Saturday, April 21, 2018

That's So Pittsburgh: Planting Community

Six months ago, Dear Husband and I joined dozens of volunteers with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pittsburgh Redbud Project to plant trees on the North Shore. Last night I realized Saturday was Earth Day and that I could use part of my day off to plant native species in the new bioswale I've been watching them construct near my parking garage at work. A bioswale is basically a rain garden with storage tanks underneath. The idea is to capture rain water so that it nourishes plant life that cleans the air and protects critters rather than going into the city's drainage system. Pittsburgh's storm drains and sewer system run together such that after a particularly hard rain or large snow melt, the runoff causes the sewers to overflow into the three rivers. Gross.

A good crowd of all ages, including representatives from a couple local Target stores, quickly put a couple dozen hydrangeas and nine tail bushes into the fresh dirt. Then we wrestled a number of juvenile hornbeams and redbuds into the ground. Dave, Sue, Kristen, and I planted a redbud we named Emily (after the project director) at the foot of the hill. At the top of the hill, Wes and I eventually got another redbud into a muddy hole while I told him about the 16 new redbuds that beavers had gnawed off on the North Shore. Beavers and redbuds are both native to these parts, although hunting and pollution had killed off the original Pennsylvania beavers such that transplants were brought in from Wisconsin and Canada. Wes asked what beavers didn't like, and we settled on predators such as wolves, so I named the second tree Lobos to ward off any water rodents that might be lurking in the Hill District!

Friday, April 20, 2018

What Residency Looks Like XXIII: Clinical Pearls

I recently had the honor of presenting the pre-intervention survey results of my research group's project on medical education on social media. This was our title slide. You can find us on Facebook and Tumblr at Teaching Rounds, and on Instagram and Twitter at Med Ed Pittsburgh. More pics on Twitter @MedEdPGH.


Monday, April 16, 2018

What Residency Looks Like XXII: The view from the top

Sometimes residency looks like interrupting the conversation in your team room on the twelfth floor of the hospital so everyone can take pictures of the beautiful hawk perched outside the window.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Sprang at Phipps Conservatory

Dear Husband and I took advantage of the last month of our membership at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens by joining half of Pittsburgh to ogle at and take photographs of their spring show dedicated to colors and scents. I thought it was one of the most beautiful they have done, with gorgeous hues of orange and purple and pink and red like those in the potted flowers to the left. The skunk sculptures were adorable in the bright sunlight, and I really liked the tall white Grecian columns and figure of a woman with a water jug (below). Their Congo forest exhibit has been changed out for one on Cuba...although with the exception of more and different kinds of palm trees, it looked a lot the same to us. Happily we stumbled upon a docent giving a tour of (one of) the greenest buildings in the country, the educational and office building behind the main conservatory. In just half an hour, he told us about the zero-runoff water collecting system, the greenhouses with roofs that open in the summer to equalize the temperature, and the water-cooling system under the rainforest. Phipps has so many solar panels and such eco-conscious design that this greenest building produces more electricity than it uses. There were dozens more interesting factoids about the water filtration system, the windows that catch sunlight, the lawn that only needs to be mowed once a year, and the smart heating/cooling system that directs its energy toward only those parts of the building where people actually are. He wanted to go on for another half hour, but we excused ourselves to finish with the exhibit rooms. However, they were so full that we decided we had seen enough and went home to enjoy what had started as a snowy day but become a warm and sunny one.


Bonsai azalea!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What Residency Looks Like XXI: Occasional Indulgences

Sometimes residency looks like a box of specially cupcakes the med student ordered by Uber delivery because his sweet tooth was acting up. The carrot cake cupcake in the rear left was suh-WEET. I'll be hepped up on sugar for the rest of my shift.