Jury Duty and Wedding Things

Yesterday I had jury duty. It was painfully boring.

I decided that I wouldn’t lie to try to get out of serving since I have no legitimate excuse. But I wasn’t going to pretend I was having fun while I was there. I wore black from head to toe and crossed my arms in front of my chest. During the long roll-call picked through my purse to look at my books and my PSP. The iPhone proved to be my most useful entertainment device. (Small, discreet, quiet, and with internet browsing capabilities–I am so thankful that I am an early adopter, since I can see an immanent future where this kind of connectivity is essential).

Because I was grimly determined to serve as I was called, listening to the excuses given by some of the others infuriated me. I can forgive the single working mother who receives no pay on the days she doesn’t work. I can forgive the deaf man and the guy on crutches. I can even forgive the felon; he’s not legally qualified to serve! But when that one woman came in saying her husband was home alone and she needed to stay home to take care of him because he was “prone to heart attacks”, I just wanted to jump up and call bullshit. She had the gall to say “He’s had open heart surgery before and has diabetes. He needs me to be there because I am afraid he is just going to have a heart attack any minute.” I’m sorry lady, it smacks of foolishness and dishonesty. The fact that you were excused offends me.

Thankfully every one of the 58 cases on the docket was settled outside of court, and we were dismissed in the early afternoon. If I’d been forced to stay through the entire juror selection process, I’m sure I’d have died of boredom. The entire process was wildly inefficient. People had to be “renumbered” mid-morning, and for some reason this was not an automated process. We have computers for a reason, by gods. The building was beautiful and the staff was sanguine, but I wanted to see the paperwork completed in a more intelligent manner.

Today I picked out a wedding cake. I got the simplest one available. The flavor is absolutely delicious, which is my primary concern with everything in this party. But the price is just silly. I guess it can’t be helped. If I’d known what I was getting myself into, I’d have eloped.

I also worked on my bridal registry. I’m trying to finish the entire registration process online but it’s proving surprisingly difficult. For instance, where most people walk through a store and scan everything they find appealing, I do a search on the company site and sort by price and by brand. The array of options is concisely displayed, but when I go to chose, for example, a toaster, I note with horror that the one I’ve selected is rated 1/5 stars. “Only 1 star?? What is wrong with this toaster? Why do these people hate it enough to go online and complain about it??” I’d have been oblivious if I’d seen it while walking around the store, choosing only by features and aesthetics. Clearly I cannot register for a one-star toaster. Back to square one.

The information age is a blessing and a curse.

Maybe that’s why I’ve not been writing lately?

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This is just getting silly

I mean, come on.

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Lucky

I have the gift. I found these in the backyard after 3 minutes of actively looking.

I have found over 20 in my life through casual searching. Maybe more, I’ve kinda lost count. I like to give them away as gifts.

Do you want to know the secret? The way to find four leaf clovers is to look for them. People think that four leaf clovers are symbols of luck, and maybe every once in a while you’ll find one by chance. But the fact is, four leaf clovers really aren’t all that rare. Statistically, if you stand in a large field of them there are dozens, maybe even hundreds waiting to be found. You just have to look down, kick a few patches with your shoe, and open your mind to seeing variations in the leaf patterns.

Because of this, I think of four leaf clovers as symbols of determination, an open mind, and a carefree willingness to be seen as a little eccentric. In life as well, fortune favors those who run towards it. “Luck is tenacity of purpose.”

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The Equinox

Spring has arrived.

I walk the backyard in Persephone’s footprints scattering seeds and stuffing herbs into window boxes. A table of peat moss egg-cups hold the potential to start my entire garden, so long as the sprouts survive the foraging insects and my poor memory for watering. Let us see what grows.

I find I am more attuned to the earth this year than I have been in the past. As I make a more conscious effort to mark the turning of the year, I am more alert to fluctuations in the hours of sunlight and the cycles of plantlife. I can tell you the date of the next full moon, and not only because it is the day the patients in the hospital tend to go crazy. I can tell you the first day of each new season, and take time string colored ribbons through my wreath in appropriate colors. There are freshly cut tulips in my bedroom. I have covered the back porch with sidewalk chalk flowers and swirling vines.

Much like the blossoming earth, my life is full of changes. I am tediously planning my wedding (which, despite my love for Jeff, is proving a less girly and glamourous endeavor than suspected). I am making an enormous mess in the game room with paints and large canvases. I am developing my skills as a new nurse. And wouldn’t you know it, Jeff told me today that he ate a salad of all things and actually liked it. This from the man who once claimed our entire picnic date was ruined when he discovered lettuce on his sandwich! Clearly anything can happen if you wait long enough.

I am looking forward:

Someone asked me about Dream is Destiny recently. Let me just say that I’ve finally admitted to myself that I won’t finish it. But I do intend to post the entire ending as text some point soon. I apologize, but I was too ambitious for my own abilities and attention span. I’ll do my best not to leave you hanging.

The Wedding is September 27th, for those who want to know.

I have tried to learn to paint. Yeah… uh… still working on it…


I’ll try to get back to you soon again with more regular blogs.

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I No Longer Have a Boyfriend

Because, as of about 3pm on November 3rd, he became my fiancee!


This really is an event for everyone! Some of you have anticipated this moment for years. Others didn’t even know me before I was with Jeff. Well, it finally happened! Jeff and I dated for just shy of 500 weeks before he proposed. (We promise the wedding will occur before another 500 have passed. Thank you for your patience ^_~)

How He Asked Me

I arrived in Houston about 2pm.

“I’m starving. But I don’t want to eat too much and spoil dinner.”
“Yeah, we’re going out to dinner tonight.”
“Oh yeah? Where?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Huh?…Why…?”

(grins)”Quit asking questions.”

“Haha, well fine!”
(Jeff made me a corndog with ketchup and mustard)

Jeff plays guitar a lot.
And he even writes me songs from time to time.


(Jeff casually strumming guitar, as usual)
(jokingly) “Play me a rock song!”
“Okay.”
(I flop at the foot of the bed, opposite where he is sitting.)
“Actually, I wrote you a song. I’ve been practicing it right here.”
“Aww… baby…”
(Jeff pulls his harmonica holder over his neck and hands me a sheet of paper.) “Lyrics.”

By this time I am wondering what is up.

You might be able to see the words if you click the picture and enlarge it. I feel certain they won’t have the same effect on you as they had on me, because it is one thing to read sweet passages and quite another to have the love of your life singing them to you. Anyway, here are the lyrics:

sacred light
shine all your light on me
give me your darkest nights
and brightest of days
and I will promise to keep them always
Heather Elaine

sacred love
give up your heart to me
let me take care of it
as we live out our days
and I will promise to keep it always
Heather Elaine

sacred heart
you’re all there is to me
I breathe to your heartbeat
I dream to your sleep
I love with your love
that you give to me…

Yeah, I was tearing up halfway through the song. It was really pretty. But then he holds the last chord, reaches behind his back, and sings the last line (not on the lyrics sheet) while placing the box between us on the bed.

…Will you marry me?


I said yes. I was crying so much my mascara was everywhere. What a surprise.

Changed Plans

He told me he’d been planning to ask me sometime after graduation this December. But a few weeks ago I sent him a care package in the mail full of thoughtful things (namely a coat). He said that when he saw it on the table all covered in stickers he thought to himself “Wait… what am I waiting for?” and contrived to ask at the next possible opportunity.

We were actually supposed to attend the Smashing Pumpkins concert this weekend in Dallas. He’d been calling and emailing people trying to get permission to ask me on stage. They eventually told him no, and then actually ended up canceling the show due to the drummer having chest pains.

I think his song was better than the Pumpkins. We laughed about it later. He said his friends were trying to get him to take me out to a lake or something, but obviously that would have been extremely suspicious if he was trying to drag me down to the waterfront with the guitar in tow. I am not particularly demanding when it comes to romance, and never have been. But I was surprised and I was touched and I couldn’t really have asked for a sweeter proposal.

Phonecalls!

For a while we just lay back on the bed, taking stupid pictures and talking about how to tell everyone. His family and friends knew he was going to ask, but there were still several million other souls still unaware of our bliss.


We contemplated the sad fact that people today would probably find out fastest if we changed our Facebook relationship status. We got my family on speakerphone first, then a few friends, aunts and uncles, his extended family, on and on. I wished I had time to let everyone know personally, but we were really busy and only had a few minutes to spare for a few people before his own family came home. Then it was hugs and pictures and congratulations. Julie and I are going to be sisters!

Dinner

To celebrate we went out to Amerigo’s and had one of the nicest dinners I’ve ever eaten. We definitely spent more money than we ever did on our anniversaries. Of course, I got some strange looks from the other faces around the dimly lit room when I choked on my appetizer. I dipped my tiny bread in th
e olive oil and herbs, chewed and swallowed, and somehow managed to suck a single hot pepper flake into my trachea. I had to go to the bathroom and cough for ten minutes to dislodge it, since until that time it literally burned to breathe.

But yeah, after that whole asphyxiation thing the evening went well. Exquisite wine and food, and the best possible company.

Afterwards we drove downtown to his aunt’s house where they were hosting a birthday party for his mother and grandmother. All the family hugged on me and gave their congratulations, and his grandmother grabbed my hands and exclaimed “Finally! I’ve waited for this day for so long!” and demanded I begin producing great-grandchildren for her. I waved away her requests but she laughed and said “I just want to rock them before I die!!!” Oh God.

Our Plans

We haven’t set a date yet. In fact, we probably won’t start really thinking about it until Jeff graduates next month. He wants to be married before next December (13 months) but we don’t know how soon it will actually be feasible. He’ll be getting a job, I’ll be working, we’ll have to figure out where in the South to hold this party, and I have to start picking out all the frills associated with weddings. (But let it be known that my primary concern IS to have a good party. The service itself is fun and all, but the reception is where it’s at.)

Okay, it’s late now, and I’m getting tired. I hope that was thorough enough for everyone! I promise to keep you all posted on the details!

Oh my gosh. I’m still overwhelmed.

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Happy Punkintines

Two whole months since my last post? Wow. I’ve been finding it hard to write in general lately, even in the paper journal. Guess it’s time to start forcing myself again. A well-kept journal is a path to wisdom.

Today is Punkintines! My favorite holiday. I received a much-loved Punkintines box in the mail from Auntie Lori and the Vancils today. In it was delicious cake and various goodies, among which was a tiny witch hat. This became the central piece of my costume.

I decorated the table with various Punkintines items of years past. It made for a properly spooky candlelight dinner. Because Halloween is a day of the dead, I wore my great-grandmother’s pin on my shirt to honor her and all my other dead relatives. I thought about people like my grandmother Betty, who lived with us for years before she died. Death is so mysterious, you know? People don’t want to think about it, but it’s interesting if you can avoid being morbid. Sometimes I wonder how many people follow religions purely because they fear death? Also, how can people who claim to believe in an immortal soul, angels, and demons dismiss ghosts as superstition? Is that not weird to only believe in half of the supernatural stuff in our current popular mythology? I think about skeletons and the way different cultures celebrate the Day of the Dead. I think about the fact that Halloween has become all costumes-and-candy… yet still retains this element of the fantastic where you recreate your identity. Masks over our masks over our masks. Are we more or less authentic when we dress up?

Anyway, I’ve been busy lately with work. I’m on an alternating schedule of 7a-7p shifts that goes something like MTon-WRoff-FSSon-MToff-WTon-FFSoff.

I’m loving my job in CCU. I’m mostly learning how to recover patients coming out of bypass surgery. I feel like I’m almost ready to do the job all by myself, but I still have another month of orientation to complete before I’ll be operating completely independently. There is so much to think about! As soon as the patient comes out, you have to hook them up to ten different cables, titrate all these medications to keep their blood pressure in a safe range, draw labs, do a basic assessment, monitor chest tube output to make sure they’re not bleeding too much or too little, monitor urine output, sort through a huge stack of papers and assemble a chart, figure out which medicines they still need from the orders, fax things, talk to doctors, pull meds, watch all the numbers on the screen at once, and chart vital signs at least every 15 minutes. Somewhere in there you have to let the family come back and see the patient too, and try not to trip over everyone in the tiny room while you work. It can get a little crazy and there’s more than a little stress, but there’s a lot of adrenaline and it makes the day go by quickly. Because so many things can go wrong, you feel like you’re really helping someone by being there. And because bypass patients tend to get well, you feel like your help pays off. It is good to do meaningful work. I am all about “being there” in every sense.

I’m glad I chose to start in CCU. It’s giving me a chance to really develop my skills,work closely with the physicians, and learn. Of course, my mother is terrified I’m going to catch MRSA or something at the hospital. But who isn’t these days? FYI, here is the secret to preventing most infections: WASH YOUR HANDS. There, I just saved you so much money on medical bills. You may all cease your panicking now and put the extra quarters in your piggy banks.

I recently painted some piggy banks. I’ve been doing lots of crafts lately, like crazy.
The gray one is Mr. Piggins. He has “For Rainy Days” written on one side and a storm cloud on the other. The green one is Little Piggins. I made him for Lara. He has a clover on his bottom.

I also painted a picture. My first ever. Playing with textures is fun.

Rachel had her baby, Molly, earlier this month. To show my love, I knitted a hat and made her a shadowbox with a real four leaf clover. Molly Sullivan is a very Irish name afterall, and I wish them all the luck in the world.

I even sewed a dress and wore it the the Renaissance festival this year. Which was as fun as ever.

And what other news? I’ve started a new comic that I will eventually be hosting here. It’s called Glory Heart Hospital, and can be found over on Planet-BOB. Very sporadic updates, but far more frequently than Dream is Destiny!

I’ll try to write more soon. Love and light to you all.

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The Lull

I’ve been very lazy.

I’ve been out of college but don’t start work until Tuesday, so I’ve had no impetus to get up early. Also, Lara moved to ULM to start studying Atmospheric Science. Her absence at the other end of the hallway has given me even less reason to emerge from my room. I’m actually so lazy I have been eating nothing but oranges and yogurt lately rather than fixing myself legitimate meals. That’s pretty bad isn’t it? But it’s been a fun break. I’ve been reading books for pleasure for the first time in ages, learning new things in subjects besides nursing, playing video games, relaxing, sleeping. It’s been nice.

Of course, I’ve also been studying my butt off for the NCLEX exam. But that’s still a few weeks away, and I feel pretty good about it. And I’ve been talking to people I haven’t seen in a while. People like Bethany, who has lived so close by for years but has never really hung around with me before now (I have no idea why not, we both love games and anime.) Other friends have moved far away (Chris to Denver, Sarah to Madison), but I’m making an effort to develop friendships. It’s been nice.

I’m going to be working at WK North CCU. I’ll be caring for bypass patients and other extremely sick people in the unit. I am excited, I love intensive care. I’m a little nervous, but generally pleased. I have bought some new teal scrubs, and can’t wait to be able to sign RN after my name. It’ll happen soon.

It’s late. I always get in the mood to write when it’s really late. Something about night time seems mystical to me. It’s like a creative force enters my brain, and I only really feel like drawing and writing and reading and thinking when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Maybe it’s because I’m so much closer to dreaming then? It takes me a long time to get my thoughts out, too. I have soooo many blank journals lying around, waiting for words. But I try very hard to confine my current thoughts to a single book (right now, the purple book) so they are at least continuous. I’ve been lax about blogging here, but I’ve still been writing on paper. I’ve also been writing on I Am a Nursing Student, my blog about clinicals. But that blog is essentially over now. I guess I’ll have to start writing here again.

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Graduation

Oh my gosh. It’s finally over.


I’m a better person because of all of it.

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#94 – Patterns of the Beyond

I had the worst time in the world trying to portray the idea in my head in a set of still images.

Perhaps if this comic were an animated gif that allowed you to fly through the branchings to see the fractal… or if I’d depicted the pattern in a stereogram so you could get a sense of “looking through” reality…

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#93 – With You By My Side

Just filler this week. Esuna and Lian… because I love my boyfriend.

Wah, this is going to be the week from hell. I worked all weekend. Tomorrow I have to get up at 530 for a staff meeting at work, take a test, prep for clinicals, Tues and Wed I have Crit Care clinicals and quizzes. Thursday I have a HUGE test. Hope I can study for it at some point. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. And my plate isn’t that big.

Somehow I’m going to have to figure out a way to be paid to read, draw, and knit. Boo for studying.

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