Friday, December 31, 2010

2010

2nd worst year of my life and I could dwell there, but won't.

What am I thankful for after this year has flown by?

  1. Garret is home, where he should be.
  2. Sir Hawtsalot came into my life and showed me that no matter my circumstance, I'm still lovable.
  3. Storm's recovery showed me I can cope with just about anything; his death likewise.  How I made it through that, I do not honestly know.
  4. My study skills and habits are much stronger than they ever needed to be and I can get solid As.

What am I looking forward to in 2011?

  1. Getting back to school at some point and finishing my pre-reqs.  The funky MD in another school can kiss my ass, I may have to apply to Caribbean schools but so the "f" what... at the end of my tenure there, I'll still be an MD able to practice in the United States as a fully licensed physician.  And then again, I may just be accepted here in the U.S.
  2. Finding a contract that makes the above possible.  After three years of the worst recession in almost everyone's memory, I truly believe 2011 will be the turning point and I will find the resources necessary to get the above done.  Cannot wait!
  3. Garret starting his own path to engineering school (MIT - be on the look out, he's coming your way in 2013).
  4. Being able to take my parents on a vacation.  Turns out when I traveled extensively in my last life, the points are still on Marriott (THANK YOU MOTHER MARRIOTT!!!) and I have a week in a very warm, tropical location paid for with the points in a JW Marriott.
  5. And last, I look forward to reconnecting with Sir H.  A great man, an even better father, and someone whom I've been lucky enough to call ...

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

InterStim for Bowel Control

While researching what could cause lack of bowel control in elderly people, I found the Mayo site to be helpful in qualming fears in the elderly person's child.  Yes, one of my parents has a bowel disorder that causes the individual great embarassment over the past weekend.

In helping the individual (washing the clothes, finding suitable and fitting alternatives from my son's and my respective closets, getting towels, and other sundries), my primary concern was the underlying cause.  The person said the colonoscopy done last fall showed nothing (no polyps, no other types of growths); when questioned about foods that set it off, the reply was nothing of note.  When questioned about nerves, nothing out of the usual came up as things are actually quieting down for our family.  My last questions were current diet - enough water in diet as constipation is a cause for fecal incontinence.  Odd, right?  At the end of all the discussions over the period of three days, I realized there was not much I could do but provide assistance when needed, support when asked for, and love... unconditional love and acceptance.

I also looked up Medtronic's InterStim device and whether or not the FDA had given MDT approval yet to market the device in the U.S.

Fabulous device that allows bladder control and is FDA approved in the US.  Other gastro-uro uses included bowel but that usage is only approved in the EU currently.  Yes, AdvaMed code allows physicians to implement the device for bowel incontinence in the US but I can imagine doing so means the insurance companies won't pay for it.

So, the elderly person is caught in cross-fire until I win the lottery, or the FDA approves bowel usage.  I hope the approval comes sooner rather than later as etiologically, there is nothing wrong my elderly parent and the bowel.  Apparently, it is just sacral nerve degeneration that happens with aging.

Here's a snapshot of the device and a link to MDT's site.  (At work, I'll upload pic later from home)

http://www.medtronic.eu/your-health/constipation/about-the-device/what-is-it/index.htm

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Family

It was an AWESOME Christmas this year despite, or in spite?, of all that has happened.

My parents were thrilled.

My son was very happy, over joyed, and thankful.

Below - is the picture :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

On This Christmas Eve

I think of all those far from their loved ones, or those who love them.

I miss Storm.  I miss Sir Hawtsalot.  I miss ... and yet, with this Christmas Eve I am reminded how blessed I am.

My parents' hotel room is decorated lightly for Christmas, presents under the tree.  It was a blast to run around pulling things together for them.

My son is home with me this year.  Last year... last year.  This year he is on a fabulous path for himself, guided by his own hope and his own dreams.  I'm merely the purveyor of the path of his choosing.

And that is the reason for this season.

Merry, merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cipro For Noobs

Gotta love my son.  He'll be 19 (!!!) next Wednesday.  Seriously, when did I get old enough to have a kid that old?!  Anyway, that's not the point exactly...

Yesterday my script gotten written as I'd requested: 500 mg Cipro taken 2x per day for 5 days and what ails me should be dead.  This is not the first time I've taken the med so I kind of knew what to expect but apparently, my diet coke fetish is hampering me, or rather, is causing unwanted side effects.

Like, I'm more dizzy.  I'm light-headed.  The world seems to move slower than my body is ADHD notwithstanding.

When I told my son this, he asked with a very serious face, "Is the sky purple where you are?"  (he was sitting next to me in the car).

I said, "Dizzy son, not stoned out of my mind!!"

He laughed.  I was amused.

Note to self for future reference: tell patients to knock off the diet coke when taking Cipro or their children might likewise wonder what kind of meds they're on!

Make it a great day ~ and giggle, someone might need that (and the someone, could be you!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great Convo At Clinic Today

Found a minute clinic, not quite called that but the idea is the same.  I was expecting to pay about $200 to be seen by doctor so I've been waiting while the pain in my back flank gets worse.  Without more TMI, there were more symptoms that were getting worse as well.  And then, I saw blood.

So, I rapidly found a clinic and sat with the man who wore the official badge.  He asked me what I thought my counts might be and I told him.  The only thing I was wrong about was my blood count - it was higher than expected and not in the way that normally might be thought of as good.

Anyway, we were chatting.  He asked how I knew lab reports, etc.  I told him my experience with Storm and that I had been hoping to get through pre-reqs and admitted to medical school but that it was looking more obscure right now.

He is a PA.  He said he wished he'd have gone a different route and understood my itch - that volunteering, and helping and assisting doesn't scratch.  He said he would tell me to not stop, that no matter my age, I'll get in somewhere. 

Then he mentioned his attending.  She's 56.  She started med school at?

48

And then, I smiled broadly.

To top that off, my son sent me a song about brick walls and not stopping.  haha.

I get it.  I don't want to stop.  I don't have the means right now to continue.  So, I'll consider it a way point on my path and nothing more :)

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Relieved (Not Really)

All jesting aside, for some reason, I ALWAYS sigh relief when my background check comes back.  Not sure why.  I have no speeding tickets on my record (they were expunged with a batting of my eyes, and a flirty smile... or maybe it was just the DA's way of allowing everyone who promised not to be bad for the next year's way of getting to his ski resort quicker), I have never so much as uttered a bad word in public (privately that may be a different story)...

But for the American Red Cross a ciminal background check must be done (yeay!) and mine, is below (sans the very personal information which I deftly used paintbrush tool on).

Have no fear, your blogger has a clean sheet :D  (not that you have doubted it anyway)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Volunteering

Two days ago, I had an orientation for a new volunteering opportunity.  I look at it not so much as I need to have that on a potential medical school application pedigree for I have plenty of volunteering activities, charity organization board memberships, organizational leadership and other activities to discuss. 

About 14 years ago, two F-4 tornadoes whipped through a small cluster of cities in the SE part of my state.  Ripping doors off houses, wildly whipping furniture, appliances, and other household goods around the main floor of homes, destroying a near by university, I was about the 10th person on site.  Without training.  From two hours away.

I came with duffel bags packed with warm clothing, blankets, food, mittens (it was 78 in the afternoon pre-tornado, 35 after it swept through).  There were shovels and garbage bags, and gloves for working.

My heart came too, apparently.

While designating team leads to go into houses, secure the homes, make sure people were out, make sure the newly homeless were able to find shelter and warmth, for some reason, I got picked to lead a team through one of the more difficult areas.  The houses with their pink roofs were missing shingles, found two or three blocks away, stuck and stuffed underneath the vinyl siding of another house.

I had not been formally trained.  My heart led me, my brain led the teams I was assigned.  I was interviewed by the local media and eventually, national news.

Now, I'll be formally trained by the American Red Cross.

Never knew how much they did beyond disaster help and blood drives.  Amazing what started out as compassion on the field of war to where that compassion is extended to all.

Here's a link - check it out.  Maybe there's something you'd like to do? 

http://www.redcross.org/

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cuteness, Puppy Breath, Slice of Heaven

I think I just, as I typed that heading, figured out what to name the puppy:

So, dear readers, I give you Great Dane puppies ...
Settling in for a long nap post-breakfast, big chunky pup wonders where to plunk her awesomeness...


and of course, the best place is with her siblings, or on top of them...


And little puppy having no part in nap time, explored the tunnel without any concern for the weirdo with black thing mounted to her face.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Brain Wiring - Toys

While trying to figure out what to get my son for Christmas, I found a list of cool electronic gifts.  Among the gifts was a toy called Mindflex.  After reviewing the site, and reviewing some other material on it, seemed like a plausible electronic gadget especially given the book by Dr. Doidge on the ability of the mind to remap itself.

You can watch the video here:



So, I also started wondering about what videos I might find outside of Mattel's site (Mattel is the manufacturer).  Guess my comfort level would have been higher had it been from a med device company or research institute or pick-your-favorite other clinical type company.  Mattel is none of those.

Quickly, I had several other videos to watch on the Mindflex hoax.  I have not had time to research why the 2nd video works (some of you more sciency people probably already have it figured out - I'm guessing moisture on the side of the head wearing ear muffs = sponge demonstration). 

So, here's that video.  Let me know your thoughts.



I'm kind of sad to see the scam video as I was hoping there was new neurological research being performed that would help with PD patients, or ALS patients or ... but apparently, not so much.

Make it a great day anyway!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rumblings In My Mind

Lightly falling, surrendering whisper-white snow
Foot tracks wandering, forging ahead
Into the light, into hope, into grace

Wind lifting fluffy white crystalline snow
Pure, innocent children of the Heavens
Seen and heard and loved all the same

Christmas, peace, and feathery world
Serenity, hope for those at hand
Blessings and joy eternal, my friend

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big Smile For Today

You've followed my story(ies), you're read about the bumps, lumps and bruises.  You've also read about my parents and their respective health, or lack of.

This Christmas is already going to be better than last.

One, my son is with me this year when last year I was not speaking to him, nor did I have any interest in doing so.

Two, I'm healthy.  Last year, I spent Christmas day in the ER hoping to God that I did not get admitted.

Three, and this is a BIG one, despite that my cave has no room for a tree, despite that 2010 will go down as the 2nd worst year in my life (2nd to the year Austin passed away), despite that for the better part of this year I've wondered, how/when/where...

I'm renting a room for my parents at the nicer hotel in the area.  They will get to their own services that night, drive to our city, we'll have snacks when they arrive at my cave, then I'll head out to my annual tradition of concert and Catholic mass at the cathedral BUT THEY...

will head to their hotel room... where they will find a decorated room, with a tree, with their presents underneath, and music playing lightly.

Just called the hotel, they said that not only could I decorate but that they would be willing and eager to help me.

My parents, I can only imagine, will be over joyed.  My parents will be thrilled and stunned.

And that is the reason for the season!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

He Came Home

Storm, that is.  In a box.  Heavy box.  Sat in the truck, my son was with me.  His eyes were welling.  Mine were already holding back tears.  Turning on the radio, this song played - neither of us had heard it before.  Oddly fitting. It was a blurry drive.



I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming

[Diddy]
Back where I belong, yeah I never felt so strong
(I’m back baby)
I feel like there’s nothing that I can’t try
And if you with me put your hands high
(put your hands high)
If you ever lost a light before, this ones for you
And you, the dreams are for you

I hear “The Tears of a Clown”
I hate that song
I feel like they talking to me when it comes on
Another day another Dawn
Another Keisha, nice to meet ya, get the math I’m gone
What am I ‘posed to do when the club lights come on
Its easy to be Puff, its harder to be Sean
What if the twins ask why I aint marry their mom (why, damn!)
How do I respond?
What if my son stares with a face like my own
And says he wants to be like me when he’s grown
Sh-t! But I aint finished growing
Another night the inevitible prolongs
Another day another Dawn
Just tell Taneka and Taresha I’ll be better in the morn’
Another lie that I carry on
I need to get back to the place I belong

[Dirty Money - Chorus]
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming


[Diddy - Verse 2]
“A house is Not a Home“, I hate this song

Is a house really a home when your loved ones are gone
And n-ggas got the nerve to blame you for it
And you know you woulda took the bullet if you saw it
But you felt it and still feel it
And money can’t make up for it or conceal it
But you deal with it and you keep ballin’
Pour out some liquor, play ball and we keep ballin’
Baby we’ve been living in sin ’cause we’ve been really in love
But we’ve been living as friends
So you’ve been a guest in your own home
It’s time to make your house your home
Pick up your phone, come on

[Dirty Money - Chorus]
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming


[Diddy - Verse 3]
“Ain’t No Stopping Us Now“, I love that song
Whenever it comes on it makes me feel strong
I thought I told y’all that we won’t stop
We back cruising through Harlem, Viso blocks
It’s what made me, saved me, drove me crazy
Drove me away than embraced me
Forgave me for all of my shortcomings
Welcome to my homecoming
Yeah it’s been a long time coming
Lot of fights, lot of scars, lot of bottles
Lot of cars, lot of ups, lot of downs
Made it back, lost my dog (I miss you BIG)
And here I stand, a better man! (a better man)
Thank you Lord (Thank you Lord)

[Dirty Money - Chorus]
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm A Pseudo Aunt

About 5 weeks ago, in a superb Wisconsin location, a substantial litter of puppies were born.  Not just any puppies, Great Dane puppies.

The loss of Storm still haunts me at times.  His presence in our home is definitely missed as are his other traits and while I am still putting together his YouTube video (not a tribute to utter morosity), I'm also enjoying life and loving the vantage point of Auntie watching these beautiful babies grow.

Newborn - minutes old


1 week old


2 weeks old


4 weeks old - thinking about how mischievous dane pups are supposed to behave


because why behave when you can...


almost 5 weeks and finding white stuff on paws is ...


These dane pups are not what you find in your local paper.  They are not $350 for an AKC puppy whereby the breeder proclaims that being AKC actually "means" something (it doesn't really - sorry if you believe it does... no, scratch that, I'm not sorry, if you believe that, you're sadly very misinformed).  They are not a "pick a dam and pick a sire and breed to your heart's content and then SELL SELL SELL" puppies.  They are not "hope the legs are good on the breeding pair" or "hope there will be no wobblers - well what is wobblers anyway" type bred puppies.

These puppies, or in this case this pup from a litter of 13, came from a well thought out, well planned breeding of AKC CHAMPIONSHIP dogs where ALL available health tests are performed on the breeding pair to ensure the best possible genetics and health is going into the puppies.  Likewise, they are also NOT $350.  What difference does the CHAMPIONSHIP title mean?  Doesn't AKC mean the same thing?

A lot.  and No.

AKC judges are only able to judge after passing tests and having "been in the ring" for many years.  They are REQUIRED to judge the dogs in the show ring to a set, written standard.  Any dog deviating from that standard is not seen as upholding why the breed was bred in the first place.

Kind of like a standard for medical doctors.  Think of it like the USMLE or COMLEX - if you can do well against the standard of those tests, the inference is that you are well equipped educationally to be a doc.

Only those dogs getting enough types of wins are given the title Champion.  It takes many long hours of training the dogs and many more hours of traveling to shows to get judging completed. In some cases, it can take years to "finish" a dog (aka: get the CH on front of name).

Again, like a medical doctor has to pass several different types of tests (more if specialty): USMLE Steps 1-2-3.

With dogs, the AKC on the papers is just stating that according to records the dog has a pedigree that is recognized for 5 generations as all pairs being of the same breed, in this case, Great Danes.

AKC is similar to medical schools.  For the most part, it does not overly matter which medical school you attend, in the end, you have M.D. at the end of your name, tests you've passed and at that point, MOST patients don't care what school you went to.

Is your training better if you go to a higher tier med school - yes, more than likely - but ultimately, it is the USMLE scores that get you your residency and your first spot as a full fledged doc.

In dogs, it is the CH on the front end and tests (heart, CERF, legs, etc) that help create the quality pup.

The one pictured is in a litter I was supposed to visit today (16" of snow and white out conditions stopped that trek).  I don't know if she will eventually be my pup or not, but she is gorgeous, she is well bred, she is in her early stages of possibly becoming the dog equivalent of an M.D.

Titled.  Cherished.  Tested.  Loved.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dignity - Many Condolences

As many have commented elsewhere, dignity takes many forms, shows itself in vastly different ways, and manifests itself on people's canvasses. I've followed the story in the press, and perhaps you have as well:

Elizabeth Edwards and her cancer treatments.

The cancer itself has had to be harrowing, the debacle that is her estranged husband's deceit far worse.

Yet, through it all, her dignity has remained intact. She has shown courage and grace when the world, and her own health, were against her. She has maintained a quiet dignity reminiscent of days gone by when people held their tongue and took the high road.

Apparently, that dignity will take her onto the next stage in her life's journey as she has stopped cancer treatments.

I do not know the family, nor anyone connected to them, but my thoughts are with her family and friends, and all others currently suffering the ravages of disease.

I only hope that if I am ever in a similar situation, I remain as steadfastly dignified Elizabeth has been.

EDITED:

Elizabeth Edwards passed away on Tuesday, December 7th.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pediatric Oncology

Many ask what field in medicine I want practice with excited looks on their faces. Apparently, they want to hear neurosurgery, or orthopedics, or ob/gyn, or EM. It is an odd feeling when I tell them and their eyes look downward, their mouths unsure of what to say next so they more than often mumble, "Why that?!" as if there is something wrong with wanting to help the children, and their parents, through the most difficult times of their respective lives.

Because I can, is all that comes to mind.  Because... I have to.  Because that God of mine, gave me a heart so large, it loves everyone (well, most everyone!), and feels the compassion toward helping the kids.  Because, I've lost one of my own.  Because, I understand the agony, the panic, the fear, the hopelessness... and the hope.

As I have done every year since I started this blog, I'm doing it again this year... posting a link so you can donate to St Jude's Children's Hospital.

Donate now and help the children of St. Jude

Please consider donating. If you have followed my blog you know my own story. Last week my parents visited the food shelf to get food for my son and I . And yet this week, as my last unemployment rolled in, I started a new contract. Will be getting my first paycheck in two weeks... and I'm donating.

When I'm asked why pediatric oncology and I start with "Because" I end with "Why not? Each day these kids and their parents get to spend together is one more day than they might not have had. Is it not worth it to try?"

To me it is. I would give anything and everything to have had one more day with Austin.

Make it a great day - click the link. $2, $3, $5 or more... just give. Please?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow, Cold, Stalled

There are not many times, and only one that I can really remember, that I've owned up to where I live.  Done partially to protect the very guilty (you know who you are) and partially to protect the others (ala me!).  But tonight, I am giving a very healthy and warranted "SHOUT OUT" to:

Inver Grove Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in Minnesota.

Website is here:  http://invergrove.dealerconnection.com/?lang=en

Specifically, I want to mention the service department and Jerry, the "runner" for their help.  I owe them more, I hope they find the cookies I drop off tasty enough!

It is about 19 degrees here in Minneapolis.  The wind coming out of the west dips the windchill (that is what the air temp feels like for those of you in sunnier/warmer climates) to about -10 below zero.  It is bone chilling out, especially in the wind.  With the light snow blowing in, being stranded in a broken down vehicle was absolutely miserable.

The Minnesota Highway patrol passed me leading a semi tractor the opposite direction.  I hoped it would not be long until help arrived.  I was getting cold.  My blue satin pumps with strappy heals not quite keeping my feet warm, the black wool coat barely keeping my body heat in as the temperature sank in my truck.  Ten minutes passed.  I listened the radio, without heat, and watched the time.

6:12 PM

Another 10 minutes passed and the truck was getting colder.  I was a little nervous.  The cell phone not working, no heat in the car, no other blankets or mittens or boots to put on, I considered walking up the hill, on the interstate, crossing the interstate during rush house, walking another 1/2 mile to the gas station at the top of hill except that my gas gauge before the truck died said 1/4 tank... and then also realized, in dark blue pants, dark coat I would be a walking dead woman.

So, I waited.

6:25 PM a truck with flashing yellow lights showed up.  MN DoT supervisor on patrol, monitoring our highways during the ice "event" making sure traffic was moving and roads were driveable.

He couldn't help.  He called a first helper.

Sitting in my cold truck, now without radio, I wondered how much longer I'd be cold.

6:45 the first helper showed up.  That's what they call the helpers on the road here in Minnesota.

Getting out of his truck he looked at my gas portal and said without the funnel supplied with the vehicle, he could not help me either.  He looked in the back area, opened the hatch, and it was gone.  He asked what he could do to help at that point, I asked if we could call a dealership and ask them for a funnel.  The one I purchased my BRAND NEW vehicle from (actually Dad did for me), was 30 miles north.

First Helper gave me the State cell phone to call Inver Grove Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.  I was not optimistic, yet I was hopeful.  Maybe on this very cold night in the snow, they'd understand my plight and offer to help.  He let me stay warm in the truck.  I never told him my feet were numb and not warming up, I was thankful I was inside something with heat!

My shock when the dealership said they'd send Jerry.

I did not buy my truck there.

I do not service my truck there.

But you can believe, anyone and everyone that I know looking for a vehicle will get sent there now.

If they go that far out of their way to help someone who is not a customer, I cannot imagine how much they will do for one that is.

Too bad, I'm not able to buy one right now, or you know where I'd be...

http://invergrove.dealerconnection.com/?lang=en


And that, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story!

Make yours a great day and a finer tomorrow!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Dad

Thanksgiving was kind of fun this year at my parents' house in the small village along the meandering river.  Mom did a bang-up job of cooking, the chocolate pie that I stab my son to stay away from (I know, I should not admit that on a public forum but it is no longer considered child abuse to stab him when he leers at my slice), and of course, I'm completely stuffed.

Conversation roamed from Oprah (who cares) and how much money she gives away all the time (yeah, so what, I appreciate those who have less and give away more with NO PR), and then onto my dad's life.

Apparently, my dad needs new glasses and they cannot afford them or the visit to the eye doctor.  My dad is 80.

Apparently, my dad is also not hearing well and they cannot afford the hearing aid either altho, knowing my dad's stubbornness, he probably would not wear it anyway.

His doctor left the clinic last summer (same one I shadow) and while he doesn't know it, that doctor is not keen on elderly patients because he feels so helpless to help them.  Part of aging is losing the memory, is having shaky hands, is the loss of hearing and obviously, loss of sight.  I want to get him to a geriatric specialist and while I know of one, the word, "AWKWARD" does not sum it up quite well enough if I were to send my dad there ... despite that he is a phenomenal physician and specializes in the elderly.

But I think, my Christmas gift to my dad is going to be a vision certificate to somewhere I can get him new glasses and new sight.  He LOVES to read so I'm going to buy him a new book or two to use with those new glasses.  My contract starts soon and while I have no idea of its length, I know the warmth I will feel providing something so necessary for my dad who would do anything for me.  Glasses seem to pale in that light, eh?

This year I'm thankful I still have my dad.  If you scroll back to some of my first posts, I talk openly about this daughter's affection for the best father ever.  My dad is amazing... and maybe with a little help from me, he'll be able to see me better!  Of course, then maybe he'll wish he could go back to his other glasses and see me in more blurry haze.

Make it a great day - hope your Thanksgiving was just as filling and fulfilling as mine!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Cave

I often refer to the house in which we live as "The Cave" even when giving people directions to it... fourth house on the right, reminds you of a cave.

Well, not really but in many ways yes: the drafty windows, the doors that don't shut tight to the outdoors, leaking basement replete with centipedes (house centipedes are very different far more disgusting than those you find in the garden; trust me on that). Yes, I wrote an email asking for repairs... won't go there.

Anyway, following a People story on David Arquette's drinking over the last weekend (and wondering why he is soooo stupid; seriously, married to Courtney and you act like "THAT?"), which brought me to his Twitter account and the pictures (seriously, he should engage Skankalina's PR reps NOW!!!), which brought me to a company that wants to build houses of the future.

Upscale. Ermm...

Caves.

Yes, you can read about it here,   http://blogs.forbes.com/kymmcnicholas/2010/11/19/names-you-need-to-know-in-2010-binishells/

and see the other conceptual designs for our future.

Won't you join me?  In the cave???

haha ~ Make it a great day, chase your dream!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Night Delight

While my son played his video game, I watched old FRIENDS episodes on DVD. Had forgotten how really, really funny they are... gut busting, hilarity; enormously compassionate, and yes, I still love Rachel.

As the episodes went from one to the next, my son quit paying attention to his video game... and started watching. He was howling with me as Ross turned into a tanomaniac, or Joey tried to undo Rachel's bra, or ...

What great fun that show was! I'm reminded all the time how great television can be, and how great some of those actors are.



Jennifer Aniston does not get the credit she deserves. I read stories about her and can't help but think that inside Rachel was Jennifer's own heart and soul. As I watched last night in lines said to Joey (Matt LeBlanc), I wondered if she already knew what was going on during the filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith... if she was method acting herself at that moment.

She, Jennifer, also carried herself with such high regard. No matter what smattering of lies came out in the press, or presumably behind closed doors, she moved ahead and said nothing. Her actions said it all... she would not get sucked into the mire that was created by those with big PR machines. She would be true to herself, and to her friends.

Back to the DVDs tonight (yes, I am THAT boring right now...)

Make it a great night and a better tomorrow!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Unemployment Rate & Misperceptions

Interesting reading these days, actually over the past 2 years as the unemployment rate has risen, fallen, risen, and stagnated a sufficiently high level. Recently, my own state disclosed that the rate had fallen last month and were celebrating, only to be amazed that it rose again this month.

I'm not surprised. I'm appalled, however, at the posts and comments left on other forums about those of us on unemployment (getting UI or not).

One, I did not ask to be unemployed. Reality of the situation is, I loved my last full time, permanent job and did everything I could to keep it, to hire the best, to build a team of skilled personnel across the globe. I cut costs by hiring INTERNALLY and getting rid of the bloated costs of 3rd party vendors. Where I needed their help, I trimmed their profit margins while still employing them as well. I knew their game as well as they did; I'd lived their life.

Then, I kept a watchful eye on the financial reporting issues that arose... again, and again... and again. While in the Philippines, I got yet another call: there was another issue and I should think about how the company might broach rectifying the problem(s). The plurality there, is my perception.

Arriving back at home, I was called into the CFO's office, asked what I thought we should do ... my thoughts. I thought, stupidly, he wanted what I really thought. In my naivety, I gave him my entire team's thoughts: restate. Too much, for too long, over too many quarters, through too many subs. Restate.

I was fired. Then the rumors started... really, really bad rumors. Lies. But given I was the one without a job, they were the ones with fancy titles, their lies and deceit were believed. I was blackballed. I believe I still am... and have had conversations where that belief has been upheld.

Over 500 resumes have been sent out. ALL of which I'm either well qualified or over qualified for.

500. If that was one resume a week, that's almost 6 years sending out resumes. At 2 a week, that is 3 years... and when the reality of it all really sunk in, that my name was crap... I went back to school so that I could do something to contribute back to society. And subsequently, chase a dream.

I know I am not alone. There are many who maybe did not face equally as horrid situations but have nonetheless tried for the past few years to get a decent job.

I was making $220,000 a year. Yep, almost $20,000 a month gross with my tax off set and everything else, I was at about $13k net.

I'm trying to get jobs making less than I paid in taxes during those years. BTW, that's about $70k a year. I paid on a general note, about $85,000 in taxes. Each year. My ongoing joke is that I wanted to know which bombs sent to Iraq had my name on them. But I digress.

Two. I did not over leverage my now-gone house. I did not spend wildly on stupid stuff (for the most part, my son went without a lot of "crap" only to be taken around the world and shown how others live in 3rd world countries, in middle class Italy, and poorer countries like Mexico). My money was spent on a portfolio so should the worst ever happen, I'd have money to fall back upon.

Enter: Lehman.

Just like a bad boyfriend, my stock portfolio went to crap too. $120,000 down the drain; my 401k was emptied to try and save my house, the stock I had in the company unnamed above was sold, I held a garage sale... and I prayed. Not sure why. God doesn't seem to care much about the Ad2b's of the world, he has bigger issues to solve.

So, I kept chugging along in school; getting almost a 4.0. You've followed my stories of chemistry and physics on here; I still maintain a 3.8... despite my house, the bk, my son's issues (now resolved and he is AWESOME! tyvm)...

And I'm told by posts that I'm lazy. That I should just "Get a job" and that it can't be that hard. That I don't deserve unemployment because I'm a slacker... because I'm worthless... because I pose no value.

For those of us who live on that trying to get a job or a future going for us again, who hear you complain and bellyache that we are living off the government, I say this:

The government lived off me for 10 years while I paid my taxes, in full. $85,000 x 5, + , $48,000 x 5 = $665,000 in taxes paid. I never complained. It was part of having the salary I did, the lifestyle I did.

So, I don't worry too much now that the government is having to help me through. Especially when the same government enacts legislation (Sarbanes-Oxley) and then doesn't give the courts the ability to act upon it.

And, by the way, I'd love to have a job again. I'd love to wake up in the morning with a purpose and a goal, rather than another day trying to fill out online applications for the 1 spot in the 2 companies that are hiring with 1,000 other applicants.

I'd love to have health insurance so the back ache (kidney infection of which I'm sure) could be treated. As is, I can't so I suffer the pain in my back and the bloody urine...as I have for 2 months now.

I'd love to be able to put food in my refrigerator and not worry about how to portion it out so that my son and I could eat regularly and routinely.

That little bit of UI that I was getting? It paid the rent, put gas in my car for interviews, and food in my house. Nothing else.

And when I worked my little contract here and there? I did NOT claim UI... nor did those weeks get added onto the end of the term. They are just lost weeks. So, I worked (and got excellent references), and hoped that maybe that company would hire me full time.

So, for those of you who read and bash those of us who are still getting unemployment insurance, please stop. There will always be those who abuse the system... many more who will not.

There will always be more of us really trying to get a job, make a living, and contribute back to society again...

I'm one of them. Med school and/or working.

Make it a great day ~ I have yet another resume to prepare, and another online application to fill out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Card & Writing

This was an exercise in compassion beyond what I've normally had to work with.

Generally, when I've sent "Think of you" cards they have been to an elderly person that I've known all my life, or friends of my parents... I've never had to send one to someone nearer my own age.

What does one say when the only information gleaned is from a post on another site, very divergent from a normal reading spot? What if the information is false? Or it is just blatantly wrong? What if he really is okay? What if the poster just wanted to create drama when there really is none?

What if, I never wrote and it was all true?

So, I happened to have a card, with a great dane on it, looking in a door asking how things were... poetic, I suppose. And I wrote. And to make sure I did not waste another chance, I stamped it and sent it.

I hope that the poster was wrong. But in my heart, I know it is true.

And today, it felt good to take the high road and leave the past behind... which I generally do anyway.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, What To Do

For some reason, in my boredom tonight, I wondered what ever happened to one of my oldest and best friends. We had a falling out a few years ago; my then boyfriend didn't think much of her, she hated him; I broke up with him, whined about it (yes, some of you do know that story), and she dumped me as a friend.

Hung up on me, in fact. When I called back thinking my line had just gone dead, she did it again. Now, mind you, this is the same friend that would ask me to come to her parties, drive 200 miles to be there for her, only to have her ignore me the whole night. Same friend that also asked me to be her maid of honor, and then asked someone else after I moved away.

I digress.

Anyway, I do not know why I Googled her husband's name tonight, but I did. A fellow trapper says he has terminal cancer; post was in April of this year.

Do I call? Do I write? I always really really liked him and I feel just sick.

Guess that's my answer.

Homemade Apple Pie

Fresh Granny Smith apples, ground cinnamon, nutmeg dash, crumble topping with butter, maple sugar, more cinnamon, and brown sugar, held together with flour and the apple's own juices... I'm being domestic tonight.

Roast in the oven, garlic roasted basil strewn Yukon gold potatoes to boot; my son is going to have a feast tonight.

With 10" of snow on the ground, the roads are still slick and while I'm not entirely uncomfortable driving in it, I am in the little Mariner that has no traction, no weight, and no steering... So, we're staying home. Putting a puzzle together, and figuring out what classes HE is going to take in the spring.

One thing for sure is going right in my life, and that is the direction and hope my son has been showing.

Finally! Something to be very positive about!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Fallen Off Earth

Life gives me speed bumps that I don't see... so traveling at warp speed 4, tends to hurt a little bit when I hit one.

I'm good. Classes start in a few months. Am trying to figure out a way to take a night class to finish up pre-reqs and apply.

Storm's video is coming along. I can finally talk about that night without succumbing to a puddle of tears and goo.

The school of public health has an open house upcoming that I am attending; nothing wrong with MD, MPH - in fact, for what I'd really like to do, it might be the perfect combo for rural med.

Hope ya'll are well!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Back In The Saddle

Contract awarded.

School starts January 2011.

Organic is open.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not So Fast Philly!

As much as the opportunity sounded like great fun: new city, new people, new places to explore, the job/contract in Philadelphia has disappeared. To be honest, I'm kind of glad. Here's why:

Over the past week, I've realized how much my parents mean to me. Not that I needed reminding but I realize how frail they are becoming, how limited my days are with them. Storm sort of showed me that all can seem to be well, only to end in sheer sadness.

Over the past week, I've realized how much I do not want to solve a conglomerate's problems with their financial close. Been there, done that; was I willing to do so again? Sure! But not at my expense (literally - I would have to pay all my travel expenses).

Over the past week, friends I thought had dropped off the face of the earth, locally, have re-emerged, showing their own tenacity to make it through these very difficult times. Reaching out to me, has helped me cope with the loss of my beloved Storm. Reaching out to me, has reinforced I have roots here, a love here, and God willing, school here. I don't need to go anywhere at this time. I can just learn to be still.

Over the past week, I have reflected on what it is that I want, and what it is not. I don't want to chase a gold lined street, I want stability and sanity. Again, having had one of the top jobs at a very large global company, I did that once before, I think I'll pass this time.

So, not so fast Philly! But thank you anyway!

Make it a great day - go chase your dream!

I'm continuing to find ways to chase my own - won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No One Said I Had

to be an MD; just me.  It is my first choice, although choosing between very sick kids and treating them, or researching insidious maladies of the furred kids is more difficult.

The reason may not be so apparent.

While hundreds of researchers scour the reasons for various childhood cancers, very few research remedies for other species' maladies.

Yes, I'm talking about bloat.  Yes, I've reached out to the veterinarian PhD program about options there.

I'm not sure I have the ability to research ON animals - but those are the questions I will ask. I know I could not be the vet who puts the plastic stomach inside the cow to see how digestion works in that animal. I find that incredibly disgusting and twisted.

We'll see. I'm still searching for my future.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Trying

really, I am.  Exactly seven days I ago, I walked out the front door of the cave, out to the truck with a perky eared great dane, who stopped to pee, sniff a tree, and jump in my truck.

Away we went, like a bat out of hell.  He seemed non-plussed about the whole thing.  Even wagged his tail walking into the e-vet... he did not want to go.  One hour before he was euthanized, he was still perking up his ears... still thumping his tail... still trying to console his owner who was sobbing on the cold floor of the harshly lighted clinic.

My soul left me that night.  I have yet to find it.  But I am trying.

I miss you Storm.  I miss your little lips puckering up to lick me in the morning.  I miss those flappy jowls of yours flinging floobers all over the house.  What I really miss is my Saturday morning run to the dog food store and all the people remarking what a GREAT great dane you are.  I miss you curling up on my bed fully aware that is not mom-approved... only to jump off and look at me like it was perfectly fine because it was you.  I miss your fur and smell of it against my face as I rubbed you down and checked your legs for growths.  I miss you prancing around like ... well, only you know the name we called you.  It fit, my love.  Storm, if you could only hear my heart; if you could only know how much you are missed by your earth bound family... as you left this world the only words I could think were, "Thank you" for anything else doesn't fit what you have meant to Garret and I ... you saved me from myself and from the evil that lurked in our home for 2 years.  You barked at strangers in the back yard when who knows what they were doing back there.  You pranced and played to make us laugh; we have the pictures of you about to swirl into the zoomies.  I will never understand how your tail did not get busted up in the old house.  By the way, I hope you don't mind if I carry you in my heart, but put your ashes out at the old house, by your buddies.  Hopefully, next spring I'll be able to let you really go.

Storm, I'm so sorry.  I miss you.  I am trying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A New Normal

It was strange to come home last night.

Working on Storm's video is cathartic, deeply painful, agonizingly poignant.  In my head, I can see it from start to finish.  I hope it is worthy of him.

Our golden continues to be oblivious.  A client of mine once told me, I was like a golden retriever.  How I wish I could be like that now.  Oblivious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beyond Inconsolable

My grief so vast and so deep; my despair... my soul is gone.

Storm ... my precious soul... the real love of my life.

At some point, this song will be put to pictures and posted here.  For now, the song says it all.  I'm broken.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Great Insight Worthy of Its Own Post - from Medschoolodyssey

Medschoolodyssey wrote a comment which I could have chosen to leave public but on comments page, or make public. I've chosen, obviously, to make them public.

Good discussions should always be seen readily by others. It is how we learn and grow as people.

My original thoughts are in normal, bland, boring type. MSO's are in bold italic.

Thank you MSO for writing!
--------------------------
1) general chemistry is required to understand organic chemistry and the rates at which reactions occur to which still leads to /eyeroll and /facepalm (yes, I'm a gamer... shhhh)

I hated freshman chemistry, because so much of it seemed like memorization with a complete disregard for fundamental understanding. One needs to learn these concepts, but it's not until organic chemistry or electromagnetics that you really get to understand the mechanics behind what's going on here.

2) organic chemistry is required to understand biochemistry which is useful in treating and understanding the pathology of diseases and potential migratory paths for whatever ails said patients; which leads to a /barf (yes, still a gamer)

Medical school admissions committees seem to equate performance in organic chemistry with critical thinking ability and so forth. A friend of mine that started medical school this year at Duke University told me she uses her background in organic chemistry constantly in her biochemistry course. Of course, the utility of organic chemistry in clinical medicine is probably small.

3) physics, to me, is the root of all the sciences and helps in understanding chemistry, electron orbitals were not discovered nor explained by chemists but by physicists; going full circle to /eyeroll and /facepalm

I should point out that the first person to refer to the eigenfunctions of electrons in a hydrogen atom as orbitals was Robert Muilliken, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry. But, you're correct - it was a whole cadre of physicists that developed the foundations of what we now know as quantum mechanics. Of course, Muilliken expanded on their work when he laid out his theory of molecular orbitals, which is a major component of the more modern view we use today. As a physicist, I find it really hard to determine where chemistry ends and physics begins, particularly when discussing atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions. Honestly, at this point, it's hard for me to determine the boundaries of any of the pre-med science fields. Biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics all look to me like different views on the same subject.

4) because how in the heck else would medical schools easily dismiss otherwise very qualified candidates from even getting into the "box" for review purposes

Correct. It could be arbitrary and based on things like who you know, whether your parents were doctors, or whether you came from the proper socio-economic class.

Another thing to add here on some perspective to organic chemistry - check the articles and the comments on both of these.


http://masterorganicchemistry.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/some-perspective/

http://medschoolodyssey.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/why-im-not-afraid-of-organic-chemistry/

Electrons & Ochem & Physics, Oh My!

Yeay! I LOVE being asked questions and thus be able to pontificate :P  Thanks to another reader, unafraid to ask me something!

So, a reader asked why doctors need to know about electrons and o-chem and other such matters.

Great question because obviously, no doctor has ever sat with his patient and said, "Now look. The reason the penicillin medication works is because the 90 degree angle on the beta lactam ring breaks apart under the stress of the bacteria trying to eat it.  The resulting reaction creates an energy response and chemical imbalance which then permeates the bacteria and stops the bacteria from being able to replicate its cell wall."

Patients would eye roll.

Like you just did.

My beliefs are this regarding ochem, physics, and general chemistry:

1) general chemistry is required to understand organic chemistry and the rates at which reactions occur to which still leads to /eyeroll and /facepalm (yes, I'm a gamer... shhhh)

2) organic chemistry is required to understand biochemistry which is useful in treating and understanding the pathology of diseases and potential migratory paths for whatever ails said patients; which leads to a /barf (yes, still a gamer)

3) physics, to me, is the root of all the sciences and helps in understanding chemistry, electron orbitals were not discovered nor explained by chemists but by physicists; going full circle to /eyeroll and /facepalm

4) because how in the heck else would medical schools easily dismiss otherwise very qualified candidates from even getting into the "box" for review purposes

I don't truly believe the classes are weeder; more that the classes become so because students become less focused on the end goal and entirely focus on why they hate o-chem, and physics. I know 20 years ago that is what happened to me (and my own son's death); now realizing how short time is, and how much I need those classes to understand, I don't mind them so much.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Africa Question

A reader happening upon my blog WHO WAS NOT AFRAID TO ASK A QUESTION, inquired if I had actually made it to Ghana as I had hoped back in May.

Sadly, the answer is no.

My friend from high school was in charge of something-or-other of the embassy there.  While I had hoped to work it out for me to be in clinics, somethings in life never change and he is one of them :)

For better or worse, he has always been supremely unreliable; and despite that we have grown up over the past 30 years, he is still as charming as ever and ... still unreliable.  When I realized I could easily dump the money into airline tickets, hotels only to find myself alone in an uncharted country, I did not go.

Will I try to get to Africa at some point?  Absolutely!  I'm hoping to go yet next year - maybe take in Tanzania, or Mozambique, or even South Africa.  It'd be awesome if I could twist together some volunteer time in the country of choice - clinics, home building or repairing, or even just reading to sick kids.

Thank you to the reader for asking! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bucking The Current

Sometimes I swim in the ocean and look for starfish, shells, crabs and if lucky a shark or two.

Sometimes in life, I swim against the current trying desperately to cling to whatever beacon of hope I can find.

A credit to a Queen of a different sort, who said this recently:

People think that they can swim directly back to shore when caught in a rip tide.  You have to swim parallel to shore until you get out of the current before you can swim back in.  Stop fighting the current, get out of it altogether and then you can get where you want to go!

I could not have said it better myself.  And I completely agree.  Sometimes it is okay to swim parallel to a dream or a goal or a life choice before finding the right moment to swim ashore and clinch the sweet dream in hand.

The video just reminded me of the undertow of the water, the strength of the underlying pull... and my own ability to continue to swim with it, until I can get things in their proper place.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Philadelphia Freedom

It appears fairly likely, I will be spending a fair amount of time in the Philly area at a VERY large medical type company, near some major universities!

The details are yet to be finalized but if so:

1)  I will  have the MONEY!!!  to pursue my pre-reqs

2)  I will have the MONEY!!! to not sweat the rent

3)  I will have the fire again in the belly...

Crossing my fingers... although, I'd have preferred to be south and warm this winter, cold and snowy is okay too; the dream's passion being stoked again keeping me warm!

EDITED:

I've checked out all the universities and colleges around the Philly area and the three closest to where I'd be housed/working, are:

U Penn (yeay!)
Villanova (yeay!)
Drexel (yeay!)

My first choice would be 'Nova as... well, hoops fan here; and if my son, by chance would be coming with me, I'm sure he'd like to see them hoop-it-up.

Oh gosh, the interview goes well today, I believe I'm in Philly for a few years...

(finding a bag to breathe in while the dream has flickering flames again...)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ask Me Anything...

Really, go ahead, ask me.  What's on your mind?  What puzzles you?

MPH Questions

One of the areas in my last few years of studies that I have thoroughly enjoyed and loved, was the hard sciences.

Yes, I had to have propranolol near by for my near-fainting attacks during exams.  I do not suffer anxiety any other time.  Yes, I had to work really damn hard at getting equations right, understand the principles behind the equations, and push the dumb calculator buttons appropriately.

But I loved the classes!  I loved being pushed to learn something that was not easy, or should I say, as easy as ready Henry David Thoreau and writing a paper.  It also brought me back to a time and place in my life where I could rely on me. 

I miss that.

Will I get to take the hard science classes in an MPH program?  If so, which ones?

Will I get to take research classes relevant to specific disease states that interest me?  Who gets to choose those?

My concern is that the classes will be the fuzzy, feely, warm-touchy classes that I abhor.  While theory and consideration and hypothesizing with peers might sound like fun in the short term, in the long run, I think I'd puke... not literally, but ...

So, I'm still considering, asking, pondering, searching, researching, hoping, and sometime soon, embarking.

Make it a great day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Story of Weds

Hopefully, you've been watching the Chilean miner rescue efforts that are on-going.  Or at a minimum have gotten a glimpse of the miners and their families as they've arrived back to daylight and fresh air.

It is estimated that the country had inhabitants more than 12,500 years ago and according to the CIA handbook, possibly as much as 33,000 years ago.  Through turbulent years, atrocities oft times unknown and not well recorded, the country has established itself as an emerging leader, a regional cornerstone for South America.  As the rescue efforts have unfolded, the country with less wealth and less technology, has shown tremendous heart and will power.

A few things of note, as I've watched and contrasted/compared rescue efforts of late:

The Chilean president stands back while rescuers bring the miner to the top of the shaft, allowing family members to be front and center when the latch opens and the  miner tastes the first few breaths of pure freedom.

Our President(s) - all of them - stand front and center making sure to use the photographic moment as a PR glimmer vs a true humanitarian point.

The Chilean president said he would do all that he could to rescue the miners, BEFORE they were found to be alive.  And once they were found in the rescue room, he did all that he could - called on nations of stronger technology and more knowledgeable physicians - to help make sure that all 33 miners came to the top.  He did not wander off to vacation spots, climb aboard yachts, make small talk that meant nothing.  In focusing solely on the miners' lives and the families, he said a lot without saying a word.

Our Presidents(s) - all of them - go boating, take vacations, retreat to ranches, ponder other matters of national interest loudly while still pondering how the rescues will unfold.

I realize the United States has an economy that is far broader than the Chilean economy's reliance on mining.  It provides 40% of the entire revenue for that country, but that's beside the point.  I also realize that the financial focus is therefore, massively different.  But people are people, human lives are worth saving whether in Chile, or the U.S.

My opinion is that part of the way the miners survived was based upon their inherent trust of the government and the mining company, and their comraderie with each other.  They consoled each other, lifted each other up, rejoiced in being found, praised each other's strength, and hoped together.  The Chilean people appear to put family and God first, money somewhere after.  Americans in similar positions, 1/2 mile below the surface of the planet, would probably just complain and blame whatever sitting President happened to sit in the Oval Office.  Everything in America is someone else's fault, or President Obama or before him, President Bush.

The Chilean president stands back and lets his people come first.  He appears to recognize that this is not his time to shine but to allow the families to reunite without narcissisism raining on their homecoming.

Family first, him second... or last.

DO NOT misconstrue that I think living in Chile would be better than this grand country.  I do not.  But part of traveling broadly has also taught me to look at other countries and their culture for tips on how to live better and appreciate more in my own.

As a quote on CNN.com said, "May their example inspire us all"...

Nothing more need be said.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Best Story of the Day

Trapped miners being brought to the surface. Who can resist a feel good, resilience story about grown men who just want to be with their families?

No one. Not me, not you, and not the world.

As we wait with high hopes and lofty prayers for their safe arrival on the surface of Earth.

God speed!

My Next Job?

As you all know, I in full on-bore panic mode. My first field of choice has always been pediatric oncology. I LOVE kids, I love sick kiddos even more; and their parents are to be cherished as well. The struggles parents pass through when their child is diagnosed with cancer, is tantamount to Tsunami Evocationsadnessistis. The pain, fear, and roller coaster ride are chronic, even if the child survives and thrives into adulthood (a parent is always a parent, eh?)

Anyway, I can't be in school this semester. When my truck was broken into, about $700 in books were taken as well as all my research notes, lecture notes, organic molecule parts and pieces, calculator, and my favorite types of pens and pencils (PhD) which are not cheap.

I just didn't have the funds to replace all that; and honestly, given Mr. Skydiver and I right now, I thought it best to take a semester off.

Thanks to Dr. Ella over at her blog, I've found a new career... as she suggested to readers NOT to do... without further adieu, here are the steps for me to take into my next career.

(Don't laugh. My ex boyfriend's sister - the physician's sister - is in this field.)
---------------------------
How to Join the Circus

I want to do this! What's This? ..

It sounds like a joke from childhood, but circuses are still around and they're still as fun as ever. A circus gives you the chance to travel, perform in front of people at close range and hang around a multi-talented group. Follow these steps to join the circus.

Instructions.

1) Find out what it really means to join the circus. Read "Under the Big Top: A Season with the Circus" by Bruce Feiler. He traveled with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus as a clown for 8 months. The book gives you a behind-the-scenes look at circus life.

2) Decide what you want to do when you join the circus. Try different physical activities like acrobatics, juggling and stilt walking. Practice doing a clown act at kids' birthday parties to see if you like it.

3) Go to a circus school to perfect your clown act or learn acts in high demand like tight-rope walking, breathing fire and flying on the trapeze. Most circus schools are abroad but search the list on DMOZ.org to locate courses in the U.S.

4) Get creative with your act. Whether you go to a circus school or train with a performer, you'll need to offer something that will draw in crowds.

5) Practice your act and perfect every small detail. Circus recruiters know what to look for and will eliminate candidates based on small imperfections.

6) Check out Circusweb.com for a list of circuses. Contact them about joining. Be prepared to send a video of your performance or audition in person.

7) Consider working behind the scenes. You'll be around the circus folks but won't have to risk injury or the pressures of performing.

Read more: How to Join the Circus
eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2060142_join-circus.html#ixzz12B3Y3Ic2

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Movie - Not Oscar Worthy

But OMG... PERFECT for a solid, well acted, funny throughout tummy tickler.

Life As We Know It was the perfect remedy for a bland night.  I laughed, there appeared to be dust in the theater as my eyes watered at one point, I howled at many others, and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Might I add, that I graduated from a high school in North Dakota.  Where the heck was Josh Duhamel back then?  Ohhh, Fergie, he is sublime!  Back to the movie:

It opens with a solid snort and belly chuckle, and ends with a misty, heart warming sonnet.

The only part that was a tad - looking for the words here - too close to home, was the part about the doctor entering into Katherine Heigl's character's life while the man she really wants is elsewhere, trying to sort out his manly feelings, chasing after his own career in a different city, eventually, missing her.

Anyway, go see this movie too!

(and no, this is not my new profession and manner of helping people; there are enough movie critics out there, I need not add to the myriad of yacking typists... erm, critics - just keeping myself busy whilst I sort out where I go from where I was)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oscar Buzz Attention - Secretariat

Best Picture:  Secretariat

Best Actor: John Malkovich

Best Actress:  Diane Lane

Fabulous!

Generally, I like animal movies but find them droll, long-in-the-tooth, too emotional, too sappy, and entirely too... yuck. 

Secretariat, the movie like the namesake, is far from any of those terms.  While I hate horse racing with a passion (thanks to Ruffian), Secretariat makes one forget the horrors that befall jockeys and the steads they ride upon ...  One movie reviewer in Orlando said there were no lump in the throat moments for this movie to be Oscar worthy.  I disagree that in order to be nominated for an Oscar a movie must be equated to lumps, bumps, and/ or tear jerkers.  No wonder America is seen as emotionally destitute and intellectually stymied.  We pick the best and brightest based upon our thorax and Adam's apple?

Sometimes, and in this case, a movie just needs to tell a story with grace and eloquence.  Which Secretariat does with great affectation.  The movie did not need to be "Hollywoodized" - it is priceless as is because of the horse; because of the owner; because of the story itself.


The movie said Secretariat never gave up running.  He just never gave up.  I believe he is still the only horse buried at Churchill Downs - the site of the Kentucky Derby.  As he should be...


Yep, best movie of the year, with twitches/grimaces/bad hats, and all - John Malkovich for best actor, and Diane Lane for her portrayal as the loving, doting horse owner.

Go see it. I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And Today :)

Was awesome!  Spent 4 hours at my contract job... it was a return to the one I worked this summer.

Nothing like a manager's happy face greeting me to make my day.

Thanks, MK!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Realizing Why Some Pre Meds Fade Away

I often wondered why some premed blogs do not post once they decide for whatever reason they are not going to get into or even try to get into, medical school.

It tastes like failure!  Who wants to somewhat anonymously announce their med school dream is dead?

Well, mine may very well be.

I'm not in school this semester.  I hate that.  I hate that I can't find a job, or that a job sounds really promising right through the interview where I'm told like Simon that I'm getting passed to next round, only to be told that I'm not being considered anymore.  Not sure what changes with that process but apparently, my name is still crap around this small market town.

Saw Wall Street this weekend.  Fabulous line in it reminded me of my own life:

I'll make you a deal.  You quit telling lies about me, and I'll quit telling the SEC about you.

Makes sense, eh?

So, I've changed the title of the blog to what happens after one quits being on the path.  If it weren't for money, I'd not quit but there is no funding available, I cannot get a job although in the 3 years since I told my employer to restate their financial reports to the SEC, I've applied for almost 500 positions... all denials.

I'm a survivor and this too shall pass.  I'll find another way to help people; just not sure how or where or what professional degree that will be in.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broken Window - Part II

Yes, I went to the movie tonight about Mallory's expedition to the summit of Everest. As I think I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am tentatively going to Nepal and Tibet in a year to hike to base camp one, a mere 17,000 ft above sea level.

Anyway, the movie was escapism in finest form... I needed that tonight. The last three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.

Movie delivered! Yeay me!

Came to truck to warm up, and found back side window smashed out, MY backpack taken... with my research papers, books, TI-85 platinum calculator, notes, misc pencils/pens/highliters, and "cheaters" ...

The thieves did not take my son's backpack, we don't live in the "hood" - the area where I was at is supposedly pretty nice. Have been going there for 10 years and never had an issue.

Until tonight.

Damn, it was cold outside driving home!!

Make yours a good day for me, thank you :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saw something hilarious today, hopefully, this will come through well:

So, we've had what, 100" of rain in last 24 hours? Streets are a little flooded, puddling on roads, storm drains are full, water is very fluid (haha) and certainly abundant right now, right?

My son has his math class M-F at 9 at the U (still doing very well). He needed a ride home today at 2 as he was studying at school longer, wanting to make sure he understood every concept for tomorrow's exam. Meanwhile, I think I saw "cows" in the raindrops that were falling, it was getting worse.

I am driving along Huron and see that the buses are in front of me, which is a bad thing because I can't get into the pick-up area in front of son's building then. However, I stay the course... driving slowly (killing me), worried said child is getting wetter.

As I follow this one bus down the road, he starts to speed up. Then he carefully, and almost it seems maliciously, aims his tires for the big pooling streams along the sidewalk... Sure enough, VICTIMS!

With walls of water streaming down, the students were drenched. At first I thought it was a mistake, but no, the idiot bus driver splooshed, splashed and drenched walking students. They'd try to shield themselves with their umbrellas to no avail; umbrellas curled up, 5' walls of water streaming down, they were soaked.

The last two victims were walking in same direction as the traveling bus. They had no idea Typhoon MTA was on the way. Sure enough, without pretense or hesitancy, the 6' wall of water rained down on them.

It is one of those things I wish I'd Youtubed. While I feel completely terrible for the people who got drenched, I must admit, I still howl and could not breathe when I picked my son up... he too saw it, the other students in line were laughing... Typhoon MTA wins the day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From Lump of Coal, To Success

Click Here: Lump of Coal

He is pre-Susan Boyle, and in my unasked for opinion, far better and far more interesting.  He broke the mold for those that win the competition, she reaped the rewards.  Kudos to both of them... but this video, still brings a smile to my face.

Amazing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make That PhD

Meeting is set for Thursday afternoon for me to discuss doctoral programs.  First thing the coordinator said (not a PhD) is that most of the time the people already have their masters in public health before pursuing the PhD program.

Eeek!  I don't want to get a master's degree then doctoral... ick.  Nothing wrong with master's degree and if I were ooooohhhh, about 15 years younger, I'd go that route and then M.D.

Sigh.  I will figure this out.

Oh, and I have a possible job opportunity working in marketing for a big company!  :D

For AJ



Or this one from Andrea Bocelli - who I got see perform live at the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Amazing voice, amazing man.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

MPH

Considering it for now.  Epi.  Boo's mom should be happy with that :)

Anyway, still trying to find a means to get school paid for.  While doing a master's is not ideal, worst case scenario, I get a master's degree closer to what I want to do and a job in that field, while trying to pursue prereqs.  Best case, I end up with my master's, the prereqs taken, and an acceptance letter.

Seriously.  Who cares if ultimately I go to the Caribbean school to get my M.D.??  I mean, I'm not looking to be the greatest anesthesiologist or cardio-thoracic... right?  I just want to be a rural family med gal.  And it seems to me, epi would fit nicely with that...

Stay tuned.  Not down, and certainly, not out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

24 Years Later - To Austin

My son, Austin, would have been 24 this year but instead, I'm honoring him on the anniversary of his passing.

I often think back to my life then.  Beyond poor, I survived on a pail of ice cream and Hershey's syrup each week, waiting for handouts from friends.  Austin was fed formula and natural fruits and veggies.  I did my best to keep him in clean new clothes, with clean, disposable diapers.  With no clue what I was getting into when I kept him, I did my best.  Read books, asked friends, talked to professors teaching child development, read more books, and went to school.

What I learned from AJ was the complete and utter giving of myself to someone else without abandon.  I also learned to cope with a grief so deep and so vast, that some days, I did not know how to survive.

For the years after he died, I prayed that God would make sure I never had another child.  I vowed to help others who were less fortunate than me... despite that I ate nothing, and had nothing.  My time volunteering went to really sick kids and their parents, I studied a little harder but so wrapped up in grief, I fell short and just wanted to graduate.  Get the paper, get out, get a job, move on  My life's dream did not matter anymore, not much did.  Nothing made sense, nothing helped soothe the heartache and loss so dark.

But helping others did help me cope. It forced an acknowledgment that despite my own pain and suffering there were others with far greater pain, and greater suffering.  Forced to focus again on someone else, my own pain lessened... as the pain of death always does.

The memory lives on in the way the survivors help others.  The memory lives on in the manner that we honor those who have since left our sides.

This clip is from the movie, "Pay It Forward" which came out about 10 years ago or so.  Fabulous movie, the ending was the only time I saw someone with a stone cold heart, cry.

And Austin, if you know and hear my heart, know I'm still trying to pay it forward.  As I will, for the rest of my life in your honor.

Love you,

~ Mom

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reminded Yet Again... Why

Found a possible grant for women in sciences.  I know its a long shot as generally those are for the women who have not yet failed in life and are still young, energetic, eager, and hardworking.  All the things... well, I was young and energetic once, the hardworking part, not so sure.

Anyway, there is a grant out there for women pursuing science related degrees and professions.  I'm going to apply.  It can't hurt.  If I don't apply, it will be no.  If I do apply, and get told no, at least I tried another avenue.

As I banged my head on the proverbial nail in the wall wondering how the heck I'm going to do pay for school this year, and my son's (did I mention he's now decided that he'd like to attend the university on part-time basis to prove he's worthy of admission?)... I digress... as I was wondering, a woman walked by me, limping,  The shuffling sound of her feet were easily noticeable.

I turned to ask her if she was alright.  She was deaf.  No one was helping her.  I don't sign... other than, "I love you" to my son.  So, through written paper and hand signals, I got her to where she needed to be ~ the health clinic which was the opposite direction of where she wanted to go.  In helping her, she asked what I taught at the school.  I giggled, motioned that I was not a teacher... I'm a student.

As we walked the sidewalk to the clinic, the conversation meandered to my path.  Hard to walk and write at the same time but somehow we managed.  I told her I was still trying to do the unthinkable at an age where ... well, I've heard "No" a lot in my life, and suspect I may well hear it many more times from schools.  Possibly even before I apply.

Anyway, she said thanks for helping her.  That much I understand in sign.  Then she furrowed her brow and said,

"Don't quit."

I won't... as long as a contract comes up soon, or I am able to squeak under the aggregate loan limits for funding.

Gah.  If only 28 years ago, I'd been this dedicated.

Make it a great day!  I'm going to bed now to dream of grant funding and scholarships :D

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wowser

So, while perusing this site:

Mastering Organic Chemistry

I found this site:

Pre Med Wiki

The PreMed Wiki site appears at first glance to be a pretty solid site for testing and prepping for the MCAT.  While I have the entire EK set, I'm thinking once I get really started on preparing for the test, I could go to Wiki Pre Med.

Guess you know what your dorky blogger is doing this fine, amazing, wonderfully fallish afternoon!

I really hope I'm able to officially register again... with all the help that is out there, and my own sheer determination to do well, I have no doubt o-chem would not best me!

Post Bloat - Into The Pasta

Decided now that I'm trying to be in college again (contracts where art thou??), that I need to quit eating at BK and Wendy's, and cook at home.

Went yesterday afternoon and le' gasp, to the grocery store. Odd place I very infrequently visit. It has these really lonnnng rows of boxes and cans and fruit, oh my! I was mystified at my choices!

Trying to conjure dinner for the week was a bit amusing. "What do I put into that, again?"

Down the pasta aisle I went. Full egg wide noodles? Dumpling noodles? Egg noodles?

Decided on full 2-pound bag of dumpling noodles for my stroganoff (which by the way is on my other blog about food recipes). Checked out by myself - when did grocery stores install self-service?? Drove home. Put fresh meat and veggies into the fridge. Left cans of tomato sauce and pasta noodles on the counter. Went for a drive. Upon arriving back at home I found...

empty pasta bag. Mind you it was SEALED at the factory, not twisty tied. Apparently, Storm dragged the bag to the floor, Hope ripped the bag open and they had what appears to be a doggy picnic of crunchy, dry pasta noodles on the floor of the kitchen.

Seriously, dry noodle picnic for the dogs... what kind of furbrained dog thinks DRY CRUNCHY pasta is tasty!! Should have taken a picture. Hope had one sticking out of her mouth as if to say, "Waaat? Whatchyou lookin' at?"

Make it a great day ~ I'm off to get pasta noodles for dinner tonight. Last night, it was a BK run, yet again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Doctors on O-Chem

There are a few of you - already granted the title, and those already admitted to the programs - who will shake your head like a fluffy wet golden retriever, and subsequently, thank God, that you're done with organic.

My professor even said as much.

Apparently, a few years ago he was walking up the sidewalk in the middle of a winter in some place where water freezes to pavement, and walking on such frozen surface can, and often does, cause slipping and falling. To those of you in warm locations, I realize you cannot relate (your loss!).

Anyway, the professor broke his arm. Just so happened he was across the street from the medical center so he loped across the street, swaggered into the e-room for an eval, and waited. Doctor was examining the arm, very kind, patient, calm... asked the professor what he was doing outside on that winter's day.

See, up to this point the doctor had been all that we strive to be (or at least some of us). He had been engaging, bedside manner supreme. But with that one question, it all changed.

Professor T quietly stated, "I was going home after teaching."

Doctor asked, "Oh really. What do you teach?"

Professor T, "Organic."

And with that the doctor's demeanor changed and with an exclamation stated, "That is by far the worst class I have ever had to take" with the temperature rising in the e-room, "can't fathom why on earth I was required to take the (insert blankety blank blank) class..." and left without much discussion in a rather rapid pace; almost as if he were chased by demons not seen.

Apparently, that happens a lot to organic professors when out in public with medical personnel.

It's almost like organic needs its own medication regiment for those that survive, and thrive, to help others.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Contract Opportunity in Research

An opportunity to work with clinical researcher has arisen. It would not pay overly well, but enough to keep the cave's roof over my son's and my head. In addition, I believe I would be working directly with the PIs in helping them through grant funding requests, payments, and newsletters.

I'm excited! What a perfect way for me to work and still go to school!! Sitting in o-chem today, the professor walked by as I was working on some really easy Lewis structures, and then commented to the entire classroom:

Many of you are starting in the wrong place making carbon be the central atom in the molecule. It should be oxygen. I looked down, and sure enough, mine was right, including the resonance structure.

Oh... how glad I am to leave gen chem behind! I did very well on the ACS exam for gen chem but man, I love ochem. Love it!

So, looking for a contract; looking for a way to still keep the cave over my head, and the path to medical school still lit.

Aside from the centipedes I routinely wake up to in the morning, or the spiders, or the red bugs - do not know what they are and have never seen before - I do not overly mind living in a small house... it is the end goal that matters, not the here and now.

Make yours a great day! I'm ever hopeful (again).