Sunday, September 28, 2008


Yesterday, S wanted to go out and do something. We asked him what, and he settled on going to Burger King. S is easily amused. The big draw was their ginormous indoor playground, which we of course let him play on for quite awhile.

I had a Whopper Jr. and an Icee. Did that EVER take me back!

I can't remember the last time I had a Whopper Jr. Or an Icee, for that matter. But I do remember what they both represent.

The Burger King, as you guys know, is next door to the church that Mimi used to take me to. We used to go there after church every Sunday. I remember Papa being there ("I just want a burger, Mart! Just get me a burger."),and I can't remember exactly how that used to work, because he didn't go to church with us...maybe we went and got him before going back to Burger King. Or maybe he wasn't actually there as often as I remember. Somehow, though, I have these very vivid images of Papa at Burger King after church with us. I would always get a Whopper Jr. with no onions and frech fries. Mimi, if I remember correctly, got the same. Or maybe she got a regular Whopper. And then sometimes we would go shopping downtown and, later, at the mall. The first time I ever saw a family of Mennonites was at that Burger King. I also have a very strong recollection of a little girl who kept running into the men's bathroom, back out, into the women's, out again, into the men's, and so on. I couldn't imagine for the life of me what would possess her to do such a thing, or why on EARTH she was being allowed to. I was amazed. It seemed like such outlandish, alien behavior, which I guess is why it stuck with me.

Mom used to get me Icees when we'd go to K-Mart (do they even have K-Mart at all anymore?). I think it was kind of a reward for making me schlep around behind her for what felt like hours on end in that boring, boring store. Some of the more prominent flashes I have of being small are of trailing after Mom in K-mart while she picks through the clothes racks, or tosses a new package of those flowers people used to stick on the bottom of the tub to keep from slipping into the cart along with a few dish towels. Every so often, the Blue Light Special notice would come over the loudspeaker. I don't remember her ever going to check out the Blue Light Special. Not a bargain hunter, my mother.

Icees and Whopper Jrs. Interesting what can bring things back to us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


A week or so ago, I had mentioned in passing to S that he might enjoy acting in community theatre productions. He asked me a few questions about it, but in the end didn't seem overly enthused, and I didn't push the issue.

This morning, he brought me a magazine that publishes a calendar of upcoming local events. He showed me a line about an upcoming audition for "Jack and the Beanstalk," and asked me if I would take him to try out for it. I told him that of course I would, and we even noticed a few other upcoming auditions for plays and musicals that might be casting little boys.

So in a few weeks, we'll be heading to his first audition. Not for "Jack and the Beanstalk," but for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Here we go!

On one hand, I'm so excited for him! He does love being onstage,and seems to have no issue with stage fright. He looks forward to the summer camp talent show all year long. He's always putting together his own plays and movies in his room, casting his toys in whatever roles he sees fit. This is right up his alley, and I know that community theatre would be such an amazing experience for him. I also know that he's the kind of kid that theatre companies want to work with. He's polite, precocious and well-behaved. He'll have no problem cooperating with the director or memorizing his lines. He has a nice singing voice, too. I think he could do extremely well.

On the other hand, I hate the idea of him not being cast in a production that he auditions for, which will inevitably happen. It makes me feel like my insides are shriveling up to even think about my baby getting rejected. Somehow, I think he'll take it far more philosophically, at least outwardly. But there's this whole inward moral struggle, too...I take such issue with stage moms. This is him, not's something he's asking for and seeking out. I know that. But even so, is it ok to put him up in front of strangers who will deem him either worthy or unworthy? Who may criticize him, and not necessarily gently? Life is pretty much like that in general, granted, but how much of it is ok at this point in his life?

Then again, I don't want to shelter him. I don't want to keep him from getting involved in something that truly interests him, and that could be beneficial in so many ways. There's no question of whether or not I'll support him if this is something he wants to do.

Yes, I know, I'm angsting way too much over this. It's midwestern community children's theatre, for crying out loud. It's not cutthroat Hollywood, or possibly even MORE bloodthirsty New York. Feel free to smack me and tell me to chill.

He'll be fine. He'll be fabulous, even. But I'll be right there with my eyes wide open the entire way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My golden retriever WILL NOT SHUT UP. And she needs to. We have blood drawing competencies tomorrow, and I need to study. But she can't stand the fact that J and S are outside kicking a ball around, and she isn't (the outside part, not the ball-kicking part), so she spazzes, and she wants the entire world to hear about it.

It finally just got to the point where I put her in the laundry room, which I really hate to do, but I also hate to yell at her continuously to shut her piehole so that I can think for two seconds. The laundry room is better. She can be let out when S and J come back inside.

I am in a nasty mood, partly because I've been sick for about a week now. It's making me cranky. The other reason is that I got a B on my first exam. A B! Me!! Actually, most of the class is having a hissy over that exam for one reason and another. Several swear they were graded wrong on it, and at least one of them I'm sure is probably right. I hope she pursues it further and gets her grade raised. The thing is, the instructors have this idea in their heads about why people get certain questions wrong. They think it's because we're required to "think critically," or some such. Actually, it's because they've given us 30 different places from which to study the material without telling us where they actually draw most of the test questions from, the 30 different places are completely without rhyme or reason and impossible to look stuff up in, and even if it did have any sort of organization to it there's really no way we can thoroughly cover all of it during the course of our studying. We don't get reviewed, either, before an exam. We get a piece of paper that says "2 questions will be on phlebotomy, 2 will be on TED hose, etc.," and we're just somehow supposed to divine which of the ginormous masses of information we have been given on each of them might possibly contain the two or three obscure references that might show up on the test. And that's if they're presented anywhere at all. A lot of the time, we're just supposed to have made enough sense of all the chaos that we can make some sort of judgment call on which of 4 correct answers is the "best" one, even if it hasn't actually been specifically covered anywhere.

Yeah. Totally reasonable.

On a brighter note, I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa a couple of weeks ago! This is a pretty big deal, and I've been waiting for it ever since I joined the Honors Society at school. Needless to say, I'm completely thrilled!

Let's just hope this class doesn't ruin my GPA and lose my membership for me...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crisis of the Soul

I had my first actual clinicals today. The hospital I'm at is a teaching hospital, and is one of approximately two facilities in our state that will take the homeless, the indigents and the uninsured.

I had two AIDS patients, two with an infection whose name escapes me at the moment but which basically amounts to antibiotic-resistant dysentery,one with a newly amputated leg, one with a leg that was about to be amputated and a toe on the opposite foot that was about to fall off from gangrene, and God only knows what the rest were doing there.

The thing is, none of that bothered me. Absolutely none of it. I took their vitals. I gave them baths. I witnessed the irrigation of an ostomy bag (look it up if you dare). And I was fine.

What bothered me was that I kept trying to place one of the doctors. Where did I know her from? Church? Did she have a child at S's school?

I finally figured it out. About 3 years ago, she used to do my nails. MY NAILS, people. And now she is a DOCTOR. How does that work? Yes, I know...obviously, she was going to school while she did nails. Clearly. But dude! She used to do my nails! And now she's a doctor! I am seriously tweaking over this.

What on earth have I been doing with my life? How is it that there are all these pimply, pre-adolescent fetuses running around in white coats while I schlep about in the bright blue scrubs that warn all and sundry of my lowly student status as I change sheets and try to figure out where the blood pressure cuffs are? At least now, though, I know why they have separate doctors' lounges at this hospital. It's because these kids all have their mothers waiting in there to breastfeed them between patients.

Ugh. I feel OLD. I feel like I've been wasting my life. And it's never easier to doubt my ability to get into medical school than when I'm wearing my student tech scrubs and looking at real, live, breathing-deeply doctors. Who are wee and small and tiny and young and have not wasted their lives. Who knew what they wanted at the time when we're SUPPOSED to know what it is we want, rather than waiting until their mid-thirties to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Who look right through me like I don't exist and definitely don't matter.

And who used to do my nails.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still Here!

Yes, I know. I have been remiss. You may all spank me later.

I'm actually in class right now, and we're hearing a lecture on EKGs. I am wilfully and deliberately ignoring my instructor, because all she's really doing is confusing the living crap out of me. I'll just read the book chapter. It's bound to be more coherent than what we're being subjected to right now.

I'm about ready to start taking my scooter to school sometimes! I'll be riding down a bit of Route 66 every time I do. Jealous? Yes? I know. Don't turn too green, though. While there is a historical spot or two, it's not terribly picturesque for the most part. Nonetheless, pictures shall be forthcoming when I have time to spare either coming or going someday.

My brain is a little full at the moment. I'm dealing with some things right now that I'd rather not have to. Sorry this is short, but I wanted to let you all know that I am still blogging.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Scootie Patootie

Pooh-Bear is officially gone, it looks like. We received our badges for our clinicals, which start next week. There wasn't even one made up for her.

The day before yesterday, Miss Piggy and I went to Wal-Mart. I have to say that, soul-sucking evil entity that Wal-Mart is, that was FUN. While I was trying to find a parking spot, I got a huge grin and a big thumbs up from - of all people - a little old Mennonite lady in an SUV. I think she may actually be the first Mennonite I've ever seen here at all. But she sure liked my scooter!

After I picked up a few groceries (note to self: pizzas do not fit either in the topcase or under the seat), I came back out to find that the guy who owned the Harley parked next to me was checking out my scooter with great interest. We had a short conversation...he was very nice, and suitably envious of my miles per gallon.

Yesterday I had a few places I needed to go too. First I went to Target to get a couple of things that The Hell That Is Wal-Mart didn't have. As I was getting my helmet on to leave, a small boy passed by with his mother.

Kid: Mommy, what's that?
Mom: That's a dirtbike, sweetie.

Ahh, the miseducation of our youth. Is there anything that the pink and curvaceous Miss Piggy looks LESS like than a dirtbike?!

I wanted to buy my own blood pressure cuff, and the uniform store that sells them wasn't far from J's store, so I stopped in there just in time to run out and get lunch for everyone, including myself. Then off for my blood pressure cuff, and when I was done with that, I didn't feel like getting off my scooter. It was such a gorgeous day. So I rode around several residential areas.

Right about that time, the kids at the nearby junior high had just gotten out of school. There were three girls walking home, and one of them (who looked a lot like Shelby, actually, except not nearly as gorgeous) started pointing and hopping up and down yelling, "ohmigawd! OHMIGAWD!!"

Guess she liked my scooter. Heh!

When it was time to go pick up S, I packed it in and went and got the car. I felt like I was driving an entire house. Why have I never noticed how BIG and lumbering that thing is?!

All told, I've put about 85 miles on it so far, and probably more tonight and/or tomorrow. There's an outdoor cafe on the river that I'd love to ride over to with J and have a salad or something. S will be with his father, because it's his birthday (the father's, not S's).

For today: I'm taking S for a haircut, new shoes and a winter coat.

S starts the gifted program on Tuesday. I know he's going to love it, and from what I understand of our gifted specialist, he's also going to be stretched to his limits. Thank heaven for that...if there's anything I want for him, it's that he learn early on that there ARE going to be things he's not going to become an expert at within the first five minutes. Some things do require effort. Piano has been good for him in that regard, but he could use a little enforcement of that lesson, I think. I'm excited to hear how it goes.

He's joining his school's running team again this year. The run that they're training for includes a 2-mile fun run, a 5k and a 15k. I think he wants to run the 5k. Depending on whether or not I have him that weekend, I'll either run that with him or attempt the 15k. We'll see!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


JJ seems to be wondering about the particular certification I'm working on and its specifics. It looks like some explanation is called for. Also, I am SO using "bumfuddled and besmoofed" from now on. And bejinkers. Definitely bejinkers.

This particular certification is a hybrid. It falls somewhere between CNA and LPN. We will be able to do some "advanced" stuff like drawing blood, caring for tracheotomies, inserting catheters and reading EKGs, but we will not be able to put in IVs or administer medication, and we will always work under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Our wider range of skills puts us in higher demand than CNAs, and also in a higher pay bracket. The kicker is that the program was pioneered in this state, and is pretty much only valid here at this point. It is recognized and certified by our state nursing board, but if I were to move somewhere else, I would probably only be hired as a CNA.

We actually will practice drawing blood on each other. Tracheotomies and catheters, not so much. That we do have mannequins for.

No Pooh-Bear again today. We don't know for absolute certain, but indications are strong that she did drop the class. Turns out that Friday was the last day we could drop a class and get a full refund. And thus, harmony is restored to our world.

The Expert and Token Male, being slightly more human than I am, are somewhat sympathetic. Both of them said something similar: they hate to see a person fail at something they really want to do. And I get that. But really, my sympathies are more with her potential patients if she had made it through the program. I wouldn't have wanted her anywhere near Papa. Or all of you guys. Or my child or boyfriend or sisters. It's possible that she would have gotten her act together and learned through trial and error, but it's the error part that would worry me. Not everyone is cut out for everything, and she just doesn't have any business in the medical field at all. I'm not the least bit sad to see her go.

Well, ok, I'm a tiny bit regretful, for the same reason that Danny gave. She made for some top-quality blog fodder. What will I write about now?!

I fully intend to get a decent design up here soon, complete with my blogroll and the like. But for today, I shall leave you with...cute dogs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Ugh. Rain.

Yes, I know there are many, many people who have it far worse than I do at the moment, what with the hurricanes that are causing said rain. My biggest gripe is that I can't ride my scooter with the weather doing what it is, and being able to ride would have made going to Wal-Mart this evening much more enjoyable. Why drive a car as mere mortals do when you can ride a pink scooter? Grateful as I am that this IS my biggest gripe, and much as I'm keeping those in harm's way in my thoughts, I'm a whiny brat nonetheless.

You may have noticed that my new blog design has bitten the big one. Back to square one on that...I'll have something going on here with some actual personality shortly. But for the moment, I'm lazy. And whiny.

It's soup weather today...the first chilly day we've had. Except for the rain, I like it! Good timing, too, since our air conditioner apparently pooped out last night.

Today started out pretty crappy. I forgot to take my coffee with me to class, which is never, ever a good thing. Then there was a great deal of folderol and shenanigans surrounding this morning's quiz. Between the rain and the quiz and the lack of coffee, I was in a decidedly murderous mood.

Then I noticed that Pooh-Bear was absent. Suddenly, the sun was shining, birds were singing, rainbows were glistening, and small forest creatures were doing a happy little dance around my feet. I'm pretty sure a disco ball descended from the ceiling and The Fifth Dimension was singing "Age of Aquarius" somewhere in there, too.

Rumor is that she failed her competencies on Friday...I don't doubt it. Frankly, I'd have been shocked into speechlessness if she'd passed (and we ALL know how often I'm rendered speechless). There's speculation that she's not coming back. It seems to me that if she did plan on continuing, missing the next lab session directly after she failed her competencies may not be the best course of action. We'll know by tomorrow or Friday, I guess.

If she does decide to press on, I truly do not think she's going to make it to the end. We are allowed to fail and retake 3 competencies before we are dropped from the class. I don't think she'll be able to do it. If she can't give a bath or make a bed after FIVE AND A HALF HOURS of total practice time (The Expert tallied it up - the rest of us each got 45 minutes tops), how on earth is she going to manage taking vitals or drawing blood? How is she going to read an EKG? I'm pretty sure it's not happening, especially since she will absolutely not be getting that much time for practice from here on out.

Speaking of drawing blood, I will say the highly unlikely event that she makes it that far, she gets ONE shot at poking me. If she blows a vein or moves the needle around, that's it. No more. They can preach all they want about support and teamwork, but I'm the one who has to go around looking like a heroin addict and feeling like my arms got run over by a monster truck if she screws up.

Anyway, we had a lovely lab session today. There was a brief exchange:

Token Male: Where's Pooh-Bear?
Expert: Not here. That's about all we know.
Token Male (to me): Do you need a bucket to cry into?
Me: Does it have champagne in it?

The adjunct that we spoke to about Pooh-Bear last week kept coming over and asking how things were today. Um, fine...notice the entire source of our problem isn't here? No? I didn't think you caught that. Well, she's elsewhere, so we're great! Thanks!

Maybe I'll go for a run tomorrow morning. Should be gorgeous weather for it.