Sunday, November 27, 2005

If you cook it ...

My personal continuation of the weekend so adroitly coordinated by Nutmeg and her DH....

As it turns out, I gradually became aware of a large and larger gathering of friends and friends of friends from That--College's Beloved Class of '02. Where? Well, ...where else? Washington D.C.--the capitol of reunions, the bastion of traditions, the city of national pride, where the free and brave congregate.

Even if they're from Canada.


In their cars and on the planes, they came to celebrate a Saturday Thanksgiving together. So I was not going to be absent.

I landed in Newark around 3:30pm (this particular airport is in the state of New Joy-zeh) and promptly rented a car to transport my body a few states away, to Virginia. the home of a beautiful little Irish lady, who happened to be spending her Thanksgiving with the rest of her daughter's family in Ojai, California. (Two of her grandchildren hosted the rest of us in this, her Virginia home).

By the time I sorted my way through traffic and road-signs hidden by the darkness, it was after 9pm. But I was received with open arms by dear friends both seen and unseen these past 3 years. Represented: Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Kansas, Washington, California, South Dakota, Alabama, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Connecticut, Washington D.C., British Columbia and Ontario ... ex-couples having beers together, meeting new significant others ... students and professionals rehashing old arguments surrounding life and its meaning ... the undistinguishable mix of alumni with honorary class members ... current friends of old friends ... definitely an evening worthy of attendance.

After a mandatory farewell breakfast at the local "Pete's" substitute of Vienna, Virginia, it was on the road again! We dropped my car off at Baltimore's airport and I joined the Stamford sisters to continue the journey up to Connecticut. We chose to drive the round-about 6-hour route through Pennsylvania, rather than spend 8 hours on the 4-hour route through NYC. It worked out splendidly. I arrived home to my apartment shortly after 6:30pm, ready for the 2 and 1/2 weeks of school ahead!

Sore from the soccer game, sick from aireborne pathogens on the airplane, attacking my helpless Echinacea-Goldenseal deprived self.

Shower ...

tea ...

goldenseal ...


Monday, November 21, 2005

"Family" Holidays

"Have you decided yet where you'll be for Thanksgiving?" my mother asks, three days before the holiday. Ah, yes; she's learning my style. One advantage (disadvantage?) of being single is that plans can shift an infinite number of times, depending on which direction the traffic is moving, or who I meet at Mass that morning, or what line I'm in at the grocery store. I don't really need to decide what I'm doing, since no one will be disappointed with wherever I end up. :)

I know for sure I'll be spending the night in Stamford tomorrow night, with "the girls." We'll actually be able to hang out, instead of spending hours sitting silently at their kitchen table, each of us typing away on a computer or reading a book or grading papers.
"So I'm thinking maybe I'll just pack for the whole week and weekend," I tell Mom. "They have an air mattress. I might as well take advantage of several days' vacation."
Why come back to my lonely apartment when I have these great friends just 30 miles away?

However, a unique family longing comes with every holiday season. As a college freshman, I only started feeling homesick when I was helping to set the tables for our campus-wide Thanksgiving dinner. There's something attractive about the prospect of living close to my family again. Something very exciting about the possibility of actually helping to plan the holiday schedule ... maybe someday hosting everyone in my own home.

It's interesting how we "create" some sort of family wherever we go. It's as automatic as squinting when it's bright outside. That's why there's this choosiness when it comes to deciding what to do for the holidays. First choice is the familiar, second choice is the next most familiar. Indecision comes when two different second choice-types of "familiar" are both available.

At least Christmas break is only 3 weeks away... :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I've been needing a hair trim since July. That means my last trim was not in July. My last trim was in May, right before the Remstads' wedding.

Finally, I set aside some time this past Saturday. Thaisa sits me in her kitchen, turns on Seldom Scene, and asks me the million-dollar question:
"How much to you want taken off?"

"Ummm," I run my fingers slowly down its impressive length. I haven't had it this long since sophomore year of college. "As much as necessary to make it not-yucky again. See how it frays down here?"

"Ok, 2 inches? 3 inches?"

"Let's make it 3!" I say it enthusiastically, with mock courage.

She arranges the top layer of extra hair on top of my head, and soon I feel strips of my lower layer being separated out, followed by the crisp: shwick! of the scissors.

"Ummm ...?" I whine.

"Don't hate me...!" she cries back in a whisper.

"I don't hate you. I trust you," I assure her, reminding myself of all the haircuts this woman was responsible for at That Anonymous College. "Thank you so much for doing this. ...How's it looking?"

"Well, ..." she pauses. "Um. It really needed to be trimmed."

"Yeah. Ok. It's pretty bad, huh? How embarrassing."

"Oh, don't worry. Do you remember when the 'bob' was in? ...just kidding!!"

I chuckle with relief.

Then it's all finished. I can tell by Thaisa's face that it looks really different. She is anxiously waiting for my reaction.
I put my hand up to my head, and thread my fingers from my forehead to my neck.Good sign: I can still fit my hair behind my ears. I go look in the bathroom mirror. The layers are clean and defined. I take a shower; it takes me less than 10 minutes. I dry my hair; less than 5. I tell Thaisa that maybe I want to keep it this length. She breathes a sigh of relief.

I go out with classmates.

"Did you donate it?" one asks.

It's a trim, people. It's still a trim.

Andrew - Gems

Me: Andrew, what would you like to do now? We can read part of one of your chapter books, listen to music, go outside and play, or work on math homework.
Andrew: Let's do some stretches.
Me: Really? You want to do your stretches with me?
Andrew: Yes. I would like to do some stretches.
Me: Wow. I didn't even give that as an option. Let's do it! Would you like to put on some music? Stretches on the bed or on the floor?
Andrew: [pressing 'Play' on his CD player] On my bed.
Me: Great. [lifting his 60lbs out of his power chair]
Andrew: [looking up at me as I carry him the few feet to his bed] Because you're learning how to be a physical therapist. That's why we have to do my stretches. Because ... that's why you're going to be a physical therapist.

- . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . -

The scene is the bathroom, with Andrew laughing hysterically, lying on his back while I dry him off after a shower and get him into his pajamas.

Me: What is so funny?
Andrew: [laughs even harder]
Me: Ok, Andrew. You're really being silly tonight. Hang on, don't move. Let me grab your toothbrush.
Andrew: [still laughing, stops to listen to the Disney CD playing in his bedroom next door. Starts giggling again as I bend over him with his toothbrush]
Me: Ok, no choking allowed. Got it?
Andrew: [attempts to calm down, then laughs a few short bursts] That's what Mrs. P always used to say. No choking allowed.
Me: You ready? [inserting the toothbrush into his mouth] Well, she's right. Choking would be ugly. ...
Andrew: [words muffled by the toothbrush being maneuvered around his mouth] You...are...suh....a swee-hah.
Me: Excuse me? Where did you hear that one?
Andrew just smiles sweetly ...

- . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . -

Andrew: What are you doing this weekend?
Me: This weekend, I will be doing what I do every weekend: STUDYING. Sound like fun?
Andrew: Are you going to study how to be a physical therapist?
Me: Yes, I am!
Andrew: That's good.


Found this in a "break" between projects this evening:

You know you're a grad student when...

you can identify universities by their internet domains.
you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
the concept of free time scares you.
you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.
you've ever travelled across two state lines specifically to go to a library.
you appreciate the fact that you get to choose which twenty hours out of the day you have to work.
you can read course books and cook at the same time.
you schedule events for academic vacations so your friends can come.
you hope it snows during spring break so you can get more studying in.
you find taking notes in a park relaxing.
you find yourself citing sources in conversation.
you've ever sent a personal letter with footnotes.
you can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
your office is better decorated than your apartment.
you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
you have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
you have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
there is a study booth in the library that you consider "yours."
you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.
you look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes.
you regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
you consider all papers to be works in progress.
professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore.
you find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text.
you have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
you have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
you find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade".
you start refering to stories like "Snow White et al."
you often wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy.
you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
you have more photocopy cards than credit cards.
you wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication".

plus one of my own ...
you find yourself looking for a space in your planner to scribble in "get the oil changed"

Friday, November 18, 2005

Juice, anyone?

Andrew (9 year-old): Have you ever been to Lucky's?

Me: No, I haven't.

Ellen (5 year-old): It's a restaurant. He's talking about a restaurant.

Andrew: It's soooo great. They have juice-boxes.

Me: Really.

Ellen: Yeah, you put in money, and they play music.

... {smile} ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


My friend Janel is giving me a ride home.

We're stopped at a red light, chatting away. It's 10:15pm, and we've commenced studying for the evening before a big exam. There's a bit of mist in the air, and water on the pavement.

Silence on the road. No cross-traffic, even though the green light seems to be looking for something to pass underneath it. Finally, I see the light begin to change from green -- yellow -- red. We should get our green light here in a few seconds. ... I'll be home in bed soon ...


Rear-ended. What the...?

"No way," Janel says.

I immediately get out of the car.

"I'm so sorry, I slid. Because of the wet. It's slippery. I slid."

I just kind of look at the woman. Slid? I ride my bike on this road and I know for a fact that we are standing on an incline. An uphill incline, that is. Because I know that it really stinks to ride up to a red light at this point in the journey.

But whatever. I let Janel handle things,'s her car, right?

I get home and range my neck through all possible motions, do a few chin tucks and rotational stretches, and pray that I can last until Christmas break when Dr. Kania can make sure I'm not mal-aligned. So far, minimal to no pain.

I tell my roommate this evening that if she needs to practice her Upper Quarter Screen technique, I'll be happy to act as "patient." Maybe she can see if anything's busted out of line. She gets all excited about it. Well, of course; I still get excited when people offer to have me look at them. In fact, this Saturday I will be getting my hair trimmed by Thaisa* in return for a Lower Quarter Screen--she wants me to check out her leg. (my hair is out of control...)

Unfortunately, I'm not good with the phone-consults. Someday, maybe.

*Name has been modified from its original version to fit your screen

Sunday, November 13, 2005

surfing ... random finds

hmmm ...

Recollection of a story told me by my clinical advisor: a colleague of hers who did "Doctors without Borders" and was stationed by himself somewhere in Africa.

...walked outside his hut on the first morning, and stared for a full minute at the line of people extending from his "doorstep" to the horizon, as far as he could see.

"They had nothing. Nothing like the equipment we have in our labs. But they made do. They figured it out. 'We're so stupid in this country,' he told me. They don't depend on what we depend on." day, as he was working, looked up and gazed down the line--and saw the face of Christ, about a half a mile away. Jumped up and started running ... and kept running for a while, down the line.

Finally returned to his hut to continue the day's work.

Now a PT at a VA hospital down in Florida, he does a lot of great work, including prosthetic rehab; she wants me to consider doing a clinical rotation under him....

And counting...

Only two more major written exams,
one more clinical exam,
one more major classroom presentation,
one more independent online presentation,
one more group online presentation,
one more research proposal due-date,

...and only four weeks left to get in shape for skiing in Colorado! Aaaack!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Not a big deal, ...

Tony and I have had several conversations about "those over-analytical TAC girls." Kinda like this.

I think maybe it just applies to girls in general.

Or maybe it's just me.

Gotta go write an email.
Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


It's that time of the year again. I'm getting a cold. But I'm not the only one. Ruth is getting one, as well. It's part of what's keeping her from going with me to Boston this weekend. But nothing will keep me from Boston-in-the-Fall this year! Even Greg is getting a cold. (Greg is the one I'm going to see in Boston...)

On the phone last night with Mom...

Mom: Are you taking Goldenseal?

Me: Um, no. I only have Echinacea-Goldenseal.
(last year we established the fact that this was a bad thing for an already-present cold)

Mom: I gave you a whole bottle of Goldenseal when you left last time!

Me: Oh, it must be in my purse in the car, ...

Mom: Well, get it.

Me: I'm in my pajamas!
(note that it is 7:30pm--which means 5:30pm in Colorado, making my attire seem even more incongruent)

Mom: Well, put your jacket on and some sneakers on and go out to the car. You have to take care of the cold now, while it's still early. Don't wait.

Me: I'm drinking orange juice ... (as I pull on my poncho and slide into my clogs)

Mom: Just go out there and get it!

Me: ok, ok. ...

...Oops, not here. Wrong purse. Must be in my other purse, back in the house. ...

Mom: Oh, geez.

Me: It's fine. I'll get it now.

...Oh. No, this is another bottle of Echinacea-Goldenseal.

Mom: But I know I gave it to you!

Me: Maybe you gave me Echinacea-Goldenseal.

Mom: No, it was Goldenseal. ...That's ok, I'll just send you another bottle.

Me: No! Don't do that! I'll just buy a bottle here.

Mom: But it's expensive.

Me: That's fine. I can buy it.

Mom: How about I just send it to you?

Me: Mom, by the time you send it, I'll be either all better, or dead. Let me just go to the store and get some.

Mom: Ok, but buy a little bottle, and then I'll send you out a big bottle.

Me: GoodNESS.

Mom: Ok, please, just let me do this. Ok, please?

Me: Ok, that's fine. But I can just buy it here, you know.

Mom: Go ahead; buy a little bottle. That will get you through until the big bottle I'm sending arrives. I'll send it in the morning. Ok?

Me: Ok. Thanks.


Marisa (classmate): Good morning! I brought you something.
...rummaging in backpack ... here.
(Proceeds to pull out a Goldenseal bottle, which sounds like it has about 5 capsules left.)

Me: For me?

Marisa: Yeah, I thought you might want to take it so you aren't miserable this weekend.
(Marisa is going with me to Boston)

Me: Wow, thanks! (I then relate my conversation from the previous evening)

Marisa: Great! Well, here's your little bottle.


Me: Hi! Thanks so much for meeting this late to work on the project. I just got done with work.

Hope: No problem! Can I get you anything? Tea? Food?

Me: No, thanks. Maybe just some water.

Hope: Ok. ...Oh, and here's something else for you. (she hands me a sandwich baggy full of greenish-brown capsules.) It's Goldenseal, in case you don't have any. I just bought a huge bottle, so I thought I'd share the wealth.

Me: Wow ...thanks a lot, Hope. ...


I think I'm set as far as Goldenseal goes.