed, and so will instead just sleep in heavier pajamas. I actually like the chill- I’m leaving my window open, and it’s nice.

More Love

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I had my first rugby practice in years last night, and it was great. I’m entirely out of shape, but I  had a ton of fun, and got super muddy. Practice goes until 9:00, and at the end of the night I tumbled into bed, feeling grateful for hot showers and soft sheets. This feeling lasted until 5:24 in the morning, when my phone rang, summoning me to a birth. Because I suck I didn’t have any cash, so I had to go to two different ATMs to get cab fare, but I arrived at the hospital at 6:00, just in time to see my client get her epidural. I have mixed feelings about epidurals, partly because I’ve seen them really help moms who didn’t feel like being in pain. Most of the time I think it’s possible to have a good labor without one, but not everyone feels that way, and it isn’t my call. It makes me feel like a bad doula when my moms get epidurals, but I think that’s more about peer pressure and my own baggage than anything else, and so I always support my moms to do whatever feels right. This mom eventually wound up having a C-section (so much doula guilt!), but the end result was a stunningly beautiful baby, so alls well that ends well, and I feel great about things. I stuck with this family for 12 hours (which is going to be my life after graduation. I can’t even deal with how long 12 hours is), and it was wonderful. There are times when I question whether I’m actually helping anyone with my doula-ing, but I think it makes a real difference, even if I’m just keeping people company. The dad today told me I have a very peaceful, calming presence, which is sort of what I’m going for, so I was pleased. I love what I do, and I’m glad when I’m able to help people.

My friend Maria came contra dancing tonight for the first time. It was a smaller crowd this week, and more normal, and less supermegaawesomefun, but I had a good time. Peter Parker was there again, and he was endearing and kind of cheesy (in a sweet way). I’d like to spend more time with him- he doesn’t make me feel floaty and enamored the way other people do, but I’m not sure those feelings are the basis for a real relationship anyway. I haven’t decided whether I’ll go dancing tomorrow or not- there’s rugby practice, which is free, and important (although I can honest-to-goodness barely walk. I always forget how punishing it is at the beginning of the season), but I loved the band when I saw them last week, and I love dancing. I have all of tomorrow to think about it though, so I don’t need to decide anything just yet. Either way, I’m entirely exhausted, and praying no one goes into labor tonight.

New Songs

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My friend Sam has truly excellent taste in music. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find someone who listens to awesome music (by my definition of “awesome music” at least), and I really needed some new stuff to add to the rotation, so I’m extra psyched about his recommendations (I love Vampire Weekend, and I’m not tired of them, but it was time for a change).

 

This and that

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I was supposed to go study with friends tonight, but when I got home from clinical I hopped in the shower (I do not like med/surg, and I really don’t like GI stuff. My floor smells awful, and it gets into my hair, and my scrubs, and it’s foul) and then put on yoga pants and decided to never leave my apartment again because I was too comfortable. No one has texted, so I’m assuming everyone else had the same idea, so I don’t feel guilty. I’m studying at home, so it’s not like I’m watching Switched at Birth and eating bonbons- things are still being accomplished.

Things are good, but I could use a break. I hate Tuesdays. Hate them. I dread them all Monday night, and then I wish the clock would speed up all day so I can go home and try to get past how unpleasant my clinical is. I’m not sure why it’s so much more stressful than other clinicals, but it is, and I spend the whole day on edge. It’s the only fly in the ointment though, so I’m hanging on.

I kind of like not having a microwave, but it makes reheating things really hard, and sometimes impossible. There are microwaves at school and at the hospital, but dinner can be tricky, so tonight I had popcorn, a grapefruit, and graham crackers. I need to eat more veggies, but I don’t have a lot of options (kale, or frozen broccoli), and they aren’t appealing. I should probably make kale chips or something.

I went to a group class at the gym called Women in the Weight Room, and I was a little disappointed (which isn’t to say that I’m not sore now). It wasn’t well-attended, and we didn’t get the whole weight room to ourselves, so we were competing with the burly men for equipment. The instructor was very good, and I like working out in a group, and being given direction, since I never know what to do with myself in the weight room, but it wasn’t the experience I was hoping to have. I’m going to keep going though, because I love doing weights, even though I hate being surrounded by giant college boys who are all dropping weights, and grunting, and being intimidating.

It’s almost time to start applying for licensing stuff, which is pretty terrifying. I need to fix up my resume, and start reaching out to hospitals.

This is pretty great. I’ve been in a Ben Folds-y mood all day.

Dashing!

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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.

Quiet Friday

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A second ago I caught myself looking at Facebook and thinking “I wish I had a husband”. While that’s perfectly reasonable, I did think that while sitting in my bedroom on a Friday night, so it’s not like I’m trying very hard (or at all) to change my situation. It does kind of bug me that I’m such a shut-in, but not enough to change my ways or into anything other than sweatpants when I take off my scrubs after clinical on Fridays. The holidays are a rough time to be on my own, and I always feel a little romantically lonely when I watch Christmas movies by myself, but it’s kind of par for the course at this point. At least I still get to go back to Buffalo for the holidays- this could be my last Christmas at home for awhile (people will insist on getting sick and injured on holidays, so they keep hospitals open and make nurses work. It’s so unfair).

Speaking of clinical, this week went perfectly (I always hit my stride just in time to switch floors). I had a great patient, and I actually felt like I did a good job, which was perfect timing, because just the other day I commented on how I didn’t feel as though I had improved at all since the beginning of the rotation. I’m not switching to psych nursing, but at least I have picked up a trick or two in the past six weeks.

This weekend promises to kind of stink. I overbooked myself tomorrow, with a prenatal and a day-long study session, and I’m still trying to squeeze in a couple of postpartum visits with moms. I have a ton of schoolwork to do, and exams to study for, and I don’t want to deal with any of it. On the bright side, things tend to de-catastrophize as they happen, so once I get into a groove of studying and finals-taking I know things will look up. Anticipation is not my friend when it comes to school.

The one fun thing I’ve decided to do this week is to make a lot of candy. I’m giving all my instructors homemade candy as a holiday present, and as a present to myself I’m going to spend a couple of hours on Sunday in the kitchen playing with burning hot sugar. I started last night with toffee, and it was a resounding success. I’ve made toffee before, and it was great (the first batch), and ok (the second), and this batch was somewhere in-between. It’s hard to recapture the joy of a new recipe, and just realizing how easy it is to mix equal parts butter and sugar and end up with a beautiful, delicious treat that wins you all kinds of admiration is enough to inflate my memory of how delicious that first batch really was. For my next trick I’m thinking candied ginger with lemon. I’ve made candied ginger before, but this time I’m going to use slightly less sugar, and add lemon juice and zest. Lemon and ginger are a match made in heaven, and I think it’ll be a hit. The final note in my trio of candies will be peppermint bark, because it’s so simple and beloved, but I don’t think it will be able to out-shine the ginger or toffee.

Lazy, antisocialness aside, I’m utterly bored. As much as it pains me to get dressed and put on make-up, I may need to find something to do tonight and go out.

A (very) poor man’s risotto

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This weekend flew by, and I really didn’t accomplish very much (but I did run 11 miles. Whoo! Go me!), but when I got out of class on Sunday I had one priority for the small window of time between getting home and leaving for the Avett Brothers concert- cook for the week. Sure, I could have used that time to study, but I didn’t know when I’d get another uninterrupted crack at the stove, and I really didn’t want to bring dry ramen noodles for lunch today, so I picked food. I can’t study without fuel anyway, so really cooking helped me be a better student.

I had lots of odds and ends to use up, so I pretty much just dumped everything in my dutch oven and hoped for the best. I’m almost out of olive oil, so I sauteed a large onion in butter, and then things started to get…creative. I was sort of trying to make something that I could live off of for a week that would have protein, and vegetables, and be satisfying enough that I wouldn’t wind up with overpowering carb cravings mid-week- I was essentially creating my own version of nutraloaf. It was originally supposed to be soup, then stew, but it ended up with an almost risotto-like texture. Nevertheless, I’ve dubbed it “Everything Stew”, and it isn’t actually bad, though it isn’t the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It has potatoes, squash, zucchini, lima beans, lentils, brown rice, tomatoes, garlic, cabbage, and chicken stock, and I’ve been eating it on top of kale. Seasoning was an issue, but I got a lot of rosemary in my CSA basket this week, so I used a bunch of that, and some dried thyme, bay leaves, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and lots and lots of vinegar (I used balsamic and apple cider vinegar). It’s a little sour, and I thought about going back and adding some sugar to balance the flavors, but I’ve decided that it’s supposed to be like that.

So. Much. Stew.

I brought some Everything Stew for lunch today and felt very satisfied and full for most of the afternoon (I also had carrots, but they’re a grim snack when I don’t have hummus, especially when my friends are eating pastries. It’s hard not to have food-envy sometimes). Mondays are long days though, and by the end of my last class I was more than ready to come home and have dinner. I pretty literally only have Everything Stew, so I knew it was either that, instant noodles, or Grapenuts for dinner, but I had a secret weapon up my sleeve- local bacon from the farmer’s market. I bought it a few weeks ago, and it had been sitting in the freezer waiting for times of hardship. Things might get worse, and I might regret not saving it, but as I fried it, and the delicious bacon aroma filled the kitchen I felt great about my decision. I ladled up a bowlful of stew, popped it in the microwave, and then sauteed some kale in the leftover bacon grease while it reheated. I felt very connected to my Irish ancestors as I sat down to my dinner of potatoes, cabbage, and bacon, and you know, they were onto something, because it it was a tasty, hearty meal.

I was still a little hungry after dinner, so I had a big mug of hot chocolate for dessert.

I used unsweetened cocoa, and chose to go with semi-sweet instead of sugar-bomb, since really sweet things tend to leave me craving even more sugar. It was a cozy end to my meal, and so good that I ran my finger along the bottom of the mug after I had finished, just so I wouldn’t waste any of the bitter, rich chocolateness.

Things are tight right now, and I’m stressed with school, and unhappy in my home life, but these are also some of my happiest ever times. Seeing The Avetts last night reminded me of just how good I have it. I originally bought the tickets for my friend Josh’s birthday, but he couldn’t get off work, so I improvised, and invited my new friend Alyssa. She’s a very new friend (this was our first time hanging out outside of clinicals), but I like her a lot. I knew I had made the right call when she picked me up for the show and offered me a beer for the ride, and produced a nice pumpkin beer that I enjoyed while she drove us downtown. Alyssa had never heard of the Avetts before I invited her to the show, but she had done her homework and listened to some of their stuff to prepare, and we were both pretty pumped. The show was sold out, and the Ravens were playing, but traffic was actually reasonable, and we found parking without too much trouble.

I had bought lawn seats, but when we were able to get closer by standing on the fringes of the seating, so we were actually relatively close to the stage. There wasn’t any opener- they just jumped right in, and it was awesome. I saw The Avett Brothers at Artpark (last year? Two years ago?), and they were great, but I had never really listened to them before, so last night’s show was more meaningful. It was a great crowd- friendly, enthusiastic, but polite, and very very plaid-clad. I’m not such a die-hard fan that I recognized every song, but they played “Murder in the City”, and “I And Love And You”, so I was happy. I was more than happy really, I was in great spirits all night, bouncing, and singing along when I knew the lyrics, and dancing my heart out. Concerts are honestly the best, and it was nice having someone there to share it with, especially since I had half-expected to go by myself when Josh’s plans didn’t work out.

I have lots of studying to do tonight, but as overwhelming as things are, I can’t help feeling good. Things with my roommates are crummy, but my friends have been incredible, and just having their support makes it feel less dire, and is helping me keep perspective and not sink into total passive-aggressive bitchiness (I won’t be baking my roommates cookies anytime soon, but I can manage polite silence, which seems to work for them too).

I heard this song last night, I think for the first time, and it just worked for me. “If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.” Darn right.