Friday, May 30, 2008


At work, DPN = Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. In my head (and in knitting) DPN = Double Pointed Needles.

This leads to my reading a journal article sentence thus: "Pre-clinical studies in diabetic rodent models have shown that Double Pointed Needle is the result of a complex network of interrelated vascular, metabolic, and neurotrophic defects..."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank You Mr President

When I first heard that the government had decided to send a $600 check to every taxpayer within a certain income range to alleviate the economic situation I honestly thought that it was a satirical comment. Made up. Swiftian proposal-style. Putting the government into further debt just to give people about a month's rent is certainly not going to fix the lack of a livable minimum wage, the credit crunch, the deflating housing bubble, or the rising cost of living. The people who need help are in serious trouble, way more than $600 per adult and $300 per child. Nevertheless, $1,200 landed in our joint checking account last week. I momentarily contemplated all the lovely shiny things (or fluffy things: that's a lot of alpaca and silk) I could buy with it, then resolutely ignored my patriotic duty as an American Consumer to spend spend spend and paid down a student loan.

Of course, later this year Matt and I plan to use part of my student loan money to replace our carpet...but for the next few months thats a grand not accruing interest, and I am extremely glad that we are in a situation where the "Economic Stimulus Package" is a nice bonus, not an insulting droplet in an ocean of financial woes.

My final grades are supposed to be posted in 5 days, I'm checking at least once a day just in case they get posted early. It's very nice to be able to go home after pilates, instead of rushing off to campus. I spent 20 minutes in the sauna after my workout on Tuesday, and today I will either do the same, or stick around for the turbo-kick class. It depends on how strong I feel after pilates. I need to get some intense cardiovascular stuff going, my muscles are improving, but my jeans are still tight, and it's uncomfortable. I originally typed "I'm sick of my jeans feeling tight" but you know what? it's not the end of the world, it's just unpleasant, and I can do something about it, in fact I am doing something about it: I joined SparkPeople, and I'm calorie counting again, so far it's not driving me batty, just keeping me from fooling myself that I really can have every cookie that's offered and beer with dinner and start to loose weight.

*Edited to add* Some grades are now up, I got A's in Biostatistics and Chronic Disease, now I'm just waiting to hear about the tricky one: Health Admin. Yay!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nine Units Down (almost)

Last final today, in Health Administration, I am exhausted. I ended up calling in sick from work yesterday and today so I could rest up and fend off this sore throat/headache/migraine in time for this last exam. The biostatistics final exam was rather epic. It was straightforward enough to me, since it was open book there were not horrible formulae to memorize, and I was rather pleased with how I was able to pick the procedures without referring to the giant flowchart in the back of the textbook, but the exam started at 7pm, I'm normally a fast test-taker, and I left the room at 9.30. I was only about the third person to finish and leave. My study mate for that class called me the next day to say that many people stayed till 10.30pm! The professor evidently misjudged the length.

Tomorrow I've got a vacation day scheduled, and I will be visiting my friend Mike, who is also a massage therapist, and has a hot tub at his house. The genius man called me this morning to remind me to bring my suit so I can relax in the hot tub before he gives me a massage! Bliss!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Less stinking

I told the story to a couple of (young, female) coworkers, and they took much more exception to the response ("is that a prediction?") than to the initial statement. But they expressed concern at the whole exchange, and the general atmosphere (as reported by me) in that lab. This made me feel better: it's not just me being sensitive, and it's not just me thinking that I can't really call them on this incident.

The term "raped" is used in SoCal where I'm used to hearing "screwed" or "buggered", which, I suppose, technically have very similar meanings. I've heard people use it before, and always been very shocked, Mat even used it once when referring to to unpleasant financing terms on a car loan, but after seeing me turn green he never used it again.

I suppose the upshot of this little episode is that I have learned two things: I am hypersensitive due to my personal history, and it's worth it to tell a contemporary when I feel uncomfortable, chances are she'll agree with me, but reporting to supervisors doesn't always make a difference.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I am stinking mad

I was over in another lab picking up samples, which involved searching through three large disorganized freezers. I went through all three twice before I found everything I needed.

That's not why I'm mad.

The guy who works in that lab is a pig. I always thought he was a tolerable pig, the freezers are all named after porn stars, but he left me alone, only teased the girls who went along with his sexist jokes, and was pleasantly big-brotherly to a young woman he supervises. I'll call her X. As I was rooting through the freezers, conversation fell to fuel prices, how much we each pay to fill up our cars, and what mileage they get. X drives a German car, and gets TERRIBLE mileage, worse than any of us expected to hear from that car, we all paused to marvel at how much she must be spending on gas. Then the pig chuckles to himself and says to another guy in the room "Heh, X is getting raped". Pig #2 chuckles back and says "is that a prediction...?"

I don't know if X heard. She was on the other side of the room, and it's a noisy room. I heard.

Did I call them on it? Did I tell them to apologize to X and myself, and to imagine how they'd feel if they heard some guys joking about their sister, mother or partner being raped?

No. I bit my tongue and kept looking for my samples. I fought down a panic attack. I wanted to cry, I wanted to cry, to scream, to give him just an inkling of the level of pain caused by an offhand remark on that subject, but I could not let him see he'd actually affected me. I ran through scenarios in my head: could I complain to their boss? My boss? Would it change anything? I don't know. It's one isolated incident, it would mean creating a big stink when I don't even have to work around the pig. X does, she's exposed to misogynist girls-gone-wild crap all the time in that room, and evidently, the occasional jest about her potential violation.

These guys should be made to watch documentaries about survivors of sexual abuse. They need to realize that, with this behaviour, they are part of the machine that chews women up and spits them out all over the world. It makes me sick that for all my feminist viewpoints, when it came down to it, I bit my tongue and got on with my work. I'm honestly not sure if I'm picking my battles with this, or just chickening out on my principals.