Tuesday, August 28, 2012

20 Things I Learned at Nursing School Today

My first day may have sucked majorly but the second day, though very long, was much better!

Here is what I learned:
20. My nursing program thinks we should write one million(ish) pages before we graduate.
19. I will never be done buying things for the nursing program.
18. I already have 32 hours of homework to do but I don’t know where to start.
17. I don’t like spending 11 hours on campus in one day.
16. The nursing department thinks we’re umpa lumpas because I can almost see my naval in my polo
15. In normal classes, no one turns to see who is talking. In nursing classes, 23 heads turn to stare at you and cause you a ridiculous amount of speaking anxiety you never knew you had.
14. 85% of my classes are made up of sophomores who seem 10 years younger than me.
13. The other 12% are people 30 years of age or older
12. The other 3% are seniorish people like me & the other 22yr old I met today. (Yay for new friends!)
11. My university strongly believes that every syllabus should be at least 30 pages long and the teacher should cover every single word of said document on the first day. There will be no early dismissals.
10. I think it is every professor’s goal to freak every student out as much as possible the first day just to see how many quit. I thought about it 8 times.
9. My mom gets annoyed when I call her 3 times a day. I didn’t cry today though.
8. Apparently I am quite the likable gal. People I had class with last semester wanted to sit by me, be in my group & be my lab partner! Or maybe they didn’t know anyone else. Either way, I’m okay with it.
7. I am required to attend a meeting every Wednesday at 4pm. I’m also supposed to work then so it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.
6. 75% of my classmates are not working during the school year.
5. Sophomores drink water, the other, older people in my classes drink caffeine by the gallon
4. It is acceptable to live off campus as long as you can carpool or live close to clinical.
3. Friends are for study groups, not socializing. (So I have to drink by myself from now on)
2. Jobs in the medical field are great to gain experience and useful knowledge but will cut into your study time, choose wisely.
1. My nursing program is kind of cool.

Time to do homework for 6 hours!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Nursing School Day 1

I hate it.
The people suck.
I want to move home.
This college sucks.
I hate college.
Screw this.
I haven't even had a nursing class yet.
Just my two science classes which are absolutely overwhelming and insane. I kicked butt at the math portion of organic chemistry though which I'm pretty darn proud of!
Plus my university is holding MY loan money ransom until next Wednesday when the drop period is over. That caused a 15 minute panic session between classes in my car trying to figure out how to buy my books because unlike my rich classmates who went to Valley or Dowling, I don't keep an extra $800 in my pocket to buy text books. Does the school think I'm made of money? They could've told me they were going to hold my money hostage so I could have planned for this ahead of time. Although the money tree at mom's house really isn't doing well so I don't know where I would have ever pulled an extra $800 out of.
At least 10 times today I thought about how great it would be to still be living at my mom's house. Oh the good old days. I miss them so much.
Maybe tomorrow will be better. It has to be...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tminus Two Days

Oh My Chod.
Two Days until the semester starts? That’s It?
I have a ton left to do!

To Do List:
-Finish my Certified Profile info
-Buy all my books (pops)
-Buy school supplies
-Buy the rest of my student nursing stuff
-Scrub the apartment top to bottom so I don’t have to worry about it until December
-Grocery shopping: stock up for the semester so I don’t have to buy stupid stuff like toilet paper or Qtips because Sean won’t buy them and I won’t have time.
*He texted me 4 times last week looking for face wash in Target while I was at work. I WAS AT WORK. IN A HOSPITAL. Couldn’t ask someone that worked there. Thankfully I was able to text him back and give him directions or I’m sure he would’ve walked out empty handed.*

I got online to look at the syllabi and would’ve had an anxiety attack had I not had wine there to comfort me. The semester hasn’t even started and I’m already stressed!

Honestly I’m freaking out. There is not other way to describe it. It makes me sick to my stomach. But I found some good advice over at Confessions of a Nursing Student

My advice for soon-to-be nursing students: 

1. Never forget that every other person in that classroom is just as scared as you are. If they always look confident, it is just an act. So don’t let them stress you out.

2. Be prepared to work hard. You will have to do a lot of reading, and it will be very confusing at times. Do the best you can to get through it, and highlight anything that might sound important.

3. Find a few classmates you get along with, and stick with them through the whole program. At times when no one else in your life fully understands what you are going through, they will. 

4. Be prepared to feel lost. 

5. Ask tons of questions. If you are told by a nurse to do something on a patient and you are not familiar with it or are uncomfortable, ask for help. Don’t let it bother you that she rolls her eyes at you, you have the right to learn, and your patients have the right to receive safe care.

6. Be prepared to laugh at yourself. 

7. Even though you are extremely busy, take one night off. 

8. Find an outlet for your frustrations. 

9. Know that you are not alone!! 

She had more detail but I didn’t think my non-nursing readers wanted to read about feet. You’re welcome Callie. I can’t wait until I can give this advice and I’m finally done with school. 

Someday soon. 2 years from now. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

How To Save Your Milk Money For Much Better Things.

Let me start by saying I am not writing this post because I am good with money. That would make me a hypocrite. I am pretty damn terrible with my money. But luckily for anyone who is smart enough to read this, you get the learn from my mistakes.

For anyone who doesn’t know it, I’m about to enter my fifth year of college. 2 years living at home and 2 years living on my own buying guy own groceries. I also grew up in a home who appreciated staying on a budget so they could spend money on better things. I know a few things about saving money on groceries. I save money on groceries so I can spend it on much better things, like alcohol or clothes. You see my logic?

So for those of you about to enter the college world and start grocery shopping on your own or maybe you just need to trim your monthly budget here are a few of my tips:

1. One word: ALDI
Live it, love it and take advantage of it. Best advice I have for you, IF YOU CAN’T BUY IT AT ALDI, YOU DON’T NEED IT. If you think you’re too good for Aldi or that your friends will judge your for shopping there, you are an idiot. Kraft shells and cheese is $2.50 at Wal-Mart and the Aldi brand is delicious and less than a dollar. Look at you saving money! Mom wil be so proud! EVERYTHING is so much cheaper at Aldi and I promise you it is all delicious and easily edible. My brother survives on their frozen pizza and would eat them for every meal if my mom would let him.

Ali’s first trip to Aldi
What I’ve learned from the other stores:
Hy-Vee’s base prices are super expensive and you will spend way too much every time.
I haven’t figured out Dahl’s yet but the one in Ankeny is super expensive & it’s always a ghost town
Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart and their produce sucks.
Fareway is cheap and the produce it amazing but still more expensive than Aldi.

2. Make a plan
Try to set a limit how many times you eat out per week and stick to it. If you like to go out on the weekends, don’t go out to eat during the week. Eat in and cook your meals. Eating out is really expensive and starts to add up very quickly. And drink water when you eat out! It saves you like $3 per meal and that adds up big time, plus water is good for you! Plan what nights you will cook a decent meal and what nights you will eat ramen or mac and cheese. This way you can plan your groceries and make sure nothing goes bad.

3. Cook with friends
Instead of eating out with friends take turns cooking meals for a small group of friends or cooking together. It’s fun to try new recipes and learn together. Plus it’s much cheaper than going out. Once a week my friends and I would cook a home cooked meal and it was always a good time and highlight of our week.

4. Make lists
Shop with grocery lists and don’t buy things you know you won’t eat. I moved many items that I bought on sale and still have yet to be eaten. Stick to what you like. You can eat the nice food when you’re home visiting your parents, until then stick to the cheap stuff you know you’ll eat. You don’t need to buy soda on a regular basis either. Maybe just stock up when it’s on sale if you need it to survive, otherwise it’s way overpriced. We stopped buying soda at my apartment and have saved a HUGE amount of money. We stick to water.

5. TRY to make a budget and stick to it!
I’m terrible at this. Now that I have an apartment with a pantry I like to stock up things so I always spend more than I intend to. Don’t do that until you can afford to do that. It’s a bad idea if you don’t have room for the extra food or if it will mess up the rest of your monthly budget.

Bottom line: don’t be dumb with your money when it comes to groceries. There are much better things to waste your money on. Like clothes, things for your dorm or apartment, spring break trips and weekend outings.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Epic Weekend.

It was like The Hangover meets Iowa but with a lot more class and less blacking out. We did it up well. We made a plan and we stuck to it. It was epic. Hell, it was legen- wait for it- dary.
Let’s start at the very beginning….21 years ago the a baby girl was welcomed into the world….wait too far? Well the story does revolve around her birthday! My best friend Alison’s birthday was in the middle of July. Not just any 21st birthday. She had never ever had a drink of alcohol before in her live. I swear on Carver’s life. So of course I had to plan something HUGE. Like 120+ jello shots huge. Every color of the rainbow huge. Yeah, I’m the jello shot girl. 

On the day before her birthday Lindsey, Carly, Ali and I met in Iowa City to meet up with a few of Ali’s other friends so we could go out at midnight and Ali could have her first legal drink in a bar. Since it was a Monday night in the middle of summer, downtown was dead. We chose Sports Column because there was more than 5 people inside.

First drinks of the night
Ali’s first drink was a Sex on the Beach. She hated it. She hated Diet Coke and vanilla doc and bud light also. And every other drink she took after that. =( She took little baby sips of every single sweet girly drink we could possibly think of that we thought she would like and she hated them all except UV Blue and lemonade. The bartenders at Brother’s looked depressed and stumped. And like they wanted to slap her. She even hated a dreamsicle shot which is the best tasting shot I’ve ever had. Finally after 2 hours and 20 sips of 20 drinks she said to me, 

She didn’t drink this shot
“I don’t think I like alcohol. I don’t think I’m going to be a drinker”

I texted Callie this the next day and told her as soon as she told me this I knew we could know longer be best friends (she later made up for this and I took it back) Callie responded: Well you tried your best.

So Iowa City was not as much fun as we had hoped. Lindsey and I considered canceling our weekend plans if she wasn’t going to do any drinking at all but Ali insisted we proceed. Ugh she’s so hard to say no to.


Watching the ponies!
Friday Ali, Callie and Jenna met Lindsey, and I at Prairie Meadows for a little gambling. Afterwards we picked up some Olive Garden To Go and spent the evening at my apartment hanging out and playing drinking games. Aleah joined us when she was done working in Ames too! We played flippy cup, baseball, beer pong and card games. We had plenty of jello shots to try to tackle and we did our best to make a dent!
Saturday I woke the girls up with french toast and turkey bacon. Yum! Then we got ready to head to the mall and packed up all of our stuff we needed for the hotel also. But not before some morning jello shots! I made them in orange peels which was not easy but well worth the effort!

That’s a lot of crap for one night
It took us 20 minutes to get all of our belongings (mostly booze) to fit into one car because I refused to accept defeat. After lunch and shopping we checked into our amazing hotel that Ali found for us for a great deal! The Renaissance Savory was just two blocks from downtown and was old on the outside but modern on the inside. The other guests were in tuxedos as we wheeled in our duffle bags and cases of busch light. Little did they know my cooler on wheels was full of jello shots! We felt just a little out of place. 

Restaurant mirror shot
Our room was pretty darn fabulous! We had two bathrooms which helped since five girls had to get ready. We blasted the tunes and pulled out the jello shots while we got ready for the night. Even Ali couldn’t turn down the delicious jello shots! Once we got ready we planned to go to Fong’s for pizza but they were very busy, the bartender was rude, we were on a  schedule and really hungry so we decided not to wait for a table. We walked down a block and finally decided on Court Ave Brewery for dinner. On the way we passed a bar we all thought looked fun because it reminded us of MacLaren’s Pub from How I Met Your Mother and decided we had to stop there that night. We spilt pizza for dinner and everyone but Ali had beer, she had a soda. After dinner it was still early so I suggested we hit up the bar we passed which was called Forth Down for one drink before we headed back to the hotel to switch shoes and head out for the night.

One drink. Good joke right?

Dirty girl scouts!
Scott the bartender was awesome. He suggested Ali try a Smirnoff with grenadine and she actually liked it! Ali drank for free since we were celebrating her birthday and since it was early and the bar had 4 patrons besides he was telling us about the area and we were having a great time. Someone at work said I sound have Ali try a dirty girl scout shot that tastes like a thin mint so that was our first of many shots of the night. Several shots and drinks later we finally left to head to the hotel to get some of our jello shots and drink some free alcohol for a little bit…although I don’t think Ali had paid for a single drink of her own that night. 

Getting a little crazy...
 We did our best to act poised through the lobby and our friend Bree met us at our room to down some serious jello shots. We packed a Victoria’s Secret bag with some jello shots and headed back to the bar. We made our moms proud and shared the shots with new friends. Shots her, shots there and it was hitting everyone but Ali very quickly…. BUT THEN while visiting the restroom which had stairs leading to the toilet Ali says 
The room is spinning!

“Riss when I close my eyes the room is spinning"


Boom got her drunk! We did it! We did it! We did it! Yes! Yes! Yes! 

We love Des Moines!
We stayed for several more drinks because we were loving that bar. When we finally decided to leave we took Scott’s advice to go to Liar’s Club to dance but stopped at Big Red’s Irish Pub and Pong. Lindsey and Callie played and game but said there were no rules which made the game really weird. Jenna, Ali and I were not feeling Red’s so we went to explore downtown Des Moines and find Liar’s Club. 

Liar’s Club was was awesome. It was crowed and loud but not overcrowded and overwhelming. The perfect place to drink and dance. Ali was in heaven. All this girl wanted to do was dance and we had finally found her the perfect place to do that. Callie and Lindsey met up with us after their beer pong game and we were ready to dance all night long! Or at least until 2am when the club closed. 

Best photo of the night. 
We all made it back to the hotel safe and drunk and ate some snacks, drank some water and went to sleep. Then next morning we woke up in pretty good shape and decided to do it all again before school started. Cue tomorrow. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Worst Mother Ever.

I forgot the toy bin.

All of Carver’s toys except for the big bobo which we found behind our bedroom door.

That’s like 30 toys all left behind.

It’s like a nightmare dog version of toy story. Except there are Woody and Buzz are not going to save the day this time.

And he knew I forgot the toys because when we got home he starting searching for something. I assumed it was for our roommates who had moved out while we were gone. Nope, it was for his toys.

And even when he found bobo I still didn’t notice that I forgot them. The toys are usually the first thing to come in the house.

I’ve failed him.

If you think I’m overreacting, look at how many toys he has and how defensive he gets when I try to take a picture of them.
Are you looking at my toys?
I tried to find another picture of him to put in this post but they ALL include one of his other toys that I left in Camanche. I had to go buy him a new toy to avoid another catastrophe like the last time he went without his toy bin.

We left him with our good friends Jenna and Aleah for the weekend but forgot the toys. Well Sean forgot them. I left everything sitting by the front door for Sean to take to Ames for the record. They went and bought him a toy rope. He hates toy ropes. He didn't eat for 6 days and peed all over their floors. I swear to Chod. Aleah’s reenactment is hilarious.

He was an emotional mess. We bought new toys, new food, new everything. I had to force feed him high calorie food paste to keep him alive. He still won’t talk about it. It was a dark time.

But he made it through. He’s a trooper. Love him.

Luckily Aunt Ali is bringing the toy basket Friday when she comes to Des Moines for another girl’s weekend!!! I can’t wait to share about the first one!


Monday, August 13, 2012

My Future Daughter’s Sugar Daddy

Meet Mr. Jackson.

While I was home in good old Camanche for 6 days I got to spend a lot of time with this little guy. Too much time if you ask him. A few weeks ago he would scream when I came to his house to visit. Last week when I came over he was indifferent about my presence. But this week when I came over he actually knew who I was and said my name! Well he said Riss but I’ll take what I can get!

Jackson’s mom had Thursday off so got to sleep in as long as Jax would allow her and she was keeping her fingers crossed for 8am considering we were up until at least midnight. Well Callie finally woke up well past 10am and went to check on the little fellow…as she crept up to his door she heard him call out


Mama! Water!


What a smart kid, understanding dehydration at such a young age.
This is why he has first dibs on my future daughters.

We mostly watched cartoons and I tried to understand the eloi kind of language he speaks and mimic his words back to him. He talks so fast it’s impossible to understand him 90% of the time. I mostly just catch one word here and there.

Before Callie and I could watch his dad’s softball game and then head over to Camanche Days, we dropped him off at his grandma and grandpa’s house which he was super-duper over-the-moon excited about on the way over. He ran the their front door as fast as his little legs could take him. As Callie was getting ready to leave he walks to he edge of the porch and looks at me in the car...

He smiled at me

Waved his little hand

And said, “BYE RISS!”

My heart it melted right there in the car. No one told him to do that. What a sweetheart. He’s getting a belly washer and candy next time I see him. I hate that I live 3 hours away from him and don’t get to hang with him all the time. But this weekend rocked because of that little guy. 

And all the beer I consumed with my friends and family. That helped too. 

Camanche Days was definitely a success and I had a great time with friends I never get to see enough. But those stories are not blog appropriate. Trust me on that. 


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Carver’s Adoption Story

Yesterday was my baby boy’s 5th birthday. He’s getting so old. He’s old enough to run for president of the Shih Tzu’s now but we talked about it and he’s got enough on his plate with nursing school and protecting the apartment. Maybe after graduation. It seems like just yesterday it meet him…

One fall day my family all had plans. My brother Chod was building a duck blind with his dad, I was in Chicago at the bridal expo with my dad, step-mom and sister and my mom was heading to an Iowa Hawkeye football game so we left our dog General Patton with some family friends. When they let Patton outside to use the bathroom, Patton took off down the highway in the direction my mom had left. Our friends tried to catch him but Patton had always been faster than any human and apparently a truck.

General Patton
Long, long story short.

Our entire community came together to look for Patton for over a month. 34 days to be exact. He was lost on private hunting land and traveled about a mile and a half before his journey came to an end. My mom and I never saw him but he was spotted by friends who weren’t fast enough to catch him several times. During this process we met a new neighbor who was retired, battling cancer and he enjoyed searching for Patton everyday from sun up until sun down. It gave him a reason to leave to house a get fresh air he said. My mom had a genius idea while Patton was missing, “when you lose your sunglasses, as soon as you buy a new pair you find your old pair” so she sent my grandpa to a farm in Southern Iowa to pick us out a new puppy. Even after most people had stopped searching for Patton, on day 34, our neighbor finally spotted Patton and he said it was as if Patton surrendered and walked right into the live trap. He was ready to go home. Little did he know what was waiting for him.

**Our amazing neighbor Don, who brought Patton home to us, sadly passed away too soon after we had just gotten to know him. My mom took General Patton to the funeral and Don’s wife said looking for Patton gave her husband something to do everyday and helped him through a very dark time in his life and she was so glad he was able to find Patton for us.**

Puppy Carver
My grandpa was sent for one puppy. He was going to pick it out and my dad was going to bring it to us when he came to Camanche for Senior Night. My grandpa saw the puppies and said he just couldn’t separate these two little dummies. He said they looked like best friends and the kid of brothers that have to stay together. So we got two puppies. Kinnick and Carver. One for me and one for my brother. But Patton did not enjoy coming home from his journey to two puppies in his house. We decided to keep one puppy and my grandma took the other. It was a hard decision but I knew Carver was the dog for me. He had a face that I was attached to and a personality that is always fun and friendly. Kinnick eventually went to live with my mom’s first cousin and he absolutely loves his life with her family. He is so loved and only slightly spoiled rotten. These dogs have us wrapped around their paws.

I got Carver when I was a senior in high school and I then spent two years at home attending community college so I spoiled him rotten for almost three years. We spent almost all of our time together. When I went to Iowa for a year and a half it broke both of our hearts to be apart. I couldn’t have him in my apartment but I did occasionally sneak him out there for a week or two when I needed a puppy fix. When I moved to the Des Moines area the only apartment requirements I had were to be pet friendly and on the first floor so he could have some sort of a yard. It really is all about him. And when he makes faces like this, it’s hard not to laugh at him and love him to pieces.
Beesh why are you taking my picture?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

3 Hours of Thinking

Today I woke up with a lovely rash on my arms and chest which my genius doctor cannot identify. Awesome. It may be a reaction to something or it maybe a form of shingles so I couldn’t go to work so I decided to head to my mom’s house a day early. Yay for mom! It’s a delightful 3 hour trip and I’ve always been a road trip kind of girl and my dog loves the car, he naps and I get a lot of thinking, singing and planning done.

1. Along the way I saw a caravan of about a dozen awesome old cars in tip-top shape driven by retirees  with grey hair and passengers whose perms where perfectly poofed (it’s my word, don’t hate). What a special day today must have been for them to be on the open road as a group. Did I mention they all had on leather jackets? I want to be old and cool like them someday.

2. I have the BEST car companion. He wakes up when I talk to him and hops in the front seat for a snack and when we're done, he gets in the back on his bed and falls back asleep in like 5 seconds. Plus everyone we pass smiles at his set-up in the back seat.

3. I love living in Ankeny. Driving past tiny towns and towns that wish they were as awesome as Ankeny or Des Moines (cough cough Iowa City and Davenport) makes me realize how much I love it. I enjoy the aspects of a small town and love visiting Camanche where my mom lives and I went to high school, but I’m definitely a big city girl.

4. Some girl talking on her phone in her grey Nissan murano from Illinois forced me into the grass and I’m still pretty heated about it. She tried to switch into my lane before her car was even halfway passed mine and had I not swerved it would’ve been a nasty accident. I had the misfortune of following her for 10miles because of a surplus of slow semis. This forced me to plot my revenge until she pulled off at a rest stop but I chose to be the better person and keep driving.

5. Camanche Days starts tomorrow. I’m excited because it’s my first year in the beer tent everyone looks forward to once they reach the age when they’re too old for the carnival rides. Last year I had to work so as a 22 year old, this be my first year. How exciting. I’ll be sure to post more about this semi-exciting event this weekend.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Today I got one of the greatest gifts a hospital worker can receive. Low census at 7am. At 5:30am on the dot the night charge nurse called and told me I had the first four hours of my shift off. Carver was as excited as me because he jumped right out of bed and grabbed a toy to play with. Don’t worry we both quickly fell back asleep for 4 extra hours of sleep! Ahhh! It was glorious! Plus an 8 hour shift instead of a 12 means one set less of vitals, less baths, and less everything in between! The day is going to go so fast! 

But now I am up and getting ready to head to work and that dog is still asleep on my bed. I made the bed but he refuses to get up out of it. He will get up if I make him go outside and to take his pill but then he hops right back up into bed. And he will most likely be there when I get home at 8 tonight. He seriously lives such a rough life. 

Uh-oh I hear pawsteps…I better go tend to the little one.

Notice the footstool so he can come and go as he pleases. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Look Ma! I made a blog!

Now that the summer is almost over I suppose it’s time to start a blog. I love to read other people’s blogs and learn from them. Learn from their mistakes and their wisdom and also creep the heck out of them and watch them grow. It’s like a faceless Facebook because they have no idea I’m creeping on them. So as I start a new chapter of my life I figured I would share it with anyone who cared to read about it. 

I’ll be starting nursing school three weeks from today. Holy crap. From here on out the 3 biggest things in my life will be nursing school, my dog and my boyfriend but I couldn’t get all of that into an awesome title. And by the way, I only have one shih tzu but my family has 5 of the adorable little fluff balls. My dog, my job and my life in general can be a huge joke sometimes and the stories require more characters than Facebook or Twitter will allow so I think I will use this blog as my source of sharing. Love it or leave it, I don’t care, do what you want. Read it or don’t.