Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Then I came home and The Hater took me to supper. Our friend and virtual little brother came with us. He does that. It works for the three of us. And tonight was another exciting evening at Chili's.
My little brother mentioned having wireless internet at his house, which I questioned because I thought that was one of the reasons he came to our apartment to visit. He said it was actually his neighbor's wireless that wasn't password protected. So it was kindof free.
He thought a minute to make an analogy that was similar to something else in real life, but laughed instead. The Hater laughed instead. I ate chips. I like chips and salsa. They talked about how it was really like stealing but not.
Then there was silence. They were both trying to think of an appropriate analogy.
* At this point I would like to say that I'm trying to get them to relive the situation to make a better story. They're playing NCAA football on the XBox and not cooporating. They're arguing over who had the worse idea and not helping me. So I'd like to go on the record as saying that they had the chance to help me tell the story and chose to lead Oregon State to beat Washington instead.
Suffice it to say that they weren't coming up with anything.
I asked if it was the same as a library, where you could go read books for free, but to take them out of the library you had to register and have a library card. ... And although it's not the same, it was a really good analogy.
But no! The Hater became the Analogy Scooge. He shot it down before I could even finish explaining why it was brilliant. Little Brother laughed.
And then Little Brother talked about a man having a lot of land with a secret road that would be a short-cut to the highway. Again, the Analogy Scrooge zaped it with the Ghost of Christmas Past. So I helped Little Brother perm it into a man with land and a 'no trespassing' sign without chains over the drive. It really worked in our head. It was exactly the same as stealing free wireless internet.
Analogy Scrooge cawed. We taunted. Then we voted and won that it was close to the same.
The Analogy Scrooge wanted to say that it would *only* work because part of everybody's land is owned by the government. That even if you owned a piece of land, the government owned the curb.
Little Brother appeased him, saying that it was like walking across someone else's sidewalk if they had a 'no trespassing' sign in the yard. Except Analogy Scrooge went scrooge on him and didn't like it.
And I renamed him the Analogy Scooge. He didn't like it. And since I was raised to be a good instigator, I choose to remind him of it here.
* If you're keeping up with the whole genderist family tree, remember that Little Brother isn't really our brother. But Sister, is my sister. Zoloft is the cat. She remains to be the most sweet and brilliant cat in the universe.
* And Little Brother doesn't like his name, but he won't give me an appropriate other choice. The Hater says we should call him DB, for Douche Bag, but I think that's too mean.
* Little Brother thinks that "The Hater" is a very appropriate name for the Analogy Scrooge. And he says that The Hater is a DB.
Yesterday morning The Hater and I slept until 8am. Someone didn't set the alarm and someone else didn't check it. Usually we both leave the house at 8am, so in a whirlwind we threw ourselves together and left for me to be at work and clock in at 8:30.
But before that I was walking out to my truck and noticed a sign taped to the window. It was from the housing people. It asked if I was aware that my tags had expired. Well, obviously not. So I walked to the back of the truck to see that they had expired -- in July.
Work was work and uneventful.
The Hater and I went on a wild goose chase when I came home trying to find the tag agency, which is about the crazy crazy in Uglyhoma. Random offices where you go to get your title and tag stuff. The tag agency was the cause of my first Uglhoma nervous breakdown shortly after we moved here.*
So we found it and alarms didn't go off when I walked in... I'm legal now, but knowing that I've been driving deviantly for about five months amuses me. I wonder how long I would've driven with expired tags before I had figured it out -- or been pulled over.
* Mini saga: The Hater and I were married, honeymooned, and moved across the river in a fever. We had lots of boxes and housekeeping things to do. I was looking for a job and tyring not to get lost. The Hater was getting ready for his first time at the job where he is now. We didn't have a cat yet, but the thought had crossed our minds. What we hadn't thought about was getting tags for the car.
We went to the Social Security office to get a new card for me with my new name on it. That was a long morning standing in lines next to people with children whose diapers needed chanigng. Then we went to get a OK license, but didn't have the marriage license after standing in line for an hour, returned and fulfilled that social obligation. They told us we needed OK tags. So we went to the tag agency and waited for another hour. After starting the paperwork they told us they wouldn't give us the tags because we didn't have "Oklahoma insurance". We explained that the offices where we had insurance were nation-wide, but she didn't care. And she was ugly.
She told us that we should be given tickets for living here more than five days and not getting OK licenses and tags. She said we should both be given $240 tickets or fines. The Hater argued with her. She didn't like being argued with... I knew that we were going to jail and I didn't know who to call to bail us out.
Keep in mind that this was all taking place at the end of July/beginning of August. It was 8 trillion degrees outside and neither of us had a car with air-conditioning. There was a lot of stress floating in the stale air.
So we left there and went to a "local" State Farm guy. They made the mistake of asking how we were. I cried and told them exactly what I thought about the tag agency. They gave us bottled water and kleenex, and then let us transfer our dirty TN car insurance with their fancy OK car insurance.
We returned to the mean lady at the tag agency. We left with tags.
And I farted on the way out. I hope it lingered.
Monday, November 28, 2005
The rules set out for me is a meat and three sides, beverage and dessert. (I'll amend for four sides if you're vegetarian. No since in spending your last few hours being miserable before you're dead.) I'm such a glutton that it's really a hard decision for me to make.
The beverage part is hard in itself because I figure there isn't going to be any refills. And I like me some refills when I'm eating. It's really hard for me not to ask for a tall glass of silver label Patrone. I mean, if you're gonna die, you might as well go with a buzz, right?
Enough stalling, here's my last menu of choice:
Hamburger, medium-well, with lettuce, tomato, and A1 sauce, on a sweet-hawaiian bread bun.
Baked sweet potato with brown sugar and butter.
Mayfield's vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup on the side.
One tall glass of patrone.
(If they won't let me have alcohol, I'll take a tall glass of sweet tea with lemon on the side.)
And if the electricity goes off and they postpone my execution until morning:
Biscuits and white gravy.
Grits with butter, not too runny.
Scrambled eggs, not too runny.
One tall Mimosa.
(Or just plain OJ if they gyp me from the buzz again.)
But hopefully I'd get those stay people on my side and the govenor would have mercy. You'd call the gov for me, wouldn't you? Sure you would. Cause if you didn't I'd find out and then come haunt your sorry self for many years to come.
Good thing we covered this.
Sure, I totally stole this idea from The Vol Abroad, who stole it from Big Stupid Tommy. If you like, you can steal it from me and we'll have a whole circle of plagerist stealers!
Let the circle be unbroken-
Sunday, November 27, 2005
We watched the Johnny Cash movie, too, which was nothing short of fabulous. It made us want to come home and listen to 'Tennesses Stud'. Johnny crooned as I wrapped presents.
And then, despite the fact that we had made plans for a little later in the evening, work caught up with me and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. It was a good day to zonk.
Friday, November 25, 2005
So I'm going to think about it for a while and then be an artist for the new year. I'll still moonlight as a nurse by day... but I'm ready to be an artist by night. I'll start dressing like the art majors and carry around the big porfolio thing and talk about the art barn.
I'm officially taking requests and suggestions now. If you would like to be one of the lucky recipients of that which has not come to be, please let me know. I need a project.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The way I figure, I have about twelve more years before I'm due a midlife crisis. I should probably hilight this day on the calandar so that The Hater will have fair warning... The irony is that the world will probably end and gyp me out of thirty years (to yield an eternity).
It's heavier than the pit of my full stomach.
This has been my attempt to avoid making a Thanksgiving Day post about the things for which I'm thankful, because really that's none of your business. You don't care that I've got a fridge of leftovers. Because in the scheme of things I know that my next 52 years on this earth won't be monumental; it'll be the same everyday adventures and miracles that I've been having, that you have. And in the end it'll be my most precious memories that bring me comfort, not knowing that I painted them on a large billboard for everybody else to read.
Carpe diem, my friends.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The bones in my body make old people sounds. My back, my knees, my wrists -- and now my left shoulder continue in a daily serenade. I still sleep in a wrist brace on my right hand because it pops less during the day when I do. And my morning ritual has consisted of stretching my back and legs since my unfortunate event carrying groceries this spring. I stretch, I pop. It's like the cereal without the milk.
About two months ago I started doing over-head arm claps again. I was feeling retro vibes from my short stent in ROTC and thought that doing 50 overhead arm claps on the days that I work would be something good for me to do. I worked up to 50 in a week (and I still hear my DS yelling the count). I tell you this because I have no idea what I've done to my left shoulder and this is my best guess.
So day-before-yesterday I'm orienting with one of the clinic nurses and I notice that every time I move my left arm in a certain way, it pops. It doesn't just crack, there's a weird-almost-nauseating-wave with the snap. And it's kindof a slow click. Nonpainful, but consistent. Consistent enough for me to be annoyed by it.
I'm too young for this, people. I work with old layds whose bones don't pop like mine. Well, the one who is old enough to be my grandmother has more pops, but you get my picture. Bodys that aren't 30 yet aren't supposed to make crickety noises.
This isn't a good time of year for new sickening pops to start. Everybody and their brother is trying to see their doctors before the new year starts and they have to re-meet their deductibles.
Now is the time where I tell you that you're supposed to do as I say and not as I do... This spring my OBGYN drew a Reichlin profile, which is a series of tests to see if you have an autoimmune disorder, specificly three disorders where your body decides to attack itself. I asked for a copy of the labwork to be mailed to me. She never called with the results, and I called twice to get the results of the labwork... and eventually got one of my coworkers to print it off for me, which is a big hospital no-no.
So I had the results of the test I didn't understand and had no idea how to interpret it. I called the OBGYN again to no avail. And then life happened and I've not thought much about it until now that my shoulder is mad at me.
And the point of this post? I'm empowering you, silly. Demand that you obtain copies of all of your labwork and pathologies. Get a folder and be your own health advocate. Be better at it than I was. And go easy on the overhead arm claps.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The ACT scores came back and my stuff in the English section was through the roof. No surprises that my math scores were nothing exciting. Someone came up with a wonderful idea (sarcasm intended) for me to take advanced math to help out my ACT score. I had to lay down the law with my parents that there was to be *NO* expectations that I would even pass the class, much less do well. I didn't get it in writing, but they accepted the terms: there would be no teacher's manual lessons at home.
I explained to Mrs. Campbell that I was only in her class to help my ACT score and that I really didn't care about any math, much less advanced math. I remember that she always looked like she'd sucked on a lemon and her eyes looked like daggers even when she smiled.
And the learning began.
At first I made a few Cs, but it wasn't long before I was just hoping to make double digits on an exam (truth, not sarcastic). I made up my own extra credit questions. I wrote narrative answers for questions that required graphs to be made. Sometimes I just drew pictures for answers. Too bad creativity isn't encouraged in math class.
But then came a section in trig. For some crazy reason cotangents and sines made sense to me. I made an A on two tests in a row. People around me in class were failing their tests and I was really liking trig. I hoped that we would keep doing it for the rest of the semester...
And then we went back to regular boring advanced math. I folded my tests into oragami when I turned them in; Mrs. Campbell didn't like my attempts to get extra credit.
The last comprehensive exam of my last semester in high school was in advanced math. The few seniors in the class were taken to the library to finish our finals so that the GPAs could be tallied for graduation. I remember looking around the library and thinking of the Breakfast Club -- wondering what would pan out for those of us who didn't care a thing about advanced math. One guy folded his test into a paper airplane and flew it across the room.
The librarian wasn't impressed with our commitment to higher learning.
This class had done nothing for my GPA. But my ACT scores had really really gone up in math, and that was the important thing. I went to Mrs. Campbell and showed her what a good job she had done; she was as excited as I was.
I would never need trig again.
Monday, November 21, 2005
I just wanted you to know that it's Monday, which means I am wearing my orange scrubs with white underarmor. It was a big decision, but I thought I'd be gutsy.I tried to shake it up and wear my black UT scrubs the Monday after a loss earlier this season, but my coworkers thought I was in mourning. So they're my Thursday rally scrubs now. Monday is brilliant orange day.
The good thing about being in Uglyhoma is that most people I work with haven't even heard of Vanderbilt. So the liklihood of hearing their fight song is slim to nil. I probably will not see a Commodore fan today, and this is a good thing.
My inner angst might go black licorice on them.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Of course I reached for orange, and as I walked around the corner towards the door he smiles and says, "Going orange? That's gutsy."
In the car he talks about the 49ers, the NFL team in his heart, that even with the first draft pick this year they still suck. Not that I can say much for the Titans, other than I hope we get the first pick next year. I'm ready for another Music City Miracle.
We eat the second best hummus in the world (second only to the short-lived 'Kebab Cusine' in Murfreesboro, which was run by the best-cooking Syrian family with phenomenal hummus). Some guy the next table over leans and says, "Hey, is that a Tenenssee visor?"
(Special note: When I first moved to Uglyhoma I had to quit saying that I was a "UT" fan because people around here confuse that to mean Texas. And even though we are brilliant orange and they're dirty orange, the whole orange T confuses them, too. It's not often that someone will ask me if it's Tennessee garb.)
I glance at my friend, wondering if there's about to be a throw-down. It would be so typical for me if he was a Vandy fan itchy to chide.
He says he was from Jamestown, TN. He had worked for the Red Cross in Nashville and had travelled to the LBG with blood drives and such. He says, "What about Vandy?"
What about Vandy? They're on fire this year! But still, we lost to Vandy. We wouldn't deserve a bowl game even if that had been the only loss of the season.
"Well," he says, "I think they should fire Phil Fulter."
I agreed with him. It's time to clean house. And Phil Fulmer's gotta go, too.
My friend posts this thing on his blog that said his angst tasted like lime. I think, lime -- it's kinda tart and sometimes squirts you in the eye. And pirates. Pirates liked limes. Coronas like limes. Sonic makes a nice cherry-limade. Lime, in general, isn't really a bad thing to have your angst compared. It's still kinda likable.
And I fall victim to the peer pressure and click on his link. I take the little quiz, wondering if my angst will be buttercream or marshmellow, asparagus or grits. And then? And then I find out that my angst is the worst flavor of Halloween candy that no kid wants to get:
Find your angst's flavor
Friday, November 18, 2005
The Hater and I are getting excited about all the forthcoming holiday festivities. We're chomping at the bit to be home for Christmas. We've been invited to some friends for Thanksgiving, and I'm told I'm to make some cornbread dressing. Nana's cornbread dressing. We'll probably take some green beans that were canned this summer, too.
I found this recipe for white chocolate fudge. I thought the picture was fabulous and just *knew* that it had to taste even better. I had been toying with the idea to make it, so last night I decided to give it a whirl. It looked simple enough.
My first problem was that I didn't have a microwavable bowl big enough to accomodate the whole lot of white chocolate and condensed milk. My second problem was that I realized this as I was scraping white-chocolately goo out of the microwave.
So I had to divide the sludge and microwave it in shifts. But all of the white chocolate morsels didn't want to completely melt. I was quickly reminded of the peanutbutter fudge disaster of 2002, in which Sister and I made lumpy fudge after high expectations of yielding beautiful creamy fudge like Mom and Marian. But lo! I mashed the hot fudge against the bowl until it was mostly melted. Some lumps would have to do.
Now vision the goo still in the microwave. Goo on the counter. Goo in the sink. Goo on my hands. Goo on the outside and inside of the microwave bowl and my mixing bowl. It was a gooful sight. The Hater came to the kitchen to inspect the chocolate and I shoo'd him away with the cat because I knew once he saw the grand takeover of the goo, he would argue that his messes in the kitchen weren't quite as -- gooey. And whereas that might have been true, this was not a time to debate semantics.
I stirred in the remaining ingredients. It reminded me of mixing concrete. And I was surprised that it had as much stuff in it. The picture definitely looks like there's more chocolate than stuff inside it-- and although I didn't have *that* much goo everywhere, the fudge itself looked funny having more mush inside than fudge on the outside.
I told The Hater that if it wasn't at least a 8.572 out of 10, I would not make it again. It wasn't worth the mess. I probably used 8 paper towels to clean up the microwave and kitchen.
Early this morning I took The Hater to the airport for his big trip to Chicago. He had to be at the airport at 5:30, which meant it was a blast from the past for me to get up in the four o'clock hour again. I've come back and had my grits, and thought I'd tackle cutting the fudge.
I about needed a hack saw, but it's cut and in a fancy little tupperware in the fridge. I tasted a little piece and can't decide if I like it or not, if it's made the 8.572 cut. But it's about as pretty as the picture above. Wary reader, be forwarned that the '20 minute' prep time for this recipe does not include the time it takes to realize that you needed a bigger bowl or the resulting quick-clean of the microwave afterwards.
You can call me Julia Child. She was the epitome of the messy chef.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Imagine, if you will, that you could choose any one thing to recieve this year. What do you want to be inside the box?
(And two points to you if you recognized Festivus as George's family holiday on Seinfeld. Two more points if you've ever had a famiy Airing of Grievences.)
Like that box above? I borrowed the picture from here. Maybe you should have chosen *it* for what you really wanted!
I remember one of my classmates in kindergarten telling the teacher he wanted to be a loaf of bread. I wonder if he's been successful in those endeavors. For me, the journey to becoming a nurse was a lot like wanting to be a loaf of bread. I was an artsy-right-brained gal struggling through a science-driven-left-brain-mad world of torture.
But that's probably putting it nicely.
My first lap through MTSU was in the education department. I wanted to teach middle school English. I liked writing. It came natural to me and I didn't have to put forth much effort to succeed. Kids liked me. My parents were teachers, and I'd helped them in years past, so the road was mostly already paved for me to follow their footsteps. It was relatively simple.
I took overloads in hours ever semester and never had less than 18 hours. My top was having 21 hours and being on the debate team. That was busy. The next semester I took 20 hours and was in a musical. I had a good time.
But when I was student teaching I looked around the classroom and wondered if I could stand doing the same thing for thirty years. I looked out the windows and imagined bars. I tried to justify to myself that if I was a teacher I could write my great American novel during the summers or after school. My parents urged me to do anything else but teach.
Dad wanted me to be a pharmacist. But I'd heard too many scary things about organic chemistry. So he suggested computer tech stuff. But it sounded too technical to me. I looked at engineering. (I would've looked at English, but knew that nobody in their right mind would actually pay me to write what I wanted to write.) And somehow I happened upon nursing --- sciency, but compassionate. I asked around and found an advisor.
I graduated and immediately started pre-requisits for the nursing program. Talk about jumping into a pool if ice water. I found quickly that 19 hours of sciencey classes was way different than 19 hours of education and english classes. I cried a lot.
And made it into nursing school. I had worked as a CNA at a nursing home previously, so I thougth that would help me through. Man, was I wrong. It gave me an advantage for about two weeks. After which point I cried about every night. (The Hater can best tell the story of my journey through nursing school. Maybe if you chide him, he'll post something on those lines.)
The love of my life, The Hater, had since moved to Oklahoma to work on his master's at UCO. My buddy, his roomate, had since moved to California to go to law school and learn how to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. It was hard times.
And now I've made it almost three years out of school. I would've never guessed ten years ago that I'd be a nurse today. That I'd like what I'm doing. I don't know if going back in time and telling me any of this would have changed anything, and if it would, I'm not so sure that I'd try to make the changes. But it's been a long row to hoe to get where I am.
And now I'm stuck in a place where young people think I'm old and old people think I'm young. I'm certainly not middle-aged and don't have any gray hair yet. It's hard to think of myself as an adult, even though I do adult-things. I think about the future --- my "five year plan", what I want to be doing in ten years, silly things.
When I grow up? When I grow up I want to be a super nurse writing the next great American novel. Or teach. Or go back to school. Maybe I'll just be a loaf of bread.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Around about the wonderous days of yore,
They came across a sort of box, all bound with chains and locked with locks,
And labeled, "Kindly Do Not Touch... It's War".
A decree was issued 'round about, all with a flourish and a shout,
And a gaily-coloured mascot tripping lightly on before:
"Don't fiddle with this deadly box, or break the chains, or pick the locks,
And please, don't ever mess about with War".
Well, the children understood; children happen to be good,
And were just as good in those wonderous days of yore.
They didn't try to break the locks, or break into that deadly box,
And never tried to play about with War.
Mommies didn't either; sisters, aunts, nor grannies neither;
'Cause they were quiet and sweet and pretty
In those wonderous days of yore.
Well, very much the same as now, and really not to blame somehow,
For opening up that deadly box of War.
But someone did...
Someone battered in the lid, and spilled the insides all across the floor:
A sort of bouncy, bumpy ball, made up of flags and guns and all
The tears and the horror and the death that goes with War.
It bounced right out, and went bashing all about
Bumping into everything in store;
And what was sad and most unfair, was that it really didn't seem to care
Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.
It bumped the children mainly, and I'll tell you this quite plainly,
It bumps them everyday, and more and more;
And leaves them dead and burned and crying,
Thousands of them sick and dying,
'Cause when it bumps, it's very, very sore.
There is a way to stop the ball... it isn't very hard at all;
All it takes is wisdom, and I'm absolutely sure
We could get it back inside the box, and bind the chains and lock the locks,
But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.
Well, that's the way it all appears, '
Cause it's been bouncing 'round for years and years,
In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wonderous days of yore;
And the time they came across the box,
All bound with chains and locked with locks,
And labeled, "Kindly Do Not Touch... It's War".
Kendrew LaSalles, 1969
Specifically, her IV-starting skills. I remembered bringing a new catheter home to start on The Hater and told her that I'd let her start an IV on me after the masses had left for the day. I thought it was karma and a genuinely nice thing to do for our patient population.
Unlike my experience with the IV catheters (see link above), she was already familiar with using the butterfly IV-caths. So she wanted to learn how to use the angiocath. It's more awkward to hold in your hands and has a smaller window for the blood to "flash back" into the catheter. Incidently, it's what I learned to start IVs with as a student.
I wrapped up in a heating pad and warmed myself for a while. Nurses do this for people with slinky veins to help them dialate and make it easier to start the IV. Even with the heating pad, I don't have great "teach me" veins. They're skinny and squirrel around (roll) when provoked. But they were willing, so she was going to have to make-do with the "teach me" experience.
She tried first on my left hand. She stuck me once and moved the catheter around for about two minutes. It wasn't excrutiating pain, but I did take lots of deep breaths. Meanwhile, I was trying to coach her on finding the vein. She decided to quit, and I took the catheter and started the IV on my left hand. But we had fooled around with it too much because it blew as soon as she connected the saline to it. Woe were we.
She was ready to throw in the towel, but I offered up my right hand as guinea pig #2. Heating pad, stick, squirrel, but lo! a blood return!! There was much rejoicing. Unfortunately, it blew, too. I left work with two fancy bandages on each hand.
And this morning I have two sexy, but matching bruises. I'll blend-in with my patients today. Maybe next week I'll let her try again.
(This is a picture that looks like the IV catheter she was using on me.)
(Whereas this is a picture that looks like the butterfly IV catheter I used on The Hater.)
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Roatan, Honduras. Hurricane Mitch clean-up crew during my spring break. I was mixing concrete and teaching English to a sweet set of sixth graders. We mostly talked about pronoun usage, but we also talked about creative writing. I asked all of my students to write me a short story for the next day.
This was back in my first life at MTSU; I wanted to change the world via a middle school english classroom. My first life wasn't nearly as scholarly stressful as my life in nursing school, but that's another story.
Most of the stories were about their families. A few were about the group of volunteers with whom I was working. But one girl had the longest story of all. It was called "The Fish". And her first sentence was, "Call me Ishmael." The other three pages sounded strangely familiar. And two paragraphs had been copied twice.
I called her out in the hall and told her I had read the story before. I asked her if she would write me another one that she didn't copy. She didn't. And she swore that she wrote that story herself. That other man must have copied off of her idea.
Shame on you, Hermie. And you owe you-know-who a boat-load of royalties.
With that said, I continue to be very amused with my coworkers. Most of the nurses I work with are old enough to be my mother or grandmother. They are excellent nursey-resources. However, when anything technical is involved, it's best to stand back or hide.
For example, the other day my boss (old enough to be my grandmother) tried to print something off of her computer. It printed an extra page, a table that related to the other pages, that even said "if needed" at the top. My boss was convinced that it was gremlins that caused it. No, really. I left her slapping the printer "to get it to work right".
(Although I'm averagely average, I know it's not gremlins in her computer. But I'm also average enough to know that I don't want my coworkers to know that I'm more than averagely average in the tech department. From my last job I learned that would yield more responsibilities and expectations, and I'm just not feeling it now.)
Back to the story-- the next day the printer in the pharmacy started printing things crazy. Unlike the extra page that printed on the other computer, these charges looked like they were in Greek. The computer and the printer weren't jiving.
"It's gremlins!", and now they're moving around the office. My boss was sure of this.
her: What should we do? The gremlins are getting around!
me: I'll get the yellow pages.
me: We need a young priest and an old priest.
her: ... Why?
me: To exorcise the gremlins...
her: Do you think that would work?
(She didn't even get my most excellent movie reference.)
I called the company's tech support instead. They bought us two new printers. This "fixed" the pharmacy printer, but my boss' computer still printed that "if needed" page! ("But it prints much faster, so it must be better.") I've only seen her slap the new printer twice.
One anti-tech experience doesn't an opinion make...
So my boss ordered a machine that will take an electronic blood pressure. This isn't a new or cutting-edge thing. It's just a BP cuff. There's a basket under it to carry around a temp and a pulse-ox, too. But it came in a box with more than seven pieces. So they got "the kid" to put it together.
Yeah, that's me. They are my elders, so I let them call me such things.
And I put together the stand for the BP machine without much difficulty. (It's my extensive knowledge of leggos that aided this project.) I plugged in the machine and told my boss it was ready. She wanted me to inservice all of the staff about how to use the machine.
Now, there's a big green I/O button on top. Below that is a picture of an arm with a cuff around it. I told her to just turn it on and push the arm button. I didn't think it was too advanced.
But she couldn't get it to turn on. It was more advanced than I thought. After another inservice she figured out how to use it. My other coworkers still ask me how to make the printer work (you push the button with the picture of the printer on it)...
So this averagely average gal is more technically average than my average coworker... but the scary question you should ask yourself: What does that really mean?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Everybody welcome Unequivocal_Prowess with her new fancy blog, And Forthwith A Change Came Over The Waters. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to follow the link above and leave her lots of pertinant welcoming comments.
If you don't, she might sic Mr. Big, on you. Trust me, you don't want Mr. Big on your bad side.
My first lessons revolved around reading recipes and measuring ingredients. I mastered these and quickly moved on to the mixing bowl. Nana was in charge of the skillet and oven, which made my last hurdle the decision of when to take out the finished, golden cornbread. Looking back to 1987 in the sleepy town of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, waiting for the cornbread was the best part of cooking with Nana.
We would talk about school and piano lessons. We wondered about politics and who would win the presidential election. We talked about the Murray Ohio factory and Davy Crockett Park, when Big Daddy was in the Air Force and stories about when she learned to cook cornbread. It was a time when we could and did talk about everything important when your age is one digit.
We would also listen to the radio. Huntsville, Alabama, had a station called ‘Beautiful 97’ that had the sweetest grandmother easy-listening on the waves. Nana thought that the news was too full of horror stories and politics, and although she would watch to see what was going on in the world, her favorite was music. She said nobody should have a dismal day if they had a radio. When 96.9 changed to rock and roll Nana was glad that satellite radio adopted ‘Sunny’, another easy listening venue without the commercials.
My problem with cooking lessons was that I always wanted to take the cornbread out of the oven before it was ready. Nana was always telling me to be patient. Like all good things in life, I would have to learn to wait. My most important lessons in patience started in Nana’s kitchen.
Big Daddy was always excited to eat anything that Nana had cooked. It never mattered what she set in front of him; he was always complimentary and would tell her that it was the best he had ever eaten. He would rock back in his chair and say, “Mom, that meal was great. It was almost perfect. I think you need more practice.” She would smile. He would smile.
The world smiled when they smiled at each other.
Nana has told me several times about when Big Daddy proposed to her. It was my favorite story. She was a cool 21 years young with auburn curls and an hourglass figure. She said they had gone to see a show at Crocket Theater. (She never remembered which show it was. She said they went to see all of them. Maybe that is the reason why she loves to watch the AMC showcase now.) He was walking her home when he stopped her, took her hand, and asked her to marry him. “Of course I said yes,” Nana always said, “And since it was dark outside, I had to run the rest of the way home to see the ring.” Big Daddy didn’t have a car then, nobody had a car actually, and street lights were things only they had in the ‘city’, not a country town like Lawrenceburg. Nana said it was the most beautiful ring she had ever seen, and all of her sisters liked it, too. “Those were the good ‘ole days,” that story always ended. And she would smile. And I would smile.
I was so proud of my cornbread entry the day of the competition. My plate with three perfectly golden triangles was screaming for attention from the judges. I am sure that I had picked out my very best blue jeans to wear to try to impress the judges. After all, I had been given the seal of approval from all the important people. Imagine my disappointment when I brought home a green, participant ribbon. I was not destined to be the cornbread queen. Nana comforted me and told me that sometimes it takes time to develop blue-ribbon cornbread skills, and she was sure that she probably would not have won a blue ribbon, either.
But Nana would have won the blue ribbon. Nana was Martha Stewart before Martha was even born. Nana made Kleeman’s Chicken on Egg-bread better than Kleeman himself.
Big Daddy was convinced that there must have been some mistake in the judging. After all, he had eaten cornbread from the same batch, and “it was almost perfect. Where do they get these cornbread judgers anyway?” He was always in my corner.
We have made countless triangles of cornbread over the years and somehow have not yet made a perfect batch. We have been amused by each other and solved most of the world’s problems in her kitchen. (Why won’t politicians seek our advice before they do things?) Nana has told me before, “I always have an opinion and a solution that hardly agrees with anyone else.” This is probably why we got along so well.
As I think back, there are important lessons I gleaned from Nana’s kitchen:
* Always set the table for every meal, even if you’re having sandwiches.
* Make everyone feel welcome.
* Carry the cricket outside; don’t step on it.
* Men will do any chore for chocolate cake or chocolate pie.
* Some stories are worth being told many times.
* Pick a sports team and be their biggest fan.
* Silence can be the best answer.
* Keep important pictures on your refrigerator.
* Let your loved ones know they are special.
* Compliment the cook.
* Always be patient. Wait for the cornbread to turn the right shade of golden brown before you take it from the oven.
Last Christmas my husband and I were unable to travel home for holiday festivities with our family. We decided to have our own mini-feast in newlywed tradition, and I made cornbread dressing using Nana’s recipe. After the second bite he looked at me and said, “This is the greatest dressing I have ever eaten.”
Although he had never met Big Daddy, that look was priceless. He made me promise that I would not tell his mother that he said my dressing was better than hers.
I called Nana and told her that we won the blue ribbon after all.
** This was a story I wrote as an entry for a book about grandparents. It didn't get chosen for the book, so posting it here is my green ribbon. (What's wrong with those judges, anyway?)
** I sure am homesick.
** For more 4H memories, go here.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Step One: Open a new window. (Ctrl + n)
Step Two: Go to Google.
Step Three: Type in "failure" .
Step Four: Click "I'm Feeling Lucky" (the button on the right).
Step Five: Laugh until you wipe tears.
Friday, November 11, 2005
(And if anybody happens to know anybody who went to basic camp via ROTC at Fort Knox during the summer of 2001, if they happened to be Warlords, 1st Platoon, 4th Squad, and are still terrorized by Drill Sergent Goodnite, please drop me a line.)
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The latest Tennessee school shooting at Campbell County Comprehensive High School only reminds me of that fact. 1400 students, none of whom were injured. Two administrators were injured, and one was killed.
They want to try the 15-year old as an adult. Killing people is bad. That's a general idea that most people will affirm. Maybe this is why there's so much hullabalu over the anti-Semitic poetry of a teenager.
Maybe we should take away the character trait of the month and actually start teaching kids that it's wrong to kill people, that wars are bad. But then someone would have to admit that there was a mistake made, that the International Criminal Court really isn't a bad idea, that on the most basic level, killing people is wrong.
For more info, see www.cnn.com , Education.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
And if you've got pictures of your photogenic kitty posing in the marble, you can upload them to the same website for everyone to see.
For those of you dog people, I didn't want you to feel left out. When I googled "dogs in sinks" I found lots of webpages about dogs 'sinking their teeth' into humans. And people wonder why I'm a cat person. (For more insight as to why I'm not a cat person, review my October 18th post via the backfiles.)
All quiet on the Western front-
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
And, lo, a memory--
I was active in 4H in elementary school. Probably because it was the only school-related activity from which I could choose. I worked hard on my entries and liked the ribbons. I never won a ribbon for cornbread. But my Nana and I worked really hard on it, and Big Daddy said that it was almost perfect, which was the highest honor he bestowed on such hallowed things.
My best 4H event was public speaking. I won the county competetion and went to districts every year. I only won a green ribbon at districts, which just means that I was good enough to show up, but not win anything else.
One year, and I think this was when I was in the 5th grade, the middle of my three-year 4H reign, the county 4H ag guy, who we'll call Chad for his lack of personality, took all of the county 4H winners to Davy Crockett State Park to give our speeches to the Kiwanis Club. It was a big event because I was missing school and wore Sunday clothes.
I never really liked the buffet at the park. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons after church we'd go eat there, and I can never really remember liking it. Everything tasted yellow to me. And I was a picky eater. So I went through the line and returned to the table with a small spoonful of apples, a small slice of turkey breast, and two rolls. They had great rolls.
After everybody had started eating and talking, Chad made some comment about if I wanted some other food to go along with my rolls. Everybody at the table laughed.
I was hurt and angry and excused myself to the women's restroom. I cried. It was the one single time that I would have rather been in Mr. Shedd's math and science class.
Then it dawned on me.
Chad couldn't get me in the women's restroom.
So in Ghandi-like defiance I refused to leave the women's restroom. I would not give my speech to the man who embarassed me in front of a whole table of people.
He sent some female students who were older than me to come talk to me. He sent some ladys to come talk to me. He came and talked to me from the other side of the door.
I told him that it wasn't nice to be mean to people and then ask them to do him a favor. It was my speech and he couldn't make me give it. And I didn't. I waited in the women's room for an hour during the rest of the meeting. That's a really long time to be bored in the bathroom.
Chad dropped all of the other kids off before taking me back to LPS. He apologized. I repeated the same thing I had said to him earlier as I shut the door to the van. I was hurt and excited -- and looking back it could have been my first moral victory.
I told The Hater my story. I also told him that he could hide in the women's restroom if they made fun of the food on his plate. He thought it was good advice.
Next time: My very short stent as a 4H chicken judge in middle school, also known as "You want me to touch it where?"
Sunday, November 06, 2005
We've all been there, the place where uncomfortable silence follows someone who has shared far too much information at the wrong time. Tonight that moment was at supper.
Our overly excited waiter, Wes, was very eager to talk to us. He was so excited that we were pretty sure that he was on some uppers.
The table of four pre-teen girls behind us was really flirting with him. He said they could come back in ten years and he'd take them out. They kept flirting with him anyway. His opening line to attract such distinguished flirtation?
During the 4th quarter the tv kept panning back to Fulmer. He didn't look happy, but I couldn't tell if it was because of our accuracy for throwing interceptions or because he was seeing his position as head coach swirl the drain. Either way, I think there's reason for concern.
The Hater says we need a new Freshman QB next year. Idunno. Maybe Ainge just shouldn't run those interception drills this week? That might help.
Friday, November 04, 2005
My coworker and I were there early. We caught some good seats that wouldn't be bumped frequently by the waitstaff and where we could see the presentation. There was a pre-test that made me laugh. It was totally written for a MD -- with case scenarios followed by questions regarding what treatment therapy *I* would choose for them. I wanted to write in the margins what I knew about the different therapies instead, but I didn't. This presentation was obviously going to be geared towards the doctor crowd.
Which means it would be approximately 2 light years over my head.
The speaker's flight was delayed. So we ate. My steak was fantastic.
We waited. And waited. And waited. Now he was over an hour late to begin an hour + lecture on something I knew was going to be hard to digest.
Then he came in -- and for a brief moment I recognized him. When he started talking I *KNEW* I had heard him speak before. I looked over to a coworker, who didn't recoginize him yet. I looked at the slide presentation I had --- and had to cover my mouth so that I didn't laugh during his presentation. His presentation that I had heard before.
I looked across the room and recognized lots of people --- who I had sat close to at the previous presentation. Only they didn't look as amused as I did.
I wrote a note to my coworker -- she said it wasn't the same presentation.
Then he started telling the same jokes.
And she looked at me. It was deja-vu all over again.
Then she passed a note --- "If we've heard this before, then why were we not able to complete the pre-test?"
I can only imagine that it's because we were eating during the presentation last time. That, or it was 3 light years over my head then...
... and look how far I've come... approximately 9.4605284 × 10^15 meters closer to being able to choose the correct chemotherapy regime. That's something to write home about.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The Hater says that infiltration is the intent to decieve and trick to gain status or information. For example, if he was a spy and my Dad was an ambassador to a fancy foreign country, then he would have successfully infiltrated my family. He dreams of ruling the world.
But I don't want to talk about that kind of infiltration. I was thinking more on the lines of IV infiltration. This is where the IV catheter slides out of the vein and IV fluid is then infused into the tissues instead of the vein.
This could be really really bad if an IV infiltrates and a strong chemotherapy is being infused.
But it's not always a really really bad thing. Sometimes it just swells up the tissue around the IV site and causes some general discomfort.
That's what happened to one of my patients today.
He was okay and wasn't getting a vessicant, but what I don't understand is how he could notice that the IV was burning and felt different from any other time he'd gotten this medicine -- oh, and his arm was swelling up. And it had bothered him for thirty minutes before he said anything.
So let's all learn a lesson here. If the IV's been running and all the sudden you notice that it feels different, or if the tissue around your arm (or your port site) is swelling up like a water balloon, please let someone know.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The following post has been merged with the language of Snoop Dogg. He's a rapper and has developed his own slang-like twist of the English language. I happened upon a translator on www.gizoogle.com . Although it's just a description of a mundane day, ugly words have been added during the translation. If you are offended by ugly words and phrases, please do not read this post.
(last chance to avoid ugly words)
Today has not been special or even really different than any pimp day I work, but today Ill makes it sound steppin'...**
We dizzay hizzy many treatments today, but it was stiznill a constant line of thugz spendin' in cuz this is how we do it. Weve been giv'n a lot of flu shots. If yoe elligible ta git a flu shiznot, cizzay yo doctor n git one gangsta style. Our supplies is mackin' W-H-to-tha-izzich leads me ta believe that were not tha only thugz look'n low on stock n' shit.
I had a new chemo teach. This is where you takes a lot of time ta really explain everyth'n `bout tha treatment, side effects, medicizzles n basically everyth'n `bout canca n chemotherapy ta someone who is so stressed out tizzy you have ta peel them off of tha ho-slappin'. It wizzle wizzy. Nobody cried, whizzich is always a good sign. And her chemo wizzy well today, so thats good ta know, too in tha mutha fuckin club.
At lunch, mah coworka were confused `bout tha mean'n behind they fortune cookies . They call me tha black folks president. No, really. Tizzle were written in English, but they diznidnt understand tha context of tha fortune ya dig?. So I interpreted fortunes fo` them. Brilliant fo' sheezy!
Shot Calla lunch i watched mah supervizzle literally hit tha crazy ass nigga fo` her wanna be gangsta coz it "wasnt work'n right". she called tha helpline n told T-H-to-tha-izzem it wasnt work'n at all, which wasnt exactly true. (bizzay this is one of those times you dizzle explain ta yo boss thiznat you know mizzy `bout shot calla thizzay she does.) so theyre gonna send a new gangsta ta baller. whizzich wouldve been cool, but im pretty sure tizzy its a system bug, not a printa bug. well see, i guess.
These is tha same thugz who D-to-tha-izzont know how ta send an email wittan attachment. tha thugz fo` whom ims were invented (instead of mah dearly loved bbs).
i turned in mah tizzle off request fo` a few days around christmas . Fo'-fo' desert eagle to your motherfuckin' dome. were hop'n ta git home fo` tha holidays fo` tha fizzirst time since we moved ta uglyhoma. we miss family n home.
Then tha office rappa came B-to-tha-izzack ta whine that she gots out work late coz she had ta wait on us ta finish our wizzle before she could finish her work. thats skanky n all, but we really do wiznork until we leave paper'd up. i thiznink she was straight trippin' us ta do more, so i looked fo` sum-m sum-m else ta do ta look too busy ta listen ta her whine. ive bizzle trained by tha bizzay ta do siznuch blingin' you know.
afta we discharged tha last patient today i received a pneumonia shiznot . Bounce wit me. tha medicine didnt sting like tha flu shot dizzy but mah arms achy tonight gangsta style. i guess ill be tak'n some tylenol before i go ta bed tonight . Chill as I take you on a trip. maybe i wont meet mah dizzy ta pneumonia this year.
see, not a really excit'n day, but hopefully tha textiliza has made it more fun ta read `bout!
*** Special thanks ta those fizzy thugz at gizoogle who tranzilated tha tizzle of this post.
Dressing up at work was equally entertaining. My hippie costume was a hit, but I was more impressed with the lab tech who wore a long white MD coat and put "Dr. Kevorkian" on his name tag... and to think that dressing up like a zombie would have been over the line...
So I've decided that I admire people who wear their hair in long dread locks. (To the right is a picture of the hat/wig combo that I wore. My tye-dyed shirt was way better.) Everytime I went to access a port or start an IV I had to whip it over my shoulders. It was a pain, but fun to wear. And hot. I was glad to take it off when I came home.
But my patients were really impressed that I wore a wig all day. Several wanted to know where I got it so that they could get one. I figure, hey, if we've poisioned all of your hair away, you might as well have fun wearing a wig...
Being dressed up almost made going to the bad office less icky. It was still crazy -- and at one point the office manager (nonmedical) had to come back to help spike IV bags and draw up saline pushes. It was, as it always has been, nothing short of bananas.
Today's bump and grind will bring me back to my home office. I hope it'll be a nice, calm day. I think I'm supposed to get a pneumonia shot today, so it might not be a nice day. We'll see.