Thursday, July 21, 2011

No unlived lives here

When I look at the date of the last post and realize that it's been over a week since I updated I thought 'that can't be correct, it must've been longer than that' but no that is life in the fast lane. Reminded me of a quote someone had posted on their Facebook wall:

"Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live."
 - Natalie Babbit (Tuck Everlasting)

To begin with  on my last set of days off I had to head back in to town after sleeping a few hours after my night shift (never a good idea - always good to stay home, not do anything too complicated like baking and keep yourself away from breakables - one of my coworkers told me the day before that she was staying up for the day with her grandson "like we used to do when we had to when our kids were small" and I replied "it wasn't a good idea then and still isn't") for a prescription fill. The reason was finding one of those nasty little black legged (Lyme disease carrying) ticks between my index and middle finger and several days later having an angry itchy infected spot there. So the physician on call decreed that I should start antibiotics. Ten days later it has completely disappeared. But I digress. I made the stop at the pharmacy, the post office for the eBay parcel and then Frenchy's for a quick shop so since the doors in the 'other' car don't lock I put my parcels and purse in the trunk. As I was at the cash register trying to locate the car keys I comment they must have been left in the car but  the Frenchy's clerk says "oh dear, maybe we'll have to look in every one of the bins". This certainly sounded like it had been done before. When I approached the car there were the keys still in the trunk. Nice to live rurally I thought. A trunk full of groceries and home to crash.

Also on the last set of days off, the shore captain headed in to the city to assist the new homeowners with a plumbing project and deliver a ladder so the split level entry could be painted as those are the only minor changes they are making. You can imagine that he was well and truly lost in the Dartmouth wilderness before he gave in and called for directions, likely driving a large 4 wheel drive truck with a ladder tied on the back wasn't helpful. But as I informed him "it's a lot easier to give the original directions than try to figure out where you are now" however after about 15 min. of coaching he arrived at his destination.
While the cats (who as you can see with these photos of Gary on the left as he fell asleep on his water dish after coming inside from small game hunting on his run and on the right napping in the veranda room) with Klyde in the center guarding the catnip I have since planted for him the only distractions here (other than the weather) I worked along in my course materials. I managed to score a 48% on my renal quiz which prompted the question "48% of what? 50?" when I shared my mark with others - so I should consider that a compliment I guess. The only learning from these computer generated quizzes is teaching you to write down all the questions/answers when the auto corrections are given so there is a 96% next time. It appears there was generalized angst within the class as the instructor offered up her own notes for review after checking our scores. Next week is our 'study break' which apparently means the instructor is going camping not that any of us are taking a break. 

The weekend of working days in the heat meant I almost melted! The in patient unit is over the boiler room, the multimillion dollar refit of a few years ago hasn't helped and we are forbidden from opening the windows. Good test of being able to work in the tropics not just vacation there. The night shifts were not only cooler but much more manageable. And on the day in between it wasn't sunny meaning I got my course work done and am track.

Had a quick email from the electrician daughter saying that she'd been sought out by a tradesman and was working after school and on weekends a few days so that is wonderful news to be getting experience even before graduating and of course a local reference if needed. She is finishing up her exam studying for the instrumentation course and will be glad to be out of the classroom and on her way. Not long now.

Determined to have bratwurst
The teacher daughter and son-in-law are visiting this week at his family cottage so we headed up to have them feed us supper last evening from the barbeque. Enjoyed grilled chicken, sausage, veggies and potato salad finished up with grilled peaches and ice cream - yum and left them the dishes to do. Beautiful evening on the lake as well. Not like the evening the shore captain decided rain or not to barbeque bratwurst for supper - I told him he looked like the little Morton salt girl and since the precipitation has been so infrequent it's not a grilling hazard on a regular basis, in fact the swordfish steaks and bacon wrapped scallops of two evenings ago were delicious. Ahh, summertime and the grilling is easy.

Last night I stopped at the post office and picked up the Blurb photobook I'd made and the quality was really good. The spelling and desktop publishing required a bit of polish but it was my first attempt and I managed to somewhat fix the typos so they don't bug me too badly. Kind of like reading blog postings if I've rushed and not proof read diligently. Memo to self: do not attempt such a project on the day your Groupon will expire so you have to rush. Mind's a coffee table book and how closely do people look at such things? Made most of my mistakes in learning how to do the first one I've told myself. 

Well, enough to hit the books as this afternoon there are appointments to have all the felines vaccinated - now there's an exercise in patience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Turtle delays and travel tips

I am always so amazed when I check the projections / expectations for the coming week or set of shifts when I sign off the blog. How can such wonderfully optimistic plans dissolve? Well....the first step was that I answered the phone on Thursday to hear my Nurse Manager asking me to do 12 hr night shift, then sleep a bit on Friday and do a 12 hr day shift on Saturday and now my night shifts on Sunday and Monday. And you would wonder why shift workers are confused? It meant that I couldn't ask the cleaning lady as I needed to sleep Friday morning and didn't want to be in bed/underfoot when she made her inaugural visit. However this enabled me to enjoy a sunny afternoon on Friday which I would have missed and nights are almost always guaranteed to be more manageable than days. I am considering asking for a rotation of one day, three night shifts which would work on many levels.

I was less than impressed to find that the car (which the shore captain had insisted on taking to the garage where his trucks are maintained) had a very loud clunking sound as if something was going to come up through the passenger side. At the risk of looking a gifthorse in the mouth I complained that although a bit more pricey MY garage would have never let me leave in a car making that noise as they would have test driven it. So...while I was sleeping on Friday morning my car disappeared and since we aren't talking about it, and I'm driving the 'additional' car which is in the yard, I have no idea when it will be repaired by them, returned by him.

I caught a ride in to work with a coworker on Saturday and after the day shift the life partner and I had a great supper at Lothar's Cafe:

which included (for moi) a large spinach, chicken, almond and strawberry salad with honey dressing, stuffed chicken, rice and veggies for the main and panna cotta with strawberry sauce for dessert. The shore captain had scallop cakes then beef roulade, spaetzle and veggies and a lot of self control as he passed on dessert. Lovely spot for lunch or dinner if you find yourself in town.

It seems that I may just find myself in town during my days off as I have to run some errands as the goodies purchased on eBay are finding their way to me in the mail now that it is moving again. Almost as good as the gift dropped off by a summer neighbour on my way to work this evening. At any rate I shall refrain from making extravagant projections of plans for my days off - I shall simply work on my course as after the email peptalk from the instructor all of the material has been posted.

Well, time to read back to help out with the work but I leave you with some travel stories.
I just loved the headlines recently about turtle delays at JFK airport in New York - nature vs technology:

In my research for something else (isn't that the way all great discoveries are made) I found a website for Dr. Ivor Mendez. He's a neurosurgeon who does wonderful research, remote robotics, brain repair etc. He is originally from Bolivia and he does worldwide projects (there was a great photo of him taking a dentist chair into a remote Andean village in the paper once). I was particularly impressed with the laptop sections here:

His way of approaching the world made me think of the quote of the day........ 
We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Carlos Castaneda

And (again) speaking of traveling here are some great Girl Guide (I mean MacGyver) tips:

So here's hoping you're able to enjoy some of our all too short summer weather! Later.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What I did on my summer days off

Do you remember those first essays you were instructed to write upon returning to school in September? They were invariably entitled "What I did on my Summer Vacation" and were a real pain for anyone who had a rather unproductive summer - nothing to write about as nothing happened or a rather productive summer - nothing to write about as all you did was work and sleep. I feel as if I'm writing about 'what I did on my mini summer vacation' as I'm winding down the final day tomorrow of five beautiful days off. So much better than just weekends off, especially if we have one of those summers where it rains every weekend of the eight or so we call summer here. There had been talk of heading to the city to visit / do plumbing with the teacher daughter but the shore captain is caught up in all things nautical this week, so that will have to be for another set of days off.

My last set of four shifts was modified as I attended my physio appointment in the morning (happy to report the facet is still in alignment, the pop in the night was it attempting to displace itself but not possible with the angry shortened ligament) so that was reassuring. The physio is away until July 18th so I'm hopeful it behaves itself. I stopped along the way at Canadian Tire and picked up the grinder (for him) and cast iron cooking pot (for me) which were on special. I also popped next door to Marks Work Wearhouse and invested in some 3/4 sleeve tops to wear under my posture support - if I'm going to have to suffer it might as well be in style and with something that is meant for working in. I made a stop at the Post Office as they are now moving the mail and retrieved one of my eBay purchases before heading in to gainful employment. The abbreviated shift was manageable and I headed out to pick up groceries afterwards so it did make for a long day. Not as long as the next one mind you. It's hard to conceive of how hectic a 12 hr day shift is before a long weekend with no Team Leader and only a new graduate nurse to assist you, but you get the idea. Canada Day here was a quiet one as I caught up on sleep, laundry and cooking before heading in. The first night was manageable but although I slept soundly in between the second one was by any measurement a doozy of emergencies - the kind a long weekend in summer would begat - leading me to post non-identifying case studies on the web-board for my course they were so spectacular.

A few hours nap on Sunday and then up to prep for being the hostess with the mostest as we entertained both our summer neighbours, and one of their grandson for a BBQ. The life partner outdid himself with his new toy, I mean BBQ, for the steaks and grilled asparagus and we had potato salad, warm herb bread and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Yum. Always good to have good friends, good conversation and good times.

Yesterday I had a call from the shore captain advising that if I brought the car out to the garage he uses for his truck repairs that they will repair and safety inspect my vehicle if I leave it and he will drive me home. That's an offer I can't refuse so I head out. Needing to stop to order a rechargeable camera battery at the hardware store he decides that we should investigate the garden center. This is something that a person who is struggling with 'back issues' wants to do as she hasn't weeded the plants she's got!! He falls in love with two tall plants which look like purple cattails and I pick up some zinnias and coleus for the front planters. It was VERY painful to supervise him being Farmer Clem and reminded me why there were weeds in the flowerbeds and nothing in the planters.

I am playing hookey from my studies today but I am working on this week's scheduled lesson and according to the pointed email all students received today I am in the distinct minority:

I know it is summer but please try to keep up with the lessons.  We do see the lesson status of everyone (!!) – so we do know what has been done.  There should now be Webboards for all lessons if you are asked to post something, or perhaps share some info or story or reflection with the class.  There is a break in the lessons from July 31- Aug 7th.  And there is study time for Exam 2 built into the program that runs from Aug 28 to Sept 7th. If you are struggling with anything please contact one of us – if there is a problem we can help  with program material and/or help problem solve.

 My scholastic procrastination although is not really intentional. I stayed up too late - went to bed at 1:40 a.m. after working on my photobook (more on that later) so wasn't very focused this morning. I read the paper, the boy captain was back and forth - bringing home lobster traps and stacking them, attempting to get fuel for the boat he is leasing, picking up the other captain and crew when their pickup broke down and they were headed out fishing at 5 p.m., needing lunch - you get the picture. I made sure I got my vitamin D requirement this afternoon, then walked the dog, I prepared and fry clams for the shore captain while he barbequed hamburgers, and baked jam cookies and herb bread for the FV Major Expense - which the boy captain says is aptly named. Busy but productive/nonproductive day off. Still have to make supper for the boy captain when he shows home (it's now 10:45 p.m.) as at last report he was "building a coiling bench" which apparently involved lumber, an old foam mattress piece for padding and oilclothes as a waterproof covering. Hmmm.

This description doesn't include the excitement which ensued when I had been allowing Klyde (as per the shore captain's example) amble in and out of the open front door of the house with the hallway french door closed, he periodically jumped up onto the bench or sprawled on the front step. At some point this afternoon I realized that he was looking at something on the floor of the front hallway and when I went to investigate realized that it was the carcass of a small dark mouse, thankfully beyond running away into the house. These cats!

As I mentioned previously I was working on a photobook. I had a Groupon to use which expired today (I am Mrs Procrastination and work better under tight deadlines) and so I made a Blurb photobook - here is the website link:

I certainly learned a LOT about making a photobook, it took much more time than I thought and the first one is rather basic but my father (printer) would have been impressed with the process. In order to redeem my coupon I had to make two phone calls for assistance which resulted in my discovering that 'when in doubt read the computer screen' really is true and that sometimes it's not best to leave projects until the last moment in case there is a glitch in the process. But no worries they were very helpful and I would certainly use Blurb again as well.

Time tomorrow to get a haircut, organize the new cleaning lady - the original one is going to orientate her for Friday when I'm not here, saving me from having to prepare a job description / task list, and on my course tomorrow before I head back for another set of shifts.