Saturday, December 31, 2011

Off To NYE w/ Wynona Judd

Front Row! 


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?!


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.






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?"


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


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


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


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.


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


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.