Thursday, June 4, 2015

Coffee and Chainsaws

This morning I am stealing a few minutes by myself (with coffee :) ) at the kitchen table. The girls are on the porch eating their breakfast watching the tree maintenance guys trim the tree from the power lines out front. Um, spoke too soon! I was halfway through the sentence before this one and Tassie called out "Millie spilled all of my food!" Tassie was almost done, but now the girls are calling out "Nooo, nooo, nooo!" in unison because they want to come inside.

So that's probably why I don't blog a lot anymore. :)

Work is going very well. I even oriented a new RN the other day! I've now been licensed for just over a year, and soon will have been at my job for a year. Time flies, life is busy, my perpetual life theme.

I planted hops in the little strip of soil next to our house! Tassie and I have been putting a little twig in the twine at the top of one day's growth and noting how far it grows every day. It sometimes grows 2 inches. I think they can grow up to a foot a day in the summer! I am intending for them to be multipurpose. They are growing on twine that goes over one of our windows, so it'll allow for some shade in the heat of summer. They also will provide hops for brewing, and supposedly they make good tea. Malt, hops, and yeast are the major (and usually only) components of beer, and if I can grow my own hops that will be a good cost savings. I haven't brewed in well over a year, sadly enough, but I have all of my equipment and I'm hoping to start again in the fall when I don't have to worry about high temperatures for the fermenting period. Brewing in summer heat without any heat control results in off-flavors. I do want to get a propane burner for brewing, because it's very hard on the stove to heat 5 gallons of water and boil it for an hour.

I need to blog more regularly because I  can always just put up some pictures and call it a blog post. It would certainly be a window into my life that some of you can't see from so far away.

Last night I was looking out our back kitchen window and I saw a beautiful, bright sunset, and what looked like firework sparks moving sideways, in an erratic pattern. It was moths lit up so brightly they looked like fire. I thought about walking along the block to see them up close. But it wouldn't have been so magical, would it?

I learned today that a group of moths is called an "eclipse" :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Spring, Sweet Spring

I'm up at 6am, after 18 hours of sleep in the last 24 (after being up for a few nights in a row!) with a fresh pot of coffee and pancakes I made for myself. I haven't done this in forever! Normally I would not be functioning at 6am. Porter signed me up for a bike repair/maintenance class, so I'm going to get out away from the house (but not at work!) for a few hours. 

Trader Joes is right on the way home, and thus this last ride home I've brought home flowers, port, some beer, and some snacks for work. It's a danger zone for me. :) 

Spring is right around the corner. Daffodils are out and there are many green shoots coming up. However, this is kind of unusual in that it's been dry and warmish. 50s in the day. It's going to be a horrible drought this summer if we don't get more rain now.

Porter bought a bike for himself a few weeks ago and discovered it was too small. I think this might have been halfway purposeful, though, because it happened to be the perfect size for me and in much better shape than my own bike. So Porter has given it to me, and he has gotten a newish one for himself that is the right size. It is SO exciting to be be biking around as a family. We finally got the car towed away from the driveway and it's kind of peaceful. I cried a little when it left, because of the memories, but I know we made the right decision not to sink a bunch of money into  it. It was actually hard to get even the junkyard interested in it :( I feel optimistic about the biking because we are starting in the winter and have been rained on, cold, etc., and we are still doing it. We have discovered that it's not terribly expensive to rent a car for the weekend (although it's considerably more expensive now that I don't have insurance of my own) and there aren't too many places we go that are too far to bike to. 

The other day I decided to walk away from my bike a bit with the light on so I could see my front light (I'm still so obsessed!). I was shocked. No wonder a guy on the other side of the street said he wanted to smack it off my bike. It is very bright. Bright enough that I realize I need to turn it to the low position when I'm on the pedestrian paths. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Work, Sleep, Eat, Take Care of Children, Try to Clean, Repeat

Our days are full. Sometimes not full of anything that feels particularly productive, but full. A 1- and 3-year old combined are a full-time job, no joking, and with one of us working full-time and the other home with the kids, that pretty much takes up our time! I can't imagine what it would be like with both of us working full-time, as many parents do.

I have settled in the IMCU (intermediate care unit, a step down from the ICU but still more critical than the general medical/surgical floors), where I will do an extended period of "internship." I work with my own team of patients and am a staff nurse in that unit in every sense of the word. The goal is technically still the ICU, and it is expected that after a few months I'll be better prepared for the rigors of the ICU.  The ICU is certainly very, very intense and very invasive. I'm not sure what I feel about that. The loss of dignity any patient suffers when they are splayed naked on a table with needles poking into them, electric shocks permeating their body, and literally bone crunching calisthenics practiced by a medical professional bothers me. Especially when the survival rates of people undergoing such practices are extremely low, and even if "surviving," a patient may just barely get back to "alive." People usually suffer death or permanent damage following such an episode. Do you know anyone who has "survived a code" in the hospital? Is it worth trying at ANY cost to restart a heart beat in an essentially dead body? I am quite certain I wish to be a DNR but I'm still thinking about any exceptions there might be so I haven't made it official. It's scary to think of not being "resuscitated" but it's a scary thing to be dead to begin with, and so being a DNR is really just a way of avoiding all of the suffering that will go along with death if resuscitation should be necessary. Resuscitation does not return life to normal. Limited intubation might be OK for me, though, so I'm still on the fence about what I will specify.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on the ethics of intensive medicine as we practice it in the USofA.

On the other hand, I really do love the job I'm doing right now and I'm happy to be there :) I have been on my own for a few months now and usually I feel good about my work nights. Occasionally things are pretty overwhelming, but nurses who have been doing this for a long time say there are always those nights where everything seems to go haywire and there isn't enough time to do everything.

The girls are well, though Tass has a cold, and Porter is busy doing home improvement projects and getting the girls here and there to classes, parks, and the library. Life just keeps rolling on...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I joined the iPhone party! I got an older model on eBay and now I can take pictures on the girls, which I love �� Best feature, in my opinion. Not  going to be a very thorough  update but it'll be better than silence.
I  have been biking to work every day. The other day if was about 22 degrees out and I felt pretty legit.
Tassie went to school for the first time today! So exciting. She is going two mornings  a week. She didn't want to leave when it s time to go home. They have all the children between 2.5 and 5 years old  together. They make their own bread  ( yes,the children!)) and on Fridays she'll be bringing two vegetables  for soup.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Halfway Through

I can't believe it but I'm about halfway through the training program. I have learned a lot, although I still feel like I know nothing most of the time! Every time I make progress in one area it seems like I am lacking in another. The biggest challenge is putting everything together. Fits and starts.

I dream nearly constantly of nursing. Last night Omilie kept waking up. I remembered somewhere in the back of my head that Porter said I should give her Tylenol tonight because she's teething. I then concluded that I had already started her on 25 mcg of fentanyl (a painkiller) via IV and I didn't need to give her oral medication. I thought this every time I woke up, except toward the end of the night I though "But I'm not on shift right now, which means I'm not authorized to practice as a nurse and I can't give her IV medication." I was too tired to get up and give her any :(

Another thing is that I dream about missed pieces of charting, or getting to the end of the day and having missed an assessment entirely.

They tell me it gets less and less as time goes on...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


      A friend of mine who has a blog, Resurrected Threads (and an Etsy Shop!) has been running a really cool series, The Slow Wardrobe. I haven't ever considered myself anyone with much fashion sense. I used to wear a uniform of baggy Ts and almost equally baggy jeans, paired (neverfailingly) with sneakers and in the cold weather, a sweatshirt. So, more or less, similiar to your typical American teenage male.
Fast-forward 10 years and I still wear jeans (though less frequently), still wear tee-shirts (but almost never shapeless) and never wear sneakers except for running and hospital shifts. My style is still not well-defined, however. I have been the lucky recipient of a well-dressed friend's handmedowns, which has helped me a lot, but a lot of what I wear is just happenstance.
I have recognized a few things about myself that I think are my fashion sense beginning to come through. I feel that some of my decisions concerning clothes are actually quite snooty. I even hesitate to post, lest I offend some of my friends. But these are my standards for myself, not for you. Also, as you will probably notice, they concepts that are more prohibitive  than prescriptive -- that is, they are mostly don'ts rather that do's.

      1. No fakes. Jewelry is an exception, and some types of cloth (I wear polyester sometimes, for instance). I don't wear fake leather or fake fur. I do wear glass gems, because I like glittery things but I would never trust myself to run around with jewelry worth thousands of dollars. But I don't wear plastic gems, and rarely wear rhinestones or glittery fabric. Same goes for vinyl. This pretty much also includes my face. I wear cover up most of the time when I work because my acne is distracting, but I don't wear eye makeup.

       2. Nothing ugly. Now this is in the eye of the beholder, for sure, but I don't wear things that I feel are jarring or ugly. Yes, I do wear colors that make my husband cringe but it's not because it's a modern juxtaposition that I feel is a statement, it's just because it's pleasing to my eye.

       3. Nothing slutty. I have only really recently discovered this one. I grew up in a very conservative household where I couldn't have an armhole that was bigger than my arm, literally (I cried about a chunky sleeveless sweater I wasn't allowed to wear for this reason!). After I left, I had a period of disorientation. What should I wear? I wore literally anything, including nothing! (Short story, but I'm not telling it now :)  Now I've come around in a fairly wide circle and returned to a more-or-less conservative approach. I try to stay away from things that make me cringe when I see them on other people. For instance, I've developed an aversion to spaghetti strap shirts this summer. They may look OK on some people but on me I think it just screams of uncouth, poor, and negligent dress. Especially if it's so thin and tight that bra lines are showing. A big no-no. Maybe on the beach, but I'd rather wear something more attractive. I've also discovered I like v-neck shirts that aren't too exposing. Elegant cut, but not rude exposure. I've also realized I just don't like my skirts to be very short. If I have to double-check that butt-cheeks are not coming out, it's too short. If I can't sit down on the floor, it's generally too short (although there are certainly exceptions). If the skin or body parts exposed are really distracting, and/or there's more than one exposed, it's too much.

        I think the biggest fashion revelation I've had is simply for clothing to be appropriate to the task, be well-made, fit well, and be clean. This is a very tall order for me, and I think I'm still working on this.  I have realized this about my nails, too. So about a year ago I stopped biting at my skin and starting shaping my nails in an attractive shape. It makes so much more of a difference than nailpolish ever could.
Oh, by the way, a book I found very engaging and informative and would like to recommend if anyone is interested in dressing well is called A Guide to Elegance. I found it at the library here in Eugene a few years ago, and then I found my own copy at a thrift store. A lot of the advice is "vintage" but not outdated. For instance, I'm not going to start dressing in suits of the 1940s all of the time because I would stand out as a vintage fashionista, not an elegantly dressed woman (though the suits certainly are elegant in their own time). Likewise, I will probably never wear gloves because it would make me stand out, not make me stick in your mind as elegant.

      Well, while I'm on a roll, I will also mention that I have been wearing high heels lately. Not very high, mind you. But they're really heels! A few years ago I never would have  thought I'd be able to walk in them, let alone feel comfortable in them. I would only ever wear platforms as a teenager and usually wore flats (and sneakers!). I have a blue pair and need to collect, at some point, a pair in black and a pair in nude. I found a perfectly fitting pair of black nordstrom pumps at the thrift store that were comfortable as could be. The first time I wore them out of the house they distintegrated. Literally. Pieces of the shoes were left in the driveway (before I realized they were falling apart), in the car and out and about. The whole sole came off in pieces and then the heel fell off. I don't know what happened to them! Too old, proably. Anyway. Boring you all to bits now. No one read to the end! :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

5 Weeks In

One more week of class to go and then the rest of my internship is just regular shifts with my preceptor. I am really loving my job! It is super busy sometimes, but it's the kind of stuff that I thrive on. I love getting things done and being productive in measurable ways.  I also like the fact that pretty much every day I encounter something new. Also, there are four levels of ICU nurses at this hospital, and I will always have room to learn new things.

So let me think -- 5 weeks in, 11 to go. I can't believe it's that SHORT a time to go but I also have learned tons in the last 5 weeks.

The family is adjusting pretty well. The neighbor (who is pretty close to our open windows) said she thought the baby must be settling in better and I know she means she hears less squealing! Some days it's tough, of course, both for me and the family, but it's working out. Today is the first day in a 5 day weekend, which happens semi-regularly since I work 12 hour shifts. Working days I leave the house at 6am or so and return usually by 8pm. I've been biking ~6.5 miles there and back. There are showers and scrubs available at the hospital so I try to just roll out of bed (after the last nursing session, which I set the alarm a little early for!) and get on my bike and shower and get dressed there. I always buy a cup of coffee. Always. It's the thing I think about as I wake up, and then multiple times while I'm on my bike. It's a necessary indulgence. NECESSARY!! I don't know if it really wakes me up that much but it makes me feel like I've made up for having to get up so early.

Why I bike:

  •  It takes me 20 minutes by car anyway and it only takes me about 35-40 to bike
  • It leaves the car at home for the fam, which since I'm gone 14 hours is a really good thing for them! 
  • it uses less gas for commuting
  • I get exercise in on my work days and don't have to go running or biking at separate times

Today I bought a used bike trailer for $40 that is in pretty decent condition. We took it to the park immediately. I think I'm going to just make a list of places we take it and try to figure out how long it's paid for just from gas I'm saving. There are lots of parks (and the library) that are just a bit far to walk to with Tass on foot and the trailer seems like the perfect solution for me. Porter has plans for an even more useful bike-transporting device but it'll take us a while to save for it and then he'll have his kid transporter that's set up for him and I'll have my own bike I can use. We can even bike together, then! 

It seems like forever since I've written. Even my writing voice sounds different to me as I read it back. Sentences aren't quite coming out as I intend. I really feel I am changing in a multitude of ways. I have always felt somewhat childish. Even in a group of adults I felt like I was pretending. But gosh, I have done CHEST COMPRESSIONS on people and I give people drugs they would never ever take at home, and if you collapsed on the floor in front of me I'd know what to do. I went out to grab some food after work, before meeting up with the family for something at church and I was looking around at all of the people around me. I thought "Someone here is going to collapse eventually, which will it be? Who will be hospitalized? Who will have a sudden stroke? Heart attack?" It's going to happen to someone, sooner or later. The good thing is that whereas before I was so nervous about doing CPR or anything like that, even with training, I now feel confident I would perform satisfactorily. Also, while I was at work Porter was near a location "in the field," so-to-speak, in which birth was imminent. I don't know how close the woman was, but it sounded like things were moving. Isn't that exciting? But anyway, to make a long story short I feel as though I'm in more of an adult phase of life. Not totally adult. But close.