4.30.2011

The most miniature/awesome blogger meet-up ever

My last day in Missouri went swimmingly if I do say so myself! I woke up this morning determined to get a hair trim, my last U.S. hair cut until the fall at least! I had asked Ali from Who Dee Who if she recommended any places in town and she sent me to the guy who does her hair at Moda. The salon was in downtown Springfield right next to a cutesy little coffee shop called the Mud House. Chad did a great job on my hair, my bangs are back in control and then I stopped and got a green chai from the coffee place. Yum! My uncle and I then stopped at The Cup, a cupcake bakery and got six different cupcakes to share with the family. I went for the classic red velvet. I headed over to my grandma’s for lunch followed by a nice sit on her porch in the perfect weather. My grandma’s dachshund, Beau, is a creature of habit. He has to have a ‘walk’ every afternoon. He mainly stays put in his doggie buggy, an idea which I thought was ridiculous at first. Through this week though, I realized that him wanting a ride in his buggy is many times the only long walking my grandma does in a day. SO, little Beau is keeping her active!




Next was the frosting on my cupcake! I was determined to visit the Red Velvet Shop while I was in town! I heard/discovered this little boutique through blogging back when they moved locations. I was so excited to finally be able to experience it myself. Ali and I had arranged a massive, two person blogger meet-up and shopped there together this afternoon! I am in L-O-V-E with their collection. It is perfect. I would probably be a weekly patron if I live in Springfield. We looked around and I found one shirt and a light knit sweater that will both be traveling with me to India. After I bought my clothes we indulged in the shoppe’s bubble tea. My cousin and I got watermelon and Ali got peach. They were delicious and refreshing on this Spring afternoon. Bonus: Ali astutely pointed out that Katie of Skunk Boy Creatures was sitting at one of the tables just creating away. We walked around a few more antique stores and perhaps most importantly, Jaqueline’s boutique which is next to Red Velvet. Jaqueline herself was working and she was a hoot. She is 69 going on 70 and will talk to you until you’ve gone deaf. We heard all about her 2 month sale that’s coming up this summer and perused pictures of her wearing ruffly leggings. I found a belt for 3 dollars! After this we parted ways and I headed to the airport. My trip here was tiring but just what I needed before moving. I haven’t been back to Missouri in years and I was long past over due. I am home in California until Monday then it’s India baby! 










4.27.2011

God answers prayers. Sometimes the answer is blatantly obvious, other times it's hard to discern. Sometimes the answer is not what we had planned and we are disappointed and confused. Sometimes it is more than we could have ever hoped for.


13 days ago we were told that my Aunt had pancreatic cancer, a non-existent survival rate and a death sentence of about 6 months. I was going to move to India and potentially never see her again as she would likely pass away before I made it back home. I was going to move far far away to care for patients there and leave her here in a time of need. The guilt was massive and the hurt just kept piling on. We prayed hard. People were praying across the country for her by name. 


9 days ago prayers started to be answered. Upon further testing she was told that the mass looked like it was actually in her kidney. It didn't look like any other organs or lymph nodes in the region were affected. We kept praying. We had no way of knowing if it was malignant or benign. 


 7 days ago in an exploratory surgery we found that the abdominal mass was completely contained within in her right kidney and the cure? A radical nephrectomy meaning the removal of her kidney and ureter (the tube that connects your kidney to your bladder.) She had a stent placed in her right ureter to drain her kidney, it was in complete failure and had irreversible damage. She was scheduled for her nephrectomy the following week. 


5 days ago I flew to Missouri because I realized the pieces fell together and I was meant to be here with her through this process. 


3 days ago she had her kidney removed along with her ureter. 


2 days ago we found out that this mass is called a cystic nephroma. A benign cystic lesion. Non-cancerous. Praise. I prayed even harder, this time a prayer of thankfulness and humility.  


Today she came home. In severe pain but fighting as hard as I have ever seen a woman fight. I could not be more proud of my aunt. Her strength and determination are awe inspiring. 


God answers prayers. 

All I have to say is


Thank you sweet baby jesus

4.25.2011

Memory Monday v3.0



Visits to the grandparents' were few and far between growing up but always seemed so much sweeter for just that reason. Stepping into my grandparent’s house was like stepping into a frozen time capsule as a child. No matter how long in between the visit, everything remained in the same place it was since I last left. The smells, sights and sounds were so assuring and predictable.

Grandpa Lay’s house smelled of a life time of cigarette smoke. He stopped smoking indoors in his last few years of life but I’d say it was probably a few decades too late. I never minded the smell though, it was strangely comforting and something I only experienced at grandpa’s. He loved cooking up a fried egg and it was never a visit to his house unless we had that mouth watering fried chicken. Grandma and Grandpa Lewis’ house was quite the opposite experience. To this day I don’t know what gives their home its smell, but it is theirs. Every now and again, I’ll smell something similar in passing but have never been able to place my finger on it. Some days smelled of soup cooking and in their backyard, fresh flowers. The pride of my grandfather’s garden. The pull out couch and the sheets on the bed didn’t smell like mine at home. They smelled like Grandma and Grandpa’s. The smelled like a summer in Missouri. 
Grandpa Lay’s house had rooms of trinkets, books, old magazine’s and drawers of goodies to explore. The old exercise bike provided hours of entertainment as one kid stood on each pedal and we flew up and down as fast as we could get going. The wall paper and every picture on the wall was stained yellow from tobacco smoke but in my eyes, it was charming. I loved his religious artwork, the semi-creepy portrait of Jesus that inspired many of my home decorations now. My favorite room, the one I always slept in, was right off the living room. It had the tiniest bed but the room was packed with  shelves of books and piles of Sears catalogue’s from the late 60s and 70s. Inside the closet were trophies and on one visit I found my late grandmother’s powder perfume. Grandpa allowed me to take it home with me and I treasure it to this day today. It still pains me that I’ll never be able to explore his home again, did I appreciate all that it held? All the memories each trinket may have been associated with? Never again will I able to lay on that tiny bed with its thin sheets, picking out what outfits I would have chosen from Sears.

Fireflies were some of my favorite things to see at night in Missouri. We don’t have them in California and boy are they fascinating! One summer I got paid a penny for everyone I caught and I’m pretty sure I was rich by the end of the night. Then there are ticks, chiggers and mosquitos! A few fun things you never enjoyed finding on your body in your night bath. 

Grandma and Grandpa Lewis got up at the crack of dawn. I remember hearing them tinkering down the hall way, fixing a cup of coffee, their alarm system dinging as Grandpa went in and out for the morning paper. They always had bird feeders in the backyard which attracted many beautiful birdsongs in the morning. Then there were the house shaking thunder and lightning storms that sometimes came hand in hand with tornadoes. Laying in bed, the thunder so loud and strong that you could feel it scared me to no end as a child!

I am sitting here right now at my only living Grandparent's house. Grandma's house has changed very little in all of the years. Now I make her soup and the rose garden no longer grows since Grandpa passed away. I find myself gazing through the window, reflecting on many trips past and it still feels like home to me.



4.24.2011

Coachella.... So good. So bad.

I had my very first experience with Coachella last weekend. It took me quite a while to recover from the mind boggling amount of successful people watching I did. I wish I was nervy enough to take pictures of the real gems but, alas, I am a timid girl. A vast majority of girls were wearing bathing suits or less when they really shouldn't be. People are still too cool for sunscreen and hydration. Ecstasy is not only for teenagers and 100 degree sunshine does not stop a house music tent from being packed brim to brim with attendees who are rolling at 11am.

It was an experience.

On the first day I enjoyed: Cee Lo Green for the 15 minutes he got to play, Lauryn Hill, Cold War Kids, SLEIGH BELLS, and The Black Keys. Kings of Leon

Saturday went something like: Freelance Whales, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Delta Spirit, Erykah Badu, Bright Eyes, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons and The Swell Season. With dancing in between in the rave tent. Because I couldn't resist.

Sunday: City and Colour, Chromeo, Jimmy Eat World, The National, Kanye West and so many I know I am forgetting.

It was such a fun weekend of crazy long nights!







Super high tech wristbands.

Eff the walk.

Dandelions and balloons. Coachella art.


Birthday girl Anne celebrates her birthday.


Oh Dallas.

Insane amounts of dancing

4.19.2011

Hello, my name is Exhaustion

Oh my gosh what a long week it has been. I wish I had time to blog and give a good update but I can't! Today I move out of my apartment. I have packed my life down to 2 bags. There is something so freeing about that.

Quickly:
I had my last day at my PICU last Thursday
The director of my unit found away to change my employment status so I will have a job when I return home. Praise!
I had a dinner with work folks to celebrate at the one and only Del Taco, totally by my choice.
I went to Coachella this past weekend. Standing up close for City and Colour, The National, Arcade Fire, Freelance Whales and dancing my heart out to Sleigh Bells, Chromeo, Mumford and Sons and who knows what else was so therapeutic for me. I stood at the very very front for The National and was by myself in that huge crowd, I pretty much almost cried because the lyrics to many of their songs are close to my heart. I listened to them endlessly while in India and during these past months as my life has been changing so much. (I'll post much more about this with pictures soon)
I slept 3 hours last night and this is my moving face:


In other news, my aunt found out this week that she has a tumor in her abdomen. I am flying to Missouri to be with her on Friday. She will have to have her right kidney removed. I can't wait to visit all of my family. I don't get out to Missouri too often so I will treasure this time. 

I'll be back with a real update soon! 

4.08.2011

It takes an ocean not to break...

Life changes so ridiculously fast and I am finding it really hard for me to keep up with anything right now! On Tuesday I went and got dinner at yummy Native Foods with a friend and then we went and took advantage of a Border's Bookstore that was going out of business.


I came home to my life as it has been, packing and getting ready for work Wednesday and Thursday. Ryan came home that night and in under a hour my world was flipped upside down. The man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with told me that he didn't see that in his future for us anymore and that, essentially, was it. I love Ryan more than I can express (and more than he probably realizes) and right now I'm trying to adjust to the reality that he has removed himself from my life. I have been extremely thankful for my family and friends these past two days because I feel like I am mourning. I can fully admit that I was not a perfect, fantasy woman but the truth is, who is? I don't know, I was blindsided and my head is still reeling. I honestly thought I would come home from work yesterday to him in our apartment, and realize that it was all some huge mistake. Instead I came home to find that while I was working, he had removed every single item of his from our apartment (besides the mattress so I guess I should be thankful that I am not being forced to sleep on the couch). It is real, and I am sure he feels free in a way. I am hurt more than I ever thought was possible, but I am trying to cling to any positive thoughts I can have. 

I am now gearing myself to move across the ocean, half way around the world, with my life open to a fresh blank chapter. I hope India can write a beautiful story on my heart because when I come back to America my life will not be what it was even 2 days ago. One week from today is my last day working at my hospital, in the PICU that has raised me in my nursing career. I am leaving the apartment, the home I made with my boyfriend (my boyfriend that is no longer mine). I am selling my car, over half of my clothes and jamming all I can in a 10x15 storage space. If there was ever a time to give up control, this is it. My goals are to cry less, pack more and work on believing in myself and my life purpose. 

I go back to my favorite quote of Mahatma Gandhi's "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Never have I felt more compelled to lose myself completely. 

4.03.2011

Book review, a vlog! (v2.0) & Sunlady dates



I have had a beautiful Sunday! My very pregnant friend from work was in desperate need of a lady date so I jumped on the opportunity to spend today with her. It hit me today that she will give birth to her first child after I am gone; there will be many things I am going to miss! That just makes us cherish this time even more! We started off in Old Town Orange and ate an early lunch at Kimmie's Coffee Cup. I always love this little joint because the food reminds me of home. We chatted for quite a while and then decided to move on to the second part of our date: The Dana Point Ocean Institute. Neither of us had ever been there but we both love the ocean so we decided to go for it. I was worried about the weather, and was sure it would be cloudy and cold at the beach but it was gorgeous! We walked around the institute and saw a few sea creatures but we mostly enjoyed sitting on the rocks overlooking the sea. We contemplated heading to the tide pools but a 34 week pregnant woman probably shouldn't be wobbling around on cliffs so we headed to a ship tour instead. Within 10 minutes of starting the tour we realized there would be no sitting involved for at least an hour so we ditched the ship and headed out for gelato! Somehow we ended up in Laguna Beach because we passed the place in Dana Point, but neither of us minded. The ride down PCH was beautiful and clear. I couldn't have asked for a better day! I enjoyed mango and berry gelato and Becky had mango and coconut. I was sad to part ways with her at the end of the day but we will have a few more dates before I move and she pops!





Sea breezes give me the best pseudo 80's mullet! 



4.02.2011

Spring Break 2011!

A semi-misleading title

I don't get a spring break as is the case for most people out of school. However, I do usually get to have my little sister over on her spring break! We started off with shoe shopping for our bridesmaids dresses (our older sister gets married at the end of this month!) and eating fast food :x This is not a common occurrence for me but I am trying to gain some weight so I just went for it at Taco Bell.



This year is so different from all of the rest because Annie is a junior in high school and is starting to look at colleges! I am so excited for her and really looked forward to her break because it meant campus tours! She wants to major in screen acting and so we went to two schools in Orange County that have great theatre/acting programs.

The first was Chapman University, a very small private liberal arts school. I loved this campus. All freshman are guaranteed a spot  in the dorms, has about 4,000 students, it is very intimate and the screen acting/film department is mind blowing. I could definitely see her at Chapman! After that we toured California State University, Fullerton. This is the complete opposite of Chapman! It is a public University, commuter school with something like 30,000 students and very limited on campus housing. The school is huge and definitely has its perks also. The theatre department is very well known and respected in 'the industry' so it has the potential to create a lot of good connections.

In between visits we ate lunch at my favorite tea lounge and shopped a little at Buffalo Exchange. I just love my little sister so much and am thrilled at the thought of her moving into such an exciting part of life! By the way this is how we spent the rest of the time she was here:


A book review vlog is coming soon!