polychrome_pen: (Aladdin and Jasmine - my OTP!)
Woof, it's been awhile since I posted anything here!  I've actually made several posts over at [livejournal.com profile] jewel_power regarding some treasures that have come up on Ebay, so if you're interested in Jewel Riders be sure to check that out. :)

In other news, this past weekend was my ten-year high school reunion.  I batted back and forth mentally for a while whether or not I was going to go originally.  My class was forty-four people total, some of which I had been in school with since Kindergarten.  It was a small private school system.  Suffice to say, I was ready for some space and separation from the vast majority of those people by the end of high school.  I've stayed in fairly close contact with the people who I was true friends with, and that always felt like enough for me.

I didn't go to the five year reunion, because I honestly felt like I had nothing to show for myself yet (also, I was still in pharmacy school and had like zero time to spare).  But by now I (and most others in the class) have been working for a few years and I was interested to see where many of them had found themselves a decade on.  Sure, there's Facebook stalking to keep up with some people, but there's nothing quite like actually seeing them.  And even among my closest friends from HS, we hadn't all been together in person since one of our number got married five years ago!

Saturday morning started with a church service at the school (including a fun bit of singing with the Lodian Singers again!), followed by a lunch at my parents' house (close friends invited only), and then the main class reunion at a brew pub restaurant on Saturday night.  The morning event wasn't as well-attended, but it was nice (I hadn't been back to the school in quite some time either).  The lunch was super fun, and we were pretty much roaring with laughter all afternoon.  The evening event...I had some anxiety about.  I thought I had put those feelings behind me a long time ago, that I didn't care what these people thought of me, but the surprising truth was that I still did (at least for those few hours that we were together).  That was a slightly bitter pill to swallow.

Still, the evening went well, and as it progressed (despite the complete loudness of the restaurant and my hoarse voice from yelling to be heard over the din) I found that I've still made peace in that area.  I wanted them to have a good opinion of me, but it truly didn't matter if they actually did.  Which makes sense - why should people I haven't seen for almost a decade occupy any of my limited mental space?

Part of it just felt awkward, though.  With some, it was like no time had passed at all, but others I struggled to simply find anything to say after "Hi, how are you?"  If there was never a connection there before, I guess nothing's going to come out of two hours together again. XD  But seeing all those people together again was a strange experience.  Part of me went straight back to HS, but always with this cognitive dissonance there that some people now have kids or look way different.  Even now, I'm not sure I'm describing it well.  This feeling never happened when I've seen people individually or in small groups, but something about having the whole group together made it feel like some sort of strange field trip, only a decade transposed.

Sunday was a nice, relaxed day though!  A few friends and I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is kind of like "Marvel does Tom Clancy."  I loved the banter and sibling-like relationship between Cap and Black Widow.  It was adorable!  (I'm a sucker for friendship ships, what can I say?)

I'm also in the middle of rewatching X-men: The Animated Series from the 90s, which has been a total blast.  Expect thoughts on that soonish. :)
polychrome_pen: (Default)
But a week from today I'll be in London! I've been looking forward to this trip for so long that it's hard to fathom that it's almost upon me. Definitely can't wait for that whole "paid vacation" thing either.

I hope to slip into a toy store while I'm there and see if I can't find any Winx stuff, or perhaps a Monster High Abbey.

But other than this vacation, the rest of the year seems kind of fuzzy. My birthday rolls around about a month after we get back from England, and I have no idea what to do. Maybe I'll just get a couple of splurge purchases (I have been eyeing a couple of Pullips again!). Or I've had my eye on a Jazz Restaurant in SF. And then come the holidays, which I'm not sure whether or not I'll have to be working.

In watching, I recently finished a complete rewatch of the 1990s classic "Spider-Man: The Animated Series." While I usually preferred Batman and the X-Men as a child, it was incredibly nostalgic to view these episodes that I haven't seen for years. The wonderful amount of continuity was surprising as well. I mean, I remembered that the Spider-Man series always had story arcs, but the amount of supporting characters who come back and storylines from early on that spill over into the later episodes was so refreshing for a 90s cartoon series. I also especially enjoyed the voice acting; they really got some great VAs like Malcolm McDowell and Nichelle Nichols. Not to mention J. Jonah Jameson is voiced by Ed Asner! The huge amount of guest stars (everyone from Dr. Strange to Daredevil to the X-Men and Fantastic Four show up at one point or another) was also great fun. But probably my favorite part is the Black Cat. Spider-Man is usually a solo hero, but this Black Cat really makes me wish there were more episodes with her.

Other Spider-Man series such as Spectacular Spider-Man a few years back were great, but this series IS Spider-Man to me. I'm watching "Spider-Man: Unlimited" right now, which is pretty much terrible compared to the great animated series. Ah well, not everything from the 90s can be seen through my nostalgia glasses.
polychrome_pen: (Default)
I saw HP7-2 this afternoon and the experience was - as I imagine it is for so many - both exciting and nostalgic at the same time.  This was really Harry and Friends last big hurrah.  No more books (for the time being, at least), and no more movies to look forward to as well.

I wasn't the biggest Harry Potter fan out there, but I sure am going to miss the magical world of Hogwarts.

My initial experience with Harry Potter was through a book report that some of my classmates gave in our elementary school "Reading" class.  I remember them talking about giant chess pieces, broomsticks, etc, but wasn't really interested.  I was already reading fantasy like Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a much more "traditional" fantasy (and still my favorite series to this day).  Harry Potter didn't re-enter my thoughts until my 8th grade year when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out.  I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about.  In fact, I actively "disliked" the series in the beginning, largely due to its popularity.  I know - that makes little to no sense.  If series reach that level of popularity, there's likely at least some merit to them.  But I've always tended to shy away from the really popular stuff at first.

It wasn't until the summer of 2001 that a friend of mine finally loaned me her copies of the first three books to take on our family vacation to Seattle.  We were driving 14+ hours, so there was plenty of time to get sucked into Harry's world on that car ride.  I was hooked, and that November it was with delight that she and I attended  the first movie showing with our friends (who hadn't read the books), and looked with glee at the faithful translation of the book to the screen.  Hagrid's flying motorcycle!  Professor McGonagall turning into a cat!  Quidditch!

A decade later, the Harry Potter books remain one of the great triumphs of modern fantasy.  They have inspired countless imitators, fanfic, and imagination, and are truly a series that no fantasy fan should go without reading.  They spark the imagination, and then create a huge, well thought-out world for that imagination to play in.  In many ways, people are as much a fan of the setting as the characters that populate it.

I don't know that any other generation will be able to experience the books in the same way, though.  We grew up with these characters, and the tone of the series aged and grew more complex alongside the readers.  It was truly amazing, and broke molds all over the place for what was acceptable for Children's/YA fantasy.  Not to mention how many people who say they never read, but have read and enjoyed HP.

Seeing this final film has filled me with a desire to go back and start the books from page one of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  To re-experience everything from the beginning, knowing what I do now.

So thank you to JK Rowling for ten years of memories and adventure with Harry, Hermione, and Ron.  They're like old friends now, and I can't say I'd want it any other way.
polychrome_pen: (Default)
So before January 2011 is over, I thought it might actually be nice to take a look back at 2010. XD Yes, yes, I know I am very behind on the whole "recap 2010" post, but I thought the last year just brought so many changes that I couldn't go without being revisited a little.

When I think back to January, I was just starting the second half of my clinical rotations to finish up school. It almost feels like another life by this point. My first rotation of that semester was Internal Medicine. I often felt it was an exercise in speed - how much information could I gather and tie together about the patients before having to present in the afternoon? I learned a great deal during those six weeks. It was also my first rotation where there was another student from school with me, and having someone to gripe with was a huge comfort.

The second six-week period saw me going to a community pharmacy attached to the hospital. This was probably my second-favorite rotation (after the Psych rotation I took in 2009). If all community pharmacy work was as rewarding and fulfilling as the time I spent there, the choice between hospital and community would have been much harder. But I also discovered just how tired standing for 8-10 hours a day can be.

For my final rotation, I returned to the hospital where I had done Internal Medicine. However, this time around, it was definitely not a good learning experience. Aside from just wanting to be done with rotations at that point, I found the work to be of little value to my learning. The preceptor was a strange, strange lady who issued the vaguest instructions I've ever heard. Then she had the nerve to call me "needy" during my final evaluation because I asked for further clarification. Is wanting to do something right the first time wrong? NO. Haha...looks like I still have issues regarding that final rotation! Again, I had a student with me who had been with this preceptor before, and she thankfully helped to clarify things for me a great deal. Anyway, I'm seriously glad I didn't get a residency at this facility, because this preceptor was also the residency program director. I'm not sure I could have handled a year of vague instructions and general weirdness.
But in all fairness...this was the rotation where I got to watch open-heart surgery, which was totally rad.

I should also note that all three of my second semester rotations were at a hospital that had off-site parking and a shuttle service - something my fellow students and I absolutely loathed by the end. I can't tell you how many times I had to stand in the cold rain because the shuttle would be driving away as I came out of the parking structure.

After finishing up rotations came review week at school - basically one last chance to sit in our lecture halls again and listen to speakers while everyone chatted and surfed the internet. XD

Of course, after that came Graduation on May 15th, 2010. I officially got my doctorate and finished school. Still, even now - eight months later - it feel weird writing that. School has been my life for...well...my life. Coming out of something so structured into the rather nebulous "real life" has been strange. I miss the comforting solidity and framework of working toward something greater with a purpose. After getting a job (even one that I enjoy) I'm kind of wondering...what next?

So summer was spent studying for my boards from the time I finished graduated until around mid July. I even snuck in a nice vacation to Seattle and the islands in there (visiting the cousin and relaxing with the family). But those interminable days days studying really felt endless. To help keep me sane, I would reward every two hours of studying with an episode of She-Ra (which I completed over the summer), Fantastic Four World's Greatest Heroes, Iron Man Armored Adventures, or Star Trek DS9. It felt like a weird combination of long past summer vacations and taking self-study summer school. XD

Thankfully, I passed both tests on the first go. I've been debating taking the tests to be able to practice in another state, which if I decide to go forward with should be something I undertake sooner rather than later. The further I go on, the harder it will be to force myself back into reviewing the material and going through the rigmarole of taking another test/forms/fees/etc.

Summer also saw an explosion in my toy collecting hobby. Something I attribute to lots of time at home to hunt stores, eBay, and read internet reviews. Also may have had something to do with getting money for graduation. :D Likely pent-up retail therapy after having no income since February after leaving CVS.

I got my license on August 5th, 2010. At that point, I gave myself until the end of August to look exclusively for hospital jobs. After thirty-odd applications, by the end of the month I had an interview set up for a not-quite-hospital job (the only non-hospital job I applied for). After that interview, I had set another one up with a hospital (the place I work now). But in the meantime, pharmacy 1 offered me a job (part-time for up to six months, then full time). I asked for an extension to think it over and was up front that I had the second interview. After being offered the job where I am now, I accepted and had to call back pharmacy 1 to decline their offer. That was an incredible weird experience. I've always had to fight for part-time jobs...so having to turn someone down was something I'd never done before.

The time between taking the job offer (early September) and starting the job (October 4th) was another strange period. During that month I looked for apartments (and finally found a decent townhouse!), hunted for furniture, signed tons of papers, packed up my toys/books/life, and watched some more shows. It was a frenetic month to try and get everything ready for the move, and yet I didn't really feel all that stressed. Maybe because I knew I had at least gotten a job, I was able to savor a few of my final days of freedom.

Anyway, work is where I've been ever since October. I still visit home at least once a month (heh...if not more often!). It's hard to leave a place you've lived since second grade, after all.

So I hope that 2011 brings good things. I have plans to do some writing (namely, finish my Jewel Riders fic, writing an original novella, and hopefully doing some Dragon Flyz writing). I also want to really take the time now to develop healthy eating habits and lose some weight. Since I make most all of my food, it should be easier to implement healthier choices more often. And of course, 2011 will see me continue the growth of my toy collection! :D
polychrome_pen: (Default)
I've admitted it before - I can be a terribly nostalgic person.

So when I saw the pictures in our newspaper from this year's graduation at my high school, it made me reflect on where I am in my own life five years post high school.

I remember the high that carried me through that summer and my first semester of college. It's such a unique time in a person's life, as though there is nothing but open road in front of you. You've accomplished a big milestone, and yet there are hundreds of different directions your life could take. I remember loving that feeling that things weren't set in stone, that my life could take any number of pathways aside from pharmacy.

Not that I'm unhappy with pharmacy. On the contrary, I'm happier with this choice than I ever expected to be. But sometimes I mourn what could have been. Like Classics, or Music, or English. Those were the main others paths I considered when pre-pharmacy totally stressed me out. I still love these things, though, and they'll always be a part of my life.

But I really didn't enjoy undergrad. That was a big deflation after being so excited about college. Being a commuter student at a school where relationships seemed to be formed by the close living (as I imagine it is at most colleges), I felt like something of an outsider looking in. Graduate school has really been much more enjoyable, despite being academically harder, because I feel there are more people who are "on the same page" as me. People who's company I can see myself seeking out after school is over.

But that's enough rambling. Back to studying for midterms!

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