February 9--Mocean worker right now

I got up 15 minutes early, at 5 am, so I would be sure to get to the hospital on time in case it was storming. It wasn't so I was way early, so I spent 20 minutes in the neighborhood around the hospital playing Ingress. I got to the parking lot in time to catch the early shuttle to the hospital. Since it wasn't raining, I left my rain coat and umbrella in the car, after wondering if it might rain later. It did, and I got wet, but I dried off eventually.

Just after I walked into the hospital, I came face to face with a friend and former student, Hayat. He is now completing a combined Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant program, and was there to assist with some neurosurgery. He was very happy to see me and gave me a big hug. I was happy to see him too.

Although I haven't seen him in over a year, he has been on my mind. I wrote about him on my Facebook page a few weeks ago when the travel ban executive order (now on hold thanks to the courts) was implemented. Hayat was a neurosurgeon in Afghanistan before the war, and during the war he was an interpreter for the US military. He had to flee the country, and came here as a refugee. He had to leave his family behind. He went to nursing school so that he could have the means to bring his family here. He was one of those students for whom school wasn't just something to do--it was an imperative. There is a story about how I came to understand what it meant to him, but it must remain between him and me. I will tell you, though, that it had a profound impact on how I approach teaching. He is one of a handful of students I will never forget.

Anyway, we have kind of kept in touch, but it was a wonderful surprise to see him today. He told me a bit about where he is at in his program. He talked about what it was like to be back in the operating room--a feeling of coming full circle, and being where he was supposed to be. He brings so many gifts. What a shame and a loss it would be if we didn't let him in to this country. That's where I fall in this debate.

I ended up with four hugs by the time we parted.


February 78--No. 2

We had the first test this morning and it went well. We were in a new computer lab with brand new computers, unlike the old, broken-down ones in the nursing department. Anyway, the business department is gracious enough to let us use their lab once a month or so.

No. 2

I sharpened the pencils before the test. The students use the pencils to make notes on scratch paper during the test. It's interesting what they put on them. Some seem to regurgitate a bunch of stuff from their brains that they fell like they need to remember. Others make diagrams or drawings. Last semester one student drew little cartoon people making goofy faces. He always got good scores, so I guess it was effective.


When I walked back to my office after the test, the campus seemed pretty deserted. It had been raining hard, so I guess everyone was in the library or something. Usually there are lots of students milling around in the quad.

I made green triangles after work for a while. It was more fun than doing homework.
  • Current Music
    Okkervil River--Okkervil River R.I.P

February 7--Little PuppyAnne on the Prairie

It was raining heavily when I left for work this morning. I leave early before most of the traffic, so no big deal, but I have kind of forgotten what it is like for the rain to be around for a while. It is kind of a warm storm, so we had the bedroom window open a bit last night. There was lots of wind and it woke me up a few times, but then the rain put me back to sleep.

I find that I'm sleeping less soundly lately, and wake up a number of times during the night. I generally glance up at the clock and am comforted by the fact that is not time to get up yet, and go right back to sleep. Even if it is only 15 minutes before I have to get up, I think, "I can sleep for 15 more minutes".


Our first daffodils bloomed right before this last storm. I think they were expecting better weather.

One of our colleagues had to retire early last year due to the effects of illness. She is missed. Some of my other colleagues had the idea to do something in her honor, so they put together a cart with some food snacks for our students. Many of them live on a shoestring, and an extra snack now and then really helps. We put it out for the first time today and the students flocked to it like a steak in a piranha pond. I work with some awesome people.

cheryl's pantry
  • Current Music
    Shearwater--On the Death of the Waters

February 5--Rooting for the team that didn't win

We had some friends over for the Super Bowl this afternoon, and I made a Super Bowl-style dinner. We had ribs, coleslaw, garlic mashed potatoes and baked beans. I can't remember the last time I made baked beans, but they were a big hit.

We watched the game as we ate. I didn't think it was going to be terribly exciting, but it sure turned out to be. I felt bad for Atlanta, but Tom Brady earned that championship. I liked the Lady Gaga halftime show. I'm not really a Lady Gaga fan, but I do respect her talent. She's the real deal.

My goal for tomorrow is to post a picture of something other than what I had for dinner.

  • Current Music
    Jethro Tull--The Foot of our Stairs

February 4--One year later

I was reminded by Facebook that a year ago our house was all torn up while our new floors were installed. It was such a mess--everything in piles and dust everywhere. The cats were perpetually freaked out. I remember that they finished the tile just before the super bowl, and we were able to put some of our furniture back. After that came the carpets in the bedrooms, but that was much less traumatic.

flooring last year

We didn't do much today. Slept in, went out for some tasty burgers, and shopped for groceries. We have some people coming over to watch the game tomorrow and I am making ribs and baked beans. I rubbed the ribs with my rib rub and they are chilling away. I will cook them in the pressure cooker in some apple juice and vinegar, and then finish them off in the broiler.

I'm not a big football fan. I don't really care who wins or loses. I just like watching the game. My dad is a big football fan--a lifetime 49ers fan. He had a girlfriend once who was a big Cowboys fan. I was out to dinner with them and the girlfriend asked me which team I liked. I told her I didn't really like football, and she seemed genuinely shocked, to the point that my dad had to interject that I really did like football.

I'll likely root for Atlanta, mostly because I don't like the Patriots, but I would be ok with the Patriots winning just so Roger Goodell will have to face Tom Brady.

I forgot to buy stuff for dinner tonight, and forgot to take a picture today, so I made some shrimp tacos from the frozen shrimp Malida keeps for her Thai stuff. Two birds with one stone. They were delicious.

shrimp tacos

I watched a movie on tv last night. I don't watch much tv. The movie was about Rubin Carter, the boxer who was convicted of murder and spent years behind bars before being exonerated. Bob Dylan wrote a song about him. It was a good movie. Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors, and he played the title role.
  • Current Music
    Bob Dylan--Hurricane

February 3--Walking all day

rainy day

My students kept me running from floor to floor all day, and I logged close to six miles over the course of the shift. They have closed off one hallway that connects one of the floors to another, and I have to go all the way across the hospital to get to that floor. It's probably good for me.

In post conference today, one of my students described seeing the biggest scrotum she had ever seen in her life.

I'm glad it's the weekend now.
  • Current Music
    Death--Politicians in my Eyes

February 2--The inner voice of love

Today was the day that my students were able to give IV push medications, provided their patients needed them and they were ordered. I watched about half my students do this. Most of them were nervous and shaky, but they all knew what they were giving and what it was for. No harm was done.

One of my students was giving morphine to a guy who had some sort of unspecified pain that only morphine would relieve. As she was giving it, he told me that garlic was first cultivated by the Egyptians, and that if you rubbed garlic on a knife blade and cut someone it would kill them. So he avoids garlic. I thought to myself, what's the point of life without garlic?


I guess Malida was reading some Henri Nouwen earlier, and Mook took her place. Nouwen was one of my favorite writers at one point in my spiritual journey. That journey eventually led me to the desert, where I currently reside. At first it was uncomfortable, but now I like it here, and the spiritual desert feels like home. I'm ok not knowing what anything means.


Something I noticed when I was in Malida's office looking at the cats. Kind of an interesting mash-up.

I received feedback on my proposal revision. It wasn't good. My advisor suggested that it was a jumbled mess, which is a fairly accurate description of how it feels in my head. I decided to put off dwelling on the feedback for a few days until I don't feel like just quitting and redirecting my time to stuff that I like doing.
  • Current Music
    Jethro Tull--Skating Away On The Thin Ice of A New Day

The new textbook is here! The new textbook is here!

So we are somewhat unsatisfied with the textbook we adopted a few years ago, having given up a very good text for one that had a lot of bells and whistles. Bells and whistles meaning a lot of online add-ons like virtual simulations and adaptive testing stuff. That stuff is good, but the textbook itself is dense and hard to understand. I hate it.

Anyway, we are reviewing other textbooks to see if there is a better one out there that has similar bells and whistles. The publishers will send us a single copy, and we pass it around to take a look. Someone put a new one on my desk this morning and I started thumbing through it.

Davis Text

It was love at first sight.

It is what I would write if I were going to write a nursing textbook. It explains things in a way students will understand, it connects the concepts to the underlying evidence, it has nice visuals, etc. It's the best nursing textbook I have ever seen. I spent the morning reading through the sections I teach, and it's all there.

The only downside is that the bells and whistles aren't as spectacular as some of the other texts, but I am sold. I will make it my life's work to ensure that we choose this text as our next medical surgical book.

As I posted a picture of a textbook sitting open on my desk, I realized that I am not going for technical excellence in photography this year--I'm just telling stories.

big dig

I took a walk this morning over to the big dig. The big dig is a big ditch that currently runs across the campus. It is really the first step towards the demolition of our current building and the building of the new one. Apparently all the power for the surrounding buildings runs through our building, and they need to make that not be so before they can tear down our building.

I like big ditches. When I was a kid, they used to tear up the streets for whatever reason, and, unlike today where they cover everything up at the end of the day, they just left a big open ditch. My friends and I used to climb down in them and see if we could find treasures like pieces of rebar. I'm glad I grew up when I did.
  • Current Music
    Have Gun Will Travel--Standing at the End of the World

January 31--"my picture is alpha squirrel, because I love squirrels"

Today was an easy day at work. I had some stuff to do, and did it, while I listened to music. One of my officemates was lecturing and the other one was late getting in, so it was peaceful. I had some oatmeal and a banana. At this point in the semester, I am all caught up. That will end soon enough, but I savored it today. After my office hours at noon I took off and went out to play Ingress for a while.

I drove out to Clarksburg to pick up some wine from Bogle. I love driving out along the river. It's so peaceful. The first time I cooked dinner for my first wife, we drove out along the river after dinner and watched the sunset. We drove out to the same place on one of the last times she left the house. When I was much younger, I used to ride my bike out along the river road. Lots of memories out there.


Some fountain angels at the old sugar mill, which is now a wine tasting venue. The whole area is wine country now.

I anticipate a similarly low-key day tomorrow, and then things start to ramp back up.
  • Current Music
    Father John Misty--Pure Comedy