Monthly Archives: October 2006

A two week hiatus

Well, I’m back. Again. These past two weeks have been good ones, though very busy. I think part of feeling busy, of course, is the long days of residency, though certainly another part is life in New York City. Its denizens become accustomed to spending 30 minutes getting to a nearby neighborhood, or up to an hour traveling to another borrough.

I will try to share some highlights of the last two weeks in posts to come. First, however, a picture of my cousin Lucia, whom I visted a month ago in Washington D.C. I thought this was a great picture!


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My Lone Star Vacation, part one

Today’s been a busy call day at the hospital. A craniotomy for clipping a cerebral aneurysm kept me busy from 0800 until 1715. I grabbed some food with the fellow residents in the lounge after the case, and then had some alone time on the 12th floor roof looking out over Manhattan. The skyline at dusk and a nippy 50-degree breeze (That’s 11 degrees Celsius, for my down-under readers) greeted me as I walked into the open air.

That’s all I have to say about that. I wanted to share some highlights and pictures from my vacation in Texas last week. Even though I felt like three months away from my home-state was a significant amount of time, when I returned it was amazing how it felt that no time had passed since I left!

Memories include:

  • Working all day with my family to prepare a shower for my cousin Lauren and fiance Trevor in our backyard. About 50 people came, though I think we had food for a hundred.


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My Lone Star Vacation, part two

  • Breakfast with Adam Sunday morning at La Madeleine.
  • Park Cities Presbyterian Church with Dawn. Phenomenal organ music.
  • Lunch with medical school friends after church

  • Hanging out with David O at our old apartment in the afternoon.

  • Dinner with Scott, Bonnie, and Chanelle at one of my favorite casual dining establishments, Cafe Express.
  • Dessert with David and Scott.
  • Breakfast Monday with Nathan.
  • Visiting my old hospital.
  • Lunch with Mom and Charity.
  • Dessert with Adam & Ashley.
  • Mom and me spending the night with Aunt Sara, Uncle Ken.
  • A trip to Sam’s
  • Visiting Clint & Kristin in Waco. I learned never to rub my eye after taking out the seeds of a jalepeno pepper. I mowed their yard to be helpful since the baby comes in just a couple weeks!
  • Visiting the Arboretum with Shelley, Roman, and Bella.
  • A beer at the Ginger Man with David & David.
  • Dinner with Clay & Lori. Spending the night at their place and seeing their morning routine.

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My Lone Star Vacation, part 3

I left the day after I got back to New York for Philadelphia and spent some time with Uncle Paul and Aunt Betty. As usual, Aunt Betty had plenty of great, homemade food waiting!

Sunday I was back at Emmanuel, and I hosted a group of eight for “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. This is a potluck dinner where no one knows who else will be there. Two or three guests were kind enough to help me with the dishes afterward.

This next picture is from a different evening; it’s the “Asian” small group I’ve visited a couple times. I’m not sure if they’re so warm to me because they like me, or because I make their group more multicultural.

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Far Rockaway

Confronted with a one-day weekend (as I’m on call tomorrow) I made a plan for how to best utilize it. This included:

  • Housecleaning. My weekly chores comprise sweeping, dusting, watering plants, and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Watching a little of the Ric Burns New York Documentary series.
  • Reading some anesthesiology.
  • Riding the entire length of the A train. It’s approximately thirty miles from Washington Heights to Far Rockaway in Queens past JFK Airport. I felt a neat sense of connectedness with my grandmother, Joy, when Mom later told me that Joy would grab a book and ride the “L” in Chicago for an inexpensive day out, exactly as I had done today, some fifty years later.

I wish I’d set aside more time to hang out in Rockaway. It has the feel of a small community despite its being part of the largest city in the United States. Some pictures:

A main street in Rockaway.

A firehouse.

The sandy area which lies just before the beach. The plant life in this place, whether in New York or Florida, always seems rather scrubby.

Park bench in the afternoon sun. I liked the lighting effect in this picture.

A dune with grass.

Silvery waves crashing on the beach. Gulls were flying, and plenty of people were out fishing in the cold water. The salty wind was a refreshing change from the typical Manhattan air.


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My superlative D.C. weekend

Still playing “catch-up”, this post is a continuation of this one.

The morning was still gray and damp when I arrived in Chinatown. I hurried from the subway station at Grand Avenue along the slick streets where men unloaded fresh fish from trucks and the blue steel of the Manhattan Bridge loomed above. One of the more startling things about the Chinatown bus system that ferries budget-conscious travelers between major cities on the eastern seaboard is that there’s really no station. One rounds a corner and stumbles upon a small crowd of suitcase-toting passengers and a white bus that either bears cryptic words like “Fung-Wah” or is creepily unmarked.

On my way to Washington I sat next to a Polish fellow who was studying computer science at a university in New York. This was a real-live case study where I could put my knowledge of European current events (gleaned from The Economist, naturally) to the test. We talked a few minutes about changes in Poland since joining the EU, the migratory patterns of skilled and unskilled workers in Eastern Europe, and possible government reforms in Poland. Pleased with myself for daring to enter such a conversation, though wary of getting in over my head, the conversation soon shifted to our respective plans in this nation’s capital.

My good friend from college, Emily, picked me up from the bus station, and as we drove toward Georgetown pointed out interesting landmarks including where she used to work and the upscale restaurant where she and her husband recently had a $30 three-course dinner as part of the local eateries’ promotion. We also drove past a huge flight of stairs near campus which was in a famous horror film, but of course I couldn’t remember the name of the movie when telling the story later, and I still can’t remember it. Kinda takes away some of the punch of the moment.

My cousin Lucia met up with us–she’s a freshman at Georgetown–and showed us around campus, including her dorm. Here’s a picture of Lucia and me on the terraced rooftop of one of the upper-classmen dorms with a great view of the river and the Washington Monument.

We dined at a local Indian restaurant, and then Emily and I met up with Seth at a “passing on the torch” Saturday afternoon get-together at their church. Emily is taking over the coordination of the church’s Sunday morning coffee hour, and this was a key meeting where she could network with the various hosts. Seth and I networked with the snack buffet. Wherever there are Methodists gathered, there will also be good food.

This was my first time to see Emily & Seth’s home in a smaller town in Maryland. Regrettably I didn’t take pictures, but the best parts of the “split-foyer” home were the automatic apple-peeler, and the back deck where Stumpy lives. Stumpy is a little turtle who has been part of the K_____ household for several years. A student gave him to Seth back when they lived in Texas, and Stumpy is so named because his two front legs are just that. He seems to get around okay, though, and enjoys a diet of mealworms.

The remainder of my time there consisted of a great Mexican food dinner (New York sadly has a paucity of good Mexican places), and church on Sunday morning, with a home-cooked Sunday lunch. Another picture of Seth & me at the kitchen table while the pork roasted. (You can see that I’m busy working, while Seth is doing a little light reading.)

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On days like today…

On days like today when nothing of note happened, it’s difficult to write a post.

There’s really no need to write about my awakening in the middle of the night to the crash of my white pull-down window shade falling to the floor, or the incessant “Barber of Seville” alarm tune of my cell phone as I forgot to take it off snooze while I showered. For that matter, it would bear no relevance to mention that I now shower with the bathroom door open a bit to keep the mirror from fogging and to slow mildew growth, as advised by Aunt Betty.

Clearly no one would want to read about my piping hot cup of green tea which lifts my spirits during my morning commute on the groaning subway while I thumb through my dog-eared news journal, or how I prefer to walk a block along the dawn-lit street past the carts of street vendors selling bagels and sausages, rather than trudge that block through the yell0w-lit hospital even though it’s more direct.

How boring to note that I remembered Christian had told me that Thursday was “Taco Day” in the cafeteria as I walked through its doors, only to see Christian making himself tacos, piling sharp yellow cheddar over hospital-grade ground beef and crisp shells.

Of course now is not the time to say that surgeons sure can be irritating when they ask what the blood pressure is every two minutes, or how my heart soared when I was relieved at 1600, just when I was about to pre-op my final case of the day. And a blog is not the place to relate my special trip to Target today to buy a VHS tape to record The Office (not knowing the VCR would fail me), and how I bought 15-watt fluorescent bulbs there which have the same light output as 60-watt incandescent ones.

If this were a menu I might describe my pan-seared tilapia with crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese on top, or my green spinach salad with lemon juice and little Greek olives, or my small serving of special dark chocolate squares with toasted almonds. But it isn’t.

It would be of no importance to dwell on the cool, gentle breeze and muted street noise wafting in my window in this moment, or the warm glow of the lamp on the cocoa walls and my soft beige comforter pulled back. Nor will I linger on how pleasantly warm my feet are when stocking-clad, or how my pillow knows just how much to give and how much to support my head as my eyelids grow just a bit heavier…as I sink into the end of yet another day.


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