Tuesday, August 29, 2006

quickie post

Short post- first two days on rotation went very well- REALLY like the folks. Slow location- 200 Rx per week (remember last rotation was 650 qd on Mon and Fri). Have been studying top 200 since this place is organized differently than last rotation/current work.
Miss my vacation already. Miss the salt air, miss seeing my nephew and his daughter, miss hanging w my sister and walking daily w her hubby. Glad to be back w the kitties & vice versa. Have been trying to walk 2 miles a day, started on vaca and hoping to keep up. Said good-bye to Mr JellyBelly- no more beans til Xmas. Let's hope to see a thinner, smarter, new & improved BA.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Spouting, Seals and Three Perfect Beach Days

Three beauties in a row! What more can a vacationer ask for? All with temps about 78 degrees F, water temp of 63-65F and mild ocean breezes. Day one and two- not a cloud above us, but we could see clouds over Boston on the horizon from the beach. Day 3 was hazy but sun broke thru continuously, and Mother Nature put on a show.
We happened to be on the Cape. I would never recommend it as a vacation place- it's way too far , there's no garbage pickup, the water pressure sucks and it's way too expensive. Sand in the bathing suit sucks, and all you can eat is fish. We call it Fifi-land for reasons I shall not disclose. Go somewhere else. Really. I hear California is nice. Disney gets good reviews.
Anyhow- we go there sometimes. And when we are there, we force ourselves to go to the beach. (Driving in traffic is much more fun than sitting in the sun listening to other people's kids scream and throw rocks at each other. Take a drive. You'll be glad you listened to me and did not visit the beach.) This time, for a miracle, there were clear skies, perfect tides, and regular breezes, which I understand only happens every hundred years. Usually in August on the Cape, people are shovelling their driveways.
So we're sitting on the sand swiping at sand fleas and enjoying the Jim Jones mass suicide of thousands of little silver fish that committed mass suicide the night before just to see how many sand flies they could attract. The balmy breezes are punctuated by the whistles of exasperated lifeguards trying to corral morons who choose to wear swim noodles and bubbles so the rip tides can take them out even further, and watching the yahoos drive boats right up on the sand (yes, we DO think it must be bad for the boat, but after a twelve-pack it must seem like a REALLY good idea. One group of yahoos was actually throwing rocks at each other for sport, but they all survived this Darwinian pasttime, much to our chagrin). Anyhow, we're reading the books we've put off all year when Sue says "is that a spout?"
Yeah, sure, Sue, Moby Dick came by to finish off the little silver fish the terns have missed. Then right in front of me, whoosh, up goes the kind of spout I have only ever seen on the National Geographic or the Discovery Channel. Thar she blows!
This whale with a huge sense of humor and impecable dramatic timing then cavorted for over an hour right in front of us. Since we were the geeks with the telescope AND binoculars, the whole group of us was up like a shot, and this whale played with us visually. People around us began to stop and watch as well. When I had my turn with the binocs, I saw it spout, then roll on its side and slowly, idly roll across my line of vision and then down beneath the waves. I never saw it fluke its tail, but this critter played the crowd. A boat would go near and stop- nothing. Ten minutes would go by and the disappointed yahoos would head away, then it would spout again. It was pretty entertaining- endangered species messing with the heads of yahoos with too much money. You didn't need binocs, but I am glad I got a really good look at my first whale. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. (I hear Disney is nicer, especially the Hall of Presidents.)
In the lulls between spouts, a seal mom with a couple of pups would surface further down the beach and give us something else to amuse ourselves with. It's pup season, and they will land periodically to rest, so people are supposed to stay away and not stress them out (they get stressed, they get sick, then they die, and it's all your fault, damn yahoos). It was really nice to watch them but sad to see the yahoos eyeing them and thinking about coats.
We watched the whales and seals for over an hour- our friends stayed with the binocs for another hour after we left and the show continued- they saw TWO whales (we suspected there were 2).
Just to rack up the wildlife, over the three days we saw a common loon (eating a big fish), red-necked loon, all kinds of terns and gulls, and a peregrine falcon winging in from over the ocean. Ted says the peregrine is such a strong flier it doesn't depend on thermals, so unlike other hawks, you will see it come in from over the sea.
The feeder was frequented by goldfinches, cardinals, the occasional jay, chickadees, tufted titmice and house finches, along with a few straggling mourning doves. I stepped out on Day 2 and a juvenile fledgling cardinal was hopping right by the steps- he seemed to have a limp, and when he tried to fly up on the feeder, he fell off because he couldn't grip with his feet properly. We felt sorry for him so Ted threw some seed under the feeder, and he set to. When we got home from the beach, he was gone and either he encountered a miracle or he ended up as redtail dessert. Survival of the fittest.
Anyhow, the beach was just what I needed after the past year. I may go back down for a few days, but then again, I may shake the sand out of my bathing suit and head off to Disney. I hear it's the best vacation spot in the world. Really. Wanna go?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hanging in the Hood

I like my neighborhood, though I admit that usually I just sleep there. I have these two women who live by me who are passionate animal owners and animal activists; to sum, we are all three officially crazy cat ladies. We all like to garden, and we all admit we don't spend enough time gardening, playing with out pets or socializing with each other.
Enter newest neighbor; a dynamo of activity and a powerhouse of positivity. She is so delighted to own her own home, and is constantly working on it. So she came up with an idea, and approached all of us with it..."We all have a million projects we'd like to do, and alone, it's pretty daunting trying to accomplish even a fraction of them. What if we designate one weekend a month, and all of us work together on one woman's project?" DUUUUH! Why didn't we think of that before?
I promised as soon as school's didactic ended, I was in. This weekend, I went in to visit my dad (Mom went to Atlantic City to gamble away the inheritance, so I promised to visit and keep him company) and jog around Castle Island. I came home and glanced over to my neighbor kitty-corner to me- there were The Gals, painting away on the picket fence. "Tom Sawyer!" I hollered. "Aaaargh! I hate that analogy- it sounds like I'm manipulating them!" she grimaced. Not to me- I think all Tom's friend's happily forked over things to be part of the action- where the fun was taking place. The side yard had been weeded and mown, and Jackie the corgi was racing about in happiness. Being a corner property, there is a LOT of picket. I raced in for a change of grubby clothes and grabbed a brush.
They had missed contacting me as I ran about doing errands, and had started at 8 am with the yard work. The Designated Male Person (her beau) had been scraping the chipped paint on the fence and porch, Dynamo woman cleared the yard and everyone else filled in. I got there about 5 ish and painted til about 7:40, then we started again at 10 next morning. Some guy walking by said "you remind me of Tom Sawyer!" and after he left the Beau laughed and said "If he only knew you're the neighbor and the owner is inside right now..."
It ended up that the fence was not finished- we quit after 2pm Sunday as we all had dump runs and errands. But the whole point is, this was a huge task that she couldn't begin on her own- but knowing that helping hands were available, we all made such a dent that the rest will be do-able. And I know if I see her out there, I'll be grabbing the brush again.
I don't get to hang around and talk much. But if I can accomplish something that not only benefits a friend, but also makes the neighborhood and town a more beautiful place. How can you not like that?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

twenty (million) questions

ok many more than twenty... I loved Kate's questions so I decided to steal them. It is a great way to sum yourself up, but I don't round off well, I have too many decimal places.

So, you want to know about me.

:Name:: Karen, aka BheanAnfa (I love my old nick, still known as BA in some circles)

::Single or Taken:: Very happily single.

::Sex:: On occasion.

::Siblings:: Two sisters. I don't see them enough.

::Eye color:: very blue, covered with tinted glasses because I am myopic AND light-sensitive.

::Hair color: Brown. Darker than it used to be, I was a blond child.

::Shoe size:: 9; big. You know what they say about people with big feet... (they wear big shoes.)

::Height:: 5' 8"

::Righty or lefty:: Bothy but mostly righty. I paint left-handed and plaster with both. Go figure.

::Can you make a dollar in change right now: most likely. My pocketbook is full of change and I pick up pennies if Lincoln is showing (bad luck if you don't!).

::Who are your closest friends:: I have several close friends and a boatload of good friends. My oldest and dearest are Melissa, Joan, MaryEllen, Gail and Sue. My school pals are Tran, Michelle, Eva, Ryan, Francois, Crispy, and Chris, but I am good friends with many others also. I am also blessed with some great neighbors right now. And we can't forget cousins- a whole 'nother category. I like my kids pretty much too.


::Kind of pants:: Jeans. I got married in jeans- always said I would and I did.

::Number:: 12, then any odd number. I always park in odd-numbered spaces.

::Animal:: Sorcha is my heart's delight. Cujo is my buddy, and Damhnait adores me but the other cats and she have issues.

::Drink: Tea.

::Alcoholic Drink:Pina colada, or shiraz or Pouilly Fuisse.

::Sport:: To go see- hockey, ice skating. To do- skiing.

::Month:: September. I love fall.

::Cartoon:: Right now, I am totally amused by Robot Chicken.
Have You Ever..

::Given anyone a bath?: I have four kids- of course. I also worked in a nursing home so I have buffed a lot of aged flesh. I had to bathe a dead body for the undertaker once- I was glad I had prepared him, because his daughter came up to the nursing home to see him before he was taken out and I had made him clean & presentable.

::Smoked?:: I didn't smoke for many years but when I did it was 2-3 packs a day. I quit when my niece was born.

::Bungee Jump?:: Don't THINK so...

::Made yourself throw-up?:: I have a phobia about vomiting- if I throw up, I am really really sick. I threw up all day the day I moved. I hear Buck did, too.

::Put your tongue on a frozen pole:: no but I dared the neighborhood tough girl Ronnie to do it and she did- the only time I saw her cry.

::Broken a bone:: a finger and a toe

::Played truth or dare:: we called it something different when I was a kid. I preferred kickball.

::Been in a police car:: nope.

::Been on a plane:: several times

::Came close to dying:: Yes.

::Been in a sauna: Yes

::Been in a hot tub::Yes, but I kind of view them as bacterial stews.

::Swam in the ocean:: As frequently as seasonable possible.

::Fallen asleep in school: I played a lot of Bejeweled during Kelly's crappy pharmacoeconomics classes. That was to keep awake, so does it count? (I still got a B)

::Ran away?:: Yes, with my turtles in my pocket. I was very misunderstood.

::Broken someone's heart:: I certainly hope so, but I don't think he had a real heart. If he does, I hope it's diseased. (actually it stopped because he is dead, so I guess maybe he did have one.)

::Cried when someone died:: More times than I like to count.

::Cried in school:: In sixth grade. Like I said,
I was very misunderstood.

::Fell off your chair:: Usually when engraving and getting up and down a million times, then sitting down and the chair has moved. And when the bat was in my workshop.

::Sat by the phone all night waiting for someone to call?:: Usually it involves a hospital and a girl hit by a vehicle.

::Saved AIM convos:: No- I don't usually IM much anymore.

::Used someone:: Depends on your definition- maliciously- no. But I have used my connections with people to get things done- that's how public health works, and why I was good at it. Sometimes it's easier to accomplish things because you have established relationships of trust. That sounds like politics, doesn't it.

What is...
::Your good luck charm?:: I don't really carry a good luck charm, but I have an object of my Nana's I don't like to be without. I also have a St John-Paul medal my mom gave me that I keep with me a lot. He's not technically a saint yet, but trust me, he will be. I also found these wood-shavings from a saint's tree in my car- we bought them in Ireland when we got stuck there after 9-11, and they are supposed to protect your journeys from harm (I also have AAA, so I hedge my bets with saints).

::Best song you ever heard:: Ned of the Hill, the Connie Dover version. It stops me cold, and then I have it in my head for weeks. I also believe One by U2, is one of the greatest songs ever written. Legend of Cathain by Grant Lee Phillips sticks in my head the same way.

::What's your room like:: It's purple- even the ceiling. I LOVE my purple room. I need to hang more art in there but I have my Deidre painting where I can see it every day. It's so cozy and warm, and all the kitties like it too.

::What is beside you?:: My Sorcha but she just saw Dev and she is growling.

::Last thing you ate: Egg & cheese on a gluten-free French roll with a cup of tea. Yum!

::What kind of shampoo do you use?:: Whatever big jug is on sale- this stuff is coconut.
Ever Had...

::Chicken pox:: We had all the childhood diseases.

::Sore Throat:: Postnasal drip from allergies sucks.

::Stitches:: A few times.
Do You...

::Believe in love at first sight:: Yes. I also believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy (but Bren is afraid of Jack Frost).

::Like picnics:: We just had one in Montreal.

::Like school:: Would I put myself thru this insane pace if I didn't? I always wanted to go back to school, and I did it. I just wish it were more fun and less stress, but I'm not a young whippersnapper with lots of energy anymore.

::What schools have you gone to:: Benjamin Dean, Gate of Heaven, Boston State, Anna Maria College, Wachusett Community College, UMass Lowell, and Mass College of Pharmacy. I also lectured for UMass Medical School students once on barriers and access to healthcare for indigent and minority women.

::Who was the last person you called:: Sue

::Who was the last person you slow danced with:: I don't remember, but I danced at Demis & Azita's wedding two weeks ago and it was a blast.

::Who makes you smile: My kitties. And my niece Kaylie.


::Did you last yell at:: Dan. He wouldn't shut up. Are you surprised?

::Broke your heart:: I refuse to break.

::Told you they loved you?:: Sorcha, I just got a kiss. Also my sister Sue.

:Who's your loudest friend?:: Francois. No contest. I have recordings to prove it.

::Do you like filling these out:: It's occasionally fun to every now and then- I just sent one out via email and got some funny responses.

::Do you wear contact lenses or glasses:: Glasses- used to do contacts. Wish I could do Laser surgery.

::Do you get along with your family:: for the most part.

::What are you listening to right now?:: Maire Ni Domnhaill

::Gotten any awards:: Several.

::What car do you wish to have: One that never needs repair.

::Good driver?:: Sure, but pass me because I don't go over the speed limit...Parking is another story.

::Good singer?:: Yes, but I wish my voice was strong and carried well- it's thin and reedy.

::Have a lava lamp?:: Nope.

::How many remote controls are in your house? Too many. Buck bought a universal remote and chucked the old tv remote so now we can't program in the time anymore, which basically negates programmed recording- you have to sit and record. Not that I do- I make Dan and Kate do it.

:: What do you dream about?:: My sleep dreams are vivid and weird. My daydreams usually involve graduating and no more exams.

:: When you last showered:: yesterday and will in a few hours when I finish assembling my bookcase and organizing all the books and vacuuming..

:: Scary or Funny Movies:: Funny, but some scary are good, like "Sixth Sense". I hate stupid funny, love clever funny.

::Chocolate or Vanilla:: Vanilla!

::Rootbeer or Dr.Pepper:: Water. Lemon wedge, please.

:Skiing or Boarding:: Skiing.

::Summer or winter?:: I love the four seasons. I don't favour summer or winter, but I adore fall best and don't care for mud season. I love my garden in spring.

::Silver or Gold?:: Silver.

::Sprite or 7up?:: Water.
Lemon wedge, please. I don't know why people spend a fortune on colored, flavoured water.

::Coffee or tea:: Tea, but one Dunkin Donuts coffee a day is ok.

::Phone or in person:: In person, but phone has to do it when you're in school.

::Are you oldest, middle, youngest:: Youngest. It took them two tries to get it right. Boy were they surprised.

::Indoor or outdoor:: Outdoor in the spring and summer.
Indoor mostly in the winter, but I love being out skiing and I don't feel cold the same once I've been on the mountain. I like walking the beach in the winter when no one is out.

::Diamond or pearl:: Both. I like my diamond band and I like my pearls. I like my sapphire ring too, but I am just as happy wearing my Celtic knot jewelry that isn't precious. I don't want to collect precious stones, I just like wearing things that are pretty.
Today have you:

::Talk to someone you liked:: Yes- Eva called to say she missed me and catch up, and Tran left me a message so I need to call her back.

::Bought something:: Nope- but yesterday I bought a bookshelf, and some toothpaste and toilet paper at Target. The day before, Dan and I went to Nashua- he got some clothes, I got a couple gifts and we couldn't decided on a grill.

::Got sick:: Nope, thank God.

::Sang:: I am listening to Irish music- what do you think?

::Talked to an ex:: Nope and hope I never have to.

::Missed someone:: Kate. Now I have time to fart around and she's on the other side of the world. Ditto has promised to come join me.
Last person who:

::Saw you cry:: LOL Professor Carol asked me how I was doing with exams and I said "Fine" and burst into tears and startled the shit out of both of us. It was pretty funny. Amazing what stress can do to you.

::Made you cry:: Whichever professors wrote that freaking Medchem/Pcol exam.

::Went to the movies with:: Kate. She found ten bucks when we were leaving.

::You went to the mall with:: Dan- Sunday. We couldn't believe how every mall is the same and sells all the same stupid crap.

::Ever been in a fight with your pet:: Sorcha hates when I trim matted fur off but she forgives me. Cujo's bites and scratches are not about anger- he only bites you if you are worthy enough to play with him. Dev just adores me but she still runs if you approach her- she has to approach you.

::Been to California:: Nope, but I promised Tran and Tony I will visit.

::Been to Mexico:: Nope- maybe I will go when I visit CA.

::Been to Canada:: Montreal last May, and have been all over Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, and Ontario to Port Colbourne and Niagara!

::Been to Europe:: Ireland several times! London once for a summer.

::Do you have a crush on someone:: I am too old for that crap, but I still think Bono is cute. I like Mel Gibson and wish he wasn't nuts. He's heading into Tom Cruise territory.

::What book are you reading now?:: The Throne of Scone. It's a re-read but my eyes are so tired and so is my brain.

::Best feeling in the world:: Having all my kids and nieces and nephews together and hearing them laugh together.

::Worst feeling in the world:: When the doctor says "All we can do right now is hope for the best..." Seeing a paddywagon pull away with someone you love inside. Bruises caused by someone you loved very much.

::Future KIDS names:: I don't get to pick future names for kids, just cats. I got to pick my favourites. Actually, I would have liked to give my kids REALLY Irish names, but it wasn't just my choice.

::Do you sleep with a stuffed animal:: Nope, I sleep with the real thing. And Cujo snores.

::What's under your bed:: Maybe a stray dust bunny. Feng shui dictates that the stuff under your bed keeps you awake at night and disturbs your dreams. It also makes it harder to vacuum.

::Favorite Location:: Dingle Penninsula- Gap of Dunloe and Conor Pass. I also really loved Donegal, but then again, I haven't made it to Connemara.

::Piercing/Tattoos:: Pierced ears, done my myself at age 13 with an ice cube while no one was home.

::What are you scared of:: Bills and being unemployed.

::Who do you really hate?:: Hmm- that's pretty powerful. People who make and detonate bombs. People who invade homes and assault the inhabitants. People who make money off the persecution of others.

::Have you ever liked someone you didn't have a chance with?:: No.

::Have you ever cried:: Everyone cries in their lifetimes. I do it seldom because it frustrates me and I'd rather use that energy making things better. So I clean instead.

::Are you lonely right now:: I don't get lonely much- I like my own company. The only time I really feel lonely is going to Irish music events on my own because no one else I hang with likes that stuff. And once I get there I get so into it, I don't care because I am so glad I went.

::Song that's stuck in your head right now:: The soundtrack to "the Brothers MacMullen"- an instrumental version of the Sarah MacLachlan song "I Will Remember You"

::Have you ever played strip poker:: Nope.

::Have you ever been on radio/TV: Yes. Bozo rocks! I also did a cable tv show for ACS.

::Have you ever been in a mosh-pit:: Yes but I didn't mosh. Brendan and Buck did.

::Ever liked someone but thought they never noticed you?:: Maybe when I was 12.

::Last person you talked to on the phone?:: Eva

::Are you to shy to ask someone out?::I have been too busy to go out, so now that I have some time, I assure you I will not be shy.

::Hugs or Kisses?::Both.

::Butter, Plain or Salted popcorn?: Butter and lots of salt.

::Dogs or Cats?:: Cats- I love dogs but they require so much more work.

::Have you ever fired a gun?:: Yes.

::How many pillows do you sleep with?:: One -I have a light one I'll put over my face if I want to sleep later and it's too bright.

:: Who are you missing right now?:: Kate- she's the farthest away.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Study-free weekend

Since January of 2004, I have spent nearly every weekend studying. At first, I was working full-time and taking 5 courses, 2 online & 3 with labs after lecture- 5 til 10 pm three nights a week. Friday nights I vegged but Saturdays after morning tea I went right to the books doing online macroeconomics coursework, calculus problems, read the chem and physics assignments for the week, and did the pre-labs.
When summer came, I did O-Chem 4 nights a week with a few Friday lectures to make up the time requirements- two lab nights, two-three lectures. I got up at 5 to do the pre-labs and homeworks before work, and seldom got home before 11 pm. It was grueling.
When I got into the grad program and quit my job, Saturdays were my cleaning mornings and study afternoons, and Sundays were study. I generally got to school by 8 and seldom left before 10 and then read all weekend. At the end of the first year, I finally took the job my friend had pestered me about. He is director of pharmacy at an acute care hospital, and he likes to hire students. I came onboard to work every other weekend. I had to study in a more structured manner- no farting off at all after work and the weekend off I hit the books, but the first quarter I pulled great grades. It was doable on my rotation, but when I started 2nd year coursework, I started floundering big-time. I cut down in January to two days a month, and had Sundays to study. I pulled the grades up and acquitted myself quite well.
Quitting my job and borrowing money to live on was like stepping off a cliff and assuming I could fly. No matter what I did or how well, the mortgage, the furnace, the damp basement, the drafts in the sunporch, the lawn needing mowing, the shovelling of the drive, all hung over my shoulder whispering that there was not enough time, they needed attention. I gave them only what I could spare in moments. As my friend Francois said to me repeatedly, "failure is not an option." He was right- we had too much at stake to lose, and to blow it, we could blame on no one but ourselves.
So by dint of constant hard work, drumming details into my brain over every spare minute, even in the car during my commute, I did it. I succeeded and passed the didactic. Last week was my first week off, traditionally when I catch up on housework and errands. I went to a cookout, a wedding, and started the rounds of catching up- got my annual PPD, got back online, started organizing all my schoolwork, and clearing up, took my mom to visit an old friend for a day and actually watched a movie. I heard from several friends, and called several more. I spent a day vegging and took a 4 hour nap in the 100 degree heat.
This weekend I do not study. I swear I will not touch a book that weighs more than a few ounces (the Keltiad series is easing me back into fiction). After work yesterday I spent the evening on the couch with Pinot Grigio and the Red Sox (Pharmacy Son had the clicker and I was too tired to argue). Today, I shall shop. OK, today I shall shop after I do the laundry, the litterboxes, the dump run and put away some of the crap in the kitchen. But the point is, after three years of non-stop grinding, I don't have to hit the books. I can't tell you how good that feels.
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