Update on Team Rubicon and Haiti

Mark Hayward - a Team Rubicon member - has an incredible post up, articulating exactly why this "motley band of volunteers" is just so incredible. Go check it out and, if you can, feel free to support their efforts HERE.

Here's an excerpt from Mark's Day 5 "Proof of Concept" post:

And today, we were able to be of service to a baby girl who, God willing, will grow up with two good legs, able to run and play, dance and work, and live a life free of disability, thanks to a motley band of volunteers and the vast outpouring of support from home that makes everything possible. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to say, to everyone who supports Team Rubicon financially, personally, professionally, and most importantly with your continued prayers for our safety and usefulness, THANK YOU so much. If you feel what I felt today, when I saw that baby sleeping in her mother’s arms, then you, like me, although you may have set out to be of service to others, have already received a reward that is greater still. God bless you!



- hfs



A friend of ours who is a Physician's Assistant with the Coast Guard is headed over to Haiti. I ask that you keep him and the rest of our Coasties (along with the sailors, Marines, and soldiers that are over there) in your prayers. Along with the email that our friend sent letting us know he's heading over, he sent along an email from a fellow Coastie that is also over there:

Thank you for your prayers. Please keep them coming. I am now the P.A.O. (public affairs officer) on my boat and as of today I know what it really feels like to be a journalist.

This morning I was asked to go to the bridge and take a picture of something floating in the water. Well... when I zoomed in I soon found out that it was a body. I was a little shaken after that but soon got over it. Later 07 of us went to land to give medical help, and also give supplies that were needed. When we first got there, there were only about 20 people waiting and about 30 min later about 75-100 people showed up and so did the UN with their tanks. It was definitely a "hot zone". You never knew when a riot was about to break out. At the time I wish I was having a dream.

A little boy about 4 years old came up to me and squeezed me so hard and just told me he loved me, looked up and told me that he was the only one left. Everyone else in his family had died. Another older lady was telling me that everyone sleeps outside now because they are all too scared to sleep in any sort of building because they are too scared it might fall on top of them.

Today I saw people that should not have been alive. I saw a man with all the skin on his arm ripped off and just hanging by tendons, and from his left eyelid to the middle of his forehead the skin was ripped back and you could see his skull. Another lady had all the skin on her foot ripped off and all you could see were her bones (still in tact). Kids were screaming and blood was filling the floor. It was like a bad horror movie. The things I saw were no joke.

When we had to call it a day we had to sneak out... and let me tell you it was impossible to do that and once everyone found out we were leaving they all became very upset. We had to literally run as fast as we could back to our small boats to head home. We are going back first thing in the morning and this time with more protection!

When we finally got back home we had to be decontaminated, had to take some pills so that we would not get malaria and also get a few shots. We will have to do it all again tomorrow. I am sure you will ask if I am scared of the riots and what not but... no I am not at all. I joined to serve my country and if I get killed because of it then so be it. At least I know that I did it for someone else other than myself and I also did it doing God's work!

Please keep my crew and all the other service members here helping with the relief in your prayers.

To that end, if you are looking for a way to help and don't want to deal with the bigger charities (some have overhead costs that eat into donations), please check out fellow blogger Jake Wood's Team Rubicon. Probably one of the best ways to get the majority of your donation TO the people of Haiti. The level of devastation is simply unimaginable.


- hfs


Week one down

The first week of classes has come and gone. In some ways, it was quite easy - been here, done this, have several t-shirts from my alma mater. Getting back into the swing of studying won't be difficult - I never really got out of the swing of things. Especially right now - I'm facilitating an Anatomy class for the homeschooling co-op I work with on occasion, so no culture shock there.

However, my college Anatomy class is going to kill me. It's going to take every ounce of self-control I have not to be *that* student - the one that knows all of the answers. Today was our first lab and we had to make bodies out of Play-Doh and then demonstrate lines of dissection (saggital, mid-saggital, parasaggital, transverse, oblique, frontal) while working in groups. That wasn't too bad - it's pretty straightforward and most everyone was able to do it.

But then we moved on to "case studies". A side-note about the professor...English is not her first language. And her accent is thick. VERY thick. So that takes some getting used to. And because English is not her first language, her syntax is different than that of a native English speaker (i.e. we say "the crazy chicken" but someone who speaks Spanish would say "el pollo loco", placing the noun ahead of the adjective). The case studies were given in plain English and our task (in groups) was to replace the plain English with proper medical terminology.

Once we were done with that, our group had to go before the class, present the case study (she was checking our pronounciation) and point out on the model each location. The pronounciations were comedic because the way our professor says things is not how they are normally said in English. For instance, "popliteal" (the artery that runs along the back of your knee) is normally pornounced "pop-li-TEEL". However, she says it "pop-LEE-tee-uhl". Our class is going to come away with quite the interesting accent on their medical terminology. Heh.

And I had forgotten how ignorant I was when I first started taking science classes. It's a 100-level course and most of my classmates are not only young but products of the public school system here so their background in science is limited at best. I made the mistake of mentioning my degree and I'm not a magnet for questions. Lovely. I'm going to learn to keep my big, fat mouth shut one of these days.


Or I'm going to turn it into a business opportunity. One of the girls sitting near me asked if I could help her should she begin to struggle in this class. I told her yes, I could. My going rate for tutoring is $20 per hour. And I do math as well.

This could be interesting.


- hfs



So classes start tomorrow. I'm still without a lab manual for one of my classes. I need to pick up a lab coat from the bookstore and dig up a pair of safety goggles and grab some non-latex rubber gloves from the garage (MacGyver uses them when working on the cars). And I think I need to locate a fetal pig.

Yep, you read that right. According to my syllabus, one of the required items for my Anatomy lab is a fetal pig. Not sure where I'm going to track that down...maybe one of the Korean markets in town? This should be interesting. The other item on the list that made me chuckle was chicken. Of the raw variety. Whole, I believe. Cool.

Wonder if my instructor would let me off the hook if I told her I had already completed Gross Anatomy in which we used real live (well, dead) cadavers? Hands down, one of my favorite college courses. How many people can say they've held not only a human heart in their hands but a human brain? It was an amazing course.

I downloaded the syllabus for one of my classes and was reading through it and had to laugh. The instructor explained that, in the assignments, spelling counts as part of the grade with a 0.5 point deduction for misspelled words. Yet I counted no less than 13 spelling errors in a four page syllabus. I wonder...if I were to point them out to the instructor, would I get to ADD those points to my grade? I love hypocrisy in all forms.

This is going to be either very fun or very frustrating. We'll see how the first week goes. All of my lectures are on line. All of my labs are in person.


In other news, I've registered for the 5th Annual Milblogging Conference, set to be held in Washington, D.C. April 9-10. I'm not sure if I'm going but the registration is transferrable. Therefore if I am unable to attend, I can at least either give or sell my registration to someone else. I'm just not sure that my schedule will permit my attendance, nor am I sure what will be going on in my life at that point (are any of us truly sure what will be going on in their lives 3 months from now? I doubt it seriously.)

I truly want to go. And cost isn't really an issue because of some wonderful friends. But I just don't know that it will be physically possible. So we'll see.

I love D.C. I wish I had 2 weeks to devote to touring the city properly. And I wish I could take my kids. They are *just* getting old enough to where they'd enjoy it and actually grasp some of it. We could go spend some quality time with my brother and his family who live out that way too which would be a bonus. One of these days...


Sitting out at Sunday School this morning, we were passed over by a Chinook out flying some traffic patterns. Seems the National Guard guys had some flights to get in. The sound was both music to my ears and painful at the same time. I miss our guys. Not as much as their families miss them but I miss them, nonetheless. I miss my husband flying. I miss hearing our bids up, getting a grin on my face while saying a prayer that MacGyver stays safe while he's out flying.

The skies are too quiet here now. Be safe, boys.


- hfs



I'm hoping this blog does not turn into a purely navel-gazing blog but that's kind of where I'm at for the time being. Nor do I want it to turn into a purely education-related blog (of the navel-gazing variety, given the fact that I'm talking about MY education here) but, again, that's where I'm at for the time-being.

I'm heading down to pick up my textbooks tomorrow. Five books for $420. Ouch. And those are USED! (and before anyone starts in, yes I did check Amazon, half.com, and a few other textbook websites. Surprisingly, the college bookstore had the lowest prices especially after you include shipping) I've filed my FAFSA and right now, I'm only eligible for student loans. Since I'm still paying off my student loans from my LAST college experience, I'm going to do my best to avoid taking on any more of those unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

Given the fact that I'm a "non-traditional student", I'm a military spouse (for the time-being), and I'm going into a field that is facing some pretty severe shortages in terms of staffing, I shouldn't have too much trouble tracking down some scholarships and grants. If MacGyver's Army career comes to a screeching halt, our income would drop to -0- and that would make me eligible for much more in the way of grants and scholarships. It's not ideal to live on financial aid but if that's what needs to happen then we will make it happen.

In the mean time, I am searching for scholarships. My first stop is the National Military Family Association. They have the Joanne Holbrook Patton Memorial scholarships available. So I'm submitting an application for that one. The two short answer/essay questions are:

Short-answer question (3 sentences or less): How will the education this money provides change your life?

Essay (300-500 words): When you became a military spouse you were immediately eligible for health care through the military. What do you like the most about the health care you are receiving as a military family member? What do you like least? What would you recommend to change it? (Any words more than the 500 word limit will not be given to the judges.)

Interesting questions. I understand the first one but the second one isn't something I would expect to be asked as part of a scholarship application. I'll post my answers once I actually finish them but while I'm working on them, how would YOU answer them?


- hfs



I just spent almost as much on textbooks as I did on tuition. Except that the textbooks are not covered by scholarship like the tuition is. I cannot extol the virtues of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts enough - it is an incredible program that was (*gasp*) EASY to use!

Now I need to start looking for scholarships and grants to cover things other than tuition...like textbooks, lab fees, etc. Thankfully I can write off the textbook costs at the end of the year but OUCH...that's going to put a dent in our budget for the month!

Classes start not this week but next week. I'm nowhere near ready, mentally.

Story of my life these days.


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...