Life Decisions

Something happened tonight that made me consider how the decisions I have made have effected my life. 

Three years ago, I was living at home working as a pharmacy technician driving the family van. My free time included was spent reading, spending time alone and bar hopping with my “friends” of that time. I had plans to go to PA school, but I needed patient contact hours and I wasn’t exactly taking the express train to get there. I had some falling outs with the “friends” of my past and found out those that I thought were friends were just fake and selfish. Since then I have more finely picked with whom I have friendship.

Comparatively to 3 years ago, my life has gotten exponentially better. I am not currently working, but am in PA school and loving it. It’s something that I want to do the rest of my life and am completely happy to work as a PA for the next 40 years. I own my own car and it’s beautiful. I’m engaged and I’m in love with the perfect guy for me. Most importantly, I’m truly happy. My life is great right now and I know it’s only going to get better. Sure, I don’t have a lot of free time and the majority of my time is consumed by class or studying (read: 8 am to 11 pm). But, I’m happy. I’m happy to get pizza and see a movie with my fiancé. Or watch HGTV all night (post-studying, of course). I had someone tell me that we could no longer be friends because “our lives were taking us to different places”. At the time, I didn’t quite understand. But if that’s the sacrifice (if that’s what you want to call it) that I had to make, then, I’m completely happy about it. I think what she meant was that my life was straying from the “going out to bars and meeting guys” to “going to PA school and getting married” kind of deal. I’m happy and I’m so glad I’ve made the decisions that I have made. 

1st Quarter Wrap Up

Ok, I realize my last post had to do with PA school. But, that’s my life right now. Frankly, it’s the only thing I have time for. Yes, I still spend some time with my fiancé and my Shiba Inu, but 98% of my time is spent on school related activities. My waking time, that is.

During my first quarter of PA school, I took roughly 21 credit hours in 10 weeks. 7 credit hours of anatomy & lab, a psychology course, 2 biochem courses, a PA professional course, and clinical medicine. PA school is not for the faint hearted. It was literally the most difficult quarter/semester of my life. I’ve never studied so much nor have ever spent so much time in the library. I’m not going to lie, I did struggle initially, but after I found out my life is only studying, I did much better. Those first few weeks I thought it was ok to watch TV for an hour every night. Not so.

I think one of the components that made it so hard for me was that I was out of school for 3 years before PA school. A lot of the other students just graduated so there was no worry of “getting into the swing of things” again. But, I figured out my stride and I feel that as long as I continue studying as I am, I will be fine.

In between each quarter, I have a break. It is fantastic. I seriously don’t think I have ever enjoyed a school break this much. Every time I’ve had a break, I’ve also had to work had other engagements that didn’t make it quite this relaxing. My fiancé and I went to the Wisconsin Dells and had a blast acting like little kids at the water park, candy shop, mini golf, etc. On the drive back, distracted by conversation (per usual), we missed all the exits for cheese shops. Just over the border between Wisconsin and Illinois, there’s a little town called Beloit. Frankly, I’m glad we missed all those other cheese shops cause this one blew all the other out of the water. Well, we didn’t visit the others, but I’m sure it would have. It’s called The Cheese People of Beloit. Although my fiancé and I are not cheese connoisseurs, she helped us find the cheeses we liked. We didn’t end up getting cheese curds, but many cheeses that were so much more delicious. Prairie Breeze, Smoked Cheddar, a creamy Harvati, and one more I already consumed as it was so delicious (made with hard cider & raspberry..delish). Additionally, we took home 2 different hard ciders (Crispin and Newtown Pippin) and a strawberry rhubarb wine. The Crispin is perfect. I’ve never had it before, but have tried nearly every other hard cider that I can get my hands on. They were so helpful in letting us taste as many cheeses as we wanted and also let us sample a hard cider, as well.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the few days of break I have left and I’m looking forward (in a nerdy way) to my physiology, pharmacology, physical diagnosis, clinical medicine, and neuroscience classes!

Reflections on my first 2 weeks of PA School

I told myself I would start studying at 3 pm and not stop til I got hungry for dinner. Class ended a little early today, so it’s ok if I spend a little bit of time blogging about my life right now. I will probably study 6 hours from here on so it’s ok if I take a little break, right? I can’t say that I will often blog about it, nor will I have the time. But, I think it’s a good idea to write out my thoughts every so often. And it will be something good to look back at when I am a successful PA.

Two weeks ago I started PA school. For those of you that don’t know what that is, I started a physician assistant program. I am going for my Masters in Medical Science in Physician Assistant studies. It is like medical school with slightly less information, in much less time (27 months, to be exact). As a PA, I will be a mid-level practitioner that works with a physician in order to promote health, diagnose and treat patients, and provide patient education.

Anyway, I’m now starting my 3rd week but the amount of information we have learned it feels like 6 weeks. In my undergrad I took a few accelerated courses and I would take a 3 week class that was usually a semester. Well, I’m now taking 6 courses and a lab (22 credits total) in a quarter (10 weeks). It’s crazy! On average, school starts at 8 am and ends around 5 pm 5 days per week. I have an hour for lunch but 2 days of the week I have Biochem study sessions during my lunch hour. I have gross anatomy 4 days per week and lab 3 days per week though the 3rd day is optional. On days that end at 5 pm, I usually go home and eat dinner then study for 4 hours. On days that end at 3 pm, I study for 2 – 3 hours in the library, then head home. Working out & eating dinner is my break, then I study for about 4 hours. So basically, all I’ve been doing for the last 2 weeks has been sleeping, eating, and studying. And working out sporadically.

I just had my first 2 gross anatomy tests yesterday. All I’m going to say is that now I know how to study for them to improve my scores next time.

I’ve never studied this much in my life. It’s insane.

Anyway, back to studying.

Any questions on PA school (if you are a prospective student) write below. I’m only 2 weeks in, so I may not be able to answer every question, but I can do my best.

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

So, it’s 8:30 pm and I’m in bed already. Granted, I may spend the next few hours in bed watching House Hunters International. I tried prolonging the time before I got into bed by making cookies. And they are delicious. I am currently eating 2 in bed. But, they are healthy so it’s ok!

I got the recipe from Blogilates (http://www.blogilates.com/fashion-2/vegan-oatmeal-craisin-cookies-the-quickest-easiest-way-to-steam-veggies-ever). I tweaked it a little, per usual. I love baking, but I rarely stick to the original recipe. Sometimes I don’t use measuring cups & spoons (and yes, it still comes out great) and sometimes I make my own additions.

My Recipe:

1 & 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp splenda

1/4 cup reduced sugar craisins

1 banana, mashed

1 splash almond milk

I mixed all the ingredients with my hands, and baked them for 15 minutes at 350F.

According to Cassie’s recipe, each cookie is about 27 calories. However, I doubled her recipe more or less and added a banana. Therefore, according to http://www.sparkpeople.com each cookie is about 70 calories each. They are great little after dinner cookies or tea time cookies. I put 2 on top of my frozen vanilla greek yogurt and it makes a fantastic dessert less than 200 calories!

Living on my own is great! I can make things whenever I want without prying eyes!

I left 10 for my 2 roommates. Hopefully they like them.

Moving

Really this won’t be long. But, I noticed that every time I pack and move somewhere, I always have a journal entry from that day. I just so happened to be going through my past journals while packing, and I stumbled across this entry:

“I am packing, which is taking forever as usual. The problem with packing is that I find stuff and then want to look at it and then I end up looking at scrapbooks and writing in journals.”

 

Alright, so nothing profound, but I thought it was funny and a bit ironic that I stumbled across that while packing. But it’s always nice for me to read through all my past journals and discover what has changed in the past few years. The last time I moved, I was moving home from college. I’m an adult that has been living at home for the last 3 years, like many adults. Actually, 38% of adult children live at home with their parents. It’s really becoming a new norm thanks to the economy and rising cost of education.

Anyway, I’m moving out and it’s fantastic. Life hasn’t always been easy. I graduated college and could only find a part time job for a year (in my degree field). But, I worked hard and took some extra classes and then started working a full time job that helped me become accepted into PA school. I lived at home for 3 years in my childhood bedroom. I start PA (physician assistant) school in about 2 weeks, I moved out, and I got engaged about 2 months ago. My fiancé has also had some positive things in his life right now, as well. I’d say life is pretty good right now.

So there, future self, keep on keepin’ on. Life has it’s ups and downs but focus on the positive and you’ll be better for it.

Fred’s Grand Proposal to Me!

Ok. So clearly you get the summary of what happened. Fred proposed and I said yes! But, since you’re still reading, I’ll share all the details. :)

It all started last Sunday, March 31, 2013. I had worked the 3 days prior overnight at the hospital and then worked 9 am to 4 pm on Easter Sunday. Needless to say, I was exhausted. But, Fred said he really wanted to see me so I agreed to let him pick me up. The jewelry box he had ordered for me had come in. So, he took it out of the box and I opened it and inside there were so many compartments for jewelry items! And…a little ring box. I opened up the ring box and there was a note inside. The note said, “I want to marry you because you are so beautiful on the outside and also contain so much beauty on the inside.”

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“I want to marry you because you are so beautiful on the outside and also contain so much beauty on the inside.”

The next day, I went in to work at the pharmacy and there were flowers waiting for me. But there was no note. My boss hinted that there may be some sort of note and that I should inspect it better. And there was..box #2!

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“I want to marry you because you’re vibrant, full of life, and our love blossoms more every day.”

The next day, Fred & I went to go look at the apartment that I will be moving into in June. I’m starting PA school and I just wanted to move closer to school to maximize studying time and minimize driving time. On the way there, we stopped at Starbucks. The barista handed me my drink, and also a pastry bag. Inside the pastry bag, was box #3!

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“I want to marry you because of your positive energy and because you always pick me up when I am down.”

Later that night, I went out with my friend Gena. We generally end up at some sort of dessert place. I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like dessert? One of our favorite places to go is All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva, IL. Their gelato is phenomenal. The flavors I’ve tried have been mossy twig (smooth mint flavor), oreo ball, tartufo (think chocolate and cognac), and most recently salted caramel truffle. Last time, they had bacon dipped in chocolate. The truffles look as beautiful as glass paperweights. The guy is well known and has won several competitions on the Food Channel. Anyway, so we went there, got gelato and as I was about to pay, the cashier handed me a bag. Inside the bag was a $20 gift card to ACK and box #4!

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“I want to marry you because every single part of you is amazing, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite.”

The next day (I had 2 days off in a row..yeah, never happens) Fred and I went to go see a movie. But, he said he had a book he wanted to get from my library because he was like #187 on his library’s list. So, we went to the library. And, after requesting the book, the librarian handed me a bag. Inside the bag was a gift card to Amazon Kindle and box #5!

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This is me outside the library..”I want to marry you because you are my story’s happy ending.”

Because I work nights, we see a lot of matinees. Also, at Tinseltown, they are only $3 for the first showing! So, we went to go see the Host. After purchasing tickets, the employee handed me a bag. Inside was a gift card to the nearest movie theater to my apartment (both are AMCs). And, box #6!

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“I want to marry you because you are the star of my life. You make me laugh, cry tears of joy, and always entertain me.”

The next day, I woke up and there was a box of chocolates waiting for me on my nightstand. Inside the chocolate box was box #7!

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“I want to marry you because you’re a softie, sometimes you’re a bit nutty, but you’re always sweet and I cannot get enough of you.”

Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting that. But, I figured that was the last box for a few days. The next 3 days I would be working at the hospital, which is an hour away from both my house and Fred’s house. I wouldn’t be seeing him, therefore, no more boxes. Delivery of box #8 was probably one of the most impressive. I work part time as a pharmacy tech and it’s in a retail setting, so it’s very easy to get to. However, I work full time in a hospital as a patient care technician. Guests of patients have to go past security and have to have special access to get in the hospital. Also, I work in the float pool so I work on a different unit every night. Four hours into my shift, one of the nurses brought me a bag. Inside the bag was a gift card to the place where I get my nails done enough for the no chip manicure! On a side note, it was in a cute monkey bag! I love monkeys (and animals with hands. I know it’s weird, but whatever.) Also, box #8!

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“I want to marry you because of your commitment to healing others, including me, through your love on a daily basis.”

That pretty much brightened up my entire night. All the nurses were excited about it and so was I. When I explained what Fred had done so far, they repeatedly asked if I could clone him and mentioned that their significant others had never done anything like that! Yeah, he’s pretty amazing. At the end of the night, I went to my Grandpa’s house. I’ve been staying there to look after the house and it saves a lot on driving time. I was working again that night and when I woke up there was a text from Fred. It said “if you get hungry, look in the fridge”. Well, in the fridge was an Edible Arrangement! And, box #9!

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“I want to marry you because not only are you nice to look at and delicious but you are also so good for me.”

It was delicious. Seriously. Edible Arrangements are amazing.

On Sunday, I got home from work and woke up around 2:30 pm. I work nights, that’s why I sometimes sleep during the day. We were planning on going to a family party of his so he asked me to dress nicely so he could show me off and make a good impression, since I hadn’t yet met any of his family. He told me to be ready right at 5:30 pm. So, I dressed snazzy. Oh you know, the normal. At 5:45 pm, I texted him to see if he was on his way and he called me back and said to go in the living room and look for hope. I asked if he meant Ms. Kitty and he said no.

In the living room, there was a little engraved box (it’s always been there, nothing new) with the word “Hope” on it. I looked in the box and there was a note inside box #10 that said “I want to marry you because we love and trust each other so much. So please trust me and go to Johnson’s Mound and call me for more instructions.”

So, I hopped in my car and drove to Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve. It’s about 5 minute from my house and a great place for outdoor activities. There’s a giant hill (hence, the name) that is used for sledding in the winter and it’s just a really beautiful park. I called Fred and he told me to walk up the hill. Halfway up the hill, he told me to look for a hay bale that was apart from the others. Underneath the hay bale was box #11 which held the note that said, “I want to marry you because not only do you put up with my shenanigans but you also embrace them, and make me feel loved despite my quirks.”

At the top of the hill, I noticed that my friend Gena was there with a camera and Fred’s friend Adam, with a video camera. I started to suspect something was up, at that point. At the top of the hill, there’s another small hill, with stone steps built in. The steps were covered in rose petals. I climbed the stairs and at the top there was Fred, waiting. He had our song playing “Hold You in My Arms” by Ray LaMontagne.

Really, the last bit is all a blur because it happened so quickly. He took my hands in his and said, “Caroline, you know I love you so much, and you have endured all of my little surprises this week, so you deserve this final box. Which, I warn you, is probably not what you’ve been expecting.” He then pulled out box #12. I opened it, revealing only a scroll. He told me to read it out loud (because it was all being caught on video). It said, “I want to marry you because of your patience. You know the best things in life are worth waiting for.” Then he took my hands again and said “You know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you and that I want to propose to you as soon as possible. However, I want to wait until I can get you the ring of your dreams… and create a grand moment… after several days of build up…. and have our best friends there… in a really romantic place.” After a brief pause, he looked around and then said, “I guess we have all of that right now and you’ve waited long enough.”

Then he got down on one knee and pulled the ring out of his back pocket (he later told me it was in his back pocket so I wouldn’t be able to see it). Looking up at me, he said, “Caroline Isabelle Geiger, will you please do me the honor of making me the happiest man on the planet and will you…”. However, I had waited long enough, and I knew what was coming. And frankly, I couldn’t wait any longer. Before he could finish, I yelled “Of course!” and grabbed the ring and put it on my finger. It’s beautiful. Seriously beautiful.

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Inside box #13, my engagement ring! It’s so pretty and fits perfectly. We did pick it out together a while ago.

Anyway, luckily Gena & Adam were there to take pictures and videos so I will be posting that soon.

This week has been fantastic and I’m so grateful that I have found someone as wonderful as Fred. The last 2 years have been so wonderful and I’m definitely looking forward to a forever with him!

A Brief Review on the New Starbucks Metal Card

Starbucks new Slate Card

The new Starbucks Metal card, an example of how different social classes use different payment forms.

I realize I’m a bit late in writing this, but I work for a living and only write blog posts when I have free time, which is close to never. Anyway, a few weeks ago I received an email from Starbucks announcing they had a new type of gift card, officially named the Starbucks Metal card. What makes this one different? It is stainless steel. Oh and it costs $450. $50 goes toward the “manufacturing fee”. So you get $400 loaded on a metal card, that you just paid $50 for. Sure, you also get a “free” gold membership. This means you get a free drink on your birthday and the equivalent to having 30 stars in 12 months (every time you make a purchase, you get a star).

For many, I think this is ridiculous. However, for the sake of not writing for hours, I will just dive into three.

First of all, there were only 5,000 cards to be sold. So basically, they were sold out as soon as the sale began. Therefore, only a small percentage of the population could receive them. It’s safe to say that less than the 1% of all American citizens could get them. This is just by speculation, but the top 1% of of Americans probably don’t go to Starbucks. I can imagine there is a more luxurious coffee shop that is out there that I don’t know about that the 1%ers regularly attend. Or they just have their own personal barista. But, of the Starbucks customers, there is probably a top 1%.

Secondly, the card was sold on Gilt.com, which basically clarifies that this card is only meant for those in the higher class. If anyone has not looked on Gilt.com, you should. I have an account, only because I was interested, not because I can find anything that I could pay for in my financial situation. Don’t want to pay $1195 for that new D&G trench? Well, now you can pay $595 on Gilt.com. Total steal (not). So clearly based on other merchandise on the site, one can tell that this card was not intended for the average Joe (pun intended). Mostly, you’re just paying for social status.

Lastly, because it’s a card for social status, I feel like the card is not needed at all. Now that there is the Starbucks iPhone app, shouldn’t people in the higher class just use their iPhone to pay for Starbucks? I have an iPhone, though I’m not in the 1%, but I think if you want to really show social status, you use your smart phone to pay for your Starbucks. That is not why I use my phone, however. I use my phone to pay because it’s so much easier.

I realize it’s a little petty of me to be talking about this because I am a Starbucks customer. This means that every so often, I pay $4 for a cup of coffee. I am not a weekly customer, more of a every so often special occasion customer. Because frankly caffeine makes my heart beat rapid, and because it’s more than I should be spending on coffee. However, most of the time I use gift cards or debit rewards points.

Anyway, I believe the Starbucks Metal Card is just one more consumerism ploy in order to show a higher social status.