Archive | July, 2011

65 Days, Only 65 More Days

29 Jul

And less than that if I want to turn it in early–which I do.  How did my veterinary application deadline sneak up on me like that?  I had a whole year, then it was July-fun-times birth month, and whammo.  I’m suddenly feeling behind, overwhelmed, and unprepared.

I have to contact my letter writers, and I am really dreading that.  It’s so difficult to put myself out there–again.  I’m sure they are sick of me.  Plus, I have to give them a deadline–and it’s a great deal shorter, because of my own miscalculation.

Then, I have to mess about with two university systems and the ETS to get my trascripts and test scores.  Fax and pay for requests, because nothing is an easy online system.  Not even one phone call will suffice–I have to depend on fax and snail mail. . .

And of course my personal statement.  What does a person say, exactly?  How can I sum up my career aspiration and lifelong efforts in so few words?

Then, the tedious entering in redundant information into the actual application.  Boring and unnecessary if you ask me.  Read the stupid transcripts that I’m paying to send you!

And the supplemental application–is there one.  I don’t have any idea yet.

Editing, proofing. . .  I should.  When will there be time?

You see why I’m so overwhelmed?  I even had a list breaking everything into small, manageable tasks.  Yet time slipped away again.  And the WORST part is I don’t even know if I want it anymore.  I just need to buckle down and go through the motions.

A New Career Move???

28 Jul

BS/Masters/PhD in Dietectics/Nutririon and Exercise Physiology at Spokane’s WSU branch:

I need to call and talk someone about this.  It might be a good career option, but I need to fine out about admission requirments given my Animal Science BS and pre-vet backgraound.  Also the financials and career options are imperative pieces of info before devoting time to the application.

The Dreaded Letters [from Thoughts on Teaching]

28 Jul

Applying to graduate school — How many is too many when asking a reference to write letters of recommendation?

November 18, 2010 in higher education | Tags: 

I just received an e-mail from a former student who is applying to graduate school and had questions about the letters of recommendation:

I am writing to ask about the proper protocol for asking for multiple letters of recommendation. I ask because I’m applying to about six grad programs. While I only need 2-3 letters, I need about 6 copies. Is it in poor taste to ask one person to send letters to so many places? Or should I try to find more people to write letters?

She has asked about an issue that everyone who is making multiple applications (for grad school or jobs) should be asking. How many is a reasonable number of recommendations to ask someone to write? So here’s how I responded.

In terms of letters of recommendation, the law school application system is ahead of other graduate programs.

The law school applicant sets up an account with the Law School Adminission Council (, indicating which law schools she wishes to apply to and listing the names of the individuals who will be her references. She then provides me a form from LSAC. I complete my portion of the form and attach it to the letter of recommendation I’ve written and mail that to LSAC. That one letter is used in the application package for each of the law schools she is applying to. I receive an e-mail confirmation that my recommendation has been received and processed. She receives that information, too, and knows who has and who hasn’t submitted letters of recommendation.

Not so with grad school applications. Every program has its own application process. If one is applying to two graduate programs at the same university, typically that requires completing two separate applications.

Most grad school applicants are like my former student. If they really want to increase the possibility of being admitted into a graduate program and to have some options, they should apply to more than one program. Consequently, they need more than one letter from each reference.

The computer is a positive for those of us writing recommendations. Once you write the first letter of recommendation for the applicant, you can save the letter and then modify it for future letters for that same student.

I told my former student that asking someone to write letters for six programs wouldn’t be excessive. Here are some tips for helping the potential recommender to say “yes” to your request for multiple letters of recommendation:

– When you initially contact the potential recommender, explain your situation — why you are applying to graduate programs and why you are applying to six — and why you’d like this person to be a reference for you. This is the sales pitch (a sincere one, of course). I’d met with my former student earlier this semester, so I was aware of her current work situation and her interest in applying to graduate school. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in contact with your potential recommender, you will need to spend a little time updating the person on what you’ve been doing since you last were in contact.

– In contacting the person (via e-mail or phone), be sure to say that you realize how busy the person is and say that you’d be pleased to have them as a reference but if six is too many to let you know how many they could write.

– Say that you will be able to e-mail your resume/vitae and statement of goals. This will help the reference know how you are presenting your own case and also to know your professional and academic background. Even if the reference currently is one of your teachers, you want to provide that information and not just assume they remember your professional background, etc.

– Tell the reference what your deadline schedule is. Your deadline can be the deal breaker. The person is willing to write the recommendations, but you’ve waited too late. You need the letter sent within the week, and the person has too many other deadlines to take on writing letters for you. So plan ahead. Unlike many jobs that can open up with little or no notice, graduate school applications are consistent from year to year. If the grad school deadline is Jan. 15, you should be contacting your references by late November or early December so you aren’t asking the references to be writing for you during finals or during the holiday break.

– If you can provide them with all the grad school application material at one time, that can be helpful rather than sending the grad school information for each one in a separate e-mail and have those e-mails spread out over several weeks.That may or may not be possible.

– Be sure to send the needed submission information — mailing address, URL for uploading, etc. And be sure to include the deadline for each program.

– Send an e-mail reminder to your reference at least a week before the deadine.

– After all your applications are completed, send a thank-you e-mail or note to thank the person for taking the time to write on your behalf.

– Be sure to let your reference know the outcome of the process.

Miss Manners would have good advice for all of us in terms of staying in contact with people who have been and can be important in our professional lives and not just waiting until you need a letter of recommendation to contact a former teacher or employer.

Body Trade

26 Jul

There are 108,000 people in America alone that are waiting for an organ.  108,000!  The most coveted are:  Hearts, livers, and kidneys.  According to the Mayo clinic, doctors will not impede a person’s health to get their hands on your organs.  The ER doctor and the transplant doctors are different specialties and unlikely to communicate until AFTER an organ donor has already died.  As a continuation of that thought, organ donors are tested extensively (more so than non-donors) to make certain they are deceased.  Finally, organ donation does not cost the donor’s family anything.  And in regards to that open casket–the body is clothed so no one will be able to tell organs were harvested.  Also, they will replace bones with fakes, and try their hardest to keep blemishes to the back so the front (top) of the deceased’s body is presentable.  *Check out the full list of organ donation myths and facts at the Mayo website* Why wouldn’t you want to donate your organs?

Aside from educating people on the importance of organ donation, I had my own ideas of how to get more organs in circulation:

1:  Pay college students, or anyone who wants money, to donate a kidney.

You can live with just one.  These organs are in the very shortest supply of all organs.  Hospitals no longer disallow people to donate to non-family members.  If the price is high enough, it’s a win-win for all.  Hey, I donated my eggs to help infertile couple and make some quick cash–I would donate a kidney (for the right price) in a heartbeat!

2.  Harvest from criminals–they owe the community.

Though Lisa Ling’s documentary seemed to frown on China’s practice of harvesting organs from innmates, I think it’s a great idea.  People in prisons have hurt someone.  They are using taxpayer money to shelter and feed them.  After they are killed for their wrong-doings, why not let their body give back to the world?  We are just wasting the corpse if we don’t utilize their organs.

In the U.S. not only do we abstain from using the organs of criminals–we find it cruel and unusual punishment if the convicts don’t go on the very same waiting list as the “good” people.  That’s right, Little-Jonny could die waiting for a liver, because Rapist-Rob was higher on the list. . .  Something about that is very, very wrong.  Oh and as a side-note, since these inmates are in the prison system, taxpayers are expected to foot the sometimes million dollar transplant bills! *source for info is wiki, keyword organ transplant*

And the last stupid thing America gives it’s prison population?  We agree to shorten prison sentences if convicts suggest they will donate their organs.  Yes, we grant freedom if someone says they will become an organ donor–though there are strong stipulations that the prisoner has to bring this up–it is forbidden to suggest it to them.

3.  And on a brighter note–Make it mandatory that every person that gets their name on a donor recipient list, be an organ donor themselves.

This makes perfect sense to me.  If you are willing to take an organ, you had better be able to give something back yourself.  So you need a kidney–you can still give a heart or liver.  As a sad consequence of being on the waiting list for possibly 20 years, many people die before receiving their organ.  Maybe if they were on a donor list themselves, they could help others that are on lists for different organs.  It’s a bleak prospect, but not as dreary as all 108,000 people on all the lists to die for lack of viable organs.

How Native American would it be to utilize every portion of your own body after you die?  Give back to the world and become an organ donor.  It’s as easy is checking the box at the DMV.

Places I Will Go

25 Jul

Who am I kidding?  I have no idea when I’ll be able to go anywhere aside from work.  It’s either I can’t get enough days off (in a row) to take even a shirt day trip when I’m employed, or I have all the time in the world, but no funds.  Also, family becons–OK gives pressure and guilt, and I’m constantly moving (myself, my items, my pets) from state to state.  It’s not easy to take a trip for enjoyment.  But I can dream, so here goes:


Colorado–specifically Denver and Boulder.

Boise, ID as I hear they are getting to be mini Seattle with liberal people and wine.

Show Cool Missouri–my favorite state to live in thus far.








Show Cool Tennessee.

Check out North Carolina for possible long term living.


Austrillia and New Zealand (pretty much the only foreign countires I’m interested in seeing.

OK, Italy, but only a short food tour–no architecture or churches, please and thank you!

Maine–ahhh marine life.

San Fran with Cool.

Some place where I can swim with dolphins–seriously.


Broad Criticism for Some Blogs

24 Jul

If you can’t handle any opinions that differ from your own, can’t handle criticism, or just have trouble reading what people have actually typed in responses–don’t accept comments on your blog!

I find it so annoying when I leave a thoughtful comment that may disagree or point out holes in your logic and the writer gets all cranky with me or worse, portrays me as some kind of troll.  Well, don’t let anyone comment if that is the case–or at least write a disclaimer that you will only allow praise and agreement on your site.

Don’t portray your blog as a discussion if any commentator that doesn’t match your exact ideals is shut down.  Sheesh.

My Summer Reading List

24 Jul

My goal is to read 15 books this summer–Halloween is the end date.  I have to say, I got a slow start, given the first book was long and factual and was interesting but hard to get through.  Here’s my list so far:


Legacy of Ashes:  The History of the CIA, by Time Weiner

Weiner a long- time reporter for the NY Times devoted twenty- years to this book, and in the course of it read through fifty- thousand declassified CIA Intelligence documents. He also interviewed ten former directors of the CIA.  He points out errors made all along the way. Frank Wisner at the beginning ignored ‘intelligence gathering’ and sent during the Korean War thousands of hired agents to suicidal behind- the- enemy- lines operations. In the Bay of Pigs fiasco and in numerous other operations the CIA instead of providing hard, truthful contradictory analysis essentially worked to politically support a prior decision of the Executive branch. Speaking ‘truth to power’ has not been its essential strong point.   Weiner understands the difficulty of having a spy agency in a democracy where there is always a certain discomfort regarding covert operations. His argument is nonetheless not about the wrongness of having such an Agency in a Democracy, but rather about the too frequent failures of judgment and action.  This book is extremely rich , providing new insight into a great share of American post- war history. It touches upon almost all the major conflicts. It also chronicles CIA successes wherever they have occurred, It is not in other words a one- sided politically motivated bashing of the Agency but rather a thoughtful, informative, challenging study that may provide valuable guidance as to how the Agency should be reformed to better confront the many security challenges the U.S. is facing today.


Promiscuous:  The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, by Naomi Wolf (author of The Beauty Myth)

This is an incredibly empowering book for women. No longer do we need to think of ourselves in a manner of either being a virgin or a whore. I only wish I would have read this three years ago, before I became desperate not to be seen as the former. The history of women’s sexuality was particularily wonderful. Though I took sex ed in the 80s and 90s, we still were being taught that it was always the boy who made the first move, and it was up to the girl to say no. (In other words, it is her fault when things go all the way.) It is depressing that no matter how far we come, we still regress back to that. This book should be required reading for every sex ed teacher, every school-aged girl, every school-aged boy, every parent. Want an insight into the mind of a female teenager? Things haven’t changed much since Wolf was a teen 30 years ago. This book changed — probably forever — the way I view matters of sex and sexuality.


A Stolen Life, by Jaycee Dugard (read in 4 consecutive hours)

“A Stolen Life” is told with unflinching detail. Readers will be unnerved by the failure of a Justice system designed to prevent predators like Garrido from abusing our children, and enraged by what the Garrido’s did to Jaycee – losing her life and identity (she could not say or write her name but had to use a given name, Allisa) – and to her mother – who never lost hope. Jaycee can still hear the lock of the door of the soundproofed building she was forced to live in behind the Garrido’s house and the squeaky bed on which she was repeatedly raped by Garrido – “the demon angels let him take her so he could cure his sexual problems. Society had ignored him. Now, he did not have to go out and molest other little girls.” The sounds and smells of her existence don’t leave…they continue to haunt her.


First in Thirst, How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon, by Darren Rovell

Amazing how Rovell was able to piece together such a detailed history of a product which was developed in a basement over 40 years ago. The relatively unknown early history of Gatorade at the University of Florida was fascinating. And the behind-the-scenes account of the part of Gatorade that we all know about, the commercials, was equally interesting and entertaining. I found myself singing ‘Be Like Mike’ and reminscing about the great Jordan commercials. I definitely would have paid a premium for an accompanying dvd of all the great Gatorade commercials. If you have any interest in Gatorade at all, this is an absolute must read. If you are interested in sports, business, or just want a good story, then First in Thirst is also for you.


Coming to a Veterinary Hospital Near You!

17 Jul

Cat’s Meow jumped on the Idexx/Cornerstone bandwagon this year.  Though I think the practice is too small to really benefit from the companies primarily intent on increasing productivity and sales figures, we have done it, because it is THE thing to do in veterinary medicine.  For me, this means a serious pain in the ass while everyone gets all stressed about setting everything up, transitioning old resources to new, and learning the equipment.  I used Idexx at my very first job, and in-house labs were actually my favorite thing to do.  I used the Idexx/Cornerstone/Digital Radiology in Seattle last year and I found them to be functional, but not necessarily better than other programs.  Except D.R.–that is the most amazing way to take x-rays EVER!  Seriously, it’s like cheating.  If the animal is halfway off the processor and moving, we were still able to get a high-quality, very detailed image.  Quickly.  That we could e-mail right to the specialist, and that we could make a client CD to send home in 2 sec.

Anyway, I’m off track.  The real reason I’m writing, is because of the big change I am forced to lose my weekend to “train.”  Never-mind that when anyone gets a veterinary job they are hired because of previous experience.  Vets, who are not great business people, and are notoriously short on time (and staff) just want to hire a person that can jump right in and work.  So it’s a new computer program to you–learn as you work.  New diagnostic equipment?  Muddle through–ask co-workers.  So it makes very little sense that all of us have to come in for 8 hours a day Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday to learn the new computer system.  The one I used when I worked purely reception for 6 months in Seattle, and the one I continued to use all year in the back.  Sigh. . .

I guess that’s not my real point either.  We had the Idexx trainer in our tiny, hot upstairs room, and she was teaching us how to enter a new patient.  Everyone was happy that “attitude” was an option to fill in.  Then it got to the topic of what we call fractious/mean/naughty/aggressive cats.  Lori told everyone that she tells me the pet is a “sensitive soul”  when I go to take its vitals.  A euphemism I coined through my years of experience.  See, staff needs to know if they have to handle the pet differently, but owners do not want a negative connotation–their pet is nice at home.  So sensitive soul is perfect because it conveys the message to handle with care, but without stigma.  Everybody laughed and said that was a definate Laurel-ism.  The trainer said she liked it so much she was going to use it when she went to train hundreds of other vet hospitals around the country.

So if you hear the phrase “sensitive-soul” at your next vet visit–it’s mine!

“A Stolen Life” book review

15 Jul

I bought Jaycee Lee Dugard’s book yesterday and had read it in one 4 hour sitting.  I was riveted.  The book describes her cold step-father, her naive life in Lake Tahoe, and the kidnapping in a few short chapters.  As a side-note, I had never even thought people could get their hands on a stun gun.  This was how she was grabbed so quickly off the street.

Like her real life, the majority of the book focuses on her subsequent captivity, torture, and sexual torment at the hands of the Garridos.  Not for the faint of heart!  When she describes losing her virginity to Phillip or his drug-fueled “runs” I felt disgusted, sick, and sorry.  Despite detailed descriptions of  seclusion and sexual abuse, some of the saddest portions of the book talk about pets she was allowed to have.  This guy gave the little girl cats, them took them away, cats were eaten by dogs in front of her, birds froze to death–her broken heart with each animal incident was palpable.  Jaycee Lee wraps up the book talking about her rescue and new life.

The book is very well written and I’m glad she shared her story.  The whole thing made me furious about Phillip Garrido’s many prior offenses, broken parole, and the apathy of the system in regards to his case.  He saw a psychiatrist 3 days prior to kidnapping Dugard and 4 days after he had taken her to fulfill his sexual fantasies.  Time and again he escaped consequences of his repeated, terrible actions!  It’s a good example of how rapists and pedophiles are irredeemable and should be put to death the FIRST time they are caught.  It would sure save a lot of innocence–and money.

After reading the book, I felt even more how this could have happened to me–any little girl.  Like me, Jaycee Lee was just a little blond girl in pink stretch pants.  The had large teeth, and a love of animals, especially cats.  I am so lucky that it wasn’t be grabbed from the bus stop!  My heart goes out to the Dugards, and I hope both Garridos suffer greatly before they burn in hell.

MMMM. . . Almost as good as a (NV) buffet. . .Almost. [re-post from Dinner: A Love Story]

14 Jul

I grew up eating buffets in my home-state of Nevada. Let me tell you, if you THINK you hate buffets it’s because you’ve only tried Chinese buffets and yucky, sat-out-all-day countrified fair. Nevada depends on tourism–it is the whole of the state’s reveune. They want people to hang out in the casions all day and all night. If you have to leave to sleep, drink, or for a good meal, that is lost gambling money.  As a side-note, this is why you will never see homeless people or prostitutes near Nevada casinos–it’s bad for business.  The Battle-Born state wants tourists to feel as comfortable as possible.  This means you get complimentary beverages as long as you gamble (this includes alcohol), an attached hotel, and the greatest buffets you will find anywhere. Truly. This food is prepared fresh, by some of the best chefs. It’s not just the easy/cheap/greasy stuff of other states–Nevada buffets mean business!

Anyhow, one of my favorite things to grab at the line was clams. Among other things of course (just don’t grab the sushi unless you are actually at a cook-to-order sushi buffet).  The clams are like little animals still, involve pretty shells, and are drowned in delicious sauce. Who wouldn’t love them! So I was excited to see an easy recipe for them on one of my favorite blogs. Here is the excerpt:

Whenever we have people over, and even when we don’t, we do up a bowl of littlenecks from The Fish Guy at the farmer’s market, slice a fresh, crusty loaf of bread, set out some napkins and forks, and let that be our appetizer plate. We find that even if the kids won’t touch the clams, they’ll gladly take a hunk of that bread and dip it into that deep, salty broth. Which, as my parents always used to say, just means more good stuff for us grown-ups. There are endless variations to this dish — spicy, not spicy; garlicky, not garlicky; wine, no wine; basil, or tarragon — but it’s easy and fast, it only dirties up one pot, and clams are, on the farmer’s market spectrum, a relative bargain. Plus, there’s just something festive (and yes, I just used the word festive) about sitting outside with some friends on a summer night, as dinner sizzles on the grill, burning through a bowl of clams and a loaf of bread and tossing the shells — clank, clank, clank — back into the bowl. That’s living. – Andy

Steamed Little Necks
Maybe the best part: there’s no stress about overcooking or undercooking when it comes to clams; these things literally open their mouths and tell you when they’re done.

In a Dutch Oven set over medium heat, saute 1 chopped shallot (or spring onion, which we got at our farmer’s market), 1 minced garlic clove, a few shakes of red pepper flakes and some freshly ground pepper in olive oil. (The clams provide their own salt, so hold off until the end and decide if it needs more.) When onion is soft, add about a two dozen fresh clams (about six per person), washed and scrubbed, and a 1/4 cup white or rose wine. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. When the clams steam open, about five to ten minutes, add a handful of chopped tomatoes (any shape or color), some chopped fresh basil, and simmer another two or three minutes. Discard any clams that haven’t opened, and pour into serving bowl. Serve with sliced, crusty bread for sopping. And cold wine.