Tuesday, April 3, 2018

#LifeGoesOn - 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

When one doesn't know where one is going or what one may/may not do about a certain exam and then sees others getting MD admission with the same score and lower GPA?

Well, one does what one does... life does go on.

I give you pics from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang (the actual city for the opening/closing and many sledding events was Jimbu; PyeongChang was the name of the county were the events were held as well as the city where some events were helad; Gangneung hosted the skating cluster sports like hockey GO TEAM USA!!! speed skating, curling (okay, not a skating sport).

Let's start by what I was doing on my 14 hour flight from Detroit to Seoul/Incheon, South Korea.  Orgo was 80% of my CP section and at least 50% of my BB section.  Orgo was an easyish "A" for me but I took it in 2011...  so... yeah. Orgo on the flight.  BTW, I wrote the note in the column of the book when I was taking the course.  Interesting to find it in 2018, on a flight, escaping.

Actual flight tracking from Detroit to Seoul/Incheon... no, we did not fly directly over North Korea though it did look like we might!

Actual flight path 😁

After getting through South Korean customs, the first sign we saw:

And then

We've been asking Hershey FOR YEARS to sell the Hershey's Cookies & Cream NUGGETS in the US again but no.  We had to travel over 14,000 miles to find them where???

Lotte Mart in Pangyo, Seoul, South Korea  (that's my son and his favorite candy)

He set out to search for food for me while I "napped" or rather, recovered from jet lag.  Son liked a lot of what he saw at the Seoul Times Square Mall and restaurants but was also guarded *knowing* ... so he chose the Mad Garlic

No idea what it was but this was my dinner and hella spicy!

Waiting at the Seoul KTX train station to take us to Gangneung where we'd stay for 2.5 weeks, or rather, thought we would (we left 3 days early and skipped the closing ceremonies for reasons, I may or may not every discuss on here)

Spectator guide on the KTX indicating stops for the Winter Olympics 😀

Everything was nicely packaged!!  and TASTY!  (First class cabin on KTX)

First time, I started to realize, "OMGosh, WE did this!!!" 🙌

First day at AirBnB, our host took us for a drive along the coast, showing us a destroyer that found the NK sub... 10 miles offshore about 10 years ago

And the sub itself. Ancient relic.

Got dropped off at the zone for non-official drivers and loaded onto the transportation bus for our first event (HOCKEY!!!)

Up in PyeongChang for the kamikaze😂 aerial events

View from the KTX and Gangneung - picture does not do the mountains justice.  Stunning countryside (in more ways than one 😔)

Due to not really knowing *what* was on the menu, we found Mr. Pizza just off the Gangneung KTX station and ate here every night... for 2.5 weeks.  The pizza is called "BBQ Spicy Chicken" and, truth be told, my taste buds will never forgive me.  

I LOVE hot, spicy, Thai food; Mexican peppers, etc.  But this???  Oh. My.

Yes, there's a reason curling is a sport.  Swiss v GBR = most fun was listening to the Swiss guy beller  "HOT SWISS"  (yes, I have a full video about to be posted on YT with this guy - entertained all of us there for the 3 hour event)

Headed up to Jimbu the home of the opening/closing ceremonies for the traditional picture of the torch.  Always inspiring and while this one did as well, it sort of reminded me of the thing in Zandarmarsh that squashed lowly 60's in WoW's TBC expac... oh, yeah, I'm a gamer)

Hoarse, PROUD, tone deaf... sang our National Anthem while our flag was raised, tears in eyes... 

Salty Canadians left this behind 😂😂😂😂😂 (about that, Canada?!?!!?)

And due to ... *things* that I saw in Gangneung, Jimbu, and PyeongChang, we left early.

This was our 5th Winter Olympics (Nagano, SLC, Torino, Sochi, PyeongChang) and we were asked to be tour guides for both Tokyo and Beijing by the group responsible for touring the families of the US Athletes at the games.

Cannot wait!  #WontLeaveEarly

Because I Was Asked...

The blog has been made public.

Not sure why anyone reads this, as @gonnif told me, "drivelish POcrap" but here goes:

If you're reading because you're soon taking the MCAT know these things:

1.  It's not as hard as the AAMC Section Banks ALTHOUGH there are a passage or TWO that are equivalent - that separates the 528s from the 519s from the 510s...

2.  Know your AA's - the structures, the cycles (Krebs, Pentose) and I would suggest you know the number of carbons on each molecule in the Krebs - why?  Well, just look at the molecule changes and understand... if you need the drawing I have of that, let me know...

3.  Know the psych/sociologists and what their theories are... I would also tell you to line up Freud, Piaget, Erickson, Kohlberg theories by ages to see how they align and differ...

4.  DO ALL the AAMC materials - even the flashcards.  The flashcards help not only understanding what AAMC rationale (and not "Answer A is right because B, C, and D are wrong) but the format for discretes.  The flashcards are somewhat like discrete questions and... I can't say more ;)

5.  Read other material like The Economist, The New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, etc. and the opinion pieces contained within those magazines.  Why?  Well, start by asking yourself when reading, what is the tone of the author?  what would help or hinder the author's argument?  That is the reasoning you'll be expected to have come test day.

6.  Make sure you pack snacks, lunch and soda/water for exam day the night before.  Don't be like me and think you'll get up early and do it (I did this for the exam post-Irma and *epic fail* comes to mind :O )

For the first exam, that got postponed, I packed sandwiches (PBJ), chips, animal crackers, diet coke in copious amounts.  That exam, I think I would have nailed but...

7.  Leave early for the exam site.  More than likely you can sign in starting at 7 or 7:30 which gives you a slight advantage if you are taking it like everyone else (I was accommodated).  The room will be less full as you start your test and that is the CP section.  For some, that might be the strength but either way, you'll be cruising in test mode while others are still checking in.

8.  IF you are NOT getting close to your goal score on the AAMC materials FL1, FL2, and FL3, you have two/three choices:


Depending on how close you are to the exam date, you may also cancel with a partial refund BUT if you are not going to get a refund then either take the thing and void or score it.  A no-show counts against your total lifetime attempts AND you lose the money without getting anything.

At least get something for the money you paid!

LAST... breathe.  Unless this is your 7th attempt, and you are 80+ years old, this is not the end game.

You can retake it if you do poorly.  Remember, This is what you're looking for.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Alive, Well, & Wondering

Of course, I am wondering.  Querying/googling "Bombed MCAT, retake?" and find?

Lots of people score worse than I did.

Lots of people scoring worse than I did, retake, do well, get into med school.

Am I going to be one of them?  Don't know.  I vowed I would take time away from SDN, reddit, and anything med school related... but that life thing.

Son ended up in ER a few weeks ago.  Doctor asked him what he thought was wrong and son said, "Maybe I have a kidney stone?"

Doc asked son, "What makes you think that?"

Son, "well, my mom" pointing to me, "thought that might be the case."

Doc looks at me, "What made you think about kidney stone?"

Me, "Well, to be honest, I was just a dumb premed so... please don't ... see, his pain is in upper quadrant, below the rib, and specific; when pressure is put on it, the pain doesn't end so I figured it wasn't kidney infection... Also, he's not running a fever; intestines aren't there, appendix is lower, he's not having trouble breathing/eating/drinking and isn't peeing blood... so lungs good, heart good, I figured only thing left was kidney stone."

Doc, smirking at me, "WAS a premed??"

Me, with a combo of dust/onions in the air, "Yeah.  Was."

Doc, "You sure?"

Son, "Nah" groans, "She'll retake that damn thing."

As I waited for the CT scan to be done and son wheeled out of room, it was the first time in weeks that I felt at home, where I belonged, where my heart is, where my passion lies.  I saw sick people wheeled into rooms, talked to the nurses about their roles in ER, docs who make it in the ER (no interest on my part), about the lab results...

If I were 43 instead of not 43, there's be no question as to what I'd do.  But the calendar doesn't lie.

Son turned out to be fine with severe back spasms, thankfully.  He was put on some pretty heavy duty meds to help his body relax and recover; doc told me to retake the test.

We'll see. In the meantime, I've found Pennsylvania to be gorgeous (client in Pittsburgh area) and driving from PA to DC?

Sublime!  We're moving to DC in the spring, hopefully before cherry blossoms come out.

Found a cabinet maker went out of business and left his entire inventory behind in a warehouse.  It was all listed as "construction material" by the warehouse owner, so I came by and took "a lot" ... projects await me when I return home (currently on 12 day road trip PA - DC - MD - PA).

Life does go on... we'll see what ends up.  I'm fine.  I know when I took the test, after the delays, Irma, and $36,000 contract ending 2 days prior that I simply did not care about the exam.  And that coupled with adderall and no food and no hydration = disaster.

No excuse.  Maybe just a sign.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Life always works out the way it's supposed to, I'm told.  A few years ago, my love fest with all things Tampa Bay Lightning, Mr Vinik's amazing organization, I mean hockey club started.  Of course, that was swiftly pushed along with the addition of a certain Ranger, Boyle.

Boyle.  That guy. That guy who rattles up Abdeldaker's knickers, acts like jumping fish out of water while sitting in the penalty box vexing the Penguins Letang, giving Dotchin the "atta boy" when Dotch was sent to the penalty box and all over a great man, player, husband and dad.

In buying my first jersey - ever - it was Boyle that I wanted.  The shop downstairs in Amalie said they didn't get many requests for Boyle.  I found it odd... but then again, I never am the #1 fan of the #1 players on any club (hockey, football, hoops, or potato throwing).  I love the grinders, the diggers, the blue collar chuggers.

That embodies Boyle.

My longest post about him is here:


Last December, my tickets were on the blue line across from the bench, five rows off the ice.  With the team imploding without it's Captain Stamkos and many others, I kept tweeting to Boyle, "Step up. Your time. Your leadership."  Not that I had any part of it, but he did.  I also tweeted the Bolts, "Boyle should get the 'A'" for Alternate Captain.  Not that I had any part of that either, but he got it.

At the end of every game the 3 stars of the game are announced with players coming from just one club or both.

Boyle got the 2nd star of the night.  He got to give away a puck, signed by him.

I'd been asked by club management if I wanted to meet him at one point and while I can be outgoing at games, I'm rather shy in real life tending to stand in a corner and watch.  So, I always said no thank you.

But on that night with those 2 stars and a puck to hand out, Boyle skated across the blue line, across the rink like no one else ever does, looked right at me, and tossed up the puck.

My shyness kicked in along with my Minnesotan roots that told me to be polite and let the guy in front of me nab the puck.  (Guy then asked me who it was... insert big frowny face.)

That is maybe one of my only regrets from that hockey season, well, and that in all my #OldSignHag signs, I never did one for him.  Bishop, Stammer, Cally, Brown, Vasy all got signs but I wore Boyle's jerseys (white, blue, black depending on the night) so I figured that was good enough.

So, of all the signs I did (see below)

First game of the season when Callahan teased Stamkos that after signing, Cally knew who was buying the Arby's for the guys.  It became a running joke.

Bolts playing the Panthers begged for this sign!

Star Wars night

Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Stamkos went down for what became the entire season.

Marty St. Louis retirement

Vasy holding up after Bishop went down.  Team struggling, sagging, weary. 

This last one traveled with me for the rest of the season until... well, until Boyle was traded to the Leafs.  I stopped going to games, sold my tickets, watched from home.  This sign went to Minneapolis for the Wild v Bolts game and ended up in a video done by the club.  I wanted to ... 

Of all the signs I did, there was never one for Boyle.  Until now.  

Brian was diagnosed with CML sometime over the summer while going through camp with his new club (insert sad face):

 New Jersey Devils

Oh, and he's cleared to play!  Back on the ice, with his new club nonetheless, #BoyleStrong.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017



I think that's all she wrote, folks.

Thank you for following all these years, thank you for supporting me and encouraging me to "Not stop" but I think, I must.

The MCAT is NOT hard, NOT a beast, NOT undoable.

However, rescheduling it 3x due to circumstances outside my control (Irma, for instance), waking up late (never a good sign), driving like a bat to get on site without food or hydration (Adderall almost requires it or I get loopy in the head) ... well.  That all leads to no bueno in the score department.

I believe I'm capable of 515+ and that's about what I need to be a solid candidate.  However, maybe I'm just deluding myself to think that and honestly, it's time to stop.

School has been a most excellent adventure.  People who told me I was dumb or not a hard worker or Joe Van Kirk, wherever you are, "not driven enough" well, guess what - that fancy 4.0 through all my pre-reqs plus an A+ in physics probably proves I do have my drive... and I can/did compete with my younger peers.

But, I kind of want to relax a little, just work, play with the dogs, redo furniture, sand new wood to a nice glossy finish, and live.

I'll probably leave the blog up for a few weeks but take it down on October 31.  Seems sort of fitting.

Thanks again for everything!

P.S.  About that furniture redo - sample below: