US Navy Nurse

What are your thoughts about joining the US Navy?  Today, I received an email inviting me to learn more about the US Navy Nurse Candidate Program.  They would pay all my tuition in exchange for 3 years active duty after graduation.  And, it looks like I would either be stationed in San Diego or Maryland.  I would get much needed experience at a much faster track.

Please weigh in on this – application is due July 1.  I’d like to hear your comments.

Real Estate

I sold my bed.  If I was in denial about moving, it became real.  Not having a place to sleep sets everything in motion.  I have slept on my couch for a few days, but it has sold as well.  I sold everything that could be sold, mostly breaking even, selling the item for the amount I paid for it, more or less.  My belongings have been reduced to thirty boxes.  Thirty is more than I expected and I could have reduced my items even further if I had been more critical.  I wasn’t sure if I needed to pack “starter” items, so I packed them anyway – some plates, silverware, pots.  I have no knives and no linens.  Although one box of pillows and two sleeping bags.

I have not signed the lease yet, but I think I found a house that is good enough.  It does not meet all my requirements but I’m tired of searching for a new home and I can make do with it.  For a one bedroom duplex, 500 square feet home, in Durham, North Carolina, I will be paying less than my current situation, sharing a home with 3 other people in San Francisco.

Finding a new home

They have Badminton, Equestrian, and Figure Skating among the sport club teams – but no archery! What am I going to do? Should I take up Equestrian so I can ride horses then maybe one day shoot bows and arrows while riding horses?

They are Division I – so they have the most amazing pool, an indoor track, and a climbing wall. The main gym is on the West campus, which is where all the graduate programs are located. East campus is for undergraduates. The main library, the chapel and the Botanical Gardens are also on West. Supermarkets are closer to West campus. I was considering a variety of different neighborhoods for housing based on recommendations but now that I’ve found out the gym and the supermarkets are on the same side of town,

I’m looking primarily at Old West Durham, then (Walltown, Trinity Heights, Trinity Park). The Nursing School also has their own tech support and librarian – just for the Nursing school! I love the resources and I might be one of the few people really excited about the gym.

Presidio Goldsworthy sculpture 

Someone from Craigslist stopped by the house to check out my TV for sale. He said he was using it as a monitor for his 3D work. I’ve never heard of someone using a 50″ LCD monitor before but he tested it out and said it had lag time which didn’t work for him. He was on his way out and I asked him if he needed anything else. I asked, how about these boxes, they hold file folders but they are very sturdy and you can use them for a wide variety of things. He said, he didn’t have cash. I said, you have a phone, do you have a paypal or venmo account? He said yes, I said how about $10? I recieved those two storage boxes from the Container Store for free and they retail new at $19 each. I happen to have used them as bedside shelves. If nursing school doesn’t work out, I can find my way back to sales.

This weekend, my friend Kris came to visit from Ohio. It was a lovely weekend of food, friendship and exploration. Photos: we visited 4 outdoor sculptures by Goldsworthy at the Presidio. The 4th piece was housed at the Presidio officer’s club which also hosted an exhibit on the Japanese internment. It was a very powerful gallery. I recommend visiting it and taking a look at the 120,000 names of those interned, etched in glass.

18 again

I’m feeling a little sad today.  I reached out to a girl who I met when I interviewed at Duke.  She was admitted first and I was wait listed.  I learned today she declined her acceptance which likely lead to my offer.  I’m sure I took her spot.  She has a similar profile to me (demographically, socioeconomic, woman, person of color, non traditional background, etc.)  It made me sad to learn she would not be my classmate, nor would she be attending nursing school this fall as she only applied to one school.

I am thankful that I applied to multiple schools and had choices.  She declined because she said the cost of tuition was too expensive for her.  Where as, I decided, even confidently that this is the place I want to be.  The loans, I can figure it out.  There are loan reimbursement programs, and I will have more debt with round 2 of school when I continue on as a nurse practitioner.  And, it’s possible I will need a car by my second semester for clinical rotations.  Loans, it’s a little like monopoly money.  I questioned for a long time if my undergraduate degree was worth the cost as I am still not sure of it’s value.  I did not graduate making a great deal of money, nor did I have a skill set that was tangible, nor did I have direction.  I didn’t enjoy college the way many people enjoyed college.  I felt I was busy at protests or arguing about Ethnic Studies, or providing services to the under served.  I may have done just as well at a more affordable undergraduate school.

This next degree, is my do-over, although it is considered a graduate program, I am entering an Accelerated Bachelor of Science Nursing program.  I will finish in 16 months with a BSN and be a registered nurse.  I look forward to going back to school a second time, but with much more purpose and focus.  Not only knowing who I am but knowing what I want to do and be.  I am grateful for this opportunity to begin again.  Welcome to being 18 years old again.

30 days left in SF

I have packed away 19 small boxes of mostly gear and have probably 10 more small boxes left to pack. As I write my spreadsheet to account for my inventory, every item that went into a box is loved. I love my snow jacket, my puffy coat, my puffy pants, mountaineering mitts, hats, and everything else. I have been building my winter collection and I haven’t lived in winter in 5+ years.  Maybe Marie Kondo was on to something and it is important to hold each item in your hand.  
I am almost done selling all my furniture – 1 floor lamp, 2 side lamps, a rolling cart, 1 sleeping bag and pots and pans remain. I do have my bed/sofa/tv left but a friend is visiting next week so I have to keep them for a little longer. Although I was sad to see my furniture and plants go, they served me well and now found a new home. I am grateful for not only selling everything but nothing was wasted and everything found a new home, even the items that went to goodwill. Selling everything also gives me the freedom to create a new identity in a new space. I look forward to having a home of my own for a few years, no roommates.  
I have started to reach out to the Duke community for advice on my move and getting started. I am surprised, although I should not be, everyone is like me, kind, helpful, all with deep dreams and they are all over achievers. I have never been surrounded by people who are just like me. I hope it pushes me to be a better me.  

Avenue of the Giants

If it takes 50 cents for a 2 minute shower, + 25 cents = 3 minute shower and 4 quarters = 4 minute shower but it probably takes 20 seconds for the shower to warm up, how many quarters would you use? Also, if time runs out after 50 cents you must begin again, rather than adding 25 cents. The maximum limit is 3.00 minutes/$12.00.

I haven’t had to think about conservation of water in this way in some time but this Memorial Day weekend I am camping among the Redwoods. They are my favorite trees and I wanted to see them before I leave California.

We drove north of San Francisco, about 200+ miles along the Avenue of the Giants/Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world. Most of these coastal redwoods have not been ruined by logging.  It has been the only park I have visited where hammocks are prohibited.
Saturday, we visited Founders Grove, where lies the third largest tree in the park. The Dyerville Giant (375 ft. Fallen tree height, 52 ft. wide).

Sunday, we walked among the Rockefellar Loop (old growth) and Drury-Chaney trail (lots of ferns). Then drove north another 3+ hours continuing on 101 to the Redwood National and State Parks. “Redwood National and State Parks are designated as a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, is home of the world’s tallest trees. Redwood trees can exceed heights of 370 feet tall, standing taller than the Statue of Liberty.”
At this park we visited Lady Bird Johnson grove (which was filled with fog this afternoon, dedicated in 1968), we drove Newton B. Drury scenic parkway (10 miles), stopped at Klamath River overlook and camped at Mill Creek. Mill Creek isn’t my first choice campground as it was far but Elk Prarie Creek campground is on Gold Bluffs Beach without any cover and exposed.

Monday, we drove to Fern Canyon which required going down a dirt road for 8 miles, then driving over rocks and crossing what I called, “a big little river”. We hiked Fern Canyon to Friendship Ridge Trail (north) to West Ridge trail (northwest) to Coastal Trail (south) back to the parking lot. It was a 7 mile hike but felt more like 9 miles because it involved at least 12 stream crossings with logs or rocks, jumping over and crawling under 10+ downed trees, hiking through thick mud (the kind where your feet sink in), battling mosquitoes and general all around fun. It was like an amazing obstacle course that took 6ish hours with snacks and lunch stop. My friend Cheryl would just look at me when I would say things like, jump over the log, and put your feet here and don’t fall in.
We saw open prairie meadows, two waterfalls and seven different kinds of fern resembling a hanging garden, and redwoods. After our hike we ran our feet in the sand and dipped our feet in the cold Pacific Ocean at the Gold Bluffs beach picnic area. To top off the day we saw elk on the drive out at Elk Meadow. Now I am listening to the sound of rain hitting our tent, waiting for the morning to drive home. It’s been a good weekend, I will miss the fog, the Pacific Ocean and my favorite redwood trees.