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30th November 2010


I did not succeed on my Nablopomo quest. Being away from a computer for 5 days puts damper on even the best-laid plans. I thought about cheating and going back and filling in some of those days, but man, am I tired. It’s okay; I was doing it more for the principle of getting into the habit of blogging more and documenting my life, rather than the prizes. Right? Right. And there’s always next year. In any case, I had started doing the two 30 day memes because I didn’t think that I could find words of my own to fill a month. I underestimated myself. I hate leaving things incomplete and I’ve put a lot of thought into some of upcoming questions, so I guess I’ll be continuing this into December. Should I make a “Blog Every Day for 365 Days” goal? How did everybody do on their Nanowrimo/Nablopomo projects?

My “vacation” was lovely. I arrived in SLC around 1:30 on Thanksgiving; Dad and I traveled down to Provo where we had a mighty feast and gorged on pie (death by pie would be a lovely way to go) and then played Dominoes into the evening. Friday was spent renewing my driver’s license – since my car is registered in Utah, I’ve kept my Utah license, but they wouldn’t let me renew in online; it’s one of the reasons that I jumped on the chance to go home. We then visited my aunt and cousins and little 1st-cousin-once-removed Cora (hee) who was quite adorable. We actually did participate in Black Friday and bought shoes. For me. Specifically these shoes. I’ve wore these shoes pretty much every day since third year of medical school – super comfy and padded; I can endure marathon rounds without too much pain. Alas, they don’t last forever (but this is only my 3rd pair, so they are pretty durable). I also found a pair of fluffy slippers that are definitely what I needed in this cold weather – my feet feel like they are blanketed in feathers.

Saturday we spent with my dad’s family. My cousins and their kiddos drove all of the way from Connecticut (and managed to skirt most of the storms), so we had a second Thanksgiving dinner with them. The kids were entertained endlessly by moving small toys around and hiding things and crawling up and down stairs and playing with the swinging doors that lead into the kitchen- I had forgotten how fun this age can be. We capped the evening by visiting another cousin, Sara and her 3 week old baby. He is a doll. πŸ™‚

Sunday, I slept in. πŸ™‚ Karin and I finally manged to get ready and surprised my friends Laura and James by coming to church with them (ignore the fact that we arrived late). I have to say that when I walked in and Lucas (their 7 yo son) lit up and hugged me was one of the best moments ever. I lovelovelove and adore all of my friends’ kids, but Lucas has a special place in my heart – he was the child that I watched grow up. I went over to L&J’s house virtually every other week during his first year or so of life. Being away from these kids, all of them, having them grow up without me has been hard – but having Lucas recognize me and hug me: heart swelled big time. I almost started crying. It’s still hard to believe that this baby:

can now write me notes during church.

After church, we went over to Laura and James’ house, where Liz and Edgardo and daughters braved the weather and joined us for dinner. Such a wonderful, companionable evening that was over way too soon! Oh, oh, I’ve missed my friends – it’s hard to believe that we’ve been friends for more than 13 years at this point. It had been snowing all day long and I really, really, really hoped that it would have snowed enough to cancel my flight, giving me one more day. Alas, my flight actually departed on time, getting me back to Milwaukee in the wee morning hours.

I didn’t take as many pictures of the weekend as I wanted, as I was too busy lapping up the company and conversation. But you can see a few pics:

And now, off to bed. I’m determined to make it to Board Review tomorrow and 6 o’clock arrives way too soon. Ugh.

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25th November 2010



(Composed on the 3 flights that it took to get me home).

On the middle leg of the trip, I unfortunately had the window seat. My “traveling companions” were, I think, a very newly wed couple who made out and whispered sweet nothings for the majority of the trip. Luckily, I was quite sleep deprived (4 hours of sleep on my couch, as I dared not sleep in my bed because I would not wake up) and mostly slept, but ugh. A little decorum please.

This leg, I’m reading a book Chris and Gretchen gave me, called Half the Sky. Have any of you heard about it? It’s a really well-written, enlightening exploration of the plight of women and girls across the world. It’s been a harrowing read, a very uncomfortable reminder of poverty, violence and brutality that others face every day. The stories are engaging and unflinching – girls and women who suffered abuse, mutilation, trafficking, but how there is possibilities of hope. How spoiled I am by the comfortable life that I live. I’m about to go and eat a feast with my loved ones, with parents who value my existence and provided me with shelter, love and education. It’s one of the lessons learned when I went to Kenya – and I had forgotten.

I love the idea of thanksgiving and of Thanksgiving; it’s one of the holidays that hasn’t been completely encased in merchandise and materialism. Remember those blessings that I’ve been given and, yes, been blessed. Yet, when I think about that, it makes me feel guilty. Guilty for having so much, for not appreciating it enough. And even if I did, does it change the reality of the other people who haven’t?

There have been some practical suggestions of charities and projects in the book that I am looking forward to implementing. A chance to look outside myself again and truly give – money and passion. And maybe then, my thanks will means something.

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24th November 2010


(Posted late because I was tired and didn’t press the right button. And I’ve been traveling and didn’t realize it).

I was such a good girl today. I was only 30 minutes late to lecture this morning – which, of course, had be taught by the neurology department, so the lecturers know me personally and glared at my late arrival. Hmm, maybe I wasn’t so good. I went to lunch with my friend Kim and then, instead of doing what I wanted to do and going home to sleep/pack/do laundry/dishes, I actually went back to work and only left when I had permission. I had nothing to do this afternoon. Nothing. But I was good and didn’t start my 4 day weekend early.

I still haven’t packed. I went to Deathly Hallows again with another friend and just got back. My flight leaves at 7. My friend is picking me up at 5:30. It’s now just before midnight. Oh, Procrastination, why do I listen to your siren song? At least I managed to do laundry yesterday!

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23rd November 2010

Rare books and manuscripts

Having trouble coming up with something to say tonight (the next All About Me questions are requiring quite a bit of reflection), so instead, a video link:

It’s a really charming short film that made me happy. It’s about 12 minutes and well worth the pause in your day. πŸ™‚ It’s especially recommended to my librarian friends!

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22nd November 2010

the day I came squalling into the world

the day I came squalling into the world

As of 0450 today, I am 32 years old. Since it is well documented that I never know my own age, I’ve been thinking that I was 32 for a couple of months now. At first, it was more to just “try on” the new age, and then over time, it just felt right. I think that I’ve gotten over the dread of getting older – turning 30 and 31 was a period of purging and mourning unlikely dreams and now I feel comfortable acknowledging that I am “middle aged” – in the 2nd trimester of life, as it were. Although when my intern stated that he wouldn’t date anybody more than 5 years older than him (and even that’s too old), I felt some mild panic. Not really. Even if I was turning 21, I’d still be too old for Intern. And too short, too fat, too pale, etc. The boy is picky and very much not right for me either!

My day has been rather perfect. I brought a carrot cake to work, and had a spontaneous party with my neurology peeps. We had lunch together, then yummy, gooey cake. I got done early, came home and took a nap, then spent a couple of hours on the phone talking to my beloved ones. In between, I slipped off to Noodles and Co where I treated myself to free noodles. Since I was the last customer, they gave me the leftover cookies. Total score! My facebook, LJ, email and phone have been filled with messages of love, which is the best present I could ever want. {{{HUGS}}} to all: you give my life meaning and enrich it every day. I could not possible convey the gratitude and love that I feel.

I have to say, I am looking forward to my 33rd year of life. Not only do I new adventures to look forward to (and new heartaches, challenges, disappointments, boredoms, joys, etc), but I have a pretty mathematically aesthetic birth date (11/22) and I’m going to be 33 on 11/22/11. Palindromic and additive, it really can’t get better.:)

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21st November 2010

Day #10

Day #10

I had a lot of fun with this one!

Day #10: Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad. I only slightly cheated on this one: 2 songs for each category!
Happy song:

When I’m happy, I tend you get sentimental. This song never fails to make me smile. Plus it’s from one of the greatest movies of all time.

Stole My Heart – Little & Ashley. I am sooo happy that stop animation is making a comeback and the Amazon commercial was so whimsical that I had to track down the whole song which is just lovely. When I’m happy, I tend to seek out the sappy love songs.

Sad songs:

Be Ok -Ingrid Michaelson. My friendship with Chris almost completely broke apart this summer/fall (it’s part of the reason that I took such a prolonged absence from this blog. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t think). There were several things that contributed (that I still don’t want to get into – we’re okay now, so we’ll leave it at that), but during the weeks of uncertainty, my choice of music definitely leaned towards the melancholic yet hopeful. I make have listened to this song over and over for a week.

Pieces – Villagers. I think this was another NPR discovery, and once again, it really spoke to me in those hard months. I like this acoustic version best. “All the words that I meant to say, they’ll never come out the right way.” (Ignore his hair)


Vienna Teng is definitely my favorite singer/songwriter/pianist. Like Eva, she’s one that I grab every new album released. This song is probably my favorite and I listen to it in all of my moods. This is just a lovely live performance (although, her album version is better IMO).

Learn to Fly – Carbon Leaf. My other “almost constantly streaming” band. This isn’t my favorite song of theirs, but it is the one with a actually music video and I love Barry’s haircut here (the other videos he looked like a lumberjack who got in a fight with a grizzly). I’ve seen them live twice – the first concert was amazing, the second, well I’m pretty sure that the entire band was drunk and it was a tad disappointing.


Sing, Sing, Sing – Louis Prima and Benny Goodman (from Swing Kids). Honestly, you have not lived until you’ve gone swing dancing and swirled madly across the dance floor and attempted a flip and given your partner a bloody nose.

David Duchovny – Bree Sharp. Terrible video quality (they never released it officially), but oh, I love this song. Still.


Push – Matchbox Twenty. Speaks for itself, I think.

Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park. When I’m truly angry, I like angry, loud songs. This is one that I’ll turn the volume up and belt it out. (The video is cool too).

Harry Potter Meme: Day # 10 – Horcruxes or Hallows.
Horcruxes. I honestly felt that the Hallows were too complex for the amount of time devoted to them and detracted from the story. JKR had done such an amazing job hinting and setting the plot up for such minute detail, but it really seemed that the Hallows were cobbled together at the last minute. I’ve appreciated them more as I’ve reread the series again (and honestly the animation explaining them in the movie was amazing), but there really was enough for Harry and Co to do with just chasing down the Horcruxes.

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20th November 2010

lazy hazy

lazy hazy

Lazy day today. I cleaned my bathroom and contemplated doing dishes (they’re sorted into cups, silverware and remainder. Maybe tomorrow). I met up with my friend Sarah at the nearby Starbucks for some studying (an aside, their peppermint hot chocolate is to die for), where, as per course this week, I managed to read 2 paragraphs of MKSAP15 “Pulmonary and Critical Care” before discarding the book in frustration. I’ve been trying to get past “Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Disease” for the past two weeks – it’s twenty pages of wishywashy-ness that basically says that “there’s a lot of diseases that affect the lung and differentiating between them is really hard, but we’re going to do so in a way that contradicts everything that we said before.” Seriously, I am struggling. I need to get through this all by the end of this week – I had hoped to be half-way through GI by this time. Maybe a countdown of days to Boards will be a motivator.

Anyway, Sarah and I spent more time talking and catching up than we did studying. She mentioned that she liked being mentioned in my blog, so consider this your shout out. πŸ™‚ Sarah is one of the most vivacious people that I know, which means that hours can go by without me even realizing it. Our conversations have familiar themes but we always seem to find something new to talk about. It’s lovely.

The All About Me Meme – Day #9 (I swore I’ve done more than that!). Your hobbies:
Honestly, medical school and residency have sucked my life dry of any meaningful extracurricular activities. One of my friends remarked that to get into medical school, all of the schools looked at how well-rounded you were and chose those who had balance in their lives with interesting things they did outside of school.

1. Photography. Well, I think you all knew that. I’ve wanted to get into photography since college. Longer maybe – I used to read my parent’s National Geographic and long to take pictures like that; truth be told, I still do. It took me a long time to convince myself to buy my camera, but I’ve never regretted the decision. I’ve taken over 6500 pictures, many of them crappy, but it’s been a wonderful learning experience. There’s so much more that I want to learn to do. I want to take a photography class or two, so that more of my photos are less “point and shoot” style and more like art. I want to learn to do more with HDR, motion shots and night-photography (how much would I love to get into astrophotography!). There are several lens that I lust after – I would love a wide-angle or fisheye lens and I still really want a 35 mm lens. Someday…

2. … I don’t know. Wasting time on the internet? Reading and educating myself about politics/science policy/health care reform/vaccinations? Seriously, I’ve gotten lame.

From a google search for hobbies, I learned that I have the following: church attending, eating out, home repair, internet, listening to music, relaxing and sleeping. Still lame.

Hobbies that I used to have:
1. I used to paint. In high school, I loved to paint and draw. I never was fantastic at it (my drawings were pretty comical), but I enjoyed it. Some of my favorite memories involve going to my grandmother’s house and painting with her. I wish I had enough free time that I could get back into it.
2. I used to write. Short stories mostly. I miss my days of writing fanfiction – there was something so supremely satisfying about getting just the right turn of phrase. I heard once (and I can’t remember where) that 70% of people have “write a book” on their bucket list, but only 5% actually do and less than 1% ever get published. I’d love to be part of that 5% – I don’t care about being published – but I have no original ideas or even starting points.
3. I used to read. That’s an understatement. I used to devour whole books, 700-800 pages, in one sitting. My favorite brand was fantasy and I followed several series at once. Now if I read a book a month, it’s an achievement. I read the Hunger Games triology in a 2 day period but that was back in September and I’ve barely read anything since. Currently (as in I started it this afternoon), I’m reading a book about the world-wide oppression, prostitution and genocide of women that Chris and Gretty got me for my birthday which is getting me all righteously impassioned. I need to add books back to my diet.
4. Stamp collecting. Haven’t done that since before high school. I wonder where my stamps went.
5. Dancing: swing, latin, ballroom. I miss it so much. I joined a Facebook page that posts about all of the swing dances across the city and haven’t been able to convince myself to go. Soon. One day, I’d like take a Lindy-hop dance class.
6. Guitar: I learned to play the guitar in the 9th grade. My fingers have long ago lost all of their callouses and I no longer even own a guitar. Last weekend, I held one in my arms. My fingers remembered a few songs (I think I’ll be able to play Leaving on A Jet Plane on my death bed) and it was lovely getting to make music again. There are so many techniques that I never mastered and I’d love to get into it again.

Hobbies that I wish I had:
1. Astronomy. I would love to be part of an astronomy club and go star gazing on Friday nights.
2. Costume making. Specifically, Edwardian/Jane Asutenesque costumes. My dress that I made last year only whetted my desire.
3. Quilting/Sewing. I really, really, really want to make a Cathedral Quilt.

What hobbies do you have/wish to have?

HP meme: Day 8 & 9:
Day 8: Hogwarts subject you would most like to take.
Can I pull a Hermione and go to all of them? Okay, okay, I think I’d probably like Charms the best – it seems the most practical and the classes always sounded fun in the books. I’ve a soft spot for Prof. Flitwick as well – nothing fazes him! If potions was anything like my organic chemistry lab class, I think I’d find it pretty painful (and worse with Snape; I don’t do well with pressure). I think I would have found Care of Magical Creatures boring (sorry Hagrid), and I’d have definitely pulled a Hermione with Astrology. Arithmancy and Ancient Runes sound awesome too – too bad we never got to learn more about them.

Day 9: Least favorite male character.
There are quite a few male characters that bother me, actually.
1. Severus Snape: I understand you lost the woman that you loved, but you were pretty spineless when she was alive, it was 20 years ago, and it doesn’t excuse your bullying now. Also, if Voldemort had AD’d you like a proper villain, you wouldn’t have been able to pass on those memories to Harry, so he wouldn’t have found out that he needed to die and it would have all been for nothing. Luckily, your author really likes convenient coincidences, so we never had to find out.
2. Draco Malfoy. I just wish that you had gotten the guts to defy those in power and really choose the good life, instead of just living in fear. Yours was a redemption story that fizzled. At least your mom loved you.
3. Harry. It’s okay to ask for help. Things might have gone a little better if you did. Also, if you had paid a little more attention in class,
4. Dumbledore: In life and death missions, usually directions for how to accomplish the massive scavenger hunt are helpful. I realize that you are the “Guardian archetype” and so your role is done once the Hero has realized his potential, but since you kept vital information from your Chosen One, you made him much less prepared and relied on chance for him to succeed. Lame, mentor. Lame.

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19th November 2010



Now that’s the way to make a book-to-movie adaptation. This really was the first HP movie that I loved. It captured all of the essence of the book (without all of the painful exposition), the magic, the helplessness as they tried to figure out what to do. It was poetic and melancholy and just perfect. I cried from the very first scene – stuff about how your life is changing and what you have to give up and sacrifice really touches my tear ducts right now.

Met a cute boy tonight who was a big Harry Potter fan too. That also made me happy. πŸ˜‰

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18th November 2010

day #8

day #8

Day #8 – Bullet your day. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th November 2010

we used to wait

we used to wait

Both my dad and sister reminded me that I had been there when Laura was burnt by the tar. Apparently, my mom, sisters and I had gone on a bike ride and Laura had ridden her bike directly into the hot tar pit. So my memory was correct!

Speaking of nostalgia and memories, have you all seen the latest Arcade Fire video? I shared it on my Facebook a couple of weeks (maybe even months now!) and I still love it. Go here to their website, type in your address (nostalgia is one of the ingredients to making it powerful and mindblowing – it’s best if its the address of a place you grew up) and wait for it to load. It only works on Google Chrome or Safari and it also uses a lot of memory and processing ability, so it is best if you only have that one program open. And then after you see it, read/listen to the interview on NPR about how they made the video. It’s amazingly magical.

The video of where I grew up: http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/#1339+E+Allen+Rd,+Tucson,+AZ+85719,+USA. The first time I saw it, it made me cry.

All About Me Day 07- A picture of where you live
I’ve inundated you all with pictures of my house over the last month. Does anybody not know what my house looks like?

Instead, pictures of my other “home”: Read the rest of this entry »

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16th November 2010

has the moon lost her memory

has the moon lost her memory

Headache is still lingering, I think, because it’s turning colder and I’m hunched over more. I could really go for a massage right now. To top it off, I twisted my ankle – or at least, I did something to my ankle this morning while walking to work, so I spent the rest of the day hobbling. Not fun.

All About Me Day 06 – Your earliest memory
I’m pretty sure that all of my earliest memories are really memories based on suggestions and hearing family stories. No really. I have recollections of going easter egg hunting – but I was 1 and have heard the story about how I made my parents hid the easter eggs over and over since I was tiny. I do have some recollections that I’m sure are real – memories of elementary school and flying a kite and walking along the Tucson riverway (only had water in it a couple of months) and sitting on a cactus, going to the Clouse’s house for piano lessons. Being in The Christmas Carol. But I think most of those memories are from when I was 8-9.

Interestingly, I was just reading some articles about how we “patch” our memories and cofabulate so they make sense. For example, I remember being there when my little sister fell into a hot tar pit – but I’m pretty sure that she was with one of my parents and their bike tipped in? In any case, I no longer feel bad about having a poor memory.
Read the rest of this entry »

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15th November 2010

brain ded

I’ve had a bad tension headache/migraine for the past two days. My fellow let me leave work early and I came home and crashed and if it wasn’t for my grumbling, hungry tummy, I’d slept longer. The muscles in my neck are really tight and tense and I got dehydrated which triggered everything. Anyway, there’s the explanation for the lateness in some of my blogs. I can sleep in a little tomorrow, but I’m still kinda achy so I think it’s off to bed again. I’m behind in the 30 day memes, but promise to resume them tomorrow.

How was your weekend?

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14th November 2010

portraits of hair

portraits of hair

I am terrible at taking self portraits. As in, aiming a camera at my head and somehow getting all of me in the shot. I can’t do it by facing a camera at me, and I can’t do it facing a mirror either. But it never stops me from trying:

(It’s funniest clicked through really quickly)

I put my hair in braids that morning with a curler on the end, let it dry (was still damp – I was lazy that morning and showered late), took it out and curled it with a curling iron. I would wear my hair in curls every day if it didn’t take so freaking long to do – and the results so short-lived. Honestly, by the time I had finished, the curls were already drooping on the other side.

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13th November 2010

nests, tricks and other birds

nests, tricks and other birds

Dear Mom,

You’ll be glad to know that the hours spent playing Rook growing up have not gone to waste. I taught four people how to play and swept the game three times. My gloating was humble – I even overbid and lost a game, just to show that I wasn’t invincible, but oh, victory was sweet. Now if I could just convince people to play Dominoes the right way!


Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the game (I was too busy winning!), but here are some other pictures of my weekend. It was exactly what I hoped it would be: spiritually uplifting (if a tad heavy on the Steven Covey worship – but since the speaker worked for him, I suppose I can forgive it), good fellowship, cute boys and a little flirtation, good food and a walk in the leaf covered woods.

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12th November 2010

symphony of sorrowful songs

symphony of sorrowful songs

I love days like today. Don’t have to be to work until late. Only one patient to see. Lunch and a couple of errands. Back to the hospital where I finish my notes, mewt up with a friend and chat for a while, and then home again. Perfection. I just wish today had possessed the warmth of yesterday; I would have grabbed my camera and lazed around the city. Today was definitely a warning that winter is coming, and you won’t ever be prepared, silly mortal!

I’m going to a church conference this weekend at a boy scout camp. It’s an annual tradition and one of my favorites. It’s so lovely to be in “nature” again, even if it’s rather artificial – a small patch of trees surrounded by highway and summer homes.

And to start off your weekend, here is a link to a symphony that almost made me forget to drive. I had never heard of Henryk Gorecki or his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, but it is incredibly lovely. The sort of lovely that makes you ache inside for a loss you never realized. The story about his death and the symphony is here. At the bottom, click on the link to listen to the second movement. Wow. I’m tracking down more of his music now.

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11th November 2010

lest we forget

(Picture from the cemetery of the VA where I work. I drive by it every day. I took this one about two years ago.)

I’ve been spamming my Facebook with articles and poetry and history on Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day. I’ll admit that I was getting frustrated with the “Happy Veteran’s Day!” chirpy updates, the same sort of updates as for Valentine’s Day or Groundhog’s Day. Or the “99% of those who read this don’t really love a vet and won’t use this as their status for 1 hour” nonsense that drives me bonkers – chain mails have evolved for the 21st century. I’m tired of patriotism being a popularity contest.

This is the favorite article that I found:
A Ghostly French Field Where Veterans Day Was Born – from NPR.

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10th November 2010

diss and dat

diss and dat

I discovered the poll feature did not work so well. Even though I told it to allow more than one choice (and tried to fix it), it wouldn’t let me. Plus I wasn’t told when I had new answers. Oh well. There is a reason that my website blog has been on “beta” for the last two (er, almost three) years as I try to figure out bugs. It would go much better if I had more than just a mediocre understanding of coding.

To the sweet, anonymous person who bought me 2 months of paid time on LJ *HUGS*. Thank you!! If you’ll notice, my pretty little Anne banner is back. I will be moving all of my banners and pics to another site so that they were always be there – or perhaps its time to think up a new background, eh? I find it frustrating that there is not a way that I can select and download all of the pics though, so it’s going to be slow.

Thanks to all of you who answered my poll. For those who are interested, I do have an RSS feed set up for Google Reader:
http://jcd1013.livejournal.com/data/rss. I find that it’s a little more reliable than the one for my website blog (which is hereif you want to compare). Just promise to pop out every once in a while and say hi. πŸ™‚

P.S. and Susan did you get my reply emailed to you? Just hoping I got that bug figured out.

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9th November 2010

Just curious

Just curious

You may or may not have noticed, but I let my paid account expire on LJ. I’ve been blogging on LJ for forever (2003!) and have had a paid account for the majority of that time. But I realized that I had been mostly using it for the userpics – and even then I wasn’t utilizing all of them. And I hadn’t been happy with some of the decisions that the business overlords had made recently, so I let it die. I’m missing it sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot – I get really bored with just 6 icons (and no, I’m not going sponsored) and I discovered that my header and friends-only banners are hosted on the LJ gallery which I can’t access as a freebie, so I have no pretty Anne banner anymore. And that makes me sad. While I may have difficulty keeping my house straightened, I really like having my blog space aesthetically pleasing.

Anyway, in my quest to decide whether or not I should go back, it would be helpful to understand how you all read and access my blog.

How do you follow and read my blog?

View Results

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9th November 2010

A little whine with your cheese

A little whine with your cheese

The backstory: About 2.5 weeks ago, I got a page from some person saying that he was going to be working with him next month on Pulm consults and asked me if I had plans for the Friday after Thanksgiving. I, stupidly, thought that he was referring to the Friday after the Thanksgiving weekend (ie, a week later) and couldn’t figure out why he was asking me that. I mean, I’m on a consult month. I selected a consult month so that I could have Thanksgiving off and go either home or to Arizona to see my sister. It only dawned on me later that he really truly was referring to the day after Thanksgiving, which implied that I was supposed to be working that day.

I emailed the program directors. Black Friday is not considered a holiday at the VA because it is not a government holiday (pray, tell why Columbus Day is??), but I could talk to the people in charge of the rotation and find out if I had to work. I started the rotation and discovered that there was a mandatory clinic on Fridays – and I had to be there. The fellow had arranged somebody to cover for him, but because I was the only resident, there wasn’t anybody to cover me. So I shelved my plan and tried to make others, and at least tried to cheer myself up with the thought that I had Veteran’s Day off – until I realized that it was a VA holiday and not one at my other hospital, and I am scheduled for clinic there. Screwed all over.

I kept bothering people though. There had been rumors that they were playing on moving the clinic to Thursday mornings, but only after Thanksgiving. The staff was frustrated at having to work because nobody comes on the day after Thanksgiving. And I kept mentioning about how much I wanted to go home. And the fellow (bless him) finally, finally made some phone calls today and got the clinic rearranged. YAY! So I promptly looked up tickets and now I’m going home. It’s costing a little more than what it would have been if I had been able to buy tickets earlier, but not much since It’s a holiday. Arizona was way too expensive, so I’ll have to wait until Christmas to hold my nephew again. But I’m superduper excited. I get to see my grandparents, my parents and sister, my cousins and new 1st cousin once removed, aunts, uncles. My Plethora. It’s been so long since I was home.

Greasy wheel no more squeaks.

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8th November 2010



I got my flu vaccination last week – as a health care provider and one who has gotten the flu before, I get one every year. This year, I went for the nasal mist. I’m working on the consult service, so not in as direct of contact with the immunocompromised patients (those on chemotherapy) and I’m not that fond of shots. Both forms don’t reach full immunity until approximately 2 weeks after and the spray is a little bit of live virus which can make you feel a little ill. I woke up this morning with the sniffles (I initially typed “snuffles” but found out that that is a upper respiratory infection of rabbits and since my name didn’t change to Harvey overnight (oh I kill me), I had to be accurate and change it) and have been feeling just a little less than healthy today – not terrible, not enough to try to go home or even beg for chicken soup, but just bad enough that I think I’m making it an early night.

All About Me Day 5 – A picture of a place where you have been. I really should just remove the “A” from all of the questions and make it plural, because there’s no way I’ll ever be able to limit this to just one.

First stop: Guatemala. March 2004.


I went to Antigua, Guatemala to learn medical Spanish. It was a course for intermediate to advance speakers – and I didn’t know a word, but the program agreed to let me go. So at the last minute, I asked for a rush passport (with truly the most terrible passport pic ever. No, believe me, I win), bought a ticket and away I went.

Tina and I, early morning in Tikal

My traveling companion was the unlikely combination of a procrastinating perfectionist. She would always put off doing important things, but then wouldn’t hurry up because everything had to be just so and we were often late. Very late. We almost missed the plane down there. And the plane back up. And the bus from Tikal, etc. It was the first time she had ever left home (except for her mission) and she had to talk to her parents every single night -which mean we missed out on seeing a lot of the city. I was much too nervous to break out on my own and go sight-seeing.


We were there for just over three weeks. During the day we went to spanish language lessons or to programs around the city that provided care to the poor and the ill. We visited orphanages, an AIDS clinic, a poor farmer’s hut, a primary school, the mental hospital, a nursing home. The weekends we took trips: up north to Tikal and then to Lake Atilan.

Lake Atilan

Some of the culture was overwhelming. I never got used to the begging of the children, which usually occured only at the tourist sites. When we stepped foot out of a bus or a boat, they would come swarming. I hated haggling prices for souvenirs – I didn’t know the language and I found it frustrating. The food was pretty incredible, though and cheap. And the scenery more than made up for the frustrations.

Learning how to Salsa with Antonio

Tikal ruins

Learning the language was extremely difficult for me. The only language I had attempted to learn was sign language and there was very little cross over (the few months of online German in the 7th grade does not count either). I spent most of the month not knowing what anybody said. I had difficulty with the grammar and the pronunciation – I have a hard enough time with English, you should hear me slaughter drug names!

Admiring silk blankets

So while I came home only knowing how to say about 10 phrases (and I’ve forgotten most of those now), what I gained was an appreciation for a beautiful culture and the desperate need that other countries had. I realized how very spoiled I was by the American culture. I stayed in a middle class home, but even there, the showers were limited, the plumbing was fragile, electricity and food was very carefully utilized.

Colored sand with borders of flowers and fruit arranged in a Catholic cathedral for Semena Santa (Easter) Festival

I know it’s an overused phrase, but I can honestly say that Guatemala changed my life. It opened a thirst to see and experience new cultures and to make a difference.

I think I’m going to extend this over the next couple of days, because I’m am becoming more and more stuffy and my head is aching. Bed sounds really, really good right now.

posted in All About Me, Guatemala, Meme me, Passport Stamps | 0 Comments

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