Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quilt Pattern

My dear friend Mildred treated me to this lovely quilt pattern (in a roundabout way!). Thank you so much, Mildred! It's from Thimble Blossoms, an Etsy shop run by Camille Roskelley, who sells lovely patterns. You can see her blog here.

Isn't it charming? I love the simplicity, and all that open space to showcase lovely quilting. Now I just need to find someone who can produce some lovely quilting, huh? Hahaha!

I can't wait to get my hands on it, and go select the fabrics (because I doubt I'll be able to find the fabrics shown, although you never know!). Anyway, if I use different fabrics it will truly be one of a kind, right?

Imagine this quilt done in fall colors with mums where the daisy is. Or Christmas colors with poinsettias... oh - or beachy colors with seashells! I think the possibilities are endless. I'll work on the main version (the one shown) a little at a time, I think, when I need a break from studying. And, if I pass the boards, I might whip up the fall version for a giveaway. So, thank you again, Mildred! Your kindness definitely brightened my week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last Call

Tonight is my last call shift as a student nurse anesthetist. I am updating this blog from our call room, between cases. This call is the 16-hour overnight kind, which are usually very difficult for me. Tonight, though, I am irrepressible. I am bouncing all over the hospital, and the OR staff are cracking up at me. I am happy no matter what!

Tomorrow morning, my husband is taking me out to breakfast to celebrate the fact that I no longer have to pull overnight trauma call, and I am having pancakes. LOTS of them. :)

And, yet, I remember... the man with dissecting aorta whose life we saved, and the young girl whose face was mauled by a pit-bull, and how I comforted her before her surgery, and the stabbings, and the car accidents, and the gunshot wounds - all of them frightened and hurting and needing comfort and care. And, yes, I remember the organ donations (I've done six) which are the most difficult cases (emotionally) for me to to do.

And so, there's a tiny piece of me that's going to miss this trauma call thing. That isn't stopping me from celebrating tonight, mind you. It's just a tiny voice inside, saying, "Yes, but look at what you've gained." Indeed. Look at what I've gained.

And I can honestly say that, even knowing how incredibly rough the journey was at times, I would do it all over again. And those pancakes are going to be fabulous, come tomorrow morning!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Surprise Giveaway

Who doesn't love a surprise? Well, I guess there are people out there who don't like them, but not anybody I know! So, if (like me) you like surprises, stop by We Love Quilting and sign up for her surprise box giveaway.

While you're there, take a look at her quilt show display quilt - it is simply gorgeous! I can't imagine how many hours went into creating that quilt, and the colors make me long for fall!

Oh, and I passed my comprehensive exams. They are graded pass or fail, although the "pass" designation is divided into "high pass" or "pass." I got a simple "pass" but I have to admit that that was probably my own fault - I concentrated on board study instead of focusing on excelling at comps. My reasoning is that the board exam has become more difficult this year, and if I fail boards I can't work, and if I don't work I don't get paid... ergo, boards are more important than comps.

Now, to be sure, if I failed comprehensives I couldn't graduate, but I knew I could come up with a "pass" - worthy product. Writing comes fairly easily to me, although top-notch writing remains something I have to work at. I am NOT convinced that I can pass the board exam as easily. That said, I'm off to the books again. :)

Enter the giveaway at We Love Quilting and have a great week!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still Here!

I'm still here. Twenty days and counting. Working a lot and studying a lot and trying to keep my head above water! I'll check in again in a few days - have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy, busy!

The next couple of weeks are going to be busy, busy, busy - in a good way! There's more paperwork than you can shake a stick at, lots of loose ends to tie up and I still have that little "quiz" (the board exam) to study for.

So, you might not see me much between now and August 14, but I promise I'll be back in full force once I'm done. Twenty-five days and counting!

Friday, July 17, 2009


The best night of the week. :) First, I came home and checked the mail and there was a lovely card and gift from Mildred! Melissa and I "met" Mildred through one of our giveaways, and we have enjoyed following her blog adventures since then! Mildred, thank you so much! You are so thoughtful, and so sweet. I am very fortunate to know you!

Ron and I just cooked dinner together, and now we'll sit and watch a movie with the boys. The youngest has just under three weeks left at home, so I am treasuring every moment!

The middle son has decided to stay home and go to a local college for the time being, so I will not have a completely empty nest - hooray! I'm grateful that one of the birdies will be hanging around for a bit. I'd have been very sad and lonely this fall if they'd all gone!

Have a good weekend, everyone. The weather here is supposed to be cooler and gorgeous. I want to get some studying done and I have OB call on Sunday - more babies! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Memorial Service

This was posted on a message board; I checked the veracity on The content of the e-mail is true, but they can't verify the author or the airport tale. Still, it's a timely reminder that our national persective is seriously skewed when it comes to our heroes.

Memorial Service: you're invited.

Darrell "Shifty" Powers was buried on June 20, 2009. We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services. I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made. Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped. At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day. I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip."

My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say. I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach. He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it.

And mine are brimming up now as I write this. Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer. There was no parade. No big event in Staples Center. No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage. No weeping fans on television. And that's not right. Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans. Rest in peace, Shifty.


Our little garden and chicken flock are productive right now. We have a virtual farmer's market in the yard - I love it! If we had to, we could feed ourselves exclusively with things we've grown right here. That notion makes me absurdly happy - I love this time of year!
I hope you're all having an equally "fruitful" summer!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I have a serious fabric addiction. I love all fabrics, but I am particularly enamored, at the moment, of quilting cottons. The increasing popularity of sewing as a hobby and the versatility of cottons means that designers are creating gorgeous lines of fabric in beautiful, brilliant colors. The fabric's siren song pulls me in and I can easily spend two or three hours in a fabric shop.

The local quilt shop owners are aware of this addiction that I share with countless women (and perhaps a few men) in East Tennessee, and they feed it by getting new fabric in every week and then putting the older fabric on sale. Sometimes they put the whole shop on sale! This is NOT helping me wean myself away, people!!!

Just look at these colors! The quilt shops stock high-quality cotton fabric that's almost as smooth as silk - it's really amazing to work with! Now, you all know that I love to re-use and recycle, but once in awhile I have to feed my new fabric love. I do try to confine myself to sale fabrics, but sometimes I just simply have to have a cut or two of something gorgeous.

This floral fabric and the blue print next to it are asking to become a tote bag, I think. I'm thinking that the floral needs to be the main body of the outer bag and the print needs to be the interior (I love a tote bag with a pretty interior), but I haven't decided yet. I think this blue and brown combination is summery enough to use now but not so summery that it can't make the transition to fall. What do you think?

This tote is made from purple fabric (I know it looks blue in this photo - I couldn't correct for the flash) with a purple and beige floral print. It's for a friend of mine who's just started anesthesia school. She's meeting me in the morning to learn how to set up an operating room and how to run a basic case.

I'm putting a couple of reference books, a clipboard and a couple of high-quality pens in it. I'll give it to her tomorrow, as a "Welcome to Anesthesia School" gift. I hope she likes it!

Oh, and my sewing machine is acting up a bit, so there may not be much more sewing going on if I can't get her to behave. I'm going to do a bit of troubleshooting later this afternoon and see if I can't correct the problem. I suspect it's a combination of some lint in the machinery and a tension issue, so maybe it will be easy to correct. I hope it will be easy to correct!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekend call

I'm on weekend obstetrical call. That means lots of epidurals and c-sections. And babies. Did I mention I love babies? I do. Babies are so fat and cute and cuddly and they just smell so good... the world is better with babies in it.

So, OB call is hectic and busy, and there's very little down-time (I'm just now eating lunch at nearly 2 p.m.), but there are babies involved, so all is good.

I've been very whiny lately, and I just wanted to thank all of you (especially Melissa and Janet, who've heard it first-hand in e-mails or phone calls) for putting up with my whiny self. It will be better, soon, I promise! I have 34 days left of this mess, and then... well, then I'll probably find something else to whine about!

In the meantime, I'm going to go coo over some more babies! Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

All I Want To Do... nap. I am bone-tired. More exhausted than I have ever been in my entire life, including when the kids weren't sleeping through the night yet. And I'm not the only one. My classmates tell me they're experiencing the same thing. It's almost like a clinical depression (not to minimize anyone's actual depression, mind you!), because I want to spend every spare moment sleeping.

I'm not spending every spare moment sleeping, of course. Can't do that - too much to study and too much to do! I am taking a nap whenever I get the chance, though, and sleeping in when I can. I think it's just exhaustion - we've all pushed and pushed and pushed to get through the anesthesia program and now we're right at the end and we're almost too tired to care.

So, I'm going to do what any self-respecting student would do and go have another nap. Have a good day, everyone! Oh, and go to The Apron Goddesses and enter to win a couple of aprons - you won't be sorry. Well, if you win, you won't, anyway!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finishing The Quilt

I spent a little time this weekend working on the binding of my quilt. Overall, I'm pleased with the way this project turned out, and I think I'll probably make another one of these days.

The best part is that I learned the basics of machine quilting, which is something I always wanted to do but have never been able to master. Until now!

I just love the texture of a stippled quilt. I especially love it once it's all washed and soft and cozy. I have a bit of hand-sewing remaining for the back of this quilt, and then it will be done!

And, if you want to make your own, the directions are all still available at Old Red Barn Co., and if you leave a comment on the most recent post you can be entered to win the Janome sewing machine, even if you didn't make a quilt. Even if you've never so much as looked at a quilt! So, enter the drawing, win a mondo-sewing machine and celebrate by making a quilt! That's my plan, anyway!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Last Night...

was as busy as I suspected it would be. I finally finished around five this morning. Two of the patients were under the age of 8, but the injuries, although bad enough to require surgery, weren't life-threatening, thank goodness!

This photo was taken at about 4:30 this morning and I was trying very hard to stay focused - after about 14 hours it becomes more difficult. I'm glad I only have one more overnight call scheduled!

Have a great holiday, everyone, and say a little prayer for the folks who can't be with their families to celebrate Independence Day!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I don't feel good this morning. My stomach is upset and my head hurts. Ugh. I'm on call tonight (3 p.m. - 7 a.m.) and we're leading up to a holiday weekend, so it will be another 16-hour anesthesia marathon. And you don't call in sick for a call shift unless you are hospitalized (I'm not exaggerating that, either!), so I have to pull it together by this afternoon.

I think I'm going to take some pepto bismol and try to take a nap. Maybe I'll feel better after that. Have a good weekend, everyone!