Crawfish Boil and Clinic Nursing

Last weekend I went to a crawfish boil. Every May, Dr. N has his annual crawfish boil, right when it’s cool enough for the crawfish to keep but warm enough to party outside. Still, a Minnesota May is never quite as warm as you think it’ll be. It’s either too cold or too wet or both. No amount of poor weather can dampen the Minnesota enthusiasm for a party. We ate crawfish (correct spelling: crayfish), shrimp, corn, potatoes, wine, beer, and all kinds of other tasty treats.

Here is a “throwback picture” of me and Chris at this event back in 2011

And here is a slightly blurry picture of me and my friend Rachel with some live crayfish this year.

Now the reason I was able to be present at the crawfish boil was my fantastic new schedule. Yay! Yes, I started my new job last Wednesday and it is going great. 

During my first shift, my manager had me shadow different members of the care team. I never realized just how many people it takes to coordinate a practice like this; nor did I realize how much goes on behind the scene. This Monday-Wednesday I had ambulatory orientation – 8 hours of computer time and several useful classes and skill practice sessions.  I was back on the floor the last couple days, working on prescription refills and care reviews. I am slowly getting the hang of how everything works together.

Last night we had our end of the year Bell Potluck. We were supposed to bring a dish starting with the first letter of either our first or last name. So Chris and I decided to bring both Butter Chicken (tasty Indian food) and Brownies. Here is a picture of many of the ringers and our fearless director.

And today was the last day for my Bible study – a tasty potluck, a fun slideshow, and a great speaker. I think May is right up there with Christmas as far as busyness and socials go… but I’m not complaining in the least! I am so thankful for all these wonderful people, and look forward to celebrating more of them next week! And some other things as well 😉

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“Socialicing”

Last weekend was delightfully busy. On Friday we went to SocialIce, the one time of year that Rochesterites get out and celebrate the coldness of winter by turning Peace Plaza into an ice sculpture gallery complete with alcoholic drinks. We met our friends from Chile there, Meni and Mario,  and we all agreed… it was too cold to be outside! The sculptures were lovely, the music was inspiring, but we spent as little time out there as possible.

Saturday was Meni’s birthday so I took her out for a girl’s afternoon at Diamond Nails, where we both got mani-pedis, enjoyed a massage chair, and relaxed. Here is Meni with her fantastic nails!

 

Then we headed to Stam for some tasty gelato. However, we had to cut our afternoon short and rush back so I could get some tax paperwork from my former landlord…

….or that’s what Meni thought. Really, that last bit was an elaborate set-up to get Meni to the clubhouse where her husband had prepared a surprise party. Meni was very surprised – because she has a summer birthday in Chile, no one is ever around. Success!! After eating, drinking, and shooting the breeze, we watched some of the very first events of the Olympics. I appreciated how they alternated snowboarding with pairs figure skating. “Something for the boys…something for the girls… coming up soon, something for the boys…”

On Sunday, Chris played handbells at the Festival of Music at church. He knocked the music out of the park using both handbells and the bell tree. Here is an action shot – doesn’t he look cute in a tux?!!!

Afterwards our friend Carolyn, my other soul mate (a flute playing cultural anthropologist!), had everyone in the performance over to dinner.

Of course any weekend so fun must be followed by a week of blah. But even last week had its moments. On Wednesday the 100+ nurses, patient care assistants, and unit coordinators in the float pool gathered for a Team Days. It was FANTASTIC. They fed us, they talked to us about stress relief and conflict management, and most importantly they gave us all the same night off. Many of team went out for drinks afterward and proved, once and for all, that float nurses are NOT antisocial or not community minded… they just never have the same night off!

I was the exception that proved the rule, as I was too busy attending a personal finance course… I have no excuse!

Friday’s Bible study at Side by Side was fantastic. It is such a blessing to have this group of women around me and I really appreciated what everyone had to say. I realized I have really been “leaning on my own strength” with some struggles lately and turning to other people to feel better instead of turning to God.

I worked all weekend and am looking forward to using this week off to catch up on school. First step though will be removing the incredible amount of snow we have acquired in the last 72 hours. Oh, Minnesota.

White Christmas

The week before Christmas we went to the joint handbell-choir Christmas party. What a blast! The music director’s house was full of musicians, delicious food, and good wine. Then someone brought out the crazy hats…

Ariel and Nicole got run over by a reindeer

Christmas Eve brought snow, but we battled our way through it to the 11:00 service. The prelude music started at 10:30 and included a couple of fantastic handbell pieces and a solo by my dear husband. There were a couple stumbles but after all we weren’t there just to play or listen to beautiful music… We were there to remember the ultimate gift, Christ humbling himself to come to earth and be a human in order to pay our debt. We tolled in Christmas Day, put the bells up, and dragged ourselves home to bed in the wee hours – but for all the right reasons!

I remember my mom taking me to a midnight service at a Lutheran church when we lived in Texas (we were Bible church people so it was a change of pace). There was something thrilling about the tradition and ritual and of course staying up late. It seemed so special, so sacred, going out into the cold, dark night, just as Jesus brought his light into the cold, dark world. I’m glad the handbells play at the late service.

On Christmas morning, Chris made us a tasty breakfast and we Facetimed with my family while we opened our wonderful, thoughtful presents from family and friends. Then I got the best present from my job… the afternoon off!!! We spent it walking the dogs, clearing the driveway with our new electric snowblower, and making mac ‘n cheese to share with our friends the Hills. We had a feast with our friends… chicken, stuffing, mac ‘n cheese, salad, and apple pie for dessert. Sooo good! We also played one of our Christmas presents, the fantastic game Citadels.

So here’s the picture of us looking nice and Christmas-y, but you can’t really see the dog. He’s black so he blends right in. Here is the picture with flash:

Doesn’t the dog look like a robot?!!!

Anyway, we had a very merry Christmas… even though family were far away, we were able to celebrate with them through technology and the power of UPS. I hope the rest of you had a very merry Christmas!

Ensemble

Definition: A unit or group of complementary parts that contribute to a single effect.

We went to hand bells tonight. I just started playing with the handbell choir in the fall and have really enjoyed playing (and am slowly getting better at it). The fun thing about the bell choir is the chance to play with other people, to build camaraderie with the group. If I just played my two bells by myself, that would be a pretty sad little piece of music. The beauty of the piece emerges from the collective efforts of the group.

What makes a good handbell choir, or a good flute choir, or any good musical ensemble? Watching and listening! We all have to watch the director in order to maintain the same pace. We need to pay attention and count our measures so that we are, literally, on the same page.

It is equally important for us to listen to our director and to each other. Our director always points out the hard passages and suggests different strategies for approaching them. Sometimes he will even count us through sections the first few times.  When we did a jazzy piece, he had us clap the rhythm for him so we could master the off-beats.

Finally, we really need to listen to each other. If we are in a run, and we are not listening to each other, just counting, that run can quickly degenerate into a mess of notes. We need to listen to who has the melody so that person can bring out their notes while we play softly. Most of all, we need to listen to the overall flow and musicality of the piece.

We also need to cooperate. Sometimes we can’t play all those bells in the right order. We have to have our neighbor, who doesn’t play any bells for 29 measures, grab that tricky chime. We have to negotiate who turns the page. 

A lot of these lessons translate directly to the real world. Church committees, nursing units… paying attention to the goal, watching, listening, and cooperating are the keys to good teamwork.

In handbells, that goal is worship. Not creating pretty  music, although that is a nice side effect. No, we have to lay aside any petty feuds, open our hearts and minds, listen, and offer our gifts with the rest of the ensemble to God.