Yupcakes begins!

So, I don't have pictures up (yet), but I have created "The Amanda," the new Yupcakes Carrot Cake! We're doing a bake sale at school, hoping to promote the LGBTQA Scholarship that the university organization wants to dole out to high school. As Gretchen from Mean Girls would say, "That is so fetch!"

Amanda has been absolutely amazing to me. When I first started working in the campus reservations office at school, I was down on my luck. No boyfriend, no social life, just wanting to stay in Chicago for as long as I could so I could avoid the ennui of the suburbs, she took me under her wing and made me feel like I was a valuable employee, and after working for her for a few years, like a valued younger sister. Regardless of how dramatic I would be, she was always there to listen, and always there to give an honest opinion.

I knew that I needed to dedicate my gluten-free yupcake to her, because she had battled with an almost on/off gluten intolerance. She is always an inspiration to me, and I can't thank her enough for her warm presence in my life :)

In other news, she's off to get married to the love of her life, and I couldn't be happier for her!

Cheer for Amanda and Nathan! May they live a life filled with references to drunken evenings, strict dietary restrictions, and ethical implications of Kant's Deontology. I love you both!

When she's back, check out Amanda's website! My favorite soap of hers is the Three Bears, Fair Trade and Organic! :)

And her blog....


Pictures and Superficial Updates

So my new apartment has led me to thinking about the wonderfulness of cooking, having a place to myself, and sipping a wonderful cup of tea with a soy candle on a rainy day. Seriously, Chicago, where is our rainy day? Where have all the thunderstorms gone?

I have started to run/walk/jog/dance a lot, and that's been contributing to a wonderful sense of stress relief. This will probably be essential when it comes to grad school apps....ugh

Anyway, I don't have much to post about, other than the usual "social justice" preaching that I impose onto unsuspecting victims, and my stressful life in my last year of college (yes!), but the little things do matter. For example, every time I'm stressed out or over-caffeinated, I get what I call "calm juice." At work, this means a Horizon "organic" chocolate milk (the quotes are a whole other post....). Otherwise, it means a vanilla steamer from various coffee shops. My good friend Travis called me after my morning with the NAMI walk 2009 (leaving my wake-up time at 5:30AM....I'm ok with that!). He informed me that he was going to surprise me with a present, to which I replied "It better be cheap!" After 20 minutes of awkward face-booking, trying to find each other in the black hole that is our computer lab, he surprises me with a vanilla steamer from Starbucks.

WHAT?! Random acts of kindness? So ridiculously simple, but sometimes I forget that the people we love will remember things about us. Even as a self-proclaimed cupcake queen, the fact that my ex-roomie frequently requested my super chocolatel-y cheesecake always brought a smile to my face.

The upper left picture is the McJ Bookstore/Cafe. Amazing, and my best ami Scottland is going to be responsible for me creating a bookstore/cupcake empire someday. I just remember meeting up with him in the heart of yuppie-town NYC (aka the Nolita/ Soho area), and consistently keeping fresh with our inside jokes and comments on Babycakes and our fave depressed French author, Francoise Sagan (emphasis on the Sagaaaaan). :)

All in all, I think that people underestimate the power of making someone's day. Even something as small as ACTUALLY being interested in someone's day can make an impact. Although I spend most of my days trying to be a bitch, a dash of genuineness and being cliche' seems to make for a good recipe....


Let us reflect

I just left my Health care ethics course, feeling rather reflective (hence the obvious title of my post today).

First, we had a discussion of the Hippocratic Oath, as well as the Ethics Code adopted by the AMA. We were all under the impression that it was a natural duty for those in the profession to the adopt the codes, only adding emphasis to certain parts of them (like patient confidentiality) but never de-emphasizing them.

Right after, we watched a film about a course offered at Harvard Medical School about a student/patient interaction that involves meetings with patients who have life threatening illnesses. The story was a typical patient-changed-a-doctor's-life story, but our discussion afterwords was particularly telling. After our class had agreed that it was a doctor's duty to take the integrity of their position into consideration all of the time, several students remarked that empathy was sort of an "assumed" quality of those who are entering the health care profession.

Um....no? Of course I looked at everything from an extreme psych POV, having not only been to therapy and had other friends/ family members, and people that I actually saw in a therapy-esque situation....not all practitioners are that sensitive to their patients. In some respects, given the demands of the job and the high rates of malpractice suits, etc...I can see why it would be easier to try to maintain objectivity, and perhaps systematic equality, by not reaching out to each individual as an individual person with emotions, yada yada yada.

But, especially with growing research, it seems to me like it's NOT obvious at all that people have empathy. So it seems sad, but shouldn't we be taking a more proactive approach to healthcare in ensuring that all professionals have some sense of care beyond the text and diagrams of grey's anatomy and the DSM-IV? It used to be that psychiatrists (yes, psychiatrists, as in MED SCHOOL professions) had a requirement of attending therapy sessions, partially to always have an outlet for their stressful schooling, but also to be able to get a chance to see what it's like "on the couch." If I'm not mistaken, this requirement has been taken away.

Hopefully we can bridge the so-called empathy gap, at least when it comes to health care. It seems to me that anyone who is in a hospital situation is put at an immediate switch, from their daily lives of running errands and being aware of others, to being completely out of control and having someone essentially making very difficult decisions for them. For any psych student that has taken a developmental (child psych) class, there have been numerous studies about the affection that infants need at a critical age, sometimes resulting in death. (See this link) Attachment is crucial in healing, and this definitely extends to the physical.

As an aside, I would like to take this opportunity to say that yes, health care is a RIGHT not a privilege. There are a disgusting amount of deaths in this country because people did not have the monetary means to receive extremely available care. Letting someone else have insurance does not mean that a) you will be without the opportunity to receive quality care, and b) that our country will be a presto-changeo socialist country. Not only are some of the bills proposed supporting equality for equal coverage and QUALITY OF LIFE for many U.S. citizens, but also provides for preventative care, an essential component of a complete health insurance policy for women and men alike. It would also save us lots of money! Come on!

Happy health to you all. I suggest dancing if you're feeling low....mentally OR physically :)