May 4, 2007


The next morning, March 2nd, the city was still in a stand still. That afternoon I tried calling Ben to find out if he had made it to work (forgettting he walked) but he didn't answer his phone after three tries, so I assumed he wasn't there and left a message rescheduling for the next week. I have an odd character quirk where Im perfectly comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, or one on one with strangers, but if I know the person (even if its a teacher) I ball up, my mind burns blank white, and I go into a sort of panic. Luckily I didn't know Ben. I suppose I gave a decent interview because in the end he asked me when I would be able to start. Unfortunately, Spring Break was that next week, so I couldn't start until the following Monday.
He took me to the pharmacy to meet with Laura, the deputy head or volunteer boss or something, but she was a doll who took me on a quick tour of the place that in my mind is entire responsible for modern medicine. You can't have open heart surgery on a 6 year old boy without the anesthesia tray (with over two dozen different meds) or the heart tray (with even more, most of which have less than a week's expiration date) It was a brightly lit, stuffed, busy place with brightly colored everything designating its place in life. Then we were done, I went back to Ben's office, he made me my name tag and I picked out a vest I wouldn't drown in. Then I went to wait impatiently for the 10 minute late #2, only to have two to pick from when they did pull up.


March 1st the clouds rolled in and blew their noses on us, covering the state with tattered kleenex, snot and blowing walkers, cars, even semis off the roads. Oh wait, did I say snot?? I meant snow. This is the view from our class, an hour before I left for Childrens hospital. CIMG0188.JPG
Of course, I should say I tried to leave for Childrens. If I remember right, there was already six inches of snow on the ground, and the #2 isn't the most reliable bus in the best of conditions. The bus was supposed to be there at 2. It hadn't come by 2:30. I was bouncing around the Moos Tower station trying to stay warm and keep my irritation at bay. Another girl on her way to orientation too was bouncing around with me, because by now we were in serious danger of being late. That's when we found out that the U was cancelling classes for the first time in sixteen years, and for God's sake I was already done with class!!! Well the bus finally came, and we got to Chicago Ave with 5 minutes to walk 5 blocks south, through the whiteout. I was wearing my mukluks but by then even my knee high inuit boots weren't high enough in some parts where the people hadn't plowed their sidewalks before the storm. This gal, whose name I forgot 5 minutes after we met, and I were leaning into the wind trying to book it, thus my first sight of Childrens was a fuzzy biggish building, that's all I could have told you. We rushed in 3 minutes late, sweating, as cherry cheeked as Santa Claus, and puffing. Turns out the board room where we were supposed to have orientation was commandeered by the administration as a command room to deal with the storm's travel related dangers. Orientation took place in the Volunteer Services Office, and it involved cookies, Coke, and an informal-but-serious going over of policies. Afterwards, I talked with Ben about whether or not tomorrow's interview was still on, and he said yea because he lives so close he walks. I was rather impressed. Rock on Good Man for making sick kids happy/comfy AND saving the world at the same time! Ben really is a superhero, they all are there. Well, the gal and I trudged our weary way back to the Franklin bus stop and hopped around shivering waiting for the damnable #2 to get here. Every #2 driver should be fired, that line is rediculous for its timing. I got to my dorm, hung my wet things to dry, and took a long warm shower (since the dorm showers dont do boiling :( )

April 4, 2007

Prelude to The Trek(s) Through the Monsterblizzard

Ok, so this is more than a month in coming. I am sorry, it's just I've been having some serious health issues. This blog takes place on a snowy Monday afternoon in the end of February. I had gone home for the weekend (3 hours north) and was unable to return Sunday due to the whiteout conditions prevailing in 2/3 of my trek. So Monday morning I had braved the plowed highways and arrived in the TC two hours before my evening Finnish class. I entertained notions of satiating my green-starved eyes by going to the big Bachman's off 35W and 62, but instead opted for an afternoon in fresh-page-and-coffee scented air. I still had two gift cards to Borders given as christmas gifts from rival uncles, totaling $95, and there was a new Borders in the Rosedale mall. So I took my time selecting books that were supposed to leave me feeling all good inside and sat down in a cooshy leather chair in the cafe. I tried imagining the third story panorama view looked out over the rose gardens and lake of Duluth, not the slushy parking lot under that snowy-steel sky. ugh. Well I was halfway through the 5th chapter of one book when my phone rang. The display read an unfamiliar Cities number and I prepared yet another "I'm sorry, this isn't Kokish Motorcycles" speech (because apparently people can't keep 9050 and 5090 or 0905 straight or something because I get at least one 'Zzis Kokish?" per week.)
"Hello," I said softly.
"Hi, Jessica!?" a very perky male voice asked.
"Ye-es," I was completely confused.
"Hi, it's Ben from Children's. What time would you like to come in?"
And so, scambling to find a pen, paper, and hold the phone and the paper while writing at the same time, I set the date for my orientation for March 1st and my interview for the 2nd.

February 14, 2007


Which benefits the community more, volunteering with patients or volunteering in a research lab? Ive been given the opportunity to work in the lab thats perfecting the use of pig islet cells to treat diabetes, but I know for a FACT that with volunteering at Childrens and staying on top of my school work there is no way I'll be able to do that this semester. How many other things am I going to have to sacrifice for the sake of this schedule? Ive already been forced to give up choir. This sucks!! The whole reason I chose this major was so I could start curing people, and this is a chance that I'm unable to take!!!

Continue reading "Ethics" »

February 13, 2007

Hospital App Fun

When I began my hospital application, god was it weeks ago already? I needed my immunization records but procrastinated til last week only to find out i had COMPLETELY spaced the fact that my fam was going to Texas to visit my cousins. So I was forced to wait til I realized my aunt, who lives near my grandparents' place, would be able to get me my records because we leave her the spare keys so she can water our plants and feed the cats. So tonight I was able to finish the app part of the app, now I just need to get hold of my old boss Mary Hooper so she can fill out the online recommendation didleybob. Ha, that's gonna be fun. I should have listened to my fiance when he told me to make up a resume this summer, but after spending three months working 70 hour weeks, I wanted to have nothing to do with any of my old jobs on my mind. So in the end, what I should have done yesterday has once again come back to bite me in the butt, to quote my dear old gram.
God I want to work there so bad. I want to volunteer in the pharmacy/lab. The reason Im even in this major is cuz of my gram. She ran my town hospital's blood lab, and ever since I was 4 I would go to see her and look through the microscopes at all the blood...I grew up in that lab. And now, ironically, she's been diagnosed with a rare genetic blood disorder that causes platelette counts to soar, which was what caused the clot that caused her stroke. Bam. Theres a shocker if I ever saw. So whenever I start burning out down here, thinking how rough I've got it, I just remember my little old gram, who had been able to run five miles before her stroke, now barely able to walk five blocks, and theres my motivation to find a cure. Id BETTER, too, cuz my aunt and I are showing the early symptoms.


I'm Effed. My fam is in texas so I can't get access to my immunization records, which means im STILL in limbo for the hospital app. agh!!

February 12, 2007

Shots and Records

First, let me be clear.


I blame it on my childhood dentist traumatized me. He was let me put it this way, absolutely terrible giving novacaine. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to laughing gas. And to make matters worse, my gram was the head of the hospitals blood bank. She had these 'nifty' little push pins in the shape of syringes on the bullitain board that used to give me nightmares. When I got sick with mono, she tried drawing blood from my right arm, but apparently theres a tendon in the way. I remember my hand reflexively jerking when she hit it. When I was hit by a car, I was given a shot in my bum while the cops were asking me who it was who hit me, how when where I couldnt even remember my own name. I remember the 6th grade vaccines where my whole upper arm would burn for hours.

YMCA Workshop

Again, in another instance where my cracked up schedule creates just another nuicance, I had to accept the fact that I would be late to my Finnish class if I wanted to take this workshop before April. Don't get me wrong, I'm not normally so cynical, but honestly...would I be in this class if I hadn't a clue about what community service and volunteering meant? I felt that we were treated like we were in elementary school (not exactly the most inspiring of circumstances) but I'm afraid I lack any quoted evidence. It was just a gut feeling. I hate gut feelings. I hate reflecting on things. Give me a source, good publishing information, and extra ink and you'll have a happy Tash. Anyway. I get to the third floor, sit down in the circle of chairs and wrote my name on the tag wondering if this was going to be some innocents' version of AA. Hi... I'm Jessica... Hi Jessica, etc. Ugh. It was. There was this particularly disturbing exercise where we had to turn to eachother and write down our prejudices of the other person (haven't we had that beaten out of us yet?) then -tell him or her- what we'd judged about him or her. I'd struggled to find what to think about her. She was this normal looking girl. Good fashion sense. Obviously smart cuz she was obviously a college student. Motivated (what slacker picks this class?) caring, blah blah blah. It was totally awkward. Then we had to go stand under these signs with things like "voting" and "planting a garden" first under which one you thought was the most important, and second, which one you thought was pointless (or least important to be politically correct) I stood under voting first, because I honestly think that the only real changes can come from the law making bodies, either from school boards or the US Congress, because, let me use my school as an example. My tiny town school was so poor we could barely afford to heat the building sufficiently. The only electives we were offered were Band Choir Orchestra Art or Shop. Spanish was the only language. School sports had to fund themselves. Only one AP course was offered. Why were we so poor? Because the state legislature had passed a law when I was in middle school diverting state funds from schools and particularly small towns. Thus, the local legislatures were forced to pick up the slack and as a result, our poor, windling community was unable to foot the bill. There is only so much money fruit sales and car washes can make up, and programs suffered. Finally, my senior year, thanks to a massive volunteer effort by school moms and the board, our town passed a referendum raising taxes to fund our school. Bam. The law was passed. The kids will no longer have to wear their coats to study hall. Heck, there wont have to be a study hall to occupy the unmusical, inartistic, klumsy with hammers people. German is offered now. There's talk of starting an AP chem class in addition to bio.

February 8, 2007

The Unravel Fiasco

Speaking of fiascos...I hate computers and printers and all types of technical problems which come along with technological advances. Anyway. So, scheduling these Unravel workshops was terrible, cuz I have a schedule on crack and it was near impossible to fit in a time without skipping a class. Then, my inner blonde completely spaced my Unravel One, and my scheduled U2 was for the day after that. I had to start from scratch, swallow my distaste for the city and put my name down for a saturday session with the understanding of my fiance that we would go home as SOON as it ended. My Unravel 1 was at Wilson at 1:00 on that fridgid Saturday. I walked from Centennial to the bus stop across from Moos Towers withmy back to the wind (i.e. backwards the whole way) and found out that the connector only comes every half hour. It was 12:40, I hadn't taken my purse so I didn't have any money, and I decided to save $62 this semester by -not- getting the upass, which is one of those things you never need until you need it, like right then. Fortunately, the driver of the 16 that pulled up at 12:53 was a kind soul, he let me ride the few blocks to Wiley. I admit that it was very eerie walking the empty tunnels to Wilson. I had a class on the west bank last semester and the corridors had always been packed full of people, with the pizza smell from Bene and the coffee smells from Java City wafting over the noise. It was silent. It smelled like day old buffing. Wilson seemed gratefully empty, with the lack of stressed and cramming kids and finals and midterms a comfortable distance in the future. I got lost trying to find the room, asked three people who didn't know where it is, and finally ended up following a determined looking adult to s130 where I sat in front of a computer while a librarian spent two hours explaining the U's self explanitory library website. I have to admit that the Assignment Calculator is very nifty though.

February 5, 2007

This is Me

This is me. I'm from a small town on the Iron Range. Chestnut St. is four blocks long, dominated by bars and liquor stores because the unemployed miners needed something to do. Community in Virginia depends on your age. When you're in elementary school, your block is your community. Until you get your license, you're either from Nor-side, Sou-side, Ridgewood, Midway, or Anne's Acres. In highschool, it's which school you go to, be it Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert, MI-B, Hibbing, Chisholm, Duluth Central, Duluth East, Duluth Marshall, Denfeld, Mesabi East, Cherry, Cotton, Cook, Tower-Soudan... for the same 'region' (tho Duluth isnt really part of the Range) your community in highschool is your school. If you come back from college to settle back on the Range (and not many do) then your community expands once again. Your community is no longer confined to individual towns, it begins to be defined by the whole shared experience of living in the shadow of a manmade mountain, of feeling the mine blasts every day at 12:35, or hearing the incessant whine of OHV's. The fate of the whole area depends on the success of the mines, and that is what brings everyone together. And I am defined by my community. I can't understand how people can live so cramped on top of each other like they do down here. Rush hour? the only 'traffic' I'd ever experienced was the parking lot after a hockey game, or HWY 53 after the Virginia-Hibbing hockey sections championship at the deck. I am defined by the endless red pine forests and the water we can still drink fresh from the ground. Not to say that times aren't rough...but the difference between here and home is that up there, we are -all- affected, we are one community.