Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still Here

I haven't gone anywhere, and I'm not abandoning the blog. It's just that the combination of working and studying for the board exam has me so busy I can't see straight! So, let me do a quick update and then it's back to the books!

First - the new job. I was very nervous starting out, but it's been good. I'm working hard, and learning more about how they do things at this hospital. Some of those things I like, some not so much, but that's true of anywhere, and so I'll adapt. Everyone has been very nice and very supportive, so I think I'll make it!

Second - the board exam. Uggh! I am wading through all this material and some of it I swear I do NOT remember studying before, even though I am sure we did. I study 'til my eyeballs ache and then I study a little more. I'm trying to log 2 hours of study per workday (although I give myself a break if the workday goes past 6 p.m.) and 6-8 hours on each day I don't work.

I take the test October 15, so just about six more weeks of this and (hopefully) I'll be able to relax. Either that or I'll be back on the same treadmill again, because I must pass this test at some point, although there is an option to retake it if you have to. Need I say that I really don't want to have to??

On October 18, the youngest graduates from basic training and I have the time off to go see it. And my oldest son is taking leave to come out with us! The middle son starts college next week, but he'll be able to go see his brother graduate, as well. So, there's lots to look forward to! All my duckies together again - at least for a weekend! They're all busy and I'm really busy so the time will fly, I'm sure!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Guilty Pleasure

Yes, I'm confessing, here. I am a Top Chef addict. Love, love, love the show. And the new season started last week, and I think it's going to be a good one!

The show starts with a handful of professional chefs from all over the country - this year it started with seventeen. Each week, they face different cooking challenges and one chef is eliminated. The finale is a cook-off and one chef wins a large monetary prize. Past season winners have used the money to open restaurants or to go on culinary tours to broaden their knowledge and experience.

The challenges are awful. "Here's $10 and two vending machines - you have thirty minutes to make a gourmet dish." Or, "You will be catering a wedding with 250 guests... tomorrow!" To their credit, the chefs always manage to pull something off, but there is always wailing and gnashing of teeth and running around the kitchen and chaos - it makes for great television.

Of course, the producers almost always find one or two chefs with controversial ideas or bad attitudes, just to spice things up. I feel kind of sorry for these people, because they come across so badly on screen. Surely nobody could be that nasty in real life - I am sure there's a lot of creative editing.

Because I have to spend a large part of fall studying, I'll be recording Top Chef and watching it AFTER I've logged the required studying for the week. We'll see how that goes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Here's a photo of all the girls in my graduating class. I am pictured in the front row of girls - the first one on the left. We were attending a graduation banquet and didn't everybody look good?

Here's the whole class together. We've been together for about three years, and this week everyone is off doing their own thing, and it's a little sad. To everything there's a season, though... and for us, it's time to move on.

And here I am at dinner. That was a great weekend, but I have to say that I still haven't come to terms with the fact that I am really and truly finished with school. My diploma came today, certifying that I do, in fact, have a Master's degree. I have worked for four days at the new job, and so far I love it. And yet I can't shake the feeling that I've forgoten to turn something in or that I need to finish a care plan!

And, in truth, there is a bit of unfinished business. That board certification exam looms ahead. So I'm studying as much as I can, because failure is NOT an option!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Letters From My Son

My son has written four letters since he left for basic training ten days ago. He has always loved to write, so it doesn't surprise me. I'll probably get a letter every couple of days, whereas I think I got two letters total from the oldest one.

He's safe and he's happy and he (so far) loves the Army. I've also had a phone call, and I asked him, "Do you like it?" He said he did. I asked, "Do you love it?" His answer: "Most definitely."

So, he's doing something that he loves. What more can you ask?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quick Update

Well, the computer problems I thought I was having turned out to be power cord problems, which my dear husband managed to correct by picking up a new power cord! Hooray! He's the best! :) I did NOT want a new computer - I have this one trained!

Yesterday was my last clinical day as a student, and tomorrow I graduate! Tomorrow! I'm doing the Graduation Happy Dance, which looks something like the chicken dance crossed with the twist, if you can picture that!

And I want to thank all of you for your encouragement and kindness over the past few months as I've been running toward this finish line. You've all been a tremendous help. I can't even tell you how often I've been exhausted and discouraged, and reading your comments really gives me a lift. For that I am truly grateful.

There are graduation festivities on and off all weekend and on Monday I start my job! We'll be taking lots of pictures, though, so I'll try to post photos sometime this weekend. And I will make my journey around blogland, as well - I need to catch up on what all of you are doing! You miss a lot in just a few days!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Computer Woes...

My computer, faithful workhorse that it was, is on its last legs. Thank heaven I am done with my coursework and I don't really need it to study for boards - at least not right now.

So, you might be seeing a bit less of me for a couple of weeks while I work through this. Because, you see, in order to get a new computer I need to have a paycheck. In order to have a paycheck I need to work, in order to work I need to graduate... you get the picture.

The good news? I graduate in five days. Five days!!!! :) And my first paycheck will be at the end of the month. Bear with me for a couple of weeks, kind friends, and I'll be back in full force in a couple of weeks! I will miss reading your blogs every couple of days, but think of the fun I'll have when I do get connected again - all that lovely reading material!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I was at the grocery store this morning, in the dairy section, looking at yogurt. And I picked up one of those commercial flavored "light" yogurts, and read the label. It was enlightening, to say the least. Why does my yogurt need food coloring, pray tell?

And I'm on a bit of a whole food kick right now - trying to eliminate processed foods from my diet, to a large degree. I know that I feel better when my diet consists mostly of real foods - fruits and vegetables and lean meats and such. The single-serving yogurts don't really fit the bill. Plus, they're more expensive ($0.70 each) and there's a lot of unnecessary packaging involved. They're not even environmentally friendly!

So I picked up a large container of plain nonfat Dannon yogurt ($1.99 for 4 cups), and I brought it home. And this afternoon I spooned half a cup or so into a bowl, and topped it with a handful of frozen blackberries, and a handful of organic granola and a drizzle of wildflower honey. It was every bit as good as the individual flavored yogurt, and everything in the bowl was wholesome and healthy. This is the way I used to eat, and I really need to get back to it.

The next step is making my own yogurt - I know it isn't that difficult. I'll keep you posted, and if nothing else, the chickens and the dogs will be happy to help me hide the evidence of my failures!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A New Identity

So, it's Friday night. And I'm being lazy, and looking at blogs for a few minutes before I go to bed. And just now I looked at one featuring craft ideas for kids and it hit me - I don't have little ones anymore. Nobody wants to paint or make journals or make leaf placemats or nature candles or any of the crafts I used to make with my kids.

Don't get me wrong, they'll always be my boys, but our relationship has changed. And I have to face up to that - I'm a mom with grown children, and they don't need me on a daily basis anymore. It's weird, that's what it is. Really, they haven't needed me for a long time, but they are sweet boys and they let me pretend that I was still important. Now I have to face it - I'm not! I have to find a new identity.

Someday soon I think I'll see this information as liberating, but right now it's just sad. I'm pathetic. Thank heaven I still have to study for another few weeks - if I were completely at loose ends right now I might go bananas!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Want to Wallow in Sadness...

...but nobody will let me! You know, I really am very lucky, to be surrounded by people who care about me. And, so, instead of sitting around here moping because my baby is gone, I've been out for appetizers, and had houseguests and been visiting and there would have been a hike last night with Melissa, but a lightning storm put a stop to that.

Oh, and don't forget the comments on my blog, and the kind e-mails, and the prayers - you guys are the greatest! I am very lucky to be part of both a wonderful physical community and a wonderful cyber-community - thank you all!

My son called yesterday and says he's doing fine and will get us an address as soon as he's settled into a platoon. And he seems to have made friends already. So, I am sure he'll be fine. And I will, too - surrounded by friends, as I am.

Oh, and lest you think I forgot... nine days left. I can count 'em on my toes, now, if I want to! Nine days. Then I'll do the exact same thing I'm doing now, except with a paycheck. And benefits. And vacation - definitely a lot to look forward to.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Leaving the Nest

My baby leaves for Infantry basic training tomorrow, and I am really going to miss him. He is so excited he can't stand it, though. He's been exercising for months to get ready - see the big "guns" there? :)

I really do wish he'd chosen a different path, but this is what he wants to do and now my job is to stand back and support him. And I will.

He's following his older brother's footsteps, and so far the Army has worked out very well for our oldest son. He'll finish his tour, and he's an Air Traffic Controller. So we're hoping that after that he'll find a job close to home, at least for a little while.

The oldest is currently stationed in Texas, and they'll probably deploy after the first of the year, though, and the youngest has already announced his intention to volunteer for deployment when his training is complete. So, before my oldest gets out I'll have two of the three deployed. That does not make for happy thoughts around here!

So, I'll do what mothers have done for centuries - pray, and worry, and send goodies to both of my boys. I guess those are things that we do no matter where they are, though! And tonight? Pizza at our house, since that's something he won't see again for two months.

The middle one starts college this month, but he's staying home to take classes for now, which is good. Because I'm not sure how I'd have managed a completely empty house!

And if you're a praying person, and you have a minute, send some up for my boys, and pray that I remember how blessed I am to have three adult sons who are all doing something positive with their lives.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Brand New Bag

My gorgeous niece has a birthday next month, so I made her this cute little bag. It's from Weekend Designer - one of my favorite pattern websites. If you sew, or if you want to sew, this site is worth a visit. Check the archives - there are so many great ideas here!

I used brown ultraseude for her bag, and it was really easy. It was done in under two hours. I think it came out cute, and I added some decorative stitching 'round the edges, which I think added a nice finishing touch.

My niece is on a date tonight, though, and she caught me after I'd finished the tote and took it with her on her date! So, no photos of the finished product, but imagine one of these in brown, and you'll know what it looks like. I'll try to get a shot of her and the bag tomorrow, before she heads off to work, and if I do I'll add it to this post. Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend!