Tuesday, December 27, 2005

tragedy and an ode to my family

it's been 2 weeks as of today. and i'm still not strong enough to write or talk about the things that i want to talk about. this post will have to suffice until i think i'm ready to write. first, i must preface this by saying that my family is the center of my life. my mother has 4 siblings. and both her parents (my nanny and papa) are still alive. we are a closeknit family. we spend all the major holidays together -as well as many minor ones. we vacation together every summer in florida for a week. we look for any excuse to be together. though 3 of my mom's siblings (her brothers) and her parents live in florida, we see them frequently. and my nanny and papa drive up to tennessee (or we drive down) often. though they're 650 miles away, my family always feels really close. there are no divorces, no split families, no children shuffled between houses during the holidays. though we argue, we love each other fiercely. i have no doubt that if i ever needed something - ANYONE in my family would be there to give it to me. there are 13 grandchildren. i love my family intensely - and i'm very protective of them. all of my life, we have seemed charmed. death hasn't touched anyone. even my grandmother's mother, hazel - is still alive and fiesty at the age of 101 (102 in february). i knew that eventually, tragedy would strike our family, but i never expected it to come in the form it has.

2 weeks ago, as of today, i was studying at school for my pharmacology final. it was just after 9:30. for it being finals week, i was feeling pretty good. my cell phone rang, and i saw that it was my mother. never for a moment did i think anything bad had happened. it wasn't like those odd 3am calls, where your heart stops, because you're sure that something terrible has happened. i thought she was calling to check on my finals, see how i was doing. when i answered, i couldn't understand my mother, her voice was so choked with tears. i finally understood that she was telling me that crosby, the 21 month old son of her brother - my uncle lief - had drowned in their pool.

i don't want to go into the details too much, it's still too awful to talk about. i called the dean and told him that i would be missing my last 2 finals (path and pharm). i went home to greeneville. by the time i had arrived at around midnight, mom and my aunt mel had decided they were driving through the night to florida. crosby had been resuscitated - and had a heartbeat. he was flown to st josephs children's hospital in tampa. he was on a respirator and unconscious. at the time, i had hope. i thought that it would be like drownings in the movies. it seemed bad, but in the end, the doctors would save him.

we drove through the night (i slept, attempting to recuperate from the brutality of no sleep for 3 days) and arrived in tampa at about 1:30 the next afternoon. we went up to the pediatric ICU. again, i don't want to go into details. suffice to say that i sat in crosby's room with my uncle lief and aunt mel for the rest of the day. there is so much to say about those 8 hours, but i can't. later in the evening, we decided to leave for the night and return in the morning. about 10 minutes after we left, crosby went into cardiac arrest and could not be stabilized. he died on wednesday evening, dec 14. the funeral was held on saturday. my uncle went through an ordeal with the department of children and families (DCF) - mainly because they're incompetent. but it's over.

we came home to our new house. my brother -home from iraq - couldn't get to lakeland in time for the funeral, so he occupied himself by moving us into our new house. i unpacked frantically for 2.5 days - ran errands, did all the stuff i needed to do for the move - and then we turned around friday night and drove back to florida. and here i am. with my family.

if this all seems dry and emotionless, then i'm sorry. i can't bear to write about the things that hurt yet. like sitting in the hospital with that beautiful, sweet little boy, with all the tubes sticking out of him. seeing his sweet little face - and that horrible feeling when i first saw him in the hospital bed- still and pale. wanting to help my uncle lief and aunt sally, to do anything i could to for one minute alleviate their suffering - and being able to do nothing but clean their house, do dishes, and watch nate and adeline so that lief and sally could attempt to sleep. all those things, while helpful, don't do anything to dull the pain that i see on their faces. and everytime i lie down to sleep or stop doing stuff for 5 minutes, i see my beautiful little cousin's sweet face and head of curly golden-red hair and my heart breaks all over again. he was a little angel. i know that sounds generic, aren't all children 'angels'? but crosby really was - he was the happiest, sweetest little boy i ever met. when i get home, i will post some pictures of him.

and my grandfather. his heart is broken, truly. he loves all his grandchildren, but he's so gifted with little children, they naturally love him. and crosby most of all. i've seen them together so often - and there are so many pictures where the love my grandfather had for that little boy just radiates from him. and i love my grandfather so much -and there's nothing i can do to help him. there's nothing i can do to help anyone. except clean and cook and try to make sure people are fed and comfortable, at least.

this post is for them, the family that i have that i wish everyone could have. for nanny and papa, dara, cheryl, antoinette, jake, mel, tony, little tony, ashley, mom, dad, andrew, rhiannon, john, james, phillip, minter, andrea, evan, sarah, lief, sally, nate, adeline, and tiny little crosby. they are all my heart - beating within me - and if they were gone, i'd be gone too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

finals suck

god, that doesn't even do it justice. hematology was massively difficult, as i expected. i am frightened to find out my grade.

the test was over at 10:45. myself and 2 friends proceeded to the BC library again, where we holed up till 4pm (after breakfast bar at shoneys). i came home after that and attempted to nap for a couple of hours, unsuccessfully. the damn dogs kept yapping, and i was too fidgety and uptight to really ever get to sleep. so i got up at 8ish, put the birds away, and here i've been - at my desk, diligently trying to hammer in a plethora of surgery notes. it's awful. i don't know enough to take this test yet. and it's cumulative. of course. it's 2am, and i haven't even reviewed the old material yet. and of course, wednesday is our pharmacology final -which is going to be awful! and thursday is pathology. so, it's not like i'm going to be getting any sleep anytime soon. i feel like crap. and i feel like my grades on the next 3 finals are going to successively plummet. how can anyone keep up enough stamina to take 5 difficult finals in a row? i mean - we don't even have one screw off class this semester - not one where we can kick back and relax a teeny tiny bit the night before the final.

and as soon as school gets out, i have to start packing up our stuff, cleaning the new house, and selecting couches. so much to do. so little time to get it all done. and finish my christmas shopping. i forgot that.

one happy piece of news: andrew is back in the US! his unit came back today from kuwait, permanently. i'm really happy that's he home and safe. he gets to embark on the ever interesting road of marriage. it's really really hard for me to believe that my brother is married. i know it's been almost a year -- but hey -- he was in another country all that time, so i haven't seen him 'being married' yet. i'm sure i'll have lots of sisterly advice to give.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

the fun has begun

and oh what fun. i spent my saturday (and might i add that it was a beautiful saturday!) at the blount co library again. god. i looooove that library. it's so perfect in every way for studying. now, if only people could be as flawless as buildings. i mean, seriously. how is one supposed to act in a library? don't you typically use a low tone of voice (called a WHISPER in some circles) when talking to other people? and don't you refrain from sitting next to someone who is obviously embroiled in their studies - and talking on your cell phone? and aren't children supposed to be SEEN and not HEARD? loudly heard? people are such idiots.

anyway, overall, it was a very productive 5 hour stretch for me. i'm taking a momentary break to feed my animals - and maybe nap for an hour - then it's back to the grind.

my first final (actually my 4th - but first of official finals week) went well. NOT. my alarm failed to wake me for some reason. my 2nd alarm (jim) forgot to call me when he was supposed to. i was 20 mins late to my final. i got to school and realized that i drove there in an almost total sleep fog. i wasn't even fully awake when i took the test. i didn't do as well as i wanted to - i'm pretty sure. which absolutely sucks, because i needed an A (a 90) to get an A in that class. my grade is hovering at the 89.5 mark.

at any rate, monday is my hardest final - by far - hematology. and it's worth a whopping 60% of my grade. i really enjoy the subject, so let's hope my enjoyment translates to knowledge.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

not to be trite

but i'm stuck on this side of hell again. otherwise called finals week. it seems like this semester has gone by faster than anything i've ever experienced before. how can i already be halfway through my second year of vet school? ugh. makes me feel like i'm circling the drain sometimes. at any rate, i'm at the stage where there just doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done that i need to get done. i feel a tad panicky. i'm trying to quash it though. i spent the day at the blount county library studying a variety of subject. it's a GREAT library. tons of natural light, perfect height tables and chairs. not to mention every table has 2 nice, adjustable brightness lamps + recessed plugs (for my ipod!). i love going there. i'm very productive and happy and feel a sense of calm and general well-being. it's a FANTASTIC library. my favorite ever. too bad it takes 15 mins to get there. otherwise, it would be perfect.

friday is my first final - urinary. my average in that class is an 89.5. so close. it's a 4 hour class too - so pulling it up to an A would be fantastic for my GPA. professors always say that grades don't change much come finals. i've found that to be very true. it's hard to believe that though - when some of my finals are worth in excess of 50% of my grade (ahem...hematology). but come on - one half of one measly point? at any rate...i'm feeling overwhelmed but not stressed. is that possible? i guess i know that it'll get done. or it won't. whatever happens...happens. i'll just do my best and muddle on through it. i feel a great deal more peace regarding vet school this semester. it started out really really bad. but i've equilibrated some. i guess my neuroses about social interactions just overthrew me mentally for a bit - and when i calmed down and came around to it - i realized that i have everything i need in my life. why am i going and letting my chattery brain screw things up for me?

monday is my hematology exam. i expect it to be frightfully hard. the nature of the course is entirely cumulative...so it'll be fun (read: fun like gouging out your eyes with a dull spoon). tuesday is my written surgery final. wednesday is pharmacology, and thursday is the final day for tests - pathology. i have an A in that class, currently. it's my other 4 hour class... i would love to maintain that grade. but i dunno.

i have 10 classes next semester ! ! ! ! 10 (not counting ABLEs and CE weeks). isn't that preposterous? i'm taking 2 electives on top of my 'required' courses. clinical immunology and introduction to poultry. yes. i'm going to study chickens for a semester. yay! i'm actually excited about it. if i decide that i want to pursue money when i get out of vet school, i could be a chicken inspecting vet. they make $$$$$$ basically cause nobody wants that job (just pure speculation here).

umm. not much else to report in this sector. we're moving soon after school gets out. things here are tolerable. it's still not my house - and it's still too messy for my tastes. but currently, i don't care enough or have time enough to do anything about it.

Monday, December 5, 2005

i heart surgery

WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!! my first surgery is completed!!!! i am now a 'surgeon' (without the doctorate to go along with it). those are the ovaries and uterine horns i'm holding up there, btw. not my best picture.

it was great. i did a cat spay on a 4 lb young female cat. it went very, very well. i felt confident - and not even a tiny bit of nerves. my hands didn't shake - and it was just so exhilirating. i felt a huge rush when i started - which subsided - as the more practical side of me came out (the side that said, 'calm down...you actually have do something here besides be excited'...). i set to work and finished my spay in an hour and a half. granted, a proficient, practiced vet can do it in about 20 mins. but the average for a first time spay is in the neighborhood of an hour and a half to two, so i was pleased with my performance. my closing sutures were too lumpy - and i think the linea alba closure was too tight. but other than that (and a little difficulty locating the left ovary once i'd removed the right)...everything went great.

i can't express how exciting it was. the pictures above don't do it justice. it was surgery-tastic!

Saturday, December 3, 2005


yesterday was a thoroughly enjoyable day - low key christmas shopping for others, the purchase of a pair of low-key black boots for moi (see above), and a late movie. and what a movie! myself, J, A, and D all went and saw the new pride and prejudice last night. i LOVED it. i can say that in all exuberance. i do love the book very much - and the BBC miniseries with colin yummy firth and jennifer ehle. i had very low expectations for this movie, considering that it comes after many, many other adaptations. but it was great. the cinematography was beautiful, the music was incredible, matthew mcfadyen was HOT as mr darcy. it was great. we did much swooning after it was over. i want to see it again already.

in other news - school is going well. monday and tuesday are the last, short days of class. and then 2 days to study - and then finals. i have my first on friday (in urinary systems) - then monday through thursday are the rest of them. three of my classes are finished - only 5 left! i made an A on my last urinary exam (eeked out a 90) - i'm glad to say.

the exciting news is that monday - i get to do my surgery!!!! i'm not nervous yet, though i know i will be by the time 12:30 rolls around. i'll either do a spay or a neuter, depending on animal availability and if i get there early enough to snag what i want. i think i want to do a spay - because it's more difficult. but i guess we'll see.

we signed a lease today for our new house. i'm excited to be moving. i'm not even dreading the grind of packing up and shipping out. i'm ready --- so VERY ready to be back in our own place. and of course - our moving heralds the return of my brother from overseas. so that's good.

minor birdie drama today. epi was unsupervised - and climbed up on titus' cage. he bit a hole through her wing. she's been to school already to be examined - and there's no bone damage. she's on TMS (trimethsulfa antibiotics) and meloxicam (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) - and she's going to live:) and i only got charged $10. so, i'm happy about that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

of shoes and ships and HUGE EPIDURAL NEEDLES

so, after blogging last night and trying for a coupla hours to study (unsuccessfully) - i succumbed to the gathering migraine's power, took some tylenol pm, laid in front of the colts/steelers game with my toxo notes, and 'studied.' in all seriousness, it was one of the worst headaches i've had in recent memory. it was coupled with cramps and extreme moments of rage - so i know that it heralds the onslaught of 'that time of the month.' i've been happily not having a 'that time of the month' for the past 2 months. and no, i'm not pregnant. i wish. then i'd have a legitimate excuse to drop out of vet school.


well mostly.

i am looking forward to having kids one day. very much. i think my husband will make an excellent father. i can tell that he's looking forward to it too. he's great with kids. i have some doubts as to my own parenting capabilities -- but i (as i'm sure every pre-parent is) am PREPARED with THE Rules. how it's gonna be. no video games for more than 1 hour a day, mandatory homework hours, chores everyday. maybe my kids will get to do fun stuff too.

it's just the actual birthing of them that i'm worried about. i watched several dog spinal epidurals while i was in the neuro ward. i always thought i'd do the wimpy thing (not like my mother OR mother-in-law - both endured the birth of FIVE children naturally) and get an epidural. but guaging by the size of the needle used on a 20 lb dog - i'd better be unconscious when they come at my spinal canal. i want them to knock me out about 2 weeks before the delivery and wake me up when my child is walking and talking and potty-trained. i'm kidding --people really. how much harder than vet school can life get? seriously?

ohhh...staying up all hours of the night to feed the baby? yeah. big deal. getting no sleep? uh, par for the course. never showering? you should smell me now. always looking like a bus hit you? enough under-eye baggage to travel to paris and LIVE? depression? moments of random crying? arguing with your spouse? (that last one isn't true, actually).

wait, what am i talking about - vet school or having children?

i never intended to blog about my future child aspirations. but while i'm here - in all seriousness -
when i see jim with babies (like crosby) - i get all gooey. he's going to be a great dad. i don't think i'll live up to him as a mother. i'm already afraid i'm going to be the nazi dictator.

ok. so yeah.
why am i up at 2:30? oh yes, studying for my toxicology final on thursday. which i - OF COURSE - am not prepared for. but what else is new. and why did i just waste 10 minutes of sleep blogging? cuz i'm a numbskull. i'm going to bed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

some thoughts

i should write when my mind is fresh with what i want to say. yesterday was a think-y sort of day and had i blogged then, i would have been eloquent, interesting, and witty. instead, i waited until today. last night as i laid in bed, trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep, i should have written this all down. now my thoughts are as stale as last week's bread. but oh well. i'll give it a shot. i'm feeling puny too - not sure why. headachy, tired, little bit queasy. at any rate, 2 of my classes are finished - infxs dz (A) and anesthesiology (B+). on thursday, i have a final in toxicology. i currently have a 96 in the class. i need to make an 80 on the final to keep that A. considering how little preparation i have done thus far - that might be harder than it sounds. then a week of nothing (except that i do my surgery on monday) - and then finals. i will be trite, briefly. this semester has soared past on leaden wings (is that possible?). maybe that wasn't so trite.

so - the thoughts i wanted to share.

first, a word on pet ownership and responsibility. pet ownership in this country is becomingly increasingly -- serious (?) - if that's the right word. people will pay for chemotherapy, kidney transplants, and extraordinarily expensive surgeries to save the lives of family animals. these people obviously take their roles as guardians seriously. that said - there are still MANY people who bring home an animal, tire of it for one reason or another - and simply dump the animal at the pound or - worse - on the side of the road. recently, my grandfather asked me if i'd come to my senses about all the animals - if i was ready to get rid of some of them. i was shocked. what kind of responsibility would that demonstrate?

and yet, as i look around me at other vets - i realize that we are part of the problem. there are vets within my school (doctors that i respect for their capability and knowledge) who give up animals for various and frivolous reasons. adopt a pet, keep it for a while, tire of it, send it away. i received an email not too long ago (a mass email) from a professor asking if anyone was interested in taking a gecko home for free with his whole set-up. apparently, their son had lost interest in the animal. i was surprised and disappointed. what kind of message does that send to their son? it's ok to do something for a little while - but there's no obligation. if you get bored, move onto the next thing. i guess i'm trying to draw a parallel here between responsibility for the decisions one makes and the problems with our civilization. divorce is on the rise. and why not? when you're tired of being married - just move on. responsibility and living with the decisions one has made - while learning to make better and more informed decisions is part of growing up and maturing. unfortunately, i don't think that many people ever reach a mature frame of mind. owning pets, owning a house, being married, paying bills on time, not spending money you don't have - those are all responsibilities. they aren't always fun - but ... that doesn't change the fact of their existence.

my 2nd rumination is along the lines of extremism. i went to petsmart the other day - and saw a pitiful, feather-plucked, beautiful african grey for sale. he was shorn of tail feathers and wing feathers from self-mutilating. it tore my heart. for a moment, i saw clearly why some people hate humans and see them as a detriment to nature. it started me down a mental path on extremism. i guess i was thinking along the lines of PETA. what makes people extremists? willing to blow up children? nurseries? civilians? who chooses a life cut off from normalcy - full of death and destruction? or on a lesser scale - who chooses a life of constant struggle to achieve a specific goal? and why? the great majority of people are complacent with their lives. content to go along - live - without ever stirring up the pond. and some seek a life of discord. these people that choose to be violent or to protest - why don't they make an honest contribution to the world? become medical doctors or researchers or teachers - actually try and change the plight of those under their chosen cause? i don't know. i'm not saying much here that's coherent and i'm certainly not shedding any new light on the situation. i do wonder though - if i'm one of the complacent sheep - plodding along in my paddock - not too overly interested in the world around me -- only in my life. i do want to make a difference, as a vet though. whatever i wind up doing. i would like to have some impact on the health and safety of humankind. . .

ok. well - that wasn't very interesting. sorry. hope you didn't read that expecting some kind of epiphany.

i finished reading wicked. it was disappointing. the end felt rushed and strange - out of character with the rest of the book. i think it's because (maybe) maguire had to write a story for an ending (since the fate of the wicked witch of the west was already well-known). i don't know. i really enjoyed it up until part three - then it just didn't seem as good. i'm reading anna karenina now. yeah, i know. tolstoy? during vet school? but i've been wanting to sink my teeth into it for a while, so why not now? school is out in 3 weeks anyway. i'll still be reading it then, i'm sure.

thanksgiving was nice. we went to the ashes and spent a lot of time with my family. i got to spend a good bit of time with both of my families. i ate some turkey -but not as much as i usually do. i do love turkey, though. i guess that's all. i need to study.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

3 am

this is my hour. i love this time of night. the birds are asleep, my husband is asleep. the cats are warm and pressed up against me. i'm finished with studying for this test, so i can push it from my mind. there's something about right now - 3am - that i can't describe. a feeling that this time belongs only to me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

why all the lemons?

you know those people that take lemons and make lemonade? yeah. i'm not one of them. i just take all the lemons and yell 'wtf?! why do i have all the lemons?' it's an attitude adjustment that i'm sorely in need of.

in case you can't tell, this is another exciting post about the neuro ward today. thankfully - if nothing else - we got out of there at 4pm. good - plenty of time for me to come home and conk out for a 2.5 hour nap.

last night, my intent was to come home and study for urinary - as we have an exam covering a great deal of material next wednesday. yeah. well. at 8:30, i fell asleep in the living room chair. at 11pm, i moved to my bed. very productive evening. the result of that was being groggy and tired all day. the more sleep i get, the worse off i am - apparently.

neuro was very unthrilling today. i got to assist with a few appointments. no surgeries. at least, none that i got to see. we had to be there at 7:15, too - which meant i got up at the unholy hour of 6:15. ah well - good practice for 4th year. the highlight of my day was definitely NOT monitoring a ventilator patient for 3 hours. there is a dog in the ward with coonhound paralysis. this is caused by a raccoon bite. apparently, there is some unknown toxin in raccoon saliva that - once inoculated into an animal - will cause an extremely toxic reaction. it's an ascending paralysis that starts with the back legs and moves up the rest of the body. the eventual outcome is a totally paralyzed dog that cannot even breathe on its own. the dog, if given ventilation and support, will recover within about a week. BUT this requires keeping the dog on a ventilator - anesthetized - in the ICU for at least a week. the cost is about $500-$700/day. the dog has already been with us since sunday. furthermore, two attempts to wean the dog off the respirator have been unsuccessful. so, i got to sit and watch the fancy machines beep for 3 hours. i volunteered, because the poor 4th year student on duty has been doing it since monday for 12-20 hour stretches. not a job i'd want!

no exciting neuroses to talk about today. i'm trying to suppress my feelings of loneliness and alientation from my classmates. mainly because i realize that it's a waste of time to feel bad about those things. i don't need anything from school except an education, good grades, and some references. i have everything else i need in my life. but there is the nagging, falsely important drive to fit in with everyone. and i'm not going to - i never have. i will never be like everyone else. i should have learned that when i was young. but apparently i didn't. i also should have learned when i was young that sticks and stones may break bones - but names can never hurt you. or was that just a lie the 'ole parents told you to make you feel better?

i wish i had more exciting things to post from school. a friend of mine is in exotics this week - and she's going to the zoo tomorrow to work with the large felids (lions, tigers, bears oh my! - except no bears!) - so she's having a fun week. i'm in exotics on the next rotation (spring semester) - so i'm looking forward to that!


Monday, November 14, 2005

two down

i am now finished with infectious diseases. so that's 2 of my 8 classes that are finished. it leaves me 6 more finals to go. finals week promises to be ... amusing.

i hardly studied for this test. it was very naughty of me. especially considering it was covering exotic animal diseases - and you would think i would have been interested in that. i was. but i was lazy and burnt out. also, it was only a 50 point test (the other 2 were 100 - and i needed an 80 or so to keep an A - which considering how little i knew - i might not have made!). anyway, i came home after the final because i had to change into 'clinic appropriate' clothing. whatever that is.

so, the rest of the week, i'm going to spend in the clinics working as a 'doctor.' i'm excited but a little apprehensive. i don't really know what i'm doing or what's expected of me. i'm just THRILLED to be out of class for the next week. not that i won't have to study. i will. i need to catch up in urinary and hematology. i say that now, but watch - it'll be just like ables week. i won't do ANYTHING but sleep, eat, read books, and watch movies. i shouldn't do that, but i'm open to the possibility that it might happen regardless.

not much else to say. i'll try to post this week about the interesting things i see. maybe i'll get some cool pictures. who knows?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

hello again

in the interest of keeping myself sane, i have deleted my old blog and relocated to a new address. this will be a super-secret double undercover blog containing no personal information or pictures of moi (though it will contain pics of others). i couldn't stand the thought of not blogging, because it's too therapeutic not to do it. my old blog, sad to say, is no more. but yes, i saved all my old posts. i couldn't stand the thought of not having a record of my life in vet school. i decided to delete my old one because - while i understand the publicness of putting this out there - i didn't feel like being vulnerable and exposed to all my classmates. it's okay if people i don't know randomly find this blog, or my family and close friends read it. but the thought of people that don't particularly like me reading about me -- it was a bit disconcerting.

so, tomorrow is my final in infxs diseases. yay. then i have 1 class, a lunch meeting, and then i'm a doctor! no, just kidding. tomorrow afternoon is the start of clinical experience. i spend the week working in the clinic. my assignment is neurology. i heard it's a pretty intense place to be. you get there at 8am and leave sometime around 8pm. i also don't remember anything about the cranial nerves except their names and numbers (sometimes). but i'm really excited that i get to wear a white coat and carry a stethoscope and look like a real DVM.

alright, i've procrastinated enough. i'm going to study.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

so much to do, so little time.

school starts in 2 weeks. in that 2 weeks time, i have so much going on, it's rather ridiculous. good friends of ours are visiting from florida on the 18th-22nd. we are in the process of buying a house and doing all that goes along with it. i'm trying to finish all 194 of the anatomy objectives for the 1st years disc. i have to burn 70 copies of said disc. i have to finish my toxic plant herbarium for toxicology. i have just been asked to handle sponsorship for the january 2006 exotics symposium that will be held at our vet school this year. i have to schedule all the talks (as VP) for the avian, exotics, and wildlife club. how could i go from virtually nothing to do to being swamped like this? it's a puzzle.

i guess i should stop sitting here, reading blogs, and actually do something productive. easier said than done.

Monday, August 1, 2005

the clock is ticking

jim and i - in typical jim and catherine fashion - are looking for a house. to hopefully buy and move into before school starts (fat chance). school starts august 24, so a short 3 weeks from now, really. we applied for the loan today - and we'll know what we're pre-approved for within 3 days. everyone keep your fingers crossed. because we're debt free and have a nice chunk of change in the bank, as well as a very good credit history, we should be able to qualify for a 100% mortgage loan. that would leave us only having to pay the closing costs - and moving costs. which yes - can be substantial. but we should be able to swing it. it would be exciting, except for the stress surrounding the whole event. living with another person is hard, especially when you've been living out on your own so long. it's just not working. so that's stressful in and of itself. but now, we're trying to move fast before school starts (again - THREE weeks) - and in that 3 weeks, i have to finish this disc for the 1st years, which is taking a long time, start my plant/herbarium notebook (collect samples, etc), help with orientation, and a myriad of other duties. instead of relaxing before school starts, i'm going to try and have a nervous breakdown. we'll see how it works out.

i'm also a tad anxious - to my surprise - about the start of school. i didn't expect to be, but i've looked at our schedule. we start surgery this semester, and i expect it to be challenging and scary. and anesthesiology, too - which i know nothing about.

this past weekend was maniacally hectic. i hosted alison's dinner party on friday night - which involved cooking an all homemade feast for 8 (french onion soup, herb marinated flank steak, mashed potatoes, oven-roasted veggies). that was a mess to clean up, and i drank way way too much red wine. the next day, we drove to Gvegas for a baby shower/birthday party, then drove back for a dinner party to celebrate sharon's birthday (belatedly). sunday was phillip's birthday, which was back in Gvegas. suffice to say, i haven't accomplished much of my 'to do list' this weekend. hopefully, since i'm not working this week, i can accomplish a lot. we'll see. nothing much else to report.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


for my histopaque to reach room temperature. i can't do anything until it does, unfortunately. i should have had someone take it out of the fridge before i arrived at the lab today, but i wasn't thinking too straight when i woke up.

ugh. i feel icky. i'm sure i have stuff to talk about, but for the moment...i'm rather blank. i was in Gvegas last night till about 12:30am, playing trivial pursuit pop culture with my family. it was my mom's birthday, so we had dinner and played games. it was sharona's birthday too, but she was in memphis. everybody has a birthday in the next week. mom and sharon's yesterday, nanny's on wednesday, alison's friday, andrew's on saturday, phillip's on monday - and on and on. the list never seems to end. why does everyone get busy during nov/dec?

alison has me hooked on a pretty wholesome TV show called the gilmore girls. it further demonstrates how impressionable my mind is...i watch it - and immediately become more appreciative of my family and the support network i have. i realize that i'm easily influenced - and therefore, maybe i'm not easily influenced - but i have to be careful what i put in my head because bad things could result. it's a rather interesting thought. i've never been one to blame porn and video games for the world's evils (and to clarify i still DON'T)...but again, i acknowledge that the weaker minder in society might be easily molded by what is on TV, in the theater, on the radio...as a result, i'm more choosy about what goes in. though i still watch R rated movies and stuff like that -- i think i'm just more aware of its possible influence...

i'm babbling. don't listen to me.
i have to go prep my samples...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

masochistic streak

i have one - about 6 miles wide. i volunteered to prepare materials for the incoming 1st year class. that involves scanning every test we took last year into the computer, compiling them, organizing them into folders according to semester, then according to class. on top of that, i volunteered to compile (which means typing by hand into microsoft word) all the anatomy objectives for fall semester. there are only (heavy sarcasm) 194 of them! and some of these objectives are 3-4 pages long. the goal is to get all this information neatly organized and onto a CD. i will then take that beautifully organized CD and burn 70 copies. it's a lot more work than i bargained for when i volunteered. but i really want to help out the incoming students. the class above us wasn't so helpful to our class, leaving us to figure out a lot on our own. plus, some classmates got copies of old tests from their big sibs in the class above, and some people didn't. there was an unequal distribution of materials. and everyone needs this stuff. so that's why the CD project. but it's taking a looooooooooooooong time, and i have a severe crick in my neck. i hope they appreciate this.

hrm. other than that, nothing to report. i've spent the day working on this project. it's what i originally intended to do with my week off - that and start gathering poisonous plants for my toxicology herbarium that's due in october. unfortunately, a lot of plants are withered by then. so i have to start collecting and pressing them now. it's good i have a black thumb - plants naturally die a lot faster in my presence. that will aid in compiling my herbarium. haha. i use the word compiling too much.

alright - so what am i listening to as of late? a lot of crap. stevie wonder, which isn't crap. but right now - shame - i'm listening to shakira. she can't dance, and she likes to writhe in mud - for whatever reason - - she can't sing all that well either. why am i listening to this?? oh yes, further evidence of my masochistic streak --- alright ---

nighty -nighty. i think i'm done with my good deed for the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

blog blog blog blog

i haven't much to say. i cooked dinner again tonight (last night was spaghetti and salad). tonight was leftover spaghetti and chicken/cheese/rice casserole.

i saw a movie by myself yesterday. a matinee of 'march of the penguins' - a documentary film about emperor penguins in antarctica. it was really interesting, beautifully filmed, and my first alone-movie. i go out to eat alone on occasion, shop alone, but i've never done the movie alone thing. it was a new experience. i felt a little naked and obvious at first, but that quickly went away. the documentary was great ... and the experience was great. my only complaint was that some IDIOT brought along a 4 year old child (or maybe 3) to a documentary film. the kid cried, talked, whined, and played with a very loud toy the entire film. the toy was one of those sticks with 2 balls that you try to bang together in sync. who the hell gives a kid a toy like that in a movie theater? it was beyond rude and inconsiderate. i considered asking for my money back, because the kid was so distracting, but in the end, i just tried to shut it out. i might have enjoyed the movie even more had the kid been absent.

anyway, i've fallen in love with stevie wonder. there are few songs that are as amazing as 'superstition' - i maintain. you can see where jamiroquai comes by his influences - heavily. next to stevie wonder, he's just a weak imitation.

i'm reading a book called 'enslaved by ducks' - it's about a husband who finds his life overrun with pets that his wife brings home - bunnies, parrots (2 african greys and others), ducks, turkeys, cats, dogs, etc. the book is a reflection on how he went from ambivalent about animals to caring for the ducks outdoors - including filling their plastic pool during the freezing january winter. i laughed so hard just reading the back - because it made me think of jim over and over - that i had to buy it and read it. it's pretty funny - if only because it seems so familiar - like a book i could have written.

i guess that's all. i'm still obsessed with fashion and clothing. . . and music... i've been downloading a lot of music lately. i don't have much to do, other than clean up after birds/husbands, cook dinner, and try to resist the urge to shop. i read - but i read too fast, i never thought that would be a problem. but it is. i finished my books too fast. later.

Monday, July 18, 2005

we're not afraid

i like this site: it's the opposite of we're sorry.com or whatever that bullsh*t site apologizing to the world for bush's election was called.

go to :


i like it! support a society that doesn't give up in the face of fear and terrorism.

on that note, i meant to mention i know was injured fairly badly in the london bombings. her name was katie b., and she and her sister were in london when the bombs detonated. she sustained shrapnel wounds to the neck, shoulders, and back. she had to have surgery. i think her condition was stable at the time. i haven't heard anything further. keep her in your thoughts.

Friday, July 15, 2005

how many people can say...

they touched a tiger today? i did. i petted him right on his snuggly, huge, sedated head. there's a tiger here from the rehab place for a dental/tooth removal. it was pretty darn neat. i didn't have my camera, OF COURSE. i never have my camera when anything exciting is going on. it's such a rush to be privy to these kinds of things. being a vet student/future doctor opens so many previously closed doors. i find it so exciting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

public speaking

i think that i read somewhere that public speaking is in the top 5 most feared list. right up there with death, flying, spiders, etc. i don't understand the fear of speaking in public. that's not to say that i don't get just as nervous as anyone - but the fear itself is rather irrational. it seems to stem from the worry of being judged by others. or maybe it's just that everyone's attention is focused on you, the speaker. or at least, i like to pretend that's true. but i've been to enough talks, lectures, classes, etc. to know that after 15 minutes, no one is listening anyway. course, my talk is only 7 minutes long, so maybe everyone will be attentive. i present my research tomorrow at 12:30. i'm a little nervous, but i feel very comfortable with my subject matter. i like what i'm doing, i'm excited about it, and i want to convey it to my future and present colleagues. anyway, i'm trying to finish my powerpoint. i hate powerpoint. it really has detracted from people having to actually learn to speak clearly and well in public. now, you can just read from your powerpoint slides. i think public speaking is on the losing side of this. i've sat through too many lectures where people read me the slides that i could plainly see and read for myself. at any rate, my powerpoint is plain, no frills, just the basics. i'll fill in the details with my lecture.

anyway, not much else is going on here. i've worked for 3 consecutive days. it's really odd considering that i haven't done much lately. i'm leaving for florida on saturday, to spend the week with my family. hopefully there won't be too many more hurricanes. jim, regrettably, can find no one to sub for his class, so he has to stay here.

ah well, ta-ta.

Monday, July 11, 2005

blogging at work

yes, i'm at work. i actually had to get up at 7:15 this morning and come to work. not good considering that i never really went to sleep last night. i've had so little to do - work-wise - that i've been staying up all hours of the night, reading and watching movies. so, my bedtime has been around 4 am, and i don't usually rise till about 1:30. great life, i know. at any rate, since my circadian rhythms are all wacky - i was jacked up till way past 4am last night. now, i'm at work, yawning my head off from lack of sleep. but it's my own fault. i'm waiting to start actual work on the blood samples, but i can't yet - as my advisor isn't here...so i'm just twiddling my thumbs. la-di-da.

today was an interesting morning. we went to draw blood for research. i was learning to restrain a parrot one-handed and take blood with the other hand. it's a difficult technique. when i had practiced that, i went to release the parrot (an amazon) back into the cage. i loosened my grip enough for him to get out, whip his head around, and attempt to remove the top of my finger. which he did attempt, with some success. he hung on and ground his beak into me about 3 times. i was proud of myself. i didn't yell or flail, just had dr g remove him. but it hurt. blood welled up out of it in a big bead immediately, and now my finger is swollen and purple. ack. it was my own fault. i knew better than to let up on the pressure. at any rate, live and learn. probably no permanent nerve damage done.

i have to give a brief (7-10 minutes) talk on thursday about my research. the talk will be attended by doctors, fellow students, the Dean, etc. it's a little bit scary. but i'm actually excited about it. i find my research so interesting that i'm looking forward to sharing it with colleagues and superiors alike. i do well at oral presentations, but i think i get as nervous beforehand as anyone. but i usually realize that there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about...and then i'm calm, cool, and collected. i love to talk, after all. i'm sure most of you find that shocking.

i've spent a bit of time lately trying to decide what i want to do once i'm finished with my DVM. there are so many options that it's a bit overwhelming. i could just be an avian vet in a practice somewhere. that's always an option. but it's probably hard to get into that line of work, since the demand, while growing, is still not high. but it's an option. i could continue on and get a phd, though i don't know how that will work with our plans to have children. i could get my phd, teach, research, and be a vet at a place like UT. or i could do equine. or i could go into public health. the options are totally limitless. i like that - but it's also kind of hard to make a decision. we'll see what happens. gotta go, my advisor is here. time to actually do some work.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

since i am a vet student

i thought i'd post something that is related to being a vet student.

I ACTUALLY HAD TO WORK TODAY! YES! i had to get up at 8am and go to work. and tomorrow, i have to get up at 7am and go to work. amazing, isn't it? so, we're still working on the parrot research. over the course of the last few months, i have learned a great many new words and terminology used in research. for instance - the words 'changing our focus' and 'redirecting our interests' are nice ways of saying - well, plan A and B have failed miserably, let's try something completely different! my research has been "accomplished" in fits and stops. we haven't really had any success that we could take and use to start actual structured experiments. at this point, we're 'exploring our options' - which means ordering antibody freebie samples, bleeding a lot of quail and parrots, and figuring out something. it's been eye-opening. i never realized that research would be so frustrating. i guess it makes sense, though. we're starting with an idea that we hope will work, but that - in all likelihood - probably will not. and since this project is freshly started this summer, i'm here to see the labor pains. at any rate, i have learned a great deal, all sarcasm aside. i now understand flow cytometry enough to explain it to a layperson (i hope), i know a bit more about hematology (that's blood for non-nerds) than i did before, and other useful stuff.

i have one more week (not counting thurs/fri) and then i'm supposed to head to florida for the annual beach trip with el familio. after that, 2 more weeks of research, and i'm finished. i get a glorious 2 week vacation, then i start helping with orientation for the class of 2009 - and then - school. it seems both faraway and very near. i know how fast the time will go by, regrettably.

i'm looking forward to my 2nd year of vet school, though i feel a bit apprehensive. not because of the work, but because i'm just not sure yet where i want to go when i'm finished with school. i had the same feeling prior to graduating college - only much too late to do anything useful about it - say the day of graduation. i want to be prepared when i finish vet school, to have some concept of where i'm going with my life. but then - don't we all?

oh yes, the handsome couple pictured is myself and my hooband celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary. every year gets better and better. what did i ever do to have such a wonderful life?

uh. i guess that's all to say here. vet school is looming again. i'm ready. i think.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

happy independence day

i guess that was technically yesterday.

i've had a busy weekend. i left on friday to ride with jim and his parents to kenton, tn (right outside memphis) for the his dad's family reunion. it was a good time. that side of jim's family is really easy-going, fun, and interesting. it would have been a great time had i not come down with some odd bug. i was feeling okay, but on saturday, i got really sick. i projectile vomited up my dinner on saturday night. the ride back from kenton on sunday was spent mostly in a sleepy stupor on jim's lap. i recovered okay, though. i still feel icky today, but i can eat. today, we drove to greeneville for a short visit with the family. i was feeling bad again and spent some of the time napping. jim socialized, since he won't get to go to the beach this year. we left early to meet dee and alison back in kville at the green hills grille for dinner. it was to celebrate our mutual anniversaries - ours on july 2nd and theirs on july 4. 6 years for us, 1 year for them. amazing how time flies. the food at GHG was mediocre and expensive, but i enjoyed the company. however, by the time we got home (around 10ish), i was feeling worn out and icky again. i climbed into bed, but i have since found that i can't sleep. so, here i am.

i haven't much to report. i'm having a hard time lately - mentally as well as physically. i've gotten all tangled up in my neuroses. living in someone else's house is hard - as i expected it to be. it's very hard to overcome my control freak tendencies. on top of that, i have cleanliness issues. and this house is anything BUT clean. there is clutter and mess everywhere. it's been steadily getting better since we moved in, but there is still much to do. i would do it, if i were capable of sorting through someone else's stuff. but i can't. so i have to wait. and having my hands tied when there is cleaning to do is NOT something i'm happy about. that gets me down. when i'm down, i start to fixate on other things - my inability to change the flaws i perceive in myself, my shortcomings, the future, etc. etc. and it makes me unhappy. to top it off, i've had some sort of constant sinus problem lately that is just about to drive me mad. i have nose bleeds, a painful, dry nose, and constant snot issues. it's uncomfortable - to say the least. and it's only happened since we moved. i can't figure out what it is. i hope it's not the dogs.

anyway, i haven't much else to say now. i am reading the mists of avalon still. it's a long book, and i haven't had much time for it lately. it's very good though, totally engrossing. i should be returning to work tomorrow, but at this point, who knows? adios, amigos.

oh yes, i heard a funny comment today by a comedian. he said:

"why are we screening everyone that goes through airports? whites, blacks, mexicans? where's a mexican gonna go if he hijacks a plane? he's already here!" i thought that was great.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

mists of avalon

i watched the TV mini-series last night. it was a little more than 3 hours long and much, much better than i expected from a tv series. i really enjoyed it. i loved that the story was told from the viewpoint of the women of camelot instead of the typical way. it got me in the mood to actually read the book finally - which alison gave me as a gift for some past gift-giving occasion. i think i will delve into all 1000 pages of it, since i have virtually nothing else to do with my time. i have given up my errant shopping ways (i've used errant twice in two days...my vocab must be slipping!). i have also given up on eating out every night, which is what jim and i have been doing for the past year. it was too difficult to cook with school being so much pressure and whatnot. so, we just ate out. but i've cooked every night but one for the past week! good dinners too - chicken lasagna, pork filets, etc. sounds pricey -but most of them are pre-cooked. like the lasagna, it was frozen stouffers. the pork was all me though. tonight, we're cooking a butterball turkey, which i expect to be eating for the next week or so. i loooooove turkey though:)
so, this is sad. my blog has come down to a discussion of the minutiae of my dinners. ok. i'm going to go now and read a book. exercise the 'ole kidneys.

Monday, June 27, 2005

i haven't much to say here. my days have settled into a kind of dull rhythm. i cook dinner a lot - which actually gives me a sense of purpose. i clean and organize. i yell at errant birdies (of which there are a few)...and that's about all.

i just finished reading memoirs of a geisha. it was a bit of a disappointment. i was really enjoying it - but the end surprised me. and not in a good way. i was let down. though the writing was really beautiful, in the end...nada.

that's about all. ta-ta.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

no time to blog

hello all. sorry to disappoint my loyal fans. people have questioned where i've gone. those of you who know me know that i just moved. i don't even have an internet connection (per se) yet. we have one via rhi's computer but not on our own.

so, we've moved in with my sister in law. she has a large house (3 bedroom, 3 bath on about 3/4th of an acre) in a nice area directly across the river from the vet school. her mortgage is less than our rent - so we're splitting that and saving a ton of money. it's nice. now i can shop guilt (almost) free. i've become shallow and self-absorbed as the summer has progressed. my research is going very slowly. there are 2-3 day gaps between actually doing anything, so i have a lot of spare time on my hands. most good people would volunteer or enjoy their hobby or take up a new one or something. not me. i just shop, lie about, etc. okay, that's a bit harsh. i have been cooking dinner and unpacking. but still. i'm being far too lazy for even myself. and materialistic. i love shopping now though. i have found joy in the material world. i never was much of a materialist. i never owned or drooled over fancy cars or nice clothes or expensive perfumes or makeups. i was always myself and happy with what i had. now, i just want to buy buy buy. i don't know why or what started it, although i think it has something to do with my unhealthy obsession with sex and the city. i am becoming too shallow. but dressing nicely and looking pretty is so much fun! and being 3.5 inches taller is fun too. i don't feel like such a midget (i've taken to wearing heels everywhere i go). i bought a pair of heels a couple of days ago that are 3.5 inches. they go great with my new capri pants. and jewelry! i love jewelry now, too. did i mention that my shoe collection is up to 30 pairs? IN MY DEFENSE...i bargain shop at consignment shops, TJ Maxx, and planet xchange (used but trendy clothing store) and find ridiculous bargains. i'm not spending nearly as much money as i make it sound.

i tell jim it's a passing phase, because i'm idle too much right now, and i need something to focus on. i think it's definitely true. once work ratchets up (IF it ever does), i'll get back to more basic, educational things. right now, i'm enjoying giving my brain a thorough rest. but i think it's too thorough of a rest. i've discovered that having nice things only makes you want MORE nice things - and once you start - it's hard to stop. something about a slippery slope? i used to spend my money on my birds and toys for them and other mundane things. now i want to spend money on myself. i'm going to stop now though. i swear it. i have realized something profound that i think my parents did really really well when raising me. they never raised me to believe that material possessions were very important. they raised me to love my family and friends and to be happy with what i had - because it was far more than many people had. i don't know if it was deliberate on the part of my parents (due to the fact that money was ALWAYS an issue) or not - but regardless, i grew up happy with what i had. i was grateful for my first car, which cost about $500 (a pontiac phoenix almost as old as i) and my second car (a beat up 83 honda that blew out blue smoke). i even stumbled across a note from high school that i wrote a friend (and must have never delivered) that was expressing my delight and excitement for a car that was a piece of total junk. and i mean total:) but it got me from a to b in a relatively safe manner and that made me happy.

i was never - and most of my family can attest to this fact - concerned with pretty things. i grew up loving to read and looking forward to family vacations. those things have made me a better person in the world. and i'm grateful for that. i don't think there is anything wrong with wanting nice things - but when it becomes consuming - when not having the nice things you want becomes upsetting and disappointing - then i think it's a problem. and if i don't curb my shopping habit, then i might start having that problem. i don't blame it on sex and the city - because i believe we are individuals with the will to make choices in life. but i do believe the idleness of my mind has let sneak in some shallow wants and desires. i realize why everyone wants to blame TV, violent video games, and pornography for the world's evils. weak minds are susceptible...easily confused and twisted. i've watched too much sex and the city and come to think that having pretty, nice things and being attractive physically equate with happiness. the only reason i know this doesn't work is because i'm smart enough to realize when something is going on subconsciously (usually haha)... i believe that some people aren't aware enough to realize that what they put in their brain will come out in one way or another. all that said, i have to defend my libertarian ideas - i believe pornography is fine, i believe violent video games are fine, and i don't think those things should be censored or taken away. control by censorship is not the way to 'fix' society and its evils. the cure for evil must come from within an individual. from a conscious decision. (though i realize that those in my family that are christian will heartily disagree and state that there is no salvation without god...here is my nod to the inevitable comments).

so, those were my deep thoughts for the day. i turn 26 on friday, and i just keep getting smarter. ha. ha. ha.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

moving SUCKS

i think i might have mentioned that, so perhaps i should talk about something else. the stray macaw's owner showed up - thankfully. though she was rude and abrupt when she talked to me on the phone. didn't even say thanks for making sure that he got taken care of or anything. just rude and impatient. people never cease to amaze me. something vaguely interesting happened this morning. someone called me about the ad for a found parrot in the paper and said that they had lost their parrot. the woman sounded either high or mildly retarded. and she says, 'i lost my parrot.' i said 'what kind of parrot did you lose?' she said 'you know, a parrot.' i said 'what species?' - she didn't know, she just kept repeating a parrot. i asked her what color he was, she said 'green' - nothing else. no description, nothing. i asked her several questions - each of which she answered slowly and haltingly - and sounded like she was just guessing. i was amazed. i think she was calling to try and claim this parrot as her own - when it wasn't even her bird. at any rate, i just thought that was interesting.

well, i have nothing else much to write about. my days consist of working in the lab for a few hours (usually 4) and packing/cleaning/washing/folding/packing/moving...etc.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

why is it so hard to be politically aware?

then you have to go and throw religion into the mix too. there is so much to think about. and i feel so ill-equipped to make rational, intelligent choices. i think i have rationale for my ideology - then those rationale are challenged, and i have to rethink my beliefs. i think my problems with formulating an ideology - theological or political or otherwise - stem from my lack of knowledge of history. biblical, political, geographical. i think one thing that everyone could stand to know more about is history. without history, how can one make a conscious, rational decision about morals and ethics? i choose mostly conservative/libertarian ideals as the foundation for my beliefs. i feel that i have good reason to back these up. but who's to say?

i believe in less government. i can't exactly explain why i believe that - other than that i don't like people telling me what i can and can't do with myself and also because large governments seem to be inherently evil (mao's china, hitler's germany). but then - am i talking about dictatorships? do i believe this because it only seems inevitable that as government grows so does its power and control over my life and so does its greed for more power and control? these thoughts seem rather ingrained in me. and so it becomes hard to separate truth from what i've been raised to believe. and then i come back around to what i think i know about human nature. it seems that given power, people thirst for more. more power, more wealth, more control. but that could be 26 years of action movies talking. i don't have any real experience in that arena myself. how much political knowledge can i claim via the presence of simple common sense? or is common sense a scarce commodity - and that's why i have the beliefs that i do - because i'm blessed with common sense. (please - peanut gallery - keep comments to selves!)

jim seems solidly convinced of the logic of his ideology. arguing with him can be frustrating. it seems that for every argument, he has one prepared to knock me down. is that because i'm not very informed or is it because there are truly two sides to everything? could there be two sides to some of the issues that i staunchly hold opinions on? abortion? war? america? it's all so frustrating.

i'll be the first to admit that i know virtually nothing useful about history. everything i've learned about history has been from either jim or a western civilization class in undergrad. not terribly useful or efficient ways to gather information...not that jim isn't useful:) when i try and read on the subject, i find it terribly frustrating to even find books that aren't skewed one way or another.

i guess i can accept that i will always be ignorant in some aspects of the world. no one can know everything. i have to accept that i am smart in some areas and under-schooled in others (notice i did not say stupid:) i have to remember when arguing with others that i don't know everything. humility is a lesson that i (and many people in both my families) could stand to learn.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

a nomadic sort of life

doesn't moving every year for the past 7 years qualify us for nomad status? is there some sort of government expemption for that? and did i mention that i am in NO way fond of being a nomad? i hate moving almost more than i hate going to the eye doctor and getting that little blast of air shot into my pupils. rhiannon and jim have spent the majority of the day tiling. see - we're moving into rhiannon's house and taking over the finished basement. it has a sauna and shower, as well as a toilet (though these are not in the same room). the shower has been untiled for many years, and rhiannon never got around to tiling it, though she had the supplies - tile and all. at any rate, part of our moving in 'contract' was finishing the shower. so, they've been tiling. i've been packing. i HATE moving. but i'm less stressed about moving in with rhiannon now. i had been worried, but we had a long talk yesterday, and i expect it to go much smoother than i thought it would. i'm actually looking forward to it now. i'll have someone to help me with birdcare and vice versa. also, keeping our 'house' (ie the basement) clean won't be so much work for me during the school year. considering jim will be in school, it's going to be hard. plus, the much cheaper rent and utilities are great. but 5 birds in one house...it's going to be a busy, loud household.

hrm. there isn't much to report. i finally get to start - barring anymore unforeseen breakages and/or hangups - my research tomorrow. we'll see how that works out. already 3 weeks of the 10 week project have been virtually wasted. what can i do? i'm sure there is other stuff to report, but i'm at a loss currently to remember what it is. i'm not even sure anyone is reading my blog since school got out...

is there anybody out there?

Thursday, June 9, 2005

well, our IACUC protocol finally went thru. we drew blood on three amazons yesterday - to do preliminary testing on them, see how it worked out. it took use several hours to gather up what we needed, finish the final paper work, gown up, and take the blood from the birds. it was a great experience. dr g - my COE mentor - taught me how to catch these wild amazons in their large cages and how to draw blood...etc. she was very patient, and despite the screaming of 20 amazons in a concrete lined, windowless room, it was a positive experience. then, of course, the other shoe dropped. i took my hard won and long awaited samples upstairs to run flow cytometry on. and lo, the flow cytometer was very bad, and i was wrought with anger...for it was broken. and i was mightily disappointed...heehee. yeah, so the flow is down for an indefinite period of time. at least i'm experiencing the negative side of reseach first, eh? so, we're stopped for now, until the cytometer is up and running again. i'm supposed to start learning the COMET assay next week, so at least i'll have something to do.

thurs and fri are my volunteering days at the YW animal center here. today was a busy day. we processed about 30 cats for the adoption floor. processing means : drawing blood, running a combo leukemia/FIV test, deworming, defleaing, taking temps, paperwork for each cat, and then moving the cats to the adoption room up front. it kept us busy till about 5:30. afterwards, i hung around and played with a 'stray' parrot. someone found a severe macaw on their front porch and brought it to the shelter. it's a lovely bird, well-socialized, cute, friendly, and it hasn't bitten anyone yet - which is amazing for a macaw. i'm smitten. if no one claims it, i'll have to bring it home - at least until i can find a parrot-approved home to which i can adopt it myself. the shelter does a great job finding animals good homes, but a parrot is a different proposition altogether. i hope they'll let me help find it a home - seeing as how i am doing parrot research and i do know just a smidge about them...right? seems coincidental. i just started working there, and this is the first parrot that has shown up...fate? i think so.

i really enjoy working at the animal center. it's rewarding. and i work with great people.

i guess that's all to report here. except that we're moving. and i hate moving.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

does the sun come up this early?

ugh. i'm up at 6:30 in the morning for no other good reason than to accompany a friend to johnson city. bleh. yesterday was a long 'work' day. i say 'work' because it's volunteer - so i'm not getting paid. i suppose i can't complain. it's not like i have a job or anything (except i do, and i get paid, but my research is at a standstill). i 'worked' 2 days this week, and i felt like it was killing me. what a wimp i've become. i'm volunteering 2 days a week at the municipal animal shelter here. it's a beautiful facility - almost brand new, with a nicely equipped and large vet clinic (where i work) and room enough for around 800 animals (i think). which is quite a bit for a municipal animal shelter. also, the vets i work for are great. fun, laid-back, and very easy to work with and for. basically, i have autonomy - as a vet student. i process animals for the adoption floor - which means lots of practice drawing blood from dogs, cats, puppies, and teeny tiny little kittens. good experience - regardless of what i end up doing post-grad. i worm, deflea, basically get the kittens ready to go out on the adoption floor. i also get to watch and ask questions about surgery. right now, mostly spay/neuter - but that's useful - seeing as how we start that next semester. i did get to do a cat ultrasound yesterday, which was surprisingly easy. i still have no idea what i'm looking at on ultrasound, but i suppose that will come with time, right?

ok, my friend is officially late. i'm just sitting here, where i've been for the last 25 minutes. i knew she would be late. and yet, i still got up early. i'm a sap.

alright, i need to find a book to read on the car ride. later.

Monday, May 30, 2005

busy-ness unsurpassed

this weekend was insane. for having 3 days, it seemed to go by awfully quick. friday night, i drove to greeneville by myself (jim having gone down thurs night) for sammy's graduation. we ate at zaxby's beforehand, went to the school, sat in miserable discomfort inside the hal henard gym, then went back to hang out and eat more at jim's parents. it was fun. unfortunately, i had to drive back at 11pm - due to a friend's wedding in nashville on saturday. i slept briefly, then got up, did some errands, straightened the house, cleaned the birds, fed the cages (haha), and then deb and sharon met me at my house, and we drove 3 hours to nashville.

ryan (a vet school compadre) and lacey got married at the cedarvine manor in lebanon. it was a lovely wedding, and since i was there with good friends - most of whom i hadn't seen since school adjourned almost a month ago - i had a great time. eating, dancing, drinking, dancing, and drinking. after the wedding, we went back to fiddy's house in brentwood (guy pal from school too) with 2 bottles of champagne - and sat on the patio under a starry sky with marshmallows and a fire. till 2am. we then adjourned indoors, where we sat up and giggled well into the wee small hours of the night. up promptly at 9am (10am eastern time), left at 11 (12 EST) - and got home around 3, only to unpack, shower off the smell of woodsmoke, have dinner, and meet up with friends to see star wars at west towne mall.

monday was no slower - with a cookout and family get together in greeneville. rather stressful, considering i am babysitting dee and alie's dog - river - a responsibility i take very seriously. river is very well-trained and obedient - but also highly attention deficit...! it was an interesting today with a few minor mishaps...nothing damaging thankfully. and now, here i am - home, exhausted, drained, ready for bed. i actually have to do something work-wise tomorrow - meet with my COE advisor and plan out the course of the experiment/research. which doesn't start till next week. . .

i guess that's all to report here. i'm sure there is other stuff - but i'm too fried mentally to think of it. good night.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

heartstopping moment

so we went to rhiannon's house tonight to look over our 'maybe' living arrangement. we're thinking about moving in with her in about a month's time. she has a 3000sq foot house with a huge basement that has a shower, sauna, and toilet - and room enough for us to set up a little house of our own down there, while still sharing the upstairs den and living room - even though we'd have our own living area downstairs. plus, she has parrots too - and we could share parrot responsibilities - etc. but i have trepidations, as is probably easily predicted. the rent would be GREAT, as would the rest of the bills. probably half of what we pay now. but i still don't know...

anyway, so we left her house and drove out south hills dr to where it meets the main rd that dumps onto alcoa highway. where south hills meets the main road is a very bad blind curve. it was 10p and very dark, and as we came up on the curve, i noticed 3 cars pulled over with hazards lights on. a moment later, i saw people clustered on the other side of the road, looking at something on the ground. jim says 'someone hit a dog' - and i thought he saw the dog. i started to get out to offer to take it to UT - when i see FEET sprawled out. my heart plummetted into my shoes. i sat back down and gasped to jim 'it's a person.' jim, of course, is not a panicker. he is also trained in CPR and first aid. so he jumps out to help. i just kind of sit there, too afraid to look, because i didn't want to see a dead person. he eventually comes back. it turned out to be an 11 yr old kid that was riding his bike on the street at 10 oclock at night, and a woman came around the blind curve and hit him. luckily, the curve is so bad, she couldn't have been going very fast. but, he did have a broken leg, by the looks - and was bloodied. but he was conscious and the ambulance was in hearing range - at that point. probably one of the more disturbing moments of my life. we left, because there wasn't anything to do - and the police and ambulance had arrived. but gawd. left me a bit queasy.

sooo. yeah. i feel like talking about the book i just finished. but it seems frivolous after that story. but the kid was alive and looked like he was going to stay that way, so i guess i can talk about lighter subjects, right? i read 'the clan of the cave bear' - in paperback - all 500 densely packed pages of it. i tried to read it all in one night, but at 5:15, everything looked really odd and my hands kept seeming to grow and shrink on the page i was holding. i figured it was time to sleep then. i finished it yesterday. really good book. i was surprised. i picked it up on whim and couldn't put it down. of course, there are 5 more books in the 'saga' - so i had to gather some old books i didn't want and take them to mckays for trade credit, so i could get the rest. i learned, after buying them, that the series took a nosedive after the 2nd book. but oh well. i'll see what i think. i read reviews of 3, 4, and 5 on amazon, and they were not favorable. most of them called the later books trashy caveman porn. which is disappointing, because the first one was really really good. it was researched (supposedly) in great depth, with details about plants and animals of the ice age - it was just riveting reading - not pornographic at all. so, i'm curious to see if they really do go downhill. i have a sinking feeling they will.

guess that's all to report here. i actually have work tomorrow for the majority of the day. exciting, eh?

Monday, May 23, 2005


our IACUC protocol got 'overlooked' when submitted, and so now, i can't start my research for 2 weeks. unfortunate. IACUC is institutional animal care and use committee. that have to approve whatever animal research we do, and somehow, our proposal got stacked with another by my research advisor - and missed. so, it takes 2 weeks to go through. this is only a ten week project, and 2 weeks are about to be wasted. drat. since i've already learned the flow cytometer, i'm finished with that stage until i start doing experiments. i'm going to learn comet assay sometime this week or next, but they don't have full kits for it yet, so i have to wait until they do to start that in full. this is frustrating. i don't really have anything to do for the next 2 weeks, except research and hashing out the intro to the paper. this is my paying job, too. so i'm going to have to spend a great deal of time everyday reading and writing about what we're doing. that's ok, i suppose. but i was excited about starting my research....and this is the 2nd time i've had to put it off.

sooooo...yeah. my allergies have been moderately bad. just enough to be seriously irritating but not incapacitating. i'm taking zyrtec, but i don't think i'm taking it frequently enough for it to build up correctly in my system. i usually take it every 15-20 hours...instead of every 12. i need to be regular about it. but i hate taking medication.

nothing else to say. i think i'm going to read the da vinci code ...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

going to try and explain

since amy seems interested, i'm going to try and explain how the cells are made to 'glow' more and also how they are differentiated from one another. bear with me if it gets gory because it's sooooooo neat how they do this. makes me wonder how people come up with these ideas.

ok...so...they take a chicken Thelper cell. all Thelper means is a cell that helps fight off viruses (among other things). and they look at the surface of the T cell and say hey! that T cell has a special little antenna on it called CD4. other T cells (cytotoxic T for instance) and other immune cells don't have that little CD4 antenna. so they take that antenna off the Tcell over years of careful research and money, and they purify it and make a little solution of CD4 antennas. they inject those into a mouse. the mouse's immune system says 'hey! that ain't part of me! it must be bad, let's kill it!' so the mouse mounts an immune response and makes antibody to the CD4 antennas. so now you have something that reacts against the chicken CD4 antenna. that's what an antibody is. so, over many years and with lots of money, the CD4 antibody is isolated from the mouse and stored in little vials with a special fluorescent tag attached and sold for $300 for 0.1mg by southern biotech and the like. i order that and i put it in my chicken blood. and that CD4 antibody recognizes the CD4 antenna sticking out of the Thelper cell and says 'hey! i'm an antibody and i'm supposed to fight bad things! and i recognize that CD4 as a bad thing!' (because it came from the mouse, where CD4 antennas from another species are a bad thing) and it attaches to the CD4 antenna. and voila! now, you can run it through a flow cytometer and you have a little fluorescent tag attached to all your CD4s. that way, you can count how many you have and see if the immune system is working!! it's called mouse anti-CD4 chicken specific monoclonal antibody. (or mAB)

how neat is that?

double hohum

not much to report here. i ran the flow cytometer friday all by my little self - no supervision - and actually got good results. i figured - given my less than perfect lab technique coupled with my inexperience - that i would screw it up. (that's why i was practicing on chicken blood). but i did well. i'm pleased. now, i'm supposed to actually start doing research, but i don't have any parrot blood to start with - so i'm just waiting for something to happen. i may not have to work tomorrow, because really - i have nothing to do.

we went out to dinner last night at a place called t-ho. it was a vietnamese restaurant (south viet). it was really good food. i was surprised - because i'm so picky, but i really liked it. for an appetizer, we had 'grilled meatballs' - which turned out to be thinly sliced pork strips with cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, ginger, and peanuts wrapped in a paper thin rice thingy. really really delicious. for dinner, i had a chicken bowl with thin noodles. again, really good. i'm happy that i tried something new - given what a picky eater i am. and found a new ethnic food to enjoy. before dinner, alison and i shopped all day. i spent too much money, but it was fun.

i'm not reading anything right now. i don't feel any books speaking to me, which is generally a pre-req before i'll pick up a book. so i'm waiting. sooner or later, i'll feel one that wants to be read...

summer is a really boring time to hear from me.

so, i'm going to try and attempt to explain my research briefly.

ok...we want to be able to evaluate how a parrot's immune system is functioning. to do this, you need to be able to look at the different amounts of cells in the immune system. for those of you who don't know, your immune system has many cells, including B cells and T cells - which deal with either problems coming from outside your body (B cells) or problems within your cells (T cells)...so, to see how your immune system works - we need to be able to count those types of cells. the way to do that is to use a flow cytometer. the cytometer uses a beam of light to count individual cells as they pass through the light in a liquid medium. all cells have a natural ability to fluoresce. but with the flow cytometer, we want to "pump up" that ability so that the flow cytometer can see them really well and also to mark the individual cells. so, we attach something to the cells (B, T, and a variety of others) that is SPECIFIC for that cell type and that cell type only. this attachment helps the cell fluoresce more. what the attachment is - an antibody essentially - is really complicated, so i'll skip that part. so - the attachments are EXTREMELY costly and difficult to make - takes years to develop them. as a result - we want to see if we can use the pre-existing attachments - made for chickens - in parrots and get the same results. that way we can start evaluating how a parrot's immune system is working (indicative of disease) without spending years and years and millions of dollars developing parrot-specific attachments (really - a parrot specific antibody).

see, wasn't that easy? you guys better'd read this...i'm excited about it

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


well, i'm back in the school environment. and i'm actually glad of it - which is probably a sign that i need serious mental help. but at any rate, i started my literature research today on flow cytometry, the comet assay, and avian hematology. i have a lot of reading to do tonight! btw, my brief explanation of my research is probably inaccurate and extremely simplified. what i'm doing, as evidenced by my literature search today, is actually kind of difficult to explain or understand...but i have a basic handle on it - and i'm excited to start!

yesterday, jim and i went climbing at the obed/clear creek scenic area. it is so beautiful up there. it's a gorge that runs in the cumberland plateau - and it's very wild/wildnerness area with heavy regulations regarding road building, cell phone towers, etc. it was a flawless day with exceptionally blue skies. we spent the whole day up there. we only actually climbed 2 climbs, because both of us are so out of shape physically. it was rather embarrassing. or would have been, had anyone been around to watch. but i enjoyed the day thoroughly and got a good workout by climbing and by hiking.

when we got home at 8p, i planned on a shower, then early to bed, as i had work this morning at 9. however, at around 8:30p, school called to see if i would come in as a member of foal team for a couple of hours. foal team is a group of us students (not 4th years) that are voluntarily on call to monitor foals when they come in to the hospital. foals that are sick need to be constantly monitored, and obviously, the 4th year students don't have time to do that. so, we go in and sit with the foal in 2-3 hour shifts to make sure they don't 'crash.' unfortunately, last night they needed someone after midnight. so i worked the 12:30-2:30 am shift. then came home and went to bed... i enjoy foal team though - so i didn't mind going in. even though i was a bit groggy at 8am.

i guess that's all that i have to say here. i read a really good book called 'midwives' - finished it tuesday night. it was about a midwife that is mid-delivery when she thinks the woman has a stroke and dies. she then gets a kitchen knife and does a c-section to save the baby's life. however, her assistant and the father both insist afterwards that the mother was still alive, just unconscious - as blood 'spurted' from the site of knife entry. the book is about her trial and the affect it had on her life. it was thoroughly enjoyable, very well-written, and convincing. i kept forgetting that it was a fictional book. i would recommend it to everyone. nothing objectionable in it.

at any rate, i have research to read.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


i went and saw 'crash' with sharon tonight at downtown west. it's a movie about racial tensions. not something i would normally see, as hollywood is such a skewed mess of self-aggrandizing, idiotic liberals. but the movie was good. it was less about racism than about hatred and segregation based on perceived stereotypes (or is that just another way of saying racism). i appreciated the movie on many levels. i'm sure it was flawed, but the movie didn't force awareness of its flaws on me (unlike revenge of the sith, which was just swill). the movie was beautifully filmed and the acting was amazing. it might have been just slightly too pat - the coincidences too perfect. i don't know. but it was a riveting movie. there were some parts that were so gut-wrenching and edge of the seat that i will probably not forget them for some time. there was one scene in particular that just grabbed me and held me. but i can't ruin it, lest some of you see it eventually. at any rate, i highly recommend it. i haven't given it a lot of critical, analytical thought, it's not a movie that lends itself to that - at least not on the surface. but i still enjoyed it thoroughly.

school starts in a month. it seems like a long time, but i know it won't be. it's interesting to me that i can realize that as much as i'm looking forward to it now, i'm going to be wishing it were over soon, too. how can both things be true? or perhaps i will go into school with a much improved attitude this fall and really enjoy the entire year. but then, vet school can crush you down sometimes..................ah well. it's all about attitude, right papa?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

tonight is the last night of my relative freedom:( tomorrow, at 8am, i join the masses of working stiffs (again!)...i start actual research on wednesday - monday and tuesday are orientation and introduction to doing research at the graduate/professional level. should be dull and useless...but anyway. at least it's not school, right? on a funner note, i started studying again last night. i know, i know - call the men in the white coats to lock me up. dee and alison came over - we watched a movie, then jim and dee finished up band of brothers. while they watched that, i studied bacteriology and immunology. i've decided, since i feel that i didn't learn anything in vet school, that i'm going to read some of my textbooks this summer and try to get a better feel for some of the subjects -namely bact, immunology, and virology. we'll see how long this drive lasts.

so, i'm sure everyone is just dying to know about my research. i'll keep it short, sweet, with small words. bird blood is different from any other species because (unlike every other species) birds' red blood cells have a nucleus. so, when doing a complete blood count (CBC) you can't distinguish (with machines) the difference between red blood cells and white blood cells. that's a crucial part of looking at blood. so...when looking at bird blood, you have to COUNT it by hand...on a microscope. it's time consuming and difficult. so, i'm using a flow cytometer this summer - which is a machine that uses a beam of light to examine centrifuged blood. the beam of light hits the sample and the way the light scatters indicates the structure of the cells. the hope is that this machine will be able to be used in blood samples for birds. on top of that, we're going to evaluate immune function in birds. i'm a little hazy on that part...it should be fun though. at any rate, at least it'll be interesting. and my COE advisor has assured me that by the time i'm finished i'll be able to hold a parrot with one hand, draw blood with the other, and do a microscope smear all at the same time. handy knowledge.

at any rate, i guess that's all there is to report here...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

a wasted evening/morning

i went to mckays yesterday - with alison - to find a nice, light summer read to kick off the start of my 'freedom'..and i picked up nelson demille's newest, 'night fall', about the crash of TWA800. i started it at midnight last night, after i got back from alison's place. i tore through all 500 pages in about 6.5 hours - because the story was riveting and who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? but the book was a crushing disappointment. the author builds and builds this story and you're sucked in, drooling, desperate for a climax. and then - you realize that you are 10 pages from the end of the book, and nothing has been remotely resolved. not a good feeling. then - enter the dues ex machina - albeit a real one - but a plot device nonetheless - and suddenly all the suspense and building tension is meaningless. it SUCKED. i'm so mad that i stayed up till 6:30 reading it, then 8am fuming that i wasted time reading it. you know it's bad when you actually stay up because you're too mad to sleep. i can't believe that an author like demille would resort to a stupid ending ... but he did. turns out, while writing the book, demille realized he'd 'written himself into a corner' - and asked his son for a suggestion on how to end the book. and i guess that explains why it is crap? ugh.

on the bright side, i got a nice copy of tolstoy's anna karenina - which i've been meaning to go back and read since my freshman year in college. i started it during the semester and found it very interesting. unfortunately, i didn't have time to finish it...being like 4000000 pages or something. so i bought it to read. jim's got a copy lying around somewhere, but it's nice and hardback, so i didn't want to break the spine or anything. i also got midwives, which i've been wanting to read ever since it popped up on oprah's (Read: satan) book club. i don't know what i'm going to read next. i'm so disillusioned! i guess i should start with a classic, something slow and weighty that i know will be good.

anyway, i start real work on wednesday of next week - but i have 2 stupid orientations to go to on monday and tues - so i guess my fun ends this weekend. i am getting a week off mid-july to go to the beach with my family. and i also get the 3 weeks off prior to school starting. i have a feeling that summer is going to bolt by...

Monday, May 9, 2005

filling the void

well, i'm finished. it feels real now, because i got the other 2 grades i wasn't sure about today - epidemiology and micro anatomy. so, my final grades for the semester:

Parasitology: A
Virology: A
Epidemiology: A
Micro Anatomy: B+
Physiology: B
Gross Anatomy : C+

yes, it sucks, i did make a C+ again in Anatomy, but it really doesn't matter - because i survived this semester with most of my mental health - and made purty darn good grades. except for gross! it's a great feeling knowing that i want to take a nap - at 5pm - and that i can - no guilt, no worries, no responsibilities. of course, my house is filthy and disgusting and all my school paraphenalia from this semester needs organizing, categorizing, and storage- but i can ignore that until i wake up...

i have big plans for this summer. lots of reading, relaxing, napping -- parrot research...i'm looking forward to the rejuvenation. i'm also - strangely - already looking forward to next year and all the challenges it's going to bring. ok, honestly - i'm really looking foward to being in the 2nd year classroom - and never having to sit in the AWFUL first year classroom again. for those of you who haven't seen it - the 1st year classroom is designed to hold about 50 people and AV equipment and a professor - but we had 70 crammed in there. all the desks were right on top of one another and one couldn't sneeze or stretch without spraynig or kicking someone (respectively). it's not designed for maximum visibility or acoustics either. basically, it's a crowded, dark room. the 2nd year classroom - on the other hand - is tiered (like the new movie theaters) with heavily padded, movie-theater style chairs - at least 1 foot on any side before you touch another desk or person, a movie screen type LCD screen that comes down from the ceiling - and good lighting. it's like going from night to day. i'm so excited to be in that room next year. i've also decided that i'm going into next year with a different (eg positive) attitude. . .!

so, i guess i could talk more about my summer plans - but that nap sounds awfully good right now.

Friday, May 6, 2005

it's over

i was up till 4:30am. i'm going to bed. for a long time. good night

Thursday, May 5, 2005


hello chickens. i've passed exhausted and move straight into total delirium. in a little more than 14 hours, i will be finished with my first year of vet school. i can't tell you how happy that makes me. all the vets i talked to told me what a great time vet school is - how much fun you have - etc. and while yes, i have made lifelong friends and discovered things about myself that i never knew - and been more stressed than i ever thought possible - i don't think you could pay me any sum of money to live through it again. but -- on the other hand -- when i think about graduating and living in the real world, it kinda makes me sad. school is great. it takes up all my time, sucks up all my mental powers - all my strength and sanity - and yet - all i have to do every day is go to school and learn. and hang out/study with people whose company i really enjoy. not so truly bad, is it?

i made an A on my parasitology midterm, which absolutely blows my mind. i didn't get to do any studying except for the day before - which was awful...but i made an A on the final and kept my A in the class. YAY. oh wait, grades don't matter in vet school, right? ha. i made a C in anatomy, as predicted. but i can't complain, considering i BOMBED the final *128.5/200 points* -- i wish i had done better, it would have been nice to get a better grade this fall, but i have friends who made Ds, so i can't really bitch about it.

so at this point: CCE: A, Parasit: A, Virology: A, Phys: B, Gross: C - leaving Epidemiology (took today - GRUELING) and Micro (in the morning). Epidemiology was mentally exhausting. the test revolved around general concepts of research and also 3 lengthy articles, which we were to read in great detail prior to the test and dissect into minutaie (spelling?) - it took me the full 2 hours - and by the time i left - my brain was aching. i came home, took 2 aspirin and 2 sudafed, and slumbered for a good 3.5 hours. and now i'm here, marooned in the computer lab - studying for my LAST FINAL of FIRST YEAR.

ok, to work now. kisses.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005


this is catherine ashe, reporting live from just this side of hell. you might think i'm referring to los angeles or a third world country like ethiopa, where they have REAL problems - but no, i'm referring to finals week. i just finished my fourth final - parasitology. i have 2 more left - epidemiology and micro anatomy. at this point, i have 2 As (virology and CCE) and 1 B (phys). i don't know any other grades - at this juncture.

finals suck. i'm running on around 4 hours of good sleep per night - and short naps (2 hours) during the day. i keep telling myself TWO ....... MORE ..... DAYS. then it's over. i think i have an ulcer. every time i eat, my stomach burns horribly, and i can't finish a whole meal. i've also been in major gastrointestinal distress since the week started. it's been fun all around.


i'm going to take a nap now, before i die of cotton-stuffed headedness.

Monday, May 2, 2005

1 down, 4 to go

this morning at 9am, i joined my fellow 69 classmates and took the gross anatomy final exam - laboratory and practical. it was grueling and awful. i feel terrible now that it's finished. stupid, i guess. it was very difficult...and it just made me feel so stupid when it was finished. i could cry right now. i should be happy. i'm finished with gross anatomy forever. that's a good thing. but instead, i just feel cruddy. and i have to settle down and study for neurophysiology, because i could possibly keep my B in that class.


Saturday, April 30, 2005

it's 11:30pm

do you know where your significant other is?

i'm here - at school. where i've been since 9am this morning. i have now passed the 14 hour mark for today. and i won't be going home for AT LEAST 2 more hours. i wasn't kidding when i said my days are loooooong. we have a micro anatomy test tomorrow that myself and my classmates are desperately cramming for. it's going to be difficult, i'm sure. i'm so tired, i can't see straight. i can barely read my own handwriting sometimes. i have 2 more sections to get through - one being renal anatomy - which is very very very very long. and then male reproductive. and then...maybe i can go to bed. the next 19 days of my life are going to be pure hell. though - when i say 19 days - i can barely believe that's all that's left of my first year of vet school. where does the time ago?

i bombed my first test or quiz this semester. it was in gross anatomy. i made a whopping 20 points out of 50 possible. that's a 40% for those less-math inclined than my cell phone calculator. i wasn't devastated, because when i left the quiz, i knew it was baaaaaaaaaaaaaad. i can only blame myself. i didn't do squat all of spring break or ables week. and now, i'm way behind and have to do things like this to myself to catch up. but - it makes me feel better that at least 20 of my classmates are within a 100 yard radius of myself at this very time. i'm not alone. and that's sometimes nice to know.

well, that was my break. time to start urinary anatomy.

Friday, April 29, 2005


not much to post, i suppose. i feel totally relaxed. i don't know why. i have 5 finals literally on my doorstep, and i couldn't care less. i feel almost carefree. i haven't thought about finals all day. i've kinda given myself (most) the day off. a friend is coming over to get some free tutoring from me tonight in micro anatomy -but that's probably all the studying i will do. i feel totally guiltless. it's a nice feeling. i did some light shopping today, put together a present for my friend (jessica) whose birthday is today, and cleaned up my house. i feel so light and airy. it's odd. all my other friends and acquaintances are running at max throttle stress level. i just go shopping...

it's so rainy here. it's supposed to rain alllllll week. i guess that's a good thing, i won't be tempted to play (and procrastinate) when it's nasty outside. although, hasn't stopped me today. i'll be buckling down and getting serious tomorrow, i suppose. one more week - 5 tests - and i'm officially a 2nd year vet student. still amazes me. i guess i'll be more amazed when i actually pass everything... i've done a lot of the best case/worst case scenario figuring for my grades. i need a 90 on the final in anatomy to get a B. i don't see that happening. i think the highest i've ever made on an actual anatomy exam is 88. to keep my B in phys, i need a 55 on the final. not too hard to achieve, i hope. to keep my A in parasit, i have to do moderately well (high B, low A range), micro - don't know, don't care, shouldn't be hard, and epidemiology - need an A or very high B to keep an A. but really, at this point, i don't care about my grades. i just want to be finished.

i'm really excited about a movie coming out in july called 'night watch' - it's russian and will be subtitled, the title is actually 'nochnoi dozor' -- and the preview is just mind blowing. i get so excited everytime i see it. i hope so much that it's a good movie. it's a horror/fantasy thing about the balance between good and evil. it will probably be terrible - given my propensity for loving previews of bad movies, but i can hope, right? the trailer has a song by m83 in it - a band i have just started listening to recently - so that seemed like a cosmic sign...

i guess that's all here. i haven't much to report. i'm kind of hanging in limbo right now, waiting for finals to officially begin...keep me in your thoughts:)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

5 more tests to go

i made an A in virology. surprisingly, i made an A on the final. i'm pretty happy with that. i'm going to make a C in gross anatomy though. a C+ in all likelihood, but a C nonetheless. oh well. i shouldn't make any Cs in anything else, barring any unforeseen moments of stupidity or not enough studying. back to gross anatomy.