Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 goals

I really want to make 2010 the year of savings! Or should I say, the year of paying off everything!

But first, let's get the list out of the way:

  • Continue to eat healthy and exercise.I know this is kind of a general statement, but I feel like I've been doing pretty well in this area, so not a whole lot of goals currently.

  • Go on vacation somewhere. I have never really been on vacation. I have visited family in Boston, but besides when I was younger, I haven't been anywhere on my own. Originally, Mirza and I thought that during his spring break (in March) that we would go to California. See San Francisco, etc., but after calculating the expenses, it doesn't seem feasible at this time. So, instead, we are thinking perhaps we will drive to Georgia or North Carolina and spend like 3 days, 4 nights in a cabin in the woods; go white water rafting, hiking, that sort of thing. Everything is still up in the air at this point as it all depends on how much my tax return comes out to. I originally put the vacation out of my mind and decided I would just save, save, save. But my very responsible and awesome sister repeated to me literally 5 times, "Nicole, you're always responsible, go on vacation, you deserve a vacation." And since my sister is so smart, I listen to her!

  • Read more books!  I'm always reading something, but I really want to get in some good reading before the next goal comes into play. Right now I'm actually reading three books! Ask me what I'm reading if you're interested;)
  • Start grad school!  Yes, in Fall 2010, I would like to begin the Adult Master's in Nursing program at my undergrad school, USF. Since Mirza isn't graduating until tentatively May 2011, I figure I might as well just start school and get it over with. Not just "get it over with," but I would like to be finished with school before we have children and all that jazz someday.

  • Stay tidy and organized! I'm a clean person. Type A. However, I would like to kick it up a notch by making life easier. By this, I mean try to make a habit out of washing a dish right after I use it, instead of placing it in the sink. I want the kitchen and bathroom cleaned before going to bed.  This week I've been organizing everything and cleaning. I donated an entire garbage bag full of clothes. And most of them were just lounge-around the house clothes. Why do I need like three drawers full of pajamas??? I don't!

  • Get on the day shift!  This goal may be happening SOON!!! I learned  last week that someone on the day shift has resigned, so that means a spot is open! I haven't talked with my manager yet due to holidays, but this seems to be my in? I hope there won't be some other reason why I cannot take her spot. I NEED TO GO TO DAY'S. Don't get me wrong, I am loving the extra cash and it would be smart to stay on days in order to accomplish goal #1: save money. But damnit, I cannot live this lifestyle!!!  Updates to follow as I hear news...
Goal #1: Save money and pay off bills
  • Ideally, I want an 8 months emergency fund, but quite frankly, that is impossible at this point, but I am saving up slowly. I would like to save another $2,000 for 2010. That isn't too crazy, to me, anyway.
  • Continue to contribute to my 401K. I started with $689 at the beginning of the year and I now have over $6900! woohooooo.
  • I want to pay off 75% of my car loan. Based on my tax return, this would be quite feasible, but a challenge in self-resistance. I would need about $3,000 towards the car, and then another like $375/ mo to accomplish this goal. Ultimate goal is to pay off the car completely by January 2011 from that tax return. Seeing as this is a 5 year loan, I would be paying it off in two years, which would be a huge accomplishment for me! Because of my limited credit history, I did not get the best financing options, unfortunately, but I needed a car and I did not go all out and purchase some brand-new fancy car.
  • I will have my computer paid off by mid-February, if not sooner. No biggie.
  • I know all of this will be difficult once I start school because that means more expenses, but...BUT!! Some news: I may still be eligible (for the first semester anyway, until I turn 26) to receive Veterans educational benefits because of my father (even though he died). I received > $800 a month while in undergrad because of his 100% disability (all mental), and if I go part time, I could be getting close to $400 a month, which would help A LOT!!!
  • (PS: I have no credit card debt. Only debt to name is in the form of my car and student loans, which are minimal, like $2,000).
For January, I am challenging myself to a NO SPENDING MONTH. I will only be purchasing essentials, like food and gas, and of course, paying my bills. I honestly feel like life is surrounded way too much by materialism and purchasing THINGS that we DO NOT NEED!! I am so sick of it. Sometimes for entertainment, we go to the this should not be entertainment (unless you're shopping!!). We need more fun activities!!

When I have the urge to spend and shop, I will just channel my inner Suze Orman:

That's all.

Recap of the past few days

For Christmas, Mirza got me Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. I'm not vegan...or vegetarian, but I love cookbooks geared towards this since they are delicious!

The first recipe I decided to tackle was Kale and Potato enchiladas!
Let me just say that I thought this recipe was quite...involved? I think the time frame they posted for preparation and cooking are skewed, but it was good! I kind of missed the cheese, though, to be honest!

The other day we also decided to have a little "picnic" lunch at the park (Seminole Lake Park), but it ended up being quite windy and cold (for us), so we didn't stay long, but did capture some pretty pictures.
There was a squirrel that would not leave us alone!!

He literally ran right up to the camera...

I made sandwiches with cheddar ducks, hehe...

Here I am running up the Microsoft Windows hill....

Update later on my goals for 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hope everyone is enjoying the last days and hours of 2009! I have to say, 2009 turned out pretty well in most regards for me.

-The year actually started with my father's death, which sounds awfully sad and tragic and by all means is, however, he was not in my life much, so it was more of a shock than anything.
-I also was let down in January when I found out I would not be able to apply for February's Critical care program and would have to wait another 6 months! argh.
-During January and February, I got a lot of doctor's appointments out of the way. I hadn't seen one in ...forever... since I had no health insurance prior to my job as an RN. I love to get my teeth cleaned and have it all paid for. I totally appreciate insurance.
-And on January 20th, Obama became president, which rocked.

-I turned 24.

-I celebrated 6 years with my love, Mirza.

-I bought my first car! ok, not my first car, but my first really new(er) car all from my hard-earned money. I got a 2005 Toyota Corolla LE with only 3,500 miles. Yes, 3,500, not 35,000! so to me, that is brand new! I actually spent the 2 years prior to this driving around with no air conditioning...I live in Florida, people!!! aaaaaggh. I actually drove off the lot with my new car in March and I remember the temperature was 56 outside and I had my A.C. on full blast. I wanted to cry and I won't say if maybe some tears were shed since a car is just a thing, but....

-Got my ACLS

-My sister ran the Boston Marathon~ ok so that isn't my goal of accomplishment, but my sister rocks. 'nuff said.

-Celebrated Mirza's 24th

-Had a ton of fun during the summer utilizing my apartment's pool

-Finally got to meet my youngest nephew, Matthew, and Mirza did, too!

Mirza bought his DREAM guitar

I got into CCIP and finally started working in the Intensive Care unit! And passed CCIP and officially became a "critical care nurse."

Finally started getting veggies from my CSA!

Bought the coolest machine to date:

Sigh! It's been a long year, but did not seem very eventful for me.

Mostly just sat around taking pictures of my other favorite man:

2009 isn't over yet, though!
Check back in a few days for goals for 2010!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Well, I hope everyone enjoys their holidays off with their families.

I will be working tonight 12.5 hours in the ICU. And then sleeping on Christmas.

I wonder if Santa will visit me in the unit?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

blbla i need a vacation

I survived my first night in the ICU on my own. Obviously, they didn't give me the train wreck patients since it was my first time. I actually had one patient from like midnight to 5am because I transferred one to the floor. And then, of course, I got a patient right at 5:30. At that point, it wasn't my responsibility since the other nurse was there, so I got her set up and then the oncoming shift took over. So happy for that. I hate having an open bed and just waiting to hear what I'm going to get; it's totally builds my anxiety.
I also helped one nurse who got trippled by taking her patient to CT scan.

My one patient was quite annoying. He was on the vent, and would not stop screaming. Somehow no sedation was ordered?

Now I need to work tonight. And then I only have two days off and then work THREE IN A ROW *#$%#@$%@#$%@%*!!!!
When you work nights and have "two days off," it is stupid because one of those days is from when you worked, so it is really like freakin' 1 day off. I HATE DOING THREE IN A ROW, but I had to put myself on the schedule late.

I honestly need a break. I haven't had one in soooo long. I went straight from my last job in August into CCIP and I've been working non-stop. Seriously, like a week or two would be grand.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Okay, so apparently I was confused and Monday I was not off orientation, but will be tonight. Man! At this point, I really want to just be alone and not have someone looking over my shoulder, despite how convenient it is at times. I know I will make mistakes and stuff, but I feel like I'm well-prepared for the most part.

I honestly now feel like I have not been having very restful sleep, but I also have not been exercising like normal. Lately, I have no motivation or energy to drag my ass to the gym. That needs to stop!

Yesterday I got my first check from working the night shift and I must say, it was pretty damn sweet. It is about an extra $10,000 a year or $300-400 per check, which totally comes in handy. However, I do not want to get used to this money. I am strictly going to use it to build my savings and pay off my MacBook Pro and some of my car loan.

This year I have not been in the holiday spirit. I didn't even get a real tree!! But my mother let me borrow this 2-3 foot one and it looks cute in the corner of my living room.

 I suppose I am not in the mood for Christmas because I will be working! What's the point? That, and I have a lot of bills to pay off, so I'm definitely not in any sort of shopping mood and already told my family not to expect anything from me. Really, I'm not a scrooge; I just want people to be real about life. Who can really afford to go out and purchase hundreds of dollars in gifts right now? I cannot and honestly do not want to. It doesn't help that I've been having some problems with my family lately, either. Way too long of a story that no one would understand unless they've experienced it. Let's just say I will probably be distancing myself from certain people unless they change their ways, which probably will not happen. I cannot be around people who are using drugs and alcohol to pretend that life is all fine and dandy. It makes me sad and depressed, but I am lucky to have other positive people in my life, like Mirza, his family, and my sister. 'Nuff said!

Yesterday when I came home from the store, I found this little guy hitching a ride on my yogurt:

I think he must have been in my bag from the farm. Gives a whole new meaning to "slow food."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

mushroom burgers!

Wow, I just made the most awesome mushroom burgers using this recipe:

My picture quality is terrible and I apologize, but I just wanted to EAT!

Everyone needs to go make something similar and with organic ketchup with agave nectar. I personally hate ketchup, but I bought this for a different recipe and actually love it!!
Along side, I make organic oven fries that were tossed in evoo, grapeseed oil, s/p, and fresh rosemary from the farm.
The burgers were on fresh French Hamburger rolls from the bakery with lettuce from the farm.

And of course, we had some steamed fresh green beans from the farm, as well:

Again, with the terrible flash photography, but ughhh so good!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This week's CSA

I missed a week of my CSA due to my work schedule, so we went ahead and picked up a share this afternoon.

There were actually a lot more greens to choose from, but I got so much last time and I could not finish it all, so we only took what we thought we could eat:

Any ideas for what to make!! hit me up!

Monday, December 14, 2009

night shifter

I have survived night shift, thus far.

Tomorrow night will be my first night "on my own." I put it in quotes because I've learned that I am never really alone in the ICU. The other nurses work as a wonderful team and everyone is out to help each other because it is all about the patient. I love that.

But, I am scared and nervous. It is time to cut the cord, though. Sigh.

The other night, my 3rd day post-op ventral hernia repair/liver bx/choley/abdominal rectus advancement with flaps decided suddenly that he wanted to start putting out massive amounts of frank blood from his bilateral JP drains.


One thing that kind of surprises me on night shift is how people eat. They eat like it isn't 2 in the morning, which is understandable, but doesn't seem, um...healthy? I refuse to eat chicken quesadillas and cheeseburgers in the middle of the night/early morning hours. How am I surviving? Lots of H2O, fruit, lara bars, etc. I snack on these things throughout the night and it seems to hold me over pretty well until I go home.

I haven't noticed any real issues yet with my sleep and I seem to be able to switch over on my days off pretty well, except I did 3 nights in a row and I'm not going to lie, it was difficult. In fact, it may or may not be related, but the last almost 48 hours, I've been suffering with a headache. On just the left side of my head. ugh. I eventually gave into the magical powers of Excedrin and it is gone.

Wish me luck for my first night as an ICU nurse by myself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Facebook break

My first two night shifts were not bad. I slept ok, not great, but just ok. Also, I never hit that "wall" people talk about in the middle of the night when you just get so tired. I think I was mostly just running on adrenaline of being in a new situation combined with critical care patients. So far, the people are nice and awesome, too, so that's a plus.
I feel like the night shift could give me a nice, slow pace to learn, but truthfully, I feel I would learn better on days because I feel I benefit a lot from seeing all of the different disciplines who come to see patients. And rounds? C'mon, the MDs in the ICU are quite smart and I always learn something new about my patient and their process when they round and everyone talks.

But, I am giving it a chance.

In other news, I have decided that I have a facebook addiction and it is not good. And so, I have logged out and removed the direct link to my account from my bookmark bar. I think I just need a break. I feel like facebook is just one big facade. I cannot explain it.

This article kind of explains how I feel:

I just think I might be more productive or clear mind without it for awhile...and for awhile, I mean about a week or a few days at least. I mean, I'm almost 25, it just seems like a juvenile thing to be doing all the time, haha

As another side note, I'm currently reading this book:

You may have seen it on Oprah. Anyone read it?

Friday, December 4, 2009

i cannot be responsible for typos in this post.

In attempt to prepare for my first night shift, I have taken the liberty of trying to stay up as long as possible tonight, so I can sleep into the day tomorrow. So far? not working. I've been tired since 10pm and it now 1:30am.
So far, I have been smart enough to leave some chores for after THE AWESOME BILL MAHER, such as:
-doing the dishes
-ironing my uniforms
-cleaning the kitty litter box
-taking out the garbage

All that held me over until about, oooh, 11:15? yeah. I have also gorged on some Lindt Dark chocolate orange...oops? So much for eating healthy.

In my attempt to stay awake, I purchased some new teas to try out on the night shift. I don't do coffee.
Black tea it is...

Organic Chai--spiced black tea.

Vanilla Bean--Madagascar vanilla bean with premium black tea.

I've tried exhibit A so far and it was pretty good. I'm still undecided how much I like black tea, but I'm learning to like/love it.
Sipped it in this cute cup I bought at the grocery store:

I then proceeded to munch on popcorn and order "The Ugly Truth." Ugh, I knew it would suck, but it kept me awake.

Here's some random photos for your viewing pleasure:

My favorite part of this photo is the lady yawning:

That actually was Bill Maher, I promise.

And yes, he rocked.

Damn, it is only 1:45. My goal was 3am, but I don't see it happening? I love going to bed...It is like torture staying up:( I really just want to cry right now. I was not meant for the night shift. I like to sleep at 10pm and wake up with the sun!!

I just need to focus on the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
wish me luck