Thursday, December 12, 2013

I only get an eyelash in my eye if I'm in contact isolation.

Right?

You know I'm right. The only time on this green Earth when you get that stray eyelash poking your eyeball out is when you're gowned and gloved and elbow-deep in whatever assignment you've been thrown that day. Then you have two choices. You can finish your job with one eye jammed shut, streaking tears and mascara down your face, or you can rip everything off, leave the patient open to the wind, and run screaming down the hall going, "My eye! My eye!" 

Would you like to know what goes on for the other 11 hours and 15 minutes at work with five patients?

06:30 -- Drag myself down the block and up the stairs (or elevator. Okay, elevator.) Squint at night-shift coworkers and pray that one of them has been kind enough to make at least six gallons of strong coffee.

06:35 -- Thank anyone who's listening for making coffee. Slowly begin to chirp "Good morning" at fellow day-shifters as we straggle in. Claim a computer and attempt to write down room assignments, having to check the board at least twelve times to make sure I've written down the right rooms.

06:50 -- Begin looking up patients. The previous 15 minutes have been spent inhaling coffee at the speed of sound and ignoring the "holy God, how much sugar are you going to put in that" commentary.

07:00 -- Bedside report begins. The level of noise instantly goes from Lullaby League to NHL Sudden Death Overtime. Call lights and phones start ringing, and the Unit Clerk just about detonates from lack of sleep and sound overload.

07:25 -- Fourteenth cup of coffee.

(Phone begins ringing.)

07:40 -- I begin my assessments after jostling with 8 other nurses for Accu-Chek monitors. Some assessments take 10 minutes. Others take an hour. Once I didn't even have time to assess a patient before being waved frantically into the room where I found the patient was dying.

(Phone continues ringing.)

08:30 -- It's ON, yo! 10 nurses fighting over 2 Pyxis machines, one of which never has any medications in it, all trying to get our meds in and charted by 09:59. If we all have students with us, there are about nine-thousand people in the med-room. The noise level goes supersonic. All we need is a boombox and disco ball for a good time. And sequins.

(At the rate this phone is ringing, it's going to need a new battery.)

10:15 -- My phone rings. Again. "Make sure you do your acuities," drawls a pleasant voice that belongs to my charge nurse. "Sure boss," I say, knowing that we're supposed to have every-damn-thing charted by 10:00. Continue charging through meds and paperwork and charting.

10:17 -- Phone calls every 30 seconds to say, "Dr. _____ is here." "Dr. ______ would like to see you in room ___."  I've said, "If Dr. _____ can provide cloning services, I'll be there in a jif."

(Replace battery in phone.)

** Usually at this time, I've also sent one or more patients to the OR or other random areas in the hospital for tests/procedures/surgeries. This results in six-hundred more phone calls.**

***Also, because nobody ever has a spokesperson for their family, we also field another thousand phone calls from concerned family members. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be in the patient's room and can hand off the phone to the patient or a present family member.***

12:30 -- LUNCHTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13:00 -- Check on my patients. Administer more meds. Check blood sugars if they weren't done already. Try to catch up on charting. Surgical patients return around this time. I try to remember my own name.

(Phone ringer is imprinted in my mind to where I'm answering it and it hasn't even rung.)

14:00 -- Get the inappropriately unstoppable giggles from too much caffeine.

15:00 -- Have another cup of coffee just because it's one of my favorite CNAs who always asks, "Hey, you want a cup of coffee baby?" ... just the way she has for the last 3 years. Lots of hugging occurs at this time, too, because the afternoon shift is cuddly.

17:00 -- The afternoon flow of phone calls and family visitors increases as people get off of work. I'm glad I've finished most of my charting by this time, because holy cow.

(Phone rings... it's the afternoon physician visitation hour.)

**One of my daily goals is to make at least one doctor laugh. I consider this playtime.**

18:50 -- My eyes are peeled for the arrival of night shift. Mouse button and keyboard are smoking from the intense, insane clicking as I try to finish charting on time and get out before I rack up any more overtime. Usually by this time, I'm trying to drink enough water to flush some of the sugar out of my system.

19:30 -- Hopefully, I've clocked out at this time and am rambling down the street to my home. Hopefully, it's been a good day. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.

20:45 -- Showered and passed out. That is, if I'm off on time.



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Monday, November 18, 2013

Wackford Squeers and the Woodchuck: A Love Story

[Shelly, this one is all because of you. You and your sweat-less yet bad-ass mac & cheese.]


Once upon a time, a tall, gangly dude named Mister Wackford Squeers discovered himself striding down a narrow street with drab beige walls towering overhead. He was on the hunt - yet he didn't know what he was hunting for. He felt hungry, but it might have been the boredom. The suffocating, drab beige boredom surrounded him, even now, as he rambled down the road. The world was dampened and muted by the invisible, choking, apathetic cloud.

The sudden sight of a crimson awning startled him out of his reverie. His long legs carried him to the window to read the small sign hanging there: "SnootiAsse Fraunch Boulangerie". Chuckling softly, he pushed the heavy door open and walked into the building, curious.

His nose was pleasantly assaulted by the decadent scent of butter and cheeses. The hunger he felt before blossomed into noisy gastric growls as his mouth began watering. His feet seemingly moved of their own accord to a corner table, set with a prissy white tablecloth and single white rose. There was nobody else in the vicinity. All he could hear was the slamming of pots and pans somewhere miles away in the kitchen.

He began to loudly clear his throat to gain someone's attention, as it became clear that nobody had heard him come in. That clearance quickly turned into a choking attack as he turned and was confronted face-to-face by a toothy, grouchy fuzzball. What made Wackford choke even more was the fact that this fuzzball was sporting a tall chef's hat. "This is just every kind of wrong," he thought to himself while attempting to gulp oxygen into his lungs.

"MAY I BE OF ASSISTANCE, MONSIEUR!" boomed Chef Woodchuck in a surprisingly deep, throaty voice. Mr. Squeers was amused to note that these vocalizations were perfectly uninterrupted by the dagger-like teeth currently bared at him. The woodchuck slammed a menu down in front of Wackford.

Once the paroxysms had diminished, Mr. Squeers perused the brief menu and pointed at fancy words which translated into "Potatoes with AmazeBalls Gravy" and "Bad-ASS Macaroni & Cheese". Without further communication, Chef Woodchuck disappeared into the kitchen in a blaze of brown fur. Wackford was left with his confusion and the white rose which appeared to be nodding at him in agreement.

The aromas from the kitchen flooded even more strongly into the immense dining area. Wackford drummed his fingers impatiently on the white tablecloth, awaiting the culinary treasures which were sure to delight the senses. Just when he thought he couldn't take another second of waiting, two plates were shoved in front of him. Wackford jumped again, unaccustomed to the silent movements of the woodchuck. He gazed down at his bounty, slowly becoming aware of the woodchuck's intense glare. The beady eyes grew even more drawn as the woodchuck was assessed.

Wackford took a small bite of the mac & cheese. His hair stood on end from the immense pleasure of this experience. He looked at the woodchuck with awe and reverence. "Truly bad-ass, Chef." A brief nod from the woodchuck, and Wackford dug his silverware into the potatoes. The flavor of mushrooms almost blinded him as he savored the second dish. "Completely amazeballs, sir," Mr. Squeers murmured, as he continued to enjoy his meal.

The woodchuck preened.  As if the grumpy switch had been turned off, the woodchuck beamed toothfully at his new customer. He bustled off into the kitchen with his fur puffed out. Wackford left a large sum of money on the table and exited the building into the drab beige, noting the location for future reference.

As he was preparing to turn a corner, he looked back for the awning. It wasn't there. All Wackford saw was a stretch of drab beige that seemingly lasted forever. With the residual taste of mushroom gravy and cheese on his tongue, he returned to reality.

____________________________

[Side note: Wackford Squeers is a character from Charles Dickens' Nicolas Nickleby.]

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Closure

I'm not closing the blog, so let's get that out of the way first. :)

I've been thinking a lot about closure lately, in various parts of my life. I've been lucky enough to be able to say "goodbye" to a lot of patients who I've later found out have passed away. I've had loud, screaming closure with a particular fellow who thought it a good idea to call me on my birthday, after months of me trying to deal with a hell of a lot of drama, and tell me he hoped I was well... that sounds all romantic until you get to the part where he up and disappeared and then decided to get back with his ex-wife. In another country.

There have been fractured friendships - some have gained new life, others have vanished forever. There are words that were built up inside me for a very long time, aimed at a few members of society who deserved them. I realized a long time ago that these words were toxic to me, and me only. I would write long narratives and burn them, or bury them, and found this to be exceptionally therapeutic.

Then there are the relationships which I have craved for so long, which were put to a halt several years ago due to the drama mentioned above, plus some other factors. These are very special cases. Phone calls and burning paper aren't proper for these. Fear has kept me from taking the first step in addressing the situation. I tell myself daily that I am not the person I was all those years ago, that I am stronger and whole. I am not an outer shell filled with the rambling fragments that they were unfortunate enough to meet.

None of us are getting any younger. While my own health is improving, I know nothing of theirs. I watch their lives from a distance, seeing photos and reading words to fulfill my curiosity of these people that I am connected to. I miss them with every part of my being.

My fear? Not that I will be told what an awful person I was for being the way I was. My fear is that my resurgence into their lives, apologies and explanations or not, will disrupt them. I need closure, however I also want to grant them the same thing. Because of how things ended, I am unsure that there will be a future, yet I believe with all my heart that there can't be a sense of confusion and hurt for the rest of our lives.

My letter-writing starts today. It will probably take many days to say what needs to be said in a way that is non-confrontational or too bashing of myself. It needs to be done. I want nothing more than for these people to have peace in their lives, and for me to have the same in mine.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A side of Metallica with my popcorn chicken, please.

Dude.

I was driving up the freeway, munching on spicy basil popcorn chicken and Thai milk boba tea, when "Enter Sandman" starts playing on the radio. Naturally, windows went down, and the volume went up. I rocked out to old school Metallica like nobody's business (and probably to other drivers' amusement) the entire time that song was playing.

And it turned into a moment.

You know the kind?

Where all of a sudden, life is in perfect clarity, and you're all "have I even been in my own body lately?"

That moment...

Then, "Push It" came on the radio and, of course, I rocked to that, too. Which probably horrified the little old lady driving next to me.


Silly advertisement here: If you live in San Diego, go check out Tap Tap Boba on Telegraph Canyon Road in Chula Vista.  They have a website at http://www.taptapboba.com and if I can figure out how to put that as a link on this new iPad, I will do so. The popcorn chicken is delicious, and will make you do puppy dog eyes at the empty bag. Their cappuccino smoothie is amazing, as is the Thai milk tea. I added boba to mine because squishy, yo.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A few of my favorite things...

This is a random entry based on things, people, and general awesomeness that make me happy.

Because happy is a good thing.

The 30-Day Challenge Series
 
This is a varied 30-Day (duh) challenge which has you busting your buns with ab workouts, juicing challenges, and the September "bring it" of the arm challenge. I've been working on the ab challenge and have noticed a difference in the strength of my core.

I admit that I've taken days off here and there based on inability to move. I also admit that I missed a couple of days due to pure laziness, but I've tried to make those up with a two-workout day. It IS a lot of fun to be able to make a huge black "X" through the days that you've completed the challenge!

--Facebook link--


My Fitness Pal


I use this site to track what I eat (yes, EVERYTHING) and what exercise I do. I also have my FitBit hooked up to it, so I get some calorie return at the end of the day when I sync the little guy into my laptop.

There are message boards, friends that keep you motivated, and the magic tracker that lets you know how well you're doing. Or not. I tend to weigh myself and chart it only when I've lost weight, but that's just me. That's why it looks like it's taken me over a year to lose 16 pounds.

My Fitness Pal

Ray Donovan
 
This is a Showtime series which runs on Sunday evenings at 10 PM ET/PT. It's about a guy and his family who are originally from Boston but now live in Calabasas, CA. Ray is a "fixer" for the Hollywood type, and there's generally a lot of cursing and violence, but you get the idea that he loves his two kids as well as his wife... when he's not messing around on her. He also hates his father, who got out of prison early, and has 2 1/2 brothers and a dearly-departed sister.
 
I totally love this show. Check it out.
 
Hot Romance by Leichelle K
     

My friend writes amazing, steamy stuff. The extra awesome part is that she named one of her characters after me. I'm super proud of her for following her dream and being published. Go check her out on the Amazon link I've posted below.

Leichelle K on Amazon

Kirsten A. Piccini, Storyteller

This totally sweet lady has been someone I've been blessed to call a friend. We met while I was writing at Just Be Enough, and I'm in awe of this girl. She has a Facebook page now that links to all of her short stories and longer writings, and I HIGHLY encourage you to go read some of it while you have a large cup of tea or coffee or wine.

Kirsten's Facebook Page

Road Race Place

For an aspiring, although not entirely successful (YET), runner, this website has an entire registry of upcoming races. 5K, 15K, halfies, full marathons, etc. It's an incredibly inspiring site for me as I continue training for my first 5K. You can browse through states and months worth of races, and register for them right on the site. Super!

Road Race Place


So that's my start. I have a ton more people/places/things to share with you as I get this blog back up and moving. Let me know if you would like to be featured here!


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bucket List

So, yeah, everyone does this, and now it's my turn, and sometimes I follow the crowd.

Sometimes I don't.

I turn forty next year. 40. 4-0. 4 times 10. Cuarenta. One more than thirty-nine.

Yes, I'm having a hard time with this. Mainly because I don't feel my age, and also because there are many years behind me that are going to directly affect what I've wanted for my future. If that makes sense. So I figure it's time to write a list of things that I want to accomplish over the next four decades. I'll be adding to this as time goes on, and as I'm inspired.

1) Go back to school for at least my Master's, if not my DNP.

2) Travel. Spain, Ireland, Japan, Greece, Italy, New Zealand.

3) Go back to Panama on another Medical Brigade.

4) Adopt a little peanut and afford him or her all the love I had growing up as an adopted child.

5) Go to one of those wine and painting classes.

6) Run a 5K

7) Run a half-marathon

8) Get over my fear of scuba diving.

9) Contact my biological father and thank him for, well, ME.

10) Buy a bicycle and explore this gorgeous city. And then explore other places!

11) Go and meet my best friend in the world who has been my best friend for more than 8 years and we have never even met in person.

12) Get an article published.

13) Realize my full health and potential.

14) Wear a bikini on the shores of somewhere with pride.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Letter to Myself

Dear Corinne,

After you're done writing this, I want you to go look in the mirror. I know you do this a few times a day, you know, to make sure you don't have lunch stuck in your teeth, but I really want you to stare at yourself for several minutes in a row. It's hard to do. You will probably flinch and look away, even though this is the same person you've been for the last 38+ years. It's hard to really see yourself sometimes, isn't it?

Wow, you've been through some stuff, haven't you? I like that you remind yourself of how far you've come when you've had a rough day or two. You've survived abusive relationships, a nasty divorce, lost pregnancies, agoraphobia, an eating disorder, finding several members of your biological family and then losing some of them all over again, 18 moves, dropping out of college only to go back again 15 years later... hell, you even survived boot camp.

You've also survived being adopted (by superbly fantastic people), moving into a dream apartment, gaining two incredibly loving kitties, being graced with amazing friends and loved ones, being the older sister to the most wonderful young woman, finally getting into that New Grad program and then being hired onto the unit you've always wanted... and, yes, you survived nursing school.

I know you're not happy with some of the stuff going on in your life right now. Some of it you can change, and some you can't. A coworker told you the other day that she can't imagine how you're even able to function with everything going on, and you told her that you take it one day at a time - and that you're blessed to have coworkers you love, and a family that words can't describe. (You're also blessed to have these people in your life... remember that and thank them all the time.)

Someone posted this on Twitter last week. It's a nice spin-off of the Serenity Prayer.
 
"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me."
~Author unknown

I know what you've been focused on lately is the state of your own health. I'm glad you went to the cardiologist and had those tests done. Now that we know what we're dealing with, we can move forward. You have options, Corinne, now grab onto some of them and make those changes. Some of these issues are fixable (the tachycardia). Some of them are not, such as the arrhythmias, however now you know what causes them to become symptomatic, and that is fixable, too.

You've been working hard on changing your lifestyle food-wise. Let's tackle the next step, exercise. I know you've been afraid to really get out there and burn, due to the heart issues, but you've been advised to take it slow. You know yourself, and you know when to stop. Stop being afraid of yourself! Most of all, stop using fear as an excuse!

You're doing great with your meditation and stress-reducing. You're doing an amazing job at work. Every day you reach your goal of making someone smile. You've already lost a little weight. You're gaining so much peace in your life, and it's okay to have it. It helps offset the stress, I promise. You will be fine. Everything will work out.

You, my dear, are more than your stretch marks, or your ticker, or your past. When your patient or their family member gives you a hug and says, "Thank you for taking care of us", you feel it deep down. You're where you're meant to be. The surface composition of your self is only the thin, outer layer. What makes you awesome is what's buried deep underneath. Feel free to love, and feel free to be loved. Make your life what you want it to be, not what other people say it should be.

Enjoy it. It's yours.

Now... Go look in the mirror.



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Friday, May 31, 2013

Tears of Inspired, Undiluted Joy - A Dream Series [1/3]

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a dream that makes you cry in your sleep from the overpowering beauty and joy. The colors are vivid and vibrant, as if you’re living your own dream in high definition. Scents surround you as you feel the wind blow through your hair, enough to raise goosebumps on the back of your neck…

I had such a dream series early this morning, after fitful hours of tossing and turning, trying to sleep. I was the same person in each, yet would switch back and forth between first-person view and third-person view, perhaps as if I were inhabiting a free spirit instead of actually being her.
Wow, how deep did that sound?
I don’t know if it’s my upcoming (meaning: one day soon, hopefully) trip to Spain, or being inspired by my friend Callea (who is currently walking The Camino), but I felt as if this dream series took place in Spain somewhere, up in the old, wise mountains covered in lush landscaping. There was richness to it all, something that still resonates with me 4 hours later. The air simmered with greenness that was almost palpable, and each color carried emotion.
My first dream started, as my dreams usually do, in the middle. I was on a mountaintop, with the snow just starting to melt. Dark emerald green grass was beginning to thrive, overcoming the icy whiteness which had covered it for over a month. There was complete silence other than the wind making the trees whisper. I turned a corner in the path to discover a tiny cross assembled from broken tree branches; it had been tucked away beside a few knee-high bushes. This aged monument was only about a foot high and could easily have been missed if the eyes had been focused elsewhere.
My hands brushed away the snow covering a plastic bag. Inside was a pair of rubber-soled boots with a scrawled note on a map corner, “If you need me.”
There was not a soul in sight, and hadn’t been for miles. It was just me and my walking stick. And the occasional stare from wandering amber eyes and tawny fur.
I rummaged through my small pack, bringing out a handful of granola bars in a small plastic bag. I attached this to the bush nearby with a simple smiley face drawn on a scrap of Cheerios box I had randomly stuck in a pocket.
The dream seemed to fast forward, sort of like a movie montage. There was quiet music and sweeping views of far-off mountains.
A woman with long, blonde hair wearing a faux-fur-lined hooded coat placed items near this cross. She disappeared, and a man walked up to the site, fully bearded in a wild mountain-man kind of way. His gray eyes betrayed the wild exterior, however, and his soul could easily be seen swirling inside. These eyes scanned the growing pile, rather like a Christmas tree. There was a mutual joy in the selfless giving of items to wanderers who needed them.
As if true to the holiday spirit, the woman walked up to the “tree” one morning to find an open, festively-wrapped package. Inside was a plastic CD case with a note hidden within.
“I don’t know who you are, but I feel as if I do.”
Smiling, I wrote underneath. “We never really know anyone. We are lucky if we know ourselves.”
I tucked the paper into the CD case, and assembled the wrapping paper back around the case using a bit of green ribbon. The slender package slipped neatly into a space between a travel parka and the plastic bag with the boots. I noticed that the wool sweater had disappeared, and I hoped that its new owner was safe and warm.
The blonde woman turned her head east, still smiling, and took her first steps onward to a new destination. The gray eyes watched her go, knowing that their paths would meet again.
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Parts 2 and 3 coming soon. Part 2 is the best part. ;-)

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Stuck. Blocked. Creative words elude me...

I know a blog is meant for us to express ourselves, to be an outlet for all that churns in our systems, our souls.

I'm.

Stuck.

Weeks ago, I was writing stories and poems and blog entries by the dozens. Every day, sometimes two or three times a day. I think we all go through this, though, and I'm learning to be patient with myself.

There's stuff going on here that is taking all of my concentration. On the upside of that, I have accepted a full-time position on my favorite oncology unit, and look forward to getting started in a few weeks after our residency is over. I'm also scared to death about being on my own as a nurse, but I know that I'm blessed to have a TEAM behind me on my new unit, and I'll never truly be alone.

I hope you all are well, and that you're unstuck. If you do get stuck, remember it's only temporary. Live for today and the moment.

Blessings.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

"The Root Canal" - A Fairy Tale

I may or may not be writing this under the influence of a tiny little half of a Norco.

Also, thank GOD for understanding dentists who can see right through my Registered Nurse bravado into the little girl inside crying, wailing, "Dentists scare the **** out of me!!!"

It all started, boys and girls, back in September. I noticed that I was able to reach right down into my molar and touch flesh. So I got it packed up by a lovely, lipsticked dentist who was kind and friendly and even gave me a hug. She said that I would need to come back and have it taken care of in a more permanent fashion. Did I do that immediately? Nope.

The lack of health insurance plus starting a new full-time job was enough to keep me away, even though my lovely parents offered to help. They have helped SO MUCH that I feel completely awful going back to get something done that wasn't even bothering me anymore. So I let it wait. And then work and life got busier. And busier. And busier.

One day at work, boys and girls, I was chewing on a Quaker chewy granola bar (it's not your fault at all, Quaker), when I suddenly crunched down on a SUPER crunchy chocolate chip. Guess what, kids? Not a chocolate chip. I got to see what half a tooth looked like! Yay!

Then the filling started coming out, piece by piece. Still no pain, no irritation other than the rough edge rubbing on my tongue a bit. I let it wait. Bad move, y'all.

"YOU WILL NOT BE IGNORING ME!!!!"

Then, boys and girls, yesterday afternoon I started using the Orajel a little too much. It wasn't working. I took more ibuprofen than is good for any human, and no relief. I slept fitfully (meaning not at all), knowing that in the morning I would have to call in to work, because I wasn't safe for my patients with the pain that I was in. I was all over the internet looking for 24 hour dentists. Ice pack, hot pack, flipping back and forth unable to find a comfortable position for my half-tooth - it was a very long night.

This morning I called a dentist that I found on Yelp (do you know of it? You HAVE to try it.) The lady was very kind and concerned and called me back in 10 minutes, saying, "Yes, please come in at 9." They took X-rays, and I saw for myself the awfulness of what I was facing. The decay had weakened my tooth, and had infiltrated the entire thing. It's time for a root canal. I go back at 2 pm today.

The lovely gentleman dentist saw right through me, and prescribed me "happy pills" and promised that he would  "numb the living hell" out of my tooth so I wouldn't feel a thing. I love him already.

To be continued.......because here I go.

**Note: This was continued the day afterwards because exhaustion, y'all. Oh, and medication.**

When I got back to the office, I was a bit anxious. Then the happy pills kicked in plus the buttload of Novocaine applied so lovingly to my gums and palate. There was also Food Network on a ceiling television. Nothing like watching someone make mouth-watering BBQ ribs while you're unable to chew. I remember most of the procedure, and he was gentle the whole time, and afterwards the X-rays showed a beautifully filled tooth. Of course, I do need to go back in for a crown in a couple of weeks, but it's DONE, folks.

The Man picked me up from the dentist's office because I would have gotten lost on the way home, and I immediately passed out when I hit the couch. I woke up briefly for a bowl of most excellent mac-and-cheese, then fell back asleep. Which, boys and girls, usually leads to embarrassing cellphone pictures taken of you, slack-mouthed and drugged up.

I haven't killed him. Yet.



This morning I woke up in minimal pain. While we were out to breakfast, the dentist himself called to make sure I was still alive. I love him for this, and he has earned himself a forever-patient.

Do you have a favorite physician or dentist? What has your physician done to make you feel loved?

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

We're moved in, and other things.

The move went relatively smoothly. Meaning, of course, that I had to call in movers on the last day because we were so extremely exhausted. I was on the verge of tears, or hysterical laughter, and my arms looked like I got mixed up with a punching bag. BUT, it's done. The new place is full of boxes and chaos and awesome and smiling faces and happy kitties in sunbeams and windows.

Work is crazy - I just transferred to a new unit to start my second rotation in the program, and it's even busier than the last unit. My new preceptor quizzes me on everything and throws random questions at me to make sure I'm critically thinking, and I LOVE IT!

So, with that, I have a few days off. Unpacking and writing will be in my near future. Because I've missed you all.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life continues, and a random kitty pic (or two)

In between hours of work and hours of packing, I took the opportunity to just BE yesterday, and played with the cats.

"Whatever."

A friend of mine sent me a picture on Facebook, challenging me to do this with the kitties. While the one on FB turned out better due to an evidently very patient cat, mine weren't too bad. And they're hilarious.

"Mom, I am SO much better than this..."

I hope you're all having a great weekend. Did you get thrown off by the one itsy-bitsy eensy-weensy hour change? I did. I woke up at 7:30 and it was dark. This only added to the Quantum Leap-ish effect of watching the clock go from 1:59 to 3:00.

Blessings and love.


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Brain overload!

I am pretty sure I mentioned in the last post that we are moving. To a gorgeous new apartment. However, packing this 1,000 square foot apartment is proving to be an exercise regime in itself!

My brain is full of nursing stuff for work as well as moving stuff... "M Day" is in 9 days. Do I have it in me to pack and work and still find time (and brain cells) to write? OH YES I DO!!!

One more box then I'll write. I miss it.

I have three must-do articles, then I'll be back here spilling joy into your computers.

Would you like a smiley face sticker?



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Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's been quiet, huh?

I have had my first two weeks at my new job, and I love it. It's exhausting work but incredibly rewarding!

We may be moving in the next week, too, so my writing here will come to a standstill (again) until we get settled. I'll try to post some links on here to other blogs that are super brilliant, and I have promised a few people that I would introduce their writing here as well.

If the move doesn't happen, then I will be on here full-force. I will try to keep it pleasant. :)

Until the day comes where I return in a blaze of glory, here is a picture of a lizard in a sunbeam. (My camera is awesome.)


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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Scenic Sunday - The Allegheny River


I had the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh, PA last year for a nursing student convention. The sunrise over the Allegheny River greeted us most mornings, however this first morning was quite beautiful.


Scenic Sunday

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Arrow - [Scriptic]

She watched herself in the mirror, the trepidation transforming her opalescent eyes into emerald jewels. She tried to relax into the back of the violet, satin-covered chair and allow the therapeutic strokes of the hairbrush to do their work. This part always took the longest, having her hair groomed by the silent servant who stood behind her. Her fine silver and white hair stretched down the back of the chair and laid silkily across the floor for four feet beyond.

Is there anything else you need, Highness? The soft, purring voice echoed in her mind, telepathically sent by the servant now standing on her right. "No, thank you. Please give me a few minutes to myself," the young woman answered quietly.

For several seconds, she stared at her reflection, excitement mixing with a rising sense that she just didn't want to be here. She doubted this moment very much - it was just not right. Nothing about this was right. How could anyone ever explain why her adored brother had vanished? She wasn't supposed to be here, he was. He was next in line, not her. He was strong and valiant and brave and confident. Not her, not her.

Her eyes changed to a deep, turbulent gray as they filled with tears, remembering as he looked back at her as he left that morning. "I left my favorite arrow back at the river," he whispered to her, grasping her small hands in his. Then he was gone. Later, as she went to meet him, she discovered that he had taken nothing with him. She felt in her heart that he had gone to Elsewhere, as he had always spoken of doing, that something in him was not ready for what faced him. A small surge of anger mixed with the sadness she felt - she wasn't ready either, how could he have done this to her?

The countryside had become chaos as the Coronation Celebration stalled. The young man had not returned from the river, and villagers were dispatched to search for him. The banners waved importantly in the warm breezes, waiting... waiting...

Still waiting...

Finally, it had to be announced late that evening that the Coronation would be canceled until further notice. There was an explosion of emotion, an uproar of fear and anxiety - could he have been taken? Would the countryside soon be under attack? Who were they to follow? Who would lead them?

Eyes settled on the petite girl clutching her brother's cape. Whispers flew between villagers and court alike, clogging the air with buzzing that grew ever louder.

"She's the only one left."
"It has to be her."
"She has it in her - she is strong and sure, yet quiet."
"She is too young."
"Her father taught her well."

A growing roar soon erupted from the colorful crowd gathered around the outer walls of the Coronation stage... "It shall be her!"

That same vocal outpouring met her now, as she made her way to the Coronation stage, accompanied by the silent servant who had been her confidante for the last several years. The servant stopped, and handed her a long, thin parcel, wrapped with beautiful gold that had been transformed into thin cloth. A quick squeeze of the hand, and the girl was alone on the edge of the stage. She gazed out at the throngs of people who she would lead, and then down at the parcel in her shaking hands. She slowly peeled back a small portion of the cloth, curious as to this odd gift and the odder timing.

It was the arrow.

Words were inscribed on the blindingly shiny silver: "I am not of this realm, but of Elsewhere. It was always meant to be you. You will always be my sister in my heart. I can only wish that you were my sister in blood."

She felt a sudden surge of exquisite love, almost painful. This love filled her with strength and a white light that shone through her skin and turned her dark eyes into a sparkling turquoise that matched the waters of the river her brother had loved so much.

She stepped forward into her new life, the arrow clasped in her hand.
 
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For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Aspen gave me this prompt: In 1939, surrealist artist Salvador Dalí cancelled a press preview of his show at New York's World Fair "due to complexity of subconscious." Imagine someone has to cancel a very important event... for a very unusual reason..

I gave Ankita this prompt: You wake up one morning as a professional hockey player with a huge game that afternoon.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Scenic Sunday - The Buoy


Yes, another fishing photo. The thing floating in the water is a buoy marker so we wouldn't lose our place. This was one of my favorite moments fishing - the water was relatively calm, and the swells made the boat rock in a very meditative and relaxing way.
 
 
Scenic Sunday


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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Redwoods: Part Two - [Master Class]

The boards creaked and moaned as the weight of the snow and the brittle, stabby needles seemed to push them further into the hillside. Heavy, it was all so heavy and unforgiving...

Maybe we’re going to disappear forever.

They wished they could shake off the damp much like they shook their branches freely in the misty sunshine filtering through their leaves. That was back home.

Maybe the sun doesn’t remember us.

Several planks were focused on the crumpled, browned pages of a forgotten hymnal huddled next to the base of the second pew from the back. Occasionally a page would whisper in a cold draft sneaking through the doorway.

Maybe He doesn’t remember us.

The old, wizened, mold-blackened board shook off that thought. As G-dless as this place now seemed, it was once filled with a community of parishioners who seemed as one. In the silent considerations of the once-beautiful chestnut boards, the voices raised in song illuminated even dark winter days. The notes were reminiscent of songbirds flying high above the redwood grove, sweetness echoing through branches and leaves of emerald and dewdrops.

Maybe He does.

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.”  The wise Redwood suddenly emblazoned this reverie through the dimness of the dark, damp building. It had been almost engraved in his wooden whirls years ago, first spoken sweetly through the lips of a tiny, dark-haired wisp of a girl. She had eyes the color of the Pacific Northwest ocean, deep blue and mysterious with secrets. They shone on that morning with heavenly love.

Maybe we have another life to live, my friends.

The memory of the little girl murmuring those empowering words beamed light around the large room, lifting spirits and encouraging more memories to be softly spoken between ceiling, walls and floor. They were giants, after all, not diminished by the sharp saws that formed them into their current shapes. They were lulled into a very long, peaceful sleep now filled with dreams and memories.

Maybe we will know our greatness again.

The door slammed open. Two people burst through the opening in whirl of snow and laughter. The sagging boards felt themselves lifted upright, suddenly of their former glory as she of the deep blue eyes and dark hair ran her hands over them. "This is the church I grew up in. This is what I wanted to show you. I haven't been able to get this place out of my mind over the years, and it's in my heart still. Thanks to my Grandmother, it's mine now. Can you imagine this as our home, my love?"

Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

Courtesy of http://www.ewallpapers.eu
 

http://sinistralscribblings.com/2013/02/05/tiger-eyes-master-class-2013-5/
This week's Master Class

This week, we are ending with the prompt instead of starting with it! Carrie chose Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes, which ends with:

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.







[Bible quote from Job 14:7 (ESV)]

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Friday, February 8, 2013

"A Separate Peace" - [Trifextra: Week Fifty-Four]



“I remember I turned around and looked at you, it was like I had all the time in the world. I thought I could reach out and get hold of you.” 

I flinched…

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Can I even tell you how overjoyed I was to see this Trifextra challenge? Find a book that has spoken to you, and pull 33 words that have changed everything. A Separate Peace by John Knowles is that book for me. [Quote found on page 57.] I still have my old, tattered high-school copy that has pages falling out, and is highlighted and underlined and dog-eared to within an inch of its life. I love this book so much that I named my dog after one of the main characters, Phineas.

I miss him like you wouldn't believe. And yes, that is my laundry around his neck.





"This weekend we are venturing into uncharted territories once again.  This Trifextra isn't so much a writing challenge; it's more of a reading challenge.  We want you to scour through your favorite pieces of literature and give us the best 33 words you can find.
Some quick guidelines:

  • The writing you choose should not be your own.
  • The 33 words should be lifted directly from another source (i.e. don't take 33 random words from Macbeth and shake them into a poem of your own (though that would be an awesome idea for another challenge) and don't take a sentence from the beginning of a book and another from the end--keep the original order).
  • Credit your sources.
  • You can't use the same 33 words as anyone else in the linkz. Skim through before posting your own.  You can use the same author and even the same title, just not the exact same words."

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Words carry more weight than people think.

How many times have you heard these words on television or in passing conversation:

"Oh, my God. My computer is frickin' bipolar today."

or

"Dude, she's like TOTALLY schizo lately."

 or

"Stop being all retarded!"

Nothing makes me rage more than the blatant disregard to the weight that these words carry. Nothing makes my hair stand on end more than the ignorance people show when throwing these words around like they're simple vocabulary. Yes, they're descriptive terms. However, only people who have actually lived with these words in their lives on a day-to-day basis really understand how descriptive they are - and it's no laughing matter.

About a year or so ago, a newcaster on a local television news program referred to some economic downfall as "bipolar". He just slipped it casually into his statement, but that word slapped me right across the face. I doubt the newcaster has personally seen what a bipolar diagnosis has done to someone, and to their family. I doubt they have witnessed the powerful manic episodes and crushing depressions. I really doubt they have spent a single day with someone who runs through thousands of dollars in a day and then cries themselves to sleep that night. I wonder if they know what mental illness can do to a career, to a family, to personal fortitude.  Try to picture living your life right now, except you are sidelined by crippling sadness - or perhaps you haven't slept in six days. Can you function in your life at this moment without having slept for a week?

What about the folks that call everything "retarded"? Have they spent their days with family members who suffer with being different, perhaps a bit slower in thought than "normal people"? I try to put myself in their shoes - not being able to comprehend something that seems to easy to others. How frustrating! Have these people who use these words had conversations with people who are so focused on one video game that it's as if they live their life in pixels? Perhaps they do live their lives that way - who are we to know, and who are we to use those words so lightly? 

I would also like to know if these word-slingers have spent time with people who suffer from schizophrenia. I try to imagine what it's like - worrying constantly that the world is out to get you...  hearing voices that nobody else can hear, and sometimes these voices will be telling you to hurt yourself or someone else. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and seeing shadows over your bed, and then the shadows follow you around all day, never leaving you alone? I have worked with many people with schizophrenia, and my heart breaks for them. I can't imagine walking by someone, fighting your own demons, and then hearing "it's being all schizo" oozing out of someone's mouth as if it's an everyday word.

I also get frustrated with hearing people throw the word "depression" around so casually. As someone who lived with depression for years, I know how heartrending and exhausting it is to have to wake up every day. While I am overjoyed that it's not such a stigma anymore, I still urge people to realize what they're saying out loud.


Perhaps we all need to take stock in our vocabularies, and especially in those times that we are speaking in public. There are plenty of words to use that aren't hurtful for those who might be suffering from these illnesses or afflictions. 

Maybe that person is finally having a good day, free of that weight for a few minutes - imagine what hearing those casual, unfeeling words could do.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

There's a Dorito on my carpet...

 
No, I don't know how it got there. I do know The Man was eating Doritos yesterday, but he's usually very good about making sure they either get in his tummy or in the trash. I think one of the cats has a secret Doritos fetish. Maybe Bubba got hungry late last night and brought out his secret stash - then he got distracted by one of the billions of cat toys they have, and voila... Dorito surprise.

He is guilty. GUILTY. (This doesn't even show half the toys.)
I write this with "Tom & Jerry" blasting in the background. A cold mug of coffee is on my right. Usually I wouldn't let my coffee get cold, but I forgot that I had sweetened the coffee, so I ended up sweetening it again, and while I love Splenda, a double-dose of Splenda is not loveable. [Side note: evidently "loveable" and "lovable" are both acceptable.]

I am also momentarily distracted by alerts from "Words With Friends" coming through thanks to my Twitter-plea asking people to play with me. I'm addicted, I admit it. I have something like 15 games going at the moment, and always get excited to see what words this game lets me get away with. I think I scored like 97 points for "JEES" one day, which left my chin on the floor and my opponent all, "WTF, woman!?" She did get me back with a word that made no sense at all, and scored about seven-thousand points in total, so I'll shut up now.

How come you always get so tired on days that you don't do a single thing? I was on the couch all day long yesterday. I was exhausted at the end of the night. That doesn't make sense. Then again, how can pillows and blankets be a bad thing?

Can you see how this blog is a "variety blog" now?

Did you guys go wish Kirsten a Happy Birthday yet over at her blog The Kir Corner? She asked us to share what our best birthday gifts were, and I won't ruin it for you here - she included it in her blog entry.

Also, have you met Tara's new furbaby, Asta? Read all about her at Thin Spiral Notebook.

If you still have some time, and need to know all about slutty pumpkins, The Sarcasm Goddess has you covered. Not literally, because that would involve more than leather and whips. Just read it.

LA should be a nurse. If only because she eats fast. Read her story about turning purple

And because I totally understand how cats can take over the entire universe, The Bloggess shares exactly how it is that she gets nothing done.

So, my friends, what happened this week or over the weekend that made you go, "HUH???"


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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Broken

“Are you KIDDING me?”

“I don’t know how it happened. We used everything.”

“I don’t want it.”

“I thought you’d be happy.”

“I don’t want it. What part of that don’t you understand?”

Trifextra Week Fifty-Three: Write 33 words of a dialogue

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