doc w/ Pen

journalist + medical student + artist

Random things about me

I realized today that I never formally introduced myself here on my blog (just in case someone who doesn’t really know me discovers this one day). Oops. I’m awful with introductions. Better late than never, though, I suppose.

Name: Lorien Elisa Menhennett

Age: 28 (DOB: 9/28/1981)

And then some other random things about me:


50 Questions To Really Get To Know Someone
1) Are you a morning or night person? Morning – I get so much more done then.
2) Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? Can’t I have both?
3) Ninjas or pirates? Ninjas, for sure.
4) Ninjas vs pirates, discuss. It’s all about the martial arts.
5) Autobots or Decepticons? Um, I’m not a Transformers person, sorry.
6) What was your favorite childhood television program? 3-2-1 Contact. (Go PBS!)
7) Are you a collector of anything? All things vintage – hats, clothes, purses, jewelry, you name it.
8) If you could be any animal, what would you be? Dolphin
9) If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Invisibility
10) What is usually your first thought when you wake up? NEED COFFEE NOW
11) What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? I can’t wait until I have coffee with my husband Geoff tomorrow morning.
12) What’s your favorite color? Orange
13) What’s your favorite animal? Penguin
14) Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? Sure, why not? The universe is pretty damn big.
15) Do you believe in ghosts? No to the physical kind, but yes to the psychological kind.
16) Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? Which one(s)? Yes – Mario Bros. 3 (NES), Barrack, Lemmings
17) You’re given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on? Trips to as many different and amazing places as possible
18) Have any bad habits? Too much caffeine
19) Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy? People who employ double-standards
20) List 3 of your best personality traits: Empathy, sense of humor, curiosity
21) List 3 of your worst personality traits: Impatience, impatience, impatience
22) Have any celebrity crushes? Johnny Depp
23) List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself: Be more patient
24) Any tattoos or piercings? Ears are pierced
25) What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex? Eyes
26) What personality traits do you look for in a partner? Humor, sensitivity
27) What personality traits do you dislike in other people? Selfishness
28) Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years? Already married (have been for 5+ years! I love you, Geoff!)
29) Are you mostly a clean or messy person? I am an organized person, but sometimes my living space has random clutter in it (but all of the clutter has a place where it belongs)
30) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Right here in Chicago
31) If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Costa Rica
32) List 5 goals on your life’s to-do list: 1. Become a doctor
2. Be a more loving and patient person
3. Travel around the world
4. Get a dog
5. Finish rehabbing our house
33) Name 1 regret you have: I don’t believe in regrets, just in learning from your past and your mistakes.
34) Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid: Not having to worry about money.
35) Name 1 thing you love about being an adult: Getting to drive yourself places whenever you want.
36) What’s your favorite song of the moment? “1,000,000” (yes, that’s the song title)
37) What’s your favorite song of all time? “Ruiner”
38) What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? Champagne with good friends
39) What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? You’re lookin’ at it
40) Have any hidden talents? They’re not hidden, but I do have talents
41) You’re about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal? Thai food
42) What would be your dream job? Dr. Menhennett
43) Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love? True love (I know, I’m a sap)
44) If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? 1. End hunger
2. Peace
3. Fix the damage we’ve done to the environment
45) Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? If so, why? Not really
46) Name 1 thing not many people know about you: I’m addicted to Chapstick
47) If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to? Charlotte
48) Do you believe in the afterlife? No, what we see is what we get. So we better make the most of it.
49) On the topic of abortion, how do you feel about cookies? Not going there. Not here, at least.

Math lessons

Use row operations to find the multiplicative inverse of the following matrix. 

Those were my instructions from my precalculus review book. Multiplicative? Inverse? Matrix? Say what?

Don’t get me wrong. I really do enjoy math. And I’m pretty good at it: I got through calculus in high school, and even got college credit for it by taking the Advanced Placement exam (I got the highest possible score of 5).

Why the regression to precalculus? Well, I haven’t been in a math class for more than a decade – it was last century, as a matter of fact (1999) – so I’m a little rusty. And I need calculus for physics, which I hope to take next year. So I started with the basics (college algebra) and now am about two-thirds through precalc.

I had no problems with combination functions, rate of decay, or slant asymptopes. (I really do like that word, asymptopes …) But something about matrices just gets me all hung up like an old coiled plastic telephone cord. It’s terribly aggravating.

But even more frustrating than not understanding something right off the bat is not having anyone to help me. I’m on my own. Me and my (McGraw-Hill!) review book. Which, in this weather, seems to be worth more as kindling than as a curriculum. (And no, that’s not ex-employee bitterness. At least, I don’t think so.)

I need a flesh-and-blood teacher. Someone who can see where I’m going wrong and can help me work through it. Books can’t anticipate everyone’s difficulties, meaning they can’t address everyone’s difficulties, either. That’s just how it works.

I will make it through matrices and on to conic sections. And I will make it through conic sections too, and trigonometry, and the chapter on series and sequences. And then I will be done with precalculus and ready for *gulp* calculus (again).

I will make it through not as much because I’m intelligent (although I am, and that definitely helps), but because I am determined and resourceful. I keep trying, even when things are hard. And when something doesn’t make sense, I keep searching for the right teaching/learning method that will make sense to me. If I had a human teacher, that would be much easier. But since I am on my own until this fall, that means searching for a teacher whose name begins with “http” or “www.” Which is better than nothing, but pales in comparison to a real person who can work with me and help me understand what I don’t.

Teachers are invaluable. I am fortunate that along with giving me a solid educational foundation (one that is slowly returning to life), mine taught me to not give up. That’s a lesson you don’t forget.