August 28--Five days later!

Since I sort of abandoned the idea of trying to make a post every day, I am sometimes surprised by how fast the time goes by. I took my students to the hospital for their first clinical day Friday. I forgot to take a picture, but I will this week. Before they know it, they will be done and ready to graduate. It seems like a good group.

I spent some time with each of them individually. There is always something in their stories that surprises me. They are always more than "just nursing students". My last question to them is "Is there anything else you think I I should know to help you be successful this semester?" It amazes me that they are dealing with what they are dealing with and still being successful students.

I share my story with them too. I really never know how much of my story I will share until I am in the midst of it. This time it was a lot. We are all on a journey together for this brief moment in time. I want us to know each other.

We had some friends staying with us for the weekend. The last time we saw them was in Thailand last year. Wippy and Malida used to work together at the hospital in Ubon. Her husband, David, is from New York. He and I have a lot in common. We were born three days apart, both love music, both love photography, both love to travel, and both are married to women from Thailand. The big difference is that he is an extrovert and I am an introvert, so he tends to tell a lot of stories and I tend to listen. But it is never dull.

Puu and Wippy

The friends left this afternoon after lunch, and I started in on homework. My first assignment of the semester was due this evening. Doing the reading was ok, but once it came to writing, I found that I was encased in concrete and had to break free before I could write a word. Eventually I got it done and submitted, and now I am on my way to completing another semester.

dr Mook

Mook stands (or sits) ready to help me be a successful student.
  • Current Music
    Joe Walsh--County Fair

August 23--school daze

The students started today. We greeted them with donuts and orange juice, and followed with insulin shooters, lol. We gave them the introduction to the course and then just kind of launched in. I don't have any lectures for the first month, so I get to ease in a bit. I do have to teach computerized charting the next two days, but It's not complex, just confusing.

fall 16

My doctoral semester has started as well, and I had my first phone conference as the student rep to the faculty meeting. I love seeing how the doctoral faculty operate. I was somewhat intimidated last year, but now I just jump in and bring the student perspective.

I have a pork shoulder sitting in the refrigerator that I would like to roast, but can't bring myself to do it when it is still 90 degrees out. I'm gonna have to soon, though. Or freeze it. But I can already taste it so I'll probably just cook it. I experimented with making some arepas yesterday and that's what I want the pork for.


Again this morning I woke up and sat at the side of the bed and said "I have to go to work".
  • Current Music
    Turin Brakes--Other Side

August 21--His name was Jaques, but everyone called him Porky

I had my first day back at work on Friday. The first day is alway a big presentation, speeches, and then a bunch of meetings. One part that was interesting was that it is the 100th year of the college, and the historian gave an awesome presentation on some of the stuff that has gone on in those 100 years.

The historian, who is close to 90, used to teach here. He knows all sorts of things that have gone on. One thing he mentioned was that back in the 1980s, he went to a Pink Floyd concert in the Football stadium. Me too!


The school has these boards up where people can write stuff. Being that it is a community college, you get a diversity of responses. It's fun to read.

I spent the weekend clearing the decks at home so that I can jump into both school and SCHOOL tomorrow. I cleaned off my desk and filed all my articles and papers. I paid all the bills, did the laundry, the dishes, and took out the trash. I am ready.

Why are we going back to school? Because we want to...

  • Current Music
    The Verve--Rather Be

August 17--Duck, duck...


What you looking at?

I suppose today qualified as my last real day off of the summer. I glanced at some work email, but that was about it. Instead, I drove downtown and wandered around for a few hours looking at things. One of my favorite pastimes. I got 10,000 steps in, so I guess it counts as activity, even though some of those steps happened while I looked for a hot dog cart (which I didn't find).

I thought about stuff as I walked. I even thought about stuff I could write here, but now I can't remember what it was. It was interesting, though, I'm sure. I should mumble into a voice recorder when I think of these things. My phone has that capability, but I really only use it when I hear a song I like and want to remember it.

I stopped at the store to buy food supplies, then picked up some Vietnamese food for Malida, who is working three days in a row. She is transitioning to her new clinic, and had to get up at 3:30 this morning. The upside is that she was home by 6.

My doctoral classes start up again next week, and I paid my tuition today. I also submitted my transcripts to the human resources department so that I can get a raise for completing 15 units above my master's level education. The yearly increase will be a little more than what I paid in tuition for this semester. Not exactly break-even, but I guess it will pay off eventually. One thing I have been able to say with certainty throughout my nursing career is that it has never been about the money.
  • Current Music
    Dave Mason--Look at You Look at Me

August 16--Road Trip! (sort of)

This morning I looked in the mirror and faced the dreaded reality of having to shave again every day. Not shaving has been one of the best things about summer break. Sure I ended up with a scraggly grey beard, but it was so worth it.

Malida left this for me on the shopping list white board:

shave ur beard

So I shaved, mostly. I left a well-trimmed goatee, but I will probably lose that before the students return next week.

Today was also the day that I abandoned my summer uniform of t-shirt, cargo pants, and baseball cap in favor of some slacks and a button-down shirt. Summer is over. Sigh.

I went into work and did some stuff. I ran into my new boss and asked her if she wanted to go over to the hospital with me to see one of our clinical sites. "Yes!" she exclaimed. So we did.

It was pretty cool to spend some time with her and talk about the program and her expectations. I told her about my conversations with the dean, and where I hoped the program would go. We talked about all sorts of things, and discovered we knew a couple of people in common (it's a small world).

I showed her around the hospital and introduced her to all the unit managers. There were a bunch of my former students working on the units as well, so I introduced them. She loved that there were so many of them who had gotten jobs there and were representing the program. We talked a bit about how seeing former students being successful nurses really validates what we do.

So it was a good day, and well worth shaving for.

road trip
  • Current Music

August 15--sort of back to work, sort of

Officially, I am still off until Thursday, when we start to have all the beginning of the semester meetings and stuff, but there is always a bunch of things I need to do before then to get ready for the semester and make sure my clinical placements are intact. I don't get paid for these days, but I can count them towards my college service hours, so I guess it's ok.

The gang's all here.

I had a plan to get up early and go in at about 7 am. That plan fell through, and I got there at about 11, after enjoying a quiet morning with the cats. I was the only one in the office, and I got pretty much everything done that I needed to, except for one thing that required more thought than I was willing to invest on my first day back, so I left it for later.

My new boss was there for a while today. I watched her walk down the hall. She has a bounce in her step, which says so much about her.

As I was driving down the road from the college, I saw my friend Tom walking down the street. He was on of the critical care doctors I worked with for years and years, who retired a few years ago. I pulled over and said hi, and we talked for a bit. He lives in the neighborhood, and we walked over to his house for some lemonade and talked some more.

He was always one of my favorites. He was the guy who would hang up on me in the middle of the night when I called about something, but then would be contrite in the morning, and take me down to look at chest x-rays. The thing about him is that he always was who he was, and was genuine. And he was a great critical care doc who cared about his patients. Anyway, it was great to see him, and a real bright spot in my day.


"What's a blog?" he asks. This picture pretty much captures him.

August 13--Obey eskimo pie

I already made this entry, but an errant thumb pad on my macbook air track pad made it go away. Now I know why my cursor keeps jumping all over the place. As I was saying...

We slept in this morning. I like not having to get up early on a vacation. Setting an alarm to go sightseeing or something just seems wrong. Anyway we got up about 9 and had some coffee. Our plan for the day was go to to Jamestown, have some breakfast, and then visit the rail museum.

We made it as far as breakfast. It was in the mid 90s by 11 am, and after breakfast we decided to duck into an old book store for a while. We ended up spending an hour there, and buying a lot of old books. I talked with the guy who owned the place and he told me he would probably be closing it down next year because "no one buys books anymore". What a loss.


After the bookstore we wandered through the many antique shops that line the main street, mostly because they were cool and dark. I bought a small wooden cat, and Malida bought some little things she can take back to Thailand.

Malida said she wished she had some ice cream, and about 10 seconds later we were standing in front of an ice cream place. It was nice and cool in there too. She had an ice cream and I had a double espresso.

eskimo pie

It didn't get any cooler, and by the time we drove up to the rail museum, it was about 104, so we decided to save it for another day and headed back to the motel, where we sat out by the pool and relaxed. That's the place to be when it is 104 out.

In the evening we drove back to Jamestown and had dinner, then came home and took a walk down to the state historic park down the street as the sun set. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was kind of cool walking through a closed-up old town.

old town

We head home tomorrow, and then back to work. It has been a lovely little trip.
  • Current Music
    Songs Ohia--Just Be Simple

August 12--Here and there

We got up at about 1:30 this morning and laid out on the deck of the cabin to watch the meteor shower. It was pretty impressive--some of the brightest and largest I have ever seen. We stayed out for about an hour, then started falling asleep and went in.

We checked out of the cabin this morning and went over to Pinecrest Lake to hike around a bit. We ran into a couple of park service guys who wanted to know if we had seen an injured bald eagle. We hadn't, but eventually came across it down the trail. The park service guys were already there, and had called in people who would know what to do with an injured eagle.


Some woman in a bathing suit came up and told me she thought it was a young bald eagle, because the head hadn't turned white yet. "Probably just out of the nest," she added. I looked up juvenile bald eagles, and this one looks to be maybe between 1-2 years old. I am not an eagle expert, though, "he added".

eagle 2

Another shot. He (or she) looks remarkably calm. There were really only a handful of people around, and the ranger people were making sure everyone kept a distance.

We drove down the hill and checked into an old motel in Columbia. It was hot, and there was a nice pool, where I spent the afternoon.

Columbia Motel

Columbia is an old gold mining town, and a big part of it has been preserved and restored and is a state historic park. We walked over there and looked around. I've been there before, but this is the first time for Malida. She really liked it. In the evening, we walked back over and had a really nice dinner.

There was a guy standing in the street playing guitar in the afternoon. I always like to stop and listen to street musicians.

guitar player

We sat on a bench across from him and listened for a while. He looked familiar to me, and I was sure I had seen him before. It took me a minute, but I figured it out. After the song ended I went up and said hi. I asked him if he only played up here, or in other places as well. He said he played down in the Bay Area sometimes.

"Mountain View?", I asked.

"My mom lives there," he answered.


I took a picture of him with Malida and my friend Lynn back in January of last year, on a street corner in Mountain View. It was the last time we saw Lynn, and the last picture I ever took of her before she passed away.

I've been thinking all evening about how unlikely it is that I would run into this guy up here.

It was an eventful day.
  • Current Music
    Eric Bachmann--Mercy

August 11--Kennedy Madows

We thought about kayaking today but it was only about 70 degrees, so we decided to go hiking again. We drove up about 20 miles to a place called Kennedy Meadows. It's one of my old favorite places from a long time ago. I hadn't been up that way for about 5 years, when Malida was in Thailand.

It's another nice spot, on the Stanislaus river. There is a sort of rustic resort there with a store, some cabins, some horses, and a lot of fisher people. There is a great trail as well, leading up into the Emigrant Wilderness.

Kennedy meadows

We put some food and some water in our backpack and started following the river. It was a beautiful day, and other than people fly fishing, we really didn't see anyone. We sat on an old downed tree near the river and ate and watched people fish.

fisher person

A river runs through it.

We saw some pack horses coming out. I guess you can pay to have your stuff packed in so you can camp in the wilderness. We also saw a few actual backpackers, including two guys and a dog. The dog had his own pack with a little bedroll, food, and water. He looked pretty happy.


We came to a bridge that I remember well. We would either follow the trail across the bridge and go left to get up to the lakes, or go to the right after we crossed to follow the river down.


My name is (or was) on that bridge. There are still a lot of legible names from around 1975 when I last backpacked up there, but I couldn't find mine.


We came home and rested for a while, and then had another great dinner. Now we are planning to go to bed early and get up to watch the meteor shower in the middle of the night. If we wake up.
  • Current Music
    Lydia Loveless--Real

August 10--Little house on the prairie

We are up in the mountains for about 5 days. It is lovely up here. The weather is just below 80 during the day, and down to the 40s at night. Perfect.


Here is the cabin we are staying in. It is just up the hill from the river, and from a nice hiking trail that follows an old railroad grade. I used to come up to this area a lot when I was a kid, but haven't stayed up here for more than 40 years. My neighbor Larry, who is watering our plants while we are gone, comes up here every year. tt


The Stanislaus river. The trail we took today follows the river, and we sat near it a few times. Malida even took her shoes off and waded around in it. She reports it was very cold.


Malida takes a break on the trail. We weren't really tired, but it was so perfect out that we felt compelled to enjoy it as much as possible.

We came home and took a nap out on the deck. After we got up I made dinner--grilled butterflied leg of lamb that had been marinating for a couple of days, a couple ears of corn, and some small yams that we bought at a roadside stand on the way up here.

After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood. There are some awesome places up here, from small cabins to luxury estates. The place down the street is selling for 2.5 million.

cabin in the field

Something more within our price range. lol probably not. Everywhere we go, we talk about moving there, but we never do.

We aren't supposed to have internet up here, but there is a super good Verizon signal, which means personal hotspot. And Livejournal. In spite of that I have finished one book and am well into a second.

We were just visited again by a very friendly and curious hummingbird. Life is good.
  • Current Music
    Shovels & Rope--I know