The Stack

August 24, 2016

Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator. I am the Great Procrastinator. I feel solely responsible for elevating procrastination way beyond an art form to an actual coping skill. Please allow me to justify my procrastination.

This summer was the Summer from Hell Part 2. (2016)

First, let me tell you about the Summer from Hell Part 1. (2015)

Last summer kind of did not happen because I had a very demanding job at a place which did not share my core values. My take away from it was that I learned a great deal about what mattered to me. My core values are teamwork, compassion and integrity. If a job opportunity does not embrace those as their core values, we are not suited for each other. If you do not share core values with your employer, it is going to be stressful no matter how great your administrator is or how large your paycheck might be. You do not need to have my core values to be happy. I am sure that you have your own. Besides, working so much at a very, very physical and mentally draining job five days a week means that on day six, I would go to church on Sunday morning, come home, and pretty much never leave the sofa for the rest of the day. Zombie dead. Unable to function. On Mondays, I felt like a real person, and then my job started again on Tuesday. I am thankful for that job. I am also thankful that I am not doing that job anymore.

Summer from Hell Part 2 was because I had entirely too many demands made on my time which was pretty much my own fault. I was studying for the NCLEX, I was taking a statistics class in the summer (twice as fast as a normal horrible statistics class) and on line (because I had to have it completed in order to start school this past Monday to work on my BSN) and I was also starting a new full time dream job at my dream facility. I love my job. I love my coworkers. I love my bosses. I love my employer. I hate Statistics. Statistics can turn a reasonable happy normal person into a person who wallows in their own self pity from sun up to sun down. Yes, it was that kind of summer.

Here are the happy times: in May, I went to a cool retreat with the women of the Imago Dei Fellowship of Portland and then went to the coast for three days with my youngest daughter. I love Portland and Oregon except for eastern Oregon. In August, I got to go to the Western Idaho State Fair with my oldest daughter. The Fair this year was incredibly outrageously over the top fun and enjoyable. It made up for not getting to go to Minnesota this year like I wanted to. Plus, I won things. We signed up to win even more things!!! (Aimee, I know we will win something!) Another summer plus was that a few Saturday mornings my grandson stopped in to see us.

Other than the above things, it was a horrible summer. I really, really wanted to go to my sister in law’s house for July 4th and I was stuck at home all night doing Statistics homework. I feel Borderline PTSD about it. It is over the top when only growling brings full expression of those emotions.

One thing that I procrastinated on because I was tired of coming home from 12 hours shifts and trying to focus on Stats assignments that were due at midnight and knowing I had to get up at 5 a.m. to get to work, was that I quit opening the mail.  It was the only thing that I could control.

I opened personal letters and sales flyers went in the trash. All business looking mail except for bank statements were put into The Stack. (rhymes with The Shack)

Tonight I realized that I did not want to take classes for the next two years and get a BSN. I just did not want to do anything. After examining my feelings on my utter unwillingness to take classes for which I had already paid tuition and purchased books, I realized that I did not have the energy to start this new chapter in my life unless I opened and dealt with The Stack. Coincidentally, tonight when I went to purchase two items at one of my favorite thrift stores, I was told that my bank card number was not working. Three times. Luckily, I had the cash, which I almost never have. I was murmuring to myself that I would have to waste valuable time tomorrow contacting the bank. FRUSTRATION!

Imagine my surprise tonight when I found that in The Stack was a notice from my bank telling me that my card would not be good anymore after 8/22/16, and they sent me a new and better card. It had only been sitting there a month or so. There were a number of other really useful things in The Stack which only matter to the members of my household. Essential Things.

What is my point? My point is that once I cleared out The Stack, I kind of felt like being a college student/new nurse again. I had mental energy, not tons, but enough to move forward for today. Plus, I have access to my bank account again.That is definitely a plus for a person driving a borrowed truck with a quarter tank of gas.

That is my summer story. And now, on to Genetics and Genomics in Nursing and Health Care.

Becoming Bacon/Borderline Brain

August 18, 2016

Boise is in forest fire season.

Lately, the city has been hot and smokey. Today, I ignored the smoke, the heat and my own good sense, and went bike riding out to Lucky Peak State Park in the afternoon. It is bad enough to do physical activity when it is smokey outside, but it borders on stupidity to do it late in the afternoon when it is hot, especially when you could have left in the morning if you had just gotten your butt in gear.

Thank you for not mentioning it.

I am getting ready to start working nights. Having never worked nights, I feel like more of an advice magnet than a pregnant woman in a grocery store. Somehow, in my addled brain, it seemed like it would help me if I went on a late, hot bike ride.

One person told me that he has always worked nights, and he rearranged his entire life to coincide with his work schedule. He stays up every single night whether he is working or not, and sleeps every day. He freely admitted that his social life sucks.

One woman told me that she followed this type of advice at her last job which she held for less than a year before moving to Idaho. She said that she felt like a vampire with this lifestyle. When she relocated, she was assigned to days which she prefers.

Another experienced woman who work nights all the time told me to take a long afternoon nap on the day of the first night. I trust this woman the most because her advice helped me to pass the NCLEX without stressing out. I am kind of wondering how to make that happen. Hopefully, I will be so tired from my bike ride that I can go to bed and sleep and wake up really early, and then talk my body into taking a nap before I go to work. She said when she is done working a run of nights that she sleeps a few hours, until like noon, and then sleeps again that night and morphs back into a day person.

I also have a white noise machine and those things that cover your eyes. Last night I tried out sleeping with the white noise machine. I really liked the thunder sound track. It is funny that what sounds like thunder when you are sleeping does not sound very much like thunder when you are awake.

I am not sure how this will work, but eventually it has to work because I have to find a way to make it work. I am sure that something will work out, and it will look an awful lot like working at night when the rest of the world is asleep. The edges are fuzzy.

I do have a funny perspective on life. I love my job working as a psych nurse. I oriented to this job working days and evenings. Now, I am going to be a psych nurse who works nights and the requisite weekends because I was hired for nights. To some nurses, that would amount to Nurse Hell. For me it is living the dream. It would be Nurse Hell to me if I had to work in a med/surg unit. Every time that I thought that I might have to do that, I would pray, “Lord, have mercy on my soul.” I consider working noc shift in Psych to be the answer to many desperate prayers.

I have a number of true on-line confessions which I am about to divulge. If that sort of thing bothers you, now is your time to exit.

Now that they are gone, I can tell you this, “I have had a secret stash of peanut butter chips that I was going to make into cookies, but I have been snacking on them instead. They are better than chocolate. I know this because I have a bag of chocolate chips and a bag of M&Ms which I plan to make into monster cookies someday, and they are not a temptation to me at all.”

The second confession. “I killed another houseplant by my lack of attention to any kind of disciplined watering schedule. Tonight, I dumped the nearly dead and very, very tall plant outside. I went to the store and bought more plants. All of the remaining plants are succulent types. If I kill them…Well, let’s not go there. I am going to keep these plants alive through the next 20 months.”

That is the end of the confessions. Working nights and going back to school is going to be quite an undertaking. I have narrowed my wardrobe, my kitchen, my plants and all kinds of things around there. Somehow in my mind, having less clutter and less stuff will make this transition a little easier. I am not aiming at As. I am aiming at Cs. Cs get degrees. That is what I need out of this, a BSN. I am not looking to get into nursing school again or med school or law school.

“Lord, have mercy on my soul.”


Psych Nurse

August 16, 2016

It is different than anything I imagined it would be.

It is better than I imagined it would be.

It is not easy, but it is worth it.

I have a lot to learn. And so, because I believe C.S. Lewis, I am starting a twenty month course on line to fulfill the requirements of a BSN. What amazing thing did C.S. Lewis say?

“The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”

I am also inspired by that great social commentator, philosopher and horse trainer, Aimee T. who gave a profound list of six points to achieve your destiny.

Six Points to Achieve Your Destiny

  1. Be born.
  2. Be potty trained because no one likes it when you miss.
  3. Learn to read.
  4. Develop friendships.
  5. Find suitable employment.
  6. Be a life-long learner.


March 17, 2016

While working as a student in psych nursing, I think that a lot of the people I interview really just needed a friend, or a few good friends, at a low point in their lives, and they would not have sunk so far or so fast.

What they needed from a friend was emotional support and honest feedback.

It could be that friends were giving that, and they were not in a place to receive it; I am sure that happens at times.

However, I think it is also true that people who are connected to other people are going to always do better than they would have done with no friends.

Friendship is a very powerful thing.

Life changing.

Reading Should Change Us

March 16, 2016

Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Luke 16:29

This is God’s message to the Rich Man With No Name who let Lazarus starve to death at his gate while he lived on the highest level of ease and prosperity.

This morning I was reading this passage. I have read the Bible many times, but I never really saw this until today. The Rich Man literally had Lazarus dying at his very gate from hunger. You can’t get much closer than that. My ridiculous thought was, “How do you know that the rich man did not listen to Moses?” For the first time, it kind of dawned on me, think of someone cracking an egg on my head and letting the raw egg run down my face, that if the Rich Man had listened to Moses, he would not have left Lazarus starving to death at his gate because Moses had an awful lot to say about how we treat poor people.

I struggle with this. I do not hate poor people. My struggle is that I lead a very programmed and list-driven life. I want to be able to read this and say, “Hey, I give X percent of my income to the poor, so this guy is not my problem.”

I do not think that is what God is looking for. He wants me to open my eyes and actually see the people who are needy in proximity to my life. He does not need lists. He has lists. He knows the number of hairs on every person’s head. He needs someone who cares about the people He sends to camp out at our gates.

I have Moses and that prophets. And Jesus. And the entire Bible in multiple versions. Can I hear them? Or am I just a Rich Woman?


March 3, 2016

It seems to me that spring is here. My favorite part is that it becomes light earlier in the morning.

Prov. 6:16-19

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

That has nothing to do with spring, but I like it because it is a warning verse. It warns us of seven things that God hates. Warnings are good because they can keep us from danger and all kinds of troubles.

Such A Weenie

February 28, 2016

I never made it to the tub yesterday, or the shower for that matter. Homework was not finished until late in the day, and then I just felt even more shot. My amazing husband bought us fast food for supper because I was too tired to make anything. I lounged on the sofa and watched three episodes of House before heading to bed and sweating.

I would have gone to church today if I had the energy. I watched it over the internet although live stream leaves quite a bit to be desired. I think I had to restart it four or five times. Moral: it is better to just go to church. It is also better to be healthy, but there is nothing I could do about that.

Today I worked for a short time in the kitchen. However, I had to quit after not too long because despite lounging around, sleeping all night and doing nothing, I could not stand up long enough to make soup.

On take two, I made chicken soup in the crock pot.

Today my husband brought me two packages of Peeps. Things are looking up.

I have never ever been late or absent to nursing school or to clinicals. In fact, I make it a point to show up early. Always. I need to be not sick tomorrow, and I need to be able to stand up for hours and not  look like Dr. Death.

We shall see.

Seeking Comfort

February 27, 2016

Today, I feel lousy. Somehow I picked up a terrible head cold, and my body just feels exhausted. I made time in my crazy life to take a walk yesterday. I had to keep putting it off because of big, urgent more important things on my schedule, like showing up for clinicals, class and studying for the last big test. However, when I finally got to that time of my week for ‘The Walk’, I was too sick to take it.

By 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. last night, I was too tired to hold my head up. I wonder if I was more tired than sick because I just took two aspirin and two Benadryl, and I was out for the night. Of course, Benadryl makes everyone either tired or wired. Sleep was wonderful.

Today I have a lot of paperwork for school, so I will attempt to get that out of the way. I have been drinking my favorite tea, Bigelow Vanilla Chai, and listening to the rain on the roof. I may soak in a hot tub and just relax before attacking the paperwork that is supposed to be our best work yet, and the last clinical paperwork needed for this degree. (Of course, there will be other paperwork, but it will be and look different.) There is always reading and note taking to do as well, so I am sure that I can work today as many hours as I am willing to work.

At this moment, I am opting for the tub soak so that I do not put it off and become too tired to take it when it fits into the calendar.

Butter Sales, Marriage, the Economy and the President of the United States

February 24, 2016

Grocery shopping and marriage go hand in hand unless you are part of the monarchy of some foreign country.

For instance, I am married to someone who must have butter in the house. He does not do the shopping. When I roll the cart by the dairy case, I get to decide which butter to buy, not if I will buy butter. I always pick the cheapest one because the texture, the quality and the taste do not really matter to me. They are all butter if it says butter on the label.

I also buy Parkay spread or some equally insidious cheap end cardiac clogging thing to put on toast and baked potatoes for myself.

The American political process is similar to my grocery shopping. People do not realize it when they vote, but they are married to things. Some are married to the economy. Some are married to being pro life or pro union, or they hang on every word of PETA.

When they come out of the grocery store/voting booth, what they have is not necessarily what they want, but what they are married to.

It is kind of funny to me to listen to the Republicans right now because they are worried about the future of the United States. They are mad because they think that Trump will win because some candidate with not enough votes to become CEO of Shopko will not drop out and let their candidate “win the primaries,” and beat out Donald Trump, the Great Evil One.

This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, none of the Republican candidates is exactly a front runner or they would not need someone to resign in order to win. The process weeds out people who cannot win.

I think that eventually Donald Trump will get the Republican nomination, but he will become President whether he gets it or not. He is probably more like off-brand Parkay, but the thing that is funny is that he is really more like a rank and file American with money and publicity. He makes us embarrassed because he is typical of us. He is a jerky, pompous, insensitive, demanding, and  reactionary man lacking discernment, morality, and the ability to play fair with others. Yes, he is a typical American, and that is why his candidacy is so embarrassing to all of us.


Laughable Prayers

February 22, 2016

So, for starters. I never wanted to be a nurse. I definitely decided not to be a nurse. That was a firm decision based on this fact: I did not want to do it.

One day while driving down the highway 84 and minding my own business, God kind of invaded the car and said that He could call anyone to do anything at any time. Time to rethink that nurse decision.

I told the God of the entire universe, if this is You, I will do this as long as You keep opening doors, but if doors close, You will not get any tears out of me. That sounds more like a threat than inspired obedience, but it is what it is. (What if He asked you to do something that you really did not want to do? That’s what I thought.)

Surprise! Doors kept opening, but I was not really liking anything I was finding behind the doors, except psych. My psych education can be completely summed up in one 100 level class. That and one rotation at a mental hospital and 4 weeks of lectures.

I feel completely incompetent at the nurse thing.

No one in my class wants to be a psych nurse. They are repulsed by it. I was rethinking this psych thing this week. My preceptorship will be at a psych hospital.  Maybe I am making one giant mistake. I prayed about it before I went into church today while sitting in the parking lot. Here’s the really funny thing: I went into church and sat in my usual place and met a psych nurse who works at the jail. After talking to her, she wants me to apply there for a job opening. I have never ever seen that woman before anywhere. She just happened to show up after I prayed.

Bwa ha ha.



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