Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Up Early

There is a MAJOR difference between HAVING to be up early and just waking up early. On work or school days, I usually want to smash my little alarm clock to pieces when it starts singing its oh-so-annoying song! I press snooze as many times as I can and recently, I've even started setting my cell phone as a back up alarm because I'm sleeping through my regular one too much.

When I do finally drag my butt out of bed, I mumble, I walk into things, I have a funny look on my face, and generally speaking, just don't really make much sense. Hubby finds this hilarious and has frequently mocked my sleepy antics.

Based upon all this information you may think that I am not a morning person and craze the late hours of the night. Not so! The truth is, I actually LOVE being up early. I love the stillness and the quiet of the house before anyone else wakes up. I love that the world is so seems so peaceful. When I am up early on my own I feel like I have a special secret, one that I don't really want to share with anyone.

The difference between getting up for work and getting up for me really comes down to one thing - choice. When I get up early on my days off, it's because I'm choosing to do so.

On my first morning of vacation here in Phoenix I woke up at 5:10AM! I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but it was no use. I contemplated simply laying in bed until I fell asleep again. But I knew what would happen - by 7am I would be completely sleepy again and I would stay in bed until 9, before getting up to go running and by then it would be HOT! So instead I got up at 5:30, took a few minutes to check email etc and wake up, then hit the road at 6:15am for a run.

When I got back the house was still quiet. I sat with my feet in the pool for a while, then got out the laptop to relax. In peace and quiet. In my secret time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A month

On the good advice of my co-workers, I schedule vacation time for right after my course was finished. I'm SO GLAD THAT I DID!!!!! Between my BCIT courses, clinical and the olympics, I'm pretty beat! The past four months have been wonderful, but truly exhausting.

My month off is going to be filled with traveling, relaxing, reading (I have a whole stack of books!) and fun! First Arizona, then a road trip to Oregon and California, then a few days biking at Whistler before heading back to work. I'm so excited!

I'll try to keep this updated with pictures and stories!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Finally finished!

For the first time in 4 years, I am no longer a student. Yesterday I finished my final clinical shift and officially became a certified critical care nurse!

My long journey began 5.5 years ago when my mother-in-law planted the idea in me becoming a nurse. I researched, thought and prayed a lot. Then I started the journey. One year of pre-requisites (while working full time), 2 years of nursing school, then one more year for specialty. And now it's all done. I have a job that I love and a career with so much potential it's sometimes overwhelming.

Of course school is not completely over. I do plan on going to grad school, but that will come one day. Probably in a least a few years.

Until then, I will enjoy my life of freedom from studying!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Feet are icky! I realize that sounds like a 4 year olds comment, but alas, it is 29 year old me saying it.

Feet are gross. Plain and simple. They get callouses on them, sometimes they smell funny, and they get that annoying sock lint stuck between the toes.

All that said, I LOVE to pamper my feet with a nice pedicure! At least with some nice nail polish on they don't look quite as ugly.

After a winter of hibernation, I summerized my feet this morning with a nice relaxing pedicure. Welcome to summer!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I do not consider myself to be a runner.... or an athlete... I'm merely an exercise addict. Even though I've been running for several years, I don't consider myself to be one for several reasons. First, I'm SLOW! No really, I'm REALLY slow. I average a 11-12 minute mile. I'm steady at that pace, but that is always my pace. Second, (it's a little superficial) but I just don't look like a runner. When I think of a runner I think of those people that are uber skinny.... while I fall more into the curvy category.

Last friday night I went out for an evening run and only planned to go for about half an hour. But then I took a few turns to extend the run. When I got to what was supposed to be my turn back point, I was 28 min into my run (which I think is pretty good), but it still wasn't enough. So with barely a though, I turned left and continued up another hill. I saw a point in the distance and thought I would run until there. But when I reached that point, I STILL wasn't done, so onward and upward (literally - I was still on a hill) I went. Finally, I reached the top and decided to turn back.

I ducked through one more neighborhood on the way home. By the end, it was an 80 minute run and I'd covered 7 miles. I felt SO good!!!

And for the first time, I felt like a runner!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Polyclinic was an amazing inter-disciplinary health center! It was primarily for the athletes and coaches, but we also treated olympic staff and volunteers. For a more detailed explanation of what we did, see my post here.

Here is the front reception desk where everyone would check in.

Our front waiting area had a TV showing olympic coverage 24/7. Here we are during the opening ceremonies - clinic was pretty quiet that night!

The crew on that night - nurses, physicians, paramedics, dental assistants, admin assistants.

One of our exam rooms

We had a huge mural of the olympic mascots that people could sign. I didn't sign, but I did high 5 with Quatchi!

Our dental room. They had 2 chairs and they were busy from 8am to 10pm! CRAZY!!! So many athletes just don't have access, or can't afford, dental care.

Here is our back supply room. Each of these carts is a little taller than me (I'm 5'4"). I took this shot mostly just to show how tall and big our tent was!!!

Our MMU - our pride and joy! (Again, see the last post for a full explanation of how cool this thing was!)

The main area - 6 bed ICU with every capability you could imagine!!

The OR - thankfully we didn't have to use it!

That about sums up my olympic adventures! It was such an amazing experience and will probably be a once in a lifetime event for me. Guess I'll just have to search out some new adventures now :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Inside Athlete's Village

A while ago I promised pictures of inside athletes village...finally getting to that. 

But first, a little bit about athletes village. Contrary to popular belief, it was not right in Whislter Village. It was a little south, across the street from Function Junction. The site is actually Whistler's old garbage dump. As part of VANOC's "green" bid, they managed to use this site, while incorporating recycled materials to create green buildings. All of the housing they built is designated as affordable housing and has all been purchased and people will get possession this summer. Due to various regulations, the kitchens were not installed for the olympics and some of the garages were turned into extra rooms. 

Ok, now for the tour!

Here was our view from the front desk of the clinic. The white tent was a big office.

As you looked right, you walked up the street to the food tent and workers entrance and exit.

Flags lined this entire street - so cool!

Behind us is a coffee house for the athletes to unwind in during their off time.

This was the food tent. It could seat 1200 people at a time for a meal!!!! Plus it had the kitchen.

This was the workers side of the food tent. Our choices were limited and definitely less gourmet than the athletes side. However, considering they were cooking for large numbers of people on a budget, I'd say they did a pretty good job!

More flags lining the street.

State of the art gym with EVERYTHING the athletes could possibly need.

Some of the townhouses

More olympic flags

Security for athletes village was insane! In January they had 300 police officers and dogs come through and sweep THE ENTIRE VILLAGE! It took them several days. Once the sweep was completed they set up a perimeter fence... and then buried another perimeter beyond that. If you tried to get in you would have police on you within seconds. That is, if the military hiding up in the mountains hadn't pounced on you yet!

This is the main entrance. Buses would drop us off here and we would clear our first checkpoint. The large building to the right is where vehicles would clear their inspections.

At this point we had to show our IDs and then clear airport style security complete with metal detects and x-ray machines. From there we would get on a bus up to the village. There we would go to workforce check-in where our IDs were scanned again, then sent on to our jobs. 

A morning meeting - police were EVERYWHERE! Made you feel really safe though.

Pictures of inside the clinic to come tomorrow!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


For several years, I've had my eye on the Lake Padden triathlon. I've thought about doing it, but always had an excuse, namely school.

This year, I'm out of excuses. Therefore, on June 26, I will be doing my first triathlon! It's just a sprint triathlon so it's very short. But I'm excited none the less. 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 2.6 mile run - should be fun!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dough hook virgin

As many of you know, I LOVE to bake! When I come home from an uber stressful day, I either want to go for a run, or bake something... or both. It just completely de-stresses me.

Generally I stay away from baking bread products. I'll admit it - I'm not that good at it. I suck at kneading dough. Furthermore, my counter is tile and the flour gets stuck in the grouting and it's hard to get off... I know, lame excuse.

This evening I decided to go on an Easter baking binge! I'm making hot cross buns, and Cinnabon style cinnamon buns! I made the hot cross buns dough the traditional way - wooden spoon and lots of kneading. I'm never completely satisfied with the consistency though. For the cinnamon buns I decided to try the dough hook on my kitchenaid mixer. WOW!!!! I was amazed! Dump in all the ingredients, set it to go, and within 10 minutes beautiful, perfect consistency dough! I'm so impressed.

I may have to start experimenting with more bread baking!