Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays and Welcome 2010!

I have found it harder for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year and I think it's because I am so far away from my friends and family and I have yet to see snow of course! When I lived in Boston, it was very convienant for me to drive home in just 3 short hours and enjoy seeing my mom's xmas decorations and taste test her yummy holiday treats! There is a fabulous woman at work that has decorated the rehab gym and xmas carols have been playing in the gym during therapy sessions with our patients, which has helped a bit, but it is just not the same. About a week ago, my wonderful Christmas Angel of a mother sent me a homemade xmas wreath from Maine and I became all nostalgic once I opened the box and smelled that wonderful country pine! And recently, I made a Rocky Road Fudge for a staff Christmas party which helped me a re-direct my attention back to the holiday season...but as I look around my apt now and do not have one ounce of Christmas decoration displayed, I am sad to be so far away. So, to fill my void, I ate fudge...comfort food always makes me feel warm and happy again! haha Above is a picture of my creation! It was the easiest recipe and may become one of my favorite for fudge. I have enclosed the recipe:
Rocky Road Fudge

*12 oz package semi-sweet toll house morsels
*1 can of carnations sweetened condensed milk
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*3 cups of mini marshmellows
*1.5 cups of chopped walnuts
*in a microwavable bowl, melt chocolate and condensed milk in microwave for 1 min
*mix with a spoon and continue to heat up in 15 sec intervals until mixture melted and smooth
*fold in marshmellows and walnut and place in a 13x9 in baking pan lined with waxed paper
*refrigerate until hardened and ready to serve
Enjoy the recipe and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and exciting 2010 filled with a lot of love, happiness, and new adventures! I fly in from Texas this Saturday (19th) and hope to catch some of you while I"m home for a week...and I can guarantee you that by the time I step my foot off that plane, I will be in the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A little trip West...

I apologize yet again for not "blogging" more frequently, but the last few weeks, let alone weekends have been crammed with activities. Not that I'm complaining by no means, but I am sure all of you are getting bored with looking at the same post week after week. So cheers to a new one right now!

I recently flew to Sedona, AZ this past weekend to spend time with a very dear friend of mine from college. I have not seen him in over a year and even during that time, we barely had the time to catch up and really spend quality time together. Before that year, it had been nearly 2 years since I had seen him. So, I'm thankful we had a good, solid, 4 days together to really get to know each other all over again. He has been traveling all over the world within the past 3 years as an engineer and am quite envious that he has been to nearly 40 countries. So, needless to say, our conversations were full of exciting stories. He is so talented, carefree, intelligent, caring, and fun that I left the trip being soooo thankful for the fact that him and I have managed to keep in touch.

Anyway, I flew into Phoenix on Thursday night and we spent the night there and then woke up early Friday to head to Sedona. We were supposed to head to the Grand Canyon Saturday night but I loved Sedona so much that we ended up staying Saturday night too! We did everything from bar hopping to listen to live, local music, art gallery viewing, hiking, mountain biking, wine tasting, fire pit sitting to roast s'mores and play the guitar, and EAT! I experienced the best bruschetta I have ever had (I have been eating bruschetta, and a lot of it since I could chew!), most amazing Greek food, fantastic lunches, and delicious Arizona wine! So, yes, I flew back on Sunday tired, yet refreshed and content! I strongly advise that EVERYONE visit Sedona at least once in their lifetime! The best times to visit are during the late fall, March, and May, because the tourists visit the most during the late spring/summer months. We stayed at the Red Agave Adventure Resort , which is situated in the base of Sedona's red rocks. They offer mountain biking for free and I won't forget to mention that they have 2 spas, swimming pool, and an amazing fire pit that is lit nightly! One activity that you MUST participate in is the Pink Jeep Tours! I have included a picture above!

Anyway...Sedona is amazing and I hope that you all get a chance to make it out there because the opportunities are endless and the scenary is breathtaking!

I see a future travel OT assignment in the near future...maybe...perhaps?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Texas!

As I sit in my apartment tonight, the eve before Thanksgiving day...I think about all the many things I am thankful for in life. It is so easy to go about our day in a fast forward motion, that we often forget to stop and tell someone how much we appreciate them or even count our blessings. So here is what I am thankful for:

  • First and foremost, my wonderful family...Dad, for his big smile, constant support, love for my mom and siblings, and happiness that he brings to the family; Mom, for her huge heart, love for my Dad, siblings, and godson, ability to stay strong in every situation, tremendous work ethic, and amazing cooking skills; Jenn, for always being there for me no matter what day or time, for bringing such a beautiful and wonderful nephew into my life, being an amazing role model to both my brother and I, and always supporting me and my crazy life decisions; and Trent, for making me view life from a different angle, see the smaller things in life that are important, always being there to share a good laugh, and being supportive in every situation; and Buster, our fat and happy yellow lab...for bringing so much happiness into our family, especially my dad's and Trent's and most certainly, my late grandfather's.
  • My beautiful friends...I won't list them all b/c it will take all day and you know who you are! I have gained something from each friendship that I have formed in my life. At least one of you have lifted me up from the ground and pushed me to stand taller, told me how beautiful I am, taught me to love myself more, encouraged and/or motivated me to try new hobbies or activities, laughed so hard with me that our cheeks hurt, challenged me, been that shoulder or ear I needed to listen when I cried for hours, pushed me to take risks and not be sooo responsible all the time, b/c we learn from our mistakes, danced with me until my hips hurt, did something you did not want to do but did b/c I wanted to...for all of the reasons above, I am thankful for my friends.
  • My health...I have been lucky to have been blessed with good health thus far. Within this past year, I worked my butt off to lose 20 lbs...and I still have more to go! Everyday has been a struggle for me...b/c I tend to be an emotional eater. I can have very poor self-control at times too, especially when it involves summer BBQ food, cake, christmas delights, and cocktails to unwind with. But, when I hear other people's stories that are in their late 20's, I count myself lucky that I have never had to have a major surgery, never broken a bone, never had a cavity, worn glasses, never had braces (but i did have a horrible palate expander that traumatized me), or encountered any major illnesses as of yet.
  • Lastly, my job...I love being an occupational therapist! I feel lucky that everyday I am able to improve one's quality of life by providing them with the skills necessary for living, whether it's giving a patient a reacher/grabber to help them put their pants on b/c their broken hip will not allow them to reach their leg past 90 degrees, or simply giving a patient an adaptive cup so they can drink their juice b/c their arms are paralyzed...I feel blessed.

So enjoy your day tomorrow and please take a moment to tell someone how much you appreciate them...

Much love from Texas and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nothing strikes fear in Texans like a Yankee with a U-Haul...

After living in the 2nd largest state in America for nearly 8 weeks (Texas, if you didn't already know)...I've heard numerous jokes about Yankees. I think the first thing that comes out of anyone's mouth is, "You're not from around here are you?" I'm currently residing in the Hill Country of Texas, also known as "Anti-Yankeeville." Prior to living in HIll Country, I was living in Redneck-ville...also another Anti-Yankee territory. I have yet to live in the cities where cultures blend, people are more open minded and liberal. I lived in that for 3.5 years, which is why I'm thankful for being placed in the rural towns, because I've gained a whole new perspective on things and appreciate how hard these folks work down here. I've learned, that really, the only difference between a Southerner and a Yankee is the manners, the weather, and the food. The people in the south address everyone as "Yes/No Ma'am" or "Yes/No Sir." No one ever "cusses" down here, as the southerners would say vs. "swearing." Also, the younger men and of course older gentleman open all doors for you and allow you to get off the elevator before they do. I think the last time a guy did that for me was my Dad. Furthermore, NO ONE ever honks their horn, lets you cross the street, and does not have road rage. So, yes, the southerners are more well-mannered than us Yankees. The weather, well the Northeast wins there. I love nothing more than having 4 seasons. We have the beautiful coastline too and gorgeous moutains. The south, well they have large bugs, flat land (for the most part), a lot of road kill, a lot of humidity, tons of rain in the fall, and tornados! The food, well now, that's a tough one...I love Mexican food. You cannot get good, spicey, authentic Mexican food in the Northeast. It is all American-ized. Even the chain Mexican restaurants down here have better food than the same chain restaurant up North. The food is full of fat and who doesn't like fattening food? It's comfort and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and then horrible when I'm trying to run it off on the treadmill the next morning. Whenever I reach for milk at the grocery store, the skim milk on the shelf is overflowing and the whole milk is almost gone! But when I think back to living in the Northeast, I feel as though we have many different types of food that they just cannot master down homemade Apple pie with Macintosh apples (they do not exist down here), Italian food, good quality beer, sushi, Thai food, and organic produce (the word organic does not exist down here!). I could go on and on, so yes, the Yankees win for this category too. So looking back on this post, I guess the Yankees do still kick butt...

My car hasn't been keyed yet, so I guess I'm fitting in pretty well or just keeping my mouth shut so the local folks do not hear my voice that lacks a thick, strong accent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This is why I became an Occupational Therapist...

I walked into work today feeling as though it was going to be a good day from the moment I woke up. I am starting to feel comfortable with the paperwork, staff, organization of the department, and orientation of the hospital set-up. I am also starting to realize how much I really do love acute rehab. Your patients are with you for about 10-14 days, so it really allows you to really understand, appreciate, and watch your patients progress over that timespan. My very first "acute rehab evaluation" was on a little 89 year old man who recently lost his wife this past October. He fell this weekend and sustained a lumbar compression fracture. His wife would normally help him around the house, but ever since she passed, he has had to manage everything himself. He has managed to hide his grief behind a big beautiful smile and jolly laugh and will constantly joke with me about how "efficient" I am and work his "bottom" off. For an 89 year old, he is just as sharp and attentive as a young 20 year old. He has rarely mentioned his wife to me and I have not asked questions because it is a very tender subject and situation. So today, I was helping him with his morning routine (he is very impulsive with his rolling walker and has become very weak since he has fallen) and going about my buisiness when he told me to stop and looked at me intently with his gorgeous sky blue eyes and stated, "You know sweetheart, my wife used to help me button my shirt and get dressed but she's not here anymore." Tears quickly formed in his eyes and I didn't say anything...instead I put a hand on his shoulder and got down to his level and said, "I know, and that is why I am here...I want to help you get better so you can be back home living with your wife's memory, the way you want to." He then smiled and said, "You know, I don't know if anyone tells you this everyday, but I sure do appreciate you...your smile and the warmth of your hand just made my entire day, let alone month...i haven't felt that sense of peace since my wife passed." Needless to say, I started to cry. We often take too many things for granted in life. As I was once told by someone very special to me, "Smile everyday, because you never know who is appreciating it."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to Kerrville!

Well folks, I successfully made it to my next traveling OT assignment. I love it here! Above is a picture of my apt community and lovely pool (sorry had to add that pic first for my family and friends back home that probably haven't seen an uncovered pool since maybe August? haha), which is gated access and very beautiful, as you can see! It surpasses Mrs. B's cottage by far...even though Mrs. B's cottage had a lot of character and comfort added to it, I was starting to get tired of finding dead water bugs and cockroaches in hidden spots...yes one of those lil' brats chewed a hole in my cashmere sweater!!! Let's just say, when I was packing up, I screamed when I saw the lil' bugger attached to my sweater and cried when I saw the hole shortly after! Everyone that resides here is so pleasant and welcoming! Come to find out, there are about 5 therapists that live here and are working in the same hospital as me, so it is nice to have something to relate to. My apt is also convienantly located only a mile down the street as well, which Jackie the Jetta is happy about considering she used to spin her wheels nearly 40 miles a day to work (that is a lot considering she never drove in Boston, maybe once or twice a month). In regards to the hospital, I love where I work and it's only the second day! It's an acute care/acute rehab setting, which is what I am familiar with and feel the most confident with my clinical skills. Furthermore, the department is very organized, the staff is very happy and content with their workplace, and my supervisor is superb! It's just amazing how I have gone from one extreme to the next. I still am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and I can already think of a few reasons why I was placed in Mount Pleasant first and why I was forced to leave so early...I will not mention those reasons...but I think a few of you may know why;) I will write more stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Now what in heck is a FLAPPER girl?" Bringing the 1920's back to Texas...

Another Halloween came and left! This year, I decided to take everyone back in time to a 1920's Flapper girl. I had a lot of fun creating the costume too! As my friend Kristen would say, "you are such a dork," but yes, I watched YouTube videos that displayed make up tutorials on how to apply 1920's-style make-up. I gained a bigger appreciation for these beautiful women after going through what I did to look the part. Flapper girls wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to the new jazz music, and flaunted their disdain for what was considered acceptable behavior. They were seen by the public as brash for wearing excessive make-up, drinking, smoking, flirting, taking work outside of the home and driving automobiles, which basically challenged women's traditional social norms. Overall, a flapper was reckless, attractive, and independent (sound familiar?). This behavior redefined women's roles forever. We are the women we are today in part, because of these beautiful flapper girls! i am...the finished product! I hope you all had a very safe and happy halloween and I look forward to y'alls photos as well!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Texas meets Maine Lobster Bake

Mmmm...Maine Lobster steamed in seaweed. That salt water smell brought tears to my eyes, because I miss that Atlantic ocean really bad.

My dear friend, Kristen and I

The "crew" that came out to enjoy the lobster bake, which turned into my going away party. The Dallas Cowboys jersey was ONLY worn on Sunday because I was forced into it. I'm still a NE fan, by heart!

The spread: Lobsters, marinated ribeye, potato salad, sauteed veggies, grilled corn on the cob, southern cheese biscuits

7 hours southwest...

First off, I apologize for not updating my blog in some time. As most of you may know, the last few weeks have been a little busy for me, but fun, needless to say. Secondly, I wanted to let you all know that in just a week and a half, I will be moving, AGAIN! Yes, I received an unexpected call from my recruiter last Thursday. She called to tell me some "exciting news," which were her exact words. The second she said that, I instantly thought that maybe they were able to secure the assignment I was looking to take at the end of January in Colorado; however it was the complete opposite! The nursing home that I am working in has been struggling with their budget for sometime; therefore, they needed to make some necessary changes by laying off a few of the staff. That being said, I was given a 14-day notice. So, Joy proceeded to say, "Kristi, you have been having a hard time dealing with this place since the first day you stepped into their doors, I think this is a blessing in disguise." After she made that statement, I paused for a minute and agreed that this was probably for the best. As my family has heard numerous times, I was not happy with the organization of the department and found myself sitting in pools of ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. From other staff violating patient's rights and dignity to the relationships within the interdisciplinary team, I never felt comfortable practicing within that environment. I take pride in my skills and practice and sure as heck respect my patients, unlike several of the staff working there. So, with that said, my last day at the nursing home will be November 6th and will pack up in Mrs. B's cottage on the 7th to drive 7 hours southwest of Pittsburg. I have been doing quite a bit of research on the new town that I will be living in and am rather excited! It's a town of about 20,000 people that draws in tourists from all over the U.S. The Quadalupe River runs through the middle of the town, making it a fantastic spot for floating, kayaking, and sight seeing. In addition, the town has an artistic and "outdoorsy" flair, which makes for an exciting place for creative discoveries! It's a place convienantly situated 50 miles northwest of San Antonio and 1.5 hours from Austin. I will be working at a private, fairly new, 126-bed hospital that has both an acute care and acute rehab floor, which happen to be my two favorite settings to practice. While working at the nursing home for the past 5 weeks, I found myself missing the craziness of acute care and ability to get to know my patients in acute rehab.

I am sad to leave my new friends that I have made here, but know deep down that this probably the best thing that could be happening to me right now. Everything happens for a reason and you meet the peole you meet for several of these reasons. When reflecting back on my arrival and the few friends I instantly met and connected with, I am able to make sense of why we crossed paths. I will take something from each of them, which in the end, has definitely made me a bigger, stronger, and better person.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To my precious Godson on his 1st birthday...

Tomorrow is my nephew and Godson's first birthday and it saddens me that I am not there to share it with him and my family. I love this picture of us because it was taken on the very first day that I met him and held him in my arms. I remember leaving and telling my mom that if I already loved Cole so much, I cannot even imagine how much love I would have for my own children. I feel so blessed and honored to be his Godmother and thank my sister and brother in law everyday for giving me this opportunity to play this part in his life. It was difficult enough for me to live three hours from him when I was in Boston and now I am finding it even more challenging to live over 1800 miles away. But I am fortunate enough to have such a wonderful family that sends me daily updates and pictures of him so I can experience each moment by just looking at his expressions in all the photos.
Just thinking about him makes me smile. He already carries such a vibrant, outgoing, creative, and loving way about himself, that I am excited to see what type of personality he will take on as he continues to grow and mature. He is the love of my life and brings so much joy into our family. So, Cole Michael, may you have the most beautiful and exciting first birthday! Eat lots of cake, because you know that your Auntie would be proud!
A Godson's Love
Samantha Ritcher
Tiny hands, tiny feet
i've waited so long for us to meet.
Who could've known a love so true
i'd given up hope, then along came you.
Innocent and perfect, you're safe within my arms
i'll watch over you and protect you,
i'll keep you safe from harm.
With mischief in your smile
and wonder in your eyes
watching you as you sleep,
feeling every sigh
i could look at you for hours
and always be content.
You became my living angel
when you were heaven sent.
Just the thought of you,
makes my world seem full...
you are my life,
my love, my Godson
my precious Cole Michael.
I love you baby boy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You're 27? Holy, I thought you were only 22...!

I celebrated my 27th birthday this past Saturday and was fortunate enough to share my celebration with my great new friend, Kristen. Her birthday followed a few days later. The pictures posted above are just some pictures of the important people that shared it with me. We kicked off the "birthday weekend" (yes, I do not like to have just a day, I enjoy an entire weekend of festivities!) by going to the Mount Pleasant County Fair, which was an experience in itself. It was such a muggy evening, thanks for buckets of rainfall the day prior. Kristen loves crazy rides and I thought I did too until the 2nd ride. I started sweating profusly and felt my stomach bounce off my other 27 year old organs. So instead, I decided to take pictures and watched Kristen laugh like a little kid as she jumped from ride to ride. In addition to the rides, we enjoyed gigantic corndogs, homemade lemonade and nachos with jalopenos (yum!). About 1 hour into our time there, a raindrop soon turned into terenchal downpour, so our time at the fair was cut short (i didn't mind). I have never seen so many large belt buckles, startched Wrangler, taperd jeans, and cowboy boots in my life...I stuck out like a sore thumb with my flip flops, rolled jeans, and tank top in addition to my lack of accent.
On my actual birthday day, we went to Mardi Gras Seafood (see picture above) which is basically a hole in the wall that has "ok" seafood (yes, I"m a seafood snob, but the Texans think it is the best there is) and live music. I got a shout out from the band and even was sereneded with a beautiful birthday song. I was fortunate enough to meet Kristen's family and more of her friends. Her friends now only refer me as "Maine" or "Yankee girl;" therefore I only respond to those two nicknames . The rest of the evening was history...but as I enjoyed my evening and heard nostalgic songs such as "Pour some sugar on me" which reminded me of college freshman year, "Take me home tonight" which reminds me of Maine, and "Black" my favorite Pearl Jam song, I refleced back on my 26th year. It was pretty damn good! I ran my first 10K race, survived an amazing vacation in Key West with my best friend, took on a big career change, moved home to Maine for a month, which ended up being one of my best summers thus far, learned how to crochet, bought a new VW jetta (her name is Jackie), discovered my love for running and yoga, was blessed with a beautiful godson/nephew whom I love dearly, and lastly shared a memorable cross country trip with my little brother, while making some amazing new friends along the way!
I cannot wait to see all the adventures that the year 27 holds for are only as old as you feel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It is not about the place you are in, but the people that you are with that truly matters...

This is my very first Mt. Pleasant friend, Kristen! The day I met her, I went home and called my parents and told them that I made a friend! I felt like a kid again finishing her first day of school...But I am so incredibly thankful that I was introduced to her because she has made my time here much more enjoyable since last Thursday. If you remember from my previous post, I was very unhappy and not feeling good vibes from where I'm currently located. I knew we would develop a special friendship after she popped into my office (she's a speech therapist), introduced herself and proceeded to say that we should grab a drink after work. Our birthdays are two days this weekend we are having a big birthday bash to celebrate her 26th and my 27th (eek). If the weather permits, we plan on doing some jet skiing during the day with some BBQ'ing followed by listening to live music at a local seafood restaurant and then who knows. Anyway, a very true friend she already is and I feel like I have known her for years. This picture was taken infront of Lake Bob Sandlin, which is a 9400 acre lake surrounded by miles of state parks. This hidden gem is located just a few minutes from my cottage. It was absolutely do not give this lake justice.
Anyway, as I hoped and prayed for, things are starting to look more is still work and frustrating at times because I still have not received a formal orientation; thus I have been left fending for myself. With each passing day, I am still so proud and thankful for the education and training I received from MGH and know that if I never started out there as a new clinician; I could never handle what I am currently dealing with today and for the next 4 months.
To finish up, I wanted to let you all know what I've been up to the past 8 days and all the things I've learned...until next time kids!
1. Texas vocabularly--> "Fixin" means "getting ready, preparing"
"Do what?" means "what did you say?"
"Reckon" means "I agree or I know."
"Shootfire" means "of course!"
"Cussing" means "swearing" and NEVER EVER say goddamn around anyone from Texas, they find it very offensive (understandably so).
2. Foods I've tried--> Aligator Sausage (sooo delicious!), Boutin Balls (hushpuppy like fried balls full of rice, crawfish, crab meat, cajun spices, and boudin). You will never find them in the Northeast so I might have to order some to take back with me, b/c they are to die for! and lastly, frog Legs...yes, I know, scary!
3. Things I've learned about Texans: THEY ALL LOVE WHISKEY! Everyone smokes, but they all know how to have a good time and are incredibly polite and welcoming!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is the glass half full or half empty? A few days of reflection...

Well, after 1830 miles and 28 hours later, my brother and I finally made it to Pittsburg, TX where Mrs. B's cottage (aka my new home) awaited my arrival. The cottage is sweet, cozy, and huge, but the decor can go. It does give the cottage "character" per say, but my eyes begin to burn after looking at floral print for more than 5 hours or so. I love my landlord and my housekeeper (yes, you heard that right). The cottage is joined with the local B&B down the street that offers complimentary breakfast for their guests as well as a housekeeper. Her name is Corinna, and probably the most adorable woman ever! The first day I arrived, she came over to introduce herself and while I helped her finish cleaning, she told me a little bit about herself, her beautiful family, heritage, location of the local grocery store, and area lakes to visit. We finished the conversation by her offering me free, home cooked, Mexican dishes after her Wednesday night church events(mmmm enchiladas)! Don't worry, I plan to re-pay her back with some good ole' American delights! After she left, I looked at my brother and said she will be my mom away from home and I know it's only the beginning to a long and beautiful friendship.

On the downfall, I think the cottage and all it's amenities and perks that come along with it are the only great thing about this assignment. Pittsburg, TX is...well...small and uneventful. I have yet to see anyone my own age. Almost all of the "shops" in Pittsburg's "downtown" are vacated and dark, and the train is unbearable when it roars through the town right when I'm trying to get to sleep. In addition, the bugs are gigantic (everything is bigger in Texas right?). I will be lucky if my poor windshield makes it out of Texas without a crack or permanent bug guts. They are constantly splattering all over your windshield as you drive down the highway. I must also mention, that a BIRD hit my windshield too and left black markings on the hood of my poor Jetta! I also woke up to a cockroach lying upside down on my kitchen floor as I fixed myself some tea this morning...YUCK! Oh, and talk about roadkill...if people were not allowed to drive 70 mph on back roads and highways (not kidding, this is the speed limit), maybe we could slow down and allow those poor armadillos, skunks, squirrels, turtles, porcupines, and dogs (yes, 1 dog and 1 puppy :( ) to safely cross the road to the other side.

Aside from the town, I think I will have a tough time adjusting to my new facility. After doing some reflection on my drive home from my first day today, I realized how spoiled I really was at MGH. Hand hygiene and patient care was something that MGH would pride themselves on and I am thankful for this. There was maybe one hand disinfectant in each hallway of the facility; there was 1 located outside of each room at MGH. MGH offered a lot of support and supervision; I'm the only OT at this facility and delegate my work to two COTA's throughout the day. Insurance drives everything and I was lucky enough to have case management and administration offices handle that for me at MGH; I am responsible for all of this at my new facility. And to top everything off, my rehab manager called in sick today and no one in the department knew I was even hired!!! Yes, I felt like the new kid on the block and very very uncomfortable for the first time in a long time. I left work early (no one cared or seemed to notice) because there was no more work and needed to decompress for a bit. So, the second I sat in my car, tears began to form in my eyes. OK, I'll admit it, I cried. I cried because of my chaotic day, the fact that I missed my friends and family tremendously, and the fact that I was extremely overtired from traveling still. But as I drove home and approached Mrs. B's cottage, my tears stopped and I felt a sense of comfort as I stepped into my new home and looked at the ugly floral print...for the first time I was happy to see it!

It's amazing how unpleasant first impressions have the ability to look so beautiful and comforting later, with time... My point is, my first impressions of my new job and little town just need time and hopefully in the end, I'll be more sad than happy that my 4 months is up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Texas Bucket List

Here I am with less than 12 hours away from driving to TX and it still feels so surreal. I remember the day I put my notice into MGH, back in June and thinking it was still so far away. I was blessed that my boss from MGH allowed me to "burn my ET" out, which means that I was able to basically use all my earned time and treat it as a vacation. So yes, I must brag a bit, but I had the best time for the past month. When speaking with my good friend, Anna and reflecting back to what I did this past month...I am so lucky that I took the time when I did. From sunbathing to BBQ's, to tubing, to dinner, to pit fires, to coffee and dinner dates, reggae cruises, brunch gatherings, movie nights, swimming, late night stargazing, and bar nights...I had the time of my life. Most importantly though, I was able to spend so much with time with my family. I have not been able to spend more than a weekend with my godson and nephew since the day he was born, so I feel fortunate that I was able to watch him grow and learn for an entire month. It's amazing the how much he did grow within this past month too...I learnt something new about him everyday. Like the fact that he loves to kiss, clap his hands, dance, laugh, EAT, look at nature, and play with our yellow lab, Buster. Within the past few days, he started taking 1, 2, or even 4 steps, which was exciting to see! My dear sister has even taught him sign language so he communicates "more" and "all done" when eating, which is so adorable! It was difficult saying good-bye to him as he does not understand yet that "auntie" is going away for a few as he laughed and waved his usual good-bye, which consists of flopping his entire arm up and down, tears formed in my eyes. He is just so beautiful and precious. I'm am so grateful that I was asked to be his godmother and cannot wait for the times we have ahead of us.

So to end this post, I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to make a "bucket list" persay of things I want to do in each state that I live in. I also want your comments and feedback as several of you that follow my blog have been to more states than I, so any insight that you have into the "hot spots," please do not hesitate to contribute! So here goes, Texas:

1. Austin City Limits Music Festival (weekend of my birthday!)

2. Pineywoods Wine Trail (there is a vineyard convienantly located 3 mi from my cottage!)

3. Bob Sandlin Lake and Park (my town that I'll be living in is aka "Bass City")

4. Big Bend National Park for some quality rafting and hiking

5. Hill Country Horseback Riding

6. Spruce up my skills with country line dancing (p.s. I already have the cowboy boots from my previous TX visit)

7. Greer Farm

8. Go back to my favorite place...Rice Village in Houston



...I know it's small so please add your thoughts!

Goodbye for now, the next time I'll write, I'll be in my new home, Pittsburg, TX. Here is the link to where I'll be staying: Mrs. B's cottage! It definitely has a lot of character and floral prints! hehe. BUT, I get free, complimentary breakfast every morning! Grits and potatah's, here I come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Now Kristi, why would you ever want to leave the best city and one of the best practicing hospitals in the U.S.?"

The above title was a question that a very dear friend of mine asked me the other day, which surprisingly took me a few minutes to respond to. Here I am only a few days left until I make one of the first biggest changes in my life, and I STILL ask myself this very question since the day I woke up in April as my plane landed in Boston, MA. I was just returning from an amazing vacation in Key West, FLA and was having a dream of myself running by the water, laughing, and feeling this intense emotion...I was incredibly happy. I felt like myself again...I remember waking up, disappointed that the dream was just a dream and instantly getting the very pit in my stomach that I felt for the past couple of years once I saw that Boston skyline everytime I returned from a Maine weekend. I told my mom about my dream, stressing how Key West gave me this very same feeling and I realized how happy I really can be and have not been for the past year or so. I remember her saying, "Kristi life is not always paradise..." I agreed with her, but my point was, I had not felt that level of contentment and happiness in a long time and I wanted it again. So, yes, maybe the beautiful sunsets, delicious cocktails, fun music, cute boys, and wonderful company (my best friend from college), and friendly faces from home (Ben, Chels, and Rob) helped to create that feeling for me...BUT I knew I was not happy anymore in Boston and it was time for a change. I returned to work the next day and tried to focus, but I was so excited to start my research. However, each time I tried to pull away from the thought of staying at MGH, I continued to feel like I was in a tug o' war. On one, heavily weighted side, I had the pull of my amazing colleagues, excellent learning opportunities, fabulous benefits, great salary, amazing family/friends within close proximity, and comfortable routine pulling me to the left and the thought of traveling throughout the U.S. every 3-4 months and experiencing some of the most beautiful places that no one has even experienced my age, to the right. For the 2 months following that time, I did extensive research, spoke to other traveling therapists, and made a list of pro's and con's before I made the decision to resign from Mass General Hospital. My biggest fear was that I was making the biggest mistake but then I learned to accept that we learn from our mistakes and you will not grow if you do not jump outside of your comfort zone. I am blessed that both my supervisor, colleagues, friends, and family were all incredibly supportive, which has made this transition easier on my conscious. So here I am today...days away from driving to my first assignment in Mount Pleasant, TX. I will be there for 4 months with the hopes of doing my 2nd assignmet in Colorado for the winter months.

So, Ned to answer your question, "When I finished college, I wanted to achieve two professional at MGH and become a traveling therapist and whichever order they came in, it was meant to be. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to first work at MGH because I feel confident in my skills and feel I can work work anywhere...I am also no longer happy with who I became living in the city, so I need to see where I fit in and belong. Although each opportunity might not be all peaches and cream, at least I can be happy knowing that I experienced it somewhere new. "

Welcome to my blog and I look forward to your words of wisdom along the way...