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Aug. 15th, 2011 | 09:29 pm
location: Home
mood: frustratedfrustrated

Cold lasagna out of the pan at 8:30 pm. It must be Monday.

It's frustrating to spend so much time at work. To berate myslf for being "late" when I leave the house at 6:50 am is ridiculous, yet I do it all the time. Tonight I got home at eight, having been gone a little over 13 hours. Spent my first hour of home time getting ready for work tomorrow - making my lunch, washing Tupperware from today's lunch, laying out my clothes, getting the trash ready for takeout tomorrow night. I have two meetings tomorrow and already know I won't be getting home until 9 pm at least.

A few things, such as laundry, that I am finishing tonight I could have done over the weekend. But after my tightly regimented workweeks it's difficult to get myself to do anything other than stare out the window. Every weekend I draw up a list of things I have to do, most of which don't get done.  I know there are thousands of other people in this situation, may of whom are even busier than I. How do they do it? Do they do it? Do they ricochet between frantic efficiency and stunned stupor, too? Do they manage to pack some sort of social interaction into their time off?

It was different in college. There were so many activities all over campus, every night - weeknights and weekends both. Traffic wasn't an issue; it was easy enough to walk. As I got more and more involved I learned to make every moment count. I used spare half hours between classes to get homework done, wrote up meeting minutes on weekend mornings before most of my housemates were up. It was a challenge. It was fun. But that was then, and this is now, and somehow daring myself to see how much I can accomplish in a given day isn't the fun game it used to be.

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Dots on a Map

Jul. 22nd, 2011 | 09:12 pm
mood: introspective

Lately I seem to spend a lot of my online time on Mapquest. I look up the small towns where my parents grew up, revisit the parts of Philadelphia I remember from college and medical school. I spend a lot of time virtually wandering California's Central Valley, heading north on Route 99 and zooming in on the small farm towns that dot the valley floor. Some of these towns are only a few blocks long. I eyeball the bar scale at the bottom of the map, trying to estimate their dimensions: are they half a mile wide? Less?

Then I wonder what it would be like to live there. Hellish, no doubt: if these towns were thriving they would be bigger, plus the farm economy isn't doing well these days. Not to mention that the Central Valley is hot as hell in the summer. Nevertheless I can't keep myself from daydreaming about retiring there. On the map every one of these tiny little towns is an idyll. Everyone knows one another, it's peaceful there, there's a little high school with a scrappy football team that the whole town supports. Folks sit on porches and drink iced tea.

In real life, the denizens of these towns are probably either dead-eyed clerks at the local convenience store/gas station or toothless geezers who cook up meth in their spare time. I don't want to chance my fantasies being shattered, or ending up like Janet Leigh in the Bates Motel, so for the foreseeable future I'll confine my travels to Mapquest. And when I drive through California it will probably continue to be on boring Interstate 5.

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I'm a Dumbass

Jul. 21st, 2011 | 07:21 pm
mood: determined

I had one of those moments tonight when I realized that I've just given someone advice that I am apparently incapable of following myself. A good friend is traveling to Alaska on an elaborate camping trip and is having anxiety about it. I sent her the following on Twitter:

 I always get much anxiety associated with travel but it is always worth it in the end. Trying to learn to trust the process.

So why is this relevant? I've been planning a trip to Australia for six months from now but have been obsessing about the amount of time I'm taking off (note: lack of vacation time is not the problem. I ration out my vacation like Ebenezer Scrooge rations his candles at the office). Is it too much? I obsess. What happens if I am overwhelmed with jet lag when I get back?

Let me repeat, this is for a trip six months away. After I sent the Twitter message, I hit myself upside the head (metaphorically) and thought, Okay. If you're trying to learn to trust the process, trust the fucking process. Stop obsessing and tell the travel agent "This will do nicely, thank you very much."

So I will. Hold nose, plunge in, let it go, stop worrying about dates or time. I have the time. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.

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Scybalous: Don't read this post while eating.

Jul. 20th, 2011 | 06:56 pm
mood: amusedamused

Medicine has long been apostrophized as a field whose practitioners shield themselves behind a layer of fancy words, and rightly so. Sometimes though the words serve a useful purpose: if you have to discuss bodily functions, it helps to use a word that won't gross people out. A case in point is a word I came across in a gastroenterologist's report today: "scybalous." As in, "The patient passed a scybalous stool with mucus."

What the hell does that mean? I wondered. Wormy? Skinny? Scythe-shaped?  My imagination ran riot, and I was forced to look it up immediately. Turns out that scybalous is defined as  "composed of hard feces" or "pebbly feces." Not an attractive thought to be sure, but using a word like "scybalous" distances the reader from the concept a bit. Gets your head out of the toilet, so to speak.

My search led me to an online medical dictionary, one of those books it's impossible to stop reading. You may find me at that site for the forseeable future.
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The Never-Ending Flu Shot

Dec. 15th, 2009 | 08:04 pm
mood: amusedamused

Today a patient turned up wanting a flu shot. I went to check with my assistant, since she had told me last week that we only had ten doses left.

"How many do we have left?"


"You told me that last week."

"They dropped off some more," she answered.

"So no matter how many we give out, we always have ten left? It's just like Hanukkah!"
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December's Heating Up

Dec. 11th, 2009 | 11:58 am
mood: busy

Tonight is our company's annual Christmas Party. It's being held in my building, which is quite convenient - I'll probably make an appearance and then leave so I can get home and begin the weekend's agenda. That would be:

baking and packaging Christmas cookies
putting up and decorating the tree
writing a holiday letter and Christmas cards.

Urgh. The company party is always fun, though.

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New Account

Dec. 6th, 2009 | 01:33 pm
mood: restlessrestless

I've been a LiveJournal member for some time but haven't bothered to post - already having a blog, a Facebook account and a Twitter account it seemed a bit over the top. But here I am, marooned in my house for the weekend due to being on call, so I decided to post something. What to say?
  • I'm a big fan of "24" and have been watching since Season 5. At this point the show is clearly past its prime but I do not care; the more ridiculous it gets, the better I like it. BTW, I highly recommend reading Dave Barry's blog during the 24 season - his recaps are demented and hysterical. And the more Jack says "Dammit!", the happier I get.
  • I love to read about domestic stuff like embroidery, other crafts, and cooking but rarely do I get around to actually doing any of these things. I do have a project in mind for my niece for Christmas, but this assumes that I will get the sewing machine set up and the pattern cut out. I wouldn't put money on this getting done, but we will see. I have also decided to bake cookies for Christmas presents and I wouldn't bet on that happening either (though I have bought the ingredients. So there's that.)
  • I never felt the impulse to write fan fiction till Season 5 of 24. Martha and Aaron inspired me (as you can see from my avatar, which I got from my friend Michelle, aka lostonbroadway here on LJ). Should you be interested in actually reading any of it, I post on fanfiction.net as Dr. Alice.
  • yes, I'm a doctor.
I think that's it for now.

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