Flustered mistakes

I don’t know why… but every time I have to do something at the hospital in front of my instructor, it makes me so nervous that I keep making really dumb mistakes that I know better.

I thought part of it was just because of the classmates watching too… but then, this time was an unannounced check, and only one classmate was even there.

And I did my worst yet.

I seriously couldn’t even manage to get the film cassette pointed the right direction…. which is probably the most basic task you could imagine. Black side goes towards the patient, side with writing and diagrams and bar codes goes away from them. This is like first day of first semester stuff.

And the instructor in general seems to like me… but still… this completely throws me off every time.

I’ve got to get the mental game under control here, or I’m gonna have some majorly low scores.

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Imagining shadows

The more I keep working with xray images, the more i’m discovering that it’s really about like working with shadows.

It’s the same sort of thing really… something in the way blocks some of the “light” from going through as much as the other areas, and makes a shape.

But it’s harder than it would first appear to be able to tell exactly what is where… which side is which… when you are just looking at the wall and it all looks shadow.

Is this a front rib or a back rib? Is the person twisted with the left side too far forward, or the right side?

Actually, sometimes at this point with some views, its even hard to tell if it was taken from the front or from the back.

I think what I need for christmas is a skeleton and a large flashlight.

The bear risk

For most of her life, Boo had a bear.

A pink bear, originally a shower gift from my aunt… it quickly turned into her favorite animal, and soon went everywhere with her. Even back and forth to daycare.

After about a year of this, we asked my aunt where she had gotten the bear, hoping to get a second one to rotate for cleaning sake, and it had come from toys r us… but they no longer sold them when we checked. My mom found a somewhat similar bear, and bought it to keep at her house, but “subby bear” was promptly rejected.

But unfortunately, a few years ago during a vacation in texas, the bear was lost.

Before we left Houston, I remember telling Boo to make sure he got put with the bags. And that’s the last time I remember seeing him for sure.

We noticed he was missing when we got ready for bed that night in Dallas. She said that instead of putting him with the bags, she put him back to sleep in the bed.

I called the hotel that night, and they said he hadn’t been found when the room was cleaned. I called again the next morning to talk with housekeeping to see if he’d been picked up with the blankets, and still no luck.

With no sign of the bear, we had to head for home.

Thinking back, I remember when we checked into the dallas hotel, that Boo had asked me if she could take something in with her as we went in the lobby… and I remember saying ok, as long as she was careful to keep track of it. I still can’t remember whether it was one of her travel toys, the DVD player, or the bear… but playing through my memory, I keep wondering if it was actually the bear. But then, we had issues with the front desk saying we didn’t have the right reservation, which I ended up having to go back to the car and find the printed confirmation to prove, and then got told it would be longer to be allowed in the room, so I was distracted dealing with that, and not with watching whatever she had brought inside. In any case, it wasn’t in the lobby when we checked out that morning, if it was left there.

After we got home, I printed off postcards with the bear’s picture and description, my contact info, and an offer of a reward, and mailed them to each of the hotels that we stayed at on the trip… as well as to every place listed on my debit card as somewhere we stopped on the trip… and never got any response.

I tried online to find a copy of the bear, but with no luck. I even tried posting pics to a website dedicated to finding replacements for kids loveys, but still no luck.

I remember that the tag said “russ” on it, so I tried hunting down a site listing russ bears to even have more info on it, but I can;t even find that.

At some point, I created some ebay searches… hoping it would someday turn up there. I narrowed them down and refined them…. one for the russ stuffed animal category that hit for pink and bear but only without mention of rattle, one for the bear category that hit for russ and pink and bear but not rattle, etc.

And then, using rss, I subscribed to the results of each of these searches… tossing them all into a folder… so that I can click on it and just quickly scroll past and see all of the bears that aren;t the bear that I’m looking for.

That was summer of 2008.

It’s been 4 years now.

The tears and random wailing moments of missing the bear have passed. It’s probably been at least a year since she’s even mentioned it.

But the other day… on the way to the carnival to stuff animals, she mentioned that she hoped they had one like her bear.

Out of the blue.

What she doesn’t know…. is that last week, I bought a bear from ebay.

No, it’s not the same bear. But it’s sort of close.

The size is the same…. just over a foot tall… which hasn’t been common in the listings. Most russ bears seem to be much smaller.

The stuffing material is the same… mostly normal stuffing, but the bottoms of the feet and hands and lower part of the belly are made with beans like a beanie baby.

And the coloring is at least pink…. though her other one was solid light pink, and this one is tie dyed sort of shades of pink.

But… as much as I’d had hope for it when I saw it in the pics… my first response when it arrived is that it’s off.

The face isn’t right. Her bear had a more pronounced snout and a large black nose, this one has a smaller pink nose.

The ears are too big, and a bit too low. The arms are a bit too long, maybe an inch or so. There isn’t a tail.

And the outside material just isn’t the same. Close, but not quite.

It’s obviously made by the same company, probably a year or two off…. enough to make me even more sure that i remember the company right.

But I’m really not sure how well it’s going to go over if I give her this obviously not quite right bear.

Will she be accepting that its another bear like her old one? Or am I going to just open up a new wound, more wailing and sorrow, and a rejection like “subby bear” got back when she was like 2?

It has been hanging out in the closet. I can’t decide whether or not to take the risk.

Maybe at christmas? But then, that seems dangerous to have her in a foul mood from revisiting lost bear thoughts when its already a sort of rough time most years.

I’d generally write it off… just figure it was another bear that wasn’t right…. but for that comment on the drive.

Do I really want to try it? Am I ready if this goes poorly?

Tractor “rides”

There was a poster announcing activities for the family weekend at my college.

I’ve never actually attended this sort of thing before, because my family was too far away to come the first time around… and as an older student I never really fit in at the state college.

But the list of activities sounded like something a 10 year old kid might like, and so we went.

And I was really impressed!

The carnival had mentioned “BBQ dinner“. I expected this to mean hot dogs, maybe hamburgers.

It was actually a catered meal with pulled pork, chicken, and tons and tons of sides.

One of the other carnival items was listed as stuff-a-zoo. I expected kids to be poking a bit of stuffing into beanie baby sized animals at best.

Oh no…. expect for clothing, this was a portable build-a-bear… lots of animal choices, of really high quality, large animals that ended up about a foot tall and had really soft fur.

Boo has already swiped my penguin… to go with her dolphin… and i’m betting she has grandma’s tiger soon.

The last event of the carnival we went to check out was just listed as tractor rides… and was in another part of the campus, so they had a cart shuttling back and forth.

We expected this to be a hay ride. Right?

Uh, not exactly.

<img src=http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/525008_3488621149250_1456854508_n.jpg width=300>

That would be my kid. DRIVING a tractor in a field near cars.

Granted, they did have guys walking behind to help with things like getting them started… but still…. kids are actually driving farm equipment. not go karts… large heavy things!

Only in the plains… lol

Trashy customer wants

Until recently, there were three main garbage collecting companies in town… and a handful of smaller ones.

The local company sold out to company number three…. officially meaning that #3 now had more new customers in this metro area than they had original customers.

Our entire neighborhood with very few exceptions has always had company #2. We actually got a special neighborhood discount because such a high percentage of the homes were all on the same service.

Now, #3 is a national company. After a few weeks, they started using their own branded trucks, so it wasn’t the equipment they wanted in this deal…. basically what they bought was the customers.

It has now been three months. And when you go through our neighborhood, very very few people still have the cans from company 2/3.

They bought customers, only to lose almost all of them to a mix of several of the smaller ones.

And they can’t figure out why.

There have been commercials and news stories from them trying to promise people the rates won’t go up if they stay… and trying to play it up that they still have the same employees…

But nobody cares.

And the reason why is actually really simple.

This land is flat, and the city is old.

That might not seem like it would make a difference, but it does.

Because everything until you get out to the suburbs is set up as a grid. There are no mountains to get in the way of the straight lines… and cul-de-sacs dont happen until you hit the recently build areas.

Almost everywhere around here is a standard rectangle layout… with an alley down the middle of each block and houses on each side close to the two streets as to make back yards about 3 times the size of the front yards.

Why does that matter to a trash company?

Because around here, trash cans are supposed to go in the alley. That way, the smell and mess are further from the house, you dont have to move the cans back and forth on the right morning, and the trucks don’t block traffic picking it up. Many of the houses have concrete areas specifically for the trash cans to sit, and have a sort of notched area that isn’t fenced to allow them to sit just outside the fence, but be able to have bags put inside without opening the gates.

The alleys aren’t paved, but they are easily driveable… a lot of the houses usually have the garage driveway coming in from the alley instead of the street.

But the national trash companies don’t seem to get it. Neither one does alley service, saying that it is harder on their trucks to take a beating on non-paved alleyways.

When #3 took over, they didn’t even announce that they were ending alley service. They just suddenly didn’t pick up the trash the week that their own trucks took over, and when people called, they were told that they’ve never offered alley service.

If they don’t actually offer what the people are actually buying… does it really surprise you that they’d rather change to a company that does offer what they want instead of just changing to what you want to offer them?

And yet they can’t seem to figure out why they paid a lot of money to buy customers that suddenly all jumped ship the minute that their bills came due again.

Meanwhile… 3 of the smaller companies merged to be better able to handle the increase…. and they are running out of cans to give to all of their new customers! They are bringing out the older cans that look like they had probably been retired… and the one that my mom has is actually supposed to be the largest style of recycling bin.

They offer alley service. All they had to do was send out a single flyer, and that’s all the flyer had to say other than the phone number.

What day is it?

There’s this point… where schedules have flipped and changed and been filled so much… that you have no idea anymore what you’ve got going on and when.

I’ve reached that point.

I keep accidentally forgetting what days I have classes when making appointments… thinking I have one afternoon off when that’s the day I have lab… or a different day open when its a day that I work every week.

And sometimes I find myself knowing that I’m sure that I probably have something I have to do the next morning, but not being able to remember anymore exactly what thursday morning holds… even though thats the class that hasn’t changed times at all this semester.

I’m starting to realize how much I rely on stable routines and patterns…. but only because all of the craziness has me totally turned around and in want of one.

Is this semester over yet?

Power and closeness

As I mentioned, we went to an airshow this weekend.

Besides getting to see hangars and insides of planes and such, this is basically a change for pilots to show off the capabilities of their planes and their skills.

The last major event of the day involved the thunderbirds.

At one point, while 4 or 5 of the planes were doing something cool off to one side, one plane slipped around, and buzzed past the crowd from the opposite direction… scaring the snot out of everyone and making ears really hurt…. to show off their stealth abilities.

And at other points, multiple times during the day, the announcers explained that the particular plane was basically having to limit itself… to go less than half the speed that it normally would for example…. in order to be able to be close enough that we could see it well.

Because we, with our lack of protective equipment, would be hurt by the sound if they went any faster…. or if they got any closer.

The one thunderbird hurt ears enough to remove any doubt that might have existed as to whether they were telling the truth.

Suddenly, the incident on the mountain between god and moses makes more sense…. when moses asked to see his glory, and god had to hold him against the rock and could only let him see the back of his after he had passed by, because otherwise he would be destroyed.

If mere humans can create something with enough power to harm someone just by passing by… yeah, i’m thinking thunderbird has to be pretty small in comparison to all powerful being.

will be so nice when we no longer need earplugs!