Thursday, December 29, 2005

Red rock country......

Finally, some free time to post. My brother-in-law and his wife were just here for a few days visiting us, so I was pretty busy. We did some fun stuff while they were here, so I hope they enjoyed themselves. They drove in from Denver and got here around 730pm on Monday. Becky and I prepared a bunch of yummy appetizer type foods for them, and we just munched on them for dinner. The next day we took it pretty easy, just sleeping in and then watching the food network for a while (one of my favorite channels). We went to this great Asian Fusion restaurant called Monsoon on the Rim for lunch. We all shared several different kinds of sushi. I highly recommend going there if you ever happen to be in Flagstaff, Arizona. :-)

After lunch we went out to visit the museum I used to work for. Its actually a pretty nice museum. We spent a few hours looking at the exhibits, then we came home for a few hours and just chilled out (i.e. more food network!) For dinner, we went to this little Italian restaurant called Oreganos. The food is always good, especially the thin crust pizza, but unfortunately the wait is always long.

Yesterday, we got up a little earlier, at the crack of 930am, ha ha, and drove down to a small town south of Flagstaff called Sedona to go hiking. Sedona is known for its beautiful red rock sandstone formations. We took a short hike to the top of Bell Rock, can you guess how it got its name?! ;-) Here is a picture of us at the top:

Around 2pm, we went to lunch at the Bice Grand Cafe and Restaurant. Becky and I had gone to dinner there for our 1 year anniversary a few weeks before and we were itching to go back. The restaurant is situated on a large hill overlooking the city and various rock formations so we had a great view with our meal. Also, the weather has been very warm in Arizona lately and the temperature was a very comfortable 65 degrees F, so we were able to sit outside on their terrace. Here is a picture of us at lunch:

We were pretty tired when we got home that night, so we decided to stay in and I made spaghetti with my homemade sauce, cheesy garlic bread, my wife's specialty, and salad. Oh and wine of course! Can't forget that! After dinner we watched the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", the newest version with Johnny Depp. It was pretty good, and also very trippy. I had been wanting to see that one for a while.

This morning my Becky had to leave for work at about 630am, so they decided to just get up at that time too and leave. I got up to see them off, but then went right back to bed. I have to savor my time to sleep in since next Tuesday classes start for me and Monday thru Friday I will have to be at school at 8am, which means getting up at about 630am everyday! Yuck! I am excited to start school and get the proverbial ball rolling. I am sure once the homework starts pouring in I will be singing a different tune, but right now it is exciting. I really hope to make some new friends and have a good relationship with my classmates. I have read on several nursing student's blogs that they become very close with the other students in their classes and end up forming lasting friendships. I hope to do that. Since we moved to Arizona from Minnesota about a year ago we have had a really hard time making friends, so I hope that school will provide the outlet I need to find some chums.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Healthy again....

Well, the cold has finally left. I still have the sniffles, but they are managable. Just in time for company to come too. Becky's brother and his wife are coming to visit from Denver and will be here for a few days. So I am glad I wont be moping around the house all sick and tired. Thanks for the well wishes from some of you. I appreciate it. And to all those who may still be sick......take it easy, rest a lot, drink lots of water and tea and think healthy thoughts.

Happy Holidays to all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

sickness descends....

Yuck, I am sick. I have a head and chest cold. It could be worse but it could be better too, that's for sure. After weeks of diligent handwashing, keeping my hands away from my face and avoiding using the mass transit system, all my work went out the window when I woke up with a deep cough 2 days ago. Since then it has progressed into my sinuses. It's never fun being sick, obviously, but it is especially not fun over the holidays. I plan to get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids and take a vitamin every now and then and hopefully I will be back to normal in a few days. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Have a coke and a smile.....

OK, I just had to chime in about this whole problem of Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays. I think all the "controversy" is much ado about nothing. If this is the biggest thing people have to complain about, they must have it pretty good.

I guess for me, just to play it safe and since I don’t usually know what religion people are, I say Happy Holidays, since that pretty much covers all the holidays regardless of which one an individual happens to be celebrating.

BUT I would certainly not be offended if someone said Merry Christmas to me, or Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy December, or whatever...I'm just happy they are not slapping me around and trying to take my money. People seem so uptight these days about such small issues. Why spend so much time and energy complaining about an ultimately unimportant thing. Your time and energy would be better spent playing with your kids or talking with your wife or husband or helping out at the local soup kitchen.

I think that if someone gives you a greeting, regardless of what it is, you should acknowledge it, return a greeting of your own and count yourself lucky that someone was nice enough to take the time out of their busy day to talk to you at all. So my advice to everyone is chillout, sit down and have a coke and a smile.

A simple exercise........

Today I thought I would make a list of simple sentences that, when combined, give an idea of who I am, what I believe, what I think is important, etc. You may agree with some of my statements, and you may disagree with others, but that is just fine. That’s what makes each person unique and, dare I say, special. Anyway, here goes……

My name is Dustin.
I am 27 years old.
I was born in Ontario, Canada, but grew up in Minnesota and now live in Arizona.
I am agnostic.
I love to cook.
I watch Star Trek when my wife isn’t home.
I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but that right should not be abused for convenience.
I believe in the death penalty, but that the punishment should not be abused, either.
I speak Spanish.
I love to travel, preferrably internationally.
I agree with the theory of evolution, but realize it is a theory, not a law, and can be improved upon.
I LOVE cheese.
My favorite TV shows are LOST, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and Invasion, in that order.
I believe that Jesus Christ was a great and wise man, whether or not he was divine is not up to be to determine
Someday I will be a radiographer.
I love my wife.
I love my family.
I read science fiction books.
I read science “fact” books.
I believe in “an eye for an eye”……in most cases.
I can crochet.
I enjoy working on computers.
I am currently unemployed.
I am a student in a Radiography/Medical Imaging program.
I celebrate Christmas, but I’m not a Christian.
I believe in helping others who are less fortunate and those who need our help the most.
I think that nurses, teachers, farmers and police officers are the four most important and under-appreciated professions in our society.
I believe there is too much emphasis on Hollywood.
I have blond hair.
I know how to flintknap.
I believe in “everything in moderation”.
I am a dog person.
I am a cat person.
I hate it when people drive slow in the left lane.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Archaeology
I am always cold.
I suffer from chronic back pain.
I like to hike and camp.
I believe in a thing called love.
I wish I wasn’t so shy.
I own 3 pairs of shoes.
I clean up good.
I am not scared of heights.
I enjoy talking with intelligent people.
I do not believe in Zodiac Signs.
My favorite job was working in a coffee shop.
I wish I were taller.
Cornbread, ain’t nothing wrong with that!
I enjoy being challenged.
I should have more confidence.
I think greed and evil are often synonymous.
I have been to Europe 4 times, Mexico 3 times, Canada once but never to New York or LA.
I’m scared of not being a good enough father to my children.
I have a Master’s degree in Anthropology.
I am scared of clowns.
I enjoy learning new things.
I wish I didn’t care so much about what people think of me.
I am uncomfortable with confrontation.
I am not allergic to anything.
I hope to never stop learning.
I hope to someday own a home.
I have blue eyes.
I am ME.

Well, that felt good. I am sure there are many, many other things I could add to the list, and I may in the future, but that is good enough for now. I hope this lets you get to know me a little better. I suggest you try it some time. You may be surprised at what you find.

EDIT: Since I made this post, some of you have asked me what exactly flintknapping is. Flintknapping is the process of chipping away material from high silica stones like "flint" or chert in a carefully controlled manner with special tools to produce sharp projectile points, sometimes called arrowheads. Here is a website that will give you a little more information about it if you are curious.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Identical bottles...

Man, I must have been really out of it this morning when I was getting ready for work. In my haste, I accidently put on my wife's perfume instead of my cologne. They are both from Eddie Bauer and are in bottles that look identical. I didn't even realize it until I was sitting at my desk at work and kept smelling Becky and wondering why. Then it dawned on me that I had used the bottle on the left side of the sink, instead of the right side. Oops! I hope no one notices....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Anyone need a pool boy?

I am contemplating whether or not I will want to work while I am in school. I guess I am pretty lucky in that I have the option to WANT to work, rather than to NEED to work. While in nursing school, before we were married, Becky went to school full time, worked 32 hours a week and still found time to spend with me. I really don't know how she did it. She is amazing.

I think I will wait and see how the first couple weeks shape up in the way of homework and study time needed, and if I find I have a lot of spare time on my hands I think I really should get a job, at least a very part time job. I just wish I could find something that would allow me to pick my hours, so I could still have the weekends off so I can see Becky. But probably any parttime job I have would want me to work on the weekends.

Also, having a job and contributing some income to our little family would make me feel better. I do feel guilty about quitting work and giving Becky all the pressure of being the sole bread winner. She has been very understanding though and knows that I am doing this so when I do finish school I can find a good, well-paying job.

There should be plenty of options for part time work in Phoenix and its suburbs, which together total a population of about 1.5 million. Yikes! Maybe I could hang fliers and pimp myself out as a Spanish tutor like I used to do during graduate school. However, I would usually just end up with freshman who wanted me to do their homework for them, rather than help them learn. That's not only annoying but unethical, too. But at least it's an idea. Lots of people own pools in Phoenix, maybe I could be a pool boy. :-) If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Phase-Sensitive X-ray

Could Phase-Sensitive X-ray be the next big step in imaging technology? Read this article to learn more about it.


We got some news on Friday that completely ruined out night. Because of our misunderstanding of our dental insurance coverage, Becky and I get to pay for pretty much all of the bill for my wisdom teeth extractions......$1350 worth of extractions that is! DAMN!! This could not have come at a worse time. Just as we are about to go down to one income and start paying rent and utilities at two residences. I felt so stupid. Misreading one little line in our coverage caused the screw up. Under Calendar Year Maximum the sum of $1000 was listed. Well, we interpreted that to mean the max WE had to pay in a year would be $1000, but it turns out thats the amount the INSURANCE would pay in a calendar year, and since I had had 8 cavities filled earlier this year, that number had been reached already. Hence, us getting stuck with a $1300 bill. Hopefully the dentist has some type of payment plan, otherwise its onto plastic for that "purchase". Son of a......

Friday, December 09, 2005

No tengo ritmo...

We went to the hospital's Holiday party last night. Let's just say it wasnt the most lively party I've been to in my life. Pretty slow. Becky and another nurse played some Christmas music for everyone while they ate, Becky on a keyboard and the other nurse on her violin. They did very well, but unfortunately the keyboard volume was way too low for the size of the room, so they probably couldnt hear it too well. Becky is a great piano player though. She can hear a song 3 times and be able to play it perfectly on the piano, she amazes me. I wish I play an instrument. Maybe someday I will take lessons. Maybe when we get a piano, Becky can teach me how to play.

Later, after everyone was done eating, the daughter of one of the nurses and her boyfriend gave everyone a little salsa dancing lesson. They have a business in town that gives lessons in various forms of dance, and they were nice enough to come to the party and show us some steps. I think Becky and I did pretty well, for not having any rhythm! Again, SOMEDAY, I want to take some lessons to learn to dance. In the mean time, maybe I can find that elusive rhythm I so desperately lack!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New title banner.........

Whoopee! A new banner for my blog. What do you think? Comments welcome. I guess it isn't the most exiciting title banner I've ever seen but it will do for now. It took quite a lot of tweaking of the template script to get it right, but with help from Monika from "Becoming a Nurse", I finally arrived at what I was looking for.

I opened my first X-mas present last night. I know, I know, I am naughty. But it came in the mail and I couldnt resist. It is a new laptop computer from Dell. I havent really had much time to tinker around with it yet, but will this weekend. I wanted to open it early so I had time to get it all prepped for school (i.e. get all my programs, music, photos, etc. on it before I move down to Phoenix). Although it is technically a present from my wife, I was the one who went online, added the features I wanted and then ordered it. So it wasn't too much of a surprise, but it will come in very handy for school and communicating with Becky while I'm living in Phoenix.

Oh, you know how I was so excited to see LOST last night, well it turns out it was a rerun! Dammit! Last week they said "Tune in next week for an all new episode of LOST!". Yeah right!! Oh well. There is always next week. One show I am into lately is the mini-series "The Triangle" on the Sci Fi channel. In the story, 4 scientists explore the causes of the weird occurances reported in the Bermuda Triangle. Although I like science fiction movies and books, I usually dont watch the Sci Fi channel because I find most of their shows kinda cheesy, and the one's that I dont are on at weird times and I end up missing them. Anyway, "The Triangle" has been pretty good so far. Usually, TV movies are not done very well, but this one is. It also has some pretty big names in like Sam Neill, Eric Stoltz, Lou Diamond Phillips, Catherine Bell, and Bruce Davidson. If you have a chance, I recommend watching it. All 3 parts will be on, back to back, this Sunday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hump day........

Yay! LOST is on tonight. Perfectly positioned on hump day. The perfect thing to get me thru the rest of the week. Its Becky and my weekly ritual to sit down to watch LOST with a homemade pizza with all the toppings you can think of. We eat well the rest of the week so why not have some fun on Wednesday, right?!

There was a staff meeting this morning at the museum....which I skipped of course! I think the director must have told everyone that I was leaving because people have been making comments to me all day about it. Some positive some neutral, so far none that are too negative or judgemental. Its probably all in my head, but the mentality of the museum folk is a little weird. They dedicate their lives to a job that pays horribly and almost never delivers the kudos it should and when someone (like me) wants to leave it for "greener pastures", they get pretty defensive about it. Or at least I expected them to, but maybe I was wrong. From my countdown meter on my sidebar ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
it looks like I have about 8 days left until my last day of work, yay!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Remember when TV used to be good.......

I caught my first episode of "Grey's Anatomy" last night. Good show!! I am already a devoted fan of "LOST" as well as "Invasion", but had never seen "Grey's Anatomy" before. It makes me long to the good ol' days, when TV used to be good. Do you remember the times before so called reality TV, when smart, creative people produced sometimes brilliant, sometimes not-so-brilliant scripted TV? I miss those days.

When the first season of "Survivor" was on, of course, I watched it. It was new, innovative, even thrilling at times. Fast forward about 2 years and the airwaves are filled with more "reality" BS than you can shake a stick at. It seems the networks, in all their wisdom (cue sarcasm) took what was at one time a good idea and beat it to death. The next thing you know you are watching "The Littlest Groom" or "Wife Swap" and wondering why you even bothered to turn on the TV. I hope the networks will soon pull their proverbial heads out of their proverbial a$$es and start producing creative, inventive shows again. Maybe that should be be my Christmas wish this year.

In other news, today is my first day back at work after handing in my 2 week notice last Friday. So far so good. A couple of the nicer people I have worked with have come by to say they are sorry to hear I am leaving but they wish me luck in school. Most are having a hard time understanding what radiography is, but I try to explain it the best I can. The Director of the museum even came by to wish me good luck, which surprised me because I always thought he didn't much like me . Maybe he just felt obligated to come and say something. One staff member even told she thought it was a good idea to get out of here and she thought I would probably earn more money doing something, anything else. I certainly didn't argue with her on that point.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Recent happenings.......

Wow, a lot has happened in the last few days. On Thursday Becky and I drove down to the Valley for my orientation at SPS. It was pretty short, from 2-3:30 or so, but we talked about a lot of stuff. Most of it I already knew from reading the various info packets they have given us, but some was new. Almost all the info, though, was about the school in general, financial aid, how to get your books, ordering "uniforms" (which in reality were just scrubs with the schools logo and name on them), and stuff like that. She said that we would have a more specific orientation to the program the first day of school, which is actually coming up quickly! The orientation also gave me a chance to see who else will be in my class. It was split almost 50/50 men and women, although maybe just a few more ladies. And ages ranged from probably just out of high school to probably about 55 I would guess. There were a couple of guys who were starting to go gray! Although the bulk of the class looked to be about my age or in their early 30s.

After orientation we went up to North Phoenix to meet the guy I will be living with while I'm in school. He seems really nice and has a good sense of humor like me, so I think we will get along really well. He owns a 4-bedroom house in a pretty nice location. The house is in a newly built residential type neighborhood. Then again pretty much everything in Phoenix is newly built. That city has exploded in the last few years. We also met his girlfriend to whom he just got engaged. The timing for my living there is perfect, because I will only need to be there for about 8 months and will move out in August, which is right around the time he had planned to have her move in. Right now he is renting one room to a student from Germany. I met him too and he seemed pretty nice. He offered to help me move when the time came. I think I really lucked out. It is a really nice location and the house is almost brand new. The price we decided on was at the high end of our budget but still a lot less that what he could potentially rent the room out for, so I was pretty lucky there too. And most likely I will have the house to myself most of the time since he works long hours as a dermatology resident at a Scottsdale hospital.

The other big thing that happened is that on Friday I handed in my two-week notice. I was pretty nervous about it and all day I had to put up with that anxious feeling in my stomach, but at the end of the day, I called my boss into a back storeroom, so I could have some privacy and broke the news to her. I had prepared a little speech ahead of time, so this is what I said verbatim:

"I just wanted to let you know that 2 weeks from today, December 16th, will be my last day here. I want you to know that I really appreciate all the help and guidance you have given me, you are a great teacher and mentor, but after much soul-searching I have realized that this is not the career for me and that I need to make a change."

Even though I really didn’t like my job and most of the people there rubbed me the wrong way, I still wanted to be professional and stay on good terms with my boss. After I said my piece, she said she was sorry to hear that but she could understand. She asked me what my plans were and wished me good luck. To tell you the truth she didn’t seem surprised at all. Before I could even finish my prepared speech I had come up with she was asking me if it was because of the low pay. I said yeah partly, but also that I wanted more stimulation in my job and to be challenged. I also (believe it or not) really missed interaction with people. She could understand all that and was very nice about the whole thing. I hadn’t planned on telling her what my new career plans were unless she asked. Well, she did ask, so I told her I was starting school in January down in Phoenix at a program in Radiography. She thought that sounded interesting and wished me luck. She asked if I had turned in a letter of resignation yet. I hadn't even thought about that. I figured I was so low on the totem pole that that kind of thing wasn't necessary. But she thought it was a good idea to write one up quickly and give a copy to her, the director and the HR person. So I wrote one up handed it in and got out of there. The thing that really surprised me (and don't get me wrong, it's a good thing) was that she didn't seem surprised or shocked and she didn't seem to be mad or become standoffish at all. Maybe things will change by Monday, but she was the same helpful person as she always was, suggesting things to put in the letter and letting me know what to do next. I told her several times that I really appreciated all the help and guidance she had given me while I was there, and I think she really appreciated hearing that. And it wasn’t just lip service either, I have always liked her and she has been one of the better bosses I have ever had.

Anyway, it's over, so that’s good. I just have to get thru the next 2 weeks and I am on to bigger and better things. I am kind of curious how other staff members will take the news. Will they come and say good-bye and wish me good luck or shun me because I am leaving the profession they all love? Who knows! Either way, I am out of there in 2 weeks and nothing can stop me now!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Docs upset over Cruise's unnecessary use of Sonogram Machine

In one of my previous posts, I posted a link to an article stating that Tom Cruise had bought a sonogram machine for his own personal use for viewing his and Katie Holm's unborn baby. Here is a link to one of probably many followup articles relating doctors' concerns regarding overuse of the machine.