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Winter is coming

I am spending today working on the last of the things I need to do before we hunker down for a great big blast of arctic air! The front blows in on Monday night, and the highs this week will all be in the 30s - 40s. I ordered flannel sheets from Amazon today, and had to laugh at myself for the amount of time I spent combing through reviews. In the past I would just grab a soft set in a color I liked, but now I've read so many reviews about fabric pilling and lint in the dryer and color bleeding and even whether the print is on both sides of the sheet or just one, and I find myself caring now about all of these criteria that before I never would have even thought twice about. I think my absurd amount of research may have paid off, but I guess I won't know until they get here on Wednesday. I really wanted a floral pair of Laura Ashley sheets that reminded me of a pair my grandma used to own, but I just couldn't talk Ramzi into it so I got some red and cream plaid ones instead. I guess my shabby cottage look will have to wait for a guest room some day, whenever we get to buy a house. In the meantime, a rustic cabin or lodge look also feels very cozy.

We still have our mantle decorated with the gauze fabric and pearls and purple lights that I had up for Halloween. I have only one decoration for Thanksgiving (a beanie baby turkey!) and it seems Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close to each other again this year. The neighborhood Milad lives in already has at least 5 houses with Christmas lights up and/or a Christmas tree in the window. We usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate, but considering that we will be in Austin again and therefore not home to decorate, we decided to do it before we go to Austin this year. So, like next weekend. It takes so much time to put up the Snow Village that Ramzi's grandmother gave us that it is hardly worth putting it out for just a couple of weeks.

Oh, I still need to pull my sweaters out of the closet, too. Time to put away those tank tops! I can't wait to see my boots again!

I have so much on my list of things I want to crochet and knit right now! I wish I could make myself work on cold weather things earlier in the year so I am not rushed to get them all done at this time of year. I need some ear warmers and some slippers. My Ravelry favorites list is absolutely massive right now! I found a free pattern for a knit Christmas wreath and another for an incredibly cute gingerbread house. I really want to make them!

Okay, I need to move the firewood into the garage and then work on transplanting our rosemary bush from the garden to a pot. There's no way it will survive this week if we don't move it before the front comes in! I hope the Canadian geese show up ahead of this blast. I've had my eye on the skies but still no sign of them. They feel late this year as compared to last year, but this is only my second year to see them ever! They don't migrate through Austin. Clearly they are still very novel to me :P Stay warm everybody!


Haven't done one of these in a while

1. What is your religious/spiritual preference?
Christian. Methodist, specifically

2. Right or left handed?
I was trained to write with my left hand, though I've been told by my ophthalmologist I actually was born left-handed. Which explains why I was a leftie gymnast and have never managed to hold a pen correctly with my right hand.

3. Is there something unique about you?
I honestly can't pick just one thing, haha!

4. What is your occupation?
Nurse practitioner. Of the acute care variety by credentialing, but I've been enjoying endocrinology!

5. Nearsighted or farsighted?
Nearsighted and worse lately because I haven't been wearing my contacts. I'd get lasik surgery if I weren't so scared!

6. Eye color?
Green. Sometimes blue, depending on what shirt I'm wearing

7. What is your ancestry?
German. Pretty much 100% that I know of, but my mom's father was adopted

8. Political preference?
Depends on the subject being discussed. I support women's health, education, gender equality, and gay marriage. But I also support the 2nd amendment, carry a gun myself, and I support immigration control. I'm a Christian but a firm believer in separation of church and state, and I also am pro-choice. Those are some of my preferences, whatever it makes me.

9. Married/single/other?
Married since June 26, 2010 :)

10. Special talent or skill?
I guess not! I'm pretty ordinary. People tell me I'm exceptionally creative, but I don't really know.

11. How tall are you?
5' 4"

12. Special fears or phobias?
Appendicitis, staplers, clowns, being underneath overpasses. The usual :P

13. Musical preferences?
Pretty much anything but country music. I guess I'm not big on rap either. But what's usually on my Pandora is either 90s stuff, alternative and rock, classical music or contemporary/alternative Christian music

14. Do you drive and what kind of car?
Yep! A Ford Focus. My second one, actually

15. Sports yes or no? If yes which?
I could watch football all day every day! And NBA basketball too if the Spurs are playing :D

16. Favorite gem or type of jewelry?
Anything with a lot of color! I've been really into turquoise lately

17. Allergies?
Cinnamon toothpaste. It makes my gums break out :(

18. Do you play a musical instrument?
I'm awesome at playing the radio! Hahaha I wouldn't say I'm proficient in either the piano, guitar, or flute anymore but would love to pick one or all of these back up

19. Fiction or non-fiction?
Both! I love to read historical romances, biographies of people I admire

20. Electronic devices? How many - what kind?
Yep! I'm pretty blessed. Kindle, iPad, iPhone, MacBook. Classic.

Crochet fail!

I just watched my favorite Disney movie of all time this afternoon: "The Little Mermaid"!! Amazon finally made it available on Instant Stream! Which only matters because it is $14.99 this way and I'm too cheap to pay $10 more for the hard DVD copy. Anyway, after plenty of singing and running dingle hoppers through my hair, I decided to look around for Ariel crochet patterns online. I have already crocheted a couple of Little Mermaid things in the past, but it's always fun to browse around. And that's when I stumbled on this gem:

A picture is worth a thousand words!

As if this blanket (?) isn't horrifying enough, the designer is actually charging for the pattern! For just $5 you can guarantee your child will have nightmares. I'm almost tempted to make this as a gift for someone just to see their face as they pretend to love it, hahaha!

The best things in life

It's time for a new list of goals!!! I can't believe it's already time for a new one. Some of these are recycled from my old list (either to do again or do for the first time), some of these were stolen from my best friend p_o_u, and some of these are entirely new!!

August 3, 2011 to April 30th, 2014

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End of the year survey one of two! 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

So many things! I got my masters degree, gave a Valedictorian speech, paid off my car, got a job working as a nurse practitioner, wrote my first prescription, got out of apartment living by moving to a duplex, bought a truck, got my concealed handgun license, went to the funeral of a friend from high school, danced on stage at a Train concert, went to the Dominican Republic, stayed in a haunted hotel, and started an aquarium with a goldfish!

2. Did you keep your News Years resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I do a lot better with my 101 things in 1001 days list that I have posted on LJ than I do with remembering and sticking to a New Years resolution. I have however been toying with the idea of making a resolution for 2014: to not buy anything new. Things like toothbrushes and food and underwear obviously wouldn't count, but things like electronics I could buy refurbished, clothing I could buy second-hand at thrift stores or on eBay, etc. I'm pretty sure I could actually pull this off, and the idea of doing something like this makes me feel like I'm doing something good for the environment as well as teaching myself some lessons in self-discipline.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not anyone I was super duper close with, but this was a rough year. Lauree passed away, Mays passed away, and my Grandma Pat. Death is never easy, and thinking of these people is still really difficult for me.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Dominican Republic! It was awesome! I'd love to go back someday!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

It's not so much what I would like to have as it is what I would like to have LESS of: debt! I hope 2014 will be the first year we can really get our finances under control, since I'm done with school with no plans to go back for a little while.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 15th we went to the Dominican! I passed my boards exam on September 11th, and I started my new job as a nurse practitioner on October 17th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Graduating as the Valedictorian of my class, earning my master's degree, passing my boards exam, and getting a job as a nurse practitioner. I wish I could pretend my self-esteem is not directly tied to my success in academics, but because of my accomplishments in this area, I finally for the first time in my life feel like I've carved out a truly unique identity for myself. I feel more comfortable to completely be myself always, because whatever anyone else says or thinks about me, I was the f*cking number one student in the graduating class of my masters program! That makes me feel like a badass, and no one can ever take it away from me.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting on top of my health like I know I should have. After being diagnosed with PCOS this year, and gaining over 40 pounds after starting on an SSRI last year, I knew better than to slack off in this area. But somehow it's like the more unhealthy I am, the harder I know I'll have to work, and therefore the less I want to even try.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yep. This year was probably my worst to date. Ever since our trip to the Dominican where I got sick at the resort probably from eating salad, I couldn't go 2 weeks without something else happening! Everything from the worst sore throat of my entire life to one of the worst sunburns I've ever had to chronic bronchitis that took like 2 months to clear up. I've been well now for a few weeks so hopefully I'm done with all of this nonsense!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My education, hands down. And I paid off my car finally with my mom's generous gift to me, and Ramzi and I got the truck!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine! (I don't mean to sound arrogant, but credit where it's due.) Also Courtney, for being sober for over a year now! Good for her! And Milad, for becoming the number 2 real estate broker in the entire city of Lubbock, and he's only been doing this for 5 years! Erin finished her first semester of CRNA school, so good for her too :) And my brother has been doing so well for himself! I'm just so proud of him!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Alex and Vivian. Two friends I've known for years who showed me such disrespect that I'm not sure I could talk to either of them again. My trust has been just absolutely shattered.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills and tuition for grad school. Uggggh! (a repeat of last year)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going to the Dominican!! And graduating as Valedictorian!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

"Roar" by Katy Perry, "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus (haha!), "Harlem Shake"by Baauer, and "What Does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis. Oh, and "Cruise" by Florida-Georgia Line. I absolutely LOVE that song!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) Happier or sadder?

Happier, in general. I miss my family, but I've accomplished a lot of personal goals this year.

b) Thinner or fatter?

Fatter, probably. Or maybe about the same.

c) Richer or poorer?

Hard to say. I've got more money in my bank account, but I'm in more debt than ever because of my student loans.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Taking care of myself! When I get busy or stressed, treating myself well is the first thing I stop doing. I need to make myself and my health a priority always.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Being sad. I feel like the lows this year were really low. The highs were really high, but ugh the lows and the crying were just practically nonstop this year.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

No, I found him in 2005 :)

21. What was your favorite TV program?

How I Met Your Mother, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and Bones!

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?

I wouldn't say that I hate either Alex or Vivian. I'm just REALLY hurt. But either one of them could call me for anything at 2am in the morning and I'd still be there for them.

23. What was the best book you read?

I really enjoyed the Crossfire series that Sammy introduced me to!

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

It's hard to say! I re-evaluated my favorite bands this year, and decided The Used is no longer even in my top 3. I'm going with Blue October and Switchfoot as my current favorites.

25. What did you want and get?

Straight A’s in grad school! A job as a nurse practitioner! A home that's not an apartment!

26. What did you want and not get?

A house, but I have known for a while that wouldn’t be in the cards. <-- same as last year! At least I'm consistent.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

"Catching Fire" from the Hunger Games series. Omigosh. So good we saw it twice, the second time being on IMAX. YES!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27 this year! We went to the Dominican Republic, how incredible! It was for both my birthday and my graduation, and wow what a great experience! The resort actually gave us a free upgrade to the honeymoon package, AND they sent me a birthday cake! :D It was just amazing!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Getting a house! I can't wait to have something that I can decorate and paint and truly call my own.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

I love patterns and colors that don't match but they somehow still "go." I like wearing things I can guarantee nobody else will be wearing! I'm very drawn to unique patterns and textures, earthy colors, boho flowy materials, and vintage things. And hair chalk! Washes out in one shampoo and allows me to have pink hair on weekends :) Best stuff ever!

31. What kept you sane?

Ramzi, this year. He was just absolutely incredible and was there for me literally every single time I needed him. And wow, I leaned on him more this year than probably ever before because I went through so many rough patches with deaths, feelings of insignificance with friends, plus being homesick for my family and friends after we moved to Lubbock. And then of course I needed him as my rock for all of the life changes we went through such as just the physical process of moving, etc. He was my lifeline this year!

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? :)

Kliff Kingsbury, the head football coach at Texas Tech! Oh man, he is GORGEOUS.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Healthcare: both the issue of ObamaCare and the issue of women's rights. I stayed up past 2am watching Wendy Davis' filibuster of the absurdly restrictive abortion legislation that Texas was trying to pass. It passed anyway, which makes me see red when I think about it I get so angry. But it was so refreshing to see women in Texas stand up for something that so directly affects them!

34. Who did you miss?

Brittany and my mom. I haven't seen Britt since like April. And I miss my mom so much I cry a lot, now that she is 6 hours away from me rather than 20 minutes. Also I really miss my grandmother, who is 9 hours away from me now in Houston. And Erin, who moved to Virginia. And my brother. I miss him a lot too, all the time.

35. Who was the best new person that you met?

All the girls at my new office! Dr. Felton, Bre, Shiela, and Jessica. They have made me feel so at home here and accepted me into their clan wholeheartedly and genuinely and have just been so darn NICE to me.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013

I didn't really learn this lesson so much as apply it: the concept of hard work to create change. I dug my heels in and WORKED for things I wanted this year that made me put myself out there and get out of my comfort zone. 2013 was, overall, a very good year :)

Level up! Achievement unlocked

Just writing to say that I PASSED MY BOARDS EXAM this morning!! The longest, hardest, most grueling 4 hour, 200 question exam of my life. I seriously thought I had a 50/50 shot at passing when I clicked submit, and that was being rather generous, in my opinion. There was some seriously detailed questions, and honestly many of them I had literally NO idea what the right answer could have been.

The exam is pass/fail. I have no idea how many questions you need to answer correctly to pass, and I don't care. It doesn't matter! :D

I've already submitted my request to have a verification letter sent to the Texas Board of Nursing, so hopefully I'll be licensed to practice within a week or two! I feel like this is all happening SO fast. I've worked for nearly 3 years for this moment, and now that it's here it feels so surreal!

My focus right now is on landing a job. I've had some nibbles, but no bites yet. Wish me luck!

Enjoying this week's moments!

I've been in such a good mood this week! Things have been very low-key and I've been able to do a whole lot of what I want to do, rather than what I have to do. I've done a ton of organizing and taken like 8 bags of donations over to Goodwill. I've hung out with several friends lately and had several long phone calls with friends and family to catch up on everything. I scanned many cards into my computer to clear up some clutter, which has been on my to-do list for forever! It feels so good to get some of that stuff taken care of :) I've also got a surprise story to share with you guys, but I don't have the pics on my iPad so I won't talk about it until I can post some pics, too :P but trust me when I say it's AWESOME!

Other than that, not much to report! Our trip to the Dominican Republic is officially less than 10 days away, and I can't WAIT! It seemed like it was forever away, and now it's coming up so fast! We need to tie up a few last-minute loose ends, such as transportation from the airport to the hotel and such. I'm ready to start packing already!

No set plans this week for me! I have 5 more CDs to work through in preparation for my boards exam, and I'd like to get those finished before our trip. I also want to sync my phone and clear out old pics so that I have plenty of room for new ones! I've been going to bed early and sleeping in, and I'm so relaxed with no reason to stress about ANYthing until we get back from our trip. It's been a long time since I've had basically 2 weeks of guilt-free happiness!


Oooooh, me and my mouth! I'm seriously going to get myself in trouble one day. I have such a quirky inability to prevent speaking what's on my mind as it comes to me.

When I was 13 or so, my mom was in a bad rollover accident in her minivan. The repair shop fixed it, but we had a huge problem with it not turning on sometimes. When we took it to the shop, it started each time they checked it...go figure. Since the electronics were never the same afterward, my mom decided to trade it in for a different car. Cue me and my heart on my sleeve personality. When the car dealer was taking his preliminary assessment to determine a trade-in value, he asked if we had ever had any problems with it. Before my mom could respond, I snorted and said something to the effect of, "you wouldn't believe!" Fortunately, my mom smoothly ignored me and said no, we had never had any problems. He took the van.

Then there was that time last year when Ramzi and I went inside a Wells Fargo bank to deposit a check. The teller asked us how our day had been. "Great!" I piped up. "We just got finished at the shooting range!" Ramzi elbowed me and I about died, wondering if she were about to press the panic button that movies show tellers have hidden under their desks. I had all but announced that we had at least one gun, even if it were outside in the car. She didn't make a move, and as I began to wonder if we were about to be strip searched for weapons she busted out laughing. Maybe she figured that anyone about to rob a bank wouldn't say something like that. Who knows.

That brings me to today. I needed yet another drug screen for clinicals. Who else gets to boast that they are regularly tested for drugs at least every 3 months of their lives? This is one expensive hobby, I'll tell you. I went to a new location this time to avoid the guy that I so thoroughly embarrassed myself with last time. At this place, the guy running my test had me reach into a cabinet to pick my own specimen cup. Each cup was identical, obviously, and as I reached in to pick one I said what I always say when I get to pick something that is the same as every other one: "This one looks lucky!" It came out before I realized that I basically just told the lab employee that I do drugs and was crossing my fingers for a negative screen. Oh Lord. Never mind the fact that I am ranked number one in my master's program and have tried drugs of any kind exactly once in my entire life. This guy didn't know me from Adam, could he throw me out? Fortunately, he just laughed and agreed with me that it DID look lucky. I'm sure he was more than halfway expecting a positive result.

One of these days, I'm afraid I'll say something this typically stupid around a person who doesn't get my sense of humor. But...that day is not today!

June 1st is officially Kimmy Day

I'm due in for a meeting at 10am this morning, so I thought I'd post while I wait for that. I had a great weekend! Apparently Saturday was the official Spoil Kimmy day. My mom insisted on taking me shopping for graduation presents, even though I told her that just taking the time to be there with me in Lubbock was more than gift enough! But, she told me that she and Gary really wanted me to pick something out. So we went to Dillard's.

She bought me a new swimsuit, crochet cover-up, and a set of white bed sheets that I've wanted for months! She also got Ramzi two nice business shirts for his supporting me throughout my program. How sweet of her! Then we went to Applebee's for lunch, where my brother met us. She had a gift card she'd been wanting to use for weeks, as she had never been there before. I hadn't been in years, since my friend Sarah worked at one when I lived in Lubbock. It was fun to have lunch with just the 3 of us :)

Then we went to Sam's Club. My brother is a member and could add a second person to his account, so my mom joined. While we were there, my brother bought me a fireproof, waterproof security safe as a graduation gift! I'd been telling him that Ramzi and I had looked for months at other stores to find one that could hold our important documents, but none of the ones we had found were big enough. This one is perfect, and I could not believe my brother got it for us. I'm thrilled!

Later Saturday night my mom sent me an email saying she bought us tickets to go see one of our favorite bands, the Newsboys, when they come to Austin in October. I have seen them in concert twice already. Love love love them! I can't wait to go and introduce them to Ramzi!

I don't even know what to say about all of this special treatment. I generally am a little uncomfortable when people buy me gifts. I'm trying to push the guilty feelings aside and just allow myself to bask in the glow that is my family's way of telling me how proud they are of me. Most of my issues are stemming from my case of Imposter Syndrome. I feel like I'm playing a part, that I don't actually deserve a Master's degree, that I'm really only 17 and am just playing grown-up, that I can't actually be a nurse practitioner. Receiving all of these gifts and attention kind of makes the whole thing more valid and real, and it puts me out of my comfort zone to feel like this isn't just an act, that I'm really truly accomplishing all of this! I just hope I don't let anybody down!

Ok, time to get ready for my meeting. I have today and tomorrow off, and then 7 straight 12-hour days at the hospital, if all goes well and according to plan! Better enjoy my precious hours off while I can! :)

Expectations so high it keeps me alive

Wow, where to even begin?! Today is my first day of class. The last first day of school for my master's degree. I have no formal exams this summer, it's just my practicum. This morning I handed in 20% of my grade: my curriculum vitae. It's due on the 10th, but as I talked about in my last post, I already made one a couple weeks ago because I'm applying for job positions, so I was able to turn it in early. Once an over-achiever, always an over-achiever, I guess!

Last week was big. Really big. I graduated and gave a Valedictorian speech! Amazing! My graduation went a lot better than expected. Some of my concerns were realized, but Ramzi played a big buffer role for me and I was able to enjoy myself immensely! And my speech couldn't have gone better. I was super nervous, but somehow played it off. I sound really confident in the recording. Ramzi and my mom both filmed it, but I don't have a copy to share yet so I'll try to upload one of theirs later so you guys can see. I got a 3-minute introduction presented by Dr. Merril, and she said the most amazing things about me! The most special thing she said was that patients have asked how to follow me into my clinical practice because they liked me so much. (!!) EEE! Knowing that, I feel like I can DO this! I'm really, really, really proud of myself! I think this is truly the biggest thing I've ever accomplished.

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I was awarded a gorgeous engraved medallion, a nautilus shell that's been framed in a glass box along with an engraved plaque, and a check for $500. Plus of course my name was in the program, I got to sit in the front row of students, and I was the first student to walk across the stage for the MSN program. Squee!! To celebrate afterward, we went to a steakhouse called Las Brisas. It was really good! I'd been there once before as part of a pharmaceutical rep dinner. The truffle mashed potatoes, and the asparagus...oh man. Then we went to Milad and Courtney's house for dessert. Courtney made some kind of cheesecake, I have no idea what was in it but it was amazing! I sat on the floor with my mom, both of us in heels and dresses, eating cheesecake and just laughing. Such a wonderful evening :D


Then, as if my week weren't already incredible, Ramzi and I went to see Paul McCartney play here in Austin! The Beatles is Ramzi's favorite band on the planet, and I didn't care how much tickets were, we weren't going to miss this show. I paid $100 per ticket, which honestly wasn't horrible: one of my mom's co-workers spent over $700 on each of hers! Granted, she probably had better seats, but I wouldn't have traded ours. We were on the second floor, second row. Close enough to throw a tortilla at him, to put it in Texas Tech terms!

I'm really not a huge Beatles fan (I know, I probably just lost a ton of cool points by admitting that). I was probably the least biggest fan in the audience, actually. I only knew about 6 or 7 of the songs he played, but I definitely can still appreciate a fantastic concert with a legend! My 3 favorites he played were "Let It Be," "Hey Jude," and "Live And Let Die." The four men on stage who played the show with him...well, let's just say I've never seen such musical talent before. I was absolutely blown away! Words can't express.

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I would say this is probably the best concert I've ever been to, even though I didn't know 90% of the songs and he isn't my favorite artist. I'll never, ever forget this show for as long as I live. I can't believe I got to see a Beatle play live! His voice is absolutely perfect. He played for a solid 2 hours straight and you'd never know he wasn't 25 years old!

The things I've crossed off of my bucket list. I think I could die today and feel like I've accomplished something great in my life. That's the first time I've been able to say that. What a feeling! I need to just absorb all of this. I've received the most amazing cards, emails and phone calls over the past week. It's been even better than my birthday! I'm saving these words for forever. I just love my friends and family so much <3