Friday, April 24, 2009


Know what the best thing about a birthday is?

Excellent excuse to buy crazy yarn:

Blue Heron Rayon Metallic
Eggplant Colorway

The yarn is going to be used for the oh-so-cliche Clapotis. It's the pattern that every knitter apparently has knitted, and for some reason I too have fallen under its spell, even though I want nothing to do with shawls and I've knitted 3 scarves already. I think there's some sort of subliminal message in the pattern or something.

The actual day of my birthday sucked (Thanks Pharmacology), but my wonderful husband made up for it by taking me out to Royal Bavaria, a German-themed brewhouse and restaurant. I indulged in good booze, had some schnitzel, and generally had an excellent time.

Next week and the week after are going to suck, then I'm going on vacation to Eureka Springs, AR with my husband, my parents, and my husband's dad and stepmom. We all get along like a house on fire, so it should make for some good times. My current theory is that I'll get quite a bit of knitting done that week, but don't count on it. So I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I've just had finals and a well-deserved vacation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pressed for Time

Well folks, it's the end of the semester, and that can only mean one thing:

There's a metric ton of papers to write and projects to finish.

What's more, we're in that panicky stage where everyone's working hard to get passing grades in these difficult classes. And it's very panicky this semester. I think every nursing school has at least one ridiculously hard class. There might be different thing
s that make it hard (instructors who don't instruct but hand out dense and vague packets, for a current example), but for one reason or another, these classes love to have half the class failing. For this program, that class is Pharmacology. Unfortunately, pharmacology is kind of an important subject for us baby nurses, and the fact that it's extremely difficult to learn the material, no matter how it's presented, doesn't help the situation.

I really don't know what the right way is to handle a class like this. Work harder for the grade? Work less because you won't know the answers no matter how much you study? Relax? Stress? Get stomach ulcers? Contemplate (briefly) breaking an arm to have an excuse not to take the exam? I'm not sure. My method of going back and for
th between stressing and not caring (depending on how imminent the exam is) seems to be working well for me, but I couldn't tell you exactly why. I don't know how to help my classmates because I honestly don't know what it is I'm doing that they're not. I use the same books, read the same packets, make flash cards together with them. I feel almost guilty - here I am, very close to an A, while other people are having breakdowns in the middle of the hallway after the test and they work for it even harder than I do. I guess I'll have to promise to tell you when I find out what the trick to these types of classes is.

All this hasn't left much time for knitting. I did manage to finish a quick hat though, just in time for it to get warm enough to not need it:

Coronet by Alexandra Virgiel
1 skein Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Ice Pool Heather colorway

Also, I had a yarn falling-down at the Medieval Fair last weekend. I think the fact that I gravitate toward yarn if it's within a mile radius makes me a Knitter.

Ursula's Alcove Kettle-Dyed Superwash sock yarn
Colorway Brazilwood

I'm also learning to knit two socks at a time. My husband decided it was wrong that I never knit him anything, so he decided he wanted socks. For his size 14 feet. I keep telling him hats are much more in vogue that socks. He's not buying it.

K3, P1 ribbing, basic sock recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Regia Galaxy sock yarn

And, just because this has been a crappy week, here's a cute pic of Maggie the Boston Terror:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Real Clinicals

Haven't posted in awhile, mainly due to the fact that I have an exam pretty much every week now.

Clinicals are finally in full swing, after some weather-related cancellations. Today, I had the unique privilege of going to the cath lab. I'm used to cardiac patients who have had a heart cath done to place stents or see the extent of coronary artery disease, but apparently there's much more that can be done there. At the hospital where I'm having clinicals, their cath lab does a lot of spinal/nerve stuff, such as repairing vertebral compression fractures with a kind of cement and doing nerve blocks for chronic pain. It's really an operating room atmosphere, which was new to me. Hence, the funny hat:

I also had to wear a really heavy lead apron because all of the procedures in the cath lab involve some type of radiation or another. The nurses I was following were extremely nice - always ready to explain something to me or let me draw up some medications. The doctor performing all of the procedures today was also very nice and let me stand where I could see the screens, and the surgical tech kept up a running commentary for my benefit. I also got to play with some of the cement they use for vertebral repairs - it gets warm as it hardens!

I'm most proud of myself for not screwing up a sterile field of the surgical instruments. The one piece of advice my wonderful clinical instructor gave me was "don't touch anything blue!" After I figured out where the blue sterile stuff was gonna be, I steered clear. As I told my classmates, I could kinda get used to wearing the funny hat and hanging out in the cath lab!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nursing School Humor

Happy Wednesday. Here's a LOLcat before I dive back in to my Psych Nursing book.

photo by Lunaticus of

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Orientation to My Feelings on Orientations

Well, today was that day nursing students and healthcare workers know all too well:

The Orientation.

I always find it a little strange that they call it an orientation, because it somehow implies that we are disoriented before it takes place. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't walk in the door of a hospital and immediately forget about HIPAA or fire procedures. Which is what we went over this morning. For an hour. Even my concern over being extremely rude wasn't enough to keep me from doing the sleepy head-bob while we were going over something for the sixth time that wasn't all that interesting the first time anyway.

But, I know it's something both the hospital and the nursing school have to do in order to decrease their liability in case something happens. So, I just keep my mouth shut and do what they tell me. Not to mention the age-old rule of nursing school: you play by their rules or you don't play at all.

There was one good thing about it, though. I'm doing my clinical rotation at a different hospital than the one I work at, and I don't have a lot of experience at other hospitals. It was interesting to see how this hospital was different from the one where I work. It even, dare I say it, made me appreciate where I work all the more. The charting system for the Clinicals hospital is a DOS-based program that was not only antiquated, but not very intuitive. I got along with it okay in the class we had, but I don't know if I'll be able to find stuff again when I'm on the floor researching my patient. Hopefully the other nurses will be able to help us out. The charting system where I work is much newer and just plain better in terms of flexibility. So, there you go, you have to see other places more to appreciate what you've got.

The familiar nursing school feeling of being just a tad overwhelmed is back. Monday was the first day of classes, and already this week I have a quiz over a Med-Surg chapter, homework over a different Med-Surg chapter due, two chapters to read for Mental Health, and a chapter to read for Pharm. Woohoo!! Good thing I have tomorrow completely off while the other half of the group cycles through clinicals. I will use the time!

I love being busy. Christmas break is entirely too long.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


As I promised in the last post, I will tell you about the journey my family has gone through to perfect the making of carmel pies. Carmel pie is my dad's favorite dessert, and his mom always makes sure to have one ready when we go to visit her. Eventually, we got the idea that we could actually make our own, and asked mom-maw for the recipe. She gave it willingly (almost too willingly) and we set off home again, anxious to make our own carmel pie.

Mom tried them first. She tried, and tried, and tried. I shudder to think at the sheer volume of sugar she melted that day in her courageous but fruitless attempts to achieve the pie nirvana that is carmel pie.

After the smoke cleared, mom conceded defeat and we all immediately blamed mom-maw for giving us a bad recipe so we'd be forced to visit her every time we wanted a carmel pie. Her name was mud around here for a good six months. Every time a recipe didn't turn out from then on, even if mom-maw had never touched it, she was blamed.

The next time we visited mom-maw, we asked her to wait until we got there to make the pies so we could watch. Watch we did, and my dear husband took copious amounts of ridiculously detailed notes about the entire process.

So armed, we returned home and tried again.

Another dismal failure. This time we knew exactly what mom-maw had used (and there were, in fact, a few minor deviations from the recipe, although mom-maw swears to this day it's correct). We knew how long and how hot to make it. We knew everything she'd done, but it still turned out into a runny, flour-flavored catastrophe.

A couple more attempts were made over the last year or so, and were again met with disappointing results. Then, my dad became a fan of Alton Brown. This pretty much sums up Mr. Brown:

My dad is a geek. He loves the explanations and education of AB's show. He watched a few episodes, applied a little cooking chemistry (and a lot of time and use of the stand mixer he got this Christmas), and viola! The infamous carmel pie.

Top with mirangue, bake a bit, and you have yourself a delectable treat.

A pie composed nearly entirely of melted sugar.

Needless to say - it was consumed quickly and enjoyed immensely.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Downhill Slope

We're in that weird time between Christmas and New Year. Usually this is the time when I sit back, sleep a lot, and generally do whatever I want to do before the bustle of the new year starts. This year is no different from previous years, except for the fact that I'm doing a lot more knitting and less sleeping. I got to see both sets of family this Christmas, which hasn't happened since I started working. Being off work has its advantages - but I'm looking forward to the extra paycheck starting the middle of January.

I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf.

When mom saw it, she casually mentioned that her birthday was coming up. So, I've cast on for another one. This is my first knitting project with a deadline, and I'm not taking it too well. Especially since the last one took me longer than I have left to make this one and I spent a fair daily amount knitting it. I'm sure she'll love it though, which helps a lot since this scarf is not the most intellectual of projects, so I'm focusing on putting a lot of love into it. I know mom will appreciate it because she used to crochet. She 'gets' the stuff that's behind a yarny gift.

The knitting gift I got myself for Christmas is the On The Town Knitting Bag by Silver. This is the Abracadabra version, and I absolutely love it. It was big enough for the 2 skeins it took to make the IHS, but wouldn't hold much else. It'll be perfect for the millions of socks I'm planning still to make.

The January Knit-In is this Saturday, and I had planned originally to take some of the newly perfected Carmel Pies (see a future post!). But, since it'll be the new year and no doubt everyone will be trying to eat more healthy (including me), I've decided instead to take some fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. I'll let you know how it turns out.