Thursday, March 29, 2012

Big Day

So today was kind of a big deal. I started my last quarter in my BSN program at the University of Washington. I paid off a credit card... and.... BOOKED A TRIP TO GREECE!!!!!!!!! That's right folks. Let the 30th birthday festivity planning begin, cuz in a few short months I'll be celebrating my birthday in Greece. I'm beyond excited to have pictures like this of my very own!!!

Oh, and I also ate some yummy sushi and got another chemical peel, but that happens fairly frequently :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring and Things...

Things that make me happy today:

  • The pretty cherry blossoms that are EVERYWHERE
  • The cute little old man who is at the checking stand for my grocery store trips at 0330. Today he said that I must have been on vacation since I haven't seen him in a while. It always makes your heart happy to know that people notice if you're not there. And he's so cute and little and old! I love it. He also told me all about his recent trip to AZ to watch some spring training :)  We're soul mates.
  • The chorus of frogs that serenaded me when I was leaving the grocery store at 0400

Things that make me go hmmmm:
  • People who think they can purify their type one diabetes from their body by stopping all their insulin and consuming only water for five weeks. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Days and Years

Me: I'm looking for a cable to connect my Blu-Ray player to my modem. I need one with one end that looks like a phone cord and one end that looks like a wide phone cord... like an LAN or something like that.

Man at electronics counter: (looks at me with a blank stare) Well... that's gonna be complicated. First you need a router...

Me: That's what I meant! My router. A cable to connect my blu-ray to my router. Different ends.

Maec: (looks at me with a blank stare) ...huh... I don't think we have any cords with a 4.371 and a 4.2smi --which is technical talk for what you just said. How old is your blu-ray player?

Me: I don't know, a year and a half maybe? Two years?

Maec: Really? Interesting... I don't even think they make cords like that.

Me: Well, can you just show me the LAN sized ones and the phone cord sized ones and I'll buy one of each and make it work?

Maec: (skeptically) Uh... sure.

So I did. I bought a phone cord, and a LAN cable cord. I came home from work and discovered that indeed both ends needed to be the LAN size. I must have been really sleep deprived last time I looked at it. So I hook it up, turn on my blu-ray player and immediately a message comes up that says I have a software update. Which I assumed. It's why I had been on the hunt. A couple of my blu-ray discs had been skipping and acting weird. So I started the update, and discovered that my blu-ray player was last updated when I bought it in ...2007!!! As in five years ago. As in not one or two years. Where on earth has the time gone?  Craziness.  Among the books I'm currently reading is Tinkers by Paul Harding. In it the main character who is on his deathbed and reviewing his life verbalizes that the days are long but the years are short. How true is that. Anyway... that's my thought for the day. Days are long, but the years are short. And also, update your firmware :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me Time

In my old age, I'm becoming set in my ways. It turns out as much as I love my adventures and the going out and the dinners and the movies with friends, I need one single solitary day per week that's all mine. A day when I can sleep in 'till I please, then lounge on the couch with a bag of popcorn watching Sex and the City reruns in my pj's and Yankee snuggie. Yes, I have one of those. A day when I can eat a multivitamin and some kool-aid for breakfast and rice-krispie treats for dinner. A day when I don't wash my face (don't tell my aesthetician), floss my teeth (don't tell my dentist), comb my hair, put my contacts in, or get dressed. For good measure, I may open the door and take a couple deep breaths of fresh crisp outside air just to say I can, then I shut the door and go back to lounging on the couch with a good book... currently The Hunger Games. A day when I don't feel guilty about turning down Thai food with friends, because I've worked all week. Tomorrow I'll be in Portland experiencing VooDoo donuts, fine Peruvian cuisine, and the touring cast of Wicked. I'll be saying 'see you soon' to a friend leaving for a travel assignment in Pasadena. Friday I'll be working and Saturday I'll be celebrating, as she put it, a friend's last chance to get dressed up and have a good time using the excuse I was young and dumb and in my twenties. So today is my lazy day. When I don't see anyone, or do anything at all really. And I love it. Perhaps I'll talk with my family on the phone or via skype. Perhaps I'll play some scrabble or pictionary via smart-phone with a a couple friends, but really I live for this one day a week that is all mine.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New York Revisited

Subtitle: A post about contradictions ...a glimpse into my messy mind... A LONG post.

I've been thinking since I got home. Thinking about how to quantify what New York is to me. How to put it in words. I don't know. New York was me, it is me. It transformed what I am, who I am. From the first moment I stepped into the city on vacation six short years ago. There aren't really words for what I felt. I was fixed, I was transformed. Something changed, something clicked on that I didn't know existed. I didn't realize it had clicked on for a while either. The weeks after we got home were a new experience for me. All of a sudden New York was everywhere. It was on commercials, tv shows, movies. It was in posters and in books. And I felt the most strange longing sort of ache in my gut that I had never felt before in my life. I missed it instantly. I missed it every day. A part of me knew that I was meant for that place. I'd be back. Six months after we returned from my inaugural trip I graduated with my second college degree. Eight months after that I was packing my bags and saying tearful goodbyes to family and friends as I prepared to leave the only life I'd ever known for a land three thousand miles away from the nearest thing or person I knew. It wasn't a conscious decision I made; it wasn't a thought of, 'I loved that place when I was on vacation, I should go back, I must live there.' It was more magnetic than that. Almost as though there was no conscious thought on my part. It was what it was. Every time I saw a plane fly overhead I yearned to be on it, bound for wherever it was going. I loved my home, I loved my family. There are no words for how much I loved them, and that's only gotten stronger now. I love and miss them more than I can say. But I was destined for adventure. I craved it with every fiber of my being. So when I decided to enter the world of travel nursing, New York was of course where I would go. There was no other option. Being new in the travelling aspect of nursing, the closest I could get was a hospital in Patchogue, NY on Long Island.

So, early that morning my sister, my car, and all my belongings set off on a very long drive. The first few hours were filled with hysterical sobs, terrifying fear of the unknown, and the terrible terrible ache of loneliness I already felt from leaving my parents. My sister was my only lifeline. My only saving grace. And she would be leaving me three days after I got settled in my new apartment on the east coast. But I had her for then, and that meant the world to me.

While living in Patchogue, I spent every spare moment I had in the City. I took the Long Island Rail Road in every chance I got. Each time we'd approach the city and the skyline would come into view chills went up and down my spine and an exhilarated smile crept onto my face like a reflex. I was completely giddy. Every time. Not one ounce of it faded the entire three months I lived there. I remember the last time leaving the city to go back to Patchogue to drive back to the west coast and on to my next assignment. My friend Danielle had flown out with me, and I just stood on the train, facing backward, a steady stream of tears running down my cheeks as I watched my skyline fade from view. There was a conscious knowledge this time that I wasn't done. That I'd be back.

Fast forward through two travel assignments, and my sister is with me again in Seattle as all my belongings are packed, and I'm saying tearful goodbyes to my friends that felt like life-long friends already. We headed east on the drive home and I cried again. There was only one time in my entire life that I've ever cried that hard (and I've done a LOT of crying), that was when I left home that first time. My poor sister had experience with my racking sobs this time. This time as we drove away, I felt my heart being ripped out of my chest. It had stayed in Seattle, and eventually when the strings to my heart broke, they elasticized back to the heart that owned them in the city of it's possession. They got mangled and bruised and bloody from the trauma. Falling in love messed me up. It broke me. But I knew that I was making the right decision. Although nothing in my life had ever been so painful. Even now as I write the memories, tears well up in my eyes and stream down my cheeks. The pain is still there, although fleeting and numbed over time. As we drove away though, there was a deep black empty aching throbbing hole in the center of my chest that I didn't know what to do with. So I filled it with cement, heavy and secure, determined to ignore it until it went away.

As my plane landed at Kennedy International Airport, the giddy feeling I had left behind on that LIRR train a year ago found me. I grinned the entire way into the city, all the way to my pre-war building apartment on West 34th Street. I had arrived. I was in the big city, and it was mine to conquer. I delved into life as a New Yorker and loved it with all my might. I saw it all, I did everything I wanted to do, and more things I hadn't realized before. I loved it until I didn't. It was all very strange. This was where I belonged after all. This was my mecca. This was my life. And yet, as I hugged my mom goodbye after a visit she had come for, I sobbed and heard myself say, "I hate it here!"  I hadn't realized it until that moment. And I still don't know that I hated it there, but I hated something about my life. I was miserable. I was homesick for Seattle. Homesickness was an interesting feeling for me, as I had not experienced it before. Ever. I miss my family, and I miss my home, sure. But I had never been homesick. Somehow while I was living my dream, I realized that Seattle had become my home.

When my contract ended at St. Luke's everything fell into place for me to go back to the hospital I work at now. Despite my best efforts to land in Florida.  It wasn't meant to be. I came back to Seattle, and it's stuck. I'm not sure why. I lament the fact that no hospital is as good as St. Luke's, no one does things as efficiently. I have moments that sometimes last for days when I miss New York like you'd miss breathing. I'm miserable here too at times. But that's life I think. I'm also blissfully happy here at times. When I was in New York, I was without a heart. Now that I'm in Seattle, I'm without my soul. It remains in New York. The very heart of who I am will always be there perhaps. But my heart is here, as am I. For the last three years. Three years I've been here, and finally a week ago I went back to visit my soul in what is still my favorite place on earth.

My plane landed at Kennedy International Airport. I met my former college roommates (as well as a hockey player who needed to use my phone... In retrospect, I should have investigated that further. It might not have ended so boring-ly) and we loaded into the shuttle that would take us into Manhattan where we were to celebrate Jill's birthday.  This time as we approached the city, there was no giddiness. What was there was the calm, quiet, supremely confident spirit of a New Yorker that I hadn't met in a while. There was an involuntary half-smile, but this time it was because I missed the way New Yorkers drove. We approached the city and the skyline came into view as Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind came on the radio. It was very poetic, and yet... different. The things that used to bring my such giddy excitement had become common place. I was relieved to be back, don't get me wrong. I could breathe easier, and I noticed that even standing in the baggage line my entire posture shifted to my New York self. But the things that made me blissfully happy to be back are not the touristy things. It was the thought of food in the East Village. It was the prospect of a quiet stroll through Greenwich Village, brunch in Chelsea. It was the very LIVING there that I missed. It was the food trucks, the smell of the subway, the veer of a taxi-cab, the pulse of the city that gets inside you. It transforms who you are.  And when I left, I left. It wasn't good or bad just was. It was weird. I'm not sure what to make of it. Did I enjoy my time there? Without a doubt. Will I go back? Absolutely, as soon as possible. Do I still love it there? A resounding yes. But it's no longer what it once was. I don't know how it changed, or why, or what it has become to me now, I still love it every bit as much as before, perhaps more-so. And yet, I could leave.

Now, here I sit trying to quantify my feelings. I'm watching RENT and eating spekuloos with a spoon, creating my own NYC in my living room. It is still my favorite place in the world. I don't want to live there again. I don't know that I want to live here in Seattle anymore. Maybe it's that unrest that has me feeling out of sorts. I don't know what my next adventure will be. What of myself will I leave there? Or perhaps, what of myself will I find there? I can't make sense of the mountain of feelings I have right now, so I'm just sitting with them; just feeling them. They'll make sense of themselves in due time. What I will leave you with though is pictures of the two things I had never done before that we did on this most recent trip. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (or at least halfway least I did... it was really cold and windy, but I was determined to do it) and we took pictures by the raging bull on Wall St. (which is not actually on Wall St., it's on Broadway about a block and a half south of Wall ...just in case you were wondering).

Oh... one more fleeting thing... When I last left New York, ground zero was still a giant hole in the ground surrounded by construction vehicles. Over the last three years, they have actually completed the 9/11 monument, and it's amazing.

Which reminds me. Also, last time I left New York, the new Yankee Stadium was nearing completion, and the old one still stood in all it's grandeur. The last time I was on that hallowed ground was for the last Yankee-redsox game played in the old stadium. Where that stadium once stood is now a public park. And the new building is immaculate and amazing.

Oh!!!  And one more thing I had never done before. I went to Staten Island!  Jill's sister had never been before and of course wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. So on our last night there we took the Staten Island Ferry. (for those of you keeping track ...this means I have still not been to Ellis Island)

And... just so you know, some things never change. (and really, if you're still reading this at this point, you deserve more pictures, just for a break ;) )

The most important thing that never changes is good friends. I love you Jill and hope you had the most wonderful of wonderful birthdays. Thank you for bringing me back here, and most of all, thank you for being one of the best friends I've ever had, and one of the greatest people I've ever known!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


My apartment is generally very clean. It's a product of my raising. It gets cluttered occaisionally --usually toward the end of my six day stretch at work --but it's clean almost always. I've mentioned the last two weeks have been uber stressful. School is over now though, two large stretches of work are over, and one cross-country trip is complete. I haven't done a lot of cleaning recently except for my obligatory pre-vaca rundown. So a few mornings ago when I got home for work, I figured I must have missed something that was causing a rotten smell in my apartment. So, in between finishing school and working 40 hours I deep cleaned my apartment again. Every dish was cleaned, carpets were shampoo-ed, fridge was scrubbed, garbages emptied, every piece of laundry was washed and put away, bathroom and kitchen drains were cleaned and disinfected, shower was cleaned, floors were mopped, toilet was scrubbed with a fresh bleach block in the tank. The smell persisted. This morning it smelled like rotten potatoes. Have you ever smelled rotten potatoes? It's not pleasant. I had NO idea where it was coming from. I had noticed that the smell was worse around the bathroom, which is why I cleaned all the drains, thinking it was coming from there. But when I put my face in the sink/tub and sniffed, there were no abnormal smells. I was out of ideas. Until I noticed the smell was worse as I was walking out of the bathroom. Past my utility closet. Where the water heater is. So I opened the closet, and sure enough the entire wall behind the water heater was waterlogged. I'm talking about  damp, squishy, bubbled with water from the apartment upstairs. The carpet behind the water heater was damp as well. Don't ask how I got back there to check. Fantastic.  It's times like these that I wish everything was open at 0330. Like maintenance. I filled out a maintenance request, but I'd really like to go to bed, and I'd like to do so without a mildew-smelling apartment. Sigh. It might be a long couple days...