Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Po-tay-to... Po-tah-to

I hate balloons. Hate them. Hate the popping. Hate the squeeking. Hate the sound they make when they're being blown up. All of that tenses up every muscle in my shoulders and puts them somewhere up near my ears.

But I don't feel the same way about mylar balloons.

So today, when I arrived for my final rounds of my internship, and found balloons tied to my chair, I was grateful that I work in a hospital where only mylar balloons are allowed (latex allergies).

Especialy awesome was the largest of the balloons - a 3-foot-high Disney princess castle. And while some might call it a "medieval princess-brothel" I will call it a truly great parting gift*.

*that will be hitting me in the head during the entire 15-minute walk to class tonight.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do you want to make more money? Sure! We all do!

So I got a job today.

Well, not exactly.

But I got authorized to work up to 32 hours/week at the hospital through May.

Pretty much, it means I do the same work I've been doing all year at my internship, only it's on another unit and now I get paid for it.

So the story is that they hired someone to work on this new unit, but she can't start until June 1st. Right now, there is one woman covering the floor, but she is entirely overworked with her own units, and so it's all a bit chaotic. Anyway, since I have been doing similar work all year, and since I have nothing else to be doing (what with school being over in a week!!!), they offered me this very temporary position. Yay!

Income is good.

Also, I interviewed today for a sort-of full-time position coming up in the hospital (complicated explaination as to why it's not definitely full-time). The position itself is exactly what I want to be doing, but after learning more about it, I'm convinced that the fellowship is definitely still my first choice.

Word on the street is that they're aiming to make a decision about the fellowship within the next week or two (I'm thinking it will be closer to two), so with any luck, I'll have some news on that right around the time I graduate.

As always, stay tuned...

Please Stand By

Fibby is in the process of writing the last papers of her grad school career and has very little time to do much other writing.

By the numbers, her life looks like this:

2 - days left at her internship
6 - classes left
2 - presentations to do
1 - paper about family preservation and reunification to be written
1 - policy paper to be written
1 - legislative testimony to be written and read to the class
1 - group project paper to be edited
1 - reflection paper to be written about above-mentioned group project
1 - take-home test about death and dying to be finished
10 - hours of sleep in the past 2 nights
5 - interviews for desired fellowship in the past week
1 - remaining interview for desired fellowship sometime this week
1 - interview for an upcoming hospital position today
6.5 - hours of playing with C. on Thursday to make her laugh (including up to 2.5 hours of nap time)
2+ - hours of playing with M. (and possibly newborn Z.) on Saturday night to make her laugh

Check back for regular updates on her progress throughout the week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


One might think, if one looked at the Boston weather forecast for today and then read this post title, that I am writing about the temperature outside, but one would be wrong.

Where I work, I split my time between the floors where I see families and my cubicle space where I type up notes, check emails, etc. It is this cubicle space that has become a sauna in the past few weeks.

At first, I thought it was just me. I thought I was wearing too many layers or something. But this morning I was sitting in my cubicle overheating wearing a short-sleeved shirt. And then I overheard the woman in the cubicle next to mine call facilities management to complain and inform them that our office space is 80-degrees.

Now, 6 hours later, I just overheard that same girl say she was going to find the facilities person herself because her call this morning had done nothing and it is now 83-degrees.

I am officially melting.

Monday, April 21, 2008

On the Positive Side...

I hate being sick. HATE being sick.

During the first day or so of an illness (cold, stomach flu, whatever), I am grumpy and generally not all that fun to be around. I usually confine myself to my room and disconnect from the world for a while.

After my body goes through the initial shock of the illness, and has regained the upper hand, I begin to return to my usual self. This can mean anything from showering and getting dressed to eating something solid. As I get my strength back, my sense of humor returns too, and provides me with a bit of a coping mechanism.

For example, every few years I get an awful coughing sickness. I have no idea what it is, but it keeps me up coughing all night. I walk around like the living dead for a week or so, and load up on all sorts of medicines that don't really help, and it sucks. But every time I have gotten this awful coughing sickness, I have eventually gotten to a place where I can joke and say, "Well, this sucks, but at least my abs are getting a good workout!"

So wouldn't you know that today, just as I had found the silver lining in this past weekend's sickness ("Well, this has sucked, but maybe I lost a few pounds!"), I got a text message from a concerned friend reminding me to try to eat or drink because I "need the calories".

I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I mean, I'm not a cow or anything, but I'm far from wasting away after a day of no solid foods. Still, the sentiment was sweet. We should all be so lucky to have friends like that.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best Laid Plans

So my plan for the weekend was this:

Friday evening - get some work done

Saturday morning - get some work done

Saturday afternoon - go see a friend in a ballroom dance competition

Saturday night - meet up with friends

Sunday morning - hang out with friends

Sunday afternoon - get some work done

Sunday evening - get some work done

Monday morning - get some work done

Monday afternoon - watch the marathon

Monday evening - go to trivia night

Here's how my weekend has actually gone so far:

Friday evening - stay at home because I'm too exhausted from my week to get any work done. Kick some ass in Scramble (without any help).

Saturday morning - get up late, do some laundry, go for a run

Saturday afternoon - realize there's not enough time to get any significant amount of work done before the ballroom dance competition. Invite a friend over to hang out. Head to ballroom dance competition. Enjoy immensely.

Saturday night - meet up with a friend for dinner, then head to an improv show. Then meet up with friends from out of town.

Sunday morning - breakfast with friend. Get home... start feeling sick.

Sunday afternoon - sleep, be sick, sleep, watch West Wing on DVD.

This brings us to Sunday evening (now). I really need to make up for the lack of work done so far this weekend, but my splitting headache and wonky stomach aren't motivating me all that much to do so. And there are multiple West Wing episodes to be watched, and Monk and Psych are both on NBC tonight, and... and... and...

But it does leave an unbelievable amount of work to be done tomorrow if I do nothing tonight.

On a side note, if any of you ever get the opportunity to attend a ballroom dance competition, I highly recommend going (especially if it's free). It's fun. As the level of skill increases, so does the level of complexity of the costumes. It's just like you would imagine, only you're there in person to witness it, and you can't stop grinning because it's so surreal and yet so cool. And the dresses... wow.

Also, watching ballroom dancing is a lot more stressful than you might think - especially when watching from high up in the bleachers. From that angle, you see very clearly which couples are heading for a crash with each other, and it gets quite anxiety-producing (especially if the couple you're there to see is involved in such a crash).

Favorite dances: Quickstep (because - wow - that takes some skill) and Viennese Waltz (it just looks so grand with those long, flowy dresses).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why I Love My Job

Part I:
Last fall, I met with a family whose newborn son had been born with some serious health complications. Eventually it was determined that he had a very rare disease that would be life-limiting. The family was devestated, but also optimistic, and through their faith and strength, they faced the uncertain future of their baby with a sense of determination and also peace.

During their stay, I would often go check in on whichever parent was around, just to give them the opportunity for adult conversation. We'd talk about their children and family and friends and life in general, and they'd ask me about school and my life as well. As an intern, I was aware of the fine line between sharing too much about my personal life with this family, and at the same time, I knew that what they needed at that point was conversation that didn't revolve around their son's health issues, and so I shared with them little stories about school and such.

This family has returned to the hospital for outpatient visits since their original stay, but my schedule hasn't allowed me to drop in and say hi.

Yesterday I managed to catch them, and when the mother saw me her face lit up. We talked and caught up. She told me that though her son wasn't doing any better, they had managed to take a trip to her native country so that her family could meet him. She still had the same positive attitude and peaceful demeanor that I remembered. And most surprisingly, she remembered things about my life that I had shared in our conversations so long ago. She asked about school and my plans for the future, and pulled out details that even I had forgotten I had shared.

It was incredible to re-connect with this mother, and to know that I was as memorable to her as she was to me. I left work with a smile on my face.

Part II:
Today I was riding an elevator with a patient, her younger brother, and their mother. The younger brother was jumping out of his skin with excitement, and when I commented that it looked as though they were going on an adventure, he said, "We're going to see firemen!" All of the family members looked so excited to be getting out of their hospital rooms and going to a hospital event.

I followed them to the event and hung out in the back for a while. It turned out to be a policeman and not a fireman who was there, but the little boy didn't seem to mind.

It was a nice break to my day, and I continued on my way.

As it happens it was a rather slow day today, and so later on I was walking up the stairs and saw a sign - hand-made by someone who I am guessing is about 10 - advertising a magic show.

So I stopped to watch.

If any of you ever need to have your day improved significantly, I highly recommend watching a children's magic show. Not for the magic, but for the reactions of the kids.

There was laughter, there was shouting, there was one kid who just kept exclaiming excitedly "No way!" every time the magician performed a trick.

I couldn't stop grinning. And I still can't.

All the difficult days I've had here were erased with the sights and sounds of a room full of sick kids and their parents being given the opportunity to forget their illnesses for a few minutes and just be kids.

I love this place.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Classic Fibby

My cousin decided it would be fun to scan in some old family photos and to email them to me. I refuse to post the photo of me with big glasses and a hairdo reminiscant of Mary Poppins, but I will share this one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Play Ball! - Addendum

I have just been informed of another way that people celebrate opening day: giving birth. Apparently, in addition to all of the really exciting things that happened in my life yesterday that I was actively a part of (and that had nothing to do with baseball), an even more exciting thing took place that I wasn't witness to:

Baby Girl HebMo made her grand entrance onto this planet.

Welcome to the world, little one. I'm madly in love with you already and I haven't even met you.

Play Ball!

Some people celebrate opening day by going to the game.

Some celebrate by watching the game on TV.

Some celebrate by getting free ice cream.

Me? Despite the fact that I work blocks from Fenway, my day was spent:

- Following up with a depressed teenage boy who was just diagnosed with a rare chronic illness

- Meeting with a mother to determine the level of medical noncompliance taking place regarding her teenage daughter's medical regimine

- Facilitating a presentation in Class #1 on the topic of family preservation when dealing with medical noncompliance as a result of religious beliefs.

- Sitting through 2 1/2 hours of 10-minute presentations in Class #2.

- Meeting with my landlord to negotiate rent (she wanted to raise it $500, we didn't) (we won)

I did purchase a pair of Red Sox earrings on my way to work in the morning, though, so all was not lost.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Glass Half-Full

It is only appropriate after my last post about my mother finding a matchmaker to help me get a date that I get a call from my sister telling me she is engaged.

Now let me first just say for the record that I am absolutely excited for her and I love her and I love her fiance and she deserves all the happiness that will come to her with this wonderful man.

And yet... she's my little sister. And in less than 6 months she has purchased a house and gotten engaged. I think I'm starting to understand a little bit how it must feel to be a younger sibling, watching your older sibling go through all the important life milestones first and being happy and also jealous at the same time.

I'm not a glass-half-empty kind of person by nature. I'm really happy with where my life is right now and I'm not the type to feel sorry for myself about being single. And yet there's a piece of me that is definitely getting a little down that I haven't yet found someone with whom I can spend my life.

A few years ago, my standard line was, "I know there is someone out there and I'm not worried - I'm sure we'll find each other." I still think that today, but I have to admit I've now considered that it might not happen. DON'T WORRY reader friends - I haven't considered it too seriously. I'm definitely not giving up. But the fact that I've admitted to myself that this whole "finding a life partner" thing might be a little harder than all my coupled friends make it look is noteworthy, I think.

I had a friend who told me recently that she had been thinking about all her single friends and could say why all of them were single... except me. Now of course she could have been saying that to be nice, but I like to think she meant it. I definitely have single friends who are single for good reason (and often don't know that reason), and I also have single friends who are absolutely relationship-ready, but just can't seem to find that person.

I've been "relationship-ready" for a while now. It didn't come easy - there was a lot of soul-searching through reflection, conversation, bad dates, and bad poetry before I figured out who I was and what I wanted. And now I know exactly what I want and unlike the me of years past, I'm not willing to settle for less.

But is that really a bad thing? I like that I'm clear about what I want. I like that I know what I'm worth and that I know (after some memorable experiences) I don't have to or want to settle for less. I believe that I can have funny and kind and intelligent and independent and adventurous and mellow and sexy and an understanding of the rules of basic grammar all in one person.

Most importantly, I still believe I can find that person.

So this is a public pep-talk, I guess. A reminder to myself that despite all signs pointing to the contrary, I will most likely not end up an old maid. (And a reminder to all of you out there who are reading this and who are in relationships that the LAST thing I want to hear is any variation on the popular, "Yeah, it's tough out there, but you'll find someone!")

The fact of the matter is that though I haven't found someone for myself yet, I can still be really excited and happy for the other people in my life who have. And it's not like I don't get to have some fun in the process too - fun weddings to attend, the honor of officiating and/or being the maid of honor in a few, and now the baby showers (oh, the baby showers!).

There are times that I feel that I am overflowing with happiness for others. But it is shared happiness, and it is mine just as much as it is theirs. I feel so lucky to share in the lives of so many incredible people. And though I haven't found funny and kind and intelligent and independent and adventurous and mellow and sexy and an understanding of the rules of basic grammar all in one person just yet, my friends encompass all of those qualities and can fill that role in the meantime.

So for now, I continue to celebrate life milestones with others, and to trust that the happiness of finding a partner-in-crime-for-life will come to me to.

Friday, April 04, 2008

It Has Come to This

My parents just returned from a well-deserved trip to Costa Rica. They were celebrating my mom's retirement, and also just taking some time away from their busy lives (yes, retired people can be busy too!). When they returned, they told me about the flowers and wildlife they saw, and the adventures they had (Dad on a zip line!). But there was one thing they forgot about... until tonight.

Tonight my mom called to catch up, and as we were talking, she said, "Oh - I almost forgot to tell you about this..." Well, it turns out that she befriended a woman on the trip who, in addition to her day job, also likes to do some matchmaking. I'm not sure if this factoid came up before or after my mother mentioned that she had an eligible daughter, but it came up. And the matchmaker lady shared that the son of a friend lives in Boston and is a good catch and perhaps she could set us up.

Now for those of you who don't know my mother, let me just say that she's not the type to make suggestions about how I should go about living my life (mostly because she learned early on that I rarely took her advice on such matters). She is entirely non-obtrusive, and also entirely supportive, and she is definitely not the type to be pressuring me to get married or to give her grandchildren.

So there I was on the phone with my mother, thinking, "Really? It has come to this?" and laughing at the absurdity of it all.

But, like a true soon-to-be-entering-her-4th-decade-on-this-earth single female, I agreed and by day's end, there was an email cc-ed to me from my mother to her matchmaker friend, giving her the go-ahead to proceed with the matchmaking.


Headline on today:

Study: Slobby Guys Create More Work for Wives

This is news?! Really!?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Big Brother

I don't have an older brother. But Seth comes pretty damn close. I've known him since high school when we sat next to each other in band. He went off to college and I followed him 2 years later (well, one and a half, if you want to be technical).

Over the years, he shared his love of laughing (and Monty Python), his class-skipping techniques, his wisdom, and his hugs with me. We've seen each other through major breakups. We've left each other countless voicemail messages. And almost 2 years ago, I was honored to officiate his wedding ceremony.

Today is Seth's birthday. If I lived closer to him, I would celebrate with him, but since I don't, I'm using the internet to send my good wishes (and a virtual cake).

Happy Birthday Seth!