Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Multitude Monday!

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

849. Sunlight streaming in
850. Fresh veggies
851. A coffee shop date with Chris at a new place with wonderful drinks and to die for pastries. Seriously. To die for. 
852. Biking with Loki
853. Dew on the grass in the morning
854. A field full of sun flowers
855. And the lone sun flower that manages to grow in the divider on 94
856. The two women who decided to get together with the spouses of the new doctoral students. It was wonderful to hear their experiences and to hear someone say “it can be really hard but you will make it”
857. Going out with a couple (the husband is another student)
858. Peaches … at 89 cents a pound
859. nice co-workers who answer all of my questions.
860. The moment when I walk out the door of the hospital and see Chris driving into the parking lot and the little black (doggie) head in the passenger seat
861. Finding our routine again
868. lunch packed for me
869. Listening as Chris tells me about his good day
870. Working 12 hour shifts … or, more precisely, working three days a week.
871. Phone dates with friends back home
872. Family coming to visit today!  =)
873. Finally figuring how to knit the little hat I was envisioning after a few unsuccessful starts
874. Stretching
875. Pajamas
876. Chris’ fingers going through my hair
877. Listening to my little cousin talk about anything
878. Lunch at my grandma’s
879. watching a movie in bed 
880. the several places to grocery shop within miles of our apartment
881. getting recommendations for fun things to do
882. feeling more and more at home here

Much love! enjoy your week! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My husband, the student

Tomorrow Chris will board a bus with his backpack, laptop and the lunch that I just packed him and will fly up the highway to Marquette where he will begin his (our) journey towards his PhD, three not so little letters that will go behind his name. 

The feeling is unmistakable: pride.

I get the impression that I have joined an elite club, “spouses of PhD students,” and the membership rules of the club are elusive and ever-changing. So far it has been explained to me as two years of course work, two years of student teaching and then the dissertation, a word I can’t even type without cringing. It has also been explained to me as a degree with varied course work, feast and famine deadlines and, in the words of a woman whose husband is writing his dissertation, “you get to know which coffee shops are open past midnight so you can pick him up from the library with a coffee in the cup holder.”

Chris joined an elite club too; the welcome packet for the “PhD student” club is thicker and bolder than my own, the expectations, more intense. I think he knows what to expect a little more, having completed two masters, but I gather the stakes are higher now as the goal isn’t not only about learning as much as you possibly can but about also about cultivating relationships with professors and other scholars and building a portfolio (if you will, I’m not sure what it is called) for a future job. And I am sure being married changes the dynamic of a student’s life more than just a little bit.

And I am proud. Proud of my husband. Proud to be part of this new club.

But there are other feelings too: Excitement for the experiences that are coming, and that Chris can do something that he loves. Gratitude for the first seven months of our marriage before we joined our respective clubs, embarking on this adventure. And a little bit of anxiety as we both learn our new roles for this stage.

I am also hopeful ... hopeful that we will learn how to live and love more completely. Hopeful that we will learn and grow in the challenges. 

Hopeful that this time will refine as much as define us.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

about work: first impressions

I could draw a line down the center of this page and list the ways that Wheaton Franciscan – Franklin differs from St. Mary’s (to start with: Franklin: 32 beds, St. Mary’s: over 1,000. Franklin: park on the outer edge of the front lot, St. Mary’s: get bussed in from the park and ride) but I can’t figure out how to format that so paragraph form will have to do.

I had one night of orientation before “taking patients” and I got the feeling that while my manager and educator didn’t think that was a great idea, they also didn’t know what else to do. With 0-2 very, very stable ICU patients, the other nurse that I am working with is basically my “preceptor.” But you do have to consider that they have all been working here only two months more than me, although some of them do have some experience in the system, which is helpful.

I started work in the middle of the month and nursing orientation is at the beginning of the month so I’ll do that in Sept. While I don’t look forward to sitting through classes about ethics, patient safety and infection control, it will be nice to learn about all the symbols and abbreviations that I should be using to chart. Speaking of charting, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember paper charting and reconciling the MAR’s (medical administration records) at midnight … that was, after all, only four years ago. Maybe it is old fashioned but I do enjoy flipping through a paper patient chart and instead of clicking tabs on the computer screen although reading doctor’s handwriting is still a fun challenge. I also remember hospital life without residents or techs or med students which, on the night shift, translates into a really quiet morning and paging the real doctor, as in the one who actually did the whole, entire surgery.

Rumor has it that this little hospital will grow and expand quite a bit in the next 3 years and if you look at the construction, it is obvious that the place was built for growth. Right now, 16 general care beds will be added in November and the ICU has the potential to be a 10 bed unit, but if you ask me a 10 bed ICU in a 48 bed hospital may not be all that full.  I look forward to being a part of the growth and, in the immediate future, celebrating with the rest of the ICU staff when we get our first vented patient. =)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend adventures

Our friend Ian came to visit this weekend and the timing was great. He came on Friday night; we had dinner and played Red November which consisted of sentences such as
"Loki is getting drunk ... we don't want him to drink the grog again"
"roll a five for the flooding, there is a fire in that room so it will put that out ... right?"
Ian: "I'm want to block all the exit ports so Chris doesn't use his aqua-lung to escape when the rest of us die"

Are you curious about the game? We are gnomes and the goal is to survive on our submarine during fire, floods, missile strikes, engine malfunction, attacks from the Kraken, locked ports, radioactive material and general drunken-ness until we are rescued. Yeah, that about sums it up. =)

Over our pancake breakfast on Saturday morning, we played Carcassone. My goal, which was achieved, for the weekend was to play a board game each day. Thank goodness for my husband who humored me on Sunday evening.
We had a late lunch at an Indian restaurant, our first "find," then went home to get Loki and drove up to the port of Milwaukee. The weekend before we went looking for a park on the lake and we settled on one, knowing that there was something better out there and determined to find it. Well, we found it.
Thanks Ian for the pictures. I forgot our camera and I'm pretty certain the camera on my phone has something less than a megapixel as the quality is really no good.

We walked along the shore quite a ways and then drove further up. Oh. my. goodness. The houses were beautiful. Huge. On the lake. We are so going back. With a camera ... and maybe some of you. =) It was lovely.

Small tangent: one item on my bucket list is to live in a building/house with ivy. And I'm going to name it something cool. There was lots of ivy there.
Another tangent: another hospital I interviewed at was in that neighborhood. Expensive, $$$$. I interviewed over the phone and didn't go to visit. Would have probably been pretty difficult to find a place that we could afford anywhere around there -- just north of downtown Milwaukee.

Then we went to Marquette. I had only driven by before and it was neat to walk around. We saw the academic buildings, the library, and the chapel. The chapel was built in the fifteenth century, restored in the 1920's by some famous French architect and moved brick by brick to New York. Then, in the 1960's, it was given and moved to Marquette. If you are interested, the real history (and not my version of it) is here. We didn't go in, as it was closed. But I intend to, with a camera ... any maybe you. =) Get the picture ... ? =)

In front of the chapel
We had brats for dinner, cooked on the grill that was a gift from my grandma, with the help of a neighbor. Then the guys rigged Ian's laptop to our TV and we watched a movie from netflix. They said the "rigging" was pretty simple but to me, it was impressive.

Thanks for coming Ian! We had a great time!

Chris officially starts school next Monday but this week he is going to school to practice taking the bus and to study. So, this morning, I dropped him off at the bus stop and took Loki for a long long walk through the beautiful, huge park near our apartment where we saw several very tame deer. Then I tackled our laundry and cleaned the apartment.

Is that too 1950's house-wife-ish?

I could probably comment on that more but it's time for me to finish the laundry and straighten my hair and make dinner before picking up my husband.

.... okay .... just kidding ....

.... but only about the dinner part

(gratitude list numbers 829 - 848 are in there somewhere)

Being thankful in Franklin

809. Last week was much better than the week before.
810. We have begun to develop some kind of routine
811. Our apartment has begun to look like our home
You remember when you move and you walk in the door of your new place and instead of just seeing all of the boxes you see your home? That is certainly an "awesome" moment. And it happened for me last week. Along those lines, my sister-in-law (and her family) just moved to a new home in Beijing, and she wrote the other day that her goal is to have everything in place (pictures on the wall and all boxes unpacked) by Sept. 1st. I am joining her and adopting that goal.
812. We had our first visitor this weekend (more on that later, it deserves a post all of it's own)
813. Our family and friends. It was hard to leave Rochester but we left with lasting relationships, knowing that we are loved.
814. My in-laws and our friend Mark who drove with us over to Franklin on a very hot day and helped us move all our belongings from the truck into our apartment.
815. Encouragement.
It seems like each time I open my e-mail or facebook or the mail box, there is a note of encouragement from someone who is thinking of us. From dear, close friends to seemingly random friends of our parents, I have felt loved and encouraged. Thanks you!
816.the Psalms
817. management at the apartment who quickly fixed our laundry list of problems
I must admit, I was annoyed when we moved in and several things seemed wrong. Our sink leaked, several outlets didn't work, the carpet in the office smelled like cat, there wasn't a lock on the bathroom door. So we made our list and Chris went over to the office and talked with them. The very next day, four maintenance men showed up and fixed everything, with exception to the carpet which they replaced on Friday. Not bad, not bad at all. I'm also enjoying the fact that I don't own the washer that leaks profusely in the basement. I may like renting after all ...
818. talking on the phone with my mother-in-law. never really did that when we lived 2 minutes from them and it is fun.
819. Oh and they (my in-laws) are planning to come and visit us next week.
Chris is going home/to Rochester this coming weekend and I was/still am a little disappointed that I can't go 'cuz I am working but wanted to see them before they left on their big trip. So, his parents are going to come over here. And that makes me feel loved and happy.
820. Discovering what is around us -- restaurants, shops, neighborhoods, biking trails.
821. My parents visit
822. Being 20-30 minutes away for my grandma.
823. Going to her house for dinner. comfortable and familiar
824. time ... to read, knit and reflect
825. Netflix (this has nothing to do with the previous one)
826. News that Kristi (my good friend and old college roommate) is out of the hospital and her little gummy bear (baby just in case you were wondering) is doing well.
827. And the card she sent me today with this quote in it:
"embrace the wonder and excitement each day brings. For tomorrow affords us new opportunities ... time to experience ... time to create ... time to reflect ... time to dream."

828. Making goals for the next few years

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

about life

Transition: movement, passage or change from one position, state, stage to another.

As I sit here starring at the blank box in front of me that is waiting to be filled with many fun updates the only words I really want to write is "I want to go home" or perhaps "I want this place to feel like home" and so perhaps it is better to say it and not ignore the elephant in my office. Have I mentioned that I don't really take to change well? And in the past week I have moved and started a new job? Oh, and my husband starts school in two weeks? I didn't fully grasp how much I would miss our friends and family - not to mention Rochester in general and that little house I love (and still own). And so I have struggled ... to be thankful for the relationships and memories and to remember that we are supposed to be here. And so now that I have said it, I can ask you to pray and move on.

(By the way, I think they should call PhD school something other than "school" because it doesn't really fall under my definition of "school". Maybe I'll come up with some other options ... )

So ... um, do you want to see some pictures of the greatness of the last month?

FYI: if you ever have the conversation with your spouse (or yourself) if it would be better to take some time off of work and travel with family and friends or move right away and start making money, always choose the first option. you wont regret it.

In and around Beijing with the Brenna/Butz family:

We ate amazing food and hiked up some really old steps
We sweated and found and bartered for treasures
We played Mario Cart and Pandemic
We relaxed and celebrated
We laughed and loved

BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) trip with 5 amazing ladies

a portage trail
Lake One to Hudson Lake, about 21.5 miles paddled and 1.6 miles portaged

We packed smart and portaged once
We problem solved, navigated and improvised
We slept on an island and had our own private lake
We threw our food up in trees at night and napped in the afternoon
We basked in the wonder of fog rising off, crystal clear water and fantastic stars above us

Murder Mystery Party, last days in Rochester

LOVE all their faces!
Thanks guys for an amazing time!

First days in Franklin
(I hesitated to call these "Loki's Adventures" because that seemed too crazy, over the top - dog owner-ish)
his place to hide

looking for a park that overlooks the lake

hot and happy

I have much to be thankful for.
Now I am going to read my Bible with my dog in my lap before going to sleep next to my husband.
And that is a darn good definition of "home"