Scandinavian Summer, Days 8-11: Uppsala

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Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala is a beautiful university town about an hour north of Stockholm.  The whole reason that the Scandinavian Summer trip occurred is that I had a poster accepted to an international medical conference.  Since I was traveling, I thought I’d add some vacation time.  I didn’t think SMS would come because of his lack of vacation time but when he heard Sweden, he was in!

Since Uppsala is relatively close to Stockholm, I thought it would be a somewhat non-descript Stockholm suburb.  I was very wrong!  It is a super cute, historic university town. I arrived on Sunday afternoon and checked into my AirBnB.  Then I went to a case report presentation at the hospital.  As I walked to the hospital after missing the bus due to a detour, I realized that there was a triathlon in full swing (and the reason for the bus diversion).

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The hospital.  Amazing.

The hospital was amazingly beautiful, the case reports mostly lackluster.  I was worried that the conference would be a dud but never fear, the main sessions were (mostly) excellent.

That evening, I felt sorry for myself and, therefore, treated myself to a nice dinner at Akanten.  I had a delicious trout dish and a sorbet dessert.   I had a beautiful riverside seat on a perfect, almost-midSummer evening.

The next day marked the start of the official program.   On my way to the conference, I found my breakfast spot for the next three days.  Forsa Hembageri featured the most delicious kardemummabullar with excellent coffee to accompany it.  I had one every day and, ok, two on the last day I was there.  The cardamon taste was amazing and the doughy texture with slightly toasted outside bun was excellent!  Yum, yum, yum!

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Along the river in Uppsala.  It is a gorgeous place.

The conference opened with a lot of Swedish pride!  A physician-pianist played four jazz pieces from a famous Swedish jazz composer.  We heard a lot about Professor Barany and then listened to a few invited lecturers.

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Sculpture near the entrance of the botanical garden

That evening, I went to a welcome reception in the botanical garden.  It was on the smaller side, but very beautiful.  I also made a note to check out the other garden in Uppsala, which was more directly linked to Carl Linnaeus, the famous botanist who is the father of plant taxonomy.  I spoke with a few people and had a very nice time.

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The conference center
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We are excited to display our poster!

The next day, lectures were in full swing.  It was also time for our poster session.  Our poster seemed to be well-received. Displaying it definitely means we need to get our rears in gear regarding publishing our pilot study data and finishing up the larger trial!

I walked through Dr. Linnaeus’ garden that afternoon.  It was small but interesting to see a little bit of Uppsala history.  The museum was closed but that did save me the admission fee!

That evening, there was a reception in the castle where Queen Christina abdicated in 1654.  The entertainment program featured a Grand-Prix winning Swedish acappella group followed by…an ABBA cover band.  People were initially sitting but, led by our corner with Brazilians (mostly responsible), Dutch, and American attendees, everyone was dancing by the end!  It was so much fun and so, so ridiculous.  I’m sure there are many patients who would be shocked at the dance moves of their ear surgeons!   It wasn’t pretty but it was a lot of fun.

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One more for the road

The next day,  the conference wound down and I headed back to Stockholm for a final day and a half of vacation in Sweden.

The conference was excellent.  There’s a different level of energy at an international conference and I plan on going again.  My goal is to have my larger study complete and published by the next meeting in Madrid, 2020!

 

Chicago COSM

Millennium Park, Chicago

On Thursday, I left Mountain View for the COSM 2016 meeting in Chicago.  I had a research poster selected for display so I got to go to the meeting.  I had never been to COSM before.  It’s smaller than the Academy meeting in the Fall and a little more social.  Overall, I think I like the Academy better because of the lecture courses offered but COSM was a well-run meeting in a great city.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and my brother picked me up, which was super nice of him since the rush hour traffic was so bad.  He said it was worse than normal but either way, he is a very nice person to pick me up from the airport at that time!
Downtown Chicago- the bottom right photo is from the Hancock Ladies’ Room!

We headed downtown and looked into taking an architecture boat tour but there were no twilight tours that night.  We headed over to the John Hancock building and went up to the Lounge for dinner and drinks.  The sunset was incredible and I went into the women’s bathroom with its famed view.  In the women’s room, there are floor to near-ceiling windows overlooking the downtown.  It’s a great view.  In contrast, the men’s room (by report) has no windows.

My brother by the non-sailing boat 🙁 and his amazing apartment!

We waited for a window seat and just when I was starting to feel a little sad about our chances for a short wait, we were brought to our seats.  Yay!  I had a prime rib au jus sandwich and it hit the spot.  I was so hungry!  Meg joined us after her class and we went to Eataly, a super-cool Italian market with multiple small restaurants in an open-floor arrangement.  It was awesome and I’m so glad Meg persuaded us to go!  After that, we went to Hop Flower near their house, which is a very cool bar specializing in Belgian brews.  Meg and Ed definitely know the best spots!

Eataly- I wish there was one near me!

The next day, they were off to the airport and I headed downtown to the meeting.  I got an early check-in (yay!), dropped off my stuff and went for the afternoon lectures and panel discussions.  I saw a lot of former residency mates, future colleagues and former staff.  It was really great to catch up with everyone and get some good career advice.

The Purple Pig- amazing!

Friday morning featured the meeting and then I went to the Chicago Institute of Art after an incredible lunch at the Purple Pig.  This trip was filled with amazing food but I think this was the best.  I went with Colleen and Dan (new acquantaince) and the three of us shared several small plates and feasted.

Some favorites from the collection

The Art Institute was great and I saw old favorites (Seurat) and new-to-me finds such as the Winslow Homer non-ocean paintings and Chagall’s America windows.  I had seen the minatures on my last visit and even though they’re amazing, there was no time in this quick museum run through.

Chagall’s Windows

Then I headed off to the airport.  I was off to Boston to see my favorite sister graduate from medical school!

Nashville Weekend

View from the Acme Rooftop

Last week, I took business trip to Nashville to attend a two-day course at Vanderbilt.  The course was exceptional- great faculty, excellent temporal bone lab component and a fun evening social event at the end of day one.  If you’re ever looking for excellent courses that are very reasonably priced, check out CME offerings from Vanderbilt.

Art museum flowers

And…guess where Vanderbilt is?  Nashville!  Nashville is one of my favorite cities in the US.  A lot of people are moving there.  96 people/day is an often-cited, though oddly specific statistic.  It’s an energetic town with a really cool vibe- something cool always seems to be happening but in an effortless rather than trying-to-hard way.

I arrived on Thursday night and stayed at a Marriott very close to the Midtown Hattie B’s hot chicken. That wasn’t the reason for choosing the hotel (getting the discounted rate on a popular weekend was), but it was a nice bonus.  I went to Hattie B’s last time I was in Nashville and went again later in the weekend.

Dark, grainy photo of delicious food!

On Thursday night, I walked downtown to Broadway St.  It was a busy Thursday!  The Nashville Predators were playing in the Stanley Cup play-offs, it was Cinco de Mayo and, in general, I think every night is a weekend night downtown!  I briefly thought about going to the hockey game but it was sold out so I kept walking.  I ended up at Acme Feed & Seed company.  There, I listened to a Santana cover set that switched gears at the end with “Hold the Line,” a song by Toto since the lead singer was performing guest vocals with the band.  I ate a late dinner and ordered “The Hatchery,” curried chickpeas, coconut rice, cashews, cilantro & fried egg with fry bread.  Oh my goodness.  It was delicious, especially the fry bread.  Fry bread, where have you been all my life?  After that culinary piece of heaven, I went back to the hotel and turned in.

Overlooking The Gulch train tracks

On Friday, the course went from 6:45-17:30, although my dissection group went a half-hour over so we ended at 6.  It was a great education day.  Afterward, we were treated to a BBQ dinner at Peg Leg Porker in the Gulch, a small district I hadn’t been to.  It was delicious!  I had pulled pork, bean, cornbread and craft beers. Yum!  It was fun to talk to different classmates in the course and I really had a great time.

Saturday started a little later, 7:30 yay!  We went to about 16:45 and then the course was done.  It was 18 hours of CME and really, an excellent, excellent course.  I’m so happy I went!  Because the last Westward flight left at 1700 from the Nashville airport and I would have missed part of the course if I left, I had to stay the night and leave the next day.  Yay! More time in Nashville!

After the course, I went out and walked to 12 South.  On the way, I grabbed a small cone from Jeni’s. This time, I selected Honey Pistachio and Darkest Chocolate.  It was delicious!  In 12 South, there was a small artists’ market going on with street closures, which was pretty neat.  I also stopped in Imogene & Willie, a jeans boutique.  The jeans were nice but they only had super skinny-style, which I’m not in the market for.  Too hot for Summer!

Early morning photo, that’s why there’s no line!

Saturday night, I went out with two people from the course to Hattie B’s.  I had the small White Chicken with beans, greens and mac ‘n’ cheese.  I couldn’t finish it but it was so good!  Afterward, I hung out with Amy.  We headed over to 12 South because we thought we’d find a mellow music spot. Wrong.  There were just (very cool) bars and restaurants.  It was a beautiful night and sitting on the patio would have been amazing with a big group, but since it was just the two of us and we were definitely not hungry after HB, we took an Uber over to Downtown.

Tom Childers and the BTA

We went back to the Acme and, after hanging out on the awesome rooftop for a bit, saw an excellent band, Tom Childers and the Black Tie Affair.  They were very talented musicians and had an amazing extended version of “Superstition” that featured long solos from several of the band members.  They also did a great cover of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse that I’m now obsessed with.    After the band’s set was over, we headed up the street,  hung out at Tootsie’s for a bit and then headed back.  It was nice to have a new friend to hang out with!

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Crema
Riverboat

The next day, I slept in a bit, worked out in the hotel gym, showered and checked out.  I left my bag at the hotel and it was time to explore again!  I rented a bike from B Cycles, the company with stands all over town.  I biked down to Pinewood Social, which was a really cool place.  It was, as the PA from work said, Hipster-with-a-capital-H.  It was pretty busy and I was more in the mood for a coffee so I walked over to Crema, a delightful, airy coffee shop.  I ordered the Cuban latte and a coffee soda, just to try the two recommended drinks.  Both were excellent, although I favor the Snowy Plover in Outer Sunset for my sparkling coffee soda of choice!

Downtown Nashville and my new hat!

After coffee, I went downtown and bought a hat, as one does in Nashville.  Then, I walked over the pedestrian bridge from downtown Nashville over towards the football stadium.  I checked out another bike and cycled into East Nashville.  It was cool, but a little busier traffic-wise and a tiny bit more spread-out than I was expecting.  I went into a few boutiques and ended up at Edley’s BBQ, which was delicious.   I had the Tuck’s Sandwich with egg, brisket, red and white sauce, cheese and pimento spread.  Again, I couldn’t finish it but it was off-the-hook delicious!

Much photographed Weenie mobile and sign

 

A delicious mess!

All good things must end and after my late lunch, it was time to go.  I caught an Uber to the hotel and airport and flew home.  It was a great weekend and again, the course was amazing if not the most interesting for the blog.  Blogging about Nashville is much more fun!

Nashville Notes

The theme of this blog sometimes I think…

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Temporal Bone Dissection Course at Vanderbilt University.  The course program was amazing and I feel really lucky that I got to go.  Actually, I feel lucky that I found it online and all the stars aligned that allowed me to go.

This place seems classy, but only 4 M&Ms!?!

After the OR Wednesday morning, I had a quick lunch with SMS before heading to the airport.  I thought that San Jose airport would be sleepier than it was and I had a mild amount of alarm when I saw the TSA line but it all worked out.  I arrived late in the evening and since the course started at 11 the next day, I was able to sleep in a bit.

Jeni’s!

I went for a ~4 mile run from my hotel to Music Row.  It was great to multi-task: exercise and sight-seeing.  Then it was off to the showers followed by walking over to Vanderbilt for the course.  The entire course was amazing but probably of limited interest to anyone reading this except me, but I included the link above if you’re interested!  Afterwards, I walked over to Jeni’s ice cream where I had a brown butter almond brittle and bourbon salted pecan cone.  Yum!  Because I am an adult, this was my pre-dinner amuse bouche as I headed over to Edley’s BBQ.  Yes, I’m the epitome of sophistication!  I use French words incorrectly!

Fan-girl-ing Dr. Galsscock.  Please note, the dress code said jeans and I believed it.
 Never again!

I wasn’t very hungry but that was ok since I ordered the ribs (so-so) and was informed later that one does not order the ribs at Edley’s, one orders the chicken wings or brisket 🙁  I also had the pickle chips which I shared with my neighbors at the bar, who were an interesting and fun bunch.  I was sitting at the L-shaped part of the bar so got to talking with several people.  There were two women who were insurance adjusters/artists and the mayors of the bar.  Seriously, they knew everyone.  Then there were two guys next to me, one a drummer with a famous band and the other a well-known producer.  None of us talked about work too much but it was really a fun time.  I also talked to a Nashville historian who was pretty interesting as well.  Then it was off to the Extended Stay so I could rest up for another awesome day of class and dissection!

Friday was all business, mixed with a little fun.  The course continued to be incredible.  That evening, Dr. Haynes and his wife hosted a dinner catered by Hattie B‘s hot chicken.  Oh my word.  The food was everything that Thursday’s was not, Jeni’s and fried pickles excluded.  The chicken was amazing and the sides delicious.  There were different heat levels of chicken, collard greens, macaroni n cheese and an incredible key lime pie bite at the end.  Oh my goodness.  I am hungry just typing this! The company was also great.  The Vanderbilt department are my new professional idols- they are so smart, accomplished and personable all at the same time.  They were so nice to put on the course and share their expertise.  I was really impressed and very grateful to be there!

Queen B!  Ok, this picture is zoomed in but not by much!

On Saturday, the course finished up and I walked back to the hotel after getting my second Jeni cone. This time, I got darkest chocolate and honey chocolate with smoked almonds.  I thought I would take a nap since I was tired from the time change but I went to Centennial Park instead because I heard live music.  The Americana Music Festival was finishing up that day and they had a stage/food truck event going on.  I wasn’t hungry but hung out for the music and heard a great band called the Carmonas.  I also listened to several musicians during a Les Paul tribute.  The music was great but I headed back to the hotel to change before heading downtown because I wanted to go the Ascend Amphitheater and see the final Festival show, which featured Loretta Lynn!  Yes!  I ended up seeing Loretta Lynn and she was absolutely fantastic.  Her voice was amazing, her stage presence intact and it was really awesome.  I also lucked out because as I was walking in with my lawn seat ticket, a woman gave me her Ticketmaster printout for a seat 8 rows back from the stage!

Other artists that I saw included Steve Earle, Gillian Welch and Valerie June.  It was pretty spectacular.  The concert ended around 11 and although I wanted to check out the Bluebird Cafe, I didn’t think I would get in so I took in the S. Broadway scene for a little bit.  There are so many bachelorette parties in Nashville!  I went to Acme Feed and Seed before grabbing a piece of pizza, where I met even more new friends including a guy who loved his nickname Sandwich (his given name is Reuban).

Breakfast of Champions!

On Sunday, I ran ~6 miles to the 12 South neighborhood, which is a very cool part of town.  Edley’s is there as are many cute restaurants and shops.  After showering and checking out, I bought a pass to the Nashville bike program and biked over to Hattie B’s for chicken and waffles.  Yum!  Then I headed back to 12 South and bought a coffee and looked in several of the shops.  Next, I took an Uber ride to Parnassus Books, the shop co-owned by one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett.  No Ann sightings, but I did buy a signed book!  At that point, it was time to start thinking of heading back.  I made a quick stop in the Hillsboro area to check out a shop I thought had an awesome dress when I ran by it the other day but I couldn’t find it.  I called Uber and after stopping by the hotel to pick up my luggage, we went to the airport and I headed back home to see SMS!

Working for the Weekend!

Ok, maybe Tuesday is a liiiii-tle too early to be singing that song, but I am so excited for my parents to get into town.  We have the best itinerary planned.

I’m also very excited because I am getting a lot done at work.  Last night, I finished a paper on portable vestibular evaluation devices that will hopefully be published.  I haven’t heard back from the big cheese about it, but I hope he likes it!  It was the first late night I’ve had in a long while- yes, including (lack of a) social life too!

SMS pointed out that I’ve become quite a .gif fan.  This is true but I haven’t been taking very many pictures of my own.  I plan to remedy that on my trip.  Did I mention that I’m going on vacation!?!?  Sagoy!

First stop- relaxing ryokan in Miyajima!