January 30, 2006

Good Stuff

This spate of downers deserves some follow up. I don't just write when I'm down! Good things going: 1. I spent 5 hours studying well a couple weeks ago and realized it felt way mo' bettah to be productive and learning than to be depressed. Since then I have been just dandy.
2. Ben came to visit me on the fly this weekend! Cheap ticket + fast flight=Ben + Alyssum in Massachusetts!
3. I have great friends (THANK YOU!!!!)
4. The weather is staying above freezing up here usually (although somehow the ground is still covered in snow).

January 28, 2006


Our sweet horse, Whinny, died last weekend. He was such a wonderful horse--so willling to please. He would go up near vertical slopes with me, walking on his knees sometimes if he slipped, without protest. I used to get on his back bare-back with no halter or bridle, and run up from the field to the barn, the other horses following behind. All I would have to do is give a bit of a squeeze and he would be off! His gait would keep me on his back and I would pretend I was a native american, running through the grasslands, trusting my horse so much that I could be free to draw from my quiver, an arrow to poise and shoot with perfect aim.
We'll miss the little guy. I'm glad he got to be "top dog" for at least a couple years with Kaeda (our other horse).

January 22, 2006

Women of the World

Look at things the way they are in this world. As my dad and stepmom like to do, blame anything bad on Bush. But let's fix that. Listen to Ivor Cutler's idea, circa 1983 (click on title).


January 19, 2006

Whatever the Day Brings

I have had a couple weeks of weirdness--depression from nowhere, panic when not on the phone with a loved-one, etc. Sometimes I am fine, though, like today and last night--studying well, enjoying studying, feeling on top of things and settled. It's hard to say how/where these feelings come up,--all I know is I deal with them as best I can as they do, good or bad. Ben has reminded me that doing something that is ultimately worthwhile is, ...well, ...worthwhile. And I have had people ask me point blank if I like the material at school, and sometimes I forget about that. But, yes, yes I do like the material. And when I get my head wrapped around all that again, it makes it much easier to enjoy or at least tolerate being up here alone for school. Sigh.

When I was home, when people asked how school was it was so nice to say "let's talk about something else". It was also nice to hear people say "you'll get through it"--I believed them when they said it! Up here it's much easier to feel bereft of support, even though I know I have plenty. Hence the many occassions this week when I talked to a friend and felt like everything was okay, and then when they hung up, I'd panic because I was alone again. I have nothing to be upset about--not like last year when I was failing out of school and had my heart broken and the weather was abominable. Sometimes I think it's just "post traumatic stress syndrome" or something--just being reminded of all that sets me to feeling like I did last year. Somehow, though, that's gone for the time-being. But I never know what will or what won't make me feel like that again. Hmmm.

Anyway, as I say, today is a good day so it feels weird to be writing about being depressed because I feel great, and don't know how I could have felt so bad.
counting my lucky stars,

Silly Vet School Video

Every year each class makes a silly video to show at the Senior Banquet. V'09 (my class)'s video is a take off of a TV show I've never seen, Fear Factor. I was one of the contestants and had to
--eat "horse eyeballs marinated in liver abcess and rolled in fecal material" (chocolate covered hard boiled eggs. Still not very good)
--dig my face into a vat of mushy dog food to grab a flag with my teeth, slip-n-slide down a tarp of mushy dog food and snow, climb up and run the length of a ginormous hill of cow manure.

I won.

Pictures: me drenched in wet dogfood, Tufts Angels (me and 2 other contestants, with manure pile behind us)

January 18, 2006

The Strangest Wash

...I've ever done in a sink was also the nastiest. Imagine: a dead horse's rear end sawed off the rest of the body with a hacksaw, and then cut in two with a bandsaw. I had the priviledge of cleaning out the rectum of poopies, and then washing the rotting/liquefying legs. Hair came out in clumps, attached to the rotten skin. The smell was dastardly terrible. At least one guy left to vomit.

January 15, 2006

What Gain will I have post Pain?

No pain, no gain, so they say. But is 5 years of frequent misery worth whatever gain I might accomplish? I often have to ask myself why it was that I went to vet school. In my admissions essay I wrote about wanting to become an international vet. The reviewers were excited to see my enthusiasm, but said I needed to concentrate on being more focused. What exactly did I hope to DO as an international vet? I didn't know then and I sure as hell don't know now.
People ask what kind of vet I want to be. I used to say "International Medicine" without hesitation, and would add some description of ecological and policy related issues. Now I shrug and tell them that while international medicine was what lured me to Tufts, I now realize that I will have to forge a way to make a living. Holistic medicine interests me, but does that make money? The answer is yes, IF you have established yourself as a competent "regular" vet first, and then have 10 years or so under your belt as ONLY a holistic practitioner. So the answer really is, hopefully. So that leaves me still pretty unsure about what I hope to accomplish as a vet.
I know that I get really really emotional and fired up when it comes to ecological and conservation issues. I know that I want to help to make the world a truly better place, or at least to try and conserve some small part of what already makes it a wonderful place. I go to bookstores to study, and as I walk back from the bathroom I notice an aisle marked "ecological, animals, etc". There are 2 shelves of ecological books--mostly doomsday sad topics--and 8 shelves for national audobon type field guides of birds, plants, fungi, and 19 shelves of books for cat lovers, how to train your puppys, and the like. I get choked up at the incongruity of it all--why is our earth cared so little for?--and have to leave the store to cry in my car.
Before I make it out to the car, I pass the children's section and pick up a cardboard baby's book called "Hippos Go Berserk," thinking of my upcoming aunthood. I read it and it makes me smile. And then frown, thinking "Why am I in vet school when I could be writing cute, educational, fun children's books and being creative? Really, why am I here? I am so lonely. There is a blizzard outside. My car was iced this morning and I had to pour hot water on it to get inside. I listen to Yanni and cheap "Deep Sleep" CDs at a feeble attempt to stay calm and focused. All of this and I have only finished my first semester of vet school. I haven't even had the first exam of this second semester yet, but since the material is stuff I've covered before, I have a difficult time honing in and soaking it up. And I have 3 1/2 more years. OF THIS." For what, I ask myself, for what?
The education here is compact and in depth. I love knowing how this world works, how life works, and I am definately getting that education here. I chose vet school over working in politics as a means toward working for the good of our environment because I felt like my intellect might go to waste otherwise. I didn't want to be bored. Certainly, boredom is not a problem here. But having a life is something I hadn't considered. I assumed that I would have a life--that it would be what I made of it. And to a certain extent that's true, but that's a very, very limited extent. Tiny. My life is not enjoyable like I'm used to making it. As my stepsister Emma says of self-pitying situations, "wah', wahh". My life is lame and I feel like instead of wasting my intellect, my creativity and zeal is being wasted while I'm here. Is that something I'm willing to put up with? Last year when I told people I was failing and would have to repeat the year, they would ask if I was going to continue. It surprised me that they even considered not continued, because that was not an option in my own head. There was no doubt that I would finish vet school. But 17 months but only one semester into it, I'm not sure. I know that I don't have to do this, that I could pursue other things in my life, but that would be shutting a door (probably forever) that I'm not sure I'm comfortable shutting. Why, though, do I feel like I HAVE to finish this? Probably, truly, because I started it. Because I'm stubborn in that way, and inherited a bit of my dad's smash-your-way-THROUGH-a-brick-wall instead of pausing for a moment to figure how to climb over or around it, or turning away altogether and avoiding the wall.

January 12, 2006

Major Drats

Several months ago I was invited to audition for the Bellydance Superstars, the internationally touring amaziac troupe of ladies with whom Rachel Brice and my friend Sharon Kihara amongst others have been performing/travelling (directed/managed by Miles Copeland, the manager of Sting and the Police amongst others). WHOA! I was very surprised/flattered at the invitation and extraordinarily excited to see what would come of it. I practiced all break to get myself back up to speed in isolations and danceness. But my damned schooling gets in the way of everything--don't know why I didn't expect it to in the first place. Scheduling changes put exams on all three audition dates. After inquiring about the unlikely possibility of a private audition when they visit Boston in a few months and describing my situation, the woman in charge of auditions did all she could do for me, which was to ask Miles. Very sweetly, I received an "unfortunately not" email from Miles, and I understand. Likewise, rescheduling my exams is not possible (or desirable--just piles 'em up more later). So I am having to make peace with the fact that I tried.

I tried.
Without having something to look forward to, motivation is not quite forthright at school. But I am trying. And at least THAT is still present-tense.

January 6, 2006

And how could I forget?

I'm going to be an aunt!
Chelsea's due date= Aug 10th.
A little Winterfrog.

My Aura

I must have an electrical field around me much more intense than most people because I have NEVER had a computer that hasn't screwed up in some unheard of way. And not just when it gets old. I used to chalk it up to having computers built customly instead of buying a pre-built generic model. Then I blamed it on the PC. Now that I have a mac (my lovely iBook, Pelusa)--okay, it's been the best by far, but...--it is still messing up! I'm not kidding, though, Ben would leave his computer on for days, I would walk into the room and it would shut down. Same thing now with Pelusa. She is supposed to be asleep but when I open her up, she's dead. She's chugging along just fine, I pick her up, and she shuts her eyes at me. Turning her back on sometimes works, sometimes I have to plug her in (and battery charge is fine) before she'll reboot.
So off to the computer doctor, and I'm without my laptop for a week.

--Oh no! Will she survive? Will she be able to retrieve things she desperately needs from her jump drive, or did she forget to back up that one very important document? Will the computer doctor find all the illegal porn on her harddrive and turn her in? (just kidding)

To be continued...