Archive | July, 2012

A Kid in the Hospital

31 Jul

Veterinary hospitals are often run by families.  I’ve worked for 2 married couples, had relatives of the vet as co-workers at 3 different jobs, entertained kids of co-workers/vets at 4 different places, had sick children coming to work with vets at 2 jobs, and had newborn babies crying/nursing/getting raised during work three times.

I think it’s somewhat nice to have such a closeness at work.  And I am FOR mothers working.  For equality and feminist purposes, working mothers are a good thing.  Except I do not think kids should be brought to vet hospitals (or any place of work for that matter, save for a daycare) for extended time, especially if that hospital is open and trying to do business.

Here is why:

When the kids are sick–and there is no one else to take them on short notice, I don’t mind if they are brought in, tucked in one corner, and quietly sleep, read, or watch movies all day.  BUT if the kid feels well enough to walk around, make messes, and be underfoot, well, I say they are well enough to be at school.  Plus, I don’t need a sick kid getting me (and everyone else) sick.

Vet hospitals only have so much room.  Especially on a busy day, it gets tedious shuffling a child out of the way.  And sometimes the kids are being noisy so the clients can hear them–or worse startling the animals when you are trying to get things done.  Pushing a wheeled chair around when I am trying to restrain a scared cat with a short fuse for a blood draw = not helpful.  A kid in the surgery room–during a surgery–really makes me crazy.

I challenge that the parents are not fully concentrating on the job when their kids are present.  The child is constantly trying to talk to their parents, asking questions, demanding food, wanting entertainment.  There is no way the parent is accomplishing regular job tasks at the normal level of competency with so much distraction.  And it looks terrible when the client can hear the kid trying to interrupt Dr. Mom while she’s on the phone or in an appointment.

Co-workers (employees in general) find it disruptive.  I am not a teacher or a baby-sitter.  I did not sign up to work with kids, try to discipline them, or answer their incessant questions.  At one job the vet’s (really obnoxious, precocious, undisciplined) daughter hung out every day after school.  And one of the boys at work literally knocked her down and mashed her face in the grass.  It sounds super-uncool and unethical now, but believe me–we all wanted to mash her face in the grass.  Plus, even if I am OK with a kid being there–I have work to do.

Cleaning with a kid in the place is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos.  Totally not my quote, but true all the same.  As an example, I cleaned during lunch Friday per the usual.  Kid ate crusty cheese in 3 rooms.  Kid ran amuck upstairs.  Kid touched everything with sticky (possibly germy) hands.  So I went in early Saturday to re-clean.  The kid came back Saturday.  Got crumbs in one room.  Spilled water in the hallway.  Trampled weed remnants in 2 other rooms.  So I had to go in early on Monday to clean a third time. . .  Then I found an apple core in the laundry. . .  It’s just too much.

Safety is an issue.  The child usually is not aware of animal handling.  They could get bit, scratched, kicked, trampled, poisoned, step on a needle–possibilities for getting injured (for anyone, but especially a kid) in a medical setting are endless.  I was especially worried when the vet’s daughter was around horses, but seemingly unaware that they startle.  Things could go really bad having someone around who is small and not always paying attention.  OSHA would not like it.

Having a child at work is in no way professional.  And having the kid actually doing stuff to “help” is problematic.  Counting medications or or really doing anything makes me worry.  Employees often make counting or medication mistakes–a kid could easily do it.  It’s a liability.  And I’m 100% certain clients would NOT like it.

Boredom–it’s a long day for me, I can’t imagine having nothing to do during that span of time.  For kids, it must feel like forever.  Especially when no one is paying attention to you, there’s no entertainment what-so-ever, and you keep getting barked at.

And of course, employees feel compelled to say something for all of the above reasons.  But it is a lose-lose situation.  There is no (fucking) way to talk to the mother, as I am 100% certain her reaction would not be desirable–no matter the mother.  Mothers that bring their kid to work in the first place obviously don’t have or understand the above concerns.  She figures her kid is smarter, more well behaved, and more likable then the average kid so common sense shouldn’t apply.

So parents, leave your damn kid at home, in school, or with the sitter.  No one may say it to you, but they HATE when you’re bringing them to the work-place.

Busy Bee

29 Jul

Work has been insanely busy. I don’t actually mind one bit. It’s when the business is overwhelming due to idiotic scheduling that I get infuriated.  Or maybe I’m just relaxed on account of all the running I’ve been doing.  I am sub-8 min/miles now, in case you were wondering.

And the cadence of work itself is not really the exhausting part. It’s the afore-mentioned stupidity and knowing I’m in a frenzy because someone was too lazy to do their job, or when other people act like shit-heads, impossible and frustrating clients, and comminication errors. It’s THOSE things that make me really crazy.

And when my boss just INFORMS me I will be staying late–instead of at least making the gesture to ask.  I don’t like that either.  I guess that’s anyone in power for you.  But at least sometimes she THANKS me for doing so.  And I hope she really does appreciates my efforts.

Running my feet off at work doesn’t bother me.  Really, I kinda like it because it makes the day go by faster. And the more legit teching things I am busy with, the less wall-scrubbing I have time for. And who doesn’t love that?!  As long as I’m not in over my head or completely overwhelmed–I would rather be busy.

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Batman is Cursed

27 Jul

I debated posting this one–I don’t have a lot to say about it, haven’t really kept up with the news about it (especially the victims), and it may be a little too cheeky for good taste.  And yet I think this is a tragic event that deserves mention.  So in order to acknowledge this as close to the event as possible, I’ll jot something down before spending an overabundance of time researching it.  [Most of my time is spent frantically trying to finish reading and outlining my anatomy text before school starts.  And I have just one more (long, long, long) chapter to go!!!!!!!]

There are a lot of reasons I think the Batman franchise is cursed, but I am going to discuss my take on James Holmes’ shooting rampage at the midnight showing.

-Don’t get down on Colorado too much.  I just know there will be many comparisons to the Columbine shootings, but violence can occur anywhere.  And this guy came from California.

-Also, we need to remember that it does no good to be fearful of public places.  Avoiding theaters is not going to accomplish anything.

-The point is–damaged people can be anybody anywhere.  This guy had a degree and looked to have a future.  And yet, something went terribly wrong.

-As an aside from my thoughts on the murderer:  A lot of the news sources are specifying that one of the victims was 6 years old.  As if the older murdered people are any less tragic.  Life is life, people.  PS–who takes their elementary-aged kid to a midnight movie showing???

-It is difficult NOT to blame the parents.  And if his mother was so certain something like this could happen, well, she should have done something to prevent it.

-I also think the parents should have been paying more attention, monitoring activities (and bedrooms), regulating behavior, and generally communicating more with the Columbine Shooters.    Parental involvement (and school activities) does a lot to curtail this stuff.

-I hate what Holmes did.  I think it sucks and it was preventable and it never, ever should have happened.  And I am not making any excuses for him–he should suffer for what he did.

BUT

-Don’t be too quick to condemn this 24 year old neuroscience graduate.  Any one of us could snap and do something extreme.  When people get desperate enough-they are capable of anything.  And undiagnosed mental illness, untreated depression, or just overwhelm could have contributed.

-I think we need to have periodic screenings for mental health.  There MUST have been some sign that James was about to lose it.  His mother didn’t seem surprised at all.  And healthcare and prescriptions need to be affordable so people having trouble can turn to those resources.  It is partially society’s fault for ignoring this stuff when it’s treatable.

-That said, once a person does snap, they need to face appropriate consequences.  I hope James Holmes does.  And I’m glad he didn’t take the coward’s way out like most and commit suicide.

Gluten-Free

25 Jul

I am about to put some facts that people will not like into my own words.  NOT lazy at all-go me!  I garnered these facts from a peer-reviewed study complete with references.  So don’t argue with me–go to the researchers of these studies and give them the ear-ful.  Even if you don’t wanna b!t(h me out for disagreeing with the hype, check out this research–it is chalk-full of interesting factoids and stats about Ciliac’s and Gluten-Free Diets.

http://consensus.nih.gov/2004/2004CeliacDisease118Program.pdf#page=40

Now that I’ve gone through the disclaimer, on to the fun stuff:  This gluten-free trend mystifies me.  I honestly do not understand where it came from, why it is such a thing now, and who it benefits.  It seems very difficult (and unnecessary in most cases) to erase all traces of gluten from a diet–and. . .  Why?  Gluten adversely affects those with Cialiacs Disease.  That’s what I gather.  And that disease, has been found in less the 1% of the population.

There is a (costly) diagnostic test for Cilia’s Disease, and I am pretty certain a lot of people demanding high maintenance food accommodations–have not been diagnosed with Ciliac’s.  Mean age of onset is 35-ish in females and 40 in males.  So why are parents making school districts go gluten-free?  Also, testing for the disease is a question, because symptoms are varied, fleeting, or entirely absent.

I suspect a few things about this trend:

1:  high-maintenance and pretentious people love getting accommodated.  Who cares if you do not actually have real (pervasive) symptoms, have never been diagnosed with Ciliac’s Disease, or even knew about this gluten free stuff before reading the internet this year.  Gluten-free demands attention, special treatment, and it’s a medical concern!

2:  Food establishments are going to capitalize on trends.  If people are talking about it, demanding it, and paying more for it–restaurants and other food sellers are going to advertise and offer it for sure.  What do they care if the trend makes SENSE or not?

3:  Someone, somewhere is putting this gluten-free stuff out there.  They are selling books, writing diet tips, and jotting things down on the internet in the hopes of making money off the idea.

There–I said it.  I think people with Ciliac’s Disease already know what they have to do to avoid symptoms.  And being a lifelong problem, they have known for a long time.  By making this gluten-free issue a trend, we are trivializing their health concerns and making ourselves look like asses in the process.  Give.  Me.  A.  Break.

Guide to Vet Observation

23 Jul

Hello, pre-veterinary hopefuls–this advice is for you.

Getting experience in veterinary hospitals is IMPERATIVE.  You will need to know about this career you so covet.  A lot of kids, at one time or another, want to be a vet–but do you really know what you’re getting in to?  Maybe once you see it’s not all kittens and rainbows, you wouldn’t like it so much after all.  Also, you will need experience hours to put down on the application when you are applying.  Plus, admissions is so super-competitive that you will need to be as well-rounded as possible.  And finally, vet school can only teach you so much–so anything you learn above and beyond your curriculum will give you a leg up.  If you have not gotten your foot in the door, I suggest you do so.  Yesterday.  You can never start too early, or be too competitive of a candidate.

Talk to your local veterinary hospital, go to the humane society, join an animal-related club, even talk to the farmer/rancher down the road.  If you have already observed at one place–do not stop reading this post.  You need varied experience.  Vet schools want to see that you’ve worked in private practice, research, small, large, and exotic medicine.  The more, and wider your body of experience–the better candidate you will be.  Call, ask, beg, write letters, ask people already in the field, utilize your networks to get in the door–anywhere.  Once you get in at one, you will more easily get into others.  Job shadow, observe, volunteer, make a day trip, whatever–just get involved somehow.

*Just remember it’s the GPA that is ultimately THE most important factor*

Here are 6 tips for when you get in the door:

1)  Try to stay for a full day

Veterinary medicine is different every day.  That’s part of what makes it so wonderful and exciting.  So it really is difficult to try to schedule when you are likely to see the most interesting things.  If you are there for an entire day vs. a few hours, you will maximize your chances of seeing a variety of interesting things.  In between said exciting and interesting cases, refer to #3 on this list.  And as part of this one–bring you own snack/lunch.  You may or may not get an exact-timed, scheduled and timely lunch break.  And you certainly do not want to miss the most exciting thing of the day because you had to drive somewhere to pick up fast food.  Besides–when you’re on your feet all day and trying to remain engaged, do you really wanna chow down icky, fattening greasy food?  Bring in high protein food to help curb hunger pangs and maintain your energy throughout the long day.  But a lot of the time the boss will buy you lunch.  If they do–include it in the thank you card that I suggest you write in point #5.

2)  Expect to feel awkward and out of place.

You won’t know anything about the place you’re seeing on your first day there.  It will take time to build a re-pore, establish trust, and get into a routine.  This is expected.  Try to stay out of the way and avoid touching/interfering with things.  When I began volunteering at my local veterinary hospital in 5th grade, the great majority of my time was spent jumping out of the way of the volatile veterinarian. Firstly, just hang back until someone gives you the go ahead, and until you see what is normal around there.

3.)  Be interested!

Yes, you are feeling everything out when you first go to your animal-related experience.  This does not mean, stand there looking bored.  My biggest piece of advice is to maximize your time.  Take a small notebook in with you.  Ask questions!  The adults at veterinary hospitals love to feel important, impart their knowledge, and give advice.  Use this to your advantage and learn everything you can.  And you don’t just have to ask the vets and professionals.  Everyone there will have some useful tips to share.  You can ask the vets about the career, medicine, and veterinary school.  The techs can tell you day-to-day routines, animal care tips, and impart info on potential back-up career plans, and even the younger staff can tell you about the current pre-reqs, ins and outs of the application, give standardized test advice, and maybe even let you know how/where to get a (summer) job.

3)  Once you are comfortable–jump in and help.

With permission, observers and volunteers can file, run and grab things, clean cages, and help with light restraint.  Get in the habit of cleaning off counters once an animal is off of it.  It will just show some initiative on your part.  If you feel comfortable and confident–and the staff you’re working with is handling the big stuff–it’s OK to help.  Learning is multi-faceted and it will cement what you’re seeing and writing if you actually DO things too.  Just don’t get crazy and do anything over your head or without DIRECT supervision/permission.

4)  Compare–but in your head, not aloud–each place you observe.

Keep track of things you liked and didn’t.  Each hospital/place will have their strengths, tips, and awesomeness.  You will also see your share of struggle, weaknesses, and maybe jerks.  Write down what might work for YOU in the future, and things you should remember to avoid iwhen you’re the one running the show.  It’s OK to make private judgements.  But that is what they should remain.  Do not, under any circumstance bad mouth vets, practices, or clients you’ve encountered at other places–especially when going to a subsequent hospital.  It’s unprofessional, makes YOU look bad, and in this world of highly competitive veterinarians that often judge/bad-mouth each other without actually having seen anything in person–needs to stop.  Also, you don’t want to burn bridges.  And you never know what ties these people have to each other.  Veterinary medicine is an insular world.  To a lessor extent, don’t be the annoying newcomer that says, “But  ___________ does it THIS way.”  No one wants to hear it, and vets tend to bristle against change–especially coming from a new person they don’t know well.

5)  Write thank yous.

Your main goal is to learn about the veterinary profession, but your secondary goal in observing/volunteering is to garner support from people on the inside.  Whether it’s a future part-time job, letter of recommendation, or future veterinary partnership–or all of the above–a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering important ties.  If you are given the opportunity (and trust!) to get inside an animal related job, jot a quick thank you note to the hospital (or farm staff, or whatever relevant group of people).

6)  Move on

This is the part I was never that awesome at.  Because veterinary school wants you to both be well rounded and have a 4.0 GPA, after spending time at one place–go somewhere else.  Loyalty will only limit your knowledge (and references).  And getting a full-time job will not garner you more points from admissions, but less.  Right or wrong, they figure if you’re standing there with no responsibilities that you are learning more then if you’re walking dogs or cleaning kennels on the time-clock.  So after you’ve learned what you can, get into a completely different aspect of the animal world and learn everything you can (in a brief span) from them.

I guess I should mention why I am a person you should listen to.  My advice is sound:  I volunteered 633 hours at my local vet hospital, observed for 6 months at a large animal practice, helped vaccinate and Coggins test employee horses, and spent weekends helping at an Animal Sanctuary, and more that I don’t remember without looking it up.  I hope this helps.

Patriarchy Loves a Diet

21 Jul

These are stats from a documentary I watched about the obesity epidemic–that I can no longer remember the title of–sue me.

As a nation, we spend 137 billion on fast food and 60 billion on weight loss products.

Health care costs 147 billion in America.

39 million missed work days.

Whoa.

As I’ve said before–it’s all about calories consumed vs. calories expended.  There is nothing complicated about that.  Half the battle is just knowing where your calorie count is throughout the day, so you can make informed choices.  The other half of the battle–is finding the will-power to execute the CORRECT choices.

As a disclaimer, I have to tell you I have never dieted.  Not a true– trying to lose weight, limit food or only eat certain things, and ramp up the exercise to lose X amount of pounds–diet at any rate.  I think that is just a big money-maker.  Women, especially, are made to feel bad about their body (through media and culture), then presented with some pseudo-science so they can “fix” themselves.  The diets are complicated, rigorous (to keep women busy focusing inward instead of on important world matters), and impractical for long term.  Meaning, women will be forced to try diet trend after diet trend in an attempt to “fix” their body.

Showing people losing or maintaining weight is a simple process is not in the best interests of business or patriarchy.  That’s why it is usually presented as such a huge, work (and money)-intensive undertaking.  If women knew they just had to balance calories in/calories out–which is a cheap, lifelong, simple process, a whole lot of companies lose money.  Besides, I think it’s unhealthy to cut out entire food groups.  Not to mention high maintenance.  Which gets us back to what women spend their time doing.  Patriarchy would rather women are jumping on the latest diet bandwagon, spending loads of cash in order to get thin, and preoccupied with their bodies–it dis-empowers them.

No–no way.  I couldn’t last one day on a typical diet.  I love food.  It may be my favorite thing in the world, even.  And I do not believe in such things as dieting for feminist reasons, and because I think women are too focused on weight.  BUT just as good body image is important, so is good health–and the above stats show this country has a deficit in that.  Here are some tips (as tried by me, a naturally thin, and newly RE-fit person) that will save you calories (and as a bonus, money):

-Always have a healthy snack (wheat thins, dried fruit, a granola bar) in the car.  If you get hungry on the road or tempted by greasy fast food–pop some of your healthy option to take away the hunger pangs and re-direct your mind.  This is especially true for road trips.  Pack a cooler at home, or go to the grocery store before leaving.  You’ll reach the destination faster too, b/c you can just grab a smarter choice snack from the back seat instead of stopping at limited choices with bad food.

-Try never to eat fast food.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten at Mickey D’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, or Carl’s Jr.  Not because I TRY not to go there, or am ethically opposed (I am, but since when does that stop me?) but because I genuinely do not care for the food OR I like just other places better.  There is nothing good about FAST food.  If you MUST eat out–upgrade to bar & grill fare or better.  It’s still not great, but higher quality.

-At restaurants–stick with the appetizers (only!)and share them with your dining companion.  Salads are expensive (sometimes MORE calorie-laden then other choices) and leave me hungry so I make poor choices later.

-I never, never, never have the will-power to control my portions.  At home, use small plates, or load up the plate with produce before squeezing the entree on.  At restaurants ask that they box half of your (giant, over-sized) portion up before even bringing the food to the table.  This ensures you will eat ONLY half–and that you have left-overs that are a full meal.

-Instead of eating ice cream, cake, pies, cookies, and other high-cal foods for dessert–stick fruit in the freezer.  It’s a really yummy treat, plus since it’s frozen it will force you to eat slower and your stomach is more likely to register when it is full.  I’m a dessert person from way back, but frozen grapes, mangos, or bananas are adequate to super-yummy in the evening.

-Watch out for those empty calories!  Attempt to eat foods that will make you full over time instead of drinking your calories, eating salty stuff that leaves you hungry in an hour, or gobbling down a bag of junk.

-Water is boring, but obviously necessary.  To help you WANT to drink it, freeze juice, lemon juice, or those Popsicles that come in the liquid tubes in the ice cube tray.  Plunk a flavor cube in the water for more taste.

-On days you know you will eat too much, go on a run, hike, or exercise vigorously to counter that.  And eat less the next day.

Those are really the only tricks I sometimes remember to use.  I’m blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, luckily.  Which I fully realize is a fleeting gift, so I need to try to establish healthy habits for when it expires.  For those that have less stellar metabolisms, and for everyone who wants to improve their health, give my tips a try.

Pine Ridge Reservation-Wounded Knee [Wiki x4]

19 Jul

Indigenous issues are very close to my heart as a Salish of the Flathead Nation, where struggles with poverty, and with the government are constant.  I’m not certain why illegal Hispanics and black issues continue to take front and center in the political realm without hardly a mention of Indian struggles.  Americans need to remember what was done, and know there is still very substancial suffering as a result of those actions.

I watched a documentary about the shoot-out on Pine Ridge and it brought up many questions about the reservation, wounded Knee Incident, and the White Clay beer sales.  As such, I greedily read the associated Wiki pages, and for your ease, have compiled them here.  I’m still looking for a free documentary or kindle book. . .  This is a long set of information, but very worth the read:

-Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border. Today it consists of 3,468.86 sq mi (8,984.306 km2) of land area and is the eighth-largest reservation in the United States.

-Only 84,000 acres (340 km2) of land are suitable for agriculture.

[that’s only 3.8% of the land good for agriculture a.k.a. survival]

-According to the USDA, in 2002 there was nearly $33 million in receipts from agricultural production on Pine Ridge. Less than one-third of that income went to members of the tribe.

-As of 2011, population estimates of the reservation range from 28,000 to 40,000. Numerous enrolled members of the tribe live off the reservation

  • 80% of residents are unemployed (versus 10% of the rest of the country);
  • 49% of the residents live below the Federal poverty level (61% under the age of 18);
  • Per capita income in Shannon County is $6,286;
  • The Infant Mortality rate is 5 times higher than the national average;
  • Because of the high rate of alcoholism on the reservation, one in four of its children are born diagnosed with either FASD or FAS.
  • The school drop-out rate is over 70%,
  • teacher turnover rate is 800% that of the U.S. national average.
  • Native American amputation rates due to diabetes is 3 to 4 times higher than the national average;
  • Death rate due to diabetes is 3 times higher than the national average; and
  • Life Expectancy in 2007 was estimated to be 48 for males and 52 for females (the population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere)
  • adolescent suicide rate is four times the United States national average.

-The population of Pine Ridge suffer health conditions commonly found in Third World countries, including high mortality ratesdepression,alcoholismdrug abusemalnutrition and diabetes, among others.

-Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources.

– the reservation has little economic development or industry. No banks or discount stores are located on the reservation.

[Events that led up to why things are so bad now:]

-Initially the U.S. military tried to turn away trespassing miners and settlers. Eventually President Grant, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of War, “decided that the military should make no further resistance to the occupation of the Black Hills by miners.”[5] These orders were to be enforced “quietly”, and the President’s decision was to remain “confidential.”

-the Sioux resisted giving up what they considered sacred land. [Which was initially set aside as reservation land by US government] The U.S. resorted to military force. They declared the Sioux Indians “hostile” for failing to obey an order to return from an off-reservation hunting expedition by a specific date, but in the dead of winter, overland travel was impossible.[7]

-In 1876 the U.S. Congress decided to open up the Black Hills to development and break up the Great Sioux Reservation. In 1877, it passed an act to make 7.7 million acres (31,000 km2) of the Black Hills available for sale to homesteaders and private interests.

-Wounded Knee Massacre:

[different from the Wounded Knee Incident, which is discussed a little later]

-On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, saying he had paid a lot for it.[12] A scuffle over Black Coyote’s rifle escalated and a shot was fired, which resulted in the 7th Cavalry opening firing indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their fellow troopers. Those few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.

-In the end, U.S. forces killed at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux and wounded 51 (four men, and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300.

-Twenty-five troopers also died, and thirty-nine were wounded (six of the wounded would also die).[13] Many Army victims were believed to have died by friendly fire, as the shooting took place at close range in chaotic conditions.

-A law passed in Congress in 1832 banned the sale of alcohol to Native Americans. The ban was ended in 1953 by Public Law 277, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The amended law gave Native American tribes the option of permitting or banning alcohol sales and consumption on their lands.

-On January 25, 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order returning the 50 square miles of the of the White Clay Extension into the public domain. The town of Pine Ridge (often called Whiteclay), in Sheridan County, Nebraska, just over the border from the reservation, was established in the former “Extension” zone and quickly started selling alcohol to the Oglala Sioux.

-During World War II, in 1942 the Department of War annexed 341,725 acres (1,382.91 km2) of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for use by the United States Army Air Force as an aerial gunnery and bombing range.

-It condemned privately held land owned by tribal members and leased communally held tribal land.

-Another family forced to give up their land was that of Dewey Beard, a Miniconjou Sioux survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre. One of the models for the Indian Head nickel, he was 84 years old at the time of the taking and still supported himself by raising horses on his 908-acre (3.67 km2) allotment received in 1907. The compensation provided by the government was nominal and paid out in small installments insufficient to make a down payment on other property; Dewey Beard and others like him became homeless. He testified before Congressional hearings in 1955 when the Sioux sought to address their grievances over the land taking.[25]

“For fifty years I have been kicked around. Today there is a hard winter coming. I do not know whether I am to keep warm, or whether to live, and the chance is I might starve to death.”~Dewey Beard’s 1955 testimony before Congress at age 97 on the taking of his land for inclusion in the Badlands Bombing Range

-Longstanding divisions on the reservation resulted from deep-seated political, ethnic and cultural differences. Many residents did not support the tribal government.

-Officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, administrators and police, still had much influence at Pine Ridge and other American Indian reservations, which many tribal members opposed.

Richard A. “Dick” Wilson was elected chairman (also called president) of the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

-opponents of Wilson protested his sale of grazing rights on tribal lands to local (white)ranchers at too low a rate, reducing income to the tribe as a whole, whose members held the land communally. They also complained of his land-use decision to lease nearly one-eighth of the reservation’s mineral-rich lands to private companies.

-Most recently, many residents were upset about what they described as the autocratic and repressive actions by the current tribal president Dick Wilson, elected in 1972.

-Some full-blood Oglala believed they were not getting fair opportunities.

-He also began showing what his detractors would describe as authoritarian behavior. In his first week, he challenged the eligibility of council member Birgil L. Kills Straight because of residency requirements.

-He preferred governing using the five-member executive council instead of consulting with the full tribal council of 18, which several times he called into session on important issues only belatedly.[5]

-He was criticized for favoring family and friends with jobs and benefits.  In response, Wilson reportedly said, “There’s nothing in tribal law against nepotism.”[

-creating a private militiaGuardians of the Oglala Nation(GOONs), to suppress political opponents, which he paid from tribal funds.

– introduced eight charges of impeachment against Wilson at a council meeting. They charged him with nepotism in hiring tribal government staff, operating the tribe without a budget, two counts of misappropriating tribal resources for personal use, failing to compel the treasurer to make an audit report, failing to call the full tribal council according to the bylaws, using the executive committee to bypass the housing board, and illegally arresting Keith.

-After an attempt to impeach Wilson failed, his opponents had a grassroots uprising. Several hundred Lakota people marched in protest, demanding the removal of Wilson from office. US Marshals were assigned to protect Wilson and his family.

February 27, 1973, AIM Organization accepted the responsibility of providing all necessary strength and protection needed by the Oglala Sioux in the efforts to rid themselves of corrupt tribal president, Dick Wilson. Because this degenerated human being is financed and wholly supported by the FBI, CIA, BIA, U.S. Justice Dept., and the U.S. Marshals, it is virtually impossible to for any Oglala to voice any kind of opinion which may run contrary to this puppet government with out being arrested or beaten…a policy that cannot go unchallenged or unanswered.

-About 200 AIM and Oglala Lakota activists occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee on February 27, 1973. They demanded the removal of Wilson, restoration of treaty negotiations with the U.S. government, and correction of U.S. failures to enforce treaty rights.

-Another concern was the failure of the justice systems in border towns to prosecute white attacks against Lakota men who went to the towns for their numerous saloons and bars.

-The Oglala Lakota saw a continuing pattern of discriminatory attacks against them in towns off the reservation, which police did not prosecute at all or not according to the severity of the crimes; they were also increasingly discontented with the poor conditions at Pine Ridge.

-February 25, 1973 the U.S. Department of Justice sent out 50 U.S. Marshals to the Pine Ridge Reservation to be available in the case of a civil disturbance.”[2] This followed the failed impeachment attempt and meetings of opponents of Wilson.[2]

-AIM says that its organization went to Wounded Knee for an open meeting and “within hours police had set up roadblocks, cordoned off the area and began arresting people leaving town… the people prepared to defend themselves against the government’s aggressions.

-The federal government established roadblocks around the community for 15 miles in every direction. In some areas, Wilson stationed his GOONs outside the federal boundary and required even federal officials to stop for passage.

-Visits by the U.S. senators from South Dakota, FBI agents and United States Department of Justice (DOJ) representatives, were attended by widespread media coverage, but the Richard Nixon administration was preoccupied internally with Watergate.[22]

[The Wounded Knee incident officially began February 27, 1973]

-Members of the Oglala Lakota, the American Indian Movement, and supporters occupied the town.

-The activists chose the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre for its symbolic value.

-The events electrified American Indians, who were inspired by the sight of their people standing in defiance of the government which had so often failed them. Many Indian supporters traveled to Wounded Knee to join the protest. At the time there was widespread public sympathy for the goals of the occupation, as Americans were becoming more aware of longstanding issues of injustice related to American Indians.

-while the United States Marshals ServiceFederal Bureau of Investigation agents and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area.

-The equipment maintained by the military while in use during the siege included fifteen armored personnel carriers, clothing, rifles, grenade launchers, flares, and 133,000 rounds of ammunition, for a total cost, including the use of maintenance personnel from the National Guard of five states and pilot and planes for aerial photographs, of over half a million dollars.

-After 30 days, the US government tactics became harsher when Kent Frizell was appointed from DOJ to manage the government’s response. He cut off electricity, water and food supplies to Wounded Knee, when it was still winter in South Dakota, and prohibited the entry of the media.

-When Lawrence “Buddy” Lamont, a local Oglala Lakota, was killed by a shot from a government sniper on April 26, he was buried on the site in a Sioux ceremony. After his death, tribal elders called an end to the occupation.[6] Knowing the young man and his mother from the reservation, many Oglala were greatly sorrowed by his death.

-Both sides reached an agreement on May 5 to disarm.[2][3] With the decision made, many Oglala Lakota began to leave Wounded Knee at night, walking out through the federal lines.[6] Three days later, the siege ended and the town was evacuated after 71 days of occupation; the government took control of the town.

-turned into an armed standoff lasting 71 days.

-Wilson remained in office and, following the occupation, violence increased on the reservation, with residents reporting attacks by his GOONs.

-More than 50 of Wilson’s opponents died violently in the next three years

-When Wilson ran for reelection in 1974, he faced a dozen challengers. He placed second in the primary, and defeated Russell Means in the runoff election on February 7.

-A United States Civil Rights Commission investigation reported ballot tampering, a large number of ineligible voters, improprieties in the appointment of the election commission, and “a climate of fear and tension.” Its report concluded the election results were invalid, but a federal court upheld Wilson’s reelection.[23]

-Wilson was only the third person to be elected to consecutive terms as Oglala Sioux Tribal Chair since the position was created in 1936.

-The murder rate between March 1, 1973, and March 1, 1976, was 170 per 100,000; it was the highest in the country. Detroit had a rate of 20.2 per 100,000 in 1974 and at the time was considered “the murder capital of the U.S.” The national average was 9.7 per 100,000.[31]

[Wow *shakes head*]

-More than 60 opponents of the tribal government died violent deaths in the three years following the Wounded Knee Incident, a time many residents called the “Reign of Terror”.

-Among those killed was Pedro Bissonette, executive director of the civil rights organization OSCRO.[32] Residents accused officials of failing to try to solve the deaths

-In this period of increased violence, on June 26, 1975, the reservation was the site of an armed confrontation between AIM activists and the FBI in what became known as the Pine Ridge Shootout.[37]

-Two FBI agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, and the AIM activist Jim Stuntz were killed.

-After being strongly defeated in the 1976 election for tribal chairman, Wilson moved with his family off the reservation.

-Alcoholism among residents has been a continuing problem in the life of the reservation since its founding.

Pine Ridge, Nebraska (also known as Whiteclay), a border town selling millions of cans of beer annually, primarily to residents from the reservation in South Dakota, where alcohol possession and consumption is prohibited.

-The town of Whiteclay, Nebraska (just over the South Dakota-Nebraska border) has approximately 12 residents and four liquor stores, which sold over 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer in 2010 (13,000 cans per day), almost exclusively to Oglala Lakota from the reservation.

-In 1999, after the murders of two young Lakota men at Whiteclay, Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) and supporting groups, such as Nebraskans for Peace, protested publicly for the state to do something about controlling or shutting down beer sales in the town.

-They also asked for the county to provide increased law enforcement in the hamlet, which is 22 miles from the seat of rural Sheridan County, Nebraska.

-During 2006 and 2007, tribal activists tried to blockade the road inside the reservation to confiscate beer being illegally brought in. The OST police chief complained of having insufficient money and staff to control the beer traffic

-tribal police estimate that 90 percent of the crimes are alcohol related.[87]

-widespread alcoholism on the reservation, which is estimated to affect 85 percent of the families.

-In 2004 the Oglala Sioux Tribe voted down a referendum to legalize alcohol sales, and in 2006 the tribal council voted to maintain the ban on alcohol sales, rather than taking on the benefits and responsibility directly.

-While other tribes and reservations also prohibited alcohol at one time because of Native American vulnerability to abuse, many have since legalized its sales on their reservations in order to use the revenues generated to improve health care and life on the reservation, as well as to be able to control the regulation of alcohol sales and police its use.

-They say that if the tribe legalized alcohol sales, it could keep much of the revenues now flowing to Nebraska and to state and federal taxes, and use such monies to bolster the reservation’s economy and health care services, including building a much-needed detoxification facility and rehab services.

-On February 9, 2012 the Oglala Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Nebraska against the four liquor stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska who sold over 4.9 million 12.oz cans of beer in 2010, almost exclusively to Pine Ridge residents, as well as the beverage distributors who deliver the product, and the brewery companies who make it.

-The suit; Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Jason Schwarting, Licensee of Arrowhead Inn, Inc. et al, is seeking $500 million in damages for the “cost of health care, social services and child rehabilitation caused by chronic alcoholism on the reservation, which encompasses some of the nation’s most impoverished counties.”[44]

-The suit claims that the defendants knowingly and willingly sell excessive amounts of alcohol with the knowledge that most of said alcohol is smuggled onto the reservation, in violation of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Federal law.

 

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Info & Sources (Anatomy Paper) [Again and Sorry]

17 Jul

Excuse me for posting this one again.  And no pictures even–what a gyp for you!  I’m sort of at a stopping point on this paper until I go to the campus library.  And who knows when that will be.  It seems something (tiredness, weather, holidays, other fun stuff to do, running, laziness, everything) is always stopping me.  But I am determined to get it finished BEFORE the semester begins.  I want to get some legit (physical) journals in their entirety and use those.  Then, once I have those sources–the easy part–writing the facts in a cohesive order.  It’s the works-cited page that I think is the most difficult.  That, and the in-text citations.  USING the information in the paper will be easy.  So this is more for me, then you, my readers.  If you’re totally bored and tired of my Anatomy class ALS paper’s sources–you can always check out my blog archives.  There is plenty of interesting material there. . .

ALS (9,620 results) {note to self:  type out full name to get more and better results}

bilateral degeneration of the upper motor neuron in the primary motor areas also impairs further adjusted motor areas, which leads to a strong reduction of ‘swallowing related’ cortical activation. While both hemispheres are affected by the degeneration a relatively stronger activation is seen in the right hemisphere.

Source 1:  http://www.springerlink.com/content/w7fd9x9b1a2v1ew1/

-Dysphagia severity tended to be particularly influenced by dysfunction of the posterior tongue.

-early stage of dysphagia in ALS was mainly caused by oral dysfunction, and the oral phase disorders began in some cases with a decreased function of bolus transport at the anterior part of the tongue, and in other cases with a deteriorated function of holding the bolus at the posterior part of the tongue.

Source 2:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11681400

-abnormal lingual movement may result in pharyngeal residue that is aspirated after the swallow is completed and respiration is resumed. ALS patients with bulbar involvement demonstrate more severe swallowing problems (such as aspiration)

Source 3:  http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=234&issue=7&page=715

-Until a definitive treatment is found for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, there will continue to be a need to provide symptomatic care.

Using amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as the search term:

Source 4:  http://www.ajcn.org/content/63/1/130.short

-fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle atrophy and weakness.

-Although dysphagia is a universal feature of this illness, the nutritional and metabolic status of ALS patients has received little attention.  Regression analysis demonstrated progressive decreases in body fat, lean body mass, muscle power, and nitrogen balance and an increase in resting energy expenditure as death approached.

-We conclude that ALS patients have a chronically deficient intake of energy and recommended augmentation of energy intake rather than the consumption of high-protein nutritional supplements.

Source 5:  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200105313442207

–  no cut & paste allowed

-good overview/history

Source 6:  http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/11854102

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common degenerative motor neuron disease in adults.

-The clinical picture consists of generalized fasciculations, progressive atrophy and weakness of the skeletal muscles, spasticity and pyramidal tract signs, dysarthria, dysphagia, and dyspnea. Pseudobulbar affect is common.

Nutritional deficiency caused by dysphagia can be relieved by a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. Respiratory insufficiency can be effectively treated by non-invasive home mechanical ventilation. The terminal phase of the disease should be discussed at the latest when symptoms of dyspnea appear, in order to prevent unwarranted fears of “choking to death.” Psychological and spiritual care of patients and families are important. Collaboration with hospice institutions and completion of advance directives can be of invaluable help in the terminal phase.

Source 7:  http://www.ojrd.com/content/4/1/3/abstract

-whole abstract is good info for entire overview of DZ

Source 8:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9562665

-Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease with evidence of both anterior horn cell and corticospinal tract degeneration. The incidence of ALS is 1 to 2.5 cases per 100,000 population and the disease occurs primarily in adult life. The etiology of sporadic ALS remains unknown, although 5 to 10% of cases are familial. The diagnosis of ALS requires the presence of both upper and lower motor neuron findings and progressive motor dysfunction. Several theories regarding the pathogenesis of ALS have emerged including glutamate excitotoxicity, free radical oxidative stress, neurofilament accumulation, and autoimmunity. Clinical trials involving antiglutamate agents, antioxidants, immunosuppressants, and growth factors have shown no substantial benefit in slowing progression, with death usually occurring 2 to 5 years following the onset of symptoms. The management of ALS patients requires a multidisciplinary team that can provide the numerous medical and physical interventions necessary to treat weakness and fatigue, bulbar dysfunction, spasticity and pain, depression, and respiratory failure.

Source 9:  http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/7952238

-Therapeutic trials for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have attracted much attention, but no drug tested has been effective yet. Three major theories of pathogenesis form the basis for these trials: autoimmunity, chronic excitotoxic stimulation due to accumulation of glutamate, and, in the familial form, peroxidation due to subnormal activity of superoxide dismutase. In striking contrast to the negative results of all of the other drug trials, riluzole (a glutamate antagonist) was said to benefit patients with bulbar onset but not those with spinal onset. Problems with the original trial may be clarified by other studies now in progress.

Source 10:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673696916803

-In an initial study, riluzole decreased mortality and slowed muscle-strength deterioration in ALS patients. We have carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study to confirm those findings and to assess drug efficacy at different doses.

-959 patients with clinically probable or definite ALS of less than 5 years’ duration were randomly assigned treatment with placebo or 50 mg, 100 mg, or 200 mg riluzole daily; randomisation was stratified by centre and site of disease onset (bulbar or limb).

-primary outcome was survival without a tracheostomy. Secondary outcomes were rates of change in functional measures (muscle strength, functional status, respiratory function, patient’s assessments of fasciculation, cramps, stiffness, and tiredness).

-The most common adverse reactions were asthenia, dizziness, gastrointestinal disorders, and rises in liver enzyme activities; they were commonest with the 200 mg dose

-Overall, efficacy and safety results suggest that the 100 mg dose of riluzole has the best benefit-to-risk ratio. This study confirms that riluzole is well tolerated and lengthens survival of patients with ALS.

Source 11:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673610611567

-Substantial wasting of the tongue muscles in bulbar-onset ALS. Note the absence of palatal elevation present on vocalisation. Difficulty with mouth opening and dysphagia might require supplementary feeding through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. In further support of a corticomotoneuronal hypothesis, the tongue is often disproportionately affected in comparison to other oropharyngeal musculature in patients with bulbar-onset ALS. As with the thenar muscles in the hand, the tongue receives more extensive cortical input than other muscle groups in the oropharyngeal area.

-neurodegeneration in ALS might result from a complex interaction of glutamate excitoxicity, generation of free radicals, cytoplasmic protein aggregates, SOD1 enzymes, combined with mitochondrial dysfunction, and disruption of axonal transport processes through accumulation of neurofilament intracellular aggregates. Mutations in TARDBP andFUS result in formation of intracellular aggregates, which are harmful to neurons. Activation of microglia results in secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, resulting in further toxicity. Ultimately, motor neuron degeneration occurs through activation of calcium-dependent enzymatic pathways

 

Whistle-Blower, Whiner, or Wolf?

15 Jul

I don’t have to explain myself.  This is my blog, and I’m allowed to say what I want on it.  If you don’t

Angel or Devil?

like it–don’t read it.  BUT I want to mention a couple of things, just for clarification purposes.  Yeah, I’m feisty, but I don’t want to give my readers the impression I’m thoughtless, bitter, and hateful.  That’s not me.  At.  All.

Sometimes I wonder if I should even write a blog. As much as I enjoy writing and getting things that bother me out of my head, I’m paranoid about who reads it–and censor it heavily based on my suspicions. Which really isn’t the point.  But more then that, I am sensitive to criticism. Not my best quality, and yet so, so, SO difficult to change.  Maybe I’ll disable comments all-together.  Which isn’t the point either.

This Wal-Mart = Veterinary Hospitals post is a good example. When I wrote it, I didn’t think that much of it, honestly. I had watched a documentary (as I often do) and it didn’t resonate with me all that much b/c my own work experiences at vet hospitals (the only jobs aside from University employment that I’ve ever had) were/are very similar.  So without naming hospitals/employer names, I wrote down the similarities.  And upon writing the comparisons–based upon my 100% true veterinary experiences–which are varied. . .  Well, I received hostility at worst, and dissent at best. Which then made me wonder–should I have written it in the first place?

First, I take the POV that I have nothing to hide.  As a victim (for lack of better word) why should I have to censor the bad behavior of others because those in “the establishment” do not like it, do not acknowledge that it occurs (commonly!), and do not want to change it??  It’s the role of a whistle-blower, I think.  And those people take a lot of heat, before their actions and honesty are commended.  Look up:  A. Ernest FitzgeraldMyron MehlmanJeffrey WigandGary WebbHarry MarkopolosSherron WatkinsPeter RostLinda TrippFrederic Whitehurst.  I see I’m going to have to look for some books on those people and the corruption they dealt with!  Anyway, the role of the whistle-blower is not all that popular, but necessary for improvement and change.

But then I think:  Is it FAIR and ethical for me to whine about this?  Especially in a public forum?  On a small scale–the hospitals involved wouldn’t love it, and don’t really get a chance to defend themselves.  I could really get myself in hot water over it too.  Especially since the places I’ve worked and names of veterinarians are all over my blog–though not in that particular post.  A person with a brain could probably put the two and two together. . .  NOT smart on my part.  At.  All.

On a larger scale–does my whining hurt a profession that I love, and have all my life?  I have been one of the biggest proponents of veterinary medicine (just look at my past posts, my former dream, and all I have enjoyed/put up with for the last 17-ish years) and want to see the profession excel.  Does my complaining (legit or not) hurt the image of a veterinary hospital, hurt business, and damage the reputations of the ethical hospitals and employers?  Plus my particular hospitals and employers?

Thirdly I (with the help of haters) think–Am I a bad, unethical person for having a problem with these veterinary job commonalities in the first place?  A wolf, trying to ruin an awesome, and for the most part compassionate profession, if you will.  A lot of people would role with the punches, overlook the ugly, and be thankful for the good parts of the job.  Does my negative feelings about past jobs make ME the problem in all of it?

These are questions I have.  And, as follows, I’ll explain how my intention is none of the above.  I don’t consider myself a noble whistle-blowing victim, a whiny cry-baby, OR a hostile wolf trying to bring down the institution.  My point for writing what I do about any issues in veterinary medicine, is to generate awareness to the people in a position to change things (veterinarians/employers) to FIX things.  I want the profession to be better, that’s all.

I do not mean to call-out any particular person/veterinary hospital (in general posts about work–in some personally directed posts, I obviously do).  I do not think my employers for the most part had bad intentions toward their employees, and as such, don’t think they need to be personally raked over the coals (Well. . .  Mostly).  These are people that had their plates full, other priorities, or no experience dealing with labor matters.  Or had a messy midlife crises as the case may be.  Yes, I have worked under some shady circumstances that were not always ethical, lawful, or nice–but in an effort to be a better, more ethical person myself,  I will try never to use names from here on out, AND I will realize consequences of each post, before I publish it.

I want to see veterinary medicine succeed and grow. But there are some issues that need to be addressed so the career can grow and prosper gracefully.  Standards need to be met, and especially, staffing issues need to be mended.  Veterinarians are IN veterinary medicine because they are compassionate people wanting to help animals (and their owners) but that doesn’t preclude their staff from common decency.  Vets and business owners need to pay attention to the deficits and work to correct them, instead of just calling me out for tattling.

Saying something about the problems in veterinary medicine (and no matter what one person’s one individual experience is, there ARE problems) does not make me evil.  I am not out to destroy veterinarians–I simply want to see the wrinkles ironed out so veterinary hospitals can live up to a higher level of care–not just for patients, but for their staff too.  There’s always room for improvement.

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Hair-Raising

13 Jul

Time for another major pet-peeve: One-tonal blonde hair. I am never certain why (women especially) think this looks good. I blame unreasonable expectations driven by patriarchy and capitalism.  Just because a lot of celebs sport the look–which is costly to maintain.  It looks unnatural! And bad. Often it is orangy-yellowy so the color turns out brassy. Not. Cute.  At.  All.  Sorostitutes with brassy orange/gold hair and Oompa-Loompa orange, fake & bake skin = weird looking, not gorgeous.

Also, that icky blondie-blonde color absolutely destroys your hair. Bleach, black, and box dye are 3 of the worst cardinal hair sins. Even IF the color looks good (it doesn’t) the dry, brittle “hair” left on your head looks like it’s about to fall out–it is. People, you do those colors too much on your hair, and that hair will break. Nothing is fashionable about that.  And maybe you will go bald early. Yick. Especially if you process the hair in other ways: Blow dry, curl, straighten, chemically alter.

Maybe worst of all = roots. Roots are so, so, SO, SO ugly! Any that are showing make you look trash-E-trash. Especially people that stray far from their natural color–black roots on a brassy head = appalling. Red roots on black hair–I’m not even going to address it it’s so terrible.  So if you must dye–keep up on the touch-ups.  Even one day of striped hair makes you look lazy and gross.

So do your hair (and spectators) a favor and keep your natural color. Plus, staying within a color-range semi-near your own matches your skin/eyebrows.  [un-matching eyebrows *shakes head*] Not a lot of people can carry off strong blondes/blacks/reds because it clashes with their complexion.  Really, you will look a LOT cuter if you keep a natural look.  Even if you feel like it’s boring.

Or at least get highlights and low lights. I’m not going to lie–if I could afford to do it consistently (and keep up on the roots) I would totally dye my hair.  And I certainly will when too much of it turns gray.  Probably a truer shade of blonde–with low lights obviously.  You have to have mutli-dimensional color–professionally done, and not over-treat your hair for it to look soft, naturally lovely, and beautiful.  Yeesh–get a clue.