Travel Day

Travel day! SMS and I are off to the Florida panhandle where we will miss the tropical storm and possibly toss a mullet (I.e. toss one of the local fish in a “mullet toss” which I actually think is only in February)!

We are meeting up with most of my nuclear family for an early Thanksgiving. My brother and family lives in Pensacola so we have the added bonus of a Blue Angels homecoming show!

I am really looking forward to an extended long weekend. We’re going to stay in a hotel near my brother’s place. Although there’s room at my brother’s place, SMS and I decided that we’d like to make the trip dual-focus: a family trip and a beachfront getaway. The beach is supposed to be really nice and really, a change of scenery for a few days sounds great!

The above picture very much features a fake smile by SMS. This is after we went to the wrong terminal to stop at the Centurian Lounge, which is closed for renovation but had a takeaway lunch bag. So nice! But in order to get to the correct terminal, we had to exit past security and walk through the “terminal connector,” which was a crosswalk in the parking garage. Then we were in terminal one, which is very nice even if we did have to go through security again. It’s named after Harvey Milk and, even though I know he’s dead, there was a guy taking a picture in front of an old photo that looked just like him with appropriate age added from the photo. Family member?! SMS and I started wildly speculating.

So, now we’re in Dallas in another Centurian lounge. Such a luxe day! I had a drink called the Tex/Mex which tasted like a donkey kick. Although we’re arriving into Pensacola on the late side, it should be pretty tolerable since we’re on PST. Then, it’s off to the beach!

I voted!

After some procrastination, I finally read up on the candidates last night and filled out my ballot. I dropped it off at a secure drop-off box outside the local police station. I trust it more than the mail. It was raining this morning, so I felt extra tough and dedicated in getting my vote to count! SMS was a little disappointed that I didn’t have my act together earlier and we could discuss more, but better than late than too late and miss the 11/8 deadline.

Now, it’s the end of a relatively straight-forward day at work. But I feel like I’m leaving at midnight because it is so!dark! outside. I don’t have seasonal affective disorder, but I definitely prefer longer days to shorter.

I’m listening to the audiobook Less Is Lost. I really loved the book Less, which won the Pulitzer a few years ago. I was surprised because it didn’t seem like that “great” of a work to win such a prestigious prize, but I would recommend it. Especially because there’s a section where he’s in Germany and he confidently uses his German, which is not as good as he thinks it is. This results in a lot of hilarious dialogue. The “translations” are mostly in italicized English to indicate that it’s translated from a German conversation, but there are a few sentences of German to highlight particularly notable gaffes when using the wrong near-homonym. In the current book, he yells “Flöte, flöte!” instead of “Flut, flut.” When I type it like this, it doesn’t seem funny at all. But I promise, in context, it’s much better!

Book Club

Monday night is a little rough to meet for a book club but since I’m pro-book club and I like this current group well enough, I always decide to go rather than flake out last minute. I mean, what else would I do? Sit on the couch in sweats? Clearly, yes, that is an attractive option but I keep my commitments.

This month, we read a non-fiction memoir. Beth wanted a break from literary fiction and so we read, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy. It certainly is an eye-catching title. The book was fine. I’m not the biggest memoir person but at the same time, I’ve read more than I would expect given I don’t love the genre. There really wasn’t much to talk about other than reactions to what was described in the book. I mean, how do you analyze/critique a real person’s life and feel good about yourself as a reader?

We didn’t have any great ideas for a December book. I thought about The Only Good Indians, but I think it’s pretty dark which may mean I don’t even want to finish it. But it has garnered some rave reviews so TBD in regards to my personal to-read list. But I don’t think it’s good for the club.

Well, it’s late and I’m tired but I’ll post some recent reads soon. Any suggestions? I recently read Premonition by Michael Lewis, which was great.

Sunday Funday

I had prior work-related plans but decided to reschedule and had such a fun day with SMS. We slept in, deferring the Daylight Savings Time adjustment until tomorrow which should Monday extra special! Then I made a Euro-y style breakfast plate for breakfast. Clearly, the bread isn’t seedy enough, there are no dried meats or fruits, and there is a distinct lack of muesli but if you squint your eyes, you can maybe pretend this is a European hotel breakfast buffet plate?

Then, we hiked at Waterdog, which was so nice. Especially as the days get shorter and I go to work/leave work in the dark, it’s nice to get outside on the weekends. Then we drove to San Mateo and ate hand-pulled noodles at Ox-9, which were delicious. We walked around for a bit afterwards because we were so full.

Next, we drove around a few neighborhoods and looked at houses because why not depress ourselves? We pulled into one house too early and I’m pretty sure blocked the owners who were trying to leave. So smooth.

Later in the afternoon, I went to Sephora and picked up a few things on “sale.” Finally, we had a really nice evening of relaxing and eating our dinner of Trader Joe’s salmon, Brussels sprouts, cucumber salad, and a roll.

All in all, I really nice Sunday. This evening, I worked on a few work-related item (and there’s still more to-do, but enough’s enough for the night) and in terms of winning at life, I am aware of my early morning faculty meeting so I won’t miss it which is an improvement from October!

Morning Routine

I would like to work on having a morning routine that works with start times that vary through the week. I would like to caffeinate, get ready, and work out (cardio) most mornings. Lately, only the first two reliably happen every morning. But I enjoy being in shape and I feel like I’m starting to flirt with impacting my endurance if I don’t increase my consistency.

In a magical world, I would also love to do yoga, meditate, read, and surf the internet without waking up before 5 a.m. I think this is otherwise known as a day off.

But really, I am impressed by some people’s morning routines. I think what has really thrown mine for a loop is a markedly longer commute that goes along with my new job and a commute into San Francisco 2-3 days a week. It’s hard to balance enough sleep (min 6-7 hours, preferably 7-8). In addition, while I am a morning person, it’s a little hard to go straight from bed into a workout which is what’s needed to get a lot in.

Maybe I can decide to become more of an evening routine person?

Anyways, any advice/inspo/commiseration welcome!

Beer in the Grocery Store

One of my office sites is in a small shopping complex with a grocery store. The grocery store has a little bar at the front, which strikes me as so weird. Like who says, “You know what I’m craving? A brewskie and some convo at the local grocery store.”

Now granted, I’ve never been one to chat in the grocery store unless mumbling curse words at people who stop in the middle of the aisle for hours (ok, minutes) counts. I definitely never exchanged flirty banter over produce (according to rom-coms, this happens?). And finally, I realize that some Whole Foods have bars although I don’t think I’ve partaken. Whole Foods coffee bar, yes. Whole Foods bar, no.

But. I have wanted to get a beer since it seemed so weird. I told my co-worker this who was diligently finishing up her notes and she decided that she wanted to go, too. I seized the chance- a drink with a friend at the grocery store bar. Here’s to new adventures! [And here’s to putting my stay-on-top-of-my-paperwork plan on hold for one more day.]

So, yes. We grabbed a beer before heading home. It was fun to catch up and be the target of curious/jealous/judgey looks from people who were “just” grocery shopping. But according to the cashier who came over to pour the beers and ring us up, it’s actually pret-ty popular with the kids-playing-sports nearby crowd. I guess I’m lucky we even got a seat at such a happening spot!

Stay strong!

I’m a little tired today after a long night in the OR yesterday but since I’m only on Day 2 of my planned 30 day streak, I need to stay strong. Clearly, I’m a better starter than finisher but stopping after one day is not acceptable.

Yesterday wasn’t a bad day at work. The day started out rainy but by the afternoon, I took the above photos from the 15th floor with its incredible view over Golden Gate Park. I caught up on my charting, went out for a quick lunch with a resident, saw a few patients, and worked on a talk

An on-going goal I have is to streamline my workflow so that I stay more on top of my charting. Then I will have more time for writing, admin, and creative work. I am doing better, but I usually have a few spillover charts from every clinic day. Two targets I’ve identified is spending less time with patients and increasing charting efficiency. While my appointment times are pretty generous, I like spending a lot of time with my patients so I’m not super eager to cut back that time. Yet, I should probably do a little better with time management- maybe I should buy a watch? For improved charting efficiency, I’m working on my Dragon dictation skills which has had a positive impact.

The reason for my fatigue is that we had a late afternoon consult that we took back to the OR at 2130. In some ways, it was a great case (pus!) and in some ways, not as great (so much edema!).

As a result, the only apartment member getting exercise today is C-bird, who took a lap around the room, crashed into a wall, and landed on the Peloton. Since SMS and I are still in the 1B/1B apartment, I haven’t had my San Diego shipment delivered from the move so I rented a Peloton. I love how I feel after a spin class and the rental was a reasonable deal relative to Peloton cost, other gyms, and frequency of use.

This is Halloween (on 1 Nov)

Happy November! There’s a writing challenge this month that calls for a post a day! Yikes! But I am committing publicly which means I should make it to…14 Nov? I do think that some days I’ll link back to a July date so I can write “new” posts that are trip catch-ups and then my 2022 goal of blog catch-up will be achieved!

How was your Halloween? Here’s a little collection of decorations at my favorite local coffee shop, St. Franks.

Candy corn and Q-tip, obviously!

I got crafty on Saturday and made costumes for SMS and I. I wanted to be a qtip, which I thought was very appropriate for an ear-focused ENT! In a testament to how obvious my costume was, absolutely no one guessed what I was. Out of similar materials, I made SMS a candy corn costume. We went to a German-hosted party on Saturday and globalization has not hit the candy corn industry since many people didn’t know what a candy corn was. And they didn’t want to try one either, hahaha. As one guy said, “It will ruin the taste of the beer.”

Costume crew at work!

Yellowstone, Day 1: Southern Loop

The Western road trip continues! We were really lucky in that Yellowstone was fully opened by the time our travels came around. A large portion of park roads had been closed due to massive flooding in the late Spring. Then, there was a partial re-opening that had alternating day entry based on whether your car’s license plate began with an even or an odd number. I was ready to roll with the punches since we wouldn’t know our rental car plate until the trip started. But then, full entry was restored so it wasn’t even an issue!

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/YELL-GRTE-Tear-Off-Map-2022_508.pdf

We drove up the John D. Rockefeller parkway, which was scenic and brought us right into the park through the South Entrance. Our destinations for the day were along the west half of the lower loop. I used Eternal Arrival’s posts to help plan the trip and I would recommend them as a resource!

Our first stop was at Old Faithful. We thought about taking the short hike to Observation Point, but we decided we’d rather be closer to the eruption. We spent two eruption cycles at the Old Faithful/Upper Geyser basin because we were terrible at timing our location with eruptions. We just missed several of the less regular geysers in the Upper Basin and then, as a result, we missed the first Old Faithful eruption. And yes, there are geyser predictors but everything was going off a few minutes early. No big deal. It was still super impressive and we enjoyed hiking around. It was in full sun and it was pretty hot, but we had water and took our time.

We decided to grab lunch and wait for the next eruption. We ordered some (pretty terrible) chili and sat down on the porch. The porch would have been a good spot, but I wanted to get closer and broil in the sun. SMS is such a good sport that he came along, even though the porch was quite nice.

We hopped back into the car and headed to the Grand Prismatic Spring (GPS). There, we took in the views from the GPS lookout point, about half a mile along Fairy Falls Trail. It was a great viewpoint. I think it’s a better way to take it all in than the boardwalk adjacent to the GPS, but I don’t know this firsthand since we skipped it. We had seen a lot of the smaller pools at the Upper Geyser loop and admired the color gradients there.

After our short hike, we went to our next stop: Fountain Paint Pots. The geothermal springs and variety of activity were so cool! I love the burping mud! It’s hard to pick a favorite site among the Yellowstone sights we saw today, but I would pick Yellowstone as my favorite park of the trip.

After our stops, we headed towards West Yellowstone and our glamping accommodations for the next two nights. We stayed at Undercanvas Yellowstone, where we had a really nice yurt-tent with a bed. There were shared bathrooms and showers, but plenty of them so there wasn’t a wait. The main lobby tent had coffee in the morning and s’mores at night. There were a fair number of activities so it felt a little Summer Camp-y, but we skipped the yoga in favor of more time in Yellowstone.

There was also a small river that I went swimming in, which was pretty cool. Literally and figuratively. Between the bugs and the temperature, SMS passed which meant I was swimming by myself. I don’t love swimming by myself because there are no other people for the sharks to attack. So I didn’t stay in the water too long, but it was fun. We also tried to take a fly-fishing casting class but the instructor was a no-show.