Oy to the Vey


UT has lost two in a row. I has a sad.

In other, less depressing news:
  --the steroids I took to fix my ridiculous eczema worked, and I didn't go crazy! The crazy was a real possibility because steroids and bipolar generally don't mix. And now I'm a lot less leper-y!
  --my online psych class is easy and I'm not stressed about it at all. Which is good.
  --A&P is good, too. Mrs. V is a great teacher. It's frustrating that we spend a lot of class time going over and over concepts because a few people don't get them, but that's due to them, I think. We have our first lecture exam on Wednesday, which I'm a little concerned over, but I'm not going to freak out completely.

Time to watch the rerun of Justin Timberlake on SNL (seriously, one of the most hilarious episodes I've ever seen). Maybe that will make me feel a little better and soothe the ache of a poorly played game (our quarterback, Case, was GREAT -- unlike Ash, who is our first-string who dumbly ran into a defender last week and gave himself a concussion. It was our frickin' defense that just sucked AGAIN).

UT Tower - orange


UT 56  New Mexico State 7

We won. Our QB was amazing. I haven't been able to watch the game yet, but I followed it on my phone...

...because we were in the ER again. This time, it wasn't about me, but Sis had some kind of crazy stomach pain and was throwing up blood (the coffee grounds-looking kind, not bright red, thank God).

I'm so thrilled football is back. Seriously. Something GOOD that's happened this week, OMG.

My first psych class scared me. The woman is an organizational and workplace psychologist. Basically, she helps management people, sets up training, and does those team-building retreat things. I'm sorry, but if I'm going to learn about psych, I want someone who does patient care. Also, she basically said that she was just going to gloss over the whole history of psych -- not even getting into a few of the main early psychologists like Freud, Jung, Wundt, etc. That means it's really useless.

For some ridiculous reason, the college won't let you add a class once the class has started. I know when I went to both UT and Austin Community College, the add/drop period extended into at least the first week of class. Sometimes you just need to switch classes. The dick at registration said it was absolutely impossible for me to switch from the lecture section to the online one. So I went around him. I called up the psychology department dean and asked if it would be possible to get switched. She said okay and I'm now taking the online psych class.

This is also good, since my skin has decided to freak the fuck out all of the sudden. I had a rash that started a couple of weeks ago. It was bumpy, and itchy, and ALL OVER. I saw Dr. Hall. He thought it might be a psoriasis flare and prescribed a cream that would help calm down my skin. This cream only made everything worse. There's a giant red, angry patch on my left shin. I was doing okay until after my first class day Monday. I came home with my leg hurting, so I looked at it. It was oozing, bleeding, and puffy. So Sis had to take me to the ER. The doc said he thought it might be eczema instead of psoriasis, but agreed that I might have an infection. So I've been on heavy-duty antibiotics. He also said I should take a short course of steroids. I can't, however, because steroids make me crazy. Literally, I completely destabilize and decompensate. It's like I'm not on any of my psych meds at all. Before my nose surgery several years ago now, I tried flonase. After only a few days, I was a mess mood-wise. Which is why I had them cut on my face. I'd rather have surgery than take steroids. This means that, while the oozing grossness on my leg is better, the rest of me is still covered in tiny, angry, red bumps that itch like a motherfucker. Aveeno oatmeal baths aren't helping. I can't cover myself in cortisone (same reason -- too much steroid makes Emily very crazy) to help the itching, either. So I'm stuck taking a bunch of benadryl all of the time. MISERABLE. Also, a bunch of bumps appeared on my hands that have now cracked. I seriously feel like I look like a leper right now. Nothing I can do about it, though, unless I decide to gamble and start that steroid dose pack on a Wednesday night and hope that it'll do its thing before I have to get back to school the next Monday. But that's the last resort. I'm getting there, though, because this shit is only barely tolerable.

But, since I'm now in the online class, I have a little big more flexibility, and I can sleep when I need to, for the most part. My A&P II class is going to be good, I think. The teacher is really cool. She's going to try to get us at least a tour of MD Anderson (the cancer treatment center here in Houston, where Beau Biden was just a few days ago), and maybe to observe a surgery. This is what's awesome about living where the world's largest medical center is. So I'm only needing to be on campus four hours in the late afternoon/evening Mon/Weds. It's also a really tiny class - I think she counted a total of 14 people - which makes it nice, too. My Tues/Thurs class last semester had 30ish.

I'm going to try to rest now, since I have to play catch-up with my psych class tomorrow.

I hope y'all have a great Labor Day weekend. :D
books and coffee

Prep work

Exactly one week until school starts. I'm signed up for Intro to Psych (which should be easy) and for Anatomy & Physiology II, which I know will be difficult and time intensive.

Psych is going to be taught by an as-yet-unknown adjunct prof, so it's a toss up as to whether I'll get someone good to teach or not. Rate My Professor.com says that the woman I've chosen to teach A&P II is amazing. All of the comments were that, while the subject matter is difficult, she makes it interesting and is super-invested in having her students learn. A bunch said that you can talk to her about anything and she's incredibly hands-on, which is great when in lab.

So I'm cautiously optimistic about this coming semester.

Also, there's a bonus: I don't have to buy another book and lab manual for A&P II, since it uses the same book from A&P I. That's a saving of $400. I rented my psych book from the campus bookstore for half of what it'd cost to buy it, and because it was at the campus bookstore, I was able to just swipe my ID and it got debited from my financial aid. Technology is awesome.

My main task now is to clean my room. It's become a horrific trash heap. Basically, I didn't clean from spring break on. I intended to clean once I finished with spring, but I've been having massive body pain issues most of the summer. So it's now down to the wire and I just have to bite the bullet. There's no way I'll do well if I don't have space near my bed to put my things. (Though, technically, EVERYTHING is near my bed because there's only about 5 feet between my bed and the wall. I have a teeny room.)

Finally, a complaint: Target is crap for women who wear more than a large. There was only one semi-cute top. I tried it on. The fabric was almost see-through. It was also really clingy, which is not something you want when you have a couple of stomach rolls. Finally, it was awkwardly made, so where you expected the gather to be actually ended up being way up on the shoulder where it was just annoying. Back to Wal-Mart I go, it seems. Which frustrates me, but it is what it is. *sigh*
fairy godmother


Okay, so I haven't posted anything since mid-May. Yikes.

Let's see. What's been going on...

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This totally made me laugh so hard I hurt my abdomen, but I didn't care. You need to watch both parts, because seriously...

I'm going to lie down now and take a nap if I can get to sleep.
Captain Jack whatever

Just popping in

to say that this commercial totally weirds me out.

In other news, I've been able to resist drinking any kind of soda for almost a whole week now. Only another 5ish weeks to go. Wow, thinking about it like that makes it feel longer... okay, 33 days. That's easier. Once Easter week comes, I'm pretty sure I'll be drinking a MASSIVE amount of Coke. I'm pretty sure, at least. I've made Mom move the Sprite she uses to make high balls every night into the bottom shelf in the fridge door so I don't see it when I open the fridge. That's helping a little, but it's still hard. And I've realized that since I'm not drinking Coke almost all day that I'm in slight caffeine withdrawal. I was SO totally cranky over the weekend. This is definitely a difficult task I chose for Lent. Not walking around the desert for forty days difficult, but difficult for me. Which is what counts, if I understand this whole thing.
Craig Scream


I MADE A 100 ON MY A&P LECTURE EXAM. The one I was sweating so much over. The one I crammed massive amounts of information into my brain for. I discovered this guy on YouTube and he was a Godsend (there was no other way that I could have really comprehended DNA replication, since my prof is sweet, but can't really teach, unfortunately). This means that I was WAY over-worrying about this test, and I should worry less for next time. It was a lot easier than I thought, but I had no idea I would do this well. I had told myself that I'd be thrilled if I made a B, but this is SO MUCH more than that. 

We've had a few things happen here, including having both of our printers die (which made me have to go to Best Buy and buy a new one today--though it was on sale and wireless which will be awesome and convenient), but we're all coping decently. Mom started her full-time professorship at the nursing school Monday. She's stressed out about the new job--as most would be--and is working her ass off, since she's still doing two shifts at the hospital on the weekends. Amazing woman, and one I hope to emulate stamina-wise. Sis is overwhelmed with nursing school, but that's to be expected. 

I'm screwing around on Facebook and here instead of working on the English essay I have due Tuesday, but I had to brag to someone about my exam, because that' so freaking awesome.
Dino SHIT!


I have my first exam in A&P tomorrow. And I'm TOTALLY behind in studying. Hence my sitting here writing this blog post. It's like my brain has just given up trying to absorb how cells absorb things (seriously, we have to learn all the different ways that stuff moves into a cell). 

If you would say a tiny prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas that would be AWESOME (just something like, "Hey there, St. Thomas, please help Emily not fail her test. She's really anxious about it and she could use your assistance."). 

That kid in my English class I'm sure I already mentioned before just wrote this on Twitter, and I don't think he was in any way joking: "Termonoligy now a days sucks ass.!!!" We are failing our children in their education. 


Cat glasses

School daze

My brain is starting to hurt. The second chapter of my A&P textbook is all chemistry. I had hoped I had left Avogadro's number behind when I took college chemistry as a junior in high school (did I ever explain here that I went to a teeny tiny school--my graduating class was 7 people--where classes like math and chemistry had to be done as dual credit with the community college because the school itself was located in a strip mall next to a Fudrucker's?). However, we have to understand pH, which means that we have to understand molarity. Dammit. We also have to know all about chemical reactions, atomic bonds, and the super-detailed info about things like the structure of triglycerides and the DNA molecule--down to the alternating sugar/phospholipid chains that hold all of the base pairs together. At least we can kind of leave it behind after this first exam. We'll have to know it for the final, but that's not until May. I have been taking detailed notes on the book, but it takes forever because the text is so dense. I'm thinking that I will just go with what's on the just-released study guide. I need to ask Sis, since she knows how this teacher and this class works...

A&P lab has been interesting. Our very first lab was a rat dissection. Interesting, but we got stuck with the most OMG super-annoying student ever in the history of annoying people. J is a super-controlling, OCD, ADD guy. He has to be the leader of everything, which causes the rest of us to be left without being able to learn as much. He feels the need to verify everything we do as a group himself, as if the rest of us are incompetent. I'm pretty sure I have 20 IQ points on this dude, and I CERTAINLY have more practical medical experience. What scares me is that he wants to be a paramedic. However, he's so anal that he has to re-read the directions of everything several times, and doesn't seem to be able to absorb changes from the main directions and how we're supposed to ACTUALLY do it. We were working on learning the microscope Thursday. We were paired up, and I was thankfully the fifth wheel at the table and was able to use one on my own. I kept looking across the table at a woman named Amy who is at least my age. She didn't get to look through the microscope at all until the last five minutes of our 80 minute class, because every time she tried, he shoved her away saying that he was doing it. He also couldn't seem to grasp that the microscope pictured in the lab manual was different than the one we actually used--ours is simpler and was missing a few of the things from the one in the book. I know I don't want this guy to work on me if he ever succeeds in becoming a medic. (I told Mom the other night that if I ever saw him as the medic when I needed an ambulance, I'd request that he drive and the other medic do the actual treatment, because there's no way I'd let him near me, since I'd be afraid that he wouldn't be able to go with the flow of a true medical situation where the rules are fluid.) After class, I went up to Amy and talked to her about how frustratingly annoying J is. We agreed that we'd never stick the other with him when working in pairs ever again. We figure that in a group we can overpower him, but one-on-one he's just intolerable. I have a lab buddy! Yay! Hopefully this will fix what happened last Tuesday when I came home almost vibrating with the pent up frustration of dealing with J for the whole lab time. 

I'm trying really hard not to flirt with Courtney my English instructor. She's really cute, and we have a lot in common (she's a Whovian for Pete's sake). The kids in my English class continues to amaze me with their apparent lack of education. Maybe it's just that I'm 32 and grew up in a household run by a former English teacher, but the fact that, at 18-20, they don't know basic stuff like what a metaphor or euphemism is scares me. Courtney used a bit from The Scottish Play's final soliloquy as an example of a metaphor: "Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, who struts and frets his hour upon the stage." None of the younger people in the room could analyze those two lines even vaguely close to what Shakespeare actually meant. If they're not studying Shakespeare in school, then we're totally failing them as human beings. 

Anyways, my brain hurts, my body hurts from walking so much around the really gorgeous but really rather large campus, and I can't wait until my financial aid refund is disbursed--hopefully on Monday--so that I can go ahead and get that tablet which will allow me to stop carrying my ridiculously heavy laptop which has caused my body to hurt so much this weekend.

In political news, I'm very thrilled that President Obama was re-inaugurated Monday. I think it was really cool that it just happened to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. That's a sign if I've ever seen one. Yes, Beyonce lip-synced. Yes, it's kinda lame that she did so. But the Marine Band didn't play live either, so it makes sense (they probably couldn't because the brass player's lips would have stuck to their mouthpieces due to the freezing temps--I've seen it happen before). I do love what Aretha Franklin told NBC news the other day. She said she understood why Beyonce had lip-synced, because it was really hard for her to sing "My Country Tis of Thee" in the 20-degree weather four years ago. (I think it was slightly implied that a true diva would sing it live no matter what.) However, because of this, everyone is going to be watching incredibly closely when Beyonce sings at the Super Bowl. She better make sure that it's obvious that she's singing live, despite the possible problems of doing so.
Emery Computer

The first week

After Sis went to her first class on Monday, I went up to school to get my book for A&P (I still have the required books for English from last semester's failure). With the book bundle--which is the book, the lab manual, a couple of extra anatomy guides, a CD that deals with the physiology part of things, and an access code to the online part of the class--and supplies like binders and dividers, the total was $364. At least at the campus bookstore, all you have to do is tell them that it needs to be charged to your financial aid and they do so. The book is loose-leaf so you have to have a binder to put it in. However, because it's loose leaf, I can bring just the chapters we're covering for the test with me, so I'm not lugging a 10lb book around all the time. 

My English class is going to be awesome, I think. The professor is my age, or a little younger. She goes by Courtney. She's all about using social media, so part of our class participation grade will be communicating on Twitter. We have our own class hashtag. And the best part about her: the profile pic she uses? Her dressed as the TARDIS at a party. So, not only is she cool, but she's a Whovian. She told me on Thursday that she might be calling me Sara on occasion because I look exactly like her best friend. I told her that it wasn't a problem because that's my sister's name and I already kind of respond to it. She's included all kinds of communication and expression under the rhetoric umbrella: how you dress, buttons, posters, social media posts, etc. She feels that writing academic essays, like the ones I wrote last semester, are really inapplicable to real life. She said that even while she was in school for English she stopped writing that kind of academic essay once she got into grad school. I agree fully. It's boring and useless to write that kind of thing. So for our projects in this class, she's having us do things like create a button that expresses your opinion on something, a protest poster, create an article for submission to a publication (though we don't have to actually submit it), and a historical narrative that is told using a non-traditional medium like YouTube, Twitter, blog posts (easy) etc. I don't think they'll be easy, but they'll at least be absolutely not boring. 

What surprised me most about this class: how little the other people prepped and/or cared. As I went to class for the first time on Tuesday, I was totally guessing where the classroom was. While the school gives you a map of the campus, they don't give you detailed maps of the interior of the buildings. So you have to absolutely wing it when trying to get to your first class. I ended up talking to a kid--he can't be more than 20--who seems like a really sweet kid. OMG 20 is now a kid to me. I'm OLD. We had a reading from a book that talked about this woman's view on a more engaging teaching method (in which she used the words "pedagogy" and "self-actualization" about a billion times in 10 pages). I'm pretty sure that I was one of only a handful of the 25 people in the class that actually read the thing prior to class. I know I was one of the few who was talking about it in class. As we were discussing the book, she asked the question, "So what does 'regulatory and punitive' mean here?" When no one responded (I had already decided that I wasn't going to be the only one to talk), she simplified and asked what regulatory meant first. He replied, "Like, regular?" His answer to "punitive" was, "Like, um, tiny or something?" The urge to *facepalm* was so strong. There's one woman who seems to like being argumentative about everything, and there was another girl who as discussing the thing even though she'd already admitted she hadn't read it. I'm interested to see what happens next Tuesday. I'm determined to not be the only one talking. However, there are so many times where I feel like have to pipe up becaus no one els is talking.

On to A&P. The professor in this class will be good, I think.  She went to the medical school here in Houston. During her residency she decided that teaching was actually what she wanted to do. She went back and got her degree in education and has been teaching ever since. She does ESL science and math tutoring at local schools during the day, and teaches this class in the evenings. Sis had her for A&P II last spring and told me that she is a really good teacher. I told Dr. Ruiz that she had had Sis in her class last spring and she asked how Sis was doing. She seemed very happy that Sis is now in nursing school. I know that I have a good leg up in this class after having taken medical terminology last summer. I already know the basics and the language, which is already helpful. However, the one annoying thing is Dr. Ruiz's pronunciation of the words. It's rather critical that these terms are pronounced correctly, since some are similar enough that it would be confusing. I realize that English is her second language, but damn.

Lab is going to be interesting. On Thursday, we dissected a rat. The second day of lab, we do a rat dissection. That's hardcore. The three other people in my group are going to be an interesting group. The two girls are nice and seem to be willing to go with the flow. The guy, however, is going to be a challenge, I think. He kind of took over and, when I tried to assist, he shunned my help. WTF. We've got a cat dissection happening a month or so from now. That will not be one I will be doing. I will firmly object to doing it. The death of Cole is still a really raw wound and to think of cutting up a cat is just abhorrent. Sis had to decline to do the same thing when she took the class and Dr. Ruiz was understanding. 

What I have determined is that I need to have a really portable way to access the internet. My laptop is fantastic, but it's heavy as hell. I carried it and my other binders around campus on Thursday and my shoulder STILL hurts on Sunday. Doug gave me a $100 gift certificate to Amazon. I've pretty much decided that I'm going to use that and whatever I get as a refund from my financial aid to buy myself one of the larger Kindle Fires (it's 8.9"). I think with a keyboard, I'll be able to access the internet, read my books, and take good notes while only carrying a few pounds around with me instead of the 8lb. laptop I've got. Several other girls in my A&P class use their iPads to take notes. I would get one of those, but I can't buy it on Amazon. Anyone have a Kindle Fire out there? Opinions on it and how it might work--or not--for my purposes?

I'm cautiously optimistic about this semester. Sis is struggling, but that's to be expected. I have caught a cough. One of those lovely, deep, barking coughs. And I can't take dextromethorphan to keep myself from coughing because it screws with my brain chemistry and makes my moods rapidly cycle. The last thing I need right now is instability. So I'm coughing and hoping to God that it'll resolve itself before Tuesday afternoon.

Doctor Who - Rory Scientist


While there were headaches dealing with getting classes situated for this semester, I am in! 

I had only signed up for the 4 hour Anatomy & Physiology I class because I know it's going to be difficult and labor-intensive. Even Sis, the genius (literally, her IQ is 168), had to retake that class because she failed the first time. However, in order to get my Pell Grant financial aid, I have to be enrolled in at least 6 hours. I didn't know this. I just happened to call the financial aid office yesterday afternoon to just double-check that everything was copacetic. The first girl hung up on me once, causing me to have to call back and wait another 30 minutes on hold before getting her again. She seemed flaky, so when I got home from the clinic I called again. This woman told me that, no, there was no financial aid available because I wasn't taking enough hours. So I had to scramble to figure out what to take. Since I got an F in English last semester, I decided to take it again--this time in class, because trying to participate in an online class is a pain in the ass--adding an extra 3 hours to my schedule. I called back and told the guy that answered that I had updated my schedule and I needed them to re-award that Pell Grant. He said he'd send the request as priority, but that he couldn't promise that the money would be there before the payment deadline at 2pm this afternoon.

So I got up at 8 this morning to go up to campus and talk to financial aid in person. I know that God intervened in this one because there were only 2 people in line in front of me. The girl that I dealt with was fantastic. Totally knowledgeable, competent, and all-around fantastic. She was also wearing a Gryffindor Quidditch T-shirt, so I knew she was cool. We talked Potter while she re-awarded my financial aid and made sure that my classes would be paid for today. Whew. I can now rest a little easier knowing that my classes are paid, and I'll be getting a decent chunk of change as the remainder of the grant. Most of that will go directly to a savings account. Some of that will buy me some more clothes--I need jeans that fit (Walmart and Target are not the best places to find that, so I'm headed to the Lane Bryant outlet just a mile down the road), and a few more shirts. Yay!

I'm now going to be up at school from 3:30 to 9pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. And Thursdays are actually going to be incredibly long because I'm going to have to switch seeing Monica from Friday at 11 to Thursday mornings so that I can have a car (the only day that Sis doesn't have class is Thursday). I'm nervous about how much work this is going to be, but hopeful that I can make it through.

Speaking of Sis, she got into nursing school! So she's now going to be taking 16 hours and at school from 8-Noon four days a week. I'm so thrilled for her. She's wanted to get into nursing school for a good while and she worked really hard to get all of her things sorted out to get in. I'm worried about how much work this is going to be for her, and how her body is going to react to all of the activity and stress, but I've already told her that I'm here for her to help where I can.

And more school news: Mom is now going to be a full-time professor at the nursing school where she's currently an adjunct professor!!!! This means that she can go from the full-time nursing at the psych hospital to just PRN (a medical term that basically means "as needed") which is only 4 shifts a month. Which will be fantastic for her. She loves teaching so much, but she will also be able to keep doing the direct patient care that she enjoys. I am so proud of her, too. Her nursing job will never go anywhere. The charge nurse will never retire, and the nurse manager isn't going to leave, either. And anyway, any promotion would just mean that mom would be doing administration which she hates with a passion. But at the nursing school, she is now guaranteed a promotion every year until she reaches full professorship after about 3 years. And at that point, they will pay her to get her doctorate. At the psych hospital, the fact that mom has a master's degree in nursing doesn't count for anything. At the nursing school, it matters a great deal. It's really fantastic. 

Now I need to get my shit together by Monday. I need to clean my room, finish my knitting projects, and make sure that I have all that I need supply-wise. My syllabi should be available online Monday, so I can prep for class. Excellent. 

On a totally different note: GO TEXANS!! Kick Brady's ass!!