Friday, October 19, 2012

Welcome to Squirrel Hill...

Yes I said it right.  I am officially a new resident of Squirrel Hill.  Squirrel Hill is a burro of Pittsburgh, much in the way there is a China town or Little Italy in most major metropolitian areas.  Except Squirrel Hill has a large Jewish population, in addition to some young professional and graduate students here.  So if you are in need a great coffee shop or Knish, Squirrel Hill is your spot.  Living in a the hills (as I call it...) has triggered some interesting observations too.  I will preface it and say that the places I have lived prior have not had large ethnic populations or much in terms of landscape... ie suburbia MN and semi-rural North Dakota.  Yarmulkes, Torahs and Synagoges (there are 20+) are more common than bibles and traditional Lutheran/Catholic Churches of the Midwest.  On Saturday's this makes for a great game of funeral, wedding, or Sabbath/Shabbat (may not be the most PC but hey, the game was catchy..).  Most of Squirrel Hill is surrounded by a consecrated wall called an eruv.  For those that do not know what an eruv is.. it is a ritual enclosure that premits the transference of objects from one domain to another on the Shabbat that would other wise be prohibited by Jewish Law.  This primarily applies to the the transference of objects from a private domain (home) to a public domain (the sidewalk or street).  A great example would be the use of a stroller.  Some other interesting facts about the area are: Squirrel Hill also has one of the only Kosher Dunkin' Donuts in the country...  I recently found out that the grocery across the street from me is actually a Kosher grocer too.  Sorry Kiel, that means we need to trek somewhere to find bacon.  Beyond this the there are many great bakeries and restaurants too.  The delis in the neighborhood are to die for! The hills are lined with with family owned shops that look like they are straight out of a movie.  Did I mention hills?! Holy nooners.  Rolling hills probably not an accurate description. 

The Squirrel Hill reminds me of San Fransisco meets Boston.  Huge hills with with quaint older homes built at a 80 degree angles.  Cudos to the archeitects of the city of Pittsburgh.  Monday, I went for what was intended to be a run/exploration of my new surrounding...  it ended up being a glorified walk, which resulted in Kathi being lost for a good 30 minutes and a sore set of calves and a gluteus maximus.  Lesson from this... If I do not have an amazing set of gams by the end of my stint in Squirrel Hill it will a great opportunity wasted.  Speaking of the inclines, above is a picture of my new place of residence.  I feel as though this picture does not do the steepness justice.  But the stairs leading up to the house is at about an 80 degree incline.  If there is any ice this winter, I have no clue what I am going to do.  Maybe I'll slide down the railing?! Could be fun.  The residence itself was built in 1880s which has proved to be an interesting endeavour all in its own right. Its beautiful but not user friendly.   I have no idea to hang pictures into plaster and with a boyfriend a 1000 miles away this is turning out to be a frustrating experience.  Thank goodness the room mate situation is working out better.  My room mate has been nothing but warm, welcoming and helpful.  Due to this being my first use of Craiglists (I was a MAJOR skeptic), I am pleasantly surprise at how well it come together. Anyways, through my getting lost, sore calves, and life lessons on Judaism it is starting to feel like home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A new year, a new theme, a new team?!

       So after a year hiatus I am back blogging again.  I had high hopes that I was going to be able to blog about my various experiences during nursing school... which I know the Nodak nursing crew will back me up in that there was some note worthy experiences.  From "I have solomonly swear..." to 'Save the tattas' or whatever the shirt was that made Maridee blush; we had some great times/experiences I wish I could have shared.  However nursing school has since come and gone.  The crew has sprawled the nation, procreated, and gotten/getting hitched.  Quite impressive considering we just finished school all of a few monthes ago. 
     As for me, (and most of you that will be reading this know most of this....) I have a significant other who has stolen my heart (I keep asking him to give it back, luckily he won't :), graduated from nursing school, did a quick stint with Target Field and Caribou Coffee, and have now found myself in Pittsburgh working in Cardiology (my dream... well for know..).  My goal for the next segment of the blog (again my intention...) is to post on my new experiences in Pitt... which might mostly consist of my getting lost stories.  Definitely, got lost today.  Ended up 15 miles out of my way in the North Hills of Pittsburgh just because I missed an exit.  Needless to say 2 bridges, 2 freeways, and 25 mins later I arrived at my intended destination.  Not the point but let me tell you driving here is another experience..We make fun of St. Paul in the twin cities.  Come to Pitt, you will think those 'drunk Irishman' were more sober than originally thought.  All joking aside it feels good to be back online, a year later, with a new job and new team (Go Steelers?!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Miikinaa (The Path)

Health care in general is an interesting field. One is exposed to a variety of people, ideas, and cultures. To be honest is part of the reason I choose this profession. Who doesn't like people watching and drama?! Just kidding (but not really : ) But a true blessing of nursing is the ability to be able to learn about other cultures than my own. My journey through nursing school has recently brought me to the Leech Lake reservation. For the next month I will be working in the public health and mental health nursing arenas on the reservation. The Leech Lake reservation is home to the Band of the Objibwe tribe.
For most of us, we might be aware that the Native American populations mostly live on lands that are called reservations and they have pow wows but honestly thats about it... maybe thats all I know. Through the request of a couple of friends my goal is to try and blog about my experiences here on the reservation and hopefully bring to light the unknown. Because this "white girl" truly doesn't know much.
Day one:
So day one has finally come to an end and it has been nothing short of a sensory overload. Most of today was consumed with orientations to places and times for the month of clincals we will be serving on the reseveration. However, today we did get in on a drumming ceremony that was accompanied by a traditional Ojibwe meal. Not going to lie when a group of primarily white students walked into this ceremony (which was located at the local tribal college) you could tell there was a level of apprehension when we walked in. It was interesting, and yet I can respect it. We have had a tremendous amount of history prior to our arrival, so that we have a vague idea why there is apprehension toward "the white man." I have definitely never felt like the odd man out like that before. For lack of better words... the minority. It was humbling. But back to the drumming. This particular ceremony was to offer prayers to a family with in the tribe who had someone pass away recently. The drummers played and sang "he will not cry... for he is taken care of." The beat(s) of the drum we varied in tempo and strength. I swear you could feel the energy in the room; somber but resilient. Gave me goosebumps. It was also wonderful to see how ingrained the culture was here. One of the drummers had his grandson on his knee teaching him. Passing on to him the culture. I wish all of us had the opportunity to see where we come from. Because I really believe... to know who you are, you need to know where you came from. Anyways if you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend it. After the drumming was over we had to get going to our next clinical site. We got to leave. Unknowningly and apparently it is EXTREMELY offensive to not eat with the collective. Our instructor allowed us of to stay and eat with the tribe. We had the opportunity to sit down to a meal of indigenous foods including: grilled moose, whitefish bake, walleye, squash with venison, blueberry wild rice, 'swamp tea' (junipter, peppermint, and something else?!) and my favorite sweetened popped wild rice with berries. WOW, was it great food. It actually reminded my of Thanksgiving in the sense I ate an obscene amount of food. We talked and visited with other students. By the end of our experience today we had felt a new level of welcome. Needless to say it will be an interesting Miikinaa.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A tasty treat... Lake style

There isn't too much that beats time at the lakes especially when good food, good drinks, and good company are involved. So instead of doing the responsible thing like homework or working I high tailed out to Detroit Lakes, MN to hang out with some of my favorite people. Labor day weekend in the mid west is kind of like the last hoorah for summer. The picture to the left was taken at the lake I was staying at. The weather was not the most cooperative, with highs being in the mid sixties. Not to fret we made the most, caught some tennis, and relaxed in good company. With some extra time and a hankerin' for ice cream we got creative and made a new drink. This new drink I feel could be a great one for the upcoming fall/winter when you are getting a craving on a chilly day... or just if it sounds appealing.
The recipe
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Hot Chocolate Mixers
  • Vanilla Vodka

Mix each to you liking! I will tell ya its hard to go wrong. Kudos goes out to Katie for coming up with this tasty treat. Now we just need to come up with a name : )

Healthcare reform made simple?!

I think that we all agree, whether you are for or against the healthcare reform, that nobody knows what is actually entails. Today in class our professor presented this video in class. I found it informative and engaging. It breaks the reform law in to its different components and explains in simplistic terms what is in it (without the bias). We have all had enough of the BS Washington has been spewing at us the past year. It was refreshing to hear what I (an American) am in for... Hope you enjoy the youtoons!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ah snap... She is getting hitched..

So in my years I have attend many weddings and such but I have never been in one. As of mid- August I can now say I will have now been in the wedding party. It is my pleasure to be the maid of honor in one of my besties (of 20 some years now) weddings. However, not going to lie, when she asked I had not the faintest ideas of where to start. Pretty sure it started with me on google identifying the roles of the maid of honor. YES, I went to google. She knows, I figure and she didn't demote me so she can't me too mad : ) So I also think this will be a great opportunity to blog about the adventures as a maid of honor. It is also partly why I changed the name of the blog.. I think weddings have a lot to do with sparkles . Plus I know there are tons of girls/friends of mine that are in the same boat.. kinda clueless, busy, and yet want to do a stellar job for your friend. So if I can help one person, I did my job. Plus everyone that knows me I love to talk (and that might be an understatement) but I want to document my journeys as best I can.

So what the heck do I have to do as a MOH (as the site referred to it)? Okay from my research a MOH does....

  1. Be the emotional life boat. Okay I think I can keep a level head for everyone?!
  2. Keep the bridal party informed about what is going on. Well I guess that gives me an excuse to talk on the phone longer, check.
  3. Shop for dresses. Love an excuse to shop, however my bestie got this one down on lock. Just need to get a style and it fitted.
  4. Plan and attend all pre wedding parties. OKAY, I now understand why she picked me...
  5. Help the bride out during the ceremony, in all ways she deems necessary... ok, okay I will stash a flask in the ready room.
  6. Hold the groom's ring... Hope he trusts me muahahaha...
  7. I get to hold the flowers during the ceremony... I like flowers, who doesn't like flowers.
  8. Give a speech somewhere during the reception - this could be good - first time I slept over at her house... I threw up on her and rolled back over went back to sleep. We are still friends, go figure?!
  9. Arrange and manage the train and dress... okay I just recently found out what a bustle is.. so yeah we will see how this one goes. I will try to do my best hunnie bun!
  10. I have to keep track of the gifts received...
  11. I get to sign the marriage license. BOO-YAH.. they get my autograph
  12. I get the priveledge of seeing and being apart my best friend get married to the man of her dreams. As a bestie that is truly the best part of my job... Love you girl!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I want more Chowda... Boston '11

So nursing school has taken up most of my summer but we got a brief repreive and off to Boston I went! So along for the journey was Kendall and Kathryn; two good friends of mine. Now this trip had been in the makings for several months but due to busy schedules most of activities planned were done on the fly : ) Upon arrival to Boston we made our way to the hotel and got in some shopping. Typical girls right? After getting settled for the evening we went on a ghost tour. Yes a ghost tour of the most haunted places in Boston. Now if you are screaming nerd alert at this moment... you are correct and I enjoyed every minute. We lucked out that it turned out to be a very informative/historical tour as well including everything to the beautiful OmniParker Hotel to the Cranary/Common burial grounds. After the tour us ladies went out for a round or two.
Day two got off to a late start after our one or two beers turned into three or four : ) But never the less the girls and I took in some more of the sites. I love being a tourist. I am sure that lost 99% of the time and looked confused but I absolutely love it. So to wrap a day of being the tourist we had to have a meal that examplifies tourist. We went to Cheers. Now if you do not know what Cheers it was a long standing sitcom of the 80s and early 90s. I remember my dad watched it religiously. Now his grown daughter has the same appreciation, so we had to go Where every one knows my name. We opted for the traditional burgers and beers. However, we had one brave soul of the group take on the Norm Burger. It is their version of Man v. Food. And Kendall dominanted it with flying colors. If you want to see how big this multi-patty burger is check it out on their website... Eh. Oh and Check out kendall's name for dominating that sucker. Needless to say we had a couple groups of guys taking bets to see if she would truly finish it. It was pretty funny, especially when she stood up and realized she is the size of my pencil. Just to kick it up a notch one of the groups of men bought her a sizeable slice of cake as a congratulations. She demolished it too. I have to say it was quite impressive. After we rolled Kendall out of Cheers we head back down to the North End which has large portion of Italians! So we headed for canolis and some more shopping. Upon arrival we found out there was a street festival. In Italian tradition a family will put on a festival in honor of their family's patron saint. Street vendors and carnival games alike line the streets. There is music and an area to give offering to the saint for their blessings. So the girls and I cruised the streets and checked out the sights. Bellisimo.
Day three. The original plan for day three was to get up and rock and roll out of Boston to NYC. NYC was going to be a short visit to see
some of my favorite girls from Minnesota. It was to be a reunion on the east coast. However it was not meant to be. After a small late start, give us a break were on vacation.... and some difficulties with a traffic jam in the rental car parking lot. Then to follow up a MASSIVE traffic jam on the Massachusette pike way. FRICK did not know "the Cape" was such a big thing on the weekends. Go figure right?! After three hours of traffic and frustrations we turned around and high tailed it back to Boston. We saw Fenway on the way out.. sooo we decided to stop on the way back. Parked right next to the park and found the tour times. We had a phenomenal time at Fenway. Beyond my profound love for baseball, it was cool to hear the history of Fenway. During the tour we made friends with one of our tour guides. In making friends, we got to take the long way to the Green Monster... which was through Fenway's Hall of Fame. Saw the Babe's jerseys, Ted Williams rookie jersey, and other assorted memorabilia... Cool history. Even for a Twin's Fan. Beyond the awesome tour, our tour guide recommeded some place to go for the evenings activities. Based on his recommendations we ended up at a place called Ned Devine's. It is a local chic bar/club. We had a blast. Made some friends and rocked the night away... there was a local band playing rocking some great covers. All and all an unsucessful attempt at NYC turned out to be another STELLAR night in Boston. Thanks to Coach Adams we ended Saturday on a great note!!
During our tours, we had stopped by Old North several times. Old North Church was built in 1723 and is famous for the ride of Paul Revere where they hung the laterns to signal the British were coming. Old North still run service every Sunday. So we went. It was a beautiful service, we sat in Theodore Roosevelt seats?! There a little plaque stating that Teddy himself had attended service seating in these seats. Pretty cool. After service we bopped around the North End again, and made our way to the Science Museum for the famous duck tours. Now the duck tour was pretty cool because you see Boston by land and by sea, however definitely make it one of your first stops. Since we had been a couple tours already, it wasnt as compelling. Moreover, when the water portion of your trip is more exciting for the 5 year olds to stir the boat then what you actual saw. But we can say we did it. I guess, right?! The picture below was taking from the North End on Hanover Street. You can find the best Canolis down this street and some fabulous gnocchi and other assorted Italian cuisine : )

The Finale. I'll keep this day short and sweet. Due to the fact it was short day and it was spent tour the lovely campus of Northeastern University and the West end of Boston. It was the business end of the trip. To sum up the trip... It was AWESOME. Truly, I did not know what to expect of Boston beyond it is some where I was looking for potential graduate school options. I woulod HIGHLY, recommend visiting Boston if you ever get the chance. From the history to culture it is truly one of kind. However, now it is back to reality in Nodak for school. Thanks to Kendall and Kathryn for an awesome time out on the coast!