Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011

 This evening we'll be toasting goodbye to the year 2011 and in the true spirit of growing older the years do seem to be accelerating! We'll spend New Years Eve as we have for most of the past 37 we've been together - together, this year attending but not hosting a house party. I've only worked for a few and that's been by intent as there is NOTHING sadder than working New Years Eve as you can't celebrate it another time, when it's over, it's over and you've missed it. Christmas can be celebrated at any time you choose - as evidenced by this year's on December 26th.

The two Maritime daughters were home previous to the big day to help with holiday preparations - tree purchased, up and decorated, baking, visiting, wrapping and other last minute errands which are even more important when the woman of the house is working shifts and living with a very busy Grinch involved in the lobster industry.

Speaking of lobstering, this gives me the opportunity to insert a link to a video here which has gone viral online. It's a lobster fisherman who has a bit of time on his hands as they steam over to a next string and that he's not the usual scantily clad, anorexic dancer in a music video makes it's even more hilarious. It's tough, cold, dangerous work and you have to have a bit of fun to keep you going (or so the Boy Captain tells me while he regales at 8 p.m. suppers with yarns of buffalos - the industry name for a clawless lobster pantomimed as a flip phone by the bander who holds it to his ear, laughs and says to the hired man "it's for you", or the hired man doing the quick draw with two 'pistols' on his hips) as he is the oldest of the three on his boat. But as his mother I try NOT to think of their under 25 status:

Lobster Fisherman Is Sexy And He Knows It Viduba - Video Download

The Boy Captain has been having another dental emergency situation at the holidays where a wisdom tooth erupted and cracked (he has a pain tolerance which allows for leaving these things) on the opposite side of his jaw from last year this time. This necessitated a trip to the local dentist, antibiotics and referral for dental surgery as the root was too close to the sinuses. A week later he had severe nerve root pain which caused a trip to the ER (after EVERYTHING we had in the house didn't touch the pain) which his older sister chauffeured and it was reassuring to know that although the hydromorphone he was given beat the pain he was not a fan of the 'good drugs' and managed with the toradol instead. An appointment with a specialist in the city two days ago was the final solution where he had the surgery under a local and was held down by the assistant after instructing "just get it done" and he is recovering well. So well in fact that he went lobstering yesterday and managed with tylenol # 3s and only a slightly swollen face - after a good night's sleep he is himself again and working away in the barn. Good to have such a strong constitution for such things.And of course it did give us a chance to descend on Costco, buy more Kcups for the shore captain's coffee maker Christmas gift and visit the urban sister/daughter, 

The holidays (wisdom teeth aside) were busy as I worked but went well - except for the western daughter who we miss especially at this time of year. We were pleased that she had a friend (and his family) to spend it with though and some time off from her new electrical apprentice position. We shipped out some crustaceans with her gifts and they arrived in good shape for a proper Nova Scotian Christmas. I worked days on Dec 24 and 25 which were manageable as sometimes they can be wild! We called Boxing Day Christmas, put the turkey in to roast and had eggs benedict before opening gifts, a big meal and just barely time to clean up a bit before company arrived while I rushed off for a night shift. I usually do fine on nights but fought the sleep monster after midnight and was sure glad to crawl into bed for the day. A quick to-do list and then off to work again as the last daughter packed up to go back to work. So, you can see that making my way through six days off is bliss. Still enjoying the tree - which is one of the benefits of getting it up late. The very thoughtful gifts we all received means that not one of us in standing in line to return/exchange anything this week.

I attempted to use the computer a few days ago and was blocked from my email etc by 'outdated security certificates' so after a bit of troubleshooting with the computer tech on the phone he suggested that the date on the computer might not be correct. He knows his stuff as it was July 2010 as it turned out. Gremlins. Just a heads up should it happen to yourselves.

And speaking of all things tech some of the newest job descriptions are for green collar workers, nano surgeons and cyber soldiers - I'll leave it to you to figure out which are which. 

So as we look forward to our next vacation and in keeping with the last post to include more travel info here is an article on packing from a professional traveler from the sounds:

Packing—What Stays and What Goes?
I have a love/hate relationship with packing. Filling a suitcase tends to mean I’m headed somewhere fun, but trying to decide what to put in it can cause some serious anxiety.
After 10 months of travel this year (and 10 packing sessions), I’ve come up with the Top 3 things to pack and Top 3 things to leave at home.
What to bring:
•  Sunscreen—you wouldn’t believe how many people forget it
•  Power adapter—to power up that hair dryer, battery charger or computer
•  Rain gear—it’s no fun being hindered by the weather
What to leave:
•  Your fifth book—this is what hotel book swaps are for
•  Your step counter or anything else that will make you conscious of things other than having fun
•  The shirt you’ve never worn—and isn’t new
Rule of thumb: If you were to get to your destination and realize you forgot your [insert object here], how upset would you be? Anything less than mildly devastated and it should be left at home.

And a selection of sites/articles for your armchair traveling pleasure follow:

New Years Resolution for 2012:
To work less and travel more

I'd like to say that I'll do less housework but that would be a hard one to keep as I'm just doing enough to keep ahead of the weekly cleaning lady now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now where did I put

Hello? Hello? Anyone there?  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were typing into a black hole after the lengthy silence but I am thrilled to be able to report that I have my life (or some semblance of it) back again after my final exam. And yes 83 is a perfectly respectable mark if I do say so myself. Now, just a few clinical shifts and it will all be over except for the certificate. Yeehaw! One of the new graduates at work said “there aren’t you glad you did it?” and I replied “no, at this point I’m just glad it’s over”. It has been a major commitment of time and energy for the past year. Apparently the program is being revamped and will be shortened to 10 months from 12, one exam instead of three, one clinical instead of three and all the irrelevant to rural emergency RNs material – as in mechanical vents, arterial lines etc. will be made electives for the tertiary centers and rural folks will get to choose palliative electives etc. Makes me (yet again) feel like a woman ahead of my time. 
“Having more joy does not necessarily require a life overhaul—you may just need to create more space in your life for moments of joy.”
— Debrena Jackson Gandy

Speaking of free spirited women as I was announcing my mark to a coworker (who unfortunately is a widow) we were discussing her upcoming first cruise and she said “I’ve been checking out the spa, it looks really good” Couldn’t argue with that. She confided that she’d been going to the tanning bed as her former partner hadn’t approved of that. Now, I can’t imagine him forbidding her or in fact her heeding such an admonition but sometimes it is easier just not to argue. So she said “now I’m doing all those things he didn’t agree with” and I countered with “well I’m doing all the things I want to do now and he’s still around” so we both chuckled at that. 

Speaking of freedom and the ‘freedom 55’ way of thinking, a coworker the other night (who actually IS a pension prisoner) was moaning about the fact that she’d likely be participating in the ‘freedom 75’ plan and would be living in the Manor attached to the hospital and the staff would change her depends and send her over to work a 12 hour shift with her walker saying “see you at 7”. In the way of nurses black humor at 3 a.m. we found that hysterically funny. In fact when I think of it - the following logo is pretty apt as well. So much for that "age is just a number" way of thinking eh?Reminds me of my Dad telling my mother-in-law on his birthday when she had dropped our kids off for his birthday celebration, while we were vacationing, that "there's been a mix-up, the numbers are reversed I'm really 18 not 81 you know" and those who knew him would certainly believe that.

I was reminded early this morning though that no matter how much things change, they stay the same when I checked out FaceBook to find another old nurse online at 7 a.m. and when I questioned the reason for this she said “checking out an online tutorial for making bows”. That would be the change; the same would be the fact that we’d both been driven out of bed by our lobstering families. She by her husband and daughter who is going this fall to band lobsters (another change in the demographic of young men heading west to work in the oil patch) and moi by the ringing of the cell phone which the shore captain left home for the second time in four days. 

The shore captain has been officially put ashore this fall and he’s grieving a bit although he’s been much too busy for several years to do it justice. It makes me feel as if I’m working as a UN negotiator when the two generations are under the same roof at the same time. The senior male has letting go issues and thinks the boy doesn’t want him to help - the junior one feels as if his father is telling him what to do (he is) although as I advised him “it isn’t always about you, he’s struggling with the succession planning you know”. With the hours they are keeping and my shift work, sharing a house with them is like caring for feral cats. You leave food out for them and it disappears, sometimes there’s a mess you have to clean up and occasionally you have to go looking for them or coax them to eat. 

My early start got me underway to town for a Frenchy’s shop – and you know you’ve scored well when you spend $62 and the bag is bigger than groceries of the same cost. When I was in line at the checkout for groceries actually the man ahead of me turned and said “do you have an Air Miles card?” and I wasn’t long stuttering yes, producing it and thanking him. He said “Merry Christmas” and was off so I asked the cashier if it was a big order as I was still recovering from the gift and she said “over $180” so I was very pleased, as well as shocked that someone WOULDN'T have an Air Miles card????

Sunset in paradise
So while waiting for the men folk to come home this evening I enjoyed the beautiful sunset of the unseasonably warm day and a cup of Lady Hannah tea which always make me think of the western daughter as that is where I’ve purchased the tea. Although according to my online search it is widely available. The electrician daughter is beginning her apprenticeship this week. Memo to self to call and see how that is going. She’s  been working in the oil patch but if you’ve studied, you really want to work in your field. She even had an invite to the Christmas party before starting with the new company – a company box to watch the Edmonton Oilers – woohoo! Much better than what nurses get for sure - carols in the front lobby just don't come close. 

Speaking of Christmas music, the teacher daughter has been making her way through Christmas concerts with her grade 3/4 class and it has been fraught with all kinds of drama. Projectile barfing on the way to the stage, yowls from struck elbows, and tears of fear of disappointing a parent. Oh the trials of an elementary school teacher. 

The nursing student wrote her final midterm in Microbiology today and pronounced it “tough” but had marks to ensure a pass before writing. She pulled off an A- in Community Nursing and scored a reference from her clinical instructor so all is good in the academic world. Her crisis du jour was a breadmaker question – that I can handle. 

So, now it's back to work in the morning but at least my 'days off' from here will be filled with holiday preparations versus studying trauma algorithms. I may just go wild and crazy and read a novel if I feel like it. And of course getting in to the cruise planning swing of things. Woohoo!  Or perhaps I'll just simplify my life as per this Huffington Post article Actually, life is pretty good when the only complaint you can make is that you didn't get Air Miles on your L.L. Bean order eh? More travel info in a next post.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gingerbread pancakes

I will use these few moments at the end of a looonnnnnggg night shift to update you as I'm struggling against the post carbohydrate I NEED A NAP feeling of having eaten pancakes - the boiler man had brought pancake mix (a poor substitute for the real thing as the texture isn't the same) but used gingerbread eggnog to mix it up and it was yummy! Apparently the vanilla eggnog works well too. Will have to try that with the real recipe at home.

Cheaper than a lawyer

Speaking of home I must tell you that I've found a solution to the TV volume vs studying problems I've been encountering. The life partner (he of noise induced hearing loss) is a compulsive channel changer with the remote and some channels are louder than others so it causes marital discord. I've found a much cheaper solution than a divorce....wireless headphones. He looks like a pilot wearing them, can retrieve a cold beverage from the fridge or put the cats out without missing a moment of the game, says they're a bit warm on his ears when he falls asleep in the La-z-boy with them on and of course is only allowed / required to wear them when I'm home to monitor the phones for him. They actually required that he (and the son) read the directions to get them operational so you can see how pleased he was with them. They were on sale for half price and I earned Aeroplan points for them - what is not to like?

The shore captain was collecting newspapers out of the recycling and when I asked the reason (we don't require wood fire starter) he informed me that the secretary apparently has been left as parrot keeper for her son's birds as he's been sent to Ireland for some kind of IT job and was asking for the papers for the cages. When I phoned the plant for some reason this week and she answered I asked "is this the parrot whisperer?" but I found it a lot more amusing than she did. However, I did consider myself fortunate to only have been left with an extra cat from kids moving out - not parrots, horses or dogs as others have reported.

Sounds like it's going to be a great day for sleeping as there's a whopper of a storm predicted with heavy snowfall, heavy rainful and a mixture for some places in the forecast. As long as we can make it home in the a.m. it is nice to not have to think of driving in it after that.

The quote for the day is.....
Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.  -
Sarah Bernhardt

So on that note I shall summon up some life energy and go help out with the morning work of awakening, prodding, measuring and scrubbing unsuspecting souls. Don't bother to do that with me unless you want to lose a limb when I get to be old!

And speaking of getting old...this piece sent to me from a friend:
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old. This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!!
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Release your children when they become adults, its their life now
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come... (Can’t wait to find out what! )
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield..
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's decided then -- white and black

When I gave up the afternoon of a beautiful, mild Tuesday off to meet with the NSNU provincial president about the state of the union we were informed that.....the poll regarding which color uniforms nurses will wear was decided. To review the choices were... white top and bottom, red, teal, brown, grey and white top with black bottoms. Apparently white top with black pants won a resounding majority. So now we can get over ourselves. I could give a rat's arse what I wear to work as long as I get paid. There is however a problem with RNs wearing Lulu Lemon, t shirts, pajamas, hoodies etc to work so.... the intent is to give nurses back some identity and a bonus would be some respect. The request for proposals is out to uniform companies, there will be several styles to choose from and the employer is funding $100 to start. It's sounding as if the winter will see us standardized.

Speaking of winter (not that I'd like to think about it let alone speak of it) I heard a piece on CBC radio today as I was making my way home from my physio appointment. And actually I was discharged from my physio program as my back problem is completely resolved. I am the poster nurse for positive improvement from the injections it seems. I've been kicked out of better places than that. But I digress. The piece was regarding something called the Long John Index . Here's the link  and you really must check out the bar on the top which outlines how the LJI works. Made me think of our western daughter as I read the index.

Have had a couple of morning phone calls the past few weeks as she heads off early in the a.m. for her day and I'm just contemplating mine (at a more socially acceptable - to me - hour) so we can get caught up on the news. It's sounding like the index is already in use in Alberta.

Speaking of offspring I was forwarded a link from a proud mother. Her son has always been very bright and pushed the envelope (in many ways from athletics, music to academics) and the last I'd heard of the guy from Sydney Mines he was a PhD in Kinesiology and doing something with mice muscles. It appears he's involved in research to regrow limbs - only starfish could do that until now eh? Nova Scotians are creative!

Today I shopped at the dollar store and Frenchy's and managed to pack Samaritan's Purse shoe boxes for shipment. I also put together some baby clothes/Snugli/blankets for a schoolmate of the daughter's who has relocated to Dominican Republic. Found a good home for all those 'can't leave them here, they're brand new' baby things from Frenchy's for her parents to take next week. 

The other evening the cell phone rang and the shore captain had an extensive conversation with someone which somehow didn't sound like the usual fish/crustacean chats he has. When I inquired as to who it was on the phone, he answers "Rachel who thinks I can answer all her questions". Apparently a couple (sound like left over hippies to me - but of course that's not a bad thing - with a menagerie of goats, dogs, cats, hens and more) of indeterminate age, she has a British accent, have moved to the community where the shore captain's fish plant is. They were directed to him by the lady they bought their place from to purchase fresh fish and so she had been calling daily (as unaware of the comings and goings of the fleet) about buying fish. The most recent call had begun with "well you seem really friendly, we don't know many people here and I thought you could help as we need a rooster killed". As the shore captain pointed out "well roosters do have a habit of being territorial" but it seems that the rooster had attacked the dogs, Rachel and some of the other critters so a contract was out on him. The life partner referred Rachel to a neighbourhood teenager who is a hunter and commented to me afterwards "it's a bit of stretch from being sociable to being a rooster murderer!"

At work on a recent shift I was chatting with one of our new graduates who commented on my pin on watch. I told her it was my nursing school graduation present from the (then boyfriend now husband) in 1976 and she said "that was before I was born". I could handle that part but when I wound the watch and she said "what are you doing?" I was gobsmacked and said "that's how it runs, you wind it up" but she was more amazed herself saying "how does it work without a battery?" And to think they'll be looking after us in the nursing home. Sigh.  

No matter what kind of day you're having remember it's got to be better than the poor guy holding up traffic on the Bi-Hi outside the city on the traffic report one afternoon last week. It seems his car was rear ended and in the ensuing commotion he locked himself out of his damaged vehicle. Each traffic report expanded on the situation as in "there are two policemen on site attempting to help him break into his car with a coat hanger" etc. FINALLY the poor soul was released from his 15 minutes of fame as the traffic was clear in that area on the final report. CBC usually provides a more documentary approach to information such as the piece I heard on Nance Ackerman and her cousin who are doing photo tours which 'give back' to developing nations.

luggage boxes are fun

Atlantic - looking for deer mission

view from the veranda
My photography is not so exotic I'm afraid it runs more to fat cats and shore sunsets at this point in my retirement planning. 

In closing I will advise that a really good read is the latest novel by Guy Vanderhauge who is a Saskatchewan writer - this one is called A Good Man. I downloaded it to my e-reader and finished it when I got home from vacation. It was worth spazzing about not studying but reading a novel instead. Enough ramblings.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Life is while you still have teeth

Almost three weeks since an update here but still not my personal best for bloggers block. And it's certainly not because there's been so little to report on. Lots of activity so here's the synopsis:

Having a set of four shifts off resulted in 13 days off. Whee! This enabled me to get ourselves, the pets and the house ready for our absence as the shore captain was working until he stepped out the door with the luggage. It's always a bit more complicated to visit Cuba as we pack gifts and donated supplies in addition to a few changes of clothes. We elected to head down to overnight with the daughter and son-in-law who conveniently reside about 20 minutes from the airport. Our flights were uneventful (thankfully) as we connected through Toronto and arrived in Varadero by mid afternoon to our very excited friends.

Rooms of priceless pharmacy artifacts
Bellemare Caves
How old is he? Me or the bull?

Cuban tourists
Early morning view
 The predicted weather was WET   which was for the most part accurate  but we certainly enjoyed our visit. As  the travel partner said "it was like  taking four kids to Disney World" to  see our friends experience a 'once in a lifetime event'. We did excursions to Havana (not to be missed) and Matanzas (excellent) and a great time was had by all. In Havana on the bus we traveled through a tunnel under the harbour and what a look on our friends faces! The caves we visited were amazing and a wonderful chance to visit them up close. We had a delicious Cuban lunch at a ranch and there was an elderly man holding the bull for the tourists to ride. Our friend Javier asked him in Spanish "how old is he?" and the old guy replied "do you mean me or the bull?" which was a belly laugh every time our friend thought of it for days. In case you're wondering the bull was 18 and I'm sure the farmer with one tooth was 81! The Pharmacy Museum in Matanzas which was used from the 1860s to 1962 and is a priceless collection - made this nurse who loves to collect old time medical equipment on eBay just drool! Needless to say the resort was fun enough and our friends chose not to miss one single moment, such as paddle boat trips, water slide, night show, basketball and the pool until they were wrinkly. We sometimes enjoyed life in the slow lane with an early morning stroll and there were lots of other resorts to check out and people watching for sure. Had to do something to keep ahead of the buffet and mojitos. It was unfortunately a losing battle - although not as bad as a cruise in that aspect. It was tough to climb on the shuttle bus back to the airport and leave our friends to make their way home on a 20 hr. bus ride.

While we were away the boy wonder apparently left the door wide open while he got in the shower one evening and exited the bathroom to cool air and no felines. After an extensive search and tempting with treats Gary returned, when it started to rain Klyde gave it up and came in but poor Stanley panicked. So...he left the veranda door open and went to bed, only to be awoken by yowling at 3 a.m. when Stanley plucked up enough courage to enter the veranda and yell for entry to the house.No wonder he was so skittish when we arrived home.

It was nice to have a couple of days to get the laundry under control and reaccustomed to having to make meals again before heading in to work. There has been more than the usual angst and change at work the past few months and the four shifts I did were no exception. The second day shift resulted in my coming homeand having a large glass of Cuban pineapple liquer with mineral water (only mixer in house) which made things look much better.

This past week saw the boy have a 24th birthday and the birthday card I gave him with his cake as I left for a night shift was the best pack rat score of two decades. It must've been a card which I had for this 4th birthday which said "Happy 4th Birthday Cowboy" so I altered it to 24th with a red marker and put it in the envelope. I'm sure that life was so frantic 20 years ago that his card was overlooked!

Lots of social life the past few days with a union meeting - Black Forest cake from Lothars for the refreshment - yum! Oktoberfest at the same establishment with another couple - beer glazed pork ribs - the next night. And tonight only five little trick or treaters. Boxes of chips left now which is what I feared! A much quieter holiday than those of the past with the last minute frantic costumes, shore captain chauffeuring the kids around to the neighbours and collecting his own goodies (fudge at one, cookies at another) and my job of giving out treats to the groups of neighbour urchins.

Although I haven't been particularly diligent - and will be squealing at some point in the not too distant future - about studying.... the quote of the day is....Life is short, smile while you still have teeth

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feline basketball

Another one of those quick updates before it's time to start the work postings. Now that I've decided I'm going to live from the rotten cold bug I had the beginning of the week. Had way too much to do to be sick of course and that's how those things usually go. I even ended up missing my second night shift and that is certainly unusual that I call in sick for work, but I needed to get rested up for my busy week.

I had an Emergency Department education day to attend on Wednesday so was up early and in to attend only to find that the presenters coming from our regional center were late and then had depended on accessing the network to present the information instead of copying it to a USB drive for example. Lunch was spent arranging to have my car repaired and although it wasn't done when I finished the session, a short stop at Frenchy's while I waited and it was ready to go. Off to the city for two more days, the third week in a row for that schedule.

Although the ACLS courses are now very informal and relaxed (in keeping with adult education principals) this one was pretty intense. The group I found myself in had a drill sargent instructor which made me realize that I've now been to boot camp. I gave serious thought to simply driving home on the second morning instead of even going to the class. The participants were from the critical care and emergency nursing programs and we breathed a collective sigh of relief when we were released. Although most were keen young grads working in busy departments I'd like to report that this old nurse still has the stuff as I not only passed the megacode but made 100% on my test. I distracted myself after the first day by a trip to Frenchy's (a very good one near my daughter's place) and then Bulk Barn so as not to think about the algorithms.

Buoyed by the pass I rewarded myself as I headed home with a quick stop at MicMac Mall where I purchased a pair of sneakers for a Cuban friend and found some great boots for myself which I looked for all last winter. Here's the website to check them out:

The BOGS are good to -40 and although I felt as if I'd be judged an eccentric old lady if I wore the patterned ones the solid black are more in keeping with my mature years and will keep me just as warm and dry as the more fashionable models.

The holiday weekend (or at least the one non working day I had of it) brought two daughters and their significant others home for a visit. Since the son-in-law only lives with one very non intrustive cat (Hank) he asked his wife in the morning if she'd heard all the racket during the night as he thought the cats must've been opening Christmas presents and playing basketball! We had our turkey dinner on Saturday evening and then I headed back to work on Sunday - whew, not ready for that.

The past few days have been balmy and warmer than the 'summer' we supposedly had. Spent the afternoon on the deck studying my next section of the course. Back to torturing myself I told the shore captain. "Into the home stretch now" he told me, "you're over 2/3 of the way there". I am sure when I'm into those final few weeks in December of studies, exam and skill day that I won't be so pleased with myself. Off to wake some poor unsuspecting souls. It's been a full moon night here in ER so you know how that unfolds. Later.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A successful road trip

Firstly, just let me assure you that the girl's day out (unsurprisingly) was a resounding success.Although transportation was a bit of an issue with my friend needing to pick me up and deliver me home as my poor car is still in the shop. The mechanic found a used air conditioner for $125 but of course now has to source a belt to fit it, but at any rate it is palliative not terminal and hopefully able to be retrieved on Wed. I shared the chauffeuring duties with the friend's Hyundai and all car problems were forgotten for the day. The quote of the day reminds me of something the friend would say as she's been known to say "common sense isn't all that common" but relating to using a newer model of car..."When you go on a trip,the first thing to pack is your common sense."

Bees working hard
Never thought of it this way....
They smelled as good as they look
With an early start we made our way first to Annapolis Royal as the weather forecast was for a sunny a.m. and possible showers in the p.m. We enjoyed the historic gardens fully as there were few visitors this time of year, the fall colors were in the beginning stages, the bees were doing their thing and the roses were still even blooming. We enjoyed the experience more as the Groupons which were to have been 1/2 price covered the total cost of admission for both of us. This allowed us to indulge in the gift shop as we'd 'saved' all that money and there were some great local crafts and books. If the pics make you think you'd like a good link for photography check this one out:

Since the friend had done all the online research for lunch we deferred to her suggestion and tried The Bistro East on St. George St. (which is the main thoroughfare if you can call this quiet one way street such a name). We were NOT disappointed as it lived up to its positive Trip Advisor ratings and then some. I had homemade pasta with alfredo sauce and seared scallops with a side salad followed by dessert of flourless chocolate cake with a cup of tea. Heaven. And my thoughtful friend made the lunch my birthday gift. Ahhh. 
Speaking of happiness and heavenly stuff a good link to happy living:

We ambled over to Charade Gifts on our way back to the car and checked out what this lovely little boutique had to offer. Brought back great memories of heading over to Annapolis Royal from camping at Kedge and shopping with the girls when they were younger for unusual finds. It has only gotten better. As we approached the vehicle we noticed a new shop called Lucky Lou's and ambled in, immersing ourselves in finds from the 50s and 60s and great gag gifts. Strange to think of our childhood stuff as retro (certainly not ready to call them antiques yet). As we stuffed our purchases in the car the first few drops of rain began to fall. What timing! Not sure if we followed all the guidelines for staying healthy on the road but we sure enjoyed ourselves.

As we headed down the French Shore we hit Frenchy's at Church Point, Saulnierville and Meteghan resulting in wonderful finds. Dishes, linens, sweaters, swimsuits and more. The lights had to be flashed for us at our last stop as the poor teenaged clerks struggled to kick us out and head home.

Arriving at a Subway for a late supper my (slightly older) friend reminded the Subway sandwich artist of the senior discount which it turned out was for those 55+ and whaddayaknow....that now describes me. I was tickled to receive the same % off. So aging does have some benefits it seems.

The weekend shifts were pretty frantic and it was a relief to head home after each one. Although I had the best of intentions to study for the ACLS course I'll be attending on Thursday and Friday I instead spent my day in domestic chores. That should tell you how desperate I was to avoid the books. Last night was manageable but I've contracted a nasty sore throat so did not make it in for work this evening as I'm just too tightly scheduled to allow myself to become really ill. Have an ER education day on Wednesday, and off to city to the Advanced Cardiac Life Support course the two days following. So off to make use of the extra hours for rest and recuperation.And to close some advice a friend forwarded:

Old Farmer's Advice

“Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.”
“Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.”
“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
“A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.”
“Meanness don't just happen overnight.”
“Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.”
“You cannot unsay a cruel word.”
“The best sermons are lived, not preached.”
“Don't judge folks by their relatives.
“Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”
“Live a good and honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.”
“Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.”

“Live simply,love generously,care deeply,
Speak kindly,and leave the rest to God.”

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

55 and loving it

As I put fingers to the keyboard just let me open by saying that you're reading the post of a newly turned 55 year old woman. And if that doesn't impress you let me share some info from a radio program I was listening to this morning on my drive home from the clinical shifts I did this week. Gloria Steinham was being interviewed on being a 'game changer' and you can check out the interview with the link below:

For those without the time or interest to invest in clicking the url let me just summarize by the overview she gave of 'women of a certain age' which is certainly relative this birthday girl. She explained the traditional feminine role as being from age 12 - 50 but when women reach the age of 50 they return to thinking like 10 year old girls (except they have their own apartment, can reach the light switch etc) and they dream of doing all the things they imagined when they were younger. In fact the older you get the more important it is to do things as you have less time remaining. Her thoughts were that men are younger they are more powerful and loose that power when they age. Women are conservative when younger and get radical and gain power as they get older. Ah what a feminist!

I have had a very nice birthday actually. Birthday wishes from all the daughters and "oops I forgot" from the males of the house. I made my way home from the city this morning and it was a beautiful day so I took advantage of the sunshine on the deck while catching up on the news. Made my way over to visit the remaining summer neighbour and her nurse friend who is visiting. They were out on the deck enjoying Templetons rye (it had been a favorite of her spouse) in the sunshine. I joined them for a visit and we polished off some wine, green onion hummus, pita chips and wonderful cheese while we compared healthcare in the US and Canada. I floated home, got the laundry in and took the dog for a walk. All in day a great day.

I've made several trips recently to the city to do the clinical shifts for the emergency nursing program and the extra mileage has likely contributed to the palliative condition of the car. It started making noises as I headed down on Sunday and they increased in volume. By the time I made it back to the local garage the mechanic diagnosed something major with the air conditioner, apparently the 'burny smell' wasn't a good sign and he spoke of it costing $1500 for a new one to be installed. This is more than the vehicle is worth so if this turns out to be the problem....decisions will have to be made. At least this trip home I wasn't stalled for almost 40 minutes on the approach to one of the city bridges as a motorcyclist lay in the middle of the road getting attention from the paramedics while traffic was diverted. He was scraped up but at least was conscious.

My clinical shifts went well but it is a bit grating to have to contribute four 12 hr. shifts to another facility on my days off. I had hoped to be able to escape with only three shifts and get prior learning credit for the other two but the instructor 'allowed me' to drop one 12 hr.shift as the new grads have to do five. So, let's see I have 35 yrs of RN experience, a good deal of it in Emerg and I manage to get one shift for credit - oh yeah, that sounds fair - NOT! I did manage to find my way around the department and get a few items of my skills checklist ticked off. I also learned (from a classmate who works there) that there had been several dropouts who fell too far behind to catch up so we are down to a group of eight of us now. The only equipment in the clinical which was the same from my facility was the IV pumps and the catheter tray so most of it was a huge learning curve of new processes and equipment. This is helpful if you're going to be working in the new spot at some point but a lot of that info just has to be deleted from the short term memory if not. This Monday was frantic in the way that I'm used to in my workplace as we are chronically short staffed and I have to say we handle it much better than those bigger hospital RNs - just sayin.

I was glad to have escaped the accreditation review of last week in my facility though - I still have flashbacks to my interrogation when I was the Infection Control Practitioner the last round. One of my coworkers emailed to say that just when it seemed safe to go back in the water one of the accreditors was wandering in the ER and she had approached him (as we do all wandering persons there) and he attempted to extract information from her. I almost felt sorry for him as I've seen her in action and divulging such info freely is not something she's known for. It does call for the statement about not speaking to strangers though.

The first set of clinical shifts I met up with a nursing colleague and we headed to the Garrison Grounds for an educational display by Medicin sans Frontier (Doctors without Borders) which was excellent. They were most interested in two old-nurses who are mission groupies and so we left smiling.

We headed down the street and around the corner to grab some supper at Turkish Delight which is highly recommended:

Great food, reasonably priced and lots of Turkish diners so you know it's authentic. I had a Groupon which was about to expire so it was put to good use as well.

Well, time to hit the hay as tomorrow is a girl's day as we head to see the gardens in Annapolis Royal. Got to charge my camera batteries as well as my own.

Pictures to follow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not a bad mark for an older student

To ease the suspense I shall just start by saying that I DID make the required 75% on my second exam. I had it figured down to being able to have 18 questions wrong as they were worth 1.3 marks each. When I dropped an email with my grade to the shore captain (in Portland on business) his cryptic reply was - Not a bad mark for an older student with lots off spare time on her hands.......and yes that is how he spelled of - just wanted you to see where three of the four offspring got their spelling genes from. Needless to say I was thrilled to score such a mark and relieved to not have to undergo such torture again until December. 

In the week leading up to the exam there was a frantic set of shifts, a brief visit from the daughter and her husband, supper with neighbours, a quick stop at a yard sale (great Cuba suitcase and a lovely small crock) and a delicious meal at Lothars Cafe making it a trio of ladies who lunch. Hard to believe that our brief summer is slipping away as we head towards fall. 

I received a phone call from neighbours across the harbour as he shared that there was a "gannet show at 3 p.m. off the nubble buoy and over to the point". They are avid birdwatchers (read leftover hippies) and have donated some of their property to the NS Conservancy Trust so he was telling me that the birds were filling up on their way to over winter in the Gulf of Mexico, that they were earlier than usual and had been taking turns for hours diving into the ocean for bait fish. Apparently they usually visit only in twos or threes so this was quite a show. These across the harbour neighbours have been employed in the film industry for several decades (since one of the original movies was filmed in our area) and have traveled extensively doing props (he) and location work (she) although now they are choosing their projects carefully. He told me that he'd replied via fax to a director in Philadelphia stating that 'he couldn't work now as the peas are ready for harvest'. Ah! Their philosophy fits with the quote of the day:

The best advice I ever came across on the subject of concentration is: Wherever you are, be there - Jim Rohn

As the shore captain had industry talks and meetings with seafood buyers he supplies in Maine and I had to stay home to write my exam I was left to enjoy having rappie pie for supper (an Acadien delicacy) while watching the remnants of hurricane Katia where the seabirds rode out the storm surge. Although the dog looked at them with much interest - in her senior years (she will be 12 in the spring) she has developed a phobia of shooting. The neighbours suddenly began an impromptu skeet shooting session so a gunning dog who is gun shy and hid behind my chair isn't a good thing. Quite a change from her youth. 

During a particularly frantic night shift last week I told my coworker "I'm going to run away" to which she replies "where?" and I say "to join the circus". She matter of factly states "this is the circus" and there is no arguing with that! Reminded me of a quote in the business section of the newspaper today where an entrepreneur is quoted as saying "if you can't ride two horses and juggle plates at the same time, then you shouldn't be in the circus" Hard to argue with that either. So, should you be thinking of running away here is some 'how to' information from Lonely Planet:

Or perhaps you're just looking to relax for a shorter period. The advice does seem geared towards someone a tad bit younger than myself however the Words to Watch out for are worth checking out the link:

Speaking of younger folks we were visited by the baby daughter and her main squeeze on the weekend so got caught up on the news as it's been four months since that happened. I took advantage of her fearless self to groom Klyde and that isn't a job for the faint of heart. Whew.  Had my shifts switched around to accommodate a course others were taking and so really only had today to be productive - managed all my domestic chores in style and I'm heading in to an all day union meeting tomorrow so must hit the hay. Later.