Archive | December, 2011

New Year’s Eve!

31 Dec

For some, it’s a day to stay up late and get drunk as all get out.  Well, I don’t like cold, can’t find a good place to dance, and can’t stay awake past 10 PM.  Being a night-owl party gal, even on a holiday, is just not in the cards for this girl.  For me, it is a time of quiet reflection and rearranging priorities.  I like New Year’s Eve, because it feels like a new beginning and second chance.  I take the day to re-group and motivate myself to improve for the next year.


2011 was about entertaining new goals.  I really put my all into the GRE test and vet school application, because I knew this was my last attempt to get into vet school.  In fact, months and months of the year were spent studying vocab, practicing math problems, writing essays, editing my personal statement, and reviewing my application.  I wanted to make sure I did my very best on every aspect so I could be satisfied no matter how things turned out.  Also, I really put a lot of thought into what else I might be able to do if vet school didn’t pan out again.  I thought it was time to grow up and find a realistic plan B.  It was the first time ever that I seriously imagined myself not being a veterinarian.

Other than that, I saved enough money to buy a car.  Rusty, my Isuzu Rodeo is the answer to my prayers.  I paid a reasonable amount for it, own it outright, and can use the 4 wheel drive as reliable transportation in the winter.  I sure love that car!  And I’m proud of myself for finding it, having the cash to pay for it, and getting myself a good vehicle at a decent price.

Cool and I had a little bit of a rocky year–at least compared to the ease with which our relationship floated along our first year together.  She was homesick last year during the holidays.  In April, despite being short on money, she wanted to visit Tacoma for her mom’s birthday and we fought about that.  That’s also when her mom turned against me.  Cool got laid off from her crummy job in the spring and it sent her into a pretty bad depression.  She left Spokane (and me) entirely in August.  It sounds like the most terrible relationship year ever, but other than those things (based mostly on a lonely, manipulative mother and her bipolar disorder) things were great as usual.

          I found out in December that I didn’t get into Pullman’s veterinary program, but by that time, I has done so much soul-searching and career brainstorming that it didn’t send me spiraling into a depression as it had in the past.  I’m OK with it–more than OK.  I have some viable options for careers, starting with Audiology.  Maybe this is what I’m meant to do instead of veterinary medicine.  I have signed up as a non-degree-seeking student so we’ll see how I like the hearing and speech professional avenues.  At any rate, I’m ready to move forward in my life.

Tomorrow, since it’s the first day of a new year, I’ll write my goals.

Prequil–What Lead Up to the $5

30 Dec

Relief LVT (from here called Relief for simplicity) was NOT paying attention.  She hardly does, mostly standing around incessantly talking everyone’s ear off.  I was stuck working the front and they were trying to draw blood on a notoriously short-fused cat.  The vet I don’t really love at first told her the cat was about to lose his cool as a way of getting Relief to restrain the cat instead of chatting.  Relief continues chatting mindlessly.  Then, the vet sternly told Relief to hold onto the cat before it bit someone.  Still, Relief half-heartily held (lightly), while talking.  The cat scratched the vet (breaking the cardinal rule of restraint) and the vet barked at Relief to pay attention.  Relief tried to actually hold the cat, looking sort of upset and dazed.  I’m not certain if Relief is out of practice, having been unemployed for awhile, or was the type to always grab the syringe at work.  I suspect she couldn’t restrain the cat for whatever reason.  Relief sort of faltered.  Our regular LVT then offered to hold the cat, and Relief relinquished.  Relief suddenly said she wasn’t well, and went upstairs.

Regular LVT and mean (not really the right word, but for ease and consistency’s sake) vet finished the blood draw, then, in dramatic fashion Relief runs down the stairs into Regular LVT’s arms crying.  While bear-hugging the regular LVT and shedding crocodile tears, she babbles how she isn’t feeling well.  It was a real Lifetime movie moment.  Then stories of how Relief can’t take anything except Tylenol (she AND our regular LVT are both randomly on the same blood thinner) poured out.  In the end the Regular LVT was filled with sympathy, the mean vet was apologizing for her abrupt remarks, and I was inwardly rolling my eyes.

The total meltdown ended with  first Relief getting $5 out of the cash drawer.  Well, actually I was supposed to get it out of petty cash.  But I usually do not work reception so I didn’t know where that was located.  And when I called upstairs to mean vet while she was making herself an espresso, she said she didn’t know either.  And the doctor told me just to grab it out of the cash box.  So Relief first went to go buy Tylanol, then Relief going home early (leaving us short-staffed) on a Friday before a holiday.


The $5 that Killed Me

29 Dec

The Relief LVT needed to go buy Tylenol on work time–more about THIS in the next post.  I was working up front (which I NEVER do) since our regular receptionist was on vacation.  The mean vet blew me off when I asked where petty cash was located and told me just to grab a $5 out of the til.  But then, I had to rectify my numbers at the end of the day.  Here’s what I did:

0.5.  I took the change from the $5.00 and put it in a zip lock bag with a post-it saying what the money was.  I wanted a round $5 and didn’t want the change in with the rest of my til making things confusing.

1.  I pulled up the office’s account on our system, opened an invoice and put a $5 charge on the employee account.

1.5  I posted it through so the employee account would show a balance of $5.00

2.  I finished counting the drawer, making sure there was an even $100 in there as usual.

3.  I did the (irreversable) end of day close out, and printed all my daily worksheets.

3.5  I pulled out the additional cash and the checks and filled out my deposit sheet, based on the numbers from my worksheets.

4.  On my accounting sheet, I wrote the $5.00 as a charge to account and wrote the employee’s name with petty cash beside it so it would be traceable to all.

5.  Then, I added everything, making sure the columns matched (they did) on my accounting sheet.

It was at this point, mean vet came in and asked what my baggie and post-it note were.  She sort of scoffed when I explained the steps I had taken and began rifling through drawers in search of the petty cash.  After opening 7 drawers, she lifted a secret compartment IN the cash box.  And she said (with a snide tone) “I THOUGHT you would have known to check here first.”  I told her that’s why I asked her–I don’t usually work up front, and I don’t know where things are placed.  She went on that I was “creative” *insert more snarkiness* and proceeded to stir everything up.  After I had made the (irreversible) corrections!  She dumped my zip lock somewhere, then asked how much was in there.  I had not counted it, because I wanted to just deal with an even $5 bill.  She did some other stuff essientially un-doing all my bookwork for the day.

I was legit infuriated!  But I wasn’t about to start counting everything over.  And I couldn’t re-do the computer stuff since it was finalized for the day.  I just left it and seethed all Christmas weekend about it.  IF the vet had just answered my original question about where petty cash was in the first place everything could have been avoided.  Why are you going to treat someone like they’re stupid if you didn’t know either when they asked you???  And why are you going to wait until it’s too late to give a fuck about the situation and try to locate the petty cash?  Maddening!!!!  It’s things like these that I won’t miss about small animal private practice.

My Favorite Months

28 Dec

July- Independence day right into my birthday.  Always hot with super long days.  No school.  What’s not to love?!

June-School is over by this time, the weather is usually warm, and there is the whole summer to look forward to!

September-It’s still warm, and the days are still long.  It’s not so stifling or humid as in summer, but school is back in session.  Now the beautiful fall colors begin to appear and the fall festivals (and beer) begin.

August-Everything awesome about summer and long, warm days is still around–but there is the impending doom that fall is on its way.  Also, the school shopping gets out of control annoying.

October-The last remnants of warm weather and long days occur.  Fall colors are still around.  Also, this is the greatest month for brews and festivals (and Halloween)!

May-Flowers start to bloom, finally the rain of spring is beginning to clear up.  There is the hope of the end of school and hot weather.

March-Winter is oficially over, and baby animals are born.

April-Instead of super-short days and snow.  There is lots and lots of rain and mud.

November-The beginning of winter.  The snow isn’t horrible yet though, and the days are not as short as they’re going to get yet.

January-At least New Years is a time for evaluation and new beginnings.  Other than that, not much to speak of.

December-Short, dark days, snow and cold.  Christmas and holidays take over the world.  Ugly consumerism, over-spending, and work is to be done in preparation of a holiday most people have lost the true meaning of.

February-Terrible month of short days.  The weather is the coldest yet, because you feel like winter should be on it’s way out.  Everything is dark–Valentine’s day especially.  What a charade and pathetic excuse to drum up superficial love ties and spend money.

Olympic Cynicism

27 Dec

So everyone know those Chinese gymnasts are waaay below the minimum age limit allowed.  It’s not fair, and one day we’ll all read how their Asian government doctored their birth certificates and they were really 8 and 10 year olds.  But, even more sinister is (maybe prevalent) steroid use.  After reading a book about The German Doping Scandal, where German (swimming) athletes were (sometimes unknowingly) given steroids that enhanced performance at the detriment of overall health, and a book about BALCO, the company that gave sprinter Marion Jones and baseball (anti)hero Barry Bonds steroid injections, I just can’t help but think the worst about athletes.

I LOVE watching the Olympics.  I have the greatest sense of pride when I watch the competitors.  And when I hear our national anthem it sometimes moves me to tears.  Even when the great performances are not from Americans, I highly respect the athletic prowess, determination, and loyalty to sport required to make it.

And I used to trust in the Olympic drug testing.  But with incidents like Marion Jones, how can you?  Obviously, just like in every other arena (theft, drug-trafficking, etc) the criminals are ahead of science and regulators.  So now when I watch an incredible act of athleticism, instead of thinking how talented the person is, I wonder how long before they are caught cheating.  It almost ruins the whole thing for me.

I just know Usain Bolt, with his show-boating and seeming ease in the sprints, was on steroids. Maybe when science catches up with the criminals or when someone gets caught or steps forward, we’ll hear about it.  And certainly, I want to believe in Michael Phelps.  Eff those dirty “athletes” for casting the shadow of doubt over the true champions.  Phelps is perhaps the greatest athlete of all time–a real hero–despite weed indiscretion and obvious lack of intelligence (more on this later).  Feats such as his are so magical they are difficult to believe. I hope talent like that exists without the enhancement of illegal drugs, but who’s to know?

Shame on the people that damage the integrity of the games by taking illegal substances to enhance their performance.  Fans of sport such as myself should never have to wonder if the incredible speed, strength, agility, or endurance we are witnessing are for real.  Putting a question mark in the equation adds the seed of doubt to the whole fanfare.  The dirty “athletes” should be completely ashamed of themselves!

Why Not Do It The Easy Way

26 Dec

Like I didn’t.

I always hated being phony. Can’t do it. Won’t go there. I refuse to “work the system” as my first (veterinary) employer and mentor advised. I guess I knew of certain tricks that allowed easier admission into vet school, but my ethics wouldn’t allow it. I wanted to do things the right way. I figured if I was driven enough, dedicated more of my life, and showed enough loyalty, the admissions would recognize my efforts–they didn’t. If you honestly want to gain admission into veterinary school I suggest using certain “tricks.”

1. Time your classes properly.  Summer is a good time for watered down material, smaller class sizes, easier tests, and more lenient grading.  Professors feel equally sorry for students wasting away their summer break inside, and a little bit proud of their dedication by doing so.  Also, take ultra-difficult classes spring semester right after you apply and before acceptance. The acceptance GPAs are calculated before the interviews. Make sure they aren’t calculated with classes you won’t perform at superior levels in. During that last semester, go ahead and take all your most challenging classes, you just can’t get Fs.

2. Do NOT try to work during school. Like, at all, if you can help it. I always worked. Full time. And I was very dedicated to my job–sometimes to the detriment of my education. At my first “This is why you suck and we didn’t pick you” meeting with Missouri’s dean of admissions, he told me the admissions committee gives most credit to observation hours, then to volunteers, and lastly to employees. So why work so hard–when you can just STAND there a couple of times??? If daddy will pay your rent–let him. If your parents can pay for your tuition, just take the classes. You are MUCH more likely to get the high grades if you don’t have to worry about bills. If you have some rich relative willing to pay for a tutor, buy you advanced study materials, or put you through a Kaplan test Prep course–all the better. Having financial superiority translates into academic success–yeah, I said it.

3. As a second part of the not getting a job advice–do not be loyal to any business, club, or sport.  Don’t get involved in them at all between high school graduation and your junior year of college–focus on grades!  Because veterinary school wants a well-rounded applicant who can max out every diverse section of the application, you can not afford to invest a lot of time into any one endeavor. It’s not cool, but join those clubs later and do the bare minimum just to write it down. Work just enough hours so you can get a letter of recommendation, but not so much as to take any real time away from studying or the afore-mentioned clubs/sports/activities.

4. That last year before you apply–show your leadership. Remember, Vet School Admissions does not necessarily reward loyalty. What you need to do is find many easy things that don’t take a great deal of time, but that you can write down, and come up with ONE easy but (leadership maximizing) unique position. I knew one girl who literally visited a human hospital once to get old supplies they couldn’t use. She then transported them to a local vet who was sending materials to third world veterinarians. This girl wrote a heart-felt essay about how she founded a community service organization that helped further veterinary medicine in foreign countries. The whole thing must have taken her less than a day’s effort, but the admissions board ate it up.  Another guy I knew formed an aquarium club at the university, where they went to a pet store, got fish supplies, and put together one aquarium–the entire thing took less then a week.  Since he FOUNDED a club, the admissions people loved it!

5.  Maybe most importantly, network.  My mistake was feeling like I could be responsible for my own grades and experience.  I never tried to argue wrong answers or get a grade change.  And I certainly never asked to re-take a test or petiton a grade.  I always figured I had earned the grades I received.  If answers were wrong, I figured I should have studied more.  This, also, is NOT the way to go about things.  Even if you don’t have questions, go to office hours.  Just chat with the prof if you can’t think of anything.  One of my co-workers would simply go in during office hours and read her notes–and the professor was so happy someone was attending office hours he would give her the benefit of the doubt on quizzes and tests, realizing she, in fact, was familiar with the material.  One of my lab partners always, always took graded exams to the professor and argued why she had picked (wrong) choices, and half the time she could squeeze half a point or three out of the instructor   Make friends with the grad students grading your work and show interest to the professors–and unconsciously they will grade you a little better.  This mentality will also garner you little favors here and there, and maybe a nice letter of recommendation.

6.  Consider majoring in something really easy.  What really matters is the perfect grade point average–not really the knowledge you have gained in undergrad that will prepare you to be a good veterinarian.  Get straight A’s in Psychology or English, then take all your vet school pre-requisites spring semester before vet school starts when the grades aren’t calculated into the admissions data.  You will be golden!

Forget ethics–you don’t need to make life harder.  Getting into vet school is difficult enough without trying to employ high standards of morality.

Garner the Letters of Recommendation

23 Dec

This is my absolute LEAST favorite portion of any application process.  I want to do things on my own.  I hate putting people out–especially ones in positions of authority who I do not know that well.  I also fear putting myself out on that limb and asking for a strong letter.  I would just be mortified if someone said no!  So here is my plan to cultivate the relationships that makes the letter-asking task a little less daunting.  I’m going to do it all differently this time around!

How to garner the letters of recommendation–strong ones from influential people, that is:

select courses with small class sizes

participate in class

be enthusiastic about subject matter

help other students

regularly attend office hours

take on optional projectsdo independant study or research w/potential writer if possible

pick professors who write well, not necessarily super-popular or very successful ones.

take more classes with professors likely to write the strong letters

Ask for the letters at least 6 weeks in advance

provide the writer with info about me

Prospective Veterinary Applicants-Keep Records!

22 Dec

One of the most important things you can do [mid-stream side-note/soapbox:  Aside from the obvious importance of keeping that G.P.A. as near to 4.0 as possible] if you are dreaming of a career in veterinary medicine is to keep track.  Of everything.  Don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into remembering and physically typing all your info into that veterinary application.  You would be surprised how difficult it is to recall the starting and ending date of your third job or the first name of your high school Key Club adviser!

Aside from trying to remember specifics, the sheer volume of material you have to fill out (perfectly) is daunting:  There is the personal statement as well as potential for essays on diversity, animal experience, and poor performance.  Aside from actual essays, you pretty much have to type out everything from your transcripts (a personal beef of mine since you have to pay to send physical copies) into the coursework section as well as the pre-requisite section.  Then, there is space to include work history, volunteerism, sports, clubs, activities, animal experience, any leadership positions, and awards.

And of course, more is better, because you never know what factors the admissions committee will really relate to.  In a tie with another applicant, it just might be your 8 years of concert band that puts you ahead.  If there is something really random/exciting/cool/different in your past make ultra-sure to mention it somewhere.  It could really set you apart from mostly similar applicants, and distract the admissions board from faults that might also be present.  What I’m saying is that there is a lot of information to add, so you should make it easy on yourself by having your unique information handy before you begin the app.

–>  Write down all the volunteer work you do, including:  Where, the date(s), how many hours you spent, who supervised (or what organization it was associated with), and highlights of what you did.  It’s also helpful to write a mini-essay, that of course avoids cliches, of what donating time means to you.  This is good for your soul, and the type of thing admissions people like to hear.  STOP for a second because I sort of rushed by this all important point–do NOT fall into trite cliche’s when writing about charity work.  Make sure you really evaluate WHY you participate (hopefully not just to write on the application) and write from the heart.  If you think some other applicant could possibly write the same words (exp:  It makes me feel good to help those less fortunate, and gave me a new perspective) dig deeper.

–>  Keep track of every club, sport, and community activity you have done since Freshmen year in high school.  For extraordinary participation further back then that, I suggest you save the details for mention in an essay or sneaky mention in an activity description section.

–>  For actual jobs, write down the term of employment, approximate number of hours, (pay for certain job applications), your supervisor’s first and last name and title, and your title and duties.  For non-animal related jobs, find something that ties back to the veterinary profession.  You want everything on your application to point to you as an obvious choice for competent and compassionate veterinarian.  Exp:  Working at McDonald’s translates to honing on communication skills and adhering to sanitation and disease prevention procedures.

–>  For any animal or veterinary related activity, no matter the type, write down the species you worked with, hours spent, dates of involvement, and who supervised (name and title).  Also write descriptions of awesome things you learned from these experiences, as you will use them over and over on applications, essays, scholarship applications, etc, etc. . .

In short, you can’t write down too much.  And come veterinary application season, when you have your last semester of hard-core science classes (that count toward admissions GPA calculations), work, volunteer, clubs, family obligations, AND have to finish that long vet school application between July 1 and Sept-Oct 1, you will be thankful you have something to refer to.  You will be more thankful if you wrote it coherently enough that you are able to cut and paste some of the information.

Aside from being helpful for your veterinary school application, this information is useful to give your letter writers.  They will have all the specifics of your best accomplishments right in front of them, which will get you more meaningful recommendations.  It can also be used when applying for summer jobs, writing scholarship essays, or getting an internship later.  So start keeping track, or organizing your information, to get ahead in the game.  You’re welcome!

If NJ is the armpit, MS is the butt-hole of America

21 Dec

Honestly, I’ve heard New Jersey sucks, but in researching the state I’m left wondering why.  The residents are stereotyped as having big hair, bad attitudes, and obnoxious accents.  Aside from that, I couldn’t really find any backward legislation, bad history (I mean, worse than anywhere else), or anything glaringly wrong.  I guess New Jersey’s biggest sin is being New York part 2.  With none of the money or celebrities and all the urban dilemmas.

BUT–I did find a LOT wrong with the other state in the second half of my blog title:  Mississippi.  And I’m not exactly sure where or exactly when things started going wrong in this state.  But the state as a whole is practically un-salvageable.  Honestly, there is a boat load wrong with it:  Ignorance and illiteracy, terrible prejudiced pervading attitudes, and the laws to back up those horribly narrow views.  Also, poverty, disease, and natural disaster characterize the state.  Wow–nothing good comes from Mississippi.  And I’m not sure how to fix it–or if the state’s overabundance of problems CAN ever be corrected.

Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity (35.3 percent of total population) in the nation.

{A.}  In a survey of each state’s worst claim to infamy, Mississippi ranks last (as in highest number of most terrible attributes) in the most number of categories. These include highest rate of child poverty (31.9 percent), highest rate of infant mortality (10.3 percent) lowest median household income ($35,078), highest teen birth rate (71.9 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19) and highest overall rate of STDs.

Women are still second-rate citizens in the state.  And if they can’t garner rights–don’t expect for racial minorities, gay people, or animals to have even half a chance!  Anyone who is not a long-time (white, male, straight, Christian) resident is persecuted to the point of abuse.

This is not even looking at the horrible racism still present in the state or the severe homophobia.  I watched this documentary called “Small Town Gay Bar” about the LGBT community in MS and it is a bleak situation at best.  People are very narrow-minded and religious and the gays live in fear–or die in bigotry.  The only places they have to go are gay bars, and then the location has to remain clandestine and  even then is subject to vandalism, harassment, and foul-play.  The film was bleak–as is the daily existence of the LGBT population living in MS.  It’s no wonder so many individuals in that marginalized community are closeted, addicted, or murdered!

Here’s to living in the Western United States–even if the crazy-Californians (and Seattle) are here too!



What Genre?

20 Dec

My favorite books to read are non-fiction ones. I like feminist works of course (Egalia’s Daughters and The Beauty Myth), as well as animal facts or stories (James Harriot, Fluke), nutrition kinds of stuff (mostly Marion Nestle), and books about addiction or psychological issues (Ellen Hopkins, and Drinking:  A Love Story).


But my very, very favorite type of book is history. But that’s not quite specific enough. I don’t like just any history. War stories bore me to death, any dry, description of dates and events will not work. Instead, I like the stuff controversies and conspiracies are made of. But not hokey, weird fiction stuff that’s unsubstantiated. My favorite reads have just as many reference pages quoting original sources as they have pages of information presented in story form. That’s the problem, I’m unsure what catagory this type of writing falls under.  Oh, I don’t know if I’m making any sense. Maybe if I tell you some titles, you’ll get a better idea (bear with any misspellings or incomplete author names):

The Big Rich:  The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes

Dark Alliance-Gary Webb

Triangle:  The Fire That Changed America

Eight Men Out:  The Black Sox & the 1919 World Series

The Smartest Guys in the Room:  The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of ENRON

The Worst Hard Time-Timothy Egan

Game of Shadows-my sidenote:  (about the BALCO steroid scandal that rocked sports)

The Jungle-Upton Sinclair

A Stolen Life-Jaycee (Lee) Dugard

Doctors From Hell:  The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans-Spitz

The Devil in Massachusetts-Starkey

Legacy of Ashes:  History of the CIA-Tim Weiner

In Nixon’s Web-Patrick Gray III


Anyone have the genre or category that these might fit in?  If you could comment, it would really help me mention my favorite books in a halfway intelligent manner.  Is there some website where you can pick some book titles and have it generate a genre or another book that is similar?  File under:  Things I need to know!