Memory Monday v2.0

Memory sense is such a weird phenomenon to me. The smell of orange blossoms takes you to your childhood home, a single song soundtracks perhaps a year or a period in your life, the sight of tiddly winks brings you back to summers at Grandmas. All of these sensory stimulations create a deep feeling in the pit of your stomach, an overwhelming sense of the past.

The smell of a record store is one of my strongest memory triggers and for good reason. My favorite childhood memories were so simple and all centered around my dad's vinyl collection. My father had the biggest record collection I have ever seen. I used to sneak into my parents' closet and thumb through row after row, taking in the album covers, the softly worn edges and gently slipping my favorites out of their sleeve. I was amazed at how a record player could pull out such wonderful sounds from a simple ribbed piece of plastic. Many weekend afternoons my dad and I would lay around on the floor of their bedroom listening to album after album. One song would inspire my dad to put on another record by another artist and it went on and on. I could see that my dad loved my shared interest in music and I treasured this time with him. It was something only he and I did, it was ours. We listened to everything: The Beatles, Cheech and Chong , Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Neil Young, Lynard Skynard, Pink Floyd, and many more obscure artists that my dad loved supporting. He shared stories of working at the college radio station, listening to his first records with his own parents, playing certain songs for my mom when they were young and how he didn't realize until years later that the Doobie Brothers was a reference to smoking weed. These moments always ended too quickly.

I envisioned him in the 1970's, working in a little radio station, knowing so many random facts about music and he was my hero. He taught me so much about my favorite songs as we were sprawled out on the floor. He played Skynard's "Sweet Home Alabama" and then immediately played Neil Young's "Southern Man," explaining what the back and forth between the two artists was all about. I have never listened to "Sweet Home Alabama" in the same way! I heard about weird noises with secret messages if certain albums were played at different speeds or backwards. There is so much that can be contained in such a small bit of plastic. 

Afternoons in junior high and high school I would usually get home from school before any one else. Often times I ran straight upstairs, pulled out my favorite Fleetwood Mac album, placed it in the player and gently lowered the arm. I danced all around the house to Gold Dust Woman, feeling as free as a bird. I dreamt of living in the 70s, attending Woodstock and buying up records in the height of their popularity. A time when music was used as a means of protest and was actually effective. I still love the gritty sound that vinyl creates, the way a record smells and miss the feeling of the rough carpet on my skin as I lay around getting lost in the music.


Finally... the big news!

I have had some life news that I've been keeping in for about 6 weeks and I can finally let it out!

I am moving to Guwahati, India on May 1st! I have accepted a long term volunteer position with Operation Smile to work at the cleft center. I knew before I even left Guwahati in February that I needed to come back for longer period. The past six weeks have been a lot of waiting, praying, contemplating and talking to the people closest to me. My heart was set on returning but I had this fear inside me that it wouldn't end up going through. That is how I knew I was making the right choice. The thought of not going, not having this experience, not living in India hurt my heart and made me feel sick. I just knew.

Yesterday I got the official offer to go out there. Today I talked to my manager and director. I explained where I was going and what I was doing. I told them that I can't imagine moving back here this fall and not returning to the PICU. However, 6+ months is an extremely long leave of absence so I knew it would be nearly impossible for them to hold my position. I couldn't believe it but my director has offered to discuss my options with human resources with the hopes of being able to hold my position for me! I can't believe it! I feel so blessed right now. I also spent today notifying my complex that I am breaking my lease (the only ding in my wallet), suspending my t-mobile account, setting up stop dates for all utilities, car and renter's insurance and I am slowly researching how to sell a car. It is all going to come together, and it has to happen rather quickly.

Ryan and the rest of my family are completely supportive of my choice. They know what is in my heart and that I wouldn't make a decision like this without thoroughly weighing all of my options. I don't even feel like a door has opened, but a whole world.

I'll end with my vlog that I also posted on le other blog, sorry for those of you who follow both!


Memory Monday

I was shopping for a dress to wear for my sister's wedding with the ladies of my immediate family on Sunday and we got to talking about childhood stories. I have always loved that my family is so in to reflecting on our lives, laughing about all of our crazy experiences. My most cherished memories of my Grandfathers are of them telling me stories of their childhood. My paternal grandpa was especially good at story telling and boy did he have a ton to share! I decided to start this little weekly feature which is simple enough: memories from my childhood! I was always a pretty ridiculous child and plan on sharing my many antics. I wish I could take everyone of you on a complete journey but some memories I think are not meant to be put in front of the whole wide world, some are just too special or emotional and I don't mean for this to be a complete memoir of growing up. Nope, those super special ones will remain locked away in my little brain. BUT with that being said the one thing I can promise is raw memories, truth, humor, maybe a lesson or two thrown in there. 

I was always a free child. My mom says that the first time I tried to run away I was no older than three. I escaped from the apartment we were living in, trekked all the way across the complex with my final destination being one of my babysitters. I like to think that I have always been one to create emotional attachments to anyone who cares for me so that's why I needed to go see her. To my poor mom's horror her toddler ran away, with a clear mission in mind! Luckily I was returned home safely. I'm sure my parents started to worry about my independent streak at a young age. Not long after that I escaped again. This time buck naked. I was found at the community pool, my face pressed against the iron gate, peering in at my neighbors swimming. I'm sure I just wanted a dip, a skinny dip apparently. Fast forward a few years and I found myself convincing my older sister to help me sell our encyclopedias around the neighborhood in order to raise funds for my survival. Sell we did. I have no real idea why some people actually did give us money, but it happened. I got so far as to packing things into a pillowcase, planning on making my big move to the bushes in the bike trail above our housing track some time that week.  My dad discovered that we had peddled books to our neighbors and insisted we return the money. A girl can't survive without money so my dreams were laid to rest for the time being. I asked for a Barbie Jeep year after year for Christmas and envisioned myself driving it across the country to my Aunt Sharon's house in Missouri. All I needed was the jeep filled with batteries and I was good to go, since Santa could make anything happen I knew he was just waiting out for the right time. For me to be ready. After a few years of begging Santa for one, my parents' crumbled and had to tell me that Santa wasn't real; I would never get the escape vehicle my dreams were made of. Oh, how I longed for independence, for the wind in my hair as I roared down the highway at top Barbie Jeep speeds. Again, my plans were laid to rest.

 I got older and still dreamt of the day I would be on my own. I carefully saved my allowance in my yellow Crayola crayon bank. With bigger and more realistic plans of taking a bus cross country I knew I needed more money if this was going to happen. I must have been elven or twelve by this time and the day was coming for me to leave home. I popped open the old bank and tucked my money away in my fanny pack then hid it under my bed next to my backpack. At night I lay in bed with my secrets burning away underneath me. My dad was always an ultra detective and one night after dinner he was in my room with me when he some how discovered, yet again, my suspicious money stuffed fanny pack. As confidently and honestly as I could, I told him I planned on leaving. All these years later I still wanted to run away for no real reason in particular other than I simply wanted to be on my own. He reached in his pocket, pulled out a twenty dollar bill and handed it to me. He instructed me to come with him, that if I wanted to leave I could. I remember seeing my little sister crying in the hallway as I walked passed her to the garage. I never thought until that moment that all of my attempts at escape may have hurt those around me. Independence came with a price I realized. I trembled and sobbed as my dad drove me down the street, how easily he was letting me go! We arrived in downtown and pulled up to a bus stop. Dad told me to open the door and get out. Get out if I wanted. I saw people getting on and off the bus, something until the moment I thought I could do with ease. I sat there, snot running down my face and hit with the reality that I probably was a little too young to be on my own. As I contemplated the decision in front of me, a police officer approached my dad's window. He asked what we were doing in that area that late. I'm sure he saw my red face, eyes puffy with tears as my dad explained that we were having bonding time. The officer said we should probably head home, it wasn't a good idea to be in that part of town. So the car turned around and I don't think that I had ever felt so much relief in my young life. 

The truth is, as I joked about with my mother and sisters just yesterday, I am a free bird. My little wings can not be pinned down and the thought of being flightless has always been my number one fear. I may have never gotten that barbie jeep but my parents gave me so many other pathways to freedom as I grew up. They believed in my ability to make of my life whatever I wanted. Even at the age of twelve, they showed me the door and told me to walk through it, knowing with a confidence that only parents have, that I wouldn't until I was good and ready. 


Happiest of birthdays Ezra... and some Anne Frank

This week has been so wonderful! I worked on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday I volunteered to stay late since one of the night shift nurses was going to be late. I worked from 7am until almost 11pm!! It was the only time I've ever pulled a 16 hour shift and it went very smoothly I must say!

Friday 'morning' (I slept really late due to working so much in 2 days) I woke up and headed out to find sweet baby Ezra a present for his first birthday. I knew exactly where I wanted to look. There's this awesome store called Seed People's Market in The Camp. It has SO many hand made items and virtually everything you purchase goes towards some sort of organization. It feels kind of like an "as seen on etsy" store. Anyhow, as soon as I walked in I found what I wanted to get for Ezra!

It is a Kauzbot named Kalvin. Isn't he the cutest little thing? I hope Ezra loves him :) I also walked around and found the book in the picture. It is a terribly cute little story of a bear happening upon a child in the wild and trying to keep him as a pet! After I was done shopping around I ate at the yummy Native Foods next door. 

After eating I went across the street to check out Buffalo Exchange and the clearance rack at Urban. I found a nice little pair of summery shorts and a floral dress for only a few dollars! At Urban I found a pair of thigh-high socks for 2 dollars!

Saturday was jam packed with activities! I got another late start thanks to insomnia keeping me up until the wee hours of the morning. Ryan and I dazzled ourselves up then made the drive to Jess, Derek, Zoe and Ezra's new little home in Yucaipa! What a cute little house they have and what a fun party for the little man. We talked and I made my fantasy donut which was topped with Nutella! Ryan had 3 donuts at the party. On the way out we grabbed our parting gifts. We sat down in Ryan's truck, looked in the bag and found candy. Ryan immediately exclaimed "YES! I've been wanting something sweet!" I guess 3 sugary donuts just isn't enough for some men. Here's to the birthday boy:

(All photos by JLYoungsma)

(sugar high)

I'm sure Jess will have much better/more photos up on her blog soon! After the party Ryan and I drove straight to my parents' house to meet up with everyone for my sister's performance. My little sister has a passion for theatre and is so talented. She has been acting for quite some time now and does community and school shows. Her high school has an exceptional drama department and this year they have put on Bang! Bang! You're Dead (which I can't bring myself to watch because it's too close for comfort emotionally for me) and their big play The Diary of Anne Frank. My little sister played Anne Frank, a perfect role for her. Annie is tiny, smaller than me, so playing a 13 year old is no issue for her. Every time I see her on stage I well up with tears. She is so passionate and driven. She has taken on challenging roles and I hope that her talent takes her far in life. 

I can't wait to go visit college campuses with her next week. How can it be that she is all ready to go to college? She is looking at schools here in Orange County which means I will get to spend a lot more time with her, if she has time! In my ideal world she will come over at least once a week for dinner and laundry sessions. This may be a fantasy but starving and dirty college students can always be lured in with the promise of food and washing machines, right?! 


violet cities

I love that I have friends who work weird schedules like I do! It makes days like yesterday and today possible. Yesterday Nathalie and I hung out and ate some Veggie Grill then walked all around the Irvine Spectrum. We ran into my old roomie Hayley and shopped around Forever 21 with her. I, surprisingly, didn't purchase a single item beyond food! It's always nice hanging out with Nathalie, she manages to put up with me even with all my public shenanigans like dancing and crying.

Today was a day of total relaxation with Anne! I have recently discovered Groupon and today was the first day I actually took advantage of one of the deals! Anne and I were at work on Sunday when I got the e-mail offering a 1 hour Swedish massage and a 1 hour facial for a very reasonable price. I knew that this was just the deal for us!! So we quickly purchased the groupon and made our appointments. Neither of us had ever had facials, and I must say, I was pleased! It was just as relaxing as the massage itself. I even got an exfoliation with pumpkin enzyme and I wanted to lick it right off my face, it smelled so good. I had a very relaxing massage. It was the least awkward and disastrous one I have had in a while. After we finished at the spa I went to get my hair trimmed. All in all, I feel so relaxed and refreshed!

On a separate topic I did something really strange Thursday night! I woke up Friday morning to a missed call from the nurse I am precepting and a text message asking if I was okay from another nurse I work with. I was terribly confused, and the missed call and text all came in the 4am hour. I ended up looking at my call log and realizing that I called multiple people that I work with between 430 and 445am! How annoying am I?!?! I did it completely in my sleep too. My phone was in it's usual spot on my night stand when I woke up so I have no idea what happened. People are probably going to start asking me to remove their number from my phone!!

SOOOOOO relaxed!

A little video of my recent trip

This is a video put together by one of the women who was in India with me. My heart is aching to be back there.


I love Toms shoes!

About 3 or so years ago I purchased my first pair of Toms shoes and I have never looked back! They are my go to shoe when I know I'll be walking around or on my feet all day. I would wear them to work if I was allowed, that's how comfy they are! I also have enjoyed continuing to support this company because they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that you purchase. Arielle over at A Beautiful Journey is hosting a shoe give away! I don't enter a lot of give aways but I couldn't pass this one up. I highly encourage you to enter, just look at it as a way to give a little pair of kicks to a child somewhere out there!

What is especially awesome is that apparently Arielle has actually been on a shoe drop off with Toms! Read about it in the entry blog here. It is really cool to read about someone getting to witness this companies' mission realized. I don't know about you, but I'm always skeptical about big companies' claims about doing good work in the world. So, to see this actually happen restores my faith in man a wee bit!

When I went to India I brought only two pairs of shoes. One for the hospital and the others were my Toms. That's how comfy and reliable they are. When I go back, they will be first on my packing list! Toms company should probably just personally give me a pair after this huge endorsement! Right? I think I'm going to e-mail them with a link ;)

Toms in Delhi 

The real moral of the story is that you should head over to A Beautiful Journey and enter the give away, especially if you've never owned your own pair!!


Baby showers & Birthdays

Today was such an awesome day! It started with a baby shower for my dear friend Becky from work. She and I started at our hospital at the same time. She stayed on nights, I went to days but we have remained good friends. Her husband is so much fun and they have become one of my favorite couples to hang out with. They are going to rock at being parents!! I can't wait to meet little Mady Ayn! We each made baby Mady a onsie, I have never done this at a shower before and it was such a unique idea! I actually won one of the games which is unheard of. I cut my string to the exact size of Becky's baby belly girth. It was pretty easy since we are the same size, I just added on what looked like her belly size and voila! I hit it right on! I just love spending time with this group of ladies!

Next it was off to my parents' for my nephews 4th birthday! It doesn't seem possible that he is 4 already! I was in the OR for my sister's c-section and here he is in 2011, running around like a freaking maniac. My nephew Houston is 100% boy. He always has bumps, scratches, bruises and scabs. He has no fear despite being tiny for his age. He is such a joy. All the kids were wound up so every picture I tried to take with them is ridiculous. 


Into it: This is totes where I work

Can I also just point out that when I use phrases like "totes jelly" and/or "adorbs" I'm secretly laughing inside because internet terms like that tickle me. I usually prefer to say them out loud as I type them because they sound even more entertaining that way. Anyways I totes work at this place, don't be jelly of the adorbs kids I work with.


Book Review a vlog!

Vlog v2.0

(a ride down the streets of the city)


Sonny reads me a story

This is Sonny, a very charming Indian boy whose grandparents live behind the hospital where I was volunteering at. He's awesome :)