Was it good for you?

Did you get a chance to see the eclipse tonight? Was it any good? Blacksburg was overcast and gross, so I couldn’t see a darn thing but the orange glow of sodium lights reflecting off the clouds.

Oh well, fingers crossed for 2010.

Cows.

Today I had my hand, halfway up the forearm, in the back end of a heifer. No pictures, unfortunately. I also helped to bottle feed a Charolais calf, with pictures to follow as soon as they get sent to me.

See, the cool thing about being in Animal and Poultry Sciences is that you actually do stuff in classes. Microbiology lab is like “Here, do a stain on this bacteria we’ve cultured here for literally millions of generations and we already know exactly what’s going to happen if you do it right.” Beef Production lab is “This heifer needs a magnet, pelvic diameter checked, and to be deloused so that she can be sold or become a producing cow next year. Watch me. You do the next one.”

Four weeks in.

It’s way too early in the semester for this to be the fourth week of classes.

I have three exams this week, in horse production, beef production, and microbiology. I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything yet! Don’t they know I’m a senior? I’m old! These things take time to sink in.

I was laid-up for most of last week with what the health center doctor assured me was “not the flu.” I don’t care what it wasn’t, it was a solid week of fever above 100°F. It was probably not helped by being out in barns on Monday and Wednesday for labs. The problem with labs is that you can’t make them up. Unless you are being physically prevented from getting to the appointed location, you go to lab. So I went to my labs, and my bug raged on.

Aside from the week of illness (the first I’ve had since being in college) the semester is going well. I can Gram stain with my eyes closed, estimate slaughter cattle weight within 50 lbs (usually), and point out five reasons why a given horse should never ever have babies. Incidentally, the horses don’t seem to mind so long as you do it in a low soothing voice and rub their chest.

Ok, well, maybe I have learned something.

It snowed.

A note to the sorostitute I was stuck behind on my way to campus this morning:

The big “safe” 4-wheel drive SUV (with all the options) that daddy bought you does not make up for your complete and utter inability to drive or follow traffic laws, whether there is snow on the road or not.

I understand that this is Virginia, and people here are not as accustomed to driving in snow as I am. That doesn’t mean they need to go batshit insane though. There is a phenomenal public transit system in Blacksburg. People who can’t handle themselves in the weather should consider using it.

Posted in Fun

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I’m not a very good writer. I tend to be long winded, repetitive, repetitive, abuse, the, hell, out, of, commas, use to many generalities, and other things. That being said, I’m going to keep my recap and precap short. I think I just made that word up. You can use it if you like.

I started my second semester at Virginia Tech in January. I was still in awe about finally being at my dream school. I still am. Something about it just feels right. It’s like finding where I always wanted to be.

My first challenge of the year came in early April when I broke up with my partner of four and a half years. I put on a happy face about it, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard on me as I’m sure it was hard on him. We’re still friends, though we don’t see much of each other. We just had dinner at a little Italian place at home last week and caught up. It’s still a little strange for me, but I guess things work out in time.

I’m not sure how to start talking about April 16. How do you preface something like that? The first thing I did was call my mother. I was on campus, so my roommate picked me up and we watched events unfold on TV. It’s not even real on TV though. You can turn the TV off or go into the next room. In Blacksburg we were inundated with police, media, spiritual and psychological support, just more people than the town was meant to handle. I hunkered down with friends for the week and waited for things to blow over as best I could. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but for at least a day or two after the shootings I wanted to be left alone by all those helpful people. I still get people who ask about it now and then when they find out I was there. I try to dismiss it. I’m not capable of explaining what the experience felt like.

In June I found out that a lingering bump on my elbow was stage 1 lymphoma, of a particularly rare type. I’ve always taken my health for granted. Luckily my mother, who is a nurse, is a hypochondriac for me. My summer was spent in and out of doctor visits. One surgery and three weeks of daily radiation later, not to mention countless diagnostics, I appear to be good as new. Here’s hoping I stay that way.

While I was home over the summer I made a number of close friends. It was good to have someone to hang around with when I was going through all my health issues. It’s sad in a way, since I don’t get to see them often when I’m away at school. I’ll always come back to see them when I’m home.

August marked the beginning of the hardest semester I’ve ever had, and hopefully the hardest I ever will. My favorite material was in the hardest classes. You’d think that would help, but if it did help I shudder to think what would’ve happened if I didn’t like it.

In the family, one cousin is engaged and another had a baby. My brothers haven’t managed to drive my mother crazy yet. The holidays were relatively painless and the food was good. I think as far as families go, I made out pretty good.

I’m looking forward to one more semester at Tech. I’ll graduate in May, and then who knows what? I’m thinking West. I’ll be applying to some graduate programs in animal science, but my goal is that wherever life takes me, it’s toward the setting sun. I’ve played with the idea of staying in Blacksburg, but I have things to do. I need to see the world. There are too many things I haven’t done, and if I sit still now I may never do them. I’m probably late to the game as it is, but I need to do all those things that I will later exaggerate to my nieces and nephews, maybe children? Maybe someday. 2007 was a year of challenges. 2008 is the year of adventures.