Sunday, August 28, 2005

happiness is....

- my friend Katie emailing me pictures of her scarf-in-progress (she is officially a knitter now)
- being the only one my age at The March of the Penguins; and laughing at the previews along with the little ones and elders around me.
- hunting down trekking sock yarn this weekend (and then scoring with both #100 and #68 at a competitive price)
- a newly replaced car headlight bulb
- breakfast with my family at my parents house
- $1 off coupons

Two weeks down, six more of medicine to go. It was an interesting week because my afternoons are spent doing hospital admissions, either from the ER or from the office. Usually there are several patients to see and lots of paperwork to fill out – but not this week. I spent a good 2-3 hours in the library each day because there wasn’t anyone to see. (the time in the library was spent under the watchful eye of a resident or the medical librarian. Thus there was no internet-ing, no knitting or fun reading. Instead I caught up on journal reading and looked a lot of things up. I did manage to sneak in some looking out the window daydreaming…) Each person I speak with has a different theory about why this is happening but the common theme is that the weather is too nice, most people are on vacation and many are traveling. As glad as I am that people are feeling well, I’d like to be busier this week! (we’ve hit some sort of record for fewest admissions and I’ve been told that it won’t last.)

I had a chance to flip through Aran Knitting and am glad I held onto it until I had time to read it. St. Brigid continues to call my name, but with the time constraints of this year I’m not sure I’ll have time to commit to it until Christmas. I’ve been flipping through Charted Knitting Designs each night and have the beginnings of an aran planned out in my head. Even if I don’t get to it for another few months it certainly is fun to think about.

A few of the residents have seen me scurrying to put my socks away before the morning meeting and have found me later to let me know that they knit too. One person saw me and exclaimed “you’re certainly in the right place and fit right in with us!” It seems she used to knit sweaters for (small) profit on the side and has a soft spot for other knitters. I’m glad I’ve been carrying my needles and yarn around. (it is nice to reach into my bag and feel the wool during particularly trying moments; I feel okay about carrying around a security blanket, er, sock.)

What I learned this week:

If I get to my morning meeting early enough to knit a few rows each day then I’ll have a pair of socks finished by Christmas.

The number of times someone has seen something on tv (news reports, morning shows or (heaven forbid) drug ads) or read it in the paper (local or national) is directly proportional to how strongly they feel they have ________ disease. How strongly they feel they have the diagnosis is proportional to the amount of talking it can take to convince them that they might not have said disease.

Though it is no substitute for ironing, it is possible to get some wrinkles out of a shirt by hanging it near my steaming morning shower.

Dishpan hands have nothing on hands that have been seeing patients (and then subsequently washed or otherwise disinfected) all morning.

It is impossible for me to stay awake and/or functioning (they are no longer the same thing) after 9:30pm. This bedtime will decrease by 20-30 minutes each weeknight so that by Thursday I am headed to bed by 7:30. I am not ashamed to admit it, but will try and think of a better excuse when explaining why, on Friday morning, I don’t remember much from the article I was given to read the night before.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

what I learned this week....

- people will call a doctor for anything, and they will come to the ER for any problem, no matter how large or small.
- medicine is a lifestyle, not just a career.
- phrases such as "don't cut till I get there!" and "is it still fuzzy?" will seem crazy to a med student, but a seasoned doc will not blink an eye.
- days as a 3rd and 4th year student are going to be MUCH longer then those of a 1st and 2nd year med student.
- the waits in the ER and at a doctor's office aren't because a doctor is lollygagging around. We did more running around and data gathering and consulting then I ever could have understood. Between that running around and all of the paperwork that has to get done the wait is now somewhat understandable.
- there is a lot of paperwork in medicine. (even with electronic medical records)
- finding time to go to the bathroom is hard; note to self: remember that when throwing back the morning tea.
- the system of paging people is simple, yet at the same time, complex. I understand why pagers are a necessity and not an optional thing. Ditto for why there are so many phones in a hospital.
- do not eat red food (red sauce, dressing or other food that is RED) when wearing a white dress shirt. Do not eat red food while wearing a white coat. Do not eat red food at all while in a hopsital.

a yarn-ful day

This was a loooong week. Most days I was up and at the hospital by 7:10am and I wasn't done before 6pm. After having a few weeks of schedule-less days it was a rough transition!

Right now I'm dog and cat-sitting in a house with an attached barn (that means I'm also chicken and turkey sitting, and get the eggs each day) and I'm enjoying my time out here. This afternoon the cat that "doesn't like people" was splayed across my lap purring while the younger golden retriever was at my side. Both demanded that I pet them (at the same time while trying to keep the dog from nipping the cat when he felt jaded with not enough petting) so my attempt at catching up on reading knitting blogs was a lost cause. Now they are all enjoying post dinner naps, and I'm hoping to remain "hidden" for a while this evening.

Late this morning I took advantage of the knitting resources down here and made the rounds to a few places I'd never gotten a chance to see up close and personal. Liberty Graphics is in Liberty and they have an outlet store that is worth the trip. Next door is Liberty Wool - a small shop with fleeces, finished sheepskin items a some wool. I picked up a few things before heading across the street to Liberty Tools. The "tool store" is really like a trip back through time; every sort of old tool, bit, supply (such as staples and nails) and other odd or end is there. My dad warned me that it was like walking through my great uncle's old barn and he was right!

From there, on the advice of Toby at Liberty Wool (no link - it's a small operation), I headed out to Hope Spinnery. The shop was technically closed, but they invited me in and showed me all of the equiptment they use to turn raw wool into yarn. The mill is partially run off of a windmill and they dye the wool instead of the finished yarn. It was wonderful to see it all up close and personal and when I have a few fleeces of my own (far, far in the future) I'll give them a call for processing (his wait list is 6 months out right now, but the turn around time is usually within a week). It's possible to buy the Hope Spinnery yarn other places and now I have something to keep my eye out for.

My trip continued out to the coast and I had good luck with Unique One's bargin bin. They were busy with lots of summer tourists so I kept to myself and took my time looking at all of their yarn. They had the higher end Lorna's Laces (Helen's Lace and the wool top) but didn't have sock yarn or shepard sport; I didn't see any koigu but they did have a few different types of Alchemy yarns. I picked up a few skiens of sock yarn and a set of Inox #2 dpn's. I've been knitting socks on bamboo needles and though I like how they turn out, I want to try a metal set and see if there is any difference.

One of the best finds of the day was at ABCD Books (link on the side). I quickly reviewed the "knitting" section and found "Charted Knitting Designs" by Barbara Walker. It was in great shape, fairly affordable and is a solid guide for different sorts of stitches. They had a few Alice Starmore books (including Celtic Knits) that I enjoyed looking at, but I couldn't bring myself to pay what they wanted for them. I like most of her designs, but don't think I'd knit up a sweater as she wrote it; gathered waist lines that suggest a "belt like" shape around the middle or complicated colorwork that would take me a long, long time to finish just aren't practical right now. Her cable designs are stunning, but my new treasury book has a couple of chapters with several cable variations, and I think I'll enjoy working on creating a sweater on my own. (that isn't to say that I won't work on St. Brigid in the future; Aran Knitting has the best patterns of the books I've seen (and after today's trip into town I can say that I've seen a few of them!)). If you are seriously looking for some Starmore books or any of the back issues of Rowan check out the website - I overheard that they can ship if you're interested.

From there it was off to Stitchery Square. They had a small selection of what I consider "uppity" yarns (the expensive silk/cashmere blends, Noro and high end Debbie Bliss) and I didn't see a bargin bin. Seeing as how I had bought something everywhere else I'd been I felt as though I couldn't leave the store empty handed so I picked up the Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl pattern. It might reappear as a gift in the future, but I make no claims as to when it will be started (or for that matter, finished). Believe it or not most of my Christmas shopping is done, but my Christmas knitting has yet to get started....

It was a good day. I need to dig into my books tonight and will spend tomorrow going over board review things as well as catching up on the reading I need to do for next week. The days are just packed.....

Monday, August 15, 2005

happiness is...

- dye day at Julia's
- the yarn and roving that was dyed with "leftover" colors
- my first day of my third year is over, though there are many, many more days to come
- hot earl gray tea and being able to change into a comfortable pair of jeans and a t-shirt

I had a great weekend, and late last night I realized that it was the best possible way for me to get ready for my rotations. I was distracted enough that I "forgot" about how nervous I should be but I also felt like I was using my time wisely. Leaving the cats and beautiful house in Albany was hard, but stretching my trip home over a few days (I stopped to spend the night with a friend and meandered through the mountains instead of traveling on the interstates the whole way) was a good choice. Julia's event was the icing on the cake....the silk mixed in with the merino...the last big hurrah till Rhinebeck. It was also fun to meet people without trying to link them to what blog they wrote - I found that I was much less nervous and MUCH less worried about what they might write about me. (though I silently giggled to myself when I did realize "who" they were. Melanie? It took me a looong time to realize it was "her!") Seeing Laurie was wonderful because she knew what to say to calm the nerves that surfaced, and wished me luck while knowing what it was going to be like. I also got a chance to meet people who have blogs I've only dabbled in - meeting them in person helps me to figure out their sense of humor, among other things.

I was late(r) to arrive then some, but was welcomed when I got there and still had a chance to color some wool. The color choices that had been available would have overwhelmed me, so it was a good thing my selection was somewhat limited. (I'm not joking about that either - I don't like deciding what goes with what when there are too many choices, and I don't like leaving colors out, even if I don't like them.) The reds, purples and bits of green that were left were fun to play with and there wasn't any pressure with how the final product looked because it was for me! I had my doubts about how muddy it looked before it was rinsed, but after it was "done" and it was hanging to dry the colors showed through and I was somewhat pleased with how they turned out. It took the ride home (the yarn and roving sat in the seat next to me and every now and then I reached over to pet it) and the following day's midmorning sun before I saw what everyone else saw: the colors have subtle changes and almost seem to gleam in the right light. If I had to do it again, I'd be unable to recreate the colors - and now I can't wait to spin up and knit up my creations.

(I have pictures but they are, again, stuck on my camera. We don't have internet at the student house (yet) and I'm at another cafe with wireless internet. Posts may be scarce for the next few weeks.)

It was a long day today, and it wasn't as many hours as tomorrow will be. The morning signout meeting I'll start my day with is at 7:15am, and there's no set "done" time, so it looks like my knitting will be slowing down. It's really too bad, as the state's only copy of Aran Knitting is finally in my hands! I looked up the St. Brigid pattern and I've flipped through it, but haven't yet had time to sit down with it. I hope I'll have time to look at it this week but I'm not holding my breath. With any luck I'll be dogsitting in the country near a lake this weekend (sorry Kathy; a doc asked the med students if anyone was around to take care of her golden retrievers and I jumped at the opportunity to be close to "home" but yet out with her families dogs and cats) and I'll balance knitting with reading about knitting and studying.

One of the things that is going to take some getting used to is the change in my wardrobe. I have a slew of dress pants but needed to pick up a few more pairs because the 10lbs that appeared last spring still hasn't let go yet. I think I'll be in constant motion for the next year and am not too too worried that it'll stick around, but do wish I had more things that I felt comfortable in. Over the weekend I hit a catalog outlet store and found some amazing deals on button up shirts that look good and are comfortable to move around in. My mom offered to whip up a few skirts out of material I bought (a la Risa) and I'm sure everything will come together, but for now I feel like I'm playing dress up. Throw a white coat on me and I feel like I'm simply playing a doctor on tv - it's a very odd feeling.

I'm still working on the second sock and think it'll take me longer then two days to get this one done. As much as I wanted to knit during the lunch presentation today I just couldn't bring myself to get the sock out of my bag. I'm new at this, and am not yet comfortable with knitting under the table in the presence of residents and attendings...yet. I do have plans to work a bit on it tonight and am looking forward to my time with my yarn.

Friday, August 12, 2005

what I did on my summer vacation:

written by the sock, edited (and editorialized) by Kristen

(pictures screwed up by blogger, but we're both at a cafe and instead of trying to move them around now I'm going to go with it....)

WE started out in the northeast - I was almost a sock then, before I was oh so horribly ripped out and re-skeined. (oh please, you were frogged because the pattern just wasn't working for me. I promised to redo you asap.) From there we travelled to Quebec and I became a bilingual sock! ('scuse me, but I was the one speaking all the French; if I remember it correctly you were pretty quiet.)

The rabbits (lapins) were all over one particular cafe in Quebec - they were bustling with people and food and, unfortunely, no rabbits.

The good pictures from that trip (the ones that YOU are featured in aren' t always the good ones) were already posted. I had a wicked good time with the statues even though I was only a lowly ball of yarn at that point. (that was when the term "yocks" was born. I am not sure I like that term. I am not sure I am worried about what you are sure of.)

From there it was back home, then back to the apartment (to pack - I was happy to lounge in the heat while she lugged and smooshed) and before I knew it we were off to Utah! There were a few tense moments when we weren't sure they'd let me on board, but my bamboo needles were deemed travel-worthy and then we were off! (I agree that airport security isn't an exact science yet.)

The mountains were amazing - and they were right there! None of this "going to the mountains" craziness, because the mountains came to us! (I think the sock is a bit confused, as we actually had to go to the mountains - they didn't move for us. It's right about the whole "right there" thing though, and more then once I had to catch myself from outwardly exclaiming "Look - more of them!!") We met up with a local and I felt downright doted on. I could have used more time with her. (Margene commented that she liked the yarn - it was the first time during the trip I had time to sit and just talk and knit.)

There was talk of a trip to a beach, but that never happened. (it did - but the sock wasn't invited. I spent time with three of the cutest youngsters that side of the Mississippi, and feared what sand and sun might do to my opal beauty. The "beach" was really more of a muddy shoreline, but I made the best of it and did my duty as a visiting friend and introduced the youngest little one to the joys of mudpies. He wasn't disappointed and a good time was had by all! (His grandma was a great shademaker))

Then we were off again! The trip northeast was good; at that point the first sock was almost finished and my other half was started on the plane.

She insisted on trying me on OVER another, nonknitted sock. I was SO embarressed. (I tried it on for two reasons: one was to check the fit (and I felt funny about being barefoot at the airport) and the other was that I hoped the sight of me deshoe-ing to try on a handmade sock would bring another knitter out of the woodwork. It worked, and soon I was chatting away with a woman who had just finished a knitted blanket for her gandson.)

I wasn't too happy that she tried to read while knitting; I fought the whole situation and tried to be as attention demanding as possible. Then she showed me that she was reading about knitting, and I gave up. (Harry Potter, book 5, thankfully had knitting in it. Otherwise I'm not sure how I would have gotten away with reading and working on the sock. I never got around to reading it when it came out (I had started med school then - there was no time for fun reading) and though I own book 6 (thanks dad) I haven't started it yet. I know what happens, but it'll be another few months before I can get to it.)

Once we were back, the cleaning began. In order for her to get something called a "security deposit" back the apartment had to be spotless. This mop was provided by the people in the building - they obviously have no idea what fine yarn is. (The sock is right on this one - it was the crappiest cotton yarn I've ever seen. How they get away with calling it "finest qualtiy" is beyond me.)

Then we hit the road (again). I was almost finished when we arrived in Albany - look what was in a neighbors yard! (picture to be added later - it won't upload from here.)

The bad news of the boreds came (boards) and soon I was put on hold. I was finished over a weekend with lots of crazy tofu eatting people who admired me from a distance but refused to get too close. I wasn't going to hurt them; I'm not sure what the problem was. Then a new set of socks was started.

The new socks and I (even though we hadn't been "finished" because she can't find the chibi thing because it's "packed") had a good time at her alma matter; her parents got a brick with her name on it, and we had yet to see it so we took a trip over to the campus. She also got excited about seeing all this fabric on the wall - I still don't know what that's all about.

(I used to be an avid quilter, and one year as a part of a "strange-to-people-who-haven't-heard about it, or head the whole story" college activity/fundraiser known as Rally, we made a quilt. It was my senior year of college, and another gal and I were in charge of putting together the guidelines and the final product. We were working on a deadline, so don't look too close at those sitches. Each of our classes has a mascot (first years adopt the color and identy that the graduating seniors had) and we were the purple cows. People from each class made their "square" (with a bite out of it) and then I sewed it together. I still look at the purple cow I put together and smile. This quilt was in my car when I was in the car accident, and it means a lot to me. Luckily the sock didn't put up too much of a fight when I threw it up on the wall.

there was lots of talk of future socks too - something about finding Lornas Laces on sale somewhere? The sock speaks the truth; at a place called the Periwinkle Sheep, LL Shepard Sock was in a "sale" bin for $6 a skein. There were only a few colorways, and only one of most of them, but I can get two socks from one skein. My friend Katie and I had a very, very good time at the Periwinkle sheep.

Katie holding our goods - she got lots of different novelty yarns for Christmas scarves. She blames me for getting her into knitting, but that's a whole 'nother post.

From there we went to another yarn store (again, that could be a whole 'nother post) to get more sock yarn! Look at all the other future yocks/socks! (the far teal-ish blue varigated yarn is my first (and only) artyarns supermerino yarn, also from the Periwinkle Sheep. It was $5 in the bargin bin, and too good a deal to pass up. The Regia is from the Yarn Depot and while we were there I found the skien of Trekking for $2 in the bargin "trunk." I sent Kate back out to the Periwinkle Sheep to get me more LL's and she's promised to write a guest post about the experience.)

Now however, we're getting ready to head back to the grind. Looks like there's a lot more of this in our future....

I hope you all had as good a "summer" as we did!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

happiness is...

- kind words on encouragement left by people I know, and some I don't (thank you all!)
- being "home" after a strange and not-so-happy weekend away
- Lorna's Laces sock yarn
-the outstretched paw that Tiger (the youngest and most "kittenish" cat here) uses to gently touch my check when he wants me to continue scratching his ears
- central air conditioning
- getting my pictures off of my camera and onto my laptop (next step is from the laptop to the internet, with any luck it'll be tomorrow)
- tomorrow's dinner plans with the friends I think of as my extended family
- not having given away my board review books (yet)

Friday afternoon I set out for a regional retreat for medical students. I'd heard from people who had attended in the past, and each said that they felt as though they'd found a community that supported them and offered them a chance to "be themselves" with other med students. I applied several months ago, and was excited when I found out that I was chosen to attend. The weekend wasn't what I expected and I'd place the whole experience in the "waste of time/money" category. The people were interesting but weren't very open to new people and though you can take a med student out of a position of control, it's damn near impossible to take some peoples NEED for CONTROL out of them. I'm happy to go with the flow (which is uncharacteristic for med students) but I do like to know what is planned for my days; this includes letting me know what time lunch is going to be when it's 1:30 and we're still in "program" time with no end in sight. I was seen as a bit of a problem participant but eventually they accepted me, and my knitting.

I knit all weekend. I knit by the light of the fire, I knit during "experiential" learning, I knit while others described their most joyous moment and their sacred objects (my size 2 bamboo dpn's were my sacred object, but instead of placing it in the middle of the circle (as I was directed to) I continued to knit with them).

I knit when I was woken up by people coming and going at midnight, 2am and 3am the first night (by the light of a flashlight because we were in a very rustic location with no electricity after 10pm) and again last night when I made friends with the mouse I found in my water cup at 3:30am. (after hearing scurrying I felt around for my flashlight and once it was on a mouse butt was staring back at me. The mouse saw the light and turned to look at me before running off under my bed. I'm not afraid of mice, and in the wild, I don't mind them...but I didn't get a whole lot of sleep after that point. (and nevermind that once I had fallen back asleep I was woken up by one of our retreat "leaders" (I used the term loosely because she could have used some more leader training) letting me know that it was 8am. My watch said 6:30am, and I let her know that. After a short argument she said she'd be back - she returned to say that yes, indeed, it was only 6:30am and I had another hour and a half to sleep!!!)

Needless to say the sock in progress right now (Lornas Laces Shepard Sport yarn in "River" - it produced a great striping effect that I really like) is knit up a bit tight. It's almost done though, and I'm hoping that I can get four socks out of the two hanks I have.

(I shudder when I think about how much yarn I could have bought with the money I spent on the weekend....)

I've started studying again, and will make the most of my last week of the summer. Next Monday I'll start my first rotation, and from then on it'll be as though I hit the ground running!

(I'm still very behind in blog reading, but slowly and surely I feel like I'm catching up. I'll be here in Albany for the rest-ish of this week and will need to think about returning northeast at some point...)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

traveling yocks, car conundrums and lemons

The past two weeks have been a blur. I somehow made it to the airport for my flight to Salt Lake, and then, before I knew it, it was time to hop another plane to return home! My apartment has been packed, moved and cleaned, and though there were a few untimely car problems (separate from the inspection saga; see also "how I almost had a state representative's cell phone, below) I got into Albany late, late Sunday night. The cats seem indifferent to my presence, but I'm happy to be here. (I went to college here and have been taking care of these cats and house (and the kids who live here) for 7 years....look for a future post on how nice it is to return to this area and be welcomed with open arms)

picture note: all of my pictures are stuck in my camera. The cord/dock are somewhere in the pile of things that I brought in from my car, but I have no way to get them from my new laptop to the internet yet. They have wireless here, but it appears to be password protected and I'm currently without a password. As soon as they are internet-able, they'll be here.

I have been reading Margene's page for awhile, and felt sufficiently prepared for the amazing landscape. Ha! Imagine my surprise when I saw the mountains for myself - they are indescribable. They're towering and *right*there*at*the*edge*of*the*road - they don't mess around with peaks out there. Everywhere I went I saw another unique looking mountain; they were everywhere, and I never got tired of seeing them.

Margene kindly spent part of her Saturday knitting and talking with me at a wonderful little coffee stop and cafe. It was refreshing to converse with someone who's views are similar to mine, and 180 degrees away from the people I'd been staying with. (I knew the background and political stance of my friends who hosted me before I went and I respect that they have their own views of the world, but by the end of the trip it was exhausting.) It was also nice to sit and knit, something I didn't get a lot of time to do when the youngsters were awake! Seeing her socks in person was a treat - they are more beautiful in person then pictures can show. Thanks to the pattern names she shared with me, I now have a few ideas about my next pairs of socks. I tried my darndest not to flake out and sit there with a blank look on my face while the "I'm knitting with Zeneedle" phrase zipped around my head. Meeting up with people is getting easier.
Before we parted we ran by a local grocery store for some "local" candy that I'd never seen before. Five pounds of cinnamon bears and a few boxes of orange sticks traveled home with me and the verdict at my parent's house is that the stuff is "really good." Throughout the rest of my visit I kept my eyes out for some Idaho Spud candy bars and on one of the last days I was there I found a few to take back as well. All in all it was a good visit and I'm sure it won't be my last trip out to Salt Lake.

The Yocks
My yarn and socks (at some point "yocks" fell out of my mouth, and it's stuck) have almost transformed themselves into an honest to goodness pair of socks. I need to dig my chibi out of the pile of things so I can sew up the toes, but the end of this pair is near! I brought a borrowed copy of "The Knitter's Stash" with me in hopes that I'd re-start the Meadow Flowers shawl, but the closest I've come is rebelling the yarn. Rogue is on hold due to the heat, and now perhaps because I love the new pattern that is out as much or more then Rogue. I was aiming for something that I could wear to work with patients in, and I think the new version fits the bill better.

Car conundrums, or How I almost wound up with a state representative's cell phone
at this point in time my dear Kennedy the 13 year old, 172,000+ miled car is doing okay. The long, looong story short is that one thing led to another and in order for it to be safe to drive I needed a lot of work done. After all of the car appointments were done and my credit card had been charged I found myself stuck in traffic on the interstate (stop and go traffic, though it felt much more like stop, stop, stop, still stopped, stop, go, stop, stop, stop traffic). I kept one eye on my temperature gauge, and worried when the needle started approaching the carrot colored "danger zone." Out of the corner of my eye I saw white, then gray smoke appearing from around the edges of my hood, and then I started to smell something burning. I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and while I readied myself with a water bottle all the thoughts of what could be going on ran through my head at top speed: a fire, my engine blew up, a fire, my radiator burst, a fire). Once the hood was up and the accumulated smoke was cleared I saw steam rushing to escape from one of my radiator hoses.

I was cellphoneless at the time that it happened, and after no less then a dozen sympathetic looks, a trucker driving a rig full of eggs offered me a ride to take me anywhere I wanted to go, and a carload of non-shirted teenage boys stopped to see if they could "help," a nice, safe looking couple pulled over and offered their cell phone so I could call a car problem company. They have a daughter close to my age, and both felt compelled to stop because they hope people like them would stop if J is ever stuck. After a tow truck was dispatched the woman insisted that I call my parents to let them know where I was - after all, she was a mom and she'd want to know. I eventually convinced them I'd be fine, and they should continue on their way, but neither one felt it was a good idea to leave me communication-less. He offered up his cell phone, and they said they'd get it back from me later. Nevermind that they lived nowhere near my parents, and I could sort of get to their house from my apartment - they didn't care. It was more important that I have it then they did, and they said (more then once) it's (state name here)! We're true to our people. Only after I'd been hugged and gotten her card did I realize she's an active member of state government. I love that state.

The radiator hose that burst (it was probably the original hose) has a funny sensor thing on it, and wasn't in stock at the local snaab repair place. They sent me on my way with a different part as long as I promised to get it replaced with the correct one this week. I have a call into the place down here, and will get it really fixed later this week. (the sensor is apparently important and of course it drives the price through the roof.)

When life hands you lemons...
shove'em in your bra.

I have to preface this with a reminder that I'm a med student and that I'm also human. Things used to be easy for me - I glided through my years of college without any real problems (my own stubborn-ness isn't included in the "problem" category) and became used to reading something once and then remembering it forever. Then the craziness that is known as med school hit, and things changed and got harder.

I got news yesterday that I need to re-take the national boards this fall. I feel defeated. I am also frustrated, disappointed and anxious at the thought of putting in more hours of studying for an exam that appears to have no rhyme or reason. I've tried quiet meditation to turn the dark, heavy feeling into something more positive, but right now I can't do it. The all too familiar thoughts of "is this really what you want to do with your life?" and "is this even worth it?" are taking turns running through my mind, and even though I know it's just one exam that I can study for (again) and (in theory) pass, I am tired. It took me several weeks to snap out of my "reviewing" funk and now I feel like I'm falling back into it. I don't want to do this again. My mom said "I know this isn't what you wanted to happen" and I held back from screaming "yah think?" or "that's an understatement." Then I think about how much trust people may someday have in me and wonder if they'd still trust me if they knew I couldn't pass a national exam. Did I mention that thinking about studying this material again makes me tired?

My ego is bruised, my spirit is a bit crushed, and I am still not emotionally settled with what happened but I have my board review books in the car and will start reviewing tomorrow. The next exam dates are October 11th and 12th, and Rhinebeck is the weekend just after. Looks like I might get there from here - incentive is a wonderful thing.

(right now they are trying to figure out what my schedule is going to be; I'm hoping to be able to take the two weeks before the exam off, but it's going to take some finagling. My rotations of Internal Med and OB might be moved so that I can get the time off when I need it. This summer has been a good lesson in going with the flow and dealing with things as they come up.)