April in Photos and Bulletpoints

After an amazing pre-birthday weekend, I had a workweek followed by a North Carolina weekend.  On Saturday, I had some FDA-required training that is necessary before using a Eustachian Tube Dilating balloon.  I ate at Chicken + Honey in downtown Raleigh where I ordered a chicken ‘n’ waffle- of course!

The next day, I went to New Bern, NC where I hung out with my sister-in-law and my adorable nephew.  We had another delicious lunch and had a really nice day of hanging out.  I was excited to see their place since they are moving to California soon(ish), where they will be down the road from us!  Ok, ok, like 75 minutes down the road but better than the current distance!

I also had late night drinks with friends on my birthday, which was very enjoyable.  And we stayed out until after midnight which had not been in the plans but was definitely ok!

After that, I had my focus on the Boston Marathon!  Posts coming!  In the meantime…

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*My love for Popeye continues.  I have cooled it on stalking the local SCPA pages, at least for now.  I travel a little too much, unfortunately (for my dog loving aspirations.  Otherwise, it’s cool!)

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* My parents send the funniest cards.

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*The Cristiano Ronaldo memes were so funny after a statue dedicated to him but of questionable likeness was unveiled!

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*Sigh.  Why did I spend 5 years of residency learning ENT surgery when I could have just gone to Lowe’s and powered up?

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*I’m getting ready for a return of more protein, fewer refined carbs!  This is a meal prep photo of my Trader J’s smoked trout salad, courtesy of my friend Jyostna!

*I need to keep my phone on higher charge levels.

News Links!

Here are the amazing things I’ve been reading lately…

  • The “BBC Dad” now knows “the first line of my obituary.”
  • Oh my goodness!  I loved A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles.  The character development was superb, especially among the secondary characters and their timely (re)arrivals into the story of one man’s life.  It was a lovely book that manages to be a literary work while remaining a bubbly refreshment!
  • SMS and I are planning a Southern road trip in July.  Maybe we’ll wilt in the heat but this article has some good tips for the Florida panhandle.
  • I’ve picked my bracket for the NCAA office pool.  There are no articles to support the tomfoolery of my picks.  Just sheer ignorance.Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 9.05.54 PM
  • I found the cutest dog ever!!!!  Forget Boo, Popeye the Foodie dog is my new fave!  I want a dog so badly!!!!

I’m the Boss!

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I’m a boss!
So, have you seen the viral BBC interview?  A professor in Pusan, South Korea was upstaged by his kids in a hilarious interview clip.  Unfortunately for him, only the part with the children seems to be making the internet rounds rather than his erudite analysis. For the rest of us, it’s internet gold.

 

My favorite part is the .gif made by @valerieloftus on Twitter, with the captions, “Walk into the club like”  Like what?  Like a boss!!!

 

Snowy Plover Love!

This weekend was a little different since I was on call.  Actually I was on “super” call because I was carrying the phone while the residents rested up for a big test on Saturday.   As staff, I’m usually backup but not this time!  I had two excellent consults, one of whom went to surgery on Saturday and one whom will go to surgery today.  The residents were jealous because consults do not usually generate a 100% hit rate for surgery!  Don’t get me wrong- I’m not wishing for people to need surgery but if they show up and need it, I’m glad I’m there!

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I also watched the Pixar Short Film Piper.  It just won an Oscar for Best Animation Short Film. How did I miss this when it came out!?  It is so stinking cute AND it features my favorite type bird in the whole wide world- a SNOWY PLOVER!!

Another excellent link is an incredible “to-read” list courtesy of a literary interview with Zadie Smith.

Finally, I tried to make aquafaba and it was a success!  Aquafaba is whipped/blended chickpea water, i.e. the liquid that drains from a can of chickpeas.  A chef discovered it in 2012 and it is an incredible merengue/egg white substitute.  I learned that it needs to be unadulterated if the merengue is to last though.  Adding syrup for a sweetener makes it collapse pretty quickly.  So, good things to know!  I might not use it that often since 1. I eat eggs and 2. I don’t make a lot of merengue-containing dishes but it’s so cool to repurpose a previously discarded part and make it real food!

Tumbling Pandas

So, the above gif is of my favorite panda, Tare.  SMS and I first saw him when we were taking Chinese classes last Spring.  We were in a Japanese classroom at Palo Alto High School and I was captivated by his (?) doleful eyes as we obediently and repeatedly butchered Chinese phonetics.
Anyway, isn’t he cute!?  I also love the below picture of a baby panda doing a faceplant.  Part of the hilarity is the completely ineffectual attempted intervention of the caretaker.  I also feel that the photographer knew this was going to happen and thought, “Wait for it…wait…for…it!”

Hello there!

Ugh, did I really not post at all in December?  For shame!

But, at the same time, this blog has mainly served to blog my travels and day trips.  Now that I’m not traveling as much, I want to strike a balance between writing on the blog and realizing that I’m not particularly interested in oversharing my everyday life on the internet.

There are some good trips coming up though!  And I may want to write more especially as I finish up an online class that has taken up more time than I’d like!  I can also share favorite links since I tend to find at least one a week where SMS says, “I don’t know how you find these things.”  I think that’s a compliment!

I also want to finish the Switzerland trip daily wrap-ups and maybe even go far enough back in time to further flesh out our Korean Memorial Day Trip 2015.  Other plans include fleshing out the itinerary page to be more than just an empty link.

Best Books of 2015: My picks

2015 was a pretty good year for books.  My total number came in at 33, which isn’t terrible but I thought I had read more.  I guess that’s the surgeon in me- always inflating my numbers!  I’ve included the full list below, which is roughly in sequential order of my reading.  I searched my Kindle list since I download most of my books from the e-library.  I prefer actual books but the portability, ubiquity and weight of my iPhone/Kindle app make the e-versions my everyday go-to.

Picking favorites is always hard for me. I’m much more of a fiction-reader, but I tried to expand my horizons a bit this year.  For 2016, there is a lot heavier emphasis on non-fiction thanks to a few recommendation lists I came across during some of my end-of-the-year research/reflection (post coming soon!).

This year, I have four fiction recommendations:

1. The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
     This excellent book follows a former Australian POW captured by the Japanese and sent work on the Great Burma Railroad.  It switches among several different times as it looks backwards on Dr. Dorrigo Evans life.  The unexpected inter-relationships among the characters and the plot structure to a horrible climactic event in the work camp are masterfully executed, even if parts of the story itself are horror-inducing.
2. The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
  I love David Mitchell.  I have read almost all of his books and even though I’m not a super-fan enough to recognize all the cameos different characters play in his novels, his attention to detail and clear vision of his body of work as a magnum opus is very impressive.  I really liked the story even though it was a little more fantasy genre-like than I usually read.  
3. The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer
  There was a lot of WWII reading this year.  I also tried reading The Nightingale after The Invisible Bridge but I thought the books were too similar, head injury to the main character and all.  The Invisible Bridge follows three Hungarian Jewish brothers in the years leading up to and including WWII.  It was a stark reminder, in fictional form, that history is made up of the seemingly mundane everyday events that can only be seen as a cohesive, comprehensible narrative in retrospect.   
4. Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel
  This was a much-buzzed about book early in the year and an enjoyable, well-written read.  Nothing too profound but at the same time, not trashy chick-lit literature either.

I have three non-fiction recommendations:

1. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette Hampton Sides
  This book was amazing.  It’s a great story and the story-telling is superb.  What kept crossing my mind as I read it was, “How is this book even possible?” meaning, how did the first-person documentation in the form of crew logs survive when almost certainly, not everyone would live after this misadventure?  To find out how, read the book!  I won’t spoil it for you and this is a definite must-read!
2. On Immunity Eula Biss
  Some interesting insights into the thought processes of choosing to vaccinate children.  To me, it’s a no-brainer but there are interesting examinations of the domestication and false benign-ness of all things “natural” vs. the complexity of the modern world and science.  In addition, there is an interesting reflection on how the world of complementary medicine has very reassuring, straight-forward language (cleanse, natural, detoxify) while the language of modern medicine is more nuanced and less reassuring (complications, side effects).
3. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Susannah Cahalan
  Thank you sister for my Christmas gift.  This is an easy read and very interesting from both a medical mystery perspective (paging Dr. House) and the fact that our brains are so complex and, at times, terrifyingly fragile to seemingly little insults.

The books can be roughly grouped.  First, to counter-act the high-mindedness of the recs above, I definitely read some beach worthy, chick lit reads.  This is the year I discovered Liane Moriarty and I’m not ashamed!  The best is Big Little Lies.  There are some heavy themes addressed but overall, it’s a really nice read that passes along quickly.  I also read Kevin Kwan’s two books, which were a fascinating, fictional insider’s view to the world of Eastern Asia’s super-super-rich.  Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series was a fun fiction-within-fiction read and also worth reading, especially if you have a background in reading a lot of classics (hello high school reading lists!).

I also read a few comedians’ books, which I really liked despite not having any in my top recommendations.  BJ Novak’s short stories were great and very heavy on the irony.  Is it irony if it’s completely in your face?  I thought there should be an element of subtlety but sometimes, it hits across the face like a baseball bat.

I also read a few memoirs this year, which were all very well done.  I liked Dr. Marsh’s reflections on medical complications but I wish there was more reflection on how to transition from committing the complication to living with it.  In fairness, he did liken it to an open wound healing to a permanent scar but how does one actually live through and process that transition?  It’s something I’m grappling with in my own medical career and any guidance is always appreciated.

Ok, I’m going to wind down with the complete list because this post is getting ridiculously long.  In short, there are no real turkeys on the list below.  [ETA:  The previous statement is a lie!  I would not recommend Pretty Girls!]  I hope 2016 brings you some fun, worthwhile reading in the days ahead!

The complete list
Yes Please Amy Poehler
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austin
Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty
The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty
Three Wishes Leane Moriarty
Redeployment Phil Klay
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories BJ Novak
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette Hampton Sides
Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan
The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Book 1) Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel
The Martian Andy Weir
The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer
China Rich Girlfriend Kevin Kwan
The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels Jasper Fforde
The Heart and the Fist: The education of a humanitarian Eric Greitens
Something Rotten Jasper Fforde
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
Food: A Love Story Jim Gaffigan
The Knockoff Lucy Sykes
The Glass Castle: A Memoir Jeannette Walls
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Eric Larson
Pretty Girls Karin Slaughter
Shotgun Lovesongs Nickolas Butler

Do No Harm Henry Marsh
Art of Fielding Chad Harbach
On Immunity Eula Biss
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Susannah Cahalan
The Rosie Effect Graeme Simsion