Friday, December 19, 2008

Home again home again

Woohoo! Just finished my last exam, and I'm thrilled! I even think it went pretty well. I have a 3pm flight, so I get to laze about for a few more hours and eat all of the food that I don't want to go bad while I'm gone. And then it's off to snowy California! It's a beautiful day here in New Orleans, but I'm excited to go home and drink hot buttered rum by the fireplace.

(via lolita)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A bit distracted

Ugh, I just watched a super sad movie and now I feel like crap. Does that ever happen to you? I popped this movie in (I guess that's an antiquated term now--I "slid in a dvd") thinking it would be a stupid, light-hearted romantic comedy that would take me away from physiology for a while, and instead, I end up sobbing (SOBBING) my eyes out and wishing I'd just stuck to the textbooks. It totally snuck up on me!

I'm not going to tell you what the movie was because you'll all make fun of me. It was one of those movies that you see previews for (before a movie you rented, not even on the big screen) and make fun of because it looks so brainless. Like, girlfriend-meets-the-parents-and-they-have-a-really-awkward-weekend brainless. But you're running out of things to put on your netflix queue, so you thought, what the hell. By the way, if anyone has any great movie suggestions, I'm all ears.

Anyway, physio exam tomorrow and I am not a happy camper. But as per my usual, I can't seem to study after 8:30 pm or so, no matter how badly I need to (bad habit for a med student, let me tell you), so I'm thinking about hitting the sack. It was a lovely 76 degrees today, which somewhat redeems the snow last week. But hey! Even though I'm not into living in the frigid snow, I love to visit it (briefly), and if I was going to go somewhere chilly, this is totally where I would go right now:

Incredible, huh? It looks like a toy town. It's Sisimiut, Greenland, and it looks like an amazing place to visit.

I told you--way cold. I love icebergs. Check out this awesome slideshow about Arctic traveling. Beautiful!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remember remember

I ran some errands today and saw everyone out putting up Christmas decorations on their houses. It's finally starting to put me in the Christmas mood (even though it was a lovely 70 degrees and sunny today). The snow on Thursday certainly helped, but in general, the holiday spirit has been taking a while to hit me.

Death by Christmas Lights. by Siouxanna.

Christmas is hard not to love. Lights, trees, cold weather, stockings and presents, hot buttered rum by the fireplace, and best of all, I get to see my family! Some higher power has been trying really hard for the past handful of years to stop my family from enjoying Christmas, but we manage to carry on with our normal vigor. I guess it's a healthy combination of present overload, massive amounts of food and liquor, and an inability to stay sad for long when you're surrounded by people that you love, even if those people are brought together by hardship as well as tradition.

Anyway, just feeling a bit melancholy on this day of days, all alone with my little kittens. But my Christmas spirit is putting up a good fight, and I'm so excited to fly home this weekend and see my family! I hear it's snowing there, and while I was less than thrilled with the snow in New Orleans (it's supposed to be warm here, for God's sake!), snow at home is a lovely thing. I hope everyone else is gearing up for the holidays too!

Friday, December 12, 2008


You're having a bad day--nothing seems to be going right. You had to wake up really early and go to boring lectures all day, you have three big tests next week and not nearly enough time to study for them, your hair has been doing this weird thing lately and won't be tamed, and it is effing COLD these days. Also, how did Christmas sneak up on you so quickly, and when exactly are you supposed to do all of the necessary shopping in the next week and a half?

With all of these worries on your mind, where should you go to leave them all behind?

50 Strange Buildings of the World (Part II) photo
Why, to your very own Free Spirit Sphere in the peaceful rainforest of Vancouver Island, of course!

The motion in a sphere is a slow gentle rocking when the wind blows. The rope tethers are almost vertical which lets the treetops move considerably while hardly moving the sphere at all. The sphere movement is a muted average of the movement of the 3 treetops. When another body inside a sphere shifts his/her weight the motion is abrupt. This is because the mass of the sphere is low.

Once one breaks contact with the ground, energy shifts. The magical environment of the forest canopy conjures up thoughts of
elves and fairies. One can feel the presence of the forest. That presence seems to dwell in the canopy where it can watch the meanderings below.

Um....heck yeah! I know I'm just a tree-hugging hippie right below the surface, but who wouldn't want to stay in a magic treetop sphere for the weekend? I'll admit that the accommodations sound a little hokey (yet still relaxing and lovely), but I want one for my own backyard! Or strung somewhere up in the redwoods, yeah?

Found on this awesome website about strange buildings around the world. Check it out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Told ya!

I still haven't found my camera cord, so even though I took pictures of the snow today, I can't post them. But the New York Times has a lovely photo of the Quarter in their pictures of the day!

Good bunch of pictures today, as always. Another of my favorites:

They also have some haunting pictures of the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe on their homepage. Worth a look-see.


You'll never believe it--it snowed here today! Snowed. An honest to goodness snow storm. It was really coming down! Pretty incredible, considering it was a perfect 80 degrees not three days ago. I thought I moved to New Orleans to escape this crap! On the bright side, no one in New Orleans can handle the white stuff, so a bunch of crap I didn't want to do today was canceled! Very convenient. So I'm at home wearing: thigh high socks, short fuzzy socks, sweat pants, leg warmers, slippers, knit hat, turtle neck shirt, sweater, scarf, and a robe over it all. My little gas heaters aren't quite cutting it.

That being said, does anyone out there who knows how to knit want to make me one of these?

Draft Dodger in Soft Blue
(via swissmiss)

Doesn't it look warm and wonderful? You can get your own draft dodger (or one for your freezing friend) from this cute shop. Sigh...I should really learn how to knit something other than a potholder.

Well, back to studying metabolism. The beautiful church down the street is playing "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on its bells, I have a fresh cup of coffee, and my two kittens are sleeping next to me on the desk. Cuddled together, without fighting! Life could be worse.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

By the way

New baby girl kitten! Adopted from my histology professor--aren't I a suck up? She and Stokely...well, I'm sure they'll get along a little better soon! Cross your fingers. She's a sweetie, although it was tough to get her to sit still for these pictures. Sorry about the grainy laptop photos--I can't find my camera cord!

Over and out, folks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture of the day

PS--my favorite picture of the day from the nyt!

Oh so tired

I had such a productive weekend! I actually sat down and studied for more than ten minutes in a row, for the first time in a good while. I just can't seem to concentrate these days. Which is unfortunate, because this block (which started Monday) is only two weeks long, which means we have three exams next week.


I'm trying to study right now, which isn't going as well as I'd hoped. I'm sitting in a room at the top floor of Tulane's Poydras building, which is where the standardized patient program is housed. The SP program is one of the neatest things about Tulane. They employ a staff of actors who pretend to be patients, and it's through them that we learn to interact with patients. There's a whole "clinic" up here, and we learn to do all of our exams with the SPs, from patient interviewing to the really fun stuff. One of the reasons is that I can't study is that I'm sitting in a room with a bunch of T2s (study rooms are a hot commodity these days) who are waiting to be called in to learn digital rectal exams. Oh baby. Anal jokes abound.

The SPs get paid pretty well, as you can imagine. I just came out of a session on patient counseling that was really great, although he was acting like such a difficult guy that it was pretty frustrating sometimes. But it is really nice to be put through all of this stuff before treating real live patients.

Ugh, I guess I'd better go. Sorry this was kind of an empty post. This is what I've been staring at for the past hour and a half:

Well, variations on the same theme. Anyway, things to do, places to be. Later kids.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bot fly

Hey all you lovely people! Long time no talk. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's been a long few weeks! I spent a lovely Thanksgiving break in New Jersey/New York area with Andrew--man, is it cold there! Like, actually cold cold, not New Orleans cold. This was never more apparent to me last week than when I accidentally locked myself out of Andrew's house (while he was at work in the city) and had to spend three hours outside, searching for a spare key/a way to break in. In my pajamas. With his senile little Maltese sitting on the porch and barking at me. Good times.

But really, other than that, it was a wonderful trip. I got to spend time with my man, eat Chipotle (and, um, turkey and all that), go shopping in Manhattan, enjoy wonderful New Jersey pizza and bagels, and my kitten didn't even make a scene on the airplane. What else could I ask for?

And now it's back to school. This whole past week I've had an awful cold, so I still haven't really gotten into the swing of things. Physiology? Histology? Wha?

I wanted to share with you a truly wonderful video that the fabulous Miss Havisham posted. Like me, she likes watching disgusting things being extracted from people's bodies--it makes me want to be her best friend. It's a video of a bot fly larva being pulled from a man's back, where it was hoping to grow into a nice happy little adult bot fly and then crawl out (read all about bot flies here). Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Return of the Mammoth

Original article:

Um, heck yeah we should bring back the woolly mammoth! How freaking cool would that be? Check it out:

In our own back yards! Sure sure, things are getting a bit toasty around here for all that fur, but I'm sure we'll get this global warming nonsense under control in no time. And 10 mil is a small price to pay for this venture, if you ask me.

So close

I'm burned out. I've said that a lot lately, but it's so damn true tonight. I just can't study any more. Saturation point.

I wouldn't say that med school is over-the-top difficult so far. It's certainly a challenge, but I'm pretty good at being in school (and after twenty years of constant schooling, I'd better be). I know how to study, I can usually keep facts in my head long enough to regurgitate them during a test. And I love what I'm doing now--even though I have to wake up at 6 every day, sit in lecture for hours, hurt my back bending over a cadaver for so long, and leave school smelling like a dead body, I love it.

But I am so...effing...tired. I think that we all are. No one wants to be in lab anymore, no one reads ahead or prepares for lecture, more and more people are coming to class in sweat pants. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is our last anatomy exam, and the last day we'll see our cadaver. He was a 67 year old repairman who died of complications with liver disease, and he's barely recognizable as a human anymore. I was studying in lab by myself yesterday, and I noticed that none of his parts seemed to be in the right place. His heart was laying near his head, there was a stray lung by his feet, his muscles were splayed all over the place. One eye missing, brain in a ziploc, etc. I spent a few minutes putting him back together again, closing everything up and covering him with a towel. Strangest class I've ever taken, for sure.

(via freshome)

Well, I suppose I don't have a whole lot more to say. I'm really just trying to avoid looking over the cranial nerves again. Wish me luck! Oh, and what do you think of Amy Lau's "Dexter"-inspired dining room design? Gory and gorgeous, huh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hearbreakingly adorable

Sorry about this guys.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Too cute for words. I'll get back to med school stuff soon. Last anatomy exam on Monday! Tortured sigh...

Friday, November 14, 2008


"Spam, a gelatinous 12-ounce rectangle of spiced ham and pork, may be among the world’s most maligned foods, dismissed as inedible by food elites and skewered by comedians who have offered smart-alecky theories on its name (one G-rated example: Something Posing As Meat).

But these days, consumers are rediscovering relatively cheap foods, Spam among them. A 12-ounce can of Spam, marketed as “Crazy Tasty,” costs about $2.40. “People are realizing it’s not that bad a product,” said Dan Johnson, 55, who operates a 70-foot-high Spam oven."

Read here, of course. Comments? Opinions? Spam recipes?

Little by little

One step closer to a cure! Hip hip hooray!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pictures of the day

Check out today's pictures of the day at They're enthralling tonight!

What a lovely and terrible world we live in. Just beautiful. Goodnight all.

Worst lecture ever

Warning: one big complaint from me, so if you're looking for substance, you might as well skip it. But I've just got to rant for a minute.

I just got home from the most infuriating lecture. It all started yesterday really, when this lecturer (I think he's a geneticist) was supposed to be showing us a video about dismorphic patients. It sounded interesting, so we were all sticking around. First mistake: the man was a half hour late (someone had to call him) and didn't apologize when he finally came down to stick the video in. No explanation, no introduction, just started it and sat down. It turned out to be a video taped lecture (looked like it was make in the late eighties) of a man at some random function giving a slide presentation. Awful. Awful quality, bad speaker, just bad bad bad. This guy couldn't give us a well prepared lecture himself? I stood up and left when I looked at the front row and saw the guy napping. No joke.

This morning he was scheduled to give us another lecture. The man was TWENTY MINTUES LATE again! Second day in a row! Then he spent ten minutes struggling with the computer and trying to find the right power point presentation. Again, no apologies, no introduction. So he now had twenty minutes (technically) to give this long lecture, and he moved at a snail's pace, stopping every slide to ask us asinine rhetorical questions and make terrible, offensive jokes. Some of my favorites: "If you're a man with muscular dystrophy, at least it's comforting to know that your sister with the disease is going to linger while she wastes away! Can you tell I have sister issues?" and "All I know about Lance Armstrong is that he wears those stupid little pink bracelets". He also broke the microphone. The real kicker is when his cell phone rang and he answered it. Twice. I left after the second time.

Ugh! I can't WAIT to fill out the satisfaction survey for this class.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Windows to our soul

Hey all! Far too long since I've posted anything of substance, as usual. The block is winding down, thank goodness, but along with that comes studying galore. Well, in theory. I'm trying.

(tim walker photo via lolita's)

Quite a lab the other day. The orbit. Orbit is a fancy word for eyeball and its surrounding structures (of which there are depressingly many), and I can't say that I was really looking forward to lab. We've been with our body for three months now, and I avoid the eyes. It's not that eyes in general creep me out--I've never had a problem putting in drops, or digging out a stray lash. I'd probably be fine with contacts if I needed them. But the eyes of our cadaver are another story. His lids are (were) stiff and closed, but I would occasionally lift one up a fraction of an inch to see what they were hiding. I would just glimpse a sliver of milky, sunken tissue before closing them back up and looking away. Eyes are so personal! They're not like the arm or the leg or even our abdominal organs, which are almost more like tools. Eyes are expressive, they communicate.

Doug Jones takes center stage as what has become the signature monster of Pan's Labyrinth, the one with the sight-enabled jazz hands.

The eyes always scare me the most in monster movies. It's the worst when the zombie opens its eyes suddenly, and even though you're ready for it, you still jumb because they're oozy and dead and bloody. Ugh, makes me shiver.

Anyway, the dissection focused mostly on the optic nerves and all that goodness, and let me tell you, they're bitchy. Luckily my lab mate Brad took the helm on most of those, working from behind the eye in the skull, and he did a fabulous job. He even found the ciliary ganglion, which is a tiny little structure that's wicked hard to locate (Dr. Jerrett said he'd only seen one in four years teaching gross, so he came over and shook Brad's hand). We're very proud.

My job was to work on the eye that Brad wasn't busy with, finding the muscles and structures from the front. I wasted time for a while separating teeny muscles that make us wink and squint--lots of those too. I finally got down to business and started digging, and after quite a while, I cut the optic nerve from behind and pulled eyeball.

So strange. I'd almost forgotten what I was doing while I was working, because I kind of forget what I'm dissecting and just focus on not cutting too many things that I shouldn't. Everything looks the same from so close up anyway. But now I was holding a human eyeball in my blue-gloved hand. It certainly didn't look like the one above, and it barely looked like an eyeball at all, really. It was sunken, like someone had sucked most of the juice out with a straw (although I know for a fact that there was still plenty of liquid in these bad boys--one of our classmates stopped by halfway through the lab looking a bit disshevelled. He'd gotten squirted in the face by eye juice while doing the exact thing I'd been working on all hour. Someone was looking out for me that day). The sad thing was covered with a thick, milky layer of tissue, like a huge cataract. We could just make out the iris underneath. Brown eyes.

And now our body is one eye down. It's in a ziploc with his brain, nestled on the towel between his legs. Piece by piece, we're taking him apart, and there isn't much left to do now. He's lucky though. Most of the other bodies had their pelvis bisected or their abdominal organs completely removed. He's stayed more or less intact while everyone else is almost unrecognizable as even a human body. What a strange class.

Off to try to study (or maybe just play with the kitten, take a bath, and go to bed. Whatev). Nighty night, folks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Ramen soup night

My fridge died yesterday! Well, probably sometime Tuesday evening really. Terrible, huh? Most of my perishables perished, which is a real bummer, and the freezer also peed all over the kitchen floor as is defrosted overnight. But my wonderful landlady and her boyfriend showed up tonight with a bright new shiny Frigidaire!

Sweet, huh? Although I feel like Edward Norton from Fight Club--a fridge full of condiments. How embarrassing. At least I have lots of beer! Anyway, the black matches the tiles pretty nicely I think. Unlike my big black faux-leather couch, which just makes me look like a drug dealer.

So I'm off for another non-perishable dinner of ramen soup and beer--grocery shopping tomorrow, I hope. Hope y'all are eating a more nutritious dinner than I am tonight!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

At least I'm not in Russia

My feet are freezing right now. A good friend of mine (who lives in Idaho, where it's actually cold, not New Orleans "cold") reminded me that at least I don't live in Siberia (or Idaho, really). True! But look at the neat hats they get to wear in the military.

Also, baby elephants.

Thank you, New York Times.

Wagon Wheel

Seriously, people. Prop 8? Really? Come on California (and Arizona and Florida). The gays aren't going to take over the world. The children will be fine. There will still be plenty of happy boy and girl marriages, plenty of divorces and broken homes, plenty plenty plenty.

Blech. Anyway, I thought I'd share something with you that my sister shared with me. It's a lovely music video, and I've listened to it about fifteen times in a row to cheer myself up. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

B is for


Believe it or not, this isn't even a Halloween post! It's two days late anyway. But it is related to zombies, kind of. More importantly, zombie food: BRAINS!!!!

Ok, so that was a loose tie in. But brains are super cool, and last week, I got to play with them! That's right folks, the big day came. Brain day.

It's been a rough couple of weeks, and not just for totally lonely, down-in-the-dumps, please-stop-bitching-about-it little me. Our biochem class ended on Friday, which meant a big test, lots of studying, and lots of putting off anatomy. I don't think any of us were paying attention to which anatomy classes we were going to until the professor started lecturing. We've all been on auto pilot. As such, it came as a big surprise to all of us when Dr. Lindsey casually mentioned in lecture that we would be opening up our skulls that day. There we were, paying vague attention to the anterior neck, and BAM! Brain day.

So we all trooped up to lab after lecture, a little perkier than we had been earlier. We had taken off the skin of the face a few days before. Very strange, by the way. Our man was all lips and eyebrows--no more wispy gray hair or wrinkles. He looks really....cadavery.


Anyway, we took the rest of the skin and hair off the top of the skull, and then it was bone saw time. That was rough! It's very awkward trying to maneuver a saw around someone's head when they can't flip over and get into a better position for you. Um. Well, you know what I mean.

We eventually were able to pop off the top of the skull (the calvaria), just like a little bowl (we're usuing it to keep our tools in now). The brain itself was a little harder to get out, because we had to be careful to cut all the right things in the right places. I was working with the scalpal while Brad held the brain out of my way, and once I snipped the brain stem, it kind of just...plopped out. It was very anticlimatic actually. Doesn't it seem that there should be a little more to taking a brain out of a skull? Fifteen minutes, and we were holding this lumpy thing in our hands. It felt like very firm jello, just a few pounds, kind of lumpy and pale and unremarkable. The center of so much activity, our body's computer, and it's sitting in a ziploc in our humidor right now. Lots of deep thoughts in this, but I'll save them for another night.


And that was it! It wasn't even a very long lab. It was one of the more satisfying, although I ended up covered in bone dust and more than a little brain juice.

Anyway, I wanted to share that with y'all, because I think we're on to eyeballs and other fun stuff like that this week. Lots of good stories for you I hope. Have a lovely evening!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In honor of Tuesday!

As if anyone needs yet another reason not to vote for McCain, check this out. Obama totally kicks his ass in this dance off.

Oh yeah folks, it's for realsies.

And because none of us can get enough Sarah Palin, get your giggles out here (my favorite is the poster of baby names, and keep clicking on the office door).


Ok, so I know that I swore off all Mark Bittman recipes, but doesn't this one look delicious? I've never roasted chestnuts before, but I think I might try. It might make things a little toastier in this chilly house. Leave a comment if you have any roasted chestnut experience! I don't have an open fire, so any suggestions would be appreciated.


Hi all. I have been in such a big funk lately! And so much has been happening that I can't believe I haven't been writing about it all along--I'll never catch up. But I'm trying to pull myself out of whatever this is that I'm stuck in.

Andrew drove away on Friday--almost a whole week ago now. I was dismally depressed at first, of course, and while I'm still just as sad, it's faded to a dull kind of crappiness now. Seriously guys, it's now 4:30, and I've been in bed since noon. Noon. I only got up to go pee and check the mail. But I'm not completely gloomy and out of it--I've gotten a lot done! Ate lunch, studied biochem, watched Heroes, played with the kitten, read.

There are a few great reasons to stay in bed these days. One, Andrew's gone, and not only am I sad, but I don't feel guilty for being completely lazy and immobile! Two, it's flippin' freezing out of my warm blankets. Yes, actually cold! Well, cold for New Orleans (don't laugh at me). Three, I get to cuddle with my adorable new kitten, Stokely! Yep, I finally took the plunge. I couldn't find an old cat that was right for me, so instead I adopted this tiny, sad, scruffy black kitten and am completely enamored. He sleeps on my neck. It's love.

It's so hard to leave the house in the morning and go to class! Wouldn't you want to stay in and cuddle too? When he's not trying to tear your bare feet to shreds, that is.

More later folks. I'm going to try and drag myself out of my nest and rustle up some grub. Or a g&t. Or whatever.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lala land

Hey all. I know I've been out of touch lately, and I promise that I'm hard at work dragging myself back into the land of the living! Been a rough week, let me tell you. But I promise something substantial soon, so don't touch that dial! Until then, a little vintage loveliness from swissmiss.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


In my birthday box from my dad was a boat load of my favorite kind of apples, these tiny little tart things from one of the trees in his orchard. I love apple season! Does anyone know of a place to go apple picking in Louisiana?

I promise a more substantive post later. I just love Fall! Anyone want to carve pumpkins?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy holidays!

People, today's my BIRTHDAY! Woohoo! That's not me in the picture above, but it's a cute picture of my sister with her birthday cake a couple of years ago. And here's one of my dad holding a flaming cake:

After the exam, I think Andrew and some friends and I are heading up to Northern Louisiana for the Washington Parish Free Fair--should be a hoot. So wish me biochem luck!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Practical practicals

(found via a cup of jo)

My friend Jeff asked a question about anatomy exams, and I was trying to find some amusing picture of lab practicals or something to post. Instead, I found the above. Friggin' adorable. From James' Year in Pictures blog--awesome photos, and I promise, most of them aren't as cutesy as this one.

Anyway, I checked my answers this morning and it looks like I did well! Woohoo! Our gross anatomy exams are in two parts: written and practical. Each section is a little less than two hours. The written is in the same format as the board exams, which means primarily clinical cases with multiple choice answers--and yesterday's written portion was miserably hard, so I'm thrilled that I passed! When we finish that, we all trudge upstairs to the anatomy labs for the practical portion, which consists of 70 tagged structures throughout the six labs. We all have clip boards and we're herded from lab to lab by a buzzer (15 minutes per lab or so). I saw Dr. Jerret this morning as I checked my answers at the bulletin board, and he said that he was thrilled with how well we'd all done on the practical. Gave me a nice warm fuzzy feeling, because I know that it doesn't really matter what scores we all get, but I do live for praise and to make my superiors happy. It's a little pathetic.

Anyway, I'm now sitting in the library, trying very hard to study biochem. Wish me luck!

(PS--Thanks for commenting, Jeff!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bed time yet?

Doesn't this look like the most comfortable bed ever? I love white rooms, and the blankets look so fluffy. All I want to do is crawl into bed right now. My anatomy exam went pretty well, but it's time to study for Wednesday's biochem. Ugh. Hope everyone else is having a relaxing night!

Test time

Block II anatomy exam today! Ahhh! Wish me luck.

One of my favorite anatomy professors posts the above picture at the beginning of every lecture (click on the image for a bigger view--totally cool). I found it at this great website full of antique anatomical art. More about it later, so I won't post the link yet. You know, that way you'll come back for more. Ooooo...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

PS: Cats

I haven't mentioned that Andrew landed himself a wonderful job with the Associated Press as a technology reporter! It's a great position with honest to goodness benefits. The downside: it's in Manhattan! So he'll be moving back up North in a couple of weeks, and although I'm beyond bummed that he has to leave, I'm trying to stay positive (more closet space, cheaper food bill, etc). And now that I'm going to be all lonely, I'm back to wanting to adopt a cat. The Louisiana SPCA (which is only two minutes from my house) has this great website with pictures of their current adoptable animals, and I think I want this one:

Doesn't he (she?) look fantastically old and grumpy? And fluffy to boot. I think I'll go meet him tomorrow. Thoughts?

Fun in the perineum

Yesterday one of my dear dear friends (you know who you are) reminded me that it's been far too long since I wrote anything of substance in this silly blog. Ok, so that's not exactly what he said, but the intent was clear. And he's right! Things have been a bit busy lately, and it's time for some lab updates. All I can say is that you asked for it!

I said I'd tell y'all about my day in the abdomen, and I will, but first I'll discuss what I've been studying all day:

(thank you, frank netter, for everything you've done for me)

Oh yes, yes indeed. The day finally came to dissect down there. The day that Andrew's been snickering about every since he learned I have a male cadaver. We've been working with our body for two months now, and we're very respectful. When we're not working on a specific region, we cover it up with the towel. Until now, that's meant keeping his nether regions discreetly hidden. We all knew it was down there, we knew that we'd have to get to know it eventually, but until that time, we were perfectly happy to ignore it. We try to let the man keep his dignity while desperately clinging to our own, enjoying our time with his arms and heart and colon.

But it couldn't last forever, could it? The day came when we had to remove the towel. It was an ominous act; we set it aside and stood staring for a few moments, not saying a word. Then the three men in the group quietly stepped back out of the circle. You see, each table had been assigned a different dissection to do, because they're all tedious and intricate and take several hours. For better or worse, we'd been assigned the money dissection: male urogenital triangle. Us gals were a little apprehensive, but the fellas were having nothing to do with using scalpels, probes, and scissors in that most tender of areas. Especially not if the end result was going to look something like this:

We waffled for a little while, putting off the inevitable. We moved him into position, which was unsettlingly similar to the one women assume at the gynecologist: legs bent and spread, feet in the stirrups, scoot down a bit please, a little further, there we go... Now we were ready, and I had somehow ended up in the dissection position. It felt a little like in the cartoons, when they ask for volunteers and everybody steps back except for the one unlucky sap. I was that sap.

But I'm not afraid! I crouched down and started skinning, the feet hovering somewhere near my ears and my relieved lab mates grouped around the end of the humidor. It was strange at first, holding his abnormally hardened you-know-what (I'm trying to avoid those creeps that google dirty words and stumble upon well-meaning blogs) and peeling away skin and fascia. But eventually it was just another body part, and skinning can be very soothing (as far as dissections go)--you don't really have to think about much, you're not searching for annoying nerves and vessels, you can watch the progress you're making minute by minute.

After a while we started to draw a crowd, and everyone stood around watching me dissect. I earned a reputation as a man-hater pretty quickly--completely undeserved of course! But I'm afraid it's going to stick with me for a while, and all because no one else would step up to the plate! To be fair, (almost) everyone did their part eventually.

The dissection itself went well. We found lots of little structures and ended up with a pretty nice perineum, which, by the way, has SO much fat! We didn't find anything too unusual, although he had a bunch of benign fatty lipomas in his spermatic cord. Weird! One of the bodies a few labs down the hall found a surgically implanted penile pump--totally cool!

(a little gray's anatomy from

As much flak as I took for dissecting a penis (oh no! I said it!) and testis, I feel like our table was pretty lucky. We could've gotten stuck with the anal triangle--no fun at all, let me tell you.

That's all for now, folks. The weather down here is finally cooling down. Today was the most lovely, breezy day. Thanks to my block II exams next week, I spent the whole thing inside studying, but I enjoyed it on the walk to breakfast. Hope all is well out there, and ta ta!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This flow chart describes my current "study" session so perfectly that I want to cry a little. Instead, I'll just talk to you people (Laurel).

Andrew's parents are coming to visit this weekend and I'm excited! We're going to make dinner for them on Friday and in addition to the red beans and rice that I experimented with last week (fantastic), I think I'll try out this delicious looking apple cake. It's from smitten kitchen (big surprise!), so I'm sure it will be mouth-wateringly fabulous.

We'll probably be going out to eat for the rest of the weekend, so I'm trying to brainstorm great places to take them. A few definites for the list: Cochon, Crescent City Brewhouse, The Gumbo Shop, and Irene's Cuisine. If any of you are from NO or have spent some time here, any other suggestions?