Sunday, December 06, 2009


The first installation of an inspirational story...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Letter to an Angel

Dear Christine - 

There is another little angel flying around up there tonight. Please find him and look over him. You two share an anniversary - the kind of anniversary that people your ages should never have. And just as I will never forget that night 11 years ago, I will also never forget today. 

I thought of you all morning. And as I stood with the family during his last moments, I sent a silent plea to you to take care of him up there as lovingly as his parents have taken care of him here on earth.

I miss you, Christine. I wish that you were still here to talk to and spend time with. But it's also so reassuring to me each time a patient dies to know that you'll be up there to greet them and look after them. If you can keep up that end of the bargain, I'll stay down here and look after the ones they leave behind. 

Ever loving and ever grateful for your presence in my life both then and now,

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today, I am thankful for much in my life. I am thankful for family. For my dad who stocks the fridge with blueberry seltzer before I come home, for my mom who plays never-ending games of Lexulous with me online and who makes me laugh as she dotes on the dogs, and for my sister and her fiance who are including me in their wedding planning (and the actual wedding). I don't see them nearly enough and being home always reminds me of that.

I'm thankful for extended family - my grandmother who shows more strength and humor with each passing year, and for aunts, uncles, and cousins scattered throughout the US, many who share that same strength and humor.

I'm thankful for my friends near and far - my SISO who is always up for anything, my SF, MA and ME friends, my friends whose families have expanded to include little people, for my social work friends who provide such good support and understanding that people not in the field can't always provide.

And I am thankful for my job - a job that I love, even when it makes me cry. I am honored every day to be part of these families' lives and to do the work I do.

I am grateful every day, but today I share my gratitude publicly.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


She asked me with tears streaming down her face why this had to happen to her and I had no answer.

She told me the story of how it had come to this and I listened.

She shared secret truths with me her own family didn't know and I kept them as my own secrets.

She held him and wept as he took his last breaths and I held her arm and wept with her.

She is strength and beauty and fear and calm and sadness and hope and I will never forget her.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Singing Clowns and a Dancing Nun

Today at work there was a retirement celebration for one of our chaplains, Sister C. And at the end of the ceremony, our in-house clowns (yes, we have in-house clowns) stood up on stage and led all the attendees in the hokey pokey. There we were, a room full of mostly adults, singing and dancing the hokey pokey together to celebrate this incredible woman. 

It's moments like those that make me realize how lucky I am to work where I do.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Joyful Girl

the bathroom mirror has not budged 
and the woman who lives there can tell 
the truth from the stuff that they say 
she looks me in the eye 
and says would you prefer the easy way 
no, well o.k. then
don't cry
-Ani Difranco

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Gift of Life

As I type this, there is a 5-year-old girl I know who is receiving the ultimate gift - the gift of a heart and of a new life. And as her family rejoiced at the news that a donor had  been found, another family grieved for the loss of their loved one. 

Please keep both families in your thoughts today. 

For more information on organ donation, please visit

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Worth the Wait

She wrote to me one night in early January, asking me for advice on what to wear. She had three dates that week and needed advice from an expert. Having been on many online dates over the past few years, I shared my "expert" advice and wished her luck.

Even in that first email - the one before they had ever met - I had a feeling. He liked PBR. He was funny. He could write good emails. And she was excited about the date. She never got excited about dating. Not like that. 

I crossed my fingers and waited. A few days later, she wrote. One guy was sweet, but not her type. One guy was nice but seemed to be a bit of a stoner. But there was one - the one she had hoped would be as good in person as he seemed online - who was worthy of a second date... and then a third... and then a forth. 

And then we all met him, and we knew. He was The One. This was It.

It didn't take long for them to realize it too, and this past weekend he asked and she said yes. 

Congrats to MK and O'G. Your kind, generous, loving souls are undoubtedly meant for each other and you are proof that true love is definitely worth the wait.


It's not that I haven't wanted to write, it's just that I haven't been sure what to say. 

The past 6 months have presented me with some personal challenges, and though I've never been shy about sharing personal bits of my life on this blog, these challenges have involved other people and have made the sharing a bit tricky. I want to write because it is therapeutic for me, but I also want to respect the privacy of these people I care about, even though neither of them reads this blog.

The short version is that there was a friendship that was dissolved and a friendship that was rekindled. Two different friendships, which means that in addition to regaining a friend, I also lost one. It's been hard for me to write about, because it's been hard for me to accept. This was a relationship that I had thought was one of my strongest - a person whose friendship I valued very highly. And in the end, there was no fight or discussion or explanation, this friend just faded away. It was unbelievably sad for me, as there was nothing I could do to save it. For a long time there was a big hole. Now the hole is smaller, but there are still days when I see something that reminds me of my friend and there's a pang of sadness that hits. I still hold out hope that someday this friend and I will reconnect, but I've had to learn to live my life without this friend in it, and that has taken some getting used to.

The friendship that has been rekindled is also complicated. We were friends, and then we weren't for a while due to scheduling and other commitments. And then I reached out and so did this friend, and now we're back in touch and in each other's lives perhaps even more significantly than we were before. Conversation flows, there is unconditional support, and I am so glad to have this person back in my life... except that this friend is moving in a few short weeks, and even with phone and email, I fear that I will be left with yet another hole that will be hard to fill.

Change isn't bad. I know the friend who is moving and I regard each other with a significant level of respect and trust and appreciation that distance should not impact. And I know that the fact that I have lost this other friend does not take away from the many fun and meaningful times we had when we were in each other's lives. With change comes new opportunity, and hopefully growth. But despite knowing all that, I can't help but wish for the good old days sometimes - the days before things changed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Look what I did!

It only took me a year, from start to finish, but I finally finished my first baby sweater! I found the pattern for free online and stocked up on cheap yarn at Marden's last summer. I even learned how to crochet for this project - that's some serious commitment! 

In all, I am really happy with it and am sharing my success with you all.

The Sweater.


Inside the sweater.
(I actually ended up putting a second tie at the bottom as well so it wouldn't stick out)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bad Blogger

I know, I know. I've been a bad, bad blogger. 

I could say that there's been nothing to blog about, but after blogging every day for the month of November, we all know that even blogging about nothing is more interesting than no blogging.

So I'm sorry to the three readers who are left out there. I'll try to do better in July.

In the meantime I'll catch you up on my life...

June was a really difficult month for me at work. Many people think that the worst part of my job is having to deal with death. Though that's true sometimes, there are other parts that can be just as bad. This past month we've had multiple patients admitted after being home. This means that they were sent home seemingly healthy and then admitted later for some reason or another. That isn't the worst part. The worst part is that after being admitted, they end up being diagnosed with chronic and debilitating conditions that are a huge shock to their families. I've witnessed so many families being told this kind of horrible, devastating news this past month and truthfully, it's been exhausting. I still love my job and wouldn't want to be anywhere else, but there have been fewer rewarding moments recently. Here's hoping that July brings many more feel-good moments.

It isn't that I haven't been online. I have. And it isn't that I haven't received ridiculous emails from boys who can't compose a sentence. I have. And I'm sure there will be another post somewhere in the future to share more ridiculous emails. But for now I'm trying to focus on actually going on dates, and that has proven harder than I had originally thought. Turns out, lots of the guys who write to me are looking for penpals and notsomuch actual dates. I, on the other hand, am looking for dates. So there's a bit of disconnect there.

Also, what I've realized over the past few months as I've really come into my own in my work is that I'm really happy with where I am in my life. This isn't to say that I don't want to find someone to be my life-long partner in crime, but I'm not in a place where I feel like I need that person, and that feels very healthy to me. So it's not that I've lost my enthusiasm for looking for a significant other, but I guess I've lost some of the urgency.

I've really been focusing on self-care in this professionally trying month, and it's been paying off. I have managed to reconnect with a few old friends and get to know some new ones. I hosted a mini camp reunion last week the day that camp opened and helped a friend paint her new bedroom this past weekend. These connections also help me to feel whole and healthy and it has been wonderful for me to have new energy around my formerly-stagnant social life.

So that pretty much catches you all up on the happenings of Fibby. Thanks again to the few hearty readers who are still out there. I'll try to post more often next month.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Gem

I swear, people, I couldn't make these things up if I tried.

Message in my online dating inbox this am:

Subject: I apologize ahead of time...

   ... because you honestly sound very very sweet!! But you may have the absolute worst taste in music that I have ever ever heard!!(other than rap fans). Please don't be offended.

That was the entire message.

I am entirely bewildered by why anyone would bother to write and send such a message. If you're not interested in someone, just don't write. And if you are interested, isn't it a pretty well-known rule not to insult them in your first message?!?!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Scooper Bowl Wednesday

This week the Jimmy Fund hosted its annual Scooper Bowl fundraiser - essentially, all-you-can-eat ice cream for $8. Unlike last year, the weather was not exactly the kind that made me crave ice cream. Then again, the ice cream didn't turn to soup, so I guess that was a plus.

This year, I sampled 17 flavors (once again, not full cups each time). Many were similar to last year and none were particularly outstanding. If I had to choose, I think Maine Lobster Tracks might win as my favorite with its "unique eclair crunch whirl", but the artificially red "lobster colored chocolate cups filled with a thick caramel" were pretty gross. 

27th Annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl Vendors:


  • *Cotton Candy
  • *Rock 'n Pop Swirl
  • *York® Peppermint Pattie
  • *Premium Churned Light Raspberry Chip

Ben & Jerry's

  • Orange & Cream
  • *Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
  • *Chocolate Macadamia
  • *Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road


  • *Vanilla
  • *Coffee
  • *Cherry Vanilla
  • *Cookies & Cream

Brigham's® Ice Cream

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • *Confetti & Cream
  • Black Raspberry Frozen Yogurt


  • Coffee
  • *Take the Cake
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Low Fat Caramel Praline Crunch Frozen Yogurt

Garelick Farms/Gifford’s®

  • Chocolate
  • Old Fashioned Vanilla
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Yogurt
  • *Maine Lobster Tracks


  • *Zesty Lemon Sorbet
  • Chocolate
  • *Bailey's® Irish Cream
  • Vanilla Honey Bee

HP Hood®

  • New England Lighthouse Coffee
  • Cookie Dough Delight
  • Fenway Fudge
  • Maine Blueberry & Sweet Cream Frozen Yogurt


  • Amaretto gelato
  • Dulce de Leche gelato
  • Chocolate gelato
  • Chocolate Chip gelato
  • Crema Café gelato
  • Lemon sorbet
  • Coconut sorbet
  • Mango gelato
  • Raspberry gelato
  • Zabaglione gelato
  • *Ginger gelato

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Good

Some people have suggested that I was harsh in my last post... that I may have been quick to judge people who may be good matches for me, but who just don't happen to have good spelling or grammar skills.

But here's the thing: the way I see it, an online dating profile is essentially a job application of sorts - and, like a resume, it is responsible for first impressions. If I meet a guy at a bar I can base my first impression on his personality and looks and "je ne sais quoi", but when I "meet" someone online all I have to base my first impression on is his profile. If a guy can't be bothered to write more than three sentences to describe himself or to spell-check (especially after reading in my profile that that's something I value in a potential match), then I'm going to assume that he isn't all that serious about dating, which means that he is not going to be a good match for me.

Think I've set the bar impossibly high? Wondering what a good online response look like? It looks like this:

I'd like to think that I'm pretty well edumacated and am not a terabul speler. I'm a bit of a grammar dork myself. Am prone to the occasional mishap of a poorly constructed sentence with a dangling participle. ;)

or this...

If your interest is piqued, by all means...give me a shout back. And I think you have every right to be a grammar nerd. If people can't write 'you' in a message...what is the world coming to??? 

or this...

I just had to comment on your well-organized and laid out profile. It is very rare to see that on dating sites. People can't seem to spell or write well. Don't worry...I won't call you a nerd. Anyway, you sound like an interesting person. Write back if you'd like.

Ok, so those three all happen to have the theme of embracing and/or appreciating my nerdiness. But I guess that's kind of what I want from a potential date - a guy who reads through my profile, likes my quirkiness, and then takes the time to write and tell me so. Those are the guys who get a response from me. 

Of course, there are still always going to be the weirdos...
I am a sensitive guy who can help you heal from any emotional wounds you experienced growing up as a child. This is what usually bonds a couple because the other person opens doors that imprisoned them psychologically.

The adventure continues...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Online Site: not so gr8

I recently joined yet another online dating site, which has proven to be a great source of entertainment for me in the past week.

In the first few days after I joined, I received such charming messages as these*:

Hi how r u?? I read your profile and would love to get to know you. Wanna get to know me???

hey whats up i like to chat wit u some more hit me back if ud like to talk

These messages (and many others like them) made me cringe, so I eventually added this to the bottom of my profile:

You Should Message Me If...

... my profile looks interesting to you and you think we might hit it off.

... you're looking for something more serious than a casual relationship.

... you can successfully and consistently type the full word "you" (instead of "u") when you write to me (yup - I'm a grammar nerd).

One might think that such clear instructions might solve my problems, but alas...

why dont u answer me :(

hmmmm… let me think…

Subject: but 'you' requires more effert than 'u'

I have bad hands thats why i write 'u' sometimes. Hope you can forgive me.

(Scores points for creativity, but... no.)


I'm Chris

and you...r ADORABLE :)

(Not sure if that's supposed to be "you" "r" or "you're" but either way Chris, I can't bring myself to respond.)

And there are other spelling issues too:

Please be spontanious, passionet, happy, and an overall good person.


I am looking for someone that I would be attracted too that is fun and outgoing.

(Subtle error, but still…)

I am a 40 year old teacher/coach with impeccable grammer, haha. Anyways, you seem nice and I'd like to talk more if you would.

(Ummmm... Coach? Your "grammer" might be fine, but your spelling, notsomuch.)

Then there are the punctuation (or lack thereof) issues...

Hi.i don't know why.I keep looking at you pic..

you look interesting?

see you soon.

(Perhaps the most creatively punctuated message I've ever received.)

hey whats i like your profile alot and was wondering if you would like to talk sometime if your interested let me know talk to you later bye

(easily the least punctuated message I've ever received)

Or the combination disaster messages:

I know what you mean. And its funny, Ive thought of abreviations; like "U" instead of you. And Ive' thought, maybe if your really trying to meet someone. For a lasting relationship. Using the word "you" is more well appropriate. If your in a chat room talking to whoever-whoever? thats ok:) Just funny that u mentioned that. I wonder if other guys are as enlightened about that?....probubly not like u said.

( silence )

Or just the really strange messages:


Ok, Here are three sincere and fun topics for you from a true future friend and entertaining person in your neighborhood .... Massachusetts.

I will give you three interesting topics quickly ....

TOPIC ONE: I wrote this poem to a beautiful woman on here today because her profile gave me these feelings.

Feelings Of Spring

I Love The Beauty In your Eyes.

I Love The Vision Of your Mind.

I Love The Power Of Your Faith.

I Love The Innocence Of Your Youth.

I Love The Scent Of Your Body.

I Love The Passion In Your Heart.

I Love The Integrity Of Your Spirit.

I Love The Pleasure Of Your Touch.

TOPIC TWO: I am developing a Business Plan for a (DELETED) STARTUP Company where I am the CEO. So I study (DELETED) & (DELETED) & (DELETED) & (DELETED) these days.

TOPIC THREE: I was in a startup previously ... cashed out three Million ... took a few years off and spent it ...

.... so you can imagine how I feel now ....

.... like a goofball who spent 3 Million Dollars

having fun and enjoying life.

What kind of way to spend your life is that ;)

Write Me.


(Oh, Aaron. Though I do love a poem sent to me but written for another, I’m going to have to pass.)

Despite the evidence above, there are a few men who have managed to pass my difficult screening process. No dates yet, but stay tuned for more adventures…

* All messages above copied and pasted with no alterations to spelling or grammar. Names and identifying details have been changed, however.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Years Out

I remember this day so clearly. And the ones immediately following

I remember hearing that Carolyn's birthday celebration had been cancelled, and then hearing that it was because Rosalie was in the hospital. I remember going into the hospital on a Wednesday night - not just to volunteer as I usually did - but to visit my friends whose daughter had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Their lives changed forever with that diagnosis, and mine did too. No longer were the families I volunteered with strangers... there was now a family I knew and loved among them. 

I moved away from SF not long after Rosalie's diagnosis and surgery, but I see them every time I visit the Bay Area. And every time, I am amazed at the strength and determination of this incredible little girl and her equally incredible family members. I am touched by the closeness of Rosie and her sister. And I am inspired by the powerful love and encouragement of her parents. I feel honored to know them and to have shared in this journey even a little bit.

Sending much love to Rosie and her family on this anniversary. Keep up the good work, Rosie! We are all so very proud of you.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Colorado DMV Nixes TOFU Vanity Plate Citing Obscenity Concern
By Ernest Luning 4/8/09

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles turned down a request from a vegan driver to display ILVTOFU on a set of personalized license plates because the phrase could be constructed as obscene, Tom McGee reports in the Denver Post. "We don't allow FU because some people could read that as street language for sex," Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch told the Post.

Turns out the state plate arbiters forbid hundreds of letter combinations deemed too controversial or offensive, including ARS, SIN and PIG. The department occasionally convenes a committee to add to the verboten list "so that plates stay free of letters that abbreviate gang slang, drug terms, or obscene phrases made popular in text messaging," McGee reports.

That was news to Kelly Coffman-Lee, the 36-year-old Centennial woman who simply wanted to promote her love of soybean curd while tooling around town in her Suzuki. "My whole family is vegan so tofu is like a staple for us," she told the Post. "I was just going to have a cool license plate and the DMV misinterpreted my message."

Whether or not the DMV did the misinterpreting - after all, who doesn't LV TOFU? - the civil servants say their mission is to keep the streets clean. "Standard common practices are: any combination of letters or numbers that carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency, are misleading, offensive to the general public, or represent gang, drug, sex, racial terms," another Department of Revenue spokesman, Maren Rubino, told the Rocky Mountain News last summer when the list grew to include common text message shorthand, such as LOL, OMG, and WTF.

The Department of Revenue oversees the DMV, which, it turns out, really does contract with the Department of Corrections to hire state prisoners to make the plates, the Rocky's Kevin Flynn reported. More than a quarter-million vanity plate combinations are kept off the road by the policy, which has been in place since the early 1990s.

Think you can think like the DMV when it comes to WTF vanity plate combos? Take a stab at this nifty license plate game still lingering on the Rocky's website.

Friday, April 10, 2009

At the End of the Day

There are some days when I leave work feeling energized and elated, and there are some days when I leave work feeling as though I've been punched in the gut. Particularly difficult are the nights I leave work not knowing if patients who were in critical condition when I left will still be there when I return. 

In professions that deal regularly with matters of life and death, there is a significant amount of self-care that practitioners must do in order to keep from burning out. People often think of self-care as being something extravagant like getting a massage. But actually, self-care can be as simple as turning one's pager off and leaving work on time.

At the end of days like today, I have a lot of ambivalence about leaving my work behind. I know that the only way I can continue to do my job well is to take time away from it and all of the intensity and stress it brings, but I get so invested in the patients and families that it's difficult for me to leave them when I know they are struggling. Can they get by without my support? Of course. But if I can relieve their stress or ease their sorrow or help in any way, I want to do so, and it's difficult for me to walk away. But in order to have the energy and strength to return to work each morning, I must leave work at night and try to put out of my mind the scary and sad realities that these families are facing 24/7, with no option to escape. 

It has taken some time and practice, but most of the time I can do it. However, some days I find that my walk home at the end of the day has not cleared my head, and I am still weighted down with the reality of what I see every day. 

Last night, after a difficult day at work, I returned home and checked blog updates before I went to sleep. I clicked on flotsamblog - one of my favorites - only to find this post. It was a punch-in-the-gut reminder to me that even when babies survive through prematurity and families bring them home from the hospital - even when they are many months and even years out from having been in a hospital - they are still fragile, and there are no guarantees.

When I returned to work this morning that reminder weighed heavily on me. And as I saw my patients struggle with their individual battles, I said silent prayers for each of them that they might leave our hospital healthy and never return. 

I never knew Maddie Spohr or her parents, but from what I have read, there was a lot to love. The online community of Maddie's friends and supporters has raised over $22,000 in her honor for the March of Dimes as well as additional funds through PayPal to support her parents during this unthinkably difficult time. I am moved to tears when I think of the loss of such a small and joyful little life - and then moved to tears again to see the widespread reaction and incredible outpouring of support and love within the blogging world. 

Last night my work and my outside life collided, and at the end of today I am left still reeling from the impact. 

"The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight... but every time we think we've measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless."   -TWW

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hair Woes: An Update

THANK YOU to all you wonderful, concerned friends who made great suggestions for places where I might get a good haircut in the Boston-metro area. Because I was eager to have this problem fixed sooner rather than later, I took Melissa's suggestion of Twilight Salon, which is conveninetly located near one of the hospital shuttle drop-off points, and which has late hours. I saw Lisa tonight at 7pm and not only did she convince me that she had a vision for my hair and that she was confident that she could cut it, but she was also a stellar conversationalist. Bonus.

I walked out of there with a shorter (admittedly, shorter than anticipated), sassy 'do that I was happy with. It hasn't been washed yet, so tomorrow will be the true test of what it really looks like, and whether or not I will return to Twilight or head to one of the many recommended salons from my previous post when it comes time to cut again. At any rate, I'm appreciative of all of you who took time out of your busy lives to care about my hair woes. I'll try to post about something more interesting soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hair Woes

When I moved to San Francisco I had very short hair, and wanted to grow it out. My friend recommended her hair stylist, a quirky and very detail-oriented woman named Nancy. Nancy eased the transition from this*:

... to this:

... to this:

... to this:

... to this:

... to this:

Each time I visited Nancy, she would take time to examine my hair, comment on how difficult it was to cut and what personality it had, and then get to work re-shaping it from an unflattering helmet-head to a stylish 'do. I trusted her and was never disappointed (except when she'd take hours to do a relatively simple cut, but that's a post for another day).

I had never thought of my hair as "difficult" or "with personality" - it was just straight, blond hair so how difficult could it be!? But after cutting it short and going through millions of awkward stages as it grew long again, I learned that straight hair is trickier than I ever realized.

When I moved to Boston, I knew that finding a replacement for Nancy would be difficult, but I had no idea it would be impossible. I have now lived here for nearly three years, and I have yet to find someone who has cut my hair well enough that I return for a second cut. Maybe I give too much direction. Maybe I don't give enough. I've tried cheap salons and expensive ones, all with the same result: a disappointing hair cut that either requires that I return for a fix (that is still not near perfect, but better than the original cut), or let it grow out in the hopes that the next cut is better.

Today, I got yet another bad haircut and continued the trend. I am not going to return, because I don't have confidence that it can be fixed by the woman who cut it. So now I face the task of finding a hair salon that can take my bad haircut and make it better. I'm not even looking for someone to fix it and make it look good. I'll settle (as I have since I moved here) for a tolerable cut. I've given up on having an easy wash-and-go cut like I've had in the past. That's now a pipe dream. But getting a haircut that doesn't look blocky or stringy or heavy or awkwardly layered seems like it should be an achievable goal, no? A girl can dream...

*For the record, photos above don't show the most awkward of the growing out phases, as I don't have any digital photos of those phases to upload. If anyone has any good spike-y haired photos circa 2002/2003, please send them my way and I'll add them to this post.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slow Times

There are 27 beds on my unit, and usually we have around 20 that are filled. Last week we had numbers in the mid-teens, and today we had 12. Tomorrow, four of those kiddos are going home or back to the hospitals from which they came, which means that if we have no admissions overnight, we'll be down to eight.

So what I'm saying is things are a little slow at work. 

Things have also been slow outside of work. The cold that I got almost two weeks ago kept me in bed for the first weekend I had it, and then kept me from making social plans that following week so that I could get home and go to bed. Just as the sickness was leaving, it came back for Round II: The Sinus Version, so I've been fighting that for the past few days. 

Highlights of this mostly-uneventful past few weeks include:

- Learning to tie a bow tie. My dad, my uncle, my cousin and I all stood around the computer screen, watching multiple videos on how to tie a bow tie and then practicing on ourselves and each other. My mom and aunt watched with amusement. 

- Cleaning my room. A real top-to-bottom cleaning that included mopping the floor. It makes me happy to come home to a clean room. A simple, inexpensive gift to myself.

- Scheduling a second date. Yes, Good First Date Guy (GFDG) will be making a second appearance in this fair city in the later part of this week for date #2. 

As you can see, there's a reason I haven't posted much lately. Hopefully things will perk up soon. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

One of Those Weeks

I can't remember the last time I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. It's been a while. So I guess I was due? 

Monday brought a cryptic email from my supervisor telling me that she needed to meet with me regarding a "patient relations issue". It turned out to be nothing bad, but I spent the entire day with a knot in my stomach trying to figure out what I might have done wrong and/or what family might have had a complaint about my work. Not a great way to start the week.

Tuesday I was paged before I even got into work about a family situation that had escalated to a near crisis point. By the time I arrived at work (10 minutes early, thankyouverymuch), the family had already left, but there was much de-briefing to do about how this matter was handled and how to prevent a similar situation in the future. And though absolutely no one blamed me for what had taken place, I felt awful that I hadn't been there to help during an incredibly difficult situation. 

Wednesday, I started getting sick. The "oh no, my throat hurts and I know what that means" kind of sick where you know no matter how much zinc/vitamin c/echinacea you take, it's still going to get you.

Thursday I stayed home sick from work. I also received an unexpected email that has left me feeling unsettled and grumpy for the past 24 hours.

And today I realized mid-day that the grant proposal I have been working on that is due March 2nd is due on MONDAY because February is a short month. I also realized when I went to pay my credit card bill at 8pm tonight that it wouldn't get posted until March 2. It's due the 1st. And when I called the company to ask if there was anything I could do, and they said, "yes, go to this website and you can pay it until 11:59pm tonight and it will still post today", I then realized that the credit card with the number I would need to be able to pay it online, was on my desk at work.

So it's been that kind of week. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

But there have been glimmers of goodness in the week too: one of my favorite kiddos coming back to our unit for a few days, getting to hold that same kiddo's twin brother while he smiled at me with all his might, caring comments from friends when they found out I was sick, free lunch today (there IS such thing as a free lunch, people, there IS!), and an honest-to-goodness, rock-solid GOOD first date. Yes, you read that correctly. In the midst of my hellish week, I went on a date, and that date was good. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Hard Part

So I went on date #3 last night with a guy that I've been on the fence about. I was looking for a sign or a moment or something that told me that he was a guy I should see more of, but none of those ever came. He's a guy who on paper is exactly what I'm looking for. We had great conversation and food, but there was that intangible something missing...

And so now I have to tell him that I'm not interested.

Twice in the past month since I started my dating frenzy, I have had to tell men that I wasn't interested in them. But both those emails happened after the first date, which made it easier (aside: I only ever email the "thanks but no thanks" sentiment - never make a phone call - when it's early in the phase of online dating. I learned this lesson the hard way by being on the receiving end of a very awkward phone call from a guy who was telling me he wasn't interested after two dates. It was awful and left me awkwardly trying to scramble for words in a conversation I wasn't expecting to have, and since them I have only ever used email to deliver that news). 

The challenge here is that I'm nice... too nice, perhaps. Both in person, and apparently also in my "no thank you" emails. After the worst date I have ever been on, my friends (who were sitting right near us) (no, he didn't know) came up to me and said, "So, was it good?!" and when I stared at them incredulously, they said, "But you looked like you were having such a good time!" It was then I realized that I might be too good at faking my enthusiasm while on a date. The thing is, I really do like people, and I enjoy getting to know them and what makes them tick - even the people I am not remotely interested in dating are interesting to me. But I think that my interest in getting to know them as people might often be misinterpreted as interest in wanting to date them and then I get myself into trouble. 

Of the two men I've said "no thanks" to most recently, one was told that I just "didn't feel that extra something" and the other was told that I had found someone else I really clicked with and I wanted to explore where that went. Both emails were written honestly and kindly, and in both instances, the guys came back asking for a second chance (one immediately and one after a few weeks).

I don't think 3rd-date-guy is the type who would beg for a second chance. But I do think he'll be disappointed when he gets this email. And it makes me feel yucky to know that I will be the cause of that disappointment. It won't stop me from writing the email that needs to be written, but it does make me feel bad because I know how crummy it feels to get those emails. 

This is the hard part about dating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feast or Famine

When you're single and going on lots of unsuccessful dates, you're told over and over again "you'll find someone when you're not looking". But when you stop looking and take a break from dating, you feel frustrated that you aren't being proactive about trying to find someone to date. It's difficult to find a balance. 

I tend to swing from one extreme to the other in a "feast or famine" pattern: 
a) A flurry of online dating leads to many first dates, few or no second dates, and eventually I burn out.
b) I take a break from dating and forget for a while that I care about finding a life partner, but eventually decide that I would not like to be alone forever. 
c) Rinse and repeat.

Right now, after a slew of bad or simply "meh" dates, I am finding myself with a "feast" of seemingly interesting and date-worthy men to choose from. I have gone from being the girl who goes home after work every night, watches tv and goes to bed, to the girl who actually has to check her calendar regularly to be sure she doesn't forget about a date. It's nice to feel proactive about my dating life, but it's exhausting too. 

As it stands right now, I am going on a third date with "Jim" this Sunday night, a second date with "Daniel" next Tuesday night, and a possible first date with "Mike" on either Saturday or Sunday during the day. Plus, I'm going to a singles night at a bar in Harvard Square with my friends on Saturday night. 


And hopefully one of these men is someone worthy of a second, third, and perhaps the all-elusive FOURTH date.

But if none of these dates pan out into anything, I'll give myself a break and put a pause on my formal search. And maybe then my special someone will unexpectedly show up and sweep me off my feet.

And if/when I get tired of waiting around, I'll go back to online dating.

A friend recently commented that she admired my stamina. It's a delicate balance of optimism, determination, energy, and reality that blend together to keep me going. And seeing so many others who have found their partners. Yes, sometimes it makes me jealous, but mostly it makes me hopeful. And the hope is what keeps the cycle going.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


It happened today and I am left with a mix of emotions unlike any I've felt from a job before. I am relieved and I am sad, but mostly I am grateful to and proud of the incredible team of medical professionals who came together to support this family and who spent the past two days tirelessly at their side, so that they would not face this death alone. 

I have so much more to write, but am falling asleep at the keyboard from exhaustion.

Thank you all for your wonderful words of support these past few weeks, and for the face-to-face time with friends that has helped me practice self-care and get through this all in one piece. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Go in Peace

A typical stay on my unit in the hospital can last from a week or two to a few months. Rarely do we get patients who stay with us for more than that. Naturally, the longer a patient is with us, the more we all (nurses, doctors, social workers, etc.) bond with the family. 

One might imagine that the main purpose of ICU interventions is to do everything possible to save lives. That is true to a certain extent, but an equally important role of the ICU medical team is to decide when there is no longer anything that can be done to improve a patient's health, and to help the family through the difficult decisions and experiences that follow. Usually, this happens in a predictable way: families have been kept up-to-date on the patients' progress, and are not surprised when the medical team comes to them with a discussion about end-of-life issues. But there are some times when family members are not on the same page as the medical team... and some times when family members are not on the same page as each other. In those cases, it is our job as a team to help families get to a place where they are able to let their dying family members go. 

Today, after months of medical updates, ethics consults, and intense conversations, we managed to get two family members who were not on the same page about how to care for a patient to agree on how to move forward. And though I think many of us on the medical team (and some family members) felt great relief to know that the family and the medical team were finally in agreement about what was best for this patient, there was also a great feeling of sadness to realize what that meant. 

There are many sobering moments in my line of work, but none so sobering as when we see families make the selfless decision to let go of a loved one who is suffering. The "easy" choice is to keep a loved on alive at all costs. It is much more difficult to recognize when the pain and suffering felt by a person being kept alive by artificial means outweighs the pain and suffering that the surviving family members will be left with after that person's death.  

These next few days will not be easy. For the first time in this job, I have offered to come into work over the weekend if I am needed. I do not pretend for a moment that this family with whom I have spent at least an hour every working day for the past few months will go quietly from my mind after their loved one has died. They have become a part of my daily routine, and I can already imagine the tug I'll feel at my heart when I walk by their room and it is empty or occupied by a new patient. But as I came to accept long before the family, this patient is ready to go, and will find peace soon in a way that was never found in this lifetime. 

Go in peace, sweet one. Go in peace.

Thank You,

Those folks over there at are looking out for me!

Monday, January 26, 2009


I'm not one for new year's resolutions usually. I can never think of anything good and am not all that interested in keeping whatever resolutions I have attempted to make... usually. This year is different. I have made a bunch of small resolutions and one kind of big one. In an effort to hold myself responsible, I will share them with you:

The Small Ones:

1. I will answer my phone more often.
I have a rule that if I don't have time to talk to someone, I don't answer my phone. I hate it when I call people and they answer by saying "Hey - I can't talk right now, can I call you later?" (If you can't talk, don't pick up. I'd be happy to leave a message.) Anyway, my resolution has nothing to do with that rule really - I still plan to not answer my phone if I can't talk. But if I can talk and I'm just tired... if I've had a long day and my phone rings and I look at it and think "I'm just not sure I want to talk with anyone right now" - that's what this resolution is for. Usually I just look at my phone and think "I don't have the energy to talk with anyone right now" and then I don't answer. But what I know about myself is that if I do pick up the phone and I talk with a friend and spend a few minutes connecting and laughing and communicating with another human being, 99% of the time I hang up the phone with more energy than I had before the phone rang. 

2. I will drink more tea. 
The main drive behind this is that I purchased quite a bit of loose-leaf tea as part of a Christmas gift, and kept half of all I purchased. Also, I like tea. 

3. I will work harder to make new friends. 
I have spent a lot of time since moving to Boston lamenting the fact that I don't have a group of friends here like I did in San Francisco. I have many friends here - good friends - but no group. I remember back to my days in SF when someone would send out an email mid-day asking if anyone wanted to meet up for drinks, and there would always be at least a few takers. It was just so easy. Many of my friends here live outside the city, or have kids or husbands who keep them from being able to be available at short notice like that. So my friends here are not available like my friends in SF were. They are good friends and I'm not interested in getting rid of them, but I do need to increase the number of people in my life I can call on a whim and ask to hang out. So this year I will make new friends and renew my efforts with my old friends as well. 

4. I will blog at least once a week.
There are people out there (you know who you are) who require weekly updates to know I'm still alive (you could call... I'll be more likely to answer). Also, writing is good for me. I think I got a little burned out after NaBloPoMo, but once a week really isn't all that often and I always feel so accomplished after I post. Also, I want to change the design of my blog, so hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.

And The Big One:

I will not make any unnecessary/impulse purchases for three months.
After tracking my spending over a few of the fall months, it became clear that much of my spending was not planned spending, and it added up. I want to get a handle on my finances and be more aware of where my hard-earned money goes. I have given myself $100 to spend over the three months because I know things come up, but that's all I get. I am allowed to spend money on food (including restaurants, within reason) (note to self, when a guy volunteers to pay for a date, SAY YES!), gas, and other necessities (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.). Unnecessary/impulse purchases include clothing, make-up, crafting supplies, and any random object found during a trip to the grocery store that gets tossed into my cart without any thought as to whether or not I actually need it.

So there are my goals for 2009. I've got more, but these are the ones I really hope to stick with. Now that it's nearly a month past New Year's, what resolutions have you all made? What have you stuck with? 

Happy 2009 everyone. I'll write again within the week.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Just a Few More

What are you most passionate about?
"Lots of useless stuff"

What is the first thing people probably notice about you?
"I'm interested in what they're saying... usually, mostly."

What are some things you can't live without?
"My credit cards"

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