December 31, 2005

To Remember what I Do/Did at home.

Im having a good time at home. dance. sleep. leisurely showers and even a bubble bath, reading graphic novels. making things on the sewing machine. doing a little mindless work for $ on the side. teaching dance classes. playing pictionary. lots of family. watching ben put on funny get ups. burning incense. petting cats. laying on nice beds. having a beer now and again and deciding it still makes my muscles tense. colored my hair. opening presents. training my muscles to be SHARP. cooking food, especially my new yam/parsnip spice/pecan dish. visiting.


December 18, 2005

Really? For Real?

You mean the whole thing was improvised?!

I performed with Rachel, Michelle, Sandra and Susie last night--all of whom I had never danced with before in a performance setting (TT was there with us too). And Mom and I danced with Eva the night before, with whom I had also never danced. I LOVE THIS DANCE! I love that we have the same vocabulary, we know the rules and when breaking rules is kosher, and that this allows us to put on a kick-ass show leaving people wanting more. YEA! Performing with Eva was high energy, very fun. The Dame show last night was dreamydreamy as Tripp played vibraphone for the whole set and the energy was slow, brought up to rousing, and dropped back down to Teresa-sword Alyssum-bend SlowPlay level. oooooooohhh, aaaaaaaaahhh.

December 11, 2005


Woke up this morning at 6 (after having gone to bed at 2) to finish studying for my physiology exam. Index cards, index cards, index cards. Exam at 8. Lasts til noon. Check my answers: 72.5%, only 2.5 points from “good enough” but thankfully on the right side of good enough. Still, disappointing. School, and especially Dr. E’s classes, are a friggin STRUGGLE for me.
Meanwhile, a snowstorm has been brewing, and a good 6 inches are covering my car and the landscape. Figure I had better get myself to the airport pronto. I already missed the 10:43am train, so I drive myself in (all my friends were busy). The MassPike inches along at 30 mph with occasional white-outs thrown in for good measure. Originally I planned on parking the car at a friend’s house and cabbing it to the aeropuerto, but whether due to the snowstorm or other such situation, I call 3 taxi companies and never have an answer. Soooo, I drive myself there, sucking up the fact I’ll have to pay an arm and a leg to keep my car there a few days before my friend can pick it up for me. On the way, the ice builds up so much on my windshield wipers that one just un-does itself and snaps off! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I’m on The Pike, though, and I can’t stop to retrieve it or even to jerryrig something. One wet, freezing arm out the window with my ice scraper allows me to see enough of the taillights in front of me that I make it somehow to an airport terminal where I can pick the broken wiper off the shield and use the functioning one (on the passenger side. Of course.). Thank god the traffic was slow. As I pull into the economy lot, a full-on blizzard begins to really really rage—total white-outs, thunder and lightning (!) (this is a new one for me!). Pulling my baggage 50 feet to the bus stop is a nightmare because my suitcase on wheels only succeeds in shoveling a foot of snow into my shoes and up my pantlegs every 6 inches.
Eventually, I make it to my terminal. Wait patiently in the very long line, and when I tell the check-in lady I am going to Lexington via Detroit, she looks at me stupidly for a second and says, “We don’t go to Detroit”. I am at the wrong airline. Not just wrong airline, but the wrong terminal. At this point, everything has been cancelled—Logan Airport is shut down for a few hours til the bus drivers can see again and the planes can move on the runway without lightning blizzard storms to contend with—but the combination of the day to that point makes me a little weepy and I shed a few tears of overwhelmtion (that should be a real word. “overwhelmedness” has one too many syllables).
Pull myself together and find my way to the correct terminal (after going to a second wrong terminal as per one ‘helpful’ lady’s directions). My baggage weighs 16 pounds more than maximum (when’d they change that?), but the guy, who calls me Asylum, didn’t charge me, “Since it’s highly unlikely you’ll actually make it tonight to your final destination”. Small comfort.
Here I sit hours after I was supposed to be in Lexington, in the baggage claim of Detroit. Cold, tired, hungry. First plane to Lexington is at noon tomorrow. Can’t afford a hotel room. Sad. At least I have my laptop to write this up.

December 6, 2005

I have skeletons in my closet.

Okay, I really only have an italian greyhound skeleton in the back seat of my car. What else would you expect?

December 3, 2005

Dream, 6

I couldn’t fit everything in my house, had to make room, so I took a tea tray to the salvation army. I was in a new town and had to find it. There were lots of brick buildings with their logos painted on the sides, covering the doors, so that from the road it looked like the city was just one huge billboard. I found a ramshackley wooden house with chickens running around and lots of kids. I asked directions to the salvation army and they convinced me somehow to keep my tray but to go tryout instead for a dance audition. I went to the museum and used an empty room to practice contortion.
Later that month, it must have been thanksgiving, I was at my dad’s and my mom was there too although they were divorced. We were waiting for family members to get there. Mom’s family arrived first: a small Chinese man that must have been Susana, Shelley and Tyler and Cort (as a small child), and Rick, and several other brothers like Rick. They came in to say hello before going to bed which dad was hesitant about, but enjoyed until he realized the cats had been let inside. Everyone was so tired. Shelley was groaning about having to make thanksgiving dinner the next day.
I got something the size of a cd insert booklet in the mail, and it was the month’s goings on at the museum. Crazily, it was filled with pictures of me. There must have been a photographer there when I was stretching and contorting in my striped bodysuit because there I was, on every page. I showed Tyler and he said “neat, let’s go see it!” So we jumped into the picture which took us to this crazy clock-tree museum first. Clocks everywhere, carvings like trees, candles lit in geodes and natural ore formations. Cort came trailing behind but he was much younger. So we had to watch out for him. When the clocktree museum closed, it turned into a head shop with every sort of whimsy condom or colorful thing you can imagine. The lady who owned it was crazy and wouldn’t clean up the place or even make way for clear aisles so we had to scrape ourselves through the floorboards into the space beneath the store to get out. Then we went to the museum where I had practiced to watch my audition.
It was weird to see myself—I looked much younger and more easily overlooked and immature than I had imagined myself to look. I was wearing my old longjohn pajamas to the audition—the white ones with black cat silhouettes and red hearts. I immediately realized that that had been a stupid idea. What was I thinking?! But during my audition I saw myself doing mostly contortion—some great things too (especially walking my legs around myself and moving very dancerly)—but the auditioneer called out “okay, that’s enough, you can go now” to me before I had really gotten into the dance part of my piece. He looked down to write something on his piece of paper. And I spider walked on my fingers with my legs over my shoulders toward him. He looked up surprised that I hadn’t left the floor yet and said, “you want to continue?” I nodded my head. He was very impressed with this and said, “you’ve made it to the next round. Now listen, do you hear? You have to be so willing to work for me, you have to be tireless, do you understand?” He gave me a lesson of a peptalk and I nodded quietly to everything he said. As I watched myself I was surprised that I had been so meek.
In the eventual production, they had used me as the character of a rag doll. The other dancers had been witches and a werewolf and something else scary, and I had been the thing they practiced with. It was a really neat production—the colors and textures were very rich, but not sparkly like usual bellydance performances. I remember seeing myself being held horizontally by the others, and then being bent and angled into various positions. Then they would set me up on the floor and command my movements. It was a really really fun performance.

December 1, 2005

Killer Squirrels!

Click on the link above to read about some amazingly hungry and brave squirrels in russia. What is this world coming to!?!

Dream, 5

I was looking at pictures of running horses on my iPod. Then I realized that they were our horses and that my parents and sister were running down the hill with them. So I jumped in to the picture and ran down the hill too. They were in kentucky, nearby the hike to angel's arch. Kentucky in winter in my dreams looks like grey licheny trees, tricolored halfdead orchard grass (drab green, hay color, burgundy brown), and oak leaves blowing around, and rocks in stones that run cold and burbling. we ran down the hill toward a fudge store, but I had to go pee so I squatted in a ditch. But then Dave and some little black girls and some other hikers came by so I had to sit in the ditch like nothing was going on til they passed and I could pull up my pants. Down at the fudge store, my mom was unpacking roses that she had bought for us to grow into apple trees. They had the hugest flowers I had ever seen and we were very impressed and excited until she dumped them upside down and cupfuls of pellets of growth hormones fell out. They had been so over-hormoned, that they were spilling pellets! So we realized sadly that we couldn't have our organic rose-apple trees afterall.

November 30, 2005

It's me.

My Rob Brezny Horoscope:

"As I meditated on your immediate future, I got a vision of you making your way through an obstacle course--scurrying across booby-trapped terrains, shimmying through tunnels, climbing over barriers, leaping across ditches. Curiously, there was not the least bit of stress etched on your face. On the contrary, your eyes were wide and your expression was exultant. You seemed to regard this not as an ordeal, but as a welcome opportunity to expand your resourcefulness. "

Shimmying? Climbing? of course there's no stress on my face!

(Bad) Dream, 4

I was at school but it was located in a holler in kentucky. Still winter, though. We had an unexpected quiz which we had 4 minutes to complete, and was 20 pages long. I couldn't figure out the first question. My heart raced, I pulled my hair out, I was shaking, I was nervous and frustrated, I was wracking my brain and I still couldn't figure out the first question. Eventually I flipped to the back of the quiz and worked on the word find, but the time ran out and I couldn't even finish that. It was a terrible terrible feeling. I decided to skip my classes to study for that course, but there was a kitten that was very cute but kept mewing at me. I told it to be quiet so I could study, but he kept mewing. In my stress, I threw the kitten across the room to get it to shut up, and everyone thought I was a horrible person for it. Tufts had spent its fiftymillion dollar gift on huge monolithic T U F T S letters that they erected on the hillside. None of the money went to students.

November 29, 2005

I can't even handle it.

who thinks these things are a GOOD idea!?! Tacky Tacky Tacky

November 20, 2005


I had planned on going home for thanksgiving, but it fell through at the last minute and I've spent a large part of the day feeling disappointed. I knew better than to get my hopes up, but I did anyways. I was looking so forward to coming home, getting my batteries recharged with the land of Kentucky before pure winter sets in, to time with Ben, to time with my parents, maybe with friends of mine that are spread around the country but were returning for the Thankful day. I'm thankful for having those things to have to go home to, but I wish that I had been able to enjoy them this week.

November 16, 2005


My great grandfather, Robert Pohl, taught esperanto on the Isle of Mann after he fled Germany during WWII (he was ancestrally jewish though quaker by practice, if anything). I feel like I owe it to him to post this link to the first esperanto television channel. I didn't even know it was still kicking around anywhere.

Autoclaving Alfalfa

I've wanted to add other posts but every time I see the keep dreaming picture, I just want to leave it like that for a while. Kind of a pity that the thing that motivates me to post again so much is so ridiculous. But it's making me laugh! You've probably seen these before.....

PORN STAR NAME (first pet and street you lived on): For me, Nibbles Ormsby.

MOVIE STAR NAME (grandfather/grandmother on father's side first name, favorite snack): Let's see, Madeleine Fruit Leather

FASHION DESIGNER NAME (first word you see on your left, favorite restaurant): Autoclaving Alfalfa

"FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name): Apoh

DETECTIVE NAME (favorite animal, name of high school): Kitty Powell-Catholic

SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born): Mariah Louisville

STAR WARS NAME (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name): Pohennbri or Pohennclo

YOUR TURN! Leave your favorite moniker as a comment.....

October 30, 2005

Self Portrait

I am a dancer, a performer. And a student. Simultaneously.

(my lap at the Halloween Hafla in Cumberland, Rhode Island; tribal getup and stomach vasculature index card)

October 25, 2005

Don't Take Advantage of Me

Just because I am nice and treat people the way I would want to be treated, doesn't mean that people always deserve to be treated sweetly. Of late, I have been feeling slightly walked over, and have decided that I need to stand up for myself a little more frequently.
There's this mailman at the post office that is always such an asshole--kurt with customers, makes snide remarks about what the packaging looks like, very impatient, and is competely put out if--heaven forbid--someone has forgotten to put a return address on a letter or wants to pay with a check. Today when I sent a magazine to someone, he told me I couldn't send it bookrate because it wasn't a book, nor was it media. That didn't make much sense to me at all, but I stayed quiet. But he continued, very much as if I were an ignoramus, "Books are things you get at libraries, to open up and read." I playfully said, "you can get magazines at libraries too, and open them to read" to which he replied very angrily, "HEY I don't make UP the rules here." And for the first time, I stood up for myself and said "I know you don't. You always just seem so coarse". And then he was nice to me. But when i got out to my car I started bawling because it took so much energy to stand up to the prick. Weird feeling.

Different Strokes

A conversation I overheard at that party involving a guy and a couple...

couple: oh, you were linda?! We didn't even recognize you!
guy: yeah, it's pretty funny when i go to parties as linda, stay over, and in the morning after I've showered, people are like, who are you!??
couple: that's some really great nailpolish you have on your toes!
guy: yeah, I had my fingernails done like that too, but I had to take them off before work today.
couple: wow, what do you do?
guy: i'm a construction worker.
couple: oh my gosh, that would SO be the end of you if they found out!
guy: yeah, it's pretty funny. I go and get a manicure and pedicure every friday night for the show, and then am furiously scrubbing it off my fingers on the drive to work every saturday morning.

October 9, 2005


Milan Kundera in the Unbearable Lightness of Being says “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch….the true function of kitsch: kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death….No matter how we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.”

While I am not a huge fan of this book, these statements do resonate with me as I think of the kitsch in peoples houses in Powell County. A bible, forever opened to a certain passage, a book-marking, silk rose with fake dewdrops on its petals and lace along its stem keeps it open here, even as dust gathers on it. A porcelain duck with a humanoid grin and a figurine of a cherubic toddler that’s supposed to make us go, ‘Aww, I’n’t that kyyewwt” sit on the fake wooden coffee table with the bible. Similarly, the bare concrete houses in Tanzania or the bare wooden houses of Nicaragua bear tinsel and paper Christmas decorations year round to make the visitors go, “wow, these decorations are really quite something”. It’s easy to see the kitsch in poor households where the folding screen to curtain off death is not so well hidden. Coalmining accidents happen fairly often, people eat terribly and die of heart disease early in eastern Kentucky. The Lord’s word, especially when gussied up real purty helps give hope to those who live there. Tanzanians ignore the AIDS and malaria around them as well as they can, and Nicaraguans fear the Sandanista uprisings and tropical diseases too.

But kitsch is integral to the human condition, not just to the poor. Where then, can it be found elsewhere? As I look around my house, I wonder which of my belongings are kitschy and which are not. I find that several of my cherished objects from abroad, are probably kitsch because they remind me of something, and the reminding is what causes me to get emotional. The Maasai wedding belts remind me of the intricate beadwork of my friends there in Monduli Juu, though these particular belts didn’t come from my friends, they are generic (though authentic), bought in Ebony Alley. This is equivalent to the first “tear”, and the second tear that Kundera speaks of is evident as I think how amazing it is and how lucky I am to be able to know who those people are, how they spend their day in comparison to mine. I decide to figure out which of my belongings are not kitschy and I find that the least kitschy items are ones given to me, or things that I admired as a child. The worth of these items is measured in the love from the person who gave it to me, not in some subconscious superficial “wow, that would be cool hanging on my wall” sort of acquirement, or in the inherent appeal to me as a child before I became aware of self consciousness. Ennummerated, the least kitschy items as I look around my room include a batik of Mt Meru that I made, a pencil drawing of me done by an artist who I modeled for, a lint brush in the shape of a lion from my grandparents’ house, a rubbing from a Cambodian temple, a tingatinga given to me on my 21st birthday in Tanzania, cookbooks, a teatray made by my great grandmother, my sticker box which is an old cookie tin from England that my grandmother gave me, textbooks, a collage my sister made. I think textbooks make the list because they are purely functional. Does kitsch have to have some degree of non-functionality? I find it ironic that things given to me tend to be less kitschy because generally my outlook on gifts is that I don’t like them unless they are functional because I don’t want lots of shit that I don’t like hanging around my home. I want my surroundings to be rich but somewhat spare, and having lots of knick-knacks is not enticing to me. I think I would have labeled knick-knacks as kitsch before I read Kundera’s description, though I think that while there is certainly overlap, they are not necessarily one and the same. Hmmmmm……

October 8, 2005

Lab on Friday Afternoons

When you've had a long week including a nine hour exam on monday, the last thing you want to do on friday afternoon is go to lab to work on starting a new section of dissection on a dead dog. Needless to say we're all a little loopy on friday afternoons. Is it any wonder, then, that:
while identifying the cranial vena cava, I say it in an Italian accent, noting that our resident Italian classmate Benedetta could say it better.
I then say, "wait, in Spanish, Vena Cava, that means Cow Vein!"
then I realize that Vaca is the word for cow, not cava. "I think I am, what's the word that means you mess up words inside out?"
and my lab partner without blinking replies "Anorexic"
and I die laughing, tears streaming down my face, have to sit down on a stool because I know that I'm not anorexic even if I am a bit dyslexic. My lab partner has the friday loopiness too.

September 27, 2005

Doll Makeovers. For Real.

Who knew Ken was Mandy Patinkin in the Princess Bride as Inigo Montoya!?

September 26, 2005

Contortion Training

I woke up super early, drove up to vermont, and spent 3 hours with three other girls in a private contortion training lesson with Bill Forchion of Nimble Arts ( ). I LOVED IT SO MUCH!!!!!!!! First, I was excited to be in Vermont where it was more rural and like Kentucky (ahh, breathing room). Second, I was happy to be with other contortionists (Phoebe 17, Lauren 18, and Morgan 23) for the 2nd time in my life (the first time was meeting them). Thirdly, I was excited to be in a random old mill building with huge old elevators that ran on pulleys that was being used (and not abandoned) by, of all things, a circus school. Fourth, it was neat to meet Bill, an amazingly down to earth, encouraging, funny and enjoyable guy who used to perform with both Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. And it was neat to have his wife Serenity (that's them in the picture) and her twin Elsie, both trapeze artists formerly with Cirque du Soleil and Pilobolus (amongst others) teaching their private lessons on the other side of the same room while we trained.
But most of all, it felt AMAZING to work with my body in this way! As you know, I am not used to feeling good stretches because, well, I stretch so easily to the positions that most people consider lofty goals. But MAN did I feel stretches! Is that what most people feel when they stretch?!!!???!!! Bill was really really good at tweaking stretches so that it would wake up a new part of my body that I hadn't felt in a particular way before (he called these "yummy stretches". I agree!), and then he was also good at pressing you further into stretches for minutes at a time (that felt like FOREVER) where I nearly felt like crying: ow!. At the same time, he was uber concerned with building strength and not injuring oneself. I was happy to find that I had no bad habits to break and that I hadn't been doing anything that was dangerous to my body--phew! We worked on static and dynamic stretches, on correct/strong backbends, on some tumbling things like handstands and back limbers, but also did some things like "contortion rolls" where you go into a backbend, and then walk your arms through your legs and lift the legs off the ground and let yourself roll from your chin to your toes on your belly, and then we did a few partner things.
One of the most amazing things is that even though I knew I could do some pretty cool things with my body, Bill was able to help me realize that there are so many MORE things that I can do--things that I wouldn't have dreamed of--that are sometimes a simple matter of weight change. And what I appreciated most about the day is that for the first time ever in my life there was nothing that was "weird" or "wow" or "eww!"--I mean I was at a circus school, so my flexibility was just accepted as a matter of course and encouraged and then pressed further. The "wow"s were reserved for the excitement of each of us as we attempted and accomplished a new goal. The funny thing was that my height and age WERE considered rather abnormal. Tee hee! Afterward, I felt better than I have ever felt after a massage, a chiropracter appointment, a dance or yoga class. I felt SO loose in all my muscles, all my joints, and strong at the same time. Nothing pinched, nothing felt sore. I felt so invigorated. It lasted, too! I dreamed about being tweaked into perfect stretches, and then I woke up 40 minutes before my alarm went off this morning, ready to go at 6:30am.
I just gotta say, it was truly RADICAL.

September 22, 2005

Who Am I?

Googling "alyssum" turns up some interesting things. For instance, an extreme close up of sweet alyssum, aka Lobularia maritima, with a tiny bug and some dew. A pollen crumb. A gymnastics studio in Argentina. A picture whose caption said "horny alyssum" but is really HOARY as in "frost". Linneaus's notebook page with pressed alyssum and botanical notes. Some brilliantly hued flowers called midnight alyssum. My name in several languages on a seed packed (Alysse, Alyssum, Aliso, Alisso, Acafate, cyrillic and arabic. I found it elsewhere in German (Duftsteinrich or Steinkraut) and Polish (smagliczka nadmorska)). Some earrings with pressed white and lavender alyssum. A French children's book called Alyssum et Lobelia.
An amazing electron micrograph of "one of several peltate trichomes (hairs) on the surface of a leaf of the nickel-accumulating plant Alyssum lesbiacum (Cruciferae). The spreading form of peltate trichomes in this group, and also in bromeliads, is thought to reduce water loss from the plant surface. They may also be associated with accumulation and excretion of toxic materials." And finally,--YES! I KNEW I could count on the Japanese for this! My very own beauty product line! (click on title)

Beautiful Handwritten Books Online

This is one of the most amazing Books Online sites I have ever seen because it includes amazing handwritten/hand illustrated copies of Classics...Alice in Wonderland, Da Vinci's notebook, and so on. Wow.

September 7, 2005


My father's best friend, a wonderful, optimistic, intelligent, inventive and very funny man, Paul Elsey, had esophageal cancer which metastasized to his liver. Against all odds, his chemo and radiation therapy was effective against the esophageal cancer, and hepatic surgery seemed to have done well too. Until recently. His liver has flared up with a vengeance and dear Paul is bravely suffering through more chemotherapy, enduring terrible pain. It makes me very sad to see Paul, his wife Annie, his parents Robin and Carol, my dad and stepmother Neville and Kate, and others have to go through all this.
This week as I copied all my CDs to my iPod, I came across a CD that was one of my favorites nearly ten years ago. It was the Grand Concert of Scottish Piping that I bought in Edinburgh when I was in Scotland/England as a 16 year old (the trip when I first met Paul's parents, actually). The man in the music store brought this CD out of the back room with pride and a sly bit of secrecy. I had asked his recommendation on bagpiping music, and since I was wearing a kilt, he must have thought I was worthy of his particular favorite. It was a good suggestion, and I fell in love with a song played on the small pipes. It was winsome and bittersweet. The small pipes, as opposed to the more familiar highland pipes, have a sweeter, darker, less blaring sensitivity to them and the piper was clearly attuned to this, and was able to milk the air for shudderingly beautiful drones and riffs.
Fast forward to 2002 when I happened upon an amazing CD called Bothy Culture. The artist, Martyn Bennett, hailed originally from Newfoundland, moved to the Isle of Skye at age 6, learned the pipes, studied classical violin and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, mixed dance music at raves on the side, studied scottish culture and jazz in his own time, and then incorporated all of it into a perfect album. For my exit exam of the Gaines Fellowship, I wrote about this album and how it tied together so many wonderful aspects of our world. I talked with my exit interviewers about how marvelously this man, Mr. Bennett, was able to sew together a seamless tapestry of his interests and the myriad cultures from which he hailed. His pots of influence seemed deep and limitless and yet he was able to skim the best off the top and put it all together in these few songs.
As I was going through my CDs this week, I realized that the young piper from the Grand Concert of Scottish Piping was the same Martyn Bennett that I knew and loved through Bothy Culture. It made sense somehow that I was unknowingly as profoundly impressed by the same person twice at very different periods in my life. I decided to check up on what else I might have missed in his creation. I found his website (click the link of the title of this entry), and was greeted with the terribly sad words, "Martyn died on 30th January, 2005 following a long struggle with cancer." Struck dumb, I could barely enter the site to read on. I knew that he had battled testicular cancer successfully, but his bout with Hodgkin's had ended fatally and I hadn't even heard of it yet. I felt I should have known, somehow, since I had been such an unwitting double-fan of his. As upset as I was, I learned that he had created a testiment to human will and passion is his final work, a CD called GRIT. He said of it: "GRIT is a serious artistic attempt to bring my own Scottish heritage forward with integrity. The obscure title means many things to me personally, however it is tied up in my ideas of where Scottish culture lies: GRIT can be seen on road signs anywhere in the world, it is an expression of determination, an onomatopoeic word: it reflects the contrasts found in its music both course and fine." The grittiness of it certainly came not a small amount from his personal grit against the cancer inside him.
I am sad.
And yet joyful that he shared so much courage and creativity with the rest of us.
My love and encouragement to Paul.

Starting off well

Well, I got an 85% (a B) in the first exam of the year. This in a class where--no matter how hard, long, or intensely I studied-- I could not get even a C on the exams last year. Whoo hoo! The material is review for me, and having a better, whole picture of how the body works, I find myself putting information into drawers where they fit rather than just memorizing it. Ahhh...

August 31, 2005

Rubbing Elbows

A very exciting moment for my good friend Lauren Argo is that she was one of the extras on a film shot in Lexington called Dreamer (starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning). And what do you know, she can even be seen on the trailer! So I am showing off this photo (she is circled), to prove that I can rub elbows with the bigwigs (Lauren) who rubs elbows with the biggerwigs (the stars). Neat! Click on the title of this entry to see the whole trailer (she's right after "he gave her a chance").

August 29, 2005

I always loved writing implements

but these graphite sculptures on the tips of pencils take it to a whole new level

Wax and wane

Well, in an attempt to stay positive, and not engage in destructive behavior this year, I tried waxing my legs since it is purported that hairs don't grow back for up to 8 weeks (!!!...really??). No hairs visible, no picking of them was my logic. But, woaho-ho-ho, nelly! I don't care if they call it "wax" but I assure you it is NOT that. It is some amazingly sticky chemical that refuses to not drip and dribble everywhere. aw, sad. yes, parts of my legs are baby soft (though my inexpertise has left swaths and patches of stubble and long hair). My bathroom has spackles of purple stickiness that get on your feet and moosh into rugs. ew. As I tried to get the wax off in the shower, I found that soap, shampoo, oil, cold cream and de-mildewing cleaner were ineffective. Scrubbing Bubbles (3 applications) started to release the goo from skin. And while I was at it, I got some in my eye and had to rinse it for 15 mins. Shooot. Well, next time I'll leave it to the professionals.

August 25, 2005

Giddy with my new life

Finally! It's about damn time!
Enumerations of my happiness:
Take Two on BenAndAlyssum.
Meeting and practicing with other contortionists.
Meeting and beginning to participate in aerial dance with other aerial dancers.
Only 3 classes this semester (instead of 9. and 5 next semester instead of 13).
I actually am FAMILIAR with the material this time around.
Good study buddies.
Beautiful weather.
Impetigo gone.

August 19, 2005

Home, summer's end

At last, I am home, enjoying my rest, enjoying my daily warm shower, and the ability to let my infections heal properly. My kitties are soft and healthy, and school is nearly beginning. Strange to be starting. Again. Interested to see who my fellow classmates will be.

August 5, 2005

En Granada

I am in the oldest settled town of the mainland Americas! Granada dates back to 1524 and the conquistador Hernandez de Cordoba. Whoo hoo! Somehow, though it fails to elicit such grandeur...I just can't feel the oldness of it like I could in old places in Europe. Maybe because things just get rebuilt here?
My Spanish is finally feeling comfortable. I have been just sitting in the park, people watching most of the day with the occasional walk to another park, and I have had long conversations with 5 people! (a shoe-shine boy of 14, an old man proud to be Granadisto, a guard on the waterfront (the only freshwater lake to have sharks. Yes! It used to be connected to the ocean, but when the land filled in, the sharks were stuck.), and two hammock-sellers.) They're MUCH easier to understand than the Campesinos out in Siuna and beyond, and they tell me while I need practice, my pronunciation is good, I can speak well, understand well, and they're excited that I spend the time to talk to people one-on-one. Instead of being bothered by the hammock people, for instance, I engaged them in a conversation, which ended in joking and a mini english lesson (they asked how to say, "Would you like a hammock? No thank you, I already have one."). That seems like a much more reasonable interaction.

August 4, 2005

Volcân Masaya

Got out of the quadruple enforced US Embassy home today successfully, caught a bus to Volcan Masaya national park and promptly had to...wait...for 2 hours before they opened the gate. But, 2 germans and myself were the first people up at the crater (caught a ride with the park guides doing morning rounds. Good because it{s a long, hot walk otherwise). Wow. Imagine screeching green parrots in droves that live inside the crater on the rock walls, occasional silence during which you can hear the earth breathing. Strange clangs eminate from the center of the crater along with sufurous fog, and deep bellows of air sounding like an enormous smoking giant, puffing away. The indigenous people of ancient times used to throw human and animal sacrifices here to appease the angry gods, the conquistadors called it the very Gates of Hell, and supersticiously erected an enormous cross at the apex of the perimeter of the crater to exorcise the demons floating out. Nowadays, the park rangers just tell people to back into their parking spaces so that she blows, the getaway is quick. Generally, incandescent lava can be seen at the base of the crater, but the fume/fog was so thick today that I couldn't see any. Wow. I just felt so impressed to be there, to look out over the Nicaraguan plains and see smaller billows of smoke from other tiny pores (vents) in the earth's skin. This Earth we live on, she's alive!

¿Seguridad o carcel?

Well, I know I am safe at Hansell's house where we effectively live in jail, complete with guards 6pm-6am, thanks to the government and your hard earned tax dollars. I woke up late yesterday (after being jostled awake at 4am and again at 6am to an earthquake I somehow, in my sleepyfog, thought was Hansell making her bed and doing very roughly on the other side of the roughly that it was causing my whole room to shake) and left the house to go exploring on my own for a few days before meeting up with Hansell and Etienne this weekend. After carefully making sure I had all I needed for 5 days in my knapsack, I closed the house door behind me (*click*...locked out), closed the iron gate door to the house behind me (*clang*), closed the other iron gate door (*clang*), walked to the driveway gate and found that I was locked in. No going out. Perused the perimeter: 10-20ft tall walls topped by electric razor wire. That's a no-go. And, well, I just had to content myself to sit outside all day and wait for Hansell and her roommate to come home. Luckily, the pool was within the area that I was locked into, and I had my swimsuit in my pack. Several laps, chapters read, and a sunburn later, I heard the keys in the front gate lock jingling and sprinted to catch Jose before he disappeared behind many doors into the impenetrable house/jail. Just another day in Nicaragua, waiting. How apropos.

August 2, 2005

En Managua

I arrived in Managua yesterday to a holiday, Dia de Santo Domingo, and Hansell (a woman my age I met at Miranda's wedding who used to work at Bridges to Community, and now works at the US Embassy) took me along with her friends Ericka (a Nicaraguan guard at the Embassy), Etienne (a med student from Quebec), and Jaime (a Nicaraguan body guard to the US Ambassador) to the parade of horses. Over a thousand pure-bred horses with crazy complicated dance-like stepping are the supposed attraction, and while that was pretty neat, I think the real attraction was simply the excuse for thousands of Managuans to go out, be seen (if rich), sell trinkets or vend food (if not rich), and GET DRUNK (everyone). I had an amazing time people watching! Lemme tell you though, the combination of the heat, the sun, the crowd and the cerveza made me more than a little loopy. Whoooo! But, wonderfully, Hansell has been provided with a pool at her posh US Embassy house, so we lazed in the water when we returned. AND.... (I can't believe it still...) we ordered pizza, took warm showers, FLUSHED our toilets, went to bed in AIR CONDITIONED rooms. Very very posh. I am so amazed that all these things EXIST in Nicaragua.
In fact, yesterday I was just psyched about it. But today, I have ventured to a mall to use the internet, and I am rather perturbed by the fact that nearly everything that is available in the States is available in Nicaragua, but only if you have the money. The lifestyles and incomes of the people in Nicaragua are too vastly extreme to be fair. While it is funny to see the food court filled with business men and women in dapper suits rather than teenagers and rednecks, it's sad to me that the prices are expensive american prices, and that no one else could even dream of even walking into a place like this mall. Sad. I am getting ready to spend the next little while in places decidedly more touristy, and I wonder how this seed of insight will mature before I leave.

Ya lo terminá

My project is done. And I am glad for that. Because I was starting to get really annoyed by things that can’t be helped like my poor Spanish and the fact that the Campesinos speak something other than Spanish anyways (read: the equivalent of Stantonese as compared to the Queen’s English), Carlos and his damned radio on all the time, the fields and mountains of mud, slow moving horses through the mud, never knowing what EXACTly is going on and just having to be patient and hope everything works out, boots that don’t fit, etc. My Spanish is actually better these days. I can have a conversation with cabbies and with Carlos, and I generally understand most things even if it takes them several times of repeating and me searching my brain for what in the hell “vuelta” or “salgo” mean (what tense of what infinitive verb IS that?!). Now that I’m done, I will wait for the plane to leave to Managua on Monday or Tuesday, and spend a week visiting more touristy locations: Granada, Masaya, Ometepe. And then return home to re-appreciate things I forgot were luxuries like q-tips, salads without parasites, yogurt (pasteurized no less!), warm running clean water (each of those four words is a luxury), comfortable beds and quiet nights, washing machines.


There’s a med student named Ben here who did some work with a surgeon in Kenya and also worked here for 8 months on a water quality improvement project and is back to visit and check on the repercussions of his work—he happened to bring his pathology textbook with him and we had some fun looking up what the fuck is going on with my poor legs. Yes, it is impetigo, but it’s the advanced type, marked not just by pimplish things that weep honey colored crusties, but also by big blisters that you can see through to see tiny ropes of pus streaming into the weepage. Gross but totally fascinating. Terribly itchy but very contagious, so I can’t scratch them because getting the bacteria under my fingernails is the fastest way to spread it. The pustules—I think this is really interesting—are caused by a toxin made by the bacteria that separates the desmogoin molecule, which holds the layers of skin together. This is the difference between impetigo and pemphigus folliceaus, which is an autoimmune problem. Neat.
Finally found some antibiotics to treat it here in Managua. About damn time, it's nearly covering my legs, and all the Nicaraguense stare them. Funny, for once to be stared at for a reason other than simply being white. They joke that my legs are like the Sandanista flag: red (impetigo) and black (hairy). Thanks, guys, thanks. One of the pustules, I think, has caused a boil. It's right at the side of my knee and it really hurts. Hope it is relieved SOON!

Jungle Trail Ubiquities

Swallowtail butterflies swarm
Like bats against the daytime sky

Ants crusade, brandishing
Green-leaf dorsal fin blades

Bamboo, like fireworks, vault far from Earth
Then explode in your face to grab clothes and hair

Ass is saved from the saddle
By clenching buttcheeks

Howler monkeys argue yonder,
Always in earshot, never seen

Haunting heart-shaped leaves everywhere leer
Constant ironic reminders of inhospitability here

Yellow clouds of butterflies
Make shit appear gold.

Between Astounding Vistas

I arrive from an astounding vista,
Behind a tall curlyheaded prince
Who carries a gleaming spear.
No, that’s just his radio antenna.

Other things sparkle and gleam here too:
The people’s teeth, with their star or initials-in-gold inlay
And rubber boots, slick with mud.

¡Buena’! we call to the children who stare, silent
From thatched houses that go up in two days.
The pet love-birds answer us though.

We dismount and tie our beasts to a post.
The animal life here is as abundant as the plant life
Of the neighboring jungle, though not as verdant.

Dog skeletons walk around scavenging what they can
And wear scars of scolding scalding oil on their flea-bitten coats
From the woman who guards and never leaves her wood burning adobe stove.

She serves me cuajada, cheese from the cows, and rice with beans
But I sometimes swallow only my appetite as bald
Ugly chickens with occasional sparse feathers “cheep” by my feet.

Slingshots hang, alongside names written in charcoal
On the boards of this minifalda home, to shoot down mangoes.
Curly wire from an old notebook, too, for some future use.

The rain passes, the cows arrive, we tie one still,
I collect some blood, give my tests, mark her
Thank the jefe, bossman, mount again and ride off
Into another astonishing vista.

Mi favorito juego

My favorite game to play here is “How Many Times in One Month Can a Gringa Go Back and Forth Between Hormiguerro and Siuna While Still Getting Data from Outlying Communities”. Each week I have to change a little bit of American money in order to pay our guides ($6/day) and our horses, or bestias ($3 each/day). Somehow during my week-long Doing Nothing In Siuna Week, I never managed to find a place that was either a)open, or b)able to change a $50 bill. And so Monday morning I had to catch the truck out to Hormiguerro without any money to pay my weeks worth of “staff” with plans to return mid week and pay the guides the second half of the week.
Monday we went out to Consuelo, just Carlos and myself (Cristobal went defunct when he learned he wasn’t getting paid since he’s a student. Crappy), with our guide. This, certainly, has been the most intense ride out to any community thus far, which is saying a lot. Not just hillsides of mud, but steep mountains of mud for the horses to slip down. Three rivers to cross that were deep enough that just the very tip of the horses backs were out of the water. My horse, of course, stopped in the middle of one. All the spurring, whip cracking, and prodding, squeezing, yelling wouldn’t make her budge, so I had to jump off into the river, hold my backpack above my head and drag her to the other side with me. After the day of work, we walked from our guide’s house back to a building (couldn’t determine if it was a monastery or an empty health outpost. Could be both, I guess). That’s when the sole of one of my boots (the ones that were sprouting funguses) fell off. And then I got stuck in mud to my thighs. Tee hee! One less thing I have to carry home with me. They’ve served me well; I got them almost ten years ago when I went to Scotland. Always good to give the locals something to laugh at.
As I was walking on horseback between the fincas, looking out over the view, I saw trash in the mud, and cow shit if I looked down, but if I looked up I saw butterflies migrating (there are thousands, it’s really cool), amazing clouds and coconut trees and parrots and rainforest vines. So I decided to look up and imagine everything sparkling and new and pristine, pretend that I was a princess, walking through my kingdom on my fair white steed (fleabitten grey, sunburnt nag). Then I remembered the quote from Monty Python’s In Search of the Holy Grail:

“How’d you know he was King?”
“’e ‘asn’t got shit all over ‘im”

and decided, therefore, since I had shit all over myself, that I couldn’t be Princess afterall.
We stayed in Consuelo at the Monastery/Health post in our hammocks, which was surprisingly nice—No bugs because they (the bugs) don’t know to come there to chow on people since people usually don’t live there. Also, no animals there to attract bugs. The sound of the rushing river nearby was lovely too. This morning, we rode our horses through the rivers, mud (sometimes a half mile at a time) back to Torno, and I continued to Hormiguerro on horseback from whence I walked to Siuna (20 km). Had a drunk man give me a ride on his horse until I realized he wasn’t even GOING to Siuna, he was just giving me a ride to “keep me company”. He started asking me if I was married (I told him yes, and showed him the ring Dad gave me that I wore on purpose in case this exact situation arose), and telling me he loved me and that’s when I slipped off the horse, and profusely insisted that I was strong, didn’t need a ride, asked him to return to his finca, seriously. No, seriously, señor! He eventually left, insisting he was respectful, that he just felt sorry for me and wanted to show me that Nicaraguans take care of foreigners. I assured him I appreciated the gesture and, playing his own game, that I felt sorry for him missing a day of work on his finca. I walked 15 km and then got a lift on the back of a pickup truck for the last five. Changed my dollars for cordobas, and am now resting. (internet is closed, hence this message comes several days/over a week late).

July 21, 2005

Tendones de mi pie

Jeez, can I just please have one day where I'm not the biggest klutz in the world?! We left early this morning to borrow the government huge trucks to load up with gravel and rocks to fill in the mud in the road to Santa Rosa, the community that Bridges to Community works with here. Before we even leave, I climb up into the back of the tall truck, and the men tell me I have a space to sit in the cab since I'm a girl. So I jump down, and immediately cry, "Oh, I think I broke my foot." I wrapped it with some ace bandaging and medical tape when we got to the gravel pit, took some ibuprofen, and spent the morning hobbling around, not using the shovels but throwing by hand the rocks into the mud out in the campo. At lunch, I came back, and our medical student friend, Andy, warningly exclaimed,"what is that?! Your limp is definately worse. No more walking for you, sit in the hammock with your leg high. We're going to the hospital." Laura was going to come with me, to translate any details I couldn't gather myself, but she couldn't find anyone to drive the truck back out to Santa Rosa to bring the workers lunch. So she happened upon another gringo, Patrick, a German, in the market, determined that his Spanish was excellent, and his english was good as well and therefore was an excellent candidate to accompany me to the hospital. The radiographer was on vacation though so we had to take a taxi, trying to find his home for a while. We ended up just going to the private clinic where a doctor saw me and was able to determine that I just injured my tendons, and didn't need an x-ray. Phew! Got me some pain meds, and the doctor said no walking, but riding horses is fine, so my work will continue on monday. Sheesh.

July 20, 2005

No estoy enfermada

I thought I should mention my final diagnosis of my sickness...
went to the hospital the following day for another malaria/dengue blood smear, which was negative. They took a urine sample and (since I was on my period) there was blood "in the urine" which they diagnosed as a UTI, and I mentioned my diaphragm hurting from so much coughing which they diagnosed as heartburn. Needless to say, I ignored their diagnoses and prescriptions, got better on my own. Just a little cough, I think a small bacterial infection that set in during the viral infection. On amoxicillin now to get rid of that. Doin okay!


Don't worry, I am fine. Have been in the bush all week, got back saturday, the internet is closed on the weekend and then the Sandanista holiday was tuesday so everything was closed til today. In siuna til next monday due to the fact that my spanish is worse than i thought it was...I was supposed to make a radio announcement to tell (I thought) the guides from the far communities to bring only 2 horses yesterday instead of 4, but I didn´t get around to it and since its only $3 perday per horse, I wasn't too worried. But turns out I was supposed to make an announcement to tell them to come...AT ALL. Yeah, so I woke up at 5am yesterday walked to the market to catch the bus amidst all the Sandanista festival stuff (fairly dangerous since there are drunkards who occasionally start fighting with eachother or with people of the other party with machetes, knives, or guns), went out to Hormiguerro and waited for the horses that never came. Back to Siuna for the week, sheeit. At least I can email!


Somehow the cats are the only animals that are able to maintain some sort of decorum in the finca. Their coats remain shiny and full, and their fleas are much better hidden than those of the dogs or the featherless, mite-infested chickens. And it doesn’t hurt that I like cats to begin with. So I was petting this orange and white kitty one day, remarking on her full belly and wondering how long she had been pregnant. And she answered me RIGHT THERE! She went into labor on my lap, I put her in a basket, and she gave birth to 2 kittens within an hour! I went back a few days later, and found the still eyeless but furry kittens tucked up in a barn with their momma, purring purring, and fairly free from fleas. Awww……


I find it very interesting to compare lifestyles. Coming into Managua where the airport is smaller than Lexington’s, I was immediately forced to recognize the 3rd world nature of this country. Oxen and horse drawn carts alongside “reticulated lorries” and taxis galore. Siuna of course is a step “down” from that, even. The first thing I was struck by was the gravel tarmack and the fact that the airport consists of one man wearing an old uniform, directing the plane, and standing by with a fire extinguisher. The market is only one and a half streets, and the water only comes on once (sometimes twice) a week. Then I leave Siuna, for Hormiguerro where there is only one house with electricity, there are no hospitals or doctors, there is only a single car that travels between Siuna and back 3 times daily, and the main center of the “village” is a green space for wandering cows, pigs, horses, and the odd volleyball game. Still, I venture further into the campo to test animals in the various communities that surround the Bosawas Reserve and I find fincas (farms) that are isolated by slash and burn agriculture. There is no electricity or running water. You can’t see houses, you have to cross fields and go through jungle and over mountains and through rivers to get to the next one, and yet they consider themselves “communities” because they are within an hours travel of one another by horseback. From here I come back to Hormiguerro and am pleased to see bicycles and the comforting feeling of houses within sight of one another. I travel back to Siuna and am amazed at the paved roads, the market where you can get just about anything, the fact that there is an airport at all! It’s all relative. I think being reminded of this is one of my favorite parts of traveling. One day eating dinner I laughed to myself thinking about my dinner compared with the backyard dinner parties that Mom and her friends have. I hope they read this, because I think they would appreciate it. “ Wine? What kind? Your top is so cute! You don’t look a day over 30! Where’d you get it, a small eclectic boutique? Are these organic strawberries in this hand tossed salad?” Meanwhile I have the choice between frijoles y arroz (beans and rice) or gallo pinto (beans and rice mixed together). The exciting part is whether or if I will have yucca (think plain baked potato) or tortilla on the side. My choice of wardrobe is mud encrusted soaking wet pants or cow-shit covered pants. The nearest eclectic boutique is probably in some touristy town in Costa Rica. People under thirty have 5 or 6 kids and look not a day under 45 from working in the sun or in wood-burning smoky kitchens all day everyday their whole lives. My dinner party companions are bugs (lots of them), several puppies, flea bitten dogs, a piglet or two, some chickens, maybe a cat, and my travel companions, the students. I look forward to indulging in some luxurious food sprinkled with frivolous conversation when I return


My sister used to say she would never learn Spanish because she hated the way it sounded. “Escalaflolo, escalaflolo” was her imitation of how she heard it. “what does that mean?!”, she asked, sure she’d hit on some really clear phrase, since it Really Sounded like that. “It means nothing,” I’d tell her, but now, I think I may have an answer that is more satisfying.
Okay, there’s some liberty taken there, but just for the sake of argument, let’s break this one down a bit better. Escala with an accent mark over the last “a” means I climbed in the past. F is just stuck in there to mean #@%!. And then Lolo means mud. The mud here, oh, the mud. The sucking sound of it is so satisfying, and energy-sapping at the same time. The horses step in mud at the same pace, one after another, pulling mud up with their feet that drops before they place their foot in the next muddy place, thus creating ruts 2 feet deep separated by 2 ft tall mud walls—the compendium of so many horses passing in the same footsteps, literally.

July 8, 2005

continued Enfermada

Back in Siuna again, after having worked only a single day in Hormiguerro. Just too sick. Coughing all night, major headache, puddles of snot all over my pillow. The only time I fell asleep I woke up after a dream of getting stuck in an elevator that was broken and falling for stories and stories. The lady whose house we´re staying at, Rufina, is the nurse in Hormiguerro so she got up at 4am to make me some fresh eucalyptus tea for my throat, and get me some acetaminophena. I was supposed to go back out to Agua Sucia today and out to Curao to read the results of the tests that my companions gave a few days ago, but we decided they´d have to do it alone while Margarito drove me back yet again on the back of his motorcycle to Siuna. Went straight to the hospital. Don´t have malaria, but am going back again tomorrow to make sure, and to check for Dengue. Think it´s just a nasty flu though. No nausea, no diarrhea. That´s good.
In the meantime, You´ll be glad to hear that every animal we´ve tested thus far has been negative for both TB and brucellosis. It makes me confident enough to eat the quemada here (feta-like cheese) and the delicious coconut, milk, sugar frozen concoctions. Mmmmmm...


Margarito´s girlfriend/wife, Gloria, works at the hospital where 2 days ago a young woman from Bonanza came, had her baby and left without a trace. Gloria is a kind soul, and when asked if she would care for the baby, she radioed Margarito out at the station in Hormiguerro to see if he minded having a baby girl. He was very pleased, and told her no, and so now they have this tiny little orphan baby they call Glorimar "glory of the sea" which also happens to be a combination of their names together. Awwww....

July 6, 2005


Sick today and yesterday in the bush, but came back to siuna for rest. maybe dengue fever, but there´s nothing you can do for that and it doesn´t test positive for 3 days, so i won´t be able to check since i return to Hormiguerro (where i´m stationed out of for my work) tomorrow morning. flulike symptoms which means anything. fever doesn´t want to go away despite ibuprofen, which sucks because it´s hot enough here without a fever and a headache. But I worked through the sickness yesterday--we rode from hormiguerro to Agua Sucia (dirty water) on horses-a 2 hour path through fresh slash-and-burn agriculture mixed with jungle. the path is pure mud that often goes up to your knees and sometimes to your waist: hence the horses. My work is going well. I hesitated before working on the first cow, teaching the guys with me how to use the GPS, but when it came down to it I wasn´t nervous and the procedure was easier than i´d made it out to be in my mind. I like this work very much, and seeing how people live here is quite something. I just wrote a 20 minute entry that was erased so i´m going to send this now before another is erased. lots more to say though!

July 1, 2005

Ah, la lluvia

The Rain, the rain. The clouds pass overhead and you can hear how many moments you have before you absolutely Have to be under cover, as the rain passes over the leaves and tin roofs before it reaches you. It comes in with a sprinkle that lasts 20 seconds, builds to pouring for 5 minutes, hits the center of the storm with solid water in the air for a 2 minutes, relaxes back to pouring for a few more minutes, and trickles off slowly thereafter, lasting a total of about 20 minutes for each rain storm. The roads are totally washed out, rivers of mudddd. Tires squelch through them and bump along the middle or sides of the roads, avoiding bicycles and dogs, huge concrete-carrying trucks and tiny taxis. Whoever honks first has the right of way.
Up here at the university, 3 horses roam the basketball field and a few cows leave proof of their existence in the form of fecal material in the open-air auditorium. One of the women I am indebted to here was engaged to a local man the day I arrived, and she´s busy organizing food for their wedding. She leaves for the states (in fact, she´ll be living less than 20 minutes from me in Worcester, MA when she comes back) same time I do, so they have to get married in the next few weeks so Erick can start working on visas to join her there. Wow.
I get woken up at 4 in the morning by a barrage of roosters all crowing their "It's MY day!!!!!!!" song. And then the neighbors put on the radio. I think it is a terrible thing for a pop singer`s fate to become super famous in a developing nation. Why do they love the MOST awful stuff?? So not a terribly long sleep at night. Supplemented with a nap in the hammock on the porch, though. Good food here. Fresh mojitos, juice of some fruit i`ve never heard of, "adobe soup" which is cheese soup, everything frijto, and of course beans and rice with every meal.

June 30, 2005

En Hormiguera

Today I woke up at Alba´s house (she´s the cook for Bridges to community, the NGO that the gringas work for here), and headed out with Miranda in the big pickup truck to Hormiguera, a place an hour away where there is an outpost with a nurse, Rufina. She was VERY VERY helpful--she gave me the handwritten censuses that had been taken of the area earlier this year. How trusting! just bring them back on monday. And we figured out there´s about 17 communities in the area that I am going to try and get a sampling of. some people have one cow, some have 300, so it will be interesting to figure out how to sample. perhaps every 5th cow til i´ve used all my stuff??? Margarito is a Nicaraguan guy that is really really awesome who is going to help me for the first couple of weeks. He is very patient and helped me today with my spanish, and gave me pointers. He is a vet tech, so that´s helpful too. Back in the day, there were bandits that came through here and stabbed over 30 people, 3 of whom died. Because he had knives and blood on his shoes, the authorities put him in jail and blamed him. The whole community knew that was bullshit, though, and that the blood was cow blood, and bailed him out. I´m psyched he´ll be helping me. We´re still trying to figure out this student thing too. A bunch of students from the university want to accompany me but I have to pay for their food, transportation, rainjackets and boots! So I told them no more than 4 total, 2 at a time (for 2 weeks) to cut down on cost. "Airplane" the dog that lives at Bridges House (he has ears that stick out so his head looks like an airplane), just waltzed up to me inside the cyber room. hee hee. It pours here for a few minutes every few hours, so it´s very very muddy. We took a bunch of plantain roots to another community from hormiguero, literally til the road ended at a river. the people there had sheep, a rabbit and a pet fawn in addition to the normal cows, swine, horses, dogs and cats. I looked at the roaring river and saw my first dugout canoe. Neat!

June 29, 2005

El Segundo dia en Nicaragua: Siuna

Spoke with Nohemy last night in her home, she told me the history of Nicaragua, all in spanish, and I THINK I understood most of it...the war, the two party system that have a pact between eachother so the people really don´t have a voice anyway, why she loves nicaragua anyway, what is so difficult in Nicaragua to live here, etc. Her daughter, Franci, named one of their kitties "blanco pelusa, rojo nariz" which means white lint because of the hair she leaves around and the pink nose she has. cute. I went to the airport in Managua again today which is no bigger than Lunken field in Cincinnati, and flew out to Siuna, an old mining town (in a triangle of 2 other mining towns, Bonanza and Rosita). There was a man whose carry on baggage was a decorated cake. no top covering it or anything. WHOA, sketchy! I would have dropped it in a second. My plane was a 12 seater, open to the cockpit, and there were only 3 other passengers. Flying over the campesinos...very cool. Flew through a rain storm. Landed on a gravel runway with dogs and kids running around. The airport in siuna consists of a man who wears an old beat up "official" aeropuerto shirt, 4 orange cones for directing the plane, and a handheld fire extinguisher. Crazy! The people I´m with here are very very awesome and welcoming. Laura and her boyfriend Jesse are here as well as Miranda (all gringos) and then Kenya is Nicaraguan. I am staying at Alba´s house, which she has been saving and saving for. Alba will cook for me and wash my clothes and her grandmother and 7 year old son live there too. No one says the Ss here (not a lisp like in spain, but simply not said at all) so understanding is a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but slowly I´ll get it. Today is teacher´s day, and Jesse is a teacher so they had a celebration at the school for my arrival and his teacherness. The two men who were supposed to go with me to Bosawas reserve aren´t because one broke his foot and the other found a i´m spending the next few days finding some appropriate helpers. One possibility is an "almost veterinarian" about my age who is "not vulgar"...we shall see. the university here looks very like the elementary school i taught at in ngurdoto, Tanzania, except with electricity and glass windows. everyone has electricity it seems! that´s awesome! funny i have to come to central america to watch bad tv. ha ha. the frogs here sound incredible. tonight we're going to the disco. misunderstandings are funny. i told Nohemy last night i was ten fifteen instead of 25. oops. hay muchos caballos aqui. off to see what´s next. love!

June 28, 2005

La Prima Dia en la Nicaragua

I have arrived safely. Flying in over mountains that snake along the green floor and almost meet us in the clouds. Land of lakes and volcanos. Nohemy picked me up, smiling face and abrazos made for hugs... She talks and I listen, missing every 3rd or 4th word which means i get the general gist of the story she tells me, but sometimes i miss crucial points. Luckily we are face to face and I can respond with the corresponding facial expression or gasp or laugh, and that seems to be doing okay for now. She took me to her house, corrugated tin roof, painted yellow cement house with white filigreed metal to keep theives out. Her mother, neice and daughter as well as a dog (who barked at me and then peed on the floor), 3 little cats and a green parrot all greeted me. They turned the TV on, but it stopped working after just a couple minutes and no amount of banging could turn it back on. I told them it was okay and I didn´t even have a tv at home and they laughed and somehow seemed relieved. They are very nice. Just got here so not a whole lot to say except that it seems strange that this new land is so CLOSE to america, and I´ve never been here before. I will learn so much I think! it´s hot here. I was nervous coming here because everything has gone so wrong for me this year, and it just felt like this would go wrong too, but so far things seem dandy. The busses here are hand-me-down school busses from america. Love to you all!

June 21, 2005

get ready

it's what I gotta be doin. get my apartment ready for an onslaught of new treasures salvaged from my grandparents' house. get my kitties ready to live at Davis' for a few weeks. get ready to speak Espanol, or rather, Castellano for the next few weeks. get myself all together and ready to leave central Mass for the rainforest of Nicaragua....the Bosawas Reserve. Daunting! get ready for seven weeks there alone, thinking about my life ahead of me, being productive with my research there, getting good at needles+cows. get ready to meet a new class and to demote myself from V'08 to class of V'09, swallow any pride and think of it as a fresh start. Fresh start. yes.

May 13, 2005

life update

Very quick rundown: at Tufts vetschool, failed physiology and have a very low GPA that means I might have to repeat the year. Worst year of my life=OVER. that is a good thing. Might be going to Nicaragua over the summer on a grant, to study prevalence of TB and brucellosis of cattle around Bosawas rainforest reserve.

Recent thoughts.
I am an optimist. I am a veterinary student and a dance instructor. We think we have control over so much of our lives, but I am learning that sometimes we have to let go of that feeling of control to allow things to fall where they may. I want to save the world, and maybe the only way I can do that from here is to be someone I admire, hoping others will strive to be someone they admire too. You just gotta keep moving, keep taking those steps, and when you can't stand anymore, you gotta crawl. So that's what I'm doing.
I think i am going to go home to ky soon. maybe the day after tomorrow for some much needed R&R. I feel very weird. Exhausted but with nothing hanging over my head right now...after a whole year of deadlines and exams, it's strange to not know what to do with a free afternoon and a unplanned summer ahead of me.
Several days before the last exam I was thinking "you'll be done! You can finish making the japan photo album you started last summer, you can make costumes, you can do this that and the other"....and then when i came home after finishing my last exam, I collapsed. I couldn't do those things right now if i tried! I think I'm going to take the "choose things that take minimal energy this summer" approach to life right now in order to recharge for next year.

Nicaragua bound!

Okay. I've been so busy with school, trying to establish ONE not-failing grade in the class that is the bane of my existence (Physiology, taught by one Larry Rex Engelking (click each of his monikers to see his books of which he is very proud of himself)) so that I may be able to continue in vet school without being held back. Still not sure if my efforts have made the cut yet. But in the meantime, I have found out that rather than going to India to study tuberculosis in monkeys this summer, my research grant takes me to Nicaragua where I will be taking a census of animals and people (and testing for TB and brucellosis in the cattle) along a buffer zone of the Bosawas rainforest. So remote I'll have to pack horses and take 'em with me. And so I am making this list of things more for my own use/reference.
Visa required? No.
Livestock Marking pens
PPD tests (& where to get em)
brucellosis cards (& where to get em)
how long does ppd last not refridgerated?
vacutainer tubes for bleeding
cold box
bars to eat
nose grabbers
does brucellosis need serum or plasma?
if plasma, centrifuge, hand cranked.
sharps box

April 13, 2005


For anyone who wants to come to a bonafide Derby party, feel free to join me May 7th. I know, it's in Massachusetts, but that's what I gotta do to feel at home: bring home here. For running contenders and other derby info, click here. I promise: mint juleps, burgoo, and of course Derby Pie! Bring your most fandabulous hats and dollar bills for betting!

March 26, 2005

"James Brown"

This is the moniker of a certain town drunk in Lexington, KY the town from which I hail. He goes around introducing himself as James Brown or asking for "bus fare" and the police tell you to steer clear because they think he's the sketchiest mo'fo around. They can't figure out why he's still alive because he's destroyed his liver and has a bunch of other communicable diseases that don't seem to bother him too. He's been arrested for public intoxication over 900 times since 1992. Whoa. But the strangest thing is that my friend who lives in CANADA emailed me about him ("maybe you have heard about this guy, he's from your area"). What the hell?!!! Apparantly Mr. Henry Earl (his real name) has quite a following, and this is......sad.

Another coupla great animal lists

I've already expressed my excitement at learning random lists of animals with certain features (ie. inability to endogenously make vitamin C). Here are a couple more.
Animals with relatively large stomachs:
Marsupiala (kangaroos and wombat), Artiodactyla (peccary, hippopotamus, chevrotain, camelids, Pecora and true ruminants), Rodentia (vole, lemming, hamster, muskrat), Sirenia (dugong, manatee), Edentata (sloth), and Primates (Colobus and Semnopithecus monkeys).
Animals with no gallbladder:
Horse, deer, elk, moose, giraffe, camel, elephant, pigeon, dove, lab rat, pocket gopher, whale, porpoise, dophin, llama.
Animals prone to Chediak-Higashi syndrome:
Children, mink, cats, beige mice, killer whales.

The sweet sounds...

...of spring include woodpeckers, scurrying leaves from squirrels rustling in them, and as I realized today: the chainsaw. Yes, I heard a chainsaw running today and thought for a second that I was on the farm, getting ready to go help my dad clear some horse trails or start on our first kudzu bashing day of the year. Sigh... I really miss home.

March 24, 2005


Dr. B lectured only twice, but I can't wait til next year when we'll have him for an entire course. He stodders around, stutters some too, and has that crazy professor grey hair that's never exactly clean and sticks out at strange angles. Here are some of my favorite quotes from just a single lecture...
"Those costimulators, B7-1 and B7-2, are like pigs having sex. Long, good sex. Takes a while. They just stay hooked together"
"And these are some of the bacterial diseases: tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis...who here's got syphilis?"
"You know syphilis was the 'wages of sin' back in the day. Yeah, now AIDS has taken the place of that and we got all these religious crazy fanatics, 'oh, what is all this science shit,' people going around telling us that AIDS is the damnation for illicit sex that comes to get you before you even get to hell. Yes, God showed us not only that sex is bad, but also that delayed type hypersensitivity is good."
"It's so stupid to have this hypersensitivity. You get a splinter and your body just gets all worked up about it. And poison ivy! I mean, hell, every time you rub against some o' that--who cares?! what's the point of all this dumb hypersensitivity??!!! But then along comes AIDS that targets our CD4+ cells that are responsible for hypersensitive reactions, and it's all of a sudden it's gone. Sonuvabitch! Son of a bitch, it gets every last one of 'em, and then AIDS patients die of weird ass funny diseases that no one's ever heard of. Son of a bitch."
"I mean, you don't know jack shit about Fido and Fido's going to croak anyway, but don't tell the owner that or they won't come back".

March 16, 2005

Dream, 3

I had this huge yellow peice of string that I spent a really really long time knotting up in this very elaborate way. It became a huge loop with bumps. Maybe like webbing, but I had made it that thick by knotting it. I found a tall tree out by the barn at my farm with a limb 20 feet up that was thick enough to hang from. I threw the yellow loop up and around the limb and climbed it. Which meant that I climbed up the yellow string, climbed over the limb, and climbed down the other side, upside down. It was very technical. My friend, Oz, gave me a call and flew down from New York to join me on my string loop climbing fun. He was very impressed, and had a lot of fun climbing on it too. There were lots of colors in this dream, and the overall feeling was integral, intertwined, embedded.

March 15, 2005

Nighttime Thought

You blow stars out your ass
and I twirl my fingers in your hair as I fall asleep.

March 8, 2005

Genetically Modified Organisms: A Consumer's Guide to Issues

We are bombarded these days with media telling us “Eat this!”, “Never eat that!”, “Buy this because it’s better for you!”, “Never purchase anything like that—it might cause cancer!”. With so much conflicting information, it can be difficult to know the truth. There is a growing population of health and environmentally conscious consumers in this nation. This might mean that we use organically derived soaps and deodorants, or that we buy recycled and biodegradable products. It can mean a variety of things, and when it comes to consuming food, we know that we want to eat in a way that will be healthy for ourselves and yet not encumber our precious earth. Very well, you say, eat “free-range” chicken eggs, and get your produce from local organic farmers. Certainly, this may serve some of the purpose, but it gets trickier when we are faced in the supermarket with genetically modified foods. Studies have shown that the public is in dire need of education as to all the various aspects of this phenomenon1, therefore I aim to break it down into a digestible few points, so that you can make your own decisions.

To begin, what are genetically modified (GM) foods? Simply put, they can be any kind of agriculturally produced organism, plant or animal, whose genes have been tinkered with in order to produce a supposedly superior product. In the good old days, farmers spent a great deal of energy selecting, breeding, and cross breeding plants and animals to yield hybrids that grew well under certain circumstances, had high production rates, and so on. These days, it is possible to eliminate the extended time frame that breeding entails, and to directly modify, by adding or removing genes, the end product. It is very like science fiction in that it is possible mix and match genes not only from within a species but even across kingdom lines to obtain a desirable quality. For instance, to create a frost-resistant tomato plant, genes from an arctic fish were inserted into the tomato plant’s DNA.

It seems unlikely that the fertility barrier that is inherent within a species should be crossed to allow this to happen. Therefore, I would like to outline the method by which this sort of thing is done, so that you have a better idea of what exactly GM entails2. First, a system is derived for delivering the new DNA into the host cell—this is called the vector. Oftentimes the vector is a bacteria that is known to readily infect the host, but the vector can also be something like microscopic particles of metal that are fired into the host tissue. Secondly, a suitable tissue must be chosen for the vector to attack such that the vector easily inserts the new DNA into the existing DNA, and also such that this tissue will either grow into an entire organism (such as an embryo), or readily be regenerated in the entire animal or plant to which it will be grafted. When this has been successfully done, the resulting tissue is considered transformed. Finally, there must be appropriate marker genes in the new DNA. These marker genes basically allow scientists to check their work, to identify and select the successfully transformed tissues for production. As you can see, these requirements for transgenic modification completely circumvent breeding.

This point is one of the main attractions to GM food production—it is much swifter a way to change the end product to something more productive, adapted better to particular climes, resistant to pests, and so on. The counter argument is that such tampering with genetics is effectively “playing God” and therefore distasteful to ethical reasoning3. In addition, the actual end product does not always live up to expectations. USDA data shows that between 1996-1998, some harvests using GM seeds show elevated yield, while other harvests show a decline in yield4.

The second major reason given for using GM technologies in food production is to aid third world nations by producing more nutritious foods or by creating more prolific organisms to combat starvation5. However, opponents counter that GM foods do not adequately address either problem. They say that education is a better, and cheaper, method to improve nutrition. Furthermore, the problem is not that the world is short of food—in fact we have surplus food—but that the difficulty is in distributing that food to our starving multitudes, especially in areas of the world that have poor ground transport systems in place6.

Many third world nations including Zambia, Tanzania, Brazil, and India are not willing to use GM foods or GM crops, because they feel that to do so is not in their best interest, both health-wise, and financially. These nations are wary that the countries producing such technological advances are offering these sorts of crops as a means by which to capture more consumer prey. That is, the thought is that once these countries start using these products, they will be indentured to them, and will always have to buy them in the future. For instance, there are GM crops that are “roundup ready” meaning that they are resistant to herbicides that will kill any other weed. Using these seeds means that the farmer must also buy the company’s Roundup herbicide7.

There are potential hazards involved in transgenic modification, too. First, human health ought to be considered. Allergies may arise from foods that the consumer normally does not have allergic reactions to (for instance, soybeans with nut genes). This could be combated with proper warning labels, but no labels of this or any other sort are mandatory in the United States today8. It is also possible that GM could increase natural toxins or decrease nutrients in some foods. Some people worry that antibiotic-resistant GM foods might proffer their genes to us somehow, and that this could cause horrible outbreaks of disease9. Secondly, the livelihoods of organic farmers ought to be reflected upon. These farmers have raised complaints that nearby GM crops are commingling and cross pollinating with their crops to produce hybrids that cannot supply their niche customers with what they demand—pure organic products. Similarly, crop contamination has been demonstrated by StarLink, a GM corn that contained pesticide not approved for human consumption by the FDA, showing up in corn products for human consumption, and resulting in enormous lawsuits10. Finally, the environment should be taken into consideration. It has been shown by John Obrycki and Laura Hansen that GM corn with the genes of bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt) has been increasing the mortality rate of monarch butterflies in addition to the moths that the genes are intended to kill7. This sort of thing could have lasting, horrible effects for the biodiversity of our planet. We also don’t know what would happen if things like salmon five times the size of normal salmon were to escape into the wild. While companies like Monsanto strive to create GM products that are environmentally friendly, we simply do not have adequate research to show that their efforts are indeed working, or that this is even conceivable given the exponential jump in food production technology that GM represents.

Generally, it is accepted that these are all valid risks, but that more research is needed in order to determine whether these issues are fairly benign, safety wise. Unfortunately, the corporations that create GM foods are not very interested in curbing their productivity until such risks have been explored more satisfactorily10. While there have been repeated explorations that conclude that more research is needed, labeling products would be beneficial, and that better communication with the general public is needed11, these sort of things do not seem to be happening. However, there is quite a bit of journalistic fury trying to drum up consumers’ alarm reflexes to get us involved and active in making these things happen. The ban on genetic agriculture in the United States occurred just a year ago in California, which was quite a shock to the biotech industry but a triumph for local organic farmers12. Still, the general consensus is that those who speak out against GM foods are Luddites and that the biotechnological revolution will win out due to consumer apathy13.

Now that you know the issues, you can help determine the future of GM foods by deciding what role you want to play in their development. Will you buy them? Chances are, you already have since most aren’t labeled. No matter where you stand on the subject, it is important that you contact your local legislator to discuss your opinions and concerns to ensure that the large corporations that create GM foods do it with our input, and not autonomously, as they have been doing.

1.Ellahi B. Genetic modification for the production of food: the food industry’s response. British Food Journal 1996; 98: 53-70.
2.Shewry PR, Lazzeri Paul. Genetic manipulation of crops. British Food Journal 1996; 98: 5-11.
3.Banner M. Ethics, society and policy: a way forward. In: Holland A, Johnson A, eds. Animal Biotechnology and Ethics. London: Chapman & Hall, 1998; 325-339.
4.Anonymous. Seeds of change. Consumer reports 1999; 64: 41-47.
5.Gates B. Will frankenfood feed the world? Time 2000; 155: 78-80.
6.Sperling V, Sharma M. GM foods: Gift or Curse? Hinduism Today 2000; Aug 31; 66-70.
7.Padmanabhan A. Beware of biological war, warn environmentalists. India Abroad 2000; 30; 28-29.
8.Schaal BA. Genomics and Biotechnology in Agriculture. In: Yudell M, DeSalle R, eds. The Genomic Revolution: unveiling the unity of life. Washington DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2002; 109-126.
9.Hanly K. Genetically modified foods and seeds. Canadian Dimension 2000; 34: 12-14.
10.Carroll J. Gene-altered canola can spread to nearby fields, risking lawsuits. Wall Street Journal 2002; Jun 28: B6-7.
11.Frewer LJ, Howard C, Shepherd R. Effective communication about genetic engineering and food. British food journal 1996; 98: 48-54.
12.AP. County Votes to Ban Genetic Agriculture. The Wall Street Journal 2004; Mar 4: 1.
13.Anonymous. Britain: Frankenfoods v Luddites; GM crops. The Economist 2003; 367: 29-30.

what you'd expect with KY plates.

My poor car. It's a nice little white 1991 Honda Accord, but it's beat all to hell at this point. Here's a list of things wrong with it:
*dent in back fender
*driver side door fender ripped off
*driver side head light smashed in
*rust spots on each door
*brake light warning light won't turn off on dash
*check engine warning light won't turn off on dash
*dash lights don't turn on at night
*rear lights flicker
*radio fucked (doesn't turn on, won't eject my tape either)
*antenna stuck at half-way
*left turn blinker blinks at a million blinks/second
*leaks oil, but just a little
*clutch pedal is slick metal (rubber has all worn away) which makes for sketchy driving when your shoes are snowy/wet/icey.
*sun visors are bent in half from getting caught in the automatic seat belts
*my key is also bent and only works if you ease it in with masseuse smoothness
*changing gears does't always work even with the clutch pushed in all the way.
BUT, HEY, IT STILL RUNS, and luckily my KY plates give me an excuse not to fix them in this militaristic state of MA where people are expected to get yearly car checkups, and are fined for each of any of the above mentioned faults. Save me some moola.

March 1, 2005

The REAL Bigshots

Something I realized here recently. Here I am in a big city (well, on the outskirts of one). And it occurred to me that lots of times creative people in little towns or little cities want to GET THE FUCK OUT and move to a place where there are more like-minded people, more creative people to surround yourself with. But I find that there are so many wannabees that end up in the big cities, and really you just have greater volumes of mediocrity to chose from. And so it ends up (with the exceptions of a few amazingly talented people who actually become famous) that people in little towns who are creative are honestly so. If they remain there in their little city and make as much of it as they can, they probably end up more fulfilled (able to accomplish more because they're not competing with others in a big city), and also more down to earth because they have humility ("what, li'l ol' me? I just come from xxxxx, ky" or whatever), and if they really do well they become famous DESPITE the fact that they remain where they are, because people recognize their talents and appreciate them for who they ARE and not for what they're trying to become or what they would by trying to show off if they were in a big city. There's not so much ego in the way. Sure there are people stay put simply because they are unambitious or lack the confidence that they could do better for themselves elsewhere, and unfortunately, there's always better funding for creative endeavors in most big cities. But for the people who are ambitious and make what they love to do work in small places, that makes me appreciate them all the more. What dedication! What surprising amaziac qualities! Good job, people like that!

Thinking ahead to July.

*I'm sitting here looking at a picture of the beach and a bucket with a shovel in it, and somehow because the bucket says "Banfield" [a franchise pet hospital] on the side, I immediately think it's kitty litter in the bucket and not sand as the beach would suggest. Hmmmm....

*I went outside to my car yesterday at 2pm and winced at the bright light. I live inside, mostly in dark lecturehalls from 7 or 8 am to after dark, so the sun reflecting off the snow was too much for my cave eyes!

*When I wear my hair in a ponytail and go swimming in a pond or lake, my hair curls like crazy. Looking forward to summer.

February 28, 2005

Smaht Kids Take a Ride on the Short Bus

Some of us didn't do so well on the last Immunology exam and this was reflected not only in our less than A or B grade (or WAY less than A/B), but also in the email we received from our professor offering a help session. And so we trudged anonymously to see who the other "undisclosed recipients" in the class were. We all felt a little sheepish and referred to the help session as "remedial immunology". Luckily, we discovered that the cause of our bad grades was more our bad test taking skills than just plain dumbness when it comes to complement pathways, T cell maturation and the like. At one point during the help session, one of my fellow classmates made a comment about waiting for the short bus after she had answered a question incorrectly. Our professor, an Indian immigrant, overheard and queried aloud if we were late to catch the train or something. We explained that in this country, most kids ride long school busses, but that there's a shorter version for the "special" kids. He quickly caught on, and put us all at ease by referring to a poorly written question he had given us and said, "Ah! you all think you are on that bus by being here. Well, I feel I am driving the short bus with this bad question!" .
Humor of professors=much appreciated by vet students.