stuff and things

This is it! We are going to zoom up to the present moment! Remember, I am:

  • Interning in Winston Salem, NC during the week
  • Traveling back and forth to Carrboro, NC for fun and games on the weekends
  • Also with a chunk of my heart/brain with the baby kittens in Virginia. I had a few days off of my internship in mid-September while my preceptor was on vacation and took advantage of the opportunity to see the babes, of whom I’ll share a few photos below
  • Thinking general thoughts about life, which I’d like to share

Let’s start with the life thoughts.

Today was a good day (I write this on the first day of October, 6 days before my 28th birthday. I am prescheduling this post but it is more present than any post I have written in quite some time).

I went to the farmers market and got this crazy coconut turmeric deliciousness:


Then this afternoon I took a long walk with my work wife, Colton, which was fun too. Physical activity is always happiness-inducing.


I count my abundant blessings and I don’t want this post to come across as too snarky, or tastelessly ungrateful. But I also sometimes worry that this blog is a frenzied chronicle of parties and fancy food and not real life at all. So this is a little bit of straight talk and also a bit dark. Don’t be offended, please!

In general, though, this has been a slightly blue time of the year for me. It’s weird to be single in your late twenties facing a birthday. Particularly given that my current internship involves being exclusively around babies, it’s a daily reminder that I’m in a totally different life phase than many people my age. While it’s certainly great that I’m getting this excellent education and bettering myself professionally and really feeling like I’m in the right place; there’s a piece of my life that just doesn’t exist at all right now. A piece of life that rightly or not is viewed as very important in our culture. A piece of life towards which I do feel a certain hormonal pull (and being around babies all day is no joke for the hormones- sometimes all the breasts and crying babies and stuff get super overstimulating and then it’s like I get this oxytocin surge and BLISS OUT. It’s so weird).

Also, dude, it’s kind of hilarious that I am totally opted out of the dating scene right now and am also technically the owner of SIX CATS. Yikes.

I’m also doing a lot of soul searching about what comes next and where I want to live and what I want my job to be. My life has been about school for SO LONG (I began prerequisites for this program in early 2012) that it’s weird to think that school wasn’t the destination, it was just a stepping point on the journey, and now I need to head elsewhere and build a career for myself. And despite having completed a competitive program I still feel so paralyzed in choosing what comes next, as if the next decision I make is going to be a huge deal and put me on a path that I cannot get off and have to keep committed to and follow to the top of the field, which of course is not true.

I also have been eating a bit unhealthily lately; mainly, I think, out of boredom. Riddle me this: what are people doing at 9pm? I don’t have to get up til ~7:30am so it’s too early to go to bed. My evening workouts have concluded by that point in time, and I am fed and watered. Is everyone just watching Netflix? If so that’s SO DEPRESSING! And also, what were people doing at 9pm before Netflix? It wasn’t that long ago that we had passed the Little House on the Prairie time period where life was endless work; but that we hadn’t reached the constant access to media time period of the present. Were people… doing hobbies? Playing sports? Tripping acid (at least in the 60s)? Any 9pm suggestions welcome.

Finally, like I’m sure all of you, my recent thoughts have been unable to escape the current presidential election. At least one person I know has actually had to start anxiety meds. I feel so woefully unqualified to opine about the state of the world (in part because I am WHOA SO PRIVILEGED) but let the record state that I’m feeling real helpless about the state of our country and real unclear about what I can do about it. So I default to trying to do right by a very small group of people in my day to day life (currently, premature babies and their mamas). And voting of course- YOU HAD BETTER BE VOTING, BLOG READERS.

But it doesn’t seem like enough, helping a few babies and casting a single vote. I used to be such a true believer. A frequent volunteer (starting at the age of 16, when I wasn’t even able to vote). A political science major in undergrad. It’s so bizarre that the Bush presidency seems so nonthreatening now. I mean, he had a pretty reasonable position on immigration! He didn’t casually advocate war crimes! And now he runs around being an endearingly bumbling all American awkward dad character! But man, the thought of all that’s happened this year, and what could happen this year’s election… well, I’m hardly going to reveal any new information on this blog. But it’s intense, intense stuff.

I can’t catch up on the state of the world from NPR because all they do is talk about Trump and I can’t listen to it. I go to the gym and see the big screen TVs and tense up; first time in history someone’s blood pressure is raised instead of lowered by regular exercise. I see all the memes posted on Facebook and cringe as I try to scroll quickly enough to not have to read anything in the horrifically vicious comment section. Just… just… WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYTHING?! While even the best electoral scenario will hardly clear things up- I think at this point America is in a phase like when you’re in the middle of deep cleaning your fridge and realizing how deep and vicious and thick the grime is- the worst case election scenario is truly, truly frightening to me and it should be to you too.

And now…

Let’s take a detour from all those thoughts and look at some kittens.

My time at home in Virginia with the babes was so blissful. They are getting so big and surprise surprise are still so so so so cute.


Either they’re sleeping preciously like this in the pictures… or ,they’re partying. As my mom says, when they’re in their room and she’s down the hall or downstairs she said it sounds like a “disco bowling alley”.

This guy is particularly wild, though you’d never know it by his sleepy face.


Want to learn more about their individual personalities? Want to ADOPT ONE? Good news!


Their adoption site is here! Yay kittens!


One more picture just because it’s hard to stop


When I was home with the lil babies I also visited with my friend Jaclyn, who’s interning at the surgeon general’s office in DC cause she is so smart! I met up with her in the suburbs and taught her about Korean bakeries. Shaved ice yaaaaasssss.


Chocolate mousse cake with adorable tiny topper yaaaaasssss


Then it was farewell kittens, back to North Carolina, and the Winston-Salem to Carrboro commuter life.

And, shortly thereafter, time for a visit with my dad, stepmother… and two Chinese foreign exchange students who are currently living with them. A few ventings thoughts on the visit.

  • Our dad is more engaged in parenting when he is paid to do it (like by rich Chinese parents who want their kids going to American schools). My sister and I should have chipped in more cash when we were children!
  • That being said, engagement is relative. I met everyone at a restaurant for dinner one night and was like, “Where is Dad?” and my stepmother was like “*sigh* He’s at Auto Zone.”
  • He was at Auto Zone because though my dad has six cars (!) some of which he has bought sight unseen on EBay (!!!) none of them actually seem to work properly. Having busted pieces of metal in his garage/driveway/spilling into the street is one of my dad’s greatest loves. I think he’d be deeply disappointed if he had a single, properly working car.
  • We did have a nice day walking around UNC’s campus. The foreign exchange students are sweet girls and seem interested in the American college experience.
  • The gang’s last day in town was the Carrboro Music Festival, which is always one of my favorite days of the year. My dad went to Home Depot and then listened to football on his car radio until we were ready to leave (…) and I took my stepmother and the girls into town and we had a bit of fun. Below you will see my friend Sarah dancing with Dancing Bruce, who we watched outside Weaver Street Market.


And then my relatives hit the road, and I frankly got to heave a little sigh of relief and enjoy the music festival. (Er, and apparently then the transmission quit on my dad’s car in Richmond and they took a $140 Uber ride home, getting them there at 2am. CLASSIC!)

I, meanwhile, meandered through Carrboro, running into basically everyone I know at various music venues. My favorite buddy was this little party animal, who I haven’t seen in way too long.


I suppose there’s something to be said for being out of the parenting phase of life and instead getting to play the role of Cool Aunt Ileana. Little T had skipped her nap and had an unfamiliar schedule at the music festival. It was delightful and hilarious watching her giggling uncontrollably and stumbling around like a frat boy on a Saturday night.

And here’s the thing, despite the snark of this blog post, I really, without a hint of irony or defensiveness, love the life I’ve built. And that’s perhaps why I’m feeling so angsty, because it feels precarious.

  • Will all the good friends I’ve made here take off on the marriage/family track and leave me behind? (With my cats, LOL)
  • Will I end up feeling incomplete and unsatisfied because I haven’t found romantic love?
  • Will I not live up to my “potential” in my career? (<< that is a super dangerous and dumb thought but it’s around)
  • Have I not built enough skills to be a successful adult out in the real world?
  • Am I too busy thinking about what I don’t have/watching Netflix at night/not seeking out romantic love/not doing extra things to build my career and wasting my youth?
  • Will America be left a pile of smoking rubble?

Wisdom welcome😀

living out of a suitcase

Remember my recent chronology?

So I hopped on a plane back to RDU after Lydia’s wedding. Admired the sunset over Jordan Lake as we landed.

Chicago, IL-> Carrboro, NC


Don’t worry, my gorgey porgey false eyelashes stuck around for a few more days after the wedding. I MISS THEM.


Then I was in Carrboro for a few days of hostessing! Fortunately my friend Claire is literally the best houseguest in the world and it was lots of fun having her around. (Claire is my friend with whom I communicate almost exclusively in quotes from Ted Cruz’s bad lip reading).

Her first morning in town, we met the silly boys from our program for brunch at Monuts (unofficial food sponsor of our class). While we waited for our orders, Claire learned some important animal facts.


I didn’t get a donut, aaagh! I had an upset tummy for a few days after returning from the wedding. Don’t worry, I went again to Monuts a few short weeks later, chronicled later in this post.

I tried to be a good hostess and cook a tasty dinner for my guest (Malindi came by too). Deviled eggs from my friends’ chickens, roasted veggies, and amaaaaaaazing smoked mozzarella and fancy crackers.


Then my auntie Michele moved down to Chapel Hill (huzzah! My efforts to get everyone I know to move down here to continue! Well fine she was maybe motivated by her own daughter Sophia and her imminently arriving grandbaby but I still take credit). My other auntie Jeanie came down for the weekend to help. Jeanie and I made dinner for everyone- Michele, Sophia, her husband Mike, and the fetus- one night.

Tasty salads, one tomato; one green.


YUMMY South African red wine. And pasta!


Pasta had sauteed mushrooms and peppers and YUMMY chicken meatballs from Weaver Street Market.


I knew Mike and Sophia had some craziness coming their way so I made them dinner again a few nights later- this was DOPE mac and cheese because I used all the random cheese bits I’d thrown in my freezer.


Then I hit the road to my internship. For the past eight weeks or so I’ve been spending my weekdays in Winston Salem interning at the hospital and my weekends back in Carrboro, living my life and seeing my friends.

Carrboro, NC-> Winston Salem, NC

I’ll tell you about what’s happening in Winston Salem soon! It’s cool!

Winston Salem, NC-> Carrboro NC

A few weeks ago I had a very delightful weekend. It was a weekend celebrating the nuptials of my good friend Steph and her now-husband Eric. That Friday evening I:

  • Was hosting my friends Jaclyn and Zach at my place; they were in town to celebrate the wedding
  • Planned to have dinner with them as well as some other friends from my program
  • Was stopping by my cousin’s to hang out with her and baby and help to the extent of my (limited) abilities with breastfeeding (my boss is a lactation consultant and my internship includes a lot of lactation, hurray!)

Long story short, I ended up getting wayyyyy held back at my cousin’s so I demanded that Colton pick up Zach and Jaclyn at my house and take them to dinner, where I would meet them.

Colton can’t do anything without being a total creeper, so he willingly picked up our friends at my house but then sent me a creepy-ass picture from my own bed.


I made it to dinner. It was aight. This poke bowl was a little uninspiring. Ironically, I, the girl who ate raw fish, did not get food poisoning; my friends who ate fully cooked tacos did, yikes!


Later on Friday night Steph and Eric hosted a gathering at a bar downtown and bought everyone free drinks. A bunch of us saw the market price seasonal chocolate board (!) and knew we had to go for it. Tasty treats!


The wedding was the next day, Saturday. Zach and Jaclyn got a hotel room for that night and a few of us went with them to glamorize and get ready there. At the Durham Hotel housekeeping delivers chocolates to your room (!) and apparently if there are random strangers loitering around your room they get chocolate too (!!)


The wedding was at one of those fabulous old Durham buildings that was probably once a tobacco warehouse. Lovely exposed bricks and things. Steph and Eric really love their chickens and this was reflected extensively in the decor that day.


View from the balcony. You can see the ceremony seating area towards the back.


The ceremony was short and so sweet. I am not usually a wedding cryer, BUT.

Eric, Steph’s now husband, is not a big talker. He helps run the NC Comic Con. He enjoys flying drones (and messing with the backyard chickens with drones). He often, ahem, disappears into the back room of their house and a cloud of smoke comes out from under the door. He is not a chatter.

During the vows Steph was cute and funny and told a sweet story about Eric’s grandfather. And Eric… Eric gave the most earnest, heartfelt, proclamation of his love for Steph and a rumination on all her inner light. Choking up. AND I CRIED REAL HARD.

But the ceremony was over in like ten minutes tops and then it was party time! Steph, when she hosts parties in her own home, always tends to end up standing on a chair to give guests directions (i.e. “Here is where you can find the wine”). Her wedding was no different, albeit she opted for a staircase this time around.


I wish all weddings had slideshows of baby pictures. It is one of my favorite things!


Also one of my favorite things: why have a cake when instead you can have an ice cream sundae bar from the best ice cream place in Durham?!


All of the wedding food was REALLY DELICIOUS and not too safe and boring either (lots of interesting heirloom vegetables and smoky kebabs and things).

I can’t remember the last time I had a brownie sundae. It was a delight.


Then there was an 80s vinyl DJ (!) and lots of silly dancing and chatting and gabbing. Eric was certainly feeling no pain by the end of the night hahahaha.

hilarious wedding pic

And the rest of us had fun too!


The next morning, oh shocker, we hit up donuts. Zach and Jaclyn treated me to breakfast and then I drove them to the airport. We split this selection here (they ended up taking half of them with them for their trip):


  • Blueberry pancake
  • the Carolinean (sweet potato bourbon!)
  • peach pistachio
  • spicy chocolate ginger
  • dude I don’t know
  • it is hard to keep track they are all delicious

For nutrition (sarcasm) we also got some savory food. Scrambled eggies and OMGSOGOOD avocado toast (hot pepper flakes+pepita seeds= great additions to avocado toast. The bread was also basically just a crispy butter sponge; didn’t hate that)


Carrboro, NC-> Winston Salem, NC

Insert work week here!

Winston Salem, NC-> Carrboro NC

Finally being back into a semi-regular housing situation (albeit one divided between two towns) I was finally ready to do what Alli and I have been planning forever- a house warming party!

But not just a house warming party. A house warming party meets CELEBRATION OF DOLLY PARTON’S FIFTIETH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AND VOW RENEWAL! Which was in 2016, which of course you knew, right, because you follow all Dolly related news, right?!

We enjoyed dressing up and there were many interpretations of Dolly, just as there have been many phases of Dolly. I went early career country Dolly, Alli went for 80s glamour princess Dolly. Hip bow! Press on nails! Tragically the white cowboy boots she ordered from Amazon for $8 that she planned to bedazzle did not arrive on time.


The night ended up being just a ridiculous series of playing dress up. Alli’s friend did some ethnographic research on the local drag queen community and brought some fabulous men’s stiletto high heels. I brought out a variety of temporary tattoos, which is how I ended up with R2D2 on my cleavage for a few days


Is it deeply disorienting packing all of this fun into the weekend and living out of a suitcase? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Yes.

One more post and then we will actually be more or less caught up to the present!

a few days off

Let’s flash back a bit. It’s been a busy, generally pleasant, but also very disorienting a few months.

My recent life chronology:

Let’s chronicle that middle period of time, betwixt internships!

I drove from Wilmington to Carrboro for a few blessed days off.

First things first: I went out for pink wine with some friends at Tandem (tasty but overpriced). Malindi and I split the chickpea fritters, we’re no fools.


And didn’t hate this deviled egg with crab either nom nom.


My sister was minding her roommate’s neurotic miniature greyhound. She licked my arm obsessively for like twenty minutes. It was weird.


I spent a great deal of time doing laundry at my sister’s. Washed allllll the things. I had a broken dryer at my new place (thrilling!) and a whole bunch of sand-covered apparel.

I also used a few days to actually adjust myself to my new home. Putting up curtains. Getting necessary home repairs done (see above: re, dryer, and add pest control tasks and furniture repair and closet organization and so on). Cooking tasty end of summer treats!

Heirloom tomatoes and basil.


Plus mac ‘n cheese with leftover chicken and veg, because I am not a fancy lady😀


Corn and basil cakes from Eating Well magazine, my FAVORITE SUMMER RECIPE. Plus farmers market tometers.


Panzanella. Can you tell I like summer tomatoes and am sad their season is ending?


I also got a few days with my baby cat child before I sent her off to Grandma’s house to finish out her pregnancy.

A guy came to finally fix the broken dryer. Lola cat did not like that.


I built myself a new, high bed frame from which one can look out the window. Lola liked that a lot!


And I felt like a badass independent woman, building furniture. I got this bed, which I like a lot, and will be pretty easy to disassemble and reassemble should I move in the future, which is CLUTCH, since moving beds, as we all know, is The Worst. Also, Amazon Prime definitely paid for itself and then some with free shipping on this bad boy.

Lola got a few happy days with me in her home in Carrboro. But then I delivered her to my mom’s, to finish out her pregnancy. There was a bit of an adjustment period.


If you can’t read my mom’s handwriting (she was once a news reporter):

Lola escaped from her room, explored the house, then attacked me when I tried to scoop her up. She’s now hiding under Malindi’s bed. Please figure this out.

My mom and I my sister and I all overlapped for, cat drama aside, a few very relaxing days in Virginia. We had tasty treats as a family. My mom made this outrageously delicious three bean and quinoa salad, I made a frittata


We also went out to Cheesetique, because we are a cheese loving family.


And then I began living out of a suitcase, which my next few posts will chronicle!

the hospital life

I had big plans to give people outside the medical field this dramatic look into the world of the hospital. Throw open the curtain- guys, it’s not like Grey’s Anatomy. (Well, hopefully no one actually thought it was like Grey’s Anatomy. All of the shenanigans in on-call rooms? Guys, hospitals are gross. No one wants to get naked in them.)

Anyway, of course I have gone too long without blogging and now the summer internship seems like a blur. So I’m going to start with a glimpse of what I’m doing now! And then rewind a bit for a bit of curtain-throwing-open based on my summer experience🙂

The Final Internship

This fall, I am interning with a NICU dietitian for ten weeks! Note that this little subtitle says FINAL internship (!) That’s because once these ten weeks are done, and my master’s paper, which I’ll be doing concurrently, is submitted, I will be a GRADUATE! With a MASTERS DEGREE, aagh!

I’m happy to report that my preceptor is a BOSS. She divides her time between medical nutrition therapy for the tiny NICU babies (lots of critical care stuff), serving as a lactation consultant for mamas with NICU babies, and doing awesome research, including the study that basically made her a STAR, this very cool study about increasing breastfeeding rates in NICU mamas.

Y’all have maybe heard me talk about all my experiences around breastfeeding mamas and breastfeeding promotion. It’s always something I’ve loved. And now it seems like despite my reservations about it (are you qualified to tell someone what to do with their boobs when your boobs haven’t done it themselves?) I have started enough down the pathway to be a lactation consultant that it seems silly to not continue at this point. For example, Tuesday through Thursday of last week I attended the North Carolina Lactation Educator Training Program, receiving hours of lactation-specific education.

Eating taco salad and reading about breast anatomy. As one does.


One of my favorite parts of the experience was learning the fairly bizarre history of breast pumps. The original one was essentially a bicycle horn with a suction cup attached (good luck collecting milk; it held about a tablespoon at a time). The next generation was similarly depressing and REALLY difficult to squeeze:


My favorite was this nintendo number here. Eeesh!


This training ended up being fortuitous timing, since my cousin had herself an AWESOME little human in the middle of my training!


Little Chase is already one of my favorite people. My knowledge and skills are still questionable but with (or in spite of?) my help, my cousin is busy feeding this cute little nugget and getting him all big and strong.

I’m excited to see what the remaining ~7 weeks of my fall internship will include. I’m going to be co-authoring (!) a paper my boss is doing on human milk feeding and neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature babies. I’ll be joining the medical team on rounds in the NICU and making recommendations on feeding the little bambinos. And I’m going to continue to try to cultivate my lactation skills to try to attain even 10% of the knowledge of my preceptor (she’s been a lactation consultant for 16 years and is seriously awe-inspiring).

In the meantime, I want to reflect about my prior three months, loving the seaside and getting to know hospital life.

The Summer Internship

My program has its dramas, but I really felt like where they put me this summer was about them knowing me and my academic needs better than I know myself. I feel SO LUCKY to be at the hospital where I was with the team that taught me. My manager was great. The other dietitians were so intentional and generous with their teaching and taught me a ton; they also taught me how to keep learning and were ongoing learners who were constantly trying to increase their own skills and knowledge.

Meanwhile, the hospital was the perfect size for me. My friends who were at GI-NORMOUS teaching hospitals sometimes got a little lost in the crowd, and the professionals there were used to providing educational experiences for medical students and residents that they weren’t really going to go out of their way to provide something for a dietetic intern. My friends at teensy hospitals didn’t get to see many specialties, and anyone with an illness that was super serious (aka super interesting) got transferred out. So my hospital was the SWEET SPOT in the middle of those. I got exposed to so many cool specialties. I got to see someone get a hole punched into their abdomen to insert a feeding tube into their stomach. I got to see the view from a camera down someone’s throat to see how their swallowing worked. I got to see a guy’s SPINE wide open.

Thoughts on specialities

  • Pediatrics is awesome. There are no boring cases in pediatrics. This will sound grotesque, but peds cases are fascinating because fundamentally babies and kids are supposed to be healthy. They’re not like adults, whose years of unhealthy decisions have caught up with them and/or their bodies are aging and falling apart. I mean, sometimes babies’ issues are because their parents have made unhealthy decisions. Which is sad.
    Some of the other dietitians did not enjoy peds because it’s quite different- you aren’t just planning a diet to support health, you are planning a diet to support GROWTH, in fairly specific numbers (for example, a newborn baby should gain 25-35 grams per kilogram per day, which does actually mean something to me, crazily).
    But the best thing about kids is that they can get better! 100% recovery! Really fast! One little girl had come in with appendicitis and by the time I saw her she was eating a plate of approximately 16 strips of bacon. Like a little boss!
  • Cancer center life is intense. Let’s start with the fact that the top of every patient’s chart it has a spot that says “Goal”. That goal can be “cure” (yay!), “control” (rein in the cancer’s growth as long as you can), or “palliative”. It is sobering as hell how few say “cure” at the top. Nutrition life at a cancer center is *completely* different from everywhere else- most of the time it consists with coming up with ways to cram as many calories as possible into as small a volume as possible. Chemo and radiation jack up your throat and GI tract (“mucositis”= inflammation of all the cells lining all those tubes going through your bodies= pain with every part of the digestive cycle). Your appetite goes away. Your sense of taste is really messed up (a lot of chemo drugs are platinum-based and make everything taste like metal). And cancer cells, vicious buggers that they are, release various molecules that basically cause your lean muscle to melt away. Nutrition is REALLY IMPORTANT and also REALLY CHALLENGING. So we’ll say “Okay, make this milkshake out of heavy cream, peanut butter, and chocolate syrup, and drink it twice a day, and then you won’t have to think about food anymore, deal?” Cancer is also economically as well as physically devastating, which is just another way cancer is super unfair.
  • ICUs have almost no direct patient interaction (they tend to be sedated) but are so intellectually satisfying because you’re managing so many things at the same time! Almost everyone’s kidneys start shutting down (organs follow a pretty predictable pattern of crapping out on you- first lungs, then kidneys, then liver) and at that point you have to balance lowering protein- to avoid further stressing the kidney- versus raising protein- because most patients are super catabolic from injuries/inflammation and are burning through their body’s muscle scarily quickly.

Thoughts on doctors:

  • Some doctors are amazing. They’re so smart you can’t even believe how they stuff so much knowledge in their brains and manage so many things at once. An amazing moment in womanhood: one day I rounded with a medical team in the surgical/trauma ICU. When we reached one patient, the (female) attending surgeon turned to her (male) resident and very coolly went “You’ll be doing a manual rectal disimpaction on this guy today.”
  • Some doctors are awful and it’s frightening how much power they have. In a world where things make sense, increased power in the workplace should correspond with increased accountability in the workplace, right? NOT SO with doctors. If you are ever hospitalized (or your loved one, for that matter), ask to speak with a dietitian on the down low. Or a nurse. They’ll know who are the good doctors and who are the hot messes they wouldn’t let near one of their loved ones in a million years.
  • Also if your loved one goes more than 7 days without eating, ask what the dietitian has recommended and followed that. Great doctors do a lot of nutrition research and have a lot of knowledge themselves. They are rare but excellent. The head of the NICU at my hospital over the summer is an example of such a doctor- he has legit written textbooks on neonatal nutrition. Good doctors stay in their lane and defer to the dietitians (nutrition experts) and listen to their judgement. Sucky doctors ignore the dietitians and jack up their patients’ guts. BEWARE OF THEM.

Thoughts on other people in the hospital:

  • Wound care are my FAVORITES. Have I mentioned that? Probably. They are just the coolest. They are nurses who have gotten advanced training in taking care of people who have all kinds of scary lines, drains and airways sticking out of their body; all sorts of wounds; all sorts of crazy scary catabolic processes happening. They can take people who have holes in their spines and help make them well! (I saw a guy’s vertebrae, had I mentioned that?! SO RAD.) And they are all just cool, compassionate, interesting, helpful, friendly people. And they respect nutrition!
  • Speech and language pathologists (SLPs) are also really cool. Most people know speech therapy as the lady in elementary school who pulls the kid with a lisp out of class for a few hours, but speech therapists should really be called Mouth and Throat and Swallowing and Speaking and Eating experts. They know so much! While healthy people out and about experience food going down the wrong pipe occasionally, aspiration, especially in a hospital setting, is BAD NEWS BEARS. Probably many of you know that pneumonia is often fatal in older adults and aspiration is a real quick way to get there. Knowing that it is or isn’t safe for someone to swallow is absolutely vital information. We also work closely with the SLPs, figuring out what kinds of texture modifications people need.
  • Pharmacists are also cool, fun people. I’ve gotten to see them mixing up chemo (!) I’ve seen them making IV nutrition for premature babies (!) I also saw them work on an iron infusion one time, which was a trip- you see the iron in the container and it’s this deep inky blue/purple, and then when they mix the iron with the salts and things in the IV back, it turns RUST colored! I also got to have a really fun conversation about Star Wars with some pharmacists the other week. They’re hilarious. The pharmacy lab is always *freezing*, which is why I can absolutely never be a pharmacist.

Did you not want to end up sick in the hospital? Here are some fairly effective ways to stay out of the hospital:

  • Don’t do drugs. Just… don’t do drugs. This summer I was the town with the highest rate of opiate abuse in the nation. Not in my state. Not even in the South. No, this idyllic beachside town has the highest rate of opiate abuse in the ENTIRE UNITED STATES. And sure y’all know doing drugs is bad but… it’s bad. You OD and you end up brain dead. You shoot up and end up with necrotizing fasciitis (FLESH EATING BACTERIA!) in your arm. Or in some other horrible grotesque wound eeesh. Or you get preggers and your kiddo is born and ends up with neonatal abstinence syndrome and has to go on morphine.
  • Dude, gastric bypasses are scary. In popular culture they’re viewed as this magical fix that makes you lose a *@#ton of weight, but in reality they JACK YOU UP! Before I started my program I just thought of them as shrinking your stomach for a little bit so you feel full sooner. NOOOO. They cut out a bunch of your stomach but they also cut out a bunch of your small intestine, which means food still goes into your body, but you don’t absorb a lot of the nutrients from it. Calories are the least of that! You miss out on all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals! So it means you MUST supplement EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE or you will end up with potentially life-threatening deficiencies in things like calcium and B12. And God help you if you end up in a phase of life where you are nutritionally at risk and need extra nutrients- like pregnancy! Or fighting cancer! Your system is just not absorbing all you need!
  • Know your blood sugar. The next time you go to a doctor, get a fasting blood glucose or an HbA1c (shows your blood sugar over the prior three months or so). If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you want to know it, so you can prevent all the damage excess sugar in your blood can start! I saw so many people who ended up with chronic kidney disease from unmanaged diabetes. CKD is a bitch- you can try to prevent further damage from your kidney from eating a horrifically restrictive diet (do you like high protein foods like meat or milk? Or foods high in potassium like virtually all fruits and vegetables? Say goodbye- all white bread and mayonnaise for you!) Or you can end up on dialysis which is also AWFUL, and you can also get horrible infections from having a needle constantly poking into your skin, letting nasty germies from the outside invade your blood. And then even if your diabetes doesnt result in chronic kidney disease, you can end up with things like blindness! Or limb amputations! These sound like worst case scenarios, except for the fact that I saw them ALL THE TIME this summer.
  • Respect your GI tract. Thank God every day that it works correctly. If you start having pain in it, see your PCP sooner than later. It’d be much easier to have someone tell you to cut back on ibuprofen and then get some relief then wait for months and years and be dealing with anemia from your multiple bleeding ulcers.
  • Learn CPR! Obvi you can’t use it on yourself but you could use it to save someone else! For reals, I saw a (surprisingly young) person who had gone into sudden cardiac arrest in an athletic endeavor and was saved by someone in the community knowing CPR and using it!
  • If you’re over 65 or so, don’t sweat a few extra pounds. It’s a thermal and physical insulator (if you fall you’re less likely to break something). It’s also a nice little reservoir of energy so if you are hospitalized you won’t end up wasting away to nothing. There would be 90something year olds and dummy doctors would put them on diets and we’d be like, “Dude, this person has lived to 94. We should not be putting them on a diet. We should be asking HOW THEY LIVED THEIR LIFE AND HOW CAN WE EMULATE IT.”

Thoughts on life and how my mindset was surrounded by hospital death and gloom all day

  • I had my mid-internship site visit with my professor. It went well. Somewhat ridiculously, in the midst of assessing my clinical nutrition assessment skills and offering to troubleshoot any issues with my preceptors, because our program is small and very female, the professor asked, in a motherly tone, how I was sleeping. And I said eh, not great but I wasn’t sure why because the internship wasn’t stressing me out too much. And she was like “Well, Orlando… and that poor little kid at Disney World…” and YEAH THERE’S A LOT OF SADNESS IN THIS WORLD. And a sense of helplessness. I further reflected on this as I walked along the beach one night. I strolled along and thought “Gosh, I’m sad. It’s amazing how one symptom of sleep deprivation for me is just glumness.”And then I went, “Wait. I am in the surgical and trauma ICU this week. I am surrounded by very very sick people this week. Today I had my first patient die (patients have died around me but this was the first time I saw someone one week, did my usual intervention of sending her an Ensure, went off on my merry way, and then came back to her file to discover brain death on it).”
  • The patients blur together. You kind of forget that they are people, and that they are sick, and that sickness is a undesirable and unpleasant state of being. You just dig through their file and write down all the abbreviations (ohhhhhh the abbreviations) and pop in their room and ask them the same questions over and over and then every once in awhile there’s this big POP that happens and you snap out of your mode and go “Oh shit this is a person like me except they feel really awful.” Little moments. I went in a room and saw on someone’s white board, that nursing uses, where it said “Pain Goal: 4” and it REALLY depressed me! My pain goal is zero! My day to day pain experience is zero! Or maybe 2 if I have menstrual cramps but those are once a month and relatively undramatic and even a bit satisfying to complain about.
  • You think modern medical care is invincible. Probably the doctors go “They’ve got an amiodarone drip! Their heart rate will get back into sinus rhythm and they’ll be fine!” and then we as the dietitians go “We put them on just the right tube feeding! They’re going to tolerate it perfectly and be adequately nourished and get better!” But the body has its limits and sometimes it all goes to &@%.
  • We tend to heave a sigh of relief when we’ve seen someone who’s been in the hospital for days/weeks/months and has had intervention upon intervention and pain upon pain and then we see in the note that they’ve gone into palliative care, and we heave a sigh of relief. But it’s easy to forget that yes, pain relief is good and yes, it’s good to end life with dignity but at the same time… it means they’re going to die. Soon. And when you’re surrounded by death you have to reinvent it in the abstract and make it the thing that happens to other people. But it’s not. These patients have to stare down mortality. Plus, even when there’s a big dramatic save, it’s still sad and sucky when you see someone arrive having been independent and leave off to a nursing home where their life is going to be much more limited.

Those are my thoughts! Questions on hospital life?

Also this has nothing to do with the rest of the post but also YOU’RE WELCOME: Lola had her kittens! Not only has she been an incredible mother to them, she is an incredible foster mother! Let me explain: my sister went on Facebook and saw someone had posted in the UNC group that she had found a woeful little kitten all alone in a storm drain! Because my mother was foolish enough to raise her children with compassion, my sister realized that the only logical choice was to hasten a planned trip to Virginia and leave in the middle of the night to deliver this kitten to (hopefully) a loving foster mother.

Because Lola is the BEST CAT IN THE WORLD, and BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD (well best mother cat; my mother is the best mother human, who herself is doing a VERY generous thing fostering Lola!) she adopted the little kiddo like he was her own.

One of these kittens is not like the others!


But Lola does not mind. Little kitten can still join the snuggle box.


The little guy is a little older and thus a little more playful than the other kittens. My sister has named him Clovis. Clovis enjoys biting and pouncing.


He also loves his mommy, as do his adopted brothers and sisters.


With all the breastfeeding promotion work I am now doing, I am definitely going to find a good place to use this picture.


the wedding of the century

My bestest pally Lydia got married! It was a blast. When your best friend gets married, at least in my experience, it is so so confusing and so so amazing at the same time. I kept looking over and being like “I am at a wedding! There is a beautiful bride in a wedding dress! This is so pleasant!” and then doing a double take and like “Oh @#%* that girl in the wedding dress is Lydia! My best friend since I was 14!”

I got a plus one to the wedding and I brought along my sister Malindi. She is, by far, the best wedding date in the history of wedding dates.


Malindi was basically a guest member of the wedding party (at a certain point, Lydia just opted to pull her in for the photos). While we did various official wedding tasks she just took care of every little random detail that people hadn’t thought of (negotiating a bigger room with the hotel staff, setting up the pre-wedding hangout decor, picking up the Indian food, etc.) She also served as the motivator during the epic glamorizing session pre-wedding, selecting sweet jams and dancing enthusiastically.

But let’s rewind a bit in time. Malindi and I hopped on a plane at RDU (our mom, because she is a fantastic human being, gave us her airline miles for free) and arrived Thursday mid-afternoon to Chicago, where Lydia and Brian live. From O’Hare, we hopped in a shuttle up north to Lake Forest, where the wedding was held. The venue was Elawa Farm, and it was DOPE.

We began with the rehearsal- already verklempt.


Then we had a super boss rehearsal dinner! I love getting to go to the rehearsal dinner for a wedding. Smaller crowd, actually getting to talk to people in depth. Much more my introvert speed. Lydia’s grandma was a really epic lady and it was particularly a treat to get to meet her.

Check out this tasty, uber summery menu:


We started with little crostini which were SO GOOD.


One with hummus and fresh tomaters, one with cheese and mushrooms and then more cheese (the mushrooms were SO SO GOOD)


Then for my appetizer I opted for the salad which was just perfect and fresh and pretty.


Then I had the salmon, which was perrrfectly cooked. And the broth and veggies underneath it were delicious too- the fresh summer corn gave such a wonderful pop.


Sorbet for dessert. GORGEY color. It was, I wanna say, raspberry and blood orange?


The next day, Friday, we did various activities around town (including mani-pedis while watching the Olympics, a super fun way to spend an hour).

Then because there were so many out of towners, Lydia and Brian invited everyone to a casual hangout in a park. Lydia’s stepdad had a whole vision for the stereo system and Victoria saved the day and made it happen. (Fun fact: many of Lydia and Brian’s college friend are past/current circus members. They have mad acrobatic and juggling skills!)


Decor was super cute. There were tasty treats.


So the mani pedis early in the day were really just a foreshadowing of the INTENSE GIRLINESS THAT WAS TO COME. Girliest 24 hours of my life. SO FUN.

    • Mani pedis
    • After the barbecue, Lydia and Malindi and I shared a hotel room and ordered some Indian food which we ate in bed (!). Then we put on face masks (!) and watched Bridesmaids (!!)
    • Then we went on a secret early errand which definitely wasn’t to Victoria’s Secret
    • Then it was hair and makeup time! Oh my gosh it was so so fun! As yall have gathered from the tone of this blog, I am pretty low key when it comes to putting effort into my personal appearance and I do my hair and makeup maybe twice a year, and never very elaborately. WELL, the makeup lady was a GENIUS. She said the goal was basically like Photoshop in real life and mission accomplished! She AIRBRUSHED makeup onto our face which was cool and weird and I was thinking would be uncomfortable but was in fact like having a small fan gently blowing cool air on your face. And it was great because I looked like MYSELF (freckles!) but BETTER (sexy eyelashes, wider set eyes). Don’t have formal photos from the wedding yet but a bonus of the individual false eyelashes she put on was that they lasted for a few days so I was back to being my messy self except with GORGEOUS eyelashes! I stared at them at every opportunity.
    • IMG_6148
    • Then it was to the hair genius. I said “Iunno, I’ve never had my hair done fancier than a blowout. Here’s what my dress looks like. Do whatever you want.” IT WAS SPECTACULAR. Shoutout to Malindi for getting a picture. When I took out at the end of the night I found NINETEEN hairpins.


Okay so once the girliness had concluded it was time for the wedding itself. I was actually the maid of honor (!!!) so I was rather busy for the ceremony. No pictures yet, hopefully there will be some good ones once the formal pics have arrived.

The ceremony was lovely though. They blended traditions, since Lydia was raised Methodist and Brian was raised Jewish. Lydia’s pastor from home flew out to officiate and she was adorable- at the last minute to surprise Brian they decided to include the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony, as happens in Jewish weddings. And during the ceremony the pastor talked a little bit about the reasons for the breaking of the glass. And then later at the reception some of us mentioned how nice it was to include that and she was like, “As a feminist, I could not have included the part in the ceremony if it was at all referring to the loss of virginity, but it wasn’t, so it was okay.” HAHAHAHA LOVE IT.

I would call my performance as the maid of honor mixed, since I forgot the groom’s ring back at the hotel (wince) and then after my toast I went to hug the happy couple and my hug with Lydia the bride went fine but then I went to hug Brian the groom and dumped champagne down the back of his suit (cringe). But, it was enormously meaningful for me to celebrate my very best friend and the love and happiness she has found with Brian. So hoefully they forgive me for my performance.

As for the reception, it was super excellent. The weather literally could not have been more perfect so everything was outdoors/open air barns and things.


And for some odd/excellent reason, the farm where they got married had a nature center so mid-reception you could go visit the bobcat (!) and various birds of prey and gators and things. The bobcat was loving life and napping like a boss.


And there were also little walking paths among the gardens which were just GORGEY.


The food was great (I had gotten to read the various catering menu proposals prior to the wedding which was like fantasy football but actually fun!) The style of their reception was also I think just how it should be: there was no formal sit down dinner with assigned seats, just various tasty passed apps and then stations to go and get food. Then you could sit down at a table with whoever you liked and/or hop around from table to table.

A cheese section is always a great idea:


Of the stations, the make your own crepe was my favorite. I got one with ratatouille and ricotta cheese that was like… everything. My life.


Lydia really loves cake and I knew the cake portion of the evening would be a highlight. Credit to one of Lydia and Brian’s other friends for posting this picture of the two of them on Facebook… it makes my heart go all soft.

lydia and brian cut the cake

They had THREE kinds of cake: unpictured bourbon chocolate, basic white cake with berries, and LEMON THYME CAKE which was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted. All the cake was exemplary (and had really good frosting, not the usual weird formal stuff that looks good but tastes crappy) but the lemon thyme one was the stuff dreams are made of.


And then it was time for some sweet party jams.

The evening began with a super cute band.Lydia and Brian did their first dance to a jazzy cover of Got To Get You Into My Life by the Beatles. The lead singer also sung songs in French and looked like an old time movie star. She was dreamy.

Then to pick up the tempo after the band was gone and get everyone DANCING, Lydia and I made the dancing playlist (a SUPER fun activity) and it was just really really excellent because of course it was. We really only played like three or four new-ish songs including the always excellent Cheap Thrills by Sia. Nostalgia was the major element. We tried to keep the music vaguely thematic for the wedding (though we made an exception for Dancing On My Own by Robyn, because it’s such a great song, even though it’s about a breakup).


  • The Way You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson
  • Waiting for Tonight, Jennifer Lopez
  • Hey Ya, Outkast
  • LoveFool (!)
  • Bailamos, by Enrique Iglesias (Malindi and I did a passionate duet on this one and people seemed tickled at our sisterly bond)

Here are some pictures that reflect the awesomeness of both the playlist and of my friendship with Lydia.

more singing with lydia singing with lydia

The night zoomed by (I know all the brides and grooms say that but I also observed that as a member of the wedding party). I tried to get out of my comfort zone and go around greeting people because it seemed like a good maid-of-honor-y thing to do. The bugs were eating everyone alive so I also took it upon myself to be the circulator of the bug spray (along with everything else in the world, the wedding planner- the most astonishingly capable woman I have ever met- had an ample stock of insect repellent in her giant pack).

And then it was sendoff time! Lydia told me the photographers would be gone by this point so to be sure to get some good photos and I mean not to brag but I DELIVERED.


Brian reaching out to his mom…❤ so sweet.

So that was it, the best wedding ever! And I will have backyard flowers that will remind me of the magic of that evening!


the end of the internship

The end of my internship didn’t feel super crazy in the moment but did a little bit in retrospect. Mainly because it was my third moving experience in many months. Not moving meaning emotional. Moving meaning “moving sh** between places”. Moving some of my stuff down to Wilmington, coming up to Carrboro from Wilmington to move the rest of my stuff from my old apartment to my new house, then moving the stuff I’d moved down to Wilmington back to Carrboro. Oh and I’ll be doing this again in two weeks when I move yet again to Winston Salem for my fall internship (further discussed in the end of this post)

Oh, moving. I am a real freezer hoarder so for me one of the things most annoying about moving is trying to forbid myself to buy new groceries and instead make my way through the freezer stash.

Newman’s white pizza, Trader Joe’s buttery basil cauliflower


I can only kvetch a little bit about the moving I did back and forth between home and Wilmington, because living at the beach for the summer is something everyone should get a chance to do at least once in their lives. It is exquisite.

I maintained my habit of taking a walk on the beach ~2-3 times a week. It was super amazing.

IMG_5926 IMG_5927

I had a typical route I took that led me to the upper end of the Wrightsville Beach strip and back again (a total of ~ 5 miles!) but one day I parked in a different place and mixed up my route and ended up at the other end of the strip and that was beautiful too!

Not just because dimey surfers crossed in front of my camera just when I took the picture😉


I had more beach visitors- Colton (in the center, looking like an idiot with his hot dog) and his boyf James (in the back) and their crazy friend Kendra (crazy in a good way). Here we are being so cool at Costco.


We basically just ate and vegetated by the water all weekend.

On Sunday we went to an all you can eat breakfast place called Boca Bay. It was all right but I probably wouldn’t go back because their buffet was overly reliant on various kinds of white bread and baked goods and not enough other things, IMO. For example, I found fruit but it was sort of hidden!

First course: a wee fruit bowl, a blintz, lox ‘n toppings, a mushroom croissant (not very good, only ate the mushroom part), eggs Florentine.


Second course: MORE BLINTZ! They were really good. A bit of biscuit and gravy. A bit of a frittata muffin. As you can see, this was not a colorful plate🙂


Shockingly, this wee bit of yogurt/granola/fruit satisfied my urge for dessert (probably because I was already *@#%&@#ing full)


That gluttony powered me through a very intense workout at the gym. And then (have you noticed how I’ve discussed several meals in a row eaten out? So much for cleaning out the fridge!) I got a green smoothie for a late dinner.


Here are some absurd pictures for you!

We had something called trauma rounds, which are designed to be an interdisciplinary gathering where people from different professions of the hospital hear an expert on a particular health condition to learn to better treat patients. WELL. The one I went to was on snake bites. So okay, relevant, right? North Carolina has venomous snakes! However, the presenter was not a doctor or a surgeon or a maker of anti venom… it was a guy from the Serpentarium, the weird snake zoo in Wilmington. Just this RANDOM DUDE, talking about how he’s been bitten a bunch of times by poisonous snakes (!) and how you shouldn’t do a fasciotomy because it doesn’t do anything, just give them anti venom and “something good for the pain, I really liked Dilaudid”, and then he just pulls out what were basically large tupperwares with DANGEROUS VENEMOUS SNAKES INSIDE and just pulled them out and let them WANDER AROUND ON THE STAGE in this little auditorium where rounds were.



And they always say they’re more scared of you than you are of them but in the case of at least the water moccasin and the timber rattlesnake that was NOT true- they were PISSED and DEFINITELY JUST WANTED TO BITE SOMEONE. Which was particularly disconcerting when they’d go shooting off the stage and INTO THE AUDIENCE, basically inches away from where people were sitting in the first row. It was madness! Hospitals are so intensely preoccupied with safety, and THIS was allowed?! Just ridiculous.



(water moccasin)


Timber rattlesnake, VERY angry and VERY venemous. He said comparable to a cobra.


I also had fun watching the convention and teaching my coworkers about the incredible articles that The Onion publishes about Joe Biden. I’m going to miss them real bad.


The night before my last day of my internship I took one last dreamy beach walk. Low tide continues to be the coolest.


I was smack dab in the middle of two converging tides – see one coming in from the left and one from the right? I think when those tides go out that’s what makes a rip tide… so I was glad to be walking on the beach, rather than swimming in the water. I have a healthy respect for rip tides.


My last day I got a WONDERFUL surprise from the RDs.


Debbie Dietitian= an amusing, old-fashioned term for the cliche Type A, kiss-ass, neurotic, health obsessed, volunteering for any task, uptight, perfectionist, generally annoying dietitian. Fortunately none of my colleagues are Debbie Dietitians (though I saw a LOT of Debbies at my nutrition conference last year). I think really the fact that we concluded my nutrition internship with donuts demonstrates that!

A delivery from Wake and Bake, where I went with my pals when they visited. Many delicious, nutritious choices!


I had the key lime, *swoon*


My life has not slowed down AT ALL since the last week of my internship and I’m feeling my usual state of being excited and overwhelmed at the same time. A few things:

MY FRIEND IS IN THE OLYMPICS. Read all about here here. She got first place in some kind of race this morning. I tried to watch her in one of her heats- I was even at home in Virginia, where there was a TV with CABLE!- but American television does not deign to air Canadians, I guess.

My life is much less exciting. However, since my internship ended I:

  • have finally finished properly moving into my new place in Carrboro.
  • have taken my pregnant cat to finish the rest of her pregnancy and childrearing in the safety of my mother’s home in Virginia. I also got to visit with my mom😉
  • welcomed my friends Kyle and Shaylen to town- yeah that’s right I am continuing to get ALL THE PEOPLE to move to the Triangle of North Carolina what whattt. So far I have gotten:
    • my friends Dan and Bethany and their bambino
    • my sister
    • my cousin
    • my aunt (well fine she followed her daughter, my cousin, but I can still take credit)
    • Kyle and Shaylen
  • am flying to Chicago this afternoon to be the MAID OF HONOR in my BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING! I’m going to try to post some pictures- since I’m going to have my hair and makeup professionally done (!) I will probably be at my personal maximum level of attractiveness and will want to preserve images for posterity. There will be many celebrations/shenanigans/tasty eats leading up to the big day.
  • am starting my advanced internship next week- have I posted about this? Anyway, I’ll be doing ten weeks in the NICU at a hospital in Winston Salem. Look out tiny babies! Ileana’s coming to fatten you up with good nutrition!

planned (cat) parenthood

So there was the cat, barefoot and pregnant on the kitchen floor.


I was in denial about it for awhile. I thought Lola had just been gaining weight where she’d been taken care of at my friends’ house since they’d been spoiling her and feeding her a full 5.5 ounce can of Science Diet each day.

Then I went another two weeks without seeing her and came to the uncomfortable conclusion that she wasn’t gaining weight all over, and her big belly did not look like there was fat in it, swinging adorably side to side like is seen in fattie catties. No, her belly looked distinctly round and firm and like it contained kittens, not fat.

Moreover, her little nip nips looked increasingly prominent and ready for lactating. She was eating around the clock. My little Lola cat was pregnant.

So first I stayed up late freaking out and texting with my sister. I was barely able to deal with having one single adult cat. I had had friends watch her while I was finishing up my summer internship, my plan for the fall internship was to come home on the weekends and have an automatic feeder set up during the weeks, and pay my sister to come check on the cat/scoop the kitty litter/open a can of wet food mid-work week. It was kind of a messy plan, but I was making it work because I loved my little meow meow.


I also did some googling about cat pregnancy. I had brought the cat into my home five and a half weeks before this, so she was at least that many weeks along in what would be a eight to nine week gestation.

The next day I called my vet. Ironically, I had scheduled to have the cat spayed that week.

I felt like a frantic pregnant teen at Planned Parenthood (#IStandWithPlannedParenthood), spilling out the whole story.

“I am a responsible person! I get my pets fixed! This cat just CAME to me, she was living in the parking lot of my apartment complex, she needed a home! I kept her in! She must’ve been a little bit pregnant when I adopted her!”

Then the guilt and agonizing.

“I didn’t know she was pregnant. She didn’t look pregnant when I last brought her in! I got her VACCINATED. I gave her a DEWORMER. Is she pregnant with creepy little fish kittens?!”

The vet let me know that yes, technically she could still spay the cat (catbortion?!) but that it would be a much higher risk surgery for the cat (and implicit in this was OH ALSO SUPER EXPENSIVE PROBABLY)

She said the dewormer and the rabies vaccine (dead virus) were NBD for a pregnant cat. The distemper shot probably shouldn’t’ve been given to her, but there was nothing to do about that now, and hopefully the kittens would be fine.

Then she gave me some kind reassurance that cats are actually really low maintenance parents. Lola just needed a safe little nest somewhere dark and soft, and ideally something in which to contain the blind little kittens so that mama could come and go but the little babies wouldn’t be wandering around the house. Lola would take care of the rest. Much less work than puppies.

So I hung up, and briefed my sister, then talked to my mom (because this is what you do when you contend with an unwanted pregnancy and are scared out of your wits).

And then something incredible happened. My mom offered to take in the pregnant cat!

I shared this with my sister (who’s in the dialog box on the left).

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.42.41 AM

Thank you mom, for being a really solid Christian. (“It is that time of year”= this time of year Orthodox Christians honor Mary the mother of Jesus, for whom my mother Maria is named!)

Okay so we had a safe haven for my little unwed kitty mother. Next step was actually getting to my mom- fortunately, I already had a trip scheduled and my sister one was jonesing to be home and two was eager to help with cat transport, and was able to make things work with her job schedule, so she came along too.

I am sure there have been worse road trips in the history of road trips, but that was… a bad one. My surprisingly strong cat (she is only eight pounds!) managed to rip through the mesh in the cat carrier and escaped into the car, and it all just continued to go downhill from there. It was a fairly horrific five hours of travel for everyone involved.

Praise be we made it through stupid DC traffic and to my mama’s house. I got Lola situated in my room with food, water, her bed, her litter box, etc. Just when I thought I was done with what felt like a fairly continual anxiety attack, my poor, sweet, innocent Sheila cat (family pet, living at my mom’s house) comes in my room to say hi to me and unbeknownst to her almost walks directly into Lola, who is pregnant, stressed, in an unfamiliar place, and eating a meal. So Lola completely lost her *@#%. SO THAT WENT REALLY HORRIBLY FOR EVERYONE TOO.

Today I am wracked with guilt as I feel that I am making life miserable for EVERYONE- my mom, my sister, Sheila, Lola, the yet-to-be-born kittens.

I’m also (unfairly) annoyed with Lola, who’s been acting like a little bit of a basket case since arriving at my mom’s house, unsurprisingly since I’ve had her living in like four different homes in the past two months as I’ve hidden her in student housing, dumped her at my friends’ place for awhile (with their high strung daschund), finally got her settled in my new place only to uproot her again. She’s pregnant and does not deserve this stress! She is fundamentally a sweet cat who is dealing with a lot of nonsense right now and just wants a sense of security and stability to safely deliver her babies!

Basically, your words of encouragement and offers of support and wisdom in this difficult matter would be appreciated.