Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marriage as Chemistry.

I am back in school, after a 37-year hiatus. This is Week Two. I'm behind-er than I want to be with my homework (READING), but if I look at it objectively, I think I'm doing Just. Fine.

I was reading in my Anatomy and Physiology book about the chemistry of the human body, and came across something I have learned several times in my life (high school chem, college chem, homeschool chem, you get the picture...) but which always fills me with awe at the incredible Creator God that we serve.

God can take a silvery-white metal (sodium) and bond it with a poisonous green gas (chlorine) to make a white, crystalline substance that has healing properties, preserves food, and makes food taste better, as well.

A. Mazing.

Two completely unrelated things, and one of them poisonous to humans, to boot. (tho' does pretty well at bleaching your white things...) He designed their outer valent shells (think back, your chemistry is still in your brain somewhere!) to "desire" to have the full allotment of eight electrons. Sodium has one electron in its outer shell; chlorine has seven. Sounds like a "match made in heaven," right?


"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." --Gen. 2:24a

When sodium and chloride get together, that's called bonding (ionic bonding, to be specific). There's another type of chemical bonding called covalent bonding. This is where the two elements share electrons. An example of this is two hydrogens sharing with one oxygen to make water. Since we are 60% water ourselves, we have a lot of covalent bonding going on already. But that "two become one" thing--always difficult to grasp, though with a marriage of almost 36 years (so far), I can "apprehend" it. God takes two different things, putting them together to make something strong and beautiful. Somewhat different from the original parts (tho' a marriage is not as drastic a change as sodium chloride, right?) but better, stronger, and with a shared purpose.

"Ye are the salt of the earth." --Matt. 5:13. Salt has so many beautiful properties. It is healing. It preserves things. It tastes good! My pastor says that we should work to make our marriages the very best they can be, because Christian Marriage is the best picture God has, to show Himself to the world. So I can say the same thing about marriage: it is healing. It preserves things. It tastes good!

I suspect that marriage is an example of covalent bonding--the "shared electron" thing. My textbook says that "the shared electrons orbit and "belong to" the whole molecule, ensuring the stability of each atom." Isn't that beautiful?

Whew. I'm glad we're not ionic bonding. Then one of us would have to be the "silvery white metal," and the other would have to be the "poisonous green gas." And I'd be a little afraid to ask God which one I am...

Textbook quote taken from Human Anatomy and Physiology, Marieb and Hoehn, ninth ed., p. 34.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paregoric, and other pleasures.

In one of my online Scrabble games, my plate had these letters: P A G O R I C. It made me think about Paregoric, an old-timey medicine for diarrhea. It was in a brown bottle in our medicine cupboard, and I used to love to open it up and smell it. It smelled like licorice, and when you took a whiff, it was very...oh, I don't know what word to use...maybe refreshing.

In fact, when I thought about it, I could smell it! (I love the way memories can be attached to smells.) Of course, because we live in this internet age, the first thing I did was to look it up on wikipedia.

Sure enough, paregoric contains honey, licorice, flowers of Benjamin, camphor, oil of aniseed, (two licorice-smelling ingredients!) salt of tartar, and spirit of wine. And,


Yep. Heroin. In fact, the proper name of Paregoric is "camphorated tincture of opium." It was also used for asthma. It remained available without a prescription in Indiana until 1970 or so, when it became available only by prescription. As of 2010, it is not available, but only because it has never been tested by the FDA.

Also for diarrhea (and Mother generally gave the children this one), was a chalky, probably-related-to-milk-of-magnesia medicine. It had a yellow label, and was "supposed" to be chocolate flavored. It was called Diamagma. Nothing tempts those taste buds like chocolate chalk, especially when you have intestinal distress. I think I would have chosen paregoric every time.

Man, I wish I still had a bottle of heroin paregoric. It smelled really, really good. . .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Changes. All Good...

Well, time has gotten away from me AGAIN! The first news to share is that the Lord has spared my dear mother-in-love Darl to us, for a time yet. She rallied from her very-near-death state. At first, she was strong enough to leave her bed for periods of time, and sit in her recliner. A few days later I got a call saying she had walked to the kitchen, and was complaining that things were out of order. (Her exact words: "Get this [stuff!!!!!] out of here!!" ....tho' she used a more *colorful* word...)

She has recovered enough that my sister-in-law Winnie has returned to work. I understand that this is common with COPD--a huge downturn followed by a period of recovery--but I know that Queen Darl is still quite ready to make her journey Home. I am delighted beyond measure, however, that we have her for a little while yet.

Other breaking news is that, after a season of 37 years, I am going to school!

I may have blogged here before that, because of the economy, Charming was out of work for eight months in 2009/10. When he went back to work, it was with a $20K pay cut. You can understand that things have been a tad bleak on the financial front. I have been looking for a job since 2009, and have only gotten one interview! Let me put that in perspective. When Charming got this job, his was one of 130 resumes submitted. Out of that, they gave seven interviews. I think I am always in the "stack" of 130 resumes! (always a bridesmaid, never a bride...)

I'm sure that the reason I'm never at the top of the pile, is that I have been out of the workforce since I was pregnant with Alvin Fernald, who will be seventeen in a couple of months. And, my last computer class was WordPerfect 2.1...

So, I have taken Find-Your-Skills classes and resume-building classes, and interview classes, and umpteen Microsoft Office classses, and so I'm much more marketable than I was. But still not getting any bites. So last fall, when we were talking about filling out FAFSA's for Blackeyed Susan, I decided to fill one out, as well, knowing that you get bunches more financial aid if there are two of you in the family going to school. I said to the fam, "I'm going to apply for school, but: if I get a job in the meantime, I'll drop school--Money has to come first.

I considered going back for the degree I started in 1973--medical technology (that's a lab tech for any of you who aren't medical geeks). But the only things that would transfer would be my gen eds--all of my major work would be too old. So, it would definitely take me four years to finish. I'll be 56 in a couple of weeks--hmmm, I'd be 60 when I finished, and probably with school loans to pay back--who wants to work till they are 70 just to pay back loans? That's...Stupid.

So that left me with our state-wide Community College, which has the lowest tuition in the state--$3000 per year. A good beginning. I wanted to take Medical Lab Tech, natch--but it isn't offered at our local campus. I could move in with Queen Darl, cause it is offered in her town, but then I'd have to live away from Charming for two years...I guess not. Then I saw Surgical Tech--Cool!! Also only at Queen Darl's town. I landed on a Certificate in Medical Coding. Hey!! I've done this in real life! In fact, these are the jobs (medical billing) that I have applied for for two years. The applications always ask, "do you have a certificate?" The certificate is for, like, 27 hours of credit, which sounds like two semesters, but I have to take Medical Terminology as a prerequisite of Basic Coding, which is a prerequisite of Advanced Coding, so it looks like a three-semester dealie.

Forget-me-not, who has a degree in psychology, wanted to go back to be a nurse. So she has signed up at the same college. She has to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II before she can get into the two-year nursing program, so she's up for a three year hitch. Blackeyed Susan, who loathes anything academic, and was feeling like college was a prison sentence, landed on Massage Therapy. Now, she could get an associates degree, OR a certificate, which means very little academic work. (you know what she chose...) Hers will be a three-semester dealie, as well.

Well, Susan has a job to supplement her financial aid, but I do not, so it came down to I-can-go only if the aid pays for all of it. Period. So we have waited to hear until this week.

drum roll please...I'm going! Both Susan and I have enough in Pell grants to cover tuition *and* books!!

Now this is the fun part. Forget-me-not and I are taking the same A&P I class on Tuesday nights. She and Susan are taking two online classes together. Susan and I are taking the same Medical Terminology class (tho' not at the same time), and since mine is on Monday morning and hers on Thursday, we're going to try to share a book. Also, since both Forget-me-not and Susan have to take A&P I and II, but Susan will take hers a semester behind FMN, they can share books! And, if Susan wants to keep her A&P books, I'll already have number I, so she'll only have to buy number II.

The rest of my schedule, besides A&P and Medical terminology, is an online Psych 101 class, and this lovely thing called Administrative I. It is a medical office procedures class, things like dealing with patients, confidentiality, scheduling, etc. Since I have Run a medical office before, I'm hoping it will be an easy A.

I'm a tad apprehensive--it has been awhile since I've had college homework. And this online class thing--weird, right? But I took the placement tests: 99 in writing, 99 in reading, 86 in algebra (then there was the 32 in college algebra, but we won't talk about that, especially because my certificate does not require math!).

I. Still. Got. It. Thank you, homeschooling.