Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ladies who Lunch

I haven't posted in a couple of days because I've been doing nothing. Well, not really nothing, but things that aren't very interesting. I've been a lady of leisure, which for the most part is kind of boring. So I will blog about the exceptions to the boring

I had lunch with my friend Dr. F. who is a Dr. of the Noam Chompsky sort. She's actually so cool that she's like a female version of Noam. She is the most sarcastic person I know, and that's a good thing. She absolutely kills me. We had amazing thai soup for dinner. Here's a recipe for thai soup - make it. It's like liquid crack.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1" fresh ginger root
3 scallions (green onions), chopped
2 tablespoons lemongrass, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3/4 pound broccoli, cut into small chunks
2 carrots, cut into small chunks
1 quart vegetarian 'chicken' broth (I don't know what this is - I use onion broth usually or vegetable broth)
1 - 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 tsp saltPinch of black pepper
1 lemon, sliced thinShredded fresh Thai basil

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan, and fry the garlic until it starts to brown (to make a spicy version of this dish, start by frying one tablespoon Thai chile paste with garlic and sweet basil in the oil instead of garlic). Stir-fry broccoli and carrots until crisp-tender. Remove and set aside. Fry the ginger, scallons, and lemongrass for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, red curry paste, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and carrots. Heat briefly.
Serve with in bowls and sprinkle with Thai pepper powder and fried garlic. Eat with steamed Thai jasmine rice. Garnish with fresh lime and a pinch of basil.

After lunch I bought cupcakes from the Cupcake Shoppe. Oh my god were they good. Especially pretty n' pink.

I also went to Pioneer Village with my boyfriend's mother who is visiting from Scotland. She's been here for 3 weeks staying with my family and she's going back home on Thursday. It's been hard to know what she wants to do and determine whether she's been having a good time. I can't read her at all. She says she wants to relax and not do anything but then my mom is all flustered about where to take her. Ben is at work all day so it has fallen to the rest of us to entertain her, which is fine except it's hard to figure out what to do. Anyways, we took her to niagara falls and the cottage and stuff so I hope she had a good time. Pioneer village was fun because we asked them all sorts of questions they couldn't answer. It was funny to see the blank looks on their faces when they had no clue what we were on about. It's even funnier because Ben's mom has been annoyed with my incessant question asking in the past but she saw the fun of it yesterday.

Today I need to work. So hopefully I will actually get dressed soon since it's 11:00 and I just woke up half an hour ago. Eventhough I've been doing nothing, I'm actually kind of enjoying it, boredom and all. Ben has started calling me betty because I've been kind of house-wifey doing the laundry and making dinner for people. He shouldn't get used to it though!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kick in the pants

It's a real kick in the pants when on I'm-finished-work-sleep-in-day number 1, I get out of bed at 6:30 to make my boyfriend a sandwich because i feel bad that he has to get up and I don't. Thankfully I went back to sleep until 9 after he left. Then, on IFWSID number 2, at 8:45 some kind of concrete cutting machine the size of my entire house rolls into the neighbourhood and starts making so much noise I wake up wondering if some kind of natural disaster has occurred and I'm actually flying around in my bed like dorothy from the wizard of oz. What the heck? The gods of sleeping in must be against me. Excuse me while I go spend my day watching Oprah and Dr. Phil to make up for it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Procrastination and Quarrelling

Last night I sat down to write a report that I'd been putting off since June 27th and was due August 22nd. All I wanted to do was get it over with but I was stuck (again) on what to write after the first paragraph. I had tried to write this report 3 times already and given up each time, putting it off for a later date. Tonight, however, I HAD to get it done. So, I sat down and wrote a paragraph and then asked my boyfriend to read it and let me know what he thought so far. That was my first mistake. I came back and he was surfing autotrader on my computer. Now, if I hadn't been a bit stressed about writing this thing I may have brushed this off. But, as I tend to get a bit panicky in these situations, I got angry at him for sitting on my computer wasting time. Then he tried to give me some "helpful" suggestions that sounded more to me like "what you've written is crap, but nobody will care anyways, so just write anything to fill the two pages". Now, I'm sure that's not what he meant, but whatever processing happened between his mouth and my brain resulted in that message being perceived. This led to me asking him to but out and him throwing a hissy fit and telling me I was irresponsible because I ALWAYS leave things to the last minute and that I clearly didn't love him because I would have done it already if I did. Lets just say that we both got a bit upset.

The evening became extremely reminiscent of the time I asked him to edit my master's thesis and then proceeded to want to kill him on a train in the middle of the Scottish highlands. So, note to self in the future - not asking partner to look at work and critique it is probably a healthy way to preserve our relationship. For some reason I can take anyone else's criticism but not his - we just don't seem to mesh in that way.

It all got sorted out in the end and I apologized and we made up before going to bed but man, it was more stressful than it had to be. I'm not going to say I'm going to stop doing things at the last minute because that's just who I am, but maybe next time I'll go about it more quietly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School

It's almost time to go back to school and I'll admit it - I'm kind of looking forward to it. Mostly because I'm SO BORED. My job is winding down and I have half of next week and the entire week after off. I'm considering calling up my family physician and asking whether I can shadow her for a day. She does quite a lot of OB so it would be good to see how she balances her practice and ask some questions. I'm afraid that I've forgotten every physical exam skill I've learned along with the names of the cranial nerves and what they do (oo ooo oo to touch and feel....) so maybe i'll embarass myself royally.

The only thing I'm not looking forward to is moving away from Ben, again. I know it's not as far as me being in Canada and him being in Scotland but 3 hours is still far. I know I'll get to see him every weekend but going to bed alone again is going to be difficult. I wish I went to the medical school near his work or that he worked near where I go to school. In good news, several of my classmates are married to spouses who live in other cities and they seem to be keeping it together so maybe after 2 years of dating we can too!

I'm going to go read my bates manual now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Too many people

When Doctor Annunciate pulled back the curtain and breezed into the small "room" with its unsheeted bed and broken down blood pressure monitor in the corner, I followed. I stood and waited for him to introduce me to the patient, "this is my medical student, she is following me around for the day". She looked over to me and said hello, asked me how I was, and we made a bit of polite conversation. In my head a voice was screaming, too many people, not enough chairs, I'm making the patient uncomfortable. Mrs. Z was there with her husband and they both looked to be in their seventies or eighties. She was quiet and looked worried, she held her husband's hand for comfort. She looked like an old fashioned sort of woman, someone for whom propriety and privacy were especially important.

They were sitting in the two chairs facing the bed. This left Dr. A and I to perch on the side of the mattress. The head of the bed was slightly inclined and didn't seem to want to flatten down. This meant that I was constantly fighting a battle with gravity, trying to avoid sliding into Dr. A's lap. I forgot my discomfort when Dr. A suddenly burst out in his very loud tenor voice, "So I hear you're having trouble with your bowels Mrs. Z." Everyone in the clinic must have heard him, especially the patients sitting in the waiting room right down the hall. Mrs. Z looked at me with pleading eyes, a bright red flush creeping from the collar of her blouse up to her forehead. She wasn't the only one who was embarassed - I wanted to help her dig a hole in the floor so we both could escape. Rest assured it's not the mention of bowels I found embarassing, it was the manner in which the doctor approached what was so obviously a private matter for the patient. We had established in our opening conversation that she was not hard of hearing, so there was no need to speak so loudly. Voice volume is an important part of speech and this doctor got it all wrong. I hope I never follow his example.

(note: names and circumstances have been changed to maintain the patient's privacy)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've been tagged

Ok, I've been tagged by Nathan so here goes:

1. One book that changed your life: Hasidic tales of the Holocaust, Yaffa Eliach

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Hunter's Moon, O.R. Melling

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Edible Wild Plants and Herbs: A Pocket Guide, Alan M. Cvancara

4. One book that made you laugh: Too Close To the Falls, Catherine Gildner

5. One book that made you cry: The Girls, Lori Lansens

6. One book that you wish had been written:
EDIT: I can't read and I thought this said "one book you wish you had written" and to that I answered: The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger because it's a great book.
To the actual question "One book that you wish had been written" I would have to say: '1000 ways not to cry when being yelled at'

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Unborn Destiny, Kevin Mark Smith

8. One book you’re currently reading: The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Pilgrim, Timothy Findley

I tag... intelinurse2b and nakedtomato


"Strabismus, more commonly known as crossed-eyes or wall-eyed, is a vision condition in which a person can not align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. One or both of the eyes may turn in, out, up or down. An eye turn may be constant (when the eye turns all of the time) or intermittent (turning only some of the time, such as, under stressful situations or when ill). " (

When researchers do research into strabismus in primates they induce strabismus by making the primates wear goggles. I went to a research presentation the other day about this topic. One word to the wise strabismus researcher, if you put pictures like this is your presentation, do not get offended when people laugh!

(Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004;45:821–827)

Monday, August 14, 2006


I have never been so ashamed of the Canadian government as I was this morning when I heard that Stephen Harper will not be attending the international AIDS conference going on right now in Toronto. Do you know why he isn't attending something so important? Because he's afraid of being booed. That's right. He's afraid that those who do not agree with his government's views on same-sex marriage will boo him. So, let's think about this for a minute. What's more important? Representing the host country of a very important scientific conference with a great many very influential delegates OR the fear of people reacting negatively to one of your policies? As Andy Barry said this morning on the CBC, this conference is an opportunity for the government to have open and honest discourse with the people about their policies including their stance on aid for AIDS research and victims. Instead, they chose to throw away that opportunity and not even SHOW UP. It's disgusting.

The Great Thing About Siblings

There are some great things about siblings. Especially when they're funny. Ben and I went to a baseball game with my brother Dave and his wife Erin a few weekends ago. Apparently I missed the fact that they now play music when the player goes up to bat. According to Dave, they can choose their own music. We had a conversation that went like this:

me: wouldn't it be awsome if you played a prank on your teammate and switched up his music to something really embarassing like 'Lady in Red' or "Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
Dave: I think if I ever go into major league baseball I'm going to use 'You make me feel like a natural woman'
Ben: How about 'It's Raining Men'
Erin: how about 'Man! I feel like a woman'

I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard.

It's great to have siblings you can hang out with and enjoy their company. Not like when we were kids and they just sat on my head.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Things that are good

So, I just finished reading a trilogy called "His Dark Matters" by Philip Pullman. I don't really read fantasy, but these books were great. I even cried at the end of two of the books. They're lovely and sentimental at times and exciting at others. I really recommend them. And if you have read them, I reckon my daemon is a chipmunk.

Right at this very moment (and for the past few days) I have been listening obsessively to this album. It came out in Scotland while I was there with the first single "Black horse and the Cherry Tree" - I liked it right away. Lately the song "Suddenly I see" has been getting a lot of airplay due to its use in the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. I am very pleased that KT has started to make her dent in North America because I think she's extremely talented. She's like a modern Carol King or Laura Niro. By far my favorite song on this album is "Under the Weather". It was the theme to my first few weeks after Ben left last September and it's very bittersweet. "When I turn out the light, you're out of sight, although I know that I'm not alone. It feels like home."

Last but not least, PC Cookies 'n' Creme Ice Cream. I can't explain how good this ice cream is. It's like taking a normal cookies and creme ice cream (good in itself) and adding to it the middle white bit of oreos. Seriously. It's good.

The Rant

Well, my dear friend Elissa has been calling for me to re-post the rant that I posted a few days ago. The subject of this rant was the anti-social behavior that has resulted from kids being allowed to practice their social lives completely over the internerd and how parents need to make sure that there is a balance struck between kids finding a group of their peers (on the internet in the case of the kids I was talking about) and kids being educated in social graces that they will need later in life, like the art of conversation and the arts of interacting with one's peers in a face to face manner (and in some cases being able to resolve conflict that may arise in a civil manner). These are things that CAN be learned. Yes, some people are naturals, but that doesn't mean that the shy kid that loves talking about slip knot on the internet with other kids who might be a bit nerdy can't learn to also interact well with people outside his/her peer group. I think parents are doing a great disservice to their kids by not encouraging them/forcing them to join social activities and allowing them to hang out on the internet all day. When they grow up to be adults they are going to have to find jobs and interact with others and they will need to draw on social skills they should be learning as kids. I was forced to go do things i didn't like as a kid but I can honestly say that I'm better for it now. I was and still am a huge nerd, but if my parents hadn't forced me to get out and interact with people I'd probably be a socially awkward nerd, which I'm not. I'm not saying it's cold-turkey, no internet, what I am saying is that they need a diverse range of interactions with others. Always hanging out with people just like you prevents you from growing socially.

Letting your kids sit in their rooms and play on the internet is EASY. Making them get involved is HARD. Parenting should not be easy. Some things that your kids hate now will make them better people in the future. Balance in important. I hope this sounded a lot less a-hole-ish this time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Suggestions needed

I am the director of a medical student group for the promotion of interest in family medicine (not its real name, real name much more catchy). We are looking at things to do within our group next year to promote family medicine. Last year we covered the following topics in speaker presentations:
1 - residency
2 - family + obstetrics
3 - wilderness medicine
4 - rural medicine

and we had skills sessions covering:
1 - suturing
2 - immunizations and well baby checks
3 - mechanics of childbirth
4 - wilderness medicine

I really really need suggestions of fun/interesting topics in family medicine that we can add to our roster next year. PLEASE if any family docs or med students read my blog and have any suggestions at all PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment.

again, PLEASE.

Ok, this is a good post about why people are miserable in the 21st century. I agree with so much of it.

I removed a large rant about crap here because I re-read it and I sounded like a real a-hole.

Check out nathan's blog here for an interesting argument about abortion that then turned into a discussion of more than just that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Dreaded Poster Presentation

So I have to make a poster presentation on my summer research next Thursday. Which means I have to finish my poster by the end of today to have my supervisor print it out on Tuesday because I'm going away for the long weekend. You'd think this would light a candle under my ass but so far today i've written my title, my purpose and read about 50000 blogs. It's 10 am and I've been here since 7:40. I also played around with my colour scheme for a while! I really must get down to business but I'm finding it hard. I'm like an actor - WHAT'S MY MOTIVATION, DAMMIT! On the positive side, I finished my model and put an idealized cornea on it and made it look kind of like an eyeball by playing with my colorscheme and making the cornea transparent:

I'm all undecided about this weekend. We had a huge storm and it took down a bunch of power lines between here and our cottage. So, my Mom who went up on Thursday took refuge at her family cottage where my grandma and my uncle's family are. We were supposed to have a huge family gathering this weekend with my brother and my sister and their spouses and my nephew and we were gonna have a dinner on the beach and go golfing and do other fun stuff. Now we've all been told that only people without dogs can come to my grandma's cottage. That basically means that only Ben and I can go because both my brother and my sister have a dog. What's the fun of going up now? My cousins are um... young. And it's going to be crowded and there probably won't be a double bed for Ben and I so we're going to have to either sleep together in a single or sleep apart. I'm wondering if we should just stay in the city and go biking.