National Coffee Day 2014: 10 Places Where You Can Get A Free Cup Of Coffee

National Coffee Day 2014: 10 Places Where You Can Get A Free Cup Of Coffee.

Happy National Coffee Day! To be completely honest, I had no idea the day was today (Oh the shame!).

As many nurses know, nursing students cannot get by without a few drops of coffee every day. I find it coincidental that this holiday lands on a Monday, the day classes resume…

Wild

My mother, sister, and I tried over the course of the last year to form a book club in which we all read the same book at the same pace and discuss it weekly over video chat sessions. We have read a variety of books, including And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and The Keeper of Secrets by Julie Thomas. Wild by Cheryl Strayed was suggested because she was featured by my hometown’s public library. Coincidentally, Strayed lives in Portland where I currently live.

Thus, my mother, sister, and I decided to read Wild together despite our severe lack of knowledge regarding hiking, the main aspect of the novel. Although I was not truly looking forward to reading non-fiction, the autobiographical account of her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail peaked my interest.

The woman in the book was not what I imagined the author would be like. Cheryl-in-the-book was ridiculously stubborn and foolish, putting her life unnecessarily at risk. I was disgusted by her nonchalance at the severity of her mistakes and her apparent ineptitude at surviving in the wilderness. I know, I know, harsh words of judgment for woman who has “made something of herself.”

Although I continually had to remind myself of this, Strayed wrote honestly and without regard for others opinions, much like she lived her life. Her vivacity and uncertainty was translated to flippancy and restlessness in the novel, but made it all the more intriguing to read about. Cheryl-in-the-novel was relatable, ultimately because of her vulnerability. Therefore, it is hard for me to critique or judge any person any further based on their genuineness.

I mention this novel now because the movie is coming out soon. As a promise to my mother and sister, I will see the film and I look forward to seeing how Reese Witherspoon portrays Cheryl and her experiences on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Labor & Delivery

The phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining” has never been so prevalent to my life. My main concern these last few weeks of school has been my clinical advisor. I wrote previously about the difficulty of working with her, but over time I used her exasperating nature to my advantage. She challenged me to beat the learning curve that loomed over all of us the first couple of weeks of classes.

Our course on obstetrics is intermingled with end-of-life transitions and only meets once a week for two hours. Needless to say, it was a slow start to our experiential learning. My clinical faculty, however, emailed a list of knowledge points in response to the weekly goal she insists we send. The list guided my self-learning and by the second week I actually felt prepared for clinical.

I was more than a little annoyed to find out that my advisor had merely meant the list to be a suggestion of things to look up prior to our clinical day, but by then I had the respect of several nurses on the L & D floor for what I knew. The next few weeks were awesome! I continued to improve my technical practice and I was able to engage with the nurses I shadowed by asking more specific questions about pregnancy and the labor processes.

In the end, I was able to participate in both a vaginal and cesarean birth and cared for several laboring patients and newborn infants. It was a wonderful experience being in L & D, but I am grateful for the opportunity to work with postpartum patients next.

Semester Three

My mom, while excited it is my last year of college, still cried at saying goodbye.

My mom, while excited it is my last year of college, still cried at saying goodbye.

I am currently heading into my third week of my last year of nursing school! To say that the last few weeks have been interesting is an understatement. It almost seems as though we started off at a jog and are now at full speed. 

My clinical rotation for the first half of the semester is split between the labor and delivery unit and postpartum care unit. I have not had the opportunity to observe a delivery, but I have learned newborn and postpartum assessments as well as how to teach mothers how to breastfeed. Not super exciting stuff, but it is all part of the learning experience. 

Also part of the learning experience is my clinical advisor. Unfortunately my advisor is not familiar with obstetrics nor has very good organizational skills. The learning curve for me this rotation is steep. My advisor is expecting me to know and understand far more than what has been taught to us in the two classes covering pregnancy. While it is frustrating, I am trying to view this as an opportunity to take charge of my learning and be prepared for anything. 

Despite all the stress and frustrations I have met with, I have enjoyed having a little more time for myself. I am definitely adjusted to the flow of nursing school; I know when and how to study most effectively as well as when to relax and watch Pretty Little Liars (my guilty pleasure). I look forward to meeting more challenges in the future, but I also hope there are not more than are necessary… 

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Bubble tea, my other guilty pleasure.

AIDS Walk 2014

Yes, I am participating in the Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) annual AIDS Walk. This year, however, I walking as a member of the Linfield team.

Last year I volunteered at the AIDS Walk as a way to integrate myself into the greater Portland community (as well as familiarize myself with my surroundings) and found myself being welcomed into a wonderful community of people who also care about the health and well-being of others. Now that I have succeeded in both joining the Portland community and in making Portland my home away from home, I want contribute more to CAP. 

By participating directly in the AIDS Walk, I am helping raise funds for an organization that directly affects the health of many people in the Portland area. CAP has multiple programs that help with sheltering, training, educating, and supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS. Without the help of organizations like CAP, healthcare providers would have much more to worry about. 

As a future healthcare provider, I want to be involved in responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. My hope is that you will support me and the Cascade Aids Project in our efforts to serve those with HIV and AIDS. Please consider making a donation on my behalf and help me reach my fundraising goal of $200. In addition, please pray for all those affected by HIV/AIDS.

For more information about Cascade AIDS Project, please visit www.cascadeaids.org.

To make a donation on my behalf, please visit aidswalkportland.org/livfragoso.

Tia Liv’s Apple Pie

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My grandparents’ garden has been very fruitful this season (pun intended). Thus far we have harvested figs, plums, blueberries – and now apples! My mother has taken to making applesauce with the abundance of apples my grandparents have given us, but today I took some of the remaining apples and made an apple pie. The following is an adaptation of Grandma Ople’s apple pie recipe.

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Also, my brother helped out!

I made the crust and top from scratch, but pre-made crusts work just as well.

 

For the bottom and top crust:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup frozen butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold water

 

Process all ingredients until dough holds together and forms a ball (about 30 seconds). Remove the dough and shape into two disks. Plastic wrap the dough and chill for about an hour. Next, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chilled disks on a lightly floured surface and roll one at a time with a lightly floured rolling pin. The final disks should be about 1 inch larger than the pie plate. Transfer one dough disk to the plate and press gently to remove air bubbles. Bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes before removing from the oven. Fill the pie plate with the apple filling and cover with the unbaked dough disk, tucking the edges down into the baked crust. Make three small slits in the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top crust is browned.

 

For the filling:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6 cups of apples, cored and sliced into medium-sized chunks

 

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in flour to form a paste. Add water and both white and brown sugar to the mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil then add in 4 cups of apples. Reduce the temperature and let simmer for 5 minutes. Fill the crusted pie plate with the apple filling and cover with the top crust, tucking the edges down. Make three small slits in the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top crust is browned.

Working on the Church

This past week featured the remodeling of the community center at my parish. I am happy to report it is coming along well, thanks to the efforts of the Church. I love using that word. Church. What a great word! For those who are unfamiliar, when the first letter is capitalized the word refers to the community. 

IMG_7236Announcements about the need for volunteers were made in the preceding weeks to the remodel. My family and I decided to commit to one day, reasoning that my brother could stay at home with one of us if need be. Fortunately my brother was in very high spirits the day we went to volunteer. 

The remodel plans for the community center included new wall paint and new floors. It was a priority for the volunteers to prime the space for the painting, meaning that the carpet and laminate flooring had to be removed first. My brother and I got to work pulling up the carpet in one room while the rest of the volunteers scraped off the sticky excess on the floor and removed anything off the wall that could be removed in the others.

Throughout the process, Father would pop in each room and see how everything was progressing. He had already worked in another room on the flooring and was still working on the flooring when we left. Seeing him working so hard tugged my heartstrings. He was a model of servitude.

As I felt my aches and pains the next day from only a couple hours of work, I said jokingly, “Man, that Jesus guy really had it right. Serve from your knees – it’ll save your back.” I wonder how Father is doing… and how the rest of the remodel is too.

National Night Out

Our annual neighborhood celebration of National Night Out was a huge success! The block party, which is typically isolated to a certain part of the cul-de-sac in which I live, was opened up to the neighbors in the surrounding community. The last few years my family and I only made brief appearances at the block party for one reason or another. This year, with my sister being home and the crowd of new faces, we stayed for the majority of the celebration.IMG_7239 Amongst the various conversation topics that came up during the meet and greet portion of the evening, my major always seemed to spark the most interest. Strangers and friends alike expressed their curiosity about my academics, career, and aspirations as a nurse. I will admit, sometimes it is nice to discuss all things nursing. It allows me to show my passion for nursing as well as educate the general public about the many things nurses do. The more people understand the different aspects of nursing, the better. 

Sometimes, however, I become self-conscious talking to strangers about a topic so near and dear to my heart. It is almost as if I do not want to share my experiences because I fear I might have to explain them so thoroughly that my reasoning for sharing the anecdote would be lost in the process. I also fear that I may come across as too passionate and unreasonable. (For instance, in the following paragraph I had to consider my use of the phrase “I believe” for a few minutes before I went forward with my post as it implies unreasonableness.) For many healthcare providers, a balance between professionalism and passion is the golden standard. Professionalism, being equated with reason and scientific evidence, is the most favorable attribute of any healthcare profession. IMG_7253Passion is often associated with “caring too much” and overstepping boundaries. I believe that the line drawn between caring too much for a patient and passion for the patient’s well-being needs to be explained fully to both healthcare providers and receivers at the beginning of their care. It would clarify certain caregiving situations and hopefully lessen hostility to opposite-sex caregivers. Granted, some healthcare providers do cross the line in their profession and are not disciplined for doing so. Likewise, patients sometimes take advantage of their healthcare providers and are simply dealt with. Hopefully with a better (or at least more clear) understanding of any particular healthcare profession’s standards of care, patients and providers will be on better terms with one another. Patients will then receive the best level of care and will not constantly worry about the professionalism of the provider.

A Beautiful Wedding

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 This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding. The bride and I became friends in nursing school after we were placed in the same suite and then in the same clinical group. She is one of the most trustworthy people I know, and a genuinely wonderful person, as is her now-husband. Whenever he visited Linfield, he would ask after each of her friends and actually listened to whatever they had to talk about. Without divulging too much personal information about their relationship, I will say that they are a highly suitable match and their marriage will be an amazing one.

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The seating was not assigned which made it easier to mingle with friends and family.

The wedding itself was very well put together. It was held in a park, in the shade of ridiculously tall trees. The reception tent was to one side of the ceremony area and there were games on the other side. The trellises marking the front of the ceremony area and the entrance to the ceremony were simply adorned with strands of cloth. 

The reception tent was large enough to accommodate many tables, two buffet lines, a dance floor, a DJ, and a bar. There were also plenty of group games to play in the designated area. Off to one side of the reception tent was a small snow cone station where a group of kids were in charge of mixing the various flavored syrups with the shaved ice for the guests. 

According to various announcements throughout the reception, it was a community effort that the happy couple were more than grateful for. For instance, both the bride and groom’s employers catered the event. The bride’s employer provided alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and the groom’s employer provided the dinner and dessert.

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Quite possibly my favorite edible item at the wedding.

What made the wedding beautiful for me was the fact that there was so much love surrounding the event. Every person in attendance truly loved and cared for the bride and groom and only wanted the best for them. It was easy to get along with guests despite not knowing most of them because of our shared opinions of the couple.

Some people get married for different reasons, but sometimes there is a couple who are so right for each other that it only makes sense that they are married. My friend and her husband are one of the latter. Their marriage makes me think of the phrases “soul mate” and “sanctity of marriage.”

The thing is, there is so much more to marriage from a legal perspective that it can get in the way of what marriage really is. Love. Their wedding was full of love – from friends, family, the bride and groom, and so on – and it was hard not to be moved by it all. 

Hearing the stories about their early relationship, whether or not I had heard the story personally, made me appreciate them so much more as people and respect their decision to marry. I am so grateful I was able to attend, not only for their sakes, but for mine. I would happily drive another 5 hours, so long as they married and shared their love with everyone.

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Begin Again

On the roadtrip from southern California earlier last month, my sister read aloud a review about Begin Again. It deemed it worthy of viewing because of one moment, but was otherwise “uninspired.” Unlike me, my sister remembered the review and invited me to see it with her. While we disagreed on our final opinions of it, I am glad we saw it. 

Like all art forms, films are subjected to scrutinization and the perspectives of millions of people. Whether or not Begin Again is relatable, funny, or musically pleasing, it has a specific story to tell. Here is a summary of the film: a musician (Keira Knightley) works with a producer (Mark Ruffalo) to make an album. That’s not terribly interesting is it? The story begins in the details of said musician and producer and their relationships. 

The struggles they face are not unique – the musician broke up with her boyfriend (Adam Levine) after he cheated on her and the producer’s wife cheated on him, leaving him, and led to the estrangement from his daughter. Their problems are not all fixed immediately nor do they end up in a romantic relationship. The film illuminates the changes that do occur in the characters with such subtly that is pleasantly surprising.

 

A question comes to mind: can people truly change?

Take, for instance, a moment in the film when the musician’s celebrity ex plays a song written by the musician as a Christmas gift for him. Initially the ex plays the song the way the musician intended – acoustically – then eventually slides into the pop version his producers created. As the musician watches the stage lights change and the accompaniment begin, she seems to realize he has not changed as he said he would/did. 

Consider also a moment in which the musician and band are in the midst of a recording session. The producer ultimately chose to reach out to his daughter through music, by inviting her to the recording session and asking her to play. They are connecting as father and daughter, despite the obvious presence of other band members. The process of creating music, an activity the producer enjoys and prides himself in, connects the two in that moment.  Yes, the producer relies on a familiar environment, but he induces change.

As someone who has tried repeatedly to spur new beginnings, I can say from experience that change is hard. Ultimately I believe people can change, can truly begin again, if they have the diligence and willingness to do so. 

What do you believe?