Sunday, June 22, 2008

"There's Always the Mariana Islands."

Earlier this year I was looking through some of the job openings for PAs at potential government -reimbursed clinics. There was an abbreviation that I didn't know, and looking it up (yay Google!) found out that it was the Northern Mariana Islands. "Where are the Northern Mariana Islands?" you ask. I was thinking the same thing so I wikied it (Wikipedia) to learn more. It's in the Pacific just north of Guam, and eyeballing it on a globe, looks like it's halfway between Hawaii and China. There are about 84,000 people there and the languages spoken include Chamorro, Carolinian, and English. Only about 2% of the Islanders are Caucasian, so I would probably stand out. It does have the highest female:male ratio in the world of 100 females to every 77 males, so that would be a disadvantage for the Island dating scene for me. My mother and I were discussing future job locations and I told her, "There's always the Mariana Islands." She replied with, "You're making Alaska look better and better."

I haven't 100% settled on a location. I do have a job offer in southern California but I'm not sure if I'll take it yet. There's still more job searching, particularly out-of-state job searching, that I haven't done yet. Earlier this year I was pretty open to going wherever there was a job, but then I figured it would be nice to stay in SoCal if possible... But who knows... There's a lot of things to consider: commuting, cost of living, weather (this 105 degree weather is making Alaska look better and better), population - rural vs. city, family med vs. pediatrics, salary, etc... I'm going to start a poll and if any of you want to leave a comment with a recommendation of where I should work, it would be welcomed and pondered upon. By the way, the Northern Mariana Islands job is no longer listd.

I still want a kayak...

Friday, June 20, 2008

One of the best science documentaries EVER!

In one of my zoology classes in college I watched a film from the 1980's called "Cane Toads: An Unnatural History." Roger Ebert summarizes the plot as, "An assault of sex-mad giant toads munching their way across Australia." One of the funniest things about the movie is the people that they interview, some are included in the clips below. Enjoy!

An alternative use for cane toads

A man who loves cane toads:

"...and that's what I like about them."

Mind Decompression Part 2: Yay for Ikea!

As I watched in sadness the elimination game of Sweden in the Euro Cup 2008 this last week, I thought I would highlight one of the important things that we, in the United States, receive from the Swedes: Ikea. For those who have never heard of Ikea, it's a huge 2-story home furnishings store that is complete with cafeteria, day care center, a "bistro", and a small food market where one can buy food products from Sweden. Though some of their European fashion designs are a little out of my field, their prices are a bit hard to beat. It is one of the few stores (other than book, music and recreational/outdoor equipment stores) that is hard for me to spend less than an hour in; and this is from someone who avoids malls and weekends at Walmart at all costs. I may not be the typical girl because I really do dislike shopping very much (and I would never, ever expect a boyfriend/husband to accompany me to share in the torture of clothes shopping with its sensory-overloading and crowed environment). Nevertheless, if I have an excuse to go to Ikea, well then...

My excuse came a couple weeks ago as I was coming back from an interview. Ikea is about 35 minutes away from where I live, but since it was on the way home, I thought I would stop and get the lingonberry jam that I had been craving for weeks. It's soo good on toast - such a simple pleasure. I meandered around the showroom floor that includes exhibits on how to live in a 400 square foot apartment with style. Since it was lunch time, I did grab a cheap lunch for under five dollar that included a slice of this great swedish chocolate cake. Not too much time later, I saw it... something I haven't seen in five years... a six-pack set of them...dessert spoons!! I fell in love with dessert spoons when I was in Argentina and vowed that I would someday have a set. They're just a smaller version of typical spoons, but for some unknown reason, I think they're great! I didn't buy the set that day, although I think it was under $7, but I figured I'll return soon once I get a paycheck. Until then, I shall enjoy my lingonberry jam on toast. I will be back Ikea, oh yes, I will be back...
Oh, and their yearly catalog is due out at the end of this month, what joy fills my heart...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mind Decompression Part 1: That killed it.

So now I can resume my normal blogging. There's way too much going on in my head right now and I have to let some things out. Between a whole lot of medical information, exam questions that persist in giving me anxiety and seek to destroy my peace and happiness of the fact my exam is over, trip planning, weekend planning, job searching and decision making, social deficiency, and a few blog ideas that have been sitting in the back of my mind for mind needs some kind of release. So I shall proceed with one of my recent experiences...

I have spent quite a lot of time in bookstores lately (mainly Barnes andNoble - Borders is freezing cold and doesn't have all of the books I was looking for) because I am too cheap to pay $50 for a review book that has some wrong information. Last Saturday night I settled into one of the big, comfy brown chairs (B&N has larger chairs than Borders, btw) to continue with another multi-hour run of studying. During that time a welcomed distraction came. I usually don't notice guys out in public very often (reason #9 of why I am still single) but there is some unseen power in bookstores and art stores and galleries that heightens my attention just a little more. He was actually quite good-looking, tall, and wearing a white buttoned up shirt with jeans (willing to wear long sleeves in 100 degree heat in the name of style.) He sat in a chair in a location that allowed me to subtly make occasional glances at him from the corner of my eye. He was reading a few magazines, of what type I could not tell. I know that could have been an important clue in finding out more about this stranger. I may have felt more confident to approach him and start a conversation if I was not wearing my Saturday-just-planning-on-studying-all-day old jeans and t-shirt and hardly any makeup. Maybe it's just a subconscious warning sign of "Don't bug me, I'm studying ." Anyway, he eventually got up and left the store and it wasn't until later that I saw it: a pile of magazine cards next to the chair he was in. Not just one card that innocently slips out, but a whole pile! How lame was this guy!?! Lame!! I had just uncovered a pet peeve. Why couldn't he pick up after himself? Even if he just shoved the whole pile into one, magazine, I wouldn't have cared. But he just left it!! So lame...

That's when I began noticing a widespread problem at bookstores: people just don't pick up after themselves or return their books when they're done. I've seen them stacked on endtables and even worse, scattered across the floor. I've heard more than one comment from bookstore clerk and owners about people leaving them out. I know that it's been a long time since I've been in a public library, but generally there's a cart or table to put books back once you use them. Bookstores are slightly different than libraries because they operate on the thought that you intend to purchase a book after reading through it a little (supposedly you can't just stop after the first chapter, right?) So, with all the power that my blog has to influence my readers, can I start a resolution to bring back etiquette by ensuring the books and magazines that we look at are placed back on the shelf neatly and that we clean up after ourselves (I've seen cups and other trash left behind too.) This is a courtesy to all the bookstore clerks, managers, and librarians who spend enough time bending, searching, stooping, squatting, lifting, and carrying.

Thank you, and I might see you in the bookstore/library soon -- now that I can read real books again. And if you don't clean up after yourself...

Happy Birthday Little B!!

Technically, my nephew Brian's 1st birthday was yesterday; but due to recent circumstances (exam) and the fact that it is exactly 1 year today when I came home from Alaska and found out that he was born the day before, I don't feel as bad. We did have a pre-birthday celebration for him, his mom, and his other aunt a few weeks ago. I love this little guy!
During his first year his Aunt J introduced him to the mountains, snow, the Huntington Library Gardens, the cat, USC, some silly faces, and lots and lots of auntie love and kisses. We'll see what this next year brings for him (other than the title of "Big Brother").

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!

Yay for fathers!!
I love this man!!

Some of the things that I have learned from him or that he has instilled in me include: trust, love for current events (news), how to make french toast, work, finances, service, family history, driving Virgin River Gorge, patience, dilligence, generosity, how to make a grilled cheese sandwhich, how to handle telemarketers, public transportation, faith, and love.

If you care to leave a comment, what are some of the things you have learned from your dad?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

PANCE Fever: Boogie Woogie Woogie

Ah, yes, PANCE fever... I could also include PANCE indigestion, PANCE attention deficit disorder, and PANCE tension headache (Oh Sven, Swedish masseuse of my dreams, where are you??). I have less than three weeks before the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). The pressure is on!! I have been studying for a while, but of course it is now becoming more intense. I've been working on my focus for long blocks of time to prepare for the 6 hour test ahead. My social contact is decreasing. There are some things that are helping me get through this.

One has to do with finding a good study spot. If there's no one around and watching TV, there's a spot I like to study as recommended by my cat (cats know the best spots). It's the carpet of the living room where the sun comes in and leaves a warm sunny spot that moves throughout the morning. Studying on the floor has an advantage because it is harder to fall asleep.

I do have to take an occasional break once in a while. One of my favorite things to do is play peek-a-boo on the stairs with my nephew.

Hopefully exposure to study materials is not a health hazard and will not be considered a form of child abuse.

He flew back to Alabama today and I'll miss him, especially his goofy expressions. I could always use a laugh.

Most people have heard that listening to music is a good study technique; what I have found to be helpful and enjoyable listening to an Icelandic group called Sigur Ros. I find their music to be very beautiful and mind-stimulating. Plus, it is easier to not be distracted when I don't know the words. I have learned that it is still possible to get their songs stuck in my head, so the best I can do is a fake - falsetto-Icelandic rendition. I think it would be hilarious to try to make anyone do this at a social gathering. There's a few samples of their music below.

Well, on to more studying... heart murmurs, pharm, and arrythmias are calling me. Until next time...