Monday, July 28, 2008

Looking forward to the East Coast!

Lots going on lately, hence the light blogging. I have one week left of bio, which feels good. I'm still really enjoying the class and am looking forward to the next courses in the series.

This past Saturday, we went to San Rafael for a one-day round robin tournament. We lost all four games, which is disappointing, but it was good to be there nonetheless.
On Wednesday, Scott leaves for Maine, and on Friday night I'll follow him out there for his family reunion. I'm excited for the beach! We'll stay through the week, visit some friends in Boston, and then part ways - Scott back to California (to study for one more prelim), and me to DC to visit old friends and old haunts. I'm disappointed Scott can't come along, but I'll have plenty to keep me busy.

When I get home, I get to start studying general chemistry in earnest. And reading wedding books!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hospice volunteer training

Today was my third out of four full days of hospice volunteer training. I have six more hours tomorrow, and then I'll be more or less ready to start work as a volunteer. On the whole, training has been very good - informative, productive and interesting. I've learned an incredible amount about the process of dying - the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of it, both from the patient's point of view and from the survivors'.

Last Saturday was a particularly intense morning. We went through a guided imagery meditation on what it's like to be diagnosed with and die from a terminal illness. I'm sure I only felt a fraction of the emotions I'd experience in real life, but that was enough for me - it was heartbreaking. It made me remember a dream I had 10 or 15 years ago, in which I had opted for euthenasia and was at my own pre-funeral. I woke up sobbing, because I couldn't stand the thought of leaving my family behind. Discussions of this kind of loss are not easy to have. I'm grateful for the range of experience and insight that my classmates bring to the table.

From what our leaders and classmates keep telling us, being part of the dying process can be a profoundly good thing. I'm nervous about starting this work, but excited somehow. Already, this training has given me a deeper perspective on my life, and I can only imagine how it will develop over the course of this year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Potlatch 2008

Just a quick post to say that Potlatch was absolutely fantastic this year. It's the biggest coed ultimate tournament in the world - 100 teams - and one of the most spirited. After every game, teams get together and exchange gifts, play games, sing songs, etc. I had the honor of playing with "Chiquita," a team of many of my friends from DC. They were excellent teammates and camping buddies. (Most people camp on the perimeter of the field.) I was at the tournament for just 3 days, Thursday night to Sunday night, but it felt like a nice long vacation. I was able to just focus on and enjoy my surroundings, and I didn't have one single physics or biology dream! The only downside was that Scott couldn't come.

Many thanks to Paul for captaining, and to everyone else who helped organize, buy t-shirts, drove around and generally made for a ridiculously fun weekend.

Arrival in Seattle - REALLY happy to be here!

Playing a banana-eating game with Team Stella: The Pirate King's Daughter!

Sharing a beer-garita with Captain "Top Banana" Paul

Tozer sporting the fantastic banana costume

Me sporting my Carmen Miranda-esque costume

Last but not least, Team Chiquita: