I walked into the store this weekend and saw Christmas
decorations. Can you believe it? Christmas decorations?!?! I never
know whether I should be excited and festive or mortified at the
consumerism of having things out 3 months in advance. Seriously.
Who starts buying and decorating for Christmas 3 months before the
holiday? I guess it's just a reminder, though, that the end of the
trimester will be here before we know it. We're already looking at
midterms. My first one, in lab diagnosis, is this coming
Banyan Tree on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete
I hear that the rest of the world is starting to cool off in
honor of the season--but here in Florida we're still averaging
upper 80s or lower 90s. It's. Been. Hot. I find I'm a little
envious of my friends and loved ones that are donning sweaters and
complaining about it being chilly. I haven't owned a sweater in
nearly 8 years. The closest to needing one has been dealing with
crazy air conditioning issues in the Annex. Sometimes it gets
downright chilly in there! We're threatening to bring teapots and
mittens. I can see it happening. It might start cooling off by the
end of October. For now, even though we're technically in Autumn,
it still feels like Summer--rain, heat, and all.
I'm getting into the Marketing project with planning my future
clinic. I spend a little bit of time every day, it seems, pondering
how things will be--how I want them. I know I need to do a lot more
research on my geographic regions and desired demographics, etc.
It's actually a pretty big project--but I think it will help me
tremendously when the time comes. I've even been working on putting
a logo together. I have no idea if that's what it will end up
as--but I think it's a good start.
I've started clearing the yard for a fall garden. I'm wondering
how long the growing season will be. I've never had a fall garden
before--having grown up in the Midwest. I will let all of you know
how that works out. If all works well, I could have fresh herbs and
veggies around Christmas. Maybe I'll decorate with them instead of
glitz and glitter from the store.
I'm still working on some pretty intense research topics. My
Pubmed list grows just about every day. Here is a listing of my
topics: oxytocin, C reactive protein, eicosanoids,
anti-inflammatory diet, food allergy, gluten, celiac, botanical,
functional medicine, vitamin D and asthma, stress, and naturopathic
medicine. There may be a couple of others--ones that I don't get
search returns on daily. There's amazing research that comes
through every day. Pieces of the puzzle come together. I'm learning
things about bloodwork that I never knew, how biochemistry is
affected by nearly everything, and what we can do (and what we're
doing and not doing) to fix it all. Fascinating.
Banyan Tree in Crescent Lake
One of the biggest I've ever seen (a little bit like the
"Tree of Life" from Disney)
Since I'm boycotting Christmas trees for at least another two
months, here are some Banyan tree pictures. Banyans are actually
fig trees and sometimes known as strangler figs. In some places
they're considered invasives. Here in this part of Florida, we've
got some Banyan trees that are OLD--REALLY, REALLY old. There are
several places around town where Banyan trees can be seen--there's
even a "Banyan Tree Motel"--although the only Banyan tree there is
on the sign. I've always found them to be majestic, spirited trees
that are absolutely beautiful.
Have a great week everybody!
I'm writing to you all from a newly formatted laptop--not a new
laptop, but a newly formatted one. I've spent a fair amount of the
last week working on my computer. Today I finally gave up, in
disgust, and recovered Windows. I'm still trying to get access to
all of my old files (now my external hard drive isn't working).
It's definitely Mercury in Retrograde!
Midterms are winding down. We have one more this week and then a
"mid-term" exam next week as well. This week should prove to be
interesting, given that we have the 4th off. I'm
sure there will be cookouts and beach trips and fireworks of some
Last week we had Botanical Medicine and Pharmacology. Boy, am I
glad those are over! I'm still in Love with Botanical Medicine. I
feel like I could never know too much. My hope is to do some more
research on constituents to make sure none of the toxic ones get
into my medicine. That's the thing with being your own pharmacist.
Even though it's amazing to be able to make your own medicine, it
comes with responsibility. Fortunately, for most herbs (not all--be
careful!), the toxicity is low and it either takes a whole lot of
herb to cause damage, or the toxic effects are minimal.
Saturday, Grey and I went to Downtown St. Pete for Pride! We
have a number of friends in the LGBT community. It's been a
tradition for the last 4 years for me to go, in support, and now
Grey has been going for the last 2 years. We missed the parade due
to rain, but we caught up with friends afterwards. I'm always
impressed at how things go during Pride. Everyone comes out, and
for the most part it's an extremely positive experience. I'm
thinking that next year maybe the school should have a booth at the
parade. I should probably talk to someone about that. There are a
lot of health care vendors and educational booths there. It would
be a great opportunity to expand our reach.
This week's picture is of my Mullein. Admittedly, I have been
running like a mad crazy woman, since I moved into my place and I
haven't planted anything else or set up my garden. I honestly have
no idea when I'll have time (maybe I should work on that this
weekend). But, the Mullein is flowering, and it's lovely. I'm
Have a great 4th of July, everyone. Enjoy
Independence and whatever that means for you!
Here we are. Summer is upon us. Memorial Day is over and we're
headlong into the throes of the tri and Florida summer. I'm sure it
didn't get below 85º during the day here this weekend. More than a
few times I thought to myself, "Man, this is going to be a hot and
miserable summer." And yet, I always make it through (hydration is
Friday night was the Tri Mixer! We had a great turnout at Ten
Pin bowling. Strikes and spares were made, gutter balls were
thrown, and a good time was had by all. It's always great to see
students from other tris--especially now that my tri is in the
Annex all the time. I miss many of the students that we used to
have classes with/around. It's also great to see those tris ahead
of us that are now in clinic, including those that are just about
to graduate. It was just good to see everybody! Drew organized a
fantastic event. I wonder what next tri's mixer will be like.
On Saturday, I participated in the March against Monsanto
through downtown St. Pete. The controversial topic of GMOs
(genetically modified organisms) has been near and dear to my heart
since I was in high school, and I felt strongly about voicing my
opinion. About 500 people--young, young at heart, and everywhere in
between--descended on downtown St. Pete on Saturday afternoon to
express their concerns about the growing threat of genetically
modified organisms in our food supply.
Several different organizations participated--Seeds of Change,
Good Earth Market, We Are Change, and several others. People had
great signs, and while rather vocal, the march was peaceful and
with the support of onlookers and drivers-by. My good friend,
Jacqlyn participated in the March in Sarasota, where they had a bit
fewer people, but their presence was just as strong.
For more information about GMOs:
Have a great week, everybody!
Well, you wouldn't know it by looking outside. We've had a few
really nice days, but it's expected to be in the 50s one day this
week. It's almost April! What is going on? I know everybody up in
the Midwest has had snow. I just keep looking out the door
bewildered and checking the Weather Channel on my phone. I never
know what it's going to be! Bundle-up or flip-flops, or my personal
favorite, blue toes in flip-flops? We just take it day by
I thought for sure that I'd make it outside for something this
weekend, but it didn't happen. I did, however, make a cameo at the
Gluten Free Expo at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. Grey and I showed
up about an hour before it was over, wondering if they'd have some
great speaker at the last minute or some new revolutionary
products. There were, of course, TONS of giveaways and coupons and
brochures. I did grab a few business cards from vendors and talked
to a health coach while I was there.
I must say, though, that I was disappointed. While I'm grateful
that I now have free snack fodder for the boys' lunches for the
next month plus, I'm not sure how healthy it all is. There's just
so much processing going into gluten-free products these days.
Nothing they were giving away or selling was anywhere near simple
or resembling anything homemade.
I talked to a baker about Paleo cooking. She said that the
biggest problem for them was cutting out the sugar. She wanted to
substitute Stevia--which in some Paleo circles is forbidden (no
artificial sugars or regular sugars). Although I'm not sure what
other ingredients she was going to substitute, the sugar, I think,
was the least of their worries.
In Diet and Nutrition, Dr. S has been teaching us all the
pathways and extolling the dangers of grains, sugars, and
indirectly, processing. We've linked all these starches, Omega 6s,
and sugars to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's. Of
course that doesn't make it all so easy to give up, but the
argument is getting more and more persuasive. So I have to
think--just because something is gluten-free, that doesn't make it
healthy. Whether it's the canola oil, the high fructose corn syrup,
or the ingredient that I can only dissect with a piece of paper and
a chemistry textbook, it may still be gluten-free, but it's also a
science/health experiment. I know for a fact, that gluten-free can
still be simple. The more ingredients, the more likely that there
might be a problem, and that doesn't work for anyone.
I'm beginning to explore the ins and outs of the Paleo diet and
trying to marry it with my own sense of nutrition. I suspect I'll
be more restrictive in many ways than what the standards are. I
still can't see/justify eating huge amounts of bacon. Something
just doesn't seem right about that. I'm not sure whether it's the
huge amounts of fat, the salt, or the nitrates. Yes, I know that
all of those are available nitrate-free, but last time I
checked--we were all students, yes?--I also know that I will never
eat beef or eggs again. I think there has got to be a way to
balance nutrition and our evolutionary developments with the limbic
system. Otherwise, we'll all end up eating only 35 cups of Romaine
lettuce with steaks wrapped in bacon. And between you and me, none
of that sounds all that appetizing.
Last but certainly not least, I want to congratulate everyone on
making it through midterms. We finally had our last one on
Thursday. I'll spare you all the drama involved, but I know we are
all extremely glad that that is over. I want to offer Dr. Ott my
undying gratitude for being, perhaps, the coolest-headed professor
I've ever come across. I must find for you, Dr, Ott, 5 million gold
toilet stickers. You deserve them. (And if you want to know the
story about the gold toilet stickers, you can email me).
Everyone also deserves congratulations for making it through
Mercury retrograde. Thankfully, Mercury went direct on St. Patty's
Day--and not a moment too soon. I was tired of fixing everything,
fighting and mediating fights, and just generally being in a
Happy First Full Week of Spring to everyone and Happy Easter,
Ostara and a Blessed Passover to all who celebrate.
This week's pictures are from Lake Maggiore--which is not far
from my house. I was hoping to get some gators in there, but it was
a bit too cloudy. If you enter through Boyd Hill and take the
trails, I PROMISE you'll see some BIG gators. To my classmate
Lauren, here's where you (don't) want to go. :)
It's been unseasonably cold here for the last several days. I
know; I know. For those of you that live in the "Great White North"
(any place above Orlando, pretty much), you'd think this was a
picnic. But for those of us that have been down here long enough to
have "thin blood", it's freezing.
When I think back to when I was a kid--we'd go outside in 3+
feet of snow barefoot. I can't even imagine doing anything like
that now. Now it becomes parka weather when it's below 60. I take
solace in knowing what the weather will be like next weekend (at
least the predictions) and also that I've had to be inside studying
for midterms--so it's not like I've missed anything. Next weekend
will be a different story--a welcome break in between sets of
exams. Ahhh. Yes. Thank You.
I've admittedly been having a tough week. Trials and
tribulations with my own issues as well as issues "back home". We
all hope and work for the best, but sometimes it doesn't happen
that way. We do what we can and try to remind ourselves that it's
all going to be OK. I was writing that on the chalkboards in some
of the classrooms. It's not just midterms and finals that stress us
out. I don't know how many pep talks I've given over the last 2
weeks, but I'm extremely grateful for the ones I've received. A
special thanks to Super Vito. I'm gonna make you a cape, my
It's a rarity that any of us come through this unscathed.
Whether it's a health issue, a break up, a family member, a new
relationship, a child, or any number of other reasons--there are
more than enough things to distract us from what we're trying to
do. Sometimes it's hard to keep those priorities straight.
Sometimes all of those other things take priority over school.
Above all, it comes down to taking care of ourselves. It's a new
thing for me to stop and take a step back when I'm reaching my
breaking point. I'm still working on that.
The most important thing to remember, when I'm NOT coming
through unscathed, is to be a little gentle with myself. Forgive
myself. Take care of myself. It really does make all the
Our pictures today are of the St. Pete Pier--from either
direction. The pier building itself is set to be demolished
sometime soon. It's been an icon of the town for decades. I've seen
the designs for its replacement. It's interesting--somewhere
between the Jetsons, the Sydney Opera house and tinker toys--but
I'm going to reserve final judgment for when it's all done. We
shall see. If you're around town for the 4th of
July, they usually do an AMAZING fireworks show over the pier and
on either side of it. Of course, I know the best spots to watch
it--without being stuck in all the traffic. But those are pics and
stories for a different day.
Study hard, folks. But most importantly, remember what's
important. Only you can decide that.
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
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