Monday, February 23, 2009

The Unbeatable, Eatable Pet

Who could ever have guessed that livestock flatulence would become a public health issue? Think about this the next time you are enjoying a cheeseburger: cows are one of the least eco-friendly agricultural products. They take immense amounts of space, and are almost singlehandedly causing global warming with their methaneous farts. Even organic, grass fed cattle are culprits.

I like beef and milk as much as the next person, which puts me in a rough position. How can I shovel Mongolian Beef into my mouth without feeling just a little guilty? Miniature cattle just may be a solution to this dilemma.

Miniature cattle are the latest rage among socially conscious farmers. These miniature cows have better "feed conversion" (which means they use less feed per pound of meat) and thus need less space per pound as well. They create less methane gas, which is a major cause of global warming. Plus, they're super cute... which then again may not be a good thing when you consider why they are being bred and raised.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Helping Those Who Can Help Themselves

It's one of my pet peeves, and I wish I could understand why.

First, I would like to say that I am not a stingy person in general. I like giving. It makes me happy and puts me at peace.

However, I am getting a little ticked off about this economic stimulus bill, and government programs in general. I struggle to pay my tuition and other expenses, while classmates who don't have jobs get their nails done with public funds. A friend who goes to my college makes as much as my husband and I--without anyone in her house actually working. All scholarships, grants, and other public funds. When I'm looking at my third all-night writing session in a row while they lie in their cozy beds resting up for the early morning lecture, it's hard to see them as disadvantaged compared to me, and it infuriates me to know that medical schools will. You see, having a "low income" (scholarships and government funds apparently don't count) will make them a priority candidate, eleigible for more scholarships and public funds, while those of us who are working our way through college will be seen as having an advantage.

One of my teachers said that most people on financial aid are not living an extravagant lifestyle. It's hard to believe this when you walk by the financial aid office on the first day of school and see the long line of professional highlights and Coach purses. Not that I have anything against either. It's just that I have given up those things and just about everything else to pay my tuition... and theirs.

Anyone can do what I do. Copy writing is not an art; it's a J-O-B. If someone wants to be 'advantaged' like me and work all night the night before their trig test, they can absolutely do it. I can refer them to people who will give them all the work they can handle. And then they can pay for their own tuition instead of buying the latest iPhone and see how the other half live.

That sounds meaner than I intend it, so I hope my dear readers will understand what I am trying to say here. I have nothing against people who need help getting it. I just resent paying for toys and allowing people to not work simply because they think they have better things to do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The C Is Silent.

This is my Bio professor. His name is Jerred Seveyka. We call him just 'Seveyka' behing his back. To his face, I don't call him anything because he doesn't seem like the 'Mr.' type (and he's my age...), but calling him by his first name seems too familiar. So I just raise my hand or walk up to him and wait for him to acknowledge me, which I hope isn't as creepy as it sounds.

This is his blog. Apparently he plays guitar? Cnido-site is a play on words, btw. Very witty for a man who wears white tube socks with black dress shoes and faded jeans. Seriously, though, he's cool, although he'd be cooler if he graded on a modified curve.

I've only read a few posts, but Seveyka has a gift for making boring subjects tolerable. This is a great place for homeschoolers and people who just love coral to find out more about the beautiful briny sea and all the things people are doing to keep these habitats in good shape.

Medicine from a Blogger's POV

Things to do when I have a lot of homework and paid writing work:
1. Blog
2. Watch really trashy reality television and feel superior.

A lot of people have asked me how or why I switched gears so quickly. It feels like a former life now, almost a decade as a stay-at-home/work-at-home mommy, who homeschooled and was a substantial part of the local homeschooling scene. I blogged, tried new recipes, and cared deeply about the cleanliness of my bathroom counters.

Blogging has always been a somewhat philanthropic pursuit for me. There are certain things I know about, from experience and a lot of self-education. Green living in a very frugal, unconventional, and attainable way is one of these things. So is running a household. I am a thoughtful type of person, so I tend to research things. A niche blog on green family life fit like my favorite jeans. I began this blog hoping to share what I know in an interesting way that could be read by others, and to learn from these 'others' as well. If I could make money or build some writing cred doing it, all the better. Until I started school and had to temporarily give up blogging, I was well on my way to attaining this.

Medicine has always been one of my interests. I am fascinated by the way the human body works, but I am even more intrigued by the interaction between body and mind. Sometimes, people are overlooked or marginalized by health care systems--I know this because I often find myself and loved ones in this position. This is when one good doctor can make a huge difference.

Multiply that doctor by all of the patients they see in their career, and you have an immense potential for changing the landscape of the health care industry, especially the local flavor of a small community like Yakima. People assume I am interested in the money, but, honestly, family doctors in small towns don't make the rock star wages people think they do, and I'll be entering my early forties with six figures in student loans. I could make more selling cars, and not have to get tear stains all over a biology lab manual in the process.

We all have moments when things just click for us. For me, it happened while watching a documentary about an African midwife who left her family to train to perform cesarean sections. She practiced in a small village with no access to a hospital and lost women every month who might have been saved by a surgical procedure that is routine in the first world. When the government began allowing midwives to perform cesareans, she jumped.

Of course it isn't that simple. She had barriers, just as I do. Some views are worth the hike.

For a long time, I have felt this horrible emptiness, a feeling that I should be doing more to help other people. Like the servant in the Bible who buries his master's money, I have been been merely going on my way and ignoring the potential of my gifts. When I saw the documentary, everything suddenly seemed clear. It's a hard road, a painful road filled with worry and exhaustion and overwhelming waves of inadequacy. I don't know if I can get my grades up that tiny bit to where they need to be without making sacrifices I am not willing to make. I miss the simple joys of the life that once was mine, like spending a morning trying new and fancy braids or watching my son's face as he reads Tolkien for the first time.

I have to believe it will all be worth it in the end. Like blogging, this will be my little way of making a difference and maybe a comfortable living. I view medicine as a two-way sharing of information between the physician and the patient, and I can't wait to learn more so I have something to bring to the table when I finally put on that white coat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Christmas Re-hash

Thank you all so much for your warm and supportive comments following the events in my last post. People who called me, I'm sorry I didn't call you back, and I swear I still love you lots.

This Christmas, we had a simpler celebration. Not just because I was in the hospital and relatives were dropping like flies; no, we have been scaling back every Christmas and I now feel like we have reached a sane level.

Decorations included a tree and homemade craft projects. Food was cookies that friends brought over, a pasta Christmas eve dinner, and a larger traditional Christmas Day meal. For gifts, we gave each child two gifts (one each from us and from Santa Claus) plus a stocking with candy and small useful gifts (like socks or hair pretties).

We have had time together this year, much more so than in years past. Which, considering everything going on, has both its benefits and drawbacks. Either way, I had time to rest and get through my hormonal fog.

It's a good thing, too, because the Winter Quarter came a little too soon for my taste. More on my studies later.

I am hoping to post more often now that I am in a good school routine and there are no medical dramas in the foreseeable future (knocks on wood).