Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beginning Clinics!

After 3 years of sitting in a lecture hall, and after 20 years of formal schooling, I am finally starting my clinical year of veterinary school.  Professors and mentors keep reminding us that the learning never stops, and this is quite true, especially in a medical field.  However, for the time being I am going to bask in the knowledge that aside from my board examinations in the fall, I sat my last final exam on May 1st (MPH courses not included in this count).  My dearest husband is quite fond of pointing out that I still have courses to complete for my master's degree, but I've chosen to ignore him.

I spent my first week as a 4th year student on vacation, my last one until December, and I think I spent it well.  We did nothing of note, other than a trip to the city to enjoy dinner at the Melting Pot.  I'm almost through with my second sock for my mom's gift, and I've big plans once that is finished. I've spun about half the fiber I ordered for my May spinning on my drop spindle, and I'm fairly pleased with it. Learning to spin has been humbling, but I'm hoping being humbled by this little piece of wood will make the big dose of humility that is clinics go down easier. I'm looking forward to my time on rotation, but I would be both foolish and lying to say that I don't have a little bit of nerves.

Next weekend I start about 3 weeks of travel, and I need things to knit on the plane. I've knitted socks and shawls on planes historically, but for the purposes of this upcoming trip, I'll need to travel light.  Therefore, several sets of socks are in order. I've wandered through Ravelry a number of times, looking for patterns that pique my interest. Right now the socks I'm knitting are very cable heavy, so I'm leaning towards socks with twisted or slipped stitch patterns. Since I bought a batt of Inglenook Fibers off of someone's destash, I'm technically not allowed to purchase anymore fibrous type things this month, so I'm trying to match yarns from my stash to the patterns I've picked out. I think I might make it, only today is open knitting, and who knows if my willpower will survive? Dream in Color is on sale...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Ridiculous Amount of Running

I ran a half-marathon yesterday.  Check that one off the bucket list!  13.1 miles, the farthest I've ever run in my life (previous record was 10 miles for the Army Ten Miler race).  To celebrate, we went out to a delicious dinner with my running friend and her boyfriend.  Two months of training (inconsistently really), and we managed a respectable 11 minute mile average.  Quite happy with myself at the moment.

Today was spent recovering, i.e. sleeping and vegetating on the couch.  I woke up with the best intentions of going on with my life as usual, since my legs are actually doing ok, but a quick trip to church totally wiped me out.  The tiredness is a much larger obstacle than the sore muscles, so I decided to respect my body's wishes and wait the day out in a restful state.  I baked cookies, enjoyed British comedy, finished the body of the Dressage sweater I'm working on, and finally decided to fix myself some dinner.  I've been trying to feed my body plenty of carbs and lean protein today as recovery, but I really wanted a treat for dinner - some comfort food.  I settled on mac and cheese, and was delighted to discover a recipe here for the best make-at-home mac and cheese sauce I've ever had.  Seriously, I'd eat it by itself.  It makes me realize why rarebit actually exists as a meal (I've had my doubts before, having never eaten rarebit myself.  I now feel inspired to make some out of my Moosewood cookbook.)

Now it is time for me to settle down and consider the week exam stands between me and Spring Break, and I can't really bring myself to worry too much over it.  The much larger concern for me is figuring out how to fend off soreness tomorrow so I am able to go through my cow palpation lab. It truly destroyed my arm last week.  These particular labs are focused on developing the art (and yes, it is an art) of palpating and assessing the reproductive tract of a cow via the rectum.  The normal small animal type methods of assessing the uterus and ovaries (i.e. ultrasound) don't work particularly well on an animal the size of a cow, so we do it manually, via the rectum.  Sorry if you're a bit queasy now, the glories of veterinary school are unending.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Its warm(ish) outside, the sun is shining, and I have access to the means to start no less than 4 different (knitting) projects.  That, ladies and gentleman, is temptation.  Temptation to utterly reject any suggestion of studying for the TWO exams I have next week and instead throw myself whole-heartedly into the realm of knitting.  Seems totally rational right?

I'm trying to convince myself that I really have been paying attention these last few weeks, and that I really only need a little bit of review to get ready for the exams, but the bitter truth is that I have been present in body but not mind for a good while now.  Regrettably, this probably means this weekend should be more dedicated to activities that will help me achieve a lifelong goal/dream than satisfying my knitting sweet tooth.

I keep reminding myself that being a veterinarian is something I have wanted for years, but it seems the closer the end comes, the less motivated I feel.  Some part of me strongly suspects this has to do with classroom burnout, and that clinics will be just the thing I need to turn it around.  In fact, I'm 100% sure this is true.  Its just so hard to hold up in the face of small animal theriogenology (for the uninitiated, dog and cat reproduction, or as our professor insists on calling it, "animal sex class").  All the interest I have in dogs and cats reproducing is making sure they don't.  The overpopulation of small animals is a worldwide problem that has significant health impacts for animals and people, so forgive me if I don't feel inclined to help you breed Ms. Fluffy so you can make some money selling puppies.  While trying to engage our class last week, our professor posed the question "Well what would you tell your neighbor if he, you know, was leaning across the fence and wanted some help with breeding his female?"  I responded (in hindsight now, probably with more cheek than necessary) "I don't want him breeding his dog."  The professor seemed unimpressed.

In other news, the half-marathon training continues apace.  I'm up to 6 miles for my long runs during the week, and I've got a good rhythm for my weekly training.  I even took up swimming as a cross-training exercise, although I spend the first 10 minutes being convinced the lifeguards are judging my form, and the remaining 50 or so trying not to drown.  One of the cats ate my goggles a week ago (I mean really, GOGGLES?!) so I have to make the trek to get some new ones.  I think in the face of my inherent laziness, I'm going to go ahead and just purchase some from the rec center while I'm there. The husband is infinitely supportive, but has thus resisted all attempts to convince him to join me for runs.  I can't really blame him - running 5 miles in 30 degrees stretches even my resolve, and I like running. Here's hoping the good weather holds and that the early spring predicted by a fat rodent is coming soon... 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Bright New Year

The start of a new year is always a time I enjoy.  Around here, I find I enjoy it even more because of the clean look of the snow, the crisp feeling of the air, and the quiet of the town before the students return.  The feeling of a fresh beginning fills me with motivation and inspiration for the months to come.  For now, I'm putting the motivation to good use - finishing a sweater I've been working on since October and starting an embroidery project to decorate the house.  Dear husband is taking it all in good stride, being supportive and encouraging, even as scraps of thread litter the coffee table.                                      

Almost all of the gifts are done, there's one last one to be stitched up tomorrow morning, and hopefully everything will go in the mail tomorrow afternoon.  I hope our nieces and nephews aren't too disappointed with the tardiness of Santa's elves.

The new year has inspired me in other areas as well - I think it is time for me to resume my bread baking.  Last year I resolved to bake bread once a week.  I made it until about April before my resolve crumbled in the face of travel schedules and finals.  I baked off and on until my 6 week trip to North Carolina, and on my return I found it hard to resume in the midst of my schedule last fall.  Tomorrow seems like a good day for bread baking, since the start of the semester is rapidly approaching.  I make no promises about how frequently I'll be able to bake, particularly since I start clinical rotations in May, but it is something I take great pleasure in, and provides tasty food for us.  After having homemade bread, even for just a few short months, it was hard for me to go back to the packaged breads in the store.  I look forward to the rosemary bread I'll make tomorrow, and the English muffins I have on my mind...

I'll upload photos of completed projects here in a day or so, and maybe even a picture of my bread adventures tomorrow...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Recovering and Holidays

It took me about a week to recover from the madness of finals.  Too many nights with too little sleep, culminating in me dozing off in the middle of my last final.  I recovered in time to complete the exam, and managed to pass all my classes.  Dearest hubby passed as well, so we can both rest easy for a bit. Nothing could ever inspire me to repeat the experience though, so I am glad I can say this semester of my veterinary education is behind me.

The family (father-in-law, mother, and brother) arrived just about the time I was beginning to feel human again.  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve storm with a good 6+ inches of snow.  My brother finally got the white Christmas he's been wanting, and I got to muck about in it trying to get to the animals I'm petsitting for a classmate.  Having family was its own special kind of madness, but we had a lovely time.  My mom and I managed to churn out 200+ cookies in the space of a few days - most found their way into a variety of tins to be gifted out to lucky folk.  I used the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, and I believe it may have become the authority on cookie baking in this house.  It was checked out from the library, but I'm forbidden to purchase it....something about it being too good of a birthday gift opportunity.  The brother and husband played computer games until I was sure they would go blind, and my father-in-law kept us all on our toes with his supply of bad jokes.

Along the line of gifts, we received, and gave, some lovely gifts over the Christmas holiday.  Our church's participation in the Advent Conspiracy helped keep our focus off the consumerism of the holiday - thus the decision to make many of the gifts this year.  Alas, finals and a significant amount of drama at the petsitting home hindered the elves in the workshop and a number of gifts are getting delivered late. Once they have reached their respective giftees, I'll post some photos up.

The family left today, so hubby and I plan on enjoying the remaining two weeks of vacation doing as much relaxation as possible.  It is the last significant holiday I will have until graduation, a realization I hadn't quite come to terms with until recently.  It seems the end of the vet school adventure is starting to come into sight, just at the very edge of the horizon.  I plan to utilize it well - finishing the leftover presents, a sweater, starting some socks, and beginning to start working out my embroidery skills.  Once the semester begins again, I suspect I won't have as much creative time to devote as I would like.

Cheers for now!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time

Our tree went up this weekend, and our cats' excitement has only been tarnished by the occasional attack by the dreaded water bottle, usually in response to them trying to eat the darn thing.  We were woefully ignorant about the cost of a full-size, pre-lit, fake Christmas tree, but indulged in it nonetheless.  I calculated that as long as it lasts us at least 7 years, we will break even on the purchase.

The tree has brought an air of festivity to the house, which we are grateful for as finals start to loom.  My set of finals is looming quite well, being that many of them are cumulative and the material difficult.  Our professors are fond of pointing out that you do not get to pick which disease your patient will have, so medicine is by nature cumulative.  I think this point is exceedingly obvious to my classmates and I, but equally clear is the point that a written test is a poor measure of one's clinical reasoning.  But it is currently the most supportable tool we have, as practical assessments and oral examinations take more time than they can devote to a class our size.

In other news, I have completed the first of my Christmas presents.  A small embroidery project, I obviously can't reveal who it is for. This year has been declared a year of homemade gifts in our house, for the most part.  Between my jam making, knitting, sewing, and other crafting adventures, it seemed more reasonable to purchase the means to create something personal, than to continue to be a cog in what is becoming a ridiculous wheel of consumerism surrounding the holidays.  Picking out fabrics and projects with the dear husband (DH?) was a lot of fun, and making the gifts has been a good source of stress reduction in the face of final exams.  Its also been fun to spend our money at local stores, instead of contributing to some CEO's ridiculous 23-car garage.  We purchased our first Christmas decoration as a couple this past weekend at a local antique store.  The owner was a lovely woman, who was thrilled to be party to our first purchase.  It served as a good reminder of how much more meaning there is in spending money at small businesses rather than at chain stores.  That's enough of my soapbox for the day.

Happy December to all of you, I hope some holiday spirit is starting to infect you as well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Beginning

I am joining the ranks of my peers, creating a blog as a means to communicate my adventures.  As my commitments will take me further from family and friends, I hope it will function to provide a glimpse into my life.  With only a 1.5 years left in my veterinary education, the time is fast approaching when our little family of 2 will be stepping out on a much different path (i.e. not being students).  I hope to record some of that here.

What a busy life we do have.  Between veterinary school, being married, and doing my Master's in Public Health, my time is fairly well-occupied.  The blog name is meant to reflect two sides of my life - my journey as a veterinary student, and my adventures into the world of knitting, spinning, crocheting, and other associated crafts.  Veterinary medicine is my great passion, while fiber arts are the outlet for all of the associated stress the aforementioned passion generates.  I'll strive to record what I can on a fairly regular basis, but I make no guarantees.