Monthly Archives: February 2006

I’ve entered a new era


A $30 gift card to Dillards is a dangerous thing. Especially when there’s a clearance sale with 75% mark-down and 40% off that! I wound up with a few shirts that could be worn at work or as dressy-casual.

But the real joy in spending money that’s already “spent” in the form of a gift card came in browsing the “gift” racks. Now, these are the sort of shelves they pull out before Father’s Day and Christmas, and they have the genre of gifts which I call Gifts For Dad Who Already Has Everything He Wants Except Perhaps A New Power Tool Which Is Too Expensive For Me To Buy. These displays are filled with the unique and the exotic for home & office: the miniature putting kit for the office, the felt-lined wooden caddy for wallet and keys, the set of three golf balls imprinted with World’s Best Dad, the nose hair trimmer with mini razor, and the digital wine ratings and reviews catalog.

Now, while most of these gifts are utterly useless when it comes to finding a meaningful gift for Dad, one in particular caught my eye. A humidor/poker kit. It’s interesting these should be combined in one product, as I can’t imagine any cigar afficionado wanting his cigars mingling with a deck of cards and stack of chips. I suppose some slightly self-righteous marketer likes to direct his pitches toward those with multiple vices. This might explain the recent ad I saw stating, “Free bottle of 1998 vintage Pinot Noir with purchase of two Nascar tickets.” But I digress…

The shoebox-sized wooden humidor seemed to have excellent craftmanship and an appreciably sturdy weight to it. When I’d looked at humidors a year ago, everything seemed to be in the $100 range. This baby, complete with dice and two decks of cards, was marked down from $80 to $12. It now has a place of prominence on my dresser, waiting only to be filled. No longer shall my cigars dry out before I have a chance to smoke them! Posted by Picasa

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Busy call night

It’s not a good thing when your morning labs have already been drawn and you’re still awake. Which makes me wonder–why am I blogging at this hour?

I’ll have to write more about this crazy night: The STAT cardiothoracic surgery consult for a cross-cover patient, my patient who’s been crumping for the better part of 24 hours, the cross-cover do-not-resuscitate patient who died but whose heart wouldn’t stop beating, and the patient I just admitted who’s teetering on the edge of sudden death…

But first, an hour nap before I round…

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Just the essentials

Today feels eerily like Monday. Upon coming home from work, I took a short nap (after spending an hour on the phone diffusing a potentially volatile situation involving an upset endocrinologist and upset family member…long story) and went for another run.

This run, however, was no ordinary run. It started off at an easy pace since my goal was to run father. Like Columbus, I wanted to see and explore that mysterious land that lay beyond the end of my running map. That boundary, up until today, was Knox Street, with its concrete pylons keeping the distracted driver off the running trail, and its Lamps Plus shop on the corner.

Pleasantly surprised was I to discover that a slightly cushioned asphalt surface awaited my New Balances. Without the guidance of quarter-mile markers, I ran a little while farther, knowing that every additional step I ran away from home would of course lengthen the run doubly.

I spotted an intersection ahead as the tipping point in my run. By this point I was twenty minutes in and feeling like I could go on indefinitely. Seeing the roadsign as I drew closer prompted an ironic smile to form…Harvard Street. Though I was running side by side with Christopher and the Santa Maria was not far behind, here I’d arrived in New England, not far from Plymouth Rock, rather than the Caribbean islands.

Another trip up to the top of the parking garage treated me with a few moments of peace, watching the afternoon slip away into evening. The sun had already set, yet there’s still a little magic in seeing the tail of the afternoon fade into the cool shimmer of evening. (Shimmer…did I use that word in my last post? “…fade into the mayonnaise-like embrace of evening.” Yes! That’s the feel I’m going for!)

But the real reason for writing this post was to document the compendium of necessities I placed into my hand-basket at World Market this evening. (For those who aren’t familiar, this store is essentially a lower-priced Pier One with imported food). Despite my growing appreciation for all things British, I resisted the urge to put the $1 per ounce jar of clotted cream into the basket. But I did come home with:

  • Sparkling mineral water with a hint of lemon (thank you, Susan)
  • Tortellini with sun-dried tomato and tomato-basil pasta sauce for dinner
  • Black currant scones, for the next time I have overnight guests
  • Nutella (made with over 50 hazelnuts per jar) and McVitie’s The Original Digestive Biscuits. Crazy Brits. I can’t imagine any American marketer including the word “digestive” in the name of a cookie. Nestle’s Peristaltic Tollhouse Morsels.
  • Roasted raspberry chipotle sauce. Goes well with just about everything. Except creme brulee.
  • And, the ultimate in indulgent empty carbs, Haribo Raspberries.

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The gift of solitude

I notice that in spite of spending time with friends and family on a regular basis, there seems to be an element of loneliness this year that I haven’t felt in a while. Upon brief reflection, I attribute this to two things. First, the quality of interaction with friends–even close, long-term friends–has been more superficial, perhaps owing to the busyness of our lives and the rarity of spending time together. And secondly, I wonder if a lack of personal time of solitude has any bearing on this.

After napping after work today (being post-call), I enjoyed a thirty-minute run and showered, caught up on e-mail and friends’ blogs. Noticing the fleeting sunlight outside my courtyard window, though, I was inspired to seek intentional alone time. Heating up a cup of chai, I wandered up to the top of the parking garage adjacent to the apartment complex.

From that vantage point, the view was a little less than stunning, but it does afford a wonderful, quiet place to relax. Looking south, I could see red rooftop after rooftop and the shimmering lights of downtown rising in the dusky sky. To the north and west was the busy interstate with automobile lights crawling toward their home for the evening, as well as the sprawling campus of my medical school. Nearby luxury high-rises glowed with incandescent warmth in story after story of windows.

But best of all, the bowl of the sky offered a broad palette of color: a deep blue with a few faint stars in the east, and a sober orange to the west where the sun had disappeared some time ago. Under this canopy I sipped my chai, enjoyed the cool evening breeze, and prayed, listening occasionally to the distant sounds of an occasional car several stories below, or the fading roar of a plane in the distance. And for these thirty minutes of solitude, I enjoyed a simply being alive.

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Overheard at the hospital II

My co-intern, Clay: Ma’am, if you’ll just step out and wait a little while in the family room, we’ll put in this central line so that we can give your husband the I.V. fluids he needs.
Elderly lady: Are you going to be putting in this line? How many of these have you done before???
Helpful yet dishonest nurse: Sometimes the younger doctors are better at this sort of thing, since they’re more recently out of training.
Elderly lady: Young!?! Of course he’s young! I have shoes older than him! Shoes!

Me, after seeing a patient who was high on cocaine which contributed in no small way to his general spirit of uncooperativity, and thus necessitating my relying on some of the other doctors’ notes: Wow, my History and Physical is short! I have so little information. It’s so short, it’s like a surgeon’s H&P!
My resident: Um, that is the surgeon’s H&P. You copied it.

And, have you ever wondered what a politically-correct name would be for the nurse who spends all day reviewing medical charts with the intention of prodding doctors to boot their patients out of the hospital sooner, thus maximizing the hospital’s income? Utilization Management Coordinator

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From the Associated Press

Message in a bottle gets trashy reply from Britain


NAPEGUE, N.Y. — A boat captain who sent a message out to sea in a bottle says he received a reply from Britain–accusing him of littering.

“I kind of felt like no good deed goes unpunished,” Harvey Bennett, 55, told the East Hampton Star.

The plastic bottle was one of five that Mr. Bennett placed in the ocean off New York’s Long Island in August. Last month, he excitedly opened a letter from England, and was stunned by the reply:

“I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Poole Harbour. While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed of oceanic currents, I have another name for it, litter.

“You Americans don’t seem to be happy unless you are mucking about somewhere,” says the letter, signed by Henry Biggelsworth of Bournemouth, in Dorset County.

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Jonathan’s comment: Could you have a better name here than Henry Biggelsworth???

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