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28th-Sep-2016 09:51 am - Hello
Sword & Microscope 1
Have several long posts in my head that need doing, but don't have the time to do time. *pout*

Just posting this to let all my Gentle Readers (both of you) know I still love you.

Will post some little heart symbol to prove it, since ecosopher just showed me how to do it: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

For those who care, type "& hearts ;" (without the quote marks, and without the spaces, but "hearts" is plural). Supposedly can also type alt3, possibly works on a windows machine, but with a mac that gives you a pound (as in UK currency) sign, which could be transactional love if I have any UK readers. £
25th-Sep-2016 09:47 pm - A shidduch?
Three Musketeers
For the non-tribesmen, a shidduch is an arranged marriage. Two additional facts are salient here:
1. Nom has already decided she is going to pick her children's spouses, which considering how agreeable they are to anything and everything, is likely entirely doomed. Still, one can plot and plan, especially if the stakes are high enough.
2. The Royal Great Grandchildren, that is to say, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, are visiting Canada. (I believe they have brought along their parents, William and Kate, but that's a detail.) Said royals are aged 3 and 1. By some clearly divinely-inspired coincidence, we have two children ages 2-1/2 and 1.

Think of what a match that would make: their title and fortune, and our looks and brains. Might bring back the glory days of the British Empire.
24th-Sep-2016 10:30 pm - Homeostasis and child-rearing
Three Musketeers
Like all parents, I think ruefully of the many phrases I heard my parents tell me, that I swore I would never utter, and now find myself saying.

The phrase my childhood self found the most ridiculous was, "I'm cold, put on your sweater." Now that I'm a parent... I still find it ridiculous. I NEVER say that. Alas, Nom, lovely and intelligent as she is, still believes in it. I guess she has no choice; it's in chapter one of The Mothers' Manual: Things You Absolutely Must Say And Do.

The other day, I took Hedgefund out for a walk. It was a bit cool, so I put her jacket on her. At some point, she decided she didn't want to wear it and took it off. I, negligent parent that I clearly am, made no attempt to stop her, even though I was wearing my jacket. After a few minutes, she realized that she was cold, and put her jacket back on. Let me repeat the key point for those Gentle Readers who might not have caught it (eg the mothers in the crowd): she realized that she was cold and took appropriate action.

Putting on my scientist hat, allow me to point out that all organism regulate their homeostasis, which in the case of humans and temperature, includes adjusting one's clothing-wearing. Here endeth the sermon.
23rd-Sep-2016 08:29 am - First steps
Wallstreet, age roughly one year, is walking. Okay, "walking" is a bit of an exaggeration. (Except to doting family, who are alternately rejoicing and whimpering that our baby's growing up.) He's managed 1-2 tentative steps, and can stand un-aided for a second or two. For months, he's clearly wanted to walk in the worst way, and now he is!
Hedgefund, as I might have mentioned, is rather a drama queen, even at her young age. By the time she is 13, she’ll be a Drama Galactic Empress. Maybe better rethink that “her doing a hitch in the Army” thing. Wallstreet likely will, he’s the adventurous sort. Oh well, no doubt they will change as they develop, but interesting to realize how much personality one is born with. Ba ngaoi (grandmother) is over almost every day. There’s a pro and a con there, but one negative is HF never wants her to leave. She cries whenever GM is leaving. Sometimes GM manages to sneak out the backdoor. Yesterday HF noticed and started crying. Nom was busy with WS, so I said I’d take her to the park. She likes that, and I get to do my Daddy thing. Problem is GM decided to come with us. Every time she’s try to leave, HF would get upset, and she’d stay longer. The weird part is GM was sitting on a bench, within visual distance, but not really close. She really should have gone home earlier. She needs to rest, and she does have a husband who possibly would appreciate her spending some time at home. (Heck, maybe not. Wadda I know.) I don’t enjoy the temper tantrums either, but I seem to be the only one who can deal with them (eg pick her up even if she doesn’t want to, and do whatever-it-is anyhow). I’m also the only one who encourages her to be adventurous. Nom is a little bit of a worrier, and GM is a basket case. She literally carries HF across the street (I just insist she hold my hand when crossing streets). GM still doesn’t let our 11 year old niece cross streets without holding her hand. If it weren’t for me, HF would never have gone down a slide, which she now loves. (Had to hold her going down the first several times, then encourage her several dozen more.) Actually, for a Bold Adventurer (or I was until I took an arrow to the knee), I’m actually rather a chickens***, and don’t want her to be afraid of everything.

When it is time for GM to leave (or if she has already left), we try to explain to HF that GM has to go home to her own house and be with GF and to sleep there. The other night, as I was reading to her pre-bedtime, I think she was trying to process the concept that GM goes home to her own house to sleep, and that was okay. She was repeating something like "Mai (GM’s name) sleep house. That’s okay.” It might never have occurred to her that Mai actually lives somewhere else, rather than wandering the streets or more likely just evaporating at night. She’s never been to GM & GF house, unlike say BIL & family’s house. I repeated it back to her, and told her that everyone goes to their own house to sleep, everyone has a house where they sleep, even birds. Also pointed out that her Papa was here now. Also told her, as I’ve told her many times, that Papa is always inside her (tapping her head and sometimes heart), and I’d always be there whenever she’d need me, and she’d understand when she was older. (I digress a bit, really the amazing and touching part for me was seeing her at least try to process the concepts.)
20th-Sep-2016 05:14 pm - Grrr
Sword & Microscope 1
Was at my local library. It's not very good, and I don't spend much time there for me, but HF likes it. Read her a book or two, then went down to the adult section. Haven't done much casual reading lately, and managed to find 2 books I'd thought I'd try. The librarian "offered" me the option of electronic check-out. All I had to do was create a password... No. Just no. He tried to explain to my how to create a password, like I was some grey-haired idiot. Okay, I am a grey-haired idiot. Just one who is smarter, better educated, and more technologically apt than that librarian. And more curmudgeonly. I'm just not going to set up a password (when I already have a library card) to borrow books from my local branch. Eventually we compromised and did things my way.
Of course we have car seats for the kids. However, I realize that I might not be using them right. Please take a look at the pix and let me know what you think.
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18th-Sep-2016 10:31 pm - The road not taken.
I love being a family man (I've hinted at that before, but might have been too subtle for some Gentle Readers to catch J). Everything is a choice and a trade-off, and I made the right one, but there's always a whiff of wistfulness about the road not taken. No matter how wonderful, one always wonders about the other path. During my Army days, I followed the path of increasing responsibility and authority. That's normal for a line officer, but technical services (such as medical) can go on for years doing their specialty and never take charge of anything.

When I got out of the Army, I knew I would spend more time on academics, or perhaps better to say on academia. I took on being the Director of Undergraduate Medical Education for Derm. (Isn't that a fancy title? Yeah, big whoop.) I thought I'd go on to Dermatology Residency PD (Program Director), then maybe Chief of Dermatology for McGill. Possibly somewhere in there take on being Chief of Derm at my hospital. (Every university medical school has "THE university hospital," and "the OTHER one." JGH is "the other one." Which, of course, is better.) I was offered PD a couple of years ago, but Hedgefund had just made her debut, and I was a tad busy, not to mention enthralled with that job. Then, just as I was getting on track with that, we had Wallstreet. Did I mentioned enthralled? And now renovating a house. Yeah, busy is an understatement. Plus, I looked at the jobs of PD and Chief at McGill. PD is 70% administrative blech, but at least at the end of the day, you know you've helped train the next generation of Dermatologists. It's satisfying. Chief is 70% administrative blech, followed by 30% even worse blech. If I'd been focused on the upward track (much as I had been in the Army), I would have gone for it. Ego usually beats common sense.

Fortunately, I was saved from this fate (although I would have loved it had I done it) by said family life. The prior PD stayed on, but took on a "co-director" (minion). He will likely move up to being PD in a couple of years. Good for him. He's bright and hard working and recently graduated. Yeah, recently graduated. Someone I recently trained is taking on the administrative role I had thought I would go for some day. Even though my choice, and a choice I would not change, there's a bit of feeling by-passed.

Recently we had a get together for the Derm staff at my hospital (we do these about once/month during the academic year - part educational, part social, in varying ratios). Our Chief (at JGH, not McGill overall) said he was looking for a replacement. I do take this with a grain of salt, as he's been threatening to step down since I was a resident, but he's sounding more serious now, which is reasonable with advancing age. We do want to bring on younger staff, but there are only a fixed number of places we're allowed to have. (Part of the meeting was discussing whom we wanted, and how to juggle places.) We suggested a certain resident who will be graduating soon. She's great: one of the smartest and sharpest people to come though our program in a long while, a good teacher, and super-pleasant. Although a bit young to be a hospital chief, she would be great. When she actually graduates. Someone I'm helping train. Taking a position I vaguely thought I might be interested in "later." Again, my choice, and a choice I would not change, there's a bit of feeling by-passed.

Not so much feeling by-passed by "the system," (heck, our current Chief at McGill was one of my residents - which is why it's amusing when she tells me about the "old days"). More feeling by-passed by life. Okay, feeling old. In my mind, I'm still the bright young thing, the youngest guy in the room. Now I'm one of the senior ones, and people I helped train are being looked at for positions I'd thought I'd go for "some day." I still have a lot of "some days" ahead of me, but fewer than I used to.
11th-Sep-2016 10:48 am - Now, that's an usual opening line.
Sitting at Lili & Oli, studying and otherwise catching up on work. Woman next to me, working on her own projects, says, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help noticing you are reading something about phosphodiesterase inhibitors. What kind of research are you in?"

A minute or two of chitchat. Turns out she does 3-D molecular modeling software, which is used by biochemists and pharmaceutical chemists to model, amoung other things, potential drug molecules. Cool.

I suppose there is a remote chance she was hitting on me, but probably not. (Irrelevant to my life except as a very minor ego buzz, since I'm very married.)

Oh, for those who care, PDE-inhibitors are molecules that inhibit the actions of (you guessed it) phosphodiesterases, which are group of enzymes that do various different things. PDE-5 inhibitors include Viagra, whereas PDE-4 inhibitors are beginning to be used in Dermatology for inflammatory diseases (such as psoriasis). I hadn't had which group was which nailed down in my mind and was looking them up.
10th-Sep-2016 01:04 pm - Mapplethorpe
The MMFA had the members' preview of a new exhibit of the ground-breaking photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. He's best known for his then-scandalous homoerotic photography. His work encompasses much more than that, although that is a refrain throughout much of whatever he did. In his words, and in his view, there is nothing different between photographing a penis or a flower. As with so much art, much of what was startling and controversial then is "oh well, you can download more" now. Some of that seems forced even for work by someone who reveled in it. However, regardless of whether he was photographing penises or flowers, his eye was perfect. He gloried in, and deified, perfection. Every single shot is perfectly framed and composed. Yes, that's what a photographer, artistic or otherwise, is supposed to do, but few manage that keenly.

I'm not much of one for popular culture, but I like Patti Smith, and one bit of history I wasn't aware of, was that Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith had been lovers. (The grandmother of punk is turning 70 this year - don't that make you feel old, formerly-avant-gardies.)

They had a "New York Soiree" afterwards, with music (which we largely missed), and non-alcoholic cocktails (why???). It wasn't great, but was nice to sit and chat with Nom. We went out for dinner (nothing special, just a quick bite). I adore being a family man, but good to have a grown-up date with my wife once in a while.
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