Category Archives: Relationships

Wow

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I’m done with school. Done with clinical, done with classes, my last assignment is turned in- it’s hard to believe. This year has felt like a lifetime. I’m a little too shell-shocked to fully process what being done means, but it’s big. So much has happened in the past 13 months.

The responsible part of my brain is telling me that I should start packing up my apartment, but I don’t want to. I don’t feel terribly attached to the place (even though it was my first solo apartment), but I don’t feel ready for things to be over. I don’t want to live in that weird, half-packed limbo just yet. It’ll come soon enough. Instead, I spend half the afternoon cleaning to get ready for my inspection- I want that security deposit back!

I had the most incredible biscuit for breakfast this morning. I was late getting to the market today, and when I got there it seemed like everywhere I turned people were eating them, and they smelled incredible, so I had to get one too. They were out of the chicken sandwiches by then, so I just got a plain biscuit, but it was still fabulous. It had to contain lard- there’s no other explanation for all the deliciousness.

I spent the night at my friend Judy’s house last night because we were up until the wee hours of the morning playing games and watching Wreck-It Ralph (which was actually really good. I thought it looked dumb, but was pleasantly surprised). It’s weird to think that these evenings are going to come to an end soon. I know there will still be game nights in Alaska, but it won’t be the same without my Baltimore friends.

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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.

Roots

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I went to the Charles Village Festival yesterday, and a band that I saw while out on a date with Peter Parker was playing. Then I went to a party at a stranger’s house, and I ran into people from contra dancing. More importantly, I had a super wonderful day, with live music, and cheap beer, and cantaloupe, and water fights. It was cool realizing that I fit into a community in Baltimore that isn’t 100% nursing students, but it was even better spending the first day of June with wonderful people I adore. I’ll be very sorry to move on.

It has been absurdly, cruelly hot in Baltimore, and I do not have any air conditioning in my apartment. It’s not good. As a means of coping I have decided to live off of popsicles, hummus and veggies, and bread and butter pickles, because it’s much too hot to turn on the oven or stove (I boiled an egg this morning and the fan actually made me hotter, because it blew the heat from the flame right at me). Pickles are an underrated breakfast food- I bought nice local ones at the farmer’s market, and I don’t know how I lived before without having them in my life.

Hiding

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Today I’m social-ed out. If I had a car I’d love to drive out to a hiking spot and spend the whole day by myself in the quiet. Because I don’t have a car I’ll probably just walk over to Druid Hill Park and hang out there, but that should also achieve my goal, because more than anything I just need to spend some time by myself.
I went to two parties last night, and while they were both interesting, they were also incredibly draining. It started with a barbeque with some classmates (though not my usual crowd), and then somehow I ended up at an art show in a basement surrounded by hipster art students drinking wine out of jars. Everyone I encountered last night was nice (if not necessarily my type), and I even had a good time, but now I’m done in. There was some talk last night about going to the Spring Fair on campus today, but I emphatically don’t want to do that, especially not with the people who made these plans, because I don’t know them very well, and I don’t have it in me to get to know them. It’s a rare thing for me, but I don’t want attention, and I really don’t want people to flirt with me. I’ve gotten too much of that recently, and it freaks me out, and makes me feel like I’m cold inside when I can’t respond to them in the way they want. I can give the right impression, but I can’t actually meet them halfway, and it’s distressing. I want to be open to new people, but I’m kind of just…not. At least not right now. I wish I had a dog to keep me company today- people are too much, but a dog would be just the right amount of interaction.

Because it’s Spring Fair there were fireworks on campus Thursday night, and because I can’t resist fireworks I dragged my friends away from their homework to check it out with me. I was actually really impressed by the display- it wasn’t some teeny little sparklers event- they went all out. Fireworks are legal in Maryland, so I suppose it’s probably a higher bar than what I’m used to, but I was impressed. It was 100% worth abandoning my schoolwork for a couple of hours, even though I then had to stay up until almost 1:00 in order to accomplish everything I had to do. Granted, most of what I had to do was baking- it’s standard practice to bring food for the clinical floor on our last day, and I also wanted to bake for my instructor.

I haven’t been feeling terribly inspired lately, and so I actually bought brownie mix to just throw something together. I misread the box though, and actually followed the recipe for brownie cookies. In an attempt to not feel like I was totally phoning in my contribution I decided to use browned butter instead of oil, two eggs instead of one, and lightly sprinkled them with sea salt. It worked too well though, because they were a hit, and when people asked for my recipe I had to sheepishly admit they came from a box.
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I also made a loaf of cheese bread, which I think turned out well (I didn’t try it, but it made my apartment smell like heaven. Delicious, cheesy heaven). I sort of followed this recipe, but I also made it my own with replacements and substitutions. Instead of using cheddar cheese I used Manchego, and I used more than it called for- I joked that I used a 1:1 cheese to bread ratio, but I did use about as much cheese as flour. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, so I just tossed in some dried thyme, I used half a head of fresh garlic instead of 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and yogurt instead of milk (because I didn’t have any milk). It was fun to play around a little, and I’d like to make another loaf for myself to see if it’s any good. Normally I don’t try new recipes when I’m making food as a gift, but none of my tried-and-trues appealed, and I’m glad I got to experiment.

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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.

Best Dance

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I had really high hopes for the dance last night- all the contra people hyped the band weeks in advance, and several of my friends swore they’d come along. I was convinced that it was going to be the best dance night ever…and it was! My friends actually bailed, which was a shame, because they totally missed out (I understand it, since it costs dollars and was raining, but I might give up on inviting them. They know I go every week, and if they want to come they’ll say so). I was kind of glum walking over, but as soon as I walked through the doors my mood lifted, because the band was incredible! It was a huge crowd- there were at least twice as many people as we would normally get, and several of them were young! Everyone was already dancing, and it looked like a pretty experienced crowd- I was actually pretty intimidated, and turned down several men who asked me if I wanted to join in the dance. These crushing rejections caught the attention of a Peter Parker-y looking young man, and he asked me if I’d like to be his partner for the next dance, to which I happily agreed (I’m ok once the caller explains things, but jumping in mid-dance is hard). Once I got going things felt terrific, and by the end of the dance I was booked for the next four songs (dance cards would’ve been helpful- there were so many people!), and feeling great about life. The whole night was a big happy blur- time passed unfairly quickly, and at the end I walked away with my  first partner’s phone number, and tentative plans to meet up at next week’s dance.

I’ve been thinking today about a quote from the movie Amelie “A woman without love wilts like a flower without the sun, it rots”. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that the opposite is- when I like someone I blossom. I think that’s what my partner noticed last night, and why I had so many requests for dances, and it’s made me feel pretty all day. I have a crush, and it’s big, and magnetic, and utterly pointless, because it won’t, and really can’t go anywhere, but it’s right at the beginning when it just feels wonderful, so I’m trying to avoid thinking about later when it will be terrible. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and it’s much more important for me to preserve my friendship with this person than to pursue them and ruin everything, so instead I’m going to channel all of this positive energy into being sunshine-y, crush-having Caroline in my day-to-day life. I’m also going to give this other guy a chance- he seems really nice, and he likes to dance, and I don’t need anything more complicated than that for the time being. It’s a little tricky, since my friend also contra dances, and I’m utterly unsubtle in how much I admire him (as we were leaving the dance one of my favorite old man partners told him that he needs to come more often because I stay the whole night when he’s there, which was a little embarrassing, but also true), but I’m going to try. It’s well worth the effort.

Uncut

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I saw my first circumcision today (on the first boy I ever saw being born- this kid has provided me with several firsts). I have conflictions about circumcision- I’m kind of for them, but I don’t like my reasons (I think it looks better), and I abhor the idea of doing elective cosmetic surgery on a newborn’s genitals. I wanted to keep an open mind, but now that I’ve seen it I know that I don’t like it. I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever have sons, but the whole thing made me feel sad and uncomfortable (the baby didn’t even seem to care that much, but I was upset on his behalf). I have several top-notch baby boy names that I really like, but I almost hope that I never have a son so I won’t have to deal with this issue.

My group was on the postpartum floor today, while the other clinical team got a crack at labor and delivery. Postpartum is pretty slow, but I had a nice day visiting with yesterday’s mom, and learning how to do an assessment on a new mother (it’s a lot like a regular assessment, but with more breast-palpating). It’s a little strange-sounding, but one of the real highlights of my day was hearing that my friend A. got to witness a birth. I didn’t see him at lunch, but when he came downstairs at the end of the day he was practically skipping, and now he wants to become a Birth Companion. He didn’t get to give me the whole story (we were in the lobby, and we aren’t really supposed to talk about patients in public, and my ride was eager to hit the road), but it sounds like it was great, and I’m super happy and excited for him. I get such a kick out of him- I was honestly happier that he got to see a great birth and realized how terrific it is than I would’ve been if I got to see a birth myself. (I sometimes think I should tone down the love-my-friends talk on the blog, just in case any of them ever find it, because I wouldn’t want them to feel weird, but I can’t help it- they’re just great). I love that the guys in my class like doing L&D- I used to have all kinds of Views about men wearing babies, but now I realize that two great things (like men and babies) are even better together.

In other, very exciting news, the Pied Piper is back in town, and sporting a dashing mustache (for now). He’s been back for a couple of days now, but I just got to see him tonight (and we’re going contra dancing next week). He just swung by to say hi, but I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat the whole time- I’ve missed him. We stood out by his truck, and talked, and shared a grapefruit, and he showed me pictures from his recent adventure driving across the country. I just love being around him- he’s so incredibly special, and I feel like I hit the lottery by getting to be in his clinical group, since so many people in our class totally missed out and never even met him. It’s hard to explain what it is, but it’s the same kind of feeling that I got when A. bounced around after his birth, or when Jen and I would go running last semester (we haven’t been hanging out as much this semester, but I just texted her because writing about glow-y feelings made me miss her), or when I’m hanging out with Scott and Emily. I’m so in love with all of them.

(I kid you not, this is what my friend looked like. He was even wearing the hat.)

Dance!

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I need more dancing in my life. I might actually go again this weekend, if I have time, and can justify the expense (I’m already not grocery shopping this week because I registered for an obstacle race next month), and feel comfortable accepting a ride with a guy from the dance (he’s well into middle age, but that doesn’t mean anything. Just because I don’t think of people my parents’ age as dating material doesn’t mean they don’t think of me that way, and he’s huggy, and kisses me on the cheek, so I’m not sure about this one). I had a great dance night though, even though I had to leave early since tomorrow is my first day of Labor & Delivery clinical. (!)

I was going to write more about how I love to dance, and then I saw this. I sometimes wonder if I’m missing some essential romance piece, especially when I haven’t felt drawn to anyone in a long time, but I’m a sucker for this kind of thing (I almost teared up at #41). That and watching a bunch of birth videos in L&D lecture has me all longing.

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The Pied Piper

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The downside to a one year program is that I’ve made lots of nice friends that I’ll have to eventually say goodbye to when we graduate and go our separate ways. I’d like to think that we’ll stay friends, but things will change when we don’t see each other all the time anymore. Unfortunately, this process is starting sooner than I would’ve hoped, since one of my friends is leaving the program and Baltimore in the next few weeks. This is someone who has really inspired me, and he’s going to volunteer with foster kids in Canada, so he’s continuing his streak of being totally awesome, but I’m going to miss him like crazy. He’s the first of many to go- none of my friends are planning on moving to Rochester, so I’ll eventually have to accept us going our separate ways, but I’m not ready yet- I haven’t built the solid foundation of shared experiences and affection that is required for a long-distance lifelong friendship, but I don’t want to stop being friends. Fortunately, he’s so natural and unawkward that if he is ever around (and he did say he wants to move to either Buffalo or Pittsburgh, so you never know) I know he’ll give me a buzz and we can hang out and get a drink or something. It isn’t much, since the world is a pretty giant place, and there are all kinds of adventures to be had, and people to meet, but it has to be enough, and if we don’t meet again then we will at least have had our morning rides to clinical.

I’ve only known him for a short time, but my friend has made me want to do exciting things. I can’t really imagine train-hopping the way he has, but I want to be brave and adventurous too. I wish I had someone to go with me- I’d feel much more confident if I had a travel buddy, but I think a lot of the point is to meet new people on your journey. I didn’t know many people before I came here, and I made friends as I went, so I know it can be done.