Work wife.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying my job at the hospital. The first year was terror because I was learning to be a floor nurse and it takes a long time to be familiar with the rhythms of the unit and how to interact with patients. The 2nd year was also terror because of the pandemic. I’m going to complete my third year on the unit this summer. My plan was always to quit when Edda turned 18 to take a break (I have other things I want to focus on for 9-12 months) and then go back in a different specialty for another 2-3 years until I physically can not take bedside nursing anymore. I’m very friendly with everyone at work but mostly not friends if that makes sense. But in the past few months, Rachel has befriended me and taken me under her wing. As they say – a work wife. She’s studying to be an NP and as English is her second language, I edit her papers. She helps me with rowdy patients, wound care, etc. She’s trying to convince me to not quit the unit in a year – how will I see you she asks? Of course, I like things better knowing I can quit. I’m not sure what psychological feeling that is, but I always remember this quote from Middlemarch – re Dorothea “Riding was an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of conscientious qualms; she felt that she enjoyed it in a pagan sensuous way, and always looked forward to renouncing it.”

Salsa, school is back.

Ahahah… I’m so looking forward to hanging out on Sunday nights with the DC Martins. We are counting down the weekends until we can regather on Sunday nights and double dip our chips in the salsa (just kidding! no one ever double dips). We’ll do it on Mother’s Day – that’s when everyone will be fully vaccinated. Jeremy makes fun of me because, though I love our Sunday night tradition (since 2007-ish), I hate these zoom calls. I can get petulant and quiet and look at my phone a lot.

I’m enjoying spring with Sofi. She shows up for our walks in a tank top, shorts and a pair of crocs. I show up in sweatpants, a sweatshirt and a puffy vest and maybe a pair of uggs. She makes fun of me. I can take it from a 10 year old. She went to school for the first time last week. This is what happens at in person school from her perspective. Instead of four classes, there are two classes with two teachers each. One teacher sits masked in the room with the (masked) kids. The kids all open their chrome books at their desks spaced six feet apart. Then the other teacher goes to an empty room and takes off her mask and teaches the lesson into the computer. About 25 % of the kids are in person, the other 75% are at home. And then at recess, you aren’t allowed to be within six feet of the other kids and you can’t throw a ball back and forth either. I asked Sofi, so you think this is better than being at home? YES she said. lol.

Running, date!

I went to the canal on Sunday to run eight miles. Beautiful day, beautiful long run. There are so many things that I want to do as a daily practice, but I’m unable to make it happen. But I usually can fit a run in most days. Unlike blogging! I want to blog everyday! Sometimes I think that nothing interesting happens during the day, so why blog? It’s because I’ve stopped taking a lot of photos and this started mainly as a photo blog and I can’t anchor a blog post without a photo. I think I’m going to try to reboot the photo habit. I lost interest in photos when everyone got into it…

Jeremy took me out on a date on Sunday! We have weekend care again – Eliana is back after more than a year apart. We had takeout A&Js, went to REI (where neither of us bought anything. as usual) and then went grocery shopping where I picked out all the yogurt flavors. Classic J&D date.

I’ve been slowly reducing my PPE at the hospital. I work on a non-covid unit, FYI. I wore my standard n95, surgical mask covering the n95 and face shield long after I was vaccinated – like until three weeks ago. And slowly week by week, I tapered down. First I ditched the surgical mask. Then I went down from my uncomfortable n95 mask to another type of n95 mask which I think doesn’t seal as well, but is way, way more comfortable. Then yesterday, I took off my face shield. And then I found out while packing up to go home, we had a covid positive patient on the unit. Negative a few days ago, but then was positive when they tried to clear them for surgery. Yikes! Not my patient, obvs. But still.. thank goodness we are all vaccinated.

Blog refresh, dentist, declutter.

Thank you, Amanda, for helping me with this blog! I hired Amanda to clean up a lot of back end things because things were getting out of control (just a bit) and I just couldn’t figure out WordPress (even enough to move the blog to its proper website name) and to also help with the blog design and she was a dream to work with. It’s the only significant amount of $ I’ve spent on this 18+ year old blog and justregularfolks really needed it. I know blogs are old-school. No one really does a personal one like this, but I love this one. I don’t want to go to Instagram or whatever other thing people are doing. I’m happy with my 9 regular readers. It’s mostly for me and no one else. The other day I got sad because I know someday I will be unable to update/pay for this and then it will just disappear into the ether.

We took Edda to the dentist on Wed. It was the first time we’ve gone back to our own pediatric dentist since Edda pulled out her front teeth almost a year ago. After she pulled her teeth out and I managed to almost immediately shove them back into her head and we saw our pediatric dentist, we went to 8 other dental super-specialists over a period of 6 weeks to try and figure out what to do. Most of them kind of side-eyed Edda and said – we can’t really help you out. One guy even said – uh, I’m not going to charge you for the visit because that looks super complicated and I can’t help. In the end, we settled out at the UMD dental school where we were encircled by a bunch of enthusiastic dental students and their professor who said – she looks pretty good! Roots look good on X-ray! Let’s do nothing and see what happens. So we did nothing. They are still loose and she re-traumatizes them each time she grinds her teeth (which is all day every day) and will probably have to be pulled someday. But I’m slowly coming around to that. It’ll be ok. I’ll just say Edda lost them while playing hockey.

On Friday, I spend the day with Megan. She’s moving soon and needed some help decluttering. I’m a fan of decluttering. She also has three cats. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve pet a cat. I find cats very soothing and comforting. I’m 10,000x thankful for everyone who developed/made/etc. the vaccine possible. I would not have been able to spend that time in Megan’s place without both of us being vaccinated.

Vaccine, toddler, tempo/threshold.

Vince got his first dose of the vaccine on Friday. The clinic was about 7 miles from campus and he took a Lyft there with no problem, but had a problem finding a ride to take him home. He waited around for about 30 minutes before there was an available car. Then he learned that for students, the zip car usually ends up being a more reliable and cheaper option. So he’s going to try that for a bit – he’s going to need a car to take his stuff to storage for the summer. A lot of his local Maryland friends are wrapping up spring semester at their colleges and will be home in a couple of weeks, but Vince just started his third quarter. We just bought his plane tickets home for June. He wants his friends to pick him up from the airport. I said that we get first dibs on him! We want to pick him up from the airport!

On Saturday, I had an active day. A little more active than I had anticipated. I first did a long run on the canal and then came home while Jeremy went out for a bike ride. Then I went out again with Alice and her family and Ning and Brian and their toddler. I thought, I can totally outwalk a toddler – how long can this walk possibly be? Turns out I can not outwalk a toddler. omg, a bundle of energy. We walked around Lake Needwood for over two hours and then ended up at a playground where our toddler continued to move around rapidly. And all I wanted to do was to sit with Alice and lean my head on her shoulder and take a nap.

Jeremy is taking his bike training seriously. Like race-weight seriously. I don’t understand training hard and cutting calories at the same time. I mean, I understand it, but like no one here is an Olympian or anything, so why suffer in that way? But Jeremy is committed. It means that you are tired and hungry all the time. (And usually grumpy, but he’s surprisingly not grumpy. I think he’s too excited about busting out of covid home quarantine with this race to be grumpy.) He’s plotted it so that he’ll reach his race weight 2 days before the first weekend in June where he’s going to race straight up a mountain – hence the race weight. Because you gotta take every extra pound straight up with you. I still spend lots of time talking about biking, looking a graphs of HR vs power, graphs of weight trends, talking about different approaches to training. Debating the difference between tempo and threshold. Is there any?

I was at the hospital on Sunday. I’ve had a number of good shifts in a row which makes me feel good. Though no matter how good the shift is going, I always look at my watch at 4pm and say to myself – ok this is enough. this has to end soon. But I still have 4 hours to go. My patients! I learn so much from them. Now I’ve jinxed myself and I’m going to have a run of hard shifts.

Swift.

I have a touch of spring fever. Taxes? Not done yet. Calling exterminators? Not done yet. Figuring out special needs trusts? Nope. Fixing a dishwasher? Ugh. I don’t want to do anything except find a good book to read and curl in under the covers. I remember in elementary school, the summers would stretch out endlessly in front of me. The time would move so slowly. I would read so many books. Now, no matter what I do, the time moves too quickly. Weeks pass without me noticing. And I read no books. Jeremy says not to worry, there will be a time where I’ll read a lot again. Fingers crossed I’ll get there. I’m listening to Taylor Swift’s new versions of her old songs which is making me happy.

Sofi tells me I should read this book. She’s reading it for her Black Eyed Susan book club contest.

Ithaka

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

c.p. cavafy

Quilt.

The quilt is done! Gina was kind enough to actually quilt and bind it for me and I’m super pleased. I was going to keep it, as it is one of my favorites, but really, it called out Sofi’s name. I usually don’t have a recipient or an occasion in mind when I make the quilt because I never know when it will be done and don’t want to rush to meet a particular date. (This one took me the entire pandemic year). I usually finish it and then listen to the quilt. And I thought it was mine, but that’s not what the quilt said to me. So it’s Sofi’s now.

Jeremy got vaccinated on Monday, his first shot. He drove about 2.5 hours to the mass vaccination site in Salisbury where there was an underutilized state run vaccination site and waited for the gaps in the appointment line. I’m worried about Vince, he’s not vaccinated yet – it opens for him on April 15. Not too long from now. But still. I want to grab him and drive him to Salisbury myself. The kids seem to be tumbling over each other out there in the California sunshine. Which I’m both happy about (he has friends, even in this year were most of us couldn’t make new friends and I know he’s generally masking) and anxious about (he has friends! some went to Tahoe! they all went home to their families and came back just in time to make april fool’s febreez pranks! They are totally all making out with each other! ack! ack! not covid-friendly!).

Easter is a time of rebirth and I really feel that. My daffodils in the backyard are having their most beautiful year ever! Glorious! I’m going to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day in-person with my family. But I also feel lots of grief these days. Somedays the grief overwhelms me. As I get older, the illusion of a clean, unblemished sustained happiness has eroded away. People I love are enduring difficult things. We all work through hard things. So many unfixable things. What is there to do? Nothing really. Except to bear witness and send love.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

mary oliver