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22nd November 2018

2 score years ago

Today is my 40th birthday. I just completed that 40th turn around the sun. I celebrated it with my parents and my sister with good food – a Thanksbirthgiving Day is one of my favorite ways to celebrate my birthday. I won’t have another Turkey and Pie Birth Day until 2029 – over 10 years from now.

I honestly can’t quite wrap my head around it. I can’t say that I “feel 40” – if I were to put a guess on it, I’d put my mental or emotional age around 33 or so. But my body feels older – it doesn’t bend or recover like it used to, I have severe back pain that limits my ability to walk much, my fingers will never bend like they’re supposed to, etc, etc. There are lines in my forehead and around my eyes – my patients don’t ask me if I’m old enough to be their doctor anymore (I don’t exactly miss that). I’m surprised looking in the mirror at the weight that covers my cheekbones and my jawline and stretches out my abdomen – it’s been there for years, but I’m still not used to it being me.

Overall, it’s been a good life so far and I’d rather do this living thing for many years to come.  I have a career and a job that I overall love (which I need to remind myself right now, as I fight yet again with our billers, and spend too much time writing endless notes, and rounds that last forever). I have a family that I still enjoy, despite these 40 years together. They irritate me at times, but overall, they are wonderful people. I adore my niblings to bits and I’m so happy to continue to watch them grow and develop into unique humans. I have friends, close friends, who I think generally like me and love me.

Goals for my next decade of life:

  • Get promoted to Associate Professor (ugh)
  • Master’s degree?? (ethics, medical informatics, as well as additional courses in research, have been serious considerations
  • Take those voice lessons you’ve been talking about
  • Photography class
  • See all 60 US National Parks (Alaska’s dozen, US Virgin Islands and American Samoa may be difficult to get)
  • Visit all of the provinces of Canada
  • Travel to Greece, Japan, New Zealand/Australia, and Thailand. I’d also like to go back to South Africa, particularly to Cape Town.
  • Reconnect with friends. I feel like I’ve lost so many threads and connections over the years because of life and busyness, and I want to try to get that back.
  • Date? *shudder*

Me – Great Smokey Mountains National Park


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10th November 2018

Day #4 – Savannah to Jacksonsville

Day #4 involved a lot of driving. I have a couple of friends from residency who have set up shop in Jacksonville and when I reached out to them, we made plans for lunch. Unfortunately, this was still several hours away from where we stayed, so we made a beeline down.

Nitin and Rajul met us for lunch at a local Indian restaurant and we got to catch up for an hour. Hard to believe that it’s been 7 years since we finished residency (although the picture of us definitely shows the passing of time).

After we said goodbye, as they had to get back to work, Dad and I drove down the coast a bit to walk around St. Augustine and Castillo de San Marcos, one of the oldest forts in the Americas. We ended the day by driving another long slog across the panhandle to just outside Tallahassee for the night.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”2″ gal_title=”Day 4 – Florida”]




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8th November 2018

It would be ridiculous

It would be ridiculous to take a class or go back to school, just to learn how to break apart a chrome extension app and figure out why it removes the bold and italic formatting when you select to Print to PDF so that I could more efficiently download fanfiction, right?

(The app is EasyReader and it’s such a neat little extension but this bug drives me nuts and nobody’s responding on the review page and I don’t know enough to even try to figure out where the problem is. Argh).

(I am half thinking about going to get a masters degree in bioinformatics so I could be more involved in the utilization of our EMRs. But I also contemplate a masters in ethics. And I haven’t made any moves with either of them. So, who knows.)

(I would also love to take apart this crosspost plugin that I use for wordpress that adds in an extra < p > when I crosspost to DW. That is also something that I can’t figure out.)



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7th November 2018

day #3 – Savannah GA

My blog titles make no sense, but I’m just going to let me them go.

On the third day of the southern road trip, Dad and I drove around Port Royal and Beautfort and enjoyed the water and beaches (I took no photos) an then made our way towards Savannah. We stopped for several hours at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for a mini “safari” and hiked among the wet-lands, making caution friends with some reptiles. This is land that once upon a time had rice fields, but has since been allow to return to nature where birds and small animals and alligators reside. However, only miles away, oil refineries stain the horizon.


Afterwards, we made our way across to Savannah and walked along River Street (my word, the stairs down to the street are treacherous) and had a late lunch at Tubby’s. Alas, we did not actually take a ride on a river boat.

A memorial to the 12 million slaves that were brought to the US (around 1.5 million died in the transport)

We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy. – Maya Angelou

Afterwards, we drove down to Tybee Island, where we braved the very chilly, brisk winds to walk up and down the beach. Such gorgeous sand. The place was virtually deserted.



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6th November 2018

Day #2: State 38

The next day, we drove from Augusta, GA through the back roads of South Carolina to visit Congaree National Park. Another one of my bucket lists is to see all 60 US National Parks (which is going to be my goal for the next ten years), so when I was making plans, I detoured slightly to incorporate Congaree and what a great decision that was!

Y’all, Congaree is lovely, just absolutely beautiful. It’s an old, dense forest, with ponds and pools of water and so much luscious greenery. We went for a 3 mile hike from the visitor center and I was just enchanted. About a half mile back to the visitor center, it started to downpour and we got soaked. We stayed at the center for another hour or so to allow it to let up and then took off again. I had initially planned on staying in Charleston that night, but my dad isn’t a big city person, and I worried about the time crunch, so we bypassed Charleston and drove on to Beaufort/Port Royal, SC for the night.

I’d love to go back and go canoeing in these drifting streams.

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5th November 2018

Road Trip #1, Day 1 – State #37

I started out the year with 14 states left to visit: Maine on one end, Alaska on the other, with the majority of the southern states in between: Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia (I was across the river once when I drove with friends from Pittsburg to Washington DC), South Carolina, Georgia (I’ve been to the Atlanta airport  at least 6 times, but had never set foot outside, which is my criteria), Louisana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. I briefly contemplated doing one long road trip starting in Kansas and getting all of the southern states, but since I wanted to do a little more than just drive on freeways, and I have limited chunks of time available, I ended up with “smaller” road trips.

I decided early on that I didn’t want to do any of the trips in the south during the summer because I did not want to face humidity and mosquitos (I’ve been spoiled since moving to Portland). So the first road trip took place in April and it really was the perfect time.

The trip: Georgia -> South Carolina -> Florida -> Alabama -> Mississippi -> Louisana

I had gone to Florida last June for a conference, so Florida wasn’t one of the states that I needed to see, but I love the ocean and the beach, and there may have been a small part of me that has wanted to see Pensacola, Florida since I watched Contact so many years ago. Plus, when I was making my plans, the southern states were being particularly icky with their support of confederacy monuments, and I’ve been disturbed by my country’s embrace of populism since November 2015 and I didn’t want to get into the heart of Mississippi and Alabama. Hence the somewhat circuitous route.

My dad came on the trip with me, which, given that it was an 8 day trip, I was glad for the company.

Day 1: Atlanta, GA. We flew into Georgia late the night before and stayed in a hotel near the airport. Early the next morning, we drove to downtown Atlanta to see Centennial Park, as well as the Center of Civil and Human Rights museum. They have this one exhibit, where they’re recreated the lunch tables of Woolsworth, where you sit on the stools, and listen to voices shouting insults into your ears as everything shakes. Completely changes your perspective on what a “peaceful” protest entails – so powerful.

Centennial Park – Home to the 1996 Olympics

Enjoying a warm spring day in the Olympic ring sprinklers

Center for Civil and Human Rights

“Protesting white supremacists (below) line the streets to harass civil rights demonstrators in 1966. These images shocked a nation accustomed to telling itself that racism was mainly a southern problem.”

Nitrogen-frozen ice cream

I met up with a fandom friend for lunch and then we went to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, which encompasses his birthplace and the church where he and his father preached. It’s the 50 year commemoration since his murder; it was sobering realizing how far we’ve come and how far we have still to go – and how easy it could be to slip back.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthplace

At the King Center (now one of my favorite quotes)

Principles of Nonviolent Resistance

The tomb of MLK, Jr and his wife Coretta Scott King

Pianos for Peace were scattered throughout the center.

Ebenezer Baptist Church

Inside the church – MLK preached here only a few days before his murder.

We stayed there until closing and then left the city (after a detour to REI since my shoes were rubbing blisters in my feet) and stayed in Augusta that night, before setting off on our next stop: Congaree National Park.

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2nd November 2018

NaBloPoMo – Day 2

I feel much better today – the pressure from my sinuses and ears is less and I don’t quite feel like death. I unfortunately have all of my notes from yesterday AND today to write, so this is going to be short again.

I’ve had a few things that have been weighing on me this year. One has been the fact that I’m turning 40 in 3 weeks and I am struggling to process that – this feeling like i’m facing a deadline and haven’t accomplished nearly what I’ve wanted to, this feeling of confronting mortality and aging (which has not been made easier by my hand injury that I’ve been dealing with for two years now).

And then in March, one of my residents died by suicide. I had no idea that she was struggling. This is the second suicide in our small group in less than a year and it devastated me. I have wrestled with guilt and grief all year – guilt that I didn’t do more to stop some of the toxic behaviors and environments that I had witnessed but had felt powerless to stop. And so much grief – there’s just a hurt in my heart at this needless loss of such a smart, charming, faulty human.

So I’ve been grieving this year and floundering. Which set up my year of traveling and reflection and “finding myself” again.

I have had a goal for years to see all 50 states, which was a goal set during medical school when I started visiting different places during interviews. When I turned 39, I realized that I still had 12 states to go – and a year to complete that goal.


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1st November 2018

1st of November

It’s been over a year since I posted here – and what a year it has been! It’s my 40th year of life, so I have tried to make it My Year.

Unfortunately, I am sick with a cold and I’m on service this week, so you’re not going to get the big update. Maybe daily morsels?

Here’s the sum up: Road Trips (Southeast, Maine + Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island, Kentucky/Tennessee, with Oklahoma/Kansas/Arkansas in two weeks). Cruise to Alaska. Hamilton. Visits with my niblings. Harry Potter and the Curse Child. Darren Criss/Lea Michele concert.

Stay tuned. 🙂

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