Friday, September 30, 2005

The Friday Folder

My daughter brought home her weekly schoolwork folder today, included was this gem...

"Spicing Up" Our Writing!
Directions: Make the following sentences more interesting by adding details and vivid language.

1. I rode the bus.
I rode bus 275 with my friend Devon.

2. I have a sister (or brother)
I have a brother who's name is Sam, and he is really funny.

3. We listen to music.
We listen to Charlie Brown music at Christmas, and Sam & I dance all over the place.

4. A car drove by.
A blue VW Beetle drove by, and I punched my mom.

5. My Mom bought me clothes.
My Mom bought me 9 pairs of beautiful socks before the school year! (Thanks, Mom!)

6. It is raining.
It is raining, and I should know because I am dancing outside in my blue shorts.

7. I rode a roller coaster.
I rode the Jack Rabbit, and I ralphed in the trash can afterward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A weird thing happened...

...with that last post. I went on from talking about Dante to recap the church picnic we went to on Sunday. Specifically, I complained mightily and in detail about the "guitar guy" that does the 11:00 mass at our parish and also inflicts his inimitable vocal stylings on us at every church function. For hours on end. I likened the experience of being forced to listen to him to one of Dante's infernal punishments, and wondered what sin I might have committed to deserve such a fate. Then, when I went to post, that entire part of the post vanished. I tried to recover the post, and the part about the Dante Club came up intact, but everything I wrote about the entertainment at the church picnic was gone.... spooky...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday morning....

....and 12 hours of my workweek already put to bed (though not I with it -- yet). Managed to finish up one last thing before the weekend was out. I just finished reading The Dante Club....

I don't read enough fiction. This is mostly because I have two small children and enough innate guilt to poison Lake Ontario. I'm not from a Catholic family or a Jewish family, so I'm at a loss as to how to explain it. Oh, never mind. New England Puritan roots -- no prying them out of the granite bedrock. Idle hands and all that. I was talking with a friend of mine about this fiction drought last night at work. We both mentioned the same thing. You sit to read, and suddenly there are small hands tugging at your sleeve needing things. You resent them ever so slightly because you don't want to put the book down. Whole hours are lost to this pastime that serves no other household member. We quite honestly cannot bear the guilt.

So anyway, great book, The Dante Club, can't believe I hadn't picked it up before now. It's a murder mystery based in late 19th century Boston, with Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes among the main characters. They and a small group of colleagues are working on an English translation of The Divine Comedy, and find themselves trying to catch a murderer that works according to Dante's sense of justice.

Back in a previous life, when I majored in history at Cornell, I studied a fair bit of Italian and took a course on Dante's Divina Commedia. We read, discussed, and wrote class papers in Italian. The class consisted of about 7 students, and we met in the professor's office, so there was no hiding in a corner and not contributing (did I just give it away? that's what I did in a lot of my classes). That experience just added a nice additional layer to my enjoyment of the book. Plus I worked for three years on Beacon Hill in Boston, so I recognized quite a few of the places mentioned in the book. Since I don't read a lot of fiction, I definitely don't read many mysteries -- it was really fun!. When was the last time Longfellow was fun? Read it, read it -- you won't regret it. I don't despite my nagging guilty feelings

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday, one more day off left.

Living room is painted, carpets (and car upholstery) cleaned. I spent 4 hours yesterday at the CSA farm, picking lettuce and cherry tomatoes, and weeding asparagus beds. Then drove back home through the city and dropped off 5 crates of veggies at the market.

S had his first and second day of preschool this week and is really having fun with it. C started trumpet lessons this week. C and I went in to the city to hit the Big Library today, and she was horrified when I carted nearly 40 lbs of books back to the car. Tomorrow, swimming lessons for both kids.

I finally, finally got my Nurse Practitioner license today, after much gnashing of teeth and imagined wringing of bureaucratic necks. I did some foot dragging myself, getting the paperwork and fees together to file for the license. I'm happy enough working as an RN, but the NP is really what I went to school for, and eventually will mean no more night shifts once I get myself a new job.

I'm tired, and oddly discouraged after such a big week. Lots of activity, but not much changed. The whole week is kind of a reminder that no matter how much I work, how much I try to get done, there's always that much more to be done that I haven't touched yet. Being home for a week just serves to show me how much my job is taking me away from the really important work in my life-- I can't make much of a home for anyone if I'm not here. I'm not terribly enthusiastic about getting started on a new job search right now, though I know I need to, I can't afford not to.

I want to be rescued, and I'm feeling a bit contemptuous of myself for entertaining such a silly notion. This might just be that Sunday afternoon back to work kind of feeling just magnified, since my vacation is ending, but I don't know.

Monday, September 19, 2005

vacation -- let the wild rumpus start!

I've got 6 days off from work -- I would call it my vacation, but I just finished working 24 hours over the weekend, and I have to go back at 7 pm on Sunday night, so it's really just a couple of days off in a row. I'm not complaining; it's more than I usually get.

During my last week off, in June, we took a 2 day road trip to Cleveland, which although it was fun, seriously cut into my productivity for the week. I've got a lot planned for this week -- got a pretty good start on it today. Jack and I cleaned out and vacuumed both of our cars. Also managed to soak off most of the soda, coffee and juice sludge, chip some melted crayons out of the back seats, and wipe all the dust out. I'm planning to rent a Rug Doctor later this week and clean the living room carpet -- I wanted to get the cars prepped so I could use the Doctor to clean the upholstery too.

Cleaned both bathrooms -- the maintenance guy is coming tomorrow morning to replace the faucet in the upstairs bathroom -- it's all corroded and seeping from the base. They're also going to fix our storm door -- the hydraulics that close it got ripped right out of the door frame in a wind storm.

Went shopping to pick up some supplies I need for a textile/art project I've been kicking around the idea for. Maybe after the kids are in bed, I can rearrange some stuff in the basement and set myself up a work area.

Moved all our coats and hats from the coatrack on the wall by the front door into a closet. Took down the coatrack -- I'm going to paint the living room on Wednesday, so I've got to get everything off the walls and wash 'em before then.

While I was cleaning, S destroyed the living room and the den, so I really should go pick up...

... Oh yeah, and I made some oatmeal honey bread. Nice warm day for yeast to rise...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

vegetables and other stuff

Went to the weekly distribution from my CSA today to pick up my share of veggies. The distribution is held at a local organic food co-op that's always fun to shop at. I signed up for the CSA back in May and was put on a waiting list. They just called me two weeks ago and said that a share had become available -- basically you contract to pay 20 bucks a week for the season (or in my case for the 12 weeks that are left) and you get a share of veggies that are grown at a local organic farm. The farmers are guaranteed to get a certain amount of money no matter what happens with the growing season, and you get to make a local organic food producer a little more economically stable and viable. I also have to sign up for a couple of 4-hour shifts working at the farm. I'll probably try to get in a shift during my vacation next week.

So this spring while I was still on the waiting list for the CSA, I planted my own little garden. We live in a brick townhouse with a southern exposure that soaks up the sun and heats the ground up fairly early in the season for these parts. My garden is along our back wall, L-shaped and about 3 feet wide. One leg of the L is about 20 ft long, the other about 12. On the long side I have a jungle of cherry tomatoes, some brandywine tomatoes, yellow summer squash & zucchini, strawberries, mint, sage, parsley, basil, and glads. I've put mostly perennials on the short side -- hollyhocks, daisies, lavender, peony, delphinium (that I grew from seed last year!) roses, hydrangea, and new this year, a hops vine. Everything seems to like our clay soil fairly well; the roots get through it better than my shovel, I guess.

So I was a little disappointed when my first distribution from the CSA was all tomatoes and summer squash -- tho we did get chard, kale, and a nice bunch of dill as well. Today I got cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, beets, summer savory, garlic, and more zucchini and tomatoes. I think the zucchini will wind up in chocolate cake at this point...

Had a lovely, lovely weekend not doing much of anything useful. Practically no housework. I worked on crocheting a market bag to bring all these veggies home in, made 2 pans of kuchen (neither of which made it to the bake sale, as they came out of the oven too late this morning -- guess I'll toss 'em a tenner instead), and watched three Sox games, thus wasting the beautiful sunny late summer weather we had all weekend. Wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Shiny things

My daughter has turned me into a magpie. I pick up shiny things I find on the ground for her because I know she would grab them if she were with me. Some of the latest findings...

a really ugly ring with two rhinestones missing, found on the road behind the hospital where I work.

a pink plastic star, found in the parking lot at work....

a plastic pony bead necklace, found behind an upscale giftshop I was wasting time in last Sunday.

Must go bake now. I promised to make something for a bake sale we're having at work. I'm going to make an apple kuchen (yeast-raised sweet dough rolled out in a rectangle, with slices of apple arranged on top and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Kind of an open-faced apple pie bread).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

This can't be happening...

Went to check the scores tonight and saw a leadoff story about the Yankees/Oakland game -- Jeter and Bellhorn hit solo homers...

But Mark Bellhorn plays for the Red Sox!

At least, he did until the end of August. Now he's batting 8th in the Yankees line up. I can not deal with this! He went out on the 15 day DL in July, and I got worried when he didn't come back at the beginning of August. He hadn't been hitting real well this season, but God, after what he did in the postseason last year, how could you cut him loose so easily?! I've got a soft spot for him since he was the only guy on the Red Sox who grew up in the Bay State. Apparently that wasn't enough to get the Boston fans to cut him some slack this year when his batting average dropped. That burns me. How about a little loyalty? And now to have to see him in pinstripes just twists the knife.

I know, it's only business... people get traded back and forth all the time. But this stinks. Sorry Mark, I'm going to miss you...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

things I love about nursing, # 97

Nurses have strong stomachs. It comes with the territory -- we deal with every variety of grossness, from the routine to the almost unimaginable. In labor and delivery you have it all -- blood, vomit, feces, amniotic fluid. In the nursery you have the standard new parent fare -- getting spit up on, peed on, etc, multiplied by 5 (or however many babies you happen to be taking care of that night). And nothing gets to me -- when I was pregnant and working med-surg, dealing with chest tubes and their drainage, c. difficile diarrhea, J-P wound drains, and colostomy bags (no trache care, thank heavens) nothing got to me.

The only thing that bothered me then was my drive to work -- I used to take a large latte with me for the drive in, but in my first trimester, my body decided to reject coffee. I had a big old cup, half full, in the car that I forgot to bring in one morning in my usual bleary state. And of course it curdled, and of course I managed to spill it in the car, and I couldn't sufficiently rinse the smell out of the carpets. That whole fall I bundled up and drove to work with the car windows down so I could drive without heaving.

But last night, I had to deal with the one thing that's ever managed to turn my non-pregnant stomach -- a dad with extremely stinky feet! I had a lovely couple and their new baby on my assignment, and they were just the sweetest things -- I was never in a hurry to hop out of that room. Until they got ready for bed and the dad took off his sneakers. The whole room became a no-go zone. I had to hold my breath every time I went in. Fortunately they sent the baby to the nursery for the night, so I only had to go in to do mom's vitals at 4am, and I could let them sleep, and give my lungs a break. I wanted to accidentaly knock those sneakers into a red bag and send them to the incinerator...

You know it's bad when your giving report, and feel obligated to warn the day nurse picking them up about the smell...