Thursday, August 23, 2012

{Sit Up Straight}

I don't believe I have shared this yet, but a large part of my life {calling} and what makes my heart truly happy is nursing.

{Simulated Hospital Room from Nursing School
@ the OHSU School of Nursing}

Blessed with a job on a critical care unit at our local hospital, I have come to appreciate the criticality, fast tempo, teamwork and tremendous amount of healing that happens there.  It is a delicate balance between sending patients home with new pacemakers and "detoured" circulation in the heart (aka: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting/"Open Heart Surgery") to the other side of the spectrum - easing the pain and suffering of a dying individual who is dearly loved by my neighbor down the street.

I could never have imagined that although my "giving bank" is spent {and sometimes withdrawn} by the end of each shift, I am reimbursed 200% via laughs, blessings and words of wisdom provided by those around me.

Short Story: 

{and the first of many, I'm sure}

My 75 year old patient was a woman originally from Eastern Oregon.  Recovering from ICU psychosis and slowly becoming more alert and oriented, this patient had two chest tubes and a foley catheter, along with a central line, Peripheral IV and multiple incisions on her arms, legs and chest after a partial lung resection as a bonus to her Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.  In short, she had a lot going on, and someone this confused with a variety of lines and a poor reaction to Ativan {anti-anxiety medication} makes for an interesting night for the RN {that would be me}.

Thank goodness no falls or serious injuries occurred this night, as I was caring for three other patients and this particular 75 year old lady was very impulsive in her unfamiliar hospital room.  After continual re-education provided to her and her partner {who was also very confused, might I add} about the importance of using the BiPap machine {helps people breathe at night}, not pulling out IV lines, reorientation of the situation at hand and gentle reminders not to jump out of bed and attempt to skip down the hall while whistling in the middle of the night, I was definitely ready for my 2:00 AM lunch break.

And then, in a moment of clarity and truth, I received my re-education.

"Honey, you have a nice figure and all, but let me tell you one thing: you have BAD posture!  I'll show you a thing or two about that once I get out of here.  We'll get lunch."

Tired, surprised and unsure of how to respond to this initially unwelcome word of advice, I stood speechless, looking at this fragile woman, wondering what in the world I should say.

She must have noticed my inability to produce words, for she continued to share her life story about being a dancer, living on the east coast, and the importance of caring for your back.  Now, whether or not a few details were embellished or memories were 100% accurate is unimportant at this point, and truly not something worth arguing.  Besides, what I did take from this conversation was my lack of caring for myself while caring for my patients, particularly in the form of posture and lift techniques {which can, unfortunately, end a career}.

My patient slipped back into a confused state, and the reorientation continued as I wrapped coban around her peripheral IV line.  The moment of clarity was lost, but the words of wisdom remained in my mind long after that shift.  I can definitely say that I was sitting a little straighter as I drove home that morning. 

If we don't take responsibility for our health {and the many aspects of this broad term}, no one will.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is a freebie for you from my personal bank account.


Monday, July 16, 2012

{Anthro-Inspired Statement Necklace: A How-To}

If you're like me, you sometimes find yourself drooling over the beautiful jewelry and accessories that blossom in the world of :Anthropologie:. With a variety of neon colors, mix-and-match styles and statement jewelry en vogue, I realized that although the fashion-cortex of my brain {a well-developed portion of my anatomy} does not coincide with my prefrontal cortex {where judgment prevails}, I would not allow this to hinder me from being fashionably fabulous.

And so, aha! -- I aspired to create my own.  Though I may not be able to sew a neon yellow skirt or create beautiful leather boots, but I sure as heck could create a statement necklace! {And for less than 50% cost compared to those from Anthro}.  With that, I'd like to share with you a little "how-to-" so that you may also spice up a few of those summer outfits!

Anthro-Inspired Statement Necklace*

1. Envision Your Creation.  Most of my jewelry ideas stem from AnthropologieJCrew or the lovely Pinterest.  Here is one that I found from Anthro {via Pinterest} that I absolutely adore:

{Inspiration: $48 via Anthropologie}

2.  Gather the Appropriate Supplies.  I used supplies I had previously purchased from Michael's, and also stopped by our local bead store to pick up a few items.  Some general jewelry-making supplies you may want to have on-hand include: bead stringing wire, clasps, jump rings, clamps, separator beads, scissors and jewelry pliars.  


For this project, I used: 0.38mm jewelry-stringing wire, an oversized clasp & hoop combo, silver spacer beads and colorful statement beads. I decided to go with silver supplies aside from my colorful statement beads. To determine the length of this piece, I find it easiest to use a necklace that I already own, using it to measure-and-cut a piece of string at the desired length. Note that most statement necklaces tend to swoop a few inches below the collarbone, and this may vary person-to-person.

With a vision, or photo of your "look-alike", visit your local jewelry shop or Michael's and {with your pre-measured string and 40% coupon in-hand}, and collect a variety of beads that are somewhat similar to your idea. {{NOTE: Be sure to collect a few extra beads in each color for flexibility to change your design}} 

I ventured on a mission to collect similar-sized, yet "funky" shaped sea-green, black, coral and orange pieces with a statement bead (the disco-ball looking one) as a focal point.  I ended up collecting almost exactly what I initially envisioned, with the exception of three beautiful red beads in place of the single coral one. All-in-all, I spent about $16 on this piece (not including the approximate $10 in supplies I have used on multiple jewelry pieces - probably $3 a piece).  This leads to a grand total of: $19.00.

3. Map Out Your Plan.  Next, with your supplies at hand, an open table and an available hour of your day, arrange all of the supplies in the order in which you will use them.  For me, it looked like this:

4.  Cut Your Beading Wire & Tie. It should be 6 inches longer {minimum} than your desired necklace length so that you may tie the ends.  Tie one end of the wire to one of the clasp partners you purchased.  I recommend using a fly-tying technique commonly used when fly-fishing {Visit this knot index for ideas - I personally like the Uni Knot}.  You may also tie a traditional triple-knot, but be wary of it coming undone.  Utilization of your pliars may become handy at this point.

5. Begin Beading!  {I feel this part is pretty self-explanatory, so I will assume you know to follow the order in which you arranged your beads to place them on the wire}.

6. Tie Your End Knot.  Now, this knot is at the partnering clasp item's end.  I recommend using the same technique you performed prior to beading.  Be sure to leave one small bead's length of empty wire space so that the necklace flows and the knots do not break.

7. TA-DA!!! Low and behold, you have created a beautiful statement necklace for a fraction of the cost! {and, no shipping}.  

{The Finished Product}

Now all you need to do is jump-start your fashion cortex to coordinate an outfit to wear it with.  The "statement"? You are fashionably fabulous with a conscience for your budget.  Well done!

Here are a few other statement necklaces my friends & I have made:
{Statement & Seed-Bead}

{This one was created by the lovely Ashley Hynes}

Cheers to being fashionably fabulous,


Saturday, July 14, 2012

{The Great Outdoors}

To some, the Great Outdoors may sound daunting, including unfamiliar territory, inclimate weather, and the inability to ever truly Be Prepared {thank you, Boy Scouts of America}.

To begin, I am no wilderness woman or John Muir-lifestyle suitable wife. However, with a husband whose passion lies in the outdoors and west coast wilderness, I have come to truly enjoy being outdoors in a variety of ways, from mountain biking to hiking and {my favorite..} floating down the Deschutes River with a blended Dutch Bros. in hand!

Though you may never be truly prepared for anything, there are a few Aha! gems that help me prepare for an adventure that I would like to share with you.

1. Know where you're going

My husband is a classic under-stater when it comes to describing our soon-to-be adventures.  In preparing for an afternoon hike, I hear, "Oh, it's only about 2 miles, flat, and you can probably take a water bottle with you."  Ha! Reality?  A 5-6 mile hike, mostly uphill with 1,000 ft. elevation gain and we run out of water mid-way through.  Am I upset? A little.  Thirsty? Definitely.  Frustrated that I didn't investigate our little adventure ahead of time? YES!

Iknow he has my best interest in mind, and sometimes my husband's excitement gets the best of him {and me} as he leaves out a few details.  Still, I have found that the more questions I ask and research I do, the better prepared I ultimately am for our adventure. Does this mean I sometimes pack one too many peanut butter granola bars or Propels? Maybe.  Nonetheless, this rule results in a much happier me.

{Shoes make all the difference}
2. Wear Appropriate Clothing

This "tip" originally comes from my brother-in-law, Drew.  A recently-graduated apparel designer whose specialty is outdoor wear, Drew's theory on life is that a "horrible outdoor experience" could easily have been prevented.  Maybe wearing the correct shoes, remembering a rain jacket or investing the $5 extra dollars in moisture-wicking SmartWool socks could have made a world of difference!  To continue Drew's point, I 100% agree: wearing the correct clothing and being prepared for the conditions ahead saves an attitude and preserves a lasting memory.

3. Keep a Positive Attitude

No one likes a Moody-Molly, especially when group morale isn't at an all-time high {i.e. realizing that after 4 hours of climbing you reached a "false summit", and have another hour of climbing to go).  I don't feel the need to say much about this, as it is pretty self-explanatory. Just remember that it is clinically proven that fake it til' you make it  {or possibly just proven by my personal experiences..} may actually allow you to fake a smile until it becomes one.  Now, a real fact? Positive people have a higher likelihood of surviving in extreme outdoor situations.  Besides, happy people are friend-magnets. If that isn't convincing enough, I don't know what is!
{Smile like you mean it}

4. Take LOTS of Pictures

This is a personal addition.  In reviewing my library of iPhone photos, and those printed in scrapbooks and posted on my wall, I notice something: when pictures were taken of the beautiful/exciting parts of an outdoor activity, the more clear my memory becomes about the good, and why I embarked on that adventure in the first place.  Aside from this, everyone loves a good Instagram photo.

{Our glorious view from Mt. Bachelor}

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my two-cents on how I better prepare myself for an outdoor adventure, setting up the experience to be a success.  Does this mean every trip is EPIC? No.  Does this mean I say yes to every fishing trip, cycling excursion or 6-mile run suggested? Not necessarily.  But it does mean I recognize that I am capable of making the most of my experience, and best of all, enjoying time spent with my #1 man.  Hopefully this encourages you to take a second look at exploring the Great Outdoors if you haven't already.



Saturday, June 30, 2012

{FISHING: the act of catching a fish}

This weekend my husband {Damon} and I joined a group of friends in venturing out on our first camping adventure of the season.  As residents of Central Oregon, we are spoiled with abundant sunshine, hiking trails, camping spots, mountains, breathtaking views, and fish-stocked lakes.  For this trip, we set up camp at Devil's Lake.

{Devil's Lake near Bend, OR}

Prior to this summer, I will say that I was {disgusted} at the thought of touching a slimy, smelly, cold-blooded & oogly-eyed fish. Caught, cleaned and packaged straight from the market was my version of "fishing".  However, this year we decided it would be fun to attempt to catch our own dinner, be it trout, salmon... whatever we could get.  I had envisioned this happening like so:

1. Damon buys fly fishing supplies
2. Damon catches fish while Kristi basks in the sunshine
3. Damon guts & cleans fish
4. Kristi cooks fish and they eat a delicious dinner together
5. Rest & repeat on the next lazy Sunday afternoon

Little did I know... {here's the aha! part} that fishing could be so exciting!  The first two steps in my scheme occurred just as I had planned. However, I surprised myself {and Damon, too} at how ecstatic I was when he caught our "first fish" on the Upper Deschutes River. I wanted in on some of the action!  With some coaxing by my patient husband, a few YouTube videos, fishing blogs and Orvis store visits later, I was official - I now had my own fishing license.

Damon & I made multiple trips out to the Upper Deschutes River and after discovering I had a 0.01% rate of catching any quality, legal-size fish, I became a little discouraged.  How many flies would I lose in the trees behind me when attempting to make a successful cast? Maybe fishing wasn't for me; maybe I lacked the patience and skill it took to be successful. {Fast forward to this past weekend at Devil's Lake.}

And then, it happened...I really, truly caught TWO of our six legal-sized trout with our new fly rod, and we cooked them the good ole' fashioned way with tin foil next to the fire.  And let me tell you... they made for a delicious dinner!



Though I may not be able to call myself an expert fly-fisherman like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It, I can honestly say that I enjoy the act of fishing {and the tasty dinner that comes with it}.  I look forward to many more fishing adventures with my husband and our friends in the future to come.

Cheers to friends, fish and future campfires,


Thursday, June 28, 2012



If we have yet to be introduced, my name is Kristi.  It is a pleasure to meet you!  I'd like to share the direction of this project with you people-of-the-blogging-community.

To begin, I am a newly registered nurse, newly married, recently moved to a new town with my new husband, and have begun a variety of new activities with new friends.  Can you say novice at just about everything?  This past year has been a whirlwind of "new", and with that, a great deal of aha! moments.  And these simple, day-to-day, aha! moments - mini epiphanies, if you will - are what I would like to share with you.

With that, the following will {most likely} include short stories, insights and a photo or two about the extraordinary little aha! moments I happen to stumble upon.

Be encouraged by embracing the little things.