Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Living Room Layout

From the start, I've been adamant that my bedroom be a 'for sleeping only' sanctuary but finding myself doing schoolwork there in the evenings and then studying in bed most mornings,  I finally caved and moved my desk there.  The room is still very much a work in progress but it is surprising how functional it is.  Because the kitchen door is my main entry, it's convenient to have my drop spot right there (as opposed to walking the length of the apartment).

Sorry about the crappy photos. My camera can't do anything but bright light.

This rearrangement really opened up my main room.  I pushed the loveseat against the wall, rearranged the chairs and brought out the bench that had lived in my desk's new home.  Looking at the photographs, I realize that I've actually done a ton of stuff since the last decorating post.

I framed the mirror squares with some molding from HD, took down the ribbon and added a 'sari-wainscoting' with an old Indian souvenir and painted the top of the table white.  The jungle has been culled (my watering time has halved!) and Sami, the sad lion lithograph that had watched over my great-grandma's house, now watches over mine.  The round Danish chair and the bar in the corner had also graced her home.

Overall, the apartment feels much larger and the space better utilized. An offering to the gods of procrastination well spent.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quick Note

It's been two months since I've posted. Shit. Huh. I don't really feel that guilty because this blog has always seemed more a self-indulgent exercise that has really benefited only me and my ego.  The last few months have been busy. School dominates, I returned home for a visit after 4 long years, extended my social group and re-arranged my furniture several times. The academics are treating me well. My new mentor for our longitudinal 'doctoring' class has given me amazing feedback about my interactions with SPs.

Over our autumn break, I slipped into a sleep in on PST habit and re-adjusting to my normal CST schedule has been challenging.

It's 8:30 on a Friday and I'm exhausted.  Maybe tomorrow I'll post photos of my recent furniture rearrangement. It's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And We're Off!

School's started back up and we're already in 6th gear.  I read 250 pages of patho, pharmo & Bates' before the first day of lectures which seems to be about par for reading assignments for the rest of the term.  Yay.  Today is the second day and I'm already behind. 

Last year, our doctoring course was a fou fou easy-pass write off. Not so this time around.  I'm nervous about it.  We have our first OSCE- neuro in less than two weeks.

Yesterday during our third class, the lecturer started off with several slides of a Canadian study not related to the material but demonstrating the 'time saved' by 'traditional' clinicians who put their stethoscopes in pockets as opposed to around the neck (the 'cool' clinicians).

Slide 1:  decreased TB transmission
Slide 2: breakdown of Canadian workers (Drs, RNs etc) who wear it around neck and, with an average 0.32sec slower retrieval, totally Canadian economic loss = some 5 million dollars/year.
Slide 3: BIG LETTERS: women 2x more likely to fall into the 'cool' (as opposed to 'traditional') category.
Slide 4: If this lecturer sees anyone wearing their stethoscope around their neck during his rotation: automatic fail.

I was so pissed off by the unabashedly sexist 'mini' lecture, I couldn't pay attention to the real material.  What a jerk- what a way to perpetuate the impression of women doctors (in 3 slides no less!) being less capable, less efficient, more dangerous to their patients, more concerned with image than being a good doc and less deserving of respect! 

1. Ties (that men ubiquitously wear) are much more likely to transmit infections. Stethoscopes can be wiped down after leaving infected rooms. I have yet to see any man change his tie.
2. The 'unisex' lab coats are really mens' coats that women wear. Many of us larger hipped folks have to deal with a tighter fit around the waist making it much easier for things to fall out of pockets. And having big bulky metal things banging against hips is much less comfortable.
3. We tend to be smaller- certainly smaller than this lecturer's 6ft+ height. Smaller coat = smaller, shallower pockets= increased likelihood of things falling out.
4. Nurses, at least at the hospitals that I've worked, don't typically wear coats so the data is completely skewed.
5. There was no cross study of folks switching to the other method to determine if the 'savings' of 0.32 secs/use is accurate. 

Oooh, writing this, my level of 'pissed-offedness' has just skyrocketed.

Here are some photos of the Fields Museum  and the little sushi place where I had dinner in Chicago:

Friday, July 26, 2013


I grew up kayaking on tranquil lakes and rivers but developed a taste for brutal oceanic waters when I lived in Washington.  It was a thrill to paddle furiously trying to conquer waves that tossed you like leaves in a tornado. I loved the push, dizzy unpredictability of which direction you'll be facing next and the necessary hyper-awareness of the balance of your boat. One tiny off-center moment could result in a dunking. 

Yesterday's excursion through a marshy nature preserve was a relaxing reminiscence of early kayak days. There was no danger, no choppy ship canals or 6ft waves to navigate, just glass-like water, the sound of the breeze skipping like a stone & the occasional call of a morning dove.  The thrills were subtle: spotting a great blue heron, seeing the sky reflect perfectly in the water.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The More Events to Write About, the Less Writing Accomplished.

I've had a busy, engaging & productive (in laziness) summer. I was complaining to a friend about having no time to write & he suggested that I start a photo-journal, publishing a handful of photos everyday.  So... here's my first entry: Today, I visited a small farm somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon, east of the Mississippi and west of the Atlantic... (how's that for vague!).

I love the stimulation, energy & impossibility of boredom in Big City but the silence and stillness of this last week have been very centering. This is something I'll need to search out over the next few years to maintain my psychological balance.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I've been preparing for my anatomy remediation exam these past couple of weeks. The material was actually easier (less boring) this time around because I was able to put it in physiologic context.  It still sucked having to memorize random useless shit:  "the plantaris m. is a vestigial structure" "septum transverserum becomes the liver and diaphram"

Is it necessary to use limited neural connections on these things?  I do understand the importance of having a strong anatomy foundation -like knowing the arcuate line- it would be disastrous to sew up the wrong layers- they showed us the photographs. But foundations are usually made of large bricks/slabs and mortar not itty-bitty pebbles. Jeez.

I met with the course director on Monday.  I had described him before as being funny, over-the-top and somewhat misogynistic ( I use that term carefully w/ the updated 2012 definition: entrenched prejudices against women.  I don't think he hates us).  He obviously had his favorites among the male students, rarely called on women and his anatomical examples were always skewed to more represent the masculine anatomy.

During our meeting though, he was really gentle, helpful and understanding. I had gone in with shaking knees and an underlying deep mortification with being in this situation (never again!)  but he put me at ease.  He made me feel as if this wasn't a great deal and even shared stories of his own graduate school struggles with failing a course.  He asked me how the other courses had gone and nodded knowingly when I confessed that I had a much easier time with physiology and immunology.  "You have an analytical mind" he told me. He even confessed that he was the same, liking concepts more than memorization and how ironic it was that he ended up an anatomy professor.

He then flipped open a manila file, riffled through the pages and began rattling off advice:

Know the anastomoses around the stomach
Know the course of the gonadal vessels
Understand straddle injuries, the cremasteric reflex, portal varices, I 8 10 eggs AT 12, water under the bridge, this is going to be leg and pelvis heavy, 2 radiology questions- think Dr. Y (I knew this meant one was an abdominal ultrasound), 6 cardiac, 2 lung, an adrenal, the unhappy triad, exceptions to para/sympathetic....

Realizing that he was looking at the exam questions, I started scribbling notes trying to keep up with his rapid fire proclamations then went home and studied specifics.

I sat for the exam this morning and he had been right: it was very leg and pelvis heavy. It was also foot heavy and neck heavy. I didn't do very well on it but I passed.

When I was notified about my medical school acceptance, the joy I felt far outweighed the relief. That was a great feeling. Because the powers that determine who gets invited for interview/acceptance are behind closed doors with ambiguous criteria (beyond grades/MCAT), it didn't feel like an anticipated failure, my fear of being denied. So the joy at hearing the "we want you" was pretty pure.

The joy I felt today having heard (read- I was notified via email) that I passed was pretty gritty. My fear of failure far outweighed the anticipation of the news. There has been times that life has been pretty tough: deciding to take both parents off life support (different times), grieving, recovering from an abusive relationship, feeling unlovable, getting laid off, the stress of living in a house I couldn't afford... etc etc. 

I'm pretty familiar with the grit life throws at you like rice at a wedding.  Today though, today, I felt a gritty joy. And it was fucking awesome.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

As Promised, Last Nesting Post: The Kitchen

Here y'all go:

The kitchen is little: about 5.5 x 11 ft with 28 inches of counter space. I tried to go with a casual french bistro inspiration.

I use the burlap bag as storage for coffee & bread and a couple of other reusable shopping bags.

This windowsill is the plant infirmary. Sick plants come here to recuperate.  The window coverings are just raw pieces of green burlap pinned to tension rods.

The red 'wine purse' (a gift from my brother) atop the fridge is my paper towel dispenser.

All of my non-refrigerated produce goes in the wire baskets or the wooden bowls.

I keep my lesser used dishware in the bins atop the cabinets (my great-grandma's wedding punch bowl, my huge pasta dish) and my bulk grains (rice, barley, quinoa, peas etc) in the wire picnic basket.

I placed the leftover mirror panels (from: the bedroom & living north wall) here to visually 'elongate the stubby counter space.

 The cheese slate board & serving plate stack here, pretty but out of the way until needed.

I use cherry tomatoes in everything: pasta, salads, stir fry, soup. Again, the cutting board is against the wall, pretty, out of the way and easily reached.

This is one of two 'herb gardens'.  Here grows Italian basil, mint & rosemary- the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen. The 'herb garden' in the sunroom grows red basil, cilantro & chives.

I keep my alarm clock next to the coffee for 2 reasons:
1. I'm a pathological snooze abuser so having to walk to another room to do so helps
2. coffee

I am really really lucky with this apartment. It's not huge (533ft) but the amount of light is amazing. I have 12 windows including one in the bathroom and one in my big closet.  Despite the landlord limitations (no painting) I've been able to really create a home here and I love it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

By Popular Demand.... of one.

Here's the long awaited, almost complete (kitchen tomorrow!) current state of apartment tour.  Most of these photos were posted previously on the blog; I've just gathered them up into a handy-dandy single feature. It has definitely come a long way.  Tomorrow'll be my last tour post until next year (maybe). Then, it's back to the medschool crap. 

My Little apartment summary: It was rented to me as a studio with a small dining nook between the kitchen  & entry-way.  I decided to make that small room my sleeping area.
Dimensions, in square feet:
Sunroom alcove: 63.6
Main room: 199.6
Hallway: 34.8
Bathroom: 40.5
Sleeping area:  97.4
Kitchen: 64.4

Total apartment (including closets): 532.8

I wish I had a camera; these were taken with my Ipad. Next year's photographs will be of better quality. Promise!

Please: if you have any ideas or suggestions to polish this place, gimmee! I'm not the most artistic/creative person & need help for next year's round of nesting.

If my inspiration for the apartment were to be defined it would be a trip around the world. I've tried to be cohesive by including the same elements in every room: plants, natural finds (stones, twigs) and materials, mirrors, personal artwork.

Starting here in the main room, I'm at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; a cross-roads & jumble of textures, fabrics, plants & books from Africa, Europe, the Middle East & South Asia.



As we head into the hall, we head east to Asia.

The hall finds us in India.


And the bathroom is Viet Nam. 

As we continue east into the bedroom, a beachy Playa Del Carmen emerges.

And for our last stop on our eastern journey, We enter a small and casual French bistro for a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Here's are the links to the pictorial evolution this past year of my bedroom & living room:

north living room & sunroom
south living room
west living room
east living room
east bedroom
west bedroom