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.

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.

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.  

Save the planet

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately on my news feed about the environment.  From the NYT, “what to wear to be kind to the planet?” Another article from Outside Magazine about how fleece gets washed in the washing machine and fibers get loose, entering the water system and polluting our oceans. It made me very sad. From SFist, SF is ordering so much from Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, and other online retailers that provide free shipping that they are raising the recycling pick up rates 14% to handle the increase in shipping materials (cardboard, plastic, styrofoam, etc.). 
In addition to my already complicated ethical and economical habits, I have decided that I do not want to contribute to harming the planet with my buying habits. Starting in August, I am not going to buy anything new for the next year except essentials, like underwear and socks. I am starting in August because that will be the beginning of the school semester and I can keep track of the one year mark easily. This may be difficult but I am pretty sure I can do it. Want to join me in my pledge for less consumerism, less capitalism, and a better environment?  

My friend, Don R.

I received an email from my friend, Don, (who said it was ok to share).  He is fighting a battle against cancer.  Don and I know each other from my former life in publishing, but we started to communicate more frequently when I began my life after publishing.  Don is one of my biggest supporters, always cheering me on from a far.

Don, I know you read my blog, so I want you to know, I am cheering for you, sending you strength and love to both you and June.  I am sending something in the mail soon, be on the look out in the upcoming weeks.

Below is a photo of us (Don, on the far right).  When I biked across the U.S. the first time, he drove 2+ hours from Cincinnati, Ohio, (also picking up another publishing friend, Carl L. along the way), to visit me as we biked through Kentucky.  Kentucky was the closest point to Ohio on our route.  Lisa B. (another publishing friend) was kind of enough to host us for dinner, shelter my team, and open her home to the team the next year. I vaguely remember she kicked out her kids for the night (they slept over at friends’ homes) so a few teammates and I could have a warm home and beds for the night.  I also remember Lisa, helped me with some mail (receiving and shipping) on my behalf.

In the photo, I am wearing a t-shirt from WCU (West Chester University) given to me from the bookstore manager from one of the schools I covered as a sales rep to remember them by, before I left for my bike trip.  This photo was a lovely summer night and it reminds me of the gratitude I have for everyone who has supported me and continues to support me through all my adventures.  Don, I hope you know how grateful I am for your support and friendship.  Your most recent Christmas card sat on my desk for these many months, until just recently when I sold the desk to prepare for my move to North Carolina.

The other photo is of Lisa B. who woke up early the next morning and cheered us on as we biked by her on route to our next destination.


Life on Craigslist

I picked up 30+ free moving boxes yesterday from a guy named Frank who posted them. He recently moved into a new home with his wife. I told them I was moving to North Carolina, for nursing school @ Duke. His reply was Duke’s a good school. This is the same response from everyone I meet. They tell me Duke’s a good school. I like that reputation and feel confident in my decision to go there. Sometimes, though the response is, oh, Duke, they are my team! Duke basketball is big and I’m excited too, more from anthropology perspective to learn about its culture. I am looking forward to watching things like marching bands, and basketball games in a stadium that fits 8,000 seated fans, and 12,000 standing fans.

The boxes were used only once for this move, and by professional movers. The boxes were labeled, vases, ski jackets and pillows. The couple mostly moved kitchenware. I appreciated picking up the boxes but they are all small, 16”x12”x12”. My down puffy jacket takes up one whole box. I have packed about 20 small boxes: camping gear, helmets (climbing, skiing, bike), bicycle pump/accessories, winter sports (ski jacket, pants, gloves, thermals, hats), mountaineering specific clothing (like gaiters, crampons, climbing harness, etc.), and sleeping bags. I packed one box of linens and towels, another of school supplies/books, hangers, trekking backpacks and regular jackets and shoes. I really don’t think I need an apartment just a garage or large closet/gear room.

I also posted a few things on Craigslist for free, left over from the previous tenant or I received for free: over the toilet glass stand, plastic shoe rack and outdoor patio furniture. Each of these free posts, I received over 10+ replies. I deleted all the messages from people who did not follow the directions of my ad and gave the items to those who could follow the directions. My note included, please reply with your phone number, date/time you would like to pick up the item.

Last night, I asked the girl who picked up my outdoor furniture if she wanted other things for free. I proceeded to give her bags of tea, opened bottles of aloe vera, sunblock, mosquito spray, wooded trivets, old ski goggles were the glue/adhesive had worn off from the padding, tennis balls (I don’t play tennis) and a stainless steel cocktail shaker. I was happy those items found a home since goodwill does not accept perishables. Now I have to give away my flower vases, lasagna glass pans, and other fragile items. I think I’ll ship my other prohibited items via Fed Ex through work, but I need an address to ship to.

The definition of an appliance is a device that is used for a specific task. I think the small electric kettle, hairdryer and hand held clothing steamer are defined as appliances, which are prohibited on Amtrak. Or maybe they only mean large appliances like a washing machine and I can still ship my small items. Other items not permitted: archery equipment, power tools, silverware, fragile items, artwork, liquids, perishables and ice axes (sharp objects). I don’t know how they would know if any of those items are in my boxes because the boxes do not go through a x-ray machine. However, I understand archery equipment is considered a weapon, ice axes and fragile items could break and hurt someone so I’ll likely ship those through work. I’m glad I had a month’s head start to start this moving process rationally. Otherwise, if I was short on time, I’d frantically be giving everything away.