Wednesday, August 31, 2005

because summer is almost over

Took my last weekend off of the summer and nearly killed ourselves trying to cram as much recreation in as we possibly could. I'm working straight through labor day weekend and out the other side, then the school year starts up again. So last friday we went to a Red Wings game. It was our first time to Frontier Field, though we drive by it all the time. What a nice park! Right in the middle of the city, there's trains that roll past right field every so often (Between the trains and the ball game S. was in heaven -- once he had it straightened out that it was Red Wings not Red Sox). After the game (home team won -- yay!) there was a fireworks show. We all got home around 11:30, crashed into bed, and got up early the next morning to pack up and go camping!

Two nights at Letchworth State Park, trying out our new tent for the first time. And the first camping trip ever for 3 year old S. We were a little apprehensive, since our history of camping with 9 year old C. is rather spotty. Her first night in a tent, in our backyard, was when she was about 2. The fact that mom and dad were right next to her made it impossible for her to go to sleep. She just wanted to stay up and play, and when we insisted on trying to sleep, she started climbing all over us, pulling hair, swinging a flashlight at us with great abandon, until finally around 2 am, we called it off and headed inside. Our last camping trip was when she was 4. It ended with her getting a stomach bug and being violently ill as we packed up camp & drove home.

This little two-night trip was great! Nice wooded campsite with tons of white pine, and a black walnut tree that kept raining down egg-sized green bombs (fortunately a good distance from the tent). The kids had a great time, didn't give us much grief, and no one got sick. We got rained on the first night, but the tent didn't leak (much) and the next day we had a beautiful sunny day for swimming and hiking.

(Home sweet home)

The next day, we packed up camp and headed out. Stopped at the Mt Morris Dam on the way out, which resulted in running commentary by J and C -- "That's an impressive dam view!" "Best dam site I ever saw!" "Well, I think we've exhausted the dam entertainment possibilities here.." "But we'll have material for entertaining dam conversations all the way home!"

We got home, unpacked, did 3,000 loads of laundry, and I headed to work for 2 back-to-back 12 hour overnight shifts. Time to lie down now, for a couple of days, I think.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Didn't recognize you with clothes on...

I'm feeling like a bit of a celebrity today, because yesterday at the farmer's market I was recognized by a family who I helped deliver back in June. Mom and Grandma came up to me: "You look really familiar -- are you a nurse? Do you work at ____?" They said that I'd set up their delivery cart early and predicted that the baby would be born before midnight "And you were the only one who was right! Everyone else thought the baby wouldn't be born until morning!"

Eventually I figured out who they were and remembered quite a few details about the delivery. Every delivery is unique and I think I could remember a lot about most of them if given a chance. Sometimes though I need to hear a few notes before I can name that tune, if you know what I mean. The prediction was a giveaway because I make it a policy never to make predictions like that. I tend to be very superstitious at work, and making predictions is just asking for trouble. These folks, I remember, really pressed me for my best guess, and I think I said something like "Oh, I don't know, I think you might have her before midnight, but I could be wrong." I remembered Grandpa too -- It was easier to remember him because he was in street clothes both that night and yesterday at the market.

This poor girl, I did set up her delivery cart early, because I hate surprises. And it never fails, if you think someone is just poking along and you have plenty of time, the next thing you know they're checking her and she's 10 cm and +2 station, and you crack open the cart and you're frantically dumping instruments on the sterile field, and you don't have lidocaine drawn up, and, well, there are more important things you should be focusing on at that point. So I set up the cart early, when it's quiet. And she had been 3 cm at her last check, but when they checked her again she was fully dilated. And I came out looking like I had it pegged, when really, it's just kind of the way I work..

It was still pretty cool, though.

I'm so torn about talking about work here. Because really, talking about patients is not cool. I'm not so worried about these folks because we were practically shouting her birth story to a market full of veggie shoppers yesterday. But I don't want to end up like one of those girls that do the circuit of morning programs after they've been fired because of their blog. It helps that I'm in a little blind alley here with practically no one wandering by, but still. And I suppose what would really be the kiss of death would be if I said anything about any of the docs...

But I've got some great stories. Catch me over a beer in one of those high-backed booths that no one can eavesdrop into sometime...

In other news -- walked through Black Creek Park yesterday. At one point I got myself way over to the side of the path because I heard a mountain bike coming up behind me -- which I thought was odd, because I've never seen a mountain bike there, in fact they're not allowed on the trails. But there was definitely something big and fast coming up behind me on the trail -- except that now it sounded like it wasn't on the trail anymore, it was heading off through the brush into the field... When I turned around I saw two white-tailed deer springing off into the field. Didn't get a picture of them, they were too fast. So were the three rabbits I saw, and most of the frogs, but not all...

This guy let me snap him.

Also yesterday C and I tried to return the Big Head kid's box when we went to swimming lessons. I hadn't noticed before, but it was a little salt cod box. He was keeping baseball cards in it before it became a frog wagon. He came to swimming lessons late and left early, so we didn't catch him to give it back

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rana catesbeiana

Last Saturday I took C to her swimming lesson at the YMCA. On the way in from the parking lot, she stopped short at one of those wood-chip covered islands that mark the end of a row.
"Look, a frog!" she said.
I looked down and saw a huge bullfrog, half-burrowed into the mulch, right next to the concrete curb. It's been in the 90s around here for weeks and there was no cover for him other than a couple of anemic petunias. Plus there was a huge stretch of asphalt to navigate if he wanted to try to escape the parking lot. I resolved to collect him and find him a better spot if he were still there when we came out of swim class.

He was still there, and while we were checking him out after class, one of C's classmates (the big head kid, as I fondly think of him--can't help it, I help deliver babies for a living and that's how he strikes me -- he and C are always chatting before lessons about Teen Titans and other favorite TV shows) came along with his mom. He had the same impulse as we did -- we need to get this guy back to the water. Big head kid and mom went back to their car and came back with a little box. We loaded the frog up and headed for the field next to the building. I didn't think we'd find any water there -- all I saw was teasel and other field weeds, nothing marshy looking. Sure enough, it wasn't swampy at all over there. I volunteered to take the frog for a ride, since there was a pond across the street that we passed on the way home. I figured that the frog might have crossed the street the night before. We'd had a rainstorm, and it would have been easier for him to travel that distance.

Of course he got loose in the car on the way over... but we eventually got him back where (hopefully) he belongs.

You may have heard these guys in your neighborhood -- here's what they sound like.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Here they come..

Preparing tonight for the arrival of tons of family, coming in for the graduation party my SIL is throwing for my bro. It's been way too long since I've seen these folks, isolated as I am by the difficulty of getting time off from work (actually time off that corresponds with school holidays -- C and I have plenty of time off, just not at the same time-- kind of makes road trips difficult).
My dad and stepmom are coming with their kids, my sister is coming in from the midwest, and various S.O.s are joining in. There's even a rumor that my dad's cousin from NH might tag along. It feels like thanksgiving -- so much so that we're roasting a turkey tomorrow. Yes, a turkey. In August. I don't go in for that deep-frying stuff, so we're going to let the oven and the central air battle it out in a grudge match. J will do the honors of preparing the bird, since I will be at work on day shift tomorrow. Tonight I'm making a peach pie and a couple of salads, and we picked up tons of rolls so we can all eat turkey sandwiches all weekend.

Thank God I have the weekend off! More time to hang out and catch up with everyone. Not an easy task -- I'm the oldest of eight siblings, flung liberally across the continent, and we're all very poor letter writers. I count it as one of my greatest flaws that I've never made a habit of keeping in touch with people on a regular basis. Fortunately no one (I think) holds it against me, because we're all in the same boat. The only one of us who is beyond reproach is my maternal grandmother, who regularly writes to kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, siblings, cousins, old friends, etc. Never misses a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas. I don't know how she does it.

OK, time to start blanching and peeling those peaches! Picked them up at the farmer's market and tried one yesterday. They're perfect!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

days of yore...

Lots of reminiscing about my childhood today for some reason. S had swimming lessons today, and when I asked how it went, he told me "I float like a bird!" J says that they had the kiddos floating on their backs and told them to flap their arms like a bird...

I had to tell S that I remember learning to float on my back as a kid, and I remember the hardest part about it -- my butt would always sink! He thought that was just great -- managed to crack him right up. Seriously -- I had to learn how to float on my back for about 3 years running... I'd get it by the end of the summer, but by the next year I'd lose the knack and end up with a sinking butt again.

The other thing was while I was at lunch (I asked for someone to come cover me and watch my labor patient while I ate, then they had to force me to actually go. Her water broke just as I was about to leave, and I just knew she'd be pushing by the time I came back.... and I was right) someone in the breakroom was watching Days of Our Lives. I told everyone that when I was 3, that was my naptime -- I remember peeking out my bedroom door & hearing the themesong and seeing the hourglass.... They haven't changed it in 33 years!

Coolest thing in the past week -- my brother made me an Adirondack chair! He's been setting up a workshop in his basement and did it all with hand tools. I got some tinted stain to finish it and just need a little time to do it now. My bro just finished working on his degree and my sister in law is throwing a big party in a couple of weeks. I got him some cool presents for graduation, and his workshop: a book by Toshio Odate (he totally rocks) and a Japanese handsaw made for dovetails and tenons from here. Hope he likes them...