Friday, May 30, 2008

Exploring the uncanny valley

Yesterday I got to see the Sim Lab. Ours looked similar to this picture I found online. It felt so real and also so artificial. The mannequins are controlled remotely by the instructor outside the room. They can talk to you like the Wizard of Oz, so you can ask the patient questions. They can control the various sounds and stats coming from the patient. There's a phone and some equipment, but a lot of it is fake, so you just say "Let's increase your oxygen 2 liters" and she types that into the computer while you feign the motions. It was awkward having three of us trying to assess the patient at once. We all had our scopes out on her chest, trying to determine whether we heard severe tachycardia, or the plastic chest vibrating from breath movement. We eventually figured out that our patient had lobar pneumonia. I think I'll do a lot better next time. I'll ask more questions instead of jumping into assessment. Because we were limited in time we were not sure what exactly we were supposed to be doing. Getting a history? Exploring her body sounds? Attempt a diagnosis? I found it very stressful from the lack of instruction. Also, our first time with a real patient will be with an instructor at our side helping us, not on the other side of the glass grading us. Now that I know what to expect I think when it's really time to use the sim lab for testing, I'll be ready and confident.

Today we had our lab for neurological assessment. I had no idea there were so many reflexes! It was pretty fun whacking my lab partner. ;-) I committed myself to learning the cranial nerves this weekend. I learned them just barely enough to pass my exam in A&P. Now that I'm doing assessments that apply to them, I want them ingrained in my memory for fast recall. No mnemonics, just know them.

I'm excited for my Weekend of No Plans. My family is visiting SLC for Andy's graduation (Go Andy!). I finished my nursing home hours (woot!). No parties or church activities. I'm going to nap and run errands and do chores and all sorts of fun stuff like that.

I'm going to grill pizzas and artichokes for dinner before going to the Walkers to watch BSG. Azalea is growing up so fast! She is seriously the cutest baby I have ever seen. Every time I see her she giggles and wags her tongue at me. Darn baby giving me baby lust.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This is a quick post, because I gotta fly in 5 to get to trivia tonight.

We had to move the big church BBQ to the church building because of possible rain. And boy, did it rain. Decent turn out, probably would have been higher if nice weather, but everyone seemed to have a good time anyway.

We saw Son of Rambow this morning. Good movie. I feel like it could have been better, but still good. I liked it better than the new Indiana Jones. You should see it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shopping Resolutions

(You probably don't care about my errands, but since I was already complaining about these items, I might as well post their resolutions.)

Once in class I found out that the blackberry version of pepid required an internet connection to access certain critical parts of the program. Well now, that doesn't jive with my situation. After long negotiations, customer service calls, and some help with my parents I have reconfigured the whole PDA situation. I bought a Palm Tungsten E2 to serve as Pepid software reader and my calender/to-do solution. Then I gave Amanda my blackberry. It was a happy exchange, since she was in need of a phone and I did not need a fancy schmancy phone now that I had a palm. Then I got a new motorola phone. It sucks that I donated my old one when I got the blackberry. It worked just fine and I'd be happy to still have it. But I need a phone one way or another, and this one is purple and shiny and all kinds of pretty. So that's something. The palm I got is working great. I had one when I went to CU so the user interface is second nature. Pepid was obviously designed for this kind of device, because it works more smoothly than it did on the BB.

I ordered some Dansko clogs to wear to clinicals. Zappos is a fabulous company. They sent my order overnight as a free upgrade. They answered all my questions about how the shoes should fit and style/size availability. Sadly, of the four pairs of shoes I ordered none of them fit that great. I should have listened to the great reviews on their site, that advised ordering a size up. By the time I was ready to return the shoes (at no cost!) they no longer had my size in ANY style of Dansko pro. I looked feverishly all over the internet. No where could I find my size except on weirdo sites for horse trainers and chefs, with no free shipping. Today I took my big box of Zappos returns to the UPS store in Applewood and stopped by Mucellis's Shoes, which was listed as a Dansko supplier. 15 minutes later I walked out with a great pair of exactly the shoes I wanted. The shoes are handmade, so even within a single size the fit will vary. The store manager brought out all 4 pairs in my size of the narrow shoe (which is hard to find, I called several places and they didn't carry the narrow). She apologized they only had 4! She helped me figure out the best fit and color and was extremely friendly. I was glad I tossed my student ID in the purse because they give a 15% discount on closed heel shoes to all nurses/students, and 10% all other shoes! (They also give the discount to teachers, and specialize in carrying larger sizes. One of my readers may be interested in that.) I totally lucked out by trying that store. Apparently people come up from as far as Castle Rock to get shoes there.

And it's a beautiful cloudy day with spots of rain. My herbs are flourishing, my clematis and primroses came back this year. I'm enjoying one of my guilty pleasures for a few moments before starting an essay about myself, due Tuesday. You can guess which class it's for. By the way I got A's on my first two exams - woot! Oh, and So You Think You Can Dance starts up tonight. Ah. What a great day.

Cats are rad

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

a quick little ick

Yay! I feel almost normal today! I'm happily on a break during lecture. With 4 hours of class we stop every so often to stretch our legs. Today we're learning mental assessment and neurological assessment. This afternoon we're going to continue in pharmacology with GI drugs.

Sometimes you see something and you think "YES! "

natalie dee

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Under the weather

Ugh. Yesterday was the first day I have felt the "stress" of school. I had an exam and lecture all morning. I went to the fitness center and did 30 minutes on the elliptical (woot! 3rd time now!). I had to get groceries and run some errands because our house was nearly empty. So I didn't get home until after 2 pm and I hadn't had lunch yet. When I miss my feeding time you know I'm REALLY busy. For some reason food didn't sit so well with my tummy. Ironic, since our lecture today was on assessing the abdomen. I studied, laid down for 30 minutes, then rushed to study because we wanted to get to trivia tonight. I have an exam today so I was frantically trying to absorb all my notes and highlight my textbook.

We did make it to trivia, but I was extremely tired and, unusually, not hungry for dinner. Our team came in 4th (I think) but I didn't really help. I came home exhausted and instead of more studying I went straight to bed.

I'll spare you details, but I lost about an hour of sleep in the middle of the night being hunched over the toilet with a fever and nausea. This morning I had to drag myself out of bed. Tuesdays are my once a week professional roles class (and they take attendance), and I have that pharmacology exam this afternoon. Anyway, I don't feel THAT bad. Mostly tired with some uneasy feelings in my belly. I plan to take a deep nap this afternoon and feel better by tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cities at Night

Beautiful images of cities taken with long exposure from space. Does the narrator sound just like George McFly?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Danger: Diabolik!

It was a busy Saturday for the Masons. I had to do some nursing home hours first thing in the morning. Well, 10 am, which seems early on the weekend. Then we went to Sam's Club (ugh) to get supplies for the annual Memorial Day BBQ we're planning.

Once we got home, we just picked up the dog to go to Chatfield Reservoir with friends. It was quite sunny and fun to let the dogs run around off-leash. Jem is still terrified of water but Izzy dove right in.

At home I collapsed in a much needed nap. Being in the sun makes me SO sleepy. I worked on schoolwork for a few hours and threw together some steak soft tacos for dinner. Brian came over around 9 pm and we watched a FANTASTIC movie - Danger: Diabolik. In the words of Brian, "it's so sixties it hurts." He's a big Mario Bava fan and had been wanting to rewatch this movie for some time. I'm glad he let us join him.

Some you may know that I went through a Beastie Boys phase in high school/college. I LOVE their videos and Body Movin' is one of my favorites. It uses footage from Diabolik and recreates some of scenes. Enjoy.

Soviet Run DMC

Another great mash-up. I wish this had been edited tighter, but it's still pretty good.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The first 5 weeks

I haven't said much about starting the nursing program. It's been a little confusing and halting, but I feel like we're about to fully swing into the schedule now. Here's what I'm doing:

Health Assessment
In this class we learn the very basics of a health assessment (duh). We started by talking about interview technique and how to get a full health history. Then we started learning about the examination, starting with the head and working toward the toes. So far we talked about palpated the head and neck region, and checking for skin, hair, and nails. This week we have had lectures on the eyes (acuity, peripheral vision check), the ears (visual examination and tuning fork tests), and the lungs (auscultation and percussive exams). In lab Thursday and Friday we will practice these techniques.

Professional Nursing Role part 1
This is a touchy-feely, getting to know yourself type class held in one weekly 4 hour class session. Last week we told stories about what our name means to the class, had a long lecture about the Service Learning component, filled with fluffy meaningless verbage about philosophy and diversity and charity (Amanda knows all about these talks), then we went to the nursing home where we will be "volunteering" for the Service Learning. Basically SL is part of the Jesuit tradition, where students must spend time doing charity and journaling/writing essays about how it helps them grow. Blah. I'm trying to get my hours done as soon as possible. This week we spent the entire class session each giving the class a 5 minute presentation on "Who am I? Where did I come from? What can I bring to Regis? What do I expect from Regis? How will I take care of myself during this program? Gag. Most people went on for 10 or 15 minutes instead of the allotted 5. So the teacher scrapped the rest of the day's activities "because what you were doing was so important, I didn't want to interrupt, and it accomplished much of what I wanted to do." This class is supposed to eventually cover other aspects of the nursing role, like duties as part of a health care team and legal knowledge. I hope that makes up for this fluffernutter stuff we're doing now.

Pharmacology I
A class about drugs. We did a couple introductory chapters on drug research, drug laws, and drug names last week. Today we talked about pharmokinetics, or how the drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted. Tomorrow we start on GI drugs, probably only covering diarrhea and constipation, she said.

So that's what I'll be doing for the next month or so. The classmates are still great. I love that I easily find 2 or 3 groups to eat lunch with me (I've eaten lunch alone for years). A good bunch of them are already getting their pants in a twist, fretting over the first two exams next week. They're doing the sample tests before we have covered all the material! Whenever people ask me questions about what I think will be covered and how we should study, I respond simply and reasonably, trying to get them to chill out. I figure there's no reason to worry until there's something to be worried about.


Waxy pointed out a hilarious out-of-context list from a Grand Theft Auto forum on in-game girlfriends. Ben plays GTA for hours every night. Maybe I should write my own girlfriend list so he doesn't get confused.


Good Advice From
a Grand Theft Auto
Dating FAQ.


- - - -

[I]f you kill a girl through abuse, she will no longer be your girlfriend.

The main reason to date a girl ... is to get stuff from her.

If you raise your relationship level with a girl to 100% you'll be given a special outfit.

You can date more than one girl at once, and as far as I know, your other girlfriends won't mind if you pick up another.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

more weird art

This is brilliant.

Something completely nuts

Have you seen the Green Porno on Sundance channel yet? Isabella Rossellini demonstrates the mating behavior of creepy crawly bugs. It's artistically creative, performance art-like, but with graphic scientific explanations. It's bizarre. start with the spider or earthworm. If you don't mind seeing an elderly Italian actress humping a life-sized puppet insect, try the others.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

kitty diaries

I hate pepid. I hate installing applications. I'm mad at my BB. It will be punished.

So I will watch a kitty video to unwind. Hard to stay mad when you're watching this.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Oh yeah

I'm posting this and the previous from my classroom in Regis. I got here a few minutes early and decided to test the wi-fi. Success! I promise not to use the net once class starts ;-)

New Cooking Club

Miranda has started a monthly dinner group for a bunch of girls. I'm so excited for it! We're planning our first dinner for the middle of May. She started a website, which I added to my list of links to the right, or you can click to it here. There should be a lot of great recipes you can browse!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fun shopping

I got a couple great products at REI today. This anti-chafing stuff is supposed to prevent blisters. I put it on this afternoon, after going on a long hike this morning in thick boots. Oh my, my feet felt so good in my stiff red flats that I had changed into. I don't know if they will truly prevent blisters, but it was very soothing. It's also a sunblocker, great for my frequently burned footsies in the summer. It can be used anywhere on the body. I hate applying sunblock in the morning (so greasy!) so if I unexpectedly find myself outdoors for a while, I can whip this out of my purse and protect my nose.

Ben and I have been lusting over these stylish, cancer-free aluminum bottles. Especially since Nate got one. Since I'll need to stay hydrated to power through 7 hours of classes each day, I can justify buying this cute bottle, right?

Friday, May 02, 2008


I freaking LOVE these shirts. They had another collection that I fawned over for quite some time before it eventually sold out. The sweet embroidery and feminine cuts coupled with irreverent words - it's wonderful! They have posted a new collection. Many are reprints of the same design but with new sayings. Sadly, I'm not as fond of these new sayings because they overuse the F-word. High impact, I guess. But there are still a few I would conceivably wear. And some I wish I could wear. Were I to spend $90 on a shirt (Ha!).



Everyday Food

I used my birthday money to buy a subscription to Everyday Food Magazine - the one from Martha, not Rachel Ray. You may recall that a long time ago I was a devotee to this publication. In fact, I started with issue number one and I think went through the 50s or 60s. (The first year of issues are apparently highly prized, going for quite a few bucks on ebay. I've heard tell of $50 for the first issue. Mine are far too splattered and beloved to sell.) But after a few years the recipes got repetitive and I got bored. When I noticed I was no longer cooking out the issues I canceled my subscription.

But now my cooking is stale and I needed inspiration again. I realized that it wasn't the novelty of the recipes that was so great. It was the seasonal ideas, the pretty pictures, and the simple preparations that inspire me to get in the kitchen. My first issue arrived a couple weeks ago and it has served us well. The following recipes are all from the current issue.

Pulled pork shoulder barbecue sandwiches slathered in Big Hoss sauce. The honey glazed carrots are also from the magazine.

Simplified Paella. I omitted the shrimp and added saffron.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake. This was delicious and served at Movie Club. Unfortunately, it was so tasty that there were no leftovers for me to eat later!

A fresh salad made with a variety of ingredients. It had me hunting the aisles of Sunflower Market to get everything. In fact, I tried three stores for Israeli couscous, aka pearl couscous, aka Middle Eastern couscous -the name by which I finally found it at Whole Foods. It was sold in bulk and I'm happy I bought extra since we really enjoyed it's texture! The salad also has steamed green beans, cucumber, golden raisins, pistachios, and feta cheese.

Yesterday afternoon I made their basic muffin recipe. I added dried sweetened cranberries (again, hooray for bulk foods at Sunflower!) and topped them with a crusty raw sugar coating. They are deliciously creamy and have just the right amount of sweetness.

I have a couple things left on the meal plan from this issue. We're going to have their Thai chicken with noodles (substituting udon for glass noodles) and their two pea pasta - made with snap peas, frozen peas, and ricotta. I might also make the artichoke linguine. Yum yum yum.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Iron Man

Heck yeah.

Iron Man rocked. I may be reeling from the excitement of its freshness, but this may be the greatest superhero movie yet. Never dragged, great humor, rich characters (not stereotypes).

I'm ready for the sequel now!

May Day

The view outside my window this splendid May morn:

It was 75 degrees yesterday. Gotta love Colorado.

It's hard to transcribe when a furry beast is clamoring for attention.

Hmm, maybe scattering treats on the floor will distract her.

Success! . . .

Oh noes, between taking the photos and posting them now, she has gotten bored and is once again in my lap. I love her company - but it's hard to type with her in the way. Maybe she's just waiting for more treats. Smart little bugger :-/