I just have to get this out

I just watched the most recent episode of Criminal Minds. Having watched this show for all eleven previous seasons and now being in season 12, I feel like I have a good bit of understanding about how they write the show. This season has been absolutely crazy and beyond anything I could have ever come up with. The storyline with Spencer is insane and the preview for next week just makes me think that there are more surprises in store before we’re done.

Bullet Journal, Nursing School

Where am I going?

As this semester comes to an end, I’m starting to realize that I am almost halfway through this journey. While it seems impossible to be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, it is getting closer. As it does, I now have the task of figuring out where to go from here. I mean, nursing is a big field with lots of options within it and every pathway has a slightly different set of requirements. You have to be a nurse of course but then beyond that there are special things you need to learn for each area of nursing. For example, an ICU nurse needs a slightly different skill set than an OR nurse and they both have a very different skill set from an ED nurse. So where am I going?

That’s a good question and one that I am only just starting to figure out. Some of my classmates already have very set ideas about where they want to be and what they want to do after this. There are a lot of OR people. I enjoyed OR but I didn’t find it so exciting that I’d want to spend every day there. I have started to figure out what I don’t really want to do. For example, I don’t really want to be on a regular Med-Surg floor. I also don’t think I want to work in an ICU. So what’s left, you might ask? Well, honestly lots of things but I think I want to work in Pediatrics.

Most of my classmates give me this look of utter confusion when I say this. This is often followed by “I don’t like kids” or “Ugh, no way.” But when I think of Peds, I feel almost a purpose. Kids get just as sick as adults and sometimes much sicker. And yes, there are moments that are sure to be sad. There are moments anywhere in nursing where you’re going to be sad about the outcome. I don’t see pediatrics as being that different from any other area except for two things: 1) your patients are going to be smaller and 2) the joy is much greater.

Ok, that first thing is not completely true. Adolescents are often bigger than me since I’m small but I think the second thing is almost universal. The joy of helping a child get better is paralleled by nothing else. Helping a child with different needs live the very best life that they can must be pretty great too. Anyway, it’s already obvious that I like kids since I spent the first… how ever many years working with them. To this end, I’ve asked to spend a day shadowing a nurse in our pediatric department and I’m going to look into volunteering with the Child Life staff at our hospital to get some more time on the floor. There don’t seem to be a lot of master’s level programs around here geared toward pediatrics but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, as the saying goes.

I am still open to the idea of another area. For example, the ED may be a good place to be. I would be open to a labor and delivery floor as well. Like I said, there are a lot of possibilities and I won’t say with certainty that there is no where else for me. I may be wrong, which is why I’m trying to spend some time on the floor now. That way I can get a better idea of whether or not pediatrics is where I want to be. Experience is the best teacher, right?

If you’re looking for your place, keep that in mind. Find places to experience the work environment you’re considering, no matter what field you’re working toward. Until next time, wonderful people, keep working towards your goals.


The first bit of writing

Ok, I have started my writing project. It’s a little different from what I originally was thinking but as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, you have to take what you get at the moment. Sometimes an idea slips off to someone else and a new one comes to you. So, the new story is started and I am writing little bits at a time. I am not at all implying that this is a great literary work. Feel free to comment, just be constructive if you criticize.

Mary stood looking out at the water as the ship sailed northward toward Scotland. She thought it was strange that she felt more at home on the ship than she did on land but as the family had moved three times in as many years, perhaps it wasn’t surprising. She had no close friends to leave behind in Ireland and she liked the adventure of a new place. Perhaps this time she would get her new life.

Mary Rodgers was the daughter of Captain John Rodgers. Her father was from a well off family with a proud tradition of serving the crown. Her father was no exception. In his quest for perfection, he went to wherever his commanders asked him to, whenever they asked. His wife, Elizabeth, simply went where her husband went with her six children in tow. Mary was the third child and the only girl, a fact her father never let her forget. He had never wanted a daughter and Mary was a source of irritation. He generally pretended that she didn’t exist when they were at home. Only out at parties did he speak of his daughter and pretend that he was excited to think of her marrying some well off gentleman.

Mary, however, was steadfastly uninterested in marriage. Most girls her age were sent to governesses to learn how to be proper wives. Since her father took no interest in her, he hadn’t thought to send Mary and she was fine with that. She spent her morning doing the chores her mother set her and after dinner she would take her notebook and sketch plants and animals. She then took those drawings to people who knew about plants and took copious notes about them. Her notebook was her greatest source of pride. She hoped that the knowledge in it would be useful to her someday. At fifteen, she had grand dreams of running off with a young man who would appreciate her mind and love her.

Her father’s new command was at Fort William and since Inverlochy was nearby her father decided to move the family there. Several times when she was younger, the family had returned to England when her father went to a new command but this time he decided to take them with him. Mary was vaguely confused by her father’s decision since he often referred to the people that lived there as savages but she was also sure that part of his decision had to do with his eldest two sons. George was soon to be eighteen and Stephen was sixteen and she knew that her father expected both boys to join the army. George would be joining his father at his command when they arrived and had already done training with the troops in Ireland. Stephen could hardly wait to join and the two boys followed their father around excitedly learning everything they could.

The wind changed slightly and Mary could tell they were close to land. Sure enough, when she looked out over the rail and squinted she could make out the coastline. Tom came up beside her and looked out over the railing.

“We’re nearly there now,” he told her.

She nodded. Tom was also fifteen but he was a seaman on the boat, a member of the Royal Navy. He had been aboard a boat since he was eleven, as a servant. When he was old enough, he was allowed to move up in rank. He was never going to have a high rank but he simply wanted to be on the water so he was happy. The moment he saw Mary he was enchanted by her. To the other men on the boat he referred to her as his own personal mermaid and he often had to be reminded by the other men to make sure her father never heard him say that. Mary knew that she didn’t like Tom. She enjoyed listening to his stories but she had no interest in a husband and Tom didn’t make her think any differently.

“How much longer until we get there?” she asked him.

“Couple of hours, probably,”

She smiled at him.

“Then I should probably get below and get the little boys together. I’ll say goodbye before we go,” she told him politely.

She didn’t see the wistful look he gave her as she walked away.

Below deck, the younger boys were excited to hear that they were almost there. They had been confined to the ship overnight and it was making them crazy. Mary helped her mother gather the boys together and got them sitting so they would be out of the way. Her father came in with the older two boys.

“Elizabeth, you’ll have to set up the house on your own. We’re going straight to Fort William. I’ve gotten a young man to help you with the large pieces.”

“Of course, thank you,” she replied to her husband.

He scowled a bit at Jacob, the youngest, who had started to fidget.

“Do I need to whip you boy?” he asked.

“No sir,” replied the little boy quietly.

“I can’t hear you,” barked Captain Rodgers.

“No sir!” he replied more firmly this time.

“Good. Now sit still and do as you’re told.”

Jacob promptly sat up straight and stared straight ahead. All of the boys were aware of what Captain Rodgers meant when he asked if he needed to whip them. He meant exactly that. He intended for all of his boys to do exactly as they were told, when they were told to do it, without question, just as a good soldier would. Mary sat down quietly at the end of the bench and tried not to attract her father’s attention. She sat stiffly with her hands folded in her lap trying to make no expression. Her father looked at her, scowled and turned away.

Fitness, Healthy Eating, Nursing School

My meal plan for next week

So, being in nursing school generally means that there is very little free time in my life. The key to my being able to handle everything and still eat well is that I plan out my meals (and the fitness routines that go with it). It may seem excessive but it means that I don’t need to think about what to make and am less likely to grab something quick and (probably) very processed in order to eat. I thought I’d share what next week’s food and fitness routine looks like so that you can get an idea of how I plan. A disclaimer though: please don’t copy this for yourself. I put a lot of time and research into what I eat and how much exercise I do, including speaking with a nutritionist. I work to balance out my calories and they are specific to me and my needs. They may not meet yours.

Monday I have a (my third!) test, so it’s going to be stressful. That means the morning starts with a run. I run for 30 minutes before class to help me destress. That means I need to be fueled for that run before I leave the house (I have been using the track at my Y to run on since it’s indoors). Breakfast will be overnight oatmeal made with apples, almond milk and cinnamon. I will bring along a Quest bar for afterwards, in case I need it. That provides me with protein and fiber. I usually only eat half of the bar at a time. The flavor will be whatever I feel like that morning. After class will be lunch time, when I’ll have a cannelloni bean salad. It’s mostly beans and tomatoes with some garlic. It’s roasted in the oven and then I store it in the fridge. Dinner will be a pasta bake. There’s a lot of cheese in that so I’ll roast some veggies to go with mine – zucchini and carrot probably (I have some rainbow carrots to use up). If I have a lot of calories left (I try to stay at less than 200 left over), I’ll have some popcorn or some cottage cheese as a snack.

Tuesday is a really busy day for me since I have a presentation at a health fair at school that I’ll be doing. Breakfast will be a yogurt bowl with graham cracker crumbs and berries. I have plain yogurt, since it has no sugar in it. Since I have the presentation, I won’t have time to go home for lunch. I’ll be bringing a pasta salad with corn and cucumber in it. It uses yogurt instead of mayo to keep the calories lower and it should be filling. I’ll probably bring along some fruit (apples are my first choices) and a Quest bar, just in case. Dinner will be baked chicken. I have some rainbow mashed potatoes to use up, some green beans and I’ll find another veggie to add to my plate. I have peas in the freezer and some snap peas, as well as some baby carrots. Probably one of those choices. I’ll go to yoga from 7-8:30 at night.

Wednesday will be a little more relaxing since I’m through the worst of the week.  Breakfast will be some scrambled eggs with spinach and parmesan cheese and a slice of sprouted wheat bread toasted. I’ll probably have some grapefruit with it too. I’ll have a run in the morning as well, so I’ll expect to need more calories just like Monday. Another Quest bar as a just in case and I’ll bring a cottage cheese to class with me as a snack. Lunch will be simple with some hummus, baby carrots, some tomato, some sliced turkey breast and a little bit of cheddar cheese. I try to avoid the bread in the afternoon if I can and this day I certainly can. Dinner is easy tonight. I’m making a veggie dog for myself (sausage and hot dogs for everyone else). I’ve got some sweet potatoes that I can dice and bake for a side or some tater tots (or both!) and I’ll probably have some pickles and whatever veggies look good.

Thursday is going to be an early morning because I have OB clinical, so I have to leave my house at 6am. This is another overnight oatmeal morning since I can eat it on the way to clinical. Today will be banana instead of apple though. For lunch, I’ll bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some veggies and berries (I have strawberries, blueberries and raspberries). I may also bring along some ginger cookies I picked up at Trader Joe’s if there are any left. We get out of this clinical earlier than normal, so dinner is a stir fry. I have some tofu and I’ll use chicken for everyone else. Then I have a whole bunch of veggies that I can use – green onion, broccoli, carrot, and sugar snap peas. I have a teriyaki marinade I can use and it’ll be delicious and quick. I’m also planning to go to yoga from 6-7, instead of my normal Friday class. That’s good because…

Friday I have clinical again. That means overnight oatmeal again (it’s a good thing I like it!) probably with some berries, if there are any left. If not, apple and banana are both great options. Lunch will be a turkey sandwich, with an assortment of veggies and some fruit again. Dinner will be a pizza. I make it homemade, so I can add whatever ingredients I want and I know what’s in everything. Plus, it’s quick and yummy. I mean, pizza!

Saturday and Sunday are always the same challenge. I work twelve hour shifts, so pretty much all my food is eaten at work at some point. I’ll make something for breakfast the night before (I’m thinking a breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, vegetarian sausage patty broken up, and broccoli on Saturday and Sunday… not sure yet but possibly some Rice Chex with banana). Lunches are typically my main meal and so, I try to make them filling. I’m going to spend some time Friday making lunch for the weekend (like I usually do, and I also grocery shop on Fridays typically, which makes this easier). Probably a black bean and corn salad for one day and a quinoa salad for the other. Then I just bring a Quest bar with me and pack some extra veggies and fruit for the rest of the day. Working a twelve hour shift is just hard to plan meals around, especially since I only get one actual meal time.

The one thing you don’t see above is my water. I try and drink water constantly. In fact, with the exception of coffee or tea, all I drink now is water. Even if I go out to eat, I still drink water. This is pretty impressive since I used to not like the taste. It’s much better than before, as long as it’s cold!

All this planning takes some time and most people would probably argue that it takes to much time. I say that my health is worth a little time and honestly, if I wasn’t meal planning, I’d be watching tv so I might as well meal plan. I watch very little tv now anyway (just my Doctor and my favorite FBI profilers). The addition of Quest bars is new but they are helping me out so, so much! They fill my sweet tooth since they are all sweet flavors and they all taste amazing. I mean, I almost died when I tried the first one. I couldn’t believe how good they were and they are actually pretty nutritious. They are pricy but again, I feel like it’s worth it to spend the extra money on things that are good for me and will help me be healthy. I have a couple more weeks in this semester and then a couple of weeks off. Those weeks off are going to be awesome especially because I know that summer semester is going to be eight weeks of crazy.

This is work, for sure. I wish that I didn’t have to think about food so much but the world we live in pushes cheap food that is just not good for us to eat as much as we do. I would love to see more healthy options show up in stores and actual whole foods become dominant instead of quick, cheap alternatives. Maybe as more people move toward a healthier lifestyle, that will become reality. I’m afraid it’s just going to result in more food that claims to be healthy but really isn’t. Either way, I hope that my journey helps you see how you can make changes. It can be done. Until next time folks, find that little thing to change to become healthier!

Doctor Who, Geekiness

The Doctor returns…

On Saturday, after a considerable break, Doctor Who returned to BBC America. I finally got to watch the episode yesterday. I will say this now. I am going to talk about this episode. If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want details, this will probably have spoilers. And seriously, if you want to watch and haven’t why are you reading this? Go watch it!

I’m warning you, there may be spoilers. Don’t risk it if that bothers you.


If you’re still here, you can’t blame me for any spoilers that you may read.

So, The Pilot was a very interesting episode. For one, we finally got a new companion. I didn’t like Clara. I was beginning to think she was never going to go away. In fact, I have to watch several episodes with Matt Smith still because I simply couldn’t stand Clara. I tolerated her for Peter Capaldi, who is absolutely brilliant as The Doctor. So when Clara was gone, I was ecstatic about the idea of a new companion. Which is Bill. So far, Bill has captivated me. She has a back story and I can’t wait to hear more about it. She is quite obviously very smart and observant. Her noticing The Doctor in the picture was impressive and the fact that she didn’t say anything to him says something about her. In fact, her entire behavior about The Doctor and his TARDIS is less than shocked. She says it’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to her and I don’t doubt her but she also seems to realize that there is more to the universe than most people realize. Bill is going to be interesting to watch develop. That will be even more true since Peter Capaldi has said this will be his last season. Every time we get a new Doctor, we learn a lot about his companions. It will be interesting to see how Bill handles the regeneration.

The episode was also very interesting. It was the type of episode where you didn’t need to know much about the Doctor Who universe in order to follow the story. That tends to be a theme whenever we get a new character – the episode they’re introduced in is often very stand alone with a great story that is a good place for new people to start watching. The monster that appeared was unique and a little scary. I mean, moving like water? That means they can go wherever they want to (except the TARDIS). This particular monster was also interesting because it could move through space and time, much like The Doctor, to go wherever it wanted. There was no escaping it until Bill let her go. I love that scariness.

Now we have the question of what’s next. We know that The Master will return at some point (probably not until later in the season though). I hope that Missy is involved in that somehow because I have enjoyed The Master being played as female. That of course has made people speculate that the new Doctor could be female. That’s always possible. I was also curious as to what was in the vault. That was never addressed and I hope that it comes back ups t some point. Whatever it was, it clearly was important. The trailer at the end of episode one didn’t reveal much either. The emoji robots look interesting and of course, creepy but outside of that, it was difficult to figure out anything major from the trailer.

So those are my thoughts on the new season of Doctor Who. I really adore Doctor Who and although I missed some of Matt Smith’s episodes, I have enjoyed watching the characters grow and develop over the past few years. There are always amazing stories hidden in the story arches for the season and that’s one of the things I love about The Doctor. I’m looking forward to whatever craziness is in store. It is one of only two things that I religiously watch on TV (the other being Criminal Minds). Expect more Doctor Who goodness (but it will always be a few days after the episodes at a minimum because I am always in a time crunch!). Enjoy yourself some Doctor, if you haven’t. This is a great time to see what the craze is all about. Until next time!

Bucket List, Bullet Journal

That Bucket List again…

I made a reference to my bucket list previously. If you recall, it involved writing, which I have started working on but I don’t have enough finished yet to post anything. I’m still in a planning stage but I am working on it. Today reminded me of my bucket list again.

Why? Simple. Today is Patriot’s Day where I grew up and lived for a good part of my life. Massachusetts is the only state that still celebrates Patriot’s Day, as far as I know. Patriot’s Day is also the day, every year, when the Boston Marathon is run.

Having grown up hearing about that marathon makes it somewhat mythical in my mind. It’s one of the marathons that everybody knows. It is a very competitive race with thousands of applicants each year. I would love to be able to run it. It is very unlikely that I will ever be fast enough to do so. There are other ways to be able to participate but I don’t see any of those ever happening. I won’t rule it out as impossible but it’s not likely. That’s why my bucket list simply says: Run a marathon. A few years back I ran a half marathon. It was difficult and involved a lot of training and honestly, I did not prepare for that race as well as I should have. I persevered and finished the race but it was rough. I have not done any real distance since then.

Today, I ran 2.62 miles, a nod to Boston in my own way (as opposed to the 26.2 miles that so many ran today). I am a long way from the place I was when I ran the half and so even further from that goal of 26.2 miles. I am working on so many other things right now that I don’t have the time I would need to even consider that kind of training. Plus, I need to be able to move a further distance than I did today and I worked hard today. I also ran at a bad time but that’s another issue. I need to find time to train that’s not the middle of the day.

I guess that’s the thing about a bucket list – some things may not happen. I have 13 things on my list right now and it’s open to change. Honestly, some of the other things on my list are more important to me. For example, I also want to hike at least part of both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. Not all of them because again, that’s a huge time commitment but I would like to hike at least part of the trail in each state. Or maybe hike each state one by one, which is likely a more reasonable goal.

I also have goals that are more attainable on the list like going to a Star Trek convention at some point. It’s something that I would love to do but have never done and could do easily with some planning. I also want to go on a Bigfoot expedition. If you know of anybody who can help in that regard, please let me know because that would just be awesome. It’s hard to get into that circle. I could certainly go it on my own but it would be more fun with a group.

If you’re young, please start working on your bucket list. These goals would have been more attainable with more time in front of me. I know that I have plenty of time but I also recognize that time moves very quickly. Sometimes much faster than we realize and it very quickly gets passed without us making progress towards our goals and I mean personal as well as career. I have a lot of goals that I want to reach and some days I feel like I don’t have enough time.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the bucket list. Every time I reach a new goal I get closer to checking some things off the list. That’s exciting. Make your list. Check things off of it. Grow, travel, adventure, work out, do what you want to in this life. Make it great. Until next time, lovely people, live well!

Bullet Journal, Healthy Eating

Plan for success, right?

It’s in my nature to plan. Heaven knows that if you’ve known me for any amount of time you know that about me. Planning makes me feel like I have some control over my life even when I feel very out of control. Or very stressed because my brain can’t handle all the tasks that I have to do. Or when I just can’t remember everything because some weeks are just that crazy. But I digress. I plan. I present to you my latest planning spread to help me get a handle on food.img_2470.jpg

I sat down and planned out 2 weeks worth of both breakfast and lunch. Why would I do this, you might ask. Well besides the obvious reason of wanting to plan things, I have discovered that I am very bad at eating well for those two meals. Perhaps because I don’t like to think about either one. Breakfast is early and lunch is after class and at both points my brain is at its limit. So I often end up eating things that are less than optimal, even if I am eating things that are much better than what I was eating before. I had ideas that I found and loved but I would often forget about them and then end up eating… well, whatever I could find. Hopefully, this will help. It also should help me increase the amount of vegetables that I eat because I included them in most breakfasts and all the lunches. It also gives me enough options to not get bored. And it serves as a shopping list.

A lot of these recipes are outside of my normal realm of food options. In fact, for most of my life, breakfast has been cereal. I really, really love cereal. I know, it’s processed and full of sugar and not good for you at all. I get that. But I love it anyway. Maybe because it reminds me of being a kid. It’s what I ate pretty much every morning as a child too. It is not good for keeping me full though and I know that. That needs to change. So, I’m working on it. Small steps, right? This is another step to the right path. I’m hoping that once I get more used to this I can switch things up more and won’t need the menu as much. Maybe I always will, who knows. For now though, it’s a tool.

Starting on Monday, I go at this full force. For now, I need to think about breakfast for tomorrow. So until then my lovely people, keep working at what you want to change. It’s possible.