What is Up

It’s been over a month since I last posted.

Seriously, where has the time gone?

First off, let’s take a look back at January. Oh, January… My year kicked off with meeting a man. A tall, older man (i.e. mid-30’s) who’s educated, has a good career, and seemed taken with me. What more could a girl want?! Well, there’s a reason that there is a period of dating before one jumps into a relationship. ‘Cause you need to test the waters before you jump in. After a couple weeks I realized that the constant texts that initially seemed cute were started to get on my nerves. I’m not the type of woman who needs to communicate all the time with her significant other. I love my space. Also, when a man gets upset if I don’t respond for a couple of hours because I’m, say, working and don’t check my phone while I’m looking after patients, or because I’m in class, well… That’s a deal breaker for me. That’s just plain needy. So unfortunately my “love story” didn’t end well… Actually, it did. I got rid of Mr. Needy… Good riddance!!

So instead of focusing on looooooooooooove, I’ve turned my attention to school and working. Toward the end of January, I gave my notice at my community health nursing job that was making me very unhappy. I’ve been working two other nursing jobs casually (meaning I’m on call for shifts) and I’ve been lovin’ it!

Lovin’ it!

I also started full-time studies at UFV in the Faculty of Science. It’s so strange to have a degree and be in the classroom with students who are just beginning their journey to a degree, but it’s also kind of inspiring. I may have a degree (and a science one at that), but I guarantee I have to work twice as hard as those smarty pants to figure out math again. Holy effin’ sh*t it’s a lot of work!!

And between working night shifts, and going to school during the day… I’m really, really tired.

But life is good. 🙂 Yes, my single, mature student, nurse-y life is exactly where I need to be right now.


This Scares Me

My 2012 is beginning… Now. I was too tired from night shiftin’ to make resolutions on the 1st. So here it goes, the few resolutions I’ve made for myself to ring in the New Year!

Get My Bootay Back to Bikram!
I miss practicing yoga more than anything! It’s been a few months, and I’m craving the regular sweat seshs. I need to make time in my life for this. I feel my absolute healthiest when I’m regularly in the hot room!

Camel, I’m coming back for you!

Go Gail Vaz Oxlade with My Finances
I’m awfully dependent on my debit card. I need to break this habit and get used to taking out set amounts of cash each month and spending from that. Hopefully this will also help control “mindless” spending, which happens when I use my debit card to purchase something, and then when I’m going over my accounts at the end of the week, I’m looking at the purchase wondering “when did I buy that?” Ya, not good!

My other finance-related goal is to not accumulate any debt while going to school. Thankfully I have been saving up for awhile, but pursuing studies means I still have to stick to a budget!

Take a Vacation!
I haven’t taken time off to do anything fun in over a year. Sometime in the second half of this year I want to do a little traveling. I’m undecided where, but it definitely won’t be Vegas! Am I the only twenty-something who has zero interest in going to Vegas?! Probably…

Run a Marathon
I haven’t written about my half-marathon experience because it sucked. It was the worst run I’ve ever done for two reasons.

First off, I had begun experiencing pain in my ankle about a week or two before the race. I was like, ahhh hell no! I’m running this race. Eff off! But it didn’t. And so I’ve been out of the running game, dealing with a very swollen ankle and foot.

It’s kind of got in the way of running for the past six weeks, big time!

Secondly, my bowels started bugging me the night before my run. Stomach aches are pretty normal for me unfortunately. Thank-you gluten intolerance and IBS! But when I woke-up the next morning with what I like to refer to as “gut rot,” I knew this wasn’t just a tummy ache that was going to go away. At one point I had to spend nearly 7 minutes in the outhouse during the race. Yaaaaaaaaaaa, TMI?! Sorry…

So I didn’t exactly cross the finish line with the time I was aiming for or the euphoric feeling I was hoping to experience. I crossed the finish line completely concerned with where the closest washroom was and how quickly I could get there. Regardless, my “crappy” experience made me realize (a) I want to give racing another go, but (b) I need to train smarter the next time around.

I’m excited to get “back on my feet” and train smart VERY, VERY SOON.

Vancouver, I’m talking ’bout you!

Be Open to New Relationships
This doesn’t necessarily mean romantic relationships, although I want to be open to the prospect of *maybe* meeting someone. I don’t know if this is the year for it, but if it comes my way, I won’t complain!

This is more about being open to new friendships. In the past year, I’ve been pretty selective who I let in my life, probably as a protective mechanism. I’m at a point now where I’m ready to open myself. Meeting new people is exciting, especially when I realize how many kick ass peeps are out there! Let’s make friends!!

Do Anything and Everything That Scares Me
Somersaults (I’m irrationally scared of snapping my neck doing one). Bungee jumping. Swimming in the ocean. Trying out CrossFit. If it scares me, I’m doing it!


So, that’s it for 2012! My resolutions are pretty simple (I think), but they are important things I want to see happen in the next year. They’re also things that are going to take me outside my comfort zone!

Do you have any resolutions that you find “scary” or that will push you out of your comfort zone?

A Year in Review – 2011

Hey all! Hope everyone had a wonderful holidays and New Years! I’ve been M.I.A. from the blog world for the past two weeks, as you may have noticed. I have been keeping up with everyone’s blogs, but obviously not commenting as much. I’ve had lots of new and exciting things come into my life this month. Things have been busy, but I’m so ready for the changes that are brewin’!

Generally I’m not a huge fan of the “Year in Review” blog posts, because I’ve probably been following your blog for the past year, and already know what you’ve been up to! (Hey, just sayin’…) But after reading through a couple review posts, I realized how awesome it will be a year from now to compare my 2011 to my 2012. So for purely selfish reasons (and because I haven’t been blogging since the beginning of the year, so you probably don’t know what I’ve been up to) here is my 2011 in review.

It hasn’t been the greatest year for me. I went through a loss, a layoff, and a lot of job unhappiness. But there were some positives and definitely a lot of lessons learned!


– After a terrible snowboarding accident, and what seemed like a successful recovery, my family loses my uncle to a pulmonary embolism. It is the first time I truly see my dad devastated. I spent a lot of the past year (2010) wondering what was the reason I had ended up back home when I hadn’t planned on moving to my hometown after graduating nursing school. I realize that maybe I was meant to be close to home when this happened so I could be around to support my family.
– To deal with my own grieving and the increasing stress at my job, I start practicing hot yoga every single day.

– Lots and lots of work stress. There is talk going around the office about an impending layoff. We are all waiting with bated breath.
– I am one month into my everyday yoga practice. I swear this was the only thing keeping me sane at the time…

– The rumors are true. We receive one month’s layoff notice at work, with potential for a layoff extension. Wonderful.
– I complete a 60-day hot yoga challenge. I am exhausted, but in great shape!
– I make a quick trip back to Kamloops to visit some friends.
– I run my first trail race, and end up falling into a cactus. I finish the run with spines sticking out of me! Then, a day later, I experience an allergic reaction where the spines punctured me (mostly on my arm).
– On the last day of the month (and the day our layoff notice gets extended by three months), I decide to walk away from my position. I am devastated, but know I can’t continue working in a toxic workplace.

– I don’t work for most of the month, but I quickly get hired at a new workplace in a similar position to my last job.
– I run the Vancouver Sun Run 10K. Unfortunately, my Kamloops ex beats me by a couple minutes. Friendly competition.
– I turn 24, and celebrate at Chippendales. Yup, classy 24th…
– I travel to Vancouver Island with two of my university professors to do a presentation to nursing faculty from all over BC and up north. Exciting stuff!
– I buy my first brand new vehicle!
– I make the decision to not proceed with starting graduate school (Masters) this year, and instead pursue my dreams of Medicine/Dentistry.

– I start my new job.

– I move into a brand spankin’ new apartment.
– My friend and I spontaneously go to a Rihanna concert, and have the best time rockin’ out to RiRi!

– I fulfill one of my life’s dreams of seeing Britney Spears (and Nicki Minaj) live in concert… Don’t judge. I was emotional and ecstatic. It was an awesome night!

– I reunite with some friends from nursing school at my old roommate’s wedding in the city.
– I go on a whole slew of very interesting dates. They all made for some very interesting stories, and made me realize I’m in no rush for a relationship at this point in my life. 
– My brother moves in with me.

– I head out to good old Nelson, B.C. to see my little cousin get married! The best part of the trip is getting to road trip with my mom and realizing that we are finally starting to develop a friendship.

– I start my Chemistry course.
– I go to the hot mess of a Ke$ha and LMFAO concert. That’ll be my first and last time attending one of their shows… Sorry that I’m not sorry!
– I get “officially” accepted into university, to start full-time studies again in the Winter 2012 semester. Here we go again!
– I get hit with tonsillitis, but recover very quickly (as I always do).

– My brother gets a position up north and moves out. I’m on my own again!
– I attend an out-of-town work conference and come to a few disturbing realities about my job while there. I leave pretty devastated, but knowing I have very legitimate reasons to make a change so I can be happier and healthier in my working life.
– Run a 5K race with my best friend!
– I make the decision to give my notice at my apartment for the end of November to move in with a couple friends. I make this decision so I can (a) save money and afford school, and (b) so I can work towards a job change.

– I run my first half-marathon… While injured. However, I’m not acknowledging my injury at the time because I’m so determined to run this race. Not really smart, but I finish!
– I run another 10K and set a PR… Ya! While injured.

– I move into my new place, and am adjusting (to a lot less space).
– I am now dealing with a severely injured foot and ankle. I start intensive physiotherapy.
– I celebrate my one year vegi-versary! I’ve actually been a vegetarian for longer, I just never stuck with it as seriously as I did this time. I’m so happy being veggie and plan to never turn back!
– I get hired for not one, but two new positions – one RN position, and a care director position. Whoohoo! Things are a-changing!
– I spend Christmas with my family, minus my brother who is stuck working up north. We celebrate Christmas over webcam.
– I get hit with gastroenteritis thanks to new job.


Reflecting on the past two years, I realize that I have gone through a lot of hurt and loss. In 2010, I had some of the most significant relationships of my life breakdown. I also went through the loss of finishing nursing school, moving out of a city I’d lived in for the past 4 years, and leaving friendships behind. In 2011, I went through losses with my family and my job. I processed through many feelings of anger, betrayal, broken heartedness, sadness, and depression. But through it all, I’ve come to realize that as humans, we all go through pain. Going through my own painful times has made me more compassionate towards others. I want the theme of this year ahead to be “peace and kindness.” Inner peace with who I am and what I’ve gone through, and moving forward without any ties to the hurt and pain of the past couple years. And in regards to kindness, I just want to treat others kindly. Not that I don’t, because I like to think I’m generally a good hearted person, but in stressful moments or moments where I’ve been hurting, I’ve sometimes been too self absorbed to be there for others. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to act kindly towards them. People remember kindness. 

Also, keeping on the theme of kindness, I have decided to stop eating fish. Fish is the only animal flesh I have continued to consume, and I’ve decided (for many David Suzuki reasons) that I want to omit it from my diet now. It’s a personal choice for me, and I have nothing to say to any fishy eaters out there other than *pretty please* do your research around sustainable seafood! Let’s make sure we keep our friends in the ocean around for a long time.

One of my own fish friends.

I’m ready for 2012. I feel like this year and the next couple years have the potential to be some of the best years of my life. I’m moving forward without fear in the direction of my dreams. Life is good.

When Nurses (Try to) Diagnose

This week, my left foot and ankle swelled up. Naturally, I took a picture with my camera phone, which I do anytime I experience any observable physical symptoms. Hey, I like to document things! Why the eff else do you think I like blogging?!

I was showing a nurse I work with a picture I took of my swollen foot with my iPhone. To the top of my foot was a noticeably large red bump, which was quite evident in the picture.

Nurse: Oh wow, that’s a DVT! (i.e. “Deep Vein Thrombosis” or a blood clot occurring in the “deep veins” of the lower extremities)

Me: It’s not a DVT…

Nurse: No, that looks like a classic DVT!

Me: It’s not a DVT. (OK, sure I have two of the classic DVT symtoms… Foot pain and edema, but those symptoms could be many, many things. NOT A DVT!)

Nurse: Well, it could be a DVT. It could be one that formed in the foot. Rare, but it could happen.

Me: It’s not a DVT. DVT is “deep vein,” not superficial. It can’t occur in the foot. Why are you trying to diagnose me?! It’s quite obviously a running injury!

Excuse me, nurse… Do you have an “MD” behind your name? No? OK, then stop trying to diagnose me via iPhone picture!

There are plenty of times I’ve seen ailments in patients and known exactly what they are. Oh ya, that’s a stroke! Definitely pulmonary embolism. Classic atelectasis!

I get texts all the time from friends listing off their symptoms. 100% of the time, I’m not sure what their deal is. Friend says she has heartburn… Well, ok, that could be a million and one things from dehydration to peptic ulcer. Or, you know, it could be a symptom of first trimester pregnancy… Just sayin’!

But you can bet your bottom dollar I don’t try to diagnose them. And most of the time I tell them to go see a physician or a nurse practitioner who can properly diagnose. Because I am neither of those things… Yet.

My scope of practice is that of a nurse. I don’t try to play doctor, and I’m certainly not amused when someone else with the same credentials as I tries to diagnose me. #GTFO!

I believe medical students are taught something along the lines of “when you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras.” Meaning, consider the most common diagnosis FIRST. (Duh.) In my case, I’m a healthy young woman who runs long distances, has no history of heart disease, and has not recently embarked on any long duration flights (which can cause blood clot formation. That’s why they encourage you to get up out of your seat on long flights, people!).

On Wednesday, I saw a doctor who, after thorough examination, diagnosed me with a running-related ankle injury.

And low-and-behold, the physiotherapy he referred me for seems to be working quite well.

So, definitely not a DVT.

End of story.

My Trader Joe’s Run Recap

Last night I finally made my way across the border to Trader Joe’s. Normally I try to get down to Bellingham, WA once a month. Sadly my last TJ’s run was a couple months ago.

Sad because it’s less than a hour’s drive one-way. OK, that’s a bit of a ways away round trip, but totally worth it for cheap delicious gluten-free goodness and cheese.

Here are a few of the goodies I picked-up, including a couple new TJ products:

Cocoa Almond Spread

New TJ product! I bought 2 jars. I mean, how can you really go wrong with chocolate nut spreads?!

21 Seasoning Salute

I’ve seen this product throughout the blogging world. Go figure I buy it, yet have no idea what to use it for. Help!

Eggnog Almonds

New TJ product. These are yummy. I can’t get enough of eggnog right now! Starbuck’s (light) eggnog lattes, Booster Juice eggnog smoothies, and now these. 

Any bets on when I will eggnog myself out?!

Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea

Haven’t seen or tried this before. Might be a new TJ product?!

Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee

I tried a bite of this, and found it to be super sweet. I’m not really a fan of sweet, so I will probably pass this on to someone who likes toffee. 🙂

I also picked-up some pantry essentials, like a variety of canned beans (i.e. Garbanzo, black beans), gluten-free brown rice pastas, polenta, and Peanut Butter Panda Puffs cereal. And cheese, of course!

I think my roommates are a bit overwhelmed with the amount of food I added to their pantry, but a gluten-free girl has to stock-up when she gets the chance! Or I may need to add some shelves…


Do you like to keep a fully stocked pantry? Or do you prefer to keep just the bare minimum?

Why I Went Into Nursing

Most of the references I’ve made to my job so far on this blog have been, well, not exactly positive. I’ve focused on a lot of the negatives. How frustrating I find my job somedays. How much I want to pull my already untamed hair out by Friday afternoon. But there was a time I had high hopes for a career in nursing.

While getting organized to move, I came across the letter I wrote 5 years ago when I was first applying to nursing school. Obviously some of the wording has been changed. I did not graduate from “The Raddest University,” although close to it.

To the Absolutely Stunning Group of People on the Admissions Board,

Please accept my application to your awesome school of nursing at The Raddest University I’ve come across. I am extremely interested in pursuing my nursing degree at your institution as I find both the high quality of education and small campus atmosphere characteristic of your university to be very appealing. I am excited to take on an active role in the academic community while preparing myself for a successful future within the workforce.

I have been interested in pursuing a career within the health sciences since middle school. During the 9th and 10th grades, I was a candy striper at my hometown’s hospital and at a care home. It was through this experience that I found I had an innate desire to help others. I carried out various duties such as feeding patients, performing basic housekeeping, and engaging in casual conversation. I also saw what an intricate role registered nurses play within the care setting. Their job includes caring for patients, administering medications, and educating people on managing their health challenges, among many other tasks.

I’ve also had the opportunity to coach a high school girl’s rowing team since my 12th grade. I thoroughly enjoy teaching these young women new skills and watching them grow in their confidence and abilities. In my coaching role, I am responsible for the safety and well-being of the entire team, much as a nurse would be responsible for the individuals under her care.

Throughout high school, I balanced academics with a part-time job as a cashier at a grocery store. One of the important aspects of that particular job was having exceptional customer service skills. As a result of this job experience, I am comfortable working with people of all ages and from all walks of life. I particularly enjoy working with the public and accomodating the needs of each individual. I am presently working as a traffic control person, where I’ve gained the ability to make critical decisions in a timely manner. In this particular job setting, one must use their experience and critical thinking skills to ensure the safety of those working on the job site, and the general public using the traffic system.

I feel I possess many characteristics that will be beneficial in becoming a Registered Nurse. I have a great deal of experience working with the public, and am confident in that capacity. I’m organized and detail-oriented. I’m hardworking, energetic, and able to work well under pressure.

I believe there are many interesting avenues to explore within the nursing profession as it’s such as varied field. I’m not sure where my strengths will lie yet within this vocation; however, I’m excited and open to the many areas this field encompasses.

An area of nursing that interests me would be a position in a northern community of our country where there is a great need for Registered Nurses. I’m aware that nurses working in these areas take on a great leadership role, where they are often responsible for running health care centres. Along with completing my baccalaureate, I plan to continue pursuing education in the health science field. One of my greatest goals in life is to take part in “Doctors Without Borders,” and offer medical assistance to areas where those services are inadequate.

I truly believe the nursing program at your Truly Radical University is going to provide me not only with the essential skills to establish a successful career, but also skills that are going to assist me in life. Thank-you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Wannabe Nurse Rachel

Words right from my 18-year-old self. Funny to think it really wasn’t that long ago that I was dreaming of entering the career I’m in now. I know nursing (especially my field of nursing) has it’s hardships and frustrations, but the truth is, the majority of th0se frustrations are because of bureaucratic and political issues affecting my job.

It’s not the patients. Being a part of their journey, and seeing their progression from sickness to wellness (most of the time), or from dependence to independence is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in health care.

Being a guinea pig for an IV start.

When I get down because of workload issues, or because I’m being dragged down into the dungeon of despair by other nurses, or just because I feel like I’m going to lose my friggin’ marbles somedays, I have to remind myself there was a time that I was dreaming of being where I am today.

Whether I’m in this career for another 2 years or another 10 years, I want to be the best nurse I can possibly be. Not for myself, but for my patients. At the end of the day, caring for patients is what got me into this, and caring for patients is what gets me through the toughest days.

Flashback… Like hitting the jackpot to a nurse!


What drew you to your job or career?

Deceptively Delicious

Can’t believe another weekend is over already! Boo. 😦

As of today, I’m exactly 5 weeks away from starting full-time school again. The countdown is on! I honestly can’t wait!

My first college experience.

Somehow I don’t think my “mature student” experience this time around is going to involve late nights and Smirnoff Ice coolers…


Last night, my roommate and I were both in a baking mood and decided to tackle some relatively healthy treats from a cookbook that’s been collecting dust in the cabinet above the microwave. Isn’t that where all neglected cookbooks are kept?

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. Yes, that would be Seinfeld’s wife.

I’d heard of this cookbook several years ago when I was ill and couch bound, and had all the time in the world to catch episodes of Regis & Kelly. I remember thinking “oh, that’s neat,” and then (honestly) forgot all about it. I love that I ended up coming across it because I really love the whole concept of this book!

Basically this cookbook is full of sneaky ways to get fruits, veggies, and legumes into homecooked foods, like macaroni and cheese and cookies, that might otherwise not be so healthy. It’s written mostly for young families, but hey, us adults can always use some sneaky ways to get our 8-10 servings of fruits and veggies too!

First off, we tackled the Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach) recipe, which includes pureed carrots and spinach in the batter. We substitued the all-purpose flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour (for me). I wasn’t a huge fan of these brownies; whereas my roommate loved them. They tasted a bit dry and not sweet enough to me, and I don’t even like my desserts super sweet! On the upside, unlike most gluten-free brownies I’ve tackled, these ones actually held together.

Just OK.

Next we tackled the Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chickpeas (no recipe). I was a little skeptical that cookies with chickpeas could actually turn out to be edible, but we were eager to give it a shot! We debated whether to add the chickpeas in whole (as called for in the recipe), but decided to puree them instead. We weren’t brave enough to stomache eating whole chickpeas inside cookies!

I was the official cookie dough taster, and my verdict was the dough was the bomb dot com! I knew these were going to be delicious little baked gems.

We were both in agreeance this time. These cookies turned out so well! They were perfectly soft and not too sweet, but had just enough sweetness from the chocolate chips. Plus, they’re packed with protein from the walnuts and chickpea puree.

Overall, our Sunday night baking fest was a success! I think the chocolate chip cookies were some of the best I’ve ever made, and it’ll definitely be my go-to cookie recipe in the future. The rest of the recipes in her book seem pretty easy, and I’m eager to try out a few more… Like the Coffee Cake with Butternut Squash. Yum!


Have you ever tried sneaking fruits or veggies into your baked goods?