Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall Colors

Mood: Excited
Music: Jazz station

Here it is in October already! You know, I thought I would see a slow-down in my schedule during the third year of dental school, but I have yet to see that happen. IT'S A MYTH!!! Not quite as much going on with classes, but there is still a lot to occupy my time with school. Kyle and I are going to present research at a research conference in TN later this month, so I had to get an abstract ready for that. We also just submitted an abstract for the IADR conference in New Orleans for March 2007. In addition to clinics, there has been plenty of lab work at school. I have 3 different ortho cases that I'm hoping to present on Thursday of next week, so I've been working on models and cephalometrics for those. I have at least one other case that will get started later. I've been the class president since mid-semester last spring, and I was recently elected to be President of the Student Research Group as well. Kyle and I have been working at Dr. Hartsfield's orthodontic practice, which I absolutely love! I got my National Board Scores back, and I was very pleased with my score. Dr. Hohlt (Undergrad Ortho Director) saw my scores, gave me a big bear hug, and told me how wonderful they were. Praise the Lord!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. In fact, except for the part of winter leading up to Christmas and New Year's, it is my favorite season. As I look out my 9th floor apartment window, I can see the trees starting to turn colors and it's a breathtaking sight...a fluffy carpet of green, red, orange, yellow, and gold stretching out for miles. The weather is still warm and sunny, which makes it more enjoyable. My sister's birthday is coming soon (Oct. 18th). In honor of her, I'm posting one of my favorite pictures of her. This photo was a self-portrait taken on a girls-only trip to Chicago last year. Each time I see it, I can't help but crack up. I love you, Ashley!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Odds and Ends

Mood: Sick of studying
Music: Goo Goo Dolls "Without You Here"

I know that my updates to this blog have been non-existent lately, but all that is about to change in about a week. On July 17th, Kyle and I will be taking National Dental Board Exam Part I, and then our lives will be drastically different than anything we've experienced yet. No more late nights of studying, no more schedules full of classes, no more late nights of trying to complete lab projects. It'll just be like a 9-5 job with a little labwork here and there, and a few classes mixed in. I'll have time for golfing, learning Chinese, and updating my blog!

I decided to post a picture from earlier this year. This picture is from my church's International Dinner in February. I've you've ever wondered what I would look like as a geisha girl, here's your answer. I even dyed my hair black for the night. For those of you who don't know, the woman in african garb is my mother. The proceeds of the dinner went toward our church's missions trip to South Africa. It was a fun event! So there you go--Geisha Brooke!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New Car

It's been quite a while since I've updated this blog. Several of you have asked for a new post, so here you go. Our spring break seemed to fly by so quickly, but perhaps that was because we spent most of the time tracking down a second car to buy. We finally decided to get a new car so that it would have exactly what we wanted. Today was a sunny day, so Kyle took a few pictures of the car (and of me goofing off). I love the car, but I'm not very good at driving it yet because it's a 5 speed. I did actually drive it in traffic today...I think I only stalled it 3 times (on hills too) and I found out I am excellent at squealing tires as I shoot off when the light turns green. Oops! Hopefully I'll get better. I've been told repeatedly that my BMW Z4 roadster dream car just has to be a five speed, so I've got to learn to drive stick now. Of course there are those pesky dental school loans to pay off...

Speaking of which, take a look at what some of our wannabe competitors are marketing to the 38th Street population: dental bling! Consider dental school loans paid off! I guess in the ghetto, your treasure is best kept where thugs can't rip it off quite so easily. Unfortunately, this is a tooth rot bomb waiting to go off. Sometimes I marvel at the stupidity of people.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Driving Fantasy

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Monday, January 16, 2006

New Family Member

Mood: Relaxed
Music: Jack Johnson--In Between Dreams

Kyle and I had today off school in honor of MLK Jr. Day, so I had a little bit of free time tonight to write to the blog. I thought I should write a post about my mother's adorable new puppy, if for nothing else than to put up a picture of this very cute and cuddly golden retriever named Maggie. This picture is from when mom first brought her to our apartment for a visit, and as you can see, Kyle totally fell in love with her. I have officially been replaced as the love of his life. :)

Another small piece of news--I now have a blog page of poetic pieces I have written since high school. The link for the page appears to the left under the links section. If you get a moment, check it out and tell me what you think! I will post more poetry on the page as time goes on.

I had a nice end to Christmas break. Amber came to visit me for lunch on New Years Eve and we had a fun time eating mexican and laughing together. Then on January 2nd, the day before we started classes again, Amy came for lunch and to spend the day together. She stayed for dinner and Sarah and Tiffany joined us. I threw a French-themed dinner party, complete with french cheeses, ironed cotton napkins folded into goblets, and placecards for the table settings with pictures of the Eiffel Tower on them. After dinner, we had a blast playing Crazy Slap Jack and opening Christmas presents. About a week later, our new dining room set arrived. I was hoping that it would get here before my guests came, but no luck. Oh well...I'm just happy that we have a real dining room table now that has plenty of room around it, instead of our "toy" table that we started with. The new table is very bistro-looking with Mission style influences and a high curving back to the chairs. The best part--I got it from Macy's for a killer price. That's me, the bargain hunter.

The semester is off to a good start, although if they throw any more modules at us at once I think I'll scream. In one 40 hour week, we have the following classes: Crown & Bridge w/ lab (x2), Orthodontics w/ lab, Complete Dentures w/ lab, Endodontics w/ lab, Facial Pain, Radiographic Interpretation, Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine (x3), Clinical Pathological Correlations, and PBL (x2). Eek! The material hasn't been too difficult, but it's hard to keep track of what is due when, etc. So far I'm really enjoying ortho and endo--root canals are actually fun to give from a technical perspective! And no, they aren't as painful as urban legend would have you believe. One of the scarier parts of this semester is in Clinical Path Correlations, where we are given several clinical pictures of different cases and minimal history on these patients, then we have less than a week to come up with a differential diagnosis and become an expert on every disease in the differential. During our weekly class, we might get randomly chosen to come to the front of the class and get grilled by the professor in front of all 100+ of our classmates. This guy is brilliant, hilarious, and a great professor, but he takes immense pleasure in humiliating people. I am really not into public humiliation, thank you. Then we lucky students get to repeat the whole process for the next week. AHHH!!! Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas with the Cranes

Mood: Vegetative
Music: Bryan Culbertson's "It's on Tonight"

This Christmas was one of the best Christmas celebrations I can remember. Since Christmas fell on Sunday, my parents, sister, Kyle, and I all met at church for morning worship. My mother had the idea of dressing up somewhat formally for the worship celebration. Her reasoning was that if we dressed up to go to an elegant concert performance of Handel's Messiah, why couldn't we dress up to worship the King? I agreed. So, once we arrived at Mom & Dad's house, we were actually able to take a nice family photo around the Christmas tree while looking good. (Most Christmases, we are snapping photos while in pjs with messy hair and a total lack of makeup--quite scary!) In this first photo, we look somewhat dignified and civilized, what many families strive for during the holidays (think picture-perfect family gatherings, perfect turkeys dressed with cranberry sauces, etc.).

However, dignity is not something that lasts very long in the Crane household, and my family is all the more enjoyable for it. Granted, my family is a little strange, but we laugh so much together that our sides always hurt at the end and we definitely burn off any calories consumed during the holiday feast. The second photo is a rather mild representation of our version of "Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil," albeit a little out of order (and yes, those are Victoria's Secret bags on our laps...for those who are wondering, Dad borrowed Mom's present for the photo op). But the insanity did not stop there. Kyle, poor mortified soul, received a gag gift from my mother that made any vestiges of dignity disappear instantly. Allow me to explain. We all have common catch phrases that we find ourselves repeating in our various conversations with others. For instance, some of my favorites are "That's Hot!" (in a mocking/sarcastic tone) and "Thank you, Captain Obvious." For reasons yet unbeknownst to me, Kyle has the tendency to use the phrase, "I laughed so hard I almost wet myself!" My mother caught wind of this phrase usage and purchased him a package of Depends undergarments for Christmas. Poor Kyle was so embarrassed! But it didn't stop there. My father insisted that we all don a pair of Depends over our clothing and take a family photo. I have elected not to include that picture in this post to protect the innocent. (Email me if you REALLY want to see the picture--it's pretty hilarious.)

Needless to say, it was a rather unorthodox celebration by many people's standards, but we all had a most enjoyable time. I am a strong supporter of etiquette and propriety, but I also appreciate the zany humor of my family. I guess I don't understand individuals who, while able to laugh and make jokes, are uptight to the point that they never allow themselves to be truly crazy. It makes me wonder what's going on beneath the surface and if they know what they're missing. Here's hoping that you also had a wonderful Christmas and that you enjoy a safe and healthy New Year!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism

Mood: Pensive
Music: Gavin DeGraw

Tonight I had the opportunity to have one of those wonderful heart-to-hearts with a close friend that we often find ourselves too busy to enjoy. With all the interpersonal foibles and follies that we commit, sometimes it's nice to know that you were able to say the right thing at the right time and that it actually helped someone and encouraged them. This conversation made me think, and tonight's post is the result.

To so many, perfectionism is an evil word. It can inspire jealousy, disdain, and feelings of inadequacy in others. It has been maligned as an unhealthy affliction by most who are not perfectionists and even some that are. And it can be--if followed in the wrong spirit. Perfectionists can be self-deprecating individuals who push themselves to the point of exhaustion, anxiety, illness, and low self-esteem. They tend to beat themselves up when they don't reach their goals. This is a particularly bad situation because the honest perfectionist can admit that they rarely, if ever, reach those goals of perfection; in other words, the strict perfectionist is doomed to failure on an almost constant basis.

However, perfectionism has its perks. It pushes people to be their very best, to never give up, and to never be satisfied with mediocrity. The perfectionist looks for opportunities to improve in every situation and they are comfortable with introspection (even if at a somewhat irrational level). If we never aim for perfection, it is guaranteed that we will never obtain it. Moreover, we will probably only reach a level that pales in comparison. In other words, we often miss the greatness that we could achieve.

The dilemma is how to make perfectionism work in our favor without all the undesirable side-effects. Here is my philosophy: Aim for perfection, strive to reach it, all the while realizing that you might not make it. If you reach your goals, wonderful. If not, don't stress about it too much. Whatever the result, maintain an attitude of humility (how dare we act haughty towards others when we so often miss our own goals?!?). Learn to celebrate the small victories rather than lamenting that we fall short of perfection. Aiming for perfection constantly is more important than reaching it occasionally. Even Jesus himself commanded, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) So many people see that verse and think, "Yeah right! Like that's gonna happen." And they leave it there, completely missing the point! Jesus knew that it was impossible for a human to be perfect in their own power. He doesn't expect that. What He does expect is that we aim for perfection, allowing God to make up the difference. He is honored by our desires and our efforts; He has room to work in such a heart. All of this is easier said than done, I know. But that's the aim. To all my fellow perfectionists out there, know that you are loved, you are capable, you are worthy, and I believe in you! Remember, gold is refined in the fire. Furthermore, diamonds are refined by extreme heat and pressure. :)