Monday, May 30, 2011

Putting Teeth to Sleep

I remember when people asked me about what I'd miss most leaving Waco my standard response was always:
  • The people
  • My church
  • My doctors
Although I have missed my friends, that was absolutely no surprise.  However, I have missed my doctors, truly.  And even though I have a wonderful experience thus far with the University Health Center, I still miss my primary care doctor and my eye doctor.  However, I have found one of the best dentists on the planet!  No really.  It was unlike any dentist experience I've had.  If you wanna check out the website (for kicks and giggles) its  Be prepared, you'll be jealous!

Let me brag about him, for a minute.  The initial visit, his administrative assistant sat me down in a conference room (after offering me coffee, tea, and all sorts of other special drinks) to ask about my past dentist experiences, what kinds of things I wanted from a dentist, and things I was nervous about.  The doctor then came into the conference room we had a brief overview of my previous extras, and then we went to check out my teeth.  He was calming and explained what he was doing throughout the exam.  We then went back into the conference room to talk about my cavities.  He explained in great detail how the cavities formed, why, and even drew pictures.  He wanted to make sure I felt completely comfortable and knowledgable about my teeth.

When I showed up to have my cavities filled I was anxious, however, they had explained to me that they have 'the wand' which makes dentistry pain-free.  Apparently, the most pain comes from the injection of novocaine. He did the topical numbing, and I didn't feel a thing, from start to finish.  I didn't even realize he had already put the needle in (it was apparently so small with a tube attached).  But the computer started beeping, which he said was slowly administering the novocaine which he controlled with a foot pump.  It was unbelievable.  Truly.  I asked how he knew how much novocaine to administer and he said, he'd been putting teeth to sleep for a long time and that it was a calculated amount.  Before he began drilling, he let me know I could put in my headphones and blast them as loud as I wanted.  The whole process was ... almost enjoyable.  He is a gifted dentist (both in trade and  manner). 

Anyway, during a sermon the other day, the woman was talking about how God healed the blind man in three ways, 1st through direct means (the first time), 2nd through direct means (but through repeat measures and petition), and 3rd through spitting in the dirt and rubbing it on the blind mans eyes.  She spoke about how the dirt can symbolize humanity and that God can use humanity to heal the body.

Although they were just cavities, if you remember back to a previous post (extra expenses), I was worried about having them filled.  After 29 years of no cavities...I had multiple and was nervous.  A friend reminded me that God is concerned about all the things in my life, big and small.  And God provided!  He provided a truly phenomenal doctor (and a completely pain-free experience) and although I prayed my cavities would disappear, God worked in another way and am I thankful for all the ways God cares for me!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

PhD Process

There are many major hurdles in this pursuit of a PhD (doctorate).  On April 8th, I jumped the first hurdle.  After talking with my mom she asked, or suggested, if I could make the hurdles a round number like...six.

Why? D-O-C-T-O-R

So here's the deal:

D: Defend prospectus for publishable paper
O: Defend publishable paper
C: Pass prelims (exams)
T: Pass orals
O: Defend prospectus for the dissertation
R: Defend the dissertation

So that my friends is it in a nutshell.  Clearly, I also have to pass all my classes, but those are the major hurdles.  So on April 8th, I successfully defended my prospectus for the publishable paper.  Essentially it's a mini dissertation process.  By defending, I got my committee together, explained my research and they gave me the 'go'.  From there, I submitted my IRB form (internal review board, who evaluates that your research is not harmful, etc), and received the 'go' from them as well.

Now it's officially, I'm free to do research around faculty-student interactions.

Step one complete: working on the O

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All Around Athens

Athens offers lots and lots of free and almost free things to do...almost every weekend.  Here are some of the highlights from the last few months.

Gym Dawgs Meet with Mallory (and others not listed & free t-shirts) 
During the Gym Dawgs meet, we create our own score sheet and attempt to guess the score for each of the gymnastics events.  If you guess closest, you win that round.  I smoked the competition!  Call it beginners luck, but I had about 11 wins and each of the rest of the group had about 4 each. :) 

Another Gym Dawgs Meet: Mallory & Jeremy (and another free t-shirt)
 Danny & me (Danny is a 2nd year in my program)
Megan (another cohortee) & me at a baseball game.  Georgia almost won, but it was a good game!  Oh, and they gave out free t-shirts too (the best of the bunch thus far!)
Intercultural affairs (ICA) sponsored an Indian cultural extravaganza (food, fashion, music...).  It was a wonderful experience and the Indian food was amazing!  Below is me, Tiffany, and Ashley.  Ashley works for ICA and Tiffany is in my cohort.
So there is a much longer story associated with the next two pictures, but I'll try to keep it succinct.  Ginny (below) is training for a 1/2 marathon in the fall.  Thinking that I may be training for one in October as well (another long story) I thought I'd start by running a 5k.  Having trained and feeling comfortable running 3-4 miles, I decided to give it a go.  This run was through the junkyard.  It was actually beautiful, but more like trail running.  I was more concerned about my feet and tripping than focusing on running and breathing.  Speaking of, that's been hard for me recently, breathing.  I'm not sure if it's the pollen or asthma.  Anyway, I didn't run it in the time I had hoped, but I did get a wonderful opportunity to run/talk with a woman for about a mile.
Additionally, my friend Suzie does geocaching (sp?). And her most recent trinket was this tortoise.  Apparently it's in a race with a hare, and it runs races.  You take a picture with your bib, she enters the miles and it attempts to beat the hare.  Kind of a fun idea, maybe something to try in the future. 
ICA hosted an international street festival where five thousand people line the streets of downtown Athens to visit the various booths and stations...and all free to anyone and everyone.
Zoe and I work together and I thoroughly enjoy her company.  We roamed the festival, got snow cones, she got a Germany flag on her cheek, and participated in other international street festival activities.
Zoe was born and raised in Germany.  Apparently, this toy brought back found memories.  
She made me try.  I at least got it off the ground, but failed in comparison to her skills!
And who doesn't love icecream, not free, but from Dryers.  We couldn't resist, it was on the same street as the street fesitival.  Yummmy coffee chocolate chunk!
This last weekend was Twilight Criterion (sp?).  Basically, it's a big bike race and it's a qualifying race for the Tour de France.  Lance Armstrong has apparently competed in this race in previous years.  Downtown shuts down, and the streets are roped off for these hundreds of bikers.  Tons of people come out to watch.  It was a very interesting experience.  I was cheering for #14.  He took 5th.  
The women go first, then the men.  It's crazy fast and when you're watching from a corner, such as we were, things can get a little harry (not for us of course)...notice the hay bails?!
The pace car.  The man in the passengers seat was hilarious.  Every time, I mean every time he went around it looked as though he was holding on for dear life!
Pour number 104, his chain came off with one lap to go.
So there are some long awaited updates on my happenings.  Obviously, I've been studying and doing other school sorts of things, but these were some of the things that were fun all around Athens!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

February & March

Although February is the shortest month of the calendar year, it felt like a small eternity.  Unfortunately, March felt like a ground hogs day movie to February.  They were rough months, and although I'm glad they're behind me, the reminiscence of the months will linger with me.