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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Its Amazing I Don't Have Diabetes... A List of Tid-Bits


1.  This is how much sugar I use when I eat cream of wheat.  Until I had to open over twelve individual sugar packets I never realized just how much sugar I really add.  Holy pancreas batman. 

2. I am currently reading four different novels and none of them particularly have me hooked.  What a bummer.

3. My resume has gone out to three different hospitals in hopes of obtaining a real RN job before I enter my third trimester.  I'm hoping my belly stays small enough not to scare off my potential employers.

4.  Its going to snow tomorrow.  A foot.  I'm not kidding. 

5.  I can feel the baby move!  Its like a cell phone vibrating in my stomach. 

6.  My mother is coming this weekend all the way from Maryland.  We are going to go on a mother-daughter-first grandbaby shopping spree! I don't think I could be more excited.

7.  Its really going to snow a foot tomorrow.

8. My spaghetti addiction continues.  Its mildly out of control.  By mildly, I mean I eat it almost every single night and refuse to admit that I have a problem. 


9.  I am addicted to the app "Tiny Wings".  For some reason I find it completely relaxing.

10.  I cannot believe it is actually going to snow a foot tomorrow.  Seriously...

11.  Next week I have to go to a nursing conference for school and network with complete strangers as an assignment.  I hate networking even more than I hate walking up and talking to strangers.. unless you call 911.  Then I don't have a problem with it.

12.  I don't always make sense. 

13.  See, I wasn't kidding about the snow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to NOT Make a Good First Impression.

Yesterday I was scheduled to do a clinical shadow at the big, fancy hospital near our new home.  It, by far, outdoes the little, tiny community hospital where I've spent all my nursing school.  I thought my day was going to be full of networking and great nursing experiences with patients I'd never get to see at my tiny hospital.  Oh, how wrong I was!

And honestly, if you read my last post, I didn't mean for two embarrassing stories to follow one another.

Trust me...


It was still the faint moments of morning twilight as I drove towards the mecca hospital.  The normally busy streets were barren and glowed from the street lights as I easily caught every light green.  Good luck failed to deter my nerves which were bundling inside my abdomen into a ball the size of a coconut.  Or maybe that was the baby?  I couldn't be sure. 

After parking my car I had to walk nearly a half a mile to the wing where I was shadowing.  As I approached the doors to the unit my palms began to sweat.  I wiped them on my sweatshirt hastily as the double doors automatically swung open for me in case there was imminent hand shaking about to happen.  Instead of handshakes a smiling young woman ushered me into the nursing lounge where I put my belongings and sat at a table reading a tabloid magazine waiting for the day shift to arrive.  

Nurses trickled in and began sitting around the table.  Curiosity led them to ask who the heck the stranger at the table was, but not much other conversation was directed my way.  Suddenly at 7am the nurses adjourned from their tiny break room and went out onto the floor where the patients were to begin report.  The nurse I was shadowing, tiny and quiet, sat down with the night nurse going off shift and began to talk about patients.  As report began I stood there, listening intently, and then I realized suddenly that something was wrong.  Very wrong.  

All of a sudden I felt extremely hot.  The air was stagnant.  My face flushed over.  Then I was struck with a wave of nausea.  Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to sit down.  Oh, if only there was a third chair!  I so desperately needed to sit and was sure it would all pass in a matter of seconds if only I could.  Instead, report babbled on and I began to lose concentration. 

Suddenly standing still was more than I could bear.  I felt my body break out in a drenching sweat and my head began to pound.  Whatever the girls were saying at report at that point I couldn't comprehend.  I walked a couple steps away and leaned against a counter.  This caught there attention.

Are you okay?  One of the nurses asked.

Uh... no.  Was all I could managed before my world was closed in by a black fuzzy envelope.  The next thing I remember there were half a dozen nurses around me and I was sitting in an office chair that was being wheeled into an empty patient room.  That, my friends, is called a syncopal episode.  a.k.a. fainting. 

Yes,  I fainted ten minutes into morning report on my clinical shadow day in front of a half a dozen people I had just met and who suppose to trust me to help them with patient care for the day.

Awesome.

As soon as I was in the cool patient room I instantly felt better.  I muttered a series of appologies and stated over and over how embarrassed I was. Rather than listening to my pleas that I was fine the nurses, being the good acute care nurses they are, barraged me with a million questions.

Did you eat breakfast?  Are you nervous?  Has this happened before?

Uh, well, I am about four months pregnant.  

Oh.  Ok then.  That makes sense. 

My blood sugar was checked, found to be normal, and a mound of food placed in front of me anyway as I answered their ever expanding questions.  No, this has never happened before, ever.  Yes, I feel fine now.  Yes, I ate breakfast.  No, I don't have any medical conditions other than a fetus.  I wanted to just fall out of the three story window I was sitting next to and waited for the nurse supervisor to send me home.  

They left me alone to eat after feeling marginally satisfied with my answers to their questions.  I could hear everyone in the hallway passing by the room talking about what had just transpired.  She fainted?  Who?  The student? Oh, lord, well should she even be here?

Great.

I chugged my second orange juice container waiting for them to send me home.  My skin was cold from the evaporating sweat and I could smell my deodorant.  Thank God it works like a charm I told myself.  Thank God for small miracles.

After a few minutes of waiting no nurses had come in to check on me so I decided I would venture out into the unit and display my quick recovery.  I walked back to the nurse I was paired with for the day who had already finished getting report.  She looked at me with a skeptical eye, clearly sizing me up, so I met her gaze with an apology and swore to her I felt fine.

Like a trooper the unit nurse took the strange student with the disorder of retaining consciousness under her wing and began her shiftwork.   I felt completely and utterly fine after that strange event and just went about shadowing without so much as a hiccup the rest of the shift.  As normal and conscious as I was the rest of the day it didn't seem to take the weird edge away from the beginning of the shift.  It was clear I was already branded thanks to the worse possible first impression ever. 

You just don't forget something like that beginning your day. 

Thanks Baby. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The First Time I Wore Maternity Clothes

To date, during this pregnancy, I have no worn maternity clothes.  Like a champion I still fit into my pre-pregnancy pants.  Barely.  However, I have actually worn maternity clothes before.  Since this is my first pregnancy that might not make sense.  To understand I will tell you a tale that goes back to the eighth grade.

Yes, the eighth grade.  


When I was in middle school I was in the throes of a pre-teen identity crisis.  I was never pretty enough, cool, enough, or stylish enough compared to the other girls.  Frizzy blond hair, a stick thin physique, and playing the trumpet in the school band weren't exactly popular traits.  Every morning getting ready for school was sheer torture.  My closet was torn to shambles and outfits strewn across the floor as I searched in vain for something that would flatter my non existent figure.  None of my clothes were acceptable.  I melted into a puddle of teen angst on the floor.  

Before utterly giving up on finding anything acceptable to wear and sinking into the safety of my giant comforter as if the rest of the world didn't exist I decided to venture into the depths of my mothers closet.  She kept a box of old clothes way in the back corner of the closet.  Clothes from a decade earlier that hadn't been worn since my sisters and I graced the world.

There has to be something cool and vintage in there!  ...I reasoned.

Vintage was very in. 

My mother was innocently downstairs ensuring that the brood of us daughters were going to have a nice breakfast while I tip-toed into her bedroom and dug knee deep into her box of tucked away clothes.  Almost right on top I found the perfect item.

It was a flowing white, polka-dotted blouse.  I scampered into my room, happy with my find and immediately  put the top on with my favorite pair of jeans.  The blouse was tight across my chest and then flowed out towards my waist.  As I looked myself over in my mirror I imagined everyone at school being in envy of my oh-so-trendy shirt.  Girls would flock around me clamoring to know where had I bought such a beautiful blouse?  It was going to be a good day.

I snuck out of the house without my mother noticing my blouse thanks to a drab sweatshirt I wore on top.  As soon as I reached my seat on the school bus I tore off the sweatshirt and happily revealed my polka-dotted, flowy blouse.  My confidence beamed. 

All day long I walked the halls, going from class to class, sauntering in my flowy blouse.  No one said a word to me.  I wondered how my classmates could be so blind to such an great and original fashion choice?! Then when I walked into my final class of the day, English, taught by a lovely young woman all the boys swooned over my happiness was shatter in a mere moment.  

My teacher noticed my blouse as soon as I walked into the class room.  Her hand went to her mouth in surprise.  This is it!  I thought.  The coolest teacher in our grade was amazed by my stylish shirt!  What was even more amazing was that she got up out of her chair and was coming towards me.  Probably to tell me how much she like my blouse and to compliment my forward sense of style, no doubt.  

The teacher grabbed me by the arm and led me toward a corner of the room.  Suddenly her body language seemed more concerned than impressed.  My classmates filling the room noticed the scene and stopped to watch.  In a hushed voice the teacher bent down close to me...

"Jen, do you know you are wearing a maternity shirt?"  

Uh what?  My mind was not able to process her sentence.

"That's a maternity shirt.  Did you know that?"

Suddenly I wanted to vomit and melt away.  My thoughts reeled; Maternity shirt?  No!  It's vintage! I swear! But not a sound came out of my mouth.

"I just wanted to let you know, honey."  And with that she walked back to her seat and began class.

I reached into my backpack and pulled on my ugly sweatshirt trying not to cry.  That was mortification to a whole new level I had never experienced.  The entire rest of the class I slumped in my chair trying to appear invisible.  Cool was just not in the cards for me in eighth grade.

Tto this day I have not worn maternity clothes since, but that is going to change soon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Lot, But Not Too Much

4I have just completed one of the longest work weeks I've had in, well, since I can remember.  Somehow I managed to squeeze four days of nursing school classes and seventy two... yes 72... hours of ambulance work into one single week. 


This sight has consumed me lately, but despite the incredible amount of time I've been kept away from home and my husband I have still enjoyed it.  All I can do is flash back to a couple months ago where I was working nights, 11-7, and attending school at the same time.  Where I tried and tried to sleep during the day only to stay alone and awake all night.  Every night at the station at 9:30pm when I am making my bunk at the station I give thanks that I am going to bed rather than just waking up.  I don't even mind going on the occasional call at 3am.  Its worth it.  I am happy. 

Although, I will admit seventy two hours is a bit much.  

But I am not asking you to chastise me for my work ethic. 

Frankly, I immensely enjoy my job and it doesn't seem like work.  

Why did I ever leave EMS in the first place to become a nurse? 

Well, if only EMTs were paid a respectable wage... but that's another topic. 

In the mean time I now face an entire week of vacation from school and only a fraction of the work hours I had this past week.  Down time?  Seriously?  I am excited to see what I get into this week...


Oh, and before I forget.
The randomly selected winner for the "Taste of Vermont" giveaway is: Laraine!  Please send an email to vtcabinfever(at)hotmail(dot)com with your mailing address so I can send you some awesome Maple Syrup! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Taste of Vermont

Seeing how so many of you liked the photos of the sugar shack and many of you have longed to visit one, or even taste real Vermont syrup, I decided to offer something to those of you who live in far off places removed from sugaring season.  Places that never see snow or, if they do, are already blooming with spring flowers.  

Comment below telling me what is their favorite thing to put Maple Syrup on!  

One person who comments will randomly be chosen to receive eight ounces of pure, golden Vermont Maple Syrup and a copy of The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook!  So, if you don't want to drink it straight from the jug and aren't in the mood for pancakes you'll have plenty of other ideas. 



Entries accepted between now and Sunday!  The winner will be announced Sunday Morning. 

If maple just isn't your thing or you are from a state that has its own claim to producing the best syrup ever then you should head on over to my Review Page and enter for your chance to win a $100 visa gift card if you haven't already! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where the Muddy Roads Lead

Dotted across the woods line of Vermont you'll find little wooden shacks that are not quite a barn and not quite a shed.  Most of the year these shacks sit dormant, cold, and empty, but when the snow begins to melt, the roads fill thick with mud, and, most importantly, when the sap begins to run they come to life. 


Of course I am referring to Maple Sugaring Season!  Its not to be confused with mud season, although they do coinside and it is widely known that every sugar house must be reached by first traveling the muddiest of roads.  Four wheel drive is an absolute.  Tractors are preferred.


Shawn and I went and visited a friend's Sugar House this past weekend.  Its an a beautiful spot near the famous Jenne Farm in Reading, VT. Him and his cousin were busy boiling fresh running tree sap into delicious, sweet, maple syrup.  The sight of billowing steam greeted us as we reached the Sugar House.


Well over a thousand gallons of sap had been run into the boiler and siphoned through the pans; slowly boiled over time in a step down process until only the golden brown, perfect, sticky liquid.  The sap transforming from clear water into pure magic.  


We watched as the syrup in the final step of the boiling pans thickened, heated, and reached the perfect temperature to come flowing out of a spout and into a bucket.  Pure Gold.


In some strange chemistry-like experiment the exact consistency of the syrup was tested and the temperature of the boiler adjusted appropriately.  It is a little more technical than it used to be a century ago where horse drawn wagons went around collecting individual buckets hung on trees.  Now tubes connect tree to tree and eventually all of them lead to a gravity fed storage tank where a tractor can easily pick up just one large tank.  No buckets, no snow, and a lot more time spend in the Sugar House enjoying hotdogs.  


Besides taking the occasional shot of fresh, warm maple syrup the food of choice is a nice, juicy hotdog.  Boiled in fresh Maple Sap, naturally.  Let me say that it was the best, most magical, hotdog I have ever had and that has nothing to do with being pregnant.  There is just something about boiling food in sap that makes it a hundred times more amazing. 

As the light dimmed in the sky and the cold air rushed into the valleys and creeped through the cracks in the walls of the shack Shawn and I bid our friend and his cousin farewell.  With my belly content, filled with syrup and a maplely delicious hot dog (that, not after writing about it, I desperately am craving again), we thanked our friend for allowing us to be part of his long standing family tradition for part of an afternoon and headed back down the muddy roads. 

This is just one of the eighty seven thousand five hundred and thirty reasons I absolutely love Vermont.





Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring - Coming into Focus


There is nothing like watching winter's sweet surrender, which I have been gladly doing the last several days.  The snow, that inundated us literally the day after we moved, is finally retreating in slow and muddy strides.  I am eager to throw open the curtains of my living room to let in the long and warm rays of sunshine that are now lasting well into the evening.  Its amazing how one simple object, like this vase full of daffodils I bought the other day that is now in full bloom, can change the whole mood of the room.  Not only that, but its one of the few seasonal touches around the house that make the house feel like home.

Moving in dead winter has proven to be one of the most difficult to deal with ordeals.  Our new house doesn't quite feel like a home, even three months later.  So much has been left unadorned and plain.  The same curtains and rugs the former owner left are still in place.  Cream colored walls mock me with their drabness as they seem to close in around me.  This vase of flowers is like a bright shiny beacon, pushing back the walls and reassuring me that, while I may sorely miss my Cabin in the woods, I can still make this little house a home.  

It's been quite the internal struggle if you can't tell, but that seems to be changing...
Thank God.


One little thing at a time and it will all slowly come into focus. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

14 Weeks

I am officially in my second trimester.  At fourteen weeks my baby is now the size of  a lemon.  It is so much more human that a piece of fruit, obviously, but perhaps even more human than many of you would ever imagine.  Reaching this pregnancy land mark has me thinking about a very intense and life altering experience I had last year during my OB clinical rotation.  Some of you may remember that experience, because I wrote about it on here.  


Lets just say that this week I can't think about the baby inside me without thinking of the another, who's hand I held.   I can't think of the happiness and hormones pumping through my blood without thinking of the mother, silently crying and barricaded in her hospital room. 
A baby's hand just like my baby's, only this little hand would never reach for it's mothers. 
That's what I will be thinking of this week.... 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sorry! I Fixed It!

Thank you for those of you who pointed out my brand new review blog was somehow private!  ....not really sure how that happened, but I am sure I had something to do with it.

But the jist of it is that it's fixed and everyone is invited to check out the first review and have a chance to win a $100 Visa Card.  

Seriously,  you can head over there now to check it out.  I swear :)

Oh, and if you don't like reviews or don't need $100 you can just stick around this here blog. 

Now You Get to Find Out!

Some of you might remember the better part of a month ago I talked about a mysterious white box that arrived on my doorstep.  Well finally I can tell you what it was all about!  It involved cooking actual food, the first meal at our kitchen table since we moved, and Shawn and I spending time together.  Holy cow - those are all amazing things for this girl.

You'll definitely want to head over to my brand spankin' new Review Page to hear about it!

Yes, it is a sponsored post.  My first, actually.  And it comes with a chance for you to win a $100 visa gift card!  That means, if you are not a camera person and never seem to enter my photo assignment for one reason or another you now have a chance to win without being a photographer!  I just want to hear about what you do to make an ordinary night special with your significant other.  So hop on over there and spill it! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Ice to Fire

We had a snow storm, in March of all godforsaken months to have a snow storm, just as everyone is utterly fed up with every aspect of winter possible.  Fortunately in my new neck of the woods, in the center part of the state, we didn't receive the THREE FEET of snow that fell where we used to live.  Instead we received ice.  Beautiful, but tree crushing ice.  

Since it had been forever since I last drove around taking photos I asked Shawn if he wanted to hop in the truck and take photos with me.  Taking photos with me actually means him driving me all over God's creation while I suddenly yell "pull over here!" and then sitting in the truck while I gallivant across roads and fields for several minutes.  Normally he doesn't agree to since its not much fun for him, but this time he decided he wanted to see all the ice around town, too.  


Tree branches lined the roadways and people's yards as we drove through the hard hit areas that were much higher in elevation than our home.  Just after I snapped a few photos of this barn the clouds broke and the sun shone in a brightening madness.  The landscape was too blinding for my camera amidst the glistening ice so I surrendered to good conversation and gawking with Shawn.

Just as we completed our enormous loop of back roads and were about to return home the fire department pager opened and the dispatcher announced "Station 1, Station 2, structure fire".  At that exact moment we were less than half a mile from the station and a minute later were pulling into the parking lot before the first engine and duty crew even head out the door.

Shawn parked the truck and jumped out, heading into the station.  I grabbed my camera and followed, unsure what I was going to do.  Sit at the station?  Drive home?  Drive myself to the fire to take some photos?  Then Shawn and another firefighter yelled over to me as I stood on the station tarmac "Get in the ladder!"

Wait, what?  Get on the ladder? 

You want me to actually ride to the fire scene on a fire engine with you guys?

Awesome!

I rushed over to the ladder, climbed in the back, buckled my seatbelt, and headed to the fire with my husband and two officers.  Since we moved it was the first time I've been on a fire truck.  I am not currently on a fire department anymore since there are no volunteer departments near our home and the pregnancy only complicates things.  A rush of nostalgia surged through me as we drove past bent over icy trees and through traffic blaring the air horn. 


When we arrived at the fire scene my husband hopped out and connected a huge hose to a hydrant encased in ice in a speed that amazed me.  Once the hose was connected the fire engine rounded a corner, dropping a neat line of hose behind it as it went, and then pulled up to where the fire was. Actually... it wasn't even much of a fire, but that didn't matter. 


My camera and I stayed well back fro the actual source of fire.  Besides not wanting to get in the way and not having appropriate fire gear,  the guys are very wary of a pregnant woman near any sort of fire and smoke.  Not that I blame them.  So, I stood there, away from the action, content in my bright yellow vest with "FIRE" written across the back that designated my photographing as part of the department rather than a looky-loo or press member that could be ushered away. 

It is becoming apparent and accepted that I am a designated department photographer.  I don't mind.  If I can't fight fire with them I can at least photograph them! 


At least the next time I ask Shawn if he wants to drive around and take photos with me maybe he will be more eager since this drive ended with us making the second due engine and fighting fire.  Had he stayed at home he wouldn't have been there in time and only covered the station.  Its funny how one thing is connected to another. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making a Difference

Firstly, I want to thank all the forty three people who commented yesterday on my post.  Secondly, I want to state my surprise that after receiving over 400 views yesterday only 10% of people commented.  And since 43 comments would equal only $4.30 in a donation I decided to change my donation from 10 cents to a dollar for every comment.  That way each person who took the time to actually comment effort will be worth ten times more. 



And I didn't forget about drawing two random commenters for their choice of a Help Japan Poster or Salvation Army T-Shirt (proceeds of which benefit Japan).  If you are drawn and do not want the shirt or poster I will make an additional donation of their value to the Red Cross.  

The two randomly selected winners are:

Five Tomatoes   and   KrisinVT

Please email me at vtcabinfever(at)hotmail(dot)com by 8am Thursday March 17 to claim your prize!


Thank you again to everyone who commented and consider making a donation yourself.

Its good KARMA.

Across the ocean the troubles may lie, but it doesn't mean we can't stand by their side.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Moment of Seriousness and Kindness

*Scroll down below to see how you can help!*

We all know that Japan is in shambles.  First by Earthquake, second by tsunami, and now it is on the verge of a massive nuclear crisis.  We've all seen the reports on television and photos/videos circulating the internet.  I've chosen to share two that are a small glimpse into what we in our warm homes cannot even fathom.

Tsunami



Nuclear Explosion


How I am going to help and how YOU are going to help me...

In order to help the relief for Japan I am going to donate $0.10 cents for every "non-anonymous comment made between now and 10am EST on Tuesday March 15th (time has been extended!).*  If you aren't registered with Blogger just put your name in your comment. 

And that is not all.

I will randomly pick TWO people who comment to receive their choice of either a "Help Japan" poster or a Salvation Army Japan Relief T-shirt. 


Pass the word.  It will only do good.  


If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross yourself you can Here
Or donate directly through your itunes account



*If for whatever reason I receive more than 2000 comments (which would be insane, but incredible) I will cap the donation there in consideration for my bank account, unless someone else speaks up and would like to cover the additional comments!  Also, the two winners of the shirt or poster will be announced Tuesday and will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Birthday... Now Get Some New Pants

Today is my birthday.

My 26th to be exact.  

Does that mean I now fall into the age group classified as "late twenties"? or is "mid-twenties" still acceptable?

To be honest I don't really care.  I actually haven't even been thinking about my birthday at all this year.  Until a few days ago I forgot it actually was my birthday this week.  Frankly, I've got a whole lot of other stuff on my mind.

Like fitting into my EMS pants.

It's become a problem...


No really... a big problem.  A big belly problem to be exact.  

I never thought that 13 weeks I'd already be struggling with my pants and seriously contemplating shopping for maternity clothes.  In my mind that's something reserved for women approaching their third trimester, not barely entering their second.  During my last shift (less than a week ago) I had a very rude and uncomfortable awakening... my time in these pants were limited.  Yikes. If you aren't familiar with EMS pants they sit rather high on the hips and come across right around your belly button, the exact widest part of a pregnant woman.  So that means they are the first article of clothing you "grow out of". 

Five days later and now I cannot even begin to fasten my pants.  Thank God for some of you who suggested a product to me that I promptly ordered on a hunch that it would come in handy very soon and thank God I listen to my hunches.  My hunches are good to me.  I said hunches not haunches. 


Ta-Da!  No I am not wearing maternity EMS pants (they don't make those, remember?).  That's a Bella-Band across my stomach and let me tell you it is the most comfortable and amazing invention on Earth.  

Why?  

Because, it is a little tube of nylon/spandex that you wear right over your pants.  It folds to the height you need and stays in place, completely.  I can attest for it after wearing it to work all shift long.  Yes, I am wearing my regular EMS pants that I cannot button anymore.  Yes, that means I am walking around with my pants unzipped.  Yes, I am aware of how unclassy that sounds.  But you know what, when you are pregnant you take comfort over class, even this early in the game. 


See, don't I look professional? (and tired)  Unzipped pants and all.  


Oh, and in case you were wondering... just what am I doing for my birthday this year??

Well, I am working a 24 hour shift on the ambulance.  I wasn't kidding when I said I really forgot it was my birthday... especially when it came to putting in my availability for shifts this month. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I like Making Milestones

A year ago when a friend of mine saw a photo I posted on facebook of fall foliage and asked me if she could get a print I was astonished.  You want to buy one of my photos?  Really?  Like, pay real dollars for something I took with my camera?  I was floored and of course obliged.  Heck, I even signed the photo and put "001" next to my scribbled name.  

This is the first photo that I sold to my friend.
Now I have a website, a blog, and a facebook page dedicated to my photography.  While I am far from a professional I am beyond amazed at everything my hobby has become.  I immensely enjoy taking photographs and even more so, sharing them.  The emails I receive where people express their love of seeing Vermont, of my photos bringing back memories, or just questions about my photography make my day. 

But,

There is always a but,

But this is a good but...

I don't like to keep that happiness to myself.  That is the reason I host monthly photo assignments, out of my own pocket, so you can enjoy photography, showcase your work, and receive great compliments too!  And now, because a tremendous 600 people (that's crazy..) have become a fan of my photography on facebook, I am giving away an 8x10 print of any photo in my gallery to one lucky person.  There are literally hundreds to choose from!

So how do you enter for your chance to win a print?  Check out my Northeast Kingdom Photography facebook page to find out!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh, Its Really In There

I had been counting down the weeks and days until my baby's ultra sound since mid-February.  Having not been far enough along to hear the heart beat at the first appointment I had no proof other than my ever expanding waist line that there was a human being growing in my abdomen.

When the moment finally came where I shimmied onto the table in the dark room and bore my belly so that it could be smothered in clear blue jelly.  Seconds later the probe was place on my belly and this is what I saw.

You're looking at the back of the baby's head here.  That's the ear on the side of it's head!

And it was at this moment that I melted into a puddle, right there on the ultrasound table.  As corny as it is I was overwhelmed with happiness to the point that tears came to my eyes.  Clear as day, there it was, a miniature human being about the length of my middle finger swimming around my abdomen.  This is real. I thought.  

The baby actually wasn't just swimming around, but moving like crazy.  It was as if he or she were trying to defend itself against the intrusion of the ultrasound probe with kicks and jabs and twists and turns every time the prob pressed into my belly.  It was at that point, watching the little kickboxer in action, that I began laughing and once I started laughing I couldn't stop.-- How could this baby be moving THAT much and I not feel a bit of it?! -- The ultrasound technician was slightly annoyed since all the laughing made her job nearly impossible so she gave me a break, told me to drink some water to help with the baby's position (apparently a full bladder puts the baby on better display) and she would return in a couple minutes.  

Five minutes later my laughter was stifled and the baby was no less active, still squirming in protest to the prodding as soon as the technician went back to work.  Now that I was laying still the technician really hoped that the baby would follow suit so she had me try a couple positions to get a better view. 


"Lean this way."  she'd tell me and I roll to the right.  "Ok, now lean that way" and I'd roll the other way.  After numerous times of rolling this way and that she paused with frustration of not being able to obtain the measurements she needed.  "Can you straighten your legs out for me?"  the technician said this was the baby's response.


I couldn't feel a thing, but clear as day on the screen the baby stretched out its legs are far as it could and arched its back.  Whether it was just a stretch or in protest I am not sure, but I began laughing hysterically again at the baby's action mirroring my own. 

Shawn pointed out how the baby has already picked up one of his traits... the ability to be easily annoyed, as evidenced by the protest we witnessed to the ultrasound probe.   Whether that's true or not I still haven't stopped smiling.  It's pretty darn real now. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The First Thing I Bought

When I first found out I was pregnant (a whopping two months ago now!) I decided that I was not going to just go out and start buying baby clothes, toys, and everything else under the sun.  I wanted to wait.  Not only because the first part of pregnancy is so unreal, but also because I can't even mentally comprehend visiting the newborn section of stores or places like Baby Gap at this point.  What girl hasn't cooed over the cuteness of little tiny baby shoes and dresses?  But really needing to buy it is something totally different. 

About nine hundred of my friends are currently pregnant.  That's a low estimate, seriously.  Elementary schools are going to have to be constructed across the country in about four or five years to accommodate all these babies, because everyone is having babies this year.  I can't be alone in noticing this, can I?  

With all these pregnant friends come baby showers!  And lots of them.  So, ready or not, I have been plunged into the newborn section in search of wonderful gifts for all my much-more-pregnant-than-me friends and bombarded with the temptation of buying something for my own little one.

Its hard to resist the pull of a cut little snow suit with bunny ears or a fluffy newborn tutu.   Then I remember that I might have a little boy so buying said tutu may not be so appropriate.  Plus, part of me wanted the first thing I purchased to be something special.  You always remember the first time you buy a baby item for you and your baby, rather than a gift. 

What constituted a perfect first baby item for my first child?  I didn't  know until I saw it...



If you have been reading my blog or been to my home you know of my love for moose.  So, the second I saw this little outfit I snatched it off the shelf and added it to the pile of other clothes I had already picked out for a friend of mine.  

It is white, gender neutral.   It is soft, fleecy, and perfect for the fall weather my baby will be born into.  It is covered in adorable cartoony moose.  It is perfect.  

Now this little outfit is hanging in the closet of the room that will belong to the baby.  In the room where we currently keep a spare bed, all our gun cabinets, hunting supplies, and a bookshelf stuffed with my textbooks.  Yeah, that room is a whole other story, but you have to start preparing for a baby somewhere and I think there is nothing more perfect than this little outfit right here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

There is No Way to Explain It. At All.

Patients never cease to amaze me.  Their stories, their lives, or the absolute squalor they live in.  Good or bad there is always something each person offers that varies from normal.  I drink that stuff up with a straw.  Its the best part of my job, the most humbling part of my job, and, in this case, the most jaw dropping part of my job.  Oh, and sometimes when I say "my job" I am referring to both EMS and nursing, because that is what I am after all, an EMT and a nurse.  This story in particular happened while wearing my nursing hat in clinicals.

*This is not my patient.  Image courtesy of Google.


I had been warned about my patient by several people before I even met her.  "She's crazy."  "She's been violent and agitated recently."  "She's only here because no facility wants her since she has been combative in the past."

Great... I thought.  Of course I would get the crazy lady for my clinical rotation.  The fact that my teacher told me she thought I could handle the challenge didn't make me feel any less apprehensive. Sure, I've seen my fair share of crazies confined in the back of the ambulance with me, but at least then you are only confined with them for a few minutes at the most.  I was facing a full on shift with an apparent certifiably nuts lady. 

Despite all the forewarning I took a deep breath and walked into the room.  The little old woman was no larger than a ten year old and weighed maybe eighty pounds.  She was a peanut of a thing and I chuckled at the thought of her being combative.  Even knowing her medical history I went over to her bedside, knelt down to her level, and smiled while introducing myself.  I was greeted back with a bright smile and a profoundly inquisitive lady.  We hit it off wonderfully.

Every body system I assessed, every instrument I used, and every number I wrote down she questioned me with deep interest.  I obliged her questions with in depth answers that she drank up with a spoon.  Acute Psychosis?  This woman didn't appear to have any.  

Nearing the end of my rotation for the day the sitter who was in her room in charge of making sure she stayed in bed, didn't attempt to pull out IV lines, or otherwise cause harm to herself, asked if I would sit in while he took a break and grabbed dinner.

Sure!  I said, cheerfully.  The woman had been a peach for the entirety of my shift so I anticipated nothing less.

Not long after I sat down in a chair across from her bed the old woman closed her wrinkled eyes and began mumbling.  Her narrowed mouth traced words I couldn't make out and her brow furrowed and raised with unknown expressions.  I watched her for a few minutes contemplating what to do.  My psychology teacher flashed in my head with big reminders not to play into a patient's delusions, but I really had to know who she was having a conversation with. 

"Who are you talking to?" I asked.

The woman mumbled a couple more sentences and then slowly opened her eyes, looking directly at me.  

"Your great grandmother."

"Who?" I replied, half not hearing her mumbled soft voice clearly, or not wanting to hear her.  I wasn't sure.

"You're great grandmother Coleman."  the old woman said and then closed her eyes again.  She added, before she began mumbling again. "I talk to people all the time, living and dead.  They come to me.  We talk, and sometimes I listen.  You should try it sometime."

I was dumbfounded.  Speechless.  In awe.  And frankly, freaked the heck out.  Why?  Coleman is indeed my great grandmother's last name.  The old woman laying in bed had no way of knowing that since my last name is my husband's and she in my great grandmother on my maternal side with a last name even different than my maiden name.  How she picked that specific name out of the blue I could not begin to tell you.  The only thing that really made me wonder is that my great grandmother, well into her ninety, is still well and living.  I haven't talked to her in years besides Christmas cards, since we are hundreds of miles apart.   

After that encounter with the old woman who claimed she was speaking to my great  grandmother and correctly told me her name my shift ended and I left the hospital floor that evening with nothing more than a brief goodbye.  I couldn't manage anything else. 

Who knows if that woman was really somehow communicating with my great grandmother or not.  I'll never know.  I'll also never know how she knew her name and I never even asked what they were talking about.  I couldn't formulate the sentence.  

What I do know is that I can't explain away what she said to me...  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There are Just too Many Causes

I have reached a milestone.  A scary, life-altering, milestone that will have me running to the hair care aisle of the grocery store.  That's right.  I found my first gray hair.  

Not just gray, but bright white and glaring at me in the mirror as if to scream "you're getting old!"

"I'm only 25!"  I screamed back.  I am too young for gray hair!

And then promptly yanked it out.

There's too much going on in my life to pinpoint the cause. I can't help but place some of the blame on the  little monster or muffin (depends on my mood what I call it) growing inside me.  Perhaps its sucking the color right out of my hair.  Or maybe its the four days a week spent in class with the other three days where I'm buried in nursing texts and notes.  Then there is always the roller coaster of emotions in my job where I am doing CPR one minute and carrying on pleasant conversations with strangers I just met the next that might be to blame.  

Lord knows.

But one thing is for sure, I am just plain too young for such nonsense. 


And I wouldn't mind gray hairs as much if I knew I could have an amazing style and class like Meryl Streep with such a color.  Yeah right.  I can barely contain my hair now, let alone pull off a classy gray-haired look. Seriously, When it comes to hairstyling I am lacking in the department almost entirely.  Stylist? Ugh.. I don't even have one.  You'd think I still lived in the middle of nowhere where no such service existed.  I'm still pretending. 

Let's just hope this one hair was a fluke.... 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It Wasn't Just Johnny and Roy

There is nothing funnier and more nostalgic than finding old textbooks, especially old medical textbooks.  Flipping through the yellowed and dog eared pages is like a dive back in time, to a generation before mine.  That's like the 1970s and early 80s in case you were wondering.


The hairstyles, mustaches, and outdated science that filled this two hundred page book doesn't compare to the twelve hundred page monstrosity that paramedics must learn from today, but before I was born it was how and what paramedics were taught.  Simple, step by step instructions to prepare them for every call.


And the steps weren't just simple, there were some about style.  One style in particular that every EMT under the sun, even in today's generation, knows and tries to reenact.  Not only was this move a trademark on the show Emergency!, but an honest to God paramedic technique to flip off the caps to your drugs like the EMS cowboys did on TV.  It was step for in the sequence for drug administration that medics were evaluated on.


Complete with downward arrows for effect! Paramedics were even evaluated on this critical step, with a check sheet found on the next page for partner evaluation.  And for the record I totally had a chance to do this maneuver yesterday and failed.  Only one popped off.  Guess I need to go back to the book and practice step four.