Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Friday, October 9, 2015

time to blog

Hello readers, do I have any readers left?

When I wasn't working very much or at all, especially when I was waiting for immigration, I had all kinds of time to write. I remember the days when I had the leisure time to blog about all the different kinds of scissors I owned. Those were the days! Now I barely have time to think about blogging but it doesn't mean I have given up on it entirely. In fact, I have now set myself a weekly reminder in my work calendar to update my blog. Not that I will actually get to it every week, but this is a start.

On the whole, things are going very well for me and Dan. I am just half a year away from finishing this non-thesis Master's degree in Biomedical Informatics and then I will be let loose into the world to find some sort of job. I don't know yet what that will be, there is just so much opportunity out there that I think it will be difficult to decide. We do know we plan to stay put in the Salt Lake valley for  a while - I love it here. This is the best place I have ever lived. So my career options are: University of Utah Health Care (basically where I am now), Veteran's Affairs (I have a partial appointment there), Intermountain Health, and industry. I haven't formally started looking yet, I will do that launch next month at the AMIA Symposium and then really start hustling in 2016.

This symposium is our industry's biggest academic convention. It's in San Francisco this year. I haven't been since 2013 when I saved up my tips from bartending in North Carolina and took the Amtrak to DC, I was determined to get back into the field. I'm going this year because I had a poster accepted and then I won some travel awards to allow me to attend. The poster is about a really interesting project that we had some excellent results with, something I continue to work on with user interface design. Who know I would end up doing user interface design? I'm doing all kinds of things I never thought I would/could and I have to say it's been an excellent experience.

It is sort of funny - I received a Master's from the University of Victoria in 2009 in Health Information Science, and this is essentially the same degree - Biomedical Informatics - but in some ways this program is more robust and I am entrenched in the American health care system. I have had excellent training and mentorship, tons of opportunities and have made a great many friendships.

So 2016 will be a big year for me. On February 4, I will be eligible to apply for US Citizenship (three years!). Six weeks later I will turn 42 on the full moon lunar eclipse, so I will basically know the meaning of life by then, right? Then I will graduate and get an awesome new job and maybe we will find a way to buy a house? Next year holds a lot of promise.

Socially, we have become known as people who know our way around food and the garden. We have built up really a lot of reserves (I grew enough cucumbers so that I won't need to make mustard pickle again until at least 2017) and seeds. People know I'm a gardener and just give me seeds all the time. I can't turn them down. I have also been saving seeds so at this rate I have enough for a field of sunflowers, marigolds and calendula, among other things. I have nurtured kombucha mothers and sourdough starters and have been able to give them away and teach others how to make stuff. These things are coming second nature to me now and this kind of sharing has gone a long way to help build social capital.

I have been able to make and grow a lot of really amazing friendships in the nearly two years since we have been in SLC. A number of those friendships began early on in our time here, and they have been incredibly important for my mental health. We are all busy people but it just seems so easy to get together and do stuff, even if it's just running into the neighbor by chance and having a great conversation. We have gotten to know a lot of our neighbors and it's nice feeling that level of security - we all have each other's back.

I haven't been knitting much since I have been here - between school, work, and gardening/preserving, there really hasn't been time. I accept that it's a part of my life/identity that will always be with me but other things have to take precedence right now.

Sam is doing great. Dan has added ramps to her scratching posts so it's easier for her to get up and down. We have also added steps to the sofas and bed so she doesn't have to claw her way up. She's 13 and has sore hips, so she doesn't jump up like she used to. I took her to the vet for a check up in August and she received a clean bill of health. Not only that, but everyone at the clinic gushed at how beautiful she is. Of course they did!


I have a list of things I plan to write about (and of course I'm willing to take requests) so I won't go into too much detail right now on all our adventures. Just know I am trying, I do plan to keep writing. Someday this may come in handy... 

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