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.

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.

Other mothers

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This morning while I was waiting for my friend so we could go to the market I noticed a baby bird on the lawn in front of my building.

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There are lots of cute kinds of babies, but birds aren’t one of them. It was scrawny-looking, and hopping around, awkwardly trying to fly, and I half-wondered if it was even supposed to be out of the nest. It looked big enough, but I didn’t think it would be able to fly long or high enough to get back on the roof. There was a grown-up (starling? I think they were starlings) watching though, and soon another swooped down and gave it a worm, and they hopped around together. It was pretty sweet until they wandered into the street, and then I got nervous. There were cars! They were walking in the middle of Charles St. with a baby! I was kind of freaking out, and convinced that a car would come and squash the baby bird, and there would be nothing the parents could do about it because they don’t have arms and so can’t pick up their babies. How do non-human mothers manage? Some can pick them up in their mouths, but what do birds do? It seems very stressful- I really rely on my hands, and I’m not even responsible for someone else’s life.

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.

Loves of late

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Sweet potatoes make the best breakfasts. A sweet potato and a cup of chai make easing into the day so much more pleasant, especially on clinical days. Regular tea is fine for lecture days and weekends, but when I need to steel myself for public health I need that extra boost.

Blended banana “ice cream”. Should I be sad that this is my go-to dessert lately? There were cupcakes at school the other day, and instead of having one I opted to wait and then go home and eat a blended banana. I do them with vanilla extract and a splash of milk (and sometimes a little peanut butter), or coconut water and lime juice, and it’s cold and refreshing, and satisfies my sugar craving. Does that make me a member of the brainwashed dieting masses? Maybe? I’m pretty ok with it though, because I don’t feel deprived.

Game of Thrones. I’m five episodes into the first season, and about a hundred pages into the first book, and it’s super enjoyable. So far the show is way smuttier (a lot of the characters are way younger in the book, so that’s for the best), but I like them both. My friends and I are going to try to play the game again this weekend, now that I know a little more about the families. I also really love Tyrion- Peter Dinklage is great.

Avocados. They’ve been 4/$5 at Safeway (whic is still a lot on my budget, but I can’t resist), and I’ve been eating them like it’s going out of style.
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I need to eat more soft-boiled eggs. They’re quick, and there’s less clean up than with scrambled, but I always seem to forget about them.

Talent

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Kids today are brought up with the understanding that they all have awesome talents locked away inside them, and one day they’ll stumble into an opportunity and discover that they’re really good at Quidditch or something, no practice required. The first time I cleaned a fish I wondered if that would be my secret talent- and I was incredibly relieved when it wasn’t (I would have been very disappointed if I was destined to be an amazing fish-cleaner- it just wasn’t in line with my other career goals). I’m not saying that this is it either, but I make some darn tasty salads. Seriously. I hit that perfect balance of goodies and filler, and I’m never left with a bunch of depressing bits at the end (that speaks more to my salad eating than making, but it all goes together).

Tonight’s salad was similar to my standard, but better, because I sauteed the kale with garlic and lime juice instead of eating it raw. I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately, but I think cooking the kale is a game changer, because this one was awesome. Green bell pepper, carrots, celery, cabbage, Chiavetta’s chicken, half an avocado,and sauteed kale. Heavenly. A girl in my exercise class this evening was talking about how she was having salmon for dinner tonight, so I was a little jealous, and ambivalent about my planned dinner of rabbit food, but I think I came out ahead.

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Pesto!

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One of my big kitchen goals is to make things without using recipes. Toss in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and voila! Deliciousness! I’m getting better at it, but most of the time I just use a recipe- food is expensive, and if I screw up I have to eat whatever mess I made. Sometimes I’m able to compromise though, and recreate something I’ve made using a recipe in the past, but without strictly following the directions. It isn’t as good as inventing my own recipes, but it makes me feel pretty cool when I can whip up some legit dish from memory.

My friend Sam is a man of many talents, and one of my favorites is his ability to make knock-your-socks-off hummus. The boy has a gift. He made some truly dazzling pesto hummus for our friend’s birthday last weekend, and I’ve had basil on the brain ever since (his girlfriend confessed to me that she gets up in the middle of the night when she stays at his place and eats hummus with her fingers, and I don’t blame her in the least). Of course the best pesto in the world is made by my mother (Happy Mothers Day!), but even though I knew I could never live up to that standard I had to try. I just got a new blender (with a Target giftcard I got as a thank-you present from a Birth Companions mom, which made it even nicer), and so I made sure to pick up a big bunch of basil at the market on Saturday so I could give it a proper christening.

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I know people like to get all fancy with pesto, but I keep it simple- basil, garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Heavy on the garlic, and because I wanted a smoother texture (so I could use it on salads), heavy on the oil as well. I didn’t use a recipe, and just sort of guessed at proportions, tasting as I went. I was a little skeptical that my little blender would be up to the task, but it handled like a dream, and now I have a jar of gorgeous pesto, just begging to be eaten on toast for breakfast (a habit I picked up from my childhood babysitter).

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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.

Where have I been?

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(Not in Geneseo.)
Instead of recapping all the exciting stuff that has been going on (school, being a big lump), I’m going to focus on right now. I actually went for a run today, for the first time in way, way too long. It was warm out, and around mile one I threw in the towel and walked, but then instead of just giving up entirely I got myself to start running again, and did about three miles. I know, that’s a little nothing distance, but I was proud of myself for not quitting. After my run I came home, threw some chicken breasts in with Chiavetta‘s sauce to marinate, and hopped in the shower. I set the smoke alarm off multiple (three? four?) times actually cooking the chicken, but it was entirely worth it, because the first bite transported me back home. Poof! Summer in Western New York. It was super magical.
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I ate half a chicken breast on top of a kale salad (my disbursement money just came through (the last one of nursing school!), so I did a big grocery shop today and bought all kinds of nice foods. I bought avocados! And pistachios!), and then the other half by itself, as dessert, because it was so good.
Now I’m watching old episodes of Degrassi, and feeling pretty good about life. Tomorrow is a big (HUGE) study day, but tonight I’m relaxing.

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.