Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'll be home for Christmas

if only in my bed, snuggled up in sweatshirts and magenta colored fleece blankets, and Thera-Flu in my tummy. Though my current sickly condition makes for a less active first days of Christmas break, there is nowhere else I would rather want to be... than home.

I thought I had barely skirted past the winter flu season a few weeks ago, as a few good night's rest took care of it. But I guess I was wrong. It came back full force to invade this nursing graduate's body. (Yes, I took my last final yesterday and have officially passed nursing school.)

As I sat eagerly watching my two younger brothers' basketball games last night, my body was shivering quite uncontrollably. I kept having to switch my sitting position every few minutes in an attempt to achieve comfort for my ever-growing sore body.. and to hide my Parkinsonian-like tremors. By the end of the game, my mother's cool hand could detect a full fledged fever on my forehead and rosy red cheeks.

While I sit here eating my hot chicken noodle soup and drinking my cold Coke Zero (hmmm, my environmental factors do not seem to help my body's vacillation from hot to cold), I am pondering the GREAT previous weekend I had in Salt Lake-- and the severe sleep deprivation from maximizing time with friends and family. ............Ooohhh! It all makes sense now. :)

1} A surprise visit from Derek Erstad, who happened to be interviewing for medical school at University of Utah... unbeknownst to either of us we would both be in Salt Lake the same day. So dinner at DoDo, some Grey's Anatomy and Saved by the Bell, adventures finding the medical school in the dark the night before the big interview, and much laughter to go around... I was more than delighted to be his SLC tour guide.

2} The third annual college-kid gathering to see Kurt Bestor's Christmas Concert, a special treat from Grandma Clifford (aka Nani). Delights from the sights and sounds of the musical gala, yummy food from Lambs Grill and Cafe, and one massive bowl of peppermint ice cream, I was utterly satisfied.

3} Jessica Kruger, and company. That's all there is to it. Except, The Day the Earth Stood Still was something we all could have gone without. Sleepovers cuddling in one bed, waking her up during her tumultuous nightmare, Cafe Rio, munching on her fiance's mother's english toffee, and the never ending laughter between the two of us... I swear to it that if she could just somehow turn male, I would marry her (him?) and I would be the happiest being alive.

4} Kimmy Harman. And meeting her for the first time, but knowing we would have so much fun as hopeful future roommates. Sugarhouse is our desired relocation-and we have found some adorable rentals. So for some reason when I was awaiting a prescription to be filled at Albertson's Pharmacy on Monday, my eyes quickly bypassed all fashion and teeny bopper magazines, and headed straight for the Beautiful Homes issue. And then my imagination went a little wild, with $$$ clouding all rational thought.

4} Late night chats with Grandma Anderson-Mangum. Her listening ear and her keen wisdom are quite admirable. Though she only stands at 5'4", it's no secret that great things come in small packages.

My trip down south only reaffirmed my excitement for the future permanent move.
But first.... I must use all of my acquired education and nurse myself back to health (along with sweet concerned check-in phone calls from my mother).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears



My work on a hospital floor has ended, finished, commenced, taken its last breath… whichever satisfies you. What satisfies me? The relief felt from being the recipient of that “last breath.” I finished my clinical on the Labor & Delivery floor yesterday, having completed all 90 hours of unpaid service to laboring women in Boise, Idaho. Oh how blessed I was to be on that floor for my preceptorship, but how blessed I am to be done. An interesting paradox, yes!
{Photos taken from summer of '07.. guess the scrubs don't quite fit so tight these days. yikes.}

Furthermore, I selected to care for Dr. Klomp's patient on my last 12 hour shift... which meant I would work side by side with the obstetrician who delivered me on that very floor 21 (and a half) years ago. And he happens to be a dear family friend; so when he walked in at 0730 and put his miracle-working hands on my shoulders (in the middle of my IV start, mind you..), I knew I could not have picked a more satisfying finale.

My preceptor, Julie Barta, was the perfect woman for the job. She and I clicked from day one with the initial acceptance of one another due to the common length of our legs. But moreover, she was kind, and patient, and so willing to accommodate all kinds of experiences unique to the floor. She was my mother-hen dressed in blue scrubs, with casual wit and fun humor to combat stress and the expansion of my comfort bubble. She was approachable with questions and willing to teach at the drop of a dime, no matter how many times she has rattled off the same information to many a precepting students or new orientees.

And she happened to be from an LDS family herself, so when not inserting large 18-gaged IV’s and checking vaginal cervix's with two “lubed” fingers, we discussed religion and the importance of balance in our lives. Strange how certain people step into your life at poignant points in one’s existence… Not a coincidence, I do believe. Angels are sent to us in the form of our fellow man for comfort, help, and reassurance.

Graduation is now merely 10 days away, with only one more day of classes, some concluding preceptorship paperwork, and one “final” exam (consisting only of covered material from the last three weeks, i.e. how to be nice, and how to be culturally sensitive…. Yeah, you get the picture) standing in my way. This means GO TIME for NCLEX review and study. This means question after question of NCLEX-style queries. And it means ever increasing anxiety for those upcoming nursing boards. On the whole, I am definitely not an anxious, worrisome individual. But this test, this test really gets my blood pressure up, ignites the racing thoughts, and allows worry to seep in through every presently unclogged pore.

As I sat in Barnes and Noble today for an even longer period usually spent in a single clothing store, I plopped onto the ground in the middle of the Nursing/Medical section. Hair pulled back into a ponytail topped with a red Stanford baseball cap, and black Nike spandex covering every extremity, I flipped through the pages of many NCLEX review books. I got lost in the helpful mnemonics written for the massive amounts of information needing to be refreshed from the dusty and rusty synapses of my brain. For one brief moment, I felt rather confident. Yes, see, I know this stuff! I know it. I know it. I. Know. It.

Perhaps like Dorothy, if I replace the currently appareled running shoes with my red pumps (sans glitter), click my heels together, squeeze my eyes and white-knuckled fists tight, and say it over, and over, and over… I will believe it; and my world will be a bit more black and white, a little bit more cut and dry.

“There’s no place like a Pearson Testing Center to take the NCLEX. There’s no place. I know it. I know. I know it…..”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Enough Already


Okay, okay.. so I am sure many of you will be thinking that very thought after reading this post. However...

I recently acquired this article from Quentin Smith regarding the phenomenon many of us like to call, Twilight. I began reading the piece with a cynical attitude, expecting just another article describing why so many fans (particularly girls and women) love the books and the subsequent cinematic adaptation. Yeah, yeah, I already know why we love it; no need to convince me, or inform me why it is such a success, I know. However...
The article is like poetry to my temporary glass half-emptied ears- as it so beautifully articulates my secret, a secret held by so many. Yes, it's long; yes, I skipped over the discussion about Gossip Girls and Harry Potter, because of course all I want to read about is Twilight. But with an at-first skeptical, soon-turned addict Twilight reader as the article's author (who happens to be older, and thinks of herself 'too mature' for young adult fiction), her sensual words poignantly embodies the allure behind the story.

The rapture of the naked soul, with it's natural human desires, instincts, and fantasies- can seize the psyche, no matter how sober from an ice cold glass of water. No matter how firmly we root ourselves in spiritual beliefs, no matter how green we want to go, or how far we earn formal education, no matter how deep our pocketbooks run... there is an undeniable, irreplaceable, and utterly irrevocable quality we cannot ignore. No matter how far we may refuse, or stifle, or hide it. For some it may be just a faint outline of the elephant in the room, or for others it may be a full fledged raving tie-dye rendition, with fireworks and kinetic chinese dragons.

To love without reserve; to romance with unconditional force; to lust animalistically; and to seize the exclusive invitation for our innate passions is a unique gift. Even if it means simply sitting within inches of, or a touch on the arm, from the one who is the sole catalyst of these fascinating (cardiac and neurologically controlled) entities, regret from savoring it rarely takes seed.

Twilight does not speak of this in a whisper. It is free of a tone of gossip, clearly lacking the image of two teenage girls cupping their hands to their mouths in an attempt to even fend off the best of lip readers. No, Twilight acknowledges, embraces, and celebrates the bewitching power of the human sensuality.

This is why I find great delight in Twilight. It is the passion behind the fictional story- passion to be emulated, admired, and desired. The kind of physically aching, heart palpitating, breath crushing passion.



....Oh yeah, did I tell you I was a hopeless romantic?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Testing, Testing, 123

After some technical difficulties, and useful problem-solving suggestions from this gal, Diana Hulme, I "fixed" the viewing of my pinning ceremony invitation per my previous post.

Reason for fixed to be set off in quotation marks? Eh, you'll see.

Apparently just as much as my artistic abilities suffer, so follows my tech-savvy inadequacy. Bummer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

So I don't really cook; not that I don't want to, but I am just not very good at it... okay, yeah, I just don't want to.

I don't scrapbook. I severely lack any kind of skill to "cutesify" paper. So instead, I blog. One picture at the top of an electronic screen and that's about my limit.

I can't sew. My seventh grade table runner from Home-Ec class proves why. Or my mangled hot pad, for that matter. My mom recently asked me to help put my brothers' scouting merit badges onto their sash for their Eagle Court of Honor. I looked at her in bewilderment. "With the hot glue gun," she muttered. Oh, okay. I can do that.

I can't draw. Stick figures with massive chicken winged hands are my best method of articulating illustrative thought. Even as a little girl when I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer- I knew I was doomed.

So instead, I express myself by what I wear. Someone else can draw it, sew it, and slap it onto a mannequin.. And I will buy it. I truly value fashion as a form of personal artistic expression. As one of my best friends, Julie Andersen, once said to me, "You are so good at being you." In other words, "you wear some dangerous stuff, girlfriend."

But give me a large green grassy field, a pair of black Adidas Copas (sorry Mr. M. Hansen, it is the one athletic piece of mine that is unfortunately absent of the Swoosh), with a round air-filled ball.. And I will beat some people up.

The one thing I can take credit for that stems from the right side of my brain, is my handwriting. I think I have decent penmanship. But that definitely was not always the case. With every passing academic year, my handwriting changed, even up until my freshman year in college. I had to make a conscious effort in perfecting my visible written word.

My point from all this literary foreplay is this: I am not naturally gifted in the arts. I am nowhere near, nor will ever be, in the realm of Martha Stewart, or Diana Tueller Hulme, or Kimmy Harman. But my handwriting experience is evidence that I can improve. So when I volunteered to design the Nursing Pinning Ceremony (like unto a graduation) invitation, I even surprised myself. But I thought this very special occasion deserved class and taste; and I thought I had enough, so somehow it would work itself out.

So after exhausting all creative juices, this is the 5.5x4.25 inch Cardstock byproduct:



Today I received an e-mail from our nursing resource guru, who stated the head of the department of nursing was so impressed with my little invitation, that it will henceforth and forevermore... be the standard for all future pinning ceremony invitations.

Who knew?!?!?!

Certainly not me.

Go Big, or Go Home

So only a few will understand this post, but for those who do... This is for you.




Go big, or go home. I guess that was my motto without even knowing it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Very Fine Place to Start

But I can't seem to find that place.

Much has happened this week, yet I don't feel like I have much to blog about. What I am learning is if I wait too long to blog (even though it hasn't even been a week since the last post), the less I have to say. Strange phenomena, yes?

So here's a brief synopsis of my Thanksgiving week... (and only in black and white lettering, as my camera's battery died and I lack the sheer will to search for it in my blackhole of a purse to charge the juices).

Tuesday night, the fam drove down to Salt Lake, arriving around midnight and then snuggled up in one-room slumber party fashion around 1am. The following day brought us a chance to see the uber cool exhibit, Body Worlds, downtown. As I took my Anatomy and Physiology course online years ago, my cadaver experience lent itself as an e-dissection of cartoon frogs. Hence, this "live," but "dead" show of once-living bodies and the inner workings of our magnificent systems, was AWESOME. Disembowelment, full peripheral nervous system layouts, and embryonic growth from day one to birth, only made for a fascinating experience (and a great academic review).

Though it is rather pricey, it was well worth it. And it was great to verify my blood pressure still runs super low. Guess end of the semester cramming and a long run of tachycardic palpitations from heartache have not caused too much damage.

Wednesday evening was filled with turkey, broccoli and cheese casserole (my favorite), mashed potatoes, delectable rolls, and Grandma's famous raspberry jam. Moreover, the edible sustenance was perfectly accented with great company. Apparently, I have not yet graduated to the "adult" table, due to extra occupancy from marriages and significant others joining the feast. Alas, I must relinquish all hopes in ever outgrowing the "teenager" table. Perhaps, one day, when I suddenly wish the aging clock to stop, I will appreciate the seating arrangement. ;)

Though most of November 27th (Happy birthday, Parker! I so adore you, my sweet brother) was spent in the car driving back home, I enjoyed a focaccia turkey sandwich from the Flying J gas station in Brigham City, apple pie at the Peay home, and a third viewing of Twilight. And Edward gets sexier every time.

Parker's girlfriend, Meegan Small, joined our family for the weekend. What a doll. We dabbled in a Senior All-Star football game for Madison, near-whole family jogs, Broadway-esque performances from my little sister's sing and dance group at Boise's Festival of Trees, and a fourth viewing of Twilight. Yep, E-dawg still so easy on the eyes.

And I dabbled in an evening out on the town with old friends on Friday. I haven't had so much fun in quite a long time. The Boise downtown nightlife made for a great high school reunion, particularly highlighted by the scariest pirate face competition with the Hardy boys. So looking forward to Christmas break for a repeat.

Now back to the real world. Gotta focus. Gotta revamp my priorities. Gotta reboot the system. As an old friend would say in a determined tone, "Face off," while pretending to remove the invisible party mask in a single hand sweeping motion.

But, hey, it's only for two more weeks, right?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Break.

A time to show gratitude for our packed to the brim cornucopia of bounteous blessings.

A time for overindulgence, for going to bed with a stomach ache, and for carbo loading (for no reason whatsoever, or to pad our "winter coats").

A time to spend extra time with people we love, and laughing, reminiscing, all night long.

A time for a trip to Salt Lake (though it be a quickie this time) for Mangum Family Turkey-Day dinner Wednesday night. Every year. It must be done. No questions asked.

A time to see too many movies in the theater; and consequentially overindulge (ah, yes, we have seen this verb before) the pocketbook. Hence, a time to rationalize a possible third viewing of Twilight. Again, no questions asked.

And most of all, a time to spend the former usual hours spent in the classroom, shopping. (...When I have a vehicle averaging 32 miles to the gallon, further excuses naturally extend themselves.)

PS: Graduation arrives on my doorstep in T-25 days.

PPS: Which really only means 12 "school days."

PPPS: That is LESS THAN two weeks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Committed

So maybe, just maybe, I loved seeing the movie, Twilight, Friday night.

And maybe... just maybe, I loved it so much I went to see it again, today.

And furthermore, my two younger brothers definitely wanted to see it with me, too. There are zero maybes in that claim.

So in a very short span of sixteen hours...
  • I have had five of those to stare at Rob Pattinson on the big screen, and talk cinematic-shop with the family members who joined me;
  • two+ hours to cozy up in my pajamas to watch Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire- aka Cedric Diggory, aka Rob Pattinson;
  • eight hours of dream-filled sleep (and did in fact remember the dream) with you know who as the star;
  • and sixty minutes to download the Twilight soundtrack and transfer to my iPod, to then listen in my car while driving to see the movie, again.

I have sold my soul to Twilight.

Or perhaps I should say, traded my soul with Twilight in exchange for the trusting excitement that someday such love and passion for a man, will be my very own.

Until then, my main squeeze Rob will do just fine as proxy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Attack of the Grocery Carts



Upon my arrival in the Albertson's parking lot to do a bit of grocery shopping, I turn off my engine, but leave the car's power on so I could enjoy the finale of a beautiful Jon Schmidt Christmas piece blaring (literally) through my speakers. All of a sudden a mammoth-sized gust of wind took flight; it was as if God himself was doing a little housekeeping and decided to blow off the millenias of collected dust from this old planet. But instead of provoking sneezes for earth's inhabitants, He only could muster up some whirlwinds of leaves, in transit grocery shoppers' hair... and grocery carts.

Next thing I know, my peaceful moment of reflection mid piano concerto is abruptly interrupted as I see two metal grocery carts flying toward my car, at ramming speed. My small brown eyes widen to a full stretch, and I begin to laugh heartily, out loud. What should I do?! The carts aren't slowing down... And they literally have my Optima as the sole "must destroy" target.

I quickly turn down my music (it is such a habit, as I cannot think clearly with musical interference), and with my keys still in the ignition, I fire up the engine. I flip the transmission into reverse, simultaneously check my mirrors, look behind my shoulders (while still laughing), and sporadically swerve out of the yellow lined parking space.

With the white colored target now out of killing range, the grocery carts opt for a suicide mission instead, and plant their gray scrap metal into the fender of a nearby vehicle.

Phew!!! Who knew an ordinary day at the food market, with the help of inanimate objects, could turn the trip deadly. Or at least, costly.

Okay, now back to that Christmas music... Volume up!

{Moral of the story: Put your quietly-violent shopping carts AWAY when finished with them. Just like the use of a car's turning blinker, it's really not that difficult. Thanks.}

----------------------------


PS: Twilight. Tomorrow night. 7pm. I haven't been this obsessed about a movie, and/or actor (ahem, Rob Pattinson) since the partnership of Titanic and Leonardo DiCaprio. Am I really eleven years old all over again?? Seriously, it's kind of out of control.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Mid-Autumn Night's Dream

Secret of Life #1. Subconscious Stimulation.

During my slumber, I hardly ever dream. Or if I do, I never remember it. I claim this as my reasoning for my frequent deja-vu. (I dream the future without even knowing it. Schyeah, the basic five sense package is SO for losers).

But, I woke up Tuesday morning very vividly remembering my dream. The kind of dream where you suddenly realize your bedroom is a strange and lonely place, and immediately the eyelids are shut closed, desperately trying to escape back to fantasy land. The imagination is set free to run wild, to paint the messiest collage of color known to the world of visible light.

So, perhaps my imagination is reeling from a lack of such uncultivated energy… and was trying to tell me something; or wanted to take matters into its own hands to mitigate the effects of such deprivation. Though I am surely not one to seek it out in reality “just because.”

Yes, you guessed it.

I definitely had a make-out dream.

So as I quickly squeezed my eyelids to an impenetrable seal, the dream naturally, and unwillingly, was fading- or at least the reality of it all. And yet, my mind allowed me to take a few moments and really soak in the emotion behind the warm, seductive embrace- and the strange remembrance of the light pink collared shirt worn by the handsome victim.

No worries, the ecstasy was PG-13, or dare I say PG (as ratings go these days). Nonetheless, the power of a kiss is undeniable. And physically taxing. Waking up to a pounding heart can be quite arduous. Ohh, I can see the newspaper article now:
“Young girl dies of myocardial infarction from provocative REM.”
The dream stuck with me for the rest of the day, and clearly long enough to persuade me to write it down as a legal document. Being that every time I record my most inner thoughts (though quite censored for the public), it is only more proof and hard physical evidence of my guilty plea for what have you. Lunatic; hopeless romantic; utterly mad woman; super cheese ball; unashamed. You pick.

So, if my deja-vu theory proves correct, guess my lips won’t be burning calories anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zero Dead Zones

The new LG EnV2 from Verizon is mine. Happy early Christmas to me.




(Though I am justified.. as my old warrior-of-a-phone's monitor was hanging on by a single plastic hinge. She was bruised, battered, scuffed, and on her death bed... I just sped up the process a bit.)

RIP sleek silver oversimplified flip phone. You were good to me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Future of America

And to further my Christmas cheers...

A double-fisted cheers to my dear friend, Derek Erstad, as he embarks on a journey many of us only fantasize about (if that even, as most of us do not know such lengths are possible).


Derek will be interviewing in San Francisco tomorrow for the Marshall scholarship. And then he will be off to Seattle to interview, as he was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar finalist. Simply to be nominated is an incredible feat, one of which makes me so proud to have him as someone so near and dear to my heart; but if he is selected, he will have the opportunity to study and research medicine at Oxford University in England for two years.


I like to brag, because he never does.
Good luck to you Derek. You have my utmost respect, and my open arms to welcome our superhero back home.

And so it begins..

..the never ending, continuous outpouring of Christmas music. From my laptop. From my car. From the family's CD stereo. From my iPod. And from my daydream humming.

Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of year.

When all too quickly flipping through my agenda, I sometimes accidentally bypass December. And literally, a surge of despair rushes through my veins. I haven't missed Christmas! No! Not yet! Go back--quick! Soon follows the inaudible sigh of relief as the the eleventh month of the year flashes on the correct page. Phew! Dodged a bullet.

Josh Groban's soothing vocals, George Winston's inspirational piano, Mormon Tabernacle Choir's powerful sound, Sarah McLachlan's peaceful melodies, Mannheim Steamroller's funky new-age perspective, and James Taylor's folksy tunes...

Nothing really puts me more in the Christmas mood than music. Other than the scent of wilderness Pine right in my living room, the delightful wrapping paper colors, the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers, pretty party dresses, and the FOOD! Oooh, the food. The delectable aroma of my mother's caramels boiling, a recipe which has been passed on from generation to generation, always signifies the time to celebrate the birth of Christ. We refuse to allow my mother to make them eleven months out of the year...

...And most of all, the true spirit of the Holidays. The Spirit of Jesus Christ, and celebrating His life, His purpose, and the happiness He inevitably brings me.

No matter what Deity you may reference for celebrating the beauty of life, as I know billions differ from mine, isn't it so great to know we each can find happiness in our own right? By our own means, and through different faiths? That, to me, is the core of the spirit of Christmas (and of life, really). A time to honor whomever or whatever we choose.

So, cheers. Cheers with your finest wine, your diet coke, your eggnog, your lemon water, or your aged cognac. Cheers to this MAGNIFICENT time of year!

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lyrical Parallelism

"Pay my respects to grace and virtue. Send my condolences to good. Give my regards to soul and romance; they always did the best they could. And so long to devotion; you taught me everything I know. Wave goodbye, wish me well. You've got to let me go..."
-The Killers, "Human"
This so hits home for me. Breaking through. Reaching new boundaries, but keeping one foot fastened to the foundation. Thinking of the possibilities. But scared out of my mind.

Props to my sweet cousin, Alexandra Mangum, for your infinite wisdom and friendship.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feel the Burn

Secret of Life #1. Autumn in Boise.
With a morning to sleep in and a flexible afternoon to follow, I decided to take advantage of my youth, healthy lungs, new music on the iPod, calorie reserve from the inevitable Sunday overindulgence, and the magnificent fall colors dans Les Bois. I ran up to Table Rock (yes, for fun!) and spent too much time gazing into the valley below.

Having overheated on the battle upward, I had wrapped my black long sleeve dri-fit shirt around my waist. However, standing on the steep plateau overlooking the city below, the wind chilled the sweat against my skin, so I unwrapped the shirt from my waist and stuck my arms into the sleeves. As I stood on the graffiti-covered cement bench with my brunette ponytail whipping in the wind, I took a deep breath and looked longingly to the farthest visible point and soaked in the brilliant colors flooding the horizon.

I spotted Timberline High School, and White Pine Elementary a mere hundred yards away from it. I guessed the approximation of my home, and of my usual running route on Parkcenter boulevard. My heart surged with pride as I clearly identified St. Luke's hospital, then St. Alphonsus, and followed the freeway to St. Luke's Meridian. The posh new Boise State football field sky boxes stood out against the perfect blue sky and pointed in the direction of the BSU soccer/tennis bubbles, where I had practically taken up residence for the past 5 years of my life.

This is my home. My city; my twenty one year old life and my memories. I love Boise.


Secret of Life #2. Rocking out to "Bottoms Up," by Keke Palmer.
In my bedroom. By myself. Wearing my pajamas. In front of a mirror.

How else do you better prepare for a killer run up Table Rock?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside (II)

A weekend with the ENTIRE family usually leads to the inevitable: Christmas card photos.


PS: After working two twelve hour hospital shifts in a row, coupled with a terrible night's sleep due to stuffed nasal sinuses and too much on my mind, I allowed myself to splurge this morning. One massive cereal bowl of Fruit Loops. I need to increase my intake of vitamin C, and I thought the placebo effect would work wonderfully. We will see.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day One

Secret of Life #1. The miracle of life.
Even when it is in sharing with complete strangers.

I helped deliver my first baby today. And it was beautiful.

Why?

Because I connected with a wife and a husband, a mother and a father, in such a deep manner that the only way to describe it is through my reaction at the baby girl's birth. I cried. I looked up at the father, and he was crying. And we cried even more.

Okay, we ALL know, this was not the first time I have ever experienced an utter lack of tear duct blockage. However, my reaction completely startled me; totally caught me off guard. But that is truly the essence of the miracle of life; God working at His finest. Being a sweet young family giving birth to their second little girl, whom I had only known for a mere 5 hours, we were able to make such an impact on one another. One that I truly will never forget.

And as strange as it was, I saw myself in this birthing mother. I am single; and not even as a marital status, I am not even dating anyone. I am nowhere near childbirth. But I felt close to this woman. And she happened to be married to a man who looks so similar to my first love. In a very honest way, my heart ached. Despite my best efforts for self preservation, I inevitably felt the burn and pain of a breaking heart. It had been awhile. And it stung; and it stings.

And my cheeks soon became covered in salt.

I am wiped out. But alas, day two: tomorrow.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fleeting Sunlight

Secret of Life #1. Daylight Savings Time.
But only when we fall back; and even if it means a speedier westbound sun, because...

...as I sat in class today, I had a moment. A moment of gratitude, of inner peripherally radiating warmth, and a moment of contentment.

Sitting in my navy blue khakis, and a collared shirt revealing its baby blue stripes at the nape of a cozy fall camel-colored sweater's neck, my mind wandered from the illuminated white powerpoint screen and glanced to the window at my left. As the man-made light reflected off my glasses in the overly darkened room, I realized the superfluous indoor gloom stemmed from the impending nighttime scene creeping upon our campus.

"Oh, yeah, " I thought to myself, "Daylight Savings Time. Right."

And my usual response would then ensue as a depressing sigh, or a silent groan, as the quickened darkened sky signals the official turning of the summer tides. But this time, my initial reflexive reaction was different. I had my moment.

I felt grateful to be sitting in a classroom, learning and educating my mind. I renewed my love for warm autumn sweaters. I slipped into a mesmerizing coma as I stared at the City of Tree's fiery reds, yellows, and oranges warping themselves into the shape of leaves. And most of all, I had a moment of passion and zeal for the gift of life. I took in a large dose of oxygen through my nose, closed my eyes for a few brief seconds, and rezoned on the educational lecture topic at hand...

And so I hope to find these moments everyday, because there is something or someone, with every new sunrise, that can trigger the intoxicating satiety cascade as it's pumped through the veins with each heartbeat.

And it even rained today.

The Little Witch

Secret of Life #1. Younger siblings through which to live vicariously.

I have so enjoyed re-living high school sports and relishing in the success of my younger brothers on the football field this fall. And the privileges of having a baby sister: Halloween's true spirit is still intact in our family, at least for a few more years. I helped Abigail gussy up for trick-or-treating with her friends, as the rest of us were headed where? Yep. A Timberline football game.

She was not allowed to wear mascara, but I sure had fun curling her blond locks and lining her les yeux with gray eye pencil, so much so that mascara would not have been needed anyway.

Our pretty little witch.

Sweet 'n Salty


Secret of Life #1. Savory Salt.

A gratifying and fulfilling Sabbath it surely has been today. During Sunday School hour at church, the topic of discussion stemmed from 3rd Nephi, Chapter 12-13: The Beatitudes.


Specifically focusing on the "Salt of the Earth," we discussed the importance of salt in our foods, and what happens when the ingredient is left out. Or the way salt attains it's impurities- through mixture and contamination, and not from age or the passage of time. The principle is a very applicable metaphor to our own lives, and can be interpreted or demonstrated through various methods. Some chose to liken a lack of the great combination of Sodium and Chloride to a bland, undesirable life without Christ. Others relate salt to losing its savor from distractions, sinning without repentance, or an idea I specifically publicly suggested- complacency, lacking an active will to progress and better ourselves even when doing 'good' things.


Do to the great volume of active participants during the church lesson, I limited my comments to one. However, because this is my journal and my refuge for personal intuitions, I wish to expand upon another salt metaphor that clicks with me, and jives with my inner nursing-educated mind:


Food is a great life pleasure. The satiety of a chocolate Reese's peanut butter cup, or the nostalgia of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving; life's sustenance is so very enjoyable.


Often in the clinical setting, patients are diagnosed with certain conditions requiring them to limit their salt intake, whether it be congestive heart failure or renal disease. In my experience of aiding these patients in implementing a life-altering diet change, their response is almost always unanimous: Frustration, anger, and an obvious lack of zeal for life. Why? Because a great source of pleasure is being strictly limited and negatively altered, often for their rest of their lives. The once savory salt is now the bad guy, one that can wreak havoc if not kept in delicate moderation.


And so my message is this: Let us not feel a need to limit the Salt in our lives because of our 'unworthiness'. Let us not lose the Savor of the Salt because we fell off track and are slow to recover. Moreover, let us cherish the magnitude of the blessings of the Salt and feel of His happiness- for the Salt is, of, and from Him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Update:

1) Though Timberline football could not come out on top in their game against Mountain View Friday night, it indelibly left their State Playoff hopes in the hands of another team's win. A big, fat, thank you to Borah High School, for blowing the Boise Braves out of the water and into the trash can. Your efforts in ceasing the progression of Boise High football for this season, and permitting the Wolves to persevere into State, is SO VERY MUCH appreciated. Though perhaps I should be sending your school my medical bills from the exacerbated ulcer tearing it's way through my gut upon the impending results of your game.

Scales of Justice: 1, Boise High: 0.


2) The new hair stylist, recommended by my mother, is money. Literally, and figuratively. I finally walked out of a hair salon wanting to show off my new trim because my locks were finally thoroughly blow-dried, straightened, de-frizzed, and tamed. My checking account, however, wanted to go run and hide from anymore "swiping." Amber at Beehive Hair, River Street in Boise, Idaho: You rock!

Scales of Justice: 1, Half-Dried Frizz Ball Hair: 0.

3) Long story short: An inattentive driving ticket gone awry (from my rollover car accident in July), lead to a "Failure to Appear" (as I received ZERO notification of when I was supposed to show up in court), and a consequential warrant for my arrest. Yup; I was an outlaw of the state of Idaho for a bit...

So after some tears and careful consultations with a lawyer, it was decided I needed to "turn myself in." Ada County Jail soon became an acquaintance of mine, as I waited for hours on end with my mother to post bail, take my mug shot, and get fingerprinted. All the while, separated families were piling in by the dozens to visit with inmates, and lockdown cement bare white walls became my emotional prison. I SO did not belong there; this whole mess was really ridiculous.

Nonetheless, $525 dollars later and a few boring-all-you-can-do-is-stare-at-the-wall hours, I walked out of there with a criminal record to my name, a void warrant, and a new court date. My likely punishment for this whole miscommunicated mess? Just some more fees. Yes, this whole debacle really was unnecessary.

Scales of Justice: 1/2, Mile Marker 107 on I-84 (and the still visible car swerve marks): 1/2.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Future Forecast

Big day tomorrow. BIG. Timberline's shot to win a bid to the State football play-offs; their destiny is in their own hands.

Haircut (just a trim, really, as my patience is still persevering in growing the locks out) with a new stylist, referred to by my mother.

And apparently my good girl ways have somehow allowed for a criminal background to creep in- and I gotta go set the record straight. Details to follow.

Let the Scales of Justice prevail, in all aforementioned accounts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All Hallows Eve

Superstitious, I am not; an astrologic believing mind, I do not own.


But during the celebratory month of the Pagan Holiday, why not give in a little...


Halloween Horoscope for Cancer
You're usually the one who gives out the best candy in your neighborhood.
And you really get into the halloween spirit decorating your house.

Costume suggestions: A witch, wizard, or angel

Signature Halloween candy: Mini peanut butter cups

Scary movie you should celebrate Halloween with: Evil Dead 2


And may I even be so bold as to declare, this really isn't too far from the truth! If the Evil Dead 2 scary movie suggestion can be traded for Hocus Pocus, we are so right on the money...


Monday, October 20, 2008

Visible Light


Secret of Life #1. December 18, 2008.

Graduation from nursing school is so close, I can taste it! A date less than two months away represents the end of my nursing school training at Boise State University; what a long journey it has been, and what a long way I have come. As I finish up my rotational clinicals at St. Alphonsus hospital on the ICU, CCU and neuro floors, I even surprise myself at how quickly I can formulate a concept care map for certain diagnoses- particularly when it involves a failed suicide attempt gun shot wound to the head. Or a sixty year old mother and grandmother who dies of a massive cerebellar hemorrhage, leaving her brain dead and having to cease all ventilator support with all six children gathered around her bedside. Yes, I have come a long way; and my perceived honor in soon calling myself a nurse has only increased.


Secret of Life #2. The Final Stage.

So as I commence the close of my formal education at BSU, I really scored a big one. The last five weeks of the semester are deemed as the "preceptorship," referring to an intern-like hospital experience and putting together the final pieces before dismissing student status and saluting professional registered nurse. Being one on one with the same nurse for the entire 90 hour requirement and taking on a full patient load, the preceptorship is a big deal. And you want to be somewhere meaningful and of great interest. So yes, I really scored a big one.


St. Luke's Hospital: Labor & Delivery.

My first pick! For SO many reasons! Not only will I get to witness and play a small role in the miracle of life (as I have not yet been the mother laboring, nor plan on doing so in the near future), but I will get to be surrounded by (for the most part) healthy women and their families, who actually want to be in the hospital, with very little code browns to promote questioning my interest in my collegiate choice of study. Yup-I am going to help deliver me some baybays!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Secret of Life #1. Girl Scouts.

Because not only do Boy Scouts groom young males to always "Be Prepared," but my time as a Brownie and consequential Girl Scout in my younger years (Yeah, Grant, I just said the "Y" word...) taught me to follow the same vigilance. Hence, an hour in between class and an open computer at the nursing learning resource center led to finalizing some winter needs (and saving some bookoo bucks) on ebay.



(Yeah, remember how I already spoke on my new discovery of internet shopping? Guess I am still in the honeymoon phase).



At 3:05pm today, I won this for $56, originally $165:




And, at 8:15pm, this for $19.99:


Yep, it's true: The North Face = A Severe Pocketbook Weakness.



Though I am so loving Autumn in Boise, but when it is time for the last leaf to obey gravity and the temperatures fall into a severe depression... bring it on, this green-vested, merit-badged girl scout is ready.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Renewal

Secret of Life #1. My RMAP family.
After my marathon, and the subsequent dips in the hot tub paired with the half hour long steamy shower to calm my chattering teeth frozen body...

And after donning the navy blue cotton sweat cozies, and munching on delicious soup and homemade wheat bread...

And after the two hour long nap on the couch (during conference, yikes!), and more munching on Costco caramel covered popcorn-apple combo...

My family and I made our way over to the Painted Pony restaurant, where I was welcomed by warm hugs, smiles, and laughter from my RMAP family! For the first time since I left the practice mid August for an education sabbatical in Boise, I was able to see so many of my favorite people, as the marathon was made possible through the practice.

To Kim and her husband, To Ray and his stunning wife, To Bette and her husband and daughter, To Jessica and friends, To Andy and adorable family, To Katie and her husband, and most of all, To Dr. Simper and his wife, Joanna and their great kids- Hunter, Mackenzie, and Connor: It was SO GREAT to see you. Not only did it remind me why I love RMAP so much, and how I am so blessed with an opportunity to work there again come January (seriously, so lucky), but it reminded me of the great people I can call friends.

Much love to Carley, Lindsey, Roz, Paula, Andrea, Roger, Cathy, Craig, Dr. McKinlay, Dr. Smith, and Brittany (look forward to meeting you!) who were all back in Salt Lake holding down the bariatric fort. And more love to Amy and her sweet family in Rexburg, who is also taking an education sabbatical to BYU-Idaho. I missed you!!! And still miss you.

So, many thank you's to a marathon acting as a catalyst to bring near and dear friends even closer... It was such a great dinner. Thank you, thank you Simpers for your generosity to pay for the WHOLE thing! Wow.

Much respect and love from a very grateful employee and friend,
Meredith Mangum

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Evidence

Official documentation of the marathon "domination."


4:30am: Rise and shine!

The rain.... In the 32 year history of the marathon, this was only the second time it has rained.

My mother, just lovin' life, at Mile 23.

DONE and DONE! (And crying).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Done, and done.

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

-Emil Zatopek

(Note: I know, I know. This post is practically a novel. You may sigh and roll your eyes, and I do not blame you. But this is my journal, and I wrote it for me, and my future prosperity.)

I did it. I ran a marathon. I ran 26.2 miles. I ran 13.1 more miles than I ever thought I could, or wanted to run. I ran for 4 hours and 26 minutes and 5 seconds. I ran in the southern Utah rain, and through a head-on wind. I ran on a knee which has required the anterior cruciate ligament to be surgically corrected, twice. I ran with my mother, two weeks before her 50th birthday. I ran, and I conquered ME.


One and a half years ago, I completed the Great Potato Idaho half marathon in May of 2007. After which, I felt somewhat accomplished, but felt such pain experienced during the 13.1 mile race did not outweigh the outcome. I questioned my reasons for engaging in such a competition. I very openly verbalized my severe lack in desire to ever run a full marathon.


Come May of 2008, one year later, I was presented with an opportunity through my work in Salt Lake City (Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians) to run the St. George marathon. To my own surprise, it did not take much convincing to get me to sign my name on the dotted line as a participant. I called my mother up as I was shopping in Albertson's on Foothill Drive in Salt Lake for a birthday card for my grandmother. At the end of our 5 minute chat, she, too, was persuaded (with a little more effort), to conquer a continuous 26.2 mile race.


And so the training began. It started with 7 or 8 mile runs up 2100 East, past the University of Utah football stadium, at 8:00pm to avoid the summer heat. Then it became 13 miles, running by the Hogle Zoo, down Sunnyside Ave, and through Sugarhouse park. Soon 13 miles dropped the latter '3' and added a 7 instead. At that point, my 17 mile never-ending journey lead me to believe running into the teens just was NOT fun. And perhaps this marathon would be my first, and my last.


I came home to Boise for my last school semester, and was able to complete the last couple of longer Saturday runs with my mother. And soon the race was upon us. People would frequently ask, "So, are you ready?" and my response would always be, "I don't think I will ever be ready, but I'm going to run anyway." And I did. I ran. Far.


Saturday morning, 4:15am, I awoke to my cell phone alarm after a short night's rest (though it was on THE comfiest double bed in the world, at Lizzy Henderson's home). Dressed in all black, including my hat and minus my shoes, my mother and I rode the 30 minute bus trip to the starting line. Our actions at the time seemed rather illogical... Who rides a school bus up a canyon, jam packed with strangers, to then.. run back down... for fun? Too late at that point to think TOO hard on the matter.


And the rain began to fall; which meant 6,000+ runners were all competing to get the 3,000 available trash bags to use as makeshift rain coats. My mother suddenly darted away, toward something or someone I could not see, and just as quickly as she disappeared, she returned with two black plastic bags in hand. What a woman. We settled around the first fire pit, being the rendezvous point for RMAP runners, but with a pre-sunrise nighttime sky and everyone hiding beneath trash bags, none could be found. Sitting on the ground, legs tucked inside my garbage bag, an array of bare legs standing above me was all I could see. Muscular ones, skinny ones, less-'firm' ones, which only went to show that 'marathoners' come in all shapes and sizes. I soon did a double take on a very fine looking pair of presumably male legs. I thought to myself, "now there's a runner," and I slowly worked my way up to the face to find that a Y-chromosome visage perfectly matched his lower half. I fully admit, I was staring. And while staring, I gathered that his mile time would probably blow mine out of the water; he was so out of my league.

After an hour of too much thinking time, the race was ten minutes from commencement. We assembled into one large line, falling into the 04:30:00 running time slot. We stripped ourselves of our plastic body umbrellas, and were off. At first, everyone was so close together- one false move, and either you or the runner to your left/right/back/front could take a spill. Naturally, as time passed, the crowds dispersed and focus could then be reverted back to keeping pace. With my iPod shuffle music playing quietly through my headphones, I enjoyed running in the dark, chatting with my mother, and savouring the general marathon splendor.


Come first aid station at mile 3, the crowd markedly condenses, paper Gatorade cups are squished and scattered all over the road, long lines are building behind port-a-potties, and gracious volunteers (SUCH an act of service, wow!) are hurriedly bent down applying IcyHot to many parts of runner's lower extremities. It was chaos.


First bathroom break for my mother and I didn't come until mile 13 (world-record for us, I am sure). At that point, the clock read 2 hours and ten minutes. I turned to my mother and said, "Well, people are finishing now," followed by the rolling of our eyes and small chuckles. Continuing on, the splendor ensued: massive wedgies of runners in front of us, good-looking muscular legs to watch and entertain my wandering mind, and runners stepping off to the side of the road to relieve themselves (usually males due to the unfair easy access). To my very welcomed surprise, I looked to my left and saw Mr. Hotshot Legs who's-mile-time-could-blow-mine-out-of-the-water from the pre-race fire pit. You mean, my new boyfriend runs the same pace as me?! I nudged my mom and nodded toward the guy, and his fellow (and also attractive, but not quite as 'leggy') running partner. We both smiled. And I stared.

It wasn't until mile 18 when the urge to "go" was too much to bear that I, too, stepped off into the sage brush, and whipped down my black stretch capris. Just my luck, a rebellious runner decided to bypass the busy street road and opted for the side path... which just so happened to stretch right behind me, and my full moon. Whoever you are, hope you enjoyed the view!


Soon the marathon took on a whole new meaning. I have heard that at and after mile 20, the body does and experiences strange things, but I never really knew what that meant. At this point, my hips were aching, my quads were on fire, my left foot burned, my knee was screaming, I was rain-soaked from head to toe and... I had 6 miles still to go. I found myself fighting back the tears- where were these coming from?! Why all this emotion?! I knew I couldn't quit, I wouldn't. And really, the thought never crossed my mind. Being an athlete since I can remember, I have always been taught to never say die. But I certainly began to so intently WISH and HOPE the end would come quickly.


This would be the most painful six miles of my life. I had to overcome my inner devil, defeat the defeated mentality, and conquer the conquered. I never understood until this moment that running a marathon is just as much physical as it is mental. The will to DO, the drive to survive, and to push your body to limits never experienced was incredible. My body doesn't want this. It is at its limit, or so it is telling my mind. But marathoners are capable of then retorting and telling the body, NO, it's not OVER. I guess I attained the status of a 'marathoner' for one golden hour, as I willed my body to continue. As the bewildering tears welled, my breathing quickened and became more shallow, making running even more difficult. I had to gain composure. Thinking in the moment, versus the seemingly never-ending finish, was the only way to combat the emotions. Or just looking ahead thirty feet and catching a glimpse of Mr. Legs.


Three miles later, mile 23, Bette from RMAP and my family came into view giving me a SO needed extra boost. Their familiar faces, warm smiles, and excitement carried me through. The fam started to run with us on the sidewalk, cheering as they carried their umbrellas and stomped in the puddles. I needed them there so badly as my fan base, more than I thought I would. Mile 25- I look to my left and I see another recognizable face dressed in jeans and a yellow t-shirt. Nick Rasmussen! So random, but so fun! He, too, looked surprised to see me and his final cheers lifted my spirits as I turned one of the final corners to the end. The self-pity wallowing which had occurred only an hour before, soon turned to a second wind. I wanted to start sprinting. As if my mother could read my mind, or detect my suddenly lighter footsteps, she said, "Meredith, don't take off. I need you." And so I stayed. Of course, I would stay. We trained together, we already endured 25 marathon miles together, we had to finish together.

As the red and white ballooned finish line came into view, I picked up my pace, hoping my mother would follow suit. Soon my baby sister hopped onto the running course. Her energy was not only contagious, but offered some comical relief as her baggy orange sweatshirt hung from her skinny body, and her soaking wet blue jeans shimmied their way down her bottom. "Come on, mom! You can do this!" We all were pushing her and cheering her to finish strong, as we always do, no matter how long of a run we have had that day. AND Mr. Legs happened to be right ahead of us! I yelled over my right shoulder, "Mom, we can't let my boyfriend beat us!" But that didn't seem to do the trick, for her, at least.

As the cheers rose from the large crowd gathered near the end, we pushed, and we battled, and we 'sprinted' through that line. We were done! We finished! It was ALL over! VICTORY! The tears from six miles prior finally saw the light of day, and my mother and I embraced in a wet, strong hug. My mother was first to be awarded the very cool southern Utah orange rock medal, and was hugged by the deliverer. After a moment of awkward silence, I said, "Can I have my medal?" And the woman said, "Did you run?" I lifted up my long-sleeve shirt (which was to be discarded when I warmed up mid-race, but never happened) and I enthusiastically retorted, "Yes ma'am!" We then bypassed the offers for ice cream sandwiches and popsicles, and opted for buttered Great Harvest bread, while celebrating with family and friends. And then there he was- Mr. Legs crossed my path one last time. Almost instinctively, I walked right up to him, put my hand on his arm and said, "I just have to tell you that it was such a pleasure running behind you. Really, a great view." He laughed, and we congratulated one another on a race well run. Turns out my older brother knows him, as he attends BYU! (Hope he has facebook....)

My legs no longer functioned, my knee was stuck in a straight deadlock, and my body core immediately dropped sending my teeth into a wild chatter. My father wrapped his jacket around my weary, frozen body and we made the very slow trek to the car, all the while laughing, smiling and proudly displaying my medal. A nice warm meal and a soak in the jacuzzi was just what the doctor ordered....

(Pictures and the WONDERFUL RMAP dinner post marathon run-down to follow.)


"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An RMAP Reunion

Secret of Life #1. Thursday is the new black.
Well Friday is coming a day early this week, as my brothers' football team takes on Eagle High School Thursday night. Though my excitement for witnessing Mangum-to-Mangum greatness a day early can hardly be contained, I fear my nerves (and the inevitable impending gastric ulcer) reap the consequences in lacking an extra 24 hours to recover. Oh well, it's SO worth it.


Secret of Life #2. Aligning of the stars.
And why is it SO worth it? Because somewhere, somehow, a Thursday night game = perfect timing. The football game a day early (allowing me every opportunity to see my brothers compete together), drive to St. George the following day, and then attempt to defy death on a 26.2 mile run Saturday morning. Hence, I get Wolves athletic action, AND my so needed reunion with many of my RMAP coworkers at the St. George marathon! I have missed them SO much and cannot wait to engage in the sweet seduction of bariatric poetry.

The first five weeks of my clinical rotation was spent at a mental health day center (see previous post for further details), and have now moved onto the second five week sesh: Med/Surg practicum, with day one accomplished. And, wow. Have seriously not missed code browns. Poop really just isn't my thing (who knew rectal tubes catching c-diff diarrhea was such a turn off...?). In other words, RMAP... I miss you... terribly.


The only thing that would complete the star's proper (or lucky) alignment, would be a visit to see my many Utah friends. As I hung up the phone tonight with one of the best of the 801 civilians, Jessica Kruger, I counted my blessings for loyal friendship. Setting aside her busy affairs of math homework, tending to a boyfriend, yahoo-sports personal interviews, and the soon arrival of a 5am awakening, to talk to me five hours up north makes this woman INCREDIBLE. So we decided pulling off the road in Orem to gas up and carbo-load (marathons are such a great excuse to indulge) is absolutely necessary so I can wrap my arms around her skinny little waist and drown in her blonde mane.

During our long distance phone call, I voiced my (valid) excuses for my absence down south. I thought perhaps the rest of my Salt Lake readers would benefit from knowing that I miss them, love them, and have surprisingly felt that my presence in Boise to support my family's athletic endeavors holds more weight at the present time. For now, I must give 100% of me to my hometown and my family. Come January (and several weekend getaways beforehand), I am all yours.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Secret of Life #1. Hot, maybe even warm, Chocolate.

Not scorching chocolate, like the kind I had today. 'Twas my first round of cocoa in a cup for the season at the hospital, and it tasted so good..... but only after I got over the fact that the once existing taste buds on the tip of my tongue were now depleted. As I picked the Nestle mix from St. Al's cafeteria shelves and handed over the whopping $.53 cents for payment, today's date ran through my mind. I was reassuring myself I was justified in the early start into the steamy drink season. For some reason, September 20th ran across my cerebellum's ticker and I took a silent sigh of relief. Oh okay, I thought to myself, this isn't so bad. So September 29th? I'm golden!


After forking over another half dollar for another cocoa packet (need. more. chocolate.), I slipped on the cup's cardboard mini skirt, and indulged my senses. Slowly, I raised the cup to my lips, gingerly tipped the bottom toward the sky- fully wanting rich goodness to engulf me, but fully acknowledging the risks involved of sipping hot water. The benefits so outweighed the risks. Or so I thought. As my careful tipping tendencies took place, and my one-eye-open anticipatory grimace contorted my face, the immediate shock of the heat startled me (no matter how prepared we think we are, think again). Ouch! Reflexively, I attempted to remove the noxious stimuli from anywhere near my face, and the cup immediately returned to the tabletop. Now being in front of fellow nursing student comrades, I very casually attempted to hide the shock and acted like my first sip was a dream, as my innocently victimized taste buds sizzled away into oblivion.


So here I sit here chain-chewing my way through a pack of Extra bubblegum (aka the pink package). And whenever I prepare the gum piece into a flat pancake to blow a bubble by squishing it between my tongue and pallet, fried taste buds scream in agony.


To my oral braille: See the 'new you' in a week or so.

Up in the Italian Alps, drinking their version of hot chocolate (really the equivalent to a melted Hershey's bar in a cup- to lick the lips, not the fingers). When it's cold outside and it penetrates to my bones--no matter how many layers I pile on--I am always game for a good cup of HC.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And oh yeah...


One more thing.


Yep. It's Friday.


And you know what that means....


Mangum to Mangum, baby!


And the arrival of the eldest Mangum sibling from Provo, and my Uncle Geoff from Salt Lake- An exciting football game really is a great excuse to mingle with fam.


And no school.


Wow, Fridays are GREAT.

Better Late than Never...or not?

Secret of Life #1. Online Shopping.

Or perhaps this would be more appropriately tagged with my other expert Secret of Depleting One's Bank Account. For some reason I just discovered the beauty of e-shopping. Where have I been? Was I so stuck in my archaic ways by still frequenting actual stores to buy new apparel, I didn't realize I was the only customer? Seriously. My latest ah-ha(!) has not only brought my weakness to my bedroom and discarded the (my?) No-PJ's shopping cardinal rule, but has created an all too easy escape from doing what I should be doing (i.e. homework? Cleaning my bathroom? Reading my scriptures?). Yikes; time to re-balance.


But in the meantime, I will enjoy these... (At $9.20, on clearance, who wouldn't?)


And this... (when the sun's warm rays decide winter has had it's fair run)

{Side Note: Per my previous post, we all now know this swimsuit will look a bit different on me. Ah, the one perk of my obligatory blessing/curse upper-half; we can get away with so much more.}

PS- Marathon is nearly one week away. Starting to get nervous. As I strive to join the ranks of a '26.2 miler,' any advice?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memoirs of a 21-year-old.

Secret of Life #1. Fond, and comical, memories.

I distinctly remember my mother's answer, when I asked her what drives my grandmother's day-to-day happiness now that her eternal companion has passed on. My mother wisely commented, "Her memories. As we age, our memories are such happy places to go to and reflect upon."



Though such a statement didn't fully uphold it's enveloping meaning on my psyche until recently, I have so learned to appreciate my mother's wisdom. I used to view memories as whimsical, and of little importance; now? Now I see them as an integral part of an experience. We look forward to an event, as the excitement leading up to the event is just as, if not more so, exciting as the actual event, then the event occurs, and then all of a sudden it's all over and we are forced to move on. That's where memories make their mark. That's how we can continue to revel in that exciting event. And if the memory is unpleasant, that is how we can learn, grow, adapt, better ourselves. (Yikes! I apparently am feeling a bit philosophical in the wee hours of this morning).



I was running with my mother the other day, and as we ran through Bown Crossing, past the Tavern restaurant, we spotted my dear friend from my younger years, Rachel Beck, serving the outdoor tables. We waved and smiled, and my spirits felt so lifted. Of all the memories I have of, and made with, Rachel, the first one that came to mind was this fond, but comical, remembrance:



Seventh grade: Met at a friend's birthday party in Surprise Valley and we became inseparable. The evening soon morphed into two twelve-year-old girls laying across one another on the trampoline, giggling at silly self-verbalized 'jokes', and the unveiling of my first, but so not necessary despite my age, padded bra!



My memories then took me on a journey.. I was reminded of dinner at home prior to going to the birthday party. Being so intrigued by my newly purchased chest, all I could do was stare in astonishment at the mirror, clearly not comprehending that the 'woman' staring back at me with lady lumps and a defined waistline, was... me. Sigh, if only the mother-mandated make-up law of only blush and lip gloss at sub-teenage years would have made up for my face. Or if my long string-bean, all-to-evident knee-bone legs would have better complimented my size ten boats I called feet.



My mother, being so proud of her job well done in working her bosom-bracing magic, proceeded to drag me by the arm away from the mirror. Still in a daze as I tried to steal one more glance at myself in the glass, I wasn't sure what my mother needed of me- help keep the other 'kids' in the house in line? Try on different shades of lipstick to decide which one accented my needing-to-be-purchased stilettos best? Clearly, my mom wouldn't need me for anything other than grown-up woman stuff.



Much to my unpleasant surprise, she stopped me right in front of someone who was the last person on my mind with whom I would reveal my fake endowments, my father. What? Just as quickly as the word ran through my mind, my mother cheerfully asked with a wide grin on her face, "Well what do you think, Michael?!" WHAT? "Aww, MOM!", is all I could muster, as I abruptly turned and ran away, back to the mirror.....


And so I apologize to any male readers who may have considered this post information overload, but I know everyone has a story like the one I recounted (but if by happenstance, you do not, all I can say is just wait until you procreate. Awkward puberty stories are bound to happen). We all can relate, and (hopefully) we followed our parent's advice by looking back on a situation seeming serious at that present time, and laugh. I know I did. And the lightness of foot I found in my next running mile along Parkcenter Boulevard appreciated it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oldies, but Goodies


Secret of Life #1. Steel Magnolias.


So it's been a rainy weekend (two thumbs way down), filled with great friends, late nights, and virgin pina coladas; so I was all for a relaxed, cozy PJ-wearing Sunday afternoon. And that's definitely what I received, thanks to my inner-rebel convincing me I can do those NCLEX practice questions another day...


I thought to mitigate the ensuing storm outside, I would sink into the comfiest corner of the couch and pop in my newly purchased $5 dollar DVD, and one of my all time favs- Steel Magnolias. Oh boy, was THAT a mistake. Instead of calming the storm outdoors, I merely brought it INSIDE! No matter how purposefully detached I make myself while watching this classic (and I was doing SO well), the scene in which life support is discontinued... I absolutely lose it. Every time. I turned a complete 180- I wasn't sensing any sort of physical emotion (ya know, the painful throat tightening, fighting back overwhelming tears, and the consequential mascara smearing of welling eyes), and I literally thought to myself, "Man! I am doin' good!" (Bad grammar, I know, I know). And all of a sudden, it just HIT me, like a ton of bricks. I was a goner. Instinctively, I immediately tried to fight it, but that uber painful throat swelling hurt too bad, and I gave up all hope.


I'm such a sucker for tear-jerkers; I really should know better. If someone had seen my severely vulnerable state of hiding under a red blanket, laying in a near-fetal position, and rapidly wiping tears away before the salty sensation could be tasted on my lips- one's opinion of me would have been undoubtedly negatively altered. Good thing I was alone...



Wedding cakes in the form of armadillos, hairspray and 'delicate pink' nail polish, 'blush' and 'bashful' as the bride's favorite colors... "I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard


Secret of Life #1. Julie Andersen.

AKA Julio (with a silent J), Jules, Julianna... My sister from another mister.

So I am hanging out at my house, late at night with some guy friends, doing the guy thing- playing video games, oreos and snickers all over the place, and the smell of grilled PB&J (yes, you heard right) filling the entire downstairs. I am fully aware that Julie and fellow cohorts are driving in from Provo for a friend's wedding this weekend, as I had just spoken with her on the phone giving directions to my house, but had a momentary lapse in processing that she would be here any minute. Mid Wario and Bowser battle on Nintendo 64, I hear running footsteps from the front door to the family room; I immediately turn around and see the angel of a best friend standing behind the couch, her hand briskly tucking her wind blown hair (from her run) behind her ear, as she surveys all of the faces to find me. I quickly stand up and my pink sweater and 5'10" stature gave me away- our long legs only allow a mere two leaps and we are already in eachother's arms performing the "swaying hug." You know, the kind where you are so elated to see one another, the interlocked arm embrace actually sways from side to side.

I love Julie Andersen.

And Kassi Andersen; and John Kupper; and Kassi's friend, Ashley. I loved to see them all.


Oh, how I miss Salt Lake!