hillarygayle: (Dr. Tran what's wrong with you?)
I have to work tonight, but as usual for my first day back, I cannot sleep. I'm finding this to be common among us night-shifties; we have no problems sleeping the days AFTER we work, but sleeping during that day BEFORE the first night, ick. We all lie in bed, blinking at the walls. Sometimes I try & stay up really late that night before, but Bryan is my problem with that. He likes to go to sleep at the same time; he really hates going to bed without me in any case, and when actually home it just makes him pout. :) So I always end up going to bed with him, and then I'm left where I am today: entirely unable to sleep during the day when I have to stay up literally until 7am tomorrow morning. 8am if you count my commute home...which you should.

The house buying is going well. We have officially jumped through all of the necessary loan hoops, and now we are just waiting on the appraiser to email his/her findings to the loan originator. We have done our part, & now it's just a "sit here until we hear back" thing. OMG I AM NOT SO GREAT AT THIS PART, AKSHULLY.

Work tonight. I'm considering taking up a few extra shifts here & there because of our down payment. We have enough to make it on the conventional loan, but it's pretty much going to decimate our savings. My parents keep saying they wish they could give me the money to make the down payment and I keep trying to tell them they're nuts: if we had to pay for the labor on everything they are about to do to this house to make it move-in ready...well, we couldn't. There's no way. They ARE giving us a lot of money--just not in actual dollars. Pulling up the carpet, refinishing the kitchen & bathroom cabinets, actually tearing part of the kitchen out, not to mention helping us move all our junk into the house & arranging it, and the help with walking through the house-buying process...what my parents have done for us is invaluable. Arguably we got the house thanks to my family: my brother found it with a sign in the yard, and he called Daddy. When Daddy called the "for sale by owner" number, it turned out to be a person he knew! They gave us first dibs on the house because of Daddy, & the fact that they knew us to be trustworthy & "good folks" because of him.

This time around, I'm in a position to try & do things in as environmentally friendly way as I can. I love hardwood floors, but instead I'm going with laminate: it has the look, feel, & function of hardwood but no actual hardwoods have to be harvested for vinyl laminate. Also it's cheaper than bamboo, which was my other sustainable flooring choice. Bamboo would've been my preference, but it's about $3 a square foot, where laminate is $1. I wanted to do recycled glass countertops, but the only place in Arkansas that does those is across the state, and I get the idea they might be massively expensive.

I'm just SO excited, and I hate this waiting game. I'm already thinking about having everyone over to roast marshmallows in the fire pit, hang out on the Deck of Awesome, and play video games in the den & Apples To Apples in the living room. I'm thinking about how I can line the den & living room walls with bookcases. I'm thinking about how I'll have to learn to care for & use a wood-burning fireplace & how excited I am about that. I'm thinking about how happy Ganon will be to have his train table in his own room now that he's got the space for it. I'm thinking how funny it is when he runs around "the circle"--from den to living room to hallway to kitchen back to the den. I'm thinking about sitting on my couch and looking out the window into my awesome back yard in all kinds of weather: sunshine, snow, rain. I just HATE this limbo we're in. I want to move forward! I want to start getting this done so I can get in that house!

And away from this farm. The last couple of months have had no rain, and the stock pond behind our house has dried up. This means there's a giant mass of dead fish in a dry pond. I WILL LEAVE YOUR IMAGINATION TO DECIDE WHAT THAT SMELLS LIKE. Hint: Bryan & I have been referring to the scent as "dead ass fish". This can be either "dead-ass fish" or "dead assfish". TAKE YOUR PICK. This is what the outside of my house smells like right now.
hillarygayle: (Default)

Hussies 365: 8 ((
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
My new backyard, y'all. Seriously. Just...seriously. I'm going to sit on my deck & stare at this & pretend I'm in the Ozarks.
hillarygayle: (Cupcake Hussy!)
Well, it appears I have a neck injury. I left the doctor's office with a steroid pack, a painkiller, a muscle relaxer, and an anti-inflammatory, as well as the instructions to come back to schedule an MRI if this pain doesn't clear up in a week. GREAT.

So far it is...not clearing up. I had rather hoped it would. I'm only on day 2 of the steroid pack, however, so I'm giving it more time. I won't be taking the painkiller for work for 2 reasons: 1) I can function on it and stay awake, but it does make me slightly fuzzy. 2) I need the pain as a reminder that I shouldn't be pulling people around. Or at least I should use proper body mechanics when I have to (because I will have to).

Incidentally, this injury is not due to improper body mechanics. At least not so far as I was in control. I had a combative patient who was going to jerk the staples out of an incision, and folks that had to be STOPPED. So I did what I had to do, and now I am sorta paying for it. Nice.


The fondue party was epic fun. In attendance we had

Jess & Zak
Alice (who always brings me bread!!! She's so on my List of Awesome.)
Kit
Becca
Jennifer (my LJ-less co-worker who was soundly chastised for not living on the internet)
Jodi & Kayli
Me & Bryan (Cause we live here)

The fondue was great. I had to experiment a bit; I bought only 1 bottle of Tire Biter (a Flying Dog golden ale) and it turned out not to be enough liquid. So I busted out one of my Woodchuck Ciders (amber) because I'd seen Alton Brown do it with that very stuff. The cheese was about a pound & 1/2 of red wax gouda with almost 1/2 lb of 18-month aged gouda for sharpness. It went VERY well with the rye bread that Alice brought and the hard-crust sourdough I had. We also had dates stuffed with goat cheese & wrapped in bacon. Everyone loved them except Jess, who had a texture issue. I get that. Those darn things are my major weakness, though. LOVE THEM.

A delightful time was had by all, Zak has some rather hilarious video on his iPhone, and I ended up with glowstick goo in my EYE. (I have it on good authority that this stuff is called luminol, but I like "glowstick goo".) For future reference, it is an EYE IRRITANT. It stung!! It was pretty hilarious when it happened, because 3 of us in the kitchen were nurses (me, Jennifer, & Jess). It got in my eye and we all just reacted instinctively to get me to the sink & start washing out my eye. It ended fine; my eye is perfectly okay, though my contact lens is a lost cause. :)

Zak is convinced that if Bryan & I move to Little Rock, I will steal his wife & he will never see her again.


Q & I went to Memphis on Friday night for to get some cheez. We ended up at Whole Foods because we could eat AND get the cheese there. As we sat eating supper and drinking our Very Fancy Sodas...we had an adventure )

On the way home Q & I decided that wheatgrass shots are the evil to which we will compare all other things. "At least it's not wheatgrass" or "Man, that's worse than wheatgrass". It's our golden standard of suckage.


This week I work Monday-Wednesday nights, and then guess what! Trip to Branson! My family used to do this thing every year where we went on a vacation to Branson. We haven't done it in YEARS now, so I'm pretty excited. We're going to Silver Dollar City to look at the lights they do every year (I can't wait to try to photograph Christmas lights), outlet malls to shop, etc. It'll be a very nice getaway & I'm stoked. Even more stoked because I won't have to drive! We're renting a big van. I will plug my head into my iPhone, jam out to DMB, & surf to my little heart's content.
hillarygayle: (Dr. Tran what's wrong with you?)
Yesterday Q & I had conversations about everything on the way home. One conversation led to wondering how old Rashawn Ross (cuddly, adorable trumpet player for DMB) is, and that led to a Wikipedia lookup, which led to the discovery that Rashawn Ross was born in 1979: only 2 months older than me, 7 months older than Q. It's always weird to discover that someone you consider to be MASSIVELY, incredibly, mind-blowingly talented is your own age.

This led to a convo about mind-blowing talent; I am not starstruck by people who are just "famous", but I think that if I met someone like Rashawn Ross or Jeff Coffin or someone else who's sheer incredible talent I admire, I'd be a jibbering, stuttering, blushing wreck. It isn't because they're famous; after all, if you had never seen my Jeff Coffin icons, would you know him if you ran into him at the grocery store? He's not famous that way. But for me, running into someone like that at the grocery store, knowing what they do, listening to their music, feeling completely humbled by their talent, and there they are buying milk or mac & cheese or apples or cheetos...I'd probably go to pieces.

This led to another point in the conversation: I want, with all my heart and all the way into my bones, to be That Good at something. And offhandedly I remarked to Q that I'd just never found the thing I felt I could be that good at (or had the specific motivation to), and she pointed out that yes, I have. It's nursing, and specifically trauma nursing. She's right; I want to be known for being that person who stands in the treatment room, waiting for the stretchers to pour in after the multi-vehicle pileup, a rock of calm & not a trace of panic. I want to be that person who wades into dangerous situations and snatches other people out. I want people to remember their close calls and say "If it hadn't been for that redheaded nurse..."

Of course that's never going to make someone go into a pile of jibbering, blushing stutters at me in the grocery store, but I don't really care about that part. No, this is for ME. If I'm that good at trauma nursing, if I'm That Nurse, then maybe I wouldn't feel like I'd go to pieces if I met someone with that kind of talent. I want to be able to say "Yes, he's one of the greatest sax players in the world, and I am one of the best trauma nurses in the world."

If only I could learn faster! Get more experience quicker! This is the part where Q said "There you go again, eating the world with your eyes." Ha. Yes, well, I suppose Ganon got it somewhere, right? I've been at it for 3 months and I know I've learned a thousand things in that time--things that will make me a better nurse. Oh, but how I long for it to go faster! How I want to learn enough to feel relatively confident, and then go into the ER and then get into a trauma center and LIVE this thing that I have in my head! All the little things like work-related lacerations and broken bones all the way up to multiple trauma from a MVA or burns from a house fire. I want that NOW and I know I'm not ready for it yet. I just don't have the background. Why can't I get the background FASTER?!

But at least I'm progressing. I can see it. I'm in arrhythmia recognition now, and then I can take advanced cardiac life support. That's as far as they'll pay for me to go where I am currently, but then someday when I'm in ER, they will send me to advanced trauma life support and sexual assault nursing.

But I still need to get my tattoo, my compass that reminds me that this is a journey & not a destination. This is not someplace I'm going, this is something I'm doing. I need to stop being so impatient, so frantic to get on with it.

This has been another stream-of-consciousness life realization brought to you by the letter Q. Certainly one of my favorite letters. ^_~

Memphis

Nov. 10th, 2009 08:04 am
hillarygayle: (Jeff 2 at once)
So Q & I went to Memphis yesterday & had Fancy Times. Mostly we just went to Sephora, visited a friend of Q's, went out to eat, & hit Whole Foods on the way home. It was fun. Let's see: one tidbit about each thing.

Friend of Q's: We said something at the same time and went on as if this was nothing (because it's been happening every time we're together for the last 14 years). This completely weirded him out. "You guys--you just---at the same time...O_O!" This amused us.

Sephora: I got this COOL lipliner. It's an extremely cool nude ivory, which is almost precisely the color of my skin. This is for doing a super neutral lip, which is a lot of fun with a crazypsycho eyeshadow. I'm considering getting a Pocket Rocket lip gloss from Urban Decay, but I decided to forego that yesterday. If I draw either Courtney or Ashley for Christmas gifts, I shall be getting them the Sephora Blockbuster color kit. <3

Eat: We ate at TGI Friday's...or is it just called Fridays now? Whatever. I had a pumpkin pie martini, which was okay. The flavor was great but it was watered down. Q had a black russian, which I tasted & found delightful. I think I'll try a white russian next time I'm somewhere that sells drinks. Q drank it on an empty stomach and then found everything like 3 times as amusing as she did before, and also she started talking without thinking. This is not typical of Q. We discovered our "tipsy types" are polar opposites. I usually say what comes into my head without a lot of vetting, and Q chooses her words carefully. When we are tipsy, I think about everything I say and am very intentional, and words just fall outta Q's mouth.

Whole Foods: Q stayed in the car while I just ran in quickly to grab a few things. We ate these gingerbread cookies on the way home and HOLY COW, I RECOMMEND. They're called Gianna's Handmade Baked Goods and they looked like they'd be crispy, but they WEREN'T. OMG. They're soft & incredible & full of real ginger and nutmeg. They're sweet & spicy and due to the real ginger, there's a lot of "mouth heat" in them, giving them the "sweet/hot" combination I ADORE so much. I didn't find the Lindt cherry-chili bar I wanted, but this took care of that particular craving. Far as chocolate goes, I found a dark chocolate bar with mango & cashew by "Seeds of Change". Have not yet tried it.

Then we headed home because Bryan was sending us texts that just said "foooooooooooooooooooood". I brought him something home from Whole Foods (London broil sliced beef & naan bread). On the way home we stopped at Starbucks because I wanted a coffee to go with the spectacular gingerbread cookies, and we had to go inside because we'd made each other laugh so hard that we had to use the bathroom. My darling BFF tweeted a photo of the bathroom door behind which I was..."communing with my bladder" as she puts it. Nice. Thanks for that, love. Then she made me burst into flames on the way home. It only took one sentence. New record.

Today I will be listening to music & catching up around my house. I didn't feel 100% awesome last week, but today I find myself feeling awesome, having free time, and motivated. AWESOME. How many more "awesomes" can I fit in this entry?
hillarygayle: (Hottie Camera)
I'll have to do a full, major review later because I go in to work tonight at 7 and I'm currently making supper for me & Bryan & Ganon. There are two things I'm going to mention now, though.

Sisters
Looking at some photos from yesterday, I'm beginning to "get" why people always ask if Q & I are sisters. Last night's count: 3 times.

Camera Smuggling
They camera checked me on the way in. Told me I couldn't bring my DSLR inside; "No cameras or video". I made with the puppy dog face. I pointed out how many people were wearing point & shoot cameras on their wrists. No dice. Seriously, they let people WEAR their cameras in but made me take the love of my life camera back to the damn car. I took the camera back out to the car and looked at it sadly. Then, two things kicked in: The Hillary Determination and my immense desire for a really good photo of Jeff Coffin. Q called me and asked what was taking so long; I told her "I am NOT coming back in without this camera." She sounded immensely amused. I'm sure she knows me well enough to realize I was scowling and working as fast as I could to hide that camera. I broke it down (the lens comes off the camera itself & makes 2 smaller pieces), put the camera half into a blood pressure cuff pouch in the bottom of my purse & put the lens in the inside (tampon) zipper of the purse itself. Back at the gate, I went back to the same lady who'd checked me first time. I opened my purse nervously & made big innocent eyes. "It was too big to hide," I lied. "I tried." She looked at me. She KNEW I had that camera. I let the purse flap drop and she waved her hands in that "I didn't see nothin', so it ain't there" way. They let me through. I looked at Q like "DUDE did you see what I got away with?" and Q was like "OMG she totally knew."

And then I took 403 pictures. I will post links.
hillarygayle: (Default)

I passed!!!
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
Ladies & gentlemen, this woman is a registered nurse!
hillarygayle: (Default)
I used to know this girl who might seem snobby. She used to avoid people she didn't know and she certainly avoided being photographed. Kinda in the same way most people avoid contracting H1N1 flu. She never paid much attention to her hair or her face or what she wore, and while that's not bad, in her case, I think it might've been to ensure she attracted no attention at all.

I don't know her anymore. Now I know this girl who has raging ruby hair because she got bored & likes color, who smells divine always & readily answers when people ask what she's wearing, who wears smoky green & gold eyeshadow & went in with me on a couple of rainbow stacks of ultra-pigmented mineral powders so we can do looks like red eyeliner & mango washes with pink mascara.

I once knew a finch, but she turned into a bird of paradise. I love them both. <3
hillarygayle: (Hottie Red Queen)
What can I say about the ER...except that IT IS FREAKING AWESOME.

Since the first day of nursing school I have been dancing to go to the ER. In fact, it's such a well-known fact that when Mrs. C was making clinical assignments this summer, she put me in the very first ER rotation. ^_^ She told me she did it on purpose so I wouldn't have to wait any longer than necessary. Bertrand came too; we've both been there this week. We did 2 12-hr shifts: Wednesday & Thursday from 11am to 11pm.

On Wednesday, it took a while for the nurses to catch on to the fact that we wanted to do procedures, and we found out later that day why that was. One of the new nurses there is an ASU traditional BSN graduate, and she told me they got all of 4 hours on the ER floor, and it was observational only. No one told the ER nurses that the accelerated BSNs would be there for 12-hours and that we would jump all over procedures. Bertrand said he wanted to find someone & stick to them like white on rice.

"But you're black," I pointed out.
"Is there black rice?"
"Yes," I answered.
"Oh. Then I'll stick like BLACK on rice," he said, nodding.
*giggle*
[This is actually an extension of sort of an inside joke. One day, about halfway through the 2nd semester, Bertrand helpfully pointed out to Ms. Wiggins: "I'm black". I can't even remember what prompted that comment, but Bertrand, who is from Cameroon, nonchalantly announcing he was black like we'd never noticed that before, was HILARIOUS.]

Once the nurses figured out we wanted procedures & experience, but didn't have to "check off" on things, it was ON. they'd give us stuff hand-over-fist, and by the time we left, they were filling our arms with things from the Pyxis (supply closet that's coded; students don't have access so nurses have to get supplies out for us) and sending us off down the hall to assist in something. Last night when one of the doctors was suturing a laceration, it was just me assisting. I did the sterile field, I irrigated the wound, and I cleaned up & bandaged after he finished stitching--all without anyone hanging over my shoulder. The independent feeling is heady to someone who has been watched like a hawk to learn all these skills.

Let's see; what did I do in the last 2 days?
The list )

I know I've wanted to work in a burn unit up to this point, and I haven't worked in the units yet so I'm reserving judgment. But as much fun as the ER was, I really can't see how I'd rather work anywhere else. The ER is very good for the way my mind works. There's a new thing in each room, a new person, a new story, a new problem for me to help with. A new adventure. You do not have to be nervous about every move you make. You want to be careful and clean and do your procedures properly, but time is more important in the ER than strict procedure. You have to get things stabilized so they can be managed elsewhere, whether that means at home or upon admittance to the hospital. It's fast and flexible and changing and constant adaptation. And it's never boring. Nurses have "room assignments", but because of the way the software works, any nurse can see any nurses' order that hasn't been filled yet, and go fill it herself. So if a doctor orders 2mg morphine given to the patient in room 4A, and that's not my patient, I can pick that up & complete the task regardless. And in addition to the doctors putting in orders for nurses, the nurses can put in orders for doctors as well (i.e., I irrigated the wound, so now it's time for you to come do your stitches thing). The doctors were great and the atmosphere was collegial. SUCH a good experience.
hillarygayle: (BPAL Fire Pig)
So you remember all that stuff from the last entry? All those things I was going to accomplish? What ACTUALLY happened is that Courtney & Jagger (my sister & her son) came out to the pool deck and hung out. Therefore Ganon had a heart attack to go out and "see Jagger." Therefore we went out to the pool & spent a bit more than an hour swimming and getting nicely toasted by the sun. Then I got in and my BPAL had arrived, so now I'm wearing Velvet Tiki. Just finished co-signing a loan application for a classmate who was not going to be able to continue the nursing program if he didn't get a US citizen to co-sign his loan. I did it, because I'm in a position to do it, and I couldn't handle the guilt if he dropped out. Not knowing that I could've done something to prevent it. Sure, people ask me if I'm not afraid for my credit. I guess it's a little nervous, but life is made of risks. I choose to take risks on other humans. Now I'm hanging out, reading my DW reading list and thinking about having a nap in the sunlight on our couch.

Not a bad way to procrastinate, really. Looking out the window I can't comprehend that it's 5pm; it's still so sunny & breezy & nice.

Boom de yada.
hillarygayle: (Agent Smith Not So Bad)
Brussels sprouts are one of those things I never know how to cook, even though when I eat them other places I always end up liking them. Well, this recipe for golden-crusted brussels sprouts sounds INCREDIBLE! Thanks for the link, [profile] beautyofgrey!


Today I planted! Momma had brought home way too many impatiens, and I took the flat she didn't use. I now have oodles of them in my backyard flowerbed. When they grow & fill out, they'll be super-thick and the colors will be really random. Since they're mixed in with the periwinkles & these really neat little flowers (of which I cannot recall the name! I need to take a pic so we can identify them!) that I planted 2 years ago and have lived through BOTH winters including the ice storm, and my asiatic lilies, it's going to have this neat, wildflower effect. It doesn't have any kind of intentional arrangement or anything, which is not my usual way about things. Momma got me this hilarious tiny planter for my porch as well: it's a gnome! He's standing by a bucket holding a shovel. I planted a variegated coral impatien in his bucket. He looks very happy.

My porch containers: one large bucket, one hanging basket, and one long, narrow, window-box type container are all filled with lettuce, as I was inspired last summer by [personal profile] velvetpage. She grew her own lettuce & got great mileage out of it, so I'm going to try it this summer. After reading up a bit, I found a few varieties that people have success in growing in my area in the shade. I have super-tiny little lettuce plants. SO CUTE.

On the pool deck, which is the only place I have full-sun, I planted a Cherokee purple tomato, a sweet basil, and a dark opal basil, which is a glorious purple color. I have such a thing for black/purple veggies. I may go & find one of those black beauty pepper plants again; I had great success with it last year. Unlike the tomatoes, squirrels showed no interest in the peppers. YAY ANTHOCYANINS!

Also I baked brownies. They do not contain anthocyanins but they are Ghirardelli dark chocolate. I ate them for supper and that was a bad idea, because now I'm on sugar overload. Bleh.


Bryan should be back tomorrow from Hot Springs. He went on Sunday for a workshop. It's so funny to talk to him on the phone & online. You know that list of reasons to date geeks? I think "Geek Guys Are Worth It"? I am reminded of those things every time I talk to him. He pings me online during the workshop; they have wireless & he busted out the laptop. He started to send me links & talk about how this one website was too distracting for him to look at during the workshop. It was full of stupid criminals, and Bryan loves stupid criminal stories. He actually took his Xbox 360 with him, because he'd been thinking about it when Nathan, the other math teacher who went, called & asked if he was planning on it. That made Bryan's decision. Now there are 2 geeky high school math teachers playing Xbox 360 in a hotel room in Hot Springs. I wish their students knew what their teachers did in the evenings & on weekends...and that these teachers could lay waste to any of them on any number of video games. :)


Ganon was exhausted by 4:30. He'd spent most of the day having fun outside; he helped me turn over the soil in the flowerbed. He drove his tiny lawn tractor around. That thing is actually useful; he drove my impatiens to the house from Momma's, he moved a bag of potting soil for me, and he drove my pool deck plants over all at once, saving me some trips. He's a VERY good driver, too. He steers wonderfully, and can actually use the reverse properly; he turns one way to get himself out of a bind, and then puts it back in drive and turns the wheel to go the other way. He ran all over the place, played on the swingset, and climbed everything. He was completely tuckered out & wanting to be held, so Momma sent him inside with me...which he did not like. There was the epic Battle of the Afternoon Nap. I won, but not without losing quite a few hit points. By the time he laid down, he was so spent that he fell asleep in about a minute. At that point, exhausted myself, I just flopped down on his trundle and went to sleep.

...We didn't wake up until 8pm. CRAP. I had the hardest time waking him up, but I knew I had to or we'd be up at 4am. So he's awake now, and after insisting on 2 rounds of MarioKart, he decided watching Thomas would be fine. A slice of peanut butter bread, a glass of juice, and Thomas the Tank Engine. This is the price I paid for writing this entry without a toddler on my lap, demanding to take his own picture with Photobooth.


I'm working on yet another Aibhlinn. I know; you'd think I was in love with that pattern or something. ^_~ I got 2 skeins of Noro Taiyo at YarnMart in Little Rock on Saturday, and for those of you who are knitters or crocheters and like cotton--this is my favorite cotton/silk blend ever! It's so soft, has such a wonderful drape, and of course the colors are so NORO. This is possibly my favorite yarn ever; it's certainly up there with Silk Garden.
hillarygayle: (Cupcake Hussy!)
Yesterday was the Greek food festival! So much delicious, tasty, multicultural fun! Yesterday morning I intended to pick up [personal profile] bluecanarykit & [personal profile] quiara at 11, but it ended up being later. Ganon was sick and most unhappy with the concept of Mama leaving the house. But he did end up getting a nice day with Daddy.

Anyway, we arrived at the festival later than intended: about 2pm. We parked at the first available parking lot we saw (my apologies to anyone else on the road, because I was driving like a tool trying to get into that parking lot) and behold! Trolleys. You guys already know my love of public transportation, and it extends to things as simple as parking lot shuttles. These were old-style trolleys, so of course I loved them.

Trolley )

We met [personal profile] thejessone & [personal profile] eldridge immediately after hopping off the trolley. They had plans to go & catch Star Trek again after the festival, so they'd been there for a while. They hung out with us while we got our food, though. I <3 me some Jess. She has the most hilariously DRY sense of humor! "Your mom" or "that's what SHE said" sound infinitely more hilarious when they come from someone who sounds like she's asking the time or discussing the weather. Of course the food was stellar. The problem with getting bakalava from the Greek food festival is that it is made by tiny, Greek-speaking old ladies in a magical bakalava workshop. When you have that particular bakalava, other bakalava does not taste awesome. The problem with spanakopita is that it makes me want lots, lots more of it. The problem with melomacarona is that I want to eat 3 tons of them at once (but happily, I think I may have found a good, accurate, recipe for them here). The problem with souvlaki is that I have no idea what seasoning they used on the pork. The problem with the Greek food festival is that it only happens once a year.

One lonely food picture )

When we were waiting in line, me for my spanakopita & Q for her pastitsio, the Radio Disney Road Crew was up on stage doing its little act. Oh my goodness. These girls had the Disney look going ON. They were doing their little dance which, in typical Disney style, had lots of head cocking for maximum hair swinging, lots of arms-locked-at-the-sides pseudo-Irish jigging, and more than its share of dance moves more commonly seen in a cheerleading routine. Anyway, when they finished that, the girl in the red shirt (the rest were wearing purple, and she was a markedly better dancer than most of the others, so I guess that was significant) took the microphone and told the kids who'd been dancing along "Good job guys! That was GREAT!" Her voice was so shrill, so high pitched and so Disney-channel artificially perky & enthusiastic...that Q and I both physically jumped and sorta half-clutched at each other's hands. Kit was behind us and she LAUGHED so hard.

We sat down while the Disney Crew was still doing their thing. *wince* However, following them up was a group doing a Greek circle dance and that was really neat. After that, though was this INCREDIBLE woman doing an Indian storytelling dance. Judging by what the woman said & what I later looked up, I think it's called "kathak". It was beyond beautiful; it was simply mesmerizing. So much so that I absolutely didn't think of taking any photographs. *blink* I just realized that I had my fancy camera, and that I could've gotten a very good shot of her...but I simply didn't think of it at the time. How weird. Anyway, the woman was wearing ivory & gold, and the frontpiece of her outfit was like a folded fan about 18 inches long, hung upside down from the center front of her waist. Her hair was upswept in a large, severe bun offset to one side of her head, and she was absolutely covered in bright gold jewelry. My favorite piece is always the incredible thing that lies in the part of the hair and dangles a jewel onto the forehead. Her hands and feet were dyed with henna. The whole effect was just dazzling.

After her, a couple of little girls did some very Bollywood style dances, which in my estimation kinda outdid the Disney dance. It looked more cohesive than the Disney Crew's thing. But this is Bollywood we're talking about; I'm pretty sure their whole goal is to outdo everyone in every way possible. More glitter, more gold, more color, more people!

Jess & Zak left, but we followed shortly behind them. We went into the church sanctuary, however. It's beautiful and really isn't to be missed (I think Jess & Zak saw it before we got there). I had to light a candle, anyway; there were lots of prayers happening all over the world for my mother-in-law, and many of them were on my behalf. I wanted to say a thank you--to acknowledge the prayers and the thoughts and the happy ending that came of them.

The sanctuary feels solemn, serene, worshipful. Sanctuaries are all different. Depending on the sanctuary, it can feel just like a room unless the service is being held, or it can feel like a place of worship even if (maybe especially if) it is empty. This sanctuary, and indeed I imagine all Greek Orthodox ones, feels that way all the time. You don't speak loudly in it; it feels wrong. The place itself commands respect and deference. Taking pictures in there felt more like "art" than it usually does to me; it felt absolutely imperative that I use the manual light & focus settings in honor of the incredible work done in there. It really feels like a place where God is. Normally in low-light settings, I have a problem with manual. I always end up with blurry photos because my hand is not steady enough. I was thrilled to discover how well these turned out, though!

Photos of Sanctuary )

Q & Kit & I decided to hit a yarn store, so we called for directions. Q called the yarn store, but Kit called New Zealand! We got directions from [profile] macphile, who used to live in the area but currently lives in Auckland. ^o^ I love the digital age. He gave us directions that seemed to go completely opposite the way that the yarn people told Q, and it took us through residential areas, but it was definitely a "back way" of doing it. I think it may have gotten us there faster, and not a moment too soon. We talked to the nice shop ladies (I recommended the Aibhlinn pattern to her and she printed it off knitty.com) and bought yarn. To my absolute delight, they had a COTTON NORO. It's called Noro Taiyo, and it is of MUCH higher quality than their wool. <3 It's almost $20 per skein, but it has very high yardage, so I think it will be enough to make...yet another Aibhlinn. ^o^ Yes, I know. I'm going to give the grass-green Cotton Twist one to Courtney as a gift. The wonderful lady at Yarnmart gave me permission to take photos of the yarn. SO! A shoutout to YarnMart in Kavenaugh Heights in Little Rock, Arkansas! That's where all these pictures were taken. Go forth and buy yarn from them.

Yarn photos )

Jeremy & Leslie had tipped us off to another delightful surprise about the area: 5 doors down from the yarn store is a place called "Cupcakes on Kavenaugh". Yes indeed a CUPCAKE SHOP. How could we NOT?! I had to move Leeloo because part of the street was being blocked off, and I randomly ended up right in front of the cupcake place. FATE, PEOPLE. I went in to wait on Q & Kit, who were still in the yarn store because Q (or Kit?) had managed to end up with a hank of yarn that had the Mother of All Knots in it, and that caused problems on the ball-winder. Anyway, because of my delightful place as first to enter the cupcake shop, I was the first to spot the delightful green cupcake--the last of its kind.

"What is that adorable thing?" I asked.
"It's a margarita cupcake!" said the Cupcake Queen.
"...it's a margarita cupcake."
"Yep."
"Okay I'll be having that."

I got the last one, and for that reason, Q has dubbed me "The Cupcake Hussy". I even have an icon befitting of such a title.

CUPCAKES! )

And then it was late, so we went to Fresh Market to pick up some of Bryan's favorite buffalo wings; I have to bring him a present when I go someplace cool without him! There, we saw Stasia, who used to go to Harding with Q & I. She was also a club sister in GATA. We talked with her for a while, then left to head home. We wished several times for transporters.
hillarygayle: (Hottie Eyeshadow)
Here, have an icon of me in yellow & blue eyeshadow. ^_^

So today begins my "break". I am carrying 6 hours of online classes, yes, but to me? Holy crap is that a serious break. The alternative has been, for the last 9 months, sitting on my butt for 6 hours 4 days a week in lecture and running my feet off for 8 hours one day a week in clinicals. It's like ALL of my time has been spoken for for 9 months. This feels like HEAVEN; it takes me 1-2 hours a day to finish up my online classwork, and then I am free. Free to do what?

To clean my house.
To play with my son without thinking I should be accomplishing something else.
To hang out with my husband; I think I might like to play Resident Evil 5 with him. ^_^
To hang out with Q in the evenings when she gets the chance, and not be slacking on homework to do it.
To watch Jagger when Courtney wants to go on a walk. <3 Nephew!
To go into town to the mall & just walk around because I can.
To enjoy the spring.
To make french press coffee because I like the taste, not to keep me awake.
To take naps.
To sit on my porch.
To dink about on the internet, talking to friends whom I miss very much.
To write three letters by hand in response to three I recieved recently that simply made my day (I'm looking at you, [personal profile] wayfarersgirl, [personal profile] cryfreedom, and [personal profile] jorajo!)
To take Ganon to Frisco to go visit my mom-in-law, who is going to need it!
To make delicious, healthy lunches for me & Ganon without a thought to the time it takes (today we're having turkey pastrami, romaine, & hot spicy mustard on Greek flatbread!)
To drive to Mammoth Spring with Ganon to visit my Grandma W, and maybe eat at the Greek place in Cherokee Village.
To wake up early because I want to take advantage of all my free time, not because I have to get to class on time.

Oh that's nice.

I woke up this morning in a terrible mood, ironically. This is because I dreamed of alarm clocks all night. I was irritated & confused at first, but now I think it might've been my brain's completely eff'd up response to not having to do anything major. I had a whole pot of coffee & a sour cream cake donut for breakfast. Then I fired up some Butt Naked incense (smells like apples; great spring/summer incense) and began to clean up my kitchen, and now I'm feeling motivated. Oh yes.

I gotta figure out how to get my DMB mood theme over on Dreamwidth.
hillarygayle: (Default)
Here is the text of an email Walter asked me to write this morning, in order to update all Christy's friends at once.

On Thursday, Christy became ill at work and her coworkers called an ambulance. The ambulance took her to Centennial Medical center, where they found the problem: Christy's mitral valve (one of the 2 very large valves on the left side of the heart) had ruptured, and her heart could no longer pump very efficiently. She was placed on a balloon pump (device that assists the heart) and a ventilator. [Note just for DW: It was really bad. She had cardiogenic shock and her blood pressure bottomed out like nobody's business: 50/22.]

After 2 nights in the ICU at Centennial, she was taken by ambulance to The Heart Hospital, a Baylor hospital specifically for complex cardiac patients. There they performed open-heart surgery on Sunday morning to determine the extent of the damage and to repair or replace the valve as needed. They were able to fix her existing valve with a device that was stitched into it so that it would close properly again. She was removed from the balloon pump immediately after surgery. Later that afternoon she responded to nurses by opening her eyes, and responded several times to Walter.

This morning, Monday, she is even more responsive & keeping her eyes open. They have been turning the ventilator down to see how she does with breathing on her own, and it's been so good that the doctor is going to try & remove the vent today when he sees her.

Christy is a fighter, and now she's definitely going to have to fight. The surgery she had was extremely invasive. An open-heart surgery is one of the largest procedures you can have, and it leaves the patient in quite a bit of pain with a very long rehabilitation in front of them. At first she will probably not even be able to sit up without help. She will have to start out walking just a few feet at a time and then taking a rest. It's going to be a very long recovery; it will probably be months before she's back to feeling normal, and longer than that before she can do everything that she did before. She will definitely get there, however--she's got a very cute grandson she's going to want to pick up ASAP. :)


So that's all of it! The surgery went really well and she's responsive & wanting to wake up. YAY MOMMA-IN-LAW!

More just for DW: It's been crazy the last few days, and I mean NUTS. When we got here on Friday night, there was some doubt as to whether she could even make it through this at all. Centennial is an incredible hospital, but when they moved her to The Heart Hospital it all really started to come together. You've never seen anything like that place.

Her room was HUGE: the size of her master bedroom at home. There was a place for family members to sleep. The whole place was finished out with wood crown molding & beautiful wallpaper & flooring and silk pillows. It looked more like an upscale hotel than a hospital room. There was a nurse's station in the room, and after watching for a while (he stayed in the room while I went to go get Matthew to stay there over Saturday night), Bryan figured out the nursing arrangement: each critical patient had one nurse who's station was inside the room. That nurse never left, always watched, always fiddled with monitors and medications. Constantly tweaking everything to be exactly what it needed to be right then. Her IV pump was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I hope to someday be a good enough nurse to deal with all of that equipment. Anyway, there was a team of nurses outside. The outside nurses would go room to room, helping the inside nurses with outside duties like paperwork, getting needed items, exchanging information, etc. It ensured that no patient was left alone. Ever. Coolest thing I've ever seen.

Right now I'm starving. We went to sleep at 7:30 last night, and I woke up at 5am with massive heartburn like I've never had (it seems to be my new stress response, thanks to nursing school). Took an acid reducer and now I'm hungry enough to eat a bear (out of my way, Emmett Cullen).
hillarygayle: (Hottie Camera)
I went to the DMB concert on May 2, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. Here is my experience for posterity. ^o^

Wow, it's quite long! )

Topical!

Apr. 26th, 2009 02:27 pm
hillarygayle: (Hottie Red Queen)
Swine Flu Sucks
So, swine flu. Yes, I'm pretty concerned. Not so much for myself; the United States has incredible medical facilities and medications and even with complications people routinely DON'T die of the flu here. But Ganon is very young, and many of my friends and family have very young babies. Frankly, THAT scares the poop out of me. I'd like to talk to Dr. Mr. Matthews, husband of my community health professor, Dr. Mrs. Matthews (yeah, when we have both husband and wife in the same room, that gets complicated). Epidemiology isn't his primary practice but it's his hobby, and Dr. Mrs. Matthews is a community health specialist. It's her career. I want to know what their take is on this. I might email.

It probably goes without saying, but if you're reading this, you're human and I love humans. Please don't get swine flu.

Line Drying Clothes
It's well known on LJ, but not necessarily here yet, that when I am able, I like to line dry my clothes. I live on a farm and I dislike that fact (for myriad reasons: gas cost, bugs, constant mud or dust, having to check yard for snakes before I let Ganon out, no amenities like ORDERING A DAMNED PIZZA ohsorryi'mhungryrightnow), so to boost my optimism, I have been doing a few things that make me happy. I grow basil & tomatoes on my pool deck and am going to start some spinach seeds today. I have a flowerbed & some pots full of impatiens (because they'll grow in the shade of the old-growth oaks in my yard; that's something I'll miss when we move to Dallas--huge white oaks). I also have a full-size clothesline in my backyard, in the fenced-in area where Ganon plays. Something about clothing drying on a line is immensely relaxing to me, entirely outside of the energy-saving reason (which is why I started it in the first place). I love hanging the clothing, taking it down, etc. It's just great. Plus, my denim skirts don't do the "rolled up hem" when I line-dry them. That rolled hem drives me bonkers.

Anyway, today I figured something out. sometimes when you dry something made of jersey, it keeps a little "pinch" where the clothespin was. That's unfortunate in some locations. If you put it at the shoulders, you get a funky little pooch or bulge that sticks up. If you hang them by the hem, you get a weird stretched thing going on. The bottom hem won't hang straight. This isn't such a big deal for a heavy material like denim or anything else that holds its own shape well. Jersey, though, ick. It will take on whatever shape you hang it in. Unfortunately, jersey is one of my favorite materials. It has a very good drape on me and it's cool & comfortable in our humid summer months. I wear a lot of it, and I have hella problems with the clothespin pooches. Today, though, I figured something out. When I hung the clothes up, I hung jersey shirts across the chest, with the arms hanging down one side of the line & the torso hanging over the other. I put the clothespins in the armpit area of the shirt. Now, doubling something over the line usually means it doesn't dry as fast, but I'm not in a huge hurry if I'm line-drying anyway. It's more important to me that I get my clothes in a wearable state than to get them quickly.

Freedom
Nah, not "freedom" in the big, overarching sense of the word. I've talked to [personal profile] quiara about this already, but I feel oddly free this weekend. I think it's the fact that we don't do pre-plans anymore for clinical, and all we have to turn in is a hand-written SBAR form. But whatever it is, I feel a bit "soaring" this weekend, even though I really do have work I should be doing. Formal care plan, NCLEX practice questions, concept map. Still, whatever this feeling is has me in a weird state. Anyone or anything that feels slightly clingy, slightly need, slightly like it might tie me to any kind of obligation (outside those to which I myself cling as a support system, like Bryan, Ganon, Q, & my Family 2.0) is making me feel wildly repulsed. Like OMGGETITOFFIT'SSTICKINGDONOTWANT.

Contributing to my feeling of freedom is the WEATHER, I think. It's sunny, there's a stout breeze blowing in from the west, and it's 79ºF. <3!!!! I have the AC turned off & the windows & back door thrown open. It's like I could fly out the back door and sail into the clouds if I wanted to. I'm not; I'm cleaning the kitchen & vacuuming the living room. But I could if I wanted to.

Clicking
I "click" with people sometimes. There are varying degrees of "click"-ness, obviously. I clicked instantly with [personal profile] quiara. I clicked pretty hardcore with our friend Brittanie. I clicked like crazy with Bryan. We knew within 2 weeks that we were going to end up married. In the last year or so, I have clicked with 2 people who are also BFFs: Jorajo & CryFreedom (who, given her username, will probably like my paragraph about freedom up there...). I wasn't sure there was a reason for the clickness, just that I loved them both and that I REALLY love them as a pair. Anyway, today I find out that all 4 of us: me, Q, Jorajo & CryFreedom have some REALLY specific things in common--to the point that it makes the clickness make a LOT of sense. It also means I want to meet them for an epic DMB concert even more, now.
hillarygayle: (Hottie Red Queen)
We had that cardiology exam today. Guess who made a 91 on it? OH YES THAT'S RIGHT ME.

*dances*

I interpreted every. single. rhythm. strip. correctly. I'm so excited I could pop. This means even though I don't particularly like cardiology, I might not suck at it which is a definite plus for someone who wants to go into trauma. Let's face it, there's a little bit of everything in trauma.

After that, we had the final "party" for the Healthy Ager program, which means I am finished with that. We no longer have the enormous paperwork pre-plan that goes along with Friday clinicals. I have a formal care plan to do for tomorrow's patient, then we have hemodynamics next week along with an exam and a concept map (which we will probably do for Jennifer's formal care plan patient). Then a final, and honestly THAT'S IT. That is all in High Acuity and then it becomes hella clinicals all summer after May's online classes. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! And it isn't a train! And if it IS a train, I WILL KICK ITS ASS, SHOVE IT OUT OF MY WAY, AND GET OUT OF THE DAMN TUNNEL.

So tonight I brought home Mexican food for supper and then we just hung out. Ganon played on his new swingset in the front yard, then played in the back yard while we just sat & watched. Relaxing. Now I'm going to finish this up and get some sleep.

Wow. This is a pretty incredible version of Crush. I would absolutely make out with Jeff Coffin for the way that man plays the saxophone.
hillarygayle: (Agent Smith Not So Bad)
I thought I'd put a little in this post about Dreamwidth. I haven't been here long but already I have higher hopes and expectations for it than I've had any other Livejoural-based service. The userbase thus far seems dedicated and focused. The staff seems competent. Really it just seems more STABLE here. Plus, there's a small, personal feel to it yet. This could be because...it's still small & personal. IMAGINE THAT.

I really like some of the changes I see already--my favorite thing is the dual-level "friends list". I like the change in terminology, and I like the difference between "someone I read" and "someone who has access to my locked stuff". I have often wished the 2 did not go hand in hand on Livejournal, and I am happy to see that division here.

Haven't found any bugs yet, but I am poking into the site as much as I can. I very much enjoy mobile posting, so I imagine I'll be inspecting everything they have toward that end. I wish there was some way to post photos, but that's a feature and not a bug.


Today was certainly one of the more hectic days I've had during school, and we didn't expect it to be that way at the outset!

We had an exam first thing this morning. Expecting around 70 questions...and it ended up being more like 85. o_O!!! The exam covered extremely diverse topics as well: pediatric shock & emergencies, neonatal critical care situations, intraortic balloon pumping (with NO more cardiac content than that!) and triage. It was just WEIRD how it was a random mishmash of things. That made it very difficult to study for, as did the fact that yesterday was both Bryan's birthday & Daddy's, and I had a baptism to attend last night. All of this combined gave me a raw score of 77% on the exam. BOOOO. However, I would not have missed the other things, so I'll take it. We also saw some questions we feel should be thrown out; if just a couple of questions don't make the cut then that will bump me up to a B instead of a C.

Taking such a long test took much longer than usual, and I still had Healthy Ager at the same time as usual. Unfortunately I also needed to print out the educational materials to give them and also EAT FOODZ. So we ran to the cafeteria, bolted down our lunches, and then ran back to print things. Those of my classmates who had to meet Healthy Agers at 12:30 instead of 1:30 didn't even get to eat lunch at all. T_T

After Healthy Ager, as usual, we headed to the hospital to pick patients for tomorrow. I am now in the 3 North rotation, which is technically the neuro floor. However, I do not have a neuro patient. As usual. I never seem to find a patient who is actually on the floor which is intended for his/her condition.

Now that I write it all out it doesn't sound that exhausting, but I suppose after an 85 question exam, having to do ANYTHING seems exhausting. >_< I'm much happier tonight than on previous Thursday nights, however, because tomorrow we stop doing the "pre-plan" form and begin doing an "SBAR" (situation, background, assessment, recommendation) form. SBAR forms contain the same level of information as a pre-plan, but they are much more concise and easy to deal with. SBAR is the format used by most nurses in the "real world" upon shift change, when they give report to the next nurse who will be caring for that particular patient. That means tonight I just have to familiarize myself with the patient's condition and medications! Schweet.

Right now I'm relaxing. I've made myself the First Smoothie of the Year (this one was with bananas & blueberries, which is basically what I had in the kitchen). I made some Annie's mac & cheese (so good) and got a rotisserie chicken from Kroger, so supper was easy. Tonight is for catching up on real life things, like laundry and dishes.

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