Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

The Day Before Election

'Twas the day before the election, when all through the news
The pundits and pollsters were spouting their views.

The candidates were running around all the states,
Praying like hell there would be no mistakes.

Sarah Palin was crying about the media and elite,
While John McCain was busy throwing out red meat.

And no matter how hard they seem to try,
Everyone saw right through their lies.

I think Sarah Palin needs to buy herself a clue,
In addition to her brand new expensive suit.

John McCain will regret choosing Palin one day,
I do believe that is what the history books will say.

The Republicans it seems might be in a big jam,
Losing seats left and right and losing their fans.

The pundits believe Obama just might win,
The country can't deal with another Bush again,

Virginia and Florida might see the light,
And for the first time ever do something right.

It is crazy to me the states are either red or blue,
When purple would make a beautiful hue.

The war rages on and the country is in a mess,
Many believe Obama and Biden can handle it best.

"Now, Viginia! Now, Montana and Now, Indiana and Colorado!
On, Florida! on Nevada! on, Missouri and Ohio!

Please get off your ass, get dressed and put down the remote!"
To the end of the drive, on down the street! To the place where you vote!

The decision is big and there is too much at stake
Probably the biggest one you will ever make.

When the dust has settled and the count is all in
Will we have a new direction or the same song again?

So up, up out of your chair and get onto your feet,
The ability to vote, just can't be beat.

You might be a fan of McCain and Palin, that is OK
I know if you vote for them it will really ruin my damn day.

We deserve better than just Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb
As to who is who, you know which is which one.

Seeing "Russia from your house" is not good enough
We need a helluva lot more when times get tough

The world is watching to see what will be done
The last eight years have not been that much fun

Try something new, step out of the box
Prove to the world that America rocks.

Leave the bias behind on the color of skin
Vote for Obama and restore our national dignity again

He has the right stuff, from his head to his toes,
And his head can barely contain all he knows.

He is sharp as can be and his values are sound
And he wants to turn this damn country around.

Palin has proven power can be abused!
I for one am not very amused!

McCain truly lost his way!
I don't believe a thing he has to say!

No one is perfect, we all agree to that,
But Obama and Biden are better, and that is a fact!

So, that is it... all I've got! I hope it brings a chuckle or two today, the day before the biggest election in our collective history.

Vote!

VOTE!

VOTE FOR Obama and Biden!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First dates are always awkward

Today, I took Sebastian to his first play date. I went through his entire wardrobe to make sure he was wearing the cutest outfit he owned to enhance his boyish charms and overall handsomeness. Since the playgroup was being held just around the corner we decided to walk. Sebastian decided that he would take a little cat nap on the way so he would be refreshed when we arrived. Over the next two hours we met several moms and children from around Anderson. There were three babies there that were Sebastians age, in addition to the older children, that are his new friends. Reagan, Beverly Madeline and Sebastian had a great time sitting on the table, comparing and sharing toys, and trying to chew through water bottles. It was nice to be able to sit and talk to other moms while the kids played. After two hours Sebastian was starting to get tired and was ready for a meal and a nap so I packed him in the stroller and we headed for home. The entire way home he babbled and talked apparently trying to let me know how much fun he had. When we arrived home he ate lunch and took a much needed nap. I can't believe how fast he is growing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lost in the millions

Brian and I take an obscene number of pictures of our son in hopes of getting a few really good pictures. The obsession results in large folders on our computers taking up gigs worth of memory. I have mine divided by weeks and each folder contains at least a couple hundred photos, many of which are out of focus, have too much or too little flash or has one of the subjects looking stoned. Every week we are able to salvage 10-20 really good photos to put up on his website so far away family and friend can keep up with his progress.

So, today in an effort to reclaim some hard drive space I started going through the picture folders and deleting the worst offenders. While performing my task, I came across this gem of a photo that we had some how missed before.



This was taken about 3 months ago when Sebastian was 18 weeks old. It is but of preview of how his personality would develop.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Lipstick on a Wing Nut"

We subscribe to The Nation and in the issue from September 29, 2008 there is an excellent article about John McCain's pick for VP by Katha Pollitt.

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America. Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"

The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?

Well, I'm not playing. I don't care about Sarah Palin's family. I don't care if she's a good mother. I don't care if she's happily married, or who shops and who vacuums, or who takes care of the kids while both parents are at work. I don't want her recipe for caribou hot dogs, either. Life chez Sarah and Todd might make an adorable sitcom (Leave It to Jesus?) or a scathing tell-all a decade or so down the road (Governor Dearest?). Either way, so what? This is an election, not The View. As for feminism's meaning, what can you say after you've said that her career shows that even right-wing fundamentalist women have taken in feminism's message of empowerment and that's good, but that Palin's example suggests women can do it all without support from society and that's bad?

Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:

§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?

§ You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?

§ If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?

§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?

§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?

§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?

§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?

§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?

§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?

§ You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?

§ You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?



I think it is despicable that Palin is not being put under scrutiny for the right reasons.

I don't care that Palin's 17 year old daughter is pregnant. But it does need to be the catalyst for the discussion about teen pregnancy and how abstinence only sex education only succeeds in producing teens who are clueless about their bodies, not any less likely to have sex but less likely to use any form of birth control when they do.

I don't care that Palin has five kids and a career. But it should be a reason to discuss the deplorable lack of support there is for families in the country. Lack of affordable childcare, lack support for new mothers and job security so mothers can take time off to care for their children.

I don't care that she believes, due to her religion, that the world is 6000 years old and that God created the world in 7 days but I have a problem with the blatant attempts to censor books, attempts to teach religion in science classrooms and the propagation of ignorance that her religion potentially brings to the government. There needs to be more discussion about the separation of Church and State and how it allow both to exist. I can imagine what the government would look like if it was run by religion but I wonder if they ever stop to think how their religion would be altered when it was taken over by the State.

Palin needs to stop all the whining about sexism and start answering questions. Bloggers, Op-ed writters, reporters, journalist and pundits need to stop focusing on stuff that doesn't matter (like tanning beds, how she will balance family and career, and the "first dude", and start trying to get some real answers out of her. Asking those questions that Pollitt posed would be a great starting point.



(You can read the entire article here)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

25 days to protect women’s health

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently proposed regulations that could seriously undermine access to basic reproductive health services -- including birth control and abortion.

Instead of striking a careful balance between individual religious liberty and patients’ access to reproductive health care, the Bush administration has taken patients’ rights and their health care needs out of the equation. The new regulation will allow individual health care providers and organizations to, not only, refuse to offer reproductive services like birth control and abortion but give them the right to withhold information from patients and refuse to refer them to a facility that will provide the desired service.

Unfortunately this proposal does not need congressional approval but there is a period for public comment before it can go forward. The deadline for public comments is September 20 and intense opposition to these dangerous regulations are needed to protect the reproductive rights of women.

I just sent HHS my comment urging them to stop efforts to block women's access to basic reproductive health services. You can do the same here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Am I Living in a Box




I have not blogged about my son since posting about my pregnancy and birth so I thought I would give a little up date.

He will be 7 month old in 12 days and is growing so fast I can hardly believe it. He is sitting up, pulling to standing every chance he gets, loves for us to read books to him (and to look at them himself), has been getting up on his hands and knees and rocking and I am sure he will be crawling in no time. I think he is absolutely adorable and his smile can make me do just about anything.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Waiting to be let in on the secret.

As a child and pre-teen I attended the church that my grandparents went to. My parents were not very religious and did not attend church regularly, but my grandparents thought it was important. As a kid I enjoyed Sunday school because there were sweet treats for breakfast, we got to color and someone would read us a story. I knew all the songs (This Little Light of Mine, Rise and Shine, Jesus Loves Me, etc). At this point I knew the answers people wanted to hear when I was asked about god and the bible. As I got older the decision of whether to attend was left up to me. I continued so that I could socialize with friends and participate in the activities that the church provided: like singing in the choir, watching the kids in the nursery during services, lock-ins/outs and sleep away camp. And you can‘t forget the free lunches out that my grandfather would provide every Sunday if I went.

Sometime around the age of 8 or 9 it was finally revealed that there was no Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. I had been given strict instructions not to ruin the fun for my younger brother and cousins. Being a good little girl, I kept this secret to myself and played along with the charade. At this same time, I was becoming more aware of the meaning behind the stories that were being told to us at church. You know, the ones about the all knowing god who sees everything you do, the punishment or reward that comes because of specific behavior, someone coming back from the dead, 2 of every animal in the world fitting onto a boat, someone living in the stomach of a whale, pray and Momma Gran will get better, it thunders because god is angry, you will see your friend in heaven when you die...

It wasn't until I was 11 or 12 that I began to wonder "When is someone going to let me in on this secret?" I had done such a great job of keeping the others; Why were people still insisting that God was real? Surely soon someone would sit me down and explain how the stories about God are something that we tell kids are real before they can understand how things really work. That sometimes people just get sick, that when someone dies they are gone forever, that punishments and rewards come as natural consequences of actions and from other people, and that sometimes you really are alone.

I waited for a couple of years for someone say those things, but it never happened. I would sometimes ask probing questions to see if I could get someone to slip. A couple of times I asked straight out "Is God Real?" and received answers like "of course honey.” I often wondered if they said that because they thought it was what I wanted to hear or if they thought the question was so silly that it didn't deserve an actual answer.

Eventually, I stopped going to church because it wasn't fun anymore. I found other ways to spend time with friend and do things I enjoyed by joining chorus at school, babysitting and volunteering at the rec center summer camp. My family occasionally inquired about going to church and I usually just dodged the question. At this point, I don’t think there ever really was a god, but I never really thought about it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Vice in Go-Go Boots?

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote this hysterical piece on the republican VP nominee

The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.

So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime. Instead of going home and watching “Miss Congeniality” with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch “Miss Congeniality” with Sarah Palin.

Sheer heaven.

It’s easy to see where this movie is going. It begins, of course, with a cute, cool unknown from Alaska who has never even been on “Meet the Press” triumphing over a cute, cool unknowable from Hawaii who has been on “Meet the Press” a lot.

Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes “The Brady Bunch” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested.

Instead, they embrace 72-year-old John McCain and 44-year-old Sarah Palin, whose average age is 58, a mere two years older than the average age of the Obama-Biden ticket. Enthusiastic Republicans don’t see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin résumé and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge, because they expect Republicans to put an underqualified “babe,” as Rush Limbaugh calls her, on the ticket. They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types Dan Quayle and W., and then letting them learn on the job. So they crash into the globe a few times while they’re learning to drive, what’s the big deal?

Obama may have been president of The Harvard Law Review, but Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a minor in poli-sci and worked briefly as a TV sports reporter. And she was tougher on the basketball court than the ethereal Obama, earning the nickname “Sarah Barracuda.”

The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah’s spunky, relentlessly quirky “Northern Exposure” story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she’s a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she’s named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter.

As she once told Vogue, she’s learned the hard way to deal with press comments about her looks. “I wish they’d stick with the issues instead of discussing my black go-go boots,” she said. “A reporter once asked me about it during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses.”

This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

“The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?”

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dear Joe Biden

I really love the ladies over at Bitch Ph.D. They are intelligent, witty and excellent at expressing their opinions in writing. Today M. LeBlanc wrote a letter to the democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden regarding McCain's chioce for his VP. In it she blasts the republican party for their anti-women stances

John McCain's party is the party that doesn't give a shit about women. They don't want women to have ownership and control over their bodies, and they don't care whether women get equal pay for equal work.


and tells him what we would like him to ask her.

If you were elected vice-president, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act came before the Senate once again, and the vote was tied, and you were called upon in your constitutionally-mandated role as tie-breaker, how would you vote? Would you, like me, vote that when women are denied equal pay for equal work, they should get restitution, or would you, like John McCain, vote that a Supreme Court decision making it nearly impossible for them to receive that restitution, should stand?


Read the entire letter here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hella Cool

The is amazing. The first few seconds are the coolest.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

I love this game.

I stumbled across this game a couple a years ago and was addicted to it for a week or so. Last week I was reintroduced to it again. It is fun and lets me know how abysmal my geography and history knowledge is.

Traveler's IQ

I did have it embedded but I couldn't make it fit so you will have to play it on the other website

Read Any Good Books Lately (part 2)

I have read three really good books in the last several weeks.

The last on I read was Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs. I always run the gambit of emotions when I read his books (this is my 4th I think). There are hilarious parts that make me laugh until I nearly pee myself, there are parts that make me want to cry in empathy and sympathy, I feel envy at some of the adventures that he has. His books never disappoint me and I have his new one in my queue of books to be read.

Just before the Burroughs book, I read the first book in the Cronus Chronicles, The Shadow Theives, by Anne Ursu. It is a fantasy book about 2 cousins who save their friends and classmates from a sickness that the adults can't figure out. It is written at about the same level as Harry Potter (5th - 8th grade) and could be enjoyed by just as wide of an audience. There are two more books in the series, The Siren Song and The Promethean Flame which I hope to read soon.

Right before that I read Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. This is a wonderfully written book where the "real gods" are the ones from Greek Mythology but they have had to resort to living on earth and have been losing their powers because no one believes in them any more. It is sexy, silly, irreverent and a really quick read.

Currently, I am reading The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. I am not very far into it yet but it is a interesting read so far and I will write more on it when I am done.


Books in queue: Middlesex (Kate - if I could borrow your copy that would be awesome), When You Are Engulfed In Flames, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, A Wolf At The Table and Freethinkers. I am open to any suggestions.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

15 years in a Nut Shell

Very few people actually read this blog so I didn't actually get this meme passed to me by another blogger but I read it some where and thought it would be fun to write about.

Think back on the last 15 years of your life. What would you tell someone that you hadn’t seen or talked to for 15 years? How would you sum up your life?
You get 10 bullet points, a list of 10 things to summarize you. At the end of your list, tag 5 more people and send on the love.

*Attended and Graduated from Medical School.
*Had a baby.
*Rode out Hurricane Ivan on Grand Cayman Island.
*Lived in
a. Roswell, Georgia
b. Kennesaw, Georgia
c. West Bay, Grand Cayman
d. Westbrook, Maine
e. Anderson, South Carolina
f. Saginaw, Michigan
*Got Married on a cruise ship in Puerto Rico.
*Attended and Graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BS in Biology.
*Graduated from High School.
*Meet my would be husband when I was a freshman in high school.
*Went from a person who would only eat bland ‘everyday’ foods to a person who enjoys a variety of different cuisines and will try foods that I previously disliked.
*Became an aunt and a sister-in-law.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What does this mean to you?

Driving down the road today I say a church with a sign that read:

"Have you tried a little Salem lately?"

I will freely admit that, due to my own personal prejudices, I tend to assume the worst when it come to organized religion but it seems to me that this sign is condoning witch hunts and encouraging people to take part in them now. I have been thinking about this for several hours and cannot come up with any other explanation.

Is there any other explanation that you can think of?

Friday, August 8, 2008

5 Things

5 jobs I've had: Medical Student, Medical Assistant, Office Manager, Billing/Collections/Insurance Clerk, Dipper at Hagen Das

5 movies I can watch over & over: Labyrinth, Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings (all of them), Spaceballs, Willow


5 places I've lived: Long Branch, NJ; Roswell, GA; West Bay, Grand Cayman; Westbrook, ME; Saginaw, MI


5 TV shows I love: The Daily Show; The Colbert Report, Good Eats, Simpsons, Family Guy


5 places I've been on
vacation:
Boston, MA; Myrtle Beach, SC; Hilton Head, SC; Sequim, WA; Niagara Falls


5 of my favorite meals: Puerto Rican Rice and Beans, Chicken Terriaki, Veal/Chicken Piccata, Brian’s Hot Wings, Chicken and Dumplings


5 websites I visit daily: Google Reader, My Yahoo, My Space, Friendly Atheist, Pharyngula


5 places I'd rather be
now:
Residency, Boston, MA; At the beach, With all my student loans and credit card debt paid off, With Brian,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Wind is Blowing and the Water is Rising

As I mentioned in my previous post about my medical school journey, I was living on Grand Cayman when a Class V hurricane (Ivan) hit the island.

Here is the view from our apartment before the hurricane.

It all started around the 9th of September 2004 when the weather reports started talking about a hurricane that was traveling north from the mid-Atlantic towards the Caribbean. On that day it hit Carriacou and Grenada and began its track toward Jamaica. From the paths of previous storms we were pretty sure that if it hit Kingston then the storm would turn to the west and miss Grand Cayman all together. However on the 10th the news came that the storm had bypassed Jamaica and was headed straight for Cayman. On its way to us it would pass over the warm waters of the Caribbean and gain strength. At this point many of my fellow class mates evacuated the island on a plane chartered by the school but since they refused to allow family or pets to travel on the flight we made the decision to stay on the island. Two classmates of mine (Kevin and Dan) also decided to ride out the storm and stayed with us because the school closed the dorms where they were living.

Here is what happened to us.
9/10/04 – Early that afternoon Kevin, Dan and I went to my house to prepare for the storm, stopping by the grocery store, on the way, for provisions. Brian was at work trying to prepare the radio stations and grocery stores. Later on that afternoon Brian arrived home and we continued preparations by putting up storm shutters and picking things up off the floor.

video

Around 4pm the police came around and said that the power and water was going to be shut off to our area and that we were being evacuated from the house. The four of us packed our stuff into the Alto, grabbed the dog and headed for a friends house. We arrived and settled in at the home of Jamie and Karl, two of our good friends from the island. All told there were 8 adults, 1 child, 3 dogs and 2 cats in a 1000sq foot condo. We continued to have power until about 8pm but we were able to keep the internet going for another 2 hours using Universal Power Supplies (UPS). We used our computers, played cards, imbibed a little alcohol and had dinner. When the UPS finally died at about 10pm we all tried to get some sleep curled up around the living room. The wind was picking up and it was raining a little but nothing serious.

9/11/04 – At around 9am Jamie’s and Karl’s son woke us up complaining of being wet. We all woke quickly and found that the water outside was about a foot up the back door and leaking in around the door jam.

video

We just kind of hung around for a while until the water started rising more and then the men started moving anything they could from the downstairs to the upper floor. Being guys they grabbed the electronics (computers, TVs, video games etc...) first and then remembered that we might need food. At about 1pm, before anything had been retrieved from the kitchen, there was this loud cracking noise that turned out to be the wood from the door frames splintering. The doors were being ripped out of their frames. Water rushed in and was quickly 4 feet deep. All people and animals were safely on the upper floor as we watched all kinds of items (coolers, furniture, medications, tiki gods) flow through the front door and out the back.

video

Over the next several hours the rain continued to pound down, the wind continued to howl and the water continued to rise as the waves grew bigger and stronger. It was at about 2pm that the water level peaked as it was lapping at the bottom of the top step. At this point we were trying to figure out what we would do if the water rose any higher. Luckily it did not eventually started to recede. As night was approaching we ventured outside to survey the damage and commandeered the vacant bedrooms of neighboring townhouses in an attempt to get a good night’s sleep. It was hot and muggy, the bed linens were wet and there were bugs everywhere but we tried to sleep as best we could.

9/12/04 – As the sun rose the next morning the heat increased as did the humidity. We all packed up our stuff and decided to hit the road. Kevin and Dan headed for the dorms and eventually the airport. Brian and I with Lucy in tow headed first for Brian’s office with plans to go back to our own house later. After an hour or so of walking over crumbled streets, climbing over fallen trees and surveying the destruction we arrived at what had been Brian’s office.



With nothing to do there we continued on to the grocery store the company he worked for owned and already there were looters. Brian and some other employees took up what ever they could find to fend them off until the building could be secured. We then began our trek towards home which took us a couple of hours even with the kind people who took us (with our dirty and smelly dog) about 1/3 of the way. We were shocked to discover that while we had significant water damage it was all from the roof because the storm surge did not reach it. We cleaned up what we could, chatted with our neighbors and eventually raided the freezer for anything still good and had a grand barbecue. Here is the view from our apartment after the storm passed.



Over the next several days we spent our days at the grocery store helping out, mostly because they needed the help but also because they had air conditioning and fresh food. At home, we had no electricity or running water. We bathed in the ocean because the cisterns had filled with sewage. And I waited to hear about what would happen with school. Two days later word was given that my school would relocate temporarily to Windham, Maine and we began trying to figure out how to get me back to The States. Brian was going to have to stay for a couple of months to help get the island back together before joining me in Maine.

Every day there were long lines of people waiting in a hanger at the airport to get on one of the relief flights to Florida. Many people were told to go home each night and return the next day to try again. Brian and several of his co-workers convinced their boss to charter a plane for the families of the employees who agreed to stay. So on the 16th I was at the airport at 9am waiting to board the plane along with a friend and her 5 month old baby. After all documents were verified we were allowed to board the plane and since we had the baby were giving the bulkhead seats. A little while later when all the employees families had gotten on board the flight attendants were doing their head count and reported to the pilot that there was 20 vacant seats and he decided he would not take off empty. So this began our 6 hour wait on the tarmac with no air flow, no beverages and no food until the airline could find additional 20 passengers. During this time we were all hot and uncomfortable. The baby got very upset and overheated and began vomiting and finally the pilot agreed to let the people with children have water.

At 5pm the flight finally took off and about 80 minutes later we landed in Fort Lauderdale. After getting through customs, immigration and baggage claim it was 8pm. With no money, I called my family and had them book me a hotel room for the night and wire me money so I could by a plane ticket to Atlanta where my family was. The hotel room was great and I think I took about 5 showers that night. I was so glad to be out of the disaster area that was Cayman but I was incredibly sad that I had to leave behind Brian and Lucy.

I am glad to have had the experience and to have come out a better person on the other side but if there is ever a hurricane ever coming anywhere near anyplace that I live I will take the fastest route out of town.

(To see more video of the hurricane and it aftermath click here for Brian's YouTube)

Evolution of Baby

Over the last several days I, along with his grandmother, have been watching with wonder Sebastian's developmental achievements. From day to day it is possible to witness the improvements in dexterity and control of his hands, experiences the wrath of his mood swings as his personality develops and he begins to better understand his world and as he learns that his actions have a direct effect on the world. It is a wonder of nature that an entire human being has it beginnings with just 2 cells and is able to develop from an seemingly boneless blob at birth to the joy that I am confronted with today and the many that are to come.



As if she was reading my mind, a friend (Kate) sent the above photographic study of Sebastian. The first picture is at 1 week old, the second picture is at 2 months and the final one is at about 5 1/2 months. It is amazing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Read any good books lately

As I was perusing some blogs today I came across Cats...Books...Life is Good with a list of 100 books supposedly put out by the National Education Association. She had been unable to find the list posted on their site and I was not able to find this exact list anywhere either. However, apparently the average person has only read 6 of these books and like her I have read more than that so I thought that I would post it.

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

  6. The Bible

  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

  34. Emma - Jane Austen

  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

  48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

  52. Dune - Frank Herbert

  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac

  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

  69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker

  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

  75. Ulysses - James Joyce

  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

  78. Germinal - Emile Zola

  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

  80. Possession - AS Byatt

  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White

  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Of this list there are 42 that I have read (in red), 14 that I have never heard of before (in blue), 14 that I have been meaning to read (in green) and those in black I have no desire to read ever. How do you fair?

Also on the topic of books I have some some really good ones lately. All of these are by authors that I typically like their work but these were outstanding examples of the excellent storytelling that they are capable of. I have read two book by Stephen King recently, Duma Key and Bag of Bones, and both were excellent but Bag of Bones was the best book I have read by him since The Stand. Another author that I read regularly is Dean Koontz and he has a series of books about a character named Odd Thomas. These books are fantastically written and the story pulls you along so strongly that you really don't want to put it down. Finally I have been exploring the world of children's literature and came across a book by Neal Gaiman called Coraline. It is a quickread but has some fantastic imagery and an intriguing story line.

If anyone has any recommendation for good summer reading I would love to hear about them. Already on my list are Atheist Universe and a couple of Augustine Burroughs books.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Long Road to Becoming a Doctor

My road to becoming a doctor started many moons ago (20 years or so) when I would visit my grandfather at his office. He is a family practice physician and I would go to his office and talk with his nurses, patients, other doctors and anyone else who would listen and answer my questions. I was fascinated with everything going on in the office. As I matured I became more and more sure that I want to be a physician. To this end I began working in his office at about 12 years old filing papers in charts and filing charts. As I got older I progressed to answering phones then to receptionist to billing/collections clerk to insurance clerk to medical assistant. By the time I graduated college I had done every job in a medical office except doctor.

In college, I pursued a BS in biology with a concentration on Pre-med and graduated in 2003. During my final year of undergrad I applied to several medical school and was either rejected or wait listed. As the end of school approached I grew impatient and searched for another path to medical school. I started looking at Caribbean medical school and out of pure impatience I applied and was accepted to St. Matthews University School of Medicine on Grand Cayman. In June of 2003, my husband and I visited Grand Cayman and the school and the following August we packed up all of our stuff and moved there.

After my first year of medical school a hurricane hit Grand Cayman and the school was temporarily relocated to South Portland, ME. I spent a year in Maine completing my second year of medical school. After the second year of medical school it is required that you take the first of three USMLE exams. I took it the first time and did not pass so I had to take another semester off from school to study for and retake the exam. The second time I passed with no problem. In August of 2006, we moved to Saginaw, MI so that I could complete my final 2 years of medical school by participating in core and elective clinical rotations. After the first year of clinicals (third year of medical school) it is required that the second of the three USMLE exams must be taken and passed. My first attempt at this exam I was about 6 weeks pregnant and nauseous all the time and did very poorly on the exam and did not pass. For the next 5 months I participated in several more rotations and studied to retake the exam at the beginning of December. At this point I was about 7 months pregnant and not at the top of my game and I failed the exam again. I continued with clinical rotations until the 13th of February and on the 19th I gave birth to my beautiful son. I spent the next four weeks recuperating from labor and delivery and studying for my exam yet again. In the middle of May I took my exam for the third time and passed. On May 31st I officially graduated from medical school.

I am currently looking for a residency position in Family Medicine. I would love to be able to start a residency this year but it is looking less and less likely. I am still holding out a little hope that something will come through but there is a high probability that I will not have a position until next July. I will continue to look for positions that can start sooner or a 'pre-match' for next year.

So that has been my long, difficult and crazy journey to get my MD. Looking back on it and knowing everything I know now I would have done many things differently. Some days I think that I would have not gone to medical school at all and helped Brian to pursue all of the things he wanted to do and be a stay at home mom. Other times I think maybe I should have gone to PA or NP school so I could still be in the medical profession. Other times I am sure I would have still wanted to be a doctor but I would have been more patient and waited a year to get into a US medical school.

All of the coulda/woulda/shouldas constantly haunt me. There are some many things I wish I could change so that the lives of my husband and child could be better than they are. I struggle with self doubt and second guess my abilities at every turn. I wonder how I am ever going to be the wife, mother and doctor I aspire to be. I am not sure that I am capable of being any one of those things in the way I want to be and even less sure of my ability to be all three at the same time. Right now I need a 'win' so that I can feel that my life is at least moving in a positive and forward direction rather than standing still or slipping back.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ugh! I am so behind on this blog

I have so many things that I want to blog about but I have been so distractable and foggy headed lately that I just completely forget about it when I get on my computer. So I finally remembered tonight after completing my homework for my MBA and decided to put a list up here of the things I want to/plan to write about in the next few days/weeks (FSM help me, not months).

My medical school journey.
Hurricane Ivan
Graduation in Cayman
Life with the babe
Moving (again)

I know there is some other stuff I have been thinking about but can't remember now. Oh, well. They will come back to me eventually.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pregnancy and Birth Story

I know that this is a little belated but with the new baby, trying to finish medical school and working on an MBA I have barely had time to shower much less write blogs. I was/am overjoyed with how my pregnancy, labor and delivery went. I had a excellent OB who was supportive of my, not always mainstream, choices. The nurses were amazing and basically left me to do my thing with minimal interference. The most important piece, that kept me grounded and prevented me from caving, was the presence my loving husband (who still swears that he was nothing more than a cheerleader). So without further ado here is my story.

In the middle of June 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and two little lines appeared; it was positive. I had been feeling kind of under the weather for the previous 1-2 weeks but hadn’t thought much of it until I didn’t start my period when I should have. My hubby and I had decided a couple of months prior that we were going to start trying to conceive and the doctors told us it would probably take a while since I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. But as luck would have it the first cycle after I stopped taking the pill we got lucky. At first I was kind of stunned that it happened so fast but I was also very please and excited.

The next several months flew by. I had my first ultrasound at 11 weeks gestation and our little one was growing well and right on schedule. I only suffered from mild “morning” sickness that was easily kept at bay by remembering to eat something small every hour our so. By 20 weeks the “morning” sickness was gone and I had my second ultrasound. This is when we found out that our precious little one was a boy. At this point it was just a confirmation of what I already knew. I had been saying since I was about 14 weeks along that I was sure that it was a boy.

I think that in general I had a really easy pregnancy. I did not have any back pain or swelling in my feet. I stay active and completing clinical rotations until 4 days before I delivered and 1 week past my due date. I think that I had so few problems because I could not afford to let anything stop me from finishing medical school. I did have some issues: I had pubic symphysis pain starting at about 23 weeks that made it very difficult to sit down for any extended period of time. This was actually kind of good because it meant I had to be up walking around. I also developed a numb/tingling feeling in my left thigh that was really just annoying.

I was due on February 8, 2008. As this date approached I was completing my Emergency Medicine rotation which was scheduled to be finished on the 15th. Starting around the 1st of February I began talking to my little man and asking him to just hang in there a little while longer. I finished the rotation without a single contraction but I was dilated about 3cm the entire last week.

The following Monday (2/18/08) I was 41 weeks and 3 days gestation. I went to the hospital for a ‘non-stress test’ and got the all clear that everything looked good. A little later that day I went to see my OB. I had not had any real contractions and didn’t think that I was anywhere near ready to have this baby but I agreed to have him check my cervix. Much to my surprise I was dilated about 2-3cm. At that point he ‘stripped of my membranes’ meaning that he basically put his finger between the uterine wall and the membranes and separated them (I have to say that this hurt like hell and I felt horrible for the rest of the afternoon. I don’t think that I will ever let a doctor do that again.). He then sent me home with orders to have a glass of wine, relax and let things happen.

That night Brian and I had a nice dinner with our best friends, Tom and Kate, and then I went to bed early. At around 12:30am he came to bed and shortly there after, at 10 minutes to 1, I got up to go to the bathroom. While I was up my water broke. I was still not having any contractions so I decided to tell Brian that my water broke but that I wanted to wait to go to the hospital. I messed around repacking my bag, cleaning, checking e-mail and watching TV all the while having weak contractions 15-20 minutes apart. At about 2:30 the contractions starting coming closer together, lasting longer and were a little more intense. At around 3am I figured that it was time to get going to the hospital because my contractions were very intense, lasting about 60-90 seconds and coming every 5 minutes so I called my OB and headed over.

As I walked in the front door of the hospital my water broke again. I know this sound weird but basically I had another huge gush of fluid. I got up stairs and settled into my room and this is when we discovered that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. The nurse then checked the heart tones of the baby, took my blood pressure, pulse ox and monitored both of us for 10 minutes.

The next part is why I absolutely love my OB. I was very up front with him about what I wanted out of this experience and he supported me completely. He told the nursed to let me labor in what ever position I wanted with fetal monitoring for 3 minutes every half hour. I was allowed to eat if I wanted (turns out I didn’t but I had lots of good snacks on hand just in case and they came in handy after he was born so I didn’t have to wait for room service). I spent a little bit of time lying on the bed trying to get some rest when we first got to the hospital but as soon as the contractions got going, sitting or lying down hurt too much. This is when I started walking around (pacing actually) and spending some time in the shower. At around 7am the contractions we coming every 2 minutes and lasting about 60-70 seconds. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath they were coming so fast. Sometime around 9:30am I began feeling the urge to push (sorry I don’t remember the exact time but I was preoccupied). After 8-10 really good pushes (I think there was a few other not so good pushes) I had delivered our perfect and absolutely gorgeous son. He came into this world at 9:58am on February 19th, 2008, exactly 29 years to the day after his mother was born. I now have a birthday buddy.

During this whole time my fantastic, wonderful, supportive husband was right there by my side. He was holding my hand, assuring me that I could do it and that I was doing it. I got thru the entire labor and delivery without any medications of any kind. If it hadn’t been for Brian I would have given in and asked for narcotics or an epidural.

Immediately after he was born he was placed on my chest and I swelled with love. Within the first hour he was partaking of his first taste of breast milk and he took to nursing like a pro. Shortly after he was born and we got cleaned and covered up Tom and Kate came to welcome Sebastian to the world. After getting some great photos everyone left so we could get some rest. At around 1:30pm we decided that it was time to clean him up a bit so we gave him his first bath. After his bath we got him dressed and I went to sit back down and cuddle with him a little bit. It was at this point that I noticed that he was grunting and retracting and basically having some trouble breathing. It was not happening consistently but I was still concerned so I had the nurse call the neonatal team to check him out.

After examining him, taking blood and hooking him up to some monitors they decided that his oxygenation was not as good as they would have liked so they wanted to take him to the NICU. They also thought that he might have an infection or meconium in his lungs so he was put on antibiotics and oxygen and placed in a little plastic box (isolet). Having him taken from me at only four hours old was probably the most painful thing I have ever experienced. This little person that I had been carrying around for nine months, who I had been finally introduced to that day, was being ripped from my arms. I know it was only to make sure that he was well cared for and healthy but I felt like my heart was being carved out of my chest. I would have gladly endured a longer more painful labor if it would have meant that he could have stayed with me. Thankfully, he was not doing too bad and didn’t need a ventilator but he was on high pressure oxygen to keep his oxygen saturations above 95%. During this first day in the NICU he was also very sensitive to any kind of stimulation. Even the littlest touch would cause his heart rate to sky rocket and his oxygen levels to plummet. Because of this I was not even able to even comfort him or let him know that I was there for him.

Later that evening my father and my mother-in-law arrived from South Carolina. The trip had been planned for a while and it was just a weird coincidence that they arrived the same day he was born. They came up to the hospital and we took them up to see him and then they went back to our place to settle in. I was allowed to stay in the hospital for 2 nights so that I could be closer to him. I was pumping every two hours around the clock to help stimulate my milk production and spending as much time as I could with him but it was difficult when I was not able to hold him. Wednesday night everyone came up to the hospital and we played games and ate Chinese food in their valiant effort to take my mind off my new baby that was so isolated from me.

On Wednesday I finally began getting some milk when I was pumping. I was so excited that I could at least give him this that would help him get stronger. That afternoon the doctor said that in the morning I could try breastfeeding. So Thursday morning I was up in the NICU at 9am to try breastfeeding again. I was overjoyed to be able to hold him against my skin, to comfort him and make sure he felt secure and loved. The first several times we had to leave on all the monitors and the nasal cannula which made it more difficult but he still did terrific.

On Thursday afternoon I had to check out of the hospital and head home. My friends and family planned a big welcome home dinner. I was so appreciative that they would do this for me (and even clean up afterwards) but I felt really guilty for being home and not being at the hospital with Sebastian. We did have a good time though and all through the night I was going back to the hospital every 2-3 hours to feed him. Sometime I stayed between feedings and other times I went home to get a little sleep. Finally on Friday we got the all clear from his doctor to disconnect all the monitors, except the oxygen monitor, and the remove the supplemental oxygen and let him nurse. During the nursing sessions his oxygen levels actually got better and so by Friday night he was off the oxygen all together and being moved to the ‘growing room’ which is basically for babies who are not longer sick and just waiting for the finally okay to be sent home. I was back and forth to the hospital all Friday night and finally on Saturday morning he got the all clear to go home.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

FInally Done!!!

I am finally done with medical school. I am now officially an M.D. It is kind of surreal. Well I should have a little bit more time to blog now and I have 2 or 3 that I have been waiting to write, so those should be coming in the next couple of days.

TTFN

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Introduction

I have finally decided to get my act together and do something with my website. I decided for now the best(?), easiest(?) thing to do would be to keep a blog. I don't have a great track record on my other blogs (myspace, yahoo 360) of posting regularly but I am going to do better with this one.

I guess I should start with a little information about myself. I am a twenty something wife, mother, doggy momma, medical student and MBA student. I have a wonderful, brilliant, creative, caring and down right sexy husband, Brian. About five weeks ago I gave birth to the most beautiful little boy, Sebastian. He is growing so fast it is hard to keep up. We have a gorgeous Flat Coated Retriever named Lucy who we are trying not to neglect too much while we adjust to life with a baby in the house. I am in the home stretch of my clinical rotations and will be completing my Doctorate of Medicine in 7 weeks and will graduate from St. Matthews University School of Medicine on May 3rd, 2008. I am also working on an MBA at Davenport University and hope to complete it by December.