A Random Header Image
1st October 2022

Books read (July-September)

July:
Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal. My last of Chris Colfer’s audiobooks and his first book. Not sure that a journal really was the best format, but I’m going to miss his voice.
The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA’s Double Helix. In honor of the 70 year anniversary coming up, I’ve been reading a lot of books on the discovery of DNA. There was some uncomfortable fixation of Rosalind’s sexuality (much like Brenda Maddox books but she came to a completely different conclusion), and I truly loath James Watson now.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher. Oooh. A short, dark fairy tale. Highly recommend.
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. The last book published (so far) of the Gishaverse. Definitely not a stand alone novel, but overall, a satisfying end to the series and leaving room for more books.
On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi. There really aren’t that many good fictional books about being a doctor, much less about going through medical school. This really captured the stress and drama of med school.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrows. Reimagined history, some strong characters (although maybe a wee bit too much of leaning into the maiden, mother, crone archetypes), beautiful story telling.
Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World by Nina Kraus. Audiobook. Fascinating insights into how our ears and brain receive and perceive sound, and how it influences our language and cognitive development, if a bit redundant at times.
Orphan Black: The Next Chapter. Maybe a little bit of a cheat, since it’s a  episodic podcast, but it was on goodreads. I rewatched Orphan Black this spring and was eager to listen. Tatiana’s voices were amazing and I loved the new characters (her male voices were the weakest. 

August:
Heat Wave (The Extraordinaries, #3) by TJ Klune. An excellent conclusion to the trilogy and so much familial love.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. I’m not a big horror person, but I adore T’s writing. A retelling of the Fall of the House of Usher, with some cool biological explanations.
A Middle-Earth Traveller: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor  by John Howe. I loved his work for the Lord of the Rings movies, so I thought this would be a good introduction to my next audio project. Lovely sketches, some lovely behind the scenes insights.
Orphan Black: The Next Chapter (Season 2). This time, Jordan, Kristian, and Evelyn returned to voice their roles. I hope there’s another.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall. A fun little regency romp involving a trans heroine. Lots of feelings.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall. The story opens with one of my least favorite tropes: lying outrageously and then getting caught and I almost didn’t finish it, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because it really had all of the charm of the Great British Bake Off in a novel.
Husband Material by Alexis Hall. (All of my library books became available at the same time, so I read three of Alexis’s books in a week period). I had been charmed by Boyfriend Material; it wasn’t the best fake dating book that I’ve ever read, but I was invested enough that I looked for the sequel and I liked it even better than the first one. Laugh out loud hysterical, following the plot of Four Weddings and Funeral while still giving it at twist. Looking forward to Father Material.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Andy Serkis. This will be my listening project for the next year probably. Andy Serkis’s voice is amazing – deep and rich in timbre. I haven’t reread this one since early in college, it was much darker than what I remembered.
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. Terrible stories, presented in a light-hearted, easy to approach manner. I’m planning on introducing it to my family and friends because it’s a really great way to highlight the pervasiveness of racism.

September
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin. I really wanted to like this book as it was written by an emergency medicine doctor about a group of medical school friends. And I didn’t. There were parts that truly resonated, such as when one of the main characters loses a patient, but the drama was so over the top.
Ramón and Julieta by Alana Albertson. Just a sweet little Romeo and Juliet retelling. A fluffy, easy to read romance which was just want I was craving.
The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin. I checked out all three of her books at the same time, so I was really hopeful that this one would be better. And it was, but it still felt lacking. It also felt like the author was trying too hard to emphasize that “not all Christians” are homophobic, but there was still homophobic and transphobic views (one character was the definition of sassy gay friend) that belied that conclusion.
East by Edith Pattou. A reread because I found out that a sequel had been written and it had been literal years. Almost as good as I remembered, an excellent retelling of the fairy tale “East of the Sun West of the Moon.
West by Edith Pattou. I’m not sure that East really needed a sequel, but this one was well done and it completed the story.
Felix Silver, Teaspoons & Witches by Harry Cook. My god, did this book need better editors. So many sloppy mistakes.
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I started reading this 2 years ago and got distracted. A practical book, with some great real-time examples, but I’m not sure that it really made it easier to talk about race with some of my white relatives for example.
Doctors and Friends by Kimmery Martin. I almost didn’t read this because I had been so disappointed by her previous books, but I’m so glad that I did because it was the best of the 3. She started writing this book back in 2019, about a pandemic that affected the world, and it was a much deeper, emotional story than the other two (although many of the same characters were in it).
George (Melissa’s Story) by Alex Gore. Picked it up as part of Banned Books Week and you guys, I’m just tired of fake outrage. It was cute.
The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani. Sequel to Thorn, which I read earlier this year. Thorn was good, but this really developed the world. I’m excited for the 3rd book.

I may make it to a 100 books this year. *crosses fingers*

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

1st July 2022

Books for 2022

I’ve had an unofficial goal to read 52 books this year – a book a week. Last year I read 49. For most of the past 20 years, since entering med school, I’ve read at most 5-10 books a year, so it felt like an ambitious goal.

I just hit 45 books so far. Some of them have been shorter books, but still. Reading had always been my escapism – is it a good thing that it’s becoming so again?

January:
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee (hated the first book due to the protagonist but liked the secondary characters and the overall premise. Much much more enjoyable).
A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding, #1) by Freya Marske (reads exactly like a fanfic with lots of longing and emotions. A favorite.)
A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews (for a facebook book club). Victorian woman travels to India along with her not-quite-boyfriend. The descriptions were lovely, even if nothing happened the majority of the book.
Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) Intisar Khanani. A Muslim retelling of The Goose Girl. Really original and well told; the sequels are on my list for the year.

February:
The Last Cuentista by Donna Higuera (my friend recommended the day before the Newberry Medal was announced).
Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justine Ireland (I am such a squeamish person that the fact that I read a zombie book AND it’s sequel says something). The sequel was not as good as the first book, but it ended satisfactorily.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed. I didn’t love it quite as much as everybody else has.

March:
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. A book of prose/almost poetry. Just lovely.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I watched Shadow and Bone on Netflix and really loved it, so I had to find the books. It’s a really enjoyable series, just different enough from the tv series to keep them exciting.
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall (started it in February for Black History Month, finished in March).
A Tale of Magic read by Chris Colfer. A year ago, I started listening to Chris Colfer’s books on the way to and from work. My commute’s only 15 minutes away, so I don’t make a lot of progress. Chris is an excellent voice actor, and while his books aren’t high literature, they are engaging and his characters live.
Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall. I read Boyfriend Material last year which I liked. I didn’t like this one as much, but it ended better than it started.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Sequel to Shadow and Bone. Definitely a middle book.

April:
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Conclusion to Shadow and Bone. I didn’t dislike the ending; I also thought that it was weak.
A Tale of Witchcraft read by Chris Colfer. Another middle book. His descriptions of teenage love are so hilariously earnest.
Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox (again started for Women’s History Month in March…). Rosalind Franklin is a bit of an ideal of mine. This book frustratingly focused on answering whether or not she was pretty.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher. A random find and what a great one. A baker with a little bit of magic has to defend his city. It’s a younger adult book, but it doesn’t shy from hard topics, such a death and poverty.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn (facebook book club). Hunting down Nazis after the war – told both in flashbacks and current time, with the flashbacks getting closer and closer to current time.
So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens. I loved their Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic, so I couldn’t wait to read other books. This one was so delightfully tropey- happily ever afters, soulmates, misunderstandings. Perfect.
Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. After A Wizard’s Guide, I had to read others of her books. This was the first book of a trilogy of related books. One of those where I couldn’t put it down from nearly the first page.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. Another charming story.
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while – an epistolary story where every chapter loses a letter that the townspeople can use. It felt very fitting for this authoritarian world we’re getting into.

May: 
A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow – I love fractured fairytales and this one was a fun novella.
A Tale of Sorcery read by Chris Colfer (audiobook). The last book of his “Tale Of” series and it was a satisfying tie-up to the series.
Hyperbole and A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh. I loved her blog back in the day and her comics would have me gasping for air. They weren’t quite as funny now, and I’m not sure why.
What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon. I still have complex feelings about this book.
Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Kaz my beloved. Inej my beloved. Nina my beloved. Jesper my beloved.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Jaigirdar Adiba. Sweet, if not very deep.
Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher. It took me way too long to figure out the twist. But it was worth it.
Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher. Hot. So hot.

June:
I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson. A great idea (exboyfriends fake-dating) and so poorly executed.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. A direct continuation of Six of Crows – so many twists I did not see coming.
Stranger Than Fanfiction read by Chris Colfer (audiobook). It’s not Shakespeare, but man, do I love hearing him make his characters come to life. I still have thoughts about the ending.
Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher. I love these stories about ordinary people with just a touch of magic.  
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Nina my beloved.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer. I read this in a day – really absorbing while reading it, falls apart if you spend too long thinking about the premise.
Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher. I love this world. I love these complex, world-weary, broken women and men who come together to try to save their world.
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher. I had to wait for the Wonder Engine to be available from the library. I need the sequels now.
A Mirror Mended by Alix Harrow. A Spindle Splintered didn’t need a sequel and I’m not sure that this was the sequel that should have been written.
The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher. An excellent finish to the series.
Here’s To Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. I really didn’t like What If It’s Us that much – the characters were too young and differentiating between their first person perspectives was iffy. This was much better. I still would have made them a touch older, but it works.
One Last Stop by Casy McQuiston. I liked Red, White, and Royal Blue better and I wasn’t expecting a time-travel story. Still there was a lot of atmosphere and sweetness to the story.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. I really liked this although I still have so many questions. But this captured the feel of the outer Sunset district of San Francisco and made me homesick.

Midyear book review:

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

9th June 2022

Anne-Doll

For my latest knitting project, I have been making a doll. I started knitting it a year ago in February and have been working on it in small bursts before setting it aside again. The instructions have not been the easiest to follow. I actually had to redo the head because the first version was too small and stretched too much with the stuffing. It’s much better, but now my dolly is top heavy and won’t stand.

I still have the face and hair to do. I’m deciding between a rag doll type of yarn or a mohair that would make more realistic looking hair. I’m probably going to make them both up and decide which one I like better. Stay tuned…

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

8th May 2022

Better

It’s Day 6 since I was diagnosed/day 7 and a half since I first started getting the first hint of symptoms. I am feeling better, so much better. I started feeling dramatically better on Thursday, after I took the 3rd dose of Paxlovid. Fevers stopped, congestion improved. The sore throat has completely gone this morning and while I still have some congestion/post-nasal drip causing a cough once in a while, it’s also improved. My rapid antigen test is still positive, although less strongly, so I’m still in isolation.

I guess I’m getting used to the taste too, although I’m going to be so so so glad to be done after tonight and I’ve sucked on so many mints and cough drops in these last few days. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the terrible lingering taste, I’d be all taking these for other colds/flus.

I haven’t done anything productive really. I was going to use my time in isolation to write or catch up on books or TV and I’ve barely done any of that. I’ve watched The Big Family Cooking Showdown and Heartstopper, shows that take little mental energy to engage.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

4th May 2022

Day 2

A sore throat kept waking me through the night. Today I’ve been dealing with a sore throat, raspy voice, increasing sinus congestion, cough, and aching ears, but the low grade fever is a little better. I’m just wiped out. The oxygen sats are remaining high, which I’m checking twice a day. Along with getting up every hour or so so I don’t get blood clots.

I started Paxlovid today and as warned, I developed a really terrible metallic taste in my mouth about an hour or two afterwards. Drinking mint and lemon tea helps; the taste just comes back when I’m done. I just had my sister go and get some mints and see if that helps. It’s bearable: hospitalizations are increasing again and I’m not going to be that person who says “I’m going to be fine!” and then find myself in the ED.

I cancelled all of my meetings today that I could have attended since they were virtual and have just been lounging around. I’ve had colds and flus where I’ve felt sicker and dragged my body to work AND I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE SO. It’s 5 days off of work, somebody’s covering my weekend shifts, and I’m going to aggressively rest.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

3rd May 2022

Positively

I had a fabulous weekend at a Mormon feminist women’s retreat, where I was open and vulnerable with women whom I have come to love. I gave a devotional about my faith journey, which I may share here. I sang at karaoke night and again at the devotional and my throat felt just the tiniest bit scratchy. I took a Covid test and it was negative and I just caulked it up to allergies or voice irritation.

Last night, I was kept up all night with low grade fevers.

It was blatantly positive within 5 minutes of adding the drops.

So I’m holed up in my bedroom for the next 5 days. My sister is bringing me food and we’re really hoping that I didn’t exposure her. I’ve got a prescription for Paxlovid that I’ll pick up tomorrow, as hospitalizations are increasing.

I’ve got sinus pressure and low grade headaches and just feel wiped out.

Ugh.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

18th March 2022

Help Julia Paint Her House

Painting the house has been high on my list of must-dos since I bought the house – the wood is starting to warp and really, really needs a protective coating over it, or I’m going to have to replace all of the siding, which I’m not eager to do quite yet.

As a reminder, this is how my house is painted now (minus the replaced siding).

I don’t know what color it has faded to, but muddy pink brown is not my favorite.
And it’s faded unevenly as well.

I finally found a company to paint. They’ll be coming in June, but as there’s all of these world-wide supply issues, I need to be picking out colors soon.

I’m a very indecisive person. After much (so much) hemming and hawing, I finally decided on an ocean blue with white trim and sunny yellow door: something that would remind you of the sea on a perfect day. Something similar to this:

Only with a brighter, sunnier yellow door. Isn’t that cute?

However, when I went to get paint samples, they recommended very strongly not using those brilliant shades of blue on exteriors because they’ll fade within a year wherever there is sunlight and I have very uneven sunlight. Instead, they recommended “historical paint colors” that keep their colors better. Which are duller, at least on the paint chip.

So I got three samples to try out on stock paper and on the side of my house when it stops raining: a light blue, a mediumish fern green (which is lighter than I thought), and a dark purple just to see if I wanted to go dark.

I honestly thought it was going to be a decision between the less vibrant blue and the comfortable green. And then I painted the purple on my sample boards and it’s this vibrant, gorgeous color that made my heart go pitter patter.

Here’s the light blue called Emily, with white trim and a yellow door. Not quite the “sea on a sunny day” but not terrible either.

Basically the original thought, only with a lighter and a little more muted blue. The blue does look more sky blue when dried.
I’m not sure about the white, to be honest. I think it’s all too pale.
Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

3rd February 2022

Testing crossposting.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

31st December 2021

End of the year reflections

TV shows watched: The Great British Bakeoff, Shadow and Bone, Bridgerton, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ted Lasso, Long Way Round, Long Way Down, Long Way Up, Star Trek Discovery, The Mandalorian (season 1), Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki (am I missing any?)

Movies watched: Tick, Tick … Boom, Single All the Way, The Prom, Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Come From Away, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Love Hard. I did not go to the movie theater (they didn’t open up here until June).

Concerts attended: none (cries in pandemic forever). II know I did a virtual concert but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was.

Musicals/Theater attended (masks and vaccination proof required): Jesus Christ Superstar, Mean Girls, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Music listened to: I don’t do spotify so I have nothing “unwrapped.” Adele, Andrew Belle’s latest album, Darren Criss’s EP Masquerade and A Very Darren Crissmas, Lil Nas X’s Montero (Call Me By Your Name).

Favorite tiktoks/youtube follows: Dr. Glaucomflecken, B Dylan Hollis, Nerdforge

Fanfic written: I finished off the last 4 chapters of sure like never before in January and February and then I spent the rest of the year writing these inconvenient fireworks, which I finished the last week in November. 52,000 words this year.

Books read: Sometime near the start of the pandemic in 2020, I joined a facebook group dedicated to reading Rilla of Ingleside, which triggered a rekindling in my interest in books. As a former book worm, it’s rather astonishing how little books I’ve read in the last decade – I’ve read many other things, newspapers and magazines and fanfiction, but very few books.

I set a goal of reading 20 books this year. I surpassed that and read 49 books this year (I don’t think I’ll get to 50 by midnight.

You can read all of my reviews on goodreads.

Favorite book: The House In the Cerulean Sea. By far. I spent the rest of the year trying to recapture the feeling that that book gave me.

Book that I thought I had read before but most definitely did not and it haunted me forever and I’m still not sure if I understand what happened. Liar. No really, what was that ending?

Word I can happily never see again in a plus-size romance: voluptuous (I think plus-sized romances aren’t my thing).

Book everybody should read: The Sum of Us. Really well-written and researched.

Books attempted but did not finish:
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky. I had forgotten how much I had hated the protagonist in the first book (I liked the plot! I liked the secondary characters. I hated Monty.) and couldn’t get through it. And I just got The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy from the library – we’ll see if the third times the charm.
The Essex Serpent. I tried. It’s going to be a movie. Maybe I’ll watch it and then try again.

Number of camping trips: 2 (Oregon coast and Wyoming).

Number of plane trips: 2 (Utah/Wyoming for camping with the family in July, and Arizona to see the family in October. Hopefully maybe more in 2022?)

Weather disasters endured: ice storm in February, heat domes in June and July, atmospheric rivers in September.

Number of houses bought: 1

Number of houses bought and regretted: …. zero?

Number of repairs still needed on house: *cries*

Number of items knitted: 3 scarves, the body of a doll which is still dismembered…

Amount of yarn purchased: *shifty eyes*.

All of the books by genre below the cut…

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

2nd November 2021

the common denominator

When I was cleaning up the cross-post yesterday, because the wordpress plug-in I use always leaves all of these spaces between each paragraph, I accidentally clicked on one of the tag links on the side bar. Liz. My old college friend and roommate. Two posts down, I noticed that I had said something about how she was moving out.

I have absolutely no recollection of that happening. None.

My memory from those years, when I was in med school and trying to keep from drowning, was that she moved out when she got married six months when I was in Kenya, about 6 months before I graduated. The entries I made about her moving out were in May 2004, nearly two years before then.

I keep searching through my memories and I can’t recall where she lived. Did I visit her? Her sisters lived with me at some point, both of them. Was that before or after?

I don’t like these holes.

I’m … not doing well emotionally. Just this feeling that the earth keeps turning and I just … ride. I can’t separate out the years from each other – even this pandemic has now become where its existed forever.

I’m lonely. I live with my sister and we get along for the most part, so that’s a help in terms of being around other humans. But I only have one friend here that I see on a regular basis. Work colleagues I’ll meet up with dinner once every few months or longer and that died with the pandemic too.

Nearly all of my friendships from college and med school have withered and died. I’m still friends with Liz. I stay with her when I visit SLC, which may be why I was so stunned to read that we had had such a falling out 15 years ago. It’s a long distance friendship though and we’re not as close as we once were.

I haven’t heard from Chris in a year – I texted him a couple of times during those early months in the pandemic when he was getting slammed and he called once. His youngest was born with down syndrome three years ago. We talked a few weeks after she was born and he never mentioned it. I found out from a news article that his wife posted three months later after the baby had undergone some sort of medical procedure. It hurt too much to try to preserve that friendship, when it was all one-sided.

It’s been a year since my last conversation with Susan, where it felt like I had forced her into talking to me as a birthday present. I haven’t tried again.

They’re all gone now.

I had made my peace years ago about never having a romantic partner because I had been so richly blessed with these deep friendships. Just a few short years ago, I would make road trip plans, where I could see everybody and those plans would become longer and longer as I tried to fit everybody in.

I try not to dwell on the fact that there is something fundamentally wrong with me, but it’s been festering, destroying me from the inside. I’m the common denominator, after all. And I don’t know what to do about that.

posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on the common denominator

1st November 2021

I swore I’d never get a stash

Pictured: yarn I bought in the last 2 days

I also never thought that I’d have favorite yarns, but these definitely are very high up on the list. Rasta by Malabrigo, thick, bulky single ply merino wool in utterly delicious colors and feels like you’re knitting clouds. I made two scarves last year with it for my mom and dad:

The scarves were a lot of fun to knit – a simple pattern that knit up quickly but still looked complex and easy to tell where I made a mistake. I think I’m going to try some different patterns this time.

I can knit 4 scarves by Christmas, yeah?

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

24th July 2021

The years start coming and they don’t stop

The years start coming and they don't stop

It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that it’s been 20 years since I graduated college, 15 years since I graduated medical school, and 10 years since I finished residency.

I honestly can’t take in those numbers.

Three of my college friends have kids who just graduated high school, the first of my friend group. Thankfully none of them have become grandparents yet , but that probably isn’t too far off.

I don’t like aging. My hips hurt, my back is a mess of clenching, radiating pain. My hand, injured nearly 5 years ago, stiffens when writing my endless notes and will never be back to how it was before the injury and surgery. I haven’t had anybody say in a voice of disbelief that I’m too young to be a doctor for years now. I’m firmly middle-aged now.

I was reading over some of my posts from back when I was in medical school and in residency today, when I flirted with Cute Intern in my sleep-deprived state and tried to figure out how to have a social life. I miss those friends. We are so far flung these days with only a few comments on facebook to keep us in touch.

I went home last week for a week of vacation – went to Wyoming with my family, including my sister and her kids, to go camping and do some hiking (well they did. My body does not tolerate much hiking in the heat), and then to Utah for a couple of days. I got together with my Plethora friends prior to flying out – getting together with them does feel timeless.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

11th May 2021

Here we go again

Ten years ago (what), I moved from Milwaukee and put my house up for sale, because I couldn’t afford to supplement the cost of owning a home while renting in San Francisco. It didn’t sell. It took 10 months of negotiations and finding another agent and the bank threatening me with foreclosure before I finally got closure through a short sale. It ruined my credit for years and was such a horrible, soul-sucking, terrible experience that I swore off home ownership forever.

Fast forward a year or so later. I got my dream job in Portland, OR, and I flew out to look at apartments and houses to rent in May before I started. It was really discouraging with not a lot of options in the neighborhoods that I wanted. The day before I left, I stumbled across a new listing for a little bungalow on a quiet street and I managed to tract down the landlord and rented it on the spot. It was a cute place, but quite small. Later, I would find out that it was a sauna in the summer with no air movement and had mice that haunted me and freezing toilet pipes and windows that didn’t close in the bedroom and a foundation that was sagging into the earth. Multiple problems. So many problems. A couple of years later, my landlord threatened me with selling it, didn’t, and then jacked up the price, making me start to look again to move.

When I moved to Portland, I drove with my parents from Utah with a UHaul and we leaped frogged with another UHaul the entire way – and then they turned down the same little road where I was moving, just a few houses up. And that’s how I first got to know Mitch and Julie and their darling little girls. Mitch had moved here for medical school and we all became friends. A couple of years later they moved to a bigger house just next door and one summer I watered their plants while they were gone and I fell in love with the twilight walk down the little driveway to the hidden house framed with trees. When we’d visit, I loved the lofted ceiling and sky lights and the much bigger size, so when Mitch matched for residency in Florida, I pounced on getting info from their landlord. Two months later, Karin and I moved in.

Fast forward to the middle of February this year, (two days after a major ice storm that left me without power for 30 hours and dropped a tree that broke my driver side mirror, btw), my landlord informed me that he was selling the house where I’ve lived for the last 3 and a half years, which sent me into a panic.

The short story is that I ended up purchasing the house because in the end it was the best option of really terrible options. The housing market in Portland is insane and the rental market equally so and has gotten worse in the last couple of months and you add in a pandemic – well, you get the picture.

The house has flaws. It’s a quirky house with weird angles. I hate the stupid squatty garage that doesn’t fit my car. The little driveway is a beast to get out of when there’s the slightest amount of snow and there’s no real turning space so I have to back down it every day. The yard is all deck, layers of deck, so much deck that hasn’t been properly maintained for years. But I still love the skylights and the little window seat in the bedroom that overlooks the trees and I love my neighbors and I love the neighborhood and none of its flaws are as bad as that first house.

I’m not exactly happy about becoming a homeowner again. I think, and nothing has convinced me otherwise in the last decade since I had to short sell my home in Milwaukee, that home ownership is a sham. I don’t think homes should be this expensive and I’m a little mad that I’m getting into this again and hoping beyond hope that the housing market won’t collapse on me again. And even as the “best option” buying this house was traumatizing and horrible. My landlord, whom I had had a fairly decent relationship with before, in that he was responsive to things needing to be fixed promptly, became a manipulative dick. He gave me 2 days notice that he was coming by to take pictures of the place to list it with an open house that weekend, then did a “”I’d love to sell it to you but I need to see what I’m going to get and then we can talk,” changed his mind the next day and said “why don’t you just buy it and we won’t do the open house, etc,” gave me an offer, and then pulled a “oh hey the neighbors want to buy it and they’ll pay me $20,000 more” bullshit. The appraisal from the bank was delayed – first, the appraisal guy quit two weeks later, before submitting the report so the entire process had to be repeated, and then, the second appraiser stating that the dry rot on the back deck had to be fixed prior to issuing the loan. My landlord refused to pay for the cost of the repair (it eventually came out of my security deposit) and when it finally was “repaired,” it was shoddily and incompletely done. But it was enough that the bank finally approved the loan and I closed a couple of weeks ago.

I have to have the gutters cleaned and the drain pipes replaced because water is pooling at the edges of the house and there’s a small amount of water in the crawlspace. The decks need to be replaced, but with lumbar at such a premium price right now, I’m hoping to get a few of the still rotting boards replaced, and then the whole thing pressure-washed, sanded and then stained, so I can get a couple more years out of it. I need to repaint the exterior because it’s got algae and needs better protection and probably hasn’t been repainted in the 35 years since it was built. Maybe after that, I can relax a little bit.

Enjoy the pictures that were taken for the listing – we did a mad amount of cleaning for 48 hours straight to get it “open house” ready. The nicest thing about this whole thing was that I didn’t have to move again.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”New” House”]

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

1st January 2021

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I have been looking forward to days of more sun for a while now. I’m a night owl in general and I find comfort in the night usually. I work so much at night and I love my drives home, especially when it’s a little foggy and the street lamps make halos in the haze. But this year. This year has been one of sleepless nights and bleak days, where I’ve struggled to connect or do anything important. It’s been hard to be positive about anything in a world of lies and conspiracy theories, when I’ve come to despise people that used to be family (it’s true that the falling out happened years ago, but it felt more “in my face” this year seeing how little they cared on posted on social media).

So this year, I lit a candle and watched the solstice dawn over Stonehenge and listened to Loreena McKennitt and the world has felt a little brighter since then.

A foggy morning at Stonehenge. Appropriate for this year, as things slowly become brighter.

Karin and I made a “Christmas tree” out of the yarn swift. I thought it was quite festive.

I’m quite aware that the marking of a year is an arbitrary thing, that the earth rotates around the sun, which rotates around the galaxy, which rotate around more galaxies, regardless of whether we humans acknowledge it or not. And yet, there’s is something hopeful about turning a page and starting afresh.

Happy new year, my dear friends. So glad to still be here, with you, on another rotation.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

18th December 2020

a tiny morsel of hope

#notthrowingawaymyshot

Today may be the happiest day of this entire year.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

29th November 2020

Fiber arts and crafts

Fiber arts and crafts

About a year and a half ago, I took up knitting. I had try to teach myself how to knit several years ago and had started to make a scarf and hated it, so I stopped. But at my grandmother’s funeral, my cousin was knitting a hat and I was utterly mesmerized as she swiftly moved yarn across needles and created magic. And my therapist had suggested that I look into some creative outlets as she thought that creating something beautiful and keeping my mind engaged with the project might help me with my anxiety swirls (she was right). So I invested in some good circular needles and visited a local yarn shop and found some pretty soft yarn and a pretty pattern and taught myself how to do cables, which made knitting so much more interesting that my previous scarf. And I made myself mittens. And then a matching hat.

My first mitten. I’m still darn proud of those cables!
The hat is a little tight for my head and the gloves are a little big and floppy and I utterly love them. (it’s not very visible here, but the hat has the same cables as the gloves.
Me modeling my hat at Arches National Park – it does not go well with my scarf at all, but I love the cables.

I made my mom a hat and matching mittens last year for Christmas:

My second hat for my mom. It’s called a “honeycomb” pattern and was super easy to knit up.
Same yarn as the hat – lighting makes such a difference (it’s closer to accurate here).
Look Ma, they’re glittens!
My mom with her hat and glittens.

I started the year trying to make socks. My friends recommended that I start with baby socks. I had a co-worker who was having a baby, so I thought it would make a great present. My first sock would have fit a toddler. I ripped it out. The second who fit a 30 week old premie. I hated the cast on (always my least favorite of any project). I hated the knitting. The pandemic happened and I lost interest in knitting with all of the other stresses in my life as these socks were not bringing me joy. So I’ve put down the socks. Maybe I’ll come back to them because the yarns are so pretty.

So instead, this fall, I started knitting up this scarf with a variegated cotton yarn that I thought was going to be a lot more blue/brown than what it ended up being (it was a lot of brown/blue – but I had a lot of Qualms when I say that massive bit of yellow in the middle. I’m still a little uncertain about the colors but oh well). I’ve really loved this project, despite multiple times of messing up on my counting and having to rip out a row or two.

It’s called “Changing Staircases” as has alternating sections of stockinette and lacework.

My next projects are hopefully a matching scarf for my mom for Christmas (still deciding on a pattern), a cardigan for me with really really soft alpaca/silk yarn that was on clearance (also looking for a pattern), and an Anne Shirley like doll that I found on ravelry. I’m nervous about the doll, as it will require small stitches and a precise gauge and I tend to wing it. More techniques to learn. If it goes well, I’ll make a matching doll for my niece.

A recent pic of me. Who knew that. I would still be dealing with zits at 42?

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

22nd November 2020

On Beings Friends

“A bosom friend–an intimate friend–a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul.” ~Anne of Green Gables

I know, I know, yet another banner proclaiming that “herein lie tantalizing secrets that you don’t know about.” I’ve been hesitant to “friend only” this journal, because I love wandering around the journals and reading about people’s interests and lives. It astonishes me how honest we can be in this forum – and with people that we have never met in real life. I love that, it’s probably why I am so addicted to lj.

However, I am also aware of how … perilous the internet can be; how that same honesty could have serious repercussions if I reveal too much about my personal life. And from the beginning, I’ve screened certain entries that I didn’t want the random stranger to see, or even the real life person who might take it in the wrong context. In the next (several weeks, probably), I’ll be going through and making more entries friends only.

So, please comment here, if we have shared interests and just tell me a little about yourself. I’m sure we are kindred spirits just waiting to discover each other!

posted in Uncategorized | 56 Comments

22nd July 2019

summertime sum-up

Hi friends!

Just popping in to let you know that I’m alive and around and still chugging along. My plans to catch up and stay caught up never comes to fruition. Someday, maybe?

My summer is busy. I’m going to try to go up for Associate Professor this year, if I get everything together, but honestly, everything has been falling apart and it’s really stressing me out and I’m not sure I’m going to go through it. Maybe. We’ll see.

I just completed my 6th year working at OHSU. My neurosurgery interns that I taught my first year are now the chiefs and it’s just so satisfying seeing them become competent and thoughtful and compassionate physicians. Granted, I’ve had several years of residents graduate, but these two were my little nestlings. I keep holding onto that, rather than thinking about the next decade + of fighting about sodium levels.

I also got a new work title that comes with money (that doesn’t go directly to me – academics, man) and supposed protected time. I’m now with Epic Physician Informaticist for the critical care units, which means that I’m doing more training to understand the workings of our electronic medical record and to be the liaison between the computer analysts and the physicians. So far, it’s translated to a lot more meetings. But it’s really making me think more seriously about getting a graduation certificate or master’s degree in medical informatics, which I’ve been toying with for the last couple of years.

No real travel plans (see above about promotion), but I did get to go home and play with my niblings for a few days. We went camping and walked the creek and played Exploding Kittens over and over and over and over. Love them.

I recently recorded a podcast with A Thoughtful Faith about being a critical care physician and witnessing death and how it’s influenced my beliefs and faith that some of you might be interested in. It was a really lovely conversation with Gina Colvin (the host of the podcast) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I unfortunately, am completely unable to ever listen to myself on audio so I don’t know how it all sounds, but the feedback on facebook has been encouraging.

Here’s the blurb:

What is death when you are on the other side of Mormon orthodoxy when the belief system you might have inherited might not serve you well any longer?

When our former stories of death and dying tire, what frames of meaning-making take their place?

In this reconstructing death series, I talk with a range of LDS spiritual, palliative and health care professionals whose work is with those at the threshold of death. Each of them explores their evolving understandings of dying and death as a result of both their professional work and their personal faith development.

My guests reflect on their refreshed understandings of death which we hope helps furnish us with new and enriched perspectives and stories about death that support our ‘falling upward’ (as Fr Richard Rohr calls it) into our second half of life spirituality.

You can listen to it here: Reconstructing Death. I really could have talked for another hour. I’d love to know what you think.

And that’s the sum up? How are you doing?

 

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

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

 

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

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”]

 

 

 

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

  • Julia’s Journal

  • Just an ordinary girl.
  • Monthly Calendar

  • October 2022
    S M T W T F S
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • Archives

  • RSS Red Head Snippet

    • Books read (July-September) October 2, 2022
      July:Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal. My last of Chris Colfer’s audiobooks and his first book. Not sure that a journal really was the best format, but I’m going to miss his voice.The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA’s Double Helix. In honor of the 70 […]