Friday, May 18, 2012

Jumping Out of the Box!

Solo 32 mile bike ride while R was in Australia. A quick boost at the top of the Marin Headlands. Such a beautiful day!
I did it! I spoke with my boss last week and told him about going to nursing school. He knew something was up, so he wasn’t surprised yet he surprised me by being incredibly supportive and kind about the whole thing. My last full day is June 15 and I have signed up for a summer class that begins the following Monday. It will be challenging - class from 8 - 10:30 am everyday except Friday, along with part time work (until they find a replacement for me), volunteer work studying for the GRE and preparing for the new changes!

I have three volunteer positions lined up and another 2 waiting. I’ll be volunteering at Glide Health Services (a practice that serves the homeless and underserved populations of SF), the Jewish Home (assisted living) and SF General Hospital (a level 1 trauma hospital). Then I’ll try to get into the more “normal” hospital settings at CPMC and UCSF. It’s going to get crazy! But my hope is to volunteer at each place for 3-5 hours per week on top of my prereq courses. Life is going to get busy! I have to volunteer because when I apply to UCSF for the direct entry program (1 accelerated year to become a RN - for those of us without degrees in nursing and 2 years for the master’s to become a nurse practitioner) I have to apply to a specialty. Without volunteer experience and job shadowing, how am I to know what specialty to apply to? Also, in the fall or spring of next year, I think I’ll try to become a nurse’s assistant - a bit of a shitty job (pun intended) but will certainly gain valuable experience! Whew - that’s the huge life change in a nutsell.

Last weekend R and I went to a beautiful wedding in Yosemite. I’m an idiot and forgot to pack a camera, so no pictures - sorry! But it was really beautiful! What a fun weekend and I completely didn’t realize just how beautiful Hetch Hetchy was (the reservoir that supplies all of SF it’s drinking water) - I feel pretty naive, but it really blew me away. We didn’t have a lot of time to explore because of the wedding festivities, but nonetheless, it was amazing. R officiated the wedding and it was really funny to overhear other people say “wow, if that R doesn’t succeed in his day job, he could take this on as a second career!” Pretty funny. The bride was amazingly beautiful, the groom wonderfully sweet. The speeches were perfect and of course, there was the one awkwardly perfect drunken speech - the reason why weddings are always fun! :) Lots of dancing, lots of drinking and a terrible hangover - must have been a fantastic wedding!!!

There was *so much* pollen in Yosemite that it got the best of me. *sigh* I had to get on the allergy medicine bandwagon after sneezing my head off and just generally feeling like shit. But I feel like a normal person again. My allergies get so back that it’s just like having a cold and I get quite miserable. Hopefully I won’t have to take this drug for too long (you know how much I hate taking meds).

Other than that, I’ve been biking and been generally preoccupied with this life change.

One thing that’s made a huge impression on me throughout the past week and notifying my colleagues of my changes is everyone keeps saying “wow, I’m jealous” or “I wish I could do that.” I just want to give them a hug and say - “YES! YOU CAN!” I know this is slightly hypocritical of me given how long it took me to come to this conclusion, however, you can do anything you want to do. You really can. It might involve sacrifice and of course you need to find out if its’ worth it, but really, you can do anything. I think my parents have taught me this wonderful lesson. They currently sacrifice by paying a huge bill each month for emergency health insurance but they both are entrepreneurs after being successful in the banking and software industries. They just found that living in Seattle wasn’t working for them any longer and they moved into my grandparent’s home in rural Portland. It suits them and yes, its not perfect, but they’re happy. That’s what’s most important. Stop sacrificing happiness! If you’re from my generation, you should really spend 5 minutes and read this article - 9 Dangerous Things You Were Taught in School - and I love #5 “There is a very clear, single path to success.” I think that says it all.

I still am planning on a wellness series soon - so stay posted. I just need life to calm down a smidge so I can think about what I want to cover.

Open a bottle of sparkling for me!

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.