Monday, December 31, 2012

Sleeping like a baby [Harrison pictures]

On my days off one of my favorite things to do is to get Harrison up with Ashley. We open the door to the nursery and he is incredibly happy; smiling, laughing, arms flailing, legs kicking. It is an amazing site. This morning we heard him stirring and a few minutes later decided to go in but we were not greeted as usual, instead this is what we found.

He must have fallen back to sleep and was not ready to be up yet.

What a great age.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Let me know what you think

I am trying out a new blogging application that will hopefully allow me to blog more often. It is the Blogger app for the iPod Touch, making blogging away from my laptop a fairly easy accomplishment. I am going to experiment with it over the next few days and please let me know what you think. I know some people still read my blog, last month 1,000 people visited here, but I am fairly certain most of the readers I had a few years ago no longer visit due to my lack of posting. I am hoping to change that with new ways for me to blog in order to build up readership and to exercise my writing again.

If some of you are willing to visit the blog again, maybe spread around to friends, and leave some feedback I would very much appreciate that.

Do you has favorite blogging tools and apps? How is the formatting with the current app I am using? Lead everything in the comments section.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year end deals

Hey readers,

Some of you know that I am an Amazon Affiliate.  What that means is that when you click on my affiliate links it will take you to Amazon and can shop how you normally would, but when you buy items Amazon sends me a small cut of the money that they make from what you buy.  It does not cost you anything extra, in fact the only thing you have to do is click on the link I post to get to Amazon and Amazon does the rest.  You do not even have to buy products that I link, Amazon will reward me for anything else you buy as well.  So, if you want to shop on Amazon, and you want to help out my little family, use my affiliate link to shop Amazon, or click on the things I post for Amazon.

Now that you sat through all of that, here are the Amazon Year End Deals. Received something awesome for Christmas but still need those accessories to go with it?  How about something that was on your list but Santa forgot to get it out of his bag? Head on over to Amazon they are having great deals at up to 60% off.

Get what you need before the New Year because the Amazon Year End Deals Sale ends 11:59pm on December 31.


Friday, July 20, 2012

On the shooting in Aurora Colorado

I was able to catch bits and pieces throughout my hectic work day.  A lone gunman waited for a crowded movie theater to begin to empty after a showing of The Dark Knight Rises and he opened fire, killing many, injuring many more, among them children.  My heart aches for those families, especially for those that lost children.  The harm of children causes a lump to catch in my throat ever since Harrison was born; those things are hard to hear.  It is in these times that I am reminded of the story about Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs by Dave Grossman.

In Colorado a wolf showed up in those pastures and surprised the sheep as they went about their day, seemingly oblivious to the dangers that filled their world.  Unfortunately there were no sheepdogs around to protect the flock, and the wolf killed many of them.

I have long considered myself a sheepdog, knowing that wolves lurk on the edges of society and want nothing more then to hurt others, and I have steadied myself to the fact that I may have to defend myself, those I love, and those innocent among the public when the wolf does attack.  The wolf has sharp teeth, but so do I and will meet the violence of the wolf with violence of my own.

Many people become upset that I carry a gun, like the sheep that are upset that the sheepdog has sharp teeth, because my gun is a reminder that bad guys have guns as well.  I, however, will never use my gun to harm the innocent among us, but should the bad guy come around wishing to do harm I will stand up and defend you, just like the sheepdog will never bite a sheep but will use his teeth when the wolf comes looking for dinner.

It is also during these tragedies that I am starkly reminded exactly why I carry a gun; I have a flock of my own to tend to.  My son can not care for himself and it is my duty as his father to protect him when evil comes knocking.  Likewise it is my duty to my wife that I ensure that she is protected as well if evil decides to target my family and disrupt my peace.

I would be content to live out my days and die an old sheepdog, circling my flock, being vigilantly alert for every danger, never having to use my teeth, but if the wolf shows up at my door I will respond in a ferociously violent manner until the wolf either retreats or leaves this planet.

I have a family to protect.  I am  sheepdog.  It is okay if you are a little afraid because of my teeth, but just know, should the wolf show up I will be here.

Stay safe my friends,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Letter to my son at three months

Dear Harrison,

Right now, at 6:16 pm on Thursday July 20, 2012, you are sleeping in your swing with the sound of lullabies in your ears.  You are three months old today and as I watch your stomach move in and out, you are still in that stage of breathing, I understand that you are a healthy, happy little boy.  I have so much to say to you at three months, where do I even begin?

The hours leading up to your birth were eventful to say the least.  Your heart rate was doing odd things with and without the contractions, and because I was in nursing school at the time I was running a million things through my head.  I was very calm and collected on the outside, as I should have been, because it was not about me, it was about you and your mom.  If I looked worried, mommy would worry, and mommy had enough to worry about for the time being, so I put on a brave face, exchanged glances with the midwife and other nurses, and...

...fell apart inside.

Every time the fetal heart rate monitor decelerated or accelerated when it was not supposed or when it would read skipped beats altogether, I crumbled and ached and felt desperately lost as to what to do.  My world slowed down, my vision would tunnel, and things stopped making sense.

I was scared, but more than scared; I was absolutely terrified.

There are few times that daddies are scared, but that moment was one of them.  I had not even met you yet, but I already loved you more than even I knew possible (I sometimes joke with your mom that I know what the Grinch felt like because my heart great 3 sizes that day) and  I could not possibly bear the tremendous heartache of having something go wrong.  I kept my strong dad face on, trusted in the nurses and midwife, said a few prayers and pushed on supporting mommy.

And then you arrived and we cried great big tears of happiness and joy and I can only imagine that you will not know that joy until you have a child of your own. I have never been happier than the day you were born and the days that have followed for these past 3 months.  How amazing life has been!  Sure the first few days were filled with sleep deprivation, although you slept like a baby no pun intended) as long as mommy or I were holding you, and then you became very jaundiced and life was filled with doctor appointments and heel sticks, but finally you were home, healthy, and we could enjoy you...sleep.  But you were amazingly adorable while sleeping and we could not help but stare and smile and fall in love more and more with this little human that was suddenly part of this world with us.

At this point in your life you seem to recognize mommy and I, and you give us the biggest smile when we come into your field of vision.  I live for that smile, think about that smile, and when I get home I come to you and wait for you to give me that smile; and my heart melts.

Your favorite things right now are when mommy sings to you and when I make funny noises.  Your face lights up and you give the biggest smile I have ever seen!  You also love to have tummy time with us and of course, cuddle time with mommy and I, on the rare mornings that I do not work.

You, and subsequently I, have a great life right now.  I could not imagine my life without you in it, and even on the days when I am in a bad bad, you make me laugh.  I can not wait to continue to spend these months with you and I am excited to explore what else the world has to offer you.  Soon you will begin to crawl, then walk, and heaven help us when you learn to talk, but I am so excited to be a part of them with you.

You, my little dude, have made my life awesome and I love you more than you can possibly know until you have children of your own.

Stay awesome,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New orders in my chart: 240ml coffee p.o. q 30 mins PRN

A few weeks ago I was offered, and accepted, a second shift per diem position as a graduate nurse in a Long Term Care facility.  At the same time I have kept my day job with my current company and have been doing 3-4 double shifts a week between both jobs.


I have always loved and consumed copious amounts of caffeine, mostly in the form of coffee, but sometimes in more dubious ways (yes I am looking at you Red Bull and your party time friend vodka), but now I am understanding just how much I need coffee.  I wake up and know my day will be long and after hitting the snooze button for 5 more minutes of sleep I hit the Keurig button to brew up a strong cup o'joe.

Oh! How I love me some coffee!

After a few strong cups at home, and maybe a large Iced Coffee from Dunkin' Donuts on the way to work, I am good to go for awhile, but by the time my shift as a superhero* starts I am in desperate need of more, and in comes the coffee from the nurse's break room.  

It is strong.  It is consumed black and hurriedly.  It should come with the option to spike it and run directly into the vascular system.  It is the stuff that keeps everyone health care facility in the world running at seemingly impossible rates.

It is not a surprise how excited I was when I found some great articles on Life Hacker about coffee.

Because I am a geek I loved the article about what caffeine actually does to your brain.  It is full of science-y goodness such as adenosine, adenosine receptors, the chemical properties of caffeine, and how it all works together to give you that buzz to get you through the day.

Because I am a nurse and a multi-tasker I also found this user guide to being optimally wired from caffeine to be incredibly interesting, informative, and most of all, useful for people like me.  It suggests 20-200mg of caffeine per hour, which potentially means a cup of coffee every single hour.

Thank you science for reinforcing the validity of my habit!

The last, and perhaps my favorite coffee related article of the day is this one telling you how to brew the best possible cup of coffee without breaking the bank.  Okay, so maybe you do not need to use distilled water, but I can assure you, my coffee tastes much better when the water is from my Brita water pitcher as opposed to my tap water.  I do not necessarily think a French Press is necessary as I love the Keurig, but coffee from a French Press is certainly tasty.

So there you have it friends, fellow nurses, and those that are not nurses but need coffee flowing through their veins at all times, you are not alone, and now now you have science to help you out with it.  Drink on.


*The difference between nurses and superheros is that nurses do not need special powers to do their amazing feats.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dear Pediatrician

Today Harrison received his first round of vaccinations.  I took his temp around 21:45 and it was at 100.4, so while I was not too concerned, I understand that 100.4 in the first few months of life could warrant at least a call to the Pediatrician.  Our Pediatrician has an after hours line open until 10pm, so I gave them a call and told them the issue.

The response back was nothing less than holier than thou snark.  She, in a condescending tone, informed me that he could have a low grade fever in the first 24 hours, and that 100.4 was low grade and that it could go up to 102.5.

Look, I understand issues involved with vaccines, and I also know that 100.4 is considered to be a fever in infants up to 6 months of age, and I understand I called your established after hours line at 21:55, but do not talk to me like I am an idiot.  Even if you believe that I am an idiot for calling you, give me the information in a polite manner.  If 100.4 was not a temperature to call the office for then they should have given me real parameters to work with instead of vaguely telling me a "low grade fever".  I am a smart cookie, I have a degree in Registered Nursing, I can handle real deal parameters.  What I can not handle is rude doctors that treat their patients like we are a burden.

At the end of the day my wife and I, and us alone, are responsible for the well being of our child.  The Pediatrician reaps no rewards nor does she suffer any consequences for what happens in the life of my child and because of that I will act accordingly in the best interest of my child and my child alone, even if that means the Pediatrician is inconvenienced by having to call me back on the after hours line that her practice set up.

I am a father and husband first and because of that I do not take kindly to bullshit and attitudes in regards to my family especially from a peer in the healthcare industry.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 has brought many great things

February seems like a lifetime ago.

Since my last post I turned another year older, Ashley brought a beautiful baby boy into the world and we named him Harrison, and I have finished nursing school, started working as a nurse, and will take the NCLEX sometime this summer.  Time seems to have passed quickly, and it always seem to move much faster when time is what you have the least.

Reading Area Community College
Registered Nursing
Class of 2012

Graduating from Nursing School has been a huge accomplishment.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Despite already having a degree, Nursing school was so much harder to accomplish and it took everything I had to do it.  Now that it is over I have some great memories of the friends that I2012 made and some of them will be remain in my life for years to come.

I have also been hired in a nursing position in a local Long Term Care facility in a Float Pool position.  It is not a full transition into nursing just yet, and I still have my other job, but it is a step until full time positions open up in a saturated market in this area and I can actually practice the skills in order to keep them.

The most exciting thing to happen in my life is that my amazing wife Ashley gave birth to our son Harrison.  The birth of a child is truly life changing.  That sounds like a horrible cliche, but it completely and utterly true.  Life with Harrison, the two months so far, has been amazing.  He is beginning to smile when Ashley or I walk into the room, and that smile is what I love to see everyday.  He, without a doubt, makes every day awesome.

2012 has definitely brought exciting things to the Life of Anthony and it looks like it will only get better from here.  Now with school over I should have more time to blog, so stay tuned for more to come and share it with my family.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

A letter to my unborn son.

It will not be long now before you enter this world, and change my life forever.  I could not be more excited for your arrival, I also could not be more terrified, but that is okay as well, we will be terrified together for the first few days.  Eventually, and very quickly, you and I will acclimate to the shock and awe of this new world.  You will begin to discover that the booming voice you hear is me, and you will learn that the other voice you hear, the voice that is very familiar and offers you comfort, is the same voice you heard from inside your safe world before this one; it is the voice of your amazing mother.
You will discover that you have hands and fingers, and these will be the instruments in which you explore this cool new world, and the tools with which you will hold onto me.  You will also discover that you have feet, and that, for some reason, they will be delightfully tasty to you for awhile.  You will also learn that there will be a lot of people surrounding you, and they might scare you at first, because you were used to hanging out by yourself for 40 weeks, but do not worry, they love you, and your awesomeness will make you irresistible to others (this will also come in handy later in life).

In my time waiting for you, I have been thinking about things that I would like you to know when you enter this world, and hopefully remember as you embark on this remarkable journey through life.  I hope you find them to be useful and I will continue to help you learn to get through this world, and you, undoubtedly, will teach me a thing or two along the way as well.

The first thing I want you to know is that you do not need to grow up too fast, nor do you need to take on the world too early.  That is exactly why I am here.  I will carry the weight of the world on my shoulders until you become a man and then I will pass it onto you so that you may do the same for your children.  Your job will be to play in the dirt, laugh at all the things little boys (and grown men) find hysterical, watch cartoons, take things apart, dig up worms and enjoy everything your little heart could possibly imagine.

Do not be afraid to try new things, even if you do not do well, you may even fail at them.  That is okay.  The light bulb was not invented in a day.  Every brilliant man and woman on this planet that has had success also has a long road paved with failures.  The important thing is that you keep trying and you will find what excites you, and then excel at that; knock it out of the park.

You will find that sometimes life is not "fair", and that there will always be people that enjoy being mean, people that will not want you to succeed and will hate you when you do succeed.  Do not let these people bother you.  Continue on in your pursuits with your head held high.  The best way to silence a critic is to prove them wrong.  

Be kind and treat other with respect.  This is important.  It does not mean that you have to let people take advantage of you.  It is especially important to be kind and respectful to people that you lead or manage or people that others may view as "below you" socially and economically.  The way you treat the less fortunate is a true indicator of the kind of man you will be; the way you treat them even if your peers are not treating them well, is an even better indicator. 

Most importantly I will always love you.  My love is unconditional and unequivocal, and it always will be, no matter what happens or which life decisions you make.  This love will cause me to fight to the end of the earth for you,  to hold your hand when you are lost, hug you when you are scared.  It is with this love that I will read bed time stories, build Lego sky scrapers, climb into tree houses, turn it into a fort, and fight imaginary foes with water balloons and sling shots.  I will be there for you with words of wisdom when you fall in  love the first time, and again when she breaks your heart.  I will be there when you find your true love and when you start a family of your own.  I will be there for your triumphs and let downs, and through it all, it will be always be made out of love.  This same love will also cause me to send you to your room or ground you.  Do not mistake this as me being mean, it is the greatest love in which I do this, because without discipline life becomes much harder.

Those are some of the tips I have for you, and while they are not numerous, they are by no means exhaustive.  They will get you started and carry you through for awhile, but always remember, when you are feeling lost and confused with what to do, I am your father, and I will not have all the answers, but it is always easier to figure it out with someone else helping.

See you soon little dude,
Your Dad