Saturday, July 30, 2005

Views of Lexington...

Lexington has quite a distinct "feel" to it. The city is old, but it's not overwhelmingly large. The downtown is modern, complete with Starbucks and Subway, but it retains some architectural majesty, perhaps because it is saturated with history.

This sign marks the childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's wife. Behind is one of the several downtown Catholic Churches in Lexington: St. Paul's.

Besides the obvious tribute to Hyatt in the background, this is a shot of a prominent downtown area. Behind this fountain (where children freely wade and splash) is the Lexington Center, which hosts all kinds of community events.

This sign is located in Cheapside Park in Lexington--the site of one of the oldest slavery auction blocks. This courthouse in the background is a central landmark in the downtown area.
I am on one of the many streets that run perpendicular to Main Street--the center ribbon running through town. You can see the courthouse from the picture above in line with my right shoulder. I think we were using me to cover the unsightly view of a water tower. Imagine--I block it completely!

This is the view from my back door. Yes, there is a sort of pond in my backyard, with a few run-down barns to make it look extra quaint. I have an even wider panorama from my bedroom window, on the second floor directly above this.

Friday, July 29, 2005


I received an email that made my day today! It was from one of my favorite professors of all time, who just returned from vacation, and read all the emails he'd received about my adventures. One excerpt in particular was encouraging:

"I rather expect that you are going to end up being an outstanding physical therapist."

Although his forte is philosophy and not medicine, this is high praise from this man. He never says anything except with sincerity. As he himself would say, "...and I don't think I'm wrong."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Don't be Queasy!

WARNING: the following post is not for those who, in the midst of conversation about bodily fluids, decide they must either leave hacking, or squint viciously to prevent detailed visions from entering their brains.

In other words, I will never reread this post.

I went for a run today.
Ok, wait. Let me set the stage. I did not go for a run early this morning, when the temperature outside was a mere mild 75 degrees. I went this evening, after 98-degree heat, plus who-knows-how-much humidity, had already baked the air surrounding Lexington for at least 12 hours. That's right. I went at 7:30pm. The sun was still shining brightly, albeit at eye-level.

When I returned to my car in the park 3 miles later, I could see my neck glistening in the window's reflection. The hair caught up in clips on either side of my head was drenched. My ponytail was even hot and heavy against my back. As soon as I stopped to cool down, the cooling breeze effected by my movement stopped, and I could feel the heat in my red face rush into the space behind my eyes. I started to close my eyes, but immediately had to open them wide again, because the perspiration on my eyelids was started to seep into the corners and sting my eyeballs. I went to wipe it away with the back of my hand. But my hand merely slid along the side of my forehead, because it, too, was wet with shiny salt-water. I franticly grabbed my shirt hem (in a most unladylike fashion) and pressed it to my eyes to relieve the burning that was now moving inward toward my corneas.

Then, the shiny, glistening dew that seemed to be squeezing my head together started to drip. A few seconds later, it started to pour. Down my temples from the frizzy curls escaping from my ponytail.... Down my forehead and nose to collect on my upper lip, which now tasted like salty grime.... Down my jaw from my rosy cheeks, and continuing down my neck. I pressed my tank top into my clavicle, to catch the streams before they started to collect in my sports bra. The shirt stuck to my chest. It turned a darker color blue.

I ducked halfway into my (black!) car, turned on the engine, and switched the A/C on full-blast, backing out just before my head reached boiling point, in order to do my stretches.

When I left the park 10 minutes later, I couldn't decide whether or not to shut my sweaty body into the air-conditioned car, thereby recirculating stale, stinky air, which I would then be greeted by in the morning. I ended up leaving the windows cracked, and reclined my seat so that my back wouldn't touch it--for fear of permanently soaking the upholstery.
Thank goodness I always carry tissues in my car. I felt a wave of chills as I wiped my face; ahhh... cool air can reach my skin! The tissue was gliding so easily now...down my neck...eeeewwww! It's soaking wet!!
I should keep paper towels in my car.
Or beach towels.

So if this wasn't motivation to get my butt out of bed and run before the sun gets hot (I love that stupid phrase!), I don't know what is.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


With many of my friends, our phonecalls in which we "catch up" on each others' lives always include this question:

"What are you reading now?"

This generally opens floodgates of further conversation:
"oh, I just read that last year; where are you? what do you think?"
or, possibly,
"how is it? I've thought about starting that..."
or even,
"I've never heard of that; what is it?"

About two years ago, one of my dear friends asked me what I was reading. At the time, I was very busy with work and school, so my reading list was limited to menu descriptions, baking recipes, and anatomy charts, with the daily Readings in between. When I told her that I was not reading anything extra, she became very firm.
"You have to make time for it. Promise me--fifteen minutes every night, before you go to sleep."
I promised her, and quickly began to look forward to this obligated luxury of curling up with my latest choice.

Since then, I take for granted that people read regularly. Members of my family and my close friends are always in the middle of something. Exchanging recent favorites or recommending titles from the past is part of regular conversation. It mystifies me now when I hear acquaintences laugh, "I haven't read any fiction since English class in high school!"

"What?" I think. "No literature?"

Good books, great stories, provide so much perspective. To see the world through another character's eyes, to live their joys and tragedies side by side with my own, to experience their redemption, gives me either hope or gratitude.

These stories also mark the seasons of my life. The time of year is recalled simultaneously with the reading of Anna Karenina: a Connecticut winter. When she met Count Vronksy and selfishly isolated Kitty, I was looking forward to my Christmas break.
A Right to be Merry brought in springtime, at the same time heightening my awareness of the real reasons for living this life on earth.
Katherine Lavransdatter was a lot of airplane travel, as well as relaxation. She made me appreciate the unique role and responsibility of the parish priest at that time in Norway. It deepened my appreciation for the fatherly love and counsel I have received from my own parish priest. Her story also affected my outlook on the timelessness of the virtues of purity and chastity--even as I was preparing for my high school girls' retreat!
Come Rack, Come Rope was an easy two-day read recommended by one of my "Italian brothers" Alex. It was a love story of the noblest kind, encouraging me to pray for a deeper piety and a truer love for all that is good and holy.
Now I am finishing Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, which has fit in nicely with this season of aloneness accompanied by intense learning.

This discovery of the seasonal influence of different novels gives new motivation for continuing my promise to my friend. It is almost as though, if I'm not reading something, those weeks in my life are somewhat empty in my memory. This also leads to the realization that reading time should be spent with good books which will inspire imitation of virtue. A "waste of time" novel might end up being a danger to the fragile disposition of my soul.

I know I am just discovering for myself what most people already know. This is why Fr. Check gave me reading list during our first meeting for spiritual direction. St. Augustine was very aware, he told me, of the imagination's affect on the soul. Spiritual reading is very important for cultivating the romance between yourself and Christ.
I understand the reality of his words a little better now.

I Believe in Love is next on the list--not a novel, it's a more serious read. But I'm hoping it will prepare me for the marathon of this coming semester, as I'm getting ready to return to full-time craziness!

So, fellow bloggers, what are you reading?

Any recommendations?

Friday, July 22, 2005

For example

How ironic that as I'm becoming an eyewitness to the capabilities of someone with a spinal cord injury, ...

...out comes this.

Check it out.

Watch the trailer.

I'm going to go see the it (yes, by myself, if necessary) when it hits Lexington!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Things that make me squeak

You watch the beginnings of attraction form between a best friend and an upstanding man of God. You encourage your friend to explore the possibility--that he's more than a "nice guy" to her--that deep down, there's something miraculous there.

You listen with excitement as she carefully details the story of their first date, confident that this is the one for her.

You watch them together, amazed at the simplicity with which God brings two people together--so much alike, it's like they were always waiting to meet.

You sit shocked with awe and joy when they announce their engagement--then get up and run around your apartment, eager to tell the rest of your roommates the happy news.

You drive cross-country, away from your friend, away from your family (yet again) with tears in your eyes...but a smile on your face as your friend's voice comes through the patchy reception: "We want you in the bridal party."

You stay up half the night before her wedding, not sleeping even though she is, nervous even though she isn't--praying that nothing ruins their perfect day.

You watch her holy eyes and his holy smile at the altar before God, as they receive the Most Blessed Sacrament together as man and wife.

Nothing could be better.

Then, the phone call today.

"We have some news to tell you..."

Things just got better! You jump all over the house, even though she's miles away, across many state lines, trying to laugh but only being able to squeak.

... Squeeeaak! ... squeeeaak! ... squeeeaak! ...

Things that make me grrrr-owl

You try your best to accommodate the various and sundry needs of 4 people plus yourself. It comes to a point where you don't care what happens, as long as everyone is happy.
Frustration swells, as those causing conflict are unwilling to compromise, and you begin to feel a sense of betrayal because all your work to make things happen smoothly has been patronizingly recognized, but finally, completely ignored.
When urged To cOnfide iN a partiallY-involved friend, you hear the admonition, "As a friend, you should want what is best for THEM..."

Ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - - oooooooowwwwwwwwwwll.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


I have learned many things in the past three weeks on my clinical rotation--not only book knowledge, but also clinical truths. The clinical realizations that I have had are perhaps more powerfully remembered than the techniques I've practiced.

One thing that has struck me is a sense of gratitude. Being around many people everyday who, for one reason or another, are not able to make their bodies move like me, has really affected my perspective.

I take so much for granted--even the action of crawling out the side of the parallel bars in the PT gym to get on the other side of my patient, while he stands there, holding on for safety, trying with all of his concentration to hold the position I placed him in.

There are people that come to physical therapy who used to have very active lives. After dealing with many of them, I am now truly inspired by the ones who haven't fallen into depression. I wonder if I would be able to embrace my new, slower-paced life if I were to wake up one day, unable to move.

Because of prolonged immobility, people lose muscle strength, sometimes even muscle itself, and weight gain can occur. If they cannot move, they cannot get very much exercise.
Some people with heart conditions or respiratory problems cannot take more than 2 minutes of exercise at a time. Their bodies won't let them.
What are my excuses, again, for not getting up earlier to run?
I want to sleep??!!
I "can't stand" the humidity??!!

I think to myself,
"You already have a wonderful life, because you can move. Now, ...get a grip!!"

Friday, July 15, 2005

"She don't know she's beautiful..."

"...though time and time I've told her so."

I recently received some nice shots from a (new!) friend who actually had a camera at the wedding.
Alissa was a stunning bride; her grace and charm were magnified that day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


planned several treatment sessions of current patients

visited Cincinnatti

went grocery shopping after 2 weeks

responded to all email in my Inbox

acquired 4 roommates for the upcoming year, including Ruth!! (yay, Ruth!) And her sister Becky!! (yay, Becky!)

found an apartment to hold 5 women in the upcoming year, and organized application plan for all involved.

wrote a case study and posted it for classmates and professors

applied for another student loan

found a safe, pretty place in Lexington to run

emailed my latest update to all on my "update" list

...that's why I haven't been blogging.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

From the Latin...

I had been confused about why Physical Therapy on horseback was called Hippotherapy. It was sort of a reverse-confusion. "Hippo" means "horse" in Latin. Ok, so why is a "horse" a "horse" and a "hippo" a "hippo?"

Tony's response: "A horse is a horse, of course, of course."
Tony's dweebish-ness sometimes gets to me....

Someone--let's give her the credit: Belita--gave me a valuable piece of information: "hippopotamus" really means "water horse." Ok, I get it. Why some genius thought the hippopotamus in any way resembled a horse, I have no idea. But that clears up the translation problem. At least the first part.

The second half of the word puzzles me. "Potamus" has something to do with water. We call good drinking water "potable." So there's a connection, but I doubt "potable" really means "able to be water."

So my question, for all of you who have access to an OED or some other relevant piece of reference material, is this: what exactly is the translation for the root word, "pot-"?

New experiences...

...are usually good. Today, I will have the new experience of bringing my laundry to a laundromat!

(ooh, yay.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

=) =) =) =)

He emailed! (...finally)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Road Trip Music

After traveling between Washington, D.C. and Lexington, KY twice in two weeks, I feel like quite an expert on road trip music. Not only does it have to be up-beat, it has to be within the range of the driver's voice, particularly if the driver is traveling alone.
Country music is a great staple, Johnny Cash and Phil Vasser being among the top contenders, but as a metzo-soprano, a lot more fits into the "Ideal Road Trip Music" category. (Thanks, Mom, for the lovely Celtic CD, which gives me the opportunity for me to practice the higher end of my range!)
Sister Hazel is a nice break from the Country category, as can be Blues Traveler. It's better when you know the words, so you can sing along loudly:

You were the one who taught me what I don't need
And I thank you, I thank you for that.
You were the one who brought me to my senses
And I thank you, now just leave me alone...

Tony and I mentioned the possibility of him coming out to drive back to Connecticut with me at the end of 8 weeks, but I'm having second thoughts.

I'm kind of getting used to this "driving alone" thing. I'm kind of liking it. I might even prefer it, given a choice.

I don't know how much I would "sing out loud dramatically" with Tony as a passenger!

Happy 4th!

I spent the weekend with friends in D.C. I spent the actual 4th of July driving back to Kentucky.

No fireworks for me this year--I have to plan a few treatment sessions for tomorrow, because I used up all my time in D.C. relaxing, talking to old friends, hanging out with new friends, ....

We also had our share of adventures, keeping a quasi-European schedule of staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning, eating breakfast for lunch, and lounging about during the afternoons.

Actually, the evenings were the most adventurous part of the weekend. Friday night when I arrived, one roommate didn't come home as planned, prompting other-roommate and I to file a "missing person" report with the police! (She came home later...)
The second night I was there, Tony called to say that, although he was driving down from Connecticut, somehow he had ended up in central Pennsylvania (when in doubt, blame Mapquest!). So we waited up for him, and then stayed awake for a while after his arrival!
The third and final night I was there, Ruth, Tony, and I stayed up watching a very good, classic film which I had never seen (!!!), then telling jokes and singing songs.

So glad I went and spent time with friends this weekend! On the way back to Kentucky, I was in such a good mood. I kept my speed up and made it in 7 hours instead of 8. When I hit Kentucky, I put my car radio on "scan" and listened to all the patriotic country songs being played, praying for everyone I know in the military.

God bless America, and God bless these next 7 weeks. May they fly by... =]