Portland, Cape Perpetua, Redwood National Forest

Jon made it to Portland! Finally! He got here on Wednesday night and we headed directly downtown to grab a bite to eat at Pok Pok! The food there was a bit on the pricier side ($$ on Yelp, I’d say) but it was absolutely delicious!

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After that, we hit up an old school that was turned into a hotel/bar/theater before finally making our way to the Deschutes Brewery for a quick drink before calling it a night!

Thursday we had another Portland day! We ended up getting breakfast at the Waffle Window (my favorite) and then headed down to the Pittock Mansion so Jon could get a quick view! My car was rear ended in the parking lot but thankfully, all was okay and there was no damage! Next stop was the Rogue Brewery! I wasn’t able to drink because I felt so horrible from my one beer the night before, but Jon enjoyed his samplers! We decided to just walk around, make a quick stop at Voodoo Donuts, and just do some city exploring! I had been wanting to get some pictures of the Portland sign at night, so we braved it in the insane wind until it got dark enough!

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We made it back home so that Jon could meet my roommate and her son and then I packed up all 8 weeks of belongings before I had one last sleep in Portland!

We headed out early on Friday morning!

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It ended up being a very slow day because the Oregon coast is just so amazing! You guys are getting all my iPhone pictures on here since my camera ones aren’t up yet, but it’ll do! Our first stop was in Lincoln City so Jon could see the beach house I’ve gone to a few times!

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Can I even put into words how excited I was about having a sunny day?! I guess the big storms the night before cleared the path for the sun! Unfortunately, it was overcast in Portland when we left so Jon didn’t get a view of Mt Hood, but he didn’t mind nearly as much as me!

We spent a ton of time at Cape Perpetua! I had been dying to see Thor’s Well but was amazed at the first stop we made along the cape at Devil’s Churn! We stood and watched the water crashing in for quite some time before making our next stop!

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We headed down to the Spouting Horn hike since I had read that Spouting Horn was the same as Thor’s Well. They aren’t the same but they are in a very similar location. Below is Spouting Horn, which is right at Cook’s Chasm.

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We did manage to find Thor’s Well but I wasn’t about to venture close enough with the huge waves coming in! I think the storm brought in some really harsh waves and currents to an area that already is pretty crazy, so I passed on that one! We probably spent an hour at Cape Perpetua before moving along to Heceta Head Lighthouse!

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The sun was starting to set while we were up at the lighthouse!

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And by the time we made it back down to the beach, it was perfect timing for the sun to go below the horizon!

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We ended up driving for a few hours in the dark until we got to northern California! I was sad to miss out on the coast up there but knew we’d have plenty coming up in the next few days!

We started out early this morning to make sure we had plenty of time to get in the Redwoods and still make our way down some of Hwy 1!

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I thought this tree was big, but we ended up finding much bigger trees! At first I thought they weren’t that cool, but the bigger they got, the more awesome it was! I actually really enjoyed them and recommend making your way down Avenue of the Giants if you go into the national forest.

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We spent a really long time driving through the forest and out to the ocean! But we did finally make it!

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After driving the coast for about two hours and seeing a bunch of similar but awesome views, we headed inland and down to Napa! We’re spending the night in Napa so that we can do some wineries and maybe make it to San Francisco tomorrow before going down to Monterey! We’re trying to fit Vegas in for a night and we’re spending a day in Oklahoma City with my best deployment buddy, but aside from that, no set plans!

The End of Portland!

Well, my time in Portland is almost up! I just worked 11a-11p tonight (I got off a little early) and tomorrow night, I work my last shift up here! I’m doing 7p-7a, which will be my first night shift ever, aside from when I was in Iraq!

I wish I could make an “overall” statement about Portland! I guess I would say that this assignment has overall been a pretty good one! I really loved my job here! I can’t stress that enough. I would come back to work at this hospital full time in a heartbeat. The doctors and the staff were fun! The ER is actually pretty well organized and similar to how we did things in Georgia. I felt like things were safe and effective, and honestly, I loved the slower pace! I could keep doing ER if I had a pace like that all the time! We had a max of three rooms no matter what the assignment is, which was the best thing ever! Great job. Great ER. Great people.

I only wish the weather had been better in my time here and that Jess could have come to this assignment with me! I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if either one of those had happened, but I’m still really glad that I came out here. I definitely feel like I’m growing as a nurse and even though I may not be getting all the critical care experience that I was getting in Georgia (and therefore feel a bit behind when I head back to such a busy trauma center), but I know that I’m becoming much more well rounded. I still find the differences to be so interesting, in management, patients, and just nursing stuff like the medications used.

I also have been getting so much better at IV sticks lately! Maybe better isn’t even the right word- but more confident. In general, ER nurses have to be pretty good at them. I put in anywhere from 2-10 on an average day. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me here to get a hard stick for them and go in and get it without any real problems on my first try. We had a respiratory patient the other day that I was told how hard they were to get a line and went and popped in two IVs without any difficulty, although I could see why he would have been a harder stick. I went and stuck one in this guy’s hand, and then it was pulled out in CT and the guy ended up with a central line cause nobody else could get one in (I wish I could have gone back to try again, but I was tied up). Perhaps I should just be thankful now, where the hard sticks actually still have veins, as opposed to when I get back to dialysis land in Georgia where their veins really are shit. But I used to always think, “Well, if you can’t get an IV, then I definitely can’t!” Now I know that I might actually be able to get it (and almost always do) when somebody else can’t!

I think that this assignment has made mine and Jon’s marriage much stronger. I feel like the first one tore us down a bit. I felt distanced from him and although I was still excited to be with him, I felt much more independent of him. I had a really hard time adjusting to being with him when I was back in town. I may still have some little hiccups in adjusting to being at home, but I really have grown so much more appreciative of Jon and so much more excited to spend time with him. I still wouldn’t quit traveling for good to stay at home with him (yet), but I’m excited to maybe spend a little more than 1-2 weeks with him in the next few months! It’ll be good to be by his side a little more often! We argued maybe a handful of times, and those arguments were extremely minor. When I was in Massachusetts, we had much more frequent arguments! Not even sure why, but we did! Over just about anything! I just miss him too much to not enjoy our time talking!

So that’s the end of assignment #2! Jon will be here in less than 48 hours (AHHHH!) and after 1 1/2 days in Portland, we’ll be headed down south through California for our trip home! Can’t wait! I’ll keep you guys updated with some beautiful coastlines over the next week or so!

Pittock Mansion & Portland

After tossing and turning for hours last night, I got out of bed at 11:45 so that I could spend my very last free day in Portland doing something better than laying around! I headed out the door to see the Pittock Mansion, which I’ve heard has good views of the city and was all decorated for Christmas! The mansion was built in 1914 by a couple who basically helped develop Portland as a city!

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The mansion was beautiful on the outside but no Christmas decorations! I was really expecting some Christmas lights on the outside or something! It was pretty neat though because all the snow was blowing off the trees, so it felt like it was snowing outside!

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You all know I love me some Mt Hood! Not only that, but I could see Mt St Helen’s and Mt Adam’s as well! My phone wouldn’t have captured them and I haven’t uploaded the photos yet from my camera, but this was the good one! Apparently Mt Rainier is visible on clear days as well!

The mansion was only $10, but I was really disappointed in it! The actual mansion itself was really neat, but the Christmas decorations were so gaudy! I wish I had taken one on my phone! In on of the bathrooms, they stuck two gigantic gingerbread houses that literally took up the entire bathroom so you weren’t able to see any of the original features. Strange. But I still enjoyed the afternoon! It was definitely much quicker than I had planned!

I headed into Portland to see the Ira Keller Fountain but all the water was drained for the winter! I was so bummed! I probably should have snapped a few photos of it empty, but it just looked like a bunch of cement blocks! I did buy a new scarf from H&M and get to walk around the cute streets of Portland again though!

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I ran by work to grab my daily planner (I was lost without it and so worried I’d mess up my work days) and then headed to Whole Foods for some groceries. I threw together some stuff to take to work and then headed out to the gym! I ended up doing a mile run (I made it to 6.2 with no pain!) and then walked 3/4 of a mile at an incline. I get so much more tired doing that than running right now (since I’m still watching my pace till my hip is 100%) and I’m kind of liking the different challenge. I had planned on doing some legs, but a bunch of bros were taking up my leg area so I just did a few leg presses and a few planks and moved on with my night!

Not that I’m a foodie blogger, I figured I’d snap a quick picture of my dinner tonight (that I ate at 10:30pm)! I found some pretty good peppered deli turkey at Whole Foods and got some salami for my protein. I really would have liked some cheese on that spaghetti squash and on my meats, but I thought I had a lot left so I didn’t buy any when I went grocery shopping. Come to find out, I barely even have enough for my hash browns these next few mornings! Ah well. And I had more grapes but dropped them on the floor, and since the floor here is lived on by a 2 year old, I decided to just let those ones go.

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I’m going to chill for a bit and I’m really hoping to get to sleep around 1am! I’ve been relying on Benadryl for sleep a lot more lately and I really want to try to go without it, but I just don’t do well swapping back and forth so much with the hours that I sleep! I notice that I’ve been tossing and turning a whole lot more lately than I ever used to!

Tomorrow marks one week until Jon gets here and 9 days till I leave Portland!

Workouts + Waffle Window

I had another day of staying in bed till 3pm! The rain was coming down pretty good today, so I lost all desire to get out of bed! No way I’m exploring in constant rain! I was awake a lot of the time, but really, I’m still enjoying my lazy days in bed! Can’t help it.

As soon as I got up, I headed out the door to the gym. I had a good mile run and then did some sumo deadlifts. I was able to lift more and go a little lower than I was before and actually think I may have been able to hit my weights on the floor at the end of every rep, but I didn’t. I made it through some Romanian deadlifts and some dips and a bit of an ab workout, but then I was feeling depleted! I go to the gym without eating first about 25% of the time and typically make it through fasted workouts just fine, but every once in awhile, I just want food! Today was one of those days. So I kept it short and sweet and headed out to get some waffles! (Duh- gotta refuel after a fasted workout.)

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I decided to head to the other Waffle Window on Alberta St today (this one was closer) and it definitely was cuter than the other one on Hawthorne St. This one actually had its own space!

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How cute is this place?

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I ate the same savory one as I did last time (Three B’s, added an egg) and then got a pumpkin pie waffle since it’s the last weekend for it! I ate part of the pumpkin pie one at home and it was good, but not as good as the savory one! I need to cut back again on my breads, but I’ll only be here to enjoy these for 2 more weeks, so I’m just kind of ignoring my eating habits for right now.

I ran some errands after that and then came home. I took some Benadryl tonight so I’m about to shut off the computer, get ready for bed, and do some reading! I’m headed to Seattle tomorrow to hang out for the day exploring and then at night, I’m going to Vashon Island with my oldest sister for the night and part of Tuesday! I’m excited!

I’ll check back in later!

Getting Dressed and Getting Beer!

Another lazy day down in the books! I woke up at 9am and started doing business from bed! Jon called me with some current updates, which affects my job situation come January! Then I talked to my recruiters about my January job (I’m wanting to go to Santa Fe, NM!) and then called Jess to talk to her! Then I called Jon back to talk to him again! My hold up now is that Jon may have to travel coming up, and if he does, I don’t want our cats to be alone all week long! Our cats are not independent at all! They follow us around, get ready in the morning with us, join us in bed, and sit with us all the time! When it was just Kitty and me living alone, she would eat the fur out of her back when I was working a lot as a stress response! And Tom pees on the carpet when he gets angry (luckily, we only have one entry rug in our house now- but only cause he peed on all my other rugs and we have hardwoods in the whole house now- also why he can’t go to my parent’s house, which was my usual solution in my pre-Tom days).

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Things are still unknown as of this time, so I may have to hold off on applying for jobs in Santa Fe and put my traveling on hold for the time being. I’m not ready for the traveling days to be behind me, but those little furballs have my heart and I could not leave them home alone for 4 days at a time for a few months! I would feel like such a guilty, horrible mother! I don’t think I could even enjoy traveling as much if I was worried about them at home! (My love for cats is serious business.)

After my business was complete, I fell back to sleep till 2pm. I’m getting in a bad habit of sleeping all day, but I’m calling this “resting my hip.” I woke up and headed out to the gym after eating a little something, but ended up skipping it and getting coffee instead! I decided to be smart and give my hip some more rest since it’s been a little achy lately.

Tonight I went out for beer with Adam! I got dressed for the third time in 6 weeks tonight!

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Sometimes I forget what it’s like to wear clothes and have my hair down (this was only the second time having my hair down in 6 weeks)! I actually kind of enjoy it at times, especially because lately it has happened so infrequently!

We went to Base Camp Brewing Co downtown and got smores stouts!

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I’ve really come to like stouts lately! I’ve still had my fair share of stouts that I don’t prefer, but there are definitely some good ones out there! This was a good one! And the toasted marshmallow (mine was the perfect one, Adam’s was the burnt one) was a bonus too! Adam reconfigured my external hard drive in about 5 seconds and then my computer spent an hour transferring pictures! I still need to transfer the photos from my other external hard drive over to the new one too!

Tomorrow is back to work for three days! I’m going to see about extending my contract by a week and I’m really hoping they let me! It would give me a chance to work another week before Jon gets here and that money would definitely help us out since both of us will be taking over 2 weeks off of work in December! I have no idea what is happening this weekend, but probably a lot of sleeping and being lazy! Seems to be my thing lately! And I’m just going totally enjoy it while I can and not feel guilty about laying in my nice, fleece sheets till 2pm anymore! I have a feeling these lazy days are only going to last for a few more months and I might as well soak it in! Those grad school days are coming!

I was hoping to curl up on the couch and catch up on some TV, but there’s no cable right now! I don’t even know why! It’s not even raining!!! Frustrating! I get tired of watching everything on my computer!

Beacon Rock State Park, Lan Su Chinese Garden, & Stopping The Pill

Since I told you all about my $100 parking ticket, I figured I’d include my $100 photos in today’s blog! This is at Beacon Rock State Park in Washington! While the photos are pretty, this was really all there was and it was definitely not worth the $100! (Some parks, I’d be much more okay with $100 tickets- like Rocky Mountain or Arches- not this itty bitty “state park.”)

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I came home as it was starting to get dark, and Mt Hood was looking pretty spectacular! This is where I’m living out here, so on a clear day, Mt Hood is my usual view! It would seriously never get old to see her every day!

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Yesterday was definitely a tough day. I know I’m beyond fortunate to be out traveling all over the place, but I’m feeling like things have just been knocking me down lately! Thankfully, I love my job, so my job isn’t a contributing factor! I’m missing Jon like crazy on this assignment though, and so much is up in the air with him at this time, so I have no idea if he’ll be coming out here in December or not! I’m also feeling behind on bills (we have plenty in savings but I really try my hardest not to take money out of savings!) and knowing I’m about to spend much more heading home in a month than I did coming out here, and that I’ll be making WAY LESS money at home is a bit stressful! I’m glad to be going home for the holidays, but 8 weeks isn’t long enough to save up on a travel assignment! And getting that $100 ticket when I was already feeling a little down was just knocked me down some more! On top of all of that, my hip has been hurting a more over the last few days and I haven’t even been going to the gym (I also fell down the stairs tonight and irritated it even more!). I have a hard time dragging myself out of bed here since I tend not to flip flop my schedule very well either.

Finally, like I mentioned, this is my very first time in 11 years off my birth control! I’m only on my 2nd week off, so I had my usual “withdrawal” week, and now I think my body is just out of whack! I had been really emotionally stable over the last few months (aside from brief periods of time) and these days, I am feeling like a total wreck! After some googling, I’m realizing it’s pretty normal (also, a lot of women complained of headaches and feeling tired, both of which describe me at the moment also)! I’ve heard from friends who have gone off the pill that they felt great after and had no more mood swings! I’m feeling the total opposite! I’ve always been a little concerned about the effects of the use of the pill long term but never really researched it. I got my period when I was 15 and have been on the pill since I was 17, so I don’t even really know what my body is like without it! I’m hoping these moods even out! I did make it to the gym tonight and felt much better after going, but with my hip still bothering me, I’m trying not to go on a daily basis! It’ll definitely be interesting to see how things go for me.

Anyway, I slept till 1 today and then decided I needed to do something with my day! I started at Cup Coffee Co and had the best bagel ever! I try not to eat bagels because I try not to eat much bread, and that’s all a bagel is! So it’s been since NYC and I must say, it was a dang good first bagel to have!

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I think I need to go back there! I was feeling a bit happier after sitting at a coffee shop on a fairly decent day (meaning not so overcast)! I headed to the Lan Su Chinese Garden  next! It reminded me of the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai but way smaller! (For any of you visiting Shangai, I very highly recommend the Yuyuan Garden!) It was a nice day for it and not too insanely crowded!

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I enjoyed about 45 minutes there and then headed to do some shopping! Made it to the gym tonight and wore myself out with clean and jerks (a sad 45#)! I did the elliptical backwards with a high resistance to work my glutes since my hip makes it so hard to do anything to work them! I do sumo deadlifts also, but I can’t go heavy and I can’t hit the weight on the ground because of the hip, but the elliptical felt good!

Tomorrow I’m really hoping to wake up early for a Mt Hood hike, but it’s almost midnight and I’m not tired, so we’ll see!

1st Day Back at the Gym!

I went to the gym today! WOOHOO! I struggled through waking up at 10:30 in order to go get my fingerprints done, but I knew it had to get done. I was so tired and unmotivated, but I somehow managed to convince myself to just go look at a gym today and sign up for the membership. Then I managed to convince myself to just get some sort of workout done!

I ran 1/2 mile at 5.3-5.5 and 0 incline. I was going to go for a mile but I was so bored with running that slow that I quit. I couldn’t increase it at all because if I got any faster, my hip was “there.” Not painful, but noticeable. I did Russian deadlifts and felt comfortable as long as I kept them under 100#. When I went over that, it was more painful. I actually felt like my hip was pretty stiff and it was irritated walking around towards the end, but it feels back to normal now. No more pain than before I went at all. I’m just bummed at how limited my gym capabilities are and am really looking forward to this being behind me!

I got some Dutch Bros. coffee after and the gym + coffee managed to put a little pep in my step.

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With all this dreary weather and nearly constant drizzle, it’s hard to get anything done other than sleeping in and sitting on the couch!

I had to go grab some things at Target and ended up buying two shirts and then went to Ross and bought a pair of shoes (like I need black booties- probably not- but I will eventually wear them). I grabbed some food at Whole Foods and am now hanging out at home!

Juliette and Roy just got home, so I’m going to go visit with them. I’m hoping to get up early and maybe go get a hike done. I plan on heading out Sunday for Crater Lake!

Portland Assignment!

I figured I’d do some Portland updates! I’m one week in today! Woohoo! 7 to go! As far as work goes, I’m glad to only have 7 weeks left. Don’t get me wrong- I actually like this hospital, but something about only having to get through 7 weeks of work is really nice! I miss my Mass work crew a ton. They were just so fantastic and fun and had so much energy! I feel like my work crew here is just dragging. They’re boring. Time goes slow. Not a ton of interaction between coworkers. However, it’s a totally different pace here! I think Portland is slower in general. Nobody even speeds here! But really, the pace is way slower. I have kept my rooms filled back to back but lab comes to draw labs, we have people who specifically do our EKGs, and the doctors rarely order IV meds on patients, so I end up not even putting IVs in most patients. I think I’ve put in 4 IVs all week and at home, I put in 4 in an hour sometimes. I’m sure if I had a critical patient or a really sick patient, it’d seem busy here. I don’t feel like teamwork is up to par with my home job either, but I’m finding that they’re just really helpful at that job. I’m definitely liking it though! The time drags at work because I spend 12 hours at a much slower pace that I’m used to, but really, I needed this! I hope it stays this way for the whole 7 weeks! I’m actually considering coming back here in the summer next year because it’s just that nice!

Adjusting to the evening shift has been difficult. I’m exhausted at the end of my shift and these days are actually 13 hour days, not 12 hour days. I’m used to 6:45a-7:15p (or earlier), and here I do either 2:45p-3:45a or 1:45p-2:45a. Even more draining when I’m doing 3 in a row! Today I slept until 3:30p and was so drained when I woke up. I almost didn’t even get out of bed but knew I had a time crunch at that point (I had dinner with a friend- I’ll update the social aspect another time). I was dragging and not feeling well through the grocery store and finally gained some energy when I ate at home. I have worked 3-3 shifts in the past, but not regularly, and it’s actually a bit harder than I had expected! I’m feeling a bit zombie-like. I’m sure it will get better, but I’m definitely going to need to adjust!

The time change from Georgia is also strange! Jon and I don’t talk much (we really didn’t when I was in Mass either, though). I get a 10 minute break at work (their policy is actually three 10 minute breaks and one 30 minute break, but that’s excessive!) so I typically call him during that and then talk to him while I’m at dinner sometimes. Today I caught him for about 15 minutes while I was getting ready to leave tonight and he was on the bus on his way home from an air show. I don’t feel stressed about the lack of interaction though. I’m just happy to hear his voice when I do! And besides, we only have 7 weeks to go and we should get to spend a whole month together!

I haven’t worked out at all. Still missing it a ton but know that if I even step foot into the gym, I’m going to aggravate my hip because that’s the nature of a hip injury. I’m giving myself one more week and then am going to try and go in and at least do something! The pain is still not any better than two weeks ago and actually seems more irritated lately. A lot of tenderness with palpation and it continues to wake me up frequently through the night when I move.

I also am enjoying where I live. I mean, it’s free, so you can’t beat that. I actually haven’t even seen the girl I live with (Juliette) much. Since I went out of town this week on my days off and worked the nights she was home, we haven’t seen each other since last weekend. I was hoping to go to a winery with her today but ended up sleeping through it and she was still gone when I was up. But I’m very comfortable here and have taken time to help clean the kitchen up every day (she works full time and has a 2 year old son) so that she won’t have to do their dishes when she has time to spend at night with her son! And her son is adorable and reminds me of my nephew, so I love it!

So, assignment #2 is definitely going well! I’m very happy with the hospital and the living! I just wish my hip was better so I could get in some good hiking! More updates later!