Monday, November 24, 2014

How can a sane person with taste buds dislike Grape Crush?

Fluid of the Gods

Jared came over to my house for awhile tonight. I just found out that he doesn't like Grape Crush! I suppose I could take the attitude that it just leaves more for me, but I'm not certain I'm willing to be quite so laissez-faire about such a fundamental issue.  He could like the Dodgers and I would probably live with it. I supposed I'd be Ok with his being an atheist as well as long as he were not overly evangelistic about it, which most atheists I know are not. I could probably even be tolerant of a preference for Bosendorfer pianos over Steinways, although I'm not sure he plays well enough to know the diffewrence either by touch or by sound. (For the record, if he announced that he was signing on with Warren Jeffs' crew, that would be a deal-breaker. One has to draw the line somewhere.)

But not to like Grape Crush? What's not to like? It's basically the fluid of the Gods, particularly in bottled form. Does that mean a person who dislikes it has Satanic tendencies? I'm just not quite sure what to make of this. I would understand his point if he were avoiding carbonated beverages for health reasons, but he downs Dr. Pepper as though the stuff has acne-fighting properties. 

I may need to take a closer look at Rafael.

P.S. If you have not guessed, I have too much time on my hands. My mother took away my textbooks for two days. I could go into my brother's room and get his, as she didn't confiscate his for the obvious reasons, but I am either, depending upon how one views it, either living in or a guest in her home. I'm going along with her "no studying for two days" plan. It may very well kill me, but I pride myself on being a gracious guest.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nineteen Kids and Subtracting

There but for the grace of God  I could have gone.

   At "The Original Duggar Family Blog, a post appeared     
   under the heading "Support the Duggars." readers of the 
   blog were encouraged to post messages of support to the 
   Duggars and to their program, 19 Kids and Counting.     
   The following response appeared. 

I LOVE this show. I cant go a day with out watching it. I watch every show and then watch them again. I feel like ive known the family my entire life. I dont know what i would do if they canceled the show.

I didn't respond to the comment at the blog because the site is heavily moderated, and my  response would never have seen the light of day.

I would, respectfully or otherwise, respond here to the original responder that he or she would be well served by acquiring a life of his or her own so that his or her own mental and/or emotional well-being were not dependent upon the continuation or cancellation of 19 Kids and Counting.

Unsupervised Babies Sleeping in Cribs and other Bizarre Cautionary Tales

I have a week off from school and am back at the homestead, or at least in the general vicinity of such. I went to babysit my Godchild this morning because he kept his mother up most of last night and she is exhausted. I held the baby and played with him for an hour or so, but he eventually fell asleep, so I swaddled him (it's a new technique all parents must learn now; it's amazing that I survived almost twenty years without ever once, to the best of my knowledge, being swaddled; I don't think my mother could properly swaddle an infant if her very life depended upon it) and put him in his bassinet in his mother's room.

I then went outside to help my Uncle Scott with his
recycling. He told me to fold up the cardboard box in which the baby's crib had originally been packaged. As I was folding the cardboard so that it would fit into the city-provided recycling bin, I noticed the following statement printed in moderately bold black letters in the center of one side of the box:"Do not leave baby unattended in crib."

Exactly what sentiment did the manufacturer wish to convey with the message? Is the implication that even when a baby is asleep in the crib, at least one sober and responsible adult should be standing guard and watching the child every second of every minute the child is in the crib? Are parents required to take sifts during the night even when the baby is asleep in order to accomplish this? Since they already must take shifts when the baby is awake, this would result in both parents getting zero amount of sleep every night at least until the kid outgrew his crib. Is there something inherently defective with this crib in particular, or are all cribs, regardless of make or model,  equally hazardous to babies? 

It seems that people (although perhaps quite naively) assume that a baby can safely remain in a crib in a state of sleep or, for shorter intervals, even in a state of wakefulness. Does this particular crib my aunt and uncle selected for their baby possess something akin to a trap door with a trigger that even a newborn baby can manipulate, thereby escaping said crib/prison? If so, is Ralph Nader aware of this function or malfunction? Or are all cribs by definition unsafe unless an adult is directly supervising whatever infant has been placed in the crib?

Or does the crib's manufacturer intend to convey that the supervisory capacity of its cribs is not without limits, as in a parent should not leave the child in the crib without another adult in the house to supervise the child while the parent attends mass or goes off to play putt-putt golf at a miniature golf course five miles from his or her home?  The company makes good cribs, but not cribs with superpowers. One should not expect even this manufacturer's  crib to detect and remedy choking, fever,  wet or messy diapers, hunger, loneliness, or other hazards of infancy.  Under this interpretation, a parent could conceivably go so far as to drift off to sleep with his or her child sleeping on one of the manufacturer's cribs in the next room. 

But how are we to really know this is the correct interpretation of the manufacturer's disclaimer? The box said:  "Do not leave baby unattended in crib." Call me anal-retentive if you wish, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable leaving a child to sleep in the crib that came packaged in that box unless I was prepared to sit and stare at the baby until it was time to remove him from the crib. What if the crib has a secret sensor that alerts CPS if a child is not properly attended in the crib? Is it really worth risking having one's child caught up and possibly even lost in California's dismal foster care system over a failure to heed a what would seem to be a clear directive?

I pointed this out to Uncle Scott. He told me that I and not he will be the one to be arrested for child endangerment, as it was I who put his baby to bed before coming outside. I reminded him that I had placed the child in the bassinet next to his mother, and not into the crib in the adjoining nursery. As far as we know, the box the bassinet came in bore no similar warning.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the threatening package label before I folded the box multiple times, jumped on it in order to compact it, and shoved it deep into the recesses of the recycling bin. The box is now ensconced in the filth of recycling, and I have no intention of digging it out.

My Uncle Scott mentioned that when his family got their first computer -- one of those T-Rex colossal desktop models -- when he was a kid, he was reading the directions aloud to his father as his father was assembling the thing. In the instructions, right in the middle of reasonably important content about what cables to attach where, in bold print inside a text box appeared the warning: "Do not operate computer in a shower stall with water running." Scott asked his dad why the directions would say such a thing. His dad answered that presumably at least one idiot had done that very thing and had probably sued the manufacturer either for damage to the computer or for injury (or loss of life, which would have been a mere technicality, as the person who did such a thing must already have been brain-dead). To prevent future similar lawsuits, the company inserted the disclaimer into its instructions. Anyone stupid enough to operate a desktop computer in a shower stall with the water running (I can imagine a drunken or drugged-out frat rat taking his laptop into the shower with him, which is still quite stupid in its own right, but a desktop?) is probably too stupid to read the instructions telling him not to do that very thing.

I googled "stupid instructions" to see what the Internet had to say about the subject.  A frozen pizza offered the warning, "Always bake with the crust side down." It never occurred to me to bake a pizza with the crust side up, but I cannot imagine that the end result would be good.

"Do not drive with sunshield in place," was included in the instructions on one of those cardboard windshield covers intended to keep temperatures down in parked cars. The sad thing is that with the way some people around here drive (I've had two ridiculous accidents that were not my fault) it really wouldn't make much difference whether or not they left their sunshields on their front windshields while driving.

"Use care when operating motor vehicles until you know how you react to medication" was printed on a prescription bottle of dog's pills. That's what I always tell The Pope whenever I give him his pain meds.

"Do not eat toner" was included in a print cartridge's instructions. For most of us, this is simply silly and a non-issue. The problem here lies in the fact that someone with Prader-Willi Syndrome (mild to moderate retardation in regard to everything else, but subjects are absolute savants at acquiring food and will eat non-food when food is unavailable) probably couldn't read the warning label. An individual with pica (an uncommon urge to eat things that wouldn't ordinarily be considered edible) probably wouldn't really care about the warning if it were toner that he or she craved. (Usually it's something more like dirt, chalk, or Play-Doh that pica sufferers would choose to eat.) Hence, the warning is a waste of print except perhaps in the instance of litigation.

On a motorcycle helmet-mounted rear-view mirror, the following disclaimer was offered: "Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you." Where else might anyone smart enough to operate a motorcycle (which, granted, isn't saying a hell of a lot, but still . . .) think they could possibly be?

A label on a package of peanuts contained the following advice: "Warning! May contain peanuts!" I understand both the pervasiveness and the seriousness of peanut allergies, but wouldn't the contents of this label be considered slightly redundant, particularly if the primary label on the front of the package said "PEANUTS"?

This disclaimer, sort of the antithesis of the disclaimer on my Godchild's crib packaging, was found attached to a double stroller: "Remove occupants before folding stroller."  I would ask if, in all seriousness, anyone really needed to be told that were it not for the large number of people who cannot remember to take their children out of their cars before going to work or about other business. I'm not intending to be funny here because there's absolutely nothing funny about it, as we all know.

In order to end the list on a lighter note, I'll share my personal favorite disclaimer, which was found on the packaging of a digital thermometer: "Do not use orally after using rectally." Really?

For your own peace of mind, I will share with you that my Godchild and his mother are both now awake. He isn't in his crib, so the point of crib supervision or lack thereof is moot, although since he's being fed, I would suppose one would say the child is under supervision.  CPS will have to find another candidate to lose in their system today. *****

***** I'm being somewhat facetious in my criticism of CPS. From what I've been told by mandated reporters to the system, which includes basically everyone over twenty-five who is related to me, CPS is far more likely to stand by idly without adequately investigating a case of child abuse or neglect than to wrongly remove a child from his or her home.

FREEDOM!  I have a week off from school.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

no life in Idaho, which lends itself to bizarre rumors

This is a reasonable representation of an Idaho couple. I had to search hard to find the male half of the couple without a moustache, as Mormons, which many Idahoans consider themselves,  don't look favorably upon facial hair.

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this except that I'm having a little trouble sleeping. We're getting the week off, so matthew and I are driving home tomorrow. Since it's just for a week, I'll let Matthew drive and I'll share my parents' cars when I need transportation. For Christmas, Matthew and I will each take out own cars home because we'll want the freedom of coming and going as we please.

Anyway, the story I'm sharing is about my Aunt Colleen. She's my mom's oldest sister. She is, paradoxically enough, a Mormon. She's the only Mormon on my mom's side of the family. Aunt Colleen converted after she married  my Uncle Douglas, whose family had converted just before he was born.  the two of the were married for about thirteen years before my Aunt joined the LDS church, primarily because my aunt wouldn't even consider converting until the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood of the church was lifted in 1978.

Aunt Colleen and Uncle Douglas are roughly as liberal as true-believing Mormons go. They've never tried to convert my mom, to reconvert my dad, or have never taken subversive steps to indoctrinate Matthew or me. I believe they're still registered democrats, which is an anomaly in and of itself. They're not liberal to the extent that they grow their own (of anything in the backyard, or that they travel in a fried out combie, and they more or less look like mormons, although Aunt colleen lost the0 bullet-proof-hair look shortly after her senior pictuire was taken in 1963.

During the year when my mom was the most ill with leukemia, Aunt Colleen took care of Matthew and me for the summer. She wanted to keep us there for the fall. In restrospect, my parents should have accepted the hospitality on our behalf, because that fall was the time we had the infamous relative-of-a-relative babysitter who practically allowed me to starve myself to death (I was, under this babysitter's lack of supervision, as an almost-six-year-old, conducting my own scientific study concerning whether or not the human body could sustain itself on candy alone, with the primary flaw to the study being that eventually even candy lost its appeal to me;  since no meals were neing prepared,  for all intents and purposes, stopped eating)and wh sent Matthew and me to school most days wearing the clothing we had slept in. the babysitter spent a lot of time sleeping, watching soap operas, and speaking by long distance (before cell phones were quite so ubiquitous) with her boyyyfriend who was serving on an lDS mission For the record, LDS missionaries are not supposed to speak via telephone to their girlfriends, but there are ways around every rule and individuals who are willing to resort to those ways in order to break  said rules.

Aunt Colleen was a voice major in college.  She continued her studies while traching snd, once she was married, while her children (of which she has four) were young in order to eventually end up with a doctorate in vocal performance from Northwestern. She now is a music professor at a unioversity in Idaho. for her level of talent and qualifications, she would probably be considered underemployed, but her work opportunities are limited geographically by her husband's medical practice.Hence she's stuck teaching voice at a university in Idaho though her talent and qualifications would allow her to teach amost anywhere.

At the university in Idaho at which she is a professor of music, not much hapens by way if student social life. I'm sure the usual conjugations and occasional drinking and recreational drug use happen despite the dominant religion of the region being pervasive, but as university life goes, students peesumably spend a great deal of time involved in such activities as waiting for the UPS truck to arrive and watching the grass grow. I'm speaking of literal grass -- the kind that most of us use to create lawns -- but the students
there may own ultraviolet lights so that they may watch another kind of grass grow as well for all I know, but I'm only surmising. An environment so lacking in stimulation or legitimate culture  (culture in this ) meaning availability of art, music, theatre, etc., as opposed to a local way of life is only a few very short steps from siblings  breeding with one another and the like.
Anyway, daily activity is so lacking in ordinary stimulation that the student body takes a keen interest in the lives of faculty members. First of all, the lives of these faculty members are not the stuff with which tabloids are filled. 
This is Idaho.  I doubt that there is as much as a single faculty member with a hot tub who uses it au naturale.
People there in general, and university faculty in particular, do not, as far as anyone actually knows, engage in activities that any sane individual would care enough about what these people are doing even to give thought to it, much less to exchange gossip about it.  The place is dull, and the people populating the place are even less exciting.

Imagine, then, the surprise that faced my aunt when she received an anonymous letter, presumably from a student, advising my aunt that it had become known among students that she, my aunt, had suffered a case of AIDS at the age of seventeen.

My aunt is sixty-three, which would have placed her, depending upon the time of the year,  at the age of seventeen or so in 1968.  Retroactive research indicates that the very first case of AIDS appeared in the United States in 1968, and was traced to a particular individual, who was not my Aunt Colleen.

Furthermore, had my aunt contracted AIDS in 1968, the diagnosis would have amounted to a death sentence. Short of divine intervention, my aunt wouldn't be teaching vocal performance or anything else, or at least not in Idaho or anywhere else on Earth.

This story might have been newsworthy had there been the slightest truth to it if only because my aunt would have been the first known individual to have survived Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. How my aunt might have acquired this virus would, one would presume, be somewhere between boring and irrelevant. It probably would have required immaculate conception, except that I don't think you actually call something conception when it's a virus being transmitted as opposed to a child being conceived. I can't know for certain if she had sex before she was married, and I don't really care, but neither should any of the students at her university, and furthermore, the word on the street was that she lived the life of a nun before she was married.

The saddest thing about this is that the university in question isn't even BYU. It's a poublicly owned school, where any sex that is legal by government standards, as in presumably anything between consenting adults (she lived in New York at the time, where the age of consent was seventeen, if that matters) is of no consequence in regard to university staff members or to anyone else past the age of consent. 

Why would any college student care who or what his or her sixty-three year-old professor slept with, and what were the consequences of said conjugal incident? 

For the record, my aunt thinks it's hysterically funny. She thinks her bishop will probablty eventually get wind of the story and will call her in for questioning, at which point she plans to laugh in his face.  My uncle was upset about the rumor until he found out that it didn't upset my aunt, so he doesn't care anymore, either.

What is it with students in Idaho? Do they have potatoes inside their heads in the spaces ordinarily occupied by brains, or is it mere cultural ignorance causing such idiocy ?
Is it genetic, or does it just happen to anyone who lives there for long enough.

I'm beginning to believe that Napoleon Dynamite -- set in Idaho, in case you'd either forgotten or had never known in the first place  -- had its roots in reality.

that uniquely Idaho look

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sheep of Fresno: Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.

If you're a guy in Fresno and can't find a date, you apparenty look for a sheep.
Note: All subjects are innocent until found guilty in a court of law or until said subjects admit to their misdeeds.

I went of the date on Friday night. I had fun. With discretion supposedly being the greater part of vlor, I won't say much more about it except that the fact that "Rafael" even showing up was almost enough to make the date a success in my book. It's far too early to tell if this date was an anomaly or if it is a foreteller of greater things to come in terms of my social life, and that in the future boys mught not actually treat me as though I have the ebola virus . Time alone will tell.

I'm studying now. I'm obviously not studying right now, but instead taking a brief respite from what has been a day, or even a weekend, of studying, minus Friday night. My brother's study group is here. They're "studying." I joined them for a half hour or so of their "studying," but then retreated to my bedroom to get back to the real thing. I can only tolerate so much frivolity, or alleged frivolity, before I must return to the steady grind that is the reason I am here in the first place.

I share this next bit of news because it relates to me in a way as I have cousins who attend Fresno State.
A  5th -year engineering student at the university was caught there in the sheep department of the school farm in the act of copulating with a sheep. He gave all sorts of lame excuses for his contact with the sheep, first saying he was wrestling with cattle. When it was pointed out by campus police that no cattle were present, his reponse was that all farm animals are the same. (It's good that he's not a bio-engineering major, I suppose.) He man was your basic computer engineering major. The suspect later amended his alibi to suggest that the stress he was under due to midterm exams caused him to seek out animals on which to perpetrate violence. I believe he followed up with even less plausible excuses.

It was reported that the man was arrested and charged with bestiality [which is a crime in California though not in all states]  as well as with cruelty to animals. The assaulted sheep is being monitored by a veterinarian.

The 23-year old suspect's name has yet to be released. I have a problem with this. If a 17-year-old high school student experinces dissatisfasction with her calculus grade and, as an act of retaliation, accuses her instructor of having looked down the front of her dress, his picture is typically plastered in ginrormous form all over the front pages of every local and regional newspaper, and sometimes his alleged misdeeds even make it onto Nancy Grace's program. Then the girl recants her accusation. The recantation appears in fine print just below the section of the classified ads that concerns the selling of used tractor tires. Nancy Grace typically foregoes coverage of the recantation.

Yet this animal abuser manages to keep his name out of the public light for at least three days, and I think it's been even longer than that. What about the public's right to know? The sheep of Fresno and surrounding areas are at serious risk, and deserve the protection that publication of this 5th-year engineering major's name could provide. For that matter, how do we know his activities will stop with sheep? He said he was wrestling cattle. Perhaps it was the mere fact that he could not distinguish an ovine  from a bovine that protected the vast herds of Holsteins in California's San Joaquin Valley. Perhaps  even the dogs and cats are at risk.

KMPH, KSEE, KFSN, KJEO, KAIL, KNXT, Valley Public TV, Fresno Bee, Valley Voice, Fresno State's own Collegian, why are you not all over this story? What is keeping you out of the local courtrooms, filing petitions for the release of the alleged offender's name? The good people of Fresno and Clovis (I believe part of the school farm may fall within the boundaries of the city of Clovis) have a responsibility to protect their animals and a right to know. Get on this story, local media! And if not you, where is Nancy Grace when she is actually needed?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Social Life?

not an actual photo of "Rafael" because I'm not a complete fool, but a reasonable likeness

Alexis has a date for Friday night!!! (I ordinarily loathe extra exclamation points, but this latest development merits them.) I'm going out for dinner with one of my classmates. He just turned twenty-three, which makes him barely three years older than I. That pretty much is as close as they get in age to me in my med school cohort  (not counting my brother Matthew, who is less than a minute younger than I, so is on record the same age as I even though he is listed on his extended birth certificate as the second-born twin).

The relative closeness in age is assuming I don't count three total dorks in the cohort  who still behave as though they're in middle school. This is not hyperbole.  These hollow-skulled "peers" of mine actually giggled the first time the class was shown a nude body of a corpse. I didn't really perceive the giggles as those of the nervous sort, either, It seemed that the fools genuinely found view of a nude 88-year-old female corpse to be a source of mirth. It is my hope,  for the common good, that these three morons do not survive the first year, much less the entire procress of medical school. I think it would be better if these  idiots, all of whom must have been legacies to have gained admission in the first place,  are soon invited to leave and not to return. It's not that I wish anyone ill will. (Actually there are a couple of people in the class upon whom I sort of wish ill will, though not these three.) It's just that I feel that the world would be a safer place if these one-tenth (or less) wits were never to gain possession of licenses to practice medicine. I'm not even totally comfortable with the idea that they have licenses to operate motor vehicles. Malpractice suits can only go so far in terms of compensation for loss of life and limb.

Anyway, the guy with whom I'm going out is from the San Joaquin Valley. (We will not hold that against him.) His fake name (I'm not giving out his real name in the unlikely even that he might google himself and get extremely lucky) is "Rafael."  His father is an MD specializing in family practice. His mom is a respiratory therapist. He's in my brother's study group, which usually meets at our condo, and with whom I also study sometimes. "Rafael" is sharp. His test scores aren't quite as high as mine, but I'm not sure he puts in quite the study time that I do. That's not to say he's lazy; he seems to take his studies seriously. I just can't expect everyone to be as obsessive as I am.

I do not need Matthew's approval or consent consent to date anyone. If the prison system would go along with it, I could have a soiree  with Charlie Manson if I so desired, and Matthew would have no say whatsoever  in the matter,  not that that would ever happen,. For the record, this date is happening with Matthew's approval. It will be interesting to see how it goes down if I ever choose to date a guy of whom Matthew does not approve. In our lifetimes, Matthew has dated more girls of whom I did not approve  than I can count on the fingers of  both my  hands. (Thank God, his taste in women has recently improved.) My way of handling my disapproval of Matthew's previous dates as long as they did not directly affect me was to express my opinion and then to leave well enough alone.

There was that prom date our junior year in which a bimbo asked Matthew out because she wanted to get him drunk and be impregnated by him because she thought her looks and his brains would make a superior baby. ( You may remember my previously shared evidence of this girl's stupidity. she was fired from a bank teller job for giving out free traveler's checks. The account holder hadna premium account that allowed for free traveler's checques. What you, I, and everyone with an IQ in the positive values knows is that this means that the account holder pays the face value of the  traveler's checques but that any incidental fees associated with acquiring travelers checques are waived. Bimbo did not understand this conceopt. she thought free travelers' checques meant free travelers' checques, and the bank account holder she served that day walked out of the bank with ten thousand dollars' worth of travelers' checques without forking over a cent. I'm not certain how the discrepancy was resloved except that it was Bimbo's very last day of employment at the bank. Back to the matter at hand,  I suppose the concept of intelligence is relative, but this was Matthew of whom we are speaking -- the boy who less than two years ago thought I was lying to him when I told him pygmies were real; he thought they were a Disney creation, more or less like Oompah Loompahs. I'm not sure Einstein's genes would have been sufficient to negate Bimbo's stupidity, but Matthew's ? In what universe could Matthew and this young woman [she was 18 and he was 15, so in California it would have been statuatory rape along with everything else] have produced a marginally intelligent child? My guess is that the baby would have been good-looking, but that's as far as my predictions go. 
The whole issue was that in order to prevent this pregnancy from happening, my parents expected my date and me to double-date with Matthew and  Bimbo to the prom in order to serve as his chaperones and in order to prevent my parents from becoming grandparents to a cretin nine months later.  How lame can a situation get? One does not double-date with one's twin to a prom.. It just isn't done (sort of like how you don't tug on Superman's cape or spit into the wind) except perhaps in parts of the Ozarks and Appalachia, where, instead of double-dating with one's twin, one actually dates one's twin. For the record, the double-date didn't happen because shortly before the prom was to happen, I suffered a severe compound tibia-fibula fracture, in addition to a clavicle fracture, just in the nick of time to prevent me from the indiginity of being seen at a school event with my brother. My dad paid my best friend and her date to be Matthew's chaperones.  I can't speak for any other couples and their sexual escapades, but none of Matthew's sperm got close enough to Bimbo's eggs to telepathetically communicate any intentions, much less to conjoin and conceive a child.

Anyway, I hope that by now Matthew comprehends that he is powerless to prevent me from dating whomever I choose to date. i would, however, listen to anything he had to say about a prospective date of mine, and if his reasons for the date being a bad idea seemed sound, i would seriously consider what he had to say. In this case, however, he has no issue with "Rafael."

I like Rafael. I'm not madly in love with him, and I seriously doubt he's totally gaga over me, either. Dating at our age is healthy, though, and it is about time I had a date. I believe I am the very last girl in my cohort to have been asked on a date. The out-of-town date with Jared didn't count. Out-of-town dates when no one else in the cohort knows the person do not count. I could be making Jared up for all anyone knows.

Except for last Friday night, when I was back home visiting my new Godson, this will be the first Friday night in nearly three months that I haven't spent studying. I suspect my grades can take the hit with no major negative impact.

Pinterst wouldn't take the first print of "Rafael's" picture. I'll see if it will take this one. Otherwise, no Pinterest on this post..

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

I looked for a picture of a girl in scrubs riding a horse but couldn't find one.

I've returned to school. Academically speaking, I don't think a whole lot went on in my absence. Matthew's study group was meeting in our apartment when I got home, and I couldn't discern any advancement whatsoever. If it were only Matthew on whom I were relying for input, I'd consider the source and rethink the matter, but a few of the people in the group have functioning brains, and the consensus was that not much new material had been presented in any class. (Perhaps that's why the profs were so willing to let me out of there for a week.) Most of the emphasis was on clinical work, and I did my share of that at another hospital, and had my hours logged and signed off by the surgeon in chief.

When not much goes down acadmeically, that leaves entirely too much time for things to go down socially. The word is all over the place about my ex's dissing of Enemy #2.  She seems to have lost status, and, by association, her friend has lost it as well. I may be blamed and may be targeted for retaliation, but these two are losing power by the minute, which sorely limits their positions to do anything that will cause me any legitimate grief. Furthermore, the dean has been apprised. They need to watch their steps for their own good. I don't care one way or another if they stay or go. If they stay, in two years when class rankings are calculated and matter in an official sense, there are two members of the class whom I will surely officially  no matter how hard they study, and they are going to find themselves lmited to a study group of two soon if their actions do not become more socially acceptable. If they go, good riddance, and they will be someone else's heaache. 

It's weird and entirely based upon my perception and not on reality, but with every mile that the plane moved closer to my medical school and further away from my home yesterday, I could feel the tension within me increasing. It must even have been discernible, as my ex, riding along with me in the plane, commented upon it. He said I'm stressing out too much, but that the biggest mistake a medical student can make is to not take it seriously enough. Before the quarter is over, chances are that someone's life and/or death will have passed through hands, and the outcome will have depended upon our actions. It's a rather sobering thought. 

It used to be that a med school student didn't get within breathing room of a patient until year three of medical school. Now we're managing intakes at the very beginning of  thrid month of school. In theory, life or death should not depend upon our actions, but the reality is that sometimes a situation is  critical before anyone other than we in the little white coats with "Student" badges are aware of it. if we're smart, we clamor loudly for help, and usually someone else jumps in and gets us the hell out of the way before we do any damage that cannot be undone, but until that happens, we're the only ones there to help the patients. This is particularly true when an ER is swamped.

I already have my two babysitting jobs for this week booked. One is for a professor who is not my professor but who has heard that I have a knack for keeping young children safe and happy at the same time, and that I follow parents' instruction to the letter. The other gig is for a third-year med-school male whose wife had a baby five weeks ago. She desperately needs to get out more. She and her husband -- the med school student -- are catching dinner and a movie.

Jared and I had a nice date just before my migraine set in. He probably caused the migraine, but that's another story for another day's blog. We saw, of all things, Meet the Mormons. We had free passes; we never would have paid even Monopoly money to get in to that movie.  I'm loathe to admit that we behaved most immaturely, laughing aloud what should have been the most serious parts, and even going so far as to throw popcorn at the movie screen. (An usher approached us, and I was sure we were about to be ejected from the theater for throwing popcorn. The usher whispered to Jared, "I'd throw popcorn at this movie, too, if I wouldn't lose my job for it." ) Wouldn't you say this movie is a real public relations coup for LDS, Inc. ? I would say it was a waste of perfectly good popcorn, but Jared had a coupon for all-you can-eat refills on one of those giant popcorn tubs. We snuck in our own sodas.

Jared is sweating out the waiting process for med school. He's taken the MCAT twice, for which I coached him all summer (he also took the Kaplan test prep course), and has submitted everything. He's now playing the waiting game. He doesn't have a music major to gild his lily or to pad his application, but he has a solid pre-medical course of study with a 4.0. He'll make a fine doctor if given the chance, I suspect he'll be given that chance, although it may bein Timbuktu. On a more serious note, he says he'll go anywhere n the U.S.  Cost is no major object, because his grandparents are footing the bill. He really regrets having no more Spanish fluency than what he got out of high school Spanish plus two quarters of college Spanish, but a Mormon mission would not have helped him in that regard, as he was to be sent  somewhere like Ghana, where Spanish flows about as freely as does the water there.

I really feel caught between two worlds right now. Here at medical school is where I belong, and I felt that way 100% until good old Jillian had to go out and have a baby. Now my heart is split between the two places. I'll be home for almost a week for Thanksgiving break in eighteen days. I hope Jillian and scott had no plansto actually hold their own baby during that time, because they'll have a tough time wrestling him from me.  After that, it's just two weeks until finals are over. 

Then I get almost a month off. I'll play Fairy Godmother  (seriously, I'd love to show up to the baptism in totl Fairy Godmother get-up, but I'd hate to be repsonsible for the priest having a coronary; I actually like the particular priest) but also catch up on sleep and have a little winter frolicking in Utah. Utah is not my favorite place, but the place in Utah where I have free lodging is not even a thirty-minute drive from Sundance resort, which gives me discounted passes.

What I thought might be unattainable seems to be mostly done. I'm through the roughest part of Quarter One of med school. I've been warned that Quarter Two is academically the toughest thing I'll face in my med school carreer, but I feel up to the challenge. Academic hurdles have never been my Achilles' heel. 

Have a pleasant autumn. I initially intended to tell you to have a nice fall but,  nice or not, I really don't want you to fall, so I'll choose my words more carefully.

I'm not a huge Barry Manilow fan, but I love this particular song, which I would like to dedicate to my Godchild, Andrew Scott Bryson.  (I'll share the story on the two middle names in a future blog. His parents aren't ordinarily the pretentious sorts who would give their child or children multiple middle names, but there's a legitmate reason for Andrew having both Scott and Bryson as middle names.)