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30th October 2021

Update

Update

Luckily, only about 15-20 feet of siding will need to be replaced, rather than the 50 that I had feared. The rest of the siding look okay – there was flashing over the foundation further down that drew a lot of the moisture away. I’ll be getting the siding replaced in late January. In the meantime, there’s now a railing so people don’t fall and some plastic to protect the foundation until I can get a landscaper to come in and build a french drain and grate it. I’m thinking about putting down paver stones or tiles, with planters maybe, to make the space more usable and attractive – give me your thoughts!

I had the back portion of the fence removed to access the area. I might put up a gate there, I don’t know.

I also installed a new bit of railing on the front deck. It looks a little awkward, but I’ve had three people miss the two steps when they’ve visited and fall and it’s only because they were friends/family that they didn’t sue.

The gutters got cleaned out thoroughly, though, which is a huge worry off my plate. It should help with the water that collected in the crawl space last spring (and probably collecting again this fall). The downspouts still need to be fixed as does the chimney flashing.

I got somebody to come by to give an estimate for painting the house. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard back. I messaged another company to get an estimate, you know, so I can make an informed, compared decision, and also have heard nothing. It’s majorly frustrating.

I just realized that I didn’t show you all pictures of the deck after it was power washed. It looks good. There’s still a few boards that need to be replaced but I should be able to replace those and get it stained and sealed this spring.

I’ve mentioned that my house is all deck, right?
Before
After
Back deck and landing

All this to just get the house to a “maintained” level.

posted in Adventures in Home Ownership | 0 Comments

25th April 2009

4,600, but who’s counting?

After the symphony, we met up for dinner and drinks. The conversation turned away from surgery and medicine and into the impact that the failing economy was having on us. Chris joked about how when I started residency, he had pushed me to buy a house for the financial investment (it was encouraged to most of us freshly graduated medical students) and a year later, when he was in the same position, he had decided against it and how glad he was that he hadn’t bought a house.

“How much has your house lost in value?” One of the group asked me.

“I don’t know,” I demurred, “I’m not selling it for another two years at least and I figured I’d save my heart the stress test.” Besides, I reasoned, the housing market had never been as profitable in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is very much a blue-collared city and the home values and resell reflect that. Surely, it could weather the storm a little better.

The City of Milwaukee decided, however, that they would have none of this blissful ignorance, thank you very much. Since I am the one paying taxes on the property, they felt it was their duty to inform me of their recent appraisal of my property and sent me a nice official letter (in purple ink. I applaud the creative and aesthetic touch). Net Change: -4,600. Ouch.

My first thought: “Hey, that means my taxes will go down!”

The COM may have thought that they were bringing doom and gloom, but they hadn’t ever encountered the little orphan annie who resides prominently in my frontal lobe. For my raspberry bushes have sprung the first leaves of green this week and I have tiny rhubarb shoots popping through the ground and a garage door that now locks. You just can’t get better than that, even if the CoM has decided that it’s worth less this year.

posted in Adventures in Home Ownership, All About Me | 2 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. πŸ™‚
  • 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

19th December 2008

disappointment

It snowed approximately 12-14 inches here, I think, based on the amount of snow that I had to trudge through when I came home post call. The roads around my house had not been plowed (although my alley had. Bless private businesses!) and I got stuck about three times before someone came behind me in a jeep and pushed me out. I then went and parked on the main street, waded back through the snow and cleared out my garage and sidewalks. By then (2.5 hours later), more cars had been through, packing it tighter, and I was able to slide my car into my garage. I’m not sure that I could get out at this point.

I was supposed to drive to Illinois tonight. Even with all of the set backs from my furnace disaster, I sitll looked forward to the weekend of sewing and dancing; Susan had recruited a seamstress friend to help with making the bodice of the dress, thus guaranteeing that it’d be done in a day and I had visions of lingering touches and smoldering eyes. I kept those dreams alive as I fervently rounded and staffed my patients this morning. And then I arrived home and confronted the wintry mess from which the hospital walls had protected me and read that not only was there still a winter storm warning out, it was extending throughout the weekend, creating blizzard conditions and icy roads. So we canceled our plans; I’m completely bummed.

I’m still going to try making the dress tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have a new dress for church on Sunday. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy: set up my antenna for digital TV, update my blog to 2.7 so I can finally release it to the public, laundry (always laundry), clinic notes and evaluations, five hours of Pride and Prejudice to watch (if I can’t dance, I’m at least going to get into the spirit), etc.

Right now, though, I’m so exhausted and depressed, I think I’m making it an early night.

(posted the next day, because I fell asleep.)

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2nd December 2008

100 Things

Felt like wasting time. I have to go to bed now, because I’m on call yet again tomorrow, and am still feeling sleep deprived and we’re rounding early. (As an aside, it is supposed to snow all day tomorrow, meaning I have to dig myself out again post-call before I can sleep. And more head traumas as people slide on slick roads which translates to more 4 am consults from neurosurgery when they decide that they don’t want to operate after all with means less sleep. Am somewhat bitter at Mother Nature who is not doing a great job of nurturing right now.)

1. Started your own blog (I have several right now. Most are just mirrors of my original livejournal, but I do have my own that will be revealed officially to the public as soon as WP 2.7 is released and working properly).
2. Slept under the stars (Several times)
3. Played in a band (I jammed with my 8th grade guitar class but I don’t think we ever made a band)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
Read more

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27th November 2008

Thanksgiving

I went to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. When I called her yesterday to confirm, she mentioned that there was not going to be any pumpkin pie served. No pie! I almost took back my RSVP. Luckily, another friend invited me over this morning for pumpkin custard (aka pie without the crust) with lots of whipped topping and things are okay with the world again.

It was certainly a different Thanksgiving this year. I hadn’t met my friend’s parents at all and the little I knew, I wasn’t sure if I’d get along with them (particularly her father). Which, thankfully, wasn’t the case. They were very warm and friendly and engaging and even my friend, who is usually very quiet even when it’s just the two of us was much more open and talkative. I ate too much of course, but I think I managed to keep it at 2000 calories, rather than the usual 4000 calories that we Americans reportedly consume on this day of feasting.

There are so many things for which I am thankful. I try to be grateful and thankful on a regular basis, but in the spirit of recording it for remembrance, here’s the short list:

  1. Family. I am so thankful for my supportive, loving family who have been there even in the long distances. I have the greatest parents in the world, who take the time to drive out every year so that we can fix all of the little things around my house that I can’t always get to. I have sisters who are so much fun to talk to; even though we are drastically different in temperament and personalities, we have always gotten along well. I have grandparents who I love to spend time with and I don’t see them nearly often enough.
  2. Friends. I don’t think there enough words in the English vocabulary (or the Eskimo either) to express my eternal gratitude for the friendships that I have made through the years. They mean everything to me.
  3. Safety. My heart is with those in Mumbai and their families. It is a scary world that we live in, but I am so thankful that I have been cocooned somewhat away from it.
  4. My house. I love love love my house and its little nooks and raspberry bushes and many, many leaves. I love that it keeps me warm, that I have a comfortable bed to sleep in and a fabulous couch to sit on.
  5. My computer. Not only is it gorgeous, but it keeps me connected with the world around me.
  6. My faith. My membership in the LDS church has been one of the most sustaining influences in my life. I appreciate the daily comfort from the belief that there is a loving, understanding Heavenly Father who wants what’s best for me. I appreciate the bonds of fellowship that are formed in the church, for the guidance of my leaders, and for my relationship with my Savior.
  7. My job. As much as I grip about it, I am grateful for the continual learning and the challenges that being a resident provides, that it stretches my mind on a daily basis. I am thankful for my patients who allow me to be a part of their lives. I am grateful for the nurses with whom I have collegial relationships of respect. I am especially thankful for Maryann, my nurse who answers all of the calls from my clinic patients (as well as the rest of the residents in my program). She is a saint (and yes, I tell her this often).
  8. My health. So far, i’ve managed to go 2.6 years without surgery. I’ve had some close calls (I have a feeling that I’m going to have to have both wrists worked on), but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to complete so much of residency without too much interference. I’m not thankful for the weight gain that has accompanied the lack of surgery, but there’s hope for changes in that department as well.
  9. Prepositions. Don’t know how I would have constructed the above list without them.

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25th November 2008

I went over to a friend’s house tonight to have some hot cocoa and catch up. She’s a medical student, which I know exactly how overwhelming and consuming and exaperating that can be. Talking to her reminding me of all of the drama that med school can entail (I’m so glad I’ve left that behind!!) She’s been in much the situation that I was in those many years ago with Chris and Candice, only she’s in Candice’s position and another mutual friend is right where I was 5 years ago–stuck in the middle and not sure how to get out. Their friendship has been strained to say the least and it’s been bothering me. I do really regret how things turned out between Candice and I, this failed friendship. Years have gone by, she has barely acknowledged my existence since that day (although, she’s friends with Chris on Facebook and contacts him occasionally there. Kinda burns me up a little. He’s the one who broke your heart, honey!) and my experience in med school was radically changed after that. Her friends were no longer my friends, I was excluded from a lot of activities and Chris became the inseparable chum.

In any case, I kinda made it my mission to intervene here because I could see the direction it was going. Don’t know if I did any good (I felt a little like a matchmaker); we’ll see. I’m not sure if an intervention would have helped our friendship then either–I did try on multiple occasions to reach out and explain and was met with deaf ears.

Med school: junior high all over again.

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15th November 2008

weekend fun

I just got home. I left my house at 10:30 this morning and just got home. Most of the time was spent chatting with my girl friends, eating yummy noodles and sampling chocolates. Just the way a Saturday should be spent.

Now that’s how a weekend should be. πŸ™‚

I did almost contemplate going Christmas shopping today, to beat the rush, but since everything is going to have to be shipped this year any how, I wisely talked myself out that. I am thinking seriously about a Christmas tree, though, and can’t decide whether real or fake is the way to go. I love the smell of real ones, but I don’t have a stand, or a tree apron and I’m not sure that I’m the most reliable one in terms of watering the poor thing. I had a fake tree for a couple of years in SLC and enjoyed it, but left it behind when I moved.

I also really want holly around my house. I’ve never been able to find “boughs of holly” before but figured that it was because Utah was much too desert like to support its growth. Sadly, I’ve been unable to locate any here either.

And I think I just beat my midnight bell toll. This post won’t be turning into a pumpkin after all!

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12th November 2008

Poetry: Faye George

Once upon a time (a really long while ago), there was a poetry meme that went around and I found the most beautiful little poem entitled “ Like Anne Shirley’s House“, which, unsurprising, completely captivated me.

I’ve since become a fan of Faye George’s poetry in general, at least those that I can find online. The language is sparse but rich in imagery. Here are two that I’ve especially liked.

ONLY THE WORDS

No one cares:

not the professor
of rhetoric
bored by all
but his own experience;

not the editor
who, in at least
two languages,
has heard it all;

not even
your good friend
who does her best
to listen;

only the words–
the words that rise
from their accustomed tasks
to lead you

deliberately
through ferns
and phonemes
into the woods,

where you must dig
for roots,
fish from the deepest part
of the stream.
-Faye George

WHY THE GOOSE WENT BACK

I miss the scrape of spiked boots on the groundsel
at evening, the iron creak and slam of the door.
The stroke and pet of his hard hand gave the days
their meaning. Jack, can you understand?

In dreams I return beyond the beanstalk, fly
to my old home in the clouds.
Here it is safe, but the thought he needs me
pecks at the eye of peace.

I yearn for the oaken sound of his stride.
What you call bondage,
I would purchase with my last gold ounce.
For the smell of leather and mead, I would sell
my soul.

-Faye George

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8th November 2008

storytelling

Then one day (like a week ago), he packed his bags and moved across the country, never to return. All he left were fleeting memories of meaningless flirtations and a bookcase and 25 two-liter soda bottles filled with water in the backseat of her car, which were still there (a week later) because she was too lazy to actually carrying them into the house.

And thus ended the story of Trouble and Julia, the great love saga that, as always, fizzled before any sparks were produced.

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7th November 2008

post call

It was a rather unbusy night. One new admission, 2 ER consults that my intern saw and I discussed with her. The ICU patients were well behaved, only had slight blood pressure issues that were easy to address. I even managed to read a book and sneak in a web chat with the Plethora for our book club to talk about it. Second book club that I’ve been to this week–I really love our non-structured discussions (and diversions) rather than the painful process of answering “discussion” questions at the end of the book.

Despite that, I only got about 3 hours of very fratured sleep. But I get to go home around 7 or 8, rather than 12 or 1, and that makes me very very happy. That is if the other residents would show up so I could tell them the non-events that happened overnight.

I left my house yesterday with the weather in the high 60s, without a jacket. It’s supposed to be in the low 40s today and rainy/sleety. I had been waiting to rake my leaves until the maple in my backyard finally relinqueshed its load; now I’ll get to rake up soggy wet leaves this weekend. Joy.

Alrighty, everybody finally showed up and now I can go home. Good night!

posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on post call

7th November 2008

It was a rather unbusy night. One new admission, 2 ER consults that my intern saw and I discussed with her. The ICU patients were well behaved, only had slight blood pressure issues that were easy to address. I even managed to read a book and sneak in a web chat with the Plethora for our book club to talk about it. Second book club that I’ve been to this week–I really love our non-structured discussions (and diversions) rather than the painful process of answering “discussion” questions at the end of the book.

Despite that, I only got about 3 hours of very fratured sleep. But I get to go home around 7 or 8, rather than 12 or 1, and that makes me very very happy. That is if the other residents would show up so I could tell them the non-events that happened overnight.

I left my house yesterday with the weather in the high 60s, without a jacket. It’s supposed to be in the low 40s today and rainy/sleety. I had been waiting to rake my leaves until the maple in my backyard finally relinqueshed its load; now I’ll get to rake up soggy wet leaves this weekend. Joy.

Alrighty, everybody finally showed up and now I can go home. Good night!

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5th November 2008

how a door bested me

There are times when I really question if I’ve got the required brain cells to be a doctor.

I was able to get into my friend’s house. Because the key really was on the key ring, I just managed not to see it, despite trying everything for over a half hour and then asking another friend to come over and try as well today. We tried the back door, walked around to the front, I handed her the keys and she miraculously found the right one. Yep.

Cats are fine. Water bowls were changed, litter box scoped. I’m so overwhelmingly relieved; I can stop worrying that her cats are going to die on my care.

I’m utterly exhausted this week and have been somewhat moody and cranky. I almost started crying tonight in the custard shop because of difficulties ordering a pumpkin shake, that’s how ridiculous this is. I really don’t know why I’m so emotionally fragile, but this episode with the cats, combined with the verbal “question and answer” session that I had on Monday with my program director, which did not go well, has just brought my mood down.

But I’m going to bed now, so hopefully, a little sleep will make things better.

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5th October 2008

once

Once, I danced. Mondays and Wednesday mornings. Thursdays at the Naval Science building. Saturdays at the Murray Arts Center. Beginning ballroom. Latin. Swing. My favorite was the Tango, the sultry dance where the movements came from the hips, the directions from the heart. I never was very good, my moves were too clunky and I never had enough trust in my partners to ever let go of control completely, but during the tango, I could close my eyes and pretend, for just a few minutes that I was a sexy, graceful dancer in the smoky streets of Argentina.

Yesterday, listening to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra perform the BandoneΓ³n Concerto, I felt transported back to those days. The hum of the bandoneon (a modified accordion) blended with the violin and cello and occasional oboe and infused in my veins. My heart beat the time.

Today, I drove my friend to our bishop’s house for conference. He lamented that medical school had drained him from being an interesting person, that once he could socialize, converse on a variety of topics, entertain those around him, and now, he was an introvert, a shell of his former self. It’s true, I sympathized, running through the conversations that I had had with the various other medical students and residents that day. “Hi, how are you, what rotation are you on? Who are you working with? Getting any sleep? Had the day off today?” We ran through the conversations like robots, only venturing out on occasions to talk about something else. We had become absorbed into the culture of medicine that we have lost our personalities. I’ve managed to retain a little of my previous life, a play, a concert, a party here and there and thought until last night that I hadn’t done so poorly.

But, once, I danced.

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14th September 2008

i love weekends

I have had a fabulous weekend. It’s been so refreshing and relaxing that it almost feels like I had the entire weekend off, instead of just Saturday.

Friday, I came home post call and packed for the “girls only” camping trip. It was one of my friend’s 30th birthday, so to celebrate, we decided to go camping. Yay! I’ve been wanting to go camping all summer long but have been thwarted over and over again by forgetting tents, threatening rain and long work hours. The weather didn’t look promising, but I was naive enough to believe the forecast of “20% chance” of rain. It started raining before we were even on our way. There went those plans. Instead, we went to my friend’s mother’s house, and sat under her car port, grilling our tin-foil dinners (seriously, tin foil asparagus is the most incredible food ever), and basking in the glow of the fire pit (I’m more determined than ever to get one). Afterwards, we all came back to my house and had a sleep over; my upstairs room almost looks like an oversized tent and everybody fit perfectly. We stayed up late talking (well, they did. I crashed early. 2 hours of sleep in 40 hours does not a coherent Julia make) and in the morning consumed pancakes (cooking tip: the addition of vanilla, cinnamon and cardamon makes a fantastic pancake). I haven’t had so much fun in a really long time.

After they all left, I decided to take advantage of my one day off and went over to Home Depot to research more about garage doors. The contractor was busy with another customer, and I got impatient waiting, so just as I was about to decide to leave and just order the darn thing online, one of the other sales associates stopped me. He listened to my rambling complaints of what was wrong with my door and felt that the door and opener were not the problem, that likely I needed some lubrication and new wheels as they get worn out.

I attempted to install the wheels yesterday and I think I’ve figured out the whole problem. It’s doesn’t even seem to be worn out wheels. The tracks were entirely caked in about 6 layers of grease and grim and the bottom part has rusted and the wheels were in a similar state (I don’t think those wheels have made actually contact with the tract in years, hence, there is barely a sign of wear on them, once you remove some of the grime).

I spent all day yesterday getting as much off as I could with a combination of paper towels, knife, fingernails (they could angle the best. I chopped them all off afterwards), and finally, dish soap (didn’t work so well). There’s still at least one multiple layers, but it’s already running just a little bit smoother. I just need to find a really good grease solvent to cut through the rest of it (any ideas???), and then lub it up good with some WD-40, and I think I’m set! YAY! You have no idea how much of a relief this is, this possibility that I might not have to replace my garage door. Of course, I still might have to actually replace the tracks if the rust at the bottom is worse than my original glance-over, but my bishop’s wife has recommended an independent contractor who is reasonable, so I might be able to get that done for a quarter of what I originally predicted. SWEET.

Afterwards, I cleaned up and went over to my neurology program director’s home for dinner which was nice. Everybody brought their kids, there was more food than imaginable (we have a rather large mix of vegetarians, meat consumers, Muslims observing Ramadan, etc). And then after that, I went to my friend Laura’s birthday party. She decided that she wanted to do a sing-a-long party, so we all got together and sang “The Music Man.” Yep, you read that right. We are such nerds. I haven’t seen it since high school at least; I remember most of the lyrics.

This morning, I rounded on all of our patients. We’ve cut the number patients down a lot, which made for easy rounds so I actually was able to make it to church for the first time in three weeks. And then I came home, ready to make potato soup for our on-call pot luck tomorrow, but I’m missing several ingredients, so instead I’m heading to the grocery store bright and early, chopping the vegetables and bringing it all to work so that it can cook in the crockpot all afternoon. Yummy.

And, I’ve figured out most of the problems with my from-scratch blog. It should be up and running in a couple more days. I’m so excited for its unveiling.

This week will be busy. I’m on call tomorrow and Friday. Saturday, I’ve invited my entire church over for a party. *boggles* Not sure exactly what possessed me to agree to host a party when I’m post call and sleep-deprived but there it is. It’s going to be fun, with a firepit in the backyard with camping chairs around and white Christmas lights on the fence, music in the front room, games and instruments downstairs, more games upstairs and tons of food. Luckily, I have the day off on Thursday to clean and all of my friends are coming over Friday when I’m at work to set up, so I don’t have to do that; hopefully, all I’ll have to do on Saturday is nap, take a shower and put on clean clothes and greet the guests.

Okay, I’m off to bed. Gotta get those veggies in the morning. πŸ™‚

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24th August 2008

saturday night ramblings

Apparently, my ladder was also among the casualties of the recent heist of my garage, as I discovered this morning when I tried to find it to examine my garage door that has now started making grinding noises and loud squeaks when it closes.

The ladder was heavy, folks. 50 pounds or so. I could barely lift it. It changes this break in from a neighborhood kid going around, testing doors and lifting a camera. This appears more orchestrated than I had thought.

I’m so tired of feeling vulnerable. Now I get to add nightmares of nefarious thugs using the ladder to break in my upstairs. I already freak out every time I open my garage access door. I peer out my screens before leaving the house to make sure that the back gate isn’t open. I’m jumpy, and just two weeks ago, I felt safe.

The door’s gotta be replaced… there’s no way that it’s going to last this winter and I can’t leave things open and leave like I did before. So I’m researching doors and deciding between Lowe’s and Home Depot and will be getting it professionally installed so it’ll last a little longer.

***
There are two trees near work that have red leaves on them. It’s still August, trees! The weather last week felt like autumn had arrived. A friend and I were going to go camping today… and then it turned into summer again. Hot and humid. And supposedly rainy. It hasn’t rained a drop. So we ended up not going. I haven’t been camping yet this summer and I start inpatient wards again next week so I think I’ve missed my chance.

***
I went to a baseball game last night with the rest of the neurology department. It was so much fun. I love baseball, have since the fall of 1992 when the Toronto Blue Jays won the world series and since moving to Milwaukee have made it to a least a couple of games every year. The Brewers stadium (Miller Park) is awesome…we always get the nosebleed seats that are a hundred feet above the field, which always freak me out until I get settled. Last night’s game was the first where the roof was open. I saw with my friend Rehan and his 4 year old son who was shyer than anything… which was easily cured by the spun-suger cotton candy. We made faces at each other with our blue tongues through most of the game and were good friends by the end. Lots of pseudo-nephews and nieces has taught me well.

***
I did go by Best Buy and look at cameras today. I’m going to have to postpone my purchase of the SLR for a couple of months because of the expense of the garage door (natch). But I have decided that the D40 is the camera for me and I will be getting it to celebrate my birthday in a few months (gotta have some reason to look forward to that milestone). It’s small and featherlight, which because of my multiple shoulder surgeries is a necessity. And I think it’ll be just as portable as my last camera. It never fit well in my pocket anyhow, so the one camera will probably do me just fine.

Although I hadn’t realized that the camera doesn’t have live preview on the LCD. I’ve been so used to taking pictures using the LCD only for years that it might take a bit to get used to that again. I loved being able to angle it and getting those shots that were impossible before because I’m short.

Thanks for all of your input! It was sooo helpful and I was so excited to see that many of you had similar cameras and were taking gorgeous photos with them. It makes me feel more and more that I would not just be throwing my money away on a frivolous purchase. πŸ™‚

I did walk out of Best Buy with a copy of Summer Magic on DVD. I couldn’t help it; it was on sale and I need a little more “femininity” in my life. It’s not available on YouTube folks, and sometimes the urge for Old Time Disney can be a little strong.

***
I’m not entirely sure what to make of Joe Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate. I hadn’t even realized that he had been in the primaries and haven’t heard of him before. It looks as if it is going to get ugly, though, and I had been impressed that both candidates had refused to get really ugly. The jabs about Obama being a celebrity candidate and McCain’s 7 houses (seriously??) were pretty mild compared to elections in years past. I guess that’s all going to change now.

At least it’s not John Edwards. I guess I can be thankful that he turned out to be a cheating louse just prior to the decision for running mate (sorry to those who like him. I could never support a guy for president who’s entire career was based on cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuits. But that’s the doctor in me).

My favorite personal speculation was Senator Harry Reid as running mate. I like him a lot and his acerbic tongue and I giggled at the thought of both Harry Reid and Mitt Romney as VP candidates and the chaos that would cause. The Mormons would be all up in arms, questioning if they could really continue to be a card-carrying member and vote Democrat. And the rest of the world would freak out that the Mormons were taking over and soon there would be “National Green Jello with Carrots Day” in March and no alcohol in the country. Good times. Such a missed opportunity. πŸ™‚

***
Strictly Ballroom is still one of my favoritest movies ever. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I watched it again for the hundredth time with my friend Erika who had never seen it again. It’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over and it still cracks me up and turns me into a sappy romantic. I miss dancing…

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12th August 2008

oh, this is fun…

When I was walking up the sidewalk to my garage this morning, I noticed that my back gate was slightly ajar. This was odd. I rarely open my gate because the wood has warped slightly because of all of the snow and thaw/freezes of this past winter and so it doesn’t close without a very good prod. I scratched my brain, trying to recall if I had recently taken out the garbage (I hadn’t). With building trepidation, I opened my garage door. No one was there… but my car was unlocked (I have such a reflex of locking my car door that I have locked my keys in on a few occasions), and looking in, my glovebox was open with papers strewn across the seat

Yep, my car was broken into. Whoever it was didn’t make away with any great loot (I don’t even have a CD player in my car)… but my camera was there, as I had taken it to get pictures of last night’s pool party (which I didn’t even end up taking any!) and it’s now missing and I think they took the little power snow shovel that I bought with the first snow storm that didn’t do anything. But they didn’t break any windows. My car is intact. my lawnmower is safe. My snow blower is safe. The car title and registration and insurance information is all there. They didn’t take my white coat or stethoscope or badges (which would have been a huge issue with concerns of identity theft and security at the hospitals). I had just downloaded all of my pictures from my camera, so I haven’t even lost those memories.

I’ve already let my neighbors know (and have finally gotten introduced, yay!). One of them had an attempt on their garage a few days ago. Another had seen neighborhood kids wandering around late at night, which could or could not mean anything. I wasn’t able to call the police before I left this morning, because of my clinic responsibility (sometimes being a resident really, really sucks).

I’m feeling extremely vulnerable and jumpy now. I’ve always felt completely safe in my house. I have lights in my backyard that practically light up the neighborhood. I have motion sensor lights at my backdoor. Funny enough, there was a security salesman who visited last week, and I was strongly considering getting a security system; I just wanted to research a little more before I committed. I knew that with my schedule and not always being around and living alone, I was at risk, but I had convinced myself that this was a quiet neighborhood, forgetting I think I was ignoring some nudges of inspiration there, will do better next time. πŸ™‚

I’m off to home depot to research home security devices. If anybody has any suggestions (except that of getting a dog) I’d sure appreciate them!

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7th August 2008

cooking adventures

(Notice the date… written last week and accidentally posted now.)

Chicken spagetti made with spinach and yogurt is an interesting combination. Not bad, really, but it took a couple of bites.

This started out as an attempt to make chicken tikka masala. But I’m missing ingredients for this new recipe I found (there is an appalling lack of ginger in my house), and I couldn’t let the chicken go to waste and I’m rather infatuated with cooking with yogurt recently (I think I perfected my salmon recipe), so… the above was the result.

I’m not sure that I’ll be repeating it soon.

So, my mother noted that I haven’t been updating my LJ and called in a panic on Sunday to make sure that I was alive. To alleviate those other worries about my safe-being, yes, I’m alive. I’m just bored and have little to talk about. Okay, I do have things to say: I’ve got a post brewing about the Vienna Teng concert that I went to on Tuesday which may have even been better than her first concert two years ago (her music makes me want to write in purple prose. I love it!). I’m still not a clinic person and I’m really glad that I didn’t go into orthopedic surgery (sample of the conversation today: “Is [he/she] on pills? [He/She] sounds like someone who would be on pills” – referring to antidepressant medications. And this gem to a young, but overweight patient coming in for referral “So, is this you? I mean, when we do the operation is this what I have to deal with?” UGH. Please note that this is not an attack or rant against orthopedics or surgeons in general. My favorite, most inspiring doctor in the entire world is an orthopedic doc. Because of my bone disease, I have to see them periodically as a patient, and the number of muscles and ligaments that they have to know thwarted me in med school and hasn’t gotten much better. That said, this particular orthopod was a jerk.)

My new blog s almost, almost ready for its unveiling. I’m trying to figure out the heading, and once that’s done, I need to transfer all of LJ entries over (which I keep putting off in the hopes that somebody will figure out how to import moods and current music fields. Tags would be nice too), and then it’ll be ready. I think. I can’t tell you how much effort this has been. I started working on it back in March, messed something up, deleted it, started again in May, deleted, repeated about 3 times in June and finally got the current version partially running in July… just in time for the upgrade of wordpress to 2.6. *sigh* I’ve devoted much of my spare time over the last two weeks to figuring it out. Most of my problems have been related to the fact that I know next to little about webdesign… the little I taught myself for my little website was all HTML (and sloppy HTML at that) and that has been long since forgotten. WordPress does make it easier in that most everything is run through plugins, but if something goes wrong (and it always does), then I had to dig through the code to figure out what was up. The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to expand out the default size of the comments once they’ve been posted and how to get the UserPhoto working so that it actually shows up inside the comments, rather than haphazardly across the page as it currently is wont to do. I’ve given up on that for the moment (unless of course some computer programming brainiac out there might know the answer!) and have accepted that my blog won’t look quite the way that I want it to. At least at this point.

But, Julia, why the switch, I hear some of your asking (I’m psychic, did I tell you?). There’s a variety of reasons (I like lists):

– One, I’ve got a lot of friends and family who read this journal and don’t have a LJ themselves, and I don’t think any of them enjoy replying as an “anonymous.”

– Two, I have been rather disgruntled by the change in management styles and the addition of advertisement across all of the pages, and while I completely and totally understand that this is a for-profit business and they can do whatever they want, that doesn’t mean that I have to support it with my money.

– Three, I’ve been paying for my own web domain for over 4 years now. I probably won’t ever finish my LOTR Inklings project, but the thought of giving it up breaks my heart. So this is a little bit of a compromise and allows me some relief of the guilt of money wasted.

– Four, WordPress has some nifty, nifty functions, like a picture gallery plugin that’s even prettier than Flickr and customizable sidebar widgets.

– Five, I don’t know if you all are aware, but there’s been some backlash and criticism to physician blogging, thanks to a couple of articles in the LA Times, the NY times, and JAMA. I’m such a lurker and rarely update my other medical blog, so I’m not showing up on anybody’s radar, but I like the idea of being able to more closely control who is seeing what I write. And while LJ has this great feature of being able to friendslock an entry, that doesn’t change problem #1. WP allows me to register readers.

– Six. I can’t recall what the sixth reason is. It probably doesn’t matter.

I’m not leaving LJ, no worries. All of my entries will be cross-posted to both, the entries here will just be much more censored and locked down. And I’ll still be active in reading my friends’ LJ, although comments are still expected to be sparse.

The problem with wordpress is that it is a blog. LJ is great because it’s a journal, my journal. I can write down everything, regardless if it has a purpose. But a blog conveys that posts have themes and reasons, and I’m not sure that I like that. I’ve tried writing a couple of pure medical blogs and failed miserably. We’ll see.

I might go camping tomorrow. Yay! That is, if I manage not to get called in for back-up call and I get out of clinic on time.

And I don’t want to go to clinic in the morning.

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2nd July 2008

well, strike that one off the list.

You know what’s more disheartening than find out the guy you crushed on throughout medical school is now married? Finding out, now, that he’s a democrat and a supporter of Barack Obama. DRAT. Single democrat Mormon guys are so exceedingly rare, that if I had realized, I really would have tried to pursue much more than I did. πŸ™‚ (Okay, that might have been an impossibility, save me throwing myself on the hearth and refusing to leave until he dated me)

Actually, I am ecstatic for him and not upset about his nuptials. I had gotten over the crush a long time ago and she seems very nice and just right for him.

But, oh, the lost opportunity.

****

I fly out to Utah tomorrow for a week of vacation. My parents were supposed to come out here, so we could work on my house, but my sister had surgery and is less mobile than anticipated. So instead I’m going home, where I hear that it’s hotter than blazes. Meanwhile, the weather here has been gorgeous for the past 2 weeks–an occasional downpour and then 60-70s with blue skies.

I’m excited to go home. I’m hoping to work on some projects such as transferring my blog (more to come), scanning family pictures, making DVDs out of some beloved VHS tapes that are wearing thin, BBQs, etc.

In the meantime, my ward had planned on coming over and helping me with my place as well. As there was something like 23 volunteers, they’ve decided to go ahead with it, so I’m leaving instructions on what needs to be done. Hopefully, I’ll come back to a smashed up sidewalk, a ditch that runs to front yard, bleached walls and patched window sills. I’m overwhelmed at the thought of all of the help–I know I couldn’t have done it on my own.

In any case, I need to get to bed. Have a lovely 4th, all of you!

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    • the common denominator November 3, 2021
      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 […]