Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And I Thought Manhattan Real Estate Was Bad!

I'm watching HouseHunters International and laughing hysterically. A couple is going to buy a 735-square-foot apartment in Tokyo with no dishwasher, a clothes washer sitting at the end of the bathtub, and a refrigerator the size of the one I had in my college dormroom. The bargain price? $500,000!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What Color Is Your Puke?

I'm reading up on "ileus," which is a bowel obstruction, because my patient yesterday had one, and I didn't know anything about it. I learned that when a patient vomits, what their puke looks like can tell you a little about where the bowel obstruction might be. For instance, clear liquid means it's probably right up by their stomach, and if it's bile-colored and liquidy, that means the obstruction is in the upper small instestine.

Then I got to this:

"Feculent vomitus indicates bacterial overgrowth proximal to the obstruction and is a poor prognostic sign."

It made me laugh. It's terrible, but that statement might be the world's best understatement. Yeah, I would think that if a patient is puking up feces, that probably is a pretty bad sign, prognosis-wise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Letter to the Charge Nurse: Clinical Day 1

Dear Charge Nurse,

Today was my very first clinical day as a student nurse. Please, in the future, do not ask me to change the bedsheets on a woman who has an unsplinted broken arm that is just wrapped up in a soft bandage because she is having surgery on it tonight. I know you gave her some kind of painkiller, but it didn't work, and her shrieks of pain as I attempted to roll her over in bed to get the new sheets on were extremely distressing. For all of us--me, her, the people passing in the hallway, and the other nursing students who were helping me. That shit could have waited until she went to surgery and her bed was unoccupied.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm Totally Famous

STFU, Jezzies, just posted a comment I sent in. I am ridiculously excited about this.

Victim Blaming: Mommy Edition

Jezebel has a post up today on birth rape that is causing quite a stir. According to the commenters on there, it's not okay to tell a rape victim, "Well, at least you weren't murdered! What are you complaining about?" However, if a woman says that her doctor sexually assaulted her while she was giving birth, say, by strapping her legs into stirrups and then shoving both hands in her vagina with no warning or consent, it's fine to tell her, "He was just trying to deliver your baby! What are you complaining about?" After all, doctors know best! No doctor has ever done an unnecessary cesarean, or a totally unneeded episiotomy, or tied a woman down during birth!

Or, say, offered a medical student a chance to do a fucking pelvic exam on an unconscious woman who was having surgery, just to practice, because, hey, the lady would never know the difference, right?!

Yeah. Go read these stories and then tell me birth rape doesn't exist.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I think onions gently sauteeing in butter might be the very best smell ever. Really.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lamest. Hurricane. Ever.

Whatever, Earl! I bought $100 worth of junk food that doesn't need cooking and enough bottled water to float the entire Navy, and what do I get? No trees down, no shingles lost, not even a power outage! I still have to go to school today! What's up with that, huh? I do appreciate getting to take the kids to school today, since they're going to be home on Monday for the holiday, and three straight days of full-time children makes me sort of insane. But since we still have electricity, how am I going to have an excuse to eat the 18 chocolate/peanut butter granola bars that I bought? Answer me that, dumbass loser hurricane.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fuck This Noise

The Fuck-It List is an absolutely genius idea. Instead of a stupid "bucket list" of crap you want to do before you kick the bucket (which is such an annoying name awkwardly taken from a stupid idiom) but haven't gotten around to doing yet, how about a list of stuff you aren't going to do, say, or tolerate? Yeah! Way more fun!

My Fuck-It List

I will not:

1. Skydive. That shit might be a rush, but risking death for an adrenaline surge is fucking stupid.

2. Let people spew racist speech in my home or in my e-mail. I used to tolerate it on my computer, and figured it wasn't too much trouble to delete it, but I'm done with that. If you send me hateful e-mail forwards (or anything praising Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin), or if your Facebook status is a series of screeds about how the Muslim president is going to steal all your guns, I'm done with you.

3. Eat escargot. I've done this before. Snails are fucking gross. The only thing good about escargot is that it's floating in a puddle of melted butter and garlic. You know what's not gross? Just melting some butter with garlic and eating it! Maybe with a crab cake or some toast points! Yum!

4. Enjoy reading Moby Dick, anything by Charles Dickens, or Jane Eyre.

5. Enjoy watching baseball. That crap is boring.

6. Jog.

7. Teach my kids that you have to believe in God to be a good person.

8. Quit drinking. I enjoy alcohol, and I'm not going to feel guilty about that.

9. Let my dentist make me feel guilty for not flossing.

Clouds Rolling In

Hurricane Earl is announcing his arrival--the sky was clear and blue this morning, but now the clouds are rolling in and it's starting to get breezy. It won't be here until late tonight, but he's definitely on his way.

We aren't evacuating; they aren't recommending evacuations for our town, and I think we'll be safe. I'm sure we'll be out of power and maybe water for a while, but I've got supplies. My main worry is the big, tall, gorgeous trees that surround our house; if they fall, they could hurt us. But hopefully we'll be just fine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bad Day

Sorry for the lack of postiness today. It's the anniversary of my mother's death. My husband is at work until some future date, setting up hurricane relief efforts. I spent most of the evening trying to convince my crying kids--and myself--that the hurricane isn't going to kill us tomorrow night.

All I really want to do is lie in bed with about six beers and look at pictures of my mom.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank You, Mr. Obama: From a Military Wife

"The American combat mission in Iraq has ended."

I am crying. I remember exactly where I was the night President Bush announced that we were going to war with Iraq. I was in a bar with a friend, staring in disbelief at one of the tv screens above the bar, watching Bush announce a new war, and I burst into tears and sobbed in the middle of the bar.

My husband was already in Afghanistan. It was six months after our wedding; he deployed two weeks after our wedding, six days after we got home from our honeymoon. I spent every single day terrified that I would never see him again. That I would become a war widow before I'd even had an anniversary. I knew the Iraq war meant that he would deploy again, and again, and again, and that he would be at risk even longer.

He came home safe to me twice, from two separate combat deployments. I was lucky. So many people haven't come home, or have come home forever changed by what happened to them over there. The end of this war means the beginning of new hope for military families. There is still another war, one that has gotten much more dangerous lately, and one that is incredibly important. But at least it's only one war.

One is enough. Thank you, Mr. President.

Help, Please

Please go to Learning to Hope, where Tashi has set up a Paypal account for her and her husband (the direct link is here). He has terminal brain cancer and cannot work, and she has to care for him full time. They could really use a hand, and I'm posting this to spread the word. I know money is tight for everyone these days--even if it's just five dollars, it will make a difference to them. Newspaper coverage of their story is here. Please help.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hurricane Update

Hurricane Earl has become a Category 3 storm, and may be a Category 4 by tonight. I am in a corner, hyperventilating. My kids are watching tv while my husband prepares to leave. He's deploying tomorrow morning, and then I'll be on my own with the kids until the hurricane is over. I've made hotel reservations in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, in case we have to evacuate. We've got food and bottled water, and a generator. My husband is outside, reinforcing the hurricane straps that hold our not-yet-finished toolshed, which he has been building by hand for the past three months. It's almost done, and I'm afraid all his hundreds of hours of work are going to be demolished. Not to mention our home.

:breathing into a paper bag

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Afraid.

This post was meant to be funny, but now I'm really freaking out. Tropical Storm Earl has become Hurricane Earl, and my house is well within the estimated storm track. I've been obsessively checking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website to see the updates. I keep thinking, "I just bought this house. We haven't even been here a year. I have school! I can't miss that! What will I tell my kids if we have to evacuate, or if our house is destroyed?"

Did I mention that my husband is an emergency manager? He gets all the storm updates instantly, so I get to hear all the bad news before most people, and if we do evacuate, he stays here and helps save lives. So I'm on my own to keep the kids safe and get everything we need, and ourselves, to safety.

I'm from California; we don't have hurricanes there. I'm scared.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Racism? No way! Not Us! Sexism? Hell to the Yeah!

This Wonkette post has a very funny list of quotes from people's Facebook statuses using the misspelled word "mosk," regarding the community center in New York. You can read them yourself and be baffled by people's hatred and virulent stupidity.

I'm writing, however, about the commenters on the post. They seem to be fully aware of the racism in the post and are using it as an excellent springboard from which to criticize that racism. They also seem totally happy to do so while spewing completely uncensored, hateful sexism. For instance, in response to "Wow, watching NCIS. Do we really want the mosk in the city?" with a photo of a fairly large woman, Wonkette's commenters include the following lovely gems:
That last woman looks like she needs to stop watching NCIS and get her tub-o-lard ass outside to exercise, the fat is making it impossible for her to smile while she spews her hatred.

Wow watching NCIS and showing off my grotesquely fat and wrinkly rack.
And a woman whose photo shows her holding a little girl, we get:
"Nice example to set for your tardling, Debra. Unless Debra is the pictured tardling, in which case she’s setting a terrible example for her momma-sister."
Nice. Racism? Not here! We hate those racist assholes! Sexism? Oh, heck yeah! We hate women, too! 

Re.: Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, crazy right-wing racist tv personality and gold salesman, is holding a rally today. A friend reminded me of this:

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. " 

--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Please don't keep silent. Write letters to your Congressional representatives. Vote. Go to the counter-protests if you're in the DC area. Talk to your friends. Please.


Cutting People Open!

Did I forget to mention that I found out that next semester, we get to observe a surgery?!! Whoo hoo! Cutting people open! I have been dying to watch a surgery since I first decided to go to nursing school. Now I just have to make it through the first semester so I can get that far!

Friday, August 27, 2010

So Fucking True

From: http://survivingtheworld.net/Lesson698.html

Nudity and Othering: National Geographic

I was getting ready to write about the colonial gaze and how nonwhite women's bodies (particularly African women's bodies) are considered more available for public view than white women's bodies. The example that immediately came to mind was National Geographic Magazine; after all, who doesn't remember flipping through it, looking for scandalous pictures of bare-chested African women, because it's okay to show them naked, right? They're primitives!

So I hopped over to the NatGeo site to see what recent examples of colonial gazing I might find, and came upon this Q&A in their NGC Blog, about their show, "Taboo":

Q: I was extremely disappointed in this episode of naked taboo where National Geographic considered it acceptable to show the breasts of the African women but censored those of the white women in the United States and Australia. Too many times I have to be disgusted by this blatant form of bias where one considers a culture or race to be superior to another. I hope National Geographic makes a greater attempt to stop this form of bias.
A: Thank your for your recent question about our Taboo program on nudity. It's a good question that we've wrestled with and we've worked to develop a policy that we believe is consistent and respectful. Our policy for showing naked breasts, and when, is based on decency standards for broadcast television here in the U.S., and on the cultural norms of the people we are featuring. It is not based on race. Generally we will show nudity when the broader local culture sanctions it as part of daily, regular public life, and we obscure it when it is not part of the regular public culture. In the Taboo: Nudity show, as you noted, we see blurred female Caucasian breasts and unblurred female African breasts. While there may seem to be an inconsistency here, the distinction lies in the culture in which the practice was filmed. In this program, the societies in which the Caucasian women were filmed (various states in the U.S. and Sydney, Australia) regard female breasts as private parts of the body. In these societies, it's generally not accepted for women to appear in public, daily life without covering their breasts. Yet the society in which the African women were filmed (the Hamar of southern Ethiopia) female breasts aren't viewed in the same private manner. Because our presentation of nudity is dictated by local customs, a program that covered a nude public beach in a Caucasian country where those beaches are legal and normal, for example, might include some shots of unblurred female Caucasian breasts. Interestingly, in another Taboo episode, "Body Modification", we profile the practice of breast ironing in Cameroon. In that story, the breasts of the featured young African woman are blurred, since we filmed the segment in a private home, and within that Cameroonian society, female breasts (whether African or Caucasian) are kept covered. Again, thank you for this excellent question; I hope this clarifies our policy.

I have mixed feelings about this. I am glad that the people at NatGeo have thought about this issue and attempted to create a coherent policy for dealing with it. (I can't find an actual copy of the police online, but that's not surprising, given than it's for internal, editorial use.) And I appreciate their noting that they blurred out Cameroonian women's breasts because those women do not show their breasts publicly, so at least they seem to be following the policy.

But is this policy any different than the colonial gaze? That is, if we view breasts as private, sexual parts, why is is okay to look at them on people who don't feel that way? If we look at breasts with a sexual intent, aren't we in a sense sexually violating the women who are filmed, because they did not consent to show their bodies in a sexual manner? I realize we cannot legislate people's thoughts, and I cannot force people to watch this show without feeling titillated, any more than I can force a man who accidentally sees down my blouse if I bend over to not have a sexual thought about me. But it seems like we are still violating these women by allowing them to be viewed in a sexual manner that they are not expecting, when non-African women would know that showing their breasts on camera would be a sexual act and would presumably not consent to it.

Screw You, Tropical Storm Earl!

What the hell, Tropical Storm Earl? Hurricane Danielle finally turned right and decided not to screw my life all up, so you gotta be jumping up outta nowhere and frontin' like you're gonna come knock my freaking house down? Whatever, jackass! You think you can scare me, just because I can't afford flood insurance? Ha! My carpet is ugly anyway! And so's your face! Stupid, weak-sauce, wannabe hurricane. Screw you and the warm front you rode in on.

And you, potential tropical cyclone formation? Whatever. Kiss my ass with your "vigorous tropical wave accompanied by a broad low pressure system." You know what I'm going do to your vigorous tropical waves, loser? Get a big-assed piece of fiberglass and SURF ON YOUR STUPID FACE! So there!

Cross-Post: Bending the Arc

"In the US, opponents of the Cordoba House project have mostly moved from The First Amendment only applies to religions we agree with; everything else is an ideology to The fact that we can spew lies and racist hatred is a sign of a healthy First Amendment, so yay us for being loud bigots! I confess that I am unmoved by the eloquence of this argument."

A woman from the Netherlands writes the above as the opening to a short post about racial hatred and sexism and how we must all work to move past them. It's really beautiful; please go read it at Making Light.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sex After Rape

I've never been raped. I'm lucky. But I've given a man a blow job after he shoved me down and raised a hand to hit me when I said I didn't want to. And I've had intercourse that was coerced, that I didn't want to have but consented to because I wanted him to like me, to not be angry, to not leave me.

It's been a long time since those things happened, and I've moved on. But I've been thinking about what sex is like after rape. Both immediately after--the very next time, whenever that is--and in the long run. I think people forget that rape victims are still sexual people. They still have desires and hormones and fantasies. But what is it like to have sex after rape?

Everyone has their own experience. I can only guess at it. I know that with my partners after those first, unpleasant, coerced times, I was aggressive. I frightened some of them. No one expects a teenage girl to be sexually aggressive--we're the ones who are supposed to be pursued, not the pursuers. But it was a matter of control. If I got them into bed immediately, I could tell myself it was because that was what I wanted, not because they convinced me to. And I did want it; sex feels good, physically, no matter what your emotional feelings about it.

Then I met someone who made it clear that he wanted me, but wasn't threatening or manipulative about it. Just honest. And when we began sleeping together, I found it was immensely healing. We were friends, but no more, except that we were also lovers. (Friends with benefits, before there was such a thing, I suppose.) Sex with him was purely for the fun of it, and I had never considered the thought that sex could be fun before. Manipulative, emotional, pleasurable, yes. Fun, no. But it was. And it was easy and simple and didn't require anything of me other than that I enjoy it. It was a relationship I will be grateful for for the rest of my life.

I don't know what it sex after rape is like. I know it is complex and different for everyone. I hope that everyone who has to experience it is able to move on and to find a way to enjoy sex simply for the gift it can be--not to forget what has happened to them, but to accept that it happened and find joy in what can be a wonderful experience anyway.

Stuff to Do with a Frozen Chicken

I want to eat all of these chickens. Yum. Chicken.
You know those rotisserie chickens you can buy at the grocery store deli section for like six bucks? They're all brown and glossy and delicious, and you can just grab one on the way home from work, boil some water for instant mashed potatoes, and voila, dinner! Love them.

But did you know that you can totally use them for about a million other things? Don't throw them away! When you're finished, pull off all the leftover meat and chop it up into bite-size pieces. Skin too! It's got tons of flavor. Pile all the meat into a Tupperware and chuck it into your freezer. Then, you can make all this stuff, with no need to even defrost:

1. Chicken pot pie: Throw frozen chicken and whatever chopped veggies you want in a pan with some milk. Boil until veggies are soft. Throw in a casserole dish, top with biscuits made of Bisquick, and bake ten minutes. Chicken pot pie! Super easy!

2. Chicken fried rice: Use cold cooked rice, toss in one of those fried rice flavor envelopes, and throw in onions, broccoli, carrots, and your chicken. Fry the heck out of it. So yum.

3. Soup! Throw the chicken in any kind of soup or broth. It heats up in like two minutes because it's pre-cooked and in small pieces.

4. Chicken salad sandwiches. Mustard. Mayo. Toasty bread. Deliciousness.

5. Salad: Defrost and use on any salads you want to add some protein to. The rotisserie flavor is awesome.

6. Chicken broth: Keep the carcass! It makes great broth. Just remember--simmer, don't boil! Boiling makes it taste burned for some reason. No idea why, but it does. SIMMER. Trust me.

A Message to Men Everywhere

I hate to just reblog other people's writing, but this is too good--and important--to skip:
If we *are* so concerned though about young men getting drunk at a party, sleeping with another drunk woman, and later being falsely accused of rape (through misunderstanding, I suppose), then why do we direct all of our “advice” only at women? Why not recommend young men take the same advice that we give young women? Don’t get drunk, don’t go to parties/clubs, don’t engage in any sexual behavior at parties, and whatever you do, don’t go home with a girl or invite her to your room.

You want to avoid being accused of rape? Avoid the behaviors that will get you accused. Of course, that’s not what we say, because our society actively encourages young men to engage in these sorts of behaviors. It’s macho or whatever. Women get the majority of the lectures, and bear the brunt of responsibility in these situations, because we expect girls to behave themselves and keep an aspirin between their knees until they’re married.

If this situation really is accidental, there is no logical reason to blame ONLY the female victim or to give condescending, misogynistic advice only to women. Let’s start asking men to act with a little more self-respect, to stop acting like drunk sluts, and to bear some responsibility for their actions. As it stands, we expect the woman to do that every single time, and let men off the hook.
From:  http://stfuconservatives.tumblr.com/post/1012559447, which states that it is originally from The Daily Get Up, but I couldn't find it there.

One Down, 62 to Go!

We don't have class on Fridays, so I've officially survived my first week of nursing school! Today I learned how to tell patients that "I'm just going to put this pretty bracelet on you," while actually tying them to a chair. Nice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm a Feminist, and I'm Not Ashamed of It

And this right here is why.


From: http://vaginafriendly.tumblr.com/post/1004863605/exhale-dust-veggielezzyfemmie

Tom Vilsack, Shirley Sherrod, and the Nuances of Racial Discrimination

Politico has a fascinating story about Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his involvement in the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. "On July 19, Vilsack was hurrying to address a meeting with a group of constituents of an Ohio congressman. As he was about to enter the room, an aide stopped him and held up a BlackBerry with a few sentences from a speech by Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia state director for rural development at the USDA. In the excerpts, Sherrod, who is black, seemed to indicate she had denied help to a white farmer because of his race." Vilsack, a man who is known for quick decisionmaking, and who is keenly aware of the fact that the Department of Agriculture "discriminated against minorities and women for decades and [is] now being involved in multibillion-dollar settlements and lawsuits," put Sherrod on administrative leave.

Interesting. Although I applaud Vilsack's work to move Agriculture away from it's ugly history of racial discrimination, it's interesting that he chose to fire a black woman who seemingly discriminated against a white man. After decades of his department's letting white people oppress blacks, he instantly punished a black woman who appeared to "oppress" a white family. (Whether it is even possible for a minority to oppress a white person is a whole other post, but we'll leave that for a later time.)

It is possible that Vilsack's personal life makes him extra-sensitive to harm done to farm families like the one in Sherrod's story. Vilsack's grandfather was a member of "a farm family with seven sons, six of whom had grown up to become doctors or lawyers. But the seventh son became a farmer and got too deeply in debt during the farm crisis of the 1980s, and one day he walked into his barn and hanged himself from a rafter. He was in his late 20s, and his young son found him there." I can only imagine how finding his father's body affected Vilsack and influenced his clear passion for helping farmers.

Although I think this entire story was an appalling error, Vilsack has offered to resign and took full responsibility for his mistake before the president. He seems incredibly devoted to improving the Department of Agriculture and pushing out of its unpleasant, racially charged past into a better future. Although he clearly made a serious error with Shirley Sherrod, I think it was with only good intentions. I hope he will use this experience to become more aware of the nuances of race both in his department and in our country, so that there won't be another Shirley Sherrod. And I hope she can move on and have a long, successful career in whatever area she chooses.

People Are Hateful

"A New York City cabdriver is hospitalized in stable condition after being stabbed by a passenger who allegedly asked him if he was Muslim, police said."

So, some drunk guy in New York City gets in a cab, asks the driver if he's Muslim, and when he says yes, stabs the driver multiple times. He has been arrested for committing a hate crime, thank God. Because you  know what doesn't make you a good American? Stabbing people for their religious beliefs! Remember those crazy Puritans? Why did they come here again? Oh yeah--so they wouldn't get killed for their religious beliefs.

What an asshole.

How to Sit

I just reviewed several videos that came with my nursing textbooks. They show the ideal way to position a patient in a hospital bed. I now want to go check myself into a hospital! For instance, it took the nurse in the video five full minutes and six fluffy pillows to move someone from lying down in bed to sitting up in bed. Seriously! The patient ended up sitting up, tv remote in hand, snacks on the bedside table, and six freaking pillows: one behind her head, one under each forearm, one under each knee, and a little one at the small of her back. She looked like a queen.

Simulated Urine and Head Lice

Today was our first official lab day of nursing school. We all dutifully laced up our tennis shoes and slipped on our crisp new lab coats and trooped into the fake hospital ward next door to our classroom. Yay! Let's review what we learned today:

1. Changing diapers! On grown adults! Not nearly as fun as changing diapers on a tiny, cooing baby.

2. How to wash your hands: "Sing the happy birthday song to yourself twice to make sure you wash long enough." And ruin every birthday for the rest of my life? No thanks. I'll sing the alphabet song.

3. It was only two hours, but my feet were killing me by the end. How am I going to survive a 12-hour shift?

4. Astonishingly, I was not the person who knocked over an entire bottle of simulated urine and splashed it all over the floor. Given my insane level of clumsiness, this is amazing.

5. I got head lice a few months ago from the hospital beds we used for one of our prerequisite classes. It was revolting. I will not be lying in these beds, I hope. Not without a disposable pillowcase, anyway. Thank God the mannequins don't have hair.

6. Did I mention my feet hurt after two hours? And I was starving? Because we have a three-hour lab tomorrow. Off to soak them in the tub.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Am I? A Pictorial

1. A married person. For eight years! How is that possible? I used to have trouble with monogamy for more than two weeks.
2. A mother of two. Both girls, ages 4 and 2. You can see my hair gets a little crazy when I'm taking care of them. And no, the one on the right is not bald. Her head just came out really, really small, and I didn't have room to draw hair on her. Poor bald thing.
3. A white woman. That means I get the benefit of white privilege, which I will definitely be posting about in the future. I have kind of an odd experience of it, because the last two places I lived (Hawaii and California), were majority-minority areas. That is, white people were the minority (the town I lived in in California was 95% Hispanic, and Hawaii is about 65% Japanese). However, despite not being the numerical majority, white people still enjoy white privilege there. I try to be aware of it and keep it in mind--especially now that I live in North Carolina, in the Deep South, where elderly black men call my 40-year-old husband "sir" and people put Confederate flag bumper stickers on their cars to show the world their "heritage."
4. A reader. (Yes, that's a book. Like you could do any better!) I read pretty much everything. In fact, I like reading so much, I went into publishing and made books for ten years! I was a copyeditor, proofreader, managing editor, pretty much everything. Mostly I worked in nonfiction--research, textbooks, medical journals, that sort of thing. Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, I am weird.
5. A cook. I love cooking, and eating. Mostly eating. But cooking too. You can see my hair gets kind of flat when I'm cooking. I also tend to get kind of fat when I'm cooking, because I tend to kind of eat it all. I *love* eating. Did I mention that? Mostly Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and occasionally even American food. We set a pretty multicultural dinner table at our house, for a bunch of suburban white folks.
So that's me, basically. I'm sure there's more, but drawing is really hard, and I really need to go cook some pork carnitas and crack open a beer right now. Back soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The first day of nursing school: Liveblog

8:00 a.m.: Class in one hour. This evil strep throat is killing me. Taking 800 mgs of ibuprofen from the prescription my husband got for tearing cartilage in his arm.

8:45 a.m.: Wow, feeling much better! Turns out taking ten times the recommended dosage really works! I'm definitely going to use that knowledge as a nurse.

9:00 a.m.: Here comes the professor! "Welcome, RN class of 2012!" Big round of applause! Yay!

9:30 a.m.: Introductions, introductions. "Hi, I'm Queenjulie, and I have strep throat." :classmates recoil in horror

9:15 a.m.: "Here's a copy of the syllabus! Don't panic--it's only 48 single-spaced pages long!"

9:20 a.m.: Professor is reading the syllabus. The whole thing.

9:45 a.m.: I do not understand the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. At all. I should probably look that up or something.

10:10 a.m.: Oh God, I have to pee.

10:30 a.m.: Break time! PEE!

10:40 a.m.: Resume dramatic reading of syllabus. My God, this is boring. "Blah, blah, blah, you must wear closed-toe shoes every day, blah, blah..." Wait, what? No flip-flops what? :stares in horror at happily unencumbered, be-sandaled feet.

11:30 a.m.: Lunch. Ingest caffeine. A lot.

12:20 p.m.: Done reading the syllabus! Attempt to wake up and pull face off sticky puddle of drool on desk.

12:30 p.m.: Tour the lab, which is a mock hospital ward. Marvel at freakishly realistic mannequins that actually have heart beats, blood pressures, injection areas that you can poke needles in, and voices that talk to you out loud.  Be incredibly creeped out.

1:00 p.m.: Learn about fire safety. "And now we're all going to go outside, where the fire department has set several small fires in the parking lot, and you get to put them out with fire extinguishers!" Holy crap. Nursing school just got 98% more interesting! Please God, let the firemen be naked.

1:03 p.m.: They aren't naked, but there are actual fires in small metal boxes in the parking lot. Crazy. Using a fire extinguisher is remarkably fun. If I ever get divorced and start dating again, I'm totally using a fire extinguisher to break up with people.

2:00 p.m.: "I hope you enjoyed your first day of nursing school! You have 56 pages of textbook reading to do before tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.! Enjoy!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Really Crappy Irony

So, I keep hearing about how Americans aren't donating to Pakistanis to help them recover from the flooding in Pakistan because people (and apparently American media, given their totally lack of coverage) fear that giving money to Pakistan will mean funding Al Qaeda or feeding Arabs or whatever other xenophobic issue people have. Because of this, according to the UK Telegraph,

"Radical Islamic groups are jockeying to fill the vacuum left by government incompetence and relative international indifference."

Nice. Way to shoot ourselves in the freaking foot.

Also, from the same article, this is the scale of horror we're talking about:

"The United Nations has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with more people affected than the South-East Asian tsunami and the recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined."

Update: Strep Throat

So, my temperature peaked at about 101.3 degrees last night, and then I slept for eleven hours. I woke up feeling much better--fever was gone, but I had a very bad sore throat. I figured, hey, it's just a sore throat. And then I used my handy-dandy nursing school penlight (for checking pupil sizes on drugged-out ER arrivals) to look in my mouth, and what did I find? Big-assed white patches on my tonsils. Bloody hell. Strep throat. For the second time in two months. The day before nursing school starts.

Coincidentally, I have an introductory appointment with a new doctor on Thursday, so if I can just hold out until then, I can have him get me some antibiotics. But it really freaking hurts. I'm so tempted to drink my daughter's amoxicillin that she is taking for bronchitis. But that would be wrong. :sigh

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Of Course

Nursing classes start in roughly 40 hours, so of course I have a temperature of 99.4 degrees.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dashboard Confessional

Sometimes I check my own blog a bunch of times, just to increase my page hits.

Book Review: Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

Get thyself to your local library (or Amazon, if you've got money), and go find a book called Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. Do it now. Seriously. It will change your life.

Ishmael is the story of a man who sees a classified ad in a newspaper that reads, "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world." The man, being a sort of lapsed hippy who is bitter that the 1960s failed to start a revolution, goes to the address in the advertisement, and finds his teacher.

The teacher is a 700-pound mountain gorilla. A gorilla who has learned to speak after living with a trainer for many years. The gorilla, Ishmael, teaches the man about the history of the human race. They explore mythology and metaphysics, and try to figure out how to stop humanity from destroying the world. It is quite simply, one of the most astonishing books I have ever read. The most profound, amazing part is Ishmael's interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You see, he believes it was not a story describing how humanity began: It is a story describing the entire history of humanity.

Adam and Eve's are first appearance in the garden, naked and unashamed, represents humanity before the advent of agriculture. When they eat the fruit of knowledge, this represents humans discovering that they can grow their own food, and that if they use land to grow food, they can get rid of any other animals that want to live in their space, and thus multiply. And that belief has led us in an unswerving path of growth and multiplication directly to where we are today: on a course to overflow the Earth and destroy everything on it, including ourselves.

Ishmael is amazing. It is profound. Yes, it is sad. But read it. And if you want to know more, go to Ishmael.com to learn about the author's philosophy and see his many, many other books.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is "Walking the Steel"?

I am scared of nursing school. I am afraid of accidentally stabbing myself with a dirty needle, or falling and knocking over someone's IV stand. I am afraid of killing someone.

"Walking the steel" is a term that comes from the steelworkers who constructed the giant skyscrapers of Manhattan and other major cities. It was an incredibly dangerous job, welding and soldering pieces of steel together, thousands of feet in the air, with nothing but a six-inch wide piece of steel to stand on, and a small safety belt to catch you if you fell. Steel I-beams twenty feet long swung through the air, hoisted by cranes, and would crush anyone who accidentally got in their way, or knock him off the side of the building to his death. New men were a danger to veterans, because they were more likely to have an accident or panic and grab another worker, risking his life. Steelwalkers had to learn to simply ignore the fear, the danger, the height, and to dance along the steel as if it were solid ground.

That is what I need to do as a nurse. I need to learn to ignore the fear and the danger, and to dance along the tip of a hypodermic as if it were a part of my own body. I have to walk the steel. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The world looks different when you're overeducated

Were you the dorky kid who loved homework? Did you do all the extra credit? Are you a professional student? Then check this hilarity out: The Illustrated Guide to a PhD. You'll love it, I promise.

Tomorrow needs to be boring

I'm supposed to be on vacation. Last month, I finished a grueling, high-intensity pair of anatomy and physiology classes that are prerequisites for nursing school. I crammed 16-week classes into five weeks and got As in both of them. Now I'm on a break, until school starts for real on Monday.

Except that yesterday, my 2-year-old daughter got sent home from preschool with a 102-degree fever, my 4-year-old-daughter had to go to the doctor for a totally gross cough that presages pneumonia, my dishwasher started pouring water onto the floor, and this morning, my air conditioner stopped making cold air.

Seriously? Seriously. Did I mention I'm single-mom-ing it for a few days while my husband's off on a business trip? And that I'm supposed to be on vacation? Do you hear me, God? VACATION!

Argh. Freaking hell.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why do I want to stick needles in people?

I don't know. It's just a compulsion. Come over here, I'll show you.

No, I'm kidding. I don't really want to stick needles in people. Not really. Maybe just a little. But I want to be a nurse. I like knowing how other people's bits and pieces work. I want to be the first person to find out that you may have inadvertently, accidentally, totally-not-on-purpose gotten a toothbrush lodged in your rectum. "But I have no idea how that got there! Really!"

I start nursing school one week from today. I probably won't be the best nurse in the world--I'm not all sweet and snuggly and good at giving hugs. I kind of hate hugs, actually. But I'm smart and fast, so maybe I'll be an efficient nurse. Hopefully patients will appreciate my getting-shit-done-itude, if not my willingness to let them stain my nice new scrubs with their snotty tears. And even if they don't, at least I can stick needles in them.

Small needles. Tiny ones. I promise, it'll only hurt for a second.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why start with an introduction, when you can start with butter?

I know that I should begin a blog with a little bit about who I am and why I want to stick needles in people, but instead I'm going to tell you what you need to do. Rude, but necessary. Trust me, you'll be glad I did.

What you need to do is go get a cast-iron skillet. Throw some butter in it and melt it. On top of the bubbling, delicious butter, place a tortilla. I prefer flour, but go for corn if that's what tickles your nozzle. Once the tortilla is floating on the bubbly butter, top it with a layer of shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, a few pieces of fajita-marinated, grilled chicken, and a bit more cheese. (The second layer of cheese is so the top tortilla will stick to the bottom one.) Toss another tortilla on top of the pile. Let grill for about three minutes.

Pry up one edge of your tortilla--use a spatula, not your fingers! You may want those fingerprints someday. If it's lightly browned and gorgeous, flip the whole thing over and brown the other side.

When it's brown and slightly crispy all over, slide the whole shebang onto a cutting board. Slice into triangles. Put a big scoop of sour cream on a plate and slide those triangles right up next to it. Carry plate to living room. Sit on couch. Turn something brain-dead on the tv. Get up because you forgot to get a cold beer. Sit back down, get comfy, and eat the best quesadilla you have ever tasted in your life.

I'm serious. Do it now. You won't regret it.