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30th-Nov-2016 08:19 am - Children and wakefulness
Speaking of adorable children (like that smooth segue?) mine are very adorable right now b/c both napping. They are frequently adorable while awake, but sometimes fussy and/or smelly.

I realize they lack the "instant on" button. Adult members of my family all have it. If we are woken up in the middle of the night, the brain is instantly working. Don't know if the kids missed that gene, or just haven't had reason to develop that facility at their early age. Wallstreet, after his last nap, woke up, and tried walking. He then kept, not so much falling, as just clearly deciding being upright was over-rated, but that snuggling the floor was where it was at. He looked quite happy, with a look of "you and me, floor, we got a thing going."
29th-Nov-2016 10:15 pm - A good day
Dr. Injecto
One of the things that I love about my job is the variety. Okay, there's lots of bread and butter stuff, which in my case means things like eczema and acne, but even there, if the flow is good, it can be fun. Today was great because of the range of things: excising a melanoma, coupla Botox, skin check as part of a drug trial (not a Derm drug), and a few good cases of "I dunno yet, but I'll figure it out for you."

For many people, none of their job is fun. For most, there's lots of boring routine, with a small amount of weird and wonderful. I do gross & weird for a living, with enough wonderful to keep things interesting. I actually usually manage to even help people in-and-around amusing myself.
27th-Nov-2016 04:21 pm - Memorial Plaque
Sword & Microscope 1
I don’t know what my parents would have thought of it. They were born and died in NYC, non-believing Ashkenazi Jews. What would thay have thought that in a small Vietnamese Buddhist Temple on a side street in Montreal, they have memorial plaques. I'd imagine they'd be pleased at the thought of it.

I was an suggestion of my FIL, who is fairly religious Buddhist. Each temple has such plaques on the eastern wall (the direction of the afterlife?). Nothing fancy, really just heavy cardstock with a picture, the name, and the date & place of both birth and death. I used a scan of their wedding photo.

The plaquesCollapse )

More detailsCollapse )

Do I believe in the religious aspects of what happened? Certainly not. I'm I most pleased that these plaques are there? Yes. I was touched.
26th-Nov-2016 10:16 am - Renovations update and blather
Renovations are going well. The house is actually starting to look like a house rather than an anonymous construction site. Interior walls will be going up soon.

A few flies in the ointment, such as finding mold in the basement that will have to be removed. (Time! Money!!) Possibly worse is that we've had the first snows of the year. Nonsense snow so far, burns off quickly, but soon temperatures will drop well below freezing and then the ground will freeze. The new windows are on order, but they can't be installed below a certain temperature (the sealants won't set right). They will be beautiful, but more costly than they should have been due to stupidity of the city planning department. We're almost ready to start on the extension, and the contractor figured out a way to do it much cheaper, but if the ground is frozen, either have to pay much increased costs, or wait until spring, neither of which is an attractive option.

We have made many modifications to the plans as we went along. Some were forced on us by the city, some were just realizing that what looked good in the plans wouldn't work in real life. Some of these are costly, some will actually reduce costs (our contrator is good). Most will make for a better and more liveable house. Sometimes I just have to keep reminding myself that it's going to be fabulous when it's done.
25th-Nov-2016 11:36 am - Varia
Three Musketeers
Food: Sometimes you want a salad. Sometimes bacon and eggs. And, for those who can't decide between the two, there's the Cobb Salad. We tried a small restaurant, called Mandy's, which only serves salads. Sounds healthy, but add eggs, meat, and creamy dressing, and a salad is just as high in fat as steak. Neither is better, just different. We had the Cobb salad, and also a Waldorf. Yum. Looking forward to trying their other blends.

Maybe you can: There are various interesting places in the world, where it is said, if you sit long enough, everyone you know will walk by. I’m in the atrium at JGH. (It was the main atrium/entry, until they built the new one adjacent to the new pavillion around the corner. Now its the secondary one.) I'm sorta between things, so goofing off, drinking a coffee, and working on my laptop (okay, goofing off writing posts). So far have run into 4 people I know and actually needed to talk to.

Weather:  First snows of the year. Bah humbug. Not really very bad, but feels bitter. Not sure if wind chill, just not used to it yet for the year, or just don't feel like putting up with winter.

Bambini: Hedgefund loves for me to pick her up. It's so touching that I have a Fangirl, but dang, kid, you're getting heavy. She never wants me to go to work. I don't think Wallstreet does either, but he's not very verbal yet. Sometimes HF informs me that I am not going to go out on a given day, I'm going to spend the day with her. I usually tell her that I'd rather do that, but I have to work. "Why?" Good question, kid. Not sure myself. Something about renovating a house "for her," and oh yeah, that buying food thing. Sometimes I tell her that someday she'll come see patients with Papa. That's become somewhat of a mantra with her, "some day I go patients Papa." Sometimes I tear up its so sweet (and poignant). However today she seemed disappointed that when we finally will be seeing patients together, I can't be carrying her.

The other day, Nom and the kids were waiting in the hallway when I got home. Nom on the floor, the kids on her. They (the kids) had decided they wanted to wait in the hallway to greet me. It had been a looooong day at work, I was dragging. But then I sat down with them, the kids crawled on top of me, and I realized my life is wonderful.
24th-Nov-2016 08:00 am - Happy Thanksgiving
Autumn-upstate NY
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you living south of the wall we are building with your money.
22nd-Nov-2016 03:20 pm - Books & History
Books (Trinity College Library)
Just finished a couple. Usually I read for pleasure voraciously. I'm so busy these days, that it takes me weeks to finish a book. (Besides the 139th reading of My Pretty Ballerina, etc.) I also read slower if the book isn't all that interesting (just interesting enough to keep me reading, but not steadily).
          Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson. (Mentioned back Oct 11th that had started it. Told you not reading very fast these days.) Tries to steer a middle course between the opposing common views on T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. "Lawrence of Arabia") that he was (a) a great hero versus (b) heavily over-rated. Anderson succeeds in that. He gives good background into the world in which Lawrence lived and fought, which is to say the Arabian penisula and environs during WW I. Anderson also touches on the lives of some contemporaries who were involved in that world, but otherwise unrelated, which makes more for the book being disjointed and less for its being multi-faceted. All this assumes his sources and his interpretations of them are any better than those of the 100's of books that have gone before, which he derides. He also spends lots of time making fun of the military, governments, diplomatic services, all of which are presented as totally hidebound and idiotic, unlike, of course, the brilliantly-insightful author.
          Panzer Leader by Heinz Guderian. Guderian was one of the apostles of mobile armored warfare, which we have come to refer to as blitzkreig. Others were the British J. F. C. Fuller and Basile Liddell-Hart, and the Frenchman Charles DeGaulle (yes, that DeGaulle). However, these gentleman had the misfortune to be in the service of the powers that had won WW I, and so said powers didn't feel the need to really learn how to fight any differently than they had. Guderian had been on the losing side, so they decided they needed to learn to fight differently. At the beginning of the war, the British and French had more tanks, and better tanks than the Germans (as did the Russians), but didn't use them properly. It is not rare in military history that the edge goes to the first side to learn to properly use new technology, not just to deploy it. Much of the work is tedious "the XXX Division attacked along the left flank…" Great source material, but boring to read. A part that I did find striking is just how big the militaries were at that time. Each of the major combantants probably had more men under arms than the five largest modern militaries combined. The interesting parts are his insights into mobile warfare, and insights into the Nazi German war machine. Despite usual beliefs about the hyper-efficient and adaptable German military, he presents the higher commands as quite hidebound (there's that word again) and too far removed from the action (literally and metaphorically) to understand and adapt. Some of this might be the tendancy in memoires of people near, but not at the pinnacle of power, to generally describe everyone as being an idiot except them. Hitler is presented as a very hypnotic individual, megalomaniac, with great plans, but gets too timid in carrying them out, and also too far removed form the front to understand the situation. Guderian acknowledges the evil of Naziism, but that isn't is focus or his point. He is describing events from a purely military consideration. Overall, a slow read, but a good one.
20th-Nov-2016 08:40 pm - Terror at a later age
We are the sum of our experiences. Maybe there's a soul in there too, personally couldn't say. Regardless, consciousness is a mix of our beliefs/thoughts and our past. Robbing us or our memories robs us of ourselves, which is why dementia is so terrifying to contemplate.

I am the Dermatology consultant on a study of a new Alzheimer's drug. (Seems earlier trials showed some cases of pigmentary abnormalities, and FDA/Health Canada mandated that subsequent trials required a at least two total skin exams.)

By definition, Alzheimer's is early-onset dementia. Well, that was the original definition; there are characteristic histological findings, but that is on autopsy. There are also other causes of early dementia, but these details aren't relevant here. What is relevant is that the patient I was screening the other day (who didn't seem very demented) was only a little older than I am. An slightly uncomfortable feeling, a bit of "there but for the grace of God…"

Later that day I saw a doctor I've known since I was a Resident. Haven't seen much of him lately, but he is someone who is a Part Of My Past. Not much older than I am either. Seems he's having memory troubles now. He said that some of it was related to a blood pressure medicine he'd been on, and has gotten a bit better since being switched to another one. However, he is no longer teaching, and seemed sometimes to have trouble getting to the facts. Part of that can be put down to his manner of speech, which goes with his branch of medicine (few are as crisp and to the point as Dermatology), but some really did seem to be memory loss. Someone I knew well for many years. Someone only a few years older than me. More than slightly uncomfortable. Closer to terror.</span></span>
17th-Nov-2016 10:08 am - Not in the mood
I do not want to do emails. I do not want to do paperwork. I do not want to worry about house renovations. I do not want to see patients.

I want to go take a nap, then sit down somewhere and have little fussbudgets crawl all over me, poke my nose, and have me read them Cat in the Hat for the 800th time.

Wednesdays are very long days for me. I came home last night, and Nom and the kids were sitting in the hall (them in her lap) waiting for me with big smiles. Nom went inside and left me sitting with the kids crawling all over me, with a huge smile on my face. Life is good, just not in the mood for most of it right now.
Sometimes I hear Hedgefund cry out in her sleep. Even the youngest infants, it seems, have nightmares. It rends my heart. (Once, though, I heard her exclaim, "Papa" in a delighted voice, which delighted me.)

The other night, I was trying to put her to sleep. She was fussier than usual all evening. At one point as I was settling her down, she seemed very unhappy, and when I asked what was wrong, she said, "I scared I not wake up."

So young, and already understands her own mortality. It's nothing she's seen, it's not like she really knew anyone who died (she didn't really know my father). Somehow, she already knows the common fate of mortal man. I remember knowing about it and being scared at an early age, but not that young. I think I was 8, and remember crying, and being unable to talk to my family about why I was crying. Maybe that is why for years I had trouble falling asleep; deep down being afraid that I wouldn't wake up.

I hugged her and told her everyone felt that way, that she would wake up tomorrow, and that Papa was here. I touched her head and heart and told her Papa would always be there and there. I tell her that often even when I'm just leaving for work. She doesn't understand yet, but someday she'll know that part of me will always be inside her when she needs it. After 32 years in the military, I always have in the back of my mind that you have to prepare them; sometimes Soldiers don't come back. Still, it's not like, when I tell her I'll always be there inside her, I add the part about in case I don't come back. She's smart. She's figured out mortality on her own. I can only hug her.
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