Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Escaping the Box

Here’s the big news: I’m going to escape my cubicle of a box! Planning on quitting my job here in the next few weeks. I feel like I’m telling the world, I may as well publish it here, too. 
View of SF from Sausilito (bike ride 2 weekends ago)

I’ve alluded to things changing. New and exciting times. Now it’s time to make those changes. I feel like I’ve come full circle to my “saturn returns.” I know the idea of saturn returns is pretty out there, but I have seen everyone of my friends who go through this time in life and make a change. Likely it wasn’t a big one, but I see a shift in how they think and look at the world. I think I’m there now too.

About two months ago after whining to my ever listening-though-probably-doesn’t-like-it-much husband about my job and exclaiming “so! what do you think I should do!” like a 5 year old in a tantrum (I never said saturn returns makes you more mature), he finally just looked at me and said out of exasperation “why don’t you just become a nurse!” And *PING* the light went on.
Signage en francais in Sausilito "walk your bike on the sidewalk"
Now, this is silly. I’ve always said, “in a different life, I would have gotten my bachelor’s degree in nursing.” I’m the person who gives nettle tea to those with seasonal allergies, detox tea or kombucha to those with hangovers, band-aids to those with a cut and I vividly remember stitching up N’s finger in college with terry strips when she cut herself to the bone and refused to go to the ER. I’m that person. I’m the person who wants nothing more than to make you feel better when you’re sick (though, I do get impatient with man colds - I love the man, but he can drive me nuts sometimes when he has a cold). I’m the annoying person who keeps asking you if you feel better or if there is anything else I can do to help. Of course I should be a nurse!! And, oh yeah, I think it runs in the family. My grandma was a nurse assistant in WWII, I have two aunts who retired from nursing and teaching nursing and an uncle who is an assistant dean in nursing.
View of Angel Island from Sausilito
So! The big news! I’m quitting my box, becoming a volunteer, student and housewife; once I have a volunteer job. I’ll start prerequisite courses this summer and study for the GRE. I’ll apply to the UCSF MEPN program (1 year advanced training to become a nurse, 2 years to become a nurse practitioner) in 2013 for a *hopeful* start date in June 2014. Here’s the tough part: UCSF is crazy hard to get into. They accept about 15% of those that apply. Yes, there are other options for me, but this is the program that I really want to get in to. If I don’t get accepted, I’ll probably have to get a second bachelor’s degree in nursing and apply to a master’s program at another time. Not awful, but not what I would prefer. But who knows - life has a really funny way of taking in you in the right direction; even when it’s not what you want.
Hike up San Bruno Mountain; view of the fog, Mt Tam and the Eye of Mordor (Sutro Tower) - last Sunday hike w/ M & A

Now, back to the big turning 3-0 and saturn returns. I finally feel I’ve had the “ah-ha!” moment. I’m ready to “give up” the last 7 years of my life and career. And I’m ok with it. I’m struggling with the thought and the idea that I’m giving up my independence and have to rely 100% on my husband, but on the other hand, I cannot keep stalling - so I’m ok with it. It does feel like I’m taking a leap off that figurative bridge into god knows what. And, in just over 4 months, I’ll be 30. Yikes! Struggling with letting go of my 20’s, but it’s been a decade of confusion about where I want to go in life. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve accomplished, done, seen and enjoyed a lot, but time to move on. I remember an old hair stylist telling me when I was 20 that “your 20’s are effing hard and then you figure your shit out in your 30’s.” Well timed, m’lady.
View of downtown SF from San Bruno Mountain
In other news in my life, the boy is frolicking around Australia (for work, umm hmm) and I’ve started getting back into road biking! The tendonitis in my shoulder is nearly healed and I’m starting to up my mileage. Perfect goal for my 30th birthday - bike the Levi Leipheimer Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa, CA just days after I turn 30. 103 miles. 9000 feet of elevation gain/loss. Brilliant.
View of the bay from San Bruno Mountain; Mt Diabo in the background to the right (I've got to bike to the top of that thing...)
Keep your eyes out for a series of posts that I’d like to start... My Dad has been struggling with arthritis and I went all crazy on him and gave him a 2-page long email of food suggestions (remember, I think food is medicine) - he then said, “why don’t you have a newsletter or something?” Hrmm... been thinking about that one for awhile. So, I’ll start a series about how food can be medicine. If you have an ailment that you’re concerned with, let me know! I would be happy to do a bit of research.

Also, some inspiration from my CSA veggie/fruit box. An empty house brings feelings of lonliness and I cannot wait for R to come home. On the other hand, the house is much cleaner... hrm... Anyway, back to food! I live to eat and eat to live. I think about food all the time. So as I came home to my warm, empty, full of light apartment with veggie box in hand and no agenda for dinner, I came up with this recipe. It’s easy! It will take about 45 minutes and is completely adjustable to whatever veggies you have on hand. Seriously. Delish. I call it spring inspired pasta. But of course, add whatever you want!

Spring Inspired Pasta
Serves 2-4
45 min prep

6 oz dried pasta (I used GF Jovial - YUM)

1/2 lb small potatoes, cooked and cut in half
1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped (or use dino/lacitino kale or arugula)
2 large carrots cut into half moons
1 onion chopped
1 lb English shelling peas (shelled) or 1 cup frozen peas
½ lb sweet peas (stemmed and chopped)
Green garlic to taste
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Anchovies to taste
Fried egg to top
First, bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the small potatoes (I’m talking 1 in in diameter). Boil for 15 min and remove with a slotted spoon to let cool. Saute chopped onion and carrot in olive oil in a large skillet. Add pasta to the already boiling water (I just know some chef just choked on his caviar - sorry, I hate doing dishes... but shhhh... I kind of like it in a tormented sort of way... please don’t tell my husband). Once pasta is done, drain, add back to the pot and immediately add the chopped dandelion greens, shelled peas, sweet peas and green garlic. Add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat back onto low and heat up to wilt the dandelion greens. Once everything looks happy, add in the sauteed carrots and onions. At this time, I chopped the potatoes in half and add those too along with ½ can of flaked anchovies. Then make sure it tastes perfect with more olive oil, salt and pepper. Fire up the skillet again and make a fried egg over easy (I use butter and then season with salt and pepper). Add on top of the pasta dish. Voila. Deliciousness.

Simple, tasty, healthy and perfect for spring. Be sure to add a glass (or two... or three) of pinot noir (bourgogne for those of you in France). YES.
Impromptu dinner with inspiration (Flavor Bible) and a bottle of wine from my 18 Reasons volunteer gig last week - I couldn't wait to eat, so here's a pic of the leftovers
P.S. this wasn’t garlicy enough for me. Even though I have an obsession with green garlic. Please add garlic to the sauteed mixture of carrots/onions. It won’t disappoint.

P.P.S. make it seasonal with whatever veggie deliciousness you have on hand

P.P.S.S. parmesan and/or satueed mushrooms with truffle oil would effing make this dish... wow... can’t even talk about it. YUM.

Be happy. Escape your own box. Jump off that figurative bridge.

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