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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

~Yesterday was the 4th of July.  Holy mackerel, where did summer come from so fast?  Although I’m looking forward to vacation next month, I’m so NOT ready for summer to speed along out of control like this.  This being my favorite season of the year, I’d like to enjoy it a bit.  Please?

~Both my horses have been sold in he past few weeks, each to fantastic homes with wonderful people.  Selling Pea and Beau was necessary to allow me to go back to school, but it still hurts my heart.  Saying it’s bittersweet doesn’t even begin to cover the range of emotions.  I feel like a little piece of me has been ripped away.  But, as a horsey friend so wisely said, I’ll always be a horsewoman–it’s in my blood.  And when horses come into my life in the future, I’ll appreciate them that much more.

~Two very dear women to me have gotten engaged in the past few weeks, my cousin and one of my closest friends.  Add that to my brother and his girlfriend (now fiance)–who got engaged in January–and it seems like everyone I know who wasn’t hitched is about to take the plunge!  I’m honored and excited that A asked me to be in her wedding.  It’ll be my first stint as a bridesmaid!  (Girliness I didn’t know I had is popping up!)

~Since it rained here from March through May, I didn’t plant a garden for the first time in years.  I feel a little rotten about it, actually.  (Hehe)  To make up for it, I’m planting my own hanging baskets.  More on that project later…

~Salsa, corn on the cob, peaches, sangria, and grilling out may just be the very best parts about summer time.

~Poison Ivy is the very worst part about summer.  Especially when you have it in areas that it’s typically socially unacceptable to scratch in public.  (Yes, I know you’re not supposed to scratch it anyway, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!)

~This summer is all about home improvements for us.  Currently, my kitchen ceiling is down to the bare bones…which means EVERYTHING from the kitchen is chillin’ in the dining room.  (Have I mentioned how I loath clutter, chaos, messes, things in the wrong place, etc?)  This is going to be an exercise in being a little less OCD…

~Work is all about change, change, change these days.  I’m being reminded that first impressions are usually spot on, but being open-minded is golden, on a daily basis.  Also, pre-conceived notions are just plain worthless.  (We have a new hire from Richmond, VA and–since I love what I’ve seen of Richmond and have a fab friend who lives there–I got this notion that  New Girl A would be T’s clone.  Of course, the reality is that the city doesn’t make the person, just as the person doesn’t make the city.) 

~I up and decided to creatively fill my tragically boring wardrobe and have had a blast doing it!  Plato’s Closet and the thrift store have been my best buds, with a trip to Kohl’s, another to Old Navy, and an e-trip to Victoria’s Secret’s semi-annual sale thrown in for good measure.  I can now say that I’m (finally) happy with my summer closet!  Winter clothes are coming along, but I *may* need to do a little more tweaking to get it just right.  (I plan on posting pics some day!)

~I started college (again) two weeks ago.  (Yay!)  Class has been…interesting.  It’s a 5 credit hour class that meets once a week–which works fabulously for me, but makes Tuesday a long day.  Class is supposed to be 5:30-10pm, but our prof moved our start time to 6.  We’re talking about psychology during the life span–so from birth to death–which is fascinating.  What major theme have I learned so far?  That it’s very, very easy to screw up your kids.  Definitely enough to make me think twice about ever wanting any!

~I read an amazing book a few weeks ago.  It’s called I Am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali.  It’s a short, easy read, but emotionally draining.  Definitely worth reading, though.  That girl has more cojones than just about anyone I know.

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posted the other day about the excitement (and trepidation) associated with going back to school.  Here’s the rest of the story…

I originally planned to go back to school for a Master’s in Equine Reproductive Physiology, with the goal of working for a private equine repro firm, or breeding farm, or possibly in research.  I was very close to doing this immediately after I graduated from undergrad–I had met with the program director at Ohio State several times and thought I was ready to go–but at the last minute I found out I was missing a bunch of pre-requisite classes.  (Neither the program director nor my academic advisor had thought to check on that.)  That development combined with a few other factors (i.e. life) convinced me to put off grad school until a yet-to-be-determined later date.

Last winter I contacted the new program directors at OSU and, over the summer, trekked to Columbus a couple of times a month to shadow their research lab and clinical patients.  Towards the end of the summer, I had a bit of an epiphany: I was bored to tears about 80% of the time I spent there.  Around that same time, I did some additional research into the profession and found some key new bits of information.  Namely, that the economic slump hit the tiny little equine repro industry hard and had turned it into a contracting career field.  Also, the repro world now values hands-on experience above extended education, the average starting salary is about $40,000/year (not worth 2 more years of student loans), and I could go to a tiny handful of locations that *might* be hiring at the same time I’d be job hunting.

Can you blame me for reconsidering my chosen career path even before I’d really started down it?

So, I made a list.  (I’m really, really good at lists.)

~

What I want in a career:

1. Intellectual stimulation

2. Emotional fulfillment

3. Financial freedom & the ability to support my hobbies (travel, horses, etc.)

4. Expanding job market

5. Multiple job location choices

~

Shortly thereafter, I stumbled across the Physician Assistant profession and began researching it.  I met with the admissions advisor at the KCMA program here in Dayton, did a lot of reading & research, and went on some job shadows. 

And the PA profession and I…well, we just clicked.

I sort of feel like I’m divorcing the equine science/animal health fields.  But, you know what?  I’ve paid my dues and it’s my right to walk away.

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My Thoughts on Tornadoes

You know, I’ve never been particularly afraid of tornadoes*.  Amazingly enough, the logical part of my brain prevails when it says, “you have better things to stress out over than the minute chance you’ll get killed by a tornado.”  Fortunately we don’t get a ton of them here in Ohio. 

But last night I learned what a pain in the ass tornadoes (or lack thereof) really are.

Here’s my tornado countdown from yesterday:

T-6 minutes: Arrive home from work via “the back way” because the highway was backed up for miles.

T-5:30 minutes: Let dogs out to pee.  Say silent prayer for dogs that pee on command.

T-4 minutes: Put confused dogs back in house in order to drive car through back yard and into barn.  Promise horse he will get fed in a few minutes.  Unfortunately, neither of you know it yet, but that’s a lie.

T-2 minutes: Run back to house, closing gates on the way.

T-1 minute: Feed dogs so anti-anxiety drugs can be administered in anticipation of thunder and lightning.

T-0:15 minutes: Begin running back to barn when the dreaded tornado siren begins wailing.  Pause.  Decide shutting barn doors is more important than not getting blown away.

T: Close barn doors and chicken house door.  Ignore hungry horse.  Run back to house.

T+1 minute: Tornado sirens still going off.  Turn on TV.  Watch 45 seconds of weatherman high on “tornado buzz”.

T+2 minutes: Satellite TV goes out.  Same with Clearwire satellite.  (No internet.)  Sky is green.  Decide it’s time to hunker down.

T+4 minutes: Gather essentials (pillow, cell, dog treats, book, book light, Triscuits, ice tea) and dogs in center of house.

T+6 minutes: Get bored.  Glance out window and decide that a beverage run is both warranted and safe.

T+6:30 minutes: Settle in with red wine in a penguin sippy cup (don’t want it to stain the carpet in case of an actual tornado, right?), book, and dogs.  Set a routine: pet dogs, read book, check cell, sip wine.  Repeat 1,000 times.  Waste most of evening, besides the wine & little bit of the book.

~

End result?  No tornado. 

~

*Disclaimer: I’m fully aware that tornadoes pose a serious threat and have been responsible for horrendous destruction and loss of life.  I in no way intend to downplay these painful realities, nor belittle the awesome power of wind being blown in a circle.  In this post I intend to sound cynical, but deep down I respect the raw, unleased power and scariness factor that is the tornado.  I talk big, but I have no desire to face one of those monsters down in person.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to job shadow a Physician Assistant in the ER of one of our local hospitals.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see a whole lot of action, but I’m tentatively scheduled to go back in June and hopefully I’ll get to see more then.  This was the second PA I’ve shadowed (the first was at my neurologists office) and a very different setting from the other experience.  I love that I leave excited and ready to learn more about the profession!

I’ve been struggling with the “what I want to be when I grow up” question for quite some time now.  Now–finally, finally!–I have a plan.  On Tuesday, May 10th, I officially became a college student again when I registered for class at Sinclair Community College.  I’ll have 9 prerequisite classes to take before applying to Kettering College of Medical Arts’ Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program

For now I’m planning to ease myself back into things by taking a “soft”(er) science class–psychology–this summer.  Starting in the fall though, it’ll be all chem, o-chem, and bio for me!

And so the journey begins…

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The Week in Review

What a crazy week…

On Monday I remembered how not fun change can be, at least at first.  We have a bunch of staff changes at work and, while my position keeps me removed from the “extra work” of training most new employees, we’re all a little extra stressed out.  Personalities have yet to gel and new schedules have yet to be adapted to.  We’ll get there, but sometimes the trip just isn’t that much fun.

On Tuesday I visited my 85 1/2-year-old grandpa in the hospital in Columbus, which is 2 hours from me.  He was admitted last Friday for respiratory distress (he has congestive heart failure) and initially had been given a pretty grave prognosis.  I stayed for a little over 3 hours and we sat and talked the entire time, which meant so much to me.  Grandpa told me lots of family stories–including some I’d never heard before–particularly about my grandma, who passed away when I was eight.  It was a long evening (I had to be at work at 7:30am the next morning), but so so so worth it to spend some quality time with my gpa and see him starting to feel better.

On Wednesday Grandpa was released from the hospital.  Yay, so happy!  He’s now in a residential physical therapy program at a nursing home.  While he’s not happy about being there for the next two weeks, I’m so glad he decided to go.

On Thursday my boss reaffirmed her awesomeness.  I have been lucky enough to have 4 bosses over the years who are extraordinary leaders.  She is one of the four.

On Friday I was reminded just how unpleasant spring allergies in the Miami Valley can be.  Blech.  New Mexico is calling my name!

On Saturday, I enjoyed a nice caffeine/sugar high (courtesy of our practice owner and Bill’s Donuts).  After work I took a much-needed, very long nap to celebrate the end of the week.

So, how was your week?

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The Power of Hippotherapy

My very part-time second job pretty much rocks.  I am a Testing Technician for the USEF’s Equine Drugs & Medications Program.  In a nutshell, I am part of a 4-person team comprised of 3 Testing Technicians and 1 Veterinarian which is sent to USEF- and AQHA-sanctioned horse shows to perform random drug testing of the contestants.  (The horses, not the people!)  Basically, I get paid to hang out at a horse show (with horses and horse people) for a day.

Today we were sent by the AQHA to test at a Quarter Horse show about 45 minutes from my house.  While there, I saw a miracle.  I kid you not, this was a bona-fide miracle.  Hippotherapy in action and at its very best.

~

The gist of the back-story goes like this:

Once upon a time, a family was very involved in AQHA Barrel Racing.  The son was very talented and had won several national titles.  Life was bright for him.  Then, one day, he was severely injured in a car accident.  He suffered brain damage and was confined to a wheelchair.

~

I’m a little shady on some of the finer details, like how much time passed between the accident and present day.  But–about a month ago–this kid got back in the saddle.  A remarkable achievement in and of itself, in the past 30 days he has progressed to the point of being able to compete in today’s show.  Granted, he walked and trotted his barrel patterns, which competitors typically gallop (it’s a timed event in which the fastest fault-free run wins).

Typical barrel racing.

Barrel racing modified for riders with disabilities (walk/trot).

 This kid rode his own horse (a trustworthy old soul worth his/her weight in gold) without assistance.  He was in the saddle for at least an hour (that I saw), which is an impressive amount of time for anyone challenged with (I’m assuming) muscle strength and balance issues.  His mom mentioned that since he’s been riding his physical therapist has been amazed by his progress in other areas, including his ability to walk (with support)–something he wasn’t able to do before he got back in the saddle.  Most of all, he seemed truly happy and outgoing.

And so I was reminded yet again of the amazing healing power of the horse.

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The Mortal Instruments IV: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. 

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 4.5.11 (tomorrow!!).  Cassandra Clare is brilliant and TMI has quickly become my new favorite YA fantasy series!

Chronicles of the Warlands #4: Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan
All is not well in Xy. There is a faction of nobles who are plotting against the Queen and her barbarian warlord. As cultures clash and tempers flare, Heath and the fierce Plains warrior woman Atira of the Bear must come together to fight the conspiracy… and to search their hearts for something deeper than raw passion.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.3.11.  My only beef with Elizabeth Vaughan is her insistance on keeping her day job.  See, if she devoted all of her time to writing, then I’d have more of her fabulous books to read.  Selfish of me, I know.

Kate Daniels #5: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn’t bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.31.11.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  I’ve been going through Ilona Andrews withdrawl for way too long now!

Wolves of Mercy Falls #3: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 7.12.11.  The only way to describe Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is “gorgeous prose”.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I’m ready to fight.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 8.23.11.  I’m curious to see how this second installment of the Lorien Legacies stacks up to the first (I Am Number Four).

Matched Trilogy #2: Crossed by Ally Condie

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 11.1.11.  If you’ve read Matched, you know the cover of Crossed says it all.

~

Others:

Demon Trappers #2: Soul Thief by Jana Oliver (TBR: 9.2.11)*

~

*Has anyone seen a cover or reviews of Soul Thief?  I couldn’t find much about it…

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