Thursday, June 27, 2013


I've been preparing for my anatomy remediation exam these past couple of weeks. The material was actually easier (less boring) this time around because I was able to put it in physiologic context.  It still sucked having to memorize random useless shit:  "the plantaris m. is a vestigial structure" "septum transverserum becomes the liver and diaphram"

Is it necessary to use limited neural connections on these things?  I do understand the importance of having a strong anatomy foundation -like knowing the arcuate line- it would be disastrous to sew up the wrong layers- they showed us the photographs. But foundations are usually made of large bricks/slabs and mortar not itty-bitty pebbles. Jeez.

I met with the course director on Monday.  I had described him before as being funny, over-the-top and somewhat misogynistic ( I use that term carefully w/ the updated 2012 definition: entrenched prejudices against women.  I don't think he hates us).  He obviously had his favorites among the male students, rarely called on women and his anatomical examples were always skewed to more represent the masculine anatomy.

During our meeting though, he was really gentle, helpful and understanding. I had gone in with shaking knees and an underlying deep mortification with being in this situation (never again!)  but he put me at ease.  He made me feel as if this wasn't a great deal and even shared stories of his own graduate school struggles with failing a course.  He asked me how the other courses had gone and nodded knowingly when I confessed that I had a much easier time with physiology and immunology.  "You have an analytical mind" he told me. He even confessed that he was the same, liking concepts more than memorization and how ironic it was that he ended up an anatomy professor.

He then flipped open a manila file, riffled through the pages and began rattling off advice:

Know the anastomoses around the stomach
Know the course of the gonadal vessels
Understand straddle injuries, the cremasteric reflex, portal varices, I 8 10 eggs AT 12, water under the bridge, this is going to be leg and pelvis heavy, 2 radiology questions- think Dr. Y (I knew this meant one was an abdominal ultrasound), 6 cardiac, 2 lung, an adrenal, the unhappy triad, exceptions to para/sympathetic....

Realizing that he was looking at the exam questions, I started scribbling notes trying to keep up with his rapid fire proclamations then went home and studied specifics.

I sat for the exam this morning and he had been right: it was very leg and pelvis heavy. It was also foot heavy and neck heavy. I didn't do very well on it but I passed.

When I was notified about my medical school acceptance, the joy I felt far outweighed the relief. That was a great feeling. Because the powers that determine who gets invited for interview/acceptance are behind closed doors with ambiguous criteria (beyond grades/MCAT), it didn't feel like an anticipated failure, my fear of being denied. So the joy at hearing the "we want you" was pretty pure.

The joy I felt today having heard (read- I was notified via email) that I passed was pretty gritty. My fear of failure far outweighed the anticipation of the news. There has been times that life has been pretty tough: deciding to take both parents off life support (different times), grieving, recovering from an abusive relationship, feeling unlovable, getting laid off, the stress of living in a house I couldn't afford... etc etc. 

I'm pretty familiar with the grit life throws at you like rice at a wedding.  Today though, today, I felt a gritty joy. And it was fucking awesome.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

As Promised, Last Nesting Post: The Kitchen

Here y'all go:

The kitchen is little: about 5.5 x 11 ft with 28 inches of counter space. I tried to go with a casual french bistro inspiration.

I use the burlap bag as storage for coffee & bread and a couple of other reusable shopping bags.

This windowsill is the plant infirmary. Sick plants come here to recuperate.  The window coverings are just raw pieces of green burlap pinned to tension rods.

The red 'wine purse' (a gift from my brother) atop the fridge is my paper towel dispenser.

All of my non-refrigerated produce goes in the wire baskets or the wooden bowls.

I keep my lesser used dishware in the bins atop the cabinets (my great-grandma's wedding punch bowl, my huge pasta dish) and my bulk grains (rice, barley, quinoa, peas etc) in the wire picnic basket.

I placed the leftover mirror panels (from: the bedroom & living north wall) here to visually 'elongate the stubby counter space.

 The cheese slate board & serving plate stack here, pretty but out of the way until needed.

I use cherry tomatoes in everything: pasta, salads, stir fry, soup. Again, the cutting board is against the wall, pretty, out of the way and easily reached.

This is one of two 'herb gardens'.  Here grows Italian basil, mint & rosemary- the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen. The 'herb garden' in the sunroom grows red basil, cilantro & chives.

I keep my alarm clock next to the coffee for 2 reasons:
1. I'm a pathological snooze abuser so having to walk to another room to do so helps
2. coffee

I am really really lucky with this apartment. It's not huge (533ft) but the amount of light is amazing. I have 12 windows including one in the bathroom and one in my big closet.  Despite the landlord limitations (no painting) I've been able to really create a home here and I love it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

By Popular Demand.... of one.

Here's the long awaited, almost complete (kitchen tomorrow!) current state of apartment tour.  Most of these photos were posted previously on the blog; I've just gathered them up into a handy-dandy single feature. It has definitely come a long way.  Tomorrow'll be my last tour post until next year (maybe). Then, it's back to the medschool crap. 

My Little apartment summary: It was rented to me as a studio with a small dining nook between the kitchen  & entry-way.  I decided to make that small room my sleeping area.
Dimensions, in square feet:
Sunroom alcove: 63.6
Main room: 199.6
Hallway: 34.8
Bathroom: 40.5
Sleeping area:  97.4
Kitchen: 64.4

Total apartment (including closets): 532.8

I wish I had a camera; these were taken with my Ipad. Next year's photographs will be of better quality. Promise!

Please: if you have any ideas or suggestions to polish this place, gimmee! I'm not the most artistic/creative person & need help for next year's round of nesting.

If my inspiration for the apartment were to be defined it would be a trip around the world. I've tried to be cohesive by including the same elements in every room: plants, natural finds (stones, twigs) and materials, mirrors, personal artwork.

Starting here in the main room, I'm at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; a cross-roads & jumble of textures, fabrics, plants & books from Africa, Europe, the Middle East & South Asia.



As we head into the hall, we head east to Asia.

The hall finds us in India.


And the bathroom is Viet Nam. 

As we continue east into the bedroom, a beachy Playa Del Carmen emerges.

And for our last stop on our eastern journey, We enter a small and casual French bistro for a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Here's are the links to the pictorial evolution this past year of my bedroom & living room:

north living room & sunroom
south living room
west living room
east living room
east bedroom
west bedroom

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quickie Makeover

I posted a question in the AT comment section about my too high paintings here:

A couple of folks gave me some solid advice on how to clean up the 'busy-ness'. Alas, I can't afford new lamps but.....

I CAN afford some DIY shelves!  bam bam bam. $40 @ HD and 35 minutes with a tape measure, level and screw gun and new room!

I do need to clean the shelves up & do some reorganizing; I have my Georgette Heyer romances rubbing elbows with Leibniz and that just won't do....
And it still looks cluttered. 
I swear books spore & multiply when they're alone. You'd think that increasing the shelf space by 65% would thin them out but they're still packed.
If there are any suggestions out in blog-world on how I can tailor the wall w/o spending mucho dinero or losing all the books, I'm all ears (eyes).

But, that is a project for another day. I'm off to the zoo!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Regarding my DIY projects this past year I'm most proud of my mantel. A vestigial architectural detail (former murphy bed alcove) that most of my neighbors use as a closet, I turned into the focal point of my main room. The shelf was a cheap craigslist find and the rest evolved from there.

 I adored a filigree fireplace screen that I saw at Ten Thousand Villages but, alas, it was over $100 so I gathered and painted white some twigs to try to capture the general idea. As mentioned before in the blog, the swag lights were crafted from materials found at HD for less than $20.

The carved wooden snake was a Playa del Carmen souvenir, the sword a Viking replica harvested in Sweden, and the crystal was from a) parent's wedding gifts or b) a Czech Waterford 'outlet'.

The spider plants were reaped from my grandmother's 50 year old blossoming mother plant. 

In the mirror reflection are the 3 masks that collected from India (Ganesh), Italy (Carnival) and South Korea (burial), a (pretty lame) interpretation of Lascaux that I did in high school and the Civil War discharge certificates of a # great grand father.

The rug was painted courtly check ala Mackenzie Childs by a dear friend who shares my love of the whimsy.


 EDIT: after I posted these photographs, I added shelves & lowered the paintings.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bathroom Update

I rearrange plants a lot. They're lighter than furniture and picky about their location. Sometimes the plant disagrees with the light, humidity or hungry cat where I originally placed it. This is why all of the spider plants are elevated out of kitty-reach. Toulouse loves the pretty yummy leaves.   Likewise, the dwarf palm planter that had been in the bathroom did NOT like the diffuse light there. So, a few weeks ago, out she came to the much more pleasant direct sun of the south windows.  She is much happier on the desk:

So to maintain the mini spa ambiance in the bathroom, I substituted what had been originally planned: lucky bamboo.  Several months ago, I had gone with the dwarf palm because I couldn't find any reasonably priced bamboo plants but a few weeks ago, I stumbled across these stalks for 99 cents/each at a small gardening shop and went crazy! (well.. $18 crazy....) I'm thrilled with the result. It seems much cleaner to me.

I also finished an ongoing de-uglify the medicine cabinet project.  Frustratingly, I didn't think to take any 'before' photos: it was a typical rusty beige blight in the room.  I used wood-flavored contact paper (it'll peel off pretty easily) and bright pink duct tape.  It took awhile to figure out how to apply the contact paper so that it didn't bubble and crease. I ended up cutting it in strips and applying it to mimic the wood floors in the rest of the unit. It gives me a thrill to open up the cabinet to see bright pink: my little secret.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Final Evolution Post: North View Living Room & Sunroom

Here's the last evolution post...  I decided not to include the kitchen because, other than a couple of plant exchanges & added baskets, it hasn't really changed since move in.

I've thought about combining current photos of all the rooms (including kitchen & bathroom) into another post but I won't if people aren't interested. I'm thinking that I've exhausted the reader's indulgence in my nesting endeavors. Oh well.  I must say (write) that it's given me an immense satisfaction to chronicle the result of my weekly projects this past year.


North View Living Room




Evolution posts:

south living room
west living room
east living room
east bedroom
west bedroom