– As I had flown back up to Utah with my grandmother (her dementia made it hard for her to be away from home and two days was more than enough), I stayed a day in SLC and spent New Year’s morning with my good friends and their kids. I then flew back to Arizona to spend a few more days with my nephews. We went up to the mountains (my family has an inherited cabin) and played in the snow.
– A Glee friend came out to Portland to visit family and I got to meet her for the first time. We explored the Chinese Gardens and the very early blossoms. It was lovely getting to know her in real life.
– Last season of Glee started. I may have cried. A lot.
– I attempted to fix the LCD screen on my camera. I failed miserably – luckily with no residual scars. On the other hand, all of those little dirt specks got removed.
– Work: I started working on a book chapter on osmotherapy. And I took a leadership course this semester – it was great to get to know some of the leadership on campus, although it hasn’t been that helpful since its completion.
– I hung out with my friend Lindsay and my sister (Karin moved in with me last year). We went on a Galantine’s date to Salt and Straw, had dinner out a few times and watched glee and other movies together.
– Spring came early this year. I went on a few drives around Portland to photograph the early blooms.
– I started seeing a therapist. It made me realize that my feelings of depression and inadequacy were rooted in an not-quite-meeting-criteria-for-a-DSM-V-
– Karin and I drove to Mt. Hood and then down to Bend, OR. Not much snow on the mountains this year. It was such a beautiful drive.
– Sunday on the beach with Lindsay. It was a warm, perfect day and the waves crashing were rejuvenating. We stayed until the sun disappeared far below the horizon and all of the pink faded into deep purple.
– Looking through my pictures, I really was in love with spring this year.
– I took a mini vacation and flew down to Los Angeles. There I watched the first hour of the series finale of my absolute favorite show and listened to my absolute favorite actors tell stories about the set and memories.
– I drove down the coast and spent the next day with my friend, Michelle. We went shopping together and then spent the afternoon and evening on the beach. San Diego beaches are AMAZING. I need to learn how to bodyboard.
– I drove back to Los Angeles and spent a day with my friend, Donna. She’s one of my oldest fandom friends and the last time I had seen her was nearly ten years before. AND THEN WE DIDN’T GET PICTURES. Ugh.
– Series finale of Glee. Karin and I had a party with Lindsay. I cried through the whole thing. It was the perfect ending for my very beloved imperfect show.
– Pi Day!
– Back to southern California. My best friend from San Francisco (Jen) got married, so I flew down a day early to help with the wedding. She was beautiful and it was a lovely wedding. More time on the beach capped off the delightful weekend.
– Karin, Lindsay and I went to the Tulip festival.
– Lost Day! I am such a numbers nerd that it was bliss having to such nerdy dates to celebrate in a year.
– April was hell (see my last entry). My book chapter was due, and I was up for credentialing renewal for the hospital, as well as my first annual review, so there were so many applications and papers due. To top it all off, I found out that I didn’t even have the hospital privileges that I needed to work in the ICU where I’ve worked for over 20 months – it was 3 days of hell while I tried to get paperwork submitted and attempting to find out whether I was at higher risk in a malpractice suit (short answer – probably not, but who knows).
– Northwest Pilgrims weekend up in Seabrook. Such a beautiful area. I was one of the speakers and talked about approaching end of life discussions.
– My friend, Nik, came to town for a conference. We went to brunch and doughnuts. (Mmm, Bluestar).
– Phantom of the Opera with Lindsay!
– My landlord informed me that he was exploring selling the little, completely adorable bungalow in which I reside. Which lead to several days for frantically calling places on craigslist and looking at a couple of houses. In the end, the sale fell through and I’m here for another year.
– My Liz visited! We had a glorious weekend together, which was, as always, too short. We spent one day on the beach and then drove up to Seattle to spend the day with our friend Brooke, where we took the ferry to eat ice cream and then to dinner and the movies.
– Neurology graduation. Where my residents shocked me with a “teacher of the year” award. Still stunned.
– Chris moved back to Wisconsin (Milwaukee, my old stepping grounds). I have so missed him and I am truly grateful for this year that let us reestablish our friendship.
– My parents came to town for the 4th of July weekend. We drove north (I had hoped to make it to Canada but no such luck) and explored Mt Rainer, where I ran into a colleague from UCSF. It was so unbearably hot that I wasn’t up for much hiking. We then drove up to Cascades National Park, which of the national parks in Washington is on the “eh” side. You actually can only hike into the park, because the road follows the river, which because of all of the dams was left private. Ridiculous.
– A weekend in New York City! Darren Criss from Glee was performing in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so a group of us made plans to see it together. He was amazing – I wish that I could have seen him another time, because I was floored by the performance and the story and the music – I’ll admit it, I only went because he was staring in it, as “rock opera musicals” are not a big selling point for me; but the ballads were incredible. I also went to see Something Rotten which is a Shakespeare spoof and was pretty clever (the songs are forgettable). I met my friend, Stacy and spent a evening with her (dinner and watching The Terminator which I hadn’t ever seen). The weekend was capped with a picnic in Central Park, before we made a mad dash out of the city. I had flown in, but decided to carpool back with some of the women – so we travelled all of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minneapolis in a day and a half. I then spent a day with Becka before taking a late night flight back home. Whew.
– A friend of mine, Hillary, is a school teacher in Japan. She asked our group of friends if anyone was interested in coming to Europe and I volunteered because I’ve been dying to travel again. We had a marvelous trip together seeing Milan (for a day), Verona, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and then surrounding areas in Germany. Some highlights:
- started the vacation by getting lost in Verona on the first day and ended up walking down a very narrow sidewalk on a freeway, climbing a steep incline through pricky briars and then marching through fields of peas to ask directions at a bakery and then somehow, end up exactly where we started.
- opera in the Arena di Verona – gorgeous costumes and scenery. It rained which delayed the performance, so the opera didn’t end until after midnight. I also don’t know Italian and I’ve only seen Marriage of Figaro once, so it was mostly enjoying pretty music.
- Venice was so gorgeous – and also bloody hot and humid. Also, I’ve never had such blisters in my entire life.
- Going to a concert in Vienna – unfortunately, all of the symphonies were on vacation for the summer, so this was a small group that catered to tourists. But they played music from The Merry Widow and I died of happiness.
- It was kitschy, but the Sound of Music tour was fabulous.
- Swiss Alps are stunning. I’ve lived around mountains my entire life and these were breathtaking.
- Hiked to some thundering waterfalls in the Alps. Stunning.
- I met SatisMagic! Ten years + of friendship here on LJ. She took me around her home country, we explored Roman ruins and small towns and she graciously introduced me to her pretty kitties.
– The majority of my Europe trip was in August. My layover was in Moscow, Russia, for approximately 7.5 hours -not quite long enough to make it worth it to get a visa and see the city. It’s a rather bland airport. I’m not a fan of Russian airport food either. I missed my connecting flight from Los Angeles to Portland because of a passenger’s medical issue – yes, I volunteered as the doctor – first time, actually!
– Back to the drudges of work.
– Wicked! Gosh, I <3 this musical so much. To think I almost missed out on seeing it because I loathed the source material.
– I lectured the medical students on some neuroanatomy topics. My neuroscience block in my second year of med school is what lead me here so it was defining moment to be here 13 years later.
– Book club: we read Nicole Hardy’s book “Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin.” I had read it a year or so ago; I related to it in a completely different way this time.
– I worked a lot.
– I had one weekend off and met my friend Lindsay for brunch at Lake Oswego and then drove down to Silver Falls state park and went on a 3 mile hike by myself. The falls were a little light on water due to the drought, but it was just the start of autumn and it was a gorgeous day.
– Third flat tire in the 2 years that I’ve owned my car. And as always, it was an adventure.
– Eclipse! Which I missed because I went to see Pippin instead. One of my favorite performances of the year.
– Neurocritical Society meeting, which was held in Scottsdale, AZ. I flew down a couple of days earlier to see my sister and my too-adorable-for-words nephews. We played on the trampoline and dug in the dirt. Tanner, the youngest, called me “Ah-ha” and demanded to watch videos of “mum-mums” (motorcycles).
– 3 days of conferences, as always too long. However, I reconnected with some of my friends from residency, which was amazing. And I spent a lot of time socializing with my “boss” (director of the ICU – step-boss maybe), who I like so much more than the previous director.
– I then drove up to our family’s cabin and spent a couple more days with my family. We had a family birthday party, although the big excitement was raking pine needles.
– Had an internet group gathering down at Silver Falls again and hiked to a different falls. This time, the leaves had turned even more and it was a little more chilly. Perfect hiking weather.
– I worked. A lot. In fact, October started my 27-day-straight-without-a-day off-i’m-going-out-of-my-mind streak.
– See the end of October. In addition to working in the neuroscience ICU for 2 weeks, I also worked 2 weeks as the neurology inpatient attending. It reminded me that I made the right decision in not pursing general neurology and that it’s been a long time since residency. There were aspects that I loved (the time to teach was awesome), but I did not like the phone calls asking how to manage migraines, or the admissions for weird bizarre illnesses that left me scratching my head (and never find a satisfactory answer), or the consults for chronic headaches or the patients that refused to leave the hospital.
– 2015 really was a fandom focused year – I participated in an auction of Glee set items. Several stuff I didn’t get, but my prize was a macaroni art of my favorite character, Kurt. It now resides on my wall and is gorgeous.
– My church came out with policy changes that broke my heart, and devastated and alienated beloved ones, and I broke up with my church. It has been horrible and painful and emotional and I’m still grieving. I’m not sure if it’s permanent, but some distance was (and is) needed.
– My 37th birthday. It was a uneventful day, with the exception that I talked to several of my friends who I have neglected for the last several months (see anxiety) and that meant the world to me.
– I FINALLY HAD A WEEK OFF. Most of the week was spent doing things like laundry, but my parents drove out for Thanksgiving and we rented a house on the beach, where the skies were crystal clear and the air was warm and the waves were gorgeous, and I soaked in the sun and the ocean.
– My niece was born! She was a little early and so very tiny and is adored by her three older brothers.
– Work holiday party with ugly Christmas sweaters (I came straight from work so I missed out on that aspect). Gosh, I love the people that I work with.
– One of my hardest weeks at work, with many patients, and a family that could not come together to make medical decisions and then brought in lawyers who loomed over me. I know that I am likely to be sued (I work directly with neurosurgeons; their patients are my patients), but being faced with the reality is something different.
– My grandma, who has had years of slowly progressive dementia and worsening paranoia, was placed in a nursing home after a stay in geriatric psych. We have all breathed great sighs of relief, although she may not speak to any of us for months.
– I’ve been working for months and months revising the notes used by our electronic medical records. We went live the week of Christmas. So far, it’s gone smoothly (although I got very little sleep that week).
– I worked Christmas night. I had made tentative plans to go to Utah for Christmas, but because of a bunch of things, those plans never came to fruition. Instead, Karin and I stayed home and had a nice dinner.
– I spent the last week before the New Year, catching up on the 200+ notes that I haven’t written in the last 3 months. And updating this blog for the first time in months.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2
Far From the Maddening Crowd
Pitch Perfect 2
Mad Max: Fury Road
Parks and Recreation
Supergirl (I’m so behind)
Too many episodes of Say “Yes” to the Dress
Dirty Dancing (better as a movie)
Guys and Dolls
I Love Lucy – Live on Stage!
The Phantom of the Opera
Something Rotten – Broadway
Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Broadway
Beauty and the Beast
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Adele’s entire album
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars (the lyrics are sexist, but the beat gets me every time).
OneRepublic – I Lived (thanks glee for making me cry every time this plays on the radio)
This Time – Darren Criss
Hamilton Original Soundtrack (I am such Hamilton trash now)
A week ago, I nearly hyperventilated to my therapist that I was completely overwhelmed with projects and deadlines (all for April 15th, of course) and was nearly shutting down because of the stress. Just talking to her helped me process through a lot of my issues (perfectionism combined with procrastination combined with impostor syndrome) and I was able to make a list of things to do and tackle, in a format that didn’t freak me out more. She also gave me permission to slack off on a few things – as long as I contacted others to pick up that slack. It’s been a terribly busy week and my sleep schedule sucks, but I’m breathing just a little easier.
My credentialing paperwork has been submitted with all of the required certificates and documentation. I committed to talk at a conference this summer. I completed my semi-annual OPPE evaluations. I sent off a rough draft of my book chapter to my colleague yesterday - not as complete as I had hoped, but nearly 3/4th of the way done and she’ll work on it this week (she’s a much faster writer than I am) and I’ll make final edits early next week. I’ve started on my CV and education portfolio for my annual review and thanks to the above colleague, it’s in the right format. It looks sparse, but I’m reassured that they are very unlikely to fire me. Taxes are done. I emailed colleagues about lectures for the fellows (something that I hate doing), and even though things have fallen through yet again for next week, I’m not as stressed out about it – plus I have made changes to next year schedule so it’ll be much, much less stressful.
I’m off to a wedding this weekend down in Santa Barbara. I still need to rent a car tonight and look for a hotel for a couple of nights I need to do laundry and pack. And I need to stain my roots with henna and go see I Love Lucy the musical (I don’t even know, but it came with my season tickets), so even this vacation is starting out in stress-mode. But I am so looking forward to sun and beach (I soak up every bit of the ocean that I can get), I have a really gorgeous new dress to wear, and I might actually allow myself to enjoy it.
Six month ago, February 1st started on a Sunday, creating a perfect month. At that time I was going to blog every day that month. I did manage to do it for 14 days before I gave up. I make no promises this time. I still delight over perfect months.
Doing: I’ve had the week off service and I have been utterly lazy. Bad Julia.
Thinking: I made an appointment to see a therapist tomorrow. I mentioned before that I’ve been having some difficulty dealing with things. I’ve been fighting a pretty severe case of “Impostor Syndrome”, some “Single and Unwanted” and “Religious Floundering,” and wow, I have problems with intimacy and vulnerability. I’ve referred people dozens of times to therapists but I’ve never gone to therapy myself. In high school, I was petrified that my parents were divorcing and met with the traveling counselor once, who basically patted my head and told me that I worried too much. It really takes a lot for me to open up: I’m so much more of an active listener. So this is petrifying for me.
Reading: I’m taking a class this semester on leadership. So I’ve had lots of reading for it. Some interesting. Some boring. It’s been a good class – we’re starting to work on some group projects and there are so many good ideas and I’m making connections.
Watching: Glee’s final season started and it’s been brilliant. Utterly brilliant. Witty and biting, emotional, and just tight writing. It’s been everything that I love about glee. I’ve always loved glee, from the very first time I watched the pilot and I am truly heartsick that it’s ending. And it’s also disappointing that it’s had such poor ratings this year. I hate that it’s ending, but I hate more that it’s ending and nobody will remember what a brilliant show it was.
I’m also watching Orphan Black, which is also brilliant. I’m in the middle of season 2; I’m dragging out the episodes because I don’t want to it to end; it’s still way too long of a wait until season 3.
Making: Nothing, unless you all want to hear about my failed attempt to repair the LCD screen on my camera.
Writing: I attempted to work on my book chapter this past week. See above’s failure. I have this week off service as well, so I’m hoping to make more progress.
It’s that time of the year again, when I spend days reconstructing exactly what I did this year, then don’t post it for months (year(s)) later, and try to pretend that I really posted it on January 1.
-I had nearly three weeks off work over Christmas and New Year’s due to the holidays, a medical conference and a lucky schedule. So I got to spend New Year’s with my family and nephews. I snuggled the newest little one, Tanner, and played toys with the two older boys. They grow so much in the time that I’m away from them.
– I spent a few days in the bay area, visiting friends and going to a critical care conference. The conference was forgettable (and they didn’t serve food. A nine-hour conference for 5 days without food), but the company was fabulous. Jen and I went to the zoo and to the Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park with the boys that she nannied. Visiting Jen means that I get caught up on my movie consumption too.
– a local acting group performed a reading of Facing East by Carol Lynn Pearson. So moving and some really great conversation afterwards.
– I dyed my hair. Over the years, I have slowly lost that vibrant red that encompassed my identity. I researched different options, tried a dye from a salon and hated it, and then went to a middle-eastern/Pakistani salon and they dyed my hair with henna and lemon juice. I cannot describe to you the putrid color of the goop that covered my head, nor the brilliance of the orange it turned. Luckily it faded, and I’ve been really happy with how it turned out.
– It snowed. Now, in most places, this isn’t big news. In Portland, where the city own 3 snowplows total and I live in the hills, it was huge. It started snowing Thursday. By Friday, the road outside my house was a sledding hill. I was working nights that weekend, so I got a ride to work from my neighbors and lived at the hospital for the next three days because I could not get home.
– I finally had a real vacation that did not involve visiting family (sorry, family, I love you, but it’s a little different). My college best friend, Susan, her husband Bobby and I went to Hawaii – Oahu and then to the Big Island Hawaii. It was so gorgeous. And humidly hot and rainy for much of the trip, but so worth it. I stayed a couple of days extra with my friend Erica and her pug. She has the most gorgeous view of the ocean and by the end I was contemplating never leaving.
-While in Hawaii, I attempted to go snorkeling. It did not go well (that is an understatement) and I sliced my leg open on some coral. I cleaned it out, put a bandage on it. And went swimming in the ocean a couple of days later (finally the perfect beach!). A few days after I returned, I noticed it was becoming more inflamed and painful, and then I started having fevers and chills. I was convinced that I was developing necrotizing fasciitis – I do not make a good doctor when I’m taking care of myself. Needless to say, I stayed overnight in the ED to get antibiotics and thankfully did not lose my leg.
– I spent a weekend up in Seabeck, Washington on the Hood Canal. My friend, Brooke invited me to attend a women’s retreat entitled “Northwest Pilgrims.” The weekend was chilly, but breathtaking, and spiritually nurturing. Brooke and I shared a room and stayed up late catching up on the years of separation.
– I went to lunch with the local MoFem group. Delicious food. How I love opportunities for socialization.
– My sister and dad came out to visit. We bought me a little fridge for my office and explored around Tillamook and Mt. Hood.
-Facebook reminds me that I went to see a play version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was hilarious, based on the movie, rather than the tv series, which I have always felt was underrated.
– My friend Hillary came to town and we met for the first time. We visited the Japanese Gardens, which was aglow with early cherry blossoms. Gorgeous!
– Dinner with Shanae – gosh I love living near her.
-Facebook isn’t enlightening me on my activities in April. I think I worked a lot and watched Glee and Dancing With the Stars and ranted about the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.
– Pirates of the Penzance. One of my first opera/musicals here in Portland. “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” was brilliant.
– A friend from San Francisco (I met her just before I moved and we connected instantly – sadness) was in town for a meeting. Jennifer and I went out for dinner and then saw Ingrid Michaelson live. I’ve loved a few of her songs, but I recognized a lot more. She was electrifying.
– One of my mofem friends came up for a weekend in Portland (she lives in the southern part of the state). We went to the zoo and had a couple of gatherings, where we played Cards Against Humanity – lemme tell you, playing the game with people who have the same cultural background is hilarious. I’ve never laughed so hard. It was a really lovely day at church too, surrounded by my MoFems – I love these women.
– I hung out with people from work. We’re slowly becoming friends. 🙂
– Work kicked my butt. Too many patients, who were very sick. So many notes.
– My parents and sister came for a visit! It was rainy and wet, but we went up to Mount St. Helens and camped there overnight, then drove up to the Olympic peninsula and went to Olympic National Park – which is absolutely gorgeous, even in the constant rain. We went to Forks, Washington, and sadly, I did not make out with any sparkling vampires – they were all hiding.
– My Mormon feminist community (both locally and more) was rocked by the announcement of the pending excommunication of two well known activists in the church. I was shocked and so profoundly hurt – while I didn’t know Kate personally, I had interacted with her and had a similar viewpoint on the experience of women in the church – it felt like a personal attack. When she was excommunicated three weeks later, I lost trust in my church.
– A couple of years ago, I joined a group of “through no fault of their own” single Mormon women. This group has been overwhelmingly one of the best groups I’ve ever belonged to and they are all sisters of my heart. We finally decided to have a get together and actually meet each other in person, so I flew to Salt Lake City and drove down to very small town Southern Utah for a retreat, where we ate camp food, and talked, and croqueted a quilt, and went hiking in Bryce Canyon. One of the best weekends ever – and over too soon.
– Marched in Pride with Mormons for Equality here in Portland. Besides the fact that it downpoured the last bit of the walk, it was, as always, a profound experience.
– Chris, my best friend from medical school, moved to Portland for a fellowship in surgical critical care. It was the start of a mending of our friendship and a reconnection. His wife and son (a year old) joined him a week later.
– For 30 horrible minutes, I thought my life had ended and Chris Colfer wasn’t coming back to Glee. Thankfully, his twitter account had been hacked, and all was right with the world. A few weeks later, I got to hang out with him for 30 seconds at a book signing. Y’all, we are such besties during these meetings. <3
– My 4th was a relatively quiet celebration. Dinner with Chris and Gretchen (son was down for the night), and then a night barbeque with some other friends.
– I went out to the coast with my friend Lindsay and the dog she was petsitting – it was very cold and foggy for July. But I love the ocean no matter the weather.
-I went with a large group of Mormons (current, post) to see the Book of Mormon musical. My pithy review: “it was profoundly profane and profanely profound.” Some really awesome songs, the singing was really incredible and seeing it with a group of Mormons meant that there were inside jokes that nobody else in the audience got. But it’s definitely a musical by the creators of South Park.
– I went home for a week to spend time with my parents and my nephews. We went fishing and to the dinosaur museum and to the gym where we went bowling and played with balls and hoola hoops. Gosh, I love these boys.
– I flew back to San Francisco to go camping with my friends, Jen, Toshi, Cheryl and her husband Scott, as well as a few other random people. We went to Little Basin State Park, which has a small Redwood Forest and hiked a little and spent a lot of time around the campfire.
– Jen and I drove out to Half Moon Bay to watch dolphins and eat sushi. Yummy, yummy, fresh sushi.
– My sister moved in with me. It’s lovely having homemade dinners, even if I miss my privacy.
-Labor Day, Karin and I took a drive along the famous Columbia River Gorge. It was such a gorgeous day and the falls were amazing.
– The annual neurocritical care society meeting was up in Seattle this year. So instead of flying all over the country, I drove up and stayed with my friends Brooke and Brian. I didn’t get to see them much because I was gone to meetings all day and dinners at night (so much networking). I did play hooky on one of the afternoons and walked downtown to the Space Needle and then went to the Chihuly Museum, which was utterly gorgeous – so much colorful, spun glass.
– Brooke, Brian, their kids and I went to the locks the following day and watched the migrating salmon and the boats leaving the lakes and rivers. It’s prettier than it sounds.
– My first college roommate came out to Portland to interview for a fellowship position in neonatalogy and we had a marvelous dinner catching up. To think that it had been over 15 years since we shared a dorm in Ballif Hall.
– A live performance of Doctor Horrible! Such a terrible death whinny!
– Sunday picnic with some local Mo-related friends, which was the start on an annual tradition.
– Kinky Boots – my friend raved about this the last time I saw her so when I saw it was part of the Broadway tour in Portland, I jumped at the opportunity to see it – probably my favorite play of the year. So terrific.
– Lunar eclipse – I was working nights, so when I finished, I went home and my sister and I drove to a nearby park. I got some pretty amazing pictures, until my lens fogged up. Whoops.
– I got to meet Atul Gawande *hyperventilate*. He gave a reading at my local bookstore on his book Being Mortal and then signed books afterwards. I talked to him briefly about my experiences as an ICU doctor and the end-of-life decisions that my patient’s families have to make.
– Halloween party at my church. I haven’t gone to my ward since a few months after I moved there – it was very much one of those “Young and Newly Wed or Old and Nearly Dead” wards and after San Francisco, I did not feel comfortable there. They were all very nice, just not my tribe, you know? So I had been attending a ward on the other side of the city. In any case, my neighbors invited to attend as it was Harry Potter themed, so who was I to turn that down? I had a great time – it was well decorated, the kids were cute and I even ran into a friend whom I haven’t seen in months.
– I went home to Utah for a weekend to see my grandmother. She has dementia so visits are always challenging, but I took her for a ride up one of the canyons near where she lives. She mentioned that she wanted to go to the waterfall where my grandfather proposed, so I turned off onto a side road – which very quickly became a gravel road up the mountain, with snow patches on the road. Lovely view, but definitely entered the folder of “must never do that again”.
– I spent one afternoon before flying out exploring the University of Utah. College was such a magical time for me and the years have painted it rosy with nostalgia.
– I stayed the night with Liz before flying back home and played with her new baby Sara who is roly poly and delightful.
– Sunstone Portland! An evening of listening to lectures about intellectual Mormonism, sewing quilts to give to the LGBTQ homeless shelter in the city, and eating Candle Salad and “Pake”.
– I’m pretty sure I worked on my birthday.
– My parents drove out to spend Thanksgiving at my place. A friend from junior high school, Tammi came and visited one afternoon – she moved before we graduated from high school, so it had been many, many years since we had last visited.
– The Neurology Annual Party wasn’t nearly as tedious as the previous year. Maybe I’m getting to know my colleagues better?
– Burgers with McSara and Steph, local friends – I don’t remember the occasion. I do remember that the burgers were divine.
– I worked Christmas Eve, but drove out to see my friend Hillary, as she was back in town from Japan and spent Christmas dinner with her and her family.
– I worked Christmas night – and got a flat tire driving home. This was the second flat tire in the year that I’ve owned the car – the previous year, I discovered that my car doesn’t actually have a spare tire, just a tire repair kit, but my tire had literally popped and shredded from a pothole. So I dutifully called up the Ford dealership and waited over 3 hours for a tow truck to come. Merry Christmas to me indeed.
– I flew out that morning (Dec. 26th), after going back to the dealership and dropping off my car key, for my Christmas adventure. And adventure it was.
- First stop: a couple of days in the Bay Area, as my friend Cheryl got married to Scott, a man that she dated for over 3 years (an anomaly in the LDS world of very short courtships and engagements).
- I then flew to Salt Lake City, where I drove up to Logan and picked up my grandmother, and then drove back to SLC to take a flight down to Arizona, so she could spend a couple of days with Laura and the grandkids. Grandma freaked out before I got there, that this was a trap to get her into a nursing home, but then calmed down on the flight down – and then worried again when I didn’t take her home that day. I shared a room with her and didn’t sleep for two nights. She did okay during the day, but at night, all of her demons and fears came to life. It’s still a memory that she managed to hold onto, so it was worth it.
- I flew back up to Utah with Grandma on the 31st and stayed with my friends Laura and James for the New Years. We stayed up too late talking but otherwise, it was a quiet end to the year.
Movies watched: The Hobbit, Frozen, Obvious Child, Boyhood, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, Veronica Mars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lego movie, Maleficent, Lucy, Finding Vivian Meier (favorite movie of the year), Into the Storm, The 100 Foot Journey.
TV watched: Glee, the second half of each of the Dancing with the Stars, the second half of the Amazing Race.
Live performances: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, John Williams performing with the Oregon Symphony, Ingrid Michaelson, Pirates of the Penzance, Once, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Doctor Horrible.http://redheadsnippet.lotrinklings.
Doing: It’s been a few busy weeks at work recently. I worked nights last week (I come in around 5 pm, get sign out and learn about all of the patients, see and examine my patients, round on everybody with the fellow and resident, and then once everybody’s tucked in, I go home and take pager call after that), and it was horrendously busy. I didn’t get home until 4 most mornings. I’m still trying to switch back over to a days schedule – but I work nights this week, so I’m not trying very hard. I’ll be working Christmas Eve and Christmas nights and then flying out for my Christmas of insanity (wedding of a friend in San Francisco, flying to Utah, taking my grandma down to Arizona, visiting my nephews, flying back up to Utah to return my grandma, and then flying back down to Arizona for a few more days – insanity).
Thinking: I think I need to see a therapist. I’m not depressed per se (dysthymic is probably a better description), but I’m not dealing with things as well as I pretend to. I’m really struggling with being single right now, more so than I have in years. I’ve found myself pulling away from my friends (sorry if I’ve ignored you. It’s not just you) and upset because my friend group here hasn’t been quite what I was hoping and I don’t fit in here either. I need to get everything out on paper, but so far, I haven’t been able to get the words down.
Reading: We read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler for our local book group and I really, really enjoyed it. It’s a fascinating read, with just the right amount of science and philosophy. Don’t read a synopsis as I did; I think it had a different impact on me because I knew the reveal due to lazy reviewers.
Watching: I watched How to Train Your Dragon last night which was really cute and much enjoyed. I am looking forward to seeing the sequel. I also watched the last several episodes of the Amazing Race. Every time I fantasized trying out and seeing the world, they do something like walk a tightrope wire across two buildings and NOPE. And Orphan Black has finally made it’s way to my cable box, which may be disastrous for my sleep.
Making: Have I made anything? I dreamt last night that I was knitting and learnt how to make a sweater. I see no evidence of that being real life.
Writing: I was writing drabbles (100 words each) for a glee klaine advent thing. But I’m so far behind now, that I probably won’t be able to catch up. It was lovely getting back into the swing of things, finding words that just fit together and conveyed a snippet of a story in 100 words. I am only 2 paragraphs into my 10,000 word book chapter that is due in April. I am screwed.
On the other hand, my article from last year got published!
I went to bed at 8 last night. It’s been an exhausting week. Lots of seriously ill “on the precipice” patients, who have so far limped through all of their medical issues, but have caused me great anxiety while doing so (and still could tip at any moment. Ugh). One family where I hit a firmer wall than I had expected in a care conference (I’m good with families. I have not been good with this family). Being told by my old boss (who thankfully is no longer my boss, just a colleague now) that I “take things too personally,” when making the comment that while our relationship is slowing improving, my perception of the new neurosurgeon is that he thinks I’m inexperienced and it’s hard to overcome that.
So I am off to bed now. 3 days down. 4 to go.
By Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
I am working tomorrow (a week of days, which means being at the hospital by 7, ugh, and because of all of the travel, I never did get out of the “go to bed at 2 am, wake up at 9″ schedule, so tonight will be extra fun.
I have a few things that I want to ruminate on, mostly about making friendships as an adult, and my perpetual feelings of being left out and forgotten, which are the same feelings that I’ve been dealing with since I was 14 years old, but those will take longer than the 10 minutes I’ve got before I have to go to bed.
So, instead, let me introduce you to the pake, as I was tonight (well, it was served at a progressive Mormon gathering, so we called it “a marvelous cake and a cobbler” but that pun means nothing to the majority of my blog readers).
Pake = pie cake = cake baked around pie. I had the apple pie surrounded by a french vanilla cake, which was phenomenal. There was also pumpkin pie in a spice cake, and cherry pie in a chocolate cake. I managed to track down the recipe for the last (my friend confirmed that it is best to stick the pie upside down on the cake batter). So very, very good.
I also learned how to properly eat candlestick salad (which is a recipe that was published in my church’s magazine for children about 6 years back). Delicious!
Doing: I was supposed to go up to Seattle today for Sunstone Northwest, but I was too exhausted to drive up yesterday and I ended up meeting with a friend for a very quick dinner. Instead, today, I went to a Thanksgiving potluck, sponsored by Affirmation, which is a group for the LDS (past and present) LGBT (and friends and allies) community. There was a pretty good turnout, with close to 40 people that showed up, mostly people that I didn’t know, although there were a few friendly acquaintances. The stories told made me cry – there was a 14 year old, who came out a couple of years ago, and his family completely supported him. There was a man who attended one of the inner city congregations whose husband joined the church a year ago. Many couples who have been together for years. I had a vision of what our churches could look like if they were all embraced and welcomed to our congregations. I could only tell them, that as an ally, I am trying to make a place for them because I want them there, that our visions of Zion won’t be realized until after we have welcomed the marginalized. There are hints of progress – today, it’s enough to latch onto, an anchor of hope.
Thinking: Polygamy and how much I hate it and how much I hate that it’s been on every major news source so it’s all that my Facebook groups have talked about for the last 3 weeks. Make it stop. I haven’t quite got my feelings sorted it out into words, but this sort of sums up some of it.
Reading: I finished Rose Under Fire this week. It made me cry. Highly recommended and as good as Code Name Verity. This one is going to linger for a long time.
I’m still reading Fic. Her romantization of the Sherlock fandom amuses me greatly, especially this paragraph:
“Maybe the Merlin, Supernatural, Avengers, and other fandoms offer the same riches, but I’d be surprised. This fandom’s hunger, its wide age range, and the gifts and passions of its creators have helped fan creativity absolutely flourish.”
Oh, honey, I can tell you that that is the truth for many, many fandoms.
Watching: My friend Liz’s mom had surgery and was recuperating when I visited this week, so I sat on the couch beside her and watched Gilmore Girls episodes. It has been a really, really long time since I was consumed by that show and fandom; it was almost like seeing it new again. I had forgotten that Dean was sweet in those first couple of episodes. It sucked me in all over again – I really need to look into that Netflix subscription.
Making: I pulled out my knitting this week. Since I’m teaching myself, I haven’t done anything fancier than just attempt to make a scarf. But I got off on my counting, I dropped a stitch (which I don’t know how to fix) and I can’t remember how to finish off a row and start another one, so it looks ratty on the ends. I pretty much unravelled all that I had attempted to do and now my yarn is a mess. But I did browse a yarn store and bought a cable needle and caps for the end.
Writing: Besides the daily updates to this blog, not much. I have hardly written more than 1 sentence for my book chapter. Not good.
(Just typing that made my inner grammar police freak – and as you have experienced, my inner grammar police is pretty quiet in these parts.)
All of my friends in SLC had lives to live today (huff), so I found myself with an afternoon free and I drove up to the University of Utah to wander around and take pictures of my old stomping grounds. College was, without a doubt, the best 4 years of my life and I just soaked up all of the memories. So much muscle memory – it’s been over a decade since I sat in the Henry Eyring building and listened to Dr. Ragsdale teach Chem 101, but I knew what the classroom looked like, and the staircase in the back. The smell of the chalk hasn’t faded (even though it’s all digital now). I wandered down by the JTB and thought fondly of my molecular and developmental biology classes. I drifted by OSH (always called OshKosh) and remembered the writing classes I took where my teacher waxed on and on about the different toilets in the world and what they told us about priorities and passions. I thought I saw myself coming down the sidewalk from Ballif Road – but the dorms are all torn down now (“they paved paradise and put up a parking lot…”). A thousand memories of sitting on the grass and having lunch with Susan, “breaking into” the Aline Skaggs building and watching movies on a Saturday night, swing dancing at the Naval Science building, plays at Kingsbury Hall and Pioneer Theater, ball games at the Huntsman…
So many changes. I barely recognized the library – it had undergone some major revisions during college, and more during med school, but they’ve added a cafe and the computer lab where we ACCESS girls wrote papers on statistics is now a “Faculty Development” space.
I loved college. I loved learning – the way that my brain would suddenly click when it grasped a concept. I miss that. Residency and fellowship was more of an apprenticeship; on the job training, rather than formal lectures. Oh, I did get some lectures, but a once a week experience is different than the immersion of college.
College also represented a time when I discovered myself. I made friends for the first time, friends who got me and valued similar things. I would never, ever go back and relive high school – but if offered the chance to do college again, I’d sign in an instant.
(Photo set can be found here)
Grandma and I went for a drive down Cub River Canyon today. There’s a waterfall in one of the canyons, where she remembers my grandpa proposing, so we went exploring (we did not find the waterfall). As much as I love autumn when the leaves are at peak color and vibrancy, I may love the late stage right at the cusp of winter more – when the leaves are struggling to stay on and the contrast between the pale, white branches and the fallen leaves is stark. It was especially gorgeous today, because it is starting to get cold, and there was just a touch of snow that had fallen.
There was a fork in the road about halfway down the canyon – with a road that lead to Mink Creek, about 12 miles north. I had the brainy idea to take that fork on the way back. The nicely grated 2 lane road dwindled very quickly to a rocky, bumpy lane – with no place to turn around. There was a little more snow on the road, and about a 500-1000 foot drop on the edge of that lane. Grandma worried the whole way down, while I prayed for no flat tires because I wasn’t sure if we’d ever be found. The little Kia Soul that I rented did beautifully though (I think it had big dreams of being an SUV and just wanted to show off).
I got some absolutely gorgeous pictures, so it was definitely worth it.
My beautiful grandmother. We talked about her writing and the three books that she is writing, and she told me about my great grandfather and his “Danish gates” that he made, the home that she grew up in, her little dog Annie and what a comfort she is. She read me her stories and her poetry. It’s conversation that we have had hundreds of times and it’s always new to her.
I am on the plane to visit Utah and my grandma for a couple of days. She has dementia and lives with my aunt and it is always a very mixed bag of emotions seeing her. Her house is a disaster of shifted papers and belongings from one corner to another, with rotting food in the fridge. She tells the same dozen stories over and over and she is so paranoid – terrified that my uncle is stealing her money, my aunt is taking over her house, my uncle is messing with her medications, and she’s going to be placed in a nursing home. She doesn’t remember the conversations where everything is explained to her and her nightmares bleed into her reality.
She’s also profoundly lonely and her loneliness feeds her paranoia. My grandfather died 2 years ago; they were married nearly 60 years. My aunt lives with her, but works and socializing with my grandma is exhausting to even the most patient. While members of her community and church come by and visit occasional, the visits have faded off. So I go and see her every few months for a couple of days – she has latched on to me as her favorite granddaughter AND the doctor, so I can usually ease her into things that nobody else can convince her to do. I visit, I hug her and listen to her stories (over and over and over), I take her on drives in the country to visualize all of her memories, I nod encouragingly and supportively when she is angry at all of the other family members. I wish, always, that I could do more.
My maternal grandmother died 2 years ago (tomorrow is the anniversary of her death) from severe Alzheimer’s – she was unable to communicate, although she recognized all of us until the end, and I truly missed her long before she died. In similar ways, I miss my alive-right-now grandma. While she can still communicate, she has such limited short term memory and can’t process more complex conversations. So I can’t discuss politics or religion with her any more. I would love to have some of her advice that she provided me as a teenager (which I didn’t appreciate then).
My plane is about to land. The sun over the Great Salt Lake is breathtaking this afternoon.
I’ve been following the fall of the Berlin Wall anniversary on twitter and tumblr today during the (slight) lull in patients. I was just over 10 when it happened and I have such a foggy memory of what occurred that it’s been breathtaking to see the photos of the event. These pictures were particularly powerful to me. I consider myself a fairly educated person – I mean, I was one of the good kids who listened to my teachers and read extra curricular books and the National Geographic and listened to NPR. And yet, I’ve had the misconception for years that the Berlin Wall was built sometime during World War II (before the war ended and the Allies liberated everybody and Hitler committed suicide). I really had little understanding of the complexities of post-war Germany and the rise of the Soviet Union. When your history is taught from an American perspective, well, it can lack some subtleties. I’m grateful for the commentary and reflection that tumblr and livejournal friends who experienced it first hand have provided.
What really made it all hit home today was seeing this image, of the wall between Israel and Palestine – we still have barriers to overcome.
I really have liked wendelah1‘s weekly update posts, so I’m using it as inspiration today.
Doing: Lazy morning today. I stayed up way too late to help me adjust to my weekend of nights and now I feel a little groggy. I am hoping to get enough sleep tonight that I can go to the Japanese Gardens to catch some of the last autumn color.
Thinking Politics. I’ve been reading and musing about what the elections results will mean for the next couple of years. Honestly, now I’m getting angry at how the democrats screwed themselves again. Somebody posted a rant about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails that were sent, where they stated over and over again about how we were losing the election and we were terrible people for not sending them money – and you know what, the rant was completely right. The DCCC started sending those emails back in December. I got so fed up with their constant negative gloom and doom barrage that I spent an hour to get myself completely and totally removed from their mailing list. And I’m a supporter! We didn’t need to lose this election. I still firmly believe that the Republican party as it is, is in such division between the traditionalists and tea party extremists that there won’t be much damage done overall, but ugh.
Reading: I’m still making my way through my books. I’ve been reading Rose Under Fire when I’m working out at the gym, which has been very engaging. I really adore Ms. Wein’s descriptions of deep friendships and she has so many female characters. Code Name Verity was one of my favorite books that I read last year and this sequel is almost as good.
Watching: I watch so little tv anymore. There are quite a few shows that I think I would be interested in (Orphan Black, In the Flesh are on the top of my mind), but not enough to actually seek them out.
Making: … I need to work on this. I learned how to knit a couple of years ago and then this summer croqueted blocks for a quilt and loved it.
Writing: I committed to write a book chapter for a medical publication (about the use of osmotic therapy for the treatment of cerebral edema. I’m sure you’re all super excited to pick up a copy), partially because I need to show that I am “scholarly productive” for my upcoming (in a year) performance review. Guys. I am not a writer any more. I worked on a review paper for months, that was only 2000 words long, and I still ended up short. This is supposed to be 10,000 words. I am screwed.
Naptime and then work.
I went to Hawaii last spring, one of the first real vacations I’ve had in years (most of my vacations have been traveling home or to Arizona to see family). I was so lucky to get to go with my dear Susan and her husband, not only because it was a chance to spend time together, but because they also understood and completely supported my need to get my fangirl on.
It’s been 10 years since it first debuted and four years since it left the air, but there were still many, many remnants of old filming locations of LOST. We were staying on the northern side of Oahu, in a town where many of the flashbacks/forwards/sideways were filmed and I found myself a google map and tracked down as many as I could during our stay. There were a few big ones that I missed, like hiking to the lighthouse and going to the bamboo forest. Luckily I have a friend who lives in Hawaii, also a Lost fan, who has promised to take me anywhere when I come to visit again. I just started rewatching Lost in honor of its 10th year anniversary (wut), and it’s been even more incredible because I have now actually been there.
(You can see pictures of my Lost escapades here, although I need to label the locations).
I’m afraid that this activated my travel bug. Now I’m itching to go all over. I have a friend who just moved to Japan – and she’s wanting to go to Italy this summer; another friend is making plans to go to Japan in the spring. Greece is on the list. As is England, and Cape Town in South Africa. And. And. And.
Not to mention my fandom must-sees. New Zealand for LOTR, which needs to be soon since they are finished up with the Hobbit. And I just stumbled upon this, and oh my word, I absolutely have to go on a location tour for Anne of Green Gables. Have to.
I better get that passport renewed, eh?
I had lunch with Chris yesterday. I think I mentioned in my sum-up post from January that he had gotten into the surgical critical care fellowship here. We don’t work together at all, although both of our ICUs are right next to each other due to ongoing hospital construction, so there is some hall passing on occasion. I was kinda looking forward to bossing him around.
Things have changed in the 12 years since we’ve became friends. He got married (an event that still hurts to think about how much I was excluded). He has a 1 year old son. We went from seeing each other every single day for nearly 3 years to barely talking on the phone once a year (part of that was definitely me avoiding and licking wounds). So I was understandably nervous about having him in the same state again. Overall, it’s been nice. I’ve been over to their house for dinner a couple of times and had lunch with Gretchen and Oliver once (a very brief meeting in the cafeteria, mostly spent in preventing a runaway). Chris and I meet for lunch a couple times a month, depending on our schedules. And there’s no denying that I have missed my friend. There are very few people who just understand me and unexpected hallway hugs after a tough family conference are just soul-saving and precious.
Anyway, he is currently interviewing for attending positions across the country. He interviewed at Utah and the interviews went well and they seemed to like each other. He’s got a potential interview here at OHSU. Both would really be a great start to his career with support for research.
His wife wants him to go back to Wisconsin and take a private practice job.
I wanted to laugh at him. Because I could have told him that he was going to get into this 5 years ago when they were in the middle of dating. She was saying then that she loved the idea of raising her family in Wisconsin, because that’s where her folks and her sisters lived, and that she was trying to convince him to not pursue public health because she didn’t want to raise her kids in a foreign country. She went to Boston because it was a short term gig. She came out here because it was only a year. He didn’t ask me then; I didn’t offer because I like Gretchen quite a lot; she’s a heck of a lot more patient about some of his personality ticks than I am.
His marriage. He gets to have this fight. They’ll figure it out. I didn’t offer any advice, just listened. I don’t know what our friendship is going to look like in the future, but I’m glad for these few moments to connect again.