Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm back!!

I'm back in the U.S. of A. now. Reflecting on my trip is going to take a lot time, so bear with me and the multiple posts. I'll probably just post some random thoughts and most of this will not be very organized, so hang on for the ride.
* Some people would think I'm a bit crazy for going to some foreign country by myself that I've never been to nor speak the language. Fortunately, the majority of the people could speak English. I could say some basics like "do you speak English?","Excuse me," "thank you," "restroom" and "one hot dog, please." One of my few times that I ran into somone who couldn't was at a convenience store. My pocket phrase book didn't tell me how to say, "I would like to redeem this empty plastic bottle and get my 1 or 2 kroner, please," but fortunately, I could just pull out my bottle, point and smile, and they got the point. I wasn't also too concerned about the safety issue. I told my parents, "Come on, it's Norway..." I 've been in scarier parts in San Francisco. Another plus to traveling alone is that I don't have to worry about someone else's comfort and I don't feel as bad when I make a wrong turn or some schedule mistake. Being a little low on money and with the high cost of Europe, I did have to rough it a little and really stretch my budget. And it was nice to spend as much time looking at a painting, resting (or not resting), nursing some ugly blisters, taking as many pictures as I wanted of the same object, and so on. Of course there are some downsides to traveling alone, the major one of just not having someone to share a beautiful scene with, share your thoughts, emotions, and perspectives on your experiences, or dance to the music that lingers through the a harbor's summer air. I guess those times will come and I will look forward to them even more, especially when I have my eternal travel companion that accompanies me on the rest of my life's journeys.

* I think I've experienced the majority of possible modes of public transportation. Lots of flying time, but that's to be expected, as well as the number of stopovers. On my way over, I left Ontario at 6:25 in the morning, had stops in Phoenix, Denver, Philadelphia, and Munich before arriving in Stockholm around 3:30 pm the next day. Munich was my first view of Europe and I was amazed with how green it was and all of the little, red-roofed villages scattered about the countryside, awwwww... While I was in the Munich airport I had the song, now I'm not sure if it's the right title so please forgive me, "Ninety-nine red balloons" (that 80's song where half of the lyrics are in German) stuck in my head. I was trying refrain from whistling it, afraid that some may find it offensive and think that I'm mocking Germany. I later found out from a friend who just came back from Germany that Germans love that song and would not have been offended. Next time, next time...
I admit I wasn't the most social seat mate (spent more time dozing), but I did sit and chat with this amazing women who had been vacationing in Atlantic City and was going back to Germany where she works for the Army. We somehow got onto the topic of goals and she mentioned that she was training for her first half-marathon. Wow!! I thought. I asked if she had been in any before and she said no, that this was her first. She said that she has multiple sclerosis and so is not very sure how much time she has left to engage in such physical activities. She said 2 weeks ago she couldn't even walk, so she just takes things a day at a time and tries to live the most out of them. Amazing!
Jumping forward... I almost didn't get home Tuesday night because the airline had overbooked the flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix. After spending more than 2 hours going through customs, and the nightmare of the security check (worst check line ever!) I found out that I was on the waiting list to get a seat on the plane. I was starting to get just a little stressed out at this point. Just a little. I was starting my new job at 8am the next morning and couldn't wait for the next earliest flight that didn't leave until the next morning. Fortunately, some kind soul, whose name will be written by angels in the eternal book of good deeds, took the later flight and I was able to get one of the last seats on the plane. I sat with a lovely couple from Sweden on their way to Phoenix. We chatted for a good time until we both felt the effects of Stockholm time and slept until the end of the flight. After the plane landed, they offered me a piece of candy that looked more like a large, oval, greyish-brown vitamin. I graciously accepted. Now, just a side note, I have learned that in many countries, children and adults acquire a taste for things that others may find disgusting. Australians have Vegimite (a spread for bread made from yeast extract, very salty), Argentines have mate (a drink that looks, and many say tastes, like grass), and Swedes have their salted black licorice. This salt doesn't just seem like regular table salt, it seems a bit stronger, like it's burning your mouth and up to your nose. This particular hard candy had a salty-black licorice and menthol taste to it. Yes, a bit strong. I tried my best to keep a straight face. It was too big to swallow, so I had to suck on it until I could bite into it and taste its full fury. Still trying to maintain a straight face. Ah, yes the joys of airplane travel...

I'm going to keep this short for now, but I will blog more later. Stay tuned for more Scandinavian adventures.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'll be back!!

For all of my loyal readers, have no fear. I'm currently in Europe so I won't be blogging much forthe next couple weeks, but stay tuned!! I get back August 5th and start my new job the next day, so it may be after that before you hear from me again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Walk Down...

To increase the reader interactivity of my blog, I'm following a blogging idea tht I ran across on some of my friends' blog. So here are the rules:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

Let those good times roll, again!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

For The Fans: Eyes Eyes Baby

During my PA-school years I discovered a talent for rapping and writing medical-related song parodies. I guess I could be described as a female, medical version of Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al has been an inspiration to me for many years (in fact, the first CD I ever bought was his "Alapalooza") and I did enjoy some late nights listening to the Dr. Demento show back in the day. Despite time constraints with my busy student schedule, I realized that I still needed a creative outlet. Due to my extreme right-brain-ness and occasional boredom, I started organizing the information I was studying into rhymes and rhythms. This was taking mnemonics to the next level. It started with "G6PD-yeah you know me... G6PD with my Heinz body..." to the iron deficiency rap to a parody of Dave Matthews Band "Crash into me" called "Don't crash on me." and another take on the Fray's "How to Save a Life." I soon received the nickname "Rapper J" and a few others from my classmates and coworkers. One of the class favorites was "Eyes,Eyes, Bab," which is to the tune of "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. I did my first public performance of it at a church talent show last month and was fortunate to have some beat-boxing back up. I added a few more lyrics since its original circulation . Enjoy!

"Eyes Eyes Baby"
Yo PA-C lets kick it!
Eyes, Eyes Baby... Check out those eyes, eyes, baby...
Okay stop, grab your scope and listen,
My eye is red and it has some itchin'.
What's this stuff in my eye it's kinda goopy,
When I look around now everything's real loopy.
Quick to the doc, to the doc we're running fast as we can cuz my vision is blurrin'.
PA on the scene, you know what I mean,
Asking all those questions now everything is coming clean.
If you got a problem, yo I'll solve it:
Fill out these forms and we'll talk in a minute.
Eyes, eyes, baby... Check out those eyes, eyes, baby...
First things first is check acuity;
20/20 vision is not my ability.
Holy hordeolum! What's that stye I got on my eye?
Could it be chalazion -inflammation of the gland meibomian?
Reddish or grayish and it's enlargin' on the lid margin.
Eyes, eyes, baby...
Encroachin' on the cornea: possibly ptyergium but not pinguecula.
If it's hammer time - better wear safety glasses,
Cover yo' globes and lids and eyelashes.
If your blood pressure's high, I shouldn't fail to mention -
Papilledema is a sign of malignant hypertension.
Diabetes - is the leading cause of new blindness.
I'm running out of lyrics so I appreciate your kindness.
If you have a problem, yo I'll solve it,
Check out this brochure and this drug will resolve it.
Eyes, eyes baby... Take care those eyes, eyes baby....
Yo, let's get out of here.
Word to your ophthalmologist.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

25th Post: 25 Feasible Goals

Before my mom retired a few weeks ago, she made a list of 25 goals she wanted to accomplish after she retired. A couple friends blogged their list of entirely plausible things that they wanted to accomplish during their life. Now that I am out of school and hopefully will have more free time, here are just some of mine in no particular order:

1. Learn a martial art
2. Have a garden or greenhouse
3. Learn Tai Chi
4. Write an original song
5. Get published – medical and non-medical related
6. Have my own art studio in my home
7. Learn 1 or 2 more languages
8. Write and illustrate a children’s book
9. Go to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Denali and hike Half Dome in Yosemite
10. Run a 5K at least once a year
11. Learn how to drive a manual transmission
12. Visit Vancouver, Canada, the UK, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, and Iceland
13. Make a quilt
14. Ride a snow mobile
15. Read at least 8 books a year
16. Plant a tree
17. Receive a compliment on my handwriting
18. Own a hammock and a library card
19. Become an awesome photographer
20. Participate in a Native American/Alaskan drum/chanting circle
21. Complete a “Diabolical” Sudoku
22. Have a secret recipe for homemade ice cream
23. Make a beautiful and delicious omelet and homemade strawberry lemonade
24. Learn to salsa dance
25. Go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing