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Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts on Life’ Category

This may be a bit of a rant, and perhaps it’s a good thing that I no longer have regular readers — sadly the only people that seem to come to this blog are those who find it from an online search that happens to pull up a particular post.  Perhaps I should start publishing posts to my facebook and twitter. I’ll think about that for a bit… Step one is getting back to posting regularly…

So on that note, onto the topic at hand. Potluck Etiquette…

I have noticed in recent months, when a potluck food party is being planned and the ‘event’ is posted on Facebook there are comments posted such as…

“this house is now gluten free, please plan accordingly” … or …”guests, X, Y, Z are following the paleo diet so please only bring food sanctioned by that diet”… or … “the host is lactose free so please don’t bring anything with lactose”…

 

Now, I want to note, I am not discussing this from a perspective of whether a host should have alcohol or not at a party. That is their prerogative.  Alcohol is a controlled substance, and there exists legitimate addiction to this substance.  I am also not talking allergies, legitimate allergies, that is!  If a person’s allergy is so severe that they experience an anaphylactic reaction, then I am all for keeping them away from the product!  If their reaction is so severe that they cannot be in the presence of the item, then let’s keep it out of any house they visit.

 

What I’m talking about are those people who are choosing to follow a particular diet, or who choose to cut out a particular product from their diet (perhaps due to preference, a sensitivity or intolerance or even an allergy -YES, allergy – that they only experience if they eat an item). I certainly believe that it is important that they be given the information they need to make appropriate food choices – so let’s plan to label food we bring to potluck items so people know if a product contains meat, diary, wheat, eggs, soy etc…

 

But with the caveats I have mentioned is it really necessary to limit your guests when it comes to what they bring to a potluck? Sure, for balance it’s nice to make sure not everyone is bringing a dessert, but is it really necessary to state that for all items that are being brought said food must be wheat-free, or dairy-free, or even meat-free? I’ve been finding that most potluck-related invites I have seen lately have been that way.

 

Conversely, When my family has our annual family christmas gathering, it’s potluck and there is all sorts of food there. DF (who doesn’t eat red meat) doesn’t request that everyone avoid their favourite red-meat recipes. Rather, he sees that there is (for example) meat in the chili and when he finds out that it is beef, he just doesn’t take any, and reaches for the chicken instead. Likewise for the meatballs.

 

Yet, I’ve seen invites where people will post “I have a dairy allergy, please don’t bring dairy” and another person “I don’t eat wheat, please don’t bring wheat”.  Are people okay with this? Is this the new normal? Again, I can understand “I will have an anaphylactic reaction and will not be able to breath, please don’t bring nuts anywhere near me”, and I can understand “I am allergic to dairy, please label your food with an ingredient list so I can see if it’s safe to eat”.  But to put an all out ban on something for a large party? That seems a little extreme.  If I am cooking dinner for DF, myself and another couple and the other couple is vegetarian, I am not going to make a roast chicken.  Likewise I wouldn’t use dairy in a similar context. But if I am having a party with a group of people, I think it’s fair to make sure there are alternates arriving that everyone can eat (by perhaps having the people with food restrictions bring food that they are able to eat) and to ensure people are prepared to write up a little note card outlining what’s in the item.

 

I was invited to a party recently where wheat (actually, all grains containing gluten), diary, eggs and meat were on the “do not bring at all” list.  So, fine, we can respect that but it made me realize how odd it was to watch as different people piped up with their food preferences and how that increased the ‘do not bring’ list.  So my proposal is this: Let’s have a ‘potluck item labelling station’ and a party where anything goes for food.  Anyone with a specific diet restriction can plan to bring something that fits in with their diet plan, and those who don’t have restrictions will do what they like and we can all just enjoy ourselves.

 

And for the record I have a bona fide dairy allergy. It’s been tested and documented and it isn’t just me choosing to have a food restriction because it seems to be the cool thing to do. I hate this allergy, LOVE dairy, and am terrible about limiting dairy, so I face the consequences on a daily basis.  ALSO, I never expect that anyone will cater to my diet needs. Good grief, I don’t even expect DF to avoid having cheese in our home just because I *SHOULD* avoid it.  I am an adult, I can make my own choice about what I eat, no one forces it down my throat.  If I am at a party and the cheese looks amazing I choose if I take it or skip it, and if there is pasta with a cream sauce I say ‘no thank you’.  I never expect that anyone will set up a party that is 100% dairy free just for me.

 

So, friends… for the next potluck party I am attending… if there is a unilateral ridiculous food ban (that isn’t alcohol or due to a severe anaphylactic allergy as some can be)… I may just bring an amazing-tasting item that contains whatever is the item of protest. It will be in my own serving dish – with utensils (so it doesn’t contaminate anyone else’s dish/utensils unless it’s by choice), it will be well-labelled and it will be up to each adult present to make their own choice as to whether or not they should choose to eat said item.  That is if I don’t just skip the event entirely out of the insanity of this trend!

<End Rant>

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As I reflect on what this blog is to become I can’t help but consider where my life is at now, and where it is going…

When I last blogged I had just moved across an international border, was starting a new job, adapting to a new place, living with someone again (I had been living alone for years – and have never lived with a partner before, and let me tell you I LOVE living with DF like I have never loved living with anyone!) and planning for the future…

Since then we have gotten engaged, started planning our wedding and began hunting for a home.  That hunt went quickly and we will be home owners when our place closes in a few short weeks!

Moving into our new home wont happen until the end of March, or so, since our place needs A LOT of renovations we will take advantage of the first few weeks to get things progressing towards.

So, with it being January, what are some of my goals for 2013?

  1. Plan our Wedding
  2. Move into what is hopefully our forever home and work towards making it a nicely decorated, welcoming place where our friends, family and neighbors feel welcome.
  3. Start working towards garden spaces in our home. One long term goal of mine is to be productive with our space so that we can reduce our grocery bills. I would love to be able to work towards 100% of our produce being grown at home. How awesome would that be??? That is definitely a long term goal, though, as for that to truly be an option I will need a greenhouse which isn’t a top priority purchase (a fence is a higher priority for outdoor purchases)…  But we can start this year, as we are right in the correct window to get gardens going…
  4. And of course there are knitting-related goals too…

So, for now I am going to post a couple of posts in rapid succession to help get my readers (if I have any left) updated on where things are at.  How will this blog be used (and will there be posts???).  I would like to resume posting and perhaps will have to set a goal or a plan – perhaps even booking it in my calendar.  I am envisioning blogging about the garden development and progress, the home renovations and how all of that interplays into our family’s life.

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Life is taking a huge turn. I am moving. Not only am I moving, I am changing cities. Not only am I changing cities, but I am changing countries. Plus, my boyfriend and I will be living together, not to mention we need to integrate our two, old, cats.

While I am still considering how to proceed with this blog – and can certainly see blogging about building a new life and a new community in a new place, my boyfriend and I have started a blog together! From the perspective of our cats. Yes, that is right. We will be telling the stories of the integration of two cats, who have not successfully lived with other cats, through the eyes of the cats.

If you are interested in following along feel free to check out The War of the Cats.  In the mean time, I will continue to reflect on what to do with this blog. On the bright side there will be much less commuting, so perhaps I will have more time to blog?

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December 12, 2010.  That was the last date that I posted on this blog.  I can’t help but wonder if anyone is reading this anymore? Well, since I haven’t posted, I would assume not.  There have been hits, of course, people looking up old posts.

Anyhow, if anyone is reading this, I do want to send out a ‘Happy New Year’ post that is more than a year delayed!

So much has happened this past year that it’s hard to know where to begin.   Perhaps an explanation as to why I’ve disappeared for this past year:

  1. Life is just crazy busy.  Life has gone from busy to bonkers.  I was in school with projects and deadlines, I had the CRNE to study for, then the NCLEX-RN (I passed both!) and I’ve spent most days off commuting between cities (across a border), but more on this in a moment.
  2. I’ve started a full time job – and was working as a casual, but full time, in the mean time.  I do nothing but sleep, take care of myself and relax between shifts.
  3. I hesitate to post about anything work-related as I want to be very very careful to respect the confidentiality of my patients, and workplace. I know privacy can be a concern with the internet so I don’t want to post anything that could come back to haunt me.
  4. There have been some major changes in my life, all good (that I’ll get to), but it creates a challenge in terms of content.
  5. I want to blog about ‘living my life well’ but that’s a rather broad topic and I’m not sure how to pare it down into a series of posts that are relevant, interesting to my readers etc etc.  I also know that it’s partly so friends and loved ones can keep up with me, true. But, I’m still not sure what it all means: living my life intentionally, health and fitness, student-loan pay-offs etc, family and relationships etc.  See??? All rather broad.  And knowing the current direction of my life, it could mean many other things too. So, if anyone is reading this, and has comments, there’s a comment box at the bottom of this post (just click on this post so it’s on its own page. It asks for an email address, and it wont get posted or used by me, it’s just to verify you’re not a spammer).

Anyhow, since my life has gone through so many changes in 2011, perhaps a “Top Ten Highlights of 2011” is in order.

10.  I AM NO LONGER A STUDENT!!! That is definitely a highlight! I finished Nursing School, am done with pesky assignments, no more APA (unless I need to write for work, I suppose…), and no more Monday to Friday 9-5.

9.  Passing the NCLEX-RN (US) exam. It’s a tough exam, and designed very differently from the CRNE (Canadian exam).  Both exams I’m proud of passing, but the NCLEX has a lower pass rate for Canadian trained RNs and the way the exam is set up makes it seem harder (and I believe it is).  I used to have a link with the data, but if you do some searches it data from official sources can be found — I passed it several months ago and I have long-since deleted the links.

8.  I was immediately hired on where I worked as a student, as an RN.  I still work there, but only pick up shifts occasionally. So jobs, money and all that worry post-graduation was for naught.

7.  About 6 months after I finished school I was hired at my dream job — in a full time position! I love it there.

6.  Many miles of commuting across an international border between two cities. I haven’t moved, but do spend a lot of time in another city.  I cherish those miles of driving — it gives me a lot of time to think and reflect.

5.  My nursing school graduation gala dinner.  That was a delightful party with many friends and a reminder of :

Hello Nurse!

and many other moments of hilarity. There were many gorgeous nurses who are at the start of amazing careers.

4.  Memory Lane Camping trip. I had the chance to go on a camping trip throughout Oregon this past summer.  The time was spent walking down memory lane, it was a delight and eye opening.

3.  Visits to Portland meeting some special people.

2.  My birthday this year was spent in a nearby town with some very special people.  People I was just meeting, or have been getting to know this year

And… Number 1 is…

The biggest highlight of my year intertwines with all of the previous highlights, and goes back to New Years Eve 2010/2011. That weekend, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I ended up going to a dance event.  I worked up the courage to take initiative in asking people to dance — it was follow (female) heavy, and I’d been asked by several beginners.  So I decided it was time to be more assertive.

That decision to go to that dance event was one of those minor life choices that we make that seem innocuous at the time but end up being a significant turning point.  The reason for this is shortly after midnight, I asked the DJ to dance and I ended up meeting the love of my life. When people say that finding love happens when you least expect it is certainly true.  This past year I have begun a journey that I cherish with an amazing man.  We don’t live in the same city – yet, but are working on how to make that happen.

The trips to Portland are for family reasons (his) and my birthday in a nearby town was so I could meet his brother and Fiancee when they were in Portland for Christmas.  The camping trip wasn’t my memory lane, it was his — and it was a special time of learning all about his history and where he’s lived.

The question comes, will I continue posting? I hope so, I have goals and plans for 2012 that definitely fall into ‘living life well’ and if I can figure out how that  could all shape into blog posts, they will show up here. On the bright side: I’m no longer required to come up with ‘reflective journals’ for school so that makes me enjoy posting here more!

As I reflect on these highlights I smile in amazement at the bend in the road and I am excited (and nervous – but in the good, anticipatory way) about all the changes that 2012 will bring.  I hope 2012 is an amazing year full of wonder and growth and most of all, happy, for all of us.  Happy New Year.

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What can I say about life since school started back up in September? Very little is new for me, yet I feel like so much has changed.  School was one thing: busy.  I’ve had group assignments like crazy — as usual — though this time I’m dealing with a group member who is less than effective, to say the least.  The issues with this one person were so intense that I lost many hours of sleep trying to figure out how to handle the situation.  The challenge was, this group member has a complete lack of respect for the other members of the group, wouldn’t work within the group process and occasionally seemed to sabotage the group assignments.  I wont start a rant about all that this person does, as I do have to continue to work with them through the next rotation (believe me, this group has a lot to do before Feb 10th, but I can’t wait to be done with this person!).

 

Suffice it to say, this rotation has been nothing but busy. I am not really sure of the count anymore — well, to be honest, I don’t want to go look — but I think I had about 14 deadlines in the space of a few weeks.  As such, I feel like I’ve done very little lately: when asked I don’t know what to say.  But the reality is, I haven’t totally disappeared, I’ve hung out with school friends, I’ve kept running — slowly, but still moving forward — and I’ve been meeting with some friends who knit.

 

This term has been important for shaping me in some important ways.  It’s been a time of better refining what I enjoy and where I want my career to start.  I’ve realized that what I appreciate is working with children, and their families, to support the children to reach whatever potential they may have.  I find this more gratifying than working with a geriatric population and supporting them as they move towards the end of their life.  I’m not saying that nursing in that population isn’t important, or there isn’t the potential for some important work to be done, just that when I compare the two populations I do prefer pediatrics.  However, we’ll see what direction my career actually takes, as I don’t ‘dislike’ geriatric units, but when I have to state a preference, that’s where I stand.

 

Next term I will be back on a geriatric unit for my last rotation before my preceptorship; I don’t yet know where my preceptorship will be (though I’m hopeful it will be a pediatric placement).

 

The other rotation I had this term was maternity.  This particular rotation was generally a happy one: the patients are in the middle of a major life transition, but overall it’s a happy one.  The patients are full of joy and wonderment and a lot of uncertainty.  For me, I think it was the hardest rotation out of all of them (though it’s not one that gets a ‘I’d NEVER work there’ from me — that’s Mental Health with Community a close second – I could see myself working in maternity – maybe). I’m not saying that it’s a hard place to work (it’s not), rather, I think it hit me the hardest.

 

The thing with this unit is it’s families, couples and single women being given this amazing gift of a new baby — or babies (I did work with a family that had identical twins too!).  This particular unit made me face the reality of what I want most of all: a family of my own.  Every day I was reminded of my dreams, and every day I think I grieved the loss of what I feel like I’ve never been allowed to have.  I don’t particularly want to get into details of this topic in this post, but I will get back to it, and I expect it will be soon.

 

Suffice it to say, being faced with newly formed families on a daily basis was very difficult.  I think I was lucky in who was in my clinical group — I felt very safe to be honest about this (though I was probably the quietest about this, compared with the others in my group) with this group of women.  I was also faced with the reality, like I haven’t been before, that I am getting to the point where I NEED to decide if I’m going to have a family on my own: even without a husband.  That thought breaks my heart. I know that I will have much processing and grieving to do if that’s the path my life ends up taking, but I’ve also realized that I would regret it if I let an inability to find a husband hold me back from having a family.  Again, this whole topic could be a book on its own, let alone a separate blog post.

 

I do think, overall, my perspective has shifted: from a resistance to the idea (of single motherhood), to a realization that it may be my reality, even if it’s not what I prefer.  My priorities leaving school haven’t changed: find a full-time job, pay of debt and buy a place.  But interspersed in that is the realization that I need to be preparing myself and my life for a family.  It could mean moving to the states and working there for a while (that’s an idea I still carry, and plan to work towards once I’m done school), but if I do end up as a single mother, I will move home: the support of my family is essential.

 

All in all it was an emotional term, one that is taking a lot of time for me to process.

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Kitty Food

I confess, I buy my cat’s food at Costco in bulk and just feed her that. She doesn’t seem the worst for it, but sometimes I think I should consider her feed more closely. She’s so fluffy it’s hard to tell if she’s overweight:

Anyhow, my dear friend Melanie has a kitty food review posted, and I get a chance to win a tester pack if I post something on my blog. So, for those who are actually following my blog still (I have been going BONKERS with school, but I’ll get back to posting about a balanced life and living life well, once my life is… er… balanced…) here’s a link to her post.

Check it out, and if you’re from Canada comment and you have a chance to win. Say I sent ya!

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On and off lately I’ve been exploring online dating. I have those experiences that good stories are made of, if nothing else — really, one day I’ll have to see if I can capture the humour that was the Gumby story in writing. Recently, I decided I need to take initiative more — I use the ‘he should pursue’ as a crutch or an excuse not to act. I’m trying to take initiative more. But, this post (sorry I’ve been AWOL, schools nuts — as normal — but this story has to be shared) isn’t about me and taking initiative.

This is about a simple rule I have when chatting with someone I don’t know from an online dating site: using whatever available information I have I do an internet search on the guy. Often they eventually give me their email address. Unlike me, they usually use their main email. I appreciate that as it makes my digging easier. I use a non-identifying email address — that I check — so that I have a certain amount of anonymity, at least until I have met them once or twice.

But, whatever information they give me (a number an email address etc), I search for them. Last weekend I decided to contact a couple of guys who’s profile seemed interesting to me. One guy respectfully responded that he was already communicating with someone and felt it was not polite to correspond with more than one person at a time. I was impressed, and respect that. Anyhow, the other guy responded. A few messages back and forth and he suggests contact through email. So, once he’s emailed me I did my usual search, found him on Facebook.

Now, I have my facebook account pretty locked down, people can’t see anything, and even some ‘friends’ aren’t allowed to see my wall. This guy’s wall is visible to all.

What did the most recent status update say?

Mr X ” says you’re all invited to my bachelor party! Granted, I’m not even getting married. But thats not a reason to not have a night out with my buddies with beer and strippers!”

The status update below that, from Friday was:

Mr X ” says whenever I start to get tired of being single… I go sleep on the couch to remember what being in a relationship is like!”

Now, I realize that he may be making a joke and I haven’t met him and don’t know what his sense of humour is like, BUT, this is publicly visible, employers can see it, media, customers, and WOMEN HE MAY WANT TO DATE. So, if he was someone who I knew, I may have found it quite funny (depending on the person saying those things), but in this case it’s just offensive and creeps me out.

So, he goes into the ‘NO’ category. Now I just have to decide if I should be direct and say what I’m thinking (something I’m working on), or do what I normally would do and just never respond.

So my simple rule: WATCH what you say when you’re online, because women, or at least this woman, does search and it can be a deal-breaker.

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