Sunday, December 23, 2007

The 12 Pains of Work

**In the Burn Unit, At Christmas Time**

The 1st thing at work, that's such a pain to me...
Is not having time to pee

The 2nd thing at work, that's such a pain to me...
Answering the call bell,
and not having time to pee..

The 3rd thing at work, that's such a pain to me...
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell,
and not having time to pee

The 4th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Dealing with the residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell,
and not having time to pee

The 5th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell,
and not having time to pee

The 6th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 7th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 8th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Multiple intubated patients,
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 9th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
No meal breaks,
Multiple intubated patients,
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 10th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
The computer system,
No meal breaks,
Multiple intubated patients,
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 11th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
annoying family members,
The computer system,
No meal breaks,
Multiple intubated patients,
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

The 12th thing at work that's such a pain to me...
Codes at change of shift,
annoying family members,
The computer system,
No meal breaks,
Multiple intubated patients,
Central line changes,
Q 1 hour finger sticks,
Five beeping pumps,
Dealing with residents,
Signing out narcotics,
Answering the call bell ,
and not having time to pee

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
2008 is looking GREAT!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How to Host A Cookie Party: Manhattan Style

In case you were wondering how my Cookie Party went last Sunday....

1. Send out a survey via email of potential dates at least a month in advance to gauge availability on certain dates

2. Follow-up that email, requesting that people actually respond

3. Send out a "Save the Date" email with a note-"details to follow"

4. Expect that 1/3 of the people who said they were available, will bail on the actual party

5. Request that guests arrive at 1:30 if you want them to show up by 2:30

6. Don't put an end time, otherwise you kill the spontaneity of city living

7. As the party gets closer, start inviting people who aren't "cookie swap type" people...

8. Tell the people from #7 that there will be alcohol, lots and lots of alcohol

9. Request that guests bring 3 dozen cookies, if you only want them to bring 2 one reads carefully

10. Expect that 3/4 of the people will show up with STORE BOUGHT cookies, when the whole idea is to bring homemade cookies/the recipe/and their special story

11. Laugh hysterically when one of the guests honestly tries to pawn off Entemanns chocolate chip cookies as "homemade"...NO home made cookies are THAT perfect

12. Don't be shocked that all the people from #7 are the first to arrive, and make an immediate b-line for the bar set-up

13. Know that your mimosas will be the hit of the party but that none of the guests really care that you spent an hour making the fresh squeezed the future, unless Martha Stewart is on the guest list, screw the fresh-squeezed and grab the Tropicana

14. a) if you want to stay true to the idea of the party-Have the actual cookie/recipe swap BEFORE your guests get drunk
b) if you want to be a laid back hostess and enjoy the party, have the swap AFTER the bar runs dry...the stories are MUCH better

15. Don't forget to leave extra rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, otherwise one poor guest will have to shout out from the bathroom for some ...

16. Don't stress that you only have official seating for 8. People WILL sit on the floor cushions that your mom so fabulously made you

17. Don't be shocked that your friends mesh fabulously with your roommates friends

18. Consider inviting's a great way to show off your domestic skills

19. Figure that your guests will take the party to the local pub for an "after cookie" party and yes they WILL get looks when they stroll in with Tupperware full of sweet treats

20. Smile, as you let out a sigh, while wiping up the last crumb and putting away the last dish at midnight

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Up, Down, All Around

What have I been doing?
Better question: What haven't I been doing?

Well for starters, last weekend my little sister and her friend Alex were here for avisit. My dad drove them in on Saturday. We spent the morning exploring Central Park, my dad took us out to lunch, he drove home, the girls and I went shopping, I took them out to dinner in Little Italy with my friends, they shopped on Canal Street, we shopped more and more on Sunday, and then I took them to the Amtrak station and sent them on their merry little way. It was the first time I had seen my dad and sister in over 5 months! I savored every moment of that weekend and I didn't want it to end.

I worked Monday and Tuesday and picked up OT shifts on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was my first day off, but I babysat, I worked Saturday, and Sunday I met with my trainer, ran errands, did laundry, and hosted a holiday cookie party.

I guess it doesn't sound like much, but working four 13 + hour days in a row is hard. Did I mention that Winter is the burn unit's "busy" season?? We were VERY short staffed. I did not get lunch ANY day this week, and on Thursday the first time I was able to use the restroom was 5pm. (Yes, I do get to work at 7:15 a.m.).

I'd like to give you a summary of my patients this week...

Pt # 1- a 260+ pound man with scald burns to his lower legs as a result of testing hot bath water and having diabetic neuropathy. This man is intubated, sedated, has a history of 3 heart attacks, 3 strokes, diabetes, uses cocaine, and who has been having serious cardiovascular issues. In a healthy person, we like to see a blood pressure of 120/80, MAP's of 80, and heart rates in the 70's-80's. Well this man goes from having BP's of 220/190 to 56/30, HR's ranging from 55-120, and no matter what we do medically, he continues to have these episodes. The real issue? We are drying to dieures this man, he's retaining over 20 water, but whenever we pull fluid off of him with a diuretic, he drops his BP, we have to bolus his with fluid and he ends up being more overloaded than the day before....

Pt #2- a 57 year old woman with diffuse burns over her body after she lit her house on fire. She's got a history of IV drug use who gets ENORMOUSLY high doses of methadone every morning. She is so out of it, that there is no reasoning with her. Despite the fact that she is in post operative splints from her skin grafting, she tries to get out of bed, and karate chops at your head with the splints when you even attempt to get near her. Oh yeah, she says very UNKIND things. Let's just say that her favorite term for me begins with a "C" and rhymes with "punt"...yeah, I know.

Pt #3- a 79 year old man with Alzheimer's who burned himself while smoking. Best part of the story? This is his 2nd! time admitted to our floor for smoking burns. Honestly, what is a man who cannot perform his own ADL's doing smoking anyway?
So this patient also has a very diry mouth. However, he prefers to use the above mentioned name with tha adjective "f*ck*ng"...he tries to bite, pinches breasts, and spits. Because of that he's in 2 point wrist restrains, and soft mitten restraints. What a pleasant, pleasant man.

Pt #4- the 67 year old new admission with 65% burns after she set her bathrobe on fire in an attempt to kill herself. Even sadder? This was her 3rd attempt at suicide.

Any one of these patients alone, wouldn't be that bad, but we were short staffed with 5 sicks calls leaving 7 vented patients and 12 non vented patients for only 7 nurses.

Here is how ONE DAY of my week went down...

While dealing with one of pt #1 BP episodes, the cardiology fellow came down to consult on the patient. The cardiology fellow got into a verbal argument with the burn fellow outside the patients room, leaving me to deal with BP issue. During the 45 minutes that this was going on, pt # 3 managed to free himself from the restraints and rip out his central line (a type of IV surgically inserted into a great vein, in his case, the subclavian. When I went in to check on him (thankfully after stabilizing pt #1), he was half way out of bed with his post operative splint hanging over the bed... on the verge of falling. When I called for someone to come help, he started with the dirty mouth, pinching, and spitting. I no sooner got him back to bed, when I hear pt #3 screaming at the top of her lungs that she needs to get out of this "F*ck*ng $hit h@ll hole to get to the Western Union to get some money to save the men from the things who get that stuff done". (I mean, you know those people, right?) When I try and calm her down, she starts with the karate chopping.
saving myself from the karate chops, I get paged overhead to the phone to deal with the irate wife of pt #3 because she doesn't agree with the patients medication regime (honesly, not much IC an do about that...I'm not writing the med orders.). I calmly explain to her that when the doctors round at 3:30 I will address this issue with them. She isn't satisfied, demands that it be dealt with immediately, and I tell her that the doctors are in the OR but that the issue WILL get addressed.
I no sooner hang up, but then nuclear medicine calls up to ask me why pt #1 isn't down there for his V/Q scan. V/Q scan what?!?!?! I know nothing about this supposed scan, but I do that he WILL NOT be going b/c it's at least a 2 hour ordeal where myself, the fellow, and a resident need to leave the floor to transport the patient and then stay for the entire test. Right, and my other patients will just take care of themselves.
I page the fellow, have him d/c the scan,and also let him know that pt #3 took out his line. He requests that I stick this man for his noontime labs. Now there is nothing I love more than poking a man who can't sit still and screams bloody murder. Thankfully, I got it on the first shot.
Now back to dealing with pt #2. She needs to have her dressings taken down, but we are too short staffed to take her to the tank. And so begins to dressing change at tbe bedside. 2 hours later....
As if all of this isn't bad enough, at 5:30pm, I get a call from the ER that I'm getting an admission. To add to the mass confusion, I pass off my patients and prep for the new admission. I won't bore you with the details, but I'll sum it up as TRAIN WRECK. The circumferential burns required emergent escharatomies of the abdomen/chest/arms. Nothing the like the smell of freshly cauterized flesh.
As sh*te proceeded to hit the fan, I plugged on.

I clocked out of work at 9:45 pm. 2 hours and 15 minutes after my shift ended.

And that, folks, is what I have been doing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

when it rains, it pours

wow, I certainly have been MIA. I have a large post in the works, but for the same reasons that I have been mia, my post isn't done. stay tuned.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Double Take

I feel as though, lately, I have seen a few things that I would like to comment on...

I was caring for a 20-year old newly diagnosed insulin dependent diabetic who was extremely non compliant with blood sugars ranging from 50-700. Trying my best to illustrate what sort of complications can arise from uncontrolled blood sugars, I listed some potential complications via case scenario.. blindness, kidney failure leading to dialysis, testicle removal, and foot amputation....Do you know what is reaction was??? "How can you live without testicles?"
*no words, sheer pity

At the gym, at the little counter behind the stair climbers, sat a man delicately slurping his split pea soup, gently crumbling saltine crackers into, reading the paper, and oh yeah- he had a placement. This man does not work there, nor was he working out.
*are you kidding me? I hope all those sweaty germs taste salt needed

Ina Garden on her cooking show commenting that even the kids would lover her spinach casserole? What where the ingredients? sour cream, mayonnaise, butter, cheese, fried onions, and oh yeah spinach.
*Umm, two things. 1) can one even taste the spinach in that dish? 2) Don't kid yourself people, 15 pounds of spinach wouldn't cancel out all those *other* artery clogging ingredients

The people working at Dunkin Donuts who did not get any one of the five orders ahead of me correctly. (I.E. regular tea instead of a vanilla chai, Salmon Cream cheese instead of Lite Veggie, a dozen munchkins instead of a dozen donuts, a large hot chocolate filled half way, instead of a medium cup, and an untoasted plain bagel with onion cream cheese instead of a toasted onion bagel
*I went safe and ordered a medium decaf coffee BLACK

The traffic cop who was talking on his phone while directing traffic. The light actually changed 4 times before he turned around to let the other side of the traffic pass by
*if I weren't in a hurry, I would have called his supervisor

The enormous Christmas tree in one of the apartment buildings lobby...decorated with menorah ornaments and blue lights
*oh come on people, do we have to be SO politically correct?

Enough of that. I'm done. Just thought I'd let you in on some of the sight and sounds of life in the Big Apple

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'll Rub Your back, If You Rub Mine

Hi my name is Kelly and I am perfectionist. (Admitting you have an ‘problem’ is the first step, right?) Don’t get me wrong, this trait has been beneficial, but I do see where it has been a problem. Gee, I sure wish I had a Venn diagram right now.

I have a drive to succeed: leading me to graduate #5 in my class and onto a Ivy League College gradating with Magna Cum Laude honors; however, many nights (more than I care admit) I missed out on fun things because I was on a different one-track. I pay meticulous attention to detail: I always cover all my bases; nevertheless, painstaking amounts of time have been lost when it really wasn’t necessary. I don’t shy away from a challenge: I swam competitively for 13 years, never once being the best, but I got so much satisfaction from giving it my all; I’m stubborn and won’t back down, even if it is a hopeless cause. I aim to please: I can work a crowd and talk to most anybody; I hate confrontation and will often not speak up with my opinion for the sake of avoiding an argument.

I think you get my point. I’m not really sure why I am writing this post, but I guess lately I have been giving my habits a lot of thought.

At the beginning of my orientation for work, I was precepted by a nurse “the bi*itch” who was so demeaning and belittling to me that I almost quit (eating their young, anyone?). She called me useless, yelled at me in front of a patient, and told me to get it together. So now, now that I am a real nurse, all on my own, I do everything with this nurse in mind. I write detailed anecdotal notes, I clean and organize my patient’s rooms, I keep them [patients] clean, I label and note everything, I write report before giving it verbally, I do everything like I am preparing to handoff my patients to the b*tch. I guess I have her to thank for this, as everyone is impressed with my organization and efficiency, convinced that I have worked before, astounded that I am a new grad.

Not going to lie, I get that warm and tingly feeling inside when people pay me such a compliment, but I sort of feel guilty. I’m not acting in such a way for other people, I do it out of my insecurities. I’m afraid of looking weak and vulnerable, of looking incompetent. Over the years, I have learned that it’s OKAY to ask for help, especially when charting unknown territory, but when I can figure something out on my own, I find it more satisfying.

More than being a perfectionist, I am extremely independent. For this, I can thank my parents. They provided a warm, loving, and pleasant environment, but they taught us how to be self sufficient. For example: In the 4th grade, I simply refused to put away clean clothes and would just toss them back n the dirty clothes piles after I decided not to wear them. My mom kindly gave me 3 warnings. Then she took me to the store, asked me what detergent I best liked the smell of, brought me home, took out the stool, and said, “Kelly, this is how you do laundry. I am sick and tired of putting all that effort into your laundry and having you be that disrespectful of my time. From now on, you will do your own laundry.” I’ve been doing laundry 12 years.

Or when I was complaining about what we were having for dinner, my mom took out the cookbooks and let me pick the sides (yes, there were nights when we ate salmon with carrots and stuffing or lasagna with cranberry-walnut rice) but she kept me involved in the process and allowed me to feel included.

I always ended up doing the work for the entire group project when others slacked, I was the first to volunteer for tasks others didn’t want to do, I would give anything a shot before I asked for help-sometimes proving disastrous i.e. rake the lawn (only to learn that my dad had fertilized and that I had raked up the strategically placed leaves to protect the grass).
This independence and perfection has played out into my dating life as well. My first boyfriend treated me like a princess, and I liked it- to an extent. But I got annoyed when he wouldn’t think of letting me get my own glass of water, put on my own jacket, etc. I loved the chivalry of opening the doors and pulling out chairs, but I hated feeling like I was smothered. I need a little space. However, I also don’t need to take on another project. I’m not looking for some schlepy guy who couldn’t be bothered with anyone but himself. I feel like I’m a good catch (god this always sounds so conceited) but I’m fun, funny, driven, compassionate, organized, smart, love adventure, and can cook. I’ve been told numerous times, that maybe I just intimidate guys, but why?

At a carnival I had my fortune told. She said that, “Someday you will meet a man who you don’t overpower.” At the time, I laughed it off, but it’s looking more and more like this is the case. My perfectionism is making my pickings too slim and my independence is preventing me from being swept off my feet.

In a day and age where women are out in the workforce, proving their equality, and not settling for less than the best, I find myself torn between giving it my all, and letting someone give me a little.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Take Me Back to that Place

There Are Places I Remember…

The words to that Beatle’s song always tug at my heart, they just seem to fit with whatever is going on in my life, the transitions, the changes, etc.

After my whine fest about not being able to go home for the holidays, I received a VERY generous invitation to head to my Pennsylvania “Family.”
After some heckling with the prices of Amtrak tickets (oh yes, I succumbed to the public transit system) I found myself at 30th Street Station at 3:00 Thanksgiving Day. Despite the fact that I had already been awake for 29 hours, I couldn’t wait to see the gang. Walking into the house I was a) greeted by the dog, b) given a warm welcome by MEMEgrl, and c) hit with the aromatics of Thanksgiving-and how soothing and yummy it was!

When R & J awoke from their naps, I got big hugs and smiles. I really do miss these boys…they are growing up so fast! T took R &J to the party, and I finished up in the kitchen while O got ready. I forgot how nice and luxurious it is to cook where the handles of the pots don’t bang into your back while you are at the sink!

We had a lovely evening and I finally met the entire extended L family. Apparently, they have heard just as much about me, as I have of them, because we were able to pick up conversations like we were old pals. No, I’m serious…it was easier conversation than any ones I’ve tried to make with a person at a bar.

When I took R out of the car last night, he asked T “Is tomorrow a daddy day?” Unfortunately the answer was no. However, I did tell R that I would be there, to which he replied, “A nurse miss Kelly day? Can we have pancakes?” My dear little R…how could I say no to that? And true to my word, this morning we had pancakes. Yummy, whole wheat pancakes, of which each boy at 4. Whole grain….who knew?!?!
Although the afternoon’s plan to make a lasagna was put off, we spent a GREAT afternoon together. Cue the Beetles song! We went to Penn. Yup, I was back at my alma matter. O’s neice is looking at schools and she is up from D.C for the holiday, so of course today was the perfect day for an impromptu tour. After all, she had two alums (one of who is gainfully employed there) to narrate along the way.

When we got out of the car, I got a twinge in my stomach, that little feeling of warmth that happens when you remember all the good and none of the bad. Indeed, I was walking down memory lane.
With leaves crunching under my feet along Locust Walk, passing years of IVY stones scattered along campus, and seeing all things familiar of the past four years, it hit me- my times at Penn were definitely the best four years of my life (thus far). Hill College House- the fortress of my freshman year, The library- study hours during pledging, the Button- I swear I never took place in the infamous acts said to have gone on there, College Hall- where it all began in the admissions office, the Bookstore- oh the things you can Bursar around the holidays, Locust Walk- flyering, oh the flyering, Kappa Sigma Fraternity house-okay, you don’t need those details, Phi Delt- leather sofas + spring weather + boys playing guitars= amazing afternoons, the McNeil Building-home to the writing seminar from Hell and the TA who told me I had a “penchant for writing superfluous nothing”, Huntsman Hall- Chi Omega chapter meetings, class board meetings, the only place where you can find people 24/7 during finals, etc., etc. As we were finishing up our tour, we walked through the Perelman Quadrangle. At one point, when no one was looking, I just stood there and closed my eyes. As I opened them, I slowly spun around….The Amphitheater Steps--- Houston Hall---The big Quad Shield---College Hall and my IVY stone…all the while music box music played in my head...I teared up a little. And then there were the flashbacks: Convocation, the dessert buffet, Bid Day/ Bid Day Night, lunches on the steps, STEP night, Hey Day, the Ken Kweeder convert, and last but not least graduation.

These are just a handful of memories of my four years at Penn and only from this one spot. I’m sure that I could fill volumes with my memories, but I don’t think I’m meant to. I think those memories, those places, are for me to keep and hold onto. They are meant to take me back to that happy place, no matter what is going on in my life. Because it’s just like the Beetles say,
“There are places I remember/ All my life, though some have changed./Some forever ,not for better/ Some have gone and some remain/Though I know I’ll never loose affection/ For people and things that went before/ But know I’ll stop and think about them/ In my mind I love them all".

When I got dropped off at the train station this afternoon, I realized something. Just because I broke tradition, I still had a superb holiday! I got to see my other family and go to my happy place.

I hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving and that maybe, you too, were able to go back to your “Happy Place.” I’m sure glad that I did.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Total Randomness

Question #1: Something that keeps you going everyday?
my morning workouts

Question #2: Do you own a gun?
that would be a no

Question #3: Do you like who you are?
for the most part yes

Question #4: Do you have A.D.D.?
no, but I can be really random

Question #5: Any food preferences?
Vegeterian-nothing that oinks, moo's, baaa's, cluck's, gobbles...but I will eat eggs

Question #6: Aren’t thunderstorms awesome?
yeah. when i was little my mom told me it ws angels bowling in heaven

Question #7: Who is your cell carrier?

Question #8: Would you rather be rich or famous?
rich, so i could do good deeds anonmyously and stay out of the tabloids

Question #9: Do you like the cold?
only if it's a tasty refreshing beverage

Question #10: Are you happy you are alive?

Question #11: Do you think gay marriage is wrong?
in a religious context, I guess it's taboo, but I do think two people have the right be unionized

Question #12: Do you like looking up at the stars?
of course

Question #13: Would you ever cheat on anyone?
no, becuase I've been cheated on and it sucks

Question #14: Do you want to move?
for the time being, I am quite content where I am

Question #15: Do you burn or tan?

Question #16: Are your parents still married?
26 years and going strong

Question #17: Are you happier single or in a relationship?
guess that depends on the status of the relationship

Question #18: Do you have any children?
not that I'm aware of, haha

Question #19: What other languages do you speak?
I'm fluent in 'Spanglish' and, of course-whiny patient

Question #20: Do you daydream a lot?
it's the best way to escape

Question #21: Do you like swimming?
love it

Question #22: What is the make and model of your phone?
Samsung Sync (but for the record, its a POS and I am not al all happy with it)

Question #23: Would you ask your crush out?
maybe after a glass (or two) of wine

Question #24: Do you like the ocean?
its amazing how one thing can span the entire world

Question #25: What are your thoughts on stay at home moms?
as long as they are happy, who am I to judge

Question #26: What are your thoughts on abortion?
I think it's something personal to the people it affects

Question #27: Do you floss?
I try to everyday (okay, when I remember)

Question #28: Who did you last get angry with?
the customer service rep at Apple

Question #29: Do you still live with your parents?
no, but I do miss them

Question #30: Coke or Pepsi?
no soda for me, but back in my Hey Day, I was all about Coke Zero and diet Pepsi

Question #31: How many credit cards do you own?

Question #32: Liberal or Conservative?
i'm undecided

Question #33: Would you ever go skydiving?
i'm hoping to do it this upcoming year

Question #34: Have you lost any one close to you?
sadly, yes

Question #35: How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock this morning?

Question #36: Do you think you are smart?
I think I have some natural abilities, but I worked my tail off in school

Question #37: Talk to any of your ex's
yes, still not sure if its for better or for worse

Question #38: How old were you when you got your first kiss?
(mom, cover your eyes) neve should have let Jeff and I alone on the swings

Question #39: Do you do your own laundry?
I have since 4th grade

Question #40: Do you want to get married?
a black tie affair

Question #41: Do you want kids?
if it's in the cards, of course

Question #42: Are you shy?
i'd say more reserved

Question #43: How many times have you moved?
states, twice. residences, five times

Question #44: Do you hear voices?
if you are questioning my hearing, I only ignore whiny people

Question #45: Who is the last person to call you?
my mom

Question #46: How many e-mails do you have?

Question #47: What is in your nightstand draw?
flashlight, bandaids, eye glasses, chap stick, coasters (hey, I don't want water rings)

Question #48: Are you religious?
i would say more yes than no

Question #49: How do you feel when someone betrays you?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Tradition

What is to become of me?

I have never been away from my family on a holiday, but all that’s about to change. I am going to miss Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Welcome to the world of healthcare professionals. It’s not that I’m sad about the holidays themselves, I can still “celebrate” them here, but I’m devastated on the traditions and familiar atmosphere that I will be missing.

Thanksgiving, a holiday that never really wow’s me- I eat enough green beans and sweet potatoes during the year to sink a battle ship, just isn’t the same without the smell of cinnamon lurking in the air, the first spin of the Christmas CD’s, seeing that slimy ring in the bottom of the sink after rinsing the dishes, the site of my entire family each lying on a different sofa grabbing their stomach and swearing that they won’t eat for a year, or the post dinner walks, the dog licking the desert plates left on the coffee table, the dog licking the dishes in the dishwasher, and last but certainly not least-the dread of getting up the next day at the crack of dawn to hit the Black Friday sales…something my mom, her sister, and I ALWAYS have done. I guess I Really feel bad for my mom in this regard because it’s a tradition that she carried on from her mom, someone who passed away when I was 4, and someone who I know my mom misses dearly.

I’m working the night before Thanksgiving, so technically I get off work at 8 am on Thanksgiving. I guess this a year to start some new traditions. Maybe I’ll go watch the parade, maybe I’ll buy a to-fruky and whip up a little meal myself, or maybe I’ll just go for a run, come home and go to sleep. More than anything, I want to avoid coming home to an empty apartment.

Now Christmas, this is a different story. As commercialized as this Christian holiday has become, it’s still one that captivates me. I feel like I float through life from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas. My mom decorates our house beautifully-the two trees, one all white, gold, and glass, and the family tree with colorful lights and ornaments spanning the decades. The excitement and sense of mystery of my dad’s office/workshop being off limits has always filled me with an electric energy. Shopping for Christmas gifts, hunting for something special, saving up to get something that’s unexpected. Heading to church on Christmas Eve, dressed up (matching when we were little), and listening intently to the story of Jesus’ birth. Going to my godfather’s house on Christmas Eve-my dad and I would stay late, my mom and sister usually headed home early…I’ve NEVER missed a Ventresco Christmas Eve open house in my 23 years of life. Christmas Eve was Kelly and Dad time. We shared some good wine, some good stories, I occasionally learned a few things about my dad’s youth from his buddies who are all there-sometimes a little TMI, and there was always the joke of who should drive home. We would arrive home and I’d go to bed, my head and heart full of holiday joy.

And then there is Christmas morning. When we were young, we’d get up at the crack of dawn, but as we got older, my sister and I would sleep in (a little) and go into our parents room. We’d proceed through the kitchen and have to wait to hear the ‘okay’ from mom and dad before racing to the living room to see what Santa brought. Santa didn’t wrap our gifts, and the looks on our faces were priceless…the excitement and joy of a child. Then we’d do stockings. We all have stocking knit by my mom’s mother, a cherished gift for sure. My parents stockings are 4 feet long (no joke) and they are always bursting at the seams. I think my parents spend more money on each others stockings, as some families spend on gifts (it’s kind of sick, but it’s tradition). My sister and I have normal stockings, but they are always full of thoughtful items; although, there was the year that mine was full of socks and underwear and breath mints…I was starting to develop a complex.

After stockings we always proceed back downstairs to have a family breakfast. The smell of bacon, the tea kettle whistling, the coffee pot percolating, the smell of fresh baked bread (the one time a year the bread machine actually gets used)…it’s make my homesick. As I got older and developed my passion for cooking, I took on the task of Christmas breakfast…baked stuffed French toast, apple cinnamon pancakes with cinnamon infused maple syrup, frittatas, homemade muffins, etc.
After breakfast we’d head back upstairs and open the family gifts. As the years passed, it seemed like this took longer and longer (Christmas is out house is rather obscene), but it wasn’t about the things, it was about seeing the joy and excitement, recognizing the thought that went into the gifts, and of course the joy of shopping for all the stuff.

The afternoon was always full of family. We’d either travel, or they would come to us. The day after Christmas was always that post-holiday let down, but as soon as the holiday cd’s were turned back on, all I had to do was close my eyes and remember the magic of the day before.

But this year, it’s time for something new. I’ll be working Christmas Eve, and again Christmas Day, and again the day after Christmas. I’m hoping to get home to see my family that weekend. I know it’s my job, and that someone has to be there to care for our patients, but I’m having hard time coming to grips with the new plan. Maybe I’ll try midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, maybe I’ll join the Jews and go see a movie. Either way, my biggest fear is not feeling that holiday electricity that keeps me going. I’m afraid of becoming Scrooge and just being person who goes through the holiday motions.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh No You Didn't?!?!

Sorry folks, I have been MIA lately. Work, I tell ya, it's all consuming. I've finished my 16 week orientation ( cue the angel choir!) and I'm on my own. A real, not a student, not a grad 'awaiting to take the NCLEX', not an orientee, not a preceptee, but a real, full-fledged nurse. And that's what I've been up to.

I have finally adjusted to working nights, well at least as best I can. However, I think my body still gets a little confused. I try really hard and hold it together for the patient's and their families sake. I speak coherent sentences, I avoid yawning when talking to them, I write down what I want to tell the docs before I page them to avoid the dreaded,
"Oh yes, hi Dr. X. I'm calling about, umm, patient, in room.......oh, room.....X. "
Over the last few hours the trends have been X, do you think we should try X?

Well, their labs have second please, they have been.....uhh, shoot, I need to pull them up...
Dr. getting pissed at having to wait and the lack of organization

You get the picture. So I get my job done, but when it comes to taking care of myself, I'm a bit of a train wreck.

I still haven't trained my body to eat at 3 or 4 a.m. breakfast? dinner?; I’m back on the caffeine wagon (coffee and tea, still NO SODA!); and my bladder gets neglected.

Take, for example, Wednesday night.
→Upon arriving at work, I was sipping a large coffee from Dunkin Donuts (7:30pm).
→My stomach is growling (midnight), but I'm in the middle of burn care.
→I want to eat something, but realized I forgot my food at home, all hospital food areas are closed, and I can't go outside because I'm in my scrubs (certain units wear hospital issued scrubs for infection control and cannot go outside in them, or else they have to change...and who has time for that?!?! (1:30 am)
→I scrounge $1 in change for the vending machine, and stand there aimlessly looking, seeing NOTHING appealing. I don't usually eat this prepacked heart attack in a package crap, and I don't intend to start now (at almost 2am)
→I notice some sunflower seeds (hey, protein and a little bit of health oils). I hit F6. Cha Ching! Food. I open the bag and pop the seeds in my mouth. They feel a little odd, and kind of gritty in my teeth, but I just figure it's been a while since I ate sunflower seeds, but I’m ravaged and the salt tastes so good. However, the seeds do seem rather large in size. I wolf down a palm full of seeds and head back to my patients, just in time for 2am vitals.

I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off, when all of a sudden I am hit with these awful stomach pains. My stomach feels so bloated, and the pains are radiating to my sides. WEIRD. I run to the bathroom, nothing. I go back to work, moving slowly because I feel like I'm going to pop. I grab some TUMS, they DON'T help!

At this point it's 4:30 am and I'm riding the nausea wave. Not being able to hold out any longer, I bolt to the bathroom and heave....and out it comes! (sorry, TMI). So what do I see? Hmm, interesting...seeds, lots and lots of seeds, and these woody looking things, ick!

I go to my locker to get my toothbrush and see the rest of the seeds in my bag. Clearly, I won't be eating these, so I pick up the package to toss them. Just out of curiousity, I look to see the expiration date. Maybe they were bad? Nope, they were good, at least until 9/2008. But wait! What does the package say? Oh yes people, "To eat, simply crack open the shells, remove seeds and enjoy!"
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?!?!? Well, mystery solved, I ate the shells.

So now, just like I always check meds before giving them to my patients, I'll check my food before I eat it.
So folks, that's my sotry.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Local Tourist

When you live in a bustling tourist area, it’s easy to take all the sights and sounds for granted. I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of this crime.

I grew up 30 minutes outside of Boston, but didn’t go on one of the Duck Tours or walk the Freedom Trail until I was 20 years old. I spent 4 lovely years in Philadelphia, but never saw the Liberty Bell, ate a Cheese steak (Well, there is the whole ‘I’m a vegetarian’ issue), etc. However, now that I live in NYC, I’m determined not to let 4 years go by before I have seen the sights. I don’ t want the tourists to have a better grasp on the attractions than I do. I must admit, I’ve got the shopping hot spots, the quirky coffee shops, the amazing open air markets, the crazy parades (I swear this city has a parade for every ‘Ode to Tree’ holiday that exists).

I’ve shopped at Saks, I’ve dined at the Ritz, I’ve rubbed shoulders with the celebrities at movie premiers, but up until yesterday I’d never seen the bird’s eye view of the city.

Amy and I were both off yesterday (shocker, I know!), so we decided to wander around the city and do things like the tourists. We went and watched the Veteran’s Day Parade, actually we watched separately and then met up afterwards- he dad, the General, was marching with 1500 of his troops; we went to Rockefeller Center and went to Top of the Rock to see the city from 68 stories above, we dined at a midtown bar and watched the football games (okay, so we do this every weekend, but oh well…we ar eon the hunt for boys), went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and then went to a movie premier (okay, maybe tourists don’t get this opportunity.)

Anyways, it was so fun to be tourist in my own city. When I walked around, I walked slowly, took in the sights, and didn’t take the fastest route from A to B. I avoided the subway, bought some roasted chestnuts from a street side vendor, I really wanted to take it all in. The weather was brisk, but the air was refreshing and it felt so good to breathe in that smog filled air (sense the sarcasm?). At one point, it felt like a scene from a movie when I was surround by a group of Asian tourists and all around me was a melody of, “hoy, cha, nee, so, ma” and lots of digital camera flashes. IT was really entertaining. There really is something magical about walking through the theater district, looking up at all the bright lights and billboards in Time’s Square, starring in amazement at the size of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, or the sheer grandeur of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Now that I’ve taken my day to see the city through the eye’s of a tourist, I encourage you to get out there and see what your city has to offer. You may end up pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

When Coutning Sheep Fails

my dear, loyal readers (um, all 4 of you) let me tell you something. I have lost any/all sense as to what time of day it is. (Yes, I also know that one should never end a sentence with 'is', but this is my blog and I just feel being grammatically incorrect). Eek,s I'm a little grouchy and here's why...I am currently doing my stint working nights. August-October I was having a lovely time working days. They were long, but I had some semblance of a life. However, for the next month I am working nights. Normally I am a great sleeper. I can sleep anytime, anyplace, and I function marvelously on 4-5 hours (sick, I know).

Let's just say, Wednesday was ugly. I worked Tuesday night (7:30p-8am Wednesday). Try as I might, I could not sleep Tuesday afternoon in prep for my all nighter. However, the night flew by without any hitches. The night shift is a different atmosphere. Yes, the pumps still ding, call bells still ring, and vital signs and neuro checks are done on the hour, but it's quieter. The night shift is missing the brigade of residents moaning and groaning about how much their life sucks, it's missing the "Well when's..." from the families, but it's also missing the life and vitality of the nursing staff. Everyone just sort of goes about and does their thing. I guess they chat, but I feel lonely working nights. Maybe I just need to warm up to the staff, but I miss the day staff...the support of my friends, the hilariousness of B and R's tales, and even listening to the residents get grilled during rounds by the attending. (not going to lie, it's a little bit of an ego boost when I get to speak up and clue THEM in...makes them realize that I'm not some dumb sh*t who became a nurse because I couldn't handle medical school). *fyi- for the most part, the residents are great, but there have been a few who enjoy putting everyone down and acting as demeaning as possible*

But I digress.

Back to why I am confused. So I got home at 8:30 am on Wednesday. I skipped the coffee, hopped into the shower, and tried to sleep. I turned off all the lights, closed my room darkening curtains (that my mom so fabulously made, thanks!!!), turned on the fan for white noise, and tried to sleep. I tossed; I turned; I hopped out of bed and turned away the birthday card with the silly monkey face because I was convinced that it was looking at me; I tossed; I turned; I put a sheet over my clock so I would not stare at the time... I could not get to sleep.

At 11:30 I got out of bed, threw on my gym clothes and went for a workout. Well let me tell you, I have never felt so rubber legged in my entire life. Thank God you don;t need a license to ride the stationary bike, because I would have been pulled over for reckless riding. I was shocked that after my workout I didn;t feel better; I felt worse. Now I was even more tired (going on 30 hours with no sleep), but my body was energized from the cardie. I showered up and didn't go right home. Instead I called my sister, called some friends, wandered around the upper east side, started to cross the street at a red light and stood there once it turned green...I think you get the picture.

I made it back to the apartment and called L & N. N was great and listened to me whine and biatch about how I couldn't sleep. Actually, she sympathized because she is adjusting to this whole day/night flip-flopping as well. L, N. & I decided that we would go to the movies @ 7pm. I picked American Gangster. In the few hours that I had to wait before the movie I smelled more peppermint, soaked my feet, and put cucumber slices on my eyelids (it felt so glamorous, ha!!).

I'm not really sure why I picked American Gangster, I guess I thought it was something else, but it turned out okay. It was LONG...3 hours...and by the time it was over I had been awake for 40 hours and needed my sleep. N told me, "Kel, when we got to the movies you looked a little tired. But when it was over, you looked bad, like real bad."
Brace yourselves... I took a cab home!
I get in the cab and he asks, "Where to?"
To which I replied, "Home."
"What? But where is home?" the cabbie muttered
"uh, um, 76th and um, um"..."76th and first"
"You okay miss? You sure that's where you want to go"
*Great of all the nights to get a cab driver who speaks English it has to be the night I'm a royal mess.*Upon approaching 76th and 1st the cabbie says, "What side of the street?"
"On the left miss?"
"Miss...left? or right?"
"Uhh, right. Yes right, sorry"
*Wow, I look like a dumb a$$*

So I get out, on the right-the correct-side. I make it into the apartment, throw in my pajamas, and hit the sack. My intention was to set my alarm for 4am, get up, go to the gym at 9, then come and sleep again until 3. Change of plans! When my alarm went off at 4, I jumped out of bed, pounded the clock, and went back to sleep until 9. I trained with my trainer at the gym, whose only comment was "ohhh, this is ugly", and then came home and went back to bed for a few hours.

I wish I could say that I felt refreshed and perky when I woke up, but I'm satisfied that I felt human again.

I hope that I can learn to switch over my clock, quite frankly, I hate not knowing if I should be awake or asleep, if I should be eating cereal or salad, or what the heck the date is becuase technically I've been to work twice in one day.

If any of you night owls have any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate them because I just don't think the the world ready for sleepless Kelly.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Marathon of Celebrations

I attempted to publish this post 3 times,but thanks to the battery recall on my computer, I kept loosing it. Alas, here it is...

Where to begin?
Okay, Friday was my birthday, the big 2-3. I’m old. I’m single, ugh…it’s depressing.

After a LONG day at work, I was minding my own business, walking up the street to grab a salad on my way home from work. No matter how hard I try, food at 9pm, after being elbow deep in bodily fluids all day long is not my favorite part of the day. But I digress. So yeah, I’m walking down the street and this dude wearing green scrubs and a lab jacket walks up next to me and goes, “Long day?” “One of the longer ones, yeah.,” I replied, “Not quite how I wanted to spend my birthday.” “Oh, baby, it’s your birthday, oh well, at least you can go home and that nice boyfriend of yours will take you out for a nice dinner.” (Seriously, was this guy trying to make me feel worse about myself?)
“Ha-ha (I tried and laugh it off), no fancy boyfriend dinner for me, it’s a single spell right now.” Clearly, now, this man felt awkward, so he said, “Bye” and turned into the bodega. I proceeded up the street to get my salad. I turn around and who is standing there? Yup, the man. He come up, wraps his arms around me, says, “I’m sorry, I just had to give you hug. Goodnight.”
And just like that he left. Ummmm…okay?!?! I’d like to say that he came back again, swooped me off my feet, bought my dinner, and we lived happily ever after, but I cannot. However, I did go home and have the worlds SWEETEST and most adorable message from R & J that made my grin from ear to ear. After that, I went to bed.

Saturday- Birthday outing with the roommate.
Lovely early matinee movie (oh the early bird specials!!) and dinner before 8pm (granny and grampy time). Interesting point of the night, “I took the city bus!” (A first for me, and probably a last…but my roommate doesn’t travel by subway, so we saved our money and took the bus instead of a cab)
We saw Gone Baby Gone. Let’s just say it takes place in the vicinity of my youth (well, sort of). Let’s just say, there is scene in a bar, with a bunch of fat, toothless, tattooed drunks who speak improper English, swear like truckers, and drink beers that college frat boys wouldn’t touch. For all future posts, any shady place will be referred to as a GIG (gone baby gone) place. Then after the movie, we went to Josie’s. Food right up my alley. Healthy, organic, not a bank breaker. However, staying true to my reputation, after 2 drinks I was done, finished, all out chatterbox. We took a cab home. I was sound asleep by 10pm. And, oh yeah, no one told me about Daylight savings time.

Flash-forward to Sunday morning.
My alarm goes off at 7am. I hop up, get dressed, and rush to the gym. I had to get in my workout early because at 9am they were closing First Avenue for the marathon and I wouldn’t be able to get across to the gym. When I walked outside I couldn’t figure out why it was so dead, why it was so dark, and why the lights at the gym were OFF. What the H-E- double hockey sticks?!?!? Oh my god! I look at my cell phone, It’s only 6am. Shite! I walked home, sat on the couch for 54 minutes then went back. Grrrr.
I was home by9 and rushed to shower, so Amy and I could go the screening of Fred Claus (go see this! Adorable!)
However, getting there, another adventure. And you all know my love/hate relationship with traveling….
Since we couldn’t cross First Avenue to get to the subway, we had to flag down a cab on York, head south under the bridge, cross over 1st avenue at 57th street (where they were allowing traffic to cross) travel though midtown fighting the traffic of every idiot out-of-state diver here to spectate the marathon and angry cab driver. 50 minutes later, we arrived at the theater. We didn’t have to wait in line because one of Amy’s old coworkers was at the front of the line (seriously, is there anyone this girl doesn’t know??). Amy waited from her friend E and I saved the seats. Two hours later the movie was over and we battled back though the city to the Upper East Side where we had glorious plans to meet up with our friends (Amy’s cop friends and my nurse friends) to watch the marathon and have a few drinks (yes folks, drinking was the trend of the weekend…one that my liver still has not forgiven me for). However, to prevent it from being a huge shite show, we figured we would get some lunch. So we walked and walked and walked and walked….we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a crowded bar or where we could get something light. Sushi before drinking didn’t seem like a good idea; however, if we had only known…
We ended up at the sketchy hole in the wall Chinese joint where I played it safe (or so I thought) and ordered a hot and sour soup. Yes, I know, this really wouldn’t absorb any of the copious amounts of alcohol that I was about to consume, but live and learn. Amy got the steamed veggie dumplings and rice. I had one dumpling. Honestly, not the tastiest food, not anything close too it. My soup tasted like cow poop smells…do you know what I’m talking about?
We people watched out the restaurant window and saw the people run/walk/drag their sore bodies along the route. Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for all those who participated, but at 3pm these people were only at mile 16…they had a LONG way left go!
Not wanting to look too eager to meet up with the boys (we like playing hard o get), we ceded to go the bar next door. Only one comment…GBG!!! Inside there were babies (yes, I said babies), toothless men in neon 1980’s windbreakers, a motley crew of over-aged football fans, and oh yes, a gaggle of folk who looked like they were plucked straight off the Beverly Hillbillies set. Amy had two drinks, I kept my sober state, then we went to the meet up spot.
Upon entering the bar, it was packed with eye candy! Old, young, fun, sporty, preppy (yay!!), jockey, tall, etc. However, we thought we got stood up…but after 30 minutes, Amy’s friends approached. Well, I guess thats where our joint adventure ends. Her cop friend was less than friendly to me, and even less so once his friends go there, but Natasha (my friend) showed up and we began our own adventure. After scoping out the cute Columbia law students (all of whom were awkward and WOULD NOT initiate conversation), we decided to head to a place where we knew we would have a good time…Saloon! (ugh, this awkward brood of boys reminded me of my days at Penn) . Alas, we were off! Let the games begin!!!

Now this is the beginning of the end, but oh so worth it.
Outside Saloon, we took out our ID’s and were recognized as locals and allowed to ‘skip’ the line. Inside it was packed wall to wall. We weren’t 5 feet through the door when I felt someone grab my arm; It was Patrick! (Nurse that we work with, aka Captain of Team ‘SO FUN”!!!) He was sorely dissatisfied with our empty hands, so he quickly fixed that. So much for saying sober this day. Then we met his friends Meg and Mary….also so fun! It was Mary’s bday so she just kept on buying drinks. Before I knew it, I was doing Yeager bombs (ouch people, ouch!). I’m not really sure where the time went, but at 9pn after watching the end of the Pats v Colts game, and some serious dancing on the dance floor, I knew I was done and decided to head home. After getting my bearings, I took off for home.

Thhe following event is why I think cell phones need to have built in breathalyzers… to prevent the infamous drunk dial…especially when the drunk dial is your mom and dad. Thank God my parents found me entertaining, but my rant about ‘Getting the game’ of football was more than I would have wanted to hear. Oh man, live and learn.

My story ends there. I came home, and passed out. Oh yeah, I did realize that Amy was home because all of her stuff was dropped in the front hallway…strewn about. Let’s just say she was ‘under the weather’ come Monday morning. Oh yeah, we both also fell victim to the Chinese food…thank heavens for Pepto Bismuth (indebted to the pink stuff!!) However, for my friends who did stay, they closed out the bar. Actually, they ended up taking Patrick's cousin to the ER after he fell and broke his ankle with his mean dancing skills. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there because they took him to your place of employment, flashed their badges like they were VIP’s, and I’m sure were entertaining to the entire ER waiting room crowd at 2am.

Oh the adventures of my life.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I've been MEMED

Okay, since I’ve been tagged by Anjali, here it goes…

Number of books I own:

Well before I moved to my miniscule (compact) fabulous NY pad, I probably owned over 200 books. Although some were for pleasure, others not so much i.e. Principals of Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Chemical Concepts, etc, my book shelves were sagging. However, with the move, I donated many of them to a book return and for more than $800 worth of books, I think I got about $50. Oh well, I hope other get as much joy out of them as I did. Here in NY, my book collection is scant. I am a huge fan of the library, although it’s a bummer that I can’t get the latest releases, I suppose I don’t have THAT much time to read right now anyways… But in the end, the books that I kept (and will forever keep) are my cook books, with their folded pages, helpful comments, splotches of the recipe dotted amongst the pages. Ahh yes, looking though those books brings back memories of the meals shared and stories of great company.

Last book I read:

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it was Double Cross by James Patterson. I wish I could attest to something of greater substance, but I love the mindless, easy reads. However, the last real book I read was the Kite Runner. Excellent book, slow in a few parts, but nevertheless a book that makes you be thankful for what you do have, and even more thankful for what you don’t.

Last book I bought:
Love in the Time of Cholera. Actually, I didn’t buy it. My roommate’s company is producing this movie, so she gave me a copy (ahh the perks just keep on coming, thanks amy!). I fully intend to read it BEFORE the movie comes out. And when I do, I’ll be sure to pass along my thoughts.

5 Meaningful Books

Well, these books have been particularly meaningful in my life.
The Old Man and the Afternoon Cat- my dad used to read it to me before I went to bed. I can still remember nights, even with the shelves and shelves of books that I had in my ‘library’, where after going through dozens of options, I would always default to this favorite.

My Sister’s Keeper- the first book that I read after fall semester’s final exams sophomore year. Despite having been reading my notes/textbooks/power point presentations for the two weeks straight, I managed to read this entire book in three hours, with tears rolling down my cheeks, and realizing that the ethics class I had sat through the previous semester had truly enhanced my life and the way I view the world.

Full Lives- life isn’t about what the scale says, it’s about what you make of it. If you waste too much time striving for a number, you’ll miss out on too much of the meaningful stuff

The Great Gatsby- it’s amazing how one book can elicit so many things to so many people. I will never forget the discussions of this book in my 10th grade English class. Mrs. B was am amazing facilitator and we all learned so much about each other’s beliefs that I actually felt as if I grew, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, after reading this book.

Number the Stars
- I didn’t understand the magnitude of the holocaust until I read this book in 4th grade. It was the first time that I saw how war and hate could affect someone my age. To quote Oprah, reading this book was one of my life’s “Ah-ha! Moments”

Now you now a little bit more about my literary background, so why don’t you share a little bit about yours??

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Come Out Come Out…Wherever You Are

In a city where approximately 1 million people live, how is it possible that I cannot find a boyfriend??? Yes, I have my quirks (don’t we all), but I would like to think that somewhere, in this vast city, there is someone for me and that I’m not a total reject.

At a carnival a few years back, I got my palms read. The lady told me, “Ahhh yes, I see power. And someday, you will meet who you don’t intimidate”

Great lady, I paid $5 bucks for the cheap, fortune cookie knockoff answer?!?!

Alas, is an Ivy league education and down and dirty job preventing me from finding Mr. Right??

Here is what I do know…I have some (but not many) standards

1. Sense of humor
(when the going gets tough, sometimes all you can do is laugh)

2. Nice shoes and tasteful clothing
(yes ladies and gentleman, I want a boy who knows what DRESS shoes are, sneakers don’t cut it for formal events!)
**I can justify this standard because in college:
1) I took A to semi formal sophomore year. He worse a suit from the
salvation army, 2 sizes too small, 4 inches too short, 3 decades out of
style, 3 different textures, and the worst moth ball stench ever! Oh
yeah, he was wearing dirty white sneakers

2) I took K to formal sophomore year; he wore dirty black cross trainers

3) I took R to formal junior year and he wore sandals

3. He must be nice to his mom (but not in the creepy D.H. Lawrence Son’s and Lover’s kind of way)

Seriously people, is this too much to ask for? Apparently it is. When I was talking to one of the residents the other day, he asked me WHY I was single (okay, awkward…I’m a reject?!?!?!), I told him my criteria. He then looked at me point blank and said, “Well Kel, you just eliminated 2/3 of the male species and of the remaining 1/3, 90% of those left are gay.

Great, I’m looking for gay man, maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

just one of those weeks

recap of this week (i.e. my excuse fot not having a WIUP post for you all)

sunday night I couldn't sleep, fear of impending doom; monday my patient died (doom confrimed); monday night couldn't figure out how to undo my apartment lock; tuesday another patient died; last night after work and then going out with friends i broke down and paid to take a cab at midnight; today is halloween, it's my only day off this week, my trainer kicked my butt today- I hurt in places I didn;t know possible;I have to go to a dreadful 3 hour residency meeting tomorrow hosted by a man who's enligh is hard to understand and whose sense of humor is not my taste; I have to work on my birthday, my friends are out of town, my roomate is out of town, my family isn't here.

sorry to be down and out, it's just one of those weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


They say that smell has the strongest connection to triggering memories. I am not a huge fan of perfumes (most of them are so flowery and remind me old ladies) but there are a few scents that send me back down memory lane…

1. apples (candles, air freshener, pies, etc)- growing up in New England. The scent of apples reminds me of the onset of fall, when the air becomes crisp, the days grow shorter, the leaves change colors-fall to the ground-and crunch under foot when you walk over them.

2. Gin- Christmas. Gin tastes like Christmas trees smell (do you know what I mean?) If I close my eyes and take a sip of Gin, I am sitting on the floor, next to the dazzling tree on Christmas morning, eagerly waiting to open all the packages from “Sanata.”

3. Tide Laundry Detergent- a summer day. My mom used to use Tide (before it began bothering my skin) to wash our clothes. She would hang the clothes up on the clothesline outside (although my dad thought this practice was SO tacky and that our neighbors didn’t need to see our laundry, dirty or not!). There was nothing like pulling on a shirt that smelled as fresh as a summer day!

4. Charcoal grill- Cape Cod. Growing up we always went ‘down the cape’. Our summer vacation house didn’t have a gas grill, so we always went old school, and used charcoal. Now, no matter where I go, even if it’s the dead of winter or driving through the inner city, the slightest whiff of charcoal reminds me of Sessler summer’s spent down the Cape.

5. White Musk- Mrs. Gratton, the elementary school nurse. It wasn’t even like I went to the school nurse a lot, but her scent just stuck with me. Hey, maybe in some secret sublinaml smell kind of way, she is my inspiration for choice of profession.

6. Blueberry- my old neighbor. She moved away when I was 11, but her mom always used to burn a blueberry candle and it was the first thting you could smell when you walked throught the door.

7.Coppertone suncreen- summers, down the cape, sand stuck in every oriface of my body

8. Leather- my car, "The Virgy"...she may have been 10 years old when I got her, but she still smelled of fresh off the lot leather

9. Abercrombie and Fitch Woods cologne- my first real boyfriend, my first real......okay, TMI, sorry

10. Degree Body Wash- my college boyfriend, you could smell him showering in the hallway, and sneaking up behind for a surprise snuggle/kiss/hug (whatever was appropraite for setting) *side note- I'm not real comfortable with PDA

Hope this post prompted someof your smell-o-ries and stroll dowm memory lane.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Friday Five

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Name five favorite movies.
-10 things I hate About YOu
-Beauty and the Beast
-The Bourne Trilogy
-Breakfast at Tiffanys
-Wedding Crashers

Name four areas of interest you became interested in after you were done with your formal education.
-training for a triathalon
-volunteering with the homeless
-vegan cooking/baking
-boycotting public transportation (no, I'm serious! refer to href="" target="new">this post)

Name three things you would change about this world.'s really not necessary
- efficency of public transportation, actaully the lack there of
-societal class divide

Name two of your favorite childhood toys.
-cabbage patch dolls/diaper bag/stroller/etc
-cash register/play money/blank 'checks' aka bank deposit slips

Name one person you could be handcuffed to for a full day.

-Joshua Jackson (I've had a crush on him since his Mighty Ducks days!!)

W.I.U.W., week # 6

I think that next week I am going to post sweet treats and desserts...let me know if you have any random ingredients lying around that you want to create something out of and/or clean out the pantry!

Sesame Vegetables

2 teaspoons toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Brussel sprouts, halved
2 cups sliced Bok Choy, white stalks included
2 medium carrots
8oz mushrooms (any type will work, but sliced baby portabellas or white button are the best)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine toasted Sesame Oil, caraway seed, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Fill a large saucepan with 1" water and insert a steamer basket. Place the brussel sprouts and carrots in a steamer basket and bring water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Add Bok Choy and mushrooms and steam onther 5 minutes, or until brussel sprouts are cooked to your desired tenderness. Carefully remove vegetables from pot and place in serving bowl. Pour oil mixture over veggies and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin, Walnut, Orange "ravioli"

1/2 cup chopped California walnuts

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin

1/4 cup thawed, frozen orange juice concentrate, divided

2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, divided

1 salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 extra-wide (10-inch) lasagna noodles

1 cup canned fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup finely shredded Swiss chard

Heat walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes until walnuts are slightly toasted. Set aside and reserve.

Coat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon of the sage and 6 tablespoons of the walnuts; stir and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside; keep warm.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain well. Cut each noodle into 3 equal-sized rectangles. Set aside; keep warm.

To make the sauce, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine broth, chard and the remaining 2 tablespoons concentrate and 1 tablespoon sage. Set aside; keep warm.

To assemble ravioli, for each serving place 3 noodle pieces on a dinner plate; top each with 2 1/2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture. Cover each with another noodle piece. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons walnuts, dividing equally.

Low-Fat Carrot Cake
2 eggs

2 egg whites

2 cup flour

2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup pureed figs or prunes (baby food jars)

2 cup peeled and grated carrots

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple (reserve juice)

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup powdered sugar, for glaze

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat together eggs and egg whites. Into a separate large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the egg mixture into flour mixture.

Add pureed figs, beaten eggs, carrots, pineapple, raisins, and nuts. Stir until blended.

Turn mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

While cake cools, blend powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice. Drizzle over cake.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How the Other Half Lives

Did you ever find yourself wondering what someone else’s life is like? What goes on in a day in the life of the rich, the poor, the doctors, the artists, the librarians, and the store clerks? Thankfully, most of us are blessed with lives that aren’t that bad. Yes, maybe we have good days and bad days and really bad days too, but for the most part we can go to sleep at night with a roof over our head and people who love and care about us.
Over the past week, I have found myself in a few situations, giving me a glimpse of life outside of “my world.”

Despite the fact that I have an Ivy League education and a well paying job, I still babysit. I don’t need the money, but I love getting to hang with kids, channel my creativity, and take a break for the seriousness of my *real* job. When I moved to NY, really missing J & R, I found a new babysitting gig on craigslist. Yes, it sounds a little sketchy, but I provided a page of references and went and interviewed the family. It was important that I felt comfortable with them too! But I digress.

So I have been sitting for this new family for about 2 months. I go once or twice a week for four or five hours. Last Thursday, I was meeting Mrs. R to pick up baseball boy at the park and then go home to get princess girl. When I got to the park, Mrs. R was talking with two other moms. I walked up and Mrs. R introduced me as, “Kelly, our babysitter”. The two moms did not stop their conversation to acknowledge my presence or even flash a weak smile. Instead, they blew me off like I was some second class citizen who was ‘just a babysitter.” Mrs. R (clearly feeling awkward now) invited me to sit down and asked me a question about her back. (She had pulled a rib two days previous and wanted my “expert” opinion.) The two women, upon hearing “Well, you’re a nurse, what do you think?” immediately stopped their conversation and looked over at me. They said, “You’re a nurse? I thought you were a babysitter?” Trying to hard not to give them a dirty look replied, “Yes, I am a nurse. I graduated in May from the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve always babysat. I just enjoy the change of pace from my job.”
Again, looking at me like I had 10 heads, they said, “Wait,. So you went to Penn, you are a nurse, and you do this for fun?” Mrs. R said, “Yeah, Aren’t I lucky! She’s a little over qualified to babysit my kids!”

I couldn’t believe this! These women were unbelievable. They really thought that I was just some schmuck with no education who HAD to babysit. Interesting how once they learned a little bit about me that they were a little bit warmer…as if we suddenly had something to talk about. In all honesty, these women should be worshiping the people who watch their kids EVERY day. The “help” is taking care of their most precious loves. I was so disgusted. However, this was also the very first time I realized what it was like to be thought of us an outsider, a second-class citizen. Honestly, it was awful.

Okay, so that’s one end of the spectrum, but I also experienced what its’ like to have more money than God.

My mom was in town this past weekend and my roommate was running an event for work out of a very swanky hotel on Park Avenue this weekend. She runs these events a lot, and they always are out to business dinners, making high society connections, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous of Hollywood….okay, you get the picture.
So my weekend of high society began with a movie screening, VIP tickets, reserved seats, and no lines! No waiting! Private cars to and from the event! Then there were dinner and rinks in the hotel library. I was drinking $25 glasses of wine, $20 cocktails (NEVER did the cups run dry or have a chance to get warm!), eating $60 seafood cocktails-shrimp, lobster, caviar, etc. Our server learned our name (well he already knew my roommate from her routine work related events there) and when my mom started having hot flashes from the excessive amounts of alcohol that we were drinking (sorry, if that’s TMI!) he went and turned on the air conditioning and adjusted the vent near our private corner both so that it would blow directly on her. He heard that my mom was only in town for the weekend, so he packed her a bag of treats and bottles of mineral and sparkling water “on the house.” So that’s how life is when your dinner/drink tab is $500 for 4 people. Geez, I’ve been missing out!

And then one of the rooms that had been booked for the event was available, so my roommate offered to give it to my mom. Neither my roommate not I wanted to stay there, so my mom got PAMPERED! The room she stayed in costs $675/night. This place was decked out! She had a king size bed with 1000 thread count sheets, a luxuriously plush bathrobe, a fully stocked mini bar, hot towel service, room service, a fully functioning jet-spa tub, a wide flat screen 50 inch plasma television, etc. Let’s just say that my mom was in heaven. She flopped back on the bed like they do in the movies, she rolled around on the sheets, and she brushed the robe against her cheeks! Ahh, the ”texture” of luxury!
In the morning she got a call asking her if she wanted breakfast brought to the room! Seriously, I don’ t think the woman has ever been more pampered. She revealed to me when I met her later in the morning that she stayed up until 2 in the morning propped up on her 5 down pillows watching movies and taking a luxurious bath, and relaxing; she didn’t wake up until 8:30am! (This coming from the woman who is usually in bed by 10pm and is wide awake at 5 am, following an awful nights sleep totaling less than 4 true hours sleep, interrupted by hot flashes.)

When we were leaving the hotel, our bags were carried, everyone held the doors for us, and everyone had a smile on their face, and was willing to go to the ends of the earth to make you comfortable! It’s funny how differently you get treated when you ‘have money’ (or are assumed to have it!!!)

So that’s my story in a nutshell.- my glimpse of life on both sides of the tracks. I’m not going to lie, the life of luxury is amazing and life as a second-class citizen sucks, but in the end I think I’m happy being me. I have the best of both worlds. I live comfortably and have loving family and friends.

So do me a favor, next time you are out and see a homeless person, realize that you are only a few paychecks away from that yourself but don’t forget that you could also be one lottery ticket away from luxury! Live in the moment and

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

W.I.U.W., week #5

All of this weeks recipes are vegan friendly. I have listed all of the necessary substitutions


6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminun free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour

-Butter and flour an 11x7-inch baking pan.
-Heat oven to 350°.
-In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs until light and creamy. Beat in pumpkin puree.
-In another bowl, combine 1 cup of flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.
-slowly beat into the first mixture until well blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.
-In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 egg, confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons flour. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
-Spoon onto the pumpkin batter.
-Using a small narrow spatula or butter knife, swirl the cream cheese batter into the pumpkin batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*I m made a vegan version of these, using Tofrutti ‘Better than Cream Cheese’ and egg substitute, and soy margarine in place of the butter→ if using margarine, don’t melt, instead leave at room temperature and use once very soft.

1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 veggie cube
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried cranberries

-Soak the quinoa 1/2 - 1 hour in cold water
-Rinse very thoroughly in water several times. For each rinse, pour off most of the water and finish draining through a large fine mesh strainer
-Shake dry in the strainer
-On medium heat, stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden
-Remove from pan
-Stir and toast the quinoa until dry and turning color
-Transfer toasted quinoa, toasted almonds, and cranberries to 2 qt saucepan
-Add boiling water, veggie cube, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick
-Bring back to boil
-Cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 20 minutes
-Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on
-Fluff gently with a fork and serve.

Mango-Radish Salsa
-3 cups diced mango (about 2 large)

-1/4 cup chopped cilantro

-1 tablespoon lime juice 

-Pinch of salt

-1 cup diced radishes (about 1 bunch)

1. Toss mangoes, cilantro, lime juice and salt in a bowl. 

2. Stir in radishes just before serving.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

my tale of tumultuous travel

Let me preface this entry with this: if you do nothing else while reading the following entry, just laugh. I am not looking for pity, or sorrow. The following sequence of events were just so absurd that all you can do is laugh. Now READ ON!!

My plan for this past weekend was to return to Philly to see my friends and celebrate R’s 4th birthday. I hadn’t seen my friends or the L’s since July.

As I began making plans and arrangements to meet up with my friends, I soon discovered that this past weekend was Fall Break, meaning that most of them were not around. In fact, most of them came to NYC for a visit. Oh well, I though. I’ll just come home Saturday night (late) and meet up with them. Nothing in the Big Apple ever really starts before 10:30 p.m. anyway!

Back to the drama…

Friday: I suck it up and pay the money to take Amtrak. Yes, I could have taken NJ TRANSIT and then transferred to SEPTA but I had a good book that I wanted to read and plus I love the luxury of having a bathroom (in case I need it!)

2:12 p.m.- I depart NY PENN Station with my warm up of Dunkin Donuts coffee (oh, I hadn’t had a nice warm cup of CAFFEINATED coffee in at least 2 weeks!)

3:30 p.m.- Arrive at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia; I call the L’s to see what they are doing. R & J are napping so I figured I’d just take the R3 out to the suburbs.
I quickly make my way to the local trains and see the ONLY sign for the R3- West Trenton. Sweet! It leaves at 3:50. Bummer! Look at the line to use a credit card to buy the ticket. Whatever, I’ll take cash from the ATM and buy the ticket on board. OUCH! A $2.50 surcharge. Oh well, at least I will be on the train in a few minutes.

- I hop on the train and sit down. The conductor comes over and asks me, “where to?” “S*More,” I say. “Umm, Ma’am (ugh, I HATE that term) you are heading the wrong direction.” “Great. I guess I’ll just get off and go back????”
I get off at the next stop and then wait for the next train heading in the other direction.

- I get on the correct train and we pull away toward my destination.

- The train stops at Clifton. And by stop I mean, STOPS, as in not going anywhere. After 10 minutes they make an announcement that there was a car accident on the tracks and that there was damage, but that the engineers were looking into it and that we would be on our way in 30-60 minutes. I called the L’s, just to check in, and we agreed to stay in communication.

- conductor announces that it will be 2 hours (approximately) before we move. By this point the caffeine (which I am no longer accustomed to) is working on my kidneys and I have to pee, SO BADLY! I hear some woman on the train say that we are right off of Baltimore Pike. I think, “Hey, I know where I am. I’ll just walk to the L’s. I can get there just as fast as if I have to sit and wait here for the train to move.”
*side note- I have a large suitcase on wheels, I shopping bag full of presents, am wearing a dress, and a new pair of shoes. However, I must put in a plug for these shoes. They are the GEOX ones…the new line of Cole Haan with Nike Technology! AMAZINGLY comfortable.

- I am off the train and walking. I continue to walk for about 4 miles and I finally arrive at the L’s. Thank god for my IPOD and the GEOX shoes, otherwise the trip would have been a lot less tolerable.

6:38- I arrive at the L’s and am greatly warmly by T &O and also get a huge smile and hug from J. Many of R’s friends and parents are there. It’s lovely to see everyone; however, I am ever so content to just sit in the chair and veg out.

The party winds down and I get to have some play time with the boys. R and J were both fascinated with the balloons, but were getting a little rambunctious with them. Thus, I tied up the strings. However, I told R that if we leave them in the exact same place, that when we come down in the morning the balloons will be “down” because they loose air and begin to sink.

Flash forward to Saturday morning.

- I awake, after having slept like a rock, and hear a loud, “bah bom, bom, bom, bom.” I hear R saying, “Look Nurse Miss Kelly. They are down. They are down. Look! Look!.” Before I opened the door, I was thinking, “What is down? Your pants? ( No, I’m not a pervert! But R is enjoying the new freedom of being potty trained!). Alas, I opened the door and see R shaking the ballons. Oh, silly me! Of course that’s ‘what’s down’…the balloons…just like I promised the night before.

We spent a lovely day at the soccer fields, the local Presbyterian Church’s fall fair, pplayin in the yard, and making some meals for the week.. I ended up getting in touch with my friends who informed me that they had a reservation for 9pm at a restaurant in Murray Hill. Excellent! I though. I booked the Amtrak train for 7:10 and knew that I would be back in plenty of time to meet up with them. However, because I needed to take the R3 back to 30th Street and it only runs on the 31’s, I left S*More at 5:31…figuring that I could maybe get on an earlier Amtrak train.
Thankfully the R3 ride was quick and uneventful. I got the 30th Street and walked up to the Amtrak ticket window. There was no line…WOW! I walked right up and found out that for $15 (more)I could get on the 6:11train to NYC. Again, I suck it up and pay the money. I board the train and settle down into my seat.

- the train comes to a screeching halt and all the lights go out and so does the air-conditioning.
The entire train just sits there, wondering WHAT is going on.

- the conductor finally arrives in our car and says that the train has broken down and that we have lost al power. He said that the engineer was trying to work on the problem, but that they weren’t sure if they could fix it.

- We get another announcement that there was a train leaving 30th Street in 20 minutes that would arrive and transfer to (oh yeah, that was my orginal-$15 less- train reservation).

7:45- the train finally arrives (so much for 20 minutes) and we begin to transfer. Oh no wait, we attempted to transfer except that we were mid track and the trains didn’t actually line up, so we had to pass out luggage across then jump making sure not to touch both trains at the same time. **side note- I am a young, fit, 20 something year old who had trouble with this, never mind the overweight and elderly people who were also aboard.**

- We finally leave Philadelphia. However, there are now 2 trains worth of people on 1 train that was a car shorter than usual and also didn’t have a refreshment car. People were grouchy! I could have gone for a beer, but I was happy to just have a seat. However, I cannot forget to mention the detail that I got stuck sitting next to “the farter”. I’m sorry, I know that isn’t politically correct, but this person was finishing off a bean burrito when they sat down next to me and let’s just say that it kicked into gear about 10 minutes into the trip. Thank god my job as a nurse has pretty much made my immune to HORRIFIC smells.

- Arrive at NY Penn Station. Make a beeline for the subway.

- Speed through the gates to take the E-train. Only to see the sign that says, “Oct. 13-14th NO E TRAIN SERVICE FROM THIS STATION”
SHIT!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, so I now I walk back outside the turn style (1 wasted Metrocard trip) and talk to the man at the ticket counter. I tell him that I need to get on the 6 train uptown. He looks at me like I have 10 heads. He then tells me to take the next train from this location to 42nd street, then take the F train to times square, then get on the E train uptown from there to 51st street and then transfer to the 6 train.
Oh well, I refused to shell out $25 to take a cab (plus I had no cash left) so I asked the man, “well how do I get back though the gate?” TO which he replied, “Swipe your card again.” UGHHHH, I couldn’t even get a free walk back through the gate.

10:30- I am on the F-train.

- I am at 42nd street and walk fro what seems like miles underground to transfer to the times square shuttle.

10:38- I get on the shuttle and ask the man next to me if I am headed the right way. “No English” is his reply. Great,! Congratulations! Welcome to America!!
I have a bad feeling in my stomach so I get off. No one seems to know if I am headed the right way, so I walk up the steps to ask the people at the service window. But wait! There are no service people and I am now outside, standing in Bryant Park (42nd and 6th).
(Excuse my French here, but WHAT THE FU*K?!?!?!?!) I am so pissed. I say, “That’s it! I’m walking home!” For the record, I lives 35 blocks and 5 avenues from there.)
I whip out my phone and call my mom….I just needed someone to listen to me vent. And vent I did. I had my mother in stitches laughing with the series of transportation terror that occurred in the previous 24 hours. However, I made excellent time (and got in a mini workout for the day….okay with me, seeing as I didn’t get to run in the morning).
I ended up missing dinner with my friends but I guess ot worked out because I sort of forgot about the fact that I still needed to change and drop off my luggage.

So that is my tale of tumultuous travel.


FYI- I did have a lovely 24 hours in Philly with the L’s and enjoyed catching up with my friends today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Whip It Up Wednesdays, Week #4

As a tribute to my New England Heritage, and my current nostalgia for home, this week's recipes are all about APPLES!!!
Happy Fall Everyone and Enjoy!!


4 large baking apples

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup dried currants or dates or large raisins

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Large pinch ground cloves

Large pinch ground cinnamon

(walnuts are optional, but add a nice little crunch to the dish!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Core apples, remove seeds, peel away a bit of skin, and stuff with currants. Set in oven-proof baking dish. Combine lemon and apple juice with spices and maple syrup and pour over apples. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, basting often. Serve warm.


4-6 red baking apples, cored, sliced in thin wedges (leave mostly unpeeled)

1 cup apple juice

Pinch ground anise seeds

Pinch ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cooked rice (preferably brown Basmati)

Place all ingredients but vanilla and rice in a 3-quart pot. Simmer uncovered (stir a few times) for about 20 minutes or until apple wedges are soft. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour over rice and serve

 by Linda Quinn, MS, RD

2 Empire apples cored and quartered 
1 large winter Squash (2 ½ pounds) cut into 2 inch pieces 
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered 
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Dinosaur Cajun Rub to taste 
4-5 cups Vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 F
In large roasting pan, toss squash onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with salt and Rub. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes until vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Put half the vegetables with 2 cups stock in a food processor and puree to smooth. Take the other half and combine with 2 more cups of broth. Return puree mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
Serve with a dollop of Pesto on top.


1 Empire Apple, cored and peeled cut in 6 pieces 
1 (5-oz) piece salmon fillet with skin 
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling 
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in toaster oven 
2 cups salad greens
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Good Seasons mix (use half envelope)
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rub salmon all over with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet in upper third of oven until fish is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. At the same time roast apples with 1 teaspoon olive oil drizzle. (12 minutes)
Cut salmon in half crosswise, then lift flesh from skin with a metal spatula and transfer to a plate. Discard skin, then drizzle salmon with oil and sprinkle with herbs. Arrange lettuce with pumpkin seeds, sliced apples and chunked salmon.
Drizzle with dressing.


1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
2 medium New York Cortland or Empire apples,
cored and sliced in rounds 3/8-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
In shallow dish marinate the pork in olive oil, vinegar and sage for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. (or prepare a medium hot fire in covered kettle-style grill).
Remove pork from marinade, season with salt and black pepper to taste and place in shallow roasting pan; roast for 15-20 minutes, until internal temperature (measured with a meat thermometer) reads 150 degrees F. (if grilling, grill directly over medium-hot fire, turning to brown evenly, for 15 minutes).
Let pork rest while sautéing apples: In a shallow bowl, dip apple slices into brown sugar, pressing to adhere sugar to apple surface. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook apple slices for 2-3 minutes on each side until soft and golden.
Serve sliced tenderloin with apples.
Makes 4 servings

I See London; I See France; Where are my underpants?!?!

I should have known it was going to be one of those days when I fell asleep only 1 hour before my alarm was set to go off.

4:40 am- It's raining, so much for my morning run. I throw my gym clothes in my work clothes (oh the lovely and oh so flattering blue scrubs) bag and head to the gym instead.

5am- Greet the typical morning gyn crowd; begin my workout.

6:55am- grab towl and hang it on the hook outside the shower

6:58am (yes, I am a record breaking shower taker)- reach out of the shower and notice that my towel gone, but that the elady next to me took mine becuase her's was on the scuzzy floor. GREAT!!!

6:59am- sprint across the locker roomn (bare NAKED) and get another towel AND give the weazel who took my towel a dirty look

7:00am- open my gym bag and pull out my clothes....minus the underwear. GREAT! A commando day? No way! Wearing my therapeutic compression stalkings without underwear equals a NO NO!
What to do?
Clearly I can't weat dirty ones.
Okay, stay calm.....think....OKAY!
Grab the mini bottle of detergent out of my bag (hey, I hate stains); go into the handicapped bathroom stall and wash the underwear in the sink; wring it out; use the hairdryer to dry it (trying not to look suspicious.
(Just for the visual, I'm wearing my sports bra to hold up my towel)
Undies dry!
Undies on! Therapeutic stalkings on! Scrubs on! Antifrizz serum in hair; teeth brushed!
7:18: out the door and off to work!
7:24: arrive at work, waiting for the elevator, rumbling through my bag to look for my watch. Wait! What's that that just fell out of my bag onto the lobby floor? YUP, the underwear that I SWORE I couldn't find 20 minutes earlier.

okay, that's my story for the day.