Monday, January 17, 2011

Brain Stretch

     So that small pile of three books there - a text, a workbook, and a little review "bible" =  $126.00   Thank goodness the fire department pays for them, in return for being a volunteer EMT for them when you finish. I also had to have a physical, which was fine, except for the update needed to the tetanus shot (ugh), the first of three Hep B shots (THAT stuff burns like crazy going in, making the tetanus the LESS painful of the two shots, oddly enough) , and needing to go "give" some blood for the MMR titer, and if that is not current, then I need more of those as well. THAT sucks. (My 17 year old son, who I am taking the class with, sat in the doctors office worrying himself to death about maybe having to get a shot himself, and then finally announced to me that if he had to get one, he thought maybe he just would drop the class. I thought that rather ironic, that he would be willing to work to save someone's life, but NOT willing to get a tetanus shot??? Luckily for both of us, he didn't need any updates, and we're both still in the class.)
     First module test is tomorrow night, the first 5 chapters of that NYC phonebook-sized text on Emergency Care. It is not nearly as overwhelming at the moment as it seemed it would be the first night. I am "getting it," mostly, except for Chapter 4, The Human Body.  Holy cow. What IS it about bone names: femur, tibia, fibula, radius, ulna that makes me unable to remember where they go in my body? Not only that, that's not the hard part. The thing I am TOTALLY not hanging onto yet, and need to by tomorrow night, is trying to use the terms to describe where an injury on a patient's body:  midline, medial, lateral, bilateral mid-axillary, anterior, posterior, ventral, dorsal, superior, inferior, proximal, distal etc., etc.
      I think it is because it requires putting several pieces together at once: I have to remember if it is the front or back, upper or lower, and the name of it - and if I could just say it is on the inside of his upper left arm, that would be ok, but I have to take THAT knowledge, and then, mentally transfer it to it's proper names, and put them all together, like "it's a broken tibia on the anterior dorsal side, medial to the whatchamacallit."  And for someone with ADD, that's a lot of steps to think out, and say, quickly and calmly. Hopefully, with practice, that will come. Either that, or I'm simply praying no one in my town EVER suffers a broken bone - only heart attacks and stomach pains.
Just kidding. Maybe. I'll see if I'm kidding AFTER tomorrow night's test!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Night Kitchen

For some reason, this title has stuck in my head. To my knowledge, I had never read the book before, though I am very familiar with other Maurice Sendak titles (such as the beloved Where the Wild Things Are).  I picked it up to read the other day when I was in a book store, and it is a REALLY dumb book. It is just about a little boy who falls asleep and dreams that he falls through the floor into the kitchen, and falls into the cook's dough batter, and the cooks think he is their milk. Dumb. But nonetheless, the title rolls around through my head every single night, as I stand in MY kitchen, in the night. Thus, In the Night Kitchen, MY night kitchen, I guess.  
I go to bed around 9, and fall asleep by between 9:30 and 10, at the latest, every night. By 11:30, Bramble barks to let me know she needs to go out. So, I hop out of bed, stumble downstairs, and let her out the kitchen door. And then, I must wait for her to go do whatever it is she needs to do. I ASSUME she needs to water the grass (or snow, whatever the season's ground covering.) So, my choice is, either stand there, impatiently, and shivering, or... do something. Puritan work ethic pulls through for me, even in my sleepy state. I usually either fill up the coffeemaker, and get it ready for 6:50 am, or sometimes I will switch a load of laundry from washer to drier. Occasionally, I will open th dishwasher and unload the top rack. Or, sometimes, I will put away the pots and pans that have been washed, and are drying on the counter.   Normally that one activity is enough time passed so that I can open the door, retrieve the dog with a whistle, and go back upstairs, crawl back into bed, and fall asleep again.
Always, she wakes me again, usually somewhere between 3:30 and 5, to go out again. This time, depending on whether it is closer to 3:30, or closer to 5, I am either TOTALLY out of it, or beginning to feel like I "could" stay up for the day (not that I ever would. 5 am? Are you KIDDING me?) I follow her downstairs, let her out again, and do SOMETHING to pass the time. I either unload the bottom rack, throw a load of clothes IN the washer, switch drier loads, or something else that catches my attention in the kitchen. Seldom is it anything too important, because I don't want to really wake up too much. The house is cold and dark at that time, except for the stove light I leave on because I know I will be up twice, and I don't really want to stumble around in the dark, tripping over the water bowls or stepping in the litter box. But if I just stood there, waiting, I'd freeze to death, and then it would be even harder to go back to sleep. I suppose I could put on a bathrobe and slippers, but that would really take too much cognitive function from me, and would seem too much like really having to get up. I'm not sure why filling and setting the coffee pot, or doing laundry loads in the middle of the night does not really seem like getting up, but I do know I AM grateful, at 7:15 when I come downstairs, dressed and semi-ready for the day, that I have hot coffee waiting for me. 
Sure, I COULD set it before I went to bed at 9, but THEN what would I do in my night kitchen while waiting for the dog?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Last Year was Good- Maybe This Year Will be Better?

I am not a fan of "memes" most of the time, but I saw this one on my niece's blog, and really liked it. It seemed to be a good way to organize my own reflections of last year, and thinking/planning for the new year, so I copied it from her:  SHE got it from here: so to be fair, I need to give credit to both. My version is long, so don't feel compelled to read it all the way through. It's helpful for me, to set my direction for the coming year.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Wow - um, nothing, maybe. THAT needs to be remedied immediately, so that I can't say the same thing next year at this time.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I really made any last year. At least I don't recall any, so either I didn't make them, or they were not successful enough to recall. I DEFINITELY have some for THIS year, though:
  • lose the next 30 pounds
  • get more active (as opposed to now, where I literally do NOTHING more active than getting up and down from the chair by the heater in the living room!  :)    )
  • make goat's milk soap
  • ***figure out how to be happier at my job and not hate it so much***
  • be more organized at home (this involves planning out meals, getting them cooked earlier, getting dishes done right away, a better system for laundry, grocery shopping, etc.)
  • get my Christmas shopping done earlier - I did a TON better this year, but there was still HUGE room for improvement
  • Send Christmas cards (I bought cards two years ago, got them out and signed some this year... next year, I'd like to actually SEND them?!)
  • Get my EMT certification
  • Start ONE on-line course toward my Vet Tech license, which I want to have completed by the time I retire in 7.5 years
  • camp overnight at least a COUPLE of times this coming summer
  • finish the chicken coop so it is unescapable and I won't lose any chickens to escaping/wandering dogs this year
  • get raised beds built, and a garden planted this year, instead of letting that slip through my fingers
  • get help opening the pool this summer from someone who actually knows how to do it right so that the kids can swim in it this summer if they choose
  • get our finances FIGURED OUT... please, GOD, let this be the year we get it under control...somehow
  • OK, so I don't think these are ALL my goals for the year, but there are enough there, and they are concrete enough, most of them, so that I can come back to them a year from now and measure how I did this coming year. Goals help. Lists help. Good exercise for me. Now I need to post these where I will see them so I don't forget any of them, too. And I might add to them, if I think of more later that I've forgotten. Whew. Hard work. Need more coffee!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no. I would not have bet last winter/spring that that would be the case, so I'm grateful it was.
5. What countries did you visit?In my mind? Sweden, and Ireland/Scotland/Wales.  In reality? None. Sigh.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?FINANCIAL. SECURITY. (Or at least a reasonable picture of how we might reach that sometime before I die... rather important, since we are struggling mightily now, and still have two more kids to put through college, the last two of whom will go when my second is still there, meaning there will be THREE tuitions to figure out how to pay, instead of the two we struggle with now. SIGH.
Oh, and I'd LOVE to be happier at my job, WITH my job.
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?January - when my dad had his first heart attack, went to the hospital, and then ultimately moved into "assisted living," instead of living on his own in his own house.  April, when he had to move into an actual nursing home instead of assisted living anymore.  August - a conference in Cleveland, Ohio for three days and then immediately after a friend from far away visited. August 31st - first time ever in all my years of public school, as a student and a teacher, that I have had to go back to work WITH STUDENTS before Labor Day weekend. I was TRAUMATIZED, I tell you!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to be happy more often than not; learning to just let things go, to not sweat the small stuff. OH, and taking the first step to attempting to get finances under control, at long last.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Probably not being able to get our finances under control and to let worry about them rule my life for months on end. Still worrying. Really almost worried myself into that awful black hole again. It even penetrated my dreams with a recurring theme that is traceable to worry about money.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?No. My health is awesome. Thank the Lord. Even my sinuses are still holding out pretty well after surgery nearly two years ago. Not great, but not bad like before. Some colds, but hey, who doesn't catch those.
11. What was the best thing you bought?Without a doubt, chickens.
12. Where did most of your money go?College tuition, groceries, college tuition, car payments, college tuition, stuff for the kids, like lunch money, clothes, stuff at school, school fundraisers. Oh, and did I mention, college tuition for two kids?
13. What did you get really excited about?
SUMMER VACATION.  I LOVE my summer's off, like most people could not possibly understand. It is like a reprieve from jail, sort of. It is all the things I love - quiet, warm, sunny mornings; time to spend at home with my dogs (instead of the guilt I feel hooking them out to their runs in the mornings, and not being home with them til after 3:00. I KNOW they're dogs, but I still feel guilty leaving them all day); all my kids home (though, yes, there are times when that is NOT exciting, but stressful, admittedly!), etc. etc.  I don't know that my chickens EXCITE me, but they do make me feel very happy. And having work done on our land in the woods - trees cut down, driveway work being done - all on the barter system, all a few steps closer to being able to throw up a cabin over there for escape from town, THAT excited me!  Probably some other things too, but in general, I am not a person to get "excited" by things - just fulfilled, and happy.
14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
"What do tigers dream of, when they take a little tiger snooze. Do they dream of mauling zebras, or Halle Berry in her catwoman suit. Don't you worry your pretty stripped head we're gonna get you back to Tyson and your cozy tiger bed. And they we're gonna find our bestfriend Doug and then we're gonna give him a bestfriend hug. Doug, Doug, Oh, Doug Douggie Douggie Doug Doug. But if he's been murdered by crystal meth tweekers, well then we're s-hit out of luck." 
OK, so not technically a SONG-song, but it is from the movie THE HANGOVER, and my girls sang that song INCESSENTLY this past year. It cracks me up, every time. I've never even SEEN the movie, but the song, sung by my girls, makes me laugh, and just will represent last year for me every time I DO hear it.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier. A million times happier. No good reason, just am.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner. Yay! My niece, the nutritionist, helped me lose 20 pounds, and I am soon to start on the other 30. Now I KNOW I can do it!!
– richer or poorer? Well, I'm not any richer, but I'm not sure I COULD be any poorer. Well, yes, sure I could, for real, but I would say, really, probably just about the same.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nap. Garden. Sort and get rid of stuff. Walk regularly with my Border Collie. Take on something new, like beekeeping.  Camp. RELAX. Sew. Embroidery.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Waste time; let time get away from me. Spend so much time online, on the computer, aimlessly.  Worry. Suffer from guilt over my dad. Talk.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
At our house, this year, first time ever. We normally go to my MIL's for Christmas Eve, dinner, gifts, etc., and she is no longer able to do that, so we had dinner here that evening. Christmas day was here, just our very own little family, no one else. Then my girls and I went to visit my dad in the nursing home where my sister and my nephew were also visiting.
19. What was your favorite TV program?Favorite program is ALWAYS Law and Order, SVU. Hands down.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?I read so, so, so much, that I could not possibly pick favorites. I have read so many books in the past year I don't even remember many of them.  I have a few ALL-TIME favorite books, and I know nothing I read this year even began to compare to any of those, so can't really answer this one, I guess. I miss reading a book that just jumps out as an all-time best book -
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Girlyman. Concert in April was great. Always Girlyman!  And Celtic Women at Christmas was pretty good too. Other than that, anything that is on Hits 1 on Sirius Radio that I listen to with my girls in the car becomes my temporary favorite at the time, simply because it reminds me of them, and of the times we've spent going places together in the car.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?Film? What's a film? That sounds very hoity-toity, cultured almost. God knows I have NO culture in me! OH - MOVIES.  Hmmm, I don't watch movies. I did go see one by myself, and hated it. I don't even remember what it was. It was something about the afterlife, and had a huge tsunami in it, but it was awful. The only other movie I watched at all was Despicable Me, and that was pretty funny, so I guess that would have to be it, by default.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?I turned 47 on February 6th, and I have NO IDEA what I did for my birthday. Birthdays are not a big deal here for adults, and I totally wish they were. My mom always made me feel like my birthday was the most special day on earth, and so I always look forward to it, get excited by it, am really hopeful that it is going to be this awesome day, and then... reality sinks in, and I realize that it's really not all that big a deal anymore. Not at MY age!! But I wish it was. Maybe I should take control and choose something to do for my birthday myself that would make it fun, and meaningful. Hmmm. There's an idea to think about.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?If I did not have to pick up teaching 5th and 6th grade writing this year. If I could have stayed with JUST teaching reading, or better yet, just remedial, that would have made my JOB much more satisfying, and since my job is what causes me the most stress, that would have made my life much more satisfying. I AM going to ask to NOT teach both 5th AND 6th writing next year.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?My personal "fashion concept" can be described in one word: COMFORT. If it isn't comfortable, I won't wear it. And if it isn't blue jeans, sneakers, flip flops or boots, a tshirt, sweatshirt, or cotton, I won't wear it. This is fine for work, since khaki pants and all my shirts and sweaters are cotton, and are just "teacher clothes."  Where this fails me is for the rare wedding, funeral or required dress-up, adult function. I simply do not own, and will not wear, clothes that are TRULY appropriate - I make do by trying to dress up what I have, but can never really pull it off because I just don't own, and won't buy, dress clothes. Don't own a single pair of heels, or a pair of pantyhose. I had to borrow clothes from my sister this summer for the fancy trip to Lake George.
26. What kept you sane?A close friend to talk to, my dogs, reading, writing, summer vacation, my chickens, my sister.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

RELY on family.   Especially a sister if you are lucky enough to have one. Work together to make decisions so no one has to bear the brunt of decisions and their repercussions alone. If someone is down, bring them up. If you are down, allow someone you love to bring you up. This is life - we are all in it together. It is fragile, not to be taken for granted, and short. Live it to the fullest that you can. Appreciate every day. Take time for the small things.  If something makes you happy, revel in it - flavored coffee, a special coffee mug, the last rose of the season on your windowsill, an awesome tshirt that you want, pretty smelling soap, tucking in your chickens at night, not fretting if there is a dog hair in your coffee, because it means you are lucky enough to have a dog in your house to love and who loves you beyond measure. LOVE LIFE.