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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Levitt Shell & Cotton

Cotton blossoms in Henning, TN
A funny thing happened as I drove out to Mud Island one late Saturday morning: I saw things flying through the air everywhere, like great big allergens just waiting to cause a giant sneezing fit.  My afternoon plan was to sit outside at a café, read, study for the RD exam, and have a cold drink.  With my allergies, this plan suddenly seemed impossible…  However, I wondered, “Why did I not see all of this air debris at my house 13 miles away?”  I can thank the Mighty Mississippi River for my answer, and more specifically the barge traffic upon her.  It is cotton season, and all of the large and small flying puffs was cotton blowing off of the barges!  Thankfully I successfully sat outside for over 3 hours, with only one incident of cotton inhalation, momentary watery eyes, and a fit of sneezes.

Memphis has a great “shell” in midtown, Levitt Shell, an outdoor amphitheatre.  Young Elvis Presley took the stage here on July 30, 1954, in what historians have called the first-ever rock ‘n’ roll show.  Built during the Depression, it served as an orchestra performance venue in the 1930s and 1940s.  Today they put on more than 20 free summer concerts for the people of Memphis.  On this same Cotton Saturday, I packed up my bamboo mat and headed for a seat on the grassy knoll for my inaugural experience.  I was greeted by 5,000 other Memphis residents, many packing picnic gear and adult beverages.  The Memphis Dawls played, backed by various string players, and the Memphis Doctors Dance Band. They sang and played fun toe-tapping current tunes and covers from the 1940s.  Halfway through the night, dusk started to approach everyone embraced the relaxation and entertainment.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Memphis: World Championship Barbecue Competition

What a riotous event!  Sheer gluttony!  A weekend dedicated entirely to … BARBECUE!
After work on Friday, I quickly headed to the Mississippi River in search of myoglobin-outlined perfection.  After a 10-minute weaving search for free parking, I stepped out of my car… into what seemed like a meat smoker of goodness.  ALL of Downtown Memphis: Smelled. Like. Barbecue.  WOW!!  I am not kidding. 

You should know that I only eat meat a few times a week for health and ethical reasons– but when I do eat meat, it is often barbecue driven.  I love barbecue.  (I also love pattied sausage, but that is for another post.)  This new downtown aroma smelled like heaven! 

When it comes to barbecue, I have always been a lover, but I have my preferences.  I have never been a huge fan of ribs; they just haven’t had the right taste and texture for me; I am more of a pulled pork kind of girl.  Well all of this changed on Friday & Saturday... 

Welcome to Memphis in May  2013 World Championship Barbecue Competition!
Creative BBQ team names!
Thousands of competitors are on ‘teams’ that complete for various BBQ categories from ribs to whole hog to best tent (see categories and winners here ).  Each team has a ‘tent’ for cooking and, most importantly, for partying.  Team sizes range from 5 to 50, and tent sizes are up to 2 stories tall!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tell Me What You Eat

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 31, 32 & 35 (of 41)
Foodservice Systems:  Weeks 31 - 32
Culinary : Week 35

Where do Registered Dietitian’s work?  As of Oct 2013, there are approximately 89,000 RDs in the US and abroad, the vast majority of which (~70%) are employed in a clinical field (healthcare in hospitals, long-term care facilities, etc).  The other main RD fields are foodservice systems, and school foodservice.  Research and community dietetics round out the list.  Unquestionably, the preponderance of public opinion associates RDs commonly with “food” only despite its low occupancy.

     As soon as I utter the words “Dietitian,” most people:
             a) pat their belly or hips, grumbling out regrets regarding dietary intake;
             b) recall what was consumed at the last several meals; and/or
             c) silently, yet assuredly, bring food and weight to mind.
     It has not taken long to recognize this repeating response. :( 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Breastmilk, fiber, and fried rice

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC):  Week 30

WIC = Women,Infants, and Children.  Yep, that is all I saw this week during my week at WIC.  WIC serves the financially underprivileged through a nutrition commodity program.  Directly, no money changes hands, only vouchers and education.  Registered Dietitians play essential party to this transaction as the nutrition expert for the pregant and post-partum woman, and the growing infant or child.

In the weeks leading up to this week’s rotation, I was slightly apprehensive.  My assigned WIC clinic was at one of the least desirable shopping malls in South Memphis, known for its crime and tumbling desirability.  Yes, there was Macy’s, Sears, and close to Graceland, but the area has fallen from grace, and several armed security guards roam the corridors.  Two local friends warned me to not stay in the area after dark.  During my lunch breaks, I frequently exercise-walked the thoroughfares and browsed the shopping selections.  I unearthed several bargains, but constantly looked over my shoulder.  During one lunchtime saunter, my security was infinitely unmitigated as I spied one security guard plugged into the wall, focusing intently on his charging cell phone.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Back to School

School Food Service:  Week 29 - Memphis City Schools

Who remembers what it is like to be less than 10 years old?  What about in high school?  How did you respond in ‘social interactions’?  What did you like to eat?  When did you like to eat?  How much?

What an interesting change of pace to transition from medical maladies to school food service this week!  For one week my mind reverted to sophomoric ideologies and preferences; it was tougher than I remembered!  One day I worked as a Lunch Lady at an elementary school (what fun!), and one day at a high school (a bit nerve-wracking!).  Going back to elementary school was so much fun!  Not only were the cafeteria workers friendly and welcoming, the kids were hysterical.  I walked around talking to them about their favorite foods, favorite snacks, encouraging each to try different foods on their trays… generally forming a personal Inquisitorial Committee.  Before leaving the cafeteria, several kids insisted on sharing their love with me, passing me through lots of hugs, and “I hope you come back!” salutations.  The high schoolers, on the other hand, were not nearly as lovely.  It did not take long for me to read through the words and body language of the kids, recalling the constant turbulence of emotions.  I left that afternoon SO thankful of my age and perspective.  (That was a first; I usually lie about my age! J)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Old and The Restless

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 26, 27, & 28 (of 41)
Vacation!:  Week 26
Geriatrics & Palliative care: Weeks 27 & 28

These next two weeks were filled with the old, the very old, the young old, and the very sick.  I spent two weeks alternating between Geriatrics (>65 years old, often inpatient 4-6 weeks for rehabilitation) and Palliative Care (less than 6 months to live).  I was full of emotions before this rotation began, knowing my past may interfere with my present.  Daily, valetudinarians dominated my workload, and I wobbled between emotions.

My past includes my father, a Veteran, who passed away at home 8.5 years ago.  He peacefully and painfully died at home, aided by personal administration of palliative sedation.  Any time some of these words are spoken within my earshot (particularly “palliative”), or in regards to a young individual, (my father was 54 years old), my nose begins to tingle and flare, my eyes open widely, instinctively searching my surroundings, reflective of my minds speeding thoughts and connections.  This rotation not only posed professional challenges of a new patient population and goals, but also of managing my own reactions.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sight, Smell, Texture, & Feeling

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 24 - 25 (of 41)
Spinal Cord Injury: Weeks 24 & 25
The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) population is a very unique group that ranges from tetraplegia (formerly known as quadriplegia) to paraplegia, with various stages of injury severity (complete v. incomplete) and mobility.  For example, an incomplete tetraplegic patient may walk with a cane or walker, but a complete paraplegia may not be able to turn him/herself in the bed, nor sit up.  Much of this has to do with injury severity.

I spent two weeks working with inpatient and outpatient SCI patients.  VA SCI individuals are frequently inpatient for extremely long durations; I visited with patients that had been inpatient for over 6 months or more!  Many SCI patients are quite healthy in mind, but uncooperative in body.  The injuries that resulted in SCI are far ranging, from a 32 year old enlisted officer that went butt over teakettle while mountain biking, to an older man that fell out of the top bunk of his prison bed.  One can only imagine that compliance to medication, which includes nutrition, is just as varied.  With some near complete immobility, nutrition is the #1 form of medicine… or the #1 form of disease.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Every Body, Every Day: How to Get Fit

I had a blog post published nationally under the VA!  Read the original here, or below:

Every Body, Every Day: How to Get Fit

How many times in one week do we hear about exercising? Eating right? Losing weight? Keeping our heart healthy? Many have heard and understand that exercising is beneficial for health; however, there are often many questions about exactly how much exercises is needed, the benefits to activity, what qualifies as exercise.
What does it all mean?
If your doctor told you that doing one thing for approximately 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week would significantly reduce your risk of:
Early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, falls, depression.
Would you consider incorporating it into your life? It would cause no harm, only benefits, including health and financial gains. Would you do it? By now it is no surprise that this 30-minute per day “thing” is Physical Activity!
Watch this video, it is worth every minute:
How much?

Some physical activity is better than none.  For major health benefits the CDC , the American College of Sports Medicine, the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, and the American Heart Association recommend that adults:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Administrative Side

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 20 - 23 (of 41)
Management: Weeks 20 & 21
Professional Development: Week 22
Research: Week 23

The Registered Dietitian’s exam includes various managerial topics, from theory (Maslow, Herzberg) to application (human v. technical v. practical skills).  In a pair with fellow intern Nick, we spent two weeks working with two different managers:  the Chief (of Nutrition & Food Services), and the Clinical Manager.  The tasks ranged from disciplinary proceedings meetings to face-time-only-required meetings to rudimentary analysis of current Clinical Dietitian medical chart documentation.  Meh.  While many people at my age are ready to progress beyond the day-to-day operations in their respective career and move into management, my feelings are slightly ill timed.  I suppose because the dietetics fields is a career change for me, I am entirely interested in solely patient care at this time.  Or perhaps I just want to stay away from financial analysis any time soon!?!  Regardless of sentiment, I like healthcare!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hair Shopping

When I travel or move to a new place, I am a Tourist, Explorer, Dweller, and Shopper.  When it comes to shopping, my favorite way to spend time and money are at grocery stores and farmer’s markets.  I know, I know, the stereotypical female gods now scream blasphemy as clothes nor malls have entered this favorite list!  Alas, one of my favorite (economical) shopping centers in Memphis has a Kroger, Wal-Mart & Goodwill; I usually park in the middle and stretch my legs walking the parking lot between the stores.  

Yesterday after work, I parked in my standard mid-spot, and walked the 7 or so minutes to Goodwill.  Just as I was about to enter I heard, “Excuse me! Excuse me!”  I assumed directions were needed, but instead was met with a much different non-interrogatory response.  “You are simply beautiful!  Beautiful!” exclaimed a smiling older man.  A childish smile embraced my face. J

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tagxedo & Chasing Jessie awesomeness

I found this great website that allows one to customize a (pre-loaded) shape with words, colors, font types, and themes!  What is the standard shape representation of dietitian?  An APPLE, of course!  Here is the Chasing Jessie (Dietetic Internship only) word art!

Make your own at :)
(It is legitimate, this is not a spam posting!)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rock On: The Kidney Stones!

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 18 & 19 (of 41)
Renal (Kidney) Disease

The renal world (i.e. kidneys) poses a lot of complications for patients in many arenas, from medication management, coordination of many healthcare specialists, and very importantly, drastic nutrition alterations.  Unless you develop some form of kidney troubles, most people have no idea what the kidneys do, where they are located, or how many we have?...  (Psst!  In general, your two kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen (see a picture here), working hard all day long to filter blood (remove waste products, create urine), maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, and secrete hormones to control blood pressure!)  Everything you know about healthy eating recommendations is (nearly) reversed in kidney disease.  Let me explain...

Standard healthy eating advice:
Eat whole grains, buy wheat bread instead of white, brown rice, not white!  Eat more fruits and vegetables!  Consume low-fat dairy 3 times per day!  Limit your sodium intake!

Oh wait, you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or on dialysis?  Screeeeeech!  Cancel nearly ALL of those recommendations! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

MIFA & Meals on Wheels

Week 17 - MIFA

The past few weeks/months have been very busy in my world as a VA Dietetic Intern.  Actually, it varies by Intern, as every rotation has different requirements and associated assignments, which may demand a few extra hours that week, or 10-20 hours more.  The latter category was starting to get tiring, in addition to putting in excess hours for research projects.  Just in time, a rotation week away from the VA!

The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) was founded just after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr in Memphis, TN (1968).  This organization manages a number of different programs from emergency family services to Senior citizen assistance, including administration of Meals on Wheels.  Briefly, Meals on Wheels is a government-funded program that provides home-delivered and congregate meals 5-days per week to nutritionally at-risk individuals over age 60 years.  MIFA’s research and studies have shown that congregate and home-delivered meals benefit the community immensely.  It is estimated that there is a substantial 11% return on investment for these programs in a community.  Nutritional programs help seniors in need by reducing malnutrition, falls/fractures, and depression.  According to MIFA, last year they provided 447,967 meals to Seniors!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Halitosis, Grouchiness, and Orgasms

Week 15 - Psychology, Oncology, Cardiology

This is week 2 of a very wide mix of patients: oncology, cardiology, and psychiatry.  I have a personal interest in psychiatry patients, and needless to say, those conversations were *always* very interesting.  Because I do not like to poke fun at others when the handicap is not within their realm of control, I will reserve most of those interactions.  One, however, was embarrassing enough to share… (See “Friday’s patients”).  Here is a brief chronicling of my second week:

Monday's patients were mostly uneventful, but that did not last long this week...

Tuesday’s patients were generally well and good, but the last patient of the day had some of the worst breath I have ever smelled.  He recently had a severe stroke, yielding impaired speech, so I had to look and listen close.  I almost gagged as I leaned in closely.

Wednesday's patients took Tuesday's breath to an entirely different level.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Swapping weighty stories & Ted Talks

Week 15 - Psychology, Oncology, Cardiology

Weight management education and counseling is a required, regular aspect of a Registered Dietitian’s arsenal, particularly in America’s overweight/obesity cauldron.  As I counseled one patient this week on weight loss he listened patiently, but had a pressing question on his mind.  His question did involve food, lifestyle, or habits, but was more personal in nature: 
Patient:     “Have you ever been fat?”
Me:            Taken off guard, I unremarkably replied, “Huh?”
Patient:     “Have you ever been fat in your life?”
I learned that this man, severely obese, was not interested in taking any advice or guidance from someone that had always been thin, never struggled with larger weight problems (literally, not figuratively), or has never felt the social stigma of largess.  After sympathizing with him, and empathizing with him, we had a some frank discussions about his weight (and mine), choices, and future options.  He was receptive towards me, and recounted stories of previous weight coaches and dietitians that left him more cynical than engaged.  Personally, I have not been "thin" during any part of my life, but characteristically normal weight to slightly overweight.  We exchanged ideas for over 30 minutes, a very long time by inpatient standards, and when I departed, I could feel his sense of empowerment and renewed vigor.  If felt really, really good.  He asked if he could make an appointment to meet with me on an outpatient basis after his hospital stay.  That is what I call a professional compliment!
It is times like these that I realize how much impact each of us can make on a daily basis.  We don't have to be in healthcare to make a difference in someone else's life.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Holidays away from home

Yeah, Yeah, I know, this post about Thanksgiving and Christmas is a little late...  OK, fine, A LOT late.  I don't mind, though... do you?

Discovering American Buffalo at Shelby Farms  in Memphis
(largest metro public park in America)
For this government internship, I luxuriously receive all government holidays off; however all of my vacation days have been pre-planned.  The Friday after Thanksgiving was allocated for one vacation day, as well as a few days around Christmas.  Unfortunately, on a small stipend and these limited days, my travel home to Florida was limited.  Specifically, it did not happen. :(  I wondered if I would bake a chicken breast in my apartment by myself on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but alas I was embraced by so many loving people that that idea was far from reality.  So many, in fact, that I had THREE Thanksgiving dinners and one Christmas dinner!  I know what you are thinking, it is tough to make room for one gluttonous dinner, let alone three!  I managed it with Thursday Thanksgiving breakfast, Thursday late afternoon dinner, and Friday late afternoon dinner!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Doing the Impossible

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 13 & 14  (of 41)
Weeks 13 & 14 - Nutrition Support, continued

My Nutrition Support rotation continued for two more weeks…  Now I am rounding in the Medical ICU, or really just what people normally refer to as the “ICU.”  This rotation, Nutrition Support, feels a lot like Walt Disney’s words coming into reality: It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

So what is Nutrition Support?  Supporting a patient on enteral nutrition or parenteral nutrition.  Enteral nutrition, sometimes referred to as tubefeeding, feeds through a feeding tube that goes through the nose, or directly into the stomach or small intestine.  After a feeding tube is placed (by an RN), nearly every clinical dietitian can determine the right formula and quantity of formula to match the method of feeding.  Parenteral nutrition, on the other hand,  is a very delicate procedure that feeds by IV directly into one’s veins.  The IV line deposits carbohydrate, crystallized amino acids (protein broken down into all of its molecular parts), and lipids (i.e. fat) directly into the bloodstream mere inches from the top of the heart.  To say the least, the determination of appropriateness of such a feeding route, and the calculation of the specific, proper formulation, is a very delicate manner.  To me, feeding someone in this manner is a bit like doing the impossible; after all it has only been around, successfully, for less than 40 years!  (If you are interested, here is a journal article on its history.) 

Parenteral nutrition requires a multi-disciplinary team ("Nutrition Suppport Team") due to its complexity and risks:  at least a medical doctor, pharmacist, and registered dietitian.  The Director of the Nutrition Support Team at the Memphis VA Medical Center is also the Director of Surgery, for example.  She is one SMART cookie!  Those outside these fields frequently don’t understand it, including some seemingly ‘smart’ folks…   For example, while observing a surgery in the OR, the anesthesiologist & I had the following conversation: 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adjusting to a New Norm

Dietetic Internship adventures at the Memphis VAMC continue(Previous week's blog posts can be found to the left under the navigation by date headings.)

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 10, 11, & 12  (of 41)
Weeks 10, 11, & 12 - Nutrition Support

After 2 brief weeks with inpatient clinical dietetics, I was doused headlong into my next big rotation: 5-weeks of intensity in Nutrition Support.  Warning: This title is deceptive.  The Nutrition Support registered dietitian may cover various wards, but at the Memphis VA Medical Center, she covers ICU, Surgical ICU (SICU), and is a team member of Nutrition Support team.

The ICU patient is one of the most complex patients, and has the highest death rate of any ward, up to 20% average across the US.  The ICU is also the site with the highest number of medical errors due to the complexity of care.  This place is intense.  INTENSE.  I was turned loose as the nutrition expert on the ICU team (decisions reviewed before action, of course!) among medical residents and doctors.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Being a Positive Influence

Dietetic Internship adventures at the Memphis VAMC continue!(Previous week's blog posts can be found to the left under the navigation by date headings.)

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 8 & 9  (of 41)
Weeks 8 & 9 - General Medicine

In this rotation I experienced my very first inpatient setting…  the General Medicine wards.  I had become so used to Outpatient that I wasn't exactly sure how/what went on in the hospital.  On Day 2 I was quickly caught up to speed as I saw an obtrusive red sign on the patient’s door, nearly shouting at me, “Caution! Caution”  Not knowing what to do, I called my preceptor (which is like a mentor and boss during a rotation), “Umm, help?!”  

She graciously informed me that this patient was under isolation and droplet precautions, and I needed to re-outfit myself.  She helped me get suited up in a head-to-toe yellow gown, face mask, and gloves… then I entered the room.  What kind of encounter was I headed to?  Aliens?  Nope, a patient with the flu and other complications such as COPD and hacking every 2 minutes.  “Contact Precautions”  I don’t want your flu or anything else!  I suited up many, many more times over the course of the day, and the following two weeks.  (It is really hot under a face mask!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Veteran Clockmaker

Here we go again with more patient and Dietetic Internship adventures at the Memphis VAMC!(Previous week's blog posts can be found to the left under the navigation by date headings.)

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 6 & 7  (of 41)
Weeks 6 & 7 - Home-Based Primary Care
Nationwide, the VA has a great program called, Home Based Primary Care(HBPC), which sends medical practitioners to a patient’s home if travel for an appointment would prove extremely difficult.  The HBPC team includes doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, social workers, etc…  The frequency of specialty visits is dictated by the patient needs, but he or she is usually visited by at least one practitioner every other week.
Entry into one’s home can be a very private and privileged experience.  A person’s home is very personal and unique, and entering such a dwelling offers a glimpse of a his or her life.  This week, I entered >15 different homes (with another RD), and each presented exceptionally different experiences.  Some were in quite insalubrious neighborhoods, while others were more nourishing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Patient tears

Here we go again with more patient and Dietetic Internship adventures at the Memphis VAMC!
(Blog post for Weeks 1, 2, 3 can be read HERE)

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 4 & 5 (of 41)
Week 4 - Outpatient at the hospital
Week 4 ushered in a similar, but slightly different patient: Outpatient at the hospital.  Just as if you might go to the hospital for appointments with your cardiologist, have blood drawn at the lab, etc, you would also see your Registered Dietitian.  

I am coming to (quickly!) learn: Every rotation has new challenges.  This one started with 2 enormous assignments that took about 40 hours (outside of work) to complete, teaching a food demo, co-teaching a cardiology healthy living class (cholesterol focus), and a truckload of online training courses due this week. Oh, patients, too.  Let’s not forget about them   And a presentation on Friday.  To top it off, a fun transition from an 8:00am start time to 7:00 am.  I like getting up early.  I don’t like the loss of an hour change!

Some highlights from this week:

Patient 1
On Wednesday morning, my patient was an 86 year old man that had never had a visit with an RD.  He was progressively gaining weight, particularly in the past few years he had put on significant weight, yielding uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  I started with the basic appointment questions, and quickly surmised that something was amiss.  I probed.  I gently questioned.  My empathetic connection has always been well-oiled and running, and soon this gentleman was in tears.  As was I.  He had terrible, unabashed tears.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Coffee IV & Earwax

Alas my 10-month Dietetic Internship has finally commenced! (Oct 2012... I'm just a tad late in postings!)  My applications were due back in Feb 2012, and I was matched April 2012 to the Memphis VAMC.   Master degree + thesis + graduation, followed by a 3.5 month journey to South Africa, and I have finally installed myself in The Bluff City!

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 1, 2, & 3  (of 41)
Weeks 1 & 2 - Orientation & Training

The first two weeks of a much-anticipated start date were significantly less eventful than expected....

The entirety of days 1 & 2 were consumed by an all-facility orientation for all new Memphis VAMC employees.  Every single person that steps through the door as an employee is required to attend (endure) a 2-day orientation of a revolving door of speakers on various topics:  IT Security, Privacy, Confidentiality, Biosecurity, Parking, the 5-foot greeting rule, Ethics, etc… 

It was boring, it was tiring.  Occasionally some doctor’s pager would sound and everyone would whip around, lusting that it he who was needed to step out of the room.  Who knew sitting in a chair listening to   people talk could be so exhausting!?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Next step: Dietetic Internship

Many miles from the last place I called Home, I have now fully installed myself in Memphis, and on the second full calendar week in October 2012, I began my 10-month (41 weeks, 1,436 hours) required Dietetic Internship at the Memphis Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). 

So…  a required Dietetic Internship venture?  In a nutshell, to become a Registered Dietitian, one must, at least:

  • complete a Bachelor’s of Science degree,
  • complete specific, relevant nutrition coursework at university, and
  • complete a minimum 1,200 hour dietetic internship at an accredited facility.
This last one is the trickiest…

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Bluff City AKA Memphis

Many miles from the last place I called Home, I have now fully installed myself in Memphis, Tennessee.
(THANK YOU, Mom, for all the help moving me here!!)

Memphis Bridge

This city is definitely different from other metropolises where I have previously lived, and I am excited to learn what makes it tick.  It is located in the most Southwest part of Tennessee, and is separated from Arkansas only by a river.  A very large river.  The Mississippi River! 

Driving around, I have noticed that there are a lot of:  barbecue restaurants, car washes, and donut shops.  I’m not sure if these are related… stay tuned, I will inspect them all carefully.  The city has a pro basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies, and thanks to a new owner (who is 34 years old, a millionaire, handsome, and of course, married) and a 'Welcome to Memphis' column for him, I have had a crash course on a new quotidian:  (Thank you, Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, for this list)

Betty & Jessie visit Elvis
  1. Elvis jokes in Memphis are like Toto jokes in Kansas.  Best to skip them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Home with open arms

3.5 months out of these 2 bags.
All repacked and ready to go in Cape Town
Alas, after nearly 3.5 months in South Africa, my inaugural visit here has ended.  It was with ambivalence that I entered the airport destined for my home country, leaving behind a newfound home.  South Africa has much beauty in its natural landscape and people, and it would take little convincing to move to some cities.  I would readily move to CapeTown, but many other cities, such as intense Johannesburg, would take a lot of persuasion.  The country still has a long walk to economic and social equality, but continues to progress in the right direction.  Overall, my impression remains: I would like to travel to this “Rainbow Nation” again.

Next stop?  33 hours and 24 minutes of flights and layovers.  Cape Town à Johannesburg à Frankfurt à Chicago à Orlando.  I went through security 5 times, two times of which my bags were subjected to a bomb search.  (I was negative both times!)  I can blame this double treat to bringing home two carved ostrich eggs...