Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016


Previous FrDrDr Halloween posts have included a spooky Lego mansion and a vampire wombat. This year's post is more of a photo essay. If you'd like to read something substantial, I highly recommend the humor piece "It's Decorative Gourd Season."

Dear Husband and I started celebrating with a pumpkin-carving party at a fellow pediatric intern's house. It was a mild night, so they dragged the big-screen television up from the basement so we could watch THE Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Wisconsin Badgers while eating pumpkin kettlecorn and drinking pumpkin beer or pumpkin mimosas or spiced/spiked hot apple cider. The host and hostess provided several books of designs and those little tool kits. Designs included a bat, a cat face, a silly face whose errant pupil was "fixed" with a toothpick, the word "creepy," and a uterus (by the ob/gyn resident in attendance).


The next weekend Dear Husband helped me spread spiderwebs on our front porch, complete with a giant hairy arachnid on the door, and plant skeleton parts in the ivy along the front walk.



Neither of us was home for Beggars' Night, DH having left town to visit his family, and I coming home late-ish after the first day on a new service. Besides which, our jack-o-lanterns had succumbed to fungus the prior weekend, so I didn't even put them out. Here they are in their glowing glory with some of the other carvings. Mine is the free-handed bat; DH made a traditional face. The other ones were made with stencils.


If you look closely, you can see that mine had stripes of green and white mold growing in it, while DH's had developed fuzzy white cataracts, because "It's Rotting Decorative Gourd Season,"

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What Internship Looks Like XVII: Partnership

"Welcome back to Mike's Deli[.] I'm Pierre-Bear, your server. Tonight's repast is Turkey Club Sandwich with chips, plum and gherkin. It's in the refridgerator. Enjoy! Pierre Bear."

Seems like Dear Husband left the Bear in charge of the kitchen while he went to choir practice.

It's nice to have a partner to grocery shop / cook while I'm at work, to register our cars, to be at home when repair people come, and so on. I feel guilty about working long days at the hospital, only to come home for a half-hour dinner before writing notes or studying until I collapse into bed. So I've tried to prioritize my days off: more chores and fun things together, less studying (and less time to blog about it!).

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Internship Looks Like XVI: Tiredness


Sometimes after you've worked 13.5 hours, you come home to eat dinner and video chat with your parents, but really your husband's shoulder makes such a nice pillow...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Internship Looks Like XV: Encouragement


Sometimes internship looks like treats from a senior resident who knows you're having a rough week month.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Are You Out of Your Gourd?


Friday evenings the Phipps Conservatory is open late, so Dear Husband picked me up after signout for dinner at the cafe and to enjoy the displays. We got lucky: the rooms were already set up for the Fall Flower Show: Bask in Nature's Bounty, which opened officially the next day. DH and I were not impressed by the baskets of fake apples, but there were also wicker squirrels and sheaves of corn stalks, scarecrows, pumpkins, and all manner of what DH called "haunted vegetables."


We got even luckier that there were performance artists in homemade costumes that evoked the gardens at the Conservatory that night. (I assume they were from one of the local colleges or universities.) Two wearing branches did interpretive dance. Two hid under an umbrella of fabric strips that gave the impression of being a giggling, shaggy plant-creature and interacted with the museum-goers. Two posed in the various galleries (I thought the one below was the best costume, being most representative of the gardens). DH's favorite two appear to have been modeled on an Asian legend, with one representing an evil spirit (with a head like a squash) and the other a good spirit (who struck a bell as if to drive the other one away). We could hear the clang all night, reminding us that the spirits were never far away.


Another exhibit was set to open the next day, the Garden Railroad: 200 Years of Pittsburgh. Little dioramas showcased famous parts of Pittsburgh history such as KDKA, the oldest commercial radio station; Three Rivers Stadium, with tiny football players lost in the real bed of grass on the "field"; and of course Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I liked the rubber ducky floating near the replica of the Point, where the rivers converge. Many of the displays had buttons to push to make the trolley go up the Mount Washington incline, for instance, or to turn a model of the first-ever ferris wheel.



DH and I are particular fans of Dale Chihuly's glass art, of which there are at least four at the Phipps. Here were my favorites: a spiky yellow sun suspended above cacti and other succulents; and this assemblage on the right, which suggested underwater tropical plants to me. They have done a good job pairing the plants with the artwork, and with the lighting.

Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me until we arrived that it would be dark inside--because of course, most of the greenhouses' light comes from the sun. Once it sets, the interiors had the perfect mood lighting for spooky viewing. It really was perfect (almost) by accident. We enjoyed our hour-long visit so much that we went ahead and purchased an annual membership. It not only allows us unlimited visits for the year, but if one of us is busy (::cough::) the other one can bring a guest. Our next trip will be for the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden: Days of Snow and Nights Aglow. I can't wait for the schedule of live performers to come out for the Candlelight Evenings. And I look forward to the pictures I can take when the halls are lit with sunlight...


Editor's Note: If you liked this edition of That's So Pittsburgh (TSPGH), you might also like this post about the Regatta, this one about an iconic piece of Pittsburgh architecture, or this one about a centuries-old cemetery.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

South African Bobotie

Dinner tonight was bobotie, basically the national dish of South Africa if Wikipedia is to be believed, which combines spiced meat, dried fruit, and nuts under an egg crust. It's a bread pudding variant that highlights South Africa's cosmopolitan population. Here are the instructions:

1. Read recipe from the Co-op circular to make sure you have all the ingredients. Go shopping. Come home and realize you now have two heads of lettuce and no meat. Send Dear Husband to the Co-op for 1 lb ground turkey.

2. Heat oven to 305 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 pan with a butter paper leftover from DH making the crust for a plum pie.

3. Whisk two eggs in a bowl. Add 1 cup milk. Tear two slices whole-wheat bread into bowl and set aside to soak.

4. Chop onion. Cry. Use a trick you learned from your father: hold a piece of bread in your mouth to block the aromatic compounds from finding your lacrimal ducts.

5. Saute onion in olive oil while you chop 1/4 almonds and 1/4 cup dried apricots. Measure 1/4 cup raisins and not quite 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder.

6. Realize you should have used a larger pan. Because you assume this is like the other bread pudding recipes you've made, have DH empty the onion into the bread-egg-milk bowl to make space for him to brown the meat.

7. Leave for your 1-hour massage while DH finishes cooking the chopped ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice on the stovetop (with salt and pepper to taste); assembles the meat pie according to the recipe with turkey mixture on the bottom and bread-onion crust on top; sets it aside to bake said plum pie; and then puts the bobotie in to bake for 45 minutes.

8. Let bobotie cool while you make a green salad. Eat immediately!


DH thought I could have put in the whole tablespoon of curry. I was not too impressed with the crust, and not just because that's where allll the onion ended up--maybe it needed more bread? It looks like this dish makes six servings, so we will have leftovers for this week.


Editor's regret: I wish that I had ever finished blogging about my 10 days in South Africa in 2013, so I could compare this to the street food I sampled there. Nevertheless, you can find the posts I did make by searching for the keyword "South Africa." The titles all begin "SA."

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Internship Looks Like XIV



Sometimes internship looks like coming home from the hospital at nine o'clock at night after a patient had a complication right at sign-out...and finding that your ever-loving husband had fixed you a dinner plate before he left for choir practice.

"Welcome to Mike's Deli. Your entree is in the refrigerator. Enjoy hot. The management."

And then waking up the next morning to find that he left you a card of encouragement (also in the refrigerator) to find as you fixed breakfast and headed back for another day of caring for sick people.




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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Beulah..., Beulah..., Beulah...

Next in an intermittent series on churches we have visited. Today it was Beulah Presbyterian Church. Founded in 1784, it is the oldest Presbyterian congregation in Pittsburgh. The brick churchhouse built on the top of a hill in 1837 gave the area the name "Churchill." (Clever, huh?) The current building was built in 1954 and has what Dear Husband calls the "church space needle" (left) out front. The sanctuary has a semi-traditional chancel and cushy chairs instead of pews.

They usually have a contemporary and a traditional service, but this morning was a single blended service before a church-wide meeting to vote on new leadership. Today was World(wide) Communion Sunday--a gift from Pittsburgh Presbyterians to the rest of the Church--but the liturgy little reflected it, except that the theme was the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We realized it was the first worship service we had attended yet with a praise band, which I liked.


Afterwards we tramped up and down the hillside through the wet leaves, looking at the tombstones. We speculated about family relationships and causes of death, given the sex, age, and death year: toddler cousins who died of measles in the 1870s? A young man who succumbed after a farming accident in the 1830s? A middle-aged man who suffered a heart attack in the 1960s? Then there was the woman who had lost two children in infancy and whose third baby died a few months after she did. The husband/father was a minister. Speaking of which, what was John Wesley Somebody-or-Other doing buried in this Presbyterian churchyard?


The Beulah Cemetery has the largest collection of graves of Revolutionary War soldiers in Allegheny County. All the veterans' graves were marked with medallions and American flags. Here is the dual gravestone for "Elisabeth, wife of John Hughey, daughter of Robert King of Lancaster Co., PA, born Mar[ch] 10, 1753, died July 29, 1838, and John Hughey, son of Joseph Hughey of Lancaster Co., PA, born Jan. 31, 1752, died May 2, 1837, a soldier of the American Revolution."


Some of the gravestones are shiny and new, while others are small and so worn from the elements as to be illegible. I wondered about the efficacy of putting a "permanent" marker over a grave. DH opined that they probably last as long as necessary for those who care to remember.