Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So today I have anatomy lab, and we're discussing cells. One thing we will discuss is the cell cycle (mitosis, meiosis, etc.)

I wonder if my lab partner will look like this? Hmm?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nursing School--week 2

This is only my second week of nursing school--technically my first full week.

And all I have to say is this: Zzzzzzz...

Seriously, though--this has only been one week? I would swear each day has felt like its own week.

I don't want to sound complainy--I'm just still trying to settle myself into a decent schedule. Really, until after the 1st test, I'm not going to have a good feeling about how much/what I need to study. Until then, I'm erring on the side of over-abundance.

My brain already feels full just from Anatomy & Physiology, like there's no room for the nursing. I think it's partly because I have nursing lecture on Mondays and lab on Fridays, while A&P has lab AND lecture on Tuesdays and lecture on Thursdays, so those are closer together and feel infinitely more imminent.

Wednesday is my weekday off, and of course this being my first one I was all prepared to study and get ahead and BAM! Some construction crew cut the main lines providing internet to the university servers, so there was no accessing any of our online materials for 35 hours! That doesn't seem like a big deal, but ALL the classes put everything online, from lecture materials to homework and stuff you need to print out, blah blah. Major wrench thrown at everyone. Lesson learned: plan way ahead.

So. I'm studying like I've never studied and learning tons and tons. It's pretty cool. Next time you might think "s/he's just a nurse," go ahead and slap yourself.

And just so you know I'm still down to Earth, I got to spend the precious first half of my lunch break today cleaning up projectile cat vomit! Woo! Also, poor Monty (who's been sick for weeks, but slowly getting better) has been snotting green snot everywhere in the house. On the walls. On the brand new beige carpet. In your FACE. Lovely. Poor kitty.

*sigh* *yawn*

Tonight's my one night to relax, so I think we're having friends over to hang out. Which means I get to clean house!

Those of you in hurricane Irene's path, be safe! Remember--you can drink your own pee if you really, really have to! ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogging Focus

It didn't take Mack long to figure out how to get to his favorite spot in the new house.

Well, friends, as you've no doubt astutely observed by now, I'm getting into the full swing of nursing school. I'm taking 11 hours this semester, which is about 4 hours more than I'd been expecting, and for those of you who don't speak college terminology, that's 1 credit hour short of a full-time load. Honestly, I've had semesters of 18 hours that were less busy than this.

This week alone I've spent an average of 4 hours a day studying, and on Monday night it was more like 5.5. Between Anatomy and Physiology and my nursing courses, there's just a ton of information that has to be crammed into my brain, and the sooner it's stuck there, the better.

I'm a textbook visual learner, which means in order for this stuff to sink in, I have to write it over...and over...and over... Unfortunately, since my wrist surgery, my right hand can't keep up like it used to, so I'm having to teach myself how to make the same visual/memorizational connections with typing. And then I make flashcards.

The good thing about this method is, once I'm done making all my notes, I've pretty much memorized it, so studying is just supplementary. The bad thing about this method is that it takes a ton of time.

As you know, I've gone from pretty much zero commitments to class 5 times a week, plus 4 hours of driving time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and all this studying--not to mention figuring in time to work. Gotta pay those bills.

Sadly, this means I don't have time to write. Which is good, actually, and you know--it's like my subconscious knows (duh) when my active conscious is really invested in something very definitely not writing. All the urges to write fade away, tucking themselves up neatly in the back of my head, just waiting until the day I can open them again. Same thing happened during my college years, part one. I rarely wrote, and when I did it was just snatches here and there.

I'm going to be blogging once a week, most likely, and since I started this blog way back in the day for the purpose of having a writing regimen, it's going to have to suffice for now. I'll more than likely be keeping a nursing school diary, more for my own sake than those reading. However, I'll always keep the audience in mind and try to share anything funny, interesting, or pertinent. Posts about writing will be few and far-between (like they weren't already).

I don't really have time to read blogs anymore--that used to be my breakfasting activity, and these days breakfast is a five-minute affair between running and showering.

That being said, I still pop into Twitter and Facebook regularly, so if you're dying for a fix (haha), you can find me there!

My twitter handle is @summerbp, and on Facebook...well, I'm loathe to put it here, as it's my real name. I'm friends with many of you there already, so if you're not friends with me, you can probably find me through someone else. My real name is Summer, though, so you can identify me through that and my picture.

Tomorrow will likely be a Nursing School Week 2 post.

You're all lovely. I can't wait to palpate you, auscultate you, and assess your vital signs. I have warm hands, promise.

Friday, August 19, 2011

(Nursing) First Week

I've successfully completed my first week back to school. As a life-long lover of learning, I've always enjoyed being in school, having education shape my routine and structure my days. And though I've been out for over three years, going back was like slipping into an old, but favorite, pair of shoes.

There are differences this time, of course--my undergraduate time was spent as an English major with a heavy dose of art and theatre courses. For class, I bought a hundred bucks' worth of novels and maybe some lit theory essays. "Homework" consisted of reading the text and being prepared to analyze and discuss during class. I grew tremendously as a writer during those years, both academic and non-academic, and I learned to think critically and analyze anything written. Those are skills.

But now I'm learning skills. As I told my brother on the phone yesterday, it's a crazy, amazing feeling to walk into class knowing nothing, and walk out 4 hours later knowing how to do things. Like, take vital signs, including blood pressure with the cuff (which has always been mysterious and interesting to me). Getting CPR-certified was another eye-opener. You suddenly have this weight of responsibility--if you see someone go down,  more than likely you're the only one who's going to know how to respond. That's a lot of pressure. I constantly think about giving CPR, different scenarios in which it might happen, and run through the steps over and over in my head.

Learning a skilled trade is a whole different ballgame than getting a liberal arts degree. I wouldn't give up my degree for anything, and if I could do it over again, I would--every single time.

But nursing school is already drawing on a different part of my brain.

This weekend I have to write a paper about Why I Chose Nursing/What Nursing Means to Me. I have so many feelings about this subject, some of which I'm not sure belong in that paper. Such as: I like knowing things. I like having facts in my head like secrets the rest of the world doesn't know. When someone asks a question, I like to know the answer. I like being asked for an opinion because I'm the most qualified to answer.

Anatomy and Physiology makes me giddy. I'm going to know the name and function of every part of your body. It's like a secret language, an In club that only certain people are part of.

It's amazing.

Also, we're going to have a cadaver lab in mid-October and I am so excited.

These are all my nursing books--a cool dozen. They weigh about a thousand pounds. Mack for size reference. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

This morning, as I carried my shoes and iPod outside to get ready for my run, I was met by something I haven't felt in quite a while: crisp air. It was only 65 degrees, and the humidity was relatively low.

It made for a nice run, but more importantly put one thought in my head: fall is coming.

I start nursing school in 2 days. Starting a  new fall semester is always exciting--fall semesters, in my experience, are better than spring semesters. Fall semesters have the better holidays, for one, not to mention the better weather. Fall semester...well, it brings FALL.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHO AM I????

I have somewhat of a dilemma, and I'm interested in opinions.

Okay, so: my full name is Cherokee Summer *****. From the time I was born, my parents called me Summer. I didn't even know my first name was Cherokee until I was at least in kindergarten.

I've been "Summer" for 25 years--except that I also answer almost as automatically to "Cherokee" because my grandmother (who has lived with my parents since I was in 9th grade), my oldest cousin, and all of my grandmother's friends call me by my first name.

Here's the thing: if you happen to go by your middle name, then you'll understand my pain--everything you fill out wants your legal first name, which of course for me is Cherokee. All through school and college, I'd correct the professor on the first day of class and ask to be called Summer. It usually was no big deal.

Well, tomorrow is my Orientation for nursing school. All my paperwork is for Cherokee. My ID tag that I'll be wearing to the hospitals is for Cherokee, not to mention my file that the hospitals will have is for Cherokee.

So I'm thinking, should I just embrace Cherokee as my "professional" name? (Not to be confused with my stripper name, Spooky McKinney.) I wouldn't have to deal with constantly correcting people to Summer, or explaining to hospital staff why I want to be called something different than my ID tag says, not to mention patients. And what if my classmates are trying to tell the hospital staff about "Summer," but they don't know who they're talking about, because to them I'm Cherokee?

Honestly, I'd be fine with people calling me Cherokee--like I said, I do identify it as my name. I've never actually introduced myself as Cherokee. That would be odd. And I'm not used to lots of people calling me by that name, but I'm sure I'd get used to it.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

I have some this week, so I'll do it.

1. As a coping mechanism for my nursing school nerves, I've been playing a gross amount of Dragon Age on my Xbox. A gross amount, guys. It's possible that I'm slightly in love with one of the characters. The thing about Bioware games is that they're basically like an interactive book, the writing is THAT GOOD.

2. I ate a can of beans for lunch yesterday.

3. Last night I dreamed that I performed karaoke to the soundtrack of my latest WIP.

4. I've gotten to the point where I only put on real clothes if I'm going out. I'm not sure I remember how to dress like a fully functioning member of society anymore.

5. I've been thinking about what to wear to nursing school orientation on Thursday for at least a week now. And still don't know.

6. I'm afraid I won't make any friends in nursing school. How lame is that?

7. Last night I woke up because one of the cats was clawing my hair.

8. I secretly hope my brother-in-law and his fiancee don't find jobs in Maryland so they can move back down here and take the pressure off me and hubby. (I knowwww....so bad.)

9. I pretty much paint my fingernails just so I can scrape it off. I think it's as bad an addiction as biting them.

10. I went running in knee-high socks yesterday. They were compression socks, true, but knee-highs all the same!

Your turn:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Family Matters

Family figures pretty heavily in my latest WIP. As I was writing the scene in which my MC meets her new baby niece for the first time, I realized that I've never really written anything that was family-centric before. Or, maybe I should say, so much family? And some of them actually pretty normal?

Okay, come to think of it, only one of my five novels actually didn't have family in it. In fact, my first novel completely revolved around family--or the lack thereof.

So now I've debunked my own theory that I don't write about families.

Still, I certainly haven't written such a large family before, and this one extends in several gnarly branches, too. There are a lot of female relatives to boot, which is something I'm having to flex the ol' writer's imagination on. I don't have any sisters and never had many close female friends growing up--the closest thing to sisterly camaraderie I've ever enjoyed was with my 2 cousins growing up, and we only saw each other once a year or so.

I dunno. Seems like a lot of the protagonists in urban fantasy (which the new WIP is) don't have strong family bonds. I guess it's a lot easier to be in mortal peril and save the world when you don't have to call Mom every Sunday, right? Or is it something else?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mud. Sweat. Beer.

There are 5k races...and then, there are 5k RACES!

I first came to learn of this Warrior Dash business via my friend who stayed with us last month. He participated in the Michigan event just a few days ago.

I'm all for maxing your body to the limits every once in a while. I've never done something quite like this, though when I was in college I went on two extreme hiking adventures that included swimming about 50 yards upstream a huge river, climbing rocks with no gear, and doing controlled falls down a mountainside. It was AWESOME (even though the last time I went, I got mild hypothermia. Them rivers be cold, yo.)

So there's the Warrior Dash (seriously, check out the link and watch the video on the main page), which is happening next year on the weekend before my 4th wedding anniversary. I'm thinking hubby and I are going to do it.

And then there's the Insanity version: Tough Mudder, whose cutesy name is pretty innocuous for the self-proclaimed "probably [the] toughest event on the planet." This event was designed by British Special Forces people, guys, and they call it Ironman meets Burning Man. And it's a 10k. This one takes place in February next year, and there's no way I'm going to be physically ready for it (they recommend being able to do 26 push-ups. I can't even do one regular push-up) by then, so maybe in 2013? A little bon voyage to nursing school and college in general?

I'm thinking YES.

(Seriously, watch the videos. It's awesome!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

It always gets away from me.

My friend stayed with us for a week and a half in the beginning of July. He's also a writer, and one night we were lying drunken on the floor of my office talking about one of my projects and listening to iTunes. I mentioned that this was the soundtrack for said project, and when he asked how many songs were on it, I told him.


He says, "Dude. That's not a soundtrack."

I can't just pare it down to 15-20 songs, otherwise I'll get so sick of them I can never listen to them again. Right?

Anyway, I started working on a new project. It's fun and going well so far, and I've been listening to my A Perfect Circle station on Pandora, but I've been at my 40 hour limit for a few days and anyway, I like having a dedicated iTunes playlist, so...

51 songs. That's not so bad, right? And I made a conscientious effort to put some different ones on there, not the same ol' that always inspire me.

I won't share all 51, but here's a nice run down:

  • "Devils" - Say Hi to Your Mom
  • "Run Away" - Sarah Jarosz
  • "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" - AC/DC
  • "The Devils' Feet" - Azure Ray
  • "The Bad Touch" - The Bloodhound Gang
  • "Hang Me Up to Dry" - Cold War Kids
  • "A Siren" - Colour Revolt
  • "Euro-Trash Girl" - Cracker
  • "Passenger" - Deftones
  • "Until I Wake Up" - Dishwalla
  • "Feorah" - Downshallow
  • "Hotel California" - Eagles
  • "Shadowboxer" - Fiona Apple
  • "Bad Boyfriend" - Garbage
  • "Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas
  • "Sick Cycle Carousel" - Lifehouse
  • "Waitress" - Live
  • "One Man Army" - Our Lady Peace
  • Rolling Stones Triumverate ("Honky Tonk Women, Sympathy for the Devil, Saint of Me")
  • "The Only Living Boy in New York" - Simon & Garfunkel 
  • "At the Bottom" - Brand New

Eclectic. Just like my new WIP. 

So whaddya think? Writing soundtracks are by default longer, or do you keep yours short?