Friday, July 30, 2010

What If?

The U.S. Department of Education is “cracking down” on for-profit schools; namely career colleges, saying essentially that for-profit schools are preying on people who can’t afford to go to college and who really should not be in college.
I don’t believe that college should be for only people who can “afford” it; there aren’t many trust fund babies around anymore. Certainly not enough to support the all of higher education.

Let’s play what-if for a moment. What if for-profit, career colleges where closed down?

Most cars these days are computerized; gone is the day of going to the auto parts store and buying a manual that tells you how to fix your car. If you want your car fixed, you take it to a mechanic. Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has thirteen campuses spanning from coast to coast (Universal Technical Institute, 2010). Those thirteen campuses train mechanics in everything from motorcycles to automobiles – both gas and diesel – to marine engines. Go ahead, close down UTI and suddenly your car is useless when it breaks down.

Forget your car or motorcycle or boat for a moment; let’s talk about food. When you make a reservation at a favorite restaurant for a special occasion, chances are that the executive chef is a graduate of a for-profit college. Le Cordon Bleu North America has seventeen physical campuses and one on-line campus (Le Cordon Bleu North America, 2010).

And if you get sick from eating at a place where the executive chef was not educated in an accredited for-profit career college, you’ll head to your doctor’s office where his/her medical assistant will take care of you. While there are some states that do not require certification for medical assistants (Colorado is one of them), the trend is to hire certified, if not degree-holding, medical assistants. A trend I fully agree with; do you want to be taken care of by someone who hasn’t been fully trained in phlebotomy or pharmacology if you’re seen for food poisoning (because, remember the chef who cooked your special meal wasn’t fully educated)? I can tell you from twenty years’ experience in the medical field – you do not want the physician drawing your blood. It’s likely that the last time he/she has drawn blood was in their third or fourth year of medical school.

Of course, getting food poisoning from a special dinner and having to go to the doctor is all moot if your car’s broken and there aren’t any mechanics to fix it. I suppose you could call an ambulance, but those are typically staffed by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics who attended a for-profit career college.

I don’t think that the people who put this “crack down” together fully thought things through. Closing down for-profit schools will negatively impact the entire country; not just the schools themselves. The people who keep this country mobile, fed and healthy (and countless other professions) have most likely been educated at non-traditional, specialized schools.

My undergraduate degree in biology came from a traditional university. The only job I could land after I graduated, with my shiny new degree in hand, was building trophies at a trophy shop for $7.25 an hour. Eventually I was able to find a job in health care, but it wasn’t my degree that landed me the job. It was the experience I gained while working in the emergency department as an EMT that landed me the job. Career services at the university I attended consisted of a bulletin board with 3x5” cards tacked to it and a binder of employers who “may” hire a graduate.

Accreditation for a for-profit career college is extremely strict; the schools must prove that their graduates are employable after graduation and must keep track of the percentage of students placed in their field of study. Career services employees help with resume polishing, interview skills and job searches. Sure beats the “help” I got when I graduated.

I’m currently pursuing my Master’s degree. I chose a for-profit career college, which I know will provide me with the skills I need to be employable in my field.


Le Cordon Bleu North America. (2010). Cooking School Campus Locations. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from Le Cordon Bleu:

Universal Technical Institute. (2010). Universal Technical Institute Campus Locations. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from Universal Technical Institute:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Anniversary, Random Thoughts and a Give-Away

Today's my blog's two year anniversary, almost 300 posts.  Scary isn't it? What's scarier is that I have followers. Lost one, but gained eight. I won't complain. It's better than losing eight and gaining one.  Yikes!

I spent about ten days traveling for both business and pleasure and repeatedly some random things popped into my head:
  • I love to fly in flip-flops. It makes going through security super easy and I can take them off during my flight. The only problem is that I'm always afraid that I'll lose a toe or two on the escalators, so I end up curling my toes as far up under my feet as possible. If I could retract them, I would.
  • Why is it that the upper-end hotels never have fart fans in the bathroom?  Seriously, after eating conference food and traveling, I really need a fart fan in the bathroom.  Here's a tip: even rich people's shit stinks. (Not that I'm rich, far from it, but my company puts us up in n-i-c-e hotels.)
  • While we're on the bathroom subject. Single-ply toilet paper. Really? Conference food, no fart fan and single-ply TP - is it all a cruel joke? C'mon for what you're charging per room, buy the good stuff.  Hell, even I can afford two-ply TP.
  • When we were in San Antonio there was a football coaches' conference with 15,000 football coaches in attendance.  Can we say testosterone poisoning?
  • Bedroom vanity. No, not the kind of vanity that Cosmo tries to instill; the furniture vanity. Even if I owned one, would I ever be able to find it for all the books piled on top? Even though I've got Eloise, I still read paper books and my TBR pile hasn't gone down a whole heap (or at all - it may have grown).
And to celebrate my blog's two-year anniversary...a CSN give-away. The best random travel thought comment will win a $50 CSN gift certificate, good at any of their two hundred stores. I've done a couple of reviews about products I've received from CSN and have been pleased with both the products and the service.  Get your comments posted no later than Sunday, August 1 at midnight MST.  After I've recieved all the comments, I'll post them and we'll have us a little vote-off for the best random travel thought.

PS - not a single one of you can give me any grief about my trichophobia after the comments I recieved on the ear hair post. I think I've just proven that we *all* have some form of trichophobia.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

The Ashinator is now legal to drive.  Fair warning to anyone driving in Colorado. She's donned her shades, has her license in hand and is now loose on the roads.
At her celebratory lunch with Nebalee and Autobot, we had a nice, older, obviously gay waiter.  We gave our orders and after he walked way, Autobot leaned over and said, "Mom, he's fancy!"
Apparently, that's 11 year old Autobot speak for gay-gay-gay-gay-gay.
So, Ashinator, instead of having a gay best friend, has a fancy best friend (just thought you should know, T!nK).

Monday, July 26, 2010


Did you know that there's a Guiness World Record for longest ear hair?!

Guess how much the trichophobic GunDiva loved this news story? 'Scuse me while I go puke.

Monday Minute: Giving Away Secrets

This week Kmama is co-hosting. Link up for your chance. Do it. Do it often. Procreate people.

1. Who is your "what-if" person? (What-if person being what if I married this person or am now in a relationship with "this" person.)

I can't say that I've had a what-if person.  Guess I'm lucky in that.

2. What is your nickname?
What, you mean besides GunDiva? Okay, it's Tel, which a shortened version of my real name, which I try not to reveal.

3. If you could choose how you died, how would you like to die?
In my sleep, peacefully.  Or quickly and dramatically (emphasis on quickly).  But preferably in my sleep.

4. If you could have named yourself, which name would you have picked?
I mostly like my name; it's fairly unique so I don't have to have a qualifier.  You know, like "Short Stacy" or "Blond Stacy" or "Bitchy Stacy" (apologies to any Stacies out there).  The only thing I would change is my first name; I hate it, but only because I was named after my great grandmother who was a million and five years old when I was born and so my mental image of my name is of a shriveled up old lady.

5. Who were you named after or for what reason did your parents choose your name?
See number 4 for my first name.  My middle name is combination of two names, though it's commonly confused with a French name.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaaacccckkkk!

I made it. Ten days away from home, though it was a good time, was a long time.  I actually got home from Salida early Saturday afternoon, but then spent the afternoon going through my personal email (160+ new emails) and catching up on blogs. Sorry if I didn't comment on your blog, but ten day's worth of blogs meant I was doing my best speed reading impression.

I'll be back with regular posts as soon as I get caught up on some sleep. The let-down from running on adrenaline while I was gone is gonna kick my butt.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My First (Unofficial) Book Review

Note: I'd almost managed to put this book out of my mind, until the person I loaned it out to returned it a week or so ago.  I've since passed it on to another friend who couldn't believe what I was telling him about it.  It seriously gave me nightmares of Zombie Dogs.

I just finished the book Frozen by Larry Johnson and Scott Baldyga.  An article in JEMS (Journal of EMS) magazine piqued my interest, so I ordered it that day from Amazon.  I have to tell you, the first night I started reading it, it gave me nightmares.  This is a true story based on Alcor, a cryonics company, based in Scottsdale, AZ.  There are many who will argue that it is written by a disgruntled employee trying to get Alcor closed down, but as the author gets drawn into the cesspool that is Alcor, it reads like a bad science fiction novel.  The scary part?  It's all true.

It's a book that you need to read for yourself, but it is not for the sqeamish.  As I read the book, the scientist in me just couldn't see how it all would work.  These people are clinically dead - not just for minutes - before they start the "washout procedure", but some times for hours.  Alcorians believe that when their "first life cycle ends" they can be frozen and "reanimated" (thawed out) at a time when science has caught up and has cures for all that ails them.  The biggest question I was left with...what about their souls?  I'm not super religious, but I do believe that our souls help to make us who we are.  When the Alcorians complete their first life cycle and are frozen, what happens to their souls?  Do they get frozen too, only to be reanimated in hundreds of years?  Food for thought.  And what about the Alcorians who opt not for the full body suspension, but the neuro only suspensions?  When they are reanimated in the future, are they just going to grow a body to plunk the head on?  Or are the heads just going to live in jars?  More food for thought.

Another little morsel for contemplation...where do TV producers get off ruining perfectly good books by turning them into cheesy TV series?  Now, I'm sure there are some perfectly good TV series based on books.  Not that I can think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure that someone can name one.  I had the unfortunate experience of flipping throught the channels today and coming across Legend of the Seeker, a TV series based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels.  I have always thought, from the first line I ever read, that the novels would make epic movies.  Why Goodkind decided to sell the rights so that this drivel that is such a flimsy representation of his amazing work is beyond me.  It took just about three minutes for me to get absolutely incessed that anyone could bastardize such an amazing series of novels.  I'm so angry about it, I can't even think straight to put the words down.  Let me just say, I'm extremely disappointed that this series of novels is being represented by such a horrible TV knock-off.  Now I need to go start re-reading the series to erase the images planted in my brain by the devil box.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Year Ago...

...or thereabouts, this is what the RockCrawlin'Chef and I were up to.

On Saturday, RockCrawlinChef and I went to Colorado Off-Road Extreme (CORE) in Deer Trail as part of a Colorado 4x4 thing. What a freakin' blast! CORE has a little bit of everything for off-roading: a desert rally track, ATV track, MX, rock crawling, 4x4 obstacles and mud pits. Since we were there with Colorado 4x4, there wasn't an admission fee, but their normal admission fee is only $20 per vehicle anyway.

RCC's Jeep is pretty much stock, no lifts, no over-size tires, just a Jeep, but we still had a ton of fun! We did the rally track, which thanks to all of the rain we've had lately, had plenty of mud pits for us to play in and get really dirty. He took us up over some small obstacles, which didn't feel so small when we were going over them. If we had a lift kit and bigger tires, we'd've eaten up those little obstacles. After lunch, we played around some more and then RCC handed me the keys. Oh, big mistake. I was having a good time riding shotgun, but once I got those keys in my hand I had a GREAT time!

We did learn one thing - GunDiva likes the skinny pedal. Now, that may not be news to many of you, but maybe when 4-wheeling a little less skinny pedal may be called for. I had so much freakin' fun on the rally track. The mud and I had a good time.

Except for the time I forgot to roll up my window before hitting the mud/water and I got drenched. Nope. Had a good time then, too. RCC had a good time, too, laughing at me getting drenched as I negotiated the mud puddle. I managed to get mud all over the inside of the driver's side all the way to the back window and splash the passenger side in the process.

I really need my own Jeep. One without carpet or cloth seats so that I can just take a pressure washer to it, inside and out.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ode to Grandma Mary

Note:  When I decided to recycle some posts while I was out jet-setting, I thought I'd pick some of my favorite posts.  This one went up as part of a Mass Blogging Day.  Recently, Grandma Mary turned ninety and had a stroke a few days later.  She's doing okay; not spectacular, but still not as poorly as some ninety year-olds I know.

Ashinator's been promising me some posts, and we'll resume those after I get back.  Until then, I'm 'jacking her spot in my little blog world.

My Grandma Mary is the most beautiful woman in the world. She always has been and always will be. She’s the oldest of nine children, three of whom died in childhood from pneumonia. Her entire life has been dedicated to raising children: her younger siblings, her cousins, her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I don’t think that matriarch adequately defines her role in our family.

The majority of my childhood memories revolve around my Grandma Mary. My biggest goal – really, all of us kids’ biggest goal – was to finally get as tall as Grandma, who towered over us as a whopping four feet six inches tall. Not only was it a milestone for me, my siblings, and our cousins, but it continues to be a milestone for our children, though she’s now four foot four inches tall. She’s a tiny little thing, less than one hundred pounds and getting shorter by the day, but at 89 years old, she still draws people to her with her strength and beauty.

Growing up, the whole family would gather for Sunday family dinners and Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My parents and siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins would all spend Sunday evening eating and watching the Disney family movie. As we got older, the Sunday family nights went by the wayside, but we always spent time with Grandma. When we got to junior high and high school, we took our friends to Grandma’s and she welcomed them with open arms. I can’t count how many “adopted” grandchildren she has; each of us brought two or three into the family, which has carried on with our children and their friends.

I didn’t seriously go to college until I was 22 and married with two children. I got pregnant with my third during my freshman year and got divorced during my sophomore year. I could not have finished college without the unwavering support of my grandma. When the kids were very young, she wouldn’t hear of me putting them in daycare – they belonged with family. She was in her early 70’s then and stubborn as a mule. I didn’t fight her. It would not have done any good. Once the kids got to be pre-school-aged, I managed to convince her that it would be okay for them to go to pre-school. Luckily, they were spaced out enough that we could “wean” her from them. And then my cousins started having children, so she has never been without children to take care of.

She is the glue that holds the family together. We – me, my sibs, and our cousins – have grown up, gotten married and had children of our own. And she’s treated our children as wonderfully as she treated us. There is no doubt in our minds that we are loved. Totally, completely, unconditionally loved. There is nothing that we could ever do to diminish that love. In her eyes, we are all saints. And in our eyes, she is the saint.

She had her first heart attack less than a week before her 50th wedding anniversary. A couple of stents and a week later and she was out on the dance floor with Grandpa looking as beautiful and radiant as ever. We all feared we’d lose her when Grandpa died of a stroke a few years later – after all, they were still madly in love. She mourned his death and moved on, again surrounding herself with children. She needed the great grandkids, just as they needed her. She’s convinced that when she has no one to take care of, she’ll die. She’ll have nothing left to live for if she’s got no one to nurture and love. Sadly, I believe her.

She is getting older, a little more hard of hearing, a little more frail, and I fear that time is running out for us. She’s an awfully healthy 89 year-old; she still lives at home and takes care of my cousin’s young daughters. She’s got a few health issues, but nothing like I’ve seen in other people her age. But I’m a realist, and I’ve worked in medicine a long time, I know that every day we have with her is a gift, a gift that won’t last forever. I dread the reality of her death, not just because I would lose her, but because, selfishly, I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up without ever knowing the unconditional love and affection she so easily dishes out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Just Realized...

...I'm gonna miss everyone a ton!

What am I going to do, being away from all of my blog friends for ten days?  Crazy.

I'll be gathering lots of posts myself, but I'm gonna be missing out on all your lives for ten. whole. days.

It's gonna suck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

True Story Tuesday: Batter up!

Note:  I think this would have made a great TST, so I'm passing it off as one now.

Head on over to Rachel and Mr. Daddy's to join in the fun this week.

Batter up!

Last night, the kids all decided to spend the night at their friends' houses, so I treated myself to a sleep-over at RockCrawlinChef's.

We were just getting settled into bed, talking (looking to do more than talk shortly) when suddenly RCC's eyes got big and he strangled out, "What the..." and kinda squealed like a girl then cussed some more before finally telling me there was a bat flying around the room. Since I was looking at him, I didn't see it fly in the bedroom, but sure enough when I looked there was a bat zooming around the bedroom swooping low over us (okay, it may not have been that low, but it seemed like it at the time!).

It was painfully obvious by the fact that RCC had curled himself into the fetal position and covered himself with the sheet that I would have to be the hero, so I *bravely* pulled a shirt on and attempted to save him from the flying mouse. It's kinda hard to figure out how to get ahold of a flying animal when the apartment has 12 foot ceilings! I finally got a t-shirt and an extendable (is that a word?) duster to try to trap the damn beast. The problem was that he wouldn't stay trapped. Several times he let me drape the shirt over him while he clung to the wall several feet over my head, but when I tried to drag him down the wall the little bugger always managed to get away. I was just trying to trap him and drag him down low enough so that I could reach him to wrap him in the shirt and release him outside. He wouldn't cooperate. Little bastard. I was just trying to save his life.

RCC let me try my humane (and obviously hilarious) way several times before he had enough and took matters into his own hands. Did you know that Swiffers make deadly baseball bats? Neither did I until RCC nailed the little bastard right out of the air and bounced him off the wall. He didn't actually kill him with the swing, but stunned him enough that I could wrap him up in the t-shirt to get him out of the house. Once we were out on the deck, I tried to shake him out of the shirt but he wouldn't come out (either terrified or dead) and in the process dropped the shirt off the balcony. Oops.

We're not quite sure how he got into the apartment; we're absolutely sure he's no longer in the apartment, but not sure if he's dead or alive. Don't really care.

So much for me being the hero; RCC had to save himself from the bat with the Swiffer. Do you suppose they'll add "Bat Killer" to the ads for Swiffer? Not only can you clean your floors, but you can also rid your house of those pesky flying mice!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Signing Off...

But not forever.

I'm pretending to be a jet-setter for the next couple of weeks.  First, I'm headed to Las Vegas on Thursday for our Quarterly Dean's meeting.  Then, on Friday afternoon, I fly to Austin, Texas for RCC's friend's wedding on Saturday.  Sunday, we'll be headed to San Antonio with RCC's friend and his new wife to go to Sea World and the Riverwalk.  Monday, we fly back to Colorado, where we part ways.  RCC will head home and I'll hook up with the camera crew for Horse Master with Julie Goodnight and head to Salida, Colorado to work as a crew member on her TV show.

I'm scheduling some recycled posts, since my followers have grown a lot from the first year my blog began.  I'm hoping you'll enjoy them while I'm gone and I will be back armed with tons of stories and lots of pictures.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trichous Inductus Vomitus, Part II and Blogfia Call-out

You know, there are some weeks when nothing happens that's blogworthy.  Not the case this past week.  Thanks to Rachel and Mr. Daddy at Once Upon A Miracle, I now have a platform to share my oh, so embarrassing story.

Some time ago, I regaled you with an explanation of my affliction, Trichous Inductus VomitusI knew that publically sharing my weakness would result in some harrassment good-natured ribbing.  Bill over to It's A Horse Life and K. at Preachers and Horse Thieves had a good run of how to make GunDiva puke posts a few weeks ago.  Click here for Bill's initial post and here for K's escalating post.

I should have known that Bill doesn't need much encouragement to torture me.


I drove Ripley up to the Lodge earlier this week to get Estes all dressed up, not knowing that she had no place to go.  Mom and I brushed out our respective horses' manes and tails; Ash painted Estes' hooves; we hung out at the livery for a bit and then got ready to go.

I gathered everything up and climbed into the car.  It was a bit overcast out, so I opened my center console to put my sunglasses in and found something that looked like this...
Side note: just looking at the picture is making me heave.

Well, hell, I did what any tough girl with a nickname like GunDiva would do: I squealed like a little girl, slammed the console shut, and jumped out of the car, calling Bill all sorts of not-very-nice names at the top of my lungs in between the heaves.

Let me tell you, I can project from the diaphragm (and I don't mean puking - this time).  I projected my displeasure so well that Compass at the livery across the street heard me.

Bill finally dug the grossness out of my car and threw it away. 

Ash just laughed. 




Blogfia Call-out

T!nK at This Is How It Feels has applied to be on a documentary about being gay in America.  I think he's got a good story to tell, especially about how he was discharged from the Army under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Part of how the documentary is cast is based on public voting.  What I'm asking of my Blogfia family members is to vote for T!nK (real name: Nathanael) daily and repost this if you'd be so kind.  He's currently in second place, behind a woman who has also applied, but who is not gay.  Yeah, go figure.  She's applied to be on a documentary called "Out in America", which will highlight life as a GLBT person in America and she's straight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Minute: 5th of July

This week's cohost is Brittney it from Next week is the Mission Monkey winner's turn and that's Jen from

This week's interrogation is as follows....

Who of all your blog friends would you like to meet and/or who have you met?
I want to meet all of 'em.  I know that I'll be meeting a few equi-bloggers come August at the High Country Rendezvous.  I'm really excited to get to meet everyone who's going to join us, because not only do I feel like I "know" the bloggers, but their horses too.

What kind of vehicle(s) do you drive?
'89 Honda Accord (Little Girl) and 2010 Kia Soul (Ripley)

What kind of cell phone do you have?
T-Mobile G1

What's the most annoying thing you wish bloggers would stop doing?
Multiple posts a day.  Once is fine, twice on ocassion okay, but four, five loooooooong posts a day?  I can't keep up with that many posts from one blogger, especially since I've got over a hundred blogs I follow (Dr. Grumpy, you're excused because your posts are short and sweet and make me blow my soda out my nose whenever I read your posts).

and finally...

What's the one thing that you still have on your bucket list to do before the year is out?
I have no idea.  My life has changed so much in the last two years, I don't know that there's anything left in my bucket to do.  Well, maybe win the Lotto or PowerBall.