Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NaBloPoMo & New Year's

Since I survived NaBloPoMo for the first time EVER, I've decided to challenge myself to an additional month.

January is all about HABIT so I think there will be several interesting prompts to choose from! While I agree that you shouldn't post just for the sake of publishing, I do believe that doing it daily really helps the writing flow easier, and one day I'd love to write an actual book



Also, I wish everyone a happy and SAFE New Year's Eve; please don't become a trauma at a hospital and PLEASE don't drive yourself anywhere after you drink. I will be working so I'd prefer to make it home safely when they send me on my way at 11pm!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Amazon: 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

A few weeks ago, Amazon posted a list of "100 Books to Read in a Lifetime", all of which I want to try and read this year. I'm listing all 100 HERE (see tab at top of page) with ones I'm currently reading in bold and ones I've already read in italics/crossed through. If anyone wants to know about a book I have already read let me know, and if you see one you recommend let me know that also! I hope others decide to join in and love on some books in 2015. 

Happy 42nd Anniversary...

..to my parents! Love them both very much (yes, these pictures are recycled but so good).






















Thievery & Surgery (Not Related)

Dear Person(s) Who Stole My Starbucks Gold Card and/or Macy's Card:

The cards are closed and they are also reported stolen. Please stop wasting your time and trying to log into my account in hopes of buying something and/or reloading my card(s). I only ask this because every time you try, and get yourself locked out of the website, it is sending ME an email informing me of this. I am now receiving these emails daily. I have re-contacted both Macy's and Starbucks to make sure that you are unable to use these cards even if you manage to hack in using the correct password. Please, let it go (cue "Let It Go" tune from "Frozen").

Dear Person(s) Who Stole My Entire Groupon Account:

Screw you for ruining Groupon for me. I hope your nose gets eaten off by tiny robotic killer piranha's next time you attempt to take a bubble bath or swim in a large body of water so that everyone knows you are the douche who attempted to buy a laptop with my money.

Sincerely Yours
Alice

On a positive note, I do feel better today, and just knowing that I'm kidney stone free is amazing. I was lucky that my mom was willing to stay overnight to make sure I kept breathing so that Alister could work, and this time (with the previously dry aching throat post-extubation) seems to be a better recovery. Last time my throat hurt so badly I thought I had strep and lived on cough drops. This time I can actually eat without choking!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Oreo Colored Deviant

Since I had surgery today and have no desire to write anything, here's some cute pictures of Penny ie the most photogenic camera-loving cat ever (I realize some are repeats on the blog but I'm too drugged to care). However I will add, NO KIDNEY STONES IN EITHER KIDNEY NOW! That makes me happy.







Sunday, December 28, 2014

RNIA

eating/drinking: just water as i have started putting down several liters a day in hopes of keeping this stent from getting too uncomfortable

feeling: irritated that i have to go back for surgery tomorrow but otherwise okay


listening: to the washer and dryer, the tv, stetson pacing 


watching: harry potter and the order of the phoenix, part of harry potter weekend on abc family


reading: still working on "unbroken" and "sinjin" by hp mallory


loving: my family and pets


disliking: see "feeling", that stetson seems so uncomfortable at times but that according to the vet it's just his "canine dementia" as he is on very strong pain meds for his arthritis, that i can't buy my books for school until after i get my refund mid-january and i really want to be a dork and get a head start, cleaning the house


thinking: i really need to exercise and lose this holiday poundage but since i can't until the stent is out, that i need to quit cramming everything i see in my mouth, especially sugary items. that i really appreciate my mom staying with me after surgery tomorrow night so alister can work, even though they have family staying with them

hoping: the same as last week; that the next surgery will work and that my pets can keep their health together for at least a month. actually, let's be crazy and aim for 2 months


wishing: all of my pets could age gracefully, without pain, and be able let me know when they're ready to cross the rainbow bridge

Saturday, December 27, 2014

15 in 2015

Several years ago, I found a post by another blogger that listed the 10 things she wanted to accomplish in 2010 (11 in 2011, etc), and I thought it was a really neat idea.  For the most part, I've managed to write one of these posts *almost* every year since 2010, and although I've been a slack blogger more often than not it's still time for the 2015 one. I'm realizing this post may not make it many more years, as it's increasingly harder to find new things to accomplish in a year, but here is my 15 in 2015. Some of the goals are borrowed from last year because I never completed them (actually, most of them) but the majority are new:
  1. Get straight A's. Granted, grad school only allows you to get A's or B's but how cool would it be to graduate a program summa cum laude?
  2. Get flat(ter) abs. I haven't been pregnant- I shouldn't look like it. I'm accepting that my body is not built for an actual 6-pack but I don't like that I can squish my belly into a donut shape and talk about Krispy Kreme with my belly button.
  3. Get back into running. I continue to despise running but it's the cheapest and easiest way to lose weight and not gain more. I'll probably blow out a knee or something in the meantime but at least I keep trying.
  4. Be cleaner. I can't stand it when the house is a mess, and even if it means being a housewife I really want our living areas to be less embarrassing should someone drop by unexpected.
  5. Kick ass in clinicals. This will be my first time in a position of treating people rather than just doing what the NP or MD orders, and it's something that I truly want to be good at. I've already started reading one of my medical diagnosis books in preparation for clinicals in January in hopes that I'll be on top of my game. 
  6. Learn basic medical Spanish. "Tiene dolor?" only gets you just so far. Plus it would help when I become a nurse practitioner and it would make me more marketable.
  7. Paint more. I have tons of canvases and tons of acrylic paint- now I just need to use some of that time spent watching TV doing something artistic with items I already have.
  8. Spend less money. This is an easy one- I don't have it so I need to quit spending it!
  9. Be more positive. I discovered this year that I can be a really negative person (shocker?) and I've been lectured to death by some people about how much impact being positive can have. I'm not sure how I will accomplish this but I can start by thinking of the glass as half full rather than the other way around.
  10. Find a hobby I'm passionate about. I try a lot of things and most of them I never seem to stick with. I think my personal satisfaction and my marriage would both benefit from me finding something to do in my spare time that I truly enjoy.
  11. Learn to manage my stress. I came fairly close to a breakdown this year so finding ways to cope with stress would be really beneficial. I don't know if it's through hobbies (#10), exercise (#3), or something like meditation, but it needs to be something not related to medications that may give me Alzheimer's in 20 years.
  12. Pay off some debt. Doubtful that this will happen as I am a poor graduate student but it's a nice thought.
  13. Read a wider variety of books. I actually did this in 2014 and want to continue it in 2015. I printed out Amazon's "100 Books To Read Before You Die" and am trying to make my way through the remaining 76.
  14. Watch less TV. Between AB and I our DVR probably records 20 shows a week...and then we sit on our tails and watch all of them. Both of us need to spend less time in from of the tube and more time doing something else (see #10).
Does anyone have any goals they want to achieve in 2015?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Five Things Friday

Time for another Five Things Friday which of course will be semi-Christmas related!
  1. My purple robe. My MIL gave me an awesome Kim Rogers robe for Christmas- super soft and in the perfect color. I have lived in it at home and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Also, clearly the picture is not of me- it's from the Belk's website- but the model looks much better in it than I do with my post-holidays poundage. 
  2. My hot plate. My sister Sam made me an amazing hot plate for Christmas. I love that she came up with the idea and executed it on her own (with a little help from an older elf). I will definitely keep and use this for many years to come. 
  3. Wasabi Peas. My sister sent these to my mom and I stole them; I'm not a huge Wasabi fan but boy, are dried peas covered in it good!
  4. More surgery next week. I go in on Monday for a second pass at getting this bastard of a kidney stone out. I'm desperately crossing my fingers that my surgeon can accomplish this because let's be honest, me having so many kidney stones at my age is absolutely ridiculous and needing 3 procedures to get at 1 initial stone is beyond that.
  5. My mom's cookies. Enough said.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Today was a lovely day spent with close family and good food, and had it not been for my stent discomfort it would have been a perfect holiday. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as we did.
Merry Christmas!

The genius of Dr. Seuss
Post gift tornado
My doofy dog

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Day

As is the usual when you work in a hospital, today doesn't feel much more different than any other day. Even though Alister and I have decorated and there are wrapped gifts under our [small tabletop] tree, we both work today, which unfortunately can put a damper on our holiday spirit. While I do love my job, seeing people get admitted to the hospital on one of the biggest and most family-oriented times of the year can be rather depressing.

When I was young, my family would go to church on Christmas Eve, and for many years we'd head over to my Grandma Tripp's house afterwards to unwrap a few gifts a little bit early. As we got older, going to church became a battle with my parents (God bless them) and not until I got into my 30's did I realize how special that tradition was. This year Alex, Kris, and Laird are in Tokyo and as I mentioned above, Alister and I are both working. All of my grandparents have passed and both sides of the family remain scattered across the country. As I'm sitting at my desk tonight I'll no doubt take a minute to remember some of my own Christmas Eve memories, especially standing in church with my parents and sisters, lip-syncing to "Joy to the World" with a packed congregation (hey, I can't sing).

That being said, I hope everyone has a SAFE, relaxing, joyful, & memorable Christmas Eve tonight. Try to enjoy the time that you have with the people you're around because life is always changing, and one should take every opportunity to make as many good memories as possible.
Penny agrees on relaxing!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014: My Personal Year in Review

-What was the best thing that happened to me this year? I was given the chance to spend 8 months with my sister and nephew before they moved across the world (literally). Also, I got into grad school and found a job that I love.

-What did I do this year that I’m really proud of? I got straight A's my first semester in graduate school despite all of the other things going on. 

-Who did I really help? As I was still an ICU nurse until August I'd have to say many of my patients. I wish there were more beyond that, but this year was the year that others were there for me rather than vice versa.

-Who do I need to thank and acknowledge for having been there for me? This is going to be a long list due to the many unfortunate things that have happened over the year so I'm just going to list the ones that immediately come to mind: Alister, my parents, Dick & Katie, Lyndsey B., Erin G., my therapist, my shrink, Chloe B., my vet Dr. Neligon, my neighbors across the street Tony & Shonda, Alex & Sam, John A., Tracy T., Melissa H., Katy R., my "regular" coworkers (and by regular I mean the ones I work with the most): Tangue T., Rachel W., Melody M., & Cathy M., my very understanding manager Trish, and Pat & Joyce,


If I forgot anyone I sincerely apologize. It was a long and rocky year, and thankfully there were a lot of people who helped me through some hard times.

-What are the top three lessons I learned?

  1. When at first you don't succeed, keep trying, even if it really sucks to do so.
  2. There is almost always a light at the end of the tunnel.
  3. No matter how bad things are, rest assured that at least someone out there in the world has it way worse.
-What increased my happiness and joy this year? That's a really hard question, because as many of you know I came close to having a nervous breakdown earlier in the year. I also have 4 pets who battled health issues pretty much the entire year and that was incredibly stressful too. Additionally, as I'm writing this, I have a very uncomfortable stent in my ureter that is there due to my massively uncomfortable kidney stones. So in terms of happiness and joy, if I had to think of something, I'd pick all the time I got to spend with my nephew and sister the first 2/3 of the year. It was sad when they left for Japan but I was blessed to spend time with them January-September and I won't ever forget it.

-What’s something I got through that was really tough? I honestly have to say my first semester of graduate school. Everyone in the program, and everyone I know who's been in NP school, all said that first semester was the hardest, so surviving it was my proudest and my toughest time this year. In addition to grad school I'd also have to say my near nervous breakdown which just so happened to occur during my first semester of school. If it weren't for everyone listed above and Pfizer (who just so happens to make Xanax), I may have actually had one.

-What did I avoid that I must pay more attention to in 2015? My health. I continually put off healthy eating, exercising, and getting enough sleep, and my well-being definitely suffered. Not only do I need to do more to prevent future kidney stones but I need to be in better shape so that I don't get short of breath running upstairs. I know I'm in my 30's, but I consider myself too young to be acting like a 70 year old man with COPD.


-What character trait did I develop most this year? Perseverance. Grad school and life have given me that this year and it looks like I'll be needing it the next few.

-What new people did I meet that are now in my life? All of the people in my grad school class. While it's an online program, we do meet on campus several times and I've had the pleasure of getting to know some really neat people.

Monday, December 22, 2014

RNIA

eating/drinking: lemon water, it's supposed to be good for the bowels

feeling: frustrated that i have to go back for surgery again next week and that i have to have this uncomfortable stent in over christmas


listening: to alister stomping up the steps, baer snoring, indy purring, the washing machine 


watching: nothing now but we just finished pirates of the caribbean: curse of the black pearl


reading: still working on "unbroken" 


loving: my family and pets


disliking: see "feeling"


thinking: i'm glad the pain has gotten much better so that i don't have to be cracked out on pain meds all the time; i need to wrap gifts for thursday

hoping: that the next surgery will work and that my pets can keep their health together for at least a month this time


wishing: as always, that i could win the lottery that i never play and that my house in greenville would just magically sell itself

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Long Weekend

Despite having a stent placed on Thursday I managed to work both of my 12 hour shifts yesterday and today. Needless to say, I am exhausted even though my job isn't physically challenging. I think it's just a combination of the sheer amount of meds that I'm on and my body reaching it's level of exhaustion. I'm hoping to catch up on some rest the next few days so I can be good to go for Christmas, but I'm finding that having a stent in is uncomfortable no matter what I take/don't take or do/don't do. I really hope that my second surgery goes well next week because I don't think I can handle having this go on indefinitely! It's a shame that my kidney stones have scarred my ureter to the point of being strictured in spots and I pray that it doesn't cause more issues in the long run. With that all whined about, the weekend wasn't bad and work went smoothly. I managed to make some more JE sales and I hope that it will make for a nice side job. Also, there's only 10 days left in NaBloPoMo and if I can finish it, it will be the first time ever that I complete the challenge, Ever.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Almost Failed!

I've done such a good job posting every day this month that I can't believe I almost forgot to do it today! This is my weekend to work, and between being at the hospital for 12 hours and feeling pretty crappy, it completely slipped my mind that I needed to write something. So here it goes: something.

Hopefully tomorrow brings up a more interesting something.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five Things Friday

It hasn't been an overly busy week but here goes:

  1. Kidney stones. They're not out despite all of my finger crossing and praying. It wasn't fun and it doesn't feel good but I get to look forward to it again in a week and a half. Maybe then I'll have more luck.
    Anxious smile on left, tired smile on right
  2. Indy. He ended up at the emergency vet with infected anal glands....again. I'd love it if the vet and I could figure something out because I'm pretty sure we've seen her enough this year to buy her a nice car. Also, she knows my cell number by memory which in a way is unacceptable.
  3. Pinterest. I'm once again addicted to that site. I've found so many cool ideas on it lately and I actually have the free time to try many of them. Speaking of, if anyone in Raleigh can save wine bottles or beer bottle caps for me, please do.
  4. Baking. My mom, sister, and I spent an afternoon on Wednesday baking. While my mom did most of the baking, and I made mimosa's and taste-tested, it was still a fun time.



  5. Jordan Essentials. Even though I sell the stuff, I'm in love with the salt scrub and shea butter in the oatmeal, honey, and milk scent. My skin is baby butt smooth, even in places where I usually have dry skin or ingrown hairs. I highly recommend giving any of it a try. You can order here or on the link to the right.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

RNIA Special Post-Op Edition

eating/drinking: sugar cookies and tons of water. my throat is insanely dry from the breathing tube so it's not easy to swallow

feeling: doped up yet unable to sleep. always the story


listening: to the tv, my mom flipping magazine pages, stetson licking himself, indy purring, baer pacing


watching: 12 men of christmas. always a winner


reading: still working on "unbroken" but not while i'm cracked out. i want to remember it


loving: that's a hard one right now (see dislikes)


disliking: that the surgery couldn't be done and i have to go back in 2 weeks for  a repeat


thinking: this house is dirty. also, i don't care that it is this time

hoping: that the next surgery will work


wishing: i could win the lottery, just enough to pay off the credit card/vet bill debt

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NaBloPoMo Prompt #13

Prompt: Your best friend just broke up with her partner. What movie do you bring over to get her through that first night?

"The Notebook"! Just kidding, that would be really mean. If a friend just went through a break up and needed a movie to take her mind off of things, I would probably bring one of the following because I actually like these movies and they have very little romance in them:

  • 300
  • The Avengers
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Harry Potter
  • Anchorman 1 & 2
  • Ironman or Transformers
  • The A-Team
  • Tombraider
  • Pitch Perfect
  • ANY of the movies on this list
For those who think those are ridiculous choices, I would definitely NOT bring:
  • The Break Up
  • 50 First Dates
  • ANY Nicolas Sparks movie
  • ANY Hallmark or Lifetime movie
  • The Holiday
  • Couples Retreat
  • Princess Bride
  • ANY Disney movies
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Titanic
  • Twilight
  • ANY of the movies on this list

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Never Ending Drain

I love my pets, as they are my kids. However, I made the mistake of discontinuing their pet insurance years ago when it was never getting used and the premiums were increasing, and now I'm paying for it (literally). Although Penny's pancreatitis seems to be improving, Indy is headed to the vet today because his anal glands appear to be bothering him...again. For those who don't know what AG's are, they're sacs on each side of the anus that secrete a substance that dogs and cats can secrete/spray in times of stress or fear. They're also the glands that dogs are smelling when they shove their noses up each other's butts.
From www.nailstotails.net
Unfortunately, anal glands need to be emptied to keep them from "clogging up" and this is usually done when the animal is having solid bowel movements. The "hard" feces pushes against the glands and empties them as the animal defecates (gross, I know). Enter Indy and his IBD. Due to the fact that he has occasional diarrhea, and scar tissue from a previously abscessed gland, he is prone to clogged and infected glands. He is also prone to attacking the vet when she tries to empty them (which in his defense, it hurts) and therefore has to be sedated for it to happen ($$$). Unfortunately we are up to having them emptied and infused with antibiotics and I feel like it's getting to be too much. I'm not sure if there are any home remedies for anal gland issues, but he's already getting fiber and probiotics in his food. Usually surgery is recommended, but after seeing what Stetson went through after having one removed, and knowing the risk of incontinence especially with both removed, I can't bring myself to agree to it.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, please, hit me with them. I don't know how much more either of us can take and I'm desperate for something natural/homeopathic that can give him relief without surgery.

Note: Vet bills do NOT bring me joy. Sorry NaBloPoMo!

Monday, December 15, 2014

NaBloPoMo Prompt #12

Photo from www.foodnetwork.com
Prompt: Tell us about your favorite holiday tradition.

My favorite holiday tradition is easily the one in which my family eats warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream for breakfast on Christmas morning. While I don't recall if that tradition was started before or after I was born, I remember having done it my entire life and I fully intend on continuing it once I'm old and gray myself!

What's YOUR favorite holiday tradition?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

NaBloPoMo Prompt #11

Prompt: Buddha said, "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." Do you believe this is true?

I do believe that positive thinking can have a positive impact on your life, but I also believe some people can be optimistic and kind 100% of the time and they will still experience bad luck and unhappiness. The good thing about being so positive, open-minded, and "pure" is that it tends to make the body more mentally and physically healthy, which is never a bad thing. Also, the mind can be pure but some situations will break a person no matter how positive and full of joy they may be. It's sad, but it's life sometimes. However, if you're a super positive, optimistic person then good for you; keep it up because it is a rough world out there and we all need what we can get. I'm thinking none of that made any sense but to sum up my answer, no, I don't think that statement is true anymore.