Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Looking Back

10 years ago, September 11, 2001, planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvanian Field. 2,977 people died, countless others had their lives ripped apart and forever changed. I've spend the day watching videos, memorials and stories about that day; like this poetry

But there is one video that I keep avoiding, one I won't watch. It's sitting in my news feed on Facebook and I keep skipping over it, pretending it's not really there.

 My grandmother had an aneurysm in her aortic artery. It'd been there for some time, we all knew about it. It was a time bomb ticking away in her back. There was a surgery that would fix it, but it would likely leave her in a wheelchair. She debated about the surgery, for a while she though it would be better to go without, live the last few years still being able to walk. But then she decided it was worth it, it was worth living a little longer, she couldn't walk well anyways. So she scheduled the surgery for some time in October. Just when she decided that her life was worth living, it was taken away. Her aneurysm split open and started bleeding out.

One year ago, September 11, 2010, my grandmother past away. For several years she lived right next to me, she was a big part of my life. She was beautiful, smart, funny and my family. When it started getting difficult for her to be on her own, she moved to Las Vegas, to live with my uncle. I didn't get to see her very often after that, the two times I was able to go down there were two times she wasn't there. The last time I saw her was Thanksgiving 2009.

It was the first, and only time, she met my daughter. I was looking forward to the holidays, hoping I could see her again. I wanted to show her my daughter, her 3rd great-grandchild, show her how much she'd grown. To just see her, and tell her I loved her, and I missed having her close by.

I've been avoiding thinking or talking about her today. It's been easier to mourn with the nation about thousands that I never knew, than to mourn alone about this one woman I loved.

9/11/2011, my cousins birthday, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack, Grandparent's Day, and one year since I lost my grandmother.

Goodbye Grandma, I love you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 30 - Who am I?

Read that title again and tell me if don't think of either the Les Misérables musical or a little kid book. If you say no, you didn't think of either, I say your lying. 

Umm... once again I feel like I'm writing an application essay. I have several of them I'm working on at the moment and a lot of them do say things like "Describe yourself" or "Introduce yourself." By the way, I hate those kind of questions. And I think most of you know me already. Wasn't that the point of the thirty day post to get to know more about me?

My name is Britain. I am wife to the sweetest man and mother to the most adorable girl. I am a biology student applying to Medical School. I am a closet nerd, and I'm still in denial about that to myself. I hate the cold. I like summer and beaches. According to my husband I am obstinate and strong-willed, I'm going to stay mum on that comment. Oh, he also says I'm always right, that one I will fess up too. I'm a feminist trying to trudge through the oppressive patriarchy that is Utah and academic science. I am a working/student mother and PROUD of it. I love listening to music all of the time. I enjoy reading, playing video games, musicals and bubble baths. I'm am incredibly shy, but I'm very opinionated and talkative once I open up to you.  I'm a night owl/ insomniac. For some reason this seems to drive all non-night owls nuts. On the flip side, I find morning people who wake up chipper and chatty irritating. I hate driving and big cities scare me. When it comes to school or work I am very organized. But other than that I am very messy and I hate cleaning. Someday I want a zillion pets, though that will probably never come to pass. My favorite color is blue.

And the last thing about me is that I finished this 30 day challenge! Go me go!

Also, today is my 4 year anniversary to the above mentioned sweetest man. To quote the lyrics of a Shania Twain song "They said, 'I bet they'll never make it.' But just look at us holding on. We're still together, still going strong ... I'm glad we didn't listen. Look at what we would be missing." I know at four years we're still newlyweds. But I would love to shove those years in the faces of a few (actually quite a few) people. I love you JP!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 29 - In this past month, what have I learned

I'm really not sure if this is supposed to be what have I learned as pertaining to this 30 day challenge, or if this what I learned in general over the past month.

As pertaining to this challenge I learned how to scheduled post on blogger. Yep folks, that's right I completely cheated. Almost all of the post were written forever in advance and then scheduled to post on the appropriate days. See I've been working on these post since last November. Whenever I got a chance I would work on a post. Then when I'd gotten the first 15 done I decided I would  this challenge started, well starting 29 days ago, and they all auto-posted. (I think that goes to show how busy I am, that it took me over half a year to find time to write 15 posts.) During those 15 days I worked on the next couple posts. Only during the past week have the entries been written in a time frame relatively close to when they posted.

I learned that the application process to medical school is extremely tedious and enormously expensive. We've already shelled out about 1 grand, and have another grand that we need to shell out so far...I'm not even close to done applying or having costs add up. Sigh, I'm going into debt for this dream and I'm not even accepted yet.

I learned some more about cars as my van decided to break down a week ago. Yes, some of you may remember that my car broke down several months ago and left me with a fear of being stranded in Boise. Well it did it again, this time leaving me with the fear of being stranded in Salt Lake.

I learned that it is absolutely impossible to get grandparents to respect the wishes of the parents (i.e. their children/children-in-law).

I've learned that I do not want to ever be a PhD student. The end does not justify the means in that situation, not for me anyways.

I've learned that being sick sucks. Okay I already knew that, everyone already knew that. But I'm sick right now and have been for the past couple of days. So that's my prevailing thought at the moment.

I've learned that my aunt with the pseudonym of Lois is the person most likely to comment on my blog. I also have a random foreign readers over in India, and Malaysia. (Hi! नमस्ते! Halo!)

I've learned that my day to day life (especially in the summer) is incredibly boring. I can't wait for school to start again. Except I'm not taking a lot of science courses (read: not any) ... sadness. So I won't see a lot of the people I'm familiar with. Maybe I'll just hang out in the biology building anyways. I'll be the BNR lurker, trying to spot people I know, and trying to remain grounded in (true) science after spending all my class time over in the social sciences area with the philosophy and anthropology people. (Yep, I just offended all my classmates for the next semester before school even started. Go me!)

I've learned over this past month, like right now, that I have way to much fun with parenthetical statements.

I've also learned that I terribly anti-social. But not in the psychological disorder, Ted Bundy/Lord Voldemort/Casey Anthony way. Speaking of which I've learned that our justice system is flawed. And not just the legal system, but also the police enforcement and criminal investigation aspect as well. Also, not that this is new, but our political system is terribly flawed.

I've learned that I am completely addicted to junk food and that there is no hope for me. Also, I'm completely obsessed with my daughter. But I think that's normal and called being a parent.

I've learned a lot about aquatic ecosystems and animals, courtesy of Netflix streaming and my affection for documentaries. (Side note: My husband should've been a scientist, or a nurse, except that he hates school, and the coursework would kill him. And yes, I did this just because I needed to throw in one more parenthetical statement before the end.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 28 - A picture of me last year and now, how have I changed since then?

I could be lazy and say look at the post from Day 1 and Day 16. Those pictures are actually a year apart. But that would be cheating. So here's a picture from a year ago. 

And a recent picture. I had to post pictures that included Gabrielle, because how she has changed over the past year is much more interesting if you ask me. 

The obvious change is all that hair, that really long mane of hair, I chopped it all off. It used to be halfway down my back, and now it doesn't even hit my shoulders. Also, I have bangs now, which is different.

A year ago I thought I would be ten pounds lighter by now, instead I'm ten pounds heavier. Ugh, stress weight and emotional eating.

Last year I was a mother of a baby, now I am a mother of a toddler.

Today I am more sure of who I am. That has given me more confidence in myself. Today I am more content with my life. I am at ease and assured in my role as wife and mother. On the flip side now I am applying to med school, a year ago that was just a thought. This naturally fills me with anxiety and doubt, and all sorts of unsure about myself.

Last year I spent the summer at home, volunteering once a week at the Logan Hospital, and once a week at the American Heritage Center. This summer I work half of the week in a basement lab, and half of the week is at home, busy working on med school applications.

A year ago the future was a distance thought. I'd be in Logan for 2 more years, a fairly long time, almost as long as I'd already spent in Logan. Now I am constantly thinking about the future. Where I am in a year, is going to be determing by what I do this summer and fall. I only (hopefully) have one year left in Logan, and I don't know where I'll be in a year. It's terrifying. I know where I was a year ago, it's been an interesting journey. But I have no idea where I'll be in a year and who I'll be then. The past year has been long, so much has happened, and I have grown so much. Here's to hoping the next year treats me well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 27 - Why I am doing this 30 day challenge

I am doing this challenge to get me in a habit of blogging. I need to keep a journal and to write regularly. It's good to keep a record. Plus, it helps me analyze my thoughts and feelings, helps me understand and stabilize my feelings. Hopefully after this I'll blog more regularly, not every day like the past month, but not the every couple months it was before.

Short post, but that's really my reason. That's all there is to it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 26 - What I think about my friends

You know, I've mentioned it before that I'm not the worlds most social person so my friends are fairly limited. Not to mention, of course I like my friends and I think they're awesome or else I wouldn't be friends with them.

I have my high school friends, the smart people who weren't the nerds, just a little out there and random. (Yes, truly random, back when that was considered a bad thing. Not the overused word by every teenager who ever giggled and flipped her hair.) They were a great group, a bunch of misfits who helped me belong when I wasn't sure anyone else would accept me. And then I got married and a bunch of them turned their backs on me. Cheers!

There are the friends I've made since then while in college - some of them in my classes and in my groups, my trip to Panama, and the one person I work with - though I'm not the social person that would invite them over for a party. They are a bunch of fantastic people who share similar interests to me, who speak my language, they know what it means when I say committee year, or when I say like my rhomboids are in killing me. Despite that the common linkage of science this group is very diverse. I love the variety of people, and different viewpoints they share. Variety is the spice of life, and I love it!

My final group of friends are those who were merely acquaintances before who I've gotten to know better through the internet. I've gotten to know some really amazing people this way. It makes me sad that I didn't get to know them better before, when I actually had the chance to have some of these conversations in person. It makes me grateful for tools like Facebook. I still get the chance to form friendships with missed connections.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 25 - What you would find in my bag

Well this really depends on the time of the year, and day of the week. Well since it's summer, I mainly carry a bag on work days. It's a bigger purse so I can carry what I need for the whole day in it, and it is nicely divided into different sections. In one side I carry the typical purse items: My cellphone, a few pens and pencils, keys, headphones, eye drops (I'm way to blind to just go without if they ever accidentally fall out during the day), a small hairbrush because I have to room to do so, chapstick, and occasionally my time card to record my work hours. Sometimes I'll even stick my wallet in there, which only contains my debit card, and a few bills. One the other side of my bag is where I carry my lunch. Usually there's a water bottle, some sort of fruit or a similar small snack, a stick of string cheese, and the main course which could be leftovers from the previous nights dinner, a salad or a sandwich.

On a none workday, if I am going to carry a bag I'll either pick the same bag and instead of a lunch I'll bring some snacks and a cup of milk for Gabrielle. If I'm not going to be gone long, or I don't have Gabrielle with me, I'll take a small purse with only my wallet and a stick of chapstick.

However, when it's not the summer, i.e. most of the year, I will have my backpack with me all the time. Of course in my backpack is everything mentioned above, purse objects, lunch, plus always a spare dollar or two, note cards, highlighters, many pencils, notebooks, textbooks, my computer, and a whole bunch of crap that gets forgotten and lost in the backpack black hole.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 24 - A letter to my parents

You know, the quality of the post cues goes down dramatically as this 30 day challenge goes on. Why would I write a letter to my parents here? If I wanted to write a letter to them why wouldn't I just send it to them? But, alas, the title decrees it, so write it I must. (Or do I? Do I really have to? Can this whine just count as my post instead.)

Dear Mom and Dad,

I love you. Dad, I'm sorry we couldn't meet up while you were in Logan a couple days ago. You've got to give me forewarning on these sorts of things, I'm kind of busy. I'll miss camping with you guys at the reunion this weekend. Tell everyone "Hi" for me, and tell them that you have the cutest granddaughter of them all. Gabrielle was very sad to see you guys leave after you dropped us off from our trip to Canada. Her adorable, big baby blue eyes started watering. She made me stand in the driveway for a long long time, looking down the road hoping to see your car come back. She will be very glad to see you guys again, I hope that can be sometime soon before she forgets all the fun. Luckily she's remembering for much longer periods of time now.
Thanks for being the great parents you were. You weren't perfect, you certainly had your faults, but you did a good job of teaching me what I needed to learn. Some parents don't seem to give a crap about their children, but I know you cared about me. Other parents seem to think their kids are porcelain, I call them helicopter parents, always hovering around. They do everything for their kids, hand them life on a silver platter and protect them from anything slightly unhappy. You most certainly did not do that for me. And for that thank you, now I can be (somewhat of) an adult. I can even go buy my school supplies on my own, without having to ask the teacher what type of notebook they want. (That really happens, true story.)

Love ya,


P.S. Please stop spoiling my daughter. It's this dark cloud lurking over our shoulders during our visits, and it leaves a bitter aftertaste. When we have to watch our daughter throw more temper tantrums then she ever has, and then have to deal with the spoiled child afterwards it casts a very negative hue over the whole visit. Please respect my parenting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 23 - Something I crave for a lot

Is that title correct grammar? I've merely copy and pasted from the challenge instructions. Something about it seems choppy and wrong. I feel like the "for a lot" is a bit much. Either something I crave for, or something I crave a lot would have sufficed. Not that the rest of my titles and posts have outstanding grammar. Oh well.

I feel like this post might be a repeat of Day 21. Obviously I desire the things that make me happy, and satisfying my cravings typically makes me happy. 

So same as Day 21, the first thing I crave for is Ice Cream and Coldstone is the best.

I also crave chocolate, in any form all the time. As well as other forms of general sweetness like brownies and cookies.

I do crave raspberries and blueberries. I wish they weren't so expensive or else I would justify this healthy craving. When I have a home of my own I am growing my own raspberry bush.

Courtesy of my childhood days in Alaska, I love Alaskan King Crab Legs, and yes them being from Alaska matters. Unfortunately I hardly ever get these. 

This one is almost not a craving, it's more of an obsession, sauteed mushrooms. 

Sourdough bread will be my last craving. Once we bought a loaf and I ate the whole thing in 2 days. Slice, butter, devour and repeat. 

I feel like my blog should come with a warning label: Dieters Beware. Contains many tasty food pictures. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 22 - What makes me different from everyone else

Somehow the title of these makes me feel like I'm about to write another application essay, though I prefer to stay away from that. 

I got married very young, and not because I was pregnant or was trying to escape a bad home situation.

I had a child at a young age, and yes she was planned. 

While those two may stereotype me as the young mother who just want to stay at home and be homemaker and housewife extraordinaire, I have no desire at all to be at home. I love the idea of having a career, of working and contributing to society, reaching out and touching others beyond my family. Throw in the fact that I live in Utah and I'm a Mormon, and that previous sentence makes me even more of a stereotype breaker. How many girls do you know who want a career in a rigorous field like medicine or law, that also have children before even entering training?  

Despite being a Mormon, and my rather conservative upbringing I have some more liberal views. For instance, I completely believe in evolution (come on, I am a scientist after all) and I support gay marriage. Throw in the fact that I'm a feminist and I've upset most of my family and my church. (If any of my typical readers suddenly feels the urge to pray for my soul - it's nice that you care for me but no thanks.)

Someone told me I was an interesting case study in contradictions. 

I don't drink caffeine or even carbonated beverages at all. My one health conviction, I'm going to stick to it.

I'm a picky eater, but I like the things most picky eaters hate, like fish, escargot and mushrooms. 

I hate watching movies but I love to watch TV shows and documentaries. Yeah, I don't know what the difference is either. 

For the last one, I hate telephones. I get an anxiety attack every time I have to call someone. Texting has been my lifesaver. I don't know why I am so afraid of talking to people on the phones. It's not just that I'm shy, I'm open to other forms of communication. I'd rather drive down to the business place and talk to them in person rather than call them. Because of this little phobia I am so surprised that I got a job working for Walt Disney World. Their interview took place by phone, and it was one of the more intense (read: actually asked me interview style questions) interviews I've ever had. 

There you go folks, the differences of Britain in a nutshell, or more, what I could think of right now. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 21 - A picture of something that makes you happy

A lot of things make me happy. We'll start off with some good ol' ice cream, especially Coldstone ice cream.

Come on, you know that looks delicious.
My sweet daughter makes me happy, when she's not driving me nuts.

That's the center to my whole world right there.
A good book always helps.

Fantastic book. One of my favorites. Her blog and comics are hilarious too.
I love scrapbooking. It nice to be creative once in a while, and it's nice to feel like I'm good at something.

However I just don't get the time to do it as often as I'd like. So I am forever behind.
And as weird as this one sounds, school makes me happy too, stressed but happy. I've always loved school.

I have a love/hate relationship with this campus.
But truthfully, I've enjoyed my time here and I'll be sad to leave.
 Lastly, bright blue skies, sitting out in the sunshine soaking up that vitamin D is the best thing ever. (To a certain aunt: you're not allowed to grumble about this one.)

Oh, and the ocean makes me happy as well. 

Also, I made an edit to the previous day's post. I have put up another wedding photo taken from the photographer's site, courtesy of my aunt (and of course my fantastic Grandma who took the photo). So feel free to go back and look.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 20 - Someone I see myself marrying/being with in the future

Ah, super young JP. Isn't he just so cute?
That's why we are going to have the cutest kids.
Someday I going to marry this man. No, really it's true. Yeah, I don't know what to write for this post considering I'm already married and I plan on staying that way for the rest of my life.

See what happened is one day he finally decided to ask me out on a date. We fell in love and got all engaged. See aren't we so lovely dovey mushy?

As a consequence of that decision we got married. Yep, that's really how it goes folks engagement results in marriage. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage.

Now I would post a wedding photo here. It would seem a fitting spot. But I don't have any of our wedding photos on the computer. This is the only wedding photo on the computer. (For some forgotten reason or other that was important and urgent my mother-in-law desperately needed a wedding photo so I scanned that one in.) If I had planned ahead better I wouldn't have used that photo in that post so I could use it here. Oh well. Anyways, I married the love of my life and best friend 4 years (-10days) ago. Someday I'll get wedding photos on disc so then I can share them with ya'll.

Edit: Here is another wedding photo that I took from the photographer's site. (Shout out to my aunt, who suggested stealing this photo, and to my grandma, the fantastic photographer.)

Click on the photo if you want to blow it up extremely huge.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 19 - Nicknames I have, and why I have them.

I really don't have many nicknames. I have an aversion to nicknames. I like my actual name Britain very much, so I prefer to be called Britain.

The most common nickname I have is Brit. I think the reason why is rather obvious. I still prefer Britain over Brit, except for select people who I'm close to.

Occasionally while working in the lab I get called Mormon. The reason there is also pretty obvious, because I am Mormon, and my boss/co-worker is not.

My husband has used a variety of nicknames: Love, Babe etc...

That's about it. There really aren't too many other nicknames, especially not that people have used recently.

Also, on an unrelated note, two years ago today I gave birth two the cutest girl.

She's only gotten cuter since.

And she is just as cute today.

Happy Birthday Gabrielle. I love you so much.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 18 - Plans/dreams/goals I have

I plan on graduating from Utah State next spring.
I plan on enjoying the time left in college.
I plan on living the rest of my life happily married to the sweetest man in the world.

I dream of having the money to buy a new car and a home of my own.
I dream of traveling the world.
I dream of being skinny and fit again someday.

I have a goal to be on completely top of my homework, work and other responsibilities this next year (but I'm not planning on it.)
I have a goal to raise my daughter to be an upstanding person, a contributing member of society who kind, tolerant, generous, creative, hard worker, and who thinks for herself.
And for other short term goals see Day 8.

I plan on, I dream of with every fiber of my being, I have a goal to be a doctor someday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 17 - Someone I would want to switch lives with for one day and why

I would want to switch lives with my dear husband, JP, for one day.

He is so different from me. Even when we experience the same event, he perceives it so differently from me. I want to understand how he sees the world, how his mind works. Another thing, is I just can't fathom the depth of his love for me, or what he sees in me. If I could switch lives with me for one day, maybe I could understand him better.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 16 - Another picture of me

I know I recently posted another picture under this waterfall, but I really like this photo. I know it's hard to actually see me (that's why I made the photo really big), and I don't look particularly great. But it shows me really happy, with a genuine smile, not just a posing for photos smile. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 15 - First 10 songs that play when I put my iPod on shuffle

Because I am too lazy to grab my iPod, I'm just going to put iTunes on shuffle. It's the same songs anyway.

1. Vincent - Josh Groban

2. She Let Herself Go - George Strait (Sorry, I could only find a lyric video for that one.)

3. Masquerade - Phantom of the Opera

4. Better Things to Do - Terri Clark

5. Where's the Girl? - Scarlet Pimpernel, Terrence Mann. This is one of my favorite songs, and one of my favorite musicals. The video is incredibly quiet, sorry. It was the only one I could find that was actually Terrence Mann singing, so turn the sound up as high as you can.

6. Say Anything - Good Charlotte (Another lyric video.)

7. I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight - Toby Keith

8. Mine - Taylor Swift

9. Strangers - Martina McBride

10. The Gods Love Nubia - Aida, Heather Headley, Schele Williams and Ensemble

I finished Day 15! I am halfway done.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 14 - A picture of my family and I

So we don't have a lot of family photos. Usually either JP or I have the camera, it's rare that we are both in the picture. Here is the first photo taken of our family taken while in it's current state - three people - the day Gabrielle was born. I promise my husband looks less creepy with hair.

And a much more recent picture of our family from our trip to Canada. It was hard to find one where we are all looking at the camera. See he is much less creepy with hair. 

And one more picture from Canada because I love it. I got to cross an item off of my bucket list: kiss under a waterfall. It was awesome! (The kiss and being under the waterfall.)

I just want to add at the end I love my family so much! Those two mean the world to me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 13 - A letter to someone who hurt me recently

Dear person(s)

I don't know how to write this or even wear to start. You don't even realize you hurt me. I was so angry and sad, and you dismissed me. You don't care what I think or feel. I will always be wrong in your eyes. I wish you would get to know me better, despite how long we've known each other you haven't taken the time and effort to really try and figure out who I am. I am not as simple to figure out as you think. There are many layers and different aspects to me; I am far more complex than you see me. Don't just take one aspect of me and think that's all there is to me. Don't try and force me into who you think I should be. I am figuring out who I am. While I am not at the end of the journey, I'm still imperfect and stumbling, but I am happy with the path I am on, and who I am becoming. Someday I hope you'll realize the level of resentment I have for you. Someday I hope you'll see my side and how you so carelessly dismissed me, my feeling, my thoughts, and my point of view. I hope you'll become a more caring and better person, someday. But right now, I am working on cutting you out of my life, reducing your hurtful influence. When I am around you, I am easily depressed, my stress level is through the roof, and I feel like I have to suppress who I am. That's why I've decided I'm better off with minimal contact with you. I'll enjoy the good moment with you, but those times will be brief and infrequent. Good-bye.



PS I hated writing this post.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 12 - How I found out about blogs and why I made one

I don't remember how I found out about blogs. I had a LiveJournal account in high school, and I got a Blogger account in high school as well. Several friends in college courses were required to keep a blog as part of an English assignment and needed comments, and it required I have an account, but I don't think I ever posted anything.

I first considered actually blogging was when I was first married. I don't remember the what or why, but I do remember the neighbors below us helped influence that decision. JP actually wanted a blog first, to help our family know what was going on in our lives. That didn't work out so well, neither of us posted very frequently. I started this blog when I was pregnant because I felt the urge to try the 365 day photo challenge, which I've previously mentioned. I continue to keep trying to blog because this is my way of saying I write in a journal. Yet, I'm still horrible at updating this. Hence this 30 day challenge to hopefully help me be better at posting frequently.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 11 - Another picture of "you and your friends" - or not.

So for Day 11 I was supposed to do a post with another picture of my friends and I. But I already told you people, I don't have friends, the loosely defined "friends" I have I don't hang out with, and if I did I wouldn't have a picture of it. But if you do want a picture of what I spend the most time with it would be this: 

Rough skinned Newt, Taricha granulosa

Actually I spend most of my time with thousands of larvae, and most of the larvae have some sort of deformity. I study (okay, technically I'm a research assistant, but there isn't a ton of difference) these little creatures in the lab I work in.

Two headed newt larvae. So sad, yet so neat.
These newts contain high amounts of tetrodotoxin which is 10x more toxic than potassium cyanide, which makes them one of the most toxic creatures in North America. Yeah, somehow saying that makes my job sound so much cooler than it really is. If you scare them they like to show off their bright orange color. Aren't they so cute, in a deadly sort of way? 

Unken reflex = don't eat me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 10 - Songs I Listen to When I Am Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad

When I'm happy I tend to turn on upbeat music, and generally it's country. Cowboy Casanove - Carrie Underwood, Looking for a Good Time - Lady Antebellum, some good old Journey and other classic rock is good too.

For the sad times, occasionally I'll wallow into the sad tunes, and there are more than plenty of songs that exist about not so happy themes. But usually I only indulge in them for a brief time, then I switch over to the happy songs. If I listen to happy songs long enough it'll help cheer me up. Actually any music long enough will cheer me up, so when I'm sad is when I'm the least picky. The soundtrack to Scarlet Pimpernel is always a good pick-me-up and transition from sad and wallowing to happy.

What I listen to when I'm bored is incredibly variable. Most of the times I just put iTunes on shuffle and listen to whatever pops up next.

When I'm hyped it's very similar to when I am happy. Upbeat tunes, good songs to sing along to or dance to. So I'll play the usual happy songs, and this is also when I tend to add in Lady Gaga, Shakira or Rihanna.

When I'm mad, well then the mad songs with angry lyrics or with loud beats. P!nk and Miranda Lambert are very good for these times. When I'm mad is when a lot of my rock songs get listened too, mixed together with the country, angry don't-take-no-crap-burn-his-house-down lyrics. But similar to when I'm sad I don't listen to these for incredibly long time. After a while I'll revert to shuffle and listen to whatever to help revert my mood.

If you're curious my library genres in order are: Country - 485 songs, Soundtracks & Musicals - 397 songs, Easy Listening (New Age, Josh Groban/Susan Boyle style stuff ) - 107 songs, Pop - 80 songs,  Gospel and Religious - 77 songs, Alternative & Punk - 74 songs, Holiday (restricted to December only) - 68 songs, Rock (including classic songs) - 50 songs Dance & Techno - 26 songs, R&B & Rap - 14 songs, and lastly Hip-Hop (all Black-Eyed Peas) 7 songs. So there you go, that breaks it down pretty well what I listen to.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 09 - Something I am proud of in the last few days

This really depends on your definition of "few." I submitted my AMCAS application, that is something I am extremely proud of, I worked hard to get to this point, and I worked very hard on my application, all 16 pages of it. But that was a little over a week ago, so I'm not sure that's recently enough to be considered a few days ago.

Well last Friday I stayed awake the whole night because the car was too uncomfortable to sleep in, and then I still drove 2-3 hours after breakfast while everybody else in the car was asleep. And I didn't get lost! That's pretty big for me, okay yes it was Montana but still. JP got lost, okay that was the fault of the GPS taking us some place different. But don't let any of that diminish my accomplishment, I managed to stay on the same highway and not get lost while driving for several hours on no sleep with no one else awake to assist me. I'm still proud of myself.

The past few days (see I'm actually getting to the post requirements now) I've gone on all these darn hikes my family has been dragging us too. Despite the fact that I am obviously the most out of shape person in this group and that I despise physical activity. But right now I'm just too exhausted and tired to be proud of this. For your information, the hikes were beautiful, I would post a photo but they aren't uploaded to the computer yet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 08 - Short term goals for this month and why

Goal 1: Fill out and submit all Secondary Applications received within two weeks of receiving them. Why? Because I really want to go to medical school, and I need to set a deadline for myself so ensure that I don't procrastinate.

Goal 2: Work on potty training my daughter. They start potty training at daycare at age 2, so I want to have her familiar with it at home. Also, diapers are really expensive and I'd be happy to be done with them. The last reason is because she has a terrible rash that comes and goes, but is never really gone for good. The rash tend to be drastically better on the days she spends in underwear, so I'm hoping that potty training may actually get rid of this evil rash.

Goal 3: Don't kill my family. Why is this on my goals for this month? Because I will be spending an unusually high  amount of time with family this month. Over a week in Canada with my parents and siblings (where I currently am), another day or two with family for Gabrielle's birthday, around 3 days with my extended family for the family reunion, and who knows what else may come up. So almost half of the month will be spent with family, which can be stressful. (Yes, I still love them.)

Goal 4: Work on scrapbooking. Scrapbooking gets neglected during the school year, and it was neglected even more the past little while as I was preparing to apply to med school. So I am terribly behind, even more than normal, since you are always behind with scrapbooking. Plus I really enjoy scrapbooking and looking at the results. This leads to the next goal.

Goal 5: Get better at Photoshop. I'd previously used Digital Image Pro, but the program is really old and has some glitches. It's getting worse lately, for instance, it will no longer copy things, and occasionally it will turn photos into these ugly overexposed negatives giving everyone a skeletal demonic look, and sometimes it refuses to save things. As you can see, these can create some issues.

Goal 6: Finish my summer to-do list. I have a list of several small tasks that need to get done, but they've been neglected for once again that darn med school application process.

Goal 7: Actually work out regularly. I try so hard, but then things keep getting in the way. For instance, I'll have to work late, or JP will have to work late and I'll have to watch Gabrielle, then somebody will get sick and of course that creates issues, or I'll have something other obligation at night. Often my day is so cram packed that I have no chance to do anything until around 10 at night, and by then I'm exhausted and just want to sit.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 07 - A Picture of Someone that has the Biggest Impact on Me

I couldn't decide on whether JP or Gabrielle are more impactful to me. Both of them changed my life forever.  So completely. JP has always been by my side, there for me through everything, taught me the basics of living on my own (do you know if you smash the milk cartoons they take up less room in the recycling bin, I didn't at first). He has helped me and inspired me to grow and become a better person. Without him, I don't think I could have accomplished near as much as I have, and want to. Nor without him would I have the second gem of my life, Gabrielle.

About Gabrielle, well I became a mother, need I say anymore about how that changed my life? I learn more about myself everyday. I also tell myself that I need to be better everyday. But it's much more than that, so much more, and unfortunately I don't have the brain power right now to even try to describe what it's like. I can not fathom what life would be like without her, I can't even comprehend how I managed to live life before her. It was like I wasn't even really living life, I thought I knew what happiness, sorrow and love were before, but I really didn't. I didn't realize that my life was bland before I had a child, now my life is full of emotion, wonder, new insights everyday. I truly now have a reason for living and smiling everyday. When I get a smile from her it's such an amazing sense of fulfillment, the reason for being. And that's only a smile, let alone the hugs and kisses. On the same note, I don't think anyone else has the capacity of complicating my life near as much as her, or making me feel so awful as when I make her cry. Also, somehow having a child just mean potential to me. Through her eyes I see the potential of what I and JP can become. I am constantly amazed at the potential she has, what she can become, and what this world can be like if put in the right perspective.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 06 - Favorite Super Hero and Why

So I'm not really sure I have a favorite super hero, I've never been big into the whole super hero thing.

When I was younger I always thought Batman was pretty cool. He didn't have any super powers he just did it on his own, with what he had. However, the movie Dark Knight seriously creeped me out. And my very well versed in super heroes husband introduced me to Iron Man who is basically the same as Batman, rich playboy with no super powers saving the world, with a slightly less creepy demeanor.

I also liked Storm and Wonder Women when I was little. Girl Power and all that, but I don't really know all the much about either of them.

I thought about putting Wolverine. He's kinda cool, got the whole rugged, loner, bad boy that's actually good guy thing going on. Plus, I really liked the show, and Hugh Jackman's pretty good looking. But I can't really categorically state that he's my favorite.

My husband and aunt would probably try to persuade me in favor of Superman. After watching all of Lois and Clark (yeah, that was my Christmas Break) I'd have to say they have a pretty good point (Lois Lane is obnoxious though).

So throughout all this rambling I still don't know who is really my favorite. I'm going to leave it to a vote, whoever gets the most comments in his/her favor will be my "favorite", persons are also welcome to leave arguments for a super hero to try and get said super hero extra points.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 05 - A Picture of Somewhere I've Been

I've been to Panama! That's the farthest I've been from home. (I'm not going to go over the whole lengthy trip synopsis here though.)

Yeah, that's a palm tree beach. They really do exist. 

 Beautiful sandy beach. 

Proof that I was in fact there. I'm the one on the far right by the way.

The Panama Canal is in Panama (surprise!) and I got to see it.

Ridiculously huge freight ship going through the Canal.

Also, there are really big ferns in Panama.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 04 - A Habit I Wish I Didn't Have

So I thought a really long time about this. I thought about putting chewing my fingernails, but I've almost completely eliminated that habit. Actually now my nails have been growing so strong that I doubt I could even chew them.

This may be a stretch but slouching. I have atrocious posture! I fault my mother, it's her genes. Every time I walk past a mirror or see a picture I realize how horrible it looks, like I'm transforming into the Hunchback of Notre Dame. There is a girl who was in one of my classes who has the straitest back ever, like her mother strapped her to a papoose carrier through her whole childhood. She never even leans against the back of chair, just sits upright during class. I'm so jealous, she looks amazing, beautiful, confident and refined. I can never remember to sit up or stand up straight, so if anyone was any tips feel free to give them to me. Someday, hopefully I'll learn to stand up straight, though more likely I'll just be mistaken for Quasimodo in my later years.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 03 - My friends and I

This was a rather difficult task for me. See I don't really have friends. Well the ones that I do have are very few in number and live far away. I don't do a lot of socializing. And then to try and find pictures with any of my friends is even harder. (And I now, there's another post with the same challenge coming up later, I may stage photos with random people.) But nevertheless I found one! Behold!

That is my dear friend and I at her baby shower several months ago. She now has an adorable little daughter. Anyways, we met way back in high school, were we swam on the swim team together. She was my conspirator in harassing JP (love you, sweetie). We also meant a great deal of time in the pool office, or locker room or anywhere talking, always talking and sharing our deep dark secrets to each other. But then we grew up. I got married and ran away. She was one of my lovely bridesmaids at my wedding. And shortly after that, she got married and ran away, like really far away, not even on the same continent far away, so the friendship and communication dropped off a bit. But she is back, though still a long drive away.

Now look back at that picture. Do you see that awesome diaper cake and diaper wreath. Yeah, I made those. I'm pretty proud of them, I think they looked awesome. So now you have to get more pictures of my craftiness.

Pretty pink diaper cake, with adorable teddy bear topper.

See those flowers, their actually rolled up baby socks. Functional and cute. 

And a diaper wreath with the leftovers. The big center flower is actually a massive headband.
Up close of the wreath decorations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 02 - Blog name

My blog name really isn't that creative. It's the number of minutes in a non-leap year.  It's from the song "Seasons of Love" off of the musical Rent. I really like the song, it's about loving life and capturing every moment. That's what I originally set out to do on this blog. I started out trying to complete the challenge to take a picture everyday, a picture for every 1,440 minutes. Maybe I will take up that challenge again when I have a phone that takes good pictures, since it was difficult to remember to always carry around a camera and extra batteries. 

Season of Love
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How
about love? Measure in love.
Seasons of love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan.
525,600 minutes - how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned,
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died....

It's time now to sing out,
the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends.
How about love!
How about love! How about love!
Measure in love.
Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 01 - 15 "interesting" facts

07/31/2010 - Counts as recent enough for me. Picture is shockingly (for me) completely unedited, so ignore all zits, dark shadows and whatnots. This was taken during my family's trip to Colorado. Thanks go to JP, who took the photo, and my grandma, Jo Ann Poulsen, who taught me how trick the camera into making me look skinnier than I really am.

I don't know if there are 15 interesting facts about me, but we'll see. So bear with me if they are uninteresting. 

  1. I go through stages with clothing. When I was younger I hated jeans and tennis shoes, and now that's all I wear. 
  2. I love berries, really really love blueberries, raspberries, and salmonberries. I wish they were more available and affordable.
  3. I don't like pancakes, except for my late Grandpa's blueberry sourdough pancakes, which are amazing. 
  4. I can't stand to take test with my hair down, when I'm trying to think I find it very distracting to have my hair on my neck and face. 
  5. I think the most beautiful part of the body is either the arbor vitae or the optic chiasma. (I tried to find pictures, but I couldn't find a good one on Google.)
  6. I love being in the mountains. 
  7. I hate the winter, I hate the snow, I hate the bitter stinging winds, and I hate the gray, sunless skies.
  8. I am absolutely terrified of talking on the phone. I have mini panic attacks every time I have to call someone. I'd rather text, or talk in person.
  9. I am horrible at updating my blog, but I love reading others blogs. (Hey it didn't say it had to be 15 facts you didn't know, so I can include a really obvious one on here.)
  10. I think my daughter is the cutest thing I've ever seen. (The second cutest thing is baby monkeys, which my daughter has been known to resemble, so she's even cuter.)
  11. My husband thinks I'm an amazing cook. I think I'm a horrible cook. I have like 10 things that I ever cook, and I just recycle through them. And they are all just recipes that I follow the directions for, so it's not really to my credit if it does taste good, it's be the inventor of the recipe.
  12. We need more bookshelves in our place. We already have a 5-shelf bookcase, a 3-shelf bookcase, plus one shelf on the computer desk, and one shelf on the entertainment center that have books on them, and we still have more books than space. Of course part of the problem is that the lower shelves are really underutilized, thanks to the subject of #10. 
  13. I lose pencils at an alarming frequency. Taking a guess, I'd say I lose at least 1 pencil a week, sometimes more. It's very frustrating. (Shout out to my amazing aunt, G.P. who once gave me an amazing gift of a giant pack of mechanical pencils, actually that was only part of the gift - the rest was pretty cool too. But thanks, that pack has been my lifesaver.)
  14. The color of my laptop, and that it has a cool texture, so I can run my fingers across it and make noise were large factors in picking the laptop I did. 
  15. I got my laptop this year. My husband tried to tell me that I should use a laptop for years, and I resisted. But I finally had to succumb and admit, that I could really really use one, and it's made things so much easier.
Woohoo! I didn't think I'd be able to come up with 15, I was struggling there at the beginning. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge

So I'm going to take this blog challenge I saw off of a friend's blog forever ago because now that I submitted my application I have nothing to do. (Not really, I still have tons, I just don't care as much anymore.)

So here is what to expect over the next month:

Day 01 - A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02 - The meaning behind your Blog name
Day 03 - A picture of you and your friends
Day 04 - A habit that you wish you didn't have
Day 05 - A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06 - Favorite super hero and why
Day 07 - A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08 - Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09 - Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10 - Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad
Day 11 - Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12 - How you found out about blogs and why you made one
Day 13 - A letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14 - A picture of you and your family
Day 15 - Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16 - Another picture of yourself
Day 17 - Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18 - Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19 - Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20 - Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21 - A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22 - What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23 - Something you crave for a lot
Day 24 - A letter to your parents
Day 25 - What I would find in your bag
Day 26 - What you think about your friends
Day 27 - Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28 - A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29 - In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30 - Who are you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Med School Application Explained

As I've been applying to med school I've been getting a lot of questions from family members, so I figured this would be the easiest way to explain to everyone. Applying to Med School is a 2 year process.

The first year is the Prehealth Evaluation Committee year. The fall of this year is the paperwork section. It is spent gathering letters of recommendations, filling out a data sheet about myself and my activities, and writing a 5 page autobiographical sketch. The complicated thing is actually getting those letter of recommendations, for each letter I had to fill out a questionnaire about myself for each person. Each questionnaire was different and several pages long. Then I interviewed for an hour or more with each of them as well, yes even though they all knew me very well. The data sheet was a little complex as well, since I had to calculate approximately how many hours I'd spent on each activity during the past 4 years. During the spring of the Committee year is spent going interviews with Committee members. These committee members than give you the go ahead to apply, or put a kabosh to it. They write a letter of evaluation to all medical schools informing them of their opinion of you. They can also opt to write a letter that says they do not recommend this individual and please don't ever admit them.

The next year is the Application Year. Typically students take the MCAT the summer/late spring before this year. This is what I did. And then they spend all of May and June in a constant state of stress filling out the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application. (They might also fill out applications with a few other services as well.) The AMCAS asks everything about you. It is a painstaking and tedious process. There are sections on my childhood and demographic information like how much did my parents make on average in my childhood, and where did a grow up. One section is on course work. And I have to manually put in every class I've ever taken, the course classification and number, the class name, class type (lecture or lab), and credit hours. Since I started taking college courses in 2004, this was a lot of classes. I also had to track down transcripts from all 7 colleges I've ever taken a course from, also not fun. (I blame you Manti High.) There is an activities sections where I have to list of all my activities, their classification, hours  spent on each activity, a contact to verify the information, and write a short paragraph on the activity. The part I found the hardest is the personal statement, where they give you the very opened prompt of "Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school. You have 5300 characters, or approximately one full page."

After the application is submitted that isn't the end. After AMCAS has verified everything and done a background check, the actual medical school receive your application. Then each of them send you a secondary application. Each school's is unique. After they review your secondary application, you may or may not be invited to interview at the school. Yes, this means that hopefully I will be flying all over the countryside this year. That is finally the end, and the school decides to accept or reject you.

As far as the numbers go, what most people say when judging an applicant is the GPA and MCAT scores. There are 3 parts to the GPA: the overall GPA, the science GPA (all science and math courses), and all other (anything not science). To be considered a competitive applicant all of those should be around or above 3.6, an A- average. With the MCAT there are 4 sections. 3 of the sections get a numerical score 1-15, these add up to the total MCAT score. These 3 sections are the Physical Sciences: chemistry and physics, Biological Sciences: organic chemistry, biology and human physiology, and Verbal Reasoning which tests critical thinking and reasoning. The fourth sections is a writing sample, where they give two prompts, and I had an hour to write two essays. This section is scores from J (lowest) to T (highest). Overall the highest obtainable score for the MCAT is a 45. The test scores have a bell shape distribution. The average is a 25. The average of those accepted is 32. The images show the distributions and percentile ranks. Click on the images to make them bigger.

I had told myself that I would be happy with a score that would put in X percentile. But because I couldn't just do that I'd set a goal to shoot for a score that would put me in the X+10 percentile. I got really close to that goal. No I'm not going to post my score on the internet, if you're really curious ask me.

To give you an idea of how hard this whole process is I'm going throw out a few numbers. Nationwide 82,000 people take the MCAT only 44,000 of those apply, and 22,000 get in. And that is of those who get to that point. There is no official data for this but when I started at Utah State there was several hundred pre-meds in my class, probably close to a thousand. There is 37 of us applying this year from Utah State. So less than 10% make it to even applying, and only half of those will get in. This is why I am a complete nervous wreck.

I am applying to 14 schools:
Loma Linda University - Loma Linda, CA (near LA)
University of Colorado - Denver, CO
George Washington University - Washington, DC
Emory University - Atlanta, GA
Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
Boston University - Boston, MA
Albany Medical College - Albany, NY
Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA
Thomas Jefferson University - Philadelphia, PA
Commonwealth Medical College - Scranton, PA
Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston, SC
Meharry Medical College - Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN
West Virginia University - Morgantown, WV

And I think that covers everything.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ice Cream is Taking Over the World!!!

Many people complain about how the candy companies have taken over the holidays like Halloween and Easter. I'm here to let you know about an even more subtle and insidious conspiracy. The ice cream companies have taken over an entire season, Springtime, especially the end of Springtime. They do not advertise their take over and so have avoided detection while spreading their plot to world domination. (They may or may not have teamed up with magazines like Shape, who have also taken over a season: Summer, a.k.a Bikini Season.) To illustrate my point and to expose their evil conspiracy I give you these examples:

Situation: It's the end of the semester and you are stressed about finals, the horrible tests that can determine your grade.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You said up way to late studying for finals and you need a pick up to get you going.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You wound up failing your finals despite all your studying.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You completely rocked your finals and want to celebrate.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: It's the end of the semester, and you have to go through all the hassle of moving.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: All your friends are graduating, and you are going to miss them as they move away.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You are graduating and you are so excited to be done with school. But you are also terrified of having to actually go out, find a job,  enter the real world, and in general figure out the rest of your life.
Solution: Ice Cream x 2

Situation: It's the end of the semester and you're boyfriend broke up with you because he is graduating / leaving to summer job / wants to be free during the summer.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: It's the end of the summer, you are sick of hearing about your roommates wedding plans, and you realize that everyone is getting married in the next couple of weeks but you.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You are getting married soon and you need to celebrate.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: Your child is graduating from high school and will soon be moving out, and you are filled with sorrow at the thought of your baby growing up and leaving the nest.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You are graduating high school, leaving home and completely excited to grow up.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: Sumer is approaching, you actually live somewhere with sunshine and it's starting to get really hot.
Solution: Ice Cream

Situation: You live in Logan, it's the last week of April and it's snowing.
Solution: Ice Cream, and plane ticket.

Yes, I might be going through an ice cream craving right now (and stress), but that has no bearing on any of my points whatsoever.