Saturday, September 29, 2012

How I spend my Saturday mornings

Yup. This is how I've spent most of my Saturday mornings since school has begun: watching Jr. High football. I love it except for the fact that it has been near or above 100 degrees for every single game and the stands always seem to face the sun (but what doesn't face the sun in California?) and as uncomfortable as I am, I get a little worried about the players, especially #71, my favorite starting center.
Lining up for the play and staring down the other players. That's his third favorite part of playing.

 Here's his second favorite part: the thrill of the snap!

And here is his favorite thing of all: blocking the players even when they are twice his size.
 He held this player off through the whole game
 Not MY favorite thing to watch but he sure does love it and is getting so much better at it. He's earned several "hammers" for his helmet this year. When I asked what that meant he said (I swear!) "Hard head".
Me: You get a hammer sticker for having a hard head? Uh...
Him: No mom, it's for hard hits.
Me: Oh. Well then... 
 The front line's had several plays where they've completely cleared the path for long runs straight up the middle and even a touchdown or two. When the runners brag about making the touchdown, Joe (gently I'm sure) reminds them who helped them get that touchdown. 

I never thought I'd love watching my own kid play football so much, especially when he comes home with bruises and cuts all over his body. By the end of the season his arms and legs are nearly solidly bruised.  I never thought I'd see a kid of mine proudly pointing to each bruise and explaining how he got it. Can you really get that giddy over hitting and being hit? I guess so, if Joe's anything to go by. And just a little shout out to all his siblings who helped him learn how to take a beating and still be laughing about it while in pain. I guess you all get a lot of the credit for who he is on the field.
 Go Team!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be careful what you wish for...

So, in getting the wish of all wishes (for me anyway) my emotions have ranged from being higher than a kite, to dragging myself through the (metaphorical) sewers. You know the saying "It's all fun and games until..." Well, I found out what that "until" means. It means that you get to dream your fantasy dream about being a nurse until you hit the ground and have to spend the next 4 weeks at a flat-out run trying to get everything on the admission's list done "or you will be dropped from the program." Jeezelouise.

Try finding your immunization card when you had immunizations almost 50 years ago. So then you get to do the titer tests and pay an ungodly amount of money for someone to say "yes, you do have immunity for that." Then try to find a place that will do the immunizations you must have updated when your family doctor doesn't do them and the county health department doesn't offer them to adults.  Then get a TB test done, background check, drug testing (that's a whole nuther story in itself but note to self---don't do this on your birthday or on the day you start your period. That's all you get from me about this), get a physical, arrange for malpractice insurance, do the HIPAA training, sign-up for and start two classes you didn't know you would need before the end of school, figure out and finish financial aid junk, and on, and on, and on.  I'm exhausted and keep wondering what the heck I was thinking. You may think me shallow (I think I am also) but the one thing that has kept me going was one little paper included in my packet. It was the page that showed the various styles of uniforms I could order. I makes me so happy for some reason. I mean some of them are really cute! Then there is the page that outlines the classes I'll be taking. Gets my heart beating a little bit faster. Every. Single. Time. Let's start already!!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The results are in...

Here's what arrived in my inbox yesterday:

Dear Karen Barros,
Congratulations! The Admissions Committee of National University’s Department of Nursing has thoroughly reviewed your application for admission to the Nursing Program for the deadline ofJuly 13th, 2012. You have been choosen as one of our selected candidates for Cohort 9, beginning in November 2012 term.

Can I get a Woot Woot!?

I have no other words. Pretty sure I'm in shock because I'm not feeling much of anything except the full weight of what I'm a now committed to. But for today, I'm gonna just chill and enjoy being wanted and qualified.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Fun???

For the last few months I have been working towards applying to a nursing program in Fresno. I thought that I was not ever going to pursue this again but after two years away from school, I one day just felt I needed to start looking into it again. I spent several unproductive weeks talking to the community college and several technical colleges about maybe starting with an LVN program but things just didn't work our there. The state colleges still have huge waiting lists (up to five years in some cases, straight lottery in others), I couldn't get the final classes I needed for the program for another year, and by the time I finished with that, I would have timed out some of my classes and would have had to start taking them from the beginning. None of that was going to work. Heck, I'll be fifty at the end of this month and there is no way I can take the time to start all over. That seemed like an answer to my question of should I or shouldn't I. But one day out of the blue (or whatever!) I thought about looking into National University. The next day I went to talk to an admissions officer and here is the gist of that conversation: You can start on Monday (it was Friday that we were talking) and take one class for each of the next three months and that will put you only 10 days from the deadline of applying for the November cohort. If you hadn't come in today, you wouldn't have made it and would have to wait until January to apply and then start in April. Whoa, so I had a whole day to decide if I could commit to a program that costs $1400 a course, and started in 3 days.

Speedy decisions are not my strong suit but both Allan and I were overwhelmed with excitement and good feelings. He because he knows how happy and content I am when I'm in school and me because I could finally, maybe, sorta, see a way to reach a dream I've had for many, many years. Seriously, every road block I threw in the way, every obstacle I could invent was blown away by minor and major miracles. Financial worries? No problem, let Me email you about a program you might not know about. Driving back and forth in that big clunking car of ours? Hey, why don't you look into getting a car from the Fresno Mission? Don't think you can do the math? Let me give you the best and easiest stat teacher on the planet.

So I took the classes, and applied for the program. Next came the biggest hurdle to date: the TEAS test. I bought the book, purchased the practice test and proceeded to completely melt down. I swear it was like I'd never taken a science, math or chemistry class in my life. But I studied and studied and studied. One night I was outlining one of the study books and it was as though I could see myself in the very situation that I had first learned the concept I was studying. I don't know how to describe it but for example, when I was reading about the periodic table I could see myself in my chem class listening to my teacher explain it. That was a very powerful experience. but even with all that help, I still couldn't get over a 74% on any of the practice tests. But the night before, I had an overwhelming feeling of peace and was relaxed and calm. Come what may, I thought.

20% of the application process was based on an essay written on the day of the test. The school offered a free seminar on essay writing and I was going to attend but that morning one of my visiting teachees called and asked if I could take her to the temple that morning. "No! I need to study!" was in my head but my mouth said, "Yes." My heart prayed that somehow I would be blessed for this sacrifice but I had little faith. A couple of days before the test I decided to spend the day writing an essay on a random subject relating to nursing school and had Michayla and Tori edit and critique it. I choose to explain some of the experiences in my life that had led me to nursing as a profession. Imagine my surprise and awe when as I watched the proctor write on the board the prompt for our essay: Question #2---Describe some of your life experiences that have contributed to your decision to become a nurse. I'd say the Lord allows tender mercies for even those of us with barely a little seed of faith.

The day of the test: First was the one hour time to write our essays, then we had 4 hours for the test. I took nearly every minute of the time, checking and rechecking and guessing at the answers to the questions. I was one of the last in my room to finish, about 50 of us. When you finish the test, you immediately get a score and print it and hand it to the proctor. I was not pleased with my 83.4%. There is no way I could complete for a spot in the program that admits only 20 of approx. 120 applicants with that low of a score. I gathered my stuff and trudged to the front to hand it in. the woman looked at it and said, "Great score!" What? She said that it was the highest she'd seen all day. What? Yeah, good job. That's when reaction set it. I barely made it down the stairs and to my car while sobs were building in my chest. By the time I got in, I was full out bawling and sat there for over twenty minutes blubbering and sobbing. I didn't think I was that stressed, but apparently, I was and the relief of just having it done and out of my hands was overwhelming. Looking at the printout, I was shocked to see that I was in the top 94% of the national average and 85% of the program average. Maybe I had a chance after all.

We were told that results of our applications would be sent out at the end of the month so imagine my surprise when I got this email the next week:

Dear KarenBarros,
Nursing Program applications are reviewed on a point based system. We look at four major areas: 1) number of attempts to pass your core sciences and statistic pre-requisite courses, 2) math and science based GPA, 3) the TEAS score and 4) the proctored essay. Each section is weighted to determine your overall admissions score.
The Admissions Committee of the National University Department of Nursing has thoroughly reviewed your application for admission to the nursing program.Unfortunately, your score is not high enough to be included in the top twenty, chosen to be in the November 2012 cohort.
You are welcome to apply for the next application deadline, which isJanuary 18th, 2012.

I was shocked. The rest of the email was about ways in which you can reapply, etc so I spent a few minutes looking it over and wondering if this was a final answer: NO. About fifteen minutes later I went back to my email and found this waiting: 

Hello Student,
My Email account just sent you a denial letter. Please disregard!!! It malfunctioned and send every applicant a denial letter. AGAIN, please disregard. I don’t have the top 20 students selected yet.

Oh. My. Heart, you may begin to beat again, thank you very much.

So, that is my summer adventure so far. I am still waiting for an answer and even though I don't expect it to come until the end of the month, every time I open my email, my heart skips a beat or two. I can't imagine not getting into the program, and I can't imagine getting in. So I'll probably be happy and depressed either way. Not sure how prepared I am for a program that lasts 23 months and expects between 60 and 80 hours a week of your time. But every time I think about being in the program, my heart beats a little faster, I can't catch my breath, and I feel like I'm floating. I'm either allergic or in love.

To be continued....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Okay Kristin. I will take your challenge and do the survey. Also not one of my favorite things but it's definitely time for a new post.

  1. Blogging? Why?   It is an easy way to share a little about myself. Sometimes it is the not so great things and sometimes it the things I'm most proud of. I spend a lot of time in my head so it's nice to get out of there sometimes.
  2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?   One thing?? Okay. Calm down. It's not a test. On the inside I would be a better friend and be more out there. On the outside I would be skinny. Or just thinner. A little would be good.
  3. Chocolate or vanilla? Think about it. We're talking ice cream here I'm assuming. Vanilla. Chocolate ice cream just because it's chocolate doesn't really do it for me. Of course if you add marshmallows, almonds and bananas I would change my vote.
  4. What is your favorite movie genre? I'm a huge fan of the chick flick but it has to be more about the story than about the actors. Clean is also a huge plus.
  5. What/Who inspires you? I love being around people who get knocked down, fuss and then pick themselves up and do it all over again. There are several people in my life right now that do this. I want to be just like them when I grow up.
  6. What is the greatest lesson you have learned this last year?  Easy. God is there and aware of you in every single situation and even though sometimes He lets us suffer and experience pain, He also lets you know He is right there. I never experienced that like I did this last year but now I know it beyond just believing. I know.
  7. Gun to your head: Pick one (ONLY one) favorite movie.  One???????? Okay, I can commit to that for about the same amount of time it takes to type this: Two Weeks Notice. I used to watch it once a month but have weaned myself to once or twice a year. Next question, hurry.
  8. Where do you see yourself in five years? I will have graduated with my BSN and have been working for three years, some of that in L&D. I also will have a few more in-laws and grandchildren I hope (no pressure guys).
  9. Dream travel spots? England/Great Britain. Mountains. Beach. Warmth. Light. Quiet.Wherever Allan is and no work or phone.
  10. Random fact about yourself.  I still sleep talk and walk. Did it a lot as a kid and have started up again. Weird and not happy for those who sleep with me.
  11. Favorite way to relax. Simple formula for me: Great book, sunflower seeds, coke zero, (Hershey's chocolate with almonds when the situation requires it) air conditioner or great breeze and comfortable bed and pillows. 

Maybe someone else is inspired to do the same survey. I'd like to read it. Try it. You'll like it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Even I'm surprised at the difference.

What do you get when you buy eight of these beauties at the
thrift store for $20 (I love Ridgecrest thrift stores),
plus some really cute upholstery fabric from JoAnn's?
Yep, that's right: The cutest kitchen chairs on the planet.

I didn't expect that they would turn out this cute but I
am seriously crushing on them. They are comfortable to boot.
Before and After

Here they are. My lovelies lined up at the counter waiting each day for
someone to sit down and enjoy breakfast in style and comfort.
And, I used up more of that overwhelming craft stash.
That's two points for me. Yeah me!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Okay, so...

After a lot of thought (ie: procrastination) I decided to deal with the craft stuff. I ended up throwing some stuff away, giving away some, and keeping some (less than half thank you very much). It made organzing my sewing room a little easier and neater and well, just made my life a lot less full of burdens. Also, my resolve to not buy new craft stuff until I use up, get rid of, or give away what I already have is still holding. Yeah!

So I am moving on in a little bit lighter, freer, and happier way.

Who says people can't change?