Sunday, October 28, 2012

Physics Review

Ahem.  Me and my note cards and EK are going to bond tonight.  Pardon the pun.

Vectors and scalars oh my.  I keep laughing because everyone hates physics, and to be frank, I kind of like it.  Everything makes sense from a science standpoint if you understand physics.  Chemistry?  Is Physics on 'roids.  Biology?  Is chemistry... which is physics.

So, that's kind of boring.  What's cool?

Yesterday, I was at the horse barn again (get ready for many stories on the barn).  It was the Halloween party for the riders.  Remember, these rides have varying degrees if disabilities.  There were so many tables set up for games, the kids dressed up the horses (Dawn became "Dawn Trump" replete with a gel'd back forelock, flopped all the way over her head with "You're Fired" written on her side).

Judging costumes was horrid.  How do you tell children who perhaps don't really understand, why they did not get picked.  Yes, everyone got a consolation prize but it was still hard.

Standing at the grill - yes, I eat - one of the moms started up a conversation about her work in the NICU.  She asked if I knew what PKU was and after saying yes, went into tiny conversation about how biochemically the enzymes are stopping a reaction.  Or rather, the lack of the enzyme causes a build up of pyruvate in the system and then things get ugly.  If you have no pyruvate, you get no Kreb's and no Kreb's means no ATP, and no ATP means no energy.

Smiling, she asked when I take the MCAT.  Smiling, she asked if I'd like to shadow her in the NICU, adding maybe she'd even get a doc to take my under his/her wing for part of the day.

I could have been pushed over with a feather.  I'm so excited!!  The rest will fall into place.  As one of my friends said, I've come too far to stop now.

Yep.  That's me: barns and biochem.  And loving life!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Smiling Again

Those of you who have followed my story for a very long time, know every once in awhile, I think I'm done. I put the books away, go after yet another executive job and then right before I ink my name on the page of a contract "something" happens.

I get asked to come into the clinic to shadow the doc.  Or I get asked to help at an accident.  Or, in the current case, I got asked to volunteer.

And then that weird buzzing feeling comes roaring back.

So, my countdown starts.  April 27th looms like a distant ship on a clear day with crystal blue waters beneath me.  I've met some really awesome people in FL who've made the transition to "native" much easier.

Now the hard work starts (again) as I prep for the MCAT.  I made it.

My plan is to study like mad for physics probably even enrolling in the Kaplan Physics deep dive course.  Seems if any subject is going to trip me, it's that one.  I already know verbal will throw me so I'm reserving a good amount of time for that.

My schedule?

1 - 3 day straight physics immersion
1 - 3 day straight chem immersion, then a mix for remainder of that week

I'll add ochem in the same fashion and then bio.  After a month, I'll add in verbal.  By the end of the 5th week, I should be doing an hour a day on a subject during the week, with my weekends spent immersing myself in more problems, more studying.  (And time for Ocean Prime! and wine!)

At 6 weeks, I'm taking my first practice exam under MY conditions (I have really bad test anxiety and I'm going to attempt the MCAT without accommodations).  Then, I'll rinse repeat until after my 3 practice exam, and see if I can do so in a noisier place like a library at the U.  By the time April rolls around, I'm hoping to be so comfortable with the noise and time that I won't care about accommodations.  AND if I should need to get them, I'll cross that bridge.

Why not try for accommodations first?  I've heard they are tremendously difficult (impossible) to get.  Even with documented testing (all 9 hours worth) for ADHD and anxiety, I've heard it might not be enough since my childhood records are long gone.  I hate my kindergarten report card from 1969 that says I'm hyper and have no ability to concentrate or focus on the task at hand.

So, I think I'll pass on trying.  I'm hopeful, I will do well without them. :)

Make it a great day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Day @ The Barn

or two :)

So, I've signed up for the MCAT, asked B&N to order me the 1001 Physics from EK (already had the entire base set, plus 1001 for bio, orgo, gchem and verbal).  Started making notecards for physics equations that I've long forgotten; cards for equations, cards for concepts; and my handy dandy sketch book for drawing.  Thanks to my biochem prof, I've found drawing helps everything. 

With that movement forward, it was back to the barn for me this weekend.  Partially spent with riders on horses, and partially spent cleaning out stalls, washing horses, tossing hay flakes.  Batman rode again as did another youg man I'd gotten to meet.  Non verbal and yet, the person knew who his friends are.  He is unable to communicate through "normal" means but pointing and smiling, he found his friend.  Newton.  Another fine young man, unable to communicate verbally but, I believe, expressions say it all.  He simply smiled.

I heard yet again how horses help those with balance, coordination, and atrophying muscles regain mobility.  I saw one person who I was told, started out completely wheelchair bound, unable to walk independently, unable to walk at all.  Well, he walked with limited assistance.  When asked, the parents said the horses helped their child use different muscles and build the stabilizing muscular structure.  Self-esteem comes with independence for everyone, not just those requiring the assistance of the stable.

All of that makes me remember how blessed I am.  No matter how hard things get once in a great while (cough cough), I'm still able bodied and mostly able minded.  :)

The percheron that I was contemplating finding a home where she could be mine, is shot.  Understandedly, the stable gets lots of offers for their horses.  With a horse that has medical issues, I understand how the stables' first concern is that horse will be taken care of, not sent off to the not-so-great place when the bills become too much.

So, I've offered up putting her on supplements, buying her feed for her (senior feed), and whatever else the poor girl needs.  Years in the mines hauling carts, she deserves nothing but time to be just-a-horse.

Great weekend - horses and young people with various stages and states of disabilities.  Amazing!

Gives me the jump start I need to start studying for the MCAT...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Didn't Forget Him Either

:( - not a day goes by - he was never "just a dog" - he was my Storm.

I edited out the original video.  My life is pretty awesome most days, some days I could bang my head on a drum but for the most part... and sad, depressing songs are just not me.

So, something more appropriate: Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding...

Sir Elton John - #1 fan :)

Not Stopping Now

Whelp... here I go.  I have 6 months to prepare more formally.  My MCAT test date is April 27th, 2013.  By June 1, 2013, hopefully my MCAT score will be solid and my application cycle, 48 years in the making, will begin.

I have EK.  I will be registering soon for Kaplan that starts in December along with 24/7 Physics immersion.

As a good friend of mine said, "You've come so far to stop now.  You've been through so much to get to this point, you can't stop now.  It's just not who you are."

And she, of course, is right.  < 3 Olivia

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MCAT Dates

My finger got itchy today.  Clicked on KAPLAN prep test course which starts December 2 and ends March 27th.

Of course, that got my itchy clicky finger going to AMCAS.org and clicking on MCAT dates.

My mind didn't stop there, I actually went through all of it, selected a date/time, then got to the payment information page...

and stopped.

Soooo very close!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yep, That Was Therapeutic!

Many years ago, someone once told me, "If your life is crap, go volunteer.  Change your perspective."

I didn't get it then, even though I volunteered often.  I eventually understood as I found the right opportunity that was the right fit with me (and my quirkiness).

Today, I went back to BAKAS.  http://www.bakasridingcenter.com/

Maybe - the tobiano paint - has issues.  She is quirky.  And she weighs about a ton.  She doesn't like to have people move to quickly toward her, likes having a calming presence beside her on the halter.  The farm hand's choice today was me.

Many years ago, I had a tobiano paint - Trixie Bar Poco.  A green horse with an inexperienced rider, she threw me into a log, knocked me out with a hawk cawing and a rabbit squealing in terror.  When I came to, I had severe concussion (which is what I blame my memory loss on :D), and moderate to severe back sprain.  Vicodin became my friend for a few days.  I never rode Trixie again but I worked on building trust with her.

Similarly, I treated Maybe today.  As she was brushed by others, she pulled her ears back, pulled her head up, looked at me. I'd whisper it was alright, she was fine.  No one would hurt her.  Slowly her head came back down.  Slowly, maybe I'm building the trust with her.

Next was Susie.  Susie is a Percheron.  Big, bold, black as night, gorgeous.  And lame.  She has ringbone apparently, a disease much like osteoporosis in humans.  No longer able to be ridden, she gets groomed.  And she, like so many others who just need to be loved, stole my heart.

With open sores on her rump the size of half-dollars (some of you might know what those are!), and a calm, easy temperament, she was washed, groomed and turned out.  Her mane made her look like one hot mess; brushing it out, she simply stood still and let me take care of it.

It was after turning her out to pasture, with fly spray and a gentle pat on the chest, I was told the group had considered euthanizing her because of the pain she'd been in.  The sores on her rump akin to bed sores in a human.  She'd been laying down too long and the sores became oozing messes.  Thankfully, she's healed and is not looking at that grim future right now.

My calling has always been to those in need of help.  I'm always drawn to those less fortunate and those in acute pain, or those simply suffering long term ailments.

Susie needs a home to become a lawn ornament.  Somewhere she can live out her days as a loved companion, blessed to be brushed and groomed and beloved.

See, volunteering is awesome!  Sometimes... maybe most times, it's not about what I give to the organization but rather, what I get in return.  And honestly, this particular organization and my volunteering there, is selfish on my part.

I get so much back.  Today was no different.  AWESOME!

(And yes... I'm looking for a place to board Susie and make her mine.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back To The Barn

My weekend will be spent trying to gather a whole lotta documents for issues related to my parents.  Of course, since I've moved to sunny Tampa, I've also found time for the pool, the ocean, the patio, the...

Yes, I still love it here~~  are you kidding me??  But the best part?

Not knowing a soul beyond my son has forced me to meet and get involved.  So, a few weeks ago I volunteered at an equestrian stable for handicapped folks.  And this weekend, I'm going back.  Brush the horses, muck stalls, relax.  Give back.

It's not what I say that defines me (or anyone else), its what I do.  In private.

Yes, I miss school. But the drama that started before my 2nd midterm last spring, and dropped my solid A in biochem to a B has not abated.

Being around the horses lets me forget for awhile how much I miss certain aspects of my life last year.  Being around the horses keeps me focused on the present, not ruminating in the past of "what if"s for nothing good, ever comes of that.

Make it a great day!