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May 2--a 90-day supply

My plan was to post every day for this final semester, so I could capture what it was like. I didn't do that, and now there are only 17 days left in the semester, and at the end of that, I will be done.

The semester has been uneventful. I was back in the hospital with my students, and the rest of it was all online. I had pre-recorded my lectures, so there really wasn't much to do. Lately, I've been putting together stuff for my successor, whoever that may be. They won't start hiring until after the semester is done, and I will be gone. I'll come back and orient them, but they won't be able to pay me. It's a dumb system.

el capitan

El Capitan, in Yosemite. We spent the weekend up in Yosemite a few weeks ago. A couple of my sisters were up there, so we got to spend siblings day with them. They rented a cabin, and I barbecued some pork tenderloins.

I spent a good chunk of April out exploring and taking pictures. Kind of a retirement test-drive.

dunes

I started out the month in Death Valley, wandering around in the wilderness. I needed the solitude to get my head straight. I found a great bbq place just outside the park boundaries in Gardnerville, Nevada.

sierras

I took a day trip across the Sierras and back. It was too late for snowy landscapes, and too early for wildflowers, but I like the drive.

Other than the trips, I've been pretty reclusive. That's what I got out of the pandemic--an extreme case of social distancing. I'm going to need to work on getting out and seeing people again.
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February 5--Bring me a shrubbery

I'm at work, at the hospital, hanging out in the cafeteria while my students assess their patients. It's our second full week here, and things are going pretty well. So far the semester has been smooth, and I am hoping it continues this way.

hands

The hands of a student practicing an IV start in the lab. I take some version of this shot every semester during our IV skills lab. We didn't have a lab last time, due to the pandemic, but we got permission to bring the students in in small groups this time. We held the lab in the new building, which was pretty nice.

One of my favorite coworkers, from another semester was there. She's the person who used to get to the office early at about the same time I did, and we would always chat for a while before starting our day. I hadn't seen her since last March. She gave me a big hug. My first non-family hug in a long, long time. I really miss hugs.

student notes

The big thing about this semester that is different is that we are here for the entire 12-hour shift. I get here at 6 am, and leave at 7:30 pm. I did this shift for years as a staff nurse, but it has been about 10 years. It took some getting used to, and when I get home, I'm completely spent.

The great thing about it is that I get so much more time to interact with my students. I have a lot more time to teach, and do things like deep diving into the medical record. I like it.

I haven't had much time for going out and taking photos. Once the clinical rotation is done in about 4 weeks, I will have some more free time, and I will go out exploring again. It will be early spring, and everything should be green and beautiful.

waterfall

From 2 years ago. I have hardly any photos from the first part of last year.
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January 20, 2021--Lovely Day!

lovely day

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn't always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours


--Amanda Gorman, Poet
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January 19--My feet stand on level ground

I taught my first class of the semester this morning. It's my least favorite of the semester--training for the hospital computer system, which I barely understand. When I retired from bedside care, we were still using paper charts, and I missed the whole transfer over to electronic health records. So in spite of the fact that I have never used one in a clinical setting, I am teaching it.

I got through it, and admonished my students to pay good attention to how the nurses use the EHR, so they can actually learn how it works. They will. Anyway, it's the last time I will have to teach this particular class. 121 days.

screen saver image

Abstract, courtesy of my screen saver.

Tomorrow we get a new President. I am relieved, but not quite ready to exhale yet. I am so ready to, though. It has been a long four years.
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January 17--I beg your pardon...

...I never promised you a rose garden.

That song has been running through my head all afternoon. We were driving back from spending the morning up the Sierras, and all of a sudden there it was. I don't recall hearing it on the radio, though that is a possibility. After we got home I took a nap, and when I woke up, it was still there. It's still there now. Help me, please help me.

Anyway, after Christmas, we went up to Silver Lake and walked around in the snow for a while and said, "we ought to have snow shoes," so we got some snow shoes and went up today to try them out. Unfortunately, it hadn't snowed in a while, and there wasn't much left at Silver Lake, so we went up to the Carson Pass, where there was still some snow on the ground. And no people.

my left foot

My left foot, and friend, in snow shoes.

We were pretty surprised at how easy it was to get around on them. We walked along the Carson River and enjoyed the morning.

malida in the snow

Malida loves being in the snow. You'd never guess she grew up in the tropics. Or whatever the climate is over there. Ok, I looked it up--it's tropical.

I like it too, though not as much as she does. I did like walking around in the snow shoes, right up until one of mine snapped in half. I put my foot in a soft patch, and the shoe just kind of folded up, breaking the aluminum frame. I fell over and landed in the snow. A few moments ago, Malida recreated the scene for me in the living room. I can still hear her laughing.

I was able to mostly use it to get back to where we were parked, without any trouble. I'll send it back for a replacement, and we will do it again as soon as there is some new snow.

Carson River

It's a beautiful spot, and one we return to in all seasons.
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January 16--Yesterday's news today

Yesterday was the actual first day of the semester, filled with meetings. We started with a district meeting, then on to a college meeting, followed by a division meeting, and ending with a department meeting. All on Zoom, all pretty boring. One thing I won't miss.

We finished up at about 4 pm. Too late to take a nap, though I thought about it. I am really going to miss my afternoon nap when I start my 12-hour clinical shifts next week. One good thing is that they are allowing us to park at the hospital again, since they are restricting visitors. For the past couple of years, we had to park on campus and take Lyft over. These two things (naps and parking) may seem unrelated, but I have a plan brewing.

fog branches

An oak tree, sans leaves, in the fog.

We took a walk in the park the other day when it was really foggy. I love these foggy days, and I love bare trees. They remind me of a vascular system.

I have a cat sitting on the desk next to me, purring loudly for no particular reason.

The first thing I did this morning after I woke up was to go outside and look up at the sky. Visibility is pretty good, and I could see quite a few stars. I would like to be up somewhere where there is no light pollution.

foggy park

There are five Ingress portals in this picture. I don't really play Ingress anymore, but I still see portals wherever I go. Even in the fog.
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January 12--From chicken to chicken soup

I was feeling fine yesterday morning, and we went out to the Hmong grocery to get a fresh chicken so I could make some chicken broth. We do this about once a month or so. We were hoping to get a black chicken, but they only had one, and it didn't look as good as this one.

chicken

After I got home, I cut it up and tossed it in my big blue stock pot, which I got as a housewarming present from someone I used to work with, back when I bought my first house back in 1991. I guess that pot is 30 years old now. There was a side story about the person who gave it to me, but I'll skip it for now.

stock pot

I put in some carrots, celery, some leek, onions, a few bay leaves, and some salt and pepper and left it to simmer for about 6 hours.

Meanwhile, after I got the soup going, I started to feel not too good. I got a headache, and felt sickish. I am assuming that it is the after-effects of the vaccine I got the day before. I was told that I might feel this--it is my immune system working the way it should, developing resistance. I went in and laid down, and slept for the next 5 hours.

The stock was done when I woke up, but I didn't feel like doing anything with it, so I turned it off and let it be. I went back in and slept for a while longer before waking up to go to bed.

I felt better this morning, but still with a bit of a headache. We had thought about taking a drive up to Yosemite today, but skipped it. I processed the broth and put it in bags for freezing.

stock

I ended up with close to 6 quarts of stock. I divided it up and put about 16 ounces in each bag for freezing. Malida held some out and made a delicious soup for me.

soup

I start back to work formally tomorrow. It's not a busy day--I have a meeting in the morning, and then will head over to the hospital to make arrangements for my students.

Despite everything going on in the world, it was a restful break.