Monday, November 28, 2005

Pardon the interruption...

The regularly scheduled negative inner dialog has been replaced by an awesome new outlook...

Alright, I will admit it. I have been a bit down on the school thing, but as P Diddy says, I lost my swagger for a minute. The one and only, often imitated never duplicated DiVa has returned. But watch out, this "B" stings.

I am ready to finish my senior year with confidence. Playtime is over, its time to get serious. I have found a way to communicate my feelings without fear. I think this is a huge accomplishment for me. I think too that entering the environment as a more mature person makes things a little more challenging, but I am sure all you Moms and non-traditionals understand.

My children are killing me. My pre-teen son overheard me discussing the surgical procedures that the kitten will be undergoing pretty soon. He asked why, and I explained to him that the kitten will have reached maturity, and the vet suggested that we have him altered so that he won't ruin the furniture with his secretions. Why did he ask me if it was semen? Ack! I am so freaked out now. Is it time for the talk? I tried to assess how much information he had so that I could give him age appropriate info that he could understand, but I think that he will have that talk with Dad when he gets home from work.

I am just giddy. I am ecstatic and elated. Graduation is so close I can taste it. I can't wait. It will be so nice to just study for the big test and work. Tonight I will be dreaming about my grand walk.



Group Projects Volume 2

Can I tell you, I hate group projects. I have learned a very valuable lesson about how to handle group projects. I must say I am handling the whole prospect much better and telling people just how I feel about things as they occur, but I just need a moment to vent a little bit.

I have talked to many current and former college students and we all agree, group projects SUCK. The group project embodies many different personalities.

For instance there is the "diligent". The "diligent" is that one person that works her ass off. The "diligent" is a perfectionist. She can't bear the thought of a bad grade, so there may be times that he/she won't let anyone else work on the project or accept feedback because he/she doesn't trust your work.

Then there are the "enhancers". These people who make small but significant contributions. Often times these small significant contributions are the only contributions they make to the entire project. But the "enhancer" is often times a very hard worker. This is your guy that finds that cool evidenced based fact that completes your project.

The "slacker", who can forget them? They are the few people/person who does absolutely nothing, but stand there ready to accept their sparkling A with all the rest of the group. The "slacker" is very sneaky, because often times, you don't realize that they haven't done anything until the project is almost complete.

There's the "complainer", who is the one who hates everything you do, but has no better idea of how you should do it.

Oh and the "know it all", they are the resident expert on anything and everything. Don't bother to have an opinion, because it is wrong. Often times the "complainer" and the "know it all" and the "slacker" are all rolled into one person.

Then there is the "delegator" that tells everyone what to do. This is the person who takes the time to quickly review the entire project and take on the parts that they think are the most interesting or easy to accomplish and then leave all the hard work to the others.

Then there is the "scapegoat" who is the poor sap that gets the whole project dumped on them. And even though they get the whole project dumped on them, if it is horribly bad, it's the scapegoat's fault.

DiVa's Tips For Being a Team Player

1. Communicate.
It only takes a second to sit down, discuss a project and make sure that the work is divided into a fair share. It is also good to be in agreement on what is to be done.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
If you are terrible at writing but an awesome finder of good resources, let a person know. This will ensure that you best attributes are utilized.

3. Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.

4. Set expectations, or clear objectives. And also make a reasonable deadline.
That way there is no confusion about what is to be done. Making a deadline will ensure that the project is completed in ample time so that everyone has an opportunity to agree on what will be turned in for a final grade.

5. Decide on one leader.
There cannot be more than one leader. This person should be a fair and objective person who is capable of being in a leadership role without getting on a power trip. The leader needs to have good organization skills and be able to problem solve. This person should be a delegate without being a dictator. A good leader can motivate the "slacker" and avoid becoming the "scapegoat".

6. Do what you are supposed to do in a timely efficient fashion.
There's nothing that makes a person more angry than a person who is unprepared. Plan your time accordingly so that you stay on schedule. Let someone know in advance if you need more time, that way you can get the help you need without stalling the project out too long. Most times, the "enhancer" can jump in with some really great last minute ideas if you get stuck.

7. Get clarification.
If you aren't sure what you are supposed to do ask. And if you are the leader, make your expectations clear.

8. Attack the problem and not the person.
When addressing a situations, say this to yourself over and over and this will help you to stay focused on the problem and not the fact that Susan is a bitch.

9. If you have a problem, speak to that person directly
Don't tell Kim that you have a problem with Susan. You might as well tell Susan in the first place because it will get back to Susan and big trouble will ensue. If Kim comes and tells you that she hates Susan, don't say anything to Kim about Susan because she is still friends with Susan and she will repeat what you said and not what she said. You know, high school stuff. Nip it in the bud.

10. Remember to have fun!
Despite all of the negative stigma associated with group projects, they can be pretty fun. This could be a wonderful opportunity to meet people and develop great relationships with other in your class. It is also a really great opportunity to develop skills that will help you in the real world.

*Bonus* Check your email and try to respond in a timely fashion.
-Often times it is easier to communicate via email

And that is my public service announcement for the day...

Have a good one,


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Too much turkey


Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It gives me a legitimate reason to eat a whole can of cranberry sauce. Plus my Mom makes this fabulous stuffing. This year is a particularly sad one because two of my closest friends have cancer. I have offered to help take care of them and use some of my well practiced nursing skills, but I think that pride gets in the way. And some families have a really great support system in place.

I hadn't planned on cooking this year, but my cousin (who believes that he is dying of what he calls "tooth cancer") and his sister (who happens to be my very favorite cousin in the world) were not going to have any holiday at all. So I made them a little Thanksgiving dinner. Then my daughter and I went over to give it to them and spend a little time chit chatting. It was like being little again. Hanging out with him and his sister, I can think of about a million nursing diagnoses.

His sister has a little drug problem, but she considers herself to be a functional addict. This means that she can use drugs without letting it get in the way of her life. She has three jobs, two legitimate jobs and one job in the sex industry. It is often times quite interesting to hear of her adventures, but then it is a little frightening because she can get herself into life threatening tangles. She also has a daughter who has been exposed to God knows what. This is not a typical kid. As I was talking with and watching my cousin enjoy the small meal I cooked him, I overheard the kids playing. I am a little cautious of my daughter because I like to shield her from things that she does not have the maturity to understand. They weren't playing with toys, (because she didn't have any), they were playing clean the house. Seeing them together reminded me of how me and my cousin used to play together when we were kids. It is so sad that things have changed and now I don't even feel comfortable leaving my purse around her unattended, even though she assured me that she would rather "sell her ass" rather than steal from me. I have no idea where she is in her cycle of addiction.

My male cousin told me that he has cancer. He has also been a closet homosexual for many years. The interesting thing is that he seems to think that we don't know that he is gay, but he still pretends that he his straight and ultra feminine guy. I can't help but do a mini assessment whenever I am around him. He has issues with skin integrity. He also has altered body image. He suffers from depression and spends most of his day in the bed. His bed has no sheets. He sleeps on top of a sheet on top of a mattress. He has a pillow that has a black and white striped shirt as a pillow case. He wears a scarf around his head and a ski hat that ties under his chin on top of that. He has poor nutrition, so he is emaciated and thin.

He is a pathological liar, has been forever, but he and his sister are some of the most fun people to be around...sometimes. The amazing thing is when I talk to him about his sickness, his details are sketchy and they don't make sense. I wish he would go ahead and admit that he has HIV/AIDS so that we can protect him from getting sicker. For example, he was staying with his sister and she didn't keep the tub clean. He had recently had surgery and he submerged himself into a tub of water. He had a raging infection that broke out into his bloodstream and nearly killed him. He told me that he had cancer of the teeth, that broke into his bloodstream and settled in his kidney. He has never had chemo or radiation. He hides his prescriptions from me. I have decided to step away from the situation, respect his privacy and let him tell me what he wants to when he is ready. That is the best way to handle this situation. I've found that he and his sister take my kindness for weakness, so I have to pace myself a little bit. Additionally, their appreciation has turned into expectation.

After I hung out with them for a while, I went out to visit some of my other family members. I went over to my other friend who has cancer and spent some time with her and her family. She is the exact opposite of my cousins. She has breast cancer, and she has lost her hair, but she has her hair cut in a cute little style. Her family is so beautiful and so supportive of her. She did have edema to the left lower extremity, due to an alteration in peripheral vascular perfusion, but I noticed that she always kept her foot elevated. She ambulates with a walker and she cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal. Amazing! It was hard to come up with nursing diagnoses for her because she is so well taken care of by her family. Not to say that my family wouldn't take care of my cousins, but they have manipulated and burned people in our family that people don't want to get involved. My father has dissuaded my involvement in his problems, but someone has to help out. After my little hiatus, I don't know if I can go back over there and fool with them. I think I still want to get my cousin some sheets on his bed so that he won't have additional problems with skin integrity.

While I was with my family, we watched Madagascar. That movie is so cute, and funny! I didn't know that AliG was the voice of the king of the lemurs. He was really good. There was an message in this movie and I am trying to figure out what it is. The one that is most obvious to me is that all the characters of the movie were in the zoo, and that in the wild they would more than likely be food to the lion. But the lion was able to find alternative ways to deal with his natural carnivorous urges. The friendship between the group of animals was stronger than his hunger, but let's just keep it real. If it was the discovery channel, that zebra would have got his butt chomped!

Alright, I can't really think of anything else to write about so I will go back to eating cake and watching movies.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween observations...

Last night I took the children trick or treating. It was like a typical Halloween except people didn't have their lights on. My kids didn't get very much candy in their little bags. They blamed it on George Bush. Ha-ha! Yeah, that's his fault too. Well, I didn't vote for him...

We left the house a bit earlier than usual for trick or treating, and once we rounded the first block the kids said, my feet hurt. Then after the second block it was, can we stop now? My baby niece was whining, then her sister starting whining. The boys were fine. My daughter wanted me to carry her and so did her on-again-off-again best friend (5 year olds) These kids are out of shape. I couldn't believe it. When we were kids, we had pillow cases full of candy. We didn't want to stop, ever! We could have trick or treated ALL NIGHT LONG. The poor kids had no motivation. Come on folks, where is your Halloween spirit?

Now I have to clean my room. This is a dreaded task, but someone has to do it. This kitten has gone mad! He is bouncing off the walls. I feel so sorry for him because he spend most of his day by himself. Then, when we get home from school and work he doesn't know what to do with himself. He got his first series of shot and he got treated for his little fleas and what not about a month ago. Now the fleas have returned. He needs discipline. I gave him a squirt with the spray bottle and he licks his fur and starts all over again. That is so strange because my man hates taking a bath. I tried to bath him once and he ripped open my hand. Last week after the kids finished their bath, he was standing on the edge of the tub. He leaned over too far an fell into the tub full of water. It was quite funny, but I don't think that he liked it very much.

Daylight savings time was this weekend. I didn't even notice. It snuck up on me, but that's cool because I haven't been late yet. This weekend is Salsa weekend. I am going out to hit the dance floor once again. I am not looking forward to that dreaded hammerlock position. It is a position where your arm is kind of twisted around behind your back in sort of a wrestling move. Oww! My arm is still sore from last week. My dancing goal is not to have jazz hands or anything, but to be able to dance Cuban style salsa, like in Salsaville! I can't wait until I am really good at this. I am working out in the gym on my off Salsa days to improve my endurance and flexibility. Those meringue songs can last for almost half an hour! I have yet to find a regular partner. I have a guy that I dance with pretty regular on Thursdays, we'll see how that goes.

It is time to decide where I want to spend my last round of clinical. I have no idea what I want to do. I like every area of nursing. I wish I could do clinical close to home, but I know that is probably not going to be the best option. I would like to work in a unit where I can use my Spanish, but that would be kind of far away. I will figure something out...