Friday, November 21, 2014
The planting, she is finished!
I'm posting this as a place-holder so I can remember what I planted and where.

At the rock in the yard by the Texas Star Hibiscus, I planted Asclepias tuberosa Western Gold Mix, also known as Butterfly Weed.

Over by the other big rock and next to my Rock Rose (labdanum) I planted Dark Violet Hybid Skullcap. This should contrast nicely with the dark pink of the rock rose. :)

At the north side of the porch, I planted two that like afternoon shade, and they are Red Mother-of-Thyme and Blue Ice Blue Star.

Finally, by the Southeast corner of the house I planted Salvia Raspberry Delight and at the Southeast corner of the porch I planted West Texas Grass Sage.

Truth be known, I'd be delighted for any one or group of these to just take over my yard. Fingers crossed that these do well.  I haven't planted anything in a couple of years since I've been so busy, but I really like wild, unruly blooming things in my yard, so hopefully a bit of effort will afford me jollies in the future.

In the past, I've had great success with specimens obtained from High Country Gardens, which specializes in plants/seeds/bulbs for a more drought-prone environment. They have a great variety, great pre-planned gardens you can buy as a set if creativity fails you, and they have a legend on each plant to tell which are not palatable to deer/rabbits, and which are appealing to butterflies and hummingbirds, which I particularly prefer. The water drop on the legend with the line through it indicates a drought-hardy plant.  Hopefully I'll have lots of grand, showy photos to share with you in the coming year. :)
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The end of the pecan tether
I've been very good about my daily pecan pickup, but today the crop has failed me. I worked twice as hard to find them as any other day, and only came up with 52 that were dry and not still in a hull. To further vex me, when I went out, there was a large flock of pigeons in the back yard, and a handful of the pecans I found had a hole bored in one end, as if a beak...

The puppies may be overdue for some pigeon pie, is all I'm saying. Hmph.

So that handful of pecans is unusable. Further, pecans with a shell that is not intact get thowed over the fence.

You know what amazing thing I learned this week? The pecan meat we eat is not actually a nut, but is a drupe, which is a fleshy fruit that contains a single stone or pit from which the new specimen may grow. Isn't that interesting? And don't you feel kind of robbed, in a way? It sure looks like a nut.

So, anyway, unless there are a bunch of nuts still hanging in the tree, I think the bulk of my pecan harvest is about over. I think I've gotten about 10 pounds of pecans, though, so that should yield several pounds hulled, I hope. :)

*****
All my work is completed and submitted for Mental Health and Med/Surg. Now all that remains is to study, which I'm doing all the time. Even doing housework, I'm listening to recorded lectures, so that gives me a boost, too, and maybe the house is slightly less messy. 

Today it's supposed to be around the mid-60s, and I'm going to drop some perennials into the ground in hopes that they can establish over the winter. I have some very pretty ones, too.  The only kicker is that I'll have to protect them when we do get cold weather, but that should be somewhat easily done. I can put a home depot bucket over them upside down with a rock on top, and that should do the trick. I had such a brilliant show from a completely neglected salvia this year that I vowed I'd get more drought-tolerant varieties in of the same. Should be interesting.  Tomorrow night we are supposed to have heavy storms, so I"ll let that get in and get well and properly soaked, and then I'll mulch the dickens out of them on Sunday. I love Fall weather. I'm glad to live in a zone where this is one of the best times for establishing perennials, because I love being outdoors when it's so cool and crisp. :)

Have a great Friday. :)
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Thursday, November 20, 2014
200 dachshunds. Way more stubborn than 200 units of beef.

From 2006. :)
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Film director Mike Nichols


Mike Nichols died yesterday. He directed many films of which I've heard but have not seen, but I'm ever so grateful he took the remarkable play Wit and made a wonderful film for television in 2001.
Beautiful and profound.

Beautifully done, Mr. Nichols. R.I.P.



If you have a couple of hours, you can see the entirety of this film here, but I recommend you have the Kleenex handy.
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Words of wisdom from Roald Dahl's Matilda:
“Matilda said, "Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable...”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda


Today I vow I shall go whole-hog studying, and I'll probably wear some UNBELIEVABLE shoes! ;)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Picking up pecans.
Mochi has finally inspired me to systematically rid the yard of pecans. Year round she trawls the yard for little blighters, and I worry she might accidentally ingest the webbing between the nut meats, but she seems to have a gourmand's technique with her pecan picking. So, I've vowed to go out and pick up at least 100 pecans on every non-rainy/snowy day for the foreseeable future, the less for my little fiend to gobble. This is day 2, and I've picked up about 4 pounds of them.  There are quite a few on the ground with the hull still on, and the shell is still wet, and I skip those as to not introduce moisture in my big bag o nuts. I'll run these by the local pecan shed and have them hulled, which is about $1.25/pound, which saves HOURS of hand-straining busting of nuts. You still have to pick them apart, but the work is SOOOO much more efficient with professionally cracked nuts. 

The yard is littered with leaves that have dropped. It's supposed to be in the 60s in the next few days, and I have a few hardy xeric perennials to put in the ground to establish over winter when it will (hopefully) be more moist. I'll try to rake the leaves into a mouldering congregation so as to expose more nuts. Mochi is like a truffle pig, rooting around in the yard.

I have so many projects brewing in my brain, but they are all back-burnered until I'm out of school in a few weeks. School comes first.  School comes first.

********

Speaking of school, I realized this weekend that I hadn't washed clothes in a few weeks. It's a statement on how much clothing I have that I always had clean drawers, every day. I walk into my house and see it is a shambles, and I sort of beat myself up for being a lazy bum and not taking care of business, but nursing school semesters are a GRIND.  Yesterday I had an epiphany, and I've been looking at this entirely wrong.  I have 6 hours of lecture time a week, and on Clinical weeks, I've had 13 hour clinical one day at the hospital, 8 hour clinical at the mental hospital and a 4 hour clinical at the SimLab.  That's not counting drive time.  Also, for every hour spent in lecture, the rule of thumb is that you should study three hours, so that adds 18 hours. Prep time for SimLab is at least 2 hours.  Patient care plans after the 8 and 13 hour clinicals take about 3 hours each.  This comes to a grand total of about 57 hours on clinical week. Add to that all the extra things Mental Health made us attend and required follow-up reports on, and it's a grueling schedule.  Yeah, I'm going to forgive myself about the laundry and the messy house.

Fortunately for me, my clinicals are finished. I have one report that I'll hopefully complete today that is due by midnight tomorrow, and I have tons and tons of studying to do. I finished my major Mental Health assignment for the semester last night about 1AM and submitted it online. I'm just trying to wrap everything up so I can focus solely on studying for the next test.

Oh, and LouLou is having a transmission issue. It's most vexing, indeed.

It'll all be okay, though.

For today, here is a wonderful quote upon which I stumbled this week, though I read My Uncle Oswald many years ago (clearly I need to dig it out and re-read!):

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
― Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald
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Monday, November 17, 2014
Y'alls is owed a post. Here it comes:
This is week 13 of 16. Week 16 sort of doesn't count because it's just one test in each course, and next week is Monday only, so, YAY. 24 days from now, my semester will be done with. HUZZAH!

School has been very difficult this semester, but I've managed my anxiety better in general than previous semesters. I need to make at least one Very Good Grade on a test in med/surg, but I believe I can do that now that clinicals decks are cleared.

Hospital clinical ended on a very high note, with my Preceptor writing that I have "an excellent rapport with patients" and that she watched my confidence and skill levels increase through the two days I worked with her. My other Preceptor was highly complimentary as well, and Thursday was 100% affirming that Nursing is exactly where I want to be. Thusrday was 13 hours long, and I managed to feel energized and happy the entire time. I had one elderly patient who was a real cut-up and we teased each other all day long, so that really lightened the mood.  He said the only pain he was experiencing was the sticky tabs from the heart monitor pulling his chest hair. When the Preceptor and I were doing our final round and introducing him to the night staff, I told him that I'd told the new nurse that we're not going to charge him extra for the custom hair removal job. He laughed and laughed. It was such a good day and I went home very happy, indeed.

I applied for a substitute teaching job with the ISD in the nearby burg in September. They finally contacted me back on Thursday and said I can train in January to be a reserve substitute. I may not have time for that next semester, but you never know-- I was actually hoping to make a little extra money THIS semester, but oh well! Maybe their Spring Break won't coincide with my university's and I can make an extra buck here and there. Also I applied for a tech job working 12 hours every 2 weeks at the local hospital. Will give me more experience helping patients with baths, changing sheets and doing the usual things, and that will help immensely with my nursing skills. Helping people in and out of chair/bed is something I need more practice with. Fingers crossed on that one.

The weather has turned insanely cold here(staying below freezing for days on end), and for the first time, my house isn't freezing as well.  The new windows a few years ago helped significantly, but the new doors installed a couple months back seem to have finally made the house more heat/cool efficient. I felt guilty about how cold it was for the puppies, as they would lay around shivering in a puddle together. They learned to happily endure sweaters, and that is saying a lot. My kitchen is not big and I don't have room for one of those dog igloos, so with assistance from Himself, I improvised a puppy cubby with a Rubbermaid tub and a drugs blanket from Love's*. The tub is upside down on its lid with a porthole cut in the side.  I don't leave them at large in the house because Mochi would find a way to eat something that would kill her, and Chuy would probably un-engineer furniture, so they stay in the kitchen behind baby gates while Mommy is away. They seem to be using the puppy cubby, which gratifies me. It's probably more comfortable for two rather than 3, but the way I've seen them pile up tells me they probably appreciate the opportunity to share the warmth. They're like puppy monkey-bread, all squoze up together.

So, yeah. Busy times. A few dear friends came to town last week and it was so good to see them. I hadn't seen Jen and Evyl in yonks, and Old NFO was here and aepilot_jim came Sunday night. Was wonderful to see them all. :) Old NFO fixed us a shrimp chowder soup recipe he created (is soup and chowder redundant? My fault, if so, this is my description) that was glorious. Polished the rest off on Monday, which was the day the mercury started to plummet, so it was perfect timing. Yum.

So, yeah. 24 days.  :) I'm off to work on final report on clinical. Wish me luck!

*drugs blanket from Love's is what I call the colorful Mexican woven blankets you can get from Love's for under about $10. I buy one on just about every road trip I go on, because I always forget to take one with me, and they are so handy! Himself observed that in every house he'd ever seen a drug bust or photos of a drug bust, they always had at least one of these blankets around, hence drugs blanket. There is no drugging going on here, just an appreciation for a good value, and why should drug dealers get all the best bargains? :P
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Sunday, November 16, 2014
Sweater Puppy frenzy
Doesn't Chuy look smart in his new stripey sweater. He celebrated by savaging a decorative pillow, warrior style. He LOVES his sweaters. The girls are a bit more resistant, though they get mighty compliant as the mercury drops. 
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Sunday, Puppy Sunday: fashion plate licking
PraPra looks so chic in her furry leopard print vestie. Such a sweetie. 
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Friday, November 14, 2014
All you need to know.
Every question you have about my Mental Health class may be divined from the fact that last night I dreamt I told my Mental Health teacher my favorite fart joke from about the third grade v
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Sunday, November 09, 2014
Sunday, Puppy Sunday: tree-dog
Old NFO snapped this pic of Praline in the tree, going after sqwrlz. Good doggie!
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Monday, November 03, 2014
One less thing...
I was able to early register for Spring classes this morning. I'll have afternoon classes again. As much as I hate early classes, there's a lot to be said for having done with them early and having the test of the day to study. I suppose you just flip it around. I'm meeting with at least one study partner for the next 5 weeks a couple times a week. 

I'm going to be so glad to have this over with. I studied 4 hours last night and because it was so dark early, it felt more like 6 or so. It's tiresome, but it's a necessary evil. Needs must. 

If all goes well, a year from now I'll be gearing up to graduate. *whew!*
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Sunday, November 02, 2014
Sunday, Puppy Sunday: the watcher on the window
Praline knocked the window covering off and gave herself a royal fright. Now she's watching out the window from the safe haven of the bed. Finally cool here this AM. Yay! Snuggles. 
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Thursday, October 30, 2014
OMG. 6 weeks to go!!!
I cain't hardly believe it.

But boy am I ever tuckered out. I have 2 mental health clinicals remaining, and one hospital clinical left. It's rather hard to believe. I'll be nose to the grindstone from here on out, but it will be worth it.

Heading to Dallas in the morning to see my sweet Momma and Poppa.

Wrung out, and I have to head out early in the morning tomorrow. But before I do, I have to take a test online that's due by midnight tomorrow. Might as well knock it out, now.

The best-- absolute best-- thing about the semester is that I get to go to clinicals at the hospital.  I may not be perfect and I don't know everything down pat, but I'm doing alright, and I love the patients, and they seem to love me. I feel like I'm sort of getting my mud in a ball when I'm at the hospital, and it's amazing how quickly a 13 hour day passes.  Just got home, and it's a little after 8PM. I left the house at 5:30 this morning. Time to take that test and hit the hay.
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Name: Phlegmfatale
Location: Elsewhere, Texas, USA

I'm not whining;
I'm unburdening.
FATALE ABSTRACTION


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