Friday, December 31, 2010

A new year

2010 was a good year. But it's ending and I'm ready for 2011. I don't have much in mind this year for resolutions, but here are a few:

1. Pass NCLEX!!!! A must-do.
2. Join a gym and train for at least 1 half marathon. Maybe two. Yes, let's say two.
3. Lose at least 10 pounds. I need to lose 20, but I'll take 10. Also, drink one glass of milk every day.
4. Try to read the entire A section of the paper every day.
5. Blog more, Facebook less.
6. Be more patient with Carolyn.
7. Go to the dentist once this year and floss daily.
8. Get more involved in either church or the schools. Volunteer more.
9. Join a CSA this summer.
10. Try and be a more loving wife. After this last year, Lord knows, Steve deserves it.

I think that's it. Not as comprehensive as two years ago, but definitely better than last year when my only two goals were to pass school and not go crazy. I guess one out of two ain't bad!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I changed my mind

I don't want to be a nurse. I want to be home with my kids. I want it to be winter. I want to cook for them and play games with them.

Oh yeah, and I want them to never grow any older.

That's how good this break has been. We sleep in. We watch movies. We hang out with friends. It's like every day is better than the last. This has been quite the year.

I haven't blogged lately, so let me catch up. I graduated from nursing school. My family was here to see it, including my in-laws and my awesome nephew Jeremiah. I made a little speech at graduation, and some people even laughed, so that was nice. Christmas was amazing, with Santa bring Disney tickets. And Steve was awarded Employee of the Year! What??? I'm not sure how he even made it to work.

Without a doubt, this is the happiest I've ever been in my whole miserable life. So freezing time sort of feels like the thing to do.

But if freezing time doesn't work, why not try sledding, because that's pretty awesome too.

I think I'll post some resolutions tomorrow. I like to post them on the off chance someone reads them and is like, "So... did you lose that 30 pounds you said you were going to lose?!?" It keeps me honest.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Final Countdown

In less than 48 hours, I will be finished with school. Just two more finals and I ... am... done.

I really have nothing else to say right now. That pretty much sums it up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"I don't feel 5."

That's my Penny. She still feels the youthful exuberance of 4. The quiet wisdom of an added year has not yet hit my sweet daughter.

We had a lovely time on her birthday this year. McDonalds. A new Nintendo DS. A cake made with a pound and a half of butter. All good things. And not to make this all about me or anything, but this was the last day of my 10-day vacation and it was awesome!

So here are some birthday pics of Penny. In case you wander across this lonely island of a blog, I take pics of my girls every year on their birthdays wearing dresses I once wore, to watch them grow into them. And here is my new 5-year-old daughter, who still feels like she's merely 4.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Getting a nursing job is the easiest job I've ever gotten. I don't graduate for another !!!!3 weeks!!! and I won't start until February, but it's decided. And during a time when nursing jobs are not as plentiful as you might think. But I guess they're plentiful enough.

I'll be working on a surgical ward that is pretty much the hospital's equivalent of a newspaper's general assignment reporter. This is good because I think being a general assignment reporter is a great way to learn how to become a reporter. Sure, you can specialize in cops or sports or features right away, but if you don't do GA, you never learn what you really love. Or... what you're really good at.

But that's where the similarities between nursing and journalism job hunts ends. Nursing jobs are much more plentiful than the journalism job market of 10 years ago, and for that I am thankful.

So now I've moved on to another phase. It's the phase absent of motivation and drive. And I have a week off so this phase is also highlighted with excessive amounts of wine. Today, I picked up Penny and pretty much hung around the house all day. Then I called Steve and told him I think we should go out to eat. We let Carolyn decide, since she had a rockin' report card Friday, and she immediately yelled out "Chinese buffet."

It's too bad I have a paper to write this week, because I feel sorry for my classmates but I just don't see it being all that great. Sorry classmates, but I have a job and now I am obligated to progress to the next level where I rest on my laurels for at least a day or two.

Or three. Or four...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The job hunt

Well, it's really more of a browsing. In a very small store. With only two items. But still, it's job time.

And that's because school time is almost over. After tomorrow, I'll have just three weeks of classes left. THREE WEEKS!!!!! And in three weeks, I will have earned 62 credits. That's crazy, but oh so real.

This week I had two job interviews at my hospital of choice. When there's only two items in the store, one usually sort of stands out. The first interview was on a surgical unit. They see ortho cases, hysterectomies, gall bladder removals, and stuff like that. It has a really great manager and is the sort of place where you learn lots of stuff. It is where I originally planned on working.

Then I interviewed on the CVCU, or cardiovascular care unit. It's exactly like it sounds. Hearts. Hearts. Hearts. It also has a great manager but was not where I expected to work right out of school. It's very specialized.

So I've decided.... Well, nothing for sure yet. Both seem very interested and I'm leaning toward CVCU for a couple of reasons. The first is I loved the manager and her description of the floor. It seemed fast paced and interesting. The second is the hours, which are just slightly better than surgical.

But mainly, it's because it poses a huge challenge for me and I hate to see a challenge not met. The heart is such a specific organ, but we know so much about it and have all these ways to fix it. And yet, it's still our biggest health issue. And this will give me the sort of critical care experience I wanted three years from now, but today.

So in an attempt to not talk myself out of it, I've been obsessively calling the director for about a day now. I left a message this morning, but on my way out the door just now, I decided to try one more time. And, of course, she was there. And, of course, she said she'd call me right back. So I'm basically blogging to fill the time.

And still no call. C'mon lady. I'd hate to see this as a sign.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Big kids

My kids are getting so old. They are totally like little people now. Carolyn says things all the time that she picks up at school that are hilarious. And Penny... Well, Penny is just her own kind of girl. Very theatrical.

Yesterday, we took them to the ISU football game. It was family weekend. Usually, that means college kids bringing their parents to campus. But for me, it meant bringing my kids to campus. We rode our bikes downtown for lunch and then to the game. It was super fun.

Penny said she wants to be a football player so (and this is totally a quote), "So I can kill all the white guys." I should probably mention the other team had white uniforms, just so you don't think we're horrible people.

And the people behind us were grandparents who were missing their grandkids (who live a couple of hours away) very much. So they decided to dote on ours, which was super nice. They gave them extra popcorn and red licorice.

It was a fun, sunny, fall day. Totally fun.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Six weeks

I don't blog anymore because... well... I'm not so sure. I have senioritis big time, but this session is actually quite a bit easier than the last nine months. And just five more weeks of classes. I feel sort of weird about everything. I should be excited, but I'm not. I should continue trying to learn, but I'm lacking any semblance of motivation. I should study for my test, but instead, I'll drink wine and watch football. I've run exactly one time this week.

And that pretty much sums it up right now.

But here are some Halloween pics to show you I'm not completely ignoring the children. Some of them are from tonight, including with the neighbor kids who we hung out with tonight (super fun!). But some are from last weekend when I took them to the haunted trail. See what a great parent I am : )

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall fun

This poor blog. No longer am I cleverly finding new and improved methods of self deprecation. Now, I'm merely complaining, freaking out, yelling at my kids, complaining and then patting myself on the back for doing such a bang up job in nursing school.

To remedy the poor quality (and quantity) of this blog as of late, here are some pictures from the last few weekends. Because, though you might not know it, we still have children and interact with them, somewhat.

For instance, yesterday we took the girls to a fun run at IWU. After, we enjoyed some bouncy houses and face painting.

We went to the Children's Museum a couple of times. Incidentally, it was voted as the best children's experience in Illinois and featured on the Travel Channel, in case any of our parent friends feel up for a road trip.

We went to a nearby Fall Festival at the ISU gardens. This is also a pretty cool, very free, attraction that is surprisingly nice and fun. Penny's preschool class made that scarecrow, btw.

So you can see, we are having fun. At least on the weekends we are!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

School troubles

I have school troubles. Not my school. The girls' schools.

In case I haven't outlined this, let me do so now. Carolyn goes to the local elementary school. It's considered "bad" in this district, which is another way of saying both poor and black children attend. We had a pretty good experience there last year but aren't thrilled. Carolyn seems to be doing very well in her reading and math, so we don't worry about it too much.

Penny, on the other hand, was accepted to the Illinois State U. lab school. This is a public school run by the university, so it has lots of extra perks. Extra teachers. Extra money. Extra involved parents (you need to apply to be accepted, which weeds out a bunch of lazy bones right off the bat).

So Penny, my extra talkative preschooler, is attending this school with like nine teachers, access to an iPad and a pool. Not only is she the most popular kid in school, she shares her day with us pretty much minute by minute. In addition, she has very open teachers who blog once a week, send tons of information home, take pictures of the kids and make books for the parents to look through and generally have an open door policy. Penny is doing great and we are very happy there.

On the other hand is Carolyn. I have NO IDEA what school is like for her. She shares nothing. She doesn't talk about her friends. She can't remember what she had for lunch. Nothing. Her teacher shares very, very little. She doesn't blog or send home updates. I get a spelling list at the beginning of the week and that's pretty much it. Carolyn and I struggled all week to talk about her science lesson, which we finally figured out tonight.

So I did something very unlike me and I e-mailed her teacher. I just told her my concern that Carolyn was having problems, maybe socially, adjusting to school this year. She's really doing great at the reading and writing, so I figured it must be social.

And that's pretty much where I stand. Because I haven't heard back from her. And I still have no idea what's going on with Carolyn. Penny, (again) on the other hand, is doing great, according to the parent-teacher conference I had with her teacher today. Of course.

So, our family is indeed undertaking a very interesting experiment of what happens when one kid goes to a shitty school and the other one goes to an awesome school. Not exactly what I had in mind initially.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Better now

Sometimes the thought of school is much worse than school itself. I guess that sort of goes for life. The new job. The new friend. The new hobby. Sometimes these things can be scary.

Or maybe it's just me. It's probably me.

Anyway, this session of school is amazing. It's the best content of the year with lots of very in-depth information about critical care. It has the best clinicals, with experience in critical care and actually working on the floor I where I want to work (I even applied!). It has far less busy work than the last two session and only two classes, so many fewer exams.

And I have the most amazing teachers this session. OK. I'll stop now.

But it's very exciting to start working on this session, start preparing for boards and start thinking about a job as an RN. I'M GOING TO BE AN RN IN 11 WEEKS!!!

So there's lots to be happy about, if I had time for happy. In between the girls' two schools, their activities like ballet and CCD, parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, exercise (hahaha), school picnics, cooking dinner, talking to my husband, blah blah blah, there's very little time for silly things like feeling stuff. So don't go expecting Christmas cards this year.

But I've very happy to be back in school for this last session.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Session 3: OVER....

When I think back on this year, I'll remember session 2 as the hardest session in nursing school, but session 3 was definitely the biggest pain in the ass. It just seemed impossible to catch up, the clinicals were far away and at weird hours and we had these massive four-hour lectures.

But it's over... And I had five days off in a row that felt like about 15 minutes. And then... back to school.

Ugh. I just don't feel like going back to school. I feel like going to bed. I'm just not sure I can learn much more. My tiny brain just can't take it. And with the kids back in school, we are so busy all the time with activities and school schedules. But, I'm sure I'll get through the next 12 weeks somehow.

Now, that's a depressing blog. But that's really all I have for now.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

School on ADD

As I was basking in the awesomeness of the weekend, whistling away, the guy who sits next to me in class starts laughing.

Turns out, he likes me when I'm in a good mood

And not so much when I'm not.

I had completely forgotten about last week, when I was a malcontent who oozed grumpiness and dissatisfaction with life. It was a very, very bad week and I was not afraid to spread my negativity to those around me.

So it's sort of nice that I have the attention of a fruit fly. It's much nicer to think that I'm always this happy, even when the guy sitting next to me knows the truth.

Monday, September 06, 2010

I didn't even have to use my AK

It for sure was a good day. Good weekend actually. Good two weekends.

For one: It was my birthday weekend. Love it. I love having Labor Day weekend and my birthday fall at the same time. Since I don't really feel the need to honor labor unions, it sort of frees up the weekend for more fun stuff. Like beer.
Oh and fun afternoon stuff like bike rides to the farmer's market and lunch on campus. And a new bike basket that totally rocks.

Two: Quick trip to Chicago. It was lots of fun heading to Chicago, mostly so I could go to Ikea. I'm not sure why I love that store so much. Sort of makes me feel like I'm in another country. I swear, I saw a guy in sub-saharan African attire loading boxes into his Sedan. It is a very diverse crowd. Oh... And I also love Cheesecake Factory. And hotels. And big, pink flowers from H&M.

Three: School. It's actually sort of winding down right now and my heart isn't really in it. I try to stay focused, but it's hard with so much fun to be had. But yeah for me... My class voted me to speak at the graduation thingy at the end of the year. Probably not the biggest deal in the world. After all, there are only 25 of us. But I sort of feel awesome that Carolyn and Penny get to hear me speak at the ceremony. I think it will really help them wrap their heads around the year.

And hopefully, I won't sound like a jackass.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A quick blog for a quick trip

I don't blog much because I find facebook so much faster and much better with the instant gratification. Also, not much is happening. I finished clinicals and going into my last session in a few weeks. Next? The job search. The girls started school, which is something big, I guess. Last week was so crazy I just didn't have time to process it much less blog about it.

Short version... Penny is at the fancy-shmancy university school run by ISU. She's in preschool, which we pay for, but she's guaranteed a spot in the regular school, which is free. It's very fancy, which swimming lessons during school and lots of activities.

Carolyn is still at her ghetto school, which I sort of love. I LOVE her teacher and everything seems to be going along great this year. She's joining the Daisy's (an arm of girl scouts) this year and she's really good at math.

So, I'm blogging to post some pictures to our quick trip to Chicago. Well, not really Chicago, but a consumer version of it. We went to the suburbs to go to Ikea, the fancy mall, the Lego museum and the Cheesecake Factory. And yes... of course I'm embarrassed by the nature of this buy, buy, buy trip, but I also had a great time at Ikea, so that made me feel a little better.

Here's the pics before I dig my hole a little deeper.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

First memories

One of my first memories is pulling the chair out from underneath my mother while she was hanging out with her friends. It was a last second decision that I instantly regretted and I began to cry almost before her butt hit the floor.

For Steve, it was a time he took a candy bar from the grocery store aisle and ate it while his busy mother focused on the groceries. He was halfway done with the candy before his crime was discovered, a crime he would pay for in spankings.

I believe Penny had her first memory yesterday. She picked up a rock and threw it right at a lifeguard, hitting her!!!! The girls are always picking up rocks and throwing them, and I'm always telling them to not to pick up rocks and throw them. I honestly believe she didn't mean to hit the lifeguard, but that's what happened.

In true "this is my child" fashion, she started to cry almost immediately after the rock hit the ground. I saw the entire thing, so it was made slightly worse by my very, very angry tone of voice. For almost 15 minutes we had to deal with heavy sobbing as we worked through this problem. And... in the end... it is my strong belief that her rock-throwing days are behind her.

Friday, August 06, 2010


This session is a total and complete nightmare... sort of. My group, as a whole (definitely with exceptions) is not very much fun. There's tons of homework. I hate, hate, hate one of my clinicals and I hate the instructor even more. I work nights, blah, blah, blah and more of the same.


I got to watch a real, live birth yesterday. Not only that, I got to do all the baby care and assessments in the first hour of the baby's life. It was AMAZING!!!! I felt overwhelmed and excited and incompetent and exhilarated all at once. It was, by far, the most amazing day of this semester.

And part of the session has actually been great. We've been at a children's hospital the two and a half weeks. I thought that experience was also amazing, but with fewer caps. I thought I would be really annoyed by the parents, or lack thereof. But really, that hasn't been too big a deal for me. I just love caring for children. There's something intuitive about caring for children. Although, like my instructor pointed out, a child's death is something that some nurses just don't want to do. And I get that. But I will say, little kid poop is SO much better than old man poop.

And not that I'm counting or anything, but 30 weeks down, 18 to go. Woot-woot, as the good people on Facebook would say.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whew. Glad that's over.

I just finished up my once-a-session nervous breakdown. It was a particularly bad breakdown that had me sobbing into my keyboard at 10 p.m. Friday night as I finished up an online assignment.

Haha, right! Yeah, I'm totally serious. No exaggerating or anything.

I feel most bad about involving one of my classmates. At the very beginning of my breakdown, I was totally stressed out while doing a group project. Poor guy expected the usual cheery, optimistic Chris and got something that seemed to scare him just a little.

That's the accelerated program. One day, you're taking care of people, feeling super nursey, and the next day you're crying into your keyboard, feeling old and ridiculous. It's the constant demands without any relief. And it's so all-consuming that Steve doesn't even want to hear the word "nurse" anymore. But, as I mentioned in the title, at least the breakdown is over and I can go back to my normal, not crazy self.

At least until the fourth session....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Very busy

I haven't had a lot of time to post. Clinicals started so that means four 10-hour days a week... plus commuting... plus homework... plus time worked in to bitch about the commute and the homework.

Everybody made it back safe and sound from Texas. Well... sound at least. Penny broke her arm and has a big purple cast. She loves to show it off and it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all. It is sort of a bummer she can't finish out her Wee Ball season (and now, she'll probably never go pro... dammit) but mostly it's not a big deal at all.

So here's a few pictures to tide you over until I have more than five minutes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to Normal

I'm back from my fun-filled weekend in the foothills of Texas. From Normal, Ill. to Utopia, Tx. That's how I roll.

The trip was fun, but Steve has the camera so more on that later.

My biggest adventure was actually getting to Texas after that tropical storm hit on Thursday. Our tiny plane from Bloomington (I ♥ you Bloomington airport) was en route to Dallas when the Dallas airport shut down. We circled for a bit, but then gas issues (frankly, I'm surprised that little plane has enough gas to get to Dallas, much less circle) dictated we needed to land in Oklahoma City.

Only, en route to Oklahoma City, that airport closed. So... and if you know me, this is the funny part.... we landed in Tulsa. That's right. Home to the in-laws. Who were in Utopia. Well, they were near Utopia.

And in Tulsa we stayed. Right on the tarmac. For almost two hours!

We finally got back in the air to Dallas, and when we landed my plane to San Antonio was boarding. I don't know if any of you have been to the Dallas airport before, but let's say it's no Bloomington airport. I full on ran and caught my plane, which had about 50 people standing out front, waiting to board standby. About two minutes after I got on, the remaining two seats were given to other people.

Thank you God for making me a runner two years ago, if only because it was the singular reason I made my plane and the day was saved.

And bonus. The restaurant at the hotel was still open when I got there at 11 and I had the most delicious salad I have ever eaten, all while watching Seinfeld.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Queen of Hyperbole

This is what Steve calls me. It's because I don't half-ass anything, not even my declarations that "This is the best weekend, EVER!!!!!"

Apparently I say this almost every weekend. But this weekend it really was true. Now (boo), this is the worst Tuesday, ever.... Steve and the girls left for Texas today (which, haha on me, is actually cooler temp-wise than it is in Illinois right now) so I'm in my basement, writing about the girls and catching up on my printing.

Say what you will, an empty house is good for getting some quality printing done.

But, here's some pictures from the weekend, the best weekend EVER!

There was a dance party, USA style!

We went to the pool.

And you probably can't tell from this picture, but Carolyn just finished going down the red slide. I"ll call it suicide slide. It drops you straight down so it feels like you're free falling. I rode it once, and that was enough thank you very much.
Carolyn climbed a tree!

And Charlie got stuck in a tree.

And let's not forget the All-American sport of sibling T-ball!

So, obviously, you can see where I get this Best Weekend Ever stuff.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Best day (ever?) in a super long time

I had all these plans to get caught up today. "Caught up" meaning getting a bunch of projects done today that are due 12 weeks from now. But I'm no fool. By now, I know that eight weeks from now, there will be no time for extra stuff, even if extra is mandatory.

But still, when I left for my clinical hours at a daycare center today, fully intending to spend the rest of the day at the library, I realized something. I realized Penny needed me to be home. She NEEDED it. So I made the decision to get the girls before noon, make lunch and just spend the day at home.

What a great decision. I am literally patting myself on the back while I type this. I'm that good.

Anyway, I made lunch. Spider Man mac and cheese. A big hit. Penny slept for a marathon 2 1/2 hour session (told you she needed it) while I finished up my homework and Carolyn spent some quality time with her DS.

Then the fun started. I got to spoil my girls in a way I usually don't get to do. I let them chase down the ice cream truck. I played mermaid at the pool. I promised them some Silly Bandz from Walgreens tomorrow (it was only a matter of time before they learned about the lure of silly bandz). I downloaded my first Miley Cyrus song on iTunes, not to mention a couple of songs to satiate the girls' Black Eyed Peas appetite. We watched Carolyn play t-ball, including a very well-intentioned try at first base. Go Green Bugs!!!

So it was a good day. A very good day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Girls, girls, girls

Here's a quick update, mostly because I just bought a new camera over the weekend and I wanted to look at the new pictures that will no longer have that annoying black dot floating in the middle of all my photos.

It's a quick update because I started my third session of school today. I'm trying to wrap my brain around the homework assignments, which seem to be numerous and scattered throughout the calendar in a way that makes me think my teacher sorta hates students. But I'm wading through it all, doing my best.

Speaking of wading, the girls finished swim classes last week. They are super cute in their goggles and swim caps, especially when they're hugging. Don't ya think...

Penny took her first leap off the diving board and said it wasn't scary at all.

She and Carolyn are both doing awesome at the pool. I seemed to have gotten a couple of guppies. Carolyn's favorite game is to swim to the middle of the pool and just sort of hang out. I'm terrified the lifeguard is going to assume she's struggling, even though she's just pretending "I'm a fish in a pool."

Here's a couple of more, just because they're so darn cute. Also, it reminds me just how lucky I am. A former co-worker of mine who is just 40 and has a young daughter died over the weekend. It is so, so, so sad. I'm hearing she had cancer, but my heart goes out to her and her family. It really makes you take stock of the important things, which happen to be:

Friday, June 25, 2010

B's get degrees

In nursing school, we say this to ourselves a lot. On particularly bad weeks, we change it to "C's get degrees."

But secretly, we all (most of us because I'm sure there's at least two non A-type personalities in this program) feel like failures with anything less than an A. At this time, I'll stop using the word "we." When I got straight B's this session, I didn't feel like a failure, but I did feel like I would have liked at least one A. I also felt a huge relief that I passed because this session was a real bitch.

So it was sort of like Christmas morning today when I got an announcement that some lost extra-credit has affected the grades of two students and I saw one of those students was ME!!! I got an A in Adult 2, totally the hardest class I've had yet. And it's 7 credits! That's huge.

I'm enjoying my four-day holiday by not doing much of anything. Well, I'm carting the girls off to swimming practice, taking them to the pool for some fun, hanging out with my mom who's come to visit and then going to T-ball practices. And I finished my fun book already ("The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night," which I really enjoyed). And I went running. Had a picnic in the park. Going to the pool again later today.

But other than that, I'm taking it easy. Gotta enjoy these days off, right!

Monday, June 21, 2010

One down, two to go

I love finals week. You'd think it would be incredibly hard, but comparatively speaking, it's pretty much cake. No lectures. No clinicals. No homework. I go to class to take a test for two hours and then I'm done for the rest of the day.

And by done, I mean I sit in the basement for six hours looking through my 2,630-word Med-Surg textbook looking up stuff I'm pretty sure I've never heard or read about before today.

See... Cake!

To make this week even better (and it really is pretty awesome, actually), I found my missing netbook. Well, not me, but the lovely custodial staff at Illinois State University. I guess I left it in the classroom on Thursday (yes, I know today is Tuesday) and they turned it in to the university police. Awesome! I know some department that's getting a big old Thank You e-mail later this week.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm back... sorta...

Summer has made it abundantly clear that life is very quickly passing me by. I don't record my always insightful thoughts anymore. I don't take pictures of my girls. I didn't even go outside today. All day....

But there is so much going on right now that it would be sinful not to try and get some of that down. And because I believe in the very depths of my heart that the worst of school is now behind me (just three finals before I'm half a nurse!!!!) I feel I can devote some time to recording this insanely crazy year.

For instance, I watched someone escape from a state-run mental institution last week. Scaled the fence and all. I have finished my first rotation in a hospital and I got to see a surgery. It was super cool. School was very, very difficult this last session. It was either test after test after test, or 16 hours of homework every weekend. Sometimes both. I still run, but not a lot. I ran a very slow 4 miles this weekend and thought I was doing pretty good.

And then there's the family. Where to begin? Well, Penny got in Metcalf, which is this super cool public school (experimental school, actually) run by Illinois State University. We're going on a family reunion in a few weeks. Texas! In July! Yes, this really is the plan... Carolyn is reading!

Here's just a sampling of the rest.

• We put a swing in the backyard.

• We turned on the sprinkler and put up the hammock.

• Carolyn is signed up for T-ball. She had her first game Friday. She's not really very good, but she's very fast. Penny is playing Wee Ball. She is both good and fast. I love the no-nonsense look she gets on her face when she practices.

• We go to the pool.... A LOT...

And there you have it. All caught up.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I ain't going to blog no more

In reply to Julia's question about whether I'll blog again, I'm here to say no. Well, except for this blog, or if something really horrible happens. But for the most part: No. I will not be blogging anymore.

And here is why.

My life is an emotional roller coaster that would be hard to reconstruct daily into an amusing observation. For instance, my day might start off fine, followed by something emotionally horrible, followed by a really amazing experience. I do not have the stamina to record these near-daily ups and downs. I'd really like to record all my self-perceived incompetence, which proved to be pretty funny in the parenting department, but back when I was merely parenting I had time to dwell on and reconstruct those awful moments of self-doubt. Today, I can barely remember the reason for the breakdown that sent me into a downward spiral on Wednesday. (That's totally true, and not stated for effect).

So let's just say that I'm 85 percent sure I'll pass this session (even though my grades have been slipping as the session wears on) and I'm having some great experiences. For instance, I'm working at a hospital and at a state mental institution which houses a guy being investigated by the CIA. For real... But that's all I know for now.

Sorry Julia. You'll just have to rely on my comments on your blog for information. BTW... Julia's blog is awesome. Anybody reading this blog should definitely start reading hers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New post

I'm basically adding a post because I haven't been posting much. Things in school are extremely stressful. We're doing this thing they call "front loading" that essentially means the teachers are trying to get us as much information as possible before we walk into the hospital. This means we attend class for about six hours of very fast lecture every day.

It is ever so much fun.

This program actually is changing next year based on several factors. I guess the strange schedule that doesn't fit in with the rest of the university, the scattered resources and "front loading" have all affected the university's decision to change this 12-month program into a 16-month program.

Right now, we have four 12-week session. The new program will have a summer session, followed by a regular year with traditional nursing students, followed by a second summer session. While this logically makes sense, I'm so, so, so thankful I didn't wait until 2011 to apply, because this would have meant I would have started 6 months later than expected and been in school almost an extra year.

So... while I bitch and moan about the pace and how school blows and how I never see my family, I actually am doing exactly what I wanted to do, exactly when I wanted to do it.

All in all, a pretty sweet deal. Even with the front loading.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Second session sleepies

For whatever reason, this second session is making me tired.

Maybe it's the six hours of lecture about perioperative care. Maybe it's the two tests next week. Maybe it's the two exams next week or the basement caves where I learn how to be a nurse as the rest of the world enjoys spring and frolics about on campus. (I should post about our classroom situation next week with pictures because now that we've been given a taste of windows, I'm not sure I like it.)

Who knows why so sleepy. I am a little worried I'm going to have a hard time of it when I start clinicals in a few weeks that require me to get up at 4 a.m. Yep. It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Session 2: Bring it

Despite the 1 point fiasco, I managed to survive my first semester of nursing school with three As and one very high B. Pretty fantastic.

Now, after a Friday off and one whole, entire weekend, I'm back in school. And I've done what any great nursing student does to prepare. I print. I print and print and print some more. I print things that make no sense to me at all. I convert .docx to .doc files and then I print them. I print student evaluation forms and power point presentations and case studies.

And then... I sit on the couch and watch basketball, pretending my three-day break actually lasted four days. Because even though I'm not caught up on my printing, I'm caught up for tomorrow and that's fine by me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Final blues

I'm having a nice pity party. Turns out, mediocrity is my specialty. I got a B in my health assessment class. Final grade: 89.3 percent. That's one point out of 768 points that's keeping me from my A. Dammit....

One additional point on an online quiz (I missed three!). A half question on any exam. Just 10 more minutes of studying.

I think it's God smiting me for not going to confession last night like I had planned. Steve said God stopped smiting people in the Old Testament, but I kinda think he still does it, but just on a smaller scale.

On a less whiny note, I got an A in patho. Like it matters now. I'm going back to my party. It's on the couch and it's cozy, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The calm before the shit starts hitting my life

I feel bad complaining that I don't have much to do right now. Like today. Out of class by 1. I talked to some old (dear-old, not old-old) friends on the phone. I watched my show (Rafe is, like, so hot!).

My paper is done. I'm pretty solid on my grades. Finals next week. It's been very nice outside.

But in about a month, that all ends. Two clinicals a week. One in Springfield, which is only about an hour and a half away. Crazy... But life is much too fun right now to be blogging.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

One more week

I have one more week of classes, followed by a week of finals, and I'm done with this first session.

Wow. I should feel great about almost being 25 percent done with nursing school. But all I feel is nervous. Nervous about this second, more strenuous second session schedule. Nervous about two clinicals a weeks. Nervous about being busy while everybody else gets to enjoy summer. Nervous about my hour and a half commute with a new carpool partner.

Also, I spent six straight hours locked in my basement cave today writing a five-page paper. FIVE PAGES. And I'm a writer! What happened to my brain?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I spoke too soon

I recently e-mailed a friend of mine about how being in back in school at 36 was really no big deal.

This is what I get for bragging.

It's not enough that the girls (it's nursing school, so almost all women/girls) were talking about getting wasted recently, or that they'll be headed to the bar at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon for St. Pat's Day. But, I was the volunteer for our neurology assessment today, which includes reflexes. My reflexes were horrible. While the 23-year-old's were practically kicking themselves in the head with their super-awesome reflexes, mine were barely visible mini kicks, which I guess is sort of age related.

Now, I can take the funny talk about being old, the self deprecation and the idea of being the "sort of (not really) coolish, olderish person." But it's a whole different story when it's physiological.

Nothing like the body saying "Don't you think you're a little old for this?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not a superhero

I can't do it all. Well, I guess I can, but I can't and stay sane.

So I backed out of a freelance job I had taken over spring break. I took it specifically to do over break, but it's Thursday and no assignment yet. So I quit.

It's official. I'm a quitter.

This is just a small public confession to my feeling bad. Somehow, it always makes me feel better. Thanks for listening!

Friday, March 05, 2010

What mediocrity feels like

In just a few short weeks, I'll be done with my first session of nursing school. One down. Four to go.

This is good news and it seems like passing won't be the problem I originally expected. But after this brutal week of tests, it seems I'm getting a 89 percent average on tests in two classes.

OH MY GOD... An 89 percent!!!!

Steve tells me my insane desire to get all As all the time is, well, insane. Whether I get As or Cs in all my classes has very little bearing on my nursing career (unless there's a grad school in my future, which Steve tells me is just simply not the case) but I can't help but feel getting all As is the only acceptable route.

I might be more open to Bs if I wasn't carrying a strong A in the class I had thought would be the hardest. Of course I'm speaking of pathophysiology. That's right. I'm a super nerd.

Speaking of nerds, tell me this isn't the finest grouping you've ever seen. Last day of clinicals. I'm free. I'm free (for a few days). I'm finally free....

Thursday, March 04, 2010

There can be only one....

(good one)....

Turns out, only one child at a time can be the good one. Like, Carolyn's a handful and Penny's sweet as sweet potato pie. Carolyn starts doing great in school and being really considerate, and Penny kicks me during an evening walk, just because she's pissed off.

Penny was pretty sick about a week ago. She had it pretty bad (virus, fever, pain... pretty much the whole nine ugh yards). I think I've mentioned this before, but when she's sick, she pretty much just lays on the couch and is super cuddly. But, surprise-surprise, when she comes out of it, bad things happen. And this time was not only not an exception, it was an example.

But I was pretty much aware of nothing. That's because I took four tests this week. I wrote three papers. I did an abdominal exam proficiency. And that's what I did.

Incidentally, I also scared the shit out of my Adult Nursing 1 instructor yesterday as I ran by her on the trail, scream "HI!!!!" and kept on running when it became clear she had no idea who I was.

Sorry for posting a series of non sequiturs. But that's what my life is right now. A moment here. A moment there. Turns out, I'm not really anywhere. Also, I've given up Facebook for Lent so I need a place to put all my small, insignificant thought(s).

Friday, February 26, 2010

The things you learn in Nursing school

Sort of the point of this blog, but lately I'm too tired to care much about blogging.

But here's an interesting tidbit: During our Health Assessment class this week, we were assessing each others' abdomens. While it's loads of fun to show off my big, fat stomach to my super skinny labmate, it's also very educational.

For instance, I learned I have a super tiny liver. This is both very nice and a little surprising. I guess all that wine hasn't grown my liver into the size of a small state.

Let's drink to that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What I'll do for a three-day weekend

I started today with a test at 8 a.m., followed by a heart and lung assessment proficiency and, finally, ending at 2 a.m. after an 11-hour clinical.

Yes. It was totally worth it for a three-day weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthday break

Haha... Not for me. My life is relatively break -free for the moment. I took 107 question Path test a few days ago (and, amazingly, got 103 correct just because I'm so super brainy) and today I start a nightmarish clinical rotation that includes a test at 8 a.m., a heart and lung assessment at 11 a.m., clinicals at 3, bed at 10 and up again at 4 for more clinicals.

I felt sort of sad writing all that.

But the reason I'm blogging is Carolyn. She's 6! While her birthday was sort of a bummer because a bout of the sick, it was actually sort of nice because she's got a visiting grandma, she got a DS for her birthday, and she gets a B-day extension because she gets her school celebration today.

But... that's not the reason I'm writing either.

Yesterday, I guess she was being sort of mad about something. Steve said that sounded like whining. You know... the sort of noise a 5-year-old might make. He asked her, "Are you 5 or 6?"

"Daddy! It's just my first day."

Now. That's why I'm writing.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


You might wonder what that previous title, a title without an entry, was all about. Well, when you leave your lunch in the car, then go to Jimmy John's to get a sandwich, and promptly lose that sandwich on the one-block walk back to class, you appear just the slightest bit crazy when you return to Jimmy John's to ask if anybody turned in a sandwich.

Bad week.

But today, I'm realizing not really all that bad.

For instance, my Health Assessment teacher is going through chemo for breast cancer. As an aside, I think I'm in love with her. She's about the best teacher I ever had. Today during lecture, she pulled out a huge chunk of her own hair and I about started crying. She'll probably be fine and all, but what an incredibly personal way to interact with her class. I know this, because I had to stick my hands down a classmates pants the other day as I looked for the femoral vein.

Then, I called my well-elder for my clinical project. This guy really isn't "well" in the way most people are. For instance, he's 93 and pretty disgusting. Last week I picked up a 5 pound, urine-soaked pad off his living room floor. Anyway, I called him tonight and he told me his blood-work came back and things aren't looking so hot.

And my "frail" elder is on hospice. So there's that.

In the grand scheme of things, losing a sandwich doesn't seem like such a big deal. Neither does the incident where the bus driver yelled at me, or the frustration of not being able to keep track of everything, or the broken dryer, or the Intro test I don't feel great about.

Then why does it feel like such a big deal?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Intro to feeling like a dumbass

Nothing feels quite as lovely as somebody making you feel like the biggest idiot in the world.

Enter my Intro to Nursing teacher, although I use that term loosely.

Today, we were learning to write care plans, which is something probably all nursing students learn and hate. While meeting in little groups, she came around and we asked her some questions about nighttime urinary output and edema, or swelling in the ankles.

"Well, what happens to heart perfusion when you lay down?" she said.

"It goes down," one girl said.


"Well, we're not sure what it does," we all agreed, nervously nodding to one another.

"WHAT??? WHAT??? Just think about it." To illustrate her eloquent point, she made her ink pen stand up, lay down, stand up, lay down.

Of course, she went on, it goes up. Of course it does. Then she walked away sort of disgusted in all of us. This from a woman who told us the right diagnosis wasn't in the book we were using. A book she clearly hates.

Well readers of this blog, if a few months, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to say I got 100 percent on my first Patho exam, but I needed to drop out of college because I failed Intro to Nursing. Oh, what a proud day that will be.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pathophysiology and pharmacology

A few months ago, I wasn't even sure what pathophysiology meant. Spell check doesn't even acknowledge it as a word. Today, I took my first test.

100 percent!!!! That's right.

Sure the tests will continue to get harder. Sure I probably overstudied. Sure it's sort of wrong of me to gloat about getting the only perfect score (that I know of, although it's a group of 25 people who I see for 6-8 hours every day).

But it sure is a nice ego-booster and, hopefully, a sign of things to come.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another great day at clinicals

I have next-to-no-time available to me this weekend, but I just had to mention the fantastic day I had yesterday at clinicals.


Totally awesome. I gave eight H1N1 shots to Alzheimer's patients, so the lady that screamed bloody murder ended up following me around for 30 minutes because she couldn't really remember I was the person she hated. Anyway, I gave more shots than anybody else in my group because I'm pretty fast. It's a mom thing. Turns out, being a mom is a good training course for being a nurse.

I also had great interviews with my two patients and will be passing meds next week.

Well, back to my studying. I have a pathophysiology test Monday and a health assessment test Tuesday. Turns out, studying for tests is not nearly as fun as giving shots.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Test 1 down; 15 to go

That's 15 tests left this session. Then just three sessions after that. And 16 more tests per session. Now I'm hyperventilating. Now I'm freaking out. Step back. Just think about Saturday. Saturday....

Ahhh. That's better.

So where was I? Oh yes, my first test down. I got an 89 percent. Not too shabby. Almost an A, not that it matters. That's what the group collectively decided today. Grades are not important as long as we pass the classes and, more importantly, the NCLEX, the national licensing exam.

But that's 50 weeks further ahead than I'm allowing myself to think.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Clinical goodness

So... Just two weeks and we're in the clinical setting. It's a nursing home but it's such a great break after sitting in a classroom for hours upon hours each week. Not that I don't love learning about drug metabolism for the third time in one week, but the break is nice.

My group is at a very rural nursing home in the middle of a cornfield. It's run by Mennonites, which I mistakenly believed are Amish-like. I do know they make a mean strawberry pie by the annual Mennonite strawberry pie festival. Anyway, it's a really interesting place.

All the students get a frail elder and a well elder for this clinical rotation. My frail elder is dying. I am not at all joking about this. She's dying and will likely die during my rotation. While I find this very sad, but I also think it might be a great opportunity for both me and this patient to enter the dying process together. Truth be told, it will probably definitely be a better opportunity for me than for her, but I hope we both benefit from it.

My well elder is a very gossipy old guy who pretty much lives in his own filth. I'm approaching this as my "light" assignment and not getting too creeped out by the old-man smell.

Another benefit of clinical is my carpool group. They are a group of very ambitious young women who I like very much. They are so cute and driven and smart. And... they asked me to come study with them. We're meeting to study for a test Monday night. I finally feel the emergence of the college student I always knew I could be, instead of the one that was too hung over to come to class so many years ago. I'm super excited.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Intro to Nursing

I'm sure it's super important to understand the history of nursing and the modern health care system and ... oh forget it. I'm boring myself.

What I really want to know is: when do I get to start giving shots. That's what I really want to know.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adult Nursing 1

Our Adult 1 Nursing professor is super enthusiastic. Smiling and telling stories and simultaneously sorting through about 15 Web sites, she describes health promotion initiatives with the sort of vigor a college student might use when relaying a weekend drunkfest or I might use to describe a very minor grade change.

But I still feel like I haven't learned anything. At least, I'm not sure I've learned enough to pass the test next week.

I am sort of thrilled at a grade change I had on a quiz earlier this week. I asked this enthusiastic professor about a question I was sure I'd gotten right. Turns out, I had did have the answer right, except I included the word "grid," as in "Amsler grid" and the word "grid" was already written in the answer. Anyway, the quiz was for 5 of about 5,000 points, but she gave me full credit so she totally rocks.

Wasn't that fascinating!

Monday, January 11, 2010

School begins

Actually, it began six days ago. I'm just now posting, if that tells you anything. The first week was pretty awesome and I had a feeling of euphoria at my unbelievable courage and smarts. I even felt youngish. It's sort of like being a super hero.

But after a crappy night's sleep, a horrible headache and four hours of pathophysiology, with a test during our next class meeting, I'm sort of feeling slightly more like someone who might not get an A in pathophysiology. Or, really, in anything.

If I mentioned I only got a 95 percent on the third patho quiz, instead of the 100 percent I should have gotten if I were paying attention, you probably wouldn't feel as sorry for me as I feel for myself. But you should, because I suck.

Tomorrow — Health Assessment followed by Adult Nursing I. Class starts at 8 and we're going until 3:30 to make up the class time we lost last week to the snow storm. ***yeah***

Friday, January 01, 2010

Another New Year

I guess it's time for some resolutions. I did OK on last year's list. Not great. I didn't let the girls help me with dinner once a week, and I fell way short on my blogging goal (Damn you Facebook). I never had that much-needed garage sale.
But... I did get all my Catholic stuff done and ran a half marathon. I also did everything needed to get into nursing school.
And I went ahead and GOT INTO NURSING SCHOOL, even though that wasn't even on my list!
Because of that, my year is pretty much dedicated to going to school, so my resolution list will be short but with little room for failure.
1. Do not freak out. Do not freak out.
2. Pass my classes.
3. Don't focus on how hard it is. Instead, see it as fun and challenging.
4. Take at least a few hours each week just to hang out with my family.
5. Say one Hail Mary for every mean thought I have about somebody.
6. Try really hard not to yell at my family when I'm stressed out for reasons unrelated to them.
7. Run at least twice a week, even during finals.