Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust...

The last 4 out of 5 days were brutal. Ok, brutal is a strong, strong word. We'll say that the last 4 out of 5 days were long. I worked two 12's, one day off, and then two 12's again. That's a lot of hours in a small amount of time, for me anyway. One day off in between is never, ever enough, yet sometimes I still schedule myself this way. It helps to schedule many days off after, like now. I'm on day 2 of 4 days off. Love, Love, Love.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of getting acupuncture. I've found a doctor in St. Pete who offers sessions at an extremely reasonable price: http://www.acustpete.com/

I won't get into too much detail about why I feel I could benefit from acupuncture, except to say that lately I've been feeling incredibly stressed and overwhelmed, to the point of tears that don't make any sense to me. I'm not sure you could call this depression, but perhaps something is missing? That's all I can say.

Have you experienced acupuncture? What was your reason for going and how did it turn out?


One of the days that I had to work, Mirza played a recital at his part-time teaching job as a music instructor at an academy in Tampa. He performed a solo classical guitar piece, and then was back-up to some of his students. Since I was at work, I was pretty bummed to miss Mirza get dressed up in a suit (we bought it together the day previously) and play music, but here are some photos.

How cute is that kid on the drums?!

He also won an award for "Outstanding Teacher." Isn't he great? I'm so proud.

Last night after helping my mother with some things, I convinced Mirza to attend his first yoga class. Honestly, I did not have to "convince" him much because he is pretty open minded.

We went to a beginner's class called, "Restorative Yoga" taught by a male instructor. To be honest, I was nervous about having a male yoga instructor. I know that sounds ridiculous and maybe sexist, but I just did. I was less nervous to have Mirza with me, though.

The class and instructor were great! I don't know what the hell I was so worked up about. I suppose I am just used to only having female instructors since a lot of classes are at my gym, and it's a women's only facility. Like I said, the class was for beginner's, and I thought the teacher did a wonderful job of not scaring people away by naming every asana or "om"-ing and chanting before class. I know some people love that aspect of yoga, but I fear that it could turn some beginner's away from the practice early-on because then it feels like you're in some sort of new-age cult!

I've been doing yoga now for about 3 and a half years, so this class was nice and easy for me. Mirza loved it! He thought it was a "nice stretch." He even said, "I definitely want to do this at least twice a week." *jaw drop*. Actually, I am not surprised. I even said to him prior to attending, "I think that you're really going to like yoga." He is naturally a calm and introspective person, so I knew he would especially love savasana at the end. And he even loved the sound of "om" playing quietly in the background. He mentioned that he wanted to start chanting it, too! I think that's the music teacher in him, though:)

Max loves yoga, too...

I'd like to share some photos of pizza that Mirza made sometime last week...
He even bought a pizza stone. The dough is amazing and made from scratch...

"Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Change your mind

Make a decision and change your mind sometimes. It's okay. Really, I promise.

source: http://www.betweentwoworlds.info/meditation.htm

Let me explain. As some of you know, about a month ago, I finally decided on the path that I wanted to take for my graduate studies as a nurse. As an ICU nurse, I was set on going through an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. And I was highly motivated to start in Fall 2011 through a program that I found at UF that offers off-campus courses and clinicals set up in my area. This seemed like the perfect program at the time. I have been diligently studying for the GRE and my CCRN in anticipation for applying to the program by March (the deadline).

That was my plan. I had a path, and I was going to follow it.
Source: photos8.com

And then, every once in awhile, I would get this...feeling. It would come and pass quickly. A stream of consciousness that would panic and tell myself, "I don't want to do this!"  I would gasp and push the fleeting thought aside. That is, until the other day. For whatever reason, the thought stayed and while trying to go to sleep for work the next day, I just laid awake in bed. And suddenly, the entire thought and panic flooded me: This is not what I truly want. But how could I change my mind? I've already been studying, I bought study prep material and books, I made a study guide, I've already told people my plans. woopdidoo.

It all comes down to this: I love the ICU and being a critical care nurse, I do. But what holds me back from pursuing it as an ARNP is the notion that if I specialty in Acute Care, then I will not be able to work in the office-setting, seeing patients in the outpatient setting. Right now, this isn't so much of an issue since I like the hospital/acute care setting, but in a few years? I question how I might feel about this. I believe that I could easily get burnt out.

And to be honest, I think that the acuity and sickness of patients is not what I want to deal with for the rest of my career. In fact, based on my life as just an individual, I believe I am much more suited to working with patients discussing preventive measures! I don't want to see people get that sick in the ICU. Sure, it will happen regardless to some patient's, but others? Perhaps they just needed some preventative care to manage their heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Or the steps to prevent all of those comorbidites from the start! 

Based on my own lifestyle, I think it is pretty clear that my focus is on health. And eventually, putting all of my focus on sickness is going to get quite old. I swear, I wonder if the sickness mentality will rub off on me at times. Feeling well and BEING healthy is everything. 

And that is why, I am ditching those plans and going back to USF in Spring 2011 to hopefully begin the Adult Nurse Practitioner program.


  • Closer to home. Although UF offers those online courses with streaming classroom time, I feel that I will miss out on interaction with classmates and professors. I don't like that.
  • Familiar. Let's face it, it's easier to do something you've done before. I completed my undergraduate degree at USF and I loved my experience. Why shouldn't I feel just the same or similar with my graduate degree?
  • Stability. Even with an MSN focused on primary care, I could work in the hospital. In fact, the two ARNPs who work in my ICU, do not have Acute Care credentials. They have their Adult ARNP. They're not dropping lines or anything, but I wouldn't want to do that anyway! They work one week in the hospital, and one week in the office. Not saying this is the path I essentially want to follow, but I know if I miss critical care, then it is possible to work there with the Acute Care MSN.
  • Shorter time period. The program at UF is actually a BSN to DNP program. I did not set out with the goal of DNP in mind; it's just that UF is phasing out the MSN in anticipation for the recommendations for 2015. I just liked that they had Acute care (USF does not). The only thing is that the program would be 4 and a half years long if I went part time. Seeing as that I would not start until I'm 26 1/2, this has lost it's appeal entirely. I do not want to spend that long in school, especially during the time in my life when I'll be getting married, doing fun stuff with Mirza, and eventually starting a family. That sort of thing.
  • Cheaper. Less tuition cost and shorter time of having to pay=happy bank account.
  • Start school sooner. The quicker that I start, the quicker I finish!

There you have it: my very overly dramatic decision. I'm sure no one cares and wonders what the big deal is...sure, people change their minds all of the time. But part of me feels like I would have just gone through with this and then I'd be stuck in this long program, making it even more difficult to change my mind.

Have you ever changed your mind about something that was a huge deal to you? What did you do and did it work out?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beach yoga

My hamstrings and shoulders are so sore. Too many chaturanga and down-dogs for me!

The past two days I have finished each workout with one hour of yoga at my gym. On Sunday, I ran (see previous post), and then did a class with a new instructor, and her class was much quicker than the usual Sunday instructor. I liked it! But I am definitely feeling it today.
And yesterday, I went on a quick 7.5 mile bike ride, and then rushed to the gym for more yoga. This instructor holds her asanas for much longer, to the point of shaking for me. No complaints.

You know you've had a good couple of days of exercise when you're still shaking during normal activities throughout the day!

I must say though, taking up running has been the worst thing for my yoga practice.

As far as food, I haven't been taking any photos. Woops. Last night I made some of Emily's Vegan  burgers. I put mine on a toasted whole wheat kaiser roll, and made my own fries in the oven. I was worried about the texture since I don't have a food processor, but I used my vitamix and they came out perfect. I'm not sure why, but mine had a slight curry flavor to them? Perhaps it was the cumin? Mirza loved it because of this, but I told him that it wasn't supposed to taste like curry! ha. There are two patties leftover in my fridge, and I think they will be perfect on top of a salad, too.

After stuffing our faces, we decided to get the hell off of the couch and go somewhere. We're both pretty broke right now, and the weather is disgustingly hot, but settled on Fort Desoto. The reason I love Fort Desoto over all of the other beaches (besides the fact that we went there almost every weekend while growing up), is the fact that there are no hotels, no lights, and barely a sound of a car.

But damn, it was hot. Mirza covered his head with the towel to protect himself from the heat...
I think this is some sort impersonation of a beggar, religious...person? No idea! Don't ask...

North Beach at Fort Desoto was voted America's Best Beach in 2005!

And what would be a trip to Fort Desoto without some impromptu yoga on the beach??

And then I told Mirza to do warrior pose, and he proceeded to make goofy faces...

And then I took care of business...

I'm off to get my hair trimmed. It's out of control, but I don't want to chop it all off like I normally do...

I leave you with some more photos.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Does anybody feel this way?

I feel excellent!!!!

The last 9 weeks, I have been running with a C25K podcast. It had cheesy techno music, but a voice to tell me when to run and walk, and I did like it. However, I have since graduated from Couch to 5k (yippie!!), and this morning I made a playlist (for the first time, ever) to go running!!
Let's just say it included lots of Alien Ant Farm, Apex Theory, and DREDG.
I decided that I wanted to see how fast I could run the mile without stopping.
Beginning at Mile marker 7 on the Pinellas Trail, I took off, and immediately, "The Canyon Behind her" started to play, which is one of my all-time favorite Dredg songs. I swear, it made me so much faster than I would have been without it.

MILE 1--9:38

That is so fast for me!! I never thought I could run a mile in under 10 minutes, especially with the heat, but this morning I felt so free with my music. I just ran and sang along, which also helped to control my breathing.
I wanted to run a 5k, but I don't have a Garmin or anything to tell me exactly how far I am going, just mile markers. I estimated it was probably 2.5 miles, and my final time was 25:38:)

The Lowry Park Zoo is $5 today, and that is where I'll be later this afternoon.

Lately, I've been daydreaming about the Fall. Casually looking for photos to depict an Autumn day. Sometimes, I sit on my couch and become entranced while looking through my sliding glass door...if the sun is shining a certain way, I can almost convince myself that it's Fall; that the leaves are turning hues of orange and red, and the air is crisp...tricker treaters.

I often wonder how come I feel so alive during a time when everything is dying?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tea for two...or one.

I dedicate this post to Angela of Oh She Glows because she inspired me to try Japanese Sencha Green tea. She even did a post on it. I highly recommend visiting to understand why Japanese is superior to Chinese green tea.

I've always been a tea lover, but have mostly stuck to flavored green teas (Chinese), or herbal teas for bed time. When I worked nights for a short period of time (shudder), I really enjoyed a nice cup of  black tea with vanilla bean flavor, and a splash of almond milk. The first tea I ever tried was green tea. And I liked it!
But all of those were from a tea bag, not loose. I know everyone says loose is better, but I just never got around to trying it. I love to read about teas, and the customs that go along with them. Mostly from the Asian side though. British type of teas do nothing for me.
Sitting on top of my fridge in the midsts of my cookbooks is, "20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature's Healing Herbs." Whenever I purchase a new tea blend, I like to look up each one individually and see what the books says regarding the specific health benefits. I take most of it with a grain of salt, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the mall in Tampa because they have a Teavana. You walk in and you're surrounded by cute tea cups and pots. Seriously, don't go in with a wad of cash and the urge to spend because you might be tempted. I LOVE tea pots and tea cups. But it seems kinds of stupid for me to purchase a whole set since it will mostly just be me drinking from it!! ha! But anyway, sometimes it's nice to have "pretty things," am I right? Moving on...

I purchased an infuser mug and 2oz of Sencha Green tea. There was also a Gyokuro imperial green tea, but for about double the price. I was surprised by how knowledgeable the sales associate appeared. He was Mirza's age, and I don't see a lot of men like Mirza going around drinking tea...just sayin'! Yes, I judge books by their covers. I stuck with the "cheaper" Japanese Sencha since I wasn't sure if I would like it.

It has a beautiful grass-like, vegetable smell. Kind of hard to describe, but refreshing.
This is the infuser mug that I purchased...
In went one teaspoon of the tea...
I was kind of bummed that some of the leafs did sneak out of the slits and into the cup...
Still cool!!
I ended up restraining it again through a fine mesh strainer  and drinking it from my favorite tea cup...
I bought this cup about 3 years ago from Ross. I absolutely love it, but cannot find it again. I actually just contacted the company on the bottom of the cup to find out if they are still being made. Investigational work. The cup is called, "Fruit Story."
I think that loose leaf is the way to go. The flavors of this tea are sweet, yet grassy...almost vegetable. But mild and clean. Sweeter than I had anticipated. There is no bitter after taste. Also, you need to make sure that you do not pour boiling water over the leaves, as this will burn them and they will taste bitter. I am NO expert, but what I did was boil my water, and then remove it from the heat and sit for a little bit to let it calm down, and then used it. No bitter taste here. I love it!

Now, if only I had these beautiful views to enjoy my tea...

(source: blog.brillianttrips.com)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Health and Fitness Funk

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but I have not been posting as usual.

I was in what I like to call, "a health and fitness FUNK." Does this happen to anyone? You're going along in life, feeling great,  eating awesome, delicious foods, exercising everyday, and then maybe one day something happens to throw you off, and BAM, the funk begins. You sleep in later on your days off, come up with excuses not to exercise. Proclaim that it's a "Rest day," or justify eating Hungry Howie's pizza at 1030pm (I'm human!).

To be honest, I'm not sure what put me into the funk. Perhaps it was a combination of focusing on my career since deciding to go back to school, and subsequently studying for the GRE and CCRN at the same time; or perhaps I just got caught up in family drama (y'all do not want to know), but it happened.

For me, I think the main issue is that I cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. I become obsessed with whatever I am doing. If I'm training for a triathlon, I put all of my time and effort into it. I sleep, eat, and dream it. But as soon as something else comes up (like studying for those exams), then my focus shifts and I suddenly become warped into that mode of thinking.

This is definitely a problem for me, and I am trying to balance everything and fit it all in a healthy manner. I cannot give up on one focus just because I have developed a new goal. There's room in life for bits and bits of it all.

What do I do when I am in a funk?

One, I recognize it. I accept it. I tell myself it will pass.At times, I might force myself to get out there and exercise or force myself to stop after eating half the pizza (ha...), but if that doesn't work, I give myself time. It is okay to be lazy sometimes, and I fully embrace that. But there is a difference between lazy and self destruction.

For instance, the last time I ran was on Saturday. Seeing as I have a triathlon in August, not running for 6 days is like suicide...self destruction.

Second, even if my mood is foul, deep down I focus on the positive. I stay optimistic because I know it will pass. It isn't in my blood to just be sedentary for the rest of my life. Also, reading blogs and healthy living sites help me get back on track, too.

Third, if you're in a real funk, then you need to find the cause. I know for me that I have difficulty with focusing on more than one thing at a time, but if you're feeling lethargic, or depressed, then you need to figure out why, and get the help you need. If not, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible to get out of the funk and back into your health and fitness routine.

Finally, having a goal is important. My goal is the triathlon. If you get into a funk and don't have even have a small goal (like 50 pushups, marathon, anything), then you won't have much of a drive to try and pull yourself out that frame of mind.

I am happy to say that although I slept a little later than I wanted this morning, I felt a sense of enthusiasm to get out and go for my run. And I did it.
And I feel better.

Do you go through health/fitness funks? How do you pull yourself out? Do you know what causes them?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

whoaaaa I'm an alien

I'm here!
Tired, but here.
Lately, I have no energy. I don't get it. I think I have just used up all of my reserve. I hope to get it back soon, especially for the sake of my triathlon training:(

The 2 day CCRN course by Laura Gasparis was amazing, as expected. She is hilarious.
"I'll take the large bowel!"

I spent the morning making a study plan for the next...6 months?
Let's just say I am overwhelmed.
Working through it. Definitely need to proceed with a plan, though.
It kind of pisses me off when people say, "oh, the GRE is easssyyy." Ok, then I guess I'm a goddamn moron because just going through the math portion is giving me serious anxiety. I haven't done algebra and geometry in years, and even when I did it, I didn't quite understand it or have a grasp on it. Don't even get me start on fractions.

I didn't eat a lot this morning and into the afternoon...and then Mirza and I went grocery shopping. Not a good idea when the brain is low on glucose. I ended up dropping grapes all over the supermarket...and subsequently dropped a little sample cup of pudding all over the floor... um? Embarrassing.

Life is just a bowl full of cherries grapes...

Trying to eat more brain food..