Saturday, December 31, 2011

Off To NYE w/ Wynona Judd

Front Row! 

WHOO HOOOO!!!!

Let's put 2011 behind us - while it was better than 2010, I said goodbye to someone I care very much for, I welcomed home someone who needed a warm, comfy place to rest his paws, and I came to realize... how precious my dad is.  I got to get back to school, continue to chase this little passion of mine.

Looking back, I only want to look ahead.  I can't change the heartbreak of last year; but I can stop ruminating in the sadness and spring forward... with a singer that growls, laughs from way down deep, rocks with the best, and loves life.

I hope to channel my inner Wy tonight!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

In A Small Southern MN Town

Where, as Garrison Keillor would say, the town's roads are even and paved, the people are generous and kind; everyone knows everyone, and all are welcome.

My family is from this small town.  My grandparents lived there most of their life, my grandfather the fire chief.  When my own parents retired, him from Motorola (the former Fortune 100 company that it was) and my mom from Jeno's, they built their home in Lake City.  For 20 years, they've lived there, been loved by the people, and loved them right back.

In their small town of festivals and ice floats and water ski days, the worst that happens is someone runs a red light, or younger kids are caught drinking.  Idyllic in some ways, children are allowed to be kids until old enough to move out and onto the neighboring big cities of Rochester and Minneapolis/St. Paul, adults are allowed to play on the lake during the summer, and snowmobile during the winters (when we have snow).

About 10 days ago, a lot changed in that small town.

"Officer down" shrieked the call.  Domestic situation. 

Ten days ago the officer was flown by the same life flight my dad took last year at this time.  The hope was that the outcome would be similar.

Tonight, an officer lost his life.

In today's society where many do not honor those who protect us from harm, where those who do so go unnoticed and unnamed, I'd ask you say a quiet and heartfelt thank you.

Tonight, Lake City, Minnesota mourns and I bow my head in silent sorrow.

Officer Down

How To Ace Organic Chemistry

Like the title?  Want to LOVE organic?

I did.  I went into the semester, not fearing organic but biology.  Got an A in biology, and a B in orgo.  Go figure!

Here's what I learned:

  1. Flashcards help if self-made and organized
    1. Alcohols (there a TON of these reactions in orgo 1)
      1. Synthesis
      2. Dehydration
      3. Epoxides
      4. Mechanisms
    2. Carboxylic Acids
      1. Synthesis
      2. Reagents
      3. Intermediates
      4. Mechanisms
    3. Ketones/Aldehydes/Enols
      1. Synthesis
      2. Reagents
      3. Intermediates
      4. Mechanisms
    4. Reagents - Miscellaneous
      1. Alkene creation
      2. Alkyne ---> Alkane
      3. Alkyne ---> cis alkene
      4. Alkyne ---> trans alkene
      5. Solvents - aprotic vs. protic
    5. Sn2, Sn1, E2, E1
      1. Why
      2. How
      3. Stereochem
      4. Mechanisms
    6. Miscellaneous
  2. Homework Problems
    1. Without the solutions guide
    2. Tabbed for questions of professor or tutor
    3. Sheets with concepts not yet mastered
    4. Repetition - repetition - repetition
  3. Old Exams
    1. Without the solutions guide
    2. Tabbed for...
    3. Sheets with...
    4. Repetition - repetition - repetition ....
Had I followed my own advice above and not studied only each and every weekend, I would have had a solid A in the course.  I did not, I got a B.  An unpleasant reminder that an A in ochem is tangible and achievable if one organizes, synthesizes, and manipulates the flashcards and data from above consistently.

I loved organic.  Thought it was a great class (and... I'm glad I'm not going next semester!)

If you need help, ask early.

If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line here - I'll try to answer it or point you to an expert who can.

Do not fear the course!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Little Test

From the University of Virginia School of Medicine, link here -->  Specialty Test

Rank Specialty Score


1 thoracic surgery

2 nephrology

3 pathology 

4 aerospace med

5 plastic surgery 

6 neurosurgery 

7 infectious disease 

8 allergy & immunology 

9 pulmonology

10 hematology 

I won't even tell you where family med showed up.  Apparently, leaders need not apply.  But I can CUT!  hahahaha - euewww; or I can fly into space (on what craft no one knows but I can do that).

Oh, and thankfully, colon and rectal surgery was near the bottom. 

Um. My Section's Average = 59.6%

Mine was about 10% higher than that, and 9% above the median.

Overall, I'm not sure where that places me in the grading.  If one looks at the bar graph of grades, it'd be somewhere in the low end of the A-, high end of the B+... without any curve.

I'm praying for a curve to bump to solid A-.  I'd be doing a happy dance (and whining about ochem 2, physiology, and biochem next semester :P)

Oh wow.  I'm thrilled with my final score (especially since I've hence realized Sn1 on a primary alkane doesn't go... especially with a strong acid!... well, it doesn't go anyway!).

Oh boy....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Other Section's Ochem Final Avg

Ugh.  Average for my professor's other section was a measly 59%.  Of 170 points, the average was 101.  To date, that section has done better on exams than my own to the point of almost 6% each exam.

I know my mistakes, what I don't know is those that I think I got right but were in fact, wrong.

As I look ahead to going next semester, I wonder how bad my final grade is going to be.  In my mind, I've set a lowest acceptable to continue on.

Hoping for some sort of curve... of which, I hate relying on.  Ochem is not hard... ugh.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Gifts

My son, Garret, worked all afternoon and into the late evening, arriving home at 10:30 PM on Christmas Eve.

Due to my family's propensity for behavior enabling a full series of the "Jerry Springer Show", I was alone with Bentley and Hope.

Knowing my life has been full of alcohols (the non-drinking kind), ketones, aldehydes, evolution, cell respiration, photosynthesis, Krebs, esters, and ethers, not to mention... well, you get the idea.  I did not even have a tree put up.  Given I had the full day to get things done, on Christmas Eve no less, I waited in my bedroom, pretending to nap, while Garret left.  I heard the door close softly so as not to wake me.  Waiting another 10 minutes to be sure he was gone, I sprang into action.

Drove to a few stores, picked up a few decorations - ours are buried deep within the garage we have yet unpacked from our May move out of the cave - and found a store, Home Depot if you want, to find a tree.  At 3:30 on Christmas Eve, I had a tree - not a Charlie Brown kind of tree, just a normal, green tree (not on sale).

Given I had time for a real nap, and then started to cook our dinner - ham, sweet potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, and cauliflower cheese soup - I tossed on the TV and found "It's a Wonderful Life" showing on NBC... a reminder of my favorite Christmas from 1986.  Anyway, I was ready for when he got home.

I motioned to the corner of the living room where the BIG TREE STOOD and he said, "Oh boy, I think you spent way more money on me, than I did on you."  Then a little time passed, "I feel really guilty."

I asked him why he'd feel guilty?  Christmas is not about the amount of the money but the amount of the heart behind it.  He smiled a little bit but said nothing.  He's prone to that.  He keeps a lot to himself.  Until he shows his heart.

"Did you notice the tree???" I asked.

"What tree?" he laughed, turned around and said, "Oh, that big tree in the corner?  Nope, I just saw presents!"

haha :)  Gotta love his honesty!

We ate our dinner.  The ham was awesome, although that was not due to me.  Ham cooking is easy - roast, cover, cook, eat.  The cauliflower cheese soup was a little more work but it is likewise pretty easy to make.

Halfway through dinner, I asked how it was.  He said everything was good except for the soup, "It's a little different this time."

"How so?"

"Just a little off-tasting, but it is still good!"

I sampled MY soup, MY recipe that I've made for years. 

It tasted like dog's ass.  I had to choke it down, he'd eaten 1/2 a bowl. of it.

I laughed - "How are you choking that down?  It tastes like dog's ass!"

"Well, I've never exactly tasted a dog's ass but I was just thinking, slurp, slurp, swallow before I realize it tastes bad."

Moving to the sofas for present opening...

I opened up the first package:


and he opened up his guitar books for the guitar he'd purchased a few months back lamenting that he did not have enough for lessons and he'd have to self-teach himself.

Then I opened up the second package:


Garret mentioned the story is about a doctor who overcame poverty, destruction of his life, and more to become a doctor and one of the most renown brain surgeons.  My eyes watered.

He opened up his gift card for the prepaid guitar lessons that start in two weeks.  He was thrilled.  He smiled a bit more and said he'd finally get to rip like Stevie Ray.

My third and final package opened, revealed this:


My eyes welled just a little, trying to keep my own thoughts pretty well stuffed, "What if I don't make it?"

And the greatest gift of all:

"Mom, if I did not think you were going to make it, I would not have wasted my money on doctor related stories and a movie for you.  You're going to make it.  I have faith in you."

And that, is the real reason for the season, me thinketh.  A son who gave his mom everything... and honestly, he did that almost 20 years ago on December 29th, 1991.

I'm blessed.  And, I'm loved.  If only by him!

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas, or a peaceful Hanukkah, or a ... whatever faith or non-faith you had, I hope you had a cherished weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DE Protonating An Ethane

with acid.  STRONG acid.

hahahahahahaha - in my mind-numbing, sleep-deprived brain, I thought that was a good idea because the base side of that very STRONG acid, is a weak conjugate base (good for Sn1).

Unfortunately, I needed to make that STRONG acid a weak conjugate base by adding, say, Na2 or Mg or something?!?!?!

Nope.  I just put the strong base down (sulfuric acid, if you're wondering).

At least I can laugh about my mind-deprived mistake (that was not a typo, I must be mind-deprived!)

And yes, I can understand why ochem is used by medical schools to weed out folks.  Seriously, what's the difference of adding 10 mg of a sodium pentothal versus 100 mg?  Just a wee tiny math error, right?!

/snicker

I did use acetyline with H2/Pd-c to take to the alkane; then a 2nd molecule of that with Lindlar's to create the cis; then made an anion out of the Lindlar's product by hitting it with Na-H; and then combined the Deprotonated with SULFURIC acid molecule to make a saturated pentane; then hit that with OsO4 to get syn side addition of 2 degree alcohols, and then nailed that with bromine to get the bromine's on the wedges to get my final product.

I hope I get some points for that.  Out of 15.

/snicker (At least I'm a creative organic chemist!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ochem Final?

Like viewing art you don't know what to think: interesting.

It could go either way.  I know I thought I had another 20 minutes so I ended up stapling my NMR molecule to the test form.  Heard from others that 1/2 class was done before time was up, and the other 1/2 was not.

We'll see.  Cannot do anything about it now and honestly, if I'm teaching myself NMR, two days before the final, have never missed a day of class, take copious notes, do the homework, and I still do not understand?  Nor does the class or his other section?

There might be a problem (not saying it is the professor's fault entirely but, seriously...)

Make it a great day!  I'm out of school (for now - we'll see what ochem grade looks like next week, I suppose).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Off To Finish Ochem

 Back a few days ago, the final grade said, "C" as noted in post from days gone by.  I knew my final was not included in tabulation yet, but that did not quell the impending sense of utter fear.  What if... I not only dropped my A to a B in biology but now was on the verge of dropping my A- in ochem to a B, or worse, never understanding how to read IR and HNMR?!


FEAR.  Totally, complete, utter fear.  White knuckled.  I sat today wondering if I did drop from an A to a B (he gives no +/-), would I continue on in school?  Stop.  Realize this is really not my path?  I'm just ?


So, I and another, helped a fellow ochem student who has done little homework, if any, and really does not do the tests well either as evidenced by her "C" overall in class.  VERY nice young lady, really is struggling with transition from small local private college to big, land-granting university.


We helped.  We answered questions that were asked on first exam.  We gave guidance where we could on how to focus for final.  We plowed ahead, our own destiny within our grasp.


I came home when we were done.  Stopped by where my son works, told him I was stressed (he's lived with me for 19 years, he knows me without me having to say a word).


I asked when he came home if he'd do me a favor. He bowed his head slightly, raised his eyebrow, and asked, "Eh, what exactly?"


"Check my grade for me.  Just don't tell me.  Cuz if I got a "B" I won't have any need to push further tonight in ochem.  If I got an "A" I'm going to want to stay up all night to ensure an "A" in ochem."


"Sure" he said as he heated up some pizza rolls.


A few minutes passed, he came walking through the hallway:


"I lied."

Final Grade: A

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Self Teaching H-NMR

Because it was not taught, really, in class. I have scribbles on what was discussed but when looking back on my scribbles? It means nothing.

Three of us sat around a table, each of us had gone to friends who had gone to other friends who had... you get the picture.

Two days before the final, and I'm teaching myself NMR. Khan Academy - I hope... will help.

Yep, got it: 5H at around 7 ppm = phenyl group. Triplet next to quartet is probably a CH2-CH3... but seriously, should this not have been made MORE clear in class?

More later - I've not really slept in two days (I've showered though!! +1). Final on Weds.

Friday, December 16, 2011

One Down, Final Grade Posted (Bio)

Final Grade: C (163 points)

haha. Apparently, everyone's grade but mine is posted as my final is not included in total points yet.

While I "know" that, my hands are a little cold and my heart rate a little faster. I want to see how I did. The final was not what I expected AT ALL and I had to really think my way through a couple of problems.

For instance, we never talked about biomass and directions given to the class were to make sure to thoroughly understand the notes and not open the book.

GREeaaat! I did that. Biomass appeared on final. Huh??? Before I turned it in, I counted how many problems of the 50 I thought I had nailed. Rechecked every one of those. Then made sure I cross checked against the scantron sheet.

42 that I thought I'd nailed. Then I started checking, the number dwindled to 40 pretty quickly; then another one. But then I found an answer to one question on a movie we had to watch on our own time that I got right, that I had not checked. Up to 39 I went. Another answer was moved to the correct column that I thought might or might not be right. Up to 40.

My magic number is 38. I need 38 on my final to keep my solid A.

Everyone's grade is posted but mine (I take my tests in disability services so it is likely not in the hands of the bio department yet).

I'm nervous... and yet, I have bigger things to do now than worry.

Ochem. Here I come!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Couldn't Resist - Need The FUD To Go Away



Seriously, THIS is why I study ochem (ahahahahahaha... breathe.... hahahahahha)



(NOT because she's looking in his pants.... oh Gawd, it's finals and I've lost my mind.... hahahaha)

Once A Mom, Always A Mom

Back when I was much younger, Princess Diana was pregnant with William and Jackie Onassis was alive and well, as was her son.  I always admired Princess Diana - not because she went from fairly obscure and common looking, to stunning, gorgeous, and a fabulous dresser (she personally is responsible for my fabulous shoe fetish collection - Manolo Blahniks anyone???).  Jackie was much the same, just an earlier generation, an earlier, classier, more finessed era.

What both women shared was a common love of their children.  Jackie O once said that the only job she really cared about was raising her children well.  Princess Di always said she only cared about being a great mom, and making sure her children knew all walks of life, not just the privileged life they'd been born into.

Everyone, but the most cynical and depressed, would say that both women succeeded not only in raising great kids but also in extending compassion to others who need it.  Both had compassion for those less fortunate and rather than just blather on about how people should do something for those folks, they reached out publicly and privately to help others.  Sometimes their contributions were well noted by publicists, yet I believe, more went unnoticed as part and parcel of who they were as women. (Yes, John Jr died in a plane crash but given his vast wealth and prestigious name, he could have done far worse in his life than he did.  As it turned out, he probably really was a fine man.)

I think those of us who are moms, and once our children grow up and start thinking about leaving the house, start looking to others that we can help.

My own son is almost 20.  When I was his age, I was pregnant with my first son.  When I was his age, I was selfish, self-centered, egotistical (somethings NEVER change).  When I was his age, I talked about helping others, about doing more than simple lip service.  I never did.  As he and I've aged, I've started doing more for others out of a need, a selfish need, to remind myself that no matter how hard my life has been, there are far more that it far worse.  As the school semester is rapidly winding down, I find myself in the mother role at school too.  I find other students looking to me for guidance, help, and reference.

As much as I need to focus on being selfish so I can finally get an A or A- in ochem (I pray), I find it hard to turn off the "mom-gene" that was created almost 20 years ago when son #2 was born.  I think for those of us who are moms, who relish the role of nurturing parent, we can't just turn it off when others look for help.

Once a mom, always a mom.

Back to biology (and ochem).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heel, Toe. Heel, Toe.

Boat rocker.

Cantankerous.

Delusional.

Illogical.

Un-Christian.

Thief.

Over the past four years, all of those have been said to me, about me.  Over the past four years, I've had people take credit for the job I did - creating jobs for people who had no where else to land.  Over the past four years... well, you've all read what happened to me.

I've been considering going out on speaking tours to talk about business ethics, or lack thereof, how companies can best protect themselves (make the business decisions based upon what makes sense overall, not to the bonus - doh!), and which companies have been doing, in my auditor opinion, a great job of doing the right thing, being the right thing, and being hugely profitable.

Last night, rather than study biology, I went down the "bunny hole" of speaker bureaus.  Which led me to one place, and then another, and finally...

To someone who gets what happened four years ago.  I wrote the email never expecting a response.  Someone at the Nobel Laurette surely has no interest in my wee story, my wee intermittent pain, my wee anger.  Surely, someone internationally renown, would not waste the pixel space on me.

And yet, there it was this morning.  A lengthy email stating ... well, my eyes misted for the 2nd time in less than a week.

I was reminded to continue heel, toe.  Heel, toe.  I was reminded, again, that I am not alone.

And that if my medical school path should not work out, I have a spot waiting for me.  With a Nobel Laurette.

Wee me.

Okay, off to ochem.  Two lectures left. I think I finally get Lewis dot structures.  (hahaha!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Morning MCAT Prep

(Not really, just a fun thing I get each day from Kaplan).  If you'd like to get your own, click Kaplan

Yeay, for gchem 1.  I can draw Lewis dot structures and assign formal charge.  Unfortunately, I know the MCAT is not this easy (or easy at all).

The question got lopped off when I snagged it:

"What needs to be changed to the configuration of ClF4- shown below"

Little Things That Mean A Lot

Like chemical stability does not equal reactivity.  That would have been good to remember day 1, not 11 days before the final (via Wiki, no less).

Among other topics?

Why an acid, HOCOCH3 reacts differently than Na+ -OCOCH3.  The products are similar (except for the stereo chem on the acid which will do an SN2 reaction and therefore, attack backside and cause inversion), and except for the part that the nucleophile will attack the starting material head on (the :Nuc is more like... well, a base; and while I could go into conjugate bases/acids, I'm not).

THAT simple explanation from a soon-to-be professor cleared up the clouds in my head.

Now, instead of wondering what I'm not understanding, and why I keep ruminating in something that seemed so simple and yet was stymying my efforts to move on, I can simply...

do the ochem.

Yeay me.  I'm going to bed.  At a normal time.  For a normal amount.  Even found time to eat :Nuc'd left over TGIF.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Game Plan For Finals

Lab final is done.  While I did not put much time into studying for it, I think I did okay.  My choices were study for biology lab final or take my son to dinner because I would not see him for 4 days.

I chose my son.

Chocolate donuts intact, 52 diet coke in hand, I headed off to library land.  Where upon I felt like no other, stnorting sneezing, snuffling brother was replaced by slam-my-metal-coke-bottle on the desk all afternoon.

Seriously, if you have kids, teach them manners.  It's okay to tell them they are not perfect, and that their behavior is inappropriate in public.  Really.  It's okay.  No one will think you're a bad parent because you actually disciplined your child, no one will think you're harsh or abusive if you teach the child proper manners.

It will serve the child and the rest of humanity well later on in their life.

My plan went to hell.  I tried to find a different table somewhere else.  Which explained why the guy between loud-dude and I, moved a few minutes after I sat down (I swear, I took a shower, brushed my teeth - it wasn't me!).  I think that guy'd had it too.

Did my biology note rewrite.  Thank God!  That takes forever.  Now, I just need to put it on notecards, supplement with what is a little hazy from Schaum's or from Mastering Bio, review again what I got wrong and right on last test, review note cards from first test and I should be good.

That leaves ochem.  Professor Dogood sent out a 4 page synopsis of what we have to know for the exam.  It contains each reaction, the reagents, the mechanisms required, etc.  I'll start working on that tonight, along with 1 or 2 problems from each chapter.  Each day, if I complete other problems, and rewrite the mechanisms for all reactions, I should be good to go there too.  That final is in 11 days.

Tonight, diet coke and Toblerone are keeping me company.  Hope yours is much better!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vintage White Jeans

Levi's even.  The kind that don't have stretchy/comfy material in them that make women feel thinner (because we can wear a smaller size because the smaller size S T R E T C H E S).

I'm one of those women.  I love my True Religions and Lucky Brand jeans.

I also love my 1992 vintage white Levi's.  Reminds me of a time in my life when Levi's still carried 37" inseam jeans (that is not a typo, my inseam is almsot 38"), still ruled the jean kingdom.  I wear them infrequently as they've gotten a little shorter, they don't feel as great as my Trues. 

Today, I had my lab final and ochem.  Knowing there were no chemicals to be used in today's lab (before our lab final), and that ochem never has a dress code, but work following ochem sort of does, I wore the white Levi's.

They go with everything (duh!).  I can dress them up, dress them down, make them fun, funky, cool, or pretty conservative and chic.

I also eat a chocolate donut every morning on my way to school/work while I suck down a 52 oz diet coke.  I'm careful, or as my son would say, I'm anal about making sure I don't spill a thing in my SUV.

Lab went well.  Exam, who knows.  Ochem went fine.  TA afterwards explained a very simple concept that I had not understood which makes all the difference in the world.  Spent maybe 1.5 hours with her.  Some 9 hours after savoring cheap donut from gas station, I arrived at work.  Dropped my purse off at my cube, draped my winter coat across the Dilbert style cube, and walked to the bathroom.

Apparently, the chocolate on the donut melts.  And when dropped unnoticed onto a warm lap ....... it stains.

My new sign:

"Did not poop my pants"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not Finals Week Exhaustion

In less than 12 hours, I have a biology lab final.  Between work, lecture, back to work, getting home to study, son asking me to take him to dinner (and whom I'm won't see for three days while he works when I'm sleeping, and I'm at school while he's home), and back home to firmly plant my glutes in a seat, I have no energy to study for the lab final.

Today after lecture, the professor asked, "Are you going to get an A in the class?"

I laughed, "Isn't that pretty much up to you???"

He snickered, "Just exactly where are you sitting?"

"I'm at a low A, which is why I asked about the point for the one question."

He paused, said something about curve, adding points to entire class, etc, eyebrows furrowed a little, "How many points did you get overall on the lecture quizzes?"

"22"

His eyebrows raised, smile broadened, "The class average is 15," followed by a slight wink.  "Did you go back and look at exam 1's key?"

"I can still draw the charts you put on the overhead and explain them as well as cellular respiration and photosynthesis as well as which plants grow where and why, with the appropriate cell structures included.  Each graph you draw, I redraw to make sure I know it inside and out and how to interpret.  Even if I wanted to, I could not forget them."

"You got 22 points on the lecture quizzes" he smiled, adding, "Have a great weekend.  Remember where the class average is at."

Got it.  I'm doing well.  I need to review my exam 1 materials well.  Some of those questions will appear again.  I need to make sure I can answer evolution questions without over-analyzing the question asked.

For instance, on one question: Darwin and Wallace were and found that 
a)  genetic material is the root cause of evolution
b)  natural selection was the root cause of evolution
c) some stupid answer that makes no sense
d) all of the above

I over read thinking there is no way that Darwin and Wallace had access to view and analyze genetic material and Watson and Crick had not been born yet.  I chose "B" and got it wrong.  I over analyzed.  I over thought.

And now.  I can't think at all.

I'm too tired and my give a damn is looking at comfy pillows...

But, I can find fun biology video :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

OUCH!

Had to move my classes today to accommodate work (they've accommodated everything for me this semester, this was one time I could give back on scheduling issues).  So, I hurried to school after picking up my 52 oz diet coke and two donuts (damn the LDL/HDL counts anyway - that's another story).

Anyway, there is a tunnel from one of the buildings to the other.  It leads to the lower level entrance of the ochem lecture hall in the old building.  Honestly, the new science and technology building leaves very little to desire.

Anyway, after walking down the stairs in my black wool coat over my suit, I turned the corner and after that, I'm not sure what happened.

I had fallen onto the hard floor onto one knee and after hitting the floor, the propulsion must've pushed me hard onto my left arm (I'm sure to brace the fall).

I could not move.  A swarm of 20 or so students passed me, side stepped me in the narrow hallway where the diet coke had flown out of my hands and spilled.

NOT one person stopped to help or ask if I needed help.  About 5 minutes passed during which I was trying to figure out how badly I was hurt and if I could even get up on my own.

A youngish man about 20 turned the same corner, passed me by, then came back.

"Do you need help?"

I smiled, pride intact, and said I did not think so; just trying to catch my breath to stand up.  He wandered back around the other corner and must've heard me mutter, "Oh God" when I tried to stand up.

He came quickly back.  Offered to call the ambulance or police (no, no drama please).  Offered to help me up.  I still thought I could do it on my own, I said.

But after standing, I blacked out; sick to my stomach from the pain, woozy.  Anyway, he asked again what he could do to help.

"Would you mind picking up my backpack?  I don't think I can bend down to get it."

"Are you still going to class?"

"I'm a premed at 47.  I cannot afford to miss class, ever."

I don't remember the rest of the conversation, and I forgot to get his name.  He walked me to my class, made sure I could open doors (I cannot, my arm is really hurting, and I cannot lift it above my waist).

We parted ways; I'm sure I won't see him again.

But now, I know how anonymous others whom I've helped at accident scenes, or when they were lost in the parking ramp of the big parking ramp, or when... felt.

Gracious.  Thankful.  Humbled.

I only wish I knew his name.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Quote - Made Me Laugh

Women are angels, and when someone breaks our wings we continue to fly...on a broom. 

We are flexible like that.

No A-, A or B

The course professor rounds up on total points.

85% for an A.

I'm sitting with 85.3% with 62 points left to go.

Sheer panic has set in.  I now join the rest of the bloggers climbing walls, stressing out, eating chocolate, fudge brownie ice cream from Ben & Jerrys... or drinking.

Make it a great day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

So, Here I Go

Shadowing.

I wrote the doc I shadow who has openly welcomed me into his clinic to be with his patients, to see what he does when not in an exam room (it's really kind of boring - seriously, that much dictation??? good to know!), to hear the stories, to truly understand all that goes into being a physician.

He said I was welcome any time.  Sadly, fall has flown by and I'm facing finals week.  I don't know when I'd have been able to get down to see him, to spend a full day there or even 1/2 day; I wonder if he thinks me lame (I doubt it, he was my dad's doc and knows my parents well and also knows the path).

As I wrote my apologetic letter for not being in better contact, I wrote one phrase, and will admit... my eyes watered up... This is real, isn't it.  Finally.

Some 42 years ago, a little girl playing house with her friends pulled out her Aunt Cladie's surgical kit that had been used with Dr. Mayo, and put Pez candies into her friends' hands to mend their ailments, and bandaged "broken" fingers and toes.  Some 42 years ago, a little girl dreamed of becoming a doctor without any knowledge or foresight on how she would attain that, or what it meant to treat people's ailments.

As I wrote the doc, I realized my day for applying is nearing.

As I wrote the doc, I realized there is no more "maybe" or "what if" or "should I" or "will I make it", I realized, "yes", "yes," "yes," and absolutely, "yes!"

And with that, my eyes got a little misty.

I think, I just might make it to MD.

Horse Slaughter Part Two

Horses


The "horse is rendered unconscious before being slaughtered"

AKA the animal is still alive while it's meat and skin are cut from it.

Welcome to a sickening, disgusting mess in America.

The US has puppy mill plants that produce enough dogs to feed China (exaggeration not withstanding, there are so many dogs overproduced in this country that many are killed in gas chambers shortly after the puppies turn 1 year old, or the puppies are killed because no one will want them and yet, we do not eat them).

The US will now be able to feed the world horse meat because the same dolts who over produce dogs will now see MORE money in producing horses for slaughter.  More meat = more money.

Sick.

Dear Santa

Wouldn't it be great if we could really write a real Santa and ask for something that meant the world to us?

What if Santa read the letter, pondered how to deliver, and then actually did so on a snowy Christmas Eve night?

A friend of mine (I think I can call her that) is an artist.  Not the garden variety whipping out trinkets and trash for sales at outdoor markets (NOT that there's anything wrong with that, I just don't think Picasso sold his wares at open markets!), the kind that works her craft for hours. 

Last year, with Sir Hawtsalot's birthday, Nanci was helping me create a piece of art for him.  Something that would mean something to him.  She helped devise the plan for Vegas and the subsequent tie into the art piece.

Sir Hawtsalot and I were planning a party at his home.  A large gathering of friends and peers to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.  He'd given me carte blanche access to his home, his activity wishes, and his desires for entertainment and food. 

 I was busy contacting caterers, decorators, valet parking attendants, and carollers. The decorating inside was going to be a blast, something he'd not had before. While conjuring images of his soaring fireplace,

I saw this:


Nanci created the piece a few years ago.  I was simply awestruck.  It is stunningly beautiful, capturing the heart of everyone's thoughts at Christmas.

Will Santa read my letter?  Will Santa care?  Will he respond?

What you don't see in the background is the bookcase for every child that "Santa" ever delivered a gift to.  In person, you can read the names (and find your own).

It is perfect!  And would have fit perfectly above Sir Hawtsalot's fireplace in the main living room, except for the part where I broke up with him.  Yeah.  Except for that part.

ANYWAY, the original art is still available.  It is gorgeous!

If you would like to see more of Nanci's art, please visit the link here:  Stunning Art - Nanci Fulmek

And just in case you didn't know:

1)  she did not ask me to do this
2)  she owns all rights to the picture in this post
3)  she owns all rights to any copies made of it
4)  she's awesome!

Last, we all know what I want for Christmas this year.  Impossible relationships made possible.

Make it a great day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fabulous Concert

No matter your faith, or lack of a prescribed faith or religion, the message of this song should give everyone pause for thought.

The back drop of the song is this:

There's a bum that starts telling a story in an old city bar in an old part of town where the less fortunate hang out getting cheap whiskey. There is an angel sent from God that is supposed to scour the earth to find evidence of love or compassion or goodness. As the angel flies through the air he finds battlefields full of soldiers fighting for a cause they don't believe in and yet they sing in cheer for Christmas Eve (that is based on a true story).

This particular song is about a lady who can't get home and a child who finds her.

"If you want to know how to help, you only need ask."

That's the message.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra was fabulous tonight. With their laser light show, bursting flames, lowering of the apparatus to make another stage.



And, by the way, what the singer does holding the tone for almost 45 seconds is beyond amazing.

Try it yourself. You'll see how hard it is to do without taking a breath.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Storm's Breeder

New readers may not have gone through the 3 years (orly?!?!?) of posts to find Storm's posts. While they are listed on the side panel of the blog, they are dimmed.

Headed off to school to study the old chapters of ochem. Lewis dot structures (boring), formal charges (boring), carbocations/anions, radicals, Sn2 and Sn1, E2 and E1 reactions, stereochem - ha, what I learned today might have been helpful say... two months ago! Or maybe it is that repetition thing kicking in and I finally got it.

So, I was bored. Checked my email.

Storm's breeder who'd fallen off the earth had dropped me a line with her new email addy. She doesn't breed anymore.

At that point, it was a lost cause to get back on track. I started looking at Bentley's pictures - the one yesterday of him shaking his head with his ears stacked when I first got him - if you look closely, his jowls are flinging side to side, I started watching funny pet pictures, I read my old posts here about Storm's bloat/torsion, survival, and, his life transition.

Then, I transgressed to "Birds" (Damn you Solitary!) where I quit being in the library. I know a lost cause when I find it. That was today and doing anything beyond ochem in the library.

What made today great?

I came home to a waggy tail and perked but fallen ears, and a golden retriever with her dead toy coming out of her mouth wagging her tail.

I came home to life, to sheer delight in seeing me.

Now, seriously, what could be more awesome than that?!

(real food!)

My Love

Where it started, the heart mending

By: Sir Bentley Boo, Great Dane v12



What, you've never seen a masculine, macho dog like me with a fluffy, stuffy bear? I mean a gnarly, nasty, growly bear? (note: even the bear seems to be raising an eyebrow!)


So, yeah, I sleep in the bear; he's my floor mate (and comfy!)


You're still watching me. Why?


Oh, cuz I killed Hope's toy.  Sorry, Hope!


Maybe if I sleep here, she won't find me.  Yeah, that's it, Mom won't have a clue where I'm at!


Eh, she might have found me.  But if I don't look at her, she won't look at me.


I grew up (and I'm still silly!!) and I'm gorgeous, loveable, huggable... I meant to say, lean, mean, fighting machine (or not!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Okay... Changed

 Mail is fun, isn't it?  Magazines letting one know the latest hotspots in the world and savings accumulated "if you order now" and dreams to put away for another year.  The junk mail we all get that I never read from the local newspaper coupons to other senseless drivel.

As I mashed through my stack of misbegotten mail there was a plain white envelope that I almost tossed.  Thankfully, I did not.

I edited out my earlier vent because... I'm so over what happened.  IF something great can come of it, aka, I can get some sort of refund on my sustained losses, awesome!  IF not, well, really?  I'm not out anything more than I already was and honestly, after calming back down, I realized I am just so over it all... and don't want to continue to nash my teeth on the drama.

Like really.  Anyone wanna echo my "ICK!"

So, I went to work, thought about where I'm at in ochem (not saying but the light is not currently a train), where I'm at in biology (light has never been a train), and realized:

One month from now, my son will be 20
One month from now, it will be 2012
One month from now, I will be looking at spring semester, 2012
Two months from now, I will be in physiology, biochem, and another biology class (evolution)
Three months from now, I will be on spring break somewhere warm, sunny, and getting an awesome tan
Four months from now, I will be hitting up my last midterms
Five months from now, I will be heading to Ecuador (rock on!)
Six months from now, I will be MCATing

and

Seven months from now, I will be sending out applications.

Not sure the mail today really matters when the above 9 sentences do.

Make it an awesome weekend (I'll be, ahem, studying!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And Whale Watching

I think I might have forgotten to mention that...

Off the shores of Ecuador is one of the largest breeding grounds for the largest mammals on earth: humpbacks, rights, sperm, and orcas (I think on the last one).

Outside of Guayaquil, there is a boat awaiting my arrival to take me to watch.  I guess there are so many swarming in the waters, a person can almost reach out and touch.

Can you imagine?

Come here pretty humpback - let me pet you!

(Bentley would be jealous!)

Galapagos - Here I Come!

The research (haha) trip is booked.  I guess borking my last exam didn't disappoint my professor too much (he leads the trip to Ecuador).  My itinerary is such that I'm flying out early to see the city of Quito first and if I'm lucky, the volcano will be a little active (not so lucky for the people who live there though, especially if they don't heed warnings and leave).

I'm fascinated by the power of nature.  The brutal strength of moving earth beneath my feet, blowing hot, molten rocks into the air simply astounds me.

A few years ago when I took gen chem two at a different university, we were offered the chance to sit in on a lecture series related to neutrinos.  That perked my interest as well simply because for about 2 miles (yes, miles!!!) there is packed snow, ice, and hardpack.  The drills that send the devices to measure neutrinos have warm water attached to get through the ice, then the short time period elapses while the device is lowered and before the snow reforms.

So, given that lava is formed beneath that, and must blow through or melt or ??? all that ice and snow before blasting hot, molten rock into the air, amazes me.  Not really sure I want to see or witness a secondary Pompei, but a live volcano belching would be cool.  And yes, I've been through a 7.0 earthquake in Acapulco so I'm prepared for that.

Why the drivel on Ecuador?

Because I'm still pissed about the horses and can't put my thoughts into prose just yet.

Anyone who has been around "meat" animals knows:

cows don't care
pigs "know" their demise is eminent (that's why I don't eat them)
chickens, don't care
turkeys, don't care

Horses flail.  It is terrifying for them - not only their impending death but the whole ordeal before they are killed (generally by electrocution but sometimes just a flinging of a guillotine).  The tight quarters while they are cattle prodded to the death device, the cattle prods on their backs and butts while being propelled forward.  The terror factor.

See, cows don't have that.

Horses do.

Eat up America.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Anger - Absolutely No Doubt - Anger

Domesticated animals as defined by Merriam, Webster's or other definitional sources means tame, to live with, to benefit from without being parasitic.  When most people think of domesticated animals we think about dogs, cats, and horses.

Domesticated animals are not thought often as being a food source.  We in the United States do not look at our dogs and cats as an alternate food supply should we want for tasty golden retriever soup, or souffle au tabby.  We do not wonder if great dane steak would taste as good as dachshund hot dogs (sorry, I could not resist that one), or if Persian snippets on a stick would fill us up as easily as Siamese casserole.

We just don't.  We are not interested.

However, apparently, horses are now seen as readily eaten in this country.

We can train them to work with us, give us pleasure riding and when their usefulness to our own happiness is done, we can slaughter them and eat them.  We can train them to be pets, to eagerly anticipate our arrival with carrots or apples, give them grain as a reward for a peaceful trip through the forest and when their walking days are done, we can slaughter them for food.

I'm angry.  I'm disgusted.  I'm livid.

Cows are not pets.  Hogs are not pets.  Sheep are not pets.  Most Americans don't sit in a pasture and lovingly stroke a sheep's head, or bring it treats, only to eat it later.

Horses are pets.  Horses anthropomorphologically speaking love their humans when bonded.  They eagerly await at gates for petting, much like my golden retriever does when I come home from work.  Horses nicker to their owners for attention, much like my great dane does when I arrive home from school (he doesn't nicker, he "talks" to me).

I would no more eat Bentley when his "useful" time is done in my home than I would a horse.

This is not a diatribe against meat eaters - I eat steak, turkey, chicken, shellfish, etc.  I don't play with cows, or turkeys, or chickens, or lobsters.  I don't have an issue with deer or bird hunting, or fishing.

Horse slaughter is wrong.  Simply wrong.

But then again, this is the United States where many things are wrong and no one seems to care.  Why would anyone start now with horse issues.

bah........
 
Horse Slaughter Gains US Approval

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sleeping, A Feat Worthy To Note

I slept for 4 days.  Rip Van Winkle has nothing on me.

Now back to the grind: my motivation left until I started driving into school today for ochem.  Then I heard how other classmates felt with last exams.

Two weeks left until finals.  Then a month off.  Then the final charge toward MCAT and Galapagos.  Then applications.  Then sleep.

Overall my Thanksgiving weekend tally looks like this:

Turkey eaten: 5 pounds
Sweet potatoes eaten: 2 large cans

Sleep hours: 52 hours over 4 days... yes, really.  I started wondering if I had chronic fatigue.  I'd eat, sleep, eat, watch FRIENDS (still love that show), and sleep some more.  Tried to go out with Bentley the wonder Dane and, he wanted to sleep instead!

Anyway, back to school, back to work; back to making this dream of mine a little closer... oh, and along the way, incorporating some new study habits to ace my final ochem test.  I'm giving it everything I got...

Kind of like Scotty in Star Trek!  (only I'd be Scottee - or Scottette?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Everyone, on both sides of the 49th parallel, thinks back to what they are most thankful for while feasting on Thanksgiving dinner.  In the US it is turkey as the prime dinner of choice replete with sweet potatoes, stuffing and turkey; if you're one of those that goes beyond that, good for you.  ME?  I'll just snatch a tidbit of turkey and horde the sweet potatoes.

I ate alone this year.  My son is working to get the holiday pay bonus and that makes me proud.  He's trying to keep his life on track, moving ahead, figuring who and what he is going to be, trying to support his mom by giving her test taking tips and hints.

I really don't know what I'm most thankful for this year.  My job allows me to go to school and gives me enough income to keep the lights on, put gas in my truck, and pay my tuition.  I'm very thankful for that.

I'm thankful my body no longer wants to produce babies :)  A new friend of mine is going through the PMS cycle and I willingly admit, I do not miss PMS or anything about it.  I don't miss baby pangs, baby dreams, baby panderings.  Now, that said, I'm not sure what to blame mood swings on, so I guess, I'll blame ochem.

Yes, ochem equates to PMS.

Think it should be a Twitter.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

(PS:  If there are drugs to help nausea, are there meds to induce the reverse?  As in, I've eaten 3 lbs of sweet potatoes and 1 pound of turkey and after sleeping for 4 hours, the finger down the throat is not helping... :P  I thought eating alone would be good why???)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wth Is Wrong With Me?

Ochem.

Not afraid of it.  Actually, like it.  Find it logical.  It makes sense.  Yes, it is a lot of information to ingest, we are also a full chapter ahead of the other two sections (we covered ozonolysis in a day).

I felt pretty good walking out of the exam.

I got a B.  I was hoping for the elusive A.

Then I got an email from the professor.  The disability services center gave me the wrong exam.  I took the other section's exam, which has a lower average.  Which means my overall score is not apples to apples which is how my grade will be based.  The professor is opn to suggestions on how to fix this since it was not my fault (or the other people who take the exam in DS).

My suggestion for fixing is to add the points back in so that my grade stays relatively similar to my own classmates and trends as such.

MY issue with ochem is this:

how do I get an A?  Theoretically, I can still get an A by acing my final (yuckola) the question is not theoretical, it is tangible:

HOW?

I do the problems.

I made reagent cards and memorized them.

I made mechanism sheets for each type of reaction so that I could do them cold.

I got a B.

I get why ochem is so heavily looked at by the medical schools.  Beyond the hazing ritual, it does force a student to learn to synthesize vast amounts of minutae and barf it back out on an exam.  I bet the correlation in the adcom's minds is that if a student can learn to study differently and more effectively in ochem, they will likewise, figure out how to study more effectively in medical school when the information comes out of the proverbial firehose.

I do not think it is my lack of prep.  I don't think it is my lack of understanding, nor do I think I'm unintelligent (although, maybe that is really the case!).

Frustrating.

That, and studying for only ochem over the weekend, and cramming biology in last night, dropped my biology grade to a low A.  I don't have points to give there.  And he gives no + or - with the letter grade.

BAH!!!!!

What Are Those Things Called Alarms?!?!?!

A few years ago, I wanted to wake up to my iTouch (the one I won from Cray Research after submitting an idea on amalgamating three disparate websites), so I bought an iHome.  



Never used it.  I don't do alarms.  For the better part of the last 20 years or so, that's worked pretty darn well for me.  Somehow I always wake up to get to work, get to school on time (helps to have afternoon classes!), and get my life taken care of.  Even when appointments run early, I somehow must sense it is time to wake, and get moving around.

That is, until today.

Last night, I set my alarm for the first time in many years.  I was thinking 4 hours of sleep and then I can get up, shower, get dressed (preferably, lest I have a penchant for being arrested in the winter), and get to school to study/brush up, before my last exam this morning.

The alarm did not go off.  At about 7:05  AM this morning I woke in a panic, "OPMG ADSFKH I have a test that I am NOT ready for!!!" (ochem has over powered my studying these past few days).

Managing to get to school un-showered (euewww) with teeth brushed replete with a 52 oz fountain diet coke and two donuts (I splurged given the week), I made it in time to scribble the graphs on note cards for population dispersion.

AWESOME!  It was on the test.

Even better?  I can now go to work.  That thing that I vaguely remember from last week before ochem took over my life (I hope it was worth it!!!)... and sleep tonight.  Soundly!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Case, I've Forgotten To Mention

My son is awesome!  Many years ago, when he was about 9, our living situation was up in the air.  I'd been offered a job to relocate to Florida, a place both my son and I loved.  The situation made me nervous as it would mean leaving my elderly parents behind and honestly, I'd always thought when the one passed, that the other would have a place in my then guest house.

Ten, eleven years later, they're both still alive, my house is long gone :)

Anyway, I'd asked my son how he felt about moving back to FL (we'd been living there before when MetLife was going public and the company put him and me up in a condo for the 1.5 years we were there).  It is not like I was wanting his blessing to move, more that I wanted him to feel like he had a voice in our lives, that he was not subjected to the whims of his mother more than was required (I'm speaking of concerts, Olympics, and sporting events here!).

At 9, he sat in his room one night, must have waited forever for me to leave the room, and put a picture on my pillow so that when I finally went to bed, I would not miss it.

It was a picture of a little boy holding his mother's hand, fully colored, with hearts around the people, saying, "I love you, no madder (sic) where we move"... I think I choked up.

I sill have it.  Ten years later.  It still warms my heart, and kept it warm, when things were hard, back when he was a teenager and I wondered if he loved me back, or if... I think all parents go through that when their kids are teens.

Yesterday, I went to the library as is well noted.  Generally, I leave at 9 AM on Saturday morning, and return home sometime around 10:30 PM.  That's been my life since September, and not one weekend has changed since then.  It might deviate an hour earlier but generally, I'm at the library and/or at school in the commons area after the library closes for about 13 hours.

Last night, when I met the other ochem students, time flew.  Emma was so very helpful, and so kind, and so compassionate; and then she shared her story.  And then we talked.  And we worked on ochem.  And we talked some more.  And we studied ochem.  And then we talked some more.

And then it was 4 AM.

I'd been gone for almost 24 hours.  I had no idea it was that late/early and was worried about my drive home as the first snow/sleet had hit the city.

Driving home was a bit slippery.  I drive a huge BUS  SUV with full time 4-wheel drive but I was still cautious.  Plows were out sanding, cars were slow; even at 4:30 (the time from leaving until getting home was 1/2 hour).

When I walked in, my son was up and on his cell phone.  He was pasty white.

"She just walked in the door."

"Yes, she's okay.  Thank you."

I asked who he was on the phone with.  He said the local police department... he was scared.  He said when I did not come home at my usual time, and my cell phone was dead, and it was late, and the roads were bad, and there are some darkened hallways at school, and ... he was terrified something had happened to me.

He sobbed as I hugged him and told him he did the absolute right thing.  He sobbed some more saying, he was so scared that something had happened to me.

And right then, I knew.  I had wondered if he really did love his mom still, after all we've been through.

And good Lord, I'm blessed.  What an awesome son, a tender son, and he is truly, the love and light of my life.

Have you hugged your kids today?!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Game Plan - Ochem Midterm #3

Met some peers of mine last night (Sat, about 8:30), they are my professor's other section; we both have major midterm in the morning.  I asked how they were doing, how they were mastering the reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, reagents.

The one young woman, about my son's age, asked me how I was doing.  Completely, and utterly stressed, I responded.  I told her I cannot seem to gel this in my head and put it on paper no matter how much I try.

Ochem is NOT hard.  It is tedious, a LOT of material to synthesize, and requires mastering what does work, and throwing what does not.

Enter in Emma (not her real name).  Emma took one look at my note cards, homework, more paper that I was writing notes on, more other crap that I was compiling, the exams I'd pulled bits and pieces out of (the tests are not in same order as last year as the book was changed and some reactions show up earlier than others, other things show up now for us).  Anyway, she started pulling things out.

About 75% of everything I had done, she called wasted time.  Emma was apologetic but looked me squarely in the eye and said, you do too much and can't get it out of your head on the page.  You're smarter than us, but your scores don't show it.  Here's what you're going to do... and with that, I listened.

What used to take me almost 24 hours of time to complete, I finished today in about 5 hours.  Without note cards.  I am hopeful that by the time the test rolls around in the morning, I have polished up my learning, and knowledge, and be able to get it out on paper.

Here's a picture of the plan.  Wish me luck.  I really want an "A"...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Nuff Said

I have said little, and thankfully, this article says it all:

How Strong Women Dump Their Misbehaving Men: Demi Moore's Powerful Statement

Strong Women

Best sentence of the whole article?

She's better off without him.  They all are! 

(This goes likewise for stupid cheating women who give our gender a bad name.)

With that, I head to study.  Make yours a great day; I'm chasing that "A"!

 

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Diet Has Gone The Way of Ochem

into the proverbial crapper.  Seriously.

I'm getting a B.  And hate it.  Test on Monday.  Nerves setting in big time.  Class today just reemphasized how much I'm stressing out.  Buying a stupid printer from either Best Buy or Office Max turned out to be more stressful than just class.  I left both without a printer.

Which left me eating.  A lot.  I try to watch what I eat so that I don't regain the weight gained and subsequently lost, while and after Evil lived with us.  But today/tonight?

2 donuts with chocolate topping
1/2 bag of Cadbury Christmas candy coated eggs
1 full LARGE bag of caramel, gourmet (artisanal :P) popcorn
1 LARGE bowl of buttered noodles and parmesan with seared chicken at Noodles & Co
3 - 52oz diet cokes
1 cup stewed roast beef
1 bowl of chicken spatzle soup
1 cup sweet potato with marshmallows
5 Pinwheel cookies (if you have not tried them, you should - highly, highly tasty!)

THAT from a lady who normally eats:

1 donut
1 bowl of broth soup
1 lumping of cottage cheese
1 candy bar
3 - 52oz diet cokes

per day.

Wondering if massive doses of Metamucil will help, or Exlax.... Dear God, I'm sick, and tired, and scared (obviously... have not eaten that much for years!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh, And Capital One?

I love you!  Will you marry me?

OMGosh...  OMGosh...

I am clicking my ruby red heels and wondering what I did to obtain that!

No worries, I will be loyal for life (or for as long as you keep making me smile!!!)

Alkenes & Kyn I?

Poor play on organic terminology but the question remains, can I get this synthesized into my head by Monday?  I think I have alkenes done and set.  Not sure why alkynes are bothering me as really, it's just one more pi bond.  Same reactions with an acetylide anion and there I have it, right?

But master it I will.  Really overwhelmed right now: paper, presentation, two major exams, a movie to watch for biology (that will appear on tomorrow's quiz), and of course, I have a job to manage.  Thankfully, scratch that, very thankfully, when I told my new boss what my schedule looked like for the next 6 days, and started to say that I would not let work suffer, and that I was really worried about getting an "A" on the Monday exam or medical school might grow wings and finally fly the coop, he stated rather emphatically, "I think your priority has to be the Monday exam.  Anything here can be pushed back to next week, right?  If not, let's figure out how to have that happen."

My mouth hit the floor.  He's from a medical device manufacturer so maybe having been surrounded by medical types, he knows.  And better yet, he gets it.

Back to the paper.  And the presentation.  And the movie.  And the ochem.

And then sleep.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not gonna lie (not that I would anyway). This past summer, I was supposed to go to a Josh Groban concert with someone dear to me. Arrangements had been made to get a meet-greet with Josh, a letter written to him personally (and delivered) about what a great night it was going to be for one of his biggest fans. That night, I found out... well, I've never been a big fan of harems. :)

Soooo, this year, on that exact same date, in a city near and dear to my heart, I will sing, drink, dance, and light a lighter, sing louder, drink more, and have ooooodles of fun...

Sir Hotness Kenny Chesney is coming to town, and damn, anything with him on it is SEXY! The news came out yesterday about his co-hosted tour with Tim McGraw who is likewise, handsome but also very married to a gorgeous Faith Hill, so ... it feels sort of icky to swoon over an otherwise married man... not that I have a chance in hell of Kenny noticing me... oh and I'm digressing rapidly here (ADHD being what it is!)

Another rockin', hoppin', dancin', get-my-groove-on stompin' Chesney song (admit it, even if you don't like typical country music, he's pretty hot, and the songs I post are happy, in your face, livin'-life songs!)

I dare ya to go... :P


  • Jun 02, 2012 Tampa FL;  Raymond James
  • Jun 03, 2012 Altanta GA; Georgiadome
  • Jun 09, 2012 Dallas TX;  Cowboys Stadium
  • Jun 10, 2012 Kansas City MO;  Arrowhead Stadium
  • Jun 16, 2012 Philadelphia PA;  Lincoln Financial Field
  • Jun 23, 2012 Nashville TN;  LP Field
  • Jun 24, 2012 Charlotte NC;  Bank Of America Stadium
  • Jun 30, 2012 Pittsburgh PA;  Heinz Field
  • Jul 01, 2012 Cincinnati OH;  Paul Brown Stadium
  • Jul 07, 2012 Chicago IL;  Soldier Field
  • Jul 08, 2012 Minneapolis MN;  Target Field
  • Jul 14, 2012 Anaheim CA;  Angels Stadium
  • Jul 21, 2012 Denver CO;  Sports Authority Field at Mile High
  • Aug 11, 2012 East Rutherford NJ;  MetLife Stadium
  • Aug 12, 2012 Washington DC;  FedEx Field
  • Aug 18, 2012 Detroit MI;  Ford Field
  • Aug 25, 2012 Foxboro MA;  Gillette Stadium

Monday, November 14, 2011

Typos On The iPad2

I reread yesterday's post. Hee hee. Said, "When my get up and go and hes left me"... eh, that should have read, "...get up and go HAS left me." As in, when I'm dead tired.

No one has left me. At least not lately. Actually, it's been about 10 years since someone left me and the door could not have slammed faster on that idiot. Ooopsie, did I say that out loud? I mean, that evil scourge was cleansed from our house.

Avery has a great video out, fun, bubble gumish song:



Thanks to my son, I have this tabbed on my YouTube channel. Makes me giggle a lot.

Especially, when I either have really fumble fingers on the iPad2 (which would explain my inability to knock the next level down in Angry Birds) OR I had a Freudian slip.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gets Me Going When

My get up and go has left me...



Yes, that is me rocking out to Chesney in the dark, blue SUV on the way to the uni.

And yes, I think HE is sexy, hotness!!

From Kid Dropped On His Head...

To awesome bench mates in a different group. The youngest in the group of four, works as hard as I do, the other two are so friendly! My age is not a factor for them... Then, of course, I am not sure I always act it!

We have a group presentation due on Friday, then youngest already sent out expectations, assigned parts, gave a deadline and wrapped it up by giving them dates to have it to me for compilation. We are using my former life to make the PowerPoint awesome... Which is nice that they recognize what I can contribute and use that for the overall group... Not that my brains are lacking :)

Make it a great day... I am doing. Ochem - whadja think?

I will get an A on the next exam, and dump the last one... I will, I will, I...

Oh, This Cracks Me Up (Always!)

I need a funny, YOU need a funny.  For some reason, the poster of this video clip requested the embedding be disabled, or the producers of FRIENDS did.  At any rate, probably the funniest clip from my all-time favorite TV show:

Ross & The Bagpipes

Have no idea how David kept playing that thing without roiling in laughter, how Courtney and Matthew did not crack even the tiniest wisp of a smile while Jennifer is rolling over backward laughing.  The best, is Lisa Kudrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

When Will These Rxns Stick??

Honestly, I really enjoy organic chemistry. I know I am supposed to say it is gawdawful, but it is not. It is logical. It makes sense. I can see how things move and form. I can see the reactions in my head and when I look at my blank sheet of homework paper. It is blank. Then I draw blanks and wonder which thing does what to what.

This is the memorization part of ochem that people are afraid of.

So, I am making note cards now on top of doing the homework which are different than the ones I did before. Now, I have cards with products, reactants, and gizmos above and below the line.

As I mix them up on table, I pull from each pile to see what I would get, then ask myself why that would work, and if not, why not.

I WILL get that elusive A in ochem. I will!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Awwww = AWESOME!

Class was fun today.  We watched a rather, eh, funny, SOOOoooo not politically correct SouthPark episode on evolution.  Omgosh, funny!  That started class.  It then dissolved into a lecture about more Darwin questionings, more evolution, and more theory.  LOVED it!

Then, I came to work.

"Ad2b?" I heard this voice ask in a voice I've recognized since I, well he, was born.  Our families have been friends for over 60 years.  His mom and dad, and my mom and dad... his sisters and brothers, my own brothers; our summers - my summers - were spent at his family's cabin.

His dad passed away in the summer of 2010.  The related posts are here: 

Mr. Zim
Mr. Zim Part II
Mr. Zim Part III
Mr. Zim Part IV

So, Mr. Zim's son will be working just over "there" from me.  It was like coming to a welcome home party today walking into work with a feeling of such happiness just seeing him.  Such a comfort as his family created the best childhood memories for me.  Obviously, some vesitges of those memories still remain.

Kind of like warm cookies by a warm fire on a snowy night, that was my greeting today.  And now for a few more weeks, I'll get more of that.

AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Professor Meeting

Those who have been following my blog for a long time (ie: years) know the struggles I've been through on almost every facet of life. This is not about those :)

I struggle with test anxiety. Not the normal, I'm nervous, jittery, test anxiety but the kind that makes me black out mid-exam. Like faint type blackout. My blood pressure skyrockets, I get chest pains, get woozy, then... gone.

Propranolol helps that. I don't blackout anymore. My BP stays normal and my head does not pound as if jackhammer were playing havoc with my skull.

I'm still not getting an A in ochem, though. It bugs me greatly. Hundred hours of doing the problems, making note card, funneling and filtering the information down to a suitable amount to synthesize and I cannot get an A.

I met with the professor yesterday. The university gives awards for best professors in teaching, research, sucking up, etc. He is not quite tenured but I have no doubt he will get an award at some point. He is that good and that helpful.

We talked ochem, kids, learning. I showed him what I did for the last exam, showed him my latest homework which had been unchecked at that point. I showed him my funneling system. I told him about addition reactions I was thinking about as I feel asleep the night before. Then he said,

"Well, show me at the whiteboard."

When I got there, I knew what to do with the cyclohexene and methyl group, with Bromide over the line. I could see it in my head. Could not get it on the whiteboard. Actually, I could draw the starting material and the product but not the mechanism to get there.

We sat down at his little table... and he paused.

"That's what happens to you on exams, isn't it?" He was not joking, or making fun of my situation, he was earnestly trying to help.

"Yes." My head was hung a little low. I also struggle with letting others down, not wanting them to feel like I did so and I was feeling that way.

"Well. I think what we need to do is this..." and from there, we devised a plan to help me work not only on ochem, for as he said, "It's not your preparation Ad2b, it's your execution on exams that is at issue here".

So, I will continue to do my homework as is, leaving exactly 5 problems out to time myself the next day. Rinse repeat for the chapters on looming ochem exam and maybe, I will be able to finally get a solid "A" on his exam.

I'm hoping so. Med school is calling. I hear it beckoning me, still from afar but drawing near. I need to get the A.

And, I will! All due to a great teacher trying to help his otherwise student :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More On Bentley

Bentley came to me in early January of this year.  After Storm went through his life transition, I vowed never again.  I still had Hope, our golden retriever, but I was done getting puppies, or a rescue, or...

And then the call came that Bentley was coming back to the breeder.  He is a small great dane.  While sold as a futurity nominated show dog, he is too little for the ring and the likelihood that he would ever be show height was not looking promising.

The original owner of Bentley is outstanding.  She trains her dogs to be the best they can be.  One of her dogs ended up on the cover of Milk Bones.  Devastated to give him up, she wrote me and said part of her own healing is that he was coming to me.  She did not know me personally, but Storm's story is well known through the great dane community.

It was hard to say no, so I said I'd take him for just the weekend... pretty sure, I was not wanting another dog, especially a great dane.

We all know by now how this story turns out. What I have not talked about is awesome he is beyond anything trainable, it is his genetic traits shining through.

A few months after he was welcomed into the house as my heartmender, I took Bentley to the local pet food store.  While I see the purpose behind PetSmart and Petco, I shop at smaller stores where the food is another step higher (I'm a dog food snob - it's okay for me to eat Arby's and Franco American spaghetti but my dogs eat top line dog food!!).

The store is smaller, about 1/2 the size of a Pier One, with aisles full of dog food and some supplies, they welcome well behaved pets on leashes.

Of course, the presumption is that the leash is attached to an owner that is... well behaved too.

Bentley has this curious trait of knowing how big he is (despite being small for a great dane earlier, he has filled out and is show height... but I neutered him so ...) ANYWAY, with any dog that is smaller than he is, he will lay down, put a paw out, cock his head and wait for the other dog to play.  He will continue to play with the dogs while laying down, never once standing up to show how awesome big he is.

On one particular occasion, he did the same thing with a Jack Russell terrier.  The owner was oblivious... and had her dog on a retractable leash (seriously, oblivious owner with independent, strong willed, biting dog = disaster).

The JR ran up to Bentley who had laid on the floor to play, bit through the store worker's pants leaving a hole, and nailed Bentley on the nose drawing blood.

The idiot owner and her undisciplined, ill trained biting dog on a retractable leash stood there while the dog tried to bite him again.

Bentley, at 150 pounds, sat up, backed up about 6", cocked his head as if to say, "Huh?  DOOOOOOOD!!"  and did nothing.  Blood running from his nose, he did nothing.  Did not even try.

Bentley, is bomb proof.

Now if I could teach him to leave my shoes alone... especially, when they are still on my feet!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Have Caved

I do not like study groups or having a lot of folks with me.  (K, you're fine!).  Lots of people ask if they can come with me to see how/what I do (they really shouldn't, I suck!).

This last week was hard.  I study for hours, literally sitting at a desk in the library with ochem and once in a great while, I pull out my other subject too.  But that is a rare occasion and I'm getting a solid "A" there.

So, Weds night, I came home from long night in library, and waffled as to what to do.  Decided it'd been days since I'd had a good night sleep so I crawled into bed.  Then, feeling guilty because I had not done enough yet for the day, I pulled out my lap board, hoisted the book bags onto my bed (one for ochem and one for the other class), and opened the notebooks.

Where upon, I promptly felt a rush of air, and palumping of feet onto my bed and saw this, peering over my iPad (that had the bird game).

Apparently, Bentley is now interest in ochem too, then again maybe not.  You've heard of fence-riding, Bentley is bed-riding.  He's 1/2 on, 1/2 off...

Kind of like me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Above Average Grade

Barely. And someone got a flat 100, again. We have a genius among us.

Great.

I suck. How can I study that much and still get an "F" (I realize it is a "B" or some such thing but might as well be an "F")...

Checking out jobs in the Zamboni driving category. Apparently, medicine is not going to be my path.



My friend from class sent me that. The individual was not thrilled with the grades either.

And I wrote my professor to ask for office time to figure how I effectively study better so that I don't fubar another exam in two weeks.

For this exam, and I am REALLY embarrassed to say, I spent:


  1. 100 hours in the library each weekend doing the homework problems
  2. when I got a problem wrong, I took the solutions manual correction, made a note card why, and then moved on
  3. when I ran into major concepts that repeated themselves, or differentiated themselves, I made a note card on that as well (hence Sn2, Sn1, E1, E2) and moved on
  4. made a note card on bases used for each type - not specifics but trends to watch for
  5. for epoxides I made a step list - from memory after doing the problems - on how to solve


I truly do not know what to do differently.

Drink??? :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yep! That's How I Felt



(Kid trashing his exam!)

I probably have a little "gunner" in me too ... but it did NOT pay off today!

Video is still fun to watch!

F (edited)

I hope not but:

we never discussed ring closing (with amines no less), the mechanism or the required mats... but it was there on the exam and worth 15 points

we discussed opening epoxides for 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes, on Friday, very little on the mechanism, and even less so on attributes to know (acid opens most substituted side, base opens the less substituted side) and that, my dear readers was worth 20 points

35 points and I have no idea if I got one point on them despite doing ALL the homework problems, really mastering it again yesterday, and spending this morning making sure I could work my way around the homework assigned.

We covered E&Z for 5 minutes with TAs about 4 weeks ago; worth 10

we covered R&S for about 5 minutes with the TAs about 4 weeks ago; worth another 10 points

And last, we covered how to end a product or a reaction or make the mats to do it worth 45 points.

No idea.  I am just hoping most of the class (this sounds really, really mean), I'm just hoping I did not make the curve for the class and they did for me instead.

60+ hours studying ochem to have my arse handed to me on silver platter...

I could cry.  I could drink.  I could do both :)
----------------------
Professor sent out an email less than an hour after grading started (paraphrased):

"CLASS:


Grading is under way.  Exam key is online for you to review.  As you have probably guessed, I took most of the problems from the textbook so you can review the solutions manual for guidance 


(HUH?!?!?!?  NOT that I could see!).


For now, shelve this and go enjoy halloween if that is your thing.


No office hours today or tomorrow, we'll see you on Weds!


Signed, Professor"


I am thinking the grading is horrible right now and he felt compelled to prevent mass exodus from his class; otherwise, why send out a perfunctory email less than 1 hour after the exam ended and after grading has started?

AND

Because I hate being down in the dumps, and I need to live resilience, not just pretend; from one of my all-time favorite movies (and one of my all time favorite soundtracks); could be tops for one of the best lines:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tosylates

Oh what fun it is to write mechanisms with tosy's!

The bright side is I "kind of" get them. Actually, none of the reactions are hard just very tedious and time consuming. I am trying to pick up my pace but am still relying on my flash cards for hints.

Erg!

Had really hoped to have what goes with what down pat by now. Once I get started I am good to go. My arrows go the right way, my charges all make sense...

Okay. Final problems now all involve opening epoxides which is kind of funny since, while slightly embarrassed to say, I dreamt about them last night. I finish these up and then polish and say a little prayer for internal peace and... Oh boy, get a great exam grade? It seems I freeze on homework problems until I take a breath and dive in. Then I am fine. I sure I hope I can remain calm tomorrow too.

That would be awesome!

And now, that I'm home and winding down, I have to play this song:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Saturday Night & I Ain't Got Nobody

So, I sit alone, in the librar - ry;  (actually, they closed too)

How I wish I had someone to blog to... (oooh, I do!)

So, I wandered down the med school area, only to be surrounded by chatter-bugs on "dates" ... I remember those days... kind of.

Anyway, my 2nd major ochem exam is looming very quickly.  And I am not done with the problems from all the chapters yet.  My peer in class said she was not done with chapter 8 yet, but... she's happy with a "B" at this point.  Then she mentioned how she gets done with a chapter in about 4 hours.

FOUR hours?!?!?

The last chapter took me almost 12.  I do all the problems assigned, make note cards on things I fubar, have separate sheet that I write down commonalities between reactions and other areas.  Sn2 has a sheet, Sn1 has the backside of that one; each have their note cards.

I do NOT do note cards for each reaction but rather each type:

if strong base with primary halide, what happens?
if weak base with 2ndary halide, what happens?

etc.  I think I get it, then sit down to do the problems, and I get one switched around.

So, my goal tonight is to finish the chapter I'm on (5 problems left), then move onto the next chapter; get at least 10 done in that one (it is the final chapter for our exam).  Then hit the sack.  If I can do that before 1 AM, then I have all day tomorrow, in the library, where it is quiet, to gel the material.  Monday morning I'll sit where it's quiet and flip through cards, and take my exam.

A guy in my foundations class says he never studies until the night before, and then crams like mad.  He said he can't remember a thing the day after the test, but he gets solid "A"s.  I don't hate him but it makes me sad.  I can remember all the -log, log, kinetics equations, ICE tables 'til I'm blind and I struggle to get the "A".  Nice for him!

IF I can get an "A" on this test, I'm golden.

If I cannot, well, I'm not going there!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughts On Formal Post-Bacc & Pre-Med DIY

Great question!

Here are my initial thoughts and questions.

I was asked what my thoughts were, paraphrasing here, on doing a formalized post-bacc pre med program vs. DIY.

First, when I evaluated the post-bacc programs nearby, my GPA would not have qualified me to even apply.  So, at the outset I was not qualified and had to do the courses DIY.  If I had been qualified, I'm not sure what I would have done because I also do not qualify for financial aid of any sort until I matriculate into medical school.  Given I had no money, no grades, no financial aid, formal post bacc was not an option for me.

Second, after reading other sites and questions there, I'm not sure the value of a specific post-bacc is unless you specifically want to apply to THAT associated medical school.  That said, it is IMPOSSIBLE to deny the outstanding list of med schools that Columbia's post-bacc graduates matriculated into:

Columbia Post-Bacc Matriculating Schools

However, I would not pay for a Columbia post-bacc unless I specifically wanted to apply to Columbia. Most often, it appears, that the post-bacc programs are geared at those students attending that particular medical school associated with a particular post-bacc program.

My thinking is that any solid, 4-year, land granting institution (PhD granting) can offer the sufficient and more-than acceptable pre-med courses for less cost and at my pace, not the school's pace. I also like the ability to take courses in advanced biology and biochemistry that are not in the regimented list. I will be headed to the Galapagos and doing research; in addition, there is a course on evolution/creationism that I'm taking as well. There are more courses in biochem and neuro and muscles and physio that I am taking... none of which would be allowed in a formalized post bacc.

Third, a formalized post-bacc program is regimented. According to Columbia, Creighton, the coursework includes: shadowing, chemistry, MCAT prep, biology, neuroscience, academic advising, biochem, physics, and other outside-the-academic application enhancements. A student enrolling the programs is full time, doing what the insist without variance. This is awesome training for those who need it, awesome for those who are unable to find shadowing opportunities on their own. With instructors who are specifically trying to get their students to matriculate into medical school, it is hard to say no. And, the results, posted by Columbia of where their students matriculated, is hard to describe as anything but outstanding.

Fourth, when I started this path in three years ago, my son was a teenager in high school, my parents were elderly (still are, actually!) and in failing health (still are, actually!) and my house was still mine.  Moving was really not an option and even if it had been, I was not ready to pack up and move (though I still did, actually!).

Fifth, and this is related to grade redemption.  I did not take any class with the hopes of it overcoming my u-grad GPA coursework.  My GPA is too far gone, too abysmal, too long ago (30 years in some cases).  With that in mind, I started school as if this were my first go-round and never looked back.  Yes, AMCAS will still get those very old, very terrible grades; so will the med schools.  Yes, AMCAS will still get ALL those W's and all those F's.  They will also get all the A's from the past three years, 1 "B" (and only one if I can get ochem to cooperate with me :D ).  They will also get all my experience, my LORs, my MCAT score and everything else.  So, I'm less concerned with a 25+ year old GPA and retaking courses.  In the end, if you got an "F" and now get an "A", AMCAS will see that as a "C".  Is that "C" average worth the effort?

In my mind, no.  I'd rather just get the required pre-reqs done and apply.

If I had to choose DIY over formalized again, I'd do this the same way.  DIY.  However, I'm older than most students who attempt pre-med and maybe my focus is pinpoint where maybe my younger peers would be better served by a post-bacc.  I think it really depends on learning styles, how far awry u-grad GPA is, how many courses need to be taken, etc.

LAST:  These are only my opinions.  Others are WELCOME & ENCOURAGED to respond and I will post the responses.  I'd love to hear what others think about post-bacc vs. DIY.