Sunday, December 24, 2006

B H 90210 Christmas Special

I have a special place in my heart for Beverly Hills 90210, as I eluded to in an earlier post. This morning I watched the BH Christmas special. It actually made me cry. They take in a homeless man for Christmas eve and he turns out to be a man whose wife died the previous year and he took to the streets to try and re-find the meaning of Christmas. I'm sappy, I know. But dude, watch it, I swear, it will make you feel Christmassy!

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Please Snow

It's been 2 years since I've been home for Christmas and this year I thought I might get a white Christmas. I was mistaken. As I gaze outdoors it looks more like Scotland here than it does Canada. Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle. Santa is going to have a hard time with take-offs here, higher coefficient of friction between the sleigh and the roof. I hope he has an on-board computer to help with the new calculations!

Ben is very disappointed that his first Christmas in Canada is going to be a wet one not a cold one. We took him out to pick a Christmas tree the other day. Man, the Scots do NOT know anything about trees. He tried to pick 3 yellow ones, one covered in pine cones, and one where the actual branches didn't start until 2 feet off the ground. Jeeze. We finally found a beauty and cut it down, took it back to the car and brought it home to decorate. I'll put a picture up when I'm back at my parents' house and get a chance to snap one. The tree smells so good, it has a slightly lemony scent and just fills my parents house with happy Christmas memories. It's full of our ornaments ranging from childhood crafts to a beautiful hand made glass star on the top. Christmas has arrived!

I'm staying at Ben's house right now until this evening when we'll descend on my parents' house until boxing day. Ben's at work so all I do all day is watch what not to wear and eat Kraft dinner. It's not as fun as it sounds. I've even lowered myself to doing his laundry and cleaning his room out of boredom. I go out and shop and make fancy dinners because otherwise I think I might die of loneliness. Being a housewife isn't all it's cracked up to be and I don't think I'd be able to do it for long. I'm glad he's off until new years starting tomorrow!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everybody!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Time

Ah, Christmas. The time when people fill the malls and try to kill you in the subway with large boxes and packages they are wielding with careless joy. I'm trying to relax and enjoy the holiday and forget about my awful exam. It's not happening yet, but hopefully it will by Sunday.

This holiday has been a sad one for my grandmother. Her last living sibling died a few days ago and she has found herself the last survivor of the family she grew up with. I was speaking to her on the telephone and she reminded me that, as the youngest, I would probably also be the last one left of those I grew up with. She called the it curse of being the youngest child - never alone until everyone else has gone. It's hard to listen to someone who has always been upbeat and happy talk about such depressing things. She still has her husband and her children and many grandchildren but it is almost like she's decided that her life is over. She told me that if I was busy not to come visit over the holiday because she's already had her fair share... Of course I'm going to go visit but it's sad to hear someone talking that way. I hope she gets out of her rut soon. I think part of it is that she's surrounded everyday by people who are older and more ill than she and my grandfather are because they live in a retirement community. I hope it is just part of the mourning process and doesn't spill over into her long-term outlook on life.

In good news, I'm almost finished my Christmas shopping and all my sibs are coming over on Christmas day along with their spouses and my darling cute nephew. I am making trifle and Christmas log (a family tradition) and we are going to stuff ourselves silly. Mmmmmmm!

Happy holidays everyone.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Well.. it's an end... not the one I was hoping for

Our practical today was BRUTAL. Last year's practical was so easy compared to ours. Why do I need to know the layers of the vocal folds? WHAT THE HELL. I can see needing to read an audiogram or look at a red eye, but the fucking layers of the vocal folds? kill me now. We all started laughing when we saw the question because nobody knew it, no one. I also didn't recognize that the histology slice we were given was the pons, oops. there goes another 10 marks. So, basically, I hope I did well on the short answer or I might be revisiting neurology in the summer.

But, I'm done. Now it's time to break out the christmas music and the white wine. Medstudentitis is home!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

fried brain

This is what my brain looks like. I still have another exam tomorrow and my brain is fried. I just had my long-answer exam and it didn't go as well as I'd hoped. They always put on the things I didn't really study that well! mild cognitive decline... uh ... uh...

I'm tired of writing exams. I'm going to go join the circus.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


One down, two to go. I'm glad I read over all of my notes last night, there were a few things I didn't know but I think I knew at least 80 out of 110 questions for sure. That may sound like not too many, but it's enough to pass! Then figuring into the average guessing (1/5) that's 86/110, minus ones I thought I got right that I didn't, back to 80. Whew. All I need is a 60 to pass.

I almost crapped myself this morning FYI.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


So, the exam is tomorrow morning. You may wonder why I'm writing in my blog at a time like this but I've been sitting on my ass since 8:30 this morning going over my notes that I finished yesterday. I'm taking a break :) My brain is very very very full and I'm not sure how much good this is doing me but I'm doing it anyways because if I don't read over everything (all 14 weeks) today, I know I'm going to regret it later. So, I'm on page 195 of 303... but I'm almost done neuro so that's half the battle. Psych is going to be the fastest read-through ever.

And, in different happier news, my friend Amy is getting married. I'm so happy for her I could burst with happiness. Maybe Ben will get off his "I'm not getting married" horse sometime and ask me to marry him - but I'm not holding my breath (as a child would if they had breath holding spells - not seizures, or as someone had paradoxical vocal cord opening would). Amy is the person I think out of all my friends who probably deserves a great guy like Brian the most. So, this one's to Amy!

This is the part where I sing a silly drinking song that Amy and I both experienced during our undergraduate education together, you ready?

Here's to Amy,
She's a horses ass.
Why was she born so pitiful?
Why was she born at all?
She's no fucking good to anyone,
She's no fucking good at all!
Sooo... drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink.
drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink.
Chug one for me Princess Amy!!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Kind of like

It's kind of like that 90210 episode where Brenda and Kelly both show up for the spring dance in the same outfit and they're really mad at each other because they both said they didn't want it. That disappointment is kind of what reading old exams and finding out you can't answer any of the questions is like. Except the exam thing is 200000000 x worse.

I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. I'm exhausted but I guess I should stay up and finish reading over ophtho and ENT as I'm sure I won't have time to get to them tomorrow and they are at least part of the exam. Ugh.

I guess all I can hope for is that this will turn out like that episode of 90210: Brenda has sex, Kelly is elected Spring Queen and Steve has a mental breakdown because Kelly forgot his birthday. I plan to be the Steve of the situation.

1 day until stupid exams.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Damn Hands

My hands are seriously getting me down. They're like the man. Only they're attached to my body. They're holding me back from my studying potential. I need a robotic right hand. I've never written so much that I'm totally crippled and it's still 2 days until the exam.

Ahhhhhhhhhh 2 days!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I really should be...

I really should be starting on psychiatry. I just finished my first pass of my notes on neurology - i.e. the week a day method of taking notes on notes - my study method. I know it's long and tedious, but I find that it works, so, 8 weeks of neurology in 8 days, not too bad. I'll go over it for a second and third time on Monday and Tuesday as I'm not too worried about ENT and Ophtho for this exam (esp the multiple choice).

Psych is a bit of a funny one - lots of stuff to know i.e. diagnostic criteria but lots of it is common sense. Lots of the disorders seem very similar to me though so I'm probably not going to get through all of it tonight and tomorrow as planned.

Then on to exams Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Mutliple choice then short answer then practical. Apparently they've had trouble in the past with the projector for the practical so I'm looking forward to that shit show. If there's something to screw up, I'm sure this med school will manage it.

The worst thing about medicine is that you can never throw out your notes after a year like in Undergrad. Well, ok, I was a pack-rat and probably still have some notes on differential equations somewhere from my undergraduate degree, but I have managed to gleefully part with everything that ever had to do with thermodynamics. With my medicine notes, I know that I'm going to have to know all of this stuff for the rest of my life, so I'd better keep the notes around incase I forget it all. I've taken to getting all of my notes bound together so I can recycle binders. I'm cheap and it takes up less shelf space.

Ahhhhh. 3 days until exams.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

There is a reason that this bike lock comes with a guarantee of $1000 dollars replacement value for your bike if it gets stolen while locked up (you have to present the cut lock). It really is a good bike lock. For this reason, it was my worst nightmare today when my key broke off in the locking mechanism. It was pretty cold today and had rained last night so my lock had gotten a little iced up. I managed to open it in the morning but went too far in trying to force it open this afternoon. I was at a store getting some pens for my awesome study afternoon when my nightmare began.

This lock is hacksaw proof - believe me, I tried. I was practically crying out in the cold in the snow with my freezing hands and very unhelpful hacksaw when an angel came down from above. Or, a man in a trench coat, but hey, I'll take it. By coincidence he knew a police officer/angel who was also a lock-smith/angel. He called him and the police officer said that by coincidence he was also going to the store I was locked up outside and he would be there in 10 minutes with his tools that he had in his car to take a look. He came, he saw, he couldn't fix but he promised to come back after work with more tools and try to finish the job.

I got a call at 3:30 that not only had he managed to bust open the lock, he also had my bike in the back of his car and was coming to drop it off at my house! When he got here I asked if he still had the lock because of the guarantee and he said he'd thrown it out. No problem, I said I'd call the shop where he cut it off and I'd get them to put it aside. 10 minutes later he calls me back and tells me that he went back and GOT THE LOCK OUT OF THE GARBAGE and is going to DROP IT IN MY MAILBOX later that day!

I mean, who does this stuff happen to? Since when is there a police locksmith magically on hand to unlock your frozen shut no good bike lock when you're in major crisis because you need to get home to study?! This was the worst/very best day ever.

Now, the question is, what kind of thank-you gift can you drop off at a police station for a detective without it looking like a bribe or a bomb?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6th

On December 6, 1989, classes were in session at the École Polytechnique at the University of Montreal, located on the north slope of Mont Royal. It was the largest engineering school in Canada, with about 5,000 students enrolled at that time. A six-story yellow brick building housed the classrooms and offices.

To the students it seemed like a normal day, if cold and drizzly. It was the last day of the session, with final presentations going on in different places. About 60 students sat in classroom C-230, on the building's second floor. It was just after 5 p.m., and the sky had darkened. For some, that made it easier to focus on the lecture offered by two students about the mechanics of heat transfer.

Soon after, for 45 minutes, an enraged gunman roamed the corridors and killed 14 women. Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.

The murdered women were:

Genevieve Bergeron, aged 21;

Helene Colgan, 23;

Nathalie Croteau, 23;

Barbara Daigneault, 22;

Anne-Marie Edward, 21;

Maud Haviernick, 29;

Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;

Maryse Leclair, 23;

Anne St.-Arneault, 23;

Michele Richard, 21;

Maryse Laganiere, 25;

Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;

Sonia Pelletier, 28; and

Annie Turcotte, aged 21.

These women deserve to be remembered and the horrible act that took their lives NEEDS to be remembered. Violence against women did not start or stop with the Montreal Massacre:
  • 30% of women currently or previously married have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a marital partner (Fitzgerald 1999).
  • 21% of women abused by a marital partner were assaulted during pregnancy; 40% of these women stated that the abuse began during their pregnancy (Fitzgerald 1999).
  • In a recent survey, 12% of women aged 18 to 24 reported at least one incident of violence by a marital partner in a one-year period - 4 times the national average (Fitzgerald 1999).
  • One-third of women who were assaulted by a partner feared for their lives at some point during the abusive relationship (Rodgers 1994).
  • 45% of women who experienced spousal violence indicated that they had suffered injury, and 43% of these women required medical attention (Rodgers 1994).
  • Women married to or living with heavy drinkers, are 5 times more likely to be assaulted by their partners than are women who live with non-drinkers (Fitzgerald 1999).
  • Women constitute 98% of spousal violence victims of kidnapping/hostage-taking and sexual assault (Fitzgerald 1999).
These are just the numbers about spousal abuse, many women are also assaulted by men they do not know.

Today I urge you to think about all of the victims of violence against women in the world and to ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. Men and boys are asked on this day and all days of the year to wear a white ribbon. Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone nor remain silent about violence against women.

Fitzgerald, Robin. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Statistics Canada, 1999.

Rodgers, Karen. "Wife Assault: The Findings of a National Survey." Juristat 14, 9. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, 1994.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Poor Dented Finger

Last night I went climbing for the first time in a year and a half. I used to be good, now I suck. The picture above is of Ben when we went on a climbing date when we first started dating. He's such a monkey. I think one of my main problems is that I have very sweaty hands. I think it has gotten worse. I go through chalk and re-chalk up more than anyone ever. I think if I went back to climbing a lot I'd have to start using antiperspirant on my hands.

The place was cool, pretty small, but has a chimney climb that's really long. All of the ropes are set up on grisgris so you don't really have to think about belaying or dropping someone. That's always an advantage. I think my shoes shrunk since last time I wore them, or my feet grew, or I'm really not used to the excruciating pain anymore. I think if I was going to get back into it I'd buy new shoes - perhaps not 2 sizes smaller than my feet this time, although it's supposed to make me a better climber it just ends up with me climbing with my arms so I don't put any weight on my sore feet. Anyhoo, today my arms are very sore.

I have also got a study injury, I've managed to totally dent my middle finger on my right hand from all of my furious scribblings. Owie! I'm going to have to learn how to write with my toes.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

You know you're going crazy when...

First sign you're going crazy when studying:
You start to read your lectures in the accents of the lecturer. Right now I'm doing it in my head, but I'm sure as soon as I get a bit nuttier I'll start doing it out loud. My medical school seems to have a thing for hiring South Africans - so right now I'm learning about pediatric upper airway obstruction in a lovely South African accent. How come they say trachea so weird? (i.e. Truck-eee-a). It kind of makes me giggle.