Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Save a Life

I opened up my Google home page this morning and noticed the "how to" for the day was this. How appropriate. A couple weeks ago it was "How to land an Airplane". The Captain and I are covered.

I have to maintain certain certifications as a nurse, and in a small town hospital, you need to maintain many more. I am certified in Basic Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Adult Cardiac Life Support, and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, and have recently added ACLS instuctor. It is exhausting. AND most of the nurses I work with have more certifications than that! Usually these re-certifications come up every two years - and folks, this is my year. I have practiced resuscitating "Annie" (adult manikin), "Junior" (child manikin) and "Baby" (you got it). I have had my share of simulated chest compressions.

It's a good thing to know. And for those of you (myself included) who get the heebie-geebies thinking about giving actual "mouth to potentially bloody, smelly, dirty, emesis filled mouth" - I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's all about the compressions, Baby* (or Annie or Junior) and the AED (automated external defibrillator). So you want to give good high quality CPR. Here are a few songs to put on your CPR playlist.

or if you are one of those glass half empty people....

I think I like Staying Alive. But I do like the guy getting groovy with it in the gray pants right in the middle of the screen on the last video. Not sure that is proper technique - but think it should be. : ) So, go forth and save... or not? Seriously, watch the "how to" video, or go take a class - you just never know.

*By the way, with neonates, ventilation is key to successful resuscitation. Patty taught me that. Thanks Patty!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Easter...It's Amazing

As aforementioned (been re-reading some Jane Austen) we were on the road for Easter 2009. We had a great trip! So, take me back to Tulsa (sing it... I'm too young to marry... now add a HAW! and you're good).

Also as aforementioned, the Captain is a triplet. It had been a mighty long time (HAW! - there you go, you got it) since we had all been together. That would be Chris and Kelly (begat Madisen, Rylie and Declan) Kent and Kim (begat Sam, Will, and Max) and Craig and Shannon (leave it to me to destroy the perfect alliteration of the triplets and their chosen mates) and we bagatted Marissa and Maren. (HAW!)

The cousins get along like butter. It really is amazing. There was no arguing, lots of bathroom humor, the Cha Cha slide, and bubble wands (aka light sabers) and no one tattled on anyone. The whole weekend. My girls are totally enamored with the Fabulous Niebuhr Boys. And Madisen and Rylie are held in awe and Declan just pretty much keeps everyone laughing.

Lots of family time going on and it was all good. We also met up with some of the triplets classmates down on Brookside to hear Paul Roper and his band. It did feel a little odd driving up to a bar in Brookside in a mini-van. Times have sure changed. Gotta respect the van though.

But, if you ever get a chance to see Paul and his band, RPM, play live, you should. They sound great! It is also great fun just watching Paul sing. He is in his element and he radiates pure joy whether he is singing U2, the Beatles, or whatever. We also had a great dinner with my friend Ty and her family. She also had two girls and it was giggles and giggles galore.

We all went to church together on Easter Sunday. I heard Jim's voice crack just a bit as he introduced his kids and grand kids. And that is the only context in which I can slightly understand Easter. Would I give up my life for Marissa or Maren? In a heartbeat or sooner if required. That is just the tiniest fraction of how much God loves us. I can get my head around that to some extent. Would I give the life of Marissa or Maren for anyone of you? No. That is the bigger part of how much God loves us. That part is unfathomable to me. It's an amazing thing isn't it?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Where Have I Been All My Life...

...or at least these last couple weeks. Whew! Double Whew! (not to be confused with "W"). I feel like I can finally take a deeeeeep breath.

So here's a recap from most recent to most recent past. Today, regular work day. No prob. Took care of Sweet Lizzy. (she can patty cake now - I am in love) Again no prob. Dance recital pictures. Prob. Ugh!! I so thought I had everything organized, but didn't. We made it though. The girls looked really sweet - even though their mother got a bit snappish. What is up with their mother anyway?

Yesterday, it was Mommy and Maren day. Maren has been out of preschool for the past week. Sewer back up at the brand spanking new preschool. Can you say how nasty is that? E-coli and salmonella, and shigella just kicking up their heels at preschool. Makes even a nurse cringe. (They are replacing all carpet and flooring but I am taking my petri dishes along on Monday and taking samples just to be sure.) Anyhow, I was way too busy doing mani-pedis, going to the park AND the library and playing Barbies to blog. I did some Spring cleaning in our bedroom though. Do you think it is bad to need 2.7 Swiffers to adequately clean my blinds? Those petri dishes sure do come in handy. So do Swiffers. Why couldn't I have invented Swiffers? Then I would be lying on my own beach somewhere with a margarita in my hand instead of a Swiffer.

Last Tuesday, I got my Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor certificate. Now I can officially teach people how to save a life. The Fray has it all wrong.

Saturday, I worked in Babyland for a bit. Do you have any idea how fun is to take dismissal pictures of new babies and their families as they are discharged from the hospital? Do you know the hospital actually PAID me for this? Too fun, too cute. Proud papas, wide-eyed big brothers and sisters, and mommas in that weird transition phase of being proud and satisfied of a job well done, yet knowing the real work is just beginning. What a glorious and terrifying thing to be a new mom.

Thursday I worked the cardiovascular clinic. We did have a surprise cardioversion added to the schedule. I was not in charge of the "button". Amazingly enough, we got Bob and Dr. Wanner out the door on time for once.

Every other day between was just a normal work day, but I have had lots of new people. I really love my job in cardiac rehab. I think only the coolest people have heart attacks. If you are a nerd or an inconsiderate dork, you are in the clear, because I have yet to have one walk through my door.

Oh, I forgot to mention last Wednesday was my last VP3 class. I will miss the people I have met there horribly. Oh, I will still see them in church, maybe around town, but hopefully not in rehab, because the are all REALLY cool. Even John F. who use to scare me a bit. But the context of why and how and the reason for us being in that place at that time will be missing - and there were some God moments let me tell you. It seemed like every week at 6:30 -8:00 at Trinity church, there might be another chance to witness one. I will miss that. That does lead me to the question, and the title for this blog post. Where have I been all my life? I sometimes feel I am so busy "doing" life that I am not really "in" it. I sometimes feel I know OF God, but don't really "know" Him. If I took anything away from this class, I want and need to be more present in my life - and look for Him there too. If you ever get a chance to do a VP3 class, go for it.

That about takes me back to Easter, which was so very bloggable. Hold that thought...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seven Signs of Spring in NW Iowa

1. Costumes. It's all about the costumes, baby. Spring means the girl's annual dance recital and the Tulip Festival. Dance and Dutch costumes required.

2. Farm equipment traffic jams. The farmers are getting the land ready to plant. Corn and beans and oats. Oh my. The John Deeres are in abundant supply. They are also doing some Spring Cleaning. I had the distinct privilege of following a "Honey Wagon" while on my way to Walmart the other day. This is not the honey bee made honey variety. Think liquid excrement of the horrendously stinky variety. Here's a picture. That will make the horror last longer. Thankfully they are not "spreading" as they go down the road - but they do drip a little.

3. Garage sales. This marks the weekend of the city wide garage sale held every Spring and Fall. We nearly double our population and there are Dutch people running amok all with the intent of getting a really good deal on someone else's junk.

4. Reflective white skin. We have had some nice weather here. Enough to get out the shorts. It is a sad thing to see exactly how pasty everyone has gotten over the long winter. There is a low glow emanating from the elementary school with the kids showing their pasty white legs. They could seriously give Edward Cullen a run for his money. Refer to my ghostly girls in their dance costumes. They look a little anemic, huh? But adorably cute anemic. There's a difference.

5. Street Sweeping. Yep, we get out the old street sweeper out here in these parts. Blame it once again on the weird Dutch gene. They seem to add to the aforementioned traffic jams in number 2. Remember the term traffic jam is used loosely in NW Iowa.

6. Parental Birthday season. My Dad's b-day is tomorrow. My mom's is May 2. Then there is Mother's Day. The Captain's dad's b-day is on May 19. Father's Day. Then July is Birthday month in our household. Both M's have birthday's in July. I must have only been fertile in late October.

7. End of the school year just around the corner. I have been out of school for 20 years now, yet I forget that I actually don't get the summers off. I get this expectant hope of a break and then I remember I am an adult and I still need to work through June, July and August. Let's get Obama on the line and see what he can do about that. That's a change that would do us all some good.

Happy Spring!! I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Together Again

The caption on the back written in his mother's handwriting reads Easter '74 - 4 1/2 years old.
Yep - all three of them. All at once. Together.
The Captain has the unique and delightful characteristic of being 1 of the group of 3 - a triplet.
Isn't that sort of really cool? I think so.
Maybe this is not a professional quality photo, maybe a little worse for wear, and check out those seventies color coded PJ's, would ya? So that being said, let's play that game found on every kid's menu in every restaurant on a 10 hour road trip from Iowa to Tulsa. Can you find the things that are wrong with this picture?
You're right. There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with this picture at all.
The triplets convened in Tulsa this past weekend - very bloggable I might add. There have been a few members added to the original Trifecta and it all makes for a bit of chaos and a whole lot of fun. Thanks for sharing some of that triplet magic.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thanks? I think?

I received this dubious yet honorable blog award from my blog friend Baloney. Now, I have never met Baloney in my whole entire life. Not even once. It's the magic of the Internet, people. She had me at Turdbeast. (I am a nurse, I know about these things and they really do exist - lurking about in hospital toilets everywhere). But she really kept me hooked with her Story of Micheal. (Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month?)

She received the award from her friend Yogi (aka Satan). Long story, me thinks. I really think Yogi is an innocent bystander in all of this. All because Oklahoma decided to change their tags. (Did you know that we don't have tags here in Iowa? We call them license plates. They have special stores in OK where you go to buy your "tags" called Tag Agencies. I could not figure that out when I first moved there. Here in Iowa, we only tag cattle and hogs.)

So thanks Baloney! I accept! Because you never know about those Zombie Chickens (as opposed to the Funky ones.)

And the rules are..."The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

I am passing this on to my SIL
Kim because I am truly worried the zombie chickens have already come to spirit her away! I NEED some more posts from you, girl! Can't wait to see you FOR REAL this weekend though!

To my other SIL
Kelly. Heh Doe Honey.... Some more posts please? I know you're out there. Can't wait to see you all too!

To my Hubby,
The Captain. He had me at "Hey Baby, you wanna ride in my airplane?" Ahh, the romance never dies. You complete me....

To Dawn the Queen B at
Keeper of the "B's", where B is for beautiful, blessed and best. (of friends)

And to the lovely Ms. Amy at
pretty shiny. I pretty much wish you were still in the OC with us!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oops... I Did it Again!

I have a confession. My name is Shannon and I am a book addict. I hearby confess to staying up past 3:30AM to finish the second book of the Twilight saga - New Moon. I also confess to lying to the Captain and telling him it was really only 3 AM when I crawled into bed.

Now I have a book hang over. I was awake, or should I say in a state that appeared to be awake at 7:30 - eyes open, conversing in semi-full sentences with a death grip on a Dt. Dr. Pepper - but the suffering has begun. Thankfully, I did not have to work today, or have big plans to do anything that requires too much thought and concentration. I do try to read responsibly.

It all started innocently enough, but at a very young age, with Laura Ingalls, the Boxcar Children, every single solitary book in the Black Stallion series read deep into the night in my sloped-ceilinged, freezing cold, Iowa farmhouse bedroom. I had been encouraged, and was told that reading was the right thing to do. I took that recommendation to the nth degree.

Jr. High and High School were no better with me often hiding my stash in the arms of a text book . Poor Mrs. Greving tried to break my nasty habit - but to little avail. I would not be thwarted. She tried.

I hit rock bottom while reading Gone With the Wind. The copy I had been reading was missing the last chapter. I knew our library had another copy, but it was checked out, so I had to wait about three days in order to finish it. It was pure torture. I read and reread every conversation, every subtle nuance, between Rhett and Scarlett and just knew that love would prevail.

I remember, we had a band competition, so we met at school on a Saturday, and before we left I snuck into the library and behold it was there, so I STOLE the remaining copy. ( I did sign the card and laid it on the Librarian desk and knew I would have it back by Monday. The librarian was an addict herself, so I knew she would understand. ) I read the last chapter on the way to the competition. I had had enough of a window to see a very happy and joyous ending for dear Rhett and Scarlett, and could hardly contain my sorrow as I read that Rhett's love had run out. Frankly, I DID give a damn! We played a haunting, very Tara-ish composition at the final concert that evening and I told everyone that I didn't feel well and that was why I was crying. That book haunted me for weeks.

I am not too particular about the flavor of my books. I can be just as engrossed with Malcolm Gladwell or John Ortburg as I am with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. And who can resist a good memoir? I loved Chosen By a Horse by Susan Richards. Once I start, I find it so very hard to put them down.

I find that I do like the physicality of holding a book with its warm and fragrant pages in my hand. They are so conveniently transportable. Laid open on the counter while cooking dinner, propped on the steering wheel while waiting to pick up the girls, and admittedly more than my share of books have shriveled pages incurred after being dipped or dropped into steaming hot bath water.

I used to listen to audio books on my hour commute to work and found that I would simply appear in Sioux City with absolutely no recollection of how I got there. I should not read and drive. I have thought about looking into getting an Amazon Kindle at some point, but wouldn't that be like continuosly filling a keg at a party with a bunch of frat boys? Not sure I could handle that.

My name is Shannon, and I am a book addict. Any other addicts present?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

All Things Beautiful

Did I say I snickered a bit and secretly laughed at my relatives because they got snow last weekend and we didn't? Well, you know what they say about paybacks. Yup, woke up to a winter wonderland this morning on April 5. What is up with that? Oh you say you live in NW Iowa - well that explains everything...

I really could not build up too much resentment and loathing toward the snow. Believe me, I tried. I have been thirsting, yea no, both thirsting and hungering, for Spring since September. But, it was absolutely beautiful. The girls and I oooed and ahhed our way to church this morning - each tree and bush just a bit more majestic than the next. Since it snowed, of course the Captain was gone, and therefore, our driveway remains and shall remain un-shoveled. I wish he had been here to see it though and yes, shovel it too, if I must be honest.

What struck me is that God can and will find a way to make all things beautiful. Blizzards in April on the surface should not be beautiful - but it was. Take my poor hydrangea bush that got buried in our first snow storm and remained freeze-dried under a snowdrift up until about a month ago. The sum of its parts look a bit shall we say "frazzled" for the experience - this not helped of course by this really bad and out of focus picture.

But if you look closer the bloom is still gorgeous. I love the antiquey looking paper thin quality of a dried hydrangea. How clever is God to think of that? In late summer and early fall, the hydrangeas around town are in full bloom and nearly falling all over themselves with the weight of their beauty. They are, as Maren might say, "beautifulerest". It might be argued that they are at the height of their beauty, the very best they can be. I personally might disagree.

I take comfort in knowing that when I am surely not at my most beautiful, my most talented (and I have been feeling that way a lot lately) - even when I am possibly the farthest removed from the person God created me to be - God will use me and somehow still make all things beautiful.