Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moving Day T-14 Hours

LOL - okay, I'm running out to buy a SanDisk card for my camera and will post pictures later...

I'm SO not ready to move, READY to start school, but dang - how am I going to get this boxed, packed, moved, unpacked and put in place before I start school!?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gadgetry

A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away... I heard stories about the latest and greatest gadgetry: from pencils that recorded the physicians comments as he walked the hallway to the neck cabling that hailed the physician's nurse to other assorted items that I cannot remember.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I was doing a little digging and found this little gem.

Imagine no longer needing to be anesthetized to have your stomach viewed through a rigid tube with a camera attached. Imagine no longer worry about choking as the tube is inserted.

While it might take longer, make that will take longer, to view the images the patient comfort factor has to have been raised by 10x just by alleviating the stress.

And for the radiologists, I imagine they still get to bill for the extended time. Patient comfy, physician paid. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Asked my dad what he thought, he said that the gadget would be awesome for his once a year viewing of his ulcer (it's right near the aorta and they monitor him closely)... adding, now if they could come up with a colonoscopy type gadget... wondering if this piece of technology wouldn't help as well... as it ... traversed the digestive tract.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making Life More Simple

As school approaches, I'm looking into ways to simplify my life including how to cook things I like, that won't stretch my Kraft Mac-n-Cheese ability too far (I've managed to ruin a box of that).

I LOVE Pei Wei, the "fast food" arm of P.F. Chang's which I fell in love with in Phoenix. Below is the recipe for the Mongolian Beef, sans mushrooms that do come in the entree. Brown rice topped off with this entree sounds easy... now to figure out how to do up rice appropriately... yes, I've ruined that as well, much to the glee of my canine companions who get all my rejected dinners.

Mongolian Beef

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large green onions

Preparation:
Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Don't get the oil too hot. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/8" thick sugar packet size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don't need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.

After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

6 Days & Chemistry Starts

I'm registering for chemistry sequence elsewhere for reasons I'll keep private. Am a little nervous but in taking the class this semester, I stay somewhat on track to take the MCAT a year from now.

Until the issues arose with the current university I'd been on track to take the MCAT this summer, and apply THIS summer. Oh well... guess given everything else that has happened, I'll count my lucky stars, pray to the God of Strange Blessings and focus on building my new life, in a new home, with a new university.

I'll go back to where I'm currently at for everything else, not just not g chem or o-chem. Besides, I think it'll be a great experience to see what other universities offer, teaching styles, if a smaller school is better, worse, or indifferent.

By the time class starts, I'll be more settled without the HUGE dancing Yeti pounding on my head. (That, by the way, is a WoW term... I finally came out of the Warcraft closet. Of course, I've also mothballed my toon now, go figure :D)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Renting 101A, Subsection: Pet Help


By now those who have followed the journey of mine know I lost my home. Well, didn't lose the home, I know exactly where it is, just no longer have any obligation to pay for the priviledge of living here. Part of the fear factor was figuring how to pay for pet deposits, other assorted items one doesn't think about when one buys a home.

Leaving behind my furkids was not an option. My love for these canine companions is deep as anyone who knows me outside of pixels on screens can attest. If it came down to it, I was checking out RV spots (okay, just kidding ~ sort of ~ I knew I'd find something just not sure where or how).

Many families are not so lucky, or not so fortunate to find a place.

An organization I hope ALL of you will considering donating to is:

www.Nopawsleftbehind.org

This organization is run by volunteers who donate time and money to help those displaced by foreclosure. The volunteers try to find alternative means for the families with pets so that more pets don't end up in shelters or worse.

Thanks to this amazing group, mine are not being abandoned, dumped off at a shelter, or euthanized. Mine are coming with me.

I know when I am able I will donate, or give back the money they've paid for my pet deposit.

For other families who are not so lucky to find a home that will allow their pets to come with, or those who don't have the money to pay the deposit, I would ask that you donate.

We've all given for Haiti, we've all been shocked by what happened there, and I don't want this post to seem trite or insincere, for the plight there is far worse, and far more unimaginable.

Just asking to think about this group, the next time you want a tax deduction, or wondering "how can I help Ad2b?" this is how. Studying chemistry, or biochem, or biology, or pharma, my furkids are at my feet with their soulful eyes, encouraging me onward.

Kindest regards, warmest thoughts, and many, many blessings.

Ad2b

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amazing ..


And people wonder why I can be thankful for the life I have, despite the bumps and bruises along the way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Financing The Pre-Med, Non-Trad Way

As is already documented, my way of financing my pre-med journey fell through about 2 weeks ago or rather, I just found out that it had. The equity in my house was going to sufficiently pay for the pre-med journey and then most of med school. Guess Wells Fargo has some extra play money when they sell this place. There's no doubt it will sell at market value which is far above what I owed.

Next thoughts all along had been private student loans. After subsidized and unsubbed undergraduate limits are hit, there is only one means and that is private loans. However, with the financial markets dithering away, and the federal government's bailout of them, there is little money left over from the financial institutions for students. There's not a whole lot of money in student funding even if the loans get paid back. Suffice to say, one must have stellar credit to get a private loan even with a co-signer. Interestingly, if my credit were stellar, I would not have been foreclosed upon!

Next on the "will this work" list?

Undergraduate research opportunities. They are not abundant for non-trads as researchers like the younger brethren who bow and pray to the gods in the classroom and the lab. I always defer to the doctoral lot as they ARE much smarter and better educated than I am... hence their PhDs and my... not so much one. So far, I'm batting zero when it comes to scrubbing up a UROP but I'm not giving up. Research opportunities offer a stipend and limited expense fund most likely from the proposal the PI wrote and grant received (yes, I work for a grant funding organization but it is not in the medical or hard science field). A research opportunity here and there could help pay for the cost of tuition or at a minimum, decrease the expense.

I've begun to look at a master's degree. It would take two years for me to complete it, during which time I could probably finish up my required pre-reqs for med school and take the MCAT.

Using a graduate degree as a means to get funding for the pre-med classes is an interesting (to me) approach. The limits for graduate student unsub and subsidized loans are higher. The aggregate amounts pushed up might give enough wiggle room to get the required funding, or at least, a portion of it.

Question is: in what field?

I'm thinking about it. I could also quit. Which brings me to my last point of this post:

A few days ago I was wandering aimlessly through the med school text book section and saw this BIG BLUE PRINTED TITLE:

"So You Want To Be A Doctor?" Inside were various vignettes about people who had chosen to pursue the path and the initials. Happened to open it up to a chapter about a non-trad (and people insist there is NO God!)...

The story entailed a lifelong nurse giving it all up to pursue medicine at 41. (I was hooked there.) Turns out between raising her child (yep, can totally understand) and helping her husband recover from a major heart attack, she failed physiology. She almost quit then. Going through remediation for that class, she mastered the material and then the 2nd year of med school hit her. She took a 6 month leave of absence due to medical issues with her husband.

Most people, she said, would have given up, gone back to their former careers and lives. She went on to say she could not fathom that and instead of quitting, finished med school 2.5 years later. Practicing now for 8 years, she never regrets stepping back a time to catch her breath, and never regrets coming back to finish the path.

Wonder if she'd have lunch with me?! :D

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Semester - New Classes

Neuroscience should be interesting, thought it would be. Professors seem very approachable and affable. Their theory seems to be more about getting people who normally would not think about taking science classes to take more than just this one.

While walking across campus I walked through my favorite building (it's one of the many science lab buildings) and saw a posting for a muscle class. It was two hours after my neuro class, so... I went. Graduate level muscle class (5500) and while it might be a bit above my knowledge right now, I think I'm going to like it. Lots of reading to do, research paper, and two take home tests.

Yeah baby!!!

Tomorrow is pharmacology at the 3300 level and then chemistry at another school. For reasons I've only alluded to on here, I think it in my best interest to take the chemistry sequences elsewhere.

NOW, to figure out LAST fall's tuition issue so that I can register and continue on. I can pay for this semester with tax refund and moving allowance for those in foreclosure. Crossing my fingers. Being on campus again had the adrenaline flowing, my smile broadened again.

Oh... and the little side track to the medical school section... where I met a book publisher's representative. Turns out my bachelor's degree might actually help me NOW to pay for all things medical. The publisher pays people to review books, and other projects. It is possible, I might be signed up for that through the rep I met today. How dang cool would that be?! I'd get to read medical texts FOR pay before I got to med school. Neato bandito!

Hope THAT works out too :) :) :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lambert/Paisley Concert - This One...

Was beautiful. Part of my new year's resolutions was to go to more concerts, sporting events, and what-not to escape from all that being a student means. This song put a big ole lump in my throat. It is amazing. Hope you'll give it a listen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reserach Opportunity Requested

Hoping it comes through. Not sure what is entailed with UROPs but this one works with a neurologist with Parkinson's disease. While not ALS specifically, I believe, it is in the same class of MNDs that afflict many.

What I think would be interesting is to further study the genetic mutation that leads to ALS but I'm not sure the current professor does that type of research or not... actually, being that his focus in on Parkinson's, probably not.

It will work out... I know. I have my classes listed on a sheet of paper for Tuesday's start of spring semester. I'm planning on attending classes as if I were registered and praying that I can do so quickly. It would be grand to have that aspect of my life settled.

With the blip that has been the summer and now fall, I will only be one full year behind my original schedule which was to apply this summer. No big deal really. When I started this journey I was told by many physicians, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't rush a mediocre app to the finish line, when you can put an A+ app in the adcom's hands instead.

Quality > quantity. I'll keep reminding myself of that. I want a quality, stand-out application, not a "look how fast I finished my pre-med reqs."

Make it a great day - donate to the Red Cross if you can. If you think you have it bad here, at least we have a roof over our head, roads to drive on, fresh water to drink, food to eat, and a warm, comfy bed to sleep in.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ode To Neuro

Reading this book for the neurosci class by Dr. Doidge - fabulously written, extremely interesting. The aspect I like most is the plasticity of the brain, that is, the ability of the brain to reform maps inside itself around damaged areas.

One woman who'd been blinded was able to "see" by remapping her brain to correctly recognize stimuli from other sensory points. For instance, a metal strip on her tongue presented different images in her brain and eventually, hazy scenes were depicted quite accurately.

Sounds like fuzzy medicine or something for the next James Cameron movie, eh?

It's real. The tests being performed on mice and rats are nothing compared to what has been done using humans. While I'm not completely done with the book, actually only to chapter 3, the book seems to give great hope for those with various neurological disorders (no duh, I know).

While the doctor discusses various patients and their ailments, what I find so amazing about this book is the author's ability to intermingle techno-babble for those not able to speak that language. Yes, I know what acetylcholine is but most lay people won't, or how acetylcholinesterase affects the neurons in the brain, more specifically the synapses.

I'm hooked. I said that I would not consider specializing (my age being a VERY large factor in that) but I must say I'm fascinated!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pharma, Neuro, Bio

I think it's going to work out... the classes are still open, the bank borrowed me most of the funding, if I can get a small scholarship of some sort, the worst of last year - fiscal, scholastic, and calendar - is behind me.

The lease is signed for new place. Even found an amazing group that will sponsor the pet deposit for my dogs.

In two weeks, I move from my home of 10 years and onto a new life.

And this weekend? Taking my son to Brad Paisley! (one of my resolutions for this year)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lost Home, Lost Mother

My home foreclosed. Really, what does that mean? I was financially irresponsible in some circles to be sure, financially stupid in others, and in my own mind, just perhaps, a little too stubborn to have sold this mammoth albatross a few years ago.

In sending out the new home address to my friends, I received several warm thoughts and hopes and prayers back.

I also received one from a friend of mine, who apparently had not had time to write as... her mother passed away last Thursday. I lost a home. She lost her only parent, her mother.

Sort of brings the reality of my situation some very real clarity.

My parents are thankfully healthy, alive, together, happy, and helpful. I am blessed beyond imagination. My parents would move the earth around Jupiter if it meant that I could have an easier time right now.

So, while I pack my 4 bedroom, 3 bath house replete in all its splendor (oh, and the guest house) like a mad woman scurrying to get away before the Wells Fargo swastika wearing dolts change the locks on the house:

I'm blessed to have my parents, my son, my friends, my furkids, my health. I'm blessed to have been given a brain that can see past the current dilemma and onto a new life. I'm blessed to have this outlet to let loose with some of my thoughts.

I'm saddened by my own loss of home, shelter, nest egg but far more saddened by my friend's loss.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Have A Home

My new home is available starting Feb 1. I can hardly wait! Not sure what excites me more:

The HUGE backyard that is fenced for the dogs.

The HUGE downstairs that has plenty of space for my family room furniture.

OR

The HUGE backyard :D (yes, my dogs are going to love it!!)

Losing my home of 10 years is beyond painful. I bought it with the hopes of raising my son here to his adulthood in splendor and luxury. I bought it with the hopes of retiring here and being able to provide a guest home for my parents should they ever be single again. I bought it with the hopes of being able to build my next egg and retire well.

One of three aint bad. My son had an amazing home to grow up in.

So, now what?! Hopefully, tomorrow I can get the money from the bank to pay for my fall classes, get registered, and move on with my life.

My new life has begun and with eyes open I will cherish the lessons learned, the memories created, and move on.

Chemistry Winks, Biology Beckons

Looking ahead... I was notified by the landlord of potential house that it looks good so far as long as my criminal history doesn't trip me up (lol - that failed parking ticket payment is going to bite my butt yet).

So, I checked the open classes. It is possible for me to register for chemistry and biology still, possibly tossing in pharmacology.

We'll see how it goes. But I do want to continue. Maybe being told no, was the drive kicker I needed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Renting 101

Been 16 years since I've needed to rent. Not a lot has changed from the perspective of the lessor; in my case, just the lessee.

First house was a disaster. Purple wall paper, purple flowery curtains and dirty.

Second, house was perfect. I hope the owners will overlook my now-crap credit and let me rent there until I am done with med school (yes, I said that, I know). The house is perfect for me and the canines that live with me. BIG back yard fully fenced with 6' privacy fencing, double garage with door opener (you can tell where my priorities are), BIG basement with walkout for the family area complete with a bathroom AND laundry AND space for the dogs (yes, you can really tell where my focus is).

They have an application process that goes through a 3rd party vendor. I hope that despite my now-crap credit (nothing like going from 750 to 300 in less than 18 months), they will let me rent the house.

OH and it is almost the same price as house #1.

Hoping it's the window I need right now... then I can get back to school and on with my life, allowing this mess with this house be a blip on my road map.

Cross your fingers for me, hoist a small prayer... and of course,

Make it a great day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day Two - Homelessness

What's a lady to do... two years of talking to a nameless Wells Fargo rep who's sole job it was to separate me from my money and my home as quickly and efficiently as possible and I'm finally foreclosed... and trying to move on with my life and become a doc.

One of the conversations with Wells Fargo went like this:

Rep: "If you send me $8000, I will get the loan modification started to see if you QUALIFY for a loan modification. If you do not, then we will refund the $8000 so you can use it to move."

Foreclosure rep sitting with me, shaking his head no, "Do not send them anything until they have a loan modification package set for you otherwise, they will take the $8000 and apply it to your outstanding balance, keep your $8000, and still foreclose on you. You will lose that $8000 and whatever equity you have in the house."

Me, in utter silence gulping.

Or when Wells Fargo said the bank would modify my loan and it went UP by $800. Some mod!

I'm not alone. Many people who faithfully paid their mortgages and kept their jobs are out on the street as well. The Obama plan is a fancy face on the same Bush plan that failed as well. In Obama's case, I give him credit for finally exposing the sham that these behemoth banks have extolled on the mortgagee.

Wells sent me a letter in November - out of foreclosure, new payment is due January 1, 2010. YEAY!

Wells never sent coupon because Wells Fargo had already foreclosed on the house in September. BOO!

How does one arm of the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage group NOT know what the other foreclosure department is doing!? I find that baffling. One would think there would be protocols and procedures in place to NOT send a new payment letter without first checking foreclosure.

So, back to first sentence, what do I do?! Be me. Smile. Take the dog for a ride. Crank up Kenny Chesney (today - livin' fast forward). Laugh a little. Sigh a little. Cry a little... and pack.

My boss asked me on Friday what I was going to do about school this spring. "Are you going to quit the med school path?"

I can't imagine giving up... or I will be 75 and regretting that a stupid house and dumb bank forced me to give a up dream.

The American forefathers probably faced greater obstacles: bullets, arrows, cold, angry and bustling seas, differing opinions on how to mold this great country of ours. Some of them probably were poor, some of them probably gave up everything for a different life and a dream.

And then made sure to chase the dream, and not give up.

Right now, the house foreclosing is not my issue. I mean it IS an issue but the real issue is paying for everything.

My MBA was financed through loans. I am not eligible for more loans until med school. The money for premed was coming from equity in my home when it sold. I figured, even in this economy, I had about $150,000 less Realtor fees and costs. Obviously, that's gone now.

The elderly parents who have supported EVERYTHING I have done and want to do, sold their home last year as they watched their retirement funds get depleted by the economy.

Private loans are out of the question because of the shot credit with the foreclosure on it.

So, today I pack. I pray that the window for school opens up, or just the window telling me the path I should take.

There is NO doubt in my mind that someday I will look back on this and understand. Today, I am not there. I don't understand how white-collar criminals with slick tongues can do what they have done to me, and to others, Today, I don't understand a lot of things.

An ex boyfriend of mine once told me (he is the evil I have spoken of in prior posts):

You don't have to understand, you just have to accept.

That one time, he was right. And I will. And I will figure something out (I hope).

Friday, January 8, 2010

House Gone, Ad2b Homeless

Yikes. Better financial institutions make major blundering mistakes than medical professionals. We have med mal, I think we should have mort mal as well.

The official letter I got sent in November stating the new payment and new interest rate was inadvertent. The refinance paperwork I FedEx'd to Wells Fargo never was reviewed.

When I received the letter from Wells it appeared financially that the bank had finally used whatever foreclosure prevention programs are available.

They did not.

Apparently, the bank routinely sends letters like that and because I had never received one before, obviously, with great joy, I thought finally! I can fix this house with the insurance funds, sell it and move on with med school path.

I have T minus 51 days to find a place to live, find the money to move, get my 4 bedroom, 3 bath house packed, and get out. On March 1, the bank will send a locksmith out to change the locks on the door and anything in the home is then the property of Wells Fargo. If I continue to dwell here, it is unlawful trespassing and I would be sent to jail.

Kind of sucks the life out of me in a way. In another way, at least it is truly done.

Door closed; looking for open window.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pharm, Bio, Neuro

Oh my! What a day this has been.

I'm going to focus on my friend's upcoming graduate school acceptance celebration, and not on the news I received late this afternoon.

Where one door closes, another window always opens. Looking for the windows in life now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Decade In Review - Continuing The Madness

I convinced a bunch of companies to spend a lot of money flying me to warmer locations than where I reside so that I could tell them what their own internal people told them for a lot more money:

You, Company X-Y-Z, need to change things.

Then had them fly me back home to my colder climate making a lot of money.

In the end of the decade I decided that getting a final separation agreement from my luggage was far more understandable and worthy, so I quit having companies spend millions of dollars to hear what they'd already heard from said internal people, and started the path to med school.

That's it. Make it a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pun Intended

Another forum I peruse having absolutely nothing to do with medicine, although healing is expected at times, had a list of puns from some international competition. Best ones were listed, the one I stripped and copied below is my favorite:

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Hope you at least giggled!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So Far, 2010 is So Good

Two days into 2010 and so far, I could not be more relieved. A letter arrived today answering my inner prayers and concerns. Gave me the needed hope to plug yet another hole in my life, should I decide to register.

I keep wondering if that itch in my ears is the biology or pharmacology class beckoning me, or just a need for a Q-tip (okay, that was gross - my ears are clean).

I'm wavering. Really don't want to leave school; afraid if I do, I'll never return, be 60 and wondering why the heck my drive went buh bye.

Looking back on my classes from fall semester and honestly, I did okay considering. Can only imagine how well I will do without the constraints, hassles, stress, D-R-A-M-A, that I had going. Being on campus a few days ago reminded me, yet again, what I love. Was only there to pick up meds (something about pyelonephritis and cipro) but... that itch.

Maybe it was my down jacket's feather poking me.

Anyway, 2010 is starting off far better than 2009. I hope it continues... for all of us :)

Make it a great day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010

Where to start...

The Sound of Music is a good place, right at the beginning: Doe a deer a female deer, Ray a drop...

Yep, sat down and watched my very favorite movie of all time. You know what's so very cool about this movie:

The sensual nature of the Capt and Maria without needing overt sex in the scene. She's never nude, never undressed, can't imagine a curse word crossing her lips and MAN... those scenes smoke! She LOVES those kids.

Yep, to this day, Christopher Plummer still has "it" - just looked up his IMDB page and yep, he's still hot; even for 80.

So, I started with the movie, played with the dogs (4 of my own, 1 foster), made Ghiradelli brownies for my vanilla bean ice cream (girl's gotta splurge once in awhile).

I think this year is gonna be alright :)