Sunday, April 30, 2017

Boston is for Art-Lovers

I managed to snag two days off from the ICU to fly to Boston for my favorite biennial conference for MD PhDs in the social sciences and humanities. I gave a historically inflected auto-ethnography about "Feeding My Husband with Cancer."

While there I got to see two of my favorite people, one of whom kindly let me crash on his futon. We then visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to take in the Matisse in the Studio exhibition. It paired objects from Henri's personal collection with the pieces of art in which they are featured or which they inspired: for instance, ewers, vases, oriental screens, and Ottoman furniture. He was a lover of exotica from Asia, Africa, and Islamic cultures. My two favorite pieces were the "organic" paper cut-out on the left and the intricate, hand-sewn screen on the right.

Left: David Chihuly palm/fern tree made out of green blown glass in the MFA atrium.

Dinner was a fancy sushi place called  Crudo. Delicious! It would have been even better if they had brought my friend the salad he ordered the first time, and if they had had a working soap dispenser in the one bathroom. Nevertheless, we had a delightful time and then walked through the North End to get me on the T to the airport. See ya later, BeanTown!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Stitch in Time

Presenting His and Hers rocking chairs with ottomans. The one on the right we bought used from another student when we purchased our house back in graduate school. The cushions had an old blue-and-white covering, which I took off and replaced with these spiffy green-and-brown stripes. However, I didn't leave enough give in the seat cushion, and it split in the front. This weekend I purchased some brown "suede" and sewed on a pleated accent to cover the rips. On the left, we bought a used "baby" recliner off Craigslist. We are not moving this year because Dear Husband hasn't found a job yet, and we don't want to end up in one part of the city if he finds work in a different part. Because we will most likely wait out residency in this townhouse, I decided we needed two chairs upstairs. Now we can sit next to each other and work on our respective laptops while rocking! [Picture cut off at the top so you don't have to see all our junk.]

Saturday, April 22, 2017

That's So Pittsburgh: Birds of a Feather

As a mixer before a bird-themed singing concert at which he was the accompanist, Dear Husband and I were invited to the National Aviary, a local treasure located in the North Side of Pittsburgh. Not only do they house a variety of winged creatures, but they offer facts about the environment and education about environmental protection. 

These ridiculous balls of fluff are Eurasian Eagle Owl chicks, aka baby bubo bubos.

Of course we visited the African penguins, where I picked up a Seafood Watch wallet card about choices that are better or worse for sustainable fishing, like farmed scallops or shrimp rather than overfished pollock or imported mahi mahi.

This Gouldian Finch was the most colorful bird we saw. His family lives in Australia.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops he can see.
Stop, Kookaburra, stop, Kookaburra
Leave some there for me.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Stop, Kookaburra, stop, Kookaburra,
That's not a monkey, that's me!

If you're thinking to yourself, "Those aren't birds," you're right!
"[Malayan Flying Foxes] are giant fruit bats from Asia, part of the mega-bat family,
that can reach up to 16 inches long and have six-foot wingspans."

These were the funniest-looking and most regal birds we saw at the aviary, respectively. On the left is a Rhinoceros Hornbill. I can't remember the name of the other one, which was very vain about its long ruffled tail. We didn't get a photo of the prettiest, which was the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, or the most entertaining, which was a big parrot squawking (loudly) to the crowd and doing tricks.

If you visit us in Pittsburgh, let us know if you want to meet Liberty the Bald Eagle!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Internship Looks Like XXXVIII: If you give an intern a stack of LGBT flyers...

...she will need a manila folder.
When she tries to file it in the hanging folder holder, she will decide the folders need organized.
When she organizes the folders, she will discover the Advanced Directives folder is empty.
If she can't find Advance Directives forms in any of the rooms, she and the social worker will search online until they find one.
If she prints out one, she will have to copy/collate/staple a whole pile.
When she refills the folder, she will decide she needs to label the bin.
Once she makes one label with the label maker, she will realize how much fun it is to make lots of labels.

 * * *
And that's how the hanging bins at the back of the clinic got organized during a slow morning. Of course I wanted a cookie when I was done.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Earth Day/Week: Reducing Our Landfill Waste

Like it? We bought it off a scrappy looking moisture farmer on Tatooine. Think we'll use it as a compost bin. Our neighbor down the block gardens and composts and offered us some earth worms once it gets going.

See also: Gardening on a Hill.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Phipps Conservatory: the colors of spring

I had some free time in my schedule one sunny day in April, so Dear Husband and I betook ourselves to our favorite place in Pittsburgh, the Phipps Conservatory, so catch their Enchanted Forest exhibit before it closed. There we enjoyed the topiaries, bonsai, woodland creatures, sculptures, and fantastic colors of spring. Somehow the light wasn't quite right to illuminate the Chihuly glass art, but you can see everything else came out nice and bright. We try to go during off times to avoid the crowds, as it's really not worth the trip to shuffle through in one long impatient line. It typically takes us an hour to walk the whole of the interior, unless we find a bench and sit awhile. If it's not too cold or too dark, we'll check out the external gardens, including the Japanese garden with koi pond and the children's garden (see the sun-worshipping cherub below). They do such a nice job with the animals made out of natural materials.

What magnificent bold colors on the orchids and bromeliads.

Is that a Hobbit house or does Goldilocks live there?

We timed our visit just right to see the tulips before they were blown.

This is the Victoria Room, where they place an enormous Christmas tree during the winter. Click here to watch a short time-lapse video! Today the metal skeleton was reflected in the still water, while the yellow rubber duckies mirrored the golden lilies around the edges.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

That's So Pittsburgh: Gardening on a Hill

This is what our rear garden looks like. It's a raised bed behind our rented townhouse that the last several tenants have allowed to grow wild. Our nextdoor neighbor says the last owner of the house was a woman who had a beautiful garden until she grew too old to keep it up. I dislike gardening and don't feel strongly about keeping up the landlord's property, so when we moved in I pulled out the worst of the weeds, planted my garden art, and left it like that. Am I contributing to urban blight? And then two lone tulips sprouted defiantly.

Editor's note: I write about gardens with some regularity, sometimes with humor, more pictures, and/or garden art. The second link is to the first of a three-part series.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What Internship Looks Like XXXVII: Lounging Around

Sometimes internship looks like hanging out in the residents' lounge to read articles for a literature review on the use of social media for life-long learning in medicine.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

What Internship Looks Like XXXVI: Friendly Competition

Sometimes internship looks like taking over the world with a freeze ray over a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn. This is the game Nefarious that my youngest brother got us for Christmas.


Friday, April 7, 2017

That's So Pittsburgh: Lenten Fish Fry

On Friday, Dear Husband, another of the interns, and I walked over from our continuity clinic to one of the local churches to attend their weekly Lenten fish fry. These are a Pittsburgh tradition not just at Catholic churches but also at volunteer fire departments and VFWs. We were at Saint Colman's Roman Catholic Church, where they advertised hand-dipped cod fillets. They also offered what I assumed were store-bought pierogies, although some fish fries pride themselves on the old ladies making handmade pierogies. St. Colman's also offered coleslaw, French fries, and halushka, as well as an enticing table of desserts. I bought my fish without the bun. It was steaming hot, thick, and delicious with tartar sauce. The fries were also surprisingly good, but the coleslaw, pierogies, and halushka were just okay. Although there were trays of tomatoes, pickles, and shredded iceberg lettuce, I hesitate to think that many of our patients eat like this on a daily basis. As it was, we were all too full for dessert and so skipped the cake and frozen soft serve ice cream.

This may be the most Pittsburgh thing I have seen yet: a public online map of all of the fish fries in the area.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What Internship Looks Like XXXV: Studying in the Call Room

Sometimes internship looks like holing up on the grody couch in a windowless call room at the hospital to study for a standardized test.