Monday, January 31, 2005

my catharsis

i find writing such a nice way to unwind after the day. today has been a bad day. i had a sort of "episode" - you might call it - earlier. it wasn't pretty. it started when i got up (at 1p) and settled everything down to study. the birdies have been fairly neglected, as far as personal attention goes, since school started - so, on the weekends they are needy and clingy and loud. epi and carnegie were fine, but titus wouldn't stay off my desk. that started out the studying poorly. on top of that, i have a quiz today (as it is 1:30 now) in the same class in which i had a test on friday (and over entirely different material - endocrinology)'s very stressful. i was trying to study, and i couldn't get my mind to settle down and focus. i felt really bad mentally. it just kept getting worse and worse. the more i tried to focus and study, the more i couldn't. finally, i started to cry. at that point, i realized it was time to leave the house. leaving the birdies in jim's ward, i packed it up and headed to the ag library. once there, the soothing presence of books, a classmate, and beck on the CD player brought me back around to a fair amount of equilibrium. so, i accomplished some studying. not as much as i would have liked, but enough, i suppose. it will have to be enough.

i'm finished now, and contemplating bed - but things are interfering. days like today make me lose all self-esteem and sense of self-worth. i don't know why, exactly. i just felt BAD. that's the only way i can describe it. i spent a great deal of time ruminating on my flaws and shortcomings and how impossible they are to change. then i chastised myself harshly for being so self-centered...and the cycle continued. i think sleep is the only remedy for moods like this.

i've decided to read some light books during school, at night, before bed, to unwind. jim and i found a very very neat bookstore called book eddy. it's old and dark, with very tall bookshelves and ceilings. they mostly only carry non-fiction and first editions and classic literature. it's a huge, fascinating, drafty place that smells like books and faintly like mold and cats. 2 cats run around the place, one black and one white - so literature-ish. naturally, i loved it. i found several books in nice condition with good prices - emma and sense&sensibility (both austen), the turn of the screw (james), and we have always lived in the castle (jackson). i've never read any henry james, but ever since i heard a quote on television from the turn of the screw, i've been interested. so, i'm going to lie in bed and relax a bit. in preparation for my test.
love to all that love me - and to those who don't as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

for those of you who are keeping up...

the test did not seem to go well. the questions were confusing - some had no correct answers or incorrect information in the questions themselves (as confirmed by the professor after class...)

i am starting to wonder why i have to pay $10k a year to purchase a DVM, when i could just get the books and learn this stuff myself. after the test, i was feeling dejected, so i took a moment to visit the clinic and remind myself of why i chose vet school. unfortunately, it was a relatively slow day. the only interesting animal visiting the clinic was an african serval cat. serval cats are wild cats - they look like miniature cheetahs and weigh up to 40lbs. people actually buy them and keep them as pets. yes. i know. people are mostly stupid. anyway, the serval was in the exotics ward with a big sign on the door saying 'don't go in unless you are a doctor' - but i asked permission and got to get a peek at the boy. he was very cute and snuggly. but he hissed at me. so he wasn't a happy kitty. i also visited the blood donor ferrets. they are a neat little couple of rodents. also, a lamb baby only 3 days old. very cute.

we found a car today. i was happy with the outcome - surprisingly so. we had in our minds that we would wind up with a much older honda, toyota, or mazda - because we didn't want to spend a lot of money and we wanted something cheap and reliable (yeah yeah, i know...what were we thinking?) we never really considered a domestic car. but we went to the mazda dealership (we'd had absolutely ZERO luck elsewhere - private sellers, used car lots, etc) - and found a ford escort wagon 1994. it was a one owner trade in (a 72 year old man) with a mere 87k miles on it. immaculately kept inside and out. we were given the title with the owners name - and his phone number, as he still lives in maryville. ernest (the original owner) says "that car don't drink no gas and it don't eat no oil." we purchased it for $2500 - taxes and everything. in cash. it was the easiest and most pleasant car buying experience ever. the escort is the same color as dara's...that purply red. we bought a car in cash, paid off our credit card debt and cancelled our only credit card, and paid my hospital bill in full. we are now officially debt free (because student loans don't count, right?)... we are also liberated of all our motorola stock. but it was worth it, right?

so that's a load off.

this semester is going to be very very hard. this week was only the second week of school, and it was obscenely difficult. i felt a little sad today, in fact. we were in class till 3:30 or 5 every day except for wednesday. we had an anatomy quiz and a physiology test. we also have 5 other classes to keep up with and numerous labs - as well as extracurricular involvements (equine club, awe, and being class prez)'s overwhelming. and now, i get to spend most of saturday and all of sunday studying, studying, studying, studying...

you get the picture...

Friday, January 28, 2005

true commencement

school officially really got going today - as we received the fruits of our labors -- our first gross anatomy quiz was graded and returned. i am ecstatic to report that i made a 51/50 possible points. i was very full of myself till i remembered that i have something like 26 more tests/quizzes to go before the end of the semester. the likelihood that i can get all As? none...but - on the bright side - gross anatomy was my only C last semester (C+ to be exact) - so it looks like i'm on a better path for that class this semester. i didn't make a single A (on tests or quizzes) last semester in there. i am working really really hard, especially in comparison to last semester already, because i want to achieve very good grades. they keep telling us that grades don't matter, but i would like to be competitive for internships/externships and other interesting positions that are available. plus, striving for par excellence makes me learn more - as i study more. the only downside is that i take it hard when i don't perform as well as i want to. my other incentive is the national honor society for well-ranked students. the name escaptes me at the moment, but you have to be in the top 10% of the 3rd year class to be accepted. i know that's a long way off, but i'm working for it.

but was loooooooooooong - again. we had class from 8-12, lunch, lecture from 1-2:45, lab till 4. i just got home, and it's almost 5. i'm supposed to go back to school for an equine club dinner meeting...but i really really need a nap. i'm torn. if i go, no nap - so my 3 hours of sleep will probably catch up with me in an ugly way tonight...but i would really like to be an officer in the equine club next year, so i kind of need to go...

decisions decisions decisions. as my physiology professor likes to say, life is so full of decisions. today was long, but i did get to look at lots of nasty dog and cat and horse and cow and pig parasites (eg worms!) and poke and prod wormy intestine sections (in parasitology lab) so that was fun. other than that, lots and lots of long lectures. sometimes vet school is downright boring. i haven't touched a live animal (except my pets) in a month...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

an ecstasy of terror

an ecstasy of terror
tomorrow is my first test. gastrointestinal physiology. i am - in a word........... actually one word won't do it. i'm terrified, vaguely nauseous (could be the mcdonalds i had for lunch) and shaky. why? you might wonder - considering that i came through my first semester with better than a B average? because...the test tomorrow covers GI phys - the class is taught by a chilean with no organizational skills - and 70% of the questions on the test are written by my classmates. yep, you read that right - we have to write most of the test ourselves. each of us is responsible for 3 questions - format of our choosing (save no t/f or long essay). that gives the prof 210 questions to pick the test from (not counting his 30%)... i have no idea what to expect. some of my classmates should be fine for this task (i THINK myself included) but others...eek. i'm really scared. i'll be honest.

i shouldn't be. all i have to do is at least be average...i keep telling myself that. everyone wants to be normal - no one wants to be average, right? well, i would be happy with average.
off to study more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

it's 1:30am and i'm ruminating (pun intended)

i've been studying rumination/digestive fermentation of herbivores (or herbeevores (emphasis on the h of herb) as my prof likes to call them) for the past 2 hours. prior to that, i was knee deep in virology and gross anatomy. my life has officially disappeared. and it's 1:30 - with no real end in sight. disgusting, eh? only the 2nd week of school. i like to tell people that my life is atrophying from disuse (use one of those $5 words from school). today was hellish. i was up at 7, in class at 8, at school till 5p (lab from 2-5), home by 5:30, napped till 7:30, dinner till 8:30, studying since then. and did i mention that i only got 3 hours last night? it's an entertaining existence, vet school. all i do is study and go to school. all day - every day. i studied for 11 hours on sunday - straight - with only 15 minute breaks. if i didn't really love what i was doing and look forward to new challenges and school...well...i'd be a very very sorry person.

but it's 1:40 now, and the night is very quiet. all i can hear is a train going by 3 blocks over and a mournful train whistle. everyone but me is asleep (all birds, all cats, all husbands). it's almost soothing. i feel lulled into complacency. the acidity in my stomach brought on by nightmares of failing out of vet school has calmed itself (for once). i am moderately peaceful. life has been very very good to me.

on that note, i have met so many unhappy people in the course of my life - and i am always surprised afresh at what can make people unhappy. i always naively assumed that if one had all the ingredients for a happy life - one would be happy. i now realize that is patently untrue. some people just aren't happy. as for myself, my life is rich in luxuries (despite our modest income) and pleasantness. what do i have to complain about? my great education? my having only 1 vehicle? only have 4 or 5 very close friends? only having 2 families to love and support me? i just can't fathom unhappy people...

i think i'm going to try and sleep now.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

further meditations on the meaning of my life

i am seriously considering commission by the army. i'm sure most of you think that's insane. or maybe not, considering that i come from a somewhat military family. it's a complex decision - and one that i can't make lightly. if i commit, then i give at least 3 years of my life - post-grad - to the military. having just watched the manchurian candidate - i am seriously doubting the intelligence of this. no, in all seriousness...i do feel a need/responsibility to serve my country. i live in a land of incomparable freedoms and luxury, but i have never had to earn any of it. the treasures of the world have been placed lightly in my lap. those who came before me and died before me earned all these gifts.

there is also the allure of college being paid full, as well as books - and the stipend - which jim and i could desperately use. but those things are secondary. on top of those reasons, there is also the considerable relief of having the decision of what to do post-grad taken off my shoulders. if i sign myself over to the US army, then i don't decide - they do. at least for 3 years. and it can't be a bad thing to have on your resume "worked for the department of defense" or "army research institute of pathology" - right? plus, maybe i'd get top level clearance and get to play with smallpox and ebola. or maybe i'd be like dean blackwell and assist the surgeon general of the us - and then get to teach or be a dean myself...i'm only 25 of course. but i'm getting ahead of myself. maybe i should focus on my anatomy quiz on monday, eh?

i really need to just decide. i guess there's no hurry, this semester is already bought and paid for (courtesy of the US gov't and edfinancial - which exist due to my forefathers who died in get the picture, right?)

so, there's that - as zach braff would say. and for some reason, it all takes me back to my meditations on god and the nature of the universe and christianity vs all the other religions - and the root of everything - where we all come from and why we exist and do we exist and if so how? and are we all another being's science project, kept in a jar in a dark room somewhere? despite vet school appearing to take up every spare neuron - these are truly the questions that plague me when i try to sleep at night. no wonder i'm an insomniac.

and, as long as i'm ruminating, i've discovered a dirth of people like me in vet school. all of my friends and acquaintances and study buddies are pragmatists - focused on school, achieving good grades, being vets, and drinking on the weekends. oh - and watching tv when they have spare time. it's very depressing. i haven't found anyone that i really really click with yet. no one that reads book that i read - no one that really cares about or discusses politics or other issues. no one that prefers small, intimate gatherings of friends to drunken nights in crowded, noisy bars like barleys and downtown grill and brewery. it's kind of depressing. i've met plenty of good, fun people - but none of "the race of joseph" as anne shirley would say. i keep hoping. but sometimes i feel utterly alone and alienated. especially last night. everyone went out to a big drunk fest - and got very drunk and didn't get in till 3:30. and i was glad not to be there. other than that i felt left out. instead, jim and i ate at harbys (our favorite greasy diner that's not really greasy) and watched a movie.

i think i've bored enough.

Friday, January 21, 2005

gastrointestinal physiology

i am amazed anew every time i study physiology (which is every night, as of late - thanks to the fact that my professor has a heavy chilean accent and a strange method of lecturing). the way the human body works is incredible. absolutely mild boggling. we - humans and animals alike - are essentially giant machines - with intricately working and ticking parts. everything well-oiled, lubricated, and meticulously assembled. it's absolutely mind-boggling. it's enough to (almost) make me wonder about god and creation. if any of you are ever interested in some "outside your area of study" reading - i would suggest a good book on the physiology of the body... that is, if you already have a gentle to firm grasp on basic biochemical principles. but whatever. it's really an eye opener ... although ... sometimes i start to wonder ... if i study this too hard and think about it too much ... will it all stop working spontaneously?

at any rate. school is about as bad as i thought it would be. we were subjected to 6 hours of lecture today (but thankfully, no lab!)...tomorrow will be 4 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab. so...if you're wondering why you haven't heard from me... :-)

Friday, January 14, 2005

world of the dead horse

i'm probably starting to smell like formaldehyde. we have 10 dead ponies/horses hanging in the anatomy lab - and the stench is almost unbearable. my eyes and throat ache. i was horse (haha) for an hour after lab. it's icky.

so, as all can see, we started butchering our ponies. it's altogether a horse of a different color (haha) when compared with dog dissection. much more hacking, much less being careful. at any rate, i'm finding it very enjoyable. much more so than the dog. we named our horse seabiscotti. we wanted seabiscuit, but our pony is a girl, so ...

as for school. it's only the 3rd day today - and i've already studied for a cumulative 11 hours or so. not to mention the 19 hours of class. does that add up to more than 72 hours? it feels like it should. at any rate, it's friday - AND it's a 3 day weekend. so i'm happy. nothing else to report.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

tomorrow oh tomorrow

i go back to school tomorrow. my friends and i (all 16 of us) - went to olive garden tonight, had drinks and dinner, to celebrate our last night of relative freedom for at least the next 4 months. and now i am sitting here, not arranging my notes and stuff for school tomorrow, as i should be. i have been presented with another 4.5 inch thick stack of notes - and it needs to go in binders. but i can't bring myself to let go of my last 2 hours of freedom. though i do dearly love organizing.

i haven't much else to say. i wanted to read one more book before school started, but i wound up not having the time. so, i'm finished with extracurricular reading until may.

well, nothing else to say.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

for love of jane austen

well, i just finished my fifth book since school finished - the literary masterpiece 'pride and prejudice' - which of course i loved. i must have. i started it this afternoon and have just finished it. the rest of this post will be my lame attempt at victorian speech.

i have now as of late completed meditation on a literary work rife with witticsms and passion.
it caused sincerest felicity ...
i can't do this.

for those of you who haven't read it - i highly recommend it. jane austen has a somewhat caustic wit about her that keeps you interested constantly. of course, most of you are probably more literate than i - though i am working hard to read all the important classics (i have been eyeing don quixote for a while) - and have likely already read the book. i know my grandmother would be apoplectic if she knew i just lately read an austen work. i therefore send my heartfelt apologies to her for this oversight on my part. i am now wholeheartedly prepared to dive into 5.5 hours of pbs movie -- in fact, i'm so excited, i can hardly stand it. alison owns the complete movie - and she is in bed by now. so i dare not call and disturb her. but i long to wake her - to express my admiration for austen, my love of darcy...

on that note - i would like to defend my never having read austen before by saying that i have read many, many recently written books that will be classics - when i am old and grey. mcmurtry's 'lonesome dove' is certainly a modern classic - easily comparable to tolstoy or someboy else who wrote dense, important works. gone with the wind is a certain classic ... although it's probably already acknowledged as such.

ahhh. drat. i have to wait at least 6 more hours to disturb alison. i will never survive. bed is unthinkable. and now, i have rambled far enough. i will take this opportunity to warn family and friends that the next semester makes fall semester look like a cake walk. our schedule is terrible. we don't get out of class earlier than 3p almost every single day. so don't expect postcards :)
luv y' - as dad would say.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

I am doing this strictly for my own amusement

I love to talk about myself. I also love to involve everyone I know in my life - to whatever extent is possible.

So, what have I done with my blissful month of freedom? Not much of anything. I visited the family in Florida. It would have been much more enjoyable had I not been suffering from some viral bug. Luckily, it turned into a sinus infection for which I am now taking 5000mg of Amoxicillin daily. Not good for the stomach.

Other than that, I've read 4 books in 3 weeks and seen a plethora (yes, Pepe, a plethora) of movies. I also raked my yard clear of debris and weeded out my flowerbeds. Hopefully, when spring comes, I will have a garden. Whether it be live (flowers) or not (rocks and statues) - remains to be seen.

Of the books I read - 1 classic (Wells' War of the Worlds), 1 modern classic (Diamanti's The Red Tent), and 2 trashy reads (James Frey's "autobiography" A Million Little Pieces and Anne Rice's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty).
War of the Worlds was short, dense, and introspective. Very enjoyable and quick.

Diamanti's The Red Tent was lush, evocative, and very intense. It was also heartwrenching. I had a puddle of tears on my collarbone when I finished it. I would recommend it to anyone - almost. The writing style is absolutely luminescent. Beware of somewhat graphic, pagan sexual imagery.

A Million Little Pieces was the most worthless piece of writing I have ever touched or beheld. It was supposedly autobiographical - but it was so cliched, boring, and badly written that I can't believe I ever finished all 400 pages. I'm still mad that I wasted precious reading time.

As for movies, I just watched "House of Sand and Fog" - one of the most bleakly unrelenting films I have ever seen - "Requiem for a Dream" included. Stunning visually and musically - but my god. Rips your heart out. You spend more time at the end sobbing than anything.

And that's all. At least - about me. My brother is in Kuwait. I get to talk to him on occasion. My husband is considering enlisting as an officer in the Army, as am I. My best friend is working at Case knives, has a great dog and a psychotic kitty. My birdies are spoiled and fine. My kitties are fat and happy. Good night.