xxix

May 18--Return of the chair

I went to an art gallery exhibit last Saturday to see some stuff someone from work had done. She does these really small wood carvings that are pretty cool. I ended up buying one of her pieces, to put in my office.

By chance, one of the other exhibitors at the gallery was my former therapistShe is an extraordinary artist, who paints aerial landscapes. I was sent to see her after I got assaulted at work a number of years ago, as her focus was post traumatic stress. I didn't really have any post-traumatic stress, but it was fun talking to her about art and photography, so I kept going for a while.

She eventually had to stop for a while due to an illness. During our last session together, she encouraged me to think of a photography project, and that's where my chair project came from. she eventually got better, and gave up her practice to focus on her art.

It was great to see her, and we talked for a while. She asked about the chair, and I told her it was sitting in the garage, under a pile of boxes. She suggested I take it out and continue my project. So I did. The chair is all cleaned up, and back in the back of my car.

chair #16

Chair #16

I'll carry it around with me this summer and see what I come up with. I still have other ideas, though, so we shall see where it all leads.

chair#15

Chair #15

The semester is almost over. I spent a good chunk of yesterday writing the final exam and getting it ready for Monday morning. After that it is final evaluations, then graduation on Tuesday. I have meetings all day on Wednesday, and in the morning on Thursday, and then that's pretty much it for the semester. I have other stuff to do throughout June, but most of the pressure is off.

I had a cardiac echo this week. It was pretty interesting to see the inside of my own heart, and watch the valves open and close rhythmically. I saw my doctor on Thursday and the results were normal. I still have to see a cardiologist, though. That's at the end of next week.

I guess that's it for now.
  • Current Music
    The Iguanas--Para Donde Vas
xxix

May 10--Already May? Mae?

I have been plodding along, trying my best to make it to the end of this semester intact. It feels like it has been going on forever. I think there are about two weeks left. I am all done with lectures and clinical stuff and preceptorships. Now it's just getting ready for finals, writing evaluations, letters of reference, and all that kind of stuff.

I have been planning to take a Friday off for a few weeks, but have been thwarted up until today. I had plans to go in this morning, but decided there is nothing I need to do that can't wait until next week. Malida is off as well, so we will do something together. I think we will go up to the iris farm and see if they are still in bloom, then have some lunch at the High Hand Nursery.

I got the results of my Holter monitor test the other day. Much to my surprise, I have a lot more arrhythmias than I thought. Most of them are not as fast as the one I captured on my watch, and they last for less than 15 seconds. It kind of explains why sometimes I think I feel something happening, but when I check my pulse it is normal. Or back to normal I guess.

So now I have an appointment with a cardiologist coming up. He is one of the old school guys who I know from when I was an ICU nurse. I'm surprised he hasn't retired yet.

I'm making plans for how I want to spend my summer. I have some work stuff to do in June--a three day class on simulation and a couple of weeks of work on this project I am undertaking. That should take me to about the third week of June, and after that I am off until about the middle of August. We are going to Thailand at the end of July, so it gives me about a month of really not having to do much of anything. I imagine taking a bunch of day and overnight trips up to places where I can practice my landscape and star photography.

I joined the local photography group and signed up for one of their classes on star trails. I kind of already know how to do it, but it would be good to be able to practice it with someone who has been doing it for a long time.

I've been giving some thought to why I pretty much stopped writing here. It wasn't really a conscious decision, but it was more that I kind of got tired of hearing myself. I am thinking that when summer comes along, and I am doing different things, that might change.

manzanar1

The eastern Sierras from the Manzanar internment camp. Highly stylized.
  • Current Music
    The Mothers of Invention--You Didn't Try To Call Me
xxix

April 28--What I did on my spring break

I had a lovely, if active, spring break. I ended up driving a total of 1800 miles in about a week and a half, up and down the east side of the Sierras and into Death Valley. I took thousands of pictures, many of which I haven't taken a good look at yet. My class portfolio is due in a week, so I guess I should start figuring it out.

One of the more interesting things about my time out photographing, is that during the entire time I was out there, I only thought about photography. All the other stuff that had been nagging me just kind of disappeared. It was renewing and refreshing. I think that is one of the best things about these intensive photography trips. Almost like a form of meditation.

Death Valley dunes

Death Valley was surprisingly beautiful. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was way more interesting than I would have imagined. I really only spent a day and a half there, and want to go back and explore more. I am thinking about going back next March, before it gets hot. I stayed at the old hotel in Stovepipe Wells, just across from the Mesquite Dunes.

mobs arch

I spent most of my time in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, in a place called the Alabama Hills, just outside the town of Lone Pine. There are lots of interesting rock formations, and I spent hours just wandering around through them. This particular formation is called the Mobius Arch, and that is Mt. Whitney, shrouded in clouds, in the background.

Mt Whitney

While I was there, I saw a photograph that Ansel Adams had made of the mountains in 1944, called "Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine". I decided I would try to recreate it as best I could. I searched out the likely spot he took it from, but it was private fenced land. So I decided to take it from as close as I could get. It was east of town, near where the Owens River runs through the valley. I like how it turned out, but want to go back in either late December or early January to try it again closer to the time of the year the original was taken. Light and shadow.

I got back on Monday, did laundry on Tuesday, and then Malida and I headed up to Yosemite for a conference for community college faculty. I didn't take many pictures, as I was pretty pictured out by then. The conference was good, though.

Now I am back at work and jumping in fully to start my next project. It has to do with rewriting our curriculum and creating a seamless pathway to a bachelors degree for our students. That should take me almost right up to the time I want to retire, and then I will start wandering around and looking at things full time.
  • Current Music
    Davitts--Only Our Rivers Run Free
xxix

April 7--Your booking is confirmed, in a creamy garlic butter sauce

It was a busy week, though not overwhelming. I made to-do lists, completed them, and made new ones. I went to the hospital a bunch of times to check in on my precepting students. Most are doing well, but one has issues. That's on my to-do list for next week. I thought I might get out early one day, but it didn't happen. That's ok, because this coming week is a short week for me.

I will be leaving Wednesday after our test for my photo class. The weather is looking interesting--could be sunny, could be some snow. I'm hoping for both. I have camera stuff scattered all over the room, sorting out what I am going to take with me. I guess I should think about other stuff too, like clothes and food.

One thing I learned from previous trips is to bring my own food, particularly when we are based in a small town. it's no fun coming back hungry from shooting the sunset, to find that all the restaurants have closed for the evening.

house with Nung

I asked Malida to have her niece go over to our house construction and take a picture. She sent back about 20 variations of this pose, sometimes looking at the camera, sometimes looking away. No shots of just the house.

I'm kind of fascinated by how they make the foundation. They will start on the roof this week.

I bought our tickets to Thailand the other day. We will go for three weeks at the end of July, and return about 5 days before school starts back. Other than spending a few days in Bangkok, and a few days in Laos, we will spend most of the time dealing with house stuff, such as where the toilet will go, and what the floors will look like.

I think we will stay at her cousin's house in the village. She's one of my favorite people there, so I am looking forward to that, and to being able to spend some time there. The village is one of my favorite places, and it will give me some time to explore the area a bit. The road that goes to the village continues to the east, and I want to see where it goes. I suspect it ends up at the Mekong, and the eastern Thai border. I'll report back, with pictures.

feather river malida

Last Sunday we took a drive up along the Feather River and had lunch in the town of Quincy. It was a beautiful day, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We ended up driving for about 300 miles, which seems like a lot of driving for lunch.

bear creek

One of the creeks that dump into the river. They were everywhere. If you see me on Facebook, you saw the black and white version of this. This one seems a bit softer and friendlier. Whatever that means.
  • Current Music
    Turner & Kirwan of Wexford--Girl Next Door
xxix

March 29--When the country is vodka, you are still innocent.

Good to know. Thanks automatic translator thing.

I'm taking today off, as I am pretty much all caught up with things, and there is no reason to go in to the office. All the preceptorships are set up as well, so no reason to go to the hospital either. Malida is home, working on an essay about Fahrenheit 451, and I'm messing with some photographs I took after work yesterday.

Butterfly 1a

It was supposed to rain yesterday, and it did for a while, but mostly it was a nice day. I had to go to the hospital early to meet with a preceptor and student, but was back in the office by 7 am. I finished off my to-do list for the week, and tried to figure out an issue with our test security that has presented itself. Once I was done with all that, I headed over to the old city cemetery to walk around a bit and see if the flowers were blooming.

They were.

the dance

Many of the plots in the old cemetery have been "adopted" by people who plant flowers and maintain the environment. This has made it a lovely place to visit at almost any time of year. As I have mentioned before, it is one of my favorite places to take a camera, and I am never disappointed.

butterfly #2

There were lots of monarch butterflies around, though some of them seemed to be at the end of their lifespan and were falling apart. Someone told me that the lifespan is only about 3-4 weeks, though they seem to make the most of the time they have. We should all be like the butterflies.

I need to start making our plans for the Thailand trip. I'll probably work on that today. We will spent most of the time in the village, working on our house, but will spend a few days in Laos as well.

A first for me this time is that we will drive from Bangkok to Ubon, which takes about 8 hours. One of Malida's friends, and her car, is joining us. I am looking forward to that. I love a good road trip.
xxix

March 24--How to get rid of a jar of bees

It is a lovely Sunday morning. It rained a bit yesterday, but this morning the sun is out and shining in on my little office. It is starting to feel like spring, for real.

My students finished their clinical rotations on Friday, and I took them out to lunch after, as is my custom. We went to a place within walking distance of the campus, called Meet and Eat. I had never been there before, and it was pretty good. Our union has a meet and greet there every semester, and maybe I'll go next time.

The students very kindly gave me a little basket with a bunch of goodies in it, including some tiramisu cookies and a mason jar full of Russian candies. The Russian candies seem to be mostly variations on concentrated sugar, but they are good.

cup

They also gave me a new coffee mug, explaining that they didn't think my Hello Kitty mug was big enough to sustain me through four hours of lecture. I like it, and will use it. It is the perfect size for a four-hour lecture.

The students now begin their preceptorships, which is the last big hoop to jump through before they graduate. Normally I would be at the hospital this weekend setting things up, but I was able to get it all done last week. Go me! With the accreditation stuff being done, I now have all sorts of time to get caught up on things before the next big thing comes along.

I went to the first session of the landscape photography class yesterday. I'm really looking forward to it. We will be heading over to the east side of the Sierras again, but further south to a place called the Alabama Hills. I was last down there years ago at the very beginning of my big trip across Canada and the US. It is a six-hour drive, because most of the passes over the Sierras will still be closed.

We will also spend some time in Death Valley. That's the part I am really looking forward to. I spent some time researching locations last night, and decided that I will probably stay down there a few extra days, as the end of the class trip is the start of spring break.

mook

Mook is hanging out with me this morning. She has since moved from the desk to a comfortable spot in my reading chair, warmed by the morning sun. I looked over at her a second ago and she started purring. She's pretty content. Chocko is in the other room, in her usual spot, curled up next to Malida. I wouldn't mind being a cat.
  • Current Music
    Van Morrison--Street Choir
xxix

March 21--"I appreciate your leadership on that..."

I'm sitting at the hospital, waiting for one of my students to call and tell me they need me for something. It's their last week before being turned loose for their preceptorships, so they really don't need me for much of anything. I have spent most of the morning setting up the preceptor stuff and orienting the summer teacher to the hospital.

healing garden in the spring

It is a beautiful, but chilly morning out there. I think we might drive up to the foothills on Sunday to see if we can find some wildflowers. I wish I had time to go down to southern California--the wildflowers look spectacular. It was one of those super blooms back in March of 2003 that prompted me to buy my first digital camera, so I could take some pictures on the way home from visiting my mom.

house

Malida got a text from her niece this morning with a picture of the beginnings of our house in Thailand. This is looking toward where the front door will be. amazingly, it already looks a lot like what I sketched out last August, and I can easily identify where the rooms will go. . I guess I'm a nurse-architect now.

mohr in march

Speaking of new construction, they are starting to pour some of the foundational elements for our new nursing building. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I expect to see a lot more activity and progress. I might actually still be around when we move in. Now that my mood has improved, I am back to thinking I will work another 3-4 years before I retire. Maybe. I'll see how life goes.

I'm looking forward to our last day of clinical tomorrow. As I almost always do, I will let them out a bit early and take them to lunch somewhere. They are still deciding on where they want to go. Apparently the decision is complicated by the presence of both a picky eater who doesn't like Mexican food, and a vegan. Whatever they decide is fine with me. If I had a vote, though, I'd vote for tacos.
xxix

March 18--"It needed 4-on-the-floor"

It was awfully nice to go back to work this morning and not have to think about accreditation stuff, other than thinking about what to do with the big pile of papers and reports on my desk. I decided to leave that for tomorrow.

It was a relaxing weekend. On Saturday, we got up early and headed down to Marin County to hike out to Tennessee Beach, which is a fairly secluded spot on the Marin coast. It is a two-mile hike in, but not a very hard two miles. It was a spectacular day, so even though we got out there early, there were already all sorts of people on the trail.

Malida on the trail

Malida stops to take a picture of something along the trail. This view captures everything I love about West Marin. We are so fortunate to have this huge swath of land preserved for all time by the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area back in 1972, just as developers were salivating over it.

We got down to the beach and hung out there for a while. We packed a picnic lunch and ate it as we watched the waves come in. Malida brought a book and read for a while, while I took pictures. I took a number of pictures for people who saw my camera gear and figured I knew how to use their iPhone camera. I always like taking pictures for people.

Tennessee beach

Our little corner of the beach. It was such a lovely day--sunny with temperatures in the high 60s, and just a gentle breeze. By the time we made it back to the parking area in the early afternoon, Half of San Francisco was there looking for a parking spot.

We headed over to San Rafael Joe's for a late lunch/early dinner, and had a delicious meal. I've been eating there since I was a kid, and it was a favorite of my grandparents. I had many late-night meals there when I lived in that area.

Yesterday we got up way early, at 4 am, did some stuff, had breakfast, and went down for a nap at about 8. We woke up again at 10, did some stuff, went out for a walk, and had another nap at about 1. We got up and did some more stuff, had dinner, and to bed by 8. I think we needed the sleep.

beach

This last picture is one I took while Malida was reading at the beach. I posted it up on Facebook, and it got a lot more attention than I thought it would. I'm always kind of surprised when that happens. I never really know what people are going to like.
  • Current Music
    Harry Manx--Afghani Raga
xxix

March 16--No lunch for Danny

It has been an exhausting week. After two years of preparation, we finally had our accreditation visit this week. It went pretty well, though we won't find out if we passed until about the first week of August. I feel mostly good about it, but have learned not to count chickens, etc.

carel

My boss waiting at the airport to pick up the review team on Tuesday.

There were three "peer reviewers", and they flew in from all over--Oklahoma, Phoenix, and Brooklyn NY. They are all nursing instructors from various programs, and reminded us of us.

They spent three days looking for evidence that the information we put in our self study was accurate--that we are actually doing what we say we are doing. We put together an evidence room with all the pertinent documents, etc., for them to review, and took them around to places on campus to meet all the appropriate folks.

evidence room

Someone very helpfully put a bedside commode in front of one of our evidence tables. In case we started to shit bricks or something.

At one point during the visit, one of the reviewers (the one from Brooklyn) was in my office looking through student files. She tells me that our student handbooks says that the students should have some required document, and asks me where she can find it in the file. I look through the files she has out, and can only find it in about half of them.

She looks up at me over the file she is perusing, and says, in a nursing school professor voice, "Your handbook says they are supposed to be here--why are they not here?"

I know that voice, as it is the same voice I use when I ask a student why they don't have some piece of vital information I expect of them. I feel my colleague, sitting across from us at her desk, willing herself to become invisible. I wish to join her.

Instead, I take the file from the reviewer, and assure her that I will find the documents. I ask her what would happen if I can't find them. She holds me in her gaze for a moment and says, "That would be bad."

I found the documents.

And that was kind of how it went for three days. We had a final meeting with them yesterday morning, where they told us their findings. After the meeting we took them to the airport and sent them on their way, and breathed a sigh of relief. It was over.

I had to go to the hospital after that to set up some preceptorships, and then came home and collapsed. In the midst of my nap, one of my students called, crying, because she thinks her preceptor doesn't like her. I gave her a little pep talk, and she felt better.

beignets

Beignets and coffee from our visit to New Orleans two years ago to attend a seminar to learn how to prepare for the accreditation process. At the time, I didn't imagine all the blood, sweat, and tears that would go into this. I was just thinking, "Free trip to New Orleans!"

I am glad it's over. Now I can move on to the next big thing, whatever that is.
xxix

March 10--Cat hair in my coffee

Mook is being friendly this morning, walking back and forth across my desk and rubbing up against me and everything associated with me. She just came up and rubbed her nose against mine. I think she likes me.

We had been thinking about driving down to the Bay Area this morning to do some walking around, but the time change caused us to sleep in until about 8, and we decided to stay closer to home. We'll do normal Sunday stuff instead, and maybe go hiking next weekend. I have a busy week ahead, so it's ok with me.

After next week, my next landscape photography class will start up, and my Saturday mornings will be taken for a while. This semester we are heading over to the other side of the Sierras again, but further farther south, down near Lone Pine, where there are some rock formations, and within distance of Death Valley.

Yosemite falls

Yosemite falls from when we were there over the winter break. I'm thinking about entering some photographs in the State Fair competition this year, and looking through to see what I have. I think you can enter more than one photo, so I will probably put a few in.

I was looking at the entry instructions and it pretty much starts out with, "Read all the instructions first," which is how I generally preface the instructions for things I give to my students. They don't, generally. Neither do I. I just jump right in and start filling stuff out.

Anyway.

hugs
  • Current Music
    Bonnie Dobson--Winter's Going