Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Encounter

Today I took my lab final. It was okay. I don't believe that I bombed it. I don't believe I was anything stellar. You know, I'm okay with that. It was a hard class. As always, I spent a lot of time on the test, and then I walked out of the room, and I was glad to be going.

I drove off and loaded up a truckload of firewood. I'd seen a sign on the way to school. I told Tim, and he told me to drive the truck and stop in and get that wood. It wasn't split, but it was dried. Anyways, I was talking to the property owner as I was tossing that wood in the back of the truck. He was embarrassed not to be helping. He'd taken a bad fall and broken his back a few years back. He'd had a couple steel rods put in, but now he was having some terrible nerve pain. He just found out that he had to have more surgery. He looked at me. "I fell down a flight of stairs, and now I've pretty much disabled." And he was pretty pissed at the turn his life had taken. He said, "My woman is headed off. She's looking for a man in better shape than me. I told her she should. She's a teacher. What can I give her?"

I listened and kept chucking wood on the truck. I had to get back to school for lecture, but this young man's story was bothering me. He talked on, like he'd known me a hundred years, and the frustration just poured out of him. I mean, here he is, maybe in his mid-thirties, and he's looking at life like it's done and over, as if he has no value at all. I said, "You know, life throws you some curve balls sometimes. I had cancer a while back." His eyes looked surprised. "It changed our life, my husband's and mine. Both of us. I can see where a surprise like this might derail your life, but you know, you take a deep breath. It is what it is. And you deal with it. You make the best of it. You know, I've discovered that some mighty powerful stuff happens during the hardest times." He asked questions, listened to what I had to say. I shut the tail gate and walked around to load the last few pieces of wood. "You're a pretty strong woman," he said. "You can tell." I looked at him and said, "You're stronger than you think you are." And he got me a bottle of water from his house. "You know, I've got more wood down back. You can have as much as you want, any time. It's not cut up or anything, but the trees are down and laying there. So if you want to go back, and get it, you are welcome to it." Now there's something you don't get every day...somebody offering you free wood. I told him I'd tell Tim, and walked to the cab of my truck, taking a swig off the water. We thanked each other, and then I headed down his driveway.

I went back to school for that one last lecture. One more final tomorrow. That's it. I'm done. I've made it. I shouldn't have doubted it, because after all, you know, I'm a pretty strong woman. You can tell.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A post about Nothing.

Cara will be studying abroad next spring, at the University of Daegu in South Korea. For all her squalling about wanting to see the great wide wordl, she was surprisingly low key about it. I've been to Daegu, myself. Her father and I met in Korea actually.

I've studied for that final tomorrow. Don't know how confident I am about my own abilities, but I'm tired, and I have a corker headache, and so I am off to bed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tonight my Heart Stopped

We've got a new computer in the livingroom. It hooks me up to the world wide wonder of you folks, but it does not have a printer. It is not compatible with our printer, and's been tight, etc. etc. *mumble, mutter* So we have the old computer in the back bedroom. That is my writing computer. It is hooked up to a printer. It is not, however, hooked up to the internet. Being old, it does not have the wireless capabilities that the new computer in the livingroom has. In any case, I spent a long meaningful day with my old computer today, painstakingly typing up my lab report. Eight pages worth of cardiac function. Calculations. Data. Graphs. The whole ball o' wax. Padding out to the internet computer to research things, I'd have to write it out longhand and then pad back into the old computer to incorporate it into my computer. Finally, finally it was done. Long past my bedtime, but it was done, and with a huge relieved sigh, I hit print. And nothing happened. I waited. Nothing. I started to get a little nervous at the Program Not Responding message. I took a deep breath. I didn't want to close it because I had not (stupidly) saved the document yet. My heart sank. Finally, I had no choice but to end the program, and so I did, praying like you would not believe. I brought Word Pad back up, and there was nothing. NOTHING! I have to admit, there was swearing. I was in the middle of cardiac arrest when I realized that I'd done the document on Word Perfect. I brought that program back up. By then my hands were shaking, and I was sick to my stomach. A little message popped up on my screen which said that the program had not shut down properly when it was previously used, and that I needed to create a back up file for my document. It was there. It was all there! Oh thank God! It was all there. The printer gave me fits, and I ended up printing the darn thing out three times, but I got it. It is past midnight, and the thing is done.

I have the final lab practical on Wednesday. The lecture final on Thursday. Then I am done. I'm done. I know I'm babbling. I need to go to bed.

For Jill

Jill, I realize that you and I, and uncounted others, may not get our 'hundred years', but the fact of it is that no matter how long we get, we will feel like it went all too quickly. You are. You are present in your life. You have loved wisely and well. You have sung your songs. You have given of yourself. You have lived your faith. You are. You are, and I hope that you find peace in that. Now. Link your arms with the people who love you, and set out to claim your hundred years. That's what I'm doing. That's what I'm aiming for.

And here's another, just because I like Five for Fighting (and it's my blog, after all...)

There's a reason for this world.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Still here.

Sunday just four days, I'll be reading a book. If I wanna.

Tired and discouraged.

In the meantime, wander over and encourage Hal to get his hinder out of bed a little earlier in the morning. Jill could use some encouragement as well. If you're prepared to have your illusions shattered, you can go visit Jeanie. Bob's post rendered me speechless.

I'll be back as soon as my torment hath ended.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yesterday Sucked.

I have just one more week of classes. I have a quiz on Monday, for lab, and then the big practical is on Wednesday. The final for lecture is on Thursday. I have to tell you. I am so flipping tired. I have an 8 page report to finish, due by 11:30 on Monday. The three hour lecture yesterday just about did me in. This close to the end, I expected to feel relief. I expected to feel like I was going to make it. I don't. I'm harried and tired and I'm having a hard time motivating myself.

I had possibly the worst day ever at work. A fellow came into to prepay. "What pump are you on?" I asked. "I'm on the diesal," he said. "Yeah, but we have two," and being in a hurry he said, "The last pump. The outside one." "Pump 14? The side by the car wash?" and he said, "Yes." I prepaid him for $75. We were busy. I was on my own. I was trying to ring people up. Two rainbow people walked in to ask questions. I noticed that Mr. Prepay was on pump 13. In a totally unrelated chaos, the alarms on the pumps went off. I have no idea why this happened, but it already happened once this week. I had no idea how to shut the alarm off, or how to reset the pumps. More and more people entered the store. At some point, blessedly, the head of security just happened to stop by. People were mad, I'm trying to settle them down while speaking with the manager via phone. I was having a hard time hearing her. I thought it was her phone. She insists it was not. I don't know how to refund a gas prepay to a credit card. She had to come in. It was not good. I did get a lesson in how to shut off the godawful alarms, and to reset the pumps. After all the chaos settled down, the head of security said, several times, that I had done a good job, that I didn't lose my cool, that I kept waiting on customers. That was nice to hear, but at that point, I felt as if I simply wanted to go curl up in a corner and have a good cry.

Night shift girl was late, as she almost always is, which means I broke late, and I ended up staying late. You know, I could almost feel sorry for her. Night shift is an awful shift. She has a little baby. But the thing is, she hits the door complaining, finding fault with everything anyone else has done. I understand why. She is afraid of getting into trouble herself, so she tries to spotlight the behavior of everyone else, make their job performance seem worse than her own. However, when you have had a pretty awful night, when you are exhausted and just want to go home, it's frustrating, and it is one more thing to grate on already raw nerves. I got very quiet, did my paperwork, and went home. The fact that I was being quiet made her even snottier. I did not address the issue. That is for the manager to straighten out. I'm not going to argue with her about it. I bit my tongue and left.

The world of the 'bottom feeders' (the slang term for people with menial jobs) is not a pretty world. It is competitive and it is mean. I keep thinking of down the road, when I get a good job. I hope that it is not like that.

Only 6 more days and I can read my book. Although now I'm thinking that the LAST thing I want to do is to open another book. Even for pleasure.

PS: I also did a horrible thing at the Good Will. I found an Agatha Christie book, so I tucked it under my arm. I picked up a couple shirts and headed to the check out, and paid for them. I went to my car. I was setting down my things. Much to my horror, I had walked out of the store with that book tucked securely under my arm, still fumbling with my wallet. I never paid for the book! By the time I realized it, back in the car, I didn't have the time to walk back across the parking lot. I had to get to work. I left the book in the car and will go back before work this afternoon to tell them what I did. How embarrassing is that? I really think, sometimes, that I'm the stupidest person I know.

Late edit: yeah. Today's not starting out really great. You ever have a watermelon explode in the kitchen? Ack. Got that all cleaned up and I'm still not at school. Ay yi yi.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We had an earthquake.

I missed it. I was working in the computer lab in school and did not feel a thing.

How about you, NW? I understand it was a 5.0 where you were. Now there's a blog post. Or are you still in Las Vegas?


This was the last day of the fetal pig dissection. I'm not sorry to be done with that. My lab partner, Ieasha, is a lovely girl, shy, smart. She was late this morning, and I had an awful feeling that I was going to be stuck working alone on our pig. Much to my great relief, she showed up, and we worked together separating the veins from the arteries, cutting carefully, teasing the tiny blood vessels apart and tracing them back.

While we were working, I told Ieasha what a relief it had been to see her walking into the room. She said, "But you'd have been okay. It seems like you really enjoy the dissections. I stopped to stare. "No," I said. "I'll be glad to have this done, that's for sure." She said, "But you're doing such a careful and good job." I explained my strategy to her. The class' pigs are being used for the practical. Many students had a hard time with the pigs, and blood vessels were lost, or perhaps the dye did not diffuse well. I don't know. But each time a teacher stopped by our pig, they said, "That's really good work," or "That shows up really well," or something like that. I figure for sure that our carefully dismantled pig will be on display during the practical. We know the names of the veins and arteries that we found as we cut. I figure that finding them on a familiar piglet will be a real help.

That's the plan anyway.

On a unrelated story, I was working at the store when a mother and her little boy stopped in. The boy had some sort of little pamphlet on frogs, and I admired it as I waited on them. He began to get quite excited as he told me about the digging he'd been doing, and the things that he'd discovered. It made me smile as I listened to this little scientist. Apropos to nothing, really, he suddenly said, "And do you know that we have BONES underneath our skin?" and his little eyes went wide at the idea of it. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do," I said. "Would you like a picture of all the bones, a coloring sheet?" And he got very excited when I told him that I had one at home that he could have for his very own. "Don't forget the SKULL," he had said, all agog with excitement and tapping at his little head. I've got to say that little guy is a lot more taken with A and P than I am.

Only Human

People have often asked how I do it. How I manage to post regularly, despite all the things going on in my life. The answer is easy. I get up early to do it. Each morning, I pad around in my bare feet and night gown making coffee. A morning without coffee would be, well, it would still be a morning, but infinitely worse. So I start my day with two cups of cappuccino from my own machine, and I bring my frothy cup into the living room, and I sit down at the computer. I take a few moments to click through the blogs, and then I quickly type up my post. It's part of my morning ritual. If I have to work or if things are especially hectic, I might not take the time to do it, but mostly I do take the time. As the coffee courses through my veins making me feel human, well, connecting with all of you, that makes me feel human too.

Speaking of humans, we're a strange lot, aren't we? We got broken up into groups to do a report. Before we began, the instructor made us pick a speaker. The research was done there in class, and the reports given at the end of the period. I was chosen to be the speaker. There were some problems with the printer, and we got one copy of the article we were working from. There is one girl from the group who is very explosive. Basically, you get one chance with her, and once she is angry, well, she stays angry, and runs her mouth. Time was running short, and I said, "Listen, I need to read that through that article if I'm going to speak on it," and she got mad, immediately, throwing the papers at me in disgust. It's weird. I work with her aunt. She's still quite angry at me because a customer requested a pot of flavored coffee on Saturday. We don't normally make the flavored coffees on weekends, but my understanding was that if a customer requests it, we make it. So I made it. The coworker got quite provoked. I explained to her why I made it. She refused to accept that. It happened again, a couple weeks later, and again, she took exception to the fact that I made the pot of coffee for the customer. What business is it of hers? She had no extra work to do, but she refused to let it drop, and stayed angry about it all shift. It turned out that I was right. We got our instructions: Just make the coffee. But each and every time I do, this woman silently seethes and takes long smoke breaks outside, leaving me to run the register inside, alone, no matter how busy it gets.

These women are never wrong, even if they are. They are sharp and prickly and angry people. I knew their father, their of the most jolly people you'd ever want to meet. Nice. Friendly. Involved with his customers. How do people get this way?

Well, my coffee's done, and I've got another test today. I'm tired. I'm really just finding it hard to keep plugging along. I don't want to think anymore, and I'm heartily tired of this class. I have an eight page paper to write, and I tried to do it last night. I couldn't. I studied for my test and went to bed early. Problem was, I lay there trying to write the report in my head, and didn't fall asleep until just before Tim got home. I look at the calendar. Seven more days and my torment will end. Just seven more days....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Well, damn. I studied hard this weekend for those two exams on Monday. I literally studied for hours. Hours on Thursday night. Hours on Friday morning. Hours on Saturday morning. I even skipped church to study for another few hours before work. The one thing that I will own up to is when I got home from work, my intention was to study another few hours. I couldn't. I was tired, and discouraged, and I just went to bed. My intentions were to get up early and hit it hard, but I didn't do that either. I just was so sick of the whole thing, I couldn't bear to look at the stuff yet again. I trundled off to class, and I was feeling pretty scared. I kept trying to tell myself that really, it was all there in my head. I just had to stay calm and reason it out, answer carefully. I had the lab test first. I thought it went well. I headed into the lecture hall feeling cautiously optimistic about the 6 chapter test. I took the whole hour on it. It was hard, but I reasoned it out as best I could. When I left, my cautious optimism was still intact.

This morning, in lab, we got our quizzes back. I got an 78%. A lousy stinking C! This was very discouraging to me, but I did not have time to mourn about it. We took another quiz, and then dissected a sheep heart and began work on a fetal pig. They are so cute. What a terrible thing to think that they never had a chance to even take their first breath. Baby pigs are just adorable anyway. Of course, they are a lot more adorable when they are breathing and squealing and running around than they are laying in a lab dissection tray. Take my word for it. The girl I was working with said, "You know, this is one of those things that I would never choose to do, dissect a fetal pig." I agreed. "I have had fun before, but I noticed that every time I was having fun, there were no fetal pigs around. Coincidence? I don't think so." But we stoically went through the steps, and cleaned up, and I wandered down to the lecture hall realizing that somewhere I'd lost my cautious optimism some darn place. I was feeling pretty low.

The instructor for lecture wrote the scores on the board. The average was like 66 or something. She said that two people had gotten As. Two people had gotten Bs. The rests were Cs or under. My heart just sank. I had no hope at all. She handed back the tests, and I could barely bring myself to flip it over and look at it. I should have made myself study the night before. I should have gotten up early that morning. I flipped the page over in a hopeless way and discovered that I'd gotten an 89. Not only did I get one of the two Bs...I was one point away from getting a coveted A.

You know, I hardly ever get a chance to say this. I've already texted Kelly to say it. Now I'm going to say it here. BOOOOOOOO-YAH!

*does little happy dance*

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just a quick note.

Well. I survived the great tests. I hate to count chickens before they're hatched, but I think that I did okay. On both of them. Maybe better than okay, but I guess I'll know by the end of the week. That big practical we had last week? Got another 'C'. That was discouraging. Thank goodness that the written portion sort of balanced out the practical. I bombed that. Really bombed it. 66 percent. I got an 85.5 on the written, so the two of them equaled a C.

10 more days and this class is OOOOOOOOover! I'm not sure that I'll have enough brain cells left to actually read my brand new book.

I saw a bald eagle yesterday on the way to work. Breath taking.

The Rainbow people are here. I have stories. No time to tell them now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Explosion Imminent

Danger! Danger! Red alert!

Explosion of brain in 3...2...1...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Weigh In, Additional Thoughts on Nothing.

Friday weigh in: No weight lost. No weight gained either, and I gotta tell you, the whole 'comforting myself with food' has been an issue this week. I've been doing pretty well with that. So we'll just focus on the 'no weight gained' this week and call it good.

I am having my morning coffee (second cup) and about to head back to the other computer where a charming human cadaver awaits. We will cover muscles and bones for the big tests on Monday. Tim works second shift, and that has actually been a big help. By the time that I get home from school, he's off to work. I have the evening with my books. It gets kind of lonesome though, and I'm sure he's lonesome too.

A kind of cool thing happened. I had to go to the local store to get some colored pencils for labeling muscles. I saw an excellent deal on a book that I thought would be a good Christmas gift for the girls. I stood there flipping through it, and suddenly, it occurred to me that I could buy those books. Tim's back to work now. So I gathered up six books, and headed off to the register with my books and colored pencils. On the way, I saw a toothbrush holder with matching liquid soap dispenser. We have needed a toothbrush holder for a time, ours being too small to accomodate the handles of our toothbrushes. I stood there once more, just reveling in the wonder that if I wanted to buy this I could. And so I did. I spent a whopping total of $10.87, and walked out of the store with my bags feeling like a rich woman.

I'll study this morning, and take a break to get the house cleaned (oh, man, does it ever need it...) and then I'll go back to the books after Tim leaves for work. Tonight though, I've got plans. I'm headed out the door to have dinner at 'new' Mary's with some of the funniest people that I know. We'll be blabbing and laughing and eating. I'm looking forward to this more than words can say.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today makes it official. I am two thirds of the way through this class, and my head has not exploded. I have two mega exams on Monday, one in lab, one in lecture.

I went to the lab for some extra study time with the muscles. There were three girls there doing the same thing. We all agreed. We feel like we are in over our heads. That made me feel a little better. I said, "The night before last, I was trying to study and burst into tears. I went to bed at 8:30." Everyone laughed. One girl said, "You know, when my sister was going to school for nursing, she was a screaming maniac when she was doing Anatomy and Physiology. I thought she was ridiculous, and I always complained about it. Now I totally get it. I apologized to her." Another girl said that the previous night, she just put her head down and cried over her books. Her mother was heading up to go to bed, but worried about leaving her alone while she cried. "Just give me a tissue," she sobbed to her mother. "I'll be okay. Just go to bed. It's alright."

It felt good to laugh about it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making Sense of It

It's 3 AM. I woke up suddenly, and it was clear to me that what I needed to do was to 'organize' my information. Cells. Tissues. Organs. Organ System. And then I began to do that in my head. Myofibril. Myofibers. I began to see how I could do this. I still have a lot to do, but at least I see a way to accomplish it. What a relief.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I cannot study one smidge more. I am brain dead and I have a headache. Nothing is making a bit of sense. I'm tired. So I have closed the books. I have cried 'Uncle'. I'm headed to bed. I have a huge 3 or 4 chapter test on Thursday. Something like that. It's all blurred together so badly I am not even know what we're being tested on. Too tired to go look. If I did go look, I'd probably be horrified and begin to cry.


The test was long, and it was involved. I feel like I did okay, actually. (No word bank.) Then I listened to everyone else talking about how hard the test was, and got a little nervous. Maybe I didn't do as well as I thought. A lot of people blew out of there pretty quickly. I did not. I spent an hour and a half on it, double checking myself to make sure that I did not make any stupid mistakes, making sure that I answered all the questions. Will it pay off? At this point, I really could not tell you. I honestly do not know how I did on the test, and that generally is not a good sign. I left that class room with one hour to kill before hte next class. I am also ashamed to say that I went to the cafeteria to grab coffee, and succumbed entirely to temptation. I comforted myself with french fries fresh from the deep fryer. I felt so guilty eating them that there was no real pleasure in them, but my frugality would not permit me to throw them in the trash. *sigh* Am I not the biggest mess you know?

I was thinking that I had to get at least a B in this course to remain in the OT program. Since I have (knock wood) an 82 or something close to it, at this point, I was scared sick. One really bad test score could have taken me below that B, easily. I found out today that I only have to get a C. That is a huge relief. I have a bit of safety padding between me and repeating the course.

15 more days and I can read my brand new book.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I received another test back today. I got another C. That makes three of them. It is frustrating because I study hard for the tests, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Tomorrow is the huge practical. I went to school this morning and worked in the lab for three hours reviewing. I have studied all afternoon, and took a break to call 'old' Mary, who I have not had time to talk to for a coon's age. So much happening in her life, and I'm missing it all. So we caught up briefly while I washed the dishes, switched out the laundry, started a new load. It felt good to catch up. And then it was back to the books to study some more.

Here's what I know for a fact. We are getting this information at such a rapid pace that I can scarcely keep up with it. My biggest problem is that I study and study and get to the point where I am fairly familiar with the words, and what they mean. However when I am given a definition and required to supply the word, I am not so acquainted with the word that I can just pull it out of the air. If we have a 'word bank', I will be do pretty well on the test. If we don't, I'm afraid that it will be another mediocre grade. I'm not sure. I don't know.

*bites fingernail nervously*


I'm going to bed.

Only 16 more days and I can read my brand new book.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The News

Today, Tim and I found out that we are to become grandparents in 2011. Congratulations, Buddy and Brianna.


I worked Friday night, and Saturday, and I will go into work at two today, after church. Dylan came home in his new Jeep Wrangler. It's nice, and he's proud of it. He'll head back home today. Cara leaves today as well, headed for her summer job working with the Upward Bound program.

Cara did bring home 'Shudder Island' and we watched it after work on Saturday, before I went back work on the massive homework assignment I had only halfway done (and due Monday, handed out Thursday). Dylan and Cara were very firm. "Mom," they said, "there will be no guessing the end. There will be no asking questions. Just watch the movie." I must say, the movie did not lend itself to that. It didn't ring true to me that there were so many sub plots. The Nazi aspect would have been adequate, or the deceased wife, but to try to connect both of those stories? It was too much. "It doesn't even seem real. And the bandage. What's up with that bandage? He's had it on his head now for days upon days." Dylan looked at me and laughed. "Yeah, mom, just the other day, I put on a bandage and people started dying all around me. And I wondered about bandages then too." He looked at his sister and said, "That mom...she's cracked another one!" And he and Cara laughed hard, shaking their heads. Tim shushed me, laughing too. But who had the last laugh? Hmmmmm? I did, I did! *waves hand wildly*

Then I went back to work, and I finished my homework (six hours of work, that.) I was able to read the paper for a few minutes before bed. We'll go out for breakfast before church, and before everyone heads out.

I feel badly about 'missing' this visit with the kids.

I feel great about getting that homework done.

Only only 17 more days and I can read my brand new book.

Have I, by chance, mentioned how happy I will be to see this class end? I did? Okay. I wasn't sure.

Completely unrelated comment: Even as I was typing in the last words, a tremendous cacophony of hooting owls took place in the woods behind the house. That was cool. And for some reason, it reminded me of movie watching with Cara and Dylan. I wonder why that is. But back to bed for me.

Late Edit: I guess that it is 'Shutter Island', not 'Shudder Island'. Can you tell who was in the kitchen scooping herself up a heaping helping of fruit salad during opening credits? Yeah. That be me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This doctor visit, I had questions. I made my little list. I had my blood work for the appointment. I received a call the day before the appointment asking me to be there 15 minutes early. I reported there at 12:45. At 1:30, Tim was nodding off as we sat in the little room. I walked out to the desk and explained that I had to go to work. The nurse assured that me the Dr. had 'just gotten there', but I also knew that there was another couple waiting to be seen. There was no point in staying. Even if she had only spent ten minutes with them, I still would have had to leave because I would be late for work.

So I left. I have no idea what happens next.

You know, I was told that I was to be conscientious about keeping appointments for yearly physicals, since tamoxifen is linked to endometrial cancer. So I'm careful. I made my appointment. My family doctor has become part of a larger medical group. At the time that I made the appointment, I was told that he would be gone for a great deal of the month. The receptionist mused, "I imagine that you want your appointment with him..." and I said, "Well, no, actually. I really have liked the last two physicians assistants that he had. They both knew their stuff. So, yeah. I'm comfortable with the new physicians assistant." The appointment was made. The day before the appointment, I received a call telling me that the physician's assistant was not coming to my doctor's office, and that I should report to ----------'s offices for my appointment. Okay. The morning of the appointment, I received yet another call. The physician's assistant was now not coming in at all, and the appointment was canceled. I was advised to make another appointment.

These are small things. Really. I know. But whatever happened to plain old consideration? I remember when, if an appointment was canceled, you were called, received an apology, an explanation, and a new appointment was made, all in the same call. And the thing is, I'm not old. Well. Not that old.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Weigh In

I have not lost a pound this week, so the scales remain at 18 pounds lost for the year. Exercise really makes a difference, and the only thing getting a workout lately is my brain, and apparently working your brain, no matter how strenuously, does not burn a lot of calories. That's some sorry news there. At the rate I've been working this old brain, I'd be skinny if this sort of exercise burned calories.

I'm pretty sedentary at this point, having little time for anything else. After my big push in the spring, it's a little embarrassing to admit that. I was working quite a bit, but the last couple of weeks, my hours range between 20 and 25. I'm actually grateful for the lighter workload. Balancing nearly full time hours and this class made me feel a bit insane.

I have an appointment at the cancer center this afternoon before I go to work. I'm interested to see how the tumor markers are. We're studying bones in class. The teacher spoke on arthritis. I listened carefully. My PET scans show areas of activity at the iliac crest. Their words, not mine. I was told that it was probably due to some degenerative condition like arthritis. But studying the bones intently, it occured to me. The iliac crest would not be affected by arthritis. She gave us a break at the half way point, and so I had a chance to ask my question. The teacher looked me square in the eye. 'Arthritis is a joint condition.' I knew that. I'd already figured it out, but I guess that I had to hear it. "I'm not an expert," she said. "But you've got questions. I'd have questions too." So today, it will be interesting to see what the blood work shows. I'll ask my questions. The answers will tell me what I need to know. The thing that makes me impatient with myself is that I feel badly about hurting anyone's feelings. As if the most important thing, even still, is what people think of me.

Speaking of cancer, there's a guy who comes into the store. Tall. Bearded. Do-rag. He comes in to gas up his motorcycle and to buy his cigarettes. Because I'm a bit of a blabby mouth, I tend to make conversation with virtually everybody. I asked him how his day was going. "Not good," he answered. And he went on to tell me that they suspected that he had cancer again. And he pulled his beard aside. He's had some pretty extensive surgery on his neck. He explained that the scars actually showed two surgeries. He'd done chemo, and radiation too, and he was not looking forward to the thought of doing it all again. I looked at him. It's hard to know what to say when you're making polite conversation, and it opens a door that you didn't mean to open. But I've dealt with the cancer stuff, and I know how important it is to hear an encouraging word. So I fumbled around a bit, but I said, "Yes. I know. I dealt with the whole cancer thing two winters ago. It's darn scary and chemo and radiation is not fun. But you know, it is what it is." And he looked a little surprised that I knew where he was coming from. We spoke briefly, and wished each other good luck. Mr. Motorcycle Dude and the 'mama of the world' found a common bond, and it probably looked strange to see the two of us talking so intently, if you were on the outside of it all, looking in. Anyways, I saw him at the store yesterday. It was busier then heck, and he was not in my line, but I heard him talking to the man behind him. "I just found out that I have cancer for the third time..." and he held up three fingers. He looked frustrated and angry and (I'm going to say it)scared too. And then it was his turn, and he bought his pack of cigarettes and out the door he strode. I don't get that. I just don't get it.

Dylan comes in tonight, with his new Jeep Wranger. Cara leaves Sunday in her old Cavalier. She decided not to take the car Tim bought for her because she was nervous about learning to drive standard. All these comings and goings. I feel as if I will not have time to visit with Dylan. As if I did not have the time to properly visit with Cara. Brianna and Buddy will be home the last weekend in June, when I will be studying for finals and I will have no time to visit then, either.

I will be so glad when this class is done. 20 more days and I can read my brand new book. Every night, when I climb in to bed, I take a moment to look at it, laying there like a promise. Last night, it occured to me that it would be majorly disappointing if this long awaited book turns out to be a stinker.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Long Day

Went to class, had more new words thrown at me. A heaping helping of new words. Dear heavens. I don't know if it is possible to absorb that much. We covered two chapters. I've got a lot of homework. I've got a practical on Tuesday. 200 points. Am I scared? Um. Witless. I left school glad that class was done, glad that this week is done, glad to be able to say that I am half way done with this flipping class. Ay yi yi. This is killer. KIIIIIIIILLER.

The lab teacher? It appears that they are going to work with him, give him a chance. I was relieved. I was afraid he'd be fired or something, but he wasn't.

Left there and went to work. That manager apologized and said that she was totally out of line. That made me feel better. I apologized for responding in kind.

Now I'm home. I'm going to bed. Furthermore, I am not going to set the alarm. I will wake up when I want. Sadly, that will probably be about 6:30. That's okay, I reckon. I'll get an early start on that truckload of homework and the bejillion new words I have to figure out.

The end.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Breathing Again

Tim starts back to work on Monday.

It's been a rough road, but we made it.

Lab Teacher

The teacher for my Anatomy and Physiology class is young. He and his wife are far from their home, the parents of newborn twins. He got this job two weeks before class started. That's a lot of changes for him. Because I have kids his age, it bothers me. He is not a confident teacher, and the thing is, he's horribly unprepared for class. He makes mistakes. He doesn't know things. He tends to hand out work sheets and let us find our own way. He gives us a list of terms and we study the bones until we figure it out.

The problem is that knowing where the superior articular process on a vertebrae means nothing at all until you see how the inferior articular process fits against that. And how the atlas swivels about on the dens of the axis. Until you see the pieces working together, you don't really understand the purpose, how cleverly designed it all is, how the head of the rib fits into the costal facets, and and how the clavicle fits against the scapula at the shoulder. It's fascinating how we are assembled and simply looking at a bone means nothing until you see how it goes together, and suddenly it begins to make sense. You find that you know where to look for the bone markings. It makes things go much more quickly when you see how it goes together, and at the pace of this summer semester, we really do not have time to 'dumb around' in the wilderness, fumbling to make it all make sense. The teacher is the key. Our lecture teacher gave us a quick class and, in the hands of a skilled teacher, we learned more in that hour then we did in the previous three. That's the truth of it plainly stated.

However, I cannot help but feel sorry for the teacher. This is a hard class. Darn hard. He's overwhelmed at home and has begun a new job as well. He probably has not got unlimited amounts of time to devote to preparing a lesson plan from scratch. I don't know. I'm doing okay in the class, but I hear others complaining bitterly about the teacher. But I have heard the self same students say, "Oh, I don't have time to study tonight," or "Yeah, I didn't understand that so I skipped it," or "What's the point?" What it sounds like to me is that they are pretty anxious to blame EVERYTHING on the teacher. I see it like this: His methods aren't working, but I still have to pass this class. I have to work harder to 'get it', but I'm doing okay. Not spectacularly. But I'm 'getting it'. Sitting on my ischium and bitching about the teacher isn't going to get me where I want to be.

Only 21 more days, and I can read my book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Deep Blue C

We got our tests back in lecture. (Remember that big test that I studied all weekend for?) I got a C. I was pretty blue about that. I had really studied for it. To add insult to injury, I got another C in the lab practical held the same day. The lecture teacher was thrilled with our efforts. No one failed. I guess that's never happened in a summer class before.

I think that I did very well on the test we had today in lab. That should help balance out those two awful Cs. We have another test tomorrow. Another opportunity to raise those Cs. I'd better get to it.

22 more days and I can read my new book.

Brand New Book

A nice thing happened last week. There was a message on the answering machine that I had won a book at the library. There is a contest, and if I know the answer, I drop a slip in, but I've never won before, and I certainly haven't had time to stop into the library for a while. Reading for entertainment seems like a foreign concept. Anyways, the lady's recorded voice invited me to stop in and pick out my book. So today after school, I had to go get blood work done for the stinking tumor markers, etc. and so I stopped by the library to pick up the book. They had a whole rack of brand new books. I had my pick.

What a delightful moment! Do you know how long it has been since I got a brand new book for myself? Like...a couple years, maybe more. Really. I always buy my books used. If I get a new one, it's a gift from someone. That's nice, don't get me wrong, but this was a rack of brand new books...and I got to take my pick~!They were all novels. I picked them up one at a time, and finally settled on Pat Conroy's 'South of Broad'. I carried it out of the library, and to my car. I flipped through the pristine pages, unturned by human hands. I looked at the words yet unread, and it was such a little anticipatory thrill. I can't read that book now. I've got an Anatomy and Physiology text and matching lab manual that needs to be read first, but when I got home, I lugged my heavy back pack into the house, and I carried that book in my hands. I set it down carefully on my bedside table. After the first of July, I will be able to read it. I know that it probably sounds ridiculous, but I cannot tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

23 more days....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Make a Difference

It's interesting how things work out, isn't it? I was actually sick when I went to work. I was working with a young man who's actually an acquaintance of Cara's, also home for the summer. He was there for the 'scene' of the previous day, and he felt strongly that the manager's behavior was totally uncalled for. He spent the rest of his shift listening to her muse on the subject. "I was going to apologize, but..." etc. From that, I was able to figure out that she, on some level, realized that she had behaved badly. For my part, I was reactionary. I try very hard not to be, but I was emotional too. So that made me feel a little better as I scooted around mopping the floor and doing the things that you're supposed to be doing when you're not waiting on customers.

There is an elderly man that comes into the store and gets a couple coffees once a day. We've spoken in a friendly way since I began work there. He liked our place but was having a single consistant and annoying problem when he went to other gas stations from our chain. I explained to him how to solve his problem, and also pointed out the number to corporate on his receipt. "It's a training issue," I said. "Like as not, the person simply has never had anyone teach her how to do this." He was quite friendly about it, and was much happier when I saw him next. My solution had worked perfectly, and the girl at the counter had been pleased to learn something new. A win-win situation. Anyways, we were busy, I was on my own, and he waited patiently watching the customers, watching me. Finally it was his turn. I thanked him for his gracious patience, and rang him up: two coffee refills, just like usual. By then it was just he and I in the store, and there was time. I was getting his change from the drawer and he asked, "How do you like working here?" I was a little startled, but I said, "Oh, the job is okay. I like people. But sometimes it gets too busy. I try my very best, but I get flustered and screw up. Yesterday, I got yelled at, and I got mad back...I'm worried about losing the job..." I kind of trailed off. He smiled. He told me something that he observed each and every time that he came to our store. He complimented me, and took a moment to say an encouraging thing. Customers came in, and he quietly left the store, but you know, I felt much better. What he had observed was something that had been eating at me as an unjust situation. Simply knowing that I was not the only one to see it that way made me feel much better.

It made me realize, once again, we all have the power to make someone's day better.

Well, my second cup of coffee is done. I've got two monster exams this morning. I have studied myself stupid for them. Let's hope I don't get flustered there. Time for me to get this day under way. Where ever you are, make it a better place to be today. Make a difference.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


The gas station where I work has 14 pumps. Of those 14 pumps (which are on both sides of the building), we are required to 'keep an eye' on the customers because they have the option of pumping first and then coming inside to pay. You'll have the occasional customer who will 'forget' to pay, but most of them are pretty good. Thursday night however, we had three drive offs on our shift. One was actually not my fault, because my register had quit working and the manager was on it. However, by the time that I got back on my register and discovered the driveoff, the other register was preparing to break, and I was told the ring the sale up. Later I figured it out: this meant that I was 'claiming' it. I was the one who had to call it in to security. I felt badly about it. I haven't had a driveoff before. But to have two more on top of that? God. I went in yesterday, and I worked the whole day. As I was coming close to ending my shift, we discovered that we'd again, had two driveoffs. The assistant manager was quite upset. The store was busy. We had lines. There's no way to keep track of all those pumps and wait on customers one right after another. To compound things, I made a mistake on the register and couldn't figure out how to fix it. I had to ask her help. She was very upset and let me have it, complaining about mistakes that I'd made before ('But you told me about them, and I've corrected them.' 'But only after I told you about them.' 'Well, isn't that what training is?' Next thing you know, I was as upset as she was. Doing a good job is important to me, and I felt awful. Number 1: She shouldn't have upbraided me in front of everyone. Number 2: She shouldn't have blamed me for the driveoffs. Number 3: We were both upset.

The thing is, I don't have a clue how to prevent this: the store is just too busy. The assistant manager told me that everyone else manages to do it. I personally think that we are lucky to live in an area where most people are honest, and then driveoffs are not a big problem because of that. I cannot keep track of the pumps, the customers on them, the vehicles on them (some of the pumps cannot be seen from the store). I don't know what to do. I think that I am going to get fired, and I am sick about it, even though my little co-worker sent a comforting text message to Cara later on.

I actually have a stomach ache about this. I've also skipped church to study for two huge exams (Cara is teaching Sunday School for me). I am so stressed that I feel like I will burst. I don't even know what to do. I finally decided to simply pray about it, and put it in Someone else's hands.
(He hasn't made my stomach feel any better)

I do find myself wondering this actually too much stress or am I simply less able to deal with it?

Back to the books. I'm half way done with the study guide, I've taken five pages of notes. Thanks for taking a break with me.

Tornado watches here until 3 PM. It is dark and blustery. My insides feel very like that.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Weigh In

I hurtled that one pound mark. This brings my year's loss to 18 pounds. I really can see that exercise makes a big difference in weight loss. This week, my work hours have been cut to 22. I have to tell you, I was so glad to see that I almost cried in relief. This gives me time to scoot into the lab and do some histology work before the big test on Monday.

In flipping back through, it seems like all I talk about is school and this damn A & P. As if that is all there is. It isn't. It takes up a huge chunk of time, but there's been other things. I was driving to school, and I passed a small marshy area. I always take the time to look at the geese. The little goslings are adorable little fuzz balls. One day, I glanced over as I drove by, and there was a penguin in the tree. I did a shocked double take and realized that I was staring at an osprey head on. From that angle, all that I saw was the upright black and white bird, looking for all the world like a penguin in a tree. Penguins are not native to this part of the world. That made me laugh.

I saw a turtle crossing the highway during morning rush hour. It was a large turtle that had cleared my lane and was just crossing the center line. I couldn't stop, but I worried about that turtle. He was probably a snapper, and moving him off the highway would have been as easy as getting a large stick and poking it at him until he clamped down, and then dragging him off the road, but it was busy, and I had a class to get to, and so I decided that Yertle the Turtle was on his own. It did make me glad to see that cars were swerving to give him wide berth. On the way home, I looked for him, and was glad to see there was no turtle carcass. That made me glad.

A friend died. Of cancer. I didn't know that she'd taken a bad turn, having been too busy to call. Cara's home, and I feel as if I have no time to be with her. Tim and I are moving in our own directions. He's busy on the house. I'm, like as not, headed to work or headed to school, or have my nose in a book. The other day, I was trying to study, and he was trying to talk to me, and I told him that I needed to study. That makes me feel selfish.

I don't have time to do a lot of cooking, and I am behind on the laundry. We pretty much pick our clothes from the stack of clean laundry on the pool table. There are books everywhere. I feel like I've pretty much thrown my family to the wolves. This makes me feel guilty.

But the fact of the matter is, I feel guilty about everything. I invariably think that everything is all my fault. Tim and Cara are certainly old enough to fend for themselves (at 53 and 20 respectively). If I am to pass this class, I need to work at it. So I stumble on through as best I can, and I am grateful to catch brief glimpses of the people I love stumbling right along with me. I look for the small things to feel glad about, goslings, and penguins in trees, and turtles crossing the road. I admire flowers. Thunder and lightning storms (and we've had some doozies). These little details of life provide a respite, the pause that refreshes. The little things get me through. Reminding myself that this class will be done and over on July 1st is a big help too.

I still feel awful about my friend though. I do feel awful about that.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Results, not reasons.

As expected, I bombed that lab. Not only did I forget the diagram of the serous membrane, I also forgot to finish a second question. 2 1/2 points lost there needlessly, and it made me sick. Combined with what I missed, I ended up with 17.5 points out of 25. Another error I made in identifying parts was to simply label an adrenal gland as 'adrenal gland' instead of 'left adrenal gland'. I also did the same thing with a teste. Foolish mistakes that I'll try my best to never repeat again. However the good news is that I think I did very well on the lab quiz we had today, and combined with my previous grade that will bring me back up into the eightieth percentile.

That test we had for lecture? The one with all the chemistry, the one that I studied myself blind on? That one, I got a 93 on. I was also kind of frustrated to see that I'd also missed a question there for misreading it. How stupid! Our huge test (chapters 1-6) has been delayed. Just as we filed into the lecture, we lost power. The auditorium was plunged into total darkness. I sat there for a time, but nothing happened. We all went outside, where we got to know each other better as we waited to be dismissed.

So I got home early, even though my intention was to stay the afternoon and get some extra time in the lab with the microscope and histology slides. (Big test on that Monday). So I've been doing some extra studying, but I took a break to make two quiches (homemade crusts, too). They are baking even as I sit here. The kitchen has been put back to rights. I keep telling myself that when I am done tomorrow, I will be 1/3 of the way through this class. These calculations make me gladder than I can say.


Thanks, everyone. Here's the dealy-deal. I brushed up a little on the lab stuff, but since I didn't have a lot of trouble with the rat dissection, I did not spend a lot of time on that. My focus was on the lecture portion which had me drowning in chemical stuff that scared me to death. The fact of it is that I went to school early to sit down with my lab book, but got there and discovered that everyone else had the same idea. The hall was packed with people, and they were all talking. I got into the class room. The testing was new to me. Picking up and moving every minute meant that I was interrupting myself to move and I found it very distracting and hard to keep my focus on what I was doing. I don't think that I did well on this test overall. (When this gal draws a blank, she is BLANK!) Once my focus was lost, I started to get nervous, and even things that I would have expected to have no problem with, I was struggling with, and well...

What I have learned from this is:

1) I need to study just as much for the labs as the lecture portion, even if I think that I've 'got' the lab.

2) I need to understand that focus is going to be an issue for labs practicals and compensate for that.

3) I need to get over it, and move on smartly.

4) I have also learned that when I study myself blind, even the hard stuff (like chemistry) can be conquered.

5) Drive my own car.

6) Always drink my coffee from my 'lucky' mug on a test day.

Lessons learned. Today is a new day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dumb Bunny

Well, I am ashamed to say that I think that I bombed the lab practical. I've never done a lab practical before. Basically, you move from station to station. You have 1 minute at each station. A station might have nothing, in which case, you work on the portion of the test that is not related to IDing rat parts and pieces. I go down through the test and answer the questions that I know first of all. Then I go back to ponder on the questions that I might have to think about. This particular test asked you to draw a picture of a serous membrane, label the parts, discuss the purpose. It was easy. EEEEEEEasy. I skipped it because I needed to think about how I was going to draw this. People. I handed in the test without going back to it. At the end of the lab, I was packing up my books and notebook and stuff, and I caught a glimpse of my notes on serous membranes, and my jaw dropped. I realized what I had done, and I wanted to simply drop my head to the table and weep. But there was no time for that. I had to move on to the lecture portion, and the next test. That test, with all the chemistry and stuff, the one that I worried so much about, that test, I actually think that I may have done well on. I am afraid to say that out loud, however. After that grueling morning, I walked out to the car. Cara's car, actually. She was borrowing mine. Mine has automatic headlights. Hers doesn't. Yep. You guessed it. Battery was as dead as the rats on the lab table. At that point, I did cry. Just a little. And then I borrowed a phone to call Tim.

So yeah, I feel like I did okay on the second test, but then again, I'm kind of prone to being a complete and utter dumb ass, tripping over the details of virtually everything. Hard telling, until I actually see those grades with my very own eyes.

This is a test. It is only a test...

Inorganics: water, minerals, bases, acids. Organics: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids. Ionization, cations, anions, metabolisms, catabolisms, anabolisms, Hooke, Aristotle, Hippocrates, van Leuwenhocke (sp, probably), Darwin, organization of an organism, the eleven systems, steps of a scientific study. What's a complex carbohydrate? Name three simple carbohydrates. When is an atom at its most stable. Name a hydrophilic chemical. Is it polar or non-polar? Name a hydrophobic chemical. What makes it hydrophobic? Chloride is always a anion (-), sodium the cation (+). Last night, I kept shoveling it all in, and trying to understand. This is nerve wracking because I'm used to studying something until I know it, but here, there is so much to know, and so much that it ties into that I cannot be confident that I know it. The best way to describe is that I'm trying to pour a bag of sugar into a measuring cup. It won't all fit, but I'm trying to get as much in as I can, heaping it, but what a mess.

You know, this is just scary. I also have a test in lab, a practical. I have studied very little for that. (I don't have a dissected rat at home.) I'm tired. Tim argued me into bed last night. He's right. There would be no sense to staying up all night to study. I'd just be exhausted and when I'm exhausted, I falls apart. Lots of weeping. Everything seems too big to handle. Not a good way to walk into a major test. So, I went to bed, and I was sure that I wouldn't sleep at all, but I did, and soundly too. I ate breakfast this morning, being mindful to eat a heaping helping of protein. I've gone over my notes. After I'm done here, I'll get my shower and head out the door early to study my lab stuff outside the classroom one more time. I'll knock that out of the way, and then head to lecture where I'll have twenty minutes to study before class begins.

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, an astounding thought hit me. What I am studying now is the basics of A and P. This is the foundation of A and P. This is the simple stuff. *wide eyes* I am in so much trouble, people.

*heads off to the shower repeating 'This is a test, this is only a test...'*