Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Patience is a Virtue...

...as defined by Benjamin Franklin.

He also routinely practiced what he preached. How else did the lightbulb come to be?

Welp, this virtue is on my list, too

My one-day-someday list.

Right now, as I recover from ACL surgery, patience is not my best attribute.

To read how I am trying.... go here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Warrior Status

So I had that date with the doctor. Wanna know how it went?

Read here.

With love from the girl with new battle wounds...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Take Action

It is Emergency Medical Services (EMS) week.

Read my article, "CPR Certification for Every Capable Citizen" here.

Are you prepared?

xoxo,

Nurse Mer

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Low Down

I promised more details were to follow my last post, didn't I?

Well, because I never break a promise made on my blog, here are the dets....

My column is up and running on Examiner.com! Go here to take a look. And then take another look. Hey, while you're at it, might as well go for a third trip!

(And no, of course I would never ask you to make several stops at my column because it means I get paid more. Psssh who does that. Not me. Nope. Never.)

Happy Examining, folks!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Drafted into the Pros


Dear Blog,


May I reintroduce myself to you not as your keeper, but as your professional blogger extraordinaire.


Humbled and excited, I have landed a cool new (part-time) gig. A gig that doesn't involve needles and answering gastrointestinal questions, but that involves a computer keyboard, the internet, and stringing sentences together.


I recently applied for a professional writing position for Examiner.com, as their Health and Happiness Examiner (not a blogger, but an examiner) for the city of Salt Lake.


And welp, I got it!


Compensation is based purely off of generated revenue from site hits and advertisements. So the hope for you, dear blog, is to decrease hits to you and increase hits to my page for Examiner.com. I know this may hurt at first, but it is for the best. You'll see.


More details, like my personal URL, to follow...


Your Partner in Success,


Examiner Mangum


Did I seriously just personify my blog and write a post specifically dedicated to him/her?


Thanks, Mr. Whitby....


You know this was for you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

Working in an office, I don't experience the hands on stories that many hospital floor nurses do. But I am just fine with that. Actually, I prefer it.



Teaching classes to patients pre-surgery and moderating our online forums, I get asked a lot of questions. And without fail, those questions turn gross, or socially inappropriate, but they make my job so much more interesting.



Even though I don't really want to hear about what's coming out of one of your orifices, I actually maybe really do. So.... what's your question? Oh that's gross, but here, I can't wait to give you my answer...



Sometimes the questions are straight sassy and sarcastic, and those are, by far, my favorite. I get to be sassy and sarcastic in return.



Oddly enough, I have to sensor my responses to females. if I am sassy and sarcastic to a woman, she hates me. And I have to follow it with, "I'm just giving you a hard time...." accompanied by the biggest smile I have ever produced in my life. But if a male receives my response? He laughs and dishes it right back. Oh, gender dynamics!



Well every Monday and Wednesday mornings, I teach a lengthy pre-surgery class. Yesterday was no exception. I gave my lecture on appropriate diet measures the day before surgery, including that the definition of a "light" lunch does not mean steak and potatoes. I then mentioned that nothing but clear liquids should be consumed after 6pm. After defining what fits into a clear liquid category, a patient (male, of course), then asks,

"Does Corona count?"

Fair game, sir.

Fair game.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Show Me the Money


There have been many valuable lessons learned as I have entered the real world post college. Some were more grand than others. Some were more difficult than others. But a common theme amongst many of the lessons learned was money.


I have said this before and will continue to release it from my lips into the air...


Adulthood is expensive.


It's always been a strange idea that we have to make money to simply survive. If I want a roof under which to live, I have to make money. If I want to make my bi-monthly trip to Smith's Marketplace for groceries, I have to make money. Gas for my car? Money.


I also know that I am certainly one who works to live, and does not live to work. I love being a nurse and the many ways I get to help others find better health, but the job title is not at the crux of who I am.


With a pricey knee surgery and school bills headed my way, I have felt the need to create a more concrete budget and follow it closely.


Oh, look, another adult life lesson. Budgeting.


Like my mother mentioned the other day, "What has happened to Franklin Covey? They make such great daily planners. I would like an app for that."


Because we all want "an app for that," why not get a budget app?


So I did! It's called Budgetroid. And it rocks.


Now I can forget about saving receipts (like I did much of that anyway), and having to record each purchase into a Word Document, or Quicken (if I had that...). I simply whip out my cool new 3G android phone and access my app.


My uber cool Budgetroid app.


I select which category the purchase falls under, I type in the purchase amount, and wah-lah! I have a color coded, organized, and efficient method to keep on track.


Though often my blog posts are simply for me to record my own thoughts and experiences, I think this was subconsciously written for my parents.


See mom and dad? Your coaching has paid off. Cha-ching!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

November Baby

I have this girlfriend. Well, more like a sister.

She is tall and blonde and pretty.


She has a delightfully funny potty mouth and can make me laugh more than anybody else.


I have often told her that if she were male, she would be my soul mate.

She is super athletic and loves to road bike.


She is kind, sweet, and sarcastic.

Her name is Jessica.

A year ago, she married a guy named Tony.


And today...


she is ten weeks pregnant.


Congratulations Jessica and Tony!


And thank you for making me an aunt. Cannot wait to meet the little person this fall...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tough it Out


I am a healthy individual. Lately, I have filled out so many health questionnaires for doctor's offices and surgery centers that I know when asked the question, "Do you have a history of..." I say no. To everything.


Same goes for seasonal colds and flu's. I rarely get sick.


Well, last weekend, my older and wiser brother, Parker, graduated from Brigham Young University.


My immune system must have known my family was coming into town, thinking it would be alright to let down its guard because outside help would be close by. More specifically, my mom would be there. And moms make the best nurses.


During Thursday's commencement proceedings in the Marriott Center, my body began to ache all over. It made me think, "Is this what fibromyalgia patients suffer from everyday?" But then I began to fidget so much from feeling so uncomfortable, I felt bad for the people sitting behind me. Maybe I should have popped a Ritalin just to appease their judgmental eyes.


As we made the drive from campus to a neighboring city for dinner, I stepped out of Jamal (our black Toyota Sequoia) and knew this was more than a flighty case of body aches. Sans bathroom, my lunch made it's reappearance next to a silver truck, with my mom and little sister standing guard. Needless to say, I had to constantly divert my senses away from the meatball sandwiches and pesto chicken pasta ordered that night by family members to prevent any future gravity defying stomach spills.


The saga continued, including Friday morning when I received a phone call from a friend, Derek, to ask an important question at 8am. He told me to suck it up and put my game face on. I responded with a good laugh and I fell back asleep.


With a little bit of luck, I made the trip back to Provo for the convocation ceremonies with my mom at the wheel of my car. Despite getting to know the Marriott Center's bathrooms a little too intimately that afternoon, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Parker strut across the stage and receive his diploma.


What. a. stud.


That night my mom made an emergency trip to Albertsons for the necessities and my little sister helped peel off my knee high boots and crawl into a cozy Boise State soccer sweatshirt.


Hopped up on Tylenol PM and a belly full of Sprite and Saltines, my fever broke that night.


Thank goodness, because I had to get up the next morning to teach a weight loss surgery class to potential patients.


Now how's that for a game face, Derek?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Medical Courtship

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010... I have a date with a surgeon.


No, not that guy.


This guy...

He technically is the same age as my dad.
He happens to be married. (But apparently these days that doesn't matter.)
I will be asleep for the duration of the date.
I may even wake up from said sleep and vomit all over him from nausea.
I am also planning to wear a sexy cotton backless gown.
And I will pay.
In 15 days I will be going under the knife for left ACL repair, for the third time.
Despite my date giving me a swollen and incredibly pained knee, he does give me some good drugs out of the deal. (But then again.. he prescribes, I pay.)
Until then, I'll ice my knee and pop ibuprofen like candy. It's like going on a carb-free diet before swimsuit season. (But then again.. I've never done that.)
Wish this gimp luck.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Be Positive, Lose an Electron


I'm not going to try and be eloquent, here.


It's torn. My Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is torn. Again, times three.


Dr. Kirk Lewis' repair didn't hold. Now Dr. George Wade's repair didn't hold either.


Will Dr. Michael Holmstrom's surgical gift be the one to survive until the day I am laid to rest in the ground? (Or burned to ashes? Haven't yet decided which, but I think I have time).


Clearly the surgeons are not to blame, as they each gave me 3-4 years of high school and collegiate soccer. I even "medically retired" my career at Boise State a year early to prevent any more ACL tears.


Well, call me crazy, I decided to join an indoor coed league in Salt Lake because I didn't think the level of competition would be as intense. Just as previous tears have proven, the competitive nature of the game doesn't really matter.


All three tears have stemmed from planting and cutting and ZERO contact.


Hell, I can be shopping and tear my ACL! The sudden marked decrease in my walking speed can be seen as soon as I hit the sale rack at J. Crew and can cause a tear. It's true.


But this go around really hurts. Really devastates. Really disheartens.


The second play into the game late Thursday night, I came from behind and stuck my left leg out in front of a guy ready to release the ball. I planted with purposeful force and my weight plunged forward all onto my knee.


And snap.


I felt and heard the tear. Sounds like the loudest knuckle pop in the world.


The pain was unprecedented. And I knew exactly what I had done (even though I still paid the $25 copay to hear it from an MD's mouth).


As soon as my teammates helped me to the bench, I immediately began to feel physically nauseous and I began to hyperventilate. A combination of knowing the road that lie ahead of me and the actual response to the physical pain, I had to lie down to prevent throwing up or passing out.


For the next 40 minutes, I had to rest on the chipped paint bench and stew over what had just taken place. It felt unreal, like a bad dream that I couldn't wake up from. Or like I could somehow pretend that this actually didn't happen. Well unlike Michael J. Fox, I myself cannot go back in time and reverse unfortunate events. What's done was done.


As Dashboard Confessional's "Vindicated" played through the facilities speakers, I stared up at the high ceiling and cried.


And I cried some more.


I called my parents later that night (nearing midnight) and I cried even more.


I threw on some freshly washed undies and my Harvard Medical School t-shirt and hobbled into bed.


And I cried myself to sleep.


But like most things in life, time heals wounds and my emotional strength is already gearing up nicely to tackle a third surgery and the long arduous consequential recovery.


Tomorrow at 8:45am, I see Dr. Holmstrom at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (woohoo for SLC having a plethora of surgeons readily available) and the journey will begin.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Your Official Plans for Saturday Morning


Saturday morning, April 17th, Salt Lake City is hosting their annual marathon races! Full 26.2 mile marathon, half marathon, 5K, and a bike race make up the events for the spring morning. The half marathon starts at the University of Utah and finishes at the Gateway mall. With the race starting at 7am, you should expect runners, one in particular, to cross the finish line around 8:45am.

If you love to run or enjoy sports in any capacity, this is where you should be Saturday morning.

If you want to see a particular blogging brunette running the streets of Salt Lake in Nike and Aasics, this is where you should be Saturday morning.

Or even if you don't give a damn about exercising and adrenaline and me, this is still where you should be Saturday morning.

Find a copy of the half marathon route here.

Your Official Plans for Saturday Night


Saturday, April 17th, @ 7:30pm, Salt Lake Community College is hosting their annual Raw Couture Fashion Show at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 West 300 South).

If you love fashion, this is where you should be Saturday night.

If you want to watch a particular blogging brunette strutting a runway, this is where you should be Saturday night.

Or even if you don't give a damn about clothes or couture or me, this is still where you should be Saturday night.

For $19, buy your ticket here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Embrace


So just for fun, I do a little bit of modeling. The occasional gigs I actually get do pay some green stuff, but the art form is more like a hobby of mine. Like crafting or sewing or cooking or walking on a runway or posing in front of a camera. They're all one in the same, right?

If you disagree, the questioned posed is rhetorical.

My hobby is defined as a hobby because I don't get paid nearly enough to make it more of a source of income. I do it because it is so fun and even produces the same adrenaline created in playing a game of soccer or running a race.

My jobs are few and far between. And I am more than okay with that. I have a college degree for a reason.

Well, yesterday I met with a world-renowned modeling agent, Paul Fisher. Sir Paul has personally represented supermodels with names like Naomi Campbell, Brooke Burke, Janice Dickinson, Kimora Lee Simmons, and Nicky Hilton. Yes, I am totally name dropping.

He chose to meet with the models within the McCarty agency and evaluate where we could fit in with "The Network." This is a business method for models/agencies who normally are offered local bookings to achieve larger, more profitable jobs.

As usual, when I walk into modeling auditions, I know that no one cares about how well I can articulate and express myself. It's more about the cheekbone's altitude, the fullness of the lips, or the choreography of an outfit. Understandably, auditions feel shallow.

But this time, as I walked in to meet Paul, he looked at me and studied me, as if I were a geometry equation and the angles of my facial features needed to be determined. It felt mathematical; and moreover, non-judgmental.

He asked me what types of jobs I typically get for McCarty. I responded with commercial and runway. He nodded in agreement and then said, "And I bet those jobs are few and far between."

Not offended, I also nodded in agreement. I trusted his experience and his ability to see something and know where it belongs.

And he knew where I belonged.

"You would be PERFECT for my Natural Beauty group."

I'm wearing loads of make-up right now. I'm calling BS on that one.

"Currently, there are really only two categories of models: Twigs and Plus-Size."

Yes. I am following. Continue.

"The Natural Beauty group is for sizes 6-8 who fall in the middle ground. Don't lose any weight and don't gain any weight. You are perfect."

Will you repeat that? I don't think I heard you right. I think you just used the P-word.

And with that, Paul Fisher became my personal saint.

I have always valued my opinion of myself and my ability to find confidence from within. But to hear my thoughts echoed from an experienced professional's mouth was so satisfying. Redemptive. Exciting.

I am not sure what bookings will come from this interview, if any.

But what I feel to be the most gratifying element from meeting Paul Fisher is that perhaps our social standards are expanding. One body ideal is not another's body ideal. And that encouraging women to love their bodies just as they are, and to describe them as a "natural beauty" is a fantastic thought.

I am a firm believer that if a woman humbly thinks of herself as beautiful, she looks beautiful to those around her. Confidence speaks, and people listen.

Rock on my lovely lady friends!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dub-Ya


Last night, our indoor coed soccer team experienced the first sweet taste of victory.


The key to the game? Have half the team either go on a Mexican cruise or to Las Vegas the weekend prior, and make sure they come home with severe needs of recuperation. This will ensure total domination on a Thursday night in the competitive arena.


Seems irrational?


It works.


We know.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can it be?

When I turned 2, my parents thought I was getting too old to use a binky. And apparently, I agreed, because I didn't put up a fight. Or so legend has it.

When I turned 10, I thought I was getting too old for curly perms (until I turned 19, and thought a "hair wave" for a trip to Italy would be tres chic, but that's another story).

When I turned 16, I thought I was too old for church dances.

And now at 22, I think I am getting too old for three consecutive nights of fun in Vegas.

Did I really just say that?

Too old?

Well, when I came home with a head cold the size of America's budget deficit (it made it's evil return from one week prior), and fatigue that couldn't be satiated by a straight 24 hour rest (I'm just guesstimating here), I realized....

Yes.

I might just be too old for this.

I'm definitely not complaining. I had a fantastic time spent by the pool under a 75 degree sun, with long time girlfriends at my side, eating sushi and drinking mojitos by day, and rockin' dance clubs and Denny's breakfast by night.

Great memories were made. And there's a quote I like that says this....

And I definitely like looking back at this past weekend. And with a plethora of pictures snapped over 72 hours, it sure makes it easy to wax nostalgic.

Still...

when DayQuil is the only thing pushing me through this first day of my work week, I think it's safe to say,

that, yes, indeed,

I am getting too old for a 3 day crusade.

But... I don't think I heard anybody discount aging bodies taking it to the mattresses 2 nights in a row....

Sweet.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Like a Bird


And so I will.


I will land at 5:20pm in the rockin' city of Las Vegas.


Reality, I will see you on Monday at 3:40pm. Don't get too excited, because such an emotion will not be reciprocated.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Wuv... Twue Wuv...."

This past weekend, my cousin Brad got married to an adorable girl named Beth. I had the privilege of participating in many events surrounding the ceremonious occasion, and always feel grateful for such opportunities.

1) Big life events usually summons copious amounts of extended family members- many of whom I only see at said events. Great opportunity to catch up and enjoy the company of those I don't get to see very often.

2) Chance to spend quality together time with my own immediate family. Mom, dad, Tanner, and Abigail made the 5 hour journey from Eagle (can I still say Boise?), Idaho to Salt Lake last Thursday. Parker and his wife Meegan made the 45 minute drive north from Provo. And I, stayed put.

We stayed up late watching movies (never realized A League of Their Own had so many great one liners), drank Nyquil together (a family that gets sick together, stays together, or so I say), and ate late night Wendy's (the use-french-fries-as-a-spoon-in-your-chocolate-frosty combo is so bomb).

My family is the ultimate gift that I have been given. When my friends took off for Vegas, I went home. Okay, so what if I am going to Vegas this weekend and I can't handle two Vegas excursions in one month. I still really, really wanted to see my family.

And here in Salt Lake and in Boise, my friends and I have created our own family. They, too, are my greatest gift. I hope to never take these two families for granted.

But....

3) The faith I hold in family, and in particular, marriage, is always renewed at weddings. My family is chalk full of couples who have not only made marriage work, but are still so in love with one another. My own parents included. I strongly believe in the idea of fidelity and that living in a monogamous relationship is not only functional, but wonderful.

Though I feel far away from entering into a marriage (gotta meet the guy first...), I feel my own optimism waning when you hear stories of family members, friends, politicians, athletes, and celebrities succumbing to the temptation of infidelity, with abolished marriages as direct consequence. The latest examples being Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin; Jesse James and Sandra Bullock. Makes my stomach churn. I consider infidelity to be one of the most selfish acts in which one can engage.

With the divorce rate holding steady at 50%, I fear for the concept of the family. Will it become an everyday thing for children to be passed from house to house, every other weekend? Are we truly understanding the psychological effects this can have on a child?

I believe I have a soul. I believe that God, in whatever form God may be in, allowed us to gather with a group of other souls to create incredible bonds. I believe this to be a family. I also believe that these bonds are at it's strongest when all souls are connected. Connected by a marriage.

There are clearly times when divorce is necessary, particularly when it comes to the physical safety of either spouse or child. I do not want to patronize such unique situations.

However, I feel that divorce is too often used as an easy escape. I cannot speak from experience, but I feel I can understand that marriage takes work, effort, sacrifice, and compromise. But in the end, is worth it. It is worth having a companion at the end of the day, for the rest of your life.

So before I wax too strong on societal ideas, I want to thank my own parents for their example. I'm sure it hasn't always been easy (like when your own daughter was a rebellious teenager?), but I love and appreciate that you two still love and appreciate each other. And I like how you show your love for one another. Mom lets dad go hunting and fishing. Dad goes grocery shopping and does the dishes. It doesn't take grand events to show your love.

Congratulations to Brad and Beth. And congratulations to my mother and father, and the many other examples who have proven that marriage is good and right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ripe for the Coughing


For the past two weeks, I have been on the cusp of falling ill. Scratchy, but not quite sore, throat. Fatigued, but not quite weak, body. Patronizing, but not quite productive, cough.


I was proud of my immune system for battling so well. It was fighting the good fight with its master in mind.


I even went home to Boise with hopes that a relaxing weekend with my family would reward my white blood cells for their efforts on my behalf.


Not so.


Thankfully, I do not feel ill. I can carry on as usual, but...


That fruitless cough decided it, too, was sick of hanging onto it's contents. Suddenly, I have very productive cough.


And it is disgusting.


Clearly, I have no shame. Because, I am the first to admit. It's gross!


So then I ask myself. I can still physically function and perform my job well, should I call in sick?


Nah.


I'll just pull the, "Oh I'm sorry. That sounded gross." And cough into the V-shape my right arm creates when bent at the elbow. That'll have to do...


PS; Didn't you just love this post?


PPS; As gross as my cough is, the first draft of this post was even more gross. I think you should feel grateful for my ability to exhibit restraint. You have to remember, I am a nurse after all.


PPPS; Tara, the picture of the little green booger germ thing is just. for. you!!!

Spring and Green

It was a beautiful day in Salt Lake City yesterday. It's becoming a more common theme these days. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I think spring weather may finally be winning the war against winter.

As I left work yesterday fully adorned in running attire, I walked outside and realized my extra Nike Maria Sharapova jacket was not needed. I decided to leave it on anyway because a little extra sweat prior to exercising is a plus. That way, after only ten minutes of running, I look so sweaty that passersby think I have done a half marathon and I have an excuse for already needing to take a break.

But as I felt the warmth of the outdoors, the first thought that crossed my mind, after deciding to leave my jacket on of course, was: You know winter in Salt Lake City is coming to a close when 52 degrees makes you want to lay out on your porch...

and tan.

I didn't. But I sure thought about it.

As Tara, my good friend and roommate, and I walked from our downtown apartment to the Green Pig pub to watch the Utah Jazz game and do a bit of St. Patrick's Day celebrating, it was STILL nice outside. It was nearly 8 o'clock at night. Do I thank Daylight Savings for that? Because if I shouldn't, I won't. I am still bitter about losing that one hour of sleep.

I had on my "spring" lightweight coat and, as habit has demonstrated, I left it on despite warm temperatures. But this time, it wasn't such a good idea. It now looked like I did my hair all nice and put on a J. Crew camel colored sweater to then exercise. Again.

Thankfully, chips and dip, time with two girlfriends, and green mardi-gras-like bead necklaces distracted my focus from my uber rosy cheeks and perspired brow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ghrelin's Hayday

My order of Girl Scout cookies arrived at the office today.
And I already ate 5 Tagalongs. More than double the serving size. Planning to go for a run anyway today... so I guess I will eat 5 more.

For posterity sake, when I am 90 years old and decrepit and the Girl Scout cookies are the size of Big Macs, I will want to look back and show my grandchildren the definition of inflation.
Hence, here are some of my personal fatty, sugary favorites...


It's just too bad that as the recognizable boxes were delivered to my office, a class full of potential weight loss surgery patients saw them plopped onto my desk.

My credibility may have been totally lost, but at least my stomach remained loyal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"For the Shelter of Storms"

As I was listening to my litany of selected artists on Pandora radio this afternoon, a favorite played it's melody over my computer speakers. Music is a fascinating medium that can produce emotions for me by simply hearing a tune. It can spur on nostalgia, excitement, the desire to dance and move, the motivation to sit and think, even tears and sadness. And then there are some songs that can produce vivid images of my home and those people who belong in my home; my family.

I find the music that inspires the aforementioned comforting thoughts usually stems from music played by those family members. In particular, if I hear any songs or artists my father listened to, I inevitably think of home. This time, Pandora graced me with the vocals of Mary Chapin Carpenter, and as she sang "On with the Song," my thoughts turned home.

And that is exactly where I am going tomorrow.

Home.

I am going home for no particular reason, other than longing to spend time with those who carry my same DNA.

And because I can.

I can pick up and leave and go home whenever I like because I only live 4.5 hours away. For this I am very grateful. As much as I hope to never make that distance farther, I know that the powers at bay beyond my control, may at some point extend the gap. So I want to take advantage of the current situation that sits before me.

I am looking forward to hugging my younger, but taller, brother tight, and holding my 5'6" eleven year old sister on my lap. She is still my baby sister, and even when she will tower over me at full growth, I will still hold her skinny, bony body on my lap.

I am looking forward to sitting and talking with my parents, and picking their brains for parental wisdom. It is amazing that even thinking about doing this makes me feel so loved.

I am looking forward to staying up late watching movies and eating junk food with my siblings, and to catch up over lunch with two of my best girlfriends.
And to try on my bridesmaid dress for one of those best girlfriends' summer wedding.

And like Karen says from one of my favorite movies, Love Actually, in reference to listening to Joni Mitchell, "I love her, and true love lasts a lifetime. Joni Mitchell is the woman who taught your cold English wife how to feel."

Except, this time it's Mary Chapin Carpenter who taught me, an unmarried American girl, how to wax nostalgic of home.

And what I find even more intriguing, when I thought of home, I thought of my parents welcoming me inside the doors of our new Eagle, Idaho home. Even more proof that home truly lies where the heart is....

I'm coming home!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shopping Bill of Rights

I consider myself to be a fantastic bargain shopper, rarely purchasing anything full price. And I know my mom would agree. (I had to add that in just so you wouldn't think such self-flattery was ill-conceived).

Well, on Saturday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I fell in love...
with these Betsey Johnson's....






And of course, they were on sale!
As all you women know, when you experience love at first sight while shopping, there is absolutely no other choice but to buy it.
Or is that just my rule?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Firsts

Yesterday, March 1st, at four o'clock in the afternoon, I went for my first run outdoors since November. It was a warm, blue sky, gorgeous day in Salt Lake. It felt incredible to run for a full hour without staring at a mirror in a gym. Trading the treadmill for pavement is something my mind absolutely craves. I simply wish my knees could feel the same...

And today, I officially registered for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 17, 2010. Feels really good to have another race on the agenda!


“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”

— Jesse Owens

Monday, March 1, 2010

Diary of a Bariatric Nurse

I am the daughter of a dietitian. I am a nurse for a weight loss surgery clinic. I learned about nutrition consistently throughout my childhood from my mother and I now preach nutrition in classes daily to patients.

You'd think my personal diet would be flawless, but it is definitely not without blemishes.

I definitely indulge in my fair share of Kraft macaroni and cheese, Hawaiian pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, french fries and candy. Some of my weaknesses, to name quite a few.
But more often than not, I frequently make food selections from the healthy section of restaurant menus. I routinely add a side salad to my chicken sandwich at St. Mark's cafeteria. I value how such foods make me feel and the lasting energy they offer. Recently, a patient offered in one of our classes, "No food tastes as good as thin feels."

I am also a firm believer that it is possible to make healthy selections from the grocery store, making the end price result the same as buying Spaghetti O's and frozen chicken nuggets.

So when I see my own hospital's cafeteria pricing not reflecting this promise I make to patients, it frustrates me.

When I stray from appropriate eating behaviors and I order a grilled cheese and a side of fries, I pay $3.15.

But when I stick to what I know to be good nutrition, I am punished. When I order a salad with veggies, beans, and light ranch dressing, I pay $5.90.

Nearly double the price of fried food.

I don't know if this is St. Marks' attempt at keeping their weight loss surgery program running, or to keep their cardiovascular surgeons in business, but this price imbalance is one that should not exist, particularly in a hospital setting.

Currently, more than 15 million Americans are obese, including the fact that 1 in every 4 children are obese. Likewise, if trends continue, it is predicted that by 2020, 40% of Americans will be obese. Clearly, we have a surmounting problem.

The underlying cause stems from a conglomerate of issues. Fast food. Dollar menus. Huge portion sizes. Large eating plates. Lack of knowledge/awareness. Genetic predisposition (yes, it is true). And the aforementioned pricey healthy food options.

Though I don't have a clear solution to this growing problem beyond what my surgeons and our practice does currently on a daily basis, I needed a chance to step on my soap-box.

That I did.

And now, I will step down.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Raw Couture


Salt Lake Community College's Fashion Institute is presenting their annual Raw Couture Runway show on April 17th, 2010. This event showcases the creations and designs of the graduating students. The inspiration behind the madness this year stems from different countries and their cultures. The show has grown in popularity over the years, often now achieving sell out crowds.


Much to my delighted surprise, the students chose me to model several of their original and unique pieces. The cultural inspirations I will be wearing include two from Russia and one from Scotland.


Last night was the first fitting. Models meet designers. Designers meet models. And, in a very local sense, it felt a lot like Project Runway!


As soon as you meet the designers, they then ask you to... undress. As comfortable as I am with myself, this common indecency in modeling never fails to surprise me. I know it's coming, but even though my actions don't show any emotion, my mind is whirling. It' s like a handball in soccer; you know you just slapped the ball, but you act like it never happened.


The nudity (except for a strapless bra and a nude thong) made me blink twice this time, however. Because this time one lone male model was also in the group. And he was hot. If nothing else, I found a new way to introduce myself. "Hi, my name is Meredith, and here is my naked butt." I'll let you know how this forward approach works out.


Nonetheless, I am uber excited for this very cool runway job. The clothes, the couture atmosphere, the music, the lights, the catwalk, and a packed audience...


it is an art form that really is so much fun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

House Mangum

Though only four Mangums remain in Boise, Idaho, all seven of us in spirit are making the move to...


Eagle, Idaho.



Leaving our home of 25 years and the City of Trees...




my parents have purchased a new lovely home 20 minutes west of Boise.





As our family will only grow in size, a home that better suits our needs was much in order. And with a little bit of luck, my parents nabbed a foreclosure. Bad time to sell, but GREAT time to buy.


I will miss waking up on Christmas morning and posing for our annual family photo on the stairs, donned in our pajamas and our inevitable puffy eyes squinting.

I will miss looking into my front or backyard and seeing the trees that Maddie, my childhood best friend, and I climbed. We played with our plastic reptiles and made forts in those trees. We watched butterflies consume the branches one summer, covering every square inch of bark.

I will miss Lakewood garage sales and gathering quarters from my parent's stash to buy the most ridiculous junk, like a barbie-sized mermaid beach made of foam.

I will miss driving past our stone lampposts that garnish our driveway, and remembering how I smashed our Land Cruiser into not one, but both posts.

I will miss my old running routes that have been apart of my Boise routine since I was 15.

I will even miss our cranky and stubborn front door that refuses to open and close efficiently.

The house has character. A few repaired punches though the walls and an apple stain on the ceiling. A burning wreath hanging inside during Christmas dinner. Bedrooms that have seen tears of heartbreak and tears of joy welcoming in a new baby. We all took turns occupying each bedroom. I am sure the middle bedroom hated me the most, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Titanic posters suffocated the walls. And the kitchen floor has felt pumpkin guts and seeds hardening against the wood during carving at Halloween. That same wood has felt dozens of shoe covered feet gather for birthdays, celebrations, and graduation parties.

This house has been well loved. And it most certainly has seen love be created within its walls.

Thank you, 267 Old Saybrook. You were good to us.

Two Brothers Mangum

I feel the need to brag about my two brothers that sandwich me in the hierarchy of Mangum children.

The first born: Parker Knight Mangum. He recently earned a beloved internship with the company that makes these shoes.

In this uber hip city. (Portland, Oregon). He and his cute wife, Meegan, make the move in June.


Middle child: Madison Clifford Mangum. He is currently serving an LDS church mission for San Antonio, Texas, speaking Espanol.


Thanks for letting me brag, boys. You've earned it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The 5 Year Plan


Where will you be in 5 years? 10 years? 50?


I can't answer the latter two questions, because I really don't know. I hope for certain aspirations and lifestyles, but it requires another individual of the opposite sex to make it happen. So I don't really know when or how it will happen.


But what I do know, and can plan for in my next 5 years, because it is solely up to me, is this:


If all goes according to plan...


By Spring 2011, I will not just be an RN, I will be an RN-BSN. A Nurse with a Bachelor's degree in tow from Boise State's online/distance program.


And by Spring 2013, I will be a Family Nurse Practitioner, from Westminster College.


This is it. This is my final decision to move forward with the intense, but rewarding schooling.


I have been feeling uneasy, as of late, and I wasn’t sure why. I was feeling thoughts like, “What now? Is this the end? Where do I go from here?”


All those thoughts, however, were silenced recently, upon coming to this decision. The empty void has been filled. I feel comfort that this is a great step in the right direction and ultimately what I want for myself. I am young, without any dependents. Now is the time.


So, anyone have some good advice about student loans....?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Green Turf


The above picture represents what I did nearly every day of my life for 16 years.


It also represents what I could not, or chose not to, do for 2 years because of a knee injury.


But most of all, it represents what I did...


...last night.


I have never felt so rusty or worn out before whenever I have stepped onto a soccer field than when I did just that...


...last night.


My lungs burned.


Clearly, I am so out of shape. I can run marathons, but can barely tolerate 15 minute increments in an indoor soccer game.


But, why I feel so compelled to share is this:


Sans knee brace and any hesitation in my playing efforts, I DID IT.


I PLAYED SOCCER.


I CAN DO IT.


Yes, this is definitely a pat on my back from my own hand. But 2 years of wonder and doubt have now been silenced and, hopefully, put to rest.


If not, I have great health insurance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Windshield Woes

I exchanged that....




For this....


On her....

After I got pulled over by him...




Moral of the story:

One thumbs up for Big Girl Panties!

But, two thumbs down for expensive adulthood.

My Own Valentine


Since my eligible dating years began 6 years ago, I have been single for 4 of those 6 Valentine's Days.
I, by no means, am complaining.

I have learned to find happiness, love and trust in myself by being unattached. So when my also-single girlfriends and I planned a fun Sunday treat for our Valentine's Day, I was very excited. I have grown accustomed to such events on romance affiliated holidays.

We decided to treat ourselves to Rodizio Grill and gorged on a variety of meats, salads, and fried bananas. Though pricey, it's a lot cheaper when it's just for one. (Another minor perk of singledom). We each received a long-stemmed flower from our waitress, and though it came from a stranger who is not male, I still loved it. It smelled fresh and sweet. And it was my lone gift of the day. Although, I am sure my bill factored in the price of the flower.
We then ventured to the Gateway movie theaters, purchased MORE candy and Diet Coke, and enjoyed the movie, "Valentine's Day." Expecting the movie to be yet another cheesy chick flick, I was very pleasantly surprised! It is fun, touching, humorous, and lighthearted. In a movie theater packed with couples, I feel it is safe to say that we were the lone "unashamed girls only" group.

Nonetheless, to satisfy a need I have on February 14th, I wanted to give a gift to a man who means the world to me. So thanks to Barnes and Noble and UPS, my father received the new K.D. Lang CD, accompanied by a small, pink card, which read:

To the man on whom I can always count and has never let me down.
Happy Valentine's Day.

I love you!

Meredith

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Boston Post

This post is dedicated to my dear baby sister, Abigail. She states that she “will die” if I don’t post again, and because I kinda like having her around, I will preserve her life with my words. Thank you, sweet sister, for kicking my blogging bum into gear.

Here goes.


After a long dry spell of not publishing my life, it’s hard to know where to begin. So, I will pretend like I never stopped blogging, and I will pick up right where I should: What happened last week.

Boston, Massachusetts is what happened last week.

Furthermore, Harvard Medical School, happened, too.

And so did a friend, Derek Erstad.

All three converged for a cross country trip that was well anticipated, and well executed.

I made the full day journey from Salt Lake City International Airport to Boston Logan International Airport. But there is a marked difference in the definition of Salt Lake International and Boston International. When you arrive in Boston, attractive female voices pipe up over the PA system speaking in various languages, informing travelers that it is the last boarding call to Belgium. Or that Sophia Loren needs to get back to France. Okay, not really to the latter. But it sure feels that way. I really was now in international waters.

This big girl hailed down a taxi (okay, so what if they are lined up in a nice, neat row outside the airport waiting for desperate passengers, such as myself), and I paid the cabbie $41 to take me to Vanderbilt Hall at Harvard Medical School. Though pricey, it was well worth it. Otherwise, if I had attempted a run on the Subway, big brown suitcase in tow, I could not make the aforementioned claim that the excursion was “well executed.”

Friends since we were 15, Derek met me outside his dormitory hall and we exchanged a warm embrace. Boy, was I glad to see a familiar face. He gave me an abbreviated tour of his accommodations, which included the 4 security checkpoints just to get into his room. If it weren’t for the Victorian-esque d├ęcor of the ceilings, the hardwood floors, and the warm rich colors of the social hall, I would have thought they kept their medical students in prison.

Afterwards, Derek took me to a restaurant known as “The Pig.” Apparently it is a well known place for brilliant professors and their studious tutees to converse over a good drink and even better pulled pork. And that we did, but in this circumstance, exchange brilliant professor for wannabe shameless westerner and her genius partner in crime.

And so the plan was laid out, the standard had been set and we lived up to it every moment of my 4 day escape from reality.

On Friday, we ventured onto the Boston Subway system known as the “T” and the “M2” and toured Harvard Square. As I had borrowed one of Derek’s fellow classmate’s Harvard ID, I again pretended to be a wannabe, and we snuck into the Harvard Law School Library. For once, Hollywood got it right. Legally Blonde tells no lies. The buildings are just unique and architecturally incredible as Reese Witherspoon experiences. And I got to be apart of it, if only for one weekend!

Furthermore, the weekend allowed for eating Ethiopian food with your bare hands and sharing a bottle of wine (can I call it that, Derek? I know, I was selfish). Boston also meant I could participate in a quasi pub crawl with a bunch of super rad and super humble medical students. It meant I could go into Harvard Medical School and see the classroom auditoriums, the labs, and the more intimate tutorial rooms. And I thought to myself, “So this is where all the magic happens.” This is where Derek has run off to, to dedicate his life to the world of medicine. Yeah, I totally dug it.

I experienced Bertucci’s pizza and Long Hammer IPA. I saw Sherlock Holmes in the local movie theatre (in between my mid flick naps) and I bought $10 sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. A keepsake that whenever I put them on my face, reminds me of wandering around the store, trying on my usual bug-eye glasses, but being convinced to purchase a new style.

We watched episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Derek’s Macbook when it was absolutely too frigid to venture outdoors. We discussed philosophy, religion, spirituality, and healthcare reform.

We had a blast.

And so the weekend went just as soon as it had come, and I made another full day of travel back to the motherland. Thank you, Derek, for sharing your time, your lost study hours, your new found Boston expertise, and many a good eats with me. I think I’ll keep you around.


PS- Got a call today. I landed my first paid Salt Lake City modeling gig. Apparently, these conservatives aren’t afraid of a girl with a little extra boob and a little extra hip.