Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back to Baking

I've been slacking. You can see it in my posts. What happened to the baked goods? What's up with cabbage rolls? That's cooking. That's! I should be reading my pharmacology book. Calcium channel blockers? Beta blockers? Angiotensin huh? I'm lost. And it's week 3 (or is it week 4?) of the quarter and it was just two days ago that I finally removed the plastic from my Physical Assessment book. So, it's back to work....tomorrow. Next week I'll be starting the real clinicals. Am I nervous? Nah! Let's bake! These are probably some of the best chocolate chip (well, technically "chunk") cookies I've ever made or eaten. Here HERE click here for the recipe. Go ahead. Try and find a better recipe. I challenge you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


So, I'm pretty grumpy about my school right now. The nursing program is fine - I feel like my classes are more focused on information that I can see applying during nursing practice. It's the school itself that is getting to me. And it's not just that I am offended that I'm being asked (nay, forced) to take a writing skills test (what, is this high school? Isn't this a *university*? Aren't we all adults here?).

A few years ago my school changed its name. I think I've mentioned that my school is not exactly located in the hippest town around and that, if you were to drive through it, your main impression would be: ah, another strip mall/ auto dealership/ fast food place/ rotting warehouse/ freeway on-ramp. So, the name change, ostensibly given to "reflect our [sic] growing regional role" (quote from the second sentence in the answering message on the main university phone number), was probably more about distracting people from the dismal city within which nursing school u resides. Yep. Anyways, I was running around the track at school today and the initials from the old name were being pried off of the dead-weed-ridden hillside by some workers. They were hacking at the middle part of the letters (made out of - appropriately -asphalt) and rolling the (what looked like) black rubber cinderblock outline for the letters down the hill. Fine. I understand the workers probably needed a truck to haul away the asphalt and odd cinderblocks, but I had to "pull over" to let three other trucks go by while I was running on the track. And I wasn't going to bring this up because there are a LOT of other things I could complain about (there's a great view from my campus and it is not visible from any structure but the administration building that, oddly is featured on the student i.d.. prompting my husband to ask, "Why is there a parking garage on the student i.d.?"), but the most crappy thing about my school is that there are always trucks driving around in random places on campus. There are no tranquil paths on the campus, no peaceful quads, no tree-lined picnic areas. Everything, apparently, is a road. And they are not ambling along at 5 MPH. They're jamming: maybe 20 MPH or maybe it just seems that way because the paths they are driving on are no wider than 4 nursing students across. It's...unsettling. And, yet, given the nature of the town (as previously mentioned), it is, perhaps, not surprising.

Pictured above are some stuffed cabbage rolls (prior to saucing) that I made from a modified version of this recipe.

I replaced the ground meat with a vegetarian ground "meat" substitute, added a bit more rice, used plain yogurt instead of sour cream and I used a stick blender to make the tomato sauce smoother. I reduced the cooking time to reflect the fact that I didn't need to cook raw beef. I cooked it for 1/2 an hour covered and 1/2 an hour uncovered. Next time I might reduce the total time down to 1/2 an hour and keep it uncovered.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back to School

It's back to school this week and, so far, I have an easy schedule. One of the classes I'm taking is online which is splendid. That means my body does not have to be anywhere specific at any appointed time to take the class. I think the hardest part of my day is making sure that I show up at the right place and time, but the difficulty is not really with my classes, it's with picking up and dropping off the kids. On any given day I have to run through my mind: What kid is where? Who's picking them up? What time? From where again? The nice thing, I guess, is that they aren't really confused about it. When I catch my daughter putting a toy into her dotted backpack (she's not supposed to bring toys to her kindergarten class) she'll say (in classic tsk, "gu-u-uy mo-o-om" tone), "But mom it's Thursday and I go to the afterschool program. We can bring toys!"

My first class on Monday is Adult Physical Assessment. Cool. We're learning how to assess the wellness (or otherwise) of each of the body systems. We launched right in and did the musculoskeletal system. Observe first, then grapple (oh, wait, I think the word is "palpate") the patient/client/lab partner. And, the neat thing is, there are a couple of different ways that you can palpate someone. It ranges from light touch to feeling for an organ (there are words for these things, maybe just light and firm, but maybe something more exciting than that). I was proud of my observation skills when I detected that my lab partner's left leg was shorter than her right leg. When I measured her it was true! It was a full quarter of an inch shorter than her right leg. She pretty much started talk of joining a circus side show (forget nursing, be a freak!). The funny thing was, though, when we were tested on our musculoskeletal assessment, S.'s legs were of the same length.

In my first theory class I was AGAIN handed a twenty dollar bill (see this post)! OK, I had lent it to my friend the day before. Narytheless, I hope that is the only thing that this version of theory has to do with last quarter's. Well, aside from the fact that it's the same students (that wacky bunch!) and the same instructors (Overexplano teacher and The World's Fastest Talker).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I don't go back to classes until Monday. We start our real clinicals this quarter which I think will be the toughest part of the quarter. How hard can pharmacology be? And this quarter's theory class seems to have somewhat of a focus: "Care Of Adults". Heck, *I'm* an adult (we're all adults here, right? Or that's what they say, anyways) so it's not like trying to understand Shakespeare or the Kreb's cycle right? And then there's a skills class and some random class "Human Development" that means nothing to me currently.

So, this is a useful website: All Nurses. My nursing student friend, Tom, pointed it out to me. The student forums are useful. And there's a couple of nursing student/ new nurses blogs I've been checking out. There's a whole mess of blogs listed if you click on the nurse+blogs button somewhere on this page. Two I've been reading regularly are Confessions of a Student Nurse (though she's a new ER nurse at a children's hospital) and Student Nurse Jack because she's an older mom going back to school like me. Do you have any favorites?

There are some lovely food blogs out there, too. This one has some interesting cupcakes (maybe a little too interesting, but they're lovely narytheless). And this one always has lovely pictures even though recipes aren't really posted (it's kind of an evil "buy the book" thing: you get links to the cookbooks the recipes came from). OK, I spend *way* too much time reading food blogs. This one is also lovely.

And, finally, lichen...I could look at lichen forever. It's a fungus. It's an algae. It's both working together. And the fun never ends. Check out the Lichen Portrait Gallery and see for yourself. The picture above was taken while hiking on Mt Diablo.