Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Memories

By Chiqui Raveloski

Memorial Day is the time we commemorate all the men and women who died while in military service for the United States. It is through the fallen soldiers who dedicated and sacrificed their lives that we can enjoy the freedom we have right now in America.

Some will say the American freedom is slowly dwindling down, Yet, I have to say that this country has so much freedom. Everyone has their own interpretation and opinion about it. Anyone can have a take on it. Coming from the other side of the world, I believe America is unique because of this freedom our forefathers fought for and continually fighting for by our troops here and overseas. 

Today is my first Memorial Day as an American citizen. This day, means more to me now than it has ever been. It now has a new meaning - brighter future, endless possibilities.

As we remember and give respect to all the fallen men and women in the military, Memorial day is also a celebration of being with family. A lot of people are off from work and this day is perfect to relax and have a great time with everyone dear to you.

My family and I decided to have lunch at the park near where we live. Nothing extravagant, but just pure simple fun under the sun. Packed the Jeep Wrangler with our lunch, drinks, dessert, camera, and headed out.

Pictures of nature at its best.

I have been wanting to take photos during this springtime and today was the perfect time for it. Had a fantastic time.

Thought I'd be a little adventurous and posed for a picture within a group of trees.
Darn it,,,,,,I got stuck.

I have to summon my daughter to un-stuck me !!!! Hilarious.

Our 16 year old daughter Mandy have grown up to be a fine young lady. We had a great time at the park, just talking, cracking up jokes, and enjoying the perfect weather - 82 degrees, 0 humidity, and mild winds. My husband took this picture of Mandy and I....

This picture of Mandy holding me brought back memories of a picture.....Back in 1999 when I was the one holding her. 

And here's father and daughter by the creek.

They love to stay by the creek and feed the fish extravagantly. This photo brought back memories of this photo I took 16 years ago.....

Mandy, always on the look out for her Dad,,,,waiting for the next adventure.

Oh, how time just went by so quickly.

Memories are what makes life meaningful. Let this Memorial Day serve as a reminder of all the  memories only you can give meaning to. These memories, good or not so good, is what makes us who we are right now. Always remember that these memories will always stay within your heart and mind, and no one can take them away from you.

If by any chance there are memories you'd rather forget, and cannot, please give yourself a chance to work through it as time can only tell. With time, the heart can heal, and mind can grow and teach us to be strong and forgiving. 

As nurses, we always have the memories of nursing school, how tough it was and how far we have gone. At the same time, we also remember and realize that there is a big difference between nursing school and the clinical area.The lessons we have learned, we can pass on to new nurses who are coming into the profession. We nurses have to watch out for each other, because no one else will. We know how it is, and only us can relate to one another. 

Fill your heart, mind, and soul with fantastic memories. Your life will be full of joy for more years to come. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Disaster Strikes

By: Chiqui Raveloski

The recent tragedy in Oklahoma is a reminder of how powerful mother nature can be. More often than not, disaster strikes when we least expect it. It turns us upside down, inside out, which ever way possible. Then, slowly, we try to recover. Pick up the pieces, build life all over again.

We do get tornadoes here in Georgia every so often. I remembered three years ago, Barnesville, Ga , a town 45 minutes south of where we are was hit by an EF-3  twister. The college I went to for my RN-BSN is located there and I was actually taking statistics around that time. Thanks to the high probability of disastrous weather, classes were cancelled. I really needed that break. The college was spared from disaster, but the outlying neighborhood and communities suffered damages.

One month ago, we had a hailstorm and I was at the hospital working. The hail I saw from the hospital window were baseball sized. It sounded really scary. Some employees who parked their cars in the hospital grounds got "hail dents" on their cars. Luckily for me, I parked in the parking deck. No dents, thankfully!

When I got home, I found out that my daughter's car got hail dents and the glass sunroof was shattered. Yep, glass everywhere. It cost us $500 dollars to replace the sunroof.

My husband and I went ahead and had our roof checked by one of the contractors here. He found quite a bit of holes in the roof and chimney. The damage from the chimney made the water seep through inside the house through the basement, and into the carpet. Yep, wet, mildewy carpet!

The insurance adjuster came and assessed the damage. There was $10,000 worth of repairs that needs to be done. He continued on to say that our area was deemed a catastrophic area, Therefore, a lot of repairs going on right now. Our  brand new roof was just installed last week. Today, the chimney was fixed. Next, will be new gutter guards, then new carpet and base boards.

In light of the recent calamity in Oklahoma, I cannot help but think about my family. Are we prepared for a natural disaster? We have talked about and assigned a room in the house that we can take refuge, in case we need a safe place. We all decided on a walk in closet in the basement under the stairs. It is situated in the center of the house, and can easily get access to. Perfect.

OK, so there is a place. But, this made me realize more that we really do not have any survival gadgets inside that room. So, I would like to take this opportunity to better prepare, if such disaster strikes.

What should I put inside this room? Here's a list of what I have come up with. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. You can comment, email, whatever you desire.

1. Flashlight, with batteries. Extra batteries.
2. There are coats inside the closet. Maybe extra shirts, pants.
3. Battery operated radio... Is there still such a thing?
4. Bottled water. Non perishable items. Cat food for Mozart. Our daughter's cat.
5. Blankets
6. My diabetic supplies. I'm insulin dependent. Glucose tablets.

Just a thought. I should have a ready to pull plastic bag in the refrigerator with insulin. This bag is ready to come with me, if the need to go to our safe closet comes.

Please have a plan in place. Go over with it within your family. I believe this can save many lives. Chances of survival is higher once preparation is in place. We do these things in the hospital setting. The competencies and skills check offs we go through every year. These activities keeps us in check.Those fire drill, and disaster drill that we go through every so often. This is to better prepare us, the healthcare workers, to respond appropriately when disaster does strike.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

America The Beautiful , Part 2

By: Chiqui Raveloski

I have lived here in the United States for the past 27 years as a permanent resident alien. I have been operating under my alien number all these years, and I have to say that it felt "weird" knowing that I am finally letting go of that set of numbers which served as my means of identification and proof that I am a legal resident of this country.

It was a bittersweet moment when I finally surrendered  my "green card" to the United States Immigration Officer this morning. This marked as the first step of my oath taking process in becoming a full fledged American citizen in this day of May 15, 2013.

I was seated in my assigned seat inside the room with other future Americans eager to finally take this huge step in our lives. As I sat there, anxiously waiting for the ceremony to begin, family members were finally allowed to enter the same room we were in to celebrate this monumental occasion.

Thoughts of my past 27 years in America began to surface my mind. I am very grateful for all the blessings the Most High have granted me. At the same time, I am also thankful for what America has given me all these years. America has been good to me, even through times when the decisions I have made were not so good. I learned, I forgave, and I went on ro choose paths I can be proud of.

The United States Immigration Officer had us all stand up, raise our right hand, and recite the Oath Of Allegiance. Tears started rolling down my face and I am not really sure why. Yet, the only thing I can think of was that the future looks even brighter than ever before. More opportunities to explore, more rights to exercise, and possibilities are endless.

As I move forward as an American, I cannot help but to look back where I came from. This is my country of origin, the Philippines, where it all began. This country will always remain as my roots. The culture and tradition I have learned from this exquisite country is what I have, and can bring to the table. America is truly beautiful because it is full of different faces, different cultures, different minds, and different strengths. Yet, the true beauty lies within the rights of  each citizen, The right, liberty, and  pursuit of happiness.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

America The Beautiful

By Chiqui Raveloski

After many years of living as a permanent resident alien here in the USA, I finally decided to apply for my American citizenship last November 2012! It is a decision 27 years in the making and I can honestly say that I am ready to become a full fledged American. 

I love being a Filipino. I love the heritage, values, beliefs, what we stand up for, the Bahala Na attitude, most of all, and the food. There is no doubt about that. I believe that I, as a Filipino is who I am and what I am all about. No one can take that away from me. Yet, is that really all there is to it? Does citizenship define a person?

I remember growing up in the Philippines, values and traditions are taken so much into consideration in everything you do. The spirit of closely knit family unit, eating together for supper, praying together every night are a few things we value the most. Respect for the elders, honor your parents, love your family, as well as your extended family, are integral part of everyday life.

The fear and love for God and your country is taught and cultivated at an early age. Catholicism is the main religion in the Philippines and this is also taken very seriously by Filipinos all over. I can still hear the Sunday mass we go to every week, the priests preaching about the Lord , Our Savior, the nuns in schools, teaching theology,  and reminding that our body is the  temple of God.

Then, I came to America 27 years ago, wondering if life will be better, same, or worse. As much as I miss the Philippines and its traditions, America, I believe is better when it came to opportunities. It was the same belief when the pilgrims came to America in the 1600 and 1700's, that life will be better here for everyone. I found a vast amount of opportunities to get hold of, take care of, and enjoy the fruits of my own labor. This is one of the beauty of this country that makes it unique and attractive to the rest of the world.

Another beauty that this country possess is freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to be successful, freedom to make a difference not only for themselves, but also for the country. There is freedom everywhere, and people either utilize or abuse it.

Like freedom to vote. We still hear about low voter turnouts. It is unfortunate to see how this can really affect the democracy of this country. Voting is not just a right, it is what this country’s forefathers fought for, so future generations can have a voice in the political system. At the same time, abuse of freedom through sense of entitlement is far too rampant that the country suffers from unfair use of resources meant for the ones who need them the most. But then again, this is what freedom is all about right? Everyone has a take on it.

I found myself adapting to the American life quite easily. I believe that my upbringing had a lot to do with it. Respect one another, love yourself and your family, honor the elders, and worship the Higher being. These mantras have helped me overcome obstacles that came through my life when I came to America. Each day brought many challenges, and learning was and is still a vital part of the equation. I have learned that wherever I maybe, being a Filipino is more than a citizenship; it is my heart, my mind,  my soul, my place in this universe. 

My heart and my soul belongs with my family. The family my husband and I started is here in America. This is my new home, my life, my future. We have been raising our daughter for the past 16 years and it has been a true blessing from the universe. My husband and my daughter let me be who I am, Filipino or not. It is amazing to see that my Filipino culture, attitude, and traditions, are still present in our everyday life. It is a true marriage of not only culture and traditions, but also hearts and minds. 

I graduated nursing school here in America. I have been practicing this remarkable profession since 2008, and I have to say that it has taught me so much about myself. I blogged about my personal nursing philosophy, and I have written, "Nursing is an empathetic heart, a sincere touch, listening, and advocating. It cannot be measured in terms of an educational degree. It is only measured in the scale of one’s humanity to others".  And just like who I am, I cannot be measured  by my Filipino citizenship. This does not define who I am. It is my heart, my mind, and my soul that counts. 

With this in mind, becoming an American citizen made more sense. I am not just a Filipino with a place in the universe, but also a future American with a family who loves and supports me no matter what.

So, as I went for my interview on April 22, 2013, the United States Immigration Officer asked me how I met my husband. And I told him that it all started 20 years ago at a small hospital in Georgia where I met someone with the bluest eyes I have ever seen.........

I passed the oral / written English test, as well as the  US history and government exams. My application has been recommended for approval. I will be sworn in on May 15, 2013. 

As I wait till then to be sworn in, I cannot help but to continuously admire all the beauty that America has to offer. At the same time, Philippines as my country of origin will remain as my roots, my foundation, my core, my backbone. Two different countries, two continents, East and the West. One cannot argue that its citizens remain proud of who they are wherever they may be. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Adar Nurse Scrub Top Product Review

I was recently asked by the marketing analyst for Uniformed Scrubs, an online retailer of medical scrubs, shoes, and accessories  if I can do a product review of their new spring and summer scrub top line. I told myself, Why not?!. I have never done one on my blog. Yet, we nurses are constantly forming ideas and our own personal opinions of the gadgets we use for work. We just don't "publish" it. I figured this would be a great opportunity to do one. There is always first time for everything, right?

So here it goes.

I received this top. It is their Adar 601 Three Pocket V-Neck Tunic Scrub Top. 

I was hoping I'd receive the white or royal blue scrub top. Those are the only colors we can wear at work. I guess, due to product availability, they sent me the Khaki,  my third color of choice.

 After washing and drying it, (guess what, it did not shrink), I wore it around the house, filled the pockets with stuff I usually carry at work and formulated my opinion about the scrub top. Additionally, since I cannot wear it to work, I had one of the unit secretaries wear it to work, ( they wear khaki scrubs to work), so she can help review the top.

The top is very comfortable. I got the medium, the size I ordered, and I would have to say that it fit perfect. I am 5'2, medium built, and this top has plenty of room to move around in. . It is not too long or too short, Just the right length. I wore it with my low rise scrub pant and it is nice to know that it covered my behind when I picked up something off the floor.

It came with two side slits, making the top more versatile while moving around.

I have always had problems with the shoulders being a little tight with my other scrubs, This brand had enough room. I did not feel constricted at all. Personally, I have never owned a tunic style scrub top. Maybe I need to start choosing tunics. So, I checked out more nurse scrub top on their site and found some really cute ones.

This top also has 3 huge pockets. One on the top left and two on the bottom. The pockets are deep enough to stuff with gears we nurses use at work, without worrying that pockets will overflow. The top pocket has a sewn in pen holder/ divider which I like. I personally don't use them as a pen holder. I like to use it as an area where I can clip my badge in place.

The material is 65% polyester and 35% cotton. I was a little hesitant about the polyester, but this top did not make me itch. It felt soft after washing and drying with fabric softener.

My friend unit secretary liked the scrub, too. For her time, I gave her the top since she can use it more than I can.

My only complaint....... It's not white or royal blue. I cannot use it at work. But glad my friend can put it to good use.

Overall, a very decent scrub top. If you want to check out Uniformed Scrub site, please do so. I have a coupon code  "trueblue" which is 15% off until July 31st 2013.

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Disclosure: I received an Adar scrub top in exchange for this review,  The review is my own opinion.