Monday, February 28, 2011

Nice to Meet You Oscar, Let's Be Friends

Apparently the Academy Awards have been airing for an impressive 83 years this year. That's pretty remarkable when you consider that "talking pictures" came out at approximately the same time (or so decrees Wikipedia. Because Wikipedia never lies). I've been watching the Academy Awards or "the Oscars" (apparently nicknamed that sometime in the 30s or 40s) probably for about 10 years or so. When I was younger all I really cared about was the pre-show, where all the actors and actresses paraded out on the red carpet and I could admire all the beautiful (and often weird) dresses that the actresses wore. As the years went on whether I watched it or not depended on other events of the evening, but I would always be interested to read who won in the various categories the next morning and make a note to watch any films that sounded particularly interesting. This year, however, was different.

In the last year, since I've been living on my own, I've found myself watching (and appreciating) more movies. Part of this stems from the fact that when I first got cable I got a free subscription to the "Movie Central" channels, which (in part with my PVR) allowed me nearly unlimited free movies, all fairly new releases. I found myself suddenly able to watch any movie that I had even a passing interest, and not needing to worry about the cost of rentals. The other part of this stems from a sudden freedom I had to go to the movie theater and actually watch movies as they came out. Originally I felt that going to the movie theater on my own would be "weird" or not any fun. When I complained to a fellow single friend that I had no one to go to the movies with she said, quite frankly, "Why do you need to go the movies with someone?" It's true! While going to a movie with someone is definitely an enjoyable experience, being alone has never stopped me from watching television or movies at home, why should it interfere with watching movies in public? My first movie that I went to alone? Toy Story 3. :)

Since then I have seen multiple movies in the theater - both alone or with someone else. In the past year I have seen "Alice in Wonderland", "Inception", "Toy Story 3", "The Fighter" and "The King's Speech." When the Oscar nominations came out a few months ago and all of those movies were nominated for at least one category (the latter four all receiving a nomination for Best Picture), I was suddenly interested in who won and who lost. Would the Academy agree with my choices for Best Actress, Best Actor, and "the big kahuna" Best Picture? By far the movie that I watched this year that affected me the most was "The King's Speech" and I was thrilled when it won Best Picture.

Of course what the Academy decrees over various movies really doesn't matter in the end. What I think I enjoyed most this year was sharing in the love of great movies that is celebrated yearly at the Academy Awards. I'm sure my love of cinema will only continue to grow over the next year, but come February 2012 it will be interesting to see what Oscar has to say about my favorite movies over the past year. Hopefully he will continue to remind me to love the movies that I love despite critical reception, and to keep on supporting Hollywood for making movies that we can all enjoy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

You are My Sunshine(s)...

People talk about how great it is to be a mom. People talk about how great it is to be a grandma. What I've never understood is why there aren't more people talking about how great it is to be an auntie! Particularly a single auntie with a fairly generous budget (both for money and for time). I find as an auntie I get the best of both worlds. I'm young enough and (mostly) in shape enough to run around after the toddler-turned-big boy, yet I'm old enough that I feel confident watching him, and taking him out and about as if he was my own. I've got a car-seat in the back of my own car, yet I have the freedom of knowing that it isn't always filled! I can sleep/eat/read/watch tv/and pee in peace, but I know that nearly any day still has the possibility of being filled with snuggles/hugs/kisses and love-filled smiles. I can spend as much time as I want with the little stinkers and still have the freedom to go home after it all. I was there when both of them were born, and I hope I can watch them grow up and eventually have families of their own. It isn't always wonderful, but they are both bright spots in my life, and for that I will always love them.


Monday, February 21, 2011

We're in this Together...

I am a nurse by profession. I did not dream for years of becoming a nurse, in fact, I sort of just fell into it. The original plan was that I was going to enter medical school with the eventual plan to become a pediatrician. Never one to not have a back-up plan, instead of the typical Bachelor of Science in pre-med, I thought it would be a good idea to get my undergrad degree in nursing, a fail safe in case I didn't get into med school right away. Heh. Hello back-up plan.

Sure enough, I entered nursing and found a passion for what they were teaching us. Caring for people day in and day out, being there for them during their darkest and brightest hours, making a viable difference in people's lives? Count me in! It all sounded so amazing. Combine that with the fact that I was quickly beginning to realize that being a doctor was not as fascinating as it looked, and I figured that nursing was for me. During my four years of nursing school everyone who found out I was in nursing school looked at me with stars in their eyes. I was going to do something wonderful. For the first part of nursing school, I believed them. However the more I worked in the hospital the more the real world kicked in and my rose-coloured glasses were soon dark and dusty.

After school and senior practicum I was hired by the rural hospital that would be my home away from home for the next 14 months or so. I was excited to start "real" nursing, but I was shocked to find out how real it truly was. Nursing can be quite a gritty world. My first year of nursing was a "baptism by fire" of sorts where I learned the cold hard facts of understaffed hospitals, overworked nurses, far too sick patients and the dangerous combination of the three. This harsh realization, in combination with working with some world-weary older staff led to a personal crisis of sorts. What the heck was I doing in this world? Why on earth was I a nurse? But by the grace of God, and by the priceless support of my dear friends who were dealing with their own version of this personal crisis I made it through.

After a bit more journeying I have made it to the unit that I now call home. Moms and babies. At least it's mostly happy. The work is very different than what I started out doing, but for the most part I love it. I really do. And I really have to remind myself of that. A lot. I'm beginning to realize just how much nurses have to give of themselves every single day. When I started out I gave, but I didn't keep any of that love and care for myself. I didn't realize that I was allowed to. Now I realize that not only am I allowed to, but it's the only thing that will stop me from going crazy. Now I start with giving to myself. Not in a selfish way, but I'm learning that only by caring for myself can I give care to anybody else.

I worked this weekend. They were both bad days. Probably some of the worst days I've had in a long time. One of those kind of days where multiple nurses found themselves in tears multiple times throughout the day. It's not important why it was bad. I could place blame, point fingers (and frequently did this weekend) but in my heart I know that they were bad days for the same reason anything in this world is bad. Believe it or not, but the devil can sour even the beauty of moms and babies. That son of a bitch. Sunday night, while I eyed the clock desperately hoping that I had gotten everything done and that I could finish my charting and get home at a reasonable hour, a colleague came in the room. She had a much worse day than I had, and I had done everything reasonable that I could to help her. She wanted to thank me for what I had done for her and I brushed it off first with a joke about how I was just glad that MY patients had mostly behaved themselves that day (it hadn't been the case the day before) and said something to the effect that, "Well that's the only reason anybody survives this place, because we help each other out."

In an instant I realized just how true that was. Nursing is a hard, bitter career. It brings the worst and the best out of you. It attracts some of the most impressive women (and men!). People either idealize nurses, or (those who know them slightly better) view them as surprisingly cynical and bitter. Many ask "Why are you even IN that career if it's so bad?" I think this weekend I realized we don't always do it for the patients, we don't always do it for ourselves, but we will always do it for each other! While I sometimes hate my job, with a passion (and really, lets be honest...doesn't everybody hate their job sometimes?), I will always love nursing for providing me with another family of sorts. I have been blessed with some amazing colleagues that, when they are working, I know that no matter how rotten and miserable the day might get, it is already better for the simple fact that I am not going through it alone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Camera Envy

Alrighty, so I know I said in an earlier post that I've been trying to focus on what I have in my life, as opposed to being envious of what everyone else has, but it's been tough. Back in the beginning of January I started a photography course to increase my knowledge for my growing love and fascination with photography. The course "strongly recommends" having an SLR or DSLR camera to take the course with, but never one to role with the trends I decided that my trusty PowerShot would do the trick. That was a bit of mistake. My PowerShot, while being a fabulous camera for it's price, and doing a heckuva lot more than your average point-and-shoot, is still no DSLR. I've learned the hard way that ignorance is bliss. I used to be well aware that my camera did not always take the nicest pictures, but in my ignorant state of mind I could blissfully blame the lousy pictures on my lack of knowledge on the intricacies of my camera. Unfortunately now that my knowledge of the workings of my camera have much improved, I have learned the limits of my camera and have begun drooling over the DSLRs.

In theory this shouldn't be a problem. As a single girl who makes a decent living I have a relatively disposable income and could probably afford many of the cameras out there. Of course being of a Dutch/Ukrainian/Winnipeg/insert any other applicable stereotype here background, it's not nearly as simple as that. I have to compare all the options, features, gizmos and doodads and figure out which I want, need and are willing to pay for. That inevitably leads me to the cheapest option, and while that appeals to my cheap side, I also have a warring "love for expensive things" side which makes me long for cameras much more expensive then anything I need. But you know, I'm a girl. If Canon sold a Rebel that was pink and completely encased in diamonds, I would want that. I would hate myself for wanting it, but I would still want it. I've already decided that I'm going to buy a DSLR, but only time will tell which one will make it into my grubby little hands. In the mean time I can only continue taking pictures!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Talk British to me....

In the last couple of years I have developed a new fascination, or obsession if you will. The British people. I blame it on my brother. Quite innocently he introduced me to a new (and yet very old) show called Doctor Who. A classic show in Britain, Doctor Who is much beloved by geeks in North America, and has quickly grown in popularity over the last few years. I believe Darryl introduced it to me sometime in 2005, when the "new Who" as it has been called, started airing. We, of course, watched it on probably illegal downloads, but we loved it nonetheless. What Darryl didn't realize of course, was that by innocently introducing me to Doctor Who, he would be spawning a bit of an obsession of mine, particularly when in 2006 David Tennant, my Scottish hero, would take on the role of Doctor Who. Never underestimate the female mind when adorable Scotsmen are in play.

The infatuation that I had for David Tennant first gave me more of a working knowledge of Who than any sane girl should have, but in recent years, has introduced me to other aspects of British television and radio. Youtube searches, mp3 downloads, as well as North American movies and television, have found me developing quite a taste for British humour (which can be more classy, and more crass than North American humour, sometimes at the same time!), as well as an unhealthy desire to speak in a flawless British accent.

I suppose, in a way, it shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, I grew up with Coronation Street playing on our television set. The one TV vice my mother allowed herself was British, so why shouldn't one of mine be the same? Who knows, if Coronation Street contained a good looking male lead when my mother grew up watching the show, and if she had the terrible, but amazing powers of the Internet, maybe she would have found herself in a similar predicament!

I'm sure one day I will mature past the stage of silly obsessions. Or perhaps when I eventually travel to England I will find that it's NOT the magical land of my dreams (I hear real British people are actually quite unfortunate looking, with bad teeth). However in the mean time I shall continue swooning whenever I hear an English or Scottish accent, and giggling like a little school girl when David Tennant appears on TV.
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