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Even though the students weren't there today, I had a busy day doing the stuff I do when students aren't there. I got in early to type up the notes from our last 4th semester team meeting so I could send them to my colleagues in advance of our next meeting this morning. Then I worked on accreditation stuff for a while, in anticipation of our accreditation team meeting this afternoon.

In between I worked on my next lecture. It deals with septic shock. The conference I attended last week had all the newest guidelines for sepsis, and a lot has changed in how we screen for sepsis, what we call what we find, and how we treat it. I will need to still teach the old stuff, as the questions on the licensing exams are somewhat behind the latest trends. I will teach the new stuff too, though, because that's what the students will face when they get out in practice.

I called one of my old friends in the ICU who is in my old educator role. We chatted for a bit, and talked about how they are approaching the new guidelines. They are somewhat in the middle, between the old stuff and the new stuff, as is the hospital where I take my students. It took a long time to get people to take sepsis seriously and embrace the old guidelines. It is somewhat gratifying that they embraced them so vigorously that they are reluctant to let go, but they will, as they always do.

We had our team meeting, which went well. I am the faculty lead for our team this semester, and it feels kind of strange to be leading the meetings. I also get stuck taking the notes. In any case, we have a standard format for team notes now, and it works out well.

I usually try and get out of there and get lunch on the way home, but since I had an afternoon meeting, I walked over to the sandwich place next to the coffee place I like. I haven't eaten there in years, since I was in the photography program. After they opened, they invited student artists and photographers to hang their work, and sell it. I was able to hang a bunch of prints, and made more money than I ever expected.

Now that it is so close, I decided to get a sandwich. It was big--so big that I saved half for tomorrow. It was delicious as well, and only one of a substantial sandwich menu. I'll be back for sure.


After I ate I got ready for my accreditation team meeting. It was productive, and we are all on the same page. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we need to do that work anyway for our nursing board visit next year.

I came home and watched the first episode of the new Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam. The first episode related the history that led up to the war. Some of it I knew, but much was new to me. I think it is going to be a fascinating and illuminating story, as pretty much everything Ken Burns tackles is.

During our accreditation meeting, we got off track a bit and someone started talking about a student at another nursing program who wanted to take their service dog with them to their clinical rotation in the hospital, and about all the places dogs can't (or shouldn't go) in a hospital. In my mind I thought, "I have my subject line!"

September 17--Into the Woods.

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:31 pm
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I managed to get Malida out into the world, and we drove out to the Cosumnes River Preserve, which is a nature preserve along the Cosumnes River. I seem to recall writing about this place before, and the whole thing about there only being one N in Cosumnes. In any case, we went out there for a walk.

It was a spectacular day for a walk. The temperature was in the mod 70s, and there was a gentle breeze from the west, which is where the best breezes come from. There were quite a few cars parked, but we really didn't see that many people on the trail. It's kind of spread out. We took the loop that goes out to the river, and then back through the fields.

I've been coming here since it first opened back in the 80s. I remember when they planted oak trees that are now getting large. It's always been one of my favorite places to come and think and walk.

into the woods

After our hike, which earned us about 11,000 steps each, we headed to the Korea BBQ place and had a nice lunch, then headed home to enjoy the balance of our weekend.
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I spotted this one from the car as Debbie was driving us somewhere. It's a building I've known about for over a year, but didn't know the location. I recognized it immediately from seeing it in a photograph.

The neighborhood has gotten a bit sketchy (notice they have a barbed wire fence around their parking area), but I had to get photos of this important building.

Milo S. Ketchum, Jr. was an engineer and thin concrete shell innovator. In 1953, he needed a larger office for his engineering firm Ketchum, Konkel & Hasting. This building was Ketchum's design (I suspect he may have worked with architect Thomas E. Moore but have not confirmed this). The tall north windows allowed plenty of natural light, without shadows or glare, for drafting. I was very pleased to see that another architectural-construction firm now uses this building.


September 16--My little buddy Al

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:35 pm
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I sat out on the back patio this morning, sipping my coffee and just enjoying the day. Nothing hanging over me. As I was sitting there, I heard the loud hummingbird approaching the feeder. He dwelled there for a moment, then flew toward me. He kind of flew back and forth sideways in front of me, getting closer and closer. When he was about 2 feet from me, he kind of hovered and watched me for close to a minute. Then he flew to the left of me and watched for a bit longer.

The feeder was almost empty, so I took it as a sign that he wanted new food, which I provided. I was thinking about him as I cleaned the feeder. He is the only one who makes noise like that. Most of them are pretty quiet. He is also the one that chases some of the other hummingbirds away from the feeder. I decided that he is the alpha hummingbird for this little piece of the world, and that the sound is deliberate. From now on I will call him Al.

No, I didn't have my camera with me. :(

I went out for a walk in the late morning. Malida is heavy into watching Game of Thrones, so didn't want to leave. This evening she proudly declared that she had walked almost 300 steps today! Lol. She works these 14 hour days, and I don't blame her for staying put on her day off. Tomorrow we are planning a little hike at the wildlife preserve.

I walked in the park. It was kind of overcast, and muggy, but only in the low 80s, which is tolerable. The park was full of people doing things. I did my usual circuit.

the park

This picture looks skewed to the right a bit, but I don't think it is. when I look through the viewfinder, I tend to skew to the left a bit. I don't know. I'm confused now.

Anyway, as I was getting toward the end of the walk, I added a resonator to an Ingress portal, and saw on the screen that this particular action elevated me to the next level. I don't play very aggressively any more, so it has taken a while to get to this level. I was pleased. Later, I looked at the stats generator and it is predicting that, at my current rate of play, I will get the highest level of a particular medal in the year 2080. I'll be 124 years old. Something to live for.

level 13

September 15--Exam I

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:51 am
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We had our first exam yesterday on the new platform. I got there super early for really no reason, since I had already set everything up, and couldn't open the exam until it was time to open it. So I sat and fretted about it for an hour. I was actually kind of anxious about the whole thing. Our students' grades come entirely from the 5 exams and the final, and I didn't want to be the one to screw things up.

I brought the students into the testing site about 15 minutes early in case there were problems with them getting into the testing site. They were all able to get in just fine. I, on the other hand, was unable to log into the teacher station and had to have the IT guy come up and take a look. Caps lock was on. D'oh!

We started the test on time and it went without a hitch. Meanwhile, at the alternative testing site, they were getting pop-up ads on their test screens, and IT had to come figure it out. Malware, I think.

About halfway through the test, I changed the access password, as the security people recommended. Almost immediately hands shot up all across the room. The students had been kicked out of the test. It was an easy fix and they all got back on. Note to self: don't change the password in the middle of the exam.

After the exam was done, I realized that I had spent so much time building the eval sites and the exam, that I never thought about how to grade it. Fortunately, this platform we are using is really intuitive, and after a couple of clicks I had it figured out. I was sweating it though, imagining all the scores disappearing into the mists, never to return.

Once the exam was graded and the scores were posted, I breathed a sigh of relief, and felt really good about the whole thing. I went home and took a nice nap.

exam 1

September 14--Strawberry

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:02 pm
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I spent the first part of the morning checking my students off on competencies. Unfortunately, there was a room mix-up, and all of our students ended up in a cramped space where we keep our hospital beds. We are still working out the room thing in our trailer village. Interestingly, there is another classroom in our little village, and when we moved, we were told that the program that was in that classroom couldn't be moved, so we weren't going to get the classroom.

Well, the program moved anyway, and the classroom was re-carpeted and repainted within 5 days of them moving out. Yay! Oh, wait, some other non-nursing program move in. Meanwhile, we are doing skills labs in a closet. Grrrr.

The balance of the day was spent assembling our first exam and figuring out how our two testing sites will work. Test security is a big deal, and no one is quite clear on how to optimize the security with this new platform. Apparently nursing is one of the few programs that utilizes computerized testing on campus, which just blows my mind.

I think I have it figured out, though it involves a lot of manually shifting the open and close dates in both testing sites, and trying to turn off our course site at the same time. By this time tomorrow, we will all know whether it worked or not. My reputation as the tech guy in the department is riding on it. :)

I read an interesting story about a guy who says he met Vladimir Putin in Paris in 1982, and described their adventures together. I don't think it is true, but it is a fascinating read. Here is the link: Vladimir on acid

We don't really have adequate bathroom facilities in the trailer village, so I generally mosey over to the art building, which is new, and has great bathrooms. One of the best things about being near the art building, other than the bathrooms, is all the random art that pops up in the breezeways and surrounding areas. It is an ever-changing landscape. I love walking around over there.

art guy
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I attended the cardiology conference today. There were about 8 speakers, presenting topics over 45 minutes each. It was one of the best conferences I have been to in a long time. I learned the latest on a bunch of things, saw some cool videos, and saw some people I hadn't seen in a long time. All my students were there as well, and they seemed to enjoy it.

The coolest thing I saw was a video that a cardiovascular interventionist showed of a robotic-assisted heart valve repair. There are 4 arms inserted between the ribs, and two surgeons control them remotely, sitting at consoles with a screen and hand controllers. I have never seen anything like it. Google DaVinci Robotics if you want to see more about it.

davinci robotics

I saw a bunch of former students there, some from years ago, as well as someone I worked with when I was a brand-new nurse. I couldn't remember her name, but she remembered mine. I really enjoyed it. This healthcare organization, Dignity, is really great about making sure my students have a good experience.

After I got home I rested for a while. The temps are in the 70s this evening, and I opened all the windows to let the cool air in. Mook came and sat with me, and gave my foot a tail hug.

mook tail

We have skills lab on campus tomorrow, then our first test on Friday. We are using a whole new testing platform, and I am the one setting it up. I'm hoping it works, but if it doesn't then I'm hoping for a spectacular failure. Not really--I want it to work.
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I had to get out of the neighborhood early today because they are repaving our streets this week, and were closing them off by 7 am. Same thing for the next two days. It doesn't really matter, because I almost always leave well before 7.

I was kind of bored at work today. I didn't do any teaching until noon, so it was mostly just working on lectures and stuff. I posted my lecture notes for the next month after doing a little updating. I've done a lot of work revising them the past two semesters, and not much left to work on until we get a new text book.

I started making a Jeopardy game for some of my content. I have two of them already for fluid and electrolytes and the kidney stuff. This one is on the different types of shock. I always do them at the end of the lecture. The students seem to love them. I break them up into teams and the winning team gets bragging rights.

One of the local hospital systems is having a cardiology conference tomorrow. The coordinator called me last semester and asked if we wanted to bring our students, for free. So all the students are going tomorrow. I am too--lots of good topics. This hospital ends up hiring a lot of my students, and I think it is great that they are so supportive of them.


I took only one photograph today, and it was pretty boring, so I am going with one I took on my adventure right before school started back up. It's pretty boring as well, but that's how it goes sometimes. This is near a river, and it was a beautiful spot, No one was there. I captured a portal at the end of a dirt road, which I still have.

I'm hoping I can hold it for a while, but I am guessing someone will take it down eventually. If you can hold onto a portal for 150 days, you get a medal. There is a guy on the opposing team that uses a program to see how long someone has held a portal, and sends people out to kill it just before it reaches 150 days. I had three of them scattered around up in the Sierras that reached 143 days last year, and someone went up and killed them all. I expect the same thing will happen this time. It's cheating, but what can you do?
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I spent some time this day reflecting on the events of 9/11 and how it fundamentally changed our country. I also remembered the son of a friend, who died the day before of a drug overdose. The two always go hand in hand for me. I lost my faith on 9/11, and don't think I ever found it again. Wandering in the wilderness.

We had our first faculty meeting of the semester today. It was lively and productive. We have a new faculty member who has a good sense of what is going on, and it was great to hear her voice in the discussion.

The new socks I wore today:


I showed them to my colleagues, and they were quite surprised that I would wear socks like this. I guess I am perceived as a button-down type. I'm not--that's just my disguise.

One of my friends who is an awesome photographer, and is taking a class on campus this semester, posted a photo on Facebook the other day of the water tower next to my office. It was so interesting, and so unlike anything I would ever think to photograph. I love that. I love how other photographers can see the same space so differently than I do.

It stimulated me to take another look at the immediate environment around my office/cubicle trailer, and see what I could see. Across from our trailers is the old aeronautical building. It's just classrooms now, but used to be a place where they would test old airplane engines, and it had two towers, that acted as some sort of exhaust system. Now they are just towers. So that's what I photographed today, along with the half moon. I used a Snapseed filter to make it dramatic.

lusk and moon

September 10--Hefeflocken

Sep. 10th, 2017 09:57 pm
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We were going to do our typical Sunday, which is walk along the creek, and the go eat pho, but it was almost 90 degrees by the time we left the house, so we decided to just eat pho, but the pho place was closed. Interestingly, we both had the same "plan b" in mind, which was to drive out to the town of Folsom and have lunch at a favorite restaurant there and visit the outlet mall. So that's what we did.

The restaurant is an asian place, run by the family of the guy who had the most popular Chinese place in Sacramento--Frank Fat's. We don't eat here very often, as it is pretty far from where we live, but we always enjoy it when we do.

Fat's Buddha

There is a big Buddha in the center of the dining room.

After lunch we went to the outlet mall so Malida could get some gifts for her friends in Thailand. Though walking in the park when it was in the 90s seemed a bad idea, walking in the outlet mall was apparently ok. Anyway, I got my steps in. I'm not much of a shopper, but I did buy three pairs of very colorful socks--kind of like the ones the elder George Bush wears. I love his socks, and that he wears them. I need to find some Hello Kitty socks.

After we got back, Malida chatted on the phone with her cousin in Germany. Her cousin was asking when we were coming again, so we could bring her some yeast flakes, which she likes to cook with. She can't find them in Frankfurt. I googled it while they were talking, and found that they are called Hefeflocken in German, and I found a bio-market near their house that sells it.

I made electronic pressure cooker lasagna for dinner. It is so easy and so delicious. and it doesn't heat up the house.


Back to work tomorrow. I start lecturing in a week! Whee!

September 9--Time Passages

Sep. 9th, 2017 09:18 pm
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After a long week of early wake-ups, I went to bed early last night and slept soundly until about 5:30 am. I noted the time, rolled over, and slept three more hours. I awoke feeling that my sleep debt had been paid in full for the week. Malida went to bed late, and had no desire to get up with me.

I had some coffee and read the news. I have a number of family and friends in Florida, and they are all preparing for the storm to come in, though none of them are evacuating. My niece and her partner, who live in Tampa, did relocate to a friend's house, because they have a big dead oak tree in their yard. She posted a picture this evening of some delicious-looking cheesecake-stuffed baked apples that she made this afternoon. My friend Robin, with whom spent so much time with running the shelter clinic after Katrina, is also in the path. Her husband nailed a stop sign to their front door, in the hope that Irma is literate and law-abiding. I wish all of them the best as they ride out this storm.

After Malida crawled out of bed, I convinced her to take a walk with me, and we headed over to the park, where it was shaping up to be a lovely day. It's warming up again, but you can feel fall just around the corner. I look forward to milder days.

I spent the afternoon checking our credit and locking down our credit reports after reading about the data breach at Experian. While I wish that companies that have my data were more secure, I really don't think there is a way to absolutely protect data from a determined hacker. It's gonna happen, over and over. One happy side note to checking my credit report was that I was reminded that I only have three more payments before my car is paid off. I'm looking forward to that.

Today is my niece Candyd's birthday. She is 27, which I find hard to comprehend. She and her parents came to live with us from the Philippines when she was 8 years old. I took this picture on her first day of class. I think it was the 3rd or 4th grade. Now she is a college graduate, working as a research assistant and a bartender, and contemplating her next moves. Candyd and her cousins are the closest thing I had to children of my own, and I am very proud of the woman she has become.

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It seems like Fridays are the day I like to forget to make an entry. I'm usually worn out from the week, and there's always Saturday to make it up.

Friday clinical went much more smoothly than the previous day. The second day of a clinical week is always easier for the students because they already know the patients, and can focus more on their tasks, etc. Even as a clinical nurse I found the second and subsequent days easier than the first day, for the same reasons.

I only walked about five miles, and my sore heel was less sore. I attribute that to 24 hours worth of Naprosyn. As an interesting side story, one of my cousins married one of the guys who developed Naprosyn. They built a beautiful house up in the hills above Stanford University. She wrote to me once that she was on her way to Italy to find tile for her patio. He retired in his mid 40s. They later divorced. Interestingly our grandmother was featured in one of the first advertisements for Naprosyn.

We had our post-conference in the same room as the previous day, and my little drawing was still there. I took a picture, and then erased it using alcohol hand cleaner, which one of you so helpfully suggested.

I'll leave you with that picture, but under a cut, so the faint-hearted can be spared.

My infamous whiteboard drawing )
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It was a somewhat frustrating day in clinical, one that I should have anticipated and been ready for. The second week the students are on their own is always one of the most stressful for them, and for me. they don't yet have the hang of it all, and haven't always processed my instructions on how to do certain things. Things such as letting me know in advance when they have a schedule procedure I need to observe. I had 5 different texts at 9:00 asking if I could come watch 5 different someones give a scheduled medication to 5 different patients in 5 different parts of the hospital.

It's like this every semester, and really just a part of the process, but somehow, I thought it would not happen this semester, or I forgot or something. In any case, this is the week I learn who I can cut loose to work with the RNs in the next week or two, and who I will need to pay closer attention to. There is always at least one surprise on each side of the divide.

In post-conference, one of the students talked about their difficulty in inserting a urinary catheter in a woman. As described, the anatomy was somewhat murky, and it was difficult to ascertain the correct insertion point.

So I made a crude drawing on the whiteboard to explain. When I was done, I discovered that the marker was not a dry erase marker, but a permanent one. I looked at my drawing for a second, and, thinking quickly, drew arms and legs on it. I meant to take a picture, but forgot. I will if it is still there tomorrow.

I clocked in just a little under 6 miles walking around the hospital today. At the end of the day my right ankle was really sore. It has been sore lately when I get up in the morning, but once I get moving it goes away. I suspect some arthritic changes. Anyway, today it got worse. I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and bought some big gun anti-inflammatories, and took a few. The pain has subsided, but it's still there. I'll see how it does over the next few days. I don't like my doctor, so that would be the last resort.

I am looking forward to the weekend.

I didn't take a photograph today, so here is one of the big heads in Angkor Thom. I love this guy.

big head at Angkor Thom

September 6--Dear Daniel

Sep. 6th, 2017 09:08 pm
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I have the greatest boss in the world. As I have written, there are a bunch of us crammed into our little cubicle village. This includes the guys from occupational therapy.

Anyway my boss wanted to get a small couch to put up front so students could have a place to sit as they are waiting to talk to the instructors. She suggested a sort of flowery one, and the guys from OT complained that it would be too girly, or something like that.

So my boss got a plain blue couch. And ordered Hello Kitty pillows for it.

hello Kitty

This isn't actually Hello Kitty. This is Hello Kitty's boyfriend Dear Daniel. He is an airline pilot. Like Hello Kitty, Daniel isn't a cat--he is a little girl, and like Hello Kitty, is five apples tall and weighs as much as three apples. She also ordered a Hello Kitty pillow for me. My boss is awesome.

One of my other colleagues brought me a big muffin because I helped her with her computer training course. It was delicious. I had it with my coffee.

Yet another colleague gifted me a little ceramic cat that can be used as a paper clip holder, which is what I am using it for. I asked her why she gave it to me, and she said, "Why not?"


I went to the hot dog place after taking my students for the hospital. The hot dog place is a little hole-in-the-wall that has been there since I was a student. Some new people bought it a few years ago, and have slows been making some changes--adding stuff to the menu, but without disturbing the essence of the place, or the hot dogs. I go there about once a month. That's all my sense of trying to lead a healthy life will let me.

As I was eating my hot dog with mustard and onions, I noted that the old manual cash register, a holdover from the days when they only took cash, had been replaced by an electronic one. I asked the server when they got the new one, and she mentioned it was just a few weeks ago.

The guy sitting two stools down from me asked if I had been coming here for a while. I told him I had been coming there for hot dogs since about 1986, when they were still in an even more hole-in-the-wall spot down the street. He replied that he remembered that place, and had been coming here since 1984, when he moved up this way.

He went on to talk about the place in Oakland where he used to eat great hot dogs--Kaspers, on Telegraph. It's same place I used to get hot dogs when I lived in Oakland. Turns out we lived about two blocks from each other in Oakland, and both moved up here in 1984. And we both enjoy hot dogs at the same spot. I thought that was pretty cool.
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One of my work colleagues passed away last Friday, the result of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She was just diagnosed a few years ago, and progressed rapidly. If I had it, I would want it to progress rapidly. She had to stop teaching about a year ago when she could no longer drive herself to work. She loved teaching. She was only in her early 50s.

I got the news via a text message in the middle of post conference with my students. One of them was describing some patient scenario, and all of a sudden I had tears streaming down my face. I had to tell the studentit wasn't their compelling patient story that evoked them. They all knew who my colleague was--the snack cart we put out was in her honor, and now in her memory.

Someone else I know died last week as well. Cancer. Just a few years older than me.

I was thinking about all this, along with learning of the deaths of my two old Air Force buddies recently, as I was struggling to rewrite my doctoral project proposal. The thought came into my head, "I don't want to spend a single minute more of my life on this." And I felt the truth of it in my heart. I'm not going to continue. I'm done.

I'm going to spend the rest of my life doing things that I love and bring me joy and fulfillment. It might be big things, or it might just be sitting in a room listening to music I love and reading a book. I'm going to pay more attention to my marriage and my wife, my health, and my well-being. Not necessarily in that order.

So, that's that. I have a bunch of cool stuff to write about, but I'll save it for tomorrow.


The view from here, on my walk this evening. It brought me joy.
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