Category Archives: School

All the Above

I have been far too busy this month to post to my blog, but all is well. I am currently in the process of rehearsing a presentation I am giving next week at the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting. I get to go to Hawaii! However, I will only be there for 3 days.  Believe me though, I am going to fit in at least one side excursion while I’m there. How can you go to Hawaii and not partake of the fun? 🙂

In any case,  here is my jam tonight – can’t stop listening to it.  

“Thank you for making me struggle, thank you for making me grind, I perfected my hustle, Tell me the world ain’t mine” – Maino

While I have not experienced Maino’s life experiences, I certainly feel like I’m being made to grind this month between the school+work+life balance issues I’m having 🙂

“Take a look and you can tell that I’m destined for greatness” — Maino

Another Class Finished!

As of today, I have now completed 7 of 10 required courses for my MPH degree!  This morning was our final in Epidemiology 2 and our next course starts on April 6th.  Since beginning the program in September 2008, I have finished these classes

  • Epidemiology 1
  • Biostatistics 1
  • Decision Analysis
  • Clinical Trials
  • Health Behavioral Methods
  • Biostatistics 2
  • Epidemiology 2

Next month I take Program & Policy Evaluation.    For descriptions of my courswork, see here.  So, what did I learn in Epi 2?  Well, we learn about study designs that are not randomized controlled trials – their benefits and advantages.  It was very interesting.  I am feeling a bit euphoric though — the coursework phase is ending soon and I get to transition to doing my actual research project pretty soon. 

I know this is more statistics related, but here is a cartoon from xkcd

Want to learn about Construct Validity?

Well, I won’t make you, but this is what I spent my morning doing – so much fun! Actually, it is not all that bad. The class I am taking this month teaches about how scales are developed (think Myers-Briggs) and how they are assessed for reliability and validity. The interesting thing is that twice this weekend I had situations where I was able to put some of what I’ve learned to use.

In family news, we had a relaxing weekend. I did some genealogy stuff, the kids played some educational games and we even went out to eat once. Not too exciting over here. 🙂 Those World Word videos are doing good though – today I asked Kaleya to spell the word “pie” and she was able to do it without really thinking! One of the episodes she has is all about pies.

And, I also added my twitter feed to the sidebar of my blog, so if you visit the site you can see what I’m up to. Until later…

Too Many Emails

I have over 1200 emails in my gmail inbox.  So, you know what my New Year’s Resolution is this year? To keep my inbox to 100 messages or less and do a better job at archiving emails as I should.  I have been successful at keeping my work email inbox down to less than 100 messages at work for the past 3 or 4 months now, so it’s time to get going on my personal email.   

Hope everyone is enjoying their new year.  I start classes again on Monday and will be taking a Health Behavioral Methods course.  I will also be finalizing plans for my thesis work this month so it makes for a busy time for me.   I’ve had a horrible headache since last night, so am trying to rest as much as I can before the weekend is over. 

In child news — Kaleya opened one of the DVDs we got her for Christmas – Word World. This is a PBS series that I think is cool — they make the shapes of animals, items, etc using the words that spell the word – see example below.  With this approach, Kaleya can spell the word aloud and right away know what it spells without prompting from us – a great approach to learning how to read!


School Year Begins

It’s been awhile again since my last post, but a lot has been going on!

First of all, we have been getting ready for school. Jihad, my stepson, is now living with us, and he starts 4th grade on Monday. We are all excited at the start of the new year and hope to get a lot from it.

On August 1st, I officially became a student again! I am now a National Library of Medicine-funded Informatics Training Fellow within the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University. My supervisor was kind & thoughtful enough to guide me through the application process so that I could do this. Ultimately, it will work out for the best for both the library and myself and while it will be a challenge, I am definitely looking forward to it. In my fellowship, I will be getting a Masters of Public Health degree with a focus in informatics. I have been an NLM fellow before, that is what brought me to Vanderbilt in the first place, so I am VERY grateful to have another opportunity for training at this point in my career.

Then, yesterday, I had the joy of experiencing my first ever tooth extraction. Turns out I had a partially erupted wisdom tooth that was causing me toothaches this week, so it had to come out. My extraction was yesterday afternoon, but the pain was so bad Wed night that I spent from 2am-6am in the Vanderbilt ER where they gave me some Loretab, and then some bupivacaine to alleviate the pain. It was great! And, the tooth extraction itself was hardly a problem at all. The dentist was very funny – he kept me laughing the whole time and I didn’t even realize when he took the tooth out. Pain last night was kind of bad and even though he prescribed more Loretab, it didn’t work very well. But, this morning I started taking ibuprofen and it has been perfectly fine all day. I even ate a real meal at lunch today.

So, I am now getting back into some normal routine. I’m parked in front of the television right now watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics – I’m so excited!


Kalonji is a college graduate! He just received an email from his school, Liberty University, that his degree has been conferred. We are so excited! Actually, the degree is quite unexpected as he was told that he had one more course to take before he could graduate, but he certainly had the requisite number of credits to graduate.

Yeah!! This degree has been many years in the making for him. What’s next? He plans to pursue his Masters of Arts in Teaching and Learning w/ Technology.

Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Gallery Removed

The Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Gallery is no more.

After about two years overdue, I have finally taken down the Mirabilia/LL/TIAG Stitchers’ Gallery. It was an online website I created about five years ago I think? that would let you see finished and works in progress of stitchers working on designs from Mirabilia and those of Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. Since having Kaleya, the time I devoted to the site has been practically nil, and though I enlisted help, it just wasn’t working out. So, I’ve taken it down and will continue to redirect my efforts more towards revamping the cross-stitch magazine database site I have.

And, in personal news, I took and survived the GRE; and a couple of days ago, I had a round of interviews/meetings for the graduate program. Now, I have a computer science test on Wednesday to study for. Wow.. i feel like a student again already.

Degree Plans

Can you say “come up for air?” I am so exhausted right now! I am taking the GRE on Monday morning and I have been studying like a madwoman for it these past few days. It’s absolutely insane!

Some of you who have read my blog for awhile may remember that just before I found out we were going to have Kaleya, I was making plans to pursue a PhD. That didn’t work out :-).. But now, I have another opportunity for advanced education that I am pursuing (with WONDERFUL support from my boss!) and so I’m going through the process now of applications, GREs, etc., etc. If I am accepted for the program I’d like to pursue, I’ll be working towards an Masters of Public Health degree with a biomedical informatics sponsorship. The best part is that I won’t even have to move if I get it – it would be through Vanderbilt.

Wish me luck! I’ll know the final decisions in late spring. So, until Monday I’m off to review my new vocabulary (opprobrium, sedulous, aggrandize, capricious, dilatory, craven, torpor, and potentate are just some of my new faves) and get my mind working through mathematical problems!

Learning Java

I’m so proud of myself! I just created my first Java applications! Okay – the code was all of one line, but hey – gotta start somewhere right?

This comes about from the fact that I am taking a computer science course this semester that will teach us how to program in Java. The instructor of the course stresses however, that the course is about how to solve problems using computers. The Java language is just the tool we are going to use to solve those problems. Should be quite interesting….

In other news, Miles came in 2nd place in his school spelling bee. Way to go Miles! We also went to Talladega this weekend to visit family and had a good time. Poor Kaleya did not want to leave her cousin – she had a blast playing with him all weekend.

Oh! And I almost forgot to post this — I have been reading the Golden Compass books and just love them! A couple of nights ago I finished the second book in the series, The Subtle Knife, but it will probably be the weekend before I can start the third one, The Amber Spyglass. I find the writing of these books to be quite good and I become so engaged in the storyline. I haven’t seen the Golden Compass movie, and I was wanting to wait until I finished all three books, but I’m afraid that if I wait much longer, I’ll miss it being in the movie theaters. I hope to try and see it over the next couple of weeks.