Saturday, April 29, 2006

Genevieve L. Roth
BARBERTON -- Genevieve L. Roth passed away unexpectedly Thursday, April 27, 2006.

Gen was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who will be remembered for her generous spirit, her deep faith in God, and her infectious sense of humor. Gen's family was the most important part of her life. Her home was a haven for visitors, her favorite question being, ``Have you eaten yet?""

Gen was preceded in death by her loving husband of 56 years, Joe; her parents, Charles and Florence Wenner; and her brothers, Elmer, Jack, Glenn, and Bob Wenner.

Gen is survived by her eight children and their spouses: Pat and Russ O'Neill of Uniontown, Rich and Nancy Roth of Copley, John and Barb Roth of Barberton, Susan and Jay Mitzel of Sharon Township, David and Dorothy Roth of Granger Township, Janet and John Raber of Uniontown, Jeanne and John Hite of Akron, and Joan and Joe Minder of Red Hill, Pa. Her 27 grandchildren and her great-granddaughter will miss her hugs, kisses, and cookies. Gen is also survived by her sisters, Gladys (Joe) Stark and Mary Jamieson, both of Sun City West, Ariz.; brother, Jerry (Kay) Wenner of Barberton; sisters-in-law, Lucina Roth of Barberton, Sr. Mary Conrad Roth, O.P., and Peggy Roth, both of Akron; and brother-in-law, Albert Roth of Barberton. Gen will also be missed by numerous nieces, nephews, and friends from St. Augustine Parish and the Barberton community.

Funeral services will be held Monday, May 1, 2006, 9:30 a.m., at Silva-Hostetler Funeral Home, 1199 WOOSTER RD. W. Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Fr. Thomas McCann, celebrant. Inurnment at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at a later date. Family and friends will gather Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. Memorials may be made to St. Augustine Endowment Fund. (SILVA-HOSTETLER, 330-825-8700, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My grandma didn't make it. The family is all gathering now, and we already called Tim's parents to let them know we aren't coming to the cabin.

Rest in peace, Grandma.

I don't know if you pray, but....

If you do pray, say a little prayer for my Grandma right now. She was having surgery for her back, and I guess they lost her blood pressure and she coded. They intubated her and started compressions, and that's all I know. I got this info about fifth-hand from my mom, who got it from one of my aunts, who got it from someone at the hospital. This happened about an hour ago, so I am hoping no news means good news (or at least not bad news).

Thing is:
1. She was scheduled to have this surgery before Easter, but her routine pre-op labs came back abnormal (I think it was her EKG, but I'm not positive). They pushed the surgery back until after they could double-check everything, which I guess they did.
2. My grandfather, her husband, passed away a year ago Monday. He suddenly got pneumonia, and within three days of being in hospice, he was gone.
3. In both cases, they had just gotten to see everyone at Easter. My grandpa hung around until all of his kids got there, and then he died. My aunts and uncles are coming in now.
4. In both cases, I had just put my thank you note for their birthday card and gift in the mail when I heard that things went bad.
5. My dad was on his way to Texas. He was on the plane, and they couldn't get a hold of him. Luckily, he had some abnormal layover, and they caught him there. He's on his way back now. Also, he usually flies out of Cleveland Hopkins airport, but he didn't today. Good thing--there was a shooting there this morning, right when he would've been at the airport.

I don't know what God's plan is with this one--maybe she wants to go see my grandpa, maybe she'll be ok. Thing is, she's really otherwise healthy, and she isn't that old. This back surgery was fairly minor--I think it was a pinched nerve or something. She doesn't have any other health issues. I am praying her health will get her through this, but if it doesn't, I know she's got somebody waiting for her up there.

Thanks for the prayers in advance, and I'll let you know what happens.

Busy is good

Wow, it's been a busy week. I'll take busy over slow any day--it makes me feel like I am productive, even if none of my experiments work. I won't know if they did until tomorrow, and I won't know if my transfections were good for a few weeks, but I can at least feel like I tried to accomplish something.

Plus, we are headed up to the camp this weekend with Tim's parents. The camp is in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, and it is beautiful up there. It's not huge--it's a camp, after all--but Tim's dad has renovated it from a little trailer to a nice, cozy cabin. And the location is great--it backs up to the Tionesta creek, and all of the woods/rivers/trails/mountains are just wonderful. It's really a retreat. We've been going up there with them for ten years (although Tim's been going since he was a kid). We relax, the dogs get to play, and for a weekend, life is calm.

I am so pumped about this weekend, and it is coming at the perfect time. I definitely need a break from stress. And, the weather is supposed to be decent. Unlike a year ago, when we got sixteen inches of snow (even though it had been 80 degrees the week before). Here's proof: The tree in our front yard last year--

And the same tree this morning:


It's amazing the difference in weather. So, even though it isn't going to be balmy, it'll be in the fifties (plus, the mountains run a bit cooler than the surrounding area). We were going to go horseback riding, but I think we'll wait until the summer. May and June are booked with weddings, and the family vacation is early July, but later this summer is open. After all, the camp is only 3 1/2 hours away. The way things are going with lab, I think I'll need all of the getaways possible.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cruising right along

Well, another unproductive weekend flew by. I don't mind it though. I'm pretty happy being unproductive on the weekend, especially if I accomplished anything at all during the week. Since last week held glimmers of hope for my project, I celebrated Friday night: I went to bed at 7 PM and woke up at 8 AM Saturday morning. Man, I am too young for this! But it was joyous--there was a nice breeze from the storm blowing in, no redneck neighbors were having parties, and the little dog was actually quiet. Awesome. Of course, Tim is an antsy-pants, and so he was going out of his mind that I just wanted to go to bed. He went to play drums, fiddled on the computer, tried to watch TV, etc, but he just couldn't do it. Oh well. I just chill better than him, I suppose.

We went to the horse show for a few hours Saturday morning. It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, so we decided to walk some of the trails in the Metroparks. As we walked, we came across a section called "Solar System Trail." They had little markers set up with trivia facts along the walking trail, and they were spaced proportionately to how far each one was from the sun. Tim was like a little kid: walking and learning at the same time? Heaven!

So we walked the path in one direction (it was about a mile and a half long, I think), and then as we walked back, we had to stop at every post and read the facts. Tim is so smart it makes me sick. He should totally be the one in medical school. The kid remembers pointless facts better than anyone I know. We're walking, and he knows that the space between Saturn's rings is called the Cassini Division. I commented that I didn't know Mars had two moons, and he said, "Oh, you mean Phobos and Deimos?" That wasn't even on the placard! I wish I could hold in all the info he has. The boards would've been a breeze.

So then we got back and hung around until it was time to go to the Improv. We met up with the group at 6 at Rock Bottom Brewery. We just missed the end of the Cavs game--as we we passing by, The Q was just streaming people. They must have given away free T-shirts because everyone was sporting black Nike shirts with the word "WITNESS" across the front. I'm sure that's a LeBron reference, but being a non-basketball person, I just can't get into it.

Dinner was good, and the show was hilarious. The opening people were so-so, but the headliner was Tony Rock, Chris Rock's brother. Too funny! And the audience must have been wasted, because people are screaming out random crap constantly, like "it's my birthday!" or "I know that guy!" when Tony was talking to someone in the audience. You can tell a good comic pretty easily too--the openers got a little flustered by all of the unsolicited "audience participation" but Tony Rock just fed off of it. It was awesome. And the fact that the show was free helped too.

So Friday and Saturday: unproductive. I had good intentions for Sunday, but it didn't happen. I went to late mass, and then I spent an hour massacring a ham. Now, I am a notorious cheapskate. Hams went on sale last week for Easter, and I bought one to cut up and freeze. Well, they had two sizes of semi-boneless ham. If you got the smaller one, it was $1.29 a pound. If you got the bigger one, it was $0.99 a pound. I thought, "Well, I have a chest freezer, so I'll buy the bigger one and cut it up." Uh-huh. I bought a SEVENTEEN POUND ham. Oh. My. Gosh. I started cutting it up on Sunday, and I have about eight separate hams, plus the leg bone/meat section. No way I will ever eat that much ham. Sure, it cost me $16-something to buy it, instead of more than twice that, but still--SEVENTEEN POUNDS. Luckily, we were headed to my parents for dinner, so I brought some with me. And, we'll use some for the Jen/Amy college/high school graduation party later this summer. Thank goodness the ham was already cooked--I don't own a pan big enough to cook it. At least I got to use my mad anatomy dissection skills.

Sunday afternoon I watched my mom make her lasagna, taking meticulous notes the whole time. She never uses recipes, so when I ask how she makes her potato soup, she'll say "Well, it's potatoes, carrots, and onion, with some milk, salt, and pepper." No amounts, nothing. She just eyeballs it. So I had to watch everything she put into the pot for her sauce, in what order, and how much. Crazy. But I think I got it.

After dinner with the fam, we got home about 8:30 or so. I still had a chance to be productive. But no, I surfed the internet looking for cruises. Tim and I haven't taken a real vacation by ourselves since our honeymoon. Well, we did spend two days in Vegas for free (minus air fare), but that was for a time share talk that took up most of the free time we had, so it was pretty much half a day at the Hoover Dam, and that was it. Tim loved it (such a construction nerd), but I was a little bored. So we won't count that one.

Anyway, our five year anniversary is next year, so we were talking about taking a "real" cruise. We took a "cruise" for our honeymoon, but we didn't really know what we were getting into. We cruised out of New Orleans, and that was nasty. I thought it'd be all fun to get into New Orleans Sunday night, spend some time there, and then leave Monday afternoon on the cruise. Uh-huh. We stayed on Bourbon Street, and we got there right after a Saints game had ended. It reeked of pee, alcohol, and vomit. The fact that it was 80 degrees and humid didn't help, plus, the streets were so narrow, you couldn't avoid the nastiness. After dinner, we were so exhausted we crashed at seven o'clock (hmm, didn't I just do that on Friday?). No partying in the French Quarter for us. Monday morning we walked around the French Quarter and Jackson Square, and it now smelled like day-old pee and puke. Plus, the ship left from the delta, so it took us all night to get into real open water, and until we did, the funky smell lingered.

The ship itself was not quite what we thought it'd be. We took a five night cruise, and apparently they use the older ships for the shorter cruises. Ours was still decorated with the seventies' orange and yellow. It was pretty old school. And there wasn't any big atrium or climbing wall or cool stuff like you see on the commericals. There was a tiny little pool (which was crazy crowded) outside, and inside was a little casino and a theatre. Thing was, the smokers hung around there, so you walked in and were just choked with smoke. I hate that. So fresh air=crowding, and inside was the smoky freezer (since they kept the air conditioning at like 50 degrees. I bought a sweatshirt on a Caribbean cruise.)

Luckily, we were so exhausted, we spent our three "at sea" days sleeping. We'd get up late, eat lunch, walk a bit, nap, eat dinner, walk a bit, and go to bed. We never made it to any shows or buffets or anything. Well, the last night, we got up to look at the midnight buffet (they have all these fancy foods--dolphins carved in butter, flowers made of fruit, that sort of thing). We took pictures, didn't eat anything, and went back to bed.

Our shore days were fun, especially the Mayan Ruins, but I think if we hadn't been so tired from all the wedding stuff, we would've been bored out of our minds on the ship days. So, we decided that if we are going to cruise again, we're going to go somewhere where we get a new ship. That means at least a 7 or 9 day cruise. And we don't want to visit places we've been before, so we were thinking either:
1. Grand Cayman-Ocho Rios, Jamaica-Mexico (even though we've been to Mexico)
2. Eastern Caribbean, like Bahamas-Virgin Islands-Turks and Caicos
3. SW Caribbean, like Panama-Belize-Costa Rica

Thing is, they are a lot more expensive than I thought. It's like $1000 a person before taxes, airfare, fees, and shore excursions. We'd be looking at $3000 plus. Not quite what we were budgeting for. We like the cruise idea since: most things are included (minus alcohol, tips, and excursions); we get bored in one place, so seeing different things is a plus; you sleep in the same place every night, so you don't have to haul your stuff around; and if all else fails, you can just hang out on the boat.

We thought about doing an all-inclusive, but that means we're in one place. And there are non-cruise island hoppers, but then you have to move your stuff around with you. We could go back to Aruba with Tim's parents, but that means we're not by ourselves, and we've been there before. It's still a nice time, but we're ready for something different.

I don't know. This is likely to be our last vacation until after residency/kids, so we might just start saving and go for it. I'll have to silence my inner cheapskate.

________________________________________

Anyway, life is moving right along. Yeah, I still have to spread the lawn stuff sometime this week, but the instructions are so hard to work out. It's like: mow the lawn the day before, make sure the lawn is damp/wet when you spread, then don't let it get wet for two days, then water it for the following two days. Umm hello? It's April? It rains randomly ever day or so?

As for lab, we'll see how things go. I am doing a few more transfections today, and then hopefully later this week my cells will be ready for another experiment, so it's a lot of hurry up and wait. But, I am more optimistic than I have been in a long time, so I've got my fingers and toes crossed that things will work.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Succumbing to peer pressure

Ok, so I signed up for myspace.com, since my fam did it. Does that make me weird? I don't even know what to do with it. I found a few college people that were already "friends" on one of my friend's sites, but it kind of weirds me out to search out people I haven't talked to in ages. And it weirds me out that they can sort of find me. I mean, I have had a blog for years, and that doesn't weird me out, so maybe I'll get over this.

On the other fronts, we had a bunch of really good speakers come today, and I ate lunch with a guy who works on a project related to my own. He wasn't a ton of help, but still, it was pretty fun to talk science talk with him. I dug it.

Not too much going on this weekend. If the weather holds out, I am going to go to the horse show at my stable tomorrow--I'm not riding, just watching. Then we're going to the improv with Kelly and Sean, and Sunday we're doing dinner with my parents. Sometime in there we are weeding/fertilizing the lawn. Ah, suburban life.

No drama is good, so I'll take the peace as long as it lasts.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Thanks to everyone who commented about my last post. I wasn't really expecting it. I just felt like I had to get it off my chest, and after I did, I felt relieved. The support through the comments was really great. In the spirit of no secrets, I emailed the post to my mom, and hopefully we'll talk about it sometime soon. So, we'll see where it goes from there.

I sort of forgot that yesterday was my birthday. We aren't big celebrating people, and 26 isn't exactly a milestone. Still, I got a few unexpected surprises. First, I feel much freer having put things out in the open about my mom, both on the blog and letting her know about it. I was so nervous when I did it, and I regretted it for a while, but now I am ok with it. So that was good.

Then, I finished analyzing a set of experiments I started last week, and I might have just the faintest trace of my nuclear protein. I am going to re-run things, but there may be hope for this project after all.

And I went to a cardiology talk yesterday afternoon, and I felt a little of that fire I used to have for science. Maybe cardiology is my area, I don't know, but I realized how much I missed being interested in a talk, and I also remembered how much we don't know about diseases and how much we could do to help patients. I think I forget that with my current project, since I see pretty much zero clinical impact (even assuming we get data). Seeing a talk about bench science that has future implications really jazzed me up. And I didn't even like the speaker all that much.

Plus, Bill, the guy with whom I did research in undergrad and who then skewered me at my committe meetings, came up to me at the talk and asked how things were going. We chatted for a while, but overall, he was pretty nice. And he did say several times how well students from my current lab did in the future because Dr. B makes them work out their own problems. The popular opinion is that Dr. B is a great big picture guy, but the details sometimes get past him. I agree with that. But, it gave me hope.

Also, I sucked it up and emailed my former PI (that's science slang for boss) on Friday. Actually, I emailed the postdoc first, since he just published a paper and his new email address was listed. Then I got Frank's email from him and just went for it. It was the usual small talk, and then I asked if he thought anything would come of my work in the lab. I heard from him this week, and it was typical Frank: he hasn't hired a new tech yet, so they'd finish the 2D gels eventually and go from there. So, maybe something will happen, maybe not, but at least I finally asked.

And this morning in the elevator, I ran into a guy on my committee. He asked how things were going, and I said we *might* have found the nuclear form of the protein, but we were only being cautiously optimistic. He was happy with that and said that sometimes, once you overcome a few technical details, the project really takes off. That was a nice little boost.

Lab is still tough, but at least I have a little hope now. I'm going to keep progressing and see where things go.

So anyway, yesterday I got calls from Amy and Jason, a few nice emails from the fam, and a few cards in the mail. It's nice to feel special now and again. I was a little hurt that Tim didn't really do much. I cooked dinner, I cleaned it up mostly, then Tim played on the computer for two hours and I watched Alias. I told him not to stop on his way home from class to get me a gift. First, we don't really do gifts, so that's no biggie, and second, Tim is notoriously last minute. I've seen him drive past my parent's house to get a gift when we are supposed to meet up half an hour later. I've gotten gifts still in the bag from the store, price tags on and everything. So, many years ago, I told him I'd rather not get a gift than get one last minute. I stand by that. However, a card would've been nice. I'm a sentimental girl, and stuff like that gets to me.

In all fairness, he definitely has his times where he goes above and beyond. The day I took Step 1 of the boards, I came home and he had bought me a dozen roses with a card. That had been a rough week--my uncle died of cancer, my sister went into treatment for an eating disorder, and my mom went into rehab for the first time--and taking my boards had been that much more stressful. He knew it, and he was so great about it. There have been other times like that too. So, I know he's capable of it :)

Part of my hurt was my own fault--he asked if I wanted to go out and do something, and I didn't, so he thought things were cool. I was thinking we could just hang out together, he thought I just wanted to veg out. My fault for not being clear. But, we talked about it last night, and it's just one of those miscommunication things. So, I'm glad we worked that out.

Overall, I am just feeling really relieved that I'm not as bottled up about things today. It's one of my biggest faults: I hate telling people what I need. It makes me feel weak, which I hate. So, I suffer in silence over things that really could be solved if I just told people what I needed. I'm going to work on that. So far, so good.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy/sad?

I guess I am just a little confused recently. I haven't learned how to be mostly happy--I'm an all or nothing girl. So, on the weekends, I am totally happy. This weekend was no exception. We walked, went out to dinner with Tim's parents, and did the Easter thing with both sides of my fam. Totally great, and a laugh riot on Sunday. Tim and Joe play a game where they throw sticks at each other. That's the game. With real sticks. Sharp, big ones. Like ones that could poke your eye out. And it's freaking hilarious. I was laughing so hard I could barely stand. Of course, mom comes out and tells them to stop--you can't silence the mom gene--but I just thought it was too funny. No one got hurt, which would make it not amusing, but the two of those boys together is a dangerous thing. They are both sarcastic smarty-pants, and they egg each other on to no end. Hilarious.

Of course, as with all good things, the weekend came to an end, and it was back to work. That whole not-capable-of-being-partially-happy thing kicks in, and it's another bummer day. I worked like crazy, and again, I have nothing to show for it.

I hate being this bipolar about life. I really like my life, and there is little I would change. I'm not a big one for regret. If I make a mistake, I take it as a learning opportunity. And I've made plenty of mistakes in my life. I just worry that this isn't really a chance to learn: for one of the few times in my life, I feel like there is a right and a wrong answer, and I have no sense of which is which.

I completely understand short term pain for long term gain. That's pretty much how I've lived my life. I want to be able to retire someday: so, no spending money now so I can spend it later (hopefully). I want to be able to provide for my family: so, no having kids until I can support them financially and emotionally (this one isn't so realistic, I know). I want to be a doctor/scientist (maybe): so, I'll slave away in the lab, even though I am hating it, in order to give myself a head start. Stuff like that. I'm the queen of delayed gratification. In high school, I worked like crazy and spent no money so I could put $5000 down on my car when I was 17. I worked up to seven on-campus jobs (plus two off campus) at a time to minimize my student loans. Tim and I dated for almost seven years before we got married.

Add the delayed gratification to my need to be a control freak, plus my unending love for organization, and you get me: totally boring now to be a free spirit later. Thank goodness for Tim--I've at least learned some recklessness and spontaneity from him. He was definitely a free spirit and then some when we met. I've calmed him down some, especially his spending habits, but not on purpose. I try to encourage him to go out and be carefree more often, but I think our 10+ years together has mellowed him. He's still more willing to be crazy than me, which is good for me, but I hope I haven't made him boring. That's my role in our relationship.

So, things overall are good. It's just that I get so fixated on the one or two aspects of my life that aren't going "just so" that I work myself into a tizzy. I still don't know what I am going to do about lab vs. med school, but I'm praying about it, so hopefully The Big Guy will clue me in sometime in the near future. And as for the other aspects of my life I don't love, they are more personal demons I am wrestling with, and I'm pretty sure there will never be a time when I don't think about them any more. I'm just working to make them less of a focus in my life.

Today I Am Thankful:
That every now and again, I can take a step back and realize my immediate drama isn't such a big deal. Now, I just need to work on keeping that perspective long term.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Only a semi-post

I'm feeling better. Really, I felt better once I got outside. I think it might be a little bit of allergies, but I think it's mostly psychosomatic. I've got a lot on my mind, and I am going to try and do a little thinking/sorting out over the weekend. I don't need to get into a pity party for myself, because really, there's nothing I am going "woe is me" over. I think I just need to re-evaluate some of my priorities and how I am handling (or not handling) my stress and anxiety. I've been so caught up in the day to day issues that I've really neglected the big picture. And I am a big picture person. So I'll try to do some soul searching this weekend and come up with a more cohesive post.

No worries. It's not really anything major. Just some life tweaking is in order. I need to spring clean, that's all.

Today I Am Thankful:
That I have the luxury of worrying about silly life things and not the biggies like where am I going to sleep, how am I going to eat, etc. It's good to get some perspective now and then.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Blah

I'm not feeling great today, but I don't really have a reason why not. Just sort of funky, I suppose. And since things at work have been insane the last few days, it means that busyness/stress+feeling crappy=sulking Bridgette. That's how I get, I suppose. I just sort of keep to myself and mope in my little corner. Of course, moping must be reserved for home, so here I am, still at work, and just dying to get home and curl up in a little ball. It's so beautiful out though--I may have to force myself to get outside or risk feeling guilty.

Feeling crappy (I can't really call it being sick, because I don't know if I am) always makes me sort of introspective too. I've had a lot of big issues on my mind for some time, but I've been ignoring a few old favorites that seemed to have crept back into my life. That's a discussion for another day, I suppose.

Overall, things are ok. The bathroom is leaking again, but the truck is still running. I did a crazy involved experiment today. I got a protocol from a girl in another lab last week, and I went over it with her very meticulously to make sure that I had everything straight. Well, halfway through the experiment, she emailed me to tell me that she forgot something that I needed to add. Well, too late now. I'll just see if it works without the extra inhibitors, and if it doesn't, then I get to do it all over again. Hooray.

Other than that, same old stuff, different day. Amy hears about her Teach for America stuff tonight, and I am pumped for her. It'll be hard if she doesn't get it--luckily, she's got other options--but from my perspective, it'll be tougher if she does get it. Contractually having to teach in an inner city school for two years--yeah, I couldn't do it. But she's strong, and she can handle it. For me, I don't think I'd want to leave the Florida Keys. But that's just me.

Anyway, enough of the blah-ness. Hopefully there won't be another random seminar that keeps me here until 7 o'clock (like yesterday) and then I can go home and be blah there.

Today I am Thankful:
That home is only an hour and fifteen minute drive away. I don't think I could deal with it being farther.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Moving down the list

Anyone who has had to spend any time with me knows I am a list freak. When I was planning our wedding, I had an Excel spreadsheet for everything. No kidding. Photographers, DJs, honeymoon destinations--they all got their own spreadsheet. I had like 50 of them.

I still use spreadsheets, especially for budgeting purposes (even though Money does that nicely for me, I like have control over the data). I am beginning to start my spreadsheet for residency stuff, even though it is light years away, just because I am feeling the need for a new Excel topic.

So, today I searched FREIDA. I narrowed down first by geography (nothing north of Cleveland, west of the Mississippi, or south of the Carolinas. And no big cities). Then I looked for programs that also had fellowship opportunities, just because if I want to do a fellowship, I'd like to at least have the option to stay in house. So, I picked four fellowships: cardiology, heme/onc, peds cardio, and peds heme/onc. And then I made sure those schools had internal medicine and pediatrics. I whittled from there. Here's the initial list I came up with:

DC (the only big city I like, but expensive to live there):
George Washington/Children's National Medical Center
Georgetown: no peds cardio or peds heme/onc
Walter Reed/NCC: no peds cardio

Baltimore (not such a fan):
Hopkins : definitely a reach
U Maryland: no peds cardio or peds heme/onc

North Carolina (Tim's dream):
UNC-Chapel Hill: no peds cardio
Duke: adult cardio is four years instead of three; another reach school
Carolinas Medical Center: doesn't have the fellowships, but came highly recommended from the endocrinology fellow in my lab. I know nothing else about it.

Ohio (duh):
U Cincinnati: didn't love Cincinnati
Case/UH/Metro: the current location
Clinic: UH people and Clinic people don't get along, so I've heard much badmouthing of the program from UH residents and fellows. But it's got quite the reputation.
Ohio State: didn't love Columbus, but it was better than Cincinnati. And it's getting better instead of worse, so that's a plus.

Pennsylvania (that aren't in Philly):
U Pittsburgh MC: the old homestead, although I haven't lived there for 10+ years
Penn State: no peds cardio or peds heme/onc

Other:
U of Virginia: Charlottesville
Vanderbilt: Nashville
U of Michigan: Ann Arbor (still cold)

Tim and I bounce back about Chicago--it's one of the bigger cities I like, and it's Midwest, but it depends a lot on the location. Things like cost of living, housing, safety, etc seem to vary widely. But I don't know it well enough to decide. I think that one will take a visit.

A lot of them are overlaps from med school applications, although some (like Vanderbilt) I didn't look into four years ago. I'm sure this list will continue to change, but it's a start. And I don't know what I want to do yet, so picking hospitals by what they are known for isn't quite useful this early on. I just want to make sure they are decent hospitals overall, and later I can narrow.

Tim really likes the ones that are mid-south: the ones in North Carolina, Nashville, DC, and Charlottesville. He wants Atlanta on the list too, but I just can't handle that far south. I'm a midwesterner at heart (except for the winter). I like having four seasons, and I think culturally, I'm more at ease with the whole midwestern way of life.

Plus, I'm not a big fan of hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires, or earthquakes. That knocks out a nice section of the country.

Now, I am basing a major life decision on pretty much total ignorance and/or first impressions. Not the smartest way to make a decision. I really should spend some time in these cities to figure out if that's where I want to live. I think we are going to start this summer. We are going to North Myrtle Beach with my parents in July, and I think Tim and I are going to stop in Durham for a day on the way home to drive around. It's only a short detour, and since it is pretty much Tim's number one choice (despite the fact that I have tried to tell him I have to get accepted there first, which he just doesn't get), I figured that would be a good one to check out.

That'll be one city down. I'm pretty comfortable with the Ohio and PA cities, as well as DC and Baltimore, so that leaves Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, Chicago, and Nashville. That should be do-able in the bazillion years I have until residency.

I'll just keep moving down the list.

Today I am Thankful:
That Tim made it to work without his car crapping out. And that hopefully the bathroom situation is fixed, although when we pulled up the carpet in the bedroom closet, I was quite surprised at how much water damage there was. So, maybe this isn't just a simple fix. We'll see.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why must Mondays follow the weekend?

Man, whoever invented the weekend--mad props. I mean, sure, I still had to come into work, but it felt less like work. And it helps that no one else is here. It's much easier to be productive that way (well, that and I don't even let myself power up the laptop. No way to be distracted).

And, to top it off, it's finally starting to get warm in Cleveland. Saturday was sunny but freezing. Sunday started off the same way, but by afternoon, it was warm enough to walk the little dog.

How can you say no to that face?

This weekend was refreshing and semi-stressful at the same time. Tim's truck is on its last legs. We dropped it off Thursday night when the check engine light came on, and Friday night we picked it up (and dropped off almost $700). It drove home fine. Saturday morning we dropped my car off at a different place for an oil change and drove the truck to Tim's parents (we had been borrowing their car while they were in Florida). Well, less than 50 miles of driving later, and the check engine light was back on. We had to wait for my car to be done, and then we dropped his off. They still have it. Great. I mean, it's only a 2001, but it has 145,000 miles on it. We take crazy good care of it, and yet every time we bring it in, it's at least $600 worth of work. And it's not even things like a transmission or fuel pump. It's wires, plugs, flushes and fills, etc. It's getting pretty crazy. And if these guys can't fix it the right way, we'll have to take it somewhere else (and keep paying). We knew we'd need to replace it soon, but we were hoping to limp it along until January when the bathroom is paid off. But, it may not make it that long. So, we'll see how things go.

Otherwise, it was a nice weekend. We got to walk with my parents Sunday afternoon and catch up on life (plus, free dinner is always good). I really like spending time with them. And without Tim's parents letting us use their car, I don't know what we would've done.

This all comes back to my ongoing battle with residency location. I've swung back to wanting to move, but I think I would really miss my fam (and Tim's fam, because now they are my fam too). It used to be that I didn't want to move because I didn't think I could handle it--especially with having a small child during residency--but now I think--I know--we could do it on our own. Heck, most people do it on their own. I think it's more about just missing the random dinners, the walks, the dogs getting to play. I am really tight with my family, and I think that being far away would be really tough. But, is it tough enough that I want to stay in Cleveland the rest of my life? I'm not so sure about that one.

It's not like I need to make a decision on that one any time soon. Things in lab are moving so slowly I feel like I'll never graduate. But, hopefully, they are moving. Even if it's at a snail's pace, I'll take any progress I can get. The month isn't up yet, so there's still hope for the PhD part of my education.

On another note, Tim and I have been purchasing music (at a discount through BMG, of course. We're cheap). We hadn't bought a CD in a long time, so we are trying some new things. Here's what we've got:

Panic! at the Disco: Tim saw this video and dug it. And he's been listening to it non-stop. So, I think that gives it a good grade.

Fall Out Boy: another emo band like Panic! I like it better, so that has kept the peace: Tim gets Panic, I get Fall Out Boy. Mostly because two emo bands is too much.

Our Lady Peace (new one): We have all their other CDs, so we figured why not? I dig a few tracks, especially the first one, but it's not my favorite of their work. I'd give it a B.

My Chemical Romance: another emo band. We saw them with Green Day, and we got a copy of the CD from Jen. It's not bad, but three emo bands is definitely too much for me. I mean, I'm not a teenager, so I can't be totally hip (or whatever the kids are saying these days).

Coheed & Cambria: All Tim on this one. He likes it enough that he bought the album previous to it at Best Buy. I can't handle the singer--it's like Geddy Lee from Rush--nails down a chalkboard. But Tim gives it an A.

Death Cab for Cutie: This was my pick. I dig "Soul Meets Body." Overall, I like the album, but it's really calm. Like, it puts Tim to sleep--he can't listen to it. I like it while I am driving. It decreases some of my road rage.

And, tomorrow I am buying Daniel Powter's CD. $9.99 at Best Buy. I have my play money ready to go. I've been listening to "Bad Day" for almost a year. They kept pushing back the release (I think it was supposed to come out in August), so now that it's finally here, I'm all about it.

And we bought MegaMan: Anniversary Edition for Game Cube. A total splurge at $20. It's got MegaMan 1-8 (we had 2 & 3). It doesn't have MegaMan X for Super Nintendo, which was my all-time favorite, but Tim and I killed much time this weekend with the Game Cube. He is a thousand times better than me. That kid is crazy smart. He hasn't played these games for ten or fifteen years, and he still remembers all the tricks to the boards and what weapon you need to kill which boss. The man is insane. I'm glad he's on my side.

So that's the totally random post for the morning. But random is good, right?

Today I am Thankful:
That the bathroom guy is coming tomorrow to fix our leak. I'd love to just have a house that doesn't leak somewhere or need something, even if it only lasts a day.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Almost forgot

Today, I am thankful for:
Rain, because it's not snow.

Umm, yeah, my bad

(Sheepishly) Remember how I said that my boss wouldn't be able to get DNA any better than I had?

Well, my bad.

Now, let me start by saying that he did NOT get any DNA using the kit I had been using. So it's not like I'm incompetent.

He had a method he hadn't used in 15 years, and so we did it that way.

And we got DNA, or so it looks right now. I have to run it on a gel to make sure we got what we think we got.

So yeah, maybe this aspect of my project will start moving ahead. It doesn't fix the other problems, but it's a start. Hey, I said I'd give it a month....

Of course, the down side is, now I really have something to do this weekend. Hooray for working weekends?!? Maybe?!?

A long one: Part 2

Part 2: My current frustration in lab.

No need to get into a ton of detail (especially after yesterday's rambling post). I can sum up my experience in lab by quoting my conversation with Dr. B yesterday. You'll get the idea.

Dr. B: So, what did you do while I was gone this week?
Me: Amongst other things, I did six blots, of which one semi-worked, one was a mess but showed something, and four didn't work.
Dr. B: Well, what did you do differently that these didn't work?
Me: Nothing.
Dr. B: Well, then why didn't they work?
Me: I don't know, I was hoping you had a thought about it.
Dr. B: Were the cells the same?
Me: Yes.
Dr. B: Was the buffer the same?
Me: Yes.
Dr. B: What about the gel and membrane? Were they the same?
Me: Yes
Dr. B: Well, what about the antibody?
Me: That was the same too.
Dr. B: Then why didn't it work?
Me: I DON'T KNOW.

He proceeded to have the same questioning about my DNA purifications (he had me run another yesterday afternoon after I talked to him, which didn't work, so he's going to do it with me this afternoon). People, it's like a recipe book--they have already made all the solutions, you just add exactly what they tell you to add. A chimp could do it. So, unless he is going to try a totally different protocol, I'm pretty sure he'll get the same thing I've gotten.

This is how lab goes. And his solution: work the weekend. Ok, if I ever get experiments to work, I will be here every minute I can to get it done, since I want to be out of the lab as soon as possible. But when nothing works during the week, why will doing it again on the weekend suddenly get new results?

I don't get it. Imagine a conversation like the one above repeating itself for seven months. Welcome to my life.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A long one: Pt. 1

So, I have a lot I've been thinking about, and it's pretty huge, so I'll post in parts.

Part 1: My path to the MD/PhD program.

I was never interested in medicine as a child. You’d think I would be, since my mom was a nurse, and I can’t even count how many aunts I have that are also nurses/in the medical field. But, I was a squeamish kid. I couldn’t watch mom cut raw chicken. I used to get sick a lot as a kid/adolescent, and I always had a ton of bloodwork done every winter. I would pass out if I looked while she was doing it. Heck, even in med school, I drew someone else’s blood fine, but when I looked when she was drawing mine, I fainted. So I’m not entirely over that, I guess.

Anyway, I had no interest in medicine at all. In high school, I had a great chemistry teacher (Mrs. Gleason, God rest her soul). She really made things interesting, and she was also the environmental club’s advisor (I was still an environmentalist at that time, although I think by then I wasn’t vegetarian anymore). We took a trip every spring to do water testing in the metroparks, and I just loved the hands on science. I thought it was the greatest thing. It was such a good fit for my interests, and I seemed to excel at it, so I was hooked. I entered college as a chemistry major, and despite the fact that I hated all chemistry after organic chemistry 2, I graduated a chem. major.

While I was in college, I applied for a summer internship between my sophomore and junior years. I applied to a bunch of NSF programs, with chemistry at Harvey Mudd in California being my top choice. I didn’t hear anything, so I went to the career fair that February to find a camp counselor job. While I was there, a woman doing permanent hiring for Case told me about a summer internship program in the physiology department. Even though it was after the deadline, she gave me a name and number, and I applied.

Well, mid-March, I got a call from Bill Stanley at Case. He wanted me to come work with him on cardiac metabolism. They did systems physiology, and he said there would be the opportunity to work on large animal surgeries if I wanted to, but if not, I could just do biochemistry with the grad student.

I took the job, and the next day, I got an offer from Harvey Mudd to do organic chemistry. I told them I would love to, but I already accepted another offer, and they seemed to really respect that. I told them I’d try again next summer.

Oh, how life would be different if I had taken that internship……

I spent the summer in Bill’s lab, and it completely changed things for me. I loved the mass spec stuff I was doing, but I decided to push myself and help with the surgeries. The first one I went to, I almost fainted, but he warned me that was pretty normal. You had to change into scrubs, since things had the potential to get pretty messy. They did open heart bypass surgeries on pigs—not little pigs, but like big, 100 lb porkers. So I watched a surgery, and then I helped do blood draws (as in, draw from a valve on a big tube, not a vein). Then, they taught me how to do a cut down. So, the way this works (gross details ahead): after they put the pig down with anesthesia, they cut open the chest, spread the ribs, and isolate the heart. Then, they cut a slit in the inner thigh area and find the femoral artery and vein. They place a tube in the femoral artery, and they run the tube into the coronary artery on the heart. So, there’s a several foot long tube running outside of this pig. This way, they can control the flow of blood to the heart, as well as control what chemicals are in the blood in what amount. See?

So, they taught me how to cut down the thigh to get to the artery and vein. I did ok with the vein, but when I got to the artery, I made a bit of a mess. When you want to place the tube in the artery, you have to tie it off behind the tube. Well, I tied in front of the tube, so when I cut the vessel wall, I shot blood all over myself, the postdoc, the wall, the floor, etc. I got it clamped pretty quickly, but it looked like a scene from a horror movie. Hence, why we wear scrubs.

I guess this happens a lot, so no one was upset—actually, we had a pretty good laugh over it. And I realized I didn’t pass out, I didn’t puke, and I actually reacted well. I was shocked. And, I was hooked.

I finished out the summer in that lab, and then I worked weekends there through the school year. It was only about 1.5 hours from Hiram, so it was no biggie (and for $12 an hour, it was more than twice what I was making at my six on campus jobs). That year was when everything came into focus for me. I had planned to do a PhD in chemistry, but my junior year, I was taking a few chemistry classes (inorganic, physical chemistry, and another one) that I just didn’t like. So, even though I had only had one biology class—and it was botany at that—I thought maybe I’d get my PhD in biomedical research. Bill suggested the MD/PhD program. I didn’t even know those existed! He said it’d open up a lot of doors for me, and I did some research about it and came to agree with him.

Bill was a huge mentor for me. He told me about the dual degree option, he got me into a coronary artery bypass graft surgery they were doing in the hospital (on a person, not a pig), and when I got accepted to a research semester at the NIH, he told me about a bigwig he knew there that I could work for. I came back the following summer (between my junior and senior year), and he paid to take me to a heart research meeting in Banff, Canada. Really, he gave me all sorts of opportunities as an undergrad that I haven’t even had in grad school.

So, I took the MCAT the spring of my junior year, and that fall, I went to the NIH. Now, that ended up being a crappy experience, for a lot of reasons: I was living in DC the time of Sept. 11, 2001, my boss was the head of a divison in the heart, lung, and blood institute, so he was never around, and I was always leaving for MSTP interviews. But, it didn’t dissuade me from research.

I think I was a little cavalier in the whole application process. I applied to 14 schools—six were backups, a few were streches, and then there were four I really thought I had a chance. Well, after I got my first acceptance, I cancelled all my interviews at the backups. I got the four acceptances I expected, and I turned down an interview from one of my reach schools (since I was just burnt out by then). I didn’t get interviews from my other three reach schools. And when it came to deciding time, I chose to go to Case. There were a few really good reasons: I would’ve had to independent study med school at Ohio State, I didn’t like my PhD options at Pitt, and I didn’t want to live in Baltimore. But basically, I chose Case because I was familiar with it. I really had wanted to move—I figured this was the best time to be away from family, since I wasn’t planning on having kids—but Tim was already out of school and had a good job in Cleveland, and we had just gotten engaged. So, I stayed partially for him, partially for me.

I started the med school part in the fall of 2002, and I loved it. Ok, anatomy wasn’t great, but I survived. I kept looking forward to getting back in the lab (even though my three rotations weren’t enjoyable at all) because I thought it would be like when I was helping with research as an undergrad. Boy, was I na├»ve. Of my three rotations, the one guy was upfront and said he was looking to move, Dr. B was a rotation, and Frank was the other. I chose Frank’s lab. I had entertained ideas of going back to Bill’s lab, but I figured I should branch out.

No need to rehash what happened in Frank’s lab—I was completely independent, in a bad way, so I struggled for nine months, but then I got things to work. Then he left. And since no one else had space or the funding, I ended up back with Dr. B.

One interesting note: Bill was on my committee while I was in Frank’s lab, and I thought he had my back. Not a chance. My first meeting, he ripped my project apart. He kept quoting his own research, and he just wouldn’t let up. I was totally crushed. I had put this guy on a pedestal. I had even talked to him about the same issues he brought up before my committee meeting, and he used that info against me. I felt totally betrayed, and I haven’t trusted him since.

That brings me to now. I’ve been in Dr. B’s lab seven months, and nothing has worked. Unfortunately, it’s a different kind of “not working” than it was in Frank’s lab. With Frank, I had not guidance, and I had no technical skill. I had to do open heart survival surgeries on rats (it took me four months to get a rat to live), and then I had to do microdissections. So, once my skill was good enough, things worked. In this lab, I have the technical stuff down, but the project isn’t moving. Much more frustrating when you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s the long reason why I am at this junction. I never wanted to do just an MD. And I used to look on the MD/PhD applicants that didn’t seem “serious” about research with disdain. It was common to bash other applicants who seemed more clinically inclined by saying they “were just in it for a free education.” Aahh, how the tables have turned.

I didn’t do the dual degree program to get a free education, but the financial aspect is at the forefront of my decision making process. I know I could make it work though, so it’s not the basis for my decision.

I think, at the heart of it, is fear. Fear that I won’t be able to get a residency because they think I’m a quitter. Fear that I’ll disappoint every teacher/mentor/relative/friend/random acquaintance I’ve ever had. Fear that I really am a quitter. Fear that I just can’t cut it. Fear that if I give up in this one aspect of my life, everything else will fall apart.

I’m a little better about the whole thing today. Dr. B still hasn’t been back in, so I haven’t gotten to talk to him about it, but I think I have a plan. I’m going to talk to him, and then I’m going to give it a month. If things, even ever so slightly, seem to be moving forward, I’m going to stick with the lab. But if we haven’t progressed, then I’ll start looking into med school again.

I really like science, and I like the hands on aspect of bench research. I realize that. But I hate the failure rate. I never have been good with rejection.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wow

Really, it's amazing what a little time away from lab does. I had two really calm classes at the barn tonight, and I felt like a new person when I got home. Yes, I still dread lab, but there's so much in my life that I like. And Tim is having a rough day, so it's my turn to be there for him. I always function better when I am focused on helping someone else.

It may not seem that way from this blog, but I hate focusing on myself. I'm not saying that in a, "I'm such a good person because I'm not self-centered" way. It's that I have an unhealthy need to focus on other people to the detriment of myself. I can't take time to get myself to be heathly mentally because I am too busy trying to fix other people's problems. Wow, and I was like this even before I knew my mom was an alcoholic. How weird.

That's why all this self-revelation stuff shakes me up so much. I don't really know too much about who I am, or what I really want from my life. I just try to focus outside myself. I'm really good at putting on the show--I would say 99% of people in my life (that don't read this blog) think my life is pretty near perfect. And on the outside, it is. Great husband, a house, pets, a loving family, a job/education being paid for by the government, etc. And that's all good, and I am very thankful for it. It's the internal happiness I struggle with. But that's the easy one to hide.

So, I know I'll get into lab tomorrow and be totally depressed again, but I just wanted to let you know that away from lab, I'm really a very happy person. Really.

Today I am thankful for

Today, I am thankful for...
One more day before I have to talk to my boss...

Thoughts

Well, Dr. B won't be back until tomorrow, but boy, did I have a down night last night when I thought he was coming back today. Let me fill you in.

So my experiments really haven't been working since I started in the lab last September. I mean, yes, occasionally I get a blot to work. But even then, it only works halfway, since I want to see two versions of my protein, and I've only seen one. So basically, for seven months, I can't get anything to work. Now, my boss and my thesis committee still see potential, but my committee at least is starting to get worried about how long things are taking. And my boss said that I am potentially going to run out of time in the lab due to his funding situation.

This has made me re-evaluate what I want. I hate coming in to lab every day and knowing things aren't going to work. I'm not a lazy person, but wouldn't you lose your motivation if you knew that things hadn't worked for seven months, and there was no change in sight? So, I dread lab, and I am losing interest with research every day.

A normal person would say, "Ok, then quit lab and go back to med school." In fact, it has been known to happen--as I mentioned before, one of the blogs I read had a person do just that. However, my situation is a little different, mostly because I have two years of med school left, not one. Allow me to bring out the mighty pros and cons list:

Pros to quitting lab and going back to med school:
-not dreading work every day.
-getting back to med school two to three years earlier than planned, which means having a real job sooner.
-maybe being able to have a child at a normal age.
-not having one aspect of my life that seems to drain me by the day.

Cons to quitting lab and going back to med school:
-having our income change by $60,000 a year (from grossing $20,000 on my stipend to owing $40,000 a year)
-feeling like a total failure
-having it on my resume forever that I attempted this and I couldn't hack it.
-not living up to the expectations that I have set for myself and that other people have set for me

And to use Sarah's method:
what I like about lab/a future career in research:
-the people
-the flexibility (except for recently, working nights and weekends)
-the prestige of academics
-being fairly independent
-paid trips (not that I've gotten one of these yet, but my bosses go all over the world).
-science in general
-the opportunity to teach
-feeling like I am constantly learning
-reading new things

what I dislike about lab/a future career in research:
-the pay
-how hard it is to get grant money
-all the politics/sucking up/meetings
-how things fail 99% of the time
-having to find an interesting topic, getting other people interested enough to give me money, and finding people to work for me who are competent and also semi interested in the same project.
-managing people
-did I mention how things never work?
-currently, having to report to a PI. Future, having to report to a department chair.

what I like about a future in medicine:
-dealing with people
-feeling like I make a difference in someone's day to day life
-the pay
-the respect
-constant learning
-problem solving
-being constantly busy
-knowing one thing really really well (I'd be a specialist--it's my personality) and knowing a lot of other stuff pretty well
-I am just completely amazed by the human body--I read my old textbooks for fun (sick, I know).

what I dislike about a future in medicine:
-the hours
-malpractice insurance
-fear of killing someone
-dealing with people who won't do what you tell them. Why come to a doctor if you won't listen to them?
-dealing with HMOs/Medicare/accountants who think they know more than doctors
-knowing you can't help everyone
-feet, eyeballs, and teeth (random, but I think they are gross)

So I am 99.9% sure, in the future, that I want to do mostly medicine. Maybe I'll work at a teaching hospital where I'll have some teaching and a little clinical research, but I want to mostly deal with patients. Even if I stick it out in the lab, I still want to do mostly medicine.

It comes back to: if I want to do medicine, why stay in the lab?

Tim and I had a long talk about this last night. I am keeping myself up at night over this. And if I don't decide soon, I have to wait another year to attempt to get back into med school. Tim's been very supportive--he just wants me to be happy, and he see how miserable I am every day. But I also know that he realizes financially, we can't pull off my going back to school. So I feel very trapped, and he knows that that feeling is worse for me than anything. When it comes down to it, I need control, and I feel very out of control in this situation.

So, here are my options, in the likelihood they will happen: I stick it out in lab (95%), I changes labs and start my third project in two years (4%), and I go back to med school (1%). It'd be different if I only had one year of med school--I could cope with one year of loans, and maybe we could pull from some of our other things (like sell the house and move to a smaller one for a year) so I only had like $20,000 in loans. But for two years, we can't do it. Forget the $80k for tuition--I'm not even sure how we'd pull of the loss of my $1700 a month. We could not eat or something.....

So, because I can't disappoint people, and I can't be a failure, I'll be miserable for the next few years, hopefully get back to med school in 2008 or 2009, and I'll be 38 before I can get a real job.

I feel like a weak person for even admitting maybe I can't pull it off. I have such high expectations for myself, and the thought that I'm not strong enough, or smart enough, or committed enough, or hardworking enough to cut it in this program makes me ill.

Thinking Dr. B was coming back today (he's actually back tomorrow), I knew I had to talk to him about this. And boy, do I suck at confrontation. But, it's got to happen. If he has other ideas, or has another project (although no one's project is going well), maybe staying in lab is ok. But if things keep going the way they are going, man, it's going to kill me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New feature...

Ok, so I decided that, while my blog is good for complaining, I need to say one positive thing every day. I am hoping that this will translate into overall more positive vibes. So, starting today, there's a new feature on Bridgette's blog: "Today, I am thankful." I'll post one thing, no matter how big or how small, that I am thankful for, and I will work really hard not to repeat myself. If you want, leave a comment (anyone can now--you don't have to have a blog yourself) and say what you are thankful for. I'll still continue to vent, but this way, it puts things in persepctive.

Today, I am thankful for....

Tim, because he takes care of me when I can't take care of myself.

Sappy, I know. Since this is the first day, I'll post two.

Today, I am thankful for...

Chocolate cupcakes brought in by co-workers. Nothing like a little chocolate to put life back into focus.

Ok, so you comment and tell me what you are thankful for!

Life is back at it again...

Oh where to start: the family drama, the shower, the house drama, the work drama? Let’s just be random.

So house drama: we were spring cleaning yesterday, and as I was removing the luggage from the closet in our bedroom, I noticed what looked like water damage on the baseboard molding and the carpet. Guess what that closet backs up to? That’s right, the newly remodeled bathroom. Hooray! So since early December, we’ve been leaking water into the wall. Tim went down and checked the garage ceiling, and sure enough, there’s water damage there too. There would’ve been more damage in the closet had there not been clothing on the floor to soak up the water. So, we have to call the contractor and get him back out to fix this stuff. Let’s hope he doesn’t give us any crap.

Work drama: Not really drama, more like lack of results. Dr. Beigi’s been gone for almost a week, and none of my experiments have worked. He’ll come back tomorrow or the day after, and I’ll have nothing to show. So, I am starting to get more and more depressed and frustrated, and I really don’t know what I am going to do. I want to talk to George Dubyak about things, since he both sits on my committee and is also the MSTP co-director, but he lost his mom last weekend, so I want to give him some space.

(I'll skip the details of the family drama and the wedding shower--I think most people who care have already heard those details).

All in all, it’s been a rough few days. I think I just need a break, even though there isn’t one in sight for a while. Oh well.

I'll hang in there, I always do, and I think a few days will help me just chill. The work drama is really the only one that isn't going away anytime soon, and with less stress in other parts of my life, that won't seem as bad in a few days. I think I just needed a vent session.