Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dress for the True North Strong

Ever since study group with Derrick and Lucinda, I have had the thought that I wanted to be a "Canadian" for Halloween. I had worn my hobo jacket to study one day, and Derrick had pointed out how awesomely Canadian it was. Yes, I've been planning this costume for months. But I just thought it would be so funny. Cause I AM CANADIAN and I'm dressed as a Canadian.

In the washroom at the restaurant we ate dinner at I was washing my hands. And I look up and this woman goes "Caaanaaaadian!" to me. Which I laugh and go "I'm Canadian!" And she gets serious and goes "Like as your costume?" And I say "Yup!" And she goes "Oh." And I go "And in real life!" To which she then laughs.

This costume was just as great as the time I was a bum. Except I was a lot cuter :)
I was so comfortable and loved the concept of it so much. Gotta love that hobo/Canadian jacket. 

Mid-way through this last week I had started to pout about Halloween.
I have this irrational love for Halloween. Seeing people dressed up in ridiculous costumes just makes me happy. But I miss the Alberta way of doing Halloween. I want a centralized location, filled with music, costumes and all of my friends. I wanted a good ol' fashioned YSA dance. And so I began to pout. Because I often feel that I have to choose between doing stuff with the members out here, that I'm not really friends with and therefore feel disconnected from or doing things with my friends, who enjoy a slightly less wholesome version of things but whom I adore and have so much fun with. I miss the days when my friends had my same standards. I felt like I had too many options and I just wanted to be able to celebrate Halloween and have so much fun, but I was feeling like I couldn't possibly do it all.

And I was right. I ended up not going to any of the YSA house parties or to the hockey game Dee invited me to. 

But I did go and spend the day in Salem. Which seemed very Halloween-y.

Truthfully, Salem was slightly overrated. It was rainy and cold. And we didn't even do a haunted house. But being with my friends in any situation is fun. I love talking with them and just hanging out. Could we have done the same thing in Boston and negated the drive? Yes, absolutely. But it was still a fun day. 

Obviously, everyone loved my costume (whether they admitted it or not).
I believe a direct quote from Aaron was "Boo, Canada!"

But I can always count on a fellow Canadian to appreciate me representing!

Because of the rain, we stood inside and chatted for most of the day.
Alisun was such a cute little Alpha Wolf. 

And everyone loved The Beaver.

But I was very protective of him.

Alisun was pawing at The Beaver... 
and you can see why I was concerned!

It was just nice to be together and chat.
Pretty sure, my favourite part was talking with Aaron, Sabrina and Alisun about how awesome of a show Happy Endings is! Its hilarious and you should watch it if you don't.

After standing inside for awhile the girls decided to brave the weather and go wander Salem a bit.
We went through a graveyard, and into a couple cute stores.
It was freaking so cold though!

Aaron, Sabrina, Mike, Adam and Tia, Derek and Meg and a couple other people had rented a limo to go to Salem in. So we piled in the limo for a bit. It was ridiculously crowded though so that didn't really last.


After Salem, I was exhausted. It was only like 7:30pm, but it felt like 11:30pm. Externship is exhausting. And I'm not sure I've fully recovered from how exhausting the Education Conference was.
But Alisun and I really wanted to see everyone in their costumes, since most of the limo crew had opted against costumes in Salem.

I'm really glad we decided to tough it out though. Because being at Derek's house was my favourite part of the day. We ate, and laughed and danced ridiculously. And I left feeling that Halloween had been a success!

Everyone wanted The Beaver in their pictures!

This cake pop is actually one of the most thoughtful gestures.
Meg made cake pops for everyone. But added cupcake liquor to them.
But knowing that I don't drink, she made me a special alcohol free cake pop.
I won't lie, it felt pretty great knowing 1. They remembered my standards and 2. They accommodated for said standards. I just love that I can be myself with my friends and that they are so accepting.

Aaron and Mike Rollin might be two of my favourite people.

As Alisun, Tia and I were leaving, Aaron came to the door to say goodbye. He fretted that we hadn't had fun today in Salem because of the weather (since it had been his idea to go). And we assured him, that regardless of the weather, it was fun. And then Aaron told me that I need to stop being on externship because he misses seeing me in Clinic. My favourite part was when he spread his arms wide and went "Get in here Canadian!" and gave me a big hug. I love knowing that my friendship is important. And that my absence is noticed. So it was a really sweet moment for me. 

Alisun laughed as we got in the car about knowing it was going to be a "blogging" moment. And I told her if she wanted she could express how much my friendship means to her. But in all seriousness, I know that once graduation happens, we will be spread out all over. And while I look forward to not being in school, I already feel sad about not being able to see my friends everyday. They have really and truly made dental school for me. I wouldn't have survived the last few years without them. And I truly am grateful for their acceptance. I feel like I can be myself around them. They don't care that I sometimes start doing a ridiculously monster shimmy. Or throw gangs signs. Or whatever version of dancing I attempt. Or that I mispronounce just about every word. Or that I'm full of quirks. And while I am pretty sure I won't miss school, I will miss them.

They really and truly are the best!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


What do these things have in common?
Clearly, they're part of my costume this year.
Can you guess what I am?
I love Halloween.

And thank goodness I stopped
pouting for two seconds so that
I can actually enjoy it this year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Short on words

Having played phone tag for almost a week with one of the possible Education Conference group facilitators (did I mention I was on the committee for this?), we finally caught each other. And then proceeded to make jokes about the moment being everything we dreamt it would be. Ha. I like when strangers joke like we know each other.

Dr. B complimented my operative skills. And like any child, I beamed from the favourable attention. Externship, just like clinic, is full of ups and downs, of feeling competent and of feeling like a reject. But there is something nice about starting to trust myself; To realize that the last three years have not been a waste and that I actually know some things. I know that I'm not the best. But I also know that I have a lot of natural ability and talent for what I'm doing. And when I also make my assistant laugh - all the better. I think I'm going to rather like being a real dentist.

Oh this? Just a ring I carved from some triad custom tray material.
Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes I carve rings. NBD.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fury

I woke up this morning in a fury.
Sometimes when I have to do something that I haven't done before, I cry.
But sometimes my frustration leads me a different direction.
It didn't help that I received a completely unhelpful email from a faculty member.
All I wanted was to get approval for the patient I was supposed to see today.
Thats one of the challenges of externship. In order to get credit, you have to get approval.
And even though I'd faxed the forms several times, I'd heard nothing back for days.
And then I got the email.
Telling me that my forms had been rejected. But she didn't tell me why. Or bother to tell me for several days.
She just referred me back to the previous version of the form
and her notes.
Her cryptic, partially incomplete notes.
I tried phoning the school to talk to her.
But for some unknown reason, the school's number was going straight to a full voice mail.
And when I tried to get the medical phone operator to connect me
they kept sending me to people telling me that my faculty had graduated.
No. No she has not graduated. She's a faculty member.
No. No the school isn't closed. I know the hours and that there are people there.
But we are on the busy schedule for externship now.
And as I rushed to and fro, from this bay to that, seeing this patient and that,
the stress and frustration faded.
My latest fax went off.
I got the direct phone number for Carole Green (the gateway to everything at the school - seriously, she does everything).
And then I got the faxed form with one of the most beautiful things.
A signature.

I feel like its a good sign that the fast-paced bustle and hustle of a regular clinic day eases my drastic moods.
A very good sign.
Of course, things working in my favour might be a contributing factor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grateful IV

1. For a mother who lets me call and talk to her for large amounts of time everyday of the weekend.

2. For Canadian friends, who throw impromptu Canadian Thanksgiving Dinners.
John and Tamsen are the most glorious hosts. Not only is Tamsen a phenomenal cook, but she is also wonderfully generous. Yes, I got left overs. And yes it made my day. And add to that the fact that John then drove me back to Externship. Those Canadians... good solid people.

3. For recognizing progress.
Yes it is rare for me to not curse growing up, but occasionally I will do something and then realize what progress I have made. I feel pride in those moments where I realize the strides I've made. Of course there are days where I can't see the progress. Which is what makes moments like this so poignant.

4. For the farsees.
A few weeks ago, this guy gave a talk in my ward. He told this story from his mission about asking for directions from a man. The man told him that he needed to go three farsees and then turn right. "Farsee? I'm not familiar with that distance. How far is one farsee?" And the man replied a farsee was as "far as you could see".
The point of the story is that often we don't know the plans that God has in store for us. We can't see the future. But we only need plan for as far as we can see. Nothing more than that is asked of us. Sometimes we can only see 6 months or a year away. But we don't need to plan any farther than we can see.
I often feel nervous that I don't have a future plan for after dental school. There is a certain amount of built in shame, for not having concrete life plans. But right now, the farthest I can see is graduation. So I plan for that point and try not to worry about any further ahead than that. I'm choosing to hope that once I get there I'll be able to see and plan a little further ahead.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Days.

My favourite part of the day
is those few seconds when I
walk past the air vent to the
YMCA pool and smell the
chlorine air. I adore the smell
of chlorine. Turns out I would
have done well in WWI.
Chlorine gas me all the way.

My preceptor likes to monologue.
And lecture. But it turns out, I
dont invite a lot of either. The
monologuing is harder to avoid.
The lectures though? I currently
think I'm doing pretty good at
not setting her off.

Having an assistant is amazing.
I now understand how real
dentists work without constantly
having a rubber dam on. Its a
miracle what happens when
you have another set of hands.
A glorious miracle of appropriate

Josh is home (well, not exactly,
right at this moment, but close
enough). The last of our boys
is back from his mission. My
baby brother is now officially
going to be entering the world
of adults. Its a strange feeling to
know that we must all grow up
now. I knew we couldn't stop it.
But Josh being home from his
mission just confirms it. We are
no longer little kids. We're adults
who have to move forward or die.
Too extreme? HA. Maybe, maybe

I've been thinking about the subtle
messages we send. Maybe I read
too much into things. But I generally
think I read quite well. And maybe
I sense change when there is none.
But a little bit, I don't think its just
in my head.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Externship Day One

After staying up late packing my things, I got up very early so that I could head to externship.

I was nervous as Adam, Tia and I drove to Pawtucket.
Adam's lovely girlfriend, willingly made sure Adam and I got out to our externship on time.

And despite the traffic, it really only took us like 45-50 minutes to get there.

Today was freaking boring.
Which I suppose is just the way things go sometimes.
Dr. B (our preceptor) talked for a really long time this morning.
And I tried very hard not to fall asleep.
Especially since she kept direct eye contact with me the entire time, like she was daring me to start to doze as she talked. But I fought hard to stay awake. I shifted my position, sat up really straight, tapped my foot, and anything else I thought that might keep me from nodding off. 
But as Dr. B talked about seeing patients, the anxiety I had been feeling started to wain.
Fillings? I feel pretty prepared for that. And a little excited. Sure I have lots to learn. But I feel capable.
Dr. B talks a lot though. But I'm gonna do my best to find her mannerisms quirky instead of annoying.

Dr. B had a meeting after lunch and told us to play with the charting programs. 
But you can only pretend chart for so long.
Then we met a few of the assistants.
I'm determined to remember their names in record time.
I wished that we could go back to our apartments.
But instead we spent the majority of the afternoon reading magazines.

It was insanely boring.
But I know that days like this will dwindle as externship continues.

When Dr. B finally let us go (and by that I mean, she pretty much forgot/ignored us all afternoon so the other doctors said we should say goodbye to her and get the heck out of dodge), we headed back to the apartments.

This is where we live.

Yup, we live in an old victorian house.
Of course the space is divided into smaller living quarters. And I have the small cozy apartment and Adam has the larger one down the hall from me. 

I'm not one to be creeped out, but Pawtucket is a little unnerving so far. 
Its so quiet. And there are loads of sketchy people around.
Even for me, with my diminished sense of fear, I feel a little uneasy being out, by myself, in the dark.
And I think as long as that feeling remains, I'll try to play it a little safe.
Its weird though. Because even though I'm technically alone in Boston, I feel even more secluded here in Pawtucket. And I know that the situation isn't all that different. Boston. Pawtucket. I'm on my own in both places. But right now it feels different. 

I guess its just the new-place jitters I have.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Sometimes I love people's reactions.
Especially when they aren't forced but are just the spur of the moment.
They can be awkward. Oh can they be! But still, there's something nice about a genuine reaction.

Friday was my last official day of clinic before externship.
I had gotten all my paperwork finished on Thursday so I was good to go.
But I woke up and felt like I looked terrible.
And sometimes, when I feel like I look really terrible (and I mean Terrrrrrible), I try to compensate by getting extra ready.
Its a silly thing. Like doing my makeup or my hair and wearing clothes will change my appearance so much. But I occasionally I do it all the same.

I went to school. And the number of times that I wear real clothes to school is few and far between.
I ran into Derrick first. And he looks at me and goes "Do you have a date today? You're all dressed up."
And I laughed. No. No date. Just felt like wearing real clothes.
I ran a couple more errands and ran into Dee. She looks at me and goes "You look super great today. Do you have a date later?"
No. No date. Just felt like wearing real clothes.
I had forgotten I needed to get a crown sent out before I leave for externship so I was pouring up some models and one of my faculty wandered into the lab.
"Oh, you're wearing such nice clothes today!"
Yah. I forgot I needed to do some lab work and came to school in real clothes.
"Oh your blouse looks so delicate. Careful. I'd hate for you to wreck it."
And I laughed at how many people noticed what I was wearing and continued pouring up my models.
I ran into Lucinda as I was finishing up my school stuff.
"You look great Melissa! Do you have a date today?"
No. No date. Just felt like wearing real clothes.

It was a funny day at school. I guess wearing scrubs everyday will make any amount of extra effort I put in pretty noticeable. But I love that everyone thought I had a date. Nope. Just wearing regular ol' clothes. Just cause I own them and never get to wear them. I've actually been trying to figure out how to wear this blouse for months now. I impulse bought it for Matt's wedding but hadn't figured out how to wear it yet. 

And apparently it was worn with great success.