Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chuy is a hot dog

He is churning out massive PTUs*
I need to turn down my electric blanket. 

*puppy thermal units

Update two hours later: turned the electric blanket from the 5 to the 3. It's super cold out, and now all my furry snug-bugs are glued to me. They are so sweet. I'm sure they're not just using me for my warmth!  ;)

Snowing and accumulating. Good thing I've got plenty of grub in the house. 

Aaaaaaand it's not too cold for the neighborhood skunk to make his 5:30 AM circuit. And it's not cold enough to settle down said skunk's stink molecules. Shooie!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Now! This blog! A dozen years running!

Still no ads nor a whit of bullshitlian™ user agreements. You don't have to give your age, birthdate or phone number to come to this site, and you never will.

Still writing this blog just for myself, but you're welcome to take your shoes off and set a spell, as ever. I appreciate that you stopped by. :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: last of the year

I'm so glad this difficult year is coming to a close. Still, the pups have been an absolute delight all the way through.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snow was not forecast...

...but I didn't even have to get out of bed to know that it had.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Blue Christmas

These people go nuts in my folks' neighborhood. Funny. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: on the way home:

Puppy pic from home. Flying in to DFW from NYC this afternoon. Will overnight at my parents' house and drive on home tomorrow. Massachusetts is wonderful and I hope to visit again one day soon. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

R.I.P., Buck.

I'm so sad to say that Buck passed away this week. He was a lovely gentleman and his blog was a delight. His sons will carry on his blog, and through them his spirit will continue, but Buck will be sorely missed in our community.

Bless you, Buck, and thank you for your thoughtful posts, and for all the ways you delighted we who were privileged to banter with you. Godspeed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Buck in Portales

With the frenzy of school I've been neglectful of my community, but it can be so easy to just imagine everyone is perking right along as per usual. The lovely gentleman Buck from the blog Exile In Portales has been unwell, and I wanted to pass that along and ask for folks to spare thoughts and prayers for him.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

John Fluevog Boston is the best!!!

Had a grand time in Boston Proper at the marvelous John Fluevog shop. To my sheer delight, I found the sales associate who helped me with the sizing for my last order of Vogs was in the shop. Her name is Johnny, and she is the BEST! I told her that I wasn't buying yesterday, but that I wanted to fact-find on various shoe styles for (hopefully) future purchases.  She was super, patient, and informative.  Good thing, too, because the sizes I needed in the different models ranged 3 whole sizes.

Having a grand time with friends. :)

Had the best Roast Beef sandwich ever from Mino's in Marblehead (Mass) yesterday. My demands were pretty much met with the trip to Fluevog, but I did inform my lovely hostess yesterday that I MUST have another of those sandwiches again before I go home.  THAT good.  I never knew roast beef could be so delicious.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Heading for the mother ship

Having an incredibly lovely time at the home of Mr. & Mrs. SciFI. Darling Christina is finishing up her testing for the semester, and today we're going to the Fluevog store (insert angelic chorus here) in Boston. Christina's twins are here and Silver will be home from college on Wednesday, and it's so lovely to see all the girls again. The weather has been splendid with temps in the 40s and mostly sunny and clear, and thankfully dry.

Yesterday we met Mrs. and Marko Kloos for a lovely meal at a wonderful place called Firefly, and a lovely time was had by all.

Massachusetts is incredibly lovely with an abundance of magnificent trees and rivers. Crossed the meandering Merrimack, which is SUCH a beautiful river.

Having a lovely time. I brought two pairs of Fluevogs, but they're fighting over which pair gets to go to the Mother Ship today.  Hmm. My kitschy kitschy boom booms, or my classic limited edition pearly gold Vogs from about 1996? Hmmm....  Decisions, Decisions. I'll try to add a picture of what I decide.

More later.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: the pups of others, Massachusetts edition

I told Christina that Harley's Onesie would be perfect with pearls, and she happened to have some handy. 

Flight was pleasant and left early with only about 30 passengers, so I got my own pair of seats. The plane left early and arrived early, and the flight was generally pleasant. Dallas was glimmering in the dark, and the Boston skyline was gorgeous as we flew in. 

Going to New Hamster today. It's wild to wake up in a new place, yes?

Oh! They have roundabouts here. Apparently by merely rolling onto one, some drivers achieve a meth-like trance state wherein they feel the laws of physics do not apply and they can drive any which way with no consequences. 
It cray. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

That which doesn't kill me...

So so so glad this semester is over. 

Going to Boston tonight to attend Christina's pinning ceremony this week-- so proud of her! Puppy Sunday will have a guest feature of Harley and Tucker, I expect. 

I haven't flown anywhere since 2002. More here soon. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Nag. Nag. Nag.

I absolutely detest being nagged.

The receptionist in my orthodontist's office has a penchant for calling at the worst possible moments. I have told her repeatedly that I will CALL THEM when I am going to be in Dallas and have the time to go to their office for my retainer check. I've also assured her that I wear my retainers religiously. I've been told I can wear them just a night or two a week, but I wear them every other night now, because my teeth get sore if I don't wear them 2 nights in a row. How many times do I have to tell her I'm RIDICULOUSLY busy???

So, today, I'm doing my last minute review ALL DAY for my med/surg final this evening, when I am NOW getting passive-aggressive texts from her personal cellphone that double to my email account asking when I'll come in.


I have to say it gets my blood up. If I'm going to do something, I'll bloody well do it when I have time, and you nagging me will only make me dis-inclined to hurry about it. I resent people ignoring specific information I've given them that I'll get back with them, and disrespecting the level of stress and over-commitment in my school schedule. But a text from her personal cell phone to mine is OVER THE LINE.

Back off, heifer!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: motivational Mochi

I just love waking up with Mochi on the pillow snugged up to me. She helps me stay motivated to sleep late when possible. Think I'll snooze some more. 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Sticker shock

I never thought I'd see the day when a gallon of gas was cheaper than Roma tomatoes, but grabbing some fresh veg at a local market, the 3 little tomatoes doubled my bill at the register, totaling $2.99 a pound. I doubted my senses, but had the clerk take them off my order. Paid my bill, then went to produce and got a single regular tomato at .79/pound. I suppose I'll have to adjust. Odd, though, because the sign on the Romas said $2.49. I need to pay attention more often. Or find a cheaper market in town. *sigh* I find Romas have a nicer flavor, and they are slightly less acidic. Conversely, some very nice little avocados were 3/$1. Odd. 

All that remains are 4 finals. Two are in online classes and I'll complete those Tuesday, MedSurg is Monday, and Mental Health is Wednesday. Hard to believe the semester is at an end. This one has hands-down been the roughest. 

I submitted an essay for a (much-needed) scholarship competition, and winners are notified in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed on that score. 

Looks like I'll be taking my old job back on a very limited basis at the salt mine. I also go for a couple of days in training in January to be a substitute teacher in the local school district. Not thrilled about that, although I'd love to teach English lit. 

I have a couple creative writing projects that have been completely back-burnered during the semester that I'm looking forward to tackling during the holiday break. I really need to tackle organizing my spare room-- it's a shambles, and my school desk basically puked and papers and books have erupted and spilled out in every possible direction. Busy busy. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

For Charlie.

You never really had a chance, from the very beginning. Words are inadequate to describe my sorrow for you.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Velvety sweetness

Mochi is so soft. Puppy vortex made it hard to get out of bed today, but I've much studying to do. But first there's enough time to pet some sweet little doggies. :)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Pretty Praline

I don't think I already posted this one?
Cold weather came back Sunday night. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mochi the Merciless

If you don't want it chewed, put it up. I left the room for just a minute. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I could use a laugh.

One of the funniest scenes ever, from Mr. Bean Takes A Holiday, or whatever that was called.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Belated Puppy Sunday post

Sorry- studying like mad for this afternoon's test. Mochi was fighting sleep, but didn't want to miss anything. 

On this day in 1991 a brilliant light left the world.

The music of Freddie Mercury is timelessly wonderful, and I wonder what more music he would have made had he not died so young, but I'm incredibly grateful for the music he gave us.

R.I.P, Freddie.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mmm trout

I squealed when I found a pack of two very fresh looking trout at the market for $3.68. Delicious. For less than $10 plus ingredients I have in hand, I made a dinner that is very cuisinee. Yum. 

A gorgeous, colorful bit of inspiration for the day:

Here is an excellent blog post from GB about a colorful village in Poland called Zalipie where the residents paint vibrant tableaux on everything from the henhouse to the people house.  Absolutely charming, and worth the moment to read and admire.

The photo with the baby chicks-- how absolutely perfect is that? GB's entire post and all the photos fills me with delight. How incredibly lovely.

Thanks for this gorgeous post, GB!

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. :)

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. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

200 dachshunds. Way more stubborn than 200 units of beef.

From 2006. :)

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.

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! ;)

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

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

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. 

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: fashion plate licking

PraPra looks so chic in her furry leopard print vestie. Such a sweetie. 

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

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: tree-dog

Old NFO snapped this pic of Praline in the tree, going after sqwrlz. Good doggie!

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!*

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. 

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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: the smell of puppies in the morning

Sometimes, I can't resist the urge to make Mochi's lip stick on her toofies. My ginger pups were super snuggly this morning. So peaceful!

Bonus pups! No, they're never NOT cute, but...

I love how Mochi is kind of giving me the stink eye in the first photo. "What're you up to, Mommy?"

Saturday, October 25, 2014


To my relief, this year I managed to submit an essay entry into a scholarship conpetition. The workflow with school is perpetual, and though I've given a bit of thought to the essay and what I wanted to achieve, I only had clear decks to work on it the day it was due. 

It would be a nice feeling to have my writing recognized in that way, and the scholarship money wouldn't break my heart, either. Keeping fingers crossed!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The last time I had "thigh gap"

Dad has often said with pride how Mom would scrub us until we squeaked, that we were never seen dirty, unkempt or looking uncared-for. Mom is a brilliant seamstress made a lot of our clothes. 

This morning is the last day of week nine.

Things are going somewhat well. I did poorly on a Med/Surg test last week, but I was one of 10% of the class who scored 100% on the dosage calc, so it wasn't all bad. Meeting now for more study groups. 

I need to get into the habit of doing my patient reports immediately when I get home from clinicals. This is difficult because at that point, I'm so exhausted. 

Mental Health is a hideous gauntlet, and that's all I'm going to say about that. I wish I'd have a semester where I didn't feel like I'm in danger of not passing something, but I guess that feeling of peril is what makes nursing school so notoriously difficult. 

Oh well, seven weeks to go!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: early to bed

The pups believe that if it's dark outside, all decent folk are already settled in for a long night's snooze. They tolerate me, anyway, but after dark, they always get a head start on the sleepings, sweet little darlings that they are!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Moar puppy action

The pups basking in the sun on Wednesday was just too perfect. Since the weather is dry, I'm biding my time on hauling off the old mattress. I love finding them on it, basking in the sun. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bonus pup

Sorry I've been so busy between school and Blogorado. The semester is going well, and my sweet pups are so glad I haven't hauled off the old mattress yet. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seven weeks down, Nine to go. Road report from Blogorado

This semester my schedule functions in two-week cycles in which the first week is hectic and jam-packed with obligations for 5 or 6 days, and the following week will only have 2 or 3 required attendance elements. I was fortunate that this Fall, my "light week" coincided with Blogorado, which is where I am now.

Sadly, Himself had other obligations and would not be going, so there went my ride. I had a major test on Wednesday (passed!) and two assignments were due, one by Friday night and the other by Sunday night. I ruefully told friends a couple weeks back that it was not in the cards for me, as much as I wanted to go. Mrs. SCI-Fi asked me if I'd be willing to come if she could coordinate a group effort for transport, and I said I would. She is a very determined lady, and through the kindness of various folk, I had rides to and from Colorado, and was sweetly offered the hospitality of staying at the home of Farm Family.

The week was hectic leading up to the trip, and I turned my due-by-Friday assignment in on Thursday morning before heading out with one gallant fellow. It's about 5AM and I just submitted my due-by-Sunday night assignment to the professor through the university's drop-box system for submitting documents-- living in the future has its advantages.  Now I am free to enjoy the remaining day or so I will be here. A different gallant fellow will chauffeur me back home tomorrow.

I am so happy to not miss Blogorado like I did last year, and I'm very touched that my lovely friends would pull together to make the trip possible for me. There is no tonic in the world to rival the therapeutic effects of time spent with friends and family, and most of the friends here ARE family to me, now. My cup runneth over.

Friday turned out to be drizzle-fest, so we congregated at Farm House and people drifted between chatting in the kitchen/living/dining rooms to gathering around a respectable blaze in a fire pit out in the (huge!) shed. Incredible cookies and breads flew in from the northeast, as did a batch of unfortunate lobster that were flown with attendees from Boston. In the traditional way, men folk gathered around a treacherously high barbecue fire and seared a nice passel of steaks. FarmMom makes the best cinnamon rolls evah, btw. Good food.

Saturday will be a shooting day at the range, but I may sneak off with a hen party to look at the local antique places. I'm sure I'll be at the range before the day is out.

I expect to head home after breakfast tomorrow, and as always, it will be bittersweet to leave here. I observed to several people that I think our group truly gelled that first Blogorado in 2009 when on the way back to town from the range on the final night of the gathering, Ambulance Driver took out a sizable buck with the radiator of his Dodge Dakota. Up until that moment, we'd had a cordial congeniality. 20 or so folk on the side of a dark road by a field at 9pm on a November night, we truly bonded. Many of us learned the importance of a cordless Sawzall when dismantling a deer in the field. It was one of those great, unplanned things that cemented us as a group. I was delighted to be here then, and I'm so glad I still get to play their reindeer games.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Got up at 5:45 to see the Blood Moon eclipse thingie, and looked on as the coyotes yipped from outside town. 

Test in mental health today, and I'm pretty nervous about that. Also discovered that I didn't save about 3 hours of work I did on my laptop recently, and I have to re-do that. Ugh. Should be faster the second time, though. Still, I hate feeling rushed to finish things. 

It'll be alright. 49 will be good. 364 days from now, I'll be within 2 months of completion of nursing school. Yee haw!

I just hope this test goes well, today. Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: new old toy

Found a very old toy under the bed, one bought for Praline many yonks ago. Mochi is besotted with the little bubbly barbell, and has had many tooth (hopefully) cleaning hours nomming this thing. :) hand-me-downs are not just for people, apparently!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Thursday was a great day

I am SO wiped out, but it's a good happy. 13 hours at clinical yesterday only cemented my instinct that nursing is for me. I helped with several lovely people, one of whom said Nice Things about me to a manager, and I generally had a great day. 

Boy, am I wiped out, though!

My preceptor is fantastic. Grateful I got so lucky, there. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I think I can!

This is one of the heaviest weeks this semester. I'll be done with the week by early afternoon Friday. So glad. 

It's going well so far. I'm the Little Nursing Student That Could. (Who could? Shrug)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

For the first time in many years,

I'm sleeping on a decent quality mattress in my own home. Thanks for the wonderful hand-me-down, Mom and Dad!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

And every place in its thing.

This semester, while intense and stressful, is miles (as yet!) below the level of anxiety I've had in previous semesters. I think one large part of this is the fact that I now have a proper desk setup, and I'm not dragging my books out and then away from the dining table - it's good to have a space that is dedicated JUST to school-related things.  Even then, during an insane 5 day clinical week last week (for which I was very nearly prepared), I still had to drag all my flotsam and jetsam out onto every available horizontal surface to make sure I had all my ducks in a row for clinical.

One thing that adds to the chaos is the steady influx of paper handouts from various classes. When I receive them, I mark the date and which class at the top of the paper, but I've not been in the practice of bringing them to my desk, punching the appropriate holes and getting them into the proper binders, and these papers have been piling up. I spent about an hour this morning just organizing stuff before I could begin working on my clinical paperwork with a clear head.  That took half the day, and now to shift gears, I had to do about another 30 minutes of shuffling and organizing. I suppose you do what you have to do. I've never been a super-organized person, and I've never really made a designated space before, so I sort of just imagined that just by having a designated space, all this stuff would magically organize itself.  Turns out, the universe apparently expects me to have some sort of involvement in the organizing concept. Oh well.

SO... Mental health. I don't think that's where I'm going, although it is interesting to hear fantastic tales of things so out of the ordinary as alchemy or going to high school with Grover Cleveland.

The pups have been wonderfully supportive of my studies. Praline is sitting at my feet right now like a cuddly little kitten. She is so sweet.

Oh well, just like the organizing, this mental health assignment won't do itself.  Back to the coal mine!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A sweet ending to summer

Today is the first day of Fall. Fittingly, the air had a new, dry coolness yesterday that was most refreshing after a week of sauna-like unpleasantness. 

I have hummingbirds, and they feast on this incredibly hardy 3 year old salvia that stalwartly withstood brutal degrees of neglect and water deprivation, and thrived anyway. Going to put a few more hardy specimens in over the next few weeks and see if I can get more self-managing color about the place to delight the butterflies and bees, as well as the hunmingbirds. :)

Passed my first mental health exam, and passed my first med/surg exam by a happy margin. I'm on my way!

Sorry for missing the puppy Sunday post,  but I was wiped out after clinicals last week, all of which went well. I had a call about a tech job at the hospital I applied for, and I'm hoping I can get an interview today or tomorrow. It would be a boon to future nursing work for me, as I'd have a job lined up for summer, and I'd get lots of experience putting in I.V. and catheters and such. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, Puppy Tuesday: my sweeting

Mochi is so velvety and adorably sweet. She's a piranha fist in a velvet glove. Mochi has invented the art of the hostage exchange. She figured out quickly that since Mommy can't catch her fleet little arse by the conventional methods, Mommy will give treats in exchange for whatever she is carrying around at any given moment. Often she is carrying something she obviously has no interest in chewing. I can tell the difference because when she really wants to chew something, she carries her precious cargo off well out of my earshot for smacking sounds. Praline and Chuy enjoy the hostage exchange because they get treats, too. Mochi plays hard and sleeps hard. I love her sweetness as well as her orneriness. Wiener dogs have a way of making you utterly besotted with them, bless their little fur-betubed hearts!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You don't know it, but your sensibilites are steeped in the music of opera.

This example is The Anvil Chorus from Verdi's superb Il Trovatore. The scene is dawn in a gypsy camp, and the men begin their day's work as they sing of the merits of hard work, good wine and their fine gypsy women. You've heard the chorus in commercials and films all your life, and now you know where it comes from.

Verdi can be ponderous, but Il Trovatore (The Troubadours) is sublime, and contains my personal favorite crazed heifer aria, Stride la Vampa, sung by unfortunate Azucena.

Here Viorica Cortez spanks this aria (1975) and puts it to bed without any supper.  It's an acquired taste, but it's a good kind of crazy, if you ask me. The clip is not her full scene, but you get the ideer anyway.

Notice how you don't see her singing - none of that Whitney Houston/pop music chin-wobbling antics-- proper (and healthy) voice production happens on the interior.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The semester is 25% complete. Huzzah!

By some miracle, the teacher wasn't overly picky about the slop that I bandied as homework, and I got full marks for my SimLab today. *whew*

Amazingly, my feet felt great after the mineral soak, and I think that made a huge difference.

Met my fellow for lunch (steak! For LUNCH!), then came home and crashed in bed with puppies for a couple hours. I was SO tired. He's fixing me dinner tonight, and we'll watch a movie. Going to study some medical terminology for now, though.

4 weeks down, and all is well enough. :)

A mentholated spirit

First hospital clinical- left home before 6am and got home after 8PM, with an assignment that was due at midnight and several pages of SIMS to prep before lab at 8:30AM. Completed the midnight assignment and got into bed at 10:30. Up again at 5 to finish prep work. 

Welcome to the nursey life, eh? 

Sitting at my desk, my feet are sitting in a lukewarm soak of methol-smelling Epsom salts. *sigh*

At least the lab today will be over by noon. Then I can spend my weekend studying and recovering. Passed my first Mental Health exam (her test was a bear!) and hoping to do well on family health test on Monday. 

Great thing is clinical was great, my first patient was wonderful, and my preceptor is a 31 year nursing veteran, and it was overall a great day. I felt right at home. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Well, that's not it.

Today was my second Mental Health clinical, and I'm pretty sure that's not going to be an area that really draws me. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I think I would have difficulty maintaining the kind of detachment necessary for working and helping patients in that milieu. My hat is off to those who can, though.

Wednesday is my first Mental Health test of the semester, and Monday will be the first Med/Surg test of the semester.  Thursday is my first Med/Surg clinical at the hospital. I'm going to be in a Post Surgery/Trauma floor, so I'll be kind of throwed into the deep end. We'll see how that goes.

I'm of the mind that it takes someone special for every aspect of nursing, and every one of those specializations for its own reasons.

All I know is that although I do have some bit of anxiousness on a daily basis, I have nothing like my previous two semesters' level of anxiety. Let's see how my test results affect that state, though!

Cautiously optimistic, and taking large doses of puppy therapy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: puppies help Mama study

Actually, I was eating popcorn while studying at my desk
, and of course I shared with my wee babes. :)

Three weeks of semester 3 are done, 13 to go. I can do this!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Music for the soul

Ordinarily, I don't post 24 minutes of music videos, but this Violin Sonata from J.S. Bach is particularly sublime and merits a place here. In between bouts of study, I'm doing my usual AD/HD cleaning routine, and I'm playing my Baroque music station on Pandora, and this piece came up. Absolutely marvelous.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

So far, so good.

The first mental health clinical is behind me now. It was affirming in some ways, and unsettling in others. 

Hopefully today will be the final 100 F day of the year. I detest the heat. Meh. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sage advice on self defense

Consider the lowly hat-pin, and its self-defense potential in a pinch.

PrincessPoodlePoo (whom I adore) is performing to this recording by the marvelous Elsa Lanchester (Bride of Frankenstein with THAT hair!)

Monday, September 08, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Monday: late edition

Busy weekend, made a 96 on my first test of the semester. So far, so good. Here's a Monday edition of SPS. I wonder what Mochi is after?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

For my lovely friend V, embarking on her new course of study:

In January 2012, I was already in school and taking care of prerequisites in hopes of entering the RN program at my school ASAP. With all going well, I would complete those studies in December of 2015. At that time, I put up a blog post saying I felt like I was standing on the shore of an ocean I have to swim.  That was 2 years and 8 months ago (hard to believe!) and now I have only 16 months of school remaining.

You have an impressive background and experience, Miss V, and I could see you reaching the absolute top of your profession, but you need this one important credential to step up to that next level. I know you came to the decision to embark on this additional training in all seriousness, and I'll bet that you've even had moments when you doubt your own sanity for doing so.  This is a natural inclination, but you have so many wonderful things going in your favor, and I know you're going to totally hit it out of the park.

  • You are smart with an amazing degree of retention for what you learn and observe
  • You are highly regarded and admired in your current career, and you have the support of Everyone Who Matters there. :)
  • Your home is well-organized and tidy, and you're not the clutter-hound that I am-- if I've survived this long with a teeny shred of sanity intact, you're going to be aces, baby!
  • You have the love and devotion of wonderful dogs who are on call for free therapy
  • You have the love and support of a good man in the form of your fiancĂ©
  • Your effort now will pay dividends for the rest of your life

I'm not saying that it will be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it. What you are doing takes a lot of guts, and I really want you to pat yourself on the back early and to repeat that act often.

  • Have a designated study area
  • Break your tasks into manageable chunks
  • Keep a reliable calendar and check off completed tasks
  • Remind yourself of milestones (one month down, nine to go!)
  • Don't be all work/no play
  • Go to the movie with me when I call you to decompress from intense study

You can get through this, but don't feel you have to be a hermit in the process-- I kind of think that was one of my problems in the last Fall/Spring semesters. You can do this and have a life, too.

You've got this! I'm proud of you.
Now go out there and kick some tail, tiger!

Monday, September 01, 2014

More baby steps.

Now that it's September, I can say my completion of school is 16 months away. Huzzah!

I knocked out most of the first of 4 units for one of my classes this weekend, and other than a test, I have nothing due there again until Sept 29. Tomorrow is a Mental Health clinical orientation.

Still waiting to find out what my schedule is going to be like. It was interesting to see a handful of people approach the professor in Med/Surg and tell her they have special circumstances and can't do their clinical assignment on evenings or weekends-- looks to me like the people who insisted they couldn't do those schedules were most likely to end up with the very same. I figure whatever comes, I'll take my lumps and pay my dues. Seems like a Saturday night would be pretty busy. Then again, we're not in ER yet, so who knows?

Week one is down, 15 to go. Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy, right?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: we help mommy with laundry

I dropped this quilt on the floor, staged as it was for laundry. The pups were gleeful that bedclothes were on the floor and accessible in the day. They do love their comforts!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Well, that's what I get for thinking!

Looks like I was happy too soon. Turns out I AM going to have some 5-day weeks, and some of those days will be 12 hour days. It'll be alright. Those weeks will be marathons, though. The hardest weeks will be over by mid-November, which will be here before you know it. Meanwhile...

Thank goodness for puppy therapy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One week nearly down...

15 weeks to go...

Tomorrow is an all-day clinical orientation, the first of 4 to take place this week and next.  As far as scheduled required attendance events, next week is THE hump for the semester, with 5 full days of required attendance. (correction - Monday is a holiday so no classes-- HUZZAH! - it's still the fullest week of the semester, though). Then the semester will be 1/8th over with. Yes, I'm breaking it into chunks because it makes the whole thing seem less daunting.

At the beginning of June I ordered doors for my house from Home Depot, and about a month ago they set up the installation.  The installer arrived and one door was the wrong color, and the other swung the wrong way, so both had to be re-ordered.  Hopefully all goes well with the installation. The back door is nearly completed, and so far, so good, but the hardware for the storm door on back was the wrong color.  Fingers crossed on this, but I'll report on that later. The pups are all in a tizzy because there are strangers about, but Himself is here to help manage the livestock and oversee the proceedings, and I'm most grateful.

So far, it's looking like the medical terminology class is going to be fun and very productive. It's a one hour course, so there's dramatically less in the way of assignments/quizzes, etc, but it's going to be quite fruitful since it deconstructs medical terms and fully explains origins and all that jazz, so this should greatly enhance my learning and understanding for the remainder of my school/professional career.  Glad I am taking that.

Today I have cleaned on horizontal surface in my house. The buffet is cleared of non-decorative stuff, and it's been cleaned with a wood polish wipe, and it's like it belongs in someone else's house, or somesuch!

More on the doors later, hopefully completed and with me happy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 2 of school and all is well...

I had my first classes in Med/Surg I and in Mental Health yesterday. Med/Surg was basically going over the syllabus the entire 1.5 hours, but MH got in about 30 minutes of lecture.  In the next two weeks, I have 4 entire full-day orientation sessions between these two classes.  Credit hours for these two classes is 10, but with clinical time, study and classroom, these two classes alone will be more than a full-time job. It's ironic to have such huge time-sink classes and only get 10 hours total, but that's life, eh?

This is the first semester I begin school without working a part-time job. In January, I was training for a job where I was working 28 hours a week, and they wanted me for more (even though the job was advertised as 8 hours/week), and the drain on time and energy was palpable, but that only lasted 5 weeks into my semester. It was enough to derail me utterly and I passed the whole semester by the skin of my teeth, I believe. I won't make that mistake again.

This is going to be challenging, but I think I'm better organized than the previous two semesters, and I'm going to make this work. I'm excited. 17 months to go.  Next week on Sept 1, I can begin saying "16 months to go." Baby steps.  Baby steps.

My snuggly boy

Chuy considers snugglings, scritchins and lovvins as his natural due.  He is a dog who has never been dropped, and knows his proper place in the world is one of comfort and ease. Mochi and Praline are farther under the covers, but I usually wake up with Chuy by my torso, ready to get a little extra attention in the morning. He is so blissful and peaceful. I love my boy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

New glasses

Holly's been telling me for years how great her glasses from Zenni are. I but the bullet and ordered some 2 weeks ago today. I wanted something funky and colorful, so I took a chance on this pair. With shipping and an extra scratch coating on my prescription lenses, my total was $35.95. Kind of hard to argue with a bargain like that. 

I just ordered a spare regular pair in red and a sunglasses pair, and my grand total for all 3 (including polarized mirror lenses on the sunglasses) will be about $160. I may never buy designer frames again. 

Oh, and they'll engrave your name inside the arm of the frame. Neat, eh? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

And just like that, Summer break is over...

Blah de blah blah blah.


My books arrived Friday. I piddled with my classes and updated my calendar. I have to be in class tomorrow at 3pm. Going to the gym in the morning and then home to shower and study, then on to class. 

Wow. Here goes. 17 months to go.  It's supposed to be over 100 degrees every day this week. Hopefully it will at least cool off soon and that will make it slightly less miserable.  On the other hand, I get to wear my cheerful new specs tomorrow.

I feel cautiously optimistic about the semester, but I wonder what I'll feel like this time tomorrow?

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: pardon the nosey-smears!

Praline and Chuy are on the back of the recliner, keeping watch over the yard as per usual. Nothing escapes their notice!

Friday, August 22, 2014

If you see $213 vinegar, this must be Dallas.

Quick trip to Dallas Wednesday through Thursday. Had my hair done so I don't look too tore up at school, had a record-busting 20 minute trip to Ikea for a bookshelf, and got to spend some time with my folks. 

Went to Central Market and gazed with awe upon the oil and vinegar aisle-- one whole side of the aisle. Most of the selection was Middle-Of-The-Road in the $15-$30 range, but I still sort of gasped to see wee teeny bottles of the stuff for hundreds of dollars. The $213 stuff in this photo is aged 30 years. You'd think for that much money, they could provide something fresh, yanno?

Anyhoo- had a delicious meal made by Mom, and moseyed home to my wigglesome pups on Tgursday night. Praline is a mama's girl and nearly levitates when I get home. She wiggled so hard when she was running for me that her backside almost reached me before her frontside. Sweet, nutty girl!

My school books arrive today and I'll start with a chapter or two of my med/surg I textbook today, and tomorrow I'll be able to access my online classes and I'll start working to knock out the self-paced materials as much as possible this weekend to clear the decks for the meatspace classes/clinicals. A bit more organizing and I'll be ready for a successful semester.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bonus pup photo

School books are ordered. 
Health insurance is set up through July 31 and also the next year of car insurance. 

My school schedule took a last minute shuffle for the better. 

Heading to Dallas to get my hair did and see my folks. Wow. So much to do. School starts Monday. 

Reminding myself to stop and take a breath. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One day I'll post a picture of pups on a freshly vacuumed rug...

...but today is not that day. 100 degrees outside, and my brownlings still have to do their snug-bug routine.