Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You know how to get your heart rate up?

Step 1.  Decide to take your dog out for one last walk before bedtime.

Step 2.  Put on his leash, and walk out the back door.

Step 3.  See a startled skunk come running straight at you, because apparently he lives under the porch, and was running to his safe spot - which happens to be exactly where you are standing.

Step 4.  Forcibly drag your dog back inside, because at this point all he wants to do is chase this fantastic animal he's never seen before.

Step 5.  Realize how lucky you are that neither you nor the dog got sprayed.

So that was fun last night.  And now every time we go for a walk, Skwissgaar wants to go sniff at the porch.  I have a feeling this isn't going to end well for us.  And no, I'm not going to do anything to chase it off - if it lives under the porch, it was there first.

When I was at the zoo, I got to work with a skunk they have in their education building - her name is Lilly, and she is an absolute sweetheart.  However, she has a really wirey, short hair coat, possibly due to some endocrine disease.  The skunk that came running at us last night had the most glorious fur, like it was in some sort of skunk pantine pro-v commercial.  As startled as I was, I couldn't help but marvel at what must be the Portia De Rossi of the skunk world.  Lilly would be jealous.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Done with NAVLE

So I took my national boards on Friday.  Despite it being a computerized test, I have to wait until January to find out how I did.  I really hope I never have to re-take that sucker.  Until I find out, I've got a few weeks off with no obligations, and it's fantastic.  I've got all my christmas shopping done, presents are wrapped, and I know this christmas won't be a repeat of last year's christmas.  Life is good.    I took Skwissgaar to my old schutzhund training group yesterday, and he showed off his mad training by ignoring the bite sleeve, running to the fence to chase the neighbor's horses, then refusing to come when called.  It was embarrassing, but he had fun.  Anyway, boring update, but I figured I'd update since I survived my boards.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Let the studying for boards commence

Since my last post, I've become a lot more zen about my situation.  I'm moved into my mom's house for right now. It's a bit disheartening to be 28 and living with mom. It doesn't make sense to get a place right now, since between now and when I graduate I'll be gone for 3 1/2 months. So I'm temporarily here, the tenants living in my house will be moved out in a few months, and then I'll be able to have my old house back once I'm done with school.  I left almost all of my furniture with Tyler, so there's a little bit of joy of knowing that once I get to move into my house, I won't have to move any heavy furniture -  I'll be able to order new stuff and have it delivered.  On my study breaks, I've been trolling pinterest, and pinning up a storm. I'm daydreaming about being able to decorate my own place with no other input, and not having to have a band practicing in my basement again.

One of the big plus-sides of being at my mom's house is my harp is here - I couldn't take it to California with me when I moved for vet school, and I've missed it ever so much.  I'm pretty rusty, but I've been practicing every day, so hopefully it will come back to me quickly.

9 days until I take the NAVLE.  Holy crap.  I just need to direct all my energy at this one thing, and after I finish, the rest of the year should be pretty smooth sailing.  9 days.  Eek!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trying to look on the bright side of things.

I'm back in Colorado, and I started my zoo rotation last week.  Sorry updates have been few and far between.  So far, the zoo has been fabulous.  I know I have a job lined up for when I graduate, and I know it's a job I'll love, but damn, I wish I could be a zoo vet.

Anyway, about everything else that's going on in my life.  I left California a day early to try to get back home to Colorado on Halloween.  It's my favorite holiday, and the thought of spending it listening to powerpoints, then driving across the dessert was rather depressing.

My pups were happy to see me.  Tyler, however, was not.  Knowing that I was home, and I hadn't seen the guy in 9 weeks, he stayed at a friend's party for hours after I told him where I was.  2 days later, he drops the bombshell that he wants a divorce.  So I've been dealing with the fallout from that for the past week and a half.  I've been trying to find somebody to take care of my cats for my next 3 rotations, since Billy obviously hadn't been getting his thyroid meds while I was gone, packing up all my stuff and moving it to my mom's house for storage, until I can move into my own place once I'm done with all of the travelling for school, and just trying to hold my shit together.

I'm really trying to look on the bright side of things right now.  I no longer have to deal with bat shit crazy in-laws.  I no longer have to hear non-stop droning about hockey and the Red Wings.  I no longer have to support a full grown adult who doesn't contribute to household bills, or clean, or take responsibility for anything.  In May, when I'm done with rotations, and the tenants move out of my house here, I can move in, decorate how I want, and not have to worry about having his band practicing in the basement again, so I know it won't get trashed again.  Logically, I know I'm better off. Part of me is pissed off that he's the one leaving me - because I expressed my disappointment in how he's treated me over the years (because apparently it's ok to mooch off your wife, put the band, your friends, and toxic family before her, and to break your vows multiple times, but it's not ok for her to react to those constant slights).  The other part of me is incredibly embarrassed that I've put up with so much shit for so long, and that I've been a complete doormat.  I'm trying not to dwell on it, and just move on, and concentrate on improving my situation, and studying for my boards in December.

As a result of all that, and in an attempt to cheer myself up, I did something impulsive - I booked a 2 week trip to Stockholm with my Mom, Sister, and best friend.  I have a few weeks between when I'm finished with all my clinical rotations, and when graduation happens.  I can't work in that time, while I'm waiting around for my diploma, so I figured I'd make the best of it. I seriously doubt that I'll be able to take any sort of time off for the next few years while I'm building my career, so it's now or never.

It may not feel like it right now, but life is good.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In the Desert!

I've been just south of Phoenix for the past week on my CORE surgery rotation, and it's been a blast so far.  The doctors at the practice I'm at are very laid back, and willing to answer questions, and I've gotten to scrub into some cool surgeries.

I decided to explore the area a little bit today, and found the Superstition Mountain Museum.  It had a lot of exhibits covering mining, the lost dutchman mine, the apaches, and to end the visit, there was an old chapel with an Elvis statue standing up front.  I guess there used to be an old Western movie set in the area, but the Elvis addition was hilarious.  Apparently people actually get married there.

After that mini-adventure, the rest of my day is dedicated to finishing up case logs from Friday, writing a case report, doing laundry, and all that "responsible" stuff I have to do.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm apparently breaking stuff here.

I let my domain for this blog expire, and forgot to change my redirect settings, so that would explain why my pageviews have been stuck at 0 since the 17th.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully, if you've been using to get here, you can figure out how to get to the blogspot address (, otherwise, oops, I just lost a ton of readers.

The past few weeks here in MN have been great.  I've leaned how to do orthopedic procedures and endoscopy on birds, plus a ton of other things.  I'm ready to leave, though, and the next 4 days are going to drag.  I think I hit my quota of days I can be gone without being homesick, and unfortunately, I have to go straight from here to Arizona.

I've been plowing through a ton of busywork the past few days, trying to get all of these random assignments done for this rotation, and my motivation is pretty sapped.  Busywork + personal life crashing and burning while I'm 1,000 miles away + missing my puppies is not a good combination.  I had grand plans to knock out all my assignments over the weekend, but instead ended up watching a bunch of episodes of The Shield, plus the Dexter series finale.  I fail at life.

I did get my email today from the NAVLE, giving me the go-ahead to schedule my national boards.  I was able to schedule them in my hometown, in the timeframe I was hoping for.  I'm excited and terrified.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm in Minnesota!

I'm halfway through my first week at the Raptor Center.  I had labor day off, so it's only been three days.  But in those three days, I've seen more raptors than I've seen in my life (in the wild, and zoos combined.)  I think the board said we had 99 patients today - everything from merlins to bald eagles to various hawk species.  I'm getting tons of hands-on experience, and getting practice with handling and IDing various species, and it's overall just wonderful.

I'm staying at the house of this woman who rents out rooms to students, and she is an absolute sweetheart.  I've been walking the 2 miles to the raptor center every day, and she's been hellbent on finding me a bike.  I don't mind walking, but she's way more concerned about it than I am.

One of the weird things I've noticed on my rotations is I keep finding vets who very closely resemble faculty members from school.  At CSU, one of the ECC residents had the EXACT same intonation and accent as our pharmacologist at Western.  Here at the raptor center, one of the vets has identical facial expressions and personality traits as our surgeon.  Nothing that makes any of them a complete doppleganger, but just enough similarities to throw you off.

Anyway, I've had long days sandwiched by long walks, I need to do my case logs for the last 3 days, and an avian radiology exercise, so I'm not going to write much of an update.  The whole year will probably be like this, which is sad, because this is probably the most interesting year, but the one I can write the least about.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Things you probably shouldn't say to your future boss

I was working at Dr. G's today.  She brought up how when I start to buy her practice from her, there's some cheap insurance you can get to make either business partner whole if something happens to the other.

Because I like to put my foot in my mouth, the first thing out of my mouth was "Good idea.  Then if you regret going into business with me, you can just cut my brake lines."  Good thing she's got an equally dark sense of humor.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Well, that went by quickly.

I'm home, after spending the month in Ft. Collins doing my emergency rotation at CSU.  It was not at all what I expected from an emergency and critical care rotation (75% critical care, 25% emergency, and once a patient was stable, it got referred to a different dept. for treatment.) I've got a few weeks off before my next rotation starts, but I'm not wasting it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my old clinic to do some supervised shelter work.  In a way, it's like a working interview, even though Dr. G has already introduced me to clients every time I've been there recently as "her new vet in a few months."  Or once "the future owner."  Eek!

Anyway, not much to add here.  I can't really write about anything from CSU due to confidentiality, and I haven't exactly had much of a life the past 4 weeks to write about.  I'm 1/4 of the way done with 4th year.  2 rotations down, and 6 more to go!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm in Fort Collins!

I've been on my emergency and critical care rotation for the past 2 weeks, with 2 more left to go.  It's been some long, crazy hours, and I've pretty much studied, then crashed soon after getting out each day, so sorry I suck about updating.  CSU has been gracious enough to give the "visiting" students weekends off, so I've been able to drive the 2 hours home the past 2 weekends to see Tyler and the critters.  I've almost finished unpacking all of our boxes, and it's starting to feel like home.  Too bad I won't be around much this year to appreciate it.  I bought a used couch yesterday, since we got rid of ours before moving, only to find out that it won't fit through the door to the room we were going to put it in.  I was running late getting back to Ft. Collins, so I had to leave it where it was, blocking the entire kitchen for Tyler to deal with when he got off work.  Poor guy.

I finally got my last rotation booked for February, and while I'm super excited I finally found a dentistry rotation that'll take me, I'm also sad it's out of state.  My original plan for 4th year was to try to do all of my elective rotations in Colorado, and only have to travel for my core internal med and surgery rotations, but I suck at booking things, and somehow, out of my 6 electives, 1 was in Cali before we moved, 3 are out of state, plus the 2 required out of state rotations.  I'm going to miss the hubby so much.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Washing the California stink off of me

I've neglected posting here the past few weeks.  First, I was packing up my stuff in Cali, and had no internet.  Now that I've made the drive to Colorado, I've been slowly putting a dent in unpacking my boxes. It's really hard to unpack when you're unpacking about 700 square feet of stuff into a 500 square foot apartment!  I haven't even unpacked my Kitchenaid mixer, and I'm 99% sure I have nowhere in my kitchen to fit it.  Anyway, it's taken me so long to update, because I've been spending what feels like every free moment hanging out with the people I missed like crazy, and this is the first time I've had to sit down and write.  

I've only done one car, but I just got Colorado plates on my vibe, and damn, does it feel good to get those Cali plates off.  There's always been a palpable hostility towards California here (and Texas), due to getting tons of people immigrating from those states and contributing to the urban sprawl/mcmansion problem we have.  I wasn't really comfortable getting stereotyped into that group because of identifiable plates, so it feels good to have the car "clean," so to speak.  I also got pawprint plates!  I was supposed to get spay/neuter plates in Cali, but they needed a minimum order for the run before they could issue them, and I left too early to get them.  So now I have plates from a better state, with better artwork on them.  

Doesn't the California plate look like the dog is melting, or has a chromosome missing or something?  

One plus side of hitting up the DMV today, is that it's super close to Garden of the Gods.  Sure, I wasn't prepared to go hiking - I was wearing a dress, my cell battery was almost dead, and didn't have a water bottle, but who can resist on such a beautiful day?  

Having that in my backyard is exactly why I've spent the past 3 years homesick like crazy.  

It's weird being back though.  Random businesses have changed, entire buildings have been erected or demolished, urban sprawl has gotten worse.  But the differences between here and Pomona are stark.  Pomona has a doughnut shop on every corner, the springs has either a tattoo studio or a church.  Too damn many churches everywhere.  And the number of tattoo shops seems to have doubled since I left - precisely the reason why I had to quit piercing - way too much competition to be able to make it charging full price for top quality work.  It's out of control now.  

I do have some amazing news though.  I stopped by my old clinic, and was greeted with "hurry up and graduate so you can start working here!"  I was also informed that since the property may get taken by the city by eminent domain in the next few years, that the owner's looking for a new place - and since I'll be owning it someday, my input is wanted.  :)  I've also been given the open offer to work there during my gaps between clinical rotations, do exams, and work up cases.  Eeeee!

I start my emergency rotation next week in Ft. Collins.  I'm extra excited and terrified.  Terrified, because I hate navigating large institutions, and I'm always convinced I'll get lost, and because even with as much preparation I've been trying to do, I don't feel like I know enough.  (Which, I honestly don't and never will.  It keeps me constantly reading and bettering myself.)  However, I love emergency, and I get to stay with family that I haven't seen in far too long, so I'm excited about that.  Fingers crossed.  (And as always, if I write about 3rd and 4th year stuff, since so much of it involves clients/patients, details will be either fudged or left out completely.) 

Anyway, that's the super-quick past couple weeks in a nutshell.  I don't know what my hours will be like in Ft. Collins, so updates may continue to be sporadic.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

8 days to the big move

Moving truck delivered.  Check.  Everything that's not going to get used over the next week in boxes.  check.  All that time spent playing tetris being put to good use as I load the truck.  Check.  Finding an auto shipper for my 2nd car - not going so well.  Hopefully somebody will come get it in the next few days.  That's a whole drama in and of itself.

Speaking of drama, does anybody else have the problem of being a magnet for crazy?  I had to leave radiology early on Friday so I could keep biting my tongue without snapping at a classmate.  I really try not to be rude to people, and I don't know if they sense that, and see it as a weakness, or what.  But the last thing I need is a socially awkward person following me around in class, assuming a level of camaraderie that doesn't exist, and not picking up on social cues that I want to be left alone.  It happens to me all the time.  It's why I avoid using public transportation - it's almost guaranteed if I take a city bus, and there's 20 empty seats, that a crazy person will sit next to me and start talking.  It's why when I go to Stater Bros for a quick grocery run, I get stuck talking to some weird 40 year old guy who wants to talk about music, even as I'm acting disinterested and inching my cart away from him.  What body language are they picking up on, and how do I fix that, short of just being a raging bitch to everybody?

Do you remember this post from a few months back?

In it I was joking about all the online searching I was doing for my 3rd year on-campus classes about reportable diseases, public health, and disaster management.  You know, using a giant chunk of keywords on this list.  With the news about Edward Snowden's leaks of PRISM, I don't know if I should say I told you so, or be very, very sad about the complete destruction of privacy and 4th amendment rights in this country.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Anaheim silliness

Tyler and I had a rare day off together today.  Since I'm leaving California soon, my first thought that we should go to Disney before we move.  Then I realized that I'm not all that into disney, especially not for how expensive ticket prices are.  So we went to the Discovery Science Center instead.  Tyler's wanted to go since he found out there was a hockey exhibit, and I'm always game for a museum, even if it is geared towards kids.  We followed that up with German food (since there's no German restaurants near Pomona), and then we accidentally stumbled on the brick-and-mortar store for Ipso Facto.  All that money I saved by not going to Disney?  Completely decimated by going to that store.  Oh, well, at least I have something to show for it besides some photos and a sunburn.

Speaking of clothes, I ordered some swimsuits online, and the store I got them from had mystery grab-bag type shoes for super cheap.  I picked my size, and took a gamble.  It did not pay off.  I cannot walk in 6 heels.  If you're a size 10, not a klutz, and like leopard print, they're up for auction on ebay, before I break an ankle trying to walk in them.

We found a place to move to in Colorado.  It's a downstairs apartment in a 1900's house, and we've been warned that we will hit our heads on the ceiling if we're taller than 6', so we're cutting it close at 5'11".  But it's super cheap, it allows us to have our critters, and it's back home.  I'm stoked.  2 weeks and I'm out of the ghetto!

I'm still loving my radiology rotation.  We just finished up the first half of interpreting radiographs, and the next two weeks will be nothing but doing ultrasounds.  Did I mention how lucky I am to be able to take this course before Dr. J retires?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

What a week!

I just finished my first week of 4th year.  Right now I'm taking Dr. J's radiology, which I am so lucky that he was willing to do for our class before he retires.  He was one of my favorite professors in the first 2 years of school, and he's really making all of this imaging come together and make sense.  I think I've learned more useful information in the past week than I did in all of 3rd year.

In the meantime, I dropped Izzy and Billy off at Banfield.  Izzy blocked, and passed a stone while I was in Washington, and I wanted to see if using the stone dissolution diet was working.  Umm.. it doesn't appear to be, but she hasn't blocked again, so I guess I'll keep her on it.  Billy, my most favorite kitty in the whole world had dropped an alarming amount of weight over the past 2-3 weeks, despite eating everything, and starting the bad habit of trying to steal food from me as I'm putting it in my mouth.  A t4 confirmed that he's hyperthyroid, and will have to be on daily medication for the rest of his life, or until I can afford to have his thyroid treated with radiation.  I'm just glad he's taken care of, and hopefully he'll start putting on weight again soon.

I had applied for a really perfect looking house back in Colorado, and got a call from the property management company saying they wouldn't even look at my application because I had too many pets.  Now I'm moving in 3 weeks, with no house to move to, and I'm starting to freak out.  I need a home!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nothing to see here

I was just looking at my blog stats, and I just crossed 60,000 page views.  Wasn't it just a few months ago that I crossed 50,000?

My radiology rotation starts on Monday.  It's the official start to fourth year, and it seems like a good way to ease in.  It's taught by Dr. J, who's a wonderful teacher and radiologist, and whose wife was the founding dean of the school.  Hopefully by the end of the month, I can actually start to feel really comfortable reading films and doing ultrasounds.  Especially ultrasounds. It's a skill I need, but sometimes it's so confusing.  I need to dedicate this month to learning every little thing I can.

After that rotation, I need to get in a truck and drive to Colorado.  We've found a house that we want to rent (since our house has tenants in it until February), and we're just waiting to hear from the property management company about whether or not we've been approved.  It's so close I can taste it.  I'm so homesick, and ready to be back in a state that doesn't smell like exhaust.  Poor Tyler is especially homesick - I've been rather distracted by school for the past three years, and I've have the opportunity to make friends with classmates, while he's been working for a company he doesn't like, ripped away from his friends back home, without a whole lot of opportunities to integrate here.  One month, and we'll get back!  I can't wait.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

So over this.

Done with finals. Counting down the days until I can return to Colorado.  Looking forward to my radiology rotation in a few weeks.

I'm pretty sick of my car right now.  I brought it in over spring break to repair a leaking exhaust manifold, and replace the bearings.  They replaced the manifold, and had to replace the intake gasket and re-machine the engine.  Then, it started to die on me again, and Tyler took it into the shop while I was in Oregon.  First they thought it was the fuel injectors, and I had to pay to replace those.  Then they finally figured out it was the O2 sensor.  It's been running fine for about 2 weeks, then last night, the check engine light starts flashing, and it's running rough like it's misfiring.  I am so sick of dealing with car problems, and I'm mad I ever bought this piece of junk.

I was getting lost in some rabbit holes online, and I found a couple articles about CU's dental school.  Apparently in 2010, they got into some problems with the DEA,  and then it looks like just recently, they're under investigation again.  Basically, they were letting students and residents prescribe and use sedatives for anesthesia that were all under a doctor's DEA number, even when he wasn't physically present on campus.  This got me thinking, since we don't have a teaching hospital here, what is the standard operating procedure for prescribing at teaching hospitals?  Does one doctor order all the anesthetics for the hospital, and everybody uses them?  I wonder if there are differences between states, and between the human/veterinary/dental divide.  Leave a comment if you know how your school works.

I bought a powerball ticket for tonight's drawing.  I feel like I should have my grades in statistics revoked from me.  :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quickie update

It's finals week, and I just finished my practical exam and necropsy.  A couple more days of exams and I'll be done with 3rd year.  I've been a bit too busy studying to update, so forgive me.

I got back from Seattle on Friday.  I don't know quite what I was expecting while I was there, but I was pretty unimpressed with Seattle.  I think if I'd had a car, and got to explore more than what I could reach via the bus lines, it would have been great, but as it was, it just seemed like a bunch of concrete and chain stores.  By city standards it wasn't awful, but it wasn't as great of a place to visit as I had hoped.

While we were at the University of Washington, they took two pictures of us the first day - one to post on the walls saying who we were (there were similar pics of the residents and people doing clerkships.) That picture was taken at 8 am, and mine and both of my classmates looked tired and awful.  Then we got to randomly walk by the pictures for the next two weeks.  The second picture was for our dept. of comparative medicine ID cards.  Not wanting the picture to look awful like the last one, I tried to lift my chin, and have a neutral face.  Instead I came out making this expression like I was having a mug shot taken.  Not flattering one bit.

The actual rotation was nothing to write home about.  The people there were nice, but I want to treat rats and mice, not run terminal experiments on them, so I wasn't too thrilled about the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm home now, I have a ton of studying to do so I can power through my exams, and then I have a short break before 4th year starts.  I need to figure out what things in California I really want to do before I move back to Colorado, so if anybody has any suggestions, I'm open.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lost Luggage, Pirates and Pineapple Cupcakes

I meant to update yesterday or sunday, but this weekend had other plans for me.

Last time I updated, was the Saturday of the free weekend I had in Oregon.  The next day, we went exploring.  Up the 138 in Oregon is the Umpqua river.  The highway twists and turns with the river.  Every few miles, there are places where you can pull of, park, and hike to some of the most stunning places I have ever seen in person.

Then back to the zoo on Monday.  One of the keepers took some time out of her day to teach us about the hippos, and their training schedule.  We were less than 2' from them, with nothing but the fence between us.  

On Friday, the vets told us if we bought canvases, that the elephant keepers would have one of the elephants paint it for us.  We didn't expect to be able to pick out colors, and actually watch the elephants paint.  

What a great artist George is.

The rest of the week was more medicine - mostly we worked on the hooves of deer that live in naturally rocky areas - since Oregon is so lush, their hooves don't wear down naturally, so they need to be anesthetized and get pedicures throughout the year.  

Wednesday, the vets had meetings all day, so they paired each of us up with a group of zookeepers - one classmate went with the ungulate department, one with the elephants, and I went with the Cheetahs.  I got to help prepare cheetah diets, got to feed them, and watch as they went through their daily training routine with their lions and tigers.  

Thursday, after working on the animals that needed vet care, the intern had us practice shooting blowdarts indoors for awhile, before taking us outside to the range to practice shooting dart guns.  

Friday was more medicine, then we gave our presentations on zoo animal anatomy and physiology, and did our case presentations, rode a camel, then it was time to leave.  

I didn't exactly want to leave, but I did want to see Tyler and my pups.  I knew I would only have about 36 hours in California before turning around for Seattle.  But United had other plans.  Remember the clusterfuck they caused at the beginning of the rotation? Well, they decided they could top it.  First our flight was delayed, then cancelled.  My 36 hours in California was slowly shrinking.  Finally, we got a flight booked for the next morning.  We were put up in a hotel for the 6 or so hours we had to squeeze in a power nap before having to try to fly again.  Finally, we're off.  My 36 hours is looking more like 24.  Then we land in San Francisco for our short layover.  Which becomes a longer layover due to yet another delayed flight.  My 24 hours is turning into 20.  Finally, we get to Ontario, with enough time to see Tyler for 2 hours before he had to go to work.  But did my luggage make it with me?  Of course not!  United left my and one classmate's luggage in San Francisco, and another classmate's luggage in Medford.  Uugh!  

So I get home.  I spend a little bit of time with Tyler.  Then Sarah picks me up for what I was assuming were lunch plans.  She starts driving.  I ask where we're going.  Apparently to the Renaissance Faire.  It was fun as hell (especially when Broon started making fun of a row of people dressed as Jack Sparrow), but I was starting to feel guilty for not spending more time with the pups.   I get home, only to be invited to dinner by my next door neighbor and my old neighbor.  Go to dinner.  Leave halfway through to pick up Tyler from work.  Re-convene at the restaurant.  Don't get home until midnight.  Find my luggage had finally been delivered to me.  Finally able to start doing laundry to pack for Seattle.  Don't get in bed until 3.  Get dropped off at the airport just after 10.  Not long enough!

Anyway, I'm in Seattle now.  The flight was flawless (I'm assuming because it was not through United).  Our hotel is entertaining.  They have plates of free pineapple cupcakes every afternoon (and damn, they are some good cupcakes).  The University of Washington department of comparative medicine is only a 20 minute walk from the hotel.  And the hotel lends out bicycles for free, so at some point when I have downtime, I plan on getting on a bike and exploring Seattle.  I'm going to attempt to find a Swedish restaurant, the underground Seattle below the city of Seattle, and maybe the bridge troll.  

I guess I'm not really sure what I need to see here, and I'm not loving the big city vibe anywhere near as much as I loved the large swathes of forest I had in Oregon.  This is also my last rotation of 3rd year, which means finals are coming up in less than 2 weeks.  I'm more worried about studying than exploring at this point.  If there's something amazing in Seattle that I can't miss while I'm out here, leave a comment, and I'll try to visit it.  Otherwise, I'll probably have my nose buried in my laptop for most of the weekend.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Have I mentioned that I love Oregon?

Well, I've finished my first week at the Wildlife Safari out here.  I've been so impressed with how much the zoo vets and the keepers care for the animals, and how quick they are to react to the slightest change in an animal.  I've also been lucky to get the opportunity for lots of hands-on experience - I've been able to do physical exams on anesthetized animals, monitor anesthesia, feed a couple critters (the giraffes, elephants and a deer), and get way closer to some wild animals then I ever have.  For example, they have the cheetahs trained to stand in a small area of their enclosure, and allow the veterinarians to draw blood from their tail, while being distracted by being fed skewered meat through the fence.  The low-stress handling techniques they use are good for the vet staff and good for the animals.  The vets at the zoo gave me permission to share some of the following photos.

Today, Gen and I went to Florence, OR, visited the world's largest sea cave that is full of sea lions, swung by Eugene, and visited Voodoo Donuts (because everybody needs donuts with pentagrams on them, or phallic-shaped pastries), and tomorrow we're going to go hike up to some waterfalls, and potentially visit crater lake.  I'm going to have such a hard time leaving this state.  

Monday, April 15, 2013


Yesterday was a bit of a turd sandwich.  I left the house at 7 am to fly out towards Oregon for my zoo rotation.  We reached San Francisco by 10, only to find out that our connecting flight to Medford Oregon had been cancelled with no explanation.  We eventually get another flight to Oregon, although in a different city (North Bend?), that was supposed to leave San Francisco at 5.  Then it got delayed.  First 5:30, then 6, then 6:15.  I think the plane finally pulled up, and we were able to board the plane around 6:30.  Land in Oregon just before 8, just to find out that wheee! United lost our luggage! My classmate's luggage never left San Francisco, but mine managed to fly to Medford and back to San Francisco on a separate flight.  Hopefully, it will be at our hotel when we get back there.  It took us about an hour or so to deal with the United employees to get everything set in motion to get our luggage back (the two nicest customer service employes I have ever met, by the way), then we were on the road to our hotel.  For almost 2 hours.  After almost 15 hours of travel time, we were finally to our hotel room by midnight.  Aargh.  And we had to show up to our rotation wearing the clothes we had travelled in the day before, because none of us thought to throw in a change of clothes into our carryon.

But you know what?  It's all worth it.  Because now we're in Oregon, where it is gorgeous and everything's green.  It's alternated between sunny, rainy and hailing, which has been beautiful.  And the Wildlife Safari is amazing, the vets here are amazing, and I think my prediction that this is going to be the best rotation of the year is going to be true.  Today was filled with bears and elephants and oryx and porcupines, oh, my!  Bliss.   

Friday, April 5, 2013

My quick vacation home just made me that much more home sick.

I went back to Colorado for Spring break.  It was wonderful, with the exception on getting stuck in a blizzard for 3 hours on the drive there.  It was a little bit too wonderful, because I really did not want to come back to California.

When we first moved to Pomona, before olfactory fatigue kicked in, every time I went outside I noticed how California smelled like smog. When I went home, I had the opposite effect - I wasn't used to how it smelled there, so outside always smelled like pine.  Now that I'm back here, I'm smelling smog again.

It was great seeing old friends, and picking up exactly where we left off.  It was great seeing wildlife that wasn't just reptiles, or feral animals (although the flock of feral parrots here in Cali is kind of awesome).  While we were having a BBQ at a friend's house in Manitou Springs, we were visited by a bear.  My mom's yard was full of deer most days.  Aargh, I miss living in the foothills.

I stopped by the clinic I used to work for, and got asked point-blank to come work there when I graduate, and to buy the practice over a 5-6 year period.  It's something my old boss and I always hinted at, and I always wanted to do, but things are a lot more official now.  Nothing in writing yet, but that will come closer to when I graduate.  I also found out that the property that the clinic is sitting on is probably safe from being taken via eminent domain and destroyed to expand the main street it's next to, so that is amazing news.  I love that property - it's over an acre, perfect for wildlife work, has a couple goldfish ponds in back, an area for the clinic goats to live, and it still has the fort and windmill from the mini-golf course that was there before the hospital.  I'm so excited that if all goes well that it will be mine one day.

I also swung by the zoo while I was at home.  The post office lost some paperwork from them confirming my 4th year rotation there, so I figured I'd cut the post office out of the picture, get stuff re-signed and drop it off at school in person.  I had the pleasure of being asked to come with one of the vets while I was there to treat a Tapir.  If they let me come with them when I was just dropping off paperwork, I cannot wait until I get to officially spend a month there next year.

This week for class, I've been on my surgery rotation at the Upland shelter.  Wednesday, I neutered a boxer.  He is so incredibly sweet, and if I weren't at capacity with 2 dogs, I would take him in a heartbeat.  He's so happy to have attention, kept trying to sit in my lap when I was trying to do a physical exam on him, and kept stopping to turn around and give me a goofy boxer face when I was walking him in the park.  He didn't have a name when I neutered him, so I named him Doofle, but I see that somebody else has switched his name to Barney.  Pfft.  Barney.  Anyway, he needs a home.  He's an absolute love bug.  You know you want him. He wants to sit on your couch and snuggle, watch movies and share snacks.  He wants to go for romps in the park.  He's a hell of a sweet dog that will make somebody very happy.

You cannot resist that sad puppy face.  Adopt him.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Break!

I have one more day at my pathology/reference laboratory rotation, and then I get to make the 18 hour drive back to Colorado for spring break.

The lab we're at is one of the most helpful rotations I've had all year.  They have us reading histology and cytology slides, UAs, fecals, and interpreting blood work all day.  Mornings usually start with a pathologist presenting an interesting case they've seen.  I keep cracking up, because I'm convinced the reason they have WesternU students there is so they can tell us their pet peeves for when vets send in labwork, and hopefully we won't be one of those vets.  "See these slides we got?  Notice how the vet didn't label them.  ALWAYS LABEL YOUR SLIDES!"  "This guy sent in 20 slides with a biopsy, and NEVER SEND YOUR SLIDES WITH FORMALDEHYDE!"  "Oh, look, more tubes that weren't labeled."  Yeah, guys, you've been awesome.  I'll make sure I never send you unlabeled samples.

I am so excited to go back home for a week.  I'm a little nervous, since I haven't been back since the massive forest fires last year, so I'm not sure exactly what to expect.  Hopefully the mountains don't look too charred.  And even if they do, they'll still look better than the scrubby midget mountains out here with no timberline.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A sad day for the body modification community

Shannon Larratt, the founder of BMEzine died.  I've read BME or his personal blog almost every day since I was 13 or 14.  If you're not part of the bod mod community, it's hard to explain his influence, but I'll give it a shot.  BME was built as a community - not just a website for sharing information or pictures, but as a "homebase" for people who may not have had one in real life.  BME strove to cover all aspects -> spreading accurate information, including detailed risks, while covering the cultural and fringe aspects.  It gave people a voice, and a cohesiveness that hadn't existed previously.  It was a place to browse photographs, read about new techniques for new modifications, read/listen to interviews with practitioners and the heavily modified, and fight poorly written legislation and discrimination. BME was what provided me with the information to become a body piercer, and to be the best damn body piercer I could be.

In 2000, Shannon built iamBME, a social networking page that allowed its members to form subgroups, share their photos and thoughts, and once again, served as a way to connect the community.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, but iamBME preceded all the other social networking sites like myspace and facebook by a good 3-4 years.  That's right, the freaks had it first.

His personal blog exposed me to some great things I may not have stumbled upon otherwise.  My love of earthship architecture is because of Shannon.  He's the one who really got me thinking of the advantages of off-grid living and self-sufficiency.

Whenever I emailed him, he would always reply, even though we'd never met, and he never had any obligation to me.  Whether it was 14 year old me asking about the steps necessary to break into the industry, 20 year old me asking about different piercing techniques, or last may, when he wrote me a very well-thought-out reply to my blog post on the need of modified people to be more visible in a professional capacity, he always took time to support members of the community.

Within the past few years, he started experiencing some problems.  What started out as an odd mass on his leg, eventually turned to muscle wasting, pain, difficulty walking, and eventually apnea even when he was awake.  He spoke about the difficulties getting diagnosed (finally with a rare disease called tubular aggregate myopathy), and sadly about the difficulties of getting proper pain control in a system that would rather withhold real relief for people who need it rather than risk medicating a drug seeker.

I left the body modification industry in 2009, when I quit piercing in order to work at a veterinary clinic full time.  I never left the community.  Shannon became less important to me as a representative of body modification over the past few years, and more important to me as a philosopher and fellow human being.  Even though today's news was expected, it feels like there's a gaping hole left in the world.  I'm so happy for him that he's no longer suffering, but so sad that he's gone.  Even if you're not the least bit interested in tattoos or piercings or extreme mods, it's worth clicking the link at the top of this entry and reading his last post.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I survived small animal block

I just wrapped up my final's week for small animal block.  Looking at my test scores - apparently having a Dr. Who marathon instead of studying the weekend before exams wasn't my brightest plan I've ever had.  Oh, well, I'll just chalk it up to a life lesson in not allowing myself to get too complacent with things.

To celebrate exams being over, I went to the Aquarium of the Pacific with Sarah, then walked around Long Beach, and ate lunch overlooking the harbor.  After having zero free time for the past 2 months, and a shitty exam week, it was exactly what I needed.  I got to spend the day relaxing, with no time constraints, just great conversation and beautiful weather.  I was really surprised at how unimpressive the actual aquarium was - I've been to the aquarium in Denver, and I thought that an aquarium in an even bigger city, right next to the ocean would be phenomenal, but it was way smaller than expected, overrun with kids and strollers, and with way fewer and smaller fish than I was hoping to see.  And it didn't even matter, because I got to spend the day with my best friend.

Next week's rotation starts at a diagnostic lab - from what I understand from people who have already done this rotation is that you battle hellacious LA rush hour traffic there and back, you're sleep deprived because of the commute, but that you learn so much that it's all worth it in the end.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's only taken about 3 years....

But I just crossed 50,000 views on my blog!  I started out writing here, thinking that maybe the occasional family member who I forgot to call would read what I'm writing, and instead, I've managed to pick up a decent number of monthly pageviews.  Not bad, considering I never really expected any readers at all.

I have one week left of my last small animal rotation of 3rd year.  Finals are the week after. I'm pooped, I feel like I haven't done near enough studying, and I just want a couple days to myself where I can goof off and not have to worry school.  Luckily, spring break is at the end of March, but that's sooo far away right now.

Oh, and if you're reading this, and you're not a vet or in vet school, you probably haven't seen this article plastered across all your social networking sites today.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I think I'm a little bit in love with emergency medicine

I still have 2 more days on my emergency rotation, but I have definitely learned that the things I loved about seeing wildlife are the same things I love about emergency medicine.  Trauma cases come in, and you're frantically working to fix them or humanely euthanize them.  While working with injured wildlife has the advantage that they don't come attached to owners, emergency has the advantage of great hours and actually pays.  This could very well change my plans for after graduation.  

The only downside of the past few weeks is that my credit union disabled my debit card due to an "external compromise," then forgot to send me a new one.  I called them and asked when I should expect my new one in the mail, and the CSR was like "we don't have a record of having sent you a new one.  Would you like me to send one now?" No, dummy, I just want to never be able to access my bank account.  When I asked if they could overnight one, since they screwed up, they would only do it if I paid $50 to cover their screwup.  Gah.  For some reason, my debit card has been canceled and replaced 3 times since I've moved to California due to security breaches on the bank's end.  And it always gets replaced just as I memorize the number and can order stuff online without having to pull it out of my wallet.  Every time without fail.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm a space case

I forgot to mention earlier that I got to do something fun and not-school-related.

Last week, Tyler and I went to see Gojira at the Glass House.  Gojira's a metal band from France that tends to be very environmentally themed.  Hell, they've donated a shitload of money to Sea Shepherd, and briefly had an anti-whaling boat named after them.  They're one of the bands that is actually articulate and thought-provoking in interviews, and apparently, live, they just rock your socks off.

An aside - stupid smartphones.  I haven't been to a lot of shows since moving out here, but each one has progressively more and more people in the crowd holding their phones above their heads to record the show.  Sure, it's nice so I can always find a clip on youtube to embed here, but just watch the freaking show!  You don't have to record every second of your life!  Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there.

Speaking of getting to do fun things - Tyler and I actually had a day off together today, since my emergency rotation has us there over the weekend, and gives us weekdays off.  I'm pretty sure in the past 6 months we've only had Thanksgiving and Christmas off together.

We took the day to drive to LA and check out some strange museums.  First stop was the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which was unfortunately closed on Tuesdays.  We then backtracked to the Museum of Death, which featured a ton of antique embalming and funeral home supplies, stuff from the Heaven's Gate cult, and serial killer memorabilia.  They also had a conjoined turtle (or should that be plural?)  Anyway, the turtles are over 16 years old now, and doing well.  I asked if they had radiographs of them, but unfortunately, they didn't on-site.

We then made a just-before-closing-time trip to Necromance where I picked up a diaphonized rat.  It was a spur-of-the moment choice between this, and about 6 framed os-penises.  It's probably for the best that I chose this one.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Halfway though small animal block

I just finished up my second rotation at a Banfield.  Last Banfield I'll ever have to be in.  It was interesting - I got a lot of practice putting in catheters, drawing blood, monitoring anesthesia, and intubating animals.  The clinic I was at did probably 95% wellness care and dental cleanings.  It's an interesting business concept: pre-charging customers a monthly fee, and then bundling together a couple wellness appointments, yearly blood work and dental cleanings.  I could see how it would promote better compliance with some things, since clients have already paid for the services.  It's interesting.

Next week I start my 2-week emergency rotation.  I am so freaking excited for it.  Not only do I get to sleep in for 2 weeks (which after being constantly sleep deprived, I am so looking forward to), but I'm sure I'm going to see a ton of amazing cases.

The first two blocks I did this year, I had all the same rotations as two of my good friends in our class.  We got separated for the last 2 blocks.  One of the things I've been loving about this block is getting to spend time with classmates that I wouldn't have otherwise, and just getting to know them.  I have some pretty fantastic classmates.

Other than that, my life has been pretty uneventful for the past 2 weeks.  I did order a used kindle off of ebay to replace mine, which got broken at some point during large animal block.  The ebay listing said it would be reset and ready to attach to my amazon account - I figured it'd be blank.  Imagine my surprise when I turn it on, and find 200+ books on it.  My thought process went kind of like this: "Yay, more books, you can never have enough books!  I don't recognize any of these authors, maybe I'll find something new that I wouldn't have found otherwise.  Oh, wait, these are all romance novels.  Some of them are umm... more erotica than romance novels.  Wait, here's a zombie book.  I'll see what it's about.  They make zombie erotica? Stupid unreadable free books."  Good times.

On a note completely unrelated to vet school rotations, or zombie erotica, if you have time to listen to an hour-long podcast, this is really interesting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I didn't mean to go 2 weeks without an update!

I just finished up my 2-week on-campus Banfield rotation.  It really is a pleasant rotation - you get primary patient care, you actually get to interact with clients, and the vets you work with are all pretty awesome.  The first week killed me though; coming off of winter break, where I was on a night-schedule, to suddenly having to wake up at 7am, coming from our on-campus block where I pretty much turned my brain off for 2 months, and suddenly being quizzed about pathophys; and me and one other classmate getting slammed with patients, while other classmates had hours of free time to study. The second week was much smoother, and I actually managed to sneak some studying in most days.  Yesterday, we had an oral examination that was pretty freaking stressful - I got the clinical diagnosis, but I definitely stumbled on some physiology and pharmacology, so fingers crossed that I passed - and of course, we don't find out if we did or not until after finals, so I get to stress about it for 7 more weeks.

Tyler and I had a friend from Colorado out last week, and it was pretty fan-freaking-tastic to have somebody around from back home.  I keep counting down the days until I finish my radiology course out here, and I can move back.  It was also distracting as hell to have somebody hanging out when I was trying to study, and to keep having to tell them to go do fun things without me, so I could get school stuff done.

I wish I had a personal assistant who I could rope into dealing with all my crap for me that I don't want to.  I got summoned for Jury duty, and I need to make that go away.  I chipped a molar, and I need to get it fixed, and research a good dentist in this area who is open on weekends.  I still am hounding possible 4th year rotation sites, and waiting to hear back from people.  I gave up on calling the mechanic I found with good reviews on yelp - I have a manifold leak, and apparently returning messages so I could get my car fixed before rotations started again was not one of their priorities.  Anybody want to volunteer for the job?  For free?  No?

Monday, I start a 2 week rotation at another Banfield location.  That's a 30 mile drive away.  In morning rush hour traffic. I hope it kicks ass to make up for all the time I'm going to be spending parked on the highway.