Friday, August 31, 2007


The leaves on the tree outside my window are becoming brown and crispy along the edges. They remind me of a pie that has been in the oven just a tad too long.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another first

Today I went to the hospital to visit a couple of our patients who have been admitted recently. This was my first experience with a person who is very sick with AIDS. I went with my co-worker, Shirley, who is an amazing woman, a great teaching tool, and a wonderful success story. I just know I'm going to learn so much from her. Being with our patient flooded me with emotion. His CD4+ count is at 18. A count of 500 is pretty good. Dropping below 200 moves you from HIV to AIDS defined. Right now, he is a very sick man. "Right now" because as Shirley taught me, "You may have HIV, but just remember, HIV doesn't have you." I wanted to cry right there because of his suffering, but I also wanted to cry because of the hope that Shirley gives our patients. When she told him about her experience, his eyes truly lit up. Today was hard, but also nice to be someone who will care for this beautiful man that society has rejected.

Life in Baltimore

Yesterday I saw my first drug deal. They were so slick I wonder how many more I've seen and didn't even notice.

I mentioned my breakthrough at work.... I'll tell you about it later.

This weekend Nicole, Cassie, and Steph are going away to see their boyfriends. Amber is probably leaving to see a friend. .................................. ................................ .......................................

I will most likely be lonely and depressed for the majority of the weekend, not necessarily because they aren't here, but because they all have friends to go visit. I will try to curb this by talking on the phone a lot, and by scheduling a date with Brian and Monica.

Cassie said to me yesterday, "Boy, you really like the phone, don't you?" Ugh. No. The answer is no. I don't like the phone. I don't particularly like talking on the phone, especially for long periods of time, and up until this move I would most commonly use my phone to check the time. Ok, maybe that's stretching it a little... but you know what I mean.
What I do really like, though, are my friends and family. And if staying close to them means talking on the phone more than I would ever want to in my entire life, so be it.

So sorry.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I had an interesting breakthrough at work today.
I'll blog about it tomorrow.


Monday, August 27, 2007


I have a serious stomach ache.

When I was in high school, I would avoid the school like the plague during the summer. Then, on the first day back, driving over those railroad tracks and getting my first view of the school, I would nearly vomit. First days make me terribly nervous.

Last night my mind didn't want to go to sleep because it was afraid I wouldn't wake up in time for work. Once I finally got it to calm down enough to "sleep" it did crazy things all night. This morning I checked the crack between my bed and the wall to make sure that I didn't drop a piece of bread down there in the middle of the night. How strange.

Last week was so busy that I didn't have time to feel homesick. Maybe that's why they do it... I know that was our MO at camp. But now... I'm leaving the comfort of my new home and my new roommates and going out there all on my own. It really makes me miss home. Family. Friends. Gannon. Camp. And all the people that go with it.

Right now I would give just about anything to be playing in Erie with my wife, Katy, Gillis, Dugas, and Markus. :(


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

i should have been asleep hours ago

It's late. I need to go to bed. I spent a little more than an hour tonight messing with the house computer, just trying to get it to work. I ended up uninstalling Norton antivirus, installing Avast, and restarting quite a few times. It seems to be doing better now. It's way past my bedtime.

I just wanted to let you know that everything is great. This is a super busy, super full week of orientation, but I'm really enjoying nearly every minute of it. The Sisters of Bon Secours are amazing, and all of the Bon Secours programs that we have seen this week are just incredible. It's so hard for me to believe that a few nuns can make so much change. Tomorrow we are visiting the site where I will be working, so I'll update on that when I know more.
I'm living in a neighborhood called Sowebo, which is right on the line between "bad city" and "good city." It will be really interesting and exciting to become a part of this neighborhood.
The girls I'm living with are all great. Shannon, who is our director, is also just amazing.

Now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I don't think I've been managing my time very well, because it's looking like I have 2 days to see everyone who I want to say goodbye to, and to pack up all of my belongings that I plan on taking to Baltimore. What an interesting predicament.

Tonight after dinner I went to my sister's house to visit with her family. It was nice to see them all, especially considering that camp prevented me from hanging out with them at all this summer. Isabelle and Cameron were playing with the dog, Ella, in the kiddie pool in the side yard, but when I pulled in the driveway all 3 of them came running up to give me hugs and kisses! Yay for wet kids and dogs! Belle, who will be turning 4 in October, was so adorable all night. She kept trying to get my attention while I was talking to Rachel and Ernie, "Hey, Aunt Hannah? Aunt Hannah!" And when I'd turn to her she'd just smile and say, "I love you!" And she had this little toy cell phone that makes calling noises and she goes, "Look, you just do this," (presses numbers 1-0 in order, then the call button) "and then you lift up your hair," (flips her curly wet hair to one side of her head) "and then talk!" I seriously love 4-year-olds. Especially when I'm their aunt. :)
And Cameron, who will be 13 in September, was just as hilarious as ever. He really does crack me up. And I'm so excited that we have the relationship that we do. Since he was born, I wanted us to have a special relationship. I was only 10, so I figured I would be close enough to his age that we could be friends, but so that he could still look up to me as a role model. I've tried to make sure to maintain a close relationship with him through the years, and I really think that we have a unique bond. For a little while last year it seemed like he was entering the "I'm too cool for you, especially because you're a girl" phase, but now it's amazing how affectionate he is. He calls me just to say hi, he says I love you even before I do, and today he was really upset when he had to say goodbye. I, of course, don't want him to be upset, but I am glad that he values our relationship. I'm definitely going to try to remain close, even though I'm moving away.
It's going to be hard to be away from my niece and nephew... I love being a part of their lives, and the last thing I want is to be one of those aunts (in this case I would pronounce it 'ahnt', rather than 'ant' like I normally do) who is totally disconnected from the kids' lives and sends the occasional present at birthdays and holidays. It's just really important for me to have a real relationship with them! And THEN!!! when we were chatting, Rachel told me that she and Ernie are pregnant! Hurrah! She's only about 5 weeks, but it's still super exciting. So where will I be when that baby is born? When (s)he is 1? 2? Ack. Growing up, moving away, being engaged.. it's all really great stuff and very exciting, but it sure is strange.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sweet sweetness

Today was another wonderful day. Everything about it was perfect. I feel lucky to be alive.

This morning I woke up at Heidi's house. Wonderful.

Then I went to the Ritz to see Mr. Zaphiris and get some delicious chocolate. Wonderful.

Then I drove to Erie to meet up with the girls. It was the most perfect, beautiful day. I soaked in the northwestern Pennsylvania view since I won't be seeing it again for quite awhile. That was wonderful. And sad. Bittersweet.

I met Em, Mal, and Fargo at David's Bridal and I tried on like 500 wedding gowns. Today was like a big trial day... I told the girl to give me anything. And she did. Some of those dresses were horrendous. Finally after like 20 really big and gaudy gowns, she realized that I was leaning towards something more simple. There was one there that we all liked a lot. Trying on wedding dresses didn't seem too crazy until she put a veil on me, then we were all like 'holy crap.' Mal goes, "What is this, Halloween?!" Trying on wedding gowns with great friends. Wonderful.

I wanted to try on more, but I didn't want to force my friends to do any more if they would be bored. But when we left David's Bridal, THEY suggested we go to Bridal Elegance! Yay! I tried on several dresses there, having a better idea of what I was looking for. We found two that are very different from each other, but both really beautiful. I think I like dress 2 better, but mom and the girls said dress 1. I think they maybe are drawn to the color of dress 1, so I'm going to keep looking for a dress with all of the right elements. Wonderful.

Mal, Farg and I went to lunch at Panera. Wonderful.

Mac met me there and we then went to Starbucks to hang out and catch up. It's been way too long since we've had a good chat, so that was definitely wonderful.

He wanted to see the two gowns that we liked at Bridal Elegance so we went and I tried them on for him. He liked dress 2 better. I think this means something, because Mac and I are similar in some ways that the girls and I aren't, so maybe he can see beyond a pretty dress to what is actually more me. It was fun having Mac's input. Wonderful.

I went for a run tonight. Wonderful.

Since camp ended I've been able to talk to Markus much more frequently and for longer periods of time. WONDERFUL!!!

Life is good.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Haha hahaha

You know what's really hard? Starting to blog again after taking a couple months off.
Seriously, how in the world am I supposed to do this? How am I supposed to fill in all the blanks? I just don't think it's going to happen as smoothly as I would like, but I guess it's time to give it a try.

My life is great. It's crazy and baffling and totally frustrating, but it's so great.

So, it's Saturday, August 11. I came home from Camp about 2 hours ago and I am so completely exhausted. I'm slightly sunburnt. My voice is hoarse from shouting camp songs and yelling loud enough to get the attention of 12 little girls. I don't remember the last time I showered. It was probably Thursday after the hike, which isn't too bad.

Ack, I'm stuck. I'm really struggling with what to say... there's just so much.

Ok, I'll have to pick up with the Camp talk in a moment, because I just can't go any longer without telling the most important and exciting news that I've got. Anyone who reads this blog already knows, but how could I not say it again?
Last Friday Markus flew home to propose to me! I said yes, of course, so now we're engaged!!! Ahhh! I still can hardly believe it. The whole thing was pretty hilarious, and if you want to know, I'll tell you the story, starting with Markus calling my boss at camp. You can check Markus' blog for some of the story. This is where some of the life-frustration comes into play. We want to be married. Like ASAP. But when is ASAP? No one knows. I'm going to be in Baltimore until the end of July of next year. Then I have no idea. Will I go to med school? Sooner? Later? At all? Will I decide to do something else? These are questions that need some answers. Oh, and how about questions like will Markus be able to transfer from Ft. Lewis? Hahaha. Life is funny. But anyway, I'm hoping these things work themselves out fairly quickly.. we'll just have to see. At any rate, I'm pretty darn pumped.

I guess what I need to say about Camp is that I'm grateful for it. When I entered into this summer I was feeling depressed and very unlike myself. I felt like I couldn't trust people, and like I couldn't love them. I looked at Camp as a filler. Just something to do between graduation and Bon Secours. I don't know how I believed this, but I really thought that I wouldn't get close to any of my co-workers and that I would leave in the same condition that I entered. This is nothing close to what happened. I am changed. I am in love with a group of more than 20 people. I feel myself again. I believe that people are good again. I can love again. My experience at CND was somewhat inexplicable. I'm going to leave it at that for now, though I am absolutely sure that later blogs will give a bit more insight into my summer at Camp.

Thanks CND 2007 Summer Staff
Even at my worst, I'm best with you.