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16th July 2009

camping, here I go!

Surprisingly, I love night float. I love working the night shift, when it’s quiet and I can just focus on getting the patient taken care of and tucked in. I love running into CuteIntern in the cafeteria and having a moment to catch up (well, he had only a 30 sec pause; the ER keeps the radiology department pretty hopping at night)–my heart still hasn’t quite recovered for the palpitations. I love the nurses that I work with and getting to know them. My six days stretch was pretty benign – I think I averaged 3 patients that I admitted (out of a possible 7, go me!). Last night, of course, since I was really wanting sleep so I’d be fresh for my four hour drive today, I had a patient that I had to transfer to the unit, which kept me up, but it still was nothing compared to an average neuro call.

I love seeing the sunrise too. The sun is just peeking over the horizon at 5:30, turning the sky a hazy pink. I was going to take pictures of it; even brought my camera in, and then got a stern email from the head boss that no pictures were to be taken inside any of the buildings without written permission. Even if it wasn’t a patient. Grr. I’m so tired of rules and regulation all of the time.

Anyway. I just finished packing for my camping trip. Yay!! I’m heading up north, way north today to camp over night in the remote, forested and laked (silly word check, I know that’s not a word), bear-populated country, then coming down to a tamer county park for Friday and Saturday where some of my good girlfriends will be joining me. I’m bringing my art supplies, a notebook, a few of the Harry Potter books, some games, makings for smores, etc. We’re going on a nature walk, and just taking it easy for a few days. I’m so super excited. I have to shower, get the oil on my car checked and then I’m off. At least to the next rest stop – I have a feeling that I’ll be stopping for siestas all along the way. Luckily, I do have a friend going with me who will help drive and keep me awake. No worries, Mom!

Alrighty. See you all on Sunday!

posted in All About Me, Rejuvenating the Soul, Those Rare Days Off | 0 Comments

7th July 2009

two things I had forgotten

1. How good a long workout can be. Did I tell you that when one of my friends moved this spring, she gave me her elliptical machine and weight bench? I can’t remember. In any case, I haven’t use them more than 1-2 times a month. Did I also tell you that my friend had a household of cats, and the elliptical machine had the unfortunate residence in the litter room? I like cats (although I’m slightly allergic which keeps me from giving in and buying a cute ball of fur), but I don’t like my hands smelling like cats after a workup. I’ve sprayed it with bleach, baking soda (no worries, I washed it with water in between), more baking soda, and two applications of Febreeze and with a towel, it’s tolerable.

In any case, I walked for 30 minutes today and burned 300 calories! Go me!

2. The perfection that is the show Everwood. Oh, my poor, neglected, canceled-in-its-prime show. TPTB at the WB finally, finally heard the numerous pleas and released the second season on DVD, and I had forgotten how much I love this show. The relationships, the characters, the acting is just perfect. Every single week. It makes me homesick (in the cathedrals of new york and rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is) and heartsick and happy all at the same time. I miss good tv like that. (Season 2 can be purchased here from Amazon if my little missionary moment convinced you. 😉 )

In other news: I had a lovely 4th of July weekend. I had a blissful three days off, and caught up on sleep and read for fun for the first time in months (East by Edith Pattou, The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison and Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. Hmm, wanna play spot the theme? Actual book reviews are forthcoming, I hope), helped my friend paint her mother’s bathroom, went to another friend’s house and played with sparklers for the first time ever, and ate strawberries and ice cream cake, and just had a nice time. I really miss not having a summer vacation; this was a small but appreciate glimpse of freedom.

Picture evidence of the weekend and of the rest of my adventures in May and June can be found at my Picasa web site, including English Country Dancing, seeing Carbon Leaf in concert (one of the best concerts ever), and hanging out with my crazy yet beloved coworkers.

The VA emergency department has continued to be somewhat slow. I’ve seen a total of four patients in the 3 days that I’ve been there. I’m not complaining – I’ve gotten caught up on my clinic notes (it’s amazing how quickly I can get behind if I don’t do them immediately after clinic) and I have a big fat 1000 page book that I’m determined to have read by the time I switch to the medical ICU in August, so I appreciate the chance to study. I start night float on Friday. Meaning, I work 8 pm to 8 am (or 6 pm to 8 am on the weekends) for a week, admitting the sick patients who come in from the emergency department. Long ago, I lost any semblence of a circadian rhythm, but it’s never been tested like this before. I’m kinda excited to see how I handle it and I’m hoping to get a couple of things done in the day, such as getting a basement/foundation specialist to diagnosis why my house leaks and taking my car to the garage to figure out why it suddenly sounds like it’s been possessed by a family of crickets.

And that’s it with me. How are all of you?

posted in All About Me, Everwood, Friends, Frivolous Fandom, Rejuvenating the Soul, Resident Life, Social Life, Those Rare Days Off | 0 Comments

27th May 2009

Posted with (minimal) comment

New York = fabulous.

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I conquered NYC. And managed to do it without meds, thank you very much. It helped that I saw and experienced most of it from a double-decker bus and ferry, but I still did it.

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I did not get to see any Broadway musicals (it didn’t fit in to plans very well, was horridly expensive, and I hated Times Square so much that the thought of lingering there to try to grub for cheap tickets made me want to cry. Perhaps once it’s closed to automotive traffic, it’ll be more manageable (ha!)), nor any of the museums, so that will have to wait until next time.

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I took 569 pictures. The majority of them are crap. Taking pictures from a bus means that I have lovely pictures of stoplights, and people’s heads as we were jolted around. The rest are exposed badly as I moved from shade to bright sunshine and didn’t always remember to correct.

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Sam’s baby is delicious. Seriously contemplated sticking her someplace in my luggage, but then realized that since it was all carry-on, I’d be discovered before I made it very far.

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All in all, a fantastic weekend. Too short as always.

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Select photos can be found here and here

**
This weekend, I am visiting Susan and her own delicious child, Alice, and we are finally, finally going to go country dancing. Susan has also arranged a date for me (!!) with a guy who is excited about the prospect of english dancing(!?!!!), which sounds too good to be true, but I am optimistic nonetheless. And on Sunday night/Monday morning, my parents arrive in town for a week’s vacation. Which means I should have spent tonight cleaning rather than fussing with my pictures, eh?

posted in All About Me, Cuteness Overload, Friends, Photography, Social Life, Susan, Those Rare Days Off | 3 Comments

21st May 2009

twenty-four hours

In twenty-four hours, I will be in Hoboken, New Jersey, settling in the “spare room” of Sam’s new apartment and cooing over Miss Megs. Her hair, I’ve been assured, is still delightfully long and poofy and she still adores her toes.

In twenty-four hours, we’ll finalize plans of what we will see over my seventy-two hour visit. We’re attempting to fit in a Broadway musical, a 2 hour boat tour around the island, a stroll through central park, a visit to Gray Papaya (I’ve been spoiled by the Milwaukee brats, I’m not sure that New York’s dogs can live up to it), a museum or two, seeing another friend (who’s husband is visiting for the weekend, so they may not be around), and lots and lots of baby time.

I’m still packing. Have another load or two of laundry to do. Just finished eating (I love corn). Trying to decide if I should bring my laptop (long trip without it, but want to be light on the luggage). Decisions, procrastinated decisions.

I’m on psychiatry consults this month. My coworkers have called this “great immersion therapy” for my phobia. We’ll see. Immersion or not, I decided I couldn’t do it without meds. I’m hoping that it’ll be better through a camera lens, but I’m not sure. Hence the back up, so I don’t have a melt down in the middle of the street. I’m still worried and on the verge of hyperventilation if I think about it too much.

New York, New York. Here we go!

posted in Friends, The Great USA, Those Rare Days Off | 7 Comments

12th May 2009

what a different some post-production editing can do

I went to see Chris this weekend. He moves in just a little over a month. I have so little time off between now and then, that I’m not sure if I will get to see him before he leaves. So I’ve been grabbing whatever chances I have, even if its just a short Sunday afternoon visit. We had lunch with his surgery colleagues, watched a movie (Kramer vs Kramer, which I had never seen. I think the movie’s overall story means less now than it did 25 years ago), looked at pictures from their trip to India, went for a walk, ate decent Mexican food, and just had a quiet visit. My favorite visits with my friends are exactly like this, being immersed in the mundane, everyday moments. Gretchen asked questions about life in medical school, and once I stopped teasing Chris about his “player” reputation, I struggled to answer them. The junior high-like sagas seem so surreal and so long ago, that it’s difficult to find the right words to convey why those events meant so much, changed so much. Without the fallout from Candice, without the literal shunning from that group so that Chris was the only one who talked to me for months, we wouldn’t have been as good of friends and in all likelihood, he’d be decorating my Facebook friend hall of fame, and not much else. Strange how little, stupid things like that can alter an entire life…

Anyway, I attempted to take pictures of Chris and Gretchen, capture them in tender moments. Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be advertising my services any time soon as a professional photographer, as I completely forgot until after I had shot 5-6 pictures that I had adjusted the shutter speed to take pictures in the bright spring sunshine, which didn’t translate very well to florescent lighting. All of the pictures were crap. With the magic tools of photoshop, I did manage to salvage this:

and turn it into this:

Still grainy, but so much improved, I’m rather impressed with myself. 🙂 The others are completely worthless though.

A few other (entirely unedited) pictures from this weekend can be found here.

And now that my headache has finally dissipated, I am returning to bed. I do love the (very, very rare) rotations where coming in just before nine is perfectly reasonable.

posted in Chris, Friends, Photography, Social Life, Those Rare Days Off | 0 Comments

9th May 2009

what i’ve been up to

A visit to Chicago and meeting my favorite musician, Vienna Teng.

From Vienna Teng

Back to the Grand Geneva resort, this time with my internal medicine peeps. I’m going to miss these people.

From Medicine retreat – 2009

A murder mystery party. There is a serious lack of pencil-thin mustaches these days.

From Great Uncle Seymour’s Birthday Party

I’ve taken over 2000 pictures with my camera since I got in December. To say that I love it is an understatement. If I die, I may end up bequeathing all of my earthly belongings to it. My friend, Vaishali’s husband brought his D300 to the medicine retreat, which is such a massive camera compared to mine (it weighed a ton. I’d never be able to keep it steady) and, it took beautiful pictures, but I think mine does a good job too and will be even better once I get more practice and become a better photographer. He lent me his 50mm f1/8 lens for the evening though, and oh, that is heavenly. It is going to be my next (and likely last as I can’t really see needing anything else) lens, I’m just saving my pennies. My next project is learning how to create high dynamic range landscapes; I took some photos during that rainstorm a couple of weeks ago, when my basement was flooding again and if I had known that HDR existed then, the pictures would have been phenomenal, instead of just pretty.

From Wisconsin spring

posted in All About Me, Friends, Milwaukee, Photography, Social Life, Those Rare Days Off | 6 Comments

8th April 2009

budding neurologist

Today, I woke up and thought to myself that for the first time in almost three years, I like neurology again. I’ve taken care of some really interesting patients with diverse diseases; I’ve come up with diagnostics and differentials that my attending agreed with; and I had a chance to read so I was starting to feel like I understood the difference between polyradiculopathy and polyradiculoneuropathy (don’t ask). It didn’t hurt that we had maybe 1 consult a day, so I could really sit and think about my patients care.

Of course, right after I thought that, my pager went off nonstop all morning with new consults and complicated questions (as well as stupid questions), making me feel like a freshly chopped chicken and the love faded. It’s still there, dimly trying to stay alive. Who knows, if I manage to survive tomorrow and clinic, it might take up permanent lodging; that would be nice.

Other thing going on in my life:

  • I have just about caught up with all of the little requirements that residency piles on me. I completed the last of my dictations (it was nine months old, but, as I discovered when I dictated it, I had never even taken care of the patient and it really wasn’t my responsibility. So I suppose that evens out). I finished all of my evaluations. I’ve stayed caught up on my clinic notes (that will probably change tomorrow). So I’ve finally been able to concentrate on something else: my house. It’s been a disaster since January when I got sick for a month and was working close to the 80 hours/week limit. But this week, I went through all of the papers that I’ve collected and recycled three entire boxes of junk mail and have collected another 3 boxes of patient information that I need to bring back to the hospital for shredding. No wonder I felt like I was drowning. I’m focusing on the progress and ignoring for now the pile of dishes, the laundry that needs to be washed and all of the sweeping. All in due time.
  • My beloved mommy finished my Regency dress this weekend and mailed it on Monday. I hope to get it tomorrow. There will be pictures. 🙂
  • I had a fabulous weekend, visiting Chris and his friends. We went to the symphony (incredible pianist!) and out to eat and then made crepes the next morning as we watched Sicko. Three years ago, as a fresh idealistic medical student, the documentary might have inflamed me to action. Now, after experiencing the multiple complexities of the medical system, I am become more cynical about the likelihood of success with medical reform. Doesn’t mean that I don’t support efforts to do so, but I see much more of the pros and cons of all of the proposals. Surprisingly, Chris was as conservative about the movie’s premises as I; residency has changed him as well.
  • In any case, there is some pictorial documentation of the weekend at my Picasa site. It already hurts thinking how much I’m going to miss this.
  • I’m getting an elliptical machine and a bench press from my friend who is also moving away (*sniff*). I’m so excited to have my own little gym. Now, the bitter cold of Milwaukee won’t be an excuse to keep me from exercising AND I won’t have to endure endless ball games. As soon as my house is in order (I’m hoping this weekend) I’ll get to retrieve it.
  • It’s actually been really hard recently, thinking about all of the friends that are leaving this year. My medicine resident buddies are graduating and going on to fellowships and careers, leaving me behind for another two years.
  • I am trying to get the courage to buy tickets to visit Sam and her little one in New York over Memorial weekend. In New York. I start hyperventilating at the thought (serious phobia issues here!) but I think my love for baby Meghan’s poofy hair might win out over my fears. I may not see anything more than central park and in the inside of her apartment, and I may just be one quivering jellyfish the entire trip, but it’d be worth it. Right?

And that’s all folks. Tune in next time for another addition of Glimpses of Julia’s Oh So Boring Life.

posted in All About Me, Chris, Friends, Healthy Living, Resident Life, Social Life, Those Rare Days Off | 1 Comment

28th March 2009

-blows off dust-

Mom has a lists of blogs from family members that she follows on a regular basis. I don’t think she’s quite ready to tackle blogging herself (I can set you up if you are, Mom!) but she enjoys staying involved in the lives of family who live far away. Of course, that doesn’t work very well when the blogs don’t get updated. My sister updated her blog Feb 18 (even though she had plenty exciting news to tell), my cousins the early part of March, and me, well, I haven’t updated this since March 1. So much for my goals of writing about Tolkien.

Thanks to Mom’s persistent pestering, you now all get to hear about my very busy life.

The first part of March, I actually went on vacation. As a resident, I get 4 weeks of vacation a year (which I have to plan out a year in advance. I also have to plan out my 4-days-off-a-month 3 months in advance, which makes spontaneous outings nigh unto impossible) and I haven’t had any vacation since October. I was pretty ready for some time off, believe me.
cut to be nice to your bandwidth! Click to read and see more!

posted in All About Me, Family, Photography, Social Life, Those Rare Days Off | 3 Comments

12th February 2009

a question for my photographing peeps

Anybody out there know any good tutorials on how to figure out aperture, shutter speed, f-stops and ISO? So far, I’ve read Ken Rockwell’s tutorials on how to set up the Nikon D40 and how to use the different menus, which was very helpful, and Pioneer Woman’s tutorials, but I think I need a step-by-step explanation. What I’d really like to do is take a class through the college, but I have neither the time nor the money for that. So online it is.

I got some lovely pictures during my weekend with Susan:

Alice with dimples

but I’d like to learn how to blur the background more. And take better pictures of flying model airplanes.

Beuller? Beuller?

posted in Photography, Susan, Those Rare Days Off | 2 Comments

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