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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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March 9--sum of the parts

It's been about a week since my last entry. It's not that I don't have stuff to write about--more that I lack the motivation to write. There's been plenty going on lately. I don't think motivation is really the word I'm looking for. It's something else, but I don't have the word for it.

I just talked to Malida's mom on the phone. She is telling us that they planted the first beam of our house yesterday (which is today here). The stars were aligned for the 9th of March. It should be done by December, at least the structure itself. We have to figure out the inside next. We'll be going over at the end of July to take a look. I hadn't been planning to go, but I changed my mind the other day.

On Wednesday I got an email indicating that my sabbatical proposal would be declined, as it is more of a departmental objective than a personal one, which is true. I decided to take the rest of the day off, as a personal objective, and met up with my friends Charlie and Gracie at the museum.

us three

It was renewing. I felt a lot better being with my friends. We saw some exhibits, had a nice lunch, and walked around and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

I found the inspiration for my next photo project. I need to think through it some more, but I am looking forward to jumping in to it. I'm not going to strictly define it--I will let it take whatever direction it takes.

On Thursday, my boss and the dean met with the sabbatical committee to argue on behalf of my proposal, and I was given 60% release time for a semester. That means I will still have to teach my classes, but someone else will take over my hospital duties for a semester. That actually works out to about 40%, but I will get some additional time next summer to finish it up. Or something like that.

march

There was a march on campus the other day, to protest the results of yet another shooting of an unarmed young black man. It was good to see our students have a voice, and it was good to see our administration support them in this.

I spent most of the rest of the week preparing for our long-anticipated accreditation visit next week. The reviewers arrive Tuesday afternoon, and will depart on Friday. My boss was kind of stressing about it, but we are as ready as we could possibly be, and I am sure we will do fine.

red rose in the rain

I received a note from a friend last night, telling me of bad news, for which I had no words. If we were face to face, I would give her a big hug and not try to say anything.

Sometimes there just aren't any words.
  • Current Music
    Ray LaMontagne--Such a Simple Thing
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March 3--Fnork, Fnork!

It's kind of cold and rainy this morning. I have my little space heater on-- it is like a warm blanket of air surrounding me. My own little office campfire.

I went to a funeral for an old high school friend yesterday, down where I grew up. There were a number of people I hadn't seen in a while, and some that I hadn't seen since high school.

One woman came up and said hi to me, and I initially thought she might have been someone's mom, but she was actually one of my friends from back then. Once I got over the shock, I realized we all look like it's been 44 years since we graduated. I had a bit of a crush on her back then, and I enjoyed getting a chance to talk with her without being all shy and nervous.

My friend who passed was a sheet metal worker, and his friends made him a pretty awesome sheet metal coffin. Instead of putting flowers on top, we slapped union stickers on it, and gave it a bang with a hammer. I thought that was a pretty cool way to send him off.

fnork

The Fnork Stick was also there, resting against the coffin.

The Fnork Stick was Gary's hiking stick. We all went camping up Lake Chabot one summer, in the regional park. Gary's brother worked in a liquor store, and brought along lots of beer and whiskey. We spent the night around the fire drinking. At one point Gary grabbed the Fnork Stick and wandered off into the woods.

Shortly thereafter, the park rangers arrived. They pointed out that we were all underage, and shouldn't have beer and whiskey, and started pouring it all out. At least the stuff that wasn't hidden in the bushes.

While the rangers were standing there deciding what to do with us, Gary came running out of the trees, down the hill toward the campsite, brandishing the stick and yelling, "FNORK, FNORK!" over and over.

The rangers started to pull their guns, but Gary stopped and gave them a Buddha-like smile, which effectively lowered the tension. One of the rangers asked him why he was yelling "FNORK", and Gary said, "It's my Fnork Stick!"

The rangers took the rest of our whiskey and beer (the stuff that wasn't hidden) and decided to let us go with a warning.

That was the story everyone remembered about Gary yesterday.

Rest in peace, old friend.
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February 27--This method acting, I call it living

It has been raining quite a bit here, to the point that some of the rivers are starting to flood. We are in no risk, but I guess they have set up sandbag stations in many of the little towns near the rivers. There's also a lot of snow falling in the Sierras, which should be good for our reservoirs come spring.

I like the sound of the rain, and it put me to sleep last night. I was fortunate that when I was out at the hospital today, it wasn't raining, but it was when I went back to the campus at mid-day, and there were no parking spaces, so I just came on home.

I stopped at the store on the way home and bought a boneless pork butt and made some carnitas in my instant pot. It turned out great. I should probably write down what I tossed in there so I can do it again next time. I like the instant pot for this kind of stuff. I was going to say more, but I don't want to start sounding like one of those crazy instant pot people who have 6 of them and cook everything in them.

catbird

I found this beat-up old cat thing at some antique place out in the middle of nowhere a few weeks ago. I stopped and asked how much, and it wasn't much, so I bought it. I put it out in the back yard near the fountain and Trippy the squirrel. I decided to let Malida discover it on her own.

She didn't, so I started looking out the window and saying, "Oh look, there's a white cat sitting out there." She would glance out the window and say something about how there are always cats sitting around in our yard, which is true, but not notice that this is a fake cat with wings. I finally had to drag her out there to show her. She likes it. The flamingo is looking up at the clouds.

catbird2

I saw this cat sitting in a tree the other day along the creek trail. I was reminded of a picture someone posted of some geese sitting in a tree, which I saw just before I saw this cat. I guess it's not odd for a cat to sit in a tree, but it seemed odd at the time. I've seen this cat before, and he is usually in the tall grass, hunting for whatever.

My doctor's office called last week and reminded me that I am due for a check-up and labs, so I will go in for my labs tomorrow. I thought about eating a salad for dinner, but then I ate the carnitas instead. I was actually supposed to get some lab tests done back in November, but I kind of blew it off. Typical nurse.
  • Current Music
    David Rawlings and Gillian Welch--Method Acting/Cortez the Killer