Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seven weeks down

My time at Park Nicollet is flying by! I am definitely loving it, but things have gotten heavier.

The day before Thanksgiving I got to the office and listened to our voicemail, and the first three messages were notifying us of the deaths of three different people I had seen. I feel like so far I've been really good about separating work from my personal life, and managing my emotions. But one of these deaths hit me really hard. I would see this man outside of work, and saw his progression from ambulatory and alert to non-responsive in bed. I wish I could figure out why this hit me so much harder than anyone else I've seen. I think it could really inform my self-care, but of course I can't put my finger on it.

I've been doing a lot more leading too! With support from Gretchen or Dawn. I still really need to work on building my repertoire! There's just so much music I need to be familiar with and it's incredibly overwhelming. My standards list is at about 100 songs (pulled from the Park Nicollet standards) and needs to double.

In happier news, I bought Stella a laser pointer and she can't handle herself. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weeks 3-5

It's been much too long since I've posted! Let's just say I've been distracted...

Not to sound too much like a broken record, but I adore internship. I adore the incredibly kind people on the hospice team, my three supervising MTs, my three co-interns, all the clients we work with, the check out people in the cafeteria....

A few highlights:
1. Julie and I co-lead a hospice session with a new pt. At rounds the next week her nurse and social worker were talking about how they hadn't even seen the pt. open her eyes, and I got to chime in that when she had music therapy she had her eyes open almost the whole time.
2. Julie and I co-lead an impromptu vocalization group at Struthers, with virtually no planning. And it went really really well!! We got some good stories out of two clients in particular who rarely say more than yes/no.
3. I've seen my very favorite 103 year old another two times. Yesterday she spent about two minutes thanking me for "coming to see an old lady" and jabbering about how much she likes to sing, and likes where she lives, and likes when we visit....etc.

On Thursday I get to lead my first music appreciation group at Struthers, so I'm planning tonight!

I really feel so lucky to get to spend every day around people who show me how good people can be.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 2 pt.1

I've only had two days this week, and it's already been amazing!! Today I had the gift of being able to visit three hospice patients in their homes with Dawn. I really saw the gamut of hospice patients from alert and tapping her foot to actively dying. What was really a gift was seeing how wonderfully the hospice team treats each individual patient. All the staff I've seen are patient, kind, and go out of their way to meet the needs of not only the patient, but the whole family. All three patients we saw today had multiple loving and supporting family members with them, it was a great experience.

The last patient we saw held my hand and told me that music therapy had made a huge difference in his life.

I'd like to end with a beautiful piece we're recording tomorrow night in the Basilica of St. Mary!

Friday, October 21, 2011

One week down

I have complete one whole week!! AHHHH it feels so great!

Monday morning I had to report to "New Employee Orientation" at 7:30AM (even though I'm not actually an employee) and got to meet my co-intern Julie. She's so sweet and I think we're going to do really well working together! We got a whole lot of general info on the hospitals and clinics, and had our Mantoux tests done. Tuesday we did basically the same thing, except with more time sitting in the hall when the real employees learned about benefits and 401Ks.

Wednesday was our very first day actually with the MTs! In the morning we went to hospice rounds, then I observed a few home hospice visits with Gretchen. I got to meet TWO ladies who were over 100 and still kickin! One even held my hand for awhile! I felt really good about how quickly I could get back into "MT mode". Julie and I met up for lunch with our wonderful senior interns, Erin and Jen. We spent the afternoon with Dawn talking schedules and responsibilities. I left that day feeling approximately 100x better than I had felt Tuesday. I've been thinking and preparing and imagining for so long.... and now I know. It's a huge relief.

Yesterday Julie and I spent the whole day at Struthers Parkinsons Center with Sandi. The highlight of the day was a really lovely emotional moment between two clients during a group session. I am really going to have to start controlling my emotions more effectively! Almost cried a few times haha! The other highlight was just playing through songs with Julie during some down time. We both had guitars and a bunch of clients sitting around- we just played and harmonized with each other.

Today none of the MTs were around so Julie and I had a breakfast/coffee date with Erin and Jen, then worked on orientation packets and reading all day. I'm really really happy about the people I'll be working with. Sandi, Dawn, and Gretchen are all so supportive and easy to talk to. And from our intern date this morning I think we're all going to be really close!

Just SO HAPPY to have finally started and know what I got myself into!

Friday, October 14, 2011


I have somewhat given up on Ulysses. I feel like a failure. I will try to keep pushing.... and keep reading.... once I get some motivation.

So now I've started Catch-22! And it's SO MUCH EASIER TO READ! And actually makes me laugh, along with confusing me parts of the time. I think a lot of the time when I'm confused it's because Heller is satirizing things about the military that I'm unfamiliar with. Or maybe I'm being too narrow and he's just using the military to satirize the US during WWII. I often feel with certain older books that maybe because I'm so removed from the time period there are things I just won't catch. But I guess maybe I'll try the Cliff Notes for this one too! Just to make sure I get the most out of it.

Last week I had a lovely visit with my Dad! Here are some picture highlights.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On Monday I finally start internship. I've been out of classes for five months, so it's about time. The first two days are general hospital orientation, and then I with the music therapist next Wednesday, one week from today!

I'm really excited, it has definitely snuck up on me!

Tonight I'm working on some songs from my incredibly long song list, this is one of them! LOVE the video.

Monday, September 26, 2011

And all of a sudden, it's fall

This weekend I was lucky enough to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in ages!! I spent Thursday in Friday in Downers Grove relaxing with my parents and hanging with some high school friends, and Saturday I went to Iowa City for a wedding and saw some college friends! It was a much needed trip.

My SAI sister and former co-worker at the Arc, Kait Skaggs (!!) got married Saturday at the Riverside Fesitval Stage, a round theater in City Park used mostly for Shakespeare. The weather held out until almost immediately when the reception line finished! The ceremony was beautiful, and it was so clear how in love Kait and Ed are, it was really beautiful.

The reception following was at the Sheraton where I used to work- so it was really nice to see the other side! After the reception we all went out and I got to see even more old friends, it was lovely! 

Sunday I drove back up to Minneapolis. It was a rough drive, and I figured out when I got home that it had been so rough because I had a fever! Too little sleep! I killed it pretty quickly with a liter of Pellegrino and a nap and a Stella, who was SO happy to see me.

Since I've been gone for four days, it became fall! The ivy on my 1920s building is turning red, there are leaves on the ground, and an yellow tree right outside my kitchen window. It's still 70 degrees, but that's okay with me.

I haven't gotten any further on my book list, probably because I've been watching DAMAGES! I'm obsessed. Luckily there are only two more episodes for me to watch on Netflix, then I can get back to reading. Seriously, great show.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A lack of pages.

I have not been reading Ulysses. I have not been reading at all (except two National Geographics I got in the mail!) I've finally been getting some good hours at my new job! Which I really enjoy. Who knew that I could get a part time job that's actually a lot of fun??

The website is nothing compared with actually being in the store, but it's worth a quick peek!

Today at work I organized (tried on) jewelry, helped a man buy $380 worth of jewelry for his wedding anniversary tomorrow, and straightened things that people had touched. And got to hang out with the wonderful people who work there too! Loving it. Our sale section went from 50% off to 70% off today, so I got a clock for the kitchen, and a decorative vintage thermos from India for a grand total of $15. Felt like a successful day.

Today I also took a wonderful video of Stella jumping. Girl's got hops.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stella under the influence

of catnip. 
taken tonight.

One month anniversary!


I've had this beautiful girl for a whole month today! While we've had a few health issues AND lots of issues with her deciding I need to wake up and hang out around 6AM, I'm so happy I have her!

We're friends.

(all photo credits to Drew Morton)

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today was a lot like most of my days since I moved to Minneapolis. No work, nothing scheduled. Slept in even though Stella had other ideas, leisurely breakfast, putzed around, then went to Lake Calhoun for some end of summer rays.
Being without a job and without many friends here makes for an enormous amount of free time. Even though I have things to do, it's hard to get motivated. It's almost like, the more I have going on, the more productive I can be. With an open schedule I just keep thinking, "Oh I have plenty of time later for that".
So setting small goals has been really important! Having a written to-do list has been about 50% successful. Maybe I should make a to-do list with dates.
Having little rituals has helped me keep my sanity though. One of my new favorites is making sun tea every afternoon in my window sill! I just have a mason jar without a lid, so it's a little jenky but the tea is delish. And it just looks pretty. Somehow Stella doesn't knock it over either!

My journey with Ulysses continues! I've read through chapter four and am ready (Cliff Notes read!) for chapter five. It's slow going... reading the Cliff Notes takes as long as each chapter. But I'm alllll the way to page 70! I found that as soon as the story switched from watching Stephen Dedalus to Leo Bloom it got massively easier. I guess Bloom is a more whole and consistent character, so reading his stream of consciousness is easier. There are just so many little things I am in the dark about! References to famous Irishmen are the worst, then maybe quotes in latin. Google has been very helpful with those.

Loved this line: "And no more turn aside and brood".
Originally found in a Yeat's poem, Stephen repeats it to himself frequently.

He should take his own advice.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10.5 Novels all I've read so far.

I can check off
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
5. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
9. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
10. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
10.5 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (the book was due back at the library and I just stopped...)

All I can say is, I have high school english classes to thank for everything on that list other than Brave New World (only non-honors kids read that..?) and A Farewell to Arms. I have a lot of respect for all the books I've read so far, but I'm wondering what it will be like just reading them. Reading them in english classes we discussed and I inevitably got more out of the books.

Take my newest challenge- Ulysses by James Joyce. A book I am slightly terrified of. I started the book by just starting the book, and ended up lost. Thanks to the kind advice of my cousin Allison/Ruby I read the Cliff Notes summary after the chapter, and was SHOCKED at how much I had missed. Religious imagery, references to other writers and Irish history (although this is understandable), parallels with The Odyssey, etc. I've even read The Odyssey! So I'm now on a new schedule:
1. Read the Cliff Notes summary and analysis of the chapter.
2. Read the actual chapter.
3. Look at the Cliff Notes again if still confused.

I've only gotten to chapter 3.

p.s. I'm working on the Board's list not the readers list. I guess this reveals my inner book snob. Maybe the reader's list will be next!


The title refers to my need to expand my range, and how this blog will hopefully document that. Reading all those novels *should* expand my range in some sense, I'm working up a massive range of songs for my music therapy internship, and I think living in a new place is expanding my range of things to do alone. Or with Scott.

This blog will probably have very little to do with wine, (with the exception of me possibly consuming wine while writing posts) but I feel in love with that picture of grapes! I don't even like to eat green grapes!

The Beginning!

Tonight as I sat in my un-airconditioned apartment sweating I thought- why not start a blog?
Great idea! I am
-learning the ways of life in a new city
-attempting to read every book on the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels
-about to start a music therapy internship at Park Nicollet Hospitals and Clinics

If nothing else, I know my Dad cares. (Hi Dad!)