Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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…

~~~

Question:
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.

Sincerly,
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!

~~~

Question:
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!

~~~

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

New Roommates

After a weekend full of moving and cleaning, I’m so relieved to finally be out of my old place and into my new home! Even if I still have a ton of unpacking to do.

I moved from my pet-less apartment, to a townhouse with two of my good friends and their two little dogs.

I’ll admit, I’ve never really been a fan of dogs. In fact, dogs have always kind of scared me, thanks to my dad who put the fear in me that any dog could potentially bite me and give me rabies. But over the last couple years, I’ve been warming up to them, to the point where I actually like them now. But you can imagine, I definitely never would’ve ever thought I’d find myself living with dogs.

But these guys are pretty funny…

Tien

Koni cuddles!

I grew up with cats all my life, so it’s a huge adjustment living with animals that actually want to cuddle up to you.

And who are actually excited to see you when you walk through the door.

But I think I could get used to it. 🙂

Just don’t tell this guy…

The Hotel Life

A big part of my job involves traveling out-of-town for conferences and training. Even though I’m a certified homebody, there are things I enjoy (and things I don’t enjoy so much) about being away from home and living “the hotel life.”

Things I Don’t Like About Traveling for Work:

  • The Food

Conference food is the worst (next to BC Ferry food). It’s like a processed and refined heaven! Which is actually the opposite of heaven for my intestines which can barely tolerate anything I don’t carefully make myself at home. Although they (for the most part) are always very accomodating to my gluten intolerance, I almost always get served meat in place of whatever has gluten. So either I (a) starve, (b) risk some sort of a reaction to a potential gluten containing product, or (c) suck it up and eat meat. And (b) and (c) are not really options.

Actually, I haven’t starved yet… Thank goodness for Starbucks being just a minute away, and for lots of rice and potatoes! Gluten-free goodness!

  •  Hotel Rooms

Are boring. I worked-out twice yesterday just because I was bored out of my mind. If it weren’t for X Factor USA being on last night and tonight, I don’t know what I would’ve done with myself!

  • Sneaky Little Things in the Hotel Room

I arrive to my room. I’m parched from traveling, especially because I drank a whole tumbler of coffee on the road. Oh, but thank goodness there’s this giant bottle of water in the room!

Chug, chug, chug…

Oh. Shoot! That was a friggin’ pricey bottle of water!

Things I Like About Traveling for Work:

  • Being Out-of-the-Office

Sometimes it’s just nice to break the monotony of the usual work week. (Although my job is far from what you might consider “monotomous.”)

  • Ice Machine

Sure comes in handy when you’ve got a bum ankle and foot from running like I do at the moment! Why don’t I have one of these babies at home?!

  • LEARNING

Ways to Make Work Travels (Just A Bit) More Tolerable:

  • Take the Travel Day OFF WORK

As in, don’t go into the office. Avoid it if you can. I used to travel the morning of the conference, and well, how many people out there have driven into Vancouver from the Fraser Valley? It is a nightmare! Even when I would leave at 5:30 in the morning, I would stroll into the conference 3 hours later. Downtown Vancouver is, at the most, an hour away (in normal traffic conditions). Talk about STRESSFUL!

This was the first conference that I traveled to the day before. Let me just say, it was smooth sailing! No frantic packing (and forgetting a million things), no being stuck in heavy traffic, and no having to brave the 6 am deadlock on Highway 1. Win-win-win!

  • Drink Lots of Water

It actually helps to keep you awake (even in the most dry of presentations). Oh, and if you drink enough, you’ll have to take frequent pee breaks! 🙂

  • Work-Out

Walk on your nutrition breaks, hit up the hotel gym after the conference. Counteract the “culture of food” that seems to be the norm at most conferences with a lil’ bit of activity!

~~~

Tomorrow’s my last day in the city, and I’m looking forward to getting back home and finishing my packing… NOT. But I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!

~~~

Question:
If you have to travel for work, how do you tolerate being away from home?
Do you love it or loathe it?

Go With the Flow

My life has been very busy lately. Juggling work, homework, and my upcoming move has left me with very little time for play. If you hadn’t noticed my lack of posts, or my lack of commenting on your blog posts, it’s not because I fell off the face of the internet. It’s because I just haven’t had the time.

I really cherish the time I have to do things I enjoy.

Going to yoga classes.

Going for long runs.

Making time to see friends.

Making time to blog.

(Are you ready for some whine?) Lately I’ve been frustrated by all the extra time I’ve been spending at work, with no compensation. I’m tired of my commute, which rounds out to just over an hour and a half a day. (Everyone out there who has to commute over an hour to work each day, my condolences. It’s not fun!) I’ve especially been frustrated that I’ve had to put things like running, blogging, and going to yoga, all which I love to do, on the backburner. Really, the only thing I’ve been making time for outside of work is seeing my family. That’s it.

So internally I’ve gone into “fight girl” mode. I’ve been angry, upset, and frustrated that my life has been all work and no play lately. I’ve been trying to fight things that are inevitable, and which I don’t have control over. The only thing I really have control over is how I approach these things, and I’ve been choosing to waste energy having a negative attitude about it.

This is my life right now. Maybe there are a few things I can do to alter the situation a bit, like not staying late at work and organizing myself better at home. This is really difficult since my home is in chaos with me moving in the next couple weeks.

The reality is, this isn’t the rest of my life. This is just my now. Instead of fighting it with negativity, I should really just choose to accept that it is what it is. Instead of fighting what feels like a raging river, I could instead choose to go with the flow. That takes a whole lot less energy, now doesn’t it?

(I know, I just brought physics into my blog post… Geek!)

And what about the little things… Like the crack in my car’s windshield that nearly brought me to the point of a nervous breakdown last week?

Those things happen. And those things are definitely bound to happen when I’m stressing out on my way to work, driving much too fast. I have no control over what flies into my windshield and breaks the glass. I only have control over how I react to it. Sure, there are things I can do to lessen the risk (i.e. slowing down, avoiding driving on gravel roads). But ultimately, my attitude toward what is thrown in my direction is the only thing I have any control over.

I remember in my 9th grade Leadership class, we would read passages from the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” In my middle school bubble, the idea of not sweating the small stuff really didn’t *click* with me. Life was pretty easy back in the day. What things did I really have to “sweat” about back then? Fast forward 10 years later, and like a brick to the head, the words make sense.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

This too shall pass.

Life is good. Change is going to come, in it’s right time and place. Things may not be perfect right this moment, but really, when will they ever be? This is life. I can’t fight the current right now. I need to let go, and just go with it.

In the end, everything will be OK. If it’s not, it’s not the end… Right?